May 2010

Much needed win for Giants, Wellemeyer

Well, the Todd Wellemeyer experiment worked. The Giants’ No. 5 starter had a solid outing against the Washington Nationals, snapping the Giants’ five-game losing streak.

Wellemeyer continued to pitch well at AT&T Park, even though he gets lit up on the road.

His next start will come Sunday against Arizona. But then the Giants really need to think about giving him a pass the next time his turn comes in the rotation.

The Giants have a day off on June 3, which will allow the Giants not to skip Wellemeyer completely, but to push his start back a couple of days. If he stays on turn, Wellemeyer would pitch June 5 in Pittsburgh. It would also mean he would pitch in the finale of the series in Cincinnati.

But if the Giants keep their other four pitchers on an every-five-day schedule, Wellemeyer would make only one start in the road trip to Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

Of course, if he falters Sunday at home against Arizona, this whole plan may be moot.

Giants moving forward with Wellemeyer

In our last blog post, we discussed what the Giants should do with their No. 5 starter, Todd Wellemeyer, in the wake of an ugly outing against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Well, five days later, we have our answer. Wellemeyer will not be pulled from the rotation. And even worse, he will not be skipped in the rotation, even though the schedule provides a perfect opportunity to do so.

Why? The Giants have the reasons. They are:

  • The pitcher the Giants were considering as a callup in place of Wellemeyer was Eric Hacker. But Hacker is not on the 40-man roster. To call up Hacker, the Giants would need to clear a spot on their 40-man roster, and they were not ready to do that.
  • Tim Lincecum struggled in his last outing, and the Giants wanted to give their ace one more day of rest before his next start.
  • Wellemeyer has pitched far better at home than on the road, and his next two scheduled starts would come at AT&T Park.

These seem like reasonable reasons. But we offer some  reasons to the contrary.

  • The Giants’ offense is struggling, having gone scoreless in the past 20 innings and scoring only once in the past 30 innings. You don’t want Giants hitters thinking they’ll need to score 3 or 4 runs to produce a victory. They need to know they can relax after scoring one or two. Pitching Lincecum allows the hitters to relax, than throwing Wellemeyer.
  • The Giants are currently riding a season-high five-game losing streak. They need a stopper. That is Lincecum, not Wellemeyer.
  • The way the team is hitting, they need to throw out their best pitchers every day. That screams to pass Wellemeyer whenever possible.
  • If the Giants skipped Wellemeyer Tuesday, and again next week when off days provide another opportunity, it would allow Barry Zito to miss the next series against the Oakland A’s, a team that he has never had any success against since leaving the team via free agency.


Time is just about up for Wellemeyer

Entering Wednesday’s game in Arizona, the Giants pitching staff had allowed a league-low 24 home runs. Todd Wellemeyer had allowed six of those — or one-fourth.

After Wednesday’s loss to the Diamondbacks, the Giants have allowed 30 home runs, with Wellemeyer giving up nine — or almost one-third.

The other four starters in the rotation have allowed a combined 10 home runs.

Wellemeyer is now 2-4 with a 5.71 ERA. If you only count his seven starts, his ERA is 6.16. Left-handed hitters have on OBP of .413 against him this season.

In a completely unrelated story, Giants pitching prospect Madison Bumgarner struck eight over seven shutout innings for the Fresno Grizzlies against Oklahoma City on Monday. After a dismal start at Triple-A Fresno, Bumgarner is now 3-1 with 3.64 ERA. Over his last six starts, he is 3-0 with a 1.54 ERA.

Now, More Splash Hits will admit we were an advocate for Wellemeyer winning the No. 5 spot in the rotation, both in the offseason and during Wellemeyer’s fine spring outings.

But we are ready to change our tune. Actually, what we were advocating all along is that having Wellemeyer in the rotation at the start of the season would give prospects like Bumgarner more time to season at Triple-A, putting them in position for a midseason callup.

Well, we think we’ve reached that point.

But unlike other internet pundits, More Splash Hits is not calling for the immediate removal of Wellemeyer from the rotation. We believe a more prudent approach is in order.

The Giants have an off-day Monday before opening a homestand on Tuesday. So the Giants should skip Wellemeyer in the rotation and pitch him out of the bullpen. Wellemeyer has thrown three scoreless innings in relief this season.

That would put Wellemeyer on course to make his next start on May 29 against the Diamondbacks at home. But that’s OK, because Wellemeyer has better at home than on the road.

At AT&T Park, he is 2-1 with a 3.04 ERA. On the road, he’s 0-3 with a 9.35 ERA. Seven of his nine home runs allowed have come on the road.

With another day off slated for June 3, the Giants could skip Wellemeyer again. The next time they would need a No. 5 starter would be on June 8 at Cincinnati.

That would be a perfect time to call up Madison Bumgarner.

You listening Sabean and Bochy?

Sanchez begins rehab assignment

Second baseman Freddy Sanchez began his rehabilitation assignment at Class A San Jose by going 2 for 4 with two doubles and three RBI on Tuesday.

Sanchez, who has been battling shoulder and knee problems, grounded out and field out in his first two at-bats before hitting back-to-back doubles.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy was encouraged by Sanchez’s start, but it looks as if he’s not making any predictions on when Sanchez will be with the big club. The last time he did that, we all thought Sanchez would be in the starting lineup Tuesday against the Padres.

So if Bochy won’t predict, More Splash Hits will. We would expect Sanchez back with the Giants on May 21 when the Giants open a series at Oakland, or May 25 when they open a homestand against the Nationals.

DeRosa calls surgery ‘failure’

More Splash Hits has been shirking their responsibility with blog posts recently. But we’re ready to get back to work.

And there’s a lot to discuss. And we start with some disheartening news from Mark DeRosa.

DeRosa, the biggest of the Giants’ offseason acquisitons, has been struggling to hit above .200 this season, and we have a good idea as to why.

The Giants outfielder underwent wrist surgery last season and now calls that procedure a “total failure.” He will remain out of the lineup over the next few days as he and the Giants decide on the next course of action.

DeRosa says he’s been feeling numbness his his left hand for the last two or three weeks. That may coincide with being hit by two pitches from the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright on April 24. He hopes that with a few days of rest he’ll regain complete feeling in his wrist and hand.

There’s good reason to believe DeRosa’s current issues are related to those pitches on April 24.

On April 23, DeRosa was hitting .267. Since then, he has gone 6 for 48 (.125) with one double.

Although it doesn’t explain his complete lack of power. DeRosa has one home run and three doubles. His home run came on opening day in Houston.

DeRosa says he would not rule out another procedure. The question is how long would recovery take. If surgery means DeRosa’s season is over, then it might be better to wait until the end of the season and try to rehab the injury to keep him playing. If you’re talking a couple of months, then getting the issue taken care of now could be the better move.

Either way, it’s clear that right now, the Giants are better off with Andres Torres or John Bowker in the lineup than DeRosa. Hopefully some rest will allow DeRosa to at least become a productive hitter, even if doesn’t return to being the power hitting the Giants had hoped.