April 2011

Darren Ford should change his name to Darin’ Ford

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The old baseball adage says “speed never goes on a slump.” That’s good, because as Giants fans know all too well free-swinging hitters often go on a slump.

The Giants snapped a four-game losing streak Tuesday by beating the Pittsburgh Pirates 3-2 in 10 innings despite failing to deliver a run-scoring hit.

The Giants scored their three runs on two sacrifice flies and fielder’s choice — although a baserunner’s choice might be a better description.

And that baserunner was Darren Ford.

Ford entered Sunday’s game in the top of the eighth inning when manager Bruce Bochy put him in as a pinch-runner for Aaron Rowand, after Rowand opened the eighth with a single to left.

Ford was looking to steal a base. And he was breaking to second when Freddy Sanchez hit a slow grounder to shortstop. However, with Pirates shortstop Ronny Cedeno covering second base, the ball was hit into the space vacated by Cedeno and into the outifeld, allowing Ford to race to third base. One out later, Ford scored the tying run on a sacrifice fly by Buster Posey.

In the bottom of the eighth, Ford potentially saved a run when he ran down a ball hit into the right-center field gap by Matt Diaz. Off  the crack of the bat, the hit looked like a sure double until Ford caught it … and made it look routine.

In the top of the 10th, with Nate Schierholtz on second and no outs, Ford was asked to bunt Schierholtz to third. However, there were two problems with Ford’s bunt. First, it was bunted too firmly; secondly, it was bunted to first baseman Lyle Overbay. When bunting a runner over to third, the bunter should make the third baseman field the ball. But Ford bunted to Overbay, who threw Schierholtz out at third.

Now, Ford was one first base with one out and looking to redeem himself with a stolen base. Pirates pitcher Joel Hanrahan was aware of that, but his pickoff throw was wide of the mark. It sailed up the right field line, and Ford was able to advance all the way to third base.

That forced the Pirates to bring the infield in. Sanchez then rolled a grounder to second baseman Neil Walker, who froze Ford at third before throwing softly to first. Seeing that, Ford seized on the opportunity and raced home. A startled Overbay threw home, but his throw was late (and off the mark), and Ford scored the go-ahead run.

Bochy called the play “one of the most impressive displays of speed I’ve ever seen on a baseball field.”

We don’t know if Bochy’s comment was simply hyberbole, or it’s been simply too long since the manager has seen any displays of speed from his team.

The Giants stole 55 bases last season, tied for 15th (i.e. last) in the National League. Andres Torres stole 26 of those 55 bases.

TRIVIA TIME: Which Giant ranked second on  the team in stolen bases last season?

This season, the Giants are 9 of 15 in stolen base attempts and rank 14th in the NL.

With the Giants severe lack of speed, Ford’s display Tuesday will leave many Giants fans calling for the team to find a way to keep Ford on the team for the rest of the season.

To that MoreSplashHits says: Slow Down!

Ford’s speed is definitely a weapon. But remember, he still has not collected his first big-league hit. He did have a single plate appearance during his September call-up last year. He is 0 for 5 with one walk this season.

Speed is great, but it doesn’t do you much good if you can’t get on base. The Giants need Ford to develop as a hitter. He was off to solid start at Triple-A Fresno this season before he got called up to the bigs.

This stint with the Giants could stunt Ford’s development at the plate. With Torres “a longshot” to rejoin the team the during this road trip, Ford will remain with the club at least until May 6.

Until then, we hope to see more displays of speed from Ford. Because it was surely a sight for sore eyes of Giants fans.

TRIVIA ANSWER: Aubrey Huff was 7 for 7 in stolen base attempts in 2010.

A “Dynamite” reason for Giants fans to smile

The Giants are mired in a four-game losing streak. They were just swept at home by the Atlanta Braves. And they are about to start a nine-game road trip.

There has been not a lot for Giants fans to smile about over the past few days.

So we offer you this video of internet-sensation Keenan Cahill and Giants stars Brian Wilson and Cody Ross lip-syncing to Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite.” Try watching this and not smile.

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Click here for YouTube video.

Cahill is a 16-year-old from the Chicago suburb of Elmhurst who suffers from Maroteaux-Lamy Syndrome — a rare and complex condition that includes stunted growth. According to Yahoo Sports, drugs to treat this condition run annually in the six figures.

Three years ago, Cahill began posting videos of him lip-syncing to his favorite videos, and those video went viral. His video have received more than 230 million page views.

He’s done late-night TV interviews, recorded a commercial with Jennifer Aniston, received a birthday message from Katie Perry and done a video with 50 Cent, to name a few.

Cahill recorded the “Dynamite” video with Wilson and Ross — and mascot Lou Seal — during spring training in Arizona. According to Fox Sports, the video has received more than 1 million views in its first week.

The video was made to promote a “Dynamite” fundraiser hosted by the Giants on May 25 during their home game with the Florida Marlins. Fans at the game will get a “Ross is Boss” T-shirt and watch the full video production of the Giants/Cahill video. Proceeds will benefit causes “both dear to Cody and Keenan.”

Ironically (or perhaps not), the Marlins are the team that placed Ross on waivers last August when he was claimed by the Giants. Ross went to be a postseason hero and NLCS MVP as he helped the Giants claim their first World Series title in 56 years.

So, we knew the Giants are champions. But now we also know they’re pretty cool guys, as well.

Weekly Farm Report 4/23

Since last week’s report, we’ve see OF Darren Ford and RP Ryan Vogelsong get called up, with 1B Brandon Belt being sent down. Belt has yet to appear in a game since his demotion to Fresno.

A look at some players of note down in the San Francisco Giants’ farm system

1B Brett Pill, Fresno (AAA): Even after cooling off a bit, Pill continues to have a solid season with the Grizzlies with 2 HR, 15 RBI and .369 AVG. His numbers are 0/6/.250 for the past 10 games.

2B Emmanuel Burris, Fresno (AAA): Burriss isn’t running like was in the first week of the season. But he’s hitting. Burriss stole 10 bases in the first five games of the season. Now, 15 games into the season, he has 15 steals in 18 attempts. But he is hitting .410 over the past 10 games with a .467 OBP. He’s hitting .339 with a .424 OBP for the season with 15 runs in 15 games.

LF Thomas Neal, Fresno (AAA): Neal was sidelined for more than a week with a bruised foot. But he’s back and hitting (8 for 21) since returning to lineup. He went 3 for 4 with 3 runs scored Friday, pushing him to 10 for 30 for the season.

3B Connor Gillaspie, Fresno (AAA): After opening the season hot, Gillaspie has cooled off, currently on a 1-for-15 slump. He’s hitting .254 for the season with 2 HR and 13 RBI. At least his walk-to-strikeout has improved — it’s 4/3 during the slump.

P Steve Edlefsen, Fresno (AAA): Edlefsen has been solid in relief, giving up one run in 6 IP with a 5-1 K-to-BB rate. His ERA is a 1.42.

2B Charlie Culberson, Richmond (AA): Culberson remains the best hitter on a Richmond team that has struggled to hit. Culberson is the only Flying Squirrel with 30 or more ABs who is hitting over .260. Culberson is hitting .290, but with an OBP of only .297. And he has 15 strikeouts in 15 games. His K-rate has improved of late, only 2 in his last 18 PAs. And he’s heating up — 6 for 13 in past three games.

OF Gary Brown, San Jose (A): The 2010 first-round pick is hitting .343 with a .429 OBP and 14 runs through 16 games. He also is 15 for 20 on stolen base attempts. Also, 23 of his 25 hits are singles.

3B Chris Dominguez, San Jose (A): Dominguez has 4 HR, 14 RBI and a .313 AVG.

1B Luke Anders, San Jose (A): Anders had 3 HR, 10 RBI and a .319 AVG. He also has 10 walks in 60 PAs for a .439 OPB and his OPS is 1.013.

P Zach Wheeler, San Jose (A): After an impressive first start, Wheeler struggled in his most recent start, giving up 5 ER on 7 hits in 5 IP. He’s 2-0 with a 4.02 ERA. But his WHIP is 0.96 and he has 18 Ks and 4 BB in 15.2 IP.

Happy Birthday, Brandon Belt … sort of

So what did the San Francisco Giants give Brandon Belt for his 23rd birthday on Wednesday?

An all-expense-paid trip to Fresno. Go crazy, Brandon!

“Yeah, a pretty good birthday present,” Belt told reporters after learning of his demotion to Triple-A Fresno.

OK, not the greatest news to learn on your birthday, but it shouldn’t have come as a surprise to the first baseman.

First of all, he was hitting .192 with 13 strikeouts in 60 plate appearances. Projected over a full season, that would be almost 100 whiffs. Not exactly what the Giants had in mind.

Big-league pitchers quickly found the hole in Belt’s spring and exploited it. Meanwhile, Belt struggled to close that hole, developing a hitch in his swing.

Also, Bruce Bochy had said many times that he wanted to add offense to the lineup with Cody Ross on the DL. And that played a role in Belt opening the season in the majors.

The implication is that if Ross were healthy, Belt may have opened in Fresno. So now that Ross is back, it comes as no surprise that Belt is headed down.

Some bloggers believe the Giants are doing Belt wrong by sending him down, contending that they should have either committed to him from the get-go or sent him to Fresno to start the year.

MoreSplashHits does not believe a demotion after three weeks in the majors will have any ill effect on Belt’s development. We believe it gives Belt a clearer picture on what he needs to do to be major-league ready.

This is the best move for the Giants. Belt gets to work on his swing in the minors, rather than scuffling in the majors at the expense of potential wins for the Giants.

Some feel the Giants didn’t do right by Belt. But they did right by the Giants. And that’s just fine with MoreSplashHits.

Oh yeah, and Brandon, if it makes you feel any better, MoreSplashHits spend his 22nd birthday deathly ill with food poisoning. The next day, I sat down to watch Game 3 for the 1989 World Series — which wasn’t played because of an earthquake.

So it could be worse.

A perfect way to ring in a second score of wedlock

OK, I’m ready to toss my hat into the ring … for the ring.

MoreSplashHits is reluctant to share this information with all of you as it could lessen the chances that I might win.
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Or maybe after you hear my story, you’ll be inspired to buy some raffle tickets for me (Thank you, in advance).

The San Francisco Giants are holding a raffle this summer with the winner getting an authentic World Series ring exactly the ones the players received in the opening weekend at AT&T Park earlier this month. The winner’s ring will even include the winner’s name on it.

How cool is that?

But wait! There’s more.

The winner’s will be presented his (or her — but with wishful thinking, really just HIS) ring during a pre-game ceremony at AT&T Park on Aug. 27 prior to the Giants-Astros game. And that, of course, would include two tickets for “premium” seats to the game.

But wait! There’s more!

The winner also will receive two nights accommodations at a downtown San Francisco hotel, plus coach airfare to San Francisco (What?!? The Trophy flies first class, but this lucky fan flies coach? OK, whatever), plus $250 in vouchers for selected San Francisco restaurants.

But wait! There’s more!

The Giants also will play the winner’s Federal taxes for winning the World Series ring, almost $5,000.

Could it get any better?

Well, maybe if they threw in a Panda hat.

Now, it just so happens that MoreSplashHits already has the weekend of Aug. 27 off from work, as he’ll be celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary that weekend.

And what better way to celebrate 20 years of wedded bliss than an weekend in The City by the Bay? (But, sorry honey, you don’t get the ring. I already got you one of those.)

The raffle tickets cost $2 each, and there’s a five-ticket minimum. Proceeds will benefit the Giants Community Fund, which works to enrich the lives of underserved youth through the Junior Giants program and other initiatives.

Sounds like a win-win-win situation.

So, what do you say? Purchase your raffle tickets for me right here.

Weekly Giants Farm Report

The minor league season if off  and running for the affiliates of the San Francisco Giants.

Literally!

Three Giants prospects in the minors have more stolen bases this season than the entire Giants roster.

Leading the way is infielder Emmanuel Burriss, who has stolen 13 bases in his first nine games with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies. He’s only be caught once. It’s a good sign for a player who has spent chunks of the past two seasons sidelined by a broken foot.

Burriss went 2 for 3 with two walks in Friday’s 11-7 win for Fresno at Las Vegas, improving the Grizzlies to 6-3 on the short season.

Burriss is hitting .323 with a .447 on-base percentage for Fresno. He’s scored a team-high 11 runs. Burriss is playing second base for Fresno, but can also manage shortstop.

Outfielder Darren Ford, who got called up to the big club Friday to replace the injured Andres Torres, had seven stolen bases in seven attempt in seven games before getting his call. He was hitting .323, a very good sign for a player who struggled with his average at Double-A last season.

And outfielder Gary Brown, a 2010 first-round pick by the Giants, has 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts in nine games with the Class A San Jose Giants. Brown is hitting .308 with a .413 OBP.

The San Francisco Giants have six stolen bases through 13 games this season, and that include two cheapy stolen bags Friday night. With one out in the fifth inning, Aubrey Huff was on second and Buster Posey was on first. Both runners were running on a 3-2 pitch to Pablo Sandoval, who struck out swinging. Huff would have been easily thrown out at third, but Arizona catcher Miguel Montero’s throw sailed into left field. Huff and Posey were both credited with a stolen base, with both advancing an extra bass on the throwing error.

So the speed in the farm system is clearly a good sign of things to come.

Other players of note

TRIPLE-A FRESNO: Not that the Giants need another hot-hitting first baseman, but Brett Pill is leading the Grizzlies in hitting. He has 2 home runs, 9 RBI and a .486 average through nine games. 3B Conor Gillaspie has 1 HR, 11 RBI and is batting .316. P Ryan Vogelsong is 2-0 with 1.59 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 11.1 innings. P Marc Kroon has allowed no earned runs in 4 innings of relief.

DOUBLE-A RICHMOND: 2B Charlie Culberson, who is projected as the heir-apparent to Freddy Sanchez, leads Richmond in hitting through nine games. He is hitting .270, but has 10 strikeouts in 37 at-bats. That’s something that will need to improve. P Justin Fitzgerald is 2-0 with an 0.90 ERA in two starts.

CLASS A SAN JOSE: P Zach Wheeler, a 2009 first-round selection, threw five hitless innings in his first start for the San Jose Giants. Wheeler walked three and struck out three in the outing.

Injury notes

SS Brandon Crawford is expected to miss most or all of April after suffering a broken finger. Crawford was expected to start the season at Triple-A Fresno.

OF Thomas Neal has missed the past week after suffering a bruised foot after being hit by a pitch in Fresno’s second game of the season.

SS Ehire Adrianza is expected to miss a couple of months after suffering torn ligament in his hand during Spring Training.

OF Francisco Peguero had knee surgery and is expected out until late May or early June.


Aches and pains, losses and gains

It’s the mantra: Win series at home, split on the road.

The Giants failed to earn the latter half of that mantra in their season-opening road trip. But after rallying for consecutive wins over the Dodgers Tuesday and Wednesday, the Giants finished a 4-2 home stand to even their season record to 6-6.

The home stand was like a mirrored opposite to the road trip.

In the six-game road trip, the Giants won two games by an average of 7 runs and lost four games by an average of 1.5 runs.

In the six-game homestand, the Giants won four games by an average of 1 run (yeah, four one-run wins) and lost two games by an average of 5 runs.

Now the Giants head back onto the road with another six-game trip, this time to Arizona and Colorado.

And hopefully, they’ll get healthy soon.

Mike Fontenot was a late insert into Wednesday when Freddy Sanchez was given a day off to rest a sore shoulder and Mark DeRosa had his wrist flare up in batting practice.

Neither injury was considered serious.

But Fontenot responded with a run-scoring double and a go-ahead home run.

Andres Torres took batting practice prior to Wednesday’s game and was to visit the doctor afterward. The Giants said they should have an idea of whether Torres can return to the lineup or head to the DL on Friday. It’s possible Torres could be back in the lineup Saturday in Arizona.

Cody Ross will travel with the Giants to Arizona and play some extended spring training games in Scottsdale over the weekend. Bruce Bochy said the outfielder could be activated by the time the Giants return home to play the Braves on April 22.

We’ve also seen video of Brandon Belt taking fly balls in the outfield. We could see Belt playing right field and Aubrey Huff returning to first base by this week.

We’re not sure how we feel about this. Belt hasn’t played the outfield since high school, but that’s not our concern. He’s an athletic kid, he’s got a great arm (he’s a former pitcher) and he can run. He’ll certainly cover more ground in the outfield than Huff, and we doubt the can look as lost on balls hit in front or over his head as Huff has.

But here’s the question: Will the runs Belt will save in the outfield offset the runs he has saved at first base.

Every time we’ve seen Huff stumble around in the outfield, we’re reminded of a dozen times that Belt has dug out low throws in the dirt from Tejada or Sandoval like they were nothing.

Would Huff have as much ease on those plays as Huff?

Even when responding to criticism, John Steigerwald still clueless about Bryan Stow piece

When you’re a writer for a small or midsized daily newspaper in a suburban community, there are two basic ways that your work can gain exposure outside of your local reading area.

One way is to write a well-researched, meticulously composed and thought-provoking piece on an unique or compelling subject.

The other way is to write something that makes you sound like a complete imbecile.

The problem with John Steigerwald, a columnist for Observer-Reporter of Washington and Greene counties in Pennsylvania, is that he STILL doesn’t understand what kind of column he wrote last weekend.

His column “Know when you’ve outgrown the uniform” has gone viral on the internet, with the overwhelming number of respondents railing against him for “blaming” Giants fan Bryan Stow for the beating he received outside of Dodger Stadium on Opening Day.

By Wednesday morning, Steigerwald’s column had received 162,000 page views and was still climbing.

Now, I spent part of the morning listening to Steigerwald defend his column, and he was defiant.

Before making conclusions of your own, read the piece here. Then read his blog www.justwatchthegame.com for his explanation. And then decide for yourself.

On his blog, Steigerwald says “I don’t apologize for the column, but I do apologize to the Stow family if this nonsense has reached them and in any way added to their pain. I don’t, for one second, blame (Bryan) Stow for the beating he took. I do blame the ever increasing out of control, out of perspective behavior by fans, too many of whom are no longer satisfied with going to their stadiums and cheering for their teams. And I sure as hell don’t think — as some hysterical posters have claimed — that (Bryan) ‘had it coming.’ “

Now after listening to Steigerwald defend his column Wednesday, I’ve come to the conclusion that he is not an unreasonable person, and that he had some good points to make.

He just failed miserably in making them.

In his defense, this was the point Steigerwald was trying to make.

Apparently, Steigerwald, who is hailed as the “King of Old School” on his radio program, has long railed against the growing phenomenon of fans wearing the jerseys or colors of their favorite team to sporting events. Steigerwald longs for the days when fans just wore regular clothes to sporting events. He said “I know I’m in the minority on this point. All you have to do is look in the stands to see that.”

But he really doesn’t understand the practice of fans of the visiting team wearing their uniforms into enemy stadiums. In stands where drunken fans are starting to resemble soccer “hooligans,” that practice puts fans in harm’s way, he says.

“I understand fans want to show support for their team,” he said. “But I feel that the need for my own safety overrides my need to show support for my team.”

A good point. A valid point. And it’s a point that was not specifically made in his column. Steigerwald might think it’s in there, but it’s not.

Instead, Steigerwald decided to belittle fans, like Stow, who follow this practice. And in turn, he belittled Stow, a man who is in a coma fighting for life after receiving a beating he did not deserve.

Did he express compassion in his column for Stow and his family? No. Did he say Stow did not deserve to be beaten for wearing a Giants jersey to Dodger Stadium? No. He really didn’t even go out of his way to condemn the act of the assailants

Why? Steigerwald said there was no point in belaboring the obvious.

“I’m not a guy who is into making gratuitous attempts to show what kind of compassionate guy I am,” Steigerwald said. “Who doesn’t feel that what this guy has gone through is terrible? What am I, Adolf Hitler? Maybe I’m giving the reader too much credit, but I just didn’t feel like it needed to be said.”

John, shame on you. The “giving the reader too much credit” remark is the most overused and empty-headed defense a columnist can give.

There were 271 comments on your column online before the comment feed was shut off. I looked at all 271. Have you? They were ALL — not most — ALL were vociferously negative toward your column.

Steigerwald used the analogy that people to call the electric company to tell them what a good job it is doing. They only call when they have an issue.

Well, John, if that’s true, you just short-circuited the power grid to one-third of the country.

When you write an opinion in which you look down your nose at fans, like Bryan Stow, who wear visiting jerseys to opposing ballparks and question the wisdom of someone in a coma, it helps to show you’re not a heartless *******.

If you don’t, people will assume you’re a heartless ******* when you write “Maybe someone can ask Stow, if he ever comes out of his coma, why he thought it was a good idea to wear Giants’ gear to a Dodgers’ home opener …”

Or when you write “Are the 42-year-olds who find it necessary to wear their replica jerseys to a road game those kids who are now fathers who haven’t grown up?”

You said you weren’t trying to be flippant. But it sure read like it. Why? It was a poorly constructed sentence. You said that latter sentence was referring to fans in general and not Stow specifically. Of course, Stow happens to be a 42-year-old father. Again, if that was your intent, it was a terrifically poorly constructed sentence.

Those were your starting points. Every other criticism you tossed out after that appears if it were piling on a guy in a hospital fighting for his life.

Heck! Even your lead was “Maybe it’s time for sports fans to grow up.”

You said some of your later criticisms were actually directed at drunken fans who feel the need to start fights against anyone where the opposing colors in the stands. But at no point do you firmly establish that in your column, so it all reads as if you’re unleashing your venom on Bryan Stow.

And that’s why the response has been so rabid. And the fact that you don’t see that is astounding.

How is this possible, you may ask. The answer is simple: arrogance.

Just read Steigerwald’s response to criticisms that “he should be fired” for his column or “he’s a hack” who has no business writing for a daily newspaper.

Steigerwald says he ignores such comments because “I haven’t had a successful career. I’ve had a spectacularly successful career in the field that I’ve chosen.” And whenever he’s received comments like these over the years, he’s ignored them “because my paychecks kept getting bigger.”

Wow. John, might we suggest the picture of your head in your column sig in not quite big enough.

Every writer, no matter how seasoned or how accomplished, is not above stumbling from time to time. Every writer worth his salt knows that.

This was a terrible column from start to finish, and it could have been a good one.

And the fact that dozens of sports talk radio shows want to talk to you today about it, the fact that your name is being condemned all over the internet, that your column will soon eclipse 200,000 page views, or that you had to go on your blog today and defend and explain point-by-point that you were trying to make in your column hasn’t convinced you that perhaps you didn’t quite convey the point you were trying to make … well, that’s simply mind-boggling.

Trying to dispell some myths about Aaron Rowand

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The Associated Press

MoreSplashHits decided it was about time a Giants blogger gave Aaron Rowand a hug. He’s earned one.

Rowand has been the target of all sorts of rants from many folks who call themselves part of the Giants faithful. He’s even been booed by fans at AT&T Park … in a PRESEASON GAME for crying out loud!!

MoreSplashHits decided we should dispell some of the myth that have been passed around as facts by some Rowand-haters.

MYTH: Rowand has been terrible from the day he arrived in San Francisco.

TRUTH: Rowand was not terrible in his first two season with the Giants. He was an average player, maybe slightly below average. In 2008 and 2009, Rowand averaged 14 HRs, 67 RBI, .266 AVG. He had an average offensive winning percentage (the winning percentage a team of nine Aaron Rowands might expect to have with average pitching and defense) of .471 in those two years. That may not sound like much. But consider that the Giants team OWP in 2010 was .486.

But what drove Giants fans nuts is that’s not the production they expected to get when the Giants signed Rowand for $12 million a year. It also didn’t match his OWP of .638 he had with the Phillies in 2007 (but it was better than the OWPs of .459 and .437 he posted in 2005 and 2006).

And, of course, his OWP of .336 in 2010 was completely awful. However, if Rowand can return to his 2008 and 2009 production, he could be a servicable No. 8 hitter in the lineup or fourth outfielder.

MYTH: Rowand won’t play anywhere but center field

TRUTH: Rowand will play anywhere Bruce Bochy tells him to play.

This myth grew out of story during spring training when Rowand wasn’t happy talking about playing other outfield positions than center. Big surprise! He’s played CF his entire career. Here’s another surprise! Ready? He’s not happy about being a bench player. But that’s exactly what he’s become. Still, Rowand has been a professional and stayed ready to contribute when counted on. And what we have seen so far this season, Rowand in left field, Rowand in right field.

MYTH: Nate Schierholtz is clearly a better player than Aaron Rowand.

TRUTH: They’re really about the same player. In fact, Rowand may be a bit better.

Over the past three seasons, Rowand has had a wins over replacement player of 0.9, 1.0 and -0.2.

Schierholtz over the the last three seasons were 0.2, 0.0, -0.4.

In other words, Schierholtz plays like a replacement player.

Schierholtz’s offensive win percentage was .444 in 2009 and .400 in 2010.

In short, Schiertholtz has been given a chance to show what he can do as a big leaguer. And what we’ve learned it that he’s a really good fielder, but he has little power as a hitter and doesn’t hit for a high enough average to offset his lack of power.

MYTH: Rowand’s salary shouldn’t be factor when trying to decide the best 25 players for the roster.

TRUTH: What world do people who think this live in? Do they have mortgages? Jobs? Would these people, after buying a car that turned out to be a lemon and drained  their wallets with repair, simply decide to send that car to the junkyard even though it still runs and they still had two years of payments to make on it? The Giants are going to keep Rowand because of salary, because that’s the smart thing to do.

MYTH: The Giants should just cut their losses and release Rowand, similar to what the Cubs did with Carlos Silva or the Mets did with Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo.

TRUTH: Silva had one year left on his contract for $11.5 million. Perez had one year left at $10 million. Castillo had one year left at $6 million. Rowand has two years left at $24 million. Do the math. It’s not the same. The best move for the Giants is to keep Rowand, hopes he turns it around and become productive enough to attract trade partners after this season, even if that means trading bad contract for bad contract. That’s what the Mets and Cubs did. And when it didn’t work out, they cut the players lose with a year to go on their contracts. The Giants may follow a similar path next season, but not this season.

THE BOTTOM LINE: MoreSplashHits is rooting for Aaron Rowand, just as every Giants fan should be doing. The better Rowand plays, the better it is for the Giants.

MoreSplashHits was actually hoping that the Cardinals would walk Freddy Sanchez in the 12th inning on Friday in hopes it would provide Rowand a chance to be the hero and quiet all those Rowand-haters.

Rowand’s had a nice approach at the plate this season. He isn’t trying to do too much, hitting to all fields. He’s 6 for 10 with five singles and a home runs (although Friday’s 12th-inning single would have been a three-run double if it didn’t end the game).

All three of his at-bats Friday were solid at-bats. He had a two-out single to center in the ninth that started the Giants game-tying rally. He had a sharply hit grounder to third that would have won the game in the 11th if not for a nice play by Allen Craig, an outfielder playing third base in Tony LaRussa’s five-infielder alignment. And then there was his game-winner.

Hey Bochy! Let’s give Aaron Rowand a start Saturday night against the Cardinals!

Think about it. It’s makes sense.

The Cardinals are starting a tough lefty in Jaime Garcia, who shut out the Giants on three hits last August.

So start the right-handed Rowand in right field, move Aubrey Huff to first base and give left-handed hitting Brandon Belt a day off to regroup and recharge. Plus, Huff can use a breather at first base with a day game on Sunday.

So what do you say, Boch? Give Rowand a start. He’s earned it.

MoreSplashHits moves up to No. 44

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The March rankings are in and MoreSplashHits moved up six spots to No. 44 on the Fan blogs with the most March page views on MLB blogs.

And if you think about it, there’s an eerie link.

Stay with me now.

MoreSplashHits is named in honor of the Splash Hits, home runs belted by a Giants player into McCovey Cove outside of AT&T Park.

No44.jpgMcCovey Cove is named for San Francisco Giants Hall of Fame Willie McCovey.

Willie McCovey is the all-time favorite Giant of the author of MoreSplashHits.

Willie McCovey wore No. 44.

Ooooooooooohh. It’s like the stars were aligned or something, right?

OK, maybe that’s a bit of stretch.

Stretch! Get It! Ha!

All kidding aside, MoreSplashHits would like to thank all those followers who helped solidify MoreSplashHits in MLB Blogs Fan Top 50.

MoreSplashHits made its Top 50 debut last month at No. 50 (to honor legendary Giants great … uhhhhhhh … Scott Garrelts???).

Now at No. 44, it brings back a Willie McCovey memory.

McCovey was the one Giants player I remember my dad pointing out to me at the first Giants game I ever attended at Candlestick Park in 1973.

And then the Giants traded Big Mac to San Diego at the season’s end. The following summer, my family moved from Sacramento to the LA suburb of Simi Valley — Dodger Country.

But in 1977, McCovey was back with the Giants, and he was re-installed as my favorite Giant.

That season the Dodgers decided to honor the 39-year-old McCovey with “Willie McCovey Night” at Dodger Stadium on August 16.

Some remember August 16, 1977 as the day Elvis Presley died. I remember it as the day it rained all day in Southern California. Willie McCovey Night was rained out.

It never rains in LA in August.

The game was replayed the next day, but “Willie McCovey Night” was rescheduled for a night in September. My dad got issued replacement tickets for the rained out game for September 26, the rescheduled “Willie McCovey Night.”

That night, Willie Mac hit one out and the Giants won 9-1. It was the first time I had ever attended a Giants-Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium that the Giants actually won.

And all those in attendance that night could take their ticket stub to a LA-area McDonald’s for a free Big Mac. So the next day, that’s what I did.

So, on Friday, to commemorate the Giants’ home opener and MoreSplashHits coming it at No. 44 on the MLB Blogs Fans Top 50 for March, I think I’ll go to McDonald’s and get a Big Mac.

You think if I showed them the link to the MLB Fan Blogs rankings, they’ll give me my Big Mac for free?

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