San Francisco opened their 2010 season against the Astros and right-hander Roy Oswalt hisownself, plating three runs off of Oswalt in the third inning and going on to win 5-2. The day after that they faced Houston lefty Wandy Rodriguez and won that game 3-0 behind six shutout innings from Barry Zito.
Here were the lineups they used in the first two games of the season — one against the righty Oswalt and the other against the lefty Rodriguez:
|Game one vs RHP Roy Oswalt||Game two vs LHP Wandy Rodriguez|
|1||Rowand (CF/R)||1||Rowand (CF/R)|
|2||Renteria (SS/R)||2||Renteria (SS/R)|
|3||Sandoval (3B/S)||3||Sandoval (3B/S)|
|4||Huff (1B/L)||4||Huff (1B/L)|
|5||DeRosa (LF/R)||5||DeRosa (LF/R)|
|6||B Molina (C/R)||6||B Molina (C/R)|
|7||Bowker (RF/L)||7||Uribe (2B/R)|
|8||Uribe (2B/R)||8||Torres (RF/S)|
Things have changed since then for San Francisco. Here are the lineups they used in their most recent game, game four of the NLDS in which Atlanta started righty Derek Lowe, and their 10/2 game in which the Padres started lefty Clayton Richard:
|Game four NLDS vs RHP Lowe||10/2 vs SD LHP C Richard|
|1||A Torres (CF/S)||1||A Torres (CF/S)|
|2||F Sanchez (2B/R)||2||F Sanchez (2B/R)|
|3||A Huff (1B/L)||3||A Huff (1B/L)|
|4||B Posey (C/R)||4||B Posey (C/R)|
|5||P Burrell (LF/R)||5||P Burrell (LF/R)|
|6||J Uribe (SS/R)||6||J Guillen (RF/R)|
|7||M Fontenot (3B/L)||7||J Uribe (3B/R)|
|8||C Ross (RF/R)||8||E Renteria (SS/R)|
It’s barely the same team. Six of the eight position players that started against a righty on opening day weren’t in the starting lineup when the Giants faced a righty in game four of the NLDS.
So what happened? Taking it from the top:
Aaron Rowand. Rowand was the opening day center fielder for the Giants, but hit just 230/281/378 for the season and lost his gig to switch-hitter Andres Torres. Rowand wound up starting 85 games in center with Torres starting 84, but Torres also started 38 games in right and 13 in left for the season.
Rowand hit well in the early going, but was drilled in the head by Vicente Padilla on April 16 and hit the DL with a 304/333/457 line through ten games of the season. He returned in early May and played regularly, but didn’t hit, posting a 194/228/370 line over his next 114 plate appearances. Torres was playing regularly for the Giants by mid-April and getting starts at all three positions.
Rowand did fare a bit better in the playing time he did see, hitting 273/344/436 over 61 plate appearances in June. Torres, meanwhile, was establishing himself as an everyday guy. In his 257 plate appearances between the time Rowand was hit by Padilla and the end of June, Torres saw regular playing time in all three outfield positions and put up a 282/375/459 line. Rowand tailed off offensively after June as Torres continued to roll. Rowand hit 213/278/328 over just 134 plate appearances and started just 26 of the last 85 games for San Francisco.
If it was ineffective play that lost Rowand time this year, for Renteria it was a ton of injuries. Renteria was the guy at short on opening day, but wound up starting just 62 games for the year. Juan Uribe led San Francisco in starts at short with 96.
Things went well for the 35-year-old Renteria in the early going. He missed a couple of games at the end of April with a problem with his left shoulder, but was hitting 320/366/400 in 83 plate appearances for the year after going 2-for-5 with two RBI against the Phils on April 28. He left the game on April 30 against the Rockies with tightness in his right groin. He missed several games and then started again on May 6, but aggravated the groin injury running to first in the third inning and was pulled from the game.
The Giants put him on the DL and activated him on May 22. On May 25 he injured his right hamstring and had to leave the game. He went on the DL again and returned in mid-June, but his bat went quiet after that. Renteria started the day on June 19 with a 326/372/395 line for the season, but hit just 244/321/341 over 137 plate appearances before he strained his left bicep on August 10.
He returned to start a game on September 4 and started seven games at short for the Giants between September 4 and September 17, hitting .290 without a walk but slugging .484. An elbow problem kept him out of the game on September 19 and he made just one more appearance in the regular season, starting on October 3 and going 0-for-3 with a strikeout.
Pablo Sandoval was the regular third baseman for the Giants, starting 136 games there for San Francisco. He started games one and two of the NLDS against the Braves with Mike Fontenot taking over for games three and four.
Sandoval has splits from beyond thunderdome for the season. He hit 330/382/520 at home and 208/266/299 away from home. That means he was a superstar when he was in San Francisco and unusable when he wasn’t.
He also didn’t hit left-handed pitching at all. He put up a 227/284/305 line against lefties and a 282/336/443 line against righties.
I’m not quite sure what part of the mind it is that requires me to immediate look up what he hit against lefties on the road when presented with that information, but I’m pretty sure it’s not the same part that’s tasked with charitable giving. Sandoval hit 147/221/206 against lefties on the road this year.
He started the season on fire and had a 368/433/575 line at the end of April. Since the end of April he has hit 250/303/378 and grounded into 20 double-plays. That’s a problem if you’re going to be a weak-fielding third baseman.
By September, the Giants were playing critical games down the stretch and Sandoval was often out of the lineup with Fontenot or Uribe taking over for him at third. He did have some hip issues early in the month, but they were just one factor that led to him being on the bench to start enormous games as San Francisco made their playoff push. He went 1-for-6 with a walk in an an error in the NLDS.
Mark DeRosa was in left field for the Giants when the season started. He didn’t stay for long. He played all of April and into early May and was simply terrible, hitting .194 with one home run and a .258 slugging percentage over 104 plate appearances.
He had undergone surgery on his left wrist in the off-season and was saying he felt like there was something wrong by early May. He was examined by a specialist and put on the DL. He underwent season-ending surgery at the end of June.
Pat Burrell was released by the Rays in May and picked up by the Giants. With Huff playing left field at the time and Buster Posey at first, it didn’t look like there would be much for Burrell to do but DH in interleague games. Burrell made 19 starts for the Giants in June, hitting 368/405/615 with five home runs, and San Francisco found a place for him in left field.
Bengie Molina started the year as the San Francisco catcher, but was traded to the Rangers for pitchers Chris Ray and Michael Main on July 1 after hitting 257/312/332 in 221 plate appearances for the Giants. Buster Posey was called up on May 29 and barely caught at all before July, mostly playing first base. He’s handled the catching duties since and has taken off offensively as well. Posey was hitting 289/314/381 at the end of the day on June 30, but posted a 311/370/544 line from the start of July to the end of the regular season.
John Bowker had a strong spring for the Giants and started in right field on opening day, but had hit just 207/256/354 in 90 plate appearances before the Giants sent him down to Triple-A in early June. He was traded to the Pirates at the end of July. Cody Ross was claimed off of waivers from the Marlins at the end of August and started all four games in right field for San Francisco in the NLDS — he hit 288/354/466 in 82 plate appearances for the Giants this season. Ross was the hero for the Giants in game four, going 2-for-3 with a solo home run and a pair of RBI. Jose Guillen, who was acquired in mid-August and hit 266/317/375 for the Giants in 139 plate appearances, was off the roster for the NLDS with a stiff neck. Lefty Nate Schierholtz seems like another option for the Giants in right in the series, but San Francisco seemed pretty comfortable with Ross in there against righties against the Braves and game four surely didn’t hurt his chances for playing time.
Charlie Manuel isn’t ready to say who is going to start game one of the NLCS for the Phillies yet. I am: Roy Halladay is going to start game one of the NLCS for the Phillies. Fingers crossed that Nelson Figueroa doesn’t feel slighted. Not being with the organization may help cushion the blow.
The wives of Chad Durbin and JC Romero have ties to Louisiana and Alabama and have organized a charity auction to raise funds and awareness for the National Audubon Society in the aftermath of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Autographed bats are being auctioned by MAB Celebrity Services and sold on eBay under the seller name NationalAudubonSociety.