Going From Contending to Evaluating
Make no mistake about it, this season is over. Ha, sorry I have to break the bad news. The pitching has been suspect all year and the hitting has been atrocious for going into 3 months now. That’s not a “bad rut” as Bochy put it the other day. That’s your season.
I’m still watching all the games, rooting as hard as ever. I don’t think I’m taking the losses as hard because I’ve come to accept our fate this season. It took me a while, but I’ve accepted it. The other thing I’m going to do from here on out is evaluate the players we have. It’s a little difficult to do when the pressure of winning is off—when you’re not actually IN a divisional race, it’s an unknown how you would play if you were contending. But, a lot of these guys are still playing for jobs and contracts (some are even playing for pride) so there’s sufficient enough pressure put on these players on a daily basis to feel confident that their production can be judged one way or the other.
For all those reasons, I am 100% behind watching as many Brett Pill and Roger Kieschnick at bats as I can stomach. Not sure how many that’s gonna be. But this team needs more offense and better pitching. We’ve seen what the pitching looks like from AAA–it ain’t ready. And that’s a kind way to put it.
What we haven’t seen is how the hitting from AAA will do up here. And I’m not talking about the spot starts that Pill got over the last couple of years or the cup of coffee pine-riding that Peguero was given. I’m talking about sending them out there to play 4 out of 5 days for the rest of the year and see what happens. Unfortunately for Belt, he’s going to lose a lot of playing time since 1B is the only position I’d let Pill play.
Brandon Belt has had his shot, both this year and last year. He might turn out to be a productive player down the road and it could be for someone else. We’ll see. But he is not helping the team win this year. People point to his OPS but the fact is, his OPS isn’t that good. Compared to other first basemen in the league, he’s near the bottom. And his strikeout rate is awful. If you’re going to strike out 23.8% of the time you better be bringing the thunder with your non-strike out at bats. For instance, Chris Davis strikes out 29% of the time. But he’s also blasted 38 bombs. Belt’s strikeout rate leads the team by a mile and it’s time for him to sit. Nice job with all your walks, but again, if you’re walking and striking out all the time you had better fill up the stat line somewhere else with the other 2/3 of your at bats. And Belt has failed to do that this year.