Technically this isn’t a worst-case scenario, because that could include something as horrific as a plane crash.
What follows is probably better described as “What would happen if the Giants played to their potential while getting absolutely no breaks at all.”
I was feeling pretty optimistic about the Giants yesterday, but today’s different. I’m tired, I’m off to work and it’s foggy and damp out. Even the back car of the BART train was full when I hopped on this morning, on a Friday no less!
Anyway, here’s what would happen if the Giants had nobody exceed their potential and every preseason question mark receives a negative answer. I won’t make up any potential injuries, but Giants fans may still want to cover their eyes:
Barry Zito gives up a grand slam in the first inning on opening day, leading to an 0-4 April. Gary Radnich temporarily damages his voice yelling about Zito on KNBR, leading to a two-week absence while he’s replaced by Mychael Urban and Ted Robinson. Zito never recovers, finishing 9-15 with an ERA just over 5.00.
Matt Cain loses 8 of his first 12 games, causing him to take up holistic medicine and consort with psychics to rid him of the negative aura that surrounds his starts. Noah Lowry is so bothered by constant trade rumors that he goes completely Rick Ankiel, unable to hit the strike zone for three consecutive outings before he is demoted to Triple-A Fresno and converted to the outfield.
Tim Lincecum is turned into a closer (more on that later), where he does an OK job, but walks in go-ahead runs two times in September, making the Giants wonder if he has the mental makeup to finish games. Kevin Correia and Jonathan Sanchez both falter in early starts, sending both to the bullpen before the Giants pick up Jose Lima and Kevin Appier to fill out the fourth and fifth starter slots.
While brash and cocky, Brian Wilson shows no control over a second pitch, leading to him becoming the new closer of…the Fresno Grizzlies. With Lincecum as closer the pen is at least somewhat stable, but not outstanding.
It’s also crowded. With the additions of Sanchez and Correia, the Giants go with a 13-man staff due to their starting pitching issues. Steve Kline, Jack Taschner, Vinnie Chulk, Scott Williamson and Scott Munter all take turns throwing not that hard with so-so results.
Randy Winn plays 157 games, including each one until the last week of the season, when he sits out the last five games because he has a .30001019 batting average.
Aaron Rowand wonders why he left Citizens Bank Ballpark in Philly and came to AT&T after hitting 13 home runs, 11 of those on the road. Along with a .266 average and 65 RBI’s, Zito at least has company in the “who’s the most overpaid Giant” conversation, which gains steam on The Razor and Mr. T, causing Brian Sabean to swear so much on the air that the FCC has to shut down KNBR for 72 hours.
Fred Lewis can’t hit a curveball, and Nate Schierholtz can’t stop hitting singles to left or swinging at the first pitch, and both players are sent to Fresno. Neither guy is playing that badly, but the team has to make room for their bloated pitching staff. The platoon of Dave Roberts and Rajai Davis (with Roberts playing in 120 games) leads a combined on-base percentage of .294 and 62 runs scored. They do combine for 32 stolen bases, however.
After Lowry’s meltdown prevents the Giants from snagging Adam Dunn or even Joe Crede, the Giants settle in for a year with Rich Aurilia, Omar Vizquel, Kevin Frandsen, Ray Durham and Dan Ortmeier as the Giants’ main infielders. All of them perform as well as they did last year.
On the other hand, Benjie Molina is nowhere near the hitter he was in 2007, meaning the leading home run hitter for the Giants in 2008 is Randy Winn with 17.
Starting Lineup (April)
Starting Lineup (September)
No Change (the ultimate worst-case scenario)