Change starts with Felipe

The first move in the Giants’ rebuilding program for next season should be to replace manager Felipe Alou.

In an era where relievers are as important as starters, Alou wears out his bullpen. It isn’t just his maneuvering, sometimes putting in a reliever for just one batter. He also has relievers warming up even when they don’t go into a game, which takes its toll.

For instance, he had two pitchers warming up in the ninth inning of Matt Cain’s 6-0 shutout of the A’s on May 21. Cain had baffled the A’s the whole game, yielding just one hit. Even if he had gotten into trouble in the ninth, with that six-run cushion, Alou had plenty of time to get somebody warm in the bullpen. As it happened, Cain coasted through the ninth, too.

The latest example: Alou went through so many pitchers in Sunday’s 12-inning road win over the New York Mets that starter Noah Lowry would have had to pitch if the game went to the 13th inning.

Relievers can’t wait to get away from Alou. Scott Eyre opted for a free-agent contract with the Chicago Cubs, though the Giants offered him more money to stay, ostensibly because he wanted to be closer to his family. Not that much closer; his family is in Florida.

Those who leave often do better elsewhere, as with Tyler Walker, who has nine saves in 10 opportunities for Tampa Bay. Few of those who have stayed have had two good seasons in a row. Now, the Giants have some good young arms in the bullpen — such as Jeremy Accardo, who saved Sunday’s game — but how long will it be before Alou burns them out?

He’s doing the same thing with position players. When Moises Alou went on the disabled list, his father responded to that crisis by playing Barry Bonds, Steve Finley and Randy Winn more. Bonds will be 42 in July, Finley is 41 and Winn, a relative youngster, will be 32 on Friday. Bonds is hitting just .256 with seven homers, Finley is hitting .269 after enduring a 6-for-41 stretch and Winn, who hit .359 in 58 games for the Giants last year, is hitting .265.

By the end of May, all these players were exhausted. Meanwhile, 28-year-old Jason Ellison did not start a game until the last day of May.

Felipe Alou plots his moves to win a single game, instead of looking at the 162-game season. But he has an old, old team. These players — except for shortstop Omar Vizquel,who has somehow turned back the clock at 39 — need to be rested often so they can stay fresh. If they’re tired in May, what do you think they’ll be in September?

The Giants are in good shape now with an easy schedule coming up in the next 19 games, which will give them a chance to gain ground on division-leading Arizona. But even that won’t help much if they’re exhausted going into the stretch run.

Alou won’t change. He doesn’t listen to anybody, certainly not to his own players, to whom he seldom talks. So, after the season, the Giants will have to make a change, to a manager who understands that wearing out your car early is no way to win a long race.

Glenn Dickey has been coveringBay Area sports since 1963. E-mail him at glenndickey@hotmail.com.Glenn Dickeysports

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The Port of San Francisco, which controls much of the The City’s waterfront, faces potential layoffs due to a financial crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Steven Ho/Special to S.F. Examiner)
In a financial ‘crisis,’ SF Port officials lobby for stimulus funding

Looking to right their financial ship, Port of San Francisco officials are… Continue reading

Police Chief Bill Scott on Wednesday said a rebranding and reoganization of the former Gang Task Force amounts to “more than just the name change.” (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Faced with surge in shootings, Chief Scott reenvisions SFPD’s Gang Task Force

New Community Violence Reduction Team adds officers with community-policing experience

San Francisco Symphony Music Director Esa-Pekka Salonen and members of the orchestra were thrilled to be back inside Davies Symphony Hall on May 6 in a program for first responders featuring string works by Jean Sibelius, George Walker, Carl Nielsen, Caroline Shaw and Edward Grieg. (Courtesy Stefan Cohen/San Francisco Symphony)
SF Symphony makes joyful return to Davies Hall

Esa-Pekka Salonen conducts program for first responders and community leaders

Stores including Walgreens and Safeway are required to pay their employees additional hazard pay under a city ordinance that is currently set to expire later this month. (Shutterstock)
Grocery workers could gain additional weeks of $5 per hour hazard pay

San Francisco will vote next week on whether to extend a law… Continue reading

The fatal shooting of San Francisco resident Roger Allen by Daly City police on April 7 prompted protests in both cities. (Jordi Molina/ Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Daly City approves body-worn and vehicle cameras for police after fatal shooting

Daly City officials on Wednesday approved body and vehicle cameras for police… Continue reading

Most Read