Spander: Giants have no choice but to shake things up

The possibility became a reality. The Phillies, as suspected, have every bit what the Giants have in pitching. And as it became painfully apparent, much more than the Giants have in hitting.

In a brief interview that followed the Fox game telecast Sunday night, Jimmy Rollins of the Phils made that all too clear. Not long after he made it equally clear on the field.

Rollins, a Bay Area kid who graduated from Encinal High in Alameda, doubled in three runs in the bottom of the seventh to effectively decide a game Philadelphia would take easily 6-1. Then he said, “Pitching is important, but you need to score runs to win games.”

How the Giants will accomplish that is no less a mystery than it’s been for months. But they might start by benching Andres Torres and replacing him with Aaron Rowand, as when the situation called for it earlier in the season Torres took over center field and the leadoff position from Rowand.

And they might wish to return Pablo Sandoval to a lineup which, with the delightful exception of Cody Ross — who hit his fourth homer in the last three postseason games  — seems virtually incapable of sending anyone else across the plate.

“We’ll discuss changes on the flight home,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said in a snippet of a postgame interview shown on ESPN.

Torres, who contributed so much until the last weeks of the regular season, is contributing nothing in the playoffs. He’s been the leadoff batter, the one supposed to get on base one way so others get better pitches and maybe bring him home.

In baseball parlance, he’s a table setter. But Torres, figuratively, is dropping the plates and spilling the water. The way he’s setting tables, we’d all go hungry.

Torres struck out in his four at-bats Sunday night, is 1-for-9 in the two NL Championship Series games and — egad — 3-for-25 in the six total contests, with one walk and (egad again) 12 strikeouts.

If you can’t even get a ball in play, you’ve got no chance.

Maybe Torres still is feeling the effects of his Sept. 12 appendectomy. He rushed back, perhaps too soon. If the Giants don’t find a leadoff batter who can get on base, this series will be over too soon.

Indeed, on Sunday San Francisco missed Juan Uribe, out with an injured wrist when he slid into second base Saturday. And Roy Oswalt pitched beautifully for the Phils. But four hits for the Giants, including Ross’ home run and two singles by Freddy Sanchez?

If the Giants’ pitching is slightly off, and it was in Game 2, Jonathan Sanchez walking three in an interminably long first, and the fielding is more than slightly off, and it was with errors of commission (Mike Fontenot) and omission (Fontenot watching a popup drop and Aubrey Huff cutting off a throw to the catcher), it’s going to be a mismatch.

Bochy yanked Sandoval against the Atlanta Braves because the manager wanted more discipline at the plate than Pablo tends to exhibit. Discipline doesn’t, however, matter very much when the other team gets six runs and you get one.

It’s time to reinstate Sandoval and Rowand. Or do you have a better alternative?

Art Spander has been covering Bay Area sports since 1965 and also writes on www.artspander.com and www.realclearsports.com. E-mail him at typoes@aol.com.

 

NEPOther Sportssports

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

BART Ambassadors are being called on to assist riders in social situations that don’t require police force. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Unarmed BART ambassadors program formalized with a focus on community service

Public safety and police reform are key elements in campaigns of Board members Dufty and Simon

San Francisco DJ and producer Jah Yzer livestreams most mornings from his home. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Roots & Tings build community through music

Lateef the Truthspeaker, Jah Yzer and Winstrong call for voting as a form of healing

On Oct. 13, people lined up to vote early for the presidential election in Southlake, Texas. <ins>(Shutterstock)</ins>
<ins></ins>
Five things to watch for in the run-up to Nov. 3

Down-ballot races, as much as the presidency, will determine the future course of this nation

WeChat (Shutterstock)
U.S. District Court denies Trump request to shutdown WeChat app

A federal judge in San Francisco denied a request by the U.S.… Continue reading

School board members Gabriela Lopez (left) and Alison Collins (right) say they have been the subject of frequent hateful, racist and sexist attacks during their time on the school board. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F Examiner)
Angered by Lowell decision, SFUSD grad targets school board members with violent imagery

Facebook page depicts two women of color on board with swastikas and x-marks on their faces

Most Read