Giants' midseason moves haven't paid off

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Part of the reason why the Giants find themselves 3.5 games behind the Rockies in the Wild Card race despite baseball’s best pitching staff is that the midseason trades they made in an effort to upgrade a punchless lineup haven’t worked out at all.
Prior to getting second baseman Freddy Sanchez from the Pirates and first baseman Ryan Garko from the Indians, the Giants averaged 4.0 runs per game. Since then San Francisco has scored 4.1 runs per game.
Basically zero change, which is what happens when Sanchez hits .278/.290/.322 while being sidelined half the time with a shoulder injury and Garko earns a seat on the bench by hitting .232/.291/.347.
Last month I wrote about how dangerous the Giants could be in the playoffs because of their Tim Lincecum-led pitching staff, but that premise assumed that Sanchez and Garko would at least give the lineup a couple decent bats to compliment Pablo Sandoval. Instead they’ve just joined the crowded club of Giants hitters providing below-average production.
In fact, among the 16 hitters who’ve had at least 100 plate appearances for the Giants this season only Sandoval, Juan Uribe, and little-used reserve outfielder Andres Torres have an adjusted OPS+ above average. And (with apologies to Rockies fans) it’s a shame, because I’d love to see the league’s best pitcher, the league’s top-hitting Panda, and maybe even the best left-handed pitcher of the past 50 years in the playoffs.

Video: Adrian Beltre and Carlos Beltran give signs from the dugout

OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Adrian Beltre #29 of the Texas Rangers stands in the dugout before their game against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 23, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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The Rangers got a bit of a breather on Saturday after clinching the division lead during Friday night’s win. Naturally, it was also a prime opportunity for another of Adrian Beltre‘s well-documented antics, as he spent his off day directing the Rangers’ infield defense with a series of signs. Even with Carlos Beltran‘s help, no one, least of all those playing the infield, appeared to have any idea what Beltre’s gestures were intended to convey.

You can add this to the list of in-game oddities Beltre has become so well-known for over the years, running the gamut from the way he kicked a ball over the foul line to his histrionics every time someone comes close to touching his head. If nothing else, it’s a convincing audition reel for the third baseman’s future in major league coaching — a career path that, I’d imagine, would end up looking something like this:

Yordano Ventura exits game with back tightness

DETROIT, MI - SEPTEMBER 24: Yordano Ventura #30 of the Kansas City Royals pitches against the Detroit Tigers during the first inning at Comerica Park on September 24, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
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Royals’ right-hander Yordano Ventura was pulled in the fifth inning of Saturday’s matinee against the Tigers with an apparent injury. After throwing four pitches to start the fifth and serving up a Justin Upton double, Ventura was visited on the mound by head trainer Nick Kenney. Per Rustin Dodd of the Kansas City Star, he’s day-to-day with back spasms and lower back tightness.

It’s just another bump in the road for the defending champions, who currently sit 6.5 games back of a postseason spot with seven left to play. Through 176 innings in 2016, Ventura posted a 4.35 ERA and 1.2 fWAR, a considerable downgrade from the 4.08 ERA and 2.7 fWAR he contributed during last season’s championship year despite a moderate bounce-back in the second half.

Prior to his early exit from Saturday’s game, Ventura went four innings for the Royals, giving up three runs on 10 hits and two walks and striking out six of 24 batters faced.