It’s safe to say the defending world champs weren’t projecting this as a starting lineup a few months ago:
CF Cody Ross
2B Mike Fontenot
1B Pablo Sandoval
LF Aubrey Huff
RF Brandon Belt
SS Orlando Cabrera
3B Miguel Tejada
C Chris Stewart
For the record, this is the Giants’ 122nd game of the season. The eight players in the Giants’ lineup tonight have started at those positions a grand total of 98 times this year.
Ross – 3
Fontenot – 8
Sandoval – 4
Huff – 1
Belt – 0
Cabrera – 16
Tejada – 37
Stewart – 29
Only Stewart and Tejada are playing at their most common positions. Tejada actually had started 37 games at both third base and shortstop, but he had played more innings at third.
What made the odd lineup even odder is that the Giants originally had Huff in right field and Belt in left before switching the two. Huff had played right in 13 of his 14 outfield starts this season, and all three of Belt’s previous outfield starts had come in left.
So, why are we seeing this? Not only did Carlos Beltran go on the disabled list Tuesday, but the Giants have also had to send Nate Schierholtz (foot) and Jeff Keppinger (wrist) for tests that will help determine how much time they’ll miss. Finally, Aaron Rowand is nursing a strained intercostal muscle.
At least the Giants have the right starter on the mound tonight: Jonathan Sanchez loves those walks and strikeouts, so there shouldn’t be a whole bunch of balls is play. He can go as long as he wants, too: with just two players on the bench in Mark DeRosa and Eli Whiteside, the Giants don’t figure to do any pinch-hitting.
After letting rumors of the deal percolate for the last week, the Athletics officially announced their two-year, $11 million contract with right-hander Santiago Casilla on Friday (and threw a little bit of shade at the Giants, too). As previously reported, the contract includes an extra $3 million in performance bonuses.
Casilla, 36, got his major league start with Oakland back in 2004, racking up a 5.11 ERA and four saves over six seasons in the A’s bullpen. After picking up a minor league deal with the Giants in 2010, the righty flitted in and out of the closing role with varying degrees of success. Notwithstanding a slight downturn in his production rate during the 2016 season, he earned 123 saves and a 2.42 ERA during the past seven years in San Francisco. Securing another closing role might be a little tougher across the Bay, however, with a bullpen that includes fellow closers Ryan Madson, Ryan Dull and Sean Doolittle.
Why is this man smiling? Man, I wouldn’t be smiling if I read what I just read.
This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility.
For the second straight year, Law ranks the Braves as the best system in baseball. Number two — making a big leap from last year’s number 13 ranking – is the New York Yankees. Dead last: the Arizona Diamondbacks, which Law says “Dave Stewart ritually disemboweled” over the past two years. That’s gotta hurt.
If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone.