9.28.2005

Well that didn't turn out well...

This hurts bad; this pitching debacle ranks up there in the annals of poor pitching performances with Salomon Torres beating at the hands of the Dodgers and Livan Hernandez' implosion in the 7th game of the World Series. The game should have been ours. We took the lead 3 freaking times in the first 4 innings, scoring in each of the first four innings, and every time they did anything, we countered and took the lead back, until the fateful 4th when Snow's error (plus, lest we not forget, Fassero's inability to throw enough strikes to the two batters who got walks, though according to a poster on McCovey Chronicles, he was robbed of a strike three from the umpire three times) allowed Ramon Hernandez to come to the plate... Undone again, basically, at the hands of a grand slam. And it wasted Bonds stunning 3-run homer to start the game....

Some fans have been debating what the Giants need for next season and many of them said that the Giants should resign Tomko if he is asking for a reasonable ($3-4M per year) contract. I think this game, and his previous games, show what type of pitcher he is, what type of heart he has. The sabres hate Rueter but, to me, he always found a way to get the Giants to a victory or at least close enough with a decent effort; Tomko, however, is like the anti-Rueter, he always found a way to keep the Giants close but frequently on the short end of the stick.

Unfortunately, he is like Livan, showing a taste of what he could be as a pitcher if he could just harness it full-time instead of short bursts. Writers talk about his second half "excellence" but none of them look at his numbers. Tomko always has his one month of good pitching for the Giants that tantalizes the fans, August last season (if I remember right), September this season (until this game...).

The only reason he won all those games with the Cards in the season before was because they scored a boatload of runs for him, his ERA was atrocious, 4.57 post ASG, and he really only had one "good" month, August, 4.15 ERA, 1.47 WHIP, .293 BAA (three previous months were .300, .349, .328, so it was good by comparison), only 19 K/34.2 IP. And last season, he did have a stellar September, 1.78 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, .161 BAA, 33 K/35.1 IP plus another great game in October, but a horrible 4.86 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, .262 BAA in August. He wasn't much better in July, 3.97 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, .292 BAA but 9 K/34 IP.

Lets face it, Tomko needs more than advice from his old Toronto coach (2003's turning point according to him), a sports psychiatrist (2004's turning point according to most press accounts), or a mechanical flaw that he fixed (2005's turning point according to him; impressed him enough to say that he should write it down somewhere; judging by the results of this game, he didn't take my advice and have the damn thing tattooed to his hand to remind him every time he pitched a baseball). He will always roll that boulder up the hill, only to see the damn thing roll down again and have to start over again.

He's not going to get better with us, just like Livan wasn't going to get better with us either. He needs to go elsewhere and find his mojo, like Livan did in Montreal. Livan, when he realized that if he didn't get his act together he wouldn't be able to vest his option, finally figured out how to pitch very well on a consistent basis, at least until he reached the option vesting point, at which point, he had a horrible game (but he got his option vested). But the light bulb had been turned on, and he knew how to turn it back on again.

Tomko's light is not working consistently, it flickers here, it flicker there, but it never really turns on. So he resorts to writing mechanic tips on a piece of paper - if he were a real pitcher, a lion heart, he would burn that into his memory, he wouldn't have to tell a newspaper reporter later that he figured out his mechanic's problem and should write it down somewhere. That is not something someone with cajones would do and we need starters with cajones. Schmidt and Cain has cajones; Lowry and Hennessey appear to be learning. Tomko's is like George's complaint in Seinfeld: "its shrinkage!"

Besides, the Giants have a nice core of Schmidt, Lowry, and Cain right now, and Hennessey has shown a lot the past two games, so perhaps he can be a legitimate #4 next season behind the three. So we are probably looking for a #5 starter to come in and take up innings productively. Correia might be able to do that. Valdez might get a chance in spring training to do that. Plus #5 starters are a dime a dozen (i.e. $10M for a dozen) so the Giants wouldn't be investing much to get such a starter, just a mil or so. Matt Kinney, despite his bad outing, probably will get a good look in spring training as well, he did well enough this season with Fresno.

Or if the Giants decide to open their purse as they hinted at earlier in the season, they may be able to sign a legit #2 starter to give the Giants a very strong - potentially - 4 man rotation with Hennessey as the #5. I've seen some posters mention A.J. Burnett, but I would think his outspokenness about his manager in Florida would have spooked Giants management.

But Hennessey should be given a chance. Hennessey has pitched wildly up and down since he first came up last season. He has had a large percent of dominating appearances but balanced against truly horrible starts last season and he continued that this season. But he has been impressive his last two outings, when the Giants were basically at the do or die point, and he did it. The Giants need to give him a chance next season to put it all together and pitch consistently. He is too dominating when he is on for the Giants not to give him more chances in the majors.

3 Comments:

Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Say, anybody wonder why Alfonzo didn't play Tuesday? He had good matchups with Eaton before.

True, he hasn't hit anything at all since he has returned from the DL and even then nothing really since May. It is like he has lost all his strength or something since April, when he was blasting balls all over the place; did he get all his hair cut off by Delilah or something?

But Alou himself said that Feliz looked tired and, basically, he has been hitting like that too, as he hasn't really been hitting since his brief homer barrage in July. Given how poorly both has hit the past two months, I'm surprised the Giants didn't at least try Angel Chavez at 3B just to see how he does but mainly to give Feliz a rest here and there (we don't have any other 3B except for Feliz and Alfonzo on the 40 man roster, but we have 10 outfielders).

Wed Sep 28, 10:07:00 AM PDT  
Blogger Daniel said...

Tomko coming back next year as a 4th or 5th starter as opposed to a supposed #2 starter is a world of difference -- as is paying Tomko as much as $4 mil instead of around $2 mil, which is about what he deserves.

So, #4 or #5 starter, about $2 mil, fine, bring him back -- the FA market is composed of one very good pitcher (A.J. Burnett), a couple of decent pitchers (Matt Morris and Jeff Weaver), and a bunch of dudes (everyone else). I give Tomko even odds to outperform the bunch of dudes, and possibly match Morris and Weaver for performance -- look at Tomko's numbers this year, they really aren't much different than last year.

But for $4 mil? Hm. Morris or Weaver, in this pitching-starved FA market, will probably command that much, at least, so the Giants only options will be to go cheap (get some dude to be th #5 starter), or to make a run at Burnett, which won't happen.

Wed Sep 28, 02:19:00 PM PDT  
Blogger obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Hi Daniel, thanks for the post. I guess you are new or missed a post.

I've noted a number of times that Tomko last off-season noted that he knew that he was a "bargain" this (2005) season and noted the contracts of pitchers I presume he feels are comparable with him as comparison. The one I remembered was Kent Benson's 3 year/$21M contract.

So, no, he's not signing for $2M right off the bat, he is suffering from the same delusions that Aurilia had when he went FA and was asking for $6-8M per season. By the time he realizes that no one (seriously no one) wants to sign him to such a big contract, Sabean would have moved on and signed someone else probably or made other plans.

I would pass on Weaver, he's as unreliable as Tomko. I remember Morris as being pretty good, how did he fall down to Weaver's level?

Besides, the Giants probably only have enough budget to sign one $4-6M player. Would you rather spend it on a 1B or a starter? I think we really need to boost our offense at 1B, Niekro is only good so far vs. LHP but bad against RHP, whereas we have some options for the #4/5 spot in the rotation. We have to skimp somewhere in the roster to fit the budget - I would rather get a better hitting 1B than a middling back of the rotation starter (though I'm not sure who is available for that at 1B).

Wed Sep 28, 04:12:00 PM PDT  

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