Autopsy of the 2005 season: Part V - Players Let Down
Barry's Coming Round the Corner, When He Comes
One long summer of waiting, and hoping, and wishing, finally came to fruition with mere weeks left in the season when Barry returned to the lineup. And once the homers started flying, it was like he never left. But then Tomko, when we really, truly, absolutely needed a well-pitched game, and after he had gone game after game of pitching well with no support, blew all the leads the offense could give him and then Fassero, who had a marvelous season up to that point, gave up that backbone crushing grandslam, just like that the season was essentially over. Barry came, Barry homered, Barry sat down for the season. We can only imagine how the season would have been greatly different had he been playing from the start of the season instead of just before the end.
Vets Finally Hit the Wall
The season had its knees knocked in early in the season when, besides losing Bonds, Alou was injured in the second game of the season and was DLed for 2 weeks, then the Giants essentially was without Grissom, Alfonzo, and Tucker for the rest of the season after the first week when Alfonzo was on fire then just as mysteriously, he was not, and without Snow (for the most part) after the first month. All four strong contributors to the offense in 2004 were gone, piff, adios, offensively.
This fulfilled the prediction that fans and publications have been predicting since the 2003 season (that's 1 for 3 for those of you keeping score). This opened the door for a number of younger players to get more playing time, though that didn't work out that much better in the end, only cheaper, but at least there is an upside.
The New Kids On The Team
As covered in the previous posting, the Giants got so-so to great performances out of the youngsters from the farm system. Cain, Lowry, Hennessey, Correia, Munter, Taschner, Accardo, Ellison, Niekro, and Linden, as a group, did pretty well for prospects thrown in the frying pan. And it is very encouraging for the future of the team that the pitchers did pretty well. Now we have to hope for the position players to start performing.
The New Vets On The Team
The team would have been really toast if it were not for the additions of Moises Alou, Omar Vizquel, Mike Matheny, and, later in the season, Randy Winn. True, Alou was out for stretches for one ailment or another plus came back needed to get his timing back, but he was our main power source the whole season until Bonds returned and Winn was channelling Bonds. Vizquel hurt the team offensively batting 2nd after the first month, but he was a defensive marvel that I'm sure the pitchers appreciated when they weren't walking batters or giving up line-drive hits to the outfield. Matheny delivered much more than was expected as he had a great first month or so but then was pretty much as advertised offensively (poor) and defensively (great) the rest of the season. And what can anyone say about Winn: we're not worthy! 11 homers alone in the month of September, nuff said!