Saturday, August 05, 2006

Losing steam

It is hard enough to win on the road. It is much harder to win on the road against a team like the Binghamton Mets. It's ridiculous how well the B-Mets have been playing. The B-Mets have won 27 of 34 games. Any wonder they are in first place?

The Defenders put up a good fight Friday. You really have to put a game like this into proper context. The reality is Connecticut wasn't going to make the postseason. It is very easy for the players to sit back and let each game slip by one by one until the season is complete. Instead, the Defenders are playing for respect and they are playing for the role of spoilers.


skip sceery said...

Joe, I don't know if the articles on the Bulletin Web Site are the same as those appearing in newsprint, but I assume they are. Then, this being the case, why hasn't anyone asked the tough questions? From day one, the hitting has stunk, but all Machemer ever makes are meaningless comments such as "I wish I knew" or some other drivel.When are we going to hear from Gary Davenport or are coaches not allowed to speak? What are they trying to work on? Excepting Buscher and Horwitz, the hitting has been scarce. Someone has to answer for this mess, especially Nate and Travis.

What's been done to improve the bunting? Ive seen 3 sac attempts and 1 suicide squeeze turn into DP's so far this year. Without taking road games into account, that has to be approaching some type of record for futility. And there have been numerous instances when a sac attempt just failed.

Baserunning has been abysmal. These guys are slow afoot, yet everyone (coaches and players) are trying for the extra base and they end up running themselves out of an inning. And the plays at the base usually haven't been close. Do they work on base running techniques?

One more thing about Machemer. I've noticed on several occassions when a player is arguing a call, he'll stay away from the incident instead of stopping to protect the player. What's that all about?

Overall, from a player development perspective, this has been a lost year for most of them.

Joe said...

It really has been a lost year. Going into the season, a large number of the Giant's top prospects, according to Baseball America, were starting the year in Norwich.

Throughout the course of teh season, reasons myself or other writers have been given for not meeting expectations have gone from "we play in a pitcher's ballpark" to injuries to the number of players being called up to AAA or the majors.

I don't know how much of a pitcher's park Dodd Stadium is because I see many teams score plenty of runs and the Defenders don't.

Do injuries play a role? Sure. But the extent is debatable. I think in the case of Ishikawa, injuries and going up and down in the ranks have made a major impact on his season.

as far as players going up and down, that's life in the minors. The lower you are in the food chain, the more instability you should expect.

Sometimes, "I wish I knew" is the best explaination for what is happening. You aren't going to hear Machemer, Davenport or anyone else affiliated with the organization say, "(insert name) sucks." You just aren't.

Part of the bunting issue is that guys don't get on base. For example, in Chris Begg's 19 decisions, 11 of those games had tehDefenders scoring 3 runs or less. In seven of those, they scored once or not at all. That's just one guy's starts. If you aren't scoring, you won't be doing much bunting. Then we take ourselves back to the why aren't they hitting question.

The best answer I got in the few games I covered was there were guys pressing. It was ugly.

On the bases, what really hurt them was Clay Timpner was expected to serve as an instigator on the bases and that never materialized. Oddly enough, whatever he was doing (.222 in 66 games) was enough to get him promoted to AAA. That tells me that the Giants organization either had him get away from running the bases or felt he was getting bogged down in AA. He's hitting .270 at AAA Fresno.

One of the reasons the plays at the bags have been not close is that when you are struggling to score runs, you try to be more aggressive on the bases and it can easily bite you in the butt.

I can't speak on Macemer staying away from arguments and not protecting players. I have not seen that, so saying anything would be ignorant of me.

Player development has not been what the Giants, or Defenders for that matter, have hoped. The bright spots have been the pitchers. I think Pat Misch (already in AAA) and Chris Begg will certainly be in AAA next year, as should Billy Sadler if he can work on his control.

skip sceery said...

I appreciate the in-depth reply, but the whole situation still stinks. Beginning the season, I felt this was the best pitching staff (top to bottom) Norwich has ever had. Even with the promotions, it's still pretty good. The hitting has killed them. You're probably right, all the other problems became big problems as a result.

I can only hope the Giants put a new manager here next year, preferably a young one. Hell, how long has Machemer been in Double A? I'll give the guy a break and say perhaps he is simply worn out.

greg8370 said...

Got to agree with Skip. It's time for a change in the dugout. Shane Turner got nothing done in '03 (worst team ever) & '04 and somehow gets promoted to Triple A. Mach had a miracle finish to get to .500 last year and this year from a hitting point of view has been a mess. I'm tired of the fimilar list of excuses
Skip's main point is that not a single position player has really grown here. Alfonzo bounced around indy ball and every other level before landing in SF and I really don't count him as a player who "developed" here.
This franchise has not been in the playoffs for four seasons including this year. Navigators won the whole thing in '02 in their third playoff chance and should have won it all in '99 as well.
Time for new blood.

Joe said...


What you have to keep in mind is that for parent teams, whether or not minor league teams win or lose doesn't really matter.

How can that be?

The Giants don't make money on Defenders attendance. That all goes back to the team. That's when the Defenders organization hopes that the Giants provide the them with quality prospects.

You wonder how managers with multiple bad seasons stick around seemingly forever? That's because they aren't being judged on wins and loses. There have been seven players advance from Norwich to either AAA or the majors, five of them went to the Giants. There are at least four more guys who could easily play for AAA Fresno right now.

Sure, none of them are considered can't-miss prospects, but how many people are? If that's a complaint, then the Giants need to do better drafting and signing international free agents. Considering the age of the Giants team, they have to place a greater emphasis on player development. Baseball America ranked the Giants' prospects 18th heading into this year and said this year would be "make or break" for the hitters in AA.

I'm not saying there shouldn't be a change. But what I am saying is if you are looking a record as the basis for change, you are looking at the situation differently than the parent team.

greg8370 said...

Joe- A winning environment is part of player development and that means a postive win/loss record at all minor league levels. I mean being on a contending team in the last month of a season is much more meaningful than playing out the string and hoping to fatten up your own stats.
Fresno has been a total mess the last two seasons. Would you keep that manager there for another season?
I think it's important for the Giants organization to instill a winning attitude at all levels of their system.

Joe said...

There's a reason managers with losing records, like Shane Turner, stay around. If the major league organization placed the won-loss record of their affiliates in such high regard the managerial positions would be more on-field result oriented.

I'm not saying teams should not place emphasis on record, because it would be great if teams cared top to bottom about the prodfuct they try to sell to fans. The fact of the matter is that a large portion of minor league teams are not judged by their parent team based upon record.