Game Notes: El Gigantes 6, El Birdos 3, 1/07/09 - That Sinking Feeling

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--I am completely and totally done with Joe Thurston on this roster. Apologies to all the Thurston fans out there, but he brings nothing to the table. He actually managed not to make a baserunning mistake last night; however, that positive is somewhat negated by the fact he didn't get on base. I had hoped the addition of Mark DeRosa to the roster would mean Thursty Joe's days with the Redbirds were limited; unfortunately, that doesn't seem to be the case. 

Thurston's batting average is now down to .224, and moving rather quickly in the wrong direction. He has essentially no power, he costs the team outs on the basepaths, his defense is awful at third (where he's seen the bulk of his innings), and he can't play shortstop thanks to a noodle arm. The one thing Thuston has done well to this point in the season is take a walk; his BB rate of 13% is easily one of the best on the team. Unfortunately, I think a big part of that walk rate is the fact Thurston is batting in front of the pitcher most nights; put him in front of a position player, and I have to believe pitchers would be a little less eager to pitch around Thursty Joe. 

--Tell you what, I'll go one better than saying I'm done with Joe Thurston on this roster. I'm done with half the guys on this roster being on this roster. For most of this season, I've been relatively optimistic. I felt like this was a very talented team. I felt like this was a pretty damned good team, and one that just needed to get back to where they were in April to take this division. Well, I don't feel that way any more. April was the illusion; this is the reality. We were all fools to think that Rick Ankiel and Chris Duncan were going to be pluses for this baseball team. This roster has a ton of dead weight on it, and until it goes, things won't improve. 

--How does Hal McRae still have a job? I understand the players are the ones who have to execute, but when the entire offense suffers from the same malaise- i.e. the worst plate approach I've ever seen- doesn't the guy in charge of coaching the hitters on their approach and game planning have to start feeling a little heat? Unless, of course, everyone's just too afraid of him to tell him he's fired. 

I gave the offense a pass on Monday night's performance; I doubt the '27 Yankees would have done too very much against Tim Lincecum on a night like that. But this wasn't Tim Lincecum. This was a 45 year old Randy Johnson, whose control simply wasn't all that great. Several times, Johnson appeared to really be searching for the zone, and even minimal plate discipline likely would have resulted in a walk. Yet time and time again, Cardinal hitters bailed Johnson out of his own tough situations, swinging at pitches out of the zone, swinging early in the count, just generally swinging too god damned much. Of course, I shouldn't be surprised; the Cardinals have done nothing but swing the last two months. Still, I just don't understand how the field staff doesn't see this isn't working. 

--Who in the hell calibrates the speed guns for Fox? They aren't anywhere near correct, and they don't always go the same direction. Last night, slow. A couple starts back, Brad Thompson was topping out at 93. Maybe it isn't that big a deal, but it doesn't seem like the sort of thing that should be all that tough to get right. 

--Carpenter certainly wasn't great, but I do think he was a bit better than his final line. Once again, you see the flaw in the pitch-to-contact philosophy; if your defense is shit, there are going to be a bunch of extra balls falling in for hits, and plenty of those are going to turn into runs. 
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