Q: What's the difference between a concrete road pylon and Lance Niekro?
A: The road pylon is faster, and is a better judge of pitches.
I'd ask another question of Bruce Bochy, Giants manager. And I'll add a follow-up 1) Why do you feel the need to carry five or six first basemen on the day-to-day roster? (Follow-up) Why is Lance Niekro one of them?
I exaggerate of course. The Giants carry a mere four first basemen. Aurilia, who can play any infield position but was signed to play first, Sweeney and Klesko, who can play first base and left field, and Niekro, who can play first base. Adequately. Put a bat in his hands, and you're just plain wasting his time and yours. Apart from the signing of Feliz one day after Aurilia signed, keeping Niekro on the team was the stupidest move of the offseason. "But he was out of options!" his relatives cry. As if he wouldn't have cleared waivers. And I know the fans bitch and moan about the Giants not developing any position players in their farm system that become good Major Leaguers, but pinning that hope on Lance Niekro is a forlorn hope. You can't develop a quality major league player by letting him play in the minors until he's pushing thirty, then stick him on the Major League roster and hope that even though he has never given you a reason to believe he would not suck, he won't suck.
And even though I know he gets paid to do it, and is much better at it than me or any other fan, I was scratching my head over Bochy's management of the final Giants at bats. The Giants, down by two, had the top of the order up in the bottom of the ninth. They need at least one baserunner to get to Bonds. Wow, Dave Roberts is leading off. Pesky Dave Roberts. A guy that can work a pitcher for a walk, bunt for a hit, that kind of thing. Wrong. Pinch Hit for Roberts with Todd Linden, another fifty year old Giants prospect who is only slighty less frustrating than Niekro. Now I'll give Bochy a little benefit of the doubt--maybe Roberts tweaked a hammy or something. But damn. Linden. If you like your pinch hitters of the "flail away cluelessly" variety, Linden's a good choice. Especially if you're saving Niekro to pinch strikeout later. So, Linken strikes out. Omar, in a slump, can't get on either, but at least he lined one to left that Holliday had to dive for. Maybe Klesko can work a walk out of Rockies closer Brian Fuentes, so Bonds, hitting .800 over his career against Fuentes, can either have a swing or be walked intentionally putting the tying run on base. Giants fans, I gots good news and bad news for you. The Good news is Barry's on deck. The bad news is that Lance Niekro is at the plate. Suh-WISH!
Russ Ortiz suffered a setback with this start, retiring in the fourth after giving up eight runs on nine hits. Let's hope he just suffered some pre-game head trauma and hasn't reverted to the pitcher the Diamondbacks know and love. The bully did their job, giving up only one more run in the five innings after Russ' departure. And the Giants scored seven times. That's huge for them.
I love the Giants and hate to pick 'villains' on the club. But man I am tired of Lance Niekro. And there's only one first base. Why do the Giants need four guys for the job? In case the first three go down? Maybe a middle infielder would be nice. Because who's the backup for second base, third, and short? Aurilia, who usually starts at first. Feliz could back up the infielders too, but he's already playing third usually. Gotta have those two extra first sackers though. Oy.
Your final from La Belle Pacifique: Colorado 9, San Francisco 7
Win streak ends at one.