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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Matheny Out For The Year

Mike Matheny's season has officially ended as he will be unable to play again this year. Matheny suffered a series of concussions back in late May and hasn't fully recovered since. Some in the organization fear he may not be able to play again. Matheny's glove, arm and veteran presence has been and will be missed. Elizer Alfonzo has been the surprise of the year so far and one of the things I am looking forward to most over the last 2 months of the season is seeing how Alfonzo continues to perform as the season goes on and he starts facing teams for a second and third time. His .293 avg., 9 home runs and 24 RBI in 140 at-bats is by far the most impressive rookie offensive start we've seen in San Francisco in years. Felipe Alou had planned on playing Todd Greene a lot more than he has with Matheny out, but Alfonzo has made that extremely tough. Mike Krukow was talking about Alfonzo the other night and was mentioning how fun he is to watch. There aren't many Giants on this current squad that are very fun to watch, but I do agree with Krukow in that Alfonzo is. It's been a while since the Giants have had a true rookie position player help out on a daily basis. Bill Mueller was the last one to come in and start performing well from the get go, but Mueller didn't have the power Alfonzo posses. Hopefully Matheny can fully recover over the Winter and come back to give the Giants one of the best catching duo's in the league next season.

Finally the Giants end their 9 game losing streak. It almost took them 2 weeks, but they finally are back on the winning track thanks to in big part to Mike Stanton. Alou brought in Armondo Benitez to try and get the final out, but quickly removed him after a walk before he could blow the game. Stanton stepped it up big time with runners on and the game on the line. I really don't have a problem handing him the ball in the ninth until he shows he shouldn't get it. There isn't a Giant on the staff with more experience, plus he has been pretty consistent over the past month (1 earned run in 10 innings pitched). I know he isn't the flashy closer who can come in and blow people away, but he just might be the best they have for the job at this point. I've mentioned Steve Kline as a possible candidate as well, but he hasn't been throwing well over his last few outings. I don't think the Giants should totally ban Benitez from the roll, but they should use him earlier in the game until he gets back on track. I know they wouldn't admit it if you asked them, but I now that even Benitez's teammates don't have much confidence in him right now. Say what you want about him only having 1 run leads in a few of the blown saves, he's getting paid over 8 million dollars a year to get make those 1 run leads stand. He's too expensive to just kick out of the mix like Tyler Walker and Matt Herges where, so they have to try and get him back on track.
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