Monday, October 25, 2010

Designated Hand-Wringing

Dave Cameron is worried about the Giants’ DH options in Games 3-5 of the World Series: “No matter what way they go, it won’t be a great option, and the Giants will be at a disadvantage in the AL park.” Rob Neyer tends to agree, calling it “just another reason to pick the Rangers.”

Sorry, but The Common Man isn’t going to start wringing his hands over the Giants’ supposed lack of a Designated Hitter in the World Series. For one thing, the pundits (TCM included) have a terrible track record over the last couple weeks. For another, it’s for three games, max. For a third this advantage is partially cancelled out by the Rangers using Vlad Guerrero in the field in San Francisco, or losing his bat to the bench entirely.

And for a fourth, if he’s willing, Pat Burrell is perfectly capable of putting on his big boy pants and being a DH for two or three days. But wait, you say, who will play LF in his absence?

Good news, Giants fans, that 5 year $60 million dollar contract Brian Sabean gave to Aaron Rowand can finally pay off. Rowand, you’ll tell The Common Man, was absolutely terrible this year, and TCM will tell you that you’re absolutely right. He was terrible. But why was he terrible?

Rowand’s .263 BABIP is ridiculously low, and something that, assuming Rowand is healthy, is masking how effective he can be in the upcoming series. And Rowand is a plus defender in CF, which would allow the Giants to move Andres Torres to LF, simultaneously improving their outfield defense (indeed, all three outfielders would be adequate CFers) and giving Torres less ground to cover if his hip and groin are limiting his movement. Indeed, Rowand is likely a better option now than Jose Guillen, and is certainly a better plan than starting Travis Ishikawa against a lefty.

And if Tommy Hunter does start Game 4 for the Rangers, look for Ishikawa to take over at 1B, while Aubrey Huff moves to the DH spot. Ishikawa can’t touch a lefty, but is relatively competent (768 OPS in ’10, 749 career) against righties, and is a slick fielder at the bag.

Problem solved. Now, let’s play some ball so we can stop worrying about these little details.

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