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Good article about why the Giants lost.

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Good article about why the Giants lost.

Postby Madison » Mon Oct 06, 2003 2:58 pm

100 victories hid Giants' weaknesses

Ann Killion , Mercury News

Before his first playoff series as a manager, Felipe Alou insisted he wouldn't change a thing.


"If you try to do something different you end up failing," the 68-year-old rookie said on the eve of the Giants' series against Florida. "I'm not going to change my style."

Alou didn't change. But the circumstances changed. And the red-hot immediacy of a five-game series revealed the cracks in the Giants' design.


The Giants were flawed, their defects cleverly disguised by 100 wins and season-long residence in first.


Their entire offense is Barry Bonds, more so than ever. And Marlins Manager Jack McKeon made Bonds a non-factor. Although third baseman Edgardo Alfonzo got hot late in the season, the Giants still had more offense last year with second baseman Jeff Kent and an opportunistic Benito Santiago at catcher.


Another flaw? Pitching. A staff patched together with youngsters and journeyman Band-Aids can get through the summer months, but not a short series. The Giants had only one reliable starter, Jason Schmidt, although Kirk Rueter showed signs of returning to his stalwart self. But last season, the Giants had a rotation of Schmidt, Rueter and Russ Ortiz, with only Livan Hernandez an uncertainty.


Also obvious in the past week: The transition from Dusty Baker to Alou wasn't as seamless as believed. After their early exit, Giants players were angry and disenchanted. Communication between Alou and his team was clearly an issue, namely the fact that there wasn't any.


When Jose Cruz was left out of the lineup Saturday, he had to read the transcript from his manager's press conference to know that he was benched because of offensive struggles, not because of his crucial error in Game 3. Alou never talked to him. Santiago, the starting catcher all season and a postseason hero a year ago, was furious to find himself benched in the decisive game.


Most upset was Schmidt. The postgame news that Schmidt will need surgery on his pitching arm makes understandable his concern about pitching on short rest ("It will probably be in everybody's best interest if I didn't, but if you want me to pitch, I will.").


But Schmidt felt that he was unfairly portrayed as unwilling to take the ball.


"That was very wrong," he said after the game. "I always want to pitch."


If Alou wanted Schmidt to pitch, he should have had him pitch. If he expected Schmidt to morph into macho Curt Schilling, well, that's not Schmidt's personality. And Alou knows that, doesn't he?


General Manager Brian Sabean bristled when reporters suggested that the players' feelings were an issue.


"They handled it all year," Sabean said. "He put his best lineup out there and explained to the guys who weren't in the lineup why he did it."


That's not quite accurate. Many players never talk to Alou, who keeps his door closed, remains aloof and communicates through his coaches. In that way, he is the anti-Baker. It didn't become an issue until the Giants hit their first rough patch of the season, which just happened to be in early October.


The Giants, running away with the division, had no pressure for months. But in the short series, there was pressure. And the Giants didn't respond.


Last year, the Giants were six outs away from winning the World Series. This year they were 10 wins away from winning the World Series. How far away will they be next year? Their star will be 40, their rotation is full of questions, and key position players such as J.T. Snow, Rich Aurilia, Santiago and Cruz could be gone. Alou will be in the second-to-last year of his contract.


Alou stayed true to his word: He didn't change, managing the way he managed all year long, aggressive and active. But the circumstances changed: He had a short bench, which he used up twice. He had 12 pitchers, but his faith in one -- Joe Nathan -- evaporated midway through the series. He played hunches -- Andres Galarraga over Snow in Game 3, Yorvit Torrealba over Santiago in Game 4 -- without the everyday luxury of waiting to see if they paid off.


But the manager didn't lose the series. Just the way the manager didn't lose the World Series last season. The Giants lost for the same reason they lost in 2000 and the same reason they lost World Series games 6 and 7 last season: The players didn't perform at crunch time.


Updated on Monday, Oct 6, 2003 8:27 am EDT

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Yes doctor, there will be blood.....
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Postby Guest » Mon Oct 06, 2003 4:16 pm

I hate all the second guessing by Killion and Bayless, and all those bandwagon jumpers. The Giants lost because the Marlins simply played better. End of Story!!! I was very diappointed by the Giant's loss but that is the nature of postseason baseball. Mediocre teams don't just fluke to a 100 win season. The Giants had a great year, wire-to-wire. But they didn't makes plays and the Marlins did. I believe the series came down to the one pitch. The game winning single by I-Rod in game three. It was a two out, two strike hit. If Worrell gets that third strike, the Giants would have led 2-1. But he didn't and the Marlins won. I gave all the "props" to the Marlins. They played well and they dererved to win. Best of luck to them against the Cubs.
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Postby LCBOY » Mon Oct 06, 2003 4:19 pm

The last post was by me, LCBOY.
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Postby kentx12 » Mon Oct 06, 2003 6:09 pm

Good article Madison. thanks for sharing it with us.
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Postby Madison » Mon Oct 06, 2003 10:47 pm

kentx12 wrote:Good article Madison. thanks for sharing it with us.


No problem at all. :-)
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Yes doctor, there will be blood.....
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Postby jerrycantrell » Tue Oct 07, 2003 4:22 pm

how about the giants stop making excuses about why they lost and just say they were outplayed, end of story
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Postby Madison » Tue Oct 07, 2003 7:25 pm

With Bonds being a non-factor and Schmidt not able to pitch every game, the Giants just didn't stand much of a chance. That's it.

The Giants never should have let Kent go. Bonds at least had some protection that way.
Yes doctor, I am sick.
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Sick of those who feel self-entitled.
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Yes doctor, there will be blood.....
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