SAN FRANCISCO For all the talk of Hunter Pence and theGiants need to lengthen their lineup, GM Brian Sabean has spent just as muchtime trying to bolster his bullpen ahead of Tuesdays 1 p.m. (PDT) non-waivertrade deadline.
The Giants needed relief Monday night. The bullpen brokedown several times in an 8-7, 10-inning loss to the New York Mets, and it wastheir frontline guys who got hit hard.
Sergio Romo gave up a tying, two-run home run to ScottHairston, who saved up another poison-tipped dart for Santiago Casilla with atiebreaking solo shot in the 10th.
It was Hairstons sixth multi-homer game. You might beconvinced all six came against the Giants. (Fact check: Only two of them,really.)
And if that werent enough, the Giants watched another oftheir trade targets drop off the board when the Dodgers acquired right-handerBrandon League from the Seattle Mariners.
League isnt having a good season and his strikeout-to-walkratio (27 to 19) will make you run in fear for the hills, but hes held right-handedhitters to a .224 average and no home runs. If you can keep him away fromlefties, hes a useful piece.
He certainly would have helped to take some of the strain off Romo, whois hitting a rare skid after being flawless for the better part of two seasons.
Romo allowed a tiebreaking, two-run homer to Hanley Ramirezin Fridays loss to the Dodgers. Before that, hed allowed two homers toright-handed hitters in two years.
When I dont execute, thats what happens, said Romo, whoseERA has gone from 0.60 to 2.30 in two games. Its the big leagues. You cantexpect anything else.
Its been a great ride. Im not saying its the end of theride, but Im in a rut. Thats what it is. I just need to keep on pushing.
"The team needs me to be good. Im down for that.
Romo has been good. So was Casilla while saving 19 of hisfirst 20 chances.
We had the right guys out there our setup guy andcloser, Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. The only thing you can do in thisgame is get your guys out there, and we did that.
Now its up to Sabean to get more guys on the roster.
The Dodgers already have Ramirez, who appears to have amotivation level that more closely approximates his extreme talent level. Theygot League. Theyre reportedly in on Pence and Shane Victorino, if only todrive up the price on the Giants. And its better than a coin flip that theylladd Ryan Dempster, or trade for another starting pitcher if they cant makethat deal work with the Cubs.
Oh, and Fox Sports is reporting that the ArizonaDiamondbacks, just 3 games back of the co-leaders in the NL West, are bracingto make a potentially blockbuster pitching addition. (Cliff Lee, maybe?)
Its never, ever a good idea to make a baseball decisionbased on pure marketing motives. If you dont believe me, come along for a tour of the S.S.Zito. Shes a fine, sturdy vessel. It won't do much good to make a move for the sake of making a move. (And yes, we saw the CBS Sports report that Alfonso Soriano told the Cubs he wouldn't accept a trade to the Giants. Try not to take it personally.)
But if the Giants stand pat while the Dodgers andDiamondbacks add at the deadline, its not going to be pretty around theseparts.
And that five-game losing streak is going to feel a lotworse than it already is.