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Saturday, October 16, 2010
Cody Ross makes Sabean look smart

Caught this exchange on TV, after Cody Ross hit his second home run off Roy Halladay ...
Well, it definitely was a move.

Cody Ross
Cody Ross hit two home runs against the Phillies on Saturday.
Ross didn't actually hit well down the stretch, in September or any significant part of September. He didn't even play much. After joining the Giants in late August, Ross started only 17 of the team's final 37 games.

When Ross joined the Giants, he was hitting .265/.316/.405; at season's end he was hitting .269/.322/.413. He hardly hit well enough down the stretch to earn real playing time against right-handed pitchers in October ... Except Bruce Bochy doesn't have a great deal of choice.

If Travis Ishikawa had done anything this season, Bochy might be tempted -- with an enemy right-hander on the mound -- to play Ishikawa at first base and Aubrey Huff in right field.

But Ishikawa didn't do anything. So Bochy doesn't see any point in letting Huff play in the outfield (for which he's ill-equipped).

It took more than Ishikawa's struggles to get Ross his big chance, though. He didn't play a great deal after joining the Giants because the Giants had already acquired two right-handed-hitting outfielders: Pat Burrell in late May, Jose Guillen in the middle of August (about a week before Ross arrived).

Guillen, who showed up with (if nothing else) the reputation of a dangerous hitter, started almost every Giants game down the stretch. Whereas Ross hit just slightly better after joining the Giants, Guillen hit just slightly worse.

In the last week of the season, with literally every game seeming critical, Guillen started five games; Ross started once. That, as much as anything else could, tells us exactly what Bruce Bochy thought about their relative talents. Ross is playing now only because Guillen's struggles in September and his neck injury finally made their point.

Picking up Ross was a great move. Even if none of the Giants' decision-makers had any idea that he would hit three home runs in the club's first five postseason games. How could they have? Ross had hit three home runs in the previous five weeks.