The San Francisco Giants are not a good offensive baseball team. They have an incredible pitching staff but a brutal offense. A widely-discussed spread of injuries reduced to nightly batting order to cast-offs and mistakes. Mistakes like Aaron Rowand.
Aaron Rowand makes a lot of money relative to his skills on the baseball diamond. Thus far, Aaron Rowand hasn’t returned much on the Giants’ investment of $60 million dollars over 5 years. Good thing for the Giants that deal expires at the end of next season…
Rowand can’t really hit very well but, due to the countless ouchies experienced by everyone including the ball boys, manager Bruce Bochy inserts him into the starting line-up. Last night, against Padres right-hander Mat Latos, Aaron Rowand was a little overmatched.
Latos was dealing early in last night’s game. He mowed through the Giants order, not allowing a hit until the bottom of the fifth inning. He did manage to walk several Giants including walking the bases loaded in the fourth before — guess who! — Aaron Rowand grounded into an inning-ending force out.
But it was in the second inning that Rowand made his mark in this game. After Latos walked Cody Ross, up stepped our hero Aaron.
Latos started with a cut fastball that missed so badly, not even Rowand could swing at it. Latos looked down at his landing spot as if to blame the playing surface for his pitch. The pitch was so off-line that it skipped to the backstop, advancing Ross 90 feet to second base.
Rowand now ahead 1-0, he is clearly thinking RBI. But, veteran hitter and proven winner that he is, he mustn’t expand his zone. Rowand actually does a good job spitting on a decent fastball down and away from Latos, just missing for ball two.
Aaron Rowand is officially in the driver’s seat. Despite what every single person in the world thinks, not everyone is a good driver. Some people follow too closely to drive to quickly or just don’t pay enough attention. When it comes to the baseball “driver’s seat”, I can only assume Aaron Rowand falls under the “doesn’t pay enough attention” category. I brief moment inside his head:
“The pitcher was on a roll but he just walked the guy in front of me and now I’m ahead 2-0. That wild pitch moved Cody into scoring position. We’re down 3 runs here – this is my chance! Coach doesn’t want to play me every day so I need to let him know I’m up to the task. TIME TO MAKE SOMETHING HAPPEN!”
With that positive reinforcement from deep within his own addled mind, Aaron Rowand was determined to make a difference in this game. No matter where the next pitch was, Aaron Rowand was swinging at it.
Mat Latos and Padres catcher Nick Hundley know Aaron Rowand’s reputation. So, instead of offering up a 2-0 cookie to a bad baseball player, they opted for Mat “Freezer Full of Body Parts” Latos’ big overhand curve. Preferably in the opposing batters box, if possible.
That doesn’t quite sell how bad a pitch this was in this spot. To the Crashburn Alley GIF machine!
Welp. That wasn’t such a good swing. This Gameday image doesn’t quite convey how far out of the hitting zone this pitch actually was. If Rowand was able to make contact AND guessed right AND it was actually a fastball, he still wouldn’t be able to do much with a pitch like that.
You hear ex-player analysts and color commentary dudes constant railing on the “have a plan” at the plate. Look, hitting major league pitching is really hard. Laying off a giant overhand curveball from a potential serial killer isn’t something I can write on my resume as a “pertinent skill.” But COME ON!
Pick a side of the plate, pick a pitch, something! You aren’t exactly known to kill pitches on the outside part of the plate, maybe lay-off that one? I get that isn’t a tough pitch to take after Latos just missed with a fastball in a similar spot but you’re ahead in the count!!! SERIOUSLY, YOU’RE KILLING ME.
Rowand ended up flying out to centerfield to end the inning after a few more pitches. This at bat hardly decided the fate of the night but it certainly opened a window into the tortured soul of a replacement-level ball player. Aaron Rowand will earn $13.6 million dollars next season.
GIF courtesy the Bill Baer of Crashburn Alley. He does great work at his site, like this on the Phillies bullpen