Ratto: DH-Type Absent from NL Rosters

October 25, 2010, 3:44 pm
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Oct. 25, 2010RATTO ARCHIVE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Of the hidden benefits from the 2002 World Series I mean, other than the one that allowed Giant fans to whine about never having a championship team ceaselessly, right up to the present day it also marked the last time a National League designated hitter provided the planet with a postseason home run.Shawon Dunston, top five, two-run job off Kevin Appier. Perhaps the last happy moment in Giants postseason history.But never mind that. It also marked the absolute low-water mark in NLDH history a team that batted its designated hitter ninth in every game. The Giants ostensibly used its designated hitter as a second pitcher. And you wonder why you still get to act like such babies about no ring in 56 years.We mention all this because Bruce Bochy, the noted cleaver-juggler, has new decisions to make about a lineup that looks like it is written in invisible ink. Specifically, who to DH in the three games in Texas.Logic tells you Pablo Sandoval against right-handers Tommy Hunter or Colby Lewis, and perhaps Aaron Rowand against lefthanders Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson. In fact, the absence of any other sensible candidate tells you that as well (we do not, for example, see Jose Guillen magically reappearing and being granted clemency).Logic, however, has failed you in trying to deduce Bochys moves so far this postseason. The lineup has become Questions 1, 1A and 2 in any Bochistic presser, to the point where he laughs and gives the stock Ill talk about it with the staff answer.But the matters for historical reasons as well as immediately practical ones. The 02 Giants offered up perhaps the worst NL DH collection in World Series history, and thats with all due respect to Dunston and his home run.Heres why: The other Giants DHs were the young and untested Pedro Feliz, pinch-hitter Tom Goodwin and (hold on to your sides) Tsuyoshi Shinjo. If that doesnt say ninth in the order, nothing does.Now there are other candidates for worst DH collection ever. The 08 Phillies won the Series with Chris Coste, Greg Dobbs and Eric Bruntlett. The 04 Cardinals elevated the Red Sox to their first World Series in 86 years by producing Reggie Sanders, Marlon Anderson and So Taguchi. The 99 Braves got swept by New York with Jose Hernandez, Ozzie Guillen and Keith Lockhart.And the 1989 Giants gave us two hitless games of Ernest Riles, then caused the earth to shatter so that the series would end in four games rather than have to go back to Oakland. Now thats taking problem-solving to its extreme.The issue, of course, is that National league teams dont normally have the luxury of carrying a classic DH-type during the regular season, and as a result have to scramble to invent one on the fly. Maybe the closest ever was Ryan Klesko with the Braves in 95 and 96, backed up by Mike Devereaux (not so much) and then Terry Pendleton (better), although the Braves did have Jeff Bagwell in its brief flirtation in 2005.The Giants would seem to have one in Sandoval, and out-of-town observers think him the obvious choice. They havent seen him day in and day out, though, which is why they are surprised when locals are surprised at the out-of-towners surprise at the locals surprise. If you know what we mean, and we think you do.Bochy has not yet announced what his combination will be, and probably wont until hes met with his staff mmpphhzzzzzzzzzzz, since the decision doesnt have to come before Saturday evening.That said, the Giants, who already have enough trouble scoring runs (three per game in the postseason, a ghastly figure for a team which is 7-3), will be offering yet another Kaopectate Choice to a lineup that already is trying to make hide nor hair of itself. Hell, they might decide to let Matt Cain give it a whirl in Game 3 if he gets that assignment.Or they could go with their last hitter in the NLCS the redoubtable Brian Wilson. I mean, he did no better than any other pitcher (Jonathan Sanchez and Cain were the two hits in the Giants 2-for-21 postseason), but he might look fearsomecrazy enough to coax a walk.Which, in truth, is more than Tsuyoshi Shinjo ever did.

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