(I apologize if you're getting this twice. I'm having some feed issues again.)
Well, the former is ugly, but not insurmountable. Our wild card hopes are certainly dwindling away just like the summer boozing season. Of course, it's almost the fall boozing season, so that's not the problem. The real problem is fatigue by our horses, Cain and Lincecum.
These guys have been monsters all year, but I truly think that this long, stressful season has taxed both their physical and mental states. It would be hard not to. In the NL, only Adam Wainwright (219 IP) and Danny Haren (217.1) have thrown more than Timmy's 211.1 innings. Matt Cain is right behind with 202 innings.
I'm not one of these guys that says "Oh he's too small to keep this up" and "His motion is too violent." It's just not true. There are very few horses in this league that can be considered better at the tail end of the season. Hell, look at Roy Halladay. The guy leads the MLB in innings pitched at 221, and his first and second half stats are markedly different.
Halladay's pre all-star ERA was 2.65, to go along with 10 HR allowed. In the second half, his ERA has gone up to 3.26, and has already allowed 11 HR in 30 less innings.
With Zito and CC Sabathia being notable exceptions, dudes just tire out. Even Timmy Lincecum will give up 5 runs occasionally. Of course, his worst starts are in the heat. As I noted in this August 18th post, Timmy hates the heat.
He flat out doesn't like it, and his pitching suffers as a result. Take a look for yourself. In Timmy's last 3 starts in which he's given up 4 runs or more, they've all been during hot weather-- one in Cincy, one in Atlanta, and one in LA. If you can't see the table below, click here.
Now, onto the Angel Villalona situation.
If you haven't read the article from MLB.com, here it is.
All we know is that Angel Villalona, the 48th ranked prospect in all of the majors at age 19, has turned himself into authorities in the Dominican Republic, and is the prime suspect in the killing of another dude.
Great. This is all we need.
The island of Hispanola (Haiti/Dominican Republic) is not a good place. Poverty, desperation, and corruption rule, and for many young men, the possibility of becoming a major leaguer is the only way out. They'll lie about their ages and names (Miguel Tejada) and will even do all kinds of crazy steroids, even stuff meant for animals. It's this desperation that Dominican big leaguers know all too well.
This particular situation has a 19 year old bonus baby, who received $2.1 million dollars from the Gyros at age 16 to develop into the next David Ortiz.
Think about it. You're in a new country that has zero in common with the only thing you know, you've got a ton of money in your pocket-- more than 95% of your countrymen. It's difficult to comprehend how someone develops at such a young age with such strong factors at work.
With all that said, yeah, he probably shot this Mario Felix de Jesus Velete character. In fact, I'm almost positive he killed the guy.
But c'mon guys. This is the same thing that professional athletes deal with in this country, let alone the D.R.
Eddy Curry, Antoine Walker, Dunta Robinson, Steve Smith, CC Sabathia, Paul Pierce, Stephon Marbury... the list of professional athletes robbed or attacked is off the charts.
These guys are targets, and the young and dumb ones seem to inevitably put themselves in these situations. See Jackson, Stephen and Jones, Pacman for further clarification.
Obviously none of us were there, but some young Dominican punk probably ran up on Angel outside of some club or a cousin's house (inevitably cousins are involved somehow), and some sort of threatening situation occurred in which Villalona feared for his own life or the lives of his family members.
As Giants reliever Waldis Joaquin alluded to, "...people occasionally shoot first and answer questions later if they're being hassled by a group."
"Maybe if you have five people in one fight, you don't want to leave, and if you have a gun, you [fire it]." --MLB.com
Real reassuring Joaq-man. Real good.
The effect on the Giants future plans obviously won't be known for awhile yet, but to have one its top hitting prospects in this kind of trouble is not good.
The corruption angle could work well or horribly for Villalona in this scenario.
Scenario #1: Villalona hires the best lawyer in the country, pays off a couple magistrates and politicians, and gets off on a self-defense ruling. Everyone's happy.
In fact, check this out from the UNHCR website:
"...The judiciary, headed by the Supreme Court, is politicized and riddled with corruption, and the legal system offers little recourse to those without money or influence."
Money and influence, sounds good. Go Giants.
Scenario #2: An overzealous legal system seeks to make an example out of On-Hell and stuff is not good.
Ah yes, murder raps in corrupt third world countries, gotta love that.
Keep the faith Giants fans.
AND EFF THE DODGERS.