Friday, May 30, 2008

7 7 3 3 1 6

103 pitches, 29 batters, 10 groundouts, 5 flyouts. One bad inning, the third, 1B, 2B, 3B, 2B, 3 runs scored. Of course, he earned another ND. The mean Matt Cain start (74 IP, 36 ER) this year has been 6 IP and 3 ER, the so-called "quality start," yet M.C. has achieved that only 5 times in 12 chances. Inconsistency and a lack of control have plagued our boy all season. A simple look at his first 11 starts shows how he's pitched relative to the last two seasons.

11 starts, 11 HRs allowed, 34 BB, 59 K (multiply by 3)

33 starts, 33 HRs allowed, 102 BB, 177 K (projected full season)

The numbers for 2006: 31, 18, 87, 179 (GS, HR, BB, K).
The numbers for 2007: 32, 14, 79, 163

I like to think he is underperforming over this 1/3 of the season and that he will go through a similar stretch on the "other side of the line." Teams are slugging .421 vs. M.C. in '08, fifty points higher than his career mark. Teams are putting the ball in the air more. A quick glance at the GO/FO ratio for 2007 shows 0.93 (230 GO to 247 FO). After 12 starts in 2008 it is 66/99 or 0.67. It was 0.60 (56/94) before tonight's strong effort.

How about that triple play? One pitch! Three outs!

Extra innings. Yikes. I'm going to bed.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Tale of Two Sixths

We are one-third of the way through the season. Our first sextile showed a spunky 12-15 (.444). Number two clocks in at 11-16 (.407). After 54 games we are 23-31 (.426), projecting at 69-93 for the season. I've felt all along we were a 100-loss team, so this has to be considered "playing above our heads."

Three stirring wins against the division leader in their yard was gripping stuff. Highlight of the season so far. Unfortunately, I think our brain trust will believe such events are the result of their roster-building brilliance. We know better. We all know a hot bad team can beat a cold good team. Memo to Neukom: we're the bad team, and p.s., what does "rebuilding" mean to you?

Here's an easy way to see it. Take The Enchanter, Timothy LeRoy Lincecum. Remove him from the team. He's 7-1. (We are 1-2 in his 3 ND). The 2008 SFGs are 15-30 without Tim. (And they say pitchers shouldn't be MVPs.) When you lose 11 of your 13 previous road series against a team, you are bound to win eventually. Great series, but a pyrrhic victory if we get excited about Randy Winn, Ray Durham, Bengie Molina, and Aaron Rowand. Sanchez was impressive in his start, and Wilson had two huge saves. Those are the kind of highlights we need to keep 2008 interesting.

Another highlight for me is Freddie Lew's .818 OPS, good for THIRD on the team. I know he is only 41st in the league, but I'm getting tired of Bonehead not letting him play against lefties. How the hell will he ever learn how to hit these guys? ZiPS projects Lewis at .722, admittedly with a limited sample size. I'd like to see if he can finish over .800. He'll have to keep up an OBA of .350 and slug at .450. He's got 20 XBH (11 2b, 5 3B, 4 HR) in 48 hits so far. Even if he slugs only .400, that .750 OPS is serviceable. Randy Winn has 10 years in the bigs with a .344/.424/.768 line. The average OPS in the NL is .743! As a team we are 9th in the league at .727, just ahead of the Mets. Molina's sizzling .903 (19th) and Rowand's gaudy .946 (13th) belie their career numbers, .729 and .814 respectively.

First 1/3, what's your highlight?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Too Much Tim

The Link has pitched 7 innings or more in only 4 of his starts including tonight. With over 100 pitches thrown, I was surprised to see him start the 8th to face his 29th batter. But Tim, true to form, got the strikeout. Batters 30 and 31, the 3-4 hitters Hudson and Jackson, rapped singles and his night was done. A little better relief work by Tyler Walker and Tim gets charged with only one run, but that is nit-picking with six runs on the board. That's right, our gang tagged Dan Haren with the big fly twice, so Walker had some breathing room. In all, it was Too Much Tim. Bonehead tried to get too much out of him, but who can blame him? Tim was much too much for the best team in the division. The D-backs were at home in their cozy hitters' paradise with studly young Dan on the mound and they got whipped by our whippersnapper. They got whiffed, they hit pop-ups and short-of-the-warning-track flyballs, and they broke their bats grounding out. I loved that sequence in the 7th: leadoff double after a six-pitch battle, then 3 outs on 4 pitches. That "slam the door" routine probably convinced Bonehead to let the Arm They Call The Franchise throw a few more probably unnecessary pitches. Tonight, he simply outpitched an established ace, dominated one of the best lineups in the game, and snapped our losing streak. Lincecum's consistency is most impressive, especially considering he's only got 34 major league games under his belt--a year's worth of starts. You just expect him to do well and by golly he does. 10 starts: 1, 2, 0, 0, 3, 0, 2, 3, 3, 3 ER allowed.

Tonight we conclude our experiment here at RMC: henceforth the good Doctor, JCP, will return as The Linkman, and yer man here, MC, will be back on the MC wagon.

Special image (from a February 2007 Salem-Keizer Volcanoes newsletter):

Does that face say gamer? Does that sneer strike fear in your heart?
Or does it look like he should be in a tux for a prom photo?

Sunday, May 25, 2008

6 5 2 2 2 6

( The usual "Matt Freak," M. C. O'Connor, is off enjoying an adventure with his lovely wife. Yes, everyone is surprised that he has a lovely wife. Standing in for MOC is the usual "Tim Freak," JC Parsons. I guess that's a warning. )

Well, crap.

No, I'm not "crapping" due to a pair of tough losses to a team for which every Giants fan has a special "distaste." I'm not "crapping" because we wasted a spectacular offensive day by Molina ( 4 doubles! ). I'm not "crapping" because Omar played like a retiree ( 0 for 7 with an error ) on his special day. I'm not even "crapping" ( does it sound like I have a digestive problem? ) because golden boy, Matt Cain, pitched well enough to win AGAIN and came away with a no decision. I'm "crapping" because I have to write about it.

Thanks to RMC "behind-the-scenes" type, newlywed Ron (congrats!!), we decided to alter the pitching rotation, as it were. I would do the next Cain start and MOC would take Lincecum coverage. Everybody, but me, loved the idea. Come on, Tim has been a machine-God! Good things happen when the Kid takes the mound. Matt is truly a stud, but it is somehow different. I enjoy his pitching and expect great things from him, however, right now it is hard not to expect a loss. Hell, it is tough not to expect EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED SUNDAY. What good does it do anyone to analyze another Cain heartbreak? I can't bring myself to think about it, let alone write about it. Go back and read this one. So, now you see...crap.

However, ( quick mood change ), I have devised a way to be useful to my patient readers. There is a rumor that a big mid year analysis is coming here at RMC. Exciting, eh? To get you all tuned up, I thought a little 2008 Giants baseball trivia quiz would be in order. I'll post the answers as a "heckler" below so be sure to let us know how you did. No looking up stuff, this is just to see if you have been paying attention. (BTW all stats are from before the double header) Here we go!

1. Since his debut, Matt Cain has the third lowest BA% against, .223. Who are the 2 lower?

2. Matt has taken a no-hitter into the seventh inning ____ times in his career.

3. The Giants lead the majors in one run games in their first 49 games with _____.

4. We have had two walk off wins this year. Who did them?

5. Who leads the team in runs (25) and walks(18)?

6. Which Giant leads the league in road avg (.390)?

7. Which Giants minor league team are called the "Defenders"?

8. Which minor league team is leading their division?

9. What is the only day of the week that we have a winning record on?

10. How many times has Bochy been ejected this year?

Winners will receive a guided tour inside Bruce Bochy's head! Doesn't everyone want to know what 's going on in there? Tour size limited to 12 adults.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Down and Dirty Tim

There are some pitchers that are really tough on catchers. Every other pitch is in the dirt or bounced on the plate. Lots of wild pitches, or passed balls, depending on the mood of the scorer and mobility of the catcher. Tim Lincecum has joined the ranks of these pitchers in the last few outings. Just ask Bengie.

Tim did not always pitch like this. Well, of course, he has almost always been this effective. That was his 11th straight quality start, dating back to last year. In fact, that would be his 13th of last 14 starts, and his 25th out of 32 career starts. Impressive consistency. However, if you witnessed last night, consistent is probably not the word that comes to mind. Tim was all over the place; walking four and throwing two wild pitches. And, oh those balls in the dirt! Now that Tim uses his slider and changeup so much, especially with two strikes, he was regularly bouncing balls on the plate and, sometimes, many inches in front of the plate. I will leave the detailed analysis to experts like Bay City Ball, but I am sure that last year Tim was higher in the strike zone. Much like Cain, fly balls and strikeouts were the main course. This year we are seeing more grounders and, THIS IS HUGE, fewer homers and extra basehits. I see this as another sign of Tim's maturity. Bengie sees it as a reason for a pay raise.

Tim's opinion: "one of my worst outings ever" and " I just had a hard time finding any rhythm at all," Lincecum said. "I was trying to find it from pitch to pitch, as opposed to just having it."

But for the Giants, a much needed win. Only the fifth this month!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

7 6 6 6 3 6

You call this a lineup? Winn, Castillo, Durham? Not to worry, Bengie's pickin' up the 4-hole. Boy howdy! Captain Gamer--our best hitter--hits 5th. 'Splain, please. Shouldn't your best hitter hit 3rd? So, Bruce, where's our youth? Next guy. Er, Aurilia. Isn't he dead? Really. Retired, at least. No? Uh, OK, Richie hits 6th. Daniel Ortmeier is hitting 7th and playing LF!! I have something to live for! Emmanuel Burriss hits 8th and plays--gasp--shortstop. Old Man Omar gets the day off, eh? (Fred Lewis, even against lefties, should be in LF, Ort at 1B, Aurilia DFA'd.) So, you're Matt Cain and yer thinkin' you better pitch a gol-durned shutout or you ain't gonna win nothin' with this crew. The only three guys I have anything invested in are batting in the last three spots. Life mocks us here at RMC. We embrace rebuilding, and we get these stiffs:

photo by Joel Friesen, CC 2.5

UPDATE: Richie Rises! SOLO HR in the 2nd to make it 1-0 Giants! It's alive! It's alive! I can feel the Holy Spirit today, brothers and sisters. Only the Hand of God could Resurrect Rich. Ort walks. That's right, a Giant earned a "base on balls." Burriss grounds out, but at least it took 5 pitches. Matt Cain manages a 6-pitch swinging K. (M.C. on the hill so far: six up six down on 26 pitches including 2 K's on 96 mph heat.)

UP-UPDATE: Matt gives up a loooong fly ball to Alexei Ramirez. JT Snow (on the radio with Phlegm) compliments our boy for challenging guys with his smoke. He calls him "old school." High praise. AAAArrrrrggghh. Matt WALKS THE PITCHER! An AL guy who never hits (John Danks). But he gets Cabrera. 41 pitches, 10 batters, 9 outs.

UPPITY UPDATE: Ort hits one off the end of the bat to the warning track for the 2nd out in the 4th. Burriss hacks randomly but gets an infield hit with his blazing speed. Excitement plus! Cain K's again to end the "threat."

OH, I HATE TO UPDATE: Almost-Giant Joe Crede hits a solo HR off Matt to tie it up, ruin the no-hitter and the shutout. Looked like a fat pitch--out over the plate. Through five: 18 batters, 68 pitches, 2 hits, 1 run.

OH, I LOVE TO UPDATE THE UPDATE: The stiffs make a run. 2-1 Giants.

OH, JAYSUS, MARY, AND FOOKIN' JOSEPH UPDATE: Matt gives up a solo HR to Cabrera, and AJ Pureshitski gets a damn hit, and now Carlos Quentin brings the hammer down. 4-2 Sox. Here comes Righetti. Now my day is ruined. I'm officially blaming Bengie for "calling a crappy game." On the plus side, Captain Gamer and The Ort-ster make a run, so it is 4-3 bad guys after six. Matt has thrown 95 pitches so I expect he'll get a chance to finish the 7th and that's it.

ORLANDO CABRERA IS A BLEEDIN' GOBSHITE UPDATE: The wheels come off the M.C. wagon. A walk to Thome and another goddamned homerun to the 5'9" 185-lb. leadoff hitter with a.720 lifetime OPS. 6-3 Sox.

In San Francisco on Trinity Sunday: 30 batters faced, 21 outs. 115 pitches. 6 hits. 6 runs. 6 strikeouts. 3 walks. FOUR HOMERUNS. A tale of two Matts: twice through the lineup, total dominance. Third and fourth time: batting practice.

The good news? The stiffs are fighting back! BENGIE ties it up! M.C. is "off the hook." Thank you, Satan. Wow, am I the ballgame prognosticator? Did I make the right lineup call, or what? You wanna go, Bruce? Eh? You wanna go?

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Yeah, he pitches today. But that's not who I mean. The other Barry, remember him? John Brattain has another excellent piece about The Greatest Player Of Them All in The Hardball Times. Mr. Brattain has a refreshing, consistently contrarian voice in his work about BLB.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

"Cained" Tim

I thought Sabean said this team was a contender. Yeah, sure....

In the next few minutes the Giants will lose a game they shouldn't have. A lovely starting job against a red hot team was wasted. A chubby four run lead after 7 innings was not enough to withstand some impressively choke relief pitching. (Come on, a 3 run pinchhit homer by Erstad!! His first ever!! Disgusting.) A knowledgable Giants fan (is there any other kind?) would probably assume that Matt Cain was the unlucky starter, but NO! The Franchise is the victim this time.

Tim Lincecum continued his string of quality starts (he is now 8 for 8 in that category!) yet he will get no decision. It was the fourth time he has "Ked" ten batters in a game. His 3 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks caused his ERA to "balloon up" to a gaudy 1.92. He is second in the league (behind a Red named Volquez) in that category. I do not remember another Giants pitcher maintaining this level of consistency at the start of a season. Anybody out there think of another great Giants start? Didn't Vida start hot?

As a true baseball fan, I have to admit I enjoyed watching Lance Berkman. The guy is unreal right now. An easily over looked important at bat happened in the fourth. With a six run lead, Tim challenged Lance with two runners in scoring position and first base open. Berkman, currently on an epic hot streak, delivered. I know going after him was the right thing to do but sometimes you just have to give someone their due and pitch around him. I wonder what Tim would do the next time?

That Tears It!

As devoted readers of these posts know, I have been a defender of Brian Sabean in the past, although not an apologist. No More! In today's Chronicle, Brian Sabean is quoted as saying that the Giants have a chance in 2008. Now, I am quick to point out that saying to reporters and doing are two different things, and that Mr. Sabean has been a master of not talking about what he does, which is a good thing, but I am afraid this just crosses some kind of line. Here is my fear, if my trembling fingers can cooperate enough:
  1. The Giants hang around .500 until August or so.
  2. Only Arizona is significantly ahead of the Giants, because the rest of the west is kind of sucky, too.
  3. The Giants are not 20 games out in the wild card race (although this doesn't seem likely, it is possible - the NL Central may be a real dogfight between the Brew Crew, Cards, lovable Cubbies and Houstros; and the NL East could be a showdown between the Metropolitans, Philthies, surprising Flomars, and maybe even Atlanta).
  4. Then, and please have sensitive children out of the room before reading further, we trade for or sign a wily veteran to help us in the stretch run. Reggie Sanders?
  5. Wily veterans clog up the offseason basepaths, as it were, to complicate development of a good, young, truly competitive team. Aaargh! Fans implode! Brian Sabean makes famous speech, "I am not a health hazard."

Rebuild, rebuild, rebuild!

Also, I thought Misch pitched pretty well last night. The Giants left 10 runners on base, for chrissakes, feebly missing a bunch of run scoring opportunities.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

8 7 2 2 4 5

Matt came throught last night with his biggest performance of the young season. It took 35 batters and 114 pitches to get 24 outs, but Mr. Cain kept battling and kept throwing 95 mph smoke and finally (with 1-2-3 9th inning help from Brian Wilson) subdued the 'Stros. This is a lineup that features Miguel Tejada, Carlos Lee, and Lance Berkman, three guys who are better than everyone on our team, so it wasn't easy. It looked like it was going to get ugly early--M.C. needed 56 pitches to labor through the first three innings, which included a walk to the pitcher, five hits and a run after being staked to a 3-0 first inning lead. But then, with a little help from idiotic leadoff hitters, Matt got through the 4th and 5th on only 14 pitches. (What's this bunting-for-a-basehit-to-leadoff-an-inning nonsense? I love it when guys try that crap--they make OUTS come a whole lot quicker that way. I sure hope our guys don't help other teams that way. In all the years I've watched baseball, I've only seen one guy--Brett Butler--who could consistently bunt for hits. Bunts = outs. I'm surprised I have to explain this.) But back to the Ultimate Gamer, M.C. He seemed to get stronger after the quick innings. His lightning line-drive bomb to leadoff the 5th was marvelous, and he got a big strikeout after a walk in the 6th, free-swinging Tejada made a quick out to strand Berkman on deck, all of a sudden it is 4-1 after seven. Matt hit for himself in the 8th with 92 pitches under his belt, then blew away Berkman with the big heat. Lee's HR didn't faze him, nor the 2-out walk to Pence as he wasted another helpless batter with a clutch K. The 22 pitches in the 8th was his biggest total, and we've seen meltdowns at these penultimate moments before, but not last night. You want Gamer? We got Gamer. That start was all grit and determination by our young stud. We are "hella stoked" here at RMC this a.m. (Great night with the stick for F-Lew, he seems to have found his stroke again.)

n.b. Big D of GIANTS WIN points out that M.C. leads the team in SLG!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Barry & Leon

Good sportswriting is easy to find these days if you look outside of the "traditional" media and cruise the electronic world. One of my favorites is Edge of Sports, featuring the estimable Dave Zirin. In his latest piece, Boss's Boycott: The Bonds Vanishes, he compares our very own Barry Lamar to none other than LEON TROTSKY. Now Mr. Bonds has been described as The Devil Incarnate by many a "sportswriter," but this is the first time he's been linked with a commie revolutionary. For that alone, Mr. Zirin deserves your ear.

= ?

(Both these images are taken from Wikimedia Commons and are in the public domain.)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Local boy makes good

The 2008 Giants are filled with these stories. The latest hero is Sacramentan Steve "Backup Catcher" Holm, whose 2-run bomb beat the Phillies yesterday. Was that win a TEAM EFFORT? Captain Gamer got 3 walks (he's now sporting a gaudy .972 OPS), Señor Clutch and The Dirtbag collected 2 hits apiece, the Sadler-Taschner-Walker-Wilson relief squad was dynamite, it takes a fookin' village, eh? But this post is focused on a man who has played 419 games in the minors, none above AA, with a lifetime .240 average. Steven Robert Holm is 27 and slugged a career-high .511 (15 HRs in 69 games) in 2006 for single-A San Jose, and last year managed a career-high .387 OBA (42 walks in 84 games) for AA Connecticut. He's been in the system since 2001, where he split time at 3B, 1B and catcher for Salem-Keizer. Holm's college baseball career was at Oral Roberts University where he was a GOLDEN EAGLE. In 2000, the young shortstop was the Mid-Continent Player of the Year. Former Giants pitcher Craig Colbert was also an ORU Golden Eagle.

UPDATE: check out yer bhoyo M.C. on ONLY BASEBALL MATTERS!!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Stopper Tim

One of the features of a truly great starting pitcher, of an "ace," is that special ability to stop a losing streak. By the sheer force of one's will (and talent), an entire team's momentum and fate can be redirected. This is what young Mr. Lincecum has demonstrated repeatedly so far this season; specifically, today's gem was the fourth victory by Tim following a Giants' loss.

This was perhaps Tim's best outing of the young season. His eight innings match a career high. The Enchanter gave up four hits; two of which were solo homers, while striking out eight and walking one. The numbers, while impressive, don't really tell the story. Tim set the tone immediately by striking out the first three batters LOOKING. Cool, huh? This kind of domination continued throught out the game. His best inning was the seventh; three outs from the heart of their potent order ON SEVEN PITCHES. Another thing I always look for is how a pitcher responses after a does he deal with the next batter? Tim was unfazed after Howard led off the second with an opposite field blast (boy howdy is that guy good!) as he got three straight fly outs. With one out in the eigth, Tim gave up a homer by their catcher, then a single! After a coaching visit, He finished his night with a fly out and, of course, another strikeout. The kid has poise.

Everything seems a little different with Tim on the mound. Even if we fall a behind, there is a sense that we can still win. There can be no doubt that we are all watching the real deal here. This all begs the question, and I am really asking for answers here,


Is this something to worry about? Is it OK to live through arbitration years? Is Lincecum (and his Daddy) holding it up? Matt signed a biggie, right? What gives?

Thursday, May 8, 2008

6.1 9 5 5 1 5

The Pirates clearly have our number, but so what? The rookies have been playing over their heads a bit and they'll come crashing back to earth soon and guess what? EVERYONE will have our number. The projections about this team losing 90-100 games will come true. We are hideously bad. Matt Cain was better today than the rest of our feeble offense. He had two hits including one of our two extra base hits. On the mound, the 9 hits were a season high. Inconsistency is M.C.'s bugaboo. Did the hamstring issue from last week carry over? Only one walk, that is a good sign. Five strikeouts looks OK for 6-1/3 IP, but in the context of 30 batters faced, it looks feeble. After all, Barry "Da Beezy" Zito struck out five yesterday. Talking points:

--Jose Castillo batting 2nd (.287 OBP, lifetime .296). Reeks of Bonehead-ism.

--Rich Aurilia playing at all. Put Lewis in LF and Ortmeier/Bowker at 1B. Send Richie away.

--Special Agent Jack finally got dinged with inherited runners. Bound to happen.

I sure hope Tim Lincecum pitches well tomorrow. There's not much else worth watching with this bunch. But we knew that. I really hope we get to see Matt improve steadily the rest of this season. I'm getting tired of seeing those "L's" next to his name.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Stressful Tim

It is only early May and it is already getting to be a challenge to put out meaningful commentary about Mr. Lincecum. (Who knew writing a blog would be this hard? Bloggers, maybe?) How does one exactly analyze a pitching performance? Well, how about...

END RESULTS: Hopefully in a couple years we will be back to this being the ONE measuring bar, but that sure is not the case now. (If you used this for Matt Cain, he looks a lot like Zito.) Bottom line, Tim definitely kept us in the game, as he has EVERY START SO FAR.

STATS: We all love the numbers, don't we? Six innings AGAIN and NO EARNED RUNS. Can't complain there. Only six hits, 3 for doubles though, no home runs, which is great in that park. Five strikeouts and two walks (one intentional) is not too exciting, but gets the job done. The two wild pitches that figured into the scoring are bad. I didn't see them and I wonder if Holm was a little overmatched. The worst number (AGAIN) is probably pitch count - 110 for six innings. However, much of that is due to errors that extended a couple innings and contributed to...

STRESSFUL SITUATIONS: This may be one of the most over looked aspects of evaluating pitchers, yet I feel it is crucial. Especially with our youngsters, it is all about MATURATION and these situations are where it happens. Tim was in an almost constant state of stress. Four of his six innings started with baserunners, twice with leadoff doubles. He responded wonderfully, especially against the amazing Utley, which he struck out looking and popped out twice, all in big situations. The best example of Tim's continuing maturation came against Jenkins, a pretty good veteran hitter. Lincecum went back and forth between fastball and changeup masterfully and the helpless Jenkins was no match.

All in all, if our defense had dealt with stress as well as our boy, we probably would have taken the series. An exciting weekend of close baseball against a very good team. Maybe we can build on it.

I know Tim will.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

7+ 3 2 2 1 8

93 pitches, 60 strikes, 25 batters, 4 groundouts, 9 flyouts. EIGHT BIG PUNCH-OUTS. Best performance of the young season for M.C., and all he gets is another ND. As I listened to the frightening top of the 8th, when the Hurra-Cain suddenly lost it and walked his first batter (on four pitches), then got yanked for an INJURY, I promised Lucifer my soul if Tyler Walker would "hold on" and keep Matt's runner at first from scoring. The Big Sweaty did the job, and now I'll have to enlist Dan'l Webster's ghost for my defense. But it was worth it. Here at RMC, nothing is too great to sacrifice for our boy. We got your back, M.C.! And guess what else I told Mr. Scratch aka Satan aka The Hornéd Dude? I TOLD HIM I DIDN'T CARE WHETHER WE WON OR LOST. I TOLD HIM THE "RESULTS" WERE MEANINGLESS TO ME! ALL I CARED ABOUT WAS MATT'S "LINE." That's right, I'm a selfish, egotistical, barcalounger-lounging cad who doesn't care about the team! {insert maniacal laughter} Go, Matt! You da man!!!!!

(n.b. Phlegm just let us know that M.C. had "tightness," not a serious injury, thank God, or the Devil, or Allah, or The Big Kahuna, or whoever-the-fook's in charge of that department.)

This is the TITAN! Check out!

10th inning: Brian Wilson Friday night redux; 1st batter Pat Burrell, a walk, 2nd Geoff Jenkins, a blown DP but got the lead runner, 3rd Carlos Ruiz, K, 4th Eric Bruntlett ground out! A SAVE! A BLOODY SAVE! (See, I do care.)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

"Human Highlight Film"

"Fred Lewis? The guy's a human highlight film!" --Dr. Jonathan C. Parsons, 2007

Continuing our series on the New Young Bucks, Mr. Fred Lewis has found himself in the middle of all things good and bad about the 2008 Giants. Our Little Engine That Could has been chugging along with an impressive .337/.419/.533 line over 29 games. The 300-400-500 (avg-oba-slg) plateau is the Holy Grail for a hitter. I think it is safe to say Fred is not going to slug .500 for a season, but I think he has shown a consistent ability to get on base. He has a patient, cerebral approach at the plate that will pay off in the long run, as long as the brass doesn't push him to "be more aggressive." Right now he leads the team in walks--a good thing for a leadoff hitter. I think his stroke will improve and I expect to see him develop into a solid all-field line drive hitter. The knock on Lewis is his age--he's played almost 600 games in the minors, and got tagged as an AAAA type. If you look at the stats, his strikeouts and lack of power have been his Achilles heel, but you can't complain about the .377 OBA. As we have seen, Fred has a raw, unpolished look on the bases, despite his speed. He has shown flashes of brilliance in the outfield alongside some real boners. I like to think those are just rookie lapses, and that his mental game in the field and on the basepaths will improve as well.

Fred is a former Southern University Jaguar. This Baton Rouge Historically Black University also produced the Brewers Rickie Weeks. The most famous Jaguar in MLB history is a fellow who was known for defensive and baserunning excellence, as well as a lot of strikeouts but little power from the leadoff spot. I'm talking about Hall of Famer Louis Clark Brock. I don't expect Fred to get 3,000 hits or 900 SBs, but I think he can be a solid player. If we can get some power hitters in the lineup, he could be a real asset at the top.