Saturday, July 31, 2010
Ludwick just turned 32 and is in his 8th year in the big leagues. He had a sensational year in 2008, cracking 80 XBH on his way to a .966 OPS (.406 wOBA and 5.4 WAR). His 2009 was not as impressive (.265/.329/.447), but 2010 has been much better (.281/.343/.484). He's racked up 2.6 WAR so far (2009 was only 2.0 WAR), and his .354 wOBA is right at his career average. He's a lifetime .832 OPS (117 OPS+) hitter, and he's considered an above-average fielder. He became a regular in 2007, after accumulating only about a season's worth of PA in his first four years. He had a stint on the 15-day DL earlier in the month. For perspective, only three Giants (Huff, Posey, Torres) are hitting above a .354 wOBA. The Cardinals apparently have a youngster (John Jay) ready to fill Ludwick's shoes in RF. St. Louis doesn't have that much of an offense, so it seems weird they'd let go of a good hitter. They obviously want another starter. We'll see what Westbrook can do. The real winner here is San Diego. They give up nothing and get a real bat for their lineup. He's not a game-changer, but he's a good player, and they don't lose anything on defense. He is immediately their 2nd-best hitter.
The Dodgers acquired Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot in a "meh" deal that sends former 1st-rounder Blake DeWitt and prospects Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit to Chicago. Brett Wallach is Tim Wallach's son, he's a pitcher in A-ball. I don't think Lilly will solve the Dodgers rotation issues, but I suppose he's an upgrade over Carlos Monasterios.
Friday, July 30, 2010
The Giants just barely continued their winning ways by defeating the doggers, 6-5, tonight in front of a packed Orange Friday house. One run games, especially when you are in a pennant race, are nerve racking ordeals which can turn on the tiniest of details. In a wonderful game like tonight's, it can be difficult to pick out that small nuance...the "difference maker."
Off the top of my head, I will list a few possibilities:
1) Tim Lincecum made a tiny change to his motion (raising his hands higher) that I must admit I would not have spotted on my own. The result was his 16th quality start; a flawed but gritty performance: 7 innings, 7 hits (2B,3B, and a HR - Tim's 10th), 2 runs, 2 walks, and 8 strikeouts. Actually if you could eliminate Furcal (3-3, HR, 2B, 2 walks), Tim probably would have thrown a shutout. Did the change make a big difference? Not so sure...Tim still seemed out of sync at times.
2) The one mistake Furcal made: trying to stretch a double into a triple with two outs in the fourth. Really Sanchez and Huff deserve credit for great relay action, but it was a stupid move.
3) Huff's non-walk: in the bottom of the third with two outs, Aubrey thought he had drawn the walk (even threw the bat away and started down the line). A very close call. The next pitch Huff crushed a ball 400+ feet to give us a lead we never lost (barely). And my personal choice...
4) The color orange: I know it is probably a silly detail, but it is an
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Sometimes Lex Luthor gets a hold of some kyrptonite and slows down Superman. That's what happened today. Tomorrow will be another story. Too bad we wasted a quality start from MadBum.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Jonathan Sanchez looked great through six, but couldn't get an out in the 7th despite being up by 7 runs. Jose Bautista got three outs, but managed to get an Uggla 2-run homer in there. Bautista struck out the previous batter Gaby Sanchez, but the wild pitch got past Posey and what should have been the third out was a baserunner. Still, the 9-7 lead looked safe as Sergio Romo threw a 1-2-3 8th. Brian Wilson had a shaky 9th though, with the rampant Dan Uggla proving to be the Giants nemesis, and we went to extras. Uggla had six hits--a double and five home runs--in the series.
Aaron Rowand and Edgar Renteria once again made something happen late in the game from their bottom of the lineup spots. Nate Schierholtz, pinch-hitting, loaded the bases with a clutch single to set up Torres' game-winner. Nine different Giants got hits, and seven different Giants scored. I would be remiss to mention the surging Juan Uribe, who had a 3-hit day including a 2-run single and a 2-run triple!
Another great win by a red-hot team. Keep it up, lads, keep it up!
Something happened, though, after that 81st game. The Giants went 16-4. They scored 111 runs and only allowed 57. That's a 5.55 rpg average. Only four teams--the Yanks, Red Sox, Rays, and Rangers--average over 5 runs scored per game. On the pitching side, the number is even more amazing, which shouldn't surprise us as we know that pitching is the team strength. But how about 2.85 rpg allowed? There are six teams--the Padres, Giants, Cardinals, Rays, Braves, and Mets--that average fewer than 4 runs allowed per game.
The Giants aren't going to play .800 ball the rest of the way. But if they continue to hit well they are going to keep winning. The pitching staff leads baseball with a 127 ERA+ and it is second with only 365 runs allowed. They are third in ERA, eighth in FIP, and tied for fourth in WAR. They're good. We knew that. What we didn't know was that this team can score runs. That is a deadly combination. That is what it takes to be a championship squad. Here's a thought I had a while back:
If the Giants score 4.5 rpg (or 9 runs every 2 games if decimal runs bother you), they will win the West.Right now the team is averaging 4.45 runs per game, or right at the league average. Here's another thought I had (from the same post):
If we can find a way to get Mr. Upside Buster Posey into the lineup instead of Mr. Out-maker Bengie Molina, we just might have a league-average offense. Let's hope we figure out how to do that.Now neither of these insights was particularly acute or original. Just sound baseball sense it seemed to me at the time. So, I'm not going to jump up and down and holler about Brian Sabean and all that. I'm just going to appreciate what a great run the club has been on (thank you Messrs. Posey, Huff, and Torres) and hope they keep it up. No, they won't keep scoring over 5 runs per game, and they will go back to giving up more than 3 runs per game. But they just might have a lineup that can properly complement the great pitching. At least that's how it looks in July.
Last night for the heck of it I went to a River Cats game and the starting pitcher turned out to be Boof Bonser. Bonser had an outstanding performance in the River Cats' 7-1 win. He retired the first 11 men he faced and had a no-hitter going into the 6th. In the 8th he gave up a run on back-to-back well-hit balls, and was taken out of the game.
Giants fans remember him as part of the infamous deal for AJ Pierzynski in '03.
Bonser made his ML debut in May '06 and was AL Rookie of the Month in September of that year. He made one start in the post season, a no decision in a loss to the As.
He needed shoulder surgery in Feb. '09 and missed all of last season. He became a free agent and was signed earlier this month by the As.
His ML record is 18-25 with a 5.19 ERA.
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
But the pitcher's duel came to an abrupt and shocking close when the Giants hit two home runs in the bottom of the eighth off reliever Brian Sanches. Juan Uribe was no surprise, it's the kind of at-bat he seems to live for. Banging out the big blast to break the tie was a game-changer. It looked like we'd go to the ninth with a nail-biter and count on Brian Wilson to be brilliant once again. But that's not what happened. What happened is that the Giants decided to be the New York Yankees and score six runs. Hey, you score six runs, good things happen. In a wildly improbably sequence, Aaron Rowand got a hit and Edgar Renteria hit a home run (only his second of the year). You read that right. Suddenly it is 6-3 Giants and I'm jumping out of my chair screaming "go for the kill!"( Really, you can ask JC.) The cushion turned out to be the difference as Wilson gave up a solo shot to Uggla (his second, his first tied it in the seventh), but it didn't tarnish the win. I like it when we have a cushion of runs. You can never have enough goddamn runs.
Giants win 6-4 by beating one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, and by beating a homer-happy club at their own game. It was a sweet, sweet victory, and a really quite impressive team effort. Seven guys got hits and five guys scored runs. The top of the lineup kept us in it against Johnson, and the bottom of the lineup won it against the bullpen. Matt Cain gave us another studly outing, the 12th time in 21 starts he's thrown at least seven innings and given up no more than three runs (and his 16th quality start). If our rejuvenated, Buster-fied lineup can keep it going, that sort of thing is going to give us a lot of chances to win. I saw the Panda in the dugout, I'd love to see him pick it up and start raking like it's two-thousand-nine.
Monday, July 26, 2010
That was the 100th game of the season. A 34-28 record (.548) in the final 62 games would put the Giants at 90 wins. It wasn't too long ago that it took .581 to get there. See what a 16-6 July will do for you? Tomorrow Matt Cain matches up with Josh Johnson. I got to see Johnson pitch last July (SF 3-0 win behind Zito), and he's a big fella, too (6-7, 250). Guess they like 'em king-size in Florida. You could make a case that he's the best pitcher in the NL right now, if not all of baseball. Should be a great match-up.
While you are on FanGraphs ooh-ing and aah-ing over Josh Johnson, read the piece by Matt Klaassen on Andres Torres. What a great story this guy is! He made another awesome catch in CF tonight.
But the game was sweet. Tim Lincecum came through with a gritty performance: 8 innings, 9 hits (ties season high but no homers), 2 runs, 1 walk and 5 strikeouts. Another quality start, 15 0f 21, I think. The only really damaging blow was a 2 RBI double by their fricking pitcher!! Timmeh got some help in the 8th from yet another snake mistake but basically he was super tough. Not a ton of strikeouts, which I know worries folk but I sense an attempt to lower his pitch count and walks by pitching for more contact. Tim is going to have to adjust back to the league and I think we will start to see that happen soon. Maybe he'll become a Maddux clone...never know with the Freak.
Of course, the big story continues to be that Buster kid. He's passed Orlando and heading for Willie Mac. His plate discipline gets me HOT! Don't forget to give Sabean all the credit...if he didn't unload Molina, we would still be on BusterWatch.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Tim Lincecum takes the hill today for the Giants as they look to sweep. This has been a different year for The Freak. He's set such a high bar that any drop-off is very noticeable--like Albert Pujols slugging below .600. This season Tim is allowing more hits, homers, and walks per 9 IP than in his back-to-back Cy Young years. He's also striking out fewer batters. The two best pitchers in the NL right now (sorry, Ubaldo) are Josh Johnson (2.23 FIP, 5.0 WAR) and Roy Halladay (2.87 FIP, 4.8 WAR). Tim is 5th in FIP (3.13) and 5th in WAR (3.3). This will be his 21st start, and there are 64 games remaining, so we should expect another 12 starts, perhaps 13 if they juggle the rotation a bit in September where there are four off-days. Tim looked as out-of-sorts against the Dodgers as I've ever seen him, and more worrisome, his velocity was way down. There's been nothing from Tim or the Giants about health or physical issues. (You always wonder about a ballplayer's off-season conditioning, particularly because there is so much variation, and teams lack any sort of consistent standards about fitness.) Expectations are higher as well--Tim is making big-time bucks for the first time ($9M this year and $14M next) and the fan base isn't going to settle for second-place anymore. The emergence of Buster Posey (.358/.397/.561) has really energized the club, and the great post-Break run has everyone on pins-and-needles, thinking even more seriously everyday that there really is some "magic inside."
Let's hope The Franchise is back to his studly ways today. GO GIANTS!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Baseball Musings notes that Kelly Johnson's cycle was the 146th since 1957, and only the 23rd for a losing team.
Andres Torres' five triples put him in fourth place on the league leaderboard, tied with three others.
Only three teams in the NL have a winning record on the road. Can you name them?
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Certainly a let-down last night, I was soooooooooooooo hoping for a sweep. I know, it doesn't happen very often, but goddamn I wanted one! If I were big-shot sports-writer with a little picture of me next to my column with my cool handlebar moustache and bulging jowls and creepy comb-over hairdo, I'd probably write a meaningful piece about the Giants inability to put teams away, and how a team of real men would stand up and manfully do the manly little things needed to un-man the opposition. But since I'm a mere amateur blogger-hack, I'll spare you. But you can look at my little picture anyway.
I desperately want to blame somebody for failing to nut-up and deliver the big hit. I want to gnash my teeth about another wasted start. I want to moan about our lack of a game-changing hitter. (Jose Bautista? How Sabean-esque can you get?) But I'll spare you. And you'll thank me.
p.s. Jose Bautista: fluke or breakout? You decide.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
That was only the team's second win in seven games this season against the Dodgers. A double by Andres Torres and singles by Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval gave the Giants a 2-0 lead in the 3rd. Nate Schierholtz hit a 2-run homer in the 4th to make it 4-0 (nice to see him contribute!), and with MadBum dealing things looked good. In the 6th, Rafael Furcal hit a leadoff bomb to make it 4-1, and Jamey Carroll singled, but Bumgarner got the next two guys out. When he walked James Loney, Ol' Boch yanked him and got Guillermo Mota. Mota made a stupid pickoff throw that bounced in the dirt and went into centerfield. (No need to actually throw there, just the fake and the looks would be enough to keep the runner close.) With runners on 2nd and 3rd and two outs, Matt Kemp hit a grounder to Sandoval. 99.99% of the time the third baseman throws that ball to first and the inning is over. Sandoval decided to tag Loney, who was coming towards the base, thus making it a "time play" (Rule 4.09a). The umps ruled that Carroll had scored before the putout was recorded, making it 4-2. The replay showed they got it wrong. Fortunately, the Giants scored later to make it 5-2 and the bullpen had just enough in the tank to close out the win.
The Giants have to beat the Dodgers and the Rockies and the Padres and even the lowly Diamondbacks if they expect to win the West. Last night was a good start.
Monday, July 19, 2010
You can check out the box score here. Only 13,279 were in attendance at the 'Stick. That would have been a big crowd back in those lean 70s seasons, eh?
Sunday, July 18, 2010
I was really hoping for a sweep, but three out of four against a good team ain't bad. The Giants go to Chavez LAtrine for three games starting tomorrow. The Dodgers just got swept in St. Louis and are a game behind us. Perhaps we'll turn it around against the NL West this week. Struggling James McDonald gets the call against Madison Bumgarner. That looks like a good opportunity, I hope we can take advantage of it.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Cain not only got run support, he took advantage of home plate umpire Mike Estabrook's generous strike zone and got the first 18 outs without too much trouble. The 24-inning scoreless streak finally came to an end in the top of the 7th when Carlos Beltran crushed a triple and Ike Davis blasted one in the water. The bullpen made a mess of things, but a six-run margin does wonders for your odds of winning. Cain had only thrown 93 pitches when he was pinch-hit for in the bottom of the 7th, so I'm not sure what that was about. In all, he faced 26 batters and allowed 4 hits and 2 runs, walking 1 and striking out 3, for a Game Score of 63. He also hit a double over Carlos Beltran in the 6th!
Other highlights: Pat Burrell's two walks, Nate's line drive hit in his only plate appearance, and Wilson's four-pitch save. The Dodgers and Rockies both lost, moving the Giants into 2nd place, 3-1/2 back of the Padres. It's the team's 50th win, and ties them with St. Louis for the 4th-best record in the league (.549).
Let's get the brooms out and complete the sweep tomorrow!
Hey, it worked for Spain! They won the World Cup final 1-0. And they won the semifinal 1-0, the quarterfinal 1-0, and their round of 16 game (the octofinal) 1-0. This 1-0 thing has real potential--we are talking international potential. It saves on scoring, it really does, and that just tires the lads out unnecessarily. Best to save them for defense.
Seriously, it was a tremendous performance by Barry Zito. It wasn't a complete game, but it was as dominating as Lincecum's. TEN strikeouts! The Mets have to be scratching their heads--they came to San Francisco and wound up playing the Padres. When I said the Giants would have to play "as well" as the Padres, I didn't mean they had to play like they were the Padres. But a win is a win is a win. Whatever works, I say. The team has been smoking in July, winning 9 of 13. Matt Cain goes today, and it would be nice to see him re-discover his May form (6 starts, 44-2/3 IP, 10 R, 35 K, 0.918 WHIP, 2 CG).
Y'know, good riddance and all, but the guy has lots of ... likability. And although Buster Posey is probably destined for Cooperstown, I wish Bengie well.
The following is from MLB.com:
BOSTON -- Nothing about Friday's game against the Red Sox was conventional for Bengie Molina.
Notorious as one of the slower players in the Major Leagues, that didn't stop the Rangers catcher from hitting for the cycle.
Collecting a single in the second inning, a double in the fourth, a grand slam in the fifth and a triple in the eighth, Molina became the first catcher since Chad Moeller on April 27, 2004, to hit for the cycle.
"He had a [great] game," third baseman Michael Young said. "Our guys were in shock. We tried to map out what he could do to get a triple.
"Bengie is a really great big league player, and unfortunately, people seem to dwell on his lack of speed. Everyone in the big leagues has a weakness, and that just happens to be his. He hustles all of the time, and he deserved it and had a [great] game. It is one of the best games of his career."
The Texas catcher did have some luck on his side, when he hit a double in the fourth off the glove of right fielder J.D. Drew and a triple in the eighth off the glove of center fielder Eric Patterson.
As Molina chugged around second and into third for that elusive triple in his last at-bat of the night, his teammates were yelling from the dugout to go three.
"Bengie's triple really only would have happened at Fenway; any other ballpark it really doesn't have time to rattle around out there, because it is so big," Young said. "It was fun to watch."
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Did you realize that was the first time Tim and Buster were batterymates? What do you think those two have planned for us?
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
What's it going to take? For one, The Über-Freak is going to have to lead the way. He's got, presumably, 14 starts left. He's racked up 3.1 WAR (5th in the NL) so far, which is in fact below his 2008 (7.5) and 2009 (8.2) norms. We have all seen Super Tim this year as well as Mere Mortal Tim, and even a below-par Lincecum is better than most anyone else. His 3.02 FIP is 4th in the NL, but he is part of a tight clustering of stud pitchers (Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson, Adam Wainwright, Ubaldo Jimenez, et. al.) rather than the lead horse blowing past the field. The Giants, weak as they are in the superstar department, need their ace more than most clubs. It's not really fair--ever--to put a team's hopes and dreams on to one player (hello, Barry Bonds), but back-to-back Cy Youngs have a way of distorting perspectives. It will be interesting to see how The Franchise carries the load the rest of the way. No matter what happens, we all love the kid, and we know he will continue to be a great performer for us.
The rest of the starters are sort of lumped together: Cain (3.82), Sanchez (3.89), and Zito (3.91) are 23rd, 24th, and 26th in FIP among NL starters. Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, and Hiroki Kuroda all rate higher, as do Mat Latos and Clayton Richard. Even Colorado's Jason Hammel does, too. That's not a knock--the Giants have a depth of quality most teams would kill for. The Cain-Zito-Sanchez triumvirate is worth 5.4 WAR (2.0 + 1.8 + 1.6), and I'm not sure any club can boast 2-3-4 starters with that kind of value. That group, though, is going to have to rack up consistent quality innings or the Giants chances look pretty bleak. If any one of them falters or gets hurt the team could be in trouble. Adding Madison Bumgarner (0.5 WAR so far, and a 3.86 FIP) certainly shores things up, and could be a nice insurance policy down the stretch.
First-half MVP Aubrey Huff has been a tremendous addition, easily the best free-agent signing by any team this season. As much as I knock Sabean, I have to give him his due for this one. The 33-year-old is having his best season ever (3.1 WAR, .400 wOBA, 142 OPS+), and he'll have to keep it going for the Giants to get to the top. Another fellow enjoying his most productive season ever is Andres Torres (2.8 WAR, .383 wOBA). After a torrid May (.957 OPS) and a mediocre June (.737 OPS), Giants fans aren't sure what we'll see the rest of the way. His July line (.343/.425/.743) in 9 games is somewhat reassuring, but players with his career arc are outliers and hard to project. ZiPS says .345 wOBA the rest of the way, which is solid, but not spectacular, and perhaps unfair. After all, he did put up a .379 wOBA last season in 75 games, so maybe the Andres Torres we are seeing is the real thing. No matter what, he's a great story, and you gotta love him.
The big question mark is, of course, Pablo Sandoval. Chris at BCB does one of his patented expert breakdowns of The Panda's season so far, so I suggest you check that out. Suffice to say that our rotund third baseman has got to start contributing. The long-awaited emergence of rookie sensation Buster Posey has somewhat taken the sting out of Pablo's fall from grace, but I just don't see how the Golden Boy can do it all himself. As one famous wag once opined, "it takes a village." The holes on the club are big, and the patches have to hold through the dog days in a very tightly-contested division. Bullpen youngsters Sergio Romo and Dan Runzler are getting better all the time, and I have lots of confidence in them. Santiago Casilla has been a nice pickup, too. Brian Wilson is a beast (2.16 FIP, 1.4 WAR), and insanely valuable, but Jeremy Affeldt remains a question mark. Like Sandoval, he was counted on for a lot, and I think the team will miss his contributions if he doesn't see an uptick in performance going forward.
I want to believe it is a four-team race and the Giants have an equal shot. The Dodgers scare me, they have so much damn talent. The Rockies are lurking menacingly, they have such great depth and balance, and a recent history of late runs. The Padres can't be written off despite their odds-defying season. They will come back to earth, no team can hit that poorly and not see a drop-off, but they won't go quietly. I like their leadership (Bud Black, Jed Hoyer, Paul DePodesta), and worry they might just outsmart us. Baseball Prospectus publishes post-season odds, you can see them here. Of the four clubs in the hunt, the number-crunchers see San Diego having a 57.5 % chance of making the playoffs, with Colorado (56.1 %) right behind, and Los Angeles (29.6 %) and San Francisco (13.8 %) scrambling to catch them. BP says we are an 84-78 club. (We'll see, eh?) For comparison, the Yankees have an 84.1 % chance (94-68) of reaching the post-season. I've come to loathe plucky squads that fall just short, or ones that have to have all the pieces fall into place to have a real shot. I want a loaded team, one with scads of talent and surplus players. I want a team that can weather any storm and that scares the rest of the league. I mean, I love the Giants. I'm a fookin' lifer, fer chrissakes. But I want 84.1 %, and I don't see why I can't get it.
Enjoy the next 74. Go Giants!
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Giants Ownership: stop equating "pretty good" with success. Start demanding a world championship and start doing what it takes to get one.
Mr. Steinbrenner: rest in peace.
the coaches gotta coach better, the manager gotta manage better,
and the owners gotta own better."
Sunday, July 11, 2010
I've been to only one All-Star game and that was in 1984 at Candlestick Park. I was still living in San Diego County but was in town for a visit and a ticket was available.
Here are the starting lineups:
1. Lou Whitaker
3.Cal Ripken, Jr.
Future Giants catcher Carter hit a homer in the second inning and was named game MVP in the 3-1 NL victory.
The game featured power pitching with 21 strikeouts recorded by the two sides. Fernando Valenzuela and the 19 year old Dwight Gooden took turns striking out the side. Valenzuela's mowing down of the formidable trio of Winfield, Jackson and Brett elicited comparisons the feat accomplished by Giants immortal Carl Hubbell 50 years earlier:
In the 1934 All-Star game played at the Polo Grounds, Hubbell set a record by striking out in succession five batters destined for Cooperstown: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin. In 1984, the 50th anniversary of this legendary performance, the National League pitchers Fernando Valenzuela and Dwight Gooden combined to fan six batters in a row for a new All-Star Game record (future Hall of Famers Dave Winfield, Reggie Jackson, and George Brett by Valenzuela; Lance Parrish, Chet Lemon, and Alvin Davis by Gooden). Hubbell himself was on hand for the 1984 All-Star Game at San Francisco's Candlestick Park to throw out the first pitch.(from Wikipedia)
Buster Posey had the big blow in the 3rd, a booming triple that scored two, and Travis Ishikawa, who continues to stroke the ball well, had two big hits. The youngsters were the stars today, and it is the youngsters who'll have to step up if the Giants are to make a run. Buster Posey has given us every reason to believe he is indeed The Real Deal. He hit cleanup today, and he looks like that homegrown middle-of-the-order hitter we have been waiting for since Will Clark. May it please the baseball gods, and may we take joy in the bounty they have seen fit to grace us with. Other than Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres, the rest of the thirty-something crew is underwhelming. Check out these wOBAs: Rowand .298, FSanchez .314, Renteria .327, Uribe .328. That ain't gonna cut it, mates. If you prefer OPS, the numbers are .681, .708, .711, .758, with only Uribe above the .729 NL average. To be fair, both Pablo Sandoval (.307, .704) and Nate Schierholtz (.304, .685) are putting up Rowandian numbers. We've seen Pablo hit a lot better than this, and there's still a chance Nate can do better as well. Who thought Travis Ishikawa would be swinging such a good bat at this point in the season? Our 20-year-old pitcher and his 23-year-old catcher, with a little help their 26-year-old first baseman, hammered it home to me today. The young guns have to step up and wrest control of this club from the greybeards. The old guys have to become the role players and the kids have to be the stars. The pitchers, of course, already know that. But as we've seen, both this season and last, they cannot do it alone.
Enjoy the All-Star Break, me buckos!
MadBum today. The Nats counter with Livan Hernandez. This is a mismatch of Cainian proportions--Livan will throw a 165-pitch 17-hit complete game and win a World Cup-like 2-1 angst-fest. Or not. The Giants are only four back, but the Rockies are only one back after a six-game win streak. San Diego is 5-5 in their last ten games.
Check this out:
From Elias: Buster Posey went 4 for 5 with a home run and three RBIs on Saturday, giving him 19 hits, six homers and 13 RBIs in 10 games in July. No other rookie in National League history has had that many hits, homers and RBIs over a 10-game span. Several American League players have done that, most recently Brian Daubach for the 1999 Red Sox. (from the ESPN team site, emphasis mine)
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Speaking of Buster Posey, who I hope is the "other half" of a Dynastic Duo with Tim Lincecum that will bring years of glory to the San Francisco Giants, he will face 2009 Gold Spikes Winner Stephen Strasburg tonight. Buster, of course, is the 2008 winner. Can you name the 2006 winner? (2007 is Tampa Bay Ray David Price.)
The Giants pulled out an extra-large can o'whup-ass when they saw Ubaldo Jimenez. Perhaps they can ground another high-flyer tonight.
*Deal still pending.
**The former South Carolina Gamecock has a line of .209/.316/.353 in 275 major-league PA (all in 2010).
Thursday, July 8, 2010
The Jonathan Sanchez-for-Corey Hart rumor seems to have died down, which is fine by me. At this point, being "buyers" means getting fleeced--giving up too much for what you get in return. Sellers don't have to sell, but the buyers feel like they have to buy, so they overspend. The Giants, if they make a move, will likely give away too much for a marginal improvement. Last year it was so ridiculous we got a guy who couldn't suit up. I'll admit FSanchez is having a good year, but we got him last year, and he couldn't help us at all when we needed a fresh bat in the lineup. That sort of thing doesn't exactly generate confidence in the GM and the rest of the suits.
The Giants take on Mr. Phenom Stephen Strasburg in D.C. tomorrow. It is Matt Cain's turn, and that strikes me as fitting. After all, the last four starters got, on average, 9 runs of support apiece. Cain gets to face a guy that has only given up 12 runs in 6 starts. And we all know that Matt has the worst run support of any pitcher in the bigs. Dig deep, buddy.
And keep rakin', Buster.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
It is a be-uuutee-ful box score, though. First Tim's line:
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
For the second straight night, the Brewers botched an inning-ending double play ball and the Giants capitalized with a heap o'runs. This time it was veteran Craig Counsell who made an errant throw, saving Pablo Sandoval from ignominy. I like playing the Brewers. Let's see if we can get the schedule changed so we can play them some more. In fact, let's just stay in the NL Central (17-7 record) the rest of the way, OK?
The Franchise goes tomorrow. His last two starts have been troubling: 9 IP, 14 H, 8 R, 7 BB, 8 SO against Boston and Colorado. Is it just normal variation? The usual ups and downs that every pitcher goes through? Or is Tim's Missing Mojo the sign of something else? Fatigue? Injury? This guy has shouldered not only a huge workload but the enormous expectations of the organization and the fan base. It's a lot, even for an exceptional talent like Tim. The baseball season is a long, hard slog--a war of attrition. Let's hope our No. 1 guy gets his groove back soon. So far, Milwaukee seems like the place to do it.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
That was unfortunately it for the Giants. The Rockies completed the mercy-killing in the 15th inning with Dexter Fowler. That guy had 10 hits (3 3B) and 7 walks in the series--he was on base 7 times today with 3 hits (1 3B) and 4 walks. In the fourth game, the fourth run by the home team ended it on the Fourth of July. At the numerical halfway-point in the season, the San Francisco side finds itself in fourth place with a 41-40 record.
Enjoy the rest of your Fourth. Time for me to fire up the bar-be-cue.
Happy Independence Day.
Saturday, July 3, 2010
A desperately-needed win comes from the most unlikely source--the offense. Our starter gives up six runs and we win by pounding on one of the best pitchers in the game. Giants baseball: not just torture, but a bizarre and inscrutable torture.
Matt Cain goes tomorrow, and his last two starts have been ugly. If he can right the ship grind out a quality start we could leave Denver with a split, which would be huge. Maybe the bats will still be hot against Jason Hammel. Every little bit helps, you know?
Have a great Fourth, everyone. Happy Independence Day!
Friday, July 2, 2010
Tim's performance may not seem too bad at first glance : 6 innings, 9 hits, 4 runs, 4 walks, and 4 strikeouts. However, a couple important details give evidence that it may have been one of his worst outings yet. First, the nine hits allowed are a season high and four of them were for extra bases. Even a feeble Lincecum gives up hits, but not usually BIG hits. Second, Tim was given the lead TWICE and each time promptly returned it. Nothing ace-like about Tim tonight. His velocity may have been a little better but his poise, command and aggressiveness were all AWOL. Again.
Is our journey over yet? What new horrors await?
Thursday, July 1, 2010
p.s. Now that we started this "cut the dead weight loose" thing, is there a shortstop in the organization somewhere we can plug in for Edgar Renteria? Can we trade him for one? I'm feeling like Tyrone Power in that old movie Abandon Ship! where he plays god and tosses overboard all the old, sick, and weak people in an overcrowded lifeboat in order to save the others. We want to save this team from drowning, we have to be ruthless here! Check out the D-Backs (there but for the grace of god, etc. etc.)--they are a-hackin' and a-hewin', but at this point they have little choice. Maybe they'll sell one of their three shortstops cheap.