Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Winning Formula

Madison Bumgarner kept the ball down and pitched with grit, guile, and good defense, holding the Rockies to one run in six innings. His Game Score of 57 gives him three good outings in August to go with the three bad ones. You have to like the young buck bouncing back after an ugly whipping by the Reds. All hope seemed lost, though, when Jeremy Affeldt gave up the game-tying homer to Melvin Mora in the 8th. Another close game, another chance handed to the Rockies, I was most anxious. I could see the torture unfolding in extras with infield hits, weird bounces, misplays, bad calls, and worse karma. But Andres Torres took care of business with a bomb of his own, a sudden and exhilarating blast, and I was leaping off the couch and shouting. Then Rockies found out--if they didn't know already--that Buster Posey is the real deal. You just can't give that guy chances to hurt you because he will. Tonight he smoked a perfect off-field two-run double to put the game on ice, and the Giants went home winners. It was a must-win game. Getting swept by Colorado would have been a disaster. But the Giants prevailed as they salvage a final win in a dismal month. Let's hope September is kinder. At 73-60 they are four back of SD and one back in the Wild Card. With only 29 games left to play, it would take 17-12 (.586) to get 90 wins.
Tim Lincecum starts tomorrow. It wasn't too long ago that meant winning about 80% of the time. Somewhere in that mop of black hair the RealTim™ is lurking, and I can't believe he'll be hidden much longer. The pieces will fall into place again for The Freak and he'll be Franchising all over the place very soon.



p.s. How about MadBum's RBI double in the 5th? And Buster's awesome throw to nail Gonzalez in the 6th? Are these guys great or what?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Slip slidin' away

A shocking misplay in right field by Cody Ross on a broken-bat liner from Carlos Gonzalez turned a Jonathan Sanchez gem into a Giants nightmare. JSanchez batted for himself in the bottom of the 8th, having thrown 102 pitches, but couldn't put away Dexter Fowler leading off the 9th despite having him 0-2. Ol' Boch didn't hesitate and summoned closer Brian Wilson. Gonzalez has been one of the hottest hitters in baseball this week, and Wilson shattered his bat with 95-mph heater on the 7th pitch of the at-bat. Alas, Ross broke in on the ball and it sailed over his head when he tried to turn around and run it down. In an instant it was a tie ballgame. Gonzalez looked like he should have been out trying to make it a triple, but FSanchez' three-hop relay throw eluded both Sandoval and Wilson and the run was awarded when the ball went out of play. Just like that a sterling start was wasted and a win slipped away. JSanchez deserved better--he dazzled the Rockies all night long with his change-up, flashing the stopper form he showed in Philly on August 19th.

Leading 1-0 entering the top of the 9th, the Giants win expectancy stood at 84.8%, and Fowler's lead-off walk knocked that down to 73.3%, a pretty big swing for one base runner. Then again, a 1-run lead is never a comfortable thing. Too much weird shit can happen to turn the game either way, as evidenced tonight. Going back to JSanchez' big win in Philly, Sergio Romo had a bit of a meltdown in relief in the 9th of that game, but the Giants were up 5-0 at the time. It's always nice to have a little cushion, you know? The Giants never really got on track against Jorge De La Rosa, who pitched a fine game and had a nasty change-up as well. The surging Rockies gain a game on the Giants and the Padres (who've lost 5 in a row). Even the Dodgers won tonight, with Hiroki Kuroda flirting with a no-hitter against the Phils. The Giants have to be content tonight with what-should-have-been, and no matter what happens tomorrow they finish August with a losing record.


Sunday, August 29, 2010

Matt Cain pitches well, Giants win anyway

Matt Cain made six starts in August, throwing 39 innings and giving up 36 hits and 16 runs, earning 2 wins, 2 losses, and 2 no-decisions. August was Matt's best month since May (44-2/3, 23 hits, 10 runs), and the low walk (7) and high strikeout (38) totals had to help. If the Giants were looking for a starting pitcher to "step up" and deliver the goods, they found one, going 4-2 with Cain on the mound this month (12-14 overall). Cain threw 30 pitches in the first inning and loaded the bases but managed to get three strikeouts and escape without a run being scored. He even got a hit on a bunt in the 3rd and pulled off a successful "butcher-boy" in the 4th. Unfortunately, Matt used up all of his daily allotted good fortune as the bullpen could not hold a 5-2 lead with one on and one out in the 7th and the quality start went--it seemed--for naught. It should have been a crisp, routine win, but our bullpen is a bit shaky, and three guys gave up four runs. Fortunately, the Giants bounced back against Arizona's truly wretched bullpen. The Giants then called on rusty Brian Wilson to get the last five outs and he was the difference-maker. Freddy Sanchez had three more hits today--he has 20 hits in his last 10 games. Jose Guillen got a big hit, Aubrey Huff had a hit and a walk and scored twice, and Andres Torres chipped in two hits, two runs, and two RBI. The Phils sweep the Pads so the Giants gain one in the West race and lose one in the Wild Card.

Colorado tomorrow. GO GIANTS!



I understand that the Giants needed to go out and get some guys. But Cody Ross now makes this guy unnecessary, don't you think?


Friday, August 27, 2010

More Crappy Tim

Lincecum's descent into mediocrity continues. Tonight's version of my recurring nightmare wasn't his worst line ( 6 innings, 4 runs, 5 hits, FOUR walks, and 6 strikeouts) but it was clearly more of the same crap. Come on...walk the first guy on four pitches...don't get a strike with a fastball until pitch #17 and then give up a homer on pitch #19. Since the offense decided to take an extra day off (they did work hard last series after all), the game was over right then.

August was brutal for Tim; FIVE LOSSES, 22 runs given up in 25.1 innings. That's some crappy pitching and it may quite well have taken us out of contention. Only time will tell. I'm really starting to dread Tim's starts....Thank Willie the next one is in September!!

Fresno Leads PCL Pacific South Division By Two Games After Beating River Cats

The Grizzlies took a close one from The River Cats last night on a beautiful evening by the banks of the Sacramento River.
I was accompanied by a dear old friend who used to work for the Giants and who knows way more about baseball than I do. Before the game we had martinis and mussels at Joe's Crab Shack in Old Sac, then walked over the Tower Bridge to Raley Field.
Game highlights:
Player of the game was 31 year-old Joe Borchard. He made an excellent assist from the left field corner, robbing someone of a double, and on offense he had an RBI single and a solo homer.
Former Giants who appeared were Velez, Burriss, Holm, Rohlinger, Guzman, Espinelli and Bautista, but the best thing was seeing Dan Runzler pitch a very strong inning.
What I actually enjoyed the most was the company, the delta breeze, and watching the nearly-full moon rise over the Sac skyline.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Eleven runs is almost enough

The Giants came back from a 9-run deficit to take the lead against the Reds, only to lose 12-11 in extras. It was an amazing comeback, a dramatic game, and a tough loss. Blasting 18 hits is fantastic--the Giants rapped out 53 in three games--and piling up another double-digit run total is awesome. That's 38 runs against the Reds!! Yes, the FIVE errors and terrible start by MadBum were disappointing, and you hate to lose when you score so many runs and make a great comeback at home, but it was such an astounding comeback it is hard to be too upset. Buster Posey had no fun, going 0-for-6, which is pretty damn astounding in it's own right. Here's an interesting fact (from the ESPN game recap):
The Giants are 147-3 in home games in which they score 11-plus since moving to San Francisco in 1958.

That's a .980 win percentage. Hmm, maybe I should be really upset about today. That was an unfortunate error by Sandoval in the top of the 9th inning. Drew Stubbs is fast, and it looked like Pablo tried to do too much with the  throw, and it sailed way over Huff's reach. You really can't hit a 3-run HR with no one on base and you really can't throw it any faster to first base. It was a crucial mistake, as the Reds capitalized with an RBI hit by the next batter, Paul Janish, off closer Brian Wilson. Pablo bounced back with a leadoff hit in the bottom of the 12th, but was unable to score the tying run, and the Reds avoided an ignominious sweep.

A crazy game in a season of crazy games. I'm happy for the off-day tomorrow, let's hope Tim gets his Freak going on Friday against Arizona.


Giants change rules, thrash Reds

It was a rugby score last night, the Giants piling up 16 points with two unconverted tries and two drop-goals. The Reds managed a try of their own, but the conversion failed. I'm not sure how else to describe a game in which the bottom of the Giants lineup (Ross, Sandoval, Uribe, FSanchez) managed 11 hits and 10 runs scored. Fred-D Sanchez is doing his best to make a mockery of my new nickname for him with his second straight 4-hit game. OK, OK, I'll change it to Freddy-O. That's got a nice Irish ring to it and more suitable to a rugby squad anyway. I'm thinking Pablo Sandoval might be decent in a scrum.

It is an interesting development, this offense thing. Take a look at that bottom four again: Ross, Sandoval, Uribe, FSanchez. I was going crazy when FSanchez was in the two-spot, it was an idiotic use of a player with modest-at-best OBP skills and little or no power. Hitting 8th, however, he's a competent bat. The same goes for Juan Uribe. He hit fifth by default--the Giants didn't really have a choice. But he's not particularly suited to it despite his power because he's a hacker in the Bengie tradition. Pat Burrell might be too slow for left field, but his patience and plate discipline play really well in 4th spot behind the team's best hitters (Torres, Posey, Huff). Ideally, Sandoval would hit higher than 6th, but his free-swinging ways have really hurt his production. Lately, he seems to have found his stroke and I expect he'll be moving up as September looms. That brings me to the FNG, Cody Ross. Ross is clearly better to have around than Jose Guillen. He's younger, faster, and is a superior fielder. He's no great shakes as a hitter, but he's not bad, either. He's kind of like Aaron Rowand was supposed to be. Shuffling him and Uribe and Sandoval around in the 5-6-7 spots seems like a workable thing. It's not the Black Hole of Renteria-Rowand Death, and that bodes well for the stretch run.

Last night was one of those gaping-mouth affairs--I kept having to push my lower jaw back up after we scored yet again. There were plenty of highlights and accolades to go around, but my jaw-dropping moment was Buster's 3-run HR to dead center in the 5th off Mike Leake. Holy Posey, that was a bomb! And he has such an easy swing, it looks like he's trying to poke one to RF and it just flies off the bat and goes 420 feet! All I can say at this point is "more, More, MORE!!!"


Monday, August 23, 2010

One-eight goes eight!

The Giants found their bats against Edinson Volquez and the Cincinnati bullpen, pounding out 11 runs on 18 hits. Highlights included a 2-run HR for Torres, 3 hits including a double and a HR for Huff, 3 hits and 3 RBI for Sandoval, and 4 hits for FSanchez. Matt Cain, after laboring in the top of the 1st inning, found himself batting in the bottom of the 1st and ahead 5-0 in the top of the 2nd. I'm willing to bet that was the first time Cain had experienced that in his big-league career. Cain labored again in the top of the 3rd, giving up 2 runs on 3 hits, but then retired the next 16 hitters to shut down a potent Reds offense. It was vintage Matt, the kind we haven't seen in a few starts, with only 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, and 5 hits in 8 innings of work. He finished strong, striking out the side in the 7th, and getting the last out in the 8th on a nifty 3-2 breaking ball for a foul-tip strike three on his 120th pitch. It was good for a Game Score of 70, Cain's highest since he beat LA on the first of the month. He also got "W" no. 10, evening his record.

The Giants have been desperate for a big win, and they put it all together tonight at home with a sterling effort by their starter and a barrage of hits from the lineup. Even the FNG contributed a knock! The Padres were idle so the Giants gained a half-game with their 70th win. If you like to think of the season in terms of innings, like I do, that was the 126th game or 7/9 of the season. Seven 18-game innings have been played and only two remain. If the Giants play .556 ball in the final 36 they'll go 20-16 and finish 90-72. If we pitch and hit like tonight, that's a real possibility.

Jonathan Sanchez tomorrow. GO GIANTS!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Can't pitch, can't hit

That's the Giants story since the Padres came to town. In nine games (3 SD, 3 PHI, 3 STL) the orange-clad lads are 3-6, scoring 24 runs and giving up 49. That's no way to win. Our lineup made Jamie Garcia look like Greg Maddux--he was getting three outs on about 8 or 9 pitches, inning after inning. I realize that Ol' Boch is rearranging the Titanic's deck chairs a bit, but c'mon, batting Rowand & FSanchez 1-2? That's seems more like throwing in the towel. In the 1st inning, the Dynamic Duo made two outs on 6 pitches. In the 4th, they led off again, but this time it took 10 pitches to get them both out. They led off again in the 7th, and it took 6 pitches to chalk them up. Yeesh, I had to take a shower after watching that. Rowand even made the last out of the game as well!

Barry Zito has seen his rising star lose its luster in his last three starts after throwing only 15 innings and giving up 25 hits and 13 runs. This was on the heels of his impressive 10-strikeout effort in Atlanta that the Giants won in the 11th, and a strong run at the end of July. Here's hoping he and the rest of the starters get their mojo back soon.

Matt Cain opens up the series in Cincinnati tomorrow. We need a big start and we need some goddamn runs.



p.s. The word is that Cody Ross was claimed by the Giants and will join the team.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Feeble Tim

Instead of writing another post about how Tim sucked, I went fishing. Needless to say, I caught nothing...and now I still have to write the post! However, the quiet time and beauty of my setting appears to have inspired me. Or at least, it gave me enough time to stop screaming about the indignity of losing 5-1 to the monstrous bats of Randy Winn and Pedro Feliz .

We really do have to ask the question if Tim Lincecum (11-8) can lead us into the playoffs this season. In a straight up match up against another NL elite pitcher, Lincecum was over-matched. After teasing us for three innings, the wheels came off. He finished with a pedestrian line: 5.1 innings, 6 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, and 4 strikeouts. A game score of 42, which sucks. Bad defense and poor luck contributed, of course, but when Randy Winn goes yard on you...well, let's just say there won't be a third Cy coming home this year.

I guess I'm suppose to be happy with the marginal improvement shown tonight. I'm not. This is not Tim's year and I no longer see him turning it around. Maybe Oswalt is right and Tim needs to hit the the Thigh Master. I don't know, but I'm scared.

Can someone out there tell me we can make the playoffs with this year's version of Tim?
strange image credit

Taking it out on Krukow

The game isn't over but I'm in a bad mood and I'm getting sick of Mike Krukow. How many times did he say "Gumby shoulders" tonight? What the fuck are Gumby shoulders? Gumby doesn't have any shoulders! I think once long ago he said it and everybody laughed even though they had no idea what he meant. Gumby's funny, right? So I thought maybe it's a well-known figure of speech in some circles, so I googled it, but - nothing!
And that ball Burrell misplayed in the left field corner- he said it was like Skee Ball. Well no it wasn't, I love to play Skee Ball and it was nothing like Skee Ball. Balls don't take funny sideways bounces in Skee Ball, they make lovely parbolas.
And I hate, absolutely hate the way he says "refreshing beer" in the Coors promo he does every game. Did he get instructions from Coors, did they tell him "Oh, by the way Kruk, when you get to the "refreshing beer" part we want you to say it like the most obnoxious man in the world would say it. Like you were just daring people to punch you in the mouth."

Friday, August 20, 2010

MadBum shuts 'em down!

When the Giants were storming through July, they got good pitching (102 RA in 28 games or 3.64 rpg) and good hitting (149 RS, 5.32 rpg). Sure, we know the formula: pitch well, hope for some offense. But the Giants don't win with just pitching. The Giants--excluding July--are three games over .500 (49-46), scoring only 385 runs (4.05 pg) while giving up 360 (3.80 pg). It's not about the runs you give up, and it's not about the runs you get. It's about the difference between those two numbers. It's the separation, the margin of victory. Your probability of winning is greater when you have a bigger lead. You need a comfortable gap between you and your opponent because something bad might happen--like a home run by the best hitter in the league that chases your starter. Or your young reliever might be erratic. You know, ridiculously improbable shit like that.

Madison Bumgarner was brilliant, holding up the "back end o'the ro' " like Jonathan Sanchez did last night, and the Giants won the opener in St. Louis in a big series with a playoff contender. There's no doubt the talented core of this club is the starting rotation. This team is going to live and die with the Big Five. It's been an amazing group, durable and consistent, and mostly without the supporting squad they deserve. Tonight the Giants scored first and were up 3-1 in a tight game. Think about it--did you really want to see Sergio Romo in the 8th with a 3-1 lead? No, not really. I know I didn't. Don't get me wrong, I love the kid, but he's not exactly Mr. Reliable at this point. In fact, other than Wilson, the whole 'pen has been an issue this season, as we know. But that's not what happened because our 1-2 punch, a Posey right and a Huff left, delivered the big combination in the 7th to stagger the home club and shock the home crowd. Huff's huge bomb was a huge lift for the team. Despite the Cardinals getting the tying run to the plate in the 9th, the damage had already been done. A gritty AB by Torres in the 8th even added an insurance run. And you have to love a Fontenot & Fred-D seven-eight spot that gives you 4 hits and 3 runs!

Madison Bumgarner, though, was the real story tonight, giving the team seven strong innings and adding an RBI hit as well. The last guy in the line--the Number Five--showed the Big Fellas how it's done! I'm happy the team scored some runs for him. Let's hope they keep it up, and let's hope the rest of the starters start matching zeroes like they are capable of doing. MadBum, incidentally, earned a 55 Game Score for his effort. Weren't we just discussing a 55 Game Score? And who pitches tomorrow? Hey, it's no. 55!



p.s. The Padres gave up TEN RUNS in Milwaukee, with Wade LeBlanc giving up 7 in 3-1/3 when he had a 5-2 lead. The same Wade LeBlanc who shut us down last weekend.

Pedro Feliz Now a Cardinal

The ex-Giant has changed teams again and is in the lineup tonight. I hope he strikes out five times

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Jonathan Sanchez is a remarkable character. He can be maddening with his wildness, walks, HBPs and the like. How often have you thought "typical lefty space cadet" when watching him? He seems to have his own Sanchez Channel that he's tuned to, and often appears clueless about game situations and events. His latest verbal assault on the front-running Padres was such an odd outburst because it was the last thing any of us would expect from him. Last year he threw a no-hitter after he was threatened with demotion! We all know he has real-deal swing-through stuff, and we've seen him mow people down with an efficiency that even Tim Lincecum can't match. He comes up with these remarkable performances that get us all scratching our heads and thinking "did I really say we should trade this guy?" It's a wild, wild ride with the former Ohio Dominican Panther, isn't it?

Here's something to chew on after tonight's brilliant outing by the mercurial southpaw: his average Game Score is 55. Last year it was 52. The year before it was 49. He's been a starter since 2008 when he logged 158 IP with an 88 ERA+. The next year he improved to 103 and this year he's posting a 118 ERA+ and will likely reach a career high in innings (he has 145-1/3 now, he only needs 18 to match last year). This guy is getting better every year. He's a real gem, and we tend to forget that. By the way, Barry Zito has an average Game Score of 54 for 2010, and Matt Cain 57. Tim Lincecum, after last year's extraordinary 64, is tied with our Stopper for Tonight at 55. (Madison Bumgarner brings up the rear with 53.)***

Two of the lads who really needed to contribute--Pablo Sandoval and Freddy Sanchez--both had fine games. Buster Posey was god-like in his ho-hum god-like way. What a joy to watch this guy! I hope we keep him around forever. It was a huge, huge, huge win. A necessary win. Someone had to step up and be Da Man for this ballclub and tonight Sanchez and Posey delivered. And another thing: as annoying as the 9th inning was, the hit by Sweeney changed the Phils' win expectancy from 0.5% to 1.8%.

Finally, I have to give a shout-out to my hecklers and fellow bloggers--I had nothing in me after last night's deflating loss and yet you guys stirred up some lively post-game chatter. T'anks, mates.


***I should not discuss averages without also discussing their standard deviations. I really shouldn't. But the bright fellow over at Triples Alley already did that, so check it out. He nicely debunks the notion that Jonathan Sanchez is inconsistent, which is of course inconsistent with our view of him. Don't you just love baseball?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

New night, same story

Matt Cain gave up four runs in the 4th inning to put the game out of reach.

Jonathan Sanchez faces Cole Hamels tomorrow.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Phillies thrash reeling Giants

The Giants only managed one run off Ubaldo Jimenez on the fourth of August. Since that time, they've scored a total of 41 runs in twelve games. That alone is pretty piss-poor. What's worse is they've given up 58 runs in the same stretch. The formula is "pitch well and hope the hitters do enough" around here, and when the first part is missing the second is damn near impossible. If you apply the Pythagorean wins** formula you get an expected record of 4-8 (.347 win pct.). The actual 5-7 record was the result of a hapless Cubs squad and a gift-wrapped come-from-behind win against the Braves that took 11 innings. In fact, three of the Giants five wins took 11 innings!

It's ugly out there. Let's hope they can get back on track behind Matt Cain tomorrow.



Sunday, August 15, 2010

Worst Tim

OK, I'll take some blame. After all, I did say that Tim Lincecum had reached his low point for the season (that is what "nadiral" means, just in case you were wondering) last time I posted. Well, I was wrong. Tim did even worse and the Giants ended up getting trounced, 8-2, by the fricking puds.
With a line like this: 3.2 innings ( a new low!), 8 hits, 6 runs, 5 earned, 3 walks, 6 strikeouts you have to really stretch to find some positives. The best I can do is that all the hits were singles...I know, not very reassuring. Basically, Tim coughed up a big game to the bad guys. It was a chance for the "new" Giants to change the tide against a worthy foe. Lincecum failed to meet that challenge and the puds leave town a little stronger.
If you are searching for some more good vibes you call always look to The Kid. Buster blasted a homer to center for 2 RBI's as well as two singles.

How on Earth does that team win with, not one, but two Hairstons running around out there?
Wonders never cease.

Road Trip '010

Here are a few pictures taken during the latest roadtrip to the Homeland. MOC and I enjoyed ourselves immensely while reconnecting with an old college roomie. The game (Friday's heartbreaking loss to the puds) wasn't everything we hoped, but the trip will never be forgotten.

A Gothic Spaceship? .............................................The traditional visit, this time with Rick!

Pablo was bubbly during pre-game.................... A new jacket but the same old beer, Anchor!

Long toss: JSanchez and The Kid .....................Pat, Aubrey and Andres chat it up

Biggest thrill of the day: Just being this close to Buster. Corny but true.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

One in the win column

The Giants have only beaten the Padres twice this year in ten tries. Fortunately, today was one of those two wins. It looked pretty bleak after six shutout innings by Giant killer Mat Latos, but Pablo Sandoval, leading off the bottom of the 7th, broke through with a home run. Coming in to today's game, Latos had only allowed 11 hits and 2 runs in 22 innings against the Giants. He pitched very well again, and the Padres turned to their league-best bullpen to finish the job after Sandoval's aquatic blast. Ernesto Frieri and Joe Thatcher finished the inning, and Giant nemesis Luke Gregerson loomed for the 8th. Gregerson had faced 17 Giants hitters this season over a span of five games, yielding only ONE hit. Today the magic finally wore off as the first two men he faced (Mike Fontenot and Aubrey Huff) hit a single and a double. Pat the Bat's RBI groundout knotted the score and the Giants suddenly had life. It took until the 11th for the Giants to put together another rally (against Tim Stauffer), this one led by Buster Posey, who scored the winning run on Juan Uribe's single. The home crowd was thrilled by an epic come-from-behind victory. The Giants trail the Padres by one game in the win column and four in the loss column. I'm pretty excited about our chances tomorrow since we got past their ace and get to throw ours at them. I think The Franchise is going to pitch a great game and we are going to pound Wade LeBlanc. The Giants faced LeBlanc in May, getting him out of the game in the 5th after 94 pitches, 6 hits and 4 walks (the Padres won 3-2 with stellar bullpen work).


p.s. Friday night was an agonizing affair with sloppy play on both sides. JC and I had a great trip and got to see an old Cal roomie in the bargain, so it was a good time, but goddamn it was a frustrating ball game. Today's win sure takes the sting away, though.

p.p.s. I'm not the only one who thinks Fred-D Sanchez is killing us with his bat. Fer chrissakes, hit him 8th--that's what you do with a defensive specialist. Or sit him down and play Mike Fontenot (today worked out well, eh?). And put Pablo Sandoval in the two-spot. Or leave him at 5th or 6th and move Posey there, putting Huff third and Burrell or Uribe fourth.

Advanced Statisical Analysis

In April, the Giants played three games at home on Friday nights. These are called "Orange Fridays" because of the garish orange jerseys they wear on those occasions. In April, they won all three games. In May, they played two such Orange Fridays, and won both games. In June, they also played two Orange Friday games, winning both. In July, again, they played two home games on Fridays and were victorious in both the Orange Friday events. Yesterday evening was the first Orange Friday game that the Giants have played during the month of August. They were not victorious. For the record, they were 9 and 1 on Orange Friday.

The author of this blog, Mark, and principal contributor, Jon, have made note of the string of victories prior to last night. However, during the succession of victories, neither were in attendance at any of the games. Last night, both saw the game in person at ATT Park on McCovey Cove. As previously noted, the Giants lost.

A clear-eyed rationalist might find a cause-and-effect relationship here, such as: When Mark and Jon do not attend game on Orange Friday, Giants win, but when Mark and Jon attend game on Orange Friday, Giants lose; therefore, Mark and Jon cause the Giants to lose by attending on Orange Friday. I am not a clear-eyed rationalist, I only note the correlation.

Links About Guillen

A controversial acquisition with a reputation as a clubhouse trouble-maker, but one of those "professional hitters" they keep talking about. Get used to him; he is our right fielder. Here's what others in the sphere are writing about him:

SF Gate
Bleacher Report
Bay City Ball

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cubs make Giants work

A bullpen meltdown almost wasted a gritty effort by Matt Cain and a tremendous performance by Pat the Bat. His grand slam in the 5th wrested control of the match away from the pesky Cubs, but Javier Lopez and Guillermo Mota couldn't get anybody out in the 8th, and by the time Sergio Romo put out the fire it was a tie ballgame. The Giants racked up seven big ones with three homers and still couldn't finish off Chicago. Fortunately, the lads put together an outstanding rally in the bottom of the 9th to get run number eight and finally complete the job. Aaron Rowand, subbing today for lead-off man Andres Torres, scored the winning run on a booming fly ball by the pinch-hitting Torres, who was batting in Burrell's spot. I like that sort of thing, don't you?

I was happy to see Fred-D Sanchez re-discover his stroke, and to see Pablo Sandoval smack a triple and a homer. It should not have been this difficult to put away a very poor Chicago club, but I will give the home squad credit for battling and using what seemed like every arrow in the quiver to secure a huge win. Matt Cain needed 121 pitches and faced 26 batters to get 18 outs. Cain only walked one and struck out nine, but it was a long, hard slog. The Cubs got eight hits and also managed 40 foul balls! Buster Posey dazzled the home crowd with a lightning fast catch-and-throw to nail Starlin Castro trying to steal second base in the 3rd inning. Fred-D made an outstanding pick and throw on a ground ball to nail the lead runner in the 4th, and Juan Uribe showed off his rifle arm on a grounder up the middle in the 5th. Giants fielders have been outstanding all year long. Pat Burrell keeps collecting big hits--let's hope his bat stays hot this weekend against San Diego.

Speaking of this weekend, JC and I will be attending tomorrow night's game. Jonathan Sanchez talked smack earlier this week and now he has a chance to back it up against the number one team in the division. Should be a very exciting Orange Friday!



Some Sort of Quality Start

I'm not really sure what constitutes a "Quality Start", not really sure I care. Zito threw six and a third, was yanked for walking batters and allowed four runs. It may not have been a quality start, but it was "Good Enough." Romo came in and took care of the remainder of the 7th and the 8th on 16 pitches. That is not too much work, and Wilson closed it out in the 9th. Four guys had 2 hits each, and Posey was not one of them, in spite of the fact that he had a big hit with rbi's attached, but it was changed to an error. Torres, Huff, Burrell and Sandoval. Also, Uribe and Rowand each had hits (Rowand tied the game with a 6th inning homer after the cubbies had depressingly gone ahead). How about that Pat the Bat! Was it a must-win? Probably not, but losing to the cubs, especially since they have already decided to hang it up for the season, would just have been too, too sad.

Anyway, that brings me to my discussion topic. 'Nother bat? It seems the interthingy is still full of people screaming for another bat (and I do not think Mike Hottentot's name came up very often in this context). Any such discussion, to be worth a damn, has to take into account 1) whom would not get playing time, and 2) whom would be traded for such a bat. It had better be a damn good bat because the net effect would only be the increment between a player you take out, and the bat you obtain. And then, you have to account for whom you don't have, probably in your starting rotation. You know that the Brewers would not trade Fielder for less than Matt Cain + major minor league talent. You also know that a lesser bat is not really an upgrade and would still cost you. Please, no comments about trading some marginal Class AA talent for some stud major leaguer, it is just not that easy, and tiring to look at. I think we are about as well situated right now as we could hope to be. Keep those hits coming. Go get 'em, Matthew.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Nadiral Tim

This season continues to be a test to all true Giants fans...a "torture," if you will. The culprit to blame for the 8-6 loss wasn't the anemic offense, which we have so often bemoaned. This time it was the rock-bottom performance of Tim Lincecum. His shortest outing of the year ( 4 innings, 89 pitches ) and worst : 8 hits ( including another HR ), 6 runs, 1 walk, 4 strikeouts. The scariest part was giving up four runs in the first inning...Flemm described it as shocking. Tim is a quality start machine (each of his six previous starts vs. Chi, for example) and to have him blow chow within minutes rattled me to the core.

According to the coolest customer in Giants fandom, Grant of McCovey Chronicles, my near panic is because I'm spoiled. His point is well taken. As the resident Freak-aholic, I regularly admit that following Tim is a sweet gig. That article was written before tonight's new low...I wonder if it's cool to panic yet? I'm sorry...anxiety comes naturally to me.

Nothing to worry about when it comes to Buster. The league has not figured him out and I'm not sure if you can. Doubles to each gap, four RBI's... the kid is having fun!

Extra-inning torture

Pat Burrell delivered another timely sacrifice fly, this one bringing home the winning run against the Cubs in the 11th inning. The Giants spent the evening being much too polite--"no, I absolutely insist that you score first" and "why, I wouldn't think of scoring here" and all that. Feint, jab, dance away, feint again, clinch, shove, miss, jab, feint, bell. It was like junior high schoolyard fight where neither participant really wants to be there and but tries to look manly and not embarrass himself. Like I said, torture.

But winning torture! That's the big one right there. The Giants, despite the empirical success of July (score 5+ runs per game, go 20-8), seem convinced that scoring runs is highly overrated. "Runs, schmuns," they say, causing this boy no end of torture. And now they decide to take a page from The Big Book of Padre by having their bullpen toss 5-1/3 scoreless innings! I didn't think that kind of improbability could get distributed around, you know? I figured the Padres had the corner on the Defying Baseball Odds, Common-sense & Logic market, and weren't going to share. Maybe they just forgot to yell "Corner on Improbables!" and so the trading Pit is still open.

You can play Big Ball, Little Ball, Medium Ball, Ugly Ball, Pretty Ball, or Goddamn Fookin' Weird Ball, but whatever you play, play Fookin' Goddamn WINNING Ball!


p.s. That bobblehead does not look like Jerry Garcia. More like Moishe, The Singing Rabbi (what, you didn't see that movie?). And I had to turn the sound off during the broadcast when Bill "I'm still a goddamn annoying motor mouth" Walton was in the booth.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Giants melt in the southern sun

Jonathan Sanchez threw 89 pitches but only managed to get 12 outs before Ol' Boch had enough and sent up Matt Cain to pinch-hit for him in the top of the 5th. Down 4-1, Todd Wellemeyer started the bottom of the 5th, but gave up hits to the four men he faced, and suddenly it was 5-1 and the Giants were reeling. The Braves hit two more homers today, one by catcher David Ross and the other by second baseman Omar Infante. This is a team with a slugging percentage below .400!  To the Giants credit they fought back and closed the gap, and the 'pen kept it close, but it wasn't enough. It was a lackluster ending to a much-anticipated and mostly well-played series.

Pablo Sandoval got a shot at batting second and didn't light the world on fire but did manage a line drive single up the middle in the 3rd. In the 6th he hit a sharp one-hopper that Troy Glaus couldn't handle and it was ruled--unjustly, I thought--an error. Andres Torres scored on the play, but no RBI was awarded. Freddy Sanchez hit an infield pop-up in the 2nd that Alex Gonzalez apparently lost in the sun and failed to catch, and that was ruled a base hit! Funny game, eh? We could sure use some steady production from both of those guys. With the Panda, it's particularly disappointing as he hit so well last season. I expected a drop-off, but not a plunge into the abyss. With FSanchez, it's a little different. I had very low expectations and I am not surprised he's hitting like Aaron Rowand. Let's hope he's got another hot streak or two left in him.

The Giants are home tomorrow to take on the Cubs for four before the big weekend showdown with the Padres. Madison Bumgarner leads things off against Carlos Zambrano. Chicago has a weak offense, lousy pitching, and a crappy record. Get fat on the minnows, lads!


Saturday, August 7, 2010

Hudson shuts down Giants

We get so used to seeing CainStarts™ that tonight's performance was a real disappointment. Matt was unable to throw to his corner spots, fell behind, and left too many balls out over the plate. I was willing to live with the 3-2 hit by Troy Glaus--he's a good hitter and made something happen on a good pitch. But giving up an RBI hit to Rick Ankiel was a killer. That's the guy you should put away with two outs. The result was a short night. I was surprised Ol' Boch pinch-hit for him after the double play ball from Aaron Rowand, but with 93 pitches it was understandable. Hudson was dealing, and the Giants were desperate for anything against him. Not only that, Cain will make ten more starts after this one, and it never hurts to save a few extra innings for September. In their last seven games, the Giants have scored 2, 2, 10, 1, 2, 3, and 0 runs (2.86 rpg). They've gone 4-3, which highlights some damn fine pitching. But sometimes the other team out-pitches you, and that's when it gets tough. The Braves have good pitching, and play particularly well at home (38-15).

I threw Pablo Sandoval a bone the other day, and he hasn't really picked it up, although he has a few hits. I abused Freddy Sanchez, and players I abuse usually respond by being Player of the Week. Alas, sometimes my The Beatings Will Continue Until Morale Improves attitude is a real burden. (It hurts me way more than it hurts them.) My new mantra is Torres, Posey, Huff, Burrell. Torres, Posey, Huff, Burrell. Those are the four guys we will live and die with, let's get them the most PAs from this point forward. Uribe and Sandoval (please start hitting, we need you) can fight it out for fifth, and the rest of them can draw from a hat for sixth, seventh, and eighth.

Jonathan Sanchez was dominant last time out, let's hope he's got some of that magic left for tomorrow. And the sleeping bats need to wake up. Just pretend it is still July.



Friday, August 6, 2010

4 hits + 11 innings = Win

The Giants not only out-pitched the Braves tonight, they out-performed them on the field as well. The Braves could not make the plays in the 9th inning and the Giants tied a ballgame that they should have lost. Aubrey Huff was hit by a pitch to start the inning, and Buster Posey hit a grounder to short that should have been at least a force out at second, but it was mishandled at the bag by Omar Infante after a low throw from Alex Gonzalez. Juan Uribe hit a fly ball for the first out, and Huff took third base. Pablo Sandoval then hit a grounder to Chipper Jones that should have been a play at the plate, and most likely an out, but it short-hopped the Braves third baseman and scooted into left field. The Giants scored without a base hit. That was theme for the night, as it happened again in the 11th with the go-ahead run. Huff and Posey were walked to open the inning, and Juan Uribe hit a ground ball that forced Posey at second base. Sandoval was walked to load the bases, and Pat Burrell hit a sacrifice fly to score Huff. The Giants scored again without a hit. Even the Giants first run of the night was on a ground out. Torres led off the game with a hit and stole both second and third, flashing a weapon the Giants don't use much (but is certainly nice to have).

Great outcome after a long rain delay. It was a tremendous performance by Barry Zito, who had ten strikeouts in his seven innings, and allowed only four hits. Unfortunately two of them were home runs, one by Tim-killer Alex Gonzalez, and one by Chipper Jones. Home runs are nice--home runs with men on base are better. Two solo shots looked to be enough, though, and Zito's great start looked to be wasted. Credit too, goes to Tommy Hanson for pitching well, as it was an old-fashioned gunslinger's duel out there tonight. But the Braves 'pen and their defense let them down. Funny how Alex Gonzalez and Chipper Jones got the big bombs but couldn't make the little plays. Isn't baseball a great fucking game?

The Giants get a big win as the Padres lose in Arizona. They only got three hits! Hah! Superb bullpen work tonight really sealed the deal. Chris Ray, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, and Brian Wilson each threw a scoreless inning, giving up only two hits and no walks and getting five strikeouts. This game sums up the 2010 Giants nicely, as it had plenty of torture, not much hitting, and shutdown pitching. "Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue."

Matt Cain goes tomorrow.



Thursday, August 5, 2010

Austral Tim

The Giants and Tim Lincecum could not cash in on early chances and lost the opener of a 4 game series in Atlanta, 3-2. The Braves are the toughest team to beat at home in the NL ( they have only lost one series all year!) and we gave them an exciting contest...all kinds of small details that effected the game...if this is really a post-season preview (oh please, oh please, oh please) then it will be a doozy.

Tim continues to be a bit of an enigma wrapped in a conundrum. Although he did deliver yet another quality start (17 of 23 for Tim and 10 of last 12 for team), he was very uncharacteristically hurt by the long ball - a 2 run shot (after a two out 4 pitch walk!) and a solo shot for the difference. That makes the 11th and 12th this year, but six of those have been in the last month. We better keep an eye on that. His numbers: 6.1 innings, 6 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts.

I'm going to step aside quickly as I sense a rush of comments about to pour out of MOC. Was this a perfect game to show the power of the homer, or what? We have a gazillion scoring chances but can't get a key hit; they have few chances but win with a couple big flies. Go ahead, get it out of your system, PONTIFICATE your heart out...if you don't say something, your head will explode.

Denny Bautista waived

Todd Wellemeyer is the beneficiary. The Giants are carrying 13 pitchers and 12 position players. I would have thought that 13 pitchers was one too many, as the Giants starters chew up a lot of innings. Perhaps it is The Jeremy Affeldt Effect. He has not been as effective this season and Ol' Boch has had to scramble to get late outs, using a revolving cast of characters as opposed to sticking his Main Man out there and watching the pins fall.

Bautista struck out an impressive 44 guys in 33-2/3 IP, but walked too many (25) and and gave up too many hits (25, with 4 HR) to stick with the team. He also had 7 wild pitches. Relievers come and go, and their performances vary so much from year to year, it is hard to get attached to them. It is different when they are our guys, products of the system, or make their ML-debuts with the Giants. That being said, I had a strange fondness for the odd-looking, weird delivery-journeyman from Santo Domingo. Vaya con dios, amigo.


UPDATE 1633: DFA'd actually, not waived. Sorry.

UPDATE 1645: Oh, The Sweet Irony Department: Freddy Sanchez is having a great game. Let yer bat do the talkin', lad, let yer bat do the talkin'.

2/3 of the way

Ubaldo Jimenez is having a great season, and as they say in Krukovia, "sometimes you just have to tip your cap to the other guy." His Uberness cooled off the Giants hot bats and his teammates responded by chasing young Madison Bumgarner out of the game in the 5th inning. It was kind of like discovering someone had let air out of your bicycle tires when you were psyched up to go on a nice, long ride. Hey, at least they didn't slash 'em.

108 games is 2/3 of a baseball season. We've played 6/9 of the 162 games, six innings worth of this nine inning game. The Giants are in damn good shape, only a game off the pace in the West, and possessing the second-best record in the league. The Giants are currently averaging 4.44 runs scored per game for the season, just a hair above the league average (4.40). The Giants give up an average of 3.62 runs per game, second only to the Padres at 3.52 rpg. After a lackluster May and June (27-28), the Giants took July by the throat and throttled the league to the tune of 20-8, scoring 149 runs (5.32/game) and only allowing 102 (3.64/game). That's the kind of thing they'll need to keep doing in August and September.

The Atlanta Braves were 9-14 in April, but had their big month in May, going 20-8, and followed that with a hot June (17-11). They've cooled off since then, 15-13 in July and August, and only 9-10 since the Break. They hit a little better than the Giants (4.58 rpg) but don't quite pitch as well (3.83 rpg). This is looking like a great match-up, and dare I say it--a playoff preview? We can only hope. Their impressive youngster, Jair Jurrjens, has missed time due to injury, but looks like he's getting back on track. He gets the call tonight against The Franchise.



UPDATE 1116: Congratulations to Alex Rodriguez for hitting his 600th home run. Jim Thome is the next closest with 577, but he's 40 in August, so 600 could be tough. A-Rod is one of the all-time greats. At 34, and slowing down, it will be a reach for him to pass Barry Bonds (my all-time favorite player), but not out of the realm of possibility. He will certainly hit 700, which is awesome. Unlike most people, I don't view records as sacrosanct, and I'm happy to see them broken. After all, why record what happens if you don't want people to strive to surpass those marks? That's the whole point of records--setting the bar for the next guy. I hope I live long enough and watch enough baseball so that every record gets broken. I don't believe there was a Golden Age of Baseball. I'm not nostalgic, and you'll never hear me crowing about "the good ol' days." I'm very happy to be in the present, and can't wait to embrace the future of the greatest game on earth. And to the whiners, spoilsports, and wannabe moral high-roaders: bugger off, ya wankers.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Giant thunder

The storm that rolled into Denver tonight was from San Francisco. The Giants, serving notice with clinical ruthlessness, exploited the pitching mismatch in Coors Field, first by dispatching the hapless Aaron Cook, then by blowing away the high-flying Rockies offense. A brilliant Jonathan Sanchez matched a 46-year-old club record held by Juan Marichal with SEVEN CONSECUTIVE STRIKEOUTS. It was a sterling display by the white-hot Giants, their 21st win in 26 games since leaving Denver on the Fourth of July. The trip to Milwaukee on the 5th proved to be the turning point in the season, as the Giants suddenly discovered an offense to complement the outstanding pitching. I was ready to call this post I always wanted a team that scored six runs per game when that pesky Freddy Sanchez hit a damn home run and made it 7-0!! I was whining and hollering and complaining (as I am wont to do) about Freddy Sanchez' .262/.320/.317 batting (can you still call that batting?) line, and the little shit walloped one into the left-field bleachers. Rock on, brother, just hit lower in the lineup, willya? Seriously, it is time to move Pablo Sandoval into the venerated two-hole. Sweet pick to end the 7th inning for F.S., his glove is impressive, but Jaysus-Mary-Joseph the lads' 70 OPS+ means he's 30% worse than the average NLer.

The Missing Bat--that sounds like some slugging Australopithecene--the blog nerds like me have been looking for is not in Tanzania or on the waiver wire. No. He is, perhaps, that Other Fellow with the Golden Spikes Award. Pat the Bat had another big night, proving me wrong again. It's a wonder anyone at all reads my tripe.

Bengie Molina traded, Giants catch fire. Coincidence? You decide. If Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez are my Holy Trinity, then Buster Posey is The Second Coming.



p.s. TEN big ones!! I love Andres Torres--doesn't everybody?

Road trip!

The 2000 Giants were 38-38 at the end of June. They then won 8 in a row on their way to a 19-8 July. They continued playing great baseball in August (19-10) and September (20-9) and wound up with the best record overall (97-65) and won the West by 11 games.

The 2010 Giants were 40-37 at the end of June. They then caught fire in July, racking up an ML-best 20-8 record to surge past the Rockies and Dodgers into 2nd place. I don't think it will take 97 wins to beat the Padres, but it may take another month of .700 ball to dislodge them from the top spot. What is interesting about 2000 is that there were three teams with better than .500 records: LA was 2nd at 86-76, AZ 3rd at 85-77, and CO 4th at 82-80. Even lowly SD won 76 games. This year's NL West just might have four .500+ clubs as well, but the separation among the top finishers will likely be a handful of games. Baseball Prospectus runs projections and computes updated post-season odds all season long. Right now the number-crunchers pick the Padres to finish 1st at 94-68 and the Giants to finish 2nd at 90-72. Our probability of winning the division stands at 21% and the Wild card 23%, for a 44% chance of making the post-season. There are actually three different simulations using different inputs, the best shows the Giants finishing 92-70, a game behind SD, with a 68% chance of making the playoffs. A 30-26 record the rest of the way would see the Giants finish 91-71. 30-26 is only .536 ball, something the Giants, barring injuries or other Terrible Acts of God, should be able to pull off.

Colorado and Atlanta should be a stiff test for the lads. Winning on the road was a problem earlier in the season, but they seem to have solved that little issue. Jonathan Sanchez takes the ball tonight.



Monday, August 2, 2010

Did the Giants do enough at the deadline?

I mentioned in a comment yesterday that the Yankees, possessors of the best offense in baseball, felt the need to go out and get two hitters at the deadline. They were rumored to be interested in Adam Dunn, but wound up with Lance Berkman and Austin Kearns instead. Here's quote from River Avenue Blues, the excellent Yankees blog:
While the team has sat in first place since mid-June, there are always opportunities to improve.
Wow. That is the mind-set over there in Yankees-land. First place ain't enough. You have to improve. I guess that's why they ran out of fingers and toes (for all their rings) in the Bronx. The Padres knew they had a weak offense, and went out and got Ryan Ludwick and Miguel Tejada. Ludwick is a smart move. The jury is out on Tejada, he'll probably hurt them defensively, and it remains to be seen if he can contribute the power they are looking for, but it is at least an effort at improving. The Dodgers made a flurry of moves, but until they start hitting as a team they are going to flounder. Ted Lilly won't help if they only score 2 runs per game--look at Clayton Kershaw. (I sure hope their offense doesn't get back on track.) The Giants had an obvious bullpen problem, and they got two guys who look like they can help. In fact, FNG* Javier Lopez got a big out in the 8th yesterday, just what the doctor ordered.

But--and there's always a but--the Giants still need help on offense. Think about it: the best team and most successful franchise in the HISTORY OF THE SPORT made an effort to improve their offense (as well as their bullpen). What do they know that the Giants don't? The Yankees have an enviable track record of winning. They are doing something right. I think that something is the ceaseless quest for upgrading at every roster spot.

Here's a few thought from outstanding Giants blogger El Lefty Malo:
The best can also afford like no other team to make themselves better, but the point is, just because the offense finally seems perfectly adequate doesn't mean the Giants shouldn't keep trying to improve it . . . I'm not trying to be a Debbie Downer, I'm just saying there are plenty of scenarios in which the Giants' league-best offensive output in July falls off in August and September. Why not make a move or two to prevent those scenarios from happening? If When the Giants win the World Series, I'll still argue they need another bat. 
Wow. That's hardcore. But I tell you what, I'm with him. Even if we are in the post-season this year, I'll be hollering about how we don't have enough goddamn hitting. I've been hollering about it all year long so I won't quit now. You come to RMC for consistency, dammit, and I aims to please.

Here's a few more thoughts, this time from the smart and insightful Triples Alley:
Let’s face it- most of the hitters we have on the roster really just aren’t very good.  But we’re getting some brilliant production from two unlikely players- Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres, both of whom should receive MVP consideration at the end of the year.  There’s a possibility that both players have reached new standards of performance, but…there’s also a possibility that we’ve caught lightning in a bottle.  Now is the time to go for broke rather than rebuild or stand pat; now is the time to make a move that ensures our chances of making the playoffs.  This means that we should not sit and twiddle our thumbs, hoping for Pablo Sandoval to figure things out and hit like he did last year.  Huff, Torres and Posey cannot carry the offense by themselves, although they’re doing an awfully good job at it.  We need a bat, and we need one now.  It doesn’t have to be an elite hitter a la Adam Dunn, although that would be nice.  No, a simple above average hitter would do the trick.
To be fair to Triples Alley, he spent most of a paragraph getting really excited about the 2010 Giants before throwing out his "but". He, like me and the aforementioned Mr. Malo, is a fan. We loves us some Giants. And we are excited about this club, especially as it looks more and more like we will be one of the best teams in the league. So I'll leave it to you, dear readers. Did the Giants do enough at the trade deadline?


*Fucking New Guy

Sunday, August 1, 2010

7-2/3: zip, zilch, nada

Matt Cain threw an outstanding ballgame (Game Score 77), and with a little bit o' bloomin' luck might have finished the 8th. As it was, newcomer Javier Lopez got an easy out and the Giants went to the dugout up 2-0 and smelling a sweep. Brian Wilson came out for the 9th after a two-game hiatus due to back spasms and collected the save. The Giants swept the Dodgers on national TV to complete a terrific weekend of baseball.

Cain threw a season-high 124 pitches to 27 batters to get those 23 outs. He allowed only 4 hits, all singles, and had 1 walk against 7 strikeouts. He was able to throw all of his pitches for strikes and that kept the Dodgers guessing. Matt got 22 called strikes, 17 swinging strikes, 20 foul strikes, and 19 in-play strikes, and induced 10 ground balls to only 5 fly balls. He also helped himself out by picking off Matt Kemp in the 2nd. Once again he was matched up with the other team's ace and once again he and the team responded.

It was a great win for the club, and a personal milestone for Cain as he finally logs a "W" vs. LA. The Giants are tied with the Padres with 61 wins, the most in the NL. The Giants have scored 0, 1, or 2 runs for Cain in 55 of his 159 starts, and he's 7-38 in those games. (Here's a more detailed breakdown if you want to see some freaky numbers.) Assigning wins to pitchers, when a win is so clearly a team stat, seems a silly custom to me, but that's how it is. The GIANTS got a great performance by their 25-year-old veteran and turned that into a win.


Here's some notes on Cain and the Dodgers:

9 Sep 2007: Giants beat LA 4-2, Cain ND despite 7 IP and 2 ER
21 Sep 2008: Giants beat LA 1-0 in 11, Cain ND despite 6 shutout IP
27 Sep 2008: Giants lose 2-1, Cain L despite 7 IP and 2 ER
15 Apr 2009: Giants lose 5-4, Cain ND despite 6 IP and 2 ER

In six starts in 2008, Matt had a 2.79 ERA vs. LA but was 0-3.

They haven't all been stinkers.

Pat the Bat

I was skeptical when we picked up Pat Burrell, but then, I'm the skeptical sort. Burrell proved me wrong with a ridiculous month, pounding out 22 hits in 65 AB with 8 BB and 8 XBH for a .338/.405/.615 line in June (22 games, 19 starts). July wasn't so kind, as Pat the Bat only managed 10 hits in 53 AB (10 BB, 3 XBH) for an ugly .189/.313/.283 line. None of that mattered yesterday of course, as the 1998 Golden Spikes winner smacked a game-winning home run off Jonathan Broxton to reward Zito and the Giants with a dramatic win over the Dodgers. Overall, Burrell has an .828 OPS (.271/.362/.466) for the Giants, and that's a 117 OPS+, which you may remember from yesterday is Ryan Ludwick's lifetime mark.

Barry Zito has gone 7 innings or more and given up three or fewer runs 11 times in 22 starts. He has 16 quality starts overall. He's worth 2.1 WAR so far, just below his 2009 (2.2) total, and equaling his 2006 season in Oakland. The hideous 2007 (1.7) and 2008 (1.4) shall not be discussed. He's turned his game around, and the team is better for it. Keep it going, Barry!

Matt Cain looks for his first career win tonight against LA in his 15th start. In 81-1/3 IP, the Dodgers have 97 hits and 40 walks. That's not going to work if we are looking for a sweep. Let's hope we get another good start this weekend and finish those fuckers off.