Monday, April 30, 2012

Bumgarner keeps it rolling

Joaquin Arias saved me from nightmares about the Giants hitting with runners in scoring position. It is a weird thing, this utter lack of RISPness. I figured that it was more a statistical anomaly than anything else, that they couldn't possibly be that bad two seasons in a row. Here's Baggs:
Joaquin Arias hit a two-out, two-run triple in the sixth inning Sunday. And that gave them a little bit of a lift. They ended the month 17 for 98 with two outs and runners in scoring position.

That’s good for … a .173 average.

It’s .173469, to be more precise. Last year, it was .172920.

Ugh. The Giants won 86 games last season despite having the worst batting average EVER with runners in scoring position and two outs. Just goes to show what good pitching can do for you. Now imagine good pitching and the ability to RISPify. That would be something. And speaking of something, that Madison Bumgarner is. Something, I mean. As in "he's really something." Wow, another great start, another win. Remember last season he started off 0-6? I think I like this version better.The only run Bumgarner allowed was on a misplay by CF Angel Pagan. Balls in the air seemed to fool all the outfielders yesterday--I thought Will Venable would catch Arias' blast, he seemed to move too slowly going back on it, like he thought it wouldn't carry that far. Same deal with Pagan, it was "oh, this is routine" suddenly turning into "oh shit, it is over my head." Must be the famous "high sky" they always talked about at Candlestick. The only thing high at the 'Stick in those days were the bleacher bums so I never did grasp that concept.

Statistically, the Giants are right in the middle of the NL pack in RS (90, 7th) and RA (86, 8th) and have the 6th best record (12-10, .545). I can live with that for April. I figure the pitching will continue to improve and as long as Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval stay healthy the lineup will work. The fielding lapses are a little troublesome (only the Padres have more errors), but I think that may also work itself out as the guys play together a little more. I'm glad Arias has stepped up to spell Brandon Crawford. I think BCraw is fabulous but it is nice to know the Giants have a way to ease the burden on the rook just a bit.

The Miami Marlins (a much better name, I hate teams named for states) come to town tomorrow and Matt Cain matches up with Ricky Nolasco who has ownage on the Giants. Of course, so did Clayton Richard.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

Battlin' Tim

Start #5:   Win !  (2-2)  8 innings  1 unearned run   3 hits (all infield!)  4 walks  5 K's

Acting as if he was a grizzled veteran from a few decades ago, our beloved Freak, Tim Lincecum (2-2), pitched a gritty gem (game score 75) as the Giants came back to beat the Padres, 2-1.  Timmeh used every thing he had (particularly beautiful  curveball tonight) to keep us in a close one against the pesky Anthony Bass.  Tim's fastball velocity continues to underwhelm (88-91 mph) but the location was generally good. He finished off the eighth with some of his best pitches, which is classic Tim.  I have a very good feeling about next month.

Lots of GOOD:  Tim's first hit of the year actually broke up a perfect game after Bass had dumbfounded the first 17 batters. It was of the infield variety but Tim showed some impressive speed down the line.  Melky continues to steal my heart; this time with a three slick putout inning and a clutch double to get us started.  But the true non-Tim star of the game was Brandon Belt. I was literally telling the monitor that "This is it.  This is your moment. You will be the Giants 1B for years." 
Sure enough, he heard me and stroked one into the gap. SWEEEEEEET.

Little BAD:  The errors continue to mount; two more tonight (should have been three but they inexplicably reversed one on Burriss). That makes 25 in 21 games.  Oh yeah, Pablo didn't come close to extending his hit streak. He will just have to start another one.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

FNG party

Angel Pagan, Ryan Theriot, and Joaquin Arias all came up big today and the Giants pulled off a win and avoided the sweep. Does anyone else hate these goddamn bandbox pop-fly stadiums? I can't wait to see the team back home playing proper baseball.
The Giants still have not made an official move in naming a starter for Friday night's series opener against San Diego, manager Bruce Bochy said Thursday prior to the series finale against the Reds.(link)
That ought to be interesting. You need real pitchers against team like the Reds in their silly ballparks (they hit five homers in the series, four off starters), but you can throw AAA guys at the Padres because they can't hit for shit.
Matt Sosnick, the agent for Eric Hacker, announced on Twitter on Wednesday night that the Giants would be purchasing the contract of his client to fill that spot in the rotation. Bochy would not confirm that announcement.(link)
Hacker is 29 and has only 8-1/3 IP of ML experience but has been in pro ball since he was 19. He was taken in the 23rd round of the 2002 draft by the Yankees and has 152 minor league starts. If today is any indication, I say bring on the FNGs!


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Bullpen woes and beyond

Giants throw one away in Cincinnati to end the first inning (18/162 = 1/9) of the season. The team stands at .500 despite a good start by an apparently rejuvenated Barry Zito. Relievers Clay Hensley and Jeremy Affeldt couldn't hold a 2-1 lead as both threw a lot of ugly looking shit at the Reds and they capitalized. The Giants should have had a bigger lead as they managed 10 baserunners (9 hits and a walk) against Bronson Arroyo but could not get the big hit. Of course, that's the usual lament with this club regarding run scoring. Damn, it was an ugly effort in the 7th! You could argue with Bochy's decision to let Zito start the inning. I was surprised, but as I've said before, I like the attitude. BZ was dealing and had as good a chance as the overworked and struggling 'pen did to get some outs. Immediately, though, he fell behind Scott Rolen and grooved a 3-2 pitch for a huge bomb to break the shutout. Then the defensive lapses, a bad call, some crappy pitching and it was all over. The Giants did manage to put a brief scare into Aroldis Chapman but Joaquin Arias' smoking hot liner was snagged by the big flamethrower and it was done.

Speaking of Arias, he was called up to take Aubrey Huff's spot on the roster. Huff was DL'd for "anxiety issues" and is expected to rejoin the team at some point. When I posted my thoughts on Huff after that weird game in New York, I had no idea there were deeper, personal things involved. (The story broke the next day.) It is easy to forget that ballplayers (entertainers, really) are human beings with real lives and real problems. Any job, no matter how lucrative, with the kind of intense public scrutiny that these guys face daily, has a dark side. (I'm a public schoolteacher in a small town, rather bucolic compared to most, but I'm here to tell you it takes a psychic toll. And nobody writes blog posts or newspaper articles about me.) It has to be difficult to balance fame with family, and glory with ignominy. My observations about Aubrey Huff were entirely baseball related, viewing him only as another player on the team and not as a whole person. I certainly hope he gets things figured out. I remember when Mike Ivie (who else remembers Mr. Pinch-hit Grand Slam?) had a similar problem back in the late 70's in the Joe Altobelli/Dave Bristol Era. (Ivie was the #1 pick in 1970.) I was a college kid at the time. Bruce Bochy is five years older than me and here's what he had to say:
I'm sure it was there when I played, but you probably weren't as likely to talk about it openly . . .
No doubt. I like to think that we are a little more enlightened about things like anxiety, depression, and other mental struggles. These are just as real as torn ligaments, only harder to pin down and come up with treatments. My dad was a Korean War vet--he fought at Chosin with the 5th Marines when he was 19 years old. He suffered horribly from post-traumatic stress, yet was from a generation of men unable or unwilling to accept mental illness as a legitimate problem. Fortunately even Major League Baseball can manage to limp into the 21st century now and then.

The Giants have limped along like the .500 team they are. They show flashes of brilliance and then put on some rather wretched displays. The parts are there but they are not all clicking together. It's April, and despite the Dodgers fast start they are still close enough. But .500 innings are not what champs are made of, and it is time for this team to quit screwing around. I expect to see a steady improvement and better well be reporting on a 10-8 or 11-7 second inning 18 games from now.


p.s. I can't get the goddamn B-R Linker tool to work!! Normally I'd make all the player names hyperlinks, but the "bookmarklet" (java script app) that B-R supplies isn't functioning. Even RMC isn't firing on all cylinders this early in the season!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cain, Giants come up short

Old nemesis Mat Latos made it look easy against the Giants. He needed 37 pitches in the 6th inning to create a mirage of a rally and watch it vanish. Otherwise it was easy pickings. If the doubleheader sweep in NYC got you excited about the 2012 New Improved Giants Offense then you probably didn't enjoy the 2011 Retro Look they sported tonight. Matt Cain can take comfort in knowing that run support is continuing along normal lines, zero in 15 innings is a fair market rate, and that's all he wants, no more, no less. After all, a 10-51 record in games in which the Giants score two or fewer seems reasonable, eh?

The Tennessee Stud wasn't sharp early on unless he was facing Joey Votto. He made one of the best lefty batters in the game look silly twice. But a 38-pitch 1st was enough to doom him the way Latos was dealing. Cain gave up nine home runs all of last season, he has allowed four this season. He gave up two in Arizona in his first start and two tonight, sandwiching those road starts around 18 scoreless at home. I thought Bochy would leave him in to pitch the rest of the 7th even after the homer by Ryan Ludwick, but I suppose they wanted a chance to look at Dan Otero. Poor guy did nothing to help his cause and was unfortunately also hurt by a double play chance that went awry. A grind game turned into a joke game and the nice little hit-and-homer thing in the 9th by Pablo and Posey was lost in the ugliness. Matt lost his streak but is still pitching--did you see where Cliff Lee was DL'd after his 10-inning performance? Sandoval kept his streak going, quite a nice little bit of history there, breaking a club record held by Willie Mays.


p.s. Matt's Game Score was 56, and his first three starts were 42, 96, and 86. His career Game Score Average is 57.

Year   GS GmScA
2005    7  62.9
2006   31  53.3
2007   32  54.7
2008   34  53.5
2009   33  58.3
2010   33  58.4
2011   33  58.9

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/24/2012.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sufficiently Tim

Start #4:  WIN  !!! (1-2)   5 innings    4 hits   1 run   5 walks    8 strikeouts

Game One of today's double-header with the Mets was far from a dominating performance by Tim Lincecum. But it still feels damn good. It was a WIN (6-1) ...which is the bottom line, after all...and it officially ended a nasty little "unfreaky" streak of three straight 5+ runs allowed games.  I'm betting that Timmeh is breathing quite a bit easier after this 108 pitch mini-marathon.  Far from a quality start, but definitely something to build upon.

Good stuff:   Pablo's hit streak reaches 15 with a single, but the flashy hitting came from Buster (homer #2) and Nate (a double shy of the cycle!).  Manny ended the fifth with a slick DP and it seems like The Freak was lovin' it:
"You don't have any control once it gets past you, and you're hoping your middle infielders take care of you in that situation," said Lincecum of the double play. "I'm getting really close with a lot of players now, and [when] guys see us scuffling like this, they want to pick us up. That was big for Manny."
Bad stuff:   Can't think of a thing ...Tim won and the world is good again.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

We're all in a Huff now

I'm relaxed about things. It's April. I'm old enough, perhaps mature enough now, to take the long view. I could live with a little Brandon Belt yo-yo if Aubrey Huff and/or Brett Pill (and/or Buster Posey) were giving us production at first base. Belt may look like a damn rook half the time, but at least you know it will get better. With Huff, you get the feeling he's hit the ceiling. He certainly has plenty of time to get it together and produce something close to his career line (.279/.342/.466), but at the cost of chancing it with Belt the rest of the way it looks less and less worth it. I don't blame Huff for not being a second baseman, and I don't blame Ol' Boch for sticking him there. Desperate times, desperate measures. It was one of those games that was going to end with a whimper and a fluke bit of wind blew the ball into no-man's land and the Giants, improbably, forced another frame. The skipper had pulled out all the stops and got a lucky break with some guys on in the top of the 9th and he was caught short-handed in the bottom half. I can live with that. The odds of actually tying the game were damn close to nil, and you had to go for broke. It almost worked. Bochy gambled earlier, too, leaving Ryan Vogelsong in to pitch the 7th inning. He dominated the first six, it was a reasonable bet, and the 'pen had been taxed the night before. And I like that move. Vogie is tough, and his stuff looks great. He was given the ball and a vote of confidence--that's what these guys want, even if they fail to deliver. I like the mind-set. Pitching is the team strength--show faith in your guys and be willing to sink or swim with them. The real crime was not scoring enough behind him, but that's Giants baseball.

Back to Belt. Or Huff. However you want to frame it, it comes down the to big bucks Aubrey is owed. Management sometimes has to answer to the bean-counters, that's what state-sponsored monopoly capitalism is all about. Huff is going to play because they are paying him to play, and they will take their time about it when it comes to axe-falling. Most of us were ready to cut Huff loose last season, so our time frames are skewed compared to our corporate masters, er, entertainment providers. Baseball decisions aren't always baseball decisions, this I think we've learned over the years, the grey in our beards attest to it. So take a deep breath, a puff for Huff if you will, and realize that it ain't gonna play out the way you want it. Brandon Belt is the 1B/LF of the future, even if he has to be Matt Williams* for a while, but Huff is the Daddy of Now. Perhaps a game like today will speed up the decision-making. It doesn't look like early-season rust any more. It looks like number 17 is done, and I hope that LarryB & The Consortium start to see it sooner rather than later.


*Year  Age  G  PA  AB  R  H BB SO   BA  OBP  SLG
1987    21 84 266 245 28 46 16 68 .188 .240 .339
1988    22 52 170 156 17 32  8 41 .205 .251 .410
1989    23 84 311 292 31 59 14 72 .202 .242 .455

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 4/21/2012.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Heapin' Helpin' o'Hensley

Clay Hensley is the bullpen star of 2012 after his effort tonight in New York. He cleaned up Sergio Romo's mess (men on 2nd and 3rd with no outs) with a one-run lead in the 10th to earn the save. Romo was credited with the win after getting the last two outs in the 9th, cleaning up Javier Lopez' mess. Lopez had a shot at the save, facing three lefties after Santiago Casilla allowed a leadoff hit. Ol' Boch ran into a little bump on the closer-by-matchup/committee road, fortunately he had another great arm available to get it done. Only rookie Dan Otero did not pitch. Guillermo Mota (1 IP, 2 K) and Jeremy Affeldt (2 IP, 3 K) were particularly effective. Barry Zito did not have a meltdown and kept it together for five innings, add that to his two previous starts and we have reason to be hopeful about his season. But Hensley was the pitching star. He's faced 19 batters in his seven games, striking out seven, walking two, and yielding one hit and no runs.

I was excited to see rookie Hector Sanchez get a big hit. He had a rough night with all those different pitchers and he hung tough with all those nasty breaking balls from Affeldt, Lopez, Romo, and Hensley. Melky Cabrera, once again, was the sparkplug. He's sporting a .333/.410/.481 line and always seems to be in the middle of the rallies. His walk and steal to start the 10th was beautiful, just what the team needed after the blown save. He played both corners--starting in right, switching to left, and then back to right. It was one of those "empty the bench" games that featured a pinch-hit appearance from The Great Matt Cain. He, alas, struck out.

Ryan Vogelsong goes tomorrow and Tim Lincecum Sunday. Madison Bumgarner gets the matchup with Johan Santana on Monday. GO GIANTS!


Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Milkman delivers

Melky Cabrera roped an emphatic game-winning hit in the bottom of the 11th inning to finish off the Phillies. Comcast-Bay Area gave me the Warriors tonight, not the Giants, so I had to enjoy this epic contest via Phlegm and Kuip and the magic of Gameday Audio. Matt Cain was great again, giving the Giants nine more scoreless innings (2 hits, 1 walk, 4 K) but was unfortunately matched by the redoubtable Cliff Lee, who threw ten (7 hits, no walks, 7 K). The Giants blew early chances against Lee, and you just can't do that, and only managed to win when the visitors went to the 'pen. Santiago Casilla followed Cain with a scoreless tenth, but Sergio Romo gave up a leadoff double to Carlos Ruiz in the 11th and had to be bailed out with a classic Javier Lopez strikeout of a stud lefty (Jim Thome) and another good bit of work from Clay Hensley who induced a grounder from John Mayberry to end the threat. And speaking of threats, I threatened to hit the sack when the 11th ended, regardless of the outcome. "Leche" made it all right by driving in Brandon Belt--who'd singled with one out--to win it. An error by Ty Wigginton at third base on a ball hit by Angel Pagan moved Belt into scoring position. It proved a costly play--I note that the home lads played excellent defense. Fielding lapses have been far to frequent this season and it was nice to see them make all their plays.

Matt Cain is awesome. I would have been very upset if the Giants had lost this game.

Good night!


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Did I say wins had to be pretty?

The Giants put 15 guys on base tonight with one double, two triples, ten singles and two walks, yet managed to score only the requisite minimum of four runs. Four runs equals a win, right? That's the game plan in San Francisco, pitch like hell and scratch out a measly four. Worked this time, but it sure would be nice to improve on the old bugaboo, namely hitting with RISP. The lads were 2-for-14 according to the box score, which looks bad until you check out the Phillies and their 1-for-11. Madison Bumgarner kept it together for 6+ and some very nice work (13 pitches, 9 strikes, 2 K) by Clay Hensley in the 7th set it up for the end game. Hensley looks like he has a lot of weapons and some tricky movement that works against lefties. Sergio Romo worked a crisp 8th and "Mr. 95" Santiago Casilla got the PWS (post-Wilson save). That's nine bullpen outs without using Javier Lopez or Jeremy Affeldt. I like it.

Brandon Crawford had quite a workout, starting the game with his fourth error and then facing what seemed like an endless parade of tough chances. He made a terrific Crawfordian stop and signature rocket throw to first on a hard smash from Shane Victorino to get the last out in the 9th. It looked like it would get the five-and-a-half hole and extend the inning after Juan Pierre's two-out hit, but the youngster had clearly had enough and made the play with panache. I can't contemplate what would happen if our wunderkind shortstop got hurt. Ryan Theriot? Move MannyB over? Ugh. I'll give Emmanuel Burriss his due--he's handling his chances at the keystone with some grace and skill, and has even looked sorta not-lost OK at the plate (a walk, hit, and SB tonight). But life without Brandon C would be ugly. Speaking of Brandons, Aubrey Huff is hitting .207, only 40 points more than Brandon Belt. Nate Schierholtz got a single off the wall in right and two other hits as well as his first walk of the season, thus finally raising his OBP (.370) above his BA (.360). He has yet to strike out.

Matt Cain and Cliff Lee tomorrow in the rubber match. GO GIANTS!


Monday, April 16, 2012

Sh*tty Start Tim

Start #3:  Loss (0-2)  6 innings   8 hits   5 runs  1 walk   6 strikeouts

This game started at 7:18 pm and was effectively over by 7:28 pm.  The Phillies jumped all over Tim Lincecum with 5 hits and 4 runs in the first inning. With Roy Halliday going for Philly...well, you know how that is going to turn out.  Oh sure, we scored a little ( it ended 5-2) but if you really thought we had a chance after Tim's start, then you are way more confident of our "new" offense than I am.

That makes three straight BAD first innings for Tim; a total of seven runs...which I believe equals the total for ALL of his first inning runs allowed last season.  His velocity seemed to hover in the unimpressive  88-91 mph range. His control seemed better; almost too good, though.  He got ahead of many batters but then would always seem to leave  a gift right over the plate.  The 0-2 crap to Victorino in the first and the offering to Halladay are prime examples.  Is it time to panic yet?  (and I don't mean the second baseman.)

Good things:   It was a pretty short game.

Bad things:  Besides Tim, the worst thing going on with this team is the defense. Another one tonight (like 15 in 10 games!) , which keeps us easily on top in the league.  Are we just having an unlucky stretch?  Huff in left is a ticking bomb.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

A little flat out there lads, eh?

The 2011 offense made a guest appearance today. Let's hope it has good manners and leaves without stinking the place up. Ex-Giant Kevin Correia mesmerized his old team with sinkers, sinkers, and sinkers. It made for a lot of ground balls to the right side. Ex-Giant Jason Grilli also made an appearance. Ex-Pirate Ryan Vogelsong looked good today, and coupled with the nice start by Barry Zito yesterday, that mitigates--a little--the sobering news about Brian Wilson. With him out for the season, everyone in the bullpen just got promoted. It will be interesting to see who thrives and who dives. Dan Otero did not help his cause with two hits leading to two runs. It seems logical to say Sergio Romo is the closer, but he might need a little tender handling early in the season. He had a touchy elbow last season and spent some time on the DL in August. Santiago Casilla and his 96-mph smoke might be alternative in the short term.

Grilli (with Nate Bump for Livan Hernandez in 1999) and Vogelsong (with Armando Rios for Jason Schmidt in 2001) are pieces of two excellent trades by Brian Sabean. Both Hernandez (2000 and 2002) and Schmidt (2002 and 2003) were big stars on two Barry Bonds-led playoff teams. Correia was drafted in 2002 by the Giants (4th round, 127th pick), the same year as Matt Cain. Correia and Vogelsong (1998, 5th round, 158th pick) were both All-Stars in 2011. The Giants first-round picks in 1998 were Tony Torcato and the aforementioned Nate Bump. Jason Grilli was the Giants first pick in 1997, the 4th player taken overall. I love all the connections!

Big matchup tomorrow with The Freak and Roy Halladay. Let's hope Tim finds his A-game.



Friday, April 13, 2012

One over the minimum

I missed the first third of Matty's gem today as I spent my morning chasing the elusive perfect powder turn at Mt. Ashland Ski Area. It was a damn fine morning on the mountain, and it was a damn fine ballgame from Matt Cain. The numbers are spectacular: only 28 batters, 11 strikeouts, zero walks, three three-ball counts, 19 first-pitch strikes, 19 swinging strikes, one hit, zero runs, nine innings, Game Score 96. He was in command from start to finish, needing 106 pitches to get it done. Cain retired the first 17 batters before giving up a single to James McDonald, the Pirates starting pitcher. Big day once again from FNG Melky Cabrera who sure knows how to win over new fans. Aubrey Huff had a bomb and three runs batted in, always nice to see. As long as they get production from first base I'm happy, I don't care if it takes all three of them. The Giants have scored 38 runs, the most in the West. But we all know this is a pitching and fielding team (Brandon Crawford made another great play today on a barehand throw to get Andrew McCutchen), and that was made quite clear in Arizona. Two big starts in Colorado and two big wins, a big start at home and another big win. It is great to see the offense show life and I hope they keep it up all year. But this team will win when they pitch well and avoid mistakes. It's early, not all the parts are quite working, but things will start to gel soon. I have a good feeling about 2012.

Congratulations to Matt Cain on his third one-hitter and perhaps his best career start. Nothing like dazzling the home crowd after your big payday, Matty me boy. Maybe they can love you even more than they already do.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Giants style

Madison Bumgarner was outstanding today and the Giants squeaked out a getaway win in Colorado. Brian Wilson did his best to scare the crap out of us, and it looks like he may have injured his foot in the process, but he got credit for a save and the Giants tallied a win. Once again the offense scored four runs, grinding out some chances against an effective Jamie Moyer. He's three years younger than me--what a stud. Mostly, they rode the big bat of FNG Melky Cabrera who has ten hits on the young season. He made an all-or-nothing attempt to save MadBum's no-hitter in the 6th, ultimately turning Tyler Colvin's single into a triple, setting up the Rockies first run, but I think we have to be pleased with his effort (.385/.429/.615) so far.

The Giants got closer to the formula today, with a big start and appearances by Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez to set it up for the closer. I was surprised when Ol' Boch let MadBum pitch in the 8th, and even more surprised that he let him continue after the leadoff hit by Chris Nelson. He did get an out, but not before an agonizing 13-pitch battle against the pesky Colvin. I like it when pitchers want the ball and the manager is willing to go for it with them. It was a little silly in the 9th, with an obviously diminished Wilson giving us all a fright, but the business got done. The Giants get two wins from the two lefties in Colorado, and come home on an upbeat note. Who knew after six games the best start (Game Score 83) would come from Barry Zito? He will get the ball again on Saturday against Pittsburgh. Ryan Vogelsong is scheduled for Sunday, with Tim Lincecum facing Roy Halladay and the Phillies on Monday.

Matt Cain pitches the Home Opener tomorrow, 1:35 p.m.



Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Worst Ever Tim

Start #2 :  No decision(!)  2.1 innings  8 hits  6 runs  2 walks  4 strikeouts   (yep, his shortest ever)

Just when you thought Coors Field was a reasonable place to play baseball.  Tim Lincecum and a few other bad Giants pitchers found out the hard way that ugly things still happen here.  I'm talking two touchdowns and a few field goals type of know, ugly pieces of crap like tonight ( won by the Rockies 18-7).  How on earth did Zito do it? 

Tim was real bad from the start and didn't last long enough to get any better.  Elevated fastballs were the specialty of the day and extra base hits were the result. Shit, Tim gave up more hits than got outs.  The only thing that made Tim look somewhat adequate was the job that Mota and Affedt did after Lincecum was knocked out.  U-G-L-Y. Too bad Coors Field can't be your only alibi.  Lots of bad pitches...Tim's ERA is over 12 now and he deserves every bit of it.

Good things:  Nate gets a start and hits two homers! A seven run inning (11 batters) is fun but heart-breaking when wasted.

Bad things:   Too many to list, but the errors do pop in to my mind.  We lead the league in errors already; a trend I sure hope changes soon.

Shingles? Give me a break.

Monday, April 9, 2012


Thank god someone on the team came into the season ready to pitch. Ok, not fair to Matt, perhaps. 9 innings. 0 walks. 4 K's. 4 hits. No relief. An economical 113 pitches. 0 runs. Anyone who is not really happy no matter how much abuse he or she has heaped on my man Zeets in the past is an idiot. Or at least, not a real Giants fan, although I repeat myself. A few other numbers: Rox gave us 7 walks and two errors. Thanks. Apparently it was a lovely day in Denver today, less so for Rox fans. Giants did not have a huge number of hits (for Coors Field); they had 10 and scored 7 with the walks and errors. The hits were spread out about as well as you could hope for, all starters had hits except for Gregor Blanco, and only Melky and Hector Sanchez had two. Pablo got us on the board with a home run to the bleachers with one on, and Crawford had three rbi from a bases-loaded double. Pagan and Sanchez picked up the other rbi. Giants have scored 21 runs in April, pretty much like last year, but so far, they have only played 4 games. The Giants have not lost the first four games in a season since 1950.

Apologies to MOC for stealing your July 11, 2008 title.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Desert debacle

You had to figure that staking Matt Cain to a 6-0 lead would mean an easy win, but the big righty was bitten by the same bug that derailed both Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner, and that's the gopher ball. Cain threw two fat pitches to Lyle Overbay and Ryan Roberts in the sixth and they both went for home runs. The Snakes chipped away and the Giants, looking shaky in the field for the third straight day, let it slip away. It was a terrible end to the weekend, and the orange-and-black find themselves in an 0-3 hole to start the season for first time since 1984. Cain threw three scoreless and looked like his usual unflappable self until the fourth, where that pesky Lyle Overbay got a big hit, but it was 6-2 at that point and it looked for all the world that Matt would go at least six and maybe into the seventh with a comfortable lead. Arizona has turned their ballpark into Coors South--no lead is safe, it seems. The Giants pitched and played poorly, negating the nice offensive outburst. Buster Posey hit a monster blast to right-center with that easy swing of his, that's a bit of silver lining on this otherwise black cloud. An RBI double and a walk for Brandon Crawford was also nice to see. Tomorrow Barry Zito will be asked to do what The Big Three have failed to do so far, and that's shut down the other team. Let's hope the lineup keeps delivering runs and the fielders can make all their plays. I don't like sloppy defense. The Snakes made five errors today to the Giants three--it was ugly. Buster made two, giving him three for the season, and Crawford made his second. These are the guys who are supposed to be the best gloves on the team! Un-acey aces and uncharacteristic play by key guys are the highlights in 2012. Time to get it straightened out, eh?


p.s. The Yankees, Red Sox, Twins, and Braves were also swept on the road in their opening series.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Giants score four runs two days in a row!

Hey, take a few positives, will ya? Sure, Madison Bumgarner looked today like Tim Lincecum looked yesterday, but the Giants hit two two-run homers. The Giants set a record last season for fewest two-run home runs by a franchise, uh, ever. You can look it up. I was getting whiplash from watching all the long balls. Or maybe it was the sports bar with the Giants in front of me and the Giants behind me, the Masters on both sides of me, and random sportage all about me in widescreen HD, into the Valley of Death rode us. You'd think getting 3/5 of the RMC ro together in one particular coordinate* in the time-space continuum would propel the Giants to victory. Alas not. I said it about yesterday's game and will say it about today's--the club did not show this kind of fightback last season. That team gave up if they were down 3-0 in the first. This team keeps coming. Pablo Sandoval is the man. A full season could be spectacular--let's hope he stays healthy. Brett Pill got a huge hit off a tough right-hander. I like it. MadBum (like Tim) looked like he forgot to warm up. Sometimes good pitchers pitch poorly, this we know, but back-to-back is tough to take. If I hadn't had such a fun day, I would be really grumpy right now.

Don't Panik: Matt Cain pitches tomorrow.


*Good to see you, mis amigos. May we cross paths again soon, this time with better results.

Friday, April 6, 2012

UnAcey Tim

Start #1 : Loss (0-1) 5.1 innings, 6 hits, 5 runs, 1 walk, 7 strikeouts, 2 HR

Tim Lincecum got pretty well smacked around in the season opener and the San Francisco Giants lost to the snakes. Sure he flashed some moments of brilliance, but it is impossible not to put the majority of blame ( not that I'm into that kind of thing, mind you ) on young Timmeh's shoulders. Hell, it sort of felt like he lost it twice...once at the start when he rather uncharacteristically yielded two homers; and then again, when he blew the tie by giving up another extra base hit in the sixth. It looked like he ran out of gas and needed to be lifted a couple hitters sooner...but I know, that is not what you do with your Ace. Too bad Tim didn't pitch like an Ace.

Good shit did happen: Cabrera doubled and homered, Mota shined, Buster played and looked good, the White Shark did his thing. We came back from a hefty hole against a tough pitcher, something we may not have been able to do last year. I had such high hopes for a great win...sigh...but at least I can still pretend that we might have an offense.

Weird shit happened too: Crawford, Posey and Sandoval each fumbled their first chances for errors. Those guys are our best defenders! What are the chances? Hey, maybe that just shows that this game was a fluke, a weird ugly anomaly. Sounds good to me.

Let's take the next two and forget all about this one. I bet Tim is in favor of that idea.

Gentlemen, start your engines!

Happy Opening Day, everyone!

Check out this interview with Giants draft-meister John Barr. "Draft-meister" sounds like something a homebrewer should aspire to!



Wednesday, April 4, 2012


Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Barry Zito.

Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, Guillermo Mota, Clay Hensley, Dan Otero.

Buster Posey, Hector Sanchez.

Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Crawford, Ryan Theriot, Emmanuel Burriss, Brandon Belt, Aubrey Huff, Brett Pill.

Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, Nate Schierholtz, Gregor Blanco.


Monday, April 2, 2012

We don't have to change the blog name!!

That's what has me really excited. I would have sulked for a few months if Cain walked at the end of this season. But I would have kept writing. I would have re-named the blog "Don't Panik" or somesuch. Hey, we ought to have a contest: best new-but-not-necessary blog name! I can think of a few already. How about "Gimme a Belt" or "Oh Say Can You Gillaspie" or "Posey's Posers" or "Kings of King Street"? Actually I'd probably settle on something witty like "Madison Bumgarner Is Fucking Awesome" or "Madison Bumgarner Plays For Our Team And Not Your Loser Outfit " (dot blogspot dot com).

The reaction from Giants fans is elation, of course. We all want to see Matty retire in orange-and-black. FanGraphs' Dave Cameron has the only contrarian take I've seen*, comparing Cain to the likes of  Carlos Zambrano, Jake Peavy, Dan Haren, Brandon Webb, Mark Buherle, CC Sabathia, and John Lackey. It's a mixed bag--will Cain be Haren/Sabathia or Peavy/Webb? Cameron suggests that risk > reward when you are dealing with pitchers, and that the Giants would be better off spending the money on hitting. It's a reasonable question--rarely is ANY player worth that kind of money and years. But I'm betting with the shooter on this one. Cain is a rare combination of youth, health, and talent. He was a big-leaguer at age 20 and has done only one thing since then, and that's improve. The organization made a colossal blunder with Barry Zito, and everyone but the suits knew it at the time. I thought--for a little while--that they would be gun-shy about doling out another Zitovian deal. But they pulled the trigger on Cain, and for that I'm very, very happy.



*We haven't heard from Only Baseball Matters on this matter, yet.

Reason to Continue the Blog

At least for Five Years. Yeah Baby!