Thursday, April 30, 2015

Giants could use a good month

It wasn't pretty in LA last night despite the fact that the Giants actually got some hits and runs when Zack Greinke was pitching. That hardly ever happens. The best thing about the season so far is that they beat Clayton Kershaw twice even though he pitched well both times. The team is in last place with a 9-13 record, the same record as the highly-regarded, consensus pick to win the East Washington Nationals. That's right, the Nats had the same month the Giants had. Other than the fact that the Washingtonians have scored 26 runs in their last two games, that is. I think the Giants have scored 26 runs this season. Let's see, quick check, looks like they have. 66 runs so far this season. With 22 games played that's three runs per game and I didn't have to break out my slide rule. That's not enough runs. The team has allowed 94 and I don't think I have to tell you that is too many runs. I do need the slide rule for this one:

Yep, that's too many runs. 4.27 if your slide rule skills are a little rusty. Rusty or not, 4.27 is bigger than three. Like I said, the Giants could use a good month.

Off day today, Angels at AT&T tomorrow night. Chris Heston gets the nod.



p.s. I just noticed Baggs' tweet in the sidebar: The Giants' 9-13 record is their worst thru April in 24 years. In 19-season Sabean era, they've had a losing record on May 1 just 4 times.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Mano a Mano

In spite of discouraging days like the day before yesterday, on other days the Giants manage to turn in some pretty competent baseball.  Yesterday, Madison Bumgarner dueled the dogger ace, Clayton Kershaw and beat him.  I think I heard Jon Miller say that Madison and Kershaw have faced off 5 times, with Madison walking away with the W in 4 of them.

Not a lot of scoring in this game, which is what you expect from these guys.  Madison allowed 5 hits and 1 run in 8 innings.  Santiago Castilla, who blew through the 9th on 10 pitches including a game-ending K of the fearsome Adrian Gonzalez.  The Giants actually piled up 10 hits, 7 off of Mr. Kershaw and 3 in the 8th and 9th after he had departed.  Improbably, Joaquin Arias had 3 hits, all courtesy of Kershaw.  Buster Posey had the hits that mattered, a 1st inning rbi to score Angel Pagan and a solo home run in the 4th.

Madison: 110 pitches, 73 strikes, 1 run, 5 hits, 9 K, 1 BB.  At the end of the day, Madison stands with a 3.73 era and a 1.21 WHIP in 31.1 innings.  Kershaw has a 3.73 era and 1.24 WHIP in 31.1 innings.  Madison's record is 2 - 1, Kershaw's is 1 - 2.  Most satisfying is to see Madison return to top form, he hadn't quite been there yet this season, but when confronted with the NL Cy winner and MVP (what, they couldn't find any more awards for Kershaw?), he came out on top.   Madison, with Buster in his corner v. Kershaw and whatever blue they can come up with?  I take that bet any day.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Piss Poor Tim

In a battle of #5 starters, the doggers prevailed, 8-3, and took the first game of the series.  Their lame starting pitcher, Anderson, couldn't get through the fifth but he looked masterful compared to a ridiculously struggling Tim Lincecum.  The fallen ace went a feeble 4 innings, allowing 8 hits, 3 walks and was lucky to only give up 4 runs.  Nothing he threw seemed to fool the blue goo and they often jumped on his first pitch.  It was clearly Tim's weakest start so far, best forgotten, yet I fear that won't happen soon.  Well, at least 5 days.

Their new CF, Jocko Something, put on a bit of a show with a great catch and a big homer.  Gee, I guess we have the pleasure of watching that for a decade or so...

McGehee took another 0-4 with a couple strikeouts. He is hitting .173 so far. Matt Duffy is looking better every day.

MadBum vs. Kershaw, Round 2 tomorrow.  I like our chances, MadBum seems to get even tougher on the road. I think I could come up with some good examples of that if I really tried.

Opening Day Pictures

OK, so it took me a while to get my sh** together regarding Opening Day photos, but here's a few:

That's me on the left with Rick and Jon at MoMo's, awaiting our pre-game drinks.

Sue and Nancy out in front of MoMo's and across from the 2nd Street entrance.

The obligatory Bum shot. Pre-horseback ride.

The view from on high. Brandon Belt seems to take up more space than he's allotted.

Post-game rendezvous at Anchor & Hope for seafood and beer. Clockwise from left: Zo, Ron, me, Jon, Betty, Rick, Nancy, Sue, Akemi. I'm getting there with the hair but Ron wins the Bum beard award.

Big Time Timmy Jim tonight in Los Angeles.



Saturday, April 25, 2015

Giants use all the arrows in the quiver

Extra innings seems to be the Giants forte. They are now 3-1 when they need more than nine. Amazing effort tonight in a hostile park. Tim Hudson was terrific and the bullpen equally tough and that gave the lineup the chances they needed to score and win one against the Rockies. We saw it all: doubles, homers, walks, steals, and bunts; an offensive kitchen sink that just keep grinding and it eventually paid off. The team was 1-for-16 with runners in scoring position! The club really needed a win and now they have a chance to take the series tomorrow behind Tim Lincecum.

Great game and a great time seeing old friends as well. Good stuff tonight.



UPDATE: No game today due to rain in Denver. Make-up date TBD. Giants in LA tomorrow night!

1st inning: 7-11

We've seen the Giants play 1/9 of their season so far, 18 of 162 games, the first seasonal inning. The highlight of course was the three-game sweep of the Dodgers. The low point was the eight-game losing streak in which they were outscored 43-15. The emergence of rookie Chris Heston as a viable starter is definitely another high point--he got beat yesterday in Colorado but the entire Giants team has yet to figure out how to beat the 2015 Rockies so I'm not too bothered by that. The other youngsters like Joe Panik and Matt Duffy have been terrific as well. FNG Justin Maxwell has been a great addition so far as has Nori Aoki. It looks like Brandon Belt is finding his stroke and Angel Pagan looks strong and healthy and back to form. Brandon Crawford is still the best shortstop in the world and he's starting to see the big hits fall. Tim Lincecum is another great 2015 story with only four runs allowed in his first three starts.

Right now the club is third from the bottom of the league in run-scoring. Only Philadelphia (6-11) and Milwaukee (3-14) are worse. You can win with a below-average offense, but not with one this bad. The Giants are pounding out 2.94 runs per game and the NL mean is 3.88 rpg. Note that San Diego (4.72), Los Angeles (4.50), Arizona (4.38), and Colorado (4.29) are 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 6th in the rankings. Giants could use an uptick and the obvious candidate for improvement is Buster Posey. We all know what Buster can do so I expect we will see that happen real soon. Casey McGehee's bat has not come to life either but you have to figure things will turn around for him, too. In terms of OPS the Giants, at .666, are only a hair from the league mean of .683, but again the top three teams are from the West (Dodgers, Rockies, Padres) so it behooves the club to find some power hitting. The Giants have proven that you can win without home runs, but they have always had extra-base hits aplenty and they could use a few more. The team has drawn 56 walks, 4th-best, which I hope is a season-long trend.

The Giants aren't doing it on the run-prevention side either. They've given up 74 runs, 4.11 rpg, fourth and sixth from the bottom. The league average is 3.95 so there is reason for optimism as they aren't too far away. LA (3.62) and SD (3.67) are leading the way in the West and are 3rd and 4th from the top. Ace Madison Bumgarner is not entirely there yet and that will have a huge impact on things when he gets into mid-season form. Tim Hudson can still deliver quality starts and along with the other Timmy that's not a bad trio. With Jake Peavy out of sorts and now injured and Matt Cain still on the shelf the team's depth will be tested. Ryan Vogelsong showed some moxie in his last start and perhaps Yusmeiro Petit will be called upon to do his magic a few times before the boys are back. The bullpen is still a team strength, I'm particularly enjoying watching George Kontos who looks very tough.

There's nothing pretty about eight losses in a row, a 7-11 record, and last place. But it's 1/9 of the season and considering the injuries to two starters and the team's two best players below par I'm not worried. There is a lot of baseball left to play and plenty of time for things to start going the Giants way. The starters are the key, they have to keep games close, but the offense has been mostly anemic and that's cost them some winnable games. They've been shut out three times, scored only one run three times (but got a win!), and scored only two runs twice. That's not a recipe for success. Score four and allow three is the magic formula, the Giants have that reversed right now. We saw them take three from LA with three strong starts (six runs allowed!) and some clutch hitting so we know they can match up with their rivals. The new-look Padres are in the mix with a nice balance of pitching and hitting and the damn Rockies have yet to be beaten by the defending champs but I'm not sure I buy into their hot start. I still see a three-way brawl for the title. LA has the track record, the home run hitters, and the über-aces. SD has the Rodney Dangerfield vibe as well as some smart off-season moves (Craig Kimbrel, James Shields, Matt Kemp, Justin Upton, etc.) on their side. Should be fun, eh?



Thursday, April 23, 2015

Epic Exertions in Extras!

When Howie Kendrick made that full-extension leaping grab of Justin Maxwell's line drive with two outs in the 8th and the bases loaded I thought that was it for the Giants. Down 2-1, though, they rallied again in the bottom half as Casey McGehee singled to lead things off and Brandon Crawford smoked a triple to score pinch-runner Matt Duffy. With a runner on 3rd and no outs, it looked like the Giants might walk off with the win but LA closer Pedro Baez righted the ship and sent the game to extras. Santiago Casilla appeared ready to give it away in the 10th but struck out Adrian Gonzalez with two outs and the bases loaded to keep the tie. That was tense! In the bottom of the 10th, Maxwell got another chance to be the hero and he roped a no-doubt winner down the left field line to end it, scoring Angel Pagan. The team would not quit and kept scratching out chances and they finally paid off with a sensational come-from-behind victory.

Great work from starter Ryan Vogelsong who allowed two solo shots in six innings, retiring the last ten batters he faced. The 'pen kept it scoreless for the final four frames while LA's crew gave up two. With struggling FNG McGehee getting a big hit and struggling Vogie pitching well it was a good day for the ballclub. Did I mention the great Giants bullpen? A series sweep of the high-flying Dodgers was the perfect antidote to an otherwise ugly homestand. Now 7-10 after four wins in five games, the last two walk-offs, the home squad gets the thrill of a trip to Colorado for a weekend series. That place is goofy. Weird baseball happens there. They just played a 2-1 game--the Rockies beat the Padres today at Coors. What are they thinking?

Terrific afternoon of baseball for Giants fans and like I said just what was needed after the losing streak. Let's hope the 'mo' continues to flow.



Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In A Pinch, Panik

9th inning.  A pinch hit rbi with bases loaded, game over.  What's not to like?  Joe Panik.  Madison Bumgarner against Clayton Kershaw.  Kershaw gave up 2 runs in 6, Madison gave  up 2 in 6 1/3.  They gave Mr. Kershaw a better game score, which illustrates how little that means.  However, Joe Panik.  And just to be absolutely clear, Joe Panik.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Double 'em Up Tim

The sleeping Giant awoke!  For one of the only times this season the Giants played an all around excellent ballgame and smacked down the formerly streaking doggers, 6-2.  Tim Lincecum pitched a fine game that was supported by a baker's dozen of hits (including a dinger!) and an efficient bullpen.  Throw in some shaky LA defense and the sell-out crowd at AT&T had a truly swell time.

Spiffy double plays were a key feature of this game.  In fact, Tim got the blue goo to hit into FOUR, which was the most by a Giant pitcher in 13 years.  The best of the bunch was a beauty that BCraw started with a dive and perfect flip.  It was spectacular and it is getting to where you expect it!

This game had so many highlights that is easy to lose track of the fine job that Tim did. We needed a solid start (hell, we needed EVERYTHING) and he certainly delivered : 6 innings, 5 hits, 1 run, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts, game score 60. Even though he was a little wild, he kept it down and was rewarded with big double plays.  An all around great game, but the clear player of the game was...

Justin Maxwell.  When you hit a triple and a homer AND make a magnificent catch, all against the doggers, you definitely deserve the game ball.  Congratulations, new guy! We have only won 5 games and Maxwell is largely responsible for two of them. Gee, think he deserves a bit more playing time?

Tomorrow: Bumgarner vs. Kershaw.  Does it get any better?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Heston Bests 'em Again

Chris Heston delivered another impressive effort, this time snapping the team's horrid eight-game losing streak with 7-2/3 innings of five-hit ball. The Giants have needed a big hit for a week, something cathartic, and Brandon Crawford obliged with a booming two-run homer to right-center that made it a 4-1 game in the 4th. Nori Aoki and Joe Panik had conjured up an early lead, and that's always a positive development, but the rookie was the key with a string of zeroes to start the game and another string after giving up a run. You have to figure the Diamondbacks are sick of the guy--that's three runs allowed vs. Arizona and a win in each park. The Giants were desperate for something positive and they finally got the result they wanted with a brisk, formulaic display that's been lacking in the early going. Pitching, solid play, and timely hitting sounds so simple but has been hard to come by for the local lads.

The ring ceremony was marked by a spectacular sky-diving entrance, something we expected on Opening Day. One if by land, two if by sea, three if by . . .? We were sure at the time it was by air but it was by horse instead. We were also sure we saw a dive plane overhead that day but it seemed conditions were a little spotty--it was windy at the top of the stadium, the flags snapped loudly all afternoon. Maybe we're nuts, it was just a scouting mission, but it sure seemed right. I guess they were saving it for this evening.

Regardless, the Giants won. I say they ought to be done with all this celebrating by now and should be on to winning some more ballgames. What do you say?



Our Pitchers Are Not Ready

Yeah, last night was the worst.

Chris Heston    2 starts, 13 IP, 4 runs, 1 earned.
Tim Hudson     2 starts, 13.1 IP, 3 runs, 3 earned.
MadBum          3 starts, 17 IP, 10 runs, all earned.
Timmy             2 starts, 12 IP, 4 runs, 3 earned.
Jake Peavy       2 starts, 7+ IP, 8 runs, all earned.
Vogie               1 start, 10 IP, 14 runs, 12 earned.

Not much to complain about with Heston and Hudson.  Madbum has not been his sharp self, a few more 7 inning games will make his 5+ inning average look better.  But still, he has been giving up a lot of runs, especially for him.  In that context, you could say that Timmy looks better.  1 earned run per 4 IP is better than 1 earned run per 1.7 innings pitched.  I know that earned runs are not the best measurement, but they are not without meaning, and I don't feel like delving into total bases or some other number.  Peavy and Vogie have really not been good.  Coupled with a strong case of anemia offensivia, and some stumbles by the relief staff and we are seeing plenty of bad baseball.  Yes, I know it is early and things are likely going to change.  (I mean, they have to chalk up a victory some time, right?)  Still, it looks to me like we have two fifths of a starting rotation to put on the field, an another two fifths of sub-par pitching for a team that relies on it.  We need for a couple of starters to get sharper, and fast.  Relying on an old guy and a rookie is not the best formula for success.  Hopefully, Matt Cain.

I just wanted to get that off my chest.  Also, Tuffy Gosewisch seems like the name of a cat.  It doesn't help to see a line-up with a C next to his name.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Giants Mount Comeb....oh, never mind

The Giants came back in the 9th to tie the game, only to give up a home run in the 10th.  They came back in the 10th to tie the game, only to give up two in the 12th.  They came back in the 12th, but not back enough.  They lost again, 7 in a row.

Madison Bumgarner was on the mound.  Madison threw 94 pitches and 71 of them were strikes.  That usually means a good game from Maddy, 70%+ strikes, but a couple, at least, were very hittable strikes.  He gave up 4 runs on 2 home runs, a solo shot to Mark Trumbo in the 2nd and a 3 run bomb on a fattie in the 5th to Paul Goldschmidt.  Madison gave up a total of 6 hits and walked 1, but those hits did a lot of damage.

The Giants scrapped.  Matt Duffy had 2 hits, including a single to score Blanco in the 9th and a double to score Belt in the 12th.  Joe Panik, dropped in the batting order, had 3 hits, including a triple to score Buster and tie the game in the 9th.  Brandon Crawford hit a 2-run bomb.  Ultimately, though, it was another L.  Arizona used all their relief pitchers, so maybe they are worn out a bit.  One can only grasp at straws.  Peavy up.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Back End Tim

Playing like a team in the midst of an impressive death spiral, the Giants dropped their sixth in a row as they lost to the Rockies, 4-2.  We have it all going on right now: shoddy defense, inept offense and largely inadequate pitching. One can only hope that this stanky stretch will finish up soon; this team needs to feel some love.

Tim Lincecum pitched like a pretty bad number 5 starter.  He gave up a healthy lead right away and really put his team in a big hole. He never hit over 90 mph (that I saw) and seemed to average around 88.  It wasn't a complete implosion - 5 innings, 6 hits, 4 runs(3 earned), 1 walk, 4 SO -  but it sure was nothing to get excited about. Yep, Timmeh looked like exactly what he is; an end of the rotation guy.

The offense was largely forgettable once again.  Matt Duffy hit an 8th inning homer and Angel Pagan had a three hit night but everything else is a bunch of meh.  I must admit I'm getting very tired of watching Hector Sanchez  play baseball. Susac, anyone?  And how much longer does Joaquin Arias take up a roster spot? It is not like those guys are to blame for this spell of sh*t baseball, it just feels better to blame someone and then chop their heads off!

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A bit of a disappointment today

My crew and I had a lovely time in the City by the Bay but unfortunately the Giants could not conjure up an offense this afternoon and the boys lost the Home Opener to the Rockies. Rookie Chris Heston pitched beautifully but got Cained by the pesky Coloradans. Brandon Crawford put on another display of fielding wizardry--he really is something to watch in person--but it was not enough as the purple-clads left the field as 2-0 winners.

Madison Bumgarner got to ride a horse with the 2014 championship flag and that was a lot of fun. The celebration at the Park was relaxed and subdued but the fans certainly enjoyed what fol-de-rol there was. W expected more of the home squad as they had opportunities aplenty in the first few frames but squandered them with some unfortunate impatience and bad luck. It was a gorgeous day in San Francisco but the Giants could not put together a winning sequence.

I realized that I said we'd be in View Box 321; alas, I made a typo, we were in section 327. So if you came by to say "hi" you would have missed me. My bad--put it down to road weariness and intoxication. Otherwise it was fun to reconnect with old friends and share some time at the yard together.

There's always tomorrow.



Sunday, April 12, 2015

Home Opener Tomorrow

Jake Peavy is healthy, that is at least a takeaway from this afternoon. And Brandon Belt. He's back on the field as well; I'm happy about that. Otherwise it was a rockin' time for Padres fans as they got to have a boatload of unwarranted dinger love this afternoon. I want to be pissed off about today's outcome, but I'm not. Hell, it's April. Let's all just take a fookin' Quaalude and relax, OK? (At first I thought is was Qualuude, but thank God for Google, it's two "a's" and not two "u's".) Anyway--I feel like there will be a lot of "anyways" in these posts--we are all here and ready to party for tomorrow's Opener. My good pals Rick, Nancy, Jon, and Betty are here in San Francisco (we are in my suite at the Donatello) and enjoying the spectacular weather as we decide where else to go for this evening's entertainment. We had a fabulous time at the Mikkeler drinking the outstanding brews and gobbling the delicious sausages, but I've got a hankering for some raw fish and sake, shouldn't be hard to find here in the Union Square area.

Anyway, the Padres are "serving notice" and I say "good for them" and "bring it on." A championship means a hell of a lot more when there is a dogfight to get there. They want a three-team race with LA for the West title? Hell yeah, so do I!

Anyway, we will be in Section 321 seats 13-20 row A tomorrow. That's View Box, upper deck down the left field line. If you are reading this tonight and will be at the game please come by and say "hello". I would love to meet any RMCers who are in town for the festivities. I'm sporting a beard and long hair (I'm working on the "full Bumgarner") these days and will be wearing the blackest jeans you have ever seen and a white 2014 championship cap.



Saturday, April 11, 2015

Uuuu - gleee

If you want to know how long it has been since Madison Bumgarner only lasted 3 innings, you have to look back at least to before 2012.  He lasted 4 in the first game of 2014, and had a few 4  or 4+ inning games in 2012, but nothing more recently.  It's too bad, too, because I was all set to write about how good the pitching has been to start the season.  The Giants piled up 37 hits in Arizona.  In three games in San Diego, they have 16.  San Diego, however, has 32 (20 of them tonight).

Madison gave up 5 runs, all earned, on 10 hits in 3 innings.  He was, to be kind, not sharp.  Ryan Vogelsong and was slightly more successful, giving up 5 runs, 4 earned, on 9 hits lasting 3 2/3 innings.  George Kontos was called in to clean up this Cubs-mens-room of a game and performed admirably, surrendering no runs in the remaining 1 1/3 inning.  Joaquin Arias hit a home run.  Why?  Because Casey McGehee seems to have hurt himself swinging.  Kinda sloppy defense, too.  Final score 10 - 2.  The Giants are now 3 - 3 on the young season, as are the San Diegans.  I really wanted to post about the Giants' great pitching.  Let's see what Mr. Peavy brings tomorrow.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Happy Tim

Yesterday's extra inning loveliness was a gift from the baseball gods but those of us that follow this crazy game know that things always seem to balance out in the long run. Well, it turns out the long run was one day later as the pesky Padres squeaked by our boys, 1-0.  Jeez, I love a good pitchers duel, but these scores are starting to remind me of the World Cup!
A tough loss for sure but the performance of Tîm Lincecum sure makes it a whole lot easier to take. Seven very solid innings with 4 hits, no runs, 3 walks and 5 strikeouts. Great work, no doubt. Tim seemed to be very much in control but more than that, he seemed to be having fun. I saw a few big grins; many more than I remember from last year. That has to be a good thing, right? I can tell you it sure felt good to me. There is nothing better than watching a happy Tîm. Perhaps he and Sanchez are really settling in and getting comfortable with each other.  
Very sad throw from Panik; cost us the run and almost broke Hector's arm off.  Yuck. 
Aoki sure does make things happen...some of it is pretty scary, but he sure stirs the pot!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Giants outlast Padres

The Giants put on a pitching-and-defense clinic tonight in San Diego and came away with a 1-0 win. The bullpen picked up the theme from starter Tim Hudson and worked 5-2/3 scoreless after his 6-1/3 and that gave the club a chance to get a winning hit. Justin Maxwell finally delivered in the 12th and Santiago Casilla closed the door for the victory. Huddy walked five and gave up five hits but four double plays saved the day.

Tim Lincecum takes the hill tomorrow.



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

All Hail Heston

Rookie Chris Heston stepped up tonight for a short-handed (short-armed?) Giants squad and delivered six solid innings to lead the team to a victory in Arizona. The sinker ball specialist generated nine ground ball outs along with five punch-outs and allowed only three hits in his second ML start. The Giants had bashed a dozen hits but were clinging to a slim 3-2 lead when FNG Casey McGehee launched a two-run homer in the 8th to seal the deal for the good guys. McGehee was fourth in the NL last season with 691 plate appearances but managed just FOUR long balls. Tonight though he cranked up the big fly when the team needed it most and the Giants took the series from the D-Backs.

With Matt Cain on the DL and Jake Peavy hurting the team needed some help on the hill and the 2009 12th round draft pick from East Carolina University answered the bell. Let's hope the youngster can keep it going until the oldsters can get back to full health.

Other FNG Nori Aoki had three hits to bring his 2015 total to six which leads the team. Rookie Matt Duffy got a start and chipped in two. FNGs and rookies--a deadly combo!

Ian Kennedy and Tim Hudson in San Diego tomorrow night.



AAA Fever in Sac Town

As you all know, the Giants' AAA affiliate is now in Sacramento instead of Fresno. Goodbye Grizzlies, hello River Cats. Local interest is high because normal people love the Giants and hate the A's .
Once I attended a River Cats game and they happened to be commemorating the '89 World Series. Many retired players were there, including "Hindu" Henderson, Dave Stewart and bunch of other fucking A's. Imagine my delight.
But baseball is baseball, so I've been going to a few games a year ever since I moved to Sac County 14 years ago. I'll have a beer and a Polish and cheer for the dopey minor league antics between the innings, stay to the end if there's going to be fireworks, otherwise head for the exits whenever the spirit moved me, because I didn't really care about the score. But from now on I'll be paying attention and actually rooting for the home team.
So it's my intention to take the AAA "beat" for RMC and share the occasional observation. It's hard to say exactly who is a River Cat and who isn't. For example I thought I'd include Chris Heston but he's pitching in Arizona as I write.
Andrew Susac and John Bowker are local guys so they get a little extra press. And the roster includes Juan Perez and Hunter Strickland, who along with Susac will be receiving championship rings soon.
The notorious Angel Villalona is still lurking about. The Giants need right-handed power. Who knows?
More later (don't hold your breath)

Monday, April 6, 2015

One In The Books

I guess the diamondbacks won't be serving beer this season.  They lost their opener.  I don't know, maybe they can pop bottlecaps by sliding the roof over them somehow.  Anyway, they don't seem to have enough fan support to open during the day.  The Giants won.  Not by much, as it turned out.  Madison Bumgarner, hero of 2014 and all around cool guy, was on the mound.  He pitched well, very well.  Seven strong, 93 pitches, 1 run and 6 hits.  3 strikeouts.  The Giants got a bunch of hits!  3 for Panik and Pagan.  2 each for Aoki, McGehee, and Crawford, and Matt Duffy pitched in 1 in a pinch hitting role.  The defensive side of the 8th was a mess, as we sent 4 pitchers to the plate and gave up 4 runs.  Santiago Casilla pitched damn well for the save.  Giants win, 5 - 4.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Tell Him Goodbye

This tweet from Baggs was in the feed on the sidebar.

I grew up with Lon Simmons. I remember when the Giants had Russ Hodges and Bill Thompson on the broadcast as well. KSFO, 560 AM was on a lot in my house when I was growing up, it was my mom's favorite station. Lon did the 49ers with Hugh McElhenny, too.

One of the things Lon did well was let the game speak for itself. Today's media-saturated world does not appreciate silence. There has to be noise all the time. Either the announcers never shut up or the stadium PA has music or other stuff to fill the air with sound. Baseball is a relaxed game punctuated by moments of tension. Lon had a great feel for the pace of the action, and knew when to sit back and allow the listener to enjoy the slow moments. It's a lost art. The Giants are lucky to have Miller and Flemm, they are both excellent. But neither have Lon's rich baritone or his sense of timing. Maybe with his passing they can learn some of his subtlety.

Recquiescat in pacem, Lon. Thanks for decades of entertainment!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

2015: Thoughts on the New Season

What do I look forward to most this season? That's easy, it's watching Matt Cain pitch. The big righty has been the center of my Giants universe for the last ten seasons and I'm happy that he's back. The Giants are counting on him to return to form. That's a tall order--age and injuries ultimately catch up with everyone and there's way no way to know who's next. It's going to be fun--like the Giants I think Matty will rediscover his game. He's always been the reliable workhorse, not the flashy star, so he'll have to grind it out. The fancy numbers, like pitcher-wins, have never favored Cain. He's someone you appreciate only after the quality innings pile up. At some point this year we'll get a sustained run of excellence and all will be right with the world. It will be even better if Buster has one of his legendary hot months at the same time!

I'm also looking forward to Matty's antithesis, Tim Lincecum. The days of the transcendent superstar we called The Franchise may be in the past, but The Freak is still alive and well. It's a bad idea to underestimate the oddballs and outliers of this world. Timmy is one of those, and I'm excited about what he's going to show us this year.

I think newcomers Nori Aoki and Casey McGehee will play good ball. The Giants have a knack for finding undervalued veterans to plug key holes. And they like all-rounders, guys who have broad skill sets that can help the team in multiple ways. I'm going to enjoy watching a couple of fresh faces.

Speaking of fresh faces, we might have to wait a while on Matt Duffy. There's still a chance he'll make the team straight away, but there's a bit of a logjam with Ehire Adrianza and Joaquin Arias ahead of him, so it's hard to know what will happen. I expect they'll either trade Adrianza or cut Arias if they want Duffy on board. I'm just glad it isn't my decision! I haven't see enough of Ehire to know how I feel about him, but I'm definitely intrigued and hope he can show us what he's got. I love Joaquin, he's done everything the team has asked him to do, but there comes a time when the youngsters will take his spot, contract or not.

Another youngster, Hector Sanchez, has been a favorite of mine since his arrival. I'm happy he made the team. Clearly they are grooming Andrew Susac for a bigger future role and need him to play everyday in the minors. I'm excited about his development and want to see more of him. But it's Hector, a man who might have seen his career evaporate due to head injuries, who gets the spotlight for now. I'm looking forward to him pinch-hitting late in games and getting a start behind the plate once a week or so. Maybe he'll be Tim's personal catcher again. He doesn't handle the ball as well as Posey, and that might mean more missed chances what with Lincecum's goofy arsenal, but it's a small price to pay to protect a superstar. Buster doesn't need the extra work, he's got the toughest job on the team already!

Last year I told everyone who asked that I was looking forward to watching Brandon Crawford play more than anyone else on the club. There's just something about his easy grace and preternatural calm that I can't take my eyes off. He consistently makes amazing plays and makes them look easy. That's the best compliment you can give any athlete, I think. Guys who make hard things look routine are special. People complain about his errors, but people complain about a lot of things. The man is a brilliant fielder, one of the best I've ever seen. And his hitting has gotten better every season. At 28, he's just coming into his peak. Can't wait to see what he'll do this year.

The Giants have, of course, two of the best players in the game with Madison Bumgarner and his battery-mate Buster Posey. They will, naturally, be fun to watch. The Core Four in the Bullpen (Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Santiago Casilla) are another special bunch. Three rings apiece for all six of those fellows listed above! Wow. How can you not appreciate that?

And I'm also looking forward to this seven starters thing. It's going to require some creativity. Good thing Bruce Bochy is in charge. If anyone can sort it out it's Ol' Boch. I'm looking forward to another season with The Skipper.

I'm looking forward to the whole package. I know I've only talked about a few individuals that have piqued my particular interest, but I want to see everyone. This is the best time ever to be a Giants fan, and I'm prepared to enjoy all of it.



Friday, April 3, 2015

Giants have a new GM

Brian Sabean was the longest-serving GM in baseball and that streak has come to an end. He's been promoted! Underling Bobby Evans is now the titular General Manager. Both Boch and Sabes were extended through 2019. Only Buster Posey is signed with the Giants past that point.

I won't bore you with analysis or presume to understand the inner workings of the front office. Suffice to say things have been working well and let's hope this new scheme is just more of the same. Congratulations to Bobby Evans, to be sure. He's been more and more visible these last several seasons and it is obvious the organization thinks highly of him. Sabes gets some fancy new title and presumably an office with a better view or a bigger desk or maybe a personalized parking spot. Boch gets to still be Boch. Let's hope he got a raise.



p.s. In case you missed it in the comments on the previous post, I have an extra ticket for the Home Opener (Monday the 13th v. COL @ 1:35 pm). I have seven people in my party and a block of eight seats. We will be in View Box 321 Row A, right on the edge of the upper deck. It was a StubHub purchase so the seat will set you back a stack o'clams ($236.33 to be exact). If any of you RMCers out there want to go or have a friend in need contact me ASAP (