Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Forces of Evil Prevail

You knew the Giants' demise was imminent.  Even, even if they could have somehow swept LA, they would have still faced long odds going into the final 3 games of the season 2 games back.  What no one expected was that they would bow out quite like this.

The doggers put Clayton Kershaw on the mound, and he was superb.  He threw a complete game shutout in a little over 100 pitches.  He struck out 13 and walked only 1.  He allowed 1 hit, to Kevin Frandsen.  Kershaw was matched against Madison Bumgarner, who did not fare nearly so well.  Madison threw 26 pitches in the 1st inning, mainly because Kelby Tomlinson booted a double play ball to set up a 1st and 3rd situation that led to the first run.

That would have been enough, but the doggers kept plinking away.  A solo shot in the 3rd made it 2 - 0.  Another error in the 5th when Kevin Frandsen couldn't scoop up a low throw from Brandon Crawford with 2 outs caused Maddy to throw over 30 pitches, putting him at 100 for 5 innings.  Maddy was done in the 6th after 2 solo shots, the first time he has given up 3 home runs in a game since 2010.  Final score, 8 - 0.

The Giants were hapless.  Their starting line-up consisted of 4 of the hitters that were supposed to be there.  The 2 errors were costly.   Los Angeles clinched the division title in San Francisco for the first time since 1977.  I really can't be irate, though, because really, Kershaw was simply superb.  It will be interesting to see them match up against the Mets and see if Harvey is asked to pitch. 

Much to analyze, much to discuss as the season wanes.  For now, though, try to salvage some self-respect in the final 2 games, Hudson's last start is coming Sunday, and let's see some youngsters against Colorado.

Giants Cling to Life

Boxscore
The Los Angeles Dodgers have to keep their champagne on ice for at least another night as the Giants prevailed in 12 innings. It was 2-1 Giants in the 9th but the Dodgers put the first two men on against Josh Osich and ultimately pushed across the tying run on a groundout. Don Mattingly played for one run by sacrificing with Justin Turner, his cleanup hitter, and it paid off--they got one run. They had a real shot at a big inning, I thought, but played it safe. The Giants 'pen has been a little rocky and I was surprised they didn't go for the kill.* They continued to torture the Giants faithful by putting men on in the 10th, 11th, and 12th but could not push across the go-ahead run.

Jake Peavy pitched a fine game, matching zeroes with ├╝ber-ace Zack Greinke. Rookie Trevor Brown got the big hit to give the Giants a brief 2-0 lead. Late in the game and in extras the home squad had several chances to seal the deal but kept coming up short. Ultimately it was an FNG-fest as Marlon Byrd, Kelby Tomlinson, and Alejandro De Aza conjured up the winning rally.

Marquee matchup tonight with Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.




*The "win expectancy" for the visiting team with runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs in the top of the 9th in a tie game is a little under 69%. With one out and runners on 2nd and 3rd it is a little over 69%. The gain is a fraction of a percentage point. Bunting in that situation means you can score a run on an out--which they did--but it also means you are playing for one run. A team about to be eliminated might say "we have to tie before we can win" and I'd agree. But a team with a six-game lead with three more clinch-games to play? To me that move is defensible only if it is the bottom of the lineup. They took the bat out of Justin Turner's hands and he's been raking to the tune of .290/.366/.484 for them. Why not show some faith in your guys and let them have a chance to deliver a big hit? I'd like to know how you guys would have played it if you were in Donnie Baseball's cleats.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Parker Power

Jarrett Parker stole the show today in Oakland with three titanic home runs including a first-pitch grand slam in the 8th to lead the Giants to victory. It was billed as the Tim Hudson v. Barry Zito show but neither made it past the 3rd inning. Both men were well-received and feted properly for their long, successful careers and their connections to both sides of the Bay. I'm not sentimental about ballplayers. They've had their time in the sun and now it's time for the youngsters to get their chance. Enjoy retirement, Huddy. I don't know what Zito has planned for next year, but I wish him well, too.

Parker's day is the first three-homer game for a Giants rookie EVER and the first three-homer game for a rookie in the bigs since Andrew McCutcheon in 2009. I think we can say he is "serving notice" that he wants a spot on the roster next year. You go, kid. Keep on rockin'!

The bullpen somehow managed not to lose the game and the Giants snapped their skid. I was starting to wonder if anyone on the team (besides Bum, of course) could still pitch!

Chris Heston tomorrow. GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Twenty

Brandon Crawford finally hit his 20th home run!  He had been stuck on 19 for what, over a month?  But he looked good tonight to give the Giants their first run, he was on base 3 times and scored twice.  Madison Bumgarner was on the mound.  This might have been his 20th victory, but, after his first try at #19 against Arizona that was thwarted by the Giants inept offense, this try was thwarted by the bullpen.  With help from the offense.

Angel Pagan led off the game with a double.  On Matt Duffy's single with 1 out, Pagan took a weird route and made a weird slide at home and was called out.  Brandon Crawford chalked up the first Giants score when he led off the 2nd inning with a home run.  The Giants then proceeded to put men on 1st and 2nd, only to have Kevin Frandsen (remember him?) ground into a double play.  That put Marlon Byrd at 3rd with Madison Bumgarner at the plate.  Madison struck out and it seemed to rattle him, he thought the called 3rd strike was a ball.  Joe West was behind the plate, and of course Madison did not make things easier on himself by questioning the strike call.   He may have carried it onto the field as he then gave up a walk to one of the Uptons, a single to Gyorko and a home run to Matt Norris.  Still, the Giants managed to eek out 3 runs by the middle of the 5th for a 4 - 3 lead, with the final run coming on a balk by Ian Kennedy.  Madison went 7 strong, threw 120 pitches gave up the 3 runs on 3 hits, walked 3 and struck out 9.  He has netted 228 K this season, a best for him.

The bullpen wasted no time giving this game away, however.  Strickland in the 8th walked the first batter, after Lopez did his job against Cory Spangenberg, Sergio Romo allowed Matt Kemp to tie the score.  In the 9th, Mike Broadway put a runner on before Josh Osich allowed a single and lost the game (Broadway got the L) on 2 pitches.  The offense however, deserves mention.  Matt Duffy had 3 hits, Pagan 2, De Aza 2, Byrd 2 and Tomlinson 2.  But the Giants were 2 for 15 with RISP.

So the Giants drop another series and LA has knocked 4 games off of their magic number in the last 2 days.  They're coming from behind to win, we are coming from ahead to lose.  So the Giants are 11 - 8 against San Diego this season, and 8 - 11 against Arizona, with final series to be played against LA and Colorado. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Thirteen

That's all that's left of 2015, my friends. Thirteen ballgames. Three in San Diego, three in Oakland, then home for four with the Dodgers and three with the Rockies. Even if the Giants go 13-0 they will need a little too much help to make the post-season. LA's magic number is seven which means they can play .500 ball in their final fourteen games and still clinch the West. The Cubs are two games better than the Dodgers so the elimination number for the Wild Card is only five.

I'd like to see the Giants finish with a winning month. They are 9-9 in September. And I'd like to see the Giants give their SoCal rivals a little pain and suffering with a solid thumping in that penultimate series. The good guys are 9-6 versus the bad guys this season. In those 15 games they've scored a mere 53 runs and allowed only 48 runs. That's an average score of 3.5 to 3.2 which is some tight baseball, man. If LA is going to clinch in SF at the very least I hope they have to work for it. You know they'll run out the scrubs as soon as they can and rest their starters and I don't want that to happen. I want to see those guys going all out to win, grunting on every pitch and grinding out every at-bat. No early rest or extra off-days for Kershaw and Greinke. Send them to the playoffs already worn out!

I'd like to see Chris Heston have a couple of strong outings. He goes tomorrow against the Padres. I'd like to see Matt Cain get another start. I'd like to see Brandon Crawford find his stroke and start crushing balls all over the place like he did earlier in the season. I'd like to see more good work from the youngsters in the 'pen. I'd like to see our rookie backstops show us what they can do. I'd like to see the guys who are currently healthy stay healthy the rest of the way. No more injuries!

What do you want to see the rest of the way?

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.


p.s. That was nice seeing Buster unload a three-run bomb to ice the game yesterday. Talk about cathartic! And Hudson was impressive. Forty years old and still able to deliver in the major leagues, that's quite an accomplishment.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Matt Cain Pitched!

It wasn't exactly pretty. Pollock singled and stole second. Inciarte singled him home, then stole second. Goldschmidt walked. That took 21 pitches. Peralta helped him out with a ground ball on the first pitch which forced Goldschmidt. Four pitches later (to Saltalamacchia) Peralta stole second. Then Saltalamacchia struck out. Four pitches later Gosselin struck out. He finished with a flourish, at least.

It was good to see Matty even though the game was not worth watching. It's a long off-season, he ought to have enough time to get healthy for next year. And he'll get a proper Spring Training to "figure things out."

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Turn Out The Lights

A realist could have, should have written this title a while ago.  A delusional fan who witnessed this piece of shit game could now not help but agree.

Madison Bumgarner was on the mound.  He threw 117 pitches in 8 innings, struck out 7, walked 3 and gave up 2, only 1 of them earned.  That's pretty good, but a perfect 9 would have netted him exactly nothing.  Rubby DeLaRosa, Cy Young candidate that he is, held the Giants to 1 fucking hit.  ONE.  Buster Posey added one with Brad Ziegler on the mound in the 9th.

So this is how our season as reigning world champions ends - not with a bang, with a game that makes a whimper sound loud.  We might not wind up in 2nd place.  Madison Bumgarner will not get his 20 wins.  The Arizona Diamondbacks have now beaten the Giants in 7 out of 8 meetings in OUR OWN PARK this season.  Fuck.  I can't wait for this season to end.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

TEN

That's the Giants Elimination Number for the NL West race. It also happens to be the Elimination Number for the NL Wild Card. The Giants are behind the Dodgers by 7-1/2 games and they are behind the Cubs by 7-1/2 games. San Francisco, at 77-69, has 16 games left on the schedule. Los Angeles and Chicago have identical 84-61 records and thus both have 17 games remaining. The Cubs still have a shot to overtake the 87-58 Pittsburgh Pirates for the top Wild Card spot but the situation for the Giants stays the same. Any combination of wins by the leading club and losses by the Giants that equals ten means the 2015 season is over.

The math, gloomy as it is, still represents a chance albeit a vanishingly small one. The MLB Postseason Probability tracker currently rates the Giants at 0.9% for the division title. Not much of a bet, eh? RMC's official position is "it ain't over 'til it's over" but that's the only position any self-respecting Giants fan can take, am I right?

Last night's exhilarating and agonizing win over the Reds got me thinking. Is Jake Peavy finally healthy enough to be a reliable starter? That home run was a nice bonus and a clutch hit to boot. The Giants are paying Peavy $15M to be a part of the 2016 rotation and his 2015 performance has not been encouraging. He'll be 35 in May and has 2200+ innings on his once-formidable arm. What can we expect next season? I'd like to pencil him in for 30 starts and 180+ IP, but is that realistic? If not, who takes his spot? I don't have the answers, but I like to think if he can stay healthy he can still be a productive player.

I'm also thinking about Santiago Casilla. It seems all of his saves lately have been both tortuous and torturous. He'll be 36 in July and I believe the club can buy him out for a million bucks this off-season and make him a free agent. Should they? Is it time to move one of the young bucks like Hunter Strickland into the closer role? I'm leaning that way, I admit. The Core Four is getting old and the remarkable run of consistency and high-level performance we've seen from these relievers is contrary to our usual experience. Most bullpen arms just don't last this long. Strikeouts are up this year with Casilla but walks and hits are as well. What's he got left? It's worth noting that 36-year old Jeremy Affeldt is a free agent next season after a injury-marred below-par campaign. Can you envision the Giants without the goofy lefty? Both of course are in the pantheon of all-time great Giants and I will never speak ill of them and always wish them the best in their careers. Speaking of one of my most beloved players, did you see AmyG talk to Andres Torres on the telecast last night? That 2010 year was so special and he was such a massive part of it I get teary-eyed whenever he shows up.

On the horizon for the home squad are three games with the Diamondbacks this weekend. Madison Bumgarner goes Friday night. Then it is six road games with San Diego and Oakland after an off-day Monday. The boys return home on the 28th with four against the Dodgers and finish the season with three against the Rockies. Nine games before LA comes to town--will they clinch before then? They have ten games to play in that stretch including three against the Pirates this weekend. If the Giants go 6-3 they'd have to go 7-3 to do just that. Is it just me or is it looking increasingly likely they will have to win in San Francisco to take the West? Could make for some great games, but could also be a hideous run-from-the-room and shield-the-eyes-of-the-innocent moment. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

8th inning: 9-9

The Giants pulled off a win over the Reds in Game 144 to finish their 8th seasonal inning. Brandon Belt and Matt Duffy were the hitting stars and Belt flashed some impressive leather as well. I have to say I was also impressed by the work of SS Ehire Adrianza who made a number of Crawfordian grabs and throws. He looks like he's playing with more confidence. The bullpen got it done after Tim Hudson was yanked in the 5th. Here's the seasonal story so far:

1st inning: 7-11
2nd inning: 11-7
3rd inning: 12-6
4th inning: 8-10
5th inning: 9-9
6th inning: 12-6
7th inning: 8-10
8th inning: 9-9

The Giants have won four in a row and seven of their last ten. It's a nice little surge but it's not helping: they are still 7-1/2 back in the West race. Los Angeles has an iron grip on first place going 8-2 in their last ten and 13-4 in their nearly-completed 8th inning. The Dodgers are 32-21 since the Break which bests the Giants 30-25. They went 15-12 in August while the Giants managed only 13-16. September's record is 10-3 while the Giants are at 7-6. No matter how you slice it they've played better ball. And the three-game sweep (August 31-September 2) turned the tide. It was almost as if that series was the Zeroth Round of the Playoffs! At this point the Giants can't really afford to lose any more games. The odds of going 18-0 are pretty damn long, but it's pretty damn close to what they'll have to do. The only realistic scenario is to get within four games by Monday the 28th and then pull off a sweep in the penultimate series at home. LA's magic number is 12. I don't want to contemplate them clinching at AT&T in that stretch of games.

Looks like wunderkind Joe Panik is done for the season. Such a shame. In 100 games he raked to the tune of .312/.378/.455 which translates to a 130 OPS+, 137 wRC+, and a .363 wOBA which is second only to Ben Zobrist for second basemen with 400+ PAs. Add in his glove and he rates 4.1 fWAR (3.1 BB-Ref WAR). That's great work over a full season let alone only 60% of one. I hope this back issue can get resolved in the off-season. The Giants need him at the keystone for 2016 and beyond.

Speaking of 2016, another fellow who is important to the cause is pitching tonight--Chris Heston. He threw 173 innings in 28 starts in the PCL last year. This season in the bigs he's just shy of 160 IP in his 27 starts. With some improved health and fitness (and a better idea what a full major-league season entails) he will likely be counted on for 2+ WAR. What he has done this year is comparable to what the Padres got from James Shields! Get right the rest of the way and get ready for next year Hest-o, the team needs you.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Monday, September 14, 2015

27-4

That's a good weekend of baseball. Yesterday Mike Leake gave up two triples, a double, and a homer in the first two innings but nothing--only a walk--after that. The highlight of course was his MadBum impersonation with the stick: a three-run homer to make it 4-3 San Francisco in the 2nd. I think the Giants need to sign this guy for a few more seasons. He's a steady performer, not overpowering, but at age 28 next year and over a 1000 innings as a starter he's a good bet to be a reliable 30-start, 2-WAR guy. What do you guys think?

San Diego fielded two men who clearly make the All-Name Team with Odrisamer Despaigne on the mound and Yangervis Solarte leading off and playing third base. Otherwise they didn't have much going on. At ten games under .500 and 16 back in the race it's another lost season. They remade the club last winter and all they got for it was a chance to replace their manager. As disappointed as we are with the Giants this year we can always remind ourselves about the days when third place was real achievement.

I hope everyone got to watch Madison Bumgarner's one-hitter. That was something. There's a post by Owen Watson at FanGraphs that talks about him using his off-speed stuff more effectively by throwing slower, that is increasing the spread between the curve and slider ("slutter" in Krukovian) and the fastball. He's topping out at the same place, but taking something more off the breaking pitches. In essence he no longer needs his changeup which he has mostly stopped throwing.

The Reds are in town for three starting tonight. Tim Hudson gets the call. Go Giants!

--M.C.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Dude Abides

Madison Bumgarner.
18th win, 111 pitches, 75 strikes, 9 K, 0 BB, only 1 hit.

Giants also scored a number of points.

Home Cookin'

Boxscore
The Giants thumped the Padres 9-1 behind a resurgent Jake Peavy and improved their home record to 39-27, a .591 pace. They've allowed 218 runs at AT&T Park in those 66 games, about 3.3 rpg, a whole run better than what they've done on the road (320/75). The Giants 3.82 overall is 6th in the majors which is better than teams like the Cubs and Royals. Here are the teams ahead of them: Cardinals, Dodgers, Astros, Pirates, Mets. Despite the lack of consistency in the starting staff (other than MadBum, of course) the Giants have played winning ball. Their run difference of +63 is the ninth-best, but their won-loss record is only the twelfth-best. This team is like an out-of-tune engine--you still get down the road OK but it's certainly not smooth sailing.

I was happy to see Peavy look sharp and get a good result. He's back with the team for 2016 and I know we'd all like to see more of the August/September 2014 Peavy who delivered 2 WAR in 12 starts. He has to be healthy, of course. I think much of the inconsistency we've seen is physical--I don't think he was 100% when he came off the DL and I doubt he's 100% now. But it was fun to watch him work quickly and efficiently. With the kind of fielders the Giants can put behind him and the pitcher-friendly park he should be a valuable guy to the team.

Matt Duffy continues to rake. What a shame that both Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford have missed time. With Brandon Belt and Buster Posey that's the best infield in the majors. Speaking of infielders, wasn't it nice to see Ehire Adrianza smoke a couple of clutch hits? Kelby Tomlinson may be the super-utility man of the future with his speed and Duffy-like stroke, but it's hard not to root for Adrianza.

FNG reliever Cory Gearrin got to show us his stuff, and boy does it look filthy. He's coming back from TJS. The Giants scooped him up as a free agent after he was let go by the Braves. Never hurts to have extra arms in the 'pen. And speaking of FNGs, did you see the moon shot Jarret Parker launched? Only in SF does that fail to go out! The young lefty has some pop--if he can cut down his strikeouts he could be a part of the OF rotation next year. He and Gary Brown were the team's first two picks in the 2010 June draft. Gregor Blanco, sadly, may be done for the season so the youngster has a real chance to impress.

Bumgarner goes today. Let's hope they stick with the winning recipe.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Huddy Hits a Homer

Tim Hudson delivered one of the best starts of this dismal month of Giants baseball and added two hits including a home run to lead the team to victory. The 6-2 win evened up the series. Chris Heston--who could really use an outing like Hudson's--goes tonight. I didn't see it coming. I was not looking forward to watching a 40-year old log his last few trips to the mound before retirement. I was sure he was going to get hammered. But that's why they actually play the game instead of let guys like me predict the outcome. It was a fine performance by the whole team and was marred only by Brandon Crawford leaving the game. He is day-to-day.

The Giants have played 139 games and have 23 remaining. They are 8-1/2 behind the Dodgers who have 24 to play. They are nine behind the Cubs for the wild card--Chicago has 25 games left. Whipping out my slide rule I figure the Giants need to play about .850 ball to have a chance. Them's some long odds, man! Interestingly, the Giants have "underperformed" a bit. They had a losing record in August (13-16) despite scoring more runs (124) than they allowed (114). Overall they've scored 591 runs and allowed 535, that yields a Pythagorean record of 76-63, four games better than where they are (72-67). I'm sure we can come up with a suitable set of reasons for that. Perhaps we should look at the 16-22 record in one-run games.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Escape from Colorado

The Giants split the 4 game series today - no torrential rain-outs this time, to finish their visits to Colorado for this year.  The place always seems to present some kind of problem.  The Giants won the final, though, by a score of 7 - 4 to put the series with the Roxies at 7 wins and 9 losses.  That's right, we are in danger of losing the season's series against Colorado with 3 games remaining at the very end of the season.  But a win is a win and the Giants showed some offense and picked up number 17 for Madison Bumgarner.

Everyone, except for Juan Perez, got a hit.  Gregor Blanco got a hit and scored a run, Kelby Tomlinson got 2 hits including a double and scored once.  Matt Duffy hit a bases-loaded triple which scored 2 (Brandon Belt was out at the plate), Buster Posey homered and doubled and scored thrice, Marlon Byrd had 4 hits including a double and had an rbi, Brandon Belt had 2 hits and an rbi and Brandon Crawford hit a double for 2 rbi.  The 5th inning was particularly eventful as the Giants batted around and scored 5.  Madison Bumgarner, not to be forgotten, also hit a double.  The home run was Buster's 100th.

Maddy was on the mound, he threw 100 pitches, allowed 4 runs on 9 hits in 6 innings, walked a guy and struck out 3.  He was good, even if not his best and seemed to have an occasional disagreement about the strike zone.  Hunter Strickland threw a very efficient 7th, Lopez and Romo combined for the 8th and Santiago Casilla looked good to finish off the 9th.   All of the pitchers kept Arenado and Gonzalez in the park, which is kind of an achievement.  Arenado did not get a hit, although Gonzalez doubled.  The Rockies had Yohan Flande on the mound, he has pitched in relief and started for Colorado and he was pulled during the Giants romping 5th.  Colorado then proceeded through 7 relief pitchers, some of whom you may have heard of.

A win was imperative.  The Giants got one and now head to Arizona where a decent offense is also a must.  Their backs are still against the wall, which will be true for the rest of the month, if they are lucky.  Joe Panik is due back tomorrow.  They get a day off Thursday.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Seventy

Boxscore
On their eighth attempt the San Francisco Giants get their 70th win. With the shitty post-season math out there the losing streak seemed like it would never end. Tonight a patchwork lineup and Jake Peavy led the team to victory. Peavy got burned in the 6th again to spoil a strong start. After an impressive whiff of Carlos Gonzalez with a man on and one out he gave up a two-strike homer to Nolan Arenado to cut a 5-1 lead to 5-3. It wasn't a fat pitch, but it was on the black, and it seems like any strike the Giants throw that guy he crushes. The lads bounced back right away though and made it 7-3 and that's how it ended. Jake Peavy, amazingly, was a hitting star with two booming doubles, scoring on the first one and driving in a run with the second. Angel Pagan also had a good night with a homer--his first in over a year--and a double. Nick Noonan, playing first base for the first time ever, had an RBI double and walked with the bases loaded for another RBI. FNG Alejandro De Aza, starting in left field, had two hits and a run scored. Gregor Blanco had two hits including a solo homer and Matt Duffy had three hits and two runs batted in.

Andrew Susac was sent home to have his hand looked at and Hector Sanchez started behind the plate. He hurt himself running out a bunt and had to be replaced by Buster Posey. It's 40-man roster time and the Giants are down to one catcher. I've no idea who the Giants plan to bring up to fill the spot. Juan Perez warmed up Hunter Strickland in the bullpen--maybe he'll don the gear at some point in this crazy season!

Just keep winning, Giants.

--M.C.

Friday, September 4, 2015

A Few Words About Tim Lincecum

Three articles in the SF Chronic today about Tim Lincecum.  I suppose, much like myself, they want to avoid writing (or thinking) about last night's game.  Ann Killion is on the front page, "Hip Surgery might mean the end of the Lincecum era."  Also in the news section next to the continuation of Ann Killion's article, from Hamed Aleaziz, "Lincecum news crushing blow for Giants fans."  Finally, John Shea's is the lead story in the sports section, "Lincecum's S.F. future in doubt."  (note: articles in sfgate.com are written earlier, so are slightly different and titled differently).

Just in case anyone missed the blaring subtext from the articles, they hit the reader over the head:
Killion: "While team executives say the door is still open for a Lincecum return, the subtext is that, with his contract expiring at the end of the season, he may have pitched his last game in a Giants uniform."
Aleaziz: "Known around AT&T Park as 'The Freak' Lincecum could be finished as a Giant." 
Shea:  "But suiting up for another team next season is a distinct possibility in the wake of Thursday's season-ending hip surgery."

Tim had surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left hip and shave some of the bone that was impinging on the labrum.  From Shea, quoting trainer Dave Groeschner, "The doctor's pretty confident this is going to help him out and get back to major-league pitching for next season."  I don't know if Tim Lincecum will be able to pitch by the beginning of next season, before I read the description of the operation, I might have speculated that it would involve more intrusive surgery and possibly a year's recovery and rehabilitation time, meaning he wouldn't pitch much before 2017.  But if he can recover his form, good for him.

Every one of the articles states that Tim Lincecum's contract expires at the end of the season. So, as is true for any Giant whose contract is expiring, they may have (as the season ends) played their last game as a Giant.  Ryan Vogelsong (at the end of the season) may have pitched his last game as a Giant.  Nori Aoki (at the end of the season) may have played his last outfield as a Giant.  But these articles simply can't help but emphasize that fundamental tenet of contracts as though it were something special about Tim Lincecum.  Remember two years back, when there were already many, many questions about Tim's ability to be effective on the mound?  He was signed to a new (and very lucrative) contract.  So why the emphasis?

I think it is because the contract was so rich.  $35 million for the overall production the Giants received (although, 1 no-hitter and 1 more World Series championship) is not a good value.  But baseball contracts are never about what a player will do, they are about what a player has done.  Marco Scutaro was signed to a 2 year contract because of his tremendous 2012 stretch drive and the iconic picture of him in the rain as the Giants won the National League, not because a rational person would have expected two years of production out of him.   Tim Lincecum was paid for his two Cy Young awards, his dominant 2010 playoff and series performances, his bullpen work in 2012 and his 2 no hitters.  The Giants executives (Larry Baer and Bobby Evans) are quoted as saying that the door is open.  No Tim Tribute nights are planned, because they would be premature.  Yet these articles emphasize the obvious, that a player at contract expiration might sign with a different team.

I wouldn't expect the Giants to offer Tim Lincecum (should he, hopefully, recover and look like an awesome pitcher again) a $35 million dollar contract.  But maybe one loaded with incentives.  And who else would offer as much?  No other team's fans have the personal connection with the Timmeh that Giants fans do.  No other team is selling Lincecum jerseys in the team stores and "Let Timmy Smoke" shirts on the street corners.  I don't know if Tim Lincecum will be able to pitch at an awesome major league level next year.  But if he can, I would bet that the Giants are more likely to work a deal for him than any other club.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

They Ain't Cuttin' Any Steps

You're in a hole you gotta cut some steps to get out, am I right? The Giants got Kershaw-ed tonight. Mike Leake pitched another excellent game but lost the matchup anyway. That guy's had some rotten luck. The Dodgers big southpaw had it all working and outlasted the Giants with an incredible effort. I really thought--I know I keep saying this--the Giants would get the game-tying hit in the 9th inning. It didn't happen but I thought up until the bitter end that it would. What can you say? The Dodgers were on a mission and they pulled it off. All the games were so close and they came down to the narrowest of margins. I'm numb at this point. They played a terrific game but just could not, once again, get the big hit. And of all people Chase Fookin' Utley got the game-winner off Leake. It just doesn't seem fair, does it? I've run out of things to say. The Giants needed to win the series and instead they got swept. As much as it pains me this is one of those times where you have to "tip yer cap" to the other guy. They got it done and you can't argue with the results as disappointing as they are. I kept the Giants light burning, as you can see, but 6-1/2 back with 29 to play makes for some shitty goddamn math.



Vogie gets the start in Colorado tomorrow.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Deeper

Tense game, many moments of hope and dashed hopes.  Giants needed a win and did not get one.  Madison Bumgarner pitched well, Zack Greinke pitched better.  Madison's line: 7 IP, 108 pitches, 2 runs, earned, 8 scattered hits, 1 BB, 1 hr.  Greinke: 7 1/3 IP, 114 pitches, 1 run, earned, only 5 hits, 1 BB.  2 -1 was the final score.

Giants hits went to Pagan, who looked pretty good at the plate; Duffy, who netted the lone rbi; Belt; Posey and Blanco in a pinch hitting role.  Gonzalez collected the first rbi and Pederson hit a solo shot in the 7th.  Giants have 30 games left to play, and are now beyond the point where they can control their fate - they have to get some help from other teams. I knew that we had picked up De Aza, and knew he was in the game, but on the radio, I kept hearing "Piazza" which is about right for how the game went.  He did not do us much good, although De Aza got burned on a bad strike call, and Bochy got tossed as a result.  The pitch was clearly well outside.

Tomorrow is scheduled to be tough, Leake against Kershaw, and then on to Colorado.  At least they have some extra people. 

Giants Dig a Hole

Will Rogers was reputed to have opined "if you find yourself in a hole, stop digging." The Giants are in a 4-1/2 game hole after last night's grueling 14-inning torture-fest and have now put even more pressure on themselves to win this series. It gets a little tougher with Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw on the mound for the Dodgers the next two evenings. Last night was all about missed opportunities, like this weekend in San Francisco the Giants just could not put it all together. They blew a 3-1 lead, managed to tie it late, but could not get the killer blow before they ran out pitchers. Rookie Mike Broadway was the victim at the end. He looks like he has deadly stuff if he could command it. The Dodgers used seven pitchers and all 13 position players and even used Kershaw to pinch-hit. They got a big effort from reliever Chris Hatcher who went the final three frames. (I only made it through the 12th.) The Giants used nine pitchers and all of their 12 position players. With the rosters expanding today we may see even longer box scores. Matt Duffy, Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, and Marvelous Marlon Byrd combined for 10 of the team's 13 hits in the 2-through-5 spots in the lineup.

Madison Bumgarner get his shot tonight. GO GIANTS!

--M.C.