Monday, June 30, 2008

Bob's Pair

from the fertile mind of Brother Bob:

How sweet to thrash the As 11-1 in the series finale! Especially combined
with Lincecum's gem on Saturday.
The Giant's offense has shown a nice ability to go off from time to time.
Although Molina and Rowand have indeed slacked off from their early torrid
pace, they both continue to contribute more often than not, and the likes of
Winn, Durham and Lewis are always a factor to respect.
Clearly special props must go to Aurilia for a big 5 RBI performance. I will
never stop LIKING Rich for what he meant in the past, and I love it when he
has his good days.
I think I can stop shouting,"Hey, everyone, Sanchez is pretty good too!"
While all the drooling over Tiny Tim (let's get real and use the most
obvious, best nickname for him- "the franchise"- gag me) is utterly
justified, there's another big baseball story going on in Frisco. (Another
nickname I secretly love, although it's forbidden to use).
These back-to-back wins in Oakland, with their back-to-back great pitching,
have produced the most schpilkas in me yet so far this year. I declare now
that the Giants have Co-Aces, two studs in the rotation who can shut down
any other team on any given day.
Can you imagine a Giants team in the near future with this as a foundation?
And then what if Cain & Zito relearn how to breathe through their eyelids or
something, and Merkin returns in full glory? Then what?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Half Way Tim

After a few starts that looked rather human, our true ace, Tim Lincecum returned in dominating form. This seven inning, 11 strikeout gem was highlighted by Tim's slick ability to get out of jams. Three times in the first 5 innings the A's had a runner at third with one or less outs. Each time Tim elevated his game and got the K or the DP just when he needed them. As I have mentioned before, Lincecum seems to be the only Giants pitcher that is markedly better with runners on. If anybody knows some stats out there to prove me wrong, I would love to see them.
As you probably noticed, we are at the half way point of the season, game #81. An easy and amusing exercise is doubling stats to see how the year is going and how it may turn out. Here's some "projected" 2008 stats for The Enchanter:

18 wins 2 losses (on a team this bad that is hard to believe)

220 IP 186 hits 228 k 86 walks (that's a whip of 1.24! Can he last that many innings?)

only 10 hr given up, but 20 wild pitches

Is that one hell of a season or what? Hell, Gaylord and Juan would be proud of that one.

PS: Beating the A's is a rare treat. Doing it with only 2 hits (3 baserunners) is especially sweet. Unfortunately, the doggers did us one better by winning without getting a hit. Gross, huh?

Friday, June 27, 2008

5 8 4 4 2 4

I must confess to completely missing any coverage of yesterday's game, another loss for our young Mr. Cain (4-6). It would seem that the game was actually one of the least distinctive or dramatic losses of the season. One indication of this might be the almost complete lack of blog action, more on that later. Anyway, it looks like an ol' fashioned whooping at the hands of a super talented pitcher, Cliff Lee (11-1). Matt's struggling 101 pitch, 5 inning performance was clearly no match. I must admit to being surprised that Denker was in the lineup. Tough chance; sit for a week, then go in against Cliff Lee. I really have my doubts that we are doing the right thing with Denker/Burriss. Otherwise, unless you are an Indian fan, this game is better forgotten.

Since I had to use the internet ( no TV, what a radical!! ) to get caught up, I thought I might take a second to check in with a few of my favorite fellow Giants blogmates. Normally, I don't like it when reporters report on other reporters, but I am relatively new to this amazing resource so I'm still quite giddy. Literally the best thing about this monkey-puke season is my daily journey into Giants cyberville. If you are like me, there are a few sites that I must check just about everyday. Here are a couple of my current favorites:

#1 McCovey Chronicles: This is a no-brainer. Obviously the hub of info and conversation about all things Giants. Some of my buddies are intimidated by the size, scope and "busyness" of the site, but I dig it. Be sure to look at the most current Minor Lines, the best way to keep up with our "future."

#2 El Lefty Malo: This site is the current favorite of M.C. O'Connor, "cock of the walk" here at RMC. This blog, which updates almost everyday, is consistently witty and super baseball savvy. This is one of the first sites that really made it clear to me that I could learn and enjoy more from blogs than from any regular newspapers.

#3 Giants Win: Another site that updates often, sometimes more than once a day. This site provides the service of gathering media highlights (articles, blogs, rumors, etc) and slicing and dicing it up. Always fun and a great way to learn about new sites.

#4 Bay City Ball: If you want intelligent, insightful and well documented Giants analysis, then this is the site for you. I have learned more in one article by Chris, then in a lifetime of reading Glenn Dickey so some other schmoe. The guy is super nice and a semi-regular "heckler" here, hope to hear more from you!

#5 obsessivegiantscompulsive: Another great correspondent and analyst is Martin at OGC. When I want a lengthy, meaty, detailed discussion of some Giants minutae, (and who doesn't want that regularly?) I head here. Martin has a great sense of the big picture and our future...and he's still very positive! Go figure.

These are the top 5 off the top of my head and I'm sure that I missed some other great sites. My apologies. I have no doubt there are several other blogs that are plugging along just like us and our beloved team. Let me know.

Where do you go when you miss a game? Is the newspaper or the Giants page enough? Which Giants Blogs can you not live without?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

In-Game Feelings Duet

Brother Bob:
The point, if any, of my recent personal reminicsenses, is that what I care about is how baseball makes me feel, what makes it heroic at times, deeply moving at many times, maddening, heartbreaking, etc.

But I vow to tell no more family updates for now, and to keep the old stories to a minimum.

But I won't stop commenting on how players look, or whether they have funny names (you know I have dibs on guys whose name ends in "Z"- I can't wait for Valdez and Velez and Schierholtz to come back to the big club).

Which of course brings us to my true love, Jonathan Sanchez. What a pretty, pretty man. If he were doing this with the Yankees he would already be on the cover of GQ, would've had a guest spot on Letterman, and who knows he may already be on billboards wearing his undies.

Until Cain runs off a good long streak of wins, Sanchez is OBVIOUSLY the second best starter on the Giants. His upside is immense.

As I write this, Barry Zito, our #1 starter, our albatross, was removed from the game in progress against the dreaded Indians of Cleveland. Zito appears be "very disappointed" according to David Fleming. 3-0 Giants...hard hit ball past Bowker drives in a run!..."generous scoring" ...Taschner comes in........

Hey! Jon! Your turn!

J C Parsons:
Which means everything is now OK. Threat over, Zito is still in line to win. As my visiting Bro noted, Zito was apparently miffed at coming out after, what can only be called a magnificent job. It is great to see that he has some fire in his belly. I have always WANTED to like the guy, he just sucked SO BAD. If he could just be a crafty, effective, AVERAGE starter....

Bowker just hit his eighth homer! How many of you had him even seeing the majors this year? I love insurance runs. Now in the last of the eighth, Bochy is showing a little NL managing mojo, giving up the DH in order to make a defensive replacement. All the poor Cleveland fans are probably confused by actual baseball strategy. "Big Money" Molina delivers another insurance run!! ( I thought only good teams did that? ) Now Wilson gets a shot at an easy save with a 4-1 lead. Bang! The first hitter singles, of course. Maybe I'll just shut up until this is over. (Pause)

Wow, did that work well! No sooner did I "shut up" than Bang! a double play, then a fly out. A nifty victory from Barry Zito. (That phrase sounds strange...)

As Jon Miller pointed out, the Giants haven't lost in Cleveland in 54 years!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Disappointed Tim

This strange season has featured several crushing defeats and I'm sure we can all sense there are many more to come. Let's hope there are not many as bad as yesterday's 11-10 nightmare loss to the lowly Royals. Losing a game with a seven run lead is something that should happen every decade or so. Losing that game to a team just as crappy as us ( identical records entering yesterday ) is especially embarrassing. The "good" thing about such amazingly disgusting and humiliating defeats is that they get people fired...I'm looking at you Brian!

What about Tim? This 106 pitch, 5 inning grind started so well. Then it seemed like the early lead caused Tim to lose his edge. I know that sounds corny, but most of us can think of times when great athletes look pretty average when they don't feel the pressure. From Tim's quote I suspect that is what happened:

"It was just a lack of focus on my part. We had a chance to step on their throats when they were down, and I didn't help at all. After two innings, I didn't do anything to help us. I was laboring and just throwing the ball. I'm pretty disappointed in myself."

Two mediocre starts in a row. Nothing to get worried about, in fact, Barry Zito would call two starts like that a significant step in the right direction.

PS: R.I.P. George. Thanks for teaching me how to think funny. Check out the this lovely reminder of Carlin's brilliance.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

8 5 4 3 1 8

Many of you heathens, our biggest demographic, probably celebrated the Summer Solstice yesterday. Whatever you crazy pagans did, maybe larval dodger sacrifce, it WORKED! It looks like the "Matt Cain Curse" may be lifted. (Photo credit and a fun and educational article!)

Yesterday was a game that Matt has lost several times in his young career. After 3 early runs off hard hit balls, and another unearned run, we were facing a big hole. Given our offense and Matt's track record, I figured we had dropped another the crappy Royals no less. BUT NO. Something happened...was it John Castle's head first slide at first? (More likely the pair of 2 out walks that followed.) We tied it up in short order then busted it open later. All the time Matt continued to grind it out. He retired 15 of 16 at one point, dominant save for a bunt single that was quickly erased. His big key, as it has been during this current three game resurgence, is control. Matt has yielded a single walk in each of his last three starts, after averaging three per start over the first thirteen chances. The eight innings and eight strikeouts are swell, but the thing that has to be heart warming is the "W." Matt has worked this hard and brilliantly before, only to be tagged with yet another tough loss. But not this time...
What is the difference? Does Matt know?
"I feel a lot more comfortable recently. I think I need to keep that good mind-set going, and if they beat me, they beat me. It's crushing when you walk a guy and he ends up scoring."
Well, that's not very definitive. I have two theories:
1) The previously mentioned Solstice activities have successfully lifted a curse that Matt has unjustly been burdened with for low these many months ( a tale for another time perhaps??? ).
2) MOC, the chief boobaa at Raising Matt Cain, has or will shortly leave the country. No one is quite clear on the reasons for the "author's" hasty exit. It could be a scheduled and announced vacation, or...perhaps a bloodless coup at the offices of RMC. If anyone cared, rumors would abound. Baseball experts have noticed a significant "bump" in Giants success when the controversial blogmaster is, shall we say, indisposed. Look for a whole bunch of exciting wins for our beloved boys in the next few weeks.
Any other explanations for such a nifty Matt Cain win? Is the "hard luck" phase of his career finally over?? Or do we all have some wacky pagans to thank?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Nines

A season can be thought of as a nine-inning game. One hundred sixty-two is conveniently divisble by nine: 162 ÷ 9 = 18 games. We just passed the 4/9 mark of the season, the 4th block of 18 games played. Let's take a look at each "inning" of the season so far.

1st: 7-11, .389

2nd: 7-11, .389, 14-22 overall

3rd: 9-9, .500, 23-31 overall (.426)

4th: 8-10, .444, 31-41 overall (.431)

Today was game 73. We lost, our record is now 31-42 (.425). That projects to 69 wins, 7 more than I figured. Who is willing to bet we will have an "inning" over .500 this season? Anyone?

Not me.

And speaking of that, I'm outta here. Friday, the Summer Solstice, we take off for points south. Our ultimate destination is Mexico. Zo, we rendezvous in Oaxaca on the 1st! Ron, we celebrate the 4th watching béisbol together (oh yeah, and your wedding a few days later). Yes, the Oaxaca Guerreros are in town and we are going to be there for as much La Liga action as we can stand! Los Guerreros are currently in the cellar. At least Los Gigantes are still ahead of the Crox and Puds.

I am not "blogging" for the duration. That's right, three weeks, no M.C. Speaking of which, Matt Cain pitches Friday. I will be on the road. One of the lads (JC? BroBob?) will have to step up and post while I'm gone.

So, hasta la vista, mis amigos. I will be back in mid-July.


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Low Quality Tim?

Lost in all the excitement of one of the best games* of the year was the fact that Tim's streak of quality starts came to a conclusion. After 6 innings Tim had given up his "machine-like" 3 ER, all off the bat of Marcus Thames!! (Talk about a hot hitter! His last seven hits are HR's, 5 HR's in last 4 games...come on, Tim had given up 3 in almost 100 IP, then 2 in 2 AB's to the same guy.) Then, in what is becoming a trademark Bochy move, he was sent out for the eighth and immediately gave up a triple (don't you just hate Pudge?). It seems like every time Bru sends his starter out for just a little bit more, it blows up on him. Of course, I could point out that if the umpire had been in the right spot, Tim should have got out of that without the the run scoring. Except for the homers, this outing falls into a common mold for Lincecum; tough to hit hard even when he does not have strikeout stuff and the ability to go deep into a game. So even though it technically wasn't a "quality start" and certainly not his best, it was a start to be proud of and a much needed home victory. Congratulations, Tim. And Happy belated Birthday!!! (nice photo taken 6/12 by Lizzy Ramone)

*why one of the best? Not just because of the thrilling nature of a comeback, but more because of WHO did it and HOW. Bowker and Lewis hitting the homers, what's not to love?? All we need is a few young stars to emerge, along side Tim and Matt, and it is real easy to see sweet times ahead. I have been a big fan of Fred from the start, but I must admit to having my reservations about Bowker. I just didn't see the tools needed. But I must give him credit for learning a new position and hanging tough through a slump or two. I really want to see more of Burriss, he has the tools. Don't forget Horwitz, a definitely likeable prospect. This team is getting so full of raw talent it feels like a sushi bar. Which leads me to..

Which of our youngsters is your current favorite? Has it changed from day one?
My choice, after FreddieLew (who I already think of as a regular, don't you?) would be Merkin Valdez!! Surprise! Remember him?? Even after a month or more off, I still view Valdez as the next big piece of our puzzle. In fact, I am bold enough to say that Merkin will be our closer before the end of this year, so we should trade Wilson to the Mets right now for 2 or 3 hitters! They must have a blocked 3B. How is that for bold!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

7+ 6 3 3 1 11

Rubbin' salt, Bru, rubbin' salt in the festering sore that is Matt Cain's rotten luck. Why leave Matt in to pitch the 8th? He'd thrown 104 pitches and whiffed 11 fookin' guys in 7 studly innings, and was naturally on the hook for a Loss. Rotten luck he had to face Harden. Rotten luck the Giants can't score runs. Why make it worse, Bonehead? Two runs allowed wasn't good enough for you? Matt has struggled with consistency and control all season, he goes out there and gives you an ass-kickin' start, so what do you do? Send him out to pitch an inning YOU KNOW HE WON'T FINISH?? That's why you have relief pitchers, Bonehead. (And don't give me crap about batting orders and lineup spots and all that, that's why you have a bench.) The man did the job. Take the ball, sit him down and tell him "nice work, kid, do it again next time."

The Heimlich Won't Stop the Gagging Award: Aaron Rowand's cheesy move on Suzuki's "triple." Nice going, Gomer.

Honorable Mention: Bengie Molina. Like Gomer, Gordito's fielding goes south along with his hitting.

It is bad enough to have the A's absolutely OWN us. What's worse is that it isn't luck, bad breaks, timing, or Acts of Gods. They are better than us. They have more talent. They play better baseball. They have better management. They deserve to own us.

On the lighter side, I've thrown around some big bucks, lads. It cost me a tenner to sponsor Brad Hennessey's page on Baseball-Reference. And a five-spot to sponsor Billy Sadler. I realize BH is in the minors (my guess is he gets traded in mid-season), and BS is a bit of a longshot, but I'm a cheap bastard, OK? I tagged the pages with my other blogs, Ten Pound Press and French Street Brewery. If you aren't a denizen of B-R's dungeons, you're missing out.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Comin' up sevens

Tim Lincecum throws 7 shutout innings in Colorado, a tremendous feat for any pitcher, and gets a big, fat ND in a loss. Jonathan Sanchez gives up 7 runs in 5 IP in a typically nutty Colorado start and gets a WIN. As Brother Bob frequently says, this is why we love baseball.

Speaking of 7, Chris at Bay City Ball convincingly demonstrates that Fred Lewis is AT LEAST the 7th best LF in the NL. Throw in his improving baserunning and fielding and he's pushing past sluggers like Carlos Lee. Fred has more hits and more runs scored than Alfonso Soriano! Soriano has 26 XBH (15 HR, 11 2B). Fred has 26 as well (5 HR, 14 2B, 6 3B). Scott Hairston and Juan Pierre are the bottom feeders in the NL LF list, and the expected names like Pat Burrell, Matt Holliday and Ryan Braun take up the top spots. Adam Dunn and Jason Bay are delivering the goods, but they cost a hell of a lot more than our boy, and have far greater MLB experience. Be sure to read "Right Said Fred" on BCB. Chris does the heavy lifting for us with some in-depth analysis and throws around saber-stats like xBABIP with aplomb.

Two things I want to see: (1) a trade with Dave Roberts, acknowledging FLew is our guy, and (2) Nate Schierholz getting a call-up. Youth, damnit, youth!

Since the good doctor, JCP, is on holiday, we had no Link post after Wednesday's game. My bad. I should have stepped in to fill the void. Big D at Giants Win provided the necessary Link-love, though, with a link to this cool site.

Happy Friday the 13th to all the G-fans out there!

Tardy Tim

I have just returned from the wonderful isolation of the Humboldt Redwoods. I guess I needed a break from this season but I sure did miss Tim! Just think of what a nice road trip that would have been if we get Tim a couple runs. Jeez, a 1-0 game at Coors Field is a true testament to the power of humidity. I was a little worried that Tim might suffer from my inattention. Yeah right.

Here's some help from my concise bro:

I waited in vain for Jon's Lincecum report, so I'll do it for him:
Same Old Same Old Tim. Seven shutout innings, yadda yadda... okay, whatever. More excellence, leads the world in quality starts, etc. One thing I want to write about is the last play of the game. Good throw from Lewis, "He's out!" Taschner goes wild, but no, the ball's sitting there on the grass, not in Molina's mitt, game over, Rockies win. Oh my god. But it was wonderful anyway, wasn't it? I love baseball.Which brings us to today's game. Sanchez stinks up the joint, but it's a typical Coors Field day and the Giants offense goes off, so Bochy can afford to leave Sanchez out to finish the fifth, and he barely does, and he ends up with a W. So now Sanchez actually has a better team win record than Wonderboy, even though there's no dispute who the better pitcher is. Sometimes it's better to be lucky. Oh, and did you catch what Sanchez did at the plate? FP called him "Babe Sanchez." Ya gotta love it.

****Again, I know this is a little late, but a must read for all Lincecum lovers. This slick article comes to the charming conclusion that Tim is ...well....perfect. Who knew?

****How about this news item? Rafael Rodriguez and Angel Villalona...if we still know these two names in four years, we will probably be very happy about that!

****Look, even the the largest and oldest living things are Giants fans!!! We can't be a stupid as we seem!!!

Monday, June 9, 2008

6.1 8 1 1 6

Matt didn't make it out of the 7th, giving up hits to batters number 25 and 26. 107 pitches. 6 groundouts, 5 flyouts. 1 walk, 6 strikeouts. NO HOME RUNS. Yabu got the DP ball Cain couldn't, and preserved the chance for a win. Matt was tough and effective against a poor team in a hot, humid ballpark. It would have been nice to see him get through the 7th, but the 6th seemed to wear him out. It took 12 pitches to strike out Flores with 2 out and 2 on to end it. He was effectively done at that point. He did his job, and deserved the W. M.C. has had two glaring problems so far: walks and homers. I can't complain about one and zero.

The bullpen and our fielders tried to give it away. Bengie: the good, the bad, the ugly, all in one ballplayer. Throws guys out, throws it away. Swings at atrocious pitches and makes a lot of outs, swings at atrocious pitches and gets a lot of big hits. ¡El Gamerino Gordito! The guy is FIFTH in all of baseball in BA. Bengie's sending Buster Posey an "I ain't through yet, kid" message. (BTW, Buster Posey's Seminoles beat Conor Gillaspie's Shockers to go through to the CWS.)

BIG, BIG effort by Wilson to save the game for Cain. Matt needs some more of that good luck. Can you believe we have won 7 in a row on the road?

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Eight for Tim

Sorry I’m late, the dog ate the computer.
What can I say? Tim is a God.
8 wins, but that’s still 3 behind Webb.
Another quality start, is that truly Tim’s strength?
No walks and only eighty three pitches thrown.
The first eleven Nats were easily blown away.
Everyone was thinking no hitter for a sec.
The Franchise got a bases loaded walk too.

Pardon the lame scheme*, the tank’s running dry.
It ain’t quite as easy as it seems.
Reply in kind, that is if you dare.

*Eight words per line, eight lines…no duh.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

He ain't no poser, dude

It is official: BUSTER POSEY, the Florida State catching phenom, is the #1 pick of the San Francisco Giants (#5 overall).

I am stoked. Great pick. This guy is dripping with both talent and "intangibles."

Check out this video link:

What is your response, team?

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

5 5 5 5 4 3

5.2 3 0 0 4 5
4.1 7 5 4 5 5
6.2 3 2 2 3 5
3.2 8 9 9 3 4
7.0 5 1 1 3 7
5.1 4 0 0 5 3
7.0 3 2 2 1 8
6.1 9 5 5 1 5
8.0 7 2 2 4 5
7.0 6 6 6 3 6
6.0 5 2 2 2 6
7.0 7 3 3 1 6
5.0 5 5 5 4 3

Matt has yielded 5 runs or more 5 times in 13 starts. He just can't seem to put together a string of quality outings. He's walking too many guys and throwing fat cheese over the middle of the goddamn plate!

That Huey Lewis tune is running around in my head: "I need a new drug."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Golden Boys

Our new young buck, Brian Horwitz, made quite an impression his first week in the show, clubbing big fly #1 last night in a huge win against an angst-ridden underperforming group of superstars.

"Unbelievable, extraordinary ... it's an out-of-body experience and I'm really enjoying it," said Horwitz, who obtained his home run ball from the fan who caught it by giving him an autographed bat. (Chris Haft article)

The 24-year old seems to have been pegged as a career minor-leaguer, a familiar refrain in our organization, mostly due to a lack of power. He's a .400 OBA kind of guy--check him out at The Baseball Cube. The real reason we are excited about this fella here at RMC is that he is a GRADUATE of the University of California! He's a goddamn GOLDEN BEAR, my friends! Let's hear it:


We already got to know our 49er, John "Dirtbag" Bowker. And our Golden Eagle, Steve "Backup Catcher" Holm. Add to the list future shortstop Emmanuel Burriss. Why? Because he's a GOLDEN FLASH! Emmanuel is a Kent State University product. They are The Golden Flashes. Don't you love college nicknames?

Player development in baseball is a bit like prospecting, eh? Trying to unearth the precious nugget from the mountains of gravel. Let's hope we found some gold in this bunch.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Consistently Tim

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" - Ralph Waldo Emerson.

I hope it is not boring to be consistent. I always get up at the same time, walk the dog the same place, vote get the idea. Hell, I am just about the most consistent Giants fan that you will ever meet. I always felt that being consistent was a sign of strength. Ol' Ralph does not seem to agree.

The level of consistency that Tim Lincecum brings to the Giants is most definitely a team strength (is there another one?). Tim's gutsy and, somewhat artless, performance continues his streak of quality starts. We have won 9 of the last 12 Lincecum outings, including the last six. Seven starts after losses are all victories. That was his thirteenth straight quality start. You all know the numbers. Tim clearly wasn't his dominant self, yet the only run came from a bases loaded walk by a reliever. Tim seems like our only pitcher that gets tougher when men are on base. If he is a hobgoblin, then I want a team full. (He was a Spiderman foe, right?)

So, I guess this consistency thing, a real sticky point among my crowd, comes down to the definition of "foolish." What is "wise" consistency? Consistency in baseball can't always be good, can it? Tim's type: wise. Sabean's type: foolish. A Giants' fan type: ????

Who was the most consistent Giant you remember? Was it "wise" or "foolish" consistency?