Thursday, April 29, 2010

Just the facts, man

Colorado (.806) is second to Milwaukee (.831) in the NL in OPS. The Giants are fifth (.773), just ahead of Philadelphia (.770). Third and fourth place go to Arizona (.805) and Los Angeles (.784).

Colorado (.351) is third in the league in wOBA, behind Milwaukee (.370) and Arizona (.354). The Giants are fifth (.339), tied with Philadelphia. Los Angeles (.344) is fourth.

Colorado (119) is second in runs scored, behind Milwaukee (126). The Giants are eighth (96), tied with the Cubs and Mets. Arizona (116), Philadelphia (114), Los Angeles (111), Florida (106), and Cincinnati (99) are in between.

The Rockies (1.38) are eighth in WHIP. The Giants (1.15) are first, followed by the Cardinals (1.17), Cubs (1.23), Padres (1.24), Braves (1.34), Astros (1.35), and Marlins (1.35).

The Rockies (3.83) are seventh in FIP. The Giants are second (3.45), behind the Cardinals (3.37). The Cubs (3.59), Astros (3.94), Mets (3.81), and Padres (3.85) fill in the gaps.

The Rockies (90) are sixth in runs allowed. The Giants are first (63). The Cardinals (66), Mets (72), Padres (77), and Cubs (89) are second through fifth.

The Colorado Rockies are 11-11, underperforming their projection (14-8) by three games, while the San Francisco Giants are 12-9, underperforming their projection (14-7) by two games.

The home team will send out Barry Zito, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez against the injury-depleted visitors (Jorge de la Rosa and Jason Hammel are on the DL), who'll counter with Aaron Cook, a TBA (rookie Esmil Rogers?), and rookie Jhoulys Chacin.


Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wasted Tim

This is not the post I was supposed to write. I was all set with yet another attempt to portray the continuing mastery of Tim Lincecum as he slices and dices his way through Major League Baseball. This time the victim was an over-matched Phillies squad; I was going to call it "Philli-buster Tim" or something equally corny. But fate ( or Bruce Bochy's huge head ) stepped in the way.

Tim Lincecum delivered his best effort so far this year against his best opponent. Easily deserving a better fate, Tim met or exceeded all expectations, which are huge and growing with every pitch: 8.1 innings (106 pitches), 3 hits (a double and solo homer by Howard!), 2 earned runs ( the second scored with some help from Wilson ), 11 strikeouts. Beautiful numbers indeed, but the one I failed to walk... turned out to be the key to the entire game. At least that seems to be what Bochy thought.

Should Tim have been lifted ?? Imagine if it was reversed and we were behind Halliday 4-1 in the ninth. What is the ONE THING you would hope and pray for???? To get Halladay out of the game. Anybody else immediately gives you a glimmer of hope. Hope is a great thing, ask the President.

OK, kids. Have at it...this game had gobs of baseball goo all over it. If you don't vent after a game like this YOU CAN DIE. Believe me, I'm a doctor.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Twice times! Twice times!

Nate Schierholtz guns down Chase Utley--who was not doggin' it--at second base in another boo-yah in-your-face notice-served Olympic laser-beam moment! When will they learn? You don't run on the San Francisco Cannon!


Todd Wellemeyer saves his job!

Tim Lincecum tomorrow!


update (0700 Wed): Here's the link to the video highlights of Nate's stellar work in RF last night. Go. Watch. Now.

Nate nails RyHo!!

No matter what happens tonight, Olympic Nate delivered the best play of the season so far by throwing out Ryan Howard who was doggin' it after a shot into right field! He never quite made it to second base. Clutch "deke" at the bag by savvy veteran Edgar Renteria.

Nate Schierholtz just "served notice" on the league that there's a cannon in San Francisco and it's gunnin' for you!


Monday, April 26, 2010

Hallelujah! Giants get to Halladay!

Harry Leroy "Doc" Halladay had given up only three runs in four starts (33 innings) before coming to San Francisco to face a Giants team that had scored only eleven runs in its last seven games. This being baseball, the Giants rapped out TEN HITS and scored FIVE RUNS off one of the toughest pitchers in the game and nailed down the best win of the young season. Jonathan Sanchez labored against the relentless Phillies, facing 24 batters and throwing 107 pitches to get 15 outs, striking out six but also walking five. Mota, Affeldt, and Romo combined to shut down the defending champs over the final three innings, with Sergio punctuating the dramatic finish by striking out Chase Utley looking to end the game. The Phils only managed four hits and struck out eleven times but still sent 39 batters to the plate and saw 162 pitches. Victorino was on base three times, Polanco twice, Utley three times, Howard once, and Werth twice--the top of their lineup is as good as any in the game and they make you work for your outs. But the Giants refused to break and showed they can play ball with the big boys. Swinging early in the count against Halladay, Renteria, Sandoval, and DeRosa combined for three hits and two runs in the 1st inning. John Bowker and Eli Whiteside smacked back-to-back doubles in the 2nd and it was 3-0 against a man who hadn't allowed more than two runs in a game yet this season. Aubrey Huff got an RBI hit in the 6th after another double, this one by the Panda, who seemingly can hit any pitch off any pitcher. This was a nasty-looking cut fastball that was low and inside, but Sandoval squared up on it nonetheless. Eli Whiteside wasn't done either, slashing a line-drive home run down the left-field line an on 0-1 fastball to lead off the 7th. There were a lot of great moments in tonight's game: Torres beating out a bunt for a hit after Halladay had mowed down ten in a row, Sandoval scooting home ahead of Victorino's throw on Huff's hit, and Sanchez striking out Howard, losing Utley to a walk, but getting Ben Francisco to pop up to end the 5th with two on and a run in. A terrific team effort to get a huge win against a great club. And with the production the Giants are getting from the catching spot (Whiteside .882 SLG, Molina .362 OBP), looks like Buster will stay a while longer in AAA. I suppose every silver lining has its cloud!


p.s. Padres lose, Giants tied for 1st place at 11-8.

First inning round-up

We are 1/9 of the way through the season--the Giants just finished their 18th game, and 18 x 9 = 162. Thus, we've knocked off the first "inning" of what promises to be a long and difficult grind.

At a 10-8 pace the G-men would finish at 90-72. Can't complain about that, can we? That's the 4th best record in the NL. At +26, their "run difference" (RS-RA) is 2nd only to Philly. Their "expected" win-loss record is 12-6, so they are "under-performing" at this point.

The Giants are 11th in the NL in runs scored and 8th in the league in OPS. Hard to believe there are WORSE offenses, isn't it? The Giants have 53 walks, 14th in the league. Looks like firing Carney Lansford didn't help with that aspect of hitting. Their 15 HRs puts them at 10th, as does their 36 doubles. For all our supposed off-season interest in "the speed game," we are LAST in SB with 5, tied with Philadelphia. We do however, have the most sacrifice bunts, 14, but only 5 sacrifice flies, half as many as league-leading Philly and NY.

The pitching, of course, has been great, especially the starters. The four team shutouts leads the NL, and only St. Louis (2.72) has a better ERA than the Giants 2.78. SF is best at runs allowed (53), have the 5th-fewest walks (56), and the 5th-most strikeouts (139). The Giants are tied with the Cardinals for best WHIP (1.16) and 2nd to them in FIP (3.43). The Giants give up a lot of flyballs (38%, 3rd highest), but not many of those for HRs (7.5%, 5th best). If that is a function of the park, luck, pitching skill, or small sample size, I can't say. Their 13 HRs allowed is tied for 5th. Todd Wellemeyer has given up 5 of those, Cain 2, Affeldt 2, Medders, Runzler, Romo, and Lincecum 1 apiece. Barry Zito (21 in 2009) and Jonathan Sanchez (19 in 2009) have yet to give up the big bomb.

Very tough opponent tonight. GO GIANTS!


Sunday, April 25, 2010

St. Mark's blues

Matt Cain wasn't missing many bats today. The Cardinals made him throw 98 pitches to get 15 outs. They worked counts and hit 26 foul balls in 22 plate appearances off the hard-throwing righty. Cain came into the game with a GB% of 50.8 (GB/BIP), but found himself bedeviled by poor location, patient hitters, and a lot of fly balls, one of which flew over the LF fence. Albert Pujols finally got on track and pummeled our guy with a homer and two line-drive singles. Of the 3 grounders Cain allowed, one was a bunt by David Freese in the 4th inning with Colby Rasmus on 2nd base with no outs. Yadier Molina, the next batter, hit the fly ball to score Rasmus. LaRussa was playing little ball early in the game, probably figuring the Giants hitters wouldn't do much against Brad Penny. Having only scored 1 run in the previous two games, he also probably figured he wouldn't get many other chances against Giants pitchers. Both notions were proved correct. The Giants offensive ineptitude continued, and a good team effort by Cain and the 'pen was wasted. Penny worked an efficient 7 innings, needing only 87 pitches, and the Giants once again couldn't get a big hit, going 0-5 with runners in scoring position. He tired in the 8th, finally giving up a two-out hit to Sandoval (his 3rd of the day) on his 99th delivery. "Big Money" Molina took his hacks against flame-throwing Jason Motte, but to no avail, and Ryan Frankin had an easy 9th, despite Olympic Nate's nice-looking 2-out double.

It was great to beat a good club like the Cardinals 2 out of 3, but if we had any offense at all we could have swept them. Somebody else on the team--besides Sandoval--has to step up and hit. It was great to see Torres get 3 hits, especially off a right-hander, but we need another bat to show up soon. Eventually no one in the league will bother to pitch to Pablo if the rest of our guys are no threats. Philadelphia's high-powered offense is next, and über-ace Roy Halladay gets the ball against a surging Jonathan Sanchez.

It was the Feast of St. Mark today--my namesday--but there was no divine help for the Giants. What good is a patron saint if he can't intervene in an important ballgame and help the hometown boys? Perhaps I failed to make the proper sacrifices. I promise to do better next time.



Saturday, April 24, 2010

Barry, Barry, Barry!

I'm at a loss for words as Barry Zito out-duels Adam Wainwright and one-ups Tim Lincecum, going 8 innings and striking out 10 Cardinals in a 2-0 Giants victory. Check out the Game Score of 83! Who is this guy? What's happened to him? He's pitched exceptionally well to start the 2010 season and given Giants fans--finally--something to cheer about. I only saw the first two innings tonight so I missed all the excitement, but I did see Barry Zito strike out the first two St. Louis batters and get Albert Pujols to ground out weakly. Who knew he would do that all night long? And you have to be happy for Nate Schierholtz and Andres Torres, both delivering big hits when the club really needed them. It's not easy to win when you only score 2 runs. On the flip side, you generally win when you shut out the other team. The Giants have given up only 51 runs, the fewest in all of baseball. The Cardinals and Padres are tied for second at 57.

Matt Cain tomorrow. GO GIANTS!


Friday, April 23, 2010

Certifiably Tim

Almost as if it was predestined, Tim Lincecum stopped the current losing streak with a commanding 4-1 victory over the powerful St. Louis Cardinals. The Cards are clearly a team that can contend and they are off to a blistering start (10-5 before tonight). Our beloved Giants are limping home after an anemic 1-5 road trip that included never-before-seen ways to fail in scoring situations. But you knew we were going to win. Everybody pretty much did.

That brings me to my clever "sub-topic." Superstars of Tim's stature bring with them incredible expectations. Remember the glory days of Barry? You knew what was coming almost every day. It was exhilarating. Now we have a new Superstar and a new set of expectations. I took it upon myself to make a little checklist of what I've come to expect out of Tim. Let's see how he did tonight:

QUALITY START: Check. Seven innings and one earned run. That was the first run the Cardinals have got off Tim since April '08, a stretch of 25 innings.

LOVELY K/BB STATS: Check, but not his best. Eight strikeouts and three walks. In his three previous starts he had three walks, so you can see he was a bit wild. He seemed to rein in the velocity but never seemed to really control the fastball.

VERY FEW HARD HIT BALLS: Definitely a check. Six hits total; five singles and one double ( by Pujols with 2 outs that didn't score). The lone run came off an infield hit, stolen base, and a close play at home after a single. Remember, this was against a slugging team, too.

TRANSCENDENTAL MOMENTS: You know what I mean? Those times when you shake your head and gawk at the kid's ability to elevate his game at will. Even though tonight's effort wasn't pretty and seemed a struggle start to finish, I still spied one such moment. Early in the game as the Giants clung to a one run lead, Tim gave up a leadoff single (GASP!) and then a four pitch walk (WTF!). Now he had to face Pujols and Holliday, which is just about as scary as it gets. On the second pitch to Albert: a weak popup to second! Then, on a 3-0 pitch, Tim gets Holliday to ground into a double play (only the fifth one we've turned this year). I must admit I never really expect Tim to get a DP but I knew he'd do something.

Admit it, didn't you? What have you come to expect from The Freak?

Think we could use another bat?

The Texas Rangers just called up JUSTIN SMOAK to play first base. The 23-year old former South Carolina Gamecock was the 11th player taken in the June 2008 amateur draft. You might remember that the 5th player taken in that draft was 23-year old BUSTER POSEY.

Smoak's minor-league line (599 PA): .293/.411/.461
Posey's minor-league line (612 PA): .332/.425/.533

I'm just sayin'.


(h/t Hardball Talk)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

It Must Be April: San Diego's in 1st place

I was making a list of "fun things to do" and, damnit, I didn't have enough room for "watching the Giants get swept." And who's this M.C. fella who said "our boys may find it tough going in run-stingy San Diego"? The hell with him, he's just another hater.

Speaking of Todd Wellemeyer, Bruce Bochy's genius move in matching him up with the other team's no.1 starter means that über-ace Tim Lincecum gets to face Jaime Garcia! Sure, the youngster from México who had Tommy John surgery in the off-season has already beat Brewers ace Yovani Gallardo and matched zeroes with the Mets Johan Santana, but this is April, and strange, unnatural things happen in April baseball. I don't think Giants fans should worry about (1) the boys facing a rookie pitcher they've never seen and (2) being in a massive slump and hitting off a guy who has 13 IP, 10 K, 5 hits allowed and a 0.69 ERA. As Stephen Colbert said last night: no problemo.

The rest of the weekend against the 1st-place-mirage-who-do-think-they-are-kidding-with-that pansy-lineup-and-weak-ass-starters St. Louis Cardinals has Barry Zito matched up with Adam Wainwright and Matt Cain against TBA. It's Brad Penny's turn (he pitched Monday), as Carpenter was used last night and Lohse the night before. This is LaRussaLand, though, and I can only assume it is some kind of deep gamesmanship to avoid announcing your Sunday starter. I'll leave it to you, me buckos, to noodle on the significance of Penny's return to SF where he, when all was said and done, salvaged  his career. He's yielded 4 runs in 21 IP in 3 starts for the Cardinals in 2010. Like I said, it's April.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sanchez deals, Giants fold

Losing is one thing, sharing first place is another. I don't like it. I wanted first place all to ourselves. Now we have to share it with those stinkin' Padres.

Jonathan Sanchez' GameScore was 78, not quite as good as his 84 against Pittsburgh last week.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Pitching well enough to lose

The Giants couldn't solve southpaw Clayton Richard, one of the four players the Padres obtained for Jake Peavy, but managed to chase him with one out in the 7th. Righty Luke Gregerson, who struck out 93 guys in 75 innings last season, powered through 1-2/3 and handed the ball to closer Heath Bell in the 9th. Most of us, I expect, had tossed in the towel at that point, but Juan Uribe muscled up a huge game-tying home run! Bell was hitting 96 mph, but he left an 82 mph curveball out just enough for Uribe to jack it over the wall in left. The Giants had a reprieve, it seemed, from an agonizing dink-ball affair that looked like a sure loss. Matt Cain wasn't pretty, needing 26 batters to get 18 outs, but he was effective, limiting the Padres to two runs on 7 hits. The Giants got impressive work from Dan Runzler and an out from Guillermo Mota to get the ball to super set-up man Jeremy Affeldt. But Mr. Scrappy, David "Plays the Game Right" Eckstein, hustled and gritted and willed a game-winning home run to lead off the 10th, and we had ourselves another painful loss. The Giants don't like Petco Park, going 2-7 there last season, and 23-34 including tonight. I never imagined I would miss Aaron Rowand, but poor Andres Torres looks overmatched. Let's hope our sleeping bats awake soon.

Where Are They Now?

Buster Posey is doing well in his first 11 games with Fresno, batting .364, with OBP .472, SLG .477, and OPS .949. At this stage of the season he is a singles hitter, with only 2 of his 16 hits for extra bases.
Tim Alderson is not setting the world on fire. With AA Altoona he is 1-0 in his 2 starts with an ERA of 3.60 and a WHIP of 1.3.
Fred Lewis has appeared in 2 games for the Blue Jays and has produced one hit (a double) in 5 plate appearances, with one steal.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Burned rubber

Sometimes you get burned. Sergio Romo has all of 79 major league games under his belt, having faced fewer than 300 batters in three years. Manny Ramirez is one of the great stars of his generation, sporting a 1.002 OPS in almost 9500 plate appearances. Experience prevailed in the most important matchup of the game, as Ramirez blasted Romo's 1-2 pitch into the left-field seats and erased not only the Giants lead but a tremendous performance by Barry Zito. The LAtriners took the rubber match in a well-fought, evenly-matched series. The Giants had their chances against an impressive Clayton Kershaw, but couldn't manage a big hit with men on base. Zito was positively brilliant, facing only 26 batters, mixing his pitches well and keeping the Smoggers from making hard contact. He looked good in the field, handling all his chances expertly, and even executed a sacrifice bunt. If this is the Barry Zito we paid a billion dollars for, then I'm on board. Let's hope he keeps it up--his 2010 has been outstanding so far. The Giants lost a close one today, a real heartbreaker, the kind of game this pitching-heavy team needs to win. I kept thinking "just get the ball to Wilson and we'll win." Which makes me think--why not use Wilson against Ramirez? After all, it's a "save situation" and Romo gets charged with a "blown save" for his effort. Is it possible to consider using your very best relief pitcher when the game is truly "on-the-line" and not necessarily wait for the ninth inning? I like Romo, I appreciate that Ol' Boch has confidence in the kid, and it was a great chance for him to get a huge out. Alas, he didn't get it done. The Giants won't get a chance at payback until the end of June. Meanwhile, our boys may find it tough going in run-stingy San Diego before they come home to face two other first-place teams, St. Louis and Philadelphia, who come to San Francisco just ahead of the big showdown with Colorado.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

Real Time Tim

1:25 pm - Tim's first strike out opens the bottom of the first in Smogville. He should probably be up one run but Velez was called out. It looked close and it sure was a risky play. MOC thought it was the wrong one but I'm not so sure.
1:32 pm - Strike out #2 ends the first. SF 0 LA 0
1:41 pm - Tim drives in the first run of the game with sweet infield single bunt!!! The best part of was that I called it !! No kidding, I have two witnesses. And when I say called it, I mean I said "a hard bunt right at the second baseman." It was awesome. Probably one of my best moments of prognostication EVER.
1:54 pm - Three quick easy outs to end the second. SF 1 LA 0
2:00 pm - A lovely error by some dude named Carroll allows a weak grounder by DeRosa to drive in the second Giants run.
2:05 pm - Tim delivers a crushed 2 RBI single !!! What a stud. It was a solid swing that led to a no doubt line drive that almost got through for a double. That's a four run lead, which tends to be insurmountable (29-0) when you are facing Tim. A wild pitch a couple minutes later makes it: SF 5 LA 0
2:17 pm - Strikeout #3 for Lincecum but it is quickly followed by the first hit by the doggers, a grounder by Carroll through the middle. Loney clubs a solid single to left to make the first threat. Before I could finish typing the last sentence, Tim neutralized the powerful Ethier by inducing a WEAK popup. End of 3: SF 5 LA 0
2:31 pm - Run # 6 scores on bloop single (really an Ethier error) by Bengie. The lovefest continues with a seventh run on an Uribe sac fly. End of 4: SF 7 LA 0
2:37 pm - Kemp becomes Tim's fourth victim after four offspeed pitches. The Fox gun seems low but Tim's velocity is solid (90-92) according to Gameday .
2:40 pm - Anderson follows as strikeout #5
2:44 pm - Tim gets his third hit of the day but a couple minutes later he gets erased by some really poor baserunning. I bet the first thing out of his mouth after this game is berating himself for a bonehead play...even though he's currently thrown 4 shutout innings and is 3 for 3 with 3 RBI's. Middle of 5: SF 7 LA 0
2:57 pm - According to Fox TV, Tim just gave up his first leadoff hit of an inning this year. The next guy walks and Tim is in trouble again.
3:03 pm - Strikeout #6 and #7 couldn't come at a better time. Can he do this at will?
3:06 pm - Loney grounds out weakly to end the fifth: SF 7 LA 0
3:17 pm - Tim uncorks one to the screen. You don't see that from Tim often. No worry, Ethier grounds out.
3:19 pm - Kemp beats out an infield hit. It looked like Renteria's throw was there - no replay!!
3:21 pm - Tim challenges Anderson with a fastball and gets a line drive out to left. Tim is around 100 pitches now and due up early next half inning. Could be his last batter.
3:24 pm - Out number 18 is line drive out to center. Tim has given up four singles and two walks. End of sixth: SF 7 LA 0
3:28 pm - Tim's fourth at bat is a bit of a surprise and a dud. Weak strikeout. Still it is Tim's first ever multi-hit and multi-RBI game ever. Way to be, Timmeh!!
3:30 pm - Velez clubs a big double to score Nate (a huge walk!) and then scores on Edgar's sac fly. Middle of the seventh: SF 9 LA ZERO !!!
3:33 pm - Tim starts getting pats on the back. Looks like he is coming out. I guess he was just left in to see if he could get his fourth hit. How cool is that? Yep, he's hanging from the dugout roof...that's a sure sign that he's done.

Tim's line: 6 innings, 104 pitches (66 strikes), seven strikeouts, 4 hits (all singles), 2 walks

Walks and Homers

I've been thinking a lot about walks and homers. Furcal walked ahead of Kemp's homer in the 1st last night. Padilla and Kemp walked ahead of Ethier's slam in the 2nd. Blake and DeWitt (yes, that's two guys) walked to load the bases and force in a run in the 5th. In the top of that inning, when the Giants got something going, the biggest moment for me was the 10-pitch walk by Nate Schierholtz pinch-hitting for Wellemeyer. It looked like we might get a bigger rally going at that point, but after the Rowand HBP to load the bases Velez got doubled off first when Renteria lined out. Ishikawa walked ahead of Velez' homer in the 9th.

You want to win, get walks and homers. And keep the other guy from getting walks and homers.

Go Giants! Kick some ass today!


A Bad Start

Apparently MC is too pissed off at an ugly loss to the Doggers to post this morning, so I'll make a few quick, non-statistical observations.
First and foremost, it was a Todd Wellemeyer loss and a Giants team victory. I know, "moral" victories are like kissing your sister, but you've gotta love the way the boys fought back, with homers from Sandoval and Velez.
I was watching with my mother and my daughter in the second inning. Just before Wellemeyer threw the first pitch to Ethier, with the bases loaded, I said,"I have a bad feeling." I probably say dumb things like that all the time, but this time I meant it, and boy was I right. A grand slam. Doggers ahead 7-0.
Oh well, Today will be an entirely different story. Go Timmy!

Friday, April 16, 2010

So, you want to win a championship?

Baseball Musings has this to say:
Over the last decade or so, the NL struck me as much more balanced than the AL. There always seems to be six teams competing for the wild card down the stretch in NL, for example. Parity and balance ruled the senior circuit. The Phillies, however, decided to build an AL style offense through excellent development and shrewd signings and trades. Teams can no longer put together a decent set of players and hope that with a little luck they’ll win the pennant. A trip to the World Series now goes through Philadelphia, so if a NL team wants a title, they have to set their sites on the Phillies, not on their division leader. (emphasis mine)
Pitching-wise, the Giants can match up with anyone. Hitting-wise, I think we embody the "decent set of players and hope" that Mr. Pinto is talking about. This is exactly my beef with our F.O. We bank too much on the flips coming up heads. The Yankees and Red Sox and Phillies have shown everyone what it takes, and that is to be absolutely stacked with good ballplayers. You protect yourself against injuries, flukes, down years, and bad breaks by having depth of talent. We all know, of course, that you could have the best, the richest, and the deepest team and still lose. Cold streaks, rotten luck, and random chance can ruin anyone in the playoffs or in the stretch run. Even assuming we get some production from Buster Posey in the dog days of this season, I still believe we will have to add another hitter after the Break. Sure, we could slip into the playoffs on pluck, grit, and guile, winning agonizing 4-3 nail-biters with sac flys and SBs, but those odds look kind of long to me. We are still going to need some OBP and some SLG if we want to knock off the big boys.

The Giants have added $14 M to the payroll from 2009 and now sit at $96 M, and $77 M is already committed to 2011. Does this signal a willingess by the ownership to "go for it?" To spend the really big bucks to keep up with the likes of Philadelphia? If so, rock on! There's always the danger of turning into the Mets, who spent $149 M last year to go 70-92, but I'd rather think big than small. This season will tell us if we are "all in" or not.


(payroll info from the invaluable Cot's Contracts)

update: So long, Freddie Lew. While FLew was never going to be a star, he was a decent ballplayer with some useful skills. I hope he finds his niche in Toronto.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Southern showdown

This is the first of the Giants three trips to Chavez LAtrine--they won't go back again until after the All-Star Break. The Dodgers set a record last season by winning their first 13 home games, and the Giants were the first three victims. They rode that hot start (15-8 April, 20-9 May) all the way to a title despite a post-ASB record (39-35) that matched the Giants. So far LA has split its series with Arizona at home, and Dan Haren goes today for the Snakes.

Friday night we send our no. 5, Todd Wellemeyer, against Vicente Padilla. Padilla has been knocked around in 2 starts on the road (8-2/3 IP, 14 hits, 3 HR, 11 ER), while Wellemeyer was a nice surprise against the Braves at AT&T on Saturday (6-1/3, 4 ER) and probably deserved a better fate.

Tim Lincecum, who is tied** for the NL lead in strikeouts with 17, is matched up with Charlie Haeger on Saturday. A knuckelballer, can you believe it? Just the kind of guy that will give us fits. He struck out 12 in Florida in a loss in his last start.

Barry Zito, who looked sharp against two weak foes (Houston and Pittsburgh), will get the ball on Sunday. The Dodgers have yet to announce a starter. It will be interesting to see how BZ fares against a good-hitting lineup. They are tied with the Giants for 3rd in the NL in runs scored (45) and are second to Philadelphia in OPS (.869). Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Manny Ramirez, Ronnie Belliard, and Russell Martin are all sporting an OPS over 1.000, and Casey Blake is right behind at .991.



**Jonathan Sanchez and Roy Halladay also have 17 K.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

That's More Like It

Back on the winning track today in a sunny afternoon game. Wish I would have been there, I'm sure it was delightful. Jonathan Sanchez threw 109 pitches in 8 innings, struck out 11 along the way. He only gave up three hits, including two in the 6th. Then he walked country singer George Jones to load the bases, but escaped with no runs. 8 IP, 3 hits, 3 BB and 11 K for Jonathan's first win. Brian Wilson was brought in to get some work in the 9th so he will be fresh, but not too fresh, in Los Angeles. The Giants chased starter Craig Morton after 6 and had to face the tough Jack Taschner in the 7th (man, Pittsburgh is full of guys who were on other teams last year). Here is a bit of bad news: Pablo's hit streak, which goes back to last year, was broken. Oh well, I'll take 6-0. A home run and three rbi for Eli Whiteside, a seemingly improbable inside-the-park hr for Huff and a 2-run hr for Rowand. Well done, lads, take tomorrow off.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Unlucky 13th

It took 24 batters and 86 pitches for Matt Cain to get 18 outs. He gave up 4 hits, 3 runs, 2 walks, and 2 stolen bases to the first 15 Pirates. It was ugly--it seemed like he couldn't throw a strike or finish off a hitter. With a little pluck and and spot of luck our boy turned it around, though, and retired 10 in a row to keep it close. The Giants managed to tie it by that point behind another great night by Bengie Molina and two hits and two runs scored by leadoff man Aaron Rowand. Pablo Sandoval ran into an out at home in the 5th during the only sustained rally of the evening for the G-men. It looked like third base coach Tim Flannery caught a bit of Panda-mania and lost his head on the play as our young stud was out easily. But it was 3-3 going into the 7th, and you had to believe the Giants would win the battle of the bullpens. Jeremy Affeldt was unfortunately a mere mortal, giving up the go-ahead run in the 8th. An error by shortstop Edgar Renteria on a double-play chance was a key play. Brandon Medders had a meltdown in the 9th and the game was suddenly out of reach at 6-3. This is 2010 Giants, though, and improbablities and magical events can never be completely ruled out. A pinch-double by Olympic Nate to start the bottom of the 9th was followed by a blast to the RF seats by Eugenio Velez to make it 6-5. The last three outs, however, came in quick succession and Tuesday the 13th proved unlucky for the home squad.

Day game tomorrow with Jonathan Sanchez taking the mound at 12:45 Pacific.


p.s. Tom Haller had 320 RBI from 1961-1967 wearing the tools of ignorance for the Orange and Black. Dick Deitz ('66-'71) had 271. Bob Brenly ('81-'89) had 327! Bengie Molina (2007-present) has 263. These are total RBI, not just "RBI as catcher." That list goes Haller 312, Brenly 263, Dietz 257, Molina 250. Thanks to ESPNs Rob Neyer for the last set of numbers (the rest I got from B-R). Mike Krukow reported during Monday's broadcast that Bengie had become the all-time SF leader in RBI for a catcher. Note to Mike: stick to your goofball Krukovian-isms and leave the stats to the experts. "Grab some pine, meat!"

Take the Z Train

Barry Zito seemed to have a little trouble finding the plate last night, throwing 42 balls in 93 pitches and issuing 3 walks. But he kept racking up the outs, getting 10 ground balls and pitching into the 7th after a 6-pitch 6th. Superb relief work by Sergio Romo sealed the deal. Coming in with 2 on and nobody out, he struck out Ronnie Cedeño on 3 pitches, gave up an RBI single to leadoff man Akinori Iwamura, then struck out Andrew McCutcheon and Lastings Milledge. I love watching him throw, the ball does some funny-looking things when it gets close to the plate, shooting off to the side and plunging downward. I can't imagine trying to hit it!

I'm not quite ready to send Hensley Muelens' name off to the Vatican for sainthood yet, but the Giants put on another offensive display last night, pounding out 12 hits and 9 runs. Pirates pitchers also issued 6 walks and 2 HBP. Pablo Sandoval, Aubrey Huff, and Bengie Molina combined for 9 hits and 7 runs, and Molina's 4 RBI moved him past Bob Brenly on the all-time club list for career RBI by a catcher. Bengie seems to have stolen Edgar Renteria's mojo, as the shortstop had 3 strikeouts and saw his average plunge below .500 for the first time this season. The buzz on the new guys--Huff and DeRosa--is that they are "professional hitters" and bring a "veteran presence" to the lineup. That sort of talk makes me think of those idiotic GMC ads that say "We are professional grade." Jaysus, I hope so, why would you buy a truck that wasn't? And we've had a succession of "veteran professionals" (Rowand, Molina, Uribe) that have hacked and hacked and hacked away like Mamelukes on crack, so the very presence of grizzled greybeards in the lineup is not a sufficient explanation for a ballclub suddenly able to take pitches, work counts, hit the other way, etc. etc. Not that I need an explanation! I'm happy to say it is all because of Bam-Bam or Veteran Savvy Clutchness or clubhouse chemistry or what-have-you, and sit back and enjoy the ride.

Here are the facts: the Giants are 6-1, tied with the defending NL champs for the best record in baseball. They are 4th in the league in runs scored with 40 and second in OBP at .368! We knew the Giants could pitch, and we aren't surprised by their league-leading 20 runs allowed, .598 OPS against, and 2.85 FIP. But no one expected the offensive output we've seen so far. It's April, and we are allowed some leeway to be irrationally excited about ridiculously small sample sizes.

Matt Cain tonight. Go Giants, keep on rockin'!


Sunday, April 11, 2010

Youth! Veteran Savvy Clutchness! Oh, My!

Tim Lincecum (7 IP, 2 R, 10 K) and Pablo Sandoval (3-4, 2-run HR) provided the youth. Aubrey Huff (1-3, BB, 2 R) and Mark DeRosa (game-tying RBI) brought the veteran savvy clutchness. A nice play here by Eugenio Velez, big hits there by Aaron Rowand and Bengie Molina, and you got yourself a win against a good club to take the series. That was after a four-hour rain delay.

Keep on rollin', Giants, keep on rollin'!


Swingin' Tim

In his second start of the 2010 campaign, Tim Lincecum faced a couple of worthy opponents in the Altlanta Braves and a gnarly spring storm. The game was delayed 249 minutes, which gave everyone a chance to rehash the dangers of using a starter of Tim's stature during such unlikely playing conditions. Hell, it gave everybody a chance to rehash every pitch of the 2000 season. After the crazy long wait, we were greeted by some atypical Tim: a 4 pitch walk ("OH, those two out walks!") followed by a crushed homer by Brian McCann, truly one of the most under-rated hitters in baseball. It looked bad for quite a while there, Kawakami was racking up 11 ground outs (and 6 other outs) in 65 pitches. But the Panda (2b, 3b, HR) and newbies Huff (huge walk, 2 runs) and DeRosa (game winning single) just wouldn't be denied. Of course, neither would Tim. After finally getting the lead, Tim punctuated his dominance by striking out the side in his seventh and final inning. (How many times have we seen that?) Lincecum earned victory #2 by allowing 5 hits, one costly walk, and TEN, that's right, T-E-N, X, 10 strikeouts. As J.T. Snow pointed out, every strikeout was swinging. That's so cool. Pitching for contact is so 90's, so Greg Maddux. I really think I'm beginning to prefer missing bats all together. It's so 'o10, so Timmy!

Bring Barry Back

Barry Bonds just told Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow that he wants to "teach." He talked about his mastery of hitting, that it was a "gift from God" that he wants to pass on.

The San Francisco Giants should hire Barry Bonds as the Director of Hitting for the entire organization.

Bring Barry Back.


PhoneCo history

The Giants are making a fuss today about the debut of the park, which was called "Pacific Bell Park" or simply "PacBell" back then. April 11, 2000 was a cool and overcast day, and Kevin Elster of the Dodgers hit three home runs. Not only did Elster hit three homers that day, he hit the first homer in the new park in the top of the 3rd inning. Barry Bonds had doubled in a run in the 1st inning, but had to wait until the bottom of the 3rd to hit the first Giants home run. The Giants lost 6-5, but my main memory of that day was leaving. The staircase down from the upper level (we had "View Box" seats) to the O'Doul gate was jammed with fans and hit gridlock almost immediately. I never used that exit again, learning that a dash down the escalator and out to the Plaza was a lot faster. We had "Charter Seats" for the first six seasons (up to 2005, when it was "SBC Park"), but the distance and expense got to be too much and we had to give them up. It was a great run, and we got to see a lot of exciting baseball. These days it is mostly electronic Giants, with satellite TV, internet radio, and blogs, but we manage at least one road trip south for real-live ballgames each summer. We had the chance to see baseball in some other great venues like (old) Yankee Stadium, Fenway Park, Safeco Field, and Petco Park, but nothing compares to our emerald gem by the Bay. We've also seen baseball in Vancouver, Canada (Nat Bailey Stadium) and Oaxaca, México (Estadio Eduardo Vasconcelos), but still we longed for views of Berkeley and the Bridge. I've spent far, far more of my life in Candlestick Park than I care to admit, and that place had its charms. Dollar nights in the bleachers for one, and wide seats with lots of leg room. And easy egress. Otherwise, the Giants built an outstanding place to see a game. Now we just need a "World Series Champion" banner to complete the décor. Go, Tim, lead us to the Promised Land!

Kevin Elster and Barry Bonds were both born in 1964. Elster retired after the 2000 season. Bonds went on to win four more MVPs and set the all-time home run record.


Saturday, April 10, 2010

One of those nights

I missed Todd Wellemeyer's five shutout innings but got to see Jason Heyward's opposite-field homer in the 6th and his two-run single in the 7th. It was that kind of night. Derek Lowe walked seven guys in six innings but got a win. In other words, the Giants managed only one run off him despite having eleven baserunners (the walks plus four hits). How do you do that? Juan Uribe had three walks. Three. That's brings his season total to four. This man had 25 walks all of last year. Eli Whiteside was hitting behind him tonight so maybe Bam-Bam Muelens has to wait for my "Hitting Coach of the Year" post. Edgar Renteria, the Giants hottest hitter, went 0-5 and hit into a game-ending double play. Like I said, it was that kind of night.

Three Giants starters have pitched into the 7th inning. Tim Lincecum is the only one to have recorded all 21 outs. Matt Cain managed 6-2/3, Todd Wellemeyer 6-1/3. Barry Zito was smart enough to avoid the nasty 7th inning all together by pitching six shutout innings and asking the coach for the rest of the night off.

The Franchise pitches tomorrow.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Home Opener Lucky 13th!

The Braves were short-handed today, with neither Brian McCann nor Chipper Jones in the starting lineup. They played like it, too, bunting with their number three hitter (Yunel Escobar) with two on and zero outs in the 3rd. It was like Bobby Cox announced "we expect this to be an old-school NL low-scoring pitchers duel so we are going to play like runs are scarce." It worked, the Braves scored both guys, but I couldn't help wondering about bunting with your number three hitter in the 3rd inning. Later, the Giants executed some nice-looking warm & fuzzy little ball to get close in the 7th with men on 2nd and 3rd with no outs. RBI dribblers to the right side by Sandoval and Huff brought them in, but I was sure hoping for a goddamn hit. Rowand and Renteria had put together a nice little run-and-hit to start things off. I kept thinking our third-and-fourth-place hitters needed to get the big bomb in that situation. Little did I know that the big bombs on the club would come off Wagner in the 9th. Did I believe we had the big bombs in us? No way! I thought Edgar "two-run homer in the 9th" Renteria's career was over last year, but this year he seems to have something to prove and so far I have to like the results. I have no problem with being wrong when it comes to our guys exceeding my expectations! The same goes for Eugenio "leadoff double in the 9th" Velez. I sure didn't see that coming, and I've given Velez a goodly share of grief on this site. Prove me wrong, man.

It was one of those languid affairs, with Tim Hudson doing a Rick Reuschel routine, mesmerizing our feeble hitters with his sinking stuff. Jonathan Sanchez had some location issues and some poor luck, getting hurt by a couple of ground balls. The line looks bad, but he struck out six in 4-1/3, and he was getting some nasty-looking break on his off-speed stuff, whether it's the curves, sliders or slurves, and it looked unhittable. I exepct he'll find his groove. I would have let him finish the 5th, but it worked out. The bullpen had some rocky moments, but that's an impressive crew so far. Even last men Brandon Medders and Guillermo Mota were effective. See what happens when I doubt wise old birds like Bobby Cox? It was an old-school NL low-scoring pitchers duel. It just took fourteen pitchers! I liked how Waldis Joaquin and Dan Runzler struggled, gave up a run, but battled and kept the lid on it. Brian Wilson looks great, plain and simple, but got in trouble in the 11th and Sergio Romo bailed him out. Romo then gave us another chance by working a scoreless 12th. Pablo Sandoval worked some Panda magic with a bloop leadoff double in the bottom half, but the Braves pitched out of it.

Late-inning replacement Brian McCann led off the lucky 13th with a hit off Jeremy Affeldt, the 8th pitcher of the day for the Giants. Funny how the Giants bunted perfectly all day, and a blown bunt (or blown call) by Kris Medlen got Cox tossed for arguing! It all looked lost until Juan Uribe--Juan "lifetime OBP under .300" Uribe--got a walk off Medlen. He stole a bag and took 3rd on the errant throw! Crazy. McCann had a beef, it looked like Rowand's bat interfered with him, but home plate ump Tim Tschida was having none of it. Facing 0-2, Rowand delivered the a game-winning grounder deep in the hole and the Giants had a magical victory.

I'm amazed and exhausted and exhilarated. The San Francisco Giants are UNDEFEATED and HAVE THE BEST RECORD IN BASEBALL. They beat a good team in a long, hard-fought, grind-it-out classic of a ballgame.

Go Giants! Keep it rolling!


Thursday, April 8, 2010

East-West matchup

The 2009 Atlanta Braves "underperformed" their Pythagorean projection by FIVE games, finishing 86-76 (3rd place), 7 GB the NL-champ Phils. They were 5th in the NL in RS with 735 and 4th in RA with 641. Braves fans can be forgiven for thinking they "shoulda beena contendah" with those numbers. This year's lineup features aging stars like Chipper Jones and Troy Glaus as well as young studs like Brian McCann and Yunel Escobar. The Giants assigned their über-prospect Buster Posey to the minors, but the Braves put 20-year old Jason "Heymaker" Heyward in their Opening Day lineup and he hit a 3-run HR his first time up. Here's a look at the everyday lineup with their 2009 wOBA and CHONE 2010 projected wOBA:

Melky Cabrera, LF (.331, .358)
Martin Prado, 2B (.355, .351)
Chipper Jones, 3B (.354, .377)
Brian McCann, C (.359, .373)
Troy Glaus, 1B (.228, .356) Glaus was out most of 2009, his career wOBA is .367
Yunel Escobar, SS (.357, .352)
Jason Heyward (rookie, .325) Here are his minor league numbers.
Nate McLouth, CF (.350, .355)

Note that wOBA or "weighted on-base average" is scaled like OBP, that is, .400 is outstanding, .330 is average, .300 is poor. This looks like a pretty good hitting team, and I'm curious how our pitching will do against some tough outs instead of the fodder we (mostly) saw in Houston.

The pitching matchups are Tim Hudson against Jonathan Sanchez in the Opener, and Derek Lowe against our No. 5, Todd Wellemeyer, on Saturday. The website says TBA for the weekend games--I wonder if the Giants will move Timmy up because of the off-day today. I don't see why this early in the season. I'm going to miss Saturday's game so I hope Tim pitches Sunday when I can watch.

Hudson's best years are behind him. CHONE projects only 19 starts but with a 3.74 FIP. The Braves, though, think he can still pitch and signed him to a 3-year, $28M deal this off-season. He had Tommy John surgery last year. He doesn't strike a lot of guys out, but he doesn't walk people either and gets his outs with ground balls. Derek Lowe is even older than Hudson, and is also a groundball pitcher, known for his sinker. CHONE projects 30 starts and a 3.87 FIP. Interestingly, the Braves signed Lowe to a 4-year, $60M deal before the 2009 season. That seems insane for a good-but-not-great oldster (his ERA+ last year was 88!) Relying on overpaid, past-their-prime guys seems like a big red flag for Braves fans, but their young bucks Tommy Hanson (22, pitches today) and Jair Jurrjens (24, pitched yesterday) seem like good bets to build around. Kenshin Kawakami, formerly of the Chunichi Dragons, rounds out the ro' and I expect we'll see him Sunday. I know next-to-nothing about Atlanta's 'pen, but I could say the same about every team except the Giants. Billy Wagner is the closer, another ancient (but effective) guy.

Bring 'em on!


p.s. Check out the photo of Eugenio Velez and his mis-spelled jersey! I didn't notice this on TV.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


In a game I thought would be about pitching and fielding, the Giants scored 10 RUNS on 19 HITS to make all the drama and close plays academic. Matt Cain looked sharp and efficient through the first six innings, but started to miss his spots in the 7th. It took him 23 pitches to get two outs, give up three hits, and allow three earned runs to tie the game and rack up his first ND of 2010. With two on and one out, Dave Righetti had a chat with no. 18 who then struck out J.R. Towles. But lefty pinch-hitter Cory Sullivan got a 2-1 fastball to drive and he hit it hard to right-center. Cain kept the ball in the yard, it was just short of the track, but Rowand took a bad route on it, overran it, and then had to reach back for it and dropped it. It was ruled a triple and that was it for Cain with the score 4-3 Giants. Jeremy Affeldt got Michael Bourn to hit a little dribbler to second but the speedy leadoff man beat it out to drive in the run that tied it (charged to Cain). 98 pitches, 27 batters faced, 4 runs, 3 earned, ZERO walks, 5 strikeouts. Matt got 10 groundball outs, but the fly ball did him in. Aaron Rowand made up for it with 4 hits and 2 RBI, Edgar "The Rejuvenator" Renteria logged a perfect 5-5 day (with a walk), and John Bowker hit a 2-run bomb to RF in the 2nd. Pablo Sandoval and Juan Uribe got two hits apiece, and Travis Ishikawa homered as a pinch-hitter to start the 9th. The Giants scored 1 in the 7th, 2 in the 8th and 4 in the 9th. That's SEVEN RUNS in the final three innings! The Berkman-less Astros were pretty punchless, with Pence and Lee going 1-24 in the series. The Giants got three solid starts. Cain had given up only 3 hits and 1 unearned run on 75 pitches before his trouble in the 7th, overall his Game Score was 53 (Zito and Lincecum were 70 and 76 respectively). In all, Giants pitchers allowed only six runs, five earned. A sweet, sweet sweep before a travel day. Home Opener Friday afternoon with Jonathan Sanchez getting the ball and facing the Atlanta Braves and Tim Hudson. That's a good club and we'll get a chance to see their 20-year old phenom Jason Heyward. Should be some great baseball this weekend.



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

That's the formula, part two

Wandy Rodriguez and Barry Zito went curveball toe-to-toe tonight in The Battle of the Quality Starts. BZ kept the Astros off base, only one walk and three hits allowed. Rodriguez obviously didn't get the memo about Giants hitters as he started off the 6th with back-to-back four-pitch walks to Edgar Renteria and Pablo Sandoval. Both later scored when Aubrey Huff laced a single and Mark DeRosa beat out a double-play grounder. It looked like Rodgriguez would dodge another bullet--the Giants had hit into three DPs by that point--but the baseball gods and DeRosa's savvy clutchness saved us. Bengie Molina displayed yet another facet of his supreme gamerosity by driving in a run on a first-pitch foul pop-up to Hunter Pence, whose up-the-line throw home allowed a dancing Panda to score. It was, suddenly, 3-0. Zito struck out the first batter in the bottom half, Michael Bourn, but Jeff Keppinger hammered a ball to the top of the wall in left that should have been ruled a homer. He was stranded on second when Zito routinely dismissed Hunter Pence and Carlos Lee. 90 pitches, 22 batters, 5 K, it was a good night's work--nothing but zeroes for our spendy, greybeard* southpaw. Two starts, 13 shutout innings, I think that's the formula, no? We got a taste of the future with Waldis Joaquin, Dan Runzler, and Sergio Romo racking up outs (2/3 IP each) with serious heat. Zito topped out at 85 mph and all three of those kids were in the mid-90s! In Zito's defense, his 71 mph hook did the job. Brian Wilson looked positively relaxed throwing his usual screamers and other vicious unhittables. Bring it on, man!

2-0 to start the season feels fecking grand, eh? Matt Cain at 11:05 a.m. tomorrow.

Dare I say it? Sweeeeeeeeeeep!!


*Todd Wellemeyer is a few months younger, making Zito the Giants second-oldest pitcher (32 in May). Only the antediluvian Guillermo Mota has more growth rings. Minor quibble: I want Bowker (or Schierholtz) starting, not Torres. Torres is a bench guy. Bowker is our starter, screw the lefty-righty stuff. How the hell will he ever learn to hit lefties if he doesn't get to swing the bat? I was happy to see Bowker get a pinch-hit. Play the man, dammit!

Smokin' Tim

The Giants started their 128th season, 53rd in San Francisco, with one of their all time greatest stars leading the way. Tim Lincecum executed seven scoreless innings, giving up 4 singles (one crushed off the wall) and no walks, while collecting seven strikeouts. His 98 pitch effort featured a change-up in midseason form that was in a perfect counterbalance to a 95 - 92 MPH fastball. There were three or four different times that people swung and missed BY A LOT! I'm talking 6 - 10 inches. Poor Hunter Pence, a really good young star, looked like a doe in the headlights. Their feeble catcher, some stiff named Towles, was so clearly praying for a walk it was shameful. Only Carlos Lee looked like he was getting some good rips at Tim. So what does The Freak do? Late in the game, Tim breaks off a 2-0 SLIDER (!!!!) that handcuffs Lee into a weak foul out. After the game, Tim implied that many of his change-ups were actually sliders, apparently the speed is the same. Can you imagine the fun we will be having this year if young Mr. Lincecum has a "new" pitch? Be still my heart.

From JC Parsons and M.C. O'Connor, of Raising Matt Cain:


Smoke 'Em, If You Got 'Em

Monday, April 5, 2010

That's the formula

Tim Lincecum throws crisp shutout ball and our veterans exude savvy clutchness and the Giants come up winners. They are already starting to talk about 162-0, me buckos. Why can't every game be like this one? OK, I could go without the Medders hiccup, or Leadoff Man's 0-5, but otherwise there was a hell of a lot to like. Lincecum was dominating, again. Seven strikeouts, including the last two batters, zero walks, only 98 pitches to get 21 outs. Filthy, filthy, filthy. Rejuvenated Renteria served noticed with some nice strokes at the plate. Mark "Dingerz" DeRosa won the all-rounder award by getting on base, scoring runs, and making plays. Bengie "6-hole" Molina cracked a low one from Oswalt to get the scoring started, silencing his critics on the blog pages with exemplary gamerissitude and pitch-calling. Hell, I'm not even giving Tim credit for this. This one is all Bengie and his knowledge of pitching. TEN hits, FIVE runs. We got 10 hits! And 5 runs! If we do that every night we will win the West easily. And for all the talk about our fielding, we got some nifty putouts by Rowand and Sandoval, and Renteria and Ishikawa just missed throwing Carlos Lee out to start the 9th on a ball deep in the hole. The replay looked like Ishikawa missed what seemed like a not-too-difficult chance. For him, that is. Anybody get a read on that play?

Great night of baseball! Let's keep it rolling!


Friday, April 2, 2010

Holiday hiatus

It's Good Friday and I'm off work! I've got a bit of a holiday lined up for the weekend so I'll be off-line for the next few days. I'll be back for The Opener in Houston. (That was a seriously ugly outing last night in San Francisco--Zito getting shelled, Rowand flailing at outside pitches, Molina looking even fatter than last year . . . I could go on and on. I'm glad it didn't count.)



Thursday, April 1, 2010

Breaking camp

"We have a real good idea where we are [with the 25]. We've talked among ourselves," said Bochy. "We'll huddle again in San Francisco. These decisions are always difficult, and we have some guys who will be disappointed, because they're in that group who had good springs."

Uh, OK. That means Buster, right? They are certainly going to keep Bowker on the roster, he's hit too well in his 78 plate appearances to ignore. Small sample size, my arse! He's a force! He's a beast! He's the starter! Darren Ford, Roger Kieschnick, and Matt Downs "had good springs" but I don't think anyone seriously considered spots for them on the 25-man roster. I think Torres will stick--I hope so, I like his glove and speed out there patrolling "the greensward" in the late innings. So, who's the elephant in the room? Who had a fair showing in Arizona but will still get the axe? I'm thinking it's Fred Lewis. His .845 OPS isn't earth-shattering, it's rather Fred-like, really, very Lewisian when all is said and done. If "Freddie's Dead" then there must be a spot for Mr. .264/.305/.396 Eugenio Velez. In 7 seasons and almost 500 minor-league games, Sr. Velez was good for a .792 OPS (.295/.342/.450). He'd be damn near the best player on our team not named Sandoval if he could do that in majors. I suspect Ol' Boch likes his "versatility." Last year he played 14 innings in RF, 65-1/3 in CF, 215-2/3 at 2B, and  288-2/3 in LF. He does possess some seriously freakish speed, and I just know Ol' Boch is going to bunt, hit-and-run, run-and-hit, bunt-and-run, run-and-bunt, steal, double-steal, fake steal, fake-bunt, and fake-bunt-and-hit like Roger Craig on crack. Krukow loves "the butcher play" so I imagine I'll hear a lot of gushing from the Kruk-ster about it this season.

Any thoughts on the 25, mates?