Saturday, July 31, 2010

Padres pick up a hitter, Dodgers hope for a pitcher

The San Diego Padres acquired Ryan Ludwick in a three-way deal with the St. Louis Cardinals and Cleveland Indians. The Padres give up Corey Kluber, a 24-year-old AA pitcher with good strikeout stuff, and Nick Greenwood, a 22-year-old A-ball lefty from the University of Rhode Island.

Ludwick just turned 32 and is in his 8th year in the big leagues. He had a sensational year in 2008, cracking 80 XBH on his way to a .966 OPS (.406 wOBA and 5.4 WAR). His 2009 was not as impressive (.265/.329/.447), but 2010 has been much better (.281/.343/.484). He's racked up 2.6 WAR so far (2009 was only 2.0 WAR), and his .354 wOBA is right at his career average. He's a lifetime .832 OPS (117 OPS+) hitter, and he's considered an above-average fielder. He became a regular in 2007, after accumulating only about a season's worth of PA in his first four years. He had a stint on the 15-day DL earlier in the month. For perspective, only three Giants (Huff, Posey, Torres) are hitting above a .354 wOBA. The Cardinals apparently have a youngster (John Jay) ready to fill Ludwick's shoes in RF. St. Louis doesn't have that much of an offense, so it seems weird they'd let go of a good hitter. They obviously want another starter. We'll see what Westbrook can do. The real winner here is San Diego. They give up nothing and get a real bat for their lineup. He's not a game-changer, but he's a good player, and they don't lose anything on defense. He is immediately their 2nd-best hitter.

The Dodgers acquired Ted Lilly and Ryan Theriot in a "meh" deal that sends former 1st-rounder Blake DeWitt and prospects Brett Wallach and Kyle Smit to Chicago. Brett Wallach is Tim Wallach's son, he's a pitcher in A-ball. I don't think Lilly will solve the Dodgers rotation issues, but I suppose he's an upgrade over Carlos Monasterios.


Friday, July 30, 2010

Orange-You-Glad-We-Have Tim

The Giants just barely continued their winning ways by defeating the doggers, 6-5, tonight in front of a packed Orange Friday house. One run games, especially when you are in a pennant race, are nerve racking ordeals which can turn on the tiniest of details. In a wonderful game like tonight's, it can be difficult to pick out that small nuance...the "difference maker."

Off the top of my head, I will list a few possibilities:

1) Tim Lincecum made a tiny change to his motion (raising his hands higher) that I must admit I would not have spotted on my own. The result was his 16th quality start; a flawed but gritty performance: 7 innings, 7 hits (2B,3B, and a HR - Tim's 10th), 2 runs, 2 walks, and 8 strikeouts. Actually if you could eliminate Furcal (3-3, HR, 2B, 2 walks), Tim probably would have thrown a shutout. Did the change make a big difference? Not so sure...Tim still seemed out of sync at times.

2) The one mistake Furcal made: trying to stretch a double into a triple with two outs in the fourth. Really Sanchez and Huff deserve credit for great relay action, but it was a stupid move.

3) Huff's non-walk: in the bottom of the third with two outs, Aubrey thought he had drawn the walk (even threw the bat away and started down the line). A very close call. The next pitch Huff crushed a ball 400+ feet to give us a lead we never lost (barely). And my personal choice...

4) The color orange: I know it is probably a silly detail, but it is an


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Kryptonite > Superman

The hottest team in baseball got cooled off today by Anibal Sanchez, who threw a one-hitter at AT&T Park. Even Buster Posey was denied--his hit streak was stopped at 21 when he went 0-3 with two strikeouts and a ground ball double play. It was the 20th start for the 26-year-old righthander from Venezuela, the most in one season of his short, injury-plagued career. Sanchez is finally delivering the goods for Florida this year (2.3 WAR). He threw a no-hitter as a 22-year-old rookie in 2006.

Sometimes Lex Luthor gets a hold of some kyrptonite and slows down Superman. That's what happened today. Tomorrow will be another story. Too bad we wasted a quality start from MadBum.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

10-run rule

I certainly didn't think it would take 10 runs to win today. Hell, I was licking my chops after the 4-run 1st! Later, I thought 7-2 was a sufficient cushion, and when Andres Torres splashed one to make it 9-2, I knew the Marlins were done. That kind of baseball savvy is hard-earned, me buckos. I know when teams are fork-ready, I surely do. And speaking of Andres Torres, who else deserved to be the hero today? Who but Torres would deliver the perfect 10 in the 10th? Here's his line for the last two games: 10 AB, 4 R, 7 H, 2 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 BB, 1 SB. The man is absolutely raking!

Jonathan Sanchez looked great through six, but couldn't get an out in the 7th despite being up by 7 runs. Jose Bautista got three outs, but managed to get an Uggla 2-run homer in there. Bautista struck out the previous batter Gaby Sanchez, but the wild pitch got past Posey and what should have been the third out was a baserunner. Still, the 9-7 lead looked safe as Sergio Romo threw a 1-2-3 8th. Brian Wilson had a shaky 9th though, with the rampant Dan Uggla proving to be the Giants nemesis, and we went to extras. Uggla had six hits--a double and five home runs--in the series.

Aaron Rowand and Edgar Renteria once again made something happen late in the game from their bottom of the lineup spots. Nate Schierholtz, pinch-hitting, loaded the bases with a clutch single to set up Torres' game-winner. Nine different Giants got hits, and seven different Giants scored. I would be remiss to mention the surging Juan Uribe, who had a 3-hit day including a 2-run single and a 2-run triple!

Another great win by a red-hot team. Keep it up, lads, keep it up!


.800 ball

On the Fourth of July the Giants limped out of Colorado having lost 3 of 4, one of those losses a 15-inning torture-fest. It was the nadir of the season--the team was 41-40, having accumulated two months of a little under .500 ball after a promising April. We all knew what was wrong--the team couldn't hit and couldn't score. It was OK when the starters were lights out, but nobody pitches perfectly forever, and you had to figure the arms would hit some bumpy patches now and then. The sweep at home by the Dodgers, getting outscored 16-6, was particularly galling.

Something happened, though, after that 81st game. The Giants went 16-4. They scored 111 runs and only allowed 57. That's a 5.55 rpg average. Only four teams--the Yanks, Red Sox, Rays, and Rangers--average over 5 runs scored per game. On the pitching side, the number is even more amazing, which shouldn't surprise us as we know that pitching is the team strength. But how about 2.85 rpg allowed? There are six teams--the Padres, Giants, Cardinals, Rays, Braves, and Mets--that average fewer than 4 runs allowed per game.

The Giants aren't going to play .800 ball the rest of the way. But if they continue to hit well they are going to keep winning. The pitching staff leads baseball with a 127 ERA+ and it is second with only 365 runs allowed. They are third in ERA, eighth in FIP, and tied for fourth in WAR. They're good. We knew that. What we didn't know was that this team can score runs. That is a deadly combination. That is what it takes to be a championship squad. Here's a thought I had a while back:
If the Giants score 4.5 rpg (or 9 runs every 2 games if decimal runs bother you), they will win the West.
 Right now the team is averaging 4.45 runs per game, or right at the league average. Here's another thought I had (from the same post):
If we can find a way to get Mr. Upside Buster Posey into the lineup instead of Mr. Out-maker Bengie Molina, we just might have a league-average offense. Let's hope we figure out how to do that.
Now neither of these insights was particularly acute or original. Just sound baseball sense it seemed to me at the time. So, I'm not going to jump up and down and holler about Brian Sabean and all that. I'm just going to appreciate what a great run the club has been on (thank you Messrs. Posey, Huff, and Torres) and hope they keep it up. No, they won't keep scoring over 5 runs per game, and they will go back to giving up more than 3 runs per game. But they just might have a lineup that can properly complement the great pitching. At least that's how it looks in July.




Last night for the heck of it I went to a River Cats game and the starting pitcher turned out to be Boof Bonser. Bonser had an outstanding performance in the River Cats' 7-1 win. He retired the first 11 men he faced and had a no-hitter going into the 6th. In the 8th he gave up a run on back-to-back well-hit balls, and was taken out of the game.

Giants fans remember him as part of the infamous deal for AJ Pierzynski in '03.

Bonser made his ML debut in May '06 and was AL Rookie of the Month in September of that year. He made one start in the post season, a no decision in a loss to the As.

He needed shoulder surgery in Feb. '09 and missed all of last season. He became a free agent and was signed earlier this month by the As.

His ML record is 18-25 with a 5.19 ERA.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Thrilla in Vanilla

Matt Cain and Josh Johnson duked it out for seven innings like a couple of heavyweights, putting on a display of country hardball that would have warmed the hearts of any it-was-better-the-old-days curmudgeon. Cain only gave up four hits, but two of them were home runs. Johnson gave up eight hits, three of them doubles. Both walked three, Cain struck out six to Johnson's five. Matty was perfect through three, but a rookie making his debut (Logan Morrison) spoiled it with a bloop hit. It took Johnson 31 batters and 114 pitches to get 21 outs (Game Score 51). Cain needed 98 pitches for 25 batters (Game Score 60), and certainly enjoyed better fielders behind him. The 2010 Men in French Vanilla in have been flashing some big league leather, eh?

But the  pitcher's duel came to an abrupt and shocking close when the Giants hit two home runs in the bottom of the eighth off reliever Brian Sanches. Juan Uribe was no surprise, it's the kind of at-bat he seems to live for. Banging out the big blast to break the tie was a game-changer. It looked like we'd go to the ninth with a nail-biter and count on Brian Wilson to be brilliant once again. But that's not what happened. What happened is that the Giants decided to be the New York Yankees and score six runs. Hey, you score six runs, good things happen. In a wildly improbably sequence, Aaron Rowand got a hit and Edgar Renteria hit a home run (only his second of the year). You read that right. Suddenly it is 6-3 Giants and I'm jumping out of my chair screaming "go for the kill!"( Really, you can ask JC.) The cushion turned out to be the difference as Wilson gave up a solo shot to Uggla (his second, his first tied it in the seventh), but it didn't tarnish the win. I like it when we have a cushion of runs. You can never have enough goddamn runs.

Giants win 6-4 by beating one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, and by beating a homer-happy club at their own game. It was a sweet, sweet victory, and a really quite impressive team effort. Seven guys got hits and five guys scored runs. The top of the lineup kept us in it against Johnson, and the bottom of the lineup won it against the bullpen. Matt Cain gave us another studly outing, the 12th time in 21 starts he's thrown at least seven innings and given up no more than three runs (and his 16th quality start). If our rejuvenated, Buster-fied lineup can keep it going, that sort of thing is going to give us a lot of chances to win. I saw the Panda in the dugout, I'd love to see him pick it up and start raking like it's two-thousand-nine.


Monday, July 26, 2010

Just short

Aaron Rowand's pinch-hit homer in the 7th was barely legal, surviving the video review for lack of evidence. That made it 3-2 Marlins. The Giants solved Ricky Nolasco by getting him out of the game. It took three Florida relievers to finish the inning. A late run off Guillermo Mota made it 4-2, just enough to survive the Giants run in the 9th. A phenom by the name of Mike Stanton (who's only 20) showed off his chops with a homer in the 5th and the big two-out RBI double in the 8th. Impressive-looking kid--he's listed at linebacker size (6-5, 235). He was drafted in the 2nd round (#76) of the 2007 amateur draft--the Giants took Madison Bumgarner in the 1st round (#10) that year. They also took Tim Alderson (#22), Wendell Fairley (#29), Nick Noonan (#32), Jackson Williams (#43), and Charlie Culberson (#51). Guess you can't win them all. Stanton has not dazzled like Buster, but he's got a ton of power (89 HR in 324 minor-league games), and looks like a keeper.

That was the 100th game of the season. A 34-28 record (.548) in the final 62 games would put the Giants at 90 wins. It wasn't too long ago that it took .581 to get there. See what a 16-6 July will do for you? Tomorrow Matt Cain matches up with Josh Johnson. I got to see Johnson pitch last July (SF 3-0 win behind Zito), and he's a big fella, too (6-7, 250). Guess they like 'em king-size in Florida. You could make a case that he's the best pitcher in the NL right now, if not all of baseball. Should be a great match-up.

While you are on FanGraphs ooh-ing and aah-ing over Josh Johnson, read the piece by Matt Klaassen on Andres Torres. What a great story this guy is! He made another awesome catch in CF tonight.


We're Back!

Despite the lightning and the thunder, the Giants are back on TV!!

19 games for Buster!



T-showers this evening in the State of Jefferson have knocked out my satellite feed!  NO GIANTS!!



Mendocino Tim

No, that is not the name of the this month's featured product at your local cannabis dispensery. My lovely bride and I took a short trip through the amazing Mendocino coastline yesterday. The scenery was as perfect as Buster Posey's swing. Glorious chilly fog followed by sunny warmth, followed by another bank of fog. Everything was groovy...except maybe those clown announcers (JT has nothing but cliches and Hank was only OK so why should miniHank be any better?). Oh yeah, and the hour traffic jam through Petaluma wasn't so nifty either.

But the game was sweet. Tim Lincecum came through with a gritty performance: 8 innings, 9 hits (ties season high but no homers), 2 runs, 1 walk and 5 strikeouts. Another quality start, 15 0f 21, I think. The only really damaging blow was a 2 RBI double by their fricking pitcher!! Timmeh got some help in the 8th from yet another snake mistake but basically he was super tough. Not a ton of strikeouts, which I know worries folk but I sense an attempt to lower his pitch count and walks by pitching for more contact. Tim is going to have to adjust back to the league and I think we will start to see that happen soon. Maybe he'll become a Maddux clone...never know with the Freak.

Of course, the big story continues to be that Buster kid. He's passed Orlando and heading for Willie Mac. His plate discipline gets me HOT! Don't forget to give Sabean all the credit...if he didn't unload Molina, we would still be on BusterWatch.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

G-Train keeps rollin'

The Giants smoked the lowly Snakes again. Get fat on the minnows, I say! I missed the game last night and didn't get the story about Eugenio Velez until this morning. God, what a horrid injury. We've seen Joe Martinez and Aaron Rowand recover from some seriously scary-looking head trauma, let's hope Velez gets back to full health soon.

Tim Lincecum takes the hill today for the Giants as they look to sweep. This has been a different year for The Freak. He's set such a high bar that any drop-off is very noticeable--like Albert Pujols slugging below .600. This season Tim is allowing more hits, homers, and walks per 9 IP than in his back-to-back Cy Young years. He's also striking out fewer batters. The two best pitchers in the NL right now (sorry, Ubaldo) are Josh Johnson (2.23 FIP, 5.0 WAR) and Roy Halladay (2.87 FIP, 4.8 WAR). Tim is 5th in FIP (3.13) and 5th in WAR (3.3). This will be his 21st start, and there are 64 games remaining, so we should expect another 12 starts, perhaps 13 if they juggle the rotation a bit in September where there are four off-days. Tim looked as out-of-sorts against the Dodgers as I've ever seen him, and more worrisome, his velocity was way down. There's been nothing from Tim or the Giants about health or physical issues. (You always wonder about a ballplayer's off-season conditioning, particularly because there is so much variation, and teams lack any sort of consistent standards about fitness.) Expectations are higher as well--Tim is making big-time bucks for the first time ($9M this year and $14M next) and the fan base isn't going to settle for second-place anymore. The emergence of Buster Posey (.358/.397/.561) has really energized the club, and the great post-Break run has everyone on pins-and-needles, thinking even more seriously everyday that there really is some "magic inside."

Let's hope The Franchise is back to his studly ways today. GO GIANTS!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Snakes on a Cain? No problem!

Matt Cain's best start of the year (Game Score 94) was a one-hitter against the Diamondbacks in San Francisco on the 28th of May. He had nine strikeouts and zero walks. Tonight, the 22nd of July, Matt Cain threw eight shutout innings against the same Arizona club, this time on the road, and also had nine strikeouts. He gave up three hits and three walks, but it was otherwise a dominating performance (Game Score 82). Oh, and Matt got the WIN in both of those starts. That's not always the case, you know. In fact, he evened up his record at 8-8, making him a .500 pitcher in 20 starts. Tonight the Giants exploded for single runs in the 1st, 3rd, and 7th innings, racking up a hefty three-run total, which I've no doubt Matt was extremely grateful for. Buster Posey got two hits including a two-out, two-strike stroke to score Aubrey Huff in the opening frame. Andres Torres made another (yawn) great catch in the outfield to save extra bases and also delivered a massive solo shot to make it 2-0. Aaron Rowand got in on the RBI fun later to seal the deal for Cain. The Tennessee Stud needed 117 pitches and 30 batters to get 24 outs. He mixed it up impressively, getting strikes with all his pitches, and using his breaking stuff (how about that changeup!) especially to get swings-and-misses. Check out these numbers from the box score: called strikes 20, swinging strikes 19, foul balls 18, and in-play strikes 19. The Giants are .500 on the road (25-25) which is very encouraging, and have some big wins already against the NL West. Keep it going, lads, keep it going.


Not with a bang, but with a whimper

Curse you, Blake DeCasey! Whoops, I mean, Casey DeWitt. Er, Witt DeBlakey. Casey Blake, that's it! Jesus, the Dodgers have these two guys I can never keep straight. I mean Casey Blake and Blake DeWitt on the same team? Sometimes in the same infield? Should not be allowed.

Certainly a let-down last night, I was soooooooooooooo hoping for a sweep. I know, it doesn't happen very often, but goddamn I wanted one! If I were big-shot sports-writer with a little picture of me next to my column with my cool handlebar moustache and bulging jowls and creepy comb-over hairdo, I'd probably write a meaningful piece about the Giants inability to put teams away, and how a team of real men would stand up and manfully do the manly little things needed to un-man the opposition. But since I'm a mere amateur blogger-hack, I'll spare you. But you can look at my little picture anyway.

I desperately want to blame somebody for failing to nut-up and deliver the big hit. I want to gnash my teeth about another wasted start. I want to moan about our lack of a game-changing hitter. (Jose Bautista? How Sabean-esque can you get?) But I'll spare you. And you'll thank me.


p.s. Jose Bautista: fluke or breakout? You decide.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I thought Monday night's game was the best of the year . . .

. . . but it had nothing on last night's game. To come back against the Dodgers in the LAtrine and beat them in the 9th was nothing short of wonderful. To win a game in which our ace pitched like crap showed heart, grit and fortitude in abundance. To see the Dodgers implode, bit by bit, culminating in Donnie Baseball's gaffe that cost them their best relief pitcher was pure joy. Hat tip to Ol' Boch for seeing Mattingly's mistake and pouncing on it. The fact that Torre left Kershaw in to start the 7th for the express purpose of throwing at Rowand was idiotic. The Dodgers were winning the game, Lincecum was out, the Giants were down, there was no reason to retaliate. I can only hope the Dodger meltdown is indicative of the state of the team. When your opponent is weakened, you finish him off. Let's go for the kill today!!


Unenlightened Tim

Tim Lincecum made his 20th start last night and pretty much sucked, against the doggers no less. The amazing part is that if you followed last night's game you may not even remember that unpleasantness. So much shit happened! I thought it might settle out in my poor brain ("Doctor, my brain hurts!") but I'm even more dazed this morning. AARRRGGHHH!!! Baseball overload. Too much to discuss. I mean, shit, Bochy actually helped us win! That, right there, is almost too much for my P-brain to assimilate. Must compose myself.

- 2 hours later, after Tai Chi class at community center...If that shit doesn't calm you down nothing will...

Giants baseball 2010 is about to get historic. I've been around the game a long time, as I suspect you have as well, but very little can compare to the adventures that this team is providing. It is not always pretty - like Tim last night ( 4.2 innings, 7 hits, FIVE runs, 3 walks, 2 strikeouts ) but the end result is starting to get downright thrilling. It only took a couple minutes to know Tim was way off - he gave up as many total bases last night before he got an out as he did the ENTIRE previous game. I admit that I thought we had no chance. Boy howdy was I wrong. Like the lotus, which rises magnificently from the septic quagmire, our beloved Giants overcame Tim's squalor and became a thing of beauty floating above the human offal in the blue boring stadium. ( Quite a clever way to work in a picture of the wife's new tattoo. Nothing to do with baseball, but a real eye-catcher, don't you think? )

There are so many nifty things to chronicle about the HUGE win. I trust that my impatient hecklers (screw you, Bro) will chime in with their favorite moments and players, etc. My favorite craziness was ol'Bonehead catching Mattingly in a double mound visit. Now I know it may not have been the game-changer (after all Broxton was doing shaky himself) but it was truly a great moment in dogger dickheadness.

Is this the big turning point for the 2010 Giants? And did they really do it in spite of Tim Lincecum?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

MadBum beats Da Bums!

It was the biggest win of the year--beating the Dodgers in the LAtrine. It was also a very weird game. Panda made a mistake on the field that led to a run (it was a bad call by the umps), Andres Torres ran into an out (he obviously lost count), and the umps actually conferred on a call and got it right. I've never understood why the umpires don't confer more frequently. Seems like many of the bad calls we see could be set right just by the crew talking about the play. I expect we'll see more use of video replay in baseball, and that's fine with me, as long as it doesn't become as tedious and stupid as the NFL. Perhaps they could put an ump in the booth with all the camera feeds, and the crew chief can call on him when the play demands it (or the managers issue a challenge). Regardless, get together and talk. Find out who had the best angle and what they saw. Seems like that should be the crew chief's job.

That was only the team's second win in seven games this season against the Dodgers. A double by Andres Torres and singles by Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval gave the Giants a 2-0 lead in the 3rd. Nate Schierholtz hit a 2-run homer in the 4th to make it 4-0 (nice to see him contribute!), and with MadBum dealing things looked good. In the 6th, Rafael Furcal hit a leadoff bomb to make it 4-1, and Jamey Carroll singled, but Bumgarner got the next two guys out. When he walked James Loney, Ol' Boch yanked him and got Guillermo Mota. Mota made a stupid pickoff throw that bounced in the dirt and went into centerfield. (No need to actually throw there, just the fake and the looks would be enough to keep the runner close.) With runners on 2nd and 3rd and two outs, Matt Kemp hit a grounder to Sandoval. 99.99% of the time the third baseman throws that ball to first and the inning is over. Sandoval decided to tag Loney, who was coming towards the base, thus making it a "time play" (Rule 4.09a). The umps ruled that Carroll had scored before the putout was recorded, making it 4-2. The replay showed they got it wrong. Fortunately, the Giants scored later to make it 5-2 and the bullpen had just enough in the tank to close out the win.

The Giants have to beat the Dodgers and the Rockies and the Padres and even the lowly Diamondbacks if they expect to win the West. Last night was a good start.


Monday, July 19, 2010

50 years ago today

THT writer Chris Jaffe sent me a note about Juan Marichal's debut--it was 50 years ago today, July 19th! It is, of course, one of those bits of Giants lore all good orange & black fans know about. I thought with MadBum going tonight it might be a good thing to channel some of the Dominican Dandy's mojo. Check out Chris' piece here. It is the highest Game Score in a debut performance (2-hit shutout, 12 K) in baseball history.

You can check out the box score here. Only 13,279 were in attendance at the 'Stick. That would have been a big crowd back in those lean 70s seasons, eh?



Sunday, July 18, 2010

Missed opportunity

The Giants wasted a another fine start (Game Score 61), this one by Jonathan Sanchez. To be fair, they were up against Johan Santana, who won his first Cy Young when JSanchez was still in A-ball. The game appeared lost until the bottom of the 9th when Pablo Sandoval started a rally with, of all things, a walk. It was a great effort against K-Rod, who is one of the best. A Juan Uribe single and an Eli Whiteside sacrifice bunt put runners at 2nd and 3rd with one out. Travis Ishikawa then smoked a line-drive single to center that tied the game, and Andres Torres followed him with a rope into the right field corner that I thought for a instant might win it. Alas, Jeff Francouer came up with the ball cleanly and kept Ishikawa at third base. Freddy "5-3" Sanchez hit one of his signature ground balls to the left side--I thought the probability of him doing that was very high at that point, and could not believe the Giants had the contact play on. They did, however, and it looked like another wasted opportunity. The Giants then caught a break--Wright made a high throw home--and Ishikawa slid under the tag for what should have been the winning run. The Mets then caught a break--home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi missed the call--and the game went to the 10th. It was a spirited comeback by the local lads, only to fall short. Still, I was impressed. The rally caught me by surprise as we looked like our bags were packed and we were done. Brian Wilson, who has been brilliant this season, gave up the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th on a monster double by rookie Ike Davis, his second of the game. He hit two home runs last night, so I think we can say he's "seeing the ball real good."

I was really hoping for a sweep, but three out of four against a good team ain't bad. The Giants go to Chavez LAtrine for three games starting tomorrow. The Dodgers just got swept in St. Louis and are a game behind us. Perhaps we'll turn it around against the NL West this week. Struggling James McDonald gets the call against Madison Bumgarner. That looks like a good opportunity, I hope we can take advantage of it.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Giants go for the jugular

After squeaking out narrow wins and going up 2-0 in the series, the Giants went for the kill tonight behind Matt Cain. The amazing Buster Posey, with some help from Andres Torres, Juan Uribe, and Pablo Sandoval, led an offensive explosion that produced EIGHT RUNS. In the 2nd inning, the Giants pounced on emergency starter Hisanori Takahashi and never looked back. I like it when we rack up the runs and crush 'em. By god, it feels good! The Mets are a decent club--they came into the series with a better record than the Giants.

Cain not only got run support, he took advantage of home plate umpire Mike Estabrook's generous strike zone and got the first 18 outs without too much trouble. The 24-inning scoreless streak finally came to an end in the  top of the 7th when Carlos Beltran crushed a triple and Ike Davis blasted one in the water. The bullpen made a mess of things, but a six-run margin does wonders for your odds of winning. Cain had only thrown 93 pitches when he was pinch-hit for in the bottom of the 7th, so I'm not sure what that was about. In all, he faced 26 batters and allowed 4 hits and 2 runs, walking 1 and striking out 3, for a Game Score of 63. He also hit a double over Carlos Beltran in the 6th!

Other highlights: Pat Burrell's two walks, Nate's line drive hit in his only plate appearance, and Wilson's four-pitch save. The Dodgers and Rockies both lost, moving the Giants into 2nd place, 3-1/2 back of the Padres. It's the team's 50th win, and ties them with St. Louis for the 4th-best record in the league (.549).

Let's get the brooms out and complete the sweep tomorrow!


The Spanish Solution

The lads sported their orange kit last night and used it to good effect, seeing off the tourists one-nil. It was a cracking good show in the center of the pitch, with Barry Zito and Buster Posey leading a stifling, sure-handed game of ball control.

Hey, it worked for Spain! They won the World Cup final 1-0. And they won the semifinal 1-0, the quarterfinal 1-0, and their round of 16 game (the octofinal) 1-0. This 1-0 thing has real potential--we are talking international potential.  It saves on scoring, it really does, and that just tires the lads out unnecessarily. Best to save them for defense.

Seriously, it was a tremendous performance by Barry Zito. It wasn't a complete game, but it was as dominating as Lincecum's. TEN strikeouts! The Mets have to be scratching their heads--they came to San Francisco and wound up playing the Padres. When I said the Giants would have to play "as well" as the Padres, I didn't mean they had to play like they were the Padres. But a win is a win is a win. Whatever works, I say. The team has been smoking in July, winning 9 of 13. Matt Cain goes today, and it would be nice to see him re-discover his May form (6 starts, 44-2/3 IP, 10 R, 35 K, 0.918 WHIP, 2 CG).

Go Giants!


Bengie Hits for Cycle in Fenway

Y'know, good riddance and all, but the guy has lots of ... likability. And although Buster Posey is probably destined for Cooperstown, I wish Bengie well.

The following is from

BOSTON -- Nothing about Friday's game against the Red Sox was conventional for Bengie Molina.

Notorious as one of the slower players in the Major Leagues, that didn't stop the Rangers catcher from hitting for the cycle.

Collecting a single in the second inning, a double in the fourth, a grand slam in the fifth and a triple in the eighth, Molina became the first catcher since Chad Moeller on April 27, 2004, to hit for the cycle.

"He had a [great] game," third baseman Michael Young said. "Our guys were in shock. We tried to map out what he could do to get a triple.

"Bengie is a really great big league player, and unfortunately, people seem to dwell on his lack of speed. Everyone in the big leagues has a weakness, and that just happens to be his. He hustles all of the time, and he deserved it and had a [great] game. It is one of the best games of his career."

The Texas catcher did have some luck on his side, when he hit a double in the fourth off the glove of right fielder J.D. Drew and a triple in the eighth off the glove of center fielder Eric Patterson.

As Molina chugged around second and into third for that elusive triple in his last at-bat of the night, his teammates were yelling from the dugout to go three.

"Bengie's triple really only would have happened at Fenway; any other ballpark it really doesn't have time to rattle around out there, because it is so big," Young said. "It was fun to watch."

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Completely Tim

The "second half" has begun and The Freak wasted no time reminding us all that we are not worthy. Using a rather economical 110 pitches, Tim got his

4th career SHUTOUT : 9 innings, 6 hits (all singles!), 1 walk, 5 strikeouts.
Tim only allowed the Mets three runners in scoring position and kept Pagan, Wright and Davis off the bases entirely. Throw in a big hit by the Panda (no kidding, an actual RBI!) and this one was ours all the way.
Tim Lincecum delivered much more than a spectacular (game score 79) SHUTOUT tonight. He gave us back our legitimacy. I'm sure I saw it. Right at the very end, after a nifty Sanchez play to end the game. Victorious pitcher and catcher exchanged a quick, sly grin. Like they knew something nobody else did. This picture almost captured it.
Did you realize that was the first time Tim and Buster were batterymates? What do you think those two have planned for us?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

88 down, 74 to go

If we set 90 wins as a target to win the NL West, then the Giants have to play .581 ball (43-31) the rest of the way. That's a tall order. The Giants were 13-9 in April, but 27-28 in May and June. This nice little 7-4 run before the Break was encouraging, but the club has yet to show it can sustain a long winning stretch. The Giants best win streak is FOUR games. They have also logged a SEVEN game loss streak. Here's another way to look at it: the San Diego Padres have played .580 ball (51-37) so far this season. The Giants will have to play the second half as well as the Padres have played the first half. The Giants have confined their poor play to teams in the NL West--they are 1-7 vs. SD, 1-5 vs. LA, and 4-6 vs. CO. On the flip side, they've beaten the crap out of Milwaukee, Houston, Washington, Florida, and Pittsburgh to the tune of 22-6. Of those clubs, only Florida and Milwaukee are on the second-half schedule, with the Marlins coming to SF at the end of the month and the Brewers in mid-September. The Giants do get to see bottom-dwelling Arizona 13 more times, and 7 games against the reeling Cubs are also on the docket, so perhaps they can fatten up on them. Clearly, they are going to have to reverse their fortunes against the Big Three in the West as 6-18 won't cut it. New York, Atlanta, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and Cincinnati are also on tap--that's 17 games, and all of those clubs are playing .540 or better. The lads have their work cut out for them.

What's it going to take? For one, The Über-Freak is going to have to lead the way. He's got, presumably, 14 starts left. He's racked up 3.1 WAR (5th in the NL) so far, which is in fact below his 2008 (7.5) and 2009 (8.2) norms. We have all seen Super Tim this year as well as Mere Mortal Tim, and even a below-par Lincecum is better than most anyone else. His 3.02 FIP is 4th in the NL, but he is part of a tight clustering of stud pitchers (Roy Halladay, Josh Johnson, Adam Wainwright, Ubaldo Jimenez, et. al.) rather than the lead horse blowing past the field. The Giants, weak as they are in the superstar department, need their ace more than most clubs. It's not really fair--ever--to put a team's hopes and dreams on to one player (hello, Barry Bonds), but back-to-back Cy Youngs have a way of distorting perspectives. It will be interesting to see how The Franchise carries the load the rest of the way. No matter what happens, we all love the kid, and we know he will continue to be a great performer for us.

The rest of the starters are sort of lumped together: Cain (3.82), Sanchez (3.89), and Zito (3.91) are 23rd, 24th, and 26th in FIP among NL starters. Clayton Kershaw, Chad Billingsley, and Hiroki Kuroda all rate higher, as do Mat Latos and Clayton Richard. Even Colorado's Jason Hammel does, too. That's not a knock--the Giants have a depth of quality most teams would kill for. The Cain-Zito-Sanchez triumvirate is worth 5.4 WAR (2.0 + 1.8 + 1.6), and I'm not sure any club can boast 2-3-4 starters with that kind of value. That group, though, is going to have to rack up consistent quality innings or the Giants chances look pretty bleak. If any one of them falters or gets hurt the team could be in trouble. Adding Madison Bumgarner (0.5 WAR so far, and a 3.86 FIP) certainly shores things up, and could be a nice insurance policy down the stretch.

First-half MVP Aubrey Huff has been a tremendous addition, easily the best free-agent signing by any team this season. As much as I knock Sabean, I have to give him his due for this one. The 33-year-old is having his best season ever (3.1 WAR, .400 wOBA, 142 OPS+), and he'll have to keep it going for the Giants to get to the top. Another fellow enjoying his most productive season ever is Andres Torres (2.8 WAR, .383 wOBA). After a torrid May (.957 OPS) and a mediocre June (.737 OPS), Giants fans aren't sure what we'll see the rest of the way. His July line (.343/.425/.743) in 9 games is somewhat reassuring, but players with his career arc are outliers and hard to project. ZiPS says .345 wOBA the rest of the way, which is solid, but not spectacular, and perhaps unfair. After all, he did put up a .379 wOBA last season in 75 games, so maybe the Andres Torres we are seeing is the real thing. No matter what, he's a great story, and you gotta love him.

The big question mark is, of course, Pablo Sandoval. Chris at BCB does one of his patented expert breakdowns of The Panda's season so far, so I suggest you check that out. Suffice to say that our rotund third baseman has got to start contributing. The long-awaited emergence of rookie sensation Buster Posey has somewhat taken the sting out of Pablo's fall from grace, but I just don't see how the Golden Boy can do it all himself. As one famous wag once opined, "it takes a village." The holes on the club are big, and the patches have to hold through the dog days in a very tightly-contested division. Bullpen youngsters Sergio Romo and Dan Runzler are getting better all the time, and I have lots of confidence in them. Santiago Casilla has been a nice pickup, too. Brian Wilson is a beast (2.16 FIP, 1.4 WAR), and insanely valuable, but Jeremy Affeldt remains a question mark. Like Sandoval, he was counted on for a lot, and I think the team will miss his contributions if he doesn't see an uptick in performance going forward.

I want to believe it is a four-team race and the Giants have an equal shot. The Dodgers scare me, they have so much damn talent. The Rockies are lurking menacingly, they have such great depth and balance, and a recent history of late runs. The Padres can't be written off despite their odds-defying season. They will come back to earth, no team can hit that poorly and not see a drop-off, but they won't go quietly. I like their leadership (Bud Black, Jed Hoyer, Paul DePodesta), and worry they might just outsmart us. Baseball Prospectus publishes post-season odds, you can see them here. Of the four clubs in the hunt, the number-crunchers see San Diego having a 57.5 % chance of making the playoffs, with Colorado (56.1 %) right behind, and Los Angeles (29.6 %) and San Francisco (13.8 %) scrambling to catch them. BP says we are an 84-78 club. (We'll see, eh?) For comparison, the Yankees have an 84.1 % chance (94-68) of reaching the post-season. I've come to loathe plucky squads that fall just short, or ones that have to have all the pieces fall into place to have a real shot. I want a loaded team, one with scads of talent and surplus players. I want a team that can weather any storm and that scares the rest of the league. I mean, I love the Giants. I'm a fookin' lifer, fer chrissakes. But I want 84.1 %, and I don't see why I can't get it.

Enjoy the next 74. Go Giants!


Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Missing George

Yes, I will miss George Steinbrenner. He was obnoxious, self-important, obsessive, and bizarre. He was probably a jackass, too. But he knew what he wanted--a championship ballclub. And that's what I want. So with George gone, who shall become my new Straw Man? Who shall I point to and say "Giants Ownership--do this if you want to bring home a ring?" Which organization will be my new role model? I'm lost, I tell you, lost!

Giants Ownership: stop equating "pretty good" with success. Start demanding a world championship and start doing what it takes to get one.

Mr. Steinbrenner: rest in peace.


"If we're gonna win, the players gotta play better,
the coaches gotta coach better, the manager gotta manage better,
and the owners gotta own better."
- Brewers first baseman George Scott, to the club chairman
(from Cot's Contracts)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The '84 All Star Game

I've been to only one All-Star game and that was in 1984 at Candlestick Park. I was still living in San Diego County but was in town for a visit and a ticket was available.

Here are the starting lineups:
1. Lou Whitaker
2.Rod Carew
3.Cal Ripken, Jr.
4.Dave Winfield
5.Reggie Jackson
6.George Brett
7.Lance Parrish
8.Chet Lemon
9.Dave Stieb

1.Tony Gwynn
2.Ryne Sandberg
3.Steve Garvey
4.Dale Murphy
5.Mike Schmidt
6.Darryl Strawberry
7.Gary Carter
8.Ozzie Smith
9.Charlie Lea

Future Giants catcher Carter hit a homer in the second inning and was named game MVP in the 3-1 NL victory.
The game featured power pitching with 21 strikeouts recorded by the two sides. Fernando Valenzuela and the 19 year old Dwight Gooden took turns striking out the side. Valenzuela's mowing down of the formidable trio of Winfield, Jackson and Brett elicited comparisons the feat accomplished by Giants immortal Carl Hubbell 50 years earlier:

In the 1934 All-Star game played at the Polo Grounds, Hubbell set a record by striking out in succession five batters destined for Cooperstown: Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin. In 1984, the 50th anniversary of this legendary performance, the National League pitchers Fernando Valenzuela and Dwight Gooden combined to fan six batters in a row for a new All-Star Game record (future Hall of Famers Dave Winfield, Reggie Jackson, and George Brett by Valenzuela; Lance Parrish, Chet Lemon, and Alvin Davis by Gooden). Hubbell himself was on hand for the 1984 All-Star Game at San Francisco's Candlestick Park to throw out the first pitch.(from Wikipedia)

Representing a weak Giants team that year were catcher Bob Brenly and outfielder Chili Davis. Both appeared as pinch hitters, both made outs

Mad's Men

The Giants softened up the Nationals with a feint-and-punch combo in the 1st, staggered them with a haymaker in the 3rd, and finished them off with some snappy jabs in the 8th. Madison Bumgarner knew what to do with a lead and pitched another fine ballgame. The Giants take 3 of 4 in D.C. and head to the ASB 47-41 (.534), four back of the Padres.

Buster Posey had the big blow in the 3rd, a booming triple that scored two, and Travis Ishikawa, who continues to stroke the ball well, had two big hits. The youngsters were the stars today, and it is the youngsters who'll have to step up if the Giants are to make a run. Buster Posey has given us every reason to believe he is indeed The Real Deal. He hit cleanup today, and he looks like that homegrown middle-of-the-order hitter we have been waiting for since Will Clark. May it please the baseball gods, and may we take joy in the bounty they have seen fit to grace us with. Other than Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres, the rest of the thirty-something crew is underwhelming. Check out these wOBAs: Rowand .298, FSanchez .314, Renteria .327, Uribe .328. That ain't gonna cut it, mates. If you prefer OPS, the numbers are .681, .708, .711, .758, with only Uribe above the .729 NL average. To be fair, both Pablo Sandoval (.307, .704) and Nate Schierholtz (.304, .685) are putting up Rowandian numbers. We've seen Pablo hit a lot better than this, and there's still a chance Nate can do better as well. Who thought Travis Ishikawa would be swinging such a good bat at this point in the season? Our 20-year-old pitcher and his 23-year-old catcher, with a little help their 26-year-old first baseman, hammered it home to me today. The young guns have to step up and wrest control of this club from the greybeards. The old guys have to become the role players and the kids have to be the stars. The pitchers, of course, already know that. But as we've seen, both this season and last, they cannot do it alone.

 Enjoy the All-Star Break, me buckos!


Giants score 10 runs; Matt Cain weeps

Jonathan Sanchez had one of those Sanchezian Nights where he couldn't get out of the 4th inning despite six strikeouts and only two walks. He also hit a two-run single that gave the Giants a brief early lead that he quickly gave back. Since Matt Cain wasn't pitching, the gag rule was lifted on run-scoring and the lads racked up 10 big ones. I've been squawking and hollering all season long that the Giants "need another bat" and all of a sudden the Flemming-faced kid from Florida State is running out a .351/.386/.510 line (that's a .405 wOBA). I think that qualifies as "another bat." If Pablo Sandoval can start hitting, Aubrey Huff can keep raking, and Andres Torres can fight off the Dark Lord of Regression, the Giants might--they just might--have a real offense. Of course, there's always Edgar Renteria. But even Aaron Rowand gets a clutch hit now and then so perhaps that magic can wear off on Edgar.

MadBum today. The Nats counter with Livan Hernandez. This is a mismatch of Cainian proportions--Livan will throw a 165-pitch 17-hit complete game and win a World Cup-like 2-1 angst-fest. Or not. The Giants are only four back, but the Rockies are only one back after a six-game win streak. San Diego is 5-5 in their last ten games.


Check this out:
From Elias: Buster Posey went 4 for 5 with a home run and three RBIs on Saturday, giving him 19 hits, six homers and 13 RBIs in 10 games in July. No other rookie in National League history has had that many hits, homers and RBIs over a 10-game span. Several American League players have done that, most recently Brian Daubach for the 1999 Red Sox. (from the ESPN team site, emphasis mine)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

DC downer

Matt Cain gave up 7 runs for the second time in his last five starts. It looked like he was done after six, but Ol' Boch sent him out for the seventh and it got ugly. Adam Dunn was the main Cain pain, stroking a double and two homers. Despite a 1-0 lead, the night started poorly for Matt, his pick-off throw to 2nd base in the bottom of the first was not something you see very often (unless you follow Little League). Stephen Strasburg looked very sharp, throwing a filthy change-up that reminded me of another phenom. Strasburg is a big guy, however, and looks like he could have played linebacker in college. He can also bring it at 99-mph. I think Tim might just have competition for "most exciting pitcher in the NL" next year. The kid turns 22 on the 20th. At 45-41, the Giants have the 9th best record in the league. Since only four teams make the playoffs, we'd best get cracking.


Friday, July 9, 2010

American League happenings

The Texas Rangers parted with Justin Smoak in order to get Cliff Lee*. They obviously think they are playoff-bound. Smoak, you may recall, was drafted at the same time as Buster Posey, though Posey was chosen fifth and Smoak eleventh. Parting with your 1st-round pick is big deal--imagine who we would expect to get in return if we parted with Buster? Cliff Lee is quite a prize, and just keeping him out of the Yankees hands is good enough for me. Texas is obviously confident that they can make a real run. They have the same record as the San Diego Padres (50-35), but have a 5-1/2 game lead over the 2nd-place LAnaheimers. When you trade away a prospect like Smoak**, you are going "all in" for 2010. This is a club that's being sold.

Speaking of Buster Posey, who I hope is the "other half" of a Dynastic Duo with Tim Lincecum that will bring years of glory to the San Francisco Giants, he will face 2009 Gold Spikes Winner Stephen Strasburg tonight. Buster, of course, is the 2008 winner. Can you name the 2006 winner? (2007 is Tampa Bay Ray David Price.)

The Giants pulled out an extra-large can o'whup-ass when they saw Ubaldo Jimenez. Perhaps they can ground another high-flyer tonight.



*Deal still pending.
**The former South Carolina Gamecock has a line of .209/.316/.353 in 275 major-league PA (all in 2010).

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Your 2010 Giants: score 34 runs in 10 games against the Red Sox, Dodgers, and Rockies; then score 36 runs in 4 games against the Brewers. Today, Barry Zito walked 6 guys in 4-2/3 and left the game when it was 7-2 Giants. And people wonder why I'm perplexed about this team. Who are we? Pretenders? Wannabes who can't put a whole season together? A deeply flawed club with enough starting pitching to stay in the hunt? A tough, resilient bunch just on the verge of finding all the right pieces for a stretch run? Sheesh. I want a team that plays .600 ball and struts into the playoffs with justifiable swagger, not some pesky dark horse who--if the breaks fall--has a shot at the post-season. My deepest fear is that The Organization™ is content with this "just winning enough" approach. That they think 85-89 wins is good business. I get these sinking feelings all the time. I don't know what's wrong with me, but I'm increasingly convinced that "pretty good" is good enough for Nuke, LarryB, & The Sabe-ster. When you reach for The Big Prize and fail, the fall is damn hard. My nightmare is that we'll no longer reach because the fall will hurt too goddamn much. (Someone--anyone--convince me I'm crazy! Tell me I'm wrong!!)

The Jonathan Sanchez-for-Corey Hart rumor seems to have died down, which is fine by me. At this point, being "buyers" means getting fleeced--giving up too much for what you get in return. Sellers don't have to sell, but the buyers feel like they have to buy, so they overspend. The Giants, if they make a move, will likely give away too much for a marginal improvement. Last year it was so ridiculous we got a guy who couldn't suit up. I'll admit FSanchez is having a good year, but we got him last year, and he couldn't help us at all when we needed a fresh bat in the lineup. That sort of thing doesn't exactly generate confidence in the GM and the rest of the suits.

The Giants take on Mr. Phenom Stephen Strasburg in D.C. tomorrow. It is Matt Cain's turn, and that strikes me as fitting. After all, the last four starters got, on average, 9 runs of support apiece. Cain gets to face a guy that has only given up 12 runs in 6 starts. And we all know that Matt has the worst run support of any pitcher in the bigs. Dig deep, buddy.

And keep rakin', Buster.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Busterfied Tim

In what we all hope is a glimpse into a wonderful future, Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey combined for one of the sweetest victories of the year, 15 - 2 over the Brewers. Of course, because the baseball gods mock me, I missed every pitch. So, this post is entirely based on a box score. Nothing else. What a journalist, huh?

It is a be-uuutee-ful box score, though. First Tim's line:
7 innings, 1 run, 4 hits ( HR, 2B), 2 walks, 10 strikeouts
Everything you want and have come to expect from the Freak: a quality start, few hits (especially big ones) and boatloads of the K's. I believe that is the fifth time Tim has reached double digits this season and each game is a "W." A lovely day for sure but it certainly is not the performance that JUMPS right of the page. I am, of course, talking about the amazing day that our young Mr. Posey had for himself:
4 AB 3 runs 4 hits (two homers, including a GS), SIX RUNS BATTED IN, plus a walk!
It would seem that Buster was trying to do his best Willie Mays impersonation. You know what, I'm down with that.
One word sums up this boxscore and those of you that have read this blog before probably know what's coming. (I don't think I've used it this year...) This boxscore definitely has given me

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


Madison Bumgarner has certainly delivered since getting the call-up. Three starts: 22 IP, 17 H, 8 R, 5 BB, 15 SO against Boston, Colorado, and Milwaukee, all potent-hitting clubs. Tonight he racked up a Game Score of 78 by throwing EIGHT shutout innings! MadBeast even clubbed an RBI-single in the top of the 8th inning. Before I get too excited about a young pitcher, I always remind myself that Ed Halicki once threw a no-hitter, and I thought he was the Second Coming. Of course, I was in high school at the time and had none of the veteran savvy wisdom I now possess. Nonetheless, in a dismal stretch of Giants baseball, Madison Bumgarner has been a bright spot.

For the second straight night, the Brewers botched an inning-ending double play ball and the Giants capitalized with a heap o'runs. This time it was veteran Craig Counsell who made an errant throw, saving Pablo Sandoval from ignominy. I like playing the Brewers. Let's see if we can get the schedule changed so we can play them some more. In fact, let's just stay in the NL Central (17-7 record) the rest of the way, OK?

The Franchise goes tomorrow. His last two starts have been troubling: 9 IP, 14 H, 8 R, 7 BB, 8 SO against Boston and Colorado. Is it just normal variation? The usual ups and downs that every pitcher goes through? Or is Tim's Missing Mojo the sign of something else? Fatigue? Injury? This guy has shouldered not only a huge workload but the enormous expectations of the organization and the fan base. It's a lot, even for an exceptional talent like Tim. The baseball season is a long, hard slog--a war of attrition. Let's hope our No. 1 guy gets his groove back soon. So far, Milwaukee seems like the place to do it.


Monday, July 5, 2010

Brewers play like Giants, lose game

The Giants found a squad to beat in Milwaukee. It took until the 7th inning, and it took a spot of good luck, but the lads put together a rally to break the 1-1 tie and win the game. Hits by Buster Posey and Travis Ishikawa opened the inning, and Edgar Renteria botched a bunt for the first out, but Andres Torres walked. Freddy Sanchez then hit a double play ball right at Alcides Escobar but the young shortstop booted it--everyone was safe and a run scored. Aubrey Huff got his third hit of the day, driving in two with a single. The Giants smelled a win. Pat Burrell's fly ball moved FSanchez to third and he scored on a wild pitch. It was 5-1 when all was said and done. Buster added a nice opposite-field solo shot in the 8th to make it 6-1, and that's how it ended. The Giants caught a break with the blown DP, but to their credit, they took advantage of it. Jonathan Sanchez wasn't sharp (6 walks), but he didn't crumble either, and pitched out of a few sticky spots to keep the game close. It feels good to think that it's the other guys who are rueing missed opportunities for a change. The Brewers wasted a good start from David Bush (Game Score 61), couldn't get a big hit (0-12 w/ RISP), and made a crucial error. Giants fans know that sort of ball doesn't win you many games.

MadBum tomorrow!


Sunday, July 4, 2010

Giants play 1-2/3 games, lose only 1

Matt Cain's evil twin (Loki Cain) replaced the real Matt Cain in his last two starts. Today, the The Real Matt Cain showed up and stamped-out a standardized CainStart™: 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 6 SO, Game Score 55, ND. That ND was courtesy of a lovely bit of ball by the Giants in the 8th when Matt was still on the hook for a loss. Olympic Nate leads off with a homer. Funny chap, this Nate, every time I give up on him he does something flashy. Then Andres Torres gets a ground ball inside-the-park-homerun! Talk about flashy! Suddenly it is 3-2 and everyone is feeling good. Freddy Sanchez grounds out (1-7 with 2 K, ouch!), but Aubrey Huff works a walk. Huff then breaks up a Panda DP-ball with a good slide at second. Buster Posey gets a hit to move Sandoval to third, and then is inexplicably replaced by pinch-runner Eli Whiteside. (You had to think "extra innings" at that point--taking Buster out seemed pointless.) Travis Ishikawa ties it up with a single up the middle. Edgar Renteria grounded out to end the rally.

That was unfortunately it for the Giants. The Rockies completed the mercy-killing in the 15th inning with Dexter Fowler. That guy had 10 hits (3 3B) and 7 walks in the series--he was on base 7 times today with 3 hits (1 3B) and 4 walks. In the fourth game, the fourth run by the home team ended it on the Fourth of July. At the numerical halfway-point in the season, the San Francisco side finds itself in fourth place with a 41-40 record.

Enjoy the rest of your Fourth. Time for me to fire up the bar-be-cue.

Happy Independence Day.


Saturday, July 3, 2010

You score 11 runs, good things happen

The daily agony is over. The long-term, lingering pain remains, of course. But the acute crisis is over, and there's some relief in that. Travis Ishikawa's grand slam should have been the big blow, and when Colorado re-took the lead I was despondent. Seven runs off Ubaldo Jimenez, and all for naught! But the lads rallied impressively with Olympic Nate getting a huge triple and Andres Torres driving him in to tie it, then Freddy Sanchez getting a hit, a Torres steal of 3rd, and the Panda showing some plate discipline to get the sac-fly RBI that put us ahead. A sweet sequence, indeed. Aubrey Huff's blast in the 9th turned out to be the killer blow and more than enough for Wilson to nail the save.

A desperately-needed win comes from the most unlikely source--the offense. Our starter gives up six runs and we win by pounding on one of the best pitchers in the game. Giants baseball: not just torture, but a bizarre and inscrutable torture.

Matt Cain goes tomorrow, and his last two starts have been ugly. If he can right the ship grind out a quality start we could leave Denver with a split, which would be huge. Maybe the bats will still be hot against Jason Hammel. Every little bit helps, you know?

Have a great Fourth, everyone. Happy Independence Day!



Friday, July 2, 2010

Hittable Tim

With every loss this week it feels like a journey through hell. The seven rings of Bochy's Inferno, if you will. Tonight's special new horror is particularly heinous and potentially devastating to the cause: a hittable Tim Lincecum.

Tim's performance may not seem too bad at first glance : 6 innings, 9 hits, 4 runs, 4 walks, and 4 strikeouts. However, a couple important details give evidence that it may have been one of his worst outings yet. First, the nine hits allowed are a season high and four of them were for extra bases. Even a feeble Lincecum gives up hits, but not usually BIG hits. Second, Tim was given the lead TWICE and each time promptly returned it. Nothing ace-like about Tim tonight. His velocity may have been a little better but his poise, command and aggressiveness were all AWOL. Again.

Is our journey over yet? What new horrors await?

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Young Madison Bumgarner pitched well but was let down by his fielders, his hitters, and his bullpen. The Rockies extended the Giants losing streak to five games. Let's hope Tim "Back-to-back Cy Young Winner" Lincecum can return to his dominating ways tomorrow, because none of our other weapons seem to be working. At least we got to see Buster Posey catch an entire game, and he delivered lots of excitement with two hits including an opposite-field homer. He also failed to make a tough putout at home, and I've no doubt the media Molinistas will insist it was an obvious lack of veteran savvy clutchness. Be that as it may, I'll take a Buster battery every time. This fellow is only going to get better, and we are damn lucky to have him. Bad luck for MadBum tonight, but that's nothing new for Giants pitchers. Go have a chat with Matt Cain--who also made his debut at the tender age of 20--he'll fill you in.


p.s. Now that we started this "cut the dead weight loose" thing, is there a shortstop in the organization somewhere we can plug in for Edgar Renteria? Can we trade him for one? I'm feeling like Tyrone Power in that old movie Abandon Ship! where he plays god and tosses overboard all the old, sick, and weak people in an overcrowded lifeboat in order to save the others. We want to save this team from drowning, we have to be ruthless here! Check out the D-Backs (there but for the grace of god, etc. etc.)--they are a-hackin' and a-hewin', but at this point they have little choice. Maybe they'll sell one of their three shortstops cheap.

Contenders or pretenders?

Seems I'm not the only one that thinks the Giants should be buyers at this point in the season.

Read the article.