Sunday, August 31, 2014

Saaa - weeeeep!

The Giants completed a sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers this weekend who were first in the National League Central Division and are currently tied for first as a result of the Giants efforts.  That gives them 6 wins in a row and, in the past week, they have managed to gain 2 games on front-running LA.

The numbers the Giants put up were impressive.  Madison Bumgarner tied the league leaders with his 16th win.  He threw 96 pitches in 6 innings, gave up 5 hits and 1 run and struck out 7.  He knocked his ERA to less than 3.00.  He got into some trouble in the first, giving up two singles to the first two batters to put runners at first and third.  Then, Ryan Braun hit into a double play, Crawford to Panik to Morse.  Brandon Crawford has played some spectacular defense lately, and I'm thinking I could get used to watching a lot of BCraw to Panik double play pivots.

Behind 1 - 0 after the first, the Giants scored in the second to tie the game, added 3 in the third to take the lead and never looked back.  They also scored in the fifth (2), sixth (1), seventh (7) and eighth (1).  The final was 15 - 5.  For those who keep track of such things, that is a collective 31 - 8 whupping the Giants have laid on the Brewers.

1 home run (Panda).  3 triples (Panda, Pence and Panik).  6 doubles (2 for Pence, 2 for Susac, Blanco and Arias).  16 hits total.  3 rbi for Panda and Susac, 2 rbi for Pence and Panik, and an rbi for Pagan, Morse, Crawford and Arias.  The Giants got 15 runs without Buster Posey in the game.

In the seventh, Madison was relieved by George Kontos.  Kontos went 2/3 of an inning and gave up a home run to Martin Maldonado.  Javier Lopez relieved him for the final out.  Tim Lincecum came in for the final two innings.  It did not go well.  Tim gave up a solo home run to Ryan Braun in the eighth and hit Maldonado with a pitch and gave up an assortment of hits (including a past ball) to allow 2 more runs in the ninth.  So I guess Tim will not be starting in relief in the suspended game in Colorado tomorrow.

It is a good thing that the Giants are scoring well, finally, as they have the make-up game and three more to play in Colorado.  It does not look particularly easy after that.  They go to Detroit from Colorado, currently scrapping for the American League Central Division lead.  Then they play Arizona at home before our last home stand against LA.  Then a road trip to Arizona, San Diego and Los Angeles before our final 4 game series at home against San Diego.  San Diego is one of those kind of teams that worry me.  They are out of the race, as is Arizona, but have been playing well lately (they just took 2 of 3 from LA after taking 2 of 3 from Milwaukee).  It is the time of year when you get a bunch of young players who tend to swing for the fences to try to impress someone.

The Giants' starting pitching is going great.  Well, maybe not Tim, but there's still hope and Yusmeiro looks like a good fill in.  Their hitting is going great and just in the nick of time.  Their relief looks a little spotty, but really, they were nails until the last couple of games, so on the whole, still great. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Peavy Power!

The Giants beat the Brewers 3-1 for their fifth straight win behind a brilliant effort by Jake Peavy who took a no-hitter into the 8th inning. Unlike last night's rout, this was a taut affair that stayed close until the final out. Giants starters have done a Peavy-to-Peavy run through the rotation and have six fine starts (Game Scores of 61, 98, 77, 69, 67, 82) to show for it, allowing only seven runs. Santiago Casilla was touched for a run tonight as he was on Wednesday, those being the only allowed by the 'pen over the same stretch. With the Dodgers losing in extras to the Padres tonight the Giants are 2-1/2 back in the West. We've been waiting, hoping and praying that the team would put together a streak of good baseball and you have to like this stretch. Clutch hitting and some big fielding plays sealed the deal and the Giants get another big win against a tough team and have a chance to sweep the series.

Madison Bumgarner, fresh off a one-hitter, gets the start tomorrow afternoon.



Friday, August 29, 2014

Vogie, Giants Throttle Brewers

Ryan Vogelsong kept the Brewers quiet for seven innings, giving up only two runs on four hits and one walk while striking out seven. It was his sixth start of the month and his best since his two-hitter in New York on the first. Vogie wasn't content with studly pitching--after a dose of chin music from Brewers starter Wily Peralta to lead off the 2nd he roped a liner to right to and eventually scored. It was an impressive nine-pitch battle that oozed with grit and VSC. The Giants were up 3-0 after the 1st and scored in the next four innings as well, pounding out 19 hits on the night. Buster Posey had five all by himself including a triple. Joe Panik had four and Angel Pagan and Hunter Pence banged out three apiece. Gregor Blanco had three RBIs, two on a homer, his second in two nights. Mike Morse was on base three times via a HBP, walk, and single. The only starter without a hit was Brandon Crawford but he did manage a walk and also drove in a run. George Kontos got the last six outs with a minimum of fuss. It was a complete rout--the final was 13-2.

It was a great night for the Giants. We've been hoping to see a playoff-caliber team emerge here in crunch time as every series from this point forward is crucial. Tonight they looked like champions against a tough foe. By the way that's five good starts in a row, one for each guy. Let's hope they can keep that going.

Jake Peavy goes tomorrow night.



Thursday, August 28, 2014

Petit Power!

Yusmeiro Petit came agonizingly close last season to baseball immortality. This season he's taken another shot at it and come away with a major league record--46 batters retired consecutively. It's not as glamorous as a perfect game, but the cool thing about it is that he alone is at the top of the list. Not bad. One thing you learn watching this game is that any guy on the roster might play the hero one day, one week, one season. And that any guy on a big league roster is capable of doing something historic. I love it when an unsung "nobody" gets to be the star. Petit's streak started in Philadelphia, a game Tim Lincecum saved in the 14th inning. He pitched poorly that day, but has been damn tough ever since, all in relief, and added the record-breaking eight more he needed in today's start. Of course he's in Tim's spot in the rotation, and naturally it was the opposition pitcher that got the hit that broke the streak. Congratulations, Yusmeiro! Way to put your name in the record books and lead the team to a much-needed win.

Gregor Blanco's two-run shot in the 1st gave the home team all they needed today, but it was nice to see them add two more later with some patience, execution, and good situational hitting. The Rockies have been very tough on the Giants and I'm getting sick of them. It doesn't get easier, though, as the NL Central-leading Brewers come to town this weekend. I wonder if Petit's strong start means he'll get another one. And when will we see Lincecum come out of the 'pen?



Buster Plays Hero Again

Buster Posey rescued the Giants again with a two-run shot in the 9th to beat the Rockies 4-2. It's fun to see him return to form. Last year he had two homers total after the Break. I wondered why Boch took out Hudson, but I was cool with Casilla, he's been deadly. It didn't work out. I suppose they want to keep the old guy fresh. I wondered why the Giants couldn't score more than two runs in eight innings against the goddamn worst road team in the world. I'm still wondering. When they get good start against a weak team they should thrash 'em. Speaking of good starts, that's three in a row. Yusmeiro Petit gets the ball this afternoon.



p.s. This is pretty cool:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Madison Bumgarner / Buster Posey

Madison Bumgarner was superb tonight.  He was almost perfect.  He faced 28 Colorado batters, and only one of them got a hit.  He had a perfect game through 7 innings, gave up only 1 hit, walked none and struck out 13.

Madison was economical with his pitches, throwing less than 11 per inning through the first 7.  He threw 103 pitches in total, and 80 of them were strikes.  He had seventeen 0 - 2 counts on the Colorado batters.  Think about that for a minute.  In 17 of the 27 outs allotted in a game, Colorado batters had 1 strike to work with.  His 13 strikeouts was a career high, and he leads the National League in double-digit strikeout games.  When Justin Morneau hit a double to lead off the eighth and break up the perfect game and no hitter, Madison responded by striking out the next three Rockie batters.

Buster Posey carried the offense on his broad shoulders.  He hit 2 home runs, the first with Hunter Pence on base, for the Giants 3 runs.  It was his first multiple home run game.  Gregor Blanco made several important catches, including a spectacular at-the-wall snag in the first.  As the radio spots say,  Mr. Bochy is a genius for starting Gregor in left field tonight.

This was a fantastic performance.  I wish I felt that it was the start of something big, but I have soured too much on this team in the past few days.  To elaborate on that seems churlish.  Madison Bumgarner is 25 years old.  Buster Posey is 27.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Giants Get Peaved

Bruce Bochy was so peeved on a terrible called strike three to Buster Posey in the 8th he got booted by home plate umpire Doug Eddings. It was that kind of game. The Rockies scored one in the 1st with the help of two errors (one by Panik and one by Peavy) and two in the 4th with the help of two errors (both by BCraw) and a balk by hard-luck starter Jake Peavy. It was weird. In fact, the whole game was bizarre, like some kind of alternate universe where good is bad and bad is good. That inning had two plays at the plate, both outs, but the first one had to be reviewed before the call got made. Not something you see very often.

Mike Morse hit into two double plays--the Giants hit into four total--both well-struck, and he also got on base twice. His triple with one out in the 4th gave the team a real chance to tie the score but he was stranded. He walked to lead off the 9th and give the team another chance to tie the score but was, naturally, stranded (at least pinch-runner Matt Duffy was stranded). So, four plate appearances for the big fella with two clutch positive results and two double-whammy un-clutch outcomes. That was the game in a nutshell. Nine hits for the home squad and a strong start from their excitable pitcher but a terrible loss nonetheless. Peavy looked ready to come apart at the seams more than once, especially after the blown-but-corrected call at home but kept making good pitches and racking up outs. He should have fared better. Hell, the team should have fared better.

Andrew Susac hit a long homer to center field that gave the Giants an early lead. At least that was fun to watch. Peavy is fun to watch, too. He's the antithesis of the stoic Matt Cain he replaced but I have to say I find his histrionics quite entertaining. He gets Cainian results despite the difference in temperament. Speaking of Cain, Ryan Vogelsong did. In Baggs' article about his start in D.C. Vogie was quoted as saying he felt the need to "step up" when Matty went down. He's certainly been a bright spot in this confounding season, especially this month.

Thirty-two games left. Five games back in the West. Clinging to a half-game lead for the second Wild Card. We keep saying it and it remains true: time for the ball club to get their shit together and put together some winning streaks.



Sunday, August 24, 2014

Disaster Inning Sinks Giants

It was the right move to bring in a rested Jeremy Affeldt in the 6th in relief of Ryan Vogelsong. With one out and no one on it should have been an ideal situation for the lefty who consistently gets strikeouts and ground balls. And has been a top-flight reliever since joining the team in 2010. Alas, he couldn't get anyone out and the Nationals poured it on and turned a 6-3 deficit into an 8-6 lead (the final result was 14-6). Maybe with Gregor Blanco in left instead of Mike Morse, Bryce Harper's double is an out instead, but Boch didn't have the luxury of a defensive replacement with Angel Pagan getting the day off. In the end, Morse's misplay mattered little as the stalwart 'pen finally faltered. Sometimes you make the right move but get the wrong result. Washington is suddenly on fire, winning 12 of 13 and streaking their way to the best record in the NL. The Giants found that out the hard way this afternoon. They've never hit Stephen Strasburg before, and shockingly lit him up early and chased him after four, but it didn't hold up. The lineup flashed both power (two homers, double, triple) and situational hitting (two sac flies) but it was all for naught. Vogie is starting to get some real run support these days--the team has been shut out in five of his starts and had zero on the board when he left on four other occasions.

I have a rule about reading too much into one game. That is, I don't like to do that. Especially in baseball where any team can have a rotten game, weekend, or road trip and still be a contending club. But this game was a soul-crusher. Seeing them come home after taking two of three from a first-place team would have been wonderful. Even if they had lost two of three I would have been OK if the games were close. Hold your own against good teams and thump on the bad ones is an excellent way to win a division (q.v. OGC's latest). Now the onus is on the Giants to stomp the Rockies this week at home where they are 32-32 for the season and have not played well lately (4-8 in the last two homestands). The Giants have already scored more runs in August (92) than they did in July (85) and should pass their June total (93) easily. They also have seven games left in the month and with 10 wins have tied their June total and are only two from July's, so you have to like that trend. They gave up an astonishing 116 runs in June and improved that in July to 92. Today's ridiculous game pushed their relatively stingy 68 runs allowed up to 82, but that's still not too bad. I'm trying to see the positives here and look for improvement! Maybe I'm reaching, but after a horrid, gut-punching loss like this one I need a lifeline.

Jake Peavy gets the ball tomorrow night in San Francisco.



p.s. Great games today from Gregor Blanco and Travis Ishikawa and three hits for BCraw who looks like he might be reversing--finally--a long hitting slide. Interestingly, his OPS has gone up each year since his debut. We'll see if he can finish the year on a high note.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pitiful Tim

 Game Summary:
Reality returned after yesterday's glory and it took the form of yet another horrible Tim Lincecum performance. At least it was short.  The Nationals racked the former stud, got a quality start from Zimmerman, and won easily, 6-2. 

Tim Facts:
Start #26  Loss  (10-9, 4.64)  2.2 innings  6 hits  6 runs   4 earned runs   4 walks   2 strikeouts  1 hr

Second shortest start of Lincecum's career. Plus that makes SEVEN crappy starts in a row.  At this rate it will take a long time for Tim to reach victory #100.  In fact, I hope he gets it as a member of the bullpen. Not only does Tim richly deserve the demotion, Petit definitely deserves the chance.  It was absurd to leave Tim in to hit to start the third and I was surprised Bochy did it. Time to make the move, good things may come from it.

High and/or Lowlights:
Petit could not have made a better case for joining the starting rotation.  Lincecum could not have really done a better job of earning a demotion. After 11 of 18 batters reached safely against Lincecum, Yusmeiro (which is a really beautiful name) set down the only THIRTEEN Nats that he faced.
It would be a pity to lose Petit from the long relief role, though. However, it would be a pity to keep letting Lincecum start.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Panik Mode

The Giants thumped the Nationals tonight 10-3, scoring six runs in the final two frames to turn a taut 4-2 pennant race contest into a rout. Rookie Joe Panik launched his first big-league homer in the 3rd with two on to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead. Young Joe made an error in the 1st that led to the Nats first run but finished with four hits. It was an impressive display by the visiting squad with 14 hits including two homers (Buster had the other) and two doubles (Posey and Travis Ishikawa). Eight different guys got hits and seven different guys scored runs. Here's what I liked: LF Mike Morse had a hit and a run scored, his late-game replacement Gregor Blanco did as well, and he also made a nice grab in the field. That's how it is supposed to work, right?

Tim Hudson was grit and VSC personified, but the patient Washington lineup eventually chased him in the 6th. Javier Lopez was the vanguard of a Giants relief triumvirate with Jean Machi and Sergio Romo that nailed down the next eight outs in nine batters. Juan Gutierrez made a bit of a mess of the 9th, but with an eight-run lead it hardly mattered. Final line for the 'pen: 3-2/3, 2H, 1R, 2BB, 5K.

Big win against a tough team. Tim Lincecum gets the ball tomorrow.



Seventh Inning: 9-9

The Giants have 36 games remaining. They are 67-59 after seven seasonal innings (126 games). Believe it or not, the team has played .500 ball over the last 36 games. Here's how the season has gone so far:

First inning, 10-8,
Second inning, 13-5,
Third inning, 12-6,
Fourth inning, 8-10,
Fifth inning, 6-12,
Sixth inning, 9-9
Seventh inning, 9-9.

They've got two innings left to decide their fate. At .532 they are on a pace for 86 wins. The Cardinals are two up in the Wild Card and at 69-57 (.548) they are on an 89-win pace. The Dodgers lead the West by 3-1/2 games and at 72-57 (.558) are on a 90-win pace. So I think shooting for 90 wins is reasonable if we want to see the Giants in the post-season. That will take 23-13 or .639 ball. That would be a recapitulation of the first (10-8) and second innings (13-5)! At least we know it's possible. In 2010, the Giants were 70-56 and 5-1/2 back of the Padres after 126 games. So there's always hope.

Tim Hudson gets the ball in D.C. tonight.



Thursday, August 21, 2014

Giants Lose, then Win

After the longest rain delay in history (lasting for nearly 48 hours), the Giants were unable win the first game of the series in Chicago.  Having already won the second game, they did, however, win the rubber match.

It sure felt like a downer by the time the first inning was over, though.  The Giants scored in the first, with Pablo Sandoval hitting in Angel Pagan.  That's the sort of thing that is supposed to be happening, but it seems like it has been a long time since it clicked.  In the bottom of the first, Madison Bumgarner gave up 3 runs on 2 Cubbie long balls, to Justin Ruggiano and Welington Castillo.  You're forgiven if you don't recognize a lot of Cubs, they are banking on a bunch of youngsters who tend to be fierce swingers.  Madison settled down though, and those 3 were the extent of the Cubs's scoring.

Madison went 7 innings, gave up 7 hits and 1 walk.  He struck out 12, a high, in 116 pitches.  4 of those K's were hung on Javier Baez, the highly-touted rookie.  Relief from Lopez, Romo and Castillo gave up 2 hits, but were never really in trouble.  Madison also picked up an rbi, his 13th of the year.  He was facing Travis Wood, who, like Madison, has 3 home runs - this year.

The Giants kept hitting until they totaled 5 runs, coming one at a time in the first, third, fourth, fifth and seventh.  And speaking of hits, Buster Posey went 4 for 4 with a home run and 2 doubles.  Pablo Sandoval went 3 for 4, with 2 doubles and 2 rbi.

I was disappointed that they could not come back and win the first game.  They had 11 hits in the game stretched over the two days, including 2 in the ninth inning, but couldn't manage more than the 1 run.  A sweep would have been nice.  So I guess that the Giants did not pick up a game on LA.  We now have to go to Washington (I understand the Giants will land there about 7 am).  Washington has won their last 10 games.   But I did like some things:  Joe Panik hitting (although he did not get a hit in this game), Pablo Sandoval hitting, Buster Posey hitting, and Brandon Crawford hitting.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


I thought yesterday's decision by the umpires to call the game and award the win to the Cubs was a perfect symbol of the frustrations of the 2014 Giants. Then we got the news that Seligula & His Minions upheld the Giants protest (first since 1986) and the team gets a second chance! Sure enough they resume the game tomorrow before the regularly scheduled game. It just goes to show that one should not read too much into any one event in a baseball season. It's a marathon, not a sprint. Then again, the Giants could use quite a few more ballgames just like tonight's 8-3 win. Jake Peavy labored a bit on a warm, windy night in Wrigley, but with help from his fielders (three double-plays) he turned in seven strong with no walks and eight strikeouts. The Cubs whacked the ball around a bit (10 hits off Peavy including a two-run homer) but he pounded the zone (78 strikes) and got eight ground balls and good things resulted. The lineup put up a four-spot in the 1st and kept the pressure on, scoring again in the 3rd and the 4th. The botttom guys delivered as both Travis Ishikawa and Joe Panik had three hits apiece and Andrew Susac blasted his first big-league homer. Ishikawa was an inspired choice to play first base--he made several nifty grabs and helped pull off a slick 3-5-1 DP as well. I imagine we'll see more of those weird combinations as teams employ defensive shifts. Panda looked pretty good at shortstop, eh?



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Scraped By Tim

 Game Summary:
For the first time since early June, the Giants won back-to-back home games by defeating the feckless Phillies, 5-2.  More importantly, we gained another game on the blue goo (3.5 back). Today it was more of the red hot Mike Morse (which I admit surprises me) and the sizzling bullpen (which has been the only consistently great thing about this team).  Somehow that overcame another ugly and graceless Tim Lincecum start.

Tim Facts:
Start #25  Win  (10-8, 4.48)  5 innings  7 hits  2 runs   2 earned runs   4 walks   2 strikeouts  0 hr

It is hard to believe Tim made it to the fifth. His command was worse than usual, and that really is saying a lot, because...well, we are talking about Lincecum here.  Almost half his pitches were balls, he gave up 11 baserunners in 5 innings, and he walked in a run! How in the shit did he win??? Baseball is a weird game.

High and/or Lowlights:
Morse completed an excellent homestand (9-14, 4 xbh, 4 rbi) with three singles and two runs scored. Brandon Crawford drove in two big runs, Panik and Susac got two hits. So , the bottom half carried it today, something that happens very rarely with this team.
Big News: Lincecum and Susac threw out a base stealer! Not a slow guy on a missed hit and run either! Timmeh clearly looked like he was trying to improve on that. About time, huh?
Stars of the game are ONCE AGAIN the bullpen.  They threw nine scoreless innings over the last two games.  I'm pretty sure that I have mentioned bullpen success in this little segment WAY more than any other part of the team.

So we showed that we can beat a bad team...that is something...

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Giants Win!

Wins are few and far between these days--only six for the club in all of August--so they are certainly worth celebrating. Mike Morse kept up his hitting barrage with a perfect day that included a triple, two doubles, and a walk. Gregor Blanco chipped in two RBI hits including what proved to be the game-winner in the 8th (after Joe Panik's first-ever triple). The 'pen filled in ably for a mediocre Tim Hudson and delivered four scoreless frames to finish the Phils. The game-tying rally was a cringe-worthy cheapie-fest but we all know that getting runs by any means, no matter how ugly, is the whole point. It has not been a good year for Giants lineups. Take a look:

Yuck. Hit the link if you want to see pitching ranks. The Giants are pretty damn good on the "runs allowed" side of the ledger but they'll need an uptick in their "runs scored" if they want to turn this long stretch of losing baseball around.

Nonetheless today was a gritty come-from-behind effort by the team and that feels good.

Tim Lincecum tomorrow.



Friday, August 15, 2014

Giants Try to Give Game Away, Succeed

The Giants lost tonight by playing some of the stupidest baseball I have seen this year.  It wasn't easy though, it took a complete effort by players and coaches.  Madison Bumgarner faced off against Cole Hamels for the Phillies.  Madison pitched pretty well, although not efficiently, using 110 pitches to get through 7 innings.  He struck out 9 and gave up only 4 hits, although 1 of them was a home run, resulting in the only run while he was on the mound.  Jeremy Affeldt relieved Madison in the 8th, but gave up a 2 run home run, and the game went into extra innings.  The Giants got a big knock from Michael Morse off of Hamels in the 4th for 3 runs.

The thing is, the Giants should have been up at least 5 - 3 by the time the 9th rolled around.  However, in the 6th, Bruce Bochy stupidly decided to replace Morse with the speedy Gregor Blanco after Morse hit the ball twice better than he has in two months and drew a walk.  Blanco stole second, went to third on one of Joe Panik's two hits and then stupidly ran into an out on Brandon Crawford's weak contact.  Then, in the 7th, with Madison still the pitcher of record, Angel Pagan led off with a double and then stupidly decided to steal third with Buster Posey at the plate.  Just a note here, Buster Posey is a pretty good hitter.

Two hitters into the 8th, the game was tied.  Cole Hamels was relieved by Ken Giles, who gave up a single to Pablo Sandoval to lead off the bottom of the 8th.  After a sacrifice that put Pablo on second, Tim Flannery stupidly sent Pablo home on a Joe Panik single to shallow right field.  Pablo was out by at least 30 feet.  In the 9th, the Giants put runners on via walks and moved them up via a wild pitch, but managed to escape with the score tied.  They did not, of course, score. 

In the 10th, Javier Lopez rounded out the display of incompetence by barely hitting Chase Utley with a pitch with the bases loaded, before giving up a sacrifice fly to make the final score 5 - 3.

Candlestick Nostalgia

Some one bought this.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Killer P's

Jake Peavy got a monkey off his back with a fine performance this afternoon. The Giants scored seven in the 7th to back their new righty and stop their losing streak. Pagan, Pence, Posey, Panik, and The Panda all contributed to the win. I suppose we'll have to thank the umpires in NYC as well. I didn't get to see the play but I suppose if you block the plate without the ball you might have to pay for it. Robin Ventura got booted for arguing--I suppose the new homeplate collision rules are still a work in progress. That's OK, these things take time. I'm just glad they are working to eliminate that stupid linebacker nonsense we've watched for years. Adam Dunn giveth and taketh away with another homer but an error as well. I can't believe they put him in right two days in a row.

The Giants win a game. Feels good to say that, eh?

Great matchup on Friday: Cole Hamels and Madison Bumgarner.



p.s. Way to go, Peav!

Giants Dunn in by Sox

It seemed crazy for White Sox manager Robin Ventura to put Adam Dunn, the prototypical DH, in the field last night. And right field, too, of all places--first base is more of Dunn's speed. Nonetheless it paid off right away for the Sox as the big slugger launched a two-run homer in the 1st off Ryan Vogelsong. The Giants looked like they'd go quietly, wasting another fine start by Vogie, but somehow they rallied to tie the game in the 9th. Getting Chris Sale out and the bullpen in made a big difference. Gordon Beckham dashed the home team's hopes with a slick double play in the 9th to curtail the rally and likely save the game. He also got the hit that beat Santiago Casilla in the 10th to send the Giants to their fifth straight loss. The team has scored nine runs in those five games.

The 62-57 Giants are six back in the West with 43 games to play. To get to 90 wins they'd have to go 28-15 or play .651 ball the rest of the way. The Giants have only won 20 games since June 8th when they were on top of the world at 42-21. They've lost 36 in the same stretch--a .357 pace. The 69-52 Dodgers are on pace for 92/93 wins, and even if they went 21-22 in their final 43 they'd finish with 90 wins. Pittsburgh and St. Louis are a nose ahead in the Wild Card standings. It might take only 87/88 wins to get a spot, but that still means the Giants have to play .600 ball. The math, like the team, ain't pretty.

Jake Peavy gets the ball this afternoon. It would be nice to see the team win a goddamn game.



Monday, August 11, 2014

Stolen Blind Tim

 Game Summary:

Tim Lincecum coughed blood early and the Giants got swept away by a red hot Royals club, 7-4.  A game that felt over after the first inning (and it was), finished off a road trip that started well but may have turned into a death spiral. Pretty dramatic, huh? Well, with the doggers winning we are now the furthest behind this year and the trends look real bad (20-35 over last 55 games).  With the ridiculous lineups we are putting out there now, I feel like we should just worry about staying above .500 at this point. Guess I'm not suppose to say that out loud, but it feels true.

Tim Facts:
Start #24  Loss  (9-8, 4.51)  3.1 innings  7 hits  6 runs   6 earned runs   3 walks   2 strikeouts  1 hr

Was this his worst start of the year?  (How come I think we are going to be using that phrase a lot when discussing Tim.) Hard to say, but 3 of the last four have been total shit. Many people are blaming the relief appearance. Others are pointing to the lack of Hector Sanchez, which totally cracks me up considering their funky history.  I don't think there is a certain cause outside of Tim's mental and physical inconsistencies. It will be interesting to see how he finishes up when (oops) if we slip out of the race.

High and/or Lowlights:
Seven stolen bases total, five off of Tim.  Sheesh, thats a good month for us!  I was surprised that the last time it happened was May 2009.  I figured it was way longer ago.
Best performance from a Giant clearly goes to the three RBI's from Susac.  He looked horrible "in the squat" but Tim does that to everybody.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Up to Date in Kansas City

I thought I would wait until today to post about last night's game to see if I might be able to put a more positive spin on things.  But I can't really.  We had our ace on the mound, our lead off man back, were on the road and a lot of hitters seemed to be, after such a long period of suckitude, getting it together.  But we lost to Kansas City, 4 - 2.

That puts us at .500 for this road trip, which might be OK, except that the road is where we are supposed to be making up ground for sucking at home.  After a great April and May, a horrible June and July, August is looking mediocre.  We got 12 hits, 2 each from Sandoval, Morse, Arias and Duffy, who were all grouped together, but managed only 2 runs.  Kansas City's defense if very good, the Giants made 3 errors.  Madison went 9 innings - I am not sure why, throwing 123 pitches, gave up 3 earned runs.  That Billy Butler guy isn't the son of Brett Butler, is he?  I never did trust that guy.

Brandon Belt is back on the concussion DL.  That really bothers me - I pray it is not one of those career ending kind of things - from such a freak injury.  We had our starting line-up back, for one game and we lost that game.  I am starting to wonder about Jake Peavy.  He seems like he pitches well, but then implodes all at once and gets hung with a loss.  With Morse starting to hit, Buster hitting and Sandoval hitting, we are only playing .500 ball.  Are we really capable of playoff-caliber baseball?  We could not take advantage of the Brewers win over the doggers, and it is that time of year when you can't just hope another team does your work for you.  We will have to beat the doggers head to head if we have any hope at all of playing in the post season.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Bruce Bochy, Morse Whisperer

A struggling Mike Morse got a message from the skipper:
“I’ll remind him that we’re in this position with a lot of his help,” Bochy said. “At times he was carrying us with big hits, not just home runs, but big hits. He’s got to relax and back off and have some fun with this.”
Sure enough the big right-hander delivered two RBI singles to lead a resurgent Giants attack in a 7-4 win in Milwaukee. Ryan Vogelsong battled most grittily for six innings and kept the Brewers in check. A rare shaky inning by the 'pen let them back in the game, but a clutch blast by Pablo after a clutch hit from rookie Joe Panik sealed the deal. It took almost four hours, but the Giants got a big win against a tough opponent. This series has been like a couple of heavyweights leaning on each other, clinching, working the ropes, hoping to find an opening for a knockout blow. The final round is tomorrow and it's all even on the judges' cards. Jake Peavy gets the ball at 12:45 Pacific.

Henry Schulman had more to say, this time about Matt Cain:
In other pregame news, Matt Cain made a rather startling revelation. He said he has not been able to extend his right arm fully since as far back as high school, and he has learned to throw without full extension. The bone chips in his elbow, which will be removed in an operation Monday, have worsened the condition.
The Giants will have to win the West without Matt Cain. All of us were counting on Matt Cain to be Matt Cain, something he was not. Jake Peavy is better than the Matt Cain we saw in 2014. Matty has thrown 1800-plus innings including six consecutive 200-plus seasons. It took its toll. It's not as fun watching with my favorite player sidelined, but it has been an amazing run--30 or more starts for eight straight seasons--and it is noteworthy that he hasn't been hurt until now. When Cain came up he was the youngest player in the big leagues and doesn't turn thirty years old until this October.
 "It'll be nice to know going into next year that I should be good to go and won't have to worry about anything," he said.
Cain also said he didn't want to get surgery but realized he had no choice if he wanted to pitch again. So it's 2015 for Matty. Let's hope everything goes well and he can be back to full strength.

The team is 62-52 or .544 and will finish with 88 wins at that pace. To get to 90 wins means 28-20 (.583) the rest of the way and 92 wins will require 30-18 or a .625 pace. No matter the math they have to play good ball. Getting 14 hits tonight is certainly a start!



Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Battling Tim

Game Summary:
The two teams with the second best record in the NL (61-51), our Giants and the first place Milwaukee Brewers, did just what they should have done: played a close, hard fought, playoff quality game. Like so many of those contests, this one was decided by the long ball.  Unfortunately, the Brew Crew is a wee better at that game (at least, right now) and they took the series opener, 4-3.

Tim Facts:
Start #23  N.D.  (9-7, 4.22)  6 innings  7 hits  3 runs   3 earned runs   1 walks   8 strikeouts  1 hr

Not his best, but considering how tough this lineup is and how pitcher-unfriendly the ballpark is, Tim did pretty good.  The high-ish strikeout total is probably due more to the free swinging style of the Brewers, but he did have good stuff today.  Timmeh started by slicing through the first eight batters, but then, BAM: two pitches, two runs. This game can turn so quickly!

High and/or Lowlights:
A shaky Machi giving up a lousy HR to former snake Parra is what cost us the game but it is hard to get mad at our bullpen. That run broke a string of 23 scoreless innings!  That is the best such streak since 2010. 
Another game where the bottom of the order disappeared: 0-16 for the #5-9 spots!
That makes two multiple hit games in a row for Joe Panik.  I think he may be the guy that sticks at 2B.
I guess it is noteworthy that some wacky (and ineffective) moves by Bochy led to Pence in center and Belt in right field at the end.  Actually, I'm not sure why it is noteworthy ....

Sunday, August 3, 2014


Madison Bumgarner, having observed Ryan Vogelsong's complete game the other day, went out and threw one himself.  It was not as though the bullpen was tired, they have only thrown a little over 2 innings in the last 3 days.  But Madison only threw 94 pitches to complete 9, 75 of them strikes.  Talk about efficient!  Especially considering that he chalked up 10 strikeouts along the way (his 1 BB was to the first batter of the game).

Meanwhile, the offense made quick work of Colon, and piled up the runs.  HOME RUNS from Hunter Pence (2, actually), Buster Posey and Brandon Belt.  Final score 9 to 0.  Here are some numbers:  Hunter Pence, 3 hits, 4 rbi, 2 hr.  Buster Posey, 4 hits, 3 rbi and a home run.  Other hits from Pablo, Brandon Crawford and 2 from Madison Bumgarner.  Hunter Pence has been fairly useless for quite some time, if he should remain hot, it would be a huge help.  If Michael Morse could follow suit, it would be even better.  Meanwhile, Angel Pagan should return fairly soon.

That is 3 exceptional starts in a row - you can discredit Michael Morse for misjudging the hit that broke up Jake Peavy's perfect game, but that was followed by a quick bang!  hbp!  bang! bang! bang! and it was 4 - 0.  Maybe a quicker move to the bullpen could have resulted in a victory, but you can't pull Peavy with that kind of a performance at that point.  Jacob deGrom's game was almost as dominant as Jake Peavy's, and the Giants just couldn't pile up enough points to overcome 4 runs. 

Madison is just 2 days past his 25th birthday and is the fourth NL pitcher to reach 13 wins.  Remember when the Giants were characterized as an old team?  Then, they became a fairly young team.  Now three of our five starters are kind of old - Hudson, Peavy and Vogelsong.  They're looking good, though.

Friday, August 1, 2014


That is all the pitches that it took Ryan Vogelsong to get his first 9 inning complete game of his career.  In 2011, he threw a 6 inning, rain-shortened complete game against the Cubs.

This is about as inspirational a win as the Giants could have hoped for, and if they can be sparked by a gritty performance, this has to qualify.  The game went by quickly - 2:06 because both the Giants and the Mets often closed out their bats in only a few pitches.  However, the Giants threw 5 runs up and the Mets managed 1 on Lucas Duda's solo home run.  Ryan Vogelsong gave up 2 - count 'em - 2 hits in 9 innings, the first in the 6th, and the second, Duda's home run, in the 8th.  Ryan only gave up 1 BB.  Brandon Crawford and Hunter Pence both tripled, in the same inning!  Matt Duffy at second, a call up from AA Richmond, got a hit and an rbi in his first ML game.  Lucas Duda, whose real name is Octavia Devon Duda (you can see why he goes by Lucas) is a Metropolitan favorite and  the leading home run hitter on the Mets.  Should he serve his entire career with the Mets, they might honor him with a special ceremony, O. D, Duda Day.