Monday, December 21, 2015

25 in 2012

I've got the 2012 World Series on DVD of course and just finished re-watching the whole thing. I thought I'd do for the 2012 team the same thing I did for the 2010 club. Current Giants are in italicized bold. Starred players were on the 2010 post-season roster.

The Giants carried 12 pitchers on that squad:

*Jeremy Affeldt: retired.
*Madison Bumgarner: signed through 2017 with options for '18 and '19.
*Matt Cain: signed through 2017 with an option for '18.
*Santiago Casilla: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
George Kontos: first-year arb-eligible
*Tim Lincecum: a free agent.
*Javier Lopez: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
Jose Mijares: a free agent.
*Guillermo Mota: retired.
*Sergio Romo: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
Ryan Vogelsong: signed with Pittsburgh for 2016.
Barry Zito: retired

Two catchers:

*Buster Posey: signed through 2021.
Hector Sanchez: signed a minor-league deal with the Chicago White Sox.

A whopping seven infielders:

Joaquin Arias: signed a minor-league deal with Arizona.
Brandon Belt: third year of arbitration.
Brandon Crawford: signed through 2021.
*Aubrey Huff: retired.
*Pablo Sandoval: with the Boston Red Sox.
Marco Scutaro: retired.
Ryan Theriot: retired.

Only four outfielders:

Gregor Blanco: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
Xavier Nady: a free agent.
Angel Pagan: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
Hunter Pence: signed through through 2018.

That's a dozen players still with the team. All of them, in fact, are important pieces for 2016. Speaking of 2016 I don't see much more happening on the roster/trade/free agent front. The Giants grabbed two big pieces in Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto during the Winter Meetings and ought to feel good about a job well done.

Merry Christmas, everyone!


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Johnny and Jeff

From Brandon Crawford, via Andrew Baggarly:

“With these two, we’ve also added a good amount of hair, which is never a bad thing…”

No argument here. My own locks are in out-of-control retirement mode so I'm in favor tonsorial adventurousness. I must say I was surprised by the Johnny Cueto deal. I did not expect the Jeff Samardzija signing but it seemed like a natural move for the club, picking up a talented under-performer for a reasonable free agent cost. The Cueto thing is bizarre. The front-loaded nature of the contract plus the opt-out makes it a puzzler. If Johnny does well, the Giants get two years for $46m ($23M/yr) and then he leaves to get a bigger windfall on the open market. But the Giants would have gotten two years of stellar starting pitching. Perhaps they are also thinking that one of the young arms in the system will be ready by 2018 (that's Matt Cain's option year). If Johnny does poorly or gets hurt, the Giants are on the hook for four more years and the remainder of the contract (about $84M or $21M/yr). So he gets paid less over the long haul if he sticks around. Matt Cain's $21M/yr will be off the books by then so if the team is going to overpay for an aging starter (Cueto is younger by a year-plus) he'll have dreadlocks instead of a crew-cut. Madison Bumgarner also has a 2018 option and will likely require a Greinkian investment to stay in orange-and-black. But this is why teams pay those smarty-pants accounting types, so we don't have to worry about it.

What am I thinking about? I'm thinking about next season. And it looks good. Consider that the Giants now have a full rotation: Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Jake Peavy, and Matt Cain. That's a hell of a thing, man. I'm stoked. Peavy was hurt for much of last season but when he was healthy he pitched well. Cain is a question mark but he's healthy and I think he will deliver far more than fifth-starter value. And the team still has Chris Heston who can ably fill in for one of the Big Five if need be. (And then Timmy can be the 6th man!)

What's left? A little outfield help, I suppose. But it has less urgency now that the rotation has been solidified. A lefty for the 'pen, but I think that may come from within. The lineup was excellent last season and I expect more of the same. If they need a piece or two I feel like BobbyE will pull off a mid-season move and get it done.

Giants: thank you for surprising me. And thank you for fixing what was broken. Should be a hell of an interesting race in the West next year.


p.s. Warm farewells indeed to Hector Sanchez and Joaquin Arias--champions in orange-and-black. May they succeed brilliantly in their new roles but rack up 0-fers vs. the Giants.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Still rainin', still dreamin'

Bobby Evans is in Nashville for the Winter Meetings and Giants fans are hoping for at least one more big splash from the GM to bolster the 2016 squad. I think we are more likely to see a few smaller splashes, word is sought-after IF-OF free agent Ben Zobrist wants to be "closer to home" with his new team. His home? Nashville. The Dodgers reportedly grabbed free agent pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma but the big news is that they made a trade with the Reds for Aroldis Chapman. We'll see how that story plays out, supposedly they did not have to give up any of their top prospects in the deal. The arms race in the West has certainly heated up. The Diamondbacks shocked everyone by nabbing über-ace Zack Greinke. They can afford to spend $30+M on him as their core of cost-controlled young studs is formidable: Paul Goldschmidt, AJ Pollock, Ender Inciarte, and David Peralta racked up over 20 WAR in 2015. The Giants could certainly have spent the big bucks for Greinke or David Price and word is they made an effort but it seems more like the team to spread the wealth and go for quantity instead of one shiny bauble.

As I mentioned in the comments of JC's post I'm happy with the Jeff Samardzija deal. More than anything last season the Giants needed a workhorse to complement ace Madison Bumgarner. All free agents are risks, but the Giants like the big righty's power arsenal, athleticism, and durability. He was an All-Star in his impressive 2014 campaign, and despite his regression in 2015 I think the match with San Francisco is an ideal one. He'll have a great group of fielders behind him in a big, pitcher-friendly park and a consistent and productive lineup to give him ample run support. We all believe in Dave Righetti's magic touch with mechanical issues and we all know that Buster Posey is a great pitch-framer and game-caller. At an average of $18M/season Samardzija's contract is a relative bargain. The only downside to me is the loss of next year's 1st-round pick, but the club has a nice array of young arms close to the bigs so I can live with it.

What's left? I have to say I've been thinking about Ron's coveting of Justin Upton and that would be quite a coup if the Giants could sign him. He gives me that untouchable Greinke-Price vibe though, and I don't expect it to happen. But you never know! And Alex Gordon is still available if the Giants maintain their we-need-an-oufielder urgency. Regardless I think the Giants have shown, again, how well they can navigate the minefield that is free agency. They grabbed a quality arm for a fair price and I think they'll find another good deal or two out there this week

It's raining here and I'm still dreaming about snow. Seems to be falling everywhere except my local mountain. A foot of the stuff might fall later in the week and that would be great, in fact it would mean I'll be skiing on Saturday. In the mean time I'll just have to be patient and wait for good news.


p.s. I forgot to mention that RMC is now the proud sponsor of Sergio Romo's B-R page!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

No Greinke, What Now?

It looked like a fresh post was in order since we have moved out of the dream portion of the off-season (where we land the biggest and most beautiful FA's) and we have moved into the harsh, boring Giants reality of "making do" and grabbing for sloppy seconds.

The easy choices are done.  Yes, I think Price and Greinke were no-brainers and they automatically help their teams, even at the crazy high prices.  We needed to get one of those two in order to be sure that we were ready to match up with the doggers. Especially nice would have been Greinke, since that means LA loses him (oh, he also had the best year pitching since Gibson).  BTW he is 7-0 against us in the last couple years, so getting him gone from LA is a big help.

I guess I really am having trouble with the "too much money" for that guy idea that pops up all the time.  The market value of these guys is pretty clear and predictable and it exists within a very clearly successful industry.  In other words, no one in Giants land is losing money and we have more to spend all the time. So why care if one guy deserves it or not?  If we need Greinke, 10 or 20 million dollars should not get in the way of that.  Didn't we all learn that even HORRIBLE deals can easily exist in championship situations?  Aren't we richer after throwing $ away at Barry Zito?

So I say we spend like there is no tomorrow. (There actually are a lot of tomorrows but you must admit that we have a window right now that we must take advantage of!).  Leake seems like the next easy choice due to his age.  He was disappointing for us at the end but his first half was super strong.  We MUST HAVE more starters, at least one big one, and


Monday, November 23, 2015

25 in 2010

We recently re-watched the 2010 World Series (it never gets old) and it got me thinking about where all those players are now so I thought I'd do a post about it.

We'll start with the pitchers (11) and go in alphabetical order. Active, under-contract players in the majors are in bold. Giants in italicized bold.

Jeremy Affeldt: retired at the end of the 2015 season.
Madison Bumgarner: signed through 2017 with options for '18 and '19.
Matt Cain: signed through 2017 with an option for '18.
Santiago Casilla: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
Tim Lincecum: a free agent.
Javier Lopez: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
Guillermo Mota: retired 2014.
Ramon Ramirez: a free agent.
Sergio Romo: signed for 2016, eligible for free agency in '17.
Jonathan Sanchez: a free agent.
Brian Wilson: a free agent.

There were only two catchers, and one played every inning of that post-season.

Buster Posey: signed through 2020.
Eli Whiteside: retired 2015, still with the organization as a bullpen coach.

Not one of the seven infielders are still playing on the team although one returned, memorably, for the 2014 post-season.

Mike Fontenot: a free agent.
Aubrey Huff: retired 2014.
Travis Ishikawa: a free agent.
Edgar Renteria: retired 2013
Freddy Sanchez: a free agent--has not officially retired.
Pablo Sandoval: on the Boston Red Sox.
Juan Uribe: a free agent.

The same is true for the five outfielders--none are playing with the Giants.

Pat Burrell: retired 2012, still with the organization as a scout.
Cody Ross: a free agent.
Aaron Rowand: retired as a player but coaching in the White Sox system.
Nate Schierholtz: currently in the NPB with the Hiroshima Carp.
Andres Torres: opted out of his 2014 contract with Boston, presumably a free agent.

There you have it. Of the 25 guys who won the title in 2010 only SIX are still on the team's active roster. Seven have retired and a few more are most likely done as players. We'll probably see Juan Uribe and Cody Ross on the diamond somewhere in 2016. Who knows about the rest?

The one glaring omission is of course Tim Lincecum. He was so awesome then it is hard to reconcile that with his uneven performances since and equally hard to picture him in anything but a Giants uniform. Otherwise I'm pretty happy about the guys the Giants held on to!

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I hope all of you have a great time celebrating. I am certainly thankful for much in my life. As always, I appreciate all the readers, lurkers, commenters, and contributors here at RMC. It's great to know you are out there and I value all of your contributions to the site. Thanks for sticking around.



p.s. Baseball-Reference let me know that my sponsoring of Matt Duffy's page expires in a month. I think it was thirty bucks last year. Now they want three hundred! Way to go, Duff-man. Play like a star and you get noticed. Y'all will have to help me pick a new kid to sponsor.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Que Es Mas Improbable?

Mark notes that he was watching some of the Giants postseason successes recently.  Which raises the question:
Que Es Mas Improbable?
Que Es Mas Increible?
Que Es Mas Macho?

Saturday, November 7, 2015

We Need a New Thread

The off-season is upon us and it's time to talk about 2016. Here are the free agents who've been given Qualifying Offers from their teams. Teams signing them have to forfeit a compensatory draft pick. MLBTR also rates their top 50 free agents (with predictions about where they will wind up). They think the Cubs will land David Price, for example, who they list at number one. They think Jordan Zimmerman (#7) will get 6 years/$126M from the Blue Jays. Check it out.

But it's not just about free agents, right? We need to look at the system and the youngsters and talk about who will get a shot and who has the best chance to succeed in the bigs. Not to mention comeback performances from some key guys like Matt Cain and Hunter Pence. How do they project out for next season?

Let's make a blueprint, position-by-position, for the Giants winning the World Series. Actually, a blueprint for making the playoffs. After all we know what they can do when they get their chance. If they can get in the post-season tournament I'm pretty confident they can run the table with Ol' Boch at the helm.

I know we've covered some of this ground already but let's do it again. Hell, we've got a few months. And the Winter Meetings are what, a month away? We've got work to do.


Monday, October 26, 2015

111th World Series

The 2015 Royals remind me of the 2012 Giants. They don't hit many homers but they put the ball in play, don't strikeout much, run the bases well, and rely on their defense. Their pitching is very good without being spectacular and they have a lights-out bullpen. The 2015 Mets remind me of the 2010 Giants. They use their spectacular starting pitching to keep games close and rely on big hits to make the difference. They supplemented their roster late with a veteran power bat and got post-season magic from unexpected places. Needless to say I like this matchup. Jacob deGrom is channeling Tim Lincecum so far. When I told my brother that he said "deGrom makes Lincecum look like Don Draper." Well I wasn't just talking about the hair-do, also his dominant pitching. We'll see if he can go all the way. It's easy to like the New York starters. I usually go with the NL and I do like seeing lots of orange so I'll root for the Mets. But the Royals are impressive and nabbing consecutive pennants is a rare thing. That's a great team in Kansas City and I'd have no issue with them getting the big prize.

I hate making predictions. The more I watch post-season baseball the less I know about what it takes to win it all. If the Mets starters string together a run of big efforts then New York will win. But if it comes down to fielding and bullpens then KC will win. A short series, Mets. A long series, Royals. The best part is that I have no preference about the outcome. Just play some great games and we can all enjoy the final days of the season.


Saturday, October 17, 2015

LCS Time : The Postseason without the blue goo!

How about a new post for comments on the League Championship series?  Everyone got their predictions on the record?  Everybody care?

The obvious choice for it all is ....  da METS !   The only reason ..... they have a wee bit of ORANGE in an otherwise ridiculously blue postseason.  Very scientific, huh?

Didn't the Cubs win it all in the "Back to the Future 2" version of 2015?  Whoa...

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Cubs Eliminate Cards, also Kershaw Finally Wins Game That Matters

Good riddance to St. Louis. They're boring. Old news. Go Cubbies!
Let's play the predictions game, since we're down to elimination time.
I say KC and Toronto win, then KC.
The Cubs will beat the Mets.
KC will win it all.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Buh Bye Yankees!

We'll all have a little while longer to get used to the Astros being in the American League as they did a favor to mankind by shutting out the Yankees 3-0 in the Bronx in the wild card game.
Now I want the Cubs to move on against the Pirates tonight. I have nothing against the Pirates. It would be awful to be one of their fans and to have to host this affair every year only to lose. Last year the Giants crushed them 8-0, as we all recall, in MadBum's opening act in his post-season masterpiece.
I still love baseball apparently, even when the Giants are sub-par.
Anyway, I thought we could all use a fresh thread.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

It's Over

The Colorado Rockies spoiled what looked like a lovely afternoon in San Francisco. Four Giants relievers combined to give up seven runs in the top of the 9th to turn a 3-0 lead into a 7-3 deficit. That's how it ended. Boch was playing for the crowd, giving all the guys in the 'pen a turn, but the whole scheme blew up in his face when eight consecutive batters reached base after the first one made an out. I don't usually get upset about meaningless games but this one had me hollering at the TV. Just a wretched way to end things especially after eight scoreless by the previous seven pitchers. Speaking of innings, the Giants end their final seasonal inning with an 8-10 mark.

At least we got to see Matt Cain look sharp for five. I hope that bodes well for next season. Boch was asked about the team's needs for next year and he said "starting pitching." Correct answer. Let's hope they can bolster the rotation for 2016. And get Hunter Pence and Joe Panik back fully healthy and able to play a whole season.

The Giants finish with the 12th-best record in baseball and the sixth-best in the NL. They beat out fellow under-performers the Washington Nationals (83-79) by one game.

The post-season starts next week. I'll be out of town for a stretch, including some time in the Nevada mountains, far from cell towers and wifi hotspots. Looks like the Mets will travel to LA to face the Dodgers in the NLDS and the Cubs will travel to Pittsburgh to face the Pirates in the Wild Card game. The winner gets to go to St. Louis for the other Division series. The Cardinals have a winning regular-season record against all the other NL playoff teams. With 100 wins and the best pitching they ought to be the favorites, but as we know anything can happen in a short series.

The AL got settled today as well. The Royals have the best record and will host the winner of the Yankees-Astros matchup in New York. The Blue Jays will face the Rangers in Toronto. Home field in the Series goes to the junior circuit once again.

Hasta luego, my friends. Unless something epic happens next week I'll be taking a break from posting. By the weekend we'll be camping and out-of-touch. Should be home by the following weekend.

Enjoy the off-season.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

One-run Win

The Giants are 19-28 in one-run contests this season. It seems out of character for a Bochy club. I've despatched my minions to do the research, if they fail to report back they'll be fired and get rotten recommendations. Anyway, the Giants clubbed their way to a win today with homers from Brandon Crawford and Marlon Byrd. Not to mention the fabulous inside-the-parker from Young Kelby. Tomlinson was asked to fill big shoes this year and he's done remarkably well. It's nice to have young, studly infielders. But this games-decided-by-one-run thing is troublesome. I know there's some flukiness involved, but does it tell us the 'pen was not up to snuff? Or that the starters didn't keep it close enough? Minions--get right on that or you're working Hallowe'en and Thanksgiving!

Jake Peavy finished his season well. He said the right things after the game. He believes he can be healthy for 2016, and we all know that would be a big help. Another big help would be Matt Cain doing the same; he gets the start tomorrow.

With their 84th win the Giants are guaranteed to finish with a better record than the Diamondbacks, Padres, Rockies, Brewers, Reds, Nationals, Marlins, Braves, Phillies, Orioles, Red Sox, Rays, Indians, White Sox, Tigers, Mariners, and Athletics. And possibly even the Twins. That's a whole bunch of teams. They finish September 14-13 for their third winning month joining May and July. They are 1-2 for October, a win tomorrow would even things up. I'd like to see them end it on an up note.



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Forces of Evil Prevail

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

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

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

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

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

Giants Cling to Life

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

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

Marquee matchup tonight with Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner.



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

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Parker Power

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

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

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

Chris Heston tomorrow. GO GIANTS!


Thursday, September 24, 2015


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

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

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

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

Monday, September 21, 2015


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

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

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

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



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

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Matt Cain Pitched!

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

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

Go Giants!


Friday, September 18, 2015

Turn Out The Lights

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

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

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

Thursday, September 17, 2015


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

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

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

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

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



Tuesday, September 15, 2015

8th inning: 9-9

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

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

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

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

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



Monday, September 14, 2015


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

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

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

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


Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Dude Abides

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

Giants also scored a number of points.

Home Cookin'

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

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

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

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

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



Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Huddy Hits a Homer

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

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



Sunday, September 6, 2015

Escape from Colorado

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

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

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

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

Saturday, September 5, 2015


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

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

Just keep winning, Giants.


Friday, September 4, 2015

A Few Words About Tim Lincecum

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

They Ain't Cuttin' Any Steps

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

Vogie gets the start in Colorado tomorrow.



Tuesday, September 1, 2015


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

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

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

Giants Dig a Hole

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

Madison Bumgarner get his shot tonight. GO GIANTS!


Sunday, August 30, 2015

A Lost Weekend

I was expecting a little more after the stirring walk-off win Friday night. But the St. Louis Cardinals had other plans and delivered a weekend ass-kicking over the Giants in San Francisco. Out-pitched and out-hit the team was behind right away in both games and never managed to get the game-tying or go-ahead blow. Ryan Vogelsong and Chris Heston were both sub-par and the 'pen failed to stop the bleeding. With the Dodgers winning last night the Giants fall to four back. LA takes on the Cubs in the finale tonight. There are only 32 dances left on the card--the Giants have put themselves in a spot where they really need to win the big showdown series in SoCal this week. At least it is the "A-Team" of Jake Peavy, Madison Bumgarner, and Mike Leake. The team has to play five games better than their chief foe over the final month. It's possible, of course, but it's just stretching the probabilities at this point. The Giants need more than a hot month, they need at least a mini-meltdown from the other guys. At least they have seven chances to take matters into their own hands, the first one at seven o'clock tomorrow night.



Thursday, August 27, 2015

Bum Was Bum Today*

* Quote from Bruce Bochy, post game show, in answer to the question, "How good was Madison Bumgarner today?"  I'm not sure why they have the post game show.  It would be generous to call the questions from the reporters 'softballs', nerf-balls is more like it.  Cotton balls.  Cotton candy balls.  I'm sure it has to be trying on Bruce to think of ways to state the obvious.

Madison Bumgarner was effin'-a good.  6 IP (and that was simply to give him a bit of a rest), 98 pitches, 12 K, 2 BB and 2 hits.  Those hits were back to back in the 2nd inning, to Rizzo who went to 2nd on a wild pitch, and then to Castro for a run.  Madison then struck out a cub, walked one and struck out 2 more, and then did not give up another hit.   George Kontos, Mike Broadway and Josh Osich finished the afternoon.

The Giants won this game, 9 - 1.  Juan Perez, starting in center, answered the cubbies sole run with an rbi double in the bottom of the 2nd to score Kelby Tomlinson.  In the 3rd, Matt Duffy put the Giants ahead with an rbi single that scored Nori Aoki, who singled, stole second and advanced to 3rd on a throwing error by the rookie catcher, Kyle Schwarber.  Brandon Belt walked, and Marlon Byrd hit a 3 run shot to make it 5 - 1 Giants.

That wasn't all, though as additional thrills were in store on a warm San Francisco afternoon.  In the 8th, the bulk of the Giants remaining power was up.  Brandon Belt walked and Buster Posey doubled to put 2 RISP.  Marlon Byrd was intentionally walked to load the bases.  FNGlasses guy Kelby Tomlinson fought off about 9 pitches, and put one in the left field seats for his first major league home run, a grand slam.  He tried to be stoic when he took the field, but couldn't help but break into a grin.  Me, too.

The Giants put a line-up on the field that had 3 of the 8 position players they opened the season with.  The news on Brandon Crawford and Gregor Blanco is good, though, and Angel Pagan is close to ready to come back also.   Hudson could probably pitch if needed.  News from the smog suckers victory over the Reds today was that Gonzales hit a ball into his knee and Puig had a hammie issue.  But the guy that I want to mention is Buster Posey.   Buster had 2 hits today, and one was a double, as was yesterday's go-ahead rbi hit.  Buster Posey's recent little slump-inducing mechanical flaw, which he seems to have corrected, coincided exactly with the Giants' struggles, and now we are winning again when he is hitting.  Yeah, he carries the team.

Also, I think Jon should post for Leake.  Or any pitcher whose name starts with an L.  If we somehow wind up with a rotation of Leake, Locke, Lincecum, Latos and Lohse, Jon should do all the posting.

And finally, the media seems to have given up on the wild card because the Giants are 5.5 back.  What they are forgetting, is that the contending teams, Pittsburgh and the Cubs have to play each other the last month of the season when baseball is back to playing intra-divsion.  The cubbies have to play Pittsburgh and St. Louis each 6 times.  A lot can happen.  Like for instance, beating the Cardinals while the wonderful cubs beat up on LA. 

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

7th inning: 8-10

The Giants beat the Cubs tonight for the first time this season. Jake Peavy was gritty after a rocky 1st and might have made it through the 7th if Nori Aoki hadn't lost a ball in the lights. The team needed a win to keep pace with the Dodgers and a fine effort from the 'pen sealed the deal. Neither Brandon Crawford nor Gregor Blanco were available to play so the short-handed squad needed to step up. Let's hope both are back soon, this team is beat up enough.

The Giants 8-10 record in the 7th seasonal inning is in keeping with their up-an-down performance in 2015. Here's what we have:

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

67-59, .532 win pct., 2-1/2 games behind Los Angeles with 36 (two innings) to play.

Month-by-month it looks like this:

April: 9-13
May: 21-9
June: 12-14
July: 14-10
August: 11-14

The Giants are 21-16 since the Break, a .568 clip. Maintaining that will put them at 87-88 wins. To get to 90 they'll have to go 23-13 or a blistering .639 pace. They'll have to get healthy and string good starts together. The expanded rosters are just around the corner but there are five tough games against quality foes before then. Ace Madison Bumgarner will close out the series with the Cubs tomorrow and then the Cardinals have the weekend for three. Mike Leake and Ryan Vogelsong are penciled in for the first two and it's TBD for Sunday. Then they hit the road on Monday the 31st for a massive showdown against the Dodgers. If the rotation holds we'll see Peavy, MadBum, and Leake in LA.

At this point in the season every little thing matters. It looked like Matt Duffy might have hurt himself tonight but he stayed in the game. No more casualties, lads. I've thought all along that this thing--the West race--will get decided in the final week at home with four against the Dodgers and three against the Rockies. If they can right the ship a bit here in San Francisco before those ten away games to start the final month I'll feel a lot better. I'm sure they will, too.



Cubs Stomp Giants

I had to drink myself into a stupor after that debacle. I like a little George Dickel No. 12 when Matt Cain pitches, some Tennessee whisky for the Tennessee Stud. Lately these nips have been anesthetic rather than celebratory as Matty has played the Tennessee Dud instead. And the worse it got last night, the more I got. By the time he was done, so was I. Think about Tim Lincecum for a second. We watched him throw more and more breaking balls as he could not throw his fastball for strikes. Matt Cain is throwing more breaking balls for the opposite reason--he always throws his fastball for strikes. Unfortunately those fastballs are right down the pipe. In the wheelhouse. On a platter. Batting practice. T-ball location. Yikes, it's ugly. The Giants don't know what to do. They figure it's only a matter of time before he figures it out. After all, he's got a brand new elbow and has to learn to throw all over again. The problem is there is no time left. It's a pennant race and it's increasingly likely that the only way the Giants make the post-season is to win the West. So, what to do with Matt Cain? Like I said the Giants don't know. So I sure as hell don't. I do know that it's painful to watch him struggle.

Speaking of things that leave me speechless: Jeremy Affeldt.

Home cooking is supposed to be better for you, right? So let's see some championship ball from the home squad instead of from the NL Central.



Sunday, August 23, 2015

Bucs Burn Giants

In the top of the 7th the Giants were trailing 4-2 with two outs and one on when Brandon Crawford hit a ball over the head of centerfielder Andrew McCutcheon, a feat in itself. It looked like a homer off the bat and when it bounced on the track it was at least a run and likely a triple. Alas, the ball went over the fence and into the stands and Andrew Susac, on first via a walk, had to turn around and go back to third base, taking a run off the board. Brandon Belt made the last out, stranding both runners. It seemed, at the time, emblematic of the game and the road trip. It finished 5-2 Pirates. I don't think the game was as close as the score--both Giants runs were gifted by poor fielding. Ryan Vogelsong got pulled in the 4th having allowed 11 baserunners. The three runs he gave up in the 1st were enough as the lineup could not get the big hit once again, and even when BCraw did it wasn't enough. Give Pittsburgh credit for being a good team and taking it to the defending champs.

Fortunately the Dodgers helped things out by losing again in Houston and the deficit is at 1-1/2 games. The Giants, mercifully, have an off-day tomorrow and open a home series, thankfully, against the Cubs and Cardinals on Tuesday. Matt Cain gets the call.



Friday, August 21, 2015

Byrd is the Word

Marlon Byrd.  I have to admit, I was less than impressed when I saw the news of the Giants' trade for Marlon Byrd.  I am more impressed now.   Madison Bumgarner was on the hill tonight in Pittsburgh.  He struggled for the first couple of innings - 50 pitches in the first 2, but then settled down.  The pitch count got to him, though, and he surrendered the hill with 1 out into the 7th.

Madison's line: 6 1/3 IP, 109 pitches, 6 hits, 3 runs, all earned, 1 BB.  Sergio Romo gave us 1 1/3 and allowed the 4th run, Osich an out, and Santiago Casilla, after a tense walk, got a 4 - 6 - 3 ground ball double play and the final out for a 6 - 4 Giants' victory.

Marlon Byrd made an immediate positive impression with a 1st inning, hitting a home run with Matt Duffy on board for the 2nd and 3rd run of the game.  Buster Posey tallied the 1st rbi with a sac fly to score Nori Aoki.  Byrd, batting 5th, had a 3 hit night.  Nori Aoki, in the lead-off spot had a 3 hit night.  Giants chalked up 14 hits, most of them (11) against Pittsburgh starter Jeff Locke, who was responsible for all of the Giants' 6 runs.  Brandon Belt and Gregor Blanco both had 2 hits, and Belt had an rbi.  And, oh yeah, Madison Bumgarner hit a 2 run home run.

So the Giants could actually put together a winning record on this 7 game swing to the midwest, but they will have to win tomorrow and Sunday to do it.  Then LA (who is, by the way, sans-hit in Houston with only 3 outs left.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Busch Blues

It was an epic series in St. Louis topped by a great game tonight. The home crowd got the thrills with the series win, capped by Yadier Molina's 100th career homer. The Giants battled back from a 2-0 deficit to take a 3-2 lead in the top of the 7th but the Cardinals beat the youngsters in the Giants bullpen to prevail by a 4-3 score. Just when we gushed enthusiastically about lefty Josh Osich and righty Hunter Strickland they gave up the tying and go-ahead runs in consecutive innings. Welcome to the big leagues, lads. The Giants had plenty of chances and fought hard but couldn't quite pull it off. They scored 1, 2, and 3 runs in the three games. The Cardinals scored 2, 0, and 4 runs. I think you can do the math. It was frustrating in the end because the A's beat the Dodgers again in Oakland. The deficit stays at two games.

Two things were notable tonight. The first was the play by Juan Perez to take a home run away from Stephen Piscotty. It had to be one of the best catches of the year. Hell, as good a catch as a guy can make. He caught a ball that would have hit the top of the fence and gone out except that his glove was there before it came down. It wasn't just the long run, leaping climb up the wall, and two-handed basket catch. No, it was the effortless self-possession. He just knew he was going to make the play. It looked like he had worked on it before the game. "Hey Bam-Bam, hit me a few off the top of the right-centerfield wall, OK? I gotta work on my spectacular catches." Perez knew exactly where that ball was going and what he'd have to do to make the play and he executed it with grace and style. Way to go, Juan! It saved a run. Which brings us to notable item number two, Matt Cain. He got hammered in the first three innings and could have been behind by a lot more but he found a groove in the final three to conjure up a strong start. Matty even drove in the Giants first run with a long sacrifice fly to centerfield. That kind of result (6 IP, 2 R, 1 BB, 6K) is what we need to see the rest of the way.

Tough series coming up in Pittsburgh: four games starting tomorrow and spanning the weekend. Off-day Monday.



Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Ryan Vogelsong was Veteran Savvy Clutchness personified tonight in St. Louis. Struggling from the opening bell with a 30-pitch first inning torture-fest he dug deep into his reservoir of grit and got through it unscathed. He then added five scoreless frames after that and finished with an impressive 6  2  0  0  1  5 line (Game Score 72) to stymie the best team in baseball. Josh Osich and Sergio Romo were perfect in the 7th and 8th, Romo whiffing all three he faced. Javier Lopez' walk of Matt Carpenter to open the bottom of the 9th broke a streak of 15 consecutive batters retired by Giants pitchers. Beleaguered closer Santiago Casilla got the three outs he needed, two via the strikeout, to secure the save. He needed a strong outing and we fans certainly needed to see one from him. The Giants turned the tables on the Cardinals after a tough loss last night. It sets up an interesting rubber match tomorrow as the struggling Matt Cain is the listed starter.

With Hunter Pence ailing rookie Ryan Lollis got the start in left field and he delivered a two-out hit in the 8th--his very first--after a hit by fellow newbie Kelby Tomlinson. Only six hits on the night for the Giants, so way to go, FNGs! Long road to the bigs for Lollis. He's 28 and was a 37th-round pick in 2009. Cardinals starter Lance Lynn had some gnarly-looking stuff but was ultimately undone by his wildness. He walked six in 6-2/3 and three of those walks kept rallies going. With two on in the 5th Buster Posey walked and Brandon Crawford drove in the first run with a squibber that wasn't hit hard enough for a double play. In the 7th Madison Bumgarner pinch-hit for Vogie and naturally roped a single to left. What can't that man do? Gregor Blanco and Matt Duffy walked and Brandon Belt was hit by a pitch to score Bum and make it 2-0 and that's how it finished. It was a small-ball night!

That was the team's 16th shutout. They bump their August record to 9-8, their road record to 30-30, and are 19-11 (.633) since the Break.



Sunday, August 16, 2015


The Giants finished off a 4 game sweep of the struggling Nationals today at PhoneCo Park today, 5 - 0.  The Giants and Nats came into the series in the same boat, trying to catch a first place team.  The difference was that the Nats were heavily favored to win the east and the National League while the Giants were, as usual, slated to finish behind LA.  Only one of the teams could make a meaningful move, or neither could, but the Giants did it.  The Giants look great lately - like it is the time in the season to make a move and they are ready to do it.  What's more, they overcame a 0 - 3 record in 2015 against Washington after a disastrous July series there and won the match-up, 4 games to 3.  Also, going back to that more recently disastrous 3 - 7 road trip that started July 31, they are at .500.  A  5 - 1 home stand.  The Giants only tallied 7 hits, but that included a Hunter Pence 3 run home run and a solo shot from (who else?) Madison Bumgarner.  The Giants seem to be hitting a lot of doubles and triples lately.  Doubles today for Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Madbum.  Remember when the meme was that the Giants won on the road but not at home?

Let's talk about Madison Bumgarner, shall we?  Today's line: 9 IP, 3 hits, 1 BB (what's up with that?), 0 runs, 112 pitches and 14 K.  Madbum was 2 for 3 at the plate, with 2 rbi, including the solo shot home run.  That is his 4th home run of the year.  In 53 at bats.  Project that out to a full season as a regular batter and you can put him down for 40 hr.  His OPS today was a crisp 2.000.  He has passed Jason Schmidt on the list of San Francisco strikeout leaders (in order: Juan Marichal, Tim Lincecum, Gaylord Perry, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner).  He is the only SF Giant player besides Juan Marichal to hit a home run and strike out 10 players in the same game.  It was his 5th double-digit K game of the season.  Madison Bumgarner just turned 26 on August 1.   The Nationals beat the Madison Bumgarner last October for their only win of the 5 game series, then knocked him out of the box with 6 runs after 5 innings on July 4.  So, yeah, he wanted it.  Bryce Harper went 0 - 4 against Madison, with 3 strikeouts.  Make no mistake though. Harper is a beast.  I was hoping, when he flied out to deep, deep center in the 7th, that he wouldn't get another chance, but he came up in the 9th for his 3rd K of the game. 

The Nats are struggling, and as has been noted, Matt Williams may not last long as their manager.  He has been criticized for his pitching moves (or lack of moves) and as being too much by-the-book.  Some of the blame has to go to some of their hitters.  Ian Desmond looked good this weekend, but he is carrying a .225 average, Rendon is at .247 and Zimmerman is at .219.  Their pitchers, so good at the start of the season, were chased early and often by the Giants this weekend, and that chews up a bullpen.  Sound familiar?  And kharma-wise, Jonathan Papelbon cannot help a team.

But enough about them.  The Giants are 6 games into a home-and-away 13 game stretch before an off day.  They are heading to St. Louis for 3 and Pittsburgh for 4.  Madison Bumgarner just bookended the home stand with complete games.   Peavy gave us 5 2/3, Cain 4 2/3, Vogie 5 and Heston 6 1/3.  In the past 7 days, Kontos has thrown 3 1/3 innings in 3 games, Petit 2 innings, Affeldt 1 inning, Romo 2 1/3 innings in 3 games (and looked damn good doing it), Hunter 2 innings, Casilla 1 innings, Lopez 2/3 innings in 2 games and Osich 1 1/3 innings in 2 games.  That is, considering last Monday's off day, 13 1/3 innings in a week.  Leake is expected to be start Tuesday, which frees up Vogie to spell Matt Cain, if necessary, or pitch long relief.  Let's take some of this magic on the road and tamp down on some Cardinal and Pirate dreams!

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Giants Wear Out Nats Again

The Washington Nationals pounded out ten hits including two doubles, a triple, and two homers and put six runs on the board. The San Francisco Giants responded with 13 hits including five doubles and a triple and piled up twelve runs to take the third game of the series. Gio Gonzalez got the Max Scherzer treatment and was out of the game in the 3rd inning. Jake Peavy couldn't get out of the 6th but it was enough as the lineup kept adding on and the 'pen (George Kontos and Yusmeiro Petit) closed the door. The win tonight brings the home squad's August record to .500 (7-7), evens up the season series (3-3), and pushes the away team's seasonal record to .500 (58-58). Not how the pundits predicted things would go for the talent-rich DCers. Pitching coach Steve McCatty got tossed for talking smack to the homeplate umpire and I thought manager Matt Williams might jump in and get the heave-ho as well but he played it cool and stuck around. I wonder if he'll be around much longer if his team continues to disappoint.

Gregor Blanco and Matt Duffy combined for five hits, five runs, and five runs batted in. I think I like those two at the top of the lineup. Tomorrow Madison Bumgarner takes the ball as the Giants go for the sweep. Rookie Joe Ross gets the call for the Nats. He's a Berkeley kid who went to Bishop O'Dowd and was a first-round pick for the Padres in 2011. His is the younger brother of San Diego's Tyson Ross. None of these games have stuck to the script and it has been a weird series. Not that I'm complaining--the outcomes have been great. It's just that it makes me think tomorrow's game might go differently than we expect.



Friday, August 14, 2015

Giants Bats Subdue Nats

The Giants used every arrow in the quiver from infield singles and stolen bases to slashing doubles and booming homers to tally eight runs and hold off the Nationals for another big victory. Ace Max Scherzer got hit hard early and was done after only three innings. It was the worst start of the season for the All-Star righty. The Nats returned the favor and chased Matt Cain in the 5th, the death blow a three-run moon shot from Bryce Harper. That's 30 for the young lefty who is the obvious NL MVP at this point in the season. Cain was ultimately charged with all five runs in another ugly outing where he clearly lacked command. Fortunately the lineup was relentless and the bullpen superb (4-1/3, one hit, no runs) and the Giants prevailed.

The 1-2 punch of Gregor Blanco and Matt Duffy at the top of the order produced six hits, five runs batted in, and three runs scored to lead the way. I was particularly impressed that the Giants kept the pressure on and manufactured a couple of late runs to give the relievers a little breathing room. Tonight we got a big effort from the southpaws: three outs from Jeremy Affeldt, four from Josh Osich, and the final out (Harper) from Javier Lopez. Sergio Romo had another clean inning tonight and the other two outs came via George Kontos, thus saving Santiago Casilla and Hunter Strickland for tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow it's Jake Peavy's turn against Gio Gonzalez.



Thursday, August 13, 2015

Giants Pitchers Get It Done

Ryan Vogelsong struck out eight batters in his five innings of work. Hunter Strickland got the next two frames and went six-up six-down with three strikeouts. Sergio Romo added two more in the 8th and Santiago Casilla tacked on one in the 9th for a team total of 14 whiffs. Vogie had to work hard, issuing four walks and throwing 94 pitches, but he brought some serious heat and went after the Nationals with élan. He kept attacking the zone, getting 13 foul ball strikes to go with his 17 called strikes and 12 swinging strikes, and the Washington lineup never got it going against him. Strickland followed him with overpowering stuff--both he and Romo made them look silly. Casilla, thankfully, got the save without too much trouble. Let's hope his struggles are behind him. It was a dominating performance by the staff and it nailed down a big win.

Gregor Blanco sparked two rallies that led to two runs. Blanco is often overlooked and I think he's a key contributor. In much the same way Vogie is under-appreciated and I love it when those guys show their mettle. The Giants scored two in the bottom of the first after Yunel Escobar led off the game with a homer. It stayed 2-1 until the 7th when the Giants added an insurance run. The 3-1 final got sweetened a bit with the Dodgers losing at home to the Reds to cut the deficit to 2-1/2 games.

Matt Cain matches up with über-ace Max Scherzer tomorrow night.



Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Madison Bumgarner looked every bit like an ace tonight.  He was in command of a complete game Giants' victory to start the home stand after a wretched road trip.  The Giants are not close to being out of it - they picked up a half game yesterday on their day off - and they believe that they are a team capable of repeating as world champions.   No better way to start off the home stand against a string of tough opponents than with a 3 - 1 ATT park-style win.

Madison gave up hits to the first 2 batters.  Then, after Madison struck out the Astros' highly touted Carlos Correa, they were caught trying to double steal 2nd and 3rd.  Madison promptly struck out Evan Gattis (who would later score the Astros' only run) for the 3rd out of the inning.  That was a 20 pitch inning.  The number of pitches in the 1st is worth mentioning only in the context of what Madison Bumgarner accomplished the rest of the game.  Those 2 K's were the first of 7 consecutive strikeouts.  Madison struck out 12 in the game.  That would normally be a sign that a pitcher might be removed with about 116 pitches in the 7th inning.  Madison threw 9 complete in 105 pitches.  He gave up 5 hits, 1 run and did not walk anyone.  He has not issued a walk in 3 games.   What that complete game means is that our bullpen, chewed up and spit out on the road, has had 2 days of rest including the off day.  So they should be fresh and ready to go when needed.

Brandon Belt was the offensive hero on a night where the team only got 7 hits.  He hit 2 home runs, both solo shots off of a tough Scott Kazmir.   It is unequivocally good when Brandon Belt hits home runs.  The Giants added a run when Justin Maxwell singled, and then scored from first on an Ehire Adriaza hit and throwing error by Kazmir.  That was enough on a night when Madison was the kind of ace that we know he can be.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

No Fun in Wrigley, Again

Matt Cain got battered by Chicago hitters for four innings and then was mercifully yanked by manager Bruce Bochy after the first two batters reached in the 5th. The veteran right-hander had thrown 97 pitches at that point, yielding six hits (one homer), walking five, and plunking two. Considering that line it was fortunate the Cubs only scored five runs. Cain had plenty of zip (I saw 93 mph on the scoreboard) and plenty movement but lacked command. Just about every pitch he threw to the outside corner was a ball and when he would come in they would rake it. Guys are going up to bat against Matty wiping the drool from their lips! They are swinging early and often and getting results. That's 46 hits and 23 runs in 37 innings pitched (159 batters faced) against only 24 strikeouts. It's tough times for the Tennessee Stud. It's hard to know what to think--will he find his way out of this funk in time? I imagine he is penciled in for ten more starts and if so the team will need to see a turnaround, and soon.

Brandon Belt hit a two-run homer and Brandon Crawford hit an RBI double, Hunter Pence scoring both times, and that was the Giants offense until the 9th. Santiago Casilla gave up three runs in the bottom of the 8th to make it 8-3 Cubs. The Giants threatened at the end when Ehire Adrianza smashed an RBI double (scoring BCraw) and Angel Pagan and Nori Aoki got two-out hits to make it 8-6, but Matt Duffy grounded out to end it. Fortunately the Pirates held on for a narrow victory over the Dodgers and the deficit is still three games. Here's other good news: Andrew Susac starts his rehab in AAA on Tuesday.

Jake Peavy tomorrow. Go Giants!


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Sixth inning: 12-6

The Giants came up short in their shot at sixty wins in the first two-thirds of the season: that's a ninety-win pace. They settle for 59-49 and with the Dodgers win they fall to three back. Their .546 win percentage puts them on pace for 88-1/2 wins, perhaps best said as not-quite-ninety. With one-third of the season to go, or 54 games, a .600 pace from here on out would mean 32 more wins or 91 total.

Six innings of the season have elapsed and this last stretch of 18 games produced a 12-6 record matching their season high. Here we have it:

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

If you prefer to divide the season by months, a quick look at the Baseball-Reference page will give you the following:

April: 9-13
May: 21-9
June: 12-14
July: 14-10
August: 3-3

The Giants are hitting the ball well scoring 4.4 runs per game which is good for 7th-best in the majors. Their 3.8 runs allowed is 11th-best overall. As we've seen they have stretches of effective pitching and also take advantage of their offense-suppressing park. As we know the team's championship hopes depend on the dependability of their pitchers. Tonight Chris Heston had no idea where his pitches were going and got tagged for five runs right away. The team battled back to make it close, getting two-run homers by the Brandons, but the damage had been done. Heston had not allowed a homer since the 23rd of May when the Rockies tagged him for three.

If the Giants expect to finish the year with a West title or a Wild Card berth they will have to be able to count on their pitchers. I'm not picking on Heston, he's had a couple of poor outings but has otherwise been superb, just pointing out the obvious. We saw them lose a game in Atlanta with two blown saves. The staff has to step up here in the final three innings. In the bad news department FNG Mike Leake will not make his scheduled start due to a hamstring injury. Ryan Vogelsong gets the ball tomorrow instead.

This season will likely come down to the final week. The Giants have peeked at first place a couple of times, a half game up and a half game down, but have mostly resided in second and stayed within striking distance of leaders Los Angeles. I expect the close race will continue until the end. The Giants have the intangibles like Veteran Savvy Clutchness and championship DNA and all that. The questions are about the tangibles. Do they have enough pitching for the final push? Will they survive injuries and bad luck the rest of the way? It's going to be fun finding out, eh?



p.s. I'm really digging Kelby Tomlinson's geek-chic spectacles. Wouldn't you know I switched to a similar look just this week? Indeed, I ditched my usual wire frames for horn-rims. Fashions in "eyewear" (we used to call them "glasses") have ebbed and flowed between the two since I was a lad. I don't know what inspired the change for me, just a random "that one looks good" spoken to the optician at my fitting session a few weeks back. If I'm accused of being a Kelby copy-cat I won't mind!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Let's Hear It for the Kid!

Kelby Tomlinson.  Kelby Tomlinson.  Kelby Tomlinson.  Following a most auspicious debut the other night with a 12th inning, first major league at bat pinch hit single, Kelby got a start at second tonight.  He batted 8th and promptly drove in Adrianza and Belt.  In his second at bat, he again singled and drove in Adriaza again for his 3rd rbi.  Should he have gotten a hit in his next at bat, he would have tied a SF record for a rookie held by Willie McCovey.  And that is pretty good company.

Kelby wears glasses.  What if they found that his glasses were modified Google glasses outfitted with a sophisticated camera and data processing app and a transmitter that sends an brain wave impulse to swing at the optimal time?  Would that be cheating?

Madison Bumgarner was on the mound, looking much more like an ace.  He threw into the 8th inning and did not give up a run until the bottom of the 7th, and by then the Giants were up 6 - 0 thanks to rbi's from Matt Duffy and Hunter Pence in the top of that frame.  Madison threw 116 pitches, 81 strikes, gave up 7 hits, walked no one and struck out 9.  6 - 1 was the final.  The offense deserves credit here, for putting up 8 runs yesterday and 6 today and giving the pitchers a chance to pitch not fearing for the game with every pitch.   Duffy was 4 for 5; Blanco, 2 for 3 with 2 walks; Adrianza, 2 for 4; and Buster, 1 for 2 with 2 walks.

Most importantly, the Giants had to only use 2 relievers, Strickland and Casilla and they threw 18 and 7 pitches, respectively and looked pretty good (although Hunter walked 1).   That's huge, along with Jake Peavy's 6 innings, yesterday (followed by 4 relievers), the relief staff is able to catch a breather.   Which is good because they have 4 in Chicago starting tomorrow.  Mike Krukow yesterday was commenting on Peavy (who looked really good).  They noted that, when he went on the DL, he could only give a couple of  innings because he had to pitch with his arm.   Once his back healed up, he could use his whole body, and is able to go much deeper into a game.   I'm glad to see Kelby turn out to be a young stud.  Giants must be doing something right in the minor leagues.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Homer-happy in Atlanta

Turner Field played small tonight and the Giants raced to a 6-0 lead on three big flies by the Brandons, one by Belt and two by Crawford, and bomb of his own from Buster Posey. Unfortunately Matt Cain's game fell apart in the 6th when the Braves strung together four hits including a three-run homer to halve the deficit. Bruce Bochy didn't like what he was seeing from the big righty and yanked him after 80 pitches. George Kontos allowed a two-out hit to Nick Markakis and it was suddenly 6-4 with Cain's last batter scoring from second base. Matty had worked an efficient five, putting up zeros, but the Braves had hacked out six hits with an aggressive approach early in the count. He was helped by two double plays including a stylish 3-6-4 on a bunt attempt.

Things got dicey in the 7th when Hunter Strickland allowed his first long ball of 2015 (out of 112 batters faced) and the Braves were only down by a run. Sergio Romo was stalwart in the 8th however, and Ehire Adrianza, Justin Maxwell, and Nori Aoki created an insurance run with two outs in the 9th. Javier Lopez got Markakis to start the bottom half and Santiago Casilla came on for the final two but could not get it done. A.J. Pierzynksi of all people blasted a game-tying two-run homer with two outs to ruin things. Somehow the team got the third out and it went to extras. It's looking a little scary with the closer out there these days.

Yusmeiro Petit got the call to keep the lid on things and he got through to the 11th untouched. In the 12th rookie Kelby Tomlinson got a hit in his debut plate appearance and wound up scoring on a two-out hit by Buster Posey. Way to go FNG, batting 1.000!! I've worn glasses since the third grade--I think I have a new favorite player. Ryan Vogelsong came on to get the save and the Braves hit ANOTHER two-run homer (this time Adonis Garcia) to walk off as 9-8 winners. It was a wretched ending after the terrific start, and it was especially agonizing to see two blown save chances. The Giants hit the first four homers of the game but the Braves hit the last four.

I did not see a single inning of the games in Texas as we had a big family get-together over the weekend. I was happy to note in the boxscore that FNG Mike Leake pitched well. They lost their hitting mojo when he was out there it seems, and missed a chance to win the series. Joe Panik was placed on the 15-day DL for his back issues. The kid has been raking (.309/.374/.443) and his glove has also been exceptional, B-R rates his season so far at 3.3 WAR. It's a cruel blow. Not sure what to say about Cainer. He is still in April while the team is in August. That's life in the big leagues, I guess. The Giants need to get some of that winning magic back, and soon. It's Jake Peavy tomorrow against Shelby Miller.