Saturday, April 30, 2016

Big Apple Blues

13-1 loss in NY
6-5 loss in NY 

After Jake Peavy and the 'pen got slaughtered on Friday night I was hoping for a better effort from Matt Cain today. It didn't happen and the Giants let the game get away from them early. They had an epic rally in the 8th to get close, a little extra on either ball from Hunter Pence or Brandon Crawford with the bases loaded and we might have seen a different result. Alas, it wasn't enough.

I'm at a loss about Cain. He struck out Yoenis Cespedes, impressively, with two on and one out in the 1st only to give up a walk to the next guy and then a two-RBI hit after that. Both batters were 0-2! The next inning he hit two guys (and almost hit two more) and they both scored. Just as it looked like he had settled in after that and the offense had rallied for three runs he gave up solo shots in each of his last two frames. Peavy was even worse as he couldn't get through the 3rd inning. At least Matty gave the team six. Fourth and fifth starters don't have to dominate. But they have to be competent! So far neither veteran righty is delivering the goods. That needs to change. I note that Mike Broadway got sent back to AAA and Vin Mazzaro was called up. Supposedly he's a "swing-man" candidate.

It's a long haul. Peavy showed last season that he could right the ship after a rough start as he pitched well at the end of the year. So at least he has a track record of turning it around. Cain is a bigger question mark, obviously, despite being younger. It's been a while since he's had any sustained stretch of success. I've felt all along that Matty would, if healthy, rediscover some of his old form. And he probably will--I am still optimistic about that. But man it's painful to watch him right now!

Big challenge tomorrow with Noah Syndegaard on the hill for the Mets. Good thing the Giants can counter with Madison Bumgarner. The weather may play havoc with the contest, though, so we'll have to wait and see.



Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Giants Sweep Padres

13-9 win in SF
I said I wanted "a big, thumping, sweeping kind of win" and the Giants certainly delivered, smacking 16 hits and scoring 13 runs. Jeff Samardzija looked good, then bad, then good, then not-so-good and lasted only 5-2/3 after yielding five runs. Steven Okert gave up a 3-run homer to Wil Myers in the 7th to make a 13-5 laugher a 13-8 not-as-funny, but that was a minor blip. The lineup went after Andrew Cashner and the Padres bullpen full bore, scoring in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th. Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, and Matt Duffy all had three hits. Belt drove in five on a homer short of a cycle. What do you call it when someone hits a single, a double, and a triple in the same game? A Triplet? The Holy Trinity? Le Tricolore? A Hit Trick? Help me out.

The Shark was not as sharp as last time but he finishes his first month with his new club having logged 32-2/3 IP over five starts, allowing 14 runs on 31 hits (3 HR) and 10 walks while striking out 26 (134 TBF).  He gets awarded a W today and so his record is 3-1, the team is 3-2 in the five games. I like what we've seen despite the ups-and-downs. He's workmanlike, not flashy, tough, not overpowering. If he can log lots of quality innings--rack up mound time with the team in striking distance--he's doing his job and that should translate into wins. FanGraphs rates him at a 3.62 FIP, which puts him in the "solid starter" pack, which is what we expected. A little more consistency from the big righty would be nice, it seems like he cruises and looks unhittable and then suddenly he is very hittable, but it's a pretty small sample. I'm betting that over the long haul the Giants will get lots of value from this guy. He got another hit and RBI today, too! The other Shark, El Tiburón Blanco, came off the bench and delivered a hit and RBI in the 6th, then made a great catch in the 8th.

The team is off tomorrow and then off to the Big Apple for a showdown with the Mets.



Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Vlog #7 JohnnyC Notches #100

I saw a complete lovely Giants game without staying up until midnight.
Bless you, Johnny Cueto.

Vlog #7 JohnnyC Notches #100

P.S.  Kershaw lost tonight!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Weekend Split

5-4 loss in SF
Jake Peavy pitched well and drove in two in yesterday's game to lead the team to a 7-2 win. Today Matt Cain, despite ten hits and four runs, showed some improvement over the last two starts. A misplay by Angel Pagan led to a run in the 6th and ultimately to Cain being pulled. A little luck in the 5th, maybe the Marlins don't get that run either, and it's a different start. As it was the Giants took Matty off the hook by tying the game only to lose it later. I'm hoping what we saw from Peavy on Saturday is what we are going to see soon from Cain. It's extended Spring Training, right? He's just not ready. Yet. Neither were the Giants, today. Many, too many, way too many blown chances this afternoon. Angel Pagan got thrown out at home in the 5th, and hit into a double play with the bases loaded in the 8th. A 1-2-3 double play which meant the tying run didn't score! If you need a goat, you could pick Angel. Miami was 0-7 with runners in scoring position, but had two big homers including the go-ahead blast in the 8th off Josh Osich. Dee Gordon got a chance to run wild, stealing two in the 3rd inning which led to a run. The third out of that inning came on a caught stealing (Christian Yelich).

A weird game. An unsatisfying game. It really felt like the Giants were going to win when they tied it in the 6th and again when they loaded the bases in the 8th. Ugh. Shoulda beena sweep.

MadBum takes on the Padres tomorrow night.



Friday, April 22, 2016

1st inning: 8-10

8-1 win in SF
Jeff Samardzija pitched a great game and also smacked a couple of run-scoring hits to lead the team to a much-needed win. Who knew The Shark would be The Stopper? Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto both gave valiant, stopperesque efforts, but neither of them tallied three RBI, and neither enjoyed a 14-hit attack. Everyone but Matt Duffy had a hit, but in true team-first fashion it was the third baseman's 1st inning sac fly that plated the Giants first run.

Tonight's win over the Marlins was Game 18 and thus the end of the First Seasonal Inning. 18 x 9 = 162 so every 18 games is 1/9th of the season, a perfect time to look back on the state of the team. And the state of the team is OK. Really. Losing streaks fill a fan with an irrational terror that their team will never win again. Reasonable people know this to be unlikely, but fans are not reasonable. Fan is short for fanatic, from the Latin fanaticus or divinely inspired, that itself from fanum, temple. The ballpark is our church; we are its adherents. Cultists can be forgiven for losing all reason in the midst of losing streaks.

Alas, we are still here, and thus still possessing our rational faculties. Isn't it wonderful what a win can do? Believing myself to be among the rational, I present to you the history of the First Seasonal Inning since the Giants moved to PhoneCo Park. In case you've forgotten, Pacific Bell Park opened for the 2000 season and the Giants went 7-11 in their First Inning. For the rest, make of it what you will:

The visitors throw Jose Fernandez tomorrow, the home squad counters with Jeff Peavy.



Thursday, April 21, 2016

Vlog #6 : "A Loss to be Remembered"

We lost again, and, yes, that is 8 losses in the last 9 games.  Ugly indeed. But a loss that can and will be shed, so please try to stay calm.  And positive.  You will live longer.

Some losses seem especially hard to take.  R.I.P.  Prince

RMC Vlog #6

"You don't have to be cool to rule my world"

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

7 of 8

So this is how it is.  Last year, Madison Bumgarner had to face Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke.  This year, he has to face Clayton Kershaw AND Zack Greinke.  That makes it hard to get a win for your ace, and it is that much harder when your team plays shitty defense or scores few runs.  The Giants committed no errors tonight, nor did they score enough runs to win the game.  After 18 scoreless innings, they did manage to push 1 across the plate, though.

The Giants got as many hits as the d-backs, each team had 7.  The Giants got hits in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, and 9th.   A quick bit of math will tell you that 7 hits in 6 innings means that only 1 inning had more than 1 hit.  That was the 7th.  A Gregor Blanco triple was followed by a single from Angel Pagan for the Giants big run-scoring inning.  Arizona only scored in 1 inning, also the 7th, on a Wellington Castillo home run.  Unfortunately, there was a man on base.

If there was something positive to take from this game in which the Giants dropped their 7th game in their last 8, it was Madison's performance.  He threw 7 full, which is an improvement.  He had given us 16 innings in his previous 3 starts, and that is not enough considering that his last 2 starts followed Jake Peavy and Matt Cain, who have given us 14 and 15.1 innings, respectively in their 3 starts.  Madbum allowed 5 hits, struck out 8 and walked 1.  Giants have gone from a good start at 6 - 2 to become a 7 - 9 team.  Tomorrow, our sole winning pitcher, Johnny Cueto, faces Shelby Miller.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

And the Woes Continue

3-0 loss in SF
Matt Cain allowed no hits in his first four innings and then allowed five hits in the 5th. Arizona scored three times and that was it for Matty and for the Giants. Robbie Ray, the young Diamondbacks southpaw, kept the Giants off the board through the 6th and three relievers finished up. On the plus side Giants bullpen newcomers Mike Broadway and Steven Okert made their 2016 debuts and put up zeroes, and slumping Matt Duffy had two hits and a walk.

It's an ugly time for fans of the orange and black. One thing you don't expect to see is this lineup get shut out. And it's clear Matt Cain is not ready for prime time, at least not yet. Tonight he faced 23 batters with 87 pitches and only generated four swings and misses. He walked four, one intentionally. Whatever it is, it's not working.

It's Bumgarner and Greinke tomorrow night.



Not Pretty

Giants lose 9-7 in extras after being ahead 2-1, 6-2, and 7-6 and are now a .500 team. Kontos goes on the DL. It's a lousy way to start the day.

Matt Cain tonight. GO GIANTS!


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Maeda Stifles Giants

3-1 loss in LA
Jeff Samardzija pitched a good game. He made a couple of mistakes and got hurt by them, but mostly he pitched a good game. Unfortunately his opposite number, Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda, pitched a better game. The Giants could not solve the former Hiroshima Carp star and he left after seven with his team leading 3-1. Maeda's final line was four hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts on 98 pitches. He allowed a solo shot to Joe Panik in the 3rd which was the first run he's allowed in his three starts.

The Shark batted for himself in the bottom of the 6th with a man on and bunted into a double play to end the inning. When he came out for the 7th the Giants were down 2-1 but he could not get an out and LA tacked on the extra run. Yasiel Puig got a hit on an 0-2 count and stole second when Brandon Crawford could not get a handle on Buster Posey's throw. Puig later scored on a ball up the middle when Posey could not get a handle on Crawford's throw. Samardzija finished with six hits in six-plus innings, three runs allowed, three walks, and three whiffs. A two-run homer from Joc Pederson in the 5th was the difference-maker. It was a missed location and you could see the frustration from Samardzija who had been making all his pitches before that mistake.

Perhaps in another situation we would have seen Mac Williamson pinch-hit for the pitcher but I imagine Bochy was trying to get all the innings out of his starter he could. The 'pen is a little battered. Josh Osich, however, looked good tonight and that's encouraging. He cleaned up the mess in the 7th and got the first two in the 8th on only nine pitches.

Jake Peavy gets the call at home tomorrow night against the Diamondbacks. Let's hope we get a better result from him this time.



Friday, April 15, 2016


I'm not sure if that is how his name is spelled and I'm not going to look it up.  I turned off the game in the bottom of the 4th.  The Giants have no defense.  Colorado turned out horrible, and this game is horrible.  I have 0 confidence in the Giants and doubt I can bring myself to tune in the rest of this weekend.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Colorado Collapse

11-6 loss in Denver
Matt Cain looked like the stud of yore in the first four innings, allowing only one hit (to the pitcher) and whiffing five. But in the 5th the wheels came off and he could only get two outs with forty pitches and had to be relieved trailing 3-1. The pitcher, Jorge de la Rosa, plated two with another hit. With the bases loaded Chris Heston came in and allowed two doubles and a single and by the time the inning was over it was 9-1 Colorado. Nine is the most runs ever scored in one inning by a Rockies team against the Giants. This history-making event comes on the heels of Jake Peavy allowing an historic 10 extra base hits yesterday. I like history, but not that kind. Just before the fateful 5th the Giants had a chance for a big inning in the 4th but could not get the clutch hit. You know how it goes with missed opportunities, it seems that just gives the other guys a big lift.

The Giants battled back gamely to make it close (9-6), capped in the 8th by a two-run homer from Brandon Belt. He smoked four line drives today, two were hit right to infielders (one a double play) and two went for hits. Just keep that up, BB, and the results will come. His line is a sweet .333/.429/.667 in 42 PA.

It was a great first act at Coors Field with Jeff Samardzija and Trevor Brown leading the team to a win. The second act was ugly, with Peavy getting clobbered, but we know that sort of thing happens at that effing park. The third act was a tragedy. Matt Cain fell off a cliff after a scintillating start. Heston got hammered, and Hunter Strickland gave up a two-out two-run double to make the deficit five and that's how it finished. The Giants scored twelve runs in the final two games but were soundly beaten as their starters could not get it done.

It's Madison Bumgarner and Clayton Kershaw tomorrow night in Los Angeles.



p.s. In the "there's more bad news" department, Sergio Romo was sent back to SF to have his elbow looked at so he's not available this weekend.

p.p.s. Nolan Arenado is once again torching Giants pitching and making ridiculous plays in the field to turn hits into outs. Man, that guy is good!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

The Trevor Brown Story

7-2 win in Colorado
Jeff Samardzija has to get at least an aside here: he pitched a damn fine game. And he struck out Rockies rookie phenom Trevor Story three times! But this is The Trevor Brown Story. The young catcher got a start because Buster Posey had a bruised foot and he made the most of it, blasting two* 2-run homers to lead the attack. His first off starter Tyler Chatwood in the 6th made a 3-2 lead a 5-2 lead. His second off reliever Jason Gurka in the 8th made it 7-2. The backup backstop is a 10th-round pick from the 2012 June draft. He played college ball, like Brandon Crawford, at UCLA. He made his debut last September. Hunter Pence was the other lineup beast, also hitting a 2-run homer and notching 3 RBI.

Giants starter Jeff Samardzija probably should have come away with only one run allowed as Angel Pagan missed a pop fly to left that fell for a single. He called off BCraw but then could not make the play. The other run came in on a double play. The Shark retired the final nine on 24 pitches. The tally was 31 batters faced over 8 innings (111 pitches), 6 hits, 2 walks, 5 whiffs. That's what we like to see. Once again he couldn't rely on his splitter/forkball much but he had great command of his heater. He was popping 95 on the gun and locating it nicely. George Kontos finished up. Winning on the road is always good, winning in Denver is even better. Goofy stuff happens to the Giants in Coors Field. And the damn place chews up pitching staffs, so tonight's win was a great way to start the road trip.

Jake Peavy tomorrow at 5:40 Pacific and Matt Cain Thursday at 12:10.



p.s. Who, you ask, leads the team in dingers? Why, rookie catcher Trevor Brown does, with *three!

p.p.s. Just when you thought there would be no more photos, here's another (the last, I promise):

Monday, April 11, 2016

Vlog #4 : The Roadtrip Game

Here's a little multi-media thing I threw together.  There was no way to capture every aspect of that marvelous day, but I hope this helps.  I'm still working on the sound track so just hum "Bye Bye Baby" during the slide show part, OK?  Remember, I'm terribly insecure so reassure me with those comments.

Thoughts about the young season

I am happy about the Brandon Belt extension. He's an excellent player who can hit for average and power, get on base at a good clip, field his position well, and run the bases with speed and skill. What's not to like? In terms of numbers, a "win" on the free agent market costs about $8M these days and Belt will be making $16M/year for the final four years (2018-21) of the deal. Looks like a bargain to me. The team is "serving notice" that they intend to keep the core together and Buster Posey behind the plate. Can you imagine what kind of extension MadBum will get? Kudos to Sabes, ownership, and BobbyE for getting the job done. The Baby Giraffe will be in orange and black for a nice long while!

Saw some great baserunning yesterday as both Denard Span and Hunter Pence had to make slick, creative slides at home to score. Both were safe on close plays. I'm not the biggest fan of stolen bases as a key weapon. Don't get me wrong, they are nice--and necessary--arrows to have in the quiver, but speed and savvy are more important. Scoring from first on a hit to the gap, for example, is a huge thing. Guys need to have a nose for the plate and need to be able to take extra bases on balls in play. And the new collision rule means opportunity for baserunners to be creative and put pressure on the catcher to be athletic. Good thing the Giants have Buster Posey who seems to have made the sweep tag his signature play.

We have yet to see the rotation settle in and show us what they can do. Got a great start from MadBum against Kershaw. Got a great start from Cueto in Milwaukee. Got a fine effort from Matt Cain against LA. But we need a few more turns before we can do any analysis. I was happy watching Matty. He looked good. I figure if he is being "Cain'd" that means life is normal! Obviously the new guy, Samardzija, is a key figure. I think if he can use that splitter/forkball effectively he could be a groundball machine which plays to the team's strength. I think he will figure it out and be a solid contributor.

That's enough for now. Here's a few more pictures from yesterday:

That seriously hairy dude is me. Didn't need the jacket--or the sunglasses.

My dear friends Ron and Susanna. Good times!

Giants hit the road tomorrow for three in Denver followed by three in LA. Looks like MadBum v. Kershaw again on Friday. Wow.



Sunday, April 10, 2016

Giants Power Past Dodgers

9-6 win in SF
Johnny Cueto had a nightmare 1st inning in his San Francisco debut. It started when he hit Chase Utley, the first batter, and ended with him giving up five runs on five hits and a walk. He even looked bad in the field, failing to cover first base on a bunt. We weren't happy campers, but we knew that the best time to be behind 5-0 was the 1st inning, so we had not gone over to despair. Sure enough the boys answered with two runs in the bottom half. Dodgers starter Scott Kazmir gave up a two-out hit to Buster Posey, walked Hunter Pence, then gave up singles to Brandon Belt and Matt Duffy. We had the feeling that if Cueto could settle down the lads would get more chances to do some damage.

Sure enough JohnnyC hit the reset button and threw six excellent innings,five scoreless, giving up one run in the 4th and notching eight strikeouts. The lineup, meanwhile, stepped up with three to tie it in the 3rd on two spectacular home runs, one by Buster Posey and one by Brandon Belt. We had a great view of both, Buster's was a high, soaring blast to left that stayed up forever, Brandon's was a screaming liner to center that got out in a hurry. Even the run the Dodgers got in the 4th was answered right away by Angel Pagan's solo shot. Whatever LA could conjure up the Giants seemed to have an answer. In the 6th the Giants knocked out three more runs off reliever Louis Coleman, the big blow a double to deep center from Joe Panik.

The bullpen was up to the task and go the last six outs, one by Sergio Romo, two by Josh Osich, and a neat 1-2-3 9th from Santiago Casilla. All in all it was a fine day at the yard. The Giants take three of four and come within a whisker of a sweep. We had an excellent group of old friends in section 148 today and the mood at the Park was festive. The youngster next to me got a ball tossed to him by Hunter Pence, that was a nice moment (excellent work by JC to make it happen!). The weather was overcast and pleasantly cool, very comfortable for sitting and watching the action. We got to jump up and down a lot and celebrate. The Giants had 12 hits including three doubles and three homers! JohnnyC looked bad and then he looked great and finished strong.

Here's a few shots of the group:

That's JC on the selfie-cam with Jim behind him, then Susanna and Ron to the right and Zo in front of them.  

That's me on the left and Steve behind me, JC on the cam and Jim on the right.

The Giants have hit 14 homers in 7 games. I don't think we can count on that sort of pace, but I do think this team will be able to thump it. They can also do the small-ball thing and the keep-the-line-moving contact hitting thing and the gappers-and-speedy runners thing. It's a versatile lineup. If they get consistent pitching they will be very tough. Cueto showed, for the last six, what it can look like. It's too early in the year to get too high or low, but damn if the team didn't show us something this weekend!

More tomorrow,


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Mad Cain'ed

Man, these games..........

3 - 2, Giants lose in 10.

I'm not one to believe in or comment on baseball gods, or horsehide kismet, or whatever.  You can do that if you want.  My philosophy is simple.  I want the Giants to crush the doggers, every time they meet.  Every time.

So, I am not happy.  The Giants were up against a very tough pitcher*,  Clayton Kershaw and they managed to get to hit two home runs.  That was worth 2 runs and it could have been enough, but it wasn't.  A walk, a single, and a hit batter by Santiago Casilla put Adrian Gonzalez at the plate with 1 out.  A double play ball.....was botched on a wet infield by Kelby Tomlinson to allow a run.  LA then scored in the 10th on two doubles.

Madison Bumgarner was on the hill and he gave us 6 very good innings.  He pitched himself in and out of trouble, and LA's first run came in the 3rd.  Madison gave up 3 singles and then hit Van Slyke for a run.  Well, kind of hit, more like sort of barely touched.  Not Van Slyke exactly, his uniform.  Bruce Bochy made a case that the batter has to at least try to get out of the way, but that is not something that is appeal-able.  So Madison gave up the 1 run, 6 hits, struck out 8, and walked only 1 in 102 pitches.  Casilla blew the save opportunity, Kontos got the loss.  Madison Bumgarner hit a home run - off of Clayton Kershaw!  So did Ehire Adrianza!  Those were 2 of only 4 hits Kershaw allowed in 8.  He struck out 5, walked 1 and threw 91 pitches.  You could say that Madison outpitched Kershaw - while he was in the game.  But he could not match his innings.

* A note here: the wisdom spewed out by the media was that the doggers had "questions about their rotation."  So far, their starters have given up 8 runs in 39.1 innings (6 starts).  That includes the 5 given up by Wood to the Giants after he blanked them for 4 and the 1 earned by Stripling because he walked the hitter in front of Trevor Brown.  Come on Giants, LA started the year with 10 guys on the DL.  10!  Make hay while the sun shines!

To end this post on a lighter note, let's count the Giants who have hit home runs:
Denard Span
Hunter Pence
Joe Panik
Matt Duffy (2)
Brandon Crawford (2)
Ehire Adrianza
Buster Posey
Trevor Brown
Madison Bumgarner

Holy Shit, No One's Posted Yet?

Everyone too exhausted?  What a game!  I thought for awhile the post would have to be "No-hit by Nobody" because, you know, the Giants seemed to be living up to their venerable tradition of making unheard of pitchers look like Cy Young.

But Dave Roberts!  I have no doubt that he will be answering questions about last nights game for - well, for the rest of his career.  I guess he decided to pull his rookie pitcher, Ross Stripling, after 100 pitches.  But he never thought that doing so would fuck up a no-hitter.

2 hits for the Giants.  Total.  In 10 innings.  That was enough, Giants 3 - Dave-Roberts-will-never-admit-in-public-what-must-be-killing-him-in-private's team 2.

Yow.  Details here.  Commentary practically everywhere.  Matt Cain pitched pretty well.

It's very wet today - but no more than drizzly.  Be careful!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Giants Top Dodgers in Wild Opener

12-6 win in SF
The Dodgers did not allow a run in their first three games, all in San Diego, and got four scoreless from southpaw starter Alex Wood in this afternoon's Opener at AT&T Park. If they'd gotten a fifth they'd have tied a major-league record for the most consecutive scoreless innings to start a season. Trailing 4-0 in the 5th the home crowd, and the Giants, needed a lift. Brandon Crawford got things started with a leadoff walk and pinch-hitter Kelby Tomlinson put down a perfect bunt single and suddenly it was a rally. A run scored two outs later, ruining LA's streak, but the big blow came off the bat of Joe Panik, a triple to center to score another. That got the crowd into the game and the Giants rolling.

Chris Heston took the 6th, Peavy giving up four runs on ten hits in his five, and went 1-2-3, looking very sharp. Ol' Jake wasn't pretty today but he was actually better than the other guy. Wood came back out to pitch the 6th but did not get an out and the Giants rallied for four more, with 9th-place hitter Angel Pagan doing much of the damage.

Javier Lopez was awesome in the 7th, but gave up a hit to Adrian Gonzalez to start the 8th. Sergio Romo got the lefty pinch-hitter Carl Crawford but gave up a homer to lefty Joc Pederson before getting the next two outs. That blow gave Giants fans a bit of nerves, but the home team was not done scoring. A rally highlighted by another perfect bunt single, this one from Denard Span, was punctuated by a ridiculous bomb--a grand slam--from Hunter Pence off Pedro Baez.

Hunter Strickland pitched the 9th and got to have a matchup with Yasiel Puig and he blew his heater by him twice to end it. Very satisfying. There was one episode early in the game where Panik failed to complete a double play by coming off the bag too soon after the feed from Crawford. In the old days it would have been a "neighborhood play" and the runner would have been out. But the Dodgers correctly called a challenge and the video review overturned the field umpire. That play bears closer watching as the year develops, wouldn't you say?

This was the most runs scored by the Giants at PhoneCo in an Opener. I was at the first game in PacBell: Kevin Elster of the Dodgers hit three home runs. Crazy, man. Folks had more fun today, I reckon.

Matt Cain tomorrow night. GO GIANTS!


P.S. I mentioned earlier that RMC will be well-represented (three of us) at Sunday's game featuring Johnny Cueto. We will be in Section 148, the Arcade. I'll be in the front row, seat 9, dressed in black. Look for the long hair. If any readers are at the yard, please come by and say hello!

P.P.S. Actually it will be FOUR of us, as Ron pointed out in the comments! Ron, Zo, JC, and me. I'm still the one with most hair.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Flat Giants Fall in Finale

4-3 loss in Milwaukee
The Giants gave away too many baserunners today--7 walks and 9 hits--and could not respond with enough offense of their own to catch the Brewers. A ragged Jeff Samardzija showed flashes of clutch pitching, limiting the damage with a strikeout or double-play grounder when he needed one, but too many balls in play went for hits. Add in three walks and Milwaukee's lineup just had too many chances. If he had gotten another double-play grounder in the 6th he would have pulled off a 'quality start,' as it was he left after 5-1/3 with the game tied 3-3. Of all people Javier Lopez walked the first guy he faced to lead off the 7th and that run came around and was the game-winner.

Buster Posey was thrown out at the plate in the 1st on a nice effort from third baseman Aaron Hill who nabbed a popup in shallow left with his back to the plate and spun around and made an excellent throw to get the out. I have a rule: Buster Posey should NOT EVER be thrown out at the plate. (1) He's too slow. Don't chance it. (2) He's too valuable. Don't chance it. Alas, that was a critical not-run. Gregor Blanco scores easily on that play, but he's Gregor Blanco. I'm not one of these ballplayers-are-china-dolls types, I like to see athletes athleticize. But no way Posey should run on close tag plays. Let the next guy hit him in. The Giants had a chance in the 8th and two hard smashes to center by Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt went for outs. A little luck, there's the tying run.

Samardzija looked like he could not throw his forkball/splitter thingie. That's what he'll need to get more swing-throughs and weak contact. His fastball has some life, the gun said he hit 94 mph, and his slider looked good but he did not have enough command of it. A sweep would have been nice but the Giants did what they needed to do which was take two of three. The Brewers may have a lousy team, but they are still major-leaguers and even the worst teams win 40% of the time!

Next up is Los Angeles in the Home Opener tomorrow afternoon. Jake Peavy gets the nod against Alex Wood. I think everyone is excited about the impending Madison Bumgarner-Clayton Kershaw matchup on Saturday.



Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Giants Edge Brewers

2-1 win in Milwaukee
Johnny Cueto worked fast tonight and threw a lot of strikes. He gave up some hard hit balls but the Giants kept the Brewers down with their usual excellent fielding. The final line was seven innings, six hits, a run, no walks, and four strikeouts in 96 pitches. It was just the sort of start he's expected to deliver so it was a grand debut for JohnnyC. He threw first-pitch strikes to 20 of the 26 batters he faced and mixed it up well. The Giants had lots of chances but a 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position limited the damage. They settled for two and that was a enough. One was a massive blast from Brandon Crawford. Brewers starter Jimmy Nelson also pitched a good game, he's from Klamath Falls.

A thumper yesterday, a squeaker tonight, it matters not by how many but only that that the "W" is in the column. I like those relaxing wins, the tense ones wear me out. But they sure are ones to savor! Nice work from Romo and Casilla to nail it down.

Jeff Samardzija gets the getaway game tomorrow at 10:40 a.m. Pacific.



p.s. Cueto's next start will be Sunday in San Francisco against the Dodgers. I think RMC will be well-represented. More on that later.

Monday, April 4, 2016

A Great Start!

The Giants started the season, indoors in Milwaukee today (30 degrees F, snow, wind) and made it look easy, at least on offense.  The offense did exactly what they were supposed to, score up and down the line-up, early, and often.

Matt Duffy started things off in the 2nd inning after Hunter Pence reached on a fielding error and Brandon Belt doubled.  A single from Matt put 2 runs on the board and put the Giants up 2 - 1.  More on that in a minute.  In the 3rd, Denard Span picked up the first of his 5 rbi for the day when he singled home Angel Pagan from second.  Denard scored on a Brandon Belt single.  Giants up 4 - 2.

The Giants scored in the 4th, then again in the 5th.  Madison Bumgarner walked in front of an Angel Pagan double (looks like that 'bat the pitcher eighth' thing has some merit) and scored when Denard picked up his second rbi of the day on a sac fly.  That made it 5 - 3.  Then, in the 5th, Brandon Belt, on base for the third time, scored on a Matt Duffy home run.  That made it 7 - 3.

Like the idea of the Giants homering on Opening Day?  So do the Giants.  In the 8th, Denard Span endeared himself to Giants fans with his 3rd, 4th and 5th rbi of the game on a 3 run shot to deep right.  Did you know that he has the same birthday as our own JC Parsons?  Not to be left out of the fun, Joe Panik promptly homered and then Buster Posey homered after him (on the first pitch).  3 in a row!  It has been 19 years since that happened in the major leagues.  Giants 12, Brewers 3.  That held up for the final score.  Dig these hits: 3 hits for Brandon Belt.  2 for D. Span, Buster Posey and Matt Duffy.  1 for Joe Panik, Hunter Pence, Brandon Crawford, Angel Pagan, Ehire Adrianza and Gregor Blanco.  That's 15 - spread nicely around.  The Giants scored 12 and left 7 men on base.

Pitching, uh, .....well....  Our ace, Madison Bumgarner was on the mound and it was not pretty.  Domingo Santana singled to start the game, then Maddy walked 3 Brewers for Milwaukee's first run.  It could have been worse, but for a double play ground ball that got him out of his BB bases-loaded jam.  In the 2nd, Scooter Gennett homered for Milwaukee.  People named Scooter are not expected to homer, nor should they.  In the 3rd, Jonathan Villar homered.  Fortunately, that was all they got.  It was not the last close call, though as in the 4th, Angel threw out a guy (that Scooter, again) at the plate from left.  Maddy somehow hung in there for 5 innings, the announcers said he was recovering from a flu bug, but he was also rough during the spring, so maybe just not quite there yet.  He struck out the side in the 5th, though, all swinging strikes.  Madison's line: 5 hits, 3 runs, 2 HR, 5 BB, 6 K on 102 pitches.

George Kontos got himself into trouble in the 6th, but got himself out of it, and Cory Gearrin (man, he looked good), Hunter Strickland and Josh Osich finished the game with 1 inning each.  So, YEAH!  Way to go Giants!  Nothing wrong with sitting atop the division at the beginning of the season.  Keep it up!

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Vlog #3 : Preparing for a Trip to the Homeland

We must be very excited!  Two posts on the same day!  I suppose we have good reason.  A great team is about to start an EVEN NUMBERED YEAR.  If that isn't enough,  how about going to see this team at their magnificent home ballpark? Against their arch rivals?  This is likely my only trip to AT&T all year, so, please, watch the episode linked below and give me some helpful advice.

Vlog #3

Great Expectations

I am not used to this. I've spent many seasons of the last several decades telling myself that the Giants would win the World Series. Much--well, most--was bravado. The team sucked and I was hoping for a miracle. There have been some years that I knew the team had talent and could, and even should, compete for a title. This time it's different. I know they have the talent. I know they should compete for the title. That, in fact, it would be a disappointment if they didn't have one of the best records in the game. It is certainly a funny feeling, but I can tell you it is a genuine one. Other than catastrophic injuries (o ye gods, bless us with your favors) there is no reason why this team shouldn't kick some serious baseball butt.

So I enter this season with great expectations. In the Dickens novel the "expectations" refer to an inheritance. A payoff. I was thinking about that. Certainly winning clubs get a hell of an income boost. Check out the Giants payroll! But I was also thinking "all that glitters is not gold." If I grok the plot of GE, our hero finds out that life is tough and doesn't always go as planned. We've all been around the block with our beloved team. We know shit happens. But that's not what I want to think about. I want to accentuate the positive. And this team has a lot of goddamn positives.

Baseball returns to our land today. And the Giants open their season tomorrow.

It's 2016, and I'm stoked.



Saturday, April 2, 2016

Still More from the State's Capitol

Here are a few more of the sights from Wednesday's exhibition in Sacramento.  The crowd was decked out in their finest orange and black.  Hell, the RiverCats themselves donned their new orange alternative SacTown jerseys (too cool, must have!).  I'm sure I will visit Raley Field several times this summer.  Maybe not sliding down a grassy knoll next time, though. ;)