Thursday, June 29, 2006

Suck on this, Armando Benitez

Maybe if you stopped whining and got into shape, you could do this --

Top 9TH B:0 S:0 O:0 Pitcher Change: Jeremy Accardo replaces Jonathan Sanchez, batting 9th.
Top 9TH B:0 S:0 O:1 Hank Blalock grounds out, shortstop Omar Vizquel to first baseman Lance Niekro.
Top 9TH B:2 S:1 O:2 Rod Barajas grounds out, second baseman Ray Durham to first baseman Lance Niekro.
Top 9TH B:4 S:2 O:2 Brad Wilkerson walks.
Top 9TH B:0 S:0 O:2 Offensive Substitution: Pinch runner Freddy Guzman replaces Brad Wilkerson.
Top 9TH B:2 S:2 O:3 Ian Kinsler grounds out, shortstop Omar Vizquel to first baseman Lance Niekro.


I continue to hope that Brian Sabean can sucker someone into taking your fat ass off his hands in exchange for a bit more offense so the Giants could win by more than the 2-1 score today at Mays Field. Am I bitter? Do you even need to ask?

A Ray of hope

Maybe this is what we've been waiting for from Durham since 2003, when he arrived at Mays Field and turned into an old man. First the 3-run walkoff on Saturday and now the grand salami tonight. It's amazing to look at how durable and dependable he was during a seven-year run with the White Sox -- over 150 games a year, double figures in HRs and at least 60 RBIs. He's now got 8 HRs and 35 RBIs heading into the break. Maybe it's not Kevin Frandsen's year after all.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Giants Win posts free commercial!

Hey, Dodger haters! Yes, you -- one of the few and the proud reading the Giants Win site. I found this fine product -- a T-shirt with the legend "If I were a Dodgers fan, I'd kick my own ass" -- simply by Googling "dodgers suck." I have no idea who actually runs this site. But it seems like an appropriate time to post it as part of savoring the 3-game sweep by the Twins, who out-scored the Dodgers 23-8. In today game, Jeff "Gagger" Kent went 0-for-3 and left 4 men on base. The site's sales pitch is right to the point -- We know the Dodgers suck, now everyone else can too

A much better post than mine

The always entertaining Bleeding Black and Orange recaps last night's fiasco at Mays Field -- So today the Rangers figured if they couldn't outscore the Giants, they could at least get more players ejected. They had better luck doing that than swinging the bat against Morris. Mark Texiereixiaiana (or however you spell it) even managed to get himself ejected mid-at-bat in the 9th inning. Not only was it in the 9th inning, it was with two out and the tying run on second base.

I'm sure Gerald Laird appreciated coming into an 0-2 at bat with that kind of pressure.

But hey, what else do you expect coming out of a team that was at one time run by the current President of the United States? Rash, hot-headed decisions are what makes an organization great, right?

No, there are no weapons of mass destruction in San Francisco.

Unless you consider Armando Benitez.

Apologies to Col. Kilgore...

"I love the smell of the Dodgers sucking in the morning. It smells like .... misery" (The Dodgers got swept in Minneapolis in a day game today, 6-3)

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Always something new

I was following the game tonight at Mays Field via MLB.com Gameday and felt cheered up a bit when Accardo got Mark Texeira to go 0-2 with the bases loaded and two outs. Then the site stopped for what seemed like 10 minutes. It turns out that Texeira went berserk; he got thrown out of the game after hitting a foul ball that kicked up chalk on the right field foul line. The umps flat out blew the call. Accardo then needed 7 more pitches before getting pinch-hitter Gerald Laird to fly out. In my 49 years of following major league baseball, this is the first time I've ever heard of a guy getting tossed with one strike left in the game.

I'll admit it -- the Giants lucked out tonight. Based on the ESPN highlight, the umps robbed the Rangers. And that's one reason why I have little patience for people who say something like "Baseball's boring; all the games are the same." That's a bit like saying your life is boring.

It was Accardo's second save, made necessary partly because Worrell messed up and got an error on a simple ground ball. Despite the near loss, I would rather have seen either of them before Big Baby Benitez.

MEMO TO BRIAN SABEAN -- DUMP BENITEZ AND HIS FAT ASS NOW. CALL COLLETTI. The Dodgers obviously don't mind injury-prone fat guys as relievers & they're so desperate for pitching that they just traded Jae Seo and Dioner Navarro to Tampa Bay for Mark Hendrickson and Toby Hall, partly because Bomko went on the DL. Then they went out and lost 9-2 to the mighty Twins.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The B in Billingsley is for Bombed as in Bomko

Hey, Dodger fans -- wasn't that a fine outing tonight against the mighty Twins by your latest HOT young pitcher Chad Billingsley in an 8-2 loss? He's now given up 10 runs in 16 innings, walked 13 and struck out 6. As I live in LA, I have to read endless drivel about how great all these minor league pitchers are going to be. Seems to me that the hype was just as hot for the last few years about Edwin Jackson, who was then traded for your Firecan relief pitcher Danys Baez, who also gave up 2 runs tonight. I bring this up not just to gloat about the Dodgers getting buttkicked but also to point out how fawning and uncritical the coverage of the team is in the LA Times -- even though George W. whined like Armando Benitez today about how the LA Times (along with the NY Times and Wall Street Journal) has had the temerity to disclose the Bush Administration's illegal prying into bank records. By comparison, the SF Bay Area papers don't break a lot of national political stories but they are pretty brutal about assessing the Giants. Check out Tim Kawakami's slam in Monday's Merc-News. Not to split hairs BUT it's a little premature to be writing so apocalyptically. The Giants are only 2 and half games out after 75 games. Meanwhile, the Braves have won lost seven more games than the Giants and are SIXTEEN games out of first. The only way the Braves collapse could have been better is if it had happened to the Dodgers. Maybe it will if they stay with a rotation that includes Billingsley and Bomko.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

It can't end soon enough

Interleague play, that is. Three more games with the Rangers, who are 6-6 in interleague as part of a 40-36 record, and that will be it for the year. Thank God. The Giants are now 5-7 in interleague after today's blowout loss at Mays Field. Screwing with the schedule so that the Giants can play a team from Arlington, Texas, has always seemed seriously pointless to me.

The Chornicle's Ray Ratto had an interesting post on The Splash yesterday, pointing out that the Orange and Black are merely reflecting the overall crappiness of the National League, which is winning about 40% of these contests this year. Of course, Ray did get it wrong that the Giants were now one game under .500 after Durham's walkoff but his confusion is understandable. After today's games, the White Sox and the Red Sox are 10-2 in interleague. Now, can you imagine either of those teams being desperate enough to do what the Giants are doing -- giving close to 100 ABs to as marginal a player as Jose Vizcaino (who got into the game again today and made another out) and letting a has-been like Armando "Big Baby" Benitez blow winnable games? I can't either. Hopefully, Brian Sabean will do something about it soon.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Position open. Contact F. Alou at Mays Field

Didn't it seem as if the entire Giants bullpen was auditioning to fill the closer role this afternoon at Mays Field? Sanchez, Correia, Kline and Worrell -- three and two-thirds inning, giving up a total of one hit and two walks. And no runs.

It's time for me to give props to Daniel at Orange and Black Baseball for pointing out a few weeks ago that Ray Durham has had a tendency to start slow and improve as the year goes on. Hard to believe that Ray actually managed to come up bigger than Barry Bonds, who had a monster day via HR No. 719, a vital double in the 7th and a walk in the 9th to precede Ray's walkoff HR. Truly one of the biggest hits of the year, pushing the Giants back to .500 after 74 games.

Zip it

MEMO TO ARMANDO BENITEZ -- JUST SHUT UP. WE'RE NOT INTERESTED IN YOUR BRAINLESS RAMBLINGS AND YOUR IDIOTIC EXCUSES ("IT'S ALL OMAR'S FAULT!!!!"). HERE'S SOME ADVICE FOR YOU, EINSTEIN: DON'T SAY "I KNOW WHAT I CAN DO" WHEN YOU'VE BLOWN 40% OF YOUR SAVE OPPORTUNITIES. NOW EVERYONE KNOWS YOU'RE STUPID.

A poster named Snof at McCovey Chronicles made an excellent point in a pre-game post in the Gameday thread:

I decided to take a look at some stats to make sure my impression of Benitez's sucking isn't something I just imagined. After all, if he's as bad as I think he is, there's no way any manager would ever put him in a close game. Here are some numbers I think Felipe should look at.
Last 12 appearances (IP - H - BB):

1.0 - 1 - 1
1.2 - 2 - 1
1.0 - 2 - 1
1.0 - 1 - 0
1.0 - 1 - 0
1.0 - 0 - 2
1.0 - 2 - 0
1.0 - 1 - 1
1.0 - 1 - 1
1.0 - 1 - 0
1.0 - 0 - 0
1.0 - 3 - 1

Note that he had 1 (only one!) outing in which he didn't allow a baserunner. Maybe I'm old-fashioned or something, but when I think of a closer, I think of someone who consistently comes in and gets a 1-2-3 inning and sends the fans home happy.

What's so hard to understand?

After last night's 9th inning meltdown by Benitez at Mays Field, Felipe Alou said what you'd expect he'd say -- that Benitez is still the closer. Managers have to say things like that. You can bet that Sabean and Alou are sorting out their options -- Accardo? Worrell? -- and if someone like Steinbrenner came swooping in with a decent trade offer, they would pull the trigger. What's sort of maddening is the willingness of sportswriters to swallow Felipe's statement at face value. I just read this from Pete Cafone (whoever he is) on the Chronicle's Splash blog.

Meanwhile, this blogger who earlier in the week was hoping Benitez would get an opportunity to make it three saves in a row got his wish. And although it didn't turn out the way the Giants were hoping, his teammates and manager Felipe Alou reiterated after the game that Benitez was still the man. And right now, the Giants really have no other choice.

MEMO TO PETE CAFONE -- Get real. The Giants have all kinds of choices. Do you actually believe that it's acceptable for the Giants management to keep losing winnable games?

Friday, June 23, 2006

I'm Fedexing some more diapers, Armando

MEMO TO ARMANDO BENITEZ -- Perhaps after gagging away the game tonight at Mays Field, now you understand why people question your ability. The 2006 Oakland A's aren't exactly the 1927 Yankees but you certainly make them look that way. But I get the feeling that I'm wasting my time pointing this out because you'll find a way to blame it on someone else -- again.

For those of you with strong stomachs, let's review Blown Save No. 4, shall we?

Top 9TH B:0 S:0 O:0Pitcher Change: Armando Benitez replaces Jeremy Accardo, batting 4th.
Top 9TH B:0 S:0 O:0Defensive Substitution: Jason Ellison replaces left fielder Barry Bonds, batting 9th.
Top 9TH B:0 S:3 O:1Antonio Perez called out on strikes.
Top 9TH B:0 S:1 O:1Jason Kendall singles on a fly ball to right fielder Randy Winn.
Top 9TH B:3 S:2 O:1Bobby Kielty singles on a line drive to left fielder Jason Ellison. Jason Kendall to 3rd.
Top 9TH B:1 S:1 O:2Mark Kotsay out on a sacrifice fly to center fielder Steve Finley. Jason Kendall scores.
Top 9TH B:2 S:1 O:2Nick Swisher triples (2) on a fly ball to right fielder Randy Winn. Bobby Kielty scores.
Top 9TH B:4 S:0 O:2Armando Benitez intentionally walks Eric Chavez.
Top 9TH B:1 S:0 O:3Bobby Crosby flies out to center fielder Steve Finley.

MEMO TO BRIAN SABEAN -- GET RID OF THIS LOSER NOW. HE'S DECLARED THAT HE DOESN'T WANT TO BE IN SAN FRANCISCO AND HE'S CERTAINLY PITCHING LIKE IT. CUT YOUR LOSSES AND TRADE HIM BEFORE HE HAS NO VALUE AND BEFORE HIS CRAPPY ATTITUDE TAKES DOWN THE WHOLE TEAM.

Mays Field

Dedicated readers of Giants Win may have realized that I have decided to stop using AT&T Park in these postings, opting instead to call it Mays Field. I've always thought it was a great idea and I want to offer my support the organization that's pushing it. Additionally, Lefty Malo makes the excellent point in a new posting that AT&T Park is named after an entity that has no interest in protecting individual privacy, then links to a very astute article in the S.F. Chronicle explaining why.

MEMO TO AT&T -- YOU AREN'T GETTING ANY MORE FREE PUBLICITY ON THIS SITE, UNLESS IT'S BAD PUBLICITY.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Why baseball is better than soccer

You would know the answer if you had watched today's 2-1 loss by the USA to Ghana at the World Cup -- disgraceful reffing and endless diva flopping by players -- and then saw highlights of today's amazing Marlins-Orioles game, which included back-to-back pinch-hit HRs in the 9th and Miguel Cabrera's stunning hit in the 10th during an intentional walk attempt.

Daniel at Orange and Black Baseball had an excellent post about the World Cup today. Here's the first part --

No more World Cup for me. I've decided three things about soccer: 1) I don't mind watching it, and could even grow to like the action, 2) I cannot stand watching fouls, and 3) I cannot stand the way the referees can take over a game. Fouls and what comes with them are likely one of those "just part of the game" things to other countries who know a lot more about soccer than I ever will, but watching some of these players go down without getting hit, go down in apparent agony even though they have barely been hit, and writhe on the ground in pain whenever they hit the grass to waste time when their team has the lead is enough to make me retch.

I can dream, can't I?

Here's some decent news for an off-day after a loss at Mays Field -- The Giants have activated Kevin Frandsen and Felipe Alou is saying that he's looking for Frandsen to back up Feliz, Vizquel and Durham. What's unsaid by official MLB writer Rich Draper is how Frandsen is apparently taking over the role that Jose Vizcaino has filled so inadequately this year. The same article notes that Lance Niekro is coming back in a few more days, so perhaps it's the end of the line for Vizcaino. The Giants have had the good sense recently to cut loose other guys with declining to no value -- Woody, Jeff Fassero, Edgardo Alfonzo and J.T. Snow -- so ditching a guy who's mostly wasting plate appearances (21 for 87 with 2 doubles, 1 HR and 4 RBIs) ought to be simple, particularly given Frandsen's potential to make a much more significant offensive contribution. Perhaps I am reading too much into this, but I am hoping that maybe Vizcaino's brainless steal attempt of 3rd with 2 out earlier this week (he got thrown out easily) was the last straw for Sabean.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

It could be worse

There's nothing -- NOTHING -- like a painful Dodger loss to ease the pain of a Giants loss at Mays Field. There was serious gagging tonight at Chavez Latrine as Danys Baez blew his seventh save, combining with Jonathan Broxton to change the game from a 5-2 Dodger lead to an 8-5 Mariners lead in the 7th and 8th innings. Now the Dodgers have a 5-game losing streak. It was so bad in the bottom of the 9th tonight that Charlie Steiner and Rick Monday had conceded the game with J.J. Putz going three up, three down. He's struck out 46 and walked six in 34 innings this year.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers are now so desperate that they plan on starting Cesar Izturis at third base tonight even though he's never played there and can't hit MLB pitching. Maybe Colletti can get Russ Davis to un-retire.

Finally, in an effort to stress all the positives coming out of Southern California, Kobe Bryant has to feel thoroughly embarrassed to watch Shaq get another NBA trophy after forcing Shaq out of Los Angeles and Vin Scully has slammed Bud Selig. Scully usually goes Mr. Nice Guy on virtually everything except the Giants and Bonds, but on Tuesday's Dodgers broadcast he really blasted the idea that the All-Star game—"a meaningless exhibition" is what he called it —is used to award home-field advantage for the World Series.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

How does that taste, John Lackey?

Plenty went right tonight at Mays Field -- gutsy performance by Matt Morris on the mound and at the plate, a decent 9th inning by Armando Benitez (I still say trade him while he's got some value) but mostly it was SWEET PAYBACK to the over-rated John Lackey, who's unfortunately on the list of good-to-great pitchers(Bob Gibson, Mickey Lolich, the Big Unit, Ken Holtzman, Frank Viola, Jack Morris, Allie Reynolds, Paul Derringer, Dizzy Dean) who have won a World Series 7th game. Guess what, John? You'd better savor 2002 because you now play for a team that officially sucks. You're 4-5 and the Angels are now 9 games under .500

And it looks like Fox Sports West, like the Angels, is happy to settle for incompetence. It's hard to believe that the brainless Rex the Wonderdog Hudler would have any job at all were he not a former MLB player. Since I live in Southern California, I'm often subjected to his alleged "coverage" which included massive praise tonight for Jose Vizcaino before he grounded weakly to SS with Alfonzo on 2nd and one out in the 7th. Here were some of Rex's timewasters, all delivered at ear-splitting volume -- "He can play FOUR infield positions! He's been in the league for 16 years! He started for the Giants in 1997!"

MEMO TO REX HUDLER -- You are the biggest idiot in sports today. I suppose you identify with Vizcaino as being a similar player to you. Let's get real -- he's a terrible player now, sort of like what you were at the end of your career when you went 5-for-41 for the Phillies in 1998. Actually, you were even worse than Vizcaino throughout your career, which included a liftetime .296 onbase percentage. That said, you're even worse as an announcer. Would you please do us all a favor and just go away?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Matt Cain is THE MAN

The Giants have now won the last six times that Matt Cain has started. He took a no-hitter into 8th on a gorgeous night at Mays Field that gave the Giants a little payback for 2002. Had he gotten the last four outs, it would have been the first Giants no-hitter since The Count tossed one 30 years ago. My fave play was the Tim Salmon strikeout -- blowing it past him on the inside at 99 mph in the 8th inning while Salmon tried pathetically to play it like it was ball 4 -- so Cain may have been tapped out at 130 pitches when he gave up the one hit to Figgins, who was the next batter. It looks like Charlie Reliford's strike zone was some kind of tribute to the late Eric Gregg, particularly when Escobar was pitching. All in all, a fine way to obliterate the lost weekend in Seattle. It didn't even matter that Jose Vizcaino idiotically ended an inning by getting thrown out while trying to steal third base. He hasn't stolen a base all year; there are 2 outs -- just plain stupid. GET RID OF HIM. I don't care if he's replaced by J.T. Snow, who was just designated for assignment by the Red S0x. And as far as Armando "Crybaby" Benitez is concerned, I'll admit he managed not to gag the save opportunity in the 9th, giving up a single. As far as I'm concerned, it was a decent audition for a trade. I still say get rid of him NOW before the inevitable collapse. I'm not in the mood to forgive a guy whose reaction to blowing three saves was to blame everyone else.

The Angels may be insane

It's the Giants potential good fortune for the next 3 games to be playing a team that seems to be run by incompetents.

It's hard to believe that a stiff like Edgardo Alfonzo got work with the Angels and the Blue Jays this year. At least the Angels had the good sense to kick Elfatso to the curb after he went 5-for-50. However, they've also recently decided to send Jared Weaver back to Salt Lake City after he won his first four starts so that older brother Jeff the Jerk Weaver can continue to get bombed. I guess that it's in the name of justifying his $8 million/year salary. Jeff's 3-9 with an ERA over 6.00 and 17 HRs in only 80 innings. By contrast, Matt Morris -- who hasn't exactly sparkled for the Giants despite his $9 million/year deal -- looks stellar by comparison with a 4-7 record, a 4.87 ERA and 9 HRs in 88 innings.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

"At least the Dodgers lost" redux

Let's focus on what went right today -- Jeff "Whiner" Kent up to PH in the 9th with 2 out, representing the tying run, but gags into the final out of the game to give Oakland a 5-2 vic. Way to go, Whiner!

I have decided not to recap the seriously depressing game today at Safeco other than noting that any game with Jose Vizcaino in the lineup is automatically started with a disadvantage. It's gotten to the point where I almost don't want him to get a hit, since that will mean even more ABs than the 82 he's already gotten. (He's driven in 4 rbi, and has 2 doubles and 1 HR for a .305 slugging average). It's not just me -- Daniel at Orange and Black Baseball has been updating the "Let's Waive Goodbye to Jose Vizcaino Count-Up" for over 2 weeks.

Instead, I want to focus on noting that the Giants are now under .500 as they head into a 9-game homestand at Mays Field with the other three AL West teams. So it's time to make 'em pay for that stupid DH rule!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Trett Bomko

Hey, Dodger fans -- How are you enjoying watching Tomko get bombed over and over? After last night's whipping by the A's, he's now 5-6 with an ERA over 5.00. You could have gotten the same performance out of Scott Erickson. Anyone who followed the Giants for the last two years could have told you this would happen. And Colletti should have known.

Despite last night's loss in Seattle, there's some decent news -- Bonds hit No. 718, his second HR in two games. And Schmidt is going today. He's been so good recently that I'll be surprised if they don't win.

Friday, June 16, 2006

"I'm not a loudmouth; I'm just drunk"

Due to business obligations, I'm in Fort Worth, Texas, and managed to attend the White Sox-Rangers game at Ameriquest last night with a couple of Sox fans. The Pale Hose outclassed the Rangers, 8-2, in every way possible including a suicide squeeze by Juan Uribe and a towering 450-foot HR by Jim Thome. Moments before, Brad the Sox fan had been heckling the Ranger reliever named Mahay for pitching carefully, yelling "What are you afraid of?" I replied, "That he's gonna hit it 500 feet." As Thome rounded the bases, the Ranger fan in front of us said, "Your friend's a loudmouth." To which Brad replied, "I'm not a loudmouth; I'm just drunk."

By that time, the scoreboard had posted SF 8 AZ 2 F but I never truly relaxed until that point, knowing how volatile the Giants pen has been. With even adequate relieving, the Giants could have a nice lead in the NL West. Meanwhile, the Sox fans I talked to aren't really worried about the Tigers being a game or two in front. What's to worry about when you're 41-24 with frontline players in every spot?

The always-entertaining Bleeding Orange and Black has a fine post about the bipolar quality of the Giants, noting that they scored a total of 8 runs in the four straight losses and then piled on 19 in the last two games. If anyone exemplifies that aspect for this team, it's Pedro Feliz, who now has 46 RBIs thanks the six he knocked in last night.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

The magic number

Maybe the key number is .500 this year. As long as the Giants can not go under it, they are just a hot streak and/or trade (Soriano? Cabrera?) away from winning the NL West. Just when things looked awful for the Giants -- thanks again, Armando Benitez -- Bonds, Finley and Vizquel turned it around in an 11-4 buttkick of the Dbacks last night. A loss would have dropped them under .500, always a tough psychological barrier. I remind myself of the 2000 season, when the team stayed under .500 until early July.

If it turns out that way this year, perhaps we'll remember last night's game as one of the key ones, thanks to Bonds going 2-for-3 with 4 RBIs, including HR 717 and a 425-foot single. Here's what he said afterwards, according to the SF Giants official site -- "Truthfully, I think my knee has finally rolled into recovery from the surgery," Bonds said. "I put a lot of pressure on it right away to come back. I've never really allowed it to calm down. Over time it's kind of healing itself. My body is just getting used to it. Because I came back [last] September it wasn't really healing. The first month of season it was more painful than I thought it was going to be."

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

I'll Fedex you a box of diapers, Armando

I never boo a Giant but if there's one thing I despise, after supporting the team for 49 straight seasons, it's a crybaby player who whines about how rough he has it being a part of the Orange and Black. Bobby Murcer did it 1976 after the Giants traded their best player, Bobby Bonds, to get him. Jeff Kent did it multiple times, whining about the uniforms and the cold and lying about breaking his wrist. Now Armando Benitez has decided that -- despite his four blown saves -- he's too good to be criticized, his teammates don't support him and Jon Miller was overly mean to him 6 weeks ago by calling the bullpen "terrible" at a time when it had the worst ERA in the NL. You can read the entire disgusting Oakland Tribune article but it will only piss you off. Hey, Armando -- why not take a look in the mirror? If you had bothered to get in anything close to good shape, you wouldn't have missed most of last year. And if you hadn't signed with the Giants, perhaps they would have gotten a free agent with some actual value like Billy Wagner or BJ Ryan. I'm sure that your temper tamtrum was INCREDIBLY HELPFUL in getting the team fired up to lose a 2-1 heartbreaker in Phoenix tonight. Thanks a lot, Armando. Your diapers are in the mail.

MEMO TO SABEAN -- GET. RID. OF. THIS. LOSER. NOW.

I was originally going to post about how well Jamey Wright has been pitching with 8 innings tonight, allowing only 2 runs. Here's a guy who's managed to make the most of his opportunity. The only truly awful game he had was when he retaliated against the Padres and gave up 7. And the Padres salvaged the day a bit by buttkicking the Dodgers 9-1.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Let's not have a blast

Rather than wallow in the misery left behind by the Pirates visit to Mays Field and wonder why it is that Armando Benitez isn't being summoned in the 8th inning for a 2-inning save, I decided to honor the effort to get AT&T Park renamed Mays Field and post this rather amusing long-ago PSA of Willie Mays telling kids not to play with blasting caps via You Tube. Kudos to the Chron's The Spalsh blog for picking up on this. And in my desperate search for good news, we can again revel in the fact that Edgardo Alfonso has been released for a second time this year, this time by Toronto. Even though Steve Finley went 0-for-17 during the Pirates series, trading Alfonzo still seems like a genius move. This is what the Blue Jays had to say about it -- Alfonzo hit .162 in 12 games for Toronto. "It was tough for me to let him go because I go way back with him," said Toronto manager John Gibbons, who knew Alfonzo from their days in the Mets organization. "He's slowed down a little bit -- no question. He did an awful lot of good things for us, but it's a business."

Daniel at Orange and Black Baseball has an excellent post on the Giants problems and suggests that a deal for Craig Wilson might make sense. Here's part of it -- Honestly, the problem is the same thing I wrote about at the beginning of May -- lack of power. The Giants lead the league in triples, thanks to Triples Alley, but are 2nd to last in the league in doubles and 3rd to last in the league in home runs. Add in the fact that the Giants are dead last in the league in steals and steal percentage, and the problem becomes even worse.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

That felt familiar

Just to offer some perspective to today's nightmare at Mays Field, I'm going to revisit the very painful past and point out that there's little excuse for Brian Sabean not to have seen this coming. Tim Worrell was similarly ineffective at holding a 5-3 lead in the 8th inning of Game 6 of the 2002 World Series -- he pitched to three batters and didn't get anyone out, thus leading to Robb Nen's tragic final appearance in a big league uniform. Whether Dusty should have brought in someone whose arm wasn't irreparably damaged at that point (Schmidt? Reuter?) is something we can debate endlessly, I suppose. But four years later, it's hard to believe Worrell still has a job and is allowed to pitch in crucial situations. Why in the name of Stu Miller are we still running a guy out there who had an ERA over 7.00 last year and is now over 8.00 this year?

Saturday, June 10, 2006

"At least the Dodgers lost"

Words to live by and a bit of salvation for another horrific Giants loss to Pittsburgh at Mays Field -- a 12-9 Dodger loss at Coors Field as Tomko gets hammered and Grady Little admits that Gagne will probably go back on the DL. If I were to be a little salacious, I'd suggest that perhaps the Fat Frenchie's breaking down following a little too much abuse of performance-enhancing drugs. But that would be wrong without any real evidence, so I won't.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Who are these guys?

Is it imaginable that Victor Santos could be pitching for anything other than crappy teams like the Brewers and the Pirates? He's a barely adequate 29-year-old junkballer for filling out rotations when your farm system doesn't have anyone who's ready but he handled the Giants tonight as if he were the second coming of Whitey Ford. He went 4-13 last year in Milwaukee; with tonight's 3-2 vic over the Giants at Mays Field, he's now 21-39 lifetime.

Nick at Giants Cove has an excellent post about the Giants inability to beat up marginal pitchers. Here's part of it -- Moehler. Bush. Santos. Anyone know who these guys are? Yeah neither do I. For what seems like the billionth time this season, the Giants are shut down by a pitcher with mediocre ability and a 5+ ERA. Victor Santos. Remember him? Last season he pitched a complete game gem against us. The pitchers that plague the Giants the most are the ones who…well, shouldn’t. Guys who scrap and claw for a Major League job season after season but somehow manage to make their way into rotations turn out to be the Giants worst nightmare day to day.

This loss was particularly offensive due to Salomon Torres coming in and shutting the Giants down in the 8th. Thanks again for gagging on the last day of the 1993 season, Salomon. That's what you'll always be remembered for. And I'm sure you're proud of your liftetime 34-45 record. Am I still bitter? Do you need to ask?

Quote of the day

"I'd rather win ugly than lose pretty." -- Felipe Alou after the Pirates wild-pitched the winning run home.

The other Alfonzo

Once the Angels cut him loose after he went 5-for-50, I thought Edgardo's MLB career would be over, but he's now stinking up the joint in Toronto as a second baseman, where he's gone 4-for-28. Of course, all four hits are singles. In last night's game, the Jays pinch hit for him in the 6th with Frank Catalonatto, who singled in a run to cap a 3-run rally, then subbed in Luis Figueroa at 2B. Luis is 1-for-9 this year. Apparently, it's all part of some desperate plan to get Aaron Hill switched from 2B to SS.

Meanwhile, Brian Sabean still looks smart for ditching Elfatso for Steve Finley, who's batting .256 with 2 HRs, 26 RBIs in 176 ABs. He also still leads MLB in triples with 8. And the new Alfonzo is 4-for-15 with 3 RBIs along with scoring the winning run last night.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Sorta kinda memorable

The Giants squeezed out a 5-4 vic tonight on a wild pitch, an Alou HR and the Pirates ineptitude, which included leaving 15 men on base. It's not quite the same kind of classic game as Schmidt's 16-strikeout masterpiece. Lefty Malo used Tuesday's game as a jumping off point for a fine post today about some of the more memorable games he's attended, including the Brian Johnson HR game in 1997, Game 4 of the 2002 NLCS & the JT Snow pinch-hit HR off Benitez in the 2000 NLDS.

For me, the two that come immediately to mind are from four years ago -- Game 5 of the 2002 NLCS with Lofton driving home Bell and Game 5 of the World Series, with hundreds of rubber chickens thrown onto the field from the bleachers at the end. "Oh my God, it's raining chickens," my sister said while we were rejoicing in the CF bleachers.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

No mercy

It's time to put the hammer down on the Pittsburgh Pirates, who start a 4-game series Thursday. The Pirates have won three World Series since the Giants moved to SF including 1971, when the Giants had a better team. Am I still bitter? Do you actually need to ask? And it's typical of Bud Selig to have awarded the Pirates this year's All-Star game before giving one to SF even though Mays Field has been open for seven years and delivered hundreds of thrills; meanwhile, the Pittsburgh franchise has been nothing but a suckfest since 1992. Despite having a nice new park financed on the taxpayer dime, they still have an owner who's trying to get by on the cheap. I suppose I should be grateful to the franchise that developed Barry Bonds and made what's one of the worst trades since the Dodgers coughed up Pedro Martinez for Delino Deshields. Let's recap why the Pirates need to suffer for their stupidity -- On July 30, 2001, after a 4-game sweep of the Diamondbacks, the Giants acquired righthander Jason Schmidt and outfielder John Vander Wal from the Pirates. New Pittsburgh GM Dave Littlefield, making his first trade, received outfielder Armando Rios and righthander Ryan Vogelsong in return.

My dumb but true baseball rule

I felt a fleeting moment of vindication as the Triple A excuse for a team that calls itslef the Marlins buttkicked the Giants all over Mays Field today, though it lasted only a milli-second before returning to despair over the 8-1 loss. Unlike Pete Rose, I don't bet on baseball. But if I did, I would always bet on teams to win the third game of a series after they've lost the first two. Even if it's the Marlins on the road and even if their pitcher is 2-6 going in. Of course, it helps that Dontrelle Willis pitched like the Dontrelle of last year and stiffs like Dan Uggla decided to hit like the 1927 Yankees.

The Ace Nets 16 Dead Fish

Well, the headlines can't all be gems. That's the best I could do early Wednesday after hearing about Schmidt's performance tonight. I was at Chavez Latrine to watch the Mets' Jose Valentin gag the game away to the Dodgers; the auxiliary scoreboard kept an SF 2, FLA 1 T9 score up for well over half an hour before changing the T9 to an F. During the entire evening, the only Jumbo-Tron update came with some unfunny 6-6-06 reference to the Angels-Devil Rays game, a 14-2 blowout. As Lisa Lupner used to say, "That's so funny I forgot to laugh." And as I keep saying -- clueless and classless are the bywords for the Dodger organization. It turns out Schmidt matched the 102-year-old franchise record, set by Matty himself, with 16Ks. I figured there had been multiple releivers but hours later, I discover it was just Schmidt pitching to five guys & preserving a 2-1 vic -- singles by Dan Uggla and Mike Jacobs, then Ks for Miguel Cabrera, Josh Willingham and Jeremy Hermida. In the meantime, Grady Little brought in Gagne in the 9th for the cheapo save (protecting a 3-run lead). The Fat Ugly Frenchie used little else but junk; his fastest fastball hit 91 mph. The 100 mph heater is nowhere in sight.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Quote of the night

Thanks to always entertaining Bleeding Black and Orange: So the quote of the night goes to Duane Kuiper, when Randy Winn cleared the bases with a triple and Uggla airmails a throw into the stands, "Uggla released an Uggly one! It's a little league home run for Winn!"

HR 716!!!!!

Well, it only took eight days. And it was off Brian Mohler of the Marlins and moved the lead from 6-1 to 8-1. Still, I say it's damn exiciting. But ESPN took its sweet time about even admitting that it had happened. Instead, they had Joe Morgan opining on "Diamond Cutters," delivering gems like it's a "big mistake" that the Red Sox haven't opened up a big lead on the Yanks now that Matsui is out. Gee, thanks, Joe. I'm sure they're impressed in Boston and will take your advice to heart. I think it's time to link to the Fire Joe Morgan blog. Joe also said it's OK for the Mets' Lastings Milledge to have celebrated Sunday with his 1st MLB HR against Benitez in the 10th. They finally announced Bonds' HR after 5 minutes of Joe's nonsense, then showed an upcoming David Ortiz highlight, then went to a Chevy suburban commercial, then anounced a stupid poll about how more fans think the Red Sox will miss the playoffs than the Yankees.

Memo to ESPN -- not everyone who watches your network is obsessed with the Red Sox and Yanks. I can understand your giving time to Roger Clemens' return, Junior Griffey's game-winning HR and the death of umpire Eric Gregg (a nice man who probably did a service over the long term by bringing attention to how out of whack umps' strike zones were thanks to his awful calls during the 1997 NLCS). But the endless recapping of a 13-5 buttkick at Yankee Stadium? It looked like dozens of other Yank buttkicks. Calm down, guys.

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Winning ugly

Thank God the Giants are done with the Mets this year. Today's 7-6 victory in extras was as tasty as they come despite the blown save by Benitez (his third) and more horrible base-running by Ellison for the second time in 2 days. On the plus side --

-- a game-winning RBI by Feliz after he'd gone 0-for-4 and left six runners on base
-- great relief pitching by the younsters: Sanchez in the 11th and Accardo in the 12th
-- a walk, single and double for Durham after he replaced Fransden in the 8th
-- Barry Bonds delivering an RBI via a groundout to get in the first run in the 3-run 8th; I've always been amazed at how good Barry is at doing the little things.

Daniel at Orange and Black Baseball was nice enough to point out after my dismissive Durham post last night that Ray also started playing lousily in 2005 but got better as the year went on. Ray's in the final year of a 4-year $27 million deal so he'd better keep stepping it up if he wants a decent deal for next year.

Is Durham the new Edgardo Alfonzo?

Even Felipe Alou got pissed about not sweeping the DH tonight. According to the Merc-News, he said, "We should have won both games" and pointed to this sequence in the 6th --Randy Winn homers ; Jason Ellison singles, then gets picked off; Finley singles, Greene singles, Durham grounds into double play. Ray-ray went 0-for-4 in Game 2 and is now batting .221, with a .302 OBP and a .368 SLG. He does have 4 HRs, which is double what Alfonzo did all of last year, and 21 RBIs but it's doubtful that he'd bring anything of value in trade at this point. The other Alfonzo, who's named Eleizer, hit a 2-run pinch hit HR in the first game.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Booing your own team

I have been going to Giants games since 1958 at Seals Stadium but I have never booed the team or a player on the team -- no matter how bad it got. Not even during the dog days of the early to mid 70s (I saw a 15-0 rout by the Pirates in 1975 when Richie Zisk hit for the cycle) and the early to mid 80s and the early 90s. Good fans don't boo their team.

But I live in Los Angeles and see a majority of games at Dodger Stadium AKA Chavez Latrine. And I'm dismissive of Dodger fans because they
1. are classless and clueless
2. are obsessed with beach balls, booing ushers who have the temerity to confiscate them
3. will do the Wave at least once a game and always when the visiting team is up
4. live up to the legend of arriving late and leaving early, though I'm a lot more sympathetic now that I'm married and
5. are a bunch of front-runners who will boo their own team.

In the 8-6 loss to the Phils tonight, Danys Baez blew his 6th save as he came on in the 7th and faced five batters, getting no one out.
Top 7TH B:0 S:0 O:0 Pitcher Change: Danys Baez replaces Jonathan Broxton, batting 7th.
Top 7TH B:1 S:1 O:0 Jimmy Rollins singles on a ground ball to center fielder Kenny Lofton.
Top 7TH B:3 S:2 O:0 With Chase Utley batting, Jimmy Rollins steals (11) 2nd base.
Top 7TH B:4 S:2 O:0 Chase Utley walks.
Top 7TH B:0 S:0 O:0 Bobby Abreu singles on a sharp line drive to right fielder Matt Kemp. Jimmy Rollins to 3rd. Chase Utley to 2nd.
Top 7TH B:0 S:0 O:0 Pat Burrell singles on a soft line drive to center fielder Kenny Lofton. Jimmy Rollins scores. Chase Utley scores. Bobby Abreu to 2nd.
Top 7TH B:4 S:2 O:0 Ryan Howard walks. Bobby Abreu to 3rd. Pat Burrell to 2nd.
Top 7TH B:0 S:0 O:0 Pitcher Change: Takashi Saito replaces Danys Baez, batting 7th.


There was serious booing as Little finally pulled Baez. All in all, a fine night showing what a fraud Baez is as a closer. Still, booing your own team shows no class. Frankly, there's only one thing that Dodger fans do well -- sing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame. No other group is even close, and they actually sing it twice. Anyhow, Gagne pitched the 9th without looking overpowering; he managed to hit a batter and walk one but he did hit 95 mph once on the Stadium gun.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Paging Brian Sabean

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters has an excellent post about the urgent need for the Giants to take advantage of the fact that they remain in contention in the NL West. John's message -- get more offense and make a deal for a bat along the lines as they did previously for Andres Galarraga. Six months ago, John was urging a Frank Thomas signing, which seems remarkably prescient these days. Here's part of his post --

He ended up signing an incentives-laden contract, with a base of $500,000. In other words, he's cheaper than Sweeney, who makes $850,000. All he's done is hit 11 home runs (more than any Giants player has), which projects to about 38 for the year. Sweeney has 38 home runs in his entire 12-year career. Sabean's wrong. He and Magowan are wrong. Their approach to building this team is wrong. It's not too late. Make a move. Get a hitter. Get. A. Hitter.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sweeney & Greene -- A+ in Chemistry

One of the most over-used sportswriting cliches is how a guy with declining skills still deserves to be on the team because of contributions to clubhouse chemistry. I think it's an under-statment to say most sportswriters lack the ability to judge accurately whether that's actually the case -- although it never seems to stop them from making those judgments.

However, Mark Sweeney and Todd Greene seem to have gone out of their way to help make the Giants clubhouse a more hospitable place, according to this MLB story on the Giants Web site. Here's the top of it --

MIAMI -- As a final touch to the champagne toast Giants players had for Barry Bonds after he hit his Babe Ruth-passing 715th homer this past Sunday in San Francisco, several of his teammates have sent out the wine glasses used for the occasion to be inscribed with the date of the milestone blast -- May 28, 2006.
Those tall, slender wine glasses, commonly known as flutes, were purchased along with a half-dozen bottles of champagne by Mark Sweeney and Todd Greene, both new to the team this season. The flutes were originally engraved with the number 715 on one side and the date will now appear on the other.
Sweeney and Greene, who befriended Bonds during Spring Training, had planned the toast as a surprise for weeks. Bonds hit homer No. 713 in Philadelphia on May 7, and the wait for the milestone homers seemed to be interminable at times. But Bonds said he was not surprised by the reaction of his teammates.
"Not with this team, not at all," Bonds said. "They've stood behind me since Day 1 of Spring Training. Since the beginning. Like I said [Sunday], this group as a whole is the best I've ever played with in my entire life. It's just overwhelming the way they've treated me."


The ever-astute Lefty Malo also points out in a recent post that Sweeney managed to say the right stuff to fire up his teammates for Wednesday night's game.