Thursday, May 31, 2007

At least the Dodgers lost

Matt Cain was wobbly early and gave up 4 runs in 2 innings, then closed down the Mets the rest of the way. Unfortunately, the Giants haven't been able to swing the Benitez for Albert Pujols trade yet, so their offense remains pretty pathetic.

Fortunately, one thing went right -- the Dodgers were completely humiliated by the Nats, 11-4.

Advice for the Giants about Benitez

I'll simply post the lyrics from Howling Wolf's great song, "Killing Floor" --

I should'a quit you, long time ago
I should'a quit you, baby, long time ago
I should'a quit you, and went on to Mexico

If I ha'da followed, my first mind
If I ha'da followed, my first mind
I'd'a been gone, since my second time

I should'a went on, when my friend come from Mexico at me
I should'a went on, when my friend come from Mexico at me
I was foolin' with ya baby, I let ya put me on the killin' floor

Lord knows, I should'a been gone
Lord knows, I should'a been gone
And I wouldn't've been here, down on the killin' floor

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Designated Guy to Hate

Sports Illustrated never has anything nice to say about Barry Bonds. It put him on the cover a few weeks ago with a truly idiotic story moralizing about how San Francisco feels about him -- quoting an insane bartender and a couple of 11-years olds, among others. You know that when incoherent bartenders are getting quoted in a story, the writer is getting desperate. Bottom line: people have mixed feelings about Bonds. What a news flash.

I just went through the new issue, which has Tim Duncan on the cover for a story about how he's headed toward his 4th NBA title. Inside there were 3 stories that caught my eye --

1. Michael Vick's being investigated for being involved in dogfighting.
2. A Rick Reilly sermon moralizing about NFL player Pacman Jones' hypocrisy in connection with the poor bouncer who got paralyzed in the Las Vegas shooting that Jones helped provoke.
3. A fairly sympathetic profile on Tony LaRussa, who got popped for DUI after falling asleep at the wheel of a car and then threatened reporters with a fungo bat for having the nerve to ask him about Josh Hancock's death from drunk driving.

I can guarantee that most people regard Barry Bonds as far more evil than any of the three losers I just listed, partly because of SI's relentlessly negative coverage.

Benitez must go

That seems to be the overwhelming sentiment among Giants fans. It's also the name of a new blog. Here's the intro by "Concerned Giants Fan" --

Concerned Giants Fan in agony everytime Armando takes the mound. We are concerned Giants fans that are sick and tired of Armando Blownitez and all his bullshit! This blog is dedicated to his trials and tribulations. If you 'love' Blownitez the way that we do, make yourself heard - it just feels a lot better! Fairness Alert - if Armando gets his head out of his big fat ass and stops blowing saves and stops blaming his teammates for his struggles, I will happily recognize his good work (but I doubt I'll have to).

Also -- Grant at McCovey Chronicles has a classic post!

What a relief

Smiling through the pain

Thanks to sandor clegane (shot during photo day on Saturday) and mdoeff!
Have a look at this for a laugh. Best post of the night was at McCovey Chronicles where SloIsLonelyForTheOrange had this to say --
My hate for mando has just eclipsed my hate for any other live human being, including Hugh Jackman, Karl Rove and Carlos Mencia.
In Soviet Russia, save blows Benitez!
Final word -- The SF Chronicles Ray Ratto's story on Sunday about how Blownitez needs to be "perfect" for fans to accept him looks even lamer now than it was 48 hours ago. No, Ray, you're a boring hack who can't be bothered to ask any actual fans what they're thinking. Had you bothered to do so, you would have found that real fans understand and accept failings from players and no one expects perfection. I saw Robb Nen give up a crushing 2-run homer to Aramis Ramirez six years ago with 2 out in the 9th inning, which tied the game 7-7; no one booed Nen because it was always obvious that he was giving it his best shot. And that's not the case with Armando, who projects the air of a 6-year-old who'd just as soon playing Nintendo.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Upside of Anger

One of my friends -- a huge Giants fan -- dropped me an email tonight after Fatmando Blownitez engineered a horrific loss in New York --

Fuck him .. i'm swallowing every pill I can find in my cupboards to pop and calm down. This was an awful loss tonight and i pin it on one guy.

As well he might. To come back from a 3-2 deficit against the Mets at Shea, to go ahead 4-3 in the 12th and then to see Blownitez find yet another way to gag away a winnable game is almost unreal. And yet, I felt strangely calm as I heard the Mets announcers go crazy with glee on XM Radio, like guys who had just won the lottery. I was reminded of the very good Kevin Costner-Joan Allen movie "The Upside of Anger," which shows that you must find a way to move on, no matter how tragic life seems.

Perhaps I'm being Pollyannish but here are the key points to be taken from this disgraceful game tonight --

1. Tim Lincecum is the real deal. Yes, he made a mistake to Delgado but he also gave the Giants a quality start against one of the top MLB teams in their backyard, a team that nearly made it the World Series last year and is now 34-17.

2. Dan Ortmeier hit a clutch homer late in the game.

3. The jig should be up for Blownitez. Even the most stubborn supporter has to admit that he just can't get it done anymore. It's been clear for a long time that he doesn't have the emotional makeup to handle any kind of adversity. What kind of legitimate MLB pitcher manages to balk not once but twice with the game on the line? In any case, it's time to pull the plug and try someone else -- just like they did two years ago when they got rid of Matt Herges after several games like this one.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Guess who's a weasel?

That would be A.J. Pierzitsky, who decided it would be cool during today's game to spike Justin Mourneau on a close play at first. Of course, he denied it later on but it certainly sounds like the Twins don't believe the denial.

Hard to believe the Giants traded Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano and Boof Bonser for this weasel jerk.

Dave at Excuse Me Swing pointed out recently that A.J. was third most disliked player among MLB players in a recent SI poll. Bonds was first and Kent was second but the same poll found that Kent was far more disliked among NL West players, who have first-hand knowledge of his weaselness.

The lastest on Barry

The SF Chronicle's Henry Schulman recaps Barry's extensive comments to the news media. He doesn't sound particularly hostile, though I'm sure it will spun that way by some sports reporters looking to file a column without have to actually report any news ("Bonds STILL Evil"). Some highlights --

-- He expressed amusement at rip jobs from people he has not met and said, "Now, if I poked you in the eye and I did something out of my way to harm you and you don't like me or you're upset, I'm 100 percent behind you on that one. You have every right. And there are some adult people I have pissed off, and there are some people who have upset me."

-- Bonds said he would not rip other players because "I'm a man. I choose to act like an adult. ... For me to judge you without spending the time with you and wondering why you are the way you are, that's unfair to you and being really chicken s -- by me to sit there and throw a stone at somebody I don't know. I don't do that stuff."

-- Asked if he was relieved to hit a home run after 43 at-bats without one, Bonds said, "My relief is when we win."

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Excuse Me Swing

That's the name of a new -- and well-written -- Giants blog filed out of Reno, the biggest little city in the world. Desribed thusly -- "The random dribblers down the first base line of an unrequited Giants fan..." Definitely worth a read! Here's part of a recent post describing the author's distaste for the sac bunt. The boldface is mine --

Klesko's bunt worked. Winn got to third and eventually scored. There were compelling reasons to let ol' Klesko swing away too. Winn was already in scoring postion. Klesko tends to pull the ball when he hits it on the ground. Teams have taken to an over shift when he is at the plate so it's no secret. He is also a big strapping lug that can get an extra base hit setting up a possible crooked number inning. He may have struck out but Winn would still be in scoring position.Instead, the Giants chose to give up a lot of the potential good clean fun of a big inning and engaged in a strategy that was already old and lifeless when John McGraw was a young manager. It was the safe thing to do. It's certainly been a time tested maneuver. I am not busting Bochy or the Giants for this. You see teams bunt that guy to third in the same situation quite often...It makes me grind my teeth almost every time it happens.I fully cop to old fogeyism but even I am willing to embrace a far more judicious use of the sacrifice bunt. Swing that bat. Let's get a petition drive together.

I blame Blownitez

Since Fatmando Blownitez blames his mistakes on everyone else, I'm blaming the horrific sweep by the Rockies on HIM. As irrational as that may sound, it actually has more basis in fact than The Fat Stupid One's assertion that it's not his fault and that did his job. It's clear that losing winnable games -- like Friday's -- may have a carryover impact on this club. It's also clear that Bochy no longer trusts Blownitez in tight games like this one, where Lowry got bombed early and the pen had cover for the next 5 innings until Kline and Hennessey caved in during the 10th.
Nice going, Fatso.

The Giants front office compounded the sin of signing Blownitez to a 3-year deal by trading away Jeremy Accardo -- who's now a real closer for Toronto -- last July for the worthless Shea Hillenbrand and the marginal Vinnie Chulk.

The new Larry Jaster?

That would be Aaron Cook, the otherwise undistinguished Rox pitcher who completely humiliated the Giants tonight, 6-1, in the first complete game by a Rockies pitcher in 2007. It's his second win over the Orange and Black this year.

What is it about the Giants? This team can beat Roy Oswalt twice in a week while get humbled twice in a few weeks by a nondescript guy with a 32-29 lifetime for one of the most mediocre teams within memory.

It sounded like the batters just couldn't lay off the sinker. In the 8th, Duane Kuiper and Dave Flemming were joking as Ryan Klesko came up that since he had grounded out to first, second and short, he would hit for the cycle if he hit it to Atkins at third. Then Klensko immediately grounded out to second.

OK, who the hell is Larry Jaster, you might wonder. Forty one years ago, he was a second year pitcher for the Cards who went 11-5, thanks largely to beating the Dodgers five times -- twice over Drysdale, twice over Osteen and once over Sutton. The Dodgers had just won two World Series in the past three seasons and would be in the Series again that fall, when they were stomped by Orioles in one of the most inept offensive performances of all time. Maybe Larry Jaster deserves some credit for showing what a fraud their offense had become.

At any rate, Jaster's career mark was 35-33 -- almost the same Aaron Cook.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Diagnosing Bonds

David Pinto at Baseball Musings notes that Barry Bonds seems to be pressing. He notes that since May 8 (the last time he homered), Barry was hitting .338 with a .527 OBA and an .805 slugging percentage. In his last 13 games, he's drawn 19 base on balls, but done little else. His OBA is .436, but his batting average is .139 and he's slugging .167. Here's a particularly fascinating part of the post --

The change in walks actually started on May 4th. Barry has drawn at least one walk in seventeen straight games, leaving him one game short of his own National League record for walks in consecutive games. He may even reach the ML record of twenty two held by Roy Cullenbine, which has stood for sixty years. So are the walks part of the cause of the slump? In early May, it was clear that Barry was as dangerous as any time in his career. It would make sense at that point for opponents to stop pitching to him, hence the rise in walks. But Barry doesn't know how much time he has left, either because his body burns out or the feds take him off the field. So he presses just a bit. He swings at borderline pitches that he'd normally take. Lower quality pitches, lots of walks, low batting average.

Kent "Darryles" as Dodgers Gag

That's as in Darryl Strawberry, as in "called strike 3" -- a tribute invented by my friend Dan the Mets Fan. "Choker" Kent came up with the bases loaded in the 8th with 2 outs today at Chavez Latrine against the Cubbies and struck out looking against the immortal Will Ohman. The Dodgers were down 4-2 at the point and didn't score in the 9th after Ryan Dempster got Fatso Saenz to hit into a 5-4-3 DP to end the game.

Earlier in the inning, Grady Little had shown what a brainiac he isn't by letting Tony Abreu hit with 2 on and one out -- a perfect spot to bring up Kent. Zambrano struck him out ON THREE PITCHES even though he had thrown over 115 pitches at that point. Nomar singled and Russell Martin walked. At that point, Piniella finally pulled Zambrano so Little pinch hit Kent for Gonzalez. Which is idiotic. Had he hit for Abreu, he could have had both Kent and Gonzo get to hit that inning rather than Tony Abreu, who's yet another desperation move by the Dodgers to find someone, anyone to play third base.

So Giants fan can take a bit of hope -- the Dodgers are being managed by an idiot.

What a crybaby weasel

That would be Armando Blownitez. After gagging last night, he took the blame-my-teammates route once more --

"I'm doing my job, I got three groundballs and what happened?" Benitez asked. "We had an opportunity to win the game. How many times we got somebody on base and nobody moved him? Somebody had to pay and the person that paid was me. He hit a good pitch, a slider away, and a sinker."

"Oh, poor you," is what Tony Soprano would say. Defenders of this guy will say something like he was done in by Kevin Frandsen mishandling the first ground ball. To those I say -- How about getting a strikeout? Other closers do that ALL THE TIME. That's why they're closers. Please look at the WHIP -- Walks plus Hits/Innings. It's now a pretty terrible 1.41.

It's amazing to me how sports reporters have gone endlessly on and on and on and on for the past 3 season about what a huge distraction Barry Bonds is to the rest of the team and how "the sideshow" throws team chemistry into question, despite Bonds continuing to lead the majors in on base percentage. Yet here's Blownitez -- a certifiable weasel who does everything he can to destroy team chemistry, thanks to having the emotional makeup of a 3-year-old -- and that never gets mentioned.

Friday, May 25, 2007

DFA Blownitez NOW

This is getting disgusting. It's pathetic to have a "closer" who can't get guys out -- like Steve Finley and Kaz Matsui -- who shouldn't even be in MLB but for the sorry excuse of a team that the Rockies put out there.

Take a look at the recent performance -- three awful losses in his last 7 appearances. GET RID OF HIM NOW.

The refusal to change strategy in the face of changing conditions (NEWS FLASH -- BENITEZ IS NOT THE SAME GUY WHO PITCHED FOR THE MARLINS IN 2004) isn't a sign of strength but of pigheadedness. Everyone knows it. I never boo at games but you can bet there were plenty of boos at Mays Field tonight. Who can blame them? When your fans dislike a player this much, they've usually got a pretty good reason. Johnny Lemaster was the last guy I remember getting booed like this by the Giants fans and it was for the same reason -- he was a terrible player.

When the Giants lose a game like this due to stupid decisions, I often go to the antiwar links listed on this site (Truthout, BuzzFlash, Antiwar, Huffington Post and AlterNet) to give myself some perspective and realize that I should not take what happens with the Orange and Black too seriously.

Stubborness is not an admirable quality, particularly in this day and age. Like most Americans I am sick and tired of the pigheadedness of George W. Bush on the Iraq War in the face of massive public opposition. That's why these links are on this site. If you don't like it, leave.

Lincecum's dad

Andrew Baggery of Inside Bay Area Sports has a long piece about Tim Lincecum's father taking credit for his son's pitching motion. Sound like he's damn proud. Here's a good line from it --

"A load like Warren Spahn or Bob Feller, a dangle and the looseness of Satchel Paige and the finish and follow-through of Bob Gibson," Chris Lincecum said.

The best Giants rotation

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Bonds too passive at the plate?

Henry Schulman does an interesting job of asserting that Bonds may not be aggressive enough in explaining why he's been slumping lately but he also ignores the obvious fact that pitchers aren't giving him much to hit, given that he's on a pace for something like 185 walks this year.

Of course, if Bonds isn't hitting homers, everyone assumes he's slumping, rather than coming to the conclusion that pitchers continue to pitch around him, given that there's not much protection for Bonds between Aurilia, Klesko and Durham. Schulman doesn't mention that the OBP remains outstanding at .503 (with 49 walks). But he notes that there's always the looming danger that Bonds may be finally hitting the wall as he approaches 43 years old.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Strangeness from SI

Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman has proposed seven trades that "need to happen." This is a lame device that sportswriters use when they're too lazy to find out any real news.

In the first proposed trade, Heyman reasons that the Dodgers have one weak spot in their lineup -- third base -- and asserts that Scott Rolen is having a terrible year so wouldn't a trade make sense, especially since Rolen's getting paid $12 million a year for the next 3 years for Andy Laroche? Heyman reports that Ned Colletti "hasn't denied interest" in Rolen -- which is Heyman's way of saying "I don't know what the hell is going on." Laroche hasn't proved he can hit (though he does walk a lot) and there's no explanation as to why Rolen is batting .215 this year. Rolen has put up solid numbers in his career so it's not a stretch to think he'll remember how to hit soon.

I just hope that the Dodgers keep starting Brett Tomko.

Quality starts

There's a fascinating note at the end of the SF Chronicle's story about tonight's 9-1 buttkick of the Astros, which featured Russ Ortiz working out of the bullpen for the first time in 5 years

Beginning on May 9, the Giants have got a quality start (at least six innings with no more than three earned runs) every game, except Barry Zito's previous two starts. Zito made it 12 quality starts in 14 games with his outing Wednesday.

Zito = Sadecki?

Glenn Dickey of the SF Examiner has a truly strange column comparing the signing of Zito to the trade of Orlando Cepeda for Ray Sadecki. It's a silly comparison since the Giants didn't give up a guy who wound up in the Hall of Fame when they signed Zito. Even as a 13-year-old at the time, I knew it was not a good trade but Giants were always desperate for one more pitcher.

A real good columnist might have acknowledged the shellacking in Oakland last Saturday may have been Zito trying a bit too hard on returning. Unfortunately, Dickey's always been a hack.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Ugly unis of the late 1970s

The dozens of readers of Giants Win probably already know that I'm a big fan of Josh Wilker's Cardboard Gods blog. He hits out of the park with this recent post about the Cleveland Indians' all-red uniforms of the late 1970s and an extremly forgettable pitcher named Jackie Brown. Come to think of it, the Giants' unis of that era -- especially the bright orange tops -- were a bit strange though not even in the same class of bizarreness as the Indians or Padres. At any rate, I defy you not to laugh. Here's the top of the post --

When talk among baseball fans turns to the so-called ugly uniforms of the 1970s, the most frequent subjects of twisted appreciation are the technicolor dreamsuits of the Astros, the brown and yellow McDonald's-cashier garb of the Padres, and the White Sox’ humiliating shorts and giant-collar shirt ensemble. For some reason the Indians' all-red migraine-producer fashioned here with exclamation point aplomb by drifting hurler Jackie Brown seems to generally escape the scrutiny of the collective baseball memory. I’m not sure why this is.
One of the more memorable part of Ball Four was Jim Bouton's description of the unis of the 1969 Seattle Pilots, which were also seriously strange. A Seattle blogger named Steve Mandich has an excellent recap of the season and had this to say about the uniforms -- Adding insult to injury, the Pilots looked bad while losing, taking the field in bizarre, gaudy uniforms intended to reflect both Seattle's maritime and aeronautical traditions. The blue caps featured a gold "S" on the front with a gold underline, and a "scrambled eggs" design on the bill. The jerseys read "Pilots" in a weird lower-case, postmodern typeface, below the official emblem, a baseball framed in a ship's wheel with captain's wings sticking out the sides. Gold piping and stripes trimmed out the rest of the outfit, which almost certainly wounded team morale.
Bouton was a big more blunt -- "I guess because we're the Pilots we have to have captain's uniforms... We look like goddamn clowns."

The real deal

That's what Tim Lincecum showed he is in a glorious 4-2 win tonight. After 3 starts, one has to wonder -- what the hell was he doing playing in Fresno for the first month of the season while Russ Ortiz hung on by his fingernails? Even the Astros' one outburst -- a 2-run rally in the 4th -- was the product of flukey hitting. The Astros aren't much of a team this year but they did have the advantage of seeing Lincecum for the 2nd time in less than a week. One poster named rxmeister on McCovey Chronicles put it like this --

It wasn't a case of him having good luck either. They weren't swinging and missing, but they weren't hitting the ball hard either. No line shots, no deep flyballs. The only hard hit balls all night I remember were a line drive right at Winn, and the Berkman grounder that Klesko made a diving stop on. The two runs were scored without anything being hit hard.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Splash Hit No. 43

Ryan Klesko hit a ball into McCovey Cove tonight for the first Splash Hit by someone other than Bonds since Randy Winn hit one two years ago. If Klesko can hit with any kind of consistency, it would solve this team's biggest problem -- putting runs on the board.

Noah Lowry dominated the Astros with Klesko and Benjie Molina getting the big hits tonight. Carlos Lee was the only Astro who hit with any authority, getting two doubles. Craig Biggio, who's dragging down the Astros in his selfish pursuit of 3,000 hits, went 1-for-3 and is 29 hits short of the milestone. He's actually started taking walks (he now has 11) but his OBP is still under .300. If the Astros ever wondered why they're under .500, it might be a good idea to look at the stiff who's batting leadoff when Hunter Pence should be theire leadoff hitter.

I attended the Dodgers game and watched the Brew Crew dish out some serious humiliation for the Dodgers fourth loss in a row -- highlighted by two very long Prince Fielder homers and what may have been the last start for Brett Tomko. Hard to believe the Dodgers are stupid enough to keep giving him starts....but then again, they keep putting Juan Pierre in the leadoff slot even though he has less power than Craig Biggio and his OBP went under .300 tonight.

As for the Brewers, they may be for real. Any team that can score like this has to be taken seriously.


Photo by peephole from the May 2 game, one of the best of the year. For more great photos, go to the Mays Field site.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Happy Sunday

What on earth is going on with Matt Morris? He's finally looking like the guy the Giants wanted when they shelled out $27 million. Today's complete-game performance was that of a real stopper -- crucial to keeping the team's hopes alive. Could this guy turn into a 20-game winner this year? It's doubtful, given the performance of recent years. Still, he seems to have gotten over his tendency to get bombed early.

And Sunday got even sweeter -- the Dodgers were completely humbled, swept by the Angels.

Say Hey for Kids!

The Giants may not be much on offense this year but they are batting 1.000 with this fine tribute/fundaraising campaign.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Searching for good news

Because there wasn't much in tonight's 4-2 loss to Oakland. The team isn't hitting worth a damn, what with 3 hits all night (Bonds, Molina, Winn). So here goes --

1. Matt Cain continues to pitch well. After giving up a 3-run homer in the first, he shut down the A's into the 7th.

2. Russ Ortiz won't be starting games again when he comes off the DL.

3. The Dodgers were humiliated again by the Angels. Choker Kent made his 8th error of the season and the Dodgers left 13 men on base -- after leaving 18 on base Friday. Hard to play well with one hand on your throat!

Friday, May 18, 2007

"You Can't Go Home Again"

I'd say that was the operative phrase on Barry Zito returning to Oakland tonight and getting hammered with 7 seven runs in less than 5 innings on 97 pitches, only 50 of them strikes. Hopefully the same thing will happen when Jason Schmidt gets back to San Francisco...if he ever gets off the DL. As far as good news -- the Dodgers lost in a humiliating game to the Angels.

In the meantime, here's the first sentence of Thomas Wolfe's last novel that inspired the title of this post -- It was the hour of twilight on a soft spring day toward the end of April in the year of Our Lord 1929, and George Webber leaned his elbows on the sill of his back window and looked out at what he could see of New York.

That didn't take long

The Marlins claimed Todd Linden on waivers. Fred Lewis has already shown more in a week than Todd did in 5 years.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Eat it, Milo

If you had the pleasure of being an XM Radio subscriber, you would have gotten to hear Astros relentlessy homer announcer Milo Hamilton whining about the lucky break the Giants got when Randy Winn's single hit the 1st base bag in the 12th for what turned out to be the winning run in Houston.

This comes from a guy whose team had the enormous good fortune to get past the Braves and Cards and into the World Series two years ago and then completely humiliate itself. My point is that the Astros have had more than their share of good luck recently.

Eat it, Milo. Eat it raw.

Well spun!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It's not just me

For me, the key game of the season came a week ago today when Armando Benitez gave away a winnable game to the Mets in the 9th. Including that game, the Giants have gone 2-5 since then, including Tuesday's horrific 6-5 loss that featured another Benitez blown save. The momentum-killing impact of those kind of losses is threatening the entire season. Despite great pitching by Noah Lowry tonight, the Giants could only manage one run at the Minute Maid bandbox.

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters has concluded that the Giants must stop using Benitez as the closer if they're to have any chance this year. Here's part of his most recent post --

Somebody else needs to be the closer. I don't want to hear about how Benitez needs more consistent use, or how he needs to be used several days in a row, or he needs rest, or anything else. The only question that needs to be asked is how many seasons we're gonna flush down the toilet while our ninth inning situation is so combustible? Since the end of '03, our bullpen has blown an astounding 82 saves, (the Yankees have 55 blown saves over the same span, the Dodgers 49). The Giants blew the third most saves in 2004 (28), the most in 2005 (28), the 8th most in 2006 (22), and are now on pace for another 28 or so.
It's debatable as to what Benitez's role might become, but that's not Sabean's problem, not now, not when the season's in jeopardy. One can hardly overstate how hard it is to have to bounce back from the kind of devastating losses that the Giants have become accustomed to.

To make things even worse, I was at Chavez Latrine tonight as Tony "The Drunk" LaRussa gave the Dodgers a win on a silver platter by insisting that Kip Wells keep pitching in the 5th, even though he was at 120 pitches, until he gave up a pinch-hit 3-run HR to Wilson Betemit, who's been so awful that he lost his starting job to Andy Laroche.

Stay away, Bud (reprise)

The greatest SF Giants pitcher

Great shot by fotogail of No. 27 in May 2005 next to his statue outside Mays Field.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

DFA Benitez

I am so sick and tired of watching this guy blow winnable games, giving up a two-run homer in the 8th to the immortal Hunter Pence, the first guy he faced. There was a chance to trade him before he reverted back to his old self but that's now gone. How can Bochy believe that this guy -- who's given up 12 hits and seven walks in a mere 12 innings this year -- can close down MLB hitters?

It's not as if the Giants could not have seen this coming after Blownitez blew 8 saves last season -- one of out of every three chances -- on his way to knocking the Giants out of any hope of postseason. It's time to admit that the 2004 season in Florida was an illusion. He's not that pitcher anymore. He won't lose the weight; he has zero poise on the mound. I'd rather see Jamie Wright or Jerome Williams out there with the game on the line.

What's stopping them from doing so? Pure pig-headedness and the refusal to admit that the 3-year deal for $21 million was stupid. I am also sick and tired of feeble excuses like this one from Bochy about Pence homer -- "He one-armed it out there and it stayed fair," manager Bruce Bochy said. "That's a bad break for us. He didn't hit it good, but you don't have to hit it good in this ballpark."

Hey, Bruce -- it was a homer. It wasn't some dribbler thru the infield. It was a homer. And your closer sucks.

Take a look at these stats for the Brewers' Francisco Cordero if you really want to feel sick. 16 innings, 4 hits, seven walks and one earned run.

Monday, May 14, 2007

More MLB trivia

With Fred Lewis going for the cycle, I discovered that the site lists every player who has ever managed done so under its "rare feats" section.

That section also includes players who homered in their first ABs. Most Giants fans know about Will Clark and I mentioned Hoyt Wilhelm recently. It turns out that the last Giants to do so before the Thrill, did so almost exactly a year apart -- on Sept. 3, 1974 and Sept. 2, 1975. Neither one of them was well known for their hitting prowess. Hint: one's a pitcher.

Bruce Boisclair

It doesn't get any better than this. Josh Wilker at Cardboard Gods has posted a hilarious take on this 1974 baseball card -- the only card I've ever seen with an aluminum bat. I admit that I am a huge fan of Josh's site. In the comments section, one poster named Icaros responds with this --
Sometimes those aluminum bats are just heavily weighted warmup bats. We had one in high school that had "The Log" printed on the barrel, but it was not made of wood. One of our pitchers used the bat during an intersquad game and got a hit. It was quite hilarious at the time.
Another poster cracked me up by saying this -- That bat really is chumpy-looking. The Topps photographer shoulda completed the look by having him hit off a tee.

Bomko strikes again

Nothing like the Dodgers getting humiliated on the Giants off-day. Brett Tomko was awful, giving up eight earned runs tonight in two and a third innings to the Cards, one of the few teams that's under-performed the Giants on offense this year. Tomko is now on his sixth team since 1999 and at every stop he's dazzled each team with his stuff, then fallen on his face. I saw a mid-season game in 2004 where he gave up 5 runs in the first, another in the second and then pitched quite well -- but the Rox were so far ahead that the Giants never caught up.

Nick Cannata-Bowman at Giants Cove has a fairly depressing but well-written post today about the array of good young arms traded away by the Giants (Accardo, Nathan, Linebrink, Aardsma) but deciding to let Tomko walk away and sign with the Dodgers after the 2005 season was a fine move.

Playoff schedule revamp

MLB and Fox have pushed the playoffs even further backwards so the first game of the World Series will start on Wednesday, Oct. 24.

My first reaction is that if Bud Selig and Fox think it's a good idea, it's probably a bad idea.

What an idiot

Tom Fitzgerald of the SF Chronicle gets it wrong in stating that Barry Bonds hit 73 HRs in 1998, rather than 2001. He's doing a story about the price of HR ball No. 756, so one would think that getting this detail right would be important. The story published in Sunday's edition.

Another example of how the Chron is edited by shovel by arrogant people who don't care about their readers.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Dave Roberts = Wally Pipp?

Older fans will know what I mean. Wally Pipp was the regular first-baseman for the Yankees who sat a day for Lou Gehrig and never got his starting spot back.

So here's Fred Lewis called up in an emergency to replace Dave Roberts. In his 16th MLB game, he hits for cycle. OK, so it was at Coors Field, but still....maybe the kid is going to make it.

I wonder if Matt Cain was wondering about where all this offense was in some of his previous starts.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Rocky Mountain low

No. 744

Great shot by artolog!
Here's Barry after hitting HR 744 a week ago today. He hit No. 745 against the Mets on Tuesday.

Klesko time

A poster named Goofus on McCovey Chronicles has nailed why Ryan Klesko should start instead of Pedro Feliz, who makes so many outs that he's almost useless. Here's the key part of his post --

His current line is 321/387/429. If he had the requisisite 104 ABs, those numbers would rank him 3rd among MLB 1Bs in average and 8th in OBP. His OPS would rank him 14th. Clearly his power stroke isn't back yet, but there's still time for that. Isn't it time the team stick him at 1B full-time, move Richie to 3B and let Pedro be the 4th OF?
"But Goofus, you're an idiot! Klesko can't hit lefties, you dork!"
His limited sample-size line against lefties so far in 2007: 429/556/429.

Stop acting like you're still in San Diego

When I turned on the game Thursday, I discovered that Klesko had just been thrown out in the 6th on a busted hit-and-run, in which Molina had to duck out of the way of a high-tight fastball. And I thought, "Why is Bruce Bochy pretending that this team has the kind of wheels the Padres had last year?" when he had not just Dave Roberts but Josh Barfield, Mike Cameron and Brian Giles? I looked it up and that team stole 123 bases and was thrown out 31 times -- an 80% success rate.

John Perricone at the excellent Only Baseball Matters performs his usually solid analysis of why this is a stupid strategy. The boldface is mine --

And last night, in the sixth, Kelsko walked, and was promptly thrown out in a botched hit and run. Now, I understand that Klesko's fast for a guy his size, but he's not fast. Bochy has got to stop running us out of innings. The next two guys reached, and we would have had a tie game if Klesko would have just sat there at first. I'll say it again, THE GIANTS ARE OLD AND SLOW. Running like this is costing us runs, and wins. It has to stop. The Giants are 15 for 26 stealing. That's 58%. Add in the 30 double plays we've grounded into, and that's 41 lost baserunners, which is more than one per game, for you mathematically challenged fans. We don't have the hitters to make up for that.

Friday, May 11, 2007

The turning point

It was an odd one tonight in a glorious 8-3 win over the Rox. I was listening to the usually incompetent Rockies announcers describe the 7th inning and note that Josh Fogg had lost it quickly after celebrating a called strike 3 on Bonds. He walked Durham on 4 pitches and gave up consecutive doubles to Molina and Feliz. "He looks like he lost his command after getting an adrenaline rush on the strikeout to Bonds," one said.

Durham made the Rox pay again in the next inning by hitting a sac fly to drive in the go-ahead run when they walked Bonds intentionally to load the bases.

It also worth noting that the late rally gave Tim Lincecum his first MLB victory. Bruce Bochy's already saying that Russ Ortiz probably won't be ready to pitch right away after coming off the DL -- hopefully meaning that Lincecum's not going back to Fresno any time soon.

Marty at Across the Seams does a nice job of re-capping Licecum's outing tonight. His conclusion -- Here's Lincecum's final line: 7 innings, 7 hits, 3 earned runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, 108 pitches. He wasn't overpowering, but you could see glimpses of it. A very impressive outing in Colorado.

Henry Schulman does a nice job of describing the post-game celebration in a tasteful but truthful way. -- Resident goofball Steve Kline interrupted Lincecum's postgame interview and gave the kid a big hug. Kline was buck naked, of course, warmed only by the forest of hair on his chest and back. As the lefty reliever walked away, Lincecum wasted no time before yelling, "Next time you hug me take off your sweater."

No. 756

David Pinto at Baseball Musings makes a simple projection/prediction --

Barry Bonds hit eleven home runs in 34 Giants games. He needs eleven more, which should take another 34 games. It's a simple, seat of the pants estimate, but puts Barry in two interesting locations for potentially breaking the record. Game 32 starts a three-game road trip to Boston. Game 34 is on Sunday, June 17. Fenway, of course is where Babe Ruth started playing. Games 35, 36 and 37, however, are in Milwaukee, the city in which Henry Aaron hit number 755 on 7/20/1976. It would also make it very easy for Bud to attend the game. If it doesn't happen in either of those series, Bonds returns to San Francisco to face the Yankees and another Ruth connection.

Linden and Niekro

It's about time that the Giants pulled the plug on these stiffs. Both were tantalyzing guys but just couldn't perform at the MLB level.

"Dear Ma, I'll be home next week. They're starting to throw the curveball."

Thursday, May 10, 2007

What's to like?

Let's see -- I dislike the Colorado Rockies franchise and the inability of the Giants front office to come up with a decent offensive team, resulting in Bonds being walked incessantly -- as he was tonight in the 5-3 loss. But I have to admit that the team continues to behave like adults and take accountability for their mistakes. Here's Omar Vizquel tonight on his errror --

"The ball was hit hard enough to try to make the out at third," said Vizquel, whose participation in three double plays gave him 1,590, tying him with Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith for first on the all-time list among shortstops. "The way I caught it, I thought I had a better chance at third than throwing to first. I took my chances at third and I blew it."

So now the Giants are back to .500 with three more games in Denver. Yuck.

Dodgers gag again

The Marlins have already humiliated the Dodgers, 3-0, today on a walk-off homer by Josh Willingham.

Nothing sweeter than the Dodgers fumbling away a game they should have won, particularly to the no-talent low-budget Fish. It's the second time in the series that the Marlins have won with a walk-off homer.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Giant Prospects

Big Papi checks in

David Ortiz says he thinks Barry Bonds is getting a raw deal in the wake of teammate Curt Schilling's saying Barry "doesn't deserve" to break Aaron's record. This is Big Papi's way of saying, "Dude -- the Yanks just signed Clemens. Why don't you worry about that, instead?"

One area in which I must give the Giants' management serious props is the lack of anyone on this year's team engaging in immature behavior, other than Benitez reacting badly to being squeezed today by dingbat ump Bruce "Please Retire" Froemming. Maybe that's one reason why they focused so heavily on veteran players in assembling this squad -- knowing that the media assault on Bonds would be pretty vicious.

Is anyone surprised?

Blownitez was back to his old tricks -- utterly ineffective in the 9th inning today when he was asked to hold on to a 3-3 tie, then gave up three hits and a walk. It's somehow appropriate that it happened at Mays Field against the Mets, just like seven years ago when he gave up a 3-run homer in the 9th to J.T. Snow.

Can we please use someone else with the game on the line? Because if you think this is the last time this will happen this year, there's a bridge in Brooklyn that I can sell you.

Fransden or Feliz?

Frandsen heads to first after getting his second hit Sunday. Another excellent photo by Barb!

It shouldn't even be a choice. Here we have Fransden absolutely raking the PCL pitching -- .390/.493/.508 in 16 games -- but sitting on the bench in favor of Feliz even though the Mets were pitching Tom Glavine.

I would say that Glavine is one of the least likely pitchers to help Pedro Feliz do his thing, which is mash mistake pitches. Feliz can not hit a breaking ball, has no plate discipline. So tonight he helped Glavine win his 294th game. He went 1-for-4 with a strikeout and is now batting a dreadful .228/.257/.456 for the season. The 6 homers and an adequate third-base defense are all that's keeping him in the starting lineup.

With a shaky Matt Cain settling down after giving up 4 runs in 2 innings, the Giants might have had a shot with some timely hitting above and beyond Bonds 745th HR. Management's insistence on keeping Feliz in the starting lineup when there are alternatives may doom the Giants to playing .500 ball (they're now 17-15).

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

More of the future

Excellent shots by Barb of Kevin Frandsen sliding into third on a steal and into second with a double early in Sunday's game.

Welcome to the future

Excellent photo of Tim Licnecum's MLB debut by Barb in section 226

Monday, May 07, 2007

The fabulous 5th

At one point in Mark Harris' great novel "The Southpaw," Henry Wiggen describes how a team can quickly fall apart on defense. "There is nothing worse than a team that is rattled." (Harris refuses to let Wiggen use contractions).

I thought of this tonight as the Mets fell apart in the 5th inning. Jon Miller pointed out that Ray Durham questioned a high strike, then got a walk off Oliver Perez on a borderline 3-2 pitch. Benjie Molina then homered to put the Giants ahead 2-1 as a fan touched the ball in left, prompting Miller to say "Alou must have nightmares any time there's fan interference." Dave Flemming replied by saying something like "Did I see Bartman out there?"

Feliz and Linden went down but Zito got his first hit for the Orange and Black with a single. Then the Mets really collapsed -- strange for a team that had the second-fewest errors in the majors this year. Damion Easley muffed a ground ball from Winn and Shawn Green dropped Omar's line drive. Then Rich Aurilia homered, leading to the Mets bringing in a rookie who walked Bonds and gave up a single to Durham and another homer to Benjie for a nine-run 5th.

It's been a long time since the Giants scored that many runs in an inning. It may have been a few years. I was there in July 2004 when they put up 8 in the first and held on for an 8-7 win over the Cards.

Better than Russ

I wasn't able to watch all of Tim Lincecum's MLB debut on Sunday night, but I liked what I saw despite the HRs to Victorino (which was wind-aided) and Ryan Howard (if anyone was due, it was this big ox). Like most rooks, he was getting squeezed on calls. And Joe Morgan had a pretty stupid comment after the Victorino HR on the order of "He should have thrown a high fastball on an 0-2 count instead of a hanging breaking ball." Thanks, Genius!

The velocity is definitely there and there was a nice variety to the pitches. And it was a far better performance than Russ Ortiz' embarrassing outing last Tuesday night.

Happy Birthday, Willie

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Go Warriors

I have a snarky reason for saying that -- the deeper the Warriors go in the playoffs, the more it means that the SF Chron's hack loser Bruce Jenkins has something to write about, though he embarrasses himself in this latest piece by admitting that he berated the Angels' organist back in the 1980s -- as if that's somehow his role...and as if we care.

Anyhow, my point is that with the Warriors doing well, Hack Jenkins won't burden the world with his idiotic rantings about the Giants, who are now 16-13 after yesterday's trouncing of the Phils. The Chron's Henry Schulman does a nice job of combining Bonds' hitting HR No. 744 with Tim Lincecum's pending debut.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Lincecum coming

Russ Ortiz' crappy performance on Tuesday finally forced the Giants to do what they should have done weeks ago and bring up Tim Lincecum.

Amazing how often a veteran goes on the DL after performing like crap. In this case, Russ Ortiz is DL bound due to some vague nerve problem. When I got told about it last night in Section 105, my immediate reaction was, "Yeah, he got it from his neck whipping back as all those balls flew past him on Tuesday night."

It was a night for the hardcore at Mays Field as Matt Cain was utterly mortal and the drizzle never stopped. It's nice to see Winn finally hitting with authority and Eleizer Alfonzo deliver 3 hits.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

An 8th MVP for Barry?

Barry Bonds was about as dominant a player tonight as you can find -- a laser-shot two-run HR and a clutch 2-run single that changed the score from 3-2 to 4-3. Zito pitched impressively and Brad Hennessey got a well-deserved win by getting the last 4 outs but it was Bonds' night. Again.

He's played in 24 of the 26 games so far and scored 19 runs, gotten 23 walks, 23 hits (9 HRs and 3 doubles) and driven in 21 runs. Projected over a full season -- 114 runs, 138 walks, 138 hits, 18 doubles, 126 RBIs and 54 HRs. Even the most Bonds-hating writers would have to vote him another MVP.

The crowd was the smallest in Mays Field history (it was damn chilly!) but there were very few departures even as late as the 8th -- largely because Bonds was in the lineup.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


I've seen the Giants lose hundreds of times in person but tonight's loss was one of the hardest to take since it can be blamed for the most part on the stubborness (shall we say "stupidity"?) of Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean. To not win when this team scores 7 runs is unforgiveable.

Bochy is one of the many managers who worships at the altar of "the starter MUST go 5 innings." In this case, though, the starter's Russ Ortiz -- a bargain-basement find who's done OK so far BUT who also has been one of the worst pitchers in MLB for the past two seasons. If anyone should be yanked FAST, it's Russ.

But Bochy kept acting as if Russ were the second coming of Juan Marichal. He was getting hit hard throughout the start and opened the 4th by giving up LONG doubles to the 6th and 7th batters (Brad Hawpe and Chris Ianetta), then a single to the 8th guy (Omar Something), a sac bunt to the pitcher and then a walk to the horrific Steve Finley, then a chopper to Tulowitzky that Omar Vizquel couldn't handle. At that point, the score was 5-3 Rockies, bases loaded and Matt Holliday up -- a guy who had singled and homered. Everyone in the crowd was wondering "What is Bochy trying to prove?" since Jonathan Sanchez was warming up for the Orange and Black.

Holliday smoked a 3-run double, putting the game out of reach. At that point the fans -- people who show up on a cold Tuesday night are probably more knowledgeable than most -- didn't applaud Russ at all and some of them booed, partly because the scoreboard operator had already posted that Tim Lincecum had won his 4th PCL game with 14 strikeouts and no walks a few days ago. And to make it worse, Sanchez immediately struck out Todd Helton looking.

I'm completely confused as to what Sabean thinks he's doing by getting Lincecum to rack up wins in the PCL. I do understand that it's important to not push a young pitcher too hard early in his career but this cautious approach is absurd. As the Rox proved tonight -- when Taylor Bucholz started getting bombed, giving up 4 straight hits in the 4th, Clint Hurdle had the good sense to bring in Alfredo Arias -- who made his MLB debut by shutting down the Giants.

My point is this -- you might as well find out if your hot minor leaguers can perform at the MLB level. If they can, you might win a few more games. If not, just send them back down.

Just to prove that he wasn't being stupid only on his handling of Ortiz, Bochy also decided to let Vinnie Chulk bat for himself in the bottom of the 6th with two outs -- even with Aurilia, Alfonzo, Linden and Niekro all on the bench. Chulk made an out in his 1st AB this year, then proceeded to help give up the 9th run.

As for Sabean, shame on him for not coming up with better bench players than Todd Linden and Lance Niekro, both who are clearly not MLB caliber. They each went down easily as pinch hitters in the 9th -- Niekro striking out to end the game with Bonds on deck. Had a decent hitter gone up for Chulk in the 6th, two things might have happened -- no 9th run in the 7th and Bonds at the plate in the 9th as the tying run.

Sorry to be so blunt but a night at the park -- even 2 middling seats in section 207 -- costs me around $150, which is money that I earned through all kinds of hard work and putting up with endless nonsense around me. So it annoys me when I see stubborness masquerading as "inside knowledge," when it's actually just plain old stupidity.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Lunatic Fringe

That's the name of a well-written Giants blog I've just discovered; Sondog's even more perturbed than I am at Brian Sabean's work as GM. Here's part of how he recapped Saturday's fiasco in Phoenix --

The bullpen. Oooohhhh, the bullpen.They're still dead to me.

Matt Cain was at his effectively wild best again last night, but it was all for naught as Jack Texaco and Vinnie Exxon decided it would be best to throw gasoline on a small brush fire.Taschner, in particular, didn't have anything. He had been pitching pretty well on the season, but I can't say that I am "comfortable" with him in a set-up role. Then again, I'm not "comfortable" with anybody in the bullpen at the moment, so he was par for the course, if you will.

I know the stats show that the bullpen has been pretty good, with the exception of last night and the debacle in Colorado a couple of weeks ago, but I don't think many Giants fans have faith in those guys yet. There aren't any true shut-down arms in the group, and that is bound to catch up to the team as the season progresses.

Cain, on the other hand, continues to befuddle opponents. He wasn't particularly sharp last night, allowing 4 walks in 6 innings, but teams just can't hit him. In his last four games, he has allowed 1 hit, 3 hits, 2 hits and 1 hit. Incredible run.Cain's numbers: 35 innings, 12 hits, 6 runs, 17 walks, 23 strikeouts, 1.54 ERA.

Oh, and that Bonds guy is pretty damned good too: .362 avg, .519 obp, .828 slg. With each game he looks more and more like the 2004 Bonds. He'll undoubtedly get a rest today, along with Bengie Molina and Dave Roberts. His impact on the lineup is, well, it goes without saying.

No easy games

Giants Win attended its first game at a chilly Mays Field tonight, taking in a 9-5 victory over the Rox, featuring Pedro Feliz doing what he does best -- mashing a crappy pitch, in this case a hanging slider from Josh Fogg in the 1st inning for a 3-run HR.

I lucked into decent seats in section 119 so I could see Lowry having trouble with his command throughout his 5 innings, though he did hold the Rox to 3 runs. Correia got thru the 6th but gave up 3 hits in the 7th, two on busted bats, followed by Kline and Hennessy doing a nice job of stopping them dead.

But the Rox gave this one away -- Atkins making a terrible throw in the 1st, Willie Taveras airmailing a throw to third in the 7th, followed by a pitch so wild that Bonds scored from 3rd without a play.

What was troubling was that even in the 9th -- with a 5-run lead -- Jonathan Sanchez could not close the deal and Benitez had to come in to get the last 2 outs. I keep having to ask -- what in the world is Tim Lincecum doing in Frenso?