Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Sanchez as in strike three

Barry Zito's career implosion has over-shadowed probably the best single surprise development this year for the Orange and Black -- Jonathan Sanchez is looking like the real deal. For the third straight day since Zito's meltdown, the Giants got excellent pitching from their young starter. Between Cain, Lincecum and Sanchez and solid work from the pen, the Rox scored exactly five runs in three games, including the Gary Darling Gift on Tuesday night. Keep in mind the Rox went to the World Series last fall in large part due to their ferocious offense.

Prior to today's game, Peter Bendix at Beyond the Box Score posted a very optimistic take on Sanchez being a genuine top-quality starter. It's really maddening to think that the front office couldn't figure out what to do with him for the past two years. Here are Bendix's key points --

-- Sanchez simply has excellent stuff. He has struck out 11.6 batters per nine innings – a very high number, but Sanchez has shown over and over throughout his career that he has the ability to strike hitters out in droves. A quick look at his pitch data shows that Sanchez induces a ton of swings and misses. 75% of Sanchez’s strikes are swinging strikes, and batters fail to make contact on 31% of their swings. Sanchez still somewhat struggles to throw strikes – only 62% of his pitches are strikes – but the fact that he gets so many swings and misses suggests that his stuff is extremely good.

-- The key appears to be that Sanchez gets a lot of movement on his fastball: it moves both 8 inches vertically and horizontally. Sanchez’s main secondary pitch is his changeup, which he throws 21% of the time and which also has a ton of movement, thus making up for the fact that he throws his change around 86 MPH – not that much slower than his fastball.

-- It appears that Sanchez does nothing fancy: he throws his fastball and changeup, both of which have a ton of movement, and batters simply can’t hit them. There are few pitchers around baseball who can boast the same track record of wracking up strikeouts as Sanchez. He has also shown the ability to prevent homers. If he can harness his control well enough to keep his walks under four per nine innings, Sanchez should be able to maintain the success he has had so far this season.

Sanchez had four strikeouts and five walks today in five and two-thirds innings. Projected 2008 record for the Giants -- 72-90.

Go to hell, Gary Darling

One of the worst things that happens in MLB is when an umpire decides that he's bigger than the game and makes a garbage call, then won't back down. That's what happened tonight at Mays Field. Gary Darling called a timeout THEN called a balk, then did the weasel ump thing after the game and blamed it on Bengie Molina for trying to "cover up" a balk by Lincecum.

Simple question -- if Lincecum balked, then why did you call the timeout first, you weasel?

I hate stupid showboat umps. HATE THEM. Darling's name comes up as a bad one. Eric Gregg was the worst of the recent ones, along with Joe West, CB Buckner, Doug Eddings and that jerk who ran Barry Bonds in the middle of the 9th inning a year or two ago. All of these guys failed to realize that they are abusing their power to cover their incompetence. Reminds me of Dick Cheney, actually. Jon Miller, who goes to great lengths not to be a homer, said on the postgame show that it was a terrible call.

As for the game itself, Bochy and the base coaches should be ashamed of themselves over bad baserunning all night long. So we don't have any offense and we're reduced to proving that Brian can't hit MLB pitching. Can't we at least get these guys to play smarter?

Projected record -- 70-92

Monday, April 28, 2008

The breaks finally go Matt Cain's way

It's about damn time that Matt got a break. Somehow it seems appropriate that on the same day that Zito was demoted, Matt Cain gets a well-deserved victory. It sounded to me like the home plate ump Paul Emmel was missing a lot of pitches (the Giants got eight walks, which is probably their highest post-Bonds total, and drove in both their 5th inning runs with walks) and Cain walked five. He got bailed out in the fourth after the ump refused to call a third strike on Hawpe, who then walked, followed by a Tulowitzki walk. Then Jeff Baker smashed the ball but right at Durham on a line so Tulowitzki was out on a DP. Dave Fleming sounded as if Cain was having trouble with his command so he was already at 108 pitches when he got taken out with one out in the 6th.

Attendance was only 30,153. Projected record -- 72-90.

Dingbat update -- Gwen Knapp delivers another pointless column, saying we shouldn't worry about Zito's $126 million. Whatever you say, Gwen. Here the team's doomed to wasting $18 million a year for the next six years and you say we should forget about it. And as usual with the weasel mentality of many SF sports reporters, you also find yet another way to blame Barry Bonds and apologize for Sabean -- The upper-level brass gave Zito an extravagant contract to prove a point. They wanted to appease fans who felt that the club had sold out the future when it unnecessarily invested another wad of cash in Barry Bonds.

Seattle lucks out on Zito

I hadn't realized this but the Seattle Mariners actually offered Zito a 6-year $99 million deal, which apparently was a major spur to the Giants' 7-year $126 million offer. Lookout Landing, a blog devoted to the Mariners and the Rays, has an entertaining take for the Brian Sabean Appreciation Thread, which is followed by over 100 comments. Here are the best parts-- The boldface is mine.

Barry Zito's contract is the worst contract ever signed in baseball history, and as much as you might want to tell me I'm wrong, you won't be able to prove it, because I'm right. No contract has ever gone so sour so fast. And there isn't any indication that things are about to get better.
I knew from the get-go that Zito was a bad idea, but never at any point did I think he'd fall apart this quickly. That's come as a surprise. But the fact of the matter is that smart front offices knew what they were doing and stayed the hell away. They saw the red flags, understood the market, and looked elsewhere without even placing a call to Zito's agent.

Bill Bavasi offered him six years and ninety-nine million dollars.

There but for the grace of Sabean go I, and you, and the Mariners, and all of our collective hopes and dreams. This team tried its damndest to kill itself in the face, but thanks to the existence of another, more stubborn holdout from the daunting realm of intelligent thinking, we were spared. We were spared. Mr. Sabean, I am forever indebted to your misguided courage. Regardless of your intentions at the time, you fell on a nuclear grenade, and for this gesture I cannot thank you enough. May this thread be construed as a token of my appreciation.

And damn you Bill for ever thinking this was a good idea for the Mariners. Damn everyone who thought this was a good idea for the Mariners. All of you are stupid. There, I said it. Maybe you've gotten smarter over the past year and a half, but if you wanted the Mariners to sign Barry Zito as a free agent, you were stupid. Stop being stupid. Brian Sabean can only prevent so many bad decisions.

"Life After Barry Is a Strikeout at the Ballpark"

How bad have things gotten with the Giants? So bad that the Wall Street Journal took time out from hyping John McCain's campaign and trying to put the best face on the recession to run this story on its front page. Here are some highlights --

-- Kayakers used to float by the dozens in McCovey Cove, hoping to fish out a so-called "Splash Hit." Of the 45 homers that have been blasted into the cove since the ballpark's opening in 2000, 35 came off the bat of Mr. Bonds.....During the second game of this season, there were no kayaks in the cove. "It's not as fun," says 52-year-old Mark Busch, a San Jose businessman who sat in one of the few kayaks on opening night.

-- Even newscasters are feeling the blues. KRON-TV weekend sports anchor Vernon Glenn stood on the field before one game this month and squinted hard to find evidence that Mr. Bonds had played there. Gone was the "Road to History" mural in center field, which portrayed Mr. Bonds's quest for the home-run title. Also missing were the tote boards that featured his latest home-run count. Off in a corner -- behind the right-field bleachers -- was a small sign denoting Mr. Bonds's 756th homer. "I've never been through a divorce, but it feels like that," Mr. Glenn said.

-- The stands are emptier. Coming into this weekend, attendance was down 15% from last year. And there's an eerie stillness in the press box. Blake Rhodes, director of media relations for the Giants, used to deal with as many as 400 reporters from around the globe who converged on AT&T Park to chronicle Mr. Bonds's home-run chase. Now, a fraction of that many show up.

Zito sent to stand in the corner

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Gwen Knapp is a stupid dingbat

At a time when newspapers are losing money hand over fist, it's amazing to me that the SF Chronicle employs such a large number of flat-out stupid reporters. Gwen Knapp disses the Frank Thomas signing because, among other things 1. Homeruns are over-rated and 2. He clogs the basepaths and 3. He's going to take away at bats from Mike Sweeney.

What's idiotic about this is that analyzing the Thomas signing is not rocket science: The A's want to score more runs so they are paying a minimum amount for a guy with a lot more power and a better OBP than Sweeney or most other guys in the lineup. It's a classic Billy Beane move -- low risk and high reward.

Fortunately, there's Fire Joe Morgan -- Where bad sports journalism comes to die. Junior dissects Knapp's idiotic ramblings.

"The ugliest card I own"

As ugly as it gets

AP is reporting that Zito was booed frequently during his stint today, even though it was the shortest of the year. Attendance didn't even hit 40,000 today, despite the recent surge of competent play, coupled with lovely weather. It's becoming obvious that fans aren't quite as stupid the ownership thinks -- and they're not going to keep shelling out $50 a seat and $8 a beer when they have plenty of other options.

Andrew Baggerly of the Merc-News is already asking the obvious question -- do the Giants keep up the charade that "he's going to turn it around" or does Zito get DLd or sent down to Fresno to work this out? Here's the interesting part -- The Giants cannot just cut Zito loose, as the Pittsburgh Pirates did with former Giant Matt Morris on Sunday. Zito is owed roughly $112.5 million from now through 2014, a figure that includes the $7 million buyout of an option year. The major league record for cash absorbed by a club while releasing a player is $22 million, which the Arizona Diamondbacks decided to eat when they released Russ Ortiz in 2006.

In other words, this is like a bad marriage where the couple stays together for the sake of the kids. Here's how the first inning went --

Barry Zito pitching for San Francisco
J Hairston walked.
C Patterson singled to shallow center, J Hairston to third.
C Patterson stole second.
J Keppinger walked.
B Phillips singled to shallow right, J Hairston scored, C Patterson to third, J Keppinger to second.
E Encarnacion popped out to third.
J Votto singled to right center, C Patterson and J Keppinger scored, B Phillips to third, J Votto advanced to second on play.
R Freel singled to left center, B Phillips and J Votto scored.
P Bako tripled to deep right center, R Freel scored.
E Volquez struck out swinging.
J Hairston popped out to shortstop.
6 Runs, 5 Hits, 1 Errors

Projected Giants record -- 68-94

Tim for Cy Young?

Daniel Rathman at Giants Cove thinks it's worth discussing.

And Chris at Bay City Ball (great new design of the site) sounds an alarm -- he believes Bochy's already over-using him.

More pain for the Orange and Black

Strange game with Kevin Correia departing after nine pitches and the rest of the middle inning staff -- Hennessey, Yabu, Taschner -- getting hammered. Will someone please explain to me why Brad Hennessey still has an MLB job? Lowry, Vizquel, Roberts and Correia are now all on the DL, which is never a good thing except that it should mean more opportunity for the Fresno guys. My guess is that we'll see Patrick Misch back in SF soon as he's put up the best numbers. And he pitched adequately last year in the bigs.

Speaking of worthless veterans like Hennessey, what exactly is the point of keeping Ray Durham out there? Here's how the ninth went. Thanks for nothing, Ray --

Todd Coffey pitching for Cincinnati
T Coffey relieved J Affeldt.
J Hairston in right field.
S Holm doubled to deep left.
J Castillo doubled to right, S Holm scored.
F Lewis walked.
F Cordero relieved T Coffey.
E Velez tripled to deep left center, J Castillo and F Lewis scored.
R Winn grounded out to second, E Velez scored.
D Ortmeier grounded out to second.
R Durham struck out looking.

Projected record -- 71-91

Saturday, April 26, 2008

The non-Zito Giants

The Giants pitching -- except for Zito -- has been seriously good of late, with Sanchez and Wilson combining for a damn fine 3-1 win tonight. The SF Chron's Henry Schulman notes the Giants have scored a total of seven runs in this three-game winning streak while allowing two.

The Orange and Black are now 11-8 in games that Zito didn't pitch and 0-5 in games he did. I say that's enough reason to fire Sabean right there; imagine if the Giants had spent $126 million on someone who could actually perform (let's just say Vlad for the hell of it). There's also the stupidity of how Sanchez has been handled for the past two years. And there's the pathetic offense with the lowest number of runs scored in MLB. The pitching stats show the Giants with a 4.01 ERA -- 10th best in MLB -- that's been elevated thanks to Zito. Barry has a 5.61 ERA.

But enough Sabean bashing, with the team now projected to go 74-88. The top of the 9th says it all --

Cincinnati - Top of 9th
Jonathan Sanchez pitching for San Francisco
B Phillips hit for J Burton.
B Phillips homered to left.
R Freel singled to left.
B Wilson relieved J Sanchez.
J Hairston struck out looking.
R Freel to second on fielder's indifference.
K Griffey Jr grounded out to second, R Freel to third.
E Encarnacion fouled out to first.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Barry Bonds in Toronto?

Keep in mind that the Jays have had such controversial guys as Roger Clemens, Rickey Henderson, Jose Canseco and Roberto Alomar Jr. on the roster in the past. Matt Soteroff at Jays Nest makes a strong case for Toronto signing Barry in the wake of ditching Frank Thomas. Here are some of his best points --

-- Barry Bonds and Frank Thomas are both overpaid sluggers, except Barry would bring attendance that the post-strike Jays can only dream of. If you think he would be too expensive or an irresponsible purchase, what would you call AJ Burnett? The Jays have been an extremely free spending team ever since they got more attendance revenue and no one would bump that revenue way up more than #25.

-- The move would be almost as beneficial for Barry as it would for the Jays. He could come up North and live in relative obscurity. These days the home run champ can’t walk down the street in a US city without getting hollered at for disgracing the national past time. Our national past time is hockey, we don’t care if he’s done anything to baseball. Toronto is one of the few cities that would tend to be more forgiving towards Barry as soon as he puts on the uniform.

-- Barry Bonds also faces far too much scrutiny for his attitude. He gets called a cancer in the locker room, and has a reputation as being an all around miserable human being. But he did take a team to the World Series, and was arguably the best player in that series. Is wasn’t until he was saddled with a terrible lineup and his team started to lose that Barry’s arrogance and bad attitude became a flaw.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tim, Tim, Tim, Tim

He's truly got the magic, enough to inspire Rich Aurilia to homer for a 1-0 victory. It was Aurilia's first extra base hit of the year. I was listening to the Padres' senile Jerry Coleman react in the fifth inning to an inning-ending DP that snuffed out a decent rally San Diego had mounted. "That's a bad break," Coleman declared.

No, Jerry. It's called great pitching. I would call for you to retire but you're 1,000 times better than Ted Leitner.

Strange news out of Oakland, where the A's picked up Rajai Davis, who had been 1-for-18 before getting DFAd by the Giants. He immediately went 3-for-4. Is that the Billy Beane touch, or what? Beane also signed Frank Thomas.

Great news out of Chavez Latrine, where the Dodgers keep gagging, losing 6-4. The clueless LA Times coverage fails to mention that Choker Kent managed to not step on second based after a wide throw by Nomar in the 8th, leading to the game-winning Dbacks rally, then whined about the call so much that he was ejected in the 9th. What a crybaby.

Giants projected record -- 71-91.

Andruw Jones and the spoiled crybabies

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Eat it, Padres fans. Eat it raw


Why the hostility, you may ask? I guess I'm still annoyed at how stupid the Padre fans are, particuarly from a 2006 visit when they actually cheered one of their worthless pitchers for throwing at Bonds. Since I have XM, I have to listen to the stupid, vapid self-aggrandizing Ted Leitner for games at Petco, so it was with great joy that I heard him agonize as Saint Trevor Hoffman blow a save in the 9th with a HR to Bengie and then again in the 13th with a completely nerve-wracking end to a strange game:

San Francisco -- Top of 13th
Glendon Rusch pitching for San Diego
E Burriss doubled to right.
F Lewis singled to center, E Burriss scored, F Lewis to second advancing on play.
D Ortmeier grounded out to third.
K Yabu grounded out to second, F Lewis to third.
B Molina intentionally walked.
A Rowand singled to left, F Lewis scored, B Molina to second.
J Bowker grounded out to second.
2 Runs, 3 Hits, 0 Errors

San Diego - Bottom of 13th
Brian Wilson pitching for San Francisco
S Hairston reached on infield single to third.
A Gonzalez walked, S Hairston to second.
K Kouzmanoff singled to center, S Hairston to third, A Gonzalez to second.
C Morton hit for G Rusch.
C Morton hit sacrifice fly to center, S Hairston scored.
K Greene flied out to center.
J Bard walked, A Gonzalez to third, K Kouzmanoff to second.
T Iguchi grounded into fielder's choice to shortstop, J Bard out at second.
1 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors

Projected Giants record -- 66-96

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Zito and Webb -- franchise symbols

Barry Zito and Brandon Webb exemplify how the Giants and Dbacks operate their respective franchises. They are the two most high profile players on each team and now they have exactly opposite records -- Zito's 0-5 and Webb is 5-0.

Zito couldn't make it out of the 4th inning tonight and gave up a 2-run double to Webb. The Giants outhit the snakes 13-6 but lost the game 5-4. John Bowker and Fred Lewis keeps hitting but that's about it for good news except that the Reds hammered the Dodgers 8-1. So the Giants projected record is now 63-99 while the Dbacks is 121-41 and the Dodgers are 65-97.

Nonna's curse on the Giants

This wonderful letter to the editor of the SF Chronicle was published Sunday. It is a great snapshot of life in 1958 --

Editor - I was a kindergarten student at Commodore Sloat School in San Francisco when the Giants came to town in 1958 ("Westward expansion: Historic game at Seals Stadium ushered in a new era," April 15). The day of their welcoming parade my class was putting on one of those school productions only parents and grandparents could love. I remember seeing my mother in the audience but not my grandmother, which puzzled me.
Sometime after the show started, the auditorium door was thrown open and there stood my little Italian Nonna, attired in hat, coat, gloves and sensible shoes, obviously mad as hell. After a brief pause, the show continued.
When I went up to Mom and Nonna after the show, I heard Nonna explaining, disgust in her voice, how the schedule of the entire Municipal Railway had been altered to accommodate "a parade for some damn baseball team," making her miss the opening of my show.
Maybe my grandmother's curse is responsible for the team not having won a World Series since it moved west.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rich Aurilia = Jose Vizcaino

photo by Bushbong69 on Opening Day at Mays Field

Henry Schulman's story for the SF Chronicle makes it seem as if it were the young Giants who were mostly to blame for the team's 4-2 loss tonight. But all I can think of is how the game ended with Rich Aurilia watching strike three.

If you happen to catch yourself thinking about the young Giants that may actually have a future -- Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Brian Wilson and maybe John Bowker, Fred Lewis and Eugenio Velez -- you may think that Brian "the Brain" Sabean isn't doing such a bad job after all and maybe has learned from his mistakes.

You wouldn't think that if you heard the end of tonight's embarrassing 4-2 loss to the Dbacks. After Jose Castillo singled in the 9th with two out and brought up situation where a home run would tie the score, who did Sabean have on the bench for Bonehead Bochy send to the plate?

Yes, it was the formerly dangerous Rich Aurilia, who hit 37 homers in 2001 when he was hitting in front of Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent (that's the most ever by a shortstop not named Alex Rodriguez or Ernie Banks). But this year, he's 10 for 56 -- and all 10 hits are singles. That's right -- with the game on the line, you send up a guy who hasn't an extra base hit all year. Brilliant. And he managed to strike out looking.

What is it with Sabean and first-basemen? Doesn't Sabean understand that other teams rely on that slot to generate above-average offense, rather than giving out-making machines like Aurilia, Lance Niekro, Shea Hillenbrand and Jose Vizcaino an undeserved job? Did anyone notice that the last five starting SF first basemen over the last 3 years -- Hillenbrand, Snow, Klesko, Niekro and Vizcaino -- are all no longer employed at the MLB level? These guys are all still young enough to be playing; for example, Klesko is only 36. They're just no damn good. Vizcaino was awful two years ago at the age of 38 and still managed to rack up 119 ABs.

If this year's team is supposed to break in new talent, why is a guy who no longer can perform at the MLB level getting all these at bats? Why not let one of the other guys on the bench -- Daniel Ortmeier and Steve Holm were also available -- have a shot? I'm assuming it's because the Giants have to pay him anyhow and want to use his "veteran poise" to win a few games. But if it's OK to use veterans while the team's re-building, would it really kill them to sign Barry Bonds, especially if you're trying to tie the score with two out in the 9th?

Projected record -- 65-97

Lowell Cohn is an idiot

The columnist for the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat has written the stupidest column of the year, insisting that poor abused Brian Sabean is a better GM than Billy Beane, and of course, blaming Barry Bonds for the problems the Giants now face. I can only speculate that Cohn's assuring that he'll still get his phone calls returned from Brian "the Brain," which is known as getting into bed with your source. It's hard to see how this serves the newspaper's readers, however.

Fortunately, Junior at Fire Joe Morgan has dissected the idiocy of Cohn.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

John Bowker stays hot

The Giants hammered the Cards today, 8-2, thanks mostly to a 6-run third that wound up with Bowker hitting his third HR, a two-run shot that gives him 9 RBIs. He went one for 5, so he's now at 8 for 22. I guess this means Nate Schierholtz will be staying in Fresno for awhile longer.

The Giants have DFAd Rajai Davis and called up Emmanuel Burris, so they can have two shortstops who can't hit. Isn't this Brian Bocock in stereo? Daniel Rathman at Giants Cove isn't impressed either.

Projected Giants record is now 68-94. And the Dodgers are now in last place, thanks to a 6-1 buttkick by the Braves. Here's what the LA Times reported about Andruw Jones --

With cleanup hitter Jeff Kent taking the day off to rest his legs, Torre moved Andruw Jones from seventh in the batting order into the No. 4 slot, though the manager said the $36-million free agent would likely bat fifth or sixth in the future. Jones, who hit his first home run for the Dodgers the previous day, responded by striking out three times. He was 0 for 4, failing to get Juan Pierre home from third with one out in the eighth inning with the score still 2-1 by grounding out to short.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Tim, Tim, Tim

The Giants' ace makes it look easy in winning his third game -- 42% of the team total. Projected record is 63-99.

More good news -- the Dodgers just keep gagging, 4-1 to the Braves. They only have seven wins, just like the Giants. The Astros and Tigers have six and the Nats have five.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bad to the bone

This is the kind of game -- an 11-1 trouncing by the Cards -- that leads to ESPN's Jim Baker writing articles like this about how the Giants offense is historically one of the worst ever. Projected 2008 record is now 57-105.

About the only good news is that the Dodgers also got buttkicked, 6-1 by the Braves.

The Cards hammered Matt Cain for nine runs in less than 4 innings as he pitched the worst game of his career tonight.
I decided to check out what the excellent Raising Matt Cain had to say about it. Here's part of M.C. O'Conner's insightful post --

The 2008 Giants are a bad trip, a drunken binge, a root canal, a dose of herpes and an IRS audit all rolled into one! Matt Cain gave up MORE RUNS TONIGHT THAN IN ANY OTHER PREVIOUS START OF HIS YOUNG CAREER!!!!! Now there is certainly no shame in giving up the big fly to a fella like Albert Pujols. But that was just the dessert, the pièce de résistance tonight. He pitched like shit. It's going to happen. M.C. is going to have nights like this. This is the big leagues, there are no mulligans, no "do-overs." You either got the goods or you get lit up. Tonight our boy had bupkis. And he paid the price. All that's left to say is "shake it off, pal, get 'em next time." Y'know sumthin'? He will.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Forbes' strange analysis of the Giants

Forbes Magazine ranks the Giants' franchise value as eighth highest out of the 30 MLB franchises at $494 million with operating income (AKA profit) of $19 million last year. The mag's "skinny" is bizarre, however, as it fails to explain why the team's revenues are at risk of a significant decline beyond stating that it's "too early to tell" about the impact of the team's refusal to sign Barry Bonds, when there's plenty of evidence already in such as Stubhub sales. Any knowledgeable person realizes that poor roster decisions will probably cause a revenue decline but Forbes simply says the team "can not take any chances." It would seem that putting a crappy team out on the field and giving a contract extension to "Brain" Sabean, who assembled this team, is certainly taking a BIG chance of a loss of revenues and profits. Or to put it into plain English -- why will fans keep showing up to see Barry Zito and his march toward a 20-loss season? Yesterday's attendance was 30,510 -- far off the norm and a number that's artificially high since it includes a hefty number of no-shows who are not paying for parking or going to concession stands. What's that number going to be like in July or August as the team gets hammered day after day? At any rate, here's the Forbes writeup --

The Giants decided not to re-sign home run king Barry Bonds after the 2007 season, and it is too early to tell if his absence will influence ticket sales (attendance topped 3 million for the eighth consecutive season in 2007). But with their annual ballpark debt payments running between $15 million and $18 million a year, the team cannot take any chances. Last year the team bought a stake in a regional cable network that should soon increase their cash flow. The Giants will also get a revenue boost from a new, three-year broadcasting deal that they signed with KNTV/NBC 11, which begins in 2008.

MY SNARKY COMMENT -- The Forbes chart has what looks like a big error on it -- it says "player expenses" for 2008 are $111 million while everything I've read is that it's $77 million. That's the figure in Cot's Contracts, which is pretty authoritative. Frankly, I've always thought Forbes (which often bends over backwards to be pro-billionaire) has been in over its head when it's written about baseball, anyhow.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Zito now leading the league in losses

Jack the Ripper

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Good news amid the smoking wreckage

Monday, April 14, 2008

Giants on another win streak!

Let's hear it for Brian Wilson with back-to-back saves as the Dbacks choked away a game they should have won, just like they did in the NLCS against the Rox with egregiously bad fielding. After a 1-6 start, the Giants have gone 5-2, thanks to win streaks of three and two games. Tonight's win over the Dbacks means that the projected record is back under 100 losses at 69-93.

Things were looking mighty grim a week ago after the home opener -- so much so that Michael Barnett at Bleacher Report posted an amusing take on whether the 2008 Giants were any better than the 1985 Giants, the only SF team in 50 years to lose 100 games. It's so much easier to post this after a Giants win, I must say. Here's a bit of Barnett's very witty writing:

-- At first base, you've got Rich Aurillia or David Green. I'll take Aurillia only because he is the lesser of two evils. Frankly, I'd prefer a 17-year-old Angel Villalona.

-- At second base, take your pick: Ray Durham or Manny Trillo. I'll take Trillo. Not because he's better, but only because he'll play every day. The glass-man, Ray Durham, will probably not make it through a whole season. My final choice in this matter will be the totally unproven Eugenio Velez.


Sunday, April 13, 2008

Bowker = McCovey?

Holy cow -- two HRs and seven Rbis in two games. According to, he's the first Giant ever to homer in his first 2 games. Bowker is already second on the team in Rbis. What a start to an MLB career! This guy looks like he could hit OK in AA ball (22 HRs in 2007) but nothing special.

I was so angry yesterday over the Giants giveaway of the game that I failed to note Bowker breaking in bigtime -- much like Stretch did 39 years ago with two triples and two singles.

Stretch went on to bat .354, hit 13 HRs and drive in 38 rbis in 192 ABs and was the unanimous Rookie of the Year.

MORE GOOD NEWS -- The Dodgers lost 1-0 to the Padres and Greg Maddux. Andruw Jones went 0-for-2 and is now batting .100. That means the Giants now have as many wins as the Dodgers. Projected Giants record -- 62-100.

Andruw Jones = Barry Zito?

Giants Win just got back from its first vist to Chavez Latrine (I occasionally enjoy speaking of myself in the third person, so sue me if you don't like it) to see the Dodgers buttkick the Padres 11-1. The only good news is that Andrew Jones went 0-for-3 and is now batting .105 with four hits in 38 ABs, 1 RBI and no HRs. He did get two walks and looked pretty decent in CF but it's nice to see Frank McCourt wasting $36 million on a guy who looks like he's completely forgotten how to hit. It's great to see another brain-dead free agent signing after the Juan Pierre fiasco. Tonight, Matt Kemp had to sit because Joe Torre thought it was a good idea to play the offense-free Pierre. As soon as Kemp replaced Pierre, he homered.

The stupid, class-free Dodger fans managed to interrupt play half a dozen times by throwing beach balls onto the field -- once into RF while the SD rightfielder Paul MacAnulty was catching a fly ball. Hopefully, the umps will make the Dodgers forfeit a game soon due to this kind of idiotic conduct.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thanks for crushing this year's hopes, Brian Sabean

I admit that some may call this whining. But I continue to harp on this -- that it's truly amazing how badly Brian Sabean has performed while still keeping his job. Today's crushing 8-7 defeat, as the bullpen went up in flames, can be laid squarely at his feet. What other MLB team would be batting guys like Jose Castillo and Ray Durham in the power slots? What other bullpen would be running nonentities like Tyler Walker and Brad Hennessey out there with the game on the line? What MLB front office would keep a manager like Bruce Bochy, whose idea for pumping up a terrible offense is to get guys thrown out on the basepaths with their best hitters coming up? And how could Bochy let Walker stay in the game in the 8th after giving up a HR to Duncan so he could then give up another HR to Ankiel?
So with the record now 4-8, projections are for a 54-108 season, which is still better than what the Tigers did in 2003 in going 43-119 -- the worst performance by an MLB team of recent vintage. The Giants' performance this year has to be one of the MLB's worst performances based on payroll dollars, which is currently at $77 million. There's always hope that the Giants can duplicate Detroit's feat and get back to respectability but not until Magowan sees the light and gets rid of these two clowns.

If I were better looking, I'd be George Clooney

The SF Chronicle's Henry Schulman takes a "glass half full" approach to reporting Barry Zito's third loss last night -- essentially saying that except for a horrific pitch to Albert Pujols, Zito pitched pretty well. But that's not the case, is it? The fact is simple: he DID throw that pitch. I'm not really sure how reporting it the other way serves much purpose.

It's the same with me. If I were more talented and better looking, I'd be making three-picture deals with Warner Bros., hanging out with Sara Larson and jetting off to my villa at Lake Como.

Timpner Vs. Harper

Friday, April 11, 2008

Giants go back to being embarrassing

The Cards hammered the Orange and Black tonight, 8-2. It was Barry Zito's third loss of the year. I heard Mike Krukow say on the postgame show last night that Zito's command had improved in his last game with his fastball getting up to 87 mph, but the only way he's going to win a game is on those rare days when the Giants' bats come alive.

The writeup makes it look like Zito pitched just fine and was done in by Durham's error. Still, I'm not impressed. He gave up a 3-run HR to Albert Pujols -- can't the second highest paid pitcher in MLB figure out that maybe he should pitch around the best hitter in MLB?

I'm also getting sick and tired of this overly aggressive approach to baserunning, which led to Aurilia and Steve Holm getting thrown out at home in the same inning. Here's the thing -- the Giants have scored the fewest runs of ANY MLB team this year with 29 in 11 games. They've stolen 12 but been caught 5 times; they're also constantly getting thrown out on the bases, such as Velez getting thrown out at 3rd by 20 feet on a ground ball to first by Winn on Wednesday night for a 3-5 DP. That's just stupid baserunning.

Projected Giants record is now 59-103.

The only good news -- the Dodgers keep gagging, this time with Choker Kent ending the game by striking out with the bases loaded.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

As good as it gets?

The Giants got their first easy win tonight by scoring a season-high 5 runs and more outstanding pitching for the third game in a row. And it was over the Cards, who came in at 7-2 and we're probably thinking 4-game sweep. I'm thinking that this may be the high point of the season but now, of course, I want MORE. I'm thinking "What if they win 5 more in a row? How DEPRESSING for Dodger fans!"

And though I hate anyone get injured, even that news isn't too bad. The latest to go down is Dave Roberts, which evokes a "what did you expect" reaction since he's 36 already. Why in hell Sabean hasn't moved him to the Mets or some other team that needed an outfielder is kind of idiotic. That means maybe Eugenio Velez, Fred Lewis, Rajai Davis and Nate Schierholtz will get enough playing time to see if one of them is a legitimate MLBer.

The projected record is now a much less embarrassing 65-97.

Gutting it out

A great ninth-inning 1-0 win tonight by the Orange and Black -- airtight pitching by Sanchez, who managed to overcome an egregious error by Rowand in the 5th, and struck out 10; a wonderful Fred Lewis-Bengie Molina DP in the 7th; Dan Ortmeier finally delivering a clutch hit to end the game; and the looks of disgust on the Padres' faces as they gagged away a game they should have won for the second night in a row.

Henry Schulman of the Chron notes that it was the smallest crowd ever at Mays Field and the first back-to-back walkoff wins since 2004.

The only downside -- fans doing the wave in the 8th while the Padres were at bat. What an embarrassment! I hate the wave! HATE IT.

UPDATE -- The Dodgers keep gagging and have lost 3 in a row.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Bengie, Bengie!

Even the worst teams have their memorable moments and tonight the Giants managed a wonderful win thanks to Benjie Molina's walkoff HR in the 11th -- rewarding the loyal fans who had stayed through a cold windy night with most expecting the team go 1-7. Instead, the Orange and Black got the usual marvelous performance by Tim the Enchanter, a crucial baserunning rock by Kevin Kouzmanoff and two HRs by Benjie.

There was also a "We want Barry!" chant that went up in the 8th and 9th as the Giant pinch hitters fell short. "This place is going to be empty in September," one guy in back of me in Section 219 predicted. Probably true but for one night, Giants fans can't help but feel a little better.

Adding to the evening's delights -- the Dodgers were buttkicked again, 10-5. Andruw Jones is now batting .103.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Ned Colletti = almost as stupid as Brian Sabean

Amazingly bad track record of free agent signings for Ned "The Traitor" Colletti -- Andruw Jones is 3 for 26 and struck out with two on in 8th tonight in the Dbacks 9-3 buttkick of the Dodgers. Juan Pierre is batting .067.; Chan Ho Park gave up a homer in his return to Dodger Blew; Jason Schmidt is on the DL.

Unfortunately, they did come with two decent pitchers (Brad Penney and Derek Lowe) during DePodesta's reign and they do have a decent farm system that even Colletti can't mess up, so guys Chad Billingsley, Fat Broxton, James Loney and Russell Martin keep showing up. Fortunately, Colletti's screwups look like they may be enough to keep the Dodgers where they belong -- out of first place.

Banging the drum for signing Bonds

Jim Caple of ESPN tells the Seattle Mariners, who are 2-4 and have no offense to speak of, that they should sign Bonds ASAP. He gives a number of reasons why, which make me wonder "Don't those same reasons apply with the San Francisco Giants?" --

-- This isn't panic. This is good, sound thinking. Bonds could help. He hit 28 home runs last season (more than anyone with Seattle hit last year -- and, I dare say, more than anyone on the team will hit this year) with a 1.045 OPS. He not only would give them a home run threat from the left side, he also would give them a batter who actually has the plate discipline to take a walk.

-- What would happen that would be so horrible if the Mariners (or any other team) signed Bonds? Yes, Seattle fans would be appalled. At first. They like their players to smile and say nice things and visit sick kids in hospitals and establish charitable foundations....But they're also pretty sick and tired of never reaching the World Series, and never ever acquiring the player who is so obviously needed....And as soon as he started slamming fastballs into the Hit It Here Café, fans would very quickly forget about his considerable baggage.

-- Why should fans be more outraged by a team signing Bonds than by the Tigers acquiring Gary Sheffield, the Yankees re-signing Andy Pettitte (and New York fans giving him a big ovation after a written "apology" that included a lie) and playing Jason Giambi, the Astros signing Miguel Tejada, or any of the other teams who employ players named in the Mitchell report or the BALCO investigation?

-- Would there be a distraction in the clubhouse? Sure. For a week or so. Then all the stories would have been reported, all the outraged opinions would have been expressed, all the phone calls would have been taken on talk radio. And what would be left? Just a guy who keeps to himself off the field but can still hit when he's in the lineup.

-- Barry's just sitting around, waiting for someone to sign him. How about Seattle?Plus, this is Seattle. The national media don't care about us anyway. Half the country thinks we're still wearing grunge, and the other half thinks we share our coffee breaks with Bigfoot. Bonds could play with the Mariners and most fans would think he was retired or in jail.

-- Bonds also will be on his best behavior. He doesn't have many employment opportunities at the moment, which means a team will be able to tell him to play by its rules. It won't be a problem. Bonds may like playing by his own rules, but what he mostly likes is playing.

-- And if doesn't work? Big deal. A lot of moves don't work out in baseball. The Mariners will move on. At least they would have tried.

Home opener -- what an embarrassment

The Giants just got kicked around by San Diego, 8-4. Projected record is now 23-139.

The pregame ceremony honored the 1958 team -- rightly so, I might add, since they clobbered the Dodgers 8-0 in their home opener. That game featured a homer by Orlando Cepeda in his first MLB game. Those really were the good old days. It was also the MLB debut of Jim Davenport and Willie Kirkland. Daryl Spencer -- aka Big D -- also homered.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Giants = Rodney Dangerfield

"I don't get no respect. I played hide-and-seek, and they wouldn't even look for me” -- Rodney Dangerfield's opening joke on his first appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show."

So it's come to this: the Giants are fast becoming the punchline in everyone's joke. How else to explain my brother-in-law The Dodger Fan (he's a pretty great guy, otherwise) emailing me this with the subject line "Giants 50 Biggest flops" -- Great piece in the SJ Merc News today!Hey, when are the G-Men gonna start scoring in the first 5 innings of a game?

So I looked at the Merc-News piece and it's pretty much what you'd expect, though very oddly minus the blame on Dusty Baker's baffling managerial decisions. There was one key development that was left out -- Brian Sabean signing a two-year extension last year and then proceeding to build a team that looks like it will lose 100 games. Here's what my brother in law had to say about today's game -- Another stellar outing by Zito. Sabean should be fired for that deal alone!

So here's what I wrote back -- It's gotten so bad that it occurs to me .... maybe this is a SECRET PLAN to pave the way for bringing back Barry Bonds when the team's something like 4-31 .... but that would actually make sense so it won't happen. No, it's just going to be a terrible season. I can't imagine that attendance won't take a huge hit.

Giants projected record: 27-135

Barry Zito lasted five innings and gave up five runs, two unearned. It sure doesn't sound like this guy's worth $126 million over 7 years. I'm betting that the Giants won't pick up the option in 2014.

The offense consisted of doubles by Velez and Castillo and singles by Steve Holm, Fred Lewis and Rich Aurlia. No walks.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The good news -- stupid Dodgers gag in San Diego

Giants projected record: 32-130

The Orange and Black just lost another game to the Brewers, 5-4. The only guy who's performing above expectations is Brian Bocock, who got two more walks today to to give him six for the year and another hit (his fourth in 13 ABs) so his OBP is now .526. He also stole 2 bases and got thrown out stealing another for the second time. This is what the boxscore says --

SB: Bocock 2 (2, 2nd base off Parra/Rivera, 3rd base off Parra/Rivera), Ortmeier 2 (2, 2nd base off Parra/Rivera, 3rd base off Parra/Rivera).CS: Bocock (2, 2nd base by Riske/Rivera).

In any case, the Giants have now stolen 5 bases and been caught stealing 3 times, which is awful.

"The worst contract ever granted a starting pitcher"

That's how Scott Miller of CBS Sportsline is describing the Giants $126-million deal for Barry Zito, who's due to start Sunday against the Brew Crew. "The Barry Zito thing is getting harder and harder to look at," he notes. Here are his key points --

-- It wasn't the surrendering of four runs on eight hits in five innings that was so bad on Monday in Dodger Stadium, it was in the fact that it was more of the same for Zito, who has never looked so far removed from his ace days in Oakland. His fastball was pedestrian, mostly clocking in at 82-83 mph. (he touched 84). His curve was mostly a memory of what once was a dominant weapon. He only struck out four batters in 18 1/3 innings this spring while compiling a 10.31 ERA and, on Monday in Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles hitters swung and missed at exactly one of his first 60 pitches.

-- Scouts who watched Zito this spring saw what looked to be a continuing decline for the 29-year-old lefty, though the thinking was Arizona air isn't friendly to Cactus League pitchers -- particularly to those who throw curve balls.

-- "The thing I saw was not so much that he lacked fastball velocity, because it's so early in the season and he could still get up to 85 to 88 as the season goes along, but I saw him having trouble repeating his curve," said one scout who watched Monday's game. "He used to have that snap-dragon curveball, but he couldn't throw it. He'd throw one good one, and then three bad ones."

Friday, April 04, 2008

Well, that didn't last long

Tim the Enchanter

For those wondering where Lincecum's nickname comes from -- it's out of the lunatic 1975 film "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." Tim the Enchanter is played by John Cleese and warns the knights at one point to beware of a dangerous little bunny rabbit, who then kills one of the knights. Tim then taunts them: "I *warned* you, but did you listen to me? Oh, no, you *knew*, didn't you? Oh, it's just a harmless little *bunny*, isn't it?"

In any case, that's probably more than you wanted to know about the movie. I bring this up just because of the reaction from other blogs -- all better written and designed than mine -- to Bochy's decision to allow Tim Lincecum to pitching in the rain Wednesday night. J.C. Parsons at Raising Matt Cain, for example, makes this point:

We have all watched a ton of baseball (probably too much) yet I sincerely doubt if anyone out there has ever witnessed such ridiculous, confusing, reckless and arbitrary handling of a pitcher. Oh and not just any pitcher, our Crown Jewel, The Franchise....The Freak. Apparently Tim is just too young to know that the way he was used defies all logic. I figure my head is just not big enough to think like Bochy..... Tim's hit, not only led to the winning run, but it was also one of best line drives hit by Giant so far. A sweet swing.A truly entertaining game. Yet, I still have a lingering anger. Can anybody really justify the decisions made last night? Are these guys making it up as they go along? Is conventional wisdom a pile of crap? Enlighten me. Explain.

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters thinks Bochy's a Bonehead -- Last night, Bonehead decided that protecting the single most valuable commodity in the entire fucking organization was for pansey’s. A real man, one who chews tobacco and kicks his dog, can pitch for an inning and then take an hour and a half break and come back just fine. Youngest player on the team? No issue. Best player on the team? Whatever. He’s tough.

Lefty Malo has this to say -- Giants 2, Dodgers 1: When is a win not a win not a win? When you see the health of the franchise, or The Franchise, flash before your eyes.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Brian Sabean has one of these in his office

Fortunately, Bleacher Report dissects just how badly the Giants and Orioles are doing via their Opening Day shortstops and correctly identifies Sabean as one of the worst GMs in baseball. In an article entitled "Luis Hernandez, Brian Bocock and the Suicide of Two Organizations," Nathaniel Stoltz makes these points:
-- Bocock hit .220/.293/.328 last year in the Cal League. That's right, Giants' fans, your Opening Day shortstop put up a 621 OPS last year in the best hitter's league in baseball, good for the worst mark of any player in that league. Bocock shouldn't have even been invited to Spring Training, let alone make the team.
-- Speaking of Spring Training, Bocock hit a ridiculous .188, so it's not like he's turned around. Giants brass ignored this and simply raved about how he hadn't committed any errors. Yes Bocock, like Hernandez, is a good defender, but starting Bocock is just suicidal for everyone involved. He was 22 last year, so he, like Hernandez, wasn't even young for the level.
There's no reason for any organization to start Hernandez or Bocock, or even have them on the major league team right now.
-- Bocock became the starter when Omar Vizquel was hurt early in Spring Training, despite the fact that Kevin Frandsen could actually hit. When Frandsen ruptured his ACL and was out for the year, Bocock was left standing alone at short, even though he hasn't hit anywhere except Low-A and had a terrible spring at the plate.

-- Unlike the Orioles, the Giants actually have a serviceable shortstop not named Vizquel or Frandsen. His name is Ivan Ochoa, and I'd forgive you if your reaction is "Who in hell is that?"
Well, Ochoa is a plus-plus defender at short, and last year, at AAA Fresno, he hit .296/.337/.430—certainly pretty good. He turned 25 after the season ended, so he's no veteran. Yet, Ochoa barely appeared during Spring Training and was quickly reassigned to minor league camp. Not only is Ochoa miles ahead of Bocock, he may even be better than Vizquel. He's certainly cheaper.
-- Further damning to these decisions, Hernandez and Bocock are likely to fail in the majors and will slump and fall into bad habits at the plate, which will destroy any long-term potential they have. Not that it's considerable.
-- Thank God I'm an A's fan—Billy Beane would never let players like this into the majors. As long as Hernandez and Bocock start, the Orioles and Giants will needlessly suffer tremendous losses offensively. Vizquel can't get healthy quickly enough. Orioles and Giants fans can only hope these two slump so badly early that the organizations have no choice but to look elsewhere. Everyone would be better for it.

Barry Bonds in Green and Gold?

Scott Fender of Bleacher Report believes Oakland will make a deal for Barry this year. No reporting, just pretty decent analysis. Here are his main reasons --

1. Location, Location, Location- The Oakland A's signing Bonds would receive the smallest backlash from the fans because Oakland is always looking to one-up San Francisco in every sport. Barry would not have to move and adjust to a new area.
2. Moneyball- Billy Beane has always coveted Barry Bonds. In the book, Moneyball, Billy Beane called Barry the best pure hitter in the game today.... Bonds is the perfect player for a moneyball attitude. He draws plenty of walks (even when not walked intentionally), hits the ball hard, and runs conservatively.
3. Chris Denorfia, Ryan Sweeney, Emil Brown, Travis Buck, and Jack Cust-

4. Stick it to "The Man"- That man being everyone who says he cannot play anymore. Anyone who called him a cheater. The man is the media who often scorns him and he returns the favor. The man being Giants GM Brian Sabien. The man being Commissioner Bud Selig. The man can be anyone Bonds wants it to be.
5. To win- The Athletics do not look like the team to beat but over the past 7 to 8 years the Athletics still find a way to be competitive regardless of the rag tag roster.
6. Boost the Hall Of Fame resume- He is already a first ballot hall-of-famer but is still shy of 3,000 hits and 2,000 RBI's plus he could be the only member of the 800 club.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008


Your over-rated team just gagged away a game to one of the worst teams in the MLB, thanks to the boneheaded Juan Pierre. It's deals like the Pierre signing by Ned Colletti that keep other dingbat GMs like Brian Sabean employed. And I can't think of a more appropriate Giant to get the first W of the year than Tim Lincecum, thanks to a solid 4 innings of relief on a rainy night. So enjoy it while it lasts, Giant fans -- the team's only a game out of first place and only one game under .500.

Preview of coming attractions at Mays Field

The strange life of an SF Giants publicist

It can't be easy being a PR person for the Giants these days, particularly with fans probably not willing to buy into the "Gamer" campaign when the first reactions to the team so far from are these:

-- It's obvious that this is a terrible team, far worse than when Bonds was on it.
-- The first thing that people notice when they come to the ballpark is that it's as if Bonds never played there. Even a dingbat as stupid as the Chronicle's Bruce Jenkins couldn't help but notice.

So it's not without some small amount of pity that I witness Staci Slaughter's pathetic attempt to spin and lie her way around the second point in a letter to the Chronicle, which ran Sunday --

Editor - We were extremely disappointed to read the recent assertions by two Chronicle columnists that the Giants are somehow attempting to erase the memory of Barry Bonds from our ballpark. In fact, quite the opposite is true. The only things that were removed from the ballpark were the items that were relevant to Barry as an active Giants player.
All of the plaques and markers that recognize his historic achievements and contributions remain on permanent display in and around the ballpark. This includes seven of the 14 plaques in the Giants History Walk and his seven MVP awards, along with the other Giants who won the honor (Jeff Kent, Kevin Mitchell, Willie McCovey and Willie Mays). On Opening Day, we will unveil a plaque on the right-centerfield brick wall marking his record-breaking home run. Additionally, Barry Bonds is prominently featured in our 50th Anniversary displays around the ballpark and on the cover of our media guide - which highlights some of the Giants greats over the past 50 years.
The contributions of Barry Bonds to our club and our community can never be erased in the minds of the millions of fans who witnessed all that he achieved in a Giants uniform over 15 seasons.
- Staci Slaughter, Senior Vice President of Communications, San Francisco Giants
This article appeared on page D - 2 of the San Francisco Chronicle

My snarky response -- if you're obsessed with looking for evidence that Bonds played at Mays Field, I'm sure you can indeed find it if you look hard enough, just like you can probably find evidence that Kenny Lofton, Jeffrey Hammonds, David Bell, Russ Davis, Jose Cruz Jr., and Edgardo Alfonzo played there too. This is all sort of the heighth of irony, given Bruce Jenkins' unending apologies for Brian Sabean's incompetence, that the Giants are now reduced to attacking him, too.

SF trades for Encarnacion -- April Fool!

Daniel Rathman at Giants Cove created a damn good April Fool's Day joke. I certainly believed it when I saw it --

Perhaps Brian Sabean does listen to the “lunatic fringe” after all.
A major league source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told me this morning that the San Francisco Giants have acquired third-baseman Edwin Encarnacion from the Cincinnati Reds, in exchange for left-handers Steve Kline and Pat Misch, plus outfielder Fred Lewis, and cash considerations....The 25 year-old Encarnacion should soon reach his prime as a hitter; he batted .289/.356/.438 for Cincinnati last season and is seen by many as a breakout candidate for 2008....

I was about to jump for joy, but at the end after several lines of blank space, Daniel posted --Disclaimer: check your calendar.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

That's what veteran poise gets you

Second-baseman Ray Durham and first-baseman Rich Aurilia just combined to let the winning run at Chavez Latrine score from second base with two outs in the 9th...on an infield hit. Durham knocked the ball down, threw to Richie too late to get the runner at first; then Richie couldn't get the ball home in time to keep Furcal scoring from second. If the team had a real second-baseman and a real first-baseman, the teams might still be playing.

The Giants actually had a real chance tonight to go .500 for perhaps the only time this year but found a new and creative way to lose instead. Matt Cain pitched wonderfully as usual and the team finally scored a deuce in the 7th, only to see Brad Hennessey give it right back.

I can't think of anything more symbolic of the pathetic Giants offense than the fact that Brian Bocock drove in the first run of the year with a walk. Aurilia also grounded into two DPs.