Monday, June 30, 2008

Is Bowker the future at first?

Rather than dwell on Barry Zito's return to normalcy, which means he's now got a 3-12 record thanks to tonight's embarrassment at Mays Field, I want to focus on a brighter part of the Giants future, which came into focus when Bochy sent up Bowker to pinch hit against Ted Lilly in the 9th with Winn on first. Jon Miller noted that Bowker's gone 3-for-25 this year against lefties, but that immediately changed to 4-for-26 as he lined a single to center on the 8th or 9th pitch of the at bat. He's gotten 175 ABs against righties and can obviously hit them, so now the question is -- should he be full time?

The next batter was Rich Aurilia, who continued to show (after an awful start this year) that he's still an OK hitter. He blasted a double to right center over Edmunds (probably a homer in most parks) and prevented the embarrassment of a Cubs shut out.

Miller was trying to keep things entertaining and mentioned that 30 years ago today, Stretch hit his 500th homer. It was a far better Giants team than this one.

If this team were well run, Bowker would be getting ABs against lefties and Aurilia would be traded for prospects. So I don't know if it will happen, given how clueless Brian "Stupid" Sabean us. Example -- the front office couldn't figure out that Vizquel can't hit anymore until Omar felt obliged to tell them to play Burriss.

Omar has just gone 1-for-32 and is batting .154. How hard is this to figure out? Rich Lederer at Baseball Analysts has some thoughts as to whether he should retire, noting that there's only guy (Honus Wagner) who ever played 100 games at short at the age of 41. Luke Appling did it at age 42.

Omar's gold glove

Bonds a Brave?

Baseball writer JC Bradbury (author of the Baseball Economist) suggests that Atlanta and Barry would be a great fit for the stretch run. It's not as if the rest of the NL East is setting the world on fire right now. Here are some highlights. I've boldfaced the key questions --

-- The Braves outfield is so bad that it reminds me of my first impressions of outfielders from T-ball. Since the ball never made it to the outfield, the good players always played infield. I remember when I found out that Reggie Jackson played outfield and I said to my dad, “I thought he was good.” Well, the Braves outfield would never have changed my expectations. Brandon Jones, Gregor Blanco, and Jeff Francoeur: that is the worst outfield in the majors, by far. One of these guys has to bat in the six hole. Barry Bonds erases a giant hole in the lineup.

-- What about that trial? Not a problem. The prosecutors have bungled the case so badly that the earliest his trial will begin is after the season.

-- Steroids. He’s been a good player even since testing was instituted. Barry Bonds is a good player without performance-enhancing drugs.No, I meant the taint of steroids. Oh, that! Fans may talk the talk, but they don’t walk the walk. Let’s do a quick little thought experiment. What will happen to attendance if Bonds suits up at Turner Field? If you think it will go down, slap yourself and think again. Is that better? Two things will happen if Bonds puts on the Tomahawk. First, fans will flock to the novelty, and Braves fans can stop complaining that ESPN never shows Braves highlights—which isn’t even true.

-- What about the legacy of Hank Aaron? This is the biggest obstacle, and I used to think it would keep Bonds out of Atlanta. But come on, folks. What damage will be done by Bonds playing half a season with Atlanta? What team did Hank Aaron play for? The Braves. The fact that he spent his final seasons on the Brewers didn’t make him a Brewer. Barry Bonds is a Giant. Playing one season with the Braves won’t make him a Brave any more than Babe Ruth’s last season with the Braves did. His legacy is set. And if the Braves make it to the playoffs, fans will remember him positively. Heck, most fans still like Rafael Furcal despite is drunk driving problems. Atlanta is a safer place with Bonds than with Furcal. If you think this will tarnish the legacy of Aaron, get over it. The 755 club isn’t going away anytime soon.

-- Bonds is asking the pro-rated league minimum. There are no prospects to give up or big salaries to eat. This is one of the best reasons to sign Bonds. The team can improve now, without sacrificing the future. In fact, the additional revenue brought in by Bonds can be used on the free agent market next year.

-- Won’t Bonds poison the clubhouse chemistry? Bonds is a jerk, but so are a lot of baseball players. Some of these jerks play on this Braves team. One thing that the Braves have been able to do that other teams have not is handle clubhouse problems. Gary Sheffield played two seasons in Atlanta and there was not one issue. Sheffield may be an even bigger jerk than Bonds. Sheff seeks out attention, while Bonds responds when prodded. That won’t happen in Atlanta. Could things go south? Of course, but so what? It’s not like he’s going to sink a contending team.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sanchez -- the other Giants All-Star

He won't get picked but if he were, it would be merited. Jonathan Sanchez is that guy. He's now 8-4; the team's now 13-4 in games he starts. He now has 102 strikeouts in 102 innings with a 3.79 ERA. That's pretty high quality.

What a strange game today -- after getting 10 hits and scoring 3 runs in 3 games, this team scores 11 on 13 hits today. Projected record as the second half starts -- 71-91.

Speaking of teams that don't score runs, the Dodgers got shut out today 1-0.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

The Giants real All-Star

That would be Tim Lincecum, who's now 9-1 after shutting out the A's over 7 innings tonight. That's the best start for a Giant since Gaylord Perry went 12-1 in 1966.

Bruce Bochy did his level best to lose the game with Fred Lewis getting thrown out trying to steal for the 5th time in 18 tries. The Giants are second in the league on caught stealing with 26 throwouts in 86 tries -- for a success rate of 69% which is nowhere near good enough the requisite 75%. The team would score more runs if it did not steal at all. Houston is the only NL team with more caught stealings with 28 but it's also stolen 79 bases in all for 74% success.

As usual, the Giants trail everyone in the NL in runs scored (324) except the Nats and Padres. Way to go, Brian Sabean! The Giants finished the first half of their schedule at 35-46 -- translating to an awful 72-90 record. Still, because the NL West is so crappy this year, they're in third place, a mere 6 games out of first. What's galling is that were this franchise to be competently managed, that goal would be within reach. But it's not competently run, not by a long shot. So we'll have to rely on luck plus the Big 3 (Lincecum, Sanchez and Cain) not losing again for that happen.

Bruce Jenkins = Brian Sabean's shill

Bruce Jenkins of the SF Chronicle boards the Barry Bonds Hate Train once more. In this case, he makes the questionable argument that Aaron Rowand should be on the All-Star team because he's unlike Bonds.

Rowand's numbers are decent at this point -- 8 HRs, 43 RBIs, .362 OBP -- but so are lots of other guys. In any case, with Bonds not having been in a Giants uni since last September, summoning up his name to make a point that's not particularly defensible looks a tad desperate. I would argue that Bruce is once again putting aside any kind of journalistic objectivity to help save his buddy Brian Sabean's job. Bruce, we get it -- you hate Barry Bonds and love Brian Sabean, which would put you in a pretty elite group if you weren't a sportswriter or a Dodger fan. Now can you please stop wasting our time and go back to covering tennis?

Thankfully, other Bay Area sports journalists have moved on and stopped talking about how much they hate Barry. Ann Killion, for example, writes an engaging piece in the Contra Costa Times about how silly the Oakland A's latest anti-Giants campaign is, since it's likely to lead to Giants fans not showing up at the Oakland Mausoleum. Here's a nice bit of her writing -- Sadly for the A's, the remind-them-how-boring-this-series-is strategy seemed to work. The opener of this weekend's three-game set against the Giants drew 27,125 people, far below the Coliseum's tarped capacity.

Another day closer to Brian Sabean getting fired

Again, that's the best thing that can be said about tonight's game -- a back-to-back 4-1 Giants embarrassment by a not particularly distinguished AL team. Yabu's now given up eight straight hits; the Giants have gotten a total of 9 hits in two games.

Chris Haft of noted in game day story that Oakland took out an ad in the local papers about the series -- For at least another day, the Giants will have to swallow the A's truth-in-advertising approach. In Bay Area newspapers Friday morning, the A's ran an ad to stimulate ticket sales that read, "The Battle of the Bay is 100 percent baseball" -- except the word "Battle" was crossed out. An adjacent block of type explained, "Well, when you've won 8 of the last 9, it's not exactly a 'battle.'" The Giants noticed. "It's unprofessional, in my opinion," Aurilia said. "If that makes them feel good about themselves, go ahead."

Ah, Oakland. Classy as always. What else to expect from the home of the Raiders?

Friday, June 27, 2008

The 1987 pennant tops the list

Here's why the Dodgers and Giants stink

How can it be that both organizations -- which have a decent amount of financial firepower -- are performing so poorly? The short answer is: Juan Pierre. Both the Giants and the Dodgers put in serious bids for his services before the 2007 season; the Dodgers won with an egregious 5-year $45 million contract while the Giants made a not-quite-as-crappy 3-year deal with Dave Roberts for $18 million.

Neal Pollack at the LA Citybeat blog dissects why Pierre -- and the Dodgers' insistence on having him beat leadoff -- symbolizes why the Dodgers are a lousy team right now despite having plenty of $$$ to spend.

It may not be over yet for Barry

Bonds, that is, not Zito. Kansas City Star columnist Joe Posnaski -- one of the best in the biz -- says he believes the Royals should give Barry a try, especially now that he's said he'll play for free. A look at the comments page indicates that Royals fans are also sick and tired of losing. It's worth noting that Bonds has always been unfailingly polite and cheerful to Posnaski. I had to laugh about the typical Midwestern politeness: an online poll got 310 votes by the time I posted this and 54% said yes, I'd sign him if I were the GM; 29% said no and 17% said "I'm not qualified to be the GM." Posnaski acknowleges that it probably won't happen, given the close friendship between KC owner David Glass and Bud "Idiot" Selig. Anyhow, here are some excerpts --

-- The circus? Hell, the Royals could USE a little circus. It’s been how long — Bo? — since they’ve had a good circus. The booing? You know, people in Kansas City are pretty friendly, and if Barry hit a few homers and showed up at a charity event or two and the Royals won a few more games the booing would probably lessen considerably — shoot, this town cheered Andre Rison. The teammates grumbling? Maybe not. In this clubhouse, some people would probably want Barry’s autograph. The steroid stain? Come on, there are heavy steroid users playing everywhere in baseball, and just because we don’t “know” who they are doesn’t mean anything.

-- More than anything, though, I was thinking this: If Barry is REALLY willing to play for nothing, if he’s really out to prove something to himself and everyone in baseball, then you can bet he will be the good Barry for the final three months, the genial guy who I kept lucking into in interviews. He’d be on his best behavior. Three months? Anyone can do that.

-- No, it wouldn’t be easy — there would be a whole bunch of “If the Royals sign Barry Bonds, I’m done with them forever” fans. And if you’re being honest, sure, you’d have to concede the thing could turn into an out-and-out disaster, a Heaven’s Gate type disaster, with people getting fired, and fans fleeing the stadiums and mass hysteria. No doubt.

-- But let me say two things. One, as far as I know, Barry Bonds didn’t kill anybody. He didn’t assault anybody. He didn’t throw any games. He didn’t bet on any games. He didn’t get caught drinking and driving. He didn’t have any false gods, didn’t make any idols, didn’t covet any neighbors donkeys, didn’t steal, didn’t do much of anything that more or less half the other ballplayers in the game are doing. No team OWES Barry Bonds a shot, but I also think of America as a place that takes chances on people. I certainly do not see why a team couldn’t GIVE Barry Bonds a shot.

-- Second, and this is selfish, I think there’s a shot that Barry Bonds could make the Royals contenders in the A.L. Central this year. The division is wide open, nobody’s any good (although the Tigers sure are coming on) and the Royals have all that young pitching, and they have a WIDE OPEN spot in the No. 3 hole. Barry could play a little outfield (Teahen moves to first), he could play a little DH (the Royals really don’t have one), heck, Barry might even be able to play a little first himself.

-- And sure, I’ve talked about the potential disaster, but how about this: If Barry Bonds came to freaking Kansas City, played for the minimum, and at age 44 acted like a good guy and signed a few autographs and mussed the hair of a couple of bat boys and banged a few homers and led the Royals into a real live pennant race … holy cow, that’s The Natural come to life. The Royals might even carve lightning bolts into their bats. I’d have my next book!

-- But if he’s serious, I’d do it. Absolutely. Yes, the commissioner’s office would howl behind the scenes (I suspect there is no way that Royals owner David Glass would ever do this … he’s close with Bud Selig). Other teams would grumble about the collusion that is really, really not happening. But I wouldn’t care. Baseball has kicked the Royals in the teeth for about 20 years now. I would sign Barry Bonds. I would kick back.

Another new Orange and Black guy arrives

That would be Sergio Romo, who came up from AA ball as a replacement for the marginal Vinnie Chulk and mowed the Tribe down tonight in the 9th inning. Romo had put up very promising stats in the minors and Chulk was all that was left from the gawdawful trade of Jeremy Accardo for Shae Hillenbrand.

The game had plenty of lowlights -- a total of 4 hits by the offense; another fairly ineffective outing by Matt Cain; an 0-for-3 night for Omar, who's now at .165 -- so it's best to focus on the positive. Which is largely due to young guys getting a chance to contribute.

I've also lost track of how many guys have made their MLB debuts as Giants this year besides Bowker, Bocock, Denker, Holm, Horwitz and Burris. Bowker still looks like the best of the bunch with 8 HRs, 33 RBIs and .458 SLG in 190 ABs. OK, he only has nine walks so far, so his OBP is a crappy .309 so my support is a bit qualified.

Anyhow, it's games like tonight that make me say, "Oh well, at least Brian Sabean is now one day closer to getting fired."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

The other Barry just wants to play

If Barry Bonds' agent is to be believed, he's willing to play for free. How can the failure of all 30 MLB teams to sign him not be collusion?

It will be interesting to see which of these two -- Sean Chacon and Barry Bonds -- is back in the MLB first.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The $126 million start

The Giants finally got a decent start from Barry Zito in Cleveland tonight to win their second game in a row. Maybe he got lucky. Jamey Carroll, among the marginal of MLB players, had this to say to Henry Schulman -- "You look at his strikeouts and how many walks he had (for the season) and you wanted to be patient," Carroll said. "But tonight he was a little different. He was like the old Zito."

Had Zito been pitching like this for the past three months, I might be trying to figure out how the Giants would be doing in the postseason, given the crappiness of the NL West. I might as well be planning to have dinner with Anne Hathaway tonight, too.

Warren Greshes at the Merc-News wrote an excellent blog post about titled "Calm Down; It's One Very Good Start" and noted the Tribe helped out by swinging at pitches far out of the strike zone. Still, good pitchers make MLB hitters do that. Here's his lead -- That sharp chill you felt going up and down your spine was not hell freezing over, it was just Barry Zito finally delivering an outstanding start. And that’s exactly what it was: ONE great start. Is it something to build on; definitely. Will it help him mentally? I don’t see how it can’t.

Chris at Bay City Ball has a wonderful post that both mocks and celebrates the Giants "Gamer" PR campaign as it plays off last night's win. Here's my fave part -- In maybe what was the climax of the GAMER night, Omar Vizquel executed a successful squeeze play to put the Giants up 3-1. Sure, Omar has the bat-speed of a 7-year-old boy these days, and he hasn’t hit a ball hard in a months, but when the game was on the line, he gutted it out by dropping a bunt. That’s extremely GAMER. When you can’t physical swing a bat anymore, you bunt a baseball 4 feet. It’s like Ozzie Guillen porn.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Sanchez as in strike three

Jonathan Sanchez continues to be the best surprise for the Giant this year as the Orange and Black eke out a 3-2 win against the Tribe. He struck out eight while giving up 5 hits and two walks while working into the eighth.

Omar Vizquel squeezed in Aurilia with the game winner in the 9th following an 0-for-21 slump. I love the fielding and the bunting but the man can't hit anymore, unfortunately. The best spin on Omar is that he hasn't fully recovered from knee surgery, but I'm skeptical.

Thanks to 3-game losing streaks by both the Rox and Padres, the Giants are in 3rd place in the NL West, just two back of the Dodgers. The Giants are now 33-44 for a projected 69-93.

Best thing about this season -- the Dodgers continued to embarrass themselves.

Basta, Barry

Nick Cannatta-Bowman at Giants Cove and David Bush at Baysball Examiner both conclude that Barry Zito's veered off into the realm of something close to a lost cause. I've always enjoyed Nick's writing and he gets off some fine prose --

At this pace, he’ll lose over 20 games, making him the biggest bust this side of Mike Hampton, and the biggest disappointment since I saw The Happening.... There’s been talk of the Giants hiring recently fired pitching coach Rick Petersen to come in and fix Zito as a “special assistant” to Dave Righetti, but this is just about as likely to happen as Hillary being Obama’s VP. Barry Zito is not a quick fix away from being an effective pitcher anymore. Rather, he needs to radically change everything he’s doing now.

Bush, who's covered tons of Giants games, had this take after last week's game -- On Wednesday there were no “Yeah, buts.’’ He was downright dreadful. The Tigers watched the pitches that were out of the strike zone and hit the ones that were in it. He retired the first hitter and didn’t get another out until the Tigers had scored twice and had the bases loaded. He gave up three more runs in the second inning and never saw the third. Body language can be read a lot of ways, but there was nothing lost in translation with Zito’s. His sagging shoulders and downcast eyes told the tale of pitcher defeated shortly after taking the field. What will the Giants do with him? No answer is very pretty.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Adios, Randy?

photo by Kevinrushforth

MLB Trade Rumors saw a single line about Randy Winn being a likely trade candidate in Henry Schulman's story (which was mostly about Zito's latest meltdown, as if anyone tell them apart anymore), which speculated that the Atlanta Braves would be a logical new home for Randy -- Here's what Tim Dierkes said last Thursday --

Winn can play all three outfield positions. Lately the Braves have been using Brandon Jones in left, Gregor Blanco in center, and Jeff Francoeur in right. Matt Diaz will be out several more weeks with a knee injury, while Mark Kotsay has a lower back issue. Winn, 34, is hitting a respectable .298/.359/.447 in 288 plate appearances. Winn's line would look better in center field, but Blanco has a tidy .375 OBP going. Winn makes $8MM this year and $8.25MM in '09. He can block trades to ten teams. I imagine Brian Sabean would settle for a marginal prospect if a team would take on all of Winn's contract.

The SF Chronicle still likes the Giants

I was wrong. It turns out that Henry Schulman staffed Sunday's horrific game in KC; it just took quite a while to post his story on the Web site rather than the AP story.

George Carlin RIP

Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game.Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.

Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park.The baseball park!Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.

Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.Football begins in the fall, when everything's dying.

In football you wear a helmet.In baseball you wear a cap.

Football is concerned with downs - what down is it?Baseball is concerned with ups - who's up?

In football you receive a penalty.In baseball you make an error.

In football the specialist comes in to kick.In baseball the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.

Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness.Baseball has the sacrifice.

Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog...In baseball, if it rains, we don't go out to play.

Baseball has the seventh inning stretch.Football has the two minute warning.

Baseball has no time limit: we don't know when it's gonna end - might have extra innings.Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we've got to go to sudden death.

In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low, but there's not too much unpleasantness.In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you're capable of taking the life of a fellow human being.

And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:
In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.
In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! - I hope I'll be safe at home!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Is the Chronicle giving up on the Giants?

I may be mis-reading the SF Chronicle's web site, but it looks as if the paper decided not to staff this weekend's series in KC. All I can find on the Web site is Associated Press stories. Which means that the stories about financial hard times for traditional print media appear to be coming true. It's hard to question the paper's decision -- it's just sad that they can't afford to send someone.

The San Jose Mercury-News appears to still be sending Andrew Baggarley out on the road. His game-day story today notes that one reason why Lincecum appeared to be laboring in the 4th and 5th may have stemmed from a home-plate collision in the 3rd with David de Jesus.

A nightmare on Sunday afternoon in KC

I've annointed a number of games as "worst game of the year" but this is one that truly deserves the title. How can an MLB bullpen not hold a five-run lead in the 6th inning to a team as inept as the Kansas City Royals?

Interesting note -- the Giants and the Royals started the game with the same 32-43 mark. Projected Giants record: 68-94. In other words, this is a team that's still in danger of losing 100 games, given the fact that they're going to insist on giving Zito a start every five days.

The only real hope I take away from games like today's is that they may help get Brian Sabean fired sooner rather than later.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The illusion of adequacy disappears

Anyone need a second baseman for the stretch?

I got to see the Dodgers choke their way out of a victory tonight, 6-4, to a Cleveland team that's not particularly impressive. The Giants were down 4-2 when I got there; next time I looked at the scoreboard, they were up 7-4. It turns out that Ray Durham continues to make a good case for being trade bait to a team like the Indians, who have been reduced to starting the very marginal Jamey Carroll at second after sending Asdrubal Cabrera to the minors. And they're certainly not the only ones.

Speaking of veterans who I'm hoping get traded, Barry Zito's going to get another start in Cleveland next Tuesday. Maybe this is a way of thanking them for beating the Dodgers tonight. Brian "Stupid" Sabean says he still thinks Zito can work it out. Nothing says "We're giving up" like continuing to send the worst pitcher in the MLB out there but sending Zito down to the minors to work this out would make too much sense and hurt too many egos. "But we've got to stay the course because of the investment and the fact the kid is trying," he said. Doesn't Sabean sound weirdly like George Bush explaining why we have to stay in Iraq?

Friday, June 20, 2008

Stop the whining and look in the mirror, please

Andrew Baggarley of the Merc-News has an article today saying that some Giants players are blaming their crappy offensive performance on the park, which didn't seem to bother Marcus Thames when he hit four homers in three games there.

Bruce Bochy, who's done a questionable job, is doing the right thing by telling them to put a lid on it. The article points out that the Giants have a decent road record at 17-18 but what it doesn't point out is that this team is so badly constructed that there's no hope of a decent record -- it's just manifesting itself in an unexpected way.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A dose of common sense for Hank Steinbrenner

A columnist named Stan Caldwell at the Hattiesburg American puts it nicely in response to the Baby Boss's tamtrum -- it's time to get rid of the DH. This is the best kind of writing -- simple and straightforward:

Ever since the DH was implemented in 1973, the American League has fostered this childish notion that pitchers are somehow too fragile, too weak to learn how to hit and run the bases. It's a pansy mentality. OK, I am aware that the National League stands virtually alone in stubbornly clinging to this quaint idea of a complete player. So what? Just because everybody's doing it doesn't mean it's not still a bad idea. And just because it has persisted and spread to every level of the game doesn't make it right.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The nice surprise in a lousy year

A wonderful shot of Jonathan Sanchez from last night's game by artolog, who said, "One of the bright spots in the team's pretty dismal year so far."

Be a gamer, dammit!

Paging Rick Peterson

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Mets' loss should be the Giants' gain

The Contra Costa Times is reporting that an unnamed Giants' official believes it would be a good idea to hire just-fired Mets' pitching coach Rick Peterson to help Barry Zito, since Zito was most successful when Peterson was his coach. Sounds like a fine idea, so Brian "Stupid" Sabean probably won't do it. After all, why bother trying to make a $126 million investment pay off?

Warren Greshes, who runs the Merc-News' Giants Talk blog, asked pointedly the other day what it's going to be like to deal with having Zito on the roster for five and half more years -- As I’m sitting in front of my TV watching the world’s highest paid #5 starter, I try to be optimistic but it’s really hard. First, I’m thinking to myself, “How badly is this contract going to haunt the Giants when Lincecum, Cain and Sanchez want to get paid?”

Where's the Giants' Marcus Thames?

I'd barely heard of this guy but he's now hit 6 homers in five games, including three in the past two nights at Mays Field. His last eight hits have all been homers. Perhaps Bowker will eventually develop into this kind of hitter, but the abysmal development record of the Giants under Brian Sabean -- with no respectable everyday position player developed since Bill Mueller, for crying out loud -- would guarantee a quick pink slip at almost any other franchise. (Thames is 31 and came up through the Yankees).

That's the true curse of Barry Bonds. He was so good for so long that he covered a multitude of Sabean's mistakes and incompetence. One has to wonder about the long-term impact of the team's offensive ineptitude on top-line pitching talent like Lincecum, Cain and say nothing of turning off one of MLB's most loyal fan bases. Sanchez pitched very well tonight but I'm baffled why he was still out there in the 8th after giving off a long lead-off HR to a rookie named Ryan Raburn to make the score 2-1 Tigers. He then gave up hits to Renteria and Polanco before Sadler came in and allowed Renteria to score the third run by not looking him back to 3rd on a grounder. In any case -- What are you saving the pen for, Bochy??????

Here's what you won't find in the box score -- John Miller noted on the broadcast in the bottom of the 9th when the Giants loaded the bases with no one out that the batting average this year was .212. "And that's when the pressure is on the pitcher," he added. With the tie run at the plate, Bowker flied out to left on a bloop he hit on the 2nd pitch, Burris struck out and Castillo grounded out ON THE FIRST PITCH.

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron has a nice opening paragraph in his write-up. -- Baseball has an evil way of balancing its ledgers, as Jonathan Sanchez learned in a 5-1 defeat Tuesday night. One start after winning a game he deserved to lose, he lost a game he deserved to win.

Projected record -- 68-94

Monday, June 16, 2008

Big bad John

John Bowker has a huge game tonight to take The Franchise off the hook for a loss. Dave Flemming was noting before Bowker's second hit -- a double in the 4th -- that the kid's starting to make adjustments to the steady diet of soft stuff that's been tossed at him. Could this finally, finally, finally be a Giants first baseman who can actually hit? He's now got 7 HRs and 28 RBIs in 161 ABs -- second on the team in HRs to Rowand and third in RBIs to Bengie and Rowand.

Unfortunately, it appears that Omar's going the other way and is completely done as an offensive player. Flemming noted that Omar began with a 5-for-11 stretch in his first 3 games and has gotten a total of 13 hits in 87 ABs since then. He went 0-for-4 tonight and is now hitting .184. It's still a pleasure to watch his glovework but his offense is veering into the Ray Oyler-Hal Lanier range.

Since the Giants are playing the Tigers, it's worth remembering that Ray Oyler was an excellent shortstop who played mostly for Detroit and lasted six years in the MLB even though he only hit over .200 in one season. That's how strong the Tigers were offensively during that era -- unlike the Giants of 2008. During the 1968 World Series, the Tigers started Mickey Stanley at short, even though he'd only played 7 games there during the regular season. Late in those games, if the Tigers were protecting a lead, Oyler would come in at short, Stanley would go to center, Jim Northrop would go to left from center and Willie Horton would sit.

Projected Giants record -- 70-92

Cry Me a River

I can't resist saying this: Hank Steinbrenner is whining about his Wang getting hurt, due to running the bases in Houston. I'm not making this up. Here's the headline in Newsday -- Steinbrenner: NL Responsible for Wang injury

It's an Omar lovefest

Nice shot by Ramblinphotoger before the May 30 game. One of the things the Giants do best is celebrate this kind of accomplishment.

Giants deny signing 15-year-old Dominican

Andrew Baggarley of the Merc-News reports that Giants scouting director John Barr denies a report that the Giants have spent $2.5 million for Dominican outfielder Rafael Rodriguez. It seems they can't sign him until he turns 26 in four weeks on July 13.

But ESPNDeportes says the deal's already done.

Given how Angel Villalona worked out so far, I'm surprisingly optimistic that this could also work. And given how crappily the team's playing lately, it's about time Giants fans got some good news.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Now the worst in MLB at home

With the A's finishing off their sweep of the Giants today, the Orange and Black are now 13-22 at home this year. That's even worse than the pathetic Mariners, who are 14-22. The road record is 17-18 right now for a glittering 30-40 record so far. Projected record - 69-93.

The few highlights -- Emmanuel Burris had two doubles today and Winn drove him with another double; Bowker had a bases-loaded pinchhit, which Bengie followed with a pinch sac fly; and the pen performed pretty well.

Best highlight of all -- the Dodgers keep gagging in Detroit, losing 5-4 despite 4 shutout innings by wunderkind Clayton Kershaw followed by a rain delay and the return of Chan Ho Park. The Tigers are in town tomorrow and facing The Franchise AKA Tim Lincecum so maybe the Giants can manage to match the Mariners home record.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

"I could totally do that"

As the Giants offense went down with barely a whimper tonight -- six silly singles -- I'm sure many fans thought, "Well, I could totally do that." Wasting yet another fine game by Matt Cain, who's been a bit wobbly this year but delivered yet another quality start that was largely unnoticed as Oakland cruised to a 4-0 victory. Randy Winn had a decent game with 2 hits and 2 of the team's 3 walks; Rich Aurilia went 2-for-2 after replacing John Bowker. Durham, Bengie, Omar, Bowker and Castillo all had oh-fers and Bengie grounded into two DPs. The Giants have scored 278 runs so far -- fewer than any other team except the Nats, Mariners and Padres.

Here's the bottom of the 9th -- pretty much summing up the Giants season:

H Street relieved K Foulke.
R Winn walked.
B Molina grounded into double play, third to second to first, R Winn out at second.
A Rowand singled to left.
R Aurilia singled to shallow center, A Rowand to second.
J Castillo grounded into fielder's choice to third, A Rowand out at third

Also, can we please stop this insane baserunning? Fred Lewis managed to get thrown out trying to steal second tonight. That means the team now has 57 SBs and 24 caught-stealings -- third-highest in MLB. The percentage is so far under the requisite 75% that the team would be scoring more runs IF NO ONE TRIED TO STEAL AT ALL. Thanks a lot, Bruce Bochy!

And in case you're wondering why more and more fans are calling Bochy "Bonehead" and similar tags, M.C. O'Conner at Raising (Matt) Cain had a few well-chosen words for Bochy's decision to send Cain out in the 8th with 104 pitches already thrown -- Rubbin' salt, Bru, rubbin' salt in the festering sore that is Matt Cain's rotten luck. Why leave Matt in to pitch the 8th? He'd thrown 104 pitches and whiffed 11 fookin' guys in 7 studly innings, and was naturally on the hook for a Loss. Rotten luck he had to face Harden. Rotten luck the Giants can't score runs. Why make it worse, Bonehead? Two runs allowed wasn't good enough for you? Matt has struggled with consistency and control all season, he goes out there and gives you an ass-kickin' start, so what do you do? Send him out to pitch an inning YOU KNOW HE WON'T FINISH?? That's why you have relief pitchers, Bonehead. (And don't give me crap about batting orders and lineup spots and all that, that's why you have a bench.) The man did the job. Take the ball, sit him down and tell him "nice work, kid, do it again next time."

As usual, I've saved the decent news for last -- the Dodgers were again humiliated in Detroit, 12-7.

"Something new every time"

That's how artolog describes what happened in the 9th inning -- Tonight in the 9th inning, at exactly 10 p.m., in the middle of play, the field sprinklers at the park all went on without warning. We had already seen a steal of home earlier in the game (by Omar Vizquel), but this was an even rarer sight.
Artolog and several other fine photographers post regularly to the flickr photosharing site with "Mays Field" tags. You can get there through the Mays Field site.

Raindrops keep falling on my head

Hudson Street watches as sprinklers try to get the Giants to rally in the bottom of the 9th. AP photo by Ben Margot
Henry Schulman of the SF Chron has a good line in his game story -- "Zito was neither good not terrible." And a poster named Sluggo1 got off this nugget about the late 1970s unis the Giants wore -- With those hockey jerseys on if you sqwint real hard The Giants hitters today looked like Jonny LeMaster hitting over and over again.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Omar makes something out of nothing

In a play that typifies the Giants' inability to score runs, Jose Castillo's tagged out by Greg Smith at home Friday night trying to score on a wild pitch. AP photo by Ben Margot

Omar Vizquel had the first Giants steal of home since Max Venable in 1983 and made an outstanding catch in shallow left field tonight. It looks like that's about all that Giants fans had to cheer for tonight as Zito lost his 10th game tonight, 5-1; the folks who run the official Giants Web site had the good sense to post both Vizquel videos after the game. He can't really hit worth a damn anymore but he's sure fun to watch when he's not batting. He's now at the Mendoza line with 18-for-90 on the season with 15 singles and 3 doubles with 7 RBIs. Given the totality of the crappiness of the Giants offense, it fits in fairly well. Tonight's offense consisted of singles by Zito, Lewis, Omar, Winn, a Durham double and six walks. Thanks, Brian Sabean! Projected record -- 71-91

And if Omar hadn't done his thing, the Giants score would have been the same as the Dodgers getting humiliated 5-0 in Detroit.

RIP Eliot Asinof

DB Sweeney and Charlie Sheen in "Eight Men Out." Photo by Orion Pictures

He wrote "Eight Men Out," the definitive account of the 1919 Black Sox scandal. It was published in 1963 and made into a movie 25 years later. Anytime I hear someone say that steroids are the biggest sports scandal ever, I have to believe that they are ignorant of what happened in 1919.

Nice obit by the Washington Post, which includes the tidbit that Asinof was told by Jack Warner, "You'll never work in this town again" after submitting a screenplay that had John Wayne punching a horse.

Lots of Lincecum love

The Driveline Mechanics site -- dedicated to the mechanics of pitching -- raves about Tim, concluding that his mechanics are perfect. The site's heavy on detail and makes a compelling case that the Giants made a very smart pick two years ago.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Escaping Denver sweep-free

Rich Aurilia singles home 2. AP photo by David Zalubowski
Giants Win believes fervently that any time an MLB team is facing a sweep, its chances of winning improve significantly. I've got no data to back me up -- just instances like today's 10-7 victory in Denver. Nice coverage by Andrew Baggerly in the Merc-News, noting that the Orange and Black are 11-3 in starts by Jonathan Sanchez; that Sanchez is the first Giants pitcher since 2000 to win a game and give up 7 runs; and that Billy Sadler has retired 17 of the last 19 batters he's faced. To me, Sadler's performance in the 6th was the key of the game:

B Sadler relieved J Sanchez.
R Spilborghs walked.
R Spilborghs stole second.
J Baker struck out swinging.
M Holliday struck out swinging.
R Spilborghs to third on wild pitch by B Sadler.
T Helton struck out swinging.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The nightmare continues

I think a lot of Giants fans would be OK with a meteor suddenly destroying Coors Field -- as long as it happened at 2 a.m. and didn't kill anyone. What a pit of despair it continues to be with the Giants unable to hit despite a dazzling performance by Tim the Enchanter as the Rox win on a questionable umpiring call. It's only the 5th 1-0 game in Coors Field history. Despite the recent outburst in DC, the Giants have scored less runs (267) than any other team except KC, San Diego and Seattle. Thanks a lot, Brian Sabean!

A welcome bit of good news to ease the pain -- the Dodgers got easily beaten by the Padres, 4-1. They are so desperate that they plan to start Nomar at short. The new Sports Illustrated points out that the Dodgers are insane to keep Juan Pierre as a leadoff hitter with Furcal on the shelf and suggests that Russell Martin or Andre Etheir would make more sense. Sounds like Joe Torre's not a genius if he can't figure that out.

Attention Bonds-hating journalists

Before you embarrass yourself by getting on the Bonds Hate Train once more and writing something idiotic like "fans don't care that Barry Bonds isn't playing for the Giants," you might want to consider this -- Giants' home attendance is off 12% this year for the first 32 games. John Shea of the SF Chronicle merely mentions the attendance numbers in his Sunday column with no explanation. So I'll explain it for you Bonds haters -- lots of ordinary fans aren't showing up like they did last year because Bonds is not on the roster. And the number is deceptive anyhow since it represents tickets sold rather than admissions. The actual number of fans in the park for games is far lower, which is obvious to anyone attending a game with vast stretches of the upper deck utterly unoccupied.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

For sale -- veteran second baseman

Paulie at Give 'Em Some Stankeye has a nice post about Ray Durham's resurgence this year. He's back to his old form and could bring some real value at trade deadline. I still believe that Ray's awful 2007 shows that it was a crappy signing and amounts to a big warning to stay away from mutli-year deals on older players; but I had no problem with the original 4-year deal. Paulie puts it this way --

A lot of Giants fans still bitch about his original four-year deal, for reasons that aren't abundantly clear. He put up three years of above-average production at second base and one monster year. He did everything he could to help this team win from 2003-2006. If you want to blame someone for the team's shitty performance in the last two of those years, blame Pedro fucking Feliz.

Ray pinch-hit tonight during the 10-5 fiasco at Coors and hit the ball hard enough that the outfielder made an error. Hasta la vista Patrick Misch; welcome back Kevin Correia, who won the game last night in Fresno.

Projected record -- 71-91

Monday, June 09, 2008

Looking for a sign of a Bonds signing

The few of you who check Giants Win regularly know that I'm fascinated by Barry Bonds. Aside from his massive contribution to the Giants, I can't think of a more interesting figure in sports. So I saw tonight that the Mariners had fired their hitting coach Jeff Pentland and replaced him with Lee Elia because they have an offense that's as lousy as the Giants offense. But there was no mention of Bonds as a possible solution in the Seattle newspaper article or in the 50 responses. However, there was a pretty funny comment from a poster named Wake Me Up When It's Over, who said, "I'm disappointed! I thought they would bring Mario Mendoza in as hitting coach! He can relate to them all."

So then I googled "Barry Bonds" and Giants and got a bunch of articles about Ken Griffey Jr. hitting his 600th homer. But I did find this fascinating piece titled "Green (and Gold) With Envy" by AJ Hayes in the Bay Guardian talking about the differences between the Oakland A's and San Francisco Giants. His major point is that the upcoming interleague games are more important to A's fans than Giants' fans and that although the A's have better teams, the Giants matter a lot more to more people. Here are some excerpts --

-- Check out the copy of this promotional flyer for the A's games this month: "June. The Month of Champions. Teams representing 16 World Series titles since 1968. The Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Angels, New York Yankees, Florida Marlins, Philadelphia Phillies...and the San Francisco Giants." The A's and their fans never miss an opportunity to promote the fact that in the Giants have yet to win a World Series during their 50 years in San Francisco.

-- No matter how long the A's call the Bay Area home, be it in Oakland or Fremont or Santa Clara - bet on them staying right where they are now - they will always lag behind the Giants in attention. The reasoning is simple; the Giants were here 10 years before the A's. During that decade the Giants were able to build up a solid fan base and brand identity that has survived through the years. The affections for the Giants are handed down to generation after generation. You can do that when your star attractions remain with the club.

-- The Giants may not have a championship ring since 1954, but they tap into the romance of baseball like no other franchise going. Walk into AT&T Park and the first thing you see is something about the Giants gloried past. A wall painting honoring the Giants great stars, statues depicting the great Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal. The spot where Barry Bonds all-time bashed career home run 756 landed.

-- It's the total opposite in Oakland. Approach the Oakland Coliseum, and you can't tell if you're going to a ball game or visiting a nuclear plant as a disembodied monotone voice tells you all the things you can't do at the park. The grub is another story; a recent report stated that the Oakland concession had the second-most health code violation in baseball. Yummy.

-- But as good as they've done in the scouting end of the business, with the exception of the decade or so that the Haas family owned the team, the A's have struck out in the promotion department. These days the team seems more preoccupied with moving out of Oakland than it does promoting its current product. While the Giants celebrate their history dating back to their New York days, the A's believe history is best left in the past. The club rarely invites its star players from yesteryear back to the Coliseum for events.

-- Though the A's are currently in their 40th season of calling Oakland home, they've done the minimum in promoting their champagne drenched past. Sure they have a few promotions dropped scattershot through the schedule, but that's about it. The only constant promotion of the anniversary has been care of Marty Lurie's exceptional pregame show feature "40 Years of A's Baseball." And Lurie came up with that idea on his own. His show is produced independently of the A's.

Brian Wilson -- the real deal

It's a pedestrian headline but Brian Wilson proved he's arrived -- closing out a 3-2 game on the road with a DP for a 4-game sweep. Matt Cain finally gets a road win, but check out the bottom of the 9th --

W Pena grounded out to third.
W Nieves hit for L Ayala.
W Nieves safe at first on throwing error by third baseman J Castillo.
C Guzman grounded into double play, second to shortstop to first, W Nieves out at second.

That, ladies and gents, is a real closer. Projected record -- 72-90

"Just can't wait to get on the road again"

A loud whine from Los Angeles

One of the myriad of reasons why the Dodgers are so irritating is the misguided sense of entitlement that their beach ball-obsessed fans bring to every game. That's reinforced by dingbat sportswriters like Bill Plaschke of the LA Times, whose basic approach is to find the most obvious story, put a whiney spin on it and make the same point about a dozen times.

In this case, Plaschke's whining full force about Laker coach Phil Jackson whining about the officiating in tonight's Celtics game. It's a double whine. In other words, in Plaschke's fevered world, the NBA has somehow conspired to deny the Lakers what's rightfully theirs -- when it's clear that the Lakers are being outplayed.

More joyful news -- the Dodgers gagged again to the Cubs and are now 30-33 for the year, or just two games in front of the Giants. This shows that Brian Sabean's protege Ned Colletti is at least as incompetent as Sabean but it's less obvious becuase he has a lot more money to cover his mistakes. The Dodgers are so desperate that they signed up Angel Berroa, who hasn't even been playing in the MLB, for today's game and he struck out 3 times.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

No. 2 for Zito

With the Giants offense apparently loving the new Nationals park, Barry Zito's just won his second game as he held the Nats to three runs. Sending him to the bullpen for 10 days appears to be paying off. And it doesn't hurt that the Nats are a crappy team, so there's a chance for a rare 4-game road sweep tomorrow.

Projected record -- 71-91

Sanchez -- saving Sabean's job?

Jonathan Sanchez made it look easy -- his 5th win, giving up 4 hits and no runs in 7 innings. He and Lincecum have become so automatic that they may save Sabean's job. That's more than a bit ironic since it's becoming painfully obvious that the Giants front office spent much of 2006 and 2007 mishandling Sanchez.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Ann Killion decides to waste everyone's time

The Bonds-hating columnist for the San Jose Merc posts a news-free column about his court appearance and "wonders" if anyone will employ him. She offers no insight if that might happen, just repeats the usual stupid mantra of "BONDS -- WORST. TEAMMATE. EVER."

Gee, imagine that -- a baseball columnist who hates Barry Bonds, who asserts stupidly that everyone's happy that Barry's gone when a look at the Giants' attendance figures and a visit to AT&T Park with its vast expanses of empty seats shows definitively that there are plenty of people who aren't happy about Bonds being gone. Thanks for wasting our time, Ann. I guess actual Giants fans don't count in Ann Killion's world. And if you want some actual insight into why some team might take a chance on Bonds anyhow, I'd suggest you look at John Perricone's post on Only Baseball Matters, in which he compares Chipper Jones 2008 season with Barry Bonds 2002 season. You might actually learn something.

Friday, June 06, 2008

An automatic win for the Orange and Black

It's that easy these days when Tim the Enchanter is on the mound -- as bad a team as this is, they take it up a notch when the ace answers the bell. Henry Schulman of the SF Chron points out that no one's done an 8-1 start on the Giants since Black and Burkett in 1993.

Sabean doesn't blow it for a change

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Here's one reason why Giants fans keep coming

A truly wonderful shot by Peephole from May 14. Section 121, row 35.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The 10 Cent Beer Night Riot

Even though it's been nine years since the Giants played at The Stick, the place's reputation as a haven for wild fans persists. But there was never a forfeit -- unlike at Dodger Stadium, home to the last forfeit in MLB in 1995 on a ball giveaway night. It's mentioned at the very start of this outstanding recap of the 1974 riot in Cleveland. Pretty long but well worth the read. Here are a few excerpts of what led up to the riot in the 9th inning --

-- Through deliberate coordination or spontaneous groupthink, hundreds of fans showed up with pockets full of firecrackers. Anonymous explosions peppered the stands from the first pitch, lending the game a war-zone ambiance that would seem increasingly appropriate.

-- The Rangers took the lead in the top of the second inning on a home run by designated hitter Tom Grieve. Just a few pitches later, a heavyset woman sitting near first base jumped the wall, ran to the Indians' on-deck circle, and bared her enormous, unhindered breasts to appreciative applause from the beer-goggled teenagers who made up the stadium's primary demographic that night. She then attempted -- unsuccessfully -- to kiss umpire crew chief Nestor Chylak, who was not in a kissing mood.

-- When Grieve hit his second home run in the fourth inning, he had not yet rounded third base when a man -- entirely naked -- ran onto the field and slid into second, probably getting dirt in places unsuitable for speculation. In the fifth inning, two men in the outfield got into the act, jumping the wall and mooning the Rangers' outfielders. The players watched, hands on hips, shaking their heads as park security chased one hooligan after another across the diamond.

-- Early on, the demand for beer surpassed the Indians' capacity to ferry it to concession stands, and a luminary, perhaps the same person who suggested the promotion in the first place, decided to allow fans to line up behind the outfield fences and have their cups filled directly from Stroh's company trucks. The promotion achieved critical mass at that moment, as weaving, hooting queues of people refilled via industrial spigot.

-- One enterprising fan threw lit firecrackers into the Rangers' bullpen like grenades. Chylak ordered both bullpens evacuated, but little short of an authentic grenade would deter the crew chief from seeing the contest completed. He told the relievers to warm up on the mound itself.

-- Mike Hargrove came on to play first base for the Rangers. The baseline fans greeted him with a half-full jug of Thunderbird wine that missed his head by inches.

-- As the ushers flagged, streakers stripped leisurely on the field of play, abandoning their clothes in a pile in left-center.

Not an Afternoon Delight

What a drag to follow the game today from work intermittently, another loss to the Mets -- not enough hitting for a comeback after Matt Cain fell behind early. It's almost like the Giants decided, "We have to save Willie Randolph's job."

I am disgusted enough so that I've decided that it's time to SUFFER SOME MORE. Those of you with weak stomachs should avert your eyes. (This is why this blog isn't one where you have to read ads.) Yes, Giants Win is posting the lyrics to perhaps the most insipid song ever written, from the days when the Giants were nearly this bad --

Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight
Gonna grab some afternoon delight.
My motto's always been; when it's right, it's right.
Why wait until the middle of a cold dark night.
When everything's a little clearer in the light of day.
And you know the night is always gonna be there any way.
Sky rockets in flight. Afternoon delight. Afternoon delight.

OK, that's enough suffering for one day. Projected record -- 69-93, or five more losses than the 1976 team.

At least the Dodgers lost again to the Rox, who are the worst team in the MLB with only 22 wins -- three less than the Giants.

Let's stop pretending about Barry

Art Spander of the Contra Costa Times gives a first-person account of just how ugly it is to watch a Barry Zito pitching performance. I'll sum up --

Barry hasn't got it. It's becoming more and more apparent.

Somebody named D Wizzle filed this for Bleacher Report about attending last night's game -- his first Giants game in 2008. Not as articulate as Spander, but props for these lines --

-- Barry Zito sucks. The fans got behind him in the beginning but turned on him once he got in trouble and started giving up walks and hits. Here is a video of Zito I took attempting to throw a strike.

-- The Giants try to pretend that Barry Bonds never existed. They don't sell his jersey anymore or have anything in the park to remember him by.

-- Zito is always a topic of discussion with fans. They always discuss his salary and how he is the worst acquisition ever for the Giants.

-- I was in the elevator leaving, and the Giants’ employee operating the elevator yelled "going down," and one fan responded by saying "just like the Giants," which made everyone laugh. The employee asked what the score was and some fan said it was 30-3.

-- Lou Seal is the most entertaining Giant. I would rather see him pitch than Zito. I am sure Lou can hit better than Brian Bocock or any other player pretending to be a major leaguer. Here is a video of Lou Seal being funny

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Another garbage trade by the Dodgers?

Rather than point out the usual negative take on Barry Zito's awfulness, it's probably best to note that Pedro Martinez' success against the Giants tonight can't be a surprise. By all indications, he's back once again with the usual arsenal. It's also a reminder of perhaps the best Dodger trade ever (from the standpoint of Giants fans) when they dealt him for Delino DeShields, who immediately became a crappy player while Petey looks like he may go all the way to Cooperstown. He's now 210-93.

Dave Fleming pointed out during the postgame show tonight that Travis Denker -- who made the score respectable with a 3-run HR -- was dealt by the Dodgers last summer for Mark Sweeney, who's making a minimal contribution with a 5 for 44 mark this year. He said that it's already looking like the Giants got the better of the deal. Denker's now 4-for-13.

The Dodgers gagged again tonight as crybaby Matt Kemp got into a fight with Yorvit Torrealba over being tagged out following a strike out. Poor baby! Count on the Dodgers to develop yet another head case.

Monday, June 02, 2008

"Jonathan Sanchez has arrived"

That's the opinion of no less an authority than Mike Krukow, who voiced that on the KNBR post-game show tonight following the 10-2 clobberation of the Mets. Kruk noted that Sanchez had managed to pitch out of a bases-loaded situation in the first tonight, striking out Fernando Tatis looking on a 3-2 pitch knee-high. Later on, he hit a 2-run double off the right field wall.

Krukow, who won 124 games in the bigs, said that Sanchez had a tendency earlier in his career to get down and become tentative when he got into trouble but asserted that he'd definitively turned it around earlier this year after giving up 2 runs early in Denver. The Giants went on to win that game 3-2, two weeks ago. "Now, I look forward to Sanchez starting ," he added.

Krukow also noted that the Mets had sent Oliver Perez out to the West Coast on an earlier flight, then saw him last a third of an inning and give up 6 runs tonight. "I went 0-3 when I did that and I finally told them I wouldn't do it anymore," he said, explaining that being apart from the team gets a player out of the team's vibe as it approaches a game. Hard to argue with that, based on tonight's results. Jon Miller noted early in the game that the Orange and Black were 8-3 in games started by Sanchez; make that 9-3 now.

As critical as I am of the Giants front office, I must say again how they've been excellent at assembling a first-rate broadcast team with Kruk, Kuip, Miller and Fleming. One of them pointed out how Oliver Perez got hammered in his last outing in San Francisco last May, when the Giants put up a 9-spot in the 4th, including two HRs by Bengie.

Projected record -- 70-92

It's no accident that the Giants are 24-33

Warren Greshes at the Merc-News Giants Talk blog has an excellent blog post called "Why the Giants can't score" on the San Jose Mercury-News site that delves into why the Giants are such a lousy team on offense -- the roster itself is fatally flawed. He doesn't say that Brian Sabean should be fired RIGHT NOW. So I will. Here are his key points -- (boldface is mine)

-- Before the season started, I thought like most everyone else that this would be one of the worst offensive teams ever, but I was wrong. The Giants are 9th in the NL in batting; 2nd in both doubles and triples, 4th in stolen bases and in the month of May, sixth in OPS.....yet the Giants are 15th in the NL and 28th in the Majors in runs scored: Why?

-- Then I saw it. With the bases empty the Giants are hitting .273 with a .332 OBP and a .445 slugging percentage for a .777 OPS, 3rd in the NL! Now look at this: With runners in scoring position, the Giants numbers are .234/.312/.319/.631, dead last in the NL by .068!

-- If you think the “Scoring position” numbers are bad, let’s look at “Runners in scoring position and 2 out.” The numbers are .209/.285/.299/.584, again dead last in the NL.

-- Why is this happening? Here’s my theory: There is not one player on this roster who has ever been known as a “Big RBI guy.” In fact, there is not one 100 rbi season on this roster and only two 90+ rbi seasons: Aurilia in 2001 (batting in front of Bonds who hit 73 HR’s that year) and Durham in 2006 (batting behind Bonds and his .454 OBP).

-- There is not a single Giant who, before coming to the Giants, was a middle of the order hitter. Wynn and Durham have always been top of the order hitters. Rowand and Molina normally hit in the 6th or 7th spot; Aurilia, 2nd, 6th or 7th; Castillo, bottom of the order and Bowker and Lewis are rookies.

-- Over the last few disastrous seasons the Giants have gotten into the bad habit of asking players to be more than they’ve ever been. For example, Michael Tucker, nothing more than a decent platoon player being asked to play every day. Mark Sweeney, a career pinch hitter, becoming a platoon player. Pedro Feliz, a bottom of the order hitter, asked to bat 5th and sometimes higher and Steve Klein, a good situational lefty was asked to get righties out; shrewd.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Happy to take this gift from the Padres

Because the Padres don't seem to realize that their closer Trevor Hoffman is no longer decent, they continue to lose games they should win -- like this one today as the Giants squander another great pitching outing by Tim the Enchanter by giving up 2 runs in the top of the 10th, only to come back with 3 in the bottom of the 10th.

One of the best wins of the year for the Orange and Black, who are now 5-3 in extras this year. The Giants had just lost 7 straight at home, including the two I saw Friday night and yesterday.

I occasionally hear from whiney Padres fans about these kinds of posts. Let's see if you can follow this -- your closer now has an ERA well over 5.00; he gave away the pennant last year in Mliwaukee in case you've forgotten. It's only going to get worse. Remember that Giants fans are expert on the problems of keeping veterans around too long.