Sunday, August 31, 2008

The ongoing Orange and Black power outage

The Reds have just completed a distressing sweep of the Giants with a 9-3 vic as Matt Cain was unusually ineffective. The Giants managed only three runs on 12 hits, including 9 singles. The extra base hits came from Ochoa (a double, his 9th), Sandoval (a triple, his first) and Burris (his first MLB homer).

The Giants now have 79 HRs -- by far the lowest in the MLB. The Royals have 95; the Nats and Jays are the only other teams under 100. With their record now 59-77, the team has only 26 games left so it's pretty likely that they'll be the first team since the 1993 Marlins to finish with less than 100 HRs.

I just discovered something I didn't know -- Robb Nen broke in with that team, 15 years ago. Best wishes, Robb, wherever you are.

Before there was Johnnie Lemaster....

....there was Hal Lanier, who was an even worse hitter. He had the good fortune to play with Mays and McCovey coming into his prime so his failings were somehow overlooked. Steve Treder of Hardball Times says Hal's 1968 season rates tied for four others (Rey Sanchez, Belliard, Bob Lillis and Jerry Grote) as the seventh worse season by a No. 8 hitter since 1957. It turns out he also made the worst 10 in the No. 7 slot in 1967 with SECOND WORST SEASON OF ALL TIME.

I find these pieces highly entertaining. Anyhow, here are Treder's thoughts on the 1967 season, when batted 7th (boldface is mine) -- In the annals of rotten hitting, Hal Lanier is a towering figure; dare I say godlike? Pretenders cower in his presence: there is bad hitting, there is worse hitting, and then there is Lanierian hitting.But we'll be visiting with him next time, when we discuss the worst No. 8 hitters. Which begs the question: What in the world is he doing on this list? It was bad enough that the Giants insisted on playing this guy every day, but why in the world would they bat him seventh? And the answer to that question is that, believe it or not, in 1967 the Giants had another guy in the regular lineup who, for most of the season, was hitting even worse than Lanier.As a rookie in 1966, Lanier's double-play combo partner Tito Fuentes had put together a minimally acceptable season with the bat: His OBP was a comical .276 (especially for a leadoff hitter, which is how the Giants deployed him), but his slugging average of .360 was pretty good for a middle infielder. But in 1967, Fuentes started the season in a dreadful slump: as of May 2, he was "hitting" .145/.175/.218, and manager Herman Franks dropped him from the leadoff spot down to eighth, and moved Lanier (who was rollicking along at a .186/.182/.233 clip—ya gotta love that OBP-lower-than-the-BA part) up to seventh.They would remain in that configuration for the bulk of the season. Lanier would have pretty much his normal year—his OPS+ of 42 wasn't far off his career mark of 49—while Fuentes, batting behind him most of the time, continued his ghastly struggle. As late as June 25, Fuentes' batting average remained at .146, and it was at .189 on Aug. 27. At long last in September Fuentes put together a mini-hot streak, rendering his season-ending stats (.209/.266/.294) less bad than Lanier's. Fuentes would then be shipped back to the minors, and take up switch-hitting to revive his career.

Treder also makes a couple of interesting point in the 1968 recap -- Lanier was in the top 10 of GIDPs for six straight years; and the Giants front office of that era wasn't particularly shrewd, either:

We encountered Lanier last time, when a strange set of circumstances had him delivering most of his 1967 groundouts from the No. 7 slot, but here he is back in his natural No. 8 environs. And, of course, we see him making two additional appearances on this Honorable Mentions list, which means that Lanier put together four, count 'em, four consecutive seasons from 1967 through 1970 that rank among the very worst offensive performances in history.In order to pull off that feat, one might reasonably conclude that Lanier must have been a stupendously great defensive infielder, but that really wasn't the case. He was quite good: He was sure-handed, and his arm was terrific, but his range wasn't all that special. He never won a Gold Glove. The plain truth is that Lanier's defensive contribution, good though it was, wasn't good enough to justify the year-after-year deployment as a regular the Giants provided. Then again it isn't exactly a news flash to report that the Giants organization in that era wasn't always exercising the shrewdest possible judgment.Lanier's hitting wasn't just bad in one or two ways, it was bad straight across the board. He could do it all. Despite the fact that he was fairly big (6-foot-2 and 180 pounds), he had utterly no power, but neither did he have the faintest hint of strike zone discipline.
And despite the fact that Lanier strove for contact and attempted to do nothing more than poke and slap ground balls, he hit for a miserably low average as well. As a bonus, the constant poking and slapping of ground balls made Lanier a double-play machine: He was in the league's top 10 in GIDP for six consecutive years, four of them in the top four. If it was dreadful offense you wanted, Hal Lanier was your man.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hanging on to lost veteran hopes

Nothing underlines the fundamentally flawed thinking of the Giants front office as tonight's game as they insisted once again on proving that Kevin Correia is a marginal MLB pitcher at best -- even if he is not the worst pitcher on the Giants staff, he's damn close. He's the latest in a long line of players (Blownitez, Barry Zito, Brett Tomko, Jamey Wright, Steve Finley, Ryan Klesko, Marquis Grissom) to wear the Black and Orange who are still dining out on decent performance from some point several years in the past. Time and time again, Sabean over-rates these kind of players. Correia has had flashes of adequacy in his 6 years in the league, but why pretend he's suddenly going to turn into Brandon Webb?

Can't we see some of the minor league talent? WHAT ARE WE TRYING TO PROVE by letting Correia flounder? Again, the offense over-performed in a 7-6 loss. Here's how this one got lost in the first inning; I heard Marty Brennamen remarking on XM about how fat Correia's pitches were --

Kevin Correia pitching for San Francisco
C Dickerson tripled to right.
J Keppinger hit sacrifice fly to right, C Dickerson scored.
B Phillips singled to left.
J Votto singled to right, B Phillips to third.
E Encarnacion hit sacrifice fly to left, B Phillips scored.
J Bruce walked, J Votto to second.
C Patterson singled to center, J Votto scored, J Bruce to second.
R Hanigan doubled to deep left center, J Bruce and C Patterson scored.
R Ramirez struck out swinging.
5 Runs, 5 Hits, 0 Errors

Friday, August 29, 2008

The worst pitcher in MLB returns

Barry Zito regressed tonight to that guy who opened the season at 0-8. He's now 8-16 with a terrible outing that included giving up a grand slam and forcing home a run with an HBP so he couldn't even get out of the 4th inning. So the Giants score 7 runs and have nothing to show for it in an 11-7 loss. I've noticed that this team has a knack for scoring lots of runs and still losing, like in this nightmare 11-10 loss to the Royals.

That wasn't the only one. The second biggest number of runs scored in Giants losses this year was 9 -- also to the Reds, who won 10-9.

They also scored eight back in mid May and lost to the Chisox, 13-8. And tonight was the 4th time this year the Giants have scored 7 runs and lost. The other three were all 8-7 games -- the last one on July 12 to the Cubs. It's amazing that a team that scores as few runs as the Giants -- 516 currently, second lowest in MLB after the Nats -- has lost seven games in which they scored seven or more runs.

That says to me that this is a lousy pitching staff after the Big Three plus Wilson. Zito still could lose 20; and he leads the MLB in losses; five other guys have 14. More to the point -- he's the answer when people say, "Who's the worst pitcher in baseball this year?" He's a headcase of titanic proportions.

Fortunately, the Dodgers gagfest continues with their 8th straight loss.

Sunset at Mays Field

A wonderful shot by Hoffrooe from a night in 2004

Thursday, August 28, 2008

It just gets better and better

The Dodgers losing streak is reaching epic proportions. They just lost their seventh in a row with the Nats hammering them 11-2. The Dodgers are now 65-69.

How does that taste, Dodger fans?

What's that choking sound?

The Dodgers gagged again against the Nats for their 6th straight loss. The Dodgers are now 11-13 since trading for Manny. And thanks to Dan for supplying these important numbers --

Dodgers Tragic Number for Wild Card: 18.
Dodgers Tragic number for Division: 27.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My favorite Web site is Fire Joe Morgan

Ken Tremendous at Fire Joe Morgan ("where bad sports journalism comes to die") has just posted a fantastic dissection of Dingbat Bruce Jenkins stupidity-laden "article" decrying the loss of the complete game. Here are two excellent examples (with Jenkins in boldface) that illustrate 1. that Jenkins is an idiot and 2. how no one's bothering to edit any of the copy going into the Chron:

Fernando Valenzuela, with the 1986 Dodgers, was the last pitcher to have at least 20 complete games in a season. This century, no pitcher in either league has reached 10.
Then Fernando Valenzuela went on to pitch 10 more years of awesome baseball and got elected to the Hall of Fame with 350 wins. Oh no wait -- that's not what happened. What happened was, he threw like 1550 innings before the age of 25, had that last good year in 1986, then the next year his WHIP shot up to 1.5 and he never had a good season again due to -- in no small part -- a lot of injuries.

The Giants' Juan Marichal had 30 in 1968, a season dominated by pitching statistics, but how about Ted Lyons with the 1930 White Sox? That was a hitters' year of almost comical proportions. The Yankees hit a collective .309, the National League hit .303, and eight batters hit .370 or better, yet Lyons had 29 complete games, and the co-leaders in the National League had 22.
Yeah, how about Ted Lyons and those 1930 numbers? Crazy. 297 IP. But more to the point, how about Ted Lyons and that 1931 arm injury that made it impossible for him to throw his cut fastball anymore? And how about the fact that he never pitched anywhere close to that number of innings again? And how about the fact that he's in the HOF even though his 1.348 career WHIP is only slightly worse than Bronson Arroyo's? It was a different game, man.
Also, do you do any research? I have no idea if Ted Lyon's arm injury was due to the 297 innings he had thrown the year before. For all I know he injured his arm waving a sign of support for Herbert Hoover, who was President in 1930, because that's how fucking long ago 1930 is. But why use Fernando and Lyons, two guys who got badly arm-injured the very next year you cite for each of them, to try to prove your point? That's crazy.

Bruce Bochy is out of his mind

Sorry, folks. I'd love to exult over The Franchise pitching brilliantly to go 15-3 and Pablo Sandoval's first MLB homer and the Rox bumbling away two extra runs in the 8th. But I must be clear: demanding that the team's most valuable asset throw 132 pitches -- at a time when the team is 16 games under .500 with only 29 games left in the season -- is completely INSANE and indefensible.

It's almost as if Bochy did this on a dare from Dingbat Bruce Jenkins. This incompetent needs to be fired NOW.

John Shea's game story in the Chron has a nice historical chart about the top strikeout seasons by SF pitchers, currently led by Jason Schmidt at 251 in 2004 -- which goes to show that if you overuse a pitcher, he'll break down. If that's not red flag, I can't imagine what is.

A theory about the Dodgers and the Nats

What theory you may ask? Well Chris you may well ask me what is my theory. (I am asking). Good for you. My word yes.Well Chris, what is it that it is - this theory of mine. Well, this is what it is - my theory that I have, that is to say, which is mine, is mine (Yes, I know it's yours, what is it?) Where? Oh, what is my theory? This is it. My theory that belongs to me is as follows. This is how it goes.The next thing I'm going to say is my theory. Ready? (Yes!) My theory by A. Elk. Brackets Miss, brackets.This theory goes as follows and begins now.All brontosauruses are thin at one end, much thicker in the middle and then thin again at the far end. That is my theory, it is mine, and belongs to me and I own it, and what it is too.

Sorry -- I got carried away there thinking about Monty Python. Here's what happened. I had just come across this story about the Dodgers losing again and whining about their bad luck. So I thought I had a theory about why Dodgers got beat by the Nats: they must have thought that if the Giants can go 7-0 against the Nats, how hard can they be to beat? That is my theory, it is mine, and belongs to me and I own it, and what it is too.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

"The place was rendered church-quiet"

Just to show that I'm not anti-SF Chronicle -- just anti-stupidity -- with all my rantings about Bruce Jenkins, I feel obliged to point what a thoroughly professional game story Henry Schulman turned out about tonight's depressing 7-2 loss to the Rox. I got to hear Matt Palmer's disastrous back-to-the-minors 4-run meltdown in the 3rd, right after the Giants had scored a run in bottom of the 2nd, and turned off the radio. Then I turned it on in the top of the 7th and was struck by how quiet it was. I figured the score must be about 9-3 (it was 7-2). Evidently, Schulman heard the same (or lack thereof) when he hammered out his 5th paragraph --

Perhaps Lincecum can send a jolt through China Basin in the finale of a nine-game homestand. The place was rendered church-quiet for two games by the Giants' inability to test the Rockies. Thrill-seeking television viewers had better luck switching to the Tax Audit Channel.

Attendance was 32,695 -- many disguised as empty seats.

Bruce Jenkins is deranged, part 2

The SF Chronicle lets their resident dingbat parade down memory lane about the good old days when manly pitchers completed games. Jim Kaat and Jack Morris get to brag about how many games they completed but Bruce didn't bother to talk with anyone who's blown out his arm from overuse such as Robb Nen, Mark Prior, Yovani Gallardo, Francisco Liriano, Gustavo Chacin, Adam Loewen, Scott Mathieson and Anibel Sanchez, just to name a few recent examples. It wouldn't have killed him to perhaps talk with someone like Dr. Frank Jobe -- who actually knows a little bit about this stuff -- but apparently the Chronicle's philosophy is why bother letting the facts get in the way of a "story."

To be fair, he did interview Jason Schmidt -- whose career appears to be over due to overuse, if you hadn't noticed -- in part one and says that Felipe Alou shouldn't be blamed for ruining Schmidt: Don't be so quick to blame then-Giants manager Felipe Alou of ruining an arm when Jason Schmidt crafted a one-hit, 144-pitch shutout at Wrigley Field ("I'd do it all over again," Schmidt recently said. "There's nothing like knowing the game is in your control.") Who are we supposed to blame if not Felipe, Bruce? The Tri-Lateral Commission or the phases of the Moon, perhaps?

It's one of the most pointless articles ever, other than serving to illustrate how lame the Chron is for letting Bruce cover baseball. Don't say you weren't warned.

A plea to Chron editors -- Can you please put him back on the tennis beat?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Here's what's wrong with the Giants

It's not often that something occurs in a game that summarizes the very essence of a team, but this is what happened tonight in a disgusting 4-2 loss to the Rox, who have supplied plenty of heartbreak to the Orange and Black over the years. In any case, tonight's game put a fine point on how poorly constructed this Giants team is. Situation: bottom of the third, score tied 2-2 and Matt Cain pitching fairly well. Cain started the inning with a walk, giving rise to hopes that the Giants would take the game in hand:

San Francisco - Bottom of 3rd
Jeff Francis pitching for Colorado
M Cain walked.
R Winn singled to left, M Cain to second.
F Lewis singled to right, M Cain to third, R Winn to second.
A Rowand grounded into fielder's choice to third, M Cain out at home, R Winn to third, F Lewis to second.
B Molina grounded into double play, third to second to first, A Rowand out at second.

This is what happens when you have Aaron Rowand and Bengie Molina being required to be the 3 and 4 hitters -- when both are best suited as guys in the 6 or 7 holes. This is what happens when you have an incompetent front office. Is it just a coincidence that Cain immediately gave up another run in the top half of the 4th? The team's now 58-73 and looks to wind up around 71-91.

Randy Winn continues on a hot streak, going 3-for-4 and reminding us of that guy from the last two months of 2005. I mention this because Paulie at Give Em Some Stankeye has a highly entertaining post about blaming himself for Winn's return to ordinariness in 2006 and 2007 because Paulie went to the trouble of sponsoring Winn's page at Baseball Reference.

I don't blame Paulie, for what that's worth. Here's the page -- take a look at the SFG part of the 2005 season, including 14 HRs in 231 ABs, a .356 average, .391 OBP and a .680 slugging average.

Best news of the day -- the Dodgers just keep on gagging. They're now 11-12 since Manny showed up and they got shut out 5-0 despite getting 13 hits. "Choker" Kent struck out with the bases loaded. No major league team has been shut out on more hits in a nine-inning game since 1928. It sounds like the Manny honeymoon's over. Larry Bowa whined about it all -- "If you can't get up emotionally and mentally when you're two or three games out of first place, you need to find another job, another occupation," Bowa said. "That's what I see. I've seen teams play like this when they're 30 games out. There's no excuse for it."

Eat it Larry. Eat it raw.

Bruce Jenkins is deranged

The worst sportswriter on the planet bemoans the loss of the complete game, as if that's what's the most important thing about seeing a baseball game, and ignores the evidence that overuse of young pitches leads to injuries. It's as if the San Francisco Chronicle won't be satisfied until Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum join Jonathan Sanchez on the DL. He insists the Dusty Baker shouldn't be blamed for ruining Mark Prior's career. Instead, it's all Steve Bartman's fault, according to Bruce's dingbat logic.

My stomach's still churning.

"We can win this thing"

Well, that's what your first five-game win streak in a year will do. Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News blogs that the Giants are saying that they haven't given up on winning the NL West. I am glad to hear it but I still think it's a long long long shot.

Thanks, Pedro!

After enduring the outmaking machine that is Pedro Feliz for seven years, Giants fans got some nice payback tonight as he made the Dodgers suffer. First, he helped Fat Broxton blow another save in the 9th and then slammed a 3-run walk-off homer in the 11th off Jason Johnson for a 5-2 vic.

Note that the Bill Shaikin of the LA Times wrote a recap that's so incompetent that it doesn't even bother to list the pitcher (Johnson) who gave up the homer. I guess he had a plane to catch. Shows that the Times coverage is edited with a shovel.

In case you're wondering, it's only the second walk-off for Feliz. He got the other five years ago in a game against the Padres. It was also a 5-2 vic.

Even with the clutch play tonight, Feliz is having a typically unimpressive year for a corner infielder. His OBP is now .304 with a .428 SLG -- a bit better than Jose Castillo.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Why the Olympics killed baseball

You may know that the Olympics are killing off baseball and softball for 2012. The head of the Olympics committee blames Barry Bonds, according to Deadspin. I'm actually embarrased for this guy Rogge. How are we supposed to take him seriously?

Well, at lest we'll still have synchronized swimming at the 2012 games.

This is how you know that your team is out of it

It's the fourth inning and your team is down 3-1 but it has the bases loaded with two outs and sends the starting pitcher (who's mediocre at best) up to hit. And he makes an out. That's how you know that you're not in a pennant race. Still, the game got much better after that as the Giants notched a season-high 5th straight win. So what if it's over the Padres? It's the longest winning streak since a year ago.

You can also tell that your team is out of it when Sports Illustrated doesn't bother to update the team page -- even though the game ended an hour ago.

Here's the sequence I mentioned. I'm still of the mind that the Giants should stop wasting innings on Kevin Correia, who managed to luck into his third win today --

F Lewis doubled to center.
B Molina doubled to left, F Lewis scored.
A Rowand hit by pitch.
P Sandoval singled to left, B Molina to third, A Rowand to second.
J Hampson relieved J Banks.
R Aurilia hit for T Ishikawa.
R Aurilia grounded into fielder's choice to third, B Molina out at home, A Rowand to third, P Sandoval to second.
E Burriss struck out swinging.
K Correia fouled out to catcher.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

"It's about time he got an RBI"

A wonderful moment courtesy of Dave Fleming on today's radiocast of the Giants fourth straight win. Fleming made the pronouncement, Zito (who was 3 for 34) swung and missed at strike 2 and then -- on the next pitch -- drove in a run for the first time this year in 35 at bats after the Padres had tied the game 2-2. He's now 8-15 and may not wind up with 20 losses.

It's great to see Zito finally pitching consistently decent games -- this is the first time all year that he's gotten Ws in back to back starts -- although I remain deeply skeptical that this would be hapenning were the Giants actually in contention. With four straight wins, they're now 57-72. That projects to a final record of 71-91, which is still plenty embarrassing. Still, Fleming and Kuiper were genuinely enthused about the play of both Pablo Sandoval and Emmanuel Burris. Sandoval has caught Zito's last two wins.

Rich Aurilia got a huge clutch triple in the 8th to prevent what would have been the 6th extra inning game with the Padres this year. It was the team's 29th triple this year -- the first for Rich. Because of May Field (the real name on this blog for AT&T Park) having "triples alley" in right center, the Giants actually are near the top of the MLB in that one category, trailing only the Twins, Tigers, Rays and Dbacks.

Fred Lewis leads the pack with 10, followed by Velez and Castillo with 4, Bowker with 3 and Winn with 3. Fred's tied for second with Crawford and Granderson; Reyes has 14.

More good news -- the Dodgers keep gagging. The Phils hammered Clayton Kershaw, who's supposed the next coming of Tim Lincecum. They're now 3 games out as the Dbacks won.

Collusion, pure and simple

John at Only Baseball Matters nails it as usual, as he notes that while Manny dogged his way out of Boston, Bonds is still unemployed. Here's part of it --

In the AL East, having to stave off the Red Sox and the Yankees, the Rays decision to ignore Bonds as a DH option has to be considered as part of baseball’s ownership, and quite frankly, the sports media establishment’s, effort to keep Bonds from ever playing again. That, my friends, is collusion, and Bonds ought to be going after the owners just as hard as he would any fastball.

Because, here we are, with Bonds, who never did anything except fanatically prepare himself to be the absolute best baseball player that ever lived, who never put anything ahead of winning baseball games; that man is being told that he isn’t good for your team. In this world, Bonds is the clubhouse cancer. We keep hearing that having him around wouldn’t be good for young baseball players. We are being told –by “experts”– that no team would want their young players to see a 45-year old who was in better shape than they were, who maniacally prepared himself for every at-bat, every pitch, every play; who methodically planned, analyzed and then destroyed whatever approach the opposing pitcher had for beating him.

It is explained to us that, a guy who would leave no stone unturned in his efforts to be the best would be a bad influence. No, better that they see Manny Ramirez dogging his way out of one team, and into the jet-stream of a new $100 million dollar contract.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Another three-game win streak!

The Franchise continues to amaze and Travis Ishikawa homered again. At least Bochy didn't let Tim get into Matt Cain territory at over 120 pitches -- AP report notes that Lincecum has yet to pitch a complete game and that he got pulled after 115 pitches. I still think that's too many, especially with a 5-0 lead.

It's also the 6th three-game win streak for the Orange and Black this year (April 8-10 when they went from a 1-6 record to 4-6, April 23-25, May 20-23, May 27-29 and July 22-24). Their best stretch was the four-game sweep of the Nats in D.C. on June 6-9. With a record of 56-72, it's not a surprise that the Giants have had longer losing streaks -- two soul-killing six-game strteches of bleakness on May 14-19 and July 8-13.

It's the 10th shutout of the year for the G-Men. One poster named Frosted Flakes on the Chron's site had this to say --The ONLY time I check to see how the giants did is when Lincecum pitches.

More good news -- the Dodgers got blitzed in Philly. They were 2 out when they traded for Manny, have gone 11-9 and are still two out.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back to back 9th inning magic as Fish gag again

A day after Brian Wilson melted down in the 9th inning, he returned to form against the Fish with the game tied at 3:

Brian Wilson pitching for San Francisco
R Aurilia at first base.
B Wilson relieved T Walker.
J Hermida struck out looking.
P Lo Duca hit for J Nelson.
P Lo Duca lined out to third.
A Amezaga flied out to left.
0 Runs, 0 Hits, 0 Errors

That set up Wilson's second win in two days--
San Francisco - Bottom of 9th
Kevin Gregg pitching for Florida
K Gregg relieved J Nelson.
R Rohlinger struck out swinging.
E Burriss walked.
E Burriss stole second.
R Winn flied out to left, E Burriss to third.
B Molina hit for I Ochoa.
B Molina intentionally walked.
E Burriss scored, B Molina to second on wild pitch by K Gregg.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What is Bruce Bochy smoking?

What in the name of Mark Prior and Kerry Wood is going on? Lost amid Brian Wilson's first win of the year -- after blowing his first save in 3 and half months -- was the horrific handling of Matt Cain by Bruce Bochy.

Bochy pushed his luck all night with Cain, badly abusing one of the team's top assets by having him throw 125 pitches to get through the 8th -- to the amazement of Dave Flemming and Jon Miller, who noted that Yabu and Taschner were getting ready during the 7th and 8th. I'm not advocating shutting him down for the year, but the evidence is clear -- running up excessive pitch counts on young pitchers is a guarantee of future injury.

Take a look at Prior's career. Dusty Baker -- another dingbat manager who managed to destroy Robb Nen's career -- rode Prior long and hard at age 22, to the tune of 211 innings. Prior hasn't been the same since and hasn't even pitched in the MLB since 2006. Nen was only 32 when he threw his last pitch. That's a damn shame.

And I'm not the only one who feels this way. Lefty Malo, who runs a much better-written blog than this, just posted and points out that this is nothing new: Every time Cain and Lincecum take the mound, I think OK, this time Bochy will ease off, and every time they throw 110 pitches or more. In their last 20 starts combined, not including the Houston game that Lincecum left early after the line drive off his knee, they've thrown 110 or more pitches 18 times. I'm no pitch-count Nazi, but I'm feeling a little pitch-count Mussolini-ish these days.

Here's what I say again -- Along with Brian Sabean, Bochy needs to be fired NOW.

But let's look at the positive: Pablo Sandoval went 2 for 3 and is now 8 for 16. Looks like the kid may have what it takes! Better still -- the Dodgers gagged again as Fat Broxton melted down, as the Dodgers committed four errors.

The LA Times embarrasses itself

Kurt Streeter of the Los Angeles Times has written a remarkably lame column whining about how Maury Wills isn't in the Hall of Fame. The paper and Dodger fans have occasionally embarrassed themselves in the past by getting on this bandwagon -- based partly on the fact that Wills won the 1962 MVP over Willie Mays in one of the worst travesties of MVP voting ever. I am happy to hear that Wills has committed himself to a life of sobriety but that doesn't make him a Hall of Famer. Much of the Dodgers' success during Wills' time on the team came despite Wills killing numberous rallies by getting thrown out on the basepaths. Why would I say such a thing? Because Wills ranks 19th on the all-time list for SBs and FOURTH on the list of caught stealing. How many times did this alleged Hall of Famer score 100 runs? Twice.

This kind of drivel -- resulting in guys like Wills and Garvey being forever over-rated -- is a key reason why Dodger fans are so hopelessly uninformed. Thankfully, Ken Tremendous at Fire Joe Morgan completely destroys Streeter's arguments. Too bad that many Dodger fans will continue to believe the utter nonsense that the Times puts out.

No rush to the bigs for Giants pitchers?

Brian Sabean tells the SF Chron's Henry Schulman that he doesn't think there's a need to rush the best prospects (Tim Alderson and Madison Bumgarner) to pitch at MLB level.

I think he's wrong -- given the shaky performance of Kevin Correia as the fifth starter and the cloudy health prospects for Lowry and Sanchez. I believe that the sooner a guy gets used to MLB-level play, the better. What's the point of proving again and again that Correia (just like Jamey Wright before him) is a marginal MLB player?

McLain and Gibson on Ed Sullivan

Amazing what you find on the Internet at 1 a.m.

Matt Watson posted this stunning video from 40 years ago at AOL's MLB Fanhouse with this comment -- I always knew Denny McLain was big in 1968, but I guess I didn't know how big. As if winning 31 games, leading the Tigers to a World Series title and earning every first-place vote for the American League MVP and Cy Young awards wasn't enough, he also appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show performing "The Girl from Ipanema" on the organ. Oh, and did I mention that he was joined by Bob Gibson, the reigning MVP and Cy Young from the National League, in his encore?

Other guests on the show -- The Beach Boys, Richard Pryor, Pearl Bailey, Gilbert Becaud, Bill Dana, Jim Henson's Muppets and Sugar Ray Robinson.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Dodgers play it dumb on Dunn

MLB's 98 pound weaklings

Tonight's 6-0 humiliation at Mays Field was particularly painful because it came at the hands of the extremely annoying Florida Marlins, who have hit nearly 100 more HRs than the Giants. They have 163, or 94 more than the Giants at 69. The Marlins have six guys -- Uggla, Cantu, Jacobs, Ross, Hermida, Ramirez -- who have 15 or more HRs. The Giants have one guy (Rowand) in double figures at 12.

The Orange and Black managed 2 hits -- a single by Winn in the first and pinch hit double in the 9th by Pablo Sandoval. The immortal Ricky Nolasco went all the way for the Fish -- the first shutout by a Marlin in 301 games.

According to Henry Schulman of the SF Chron, the 301 games is a record. He got off a pair of nice lines in the first and second paragraphs -- The Giants have had a habit this season of playing some smart baseball on the road only to come home and look out of sorts, not to mention out of their league. Tuesday night's 6-0 loss to the Florida Marlins might go down as the stinker of all homecoming games

Aurilia back in the Orange and Black?

Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News speculates in his Extra Baggs blog that the Giants may bring back Richie just because their internal options -- Rohlinger, Fransden, Gillaspie -- are so suspect.

It's astounding that such a scenario would play out. And I mildly disagree with Baggarly that the Giants could absolutely not find any takers for Aurilia last month. My guess is they overvalued Aurilia, when they should have taken anything they could get. It's not as if he has absolutely no value. Look at most rosters and there are probably a couple of guys who aren't as good as Richie.

So why is this important? Why should Aurilia (and Taschner and Walker) have been traded? Because the Giants need young prospects -- not washed up players who get passed over at the trading deadline. Richie was a great Giant in his prime but there are several likely reasons why he wasn't moved last month. The first is that Sabean is incompetent. But the second is that Richie is not really good enough to start anymore and he's nothing special coming off the bench. And that leads us to the third reason: by being on the Giants, his value goes down. It's almost as if the rest of the league has decided that if Sabean's got him on the roster, there must be something wrong with him.

The best thing I can say is that I'd rather see Richie start instead of Jose Castillo, who was Brian Sabean's idea of an everyday third baseman -- but apparently no one else's. What other team is interested in a corner infield guy with a career line of .253/.295/.380? He stunk in Pittsburgh and then he stunk in San Francisco. And no one's picked him up. What a surprise (sarcasm intentional).

Andrew's too nice to say that this whole situation's the result of abysmal planning by Brian Sabean. So I will -- this situation's the result of abysmal planning by Brian Sabean.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Another $126 million start

Now that the Giants have no chance at the post-season, the good Barry Zito showed up today in Atlanta and shut out the Braves for seven innings. What is it with this guy? Is he lucky when he pitches like this or is he a headcase?

Rowand homered for his 12th of the year, giving the team 69 HRs with 38 games to go. They are going to be the first team under 100 in more than a decade. They have scored 475 runs, third worst in the MLB.

John Shea's report for the SF Chron notes that it's the first time since 1993 that the Giants have won a series in Atlanta. On May 30 of that year, the Giants won the rubber match of a series. 4-3.

Here's the key sequence from that game:

Top of the 7th, Giants Batting, Behind 1-3, Tom Glavine facing 2-3-4

R Thompson Reached on E5 (Ground Ball to Weak SS)

W Clark Single to CF (Line Drive); Thompson to 2B

M Williams Flyball: RF (Deep RF); Thompson to 3B

B Bonds Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep RF); Thompson Scores/unER; Clark Scores

W McGee Groundout: 2B-1B

R Clayton Flyball: RF

Brutal honesty about Barry Lamar Bonds

John Brattain of The Hardball Times writes a truly excellent column about why Bonds can't get a job. His basic point -- it's idiotic to think that all 30 MLB teams came to the same conclusion that they could not employ Barry. And a large role has been played by hack sportswriters (Bruce Jenkins, Anne Killion, Gwen Knapp, to name a few), who have insisted that Bonds is The. Worst. Teammate. Ever. Here are some excerpts (boldface is mine):

-- Obviously MLB wanted him gone—otherwise, a team would have employed him this year. Selig’s media storm troopers made the situation go a lot easier. They faithfully toed the party lines on what would make Bonds unemployable even after such things were proven to be no longer an issue (the fact his legal issues would not impact this season). Both Selig and the press informed us that all 30 teams independently came to the same conclusion—a conclusion that had no historical precedent (that personality outweighed significant talent).

-- Their biggest coup was the reason teams shied away from Bonds—he’d be a clubhouse distraction and the team would become a circus.What is odd is that nobody went into detail precisely how this distraction and circus would come about.It would become these things because the media would make it this way. Do you think for one moment that Bonds, left to his own devices, would be a major disruption to a team?

-- What causes the disruption and circus is when the press is brought into the mix. The prevailing wisdom is that where Bonds goes, so goes the media. If Bonds is in the house, then the press descend en masse to try to question Bonds, query teammates about Bonds, talk to coaches and managers about Bonds and whether Bonds is being a distraction or an issue for the team.Of course, what makes it a distraction or an issue are the media hordes going around asking about whether Bonds’ presence is a distraction when in reality it is the press’s insistence on finding out whether their pursuit of Bonds is causing problems in the clubhouse (although they would never ask it in so many words).

-- There have been a lot of nasty people employed by major league baseball teams. In recent years, there have been players that have been busted for tax evasion, dealing cocaine, abusing women, being polygamists, making death threats against their family (including children), having sexual relations with underage girls, using steroids, getting ticketed for DUI, being drug addicts and felons, being accused of sexual assault and rape, being vocal racists etc.Evidently, employing such deviants hasn’t hurt the box office and chances are good clubs like the Tigers, Blue Jays, Athletics etc. would have benefited tremendously by his presence and let’s face it—winning ball games sells.

--The press really doesn’t care what Elijah Dukes, Julio Lugo, Ryan Franklin (or any other juicers) et al have to say because the public isn’t interested in them.They want Barry Bonds—he is their Holy Grail … he is their obsession, he is guaranteed page views. He is also their great white whale—the one they want to sink their harpoons into for 20 years of mutual disrespect. This is the backlash clubs fear (or claim to)—it becomes a guaranteed self-fulfilling prophecy; signing Barry Lamar Bonds will cause a media backlash, be a clubhouse distraction and a media circus.Why?The very people who create the situation have decreed that is precisely what will happen. Hire Barry Bonds and we will disrupt your clubhouse by focusing on him and criticize you non-stop for creating a situation where we descend en masse into the locker room and cause a distraction and media circus.

-- In reality, the problem for a team wouldn’t be Barry Bonds’ presence on the team as much as the media making it a problem. Again, this is the press helping Selig implement an agenda. They helped keep a lid on the steroid scandal for years, they parrot the corporate line about the absolute necessity of public funds being used to build ballparks and they make sure that the worst nightmare that would come from Barry Bonds’ presence would become a reality. It has always been thus, alas—in times past they informed us that blacks couldn’t compete in the big leagues, that free agency would doom the sport, that common sense and fiscal responsibility ruled the day under Peter Ueberroth and that absent NFL-style revenue sharing and a salary cap the sport was doomed.Is it any wonder the blogosphere exists when so large a segment of the mainstream press are little more than cheerleaders and boosters for corporate interests?

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tim the Amazing One

I'm running out of superlatives to describe the greatness of The Franchise after a 3-1 vic today in Atlanta. He's gone 13-3, canceling out Zito's 6-15 record. In games without Lincecum or Zito having a decision, the team's gone 33-53 -- so one has to admit that this lousy season is not all Zitos' fault.

Brian Wilson closed out nicely for his 33rd save. And Travis Ishikawa -- who debuted pretty decently in 2006 -- hit his first HR.

The best thing I can say about Brian Sabean is that he didn't trade Lincecum for Alexis Rios this past offseason. Rios is having a decent season, but nothing special.

Thanks, Ray!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Pity party in Atlanta

Tonight's game in Atlanta was such a butt-kick that the Atlanta announcers (Peter Van Wieren and Joe Simpson, I believe) were actually feeling sorry for the Giants, noting at one point that the team appears to be playing hard all nine innings -- because everyone's job is up for grabs. The Giants offense did its best to make Mike Hampton look like Juan Marichal for the second time in two weeks.

Jonathan Sanchez has been DLd so Matt Palmer got hammered in his MLB debut. AP's report notes that he's the 15th player to debut this year in the Orange and Black -- the most since the 1954 Phiadelphia A's.

One of the few highlights had to be catcher-1B Pablo Sandoval, who had a 3-for-5 night. He debuted in Houston two nights earlier.

Giants record is now 51-71, which projects to 66-96. Only Seattle, San Diego and Washington have won fewer games.

Friday, August 15, 2008

A decent day for Giants fans -- for a change

Matt Cain and Randy Winn humbled the Braves. Then the team signed Buster Posey.

The Braves announcers -- who are having a rough time after the death of Skip Caray and the under-performance of the team this year -- were gracious enough to mention that Winn nearly got the cycle tonight, 3 years after getting the cycle against the Reds.

Down to the deadline on Buster

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Welcome, Bill Neukom

He officially took over from Peter Magowan today.

Bill -- according to Barry Bloom's story, you're not bringing back Barry Bonds -- even though that's a move that most fans would endorse. So make us happy: Please fire Brian Sabean NOW.

Buster in the Orange and Black

A bit of good news amid the nightmare trip to Houston -- Andrew Baggarly of the Merc News reports that Buster Posey's likely to sign for $7.5 million

Also, Tim Lincecum tells the SF Chron that he's fine.

No surprise here -- the Astros sweep the Giants with a disgusting 7-4 win as the pen gave away the game. AP offers a particularly stomach-churning stat that highlights the dismal job that "Stupid" Sabean has done in terms of putting together this offense: • The Giants are 4-53 this season when allowing five-plus runs. Dating back to last season, they have lost 60 of their last 64 games when allowing that many runs.

Fred Lewis homered for the team's 66th HR this year. That's by far the lowest in the MLB. The Jays are the next worst at 83.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

"He completely self-destructed out there"

That's how one of the Houston announcers described Zito's pathetic performance in the 6th inning tonight, when the Astros scored all six of their runs. It turns out that Zito's gone back to the crappy guy he was at the start of the year. He's now leading the MLB in losses.

The Giants are now 50-69 and on track to go 67-95.

But there was some positive news -- the club DFAd Jose Castillo, optioned Bowker and Holm to Fresno and brought up Travis Ishikawa, Pablo Sandoval and Ryan Rohlinger, who doubled in his first game. Rohlinger is the 13th guy to make his MLB debut this season for the Orange and Black. Question for Brian "Stupid" Sabean about Castillo -- what took you so long?

Let's look at the 6th, which included Billy Sadler forcing in back to back runs by hitting batters when he relieved Zito --

Barry Zito pitching for San Francisco
T Wigginton reached on infield single to shortstop.
M Loretta walked, T Wigginton to second.
M Tejada singled to center, T Wigginton to third, M Loretta to second.
L Berkman walked, T Wigginton scored, M Loretta to third, M Tejada to second.
G Blum hit sacrifice fly to left, M Loretta scored, M Tejada to third, L Berkman to second.
H Pence intentionally walked.
R Abercrombie hit sacrifice fly to center, M Tejada scored.
H Quintero hit by pitch, L Berkman to third, H Pence to second.
R Wolf walked, L Berkman scored, H Pence to third, H Quintero to second.
B Sadler relieved B Zito.
E Velez at second base.
T Wigginton hit by pitch, H Pence scored, H Quintero to third, R Wolf to second.
M Loretta hit by pitch, H Quintero scored, R Wolf to third, T Wigginton to second.
M Tejada flied out to right.
6 Runs, 2 Hits, 0 Errors

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

A nightmare in Houston

How fun was this game, Bruce Jenkins? The Franchise has to leave the game in the 5th with a 3-2 lead after getting hit in the leg with a Brad Ausmus liner. No early word on the severity of the injury. Then the bullpen melted down. Final score was 12-4 Astros after this nightmare 7th --

Alex Hinshaw pitching for San Francisco
M Bourn bunt grounded out to first.
B Ausmus walked.
H Pence hit for R Oswalt.
T Walker relieved A Hinshaw.
R Aurilia at first base.
J Castillo at third base.
H Pence singled to left, B Ausmus to second.
M Loretta walked, B Ausmus to third, H Pence to second.
J Taschner relieved T Walker.
D Erstad singled to left, B Ausmus and H Pence scored, M Loretta to second.
M Tejada singled to right, M Loretta to third, D Erstad to second.
L Berkman homered to left, M Loretta, D Erstad and M Tejada scored.
G Blum doubled to deep left.
E Espineli relieved J Taschner.
T Wigginton homered to right, G Blum scored.
M Bourn flied out to left.
B Ausmus lined out to second.
8 Runs, 7 Hits, -1 Errors

UPDATE -- John Shea of the SF Chron says X-rays were negative.

Thanks for ruining the 1994 season, Bud

It's the 14-year anniversary of the cancelation of the 1994 World Series. It's still your fault, Bud.

Jonah Keri has a nice blog post about the heartbreak for Expos fans. Here's a graf -- For a Montreal Expos fan like me, it was especially painful. When the strike started, the Expos owned the best record in baseball (74-40) and were well on their way to an NL East title, having built a six-game lead on the Atlanta Braves while peaking in the summer months.

As for the Giants, they were 55-60 at that point but had just won 3 in a row and were only 3 and half games out of first in a very weak NL West. Matt Williams was looking like a decent candidate to break Roger Maris' record at that point with 43 HRs

Monday, August 11, 2008

Return to mediocrity in Houston

After stirring back to back vics over the Dodgers, the Giants reverted to ineffectiveness tonight in Houston with a pathetic 4 hits off the Astros. The immortal Brandon Backe (now 7-11) handcuffed them tonight -- even though his ERA is still 5.19 after holding the Giants to a single run.

Jonathan Sanchez pitched well for a change but the Giant offense -- consisting of two Aurilia doubles, an Ochoa double and a Lewis single -- continues to be among the worst in MLB. Note to dingbat Bruce Jenkins: this is what "character" gets you: a 50-67 record and embarrassing losses to mediocre teams. It also has the potential of demoralizing first-rate pitchers like Sanchez. AP notes in its story -- Jonathan Sanchez (8-9) didn't allow a hit for five innings, but again got no support from San Francisco's bats. The Giants have scored one run or less during 12 of his 24 appearances this season. Sanchez didn't speak to the media after the game.

Are these Giants more fun?

The SF Chron's hackazoidal Bruce Jenkins -- in yet another desperate effort to save Brian Sabean's job -- decides it's time to get back on the Barry Bonds Hate Train and write a bogus column insisting that this team is "more fun" than previous years, in light of his apparently having had the good fortune to attend the Saturday and Sunday wins against the Dodgers.

As someone who attended the fiasco losses on Tuesday and Friday nights at Mays Field, I assure anyone reading that there's not much fun to be had when your team plays as poorly as this one does. On top of asserting that Bonds is "desperate" for a job, Jenkins continues to insist by implication that last year's team wasn't any fun for the fans -- which shows that 1. he wasn't there last year and 2. he hasn't bothered to spend any time hanging out anywhere other than in the press box or 3. in the company of his good buddy Sabean.

As for Jenkins' notion that this team has more "character," it's revealing when a journalist resorts to that tired device and shows that they're too lazy to do any actual reporting. Earth to Bruce -- No one cares whether these guys spend their spare time working for Amnesty International or the Sierra Club. How about reporting on whether your pal Sabean's getting fired and whether the team's going to sign Buster Posey and whether Angel Villalona's coming up to the bigs? Here are a few comments posted as to what a waste of time Jenkins' writing is --

A couple of things that Jenkins clearly missed: First, Kent didn't just scold Billy Sadler. Reading his lips, one could easily see that the red-necked second baseman called Sadler a "little fa**ot." Second, the hit off Velez's bat was not "one of those sad little grounders back to the mound." Anyone who can pass a driver's license eye exam saw that the ball was hit very sharply back up the middle. It would have been a great play by Kuo had he made it.

first bruce feeds into the myth that with bonds here, no way could the team rebuild...doesnt really explain why it took 3/4 of a season to seriously start playing the kids. he also feeds into the myth that with bonds here, there was no feeling of team....shoot, didnt seem that way in 02, 03 or 04....then he disses burris and his speed, which made sure there would be no dp...and disses velez, who's speed caused the bums ss to misplay the ball...forget barry retiring....why dont you retire for sadler, he forgot do that...what kent did, was inexcusable...and payback is due....he needs on right in the porn stache

Well, Bruce was at his smarmy worst with this one. Trying to stir up the natives with a garbage truck full of innuendo and misinformation as a good yellow journalist is paid to do. I miss Glenn Dickey. Oh yeah, he has his own on-line coulumn as well as working for the putrid Examiner. Well, no one's perfect. The man's gotta eat.

Here's the best one of all -- Sadler should have said he was washing his truck.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

All the proof of collusion you need

A double Dodger gag

This has to be the highlight of the year for Giants fans as the Dodgers give away easily winnable games back to back at Mays Field -- both with one-run leads in the last turn at bat. In both cases, the Dodgers FAILED to make simple plays in the field -- and Sunday's was especially egregious with Casey Blake screwing up a DP ball in the 9th. When the Dodgers lose the pennant, they will look back in pain at these two games.

How does that taste, Dodger fans?

The LA Times' Dylan Hernandez whines about how unfair it all it is in his writeup of the Saturday night game by noting that the Giants got a break on a call in the 7th. Let me point out that good teams manage to win games even when umps blow calls. No wonder Dodger fans are so misinformed and so willing to mistakenly believe that their stupid team's entitled to win every game.

Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News notes in his blog that --
1. Kent was annoyed over Sadler's celebration after striking out Manny. Eat it, "Choker." Eat it raw.
2. Correia is looking like he may be a viable 5th starter
3. This team doesn't give up easily. I'm not sure who gets the credit but it is one very likable thing about this team.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Matt Cain shows how it's done

A wonderful shot by artolog from Monday night's game

Does anyone really love small ball?

There appears to be a misconception that real baseball lovers love small ball -- the hit-and-run, the stolen base, the sacrifice. Here's what I love: the Giants beating other teams; small ball usually isn't the reason why. There's a reason why Earl Weaver was a successful manager: he was a big advocate of getting the right guy up (Eddie Murray, John Lowenstein and Ken Singleton come to mind) to mash a 3-run homer.

I've been tracking lately the pathetic HR total for the Giants, now at 64. They are very probably going to be the first team of the 21st Century not to reach the 100 mark and the first since the 1993 Florida Marlins. Hat tip to the always astute Lefty Malo for digging this out earlier this week.

Advice for the anti-Lincecum

Photo of Tim Lincecum by dinur

The anti-Lincecum would be Barry Zito. As I drove away from tonight's fiasco at Mays Field, I listened to KNBR take suggestions as to what to do with Zito with suggestions including let him start surfing again and let him dye his hair blue. I have a far simpler suggestion -- have him talk with Tim Lincecum, who's apparently figured out how to get MLB hitters out in less than two seasons.

Instead, Zito's trying to sugar-coat his suckage by the low-class tactic of whining about the umpire's calls, according to the reliable Henry Schulman of the SF Chron. Here's the deal as I saw it tonight from Section 117 (amid some of the most annoying Dodger fans ever; would you just shut up about working in a juice bar, please?) -- Zito's command is gone. In the third inning, he began serving up belt-high fatties to guys like Danny Ardoin, Angel Berroa and Brad Penny (!!!) and they hammered him.

After Monday's and Wednesday's stirring victories, tonight's no-contest (with the Giants offense consisting of three hits) was a potent reminder of why William Neukom needs to clean house, starting with Brian "Stupid" Sabean. The negative long-term effects on two of the Giants' most valuable assets -- its loyal fan base and its financial firepower -- created by starting Zito every fifth game for the next five and a half seasons (to the tune of $18 million per season) should be enough to have Sabean fired yesterday.

The only upsides to the game --

1. The Giants homered for the third straight game, giving them 64 for the season.
2. Manny Ramirez went 0-for-5
3. Sabean's a day closer to getting fired
4. Espineli looked sharp out the pen

Friday, August 08, 2008

Please spare me the lecture about chemistry

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron has a long piece today about the importance of Aaron Rowand being a clubhouse leader. With the Giants heading for a fourth straight losing season, I think it's a bit pathetic to be saying at this point, "Yes, but look what great chemistry they have." For me, the bottom line is that Rowand is having an acceptable -- but not particularly distinguished -- season at $12 million a year, what with 10 HRs and 60 RBIs (projecting out to 13 HRs and 75 RBIs at season's end). The larger issue here is that reporters talking about "clubhouse chemistry" isn't particularly illuminating....especially since a lot of successful teams didn't get along with each other -- the 1972-74 Oakland A's, the Bronx Zoo Yankees and the 2002 Giants come to mind right off the bat.

Schulman usually does a pretty good job of covering the Giants but this piece has the smell of his paper's continued attempts to perpetrate the Big Lie that the Giants are in their current fix because "Barry Bonds is EVIL and the WORST. TEAMMATE. EVER." Here's what he says --
In the wake of Barry Bonds' departure and a shift to youth, management understood the 2008 Giants would need a strong, experienced voice in the clubhouse.

I'm not buying it. This is management spin, pure and simple. And we've already seen how well that worked out by giving Zito a $126 million contract -- with part of the justification for that being what a fine fellow Zito is in the clubhouse. Coincidentally, Dayn Perry at Fox Sports has a pretty decent take today on why he thinks reporting on chemistry is nonsense.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Poisoning the Barry Bonds well

Gwen Knapp of the SF Chron has written a fairly irritating column saying how great it would be if Barry Bonds showed up for Saturday's pregame ceremonies to honor the Giants outfielders. What's not admitted in the column is the crucial role that Bonds-hating sportswriters -- saying over and over and over without justification that "He's the WORST. TEAMMATE. EVER." -- played in the current Boycott Bonds campaign that's led to every single MLB team refusing to offer a roster spot.

That's a key reason why Bonds happens to be available for the ceremonies. Knapp -- who was a major Bonds Hater -- evidently doesn't have the nerve to admit that.

Dodgers can't accept the gift of the NL West lead

Have you ever gone to the trouble of giving your brother in law a nice gift at Christmas and in exchange, he doesn't give you anything? That's the Dodgers. Though the rest of the NL West is handing the division title to the Dodgers, they continue to gag. Joe Torre looked like an idiot and couldn't make the right substitution tonight. What's he hanging on to Mark Sweeney for anyhow? He's now 8 for 70 this year in what may have been Sabean's only decent recent trade (the Giants got Travis Denker and stopped pretending that Sweeney was an actual MLB caliber player)

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Fire Tim Flannery NOW

Rather than gush -- justifiably -- about the magnificent performances of The Franchise and Brian Wilson today, I'm going to complain again about how badly managed and coached the Giants are. Exhibit A: sending Fred Lewis home in the 6th from third with no outs on Aurilia's short pop to right field for an easy out. The usually useless Jose Castillo then followed with a single. Randy Winn also got thrown out easily at second.

Again, the insanely aggressive baserunning is 1. counterproductive on its face because it kills what few rallies the Giants get going and 2. demoralizing to the few offensive threats the team has. That means the pitchers have no margin for error. It would also be nice if there were someone besides a DP machine named Molina batting cleanup. Thanks, Brian Sabean, for the most incompetent construction of an offense ever.

Still, it was quite wonderful to be there in the 8th when Tim struck out the side and for the 9th when Wilson got the Braves to hit into 3 harmless groundouts to close it out. Eat it, Braves fans. Eat it raw.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Hampton gets healthy at the expense of the Giants

The Giants made Mike Hampton -- who hadn't won in 3 years -- look like the second coming of Juan Marichal tonight. Can we please fire Brian Sabean, Bruce Bochy AND Carney Lansford? What kind of garbage plate approach was that -- with first-pitch hacks by virtually every guy in the lineup? Can't anyone on this team get a walk? This team has the LOWEST walk total in MLB at 316. The only walks came from the pinch-hitters, Bowker and Vizquel.

Stat of the game -- Fred Lewis' HR was the first in 12 games by a Giant and the 62nd all season. Yes, that is by far the lowest total in the bigs. The Jays are second lowest at 78.

As long as I'm whining, can we please also stop the INSANE baserunning? The Giants now have 89 SBs and 34 Caught Stealings -- a pathetic success rate of 65% and way below the acceptable level of 75% success, which means that the team would score more runs if they did not steal any bases at all. Take the Phils by comparison with 89 SBs and only 16 CS. So the bad baserunning strategy is actually making what's already a lousy team even worse. I bring this up partly because Ivan Ochoa managed to get on in the bottom of the 1st with a single and then got picked off by Hampton, blowing the spine out of any chance at any early lead. (That doesn't count as a caught stealing, but it does reflect how stupid the approach is)

I believe that this INSANE approach is actually demoralizing to the hitters on the team because it reinforces the notion that they can't hit.

Hi Barry -- stop on by and no hard feelings

Monday, August 04, 2008

As good as it gets

Just returned from the ideal evening at Mays Field -- great pitching and fielding plus just enough hitting for a 4-2 vic. The announcers, particularly Mike Krukow, were impressed at Matt Cain's ability to get groundball outs when he lacked overpowering stuff.

And can we please get the amazingly ineffective Jose Castillo out of the lineup?

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Talk about a power outage

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A $126 million game for Zito

Just got home from seeing the "X-Files" film to discover that Barry Zito's veered off onto the reality that Giants fans expected when club signed him two years ago -- what the Giants web site calls a "masterful" eight innings of shutout ball.

OK, so his last two vics have come against the Padres and Nats -- the only two teams in the NL worse than the Orange and Black. This is what good players do: they beat up on the weak. Nice to see the Giants in a role reversal tonight.

Friday, August 01, 2008

"They're acting like Jeff Kent is hamburger"

Another sweet Wilson save

Brian Wilson has been probably the best single surprise this year and just saved yet another in San Diego -- a game-ending DP with the bases loaded for his 29th. So nice not to have Blownitez closing!

Tim got 11 strikeouts and another no-decision. Romo picked up the win, his first in the MLB. He's done pretty well so far -- two bad outings out of 14.

Where's the next Stretch?

Wonderful photos of Mays and McCovey statues by mbell1975

Hope we find him soon. I thought about writing "Where the next Mays?" but that's going to be a looooooong wait, I would bet. He and Stretch were in the lineup together for 13 years (1959-72)and always a pleasure to watch. The team always had a winning record and went to the postseason twice.

More incompetence from Sabean

After trading Ray Durham 11 days ago, the Giants were unable to move any of their veteran players for prospects -- a move that's essential toward turning the team into a contender. The underwhelming interest in acquiring guys from what is one of the worst MLB teams ought to be yet another reason to fire Brian "Stupid" Sabean. And it's a disgrace that the Giants couldn't find a taker for Bengie or Taschner. The notion that these two guys are worth holding on to because they are going to lead the Orange and Black back into contention is pathetic.

Sabean was claiming in the conference call that he thinks he can still make trades since he'll be able to get players to first go through waivers. Chris Haft of says that's nonsense.

It also seems that the Marlins were willing to swap first baseman Mike Jacobs -- who has 22 HRs this year -- for Bengie, if Henry Schulman of the SF Chron is to be believed. Here's a guy who's 27 and the Giants decide "no, we have to keep the 34-year-old" rather than a guy who has legitimate MLB power and an upside.