Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Winning with Winn

Chris at the always interesting Bay City Ball has crunched the numbers and found that Randy Winn was the best starter on the Giants with 3.6 wins above replacement value, followed by Molina at 2.4 and Lewis at 2.1.

Chris has some excellent analysis that surprised me. For example, he contends Winn's a bargain at $8 million for this year and about the same for 2009, given his offense and defense. I'm a bit skeptical that Winn would be worth $16 million a year as a free agent, based on his 2008 stats, but I found it great reading. Here are some of his comments (boldface is mine) --

-- Winn’s defense added about +1 wins to his overall total and even though he might be borderline for RF with his bat, he’s a better than league average hitter and his defense is very, very good. Randy Winn would be valued around $16.3M on the free agent market for his ‘08 season. The Giants are only paying Winn $8M this year, meaning that they are getting nearly double the performance for what they are paying.

--Bengie’s overall line of: .292/.322/.445 doesn’t look spectacular but when you consider it’s coming from the toughest position to play on the baseball diamond, it looks a lot better. Bengie’s sOPS+ as a catcher is 116, meaning that he’s 16% better than the league average catcher in the National League. Bengie could be an attractive solution for a team that might need a catcher in the offseason. He’s in the final year of his deal and he’s hitting quite well for his position. I think the Giants would do well to listen to offers for Molina’s services. Molina is a player that I was totally wrong on, when he came to the Giants his age and weight had me guessing that he’d be injured or ineffective by year 2 of his deal, Bengie proved me wrong and then some. Molina is valued around $11M on the FA market and he’s set to make $6M in ‘09, a very nice deal for any team.

-- Fred Lewis should head into ‘09 as the starter in LF. On a team like the Giants, one that is transititioning, Lewis is the perfect player. He’s cheap — making league minimum this year — and he’s adding positive value. In fact, Lewis is valued around $9.7M on the FA market for his ‘08 season and the Giants are only paying him 400K. That’s a difference of +$9.3M for the Giants. Good teams do not drastically overpay for talent and Lewis is a great example of getting production for very cheap.

A winter of discontent

Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle reports on Brian Sabean's plans for 2009. I'm not impressed. Sabean's talking about making a run at CC Sabathia -- a somewhat ridiculous idea given how lousy the Giants offense was and Sabathia's asking price -- and telling Aaron Rowand to do a better job after sucking for the last two months of the season. ("The brass believes Aaron Rowand was spooked by the big ballpark and tried to do too much in his first year.") Getting a decent hitter like Dan Uggla or Jorge Cantu would make sense but you can bet that the Fish will say they want Matt Cain.

Isn't now -- after 4 straight losing seasons -- perhaps a time to consider promoting a few blue-chip prospects to the big club such as Bumgarner, Posey, Villalona and Alderson?

It sounds as if Sandoval, Burriss and Lewis will get to start in 2009 but they still haven't made up their minds about Schierholtz. Better yet would be getting Sabean fired after running this team into the ground with a 5th straight losing season already looming in 2009.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Small victories for 2008

-- With Lincecum, they had one of the best pitchers in baseball, who kept them from being a complete disgrace, despite the handicap of having one of the worst pitchers in baseball (Zito)
-- They went 9-9 against the Dodgers
-- They lost 90 games, fewer than a lot of people expected and fewer than the Mariners, Nats, Orioles, Pirates and Padres.
-- They broke in a record 17 rookies, including a few who can play (Pablo Sandoval, Sergio Romo)

UPDATE -- (inspired by McCovey Chronicles): they actually played respectably down the stretch with August at 15-14 and September 13-13
-- Tim's final line: 227 IP, 265 K, 2.62 ERA, 18 W

What a year for Lincecum!

Lincecum's just been lifted after a magnificent performance -- 13 Ks and an unearned run in 7 innings and 102 pitches. He struck out the sides in the first rhee innings; Sandoval just ensured he won't lose the game by blasting a pinch hit single into left field and Schierholtz has just given him a shot at win No. 18 by singling in Dave Roberts.

Tim's the main reason why the team didn't lose 100 games and wind up embarrassing themselves like the Mariners and the Natinonals.

UPDATE -- The Giants just closed out the Bums 3-1 with a typically shaky Brian Wilson save.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Yet another loss for Matt Cain

Just to emphasize that the 2008 Giants can't hit -- especially when Matt Cain is on the mound -- they went out and proved it tonight with an embarrassing 2-1 loss to Greg Maddux and the Dodgers. It was something like the 31st time Maddux has beaten the Giants.

Tonight's game was disgustingly similar to this one two months ago when the Dodgers won 2-0 over Cain and the Giants got all of five hits. Tonight, it was a grand total of 4 hits -- a homer by Winn and singles by Schierholtz, Velez and Vizquel. The two good things that will come from this game:

-- Cain showed once again what a fine pitcher he is
-- Brian Sabean is one day closer to his well-deserved firing
-- Giants "hitting" coach Carney Lansford is one day closer to getting fired. The Dodger pitchers barely broke a sweat, needing only 81 pitches all night. The Giants got no walks and now have the third lowest total (450) in the MLB after Seattle and Houston; they also have the second lowest runs scored at 637 after San Diego and the lowest HR total (94) of any team since 1995.

Welcome back, Kevin

Andrew Baggarley of the Merc-News blogs that the most intriguing guy on the Giants roster, Kevin Frandsen, will get into one or both of the games this weekend after spending all season rehabbing from his torn ACL.

Frandsen showed flashes of adequacy in 2007 at the age of 25 with pretty good defense and some power.

Amid all the props the Giants have gotten for giving rookies a chance, the handling of Frandsen's absence is revealing. It turns out that Pablo Sandoval -- a guy who can play third -- is probably the most legitimate MLB player among all the rooks even though he didn't show up in Giants uni until Aug. 14. So I have to wonder what Brian Sabean was thinking when he decided that the best options to replace Fransden as a second and third baseman this year was to sign the worthless Jose Castillo off the scrap heap, then give Castillo over 350 ABs before he took his last AB on Aug 12 -- two days before Sandoval debuted. In case you're wondering, he's been just as lousy for the Astros for the past six weeks.

Again, this is the same organization that thought it made sense to keep starting the quintissential washed-up veteran (Steve Finley) in 2006, with over 400 ABs.

Demoralizing the Dodgers

That's what this series is all about. One poster at McCovey Chronicles put it this way -- My hope is that this game demoralizes the Bums and they get swept in their opening play-off series.

And speaking of demoralizing, Cody Ransom is finally playing like a big leaguer. He hit 2 HRs for the Yanks tonight and now has 4 homers in 37 ABs. Why do I say demoralizing? Four years ago, Cody's truly egregious error led to Dustin Hermanson and Wayne Franklin not closing the deal for the Orange and Black at the Ravine, thus missing the postseason. The Giants haven't been in the postseason since 2003.

Bengie wins Willie Mac award again

After he won the trophy for most inspirational Giant, he hit one of the strangest homers ever -- first use of instant replay at a Mays Field game. Fleming and Kuiper were pretty funny about it: "It really messes up your home run call." "You say 'It's a single off the wall' and 10 minutes later 'It's outta here!'" It tied the game at 2 in the 6th, setting up the walk-off win in the 10th. Nothing sweeter than watching the Dodgers trudge off the field in well-deserved defeat.

UPDATE -- Here's Steve Kroner's story on the game for the Chron.

Though I despair over his OBP and DPs, Molina's the one veteran who's performed up to expectations offensively. He's now got either 94 or 95 RBIs and 16 HRs, a .321 average with runners in scoring position -- damn good production from a catcher.

I'm always impressed with whoever wins the Willie Mac, since it's voted on by players, coaches and staff. Here are all of them:

Bengie Molina 2007
Omar Vizquel 2006
Mike Matheny 2005
J.T. Snow 2004
Marquis Grissom 2003
David Bell 2002
Benito Santiago 2001
Mark Gardner 2001
Ellis Burks 2000
Marvin Benard 1999
Jeff Kent 1998
J.T. Snow 1997
Shawon Dunston 1996
Mark Carreon 1995
Mark Leiter 1995
Kirt Manwaring 1993
Mike Felder 1992
Robby Thompson 1991
Steve Bedrosian 1990
Dave Dravecky 1989
Jose Uribe 1988
Chris Speier 1987
Mike Krukow 1986
Mike Krukow 1985
Bob Brenly 1984
Darrell Evans 1983
Joe Morgan 1982
Larry Herndon 1981
Jack Clark 1980

Friday, September 26, 2008

2008 Giants = 1995 Phillies

It turns out that the last team to hit less than 100 HRs wasn't the 1993 Marlins, as I've asserted previously -- it was the 1995 Phils, who hit 94 (same as the Fish two years earlier). Mark Whiten, Charlie Hayes and Gregg Jeffries tied for the team lead with 11 each. The Giants have 92 as I write this.

I just heard Vin Scully mention this as the overpaid Juan Pierre was thrown out stealing in the second.

What a night!

A wonderful shot by jgo91 from a Cards game this year. Seems like a good time post it, with the final 3 games of the season starting tonight.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The perfect symbol for your 2008 Giants

I'd have to say that tonight's disgraceful 3-1 loss to the Rox symbolized this season in so many ways:

-- an utterly undistinguished pitcher (the immortal Jorge De La Rosa) held the Giants at bay
-- the Giants didn't homer and got only 6 hits; they currently have 92 HRs (the lowest total in 15 years for any team) and have scored 630 runs, which is the second lowest total in MLB after the Padres
-- the starting pitcher (Zito) pitched well enough to win
-- But Zito helped prolong a disturbing trend, letting the starting pitcher get an RBI: the 50th of the year. That has to be among the worst in MLB.
-- one of the Giants pulled a rock, in this case Bengie Molina trying to come home on a wild pitch
-- Aaron Rowand continued to show that the Giants front office overpaid for him. He went 0-for-4 with 3 strikeouts; for September, he's 16 for 68 and has driven in exactly one run.
-- Dave Roberts, another overpaid veteran, was useless.

Giants youth is served

Andrew Baggarley of the Merc-News has a nice blog post about how the Giants have become the first team in 25 years to have all rookies in the lineup at once -- probably the most positive aspect of last night's disaster.

It's not a total surprise, given that the Giants have had 17 players make their MLB debuts this year. Here's who was in the lineup in the 7th -- Catcher Steve Holm, pitcher Billy Sadler, first baseman Pablo Sandoval, second baseman Ryan Rohlinger, shortstop Ivan Ochoa, third baseman Conor Gillaspie, left fielder John Bowker, center fielder Eugenio Velez and right fielder Nate Schierholtz.

The Dodgers were the last team to manage such a feat -- oddly enough with a team that was about to go into the playoffs and get beaten by the Phils.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The anti-Einsteins

“Insanity is doing the same thing again and expecting a different result… We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” --Albert Einstein

Well, you weren't just whistling "Dixie" when you delivered that pearl of wisdom, Al. I thought of that as I heard Kevin Correia come into the game tonight to finish the terrible job by Jonathan Sanchez and totally gas-can it away. The Giants are now 70-88. What a dismal year. If this were a regular business, heads would have rolled by now.

Why does the Giants' Anti-Brain Trust believe that there's any sign that Correia can actually pitch acceptably at the MLB level? I'm guessing that they've gotten used to having him around and seeing him occasionally perform like a legitimate big leaguer. And he's probably a nice guy since he's actually been on the team longer (since 2003) than anyone else at this point. But he was always kind of marginal at best and now he's just plain awful. It's the same kind of thinking that over-values veteran experience (Zito, Dave Roberts, Edgardo Alfonzo, Steve Finley) in the face of clear evidence of decline.

Colorado - Top of 5th
Kevin Correia pitching for San Francisco
K Correia relieved O Matos.
R Spilborghs walked.
J Baker singled to left, R Spilborghs to second.
D Fowler flied out to left.
L Hernandez reached on bunt single to catcher, R Spilborghs to third, J Baker to second.
C Barmes singled to left, R Spilborghs scored, J Baker to third, L Hernandez to second.
T Tulowitzki singled to center, J Baker scored, L Hernandez to third, C Barmes to second.
M Holliday grounded into fielder's choice to shortstop, L Hernandez scored, T Tulowitzki out at second, C Barmes to third.
G Atkins homered to center, C Barmes and M Holliday scored.
C Iannetta flied out to center.

That wasn't enough for Bochy. He decided to run Corriea out there in the 6th so he could give up another home run to the immortal Jeff Baker.

Speaking of homers, the Giants now have 92 of them with Bowker finally getting his 10th tonight. They'll be the first team since the 1993 Marlins to finish with less than 100. They also have fewer runs (629) than any other team except San Diego.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Hasta la vista, Cy Young

In a season full of depressing games, this one was one of the worst, thanks to Bruce Bochy's inept handling of the team's most valuable asset.

Bruce Bochy's done everything he can to make sure that Tim Lincecum doesn't win the Cy Young -- thanks to his ridiculous insistence on massive pitch counts over the last five starts. It blew up in his face tonight when an obviously ineffective Tim couldn't get out of the fifth after 102 pitches, leading to a disgusting 9-4 loss to the Rox.

That should pretty much assure that Brandon Webb wins the Cy Young. Somehow, it seems appropriate that the Rox -- a team that's inflicted so much pain on the Orange and Black -- would be the ones to bring down the hammer tonight and make Giants fans wonder if Tim will be able to get back to where he was earlier this year.

Look, I realize that Bochy and Sabean are trying to win games here but they've also been acting as if every recent game that Lincecum or Matt Cain pitches is the 7th game of the World Series. It makes sense if you are the Mets and have Johan Santana throw 125 pitches to keep the postseason hopes alive. It's stupid when you are 15 games under .500 with two weeks left in the season. I'm still steamed about Lincecum throwing 138 pitches two starts ago.

Every time Bochy (with Brian Sabean's approval) insists on the team's top young pitchers going deep into games -- when the team was mathematically eliminated weeks ago -- they are increasing the chance of serious injury exponentially. They are too stupid to realize this and need to be fired NOW.

Bochy and Sabean: The Anti-Brain Trust

Speaking of Anti-Brain -- The SF Chron's John Shea files a clueless game story that never mentions the issue of excessive pitch counts.

Monday, September 22, 2008

A modest Wall of Fame proposal

Looking over the Wall of Fame list and seeing the inclusion of Johnnie LeMaster made me wonder why such pivotal figures as Jack Sanford, Dave Dravecky and Joe Morgan aren't on the Wall. The rules say 9 years as a Giant or 5 years plus an All-Star game -- which will keep Hal Lanier off the wall, fortunately -- but I say let's make an exception for Billy Pierce.

All he did was go 16-6 in 1962, win the first game of the 3-game playoff, save the 3nd game as part of the greatest inning in SF Giants history and win the 6th game of the World Series. How can he not be on the Wall?

Orlando gets immortalized

Project FC took this great shot of the newest addition to Mays Field.

The Giants are unveiling their Wall of Fame tonight. Orlando, Marichal, Mays and McCovey will be there along with Felipe Alou, Vida Blue, Bob Bolin, Jim Davenport, Darrell Evans, Tito Fuentes, Atlee Hammaker, Mike Krukow, Gary Lavelle, Kirt Manwaring, Mike McCormick, Greg Minton, Kevin Mitchell, Robb Nen, Gaylord Perry, Kirk Rueter, J.T. Snow, Robby Thompson and Matt Williams.

Also on the Wall -- Jim Barr, Rod Beck, Jeff Brantley, Bobby Bonds, Bob Brenly, John Burkett, Jack Clark, Will Clark, Chili Davis, Dick Dietz, Scott Garrelts, Tom Haller, Jim Ray Hart, Johnnie LeMaster, Jeffrey Leonard, Juan Marichal, Stu Miller, Randy Moffitt, John Montefusco, Rick Reuschel and Chris Speier.

Dbacks creep closer to the Dodgers

The best record in MLB in 1-run games

Andrew Baggarley of the San Jose Merc-News has a fascinating post about how the Giants have a 30-20 record in one-run games this year after Sunday's glorious win. That's the highest number in the majors in this category and underlines two things:

1. The offense is LOUSY and
2. how valuable it is to have a decent closer like Brian Wilson. Andrew does a nice job of analyzing this, going so far as to address the contention that the importance of closers is overblown. He makes the non-sabermetric claim that what closers do is sometimes hard to quantify and a bit intangible. Boldface is mine:

If Brian Wilson had jogged to the mound, walked Manny Ramirez and served up a two-run homer to James Loney, the effect would’ve been worse than a loss. Much worse.
When that cycle repeats, a team’s belief begins to slip. On a subconscious level, they’re less motivated and perhaps less focused. “Why rally back when we’re just as likely to blow it again?”
The opposite happens when you have a lock-down closer. “If we can just scratch out a run…”
No wonder Manager Bruce Bochy had this to say about Wilson: “You look at the silver linings of a season and he’s one of them. He made an All-Star team and established himself as a closer – one of the best closers – in the game.”
A closer is like a security blanket. And security blankets are not rational. They’re emotional.
When a team doesn’t have its security blanket, good luck getting it to finish its strained peas.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

"Giants suck! Giants suck!"

That's what a few Dodger fans in Reserved section 12 at the Ravine were chanting as the Dodgers went down to defeat in the bottom of the 11th, thanks to some 100-mph heat from Brian Wilson as he struck out Manny, got James Loney to fly out and then struck out Casey Blake.

One of the sweeter games of the year. As usual, Matt Cain pitched well and got no credit; Schierholtz made several fine catches in right; Rowand got the rally starter in the 11th and Velez never stopped hustling to get on; and Aurilia re-captured a bit of glory with the game's only RBI. Ishikawa, Ochoa, Winn, Rowand and Molina all made fine plays in the field.

Dodger magic number stayed at 5. How does it feel to drop 2 of 3 at home to a team that "sucks," Dodger fans?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Nightmare at the Ravine

What an awful game. The Giants now have 86 losses and appear headed for a final record of somewhere around 71-91. I suppose this is going to happen when a team's playing out the string, but it's a little disappointing to see them play this badly against the Dodgers. Four of the Giants pitchers were was just plain awful tonight (Hennessey, Walker, Taschner and Espinelli) -- 11 walks (as Vin kept reminding us on the local telecast), two homers to Manny, one to Kemp. Taschner, in particular, managed to give away the game with three walks in three batters, including back to back bases loaded walks.

The best thing -- Pablo Sandoval continues to mash. He pinch hit a 2-run double in the ninth to make the score respectable, but only after Angel Berroa had given the Giants an extra out but the game was out of reach, thanks to the lousy pitching along with Aurilia and Velez botching groundballs that led to Dodger runs.

The Giants might have scored another few runs in the 9th but Molina had already managed to strike out on an 0-2 pitch that was 2 feet outside. That seemed to sum up the Giants season -- the No. 4 hitter has an OBP of .318 and had gotten 17 walks all season.

How to lose a pennant

The answer really isn't "Hire a dingbat like Brian Sabean." It's "refuse to sign Barry Bonds, the best player of the generation." John Brattain in The Hardball Times makes the point that the Jays, Yanks and Twins all short-changed their fans by not making an honest effort to put the best possible team out on the field. Here are some highlights --

-- The New York Yankees were desperate for a big bat earlier this year; indeed, the Bronx Bombers have been held to three or fewer runs 65 times this year (just one time less than the offensively challenged Toronto Blue Jays!). They opted for Richie Sexson, who was just released from one of the worst-hitting teams in the AL. Here is a team that traditionally does anything to get to October and desperately wished to make the postseason in Yankee Stadium’s final year. They were desperate for offense and hitting with runners in scoring position and they inked Sexson?

-- The Toronto Blue Jays have 20 losses this season when holding the other side to three or fewer runs—among those, there are 12 games that could be described as outstanding pitching efforts (defined as two or fewer runs over nine innings or three or less in extra innings). The Jays lost two 10-inning games where the held the opposition to three runs, and had 12-inning losses where they allowed one and three runs. They have seven other losses where they were beaten despite allowing two or fewer runs. Ten of the 19 losses were inflicted by the clubs just ahead of them in the standings: the Rays (5), the Yankees (3) and the Red Sox (2).The Jays had 143 opportunities in those 20 games (with runners in scoring position) and managed just 14 hits (.098) and presumably, some of those hits accounted for the run scoring that the Blue Jays did manage to generate. The Jays actually hit into more double plays in those 20 losses than they had hits with runners in scoring position.

--Would Barry Bonds have made a difference in those 20 games? Instead, the Jays were forced to trot out the likes of Brad Wilkerson, Kevin Mench and Matt Stairs, who batted .221/.337/.341 with just five HR after mid-May. But not Barry Bonds.Had the Jays been able to turn eight of those 20 losses into wins they would be atop the wild card standings. The decision not to sign Bonds might have been the decision that cost the Jays a berth in the playoffs. If the Blue Jays were following the seeming collusive understanding not to sign Barry Bonds, then did the organization in effect throw the 2008 season?Marvin Miller would say yes. It would have been a deliberate decision not to field the best team possible—to allow a chronic problem (run scoring) to fester all season rather than remedy it by signing Bonds.

-- The Jays lost a grand total of 27 games this year where they held the opposition to four or fewer runs—27 losses from simply not having enough offense and yet all year one of the best hitters in the NL in 2007 remained available.And ignored.Why?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Zito makes it look easy

I got to see the reason why Barry Zito's a rich man as he dominated a Dodger team that's been so hot that they've gone from being a disappointment to a near-lock on making the postseason. From where I saw it in the second deck, Zito made the Dodgers look silly all night long -setting them up with curves and changes, then sneaking in fastballs on the black.

It's great to see the Dodgers suffer -- yet I couldn't help but wonder where this guy was when the Giants weren't already 16 games under .500.

Speaking of Dodger suffering, my fave moment came when Manny badly misplayed a Sandoval fly ball into a 2-run double in the 5th. Greg Maddux looked vaguely disgusted and immediately gave up a 2-run bomb to Bengie Molina. My other fave moment came in the first, when Sandoval came in very slickly from the back to avoid Danny Ardoin's tag at home. Then Joe Torre whined about it for 3 minutes as the Dodger crybabies booed. Call the Waaaaambulance.

No wonder Torre's upset -- it's becoming obvious that Maddox doesn't have it anymore. Eat it, Joe.

A Greek Tragedy in Orange and Black

Chris at Bay City Ball has a great analysis of last night's game. This is some nice writing --

Sometimes I think the Giants could be the perfect Greek tragedy. The performance would be full of strikeouts, bad hitting, and a comedy of errors and at the end of the night we would learn a very important life lesson; don’t start defensive liabilities in the outfield.

.... Velez has been an interesting player to debate since he tore up the Sal League as a grown man in 2006. The tools are exciting — speed most noted — but he’s rarely put them together at the BLL (Big League Level). How much patience the Giants continue to exercise with him is mystery that I’ll leave up to them. You can’t take too much from one game, but last night’s OF gaffe probably didn’t have the Giants hurrying to pencil him into their longterm plans.

.... It’s easy to look back on the bad moves managers make — Bochy starting Velez in LF — and criticize them, but Bochy’s submission to the almighty ‘Matchups’ did him in last night. With the left-handed Randy Johnson on the hill Bochy opted to start the switch-hitting Velez in LF over the lefty-hitting Dave Roberts. We all know that Roberts has never hit LHP, career line of: .237/.318/.310, but Velez isn’t killing the ball when he’s facing southpaws, either. He has a career minor league line of: .227/.278/.338 which looks drastically worse if you translate it to the bigs via MLE’s. I’ll spare you the displeasure but I’m talking 400 OPS bad. In a short 50 AB’s against LHP in the majors, Velez has only hit: .208/.296/.250. The difference between Velez hitting and Roberts hitting off of Johnson is nonexistent. When you have two guys who are going to hit the same, I’ll take the one that can play a stronger defense. That’s Roberts. He’s no longer a CF option but he can play an above average LF defensively.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Giftwrapping the Cy Young for Webb, part 2

Man, it's getting hard to find anything good to say about Bruce Bochy as the Giants crash and burn in Phoenix.

The Giants have just done their best to make sure that Tim Lincecum won't get the Cy Young. By putting Eugenio Velez in left field, Bonehead Bochy gifted the Dbacks two runs in the 6th when Velez couldn't properly read a ball off Justin Upton's bat -- making the classic mistake of coming in on a ball hit right at him.

I suppose it's useful to find out that Velez isn't an MLB quality outfielder, since it appears that Bochy's given up trying to win games. But then, of course, we have the extended pitch counts for Lincecum -- as Bochy gives every indication that he wants to win the game by leaving Timmy into the bottom of the 8th, so he can surrender a game-winning hit to Adam Dunn. I believe that there's a gun named Brian Wilson who hasn't pitched since Sunday -- and probably could have pitched both the 8th and 9th. But Bochy now seems obsessed with getting Lincecum the highest possible pitch counts. It was up to 118 tonight, right after he hit 138. I heard Dbacks manager Bob Melvin comment that he didn't think Lincecum had his best fastball.

So now we have Webb having won 21 games while Tim's record is now 17-4 -- when it should have been 18-3.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Giants gift wrap Cy Young for Webb

It's a cliche that players sometimes try too hard and hurt their performance, but that seems to be a possible explanation of why the Giants gave away tonight's game in Phoenix as Jonathan Sanchez imploded despite being given a 3-0 lead before he even threw a pitch. With 21 wins for Brandon Webb, it's going to be difficult to convince voters to go with Tim Lincecum -- even if he shuts out the Dbacks tomorrow. Andrew Baggarly's report in the Merc-News quotes Sanchez beating himself up over giving up a double to Webb -- "That's big because I want Timmy to get the Cy Young,'' Sanchez said. "Everybody is saying Webb might get it, but Timmy has better numbers.''

More depressing still is Henry Schulman's gameday report in the SF Chron that Brian Sabean will be back next year, thus probably dooming the franchise to a fifth straight losing season. Which is truly disgraceful, since this franchise has NEVER had five consecutive losing seasons.

Hopefully, that won't happen. Here's the 2009 schedule, which was released today.

There was a bit of good news -- The Dodgers got hammered by the Bucs.

Prince in the Orange and Black?

The SF Chron's Henry Schulman says it looks like the Giants will try to sign Prince Fielder in the off-season. He notes that Ishikawa and Sandoval appear to be the best in-house options at first for the time being.

I would have to say that the production from Giants first-basemen for the past decade has to be among the lousiest in MLB.

More pain for Cain

It's no surprise that Matt Cain got no run support tonight, given that Bruce "The Idiot" Bochy is managing. In a season that's supposed to be about giving the kids a chance, what in the name of Andruw Jones is Bochy doing by running Aaron Rowand out to CF every day? He's utterly stopped hitting for the past two and half weeks -- he went 0-for-3 tonight and hasn't had an extra base his since Aug. 30. He last drove in a run on Aug. 31. He's clearly out of gas.

In other words, how come Nate Schierholtz is sitting on the bench? He's actually hitting the ball fairly well so far (15 for 44, 4 extra base hits, .396 OBP, .500 SLG). Can't Randy Winn or Dave Roberts handle centerfield? Instead, we Giants fans have to be reminded that Rowand's a very average player who's receiving too much money -- a guaranteed $48 million over the next four years. More to the point: the biggest payoff comes from getting Schierholtz as much playing time at the big league level as possible right now. The faster that he gets used to playing MLB ball, the better he'll be over the long term. It's too bad that Sabean and Bochy don't understand that.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The pain of being Matt Cain

How many times has this happened -- Cain pitches a terrific game and the Giants can't hit. At least, it was against Dan Haren instead of some no-name marginal guy who turns into the second coming of Walter Johnson for the game. The two good things about it:

1. Matt got himself back on track after several rough outings and
2. Brian Sabean is a day closer to being fired

The answer to my rhetorical question is 14. Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chron notes that Cain's got a habit of drawing no support -- For the seventh time this season, the Giants scored no runs for Cain when he was on the mound. In seven other games, they scored once.

This is one of the worst on July 11-- Cain shut the Cubs out for 7; Walker gave up a 3-run bomb in the 8th for a 3-1 loss.

Here's a particularly disgusting 2-0 loss to the Dodgers on July 29. Winning pitcher -- Jason Johnson

Here's a 4-0 loss to the A's in June; Cain gave up 3 runs in 7 innings. Winning pitcher -- Rich Harden

Monday, September 15, 2008

Day baseball at its finest

FogCityFog took this fine shot three months ago on June 15. I wish there were more day games.

The wrong guys got fired today

Rather than Ned Yost and Ted Simmons, the guys who should have been fired today are Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy -- who have made the stupid move after stupid move to ensure the Giants will have a fourth straight losing season. Tonight's disgusting 3-1 loss to the Dbacks encapsulates the reasons why.

Let's talk first about Sabean, who first assembled one of the more pathetic offenses of all time and then hired Bochy to manage and the incompetent Carney Lansford as "batting" coach. The Giants are current second to last in the MLB in runs scored at 596; Oakland has scored 590. And they are dead last in homers at 89 and a good bet to wind up the season as the first team since 1993 to hit fewer than 100 HRs.

Tonight's output consisted of 7 singles and a double. Here's what happened in the top of the 7th inning, when Winn opened with that double. All Schierholtz and Aurilia needed to do was hit a groundball to the right side to advance Winn. Cound they do that? No way:

Doug Davis pitching for Arizona
R Winn doubled to deep right center.
N Schierholtz grounded out to pitcher.
R Aurilia popped out to first.
B Molina flied out to center

As for Bochy, he's decided that he doesn't really want to win games. Even with 16 pitchers on the roster right now, he refused to bat for the very marginal Brad Hennessey in the top of the 6th.

Doug Davis pitching for Arizona
A Rowand grounded out to shortstop.
P Sandoval safe at second on throwing error by third baseman M Reynolds.
E Velez reached on infield single to third, P Sandoval to third.
O Vizquel popped out to shortstop.
B Hennessey struck out swinging.

So rather than bring in a fresh arm in the 8th to face the top of the order, Bochy The Idiot decided to let Hennessey give up a 2-run homer to Dunn:

C Young singled to left center.
D Eckstein bunt popped out to pitcher.
J Upton lined out to left.
A Dunn homered to right, C Young scored.
M Reynolds fouled out to first.

The Giants are now 68-82 and headed for a final record of something like 72-90. And by the way, if you think I'm being harsh on Bochy, take a look at the game story that Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle just filed, which includes this less-than-complimentary take -- The big question Monday was why Hennessey faced Dunn with a man aboard, two outs and a lefty apparently ready in the bullpen. Dunn was 0-for-3 before he hit the first pitch over the wall in right field.

Flat-out embarrassing

Bruce Bochy's justification for risking long-term injury to the team's greatest asset is nothing but embarrassing ("Part of the development process"). Here are some interesting nuggets from Chris Haft's story for MLB.com --

Indeed, in the last five seasons, only two Major League pitchers -- Livan Hernandez and Jason Schmidt -- have thrown more pitches in a game than the 138 Lincecum amassed aagainst the Padres. Hernandez was the last to total exactly that many, on June 15, 2006, for Washington against Colorado. Hernandez also has logged four of the highest five pitch counts of the last five seasons: 150 (June 3, 2005), 145 (July 31, 2005), 143 (Sept. 11, 2004) and 141 (June 27, 2004). Schmidt threw 144 in his May 18, 2004, one-hitter for the Giants against the Cubs

What Haft DOESN'T point out is how Schmidt's career is basically over and Hernandez is essentially a guy who gets employment because teams are desperate.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Preventing loss No. 17 for Zito

The Giants seem to be on a roll now, surviving a crappy start from Barry Zito to come back and win in extras, 8-6. Six pitchers followed Zito, who couldn't make it out the 5th, and no one allowed a run. Here's who drove in the runs -- RBI: T Ishikawa (13), E Velez (28), S McClain (6), O Vizquel 2 (20), D Roberts (7), R Aurilia (49)

Here's some interesting factoids from the AP story -- Zito, who is tied with Cincinnati's Aaron Harang and Detroit's Justin Verlander for most losses in the majors at 16, also leads the majors in walks (97), and tops the NL in runs allowed (111) and earned runs allowed (100). Frankly, I'd rather have Verlander or Harang.

Pat Jordan ("A False Spring") wrote a pretty interesting profile about Zito for the NY Times, though Zito comes off as a decent guy but a bit whiney about having to deal with the expectations of a $126 million contract. I don't blame Zito -- I blame the front office for making such a dumb deal.

And speaking of the dumbness of the front office, there's a Baseball Prospectus piece dealing with the stupidity of Lincecum's 138-pitch outing last night. Here's some choice nuggets from Gary Huckabay (bold is mine) -- If Giants fans wonder why their team is in such dismal shape, last night was a microcosm of it. This organization hasn’t shown any ability to look past a single game, much less past a season and towards, say, potential stability and success. Last night wasn’t even a joke. It was a farce. To those of you who will feel compelled to write in and say “Tim didn’t want to come out,” my response is pretty simple…My four year old wants to eat a bunch of ice cream too. It’s kind of my job to make sure he doesn’t. And it’s kind of Bochy’s, Sabean’s, Baer’s, and the entire occupancy of the Giants front office’s job to keep completely moronic things from happening. Clearly, they’re not up to the task.

At last, the Dodgers gag

The Dodgers, who had an extremely annoying run of winning 12 of 13, have just gagged away a winnable game to the Rox, 1-0 in the 10th at Coors. Hopefully, it's the start of a dismal end to the season, although the Dbacks have been so lousy that the Dodgers may slither their way into the postseason anyhow.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The ecstasy and the agony

I just got home from the movies and saw the Giants' email postgame alert of a 7-0 vic at San Diego. Then I called up the boxscore to see that Lincecum threw 138 pitches tonight. What in the name of Mark Prior is going on here? Is Bruce Bochy trying to prove that he's a bigger idiot than we already thought?

I realize it's Tim's first MLB shutout. Let's hope it's not his last.

As good as it's gotten this year

Geat shots by Barb of Velez' game-winning triple, followed by Lou Seal celebrating the sweep of the Dbacks -- Sept. 10

Looking forward to Noah's return

Paulie at Give Em Some Stankeye has an entertaining post about running into Noah Lowry at a recent Dave Matthews concert at the Greek at UC Berkeley. He didn't talk to Noah, but was inspired to write this anyhow --

He's slated to throw in Winter Ball and be back in the rotation in 2009, hopefully in place of the increasingly awful Kevin Correia. In a perfect world, Lowry regains the bite on his changeup and puts together a year more like 2005 than 2006 or 2007. If Jonathan Sanchez can build on the promise he's shown and if Zito (who, as we speak, has just finished six terrific innings) can be average-ish, then the Giants should have one hell of a rotation. Hopefully the nerve problem that sidelined Lowry all year was the cause of his one ghastly start in the spring and he won't be doing Nuke Laloosh impressions the next time we see him.

Paulie's right about 2005 -- here's one of my fave games of recent years, a 6-0 buttkick of the Dodgers at Chavez. Lowry pitched into the 8th and allowed two hits, then Eyre closed it out.

Friday, September 12, 2008

What a relief for the Giants

Brian Wilson just nailed down his 38th save of the year after blowing back to back saves on Tuesday and Wednesday. The Orange and Black got homers from Ishikawa and Sandoval, which gives the team 88 HRs for the year -- by far the lowest in MLB. With 15 games left, I'm skeptical that they'll make it to 100, which would make this team the first in 15 years to not get into triple digits.

It was only the second time in 26 starts that Jake Peavy's allowed two HRs. It's also the first vic for Jonathan Sanchez in two and a half months. When he beat the A's in late June, it gave him an 8-4 mark and made him look like an outside shot for the All-Star team.

Time to close down Cain for the year

The SF Chron's Henry Schulman notes in his game story that Matt Cain's thrown more pitches than anyone in the majors this year. It's obvious that Bochy's tactic of keeping him out deep in games is starting to backfire. It would be nice if someone in the front office could get it through their head that they're playing with fire here but I'm skeptical that a team that's letting its most valuable asset (Lincecum) go even deeper (132 and 127 pitches recently) will realize that they're engaged in a dangerous exercise that could backfire big time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ted Leitner = stupid dingbat

Well, that was a painful loss tonight, what with Matt Cain getting hammered. It probably won't penetrate the thick skull of Brian Sabean and the rest of the Giants "brain trust," but perhaps he ought to be shut down for the rest of the season because of the number of innings he's pitched. Even after tonight's brief outing (he was lifted in the 4th), he's still tied for 8th in the MLB for most innings at just a shade under 200.

What was a bit depressing was listening on XM to the one of the worst announcers ever, Ted Leitner of the Padres. Leitner is like an annoying party guest (or my idiot brother in law) who think he's sooooo much smarter than everyone else that he just can't stop talking nonsense. In the midst of the Padres' disgusting 5-run first inning, he declared "The Padres are just as good as the Giants, but they've had bad luck with the health of their starting pitching" or some such nonsense.

Memo to Ted -- You're making feeble excuses for an incompetent organization and you're helping make the fans even stupider. The Padres aren't as good as the Giants because they've won 8 fewer games even after winning tonight. They are just plain lousy due partly to lousy decisions by their front office. By the way, has God ever gotten back to you about why He let the Evil Barry Bonds hit HR No. 755 in San Diego despite your praying that Bonds wouldn't do so? Eat it, Ted. Eat it raw.

See you in the spring, Fred

John Shea of the SF Chron reports that Fred Lewis is having foot surgery now in order to be ready for the spring. I'm not quite as enthused about Fred as Shea is -- he seems like a younger version of Randy Winn: a decent outfielder (who improved his play during the year), nice speed and an OK offensive player. In other words, he'd be an ideal centerfielder if the Giants had not already committed to Rowand for the next 4 years. Here's hoping he keeps improving.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


The 20,000 or so attendees at Mays Field today were rewarded this afternoon by perhaps the finest game of the season. Down to the last strike, Eugenio Velez turned what had been an utterly awful top of the 9th (back to back blown saves by Brian Wilson) into a moment of pure joy for Giants fans. So what if the team's still 15 games under .500?

We were in Club level 221 as his long triple rolled past the hapless Dbacks -- who are now looking like dead meat on a stick, beaten in back to back games by the skinniest (6-foot-1, 165 pounds) guy in MLB. Adam Dunn misplayed his fly ball in the 3rd into 2 runs; Brandon Lyon gave him a belt-high fattie in the 9th; the Dbacks managed only one run off the immortal Brad Hennessey, who was so bad earlier this year that he got exiled to the minors for 4 months.

The only downside to the Dback beatdown is that the Dodgers benefit. The Dbacks have only themselves to blame -- they could have signed this guy named Barry Bonds, who would have done far more to help their team than Dunn has without having to give up prospects. It's fitting that they've probably gagged away a shot at the postseason. The team and its fans (who can't be bothered to sell out the park at playoff games) have received far more good fortune than they deserve.

The Dbacks may escape anyhow since the Giants have six more games with the Dodgers, including the last series of the season at home. Ray Ratto of the SF Chron theorizes that Lincecum could provide another Joe Morgan moment on Sept. 28.

For those of you too young to remember, this is the glorious game he's talking about.

Where were you when I needed you?

Barry Zito offered a glimpse of the pitcher he ought to be tonight, befuddling a Dbacks team that's in the process of gagging away the NL West to the Dodgers. He managed nine strikeouts and spent most of the evening nicking the corners. I was in 214 amid plenty of the Giants faithful -- and that's who was at the park tonight, what with no Tim Lincecum pitching -- and that was the most common topic: Where was this guy in April and May when we really needed him?

One of my seatmates pointed out that by getting a no-decision tonight, Zito won't lose 20. He wasn't the only one who had that thought -- Henry Schulman of the SF Chron included it in his game write report.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Too many pitches -- once again

I had the privilege of sitting in great seats in 107 for Tim Lincecum's utter domination of the Dbacks. That said, it drove me crazy to watch him be allowed to throw 127 pitches -- particularly with a 6-0 lead in the 9th and NOTHING AT STAKE.

Memo to Bruce Bochy -- this is your most valuable asset. If he gets hurt, this is what you're going to remembered for. Stop playing with fire. And ignore the dingbats who boo you when you take him out.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Here's what happens when you keep dingbats on the payroll

As the Giants face the embarrassing prospect of a fourth consecutive losing season, there's a warning sign from 3,000 miles away. Or however far Pittsburgh is from San Francisco. Thanks to losing the last two games at Mays Field, the Pirates have racked up their 16th consecutive losing season, which ties the record for a sports franchise set by the Phils between 1933 and 1948. The Pirates haven't had a winning season since Barry Bonds was a Buc; ironically, Brian Sabean's trade of Matt Morris last year to the Pirates may ultimately wind up being the first step back to pulling the Pirates out of their funk since it got Dave Littlefield fired. Sabean actually had the brains to make a deal with the one GM who was just as much of a dingbat.

In a long but interesting posting by Charlie on Bucs Dugout, the front office gets the blame-- none of the usual victimhood excuses such as "we're in a small market: Littlefield was one of the last really awful GMs in an era where many were quite good. Add that fact to the terrible ownership and the ten previous years of losing that Littlefield wasn't responsible for, and you've got a recipe for exactly what happened: the Pirates have now tied the 1933-1948 Philadelphia Phillies for the longest losing streak in the history of professional sports.

The Giants have a lot of advantages the Pirates don't -- a far bigger revenue base, a much bigger payroll and the good fortune to play in what's often been the weakest MLB division in recent years. The amazing perfomances by Barry Bonds covered up Sabean's incompetence for many years but now that incompetence is here for everyone to see. Without a change, the Giants risk going down the same road as the Pirates.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Biggest inning of the year

What a strange game today -- in a good way, of course. It's the 62nd vic of the year so one more will keep the Giants from being the second SF team to lose 100 games. With 20 games left, it's looking like they will wind up somwhere between 69-93 to 72-90. Yes, it's 4th straight losing season for the Orange and Black. Note to Bill Neukom -- if you're reading this, you need to fire Brian Sabean NOW.

In any case, it's a delight to see names like Schierholtz, Burris, Sandoval and Ishikawa in the middle of the biggest rally of the year. After being no hit for the first three innings today, here's what the Giants did in the 4th --

Jeff Karstens pitching for Pittsburgh
R Winn safe at first on throwing error by pitcher J Karstens.
E Burriss singled to left, R Winn to second.
N Schierholtz singled to left center, R Winn to third, E Burriss to second.
P Sandoval doubled to left, R Winn, E Burriss and N Schierholtz scored.
S McClain reached on infield single to third, P Sandoval to third.
F Lewis singled to center, P Sandoval scored, S McClain to second.
T Ishikawa doubled to left, S McClain scored, F Lewis to third.
E Velez hit sacrifice fly to right, F Lewis scored, T Ishikawa to third, E Velez to second on error by right fielder S Pearce.
D Roberts hit for O Matos.
T Beam relieved J Karstens.
D Roberts grounded out to second, T Ishikawa scored, E Velez to third.
R Winn singled to center, E Velez scored.
E Burriss doubled to left, R Winn to third.
N Schierholtz singled to right, R Winn scored, E Burriss to third.
P Sandoval hit sacrifice fly to left, E Burriss scored.
S McClain flied out to left.
10 Runs, 9 Hits, 2 Errors

Saturday, September 06, 2008

What was McClain doing in Fresno?

Why did Giants have to endure four solid months of abysmal play by Jose Castillo, who's a less expensive version of Pedro Feliz with less power? Meanwhile Scott McClain was hammering the ball in Fresno. And tonight, McClain hit his second homer in three games.

Meanwhile, Castillo got his first hit tonight for Houston and is now 1-for-11 for the Stros.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The same nightmare for Giants fans

It's been a long time since I was in college but I can't seem to shake the nightmare where I realize that
1. It's 2 a.m. and
2. I signed up for a class at the start of the quarter, then forget about it but now I realize that
3. the final is at 8 a.m. so
4. I need to start studying now but I don't have the books so
5. I have to break into the bookstore
6. At this point, I wake up with a mild sense of relief that I'm no longer in college

Well, it seems to me that something vaguely similar happens a LOT with the Giants: a very ordinary pitcher (Zach Duke, 5-13) completely stifles them. I guess it should not be a surprise, since he also beat them easily for his first vic of the year 4 months ago. The immortal Phil Dumatrait got a win two days later by pitching a shutout into the sixth against the Orange and Black to help the Pirates complete a disgusting 3-game sweep.

Depressingly, there's more -- how about this May 31 complete game 5-1 victory by the Padres' immortal Josh Banks?

Or how about getting Mike Hampton his first MLB vic in three years on Aug. 5? Then Hampton got his only other vic of the year 11 days later against the Orange and Black.

For having assembled this 60-79 squad -- which could have contended in this division were the front office not so massively incompetent -- Brian Sabean should resign now.

The Baby Bull gets immortalized

Another Barry Bonds hater repents

This time it's Buzz Bissinger, who wrote "Friday Night Lights" and "Shattered Glass." In a "Sympathy for the Slugger" column for the NY Times (registration required), he says the federal government is squandering its resources in pressuring Greg Anderson's wife and mother in law. He also believes the collusion allegations.

Bissinger starts by saying "I don't like Barry Bonds" and talking about how he didn't want Barry to break Aaron's record. Then he says something's different now -- But last week’s news trickling out of the endless investigation of Barry Bonds has caused me to feel something for him I never thought possible: sympathy. And beyond just sympathy, outrage over what has turned from a prosecution into a venomous persecution of someone who, no offense to the pastime purists, is just a baseball player. And I am beginning to think that federal authorities in charge of the pending criminal case against him for perjury have exactly the same attitude many sports fans do — we don’t like Barry Bonds, and since we don’t like him, let’s teach him a lesson he won’t forget. Let’s ruin him, which the federal government is fond of doing in all too many instances.

Here are a few other nuggets. Boldface is mind --

-- Threatening family members is conduct worthy of the mafia, not the federal government, particularly in a case that is ultimately inconsequential beyond sensational headlines and another round of “I Hate Barry” frenzy. Protecting the sanctity of baseball? Protecting the sanctity of sports? It’s way too late for any of that self-righteous nonsense in SportsWorld. What Anderson has been forced to go through already, spending more than a year in prison on contempt charges for refusing to testify about Bonds before a grand jury, is sickening in its mercilessness. Once again, this is not some case involving a drug kingpin smuggling thousands of kilos of cocaine into the country. This is a case hovering around performance enhancers, which dozens if not hundreds of baseball players used.

-- He was hailed as maybe the greatest player ever in the history of the game, until he became the pariah that he is today. In fact, more than just pariah: it seems pretty clear that he has been blackballed by the league this year despite statistics last season that included 28 home runs, 132 walks and an on-base percentage of .480 in only 340 at-bats. In the stretch-run for the playoffs, there isn’t a team that can use him? Of course there is, but his conspicuous absence smacks of collusion by team owners regardless of denials by Commissioner Selig. The players’ union smells stink, and so do I.

-- Obviously, the government’s case against Bonds is weak, or it wouldn’t be embarking on the witch hunt of doing everything possible to squeeze Anderson to testify. But enough is enough. Leave Anderson alone. Leave Bonds alone. Let them deal privately with what they did or did not do. If the Feds want to earn our taxpayer dollars, they can send a SWAT team to my hometown of Philadelphia to reduce the homicide rate that is turning swaths of the inner city into another Baghdad. In the hierarchy of issues that are important in this country, steroid use in baseball has become a bottom feeder. And prosecuting someone because you don’t like him isn’t justice but the complete miscarriage of it.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The forgotten man

That would be Kevin Frandsen, portrayed by Henry Schulman of the SF Chron. I'd gotten the impression that he might be an option at third -- particularly when he closed out 2007 so well -- but coming back from a torn Achilles is no joke. I'm not surprised the Giants aren't counting on him for much at this point.

One indication that the Giants have moved on -- Jayson Stark's reporting in his ESPN column that the Giants have given a serious look at Adrian Beltre. That's mildly comforting, given how badly they've evaluated third basemen (Alfonzo, Feliz and Aurilia) in the recent past. I'm still baffled as to why the very marginal Jose Castillo got as many at bats for the Orange and Black as he did this year. The Astros signed him up two weeks ago and he's rewarded their confidence by going 0-for-8.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Bumgarner -- remember the name

Life begins at 36

Scott McClain has just hit his first MLB homer in Denver. Here's his minor league record -- at least 25 HRs in every season for the last seven.

The Giants just ended their 5-game losing streak with a 9-2 blasting of the Rox, thanks to homers by McClain and Sandoval another completely competent pitching performance from Barry Zito. He's now 9-16 -- the opposite of Aaron Cook, who got hammered and is now 16-9.

How in the hell can the Giants get Zito to pitch like this earlier in the year -- when they actually had a chance to contend?

A classy guy

Tim Lincecum told reporters that there was no cause and effect between his last outing -- when Bochy had him in there for a ridiculous 132 pitches -- and getting hammered in the 4th inning tonight. That's the classy thing to do, but I don't have to get along with Bruce Bochy, so I beg to differ.

So the Giants now have another 5-game losing streak. It's their fourth of the year of this magnitude. They had one between May 4-9 and two six-game nightmares during May 14-19 and July 6-12. Zito goes today after a truly crappy outing. The Rox are likely going to be all fired up about making another run like last fall so perhaps they'll be over-eager with Zito. Unfortunately, Aaron Cook (16-8, the reverse of Zito's mark) is also pitching.

I feel obliged to point out that the last losing streak could have actually lasted for nearly two weeks since the All-Star Break came next. Fortunately, Lincecum ended that streak on Sunday, July 13 against the Cubs.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

This is what over-use gets you

Attention, Bruce Bochy -- next time you feel like letting your best pitcher go for 132 pitches, give it a second thought. Otherwise, he'll perform like this in his next start. Got it, genius?

Colorado - Bottom of 4th
Tim Lincecum pitching for San Francisco
O Quintanilla singled to shallow left.
O Quintanilla to second on wild pitch by T Lincecum.
M Holliday singled to center, O Quintanilla scored.
B Hawpe doubled to deep right, M Holliday scored, B Hawpe to third on error by second baseman E Burriss.
C Iannetta singled to center, B Hawpe scored.
C Iannetta to second on wild pitch by T Lincecum.
G Atkins flied out to right, C Iannetta to third.
I Stewart struck out swinging.
T Tulowitzki homered to left, C Iannetta scored.
L Hernandez grounded out to pitcher.
5 Runs, 5 Hits, 1 Errors

Let's stop the whining about AT&T Park

Andrew Baggarly of the Merc News has a long blog post about Orange and Black stats; he addresses the whining that he's hearing from players and coaches about how hard it is to hit at Mays Field (for purposes of clarity, I've used the official name in the headline). Turns out that the offense is just as dismal on the road --

–And for all the Giants hitters (and coaches) who complain about China Basin, get a load of these numbers: .260 home average, .257 road average; 3.77 runs per game at home, 3.96 runs per game on the road; 38 HRs at home, 42 HRs on the road; .386 SLG at home, .377 SLG on the road.

I would guess that the average runs per game is slightly higher on the road because the Giants don't bat in the 9th inning at home if they're ahead.

Giants vote for McClain

Monday, September 01, 2008

Happy Labor Day

To all the readers of this blog, I wish you a better Labor Day than the Giants had today in Denver -- where they were utterly skunked 4-0 by the Rox and the immortal Jorge De La Rosa.
Nice to see Sanchez pitch adequately after his trip to the DL.

The Orange and Black managed eight hits, all singles, and GIDPd twice. It turns out that the Giants are near the top in that category with 123 -- behind only the Dodgers, Nats, Braves, Jays, Yanks and Bosox.

How bad are Walks allowed?

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron notes in his game story that Giants pitchers are second in the MLB in walks allowed. Bruce Bochy acts as if that's what needs to be fixed -- Bochy is fed up with pitchers who do not pound the strike zone. The Giants rank second in the majors in walks allowed (552), an organizational deficiency that must be addressed if they want to take the step from rebuilding to contending.

While allowing walks is never good, my reaction is "so what?" -- that's not why the Giants are lousy. The Giants are a middle of the pack in terms of ERA (17th at 4.36), which is a far more telling stat. The pitching comes off as seeming worse than it is for three reasons --

1. Barry Zito, 8-16 record
2. Kevin Correia, allowed to get 18 starts
3. The worst offense in MLB, which winds up losing games despite good pitching