Tuesday, June 30, 2009

No June swoon this year

The Giants have just finished the month by going 17-10, thanks to the Big Unit notching No. 303 tonight in St. Louis. They are now 8 games over .500 at 42-34 -- which projects out to 90-72. These guys are saving Brian Sabean's job.

Henry Shulman's game story for the SF Chronicle notes that the Giants led the league in fewest runs allowed with 98 and scored 20 more runs than that. Currently, they have the fifth fewest runs scored this season with 311 -- ahead of the Astros, Cubs, Padres and Royals.

And the Dodgers lost for the fifth time in seven games, hitting like the Giants often do as they managed only two hits and got shut out by Jason Marquis.

The Franchise's best game?

Henry Shulman's game story for the SF Chron makes that case as Tim Terrific breezes through the Cards in two hours, six minutes for a 2-hit shutout on 95 pitches.

What would have the night even better? How about a Dodger loss, which would have left the Orange and Black six games out? It didn't happen as the Rox -- a franchise nearly as evil as the Dodgers -- gave it up in the 13th inning. Randy Wolf and Russell Martin embarrassed themselves in the top of the 3rd when -- in a combination of arrogance and stupidity -- they began walking off the field even though there were only two outs.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The start of something magical?

The Dodgers gagged against the Mariners for their second straight loss and fourth in five games. They are still a sickening MLB-best 48-28 and seven games ahead of the Giants -- even without Manny. Maybe it's time for them to get unlucky, what with the Rox arriving.

The wrong guy in the wrong job

That would be Bruce Bochy. I'm still stunned at having a winnable game fumbled away by the manager on Saturday night by allowing an obviously gassed Zito to pitch to Prince Fielder. John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters spells it out (the boldface is mine) --

Bochy and Righetti foolishly allowed Zito to go out and fact the top of the order to the third time. And then, after two more walks, two walks in which it was obvious that Zito could not control where the ball was going, that he was gassed, he walked out to the mound and asked him if he wanted to continue; which begs the question, why bother managing at all? Why bother having someone who can see the big picture, someone who can help the players get the most out of their abilities, someone who can plan for the many points in a game where decisions can make or break a team; if, when the time comes, you have no idea what you are doing?

Welcome to the bigs, Ryan Sadowski

The Orange and Black have just shut out the Brewers, 7-0, in Sadowski's MLB debut. Unless the two teams make the playoffs, it's fortunately the last time that the Giants will visit Miller Park this year.

Nate Schierholtz may finally be in the starting lineup to stay. He went 4-for-5 in the cleanup slot. The Giants are now 40-34, which projects out to 88-74. Brew Crew announcer Bob Uecker noted last night, when the Giants were ahead 4-0, that the club hadn't managed to get its 40th win last year until after the All-Star break. The Franchise throttled the Cubs that day, 4-2, bringing the Giants' record to 40-55.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Like hitting on 16

The high that Giants fans were feeling after Wednesday's vic left the record at 39-32 is long gone.

The dozens of readers of this blog know that I'm not a fan of Bruce Bochy. He looked like a damn fool tonight, like a blackjack player ignoring the odds and hitting on 16 or a poker player drawing to fill an inside straight and getting burned for it.

The latest version of insanity in Milwaukee might have been avoided had Bochy pulled an obviously fading Zito in the 6th. The game story written by Andew Baggarly of the San Jose Merc-News notes that Zito gave up a 3-run homer to Prince Fielder after Zito had been running the bases. You've lucked out and gotten five shutout innings from a guy who's NOTORIOUS for losing command. The bullpen had Wednesday and Thursday off. What's so hard to figure out, Bochy?

Henry Shulman's story for the SF Chronicle shows that Shulman is thinking the same -- even pointing out that Zito has a tendency to fall apart late in games like a 1977 Chevette. What are you trying to prove by leaving him in to give up a three-run homer? Once that happened, the momentum obviously stayed in Milwaukee's favor. Why make it so easy for them, Bochy?

Ryan Sadowski in the Orange and Black

Friday, June 26, 2009

I blame Bud Selig

Let me start by saying I detest the Brewers franchise because of its association with Bud Selig. Bob Uecker is exempted from my disdain, however.

I'm blaming tonight's loss on Selig -- the corrupt and incompetent MLB commissioner who still has a raging HATE on for the Giants because of you know who (Hint -- both his names start with B). I don't think it's any accident that the Giants seem to be at their worst when they get to Milwaukee, as Henry Shulman observes in his game story for the SF Chronicle.

"What's corrupt about Selig?," you may ask. How about leading the owners in collusion in the 1980s and again in 2008 against Bonds, maintaining an ownership of the Brewers while commisisoner and not selling until after the new stadium had been built, canceling the 1994 Series in order to break the players union and allowing the 29 owners to own the Expos for several years -- thus ensuring that the franchise would not be competitive? Is that corrupt enough for you?

Selig obviously doesn't care what people like me think and it appears we are stuck with him until 2012. Baseball remains successful financially despite Selig -- not because of him.

As for the game itself, it was a repeat of Yovani Gallardo's dominance in the second game of the season and Matt Cain's worst game of the year, which was also a 5-1 loss on May 2. Strangely enough, the Giants also scored their only run in that game on a Pablo Sandoval homer.

Cain still managed to strike out 9, matching his high of the year, but he obviously didn't have his best stuff tonight -- not when you walk Gallardo and the extremely annoying Craig Counsell back to back.

Props to Rowand

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Here comes the Giant future

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The magical 1989 Giants

I just came across Joan Ryan's highly readable writeup about last week's reunion of the '89 club at her Inside the Giants Clubhouse blog. Here's one of the best parts from "The Unlikely 1989 Season" --

Friday's reunion of the 1989 Giants team - an afternoon gathering under a tent in Seals Plaza to raise money for the Giants Community Fund - was a reminder that this particular combination of players was unlike any in the history of the game.
Country boy Will Clark who underlined his intensity with eye black.
The smart and smooth-talking battery of Mike Krukow and Bob Brenly.
Lanky and scowling Mike LaCoss and compact and sunny Jose Uribe, a comedic contrast with their side-by-side lockers.
NL MVP Kevin Mitchell with his gold tooth and loud suits - and one half, with Clark, of the Pacific Sock Exchange.
The Caveman Don Robinson. The Killer B's. The silent and fireball-throwing Scott Garrelts. Big Daddy Rick Reuschel, whose workout regimen included riding the exercise bike while working a crossword and smoking a cigarette. ("Best fielding pitcher in baseball,'' said Norm Sherry, the '89 pitching coach. "Great athlete. He was like one of those circus elephants that can balance on a ball.'')
And leading this motley crew was the Humm-Baby skipper, Roger Craig, holding court in the dugout every day with reporters who, resist as they might, fell hard for his cowboy charm and grandfatherly good humor.
"Of all the teams I played on, there was never one as close as this team,'' relief pitcher Craig Lefferts said, standing at a table signing autographs with fellow pitcher Kelly Downs Friday afternoon.

No. 302

Despite doing a high-wire act, the Big Unit managed to limit the A's to one run over 7 innings. "He can be had tonight," said one of the A's announcers on XM. "His fastball is topping out in the high 80s."

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of tonight's game was that the Orange and Black didn't let Gio Gonzales, a no-name pitcher if there ever was one, dominate them as they have in the recent past by marginal guys like Eric Stults. The Giants had some good luck come their way -- Gonzalez made a truly awful throw in the 4th to second on what should have been a DP; then Jack Cust failed to catch an Andres Torres bloop that I could have caught. Amazingly, the Giants are now a season-best seven games over .500 at 39-32 -- which projects out to 90-72. I don't believe it, either. The Giants are one game ahead of the Brewers in the wild card standings.

But the Orange and Black is still 7 and a half back of the Dodgers, who got hammered for a change by the Chisox. The Dodgers are still a sickening 22 games over .500.

It's Downs for now at the keystone sack

John Shea of the SF Chron reports that the revolving door at second base has stopped for awhile. The Giants' front office has decided to let Matt Downs stay in the MLB and let Emmanuel Burriss and Kevin Frandsen figure things out in Fresno.

Even with its record of signing vets on the fade, it still amazes me that the front office decided to address its middle infield problems by signing Edgar Renteria for $18 million and two years --rather than going slightly younger, cheaper and better with Orlando Hudson, who signed with the Dodgers for $3.38 million for a year. It looks like the O-Dog is headed for a career-best season with 38 RBIs, .454 SLG and a .382 OBP so far.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"He's going to throw a no-hitter one of these days"

That comment came from one of the A's broadcasters tonight as The Franchise was breezing through the Oakland lineup in the 4th. The A's hosted their 1989 team in pregame ceremonies so John Shea's game story for the SF Chronicle had a very fitting lead paragraph --
Maybe those 1989 A's would have been beatable if Tim Lincecum were a Giant that year. Then again, he was just 5. Now that he's 25, he can't lose to the A's.

Monday, June 22, 2009

The Sanchez glass is half empty

That's my reaction after reading Henry Shulman's surprisingly upbeat coverage of tonight's eighth loss by Jonathan Sanchez. The only way to put a positive spin on it is to say, "Well, he didn't get bombed." Beyond that, I'm thoroughly unimpressed that he gave up four runs and eight hits in less than 6 innings, especially in a pitcher's park like the Oakland Mausoleum against a team that has the third lowest run total in the AL. I'm sorry, Henry, but I'm not buying what you're selling. Sanchez has either forgotten how to pitch or maybe he's injured. But if management believes Sanchez "saved" his job tonight, then they're delusional.

Whatever it is, Shulman at least notes that Sanchez has gone 3-16 since he was at 8-4 at around the same time late year when the Orange and Black hammered the A's, 11-1. Whatever success the Giants have racked up this year appears to have come despite Sanchez. I'd say it's time to try someone else like Kevin Pucetas as a fifth starter, and let Sanchez figure this out in Fresno.

Of course, I should add that getting only four hits, one walk and a single run is going to doom a team on most nights. The A's announcers (I think they were Ken Korach and Vince Controneo) were delighted to point out that the Giants are "free-swinging" and have the fewest walks in the MLB. It's a total of 160 -- trailing the next team, the Mariners, by 22. Yes, and the Giants have the third fewest runs in MLB, and are ahead of only the Ms and the Padres. Again, batting "coach" Carney Lansford and Brian Sabean should be fired right now.

The all-purpose closer

Brian Wilson recorded an eight-pitch save yesterday after racking up two scoreless innings on Saturday night. Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News astutely points out in his useful Postgames notes column that Wilson had been awful recently in tie game situations --

Brian Wilson has his own All-Star credentials. He recorded his 10th consecutive save and his 19th of the season.
But I think Wilson had a more important outing the previous night, when he was brought in a tie game and pitched two scoreless innings. The Giants eventually won in 11.
Wilson had been terrible in his previous six appearances when he entered tie games: 5 2/3 innings, nine hits, five walks, six runs (four earned). The Giants had a 2-4 record in those games, too.
I asked if helping to preserve the tie Saturday night might have helped him turn a corner in those situations.
The short answer: Not really.
“When I enter a game, I have no previous knowledge,” he said. “I’m not going to harp on a bad game April 14 or say, `Hey, I did awesome on June 10.’ None of that matters. Yeah, it’s a little different (in a tie) because the game’s not over if you get that third out. But you’re giving the team a chance to win. That’s pretty much my job description.”

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sweep, swept, sweep

The Giants are doing their level best to keep the NL from being completely embarrassed in interleague play, just having eked out a 3-2 vic over the Rangers to go 6-3 over AL teams this year. The AL was still up 87-76 with the Giants' win. (See correction below)

Apparently Zito's remembered how to pitch, as he carried a no-hitter into the seventh -- only to have Andruw Jones, who's apparently remembered how to hit, go yard. So the Giants managed to hold the Rangers to three hits in each game, or six hits in 20 innings. Perhaps Matt Cain's dominance from last night rubbed off on the staff today. Here's how MC O'Conner at Raising (Matt Cain) described it -- He pitched brilliantly tonight, having only one tough inning, the 6th. M.C. gave up a leadoff game-tying HR to Ian Kinsler, and threw another couple dozen pitches (walking two) before getting the third out. Other than that it was "lights out."

UPDATE -- a poster named Alan was nice enough to point out -- without saying anything derogatory -- that the Giants are actually 7-5 in interleague, thanks to the series in Seattle.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

It's the Rowand-Romo show

A three-homer night?

It's hard to believe but Fred Lewis, Travis Ishikawa and Bengie all went yard in tonight's 6-4 victory over Texas. (correction -- it was Rowand, not Bengie) I took a quick glance at the schedule and I'm pretty certain that their only other game this season with 3 homers was Opening Day, when Rowand, Winn and Bengie all homered.

AFter 66 games, they have 41 homers and are tied with the Angels for the lowest total in MLB. They are third lowest in runs with 265 after the Mariners and Padres, while the Rays lead the way with 388.

The 2008 Giants were the first team since the 1995 Phils to hit less than 100 homers. Thanks to the power surge tonight, they're on a pace to finish with about 100 this season.

Speaking of the Angels, they beat the Dodgers and are now 9-1 in interleague play. The Dodgers are still a sickening 20 games over .500.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Hasta la vista, Shawn Estes

He's finally decided that it's time to retire, according to Diamond Leung's blog. He played seven seasons for the Orange and Black between 1995 and 2001 but what sticks out is the 1997 breakout year and his dismal performance in the Friday night game in 2001 when Barry Bonds hit Nos. 71 and 72 in a heartbreaking 11-10 loss. He couldn't even get out of the first inning that night in what was his last appearance in a Giants uni.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Tim and Cain and pray for rain

For those of you too young to remember, the headline's a takeoff on the deathless "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain" slogan that fans of the Boston Braves came up with when their rotation was headed by Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain. In 1948, the Braves won the pennant as Sain had his best season. (Between 1947 and 1959, only four teams won the NL pennant -- the Dodgers won 7 times, the Braves got three, the Giants got two and the Phils got one). I could not resist looking up the story, which was inspired when Spahn and Sain went 8-0 over 12 days time, starting with Labor Day doubleheader wins, followed by two days of rain and the two then winning again in the next two days. Boston Post sports editor Gerald Hern wrote this --

First we'll use Spahn
then we'll use Sain
Then an off day
followed by rain
Back will come Spahn
followed by Sain
And followed
we hope
by two days of rain.

Gwen Knapp of the San Francisco Chronicle has a pretty astute column about the two Giants pitchers, who are now 15-3 but can't completely mask the defects of the rest of the team. As usual, what's unsaid is that it's Brian Sabean's fault. For me, it continues to stun that a GM could keep his job when he has the financial resources of the Giants and puts such a lousy starting lineup of position players on the field. That said, Knapp has some sharp insights:

-- They are still three games above .500 overall, and well within reach of the other wild-card contenders, mostly thanks to a 24-17 record against teams with sub-.500 records. But against really strong opponents, they can't compete. Both the Mets and the Angels came into China Basin on a tear the last five weeks, and made the Giants look helpless. Only the Mets' quiet Sunday night against Cain prevented an 0-7 record from the two series.

-- Lincecum has a visible craving to own a game, to do more than anyone has a right to expect of him. It's not hard to imagine him someday mimicking Randy Johnson's 2001 World Series feat, starting a game one day and then coming in from the bullpen the next to close Game 7 and uncork the champagne. But for all that determination and talent, he and Cain might be MLB's answer to LeBron James.

-- Once he put Guerrero and Hunter on base, Lincecum said he did the obvious - try to induce grounders. Given how that worked, he might be tempted to rack up strikeouts in his next start - increasing the chances of late-season fatigue. If a young pitcher chooses a smart, mature approach and is penalized for it, the long-term costs can be substantial.
Anyone listening to catcher Bengie Molina after the game had to suspect that Lincecum wouldn't be the one making adjustments. "We played loose, and we lost, bottom line," Molina said, and he didn't mean "loose" in a good way. Asked to clarify, he said quietly: "I can't really tell you. You guys figure it out yourselves."

RIP Dusty Rhodes

One of the most popular GMen ever, according to his teammates. Dusty could flat out hit. Look at the astounding line on the 1954 season -- 15 HRs and 50 RBIs in 168 ABs. He was the 1954 World Series MVP when he went 4 for 6 with 2 homers and 7 RBIs.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Dodgers stink for a change

The Dodgers helped take away some of the stench from the sweep in San Francisco, thanks to a 5-4 loss tonight at Chavez Latrine. They should have won, as they left 11 men on and lost a one-run game at home for only the second time this season, but remain an impressive 20 games over .500 -- even though Manny's been out for a month. Matt Kemp is telling the LA Times that the team expects to go to the World Series.

That's a sickening prospect. Their beach-ball obsessed fans are as clueless as ever so it was particularly sweet to watch them suffer a bit for a change. The two particularly vapid middle-aged guys in back of me were in full voice throughout, declaring in ringing clarion tones such idiotic statements as "Russell Martin is a dangerous hitter" (he hasn't homered yet this year and is now batting 8th), "Hudson should have never bunted" (there were no outs with the tying run on first in the 9th), "Bowa should have sent him home" (there were no outs and the runner would have been out by 40 feet; instead, he scored on Kemp's sac fly) and "There isn't a bad seat in Dodger Stadium" (try sitting in any section with a number higher than 40, which represents at least 25% of the seats; the nosebleeds out in the third deck above the foul poles may be the worst in the MLB).

Another Orange and Black nightmare

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The back-to-back nightmare

Have you ever had a nightmare, woken up relieved that it wasn't real and then gone back to sleep and HAD THE SAME NIGHTMARE AGAIN? The Giants now seem to have a matched set of pitchers to do just that since they have two of the 11 pitchers in the MLB with 7 losses -- Barry Zito and Jonathan Sanchez, going back to back in the rotation. Doug Davis and Manny Parra have eight. Whatever wisdom's been imparted to the rest of the Giants staff seems to have eluded Sanchez. Or maybe he's seeing Zito get hammered and figures that the same thing will happen to him. Or maybe he just got lucky in the first half of last year.

Tonight's disgraceful loss to the Angels -- who are hammering the ball to the tune of 15 homers and 43 runs in the last five games -- was eerily similar to last night's. Sanchez completely mirrored Zito's performance by giving up 7 runs on 10 hits, getting hammered on fat pitches, not getting out of the 4th and allowing the Angels pitcher to get his first MLB hit. Dave Flemming said on the air that Sanchez fell apart after Pablo Sandoval made two errors on the same play. The SF Chronicle's Henry Shulman flat out says it -- the Giants need to start thinking about using someone else as a 5th starter.

And, as sometime happens when a crappy pitcher takes the mound for the opposition, the Giants offense collapsed tonight, despite the exiling of Manny Burriss to Fresno after going 0-for-27. It turns out that the Angels pitcher, Sean O'Sullivan, was an emergency starter and came in with an ERA over 6.00 in Salt Lake City. Now he's got an MLB win in his first game, allowing just one run on a single by Winn, two singles by Bengie and a single and a double by Sandoval. So just when the Giants had us all thinking after Sunday's sweep -- even John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters -- that "Maybe we were wrong about this club," Barry Zito gave us a dose of reality as he confirmed that he's one of the worst MLB pitchers and Sanchez did an amazing Zito imitation. All this has inspired a bit of bad poetry --

Tim, Matt and Randy
Ain't life dandy?
Jonathan and Barry
Things get hairy

Matt joins Juan, Gaylord and Tim

Henry Shulman of the SF Chron reports that Matt Cain is only the 4th SF Giant to win nine of his first 10 decisions in a season.

This will date me a bit but I do remember Marichal going 10-0 in 1966 before the Phillies and Chris Short whomped the G-Men by a 6-1 score, capped by a 3-run homer by Bill White. Marichal didn't even make it into the 5th inning. His record for the rest of the year was 15-5.

Monday, June 15, 2009

The genius of Bruce Bochy

Well, I'm being a little sarcastic here. He gave an interview to MLB.com saying he wouldn't try to change Pablo Sandoval's style after he hit a homer yesterday. So he hits two tonight. Hey, thanks a lot, Barry Zito! And thanks to Brian Sabean for not trading Sandoval for someone with "veteran poise" like David Eckstein.

Revisiting the 2002 nightmare

Even though Rich Aurilia's the only guy from the 2002 roster that's still in the Orange and Black, there's still plenty of connection to those last two awful games that year -- particularly with John Lackey, who won Game 7, starting for the Angels. I had a sense of foreboding that turned out to be justified that Barry Zito would revert to his crappiness of 2007-08. Here's how Henry Shulman of the SF Chronicle describes the 4th inning tonight --

Hunter singled to start the inning and Rivera, Robb Quinlan and Mike Napoli followed with consecutive doubles, Quinlan's driving home a pair.
When Lackey took Zito to 3-2 and punched his first major-league hit to center to give Anaheim a 5-0 lead, Bochy let Zito face Chone Figgins, whom he struck out in the first and third innings. Zito did get Figgins to fly out, but Aybar homered for two more runs to put Zito out of his misery.

At this point, I would have added -- But not the Giants fans.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Matt Cain gets No. 9

Hard to believe, but Matt Cain is now tied for the NL lead in wins and MC O'Conner at Raising (Matt) Cain calls the 7-1 thumping of Oakland one of the best wins of the year. How can anyone argue? Here's some nice verbiage -- I'm not much for intangibles, but I have a strong feeling that the excellence we are seeing this year from M.C. isn't just about maturity, but about his fellow hill-men. You've got one of the greatest (if not the greatest) southpaw in the game, at 45 years old, throwing 7 gnarly innings, you've got your wunderkind teammate, the reinging Cy Young winner, tossing a shutout, don't you think that fires a guy up? Makes him more competitive? I like to think M.C. had that "I'll show those sumbitches" gasoline in his tank this afternoon.

No. 301

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tim Terrific

Friday, June 12, 2009

A cautionary note from Camden Yards

I attended games Wednesday and Thursday nights at Camden Yards -- a true jewel of a ballpark -- and watched the Mariners win both of them with about 12,000 other fans. That number seems pretty low at first glance but with the Orioles obviously headed for a 13th straight losing season and the economy in recession, there's just not much to get anyone other than the hardcore out to a weeknight game.

All game long, I got to see the Giants' 2-1 loss with a meager 4 hits posted on the rightfield scoreboard (Ichiro lined a double off that scoreboard in the 3rd after a rain delay) and ponder how the Giants are risking the same kind of fate if they don't get someone more competent in the front office. Bruce Jenkins -- who has been a major apologist for Brian Sabean's incompetence - notes in his game story for the SF Chron that had the Giants won the game, they wold have been 5 games over .500 for the first time since 2004. And I might as well add that if I were better looking and not married, I might be hanging out with Sandra Bullock, too.

It's pretty basic -- after a season in which you had the worst offense in MLB, how can you then go out and have an offense that is the worst in the MLB? Of the guys who are playing the power positions -- RF, LF, 3B and 1B -- only one of them (Pablo Sandoval) is any kind of threat. Would Fred Lewis be anything but a 4th or 5th outfielder for any other team? Meanwhile, I got to watch the Mariners' Russell Branyan, who was readily available in the offseason, absolutely crushed a pitch to dead center for his 14th homer late in the game. In case you're wondering, Branyan signed in December for a year at $1.4 million with up ot $500,000 in performance bonuses.

All I'm saying is the the Orioles drew less than 2 million last year despite having the park that most closely resembles the Giants' home facility, which remains the team's key asset in attracting fans right now. It's now becoming routine that there will be crowds of well under 30,000 and plenty of empty seats at Mays Field. Keep putting up losing records and people will stop showing up.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Orange and Black walk-free zone

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News has a simple but fascinating post titled "One stat cannot explain everything but...."

It's the number of walks from each MLB team from the No. 4 slot. Guess who's in last place.

As Zito goes, so go the Giants

He's now won his third game and is 3-6; meanwhile, the Giants are now 30-27. When Zito won his third game last year -- on June 25 in Cleveland -- he went to 3-11 and the Giants went to 33-44. It's clear that whatever was so wrong during his first two years in the Orange and Black has diminished to a great degree.

Admittedly, last night's performance in Phoenix was a real high-wire act as he gave up most of a 5-1 lead in the 5th, according to Bruce Jenkins of the SF Chronicle. He's still not pitching like an ace, but he's no longer an embarrassment with an $18 million a year salary.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Matt Cain = All Star

Giants pick a high school pitcher

I guess you can never have too much pitching. Zack Wheeler is the name

Monday, June 08, 2009

The Giants and the wild card

The Giants keep making nobodies famous

What in the name of Scott Hairston is it about marginal guys turning into latter-day versions of Sandy Koufax and Ted Williams when they face the Giants? In this case, it's some guy named Sean West who -- in his 4th MLB start -- completely humiliated the Orange and Black tonight in Miami. How bad was the 4-0 loss? Try three hits all night -- two singles by Renteria and one by Sandoval. The Big Unit allowed a three-run homer early and that was that. Aaron Rowand went 0-for-4 so his hit streak is over.

The Giants have already lost 2 games this year to Eric Stults of the Dodgers -- giving him 8 wins (and 9 losses) in his four years in the bigs.

How about Brett Carroll, the guy who hit the 3-run homer -- the first of his career? Prior to tonight, he had gone 17-for-99 over 3 years in the MLB for The Fish and been worthy of being completely anonymous. Now he's the answer to a trivia question.

What's gotten into Aaron Rowand?

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Renteria's return to Miami, 10 years later

Another Orange and Black low in homeruns

I just checked the MLB stats to be sure that my statement in the last post about the Giants having the fewest homeruns was true. I need not have worried -- they're at 28, far below the Pirates at 33. That projects out to around 90 for the full year, down from 95 last year, when they were the first team since the 1995 Phils to go under 100.

They're 29th in runs scored at 211, one ahead of the Padres.

I barely believe it myself

I heard a fair amount of Friday night's game on XM and, most notably, got the impression that the Fish announcers were stunned by 1. Sandoval's homer, given that this team is the last in the MLB in that department and 2. Zito not letting the Fish score. He's now 2-6.

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron notes in his story that Miami was the same place last season where Zito went from 0-8 to 1-8.

Friday, June 05, 2009

What's not to like?

Josh Wilker at Cardboard Gods has a fascinating post about Lynn McGlothen, who was with the Giants briefly in the mid-70s. Here's part of it -- 2. Lynn McGlothen is happy. Who wouldn’t be? Your picture on a baseball card! Not only that, the back of the card tells a happy tale, a long gradual climb through the minors, a taste of the majors with one team, then a midseason trade to another team and finally, a staff-leading 16 wins in the season just concluded.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Matt Cain just keeps rolling

A big win for the Big Unit

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Nov. 13, 2003 -- a bad day for the Giants

Giants next signing?

My brother in law the Dodger fan -- who has a fine sense of humor -- sent along that comment on news that the Braves released Tom Glavine.

"No chance of competing for a championship this season"

That's the view of John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters of the prospects for the Giants this year. Here's the key verbiage -- The Giants have no chance of competing for a championship this season.
The minor league system has been restocked, and there should be help, in the form of real hitters, coming up next season, and hopefully we will see the Giants become a team that has a steady supply of good, young talent in the future. It’s important that Brain Sabean remembers that championships are built, not bought

Celebrating the Big Unit

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron has a nice recap of the career of Randy Johnson, who may get No. 300 tonight. Take a look at the years between 1993 and 2004 -- it's utterly breathtaking.

Schulman got a fine quote from Bochy -- "The intimidation factor helped him tremendously, having the fastball he had and the simple fact he could be wild. Guys could go up there beaten before he faced them."

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Drag Me to Hell

That's what the Giants did in the bottom of the 8th tonight with a 5-4 lead as the bullpen imploded by giving up six runs to the Nats, taking away what should have been a win for Lincecum.

Bobby Howry continues to be particularly ineffective. He deserved the loss after giving up three straight hits to start the 8th and give away the game. Final score was 10-6. Howry's already racked up three losses and has an ERA over 5.00. It's yet another awful signing by Brian "Brainiac" Sabean, who decided to give Howry a $2.75 million deal for this season.

Every time Lincecum isn't dominant, it's hard not to blame Bochy for insisting on massive pitch counts last season for The Franchise -- particularly late in the year when the games were close to meaningless. Still, I must give Bochy props for getting Aaron Rowand into the leadoff spot. He went 3-for-4 tonight with a leadoff homer. Maybe it's just dumb luck but it was the seventh time in the 15 games since the switch that Rowand has had more than one hit.

"No entitlement tonight"

That was my friend Gary's recap of tonight's loss at Chavez Latrine by the Dodgers to the Dbacks after an evening of watching Dodger fans -- who always parade around a misplaced sense of entitlement -- about how lucky the Dbacks were. The Dbacks just lost seven in a row and the Dodgers were a sickening 18-5 at home but the Snakes got great pitching from Billy Buckner, which is about as ironic as it gets. (The better known Bill Buckner played a major role in helping the Dodgers lose the 1974 World Series before gagging away the 1986 Series).

We both had to admit that Juan Pierre is on fire, playing out of his mind since Manny got suspended, while Andre Ethier is looking lost. Pierre had 3 hits but he did make a rally-killing ground out with two guys on in the 7th and it turns out that Dodgers set a club record with five wild pitches.