Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The party's officially over

I hope the Rox and the Dodgers get swept out of the playoffs by the Phils and Cards. The Dodgers still haven't clinched the NL West and got hammered tonight by the Padres, getting only one hit in a 5-0 buttkick.

With elimination becoming more of a certainty throughout the 4-1 vic, it was nice to see the Orange and Black play well behind Brad Penny, who looks like a genius pickup. I loved hearing the "bong" when Eli Whiteside's homer in the 4th hit the foul pole.

Managing partner Bill Neukom tells Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle that he'd like to sign Penny -- and that was about the only player who got singled out. Neukom also says the payroll's probably going up in 2010.

And I still believe that the only way this team will make it to the postseason is to fire the General Manager -- a fairly unlikely scenario at this point in the rosy afterglow of the first winning season in five years. As a Giants fan for 52 seasons, though, it rankles me that this sort of incompetence is tolerated year after year in the name of good old boy loyalty. I have posted dozens of times about how frustrating it is that the team had the worst offense in MLB last year and reacted to that scenario by putting together a team that was just as bad in terms of run-scoring. Exceptional years from Lincecum, Cain, Sandoval, Affeldt and Penny -- plus the obvious decision to start playing Uribe full time -- prevented the season from being a full-blown fiasco.

I can't help but reflect that it's the first time in five years that the Giants still had a shot during the last week of the season. Look back at that fateful elimination game in 2004 at Chavez Latrine and see who was in the lineup that day. Michael Tucker, Pierzitsky, Edgardo Alfonzo, Cody Ransom, Deivi Cruz, Wayne Franklin...

My point is -- it's been obvious for years that Sabean can't evaluate MLB talent. He lucked out by having Barry Bonds for 11 seasons. Last season's team scored 640 runs; with tonight's win, it's scored 639 with four games left, even with the addition of a full season of Sandoval and the subtraction of Jose Castillo. There's no other word for that but incompetence.

Bengie's bang for the buck

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle gushes that Bengie Molina's the Giants' best free agent signing other than Barry Bonds. Which raises the question of the worst of the innumerable awful free agent signings that have been made by Brian Sabean, including Edgar Renteria, Aaron Rowand, Barry Zito, Edgardo Alfonzo, Armando Blownitez, Dave Roberts, Jeffrey Hammonds, Ryan Klesko....

In any case, Molina got paid $6 million this year, according to Cot's Contracts.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The last hope for 2009

Well, the Rox lucked out in extras (again), leaving the Giants tragic number at one. Fortunately, the Orange and Black hammered the Dbacks 8-4 as Bengie and the Panda went a combined 8 for 10 with 3 homers and 420-foot ground rule double. So if the Giants win all five games left and the Rox lose all five and the Braves lose most of their games, the Giants would go into a one-game playoff -- a longshot to be sure but a significant improvement over last year.

It was great to see the team playing this hard this late in the season -- a time when many teams are mailing it in. Henry Schulman of the SF Chron notes in his game story that Andres Torres made a remarkable play in the 4th, taking away a homer from Ryan Roberts. It was all that, a play worthy of Willie Mays.

Decision on Sabean coming next week

Freddy Sanchez says he'll be good to go in 2010

He tells John Shea of the SF Chronicle that he expects to be fully recovered from knee surgery. The Giants can have him by exercising the $8.1 million option. The team's already on the hook for $9 million next year on Renteria, who's also recovering from surgery. I would not be surprised at all, given Sabean's strategy of over-valueing veterans, if Sanchez is back -- meaning the 2010 middle infield would be staffed by two guys whose best days are behind them at a cost of $17 million.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Renteria spin

Chris Haft of MLB.com has a story on the Giants official web site detailing Edgar Renteria's surgery for bone spurs and his "fortitude" in playing through pain. My reaction is that this is management spin to explain away a lousy signing and the lack of flexibility by Bocchy and Sabean in finding an alternative at short rather than giving near all the starts to a banged-up unproductive Renteria (save for a couple of instances of clutchness).

Here you have a team in desperate need of runs and you give 460 at bats to a guy who's not going to get you runs. This is yet another reason why Sabean and Bochy should be fired.

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron has a nice story opining that the Giants should sign Juan Uribe, given that he was the most productive offensive player on the team per dollar invested other than Sandoval. Unfortunately, Renteria was eating up atbats while Uribe sat for much of the year.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Matt Cain gets No. 14

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Going, going, gone

Adios, Randy Winn?

I hope so. We all know that Brian Sabean is obsessed with savvy veterans -- even if they can't perform any longer. I'm still going to assume that Randy Winn is no longer in the Giants plans for next year since his performance has been so dismal that even Sabean will stay away.

I thought of this because Dodgerhater has noted that Winn has gotten 165 at bats in the 3rd slot this year, and batted .212. He's gotten two homers this year while Carlos Zambrano has four. Here's some good verbiage -- And to top it off, Bochy has continually defended putting Randy Winn in the 3rd spot all year. The order disorder has gone on all season. Although Bochy has gotten unbelievably far with the tools he was given for his lineup, the continual unwillingness to rid the lineup of Renteria and Winn (and even Rowand) all year probably cost us 5 games. Guess how many games we're behind Colorads right now.

According to Cot's Contracts, Randy Winn is getting $8.25 million this year.

Matt Cain wins the Willie Mac award

Tough luck, Tim

Carl Steward blogs in his postgame post for the San Jose Mercury News that Lincecum's chances for a second Cy Young are gone. Here's some astute verbiage -- He’s probably pitched just as well if not better than he did last year when he won the Cy Young. His ERA is lower (2.47 currently, compared to 2.60 to finish last year). He needs 11 K’s to match last year’s total, he’s given up just 10 homers to last year’s 12, he has just 63 walks to last year’s 84, and he’s doubled both his complete game and shutout totals.
Unfortunately, the competition’s better this year. And 14 wins … wow, that’s just a tough swallow, especially when he had 10 before the All-Star break. Just call him Tough Luck Timmy in the second half, but there’ll be a payback soon. That he won’t win a second in a row is not likely to save the Giants very many dollars in arbitration. And here’s a prediction: he’s going to set an arbitration-year record for jump in salary.
Whatever he gets, he’ll deserve every penny.


John Shea of the SF Chronicle is reporting that Tim's open to a long-term deal.

And Steward's game story notes that Buster Posey is finally starting and that Edgar Renteria has been closed down for the year.

Friday, September 25, 2009

FIRE BRIAN SABEAN NOW


The Giants just lost 3-0 and the Rox won 2-1. We are in territory where the Giants need to win every game and the Rox need to lose every game.

So here the team's in their biggest since 2004 with The Franchise on the mound. And the Giants got TWO HITS all night -- one by Juan Uribe and the other by Tim Lincecum. The guy who assembled this JOKE of an offense should be fired right now. Anyone else who did their job this poorly would have been fired years ago.

8-1 the rest of the way

Carl Steward of the San Jose Merc-News blogs that the Giants can only lose one of the last nine games to have any hope of making the postseason.

Even that's a long shot because all the Rox would have to do is go 5-4, so Steward thinks it's close to over. He also gives props to Bowker -- Time to face reality. A pretty nice season for the Giants, all in all, is nearing its end. If there was a silver lining, it was John Bowker’s biggest night as a major-leaguer in a very important game. He doubled in the tying run in the fourth and then slammed what would have been the game-winner, a homer to right in the seventh. The guy obviously has some serious pop, and it should earn him a few more starts over the final nine.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Next Door to the Blues

What a bitter loss, though Mike Krukow made me laugh out loud on the postgame show when he noted that Rox should vote Jeff Baker a playoff share, then started to mock-cry and said, "We need to go to break." I believe the Rox should vote Brian Sabean a share, too, for assembling such a pathetic offense.

I've decided it's time to post Etta James song, "Next Door to the Blues," as in the Cubbie blues. In the words of Alvin Dark, "Any time you lose to the Cubs, it's a disgrace." Here goes --

Sorry Road is the street that I'm living on
Across Pain Avenue
In a town call Moan
The people I see
Are sadder than me
A river of tears
Don't you know it flows by my door
And I'm living (Next door to the Blues)
Yes I'm living (Next door to the Blues)
And after all I've been through I've had to move
Oh Lord next door to the Blues

Memory
You can tell it in my talk
My heart hurts
Even when I walk
I cry on a pillow made of stone
Pity is my name
And that thing called love is to blame

And I'm living (Next door to the Blues)
Yes I'm living (Next door to the Blues)
And after all I've been through I've had to move,
oh Lord next door to the Blues

Bittersweet
Is the food that I cook
My only joy is in a storybook
The talk I give
Every word brings a tear
Every hello
Just ends with a sad goodbye
And I'm living (Next door to the Blues)
Yes I'm living (Next door to the Blues)
And after all I've been through I've had to move,
Oh Lord next door to the Blues

Still hope for the Orange and Black

Juan Uribe and Jonathan Sanchez stepped up tonight in Phoenix, leaving the Giants 4 back in the Wild Card with 10 to go. Sanchez struck out nine and the pen got seven more -- including a 1-2-3 9th by Brian Wilson.

Uribe and Jeremy Affelt have been the best additions to the 2009 Giants. Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chron says the Giants would be "well-served" to bring him back. Uribe's response -- He committed to nothing but said, "I like it here."
Even most of Uribe's outs in the series were scorched.
"Yeah," he said, "I feel good. I'm swinging the bat (well). I don't want to change. I want to do the same things I'm doing right now and help this team win."

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The beginning of the end for the Orange and Black

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Running out of gas in Phoenix

The toll of pitching so many tight games is showing on the starters -- who have now gone five straight games on the most crucial road trip since 2004 without getting out of the 5th inning. Tonight was Matt Cain's worst game of the year.

Bochy told Henry Schulman of the SF Chron that Cain may have been gassed by running out a triple. Cain said he just made terrible pitches, then took the blame: "It's been bad," Cain said, referring to the run of poor outings by the starters. "All of us haven't done what we want to do. We've had a chance to win and let it go. It's very disappointing. We're a group that wants to push each other. Everybody wants to pick each other up. I felt I let a lot of guys down."

I blame Brian Sabean for not getting a better offense. It turns out that his big move -- he traded a gold-plated prospect (Tim Alderson) for a banged-up Freddy Sanchez -- has exploded in his face with Sanchez tearing his knee cartlidge. Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News blogs that the Giants will probably not pick up the $8 million option on next season.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The forgotten Fred delivers

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dickey: Sabean should be fired

Glenn Dickey of the SF Examiner gets it right on the nose: The Giants’ wild-card run will probably save general manager Brian Sabean’s job, but he should be fired because he’s put together an unbalanced team that won’t make the playoffs this year or next.
Everybody knows the Giants need a big stick, but Sabean hasn’t been able to get one, either in free agency or his panicky trades in midseason, because he’s overpaid for veterans.


Not that anything will happen. Here's how Dickey concludes: .... bringing back veterans who are on their last legs has been Sabean’s pattern. Not pretty, but Sabean has a way of ingratiating himself with the men running the club, so, he’ll probably be back. For Brian Sabean, nothing succeeds like failure.

Out of gas in LA

That was as disheartening a game as a Giants fan could have attended -- the Franchise just didn't have it today and only Andres Torres provided any offense. The season kind of got summed up in the 1st, when Molina grounded into a DP and in the 7th when Aaron Rowand did the same. Anyone can think that the person who assembling this kind of offense merits an extension is out of their mind.

Even more depressing -- Angel Villalona has turned himself in to authorities after being name as a suspect for murder in the Dominican Republic.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The Penny bandwagon stops

Brad Penny got clobbered today -- perhaps just being too high over coming back to Chavez Latrine. But a 12-1 buttkick was not easy to take. Still, there were a few decent developments --
-- the Big Unit returned for 3 batters
-- Buster Posey's first MLB hit
-- Madison Bumgarner setting the side down in the 9th
-- two more solid Panda hits

Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chron notes that Penny had no command -- Catcher Eli Whiteside said Penny had no feel for any breaking pitches, one sign that he might have been too hyped for his first start at Dodger Stadium since his ugly divorce from the team.

Friday, September 18, 2009

"They will not go away"

That's how Henry Schulman describes the Giants in his game story for the SF Chron after tonight's glorious 8-4 vic at Chavez Latrine as the Dbacks beat the Rox -- leaving the Orange and Black two and half out in the race for the Wild Card.

Giants Win attended as fine a game as I've seen in many a year as the Dodgers choked big time -- a chance to put the Orange and Black away for good for this year. Instead, the vaunted Dodger Blew pitching staff gave up THREE homers, one to Velez to start the game, a three-run bomb that the Panda smoked into right field and a belt-high fattie that fallen ace Chad Billingsly served up to Aaron Rowand in a contest of "who's more pathetic?" -- Billingsly pitching in relief or Rowand (the highest paid regular on the Giants) batting in the 8 hole. Rowand hit a no-doubter for his 15th off Chad, who might not even make the playoff roster.

Renteria takes the blame

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Lincecum delivers again






Tim came back from back spasms to show the Rox who's the boss on Monday night. A great shot by Artolog. And a great reminder of The Franchise's artistry.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Just out of reach

The Giants climbed out of a 4-0 hole in the 9th and scored 3 but could not get the last run home from third. A truly crappy night from Edgar Renteria, who managed to pop out to second with runners at second and third with one out and the score 4-2.

The big question is why in the world Renteria is even in the lineup. He went 0-for-4 and left 5 men on. He also made his 14th error tonight. Despite the occasional clutch hit, the Renteria signing has been flat out terrible. Jon Miller noted in the radio broadcast that this is by far Renteria's worst year.

It's an all-too-typical loss -- unless the Giants pitching is near perfect, this team probably won't win, thanks to the lousy offense. Matt Cain had a relatively poor outing, giving up all 4 Rox runs and essentially putting the game out of reach.

John Shea's game story for the SF Chron notes that the Big Unit got warmed up in the 8th. Part of the verbiage -- Matt Cain pitched well enough not to win, surrendering home runs to Troy Tulowitzki and Ian Stewart and an RBI double to Clint Barmes. The Giants responded by being their old selves at the plate and failing to advance the few runners who reached base.
Until the ninth.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Who ARE these guys?

The Giants have just registered their third straight buttkick, 10-2. That's 26 runs in three games. Dave Flemming noted with amazement that the hitters were -- quite uncharacteristically -- waiting out counts and forcing Ubaldo Jimenez out in the third with over 90 pitches. Henry Schulman of the SF Chron speculates that Carney Lansford must have said something about a new approach before the game. In his game story, Schulman notes that Sandoval was the only starter who seemed to be doing the usual hacktastic approach.

Jon Miller noted later the win guarantees that the Giants had won the season series against the Rox and would have the home field if there's a one-game playoff..."and home field is everything with these two teams." The Giants are now 7-1 at home and 3-6 at Coors Field.

He also noted that Zito has owned the Rox this year in four starts.

Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News reports the Big Unit has been activated and that Justin Miller is out for the year.

Monday, September 14, 2009

No. 14 for The Franchise

Tim Lincecum got his 14th win tonight in a 9-1 buttkick over the Rox. It's the first two-game winning streak since the Orange and Black won back-to-back 3-2 games in Milwaukee on Sept. 4 and 5. They haven't won three in a row since sweeping the Rox at home on Aug. 28-30.

Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chronicle makes it clear -- with a record of 78-66, the Giants have to sweep again to have any hope at making the postseason: As great as Monday's win was for the Giants, they need to do it again tonight, with Barry Zito facing Colorado's Ubaldo Jimenez, and again Wednesday night, because the Rockies have to win only once to leave town with a comfortable lead for the wild card with the season's end drawing nigh.

Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News reports that the Big Unit hopes to be activated Tuesday.

The Giants' longest win streak this year is five, when they went from 3-8 to 8-8 in mid-April. The game that started it was the Big Unit's first victory as a Giant over the Dbacks, when he gave up one hit over 7 innings.

"If I blow it out, I blow it out"

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The Franchise comes back Monday

Revenge for Brad Penny

Penny made it look it easy today after two nightmare games in which the Blew Crew scored 18 runs. The Giants hadn't won a game since Penny's last start on Monday.

The Giants went to 73-60 when Penny won his first game for the Orange and Black on Sept. 2. Since then, the Giants have gone 4-6 including today. Penny's won two of those games and Cain and Brandon Medders have won the other two.

I guess it's coincidence but the Giants have hit when Penny's pitched. In the three games that Penny pitched, the Giants have scored 20 runs. In the other 8 games since Sept. 2, they've scored a grand total of 17.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

18-2 the rest of the way

That's what it will take to get to the postseason after tonight's debacle. The Giant offense stayed offensive (a single and a double by Shierholtz, singles by Uribe and Molina and two walks by Winn) and the pitching was just plain awful in another 9-1 buttkick by the Blew Crew.

Now it's time for Brad Penny to get some revenge!

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron thinks it's over -- Will the last person exiting the ballpark leave the gate open for the crew coming in to stripe the grass for football? The 2009 Giants have been promising and frustrating. Now, it seems, they should be planning - for 2010.

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News thinks it's over and is shocked at how badly the vets are playing -- A few more nights like this and the Giants' labors in 2009 will be neither here nor there. A lineup of staid veterans provided a few shocking moments, none of them pleasant, as the Los Angeles Dodgers knocked out Jonathan Sanchez and put up their feet in a 9-1 victory at AT&T Park. It was shocking to see Aaron Rowand take a hanging curveball down the middle for a third strike. It was shocking to see Randy Winn get overpowered by 94 mph fastballs and Edgar Renteria founder twice to end potential rallies. And it's shocking that a major league club could be this bad, for so long, in the clutch. In two losses to their archrivals, the Giants are 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Over their past 31 games, they're hitting .185 in those situations.

John Perricone of Only Baseball Matters believes it's over: On June 1st, the Rockies were 20-30, and had been outscored by 20 runs. Since then, their record is 62-30, and they’ve outscored their opponents by 118 runs, a stretch of dominance that is matched by only one team, the best record in baseball –91-51– New York Yankees. And, without question, it is the Rockies who are the best team in the NL right now, and whether they catch the Dodgers or not, we’re not gonna catch either one of them, so it’s on to 2010.
Meanwhile, the lack of offense has another casualty, with Tim Lincecum’s bid for his second Cy Young Award now gone to the wayside. He’s had seven no decisions or losses in games in which he’s gone at least seven innings and given up 3 runs or less, which means that he has no chance of catching Wainwright or Carpenter, since neither one of them has lost in a month. All in all, a decidedly depressing finish to a decent enough run. A big bat would’ve certainly made things a lot more interesting, but more than likely would not have changed the final standings. Well, unless we would’ve had a full season of Adam Dunn, who now has 37 home runs and counting towards his sixth consecutive season of 40 home runs and 100 walks.


MY COMMENT -- It's really amazing that Dunn has racked up these stats...and that he's hit 40 HRs on the nose for four consecutive seasons. He's at 37 with three weeks left. WHAT KIND OF DINGBAT IS BRIAN SABEAN TO NOT HAVE EVEN MADE AN OFFER FOR THIS GUY?

Friday, September 11, 2009

18-3 the rest of the way

That's my guess of what it will take for the Giants to get into the postseason following tonight's dispiriting 10-3 buttkick by the Blew Crew. That would give them 94 wins and probably tie them with the Rox, who just won their 82nd game when the Padres gagged away a 1-0 lead at home in the 9th. The calculation assumes that the Rox go 12-8, including three losses to the Giants in their series next Monday through Wednesday.

One of the few highlights tonight came in the bottom of the 9th with 2 out and Kevin Frandsen up as Vin Scully provided a bit of perspective as he said, "Frandsen is one of the really good guys in the game" and described his fine charity work in his "Second to None" foundation that helps the families of cancer patients. Frandsen then hit a long double to right center -- his first decent bit of hitting since 2007 -- that drove in Ishikawa before Garko ended the game on a groundout to short.

As for the game itself, Matt Cain pitched adequately and Juan Uribe delivered an RBI double early -- showing once again that Bochy should have not let him languish as much as he did (he only has 317 ABs this year). The game got out of reach in th 7th, thanks partly to Bochy's insistence on using Bobby "Gascan" Howry. Can't we shut this guy down for the season, please?

Bruce Bochy is still an idiot

Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News blogs that Buster Posey's not playing because Bochy doesn't want to mess with the "dynamic" of the clubhouse.

All I can say -- What a lame excuse for not getting a bat into the lineup. Can we get a real manager next year?

EARTH TO BRUCE -- your "cleanup hitter" has 17 HRs and 70 RBIs and a .270 OBP. That's feeble compared to other teams. Real leadership isn't sticking to a plan come hell or high water. Real leadership is being willing to adjust to changing circumstances.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bruce Bochy is an idiot

Good news -- Dodgers keep choking; Bad news -- Sabean still employed

The Dodgers blew a winnable game tonight, 4-3, and are looking vulnerable for a change. The Rox are only 2 and half games out.

Unfortunately, the Giants are probably going to keep crushing the hopes of their fans. John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters, who I admire for his clear thinking and writing, supplies grist for those of us who think Sabean and Bochy are guilty of preventing the Giants from making the postseason. Here are his key points in an extremely depressing but very astute post:
-- Here’s Molina’s night at the plate; Ball, Strike (swinging), Strike (looking), Ball, Foul, single. Strike (looking), flied out. Strike (foul), Strike (foul), Foul, Ball, Foul, popped out. Ball, Strike (looking), popped out. That’s 18 pitches seen, 5 taken. This is a guy who’s 4 for 22 so far this month, while our superstar rookie catcher sits on the bench with his home runs and walks and batting average.

-- How about Randy Winn? What does Randy Winn have to do to see the bench? Since the All Star break, Winn has run out a staggering .243/.303/.308 .611 OPS line, and has played all but four games. He has two home runs on the season. He basically gets a single every four at bats, and NOTHING ELSE!

-- There are only nine everyday players in the entire league who have worse slugging percentages than Winn. There are only eight everyday players in the entire league who have a worse OPS than Winn. And Winn plays every single day. But not Fred Lewis. All Fred Lewis did in August was run out an outstanding –OUTSTANDING– .412/.524/.588 1.112 OPS line. Of course, in the Bizarro world of the Giants, one of the best hitters on the team could not fight his way into this lineup. Lewis got five starts in August, a month in which the Giants scored 4 runs a game while going 16-12. A month in which we lost the wild card, by the way.

-- Let’s talk about Renteria. Last season, Emmanuel Burriss was our shortstop, and he didn’t hit enough for Bochy or Sabean. He ran out a dismal .283/.357/.329 .686 OPS line, so bad that by the end of the season, he was not only not playing very much, Sabean went out and spent $18 million dollars to replace him. Now, besides the fact that a 23-year old is a good bet to improve if you just leave him alone and let him play everyday, and besides the fact that that rate of offensive production is actually better than what Randy Winn –playing an offensive position– has produced; it is worth mentioning that Burriss’s horrible hitting, so bad that he was replaced, was actually better than what Renteria has brought to the table.
Renteria has run out a stunning .258/.316/.339 .655 OPS line, a rate of production that is so bad, it got his 23-year old teammate thrown on the garbage heap.


-- An organization that allows its starting catcher to have so little discipline when he’s at the plate that it appears the team has no coaches at all. An organization that trades one of it top minor league pitching prospects for a first basemen who is older, slower and not one tiny bit better than the young first basemen they are trying to develop. An organization that trades one of its top minor league pitching prospects for an old, injured second baseman, at the exact moment when it has become clear that the insurance policy second baseman they have is actually doing fine.

-- This is your San Francisco Giants, who inexplicably came into this season thinking they had a chance to contend, and by some miracle, found themselves doing just that; and then failed to maximize the opportunity.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Flat out embarrassing

Tim Lincecum says he's OK

I'm posting this with the Giants already behind 1-0 in today's game in the 2nd inning. Tim Lincecum's told John Shea of the SF Chron that his injury isn't serious.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Brutal, brutal, brutal

The Giants have just lost 4-3 in what was a rough night for Giants fans as Tim Lincecum goes down, making us all wonder about the massive pitch counts and innings he's logged over the past two seasons. Henry Schulman's story gives some indication that it's not too severe -- but this isn't like, say, Edgar Renteria or Aaron Rowand sitting out a few games.

Madison Bumgarner pitched pretty decently in his MLB debut and Jeremy Affeldt worked his way out of an 8th inning mess. But the lack of offense continues to kill this team's chances of making it to the postseason. If there was one game this year that exemplifies Brian Sabean's utter failure as a GM to address this team's shortcomings, this was it. The Giants were facing Kevin Correia -- not Yovani Gallardo or Pedro Martinez or Cole Hamels -- at home. What other team would have put up so little offense against Kevin Freaking Correia?

So with only 23 games left, it's shaping up that the disgusting Rox are going to the postseason as the Wild Card, thanks to Sabean's incompetence. Honestly, the Rox should vote Sabean a playoff share. I noticed that Velez walked twice tonight, which seems like a good development in keeping with his overall improvement -- until I discovered it's the first time ALL SEASON LONG that he's walked twice in a game.

Here are the simple facts -- the Giants have scored the third fewest runs in the MLB.
FIRE BRIAN SABEAN NOW

Bumgarner called up with Lincecum out

Monday, September 07, 2009

The shame of the Under 100 HR club

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Bochy tells Posey to go to hell

Another reason why Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy should be fired -- When the Giants offense desperate for runs, Buster Posey not gotten in a game yet and Henry Schulman of the SF Chron speculates that it's the team's obsession with veterans, who are invariably on the fade. What can Posey possibly learn by watching Aaron Rowand go 0-for-5? The team got four walks today -- three by Sandoval, the team's only legitimate offensive threat.

Posey's minor league stats look pretty damn good. Why does Ryan Garko more deserve to get at bats?

The only good news today -- the Dodgers gagged 4-3 to the Padres. Fortunately, Kuroda has recovered from being hit in the head with a liner.

Wasting the best pitching in MLB

If Brian Sabean had any sense of doing the right thing, he'd resign right now following today's extremely annoying 2-1 loss to the Brew Crew in 12 innings. But that's not going to happen so Giants fans will have to continue watching the offense collapse down the stretch and nullify great pitching performances. Even Bobby Howry worked himself out of a bases-loaded jam. And Velez made an incredible catch in the first.

As of today, the Giants have scored the second-fewest runs in MLB at 541 -- only seven ahead of San Diego. They have the worst OBP at .308 and the second fewest homers with 99 with 25 games left (and a 75-62 record).

As for pitching, they have allowed the fewest runs at 503 and fewest earned runs at 468. The Associated Press game story notes that Sanchez has gone 4-3 with a 2.75 ERA since his no-hitter.

This has been pretty much the pattern all year, too. Here this team has an honest-to-God shot at the postseason, so what did Sabean do to address the team's biggest problem? He went out and traded two of the most valuable prospects for a couple of guys who are no improvement -- and that's putting it charitably. Garko is now 21 for 90 with six extra base hits and 12 RBIs -- the latest in a long line of punchless starting first basemen that began with JT Snow and includes Lance Niekro, Jose Vizcaino, Shea Hillenbrand, John Bowker, Mark Sweeney, Travis Ishikawa, Dan Ortmeier and Ryan Klesko. Is it conceivable that any other contending team would be starting Ishikawa and Garko right now?

The last Giant who actually hit like a corner infielder should was The Big Cat in 2001 and again in 2003, even though he was 42 at the time.

Why not Jermaine Dye?

After watching the Giants go 3-2 on the current road trip -- scoring 11 runs in the five games, while allowing seven -- one has to wonder why the team didn't get a real bat such as Jermaine Dye since the Chisox were willing to make a deal.

Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports says the Giants may have gotten cold feet because Dye (who is 35) had been terrible in August and has an option in his deal for $12 million in 2010 that he could have exercised within 72 hours of a trade.
Scott Oster of the SF Chronicle doesn't understand why Bill Neukom is saying that paying $2 million for Dye would have been too much: Otherwise, you stamp your organization as chronically timid.

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters says Sabean should be fired: Sabean thinks batting average is the way to evaluate hitters, and Dye’s average isn’t as good as Garko’s or Sanchez’s. Sabean ignored Dye because he doesn’t think Dye is a valuable hitter. And for that, he should be fired, on the spot. Sabean simply ignored the value that Dye would have added to the Giants, because he could not see it. It is a failure of the highest order.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Matt finally gets No. 13

Friday, September 04, 2009

That Bengie magic

It worked again tonight, a week after his three-run pinch homer. Maybe bringing up Buster Posey was an inspired move as Bengie clutched up again tonight in Brew Town with another 8th inning homer.

Here's what Zito said about the pen, which delivered scoreless five innings -- "It's one of the best wins of the season -- the best," said Giants starter Barry Zito, who lasted only four innings and permitted five of those free passes. "The bullpen picked me up huge."

Lefty Malo notes astutely that the "key out" of the game was Dan Runzler striking out Jody Gerut in his MLB debut.

The Franchise at his best

Thursday, September 03, 2009

"And the road goes on forever"

You're obviously younger than me if you don't recognize that lyric. I thought of it in reaction to a post by JC Parsons on Raising (Matt) Cain, noting that the Giants are 17-18 on 1-run games -- 12-1 at home and 5-17 on the road. This season is going to drive me crazy. I love it and hate it all at once. Every glorious shutout seems to be followed by humiliating disgrace. Guess which one happened tonight.

One poster wondered why Posey's not playing and guy named Bob noted astutely in response -- Good question. Classic Giants offense. All downhill after the first pitch. Weird things going on.

And it's time to post the Allman Brothers' classic "Midnight Rider" --

Well, Ive got to run to keep from hiding,
And Im bound to keep on riding.
And Ive got one more silver dollar,
But Im not gonna let them catch me, no,
Not gonna let em catch the midnight rider.

And I dont own the clothes Im wearing,
And the road goes on forever,
And Ive got one more silver dollar,
But Im not gonna let them catch me, no
Not gonna let em catch the midnight rider.

And Ive gone by the point of caring,
Some old bed Ill soon be sharing,
And Ive got one more silver dollar,
But I'm not gonna let em catch me, no
Not gonna let them catch the midnight rider.

What did you expect?

Tim Lincecum was excellent as usual but lost 2-1 in Philly because the Giants offense is so awful that perfection is often required for pitchers to rack up a win.

One reason why I blog is because I can write freely about why this happens again and again -- BRIAN SABEAN IS THE MOST INCOMPETENT GENERAL MANAGER IN THE MAJOR LEAGUES. Here he had a real chance to get the team into the postseason if he corrected some serious offensive deficiencies. So at the cost of serious pitching prospects Tim Alderson and Scott Barnes, he brought in Ryan Garko -- a guy who can't even be played ahead of Travis Freakin Ishikawa -- and Freddy Sanchez, a guy who's so banged up that he's already sat more than he's played for the Giants.

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters makes the painful point that the D0dgers actually addressed their offensive shortcomings this week by acquiring Jim Thome.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Zito honored for community service

A bad night at Chavez Latrine

Dodger fans have to be a bit dismayed over the fact that former Dodger Brad Penny is -- for at least tonight -- was back to being the good Brad Penny. He's also due to pitch against the Blew Crew on Sept. 13. Then, the Dbacks easily beat the Dodgers, 4-1, leaving the Dodgers tied with the Cards for best record in the NL -- not a minor consideration at all, since the team with the best record gets home field advantage in the NLDS and NLCS. Chad Billlingsley has now lost four in a row.

Maybe the Giants got lucky on Brad Penny, who's been flat out awful of late until tonight. At least he's saying how much he hates the Dodgers, according to this story in the SF Chronicle.

Welcome, Brad!

Brad Penny has stepped up big time in Philadelphia. The Giants have just shut out the World Champion Phillies, 4-0. It's the 18th shutout of the season for the Orange and Black.

Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chron quotes Penny as crediting his new battery mate for the vic -- Catcher Eli Whiteside said he watched film, noticed that Penny relied too heavily on his fastball and asked for more offspeed pitches earlier in the count.
Penny liked the plan and said of Whiteside, "There's not a guy who has called a better game for me in my career."


So the Giants are now 73-60 and have won more games than they did all of last season.

Andrew Baggarly's postgame post notes that Penny's presence will enable the Giants to ease up on Lincecum and Cain, who have the most innings and the fourth most innings in the NL right now. He also has a nice note about call-up Dan Runzler having played at all 5 pro levels this year: It seems impossible, but Dan Runzler impressively skipped from Low-A Augusta to Single-A San Jose to Double-A Connecticut to Triple-A Fresno to the majors all in one season.
An ninth-round pick out of UC Riverside in 2007, he had a 0.76 ERA in 47 games, striking out 83 in 59 innings, and credited Augusta pitching coach Steve Kline with helping his mental approach.
Yes, you read that last sentence correctly.

Buster in the Orange and Black

With Bengie not willing to play, the Giants have called up Buster Posey. Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle is reporting that the front office isn't pleased over how Molina's handling this -- The move is prompted by Bengie Molina's lingering quadriceps strain. He has not started a game since the series in Colorado, and team officials have been sending signals that they are frustrated with Molina's unwillingness to play through the injury in a pennant race.

It seems to me this is an early indication that the Giants aren't going to sign Molina this winter.

The Hacktastics

Andrew Baggarly notes in his postgame notes that the Giants are still not showing any kind of plate discipline. I say fire Carney Lansford: Credit Hamels for having great command and mixing his changeup and fastball well. He was a solid pitcher having a very good night.
But we’ve seen these nights far too often against the Giants this season. If the pitcher is a house cat, they’re the ball of yarn.
The Giants average 3.58 pitches per plate appearance, which is far and away the lowest in the major leagues. If there’s any way to quantify “putting up a fight,” that’s the stat to measure it. The Giants simply don’t put up enough of a fight at the plate, mentally or physically.
Among the 16 NL teams, they rank 15th in runs per game, 15th in home runs, 16th in walks and 16th in on-base percentage.
Yet they’re a game out of the wild card. Unbelievable.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Buzzkill in Philly

Well, that didn't take long. After the high from the sweep of the Rox, the Orange and Black offense reverted to inoffensiveness and suffered a typical 2009 loss that wasted terrific pitching. The Giants managed two hits in a 1-0 shutout -- a double by Garko and a single by Aurilia. Andrew Baggarly's game story for the San Jose Mercury-News makes it clear (to me, at least) that Brian Sabean's continued to do a singularly incompetent job in addressing the crying need for more punch from a popgun attack -- A weakened and unimproved lineup managed one baserunner — Ryan Garko, who was stranded after a leadoff double in his first at-bat — in eight innings against Hamels.