Saturday, July 31, 2010

The last sweep of the Dodgers at home

Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury-News says at the end of a looooonnng postgame notes post that it was over seven years ago. He also opines that the deals for Javier Lopez and Ramon Martinez should work out and that we may have seen the last of Danny Bautista.

The Giants did win three straight games by one run -- 2-1, 3-2 and 5-4 in 12 innings, with Marvin Benard driving in the winner with a double with two outs after Marquis Grissom had doubled. Kevin Brown and Jason Schmidt started; Dave Roberts led off for the Dodgers. The Giants were 11-1 at that point.

That was the last Giants team to make the postseason, finishing at 100-61. Benito Santiago was the catcher; Snow, Durham, Aurilia and Alfonzo were the infield; Bonds, Grissom and Cruz were the starting outfielders. Schmidt, Reuter, Jerome Williams, Kirt Ainsworth and Damian Moss were in the rotation.

Karmic payback time

The Dodgers just lost their second game to the Giants this month after paying the price for hitting batters. In the July 20 game, the Blew Crew began to unravel once they hit Aaron Rowand in the 7th with a 5-1 lead.

In this case, Kuo nearly beaned Posey in the bottom of the 8th with 2 outs and a 1-0 lead. So the Dodgers brought in Fat Broxton -- as in fat pitch down Broadway -- to pitch to Pat Burrell, who lined a homer to left. It was the third hit batter of the day.

Maybe this is all payback for all the headhunting Don Drysdale did.

Henry Schulman's game story for the San Francisco Chronicle notes that the Giants were dead in the water up to the point of Kuo hitting Posey.

Eric Karros is an idiot

What do you expect of an ex-Dodger? He's been blathering about the "best free agent signing" of the season being Aubrey Huff, which in Karros' fevered mind makes Brian Sabean the "best GM in the majors" -- not mentioning to awful signings of Armando Blownitez, Zito, Renteria, Aaron Rowand, Jeffrey Hammond, Edgardo Alfonzo, Mark DeRosa.....

Shut up, Eric. Just shut up.

Giants have apparently traded Joe Martinez and John Bowker to the Pirates for Javier Lopez.

Go Giants!

Friday, July 30, 2010

An echo of Bill Buckner's stupidipty

Giants Win was there in Oakland for Game 5 of the 1974 World Series when Bill Buckner decided to stretch a two-base error by Bill North into a three-base error in the 8th inning with the Dodgers trailing 3-2 and no outs. Sal Bando tagged him out after a couple of great relay throws by Reggie and Dick Green. Five outs later, the World Series was over. Because of Buckner's Bosox fielding flub in the 1986 Series, no one remembers his Dodger choke 12 years earlier. He'd also incited the A's by saying that only three of them -- Bando, Rudi and Jackson -- were good enough to start on the Dodgers.

Tonight, we had the same brainless game-losing Dodger baserunning by Rafael Furcal, who was cut down at third by Pablo Sandoval after great relays by Aubrey Huff in right and Freddy Sanchez. I kept thinking about it as the pen gascanned away all but one run of a four-run cushion in the 9th. How do those goat horns fit, Furcal?

Thursday, July 29, 2010

I feel better because the Dodgers lost

There's nothing to ease the pain of a Giants loss like a Dodgers loss. NOTHING. Their "big" trade looks to be Scott Posednik, who managed to lose his job on the Chisox to the extremely over-rated and overpaid Juan Pierre.

I know that some will argue that had the Dodgers won, the Giants would have stayed 3 back insted of being 3 and half. But the loss pushed the Dodgers back SEVEN games, and that is a thing of beauty. Look at some of this prose from the writeup. If you're a Giants fan, this will make you feel a bit better about today's loss to the Fish.

Podsednik went 0-for-3 with a walk, strikeout, stolen base and was charged with a questionable error in center field when he tried to cut off Will Venable's seventh-inning double with a slide and fumbled the ball.Furcal, meanwhile, slumped to 1-for-26 with an 0-for-4 and two strikeouts, his average dropping from .337 to .314.

-- Andre Ethier is hitting .128 since appearing in his first All-Star Game. Casey Blake, who didn't start Thursday, is hitting .177 in July. Matt Kemp, who also didn't start Thursday, has a .302 on-base percentage in July.

-- Podsednik couldn't get the ball out of the infield with runners on second and third and one out and Furcal flied out with runners on the corners.

-- Hairston led off the ninth with what Sherrill said was a broken-bat grounder. Blake, inserted as a pinch-hitter in the seventh, was guarding the line and dived, but Sherrill said the ball hit Blake's forearm and bounced into left field. Hairston was bunted to second by Tony Gwynn and Salazar followed with his single through the middle.

-- "The last one I thought was a pretty good pitch, but I didn't get my glove down fast enough," said Sherrill.

Almost a no-hitter at Mays Field

Well, you knew that the offensive doldrums would return at some point as the Giants nearly got no-hit by Anibal Sanchez in a 5-0 buttkick by the Fish. Pablo Sandoval got a bloop single in the 5th. Jonathan Sanchez still has the only no-hitter in the 11 years since the park opened.

Posey's hit streak was stopped at 20. Chris Haft's story for notes that it was the second longest streak of the year after Josh Hamilton at 23.

So the Giants continue their disturbing trend of recent years of making guys who aren't exactly in the top tier look like the second coming of Juan Marichal. David Pinto at Baseball Musings says it was the second best game of Anibal Sanchez' career.

The Thrill chips in

Andres Torres credits special assistant Will Clark with his current hot streak, according to Henry Schulman's game story in the SF Chronicle. Torres now has 2 Splash Hits. I'd like to think The Thrill might have gotten as many as Barry's 35 had the park opened in 1986.

(1986 card posted by bstuchin)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rooting for the Dodgers? Forget it

NO WAY IN HELL. It's not happening here at Giants Win, even when they're playing -- and gagging to -- the Padres, 6-1.

The argument goes that the Giants need help catching the Padres, so that requires that we fans need to root for the Dodgers and set aside the fact that the Dodger franchise is perhaps the most evil on the planet. Henry Schulman, the SF Chronicle's beat writer, even posted about it.

Forget it. I don't like the Padres BUT the Dodgers must not win, particularly with them in contention for the Wild Card. The only time that I would root for the Dodgers is of the Padres and Giants are tied at the end of the season and the Dodgers are playing the Padres. But not with 60 games left.

OK, I hope we're clear on that.

Andres Torres is THE MAN

He hit a game winner in the 10th on his fourth hit of the game. Buster Posey and Aubrey Huff have gotten most of the notice but Torres is the guy who's turned it around this season.

He also had a Splash hit to help the Giants to a 9-2 lead. Then the bullpen gagged almost enough to give away the game. Fire Sabean has a good recap and hopes that the GM can get some bullpen help in the next few days. He also posted this baseball card from a few years ago.

No big deal for the Giants

Jeff Fletcher at AOL Fanhouse has a nice column that contends that Giants no longer need to trade for a big bat because of Buster Posey. Here's some of the key verbiage, which blasts apart one of Brian Sabean's dingbat reasons for having kept Posey in Fresno until May 29 -- that he couldn't handle catching at the MLB level: "He's been great," Cain said. "It's been a pretty smooth transition. Sometimes it takes a little time to get on the same page. But he's been real adaptive, so I give him a ton of credit for wanting to catch on fast. He put a lot of effort into that."
Giants pitchers had a 3.46 ERA with Molina behind the plate, and they had a 3.11 ERA with Posey, heading into Monday's game. Posey had also thrown 43 percent of would-be base-stealers, compared with Molina's 23 percent.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

"There's nothing like winning at the major league level"

photo of the Wall of Fame at AT&T Park by Wallyg

So says Mike Krukow at the conclusion of tonight's glorious 6-4 vic over the Marlins at Mays Field. Krukow and Duane Kuiper had been honored with "Kruk and Kuip Day" by the City of San Francisco, so Krukow got to make the first pick for player of the game on the postgame show and he chose Matt Cain for going up against an ace (Josh Johnson) and giving the Giants a chance to win. "That's what aces do and that's what Cain is," he also said.

Krukow got 66 of his 124 MLB wins while playing for the Orange and Black.

Cain didn't get the win tonight but left the game after 7 innings with a 3-3 tie. Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chronicle points out that the Giants have mounted pretty good offensive attacks on Roy Oswalt (3 times), Roy Halladay and Ubaldo Jimenez.

The Giants are currently in the middle of the pack (tied for 15th) in runs scored at 449 and in homers (16th) with 92.

MC O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain has a fine recap: Giants win 6-4 by beating one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, and by beating a homer-happy club at their own game. It was a sweet, sweet victory, and a really quite impressive team effort. Seven guys got hits and five guys scored runs. The top of the lineup kept us in it against Johnson, and the bottom of the lineup won it against the bullpen. Matt Cain gave us another studly outing, the 12th time in 21 starts he's thrown at least seven innings and given up no more than three runs (and his 16th quality start). If our re-juvenated, Buster-fied lineup can keep it going, that sort of thing is going to give us a lot of chances to win. I saw the Panda in the dugout, I'd love to see him pick it up and start raking like its two-thousand-nine.

2nd best NL outfielder wears Orange and Black

100 down, 62 left

The Giants got to their 100th game and wound up with a 4-3 loss to the Marlins to give them a 56-44 record -- still good enough to lead the NL Wild Card. John Shea's game story for the SF Chron offers an ominous forecast --

A bigger test comes tonight when the Giants face Josh Johnson, whose ERA has gone from 1.70 to 1.61 since the All-Star break. In each of his past 13 games, the 6-foot-7 Johnson has surrendered two or fewer runs. No starter has given up two or fewer in 14 straight games since Mike Scott in 1986.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Don't expect any big trades

That's what Bay Area Sports Fan says in a pretty sensible post. He contends that Prince Fielder is the only difference-making player available via trade, now that the lineup is producing for a change. Not hard to believe after the current run of 15-3 but here's BASG's conclusion -- So unless the Giants can kidnap Fielder, or there’s an available slugger who I’m unaware of (let me know in the comments if there is), I’d rather Sabean make the kind of trade he does best: an under the radar one for an excellent reliever. Or no trade at all. Man, it’s been a long time since I’ve said that.

"There's this guy Willie Mays, he's pretty good"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sweeping the Snakes

The Giants have just won 3-2 in the 10th in a game that saw the Dbacks trade Dan Haren. The Franchise gave up two in the first and then closed em down thru the 8th and the pen held em in the 9th and 10th. Oh, and Buster got 4 hits.

I've been fascinated at how prolific the Giants beat writers are, particularly with the team doing this well. Here's an impressive collection of today's tweets from Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News, even though I'm leaving a few out --

-- That finishes a stretch of 22 games with 18 on the road. And the Giants went 16-6. Phenomenal. I'm worn out, so I know the players must be. via web
-- Are the Giants rolling or what? Several great escapes get them to 10th, Posey's double leads to tiebreaking run, Wilson saves 3-2 win at AZ. via web
-- He is good. via web
-- Posey has 38 hits and a .469 average in July. This is his 3rd 4-hit game this month. Still six more games to play before August. via web
-- Yes, that is Eli Whiteside pinch-running for Buster Posey. Commence Internet implosion in 3 ... 2 ... 1 ... via web
-- After Sergio Romo cheats death in the ninth, Buster Posey leads off 10th with a double -- his fourth hit of the game. via web
-- Diamndbacks traded Haren to Angels for Joe Saunders, Patrick Corbin, Rafael Rodriguez and a player to be named via web
-- Tim Lincecum hit 94 once in first inning, mostly working at 92. Now pitching at 89-90 mph in the third. via web
-- Posey gets another hit. Doesn't pad streak, but it'll boost some rather firm credentials for NL July Player of the Month honors. via web
-- Scorer gives Posey a double and an RBI, but left fielder Gerardo Parra definitely misplayed it. via web
-- Once again, Buster Posey singles in his first at-bat, sucking all the drama out of this hitting streak thing. It's up to 18 games.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Double figures for the 7th time

The Giants offense went into overdrive tonight, scoring 10 runs as of the top of the 8th in Phoenix. It's the 7th time this year that they've gone into double digits -- all but one coming since Buster Posey arrived on May 29.

UPDATE -- the game just went final at 10-4, leaving the Orange and Black at 55-43 -- a season-high twelve games over .500 with a projected final record of 91-71. It's the fourth consecutive win for Madison Bumgarner, who went seven strong innings and gave up one run. Eugenio Velez got hit in the face with a Pat Burrell foul ball that got lined into the dugout and is in a Phoenix hospital; Jeremy Affeldt went on to the 15-day DL with a muscle tear. And Pablo Sandoval is going to Venezuela to deal with his divorce, which may explain partially why he's not been quite up to snuff. Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury-News has details, including this evaluation of the possible Rookie of the Year --Buster Posey really is remarkable. He got the hit streak settled right away, extending it to 17 games with a single in the first inning. Then he hit another single and walked twice, both times working the count impressively.Posey has enough at-bats in the league for pitchers to make adjustments on him. And I’ve noticed they are trying to go inside more often. But his hands are so quick that he’s able to stay inside the ball, even the ball on the inner third, and lash it up the middle or to right field. That, more than anything, makes me believe his production might be sustainable.

Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chronicle notes that it's the 4the straight road series that the Giants have won -- the first time they've done that since 2004.

Velez had been back after 2 months in Fresno. He got into the wild Tuesday game in LA with a sac bunt and then again in Friday night's game with a sacrifice bunt that Edwin Jackson threw away.

I don't believe you, Ned Colletti

The turncoat GM of the Dodgers -- is there really anything worse? -- has proclaimed to the LA Times that the Dodgers are in the market to acquire starting pitching, relief and an outfielder despite the problem of the owners' divorce. I'm skeptical, given that the Dodgers refused in the offseason to go to arbitration on Randy Wolf -- which would have either gotten them a decent pitcher or a compensatory draft pick.

The story by Helene Elliot lists some of the recent deadline deals he's made such as the ones for Greg Maddux, Julio Lugo, Marlon Anderson, some guy named Manny and Casey Blake. But that was before the divorce.
If the Dodgers do acquire anyone, it will be a second-tier guy -- not a difference-maker like Roy Oswalt or Dan Haren.

The Mets beat the dodgers 6-1 tonight

Eleven over .500 for the Orange and Black

Buster Posey sat this one out but the Giants still won to go a season-high 11 games over .500 at 54-43, which projects out to a 91-71 season.

Eugenio Velez came through in the clutch again. I know his numbers aren't very good, but he sure seems to deliver when the game's on the line. In this case, it was a simple sacrifice bunt that Edwin Jackson mis-handled for his second error in two plays...after he'd been given a 4-3 lead. Here's how Henry Scuhlman described it in his game story for the SF Chronicle -- But Jackson could not stand success either. After Nate Schierholtz's leadoff single in the seventh, the right-hander forced first baseman Adam LaRoche off the bag with a high throw on an Eli Whiteside bunt. Jackson then grabbed Eugenio Velez's pinch bunt and heaved it down the right-field line.

Hard to believe, but less than 3 weeks ago, the Giants were one game over .500 after the 15-inning loss to the Rox on the Fourth of July. So they've gone 13-3 since then.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Guillen in the Orange and Black?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Thinking ahead to October baseball

Ok, so it's only July 22 but tonight's 3-0 victory, with Matt Cain pitching 8 very strong innings, left the Giants in the lead for the NL Wild Card. That was Henry Schulman's lead in his game story for the Chronicle.

I guess the reporters are thinking ahead because the Giants are considering opening the 2011 season in Taiwan. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News filed this story.

As usual with any vic involving Cain, MC O'Conner at Raising (Matt) Cain has a nice recap:
The Tennessee Stud needed 117 pitches and 30 batters to get 24 outs. He mixed it up impressively, getting strikes with all his pitches, and using his breaking stuff (how about that changeup!) especially to get swings-and-misses. Check out these numbers from the box score: called strikes 20, swinging strikes 19, foul balls 18, and in-play strikes 19.

Here's one sign that the Giants are thinking about the postseason -- Baggarly notes that the Giants are trying to figure out how to limit Bumgarner's innings.

Buster's hit streak hits 16

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News just tweeted this --
Buster Posey didn't waste time extending that hit streak to 16 games. Only SF Giants rookies w/longer streaks: Cepeda (17) and McCovey (22).

Here's what Schulman just tweeted --
32-pitch first inning for Giants. Lopez need 11 ps to strike out Sandoval. Giants doing a much better job of grinding now.

Sometimes I hate being right

I'm not really surprised by tonight's 2-0 loss at Chavez Latrine. I read somewhere in an article on sports gambling that the odds of a team sweeping a series after winning to first two games go way up....because the losing team tends to have a much better chance to win the third (or fourth) game.

The offense finally returned to its pathetic self of the 7-game losing streak -- a walk by Torres, two singles by Sanchez, doubles by Schierholtz and Huff and a single by Posey. You hit like that, you're going to lose.

It was the 8th time this year the Orange and Black's been shut out -- though it's been over a month since it last happened. That was a 3-0 nightmare in Toronto.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Marichal debut -- 50 years ago

"A nice Dodger victory had turned into another awful loss"

What a thing of beauty! Here's a pretty good post by LA Times baseball writer Steve Dilbeck, who makes several excellent points about tonight's game, noting that the bad blood goes back to a beaning of Rowand three months ago and that Kershaw's hitting Rowand tonight was completely premeditated. It was perhaps the best game of the season, given that the Dodgers utterly gagged it away:

-- The two teams met here on April 16, Matt Kemp hitting a home run against Todd Wellemeyer and then getting buzzed with a Wellemeyer fastball at the head in his next at-bat. Vicente Padilla later hit Aaron Rowand with a pitch that broke two of his cheek bones and sent him to the disabled list.

-- Lincecum was gone one batter later anyway when DeWitt singled, but in the next inning reliever Denny Bautista twice threw inside at Russell Martin. Dodgers bench coach Bob Schaefer was yelling at Johnson to eject Bautista, which only served to earn him the ejection. It should be noted that Hong-Chih Kuo then started warming up in the bullpen. That's Kuo, who normally doesn’t appear until the eighth. Clayton Kershaw took to the mound in a 5-4 game in the seventh … and immediately hit the next Giants batter. Which as it turns out, was Rowand. The pitch hit him in the hip area, but got Kershaw an immediate ejection. And automatically, by rule, Manager Joe Torre with him.

-- Mattingly was leaving the mound, when he turned and went back to mound to answer a question by first baseman James Loney. It constituted a second visit and meant Broxton had to leave the game. At that point, options limited, the Dodgers went to struggling left-hander George Sherrill, who to the surprise of no one promptly gave up a two-run double to Andres Torres. Buster Posey added a run-scoring single against Travis Schlichting and a nice Dodger victory had turned into another awful loss.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"That was worse than Saw V"

That's what Ken Levine said about tonight's glorious 7-5 Giant victory on the postgame Dodger Talk radio show on KABC-AM. The Dodger Crybabies have only themselves to blame for tonight's loss. And they have now lost 6 in a row and their closer, Fat Broxton, has apparently lost a lot of his velocity. I believe that's partly because he won't bother to get into decent shape. Unfortunately, it appears that Tim Lincecum has also lost a lot of his velocity, at least tonight.

But let's go back to the Dodgers, who may be imploding despite having a pretty good core of players. Rick Monday, who was a pretty good MLB player and a decent broadcaster for the Dodgers, whined a bit that Bochy had made a "ticky tack" move by demanding that Broxton be removed after Don Mattingly acted like an idiot and stepped on the pitcher's mound twice in the ninth. But he was more upset over Ronnie Belliard failing to run out a dropped third strike in the bottom of the ninth.

Lefty Malo has a nice recap of the Dodger brainlessness: Tim Lincecum, having one of his worst games of the year, brushed back Matt Kemp with a fastball in the fifth, then hit him with the next pitch. Kemp was livid, took steps toward the mound, and the home plate ump warned everyone. Kemp tried to take an extra base on a subsequent hit, looking for revenge, and got thrown out at third. It was a big out and a rally killer. The Dodgers might have scored a couple more runs and salted away what was then a 5-1 game.

Fast forward to the eighth (Big D -- actually it was the sixth): Rowand leading off got hit on the first pitch in what was obvious retaliation. LA pitcher Kershaw was tossed. Torre was tossed. The Dodgers' bench coach was tossed. For their retaliation efforts, the Dodgers gave up a big inning, lost a starting pitcher, and left the game decisions to a guy who made a colossal blunder. Kershaw is also likely to get suspended. Brilliant job, Torre, with your team already falling down the NL West standings like a drunk roofer down a ladder. Oh yeah. Did I mention the Giants came back from a 5-1 deficit in the 6th to win this game? Against the Dodgers' ace?

As Krukow just said in the post-game wrap, "There was hatred, then there was some more hatred, then some more hatred, then the Giants won."

Here's Henry Schulman's game story for the Chronicle, who recaps how the Dodgers managed to crybaby their way into a loss -- Tensions escalated in the bottom half (of the sixth) when Denny Bautista's first pitch nearly hit Russell Martin. Dodgers bench coach Bob Schaefer was ejected for arguing that Bautista should have been ejected because the benches had been warned. Martin hollered at Bautista after flying out.
When Kershaw apparently retaliated by hitting Rowand in the leg to start the seventh, he was ejected, as was manager Joe Torre. That fatefully put Mattingly in charge.

How did that taste, Casey Blake?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thanks, Frank and Jamie!

(This shot of Mila Kunis -- in case you're wondering who I'm talking about -- is from Nickslide's photostream)

The Giants can thank Frank and Jamie McCourt for going to the mat in divorce court. Unlike other years, the Dodgers are no longer in a position to make a smart deadline move for help. They're in a real financial bind and they are so desperate for pitching right now that they brought up a Triple A pitcher, James McDonald, to face the Giants tonight at Chavez Latrine. If the McCourts actually cared about winning the pennant, they would have opened up the bank account and gotten someone like Roy Oswalt.

The Orange and Black managed to tag McDonald for four runs in 4 innings and that was essentially the ballgame. Bumgarner held the Dodgers to a run into the 6th and the pen -- though wobbly at times -- let in only one more. So the Dodgers are now on a glorious five-game losing streak, with no help in sight. They have a very solid core of players (Kemp, Ethier, Furcal, Loney, Kershaw, Broxton) but if one of their regulars gets hurt, they probably won't win the division. Manny's still hurt so they started banjo hitter Jamie Carroll in left tonight. That's verging on desperate, a bit like the Giants starting Jose Vizcaino at first.

MLB Trade Rumors says the Dodgers are intersted in a lot of pitchers including Roy Oswalt, Dan Haren, Jake Westbrook, Fausto Carmona, Kevin Gregg and Ted Lilly. Yeah, and as long as we're engaged in fantasy, why not trade for Mila Kunis and Marisa Tomei, too? I'm skeptical that the Dodgers will be willing to take on any more salary, not with divorce proceedings going into high gear soon. Some people predict that the McCourts will settle. I'm not one of them.

In addition to thanking the McCourts, I also want to thank Matt Kemp for getting picked off in the second.

Scuzzy Phil Cuzzi

Orange and Black heading into LA

Yes, it's a three-game set at Chavez Latrine with the dodgers having just gotten swept by the Cards in St. Louis. Hopefully, the Giants will take out their frustration over Phil "Stupid Incompetent" Cuzzi by hammering the rookie pitcher James McDonald.

Fat Broxton fell apart today in St. Louis and ex-Giant Randy Winn played a key Dodger-hating role in a comeback from a 4-0 deficit, according to the LA Times story.Joe Torre said that he asked "too much" of Broxton. Yeah, Joe, like asking you closer not to weigh 300 pounds is asking too much.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Phil Cuzzi 1, Giants 0

Grant at McCovey Chronicles says it far better -- The Giants were about to lose. Then they won. Then they didn’t. And then they lost.
Phil Cuzzi had a dreadful game. If he were a shortstop, he would have had six errors. If he were a reliever, he would have given up nine earned runs. If he were an umpire, he’d be a disgrace. Oh, hey, I guess that last one fits.

Here are a few choice responses -- "That was terrible. This is the worst Giants win I’ve ever been to" and "I haven’t been this mad since my son ate all the leftover pizza."

Even the Mets catcher admitted to reporters that Ishikawa was safe in the 9th. Ishikawa had the class to admit to Henry Schulman of the SF Chron that umpiring's a tough gig.

Where's the Panda power?

Maybe it's coming back, at long last. Sandoval has been hitting the ball hard during the Mets series.He's gone 5 for 10 with doubles and 4 RBIs. It's a refreshing development. The double on Thursday night was his first extra base hit since June 19. He hasn't homered since June 12.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dodgers keep losing, fall to 4th place

Five in a row

The Chosen One

Friday, July 16, 2010

"There's no way it can be a strike"

That's how Duane Kuiper described Barry Zito's curve tonight in the 4th inning in his best outing this year. "It looks like it's going to come in at head level so the batter thinks 'there's no way it can be a strike' and then starts hoping that it's not a strike as it drops into the strike zone," he said.

Back to back shutouts. Henry Schulman of the SF Chron says in his game story that -- prior to last night's 2-0 vic-- the Giants had won only 2 out of 28 games this season when they scored 2 runs or less. Now it's 4 of 30.

Rush Limbaugh Is Still a Big Fat Idiot

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Hasta la vista, opening day lineup

Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News notes that Sandoval was going to be the only starter in the same position tonight as he was on opening day. Actually, he's wrong -- Rowand led off both games but that's just because Torres was held out for a day. His point is that a lot of players are gone or have changed roles.

The lineup on April 5 -- Rowand CF, Renteria SS, Sandoval 3B, Huff 1B, DeRosa LF, Molina C, Bowker RF, Uribe 2B.

The lineup on July 15 -- Rowand CF, Sanchez 2B, Huff LF, Posey C, Ishikawa 1B, Uribe SS, Sandoval 3B, Schierholtz RF

Lincecum was the starting pitcher in both games. Henry Schulman's game story for the Chronicle notes that it was Lincecum's 50th career vic.

The Cy guy returns

Tim Lincecum just completed a 2-0 shutout of the Mets. This is a great shot that Artolog took last September during another night game.

We Giants fans are fortunate to have a player like this.

Tonight's line -- 110 pitches, 6 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts. It's his first shutout this year and the 4th of his career.

Dontrelle in the Orange and Black?

He's been signed to a Triple A contract, according to the Mercury-News.

Talk about a guy whose career has gone off the rails. I'm sure that the Giants are thinking that his being a Bay Area native -- just like Pat the Bat -- may be a help to his getting back to the bigs. Earlier in his career, Dontrelle was among the elite during his time with the Marlins.

Speaking of the Marlins, the SF Giants just tweeted this -- The #Marlins just released everyone's favorite former #SFGiant, Armando Benitez. #Sarcasm

UPDATE -- here's the Dontrelle story from the Giants site.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ah, the good old days

Artolog shot this wonderful photo of Pablo Sandoval nearly a year ago during a postgame fan picnic. If Sandoval can start hitting again like he did last year, the Giants might have a real shot at postseason.

Wait and see on the Orange and Black trade front

Sleazy, sleazy, sleazy Dodger owners

ESPN the Magazine has a massive article detailing the disgraceful "let them eat cake" behavior of Frank and Jamie McCourt at a time when most people are struggling to make ends meet. It's almost enough -- but not quite -- to make me feel sorry for Dodger fans. Here are some nuggets from Molly Knight's story --

In the six years he's owned the Dodgers, Frank has borrowed an estimated $390 million against the team -- staking future ticket sales -- which he used to live the high life, complete with a private jet ($2 million a year) and a hairstylist who came to the house five days a week ($150,000 a year). The McCourts also spent six figures on Vladimir Shpunt -- the healer who treated Jamie's eye -- asking him to use his "V Energy" to help the team and to "Think Blue" from his home in Massachusetts.
Meanwhile, Frank engaged in a perfectly legal shell game and has not paid a dime in state or federal taxes since 2004. More eyebrows were raised when The New York Times revealed on July 9 that a Dodgers executive had drawn more than $400,000 in salary to run a $1.6 million charitable fund for the Dodgers Dream Foundation. The trial will force open even more of the club's books, bringing even closer scrutiny to the couple's professional and private finances.
While the McCourts were living large, the Dodgers, in 2008 and 2009, spent less than any other MLB team on the draft and international-player signings, an area the team once dominated.

Jon Weisman, who blogs pretty well for ESPN at Dodger Thoughts, interviewed Knight about the story. Knight thinks Frank will settle. Here's one particularly revealing answer to a good question from Weisman --

Q. Considering how much the McCourts borrowed, why didn't it occur to them to maybe rein in personal expenses just a little?
A. They live in a different world than we do, is the best answer to that. Frank has spent his adult life borrowing Peter to pay Paul. The only thing that changed is he got his hands on some better collateral. I think they were riding the gravy train knowing that when the TV rights came up in 2013 they'd become rich beyond their wildest dreams. I also think they desperately wanted to be part of L.A.'s high society. Trouble is out here you have to be a movie star to be A-List. No one cared until this divorce hit.

"Why can't I get that?"

I've got to keep giving Bruce Bochy credit for a fine sense of humor. As Brian Wilson came off the mound tonight in the 8th after setting down the AL 1-2-3 on 10 pitches, Wilson told Bochy "What's with that?" and Bochy replied "Why can't I get that?" John Shea of the San Francisco Chron does a solid job on the game story. Wilson also wore bright orange spikes, which he said are "magical." I say they're "distracting," so it's all good.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Buster for Rookie of the Year

Monday, July 12, 2010

Brian Sabean is out of his mind

He tells Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury-News that he blames the pitching, which is second best in the NL, for letting the team down. The hitting, by the way, is 11th best in the league.

I read it and thought "he's out of his mind." Then a poster name ZOZ had this response --

SFG Runs scored/game: 4.43 – 11th in NL, 19th in MLB

SFG Runs allowed/game: 3.77 – 2nd in NL, 2nd in MLB

Yep, it’s clearly the pitchers who are the problem.

Mordy from Monsy added this --

Another dumb comment from Sabes…He has cornered the market when it comes to stupidity…Blaming the pitchers is so insane I don’t know where to start..Of course I would rather they not walk as many as they do nor nibble around the plate but that has nothing to do with whomever is catching…Pitching IS the reason why we are in contention….Another example of why this team seems to fish in a rudderless boat…The front office has no clue how to evaluate or size up a situation…The just plain out suck

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"It's great to be young and a Giant"

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Buster and the big scores

A night after scoring a run on four hits against the Nats, the Giants blasted their way to a 10-5 victory as the pen clamped down after Jonathan Sanchez couldn't get out of the 5th inning.

Juan Uribe and Buster Posey each delivered 3 RBIs as the Giants hit double figures in runs scored for the sixth time this year season -- and the third time in eight games. The others came on the 3rd game of the season, 10-4 against Houston; the 12-1 clobberation of the Dbacks on the last Saturday in May and the June 14 skunking of the Orioles, 10-2. It's worth noting that five of these six have come with Posey -- who now has 7 HRs and 23 RBIs -- on the team. His first game this year was when he came up from Fresno for the 12-1 victory over Arizona.

Dodgers get even sleazier

The New York Times has the scoop. It's about how a Dodgers exec got paid $401,000 by the Dodgers Dream Foundation, a non-profit that only had a budget of $1.6 million.

The Times also has a recap about the McCourt divorce. Here's what blogger Mark Lacter at LA Biz Observed has to say -- So let's see, the guy hasn't paid federal or state income taxes since 2004, he's taken out almost $400 million in loans against future ticket revenue to pay for their oversized lifestyles, the two sons were paid salaries totaling $600,000 a year even though one had another full-time job and the other was attending graduate school, and a faith healer received more than $100,000 to help the Dodgers win by sending positive energy. At least the divorce filings are providing a little insight into the slimy empire.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Howry -- still lousy

I felt a grim satisfaction attending the Dodgers-Cubs game tonight and watched Bobby Howry come in to give up a run on a terrible pitch -- a belt-high fattie in the center of the plate that Loney smoked. Since the disgusting Dodgers eventually won 9-7, Howry's partly to blame, as usual.

During last year with the Giants, he specialized in giving up walkoff homers (three in all) and collapsing with the game on the line, so much so that Bochy finally stopped using him in any kind of high-leverage situation. I was pleased that the Giants front office -- which seems to have a better handle on evaluating pitchers than it does on hitters -- made no effort to re-sign him. I don't miss him at all and I'm amazed that he still has a job. Here's a game from April 15, 2009 that he blew at Chavez Latrine before Bochy wised up to what a gas-canner Howry is (after being awful in the 8th, Bochy sent him out in the 9th) --

Giants up 4-2 in the 8th, Ethier singles off Affeldt; Howry replaces Affeldt
R. Martin
Double to LF (Ground Ball); Ethier to 3B
J. Loney
Flyball: RF/Sacrifice Fly (Deep RF); Ethier Scores; Martin to 3B
M. Kemp
Single to CF (Ground Ball thru SS-2B); Martin Scores
C. Blake
Flyball: RF (CF-RF)
Doug Mientkiewicz pinch hits for Ronald Belisario (P) batting 9th
Single to RF (Line Drive); Kemp to 3B
R. Furcal
Flyball: LF
2 runs, 4 hits, 0 errors, 2 LOB. Giants 4, Dodgers 4.

Bottom of the 9th, Dodgers Batting, Tied 4-4, Giants' Bob Howry facing 2-3-4
O. Hudson
Single to CF (Line Drive)
M. Ramirez
Single to CF (Fly Ball to Deep CF-RF); Hudson to 3B
A. Ethier
Intentional Walk; Ramirez to 2B

(Wilson then came in, got Martin to ground out and gave up a game ending walk to Loney)

"It's a sham"

That's what Aubrey Huff says about the All-Star Game, according to Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area. I agree with him that Bud Selig's idea of having the league that wins get homefield advantage for the World Series is stupid. Huff doesn't name Bud, so I will -- "It’s so backward, it’s a joke,” said Huff, a 33-year-old veteran of 11 big-league seasons who has never been an All-Star. “I mean, if you want to make the game mean something and be so important with the World Series thing, why are you letting the fans pick the starters?"

Well, that didn't last long

A day after the most inspiring series all year, the wheels came off for the Giants against the Nats. Andres Torres led off the game with a homer against Stephen Strasburg and it all went downhill after that -- including Matt Cain's worst performance in some time.

Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury-News believes that Matt's egregious pickoff error in the first kept him unfocused for the rest of the night, leading to giving up two homers to Adam Dunn.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

How did that taste, Prince?

"La vengeance se mange très-bien froide" ("Revenge is very good eaten cold")Marie Joseph Eugène Sue in "Mathilde" circa 1846.

Well, Marie Joseph, you weren't just whistling Dixie when you wrote that.

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron makes an astute observation about the four-game sweep -- the last time the Giants were in Beer Town, the Brewers decided to mock their opponents with a nutty -- and childish -- bowling pin celebration when Prince Fielder hit a walkoff homer.

I'd forgotten that it was a 2-1 loss in the 12th inning in the middle of Labor Day weekend, when the Giants still had a legitimate shot at the postseason.

There are good reasons why big leaguers keep a lid on celebrating. They tell you that it's because it's a long season and you need to keep focused on the next game. But the Giants just showed that it's also a good idea not to give your opponents more motivation in the future. There's been some turnover from the 2009 squad but over the half the current team -- Cain, Lincecum, Zito, Jonathan and Freddy Sanchez, Ishikawa, Renteria, Rowand, Sandoval, Zito, Affeldt, Runzler, Romo, Schierholtz -- was there that day in Milwaukee 10 months ago. Here's how Schulman ended his game story:

And, yes, vengeance for l'affaire bowling was part of the fun. As one veteran player said, "A lot of times you let your offense take care of it. You don't want to wake sleeping Giants."

Buster in Tundra Territory

The power stays on in Milwaukee

A week after one of the worst weeks in recent Orange and Black history, the Giants complete a four-game sweep of the Brewers by outscoring the Brewers by 36-7.

Fire Sabean has a nice early recap:At one point the Brewers had left 15 of a maximum 18 runners on base (through six). I don’t know if that’s a good thing for our pitching or just a terrible thing for Milwaukee’s hitting. One things for sure, the Brewers defense is God-awful.Aubrey Huff looked like the All-Star that he should be, Andres Torres continued to be what Fred Lewis never could be, and Freddy Sanchez continues to be a great number two hitter. Are things starting to click?But when Chris Ray made Corey Hart look foolish on a strikeout, everything fell into place: Our new trade acquisition made our potential trade acquisition look like the player we traded away..

One downside to the game is that Zito has gone back to pitching lousily, which meant that the pen got stretched out. Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury-News tweets that Dan Runzler hurt his knee on an at-bat in the 6th -- Preliminary tests indicate no major ligament/tendon damage, but Runzler will have an MRI exam tomorrow. Almost certain he's headed to the DL.

Baggarly has continually impressed me with his ability to file a big notes package at the end of the game. In this case, he managed to bang out an extensive recap before making a plane to fly to Washingon DC for the Strasberg game tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Rebirth in Milwaukee for the Orange and Black

After the week from hell, the Giants have come back to life with four wins in five road games, including tonight's 15-2 clobberation of the Brewers. Buster Posey and Tim Lincecum had great nights. And Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle has particularly telling line in his game story -- In the seven games since the Bengie Molina deal and Posey's elevation to almost-everyday catcher, the rookie has hit gone 12-for-24 with four home runs and nine RBIs.

Even Edgar Renteria had 3 hits tonight. The sudden resurgence of the offense may be making the front office think twice or thrice about pulling the trigger on a trade. Lefty Malo isn't impressed with Corey Hart and suggests that the Giants should probably suck it up with Edgar at short and hope that Juan Uribe recovers from his finger injury. Lefty's also skeptical about the notion of swapping problem contracts with the Cubbies in a Rowand for Zambrano deal: It's within the realm of imagination, but I can't see the Giants taking on the salary commitment and the psychiatric burden of Zambrano unless a) they polled the clubhouse and guys were cool with it; b) the Cubs sent cash to equalize the contracts; c) they secured a very large supply of Risperdal.

Edgar at the end of the line?

The Orange and Black future

Madison Bumgarner, who's still a month away from turning 21, won his first MLB game tonight for a team that has been obsessed with veterans. It was the second straight 6-1 thumping of the Brewers -- take that, Bud Selig! -- that featured an egregious error by the Brewers that opened the way to a big Giants rally. Here's what the manager told Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News -- "He got a bunt down, got a hit, had a rocket hit back at him and made it look easy — he had it all going for him," Bochy said. "At 20 years old, he's got great composure out there. Just a good look about him."

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

"I'll always be your friend"

A truly classy goodbye from Bengie Molina, posted to his Behind the Mask blog.Here's what he told his teammates after finding out about the trade:
"I just want to say thanks for being such great teammates and for taking care of me. I'm really going to miss you guys,'' I said. "You have what it takes to win this thing, and I'm going to watching as much as I can. You guys have my number. Even if I'm not your teammate any more, I'll always be your friend.''

Monday, July 05, 2010

An easy Orange and Black victory (for a change)

It's been awhile since one of those has come the way of Giants fans but Jonathan Sanchez kept the Brew Crew's bats in line with a single run in 6 innings and 115 pitches. Then Casilla, Chris Ray and Dan Runzler closed it out. The offense came alive with six runs in the 6th, 7th and 8th, topped off by Buster Posey's third homer. The Brewers are one of the few teams tha rank as a bigger disappointment than the Giants right how. This is what good teams do -- they beat up lousy ones.

The last easy game came three weeks ago today on June 14 -- a 10-2 blowout of Baltimore that Jonathan Sanchez won with Freddy Sanchez driving in four. At that point, the Giants were 9 games over .500 at 36-27 and half a game out of first. Even with winning two of the last three, they are now just two games over at 42-40.

Chris Haft's game story for says that the Giants got lucky today because of Alcides Escobar's error in the 7th: Said Bochy, "We got a break, which we really haven't had a lot of."

Escobar also managed to picked off first by Sanchez.

The Orange and Black snubs

Kevin O'Brien at Remember '51 has a solid analysis of the four Giants -- Huff, Cain, Torres and Uribe -- who can make the case that they were snubbed in the All-Star selections. His conclusion is that Huff is probably the most All-Star worthy -- So, why isn't Huff an All-Star? He's coming off an atrocious year, and he is playing for a Giants roster that has made more noise for their pitching and LACK of offense. It's really unfair. Huff is doing what Adrian Gonzalez did a year ago, but while Gonzalez has gotten the respect, Huff's incredible first half has been swept under the rug by the fans, players and of course, Charlie "I hate the Giants players" Manuel.

Is Bruce Bochy losing it?

Sunday, July 04, 2010

"We played hard all 15 innings"

I do appreciate that the Orange and Black is giving it all they can. That quote is from what Edgar Renteria told Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle at the end of today's 4-3 heartbreak at Coors Field. As usual, the pitchers were outstanding and the hitters fell short. By my count, it's the 14th time this year that the Giants have lost a game by one run.

So the first half of the year is over and the team is now 41-40. Hard to believe, but less than two weeks ago, they were nine games over .500 at 39-30 when they beat the Astros, 3-1.

71 years ago today

Lou Gehrig gave his farewell speech at Yankee Stadium. ", I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

The Orange and Black All-Stars

No surprise here -- The Franchise and Bryan Wilson were named this morning to the All-Star team. Tim was actually the starting pitcher for the NL last year.

I looked back to see who's been named to the All-Star team in recent years, though the site hasn't been updated to say who got named in 2009 . Count yourself as a true Giants fan if you know: that Moises Alou made the team as Giant in 2005; that Shawn Estes was an All-Star in 1997; the year that Chris Brown was a Giants All-Star (1986); or that Bob Schmidt made the team as a Giant in 1958. It's a reminder of how lousy the teams were in 2005-07 -- each team had only the minimum one player from the Giants. Here's the list for the last 20 years --

2009 Matt Cain, P; Tim Lincecum, P
2008 Tim Lincecum, P; Brian Wilson, P
2007 Barry Bonds, OF
2006 Jason Schmidt, P
2005 Moises Alou, OF
2004 Barry Bonds, OF; Jason Schmidt, P
2003 Barry Bonds, OF; Jason Schmidt, P
2002 Barry Bonds, OF; Robb Nen, P; Benito Santiago, C
2001 Rich Aurilia, SS; Barry Bonds, OF; Jeff Kent, 2B
2000 Barry Bonds, OF; Jeff Kent, 2B
1999 Jeff Kent, 2B; Robb Nen, P
1998 Barry Bonds, OF; Robb Nen, P
1997 Rod Beck, P; Barry Bonds, OF; Shawn Estes, P
1996 Barry Bonds, OF; Matt Williams, 3B
1995 Barry Bonds, OF; Matt Williams, 3B
1994 Rod Beck, P; Barry Bonds, OF; Matt Williams, 3B
1993 Rod Beck, P; Barry Bonds, OF; John Burkett, P; Robby Thompson, 2B
1992 Will Clark, 1B
1991 Will Clark, 1B
1990 Jeff Brantley, P; Will Clark, 1B; Kevin Mitchell, OF; Matt Williams, 3B

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Giants win by football score in Denver

A bit of optmism about The Franchise

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News says Tim Lincecum looked far better last night in Denver than he has in awhile, hitting 95 mph.

The only other bright spot was Aubrey Huff, who now has 14 homers, which puts him on track for 28 -- which would be the most since Barry Bonds hit 28 in in his last season in 2007.

In defense of Sabean

Lefty Malo, who's pretty astute, says the Molina trade may be Sabean's best for having picked up Michael Main --Main is young and flawed and needs mechanical fixes, but he has a ton of potential. (Link tip from Grant.) He's 21 and was throwing well enough in the High-A California League to earn a promotion to Double-A just before the trade. In a Giant farm system bereft of high-level pitching prospects now that the MadBum is a big leaguer, Main probably becomes the top arm. Here's another scouting report.

Buster Olney of ESPN tweets that there have been no trade talks about Prince Fielder

Kirk Gibson kicks the Dodgers in the teeth

A bit of good news for Giants fans from Phoenix -- the Dbacks clobbered the Dodgers in Kirk Gibson's first game as a manager. It's been 22 years since Gibson's homer in Game 1 of the Series -- and thankfully, the last time the Dodgers could legitimately claim to be the best team in baseball. Nice quote from Dylan Hernandez at the LA Times --

"I felt it was like my first major league game again," Gibson said. "I don't know how many people get to have that feeling. It was, like, euphoric."

Kirk and I agree -- euphoric is how I feel when the Dodgers lose.

Friday, July 02, 2010

The week from Hell

I often have weeks that are lousy but the path is often lightened by the Giants winning. This wasn't one of those weeks. Here's a stomach-churning recap --

June 26 -- Boston 4, SF 2
June 27 -- Boston 5, SF 1
June 28 -- LA 4, SF 2
June 29 -- LA 4, SF 2
June 30 -- LA 8, SF 2
July 1 -- Colorado 7, SF 3
July 2 -- Colorado 6, SF 3

I often try hard to come up with something positive to say about all this to the dozens of readers. OK, here it is -- this is the week that fully exposed what a fraud and a failure Brian Sabean is as a general manager. He's had SIX SEASONS ever since Barry Bonds became mortal in 2005 to assemble a decent offense and he has failed utterly, even after the pitchers delivered a stunning performance in 2009. At some point, one hopes that managing partner Bill Neukom will realize this and get rid of this loser.

The players certainly seem like a likable group, if one believes Henry Schulman's game story for the San Francisco Chronicle, but if they don't get airtight pitching, they probably aren't going to win most games. The Colorado announcers made the point that Lincecum had 68 walks all year last season; he's already at 45 on July 2 this year.

Tonight's offense consisted of two homers by Huff, a double by Torres, two singles by Posey and a walk by Burrell.

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters recaps the awfulness of Sabean's stewardship. He's still dining on the colossally good fortune of having the best player in the game in the lineup for the first 11 years of his tenure in San Francisco. Here are some very good questions from post -- At what point does this Giants team ownership group realize what the hell is going on here? At what point does performance begin to matter? When will Sabean be held accountable for the team that he has built? This is a team with one of the highest payrolls in all of baseball, how the hell can this team be so poorly constructed?

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Stretch's plaque

Wally G has taken photos of all the Giants Wall of Fame plaques at Mays Field aka AT&T Park. This is my favorite.

It's Timmy time