Wednesday, March 31, 2010

The Franchise gets ready to go

The other Sanchez

That would be Freddy Sanchez. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle's reporting that he won't be back in the bigs until May 1 at the earliest. Look, he seems like a nice guy who wants to do well. But he's brought mostly aggravation to Giants fans so far.

This is the guy who the Giants traded -- a 20-year-old pitcher who was dominating. What a truly idiotic trade -- compounded by a two-year deal for $12 million signed AFTER he was so banged up that he was closed down before the end of last season.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Garko out of a job

The Seattle Mariners just released him to make room for Mike Sweeney. Hard to believe that this guy's unemployed.

Maybe the Indians knew what they were doing when they swindled Brian Sabean out of prospect Scott Barnes last summer. He was 12-3 at San Jose at the time.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Time for Jonathan Sanchez to step up

That wacky Dodger divorce

Good Lord. The McCourts were spending money like maniacs on themselves, according to today's coverage of the court hearing on Jamie McCourt's request for a cool million per month in spousal support.

I'm a bit heartened that this means that the McCourts aren't spending money on the Dodgers -- thus heightening the Giants' chances this season. But to read about this divorce is also a bit depressing. It sounds as if the spending got completely out of control. The Dodgers are now 11-11 in spring training, as if that means anything.

Bowker keeps bashing

Fire Sabean now

Sunday, March 28, 2010

"Pitching is our hallmark"

"Duane Kuiper has never let me down"


Josh Wilker at Cardboard Gods posted this 1977 baseball card from Duane's long tenure as a Cleveland Indian and referenced a far longer post with that quote from Joe Posnanski. Here's how Josh describes it -- Posnanski seems to be, at least in the abundance of the personality he is able to share in his writing, that rarest of things in this shaky world: a sane man. This sanity comes across in the Duane Kuiper piece with his characterization of his bond to Duane Kuiper, which is as fiercely loyal as any bond forged by a raving lunatic, but which is grounded in a decidedly human realm. Joe Posnanski has never been disappointed by Duane Kuiper because all he ever expected from Duane Kuiper was what Duane Kuiper readily offered: hustle, humor, humility.

Rowand improving?

That's my hope, anyhow, after reading a post by Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News about how Hensley Meulen's coaching appears to have paid off -- at least in spring training. And here's something I did't know -- Rowand's unique bow-legged, squatty stance hasn't changed. He's had to hit that way ever since shattering his ankle in a collision with Phillies second baseman Chase Utley.

Rowand's 32 and has three more years on his $60 million deal.

"XXXX solid save for two pitches"

Come on, now. Who else could could they possibly be referring to in the headline on the Giants site? Who makes more money -- by far -- than anyone else on the team?

So here we have reporters and editors saying the equivalent of "I had a great time except that my date slapped me in the face when I tried to kiss her." How far is that from "Zito was great except that he sucked on two pitches"?

Here's the exact headline on the story filed by Jesse Sanchez of mlb.com -- "Zito's latest start solid save for two pitches"

Friday, March 26, 2010

Brian Wilson extended

Adios, Kevin Frandsen

Double Cy Young winner


Another fine shot by Artolog, taken last September after Tim Linceum missed a start. Tim went seven innings and struck out 11 as the Giants won over the Rox, 9-1. The giants were 78-66 at that point and would go 10-8 the rest of the way.

Here's what Giants fans love


That's pure joy on the fans' faces, if you ask me. I admit that I've done my share of Bengie bashing but it's hard not to feel My-T fine looking at this wonderful shot by Artolog from last August. Bengie's just hit a 3-run homer with two outs in the 8th off Chad Qualls to pull the Giants ahead 4-3.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Affeldt staying in the Orange and Black

USA Today's reporting that he signed a two-year deal. It's for $9.5 million and goes through next year with an option 2012. The Giants haven't confirmed it exactly, although they have posted it on their official web site.

He was lights out last year -- so much so that I'm a little concerned that he may revert to career norms this year. Hopefully, he's gonna be dialed in again at Mays Field.

LETS GO, GIANTS!!!!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"Seal of approval"


I just love this shot by Reveritas, taken during the 2008 season. It's beyond centerfield at Mays Field.
LET'S GO, GIANTS!!!!!

Bowker bashing

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What does a 16-6 spring training record mean?

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle acknowledges that the games are meaningless, but notes that the Orange and Black has looked fairly sharp. They won 6-1 today over the Chisox. He also reported that Kevin Fransden is being shopped but there are no takers.

The Giants hit seven doubles and triples and Matt Cain looked impressive. Here's some key verbiage --
In more than two decades of covering ball, I cannot remember a Giants team that played better fundamental baseball day in and day out in the exhibitions. I'm talking about not kicking the ball around, hitting cutoff men, sending runners to third with nobody out with grounders to the right side, etc...
I joked with Cain today about not wanting to use your best stuff during rehearsal, but he said he thinks these wins are important.
"I think this right here is going to build confidence for us carrying over into the season," Cain said.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Fast, fast, fast

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Wellemeyer steps up

Saturday, March 20, 2010

"He really kept his composure"

That's Bruce Bochy's take on Buster Posey's game-winning two-strike hit on Friday. Posey is not looking like a rookie, according to Chris Haft of mlb.com

Friday, March 19, 2010

Spring training tweets of the day -- March 19

Pablo Sandoval has left today's game in the first inning after running from first to home on an Aubrey Huff double...Still no word on apparent Sandoval injury.... Pablo was spiked on his right shin. Day to day -- Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle

Chris Haft of mlb.com has a story that indicates the Panda will be out for a couple of days, then mentions that Freddy Sanchez won't be playing on opening day and probably not any time soon after that, either. Yet another reason to fire Brian "Incompetent" Sabean.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Panda's Oregon days

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle has a nice story about Pablo Sandoval breaking into organized baseball as an 18-year-old in Oregon. Alex Hinshaw recalls that Sandoval knocked down a hard grounder at third, picked it up and threw a bullet to first....left-handed:

"My jaw dropped," he said. "I had utter confusion going on in my head. At that point I didn't even know Pablo could throw the ball left-handed, and he threw a seed. I stood there for a good 30 seconds and I had to look around to see if anyone else saw it. Everyone else's reaction was the same as mine: dumbfounded."

Here's manager Steve Decker's and Sergio Romo's recollection of Sandoval the hitter:

In Sandoval's first game, he struck out three times against an Australian kid named Shane Lindsay, who threw 97 mph. Decker thought he was going to get a call from farm director Jack Hiatt demanding Sandoval return to the Arizona summer league. But the call never came, and the next night Sandoval went 3-for-4 with two doubles.
He wound up hitting .330 - same as last year with the Giants - with 50 RBIs in 75 games.
"It was just seed after seed, well-struck ball after well-struck ball," Romo said. "You're thinking, 'Who is this guy?' I'm fresh out of college with aluminum bats and I'm watching this guy hit the ball like he was using an aluminum bat. It was entertaining to watch."

An appreciation of Fred Lewis

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spring training tweet of the day

A's hitting as though they'll be fined if they swing. Giants hitting as though they'll be fined if they take a pitch -- Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle

The Giants won 6-1 and got 11 hits and two walks. Darren Ford went 2-for-2 and is 7-for-11 in the spring.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The Franchise gets ready

Tim Lincecum gave up four more runs in 4 innings but Chris Haft of mlb.com says it looks like he's improving and experimenting with a new release point on his slider. Kevin Pucetas continues to dominate. I always am struck by how many different agendas are at work during spring training. I'm guessing that Pucetas is working at the top of his form whil Lincecum hasn't quite let it all hang out yet.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Buster stays hot

Posey's mashing, hitting .440 in spring training with six multi-hit games including today's 8-5 short-squad win over the Rangers. How in hell can he be sent down to the minors?

One of the early big games is tomorrow when The Franchise is due to face Cleveland.

As for Buster, one of the big advantages of having him play is that he's not as likely to get injured as most of the other players on the roster. Will Carroll of Baseball Prospectus reviews the health outlook for the Orange and Black and concludes that the outlook is quite decent. Here's how they rate the key players --

RED LIGHTS -- 2B Freddy Sanchez: CF Aaron Rowand: SP Madison Bumgarner: There's some concern about the innings, even if he starts the season in the pen or Fresno, since the Giants have a bunch of April off-days. More concerning is his velocity. Even as a lefty, he's seen his velo go down and is barely cracking 90 mph, something that didn't come back this offseason. He can be good there, but probably not great.

YELLOW LIGHTS - C Bengie Molina: 3B Pablo Sandoval: Sandoval's fat. Sometimes that's less of a factor than we'd like to think, but at some point, Sandoval's going to have some disadvantages. SS
Edgar Renteria: RF Nate Schierholtz: SP Tim Lincecum: SP Matt Cain; SP Jonathan Sanchez;

GREEN LIGHTS: 1B Aubrey Huff LF Mark DeRosa. SP Barry Zito: Say what you will about the results, Zito has always taken the ball, which has kept the young staff and the pen a bit healthier. Yes, there's some value in that. Then again, there's value in pitching well. Even added together, it's still a bad contract for everyone but Zito. CL Brian Wilson RP Jeremy Affeldt

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Pucetas ahead of Bumgarner and Wellemeyer

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Posey stays hot

Friday, March 12, 2010

Wellemeyer vs. Bumgarner

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Back to earth for the Orange and Black

The Franchise had a rough outing and the hitting was lousy, leading to a 6-2 loss to the Mariners. Barry Bloom of mlb.com quotes about an Aubrey Huff error that led to a run --"You have to roll with the punches and prepare for the next batter. That's how you deal with any game. You have to put stuff in the past. I can go home, think about my awards and what happened -- what kind of pressure it could create for me. But that would be me creating the pressure, instead of taking it the way it is. The past is in the past. This is a new season. I just want to relax and focus on now."

Here's what Bruce Bochy said -- "I was fortunate to catch one of the best pitchers of all time," said Bochy, talking about Nolan Ryan when the two were with the Astros. "His springs were always ugly. Guys are here working on things and that's what Timmy's doing. He's going to be fine. His stuff is fine. He's healthy and you'll see Timmy get better and better with each outing."

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A sign of Orange and Black success?

In case you hadn't noticed, spring training so far has been My-T fine for the Orange and Black. They've gone 7-1; the hitters have been pounding the ball in the light Arizona air.

Pablo Sandoval hit a grand slam today in a 5-1 victory. OK, it was against the Cubs, but the pitcher was Carlos Zambrano. The mlb.com report says Jonathan Sanchez looked sharp. I'd rather that the Giants be racking up vics, even if the games don't count. Sanchez has been so inconsistent over his career; he had the mid-season no-hitter last year and often looked awesome, then often got bombed down the stretch. He's 21-30 over four seasons. I keep thinking of him as just a kid, but he's 27 this year. Time to step up, I say.

Omar -- still trying to stay in the bigs

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Buster's big day

He hammered a homer today in a 6-2 vic. How can this guy get left in the minors?

Monday, March 08, 2010

Giants 3, Dodgers 2

So what if it's only March 8? A Dodger loss to the Giants -- ALWAYS a thing of beauty, even if it's Ryan Rohlinger who got the game-winning hit in the 10th.

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports the Mark DeRosa is swinging pain free and should make his Cactus League debut on Tuesday.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Only a one-year deal for the Panda

That's what Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting. It's a little discouranging but it looks like the Bill Neukom Era is going to be cautious about taking any chances -- even ones like this that have a real chance of paying off. Why not sign him to a 4-year deal for $15 million? You'd look like a genius once you got to arbitration-eligible status.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Plenty of GIDPs for the Orange and Black

Giants 7, Rockies 4

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Spring training tweet of the day

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicles just Twittered (Tweeted?) this -- Barry Zito just hit Prince Fielder in the back with the first pitch. Fielder picked up the ball and flipped it dismissively back to Zito.

Schulman made the plunking the focus of his story, which postulated that this wasn't an accident -- it was payback for Fat Fielder's overdoing a celebration last season. So Zito may pitch like garbage again this year but I would bet that his teammates liked what he did today.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Giants 8, Mariners 7

It's only spring training -- and Tim Lincecum gave up 3 runs in one inning -- but the bats showed up today.

Hnery Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle had this recap of Aubrey Huff's first day in the Orange and Black: Aubrey Huff's first inning captured his entire reputation. He swung at the first pitch he saw as a Giant and crushed a two-run homer to right-center. In the bottom half, he dropped Ryan Rohlinger's somewhat wide throw from third on Ichiro Suzuki's grounder and was charged with an error.

The Wayne Franklin/Cody Ransom game

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News has a long chat with Felipe Alou about what went wrong with Game No. 161 in 2004 at Chavez Latrine and blames himself for pulling A.G. Pierzitsky in the 8th. The Giants were eliminated the next day when Houston won and haven't been as close to a pennant since, enduring four losing seasons before finally winning 88 games last year. Most notably, Baggarly's amazed that the Giants were contenders at all --

I’m left with a lot of memories of that ’04 team, which was was my first on the Giants beat. Mostly, I look back and wonder how the Giants managed to win 91 games with that roster.
Michael Tucker? Dustan Mohr? Deivi Cruz? Neifi Perez? Herges closing for half a season?
How did this team contend to the final day?
Oh, yeah. Must be that guy who drew 232 walks and had a 1.422 OPS. (And yes, we have every reason to believe Barry Bonds used massive amounts of artificial enhancements that season. But so did a lot of other players and none of them drew 232 walks.)
Bonds’ 2004 season still remains the most impactful I’ve ever seen, or ever will. Without him, that isn’t a .500 team. No way.
As it turned out, the Giants soon discovered what life would be like without an elite-level Bonds – and how many massive deficiencies and fissures in the organization that he covered up for all those years.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

"Play me or trade me"

That's what Fred Lewis said a few days ago to the San Francisco Chronicle's Henry Schulman, who points out that the Giants' speed players are also all bench players. The projected starting eight combined to steal 27 bases last year.

Anyhow, Schulman notes that Fred asked for a trade last year, too. He was clearly a better offensive player than Aaron Rowand or Randy Winn yet those two almost never sat. The story also says he's now 29, out of out of minor-league options and knows he could be traded this spring:
"I'm not prepared and ready to come off the bench," Lewis said. "I'm too young. I have too much talent to be sitting on the bench. I think I should be playing outfield for somebody."
Asked if he still wanted to be traded, he said, "I just want to get somewhere where I can play, and play every day. I love being here. I see myself as the starting left fielder here. Whatever happens, happens. Just be prepared for anything."

Monday, March 01, 2010

Who's (been) on first?

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports on the array of unimpressive first basemen who've toiled for the Orange and Black recently -- and helped make the Giants offense a laughingstock. Here's the list -- In the past four seasons, following J.T. Snow's departure, 16 players have started 647 games at first base for the Giants:
-- Travis Ishikawa: 120
-- Rich Aurilia: 107
-- Ryan Klesko: 89
-- John Bowker: 69
-- Shea Hillenbrand: 51
-- Lance Niekro: 51
-- Mark Sweeney: 51
-- Pablo Sandoval: 37
-- Ryan Garko: 30
-- Daniel Ortmeier: 24
-- Jose Vizcaino: 7
-- Pedro Feliz: 3
-- Scott McClain: 3
-- Jesus Guzman: 2
-- Chad Santos: 2
-- Snow: 1 (ceremonial start in 2008)


MY SNARKY COMMENT -- I dare anyone who believes Brian Sabean is a competent GM to read this article and then still insist that Sabean knows what he's doing.