Monday, May 31, 2010

Doyle Alexander in the Orange and Black?


Yes, it's true. The Giants traded The Count and Craig Landis to get him from the Braves and saw him go 11-7 in 1981. Then they unloaded Doyle for Andy McGaffigan and Ted Wilborn during the next offseason. You can count yourself as a real Giants fan if you remember any of this.

Gary Radnich is a dingbat

Good Lord, this is embarrassing. I happened to be driving to the game on Thursday and heard this cringe-worthy segment on KNBR with Gary Radnich whining for six stomach-churning minutes about the very idea of a Fire Sabean blog and how very unfair it is to dear old Brian Sabean.

Radnich never managed to get past that point and engage Eric in a discussion as to the merits of whether or not Sabean should retain his job -- a discussion-worthy topic given the fact that the team hasn't been to the playoffs since 2003 and had four straight losing seasons from 2005 to 2008.

It's no wonder that sports talk radio is so lame, given that dingbats like Radnich are allowed to get paid for it.

Back to Earth for the Orange and Black

The four-game winning streak is over. Facing the suddenly dominant Ubaldo Jimenez with the suddenly ordinary Tim Lincecum, the result was a not surprising 4-0 whitewash at Mays Field. The Giants managed a meager four hits -- three by Sandoval, one by Freddy Sanchez -- and two Aubrey Huff walks. Even Buster Posey got the collar.

Chris Haft wrote a LONG story for mlb.com and declared that Jimenez is looking like he'll win the Cy Young. Here's some of key verbiage with an amazing stat -- first SF Giants starter to walk at least five in four consecutive starts --

"I try not to sit too much on the negative," said Lincecum, who nevertheless added, "There's too much negative going on right now."
Against the Rockies, negative for Lincecum meant yielding a two-run, two-out, second-inning single to Clint Barmes, who had gone hitless in 11 at-bats against the Giants ace. Negative also meant surrendering a fifth-inning RBI double to Todd Helton, who has only nine extra-base hits and a .329 slugging percentage this season.
And negative meant all those walks, resulting from a lack of command while making Lincecum the only starter in the Giants' San Francisco history to walk at least five batters for four starts in a row.
"This," Lincecum said of his slump, "is a little bit longer than I was hoping it would be."

Freddy Sanchez keeps it going

So this is why he got on the All Star team three times. Steve Kroner's game story in the SF Chronicle makes this point --

-- The Giants overcame a two-run deficit in the ninth with a rally that began with pinch-hitter Travis Ishikawa's double into the left-field corner. Singles by Torres and Freddy Sanchez (his on a perfect hit-and-run) and a hard-hit grounder by Pablo Sandoval that became a tying fielder's choice filled out the rally.
-- Sanchez reached base four times and has reached base in 14 of his past 18 plate appearances.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 2 of the Buster Era

Best win of the year as the Giants beat the Snakes 6-5 in extras, featuring a two-run comeback in the 9th. Here are three tweets from Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News --

Torres scored tying run in the ninth, too. Six of nine in Giants lineup had a hit or RBI in 9th and 10th. Nice team effort to sweep Snakes. extrabaggs
Great rally, great win for the Giants today. Andres Torres singles in the winner. Now make sure nobody gets hurt in the celebration, lads.
Will Buster Posey start tomorrow against Ubaldo Jimenez? "Oh yeah," Bochy says.

Who you gonna call? Ghostbusters!

That's what was playing tonight at Mays Field when Buster Posey's second hit knocked out starter Billy Buckner. I don't know if this is going to catch on the way the "Chicken Dance" song did in the late years of Barry Bonds tenure, but the Ray Parker Jr. song is sure catchy all these years down the line.

Lost amid all this celebration of Buster's return is the fact the Giants pitchers have allowed three hits in 18 innings against the Dbacks. But Fire Sabean reached the same conclusion as me -- Buster is the story.

There were many highlights during the 12-1 clobberation of the Dbacks but it was a hell of a fine way to start the Buster Posey Era. Marty Lurie, who does a pretty good commentary for KNBR, didn't dispute several callers who have come to the same conclusion as me -- Bengie Molina may be toast. Let's hope not because the Giants management appears to have asserted that they aren't giving up on Bengie so he'll be getting plenty more ABs. So says Henry Schulman of the San Franciscio Chronicle -- but if Bengie continues to look lousy, not even Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy can be bullheaded enough to persist in playing a guy who's no longer making decent contact and putting up 2-for-30 lines.

Here's Schulman's game story, which concludes with quotes from Buster, showing he knows how to handle reporters.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Buster back in the Orange and Black

AOL Fanhouse is reporting this morning that the Giants have brought him up and that he will be used at first base with Aubrey Huff moving to left. It doesn't say which of the remaining OF starters (Torres, Rowand, Schierholtz, Bowker) will sit but my guess would be Schierholtz and Bowker, given Bochy and Sabean's preference for vets.

The reporter, Ed Price, doesn't address Bengie Molina's slump. He's gone 2 for 30 and hasn't had an RBI since May 6. I attended the Thursday and Friday games and he looked awful at the plate. Edwin Jackson was bringing 95 mph heat last night, which can make anyone look overmatched, so I am hoping that Bengie's not done but those were bad at bats. Plus, he was unable to catch a high pop up later in the game -- a sign that he may be coming to the end of the line.

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News posted late last night that this was going to happen but didn't name a source. He said Molina's playing so poorly that Buster might get some starts at catcher but not when Lincecum and Sanchez start. I'm pretty sure that Eli Whiteside usually starts when Jonathan pitches.

Matt the Master

Matt Cain threw the second one-hitter of his career tonight in a magnificent 5-0 vic over the Dbacks. I was fortunate enough to attend in Section 223 and my old buddy Bob noted that if Willie Mays were still playing, he might have flagged down Mark Reynolds double against the right center field wall and gotten Matt a no-hitter.

Freddy Sanchez continued to play well, flagging down the other two well-hit balls -- both by Kelly Johnson. Nothing else was hit especially hard.

Bengie Molina looked awful, though. He completely missed a pop fly and never made decent contact all night. I wondered out loud if he's lost a microsecond in reaction times. What in the world is Buster Posey still doing in Fresno?

But back to Matt. Mike Krukow said Cain had total command of four pitches tonight and his fastball was nailing the low corners. Here's part of what MC O'Connor posted at the always-insightful Raising (Matt) Cain --

1. He had 9 strikeouts and a walk
2. He obliterated a potent lineup
3. He faced two batters over the minimum

Friday, May 28, 2010

Freddy lives up to his salary

Thursday represented Freddy Sanchez' finest day as a Giant. He finally delivered the kind of performance that merits a two-year deal worth $12 million.

Game story by the Chron's John Shea notes that Freddy even got cleated at one point.

I had the good fortune to sit in Section 112 in front of a bunch of knowledgeable fans. As Adam Dunn's homer left the the yard in the first, one of them said, "That's the guy we should have gotten."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Did the Cy Guy go bye-bye?

The Giants managed to score three runs tonight, which would have been enough given that Tim Lincecum was their starting pitcher. But he gave up six and couldn't get out of the 5th. Paulie at Give Em Some Stankeye notes that Tim's problems appear to be mechanical .... or maybe extracurricular.

Henry Schulman's game story for the Chronicle reports that Tim says his timing's off.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chef Sabean's recipe for disaster

1. Sign veteran players over 30 whose best days are behind them
2. Don't give young players a shot even if they're better than the guys you're paying most of your payroll to.

Jeff Fletcher at Bay Bridge Baseball notes that Edgar Renteria -- the second highest paid position player on the Giants after Aaron Rowand -- had to leave the game tonight and looks like he's headed back to the DL after three games. This is what happens to older players like Freddy Sanchez and Mark DeRosa. They get banged up and don't heal quickly, despite the best intentions of the delusional GM "Brain" Sabean.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Presto Change-O

Well, the Giants finally scored some runs and broke their 5-game losing streak. It probably didn't hurt to put non-producers Bengie Molina and Aaron Rowand in the seven and eight slots in the lineup and get Andres Torres into the lead-off spot. Here are some historical insights from Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chronicle --

-- The boys at Elias dug up this nugget on the weekend series in Oakland, in which the Giants scored once in three games. The last time any Giants team scored one run in a series that long was in 1949, six years before Bochy was born and probably 10 years after Hernandez was born.

-- Wellemeyer's doink single to right started it. Torres' single to center moved Wellemeyer to second and Renteria's single to left - the Giants' first hit with a runner in scoring position since the sixth inning Thursday in Arizona - delivered their first run since the seventh inning Friday in Oakland.

Ignoring the obvious question

Henry Schulman's perfunctory story in today's SF Chronicle about Brian Sabean's refusal to bring up Buster Posey doesn't bother to include his stats at Fresno -- showing once again that the Chron is edited by shovel.

So here it is from the Frenso Grizzlies site -- 160 ABs, 5 Homers, 28 RBIs, 25 walks, .344 average, .435 OBP and a .525 slugging average. Meanwhile, Bengie Molina has 2 HRs and 10 RBIs.

Here's what John Shea of the Chron just tweeted -- JohnSheaHey
On other hand, Posey had more hits yesterday (4) than Giants did Sunday (3). Posey at 1B today for AAA Fresno. Huff said he's open to LF.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"Giants shuffle the dreck"

An inspired headline to an inspired post by Bay Area Sports Guy, in reaction to Brian "Brain" Sabean's "plan" to bench Schierholtz and Bowker and not bring up Buster Posey until June at the earliest. Here's the last part --

How many general managers do you think are gazing upon the scene here in Giantsville, and laughing to themselves? How many general managers would never have touched Mark DeRosa and/or F-Sanchy with a 10-foot pole? How many GMs would be starting Schierholtz and Bowker everyday in an attempt to help them improve and see what they have in both players, especially considering the alternatives to either player and the fact that the Giants don’t have one consistent run-producer on the entire team besides Juan Uribe?
The Giants are exhausting to watch, especially for those who root for young players to thrive in The Show. And it’s not just guys like Schierholtz and Bowker, for whom every at-bat is a test to prove they shouldn’t be buried on the bench or shipped to Fresno. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain and especially Jonathan Sanchez have to be perfect every start. The fact we haven’t seen more breakdowns from those three pitchers any time they allow a baserunner in the first inning is a tribute to their mental toughness relative to their respective ages, as well as the underrated influence of Dave Righetti.
Not that the Giants’ hitting woes are the fault of Hensley Meulens. The fact that the Giants have decided to play positional musical chairs in response to one of the worst offensive droughts since, well, last year proves again that it’s not just the fact that the Giants have a bad general manager, it’s that they’re striving for the cheapest “competitive” team possible considering the bad contracts they climb into every offseason. But you already know that.

"You cannot be serious"

I'm having a John McEnroe moment reacting to Henry Schulman's latest post at The Splash blog in the SF Chronicle. He's insisting that the Giants still aren't going to bring up Buster Posey and that the real solution is to reshuffle the vets (putting Aubrey Huff in the outfield) and put Schierholtz and Bowker on the bench until Mark DeRosa returns.

What Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy refuse to recognize is that the team's offense is fundamentally flawed -- showing that their expectations were delusional that Bengie, Huff, Renteria, Freddy Sanchez and DeRosa would be able to perform at anything above league average levels.

Prince in the Orange and Black?

Jeff Fletcher at Bay Bridge Baseball suggests that the Giants ought to trade either Jonathan Sanchez or Madison Bumgarner along with a prospect like Brett Pill or Conor Gillaspie for Prince Fielder. He also says it's a lousy idea to pursue Pat the Bat -- I know a few Giants fans out there are pining for Pat Burrell, who was released by the Rays. I can’t imagine that Burrell would help them much. Think of it this way, the Rays thought so little of him that they were willing to pay him to play for someone else.
And another thing: Someone who has shared a clubhouse with Burrell told me that he’s one of the worst guys he’s even come across in baseball. I don’t know if that’s true, but there ya go.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Ugly, ugly, ugly

I suppose it's only appropriate that the Giants -- who play in the prettiest park in the MLB -- just got swept in Oakland, site of the ugliest facility in the bigs. It was the fifth shutout of the year against the Orange and Black, who managed singles by Molina, Renteria and Sandoval plus two walks by Huff and one by Torres.

The Giants haven't scored since the seventh inning Friday, when Torres doubled home Bowker as part of an eight-hit, one-walk attack that led to a 6-1 loss. They got three hits and two walks yesterday in the 1-0 nightmare, so they wound up the series in Oakland with 14 hits and six walks in three games. Hard to believe the team is still over .500 at 22-21.

At least the dodgers lost today to Detroit after winning a disgusting 12 of 13.

"Break on through to the other side"

With the Giants unable to mount any offense today over the first 7 innings, I decided instead to post a link to this nicely written piece by Paul Gutierrez of the Sacramento Bee about the walkup music for players. The story's mostly focused on Tim Lincecum's selection of the Doors song "Break on Through to the Other Side" Yet another reason to like Tim! Here's what says --

"I really got into them this offseason after seeing the (1991) movie ('The Doors')," Lincecum said. "It's a combination of the beat and the words. I need a beat in my head when I'm pitching. Plus, the lyrics of the song stood out to me."

You know the day destroys the night
Night divides the day
Tried to run Tried to hide
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side, yeah

We chased our pleasures here
Dug our treasures there
But can you still recall The time we cried
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side Yeah!

Everybody loves my baby
Everybody loves my baby
She get(s high)
She get(s high)
She get(s high)
She get(s high)

I found an island in your arms
Country in your eyes
Arms that chain
Eyes that lie
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on through, oww! Oh, yeah!

Made the scene
Week to week
Day to day
Hour to hour
The gate is straight Deep and wide
Break on through to the other side
Break on through to the other side
Break on through Break on through Break on through Break on through Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Here's why the Mets didn't sign Bengie

Because he's a knucklehead, that's why. He saw a total of nine pitches in four at bats today. Here's a recap:

-- in the 2nd, he flew out to center on the first pitch
-- in the 4th, he flew out to center on the first pitch
-- in the 7th, he flew out to right on the second pitch
-- in the 9th, he ended the game by striking out on five pitches

He's as selfish a player as there is in MLB, refusing to lose weight or work the count to get on base. I'm betting that the Mets recognized that there's a real downside to signing a two-year deal with a me-first guy.

With the season now in its second quarter, he's on a pace to hit 8 homers and drive in 40 runs this year. Yet the Giants (Brian "Brain" Sabean) insist that Buster Posey is "not ready" for the MLB. As for defense, Bengie's thrown out three base-stealers in 30 tries.

A new record for the Orange and Black?

I am wondering if the 2010 Giants can set a record for most 1-0 losses in a season. They are certainly the team to do it. Today, it was Matt Cain's turn to suffer, thanks to Brian Sabean's incompetence.

It was the third 1-0 loss this season, putting the team on track for 12 this year. There were already a pair of brutal 1-0 losses to the Padres, with Jonathan Sanchez losing both.

Please score some runs!

Friday, May 21, 2010

He's back, unfortunately

The craptastic Barry Zito that is. Proving once again that he's a candidate for the Head Case Hall of Fame, Zito was utterly ineffective tonight in Oakland. What a surprise that Zito can't manage to beat the A's -- the only team in the majors that he hasn't beaten, as John Shea notes in his game story for the San Francisco Chronicle.

Well, maybe it was just a bad outing, just like Tim Lincecum's last night. If Oakland's the only team that gives Zito a problem, Giants fans can probably live with that. However, it would be no surprise if Zito veers back into wallowing in mediocrity again. I would bet that Bochy was wondering if there was a way to skip Zito's turn so he wouldn't have to face Oakland. And here's what one poster named scormat had to say after reading Shea's story ... and I'm sure that there are many fans that had a similar "Oh, crap, here we go again reaction" --

Barry Zito has finally arrived. I (unlike the media and many fans here) have not forgiven his 3 years of torture to us for just 1 good month. He is a joke and has zero mental toughness. Oh how I wish to change not one thing about this team except that he was somehow magically no longer part of it. I hate to watch him play, I cannot stand his attitude or interviews, and his contract just makes me ill. Zito is sheeto...LETS BOO HIM OUT OF TOWN

Why is Aaron Rowand leading off?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

What happened to Mr. Cy?

Phoenix is a strange town so it's no surprise that Chase Field is a surpassingly strange place to play baseball. Tim Lincecum had his worst game in a long time tonight as the Giants fell behind 5-1, came back to lead 7-5 and then saw the pen implode for a dispiriting 8-7 loss. I want to blame Bruce Bochy's bullheaded decision to have Tim bat eighth in the order -- what a stupid idea! -- but Paulie at Give Em Some Stankeye has a very sensible post that theorizes that The Franchise, with 10 walks in two games, has hit a rough patch as even the top tier players do. Here's some: Glossing over the late-game gag reel that sent the Giants to their undoing, I think we should ask why Tim Lincecum has suddenly lost his control. He's now walked ten batters in his last two games, and tonight he hit the 100 pitch mark in just the fifth inning. It's one thing to work carefully to a good Dbacks lineup in a hellish ballpark to pitch in. It's another to walk five Astros when the team is sporting a collective .277 OBP (I wish I were kidding).Is Timmy fatigued? Don't say that word around the pitch count nazis. They'll cut you a good one. I'm thinking it's just a case of midseason small sample fooferah. Every pitcher has a stretch where they aren't sharp. Remember when we were ready to sing songs of the looming Apocalypse after Lincecum's first two starts last year?

Moon over Mays Field


Yet another wonderful shot from last August by artolog

Pat the Bat in the Orange and Black?

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News is tweeting that the Giants and Padres have interest in signing the just-released Pat Burrell -- I'm hearing chatter that Pat Burrell has received interest from Giants and Padres and could be weighing offers. He'll cost the minimum.

Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle posts that Eric Hacker, who's 7-1 at Fresno, may replace Todd Wellemeyer. He also says the Giants have no interest in Burrell.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Padres do something right again

"He keeps hanging his slider"

That was Dback broadcaster Tom Candiotti's astute analysis of Todd Wellemeyer's three-homer outing tonight, which ended after five innings and a 5-1 deficit. Candiotti also noted that all five of Todd's walks occurred on pitches in which he missed with a breaking ball. Can't we just admit that Wellemeyer has no control and is no damn good? He's had eight starts so far and sucked in five of them. It's the usual inability of Brian Sabean to gauge talent -- and acknowledge that he's made a mistake -- that's dooming this team. Wellemeyer's been mostly lousy for more than a decade.

The final of 13-1 is a bit deceptive in that the Backs put up 6 in the bottom of the 8th off Brandon Medders. What isn't deceptive is that the Giants offense continues to be lousy with a grand total of four hits tonight -- two in the first when Rowand doubled and Sandoval singled.

Sabean has a bad habit of celebrating past performance. Wellemeyer used to be good but isn't anymore. Last year, he signed Bobby Howry -- who had a unique talent for falling apart when the game was on the line and giving up enough walk-off homers to cost the Giants enough games to keep them out of the playoffs. Sabean ignored Howry's crappiness because Howry had seen better days.

The Dbacks released Howry on Monday after enduring a month of crappy performance. Now, the Cubs -- a team that's often badly run -- are thinking of signing Howry. How about if the Giants release Wellemeyer, bring up Madison Bumgarner and let the Cubs sign Wellemeyer too?

Freddy's back

Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle just tweeted that he'll be starting tonight. Eugenio Velez got sent down and Matt Downs gets to stay. That clutch two-run double last night may have saved Downs -- who was then driven in by Velez. Remember 51 says that it's all over for Velez.

UPDATE -- Freddy's batting in the three spot and just struck out in his first AB of 2010. But Sandoval then drove in Rowand to give the Good Guys a 1-0 lead against the Snakes.

Omar in the Hall of Fame?

The Baseball Reference blog has a long but very interesting discussion on whether Omar Vizquel -- the Orange and Black shortstop from 2005 through 2008 -- should be in the Hall of Fame. It doesn't look a slam-dunk, unless Omar can somehow manage to get 3,000 hits.

He's gone 7-for-40 this year for the Pale Hose to get him to 2,711 and he's 43. Stranger things have happened -- heck, Jamie Moyer is still pitching at age 47 -- but I think he's going to fall short for a number of years. He might get in during a year that's lacking in first-ballot automatic admits.

"I helped put you there"

Bruce Bochy delivers a superb quote at the end of tonight's wild win in San Diego. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News reports -- As we were filing out of Bochy’s office, he noted that in our haste, we didn’t ask about Brian Wilson’s wild 12th. “Ohhh, Willie,” Bochy said. “I told him, `Go by my gravesite and say, `I helped put you there.’”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Eat it, Padres fans

The Padres -- a team that's become nearly as hate-worthy as the dodgers, given their domination of the Orange and Black this year -- has finally lost a game to the Giants. Matt Downs and Eugenio Velez delivered the 12th inning magic and Brian Wilson held on for a save despite giving up a two-run double to Disgusting David Eckstein. Eat it, Padres fans.

Half an hour later, I'm wondering why I'm so worked up over the Padres. Blame the incredibly annoying Padre announcer Ted Leitner, who thinks he's so amazingly funny and entertaining when he's actually a boring fool. Every time the Giants did something good tonight, I would be yelling, "Eat it, Ted. Eat it raw."

Bottom line is that San Diego's looking like a damn good team with the season a quarter gone. If the Giants don't improve their offense, the Padres are going to finish ahead of them. It was kind of stunning to see Downs and Andres Torres deliver tonight -- and the skeptical side of me has a hard time believing that they're going to keep hitting, given the Giants abysmal record of developing position players. Downs appears to be nothing special after 38 MLB games, given that before tonight, he'd gone 1-for-23 but perhaps he'll magically turn into the second coming of Jeff Kent.

As for Torres, he's needed 85 at bats to hit two homers this year (though he's hit them both in the past 3 games) and he's 32 years old. Nice to see a guy make it back to the bigs after being out since 2005 but I'm dubious that there's much upside. I would love to be proven wrong and see him turn into Jack Clark.

Bumgarner blowing them away

22 Gigantes has an interesting post about how the Giants top pitching prospect has gone back to being dominating. Todd Wellemeyer has to know that he's on thin ice if he reverts to his early season crappyness.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Buster still bashing in Fresno

The Giants continue to squander world-class pitching with crappy hitting, with a singles-hitting team that has scored fewer runs than all but seven other teams. This is a fixable situation, if it weren't for the front office being run by dingbats. The Giants have just lost their seventh straigh to the disgusting Padres, 3-1, getting a meager four hits. Matt Cain continues to pitch well, allowing only two runs in seven innings tonight.

Meanwhile, their top prospect is clobbering Pacific Coast League pitching. Brian "Brain" Sabean could have brought up Buster today when the incredibly crappy Mark DeRosa went on the DL; instead, he brought up the equally crappy Eugenio Velez. Velez has occasionally delivered some 9th inning heroics but he managed to strike out tonight in the 9th with one out as a pinch hitter for Matt Downs with Aubrey Huff on second.

Bengie becoming the walking man

I was stunned to find out that Benjie Molina's gotten his 11th walk tonight after getting only 13 bases on balls all last season. It seems as if perhaps Hensley Bam Bam Meulens may have talked some sense into him and gotten to lay off pitches outside the strike zone. This is a guy who's been in the bigs for a decade and has never gotten more than 27 walks in a season.

DeRosa to the DL

The view from the Cove





Lefty Malo has an entertaining post and photos of what it was like to kayak in McCovey Cove on Saturday. Here's part --My favorite moment Saturday was Juan Uribe's two-run homer, which he hit as I paddled back to base camp. Something good had happened just before he came up, I could tell from the crowd (turns out Bengie Molina had singled), then Renel's announcement of Uribe with a little extra mustard in her voice, then the quick spikes of crowd reaction that you hear in the normal course of balls and strikes and foul balls; then the rise, the rise, the rise of the noise as Uribe's hit soared toward the left-center bleachers. The rising whoop turned into ecstatic release when it landed; I knew it, and the chuffs of vapor from the water cannons atop the arcade confirmed the result half a second later. Even better, I could crane my neck and just barely see the video board and the replay of the home run. A purist might never have looked. I couldn't help it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Back to back beauties

For the second straight day, Brian Wilson has finished off the Astros with the tying run on third base by getting Kaz Matsui out. Yesterday, it was a 15-pitch AB that ended in a harmless fly to left; today it was a seven-pitch strike out. Yesterday, he needed 39 pitches in the 9th; today, it was 24.

Suh-weeeeeeeep as Zito goes to 6-1. The very perfunctory mlb.com story on the Giants site doesn't even mention Wilson.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mother's Day and the perfect game



Josh Wilker at Cardboard Gods had a pretty great post about Dallas Braden's perfect game on Mother's Day and his grandmother being part of it. Here's an excerpt -- On Christmas in 1974, when I was six, I opened a present from my grandmother that was a pair of boots that I’d wanted. I don’t know why I was so crazy about them but I was. It’s the only pair of boots I’ve ever owned in my life. I was amazed that she knew that I’d wanted them. I’d never told her.
“How did you know?” I said. I was ecstatic, and since I was ecstatic she was happy, too.
“We grandmothers have ways,” she said, smiling.

Huff in left field?

Best win of the year

The power nap

"Do, or do not. There is no try"

The Giants decided less is more in terms of batting practice, then scored 8 runs. Nice game story by Chris Haft of mlb.com --
San Francisco has a bunch of players who, if you let them, would lock themselves in the batting cage (if batting cages had locks) until gametime, bent on improving their swings. It's an earnest group, but in the wake of the offensively silent San Diego series, manager Bruce Bochy and hitting coach Hensley "Bam Bam" Meulens decided that less is more. Friday, extra batting practice was forbidden.

Friday, May 14, 2010

"In the world of the Giants, it's always bad luck"

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Fast and painful

The Giants have just lost 1-0 to the disgusting Padres, getting only one hit (an infield single by Eli Whiteside), while Jonathan Sanchez and the pen gave up three. Mat Latos would have thrown a perfect game if not for Eli.

How feeble is the offense going to have to get for Brian Sabean to bring up Buster Posey? Here's what Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News just tweeted -- extrabaggs
Bruce Bochy, GM Brian Sabean and hitting coach Hensley Meulens are meeting in manager's office after Giants got 1-hit. Talking over options.

Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chron notes that Giants lost both series by the same scores in this order -- 3-2, 5-2, 1-0.

Lefty Malo calls his post "Latos Intolerance" (nice) and notes that it's the second time Latos has beaten the Giants 1-0 this year. Here's how he starts -- It's getting so weird I can't work up a real angry lather.

MY COMMENT -- No, I'm never angry, just frustrated. Baggarly's reporting that Posey's not going to get a call-up despite his .355 average.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's payback time at Mays Field

The Padres keep embarrassing the Giants

Thanks to winning all five games against the Giants, including tonight's 5-2 disappointment, the disgusting Padres are in first place in the NL West. The Orange and Black "offense" consisted of eight singles, including two by Bengie Molina that were immediately turned into DPs by Aubrey Huff. The second Giants run only scored because of Clayton Richard balking Schierholtz home. Jon Miller said on the air that Richard balks virtually every time he tries a pickoff; Dave Flemming noted that Richard had a "mental lapse" (acted like an idiot) in trying a pickoff with Matt Cain at bat and two out.

Matt Cain had his worst outing of the year, giving up five runs in seven innings. Despite that, the Giants still have the second lowest number of runs allowed in MLB at 105; unfortunately the Padres have the lowest at 101.

So the Giants have the eighth worst run total in MLB right now while Buster Posey continues to play in Frenso because Brian "Brain" Sabean says he's not ready.

The Fire Sabean blog -- I LOVE THAT NAME -- has a smart take on tonight's disappointing proceedings --

-- Here’s a NOT SO FUN FACT: The Giants have led in 2 out of the 45 innings played vs. S.D. this year.
-- NOTE: According to Giants hitting coach Pablo is fighting fatigue (remember he played all winter long). Somehow a lot of us knew this would be coming.

-- Bases loaded, two outs down two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Welcome to the big leagues Nate Scheirholtz. It seemed like none of his other stellar performances mattered anymore. His new role would be decided on in this at-bat. With a 2-0 count he grounded out up the middle.

Jon Perricone at Only Baseball Matters doesn't mince words in a long post that explains in detaul just how brutally incompetent Sabean is ..... and has been for a looooooong time -- So, when you hear Sabean talking about anything at all, remember that it’s all bullshit. He’s got one of the worst hitters in all of baseball at just about every position on the diamond, and we’re supposed to listen to him tell us that a guy throwing up a .343/.436/.525 line isn’t hitting enough. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He doesn’t have the slightest idea how to evaluate hitters. He has been selling Giants fans the same bullshit bill of goods for going on fifteen year now.

An Orange and Black bummer

Steve Kroner of the SF Chronicle reports that Mark DeRosa -- who seems like a pretty good guy -- admits his wrist surgery was a "failure." He's just gone 6 for 50.

Bohicaboy posted this astute comment --
Props to DeRosa for manning up about this and not trying to hide it.This should make it much harder for Bochy to screw up, which is a good thing.Now we can still dream about getting Posey's bat in the lineup. How much damage could he do in LF? Certainly no more than Velez or the departed Lewis.

The Zito dream ends

No, he didn't go to 6-0 tonight. Instead, he reverted to being pretty average, letting in three runs on six hits and seven walks in 5 innings. On a team with decent hitting, that's still enough to win and this is the Giants. But unfortunately, the Giants only scored two on the heels of Brian "Brain" Sabean insisting that the one decent young hitter in the system, Buster Posey, isn't ready.

Most disgustingly, the incredibly over-rated -- and lucky -- David Eckstein got on base five times. I've always disliked the Padres for a long list of reasons -- Ray Kroc, retiring Steve Garvey's number, Eric Show, Ted Leitner, Scott Hairston, Trevor Hoffman ruining Robby Thompson's career, just to name a few -- but the presence of Eckstein makes this version totally repellant. This part of Steve Kroner's game story for the SF Chronicle is stomach-turning -- The Padres have won all four meetings with San Francisco this season and have held the Giants to a combined six runs.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

DeRosa to the docs

Mark DeRosa admits that something's not right following surgery on his wrist, Aaron Gleeman reports for NBC Sports -- DeRosa is 35 years old, so an age-based decline in ability is also possible, but he hit .277 with a .361 on-base percentage and .477 slugging percentage in the 216 games before suffering the injury. San Francisco handed out matching two-year, $12 million contracts to DeRosa and Freddy Sanchez this offseason, and just 30 games later they're almost surely regretting both deals.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Bears come to Mays Field

Cal will play six home games next year at Mays Field while Memorial Stadium is repaired. Cal considered The Stick and the Mausoleum but found the Giants home was best suited to their purposes.

One very positive note here -- John Crumpacker's story for the San Francisco Chronicle notes that the Bears may lose the field for a game or two if the Giants make the playoffs, something that would have been a laughable assertion during the 2005-08 seasons:
The only potential complication is if the Giants reach the postseason in 2011 and have an extended playoff run. That would necessitate another alternative playing site for the Bears.
"There's a possibility in October that we may have to lose a (Cal football) game or two if the Giants qualify for the postseason," Baer said.

Sabean proves he's a dingbat

As the dozens of readers of this blog know, the Giants have Buster Posey -- one of the best offensive prospects in MLB -- stashed at Fresno despite having one of the worst offenses in the MLB. According to Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-New, GM Brian "Brain" Sabean insists that Posey's not ready and cites as a reason that Triple A baseball "isn't very good" -- a sure-fire confidence builder for all the guys on the Fresno roster.

WHAT. A. DINGBAT.

UPDATE -- A reader David was nice enough to write a thoughtful comment about how he's grown a bit weary of all the Sabean-bashing. Look, I don't think Sabean is evil but I do think he's incompetent. The situation makes me think of how Groucho Marx put it in "Duck Soup:"

"Gentlemen, Chicolini here may talk like an idiot, and look like an idiot, but don't let that fool you: he really is an idiot."

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Escape from New York

The bullpen blew it again for the third straight day, gascanning a 4-2 lead into a 5-4 deficit in the bottom of the 7th -- and portending a 3-game sweep. But Aaron Rowand and Brian Wilson clutched up and got gascanner Sergio Romo a win, along with his third blown save.

Chris Haft's game story for mlb.com notes that it's the third straight no decision for Tim Lincecum and asserts that the key hit that the Mets got was "windblown." I'm just glad that the Giants managed to win at all over what looks like a resurgent Mets team.

Wilson got his five outs on five strikeouts. That is clutch.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Dodgers hammered as Manny returns

A little good news for Giants fans -- The dodger pitchers gave up six runs before they got a single out tonight at Chavez Latrine in an 8-0 loss with Manny coming back. The Los Angeles Times game story notes that the "starter" Charlie Haeger -- who the Giants ripped last month -- was the first Dodger starter not to get an out in 22 years.

Despite the horrific back-to-back walkoff losses to the Mets, the Giants are 17-12 while the dodgers are 13-17. And the Dodger Divorce drama probably won't be resolved any time soon, meaning that the team's precluded from spending much more money for awhile. Josh Fisher at Dodger Divorce has this comment -- The biggest damage to Frank coming out of today's news is that Commissioner Gordon didn't buy Frank's neat little attempt to have the court bless the post-nup. Frank, you'll recall, wanted the court to order Jamie to dispose of some of the couple's real estate to help pay her bills. Such an order would have implicitly acknowledged the validity of the post-nup, which stipulates that the residential properties are Jamie's and the Dodgers Frank's in the case of a divorce.

Let's try someone else, please

I am hoping against hope that the Giants brain trust realizes that they've made a mistake with Todd Wellemeyer. He isn't anywhere near an adequate fifth starter, despite his strong -- and apparently illusory -- performance during spring training. I write this with the Orange and Black already down 3-0 against the Mets at Citi Field after two innings. So this is going to be his fourth crappy start out of five. He's getting paid $1 million this year for being an innings eater, which would be a respectable proposition on a team that scored runs regularly. Unfortunately, this isn't that team.

Meanwhile, Madison Bumgarner, the organization's top pitching prospect, is putting up pretty good numbers in the Pacific Coast League. Madison was lousy in his first two starts but seems to have found his groove since then. The Giants have a real chance to make the postseason if Brian "Brain" Sabean can get on the ball for a change and make this kind of move.

Wellemeyer couldn't even get out of the fifth today, setting the stage for another loss in extras. Molina left the game with tightness in his hammy, so it would seem like an ideal time to bring up Buster Posey and Bumgarner.

The Fire Sabean blog notes that the field was full of garbage -- To their credit, the Giants did have it rough. Flying in, playing in 12 hours, getting your heart broken, then playing 15 hours after that. Not to mention they had to play in a stadium full of garbage. Only in New York do you see loads of flying garbage everywhere on the field at all times. Stay classy.

Friday, May 07, 2010

The Sandoval slump

After two seasons of carrying the team offensively, Pablo Sandoval has stopped hitting. It's notable because the rest of the team is so punchless. Just before Ike Davis caught Sandoval's foul in the dugout in the 9th, the Mets announcers made a point that Sandoval's average has gone under .300 for the first time in a long time. He's gone 2-for-29 following tonight's 6-4 walkoff loss.

Chris Haft of mlb.com points out that Sandoval's pressing, perhaps feeling like he has to come through because the rest of the team isn't going to. This is what happens when an incompent like Brian Sabean assembles a team of average guys on the fade to surround a player who could be a superstar. Sabean worships vets -- so much so that he's keeping Buster Posey, the organization best offensive player, in Fresno. Buster's lighting up PCL pitching, of course.

FIRE BRIAN SABEAN NOW

The Grey Lady weighs in on the Orange and Black

The New York Times has a laudatory piece about Tim Lincecum but still can't resist indulging in big-time bashing Barry Bonds, three years after his retirement.

I realize that journalists feel that they have to generalize but this is a ridiculous statement that Tyler Kepner makes about Bonds -- Few have ever seemed so angry all the time. A few sentences later, he says this seemingly contradictory phrase -- Giants fans loved and defended him, but Bonds, to say the least, was a hard sell.

It's the word "angry" that's inaccurate here. I'm aware that Bonds would sometimes be sullen in interviews when silly questions got asked but I never heard him raise his voice. And there were many times I saw him smile during a game. Wouldn't a sharp editor have said something to the reporter, "Hey, maybe you should revise that sentence to say something like 'Few have seemed so uninterested in responding when being asked questions by reporters'?"

NOTE TO TYLER KEPNER -- It's not all about you. Who cares that you didn't like Bonds?

Batting first, Nate Schierholtz

That's what Patrick P at Bleacher Report is contending should be happening. He says that Nate could even win the batting title. I'd be stunned if Bochy changes his veteran-loving ways, but I think Patrick's quite right.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Happy Birthday, Willie Mays


Terrific shot by wallyg
And what better way to celebrate the birthday of the greatest Giant of them all by sweeping the Marlins in Miami, and getting Matt Cain his second vic of the year?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Barry Zito goes to 5-0

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The vets come through

Aubrey Huff, Aaron Rowand and Juan Uribe got the key hits in a 12-inning marathon. I'm sure that this is the kind of game where Brian Sabean pats himself on the back for his questionable signings of vets on the fade -- though the Uribe signing has worked out pretty well. However, Mark DeRosa has completely fallen apart. He's now 3-for-30 and put up a big 0 for 5 today.

And let me just say -- Miami stinks as a baseball town. Official attendance was less than 14,000, so those actually in attendance tonight probably numbered under 10,000. The franchise has had far more good fortune come its way than the "fans" deserve. I remain skeptical that the franchise can get its new park open in two years.

By the way, here's what the current stadium's been called --
Sun Life Stadium (1993–2011)
a.k.a. Joe Robbie Stadium (19931996)
a.k.a. Pro Player Park (1996)
a.k.a. Pro Player Stadium (19962005)
a.k.a. Dolphins Stadium (20052006)
a.k.a. Dolphin Staduim (20062009)
a.k.a. Land Shark Stadium (2009)

The strange Orange and Black lineups

Dave Tobener at Golden Gate Giants has an interesting post wondering why John Bowker was batting second, why Bengie is in the cleanup slot followed by Mark DeRosa and why Juan Uribe and Nate Schierholtz are 7th and 8th. He makes an excellent point -- When you have an offense like the Giants have, it’s imperative to get the most out of each hitter and play to each of their strengths. Bochy hasn’t done that lately, but here’s hoping he comes around soon and realizes there are much stronger lineup possibilities to be had from this team.
(Oh, who are we kidding…Molina’s going to be hitting cleanup through September).


Dave also has the class to offer best wishes to ex-Giants Dave Roberts, who was recently diagnosed with Hodgkins disease.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Power of the Panda


A great shot by my sister taken at the April 25 game. Sandoval singled in this at bat.

An Orange and Black DP record

Heny Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle reports that the Giants are on a pace to break the Bosox 20-year-old record for hitting into double plays. How can it be a surprise that this team -- dominated by old, slow players on the fade -- leads the majors in DPs?

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Schizo Sanchez

Jonathan Sanchez appears to be back in mid-season form, following up great outings with having no command at all. He was at 94 pitches in the fifth -- 53 strikes and 41 balls -- having walked five and couldn't get out of the inning as the Giants reverted to their no-offense offense, which gave some Rox rookie his first big legaue vic. Any time the pitchers allow four runs, it's going to be tough for this team to win.

The Giants got only four hits today -- a single by Rowand, a homer by Huff and two doubles by Downs. The team is currently leading the MLB in batting average at .281 but -- thanks to Brian Sabean's incompetence -- is only 20th out of 30 in runs scored at 105. It's first in fewest runs allowed at 62. The team won on April 9 at the home opener even though the staff gave up 4 runs, but it's now lost all six games in which its pitchers have given up four or more runs.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

The 51st Splash hit

Aubrey Huff reached the water today in the first time a Giant has homered into McCovey Cove since Sandoval did it last August, Henry Schulman notes in his game story for the SF Chronicle.

The Giants hit only 3 last year and two in 2008. And Bonds had 23 of the first 25 and 35 in all.

The real story is that Matt Cain got his first win of 2010 and pitched eight innings. Here's what Schulman reported what Matt said after the game -- "I feel I've been throwing all right," Cain said, "but I haven't been throwing like I've wanted to. Today I did."

The Fire Sabean blog


Impressive blog site, updated lots. Be the first one on your block to buy one of neato T-Shirts!
The site also recommends canning Bochy and says that they were planning to go tonight's game and sell the T-shirts. Here's one response they got from a poster named Brian --

This is the coaching staff Bill Neukom needs to have and should make it happen
Manager: Will Clark
Bench Coach: Jeff Kent
Pitching Coach: Kirk Rueter
Hitting Coach: Barry Bonds
1st Base Coach: J.T. Snow
3rd Base Coach: Bill Mueller
Bullpen Coach: Mark Gardner