Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Say hi to Cy

Left-handed bat wanted. No reasonable offer refused.

John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle has a pretty good recap of today's buttkick by the dodgers and the Molina-Ray deal.

Chris Haft of mlb.com asserts that it's not time to panic as part of an interview with Brian Sabean, noting that the Giants are only 4 and half games out (before today's travesty). Chris, we're going to have to agree to disagree, since you obviously have chosen to ignore the godawful signings of Renteria, Klesko, Dave Roberts, Rowand, Zito, Molina and DeRosa as part of Sabean's obsession with signing fading veterans. What's particularly aggravating is that the team needed to fix the offensive problems AND HAS FAILED TO DO SO FOR THE PAST FIVE SEASONS. Look at this stomach-churning passage --

"We're probably too right-handed for the right-handed pitching," Sabean said, noting that the Giants had only three left-handed or switch-hitters in Tuesday's lineup against Los Angeles rookie right-hander John Ely.
But Sabean also praised the club's experience and depth.

"You can never have enough pitching"

The speculation was that Chris Davis or Jarod Saltalamacchia might be coming from the Rangers but evidently, the Giants believe that stocking up on pitching makes more sense. The Orange and Black just traded Bengie to the Rangers for Chris Ray, who's in his fifth MLB season and has been pitching pretty well out of the pen this season. He's 12-17 lifetime after spending most of his career with the Orioles.

With the Giants' need for hitting hardly a secret, it's little surprise that Brian Sabean's going to have problems bringing in a difference-making big bat.

Hasta la vista, Bengie?

Speculation's been rife this afternoon that the Giants are on the verge of a deal with the Rangers to unload the slowest player in the MLB. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News has a long post about it and contends that Bengie's a good clubhouse guy (he has won the Willie Mac Award voted by his teammates twice) but I am not sorry to see him go.

Why would I say such a snarky thing? Because he's a selfish guy who refuses to take a walk or lose the excess weight. I'm not in the clubhouse so I can't possibly know his value in that respect. But it sounds like he might work out as a DH/backup catcher for the Rangers. Here's part of Baggarly's take --

Molina is a player in decline. His average (.257) is just barely south of last year’s .265 mark, yet his slugging percentage has dropped from .442 to .332. And his running is an even bigger liability if he isn’t driving the ball.

I’d maintain that he’s still a good defensive catcher, despite all the wild pitches this season. He actually had a nice run of nabbing basestealers over the last week. But I think Barry Zito said it best a few weeks ago, when asked about working with catchers. To paraphrase, he said he’s out there throwing his game, following the scouting reports, pitching to his strengths, regardless of who’s putting down fingers out there.

Clearly, we’ve reached the point where Molina’s veteran moxie behind the plate does not outweigh the overall benefits of putting Posey back there full time.

There’s little doubt the Giants can put their best offense on the field by shifting Posey behind the plate, playing Aubrey Huff at first base and freeing up an outfield spot for someone like Nate Schierholtz or Aaron Rowand, who, yes, has begun swinging the bat better.

Dodgers = Evil

That's about all I have to say after enduring the first sweep at Mays Field by the disgusting Dodgers since 2007. About the only thing that went right was Aaron Rowand's sixth inning homer in an 8-2 loss. The Giants have now scored a total of nine runs in their current five-game losing streak.

Nothing like a four-game set at Coors Field to get things on the right track, say I.

Prince Fielder in the Orange and Black?

How lousy is the Giants offense? So lousy that Mike Bauman of MLB.com suggests the Giants give up some pitching for Prince Fielder. Bauman offers no evidence that this will happen. He doesn't suggest who should be traded (Cain or Jonathan Sanchez?). That's a tough one since the Giants aren't exactly wallowing in pitching depth.

It's all so idiotic, given the financial firepower of the Giants --nullified by idiotic signings of old fading players like Rowand, Renteria, Bengie Molina and DeRosa. It might help if Bochy decided to bench Bengie Molina, who's become a lousy defensive catcher and a lousy hitter. Tonight, Buster Posey was on the bench again; Eli Whiteside subbed for him and threw out Furcal trying to steal. Posey came up at the end of the game as the tying run and hit a shot that Furcal managed to catch.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Another day, another 4-2 loss

The Giants have now lost four in a row, including three by the 4-2 score. What a crappy homestand this has turned out to be. Attendance tonight was only 35,000, showing that the knowledgable fans realize that this team's just not clicking right now. In the four losses, the Giants have been outscored 17-7. So the pitchers have done OK -- not great, but OK -- but the offense has gone into the deep freeze. Things are so bad offensively that the veteran loving Bruce Bochy has been forced to bench Aaron Rowand, he of the $60 million, 5-year deal -- making Rowand perhaps the most overpaid MLBer right now.

Chris Haft of mlb.com notes that Cain is now 0-8 lifetime against the despicable disgusting Dodgers. How ugly has it been? If Jonathan Sanchez can salvage a win tomorrow, he'll have won the first and last games of the homestand.

MC O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain has his usual fine postgame post up, noting that Matt needed 105 pitches to get 15 outs against a patient Dodger lineup. Here's the telling verbiage: "It was the second consecutive poor outing by Cain (Game Score 40), and things get ugly when our starters don't carry the load."

Monday, June 28, 2010

Stay on the sunny side


Superb shot of the Willie Mays statue by Laughing Squid

Giants give it away to the Evil Empire

That would be the Dodgers. In one of the worst losses of the year, the Orange and Black managed to screw up scoring opportunities all night, according to Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chronicle -- including an egregious DP that Sandoval ran into.

Fire Sabean makes the case that there was plenty of blame to go around tonight.

Just to complete the depressing outlook for the Orange and Black, John Perricone at Ony Baseball Matters points out that something's wrong with Tim Lincecum. It's not clear what that something is, either -- It could be the way he’s being handled, it could be that he hasn’t seen his Dad in too long, he’s sick, he’s hiding an injury, whatever. He’s lost, going through a month and a half long stretch of full counts, not missing bats, and struggling to get deep into games. Somebody needs to do something.

This was the second 4-2 loss in three days.

Schulman's skeptical about the Orange and Black

"Ugliest loss of the season" for the Dodgers

The Dodgers gagged away a winnable game tonight, blowing a 4-run lead in the 9th and then losing 8-6 in the 10th. Dylan Hernandez of the LA Times came up with the "ugliest" characterization.

I suppose we Giants fans should thanks the Yankees for showing the Dodgers that they have no reason to feel confident.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Early exit for The Franchise

Tim Lincecum's out of the game today after giving up 4 runs on 5 hits and three walks in the first three innings. He threw 79 pitches to get nine outs and recorded four strikeouts. Bochy decided to pinch hit for him in the bottom of the third with the score 4-1 with Aaron Rowand, who singled softly to center.

It's by far the shortest outing this year for Tim. Dan Runzler, who replaced Tim, got five of his 6 outs via strikeout and the Bosox didn't score again until they got a run in the 9th.

In the meantime, the Giants offense went into the deep freeze with five silly singles today - two by Edgar and one each by Rowand, Bengie and Torres.

The Orange and Black closer


Brian Wilson continues to have an excellent season. Here's a fine shot by artolog from the June 12 game.
A poster on McCovey Chronicles, youdamanrp, contends that Wilson can become another Robb Nen for the Giants. He contends that Wilson "is the crazy, charasmatic, wild and somehow perfect closer the Giants have been looking for."

"This is not Triple A"

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Dodgers, beachballs lose to the Yanks

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Orange and Black Cardiacs

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Zito's crappiness infects Cain

Whatever lousiness Barry Zito ran into last night hit Matt Cain today in his worst outing in a long time. Giants end the Toronto-Houston road trip at 2-4.

"Worst defeat of the year for the Dodgers"

That's how Dodger broadcasters Rick Monday and Charlie Stein described tonight's 2-1 loss to the Angels -- a game the Dodgers should have won but lost due to bonehead baserunning. Monday, who was a pretty good MLB player, was particularly critical of Matt Kemp getting picked off second in the 9th, followed by Reed Johnson cruising into home and not scoring before the third out was made because he didn't hustle.

They didn't say it but I thought Russell Martin getting thrown out at second as the third out after he rounded the base was pretty dumb too. Mike DiGiovanna of the LA Times put the blame on Kemp and Martin but didn't bring up the issue of Johnson's slowness.

Either way, the Dodgers have now lost six in a row. Ex-Giant Kevin Frandsen continued in the right Dodger-hater frame of mind and scored the first Angel run.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oswalt in the Orange and Black?

Zito reverts

He was awful tonight in Houston, giving up 5 runs in 4 innings. It's his worst outing of the year, even worse than his return to Oakland, when he gave up 6 runs in 6 innings on May 21.

Man, I hope this reversion to the fifth-starter-style pitching of 2007 and 2008 isn't a signal of more of the same to come. Zito even gave up two hits to the opposing pitcher; Bochy said to John Shea of the SF Chron that Zito "didn't have it tonight." Oh really?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Angels making Dodgers suffer

They've just beaten up the Blew Crew at Anaheim Stadium 6-3. The Dodgers are now 0-4 this year against the Angels. Eat it, Dodger fans. Eat it raw.

It's worth noting that ex-Giant Kevin Fransden got into the proper Dodger-hating frame of mind to hit a two-run double and put the game out of reach. Frandsen got picked up by the Angels after being released twice this spring -- first by the Giants and by the Bosox. He's now hitting .351 for the Angels after 74 ABs. He's been in 24 games this year -- one more than he played last year, when he was dismal for the Orange and Black with a .140 batting average.

The Franchise IS BACK

DeRosa DeDone for the year

Yet another Sabean bonehead move. A real shame but this guy should have NEVER been signed in the first place. It was obvious that he was damaged goods. Chris Haft of mlb.com has the details but is too nice to mention that this is an egregious waste of $12 million.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hit or sit

That's what an astute headline writer posted on home page of www.sfgate.com

It's a story by Henry Schulman reporting that the Giants have finally come to terms with the fact that Aaron Rowand and Edgar Renteria should not get to play if they don't hit more than they have this year. Here's the key verbiage -- Bochy has shown in the last week that he is no longer shy about sticking a lot of salary on the bench. Rowand's start was his third in the last eight games. Renteria has started two of four games since coming off the DL.


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Huffin and puffin for the Orange and Black

Aubrey Huff hit his 12th homer for the Giants today to keep them in the game at Toronto. It was his sixth homer this month. Paulie at Give Em Some Stankeye had a great post a few days ago noting that he was dismissive of the Huff signing as it came on the heels of Adam LaRoche turning down more money from the Giants to go play in Phoenix and Nick Johnson turning down more money from the Giants to go play for the Yanks. Sometimes, you just luck out, it seems. Here are some excerpts -

All this after the baseball world had written him off after he didn't hit a lick in '09. In fact, before this season, Huff had been pretty unremarkable since 2004. After breaking in as one of Tampa Bay's few early prospects, Huff had three seasons from 2002 to 2004 that were All-Star-worthy. Starting in 2005, though, he came down with a bout of ordinariness, and in 2006 Tampa traded him to Houston for Ben Zobrist, in a swap that looked pointless then and seems absolutely horrific for the Astros now.After being dealt, other than a very fluky-looking 2008 season, Huff basically became a 15-homer, bad-fielding first baseman, i.e. not a good player.
So when Brian Sabean picked him up for a song and proclaimed him the middle-of-the-order home run machine of our dreams, we told him to pull the other one.

Well, let's take a look at what both Laroche and Johnson are doing this season.
Laroche: He spurned a two-year offer from the Giants to go rot in the desert heat, and he's having a decent year so far, with nine homers and a 109 OPS+. Not bad, but he's no Aubrey. Hey, Adam, how's the view from all the way down there in last place? Yeah, that's what you get for turning your nose at us, ya bum.

Johnson: He also turned down a more lucrative offer from San Francisco to go play around in New York for a year. After a month of drawing walks and doing nothing else, he's back in his natural habitat, the disabled list. His injury isn't supposed to be a major setback, but knowing this guy, he's probably done until 2012. Consider him a bullet dodged (as I whistle my way past the final comment here).

No sweep for the Jays

It's the first time in six tries this year that the Orange and Black have won a game in an AL park. The Giants have just completed a 9-6 vic at the Rogers Center that featured Aubrey Huff's 12th homer, Freddy Sanchez' first homer of the year -- a three-run bomb -- and Pat the Bat's first homer as a Giants DH. As usual in Toronto, there was a bullpen meltdown at the end as the pen gave up 3 in the ninth before Wilson closed it out.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY!

You've gotta admit -- there are LOTS of Giants blogs out there. I just discovered Frisco Fastball, which has a pretty sharp recap of the game, making the point that Jonathan Sanchez had the misfortune of having CB Bucknor behind the dish -- I wouldn’t necessarily say he was downright bad (I leave that reservation for Wellemeyer), but he wasn’t the Sanchez we’ve been accustom to seeing earlier this year. His control issues decided they’d pop up today which was extremely inconvenient considering C.B. Bucknor was behind the dish for this afternoon’s game. Bucknor was recently voted “worst umpire” in the league by an anonymous polling of big leaguers and it’s hard to argue against it. I’m pretty sure if given the opportunity, Ray Charles would have declined an ability to see if he was given Bucknor’s eyes. I’m not one to normally complain about umpires or referees but Bucknor is just atrocious behind the dish. His inability to be consistent is the killer. You could throw two balls in the exact same spot and he’d give you a different result every single time. So while Sanchez wasn’t very good, he wasn’t helped out by any stretch. Even Jay’s starter Shawn Marcum was hampered by Bucknor’s inconsistent zone, having to be pulled after 5 innings due to the high pitch despite throwing a very good game.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Why being a Giants fan isn't for sissies

Blue in Toronto

The Giants lost a game 3-2 to the Jays tonight that they should have won. Aubrey Huff's baserunning was egregious. Some consolation that he admitted it was his fault in Henry Schulman's game story for San Francisco Chronicle.

I must admit that I've often posted that Bruce Jenkins is the lamest baseball writer around. He had a psychotic hatred of Barry Bonds and has continually defended the ineptitude of Brian Sabean. However, I am surprised to report that he banged out a pretty decent column about the travesty of the World Cup's awful refereeing, which makes MLB umpires look damn good by comparison. Please stick to writing about soccer, Bruce.

And Fire Sabean has a pretty good post about how he's hoping that he's been wrong about the Giants general manager. Here's part -- If you actually read this blog I have given Sabean a lot of credit lately. His low-risk moves have turned out to be extremely good — despite the high-risk moves all falling through. But when a man’s track record over 14 years surely outweighs a good stretch in the Summer of ‘10
Again, it’s June 18th. The bottom line is this management has produced below average numbers for many, many years now and missing the playoffs this year would surely be the end of someones tenure — whether it be Bochy, Sabean or Lou Seal.
But i
t’s been a fun season so far and his signings of Huff and Uribe have been pleasantly positive. Still, Rowand, Bengie, Derosa, Renteria, Wellemyer etc. have all been and will be horrendous moves.....HOPE I’m the one with pie on my face in October.
Because I’d rather be a champion and dumb, than a genius and a loser.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Vote for Juan Uribe


Rob Neyer of ESPN says Uribe, Huff, Freddy Sanchez and Andres Torres are the difference in this year's team. He admits he was wrong in saying the team in saying the team would be 4th in the NL West -- Last year, the Giants finished 13th in the league in scoring ... and were exceptionally lucky to do that, considering they were 16th in on-base percentage and 14th in slugging percentage. They were among the very worst-hitting teams in the National League, and afterward made exactly zero high-profile moves to bolster their attack. So you might, I hope, understand my skepticism entering this season. This year, the Giants are 11th in scoring, which perhaps seems a small improvement but is 1) better the alternative, and 2) undersells what the Giants have really done, as they rank eighth in the league in both OBP and slugging. The Giants have, to this point anyway, gone from utter futility to middle-of-the-pack, which can be plenty good enough when your pitching's as good as theirs.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Lincecum trade that never happened in 2007

The Toronto Globe and Mail retraces what didn't happen in the winter of 2007 when the Blue Jays offered Alexis Rios straight up to the Giants for Tim Lincecum. Brian Sabean opted to solve his offensive problems by signing Aaron Rowand to a 5-year $60 million deal instead. The story doesn't mention that Rios quickly became a major bust (a subject that's probably painful to the Globe and Mail readership) but it does make interesting reading anyhow, particularly this passage -- Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez were two starters of some interest to the Blue Jays – to this day, there are those who worked with Ricciardi who wonder if the Blue Jays wouldn’t have had Cain had the deal not been so public – but in his heart Sabean knew the value of cost-effective, homegrown starting pitching. In the end, it was easier to spend ownership’s money than break faith with his player development people.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Huff-Uribe back-to-back

Mays-McCovey, Clark-Mitchell, Bonds-Kent. And now Huff-Uribe -- who went back-to-back in leaving the yard for the second time in four days today. Lefty Malo notes that these guys have been playing well enough that Huff is among the top 25 hitters in MLB and Uribe should be an All-Star.

The Franchise rolls again

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Don Mossi


If you weren't around during the 1950s and 1960s, you really can't fully appreciate how recognizable this guy was to baseball fans. Josh Wilker of Cardboard Gods has a wonderful post about Mossi, who was a very good relief pitcher and one of the less handsome men ever to play in the bigs. He was lights out with Cleveland against the Giants in the 1954 Series, with four innings of shutout ball over three games. Josh, being the class act that he is, credits another book for its dead-on description of Mossi and Indians' reliever Ray Narleski -- Brendan Boyd and Fred Harris, who used their gifts for figurative language and hypothetical riffs to sing of Don Mossi. In their seminal 1973 work, The Great American Baseball Card Flipping, Trading and Bubblegum Book, Mossi is discussed in terms of his bullpen partnership with fellow Cleveland relief ace Ray Narleski, as if even years after his retirement the world was not quite ready to look upon Don Mossi alone:
[Narleski and Mossi] always reminded me of two small-town undertakers who, having found the world at large a particularly cold and hardhearted place to do business in, have banded together in a desperate and distrustful partnership for the purposes of mutual self-preservation. Narleski with his sly little-boy grin and the darting, fishy eyes of the small-time criminal handles the customer relations, and Mossi with his loving-cup ears and the dark hulking presence of one newly dead or resurrected does all the dirty work. (p. 64).
Josh also notes that Mossi's apparently a supremely nice guy and mentions that this 1966 card includes this note on its back about Mossi's rookie year -- “The vet reliever retired 27 straight batters in 8 relief appearances in 1954.”
But let's admit the real reason we remember Mossi. Bill James, of all people, called him "the complete, five-tool ugly player” from his short article on the subject in his Historical Abstract, along with saying this about the face of Mossi:
Mossi’s ears looked as if they had been borrowed from a much larger species, and reattached without proper supervision. His nose was crooked, his eyes were in the wrong place, and though he was skinny he had no neck to speak of, just a series of chins that melted into his chest. An Adam’s apple poked out of the third chin, and there was always a stubble of beard because you can’t shave a face like that. He looked like Gary Gaetti escaping from Devil’s Island. (p. 245)

The season's turning point for the Orange and Black


It got posted before a depressing 4-1 loss to the Orioles, in which the Giants reverted to pre-Posey form and got only three hits. Bright spots -- Pablo Sandoval's crushing the ball again; and Posey worked on a 9th inning walk with two outs only to have Pablo end the game with a laser shot that Miguel Tejada grabbed. Henry Schulman says in his game story for the San Francisco Chronicle that the Giants had at least five other "bolts" that the Orioles caught. Schulman notes that it's only the 7th Baltimore road win this year.
Anyhow, Richard Dyer makes some very good points in his analysis. And he warns that Bochy's insisting that that he's got to get the very ordinary (and very brittle) Renteria back into the starting lineup. Here's some of the key verbiage -- The Giants are very conservative when it comes to bringing up starting position players, so Posey's promotion was a hugely symbolic event. Meanwhile, a series of other events were happening at about the same time…
A catastrophic series sweep at the hands of the Oakland A’s in late May finally convinced Bochy to move Aaron Rowand out of the lead-off spot. In his last game batting leadoff, on May 22nd, Rowand was hitting .248 with a .287 OBP. Andres Torres essentially replaced Rowand and has been spark plugging the offense for the past three weeks at lead-off and making stunning plays in centerfield.
A critical addition to the line-up occurred when the injured Freddie Sanchez finally played his first 2010 game on May 19th, and has absolutely energized the offense and defense. Aubrey Huff has always been an extra base hitter who drives in runs, and now he’s doing that for the Giants and leads the team in total bases with 112.
But the crunching offensive catalyst this year has been Juan Uribe. Re-signed in the off-season to be a quality back-up infielder, Uribe now has 211 at bats (third highest on the squad), 10 home runs (tied with Huff), and leads the Giants with 41 RBIs. Bochy has leaned heavily on the 31 year old Uribe who has responded and so far shows no signs of tiring.

90 seconds of World Cup fun

Monday, June 14, 2010

Enos Cabell in the Orange and Black?


You can count yourself as a real Giants fan if you remember that Enos -- who had a 15-year career --played for the Giants. Josh Wilker of Cardboard Gods does his usual dazzling writing, noting that Bill James used Enos as an example of an under-performing player, given that he was a corner infielder; Josh also goes into Enos' part in the film "The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training." Here's an excerpt -- On the front, he is smiling, happy, a glimpse of the blaring rainbow colors of the Astros visible on his chest. This happy portrait brings me to the next source in determining where Enos Cabell stood in my world: he had appeared before my eyes, on screen, tall as a two-story building, in the very same uniform and with a similar happy expression the summer before in The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training, a throwaway sequel that I nonetheless and without shame or irony loved and still love.
Cabell is certainly one of the skinniest guys ever to be in the MLB -- 6-foot-4 and 170 pounds.

Four in a row for the Orange and Black

Tonight's 10-2 clobberation of the Orioles gave the Giants their third 4-game win streak of the year. They started the season with four in a row and then swept the Dbacks over Memorial Day weekend for the other. Aside from the 12-1 blowout of the Dbacks in the third game of that streak, this was the biggest margin of victory this year.

They haven't yet won five in a row this year but tomorrow's a real chance to do just that, given the lousy competition -- which is what good teams do: beat up the lesser sides. They got two 5-game streaks last year.

Bumgarner stays in Fresno

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Matt Cain Express keeps rolling

Suh-weep!!!!!!!!

Matt Cain continues to perform at the top of his form with a single run in 7 innings, despite giving up 8 hits. It's his 4th straight win. He's been so good lately that Cash Kruth of mlb.com notes that it wasn't as good as his three other wins.

The Giants are now 35-27, which projects out to 91-71.

Aubrey Huff and Juan Uribe went back to back today in leaving the yard, then Huff got himself a second homer in the 8th. So, Huff's at 10 HRs with 33 RBIs and Uribe's at 10 HRs with 41 RBIs. That projects out to 28 HRs each and somewhere around 90 RBIs. Both signings look pretty good at this point, I must admit, after the dismal record (Rowand, Renteria, Roberts, Klesko, DeRosa) of free agent position players the front office has assembled in recent years.

Barry, Barry, Barry

It's a bit strange to think that in 2007, the two top paid Giants were named Barry. Bonds got $20 million, $2 million more than Zito.

Well, Zito was pretty awful for two and a half seasons but he seems to have gotten his act together. Or something like that. Who knows if it will last but seeing that he finally beat the A's shows that maybe he's no longer a head case. He allowed only 2 runs tonight in seven full innings and I'm certain that he heard some of the old "Barry, Barry, Barry" chant as he came off the field.

Both John Shea in the SF Chronicle and Dan Brown in the San Jose Mercury News mention that Zito was quick to note Brian Wilson's awesome 5-out save during the postgame interviews. Zito's pretty adept at handling the press. It's good to see that his pitching is at the same level.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Nate riding the pine

Nate Schierholtz isn't getting into games anymore other than as a defensive sub, particularly with Pat the Bat on the roster.

Meanwhile, Aaron Rowand racked up another hitless night last night though he did take a walk. He's been so awful that a recent stretch of five hits in six games represented a real improvement. But his performance remains far below Nate's.

Bottom line here -- the Giants front office is obsessed with playing veteran guys, no matter how poorly they perform and no matter how few runs the team scores. Just look at the horrific slump that Bengie Molina went through, going 2-for-45. He's just gone 7-for-21 and hit his third homer of the season last night. That means that Bengie's going to get another month or so of starts, even though he's likely to respond with another slump. So unless Nate manages to hit three homers in three games, he's not going to be anything other than the a late inning guy.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Return of the Franchise

The courts tell the feds to back off in Bonds case

After wasting millions of taxpayer dollars and driving Barry Bonds' reputation into the ground, an appeals court has told dingbat IRS agent Jeff Novitzky to go to hell.

Rather than pursue real criminals -- like polluters, gangsters and Ponzi scheme operators -- the feds have spent years wasting money and effort for the sole purpose of making an example oout of Barry Bonds. And now it turns out that two appeals court judges have decided that the evidence is no damn good. Given how many dingbats work in the government, it would not surprise me if this case gets appealed even further so even more time and money can be wasted on it. Carol Williams of the LA Times has a pretty good quote from a law prof on today's development -- "When lawyers have invested a lot of time and capital into a case, it's hard to let go. But it will be pretty hard for them to win."

Some games are more important

Let's face it. Tonight's game against the Oakland A's is one of those games, coming a few weeks after the worst series of the year in Oakland. The mlb.com story notes that the Giants are a different team now, in that Buster Posey and Pat Burrell are in the Orange and Black and Tim Lincecum appears to have gotten out of his funk. Key verbiage from Alden Gonzalez --When Gonzalez faced the Giants earlier this season on May 22, he turned in his best start of the season -- eight shutout innings of two-hit ball.
Lincecum, meanwhile, is coming off a badly needed solid outing that saw him give up three runs in seven innings against the Pirates. After posting a 1.76 ERA in his first eight starts of the season, "The Freak" posted an 8.28 ERA in his last three starts of May, as the baseball world struggled to figure out what was wrong with one of the best arms in baseball.
But perhaps he's getting back on track.

Big Daddy


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Derrek Lee in the Orange and Black?

That's the postgame suggestion by Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury-News. He's got a massive postgame notes posted that also points out that Pablo Sandoval needs to step it up after blowing a squeeze play today....though I'd suggest that it's kind of idiotic to have your best hitter trying to execute a squeeze play. Why managers insist on making players do things that they aren't capable of is beyond me. Anyhow, it would make sense to have Posey at catcher, Lee at first and Bengie on the bench, where he belongs. Here's the key verbiage about why Baggarly thinks the Giants should pursue Lee --

He’s a right-handed power hitter, which means his home run pop could play at AT&T Park. He’s a terrific defensive first baseman. He’s a clubhouse leader with playoff experience. He’s in the final year of a contract that pays $13 million annually.
And he’s a Sacramento native, so I have to believe he’d at least consider waiving his no-trade clause.
The Giants will have competition, though. The Angels are in obvious need of a first baseman after Kendry Morales’ leg went sis-boom-bah on home plate a few weeks back.
Lee will be playing for his next contract, so perhaps he’d be more enticed to play for Anaheim, where he might believe he could put up better numbers. Or maybe his NL and NorCal roots would tug him toward the Giants.

Bad luck at Great American

Todd Wellemeyer had a 4-0 lead in the top of the third inning and was up with the bases loaded and one out. He grounded into a DP and pulled his hammy, necessitating Danny Bautista coming in and giving up the lead in the bottom of the third -- making me think "this is going to be tough one to win against the Reds at home." I'm bummed out that I was right as the good guys lost 7-6.

So isn't it finally time to bring up Madison Bumgarner?

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Thanks a lot, Randy

Randy Winn continues to hurt the Giants after playing abysmally last year. The Cards signed him out of desperation to cover for injured players. He's already hitting a crappy .230 in his return to the NL, thanks to an 0-for-4 night tonight, including making the last out with guys on second and third at Chavez Latrine.

Randy seems like a good guy but he's a marginal guy at best. He was also playing even worse than Aaron Rowand last year -- yet got more plate appearances than any except Sandoval, thanks to the obsession with playing fading vets.

Posey goes yard for the first time

Again, I ask -- what good was it doing to keep this guy in Frenso for the first two months of the season? Here's what the beat writers tweeted --

extrabaggs
An estimated 439 feet on Posey's homer, off noted gopherballer Aaron Harang.

hankschulman
LF Johnny Gomes did not bother going to the wall.

UPDATE -- The Giants' pitching fell apart in the middle of the game so the homer may wind up being pretty much the only Orange and Black highlight. Here's what Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury-News just tweeted:

extrabaggs
Giants lose 6-3. They won't be able to celebrate Posey's first big league HR. Ya think it's time to move him up from 7th in Giants lineup?

That's a question Baggarley raises in his story and Bochy says he likes Posey in the No. 7 slot. What an idiot (Bochy, not Baggarly).

Pretty obvious that 3 runs aren't going to cut it at Great American Ballpark. Romo and Affeldt stunk up the joint tonight, giving up 3 runs in three innings of relief.

"Yes We Cain"


Sure all the talk will be about this Strasburg kid, but here in the Bay Area it’s Cain in ‘10!
Six hits, no runs, five strikeouts. In his past four games he’s allowed one earned run and tossed 34 out of 36 total innings in that span. Oddly enough, he’s 3-1 in that stretch.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Matt the Master whitewashes the Reds

Marvelous Matt Cain is on a big-time roll. He did it again with a seven-hit shutout against the Reds in Cincinnati, and an RBI single following Bengie's RBI single in the eighth. This is only eleven days after he one-hit the Dbacks at home. I think tonight's performance may have been even more impressive because the Reds are not the Dbacks.

Matt is still 6 games under .500 lifetime with a 49-55 record.

"He's a horse," Bengie tells Henry Schulman of the SF Chron.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Start of an era -- Posey C

Buster Posey, he of the .455 batting average, started at catcher tonight in Cincinnati, despite management's insistence that he's in the MLB to play first base. If you believe that, then you should also believe that I'm having lunch tomorrow with Sandra Bullock, Mila Kunis and Amy Adams. Bengie Molina's gone 4 for his last 54 ABs and was held out tonight -- perhaps becuase the management decided that scoring runs is more important than veteran savvy clutchness.

Henry Schulman's game story for the San Francisco Chronicle doesn't note that Barry Zito's back to being mediocre, so I will. He was so crappy that the pen needed to close down the Reds for four innings on no runs to get the vic tonight.

Speaking of new eras, I was at Dodger Stadium aka Chavez Latrine tonight to watch the dawning of the Randy Winn era, as the ex-Giant and ex-Yankee started in CF and got a single and double in a 12-4 drubbing by the dodgers. He got picked up the Cards a few days ago after being DFAd by the Yanks.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Bochy plays well with the reporters

I must admit that the Giants manager has a knack for making the funny. Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News just tweeted this -- Bruce Bochy's first comment after an exasperating game: "Did we win?"

The Orange and Black Hacktastics

I was trying to find which team has the best pinch-hitting record, since I heard a Pirates announcer say Friday that the Giants were the MLB's leading team in that area. Today, Travis Ishikawa singled for Lincecum in the 8th and Pat the Bat delivered a run scoring sac fly in the 9th that was a big run, as Brian Wilson blew his second save of the year. Freddy Sanchez delivered another sac fly to drive in Torres for the game winner in the 10th.

MLB.com doesn't have pinch-hit stats, or if does, I can't find them. What it does have is the number of pitches seen by hitters and the Giants are the lowest in MLB at that right now. The hack-first approach sure seems to be working with the pinch hitters, though.

They are also third lowest in walks at 159, topping only the Astros and Orioles; they are sixth lowest in runs scored at 225--topping only the Indians, Mariners, Astroes, Pirates and Orioles. So the ninth-best batting average doesn't mean very much.

What a relief for Orange and Black fans

Tim Lincecum has delivered a pretty good performance today in Pittsburgh -- 113 pitches, 7 innings, 3 earned runs, 6 strikeouts, two walks, 6 hits including a two-run homer to Garrett Jones in the 4th. Not a great ace kind of performance but not unacceptable by any means.

Chris Haft of mlb.com notes that Tim had walked five in each of his last 4 starts.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

It's way past Bumgarner time

Giants fans have to endure yet another horrific Todd Wellemeyer gagfest on the road, prompting even the San Francisco Chronicle to say that Orange and Black management may decide that it's tired of being left with no chance to win. Henry Schulman's game story says the Giants almost came back in the 9th. He also notes that Todd -- who couldn't get out of the 4th inning -- now has an ERA over 10.00 on the road. Here's a nice description of the previous inning --
McCutchen, Neil Walker, Ryan Doumit and Garrett Jones combined to hit for the cycle to start the third inning, going double, triple, homer, single. The Pirates batted around in an inning that seemed to last longer than an Oscar's telecast.

Bumgarner has been lights out in Frenso with a 5-1 record and a 2.73 ERA.

Giants Midnight Replay

I've become a big fan of this site. It's got lots of screenshots of each game and outstanding commentary. Who's doing it? A guy named Jeff who resides in New York. Here's tonight's, under the headline "Sneaky-decent win" --

3 out of 5 Neukoms
- Posey had a pretty huge error that resulted in 4 runs. In actuality Sanchez got off the hook for those runs which were actually his fault. Just because someone behind you makes an error doesn’t allow you to give up 4 runs on it.
- Our patience was weak as we didn’t even take a walk.
- Essentially we were saved by the long ball.
——————————————————————————————————-
The
Armando Galarraga award (hero) goes to Eli Whiteside and Santiago Castillo just because they are not main players on our team and they really contributed today. Also….. Eli is hitting close to .300 with 4 Hrs.
The
Jim Joyce award (goat) goes to Buster Posey…… only because he had the error. He is pretty rad in most every other way.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Strange days have found us

Pat the Bat shows up (but doesn't play) and the Giants endure a 3-hour rain delay before mounting a 6-run comeback win that featured homers by Uribe, Whiteside and Huff. I was impressed that Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle managed to pound out an extra post at 1:30 a.m. local time --

Not much more to say at 1:34 a.m., but I wanted to point out a few performances from tonight's game that got little or no mention in the game story.
Andres Torres, who had just moved from right to left, helped Brian Wilson get his 100th career save with an outstanding diving catch of a Ryan Doumit drive leading off the ninth inning. The ball kept carrying, but Torres stayed with it.
Reliever Santiago Casilla replaced Jonathan Sanchez with the tying runs in scoring position in the eighth inning and got Andrew McCutchen to bounce into a comebacker before he struck out rookie Neil Walker. Guillermo Mota pitched a perfect eighth as well.
Even Aubrey Huff earns some defensive props for staying with a Garrett Jones flyball to deep left even after Huff tripped as he roamed back for it.
He said he was glad he caught it "because I was getting worn out by the fans out there. They were on me pretty good. One guy said I need a walker."


The box score is revelatory -- the Giants got 10 hits by only five players: three by Freddy Sanchez, two each by Huff, Posey and Uribe and one by Whiteside. They took no walks and struck out eight times.

Here comes Pat the Bat

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron just tweeted that Pat Burrell's going to be in Pittsburgh tonight in the Orange and Black.

Here's the official story from Tom Singer at mlb.com. Singer notes that the Giants still have to move someone off the 40-man roster. He also notes -- In five games with Fresno, Burrell had gone 5-for-16 (.313) with one home run and six RBs.

UPDATES -- Schuulman just posted this -- Lineup: Torres RF, Sanchez 2B, Sandoval 3B, Uribe SS, Huff LF, Posey 1B, Rowand CF, Whiteside C, the other Sanchez P. Burrell on bench. And the official Giants twitter post -- To make room for Burrell on the 40-man roster, #SFGiants out-righted RP Brandon Medders. He has 10 days to clear waivers.

Back to 2007 for Tim

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News reports that Lincecum hasn't pitched this badly since he was a rookie. He also reports that John Bowker is Fresno-bound.

Only six other guys from the 2007 team are still on it -- Bengie, Schierholtz, Matt Cain, Barry Zito, Jonathan Sanchez and Brian Wilson. Some of the names on the 2007 team include Vinnie Chulk, Ryan Klesko, Dave Roberts, Eleizer Alfonzo, Dan Ortmeier, Rajai Davis and some guy named Bonds.

Matt Cain is the longest-tenured Giant, having come up in August 2005.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Masterful Matt

"His fastball just explodes; it has that late action," Brian Wilson told Dave Flemming on the postgame show after a 9-pitch ninth to save the 4-1 vic. M.C. O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain notes that Cain is now on pace to put up awesome numbers, based on his first 11 starts. Here's the key part of the post --
Cain has allowed 3, 3, 2, 2, 0, 2, 5, 2, 0, 0, 1 ER in those eleven outings, failing to go at least 6 IP only once. If we think of tonight's start as one-third of the way through Matt's season, he's on pace to give the Giants 229 IP, 153 H, 60 ER, 12 HR, 75 BB, and 168 SO. That would be one hell of a line for a guy to be 12-12! Let's hope we see more of tonight's offense--I know it was only four runs, but with Cain dealing it was enough. Great to see Buster Posey swinging the bat well, and both Rowand and Molina showed signs of The Resurrection with big RBI hits.

Pat the Bat coming by Friday?

That's what Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle thinks. He's also reporting that it's looking likely that Mark DeRosa is going to need another surgery on his wrist sooner rather than later, essentially wiping out the 2010 season for a guy who's been utterly unproductive. Here's the key verbiage in why Pat the Bat is coming --
The Giants need someone like Burrell, not necessarily to start, but to come off the bench, and that became clear in the seventh inning tonight after Aaron Rowand reached on a two-out error by shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.
Bochy sent John Bowker to pinch-hit, and Rockies manager Jim Tracy countered with slithery left-hander Joe Beimel. This is where Bochy needed to re-counter with that big right-handed bat, someone who could crush a mistake for two runs. But who were Bochy's right-handed choices?
Matt Downs
Eli Whiteside
Bochy stuck with Bowker, who has more pop than either of the two men listed here, and the results were not pretty. Bowker waved at an offspeed pitch for strike three.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Time to bench Bengie and Aaron

What exactly is it that the Giants management is trying to prove by starting the same abysmal hitters game after game?

I have to accept that Ubaldo Jimenez is close to unbeatable right now so a shutout isn't that horrific. But losing to some garbage pitcher (Jason Hammel, he of a 6.93 ERA) tonight by 2-1 in 11 innings is unacceptable.

Here's the thing that sticks in my craw -- the Giants are giving up 25% of their at bats by letting Rowand and Molina start in game after game. Rowand has gone 4 for his last 36, including a single tonight. He has a .227 average, a .259 OBP (having walked five times in 159 appearances) and a .396 slugging average.

Any other team would make this guy sit, though his recent slump isn't quite as bad as Bengie's current 2 for 41. I heard Jon Miller say several times tonight during his last at bat in the 10th that Bengie's no longer catching up with low fastballs, which WERE his pitch.

Continuing to play these two when there are alternatives -- and when the offense is as feeble as the Orange and Black's -- is flat-out pig-headed. I wish I could think of something clever to say but losing these kind of games often precludes that. Fortunately, there's Grant at McCovey Chronicles, who has a genius post titled "Giants Waste Another Gem From Zito." Here's most of it -- Here's how the rest of the Giants' season is going to go (spoilers):

Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit well, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit well, pitch poorly, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch poorly, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, lose. Giants hit poorly, pitch well, win.
Then comes July.
Oh, you're still watching? But I've told you how it all ends. Go to a museum. Read a book. Build a ship in a bottle. Do something else.
Of course,
Pat Burrell was 2-4 for Fresno tonight. He'll probably fix things.

UPDATE -- Since I posted this, I read Andy Bensch at Bleacher Report make the case for benching Rowand. Here's some of the key verbiage -- Rowand ranks as the 105th most productive outfielder in baseball in regards to his OPS mark of .673.
Look at it this way, there are 30 teams in baseball, and each team starts three outfielders.
Therefore, in the majors there are 90 starters in the outfield. And Rowand ranks number 105?
Is this a joke?
He is currently in the middle of a five-year 60 million dollar contract and he can't even muster up an OPS amongst the top 90 best outfielders?
That is not just pathetic, that is ridiculously awful.
And while I did not have the privilege of watching Rowand during his best seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies and Chicago White Sox, his current batting stance with the Giants is one of many reasons for his ineptitude at the plate.
All you have to do is watch a Giants game and focus on Rowand's batting stance. Pre-pitch he holds his bat incredibly low—too low to adequately be able to hit a baseball from that position—and while he raises his hands as the pitch is delivered, it creates unnecessary movement that doesn't allow him to adjust to certain pitches.
Combine the movement of his hands with the fact Rowand leans back heavily before the pitch comes and has too much forward momentum as the pitch arrives, and you can see why he continually fails time and time again to hit fastballs on the inner half of the plate.
Not only that, but this stance is what prevented him from being able to turn away from a Vicente Padilla fastball that broke a bone in his cheek earlier this season.