Sunday, July 31, 2011

Skunked again by Cueto

I'd say Johnny Cueto should send over a case of champagne to the Giants clubhouse.

Hard to believe that this is second time that Johnny Cueto's shut out the Giants. Seventh whitewash of the year by far the biggest margin. Cueto's been lights out over the past two months with a 1.46 ERA over 68 innings. Barry Zito vs. Johnny Cueto -- the matchup from hell.

Cueto also closed the Giants down for seven in a 3-0 loss in SF in early June. He's been great from that point on.

This one was kind of vaguely disturbing -- here you have three new guys in lineup (Cabrera, Beltran and Keppinger) and the team looks plain awful. I just can't imagine the starters going out there with any kind of confidence with Barry Zito on the hill, especially once he let in 3 in the first. The box score is brutal today -- singles by Rowand, Keppinger and Beltran and a walk by Belt.

Grant at McCovey Chronicles thinks that Jonathan Sanchez is coming back despite walking lots of people in the minors. Frankly, I'd be far better with that.

In the meantime, there is one benefit to all this -- Giants fans actually know who Gil Meche is (he's the KC Royals pitcher who decided this winter that he'd retire since he could no longer in good conscience take the $12 million guaranteed for this season)

Zito does the "five and dive"

Perhaps this is Zito's last start for awhile. That would be damn groovy with me. Here's what Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News just tweeted with the Giants down 5-0 to the Reds heading into the 6th --

Andrew Baggarly
Zito with the five-and-dive, as Lincecum calls it. Question is when he resurfaces next, if ever, in rotation.

He's right about "five-and-dive." Lincecum mentioned it in an offseason interview with Mike Silva of New York Baseball Digest. Here's the quote --

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: Any game I don’t give the Giants a chance to win. If I go five and dive or give up early runs it is very disappointing to me.

Brandon Crawford = Hal Lanier?

I give Brian Sabean credit for trying to get some more offense from this lineup. Brandon Crawford appears to be in danger of becoming the new Hal Lanier.

For those of you wondering, Lanier was a Giants middle infielder for over 1,000 games in the 1960s. He could not hit -- career slash line of .228/.255/.275.

Lefty Malo has a very astute analysis of the Cabrera trade, which came about partly Crawford can't really hit MLB pitching despite the grand slam in the first game, which feels vaguely reminiscent of Brian Dallimore. Here's the key part --

It's a desperate trade that says a) Tejada can no longer play shortstop (duh), and b) Brandon Crawford's flashing leather is not worth four crummy at-bats a game. You might have already heard that Cabrera's 2011 batting line is eerily similar and similarly horrible to Tejada's, but wait, there's more:

Crawford: .193 / .280 / .267
Cabrera: .244 / .277 / .321

Cabrera's not that much better than Crawford -- basically a few more doubles than singles. But here's the hidden pearl: In 105 plate appearances against lefties, Cabrera is hitting .276 / .324 / .429. Small sample size and all that, but it's roughly in line with his career averages. Not much to hang hopes on, but I guess the Giants figured a decent glove at short (though he hasn't played there this year because of the presence of Asdrubal Cabrera) plus half a prayer against lefties, and, hey, it can't get any worse.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Back to Earth and then some

"There are all sorts of ways to lose" -- Brian Wilson after giving up the game winner to Edgar Renteria as reported by the SF Chron.

Talk about an annoying loss. Still baffled as to Mike Fontenot being sent up in an oh-for-22 slump with bases loaded. At least this Beltran guy finally got a hit.


I went to Chavez Latrine and saw the Dbacks lose. My friends wanted to know if I was rooting for the Dodgers. "Never," I said. "There's no such thing as a good Dodger win."

I hope we've got that straight. It's always good when the Dodgers lose.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Pretty pretty pretty good

I'm still dusting myself off with surprise over the Beltran deal. The Giants sure played like they like the deal. John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters -- one of the most astute bloggers around -- really likes it. So do I.

One of the best games of the season on so many levels. As entertaining as the third episode of "Curb Your Enthusiam"

Here's what Grant at McCovey Chronicles had to say -- It feels mighty good to beat the team with the best record in the league, and it feels really good to do it in their own park. Take away the name and the history -- if this series were against Nationals, Expos, or Senators, it would still feel pretty good. But then you add in the history?



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Adios, Pat the Bat?

CSN Bay Area reported -- apparently incorrectly -- that Pat the Bat was being designated for assignment to clear roster space for Carlos Beltran and that Brandon Belt was being sent to Fresno. Julian Levine at Splashing Pumpkins comments that Bill Hall and Aaron Rowand are the ones who should be DFAd; that Belt should be starting ahead of Huff; and that Emmanuel Burriss and/or Brandon Crawford should be sent to Fresno:

Not only should Belt remain in the majors, but he should be the starting first baseman because it's painfully obvious at this point that he's better than Aubrey Huff. The way the Giants have handled Belt this year is absolutely pathetic. He should be playing in the majors on a daily basis by now, but would instead presumably go down for yet another stint in the minors.

Repeating Game 3 of the NLCS

Oh, yeah, the Giants actually played a game tonight with the same result as in the playoff following a Phillie win. I can't help but think that closing the deal for Carlos Beltran helped the Orange and Black play a little bit better.

LinkMighty Matt Cain closed down the Phils again, just like he did nine months ago at Mays Field. Henry Schulman of the SF Chron noted that this was Cain's first regular-season win against the Phillies. Asked if beating them in the playoffs helped him Wednesday, he said, "I think it did. Being able to look back at that game, remembering some of the pitches, look at video, it let me go back into this game with confidence. It helped out."

"I'm very, very, very happy"

That's Andres Torres' response to the Carlos Beltran trade. Andrew Baggarly has a long but fine post about in his Extra Baggs blog for the Merc-News.

Baggs believes Brandon Belt will be sent back to Fresno. I believe it may also be the end of the line for Pat the Bat.

Beltran's got a .389 OBP and a .513 slugging percentage. DAMN. He also quoted Jeremy Affeldt, who was a teammate in KC --

“When he gets to a new team and feels like he has to step up, he’s able to,” Affeldt said. “You put him in a situation where he has to carry some stuff, he’ll do it – and from both sides of the plate. He’ll make everyone better and our offense will flourish because of it.”

Zito's incompetence = trade time

I would guess that last night's 7-2 fiasco -- highlighted by Barry Zito's feeble effort -- made the Giants front office decide that they could not stand pat any longer on improving the Orange and Black's chances to make it to the postseason with Carlos Beltran. Here's what Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News just tweeted --

Andrew Baggarly
The Beltran deal is done. Just pending approval by league and CB

I'm guessing that Emmanuel Burriss will be sent down to make room.

UPDATE -- Chris Haft's story for mlb.com speculates that Pat the Bat may be the odd man out

Put Zito back on the DL

What a head case. What a head case. We are talking a first-ballot entry to the Headcase Hall of Fame. Brian Sabean, if you're reading this -- please put Barry Zito back on the DL with a sprain of the front lobe or something like that. Or tell him to go back to Fresno.

Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News notes at the end of the game story that Jonathan Sanchez is expected to rejoin the team after a rehab start tonight, which leaves Zito's status uncertain. Get him back to Fresno, say I.

Look, I know that it's not easy being in the big leagues but what exactly is the Giants front office trying to prove by sending out a guy who's going to get hammered -- particularly as the games become more important. What a crusher it must have been to the morale of the team to see him go out there tonight instead of Tim Lincecum.

Guys come to the end of their careers all the time. Steve Finley, Edgardo Alfonzo, Ryan Klesko, Dave Roberts, just to name a few. There's no disgrace in admitting that you just don't have it anymore and retiring. But as I said, this is a Hall of Fame Headcase. I used to not really care that Scott Boras represents Zito but now I blame Boras a bit for creating this awful situation. Zito's not an evil person. He just can't perform acceptably.

I agree with Grant at McCovey Chronicles in his post tonight. Here are some excerpts:

-- Barry Zito is less than good. He's not better than not-that-good. He doesn't know where the ball is going, which means that it often goes over the plate, which means it often travels at great speeds and great distances.

-- This is still the Barry Zito we've watched over the past, cripes, four-plus seasons. He has good stretches, he has awful stretches. This isn't a surprise. But what is changing is our perception. The longer we have to watch this guy, the sicker we get of him. He's an 86 mph lefty without good command. It's aesthetically unpleasant.

-- I'm tired of Zito. I'm officially through defending him as a league-average starter, though he certainly can be that kind of pitcher still. He could still be that guy. That has value. Haven't give up on that possibility, and if the Giants are paying him, he should still fill a rotation spot if there aren't five better starters ahead of him. I just don't really want to watch it., and I wish we didn't have to. Get better, Jonathan.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Dodger Stadium dialed down

I attended the last two Dodger games and it's astounding how few people are there these days...so much so that the traditional attendance announcement in the 8th inning has vanished. There's no more "The Dodgers and Rockies thank you for attending." This from a franchise that often led the MLB in attendance. It's now going to get outdrawn by the Angels for the first time ever.

Dodger fans remain pretty clueless and beachball obsessed but there are sure a lot less of them this season. Though the McCourt divorce and the revelations of Frank and Jamie draining money from the team has disgusted a lot of fans, I believe there are two reasons why attendance is down by about 8,000 a game are as follows --

1. the team no longer is no longer a front-runner
2. plus the lingering reminder of thugs running wild, thanks to the near-fatal beating of Bryan Stow on March 31 -- underlining the appalling lack of security that had emboldened gangsters to do whatever they felt like at the facility.

I assure you that the security has been beefed up and the LAPD is a much more noticeable presence but it doesn't really matter to a lot of fans. The perception, unfair as it may be, is this -- the Dodger owners don't really care about anything but their money.

I can't quite put my finger on it but there's an unease hanging over the proceedings that wasn't there before despite the presence of some pretty decent players (Kemp, Kershaw, Ethier). Part of this is karma, I contend. The Dodgers have gone to great lengths over the years to capitalize on the 1947-1966 era -- 10 NL pennants and four World Series titles with Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax as the faces of the franchise -- as a springboard for acting as if the team was automatically better than everyone else and entitled to win. It's a laughable notion and it's now being shattered.

By the way, I didn't see Frank McCourt attending the game tonight in his box next to the Dodger dugout.

The young Giants come through again

A repeat of Tuesday night's game -- Madison Bumgarner doubled and scored. Brandon Belt started in left field and went 2 for 2 with a walk.

Bumgarner and Belt are looking like old pros, just like Tuesday night, getting it done against a potential playoff team in a 2-1 vic. Rusty Simmons of the Chron has a nice game story note --

Bumgarner allowed the leadoff hitter to reach base four times, but didn't appear distracted. He pounded the zone with 65 strikes in the 93-pitch outing and didn't walk a batter.

It marked the 19th consecutive start in which Bumgarner has issued two or fewer walks. The last Giants' pitcher to do that was Juan Marichal, who went 21 straight starts in 1970-71 without walking three hitters.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

Dan Runzler as trade bait?

That's what Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News thinks --

I keep hearing that other clubs are bringing up his name in almost every trade proposal. I’m pretty sure the Giants would not sacrifice Zack Wheeler, Gary Brown or Brandon Belt to get Carlos Beltran. But would they cross the bridge with Runzler and maybe Francisco Peguero? Would that be enough for the Mets?

Runzler pitched in 70 games for the Giants over the past three years



"Exactly like Tony Gwynn"

That's how Mike Krukow described Nate Schierholtz' second inning hit on a 3-2 pitch -- keeping his hands back and lining it to left for the Team's first hit of the night. Kruk and Kuip agreed at that point that Nate's taken his offensive game up a level this season. Chris Stewart made the third out at that point on one pitch but Nate doubled in two to left in the 5th to put the Giants ahead for good. "Almost like a two-strike swing" said Krukow of the double.

Steve Kroner's game story for the Chron focuses on the 4 innings of steller work by the pen plus the incompetent baserunning by the Brew Crew gifting the game to the Orange and Black. Perhaps a bit of playoff-type pressure's starting to emerge -- as evidenced by Giants bench coach Ron Wotus getting tossed in the 4th by arguing over Sam Holbrook's ball-strike calls on Rickie Weeks, who immediately doubled and then got thrown out at the plate by Cody Ross with one out; Casey McGehee, who was at third then ended the inning by falling for Stewart's fake throw to second. Nyjer Morgan made a truly idiotic steel attempt and got thrown out to end the 5th with Ryan Braun (who'd homered his last time up) in the batter's box. "He should know better," Krukow said.

Vogey needed 104 pitches by the time he finished the 5th so the pen used 5 guys to get the last 12 outs. "Nasty" said Kuiper when Affeldt struck out Corey Hart swinging on a big curve to end the 7th. Grant at McCovey Chronicle has a great comment about the first, Santiago Casilla --

No, you don't trust him. But there isn't a team in the world that has a sixth-inning guy they can trust. If they trusted him, he'd be a seventh-inning or eighth-inning guy somewhere. No one is bringing out Neftali Feliz in the sixth and saying, jeez, we just don't know where else he fits. Last year, Casilla was a weapon. This year, he's just a guy, but he's fathoms better than what most teams can run out in the sixth.

I was impressed that Nate started against a leftie, Randy Wolf, and got 3 of the 10 hits for the Giants, including the only extrabase hit. Wolf hung a breaking ball in the 6th and Nate nailed it down the rightfield line after going to left twice. His his average against lefties went up 53 points -- from .186 to .239.

Well, what about the Tony Gwynn comparison? He had a pretty astounding season (1987) when he was 27 --218 hits, 36 doubles, 13 triples, 7 homers, 56 RBIs, 56 SBs (12 caught stealing), 35 walks for a slash line of.370/.447/.511.













Make or break time for the Orange and Black

The Giants are now 57-43. They were looking pretty good at the 98th game on Tuesday night with a 57-41 record and Belt and Bumgarner doing their young stud thing but the offense has regressed to lousiness in the last 2 games. MC O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain notes that the Giants have hit a crucial stretch for the next 17 games. I agree with him. Here's the key part of his post --

The Giants face their biggest test of the season now that they've reached the century mark. Two more with Milwaukee, then on to Philadelphia and Cincinnati, then home for Arizona, Philadelphia again, and Pittsburgh. That's 18 more games with contending teams (Arizona was kind enough to lose last night and keep the Giants four games up). For the Giants to match last years win total of 92 they will have win 35 of the remaining 62 games, or .565 ball, close to their current .570 pace. If they play .500 ball (31-31) they will finish with 88 wins. That might do it, but it would be awfully tight and the D-Backs would have to help out some. The Giants were 16-12 in May and 17-11 in June. With eight games left in July the 11-7 Giants might find it tough to match those numbers, but this is a tortoise-not-a-hare club, the kind that grinds it out a little at a time. I expect I'll be doing some similar math a month from now, and saying things like "if they can just stay a couple of games above .500 the rest of the way the NL West is a lock."

Vogie today, MadBum tomorrow. GO GIANTS!

Friday, July 22, 2011

A return to 2009 for Huff Daddy?

Well, he did get a single tonight -- one of five hits the Giants got. But with Jeff Keppinger on base with his first hit as a Giant, he grounded out to end the game.

He was thoroughly awful for the Tigers in 2009 after they traded for him from the Orioles (20 hits for 106 ABs -- a .189/.265/.302 slash line) and with the season nearly two thirds over, I'm fearful that he's got a case of the olds.

He's just gone 6 for 42 in the past 10 games. I say it's time to give young Brandon Belt more playing time. Even though Belt put up an oh-fer on Wednesday and struck out swinging as a pinchhitter tonight. The MLB network guys were completely impressed with Aaron Rowand's pinch hit homer.

Happy birthday, Ryan Vogelsong

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cody Ransom returns to the NL West

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

I hate losing to the Dodgers

It's never acceptable. I don't care if it's 1-0 or 13-12 or 4-3 or 21-20. I hate it even if it's to a great pitcher like Clayton Kershaw. Chris Stewart managed two of the team's 3 hits and Burriss got the other; Fontenot got a walk. Tim struck out seven.

It's the second 1-0 loss this year. First came on May 26, right after deranged dingbat Scott Cousins decided to end Buster Posey's season.

Cousins is on the 15-day DL currently as the Marlins continue sucking wind. Unlike Brian Sabean, I am not apologizing for telling it like it is -- he's a psychotic who is an inept baserunner and shouldn't even be in the MLB. The Padres just beat them 14-3 as I write this. I dislike the Florida franchise almost as much as the Dodgers. Which is A LOT.

Henry Schulman's game story points out that Cody Ross had the highest average of any starter in the lineup at .264. Yikes.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

"It's a great time to be a Giants fan"

Well, I'm feeling good. I agree with the quote.

That's how Julian Levine at Splashing Pumpkins recapped tonight's game which featured outstanding perfomances from two young Giants -- Madison Bumgarner and Brandon Belt.

Mike Krukow, who knows a thing or three about pitching, was particularly pleased on the postgame show about how awesome Bumgarner is and will be for a long time. He had one lousy inning in the third and then closed down the Bums for the next five innings. Here's a guy who won't be 22 til Aug. 1 and he's already won a World Series game, closed out the NLDS series and shut out the Phils for two innings in Games 6 of the NLCS. "He's an animal," Krukow proclaimed.

And he drove in a run tonight as the Giants scored 5 again. Every starter got at least 1 hit, except for Ross, who drew a walk.

Moving day for the Orange and Black

Monday, July 18, 2011

Kicking the Dodgers when they're down

That's what the Giants did tonight, skunking the Bums 5-0. The Giants still haven't scored more than 6 runs in a home game this year, according Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chronicle. It's no time for any mercy for the Dodger Dingbats. who are now 42-54.

Adam Berry's game story for mlb.com says the 4-run 6th tied the record for the largest inning at home this year for the Orange and Black. Sandoval and Schierholtz are the 3 and 4 hitters and mashing.

Sandoval hit his 9th homer, tying him with Huff for the club lead. Giants have 63 homers so they may get to 100 this year.

"A deal with the Devil"

"It's crunch time"

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Stewart squeezes out a vic

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The real torture of being a Giants fan....

...is having Barry Zito in your rotation.

I know I must sound like a sorehead but I'm never surprised when Barry Zito gets bombed. Never. I would have been thrilled if they had found a trading partner for him after his last 3 starts but baseball teams are unfortunately too smart to offer anything more than a big bag of used baseballs for a marginal guy -- How long before we can get rid of Barry Zito? I know that there's the argument that "he's not that bad for a 5th starter" but cripes. This is the Padres, for crying out loud, and the Giants have a shot at winning the pennant again. Herd's what Bochy said to Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News --

"That's a tough night for him. He's been throwing so well. "... It just happens. Starters go out there and don't have their best stuff. You chalk it up as an off night."

Bruce, it was not an off night. It was depressing for sure but it was also typical. I'd love to be proven wrong, but I'm skeptical that I will be. How surprising will it be if he gets bombed in all of his next 5 or 6 starts? It won't be.


Link

A torture-free Orange and Black vic

It wasn't quite a laugher, but this one was pretty easy.

The Giants just kept scoring tonight while Tim held the Padres to one run and the pen closed em down for 3 innings. I even skipped the 9th inning to go see "Horrible Bosses." Still, Lincecum isn't dominating the way he can. JC Parsons at Raising (Matt) Cain believes that the revolving door at catcher has created difficulties for him --

My theory is that the loss of Buster and the ensuing catcher merry go round (welcome Hector Sanchez, nice walk in your first appearance) has knocked Tim for a loop. Remember, he blames the transition to Buster from Bengie Molina to be the main reason for his very shaky August last year. Imagine how disheartening it must have been for Tim to see Eli Whiteside flounder (that lasted about two starts) and to now settle for only slightly better Chris Stewart. Since I don't think any major change is coming, I don't see the situation getting better for Tim.Link

Friday, July 15, 2011

Time to DFA Rowand

Now that Brandon Belt is healthy again, it's time to stop playing Rowand. Julian Levine at Splashing Pumpkins says it much better than I can in his recap of last night's game (though he wrote it before Pat the Bat went on the DL) --

-- If the Giants don't trade for Carlos Beltran, here's a radical idea: Designate Aaron Rowand for assignment and call up Brandon Belt. Aaron Rowand has few useful skills, namely his ability to play center, and his ability to hit left-handed pitching. With Pat Burrell and Cody Ross, the Giants have no shortage of guys that can hit LHPs; and with Andres Torres, Cody Ross and Nate Schierholtz (yes, Schierholtz, if need be), they have no shortage of guys that can play centerfield. His contract isn't a reason to keep him around. Sunk. cost. Play Pat Burrell and Cody Ross against left-handed pitchers; play Brandon Belt and Andres Torres against right-handed pitching.

Another Sanchez in the Orange and Black

It looks like the Giants have a new catcher, Hector Sanchez, according to Andrew Baggarly on the Merc-News. Whiteside and Stewart have been so lousy offensively that it looks like he'll get to play right away.

He's all of 21 and from Venezuela. He's gone 25 for 82 in Frenso and driven in 12 runs. It's hard to believe he'd be worse than Eli or Chris. And he's been property of the Giants since he was 17.

Pat the Bat has gone on the DL. For some reason, the front office doesn't think Brandon Belt is ready to return -- Why not Brandon Belt, who was 3 for 3 with a homer for Fresno last night? I’m told he’s not ready yet. After missing so much time, the Giants really want him to get a solid amount of at-bats under his, ahem, belt. That’s why he went to Single-A San Jose during Fresno’s All-Star break.

Wasting our tax dollars

So here we have a possible government shutdown coming while dingbat federal prosecutors continue wasting time and money on prosecuting the designated scapegoats Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds.

The NY Daily News story quotes the judge as saying the prosecutors made a mistake that wouldn't have been made by a first-year law student.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Thanks Luke Gregorson

The Padres reliever was the staff's best at not walking batters. So he came into the 12th and walked Cody Ross and Brandon Crawford on 8 pitches, made an error on Eli's bunt, got Tejada to pop up on a single pitcher, struck out Torres and walked Fontenot on 4 pitches and then had a 10-pitch at bat to Sandoval that culminated in a two-run single. Welcome to the bizarreness that is Giants baseball -- a guy (Burriss) pinch runs and comes to the plate in the same inning (the 12th). I can't say I ever remember that happening previously.

I had been particulary peeved before the Giants put up their 5 spot.
Ted Leitner, the extremely annoying Padres announcer, had decided to bash Sandoval in the previous inning for the routine he goes through at the plate -- a cranky old man, for sure. "You get a pitch in the earhole of your helmet," he then said. Great stuff, Ted -- sanctioning beanballs. Then he decided to bash Barry Bonds for the egregious sin of having a big chair and not taking batting practice (a lie -- I saw Bonds take plenty of BP) and THEN saying how much his teammates hated Bonds (while never identifying anyone). Later on, Ted made a comment a fine human being Ken Caminiti was (when we all know that he was a serious drug abuser).

Suck on that loss, Ted and Luke. How does that taste?

Ron Kroichik's game story for the SF Chron makes the point that there would not have even been extras without Aubrey Huff's first homer in 125 at bats in the 9th -- Before this late uprising, the Giants seemed headed for an ominous loss. They trailed 1-0 when Padres closer Heath Bell sprinted toward the pitcher's mound - no slide this time - to pitch the ninth.

Then Huff abruptly showed up. The offense had found familiar frustration all night, either making modest contact or watching well-struck fly balls wither in the cool San Diego air. Fontenot and Schierholtz, especially, ripped the ball without reward.

Huff changed the vibe with one swing, on Bell's 0-2 pitch. Huff crushed the ball down the right-field line, fair by enough and out by plenty. The crowd of 32,292 erupted in cheers, because many of them wore Giants colors.

Maybe they were stunned by the improbability of what they witnessed. Huff had not hit a home run in his previous 125 at-bats, dating to his three-homer outburst June 2 in St. Louis.

Or chew on this slice of numerical trivia. This was the first home run off Bell since April 19, 2010 (Juan Uribe, then of the Giants). Bell went 99 appearances and 102 innings between Uribe's blast and Huff's homer Thursday night.




Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Nate's new swing

Just watched the first episode of "The Franchise" and you wouldn't even know that Nate Schierholtz is on the team -- even though he's probably the biggest positive development after Ryan Vogelsong. Which is probably the way Nate would like it.

Zachary Chiang at Splashing Pumpkins has a pretty fine post about how Schierholtz appears to have altered his swing for the better.

I'm impressed because it indicates that Nate's not just getting lucky. Nick Cannata-Bowman at Croix De Candlestick has a detailed post that reached the same conclusion as Zachary.

Pretty, pretty, pretty good All-Star Game

That's what Larry David might say if he were a Giants fan.

Interesting that the All-Star Game took place a day before Showtime starts airing "The Franchise." Cam Inman of the Mercury has checked it out and says it's pretty good...not like watching "The Godfather" or a walk-off vic, but pretty good.

That's how I feel. I care a lot more about the actual games but...

I don't pay much attention but ... Bochy managed well, Sandoval hit an RBI double and Wilson closed. Sandoval is becoming a doubles machine. As for Wilson, he was in fine form postgame, per John Shea's story for the Chron --

"Great experience," Wilson said. "I'd like to be here the rest of my career. I won't take it for granted."





Monday, July 11, 2011

Memories of Mays, thanks to Sandoval

Though it's nearly a week old, I'm linking to a nice post by mlb.com's Chris Haft on the occasion that Sandoval got an extrabase hit for the 9th consecutive game. Haft took the trouble to go back and see what Willie Mays had done when he got his nine straight in 1963 --

July 28 — Mays’ two-run, sixth-inning homer erases a 1-0 deficit as the Giants proceed to a 3-1 triumph over Pittsburgh.

July 29 — With Pittsburgh leading, 3-2, Mays belts a three-run homer off Vernon Law in the fifth inning. Giants win, 5-4.

July 30 — Mays contributes heavily to a 5-0 victory over Philadelphia by doubling and scoring twice.

Aug. 4 — Mays’ 10th-inning homer at Wrigley Field snaps a 1-1 tie as the Giants hold on to edge Chicago, 2-1.

Aug. 5 — Giants lose 6-5 at Houston, but it’s not Mays’ fault. His two-out homer in the ninth inning put them ahead, 5-4.

Aug. 6 — Mays triples in the fourth inning and scores the go-ahead run on Orlando Cepeda’s sacrifice fly. Final: Giants 3, Houston 1.

Mays batted .439 (18-for-41) during his streak with three doubles, two triples and six home runs.

Ronny Paulino in the Orange and Black?

One of the stranger acquisitions that the Giants have made -- and that's saying something -- was during the late spring training of 2009 when they traded traded Jack Taschner for Ronny Paulino and unloaded him two days later to the Fish for some guy I've never heard named Hector Correa, who is currently a 23-year-old reliever on the Richmond farm team.

Correa's having a decent year in Richmond. May I be so bold as to suggest that perhaps the Giants could trade him for Paulino, who was putting up some decent number for the Metsies? Paulino's 30 and sitting much of the time, as the Mets prefer to use 24-year-old Josh Thole.

By the way -- this is just me speculating. I was at the yard Friday and saw Paulino has decent stats for a catcher. How in the hell can we keep giving starts to Chris Stewart -- who simply can't hit MLB pitching -- and Eli Whiteside, who's marginally acceptable for a backup? John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters is equally perplexed but far more astute about it than I am.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sandoval and Schierholtz

Saturday, July 09, 2011

Giants explode for 3 runs for Tim

Give Tim Lincecum and the pen 3 runs and they're usualy good to go. Up in section 305, I can tll you that Tim's 6 strikeouts in the last 3 innings he worked were the most popular moments of the night. We have come to expect brilliance from him. The brilliance is so routine that it gets ignored, as it was on Marty Lurie's postgame show (Marty actually contended that Rowand has been one of the most valuable Giants this year, so you know he's a dingbat) and in Henry Schulman's game story -- which focuses largely on whether Pablo Sandoval is going to the All-Star game. I don't care about the All Star Game. I care about Tim looking like the same guy who who 2 Cy Youngs and Game 5 of the World Series, also by a 3-1 score.

Also loved seeing Giants killer Scott Hairston get embarrassed on a 3-pitch K from Sergio Romo at the end of the game....as did Tim. "That was stupid" he told Chris Haft of mlb.com, meaning "fabulous," according to Haft.

Donde esta Aaron Rowand?

That was obviously an imposter in the Giants sixth spot tonight, as Bochy continues to give starts to a guy who's probably the lousiest offensive player among National League outfielders. Pat the Bat and Cody Ross sat -- though both have been injured recently. Please Bruce Bochy -- bring someone up from Fresno, start Burris in the OF, anything but see this long string of depressing at bats from a guy who obviously has a bad case of the olds.

I spent tonight's fairly depressing game in the Arcade in 148 in front of some slightly obnosxious Mets fans. Every time Rowand came to bat after Nate Schierholtz -- who got a Splash Hit and drove in both runs and walked -- Rowand would kill any momentum, usually with a weak grounder.

I understand that Rowand can still hit lefties. RA Dickey is not a lefty. Why is Rowand starting?

Here we are with Rowand having gotten 240 at bats, 2 homers, a .292 OBP and a grand total of 10 walks. How can you possibly justify starting this guy any longer? He went 0 for 4 on a bunch weak grounders and is now 2 for 21 for the homestand. Whatever management thought he had when they signed him is long gone.


Bring up Thomas Neal or Francisco Pegeuro or Brandon Belt. Or play Mike Fontenot. Or Pat the Bat. STOP GIVING ROWAND AT BATS.

John Shea tried to be cute in his game story for the SF Chron by hinting that the Giants may be seeking Carlos Beltran. Earth to John -- get real. If the Giants want to win, they'll do what they did last year and stop playing Rowand.




Friday, July 08, 2011

Calling Brian Cashman

One caller on the KNBR postgame show strongly suggested that the Giants consider actively seeking a deal for Zito if he can rack up another decent outing. The contention -- and I agree -- is that this good stretch isn't indicative of anything consistent and that getting out of the contract, which still has two and half seasons to run, will enable the Giants to get some offense. The Yanks are the obvious destination for Zito. I kept wondering if he has a no-trade clause.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The walk-off wonders of 2003

This game already sticks out

I was fortunate enough to attend last night in Section 207. It's not often that there's a 14-inning game that stands out like this one. John Shea's game story for the Chron notes that --

It was the 10th walkoff win this year; it was Nate's first walkoff HR; the relievers gave up two hits in eight innings of work; Torres and Sandoval both made game-saving plays on D.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

"Don't panic"

That was the advice from Ray Woodson on the KNBR postgame show. Ray was pretty good at handling the callers, one who suggested an intriguiging trade of Jonathan Sanchez for Michael Young of the Rangers.

Ray said it was more likely the Giants will go after a catcher such as Ramon Hernandez or Geovany Soto.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

A historically bad offense in SF

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Things could be much worse for us Giants fans

After a tough loss like today, I remind myself that it's not that bad being fan of the current World Series Champions. For example, the team could be owned by a dingbat like Frank McCourt -- who dingbat Bud Selig thought was just fine as an owner in 2004. The Brit paper The Guardian takes a look. Andrew Gumbel's dispatch does a nice sum-up and notes that the Dodgers NEVER deserved to have the clean-as-whistle reputation that they developed over the first four decades that they were in LA. Here's an excerpt -- The Dodgers are not the first American sports franchise to fall victim to venality, selfishness and staggeringly poor oversight – especially in this era of big money, marketing and licensing deals. Still, the scale of the McCourt-era debauchery is staggering.

"There are lots of subplots, but the real plot is that McCourt has denuded the team," one of the country's leading sports economists, Andrew Zimbalist, commented. "He has taken assets, he has broken them off, he has used the income from those to finance his extravagant lifestyle, and he now wants to use the income of some of those assets to pay off the divorce. It's too much for baseball."

It's too much, in particular, for Angelenos of a certain age who think of the Dodgers as an improbably gentlemanly organisation in a town of Babylonian fleshpots and entertainment industry debauchery. That ideal image is almost certainly too rosy – especially to anyone familiar with the sordid history of Dodger Stadium, which crudely supplanted a teeming Mexican working-class neighbourhood in the 1950s and early 1960s.

Another SPSOW (Giants starter skunked out of win)

Saturday, July 02, 2011

What was that all about, guys?

Perhaps lost in the awesomeness of a 15-3 vic is that Barry Zito threw six shutout innings -- pretty good for a 5th starter. Splashing Pumpkins has an astute post about how Zito has a very low percentage of swinging strikes so we Giants fans shouldn't get riled up on the Zito front. He's probably the same crazy-making guy.

Speaking of crazy, the hitters went crazy, that's what. Maybe Brian Wilson needs to attack the Gatorade dispenser more often. The 3-run shot by Brandon Crawford matched his HR output with Miguel Tejada's at 2 so Tejada -- who's been losing ABs to Crawford -- then hit a grand slam immediately after the ran delay.Herny's Schulman's game story notes that Crawford continues to progress --

Every Giants starter had at least one hit and all but Eli Whiteside scored. Crawford led the team with three hits, a first in his nascent big-league career.



Friday, July 01, 2011

Giants explode for 4 runs, Crawford steps up

I think Crawford is showing that he belongs in the bigs. An epic 9th inning that led to one of the better wins of the year, thanks to Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Crawford, of all people, getting a bases-loaded walk for that 4th run in a 10-pitch at bat -- his third walk of the night, which turned out to be huge, as Wilson melted down in the bottom of the inning. Pablo had two doubles and Brandon ended the game with an unassisted DP.

Here's a guy with a total of 91 at bats and TWELVE walks already.

As for Sandoval, he's looking more and more locked in. Here's what Henry Schulman of the Chron tweeted after the first double off Brad Penney's hanging curve.

Henry Schulman

Nate stepping up

Nate Schierholtz has been the one pleasant surprise amid a dismal offensive year for the Orange and Black.

Scott Willis at Crazy Crabbers has done a nice job of analyzing the Giants' lousy offensive performance in the first half, which has been lowlighted by the season-ending injuries to Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez. Nate Schierholtz is the only player to have outperformed projections; Cody Ross, Pat the Bat and Sandoval are in line with projections; and Rowand, Tejada, Huff and Torres have been real disappointments. It's beyond me why Rowand gets any at bats at all against righties.

Here's his comment about Tejada -- When I made this projection, I adjusted it up because I thought I was being too pessimistic. Well, it turns out I wasn't pessimistic enough. Tejada caught a case of the olds and has looked like he is swinging a slow bat. He is doing a little better as of late, but if you are just league average during a "hot" streak, that is a bad sign.

Bottom line -- If Huff, Belt, Torres and Fontenot can bounce back, this team will contend seriously.