Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hasta la vista, Aaron and Miguel

Well, maybe the front office has decided that they'd still like to get to the postseason. The Giants have designated Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada for assignment. I'm betting the lack of hustle on Sunday's bunt had a lot to do with this. Here's what John Shea of the SF Chronicle just tweeted -

John Shea

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

One bright spot amid the Orange and Black gloom

Let's go back 76 years

Another horrific game so I'm going to go back in time once more.

It's been an Awful August for the Orange and Black. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong, down to the laydowns by the Padres and the Rox to the Dbacks, who have just won their 8th in a row. Meanwhile, the Gmen have just lost 5-2 as Jeff Keppinger made the final out after getting 3 hits tonight.

But there's still a game against the Cubbies tomorrow with Bumgarner pitching. And there's September, which always reminds me of the 1935 Cubs. They won the first game, lost the second to fall two and a half games back and then went on a 22-game winning streak. They lost 4-2 in the Series to the Tigers. They went 100-54 in the regular season.

I always figure that if the Cubs can do it, anyone can. Of course, it helps to have a starting lineup with Phil Cavaretta, Augie Galan, Billy Jurges, Stan Hack and Frank Demaree -- plus FOUR Hall of Famers in Freddie Lindstrom, Gabby Hartnett, Chuck Klein and Billy Herman.

I don't give up on the Giants ....

... but it's kind of hard to argue with folks who've thrown in the towel. Julian Levine at the very useful Giants Nirvana is the latest. Here's part of his post --


Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez have each incurred season-ending injuries, and others — Pablo Sandoval, Brian Wilson, Andres Torres, Brandon Belt, Nate Schierholtz, Cody Ross, Carlos Beltran to name a few — have spent time on the disabled list. In spite of all this, the Giants have remained in the thick of the playoff race.


But it’s not just that: Aaron Rowand, who has perhaps the worst plate discipline in the National League, has received consistent playing time; Aubrey Huff has underperformed mightily; Brian Wilson has seen his command fade significantly this season; Andres Torres has seen his OPS drop roughly 150 points since last year; Brandon Belt has been clearly mismanaged, and has not received regular playing time until just recently; and the Giants went out and acquired Orlando Cabrera — who’s much worse defensively than Brandon Crawford, and I’m pretty sure he’s not much better (if at all) against right-handed pitching; I need not even mention Miguel Tejada.


It’s been a tough season. Coming off a world championship, expectations were high, but this team — in the wake of all of these frustrations — has a negative run differential, and is headed for a five-game deficit in their division.


Tonight, it’s culminated in the first game of Tim Lincecum‘s career in which he’s allowed three home runs, and the Giants are being one-hit by Randy Wells.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Here's what I was hoping for tonight

Man, did tonight's game suck! JC Parsons at Raising (Matt) Cain does a fine job of describing how awful it was with our franchise player Tim Lincecum appearing the get rattled by the garbage offense, a missed call by the ump, an error by Orlando Cabrera -- leading to a 3-run homer by the immortal ex-Dodger Blake DeWitt. Instead, as usual, I will focus on the past to remind myself that there are still 28 games left.

I had to laugh a little as the Cubbies extended to lead to 7-0 though. It took me back to a game I attended in 1975 at the Stick. The Giants -- who were pretty awful back then -- had gone down 7-1 against the Cubbies and then put up a 7-spot in the 5th on their way to a 9-7 vic. What a great day!

Here's how that went --

Speier Single to CF
E. Goodson Single to LF; Speier to 2B
M. Hill Single to LF; Speier Scores; Goodson to 2B
J. Brown Single to CF (Ground Ball); Goodson Scores; Hill to 2B
V. Joshua Double to LF (Pop Fly); Hill Scores; Brown to 3B
B. Miller Single to 2B; Brown Scores; Joshua to 3B
B. Murcer Flyball: RF/Sacrifice Fly; Joshua Scores
G. Matthews Double to LF; Miller Scores
W. Montanez Flyball: RF; Matthews to 3B
C. Speier Single to 3B/Bunt; Matthews Scores
E. Goodson Single to CF (Line Drive); Speier to 3B
Goodson Caught Stealing 2B (C-2B)


If you don't like it, then get out of here, Miguel

DFA Miguel Tejada now

Talk about not fitting in with the team!

Here's Topps 2011 version of Miguel Tejada in what looks to be an appropriately poorly photoshopped Giants uni. Great post by the Nite Owl baseball card blog.

Well, I went on and on in the previous post about Aaron Rowand, who appears to have simply gotten a case of the olds combined with foot in mouth disease. I've never heard him accused of not putting out 100 percent effort. I've gone off on Armando Benitez and Barry Zito, who simply lost the ability to pitch at the MLB level...but never appeared to give anything other than their level best. All three are examples of Brian Sabean's obsession with fading veteran player who he thinks are due to bounce back.

That doesn't appear to be the case with Miguel Tejada, who completely dogged it today with not running out a sacrifice bunt in the 11th inning. What an insult to his teammates, Giants fans and the great game of baseball. No apology, just a big "fuck you" to everyone.
Henry Schulman doesn't mention it in his game story for the SF Chron but he did tweet about it and it certainly got noticed eslewhere.

It's damn disheartening. Rory Paap has a good post called "The Magic Is Gone" about it on Bay City Ball and references the Bay Area Sports Guy's post -- which makes hash of Tejada's rep and paints him as a prima donna loser.

The comments section is particularly revealing in the BASG's post in that several who were there at the park say it's completely true and totally disgusting. Here's the conclusion --

The last time I saw a Giant dog it to such a degree with the first and only time I’ve ever booed a Giant at AT&T Park. It was Alex Sanchez, who let a ball fall in front of him in center field that only could have been considered out of his range if Sanchez had torn his ACL on the play. Since he wasn’t limping afterward, I let him have it, as did almost everyone else in the crowd. Sanchez threw his hands up on the play in reaction to the crowd’s jeers, and he was released later that evening.

Hopefully we’ll hear Tejada experienced the same fate when we wake up tomorrow morning, but with his salary and reputation I doubt that’ll be the case. What a terrible signing he was. One of the worst, on a team full of them. Talent always trumps chemistry, but when a team is struggling it never helps to have guys like this on the roster. Guys who won’t lay down a bunt after being asked, even when their team is down a run in extra innings. Bring up Brandon Crawford, Burriss … hell, bring up Ehire Adrianza or Joe Panik. Anyone but this washed up, overpaid, selfish, below-replacement-level player.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

The annoying Aaron Rowand

I don't really care what players do off the field but I have to wonder about Aaron Rowand.

I guess I'm just venting after a rough loss. But Aaron Rowand is now close to worthless and when I saw him come up in the 11th with the tie run on second, I had a good sense that this wasn't going to be a good outcome. He's gotten so bad that even the Giants only gave him an at bat after Eli Whiteside had struck out 4 times.

So I looked up what happened three weeks ago. Here is a guy who's among the most overpaid in the majors who decided to talk 3 weeks about how he doesn't like San Francisco. He at least had the sense to realize what a gaffe it was, but I'm still astounded at what kind of dingbat doesn't realize that this is going to be taken as a "biting the hand that feeds you" kind of statement.

Here's the original interview in the Chicago Sun-Times if you feel like clicking through. All I can say is "why don't you try a little harder to get that swing back on track and stop thinking about the Chicago Bears?" I know that's irrational but Rowand is managing to annoy the hell out of me...and I don't even care about the NFL.

Speaking of annoying, how about those Padres doing a total laydown in Phoenix?


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Welcome to the MLB, Eric Surkamp

That intense Giants All-Star look


Who else could this be about but Jeffrey Leonard?

I found this very intriguing card of the oh-so-intense Leonard on the Nite Owl baseball card blog under the "I'm Badass And You're Not" heading.

Leonard, AKA One Flap Down, made the All-Stars once during his 1981-88 tenure as a Giant -- in 1987. He was a great pickup for the Gmen, who dumped headcase Mike Ivie on the Astros and got Leonard and Dave Bergman in return. In mid-season of 1988, they swapped Leonard to the Brewers for Ernie Riles.

The All-Star selection is bit odd in that Leonard finished the year with 19 HRs and 63 RBIs -- pretty decent when you play half your games at the Stick but not what I'd call killer stats. He went 0-for-2 in the game.

But, here's the deal -- he was having a very good first half. On July 6, a week before the All-Star game, he hit his 16th homer and drove in his 41st run as part of a 3-for-5 day in an 7-5 vic over the Pirates, who were playing a 22-year-old Barry Bonds in right field. Most importantly, Leonard's batting average at that point was .309. His stats were similar to Will Clark, who was batting .316 at that point with 39 RBIs; Chili Davis was at .252 but had 41 RBIs. So Davey Johnson evidently went with the vet with the higher average at that point. Big Daddy Reuschel also made the All-Stars that year.

For those of you too young to remember, the 1987 team is revered among older Giants fans. It went to the postseason for the first time in SIXTEEN years. I damn near cried when they clinched the division. Essentially, Leonard, Davis and Will the Thrill were carrying the offense in the first half; the front office had the guts to make a monster deal on July 5 with the LinkSan Diego Padres. They got Kevin Mitchell along with Dave Dravecky and Craig Lefferts for Chris Brown, Keith Comstock, Mark Davis and Mark Grant.

Mitchell really started raking once he got to SF. In 69 games, he had 15 HRs and 44 RBIs for the Giants that year.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Giants explode for 8th 2-1 win

Once Jeff Keppinger drove in two in the fifth with a double, I knew that would be enough. It was. Madison Bumgarner and the short-handed pen stepped up big time and held the Astros to a run.

Good Lord. The Giants only got three other hits -- two by Carlos Beltran and a single by Belt. They did, however, get 5 walks, so I like this game A LOT.

It's the second time in three days that the Giants have won 2-1. It's the 8th time this year that they've won by that score. Bumgarner won another 2-1 vic over the Brewers five weeks ago.

Surkamp in the Orange and Black

Eric Surkamp will debut Saturday, according to John Shea's tweet.

John Shea

Thursday, August 25, 2011

1-game winning streak ends

Well, that didn't last long. The team has had only one two-game streak this month. They haven't had a 3-game streak since mid-July when they had that nice 7 of 8 run before and after the All-Star Break, culminating in a 5-3 vic, highlighted by Brandon Belt's 3-run bomb.

Tonight's 3-1 loss kind of got gift-wrapped to the Astros. I will say again that I believe Hensley Meulens should be fired NOW but it would sure be nice if Bruce Bochy would kind of STOP trying to hit and run with guys can't deliver. In the fourth, Sandoval walked and was thrown out at second on a busted hit and run when Ross couldn't get his bat on the ball. In the fifth, Belt walked and was thrown out at second on a busted hit and run when Vogelsong couldn't get his bat on the ball.

Let's just try to see if we can string a couple of hits together rather than trying to psycho-analyze the runs home, shall we? Because we need a winning streak. Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chron carries a distinctly snarky tone, hammering on the crappy at bats taken by Aubrey Huff -- who's reverted to being just plain awful.

It's the 10th series in a row in which the Giants have lost the first game, Dave Flemming noted on the radio tonight.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tim is THE MAN

Even though he still looks like he could pass for 16, Tim Lincecum delivered the kind of gutsy veteran performance tonight that Giants fans have come to expect. We're almost startled when this DOESN'T happen. I knew... I just knew throughout a long and complicated day that a much-needed Giants vic was in store. As it turned out, he even drove in a run after Chris Stewart had failed to get Belt home from third with no one out. As long as Tim's on the team, good things will happen.

JC Parsons at the invaluable Raising (Matt) Cain site has a great recap. I especially love the dog reference (Dogs are great for many reasons, not the least of which is being nonjudgmental)--

One reason why I love Tim Lincecum is because he is tough. Not mean and grubby "Sons of Anarchy" tough. His own kind of tough. Here are two very specific examples from tonight's significant victory over the rather pathetic puds:

Pitch #119 : Probably Tim's best pitch on a rather long night. Clinging to a one run lead in the eighth inning, Tim had a full count on the dangerous Cameron Maybin. The poor guy really didn't have a chance against a perfect slider. Out #23.

Pitch #124 : The Freak's last pitch was a perfectly placed slippery fastball (up above the zone, 92 mph) that Jesus Guzman missed by a mile. Out #24. I jumped up and preceded to pump my fist and march silently around my home for about three minutes.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Charity starts at home unfortunately

Why the hell can't these guys win at home?

Dave Flemming said the Giants are averaging a pathetic 3 runs at home. But despite the Giants putting 5 runs on the board tonight, it wasn't enough. The Giants seemed determined to give away this game as the combo of an off night from Matt Cain, lousy defense and a Ramon Ramirez meltdown doomed the Gmen to lose to the disgusting Padres -- who are obviously still seething about gagging away last year's NL West.

The Giants' 3-run rally in the last of the 8th was a reminder of how the Padres often fall apart in the clutch; then Ramirez imitated that in the top of the 9th. The feeling of elation was oh so fleeting. Raising (Matt) Cain has a good recap titled The Agony and the Ecstasy and the Agony Again.

The Orange and Black DL

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Yes yes yes yes yes!

How appropriate that the final out of today's glorious 6-4 vic in 11 innings in Houston went from Pablo Sandoval fielding a grounder, moments after hitting a two-run jack, and throwing to Brandon Belt, who had his first 4-hit game. After Dan Runzler melted down in the second, the pen held the Astros scoreless for nine innings.

So Bruce Bochy -- Can we please please please have Brandon play on a regular basis?

Here's what Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News just tweeted --

Andrew Baggarly

This is why you give young guys a shot, Sabean

Brandon Belt has just homered to give the Giants a 3-0 lead. It's his 5th homer of the year in his 97th AB of the season to give him 16 RBIs. Here you have a legit power hitter languishing on the bench or in Fresno -- while you're giving over 320 ABs to the worthless Aaron Rowand. Yes, I said worthless: 4 homers and 21 RBIs and .632 OPS. Rowand just went 0-for-13, which has finally forced the issue. Here's a tweet --

Andrew Baggarly

The offensive Orange and Black graveyard

The Giants scored 5 tonight, which is often enough to win a game but Madison Bumgarner was pretty awful and gave up 7. If the offense can score 5 runs a game, the Gmen have a decent shot. Unfortunately, that's unlikely, given the pattern of the past 6 six seasons.

Where Have You Gone Joe breaks down the dumbfounding disparity --

Just to point out the obvious, these are Giants rankings in On Base Percentage, Slugging, OPS and Runs scored during those years followed by their pitching rankings below.
2006 - 28/22/25 - Runs Scored - 24th

2007 - 27/30/30 - Runs Scored - 29th
2008 - 24/28/28 - Runs Scored - 29th
2009 - 30/28/30 - Runs Scored - 26th
2010 - 19/13/17 - Runs Scored - 17th
2011 - 29/27/28 - Runs Scored - 29th

During this same period, Giants pitching rankings in ERA, Runs Allowed and OPS against.
2006 - 9/15/10

2007 - 9/6/10
2008 - 17/17/17
2009 - 2/1/2
2010 - 1/2/2
2011 - 2/2/1

The disconnect between hitting and pitching is dumbfounding. This disparity makes it impossible to believe that the same people responsible for building this pitching staff are the same people responsible for consistently assembling one of the worst hitting teams in the Major Leagues, year in and year out.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Are the Astros taking pity on the Giants?

It feels like it. They're starting Jordan Lyles, who's just plain awful. Fortunately, the Giants aren't leading off with Aaron Rowand.

Instead, Cody Ross is getting the start....and just flied out to center after taking going 3-2 on Lyles. Link

"Just a shadow of their Championship selves"

Giants Nirvana recaps last night's awfulness, noting that it was probably the worst lineup of the year and that the Giants had Aaron Rowand batting lead off even though he hasn't gotten a walk in SIX WEEKS. In response, one commenter named Dave had this to offer --


This my sound strange, but this article actually made me a little optimistic. Real rough times right now for the Giants. Having said that they don’t face Wandy tomorrow or Bud Norris, so they better get a W. If they cant muster that than don’t endure the torture cause this team is dead for the 2011 season. Now I don’t mean don’t watch or listen. Due to many factors this year the 2011 Giants are just a shadow of their Chapmionship selves lately.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Belt-free back to back awfulness

This one was a real test for fans of the Orange and Black. It's the first back to back shutout sequence of the year.

So why is Brandon Belt on the bench? Why is Aaron Rowand batting leadoff? I know that Wandy Rodriguez is a lefty but come on. Belt is 6 for 20 against lefties this year. This game was so awful with Rowand going 0-for-4 that perhaps the best thing to come out of this is that he won't lead off again. I'm sure that pitching coaches are saying, "If you throw Rowand a fastball in the strike zone, it's an automatic fine. He won't take a walk -- just throw slop up there."

Back to back shutouts are bad enough but to the WORST TEAM IN BASEBALL? Mark DeRosa, of all people, had the only extra base hit tonight. I keep reminding myself that there's still six weeks of baseball left. But here's a pretty brutal tweet from the SF Chronicle's John Shea --

John Shea

Thursday, August 18, 2011

It's not just bad luck

I'm disagreeing with Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Merc-News about why the Giants aren't scoring runs.

He exonerates the front office in his notes recap -- It’s not in Lincecum’s nature to complain publicly. But even if he did, it wouldn’t serve much of a purpose. The Giants offense is where it is because of bad luck more than bad design. A frustrating situation, to be sure. But not anyone’s fault.

MY SNARKY RESPONSE: OK, Andrew -- Here's the deal. LISTEN UP. Why are Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada and Mark De Rosa and Orlando Cabrera eating up payroll and getting ABs? Why is the one legit blue-chip prospect (Brandon Belt) riding the bench or in Fresno? Why couldn't Sabean find another catcher who can hit a bit? It IS someone's fault that those bad choices have been and continue to be made. This isn't just bad luck.

Nice going, Sabean (he said sarcastically)

Q. Why would I say such a snarky thing to the GM who managed to put together a team that wound up winning the World Series?

A. Eighth shutout of the year. Fourth since another 1-0 nightmare on July 20, which also saw Tim Lincecum get stuck with a loss. I know there are lots of injuries but the roster construction is frankly egregious. Frankly, the only decent move this year was the signing of Ryan Vogelsong -- and that only paid off because of Zito getting banged up for the first time in his career.

For those of you with strong stomachs, look at the box score. A double and single by Ross, two singles by Nate, a single by Cabrera and a walk by Stewart. Can't anyone on this team take a walk?

Here's a tweet that says it all --
San Francisco Giants

This is what it's come to

I eschew profanity but one of the compensations of living in Los Angeles is that you're relatively anonymous if you want to scream "fuck you" repeatedly at the Atlanta Braves during yet another bullpen meltdown tonight. Yes, that was me on Highland Avenue in my car yelling one "fuck you" after another as the game went from 7-1 to 7-2 to 7-3 to 7-5 as what should have been a laugher got transformed into a nailbiter.

So I've been reduced once again to an uncivilized lout. At least the Giants won.

The always reliable MC O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain has the proper focus on the awesomeness of Mighty Matt's fine game tonight -- his 20th quality start this year, tying for the NL lead with roy Halladay and Cole Hamels.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hensley Meulens = Carney Lansford

What Tim Lincecum means

Even a dingbat like the SF Chron's worthless Bruce Jenkins can figure that out. In a column that's largely insight-free, he makes this one valid point, after somehow blaming Jonathan Sanchez for injuring himself -- Sanchez's injury was clumsy and needless, befitting the team's recent malaise. He had a relatively routine play in front of the mound on Randall Delgado's bunt, but he bobbled the ball, then fell to the ground as he threw awkwardly to first for the out. One pitch later, in a snapshot of the Giants' season, he was limping off the field.

MY COMMENT -- What an idiot. What a damn idiot Bruce Jenkins is, implying that Sanchez was somehow trying to get injured. My stomach's still churning. How does this guy still have a job?Anyhow, here's the one valid point at the end of the story --

It's a simple fact in baseball that a 3 1/2-game deficit means nothing, especially in mid-August. Last year, the Giants trailed San Diego by 6 1/2 games as late as Aug. 25. This year's numbers, though, tell a rather grim story.

The Giants now trail Atlanta by six games in the wild-card race, offering little hope they can make the postseason as the National League's best second-place team. They have won only three of their last 18 games not started by Tim Lincecum. Their runs-scored total ranks 29th (out of 30) in the major leagues.


Surkamp in the Orange and Black?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

What doesn't kill the Giants makes them stronger

I'm very proud of this team, which is standing up to serious adversity. The breaks have got to start coming our way soon.

The DL revolving door

Monday, August 15, 2011

Memories of Armando Blownitez

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Two in a row for the Orange and Black

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Another awful August

Just like last year; hoping that the Orange and Black can turn around again

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Is last year's Huff back?

Maybe he started wearing a thong again. John Shea's game story for the SF Chron makes the very good point that this is the guy who's been MIA for most of this year.

He's been gradually hitting a bit better. I still don't like the fact that DeRosa is taking up the 25th spot

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Now THAT's an ace

Not quite greatness from Tim Lincecum today but pretty damn good at a time when the Giants HAD to get a vic -- 23 batters, 7 hits, 1 walk, 1 run, 5 strikeouts. We are fortunate to have such a great pitcher in the Orange and Black. He even survived getting hit by Chase Utley's bat in the 8th.

Jeff Keppinger went 4 for 4 and is now 15 for 41 in the last 10 games.


Chris Haft points out in his mlb.com story that the Giants had 4 hits with runners in scoring position today after going 0-for-17.

Andrew Baggarly's game story for the Merc-News says it had been 0-for-22 before the 5th when Chris Stewart's single with the bases loaded knocked in a run.

The Giants are currently tied for 26th with Oakland in HRs with 72. With 47 games left, they may not reach 100 this year.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

BRING BACK BELT

Hey, Brian Sabean --

If Mark DeRosa is such hot tuna -- enough so that you can send Brandon Belt to Fresno, even though he's a better hitter than several other starters -- then why didn't he get any ABs today?

Why wasn't DeRosa up to pinch hit for Rowand in the 8th, so we could have gotten something other than the pop up with 2 on and 2? Why is Huff starting and racking up another 0 for 4 instead of DeRosa? Why is Cody Ross, who went 0 for 3, starting ahead of DeRosa? Why is Cabrera -- who just made the last out to complete an 0 for 4 -- starting ahead of DeRosa, who's supposed to be so damn versatile?

The answer's simple: DeRosa's not starting because he stinks. So what are you trying to prove here -- that the 2-year deal for DeRosa wasn't a mistake, that you didn't blow it? Get over yourself. Now.

Steve Kroner's game story for the SF Chron notes that Rowand's pop up left the Gmen with an 0- for 17 mark in RISP at bats during the series with the extremely annoying Phils.

Maybe we should bring back Firesabean.com

Friday, August 05, 2011

Friday night meltdown

It's a long season and this is just one game. Unfortunately it's also the 7th loss in 8 games.

Well, the best thing I can say is that no one got injured in tonight's fiasco at Mays Field -- and if you're going to have two guys suspended for brawling, Eli Whiteside and Ramon Ramirez haven't exactly been setting the world on fire. Thank God that no one who can actually win a game like Lincecum, Beltran, Wilson, Sandoval, Vogelsong or Cain got hurt.

Meanwhile, we're stuck with having to root for another overpaid veteran on the fade in the person of Mark DeRosa. Face it -- the front office appears to have returned to its seemingly endless romance with guys like this, revisiting the days of Steve Finley, Matt Morris and Ryan Klesko.

Rory Paap at Bay City Ball has a good post about this --

As a Giants fan, you get to a certain point when you wonder if 2010 wasn’t a complete fluke. You also have to wonder if that home run hit by Edgar Renteria in game five of the World Series, as big of a blessing as it was at the time, wasn’t also a curse that would redouble the Giants’ infatuation with aging veterans.

This is the franchise that traded for Jose Guillen and used him in 42 games last season before going on to win the World Series.

The silver lining is that Mark DeRosa’s wrist and therefore stint with the big club should last about as long as an opened avocado. Unfortunately, though, that may only return Brandon Belt to his Travis Ishikawa-like role. A role that will ensure whatever value and impact he might give the Giants down the stretch, as they attempt to fend off the Diamondbacks, will be as little as possible.

Last season, the Giants screwed around with Bengie Molina for two months before recalling Buster Posey on May 29. They eventually traded away Molina in July to pave the way for Buster Posey, a move that unquestionably paid off. Barely. The Giants eliminated the San Diego Padres on the last day of the season.

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Belt back to Fresno, Giants shut out

Maybe it's not cause and effect with an ugly 3-0 loss tonight. Baseball players are pretty resilient but this one must have been a bit rough. OK, it was Cliff Lee pitching but damn. Here is a situation where the Giants offense is in dire need of guys who can get on base and hit with power and you send away the one guy who has a real upside for doing just that away?

Lefty Malo feels just like I do.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

"Today was a great day"

Just when it seemed that the Giants were stuck in neutral and I'd be reduced to endless whining about how Rowand and Zito ought to retire, the new guys went out and buttkicked the Dbacks but good.

The quote is from Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chron from Carlos Beltran -- who may be a Giant for only a little while. But he's been mashing over the last few games. I hope this means that we're doing with seeing Rowand play this year, given that Ross, Torres, Belt and Schierholtz are all far better players.


Nine years ago, the Giants brought in Kenny Lofton in a deadline deal (a couple of prospects to the Chisox) that essentially meant that the Giants had given up on Tsyoshi Shinjo; they made it all the way to the 7th game of the World Series.

By the way, the very solid Splashing Pumpkins blog has been replaced by Giants Nirvana, which we all got a taste of today. The factoid of the day --

Ryan Vogelsong has now allowed two runs or fewer in ten consecutive home starts, which is approaching a franchise record. Gaylord Perry and Scott Garrelts share the record at 12.

The Stopper stops the Snakes

"The stopper." It's a term that's fallen out of use since the days that Juan Marichal exemplified its use. Here's what the Giants site just tweeted --

THE STOPPER -- 9 of Vogey's 18 starts this year have come following losses. He's 6-1 w/ a 2.45ERA (15ER in 55.2IP) in those games

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Time to bench Huff

Huff has improved mildly over the past 10 games but he's by far the biggest disappointment of the season. He had one of the worst at bats of the season tonight. I had the irrational thought at that point -- put him on the DL and bring up a hot hitter from Fresno like Brett Pill.

There was a game-turning moment tonight in the 4th where the Giants had smashed three straight one-out hits from Keppinger, Beltran and Sandoval to take a 1-0 lead. It was a moment calling for veteran savvy clutchness. Just a ground ball to second, a flyball or even a walk. But with the Dbacks playing the infield back, Huff grounded weakly back to the pitcher, stranding Beltran at third. Nate Schierholtz then struck out. Lefty Malo agrees with me --

I mused a few days ago about the Aubrey Huff tipping point coming sometime before Sept. 1. Now I'm not so sure. I might have to nickname Bochy "Charlton Heston," because it seems someone will have to pry Huff out of his cold dead hands. Perhaps tonight's game will push Boch through the looking glass of enlightenment. Huff's at-bat in the fourth inning was pure distillation of everything frustrating about this season. One run was in courtesy of Panda's RBI double, and runners were on second and third with one out. Huff grounded back to the pitcher. Ker-blump. Lincecum had a one-run lead, but he'd been wild. That extra run or two would have made the game feel entirely different.

Sure enough, next inning Lincecum made two mistakes -- a hanging slider to Ryan Roberts that he lined for a single and a fastball to rookie Paul Goldschmidt that was meant for the outside corner but leaked back middle-in. Goldschmidt crushed it half way up the bleachers, and Arizona never looked back. The Giant bullpen had a rare sour night, and voila, 6-1.

Just play Brandon Belt, please. Could he be any worse than .240 / .294 / .370 down the stretch? I guess he could, yeah, but will it really damage the Giants' playoff chances to find out? If you haven't checked lately, Aubrey Huff is currently the 18th worst hitter in the majors this year, among qualifiers -- hey, at least he's not as bad as Ichiro, James Loney, Adam Dunn, or Alex Rios.

Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News knocked out a game story that highlighted how poorly Huff is performing right now --

The Giants' new Nos. 2-3 hitters started a rally in the fourth, when Jeff Keppinger and Carlos Beltran lined one-out singles. Pablo Sandoval continued his emergence as a run producer, staying with an outside pitch and driving it the opposite way to the left-center field wall for a double that scored Keppinger. But in typical fashion, the Giants minimized the chance. Even with Arizona playing its infielders back, conceding a run on a ground ball, Aubrey Huff couldn't drive in Beltran from third. Beltran held on Huff's tapper back to the mound, and Nate Schierholtz struck out on an electric, 95 mph fastball to end the inning.



Monday, August 01, 2011

I hate being right about Rowand

The Giants had two runners tonight in the 9th with two outs, down 5-2. Who does Bochy send to the plate? Aaron Rowand, who flies out to right on a 1-1 count on a 94 mph fastball from closer JJ Putz.

My thoughts at the time were "Why isn't Torres or Fontenot batting?" and "If Rowand doesn't make an out, it's a miracle." Because he can't catch up to fastballs any more. Don't believe me? Look at the slash line last year -- .230/.281/.378 -- and see that it's no fluke after 300 plate appearances this year -- .246/.293/.379. Has any outfielder with at least 657 plate appearance over the past two seasons put up crappier numbers? I can't think of one.

Look, I realize that the game was lost in the 6th when Matt Cain unraveled -- quite unexpectedly, according to Carl Steward's game story for the Merc-News.

I almost decided to take the dog for walk once Rowand was announced as a pinch-hitter for Whiteside in the 9th. Call me a wimp if you must. But seriously -- is there any team that would take Rowand off the Giants hands? A 33-year-old outfielder with no power and a $12 million guaranteed contract in 2012? No way. The Giants are stuck with him.

How about retiring, Barry?

Where Have You Gone, Joe has a long post suggesting that the righteous course of action would be for Barry Zito and Aaron Rowand to retire. I'm skeptical that they will. Gil Meche is going to remain a singular situation. Anyhow, here's part of the post --

Aaron Rowand and Barry Zito have earned more money than they will ever need to live comfortably and lavishly for the rest of their lives. There really is not much left for them to accomplish that they are capable of accomplishing. Just the opposite really. They harm their team more than they help; on the field and on the budget.

Zito is mentally done because he simply does not have the velocity or control necessary to avoid catastrophic mistakes on the pitching mound. Every batter who digs in against him is like a circling shark in bloody water. Conversely, every pitcher in the Bigs, knows that Rowand has no chance against a slider because he can no longer catch up to a major league fastball. His bat speed is too slow against the fastball to allow him to let a ball get deep into the zone before hitting. So he has to look fastball on every pitch. It sounds easy to change, but it is impossible once the hand speed is gone. Ask Mays. When you can't hit the fastball anymore, you're done, no matter how hard you try.