Friday, September 30, 2011

Playing offseason poker

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Summing up the season

Chris Quick at Bay City Ball posted this GIF of Brett Pill.

Actually, MC O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain has a fine analysis of the season, starting with these salient facts

-- The Orange and Black outperformed their Pythagorean number of 80-82 by six games. That's good managing the pitching staff by Bochy and Righetti.

-- at 570 runs, it was the worst offensive performance since the team moved West, except for the strike years of 1981 and 1994 and the 1985 (62-100) Giants, who scored 556 runs.

-- The Giants missed the playoffs by 4 games and Clayton Kershaw beat Tim Lincecum four times.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Giants get the last laugh on the Braves

I'm the second to admit it -- I'm a poor sport when it comes to the Giants. A gracious loser? Forget it. I'm still mad at dingbat Scott Cousins. And I don't feel sorry for the Atlanta Braves at all, who have just completed choking away going to the postseason over the past month.

I've always disliked the Braves. Always. I suspect it's the incredibly annoying Tomahawk Chop combined with the unending smugness of Chipper Jones and Bobby Cox along with the fact that the Atlanta fans are just no damn good. They routinely fail to sell out home games in the postseason. It's as if baseball is just a time-filler leading up to the football season.

The Giants just barely got past the Braves last postseason, thanks in no small part to a career-defining choke job by Brooks Conrad. So some of the subsequent coverage of the Giants was infused with a tone of "they got lucky" along with the sense that the Braves/Phils/Rangers were the better teams. I attribute a lot of that to the inherent East Coast bias of the sporting media along with the fact that the Giants did play better than expected.

More than any other team, the Braves reinforced that feeling this season with a thoroughly depressing sweep over Easter weekend in San Francisco followed by winning 3 of 4 in Atlanta in August. However, the Giants did win one game on August 17, hanging on for a 7-5 win despite the pen giving up 4 in the 9th. And that win wound up doing the Braves in, as they gagged away the postseason at home tonight to the Phils.

I don't know about the rest of you, but that August 17 vic -- coming amid a dismal stretch of baseball between late July and mid-September -- was clearly one of the highlights of this season because it wound hitting the Braves where it really hurt. Not only that, but the Braves epic collapse in September wound up shifting attention away from the Giants gift-wrapping the division to the Dbacks, thanks to one of the worst offenses ever put out on the field.

Naturally, stupid dingbats like Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle will call for Brian Sabean to have a longterm deal -- a ridiculous assertion given the front office's utter inability to take advantage of All-Star caliber pitching this year.

But for one night, the Giants beat up the Braves. So am I sore loser, a poor sport? Yes, I am. I'm glad the Braves gagged and that the Giants had a small role in that gagging. Enjoy football season, Braves fans.

Paging Jonathan Sanchez

This was like a spring training game in September in that it didn't really clear up what the hell the Giants will do next year for a No. 5 starter. Bruce Bochy opted not to pitch Matt Cain on the last day of the season and went to Eric Surkamp, which strikes me as a savvy move to try finding out if Surkamp can stick as a fifth starter.

I'd stick with Jonathan Sanchez, based on the results. Steve Kroner's game story for the SF Chronicle notes that Surkamp stucnk big time last Saturday.
I'm still a little baffled by the decision to pitch Surkamp in a must-win game with only five games left but I suppose it hardly matters any more.

As for Sanchez, he was paid $4.8 million this year and not really worth it. That was a big disappointment this year since Barry Zito obviously isn't any kind of answer. Sanchez had a WAR of 3.6 last year and came up huge down the stretch, especially in Game 162 and then again in Game 3 of the NLDS.

It's hard not to like how well he pitched last year. Here's hoping he gets it back by next April.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Is this it for Pat the Bat?

It's always a little sad to see any season come to an end, particularly since it's probably the end of the line for some of those on the Giants. Who knows if we'll see Pat the Bat again in the Orange and Black? While the Brandons (Belt and Crawford), Conner Gillaspie and Madison Bumgarmer had great games tonight, it wasn't to be for Pat in his pinch hit appearance.

Jon Miller had an interesting take during the radiocast on Pat as he was called out on strikes in the 8th on what was a pretty bad call. Miller noted that The Bat was such a key performer in 2010 -- not just the offensive contribution but the clutch hitting. He also said Pat was valuable in the clubhouse, which I always think is kind of nonsensical. Give me Barry Bonds over David Eckstein any day.

In any case, Pat the Bat will be a fave of mine for a long time for what he did last year. And that foot injury of Pat's turned out to be a real problem for the Gmen this year. I think a lot of us who follow the Giants have tended to forget what a stellar contribution Pat the Bat made last year. He was terrible in the World Series but the Giants would have never been there if not for Pat.

Jeff Fletcher at Bay Bridge Baseball had a similar astute post in early September. Here's most of it:

It seems like most Giants fans understand the obvious impact of the loss of Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez and the struggles of Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres, but it doesn’t seem like anyone ever mentions how much the Giants miss what Burrell did last year.

You know what position produced the highest OPS on the team last year? Left field. Burrell may have spent only four months with the Giants, but he had 18 homers — including seven that gave the Giants a lead — and a .872 OPS. (In almost the same playing time, the deified Posey hit 18 HRs with an .862 OPS.)

Before Burrell showed up, the Giants averaged 4.1 runs per game. After, it was 4.4. (Posey came around the same time, so it was a double boost.)

Why has no one missed Burrell this year? Either his value last year was underrated or Giants fans — in a rare show of realism — never expected much out of him in 2011. If it’s the latter, I’m not sure why the same people who seemed to be so blind to Aubrey Huff’s career trajectory would be so skeptical of Burrell’s though. (Maybe it was that postseason performance.) I happen to think it’s the former. Burrell wasn’t as warm and fuzzy as Huff or Posey, so Giants fans clung more to them and overlooked what Burrell did.

Monday, September 26, 2011

13 is the magic, tragic number

Ron Kroichik of the SF Chronicle makes an interesting point in his nicely reported game story tonight. With Ryan Vogelsong getting his 13th vic tonight, the Giants could wind up the season with four starting pitchers with 13 wins -- if Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner win their last two starts. Tim Lincecum is finishing the year at 13-14. I would bet that having four starters with 13 wins doesn't happen very often. And Vogelsong appears to be for real -- one of the better developments during a year that fell short on so many other fronts.

Of course, given the crappy offense, getting 13 wins is an impressive achievement. It's worth noting that all four of these guys would have at least 16 wins each with even an ordinary offense.

Bruce Bochy announced tonight that he's asked all the coaches to come back including the incredibly awful Hensley Meulens. Someone named Hilarie has been commenting that the bad hitting isn't Hensley's fault but I disagree that he's faultless. I know that fans often believe that they could do a better job than the managers and coaches and they're wrong most of the time. But in this case, I'm pretty sure I could have done better simply by saying one thing over and over and over and over and over again -- stop swinging at pitches out of the strike zone; if you don't, we'll find someone who's willing to let a bad pitch go by.

Right now, the Giants have scored 560 runs, or 4 more than only one other team -- the hopeless Seattle Mariners. Meulens should quit as he's proven that he's simply not up to the task.

How good is the Giant pitching? They've allowed 572 runs, fewest of any team except the Phils. I would contend that Dave Righetti is as good a pitching coach as Meulens is a bad hitting coach.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The bitter end for Tim

I got a reminder today of just how hard it is to play major league baseball and how games can turn on a single pitch. Tim Lincecum hit Justin Upton in the helmet in the first inning today -- fortunately, Upton stayed in the game -- then proceeded to give up a two-run double, on which he failed to back up a base, plus another run in the fourth and one in the fifth.

"It might have thrown him for a little bit of a loop," said John Smoltz -- who knows a thing or two about pitching -- on the TBS telecast. I'll say -- Tim gave up 8 hits and 2 walks with only three strikeouts. Meanwhile, as I am typing this the Giants have maintained their pathetic offensive production with 2 runs through 8 innings. Hard to say what went wrong -- disappointment over the game being meaningless? Distraction over damn near knocking a guy out? -- but I'm doubtful that it's a manifestation of a long-term problem.

The TBS announcers pointed out that Upton really gets on top of the plate and that it was the 18th time this year that Upton's been hit by a pitch, the third highest in the bigs after Carlos Quentin at 23 and Danny Espinosa at 19.

As for Tim, he's had a pretty stellar season overall with 220 strikeouts in 217 innings and an ERA of around 2.75. Unless the Giants score three in the 9th, he'll wind up with a 13-14 record. Given that the Giants scored one run or less in 16 of his 33 starts -- an unbelievable stat, really -- it's easy to argue that Tim should have won at least 18 games.

Eugenio's memorable 2011

Whatever faults the Giants' front office had this season, here's a Giants Win hat tip to the decision to walk away from Eugenio Velez -- who's managed to pull a Jason Schmidt and turn into a truly garbage ballplayer, going 0-for-36 this year (with two walks) for the Dodgers. It turns out that this guy really can't play MLB caliber ball and it's sort of stunning that the Giants held onto him for four years to prove that. He did have his moments such as the 9th inning pinch hit double on opening day at home in 2010 off Billy Wagner, preceding Renetria's game-tying homer -- what a portent of the World Series outcome.

Anyhow, apparently it was evident by this past offseason to every other team in MLB -- except the Dodgers -- that Velez really isn't an MLB player.

Actually, Juan Uribe has been pretty horrible for the Dodgers this year too, but at a far greater cost. It turns out that not signing Juan was an incredibly smart decision by the Giants front office, which opted to throw its big bucks at Aubrey Huff. He managed to have an even worse season than Huff with 270 mostly unproductive at bats this year and wound up on the DL with a hernia.

Juan had an astounding 2009 with a 3.3 WAR (wins above replacement value). Despite all the hype last year -- which got him the $21 million deal with the Dodgers -- he wasn't really that valuable to the Orange and Black with a 1.5 WAR.

At least the Giants' deal for Huff is only for one more year. He bounced back in 2010 from a horrible 2009 so I guess there's some hope there. He was about the only regular who didn't get injured this year so I'm concerned that his crappy year may have just been a case of the olds.

Wait til next year

Well, that was a pretty horrible way to be officially eliminated. Thanks a lot, Scott Cousins!

It's only appropriate that Barry Zito was in the game and made his usual negative contribution. I was about to watch the start of "Moneyball," ironically enough, when Zito came into the game and was his usual ineffectual self.

So what in the hell is the front office going to do with this guy? He can't pitch any more. Whatever effectiveness he had occasionally over the past five years appears to be long gone. They're stuck with him for two more years.

I was at what may have been Zito's final vic -- a dazzling 2-1 gem over San Diego on July 6 that gave Giants fans false hope. At that point, had Zito been able to keep it up, the Giants would have been formidable.

Here's an interesting point from Henry Schulman's game story --

After walking 13 batters to tie the San Francisco record for a nine-inning game, the Giants became the fifth World Series champion since the three-division format began in 1994 to miss the playoffs the following season. The 2006 Cardinals were the last.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

A little bit of hope for the Orange and Black

LET'S GO GIANTS!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Huffing away from the postseason

Well, that sucked. I'm reduced to declaring that the Giants are now going to win 5 in a row while the Braves and Cards each lose 5 in a row.

I have to say that it was appropriate that Aubrey Huff made the final out of the game tonight with a chance to tie. Sergio Romo says all the right things to Henry Schulman in the SF Chronicle game story about losing the game -- but here you have the Giants pitching staff holding the Dbacks to 3 runs. That's pretty damn good...but not good enough this year. Last season, in a similar situation, fans knew that Huff had a decent shot of coming through. This year, forget it. He's sitting down against lefties in favor of Brett Pill, for heavens sake. Maybe he'll redeem himself in the next few days.

No, the biggest disappointment this season -- other than the fact that Scott Cousins wasn't suspended for his psychotic attack on Buster Posey -- has to be Huff. There are plenty of other candidates like Aaron Rowand, Miguel Tejada, Andres Torres, Cody Ross, Pat the Bat and Barry Zito but Huff was the one that really stung, given that he was the MVP of the team in 2010 (he had a 5.8 wins above replacement value, followed by Torres at 4.6 and Cain at 4.1) and the fact that he's paid more than any other player on the team other than Rowand and Zito.

When, oh when, is this front office going to learn that guys of this age fall off really fast? How many more crappy signings -- Dave Roberts, Edgardo Alfonzo, Jeffrey Hammonds, Ryan Klesko, Randy Winn -- must we endure?

At least, the front office had the guts to kick Rowand and Tejada out of the organization.

Huff is 34 last year and will get paid $12 million next year after racking up a NEGATIVE wins above replacement ranking of -0.9. I know he's a great clubhouse guy, but we're really stuck with him in 2012 eating up at least 10 percent of the payroll.

Giants take last loss of the year

It's simple, really. The Giants just have to win six in a row; the DBacks have to lose 6 in a row.

We got the bad Bumgarner in last night's game -- not as bad as that 8-run first against the Twins, but pretty bad. As Henry Higgins put it so well in "My Fair Lady" -- "Damn. Damn. Damn. Damn."

Here's how Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News put it --Carlos Beltran hit a home run in the first inning and Pablo Sandoval went deep in the seventh. But that wasn't enough to cover Madison Bumgarner, who had one of his semi-occasional batting-practice starts while giving up nine hits in just four innings.

LET'S GO GIANTS!


Thursday, September 22, 2011

"You can't have a better feeling"

That sums it up nicely. It's what Brett Pill told Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle tonight after the Giants' 8-5 vic at Chavez Latrine. I was at the game and felt pretty damn good on leaving. The Orange and Black still have a chance.

Pill and Justin Christian went a combined 6 for 10 with 5 RBIs tonight. Here are the two starters who haven't had time to get messed up by the obviously incompetent batting coach, Hensley Meulens.

There's still 7 games left with Bumgarner going tonight. There's still hope. LET'S GO GIANTS!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Awful lack of support for Tim

Giants Win is still on board for a season-ending 8-game winning streak. Why do I keep urging that Hensley Meulens be fired? Here's a tweet I just saw --

San Francisco Giants
The have scored one run or fewer in 16 of Lincecum’s 32 starts.


Any other questions?

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dodgers win by exploding for 2 runs

How appropriate that Tim Lincecum and the pen would hold the despicable Dodgers to two runs and that still would not be enough.

I know that getting to a 9-game winning streak would be a long shot. But I say it again -- fire Hensley Meulens. Fire him now. I don't care if Clayton Kershaw is the second coming of Koufax. Fire him.

Perhaps getting an adequate hitting coach in would stop Bruce Bochy from his suicidal use of the stolen base -- which killed THREE potential rallies tonight.

I looked it up and the Giants are near the damn MLB lead in caught stealing, so they're successful less than two-thirds of the time. They were 8th in ciaght stealings before the game at 47 and have only stolen 82 all year. DAMN IT. STOP TRYING TO STEAL.

Back to 2007 -- the last 8-game win streak

It turns out that the Giants' current 8-game win streak is the longest since 2007, when the team went from 4-12 to 12-12 and convinced us Giants fans that it was actually going to contend. That wound up being kind of a silly notion.

It's kind of addictive to go back on Baseball Reference and look at these boxscores. That team subsequently went 12-10 to get to its high point of the year -- a 9-1 vic over the Astros that left the team at 24-22 and featured a fine performance by Barry Zito to get his record to 4-5 and a triple by Bengie Molina.

Of the 14 guys who played for the Giants that day, only Zito and Fred Lewis are still active in the MLB, though it's a stretch to say how "active" Zito is.

That team lost the next four games and never saw .500 again, winding up at 71-91. They were at 30-34 two weeks later and then lost 8 in a row before finally beating the Yanks, of all people in a 6-5 vic at home in 13 innings

Sunday, September 18, 2011

EIGHT IN A ROW, NINE TO GO

Now that was a Satisfying Sunday -- 6 HRs, a four-game sweep of the Rox. The Giants have now gone from 75-70 to 83-70. They need either the Dbacks or the Braves to collapse and they have to keep winning to have a shot at the postseason. But damn -- where did all this offense come from?


The Giants hit 5 homers in an inning against the Reds 50 years ago, according to mlb.com

Here's MC O'Connor's take at Raising (Matt) Cain -- They had a season-high eight-run inning which featured FOUR homers (two by the Panda). They hadn't hit four in an inning since 1961. Even Matt Cain got in on the act with a two-run bomb. Both Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford hit dingers. Mike Fontenot blasted a massive homer to start things off in the first inning. And Pablo Sandoval was ridiculous! (He was impressive with the glove as well.) The Giants sweep the Rockies by scoring 8, 9, 6 and 12 runs (35!) in the four games.

T

Saturday, September 17, 2011

SEVEN IN A ROW, TEN TO GO

The Giants are 82-70 after a nailbiter in Denver, highlighted by Brett Pill's two triples. The Dbacks remain stuck at 87 wins. As I said last night, the Orange and Black are now playing like the defending champs, meaning that they're actually hitting like they were last season.

And this one was a bit special in that 1. it happened against the Rox, a team despised by all good Giants fans and 2. it happened at Coors Field, burial ground for so many Giants dreams and 3. it happened with the Giants coming back from a 3-2 deficit in the 8th.

That rally got started by Andres Torres, a hero last year who hasn't been the same guy since he got felled by appendicitis a year ago. Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chron has the key details --The single that sparked the four-run rally came from an unlikely source, Andres Torres, his second hit in 21 September at-bats. They key to the inning was Streets throwing error on what could have been a double-play bunt by Jeff Keppinger.


Friday, September 16, 2011

SIX IN A ROW, ELEVEN TO GO

The Giants have just buttkicked the Rox at Coors, 9-1, to go 81-70 and are now within 5 games of getting even with the Braves. I hope the Braves are thinking about the 2010 NLDS. They have two left with the Mets at home, three at Florida, three with the Nats in DC and three at home with the Phils.

During this six game streak, the Giants have scored 39 runs. They had an ugly three-game losing streak before then in which they scored one run in three games after kicking the Padres around on Labor Day with 7 runs that day and six the next.

In other words, even with the 3-game losing streak, they've now scored 53 runs over their last 11 games.


To give you an idea of how poorly the offense has performed for most of the season, they're still 29th in the MLB in runs and trail San Diego in 28th place by THIRTY TWO runs.

Speaking of the Padres, they just beat the Dbacks to keep them stalled at 87 wins

Thursday, September 15, 2011

FIVE IN A ROW, 12 TO GO

After 8 weeks of nothing more than a two-game win streak, the Giants are playing like the defending World Series champs. Both the Braves and the Dbacks had the night off, but the Orange and Black have kept playing as if they're not going to lose again. They've now gone from 75-70 to 80-70.

Right now the Braves have 86 wins and the Snakes have 87. I do not give up. I remember 1962 -- four down with seven to go.

And here's the thing -- had Sandoval not broken the hamate bone and missed a quarter of the season, he might have had a few more games like tonight's. Henry Schulman of the SF Chron says he was riding the stationary bike AFTER hitting for the cycle. What's not to like?

LET'S GO GIANTS!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Still barely alive

The Dodgers have just beaten the Dbacks, so there's a faint hope still alive for the Giants making the postseason. The Giants now have a 4-game win streak so they just have to win 13 more in a row to get to 92 wins and hope that the Dbacks (with 87 wins) or the Braves (86) don't go past 91

Adios, Bill Neukom

Man, you just never quite know what the hell happens with the mega-rich folks. Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle describes the departure of the bow tie guy, who apparently angered the wrong people despite the team winning a World Series.

Bill, I just want to thank you for 6 things --
1. Bringing up Buster Posey
2. Trading Bengie Molina
3. Trading for Javier Lopez
4. Picking up Cody Ross on the waiver wire
5. Bringing up Madison Bumgarner
6. DFAing Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada on the same day

Splash hits revisited

Rory Paap at Bay City Ball has a terrific post updating the number of Splash Hits, now that Sandoval has six. Bonds has 35.

With the first 3-game winning streak in nearly 2 months, true Giants fans haven't given up all hope

LET'S GO GIANTS

Monday, September 12, 2011

Who's the Giants MVP?

It's the Panda with a WAR of 4.7, followed by Tim at 4.3

Another two-game winning streak for the Orange & Black

Unfortunately, it's been nearly two months since they have won more than two in a row

Sunday, September 11, 2011

16-0 is what it takes

Saturday, September 10, 2011

17-0 is what it takes

If the Giants can go 17-0, they will match last year's record of 92-70 as they are only five games over .500 for the first time since June 1.

LET'S GO GIANTS

Hello, darkness my old friend

Hello, darkness my old friend
The Giants got shut out again
(apologies to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel)

Here's a stat for you, retweeted by Extrabaggs --

STATS LLC by extrabaggs
The , averaging 2.92 runs in 2nd half, are on pace for NL's worst post-All-Star break offense since '74 averaged 2.75.

I would gain a ton of respect for Bill Neukom and Bruce Bochy if they fired Hensley Meulens on the spot.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Dodgers explode for 2 runs; Meulens is a disgrace

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Thanks a lot, Padres (he said sarcastically)

One day after ruining Matt Cain's fine start and beating the Giants 3-1, the Padres did another laydown for the Dbacks -- striking out NINETEEN times.

The Padres are truly annoying in that they're a bad team that still is scoring more than the Giants. They also employ perhaps the most annoying broadcaster (Ted Leitner) in MLB. It's little consolation that the Giants still lead the season series by 9-6 over the Dads.

Speaking of 19, that's how many games the Giants have left .... after tonight's must-win against the dodgers. They pretty much have to win them all now.

LET'S GO GIANTS!

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Matt Cain = quality start nearly guaranteed

Guess who leads the NL in quality starts?

Man, this one was tough to take as the Orange and Black lost a game they had to win and the Rox did another laydown for the Dbacks. How come no one among the beat writers ever mentions "Moneyball"(especially with a movie out in a few weeks) and how the Giants front office doesn't seem to have picked up on the lesson that GETTING ON BASE and not making outs is the single most important stat in MLB? Just because you have astoundingly good starting pitching doesn't mean you'll win games.

I will let Raising (Matt) Cain fill you in as to the specifics of just how crappy the Giants offense has been in the face of Matt's magnificence. What a pro! Boldface is mine --

The Giants are 3-7 in Cain's last ten starts. He's thrown 70-2/3 innings, given up 54 hits, 26 runs, and 18 walks. He's struck out 50 and has 164 on the season (his career high is 186). He's 5th in the NL in WHIP, 1st in Quality Starts, and 3rd in OPS against. He now has five straight 200 IP seasons which ties him with Jim Barr and Jack Sanford on the all-time SF list. Only Juan Marichal (10) and Gaylord Perry (6) have more. Cain will pass Sanford (211) and Barr (220) in starts next season, and has Mike McCormick (252), Kirk Rueter (277), Perry (283), and Marichal (446 ) still ahead.

First series won since August 14

Tonight's vic over the Dads represented the first time that the Giants have won a series since they took 2 of three from the Fish. You know, that was a pretty good day for the Orange and Black. They finally got a homer with someone on base when Ross connected; Belt had two HRs and Nate had one. Not only that, the Giants were only two games out of first at that point.

Vogelsong won his 10th game to 10-2. He's now 10-6.

Now, thanks to the Rox finally beating the Dbacks, the gap is six games with 20 go.

LET'S GO GIANTS!

Monday, September 05, 2011

One down, 21 to go

I've asserted that the Giants need to go 22-0 or close to it and win pretty much every game from here on out to get to the postseason. They had a good start today by buttkicking the Padres, 7-2.

What was most interesting to me was how badly Bruce Bochy wanted to win this game ... by attempting to have Madison Bumgarner throw a complete game. He made it into the 9th with a 7-1 lead, then gave up a homer to Nick Hundley on his 121st pitch. Santiago Casilla got the last two outs.

Now, the wisest course long term, of course, is to shut down your starters at this point when you're no longer trying to get to the postseason. Chris Quick at Bay City Ball believes that's what the Giants should do. I'm not sure I agree.


I do completely agree with MC Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain --

If the Giants aren't going to finish in first place then I want second place, goddammit. No late season death spirals that drop the team into mediocrity, thank you very much. It's a small thing, I know, but I'd like to see the lads finish strong, proudly displaying their World Series Champion shoulder patches for another few weeks. No shame in coming up short, especially with all the injuries and assorted bad things that have beset the 2011 club.

MC points out that Bumgarner's WAR is at 4.7, according to Fangraphs is 6th among NL pitchers. Matt is 5th and Tim is 8th. As I keep saying, with that kind of pitching, anything is possible even in these dire straits.

On the other hand, Brett Pill is finally going to start for the Orange and Black, if Andrew Baggarly is to be believed --

Andrew Baggarly
Brett Pill to Make big league debut tomorrow. "Don't stay out too late," Bochy said


LET'S GO GIANTS!

Scott Cousins = a lost season for the Giants

I cannot stress enough how damaging Dingbat Scott Cousins has been this Giants season. Let's look at Buster Posey's line from last year. He came up at the end of May last year and then had 443 plate appearances, 124 hits, scored 58 runs, drove in 67, had 18 HRs and a slash line of .305/.357/.505. In other words, Buster was a force.

Here are Chris Stewart's stats for the year -- 154 plate appearances, 26 hits, 1 HR, 7 RBIs, 16 runs scored; slash line of .193/.278/.259.

Here are Eli Whiteside's numbers for 2011 -- 210 plate appearances, 39 hits, 4 HRs, 16 RBIs, 13 runs scored; slash line of .207/.280/.349.

OK -- so the combined production from the Giants' catchers over the last three and half months is 29 runs scored (Half of the 58 by Buster) and 23 RBIs (44 less than Buster!). And I'm including the Whiteside numbers from before Buster got taken out by Dingbat Scott. I realize that Whiteside and Stewart may produce a few more runs over the next 22 games but THIS is where the Giants are losing the pennant.

What about simply extrapolating Buster's performance this year, which was down from last year for the last four months? It still would have been 36 runs scored and 44 RBIs. And he was heating up at the time of Cousins takeout, going 15 for 39 in his last 10 games.

I'm frustrated on two fronts -- 1. Why did Brian Sabean not make getting a more productive catcher a higher priority? and 2. Why is MLB not attempting to revise the current rules to protect catchers more ... or simply better enforce the current rules, which make it illegal for a runner to try to knocking the ball out a fielder's hands?

What about Dingbat Scott Cousins? He hasn't played in the MLB since June 12, after compiling a slash line that was pathetic.

And for those of you who insist that Cousins did nothing wrong, go soak your heads. Then read what still is the best post about the whole disgusting incident from Where Have You Gone Joe. Here's the key part --

Scott Cousins is a nobody who played for a second rate program in a third tier conference in college. He is a bench scrubini on one of MLBs cheapest teams. A team that is owned by yet another of Selig's fellow connivers, Jeff Loria who must hold some sort of record for pocketing luxury tax money instead of spending it on payroll . On Wednesday night, Jeff Loria got what he paid for. A cheap organization player hitting .177 with no sense about him, who ruined if not a career, the season of NL rookie of the year Buster Posey, when he blindsided Posey needlessly and recklessly . And why do I say needlessly and recklessly? Because Mr. MLB Wannabe had clear access to the plate and would have been safe if he had used either a hook slide or a reach-back sweeping slide. But that would actually have required some real baseball acumen and talent and experience; something this guy clearly demonstrated he lacks.

Video clearly shows that Posey had allowed him a path to the plate. Don't take my word for it; Bochy pointed it out to the moronic media in the post game presser. A true professional would have seen that and taken that path rather than intentionally blind side a guy with his back to him. An idiot schooled by idiots did not see it, so he did what any crass moronic loser would do; he blindsided Buster Posey with the same kind of headfirst-forearm shiver that Jack Tatum used to paralyze New England Patriot WR Daryl Stingley, in a pre-season game. In the process he broke Posey's leg. He ripped up Posey's ligaments. Why? Because he is an inept base-runner, or a cretin trying to hold onto his minimum salary anyway he can by "impressing" management with his "gameness" or more aptly put; "false hustle" or all of the above.




It's not over til it's over

Sunday, September 04, 2011

The Plexiglass Principle bites the Giants

If you're looking for someone to blame, I'd start with Scott Cousins and Brian Sabean.

Andres Torres has just struck out to end a thoroughly horrific 4-1 loss at Mays Field. It's somehow quite appropriate that it would be Torres the one to end this awful homestand -- as he's symbolic of the front office's willingness to succumb to the Plexiglass Principle by deluding itself that it could rely on last season's heroes to supply an acceptable offense.

In Torres' case, he never really got it back after being struck by appendicitis late last season. And we have to accept the fact that gambling on guy who are in their 30s is a risky risky risky strategy. It also happened with Aubrey Huff, Pat the Bat Burrell and, to a lesser extent, Cody Ross.

The Plexiglass Principle was first enunciated by Bill James -- it essentially asserts that MLB teams will regress towards the mean, partly because teams that do significantly better or worse than the predictive stats will probably be less lucky in the subsequent season; additionally, the front offices of those teams will react very differently to the performances. In other words, teams that do well will tend overlook their deficiencies and teams that do poorly will be more rigorous about addressing their problems.

Anyone who's followed the Giants over the past decade knows that Brian Sabean has screwed up over and over again by relying far too heavily -- especially on offense -- on fading veterans. He got away with it last year, thanks largely to a steller performance by Jonathan Sanchez in Game 162.

While the Giants' current state is discouraging as all get out, it shouldn't be surprising. Still, the guys have 22 games left and with the kind of pitching the team has, they still have a shot.

LET'S GO GIANTS!!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Repeating the stupid past

Raising (Matt) Cain makes an excellent point -- tonight's dismal game was a damn mirror image of the awful August 2nd 6-1 loss, in which Tim Lincecum also got hammered at home by the Dbacks. Sometimes, a team just has your number.... Why he can't get Paul Goldschmidt out right now is a mystery.

The similarities are a bit eerie. Sandoval drove in both runs tonight -- and the only Giants run on August 2.

It's not over, of course. We tend to forget that match-ups are strange things. Bob Uecker did actually hit a grand slam off Sandy Koufax. And then, there's one of my fave non-Giants of all time, St. Louis Cardinal Larry Jaster -- who managed not to just beat the Dodgers FIVE times in 1966, but shut them out all five times.

Actually, here's a point -- the 1966 Dodgers are somewhat like the 2011 Giants. They scored a meager 606 runs; they allowed only 490. Jim Lefevbre led the team with 69 runs; Maury Wills, who some Truly Stupid Dodger fans think should be in the Hall of Fame, scored 60 runs that season.

The Giants probably won't come close to 600 runs. They are dead last in the MLB right now with 468 runs scored. If you're wondering, they're second best in the MLB in runs allowed with 492.

What might have been and might still be

The SF Chron is reporting that the Giants have found a way to resolve the strange case of Angel Villalona -- who might have been a big help by now to the team.

He got signed as a 16-year-old for $2 million, showed some real power at San Jose, spent 3 months in jail on a murder charge that has been dropped and sued the Giants, who apparently have worked out a settlement. Strange is not an adequate word.


Friday, September 02, 2011

Giants now 2-0 in post-Rowand/Tejada era

I can't think of anything that the front office has done this season that I've liked better. The team has now outscored the opposition 10-2 since. What's not to like?

How about this stat from Carl Steward's game story for the Mercury-News -- this is the first series opener the Giants have won since July 18.

It's about damn time. Can it be a coincidence that Carlos Beltran had his best game as a Giant as John Shea of the SF Chronicle put it in his story -- Beltran did what he was supposed to do when acquired July 28 from the Mets.

He dominated.

Beltran tripled, homered and singled twice, and all his swings were smooth and easy, as originally advertised. With his two-run homer in the third and run-scoring single in the fifth, he matched his August homer and RBI output, accumulated in 16 games.


$$$$ for Tim

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Good riddance to the whiners

Now it comes out, according to Andrew Baggarly of the Merc-News, that Aaron Rowand was whining about lack of playing time. That's in addition to Miguel Tejada's prima donna act last Sunday. These guys appear to have no shame from delivering performances that may have doomed the Giants to missing the postseason. I was stunned to read this about a guy who's $60 million richer, thanks to one of the worst contracts ever signed --

"He's doing everything possible to get out of here," one Giants player said of Rowand earlier this week.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out, guys. I suppose with rosters expanded, someone may take a chance on these two fools. I suspect they'll be sorry if they do. I mean, I could have tolerated this if these two weren't among the very worst MLB regulars, as Lefty Malo notes. He's reacting to an incredibly lame column by Mark Purdy of the Merc-News -- so awful that I refuse to link to it -- that asserted that this was all a "chemistry" problem, not a performance problem. I despise sportswriters who write that kind of condescending crap, which is something that Baggarly doesn't do. In any case, here's part of Lefty's post --

Last year's team had fun and did silly things together, but they also had an offense just good enough to back up a pitching staff that hit a speed bump in August. They had a utility infielder who hit 20 home runs. They had a rookie catcher who was good enough to hit clean-up. They had the even-numbered-year Aubrey Huff. They scored runs once in a while.

The dismissal of Rowand and Tejada will make a difference not because they were clubhouse cancers, but because they were two of the worst baseball players in the major leagues. The moves might light fires under a few butts, but there is no chemical imbalance caused by the new guys that needs to be brought into equilibrium, or aligned with the seventh moon of Jupiter, or purified to the sacral chakra. If the Giants go on a tear and do magical things from here on out, or just simply play better than 10-19, it's because of math -- addition by subtraction -- not because of voodoo chemistry.

It's about damn time

Well, what do you know? Get rid of two of the biggest disappointments of the season -- Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada -- and the Giants go out, play like World Series champs and buttkick the Cubbies. I don't think it's a coincidence that today's winning pitcher was the same guy who was so surprisingly stellar in last year's postseason (Madison Bumgarner).

Unfortunately, it was obvious long ago that these Rowand and Tejada were dismal. As the always astute John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters notes, they made 600 outs between them this year. I'm not ready to throw in the towel on this year, but the Giants need to get hot right now if they have any kind of shot. TIME TO SWEEP THE DBACKS.

Success appears to have given Brian Sabean a swelled head. Here's part of John's take --

Simply put, no team can win 2 out of every three games with four regular players batting .230, including two full-time players below .200. No pitching staff can overcome the relentless string of zeroes this offense has put up.

Tejada was a disaster. The difference between him and 2010 Juan Uribe had to be worth ten wins. Rowand has been a disaster since he was signed to that bloated, undeserved contract. Cutting ties with him is an admission of failure. At this point, the team should seriously consider cutting ties with Zito, contract be damned. He cannot contribute anything if he continues pitching, so what’s the point of keeping him around? Either way, getting rid of Rowand and Tejada is worthless at this point; they’ve already made 600 outs between them, 600 outs that cannot be gotten back.

Keep it going. Don’t tell me there’s a reason to keep Gary Brown in the minors. Don’t give me that bullshit. Bench Huff and Torres (completely lost seasons by both players), bring up Brown, play Pill, play Belt, get some youth, get some fire on the field. 2011 is all but over. Let’s get on with 2012.