Friday, August 31, 2012

"Any time you lose to the Cubs is a disgrace"

That's my favorite quote from Alvin Dark, Giants manager from 1961 through 1964. You can find it in in "A Flag for San Francisco," written by Charles Einstein while he was the beat writer for the San Francisco Examiner.

Anyhow, Madison Bumgarner had a pretty terrible outing, giving up five runs by the end of the third. The Giants could only score 4.

Here's the thing -- beating up on bad teams like the Astros and the Cubs is crucial at this time of year. The next two games with the Cubs, which are up in the air due to the remnants of Hurricane Isaac arriving in Illinois tomorrow, are the last the Orange and Black will play outside the NL West for the regular season. After that, it's 9 against the Rox, seven against the Dbacks and six each against the Padres and Dodgers.  

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Four and half games up!

The Yankees of the West have gagged again, losing 2-0 to the Dbacks. The Giants had started the game in a 4-0 hole after 3 innings but Ryan Vogelsong and the pen held the Lastros -- who head the AL West next year -- scoreless for the rest of the night

John Shea of the SF Chron notes that it was the biggest comeback of the year -- which says something about the offense. 

The team is finally scoring more runs than it had been. My guess is that thanks go to Marco Scutaro, Brandon Belt and Joaquin Arias. The Giants are now 16th of the 30 M:LB teams. That's more like it. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What's up with Joaquin Arias?

In the sixth, Joaquin Arias hit a two-run, two-out triple, which proved the difference in the game. He entered with a .431 August average, tops in the majors, In his last 21 at-bats with runners in scoring position, he has 10 hits.
Arias' next trip to the plate, he was plunked near his left hand by Hector Ambriz. He winced in pain and remained in the game and moved from shortstop to third base when Brandon Crawford entered in the eighth.

Baseball Reference says he had a 1.0 WAR this year. 

Baseball Prospectus (my Bible) didn't even have an entry on him this year and the 2011 edition said he was a "terrible" hitter. 

No win for you, Barry Zito

The Giants staked him to a 4-0 lead before he even threw a pitch and he was in the process of giving the lead back in the third when Bruce Bochy said "enough" and brought in George Kontos, who closed down the Astros through the 5th and got the all-important vic.

It's never a surprise when this happens. Never. 

Biggest lead of the season

3 and half games over the Yankees of the West.

I heard Milo Hamilton deliver the call on the Astros broadcast. Milo, who's old enough to be in the Hall of Fame, said that the Giants had played the game as if they were at AT&T Park.

Brandon Belt, Joaquin Arias and Hector Sanchez provided the heroics -- and that is the right word -- in the top of the 9th when it looked as if the Giants were going to lose 2-1.

MC O'Connor has some sharp observations at Raising (Matt Cain) --  Matty was on the hook for the loss, getting Cain'd like it was 2008. But the youngsters delivered in the clutch. Baggs had a tweet that said the Giants were 2-50 when trailing in the 8th inning before tonight.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Sandoval-Crawford juggle

This is just amazing

A Giants Win hat tip to Bay City Ball for the above link to the GIF of tonight's stunning play. I am so technologically inept that it stuns me that I've figured this out. Chris Quick has some good commentary too, particularly on Brandon Belt -- 

  Brandon Belt is a pretty decent baserunner when he’s not careening around the basepaths like a drunken gazelle. Case in point: in the 9th inning, Belt led off with a single that was followed up with a first-pitch Joaquin Arias double that bounced around some in the LF corner. Belt scored from first base. I’m not sure if 75% of first basemen in baseball could have scored on that play, but Belt did. Even if he hasn’t hit for power like we would ideally want, Belt’s been pretty good in the “other things” of baserunning* and defense. Oh, and he’s pretty good at not making outs, too.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Yankees of the West now 1-2

Not quite like Steve Blass

One of the worst things about this season has been watching Tim Lincecum struggle; few prominent pitchers have fallen so far so fast.

That said, he is 5-5 over the most recent stretch. It's not quite as horrible as Steve Blass, who collapsed in 1973 after finishing second in the 1972 Cy Young balloting.

Shut up, Tim (Hudson)

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Thanks, Marlins

The Fish, who have been the source of so much Giants misery over their two decades of strange existence, have finally managed to beat the Dodgers, 6-2. About damn time!

There are few teams that are as disgusting as the Marlins. The Dodgers are more disgusting.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mike Minor?

Geez, what a discouraging game -- getting handled by a second-rate Braves pitcher!

I watched the game on Fox and was impressed that Tim McCarver said that AT&T Park was his favorite ballpark. Then he said "called strike three" on Buster Posey. It was that kind of day. 

It was a particularly crappy outing from Jeremy Affeldt, who walked in runs back to back to put the game out of reach in the top of the 8th as it went from 4-3 to 6-3. 

Giants sweep = Dodgers trade?

Strange timing, for sure. If the Giants don't sweep at Chavez Latrine, does LA still decide to trade away a legit future star (de la Rosa) and take on $260 million in salary?

Let's say the Dodgers had swept, leaving the Giants three and a half games out.

I think LA still makes the deal. There's my 2 cents. Anyhow, Baseball Monk has a pretty good post about it. Here are a few key points --

A fascinating trade for a million reasons, but of primary importance is this: this trade is way more about the next five years than it is about this season. Nothing about this move dooms the Giants’ chances, they don’t need to do anything drastic, and when all the dust settles the most important development for THIS season that took place last night is that the Giants starters have now won five games in a row. Each starter won his turn through the rotation for the first time since 2007. That’s huge.. 

  • Long Term: AGon is clearly the big catch. The Mexican-born, SoCal native will help mobilize the franchise and be a face as they move forward. Beckett has a Huff-like odd/even season thing going. He does well in the odd years, if healthy he could be a plus for LA in 2013…I also think he will do well in the NL West, but doing well and being an Ace, circa 2003/2007 is not going to happen. Nice guy to have next year, but would you take Beckett over MadBum or Vogelsong as your 3rd/4th starter. No. Crawford is interesting. He will likely take over for Victorino, but he is also going to miss 2 seasons worth of baseball, in his prime, when this is all said and done. And he still will be owed a ton of money. The Dodgers are essentially saying this: “we are willing to pay, for Adrian Gonzalez, the price (~250 mil) that the Angles are paying Pujols and the Reds, Votto, and if we get lucky we also get an All-Star left fielder out of the deal.” Interesting.
  • Big Picture: while the move does help, somewhat, the 2012 Dodgers, this trade is all about making a statement. The New Dodgers are here to play and to spend. Deal with it MLB.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bruce Bochy = genius?

Three up with 37 to go

Barry Zito won his 10th game tonight. I'm amazed to be writing that because he's so damn inconsistent. He damn near got a complete game. Steve Kroner's game story the SF Chronicle ends with a list of good games and bad games this year. 

Let's give credit where credit is due -- Zito has manned up this year like I never thought he would. Credit to Bruce Bochy and Dave Righetti too. Lefty Malo has a good post about how well Bochy has managed this year.Here's part of it --

We've seen recent arguments for Buster Posey's MVP candidacy and for Bumgarner sneaking into the Cy Young picture. How about a few votes for Bruce Bochy, manager of the year, if the Giants make the playoffs? Consider the arc of the year so far: He loses his closer, then his backup closer goes from dominant to desperate; Pablo Sandoval misses more than 50 games, Tim Lincecum misplaces his mojo, and then pop goes the Melky. Bochy and his staff have kept the bullpen effective, and they've helped Posey come back more SuperBuster than ever. Drama! Adversity! Mumbling! Davey Johnson will probably win the award for presiding over the Washington Nationals' evolution into the most frightening team in baseball, but I hope some of the voters throw old Boch a bone.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Joaquin Arias 5, Dodgers 4

MC O'connor at Raising (Matt) Cain has a nice recap of the night  -- 

The Giants pull off the sweep, stuffing the Smogsuckers behind a career night from Joaquin Arias. The 27-year old well-traveled utility man hit a two-run homer in the 1st, an RBI double in the 6th, and a two-run double in the 7th. He also made a brilliant stop at short and threw out Shane Victorino in the 3rd (aided by a nice catch from Brandon Belt). The man is on fire! With the team having undergone a painful Melkotomy recently, it is great to see guys step up. And I am also happy to see the team look much better in the field. Justin Christian made a Blancoesque diving catch in the 7th to save a run, but it isn't just the highlight-reel plays. These days the Giants are catching the ball and making the throws, something they had a lot of trouble with earlier in the season. (Hunter Pence gifted LA a run with a poor play on a fly ball by Andre Ethier, but it was 8-0 at that point. He needs to get his bat going.) 

It's been more than 5 years since the Orange and Black swept in LA. Here's part of Andrew Baggarly's recap --   

Matt Cain picked up the baton and fired seven strong innings to finish the Giants’ first three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium since April 24-26, 2007.
How long ago was that? Well, Matt Morris, Noah Lowry and Kevin Correia were the winning pitchers in that series. Barry Bonds hit his 741st career home run to get within 14 of matching Hank Aaron’s all-time record. And heavens strike me if I lie, Armando Benitez saved all three games.
Cain is the only current Giant who was on the roster for that sweep six years ago. He’s a keeper, all right.
The Giants rotation flat-out dominated in this series while going 3-0 with an 0.87 ERA.
With Posey scratched because of a tight right hamstring, Pagan and Scutaro combined to kickstart another productive first inning, and Arias did the rest. He hit a two-run home run, added a pair of doubles and set a career high with five RBIs.
It was the third consecutive series between the clubs that ended in a sweep.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Good headline for tonight's game

Dodgers Beaten by Pagan, Ritual

Giants Win hat tip to the TrueblueLA blog. And here's my fave paragraph --

Blanton was mediocre, allowing 10 hits and four runs in his 5 2/3 innings, and in four starts as a Dodger has allowed 18 runs on 28 hits in 21 innings. In addition, the man who came to town with the lowest walk rate in the majors has walked nine with the Dodgers, a figure it took him 11 starts to reach with the Phillies. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Fave game of the year!

I know that some fans will see that Matt Cain's perfecto had to be the best game of the season but tonight's was successful on so many levels:

1. Redemption for Tim Lincecum
2. Nothing like winning at Chavez Latrine.
3. It was Fernando Valenzuela bobble head night so the place was jammed
4. Giants now up by a game and a half
5. Melky Who? Angel Pagan has been on fire since last Wednesday. Melky's only mentioned once in the game story by Henry Schulman for the SF Chron -- Pagan had three hits and is 11-for-23 with three doubles, a triple and five runs on the trip. He has picked up a lot of the production the Giants lost with Melky Cabrera's suspension.
6. Javier Lopez gets a game-ending DP, thanks to a big gag by Andre Ethier
7. Juan Uribe continues his horrible year by striking out off Romo to lead off the 9th

Monday, August 20, 2012

First place again!

Mmmm-mmm. How did THAT taste, dodger fans? Kind of like those soggy garlic fries you sell that are a poor imitation of the real thing.

You have you nominal ace out there and you still can't win.

OK, enough bravado. The Giants lucked out. I'm damn glad the Orange and Black squeezed out a 2-1 vic, thanks to masterful pitching by Bumgarner and timely hitting by Pagan and Sandoval. No sweep for you, Dodgers!

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron just tweeted this --  Kershaw & Bumgarner: 20 Ks, 0 BBs - only 3rd time in live ball era 2 starters combo for 20 Ks and 0 BBs, per Elias (he has revised "live ball era" to "this season")

and this --  Kershaw is now 1-3 against the Giants this year despite allowing only six earned runs in 31 innings

This is from his game story  -- Some manager did not have a good time at Dodger Stadium since the last time I was here. The back wall of Bochy’s office has a fist-sized hole in it. Bochy didn’t do it. Your guess is as good as mine.

The start from hell

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Sunday Sunday Sunday

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Road sweet road

Another road win tonight for the Orange and Black, who are now 11-4 on the road since the All-Star break! Why do I know this? Henry Schulman tweeted this while the game was still going on.  --

In 19 home games since break, Giants are 9-10 and been outscored 86-70. In 14 road games they are 10-4 while outscoring foes 103-45. 

My comment -- Schulman has been a strong tweeter for quite some time, which is a smart way to go when you have to get a final game story filed quickly for the Chronicle. Had I been writing it, I would have probably said something like "Overcoming Barry Zito's reversion to crappiness, the Giants came from behind for a stirring 8-7 vic that left them in first place."

San Diego -- - If you can't win at home, win on the road. If you struggle against the better teams, you had best crush the weak.
This is the roadmap the Giants have followed in the second half. It might not be the best route to the playoffs, but it has kept them pointed in the right direction. With 42 games left, the Giants lead the West by half a game.
With Saturday night's 8-7 comeback victory, the Giants improved to 8-3 against the Padres, the division's fourth-place team. They also are 8-3 against the cellar-dwelling Rockies, but 4-5 against both Los Angeles and Arizona.
Moreover, the Giants improved to 11-4 since the All-Star break on the road, where they have outscored the opposition 111-50. At home, they are 9-10 and have been outscored 86-70.
In clinching their series at Petco Park, the Giants overcame a 4-1 deficit and broke a 5-5 tie in the seventh with two runs off reliever Brad Brach. Marco Scutaro and Pablo Sandoval singled and scored, respectively, on a Buster Posey sacrifice fly and a Joaquin Arias single.
Jose Mijares, the second of six to pitch in relief of Barry Zito, retired his two batters to earn his first Giants win.

The beauty of Buster

Hoo-boy. Baseball Reference lists the top two players for the Giants this year measured by WAR as Melkey at 4.8, followed by Buster at 4.7. Vogelsong is third at 3.0, followed by Matt Cain and Bumgarner at 2.7 each. Melky and Buster are fifth and sixth in the NL right now among offensive players --

1.McCutchen (PIT)6.2
2.Wright (NYM)5.7
3.Bourn (ATL)5.0
4.Braun (MIL)4.9
5.Cabrera (SFG)4.8
6.Posey (SFG)4.7

Barney (CHC)4.7
8.Votto (CIN)4.6
9.Heyward (ATL)4.4
10.Holliday (STL)4.3

 Here's the AL list  --

1.Trout (LAA)8.0
2.Cano (NYY)5.5
3.Cabrera (DET)5.4
4.Reddick (OAK)4.2
5.Jackson (DET)4.0
6.Pujols (LAA)3.8
7.Hamilton (TEX)3.7

Encarnacion (TOR)3.7

Zobrist (TBR)3.7
10.Gordon (KCR)3.6

Lawrie (TOR)3.6

 Buster's surge has come on kind of abruptly. Earlier today, the Giants official site has posted a long piece by Tracy Ringolsby of about Buster Posey. Here's part -- 

Posey hasn't just returned from the injury. He has returned to the list of the game's elite players.
Posey was good enough in the first half of the season to be selected to the All-Star team. He has been even better in the second half.
Check out the numbers.
Since the All-Star break, Posey leads the Major Leagues with a .434 batting average, .516 on-base percentage and .764 slugging percentage. He leads the NL with 33 RBIs and is tied for fourth with nine home runs. And that's despite playing his home games in a pitcher's haven known as AT&T Park.

Melky Who?

One of the many beauties of baseball is that there are 162 games."You have to turn the page real fast, and the guys did a real good job of that," Matt Cain told the SF Chron.

There was also fine news out of Atlanta -- the Dodgers choked away a game they should have won. Jamey Wright was on the mound when the winning run scored. He was awful as a Giant and he hasn't gotten any better.   

Here's how the LA Times put it --  The Dodgers were handed their 55th loss of the season Friday night. But this one seemed to sting more than most.

MY COMMENT -- Eat it, Dodger fans. Eat it raw. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

What about Cody?

That's Ross not Ransom. What about Cody Ross? He's got a 1.7 WAR this year...

Nothing against Gregor Blanco. But the Bosox are having an awful season; maybe Ross would get through waivers...

Thank you, Pirates!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What a crappy day!

In the wake of dumbass Melky getting caught for illegal drugs, it would have been nice had the team gone out and won. Well, the offense delivered 4 runs -- usually good enough to win -- but Tim Lincecum was crappy enough to give up 4 in 4 innings and the pen let two more in. Ray Ratto at CSN Bay Area has a pretty good column about what this all means -- 

 Unlike two years ago, when the Giants made their run right about this time, the Giants have three starters rather than four, a committee rather than a closer, and no more margin for error.

And of all the things we know about the Giants, they need all the margin they can get grab.

That is, unless you believe that:

•       Tim Lincecum can be Tim Lincecum from this moment out.
•       Brandon Belt can remove the inconsistencies from his game for good.
•       Pablo Sandoval remains healthy.
•       Hunter Pence becomes the Hunter Pence of Houston days.
•       Santiago Casilla relocates what made him a closer.
•       Buster Posey can become more than the best player he already is and more of a leader by more than example.

That last one seems curious, but this team needs not only all the other elements but someone to become the center of the clubhouse and the field, and Posey must be that center, whether it suits his personality or not. He is in charge of the pitching staff, he is the best hitter, and has all the voice he wants to use, if he wants to use it.

And in the current production void, nobody else can do that job.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gut check time

Melky Cabrera has just been suspended for 50 games for a positive drug test, which means we may have seen the last of him in a Giants uni.

I'd say that it's time to bring up Gary Brown and it looks like Gregor Blanco will get a lot of starts.

Here's Melky's statement  through the union: "My positive test was the result of my use of a substance I should not have used. I accept my suspension under the Joint Drug Program and will try to move on with my life. I am deeply sorry for my mistake and I apologize to my teammates, to the San Francisco Giants organization and to the fans for letting them down."

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Your young San Francisco Giants

"It's great to be young and a Giant" -- Larry Doyle, circa 1911. The Giants would win pennants in 1911, 1912 and 1913.

A century and a year later after that fine quote, Madison Bumgarner and Brandon Belt delivered a nice 6-1 beatdown of the Nats that should have put the memory of last night's embarrassment into the the rearview mirror.

Bumgarner has now won 13 at the tender age of 23. He won a World Series game two years ago and has become damn dependable.

As for Belt, it's looking like he's finally in the same good groove again. Perhaps hitting in back of Hunter Pence is the secret or just getting enough ABs. Crazy Crabbers has a nice post about Belt. 

Belt already has a 1.6 WAR this year. 

Lousy scoreboard watching

I got to see tonight's game score from Anaheim Stadium, where the T3 score went from 1-0 to 8-0. A few innings later, thanks mostly to Brad Penny, it was 14-0 but the Giants did put up a 2 in the bottom of the 7th. It turned out that Brandon Crawford had hit his first homer ever at AT&T Park and the first non-Buster Giant home HR since June 29. (UPDATE -- I forgot about the Hunter Pence homer!)

John Shea of the SF Chron notes in his game story that the umping was so bad in the third that Bruce Bochy was ejected for the second time all year. It was the worst beatdown ever at AT&T (can't we please come up with a better name? like Mays Field at AT&T Park?) in terms of number of hits by an opponent (21). 

Yet still, still, I was hoping for a comeback. Let me take you back -- way back, to the early 1958 season, when the Giants went from an 11-1 deficit in the 9th and put up 9 against the Pirates before finally losing 11-10. I couldn't believe when I heard about  it -- Here's how it went --

Ray Jablonski -- single
Orlando Cepeda -- single
Hank Sauer -- infield error 
Willie Kirkland -- out on pop up
Jim King -- double
Johnny Antonelli -- PH double
Bob Speake --PH double
Willie Mays -- walk 
Daryl Spencer -- ground out 
Ray Jablonski -- HR
Orlando Cepeda -- HR
Hank Sauer -- walk
Bob Schmidt -- PH walk
Jim Finigan -- PH error
Don Tausig -- PH fly out

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Pence power!

Hunter Pence has just gotten his biggest hit as a Giant. He's broken a 6-6 tie with a 3-run HR in the 8th against the disgusting Rox. I can't help but think that this is probably not something Nate Schierholtz would have done. Posey had tied it up with a sac fly following a 10-pitch AB. It was the first HR by a Giant at AT&T Park other than Posey since June 29. 

UPDATE -- Lopez and Romo easily closed them out in the 9th; the final pitch was a filthy slider from Romo that was 2 feet out of the strike zone when Buster caught it. 

Giants are now 62-52, which projects out to 90-72

Cody and the Bosox

Our old pal Cody Ross seems to be doing pretty well in Beantown, as us old timers call it, after being pretty lousy in the Orange and Black last year. He's had 18 HRs and 58 RBIs, playing half his games in a park that inflates right-handed stats. Baseball Reference says he has a 1.6 WAR so far this year.

Meanwhile, the Hunter Pence deal hasn't looked very good so far. He's batting .149 after going 7 for 47 with no HRs, 9 RBIs and 1 walk. It's a line that's somewhat similar to Aubrey Huff, who is at .148 after 61 at bats. Huff does have 12 walks, though 

I still think Pence will do better than Ross would have done. I'm a little concerned about his inability to get a walk from time to time. As a fan, it's hard to be patient about a new guy during the second week of August when every game's importance is magnified.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Posey factor, part 2

The Posey factor

Here's how vital Buster is to the offense, per the Chronicle's story by John Shea --

In the seventh, Posey stepped from the dugout to bat for Lincecum after Lincecum surrendered three runs on six hits and two walks. Two runners were aboard, following walks to Brandon Belt and Ryan Theriot, but Posey flied out to end the inning.

"He's caught a lot, and he needed a day off today, without question," Bochy said. "You can't play every game. This is going to take 25 guys."

The Giants are 54-44 with Posey in the lineup, 7-8 when he's not. This isn't as much about Posey as it is the ballpark. When a team is second in the majors in scoring on the road (averaging 5.11 runs) and second from last at home (3.21), it's never about one man.

Even though that one man is the only Giant to hit a home run at China Basin in more than a month. The last Giant not named Buster to do so was Pablo Sandoval on June 29. The same Sandoval who's rehabbing a hamstring injury at Class A San Jose.

A solution for the headcase Orange and Black offense

It's truly strange how poorly the Giants have played on offense at home this year, capped by tonight's disappointing 3-0 three-hitter. The Brandons got the 3 singles. The team has now scored 13 runs in its last seven home games and has a total of 17 HRs at home all season.

I continue to believe that "batting" coach Hensley Meulens should be fired. Whatever he's telling the guys ain't working. There's no excuse for a team that can hit decently on the road to perform this abysmally at home.

Here's my modest proposal: There's a guy named Barry Bonds -- who actually knows how to hit at AT&T Park -- who has said he'd be happy to coach. I can guarantee that the team would begin to hit better at home.

It would be a gutsy move, for sure

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Vogelsong's 17 game streak

Chris Quick at Bay City Ball has an interesting post about yesterday's 15-0 vic in St. Louis...

Tonight, the Giants scored 15 runs. Generally, any night that the Giants score more than four runs is something to write about, however, the real story was another excellent Ryan Vogelsong start. Vogelsong’s line: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO. Ho-hum, really. It goes without saying — but I’ll say it anyways — Vogelsong has turned himself into the baseball story of, maybe, the past decade. What he’s done, what he’s doing, is fairy tale stuff. If the story isn’t absurd enough for you, consider this factoid: Tonight’s game marks the 17th straight start in which Vogelsong has pitched at least six innings of baseball while allowing three runs or fewer. That ties him for the franchise mark with Gaylord Perry’s steak from 1967-1968 and Hal Schumacher’s streak in 1935.

Over the past two seasons — not including tonight’s start — Vogelsong has the following pitching line: 315.2 IP, 272 H, 90 ER, 25 HR, 106 BB, 241 SO, 2.57 ERA, 135 ERA+.

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Another vic for Zito

I have to admit that 2012 has been Zito's best season so far of the six that he's been in the Orange and Black. Except for the two solo shots last night, he was the guy that the front office was hoping he'd be way -- and so often, never was -- back in the preseason of 2007.

Of course, it helps that Buster Posey is on fire right now so that the Giants had a 3-0 lead before Zito even took the mound. Here's what Henry Schulman of the SF Chron had to say --

Posey hit a three-run homer in the first inning off 13-game winner Lance Lynn, his 18th of the season, to match the career high he set as a rookie in 2010.

Zito and a newly arranged bullpen made it stand against the league's highest-scoring offense in the Giants' fourth win in five games on what will be a winning trip.

Posey is climbing the ladder in every major offensive category in the National League, enough to place him in the Most Valuable Player conversation even if he (or anyone else) is a longshot to overtake Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen."That's humbling to even be mentioned in something like that," Posey said. "It's pretty cool, I guess."

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Back to the 1960s

I'm not quite certain why managers feel like they need to squeeze every last pitch out of a starter late in the game. Bruce Bochy saw it blow up in his face last night in St. Louis.

Bruce usually has a pretty good grasp on handling pitchers, so I'm kind of baffled why -- with only a third of the season left and the rosters expanding in 3 weeks -- he felt like he had to stick with Matt Cain last night, as if he were Juan Marichal or Gaylord Perry. Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chron sums it up nicely in the first 2 paragraphs -

Manager Bruce Bochy has a trait that endears him to his pitchers but at times comes back to bite him. When one of his top starters is on the mound, Bochy gives him a longer rope in situations that would persuade other managers to get the hook.

Bochy has done it with Tim Lincecum and went that way with Matt Cain on Monday night in the first of four against the Cardinals, who got the big hit they needed against Cain on their way to an 8-2 victory.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

No help from the Cubbies

Well, it would have been nice to get some distance on the Dodgers. But the Cubs just gagged away another game at Chavez Latrine. 

Like THAT is any surprise. The Dodgers are a much better team than they were a week ago, so it's no surprise that they can beat up on lousy teams and sweep the Cubs -- even when their pitching gives up six runs like today. 

"He's one of the best hitters I've ever seen"

That was Madison Bumgarner reacting to Buster Posey's red-hot recent performance with 6 HRs and 25 RBIs since the All-Star break.

He's the first Giants catcher to homer in 3 games in a row since Brian Johnson in 1998.

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Pour it on, guys

Friday, August 03, 2012

16 Giants runs at Coors -- is it enough?

I'm not really worried.

After spending the last week struggling to score, the Giants have gotten a season-high 16 runs tonight for a 12-run lead as they head to the bottom of the 9th. Just an inning and a half ago, heading into the 8th, it was 7-4.

Unfortunately, the Dodgers are playing the Cubs, who are losing 3-1.

UPDATE -- since I wrote that, the Dodgers are leading 5-1 and Santiago Casilla has come on to get the first two outs... and just closed out the game with Todd Helton flying out to center..

Hunter Pence got his first hit as a Giant and went 1-for-6. 

Thursday, August 02, 2012

Zito waves the white flag

Man, that was nasty!

Barry Zito has just been pulled from the game trailing 6-1, relieved by the just-back-from-the-minors Shane Loux. He gave up four in the first and couldn't even make it out of the 5th inning today.

He's won 8 games so far. I think I speak for every Giants fan when I say that every one of those was a surprise.

Well, this certainly gives Hunter Pence a good idea of what he's in for as a member of the Orange and Black

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Welcome to the Giants, Hunter Pence

The newest Giant wound up going 0-for-4 and was called out in the 9th looking on a pitch outside the strike zone by Dingbat Dale Scott.

After spending a year in Philly, I can't think of a more typical Giants game -- a 2-1 loss as the pitching was pretty brilliant and the offense (except Buster Posey's solo HR) stunk up the joint.

It's third 2-1 loss of the year for the Orange and Black. The previous one was on June 30 when Mat Latos outpitched Barry Zito, 2-1 and the offense (except Brandon Belt) stunk up the joint. 

Lefty Malo believes that the deals to get Pence and Scutaro were the right deals. He'res most of the post -- 

I went back and looked, and this could be Brian Sabean's best trading deadline since he nabbed Jason Schmidt and Andres Galarraga in late July 2001. 

I say "could be" because you can't ultimately evaluate trades without seeing the long-term ripple effects, and the ripples have barely started rippling. (For more on the patented ELM Three-Stage Trade Evaluation Method, guaranteed to impress bosses, in-laws, and the girl next door, click here.) 

But here's my short-term argument why Sabes has knocked it out of the park the past week:  

1) The Giants needed infield depth. Getting Marco Scutaro was not just a huge improvement upon Manny Burriss, whom he has replaced on the roster, but it gave Bruce Bochy someone with a clue against right-handed hitting so he could keep Joaquin Arias as a defensive replacement. And all Sabean gave up was Charlie Culberson. Culberson might have a major league career, but no one will look back and say "I told you so." 

2) The Giants needed a power bat. As I wrote in the previous post, Hunter Pence's home run numbers will likely shrink as he plays half his games at Mays Field, but he's still a threat. The Giants needed another threat in the lineup. Will he be a huge upgrade over the at-bats the Giants will no longer give to Blanco/Pagan/Schierholtz? If a Bizarro Bochy was filling out Bizarro Giant lineups in a parallel, non-Pence universe the next two months, I'd guess the upgrade would be slight. Perhaps a win, maybe two, of difference. But there's upside, too. Pence has skills. He can get hot for two months and nudge that total a bit higher. Sabean got Pence by trading from strength: Tommy Joseph is a promising young catcher, sure, but to package him and a fourth outfielder (sorry, Nate) for a consistently good, if not great right-handed power bat who won't kill you with the glove was a strong trade. It's quite possible Nate Schierholtz will combine a lot of starts and his new home yard's short right-field porchto become one of the game's more valuable right fielders. We would all be rooting for him. But that chance wasn't coming in San Francisco. 

This was, dare we say it, a rather elegant solution. Throw in a third player, Seth Rosin, who's 23 and still pitching in High-A ball, and it's still hard to say the Giants gave up too much. 

Julian at Giants Nirvana isn't as impressed and says he's neutral on the deal.