Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Matt and Ryan

It starts with the starters. MC O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain has done some nice post-World Series analytical work on the stellar pitching delivered in the postseason. Vogelsong racked up some amazing numbers -- 

Twelve guys had at least three starts in the playoffs and only six of them threw at least 20 innings. Of all of them, Vogie had the lowest ERA (1.09), the 4th-lowest WHIP (1.05), and was 3rd-best in strikeouts (21). Not bad for a guy who couldn't find a job two seasons ago. Did mention he was signed through 2013 and the team has an option on him for 2014? I can't wait to see what other great things this guy can do.

Here's part of what he posted on Matt --

 Matt had the distinction of starting the opening game of the post-season and the closing one. He also started the clinching game in each series. Those worked out well. Having a guy like Cain is awesome--you stick him out there and he does the job. He out-pitched Mat Latos in Game Five of the LDS, he out-pitched Kyle Lohse in Game Seven of the LCS, and he out-pitched Max Scherzer in Game Four of the World Series. If it weren't for a friendly gust adding 30 feet to fly out to right field, Matty's line (7 IP, 1 ER) would have been dominating, not merely good. But there's something to be said for being merely good over and over again. Toss in an occasional dominating and you got yourself a hell of a ballplayer. And that's who we got. We got Cain. For five more years. And he's a hell of a ballplayer.

Handy reference

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Bruce Jenkins = dingbat

One of the most embarrassing sportswriters around decides to completely ignore the truth about how the Giants front office operates, asserting that the team has no interest in sabermetrics. Hardball Times nails it in this fine post. 

It's an embarrassment that the SF Chronicle lets someone this incompetent report for them.   

It's a failure to react to changing circumstances as Jenkins pounds out a column that could have been written in 2003. On a personal note - I have been frustrated in the past by the lack of plate discipline shown by Giants hitters, so much so that I thought Hensley Meulens should be fired. That tendency finally seemed to improve this year, or maybe the Giants just started playing guys -- Scutaro, Belt and Blanco, in particular -- who were willing to be more disciplined. Or maybe Meulens changed his coaching.

Monday, October 29, 2012

The postseason turning point

The last pitch of 2012

Fangraphs has an outstanding post about Sergio Romo's final pitch -- a called strike 3 on a fastball, which Romo rarely throws.  Here's some fine writing by Jeff Sullivan -- 

There was every reason for Cabrera to be expecting a slider. There was every reason for Romo to stick with his slider, because he could afford another ball, and because the slider has been his reliable weapon for years. There was every reason for Posey to call for a slider. And this is where we get into game theory. Because there was every reason for one thing, Sergio Romo saw an opportunity to try another thing. We don’t know how often it would’ve worked, given a million repetitions, but we know how it worked the one time. It ended a World Series.
It seems like an illustration of intelligent on-the-fly pitching. We’re biased, of course, by the way the pitch turned out, but there’s no denying that Cabrera didn’t look prepared to swing at a heater, so he was caught in between. So often, pitchers and announcers will say that if you’re going to get beat, you should get beat on your best pitch. But you can’t always lean on your best pitch, if the hitter knows what your best pitch is. In those circumstances, sometimes your best pitch in the moment isn’t your general best pitch at all. Sergio Romo’s fastball isn’t his best pitch, and that’s precisely what made it his best pitch to Cabrera in that one spot.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Yes, there really is a Santa Claus!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Last Christmas Eve, I did a post asking Santa Claus to help the Giants win another World Series and promised that I would post this headline if they did.

Here's the post -- Dear Santa -- I could ask for world peace or $1 million or continued good health to my family and friends or that Scott Cousins would just shut up or that the Dodgers would lose all 162 games or that the Republicans would lose every single election next year but I want to ask for something that's a little more realistic: another World Series championship for the San Francisco Giants.

I got the idea to ask for this by looking at this great photo by Jason Braun of the World Series victory parade

Santa, I don't think I'm out of line to say that should you come through for me on this, Buster Posey will play a significant role. His 162-game average thus far -- 22 HRs, 89 RBIs and a slash line of .294/.353/.462.

I realize that I already have more material possessions than many other people in the world, so I'm OK with not getting anything in that area -- especially if you can deliver on this. And I promise that we at Giants Win won't forget your contribution should the Giants win another World Series. I can see the title of the post already, sometime around Oct. 31 -- "Yes, there is a Santa Claus!"

Thanks so much for all you do and best of luck tonight!

"Look at that job they did"

"I've been waiting for this since I was 5 years old"

Saturday, October 27, 2012

10 down, 1 to go

All I have to say is Melky who?

This was Gregor Blanco's game, though magnificent pitching by Vogelsong, Lincecum and Romo made it not as close as the 2-0 score might indicate

Blanco clobbered a hanging breaking ball in the second and made a great catch in foul territory for the first out in the 9th

Kudos to Bruce Bochy and Dave Righetti for figuring out how to use Timmy Jim effectively in the postseason. What a weapon he's turned out to be. "The ball is just jumping out of his hand," is what Harold Reynolds just said. 

It's first time a team's been shut out back to back in the World Series since 1966 when the Orioles humiliated the Dodgers with 3 straight shutouts. 

Nine down, two to go

Game 3 has just started with Sandoval getting the first hit of the game. Let's wrap it up this weekend!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Just like 1962

Same result 50 years later -- 2-0 over the AL in the 2nd game of the World Series....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Zito vs. Verlander

Monday, October 22, 2012

Seven down, four to go

Giants Win will be at the park in the CF bleachers for the first game of the 2012 World Series.

Let's go, Giants! 

And let's hope that the Orange and Black didn't use up all their good luck tonight - particularly on the bases-loaded single by Hunter Pence in the third. Jon Miller, Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper all said that they had never seen a hit like it. Here's how one Giant instructor reacted in the SF Chron's game story: 

"The baseball Gods were shining on the Giants" -- Will Clark

History is going to change

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Six down, five to go

Saturday, October 20, 2012

First award for Buster

Friday, October 19, 2012

Five down, six to go

Who could have guessed that Barry Zito would turn in one of the best starts of the 2012 postseason -- and be far more valuable than A-Rod?

"I have a few different options and they were all working," Zito just said on the postgame.

That was what Mike Krukow said again and again during the radiocast -- the command of the strike zone was pinpoint.

And the bunt RBI that Zito delivered was something else. Still hard to believe!

John Perricone at Only Baseball Matters says it well in a short post called "Unimaginable" -- 

Of all the outcomes I imagined for tonight’s game 5 against the Cards, Barry Zito throwing 7 1/3 shutout innings wasn’t one of them. In an almost unprecedented performance, Zito pitched the game of his life, took the Giants’ season on his back, and shut down the hottest offense in the playoffs as the Giants won 5-0 to bring the series back to SF.

"Backs against the wall" -- Hunter Pence

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The first inning blues

What the hell is it with Tim and the first inning? Here's a revealing tweet --

In his 8 1/3 innings of relief, LIncecum allowed four of his 28 batters to reach base. In the first inning tonight, four of seven reached.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Three out of four

23 years ago today

I was at the Stick on a ramp up to the second deck for Game 3 when the Loma Prieta earthquake hit at 5:04 pm. On this day, my best wishes go out to everyone.

Adding this following a long, disappointing loss in St. Louis --

 Here's what I remember about Oct. 17, 1989:

-- I was so tired that I didn't realize it was a quake. I was on a ramp to the upper deck and thought some pilots had done a flyover. I fell down and said "Was that the Blue Angels?" My sister said, "That was an eaerthquake."

-- it was a warm day, so that when the quake hit. Most people weren't in the usual bundled up mode for the Stick.

-- there weren't any cell phones

-- there was a massive cheer that went up after the shaking stopped. That was the damndest thing. I guess that people felt like, "Wow, that was some serious earthquake. And the Stick is still standing!"

-- I kept faintly (and foolishly) hoping that somehow the game would get played. But then the TV sets in the press section came back on near where I was seated with my sister in the upper deck and we could see the part of the Bay Bridge that had collapsed.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


Aubrey Huff scores a run?

Yes. No wonder the Giants won -- it was Huff's first run since May 23.

"I'm not a dirty player" -- Matt Holliday

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Bumgarner done

The Tim of it all

Buster at the Bat

My friend Nancy sent this to me -- 

Oh, somewhere in this contentious land, the fog is drizzling down;
Debate is raging somewhere, and somewhere most folks frown,
And  elsewhere men are snarling, and elsewhere children pout,
But there is joy in 'Frisco -- mighty Buster slammed it out.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Sabean on Bochy

Interesting comments by the Giants' GM on the manager -- who appears to have outmanaged Dusty. I thought this was particularly instructive in terms of how Bruce handles the pitchers -- 

The only thing you can do as a manager - unlike the other sports, which have timeouts - is stem the tide or the momentum of the offense on the opposition by making a defensive statement, which is a strategic pitching move. They trust him - they understand how and when they're gonna go into most games, they're ready, and I can't say enough about our two pitching coaches: (Dave) Righetti and Gardy (Mark Gardner). To think that they're doing it at the end of the game, by committee - let's say to get to (Sergio) Romo, but we're really just playing for outs - is pretty amazing. The pressure is heightened, and there are more leverage situations because the games are tighter.

Shut up, Bud


Friday, October 12, 2012

Three down, eight to go

"I could not let them down"

That's what Sergio Romo said he was thinking about on the mound yesterday during his epic save in the 9th inning

I am stunned

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

"He was dominant"

That was Mike Krukow on the postgame show today about Tim

Off the mat

The Giants avoided what would have been a season-ending ignomy yesterday in Cincy, thanks to the Reds gagging away the game in the 10th.

Now the task is left at the feet of Barry Zito. No one seems to suggest that perhaps starting Matt Cain today on short rest might be a better course. That's a reflection of just how far Zito has come back. Oh, he won't win Comeback Player of the Year award but he will go to the mound with the team having won 11 straight with him pitching -- nothing to sneeze at


Monday, October 08, 2012

"Deathly silent"

That's the description that the SF Chronicle's Henry Schulman gave to the crowd in San Francisco for the 9-0 thrashing tonight, featuring an offense of a Sandoval double, a Belt single and two walks.

It sounds as if the most exciting part of the evening was Tim Lincecum's two innings of scoreless relief.

I'm a little put off the Schulman characterization of "oh, this is nearly impossible" to win 3 games in Cincy. Jeez, it's not THAT hard. Granted, the odds are against it, but it's just 3 games. This is a pretty good team, even if they haven't played like it.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Belt the veteran

Hard-hit balls all night

Perhaps it's just wishful thinking but Lefty Malo was at the game tonight and came away feeling as if the Gmen were a good deal less than lucky. I agree.Here are the specifics -- 

The Giants hit at least five balls extremely hard, most with runners on base, and none landed for hits.

1) Matt Cain, 2nd inning, hit a screamer toward the right-field wall with two outs and the bases loaded. Jay Bruce sprinted back and catches it over his head. It would have been a bases-clearing double. 

2) Brandon Belt, 4th inning, lined one to Joey Votto that Votto turned into an unassisted double play. It likely would have set up a first-and-third, one-out situation. 

3) Hunter Pence, 6th inning, hit one to the warning track in center. 

4) Marco Scutaro, 7th, lined one over left fielder Ryan Ludwick's head. Ludwick ran and jumped and twisted and somehow came down with it. 

5) Hunter Pence again, 8th inning, hit one into the notch where the right-field wall does a wiggle, about 365 feet deep. Bruce caught it on the warning track. It would have tied the game. 

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Cain's last loss

Matt Cain gave up 3 runs in 5 innings and the Giants just haven't hit as I write this in the 9th inning of Game 1 of the NLDS. Current score is 5-1 as Casilla is wobbly again in the 9th.

It has been exactly two months since Matt's last loss -- against the Cards, giving up 5 runs. It left him with a 10-5 record. He didn't lose another game in the regular season and went 16-5.

Friday, October 05, 2012

The 5 keys

Chris Haft of details the 5 keys to beating the Reds

1. Live up to the pitching hype
2. Catch the ball
3. Seize home-field disadvantage
4. Bolster Buster
5.Score early, avoid Aroldis

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Fifty years ago today

Until Nov. 1, 2010, this was the finest moment in SF Giants history. The Giants had been 4 games out with 7 to go and managed to win 5 while the Dodgers only won one. That resulted in 3-game playoff -- first game was an 8-0 Giants vic; the Dodgers won the second 8-7 and the Giants were down 4-2 in the top of the 9th at Chavez Latrine when this happened.  

Matty Alou -- single
Harvey Kuenn -- ground out
Willie McCovey -- walk (Ernie Bowman pinch runs)
Felipe Alou -- walk
Willie Mays -- single (Kuenn scores)
Orlando Cepeda -- sacrifice fly (Bowman scores)
Ed Bailey -- intentional walk after wild pitch moves Mays to second
Jim Davenport -- walk (Alou scores)
Jose Pagan -- on base on ground ball error by Larry Burright (Mays scores)
Bob Nieman -- ground out

Billy Pierce, who had won Game 1, took the Dodgers out three up three down in the 9th.

And that was how the Dodgers ended their first year at Chavez Latrine -- losing to the Giants, just like last  night. That's how it is when you're evil -- sometimes bad things happen.

I looked it up -- Davenport, who was a superb fielder, had by far his best offensive year in 1962 and racked up a 4.6 WAR. Watching him getting that bases-loaded walk on my folks TV was a thrill that's still vivid 50 years later.     

A vote for Vogelsong

Grant Bisbee at McCovey Chronicles makes a strong case for starting Ryan Vogelsong rather than Barry Zito in the playoffs. I actually have a fair amount of confidence that Bruce Bochy will do this. 

Maybe Bruce was lucky but I never saw better handling of a pitching staff than I did in Game 6 of the 2010 NLCS. Let's recap -- 

Sanchez 2 innings, 2 runs
Affeldt 2 innings, 0 runs
Bumgarner 2 innings, 0 runs
Lopez 1 inning, 0 runs
Lincecum 1/3 inning, 0 runs
Wilson 1 2/3 inning, 0 runs

Who else would have used those 6 pitchers in that order? No one.

Crybaby Dodger fans

I know it must seem a little bit mean of me to point out the idiocy of Dodger fans following a crushing loss last night. Too bad. Berating a sportswriter because he has the temerity to work for the San Fancisco Chronicle is flat out embarrasing.

All I can say to these pathetic people is "grow up, it's just a game" 

Only reason I said "hell" hole is my Tweets scroll on Gate and I'm not allowed to use bad words that start in "S"

Gonna say what I've felt for decades. Grew up in LA. Spent 19 years here. It's a hell hole. If family, job didn't take me here, I'd avoid it
Guy flips me off and yells an epithet in front of hundreds of people, I Tweet about it and I get attacked. Ashamed of my hometown.
Sticks/stones will break my bones… :P :P RT : U have HORRIBLE ethics. Are you a prep beat writer 'cuz sometimes you tweet like 1

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

A solid for Matheny

A Giants Win hat tip to the SF Chronicle's Henry Schulman for crafting this fine lead paragraph and story tonight. It's interesting to me that the Dodgers could have easily but for bonehead baserunning by Mark Ellis trying to stretch a double into a triple. Oddly reminiscent of Game 5 of the 1974 World Series  -- 

The Giants always are happy to do a solid for a former player who did credit to the uniform. On Tuesday night, they made former catcher Mike Matheny a very happy manager and, in the process, gave fans in San Francisco one final whoop and holler before the playoffs begin.
Behind Barry Zito, who finished his tremendous comeback season with his 15th win, the Giants beat Los Angeles 4-3 to send the Dodgers home for the winter and deliver the second National League wild card to Matheny's Cardinals, who will face the Braves in Friday's knockout game.
The Giants will end the regular season Wednesday with a coronation. Buster Posey, who homered to ignite the Giants on Tuesday night, can win the batting title even if he takes all of his final at-bats left-handed.
He leads Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen .337 to .327.
Zito ended his best season as a Giant on seven-game win streak that left him 15-8 with a 4.15 ERA, the same as 2010. Isn't it amazing how two seasons with the same bellwether stat can be so different?
Zito's pitch hit Andre Ethier to start the seventh inning. The Dodgers then pounded Guillermo Mota. A.J. Ellis homered to cut the lead to 4-3.
Mark Ellis doubled but was thrown out trying to take third base, on throws by Angel Pagan and Joaquin Arias, and Shane Victorino tripled.
Manager Bruce Bochy called for rookie George Kontos, in what assuredly was a tryout for the postseason roster that Kontos nailed. With a hostile crowd filling the park with noise, Kontos struck out Matt Kemp to preserve the lead.

As for 1974...Dodger brain cramps did them in then, too. Bill Buckner got thrown out in the top of the 8th of game 5 with no one out when his single got past Bill North. Reggie retrieved it and threw to Dick Green, who threw to Sal Bando at 3rd. The Dodgers never got another baserunner.

"We took a lot of pride in stopping them"

That was 15-game winner Barry Zito at the close of tonight's glorious vic over the Dodgers.

For those of you have never read this blog or others like it, Zito have been the object of scorn for years from fans like me. Well, the stats show that he's not that much better but he sure seems to have a knack for coming out on top and for not collapsing like a card table. Way to step up, Barry.

Remember 1988, Dodger fans

The Giants have just knocked out the Dodgers, 4-3. No matter what else happens this season, putting the The Yankees of the West out of the postseason at Chavez Latrine has to rank among the highlights of the 2012 season.

The top of the lineup -- Pagan, Scutaro, Sandoval and Posey, went 7 for 15 with a walk. Zito and Mota gave up 3 runs in 6 innings; Chris Capuano and Jamey Wright -- who was nothing but lousy as a Giant -- gave up 4 in the 6 innings. Ballgame.

Hey, Dodger fans -- enjoy the offseason. Keep thinking about Gibson's homer. 

Monday, October 01, 2012

The playoff roster

Julian at Giants Nirvana posted his guesses on the playoff roster a week ago. Huff got a pinch hit tonight and Burriss was immediately thrown out stealing as pinch runner. Sorry, Manny fans -- but I hope this means he will get left off. I think he's worthless. Here are the main offensive players --

Not bad for a tuneup game

I'll take credit for the Giants' loss tonight, since I've had a sterling record of seeing Dodger vics this season at Chavez Latrine. I did manage to see the shutout sweep of the Dodgers at home in SF this season in late June.

I was hoping that I'd be able to enjoy the end of the Dodger season but Santiago Casilla fixed that but good as he was ineffective again in the 9th. Still, it was a tuneup game with plenty of positives -- clutch hitting by Pagan and Scutaro in the 8th, a nice throw by Nady to nail a Dodger runner at the plate, a pretty good outing by the Game 1 NLDS starter Matt Cain and a first inning double by Buster Posey.   

My fave part of the game was easy -- Dodger crybaby reliever Kenley Jansen giving up a hit to Scutaro in the 8th after the ump called timeout. As usual, the Dodger fans were a bunch of entitled crybabies too, booing their heads off because Jansen couldn't handle the pressure. Poor babies.Here's how Henry Schulman described it in his game story for the SF Chronicle -- 
The Giants tied the game 2-2, and got Cain off the hook for a loss, when Angel Pagan doubled with one out in the seventh and scored on a single by Scutaro, one pitch after home-plate umpire Jerry Layne incensed reliever Kenley Jansen by giving Scutaro a late timeout call.
Scutaro's single extended the majors' longest active hit streak to 18 games.