Monday, April 30, 2012

The Giant homer odyssey

Sickly Orange and Black RISP

Sunday, April 29, 2012

I wish I were there

That was my first thought on seeing Sandoval hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the first today. Man, can this guy hit!

Here's Rick Eymer's story for mlb.com about the 20-game hitting streak that went by the boards last night when Pablo went 0-for-4.  

 "I learned a lot during the streak and now it's over," he said after going 0-for-4 as the Giants edged the Padres, 2-1. "I learned how to be more patient at the plate and to look for a pitch I can hit."

UPDATE -- The HR was all the Giants needed today as Madison Bumgarner was stellar into the 8th inning for a 4-1 vic. It's the 8th time this year that the Giants have scored 4 runs -- they've gone 5-3 in those games (the first two were the back to back 5-4 losses in Arizona, so they've gone 5-1 since then in those games).

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The first 2-1 win of 2012

Nothing says a Giants win like a 2-1 Giants win, particularly a Lincecum 2-1 win. The club had six of them last year, including Barry Zito's final vic of his three 2011 vics -- another 2-1 win over these same Padres.

John Shea of the SF Chronicle called tongiht's game one of the most enteraining games of the year. It was Tim's second vic and Brandon Belt got both RBIs with a clutch 2B.

The last time they won 2-1 was on Aug. 27, when Jeff Keppinger drove home Mark DeRosa in the bottom of the 10th against the Astros. The Giants had beaten the Astros by 2-1 the day before, too

Friday, April 27, 2012

Hacker not a hack

Impressive how the Giants can rely on good pitching, even on emergency starts. Depressing how the hitting is reliably still not enough. Losing to this version of the Padres -- a lousy team -- is unacceptable.

By far the best thing about a disappointing game -- Eric Hacker delivered a pretty game in his first MLB start. The worst -- the Giants were 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position, according to CSN Bay Area's recap .

I hate this new Blogger set up. And as long as I'm whining, why the hell does the SF Chronicle insist on running a crappy AP story on its site?

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Schulman's unfiled game story

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron has a nice post about the game story he was writing before Angel Pagan's clutch 3-run HR in the 9th. Consider that the Giants would have been 9-10 otherwise. This is some pretty decent writing in the press box -- 

Cincinnati — The best way to describe the Giants’ first 19 games is “blah.” That is not the worst place to be. The Kansas City Royals would kill for “blah.”

The Giants have made a lot of news in April, mostly off the field with the Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner contract extensions, Aubrey Huff’s anxiety disorder and Brian Wilson’s season-ending surgery.

On the field they have defined “so-so.” They have built a 9-10 record by winning four of their six series while being swept in the other two, their latest bout of futility ending Thursday when the Reds won5-3 to send the Giants out of Cincinnati without a win for the second consecutive year.

In fact, the last time the Giants won at Great American Ball Park, Juan Uribe and Bengie Molina drove in two of the three runs.

More than anything, the 2012 Giants have looked a lot like the 2011 version, which is not good. They pitch well enough to keep every game close but lose too often for want of a clutch hit or two.

The year-to-year numbers are strikingly similar. After 19 games last year the Giants were 10-9. They scored 79 runs while allowing 74. This year’s 9-10 team has scored 78 and surrendered 79.

Blah.

Pagan makes the Reds pay

Man, it's great to win a game like this from time to time -- down 5-3 in the 9th, Angel Pagan hits a 3-run homer.

If there are any Reds fans reading this, I admit that the Giants may have gotten a little lucky here. Or maybe, Pagan is poised to repeat the kind of year he had in 2010. A great, great vic for the Orange and Black.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tough times for Huff

A reminder to all us fans that life can be pretty damn tough, even for MLB players 

This development's damn depressing. Aubrey Huff's been placed on the 15-day DL due to anxiety issues. Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area has a report.

Depressing day from Cincy, where the Giants have decided to stop hitting, putting up just two runs for the second day in a row to lose 4-2. Barry Zito continued to pitch well, however -- perhaps the most positive development so far this year for the Gmen. Baggarly just tweeted this --

Zito: "You all know Huffy. He keeps it loose in the clubhouse. He's always telling us to have fun. So I'm not sure what to make of that."

Arias in the Orange and Black

No shutout for you, Redlegs!

Yes, I'm old enough to remember when the Reds and Redlegs names were interchangeable. Anti-Commie dingbats in the 50s demanded that the Reds change their name -- ergo, the Redleg usage. Pretty stupid. I read somewhere where someone said as much on the order of  "we had the name first ... let them change their name"

Anyhow, the Giants have now gone through 17 games without getting shutout. They did lose 9-2 but Posey pounded a 2-run shot in the 9th. Matt Cain pitched decently, according to Raising (Matt) Cain. But Dan Otero was pretty dismal, even hitting Joey Votto...which led to someone throwing at Posey, who then hit a HR.

Readers may be aware that I despise Sanctimonoious Dingbat Steve Garvey. But even I was impressed at how he often blasted a pitch after being thrown at.

Monday, April 23, 2012

An Orange and Black DH sweep

Man, that would have been pretty awful had the Mets swept. Instead, Madison Bumgarner held the Mets to 3 hits and a run in 7 innings in the nightcap as the Giants went 2 games over .500 for the first time this season.

The Mets announcers managed to stay professional during the later innings of today's second game, noting that doubleheaders used to take place all the time. The 1962 Mets, they pointed out, were swept an astounding SEVENTEEN times during that season on their way to a 40-120 record.

Scheduled doubleheaders were still prevalent during the 1970s but began to disappear in the 1980s. Now, they're the product of rainouts.

Tim gets his first vic

Man, what a relief for Giants fans

He doesn't exactly dominate but he doesn't get hammered either. Once he got past the lousy first inning a week ago in SF, he looked pretty good to me. 

Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area notes that he used his fastball a lot -- 

This one was odd. Lincecum threw 108 pitches in five innings and issued five walks. Yet he also struck out eight. His fastball didn’t clock higher than 91.9 mph and he was mostly in the 88-89 range after the second inning. Yet he threw 70 heaters – “probably more fastballs than I ever have in a game” – and got the Mets to swing through nine of them.

Usually, Lincecum gets his whiffs on his changeup. But he threw 21 of those, and the Mets swung through two.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

"He hasn't seen second for so long, he probably forgot where it was"

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Time to bench Huff

I'm sure that I'm only one of thousands of Giants fans who believe that Aubrey's simply not playing at an MLB level any more -- particularly following his egregious performance in a heartbreaking 5-4 loss today in New York, leaving multiple runners on base.

Brandon Belt hit a clutch 2-run pinch hit double to tie the game in the top of 9th after Huff had struggled all day. Belt is clearly the future -- a  guy with a real upside. Huff is fading fast at the age of 35. It still bothers me that he couldn't get into shape last year after being given a $22 million deal, a contract that now looks like it was completely unmerited. He's no longer hitting with any kind of authority

88-74

With the Giants over .500 for the first time this season, it's time to project the current 7-6 record over a full season. It's 88 wins, which sounds about right for the talent levels of the lineup and pitching.

That's about the minimum that's going to be needed to make the playoffs this year, even with the addition of one more slot per league

Friday, April 20, 2012

Melky the Pro

That was a seriously great at bat that Melky took last night -- going with Bastardo's pitch and knocking into right center for the game-winner.

Lefty Malo dissects the game and embeds three different videos of it.  --

Melky's not just getting a lot of hits, he's taking smart, balanced swings. Whatever the Giants saw in him last year to make him their trade target, it doesn't seem to be a fluke.

If someone from Blogger is reading this, thanks for nothing. I can't stand the new set-up. It was working perfectly well before you mucked it up.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

3 hits in 18 innings

That's what Matt Cain has done -- enabling the Giants to beat the Pirates on home opening day and the Phils in an epic 1-0 vic in 11 tonight.

It was the best game of the young season, better than the Zito vic over the Rox and the Cain win over the Pirates. The Phils are better than the Pirates or the Rox.

I had the good fortune to take it in from Lower Box 125, including the wild celebration when Brandon Belt slid across the plate at 9:42 pm. Yes, you read that right. An 11-inning game that last 2 hours and 27 minutes.

Matt had to be in top form again because Cliff Lee was, too. The Giants kept stranding runners and hitting into DPs. By the 10th inning, though, they were hitting Lee pretty solidly and they hits in the 11th -- Belt's single to center, Pagan's shot to third that ate up Ty Wiggington and Melky's game-winner to center -- all came with 1 out. In the meantime, the Giants pen made Matt's master work stand up.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

No cause for alarm on Tim

So say I. Giants Win attended last night in Lower Box 128. Once Tim got out of the 1st, he looked OK.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Giants end 8-game streak of scoring 4 runs

Shades of the 2011 Giants! The bats fell silent today at AT&T Park aka Mays Field as the Giants racked up a distressing 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position.

I'm not quite sure what the Giants are trying to prove by keeping Dan Otero on the MLB roster. He was lousy again today and was the main reason the score went from 2-1 to 4-1 in the 8th. Why is this guy being pitched in situations like that?

Grant at McCovey Chronicles has a good positive post about how this was the 2012 debut of Ryan Vogelsong, who turned in a solid outing.

Adios for now, Brian Wilson

No fluke for Zito?

Friday, April 13, 2012

"He's our horse"

That's how Aubrey Huff -- who looks like he may be hitting this year, what with a 3-run homer today -- described Matt Cain after his 1-hitter. Who would have believed that after a week in the season, the best two games have been thrown by Matt and Barry Zito? I'm impressed with Henry Schulman's lead paragraphs on his main story for the SF Chronicle --

This is what a $127.5 million pitcher does.

He flirts with perfection. He mows down a weak and sleep-deprived lineup with no mercy. On a day his closer is not available, he goes nine innings. When the entire stadium is abuzz with pomp, he does his job with workaday calm.


Mighty Matt arrives

That should eliminate any worries about last Sunday's disaster in Phoenix.

It's only the seventh game of the season but Matt Cain showed how it's done with a one-hit masterpiece of the Pirates. It was a perfect game except for the hit -- by the opposing pitcher.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

More good Orange and Black news?

Grant at McCovey Chronicles decided to go through Tim Lincecum's start pitch by pitch and concludes that it's not as bad as it might have seemed. Here's the conclusion --

His changeup was exceptional at times. Just about every time he caught too much of the strike zone with it, it was hit. His fastball ranged from 90-92, sitting mostly at 90 in the second and third innings. Not great, but only one of the fastballs was even put in play (the first Gonzalez triple.) There were several swing-throughs on the fastball.

Good start? Heck, no. He missed his spots several times, and he had trouble putting hitters away after getting them 0-2 or 1-2. But his stuff was good enough to get them to 0-2 and 1-2 in the first place. But a start worthy of panic? Bah. Not even close. An iffy start made worse by the vagaries of baseball, that's all it was.


Masterful Madison

Man, THAT'S what we fans we're waiting for from one of the Big Three...closing down the Rox and just dominating. That's the kind of game we Giants fans have come to expect.Here's part of the mlb.com report --

Bumgarner, 22, was masterful on the mound against the veteran Moyer, 49, a man who made his Major League debut three years before Bumgarner was born and who stifled the Giants' bats with four perfect innings when he faced them in a Spring Training game late in March. The age differential was the third-largest in Major League history, with Satchel Paige's appearances at age 59 and 47 occupying the top two spots.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Giants score season-high 8 runs

I hate Coors Field. Every game the Giants play there is a potential nightmare. Here's the best thing I can say about tonight -- Nate Schierholtz, who hit two homers tonight for the first time since the epic July 6 6-5 vic in 14 last season.

The Rox announcers noted that that Nate had hit a no-doubter on the second one, up into the second level. It changed the score from 16-7 to 16-8. I was recalling that Nate hit one last summer in Coors that went over 460 feet. The announcers pointed out that tonight's were the 19th and 20th career HRs for Nate -- with 7 of those coming at Coors.

It's hard to write about this without worrying about Tim Lincecum, who's gotten hammered both times he's pitched this year. He'll next pitch on Monday at home against Roy Halladay, who's blowing them away as usual.

So, with 8 runs, there wasn't a total humiliation although it sure felt like one. Grant at McCovey Chronicles addresses the big worry --

It’s only 5 games, but for the second straight season the Giants begin 1-4. They have allowed 34 runs in those 5 games. Their gold standard pitching has looked more like aluminum foil colored with Hi-Liters.

However, there are some reasons to remain blindingly optimistic, besides the ridiculously small sample size: the 2003 Braves won over 100 games after allowing 41 runs in their first five games. Their starting rotation wasn’t nearly as impressive as what the Giants have. And, the Giants’ offense has shown more than just "signs of life", they’ve looked positively formidable at times. Speed, some selectiveness, and a bit of power.

But it’d be a lot easier to forget this game and how bad it was if a) it hadn’t followed a string of poor pitching performances (Zito’s masterpiece excepted, of course) and b) it wasn’t the worst start of Tim Lincecum’s career....

So, right away this season is a huge question mark. If Tim Lincecum doesn’t regain form and the pitching just blahs it up, there is quite literally nothing the Giants can do about it. They’ve invested everything in these arms and if they don’t show up, then the Giants go home early for the second straight season.

More Denver hell

Giants fans have had plenty of brutal memories from Denver since 1993. The latest came tonight when the Rox knocked out Tim Lincecum in 2 and a third innings -- the shortest start of his career.

A tale of two ownerships

You have to be a real Giants fan to know that Charles Johnson is the principal owner of the club in the wake of Bill Neukom stepping down. Gwen Knapp of the SF Chronicle filed a pretty solid story about him a few days ago, stressing his business acumen, philanthropy and desire to maintain a low profile. He didn't want to talk about how the Giants are being run, even though they've just committed $112 million to Matt Cain. He may not be the ideal guy to be the principal owner but at least he's not going to embarrass the team or its fans.

Then you have the Dodgers continuing to wallow in sleaze. TJ Simers of the LA Times -- who's columns are typically him whining about something without doing much real reporting -- has written a pretty decent piece wondering what the hell the relationship of the new owners is to Dingbat Dodger Owner Frank McCourt. Nobody's really explaining how it is that McCourt will still own some of the property nearby.

Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times delivers a real body blow to the new owners in his Dealbook column by pointing out that the Guggenheim Partners is using money from its insurance company holdings to buy the Dodgers -- not their own money -- and then use Magic Johnson as a front man to hide their basic sleaziness. Here's some key verbiage --

Using insurance money — which is typically supposed to be invested in simple, safe assets — to buy a baseball team, the ultimate toy for the ultrarich, seems like a lawsuit waiting to happen. Mr. Walters has been somewhat open in acknowledging that Guggenheim’s companies will be tapped, but the investor group has not disclosed how much of the purchase price is coming from individuals.

The transaction seems even more questionable when considering Mr. Walter’s own words to The New York Times two weeks ago: “I don’t want to realize a return on investment on buying the Dodgers. I want to have a multigenerational relationship that changes my life, Magic’s life, Magic’s grandchildren’s lives and all of our lives.”

So let’s get this straight: Mr. Walter, who has a fiduciary duty to the firm’s policyholders, plans to pump their money into a baseball team, even though he says he’s not seeking to realize a return on the investment. And he is seemingly wildly overpaying by some $500 million more than the next highest bidder — he outbid Steven Cohen, the hedge fund manager, among others — so that he can be the league-designated owner of the Dodgers.

“Paying $1.5 billion or $1.6 billion — I can get there. But anything after that is pure ego,” said a longtime sports banker who worked for a rival bidder for the Dodgers. “We’ve done the math. At that price, it just doesn’t make any sense unless you want to be the king of Los Angeles.”

In fairness, many insurance companies use their premiums to make investments, including private equity and real estate deals, a slice of which can sometimes even be speculative. As long as the insurance companies meet minimum capital requirements as determined by various regulators, they do not run afoul of the law.

However, rarely does an insurance company — let alone an investment firm — buy a sports franchise using its policyholders’ or investors’ money. When Tom Hicks, the founder of the private equity firm Hicks Muse, Tate & Furst, bought the Texas Rangers in 1998, he had the good sense not to use his fund’s money; he brought in qualified outside investors, who by the way, ended up suing him anyway when the team filed for bankruptcy.

In one case, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan had owned Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment, the company that owned the Maple Leaf professional hockey team and the Toronto Raptors pro basketball franchise, but the pension’s fund chief was not considered the teams’ owner. The pension fund sold the company last year.

So far, Mr. Walter and Guggenheim are not saying much. They have yet to reveal anything publicly about the proposed ownership structure. They are buying the team from the parking lot mogul Frank McCourt, who sent his debt-laden team into bankruptcy last year. In a filing to the bankruptcy court handling the sale of the Dodgers, none of the documents describe any of the financing arrangements except to suggest the deal is all cash.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Why not? One more Zito post

Monday, April 09, 2012

Dissecting Zito's shutout

I'm still stunned at Barry Zito's performance today, given his uselessness over the past five seasons. Lefty Malo points out that the delivery has been altered considerably with a crouch, a lower leg kick and a lower arm slot -- but damn, he got shelled in his last two spring training starts. Again, lots of credit to Zito, Dave Righetti and Tom House for figuring this out.

Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle noted that Zito pitched like Jamie Moyer -- Zito walked none, struck out four and expertly pitched "backward," setting up the hitters with soft curveballs, cutters and changeups that made his 84-mph fastballs look Randy Johnson-like. He got 15 of 27 outs in the air, which means the Rockies were out in front when they swung.

Grant at McCovey Chronicles got off this fine line about expectations surrounding this particular game -- Barry Zito pitching in Coors Field is like vinegar taking baking soda to the prom ... there’s a great chance that it’ll be messy when they get together.


Zito the stopper!

What a stunner from Denver -- Barry Zito just pitched a 4-hit shutout in Denver. Tons of credits to Zito and pitching coach Dave Righetti for showing up non-believers like me.

It's his first shutout in NINE YEARS.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Good news of the day -- Dodgers lose

The Evil Ones got hammered 8-4 in San Diego, so Easter Sunday wasn't a total waste

Formally adequate pitcher Aaron Harang hit a batter in his first action as a Dodger and didn't make it out of the 5th. He must be horrified to know that he's part of the lowest-class organization in the MLB. Yes, Dodger fans, it's true. Don't delude yourselves. The team's disgraceful behavior in clearing out of Brooklyn and then bulldozing the Chavez Ravine neighborhood to build dodger Stadium reflects a long-standing pattern of shoddy behavior. The Los Angeles Times did a pretty good piece about it a few days ago.

Donde esta el pitching de los Gigantes?

Man, what a lousy way to start the season -- lousy lousy starting pitching by what was supposed to possibly be the best three starters in baseball combined with lousy defense. It's as if Lincecum, Bumgarner and Cain have decided to imitate Barry Zito.

Well, there are 159 games to go. Hopefully, with the offense scoring runs for a change, the Giants can win most of them. I'm not too hopeful about Game No. 4, however, given that it's the Rox home opener and Barry Zito will be pitching for the Orange and Black.

Zito showed occasional flashes of adequacy last year -- well, he did in one game against the Padres on July 7, when the Giants won 2-1. And the Giants did some serious butt-kicking last time they were in Coors with a 4-game sweep that gave us a bit of hope in September. The final was a 12-5 stomping with Matt Cain winning.

At that point, they were 13 over .500 at 83-70, but they went 3-6 the rest of the way. So now they've gone 3-9 since then.

Mighty mighty mighty Matt Cain

Matt's pitching like an ace, mowing the Dbacks down. The Gmen are leading 6-0 in the 4th. That $112 million contract isn't looking too bad right now.

UPDATE-- well, that's what you call hubris. The Snakes just tied it up in the 7th. I'll take part of the blame for this.

F Robby's managerial anniversary

37 years ago today, Frank Robinson became the first African-American manager in MLB history. Nice recap by Did the Tribe Win Last Night. Hat tip to Baseball Musings.

F Robby went on to manage the Indians for three seasons, then four as the Giants manager, four as the Orioles and five as the Expos/Nats manager.

He never finished in first but it's impressive, I think, that he managed 16 seasons in all. Of course, this is my fave game he managed for the Giants -- Oct. 3, 1982, the 20-year anniversary of the Dodger playoff choke. On that day, the Dodgers choked again on a 3-run homer by Joe Morgan and got knocked out of the playoffs in Game 162.

In the 7th, with the score 2-2, Bob Brenly singled and Champ Summers doubled. F Robby then let reliever Greg Minton bat for himself and he struck out. Jim Wohlford then struck out but Terry Forster left a fatty over the plate to Morgan for a 3-run bomb.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

"It's a good sign the way we're coming back"

That's Bruce Bochy talking to Andrew Baggarly at CSN Bay Area after the second straight straight 5-4 loss. Lincecum and Bumgarner have gotten hammered early so it's up to Matt Cain to set things right.

Back to Bochy -- he seems to be doing his usual solid job of managing once the shock of getting in a hole wears off. The offense is actually delivering, including a Brett Pill two-run pinch HR. Usually, 8 runs in two games with Tim and Madbum pitching would have equalled out to two wins.

The Giants started out last year 0-2 also.

Raising (Matt) Cain notes this -- MadBum (like Tim) looked like he forgot to warm up.

Friday, April 06, 2012

So close in Phoenix

As they so often have in recent years, when the Giants lose, they barely lose. In this case, the deal went down with the tying run on second and Buster Posey at the plate.

Just one game but a lousy one to lose. Tim got hammered in the first and that was the game right there. My fave plays were Worthless Willie Bloomquist getting picked off first by Mota and Pablo Sandoval mashing a line double to left center off (He Really Is A) Putz with two out in the 9th.

Grant at McCovey Chronicles had this to say -- Regardless, it was an ugly, disfigured game. Even when he was mowing hitters down in the middle innings, there were pitches that were left up in just about every at-bat. There are games where Lincecum makes an isolated mistake or two that cost him, or where he's hurt by walks and poorly timed hits. This was not one of those games. He looked bad, though he gets a few bonus points for the relative stability of the middle innings. Should be 31 more of these things for him, though.

Ranking the Orange and Black

Fangraphs came out with an extensive analysis a few days ago about the Giants.Wendy Thurm says that the Giants are 12th out of 30 for 2012 and concludes --

The Giants head into 2012 with a razor-thin margin for error. The pitching needs to be just as good as it’s been the last two seasons. The offense needs to kick it up a notch from last year. If either of those two things don’t happen, the Giants will likely be sitting on the sidelines during the playoffs in 2012.

Her other rankings:
-- 2013 + and beyond -- 20th
-- Financial resources -- 8th
-- Front office -- 27th
-- Overall -- 12th

You see, I'm not the only bashing Brian Sabean. Here's Thurm's post on the shoddy state of Giants baseball operations. Boldface is mine --

This is the Giants’ Achilles heel.

Brian Sabean has been the Giants’ general manager since 1997, making him the longest-tenured GM in the majors. The Giants have enjoyed success under Sabean, particularly in the years when Barry Bonds was hitting home runs into McCovey Cove on a regular basis. And of course, Sabean put together the 2010 team that won San Francisco’s first World Series.

But Sabean’s penchant for signing veteran free agents has led the Giants to overpay (and in some cases substantially overpay) for players way past their prime. These include contracts for Edgardo Alfonzo, Dave Roberts, Aaron Rowand, Edgar Renteria, Mark DeRosa, Miguel Tejada and the contract extension for Huff signed after the World Series victory. Yes, Edgar Renteria hit the game-winning home run for the Giants in the clinching game of the World Series. But he produced very little value to the team the first 23 months of the 24-month contract. And yes, I’ve left Barry Zito’s contract off this list because, by all accounts, that deal was made by Peter Magowan, the former managing general partner of the Giants.

We know very little about the Giants’ use of advanced metrics. We know the Giants employ at least a few smart, young analysts. We just don’t have a sense of what they do or how the information they generate is incorporated in the Giants’ decision-making process. We do know that Sabean rarely mentions analytics and doesn’t seem particularly comfortable talking about them when asked. Overall, it’s puzzling that a team that plays so close to Silicon Valley (and that relies on Silicon Valley money in the form of corporate sponsorships), seems so detached from the technological and statistical advances taking place in the game.

Opening day, 2012

Here's the lineup --

  1. Pagan CF
  2. Cabrera RF
  3. Sandoval 3B
  4. Posey C
  5. Huff LF
  6. Belt 1B
  7. Crawford SS
  8. Theriot 2B
  9. Lincecum P

SFGiants just tweeted this --Today will be Lincecum's 19th career start vs . He's 7-5 with a 2.95ERA (41ER in 125IP) lifetime w/ 6 double-digit K games

Thursday, April 05, 2012

The Orange and Black go young

It's hard to believe for Giants fans that the team has become so young -- so accustomed we are to being the final stop for on-the-fade vets like Mark DeRosa, Dave Roberts, Steve Finley, the old Rich Aurilia, Armando Blownitez, Ryan Klesko, Miguel Tejada, Bill Hall, Orlando Cabrera...

Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle notes that the starting nine tomorrow will have an average age of 27. I could do without the implicit bashing of Barry Bonds, though --

Friday's lineup is the product of a policy shift dating to 2008, when the Giants shed Barry Bonds and promised to build teams the proper way and not just prop up the lineup with older players, some on their last legs.

My comment -- What's annoying about that sentence is that it makes it seem that Bonds wasn't any damn good anymore in 2007. The truth is that he was the second best player on the team behind Matt Cain (3.9 wins above replacement) with a 3.3 WAR. It's always galled me that the Giants owners lacked the guts to bring Bonds back for 2008 in what seemed like an obvious genuflection toward Dingbat Bud Selig. The 2007 team included Dave Roberts, Ryan Klesko, Blownitez, Mark Sweeney, Aurilia and Russ Ortiz.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Hector back in the Orange and Black

It looks like the kid has made it.

Rather than do my usual Zito-bashing, I'd like to note that the front office -- famous for favoring guys with more MLB experience -- has opted for Hector Sanchez, who looks like he's got some real upside. It's an acknowledgement that the Giants need to score more runs than they did last year. Hector had a solid spring (four HRs, .383 average) and has made the opening day roster as Posey's backup. He showed he can hit MLB pitching -- went 8-for-31 last year in the bigs with a pair of doubles. I think this makes a lot more sense than Eli Whiteside or Chris Stewart, who's been traded to the Yanks.


Dan Otero, who I barely knew about, also made it. Here's the rest from Chris Haft's report for mlb.com --

Otero, a 27-year-old drafted in the 21st round in 2007, will join the team's bullpen as one of six right-handers in a group that begins with eight pitchers.

Other newcomers to the roster include right-handed reliever Clay Hensley, infielder Ryan Theriot and outfielders Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan and Blanco, who impressed the Giants with a strong spring.


Preview of coming attractions -- Giants 3, A's 2

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

The Brian Sabean All Stars

Where Have You Gone Joe has another brutal post about the Giants' General Manager.Here's the lineup of notable Sabean signings --

SP - Barry Zito and Brett Tomko
RP -
Armando Benitez
1B - Shea Hillenbrand
2B - Freddy Sanchez
3B - Edgardo Alfonzo
SS - Edgar Renteria
LF - Aubrey Huff
CF - Aaron Rowand
RF - Jose Guillen
UT - Mark DeRosa

Monday, April 02, 2012

The reverse of the Zito deal

Raising (Matt) Cain, one of my favorite Giants blogs, does a nice recap of today's signing.In a post entitled "We Don't Have to Change the Blog Name," M.C. O'Connor makes some solid points (boldface is mine) --

We all want to see Matty retire in orange-and-black. FanGraphs' Dave Cameron has the only contrarian take I've seen*, comparing Cain to the likes of Carlos Zambrano, Jake Peavy, Dan Haren, Brandon Webb, Mark Buherle, CC Sabathia, and John Lackey. It's a mixed bag--will Cain be Haren/Sabathia or Peavy/Webb? Cameron suggests that risk > reward when you are dealing with pitchers, and that the Giants would be better off spending the money on hitting. It's a reasonable question--rarely is ANY player worth that kind of money and years. But I'm betting with the shooter on this one. Cain is a rare combination of youth, health, and talent. He was a big-leaguer at age 20 and has done only one thing since then, and that's improve. The organization made a colossal blunder with Barry Zito, and everyone but the suits knew it at the time. I thought--for a little while--that they would be gun-shy about doling out another Zitovian deal. But they pulled the trigger on Cain, and for that I'm very, very happy.

Five years of Cain?

That's what John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle just tweeted --

BREAKING NEWS: Two people familiar w/ talks told me Cain will sign "in the neighborhood of" 5 years and $110 mil before opener.

UPDATE -- It's all true with an option for 2018.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Scott Cousins in the minors for now

Buster 's back big time

That's what Andrew Baggarly of CSNBay Area thinks, anyhow. Buster Posey seems to be having a great spring.Here's part of it --

Most impressively, Posey scored from second base on a single. He said yes, he thought about his ankle as he made the sharp turn around third base.

“It’ll be something I’ll think about for awhile,” he said. “It’s something I’ll get more and more comfortable with. I don’t think that thinking about it is a bad thing.”

Posey said he’s pleased with how the spring has gone. He hasn’t had any apparent setbacks.

“The training staff has done a great job of managing it, knowing when to push and when to pull back a little bit,” Posey said. “I’m happy.”

It’s a test for Posey to play a day game after a night game – something the Giants will have in four of their first 10 contests, and 39 in all this season. His strong spring makes it more likely that manager Bruce Bochy will stick to his early pledge to carry just one additional catcher.

Yes, it could be Hector Sanchez instead of choosing between Eli Whiteside and Chris Stewart.

Carrying just one catcher would allow the Giants one more position player; they face a tough choice between Joaquin Arias’ middle-infield defense and Brett Pill’s right-handed power.