Monday, April 29, 2013

Giants on red hot streak of 1

The good guys won their first game in a week despite another middling performance by Matt Cain and an injury to Sandoval. Henry Schulman of the SF Chronicle points out that Matt has now given up nine HRs in April, which equals his TOTAL for 2011. Hoo boy. 

On the plus side, Brandon Belt continues to come through in the clutch. Jean Machi got his first MLB vic. Marco Scutaro has started to hit. And the pen reverted to its usual stellar status.

Also, the dodgers got buttkicked 12-2. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

"I know Matt has been working his butt off"

That's what Ryan Vogelsong said about the guy who's had the toughest year so far in Alex Pavlovic's game story for the Merc-News. 

Here's how Ryan has been himself -- 
Vogelsong finished April with a 6.23 ERA in five starts and gave up seven homers.
"I'm just off, man," he said. "I can't get anything really going. As soon as I feel I'm getting in a groove, it goes and then it comes back and goes again."
San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence, left, crosses home plate to score on a sacrifice fly by teammate Brandon Crawford in the second inning of a baseball game against the San Diego Padres in San Diego, Sunday, April 28, 2013. (AP photo/Lenny Ignelzi) ( Lenny Ignelzi )
again."

Fire Tom Hallion

I despise showboat umps and I despise umps who lose their cool. Several of the Tampa Bay Rays said today that Tom Hallion first used profanity and then lied about it because he was upset over David Price complaining about a bad call.  

Here's what David Pinto at Baseball Musings said --   The pitch looked good on PITCHf/x. Additionally, players can be ejected for swearing at umpires. I suggest umps should follow the same rules.

Where are the silver linings?

Saturday, April 27, 2013

At least the dodgers lost

That's pretty much the only positive from me tonight as the Brew Crew stuck it to the Yankees of the West, 6-4.. Giants Win was at Chavez latrine, where I got to scoreboard watch and see the ENDLESS 4th inning when the game in San Diego went from SF 5 SD 0 to SF 5 SD 6.

I read John Shea's story for the SF Chron. I'm impressed that both Andres Torres and Marco Scutaro owned up to fielding problems but this is damn discouraging -- 4 losses in a row by one run, three of those in extras. 

LET'S GO GIANTS!

Remembering George Brunet

A nice piece in The Hardball Times about George Brunet, who pitched in the minors, majors and Mexican leagues for 37 straight years.  

He had a decent MLB career and then went to Mexico at 38. Here's a taste -- In Mexico League play alone, he posted 55 shutouts, setting a league record. He won 132 games in Mexico, to the tune of a 2.66 ERA. Those numbers would earn him eventual election to the Mexican League Hall of Fame.

Timmy's back

As lousy a loss as tonight's 2-1 loss was, the starting pitching has become very solid, particularly Tim and Zito. Not too bad for number 4 and 5 starters if you ask me.

Nine Ks tonight. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Back-to-back bullpen buzzkills

Loyal fans like me know that there are going to be tough games every season but back-to-back blown games in extras by the Orange and Black ourtfield and pen -- that's hard to take, particularly when that's been the big strength of the team.

A fine start by Madison Bumgarner and clutch hitting by Brandon Crawford are about the only positives.

I find Kirk Gibson to be among the most annoying managers around. Maybe the Dodgers will hire him. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

The unlucky 11th

Well, that 4-game win streak just ended with a thud. 

After a stirring comeback in the 9th, the Giants almost won in the 10th tonight but Sandoval got thrown out by Cody Ross at the plate by 15 feet. Then the good guys fell apart in the 11th with a horrific lack of fielding hustle by Andres Torres and a lousy play by Brandon Belt on a throw by Sandoval.

I can't recall Jon Miller having been more critical of a player's lack of effort than he was of Torres. He was quite brutal. I'm kind of astounded as Torres has always struck me a hustling type.  

Well, every now and again there will be a game that stinks. That's what makes Bruce Bochy a good manager.

UPDATE -- Andrew Baggarly's recap for CSNBay Area quotes Torres as saying he lost the ball in the lights.  

I do like the fact that these do not make excuses when things go wrong. 

"What a good piece of hitting"

Monday, April 22, 2013

Where is the 756 marker?

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Zito gets the suh-weeeeeep!

Expect the unexpected when Barry Zito pitches. Today, Giants Win attended a magnificent 5-0 buttkick of the Padres, complete with Buster's first homer of the year, outstanding D, a double to the right center gap by Angel Pagan on a 3-0 pitch and Dominance by Zito.

I noticed that he was pitching fast -- not the fastballs but not taking much time between pitches. I think it's effective. At any rate, MC O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain makes some astute observations about today's vic -- 



The Giants like to throw shutouts, it seems. That's their fifth. One in LA, one against the Cardinals, one against the Rockies, and yesterday and today against the Padres. Nice of the division foes to oblige. Of those five games, Barry Zito has been the starter in three of them. I seek not to explain, merely to enjoy. Way to go, Zeets! A fine win today that featured Buster Posey hitting a home run. His first of the season, by the way. I note that Tim Lincecum threw to Buster yesterday, not Hector Sanchez. In Japan, I have heard, it is not unusual for a manager to change catchers during a game when a pitcher is struggling, rather than remove the pitcher. Who knows? Maybe they are on to something. Regardless, Zito racked up seven scoreless and Buster hit a homer. That sort of thing works directly on the pleasure centers, doesn't it?

I remember that guy!

Ok, so it was a twilight game for most of tonight's vic over the Padres, who aren't exactly going to make anyone forget the 1927 Yankees, but that was the real deal out on the hill tonight -- vintage Tim Lincecum.

I was fortunate enough to be in Section 119 tonight. The Padres never looked comfortable. Once Pablo went yard in the 4th, Tim got through the next two innings easily before being pulled with two out in the 7th. Here's part of Chris Haft's recap for mlb.com --

 

Lincecum entered the game with a 5.73 ERA, a figure inflated mostly by his vulnerability to big innings. He allowed four or more runs in two of his previous three starts, continuing a pattern he established during his stunningly subpar 2012 season.
This time, Lincecum's excellence arrested the Padres' bats immediately and never loosened its grip. He struck out at least one hitter in each inning but the seventh. Collaborating with catcher Buster Posey for the first time this season, Lincecum walked two Padres, contrasting with the 12 free passes he issued in 16 innings this year.
Lincecum indicated that he felt loose and natural on the mound before the 41,995 patrons who witnessed his mastery.
"It kind of goes back to easing things up when you throw the pitch and visualizing what you want to do with it," he said. "That's kind of what I went through today -- purpose. Every pitch has a meaning to it."
Indeed, Giants manager Bruce Bochy thought that Lincecum (2-0) looked more "determined" and "focused" than usual. That was particularly evident in the third inning, when San Diego loaded the bases with two outs. In previous outings, Lincecum might have lapsed. Instead, he induced Chase Headley, San Diego's best hitter, to ground out to second base on a 3-1 fastball.
"I'm thinking, I'm not going to walk this guy," Lincecum said. "I have to challenge this guy. Be aggressive. And that's what I was thinking all day. I'm not going to try to nitpick around with these guys like I have in the past."
That began a stretch in which Lincecum retired seven consecutive Padres and 10 of 11 through the end of the sixth inning. Except for right fielder Hunter Pence's running catch of Yonder Alonso's fourth-inning drive, which likely prevented a triple, Lincecum required little defensive assistance.
"I thought his split-finger was as good as I've seen in a while," Headley said. "He was getting in spots where there wasn't damage to be done."

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Bumgarner is the man

What a guy. I remember when I was 23 -- I sure didn't have this level of maturity. Carl Steward's game story for the Merc-News does a nice job of pointing out how big Madison Bumgarner was in stopping the alarming 3-game loss streak tonight  --


Pagan's clutch hit concluded a weird night in which the Giants had numerous opportunities to break open the game, none better than in the bottom of the sixth when Brandon Belt and Blanco opened with singles and starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner pulled back a sacrifice bunt attempt and slapped the ball past hard-charging Padres third baseman Chase Headley.
But in what manager Bruce Bochy believed to be a bad bit of luck, the Padres were running the wheel play for a possible bunt, and Bumgarner's grounder went straight to shortstop Everth Cabrera as he was moving over to cover third. Cabrera tagged Belt and threw to second to force Blanco. If not for an errant throw to first by second baseman Jedd Gyorko, Bumgarner might have been out, as well, for a triple play.
"Actually, Bum did a great job there," Bochy said. "With the play they're running, there's probably a good chance he bunts into a double play. He did what you're supposed to do, he smoked the ball, but he just happened to hit right at (Cabrera). That's just bad luck."
Bumgarner agreed.
"That's what we practice and that's where you want to hit it, usually," he said. "Every time I've ever seen it hit there, it's been a hit."
The strategic misfortune could have been a deflating turn of events, particularly after Bumgarner didn't come back to pitch the seventh. He'd protected a 2-1 lead until two outs in the top of the sixth when Headley hit a solo homer.
"Looking back, it probably wasn't the best pitch to throw to him, and I shook to it, too," said Bumgarner, who allowed four hits and struck out 10. "Buster (Posey) didn't want to call it, so that's on me there."

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Paging the real Matt Cain

Man, this guy who's been pitching for the Gmen has been no damn good this season. Supposed staff ace Matt Cain just didn't have it today in a 7-2 loss to the Brew Crew. Here's what Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area had to say, noting the alcoholic Yovani Gallardo homered -- 

 Pitchers never like to give up home runs to pitchers, but Gallardo’s shot was the 11th of his career. Cain (0-2) had a much more visible reaction after the curveball to Lucroy, when he bent at the waist and appeared to curse himself. It was just the sixth time in 239 career starts that Cain allowed at least three homers.

The Giants are now 0-4 in Cain’s starts, and no, they didn’t lose four consecutive times with him on the mound all of last season – or in 2011, either. It hadn’t happened since June 24 to July 9, 2010.

Cain’s velocity is not down and he has 20 strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings, so there’s nothing obviously wrong. He recovered well enough to retire 11 of the last 12 batters he faced. But the way the rotation is pitching, there’s little consolation the Giants can take from that.

The starting staff has a 5.07 ERA through 16 games.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Where did those hitting shoes go?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Zito "magic" disappears

He was so awful tonight in Milwaukee that the Giants lost despite scoring 8 runs.

It's really gotten odd that when Zito pitches, the Giants hit. Henry Schulman's story for the SF Chronicle notes that Ryan Braun struck out 4 times -- two by Zito

Monday, April 15, 2013

A replay of opening day

A real honor for the Orange and Black

Sunday, April 14, 2013

This is a man's game

I've been watching the stirring Giants 10-7 vic over the Cubs and was struck by the amazing stops of line drives made by both relievers in the 10th -- first Shawn Camp on a Gregor Blanco slug-bunt and then Sergio Romo on a scary liner for out no. 2 in the bottom of the inning.

Both total MLB plays -- a reminder how tough the game is. We see that in the first as Tim Lincecum gave up 4 runs and then pitched 4 more scoreless innings. Edwin Jackson, who's on his 10th team I would guess, dazzled like Tim for the first five and then fell apart in the 6th.

Jonah Keri has a long post on Grantland as to what's the matter with Tim and how he needs to adjust not having a 95 mph heater any longer. 

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Blotting out a rough day

Nightmare in the day time

What a strange loss to the Cubbies.Note to self -- closers except for 1984's Willie Hernandez don't go wire to wire without blowing a save. 

Romo clearly did not shirk after the game, per Chris Haft of mlb.com --

Romo answered each question that the Cubs' comeback raised. He insisted that he had sufficient time to warm up before entering the game. He didn't try to deflect responsibility for Castro's hit.
"No excuses," said Romo, who converted his previous 15 regular-season save opportunities dating back to last August. "I made a good pitch. [Castro] put the ball in play. Things happen when you put the ball in play. I tip my cap to him."
Giants manager Bruce Bochy took Romo's outing in stride.
"He's going to have to deal with an occasional hiccup," Bochy said. "That's the life of a closer."
Romo refused to cite a prevailing factor: The wind. It helped carry Castro's fly ball toward the wall, and it appeared to propel the home runs Cain allowed to DeJesus in the third inning and Castro in the fifth.
"None of the two homers they hit would have been homers anywhere else," said Pagan, who played for the Cubs from 2006-07.

Friday, April 12, 2013

What a day!

The Giants storm back from 5-0 and eke out a 7-6 win at Wrigley. That great news got utterly obliterated when  Zack Greinke -- he of the $147 mil contract with the Yankees of the West -- gets his collarbone broken during a brawl at Petco.  

Very sincere good wishes to Greinke for a fast recovery.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

"They brought their hitting shoes"

Half a century ago, that's what you'd sometimes say when you got creamed in a softball game. That must be how the Rox feel today after a 10-0 whitewash by the Giants.

It's a strange time for us fans who were advocating that the Giants ditch Zito a year ago -- here we are now with 16 straight starts in which the team has WON. When Zito is on the mound, these guys HIT.

And we are used to losing games 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2. Now we are 6-3 for the season. THAT is the way to start . Here's Willie Bans story for mlb.com --

 

After tossing a seven-inning shutout in his season debut, Zito (2-0, 0.00 ERA) tossed another Wednesday, spreading seven hits and one walk with four strikeouts. He even contributed offensively: along with his sac bunt during the second-inning onslaught, he singled and scored in the fifth, and singled to left in the sixth before chants of "Barry! Barry!" in his first career multihit game (2-for-3 with three runs).
"You can't have more confidence than what Barry has right now," manager Bruce Bochy said.
It was the 16th consecutive game, including last postseason, in which San Francisco won with Zito starting.
The way the Giants were swinging, though, they didn't even need him to be so sharp. San Francisco banged out 16 hits, including six extra-base hits, and six different players tallied at least a hit and an RBI.
"Today the boys came out swinging it," Zito said.
The victory was the ninth in a row against the Rockies (5-4) and the second consecutive sweep.
Angel Pagan led off the game with a single, and two batters later Buster Posey brought him in from first on a deep triple to right-center, making it 1-0. With two outs, Joaquin Arias -- starting at third base to give Sandoval a break -- singled to left to score Posey.
In the second inning, Brandon Crawford led off by doubling to the warning track in right-center. Zito laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt, moved Crawford to third and beat the throw to reach first safely. Pagan walked, Marco Scutaro drove in Crawford on a sac fly and Posey plated Zito from third on a ground-rule double to right-center. Hunter Pence then hit a grounder to third baseman Chris Nelson, who gloved it diving left, but his throw -- meant to start a rundown -- to catcher Wilin Rosario was off target and allowed Pagan to score on the throwing error for a 5-0 Giants lead.
Francis intentionally walked Arias, Brandon Belt popped out, and Andres Torres looped a two-RBI single to right, making it 7-0 and ending Francis' day. Francis, who entered with a career 5.72 ERA in 61 1/3 innings at AT&T Park, allowed seven hits, seven runs and two walks in 1 2/3 innings. It was the shortest outing of Francis' career.
"You miss a pitch, and they whack it," Francis said. "And then you make a pitch. They whack it, too."

Unclassic Giants win, 9-6

Well, that was what used to be called a slugfest.

Brandon Crawford is on the team for his glove, not his bat but every now and again delivers a big hit. Tonight, it was a 3-run HR in the sixth. Here's from Chris Haft's story for mlb.com -- 

With Colorado leading, 6-2, Nicasio vanished after walking Blanco and Hector Sanchez to open the sixth. Both advanced on reliever Adam Ottavino's wild pitch. Up came Crawford, who lined Ottavino's 2-0 fastball over the left-field wall.
"We're down by four, so to say I was trying to hit a sacrifice fly wouldn't really be true," Crawford said.
Of Crawford's eight career home runs, two were grand slams and three were three-run homers.
"I'm pretty sure I told you last year, maybe the year before, that I pick the right spots," Crawford jokingly told a reporter.
Singles by pinch-hitter Nick Noonan and Pagan helped load the bases for Hunter Pence, who recorded his 1,000th career hit, a one-out single off Belisle that tied the score.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Classic Giants win -- 4-2

If the Giants score 4, that's usually enough to win.

It's the second win of the season for Bumgarner and the 4th save for Romo. A nice way to get rid of the stench of yesterday's loss.  

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Happens to the best of them

Matt Cain's surprise meltdown

It's always tough when your best pitcher -- the guy who gets described with words like "mainstay," "dependable" and "reliable" -- just can't get out of an inning. The Cards have 5 runs in and are still batting with two outs out in the 4th ... now Matt Carpenter just knocked in 2 more. Hoo boy! I guess it may have not been such a great idea with the Cards in town to distribute all that World Series hardware at the pregame ceremonies today.  

Just astounding that the rally came on the heels of the Orange and Black scoring 2 in the third -- making every Giants fan think, "Here we go! That should be enough to win!"

Instead, it's only the second time a Giants starter has given up 9 runs in an inning -- the last time being 111 years ago by some guy named Cronen. 

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Staying on the sunny side of a 6-3 loss

You know, pro sportswriters can manage to make a 6-3 loss -- which seems pretty convincing -- sounds not all that bad. Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area makes today's game a bit less depressing. The story doesn't note that Vogelson threw 27 pitches in the 1st inning, which may have led to him giving up a belt-high fattie to Carlos Beltran in the 5th -- 

Ryan Vogelsong gave up nine hits, but all were singles and four of those stayed on the infield. Brandon Belt hit two lasers for outs and remains hitless for the season.

But the game really hinged on two other breaks that didn’t go the Giants’ way. In the fifth inning, third baseman Pablo Sandoval made a smothering stop to his left of Allen Craig’s infield single, unaware that shortstop Brandon Crawford was right behind him and probably could’ve made the play without leaving his feet.
It extended the inning and loaded the bases for Carlos Beltran, whose tiebreaking, two-run single proved to be the game’s biggest hit.
An inning later, Joaquin Arias came off the Giants’ bench with two aboard and hit a line drive down the first base line that Craig  turned into an easy snare-and-step double play.
“A step here or there and we’re talking about a totally different ballgame,” said Vogelsong, who was charged with five runs in 5 1/3 innings. “I felt I was forcing the ball early, trying to make it do stuff instead of jut letting it come out. The middle innings got better. I didn’t feel I threw the ball all that terribly.”
Bochy said the long fifth inning might have caught up to Vogelsong when he made the fastball mistake to Beltran, a hitter who seldom misses 89 mph at the belt.

Beltran ownage

Ownage -- one of Mike Krukow's favorite words. 

It appears that whatever Ryan Vogelsong throws, Carlos Beltran can hit it. He's driven in 3 runs today and knocked Vogey out of the box with a 5-2 deficit. Some guys -- like Paul Goldschmidt and Tim Lincecum -- are a bad combination.

Friday, April 05, 2013

Zito!!!!

What a way to win the home opener!

I know it's just one game out of 162, but some games have a little more weight than others. This was one of them. From Chris Haft's recap on mlb.com -- 




Barry Zito, without whom the Giants might not have earned the World Series championship banner that they raised before Friday's game, surrendered three hits in seven innings to help San Francisco outlast the St. Louis Cardinals, 1-0.
The Giants won their 15th game in a row that Zito pitched, dating back to last year and including the postseason. Zito furnished one of San Francisco's most critical victories last October by blanking the Cardinals for 7 2/3 innings in the Giants' 5-0 triumph in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series.
Zito was equally sharp this time in the Giants' home opener. He retired 15 of 17 batters beginning with the first inning's final out. The Cardinals then moved their first runner into scoring position as Allen Craig singled and advanced on Matt Carpenter's two-out walk in the seventh. Zito responded by retiring Pete Kozma on a fly ball.
Jeremy Affeldt relieved Zito and pitched a perfect eighth inning before Sergio Romo worked the ninth for his third save in three games.

The clueless Dodgers

Dodger Thoughts blogger Jon Weisman notes the music at dodger stadium is damn loud. As usual, dodger management is clueless -- though I wouldn't be surprised if other teams did exactly the same.

There was a Three Dog Night song last night that was OK but the rest was lousy. 

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Tim's big night against the Yanks of the West

I attended tonight's vic at Chavez Latrine -- yes, Dodger fans, that's what it gets called from time to time on this blog -- as Tim Lincecum got his first W of 2013. He wobbled a lot but got the 15 outs when he needed them as it began to dawn on dodger fans that maybe having the biggest payroll in MLB isn't necessarily a guarantee of winning a pennant.

THAT is the big story: Tim started and didn't melt down, even when Buster Posey made an error in the 4th on what should have been a DP.

At the end of the game, the dodgers had left 12 on and the Giants had left one.


Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Locking them down at Chavez Latrine

How'd that taste, dodger fans? Hmmmmmmmm?

Madison Bumgarner, who wobbled his way into the playoffs last year, was utterly dominant. The dodgers got two doubles all night. Eat it. Eat it raw. 

The last time he pitched was for Game 2 of the World Series against Detroit, notes Henry Schulman of the SF Chron -- 
Bumgarner looked as good at Dodger Stadium as he did in dominating Detroit in Game 2 of the World Series, allowing two hits and nothing else over eight innings Tuesday night in the 3-0 Giants victory.
"That's the best I've felt in a long time, which is odd," Bumgarner said. "Usually, it doesn't work out too good in my first start of the year, usually my first month. I just want to keep going and not take a step backward."

By the way, he has two World Series wins and two World Series rings. 

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Opening on the road for the Orange and Black

Monday, April 01, 2013

Non-Dodger hating post

Hating the Dodgers

Well, that was a lousy opening day

Let me make it clear -- I hate the Dodgers. Here's hoping that they don't win another game all year.

Offense consisted of two singles by Pagan and two by Sandoval.

I hate the Dodgers. I hate the Dodgers. I hate the Dodgers.