Monday, September 30, 2013

Anyone but the dodgers

All decent baseball fans want the Braves to sweep the Dodgers. I predict the ATL will win the NLDS

St. Louis over Pitt

Detroit over Oak

Boston over Cleveland

For the NLCS, St. Lou over Atl; Boston over Detroit in the ALCS

It's Boston's year

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Pence, Peguero and Pence

He signed a 5-year deal, drove in 2 more runs in the 8th and then drove in the final run of the year with the bases loaded in the 9th for his 99th RBI. Peguero led off the 9th with a pinch-hit HR. 

Not exactly a year for the ages but things got better, particularly over the last month with Pagan back, Petit pitching well, Hembree arriving and Pence mashing. Final total -- 76-86. It could have been a lot worse.

It was Peguero's first MLB HR. He hadn't been too impressive so far. Earlier this week, Juan Perez hit his first, too  

For everyone who has stopped by this year, I thank you extremely much. There's only one thing to say -- LET'S GO GIANTS!

First Pence, then Tim?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Not as bad as 2008

Is the Lincecum era over? No idea

Let's put the bizarre Brian Wilson crybaby incident aside for now and wonder if that was it for The Tim Lincecum show. Here's part of Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chronicle -- 

"I certainly hope Timmy is back with us,” Bochy said. “Timmy has been such a pleasure all of his years here. I hope that continues.”
Lincecum finished the season 10-14 with a 4.37 ERA, a decent improvement from last year’s career high 5.18. He threw 197 2/3 innings and struck out 193.
For his Giants career he is 89-70 with a 3.46 ERA, 1,510 strikeouts, two World Series rings, two Cy Young Awards, four All-Star teams, a no-hitter and an iconic image of his teammates lifting him on their shoulders, his fist raised, after he won the clinching game in the 2010 Series.

Ah, yes, the no-hitter -- one of the few highlights of the year. That left his record at 5-9, then he got hammered by the Reds next time out. We got used to seeing that kind of performance too over the last two years, though it seems to have gotten less and less so as the season went on...

Thursday, September 26, 2013

A strange end to a strange day

A young life cut short

This is a fine story by the SF Chronicle's Jaxon Van Derbeken about last night's homicide victim. What a shame. 

 "He was just a very nice young man - he wanted to be a plumber," Smith said. "He was very promising. He was one of our best apprentices. It's sad."

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Hasta la vista, Barry Zito

 The Zito era is finally over.

The Giants front office decided to shut down Madison Bumgarner for the year and let Barry Zito and Tony Abreu embarrass the dodgers instead. It worked. Hopefully, the dodgers will remember their pitiful performance tonight when the postseason begins. This could not have been a confidence builder.

Steve Kroner of the SF Chron says in the game story that it was the final performance for Zito. That's fine with me. I was delighted when Bochy took him out. I've always been surprised when he's been successful. What an awful blunder by Brian Sabean. It will go down as one of the worst contracts in MLB history.

It sounds like he was a good teammate. That's about the best thing that I can say about BZ. Here's Kroner  --

 

The 2013 season has been a slog and then some for Zito (5-11). He had lost his previous eight decisions and hadn’t pitched since Sept. 2.
Given all that, his five-inning outing Wednesday rated as quite a success. He allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits. Zito’s career numbers with the Giants: 63-80 with a 4.62 ERA.
Before the game, Zito’s teammates made it clear they appreciate his demeanor and professionalism.
“He’s had some struggles, he’s had success, but he’s been the same guy throughout,” Buster Posey said. “Just in general, he’s a good person. He’s somebody that you can talk to easily and talk about things other than just baseball.”

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Zito and the $126 million -- not worth it

I know that he won Game 5 of the NLCS last year and the World Series -- but he also was partly responsible for ruining the other 6 seasons he was here. Yes, he nearly cost the Giants the 2010 championship too. Still hard to believe that he got to start Game 161 that year.

He's a good guy but a lousy ballplayer. Henry Schulman has a long profile of him in yesterday's SF Chronicle.

Monday, September 23, 2013

First winning road trip of the season!

Nothing underlines the crappy season like this fact. It looks like Petit has proven he can start at the MLB level so that's a great find. 

Here Andrew Baggarly's coverage for CSN Bay Area --


It’s been a meager feast this season, but for the first time all year, the Giants posted a winning record on a multi-city trip. This one was a New York history tour – first to Los Angeles to play the former Brooklyn Dodgers, then a week split between Queens and the Bronx against the Mets and Yankees.
They went 6-4 on the trip and finished the season with a 34-46 road record. (It’s just 80 games because the July 4 rainout at Cincinnati was made up at AT&T Park.)

Starting pitching report
Pitchers like Yusmeiro Petit usually try to win a roster spot in spring training. He might have locked one up this September.
Petit didn’t get a decision, but he became the first Giant to pitch the club to victories in his first six starts of a season since Jason Schmidt in 2003. He certainly did enough to win, holding the Yankees to six hits in 6 1/3 innings and walking off the mound in a 1-1 game.
Mark Reynolds hit a home run in the third inning off Petit, who otherwise worked quickly and efficiently yet again. He has a 2.54 ERA in those six starts since joining the Giants from their holding pen in Triple-A Fresno.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The signature 2-1 Giants vic

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Spring training in September

I watched Johnny Monell look helpless today against Ivan Nova as the Yanks shut out the good guys, 6-0.

Spring training stuff, except that the Yankees are fighting for their lives. We on the other hand aren't. We are discovering that Vogelsong may be done.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Mr. Quality Start

Madison Bumgarner has been the real deal all year. Chris Haft's game story for mlb.com makes that clear...

Bumgarner has allowed three earned runs or fewer in 19 consecutive games, the longest such streak by a Giants pitcher since Tim Lincecum also had 19 in a row from Aug. 16, 2007-June 11, 2008. The last Giants starter to throw 19 successive games with three earned runs or fewer allowed in a single season was Ed Whitson (June 7-Sept. 25, 1980).
Many analysts who tire of the term quality start -- an outing of six innings or more with three earned runs or fewer allowed -- have embraced the super- or ultra-quality start. That requires a pitcher to work at least seven innings and yield two earned runs or fewer. Bumgarner has made 15 such starts in 31 appearances, including his performance against the Mets.


The Giants are now 71-82 -- guaranteed a losing season.

2014 will be better

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

A rare 4-game win streak

Monday, September 16, 2013

Zito $avings for 2014?

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Pill the Thrill

Though Hunter Pence delivered two more HRS today, it was Brett Pill's pinch-hit HR that gave the Giants the 4th run that they needed to put the dodgers out of the misery at the ravine today.

The Giants are now 69-81 and on a 3-game winning streak. The Dodgers are now 86-62 with a tragic number of 4. Nice to see them gagging for a change.  

As for Pence, he's now hit 6 HRs and 19 RBIs in six games, as Henry Schulman of the SF Chron notes. Here's what else he said -- 

 The Giants have won six of their past eight games, their first such stretch since April, aiding their push to avoid a last-place finish and finally win a multicity road trip.

"It's been a horrible season driving runs in"

That was Bruce Bochy's reaction to the Giants putting up 19 runs last night at chavez latrine. 

It must knaw at him a bit to wonder where all those hits were in all the 2-1 and 3-2 losses. Oh, well. At least the dodgers got humiliated for a change and the Giants have been playing decent ball lately, per Henry Schulman of the SF Chron --

The Giants might finish in last place, yet they are still playing as if their season is on the line. A lot of that comes from Pence, who had the most productive night of his career Saturday in a record-setting 19-3 annihilation of the team that soon will be crowned division champs.


The good guys are still 20th in runs scored this year. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Dodgers = LOSERS

What a beautiful game. The supposedly invincible ace Clayton Kershaw gags against the last-place Giants at Chavez Latrine.

Brett Pill hit a 2-run single on a checked swing. Romo kicked the last out of the game to Arias, who threw out Adrian Gonzalez.

Looking forward to the Dodgers starting a LONG losing steak.Hey, dodger fans -- Your ace could not beat the Giants. This could be a preview of coming attractions.

Henry Schulman's game story for the Chronicle notes that it's the first time this year that Kershaw has lost to the Giants. 

Maybe loss number two will come on the 25th or 26th in SF. 

Pence in the Orange and Black next year?

It sure sounds like it, per the SF Chronicle, which speculates he will want a deal at $15 million annually. 

His WAR, according to Baseball Reference, is 3.6 as a Giant this year -- his second best season ever. The guy has racked up a solid 23 WAR in seven seasons.

I'd like to see him back in SF. He's no superstar but he's delivered a solid season and plays a pretty good right field.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Stupid stolen bases

Well, that's my reaction to tonight's 3-2 loss at Chavez Latrine. The Giants could have won this game if Bochy hadn't decided to send Gregor Blanco in the 9th after he had tied the game with a single. Like clockwork, getting a guy thrown out always seems to cause the next guy to get a hit -- in this case, a double from Hector Sanchez, who actually seems to be able to hit MLB even off the bench.

I hate caught stealings. I hate them. I believe that Bill James contends that unless you can get a 75% success rate, stealing bases isn't worth it. Blanco's was the 23rd caught stealing this year out of 83 tries -- not good enough, in my opinion.

Oddly enough, the caught stealing isn't mentioned at all in Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chronicle. It's as if it never happened.

NOTE TO BRIAN SABEAN - How about taking the money for your guy Zito and spending it on a real hitter so your manager doesn't feel like he has to steal bases with the game on the line?

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Petit keeps rolling

Memories of Jose Guillen

Monday, September 09, 2013

A pennant in 2014?

Brandon Belt is the real deal, just like Posey, Crawford, Cain, Lincecum, Bumgarner, Sandoval....

On a night the defending World Champions were officially eliminating from winning the NL West (Juan Uribe hit 3 homers), Belt showed why I can write such a headline. I'm convinced that he's looking like a potential All-Star.

Belt drove in the tying run in the 8th and the game winner in the 10th for the Good Guys' second straight 3-2 vic in extras.

Get this -- it's only Belt's 3rd year in the MLB and he's 25. Even before tonight he had a 3.2 WAR after his 2.3 WAR last year. What an upside.....

John Shea of the SF Chron points out that a last-place finish can be avoided --

They’re a half-game out of fourth place and one game out of third, so it’s not as if there’s nothing to play for.
Tim Lincecum had one of his better starts of late, surrendering two runs in eight innings. He struck out just three batters but walked only one. But one of his biggest problems all season – run support – haunted him again.

"This is a good time for us to lose games"

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Back from 2013 to 1979

Today's stirring 11the inning vic, with a brand new Giant scoring the winning run at home, to me back to one of my fave games -- the home opener of the 1979 season at the Stick.

On April 10, the Giants were tied 2-2 in the 9th when Stretch pinch hit with 2 outs and no one on and lined a single to right. Max Venable, father of Will Venable, came out to pinch run. John Tamargo, the backup catcher, had his one moment of glory in the bigs by pinch-hitting a homer into the second deck. I can still see it ....

It left the Giants, who had rebounded nicely in 1978, with a 4-1 record. Everything seemed possible but the season went dowhill pretty fast after that. 

So today, it was Ehire Adrianza making his MLB debut and scoring the winning run on Pagan's single. More hard luck for Madison Bumgarner per Chris Haft's story from mlb.com 

The Giants are now 64-79. The 1979 Giants went 71-91.

The game included a well-deserved ejection for Crybaby Kirk Gibson...

 The Giants received a break in the top of the 10th. Arizona had runners on first and second with two outs when Aaron Hill tapped a grounder to first baseman Buster Posey, who played the ball off his chest but still had time to toss it to pitcher George Kontos covering first base for the out. Hill was initially ruled safe, as Kontos appeared to step on the dirt instead of first base. But the call was reversed after the umpiring crew conferred briefly, resulting in an inning-ending out for the Giants and an ejection for D-backs manager Kirk Gibson.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Almost perfecto Petit

Man, what a game!

Amazing the highlights that we fans get from the beloved Orange and Black -- even in a lousy season like this. Looks like Yusmeiro is the real deal!

Here's part of the recap by Chris Haft of mlb.com -- 

Petit began the ninth in theatrical fashion, striking out Chris Owings on three pitches. Petit fell behind on the count to Gerardo Parra, 2-0, before coaxing an easy grounder to second base.
Up came Eric Chavez to bat for D-backs starter Patrick Corbin. Petit again fell behind, 2-0, before pulling even at 2-2. Chavez took a ball before sending a sinking liner into right field, where Hunter Pence dove but could only short-hop the ball. It was a single, spoiling Petit's bids for a no-hitter and perfect game.
Two pitches later, Petit ended the game by inducing Pollock's grounder to third.
The longest Petit had gone without allowing a hit in his previous 39 Major League starts was seven innings on Aug. 4, 2009, as a member of the D-backs at Pittsburgh. He also allowed only one hit in that game, in which he lasted eight innings.
Petit, who pitched for Arizona from 2007-09, also excelled against his former team last Sunday at Phoenix's Chase Field. There, he struck out a career-high 10 and walked just one in six-plus innings as the Giants prevailed, 8-2.
Petit posted a 5-6 record with a 4.52 ERA in 15 starts this season for the Giants' Triple-A Fresno affiliate. But he has sparkled while filling in for an injured Matt Cain, winning his first two starts entering Friday.

Nice spin by Vogey

He takes the blame in a dispiriting 4-2 loss. CSNBay Area's Andrew Baggarly indicates that he will back next year 

He seems to have gotten over the crappiness that was plaguing him before he got hurt. I'd say he's worth the risk of picking up the $6.5 mil option

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

'Well, that brings back a good memory'

New hitting coaches? Yes!

Monday, September 02, 2013

"Zito didn't have much today"

Yes, it's time for another Barry Zito bashing. I thought about paraphrasing Pres. Gerald Ford's deathless line about Richard Nixon -- "Our long national nightmare is finally over" -- but I decided instead to write a headline quoting Padres weirdo announcer Ted Leitner.

Ted is about as strange a broadcaster as there is in MLB, which is saying something. But he hit the nail right on the head. Zito was awful as usual. And Bruce Boche's only defense in continuing to run him out there is that he's a nice guy, as per Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chron. 

We're all pulling for him. Believe me," Bochy said. "He's a good teammate and, of course, there was what he did last year. He's in a tough rut. It's hard to see anybody go through these stretches. You hate to see him go through it.
"One thing about Barry: The results haven't been good, but he's all-in how he prepares. It's just been a rough go for him, especially on the road."

GIANTS WIN COMMENT -- I don't care how much his teammates like him. And more to the point, I really don't care how much sportswriters like him. This is the other side of why sportswriters hated Barry Bonds so much.

I give Zito credit for having the good sense to treat people well but I hope he will never pitch again for the Giants. Because that's the real torture for Giants fans, not watching Brian Wilson close out games in 2010.

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Two for the 2014 Giants

Your last place SF Giants

That's where they are after a 4-3 loss to the snakes at 60-75. Hoo boy.

When you've been a Giants fan since 1958, last place isn't a totally unfamiliar place. The 1984 and 1985 went back to back in last in the 6-team NL West; and the 2007 Giants were in 5th in the 5-team division at the end of the year. Matt Cain was the best player on that team with a 4.6 WAR, followed by Barry Bonds at 3.4 and Randy Winn at 2.7. Dave Roberts, Ray Durham and Kevin Frandsen were terrible players who got a lot of at bats. It was third year in a row that the Giants would have a losing record .

Still, this year is just not what you expect after you've won the World Series.

Lefty Malo points out that the Giants weren't trying to end up there, unlike the 1998 and 2004 Marlins...

 Can the Giants avoid last place in the division? Spend your last few days of August thinking about this: Would you prefer the Giants enter 2014 with as high a draft pick as possible, or as the only World Series champion ever in the history of baseball that actually tried to be good the next year but finished in last place?