Monday, March 31, 2014

Who else but Buster?

A stunning opening day vic, per Chris Haft at mlb.com 

Both Haft and CSN Bay Area's Andrew Baggarly note the game didn't really need to be that close except for defensive ineptitude. Arias, Belt, Sandoval in particular. Pence made a couple of fine plays. 

Belt made up for it with 3 hits. 

But Buster is the one who got the essential hit in the 9th, the crusher. The Dbacks have one of the biggest roster turnovers, year in and year out. I still dislike them with the exception of Cody Ross. 


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Brian Wilson gags

What a great game at Petco. Brian Wilson gift-wrapped it for the Padres. He was awful.  

"I'm not used to having one of these nights," he told the MLB.com writer. 

Get used to it, Brian. This wasn't the Cards, Nats or Tigers -- teams that can actually hit. It was the Padres, who never are much a scoring threat.  

Five men up, five men on base. Not a single out. For Giants fans, it was a respite from watching the indignities visited on us by seeing Wilson excel as a dodger and act like a traitorous baby over his 2012 World Series ring. Here's part of Cliff Corcoran's recap for SI --

The outing was the worst of Wilson’s major-league career. Four times before he had appeared in a game without recording an out, but in only one of them had he faced as many as three batters, that coming way back in his fifth major-league appearance in June 2006. In this game, he faced five men, and while two reached on errors, one of those errors was his own. The three runs Wilson allowed (only two of which were earned because his error came around to score) tied the fifth highest total of his career. The most he has ever allowed was four, and on each of the four occasions he did so, he got at least two outs. The last of those was in August 2009.

The Black and Orange power surge?

Here's a fine example of a cheerleading article for us Giants fans -- Henry Schulman of the SF Chron notes that the Giants have the potential to have 5 guys hit over 20 HRs this year: Pence, Sandoval, Posey, Morse and Belt. Frankly, it would serve all the Bonds-haters right if the difference was the advice that Barry imparted during the week of spring training. 

Well, if it means they score more runs, cool. The pitching was lousy last year, partly because Zito got to pitch so much.133 innings and a -2.6 WAR. That's really awful. Nothing said "we're giving up the season" like running Barry out there for 25 starts. 

The Giants scored 629 runs and gave up 691 last year. 

They've added Michael Morse and Tim Hudson and gotten rid of Zito and Andres Torres. I like those moves but I'm not sure if they'll turn the Giants around.

The opening day roster and Mel Hall

Blogger is the most pathetic blogging service ever.

Lefty Malo has a fine post about Mel Hall being on the opening day roster in 1996 for the Giants.

Hall managed to make it despite having been out of the bigs for 4 years. He went 3 for 25 before the Giants let him go.  

His final AB came in this 8-5 vic over the Expos. 

Stan Javier CF 4 1 2 0 1 2 .239










Robby Thompson 2B 5 1 2 2 0 0 .267










Barry Bonds LF 5 1 1 0 0 2 .303










Matt Williams 3B 3 2 1 3 1 1 .329










Mark Carreon 1B 4 2 2 1 0 0 .271










Glenallen Hill RF 4 0 2 0 0 0 .266










   Marvin Benard RF 0 0 0 0 0 0 .295










Shawon Dunston SS 4 1 2 0 0 0 .338










Steve Decker C 2 0 1 2 0 0 .282










Mark Leiter P 1 0 0 0 0 0 .125










   Mark Dewey P 0 0 0 0 0 0











   Mel Hall PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 .120










   Rich DeLucia P 1 0 0 0 0 0 .000










   Rod Beck P

"I don't want to miss it"

That's Tim Lincecum talking about his start on Thursday in Phoenix. He got clobbered on the leg Friday night by a liner and he's already moving on.

It's a reminder of how tough MLB is. Some dingbats who complain about how badly overpaid players are have never had a liner blasted past them. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Brandon Hicks in the Orange and Black

The man who taught Livan his curve

That would be Connie Marrero. The Washington Post has a terrific story about the Cuban pitcher who logged five seasons with the Washington Senators in the 1950s. 

You can count yourself as a real fan if you know that he was an All Star in 1951; he racked a pretty good record pitching for bad Senator teams.  

Here's part --

 

“That junk he gives you to swing at on his first pitch is a helluva sight better than his next pitch,” countered Casey Stengel. “And if he gets two strikes on you, you just might as well be using a newspaper to bat with because you ain’t gonna do no good with your bat.”
It might not have really mattered.
“He wouldn’t give his mother a good pitch to hit at,” his teammate Pete Runnells once said.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Hasta la vista, Tony Abreu

Saturday, March 22, 2014

17 innings, no runs

That's Madison Bumgarner's spring training so far. MLB.com has a post making the case that the Giants rotation is good enough to get the team to the World Series. Here's what Matt Cain says -- 

Cain, after throwing well in a Minor League game against an Angels Triple-A squad Friday, was asked if the Giants' pitching staff was where it needed to be at this relatively late Spring Training date.
"Yeah, I think so," Cain said. "I think mentally we know what we need to do. I think we all see that in each other. I think we need to get off to a good start, but even if we don't, we don't need to panic about it, just go out there and keep doing what we can do."
And there is nothing wrong, Cain says, with having high expectations; individually, collectively, any way at all for the Giants pitchers.
"That's where we want to be, definitely," Cain said. "We expect a lot of ourselves and each other and I think that's a good thing, it motivates us."

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Scutaro scooting away from Opening Day

Dammit. 

Per the SF Chronicle, it looks like our guy is just too banged up to make it into the Opening Day lineup and that Joaquin Arias is the guy instead -- 

Bruce Bochy says Marco Scutaro is 50-50 to start at second base on Opening Day. The calendar says Bochy is way too optimistic.
The good feeling from Scutaro’s Cactus League debut Monday did not extend to his lower back, which seized up again and forced the 38-year-old to get a second epidural shot Thursday, because, he said, “the first one didn’t work.”
Bochy hopes the shot will do its magic and allow Scutaro to play either in Cactus League or minor-league games by the weekend. Unfortunately for the Giants and Scutaro, estimates for his return this spring have come and gone like passing clouds.
Scutaro is long past the point of outguessing his back, saying, “It’s just a matter of getting the inflammation down. Then I’ll be fine.”
The medical news was not all bad for the Giants. Angel Pagan (back tightness) and Michael Morse played in a Triple-A game against the Rockies and both are expected back for Friday night’s televised game against the A’s.
Joaquin Arias started at second base against the Padres on Thursday night and figures to start on Opening Day if Scutaro cannot.
“We do think Joaquin is a good answer until we get Marco back,” Bochy said, “whether it’s next week or however long it takes before Marco will be getting some playing time.”

Sunday, March 16, 2014

"You have to work at it all the time"

That's Barry Bonds speaking of instructing Brandon Crawford on hitting, according to John Shea of the SF Chronicle. I'm very pleased that Bonds came to camp for a week...

He was a .288 hitter on June 18, and that was more like it. That was the day he jammed his right index and middle fingers sliding headfirst into second base, leading to an offensive nosedive. He hit .211 the rest of the way. Five homers in April. Nine overall.
Now it's about channeling his early-season success and carrying it six months. And staying healthy, of course.
He has a new advocate in camp, Barry Bonds.
"It's about what he believes in," Bonds said when asked about Crawford. "That's what it comes down to. Does he believe what you're saying is making sense? Is it simple enough to understand it?
"When you think you have the system, the system catches up to you and then you have to realize you have to rewind it and start over. You have to work at it all the time. You can't all of a sudden get it and think it's that easy because it's not that easy."
Bonds instructed Crawford to close his front shoulder on his stride - he had been opening the shoulder toward the pitcher, which can affect timing, hand-eye coordination and everything else needed for solid contact - and to trust his hands on inside pitchers.
Crawford has been open to the man for whom he rooted as a kid growing up in Pleasanton.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Hasta la vista, Livan

Livan Hernandez is retiring. He announced it a few days ago but it didn't get much notice given that he didn't pitch in 2013.

Grant at McCovey Chronicles has a post about that correctly notes the Dumb Old Dusty Baker acted like an idiot by starting Livan in Game 7 of the 2002 World Series. 

He racked up a 3.4 WAR in 2000 but was pretty ordinary in his other 3 seasons in the Orange and Black. 

He was also the beneficiary of Eric Gregg's massive strike zone in a playoff win for the Marlins in 1997 over the ATL. Yet another reason to despise the Fish.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Marco Scutaro = Freddie Sanchez?

The Giants got a superb 2010 season from Freddie Sanchez and a great 2012 from Scutaro, who doesn't seem to be able to recover from his injuries lately. I still remember Freddie hitting three doubles in Game 1 of the World Series.

The SF Chron reviews the somewhat depressing situation and concludes that the starter will be Joaquin Arias or Ehire Adrianza. Hoo boy. John Shea reports -- 

The safe replacement is Joaquin Arias, a valuable utility man in 2012 and 2013, appearing in more than 100 games each season. His RBI single ended Wednesday's 4-3 exhibition win over the White Sox.
A wild card could be Ehire Adrianza, who's out of options and is liked by management and the coaching staff. A switch-hitter, he has homered from each side of the plate. Not wanting to leave anyone out, Bochy mentioned Tony Abreu, Nick Noonan and Brandon Hicks.
"It's really frustrating. It's driving me crazy," Scutaro said.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bonds tells Giants how to hit = SF 8, Cin 5

Hahahaha

Well, you gotta like how Barry Bonds shows up on Monday and the Giants start raking on Tuesday. Tim Hudson had a crappy outing but it didn't matter.Here's part of Jesse Sanchez' story on mlb.com -- 

Posey smashed a three-run home run to tie the game in the third inning, and the Giants would tack on five runs in the game to cruise to an 8-5 victory at Goodyear Ballpark.
Giants starter Tim Hudson and third baseman Joaquin Arias scored on Posey's home run, his first of spring, to erase a 3-0 deficit. Ehire Adrianza's two-run home run in the fourth gave the Giants a 5-3 lead, and Posey drove home Arias with a double for San Francisco's sixth run to cap off the inning.
Posey finished the afternoon 3-for-3 with four RBIs. He is hitting .412 in Cactus League play this spring.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Matt Cain -- 5 perfect innings

Now, THAT's what I call good news out Arizona.

Of course, it was the Cubs, so how seriously can we take this news?

Pretty seriously -- the Cubs actually won the damn game, 3-2

Chris Haft of mlb.com notes that, just as in his 2012 perfecto, Gregor Blanco saved the no-hitter with fine catch.

Sunday, March 09, 2014

Bam Bam, Kent on the high road

The SF Chron has a story about the arrival of a new coach this week in the Giants camp -- a guy named Barry Bonds. The paper interviewed Jeff Kent and Hensley Meulens about it and they both said the right things.

All I can say is that it's about damn time. It's about damn time to stop acting like the Giants need to apologize to the crybabies who decided that Barry Bonds was the personification of evil. In no particular order, Ann Killion, Jeff Pearlman, Tom Verducci and the biggest idiot of them all, Bruce Jenkins. I could go on but why bother?  

It's been frustrating to watch the Giants offense struggle in 2011 and 2013 after the successes of 2010 and 2012. Meulens should feel damn lucky he's still got a job after how lousy it was last year.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Power pitching out of the gate

Tim Lincecum delivered two shutout innings today following decent starts by Bumgarner, Hudson and Vogelsong. Tim told the SF Chron that he lost a bit of control in the 2nd inning.

It's good to see that what was the strength of the 2 World Series winners looks like it's back....


All of the starters except for Yusmeiro Petit have looked sharp in their first games.
Lincecum, Tim Hudson, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong and prospect Edwin Escobar have combined for 10 shutout innings, allowing only three hits and a walk while striking out 10.
Matt Cain’s first start was rained out.

Saturday, March 01, 2014

Is it March already?

I guess so. The Giants have been playing games in Arizona and I've been scrambling at my real job, wishing that I could be in Scottsdale.

The SF Chron has a post about head honcho Larry Baer putting the best face on the Dodgers spending like the Yankees used to. Here's the top of it. Notice how he mentions drafting Cain, Bumgarner, Lincecum and Posey as a smart way to be doing business. Let's hope the front office can keep doing that ... 

In a state-of-the-team talk with reporters this morning, Baer said the Giants are going to stick with their plan to draft and develop good players, “sprinkling in” some free agents, then locking up their homegrown players to multiyear deals.
“We’re mindful of the Dodgers,” Baer said. “We’d be crazy to say we’re not. Maybe it’s a little bit like New York and Boston in a lot of the years. We’re fine with not matchint them dollar for dollar because when it comes down to it, it’s an art, not a science, and it comes down to judgments. Drafting Cain, Lincecum, Posey, Bumgarner, et cetera . . . Those were judgment calls, not money calls.