Monday, September 29, 2014

Is Clint Hurdle out of his mind?

I wonder if the Pirates manager is in his right mind? Edinson Volquez has not won against the Giants since 2008

Volquez has been very solid in the second half, but wow. Here's what CSNBC reports --

The 10-year veteran has one career postseason appearance under his belt, when he started the 2010 NLDS for the Reds and was rocked for four runs in 1 2/3 innings by the Philadelphia Phillies. He was opposed by Roy Halladay, who threw a no-hitter.
Volquez, 31, is coming off a 13-7 season in which he posted a 3.04 ERA and 140 strikeouts to 71 walks. He led the league with 15 wild pitches.
[RELATED: Edinson Volquez career stats | 2014 game logs]
Volquez enjoyed a strong second half this season. He has not lost since his first outing after the All-Star break, a span of 12 games over which the right-hander has gone 5-0 with a 1.78 ERA.
In 11 career starts against the Giants, Volquez is 2-2 with a 5.72 ERA. He did not face San Francisco this season, and hasn't beaten the Orange and Black in his last nine chances. He last beat the Giants in the 2008 season, doing so twice in his All-Star campaign with the Reds.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Ishikawa starting in left

There's just no one else, apparently. At least it won't be Juan Perez. Apparently Michael More isn't going to play -- though this story by Andrew Baggarly of CSN Bay Area doesn't bother to explain. 

Baggarly wound up being shunned by several team members in recent days over his reporting of some kind of cofrontation between Shawon Dunstan and Sergio Romo

Anyhow, he posted the story before Sunday's 9-3 vic over the Padres .... here's the relevant part:

Bochy also confirmed that Travis Ishikawa would be his starting left fielder in the Wild Card game, since the Giants are expected to face right-hander Edinson Volquez.
It’s a rather stunning turn for Ishikawa, who was the Pirates’ Opening Day first baseman before they traded for Ike Davis and shipped him off the roster.
Ishikawa, who won a World Series ring with the Giants as a bench player in 2010, is making just his third career start in left field in Sunday’s regular-season finale against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park.
Ishikawa had played a total of 3.2 innings in the outfield in his major league career before playing 23 innings over seven games for the Giants after joining them July 29.
“That’s why I’m playing him today, to give him a little more time,” Bochy said. “He looks fine. It really looks like he’s tracking the ball well. It’s funny how all this has come around. He played in the World Series for us. He’s got experience and he’s not hesitant at all. He wants to be out there, he wants to play, and that’s part of it. I love his makeup.”
And if Ishikawa turns into this year’s version of Cody Ross, all the better.
Bochy plans to leave off at least one and likely two of his starting pitchers for the Wild Card roster, which can be resubmitted if they advance to an NLDS. That allows him the flexibility to carry an extra reliever and/or position player.
Third-string catcher Guillermo Quiroz is one anticipated addition because it would free up Bochy to use Andrew Susac’s bat off the bench.
The Giants plan to fly to Pittsburgh on Monday.
's the relevant part --



Recapping 2014 and your 87-74 SF Giants

MC O'Connor at Raising (Matt) Cain does a fine job of explaining what went right and wrong. I agree with his conclusion that Brandon Belt being out for two-thirds of the year was the biggest single factor in the Giants not being able to win the NL West and being stuck with a one-game play-in game on Wednesday.

I 'm one who'd have taken the over on 90 wins. That was predicated on Matt Cain being a 3-WAR pitcher (32 starts, 200 innings, 120 ERA+). It was also predicated on Tim Lincecum finding some consistency and delivering more quality starts. The first assumption was reasonable, the second hopeful, neither came to pass. It was also predicated on Brandon Belt being healthy for a full season and running out a 2013-like line (.289/.360/.481). That's a 4-WAR player. You add seven wins from Cain and Belt and that's the top of the heap or damn near. Ryan Vogelsong is a 1-WAR pitcher, I thought Timmy could do at least that well. That's eight more wins. I know it's not that simple--Peavy and Petit combined for 3 WAR and neither would have made those contributions if Matt and Tim were Matt and Tim. Even so, they club would have been a least a few games better. I believe the loss of Belt in the lineup was the single biggest thing that hurt the offense. I know about the Angel Pagan Effect, but I think Belt's a better hitter and certainly has more power. He's managed to contribute 1 WAR despite only playing in about a third of the season. Pagan is credited with 1.4 WAR for his 96 games--imagine the impact he would have made over a full season.
That being said, the Giants came up short. And they came up short because they played some damn poor baseball for long stretches of the season. Slumps are part of the game, I know that. From June 9th to July 18th they went 10-21, for example. That's .323 ball. That's not a slump, that's a nosedive. The team did not win the games they could have (and should have) won with the people they had. Every team has injuries. On the other hand, considering the decimation of the roster, the team still managed to make the post-season. You have to acknowledge that. It's been a confusing and frustrating season. "Who are these guys?" was my favorite refrain. When they were smoking hot in April and May and when they were icy cold in June and July the same question applied.

The Dodgers, the West champs, did not have a losing month. If the Giants lose today, they'll have three (if they win, two). That's how you win a division--being consistent. The Giants have been very good and very bad but they've ultimately lacked consistency. That's what makes this post-season chance so difficult to evaluate. Yeah, we know anything can happen in one game or one series or one month. But this team is hard to get a handle on--which one will show up next Wednesday? At least we know that Madison Bumgarner will get the start, and he has been terrific all season. If the team has any kind of chance it will be because they have their best guy on the hill. I can get excited about that.

Rookie Chris Heston makes his debut today. That's cool--maybe he'll get a shot to crack the rotation next year. After all there is a good chance Ryan Vogelsong will not be back and there's no guarantee Jake Peavy will be, either. And what they'll do with Tim Lincecum is anybody's guess. So show us what you got, kid.

GO GIANTS!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tim Lincecum's 100th victory

The Giants, battling to stay home for the Wild Card play-in game, finally beat the annoying Padres tonight after being swept in San Diego.

Tim Lincecum got the vic for getting the final batter out in a nightmare 7th in which Lopez and Machi looked like garbage.

It was Tim's 11th vic this year and the 100th of his career. It's the second time in 3 years that he's lost his spot in the starting rotation. 

It's going to be a tough choice to decide who's on the 25-man postseason roster. Here are the sure things, I think...

Starting pitchers -- Peavy, Bumgarner, Petit, Vogelsong, Hudson

Position players -  Belt, Panik, Posey, Pence, Sandoval, Blanco, Crawford, Susac

Relievers -- Casilla, Romo, Affeldt, Hunter Strickland

Reserves -- Arias, Ishikawa, Duffy

That leaves five spots. Bochy seems to love Juan Perez; I don't know if Michael Morse can play; Machi and Lopez looked god awful tonight; Juan Gutierrez and Eric Cordier looked bad last night in LA; Chris Dominguez had one homer in San Diego and hasn't gotten another hit.

Then there's Timmy. My guess is that he's gonna make it

Giants stumble into postseason

They are officially in -- now that the Reds beat the Brewers. It would be nice if they could start winning so they can play the play-in game at home, right?

Anyhow, here's the official story on mlb.com --
The Giants are headed back to October.
San Francisco, which has earned World Series championships twice in the past five years, will have a chance to add to its growing trophy collection. The Giants clinched a NL Wild Card spot in the playoffs on Thursday by virtue of the Brewers dropping their early afternoon game to the Reds, 5-3.
The Giants can still climb ahead of Pittsburgh for the top Wild Card slot, which would give it home-field advantage for the NL Wild Card Game on Oct. 1.
The winner of the Wild Card round would play the top division winner on Oct. 3. The Nationals and Dodgers are vying for the top seed in the NL.


dodgers win NL West; world in danger of ending

The Giants suffered through an embarrassing loss at chavez Latrine tonight as the over-rated Cuban Crybaby hit his third homer in 3 months. I'm hoping that the combo of the brain-dead Crybaby and Donnie Stupid will doom them to a quick exit from the playoffs.

Grant Bisbee at McCovey Chronicles dumps all over Gregor Blanco; it's hard to argue with how stupid the  plays were that Blanco made on the basepaths....

Let's take one play as a microcosm for the entire last week. Gregor Blanco made a baserunning boner early in the game, with the Giants needing runs and Kershaw showing a smidgen of vulnerability. He froze on a ball that looked like a single from the moment it left the bat, and he was stranded on third base. I made notes to investigate later. "Blanco boner?" and "Write about Blanco's boner" were two of the notes.
Then came the actual boner. With the Giants down by four and one out, Blanco tried to take an extra base for no apparent reason. Again, down by four. That's a we-need-runners code red. Not only did he fail, but he failed spectacularly. He flopped before the base, helmet coming off, then twisted in agony as he rolled past the base. That slide was the decision to take third of slides. That decision to take third was that slide of decisions to take third. Symmetry. It was quite poetic.
You thought you had a boner with the first one? No, that was a boner. It was the kind of boner that made me take several minutes and photoshop this:

What a stupid, stupid play. What a hilarious collapse. It's a metaphor for the last week, then. The odds were against the Giants. They needed to play perfectly and catch a few breaks, but there was a chance, a small chance. And right when you started to dream just a little, they did something horrifically stupid and embarrassed themselves. The Giants stumbled and fell and looked like jackasses, and you wondered what they were doing there in the first place.
★★★
Let's take one play as a microcosm for the entire season. Buster Posey came up with the bases loaded against Clayton Kershaw. The Giants had a one-run lead, but with the bases full, one out, and their best hitter up, it felt like more. That was the peak win expectancy for the Giants -- per FanGraphs, they had something like a 73-percent chance of winning at that point. It just took a knockout blow.
Instead, the worst possible outcome happened. Double play, inning over. Their best player prevailed. The Giants' best player failed. The early lead was doomed. The odds that were once in the Giants' favor turned almost instantly, and suddenly the whole team was upside down.
Without Posey reclaiming his MVP form, the Giants don't watch the Dodgers celebrate in front of them. They're out a week ago, maybe more, and they're probably in a sad death match with the Brewers right now. Posey did his best, but he isn't magic, and he came up just short against the best the Dodgers had. There's no shame in it. Just endless frustration.
★★★
You want to take moldy lemons and make moldy lemonade? I can do that. Welcome to Optimism Corner brought to you by State Farm. Here goes:
Tim Hudson pitching a masterpiece on Wednesday night would have been confusing.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The brain-dead Cuban crybaby

As if there wasn't enough reason to despise the dodgers, brain-dead Yasiel Puig threw a tantrum last night at Chavez Latrine.

Here's Henry Schulman's recap for the SF Chron about the Cuabn crybaby...

Bumgarner lost what might be his final regular-season start when he allowed a Justin Turner homer to start the first inning and a two-run Matt Kemp homer later in the frame.
What happened between the homers enlivened the ancient rivalry.
The benches cleared briefly when Bumgarner hit Puig on the foot while trying to bury a two-strike cutter. Puig, who also was hit by Jake Peavy on Monday night, sat at the plate and craned his neck to stare at Bumgarner.
For the second time in 2014, the two got into a shouting match. Bumgarner yelled first. When home-plate umpire Adrian Johnson started walking toward the mound to quiet the pitcher, Puig rose, walked behind Johnson and started yelling back.
Bumgarner then flung his glove to the ground and waved his arms as if to say, “You want to go? Let’s go.” That’s when the benches emptied.
Manager Bruce Bochy blamed it on Bumgarner’s anger over allowing the Turner homer and Puig “creating a little drama” by sitting at the plate and staring. Bumgarner also took exception to Puig’s stare.
“He turned around and looked at me like he had something in mind,” Bumgarner said.
Nobody on the field could have thought that Bumgarner was trying to hit Puig on the foot with a two-strike breaking pitch. Lest there be any confusion, Bumgarner said, “He’ll know if it’s on purpose, which that one wasn’t. I’ll make sure of that.”
Dodgers manager Don Mattingly knew it was a mistake, but said of Bumgarner, “I was a little surprised at his reaction, to be honest with you, when Yasiel got up and looked there. But I think it got emotional at that point.”



Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"You're going to win this game for us"

That was what Andrew Susac was told by last night in the 9th inning; 4 innings later, he got the key clutch hit to win an essential game at Dodger Stadium, per the SF Chron

Here's part of the game story -- outstanding work from the pen, Belt finally getting hits and clutch hitting overall in the later innings...


The Giants had precious few chances for seven innings. They had one hit against Dan Haren, a Gregor Blanco homer to lead off the game, then no more. They scored their second run in the third on a Joe Panik safety squeeze after a three-base Matt Kemp error.
Then, the Giants put 10 runners on base from innings eight through 12 and could not get one home. One tried real hard, but Yasiel Puig threw out Brandon Belt with a fantastic peg in the 11th after he grabbed Brandon Crawford's single.
Five no-hit innings from Sergio Romo, Jean Machi and Santiago Casilla allowed the Giants to reach the 13th, when they finally busted through against Kevin Correia.
Belt, who had his first two hits since Aug. 5, singled with one out.
With two outs, Belt at second and Brandon Crawford on first after an intentional walk, pinch-hitter Andrew Susac hit an RBI single to make a prophet out of the Giants’ strength and conditioning coach.
Susac said Kochan sidled up to him in the dugout in the ninth inning and said, “Stay locked in. You're going to win this game for us.”

 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chris Dominguez!

Chris Dominguez was about the only decent thing that happened in today's game. He closed the gap from 5-0 to 5-2 in the 7th, then the pen gave up 3 more runs in the bottom of the inning.

He broke in on Sept. 3 and had gotten 3 at bats until the start today.


I did not know he's a 27-year-old rookie. I'm glad that someone besides the awful Juan Perez got the start today. Anyhow, Here's Henry Schulman's nice sidebar for the SF Chron ...

Chris Dominguez was beaming despite Sunday’s 8-2 loss, and nobody could blame him. Making his first major-league start, the 27-year-old rookie homered against Ian Kennedy for his first big-league hit.
The ball went over the fence down the left-field line, hit off the Western Metal Supply Co. building and wound up in the hands of a little girl named Estella who was celebrating her birthday.
The Padres dispatched an employee to retrieve the ball, but before a swap could be completed, the little girl’s sister got ahold of the ball and wrote on it, “Happy birthday, love M.”
The girl agreed to give the ball to Dominguez, but not before she added her own missive. She wrote, “Congratulations, (heart) Estella.”
“That is awesome,” Dominguez said when he saw the inscriptions. “I think it’s great for the memories.”


Let's go Giants!!!!!

This is the crazy-making time of year -- the good guys have pretty much locked up a wild card slot if they can just win a game here and there....

The Padres start today is Ian Kennedy -- here's some good news....he month of September hasn't been kind to Kennedy, though, as he has a 5.19 ERA in three starts. He was tagged for four earned runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings June 25, his lone start against the Giants this season.


And this as we wonder what the hell Juan Perez is doing in the lineup...

Juan Perez started in center Saturday, but Bochy said former first-round pick Gary Brown may see playing time if Perez doesn't improve at the plate.
Bochy mentioned that he and his staff discussed the possibility of playing Brandon Belt in left field while two outfield openings exist. However, Belt has not started a Major League game in left field since Sept. 30, 2012.


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Matt Duffy????

I saw him smash a pitch up the middle at the August 16 game and thought "this kid can hit!" 

Fast forward a month and a day to Phoenix. It was Duffy's 12th hit in the bigs in his 51st AB. His 5th and 6th RBIs.

 This is what good teams do -- score late and hold down the other team. Here's mlb.com's recap of the 9th inning --

The Giants' ninth-inning uprising against D-backs reliever Addison Reed (1-6) began with Pablo Sandoval's leadoff walk and continued with a single by Brandon Crawford, who went 4-for-4. Pinch-hitter Brandon Belt, ending a prolonged absence caused by concussion symptoms, walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases.
Up came Duffy, who rapped a 3-2 pitch to center field, delivering Sandoval and Crawford.
Sergio Romo (6-4) pitched a scoreless eighth to earn the win. Santiago Casilla recorded his 17th save and second in two days.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

6-1, 1.13 ERA

That's Jake Peavy's record over his last seven starts.

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle makes the point that he's now the No. 2 starter on the staff of a team that's heading for the postseason (as long as there aren't any more losing streaks longer than one game!)

Here's the first half of the game story. Boldface is mine. 

 
PHOENIX — Buster Posey was just commenting on how Jake Peavy always tries to think one step ahead when Peavy revealed he already is contemplating the series opener in Los Angeles on Monday night, which he will start.
“I'm not going to lie to you,” Peavy said. “I was just in the shower thinking about Dee Gordon. Isn't that crazy? I was in the shower thinking about how I'm going to get Dee Gordon out.”
Is that any crazier than the numbers Peavy has been posting? He is 6-1 with a 1.13 ERA in his past seven starts, including a 2-1 victory against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night that moved the Giants three games behind the Dodgers for first place in the National League West.
“Tonight was big,” Peavy said. “We had to have it the way we lost he last three. I feel very blessed to feel healthy and be a contributing factor for a team fighting for our lives every day.”
Peavy is contributing more than the Giants could have hoped when they acquired him from the Red Sox for two waning pitching prospects, Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree.
Peavy gave Boston the same lift after a midseason trade with the White Sox last year and said, “I do have experience being thrust into that situation.”
If Madison Bumgarner is the clear No. 1 — he goes for his 19th win in the series finale Wednesday — Peavy is the equally clear No. 2, which will be reflected in any postseason rotation.
On Tuesday, Peavy made Buster Posey's 21st homer and a Brandon Crawford sacrifice fly stand for the Giants' 83rd win. He allowed one run in 72/3 innings, matching his longest start with San Francisco.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Yusmaddux Petit?

Grant Bisbee at McCovey Chronicles proposed that as a nickname for Yusmeiro -- who pitched very well today in a 4-2 loss to the dodgers and was done in by crappy fielding.

It's an amusing aspect to what was otherwise a lousy day which I won't dwell on ....

I  know what you're thinking. Hold on. There are times when Petit reminds you of Greg Maddux, even if in an abstract way. Petit threw 62 strikes and 20 balls on Sunday. That's kind of like Maddux, right? He mixed and matched, hit his spots, and at his best, completely confused hitters. His masterpiece last week was almost as good as Maddux's best game. Hey, he's a control maven who can miss bats. If we can compare every skinny Dominican pitcher with a changeup to Pedro Martinez -- "You traded Felix Diaz for Kenny Lofton? But he's the next ..." -- we can compare Petit to Maddux.
So, Yusmaddux Petit.
You hate it because Petit was a minor league free agent who may or may not be a worthwhile rotation experiment on a contending team. Greg Maddux was one of the best pitchers in baseball history.
Except you're missing the beauty. When he hangs a slider and gives up a 400-foot dinger, you can turn to the person sitting next to you and dismissively say, "Yeah, Mike Maddux."
He is both. He is a master of command. He can be hard to hit. He can be easy to hit. He can strike batters out. He can give up long home runs. He is a blessing and a curse, but mostly a blessing. He is the Maddux brothers in one package, kind of like the Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt split cartridge, except your cousin dropped your light gun in the toilet last year, so you can't even play the other game. Yusmaddux Petit.
Okay, maybe not.
Sorry.
More like Mike Maddux. Who was actually pretty okay, looking back.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Back to April 4

Dodgers are up just 1 game now.

The Giants lit up Hyun-Jim Ryu at the dodgers home opener five months ago and clobbered him tonight in SF.

He only lasted one inning and gave up 4 runs; it was a great way for me to come home after a tough workweek. So now we've avoided the worst case scenario of a dodger sweep, like they got in late July in SF.

Here's part of the LA Times coverage --


Replacing Ryu in the second inning with Chris Perez wasn't what the Dodgers had in mind when they realigned their rotation so that their three best starters could pitch in this series. Zack Greinke will pitch Saturday and Clayton Kershaw on Sunday.
Something was clearly wrong with Ryu, as the majority of his fastballs were clocked at under 90 mph.
"I kind of felt it a little bit during the warmup session before the game," Ryu said. "It's something that I normally feel, but in the inning, it got very uncomfortable and I wasn't able to execute the pitches I normally execute. The results showed."
Indeed, Ryu was uncharacteristically hittable. He gave up successive one-out doubles to Joe Panik and Buster Posey, resulting in the Giants' first run.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Peavy Power

What's not to like? What a turnaround this guy has made since being traded from Boston, per John Shea in the SF Chron -- 

The Giants are in the position they’re in — two games behind the first-place Dodgers — in large part because of Peavy, who’s 5-1 with a 1.12 ERA in his past six starts. In that stretch, the Giants are 18-8.
Peavy’s impact hasn’t gone unnoticed by teammates.
“He brings a lot of intensity, he brings a lot of energy, he brings a lot of veteran leadership, he brings a lot of guts,” Hunter Pence said. “He’s been a big charge to this run we’ve made. That energy is exciting to be around. It’s a different dugout when he’s in it.”
Said Buster Posey, “He’s a vocal guy. We don’t have a ton of vocal guys on the team. When he gets to saying things, people will listen.”
Sometimes the wrong people. On Aug. 24, both Peavy and fellow starter Tim Hudson, neither of whom pitched that day, were ejected by third-base umpire Paul Emmel, who tossed Hudson for arguing that the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg wasn't coming to a proper stop from the stretch.
Emmel tossed Peavy for supporting Hudson.
“Sometimes that’s part of being a good teammate, trying to keep umpires accountable,” Peavy said. “But you try to stay in the game.”
Peavy struck out eight batters Thursday, five in the first two innings, and walked none. He gave up six hits and one run, coming in the sixth on Cliff Pennington’s triple and Mark Trumbo’s double.

Lincecum off the playoff roster?

Steve Berman of CSNBay Area speculates that the Giants -- who are leading the NL Wild Card race by 5 games -- will leave Tim Lincecum off the 25-man postseason roster. 

The story was posted before the Giants won 5-0 over the Dbacks on 2 hits. Tim warmed up in the second inning but did not get into the game. Here's most of the Berman story --

Lincecum has looked shaky in his new role. He gave up three runs (two earned) at the end of a 15-5 win over Milwaukee. He pitched a clean ninth inning in the Giants' 8-2 victory on Saturday in Detroit, but nearly gave up an opposite-field home run to Nick Castellanos in the process.
Enter Hunter Strickland. He has three relief appearances in September compared to just one for Lincecum, and his numbers are impressive – both on the radar gun and in the boxscore (three innings, no runs, three strikeouts).
"We've got to keep (Strickland) sharp. We can't keep them all sharp, but he's one of those guys that I, Rags, Gardy, we all feel comfortable with him in a setup type role," Bochy said.
Bochy isn't just comfortable using Strickland in higher leverage situations than Lincecum, that's exactly what he's done since the day he was called up. His first big league outing was in the eighth inning at Coors Field, in a game where the Giants were only down by two runs.
With only 18 games left and a five-game lead over the third place team in the wild card race, Bochy certainly has put some thought into who'd make the postseason roster. Lincecum thrived as a "super sub" type reliever in 2012, but the current roles don't lie. One of the five current starters – Petit, in all probability -- would be the long reliever, and clearly Bochy trusts Strickland more than Lincecum in the later innings right now.
Things could change, but Lincecum has only pitched twice in the last 15 games. The Giants are known for being loyal to their veterans with track records, but Bochy has left a struggling former Cy Young winner off his postseason roster before. Just ask Barry Zito.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Bumgarner's 17th

Madison Bumgarner is the first Giants pitcher to win 17 games since Tim Lincecum in 2008. The stat is overemphasized -- since teams like the Giants rely so heavily on their pens -- but I'm seriously impressed. 

Zo at Raising (Matt) Cain has a solid post -- 

When Madison Bumgarner pitches, you think of these kind of descriptors:  dominant, efficient, damn near unhittable.  He was none of those things.  Here is a comparison with his last couple of performances:
Today vs. Detroit              6 IP,  10 hits,  3 runs,  2 home runs,  0 BB,  0 K,  100 pitches, 66 strikes
Aug. 31 vs. Milwaukee     6 IP,    5 hits,  1 run,   0 home runs,   1 BB, 7 K,   96 pitches, 63 strikes
Aug. 26 vs. Colorado        9 IP,    1 hit,    0 runs, 0 home runs,   0 BB,  13 K,  103 pitches,  80 strikes

I'm not suggesting that something is wrong with Madison, today though, he struggled.  Detroit hit the ball hard, and even the fouls were loud.  However, he picked up his 17th win.  It is popular these days to poo-poo wins for pitchers, but the Giants did not have any pitcher to achieved 17 wins in 2013.  Also in 2012, no pitcher achieved 17 wins.  That was true for 2011 and also for 2010.  The last pitcher to get 17 wins on the Giants was Tim Lincecum in 2008 (who, by the way, had an excellent inning last night).

Buster Posey is now 33 for his last 65 at bats dating back to August 21.  If you throw in the May 22 make-up game finished on Monday, September 1, he is 34 for 66.  Today, a single, a double and a home run.  Including today, 7 home runs since August 21.  Rbis for Joaquin Arias, Pablo Sandoval, and 2 for Andrew Susac, whose first inning double drove in Hunter and Pablo for the 3rd and 4th runs.  Tomorrow, Tim Hudson against newbie Kyle Lobstein. 

Cabrera wins the battle, Giants win the war

Miguel Cabrera dissipated a little bit of the memory of him taking a strike 3 called from Sergio Romo to end the 2012 World Series today. Hit a homer off Romo today to cut the lead from 5-3 to 5-4 in the 8th.

The Giants still won and are now 14 over .500.

The Fox guys were far less obnoxious than normal. One of them pointed out the 2012 team went 19-8 in September and the 2010 team was 18-8. These guys are 9-2 over the last 11 games.

Here's part of the recap from Henry Schulman of the SF Chron --

Detroit – On the final pitch of the 2012 World Series, Miguel Cabrera expected a slider. Sergio Romo threw a fastball. History was made.
On the first pitch of the eighth inning Saturday it was Romo vs. Cabrera again. Cabrera got his slider, a hanger, and he did not miss it, slamming his second homer of the game over the left-field fence.
The personal battle ended differently, but the game outcome was the same. Despite Cabrera’s second homer of the game, the Giants held on to beat the Tigers 5-4.
Romo had inherited a 5-3 lead from Jean Machi when Cabrera took him deep. The reliever recovered to retire the next three hitters and walked off the mound after freezing a different hitter with a strike-three fastball, Nick Castellanos.
Santiago Casilla saved it.
The Giants won for the ninth time in 11 games and clinched the series ahead of Sunday night’s ESPN game.
They also won their first series in an American League park since taking two of three in Oakland in 2012.



Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Panik, Susac, Duvall

Joe Panik and Andrew Susac have come up big for the good guys. Adam Duvall had a key hit in tonight's glorious 12-7 comeback win in Denver. Of course, it is Denver so who knows how they'll do when a breakingball actually breaks.... Andrew Baggarly of CSNBay Area explains -

Rookie Andrew Susac provided the lift coefficient as the Giants began to rally from a six-run deficit in the sixth inning. He hit a two-run home run and added an RBI double, rookie Joe Panik had another productive game in the No.2 hole and the prize melon of the patch, Buster Posey, collected four RBIs on three extra-base hits as the Giants took a 12-7 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

The Giants are getting such steady production from Susac – a trio of three-RBI games in 12 career starts – that manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged he might look to play the young catcher more often and put Posey at first base, especially while Michael Morse and Brandon Belt remain out of action.
Susac is producing. Panik reached base three times ahead of Posey, he has a .314 average and is doing a fair impression of Marco Scutaro, circa 2012. Adam Duvall stung a pinch RBI single to account for the Giants’ first run. Matt Duffy has pitched in here and there. Hunter Strickland hit 100 mph in his major league debut Monday.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Hunter Strickland in the Orange and Black

As the Giants resume playing a game suspended from July in Denver, the SF Chron recaps the callups with particular focus on Hunter Strickland. 

Here's part of Schulman's story --

I got a chance to catch up with Strickland this morning. He is a big dude, 6-foot4 and (listed at) 220, who throws in the upper-90s yet has tremendous control. He had four walks and 48 strikeouts in 38 games for Double-A Richmond, where he was the closer and saved 11 games.
This is an important audition for the 25-year-old, who returned from Tommy John surgery this spring, and Bochy said he would not hesitate to use Strickland in leveraged situations even today.
Strickland posts a sheet of paper on his locker everywhere it goes. It has two photos of the insides of his arm during Tommy John surgery and the phrase, “Pain is weakness leaving your body.”
“It fires me up a little bit,” Strickland said. “It keeps me humble and reminds me where I”m at.”