Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Slump isn't cause for Sabean, Giants to panic | SFGiants.com: News

Slump isn't cause for Sabean, Giants to panic | SFGiants.com: News

I didn't see this until after I posted my "It's starting to get ugly" post so I am adding a new entry.

It would seem that Sabean and Bochy have had a little talk after tonight's debacle. Here are some quotes from the article. I took the liberty of translating the quotes myself:

"I think the juggling act now [for Bochy] will be to have more days with Pablo and Posey in the lineup," Sabean said. "Which means Posey's going to have to start picking up some games behind home plate. Which he will."

Translation: I told Boch that we didn't bring this kid up so he could have 4 days off (5 with their scheduled off day) in two weeks. Now stop running Molina out there every day and let the kid catch.

"It's obvious we don't have the team speed you need to stay out of being susceptible to double plays, because you can't beat out the back end of the double play," Sabean said. "We're probably too right-handed for the right-handed pitching,"

Translation: "We need to play some of our younger, faster, left handed  guys" particularly guys like Nate Schierholtz and even Travis Ishikawa.

"roll of the dice of finding somebody who may or may not make as big a difference as we might need. The downside is, you end up with a free agent-to-be and either no chance to re-sign him or not wanting to re-sign him and then you've lost prospects in the deal."

Translation:"Don't expect a big bat at the deadline"

It's starting to get ugly

DODGERS 4 - GIANTS 2

When I started writing this blog I thought I would try to keep a positive outlook on this team.  I thought that I would not be one of the guys who was constantly second guessing Bochy, screaming for Sabean's head, or talking about how horrible the offense is.

While I still hold out hope that this season can be salvaged, it is becoming increasingly harder to keep up that hope.

Tonight's loss to the Dodgers brings the Giants' season record against the Padres and Dodgers to a whopping 2-11.  We are only 8-16 against the NL west.  They have lost 4 in a row, they are 1-4 on the current homestand, have lost 8 of their last 11, and they have dropped their last 4 series in a row.

They have scored 32 runs in their last 10 games and 19 of those runs came in 3 games!  9 of them came in one game!  That's a 3.2 run per game average over the last 10 games.  If you take away the 3 games in which they scored the 19 runs (one of which they lost), well in those 7 games they have scored a grand total of 11 runs.  Which works out to an average of 1.6 runs per game.

Earlier this season I told Eric over at Fire-Sabean.com that I wasn't ready to jump on that bandwagon yet.

But I'm getting ready to.

Before the game today, on Twitter I said that I would buy one of his Fire Sabean T-shirts if the Dodgers swept the Giants.

I didn't say this just because I wanted to buy one of his shirts.  I said it because I can't believe the way the management has handled this season.  While I understand that it is Bruce Bochy who fills out the lineup card every night, it is ultimately Brian Sabean who is responsible for the moves his manager makes.

If guys like John Bowker, Nate Schierholtz, Travis Ishikawa, Buster Posey, and Madison Bumgarner had been playing every day then things may be different.  We wouldn't have to close our eyes every time Rowand Strikes out or Molina grounds into a DP.  We would also have a guy on our team that has some legitamite power in Bowker (So do Huff and Uribe but Bowker has the potential to outperform them.)

I don't want to buy one of those shirts because it will mean that the Giants have been swept.  But I may just get one because it's starting to reflect how I feel.

Monday, June 28, 2010

RED SOX 5 - GIANTS 1

I can't help but have the feeling that this season is slipping away.  The offense is just not doing the job.  Yesterday all the Giants could manage was 5 singles off John Lester.   Make no mistake that Lester is a good pitcher but this marks yet another game when all of the Giants hits are singles.  This just doesn't get the job done unless you can pound out 16 of them.

This team can't help out their starters when they struggle like Lincecum did yesterday.  In fact, there have been too many times already this season when they couldn't help their pitchers when they have pitched well.

I know still early in the season but the offensive challenges of this team have been going on for a few years now.  given the power issue and the fact that John Bowker has hit 9 homeruns in 90 ABs in Fresno.  Now he did only hit 3 HRs in 82 ABs with a .207 average in his first stint with the Giants this season but those 82 ABs were spread out over 41 games.  His 90 ABs in Fresno have come in just 22 games.  This means that Bowker, like most guys, needs to play every day in order to do what he can do.   I think that given the Giants need for power they need to just stick Bowker out there every day for 2 weeks and see what happens.  It can't be any worse than 5 singles like they did yesterday.

One positive note from this series is that the bullpen has pitched extremely well.  They held the Sox to 2 runs in 11 2/3 innings over the weekend.  Now maybe it's because they have been getting so much work lately, but it is never a bad thing when your pen is throwing good.

Nate watch:

I can't believe it but Nate actually got a start!  I wish he did more with it than go 0 for 3.  the only way he is going to get any regular playing time is if he is able to hit well on the days he gets the rare start.  I expect him to go right back to the bench after this since the only reason Boch played him was because he was giving Burrell and Uribe days off. 

One last note.  If the Giants do miraculously give John Bowker a 2 week look I will end the Nate watch.  As a matter of fact after today it will be the Nate - Bowker watch since I can at least post some stats for Bowker!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Good and Bad


Today's game had some good and some bad. 

The Bad:

The first 2 innings for Madbum.

 He gave up 4 runs, 2 of which came on homers by Darnell McDonald and Mike Cameron. 

The Giants offense.

They were only able to muster a measly 6 hits and 2 runs despite having starter Clay Bucholz leave due to injury after pitching only 1 inning and having multiple opportunities to score.

The Good:

Innings 3-7 from Madbum.  He only allowed a two out double to Marco Scutaro over these four innings and showed everyone why they were so excited to get him up here.

Jeremy Affeldt.  Sure it was only one inning but it sure was good to see him go 1-2-3 for once.

Some notes:
Bruce Bochy says that Bumgarner will make his next start.  He also says that Posey will be his personal catcher.

Andres Torres is 5 for his last 35.  I wonder how long it's going to be before we see an outfield of Burrell, Rowand, and Huff out there every single day?

Pablo Sandoval is hitting the ball hard and just missed extra bases by an amazing catch from Mike Cameron.  Hopefully these are going to start falling for him.

Nate Watch:

Once again no Nate.  Rowand rewarded Bochy for his faith in him by going 0 for 4.  Really Boch, how long before this guy is on the bench forever except to maybe be a defensive replacement?  Tomorrow would be a great time to start Nate over Rowand.  Rowand is batting .175 against lefties and Nate is hitting .395 against them.  The Red Sox are sending John Lester to the Hill.  However, knowing Bochy, Rowand probably will sit and Burrell, Torres, and Huff will start in the outfield.  Even though Torres is hitting .224 against lefties.



Saturday, June 26, 2010

GIANTS 5 - RED SOX 4


After the last two rough outings by the Giants top starters it didn't look to good for the Giants coming in to this series against the team that leads the majors in runs.
After Jonathan Sanchez gave up a three run homer to Kevin Youkilis in the first inning it didn't look to good for the Giants.
But these 2010 Giants seem to have a lot of fight in them compared to last season's Giants. Last season's Giants would have seen Sanchez implode and give up 6 or 7 runs in that first inning. They would have gone into a tremendous offensive funk and managed to only score 2 or 3 runs. 

This year's Giants scored 3 runs in the second and then took the lead for good in the third.  They battled the Red Sox who had baserunners all over the place.  They got to Brian Wilson who was able to shut the door to get his 21st save.  Sure he loaded the bases but that is just the way that he does things!

Buster Posey got the scoring going by driving in the first run of the game.  He also had 3 hits on the night so hopefully this is the beginning of the end of his little hitting slump.  Maybe all those days off Bochy gave him worked?

Juan Uribe further cemented his case for the All-Star game and kept up his role as the team's MVP by hitting his 12th homerun of the season which put the Giants ahead to stay in the third inning.  I know it's next to impossible for him to get in via a write-in but hopefully he gets picked as one of the reserves.

The biggest news of the night came after the game however.  Bochy confirmed what had been suspected all week long.  Madison Bumgarner will start today against the Sox.  Bum was once again tearing the Pacific Coast League up to the tune of 7-1 with a 3.11 ERA.  Buster Posey will be catching him which a lot of Giants fans must be dancing around their living rooms over because it means that Bengie Molina will be out of the lineup.  The Giants are showing a lot of faith in Madbum by letting him start against the vaunted Red Sox offense and on National TV.

Nate watch:

Nate had a single and scored what would ultimately be the game deciding run.  Meanwhile Aaron Rowand went  0 for 3.  He came into the game hitting over .600 against Wakefield and didn't get a hit.  This is yet another bit of evidence that Aaron Rowand's skills are declining and that Nate Schierholtz is still finding ways to contribute to the team even while getting an at bat every other game.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Cain Fails

ASTROS 7 - GIANTS 5

It's tough to figure out what to make of this series. 

The Giants lost 2 out of three to the worst team in the National League.  Their offense looked lost at times, but last night they managed to scrape together 5 runs.  Matt Cain had his shortest outing of the season allowing 7 runs in 2 2/3 innings.

Are the Giants a team that isn't very good?  Did the law of averages finally catch up to them?  Is the Giants pitching staff in trouble?

The Giants at this point in the season are just pretty good.  They aren't a great team.  Sure they have great starting pitching but beyond that they are mediocre at best.  The offense is at times terrible and at times pretty good.  There are a few guys in the bullpen who are somewhat reliable and there are a couple of guys who have just been disasters.   Brian Wilson has been pretty much lights out closing games, but lately the Giants have had trouble getting the lead to Wilson in the first place.

The law of averages did catch up to the Giants a little bit here.  On Monday the Giants won their 9th game in a row against the Astros dating back to last season.  The Astros had to beat the Giants sometime.  Sure, it would have been nice for a season sweep of the Astros but those are rare and 7-2 against a team over an entire season would fall under the category of domination.

The pitching staff will be fine.  Again, it's a little bit of the law of averages here.  Barry Zito has been pretty much lights out against the Astros in his career so a rough outing against them was inevitable.  Cain had been lights out against everybody recently so he was due for a little correction too.  Plus he may just have trouble against Houston or trouble pitching in Houston.  In his fist start of the season, Cain gave up 4 runs in 6 2/3 innings which, up until last night was his second worst outing of the season.  He had a no decision in that game and the Giants eventually won 10-4

So you can see how tough it is to gauge much from this series because it does not necessarily reflect how the Giants may be playing but it was just something that was going to happen sooner or later.

Some notes from the game:

Aaron Rowand was 3 for 3 so he will be starting for the next week I am sure.  He could have been 0 for 10 last night however and would have still started tomorrow against Tim Wakefield whom he owns an impressive .647 average against.  Overall against Wakefield he is 11 for 17 with 4 home runs and a double.   As bad as Rowand has been lately those kind of career numbers against a guy demand that he plays against him.

Edgar Renteria had 2 more hits last night.  If this guy keeps hitting like this all season then the Giants will be extremely happy.  Hopefully he can make us forget last year.  Also hopefully it doesn't earn him a 2 year contract extension.

Pat Burrell hit another homer.

Bruce Bochy has stated that Buster Posey will catch at least once a week.  This is good news and it probably mean that he will be catching Joe Martinez.  Or, hopefully, Madison Bumgarner but at this point it seems pretty likely that J.Mart will get the start on Saturday.  Madbum is scheduled to start tonight in Fresno so if he doesn't pitch tonight it may be a good indication on who starts Saturday.

Nate watch:

Nate wasted away a little more on the bench.  Rowand's 3 for 3 day almost guaranteed he won't get another start for at least a week unless someone gets hurt.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Giants dominance of Astros ends for a game

Astros 6 - Giants 3

It's one of those things that had to happen sometime.  The Giants finally lost to the Astros after 10 consecutive wins against them.  Barry Zito also lost to the Astros for the first time this season after having gone 2-0 and having given up only 3 earned runs to them in 13 innings this season.

The loss could just be that law of averages catching up to them.  It could also point to something bigger. 

After a streak of 12 games in which they scored 3 runs or more in every game, the Giants have now endured a stretch where they scored 3 runs or less in 5 of their last 7 games.  The offense that appeared to be clicking now seems to be struggling once again.  The Giants did manage 4 extra base hits a night after they didn't have any.  They did miss a ton of scoring opportunities which seems to be the story of this team this season.

Andrew Baggerly of the San Jose Mercury news had some interesting insights to Posey and Molina.

On Posey he said that Buster's wrist has been bothering him.  Buster said that it's been something that has bothered him all season.  Bochy insisted that there was nothing to read into Posey's absence and that he would catch against Joe Martinez on Saturday. 

"Sometimes it's good to get a couple days," Bochy said. "He's just getting a little break right now."

I find that statement strange since Bochy is the same guy who kept insisting earlier this season that Pablo Sandoval didn't need a day off because he was 23 years old and should be able to handle playing every day.  Posey, who is also 23, however gets what amounts to 3 days off in a row after Monday's off day. 

Bochy knows these guys better than I do so it's tough to say what it was that led to the way that they were each handled but it does seem strange.

On Molina, Baggerley said that he was getting the same feeling of frustration from Giants management that he was getting right before Aaron Rowand's banishment to the bench. There was also some talk of an elbow injury with him, which could explain a lot of his problems throwing out baserunners this season although he did throw one out last night, I would not be surprised one bit to see Bengie spend an extended period of time on the bench.

Some good news is that Edgar Renteria is batting .333 since he has returned to the lineup.   It's only been 9 ABs but he has been hitting at a .326 clip all season besides his multiple trips to the DL.  How he fits into an already overcrowded infield is a nice problem to have.  But given that Bochy is trying to achieve a "sense of oneness." I think he will get his share of ABs.

Nate watch:
Nate popped out with runners on first and second base in the 8th inning.  At this point, Nate must stand in the on deck circle before each at-bat and think that it doesn't matter what he does because he won't start the next day.  Burrell, who wasn't supposed to start every day has and he started out OK but he is now 4 for his last 19 which works out to a whopping .235 average.  One of those 4 hits was a HR though.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Lincecum defeats Oswalt.

GIANTS 3 - ASTROS 1

Tim Lincecum only allowed one unearned run in 8 innings against the Astros.  He has defeated Roy Oswalt in all 3 matchups they have had this season.  Oswalt only allowed 2 runs over 7 innings and if there was ever a guy worthy of hard luck loser it's Oswalt.  He held the Giants to just 6 hits and all of them were singles, all 7 hits the Giants mustered tonight were singles.  His record is 5 and 9 with a 3.08 ERA.  Compare that with Lincecum's slightly better ERA and an 8-2 record.

It's finally official.  Mark DeRosa will have season ending wrist surgery.  I wonder what took so long to finally make this announcement and I almost feel like the Giants didn't really believe the injury was as severe as DeRosa was letting on.  In the story from the Mercury news there is one scary sentence:

"The Giants would like to salvage something from their investment in DeRosa, but Groeschner couldn't be certain that the veteran will be completely recovered and healthy for 2011."

Wow.  What a disaster this guy was.

Nate watch:

Nate came on in the 7th as a pinch runner for Pat Burrell.  He got a single in the 9th to drive in Juan Uribe.  Hopefully this 2 out RBI gets him a start or 2.  As Duane Kuiper said during his AB in the 9th: "Here's a guy who could benefit from a start or two."  (I'm paraphrasing)

Monday, June 21, 2010

It's not easy being B.S.

Brian Sabean that is.

The Giants general manager has his share of haters in the Bay Area.  Just peruse the comments section on SFGiants.com and you will see a number of comments at any given time that do anything but support him.  There is even a website dedicated to getting him fired.

Sabean (B.S. from here on in), along with Giants manager Bruce Bochy, is a polarizing figure among Giants fans.  He made a huge splash in his first weeks as GM of the Giants in 1996 by trading one of the Giants most popular players at the time, Matt Williams, to the Cleveland Indians for a bunch of nobodies headlined by a journeyman second baseman named Jeff Kent.  The move was extremely unpopular at the time with many of the Giants fans at the time wanting Sabean to turn in his resignation papers back then.  One guy went so far as to say "They have traded a rock for three bushels of stubble. In two years, I would be surprised if the Giants still have one of the three" Well I wonder how surprised Mr. Gaetjens from Berkeley was when that Journeyman second baseman became a future hall of famer.

Since that trade Sabean has brought some memorable players to the Giants via trade or free agency: J.T. Snow, Benito Santiago, Ellis Burks, Robb Nen, Moises Alou, Jason Schmidt, Brian Johnson (even if it was for only one Homerun), Andres Galarraga, David Bell, Kenny Lofton, Benito Santiago, Bill Mueller, Randy Winn, Bengie Molina, and Freddy Sanchez.  He has made his share of blunders as well: Marvin Benard, Matt Morris, Shea Hillenbrand, Dave Roberts, Edgar Renteria, Armando Benietez, Aaron Rowand, and the biggest mistake of all Joe Nathan, Francisco Liriano, and Boof Bonser for A.J Pierzynski.

After that trade, Joe Nathan's subsequent transformation into an all-star closer, Francisco Liriano's 10-1 start to his career, and the complete disaster that Pierzynski was in San Francisco.  B.S.'s status as one of the best GMs in all of baseball took a massive hit. (at least among the San Francisco fanbase).  It no longer mattered that he was right.  It didn't matter that he got Jason Schmidt for Armando Rios and Ryan Vogelsong, that he pulled Benito Santiago, Andres Galarraga, Ellis Burks, and Reggie Sanders off the scrap heap to become major contributors to this team.  Now, Sabean was known for that trade and that trade only.

The Nathan - Pierzynski trade, since those are the only two that after the passing of 7 years even matter, was the beginning of the end of the love affair with Sabean.  Follow that up with BALCO, Bonds retirement, and the implementation of a rebuilding period and Giants fans have become impatient.  Throw 50 years of no World championships on top of all that and the fans want blood.

B.S. has slowly started to win the fans back, though many of them will stick knives in their eyes before they admit it, through great drafting, a farm system ranked 3rd in all of baseball by Baseball America, and a couple of free agents that were pulled off the scrap pile yet again. 

Yes B.S. is the guy who oversaw the drafting of Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, and all of the other guys who are making the Giants fans look towards the future.  He is also the guy who OKd the free agent signings of a young Pablo Sandoval, Jonathan Sanchez, Juan Uribe, and Aubrey Huff.  He is the architect of a team had a winning record last season and is on track for another one this season.

B.S. does have a chance for redemption.  He could go for the jugular and get a guy like Paul Konerko.  A move like that makes so much sense it's disgusting.  Not many Giants fans can really argue against a trade like that, though they will. 

But this is where it turns out that it is not easy being B.S.

Two weeks ago the White Sox GM, Kenny Williams said that the White Sox were open for business.  At the time it looked as if that meant they would be sellers at the trade deadline since they were 9.5 games out of first place.  But then a funny thing happened.  They caught fire.  They went on to win 10 of their next 12 games and are currently only 5.5 games games out of first place.  This would seem to indicate that they would be buyers at the deadline.  They could fall back in the standings again but certainly none of their big names are going anywhere right now.

The rest of the guys out there are either hitting with ridiculously low averages, have seen a huge dip in their power numbers over the last few years, or are hurt.  So there is no gaurantee that there is even a big bat out there that they could get.  Any move that B.S. could make right now, apart from a Konerko deal, would be a huge risk.  Gambling with the prospects that the Giants have been meticulously accruing is not something many would advocate and B.S., rightfully so I might add, seems to be loathe to do.

It doesn't get any easier for B.S. after this season either.  Next year will likely be that last that the fab 4 of Lincecum, Cain, Zito, and Sanchez will stay together.  Lincecum doesn't have a contract after next season and could easily carry an asking price of $20 million per year at that point, they will still be paying Zito $19 million, and Cain's contract jumps from $7 million to $15 million.  If you add to that whatever Dirty Sanchez gets in arbitration after this season and what Madbum could possibly command as a super two if he's half as good as we think he will be and the Giants could realistically be paying close to $100 million to the starting rotation in 2012.  Their ENTIRE PAYROLL for this season is $96 million.  Oh, did I mention that Aaron Rowand will still be earning $12 million tin 2012?  (At least it will be the final year of his contract)

It doesn't get any easier to be B.S.

The Giants have to win this year or next year in order to have a realistic shot with their rotation because there is no way that they can take on that kind of payroll.  You can't even say that, other than the contract of Zito, the money being paid to the starters is a B.S. mistake since they would all have earned their money as Giants.  it's a tough job being GM of the Giants. 

After looking at what he has to deal with I think that B.S. is really dealing with the reality of baseball the best way that he can.

A last note on Zito.


I didn't include Zito as one of B.S.'s bonehead deals and I didn't put him in there as a good deal on purpose.  After a disastrous start to his Giants career, Zito seems to have found the form that got him the monster contract he has.  If he continues the way he is going right now through the remaining years of his contract it will turn out to be a good deal for the Giants performance wise.  Since he had a pretty good track record before his struggles it is not unrealistic to think he could keep it up.

It has already been a good deal for them financially because of all the Barry Zito T-shirts, bobbleheads, and posters etc. they have sold since his arrival and will continue to sell especially after his resurgence.  So the jury is basically still out on whether or not this was a good deal.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Giants muscle up! Are they better than last year?

Giants 9 - Blue Jays 6

If you told me before today's game started that the Blue Jays were going to score 6 runs I would have told you that the Giants were going to lose.  However Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, and Pat Burrell each hit homeruns to make up for a shaky start by Jonathan Sanchez on the way to the Giants scoring 9 runs in their 9-6 victory in Toronto. 

This Giants team is tough to figure out.  In the previous 4 games they had been held to 2 runs or less 3 out of the last 4 games.  One of those games they were shut out and another they only scored one run.  This stretch prompted everyone to wonder if the offensive explosion that the Giants flashed on the last homestand was a fluke. 

This made me wonder if the Giants are a better team than they were last year?

It's still tough to tell even after the Giants scored 9 runs today.  It brought their season record on the road to 14-18 which isn't as bad as their 36-45 record on the road last season but it's not much better. They have slightly increased their runs per game from 4.1 last season to 4.3,  their team ERA is down to 3.31 from 3.35, and their team batting average has gone from .257 up to .263.  All this has translated to a record right now of 38-30, last year they were 37-31 after 68 games so they are exactly 1 game better this year at this time than they were last year.

The Giants brass really will need to make a splash at the trading deadline to significantly change this team over the rest of the season.  There aren't that many big names out there.   Right now we have David Dejesus, Lance Berkman, Miguel Tejada, Derrek Lee, Carlos Lee, and Paul KonerkoKelly Johnson is possibly available too but it's tough to see Arizona dealing him within the division.

So what options do the Giants have out of those guys? Berkman and the two Lees are all batting in the low .200s.  I don't think the Giants can afford anymore automatic outs since they already have Rowand and Molina.  Tejada is batting a decent .271 and Dejesus is batting .331 but these two have combined for 9 home runs total and pop is what the Giants need right now. 

This leaves Paul Konerko as the guy the Giants MUST get.  I know I sound like a broken record but this guy is hitting .294/.396/.974 with 17 HRs.  he is the best option on the market.  Sure, his arrival will finally send Bengie Molina to the bench, but the Giants need this kind of power in the lineup rather than hoping that Pat Burrell can provide it.  With him you have a potential lineup of:
Torres CF, Sanchez 2B, Huff LF, Konerko 1B, Uribe SS, Sandoval 3B, Posey C, Schierholtz RF.  However more likely we would see a linup along the lines of: Torres CF, Sanchez 2B, Huff RF, Konerko 1B, Sandoval 3B, Uribe SS, Posey C, Burrell LF.  Either way I like it a lot better than what we are throwing out there right now.

Nate Watch:
Nate got in the game and did not get an AB.  Rowand on the other hand got 5 ABs collecting a hit in one of them.  He is batting a robust .220

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A tough loss

Blue Jays 3 - Giants 2

There are going to be tough losses over any 162 game season.  Even the best teams are going to lose at least 50 games in a season.  Most teams are going to lose more.  What makes Thursday's loss to the Blue Jays so tough is that the way that they were unable to score runs off of a mediocre pitcher is the same issue that plagues them a lot of times even when they are winning.

Barry Zito pitched well enough to win today.  It's not often that you give up 4 hits in a complete game and still lose.  It's beginning to be a cliche to say that a Giants pitcher is a tough luck pitcher.  It seems like it will just suffice to say that they are a Giants pitcher.  But Zito has managed to go 7-3 and his resurgence has been one of the better stories of the season.

I am liking Aubrey Huff more and more.  He hit a long fly ball in the 6th and took a moment to look at it while coming out of the box and made it only to second when a lot of people thought he might have made it to 3rd if he ran a little harder.  To his credit he addressed it, didn't make any excuses, and took responsibility for it saying:

"I hit it with all I had, it just didn't go," Huff said. "And a veteran guy like myself, can I get the three if I don't hotdog it a little bit? I don't know. It would have been bang-bang, probably close. I could have given myself a better read on the ball.


"But it's unacceptable. I've got to bust out of the box there. That slight hesitation might have cost me getting to third, but then again even if I'm busting out of the box, I'm not sure if I can get to third. I didn't want to make the first out at third. You've got to go hard. I take responsibility."

Fred Lewis is apparently glad to be out of San Francisco when asked about the trade to Toronto earlier this season he said: “Anything that’s dead should be buried” He also said he would be playing the same anywhere even San Francisco. 

I'm not so sure about that. 

The Fred Lewis is one of the things that makes me irritated with the Giants fan base.  last season the fans were screaming for this guy to be traded for a pack of bubble gum and called Bochy a moron for running him out there every day.  Well this spring they got their wish and Lewis was traded for the MLB equivalent of a pack of gum ($75,000) and has played pretty well.  Now they are saying that the Giants management mismanaged him and it is their fault that Lewis isn't doing what he is now doing in SF.

I believe one of the reasons Fred was playing so poorly was because of the fan reaction towards him.  No matter what they say the players do read the papers and the forums.  The hatred for the kid was so intense it had to have an effect on him.  The change of scenery to Toronto absolutely was needed for him and the Giants fans would do good to remember that next time they want a player traded for so little.  Remember we wanted Jonathan Sanchez gone too.

Nate watch:
Nothing.  Bochy managed to get both Rowand and Molina and they collectively went 0 for 6.

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Giants do have the parts to make a deal

The Giants are 37-28 and .5 a game back of the Dodgers and Padres for the NL West and Wild Card leads.  They are playing pretty god ball right now, in fact they are playing better ball than anybody in the National League right now except for the Mets.

The Giants have the pitching to get them into the playoffs and possibly pretty deep.  Their offense is OK as it is currently constructed but they have one glaring hole.  A big time power hitter in the middle of their lineup. 

I don't mean a Pat Burrell who through his career has been lucky to post an average above .260 and has struggled in recent seasons.  I don't mean Aubrey Huff who, while hitting a couple balls into McCovey cove, has only hit 34 homers in his best season and that was 7 years ago.  Nor Juan Uribe who had a career high of 23 way back in 2004.

No the Giants need a guy who can hit a lot of homers and drive in a bunch of runs.  There is a guy who should be available out there since his GM has already said his team is open for business and should be the only guy, besides maybe a bullpen arm, that the Giants should be targeting.

That guy is Paul Konerko.

Konerko is that prototypical power hitter.  He averages 32 homeruns a season,  He hits for a decent average .278 over his career, and he is consistently healthy averaging 581 PA a season over his career.  These are all things that make him easily the best option out there.

There are some obstacles to getting Konerko to SF however. 

1. He has a not trade clause.
2. He is owed approximately $7 million the rest of this season.
3. The White Sox are going to want some pretty good prospects in return.

The Giants are probably going to negotiate some kind of contract extension with Konerko to waive his no trade clause.  Which would be good for the Giants because in order for them to give up some of the prospects they will probably have to give up to get him they would want to get more than 2 months out of him.   $7 million over the rest of this season probably isn't too much money for a team willing to throw millions of dollars at guys like Aaron Rowand, Edgar Renteria, and Mark DeRosa to not even get on the field.

After that is the toughest part.  Do the Giants have the prospects to pull the deal off?  Can they pull the deal off and keep Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Jonathan Sanchez?

I think they do.

The Giants farm system is loaded with prospects.  One of the top organizations in all of baseball.  It is particularly full of young arms which the White Sox will be looking for in any kind of trade.  Let's take a look.

Starting in San Jose with the Giants single A affiliate which has won a record 6 straight California league first half championships:

The top prospect here has to be Brandon Belt.  Brandon was taken in the 5th round last season and has done nothing but hit since joining San Jose.  He is hitting .393 with 8 homeruns and 57 RBIs.  He is only 22 so his power numbers should increase as he gets older. Next would be 2B Jose Flores .353 average.  and OF Juan Perez .324, 7HR, 36 RBI
Pitching Wise San Jose has: Craig Wescott 5-0, 1.55, and Justin Fitzgerald 5-0, 3.00

AA Richmond has: OF Thomas Neal .280, 4 HR, 31 RBI, RHP Daryl Maday 8-2, 2.02RHP David Mixon 7-3 3.08

AA Augusta has: 1B Luke Anders .293 8HRs, Christopher Dominguez .264, 10 HRs, 43 RBIs, LF Nick Liles .298 13 SBs, and RHP Jorge Bucardo 6-2 1.57

AAA Fresno has: OF Tyler Graham .407 14SBs, OF John Bowker .400 5hrs in just 12 games, 2B Eugenio Velez .345 17 SBs, 1B Brett Pill .303 9 HRs 43 RBIs, Joe Borchard .287 7 HRs, RHP Eric Hacker 8-3 3.91, RHP Joe Martinez, who is now up with the Giants, 5-2 5.07, Steve Edlefsen 5-0 1.54

So as you can see, the Giants have a bunch of prospects and they can land a guy like Konerko while keeping their best prospects.  Actually, if they can sign Konerko to a 3 year extension before a trade can be worked out, it may actually be worth it to trade a guy like Bumgarner for Konerko.  I know it wouldn't be a very popular move, but given the availability of proven Power hitters these days it just may take a super prospect like Bumgarner to land Konerko.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

I'll take a 5-1 homestand!

GIANTS 6 - ORIOLES 3

I mean really, how much more can you ask for?  Well I guess you could ask for 6-0 but I will take 5-1.

Lincecum had an odd outing.   He had 10ks and allowed 2 runs in 6.0 innings.  Which is pretty good, but then you see that he also walked 4 guys and gave up 8 hits.  To the Orioles of all teams.  This team is at or near the bottom of every offensive category so the fact that Timmy gave up so many hits to this team is slightly perplexing.  Is it a sign that his troubles may not be over?   Is it because he partied to hard for his birthday? 

Whatever the reason, he found a way to win.  That's what great players do.  Timmy did get hit by a line drive in the 6th inning but from all the reports I can see after the game he will be OK.  Although all of them quote Bruce Bochy as their source.   So his definition of OK may be slightly different than everyone else.

The best part of the game had to be the back to back HRs by Huff and Uribe.  These guys are quickly becoming the heart and soul of the Giants lineup.  They both have 11 HRs on the season and they keep hitting them in the same game as if they are trying to outdo each other.  Hey whatever it takes. Just keep it up! 

On another note, I thought that Aubrey Huff was over the hill but after seeing that he is actually 2 months younger than I am I think he is a young stud!  By the way Huff's homer was the 52nd splash hit in AT&T's history!  That's where young men hit their homers.  Well young men and Barry Bonds.

On the farm:

At the time of this writing Richmond and Augusta were in the middle of their games and San Jose and Fresno were going to play later.

The Giants really have a number of exciting guys in their farm system that really should give the Giants hope for the future.  They also have enough prospects to make a deal for a bona fide slugger like Paul Konerko and still be set up for the future.  More on the farm system tomorrow.

Nate Watch:

Well Bochy doesn't completely hat Nate after all.  Nate got a rare start in right.  Went 0 for 3 at the plate, but did drive in the Giants 6th run of the afternoon with a Sacrifice fly.  He didn't have too many tough chances in the outfield and had one throw to the plate that was off-target.  If the throw had been on target he probably would have got the runner but when you don't play that often you don't have the opportunity to stay sharp.

A disappointing night


Not a lot went right for the Giants tonight.

They faced a pitcher making his second start of his career and were only able to muster 3 lousy hits off him.  They weren't able to get a single hit off the Oriole relievers since Arrietta left them so confounded.  The Giants performance prompted Orioles closer David Hernandez to tell the media: "No offense to the Giants, but they don't have the Yankee firepower," Hernandez said. "I think that enabled him to go out there and pretty much pitch his game. He definitely has the quality stuff to do that." when asked about Arrietta's performance. 

Spot starter Joe Martinez pitched OK.  He just happened to be pitching on the wrong night.  If he had pitched on any of the last 5 nights and had the exact same numbers, he would have received a W for his efforts.  The giants got exactly what they wanted from Martinez tonight.  They wanted a starter to pitch relatively deep into the game and to keep it close.  In fact, if it wasn't for a few bad breaks, Martinez should have walked away with a W.

The only offensive positive was the fact that Pablo Sandoval hit his 6th homerun of the season.  It appears Pablo is heating up as that was 2nd homerun in the last 4 games.  I know a lot has been made of Pablo's struggles but consider this:  Last season, through June 1, Pablo was hitting .301 with 3 HRs.  This season, he was hitting .286 with 4 homers.  He was only hittng 15 points higher coming in to June lst year than he is this year.  In June, he hit .394 with eight HRs!  Now he hasn't quite matched that production so far this June, but he's showing signs of heating up and his track record shows that he hits in the summer months.

Bruce Bochy never ceases to amaze me.  The San Jose Mercury News reports that Bochy didn't want Posey catching Martinez tonight because:  “if it’s going good, you don’t’ fix it.” Added Bochy: “You keep playing your hand if it’s a good one. We want to keep things pretty much the same, and hopefully we’ll keep scoring some runs.” 

I'm not sure how putting Molina in the lineup, after a game in which the Giants scored 10 runs for the first time in forever, can tell us that:   A. Bengie Molina is a "hot hand" or B. Molina contributed at all to the offensive outburst last night. Now Whiteside was 0 for 1 but he did score 2 of the 10 runs last night.  Although I guess Bochy has been preaching the "hot hand" all season long he's not gonna stop now.

On the farm:

Look at this kid: 


Does he strike you as someone who as a guy who is hitting a Bondsian .394 with 8 homeruns and a .509 OBP? 
No? 

Well he is.

Who is he?  Well that's Brandon Belt.  He is currently the first baseman of the San Jose Giants who just captured the California League North 1st half division title.   He was the Giants 5th round pick last season and is hitting better than even Buster Posey did in San Jose.

In more encouraging future San Francisco Giants news Madison Bumgarner won his seventh consecutive decision.  After limiting Portland to 2 runs in 6 innings.  John Bowker hit another homerun and Tyler Graham collected 2 hits to raise his average to .407.  Edgar Renteria, in his rehab assignment, went 2 for 2 with 2 RBIs. 

Nate watch:
Nate rotted on the bench some more tonight.  Travis Ishikawa was going to pinch hit for Mota and then Aaron Rowand pinch hit for Ishikawa and wound up getting HBP.

Monday, June 14, 2010

4 in a row!


It sure has been a while since the Giants have blown someone out like this.  Now I know it's the last place Orioles and we are supposed to do this but it still feels good.  Besides, a good team beats the bad teams.  If we lost to the Orioles tonight then our status as a good team would be in serious jeopardy.  But, a convincing win, a four game winning streak, and multiple offensive successes have a way of keeping you in the conversation.  Good game all around by the Giants.

Pat Burrell is looking more and more like a steal every day.  Now, I really don;t think he's going to continue to hit .375 but he does add some power to this team which all of the sudden looks a lot more powerful than it did a few weeks ago with Huff, Burrell, and Uribe in the lineup and hitting with power.  I do expect Burrell to go into somewhat of a cold spell at some point considering he is a career .254 hitter.  But until then, let's hope it's not at a crucial time.

Andres Torres is the find of the year for the Giants.  By now everyone knows his story.  Didn't play baseball til he was 19, bounced around the minors, and has been one of the top players for the Giants this season after playing in his first full season last year at age 32.  I just can't shake the feeling that we have been down this same road with Marvin Benard.  (take a look at what the guy who sponsors his page says for a laugh) But, like with Benard, let's just ride this out as long as we can and hope the Giants don't reward this guy with some outrageous contract that will kill the team for years to come.

Jonathan Sanchez pitched well tonight.  Strikeouts were low for him (5), he only walked 1, and he made it 7 2/3 innings while only giving up 2 ERs.  He lowered his ERA to 2.78 and evened his record at 5-5 on the season

On The Farm:

Grizzlies win again on the strength of a John Bowker 3-run homer.This guy drives me crazy.  If he even hit half as well as he hits in Fresno he still would be up with the club.  I guess Sabean was right when he said the pitchers in AAA are no good.  Tyler Graham, Brock Bond, and Brett Pill kept rolling, can you believe this Graham guy is still hitting over .400? although he has ZERO HRs, each of them chipping in with hits of their own.

I still say we have enough prospects to acquire Paul Konerko and keep Madbum, Posey, Lincecum, and Cain.  However the Sox have been playing decent ball this week so maybe they are rethinking their "open for business" status.

Nate watch:

Nate came in in the 8th and lined out to the second baseman who threw the ball away while trying to double off Uribe.  After the Giants scored 10 runs I can't bitch about Nate not playing.

Almost forgot about DeRosa.  Watch this video: Dishin with DeRosa and draw your own conclusions.

Fan of the night:



photo courtesy of: fire-sabean.com

Sweeeeeeeep!

GIANTS 6 - A'S 2

With their 6-2 victory over the A's today, the Giants completed a 3 game sweep of the A's.

Isn't revenge sweet?

The A's swept the Giants in Oakland last month in what had to be the lowest point of the Giants season so far.  Well besides maybe losing 7 in a row to the Padres.  But during the 3 game series against the A's the Giants only managed one single run.  Matt Cain lost a complete game 1-0 in which the only run given up was unearned.  It looked like the beginning of a long, slow, painful, downward slide for the Giants.

They came home, Freddy Sanchez got comfortable, Buster Posey came up, and since that sweep the Giants are 13-6,  They have scored 3 runs or more in 11 straight games, and they finished their last road trip with a winning record!

Matt Cain pitched his usual good game going 7 strong and allowing 1 earned run.  His ERA for the season is 2.05 which is good for 5th in the NL.  His 6-4 record is a crime.
Yesterday's game may have been the arrival of Aubrey Huff.  Huff's 2 homers in the same game at AT&T are noteworthy enough but even more so because he is a left hander according to Andrew Baggerly of the San Jose Mercury News.  They are even more noteworthy because he hit both homers to left center field which is was the spot where only Barry Bonds used to hit homers with consistency.  Earlier in the season, after Huff hit his inside-the-park homerun, Huff noted that it was going to be tough to hit homers at AT&T park.  He admitted the park got into his head: "First month of the season, I tried to beat it," he said. "I got in some bad habits. but then he decided to play the park: "I just gave up (on trying to pull the ball), said I'm going to try to hit .300 this year." Well he's hitting .303 to lead the Giants in the average department and he's tied for the team homerun lead with Juan Uribe.

Speaking of Uribe, he hit another homer yesterday to keep pace with Huff and he is leading the team in RBI.  Huff and Uribe are making Brian Sabean look like a genius again.

Next up for the Giants is the Baltimore Orioles who just snapped their 10 game losing streak.  They are also chasing history.  As in the 1969 New York Mets who had the worst record of all-time.  Also, In case you didn't know, the Orioles are the only other team in baseball to wear orange and black.  This has led the Giants marketing wizards to come up with the lame marketing campaign: "Halloween in July" Although they will be wearing the cool orange uni's!

The matchups look to favor the Giants.  But when a club is 17-46 they almost never match up well do they?

Tonight:

Chris Tilman 0-2  Vs. Jonathan Sanchez 4-5 2.82

The only Giant to face Tilman is Pat Burrell who is 2 for 6 with a homerun so expect a Burrell, Torres, Huff OF today since Whiteside should be catching Sanchez.  Sanchez should rack up a lot of K's so as long as the Giants score a few runs he should even up his record at 5-5.

Tuesday:

Jake Arrieta 1-0, 4.50 Vs. Joe Martinez  0-0, 0.00

This will be Arrietta's second start in the Majors.  He did pretty good in his first start.  He held the Yankees to 3 runs over 6 innings and got the W.  Joe Martinez will be making his first start in the bigs his season.  He was both pretty good and terrible in his short stint in the majors last season.  In the minors this season he was pretty good going 5-2 with a 3.07 ERA.  His last start for Fresno was a complete game in which he only allowed 1 run and struck out 7.

Jeremy Guthrie 3-7, 3.83 Vs. Tim Lincecum 6-2, 3.13

Guthrie has been the Orioles most consistent pitcher this season having quality starts in all but 4 of his starts.  Lincecum should be Lincecum.  If that happens then expect double digit strikeouts from the freak.

On the farm:

The Grizzlies beat Tacoma 7 -3 and the offense just kept rolling.  Brett Pill and Brock Bond each had 3 hits.  Pill hit a HR and had 3 RBIs.  John Bowker had 2 hits and a HR.  Pill and Bowker also each stole a base.  Tyler Graham only went 1 for 4 and his average plummeted all the way down to .404.

Paul Konerko:

It's been a week since MLBTraderumors and ESPN's Buster Olney reported that the White Sox are ready to deal.  No word from the Giants camp but I really think that the Giants need to do everything in their power to get Paul Konerko. 

Konerko is a lifetime .278 hitter with the potential to drive in 100 runs and hit 40 HRs a season.  He has a championship ring so he brings that postseason experience to the club.  He would be one of the few players on the Giants to have rings.  The others are Burrell, Rowand, and Uribe.  Rowand and Uribe's came with the same White Sox team that Konerko got his with.

He does have a no-trade clause in his contract so any deal would probably come with an extension but with Lincecum only signed through next year and Matt Cain due a raise from $7 million to $12 million in 2012 add that to Barry Zito's $19 million for 2012 and the window of opportunity for these guys to win a championship together is reeeeallly small. 

We have the prospects to get a deal done.  It's just a matter of if the Giants brass have the guts to get a deal done.  If they pulled the trigger they would instantly become the favorites in the NL.

I started a facebook group named: IF the Giants get Paul Konerko they will win the World Series.  Come over and join and hopefully we can get enough people to pressure Sabean into making the deal.

Nate Watch:
Nate was 0 for 1.  Although I have to admit that while the Giants are scoring 6 runs a game, it's getting harder and harder for me to keep complaining for Nate to play more.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Brian Wilson - shutting the door

GIANTS 5 - A'S 4

Despite what some in Giants nation seem to think, Brian Wilson is one of the better closers in all of baseball.  It isn't always pretty, but he gets the job done.  This season, he is 17 for 19 in save situations.  Only Rafael Soriano, 16 for 16, and Mariano Rivera, 15 of 16, have less blown saves out of those who have 15 or more save opportunities.  Add to that his 2.28 ERA, 39 Ks in 27.2 innings, and the fact that he is 2-0 on the season and you are talking about some pretty impressive stats.

Yesterday's game only solidified his status as an elite closer.  BWeez came in with the bases loaded and 1 out in the 8th inning with the score 5-4...

Now let's stop right there for a few seconds.  In order to appreciate exactly how tough this save situation is you need to look a little closer at the scenario.  There is ZERO margin for error here.  There are a ton of ways you can score from third base without a hit, especially with the bases loaded and less than two outs.  A sacrifice fly, an error, a fielder's choice, a walk, a hit batter, a passed ball, a balk, catcher's interference, A suicide squeeze, and more.  Not to mention the fact that almost any kind of hit not only ties the game but probably puts the Giants a minimum of 1 run down, oh and don't forget the fact that they have 2 chances to get that run home!  After that, you still have to come back out and hold the lead in the 9th!

Wilson rose to the occasion.  He struck out Adam Rosales and got Rajai Davis to ground to Juan Uribe to get out of the jam. The 9th inning did show some of why Giants fans are so afraid to see Wilson out there.  After he got Daric Barton to fly out, Mark Ellis singled, Kevin Kouzmanoff struck out, and Jack Cust walked.  All  that did was just create a little bit of drama as Wilson got Landon Powell to ground out to Juan Uribe to end the game.

Wilson's high-wire act saved Barry Zito's team leading 7th victory (who would have thought we would be saying that this season?).  Zito had a quality start, only allowing 2 runs on 2 solo HRs.  He gave up a total of 6 hits and two walks.

You have probably heard by now that,after this win, Zito has defeated each of the 30 teams in baseball at least once.  You have also probably heard that this is his first win against his former team.  But you may not have known that Zito's career record is an amazing 108-6 when he gets 4 runs of support or more.  It's even more mind boggling when you realize that his overall career record is 139-108.  That means in 102 of his decisions he has received 3 runs or less of run support.  You just can't help but wonder what his career numbers would be like if he wasn't on some of the offensively challenged teams that he has been on.  (although during his first few seasons as a Giant he would have needed 6 or 7 runs of support to win a few of the games he pitched.)

The other good news from yesterday's game is that Pablo Sandoval hit his first homerun in over a month.  But the story is a little more encouraging than just that.  Pablo says he told Andres Torres, before the AB, that he was just going to look for a pitch and then hit it out.  You can tell from the replays he was a little too excited to have hit a homerun that gave the Giants a 4 run lead in the 6th inning.  The other good thing about the homerun is that it was an opposite field shot.  Which when Pablo is right, he shows that opposite field power.  Hopefully that homerun means he is on the verge of being right again.

The Big right hander, Matt Cain, is going today.  That makes a sweep seem very attainable.  It's going to be fun to see if he can keep this amazing run of starts going.

On the farm:
TACOMA 11 - FRESNO 10

Brett Pill had his first professional 5 for 5 day and hit his 8th HR of the season.  He also had 3 RBIs.  Brock Bond continued his streak of getting on base with a hit,  Jesus Guzman was 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs.  His average is now up to .298 after he had been down in the low .200s earlier in the season.  Not a lot of positives on the pitching side with starter Matt Kinney giving up 8 ERs in 4.2 IP.  Waldis Joaquin took the loss while giving up 2 ERs in 1 IP.

SAN JOSE 12 - BAKERSFIELD 9

Brandon Belt was 1 for 1 with 3 runs scored because he walked 4 times. Juan Perez went 2 for 5 to raise his average to .325.  Charlie Culberson was 2 for 4 with a triple, he hit his 9th Homer of the season, and had 6 RBIs.  Wendell Fairley was 5 for 5 with 2 runs scored.

Nate watch:
Nate got an AB in the 8th and flew out to right.  Burrell and Huff each contributed and, so far, have looked OK in the outfield.  The only way Nate gets a start is if Bochy decides to rest Bengie and have Posey start at catcher.  That, or if someone gets hurt.  Even then, there is no guarantee that Nate starts in the OF.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The return of the Freak!

Giants 6 A's 2

So you were  scared that Tim Lincecum lost his stuff?

Shame on you!

Tim Lincecum put on a really good performance last night.  Now it wasn't the dominating stuff we are used to seeing from Timmy, but it was close.  Timmy pitched 8 innings, gave up 2 runs on 7 hits, and had 7 k's.  But his most telling statistic of the night..... 1 BB.  That's right after walking 22 batters in his last 5 starts, Timmy only issued 1 free pass.  Now, I'll admit, it didn't start off all that promising.  Timmy uncorked 2 wild pitches in the first inning with Kevin Kouzmanoff on base.  Those led to an early 1-0 lead for the A's.

Based on their last series in Oakland that would have seemed to be enough for the A's to get the win.  But these aren't the same Giants.  To start the Giants scoring, the newest Giants, Pat Burrell hit a 2 run HR, his first as a Giant, in the third inning.  At that point the Giants had already scored more runs than they did all of last series.  But the Offense didn't stop there.  Buster Posey added a hit and an RBI, Freddy Sanchez had 2 hits and scored a run, Bengie Molina hit a 2 run HR, and Aaron Rowand ..... well Aaron Rowand got a walk to offset his 0 for 3 with 2 K's.

All around it was one of the better games the Giants played this season.  They managed to do all of this without Aubrey Huff, who got a routine day off.

Tonight, Barry Zito goes for his team leading 7th win and hopefully pops his cherry against his former team.  Ben Sheets will be chuckin the leather tonight for the A's.  He's 2-5 with a 4.96 ERA on the season.

Hopefully the Giants keep their hittin' shoes on!

On the farm:
Matt Yourkin improved to 4-1 on the season, Tyler Graham went 3 for 4 with 3 RBIs and raised his season average to .421! Eugenio Velez had 2 hits, John Bowker chipped in with a double, and Brock Bond reached base in his 15th consecutive game.  The Grizzlies beat Tacoma 8-2 and increased their lead in the PCL to 12.5 games!

In San Jose, the Giants beat Bakersfield 4-0 and righty Craig Westcott ran his record to 4-0.  Brandon Belt went 1 for 3 and kept his average at .380.  Charles Culberson hit his 8th Homer of the season and drove in 3 runs, accounting for most of the Giants' offense.

Nate watch:
Nate had 1 AB and struck out.  His season average is .277.  Aaron Rowand's is .223.  But Bochy would rather play the "hot hand"

Friday, June 11, 2010

Here come the A's!

REDS 7 GIANTS 6

It sure looked like it was going to be a good end to the road trip.  The Giants had an early 4-0 lead and Todd Wellemeyer, yes Todd Wellemeyer, was pitching well. 

Then it all fell apart.

First, Wellemeyer gets injured.  Then the Reds try to prove that their entire infield is going to win a gold glove this year by turning some amazing double plays, and the Bulloen fell apart.  After, pitching well for the first 5 games of the road trip, the Giants bullpen gave up 10 runs in the last 2.  Guillermo Mota, the guy a lot of Giants fans were starting to think of as this season's version of Jeremy Affeldt, wound up coughing up a two run lead he was called in to protect in the 8th inning. 

The Reds are a tough team and even though the Giants aren't happy with it right now, a split in their ballpark is a big positive.

A's Vs. Giants

Well it's time to renew the Bay Bridge series once again.  After being completely even against each other for a number of years, the A's have pulled ahead in the all-time series 42-35.  It sure would be nice to turn that record into 42-38.  The Giants actually have a decent chance of doing that since they have the top of the rotation going this weekend. 

Here are the probables:

Friday:
Tim Lincecum 5-2, 3.20 Vs. Gio Gonzalez 6-3, 5.38
Saturday:
Barry Zito 6-2, 3.15 Vs. Ben Sheets 2-5, 4.96
Sunday:
Matt Cain 5-4, 2.11 Vs.Vin Mazzaro 2-0, 4.91

On the farm:
Henry Sosa picked up the win For Fresno last night against the Tacoma Rainiers.  John Bowker went 2 for 5 and has hit .429 since being sent down.  Tyler Graham also had 2 hits, scored 2 runs, and had 4 RBIs  Bringing his season average to .407 with 12 RBIs in 91 ABs with Fresno.  he's slugging .527 and has a 3.447 OBP.  However he has exactly 0 homers with Fresno so I doubt he will be up with the Giants before September, barring injury.

San Jose lost to the Modesto Nuts but Brandon Belt was 2 for 3 and is now batting .380.  Emmanuel Burriss also went 2 for 3 and he is now batting 3 for 9 since he has begun his rehab assignment.

Joe Martinez was supposed to start for Fresno last night but was a last minute scratch leading many to believe he would be called up to help in the bullpen this weekend.  Madison Bumgarner received a 3 game suspension for his antics the other night so he wouldn't have been able to come up anyway.  However Madbum would be able to pitch on Tues if indeed Wellemeyer goes on the DL.  Stay tuned.

Nate watch:
Nate came in as a defensive replacement in the 9th and did not hit.  Bochy has stated that they need defense at AT&T so hopefully that means we see Nate get a start, but Rowand did hit a homer yesterday so I doubt he will be sitting tonight.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Posey Goes yard!

REDS 6 GIANTS 3

There really isn't much more to talk about than that.  Buster Posey hit his first Major league homerun in the second inning with Pat Burrell on base off of Aaron Harang.  He also collected another hit which brings his average to .450 on the season.  Posey has really been all that was advertised and then some! 

Pablo Sandoval was 0 for 4.  It's tough to say that a guy who is hitting .280 is in a slump but it's actually surprising to see that Pablo is hitting that high.  He is also hitting with ZERO power.  He hasn't hit a homerun since May 11 and is slugging .418.  But we just have to keep remembering that this guy is 23 years old and he just needs to make the necessary adjustments and he will be fine.  He's got a long career ahead of him and there is plenty of time for him to figure it out.

Until last night's game Jonathan Sanchez was 4-0 whenever the giants scored 2 or more for him.  Now he's 4-1.  Talk about a hard luck loser.  He basiclally has to shut out the other team to get a win.  He didn't pitch all that well last night but you hate to give up 3 runs and pretty much guarantee yourself a loss.  His 2.82 ERA is good enough for 16th in the NL.

Down on the farm:

Fresno had the night off

San Jose defeated the Modesto A's and First Baseman Brandon Belt hit his 6th HR of the season and scored 3 runs.  Belt brought his season average to .376 with an insane .484 on base % and a .595 slugging %.  Don't expect this guy to stay in San Jose much longer.

Nate watch:
Nate pinch hit in the 9th inning, got a single, and scored the Giants 3rd run.  It didn't seem to do any good for him in Bochy's eyes since Rowand is starting in Center and Torres is in right.  I guess we will have to wait until we go back to SF to see if Nate is ever going to get another start as long as Bochy is manager.

Game is starting in about an hour and the lineup has already been announced:  Today's lineupTorres rf, Sanchez 2b, Sandoval 3b, Huff lf, Uribe ss, Posey 1b, Molina c, Rowand cf, Wellemeyer p

Go Giants!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cardboard Gold

I am starting a feature today that, as you can see by the title, is going to be cardboard gold. In this feature I'll post different Giants cards through the years. Hopefully it will be a fun break from all the in depth analysis and insight that I normally provide here!

In honor of Buster Posey's first major league Homerun I decided to start off the feature with Buster's rookie card:


It's from the 2008 Bowman Chrome Draft Picks set and is numbered BDPP128 and is autographed buy Buster himself!

The helpful people at the Topps company, which produces Bowman cards, have provided a scouting report on the back:

RESUME: At Florida State, won all four major national player of the year awards in 2008...Claimed ACC triple crown with .463 AVG, 26 HRs, and 93 RBI...First team all-ACC in '07...

SKILLS: Made amazing progress as catcher after converting from shortstop in '07...Superb hitter with power, patience, and consistency...Guns ball down to second

UP CLOSE: Selected as the ACC Baseball Scholar Athlete of the year...Made Dean's list repeatedly as Florida State finance major...Brother Jack also plays at FSU

Cain a two time All-Star?

Giants 3 Reds 0

With just about a month to go until the All-Star game it is apparent that Matt Cain is the Giants best pitcher right now.  Sure Tim Lincecum gets all the pub, but the numbers just don't lie.  The only thing that Lincecum has on Cain is his W-L record. (5-2 for Timmy, 5-4 for Matty) well and his strikeouts.  But,with the exception of one start in San Diego in which he gave up 5 runs, he has allowed 3 ERs or less in all 12 of his starts this season.  He only allowed 3 earnies in 2 other games besides the San Diego game.  (he did give up 4 runs against the Astros in his first start of the season but only 3 of those were earned.)  He could easily be 8-1, if you just wanna chalk up the games he allowed 2 runs or less as wins and the others as losses he could be 9-3. (remember he gave up 1 unearned run in a complete game against Oakland and was still tagged with a loss)  Any way you look at it, he is pitching at an All-Star level.

He proved that again tonight by shutting out the highest scoring offense in the NL.  It was only the 5th time in 600 games at the Great American Ballpark that has happened.  The solo HR by Juan Uribe, who is becoming one of my favorite Giants, was all the offense the Giants really needed tonight but the Giants did manage to get 2 insurance runs in the 8th inning. 

Freddy Sanchez was held hitless tonight snapping his hitting streak after 11 games.  But don't worry because another Giant has a hitting streak of his own.  The force of nature that is Buster Posey has hit in 7 straight.

Lots of other Giants stuff going on tonight:

Of course we had day 2 of the draft and the Giants selected 3 more CFs bringing their total of Centerfielders drafted to 4 so you gotta wonder what that means for Aaron Rowand.  Most of them can fly from what I understand so maybe the Giants have just decided to go with small ball as an organizational philosophy.  I'm not going to act like I know anything about any of the guys the Giants drafted, but there is a lot of info on them in the article that I linked in this paragraph.

On the Farm:

John Bowker may be the ultimate 4A player or he may be a guy who, like Fred Lewis is turning out to be,  just needs to play somewhere else in order to realize his potential.  he went 3 for 4 with a HR tonight in a 2-1 loss for the Fresno Grizzlies against the Sacramento River Cats.  (Is it just me or do the Grizzlies play the River Cats ALL THE TIME?)  Eric Hacker may have righted what was wrong after 3 subpar outings by throwing 6.1 innings and only giving up an unearned run.  He also had 6ks and held the River Cats to just 4 hits.

Hmmm do you think the White Sox may be interested in a trade that includes John Bowker and Eric Hacker for Paul Konerko???  Maybe throw in a Kevin Pucetas or a Joe Martinez?  If the Giants do make a move regarding Konerko they had better make it soon because he is going to be more valuable as the trading deadline nears and more teams realize they need a big bat or if a star gets injured.

Madison Bumgarner apologized and was fined for his temper tantrum the other night but the biggest news was Bochy's possible Freudian slip regarding Madbum in which he said that the lefty was "real close" to a promotion and he wasn't bothered by the outburst. "He's competitive," Bochy said. "We know that."  I wonder how close is "real close"  in the Bochster's book?  Although he did backpedal a little bit and say "If any moves are made, we'll do it when we feel it's the right time."

In other prospect news that surprised no one, well except for the Giants fans who seem to think he's out to get them, Brian Sabean said that the Giants have "No intentions" of sending Buster Posey back down to Fresno.

Nate watch:

Nate came in as a pinch runner for Pat Burrell in the 8th inning and scored a run.  he also had an at bat in the 9th with runners on second and third and 2 out and struck out to end the inning.  Effectively giving Bochy another piece of evidence to back up his "struggling" theory.

Oh and last, but not least, the Giants selected Bruce Bochy's son in the 20th round of the draft.  Teams do things like this a lot but once in a while it works out.  Anybody remember this guy named Mike Piazza?   He was drafted in the 62nd round as a favor to dad's lifelong friend Tommy Lasorda.  He turned out OK.  But I wouldn't hold my breath.