Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Huffman Cometh


During all the hoopla surrounding Buster Posey during his 21 game hitting streak, Aubrey Huff has been in the background quietly making his contributions to the Giants recent winning ways. 

During Posey's 21 game hitting streak Huff: Had a 12 game hit streak of his own, hit .382, with a Bondsian .484 OBP, He also spanked 4 homeruns and drove in 15.

While Posey is being considered for rookie of the year, I would like to present you with the case for Huff for MVP.  Huff is leading the Giants in average (.313), RBIs (65), and HRs (20).  He has played 1B, LF, and RF.  He has played all those positions well after being considered a defensive liability at best.  in short, he has done everything the Giants have asked of him and produced at a high level while playing 3 different positions.  I'd like to see King Albert do that.

Huff's philosophy on this season: "If I don't go out there and perform, those nine years of losing mean absolutely nothing"  This guy is glad to be here!

One note from last night's game:

I know it went down as a wild pitch for Jonathan Sanchez, but the pitch he threw in the dirt in the 9th inning showed a little bit of what the Giants were talking about when they were hesitant to bring up Buster Posey earlier this season.  Posey did a poor job of dropping to the ground and blocking that ball. Considering he had a runner at third, Posey should have made an attempt to smother that ball rather than try to short hop it.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Whew that was close!


Wow where to begin?

I think I'll get the streak out of the way early like Posey seems to!  If you didn'already know, Buster Posey has extended his hitting streak to 21 games by hitting a single in the third inning.  he is now one game away from tying Willie McCovey for the Giants rookie record of 22 games.  I was looking at the list of 20 plus game hitting streaks by rookies and the list showed that baseball is a funny game.  The list is topped by Benito Santiago at 34 games Benito, like Buster, was a catcher.  He had an OK career but never really lived up to the promise that a 34 game hitting streak seemed to point to.  He did go on to play 20 seasons and he even had a sort of late career renaissance with the Giants from 2001 to 2003. 

The list does have a lot of great players and hall of famers. Guys like Richie Ashburn, Johnny Mize, Ichiro Suzuki, Jackie Robinson, and Fred Lynn.  But it is also populated by guys who you would be hard pressed to even name what teams they played for: Goldie Rapp, Joe McEwing, Chico Carrasquel, Taft Wright, and Danny Litwhiler.

So what does it all mean?  Well not much other than you can never tell what a guy is going to amount to from their rookie season.  Just ask Joe McEwing.

I have largely avoided writing about last night's game because it was so frustrating.  Sure it was a win but it was an ugly win.  After an early 9-2 lead, the Giants pitching staff wound up letting this game go to extra innings.  now the Giants did win the game so it's not all bad but it sure is hard to watch a 7 run lead evaporate.

As hard to take from a pitching standpoint, it was equally satisfying from an offensive standpoint.  Torres, Huff, Uribe, Rowand, and Renteria all had multi-hit games.

Uribe and Torres were the big heroes.  Uribe lead the team with 4 RBIs while Torres, with three RBIs of his own, was the big hero.  In addition to a 2 run splash hit homerun in the 6th to put the Giants up 9-2, Torres also drove in the winning run in the 10th inning. 

Torres is starting to become a folk hero in San Francisco.  From his improbable road to the majors, to his stellar defense, to his late game heroics.  He is winning the hearts of the Giants fans and he is beginning to get past those comparisons to Marvin Benard.

Link of the day:

The LA Dodgers got Scott Podsednik from from the KC Royals for 2 minor leaguers.  I'm not sure what hole he fills for the Dodgers but it's not pitching.  We are just going to have to settle for Jose Guillen it seems. 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Ace Killers

NEW YORK - APRIL 29:  Josh Johnson #55 of the ...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

OK so they didn't beat Josh Johnson or Ubaldo Jimenez.  They did put 7 runs on the board against Jimenez earlier this season before the the Rocks tied the game.  The Giants did eventually win that game.  Against Johnson, they put three runs on the board which might as well be seven runs since JJ had not allowed more than 2 runs in a start in 13 straight starts.

Now 3 runs in 7 innings is still a quality start and Matt Cain matched Johnson run for run only allowing only 3 runs in 7 innings.  He actually pitched a little better than JJ did allowing only 4 hits to Johnson's 8.  Cain's only 2 mistakes turned into all 3 of the Marlin's runs on the day.

The fact that Cain allowed 3 runs and wasn't tagged with the loss marks a change in the Giants, and Cain's fortunes.  In the past, Cain would have taken the hard luck loss after giving up 3 runs.  Last night the Giants scored 3 runs for him while he was in the game and even went on to win the game after he left.

The other big news of the night is obviously Buster Posey extending his hitting streak to 20 games.  He has now moved in to the position of favorite for rookie of the year.  Posey's numbers rival Jason Heyward's with about 150 less ABs.  The other favorite, Washington's Stephen Strasburg was scratched from his start Tuesday night  and the clock is ticking until the Nats shut him down for the season.  I can't really come up with any other NL rookies who can compare to Posey.

Trade Rumblings:

I'm not too thrilled with the rumors of the Giants interest in the Blue Jays' Jose Bautista.  The guy has hit 28 homers so far to be sure but he is hitting in a Blue Jays lineup that has considerable more pop than the Giants do, his home games aren't currently being played in AT&T park, and he is only hitting .245 on the season.  Is he going to be an automatic out when he isn't hitting homers?

Jose Guillen is a head case, All through his career he has been up and down performance-wise.  Last season he only hit 9 homers to go along with 40 RBIs.  He does have 59 RBIs and 16 HRs this season and he could be the Giants' target seeing as he will probably come cheap since KC will be looking to dump salary.  A package deal that brings Scott Podsednik along would be a great move for Sabean provided A) the price is right and B) Guillen doesn't have an attitude like he did with the Angels

Adam Dunn is the guy I would most like to see the Giants get.  The guy bats around .280, he hits bombs, and has seven  30+ homer seasons in his career.  He is 7 away from his 8th and the best part about Dunn is that he will only be 31 this offseason.  He hits bombs that will easily get out of AT&T and he is OK defensively.  Although the asking price is reportedly Madison Bumgarner and if that's the case I'll pass.

At this point Guillen and a left handed middle reliever seem to be the most likely moves the Giants will make.  If they can somehow come up with Podsednik too, then the moves look good.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

From Clark to Posey


I'm running out of words to describe Buster Posey.

The most impressive Giants rookie in the last 23 years is playing that good.  His rookie campaign has exceeded the level of most rookies in Giants history and is in the same air as Will Clark, Willie McCovey, and Orlando Cepeda.

Will Clark is my favorite Giant of all-time.  My earliest baseball memories are of Clark and the Giants in the playoffs vs. the Cardinals in 1987.  In 1989, I sat out in the upper deck in right field and saw a towering homerun almost make it out to my seat!  I watched Will lead the Giants to the world series in 1989 and watched in sadness when he went to the Rangers after the 1993 season.

Buster Posey is making Clark's impressive Rookie season look mediocre by comparison. 

In Will's rookie year of 1986 he hit .287, with 11 HRs, 41 RBIs an on base % of .343, and an OPS of .787.  He accomplished all this in 408 ABs.  In 1986 these were great numbers for a rookie.  Good enough to earn him 5th place in the Rookie of The Year voting.  Todd Worrell of the St. Louis Cardinals was first.  (1986 was a good year for Giants rookies both present and future.  The top 10 vote getters for rookie of the year included: Robby Thompson in 2nd, Kevin Mitchell in 3rd,  Will Clark in 5th, and Barry Bonds in 6th)

Fast forward to 2010.  In 182 ABs Posey is hitting .368, has 8 HRs, 33 RBIs, with a .404 OBP, and an OPS of  .975!  It's going to be a stretch for Buster to get another 220+ ABs since he's a catcher but if he gets close to 400 ABs this season he just may obliterate Clark's rookie numbers.  One thing that Posey is doing that Clark, hell any Giants rookie other than Willie McCovey, is hit in 19 straight games

Both players had excellent college careers too.  Clark won the Golden Spikes Award, which is given to the best college player in the country, in 1985 while playing for Mississippi State.  Posey won the award in 2006 while playing for Florida state.

Clark finished his career with a respectable 284 HRs,a .303 average, an OBP of .384, and an OPS of .880 in 15 seasons.  In 2006 Clark only received 4.4% of the Hall of Fame vote thus failing to receive the required 5% of the votes to stay on future ballots.  He likely would have increased his HOF chances had he played a little longer but retired early to help care for his son Trey who is autistic.

There is no way that you can ever replace your childhood hero as an adult.  Even if Buster goes on to make Clark's career numbers look tiny by comparison, wins a world series, and gets voted into the hall of fame.  Hopefully, he can be my son's favorite player of all-time!

Last night Buster got the drama of extending his hitting streak to 19 games early with a hit in the second inning.  That and a pinch hit two run replay upheld homer in the 7th were pretty much the only Giants highlights of the night.  Although they did make it interesting in the 9th when had runners on second and third and only one out.  But all they were able to muster was 1 run on an RBI groundout from Andres Torres. 

Aubrey Huff's hitting streak came to an end at 12 games.

Posey looks to extend his streak to 20 games tonight and it's going to be tough with Josh Johnson on the mound for the fish.  The Giants will counter with Matt Cain.  Expect to see little offense on both sides tonight.

Link of the day:  Your home for all things Will Clark.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Huffman and Robin

Batman had 3 different Robins.  Just like Bruce Wayne had Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, and Tim Drake.  Aubrey Huff has now had multiple sidekicks to his Batman performance.

First it was Juan Uribe.  At one point Aubrey and Juan were trading homeruns left and right, knocking in runs all over the place, and taking turns being the heroes each night.

Then Juan got cold.  Until last night's grand slam he had been hitting .213 with one homerun and 7 RBIs over his last 20 games.

In the meantime, Aubrey's sidekick has been Buster Posey.  Over the last 20 games all he has done is hit .438, 7 homeruns, and driven in 22.  He also is in the midst of an 18 game hitting streak and seems to be winning games on a nightly basis.

Huff has been nearly as hot as Posey.  Over his last 20 games he is hitting .363 with 7 homeruns and 17 RBIs.  he is also the proud owner of a 12 game hitting streak that has been somewhat overshadowed by a certain rookie's streak.

If it wasn't for Aubrey Huff, I'm not sure where the Giants would be.  Sure Posey has transformed the Giants since his arrival but it was Huff who carried the team to the place it was before he got there.  One could argue that the Giants could have been nowhere near contending this season if Huff wasn't here.  Posey didn't have nearly as much pressure on him as he would have if there wasn't at least one guy providing some offense. 

Huff has also made it easier for the Giants to absorb Pablo Sandoval's season long slump.  Hopefully once the Panda comes back from handling his personal issues in Venezuela he will be the third Robin to Huff's Batman.

So Buster and Aubrey led the Giants to a four game sweep of the lowly Diamondbacks.  I know a lot of people like to point out that the Dbacks aren't a very good team but good teams are supposd to dominate the bad teams.  Besides, four game sweeps on the road just don't happen that often.  Even against bad teams.

Link of the day:

SF Chronicle writer Henry Schulman points out in his recap of the game that the Giants play only 19 of their final 63 games against teams that have a record below .500 at this point.  Which means that they will have to prove that they can beat winning teams.  Which is something that the detractors love to point out that the Giants have trouble doing.  Now a lot of this poor record against teams above .500 can be attributed to the fact that the Giants have lost 7 out of 8 to the Padres and 6 out of 9 to the Dodgers.

The Giants will be tested starting tomorrow since the Marlins come to town.  The fish are almost as hot as the Giants having won 7  of their last 10.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Do you want the bad news or good news first?


A lot of stuff went down in Giants land since my last post.

We'll start with the good.

The Giants crushed the Diamondbacks 10-4.  Led by Juan Uribe's grand slam and Madison Bumgarner's 4th straight win, the Giants really beat down the Dbacks like the belly-crawlers that they are.  Buster Posey extended his hitting streak to 17 games, Aubrey Huff had 3 hits, and the Giants won their 8th game out of their last 10 bringing themselves to a season high 12 games over .500!

It wasn't all good news however.

Eugenio Velez took a Pat Burrell foul ball off the head while sitting in the dugout.  Reports are that he is OK with a concussion.

Pablo Sandoval will leave the team today to return to his native Venezuela for a "personal matter".  Andrew Baggerly of the San Jose Mercury News is reporting that it is related to his pending divorce.

Jeremy Affeldt was placed on the 15 day DL with an oblique strain.  There is no telling how long he will be out.  Sometimes players come back from these right away, other times they miss the rest of the season.  Joe Martinez was called up to take his place leaving the bullpen with no lefties.

Pablo Sandoval's departure and Velez's injury will leave the Giants extremely short-handed.  Expect Velez to be put on the DL today and Ryan Rohlinger to be called up today.  Hopefully Pablo's trip to Venezuela helps him put whatever is on his mind to rest.  It can't be easy to be 23 years old, struggling on his job, booed by fans, and going through a divorce all at the same time. 

Good luck Pablo.

link of the Day:

John Bowker was 3 for 4 and scored 2 runs last night for Fresno.  He has heated up again after a mini slump.  he definitely needs another look in the bigs this season.  It's just not going to come right now.  The 2 players the Giants are short are infielders so they are calling up Rohlinger to fill the hole.  Bowker will get another chance but it may not be until September.

If the Giants rash of injuries continues.....

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Huff Muscles the Giants past the Snakes!


Last year any time the Giants would fall behind you could pretty much write them off.

This season they are proving that coming from behind is something that they are capable of doing.

Now, one run down may not seem like an insurmountable lead but the way that the lead was given up, having blown a 3-1 lead, usually seemed to deflate last years team.  Last night they actually answered Arizona's 3 spot in the 6th with a 3 spot of their own in the 7th.  Granted it was fueled by some Arizona errors, but with the luck the Giants have been having with double plays and calls at home plate this season, it was time for a few things to go our way.

I can't help but think of Marvin Benard every time I hear someone proclaim Andres Torres as the "real deal" but I'm starting to become a believer.  He has been so key to the Giants' success in the second half that I would have to rank him as the 3rd most important offensive player behind Buster and Huff.  He hits homeruns, triples, and tracks down balls in the outfield that Rowand would just play off the wall, and say what you want about his offense but Rowand is a pretty good defender.  Torres is really starting to become the feel good story of the season and  I hope the Giants can make the playoffs in order to get this guy some national recognition.

What to say about Aubrey Huff?

I have always, for some reason, liked Aubrey Huff as a player.  I remember thinking that the Giants should pick him up from the Devil Rays way back when Bonds was still with the team somewhere around 2003-04.  I think there were even some rumors to that effect back then.

For whatever reason, Huff wound up with the Orioles and had the opportunity to play on a bunch of bad teams.  Last season, after a late season trade to Detroit, Huff seemed like he might not have too much left in the tank.

Boy were we wrong.

The Giants were able to get Huff for what now looks like a steal of a deal at $3 million dollars for this season.  He has 19 Homeruns and 3 multi homerun games counting last night. He is a scrapper and he is the heart of this Giants team.  I believe the difference that this team does not fall on it's face when they are down is because they have assimilated Huff's attitude.  I mean the guy went to a contender last season for the first time in his life and fell on his face by hitting .189 in 106 ABs for the Tigers.  He wasn't offered a contract by the team at the end of the season and I don't think that many other teams were lining up to throw money at him.

Enter Sabean and the Giants.

Sabean made what has to have been the best free agent signing of his Giants career when he picked Huff up off the scrap heap.  Huff has rewarded the team with his attitude, his bat and his quotes.  he's another candidate for feel good story of the year.

Link of the day:

I was looking for an Aubrey Huff quote to use above but instead I found this story on him from 2007.  This radio interview seems to be perfectly in line with his personality that he has shown in SF.  He seems to be a guy who is just having fun but, like most of us clowns, can get management upset when the team is losing.

The article also points out that Huff sang on an MLB produced CD "OH SAY CAN YOU SING" that was produced way back in 2005 which I will now leave you with:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cain throws a gem


8 shutout innings, 3 hits, and 9 strikeouts.

That was Cain's line against the D-backs last night.  That easily qualifies as a dominant start.  Also, don't believe that because the Diamondbacks are in last place that they are a team that gets dominated like this all the time.  they are 6th in baseball in homeruns, 9th in slugging, and 5th in walks.  They are good at providing offense.

Matt Cain is one of the more maddening pitchers on the Giants' staff.  He has the stuff to completely dominate.  So good he has been compared to Hall of Famer Tom Seaver.  He never seems to get any runs, the bullpen has given up more leads for him than probably anybody in the majors, and at times he is just awful

He will then rattle off a start like he did last night and everyone will remember why they love this kid.  He has the potential to do this every time he takes the hill and more often than not he does.  You just can't help but wish he would put it all together a little more often. But Cain is young.  In fact, he is younger than even Tim Lincecum.  he will be 26 this October so even though he is already in his 6th big league season, he still has plenty of time to put it all together and win a lot of games.

The Buster Posey show continues.  He now has a 16 game hitting streak which is currently 3rd best among Giants rookies all time.  Behind only  Orlando Cepeda and Willie McCovey.  Not bad company to be in.

Link of the day:

Nice story in USAtoday about the Giants newest Hall of Famer, Jon Miller.  Best line is about how Miller told his wife he was in the hall.  He asks her: "Did you ever sleep with a member of the baseball Hall of Fame?"

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Zito hard luck loser once again


I think Barry Zito is still pissed.

After being pulled while being just one out away from a victory the start before last, Zito has been excellent on the mound.  He has only given up 3 runs in his last 16 IP.  The Giants however have only managed to scratch across one run for him in that time.  I'm not sure why this happens to certain guys, although until recently almost everyone on the Giants staff could say the same thing, but Zito and Cain seem to be bitten by the lack of run support bug especially hard.

The lack of offense was troubling.  Especially since the Giants struggle with their offense so much.  I'm not going to panic too much since the Giants also had trouble scoring against the Mets in the first 2 games of that series and were still able to take 2 out of 3.

The Giants head to Arizona where we will see the power of good pitching on display.  The D-cracks, despite having guys like Chris Young, Adam Laroche, and Mark Reynolds, are 19.5 games back because they have horrendous pitching.  I expect this series to be similar to the series in Milwaukee at the end of the first half!

The only other Giants news last night involved Buster Posey stretching his hitting streak to 15 games.  The Giants record for a rookie hitting streak is 22 which is held by Willie McCovey.  Buster's hitting streak is the longest rookie hitting streak since the 15 game hitting streak put together by one of my favorite all-time players, Mr. Mullet himself, Dan Gladden from way back in 1985! 

Looking for a Gladden picture was kinda disappointing since A. I remember him as  more of a power hitter than a guy who only hit 74 homeruns in 11 seasons.  B. Most of the pictures of him online were of him as a twin.  Oh well.

Link of the day:

Aubrey Huff has a blog now.  I guess someone in the Giants PR department decided that they just couldn't do without a player blog since the trade of Bengie Molina.  I can't be happier with who they picked to write this blog, although I think he probably dictates it to someone who then writes it for him.  How do explain Bengie Molina being able to write in perfect English while hardly being able to speak it? 

Anyway Aubrey's inaugural entry offered some insight into how the Giants perceived the Dodgers reaction to the beanball war last night and once again proved how the media bias towards the Red Sox - Yankee rivalry is bad for baseball.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's finally a rivalry!


About the only thing that went wrong for the Giants was Tim Lincecum giving up 5 runs.

They even got a boost in the ninth from Bruce Bochy!

Bochy proved that he doesn't always sleep in the dugout.  At least he wasn't last night when Donny Baseball decided to turn back towards the mound after starting on his way back to the dugout.  A surprisingly alert Bochy, the guy's nickname is SLEEPY after all, notified the umpire of Mattingly's blunder and made him remove Closer Jonathan Broxton from the game!

Now this kind of rule technicality usually seems kinda cheap to me but since it didn't happen against the Giants and it happened against the Dodgers to boot I am OK with it!

The Giants site has replays from both the Giants and Dodgers telecasts and the Hall of Famers Jon Miller and Vin Scully both knew immediately what happened.  You gotta give credit to the umps having seen it.

Mattingly was in there as the Dodgers manage after Joe Torre, Clayton Kershaw, and a bench coach were all ejected earlier in the game after the home plate umpire determined that Kershaw hit Aaron Rowand on the first pitch of the 7th inning in retaliation for Lincecum catching Kemp's jersey in the 5th and a brushback pitch from Denny Bautista in the 6th.

The best development of all was the fact that the Giants offense was able to overcome the shaky outing by Lincecum and come from a 5-1 deficit making this the first series victory over the Dodgers this season after San Francisco had rolled over and played dead against the Dodgers all season long.

Link of the day:

In the kind of thing that only happens in baseball, Lefty O'Doul's left arm was returned.  Apparently at Lefty O'Doul's restaurant and tavern they used to have a mannequin of old Lefty that stood in the entrance greeting the patrons as they came in to enjoy a few adult beverages.  Then one day three years ago a couple of drunks made off with Lefty's left arm.

Well that arm has made it's way around,  You absolutely have to view the slideshow to believe it!, the drunks took pictures of Lefty's arm in various places around what appears to be Iowa or somewhere else in the midwest, the package did have a return address in Des Moines and it appears that Lefty's limb took part in RAGBRAI , and they finally the arm home along with a bunch of pictures of Lefty's arm enjoying the sights.

I may have to stop by Lefty O'Doul's next time I am in San Francisco to see the arm and more of it's pictures.

Maybe the return pf Lefty's limb can be the spark of a World Series title!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Giants win their 7th in a row! Oh. wait. They BEAT L.A.!


Well they should have won 7 in a row.

Although a good whippin put on the Dodgers will make me feel a lot better about things.

Once again, it was the kids leading the charge.

Posey extended his hitting streak to 13 games with an RBI single, he later scored on Nate The Great's 2 run HR, Madbum only gave up one earned run in 5 2/3 IP, and Pablo Sandoval chipped in with 2 hits and an RBI of his own.

About Pablo.

I know it's only 5 games, but he looks a lot sharper since the All-Star break than he has in about 2 months.  He has hit safely in each of those 5 games and is hitting .470 over that span.  he is hitting with pop, 4 doubles, and is driving in runs with 3 RBIs.

This is the hitter that the Giants need.  They need a guy who can bat 5th, drive in some runs, and keep the hitting going after Posey and Huff.  Uribe needs to just keep doing what he is doing and if Nate can sniff .280 while playing amazing defense then we have the team in place that we need from an offensive standpoint.  Then Sabean can go out and do the unsexy thing and pick up a few middle relievers because that is our most glaring weakness at this point.

A roster move to report. 

The Giants recalled Eugenio Velez and sent down Joe Martinez.  I must admit that the move was a little confusing.  But they need infield depth.  Especially with Freddy Sanchez and the .160 hitting (since June 19th) Juan Uribe are the only 2 guys who can play second.  Not everybody is happy with the move.   But maybe they are showcasing him for a possible trade?  As long as he doesn't drop any balls during Madbum's starts I will be O.K. with that.

Lincecum V. Kershaw tonight should be a pitcher's duel!


Link of the day;

Since I couldn't find any interesting links today I thought that I would post a pic of the day.  This pic has to be one of the most horrible ballpark giveaway ideas of all time:

 Yes that is a Manny Ramirez action figure.  I have no idea what his special power must be but I think it has something to do with being extra fertile....

Although I kinda want one so I can have my kids Pandoval Bobblehead sit on it!

Monday, July 19, 2010

We were robbed!

If this picture and this video don't show how safe Ishi was yesterday then the quote by Mets catcher Henry Blanco in this story will.

“He was safe all the way,” Blanco said, grinning. “Good for us.”

This call cost the Giants the winning run in the 9th inning.  A good start from Jonathan Sanchez and a rally against closer Francisco Rodriguez were completely wasted.  Now, the Giants did have another chance to get a runner home from third with 2 outs in the 9th inning but the call clearly took the wind out of the Giants sails.

It is unbelievable that MLB continues to let these calls go on.  They keep going on and on with no end in sight.  What is going to take to get baseball to finally come into the 21st century and bring in instant replay?  Is it going to take a blown call in the playoffs?

Well maybe not.  

It's probably going to take the World Series being decided by a blown call to get instant replay to decide things other than homeruns.  

The fact that instant replay is being used to make sure that homeruns are called correctly shows that MLB does have some interest in getting calls right.  

The 2 biggest arguments against instant replay are time and the human element.  

First of all, you don't need to have instant replay to overturn every call.  A typical baseball game doesn't have very many calls that are that closely contested.  If you limit managers to so many challenges a game then you don't have to worry about managers abusing the privilege and limiting the amount of time a replay can be reviewed to say 2 minutes would add 8 minutes to a game if both managers used each of their challenges and they both took the full 2 minutes to review.

As for the human element, you can never take that out of baseball unless there are nothing but robot umpires umping the game.  You wouldn't allow instant replay to determine balls and strikes so the human element would not be completely eliminated.  You also would only have a few challenges per game so the human element would not be taken out of the game on calls in the field as well.  MLB has already taken the human element out of homerun calls so why should they be worried about other calls in the field?

Lastly, Phil Cuzzi needs to be replaced as a major league ump. has a post about  Cuzzi and blown calls that will make you wonder why this guy even has a job.  Cuzzi's explanation of the call will also make your blood boil:

  Cuzzi said that he had not yet seen the replay. "I'll look at it, but I figured I'd eat first,” he said, laughing. “He made a decent attempt to put the tag on him. That’s what it looked to me, and that’s why I called him out.”

So a guy makes a decent attempt to make a tag and the runner is out?  Seriously, has this guy read the rule book?  I haven't read it for a while but I don't remember anywhere that it states that a good attempt to make a tag will result in the runner being called out.

If there wasn't enough reasons to think that Giants baseball was torture already, I think this will add another one.

Link of the day:

Rich Lee draws.  This guy is awesome and he has the best Giants art I have ever seen:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

No runs? No Problem!


Well the Giants offense has started the second half in a slumber having scored a lousy 3 runs in the first 2 games.

They are 2-0 in those games!

It also marks the first time this season that the Giants have won a game 1-0.  Which is pretty amazing when you consider the Giants pitching staff.  Up until last night, the Giants were 0-8 in games which they had scored 1 run.

Normally I would be lamenting the fact that The Giants offense has gone back into a deep slumber but not tonight.  I guess I'm OK with the offense when the Staff has a 0.00 ERA!

Zito was Lincecum-esque.  He actually was even more dominating than Lincecum was the night before by racking up 10 k's and allowing only 2 hits, one of which was a bloop double by Carlos Beltran in the 7th, in 8 innings pitched.  I guess he really was pissed after his last outing.

The Giants did manufacture the run that they did get however.

In the fourth inning, Aubrey Huff drew a one out walk, Buster Posey followed with a double, and Pat Burrell brought Huff home with a grounder to second that brought a throw home which Catcher Rod Barajas just couldn't hold on to.

This sequence of events prompted the always quotable Huff to remark: " I don't think I've been pumped up to score a run in the fifth inning, ever. It was a nice atmosphere at the yard tonight. It kind of felt like a playoff-game atmosphere." 

He also added:

"Not that I would know what it feels like"

Man I love that guy.

Links of the day:

I got two today.

First off Bengie Molina Hit a grand slam against the Boston Red Sox last night.  To top that feat, he also managed to hit for the cycle.  This made a bit of history as Molina was the first catcher ever to hit for the cycle and hit a grand slam in the same game.  Molina is hot BTW.  This was the second night in a row that he slammed a HR!

How did he celebrate after he walked around the bases for the ever elusive triple to complete his cycle?  

He came out of the game with a strained hamstring.

Congratulations big money!

The second link was actually pointed out in a blog post by El Lefty Malo who was able to find a little nugget of sense in the Dontrelle Willis signing.  It shows his stats against left handed batters this season.  Situational lefty anyone?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Giants roll to start second half!


I'm glad the Giants didn't wait too long to get on track in the second half.

Going into the break there was some concern that their hot streak was mainly the product of playing two of the worse teams in the NL.  There was some concern that the second place New York Mets would roll into town and put an end to the Giants little string of success.

Instead, the Giants won for the eighth time in the last 10 games.  They moved to 3.5 games back of the first place Padres and only 1 game back of the third place Dodgers.

If you told me two weeks ago that the Giants would be only 3.5 games out of first place after the first game of the second half, I would have had trouble believing you.

Instead, the Giants have been scoring runs while being led by the shot in the arm that is Buster Posey, The pitching has improved due in no small part to the return to excellence by Tim Lincecum. Most importantly they look like a team with confidence again.

Youth led the way again last night.  From Timmy's complete game shutout, to Pablo Sandoval's double of the wall in the second, to Buster Posey's RBI groundout in the 8th to go along with having scored the games only other run up to that point.

I have to say that the young players playing more often has been refreshing to say the least.  Earlier in the season when the Giants were struggling and they were playing nothing but veterans every day this was a depressing team to watch.  Now, win or lose, we are getting a glimpse of the Giant's future.  We are seeing what guys like Posey, Bumgarner, Ishikawa, and Schierholtz can do while being given somewhat of an extended look for the first time.  The future looks bright indeed!

Link of the day:

22gigantes posed the question during the break if divorce is getting to Pablo Sandoval.  This theory holds some water with me since I have long thought that Pablo's struggles this season have looked to be more mental than mechanical.  His celebration after lining his second inning run scoring double last night would make one think that he was feeling a little more loose to start the second half.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Youth is served. Finally.


The Buster Posey show continued today.  Madison Bumgarner ran his scoreless innings streak to 15, and Travis Ishikawa was the only Giants with multiple hits to go along with his 3 RBIs.

The kids are starting to take this team over.

Going into the break I believe that Bruce Bochy has found his best lineup.  When Torres returns, and that should be the first game right after the break, Bochy should throw out the lineup of Torres, Sanchez, Huff, Posey, Ishikawa, Uribe, Sandoval, and Shierholtz.  If he throws that lineup out day in and day out, and resists the temptation to tinker, the offense should be OK.

The young guys have pretty much gone out and taken over this team.  Specifically Posey, Ishikawa, and Bumgarner.  They have been the biggest contributors, along with Aubrey Huff, to the Giants offense on this roadtrip.

Buster Posey has easily become the offensive leader of this team.  He carried the team on his shoulders during the roadtrip having gone 20-40 with 6 HRs and 15 RBIs.  Ishikawa has been a nice compliment to Posey while having hit in eight of his last nine games with a .429 average (12-for-28) during that stretch, which includes one homer and 11 RBIs.

Now one would think that any major league manager would go with what has been his most productive ineup of the season coming out of the break.  But this is Bruce Bochy who looks for any way to get struggling vets like Aaron Rowand, Bengie Molina (before he was traded), and Edgar Renteria.  

I do have to give him some credit for actually working Nate Schierholtz into the lineup the last two days.  nate repaid that faith by hitting a double and driving in a run in yesterday's game.

Link of the day.

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury news reports that Giants management had a sitdown with Pablo Sandoval after yesterday's game.  Nobody has expected Pablo to struggle as much as he has this season and we are all waiting for him to turn it around.  

The key to remember with Pablo is that he is 23 years old and he is still contributing defensively.  I don't think the Giants have anybody that they could replace him with if they wanted to.  Baggarly also points out that Pablo is one good season away from millions of dollars as he is currently making just over the league minimum.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Well that was disappointing.


Matt Cain appeared to have things under control.  Adam Dunn had different ideas.

Cain was pitching OK until the 6th inning.  The only hiccup was the solo homerun to Adam Dunn in the 4th inning.  In the 6th inning the Nats scored 2 runs that pretty much put the game out of reach.  Then the 7th inning came along with another Dunn homer, a 4 run outburst, and Cain was done after allowing 8 runs 7 of which were earned.

Cain allowed 11 hits for the second time in his career.  The last time he allowed that many hits in a game was way back in 2006 .

With Cain, the problem has always been lapses in concentration.  It's nothing new.  Cain won't pitch again until after the break so hopefully he can work on that concentration.

Not much else to tell.  The Giants struggled against Strausburg which was too be expected.  They had him on the ropes in the first inning and worked him into throwing a lot of pitches.  Then they all of the sudden went into a slumber and made it easy for him to throw 6 innings.  The Giants also managed only 1 hit off of 3 Washington relievers.

The fact that the Giants were unable to keep the runs coming after the offensive barrage in Milwaukee was disappointing.  Again, Strausburg is a tough order but you would have liked to see them score more than one run.   Hopefully they look better the next 2 games before the break.

The biggest development of the day is the injury to Andres Torres.  He left the game in the 5th inning and everybody's favorite Giant Aaron Rowand came in and went 0 for 2.  I expect Torres to be allowed to heal until after the break giving Rowand plenty of chances to strikeout.

It would be too easy to give Nate Schierholtz a chance to show what he could do with two starts in a row.

Dan Runzler was also placed on the DL and Joe Martinez was called up to replace him.  Runzler is expected back in 6 weeks.  This leaves Jeremey Affeldt as the only lefthander in the Giants bullpen.

Link of the day:

The Giants will be monitoring Madison Bumgarner's workload.  he threw 140+ innings the last 2 years so he is maybe going to be allowed to throw 160 innings tops this season.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Giants sweep, Zito's pissed


Hey it's only the Brewers but it sure was fun!

I know the Brewers aren't the best team around, but it sure is fun to see runs being scored, your pitching do well , and get revenge for that celebration pictured on the right.

The power display was impressive again last night .  Huff, Torres, and Buster each hit homeruns for the second day in a row.

Barry Zito battled admirably.  He allowed 13 baserunners in 4.2 innings and was pulled while he was only one out away from qualifying for the win.  After the Game Zito said he was "pissed" and when he was asked if that anger was directed at Bochy he said a rather telling "no comment"

Now, Bochy aggravates the Giants fanbase to no end.  Many were upset yesterday that he brought in Bautista to replace Zito.  I have loudly questioned his intelligence this season myself.  But I gotta say I agree with Boch here.    Zito has nobody to be pissed off at but himself.   Bochy didn't allow those 13 baserunners, including the three that were on when he was pulled, and Bochy didn't blow the 6 run lead in Denver.  Hopefully Zito is pissed off enough in his next start to actually pitch well and he won't need to be in a situation to be pulled one out away from a victory.

Aubrey Huff is the Giants best hitter.

You can't even argue with it.  His 17 HRs, and 54 RBIs easily lead the team.  His .298 average is also the highest on the team although if Posey had enough ABs to qualify his .325 would lead the team.  Huff is the one guy who has produced consistently all season and his power display over the last 6 games, with 5 homeruns over that span, has been nothing short of incredible.  I shudder to think where the Giants would be if they didn't have Huff.

Mychael Urban of Comcast Sports Network has confirmed that the Giants are in trade talks with the Brewers for Corey Hart.  The Brewers are reportedly interested in Jonathan Sanchez for Hart.  I still think that this deal would be a monumental mistake for the Giants if B.S. were to pull the trigger.  I'm not sure who the Giants think they would replace Sanchez with. Martinez? Wellemeyer? Hacker?  Although the SF Chronicle is reporting that the Brewers may be saving B.S. from himself since they are reportedly not interested in dealing Hart.

There is a god!

This brings me to my link of the day:

The Crazy Crabbers take a look at whether or not the Corey Hart is a good fit for the Giants.  Again, it appears that Jonathan Sanchez would be to steep a price to pay for him.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The kids are alright


Welcome to the Buster Posey show.

Since Bengie Molina was traded, Buster Posey is 12 - 24 with 4 HRs and 9 RBIs.  It just goes to show that once you get a kid in the lineup consistently, he will find his stroke and start to hit like we always knew he could. Posey himself has cited the consistent playing time as a reason for his recent tear: "It's nice to know that I'm going to be in there," Posey said. "My role's changed a little bit. I'm counted on a little bit more now. I'm not saying that before I didn't try to do my best. I'm giving everything I've got each game."

Hey Boch, did you hear that?  Maybe give Nate and Ishi some consistent playing time over the next two weeks and you might not lose one of your starting rotation in order to bring over Corey Hart!

Lost in all the hoopla over the 15 runs and Buster's coming out party, was the fact that Tim Lincecum was dominant once again.  He struck out 10 Brewers in seven innings, allowed 4 hits, and one run on a Rickie Weeks HR in the 3rd inning.  Keep it up Tim and Buster.

Man, the Brewers are just what the doctor ordered for the Giants.  After coming off a series in Colorado where they lost 3 of 4 and went through a marathon 15 inning loss, the Giants were looking like they were going to be in trouble coming in to Milwaukee where the Brew Crew was second in the league in runs scored.  but the Giants found some offense, saw a glimpse of the future with Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey, and saw Tim Lincecum return to his old form.

Sure it's only 3 games, but it sure could be the start of something big!

Link of the day:

Giants minor league prospect Darren Ford turned himself in to police in his hometown of Vineland NJ.  He was charged with making false reports and a form of theft in connection with his claim in Nov. 2009 that he was robbed of a bank deposit bag belonging to his employer.

I thought his story seemed a little fishy when I first saw it last year.  He's no Angel Villalona, but he is in some trouble.  He will probably get off with a fine and maybe some community service since I think this is his first offense.  

Maybe now he can improve on his .233 Batting average in Richmond since his conscience is clear.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Congratulations Madison!


It's really amazing how different two 6-1 victories on consecutive days against the same team can look.

Monday's game looked like the Giants were always a pitch away from total disaster.  Jonathan Sanchez's 6 walks didn't help matters much.

In last night's game the Brewers were never much of a threat to score   They managed only 3 singles, two of which were weakly hit, off of Giant's rookie lefty Madison Bumgarner.

It was Bumgarner's first major league victory in four starts dating back to last season.  He was extremely impressive and lowered his season ERA to 2.86.  Maybe it will make guys like this realize that Madbum is a top of the rotation type of guy.

In other news the Giants are suddenly thin at shortstop.  Juan Uribe, who is hitting a robust .105 in his last 16 games, has come down with a hurt finger.  Which basically leads that Giants with just Edgar Renteria to play short.  This may mean a return of Ryan Rohlinger when they go back to 12 pitchers but past that there aren't many options other than going out and getting a shortstop.

In case you hadn't heard, the latest Giants trade rumor has them interested in the Brewers' Cory Hart.  Unless the Brew Crew is willing to take Aaron Rowand in return, I just don't see where this guy makes the Giants all that much better.  He is only hitting .264 on the road even though his power numbers are almost the same at home and on the road, the Giants are rumored to believe his numbers would be even worse playing his home games at AT&T.  He only hit 12 homers all of last season and has never hit more than 24 in a season.  Despite his recent 20 game hitting streak, the Giants would be getting him for his power rather than his career .275 average.  Besides, the Brewers are going to want a bunch of guys for Hart.

Now for the link of the day.

If you haven't read it already.  Head on over and check out Bengie Molina's final Giants blog.  He takes time to point out how close he and Buster Posey have become and showed what a class guy he is by telling the Giants players:

 "I just want to say thanks for being such great teammates and for taking care of me. I'm really going to miss you guys,'' I said. "You have what it takes to win this thing, and I'm going to watching as much as I can. You guys have my number. Even if I'm not your teammate any more, I'll always be your friend.''

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Halfway through the season

Last night's 6-1 win over the Brewers marked the beginning of the second half of the season by games played.  So it was good that they started off with a win.

2 weeks ago, everyone was feeling good about the chances of this team making a playoff run and they were ready for the offense to turn a corner.

Well, a 7 game losing streak and the evaporation of the offense has led a lot of people to fell not so good about this team's playoff chances.  

I will admit that I am have been one of those guys.  I even went so far as to buy a Fire-Sabean t-shirt, I got it Saturday and wore it when the Giants finally broke that losing streak!  My Twitter feed looks like a complaint fest.  But I have realized that it's a long season.  At least until tomorrow's game.

So how do these Giants look right now?  What needs to Happen in the second half?  Will Pablo become Pablo gain?  Can we be a little more positive again?

How do the Giants look right now?

Right now the Giants are in disarray.  They have been struggling on offense most of the year while their pitching had been stellar.  Over the last two weeks, the Giants pitching has struggled to go along with the offensive struggles.  

All teams go through a point in their season where things just don't go right.  The Dodgers' 8-14 start to the season  is a perfect example of this.  We Giants fans notice it more when it comes to the Giants because we are so invested in this team.  We have seen 3 World Series appearances in the 51 years the Giants have been in San Francisco and more recently it we have not seen a postseason since 2003.

So yeah we are naturally going to think it's the end of the world when the Giants struggle.  We don't exactly have a winning tradition when it comes to the postseason around here.

What needs to happen in the second half?

They need to find an offense.

Since Bengie Molina was traded last week the Giants have gone 2-3.  They have scored 26 runs in those 5 games which sounds like a lot until you realize that 17 of them were scored in 2 games.  In the other 3 games, which they lost BTW, they only scored 3 runs in each of those games.  

3 runs seems to be the tipping point for the Giants.  If they can score 4 or more runs it's a good bet that they will win that game.  

Now, obviously most teams are going to win games when they score 4 or more runs in a game, but it happens so infrequently with the Giants that it is a huge problem.  We are talking about a team here that has been shut out 7 times, scored one run 8 times, and scored 2 runs 12 times!  That's 27 times they have scored less than 3 runs per game!  In 82 games!

A huge key to the Giants scoring more runs is Pablo Sandoval.  If Pablo can even start hitting close to what he hit last season, then the Giants are going to score more runs.  He is not striking out that much, 39 times in 308 ABs coming into the game tonight, but he is hitting into too many DPs, and he is not making solid enough contact.  More on Pablo in a minute.

They need to win more on the road.

17-23 on the road is just not getting the job done.  If the Giants were playing .500 ball on the road things would be looking a lot better right now.  they would be 45-37 which would have them tied with the Dodgers for second place still.

They have to win in the division.

They are an astounding 9-20 against the NL west.  The only team they have a winning record against is the Arizona Diamondbacks.  Who are 19 games under .500.  But it's not like they are beating up on the D-backs or anything since they are only 3-2 against them.

Will Pablo become Pablo again and can we be more positive?

These two things go hand in hand I think.  Pablo Sandoval is going through a prolonged slump for the first time in his life.  This guy has hit everywhere he has been and when he has struggled, he has righted the ship rather quickly.  He has been somewhat snake bitten this season by the DP ball and there really is no good explanation for that other than rotten luck.

However a more disturbing thing is happening to Pablo.  Maybe to Pablo isn't the right thing to say maybe it's more like around Pablo.

The fans have started to turn on him.

Last season, he was the talk of San Francisco.  There was a huge campaign to try to get him elected to the All-Star game, a cottage industry sprung up around Panda merchandise, and he made a legitimate run at the NL MVP award.  Everybody loved their rotund third baseman.

Now people make fun of the Panda nickname, Pablo is suddenly being called fat instead of pudgy,  message board lurkers are demanding for him to be traded, and fans are loudly questioning why Pablo is in the starting lineup.

The same fans, mind you, that cry when their "pet" prospects don't get enough playing time while some old veteran is allowed AB after AB to come out of his slump.

Just because Pablo doesn't qualify as a rookie anymore doesn't take away from the fact that he is still only 24 years old and is playing in only his second full season.  He is undergoing a bit of a sophomore slump right now and will work his way out of it.  He has got to be wondering how he could have been so loved last season and so vilified this season.

Sure, he has made some bone-headed plays this season.  I think that those bone headed plays can be partly attributed to the way that the fans have treated him.  His slump at the plate and his youth are obviously more to blame but being lambasted by the fans doesn't help.

So that's what I'm hoping that we as fans can do more of the second half of the season.  We can be more positive and supportive of the players.  We can put a positive outlook on things rather than complain even when the Giants win.

We can still bag on Boch and Sabes though!

Lastly, instead of the Nate watch that I have been running for a while, I am going to start posting links to interesting Giants stories that I have come across.  The first one is from the Obsessive Giants Compulsive he provides a lot of interesting analysis as to how the 24th overall pick for the Giants this season, Gary Brown, might be a little bit of a better pick than we thought.  

The only thing I can add to this post is a bit of trivia.  The PTBNL that we got in the Bengie Molina trade, Michael Main, was also the 24th overall pick in 2007.