Thursday, September 30, 2010

Giants: win one more and they are in!


All the San Francisco Giants need to do against the San Diego Padres this weekend is win one game.  That's it.

One win and they are in the playoffs.

All season long, baseball fans on the West Coast have been pointing towards this series as the one that will decide the NL West.  This weekend the baseball world will be focused on San Francisco while the Giants will    have 3 chances to close out their first NL west title since 2003.  They will be throwing Cain, Zito, and Sanchez against Richard, Staufer, and Latos.

The Giants are riding a four game winning streak into this series while the Padres have lost 3 out of 4 to the Chicago Cubs.  The Giants are riding the homerun ball while the Padres are struggling to score even one run.

All this points to good things for the Giants.

I'm going to say the Giants close it out tomorrow behind the arm of "Big Game" Matt Cain and the bat of Pablo Sandoval.  Cain has been the Giants' most consistent pitcher this season and Pablo could use some more good mojo heading into the playoffs.

See you guys tomorrow!



Tim Lincecum struck out 11 Diamondbacks last night en route to his 16th victory of the season.  The San Francisco Giants magic number has bee reduced to three!

After the Giants announced that they would be flip flopping their rotation some more this weekend.  It was up to the anchor of that staff to go out and pitch.  Lincecum went out and proved all the flip flopping was a good idea.

Despite the 11 strikeouts, Lincecum wasn't dominant.  He walked four Diamondback batters and allowed 6 hits, one of which was Stephen Drew's homerun to lead off the game.  That would be the only run he would allow to score.  It ran his record to 16-10 which gives him one more win than he had last year in his second Cy Young season.  It's hard to believe but for all his struggles Lincecum is still probably going to win his 3rd straight strikeout title and is tied for fourth in the NL in wins.

Pat Burrell has to be one of the best early season waiver wire claims of all-time.  I, and many other fans, thought it would be nice to see a bay area boy come home and get some ABs off the bench.  But this guy played his way into the starting lineup since day 1.  I honestly don't know where the Giants would be without him.  There have been at least 3 games this season where the only runs the Giants would score would be on Pat Burrell homeruns but it would be enough to win the game.  Including Lincecum's last 2 starts.

San Diego's win last night ensures the Giants have to beat the Pads at least once in San Francisco to win the division.  It will sure be nice watching the Giants celebrate at home against the Padres.  Hopefully there are some good shots of Mat Latos crying while the Giants are celebrating.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sanchez, Sandoval, Schierholtz all Deliver to stretch the Giants lead to 2


The Giants' final homestand of the season kicked off in winning fashion last night. That, along with the Padres loss to the Cubs stretched the Giants lead to two games for the first time since April 18th.

As has been the case with the Giants this season, a new set of Giants came through to win this game.

The tale fall of Pablo Sandoval has reached epic proportions this season. But with 2 out in the 6th inning, the Kung Fu Panda Karate chopped a two out double. Bruce Bochy continued his lack of faith in the ability of the offense to put runs on the board and pulled Jonathan Sanchez for pinch hitter Nate Schierholtz. Big Nate stroked a single to left field and the Panda rumbled home to put the Giants ahead to stay.

Jonathan Sanchez raised a big middle finger to everyone who was crying for his trade this season by becoming the first Giants lefty since Ray Sadecki in 1968!

Corey Hart, who was the guy the Giants were most likely to get for Sanchez at the trade deadline, had 28 homers at the deadline and is now sitting at 30.

Everything is going right for these Giants right now.  They are getting great pitching, just enough hitting, and the Padres continue to play themselves out of the postseason.  Now, that all could change by this weekend, but I am going to be watching, or at least checking in on gamecast from work, all the way.

Let's see how this rag-tag bunch of misfits led by a manager with a big head pulls this off!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Its a six game season!

The San Francisco Giants will begin the final 6 game stretch of the season with a 1 game lead over the San Diego Padres.  That one game advantage, plus the fact that the last 6 games are at home while the Padres last 6 games are on the road give the Giants a nice advantage coming down the homestretch.

It's great isn't it?  The last 156 games have all led up to this point.  Think of everything that has gone on this season.  Todd Wellemeyer, Bengie Molina, The Posey controversy, Torres' appendectomy, the losing streak to the Padres to start the season, the great pitching run, the sputtering offense.  All of it has been getting us ready for these last 6 games.

I would love it if the last 3 games of the season were merely exhibition games, but the only way for that to happen would be if the Giants swept the D-backs and the Padres got swept by the Cubs.  An unlikely scenario.  So most likely the season will be decided this weekend when the Padres roll into town for the final 3 games of the season.

The Giants-Padres saga has really been THE storyline this season.  The Padres, the team nobody thought would even be good, have been battling the Giants for first place over the last few weeks.  This after the Padres dominated the Giants to open the season and having leads of 735 and 6 games at two different times in the season.  Hell, the Giants were 6 games back exactly one month ago on August 28.

So get your popcorn, your beer, head down to the yard, read your favorite blog, whatever you need to do to get ready for this 6 game stretch.  We don't know what is going to happen, but it's going to be fun finding out!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Big Game Cain shuts down the Rockies

San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain pitches against the Washington Nationals during the first inning at Nationals Park in Washington on July 9, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom

Matt Cain took a no-hitter into the 8th inning Vs. the Colorado Rockies.  Jay Payton legged out an infield hit to break up the no-hitter and Melvin Mora hit a 2 run homer to account for all the scoring that the Rockies would do.

Cain finished the game for his 12th career complete game and effectively knocked the Rockies out of the post season.

Big Game Cain was officially born today.  This was the biggest game that Cain has pitched in so far in his career.  never before had Cain ever been in a race this close this late in the season.  Considering that Rockies pounded out 17 hits last night and won the game with a dramatic double in the 10th they could have easily used that momentum from last night and turned this game into a laugher.

But Matt came through when the Giants needed him the most.

Cain's next big test will come next weekend against San Diego on the second to last game of the season.  He could be potentially pitching the pennant clinching game so he will need to bring his big game stuff once again.

At the time I am writing this the Padres are down 6-2 to the Cincinnati Reds so hopefully the Giants will be no worse than tied after tomorrow's day off.


The Reds ponded the Padres 12-2 so the Giants are once again in sole possession of first.  The Padres play the Cubs in San Diego so hopefully the Cubs can win one of those games.  It sure looks like it's gonna come down to the final weekend in San Diego

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Giants Historic run comes to an end


I don't think that anybody is surprised that the Giants historic run of allowing 3 runs or less finally came to an end in Coors Field of all places.  It was bound to happen somewhere and at sometime.  You just hoped that the offense would step up and carry the team to victory.

The offense did step up in a big way.  They pounded out 15 hits, Hit four homers, and scored 9 runs.

Unfortunately, the pitching regressed towards the mean in a big way tonight.

The Rockies hammered the Giants for 17 hits and 10 runs.  They were led by Troy Tulowitski who has been an absolute beast in September.  Tulo pounded out 4 hits and 5 RBIs including the Rockies lone homerun.  I know a lot of people are criticizing Bochy for pitching to Tulo in the 8th and the 10th but the way this game was going it was hard to give away free baserunners no matter who was in the box.  If there is anything I would be critical of would be pitching to Tulo in the 10th since his run would have been worthless anyway.  I'm not sure what Boch was thinking there but it would be interesting to hear.

It was one of those Coors field games.  Maybe the Rockies just decided to put all of their juiced balls in play figuring they could outhit the Giants anyway.

I want to end this blog by congratulating the Giants pitching staff.  Tim Lincecum,  Barry Zito, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, Madison Bumgarner, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, Chris Ray, Javier Lopez, Guillermo Mota, Ramon Ramirez, Dan Runzler, Jeremy Affeldt, and Brian Wilson.  You guys were a part of the most dominant stretch of pitching in Major League history.  18 straight games with three runs or less allowed.  Only the 1917 Chicago White Sox had a longer streak, 20 games, but that was during the dead ball era, it wasn't during a pennant race, and they never played a single game in Coors Field.

Congratulations guys!

Now go win the West!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Giants do just enough to beat the Rockies


The San Francisco Giants offense is like that guy at work who does just enough to get by.  You all know that guy, the one who gets to work at 8:01 and leaves at 4:55.  The guy who never volunteers for anything and then just barely gets things done when they are assigned to him.  But then he loves to take all the credit when the boss is looking.  Heck you might even be that guy (or girl)!

The Giants offense is definitely that guy.

After scoring 13 runs last night, the Giants were held to 3 hits and 2 runs.  Both of which came on Pat "The Bat" Burrell's 2 run homerun in the seventh.  Other than that, the Giants were looking as if they were just going to roll over and lose 1-0.    Hell, the Giants didn't even get their first hit until the 5th inning.

But they did just barely outhit the Rockies 3-2 and they just barely outscored the Rockies 2-1 so they did just do enough to get by.

The reason the offense was able to just get by was because of the continued pitching dominance.  Tim Lincecum showed why he is the reigning 2-time Cy Young award winner by going 8 strong innings and striking out 9.  He allowed one run, 2 hits, and didn't allow a hit until the 6th inning.

The Freak's amazing performance extended the Giants string of pitching dominance.  They have now gone 18 straight games allowing 2 runs or less and 22 straight allowing 4 runs or less.  A string of 2 runs or less has not reached that many games since the 1917 Chicago White Sox strung together 20 straight.  For the record, 1917 was in the dead ball era!

Brian Wilson came in in the 9th to close out a great game and preserve what has to be the most amazing string of pitching performances by any single staff in history.

I would love to see the offense score more runs and really work to get noticed.  but with pitching like the Giants have right now, they don't need that much offense.

The fans need it though.


I love how Burrell just put his head down and walked to first after he hit his homer which was an absolute bomb.  Watch it here.

Giants hammer Cubs to retake NL west lead but it's really all about the pitching


The San Francisco Giants took over first place for what seems like the one hundredth time in the last two weeks.

They did it in their usual Dr, Jekyll and Mr. Hyde fashion.  After scoring 1 run over the last 2 games, the Giants offense erupted for a season high 13 runs.  They broke through with 9 runs in the second inning for the first tie since 2008.  They also pounded out 19 hits, also a season high.

Juan Uribe had a standout game  inning.   In the second inning he hit two homeruns, including a grand slam, and drove in six runs.  All in the second inning!  For some historical perspective on Uribe's inning click here.  Buster Posey contributed a homerun and Cody Ross hit his first homerun as a Giant to help power the attack.

But the Giants could have scored one run and won the game.

The luxury of having a rookie number 5 starter come in and throw 7 shutout innings at a red-hot team during a pennant race is something that can not be understated.  It's something that is almost unheard of.

But that's exactly what Madison Bumgarner did last night.  He didn't just shut the Cubs down, he dominated them, striking out seven Cubbies over his 7 innings of work.  He only gave up one walk while scattering 7 hits over those 7 innings of work.

The Giants rotation has assumed their position as the best rotation in baseball.  They lead all of baseball in team ERA with a 3.39 mark.  They lead in strikeouts, BA against, K/9, and H/9.  Quite simply, the 2010 Giants are all about pitching.

Not to shabby for a team that started the season with Todd Wellemeyer in the starting rotation.
1917 World Champion White Sox

Bumgarner's gem continued a streak that places the 2010 Giants staff amongst the best pitching staffs in all of history.  The Giants pitchers have now gone 17 consecutive games where they have allowed 3 runs or less and 22 straight of 4 or less.  The Giants are only the second team ever to go that many games only allowing 3 runs or less.  You have to go all the way back to the dead ball era and the 1917 Chicago White Sox (who won the world series that year) for a team that has had that kind of a streak.  The Sox' streak went from May 20th through June 12th so it wasn't even in the middle of the pennant race!

Think about that for a second.  The Giants pitching staff, in the modern game of baseball with it's homeruns, high powered offenses,bandbox stadiums, and chicks who dig the longball, have sustained a streak of pitching excellence that is unmatched in the ENTIRE LIVE BALL ERA!

If the Giants don't make the playoffs this season then they will have wasted one of the most impressive pitching feats ever.  That will be a crime to these pitchers who have stepped it up in a way no other pitching staff has ever done.

There are just nine games left.  These are going to be the 9 games that make or break this team.  The Giants enter these final nine games by facing the third place Rockies who have stumbled to 3.5 games back and they end with three games in San Francisco with the second place San Diego Padres.  The season will be decided over these next 9 games and anything can happen.  But one thing will be for sure.  The Giants' pitching staff will be leading the way.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The old, Tired, feeble Giants fall out of first place


The 2010 Giants new theme
Jonathan Sanchez pitched well, even if he wasn't very economical with his pitches.  Bochy pulled him in the 6th but not for a pinch-hitter finally.  Although he may as well have because the Giants still didn't score any runs last night. 

They were on their way to being shutout by the Cubs 2-0

In the last 13 games the Giants have played, they have been held to one run or fewer 8 times.

Which means while the pitching staff is on the verge of historical greatness.  The Giants offense is a lesson in futility.  To add insult to injury the Dodgers rolled over for the Padres again and lost.  So now the Giants are back in second place.

I also have to wonder about Bochy's benching of Pablo Sandoval during the game last night.  Sure Pablo has been having a rough year on the field this season.  But I don't understand how he is the guy who gets benched when the entire Giants' offense has scored a total of 1 run in the last 19 innings they have played.

I don't know who else should sit, but Bruce Bochy's lineup tonight had better include at least 3 faces we haven't seen in a while.  I'm talking about guys Nate Schierholtz, Travis Ishikawa, Darren Ford, Emmanuel Burriss, Elmo, Sheriff Woody.  It doesn't matter at this point because they can't score less than zero runs.

Or can they?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Giants pitching dominates! Offense? Not so much....

The San Francisco Giants played their seventh 1-0 game of the season last night.  Bet you can't guess what their record is!  I'll tell you at the end of the post.

Matt Cain reinforced his argument that he is the best Giants starting pitcher by going 6 shutout innings.  He didn't have his strikeout stuff, but he only allowed 2 hits.  Matt Cain, Ramon Ramirez, Sergio Romo, and Brian "Too Much Awesomeness" Wilson are the heroes of the game
July 30, 2010 - San Francisco, CA, United States of America - 30 July 2010; San Francisco, CA: San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Sergio Romo.
 The Giants offense strengthened their case to not receive any playoff shares. 

That includes Buster Posey.  Sure his solo blast in the 8th was the Giants only run of the night, but he was up with the bases loaded in the fifth and couldn't get the job done so he is just as much to blame for the offensive struggles as the rest of the offense is.

Aug. 13, 2010 - San Francisco, California, United States of America - 13 August, 2010: San Francisco Giants Pitcher Ramon Ramirez.Sure, he is still my leading candidate for rookie of the year and I would even go so far as to say he has a shot of NL MVP.  But the Giants have scored 2 runs or less in 7 out of their last 10 games.  Which means in case you hadn't realized means the pitching staff has carried this team.

Sep 4, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants reliever Brian Wilson (38) pitches in the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. The Giants defeated the Dodgers 5-4. Photo via NewscomMaybe Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean need to have a closed door meeting with all of the hitters like they famously did with the pitchers a few weeks back.  I don't know.  Bt the offensive drought has really got me worried.  What happens if the Pitchers give up 2 runs one night?

It's time for the offense to step up in a big way the rest of the season.

The Giant's record in 1-0 games this season is 2 wins, 5 losses.  Ouch

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Did the Giants finally get mad?

Jose, can you see where that ball finally landed?
Did the Giants get mad finally or did just Jose Guillen get mad?

Guillen basically did what the Giants were hoping he would do today.  He carried the team to victory.  HE hit a grand slam in the first inning just as I was tweeting about how Barry Zito is cursed.  He came up with the bases loaded in the 5th and delivered two more runs with a single and single-handedly defeating the Brewers.  Pat "the Bat" later added some frosting to the cake with a 3 run homer that basically turned the game into a laugher.

Barry Zito turned in another excellent performance and ran his record to 110-6 when the receives 4 or more runs of support.

I don't know if the Giants got mad or not.  I guess we will have to wait until Tuesday in Chicago to be sure.  But things couldn't have gone better for the Giants today.  The Padres fell to the Cardinals 4-1.  The Dodgers proved that maybe Joe Torre isn't a liar by waiting until the 11th inning to stun the Rockies 7-6  after being down 6-1 in the second inning.

All of today's events mean that the Giants are guaranteed to at least be tied for first place on Tuesday when Matt Cain takes the hill against the Chicago Cubs and Carlos Zambrano who of course has been on fire since he has returned to the starting rotation.

Oh BTW, the Giants mathematically eliminated the Brewers from the postseason today.

The Giants are looking old. They need to start looking Mad


The only Giant to show some anger
When the Brewers, losers of 10 of their last 15 games, rolled into town the last thing that you would have thought was that they would take the first two games and be in position for a sweep.

But that's how it goes in Giantsland these days.

The pitching has been stellar in September.  They have given up 29 runs the entire month!  That's 16 games.  But they are just 10-7 in September. The Giants should have realistically won all but 2 of those games(the only two in which they gave up more than 3 runs).  But they have scored 2 runs or less in 10 games this month.

The offense needs to look at themselves in the mirror and decide if they like what they see.

That offense slapped 5 measly singles add that to the three singles that they got the night before and that adds up to 8 singles in 2 games.  Not exactly an offensive juggernaut.

Not that the defense has been any better.  In the first game they made 2 errors and could have easily had more if their fielders would have even been able to make it to the ball.  Last night's game came down to Pablo Sandoval's decision to throw home without stepping on third base to at least try for an inning ending double play with the bases loaded.  That gave the Brewers another chance with the bases loaded and they took advantage of it to the tune of 2 runs.  Which was all they needed.

The most telling sign about the state of the Giants was after Tim Lincecum was pulled in the bottom of the fifth inning.  He was heated with his manager (and likely with his offense) at the fact that he was being pulled.  He had been pitching well and the score was only 2-0.  You would think that this would get the team fired up to see their ace so upset.  It did upset them enough to score a run on a booming RBI groundout.  But the anger ended there.

This is the problem with the Giants.  They don't seem to be angry with the fact that they are getting embarrassed offensively each night.  Sure Yovanni Gallardo is a pretty good pitcher but Randy Wolf  was sporting a 4.52 ERA coming in to the game and hadn't thrown a shutout since 2008.  The Giants need to get mad about falling into second.  They need to get mad that the Dodgers refuse to help them.  They need to get mad that they are putting an embarrassing product out on the field each night.

They just need to get mad before it's too late.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Giants squander opportunity to extend NL West lead


I know how you feel guys
The Giants offense went MIA last night.  Again.

They were shut out for the third time in the last 7 games.  In 2 other games they scored one and two runs respectively.  Apparently Bruce Bochy's genius only extends for one day as  Edgar Renteria went 0 -4 while the Giants defense looked old and decrepit.   I guess they were too tired from running around the bases last night.

Juan Uribe has been terrible at third lately and good old sleepyhead hasn't promised that Pablo Sandoval will play at all this weekend against the Brewers.  Now I understand the kid is struggling, but I am mystified at the sudden decision to stop supporting and playing him.  Especially at home where he has practically been a mirror image of the guy he was last season.

After the Giants made another bad pitcher look like Cy Young, Wolf's last shutout came back in 2008, Bochy said that he and the staff would get together and discuss lineup possibilities.  I just don't see a lineup combination that can make this team magically find their hitting shoes.  They have scored a grand total of 47 runs in 15 games in September.  They have scored more than 3 runs 5 times out of those 15.  The numbers were even worse before they put up a 10 spot on the Dodgers but they are scoring just slightly over 3 runs a game.

At this point in the season there is no quick fix.  Anybody can should be able to get a chance.  Whether it be Darren Ford, Ryan Rohlinger, Euginio Velez, Nate Schierholtz, or Travis Ishikawa.  I mean seriously, how many less runs could they put up?

The Giants can take heart in the fact that they knocked Joe Torre out of LA the night before.  After seeing the Giants hang 10 on his Dodgers, Torre decided to hang em up.  Don Mattingly took over as manager and Giants fans can take some comfort in knowing they must have had some small part in his decision to call it quits.  After all, he had just watched his team give up 10 runs to a team that got shut out by Randy Wolf the next night.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Bruce Bochy is a genius


Sep 4, 2010; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Silhouette of San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy (15) before the game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Photo via Newscom
The Genius at work
Yes, Bruce Bochy is a genius.

As hard as those words were to type, I had to type them.  there is no other way to describe his decision to put Edgar Renteria in the leadoff hole.

Admit it, you probably had the same reaction as every other Giants fan when you saw that ol' Sleepy had Renteria leading off tonight.  As a matter of fact, I was so sure Bochy lost his mind when I saw it that  I tweeted: "Wow, Rent batting leadoff! I hope Sanchez has another no-no in him tonight."  Well Rent proved me wrong by going 4 for 5 and being a table-setter just like a leadoff man should.

Speaking of Jonathan Sanchez....

He absolutely dominated the Dodgers tonight.  The first inning looked pretty scary as Juan Uribe appeared determined to throw the game away again when he air-mailed Ryan Theriot's bunt attempt in the first inning.  This allowed Rafael Furcal to score and sent Theriot to 2nd.  The Dodgers had one run already in and a runner on second with no outs.

The old Jonathan Sanchez would have gone on to fall apart and allow 4 or 5 runs.  But this is Dirty Sanchez we are talking about here.

And Dirty he was.

Sanchez settled down to strike out 12 Dodgers and walk exactly zero.  I will say that another way, Jonathan Sanchez walked ZERO batters in 7 innings!  Five days after walking 7 batters in 5 innings the lanky lefty walked 0.  Striking out 12 batters, a career high for Sanchez, while walking 0 is a feat that has only happened 12 times in Giants history. (Tim Lincecum has done it 3 times!)  So Sanchez has another page in the Gigantes long history books.

And you guys wanted to trade him for that Adam Dunn guy.  

I can't end the article without mentioning the offense.  They finally joined the party today.   After scoring a grand total of 9 runs in their last 5 games, the offense busted out for 10 runs in one game!  Did I mention it was against the Dodgers?

Aubrey Huff continued his MVP push by getting the scoring started with a 4 run homerun off Dodgers starter Ted Lilly.  Meanwhile, back at the batcave, Buster Posey followed him with a solo shot and the Giants were suddenly up 5-1 effectively deciding the game.   But the Giants would pour on 5 more runs and getting a homerun from another guy I'm sure Giants fans weren't too excited to see in the lineup tonight: Jose Guillen.  Guillen went 3 for 3 by the way,  (you genius Boch!)

Tonight the Brewers, who have lost 10 of their last 15 games, come rolling into town.  They have hopefully given up on the season as their record would indicate.  This would be great since the Padres are playing the Cardinals and Tony Larussa and Albert Pujols would never let their team throw in the towel no matter how many games back they are.  

Randy Wolf Vs. Madison Bumgarner tonight.  Stay hot Madbum!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cain dominates Dodgers

Matt Cain of the San Francisco Giants warming ...Image via Wikipedia

Matt Cain twirled 7 shutout innings, allowed 3 hits and walked none.  The Giants beat the Dodgers 2-1 at AT&T park last night.  They also moved back to within .5 a game of first place.

It looked like a repeat of last night.  Great pitching and nobody scored any runs until late.  But this time the Giants came out on top.  Even though he allowed more hits than the night before, Cain and the Giants' bullpen didn't issue a single free pass all night long.  the only run came on a solo Andre Ethier homerun off of Brian WIlson in the 9th who, oh by the way, came in and picked up his 43rd save.

Tonight the Giants face Ted Lilly and counter with Jonathan Sanchez.  I wish Boch would just leave the lineup that he threw out last night in tact, but he has already said that Pablo will get a night off.  I bet Fontenot and Nate go back to the bench too.  I know a lot of people thought Bochy was crazy for throwing out that lineup, but why not?  The other guys he was trotting out there weren't getting the job done either..

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The curse of Barry Zito


7 yrs $126 million.

The Giants and Barry Zito cursed themselves when they blew up the market for a former ace pitcher whose best years were behind him.  They doomed themselves to a guy who has an ERA over 8.00 in his last 7 starts and has lost all 7 of them despite the fact that he allowed 2 runs or less 3 out of those 7 starts.  The Giants are just going to lose with this guy on the mound.  It's that simple.

Last night was the second time this season that the Giants have 1-hit an opponent and still lost the game? (the first time was April 20 with Jonathan Sanchez on the mound against SD) This has had only happened 46 times since 1920.  This happening one time in a season is a statistical oddity.  Twice in a season is a curse.

Adding insult to injury, the Dodgers scored their only run on an error which would have ended the inning with no runs scored.  Zito would have been in the Giants dugout with a tie and we probably would still be watching this game since neither team looked like they really wanted to score any runs tonight.

Also, if the Giants do make the playoffs this season,  I vote that nobody on the offense gets a playoff share.  The Giants offense has scored 2 runs or less an astonishing 51 times this season.  They have been shutout 13 of those times.  They have also won exactly twice when scoring 1 run this season.  one of those games came against SD last Friday.

You want to know something that will really blow your mind?  Barry Zito has been on the hill for 13 of those 51 games where the Giants have scored 2 runs or less.  They have scored 3 runs or less in 21 of his 31 starts.  he has actually given up 3 runs or less in 22 of his 31 starts.  So in order for his record to be 8-13 the Giants offense must have had to work really hard to not score any runs for the guy.  I mean seriously, how many pitchers hold the opposition to 3 runs or less in more than 2/3 of their starts and still have a losing record?  The hitters  must be mad that he makes waaay more money than they do.

Talk about cursed.

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's Pablo Sandoval's time to shine

San Francisco Giants' Pablo Sandoval reacts after being struck out by Washington Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg during the second inning at Nationals Park in Washington on July 9, 2010. UPI/Kevin Dietsch Photo via Newscom
There is no way to argue that this season has not been a huge disappointment for Pablo Sandoval offensively.

Last season the guy was a revelation.  It seemed like just about every other game he was getting a big hit or homerun.  He was easily the most exciting player, offensively at least, on the Giants in 2009.  His .330 BA, 25 HRs, and 90 RBIs were numbers that hadn't been put up by a player in San Francisco since that guy named Bonds left town.  He narrowly missed making the All-Star team last season(and he would of if it weren't for that ridiculous Bran-Torino marketing campaign) and he would have won the 2009 rookie of the year award had he only had like 10 less ABs in 2008.

2010 started where 2009 left off.  As late as May 4th he was still batting over .330.  Then in the 61 games from May 5th through July 11th Pablo hit .231 with 3 HRs and 24 RBIs.  He turned into Mr. GIDP and the man who created a cottage industry for Panda hats was suddenly a fat guy trying to play third base.

He looked like he was going to break out of his slump early in August but he floundered.  His struggles have come to a head on the most recent road trip in which he hit a weak .136.  He had 1 RBI in 8 games and was benched for 2 of the games in the Padres series.

Why will he shine now?

The Giants play 12 of their final 18 games at home.  He must like the Rice-a-Roni or something because he has raked at home this season.  He is batting .336 at home, 8 of his 12 HRs have been hit at AT&T, and 37 of his 59 RBIs have been picked up on the shores of McCovey cove.  The numbers get even more ridiculous at home for Pablo.  His home OBP is a Bondsian .391, his home OPS is .926, and he even has 3 triples at home this season!

All the games for the rest of the season for the Giants are going to be huge.  With the Padres, Rockies, Phillies, and Braves are all battling for the Wild Card in addition to the 3 team race in the west.  The Giants can't afford to lost ANY games let alone the ones against division rivals.  Pablo Sandoval will have the chance to join the Buster Poseys, Aubrey Huffs, Juan Uribes, and Andres Torreses who have each stepped up to carry this team at different point this season.

The injury to Andres Torres provides a hole offensively that the Giants need to fill.  If Pablo steps up and produces in his absence and during these super important games he will be able to win back the hearts of all of those Giants fans who abandoned him while he was struggling.  He has struggled this season and he has even been the goat in a few games this season.  But the guy is 24 years old.  These are the most important games of the season.  He will prove that he has the heart of the champion.

He has to if the Giants want to make the postseason.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Giants to Padres: Our Ace is better than yours


The game was supposed to be a tight pitchers duel just like the two previous games were.  After all, the Padres young up-and-comer Mat "Hey there's a T missing" Latos was facing the defending 2 time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum.

That pitcher's duel never materialized.  Instead the Giants broke both of Latos' streaks today.  The first streak they broke was Latos' record streak of consecutive starts of allowing 2 earned runs or less.  They also broke his 16 start unbeaten streak.

On the other hand, Lincecum has been struggling this season.  He had a streak of 5 straight losing decisions in August and at 3.69 his ERA was at the highest it had been since his rookie season.

Instead, the Giants lit Latos up for 5 earned runs over 4 innings and looked like he had no idea where the strike zone was. Lincecum meanwhile allowed 1 run in seven innings and struck out 9.  It cemented Lincecum as the answer to the question: "Who would you rather have on the mound to start one must-win game?"  there is no question that this was as close to a must-win game that the Giants have played all season.

On Offense, the Buster Posey show continued.  His 2 run HR got the scoring started and had Latos reeling in the first inning.  Posey's habit of carrying the offense and getting the hits at exactly the right time only have added to his case for rookie of the year.

Tomorrow is an off day for the Giants who can take the day to figure out what they are going to do to replace Andres Torres over the next 10 days at least.  Bochy jumped at the chance to give Aaron Rowand a start in center and he was vintage Rowand going 0-5 and left 4 runners on base.  On the positive side, he only struck out one of those times!  I think the Giants would be better off with Cody Ross patrolling centerfield and the Giants would get more for the $13 million they were paying for Rowand if they released him and he stunk it up for another team.

Tuesday marks the start of a 3 game set against the Dodgers at AT&T.  Kershaw against Zito.  Hopefully the Dodgers lay down and die for us like they did against the Padres the other day.

Giants back in second after terrible offense catches up to them. But all signs point to a win today!


The Giants are 6-3 on their current road trip including last night's loss.  The crazy thing is they are batting a meager .205 on this trip.  

Other than July, when the Giants scored more runs than anybody in baseball, runs have been extremely hard to come by for this team.  Since the additions of Cody Ross and Jose Guillen they seem to be having even more trouble scoring runs than they did before.  Now I'm not blaming the Giants lack of offensive production on the acquisitions of those guys but the timing sure is odd.

The bottom line is the offense needs to produce.  The Giants realistically could have won every game on this road trip.  The most games they gave up in a game was 4, which they gave up to the Dodgers in back to back games, in the two 4 run games they were 1-1.  It's not as if the Home/Road BA splits for the Giants as a team are that dramatic (.269 home/.248 road), they hit more home runs on the road (62 home vs. 74 road), but they strike out slightly more on the road (443 or 19% of the time at home to 529 or 21% of the time on the road.  K% are necessary to get a true understanding of the strikeouts since the Giants have about 300 more ABs on the road than they do at home since they don't bat in all 9 innings in a home win and do in a road win.  they also have played 5 more road than home games to this point)  They also score more runs on the road (305 to 315 road) again since they have played more games there.

So the Giants, according to the statistics, should be able to hit better and score more runs than they have been doing over the last 9 games.

They haven't.  So this bodes well for the Giants in a number of ways.  First, they are due to score more than 1 run today (although the Padres probably are too) second, Mat Latos has allowed 2 runs or less in 15 straight games which is a record.  He is also due to give up a few more runs than he has been.  (So was Josh Johnson the last time the Giants faced him and they snapped his streak). Tim Lincecum owns a 2.15 career ERA against the Padres while Mat Latos owns a 0.96 ERA against them. (although Lincecum has thrown 79.1 innings against the Pads compared to Latos' 28.1 IP against the Giants).  Latos' ERA against the Giants is the lowest against any other team he has thrown more than 12 innings against in his career. (the lowest being Arizona with a 0.75 ERA in 12 IP)

What do all these random statistics mean?

Well, on the surface they point to a Giants victory today.  The Giants, statistically speaking, score more runs today and give up about as many runs as they have been allowing.  Mat Latos is due to see his ERA vs. the Giants spike and Tim Lincecum is on track to have his stats against the Padres remain roughly the same.

But this is baseball and they play the games for a reason.  So sit down with your favorite beverage, some good food, a few friends, and watch the Giants battle for their share of first place in the N.L. West!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Aubrey Huff wills the Giants into first place


From the moment Jonathan Sanchez took the mound and rubbed out the "SD" logo that the grounds crew puts on the back of the mound, you knew it was going to be a tense game.

For the second time this season a Giants - Padres game has ended 1-0 with the deciding run having been scored without the benefit of a hit.  After what has to be the worst 5 inning 1 hit shutout pitching performance I have ever seen the Giants were able to be the ones to score the run that decided the game.

The game was a statement game.  It told the Padres that you can't just come out and beat us whenever you want.  It also secured at least a series tie with the Pads which seems to be a minor miracle given the way the Padres have owned the Giants to date this season.

Leading off the 7th inning Aubrey Huff got hit by a pitch in the back of the right arm.  He looked like he was in tremendous pain, but when the trainer came out to look at it Huff ran away from him and took first base while trying to work the pain out of his arm. “Funny bone. Tingling and numbness,” Huff said. “Just suck it up. I didn’t want to Roger Dorn it too much out there.”

With Pat Burrell batting, huff decided that he would steal second base.  He barely made it to second kicking the ball out of David Eckstein's glove when Burrell swung trough the pitch for strike three.

The next batter was Jose Guillen and Huff violated the cardinal rule of not running to third on a groundball hit in front of you but he wound up being safe.  “It was actually a dumb play on my part,” he said. “I thought it’d be in the hole. Once you go, you can’t stop. Good call there, I was safe. It’s not how you draw it up, not a smart play, but it worked out.”

Huff scored when Juan Uribe beat out the tail end of a double play thanks to Nate Schierholtz's takeout of every Giants' fan's least favorite second baseman.  “I had it in my mind at first base,” Schierholtz said. “I knew on a ground ball, I had to go into second hard. I was able to slide late and he was right on top of the bag. I was able to get a piece of him."

Back to Jonathan Sanchez's strange outing.  As I said earlier it was the worst 5 inning one hit shutout performance ever. It may not have been the worst shutout performance I have seen from a Giants pitcher.    On Sept. 4, 1999 Russ Ortiz went 6 innings, walked 7 batters, allowed 2 hits, and struck out 8 Pirates.  Now his outing could be classified as better since he lasted 6 innings and struck out 8.  But he gave up 2 hits as opposed to Sanchez's one so I think Sanchez did  a better job.

Brian Wilson had two great quotes to sum up the game and to talk about Sanchez's performance:

On Sanchez's brief night: "He knows we've got a lot of arms in the bullpen, He went 100 percent on every single pitch. You can't ask for anything better than that. And then our sixth-inning guy throws 100 mph. That's not bad, either."

On the game and his 5th 5 out save of the season:  "This is what you prepare for. If you need a breather or a day off, go to bed early. You'll have to suck it up and play to win from here on out."

Bumgarner Vs. Stauffer this afternoon

Friday, September 10, 2010

Giants clobber the Padres!


Look at all those Giants fans in the stands!
The Giants launched four homeruns to whip up on the once-again reeling Padres.  After the useless Dodgers gave all of Giants nation indigestion by letting the Padres sweep them and making it appear the Padres had righted their ship.

This game was absolutely huge for the Giants mentally.  They hadn't scored more than 2 runs in a game against the Padres since a 7-6 win waaaay back on May 18.  it took 13 innings for them to score those 7 runs.  Aubrey Huff, Juan Uribe, Buster Posey, and Pat Burrell each went deep in consecutive innings which is something that the Giants hadn't done since 2007 against the Braves.

While reveling in all the offensive glory, I almost forgot to give credit to Matt Cain who did nothing but shut the Padres down on three hits going into the 9th inning.  If it wasn't for giving up homers to Venable and Ludwick, we would be talking about Cain's dominant performance.  But it will be sufficient to say that he did exactly what the Giants needed him to do at exactly the right time.  He is still, at least in my book, the Giants' best starting pitcher this season.

The final and most emberassing statistic for the Padres had to be the attendance figures for the game.  You figure a team has to sell out a home game against the second place team who are only two games back with 20 games left in the season.  Right?  Even the Oakland A's could sell all their tickets for a game like that right?  

Well, you would be wrong.  Even with the 10,000 or so Giants fans who made the trek to San Diego for the game.  The Padres only managed to draw 28,456 people to fill their 42,000 seats.  That has gotta be depressing for a home team.

Tonight Jonathan Sanchez faces Clayton Richard in a battle of lefties.  Ol' Dirty will be gunning for his third straight quality start while the Giants offense will try to figure out Richard who is 3-0 with a 2.05 ERA against the Giants this season.  But just like the Padres record against the Giants this season, the numbers need to do a little evening out.

Gotta give credit to the Crazycrabbers for giving me the idea but here is my ode to the Padres:

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Hard Luck Zito


August 02, 2007 - Los Angeles, CA #75 Barry Zito pitches at Dodger Stadium during the Giants visit Photo via NewscomBarry Zito pitched well enough to win.  He went 6 innings, gave up 3 runs, and struck out 7 against the Diamondbacks.  If you had told any Giants fan that this was going to be Zito's line before the game they would have jumped up and down.  If you would have told them that Freddy Sanchez was going to hit another homerun they would have said the Giants were gonna go into San Diego riding a five game winning streak.

If I told  that same Giants fan that they would continue their terrible hitting with runners in scoring position by going 0 for 6 then they would have groaned.

That's what the Giants did last night and as a result they only managed to scratch one run across the board last night on Freddy Sanchez's solo homerun.

I'm not going to lie, it wasn't the type of performance that I want to see the Giants have on the eve of the 4 game series in San Diego against the suddenly hot Padres.  It's actually the type of performance that the Giants have had in just about every game against San Diego this season.

The Giants sit 2 games back of the Padres in the NL west and the only way that they can even leave San Diego tied is to win 3 out of 4 games against the Padres in Petco park.  It will be the toughest task that the Giants have faced yet.  The Giants pitchers are all coming off of solid starts so it's safe to assume the Giants pitching won't be the concern in this series.  

Although it hasn't been in the season series against the Padres so far.

There is hope.  The Giants and Padres talent level is just about even.  Odds dictate that the Giants should not continue to get dominated by a team that is so similar on a talent level.  But then again this is baseball and since when do odds mean anything?  Consider this:  The Giants and Padres have played 11 games so far this season and the Giants have faced Matt Latos and Clayton Richard in 8 of them!  Yes they will both be facing the Giants in this series.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Timmy gets his K on!


May 09, 2010 - Queens, NEW YORK, United States - epa02150559 San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum firing a pitch to home plate to the New York Mets in the first inning at Citi Field, in Queens, New York, USA, 09 May 2010.Tim Lincecum struck out 10 Dbacks in 6.2 innings of work last night.  Over his last 2 starts and 14 innings he has struck out 20 batters.

That is the Tim Lincecum we all know and love.

The offense scored six runs , behind 3 homers, in support of Timmy and allowed him to get his team leading 13th win.  What makes that so special is the fact that they scored all of their runs off of the impressive rookie Barry Enright who had allowed no more than 3 runs in any of his 12 starts to begin his big league career.  The Giants welcomed him to the big leagues properly tonight!

Not too much else notable went on in the game last night.  Pablo Sandoval was benched and Bochy hinted that he may be benched more on the road where he is batting an atrocious .208 compared to .336 at home.  I couldn't even begin to tell you what the problem is there.

Steve Decker joined the Giants coaching staff.  Of course they are saying that it is to help with the young kids.  Hopefully it leads to some kind of managerial change next season or the season after!

Nate Schierholtz got in the game but didn't get an AB.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Hey Remember me?


His name is Nate Schierholtz for those of you who forgot and he has been up with the Giants since opening day. He wasn't some mid season acquisition or September call-up.  He is a guy who has been there for every one of the team's wins and losses.  He hasn't been given a whole lot of opportunity, he has only had 3 ABs in a game once since July 23, and to be fair he hasn't really taken advantage of the few opportunities he has been given.

But he took advantage of this one.

It sure didn't look like he would at first.  When he was called upon in the 7th inning to pinch run for Pat Burrell Nate was picked off and the inning was over.  At a point in the game where the team was desperate for runs they could ill afford to have a runner picked off.  But he did get picked off and, in making one of the few good decisions he has made all season,  Bochy actually left him in to play the outfield.

In the 11th inning after the Giants got runners on first and second with two outs Nate got his second AB of the game, he lined out in the 10th inning,  and delivered.  He fouled off the first pitch he saw from Dbacks reliever Aaron Heilman and then smoked the next pitch into the right-centerfield gap to score Buster Posey and Aubrey Huff.


So does this mean that Nate will get more PT as the season winds down?  Doubtful.  But hopefully he will continue to make the most out of any opportunities that he happens to get from here on out.

Did you know that the Giants' pitchers are working on a 25 consecutive scoreless inning streak?  It started in the 5th inning of Saturday's game against the Dodgers and has continued through tonight's 11 inning affair.  I think it's safe to say that the starting rotation's slump is over.

Lincecum vs. Enright tonight.   Seems as though Enright has not failed to go at least 5 innings in each of his 12 starts this season or give up more than 3 runs.  Tonight would be a good time to put an end to one of those streaks.

Monday, September 6, 2010

And then there was one........ Game between the Giants and the Padres


Is there anybody out there that still thinks the Giants should have traded Jonathan Sanchez at the trade deadline?

Jonathan Sanchez took his perfectly shaped eyebrows to the mound with him in Los Angeles and shut the Dodgers down.  He went 7 sparkling innings, struck out 9, and walked only one batter!

The walk stat is huge because that is the one thing that has been keeping Sanchez from reaching the next level and becoming a more consistent pitcher.  He has walked 3 batters or less in each of his last 6 starts including tonight.  If he can keep his walks down the rest of the year then he will be tough coming out of the #4 spot in the rotation down the stretch.

Juan Uribe.

What can I say about this guy other than I hope that ball he took off the shin isn't too serious. (I think it wast the Mercury News that said he is expected to be OK tomorrow)  His homerun in the 7th inning was huge.  A 1 run game in the 8th and 9th can be lost so many different ways, ask Cody Ross, but a 3-0 game takes a little more work.  Uribe has hit so many important homers for the Giants this year and this one basically put a nail in tonight's game and probably the Dodgers' season.

Nothing wrong with that.

2 more quick links:

The Mercury News makes a good point as to why Brandon Belt won't be up this season.  Although I do wonder why guys like Brett Pill don't get the call but I'm not the GM.

Lastly this video is hilarious.  It's a Dodgers' fan otherwise it wouldn't be as funny but since it is I am laughing every time I even think about this clip:

Oh, I almost forgot we had a Sergio Romo sighting tonight:

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Giants have an odd one in Brian Wilson


The Giants were only able to manage two hits last night and Zito gave up 4 runs in 4 innnings.  I t didn't really hurt them that much in the standings since the Padres lost their 8th game in a row, but it is frustrating on a number of levels.  Barry Zito continued his slide, the Giants offense struggled once again, and they failed to capitalize on the Padres misfortune.  The fact that they could only manage two hits and wouldn't have scored at all if they didn't have Buster Posey on their team just made matters more unbearable.

So instead of wasting any more post time to the subpar effort of our favorite team I am just going to link some clips from the Giants weird closer Brian Wilson.  I don't know really what is up with this guy but he is really weird.  The guy who is most famous for wearing orange spikes to the mound in the All-Star game and then getting fined $1000.00 by MLB for wearing them in an actual game, sporting a mohawk on the mound, edge of your seat saves, and the overuse of the word delicious turns out to even weirder than I ever suspected.

In this video Brian Wilson lets us in on the location of the Gimp.  You gotta wait until about 6:30 into the clip to see it but it is worth it to watch the rest.

This clip we learn the reason Wilson was fined $1000.00 by MLB was because he had too much awesomeness on his feet, what kind of smartphone Wilson uses, and what he carries in his back pocket.

Since I couldn't find the embed code on foxsportsnet I will just link this video with  Wilson playing the Didgeridoo and high fiving Matt Downs.

Lastly, here is a link to a collection of clips from Wilson's short lived Comcast sports net reality show the Life of Brian.

I really can't explain the guy.  Hopefully it takes your mind off the Giant embarrassment from last night.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Lincecum outduels Jimenez. Suddenly the world feels like a better place!


That's right Tim Lincecum outdueled the 2010 Cy Young front runner.

Boy that feels good to say.

In case you were under a rock last night here is his line from last night: 
         IP             H        R         ER       BB         K       HR            ERA

Isn't it beautiful?

Yes it was vintage Lincecum last night.  The only mistake he made all night was to Carlos Gonzalez who blasted his 30th homer of the season, can you imagine where the A's would be right now if they had this guy and Anre Eithier still instead of having both of them terrorizing the Giants in the NL West?  People say that Brian Sabean can't make good trades. 

Back to Lincecum.  Whatever he did to fix his delivery, stop tipping his pitches, or throwing strikes.  It worked.  Nobody knows what Tim did because all of the beat writers wanted to talk to Darren Ford who, while he did score the winning run, didn't do much more than be in the right place at the right time.  Lincecum's 9 strikeouts were the most that Timmy has had in a game since July 30th and his 8 IP were the most since July 25th.

It's not like he all of the sudden just got better.  Sure he was knocked around a bit in August and he lost his last 5 decisions, but his last start did give some glimmers of hope.    In that game, against Arizona, Timmy gave up 4 runs in 6.0 IP and struck out 6.  He did give up that massive bomb to Adam LaRoche that prompted the tipping pitches question.  He also gave up 4 walks.  That game, while not great by any means showed an improvement over the last few outings Lincecum had.

I'm sure there are some Giants fans that are upset about the Giant offense last night.  While the offense is still a concern, I just don't think there is much more they could of done against Ubaldo Jimenez. The guy had only given up 130 hits in 176.1 IP coming into last night's game.  He was routinely throwing the ball at 99 MPH and the fact that the Giants were able to get anything at all off the guy is really a testament to this team.

September call-ups:

The Giants are really giving us a glimpse into the future!  They called up...... Dan Runzler and Edgar Renteria? now they did call up an actual minor leaguer in Darren Ford but that seems to be a mistake since they didn't call up anybody else.  No Brandon Belt, No Brett Pill, No Connor Gillaspie, No Eric Hacker, No Thomas Neal.  No minor leaguers other than Ford.

Now since the AAA season doesn't end til Monday the Giants could just be waiting until then and then they will bring up some more guys.  But right now it looks like Belt will be headed straight to the AFL.  This move, if true, makes no sense at all.  Some have argued that it's better for him to continue to develop as a hitter rather than sit on the bench in September.  

That notion is garbage.

Buster Posey did just fine after spending most of last September on the bench.  Plus, the Giants have the opportunity to get Belt some exposure to a pennant race without having to rely on him to carry the team.  He can soak all of this September baseball up and the Arizona Fall League will still be there when the season is over.

I hope the Giants realize this.