Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Nate the Great tied it and Freddy Ballgame won it!

With Tim Lincecum getting the start for the Giants against the Nationals, you would have expected this game to follow a different course than it did.

You wouldn't have expected Timmy to give up 4 earned runs in just over 5 innings.  You also wouldn't (well actually you might have expected) the Giants were going to be held to two hits through 6 innings.  If someone told you that was going to happen before the game started you probably would have said that the Giants were going to leave with a loss.

I know I thought it was going to be a tough night for the guys in orange and black.

Nate Schierholtz and Freddy Sanchez are the stars of this game.  Nate's clutch, pinch-hit, 2 out, 2 strike, game tying RBI tied the game in he bottom of the 8th.  Then, 5 innings later, Freddy Sanchez poked another 2 out single to win the game.

This team has so much heart and character.  With the amount of injuries they have had and the amount of games that they have fallen behind in early, they shouldn't even be sniffing first place.  But they know they are good.  They know how to win ugly.  This team got a taste of the promised land last season and you can tell by the way that they are playing their asses off that they are going to do their damnedest to make it back there this season.

Good.  That's what good teams do.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Some Giants fun

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

First place Giants keep rolling!

After taking 3 out of 4 from the Central division leading St. Louis Cardinals and regaining sole possession of first place in the NL West.  The Giants came home last night and took care of business against the Colorado Rockies.

For some reason, the Giants can't score until after their opponents do.  But as long as they keep winning I guess that it's OK.  I no longer get too upset over the other team scoring first as it seems that the Giants' offense doesn't realize that there is a baseball game going on until that happens.

The lineup that Bochy put out there last night may just be the best offense that the Giants have.  At least until Pablo Sandoval returns.  The outfield of Ross, Torres, and Schierholtz are easily the best offensive and defensive options that the Giants have in the outfield.  Oh and that guy Schierholtz only had one hit, but it came during the three run fourth inning and he eventually scored.  Just sayin...

As for the infield, Burriss definitely earned another start with his 3 hit performance and Crawford was right in the mix as well.  I hope this is the beginning of the end of Miguel Tejada's time in a Giants uniform.  I loved the guy in Oakland (hell I even have his rookie card), but as Bob Costas said during Thursday night's game on MLB network, Tejada "is a shadow of his former self."  Also, according to Carl Steward, I'm not the only one who feels Miggy might be done.

Cain didn't have his best stuff, he did walk four guys, but he made up for it by striking out 7 and holding the Rockies to just one run.  Cain has always been a good pitcher.  He has never been a dominating pitcher.  He has just always found ways to win games.  I know his last few starts has caused some concern, but he really has always had hiccups like these along the way.

Tomorrow's forecast calls for rain.  That's a bummer.  Hopefully they can squeeze the game in but we will see.

Go Giants!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Is Nate Schierholtz the Giants MVP?

Last night's game was amazing.  It had a 3 run comeback, multiple lead changes, and extra innings.  Through all of that, one guy emerged as the star.

Nate Schierholtz.

I seriously believe that this guy is the Giants' MVP so far.  At least as far as position players go.  Nobody else on this team has contributed offensively, defensively, and on the basepaths.  OK well maybe Burris or Ford run  a little better than he does, but that's about all that they do so far.

Hell, Schierholtz even leads the team in homers since Pablo went down.  Sure he's only got 3 over that time but when the team leader has 5 and he hasn't played in over a month that is huge for an offense.

Look, I know that Bochy likes to let veterans play and try to get hot.  But he also showed last season that he isn't afraid to replace an underperforming veteran with an up and comer when he replaced Rowand with Torres. The time has finally come for Boch to give Nate the starting role in right field.  Ross has played well enough to play left and of course Torres is the guy in center.  Burrell is not much more than a bench guy at this point and he may even need to be an emergency first baseman.  I know I would feel more comfortable with him there than I would with Burriss over there.

Nate has been getting the majority of starts in right but now it's time for him to be there permanently.

In other news;

Brandon Crawford has hit just enough to convince me that he is an upgrade at this point over Miguel Tejada.  I am sure that Crawford can hit .217 and play a whole lot better in the field than Tejada can.  I floated the idea on Twitter during the game and I want to get it out there here.

I think the Giants should release Tejada when Pablo Sandoval comes off the DL.

I'm pretty sure there is zero to no chance of that happening, but I can hope.  Besides, the way the Giants players are getting injured maybe Tejada will go on the DL.  It has to happen sometime in his career.

Maybe I should have read Andrew Baggerly's blog before I wrote mine.  You can read it here.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Maybe there is some magic left inside!?!

The second game after "the incident" regarding Buster Posey had Giants fans, and probably Giants players, fearing the worst.  After all, it had been 18 innings since the Giants had scored a run and Shaun Marcum was dealing.

Then, Andres Torres singled, stole second base, and scored on a single by Freddy Sanchez.  Despite this development many fans were still unsure that the punchless Giants could score 2 more runs and even tie this game much less win it.

They were proven wrong in the 7th when the Giants loaded the bases against Marcum and the guy who was taking only his second major league AB showed that the magic is still there if you look hard enough.

Now, I'm sure that most rational Giants fans don't expect that Brandon Crawford is going to be yanking balls out of the yard like Jose Bautista (I can't believe I just said that) but this is the stuff that legends are made from.  Crawford has always been regarded as a slick fielding. light hitting shortstop.  This season he was batting .322 with 3 homeruns but he had only played in 3 games.  But the Giants really don't have any other option at SS so he is going to get a lot of time there.  At least until someone comes off the DL.

But regardless, the Giants formula from last season was there.  Good pitching, although Lincecum gutted it out with less than his best stuff, and a different hero every night.  Last season this team got a boost from a rookie.  This season this team got a boost from a rookie.  

Even if was only for one game

Friday, May 27, 2011

A tough break for Posey, Giants

As I'm sure you all know, Buster Posey is likely out for the season with a broken femur and torn ankle ligaments.

This is the absolute worst news that the Giants possibly could have received this season.  I guess it's not the worst news considering he could have had some torn knee ligaments and been out into next season.  So I guess there is a bright side.

The possible impact on the Giants has been talked to death so I'm not going to rehash that here.

What I do want to talk about are some controversial discussions about the events that surrounded Posey's injury.

The first being that Bruce Bochy is to blame because of the way that he handled the Bullpen.  The theory is that if he had Romo pitch longer in the 8th rather than put Lopez in to pitch to a bunch of righties that the Giants' 9th inning rally would have won the game.


Shoulda, woulda, coulda.  Bochy's utilization of Romo this season has been confonding to be sure.  But Lopez has thrived in just about every situation that Boch has thrown him into.  The Marlins are a good hitting team and there is no reason to believe that Romo would have done any better.  Or that the Giants would have still gone on to score 4 runs in the bottom of the 9th (they wouldn't have since they only would have had to score 2 runs to walk-off) but the pitchers would have taken a completely different approach, the hitters would have taken a different approach, and the managers would have approached things different.

Cousins play was a dirty play.  Of course it was dirty because it happened to our guy.  But that isn't necessarily the case.  Despite what Buster Posey's agent says.  It doesn't matter where Posey was, it doesn't matter what position he was in, Cousin's job is to score there.  No matter what the cost.  The throw beat him and was on the money.  He doesn't know that Posey dropped it.  He can try to avoid the tag or he can go for contact to try and knock it loose.  He chose to knock it loose.  For whatever reason, he thought that was his best chance to score the game winning run.  Now, if it's the top of the second rather than the top of the 12th he probably makes a different decision, but as Giants fans always say after a Bochy decision "what if they lose the division by one game?".  The play was legit and it is part of baseball.

That leads to the ridiculous talk about trying to outlaw collisions at the plate.  Despite what the various blogs around are trying to tell you, there is a lot more contact in baseball than they are saying.  All we hear about is that the only time players collide is when they are coming home.

That's total B.S.

What about when a player comes in hard to break up a double play?  What about when a pitcher covering first base can't slow down in time and runs into the baserunner?  How about when a player gets hit by a pitch?

People are calling for some kind of a rule change to prevent collisions at the plate.  What are they going to do?  Do the softball thing where the runner doesn't even touch home plate?  Call him out if he does?  Then you need to outlaw hard slides, don't let pitchers cover first, and outlaw beanballs.  It's ridiculous.  For all the talk about the danger of collisions at the plate, the only one I can think of that really ended someones career, or at least changed that player forever, is when Pete Rose destroyed Ray Fosse in the All-star game.

Alright, my rant is over, I sure hope Buster recovers from this.  If the Giants aren't seriously looking into some kind of a position change with him, they are crazy.  Look at what has been going on with Joe Mauer in Minnesota to see what can happen to guys like this.  Hopefully it can happen BEFORE Buster signs a $150 million contract.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Baseball is a cruel, cruel, game

At the beginning of this week the San Francisco Giants were on top of the world.

Hell, even tonight they looked like they were going to win one of their patented late-inning-come-from-behind-walk-off games.

What a difference a couple of innings makes.

A sacrifice fly, an on target laser beam of a throw from Nate Scheirholtz, and a collision at the plate later, the Giants clubhouse, to quote Andrew Baggerly, was "a funeral".  

That's baseball for you.  That's what happens when your best offensive player is a catcher.  You think that nothing can go wrong and then all of the sudden it does.

Not much else to write about.  I was all excited that finals are over and then I could devote more time to this blog, which I will by the way, things looked great and then BOOM.  Giants lose, Posey's hurt.

Day game tomorrow.  Let's win one for Buster!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Giants are finally getting a little momentum!

Wow, what a weekend!

After the Giants lost 3 out of four games to the Nationals, I was really worried that this was going to be a long summer by the bay.  But they went to New York and took 2 out of three from the Mets.  I looked at the standings and realized that the Giants were 5-5 on that roadtrip.  That's not as bad as my mind told me it was.

But the offense looked, and still looks, even worse than last season.  Including tonight's game, they have only scored 4 or more runs in a game 15 times this season.  This works out to a pathetic 3.43 runs per game.  It did not look good for the Giants with those first place Rockies on their way to town.

But something else was going on with these Giants.  Up until last night's 1-0 game these offense challenged Giants had only given up 121 runs.  If you compare this to the amount of runs they have scored, which is also 121, then you get a perspective on just how good this pitching staff has been.

So these surging Rockies come to town and what happens?  They score a whopping 5 runs in 3 games and since the Giants can score 3.43 runs per game these stats = a sweep for the Giants.

Now the question is can the pitching keep it up for the entire season?

First off, I think they will.  Remember, this is a staff that set a live ball era record with 18 straight games of allowing 3 or less earned runs last season.  Which means they are that good.  They know what it takes to win, and all of them (except Ryan Vogelsong) have been pitching on these offense starved Giants for their entire careers.  So they know what it is like to pitch under pressure!

The good thing is I don't think that they will have to keep up the pressure pitching so much.  When Pablo Sandoval comes back, Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, and Buster Posey all start hitting.  This offense is going to put some runs on the board.

It's going to be an exciting summer after all!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Rough weekend for the Giants

This weekend had to have been the toughest weekend of the young season.  From the opening day loss to the Dodgers until yesterday's punchless loss to the Nationals the whole season has been a disappointment.  It is still early, so hopefully the Giants get all of the disappointment out of the way early this season, but it is hard to get the nagging feeling of seeing it all fall apart out of your head.

The list of disappointment is long.  The entire Giant offense, Madison Bumgarner's rough start, Brandon Belt showing he isn't quite ready for the show, Miguel Tejada, Pat Burrell's BA, and the long list of injuries.

I think that the biggest key to this season turning around is just getting everyone healthy.  Obviously Pablo Sandoval's injury hasn't been the main contributor to the Giants' struggles but it is symbolic of them.  Ever since opening day, more than one key piece of the Giants offense, bullpen, rotation, or defense has been on the disabled list.

The Giants opened the season with Cody Ross and Brian Wilson on the DL.  Since they have come back, both have struggled.  Wilson has had more success than Ross has had, but neither of them has really contributed in the way that the Giants hoped they would coming in to the season.  Since that time, Andres Torres, Barry Zito, Mark DeRosa, Santiago Casilla, and Pablo Sandoval have all gone on the DL.  All of these guys are major pieces to the puzzle and having one or 2 of these guys on the DL puts the Giants at a disadvantage.  Having all 5 of them on the DL at once makes the Giants a completely different team than what they thought they were going to have when they left Arizona last month.

If the Giants can get healthy and get all of these guys back on the field, I think that they will be a much better team than they have shown to this point.  Really, considering all the injuries and how many games the Giants have played on the road to start the season, the Giants aren't in too bad of a place being 1 game under .500.  One good stretch can make everyone forget these early games and, as guys get healthy, I think we will see the Giants return to their winning ways.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Is The Magic Gone Already?

23 games into the 2011 season and the Giants are a mediocre 11-12.

They look mediocre too.

The hitting is mediocre, the defense is mediocre, and even the pitching is mediocre.  Is this really the same team that had the majors best record over the last 50 games or so last season?

The naysayers are probably having a field day with the Giants record right now.  There were some prognosticators who were predicting that the Giants would finish in fourth place this season.

Fourth Place!

I have been mostly upbeat about the Giants so far this season despite their early season struggles.  I keep comparing them to last season when they had a rough start to the season.

But this isn't last season.

Are we going to keep living in last season?  Is every development from the 2011 season going to be looked upon in context to last season?  The simple answer is yes.  We are going to be hearing comparisons to the Giants of last season until this team does something that makes us believe that last season was not a fluke.  We can't help it.

It is really tough to separate the two seasons from one another.  Even though last season has nothing to do with this season, there is nothing else for us to really compare what is happening with the Giants to.  Later in the season, we can look back at this stretch of the season and compare things but that probably won't start until around the all-star break or so.

This and that;

  • Looks like Mark DeRosa is going back on the disabled list.  I'm not surprised about this development. I am somewhat surprised about the timing of it.  I thought that he would go on the DL when Torres got back.  But we will get a little glimpse of Emmanuel Burris.  It's either going to be Burriss or Ford who go down when Torres is healthy.
  • Madison Bumgarner pitched like the guy we were all hoping that he would be against the Pirates yesterday.  But he got Matt Cained as the Giants failed to score a single run on the day which dropped his record to 0-4.  Hopefully he can string together 2 good starts in a row and get that first win next time around.
  • Ryan Vogelsong gets the start tomorrow against his old team.  The Giants have been really high on this guy and he is really set up to succeed.  Really, all the guy has to be is a serviceable #5 starter until Zito is healthy.  Hopefully he can make the decision to activate Zito a tough one.
I'm reading "A Band of MiSFits" by the San Jose Mercry News' Andrew Baggerly.  I'm only into the third chapter right now, but I will do a review of the book when I get finished with it.  (no promises on how soon that will be)  It's interesting looking at some more of the background on the storylines that we followed as the season progressed last year.  For example, the reasons that Buster Posey was brought up when he was are explored a little more in depth than was possible during the season. 

It's a good read so far.  I got it from Amazon.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Rolling Giants set for NLDS rematch

After their terrible first series to open the season, the San Francisco Giants have met every challenge that has been thrown at them.  They split a two game series in San Diego and they have taken two out of every three games since then.  I know a lot of fans are disappointed that they haven't swept any teams (they should have swept the D-backs) but if they keep winning 2 out of every 3 games, then they are on pace for a 108 win season.

The series against the Rockies was absolutely as big of a series as you can get this early in the season.  The Rockies were rolling over the competition and had a nice lead over the Giants coming into the series.  To take 2 out of those 3 games, in Colorado no less, reminds the baseball world that the path to the World Series still runs through San Francisco.

That brings us to the series starting today.

The Giants and Braves meet for the first time since their NLDS series last October.  Atlanta is struggling a little bit with a 4-6 record over their last 10 games and an 8-12 record overall.  I wouldn't put all that much stock in their record because I still think this team is at least as good as last season and I doubt that they will finish the season below .500.

The Giants, as I mentioned before, are rolling right now.  Despite this stupid schedule that had them in Colorado Wednesday, home for 3 games starting today, and then in Pittsburgh on Tuesday.  I think they are set up to have a good series with Bumgarner going today and then Timmy, and Dirty going on Saturday and Sunday.

I also think that today's start is going to be the one where we see the Madbum of last season.  Remember, he had a rough beginning to last season and it ended with him twirling a shutout in the World Series.  Plus, I think his last start against, Arizona was a big deal.  He gave up the four early runs and then stayed in to shut the Dbacks down.  I really am glad that Boch left him in there to clean up his own mess.

I want to just say one last thing about Brandon Belt.  I think that the Giants handled the situation about as good as they could have handled it.  His season last year, plus his spring this year earned him a shot at sticking with the big club.  Whether it was because of Ross' injury or not.  The bottom line is he didn't hit well enough to stick, small sample size or not.  If he had been hitting .280 or had 3 or 4 HRs, then Darren Ford would be in Fresno right now.  Also, if Aaron Rowand hadn't got off to such a hot start, then Belt may still be around.  The bottom line is, the only way to know for sure if a guy is ready for the bigs is to let him play in the bigs.  Sure, in a perfect world, you want to get the guy 100 or so ABs.  But this world isn't perfect and the Giants gave him all the opportunity that they could.  They can't afford to let the guy hit .180 for much longer and it really would be mishandling him to have him sit on the bench.  Now, he goes to Fresno where he can work out the kinks in his swing and he already has all the lessons he learned from the big boys.  It's all just a part of a young player's development.  This kid isn't Buster Posey.  Those kind of guys are once in a generation type players.  He is gonna have to take a little more time to develop like 90% of big leaguers.

Monday, April 18, 2011

2 out of Three isn't so bad

The Giants took 2 out of 3 games from the Arizona Diamondbacks in Arizona.  While a sweep would have been nice, a series win is almost as good.

There were still a lot of positives to take from this series.

  • Pablo Sandoval.  The guy is absolutely on fire.  He hit two more homeruns in this series and is still batting a robust .340.  I now understand how his weight was holding him back last season.  A lot of people said that his weight was not keeping him from being able to swing the bat.  I actually agreed with those people.  But we were wrong.  Pablo's weight was tiring him out.  He wasn't able to last an entire game without getting gassed.  It's no wonder that his struggles worsened as the season went on.  This season, he has energy, a bounce in his step, and he just looks ready to go in the later innings.  I think we are going to have to start another push for the all-star game for Pablo.
  • Madison Bumgarner.  I really think yesterday's game was a turning point for him.  Sure, giving up 4 runs wasn't a great outing, but the fact that he was able to settle down and keep the D-backs at bay for a few more innings proved to him that he can still get guys out.  I think he will start to right the ship even more in his next start.
  • Buster Posey.  The guy is raking now and Huff hit his first homer so now the Giants have a 3-4-5 of Huff, Posey, and Sandoval.  If these guys are all hot at the same time they are up there with some of the best 3-4-5 combos in the league.  Add Freddy Sanchez in the mix at #2 and that is a lot of offense.
  • Aaron Rowand.  I am a little more tepid on this guy because he has been so tremendously bad for the Giants up until now, but maybe getting angry over being replaced in centerfield by Torres is a good thing.  He is going to have some more time to keep it up.
This series did have it's share of negatives though.

  • Barry Zito.  His injury is big considering that the best guy that they could find to fill his spot in the rotation is Ryan Vogelsong.  Sure Zito has looked pretty weak to begin the season, but I think he has what it takes to turn it around and to be an effective #4 starter for the rest of the season.  Hopefully the ankle doesn't become more of an issue than his 15 day stint on the DL.  Remember, he has never been injured before and he may not know what it takes to come back from an injury.  This could be a recurring thing with him this season.
  • Brandon Belt.  It seems like it was just yesterday that this guy was hitting a homerun in his second big league game.  Since then, it hasn't been too good for the big first baseman.  He has more strikeouts than he has hits and with 12 strikeouts in 50 ABs, he is on pace to strikeout 144 times over the course of a 600 AB season.  Sure, we all like the kid and want him to succeed in the bigs, but the fact of the matter is, he just may not be ready for the show.  I understand that the sample size is small but this is the big leagues.  80-100 PAs is about all you are going to get in order to show what you can do unless you are playing for a team that is on fire, or a team that has no pennant hopes that season.  He probably has about a week to start hitting or he will be on the bus back to Fresno.  Although he may already be on his way back to Fresno when Ross gets reactivated.  It's either gonna be Belt of Ford going to Fresno when Ross comes back.
I finally watched the 30 minute preview of "The Franchise" last night.  This looks show looks like it's going to be great.  I can't wait until July!  We all know these guys from the interviews and what not that they give but this show really goes into much more than that.  The part at the end when they Marc Kroon going down and Brandon Belt making the club is something that you just don't see every day.  I know that we already love these Giants but I think that we will all come away feeling even closer to this bunch of misfits.

Off to Colorado!  Tomorrow is Timmy day!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Giants Win the First homestand of the season!

It's been an exciting 2 nights since my last post!  In case you hadn't noticed (or cared even) I am going to be posting roughly every day this season.  With 2 small kids, a full time job, and a full load of college classes this season is going to be hard to post after every game.  I won't be posting game recaps so much as observations on the Giants and any current developments, trends, or news that I can find!

So, after losing the first 3 out of 4 games to the Dodgers to start the season, the Giants finished their first homestand a winner with a record of 4-2.  Going back to the 2 game series with San Diego, they have split one series and won 2 series.  This is the way you win divisions and concentrating on Colorado's hot start will just give you ulcers.  Colorado just does not have the pitching to keep it up over a full season.  They are just Jimenez and a bunch of other guys.

Other observations from the last few days:

  • Pablo Sandoval's homer from the right side matched his HR output from that side for ALL of last season.  The fact that it came within his 1st 12 right handed ABs this season is huge.  He didn't hit his first HR right handed last season until August!  Hopefully this is a good sign that we will see the Pablo of 2009 instead of 2010.
  • Brian Wilson is ready.  His first two outings weren't pretty.  The defense didn't help him too much in one of those outings.  How do you fix that?  Just strike everybody out.  With 4 Ks in the last 2 nights, Wilson has shown the dominance that we have come to expect from the bearded one.
  • Were you worried about Buster Posey?  The Dodgers certainly were after going 3 for 4 with 2 RBIs on Tuesday, the Dodgers elected to just hit Posey twice.  The games later in the season could get ugly between these two teams.  Just a fair warning.
  • DeRosa's wrist.  Mark DeRosa was scratched from a start at second base Wednesday because of soreness in his wrist.  Yes the same wrist which basically sidelined him for last season.  I would not be shocked at all to see DeRosa go on the DL with this wrist injury when Ross returns.  That or a trade of some sort (unlikely).  Before Rowand's hot hitting, I would have thought that Aaron Rowand's days in San Francisco were over, but the Giants just refuse to get rid of this guy.  Unless he gets traded (again, unlikely) then Rowand is probably gonna play out the rest of his contract in San Francisco.
So now the Giants will have another day off before taking travelling to Arizona to whip up on the Snakes.  They had a 13-5 record against the D-backs last season so hopefully the fact that Barry Zito and Madison Bumgarner take the mound for the first 2 games after looking shaky so far this season is a chance for them to get right.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Giants fall to Kershaw again

The San Francisco Giants have no answer for Clayton Kershaw.  He has a 23 2/3 scoreless inning streak against them and they just looked clueless against him tonight.

It's tough to be positive when your team is sitting at 4-6.  But Lincecum and Cain are pitching great, Sanchez is throwing solid, The bullpen (aside from Wilson) is pitching okl, Burrell has 4 homers, and Pablo Sandoval is hitting well.  

However more seems to be going bad.  The aforementioned Wilson, ZIto and Bumgarner, the Giants' defense, and just about everybody on the Giants' offense.

The fact of the matter is that it's early,  If there was one thing that last season taught us is that there are going to be rough stretches to the season.  The season is long and the rough spots don't mean that they won't make the playoffs.  The defense will come around, the offense will come around, and Zito and Bumgarner will even get some wins.

All of these struggles are magnified because they are at the beginning of the season.  But every team goes through stretches like this.  We just need to keep watching the games, cheering on our team, and basking in our World Series championship glory!

And cheer up!  Timmy is pitching tomorrow!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Tejada comes up big in the 9th!

Miguel Tejada looks like he is happy to be back in the Bay Area.  After he homered in his first AB at AT&T (As a member of the Giants) he came up with a huge 2 out, 2 RBI double in the 9th inning to send the Giants home winners on the day that they received their World Series champion rings.  During the ring ceremony Tejada, and Brandon Belt, took part in the team picture where all of the players were holding up their hands with their new rings on them.  Tejada had his hand behind his back and from the looks of his 9th inning heroics, he is hungry to get one of his own.

Say what you want about whether Rasmus should have caught the ball or not, but this is what Tejada was known for in Oakland.  He was always coming up with the big hit for the A's.  I remember being at the Coliseum  back in 2002 when they were on their 20 game win streak and Tejada hit a late inning homer to give the A's a victory (it was like their 16th or 17th in a row).  But that was what he was known for.  The guy is obviously not the player he was in 2002, but if he can come through with some clutch hits like he used to, I think the Giants fans will be happy to have had him play for them.

Cain turned in another solid performance and the team actually pulled one out for him.  More evidence that we could see big things from Cain.  This is the type of game that the Giants always seemed to lose for him in the past so the baseball gods are smiling on him now!

As for Rasmus' miscue in the outfield.  Well it's about time.  The Giants have given away enough games due to poor defense this season.  it's about time they won one due to poor defense.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Despite 2-4 road trip Giants are ahead of where they were last season

Obviously they are nowhere near their 6-1 record to start the season, but that wasn't the biggest issue that they had last season.

Their biggest problem last season was their 7 game losing streak to the Padres.  That is what haunted them all season long and the biggest reason that it took them  until the last day of the season to clinch.  Think about it.  If the Giants won just 2 of those 7 previous games (they easily could have since they lost two of those games 1-0) then the final series would have been meaningless.

There is plenty to be excited about.  They are coming home for 6 games, they are going to have their ring ceremony, and Buster Posey and Aubrey Huff came out of their slumps today.

That is the biggest development of all.  The pitching has been outstanding, but the offense has been lacking.  Sure they busted out for 10 runs against the Dodgers but that was with Mark DeRosa and Aaron Rowand.  The Giants regular starting lineup was only averaging 2.5 runs per game up until today.  They only scored 1 run in 2 out of 4 games!  

Look, I'm not naive enough to think the Giants are going to score 8 runs a game on a consistent basis.  But with Sanchez, Huff, Sandoval, and Posey all hitting well at the same time, the Giants pitchers aren't going to be constantly pitching in tight games.  Add a nice game from Brandon Belt into the mix and the Giants look very tough.  Forget about all the doomsayers and the talk about a 1-4 start.  The Giants hadn't won a world series for 50+ years before last season so they are used to overcoming long  odds.

7 IP 3H 1ER 0BB 13 K

That's the line put up by Tim Lincecum today.  The fact that there really isn't much new to say about this performance by the freak just shows how good he is.  Most guys put up a line like this and people start to lose their mind.  But Timmy puts up this line and Giants fans just say "That's Timmy for you."  If their is one guy who is going to overcome the east coast bias and the near inevitability of the Cy Young award going to some Phillie, it's Timmy.

Home opener is Friday, after another off day, and Johnny no-no gets the nod.  He pitched great against the Dodgers, but was done in by errors.  He pitches better at home then on the road, plus the Giants face Jake Westbrook who go lit up in his last start (16.62 ERA), so it should be a great opener!  

Monday, April 4, 2011

Giants glad to be leaving Los Angeles

The Giants pitched and hit well enough to be 4-0.

They defended well enough to be 1-3.

That really is what the series against the Dodgers boiled down to.  The Dodgers caught the ball when they had to and the Giants didn't.

Even a World Series championship hasn't kept Giants fans from being fatalists.  If you peruse Twitter and take a look at some of the blogs you would probably be convinced that this is going to be the downfall of the 2011 Giants.  Now, this could very well be the case, but I don't think it's going to make a huge impact on the team over the long run.

The reason why I don't think that it's going to be such a huge impact on the season is that the bad defense isn't characteristic of the Giants.  Over the last 2 seasons, they have been pretty good defensively.  The lapses by Pablo Sandoval (despite what fans think) and Buster Posey are uncharacteristic of their play normally.  Miguel Tejada has also been a capable defender of the course of his career.

The only real defensive liability the Giants have right now is Huff in right field.  The game on Sunday put that liability on display for a national audience.  The problem is that the only solution to that situation would be to put Huff back at first.  But then what do you do with Belt?  Put him in right?  I'm not sure if Belt is any better in right than Huff but the idea doesn't appeal to me.

Offensively there are a few concerns.  Tejada has been terrible and his AB with 2 outs and the bases loaded was the picture of getting yourself out by being too aggressive.  Pat Burrell has two homers but other than that he is 0 for 12.  Also, despite his big homer in the second game of the season, Belt hasn't done too much offensively.  Really, other than Freddy Sanchez and Pablo Sandoval, the offense hasn't been too impressive statistically.

Despite all of this, the Giants scored 18 runs in four games.  Which breaks down to about 4.5 runs per game. As long as they are putting up 4.5 runs a game I guess you can't complain too much.  (although if you take the 10 run game out of the equation, they have scored 8 runs in 3 games for an average of 2.6 RPG)

So what does it all mean?

At this point, it doesn't mean a whole lot.  Does anybody really think the Padres are going to continue their success of the first 3 games?  Or Kansas City?  Or Baltimore?  Sure, it's frustrating to a lot of the experts because they "predicted" these struggles but the so called "Giants" experts are the same guys who said the Giants would never win anything with Bochy and Sabean at the helm.

The Giants could stumble this season, there is no doubt about that.  But this is largely the same team that won it all last season, so they deserve some benefit of the doubt.  They had some stretches last season where they were terrible and the pitching has been good so far this season, other than one bad inning by Runzler which was directly related to poor defense(although that didn't show up in the box score).

So, ask me in a week or two if I am worried.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Belt Belts one but Sloppy Giants fall to 0-2

It was the moment that Giants fans have all been waiting for.  Brandon Belt's first big league homerun.  IT came in his second big league game and he hit it where the big boys hit em!

The excitement lasted for about an inning and a half.

That was how long it took for the Giants to literally give the lead to the Dodgers for the second straight night.

Their two errors in the sixth brought their total to five for the last two games and the unearned run total to 3.  But there were positives in the two games.

Brandon Belt.

Belt has looked like every bit the big league player we thought he might be.  He doesn't look overmatched at the plate and, the two unearned runs aside, he almost was the hero of the game.  I saw a tweet, from John Shea I think, that said Will Clark hit a homer in his first game and Belt hit one in his second game.  If this guy turns out to be as good as Will "The Thrill" we will be happy for a long time.

Jonathan Sanchez.

Ol' Dirty pitched well enough to win.  Unfortunately, his error in the 6th inning was basically the deciding factor of the game.  But 8 strikeouts in 5.2 IP is something to get excited about.  If Johnny No-No pitches like this all season then not trading him for Prince Fielder was a good move.

Pablo Sandoval.

I know he made a throwing error tonight, but if Sanchez fields Gimenez's comebacker then all is forgotten.  The bigger story is the fact that he is leading the Giants in hits (sure it's only 3, but it's a start) and he has looked much improved on defense.  (error notwithstanding).  I think this season is going to be a return to the Panda that we all know and love.

I'm not gonna dwell too much on the fact that the Giants are 0-2 right now.  I know they looked pretty bad but everybody has stretches.  It looks like the little tailspin they went into at the end of spring training has kind of carried over into the regular season.  Hopefully they can pull out of it behind Cain today.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Giants begin their title defense tomorrow!

The San Francisco Giants begin their World Series title defense tomorrow!

I just love writing that!

Brandon Belt made the roster pushing Travis Ishikawa to the waiver wire, and Aubrey Huff to right field.  Ishi can still be traded, but I doubt that any team is gonna give up too much for him when they could get him for nothing when he clears waivers.  The Giants could send him to Fresno and he could refuse that to become a free agent. His future is in limbo right now.

Huff in right gives the Giants a projected starting lineup of Torres, Sanchez, Huff, Posey, Burrell, Belt, Sandoval, and Tejada.  It seems to be a slightly more potent lineup than last season and they have a very deep bench with Fontenot, Schierholtz, Mark Derosa, and Eli Whiteside.  Any one of those guys could start on the right team.  That's saying something since this team was searching for depth, particularly at shortstop, this offseason.

Oh yeah, I forgot Aaron Rowand is on the bench too.  Hopefully he is the one who gets the ax when Ross comes off the DL, but there is a very real possibility that Nate goes.  Not because it is the best move for the Giants, but because it really appears that the Giants are gonna let Rowand clog up a roster spot for the duration of his albatross of a contract.  I think that Nate is more valuable to the club but what are you gonna do?

It's so great to be done with Spring training!  Lincecum Vs. Kershaw tomorrow at 5pm!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Spring Training is too long

Today, the Giants found out that Spring Training is way too long.

In addition to getting blasted by the Angels 8-0.  Cody Ross got injured, Matt Cain got lit up, and Brian Wilson had a setback in his recovery from what is being called an "oblique strain".

On second thought maybe spring training is long enough!  This way the Giants can get all of these little injury bugs over and done with.

On the Cain's outing:  He is just getting into the rhythm of things and he doesn't have the luxury of working the offseason kinks out against the minor leaguers the way the other pitchers did earlier in the spring.  The guy who hit the 3 run bomb that made Cain's line for the day look so bad?  Bobby Abreu.  You may have heard of him.  Of course we would all like to see Matty continue his scoreless inning streak from last postseason, but as far as I know nobody has ever posted a career ERA of 0.00.  Although it would be nice to see one of the Giants' starters do it!

On Brian Wilson's injury:  "People might think I'm superhuman, but ... correction. I am superhuman. But, realistically, in six days I'm not going to be 1,000 percent. I'm going to be 990. I'm just going to take it day by day."  is what Wilson told reporters after his game of catch.  I'm going to listen to him and take him at his word because as he said: "I know my body, I know what I'm capable of doing. I'm not worried about what other people are thinking. I'm going to do what the doctors tell me and control what I can control. Ideally, everyone would have liked to have me healed the night I was injured."  I hope he is powering down the Red Bulls.

On Cody Ross' injury:  I always get worried when I hear :"calf strain"  for some reason this is as troublesome as the old "oblique strain".  It sounds minor, but you get guys missing all kinds of time and their performance usually suffers after sustaining one of these injuries.  Hopefully, Ross gets shut down for the spring and is OK for opening day.  It might not help him be totally dialed in for opening day, but I would rather have him struggle for a few days rather than miss an extended period of time.

One silver lining that the Ross injury could have is that it could affect the possible trading of Nate Schierholtz.  With an injury to Ross already staring them in the face, the Giants could be reluctant to part ways with their fourth best outfielder  I don't know if it has entered their minds or not, but it's worth getting out there.

Only 7 more days!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Giants on Showtime

I'm sure plenty of you have heard about the new reality series that the Giants are going to be a part of on Showtime.

It's called "The Franchise" and it looks like it's gonna be awesome!  There is a preview below to get you pumped up for the series.  I want to watch it just so I can learn Andres Torres' workout routine.  The guy runs around his backyard in his bare feet throwing a cinderblock around and jumping up a hill!  This looks to be different than the show that MLB network did last year on the Phillies bullpen since it looks like it's gonna focus more on off the field stuff that the Giants do and their stories than "The Pen" did.

Plus the Giants team has more interesting personalities than the Phillies do.

I am going to have to get a subscription to Showtime just for this show!

For some reason there is a lack of official word about the show on Showtime's website (which is Sho.com and not Showtime.com as you would expect  it to be.)  Hell, this trailer is from some guy putting a video camera in front of his TV and recording it.  But at the end of the trailer it shows a sneak preview date of April 13.

So enjoy the video.  It will give you something to do for 3 minutes and 10 seconds while you wait for opening day!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Belt Dilemma

Yesterday's post on the Bay Areas Sport's Guy's blog got me thinking.  

If Brandon Belt breaks camp with the big club.  Who is the most likely to be the odd man out?

As BASG points out:  It's really down to four guys.  Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand, Nate Schierholtz, and Travis Ishikawa.

Now let's face it, my man crush on Nate aside, none of these guys is gonna be the Giants' MVP this season.  Most likely, barring injury to a starter, they would all be coming off the bench if Belt is on the team.  There is no way the Giants are going to bring him up to sit on the bench.  So first off, the Giants have to be sure he will outperform any of these guys.

Also as BASG pointed out, two of these guys would most likely be gone.

Aaron Rowand is easily the fan's favorite to be let go.  But can the Giants management admit it's mistake with him in such an expensive fashion?  The Giants already showed they are willing to put the needs of the team in front of the dollars on the contract when they sat Barry Zito during last year's World Series run.  So I don't think pride is an issue with them.  The real question is does Rowand contribute anything to this team?  (Being a gamer doesn't count because all of these guys can be considered gamers.)    I have heard talk of the Giants trying to boost his trade value this spring by having him play left field but his .207 BA this spring have caused that experiment to be a total failure.

Pat Burrell doesn't really belong on this list.  The only reason he is on here is because his $1 million salary makes more fiscal sense to eat than Rowand's millions and millions ($13.6 million according to Cot's baseball contracts).  However, it is likely that the Giants don't make the world series last season, or probably even the playoffs for that matter without some timely homers down the stretch from Pat "the Bat".  Besides, who would the Giants fall back on if Belt struggles in the show?  Aaron Rowand?

Travis Ishikawa is the most likely guy to not make the club out of this bunch whether Belt gets called up or not.  The Giants have a lot of options to play first and his .219 spring may be signalling that Ishi could benefit from a change of scenery.  I would hope the Giants could trade him rather than release him since his glove is so good and he does have some power potential (really only some like 15 or so HRs if he were to start).  But his inability to put it together up until this point and his horrid spring make a DFA his most likely option.

Last, but not least.  Nate Schierholtz.  In the past, I have made no bones about my thoughts on Nate's potential.  He is easily the best defender out of the bunch (probably second best on the team behind Torres) and he has shown flashes of competence at the plate.  This spring, he is third behind Posey and Huff with a .342 spring batting average and he had 3 hits in yesterday's win over the White Sox.  Impressive for a guy who is battling for his job.  He did have some clutch hits and plays down the stretch last season too.  plus, I think a right fielder is more valuable as a late inning defensive replacement than a first basemen.  Especially when you consider the drop in offensive production from Ross to Nate would not be as big as from Huff to Ishikawa.  

If I was a betting man, I would bet on Rowand and Ishi being gone if Belt makes the club.  But the Giants do have the option of letting Belt start the season in AAA to decide if they are going to keep Rowand around a little longer.  I don't think that will be a popular decision but if it buys time for a trade, then it may be a good option.  If it doesn't and they have to release Rowand, then it will be a mistake.  Ishi is pretty much a goner after spring training even if Belt starts the season in Fresno.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Giants knock Mat Latos around

I know, I know, I've made a point that it's only spring training before.  But you've gotta admit.  It's great to see this loser get roughed up even if it doesn't count.

It's a big deal that the Giants hit this guy well.  He absolutely owned the Giants last season until his final 2 starts.  Hell, he beat poor Jonathan Sanchez 1-0 TWICE!  The Giants, and Sanchez, did get their revenge by defeating Mat (who stole my other T) Latos on the last day of the season. 3-0 to send the Padres home for the 2010 offseason so they could trade away their biggest and possibly only offensive threat.

I'm sure you are all familiar with the story about Latos signing a baseball for charity autograph auction and writing "I hate SF on it."  Maybe you heard about his comments about how all the Giants from last year were all "Just a bunch of guys grabbed from other teams".  If the way he pitched against the Giants and his antics didn't make you dislike the guy then maybe the fact that he plays for the Padres will help you not like him.

Although you may have to just pity him though.  He is stuck on the San Diego Padres.  Who, as they showed once again this past offseason, aren't really all that concerned with winning.  Maybe if his team cared about that, then they would have made some more moves to improve his team at the deadline last offseason.

Enjoy battling it out with the D-backs for last place Mat!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Giants rolling in Scottsdale

I'm gonna start off by saying:  "It's only spring training."

But you gotta admit, the Giants sure look good.

Everything seems to be clicking for the Giants.  Lincecum is striking out tons of guys, Jonathan Sanchez looks like he's ready to be the #2 starter, Buster Posey is Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval looks lean and mean, and Brandon Belt is gonna make the opening day roster decision a tough one for Bochy, Sabean, and crew.

Even the negative stories seem to be minor.  Matt Cain's elbow inflammation seems to have subsided, the ridiculous talk about the Giants eating the rest of Barry Zito's contract has gone away, and Freddy Sanchez is already playing in games and looks to be ready for opening day.

The only real concern with the team that I have at this point is Miguel Tejada who has been pretty horrible defensively and not so great offensively.  Tejada says that he is always a terrible spring training player and I vaguely remember this to be the case during his days with the A's, you really have to be worried since our backup SS is who?  Emmanuel Burriss?  Brandon Crawford?  Ryan Rohlinger?  None of these choices instills any confidence.

But as I said before, it's only spring training and any of these positives can become negatives or the negatives can become positives.  But at least baseball is being played!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spring training has officially started!

The Giants start off spring the right way..... With a win!

Sure it means absolutely nothing but it's still baseball!

Tim Lincecum came out and stunk up the place, but everybody was raving about him!?!  For those of you who don't know, the hitters are typically ahead of the pitchers at the beginning of spring.  They don't have as many moving parts to pull together I guess.  Usually, and from what I have heard is the case with Lincecum yesterday, they are getting a feel for their pitches and maybe even trying out a new thing or two.  The most encouraging news I think we got on Timmy yesterday was the fact that he appeared to be in much better shape than he was at the start of spring last season.  His conditioning was blamed for his inconsistency last season and if he has tackled that issue then watch out National League!

Buster Posey had two hits, Pablo Sandoval looked good in two ABs, and Madison Bumgarner (another guy who was accused of poor conditioning last season) looked like he was in good shape as well.

The only negatives were that Brandon Belt looked bad and Pablo Sandoval made an error.  But hey, it's only one game and it's spring training so who cares right?

This offseason was a little flat for me.  The Giants lack of activity kinda bummed me out.  The most important move they made was keeping their starting pitching in tact.  I know that a lot of noise is being made about those hired guns in Philly, but remember, the Giants staff did something last season that NO staff has done since the deadball ERA when they put together a streak of 18 consecutive games of giving up no more than 3 runs.  That tells you how good this staff is even though only two of these guys have won Cy Young awards.

Anyway back to the point I was making.  After the dull offseason, just hearing about spring training games is getting me fired up.  I really can't wait to see the Giants defend their title.  All of the "experts" are saying things like don't be surprised if the Giants finish an uncompetitive fourth in their division (Rob Neyer ESPN I'm talking about you!) and they say the Rockies and Dodgers are the team to beat in the West.  It's getting me fired up and I can't wait to see how things unfold when the games start to count!

Go Giants!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Early Reports on Pablo Sandoval sound encouraging

In the early days of spring training, all of the reports regarding the Giants portly third baseman sound encouraging.  He is down to 240 lbs from 260 (this would mean a 20lb weight reduction and not the 30+ lbs that was reported before camp started).  He has been working hard all offseason and he has a confidence that seemed to be lacking last season.

I think the confidence part is the biggest key to Pablo.  Even though he showed that he could put up All-Star type numbers once, I think that as soon as his slump became extended he started to think that he was never going to be able to do it again in the big leagues.

Much has been made of all of the personal issues in his life last season, and I think that if those are the things that affected him so dramatically last season, then boy is he in trouble.  Sure a divorce is hard but so is life and if Pablo is going to be affected every time a little adversity creeps in to his life then he is going to have a hard time succeeding and not just at baseball either.

That being said, I think that he used the offseason well.  He got the weight off, learned hitting from Bonds, and reported to camp early.  I think that he got the message that the Giants' brass sent him at the end of last season and he is poised to have a rebound.  Then the Panda hats will be back in full force!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The pitchers and catchers have reported!

This offseason I have been kinda lazy in my posting about The Giants.   But now that we have some baseball related stuff actually happening, I am ready to get back in to the swing of things!

As I'm sure you already know, the pitchers and catchers reported to spring training yesterday and the first actual spring training game is in 10 days!

As for the team itself, nothing much to report.  A quick view of the front page of Sfgiants.com reveals that Buster Posey is glad to get back to work, Tim Lincecum is driven by his stumbles last season, and the Giants are excited to begin their title defense.  Pretty informative stuff!

The biggest surprise is that Pablo Sandoval is one of the few position players in camp already.  There was no word of his weight so I hope that is good news since I would expect there to be plenty of articles about how he failed to get in shape if he didn't.  We also found out that the ball from the last out of the World Series is in Brian Wilson's possession and it is safe inside of an unused candy jar.

That's pretty much it for now.  I am counting down the days until the season starts and by the time I get this posted there will only be 9 more days until the first spring training game!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Sanchez, Ramirez, Ross, and Casilla all avoid arbitrarion

The San Francisco Giants are determined to keep their World Series roster in tact.  Other than Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe, there really haven't been any major defections from the Champions' roster.

World Series heroics aside, Renteria's 243 AB's won't be missed and you can expect that Miguel Tejada will come pretty close to matching Uribe's offense, if not his versatility.

Now you throw in the signings of Cody Ross, Jonathan Sanchez, Santiago Casilla, and Ramon Ramirez and the 2011 Giants almost look exactly like the 2010 Giants.  That's not necessarily a bad thing.  It's just not that exciting of a thing from a blogger's, or a Giants fan's, perspective.

The only two arbitration eligible players left for the Giants to come to terms with: Andres Torres and Javier Lopez.  Both are expected to come to terms and avoid arbitration.  Torres appears to be the guy who is going to be the big winner this off-season.  His contract is poised to go from $426,000 to somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 million.  Or roughly a 500% pay increase!  Go Andres!

Just under a month left until pitchers and catchers report!

San Francisco Giants, 50 Years - 2008 publication

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Quiet offseason for Giants

This offseason has been a pretty quiet one for the Sna Francisco Giants. But that has pretty much been Brian Sabean's M.O. since he traded Matt Williams for Jeff Kent way back in the 90's.  A case could be made that his biggest move was the re-signing of Aubrey Huff to a 2 year $22 million deal.  The signing of Miguel Tejada, the leaving of Juan Uribe, and the drama with Edgar Renteria can all be lumped together as the second biggest storylines of the offseason.

The talking heads are all predicting Colorado to win the division and the Dodgers to finish in second.  I'm not sure how they arrived at these predictions since neither team is really all that much better and, aside from a hot streak in August by the Rockies, neither was all that competitive last season.

But that suits the Giants just fine.  For some reason, they are always picked to finish at or near the bottom of the division.  Even in the early 2000's when they were competing for the division crown on a regular basis, they were always being picked to finish in third or fourth place.

But do the Giants have what it takes to compete?

As long as Barry Zito is the team's fifth starter and the rest of the rotation is filled out with Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, and Sanchez, they will compete with anyone.  Sure the Phillies added Cliff Lee, but he lost his postseason magic against the Giants and I don't see him regaining it any time soon.

As for the offense, it has a chance to be greatly improved from last season.  Obviously, having Buster Posey for  a full season helps.  But the reports on Pablo Sandoval are that he has dropped 22 lbs (!) so far this offseason and that could translate into a huge threat at the plate.

A note on Pablo:  I don't think his weight is necessarily the reason he struggled so much last season.  nor do I think his many personal problems are entirely to blame either.  (although I'm sure they didn't help much.)  I think Pablo's problems at Home Plate are the same as his problems at the  Dinner Plate.  His lack of discipline.  If Pablo can lay off that pitch just off the lower half of the plate that Barry Bonds would have spit on I think he will remind us all of the Panda that we all fell in love with in 2009.

As for the rest of the offense,  Bochy should know by now that Aaron Rowand's days as an everyday player are behind him.  He has a solid platoon of Cody Ross and Nate Schierholtz in right and Pat Burrell is the only guy I can see starting in left field every day as the roster stands now.  Although Left could very well be manned by either Aubrey Huff or Brandon Belt if the latter continues to impress in either spring training or in Fresno.

The only real open spot on the Giants' roster is the backup shortstop role.  With the talk of Emmanuel Burris and Brandon Crawford competing for that opening I think the Giants may make a move for someone right around the beginning of spring training to fill that hole.

There is no reason that can't duplicate what they did last season.  Their rotation and bullpen is the deepest in baseball.  Their offense should continue to "Torture" us just enough to make it into the playoffs and then after that, they have to be considered the favorites