Sunday, October 4, 2015

It's Over

The Colorado Rockies spoiled what looked like a lovely afternoon in San Francisco. Four Giants relievers combined to give up seven runs in the top of the 9th to turn a 3-0 lead into a 7-3 deficit. That's how it ended. Boch was playing for the crowd, giving all the guys in the 'pen a turn, but the whole scheme blew up in his face when eight consecutive batters reached base after the first one made an out. I don't usually get upset about meaningless games but this one had me hollering at the TV. Just a wretched way to end things especially after eight scoreless by the previous seven pitchers. Speaking of innings, the Giants end their final seasonal inning with an 8-10 mark.

At least we got to see Matt Cain look sharp for five. I hope that bodes well for next season. Boch was asked about the team's needs for next year and he said "starting pitching." Correct answer. Let's hope they can bolster the rotation for 2016. And get Hunter Pence and Joe Panik back fully healthy and able to play a whole season.

The Giants finish with the 12th-best record in baseball and the sixth-best in the NL. They beat out fellow under-performers the Washington Nationals (83-79) by one game.

The post-season starts next week. I'll be out of town for a stretch, including some time in the Nevada mountains, far from cell towers and wifi hotspots. Looks like the Mets will travel to LA to face the Dodgers in the NLDS and the Cubs will travel to Pittsburgh to face the Pirates in the Wild Card game. The winner gets to go to St. Louis for the other Division series. The Cardinals have a winning regular-season record against all the other NL playoff teams. With 100 wins and the best pitching they ought to be the favorites, but as we know anything can happen in a short series.

The AL got settled today as well. The Royals have the best record and will host the winner of the Yankees-Astros matchup in New York. The Blue Jays will face the Rangers in Toronto. Home field in the Series goes to the junior circuit once again.

Hasta luego, my friends. Unless something epic happens next week I'll be taking a break from posting. By the weekend we'll be camping and out-of-touch. Should be home by the following weekend.

Enjoy the off-season.


Saturday, October 3, 2015

One-run Win

The Giants are 19-28 in one-run contests this season. It seems out of character for a Bochy club. I've despatched my minions to do the research, if they fail to report back they'll be fired and get rotten recommendations. Anyway, the Giants clubbed their way to a win today with homers from Brandon Crawford and Marlon Byrd. Not to mention the fabulous inside-the-parker from Young Kelby. Tomlinson was asked to fill big shoes this year and he's done remarkably well. It's nice to have young, studly infielders. But this games-decided-by-one-run thing is troublesome. I know there's some flukiness involved, but does it tell us the 'pen was not up to snuff? Or that the starters didn't keep it close enough? Minions--get right on that or you're working Hallowe'en and Thanksgiving!

Jake Peavy finished his season well. He said the right things after the game. He believes he can be healthy for 2016, and we all know that would be a big help. Another big help would be Matt Cain doing the same; he gets the start tomorrow.

With their 84th win the Giants are guaranteed to finish with a better record than the Diamondbacks, Padres, Rockies, Brewers, Reds, Nationals, Marlins, Braves, Phillies, Orioles, Red Sox, Rays, Indians, White Sox, Tigers, Mariners, and Athletics. And possibly even the Twins. That's a whole bunch of teams. They finish September 14-13 for their third winning month joining May and July. They are 1-2 for October, a win tomorrow would even things up. I'd like to see them end it on an up note.



Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Forces of Evil Prevail

You knew the Giants' demise was imminent.  Even, even if they could have somehow swept LA, they would have still faced long odds going into the final 3 games of the season 2 games back.  What no one expected was that they would bow out quite like this.

The doggers put Clayton Kershaw on the mound, and he was superb.  He threw a complete game shutout in a little over 100 pitches.  He struck out 13 and walked only 1.  He allowed 1 hit, to Kevin Frandsen.  Kershaw was matched against Madison Bumgarner, who did not fare nearly so well.  Madison threw 26 pitches in the 1st inning, mainly because Kelby Tomlinson booted a double play ball to set up a 1st and 3rd situation that led to the first run.

That would have been enough, but the doggers kept plinking away.  A solo shot in the 3rd made it 2 - 0.  Another error in the 5th when Kevin Frandsen couldn't scoop up a low throw from Brandon Crawford with 2 outs caused Maddy to throw over 30 pitches, putting him at 100 for 5 innings.  Maddy was done in the 6th after 2 solo shots, the first time he has given up 3 home runs in a game since 2010.  Final score, 8 - 0.

The Giants were hapless.  Their starting line-up consisted of 4 of the hitters that were supposed to be there.  The 2 errors were costly.   Los Angeles clinched the division title in San Francisco for the first time since 1977.  I really can't be irate, though, because really, Kershaw was simply superb.  It will be interesting to see them match up against the Mets and see if Harvey is asked to pitch. 

Much to analyze, much to discuss as the season wanes.  For now, though, try to salvage some self-respect in the final 2 games, Hudson's last start is coming Sunday, and let's see some youngsters against Colorado.

Giants Cling to Life

The Los Angeles Dodgers have to keep their champagne on ice for at least another night as the Giants prevailed in 12 innings. It was 2-1 Giants in the 9th but the Dodgers put the first two men on against Josh Osich and ultimately pushed across the tying run on a groundout. Don Mattingly played for one run by sacrificing with Justin Turner, his cleanup hitter, and it paid off--they got one run. They had a real shot at a big inning, I thought, but played it safe. The Giants 'pen has been a little rocky and I was surprised they didn't go for the kill.* They continued to torture the Giants faithful by putting men on in the 10th, 11th, and 12th but could not push across the go-ahead run.

Jake Peavy pitched a fine game, matching zeroes with ├╝ber-ace Zack Greinke. Rookie Trevor Brown got the big hit to give the Giants a brief 2-0 lead. Late in the game and in extras the home squad had several chances to seal the deal but kept coming up short. Ultimately it was an FNG-fest as Marlon Byrd, Kelby Tomlinson, and Alejandro De Aza conjured up the winning rally.

Marquee matchup tonight with Clayton Kershaw and Madison Bumgarner.



*The "win expectancy" for the visiting team with runners on 1st and 2nd with no outs in the top of the 9th in a tie game is a little under 69%. With one out and runners on 2nd and 3rd it is a little over 69%. The gain is a fraction of a percentage point. Bunting in that situation means you can score a run on an out--which they did--but it also means you are playing for one run. A team about to be eliminated might say "we have to tie before we can win" and I'd agree. But a team with a six-game lead with three more clinch-games to play? To me that move is defensible only if it is the bottom of the lineup. They took the bat out of Justin Turner's hands and he's been raking to the tune of .290/.366/.484 for them. Why not show some faith in your guys and let them have a chance to deliver a big hit? I'd like to know how you guys would have played it if you were in Donnie Baseball's cleats.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Parker Power

Jarrett Parker stole the show today in Oakland with three titanic home runs including a first-pitch grand slam in the 8th to lead the Giants to victory. It was billed as the Tim Hudson v. Barry Zito show but neither made it past the 3rd inning. Both men were well-received and feted properly for their long, successful careers and their connections to both sides of the Bay. I'm not sentimental about ballplayers. They've had their time in the sun and now it's time for the youngsters to get their chance. Enjoy retirement, Huddy. I don't know what Zito has planned for next year, but I wish him well, too.

Parker's day is the first three-homer game for a Giants rookie EVER and the first three-homer game for a rookie in the bigs since Andrew McCutcheon in 2009. I think we can say he is "serving notice" that he wants a spot on the roster next year. You go, kid. Keep on rockin'!

The bullpen somehow managed not to lose the game and the Giants snapped their skid. I was starting to wonder if anyone on the team (besides Bum, of course) could still pitch!

Chris Heston tomorrow. GO GIANTS!


Thursday, September 24, 2015


Brandon Crawford finally hit his 20th home run!  He had been stuck on 19 for what, over a month?  But he looked good tonight to give the Giants their first run, he was on base 3 times and scored twice.  Madison Bumgarner was on the mound.  This might have been his 20th victory, but, after his first try at #19 against Arizona that was thwarted by the Giants inept offense, this try was thwarted by the bullpen.  With help from the offense.

Angel Pagan led off the game with a double.  On Matt Duffy's single with 1 out, Pagan took a weird route and made a weird slide at home and was called out.  Brandon Crawford chalked up the first Giants score when he led off the 2nd inning with a home run.  The Giants then proceeded to put men on 1st and 2nd, only to have Kevin Frandsen (remember him?) ground into a double play.  That put Marlon Byrd at 3rd with Madison Bumgarner at the plate.  Madison struck out and it seemed to rattle him, he thought the called 3rd strike was a ball.  Joe West was behind the plate, and of course Madison did not make things easier on himself by questioning the strike call.   He may have carried it onto the field as he then gave up a walk to one of the Uptons, a single to Gyorko and a home run to Matt Norris.  Still, the Giants managed to eek out 3 runs by the middle of the 5th for a 4 - 3 lead, with the final run coming on a balk by Ian Kennedy.  Madison went 7 strong, threw 120 pitches gave up the 3 runs on 3 hits, walked 3 and struck out 9.  He has netted 228 K this season, a best for him.

The bullpen wasted no time giving this game away, however.  Strickland in the 8th walked the first batter, after Lopez did his job against Cory Spangenberg, Sergio Romo allowed Matt Kemp to tie the score.  In the 9th, Mike Broadway put a runner on before Josh Osich allowed a single and lost the game (Broadway got the L) on 2 pitches.  The offense however, deserves mention.  Matt Duffy had 3 hits, Pagan 2, De Aza 2, Byrd 2 and Tomlinson 2.  But the Giants were 2 for 15 with RISP.

So the Giants drop another series and LA has knocked 4 games off of their magic number in the last 2 days.  They're coming from behind to win, we are coming from ahead to lose.  So the Giants are 11 - 8 against San Diego this season, and 8 - 11 against Arizona, with final series to be played against LA and Colorado. 

Monday, September 21, 2015


That's all that's left of 2015, my friends. Thirteen ballgames. Three in San Diego, three in Oakland, then home for four with the Dodgers and three with the Rockies. Even if the Giants go 13-0 they will need a little too much help to make the post-season. LA's magic number is seven which means they can play .500 ball in their final fourteen games and still clinch the West. The Cubs are two games better than the Dodgers so the elimination number for the Wild Card is only five.

I'd like to see the Giants finish with a winning month. They are 9-9 in September. And I'd like to see the Giants give their SoCal rivals a little pain and suffering with a solid thumping in that penultimate series. The good guys are 9-6 versus the bad guys this season. In those 15 games they've scored a mere 53 runs and allowed only 48 runs. That's an average score of 3.5 to 3.2 which is some tight baseball, man. If LA is going to clinch in SF at the very least I hope they have to work for it. You know they'll run out the scrubs as soon as they can and rest their starters and I don't want that to happen. I want to see those guys going all out to win, grunting on every pitch and grinding out every at-bat. No early rest or extra off-days for Kershaw and Greinke. Send them to the playoffs already worn out!

I'd like to see Chris Heston have a couple of strong outings. He goes tomorrow against the Padres. I'd like to see Matt Cain get another start. I'd like to see Brandon Crawford find his stroke and start crushing balls all over the place like he did earlier in the season. I'd like to see more good work from the youngsters in the 'pen. I'd like to see our rookie backstops show us what they can do. I'd like to see the guys who are currently healthy stay healthy the rest of the way. No more injuries!

What do you want to see the rest of the way?



p.s. That was nice seeing Buster unload a three-run bomb to ice the game yesterday. Talk about cathartic! And Hudson was impressive. Forty years old and still able to deliver in the major leagues, that's quite an accomplishment.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Matt Cain Pitched!

It wasn't exactly pretty. Pollock singled and stole second. Inciarte singled him home, then stole second. Goldschmidt walked. That took 21 pitches. Peralta helped him out with a ground ball on the first pitch which forced Goldschmidt. Four pitches later (to Saltalamacchia) Peralta stole second. Then Saltalamacchia struck out. Four pitches later Gosselin struck out. He finished with a flourish, at least.

It was good to see Matty even though the game was not worth watching. It's a long off-season, he ought to have enough time to get healthy for next year. And he'll get a proper Spring Training to "figure things out."

Go Giants!


Friday, September 18, 2015

Turn Out The Lights

A realist could have, should have written this title a while ago.  A delusional fan who witnessed this piece of shit game could now not help but agree.

Madison Bumgarner was on the mound.  He threw 117 pitches in 8 innings, struck out 7, walked 3 and gave up 2, only 1 of them earned.  That's pretty good, but a perfect 9 would have netted him exactly nothing.  Rubby DeLaRosa, Cy Young candidate that he is, held the Giants to 1 fucking hit.  ONE.  Buster Posey added one with Brad Ziegler on the mound in the 9th.

So this is how our season as reigning world champions ends - not with a bang, with a game that makes a whimper sound loud.  We might not wind up in 2nd place.  Madison Bumgarner will not get his 20 wins.  The Arizona Diamondbacks have now beaten the Giants in 7 out of 8 meetings in OUR OWN PARK this season.  Fuck.  I can't wait for this season to end.

Thursday, September 17, 2015


That's the Giants Elimination Number for the NL West race. It also happens to be the Elimination Number for the NL Wild Card. The Giants are behind the Dodgers by 7-1/2 games and they are behind the Cubs by 7-1/2 games. San Francisco, at 77-69, has 16 games left on the schedule. Los Angeles and Chicago have identical 84-61 records and thus both have 17 games remaining. The Cubs still have a shot to overtake the 87-58 Pittsburgh Pirates for the top Wild Card spot but the situation for the Giants stays the same. Any combination of wins by the leading club and losses by the Giants that equals ten means the 2015 season is over.

The math, gloomy as it is, still represents a chance albeit a vanishingly small one. The MLB Postseason Probability tracker currently rates the Giants at 0.9% for the division title. Not much of a bet, eh? RMC's official position is "it ain't over 'til it's over" but that's the only position any self-respecting Giants fan can take, am I right?

Last night's exhilarating and agonizing win over the Reds got me thinking. Is Jake Peavy finally healthy enough to be a reliable starter? That home run was a nice bonus and a clutch hit to boot. The Giants are paying Peavy $15M to be a part of the 2016 rotation and his 2015 performance has not been encouraging. He'll be 35 in May and has 2200+ innings on his once-formidable arm. What can we expect next season? I'd like to pencil him in for 30 starts and 180+ IP, but is that realistic? If not, who takes his spot? I don't have the answers, but I like to think if he can stay healthy he can still be a productive player.

I'm also thinking about Santiago Casilla. It seems all of his saves lately have been both tortuous and torturous. He'll be 36 in July and I believe the club can buy him out for a million bucks this off-season and make him a free agent. Should they? Is it time to move one of the young bucks like Hunter Strickland into the closer role? I'm leaning that way, I admit. The Core Four is getting old and the remarkable run of consistency and high-level performance we've seen from these relievers is contrary to our usual experience. Most bullpen arms just don't last this long. Strikeouts are up this year with Casilla but walks and hits are as well. What's he got left? It's worth noting that 36-year old Jeremy Affeldt is a free agent next season after a injury-marred below-par campaign. Can you envision the Giants without the goofy lefty? Both of course are in the pantheon of all-time great Giants and I will never speak ill of them and always wish them the best in their careers. Speaking of one of my most beloved players, did you see AmyG talk to Andres Torres on the telecast last night? That 2010 year was so special and he was such a massive part of it I get teary-eyed whenever he shows up.

On the horizon for the home squad are three games with the Diamondbacks this weekend. Madison Bumgarner goes Friday night. Then it is six road games with San Diego and Oakland after an off-day Monday. The boys return home on the 28th with four against the Dodgers and finish the season with three against the Rockies. Nine games before LA comes to town--will they clinch before then? They have ten games to play in that stretch including three against the Pirates this weekend. If the Giants go 6-3 they'd have to go 7-3 to do just that. Is it just me or is it looking increasingly likely they will have to win in San Francisco to take the West? Could make for some great games, but could also be a hideous run-from-the-room and shield-the-eyes-of-the-innocent moment. I guess we'll have to wait and see.