Monday, September 22, 2014

This is it!

Barring a sweep of the Dodgers, the Giants have to think Wild Card. Being swept in San Diego means the Pirates are now tied for the top spot. The Brewers are 4-1/2 back with six to play and are damn near out of it. The Giants and Pirates each have seven games left. Obviously they want to host the sudden-death game in San Francisco rather than travel to Pittsburgh, so that means winning some damn games. It hasn't been pretty against the two remaining opponents. I don't know who the Pirates play nor do I care. It's all up to the Giants. With two spots, they could continue to play ugly ball and still make the post-season. But that's no fun. Let's go, Giants. Get it together!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

3-1/2 back

Giants are going to have to figure out how to beat the goddamn Padres.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Good Day

Amazingly, improbably, the Giants now find themselves 2 games behind the doggers with today's victory over the snakes.  That is exactly where we were last week at the start of the series against LA at home.  There are 10 games left as Los Angeles lost badly (16 - 2, ha!) in Colorado to drop the series there as the Giants pulled out a 2-run ninth inning to win 4 - 2.  The Giants have a day off while LA goes to Chicago to play the Cubbies in a 4 game series.

Madison Bumgarner was on the mound, and he pitched well, but not comfortably.  Madison threw 101 pitches, 71 of them strikes, in 6 full innings.  He gave up 2 runs, 7 hits, 2 walks and struck out 6.  Jean Machi got through the 7th, after giving up 1 hit and 1 walk.  Sergio Romo gave up a hit, but made it through the 8th and Santiago Casilla did not allow a baserunner in the ninth.  Arizona took a page from the "How to Befuddle the Giants" playbook and started a rookie pitcher, Andrew Chafin.  He did a good job, also throwing 6 innings and allowing 2 runs.

The Giants only had 6 hits, although they received 7 baserunners via walks.  The 1 through 6 positions in the order were hitless.  Madison had 1 hit.  Thank goodness for Brandon Crawford, he had 4 hits, a double and 3 singles.  BCraw also had an rbi, as did Gregor Blanco (on a walk).  In the ninth, with ruddy Addison Reed on the mound, Pablo drew a walk, Susac struck out, BCraw singled to right in front of Cody Ross so that Pablo couldn't advance beyond 2nd base.  Brandon Belt, back on the team and pinch hitting for the hapless Juan Perez, also walked to load the bases.  The slender FNG, Matt Duffy, pinch hitting in the pitcher's spot, worked the count, fouled off a couple of pitches and coolly roped a line drive into center field to score Pablo and BCraw.  Well done, youngster!

The Giants play three, starting Tuesday, in San Diego.  These are, of course, all must-win games.  We should have Peavy, Madison and Tim Hudson lined up when we meet the doggers again in LA.  Today, Carlos Frias, starting for Ryu, gave up 8 runs in two-thirds of an inning.  LA plays four in Chicago and returns to LA without a break.  The Cubs have a bunch of free-swingers with nothing to lose.  Go Cubbies!

The Peave-a-tron

Jake Peavy has been pretty consistent lately. Here are his last seven starts (since August 13):

You have to like that. Last night the Giants couldn't get much going offensively and just barely squeaked out a win. If they want to make some noise in their final eleven games and in the post-season they better find those bats again. And they need to hook Tim Hudson up to the Peave-a-tron and see if he can find that mojo he had going earlier in the year.

So, you think the Giants ought to go after Peavy for 2015? He's a free agent. My two cents? Yes.

MadBum this afternoon.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Bad to Worse

The Giants got blown out Saturday evening in a game that only netted the blue goo one game, and then lost Sunday in a game that they fought to the end.  The Giants made some mistakes, all at once, and it cost them, ultimately the deciding difference in the game, but they fought hard.  Russian River, in response to the previous post, said the Giants looked flat.  Not as flat as they did yesterday, though.  Los Angeles is a good team, loaded with talent.  Arizona is not a good team.  The Giants out-hit the snakes, 11 - 9, although they also gave them 4 baserunners via walks.  The Giants played without Angel Pagan, and it looks like Pablo Sandoval has back issues as well (although he got 2 hits).  Multiple hits, also, from Joaquin Arias and Joe Panik.  But so often (it seemed like almost every inning) they Giants had men on base and didn't/wouldn't/couldn't capitalize.

2-out rbi for Arizona: 6.  2-out rbi for San Francisco: None.

The "oh, well, you can't win them all" time is past.  The Giants realistically have to content themselves with the wild card, and yesterday, they played like it was a done deal.  It's not.  They could lose both the home-field advantage and the wild card itself with a string of losses (currently at 3).  Arizona and San Diego would like nothing better than to knock San Francisco out of the playoffs.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Giants Come Up Short

Clayton Kershaw is the obvious NL Cy Young choice and is making a case for MVP. In the rubber match of the biggest series of the year the talented southpaw kept a lid on the Giants and the Dodgers won 4-2. The Giants had one task this weekend: gain ground. It looked good after an ass-kicking win on Friday, but yesterday's historically bad debacle put the pressure on for today's game and they couldn't muster enough against Kershaw. Yusmeiro Petit made one mistake to Matt Kemp but otherwise pitched well. His error in the 2nd that led to a run was a bit of a fluke but had unfortunately followed an error from Hunter Pence immediately before and that put the team in a hole they could not quite climb out of. Petit also had two good plate appearances resulting in a walk and a run scored and looked like the toughest batter out there. Andrew Susac and Joaquin Arias both mustered two hits against Kershaw but only Buster Posey and pinch-hitter Matt Duffy could drive in runs. It was nice to see a tense, mostly well-played game even if it was a loss. I don't think I could have stomached another blowout. At some point the Giants are going to pile it on against Kershaw--the law of averages, at the very least, makes me think so. Maybe next time.

The Giants are now three back with thirteen to play. It's a bit of a climb but they have one more shot--three games in LA next week (22nd-24th). What's more important is they get back to their winning ways on the road in Arizona and San Diego this week and keep the pressure on.

Vogie tomorrow night.



Saturday, September 13, 2014

Terrible Tims

Worst game ever.

Get 'em tomorrow, though.



Friday, September 12, 2014

That's One

And a most gratifying one it was.  Madison Bumgarner on the mound, a full house, a beautiful night for baseball and that team from LA, the one we have to beat, down from the start.

Madison:  7 IP, 73 strikes among 97 pitches.  3 hits, 2 walks, 9 strikeouts.  No runs.  None.
Juan Gutierrez in relief:  6 batters faced, 6 batters retired.  Madison was a little rough at first, he walked the lead-off Puig, but soon settled down for another great game and his 18th win.

Hits?  Early and often.  2 home runs, 1 each for Brandon Crawford and Travis Ishikawa.
Joe Panik:  1 hit, 1 run
Buster:  2 hits, 1 run and 1 rbi
Pence:  2 hits, 1 run and 1 rbi
Arias:  2 hits, 1 run and 1 rbi
Gregor:  1 hit, 2 runs
Travis Ishikawa's home run scored Gregor and BCraw.  Brandon's home run scored Gregor, but he came up with the first of his 3 rbi in the first, a double that scored Joaquin Arias.  Brandon scored twice on 2 hits and a walk.  The Giants batted around in the first and scored 4 runs.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

81-65 with 16 to go

The Giants did what they needed to do which was sweep the lowly Diamondbacks and move within two games of the Dodgers ahead of the big weekend series. Both clubs have 16 games remaining with six head-to-head matches. I'm sure it will be a thoroughly nerve-wracking three weeks! Once again the team got contributions from the whole lineup--all the starters got on base at least once, eight different guys got hits, and five different guys scored runs. Since the Break the Giants have the highest-scoring offense in the NL and the fourth-best in baseball. I think we all knew this team could hit and it was just a matter of time before they found their mojo again. We watched some pretty feeble displays from the hitters for a long stretch (like June and July) so it's great to see them whacking the ball all over the Park. The Dodgers aren't the D-Backs and will present a much tougher challenge so it will be fun to see how the club responds.

Ol' Boch had the quick hook today for Jake Peavy who struck out eight in 5-2/3 but allowed six hits and a run on 92 pitches. It was 3-1 at the time and the right move. I particularly liked that Juan Perez came in on the double-switch and stroked an RBI double and later scored! Teamwork, baby. Peavy was a little peeved when he was pulled, you could see him shaking his head and saying "unbelievable" but after that weird rain-delay start in Detroit and yielding a double and a triple in the 6th it was perfectly believable the skipper would go to the 'pen. Peavy is a crackup to watch with all the muttering and twitchy mannerisms. With that horrid beard he looks like someone you would run away from on a dark street. Another good effort today, though. He's certainly filled in quite well for Matt Cain.

It will be Madison Bumgarner tomorrow night against Hyun-Jin Ryu in the biggest game of the season. They'll keep getting bigger after that regardless of the result.



Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Giants Keep Rolling

While the Arizona Diamondbacks are certainly a stinko team they still win 41% of their games. So it's not like they are pushovers. They're in the major leagues and it takes a major league effort to beat them. And beat them the Giants did. I love it when the rook gets the big hit, and tonight Matt Duffy in a pinch-hit spot in the 7th roped an opposite-field double to make it 2-0 and the Giants were on their way. Ryan Vogelsong bounced back from a horrid start in Colorado and gave the team 6-2/3 scoreless. He was wild (five walks), but effectively so (two hits), and got some help from his fielders as well. Is he the most under-rated or perhaps most under-appreciated man on the Giants roster? Ho-hum, just another clutch effort by the grizzled vet, his tenth quality start at home. Josh Collmenter matched him for six but the D-backs 'pen gave it up. Everyone in the Giants starting lineup--all eight guys--got on base via a hit or walk. And Duffy delivered in the ninth spot! It takes a village, man, but I want to mention one villager in particular: Gregor Blanco. His game has really picked up and with his glove work and speed on the bases he has been a huge contributor down the stretch. The injury to Mike Morse has given him a chance to shine and he's seized it. That's what it is all about, making the most of your moments. We've certainly seen that from Joe Panik, maybe Young Duffy will be the next one with the hot hand. A new hero everyday, that's what I say.

Jake Peavy tomorrow afternoon.