Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Penny for your Thoughts?

Brad Penney is now a Red Sock (which I take to be the singular of Sox). My first thought was, "Good, we don't have to face him anymore" but then, I thought, "Wait a minute, didn't we used to beat that guy?" The answer is a little bit of both. Brad Penney was a dogger for four years, in that time period, his record against the Giants was 5 and 2 in 14 starts. Last year, he turned in an era of 0.77 in 2 starts, but, collectively from 2005 - 07, he posted an era of 3.29 in 12 starts. Of note is that he has averaged less than 6 innings per start. So, no, we didn't beat him, but he is one of those pitchers who has rarely lasted deep into a game - and that is what I remember, chasing him mid-game. During some of that time, he had some pretty ferocious relief to back him up, earlier more so than later, from my memory. The question here is with whom are the doggers going to replace Mr. Penny, and more importantly, what does it mean to us? The doggers currently have a pitching rotation consisting of Kuroda, Schmidt, Billingsley, and some other guys. They are talking trade with the Mets for A. Jones (have the Mets checked Mr. Jones stats last year?). Maybe they expect pitching help out of that, but it seems like the Mets also want pitchers. The doggers are, from the trade rumors, busy pursing hitters. One has to like that, although I think they have some pretty good up-and-coming pitching talent. All in all, I rate losing Penney better for the Giants than not. Especially considering the timing, after the Giants signed Randy Johnson. Other thoughts?

Saturday, December 27, 2008


This recent photo shows Randy Johnson's reaction to the news that he will become a member of the San Francisco Giants.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Rummagin' around in the old treasure box . . .

Nothing to report in GiantsLand. I'm going crazy thinking of something to write about. So, you're stuck with nostalgia. Like all fans, I've got piles of souvenirs. Check these out. They are from Opening Day 1987. I like the Candlestick Parking Plaza receipt. For some reason, we saved a bunch of those. Spent a lot of hours in that lot, excuse me, plaza, especially that year. I'm not sure why we have Lower Reserve ($9.00!) stubs, we usually sat in General Admission (left field bleachers, Section 30), which were then two-and-a-half bucks apiece, an outrageous increase from the glory days of dollar seats. We probably anticipated the big crowd, and bought seats in advance to make sure we got in. Tailgating was a huge part of the adventure. My lovely bride and I would arrive early, enter on the bleacher side of the lot (plaza!) that had the freaky control tower. This involved coming from Berkeley over the Bay Bridge and down the Bayshore to the Third Street exit, doubling back over the freeway and hitting Jamestown Avenue, turning right and heading for the park. We had an even more convoluted exit strategy, which depended on a mad sprint down the dirt path next to the Gate E staircase and out across the damn plaza. Ah, Candlestick, such a lovable dump! Our coveted parking spot was next to the cyclone cage "protecting" the big gray gas fittings. We never knew exactly what that thing was, but we knew it had something to do with PG& E and we always eyed it warily while barbecuing next to it. We'd cordon off a half-dozen spaces with lawn chairs and whatnot, and wait for the gang to arrive. Those days died quickly as the team became more successful. The increased crowds meant more "crowd control" and the wide-open nuttiness that was Giants home baseball in the really bad years (1972-1986) started to fade. I certainly don't miss the lousy teams, but I remember the adventures fondly.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bet, check or fold?

Take a look at The Baseball Analysts NL West SWOT (Patrick Sullivan, 15 Dec). You got S, W, O and T: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Highlights (quotes):

S--Any hope the Giants have for 2008 rests with these two. (The Franchise and M.C.)

W--Their offense was the weakest in the division and help does not appear to be imminent.

O--If Aaron Rowand can return to form . . . the outfield offense might not be too bad. ("Might not be too bad" is quite a compliment, eh?)

T--If Lincecum or Cain falter at all, San Francisco's season is finished.

If we were playing poker with this hand, would you bet, check or fold? Mr. Sullivan concludes with the observation that we "hung in there" for much of 2008, but he credits that to the teams W-L record with you-know-who on the mound. I've been saying the same thing--we were a 100 loss team "saved" from that ignominy by the +10 performance of The Studly One. We had the best pitcher in baseball and only managed 72 wins. Think about it like that. Here's another take, from Mr. Sullivan: Starters not named Cain or Lincecum took to the hill 95 times for the Giants in 2008 and posted a 5.32 ERA while playing home games in one of the most pitcher-friendly parks around.

I'm going to paste a smile on my face and "check."

Your turn.

(btw here's the link http://baseballanalysts.com/archives/2008/12/nl_west_swot.php)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

All You Need To Know

The San Franicsco Chronicle today tells you all you need to know about the 2009 Giants. Bochy foresees Molina in cleanup spot again. Bengie Molina batting clean-up. After 2008, Molina Still bats Fourth. Going Into 2009 with Molina as the Clean-Up Hitter. No matter what you do, it always comes out the same. I won't bore you with the description, from Bochy, of the upcoming line-up, but really, go there yourself if you want to get even more depressed than the headline. Yet, the accompanying articles, with the exception of Bruce Jenkins' "I Don't Care What Ballplayers May Have or Have Not Accomplished When I Cast My Hall of Fame Ballot", are all about the pointless distraction du jour, CHASING SABATHIA. And Randy Johnson! I can see it now, the Giants finish 2009 with a team ERA of 0.79 and a .435 winning percentage. They go down in history as the weirdest team ever. Maybe I am just too short-sighted and uncreative. Maybe CC can play first and bat clean-up on days when he isn't pitching, when he can pitch and bat clean-up. Maybe what Bochy really meant was that "Unless we sign CC Sabathia or someone with some real power, we might wind up with the regrettably sucky sitution where Bengie Molina bats fourth all year again, which will probably result in a net lower performance level than last year, although I like the way he swings the bat." Sure, CC would be a great addition. So would Alex Rodriguez and maybe we can trade Aaron Rowand straight up for Matt Holiday and Eric Chavez. Maybe the face of Jesus will appear in some dust bunnies and I can make some real money. Or maybe the Giants will sign CC for big bucks, trade Matt Cain and/or Jonathan Sanchez for some hitters and make Bochy eat his words. Literally. And you know the worst part? I actually agree with almost all of Jenkin's picks and pans. But not Bruce Blyleven.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sanchez on the block?

Lots of rumors about our boy Jonathan. Peter Bendix of FanGraphs has a piece about our young lefty titled "Breakout candidate." (There's also a piece on Fred Lewis.) A lot of this stuff is fantasy analysis for people in roto-leagues, but it can be useful when thinking about trade value. The lastest rumor involves Jorge Cantu. I know we are desperate for a 3B, but I don't think he's enough for Sanchez. We actually have some options at third, like Kevin Frandsen or even Pablo Sandoval. I like to see power hitting, but numbers like "29 HRs" don't translate well at our park and in our division. Cantu's not a bad player, and may improve, but he doesn't seem like the right type. We have to find hitters that hit a lot of line drives and get on base a lot, and not be mesmerized by HR totals.

And we'd be foolish to give away a guy--a lefty--who averages a K per IP.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Renting Renteria

Clearly the Giants do not believe Emmanuel Burriss is ready for the prime time. For two years, I can live with the Edgar Rental. I don't expect much, his OPS+ last year was an abysmal 84, and lifetime it's 96. He's league-average as a hitter, which is good for a shortstop, but there are some questions about his glove. If we can get a 2007-like year (OPS+ 125), the drinks are on me.

FanGraphs has the best take on it (link via Lefty), and BCB has some thoughts as well (with more cool pitch f/x stuff on our FNG*). Check out OBM for some contrarian grumbling.

*fookin' new guy

UPDATE: Here's a quote to cherish:

"In the American League, you have to wait for the home run," Renteria said. "To me, that's kind of boring."

(from the Chris Haft article)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Howdy, Howry!

I like this Howry:



More than this one:


The first is 2007 and the second is 2008. It is a low-risk move for the Giants and I can't find much to argue with. We got our lefty and now a righty. I'm optimisitic that Howry will bounce back and pitch effectively, he certainly has a good track record out of the 'pen. I'm worried that Sabean has been behaving rationally and making reasonably prudent, cautious moves. I think this means we are going to go hog-wild and throw $200 million at C.C. They call our new boss "Nuke-em," don't they?

What say you, me buckos?

Monday, December 1, 2008


The Latin word "adventus" means "arrival." This is the Advent season, where the faithful expectantly await the coming of Christmas. As one of the humble heralds of the Giants faithful, I am expectantly awaiting the arrival of our savior(s). What will Sabean Claus wrap for us this year? Will we get the present(s) we seek?

Who is on YOUR wish list?