Thursday, September 30, 2010

One more win

Today's game reduced the magic number to two, so beating the Padres once would end it. One more win and the 2010 Giants win the West for the first time since 2003. Today the lads muscled up and smoked some dingerz. Buster Posey is the spawn of immortals. I didn't get to see the game today, and I'm just letting the website's recaps and Duane's "outta here's" loop endlessly. Did I mention Buster Posey is the spawn of immortals? Madison Bumgarner ain't bad, either. He doesn't like to give up runs, that boy. Buster Posey is the spawn of immortals.

The Cubs and Padres are tied at 0-0 after six, but it matters not. We have one more game to win either way.

Let's get it done!!!!!


p.s. Padres lose, fittingly by a 1-0 score. Giants clinch a tie. The Giants and Padres have played four 1-0 games this season. The Padres have won three.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Money Tim


Tim Lincecum (16-10) finished off his tumultuous 2010 regular season with a quality win against the lowly snakes. It wasn't the prettiest performance, in fact, the beginning was downright scary. Tim's second pitch was destroyed by Drew to give Arizona the early lead. Boy howdy, that was one quiet stadium. Somehow, that was all he gave up though. Tim kept us on the edge of our seat for the next four innings; throwing a ton of pitches and giving up base runners but always wriggling out of trouble.

Then it all changed after Pat the Bat crushed a 3 run homer.

It doesn't seem like much does it? Three lousy runs. But for The Freak, three runs of support is like money in the bank. Lincecum is now an amazing 45-3 (.938) with a 2.75 era (149er, 488ip) when the Giants score at least three runs of support for him (72 starts)...SF is 52-20 (.722) in those contests. Those are some lovely numbers and Tim lived that scenario again tonight. Once he had the lead, Tim got quite stingy. He never had the velocity of his last start, but he had some nasty shit...limiting them to singles and getting the "K" when he needed it. His line:
7 innings, 6 hits (all singles after the dinger), 1 run, 4 walks, and ELEVEN strikeouts
So, even though it looked bad at the start, it worked out to a swell game score of 68. The moral of the story: Tim looked like our Ace again tonight, but only after a little support from his friends. Heavy, huh?

BTW: I failed to mention some more "history" that Tim is racking up. Last start, he passed Dwight Gooden for the most strikeouts in the first four seasons combined. Gooden's numbers are 892 strikeouts in 924.1 innings and Tim's numbers end at 907 strikeouts in 811 innings.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Two up with five to play

Jonathan Sanchez was wild early, but survived to give the Giants another solid start (Game Score 60). He kept the lid on the big bats and retired the last 8 men he faced and 12 of 13 after Kelly Johnson's 3rd inning homer. Rodrigo Lopez did his best to Livan the Giants lineup, and it looked as though it would work through the first five innings. Nothing like a journeyman with a collection of slowballs to befuddle our offense! Finally the Giants got a breakthrough with two outs in the 6th from the unlikely combination of Pablo Sandoval and pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz. "Way to Go" Fontenot worked a walk in the 7th and "Pat the Bat" Burrell drove him to make it 4-2, and we started to breathe a little easier. The Snakes threatened in the 8th, but Brian Wilson came on to get a five-out save and the Giants had another big win. What can you say about Brian Wilson? The man has been an absolute beast!

The San Diego Padres continued their slide, losing 5-2 at home to the Cubs. Ace Mat Latos got burned for 7 hits and a homer in 5-2/3 IP, and even made an error! I want to say the wheels are coming off the little Padre wagon, but that would be premature. I will say it is about time Mat Latos showed some vulnerability, and it is about time the team pays for its lack of offense. Let's hope they keep on losing. The Rockies were eliminated tonight by the Dodgers.

SFG  89-68  --
SDP  87-70  2.0

Looking good! Let's keep the pedal to the metal!



p.s. Our magic number is four.

The Torture Never Stops

It's official, the Giants are switching Tim and MadBum. Seems like the smart thing to do. You have to at least consider the possibility of a 163rd game, and Tim's the guy you want if that happens. Lincecum stays on his regular rotation, and Bumgarner gets more rest. That can't hurt as he's already well past his career high in innings.

If the Giants wind up in a tie with the Padres, and both teams have better records than the Braves, there won't be a tiebreaker--the Padres win the division because of their better head-to-head record (an SF sweep puts them at 8-10). The Giants are then the wild card. If the Braves finish with the best record (among the three) and the Giants and Padres are tied, then the division winner will be decided by the extra game. These are regular-season games, by the way, not post-season games. If the Giants and Braves tie for the wild card, they play a tiebreaker in Atlanta (due to SF's 3-4 record). A three-way tie would first require a division tiebreaker between the Giants and the Padres. The loser would then play the Braves for the wild card. (links here and here)

So I think it is best to up and win the division outright, don't you?

For a little relief from the torture, check out Frank Zappa and his band doing "The Torture Never Stops."



With a little help from the Cubs

The Padres lose at home by the always-excruciating score of 1-0. Hey, that's Padres baseball!

The Giants go into the final stretch up by one game with six to play. San Diego has three more at home against Chicago and then comes to San Francisco for THE OCTOBER SHOWDOWN. Atlanta, with only five to play, finishes at home against Florida and Philadelphia.

SFG    88-68    --
SDP    87-69    1.0

ATL    88-69    --
SDP    87-69    1.0


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Cain buries Rockies

Matt Cain retired the first twelve Rockies he faced. It was his own error in the 5th on a comebacker by Troy Tulowitzki that gave Colorado their first baserunner. A strikeout, a walk and two more strikeouts ended the "threat" and Matt retired another seven batters after that before giving up an infield single to Jay Payton with one out in the 8th inning. Thus ended the no-hit bid. Cain then struck out Miguel Olivo, but pinch-hitter Melvin Mora blasted a two-strike fastball into center field to ruin the shutout and keep the game agonizingly close. Cain then struck out Eric Young to end the inning. Bruce Bochy sent Cain out in the top of the 9th to hit for himself, and that meant he would get a shot at the heart of the Rockies order in the bottom of the inning. True to form, he got leadoff hitter Jonathan Herrera on a grounder. Cain retired the first hitter in every inning but one. Carlos Gonzalez added to the drama by poking a single into right field on a 1-1 pitch. Troy Tulowitzki, last night's hero and September's hottest hitter in the majors, made the second out on routine infield pop-up. Cain then struck out Jason Giambi to end it, and the Giants had a massive win.

Matt Cain throws a three-hitter for his fourth complete game of the season, his first since shutting out the Reds on June 8th. He gets a Game Score of 80 for his outstanding effort, but that number hardly tells the story. He dominated a potent Rockies lineup in Coors Field after they pounded out ten runs the previous game. He shut down a team that was fighting for survival, a team on the brink of elimination, never giving them a chance to mount a serious threat. He was poised, confident, and in control the whole way. It was a first-class effort in a huge game, surely the most important of his young career. This Saturday's start against the Padres might turn out to be even more crucial, but that takes nothing away from today's sensational performance.

Cain threw 113 pitches to 32 batters, coaxing 11 ground outs and 8 fly outs. He struck out 8, all in the last 4 innings, yielding only one walk. You can't argue with a line like that!

I would be remiss not to mention Freddy Sanchez***, who hit a huge homer in the 1st inning today, if only because I've abused him quite a bit here at RMC. With his superb fielding, all he has to do is be a league-average hitter to be valuable, and a .296/.345/.403 line rates a wRC+ of 103, which ain't bad. Keep it up! Fortunately, the Giants added two more runs to Sanchez' two-run HR and that was the margin of victory (nice to see Cody Ross get another big hit). Like Lincecum's game on Friday night, the Giants did just enough with the bats not to waste the great start.

Giants head home with six to play. This is it!!



p.s. Giants reclaim 1st place after Reds crush Padres in San Diego!

p.p.s Cain's September: 37 IP, 20 H, 9 ER, 4 HR, 4 BB, 28 K, 135 TBF. Also, 219-1/3 IP is a career high.

***FSanchez since August 1st is .337/.379/.500 making Sabean look like a genius (h/t Baseball Musings) and me look like a fool. I never mind being wrong if it means the Giants are winning. Giants had 88 wins last season, today was win number 88.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Field of Nightmares

You never have enough runs in this game, and you never ever ever ever have enough runs in Coors Field. Tonight the Giants exploded for 15 hits and 9 runs and still couldn't put the Rockies away. Barry Zito got the quick hook from Bruce Bochy in the 5th inning, but the move backfired as reliever Chris Ray surrendered the big bomb to Troy Tulowitzki and the Giants 4-3 lead was suddenly a 5-4 deficit. The lads battled back with 5 runs in the top of the 6th and a battle of the bullpens ensued. The talismanic Andres Torres returned to the starting lineup and dazzled with a solo homer and a fine running catch. He was replaced after five, and the unfortunate Cody Ross looked lost and exposed in the cavernous outfield when the Rockies roped three triples into his territory in the bottom of the inning. Ross is a decent fielder with good speed, but Torres is something special, and we've been spoiled by his brilliance. Fortunately, Ross got redemption with a 3-run homer in the top of the 6th, a soaring pop fly in the thin Denver air that cleared the wall and gave the Giants the lead back. Bruce Bochy continued his puppetmaster-on-speed approach to game management, using six more pitchers after Ray in desperate attempt to keep a lid on things. Even Brian Wilson couldn't get the big out, losing Troy Tulowitzki in the 8th on an opposite field game-tying double that missed being the go-ahead 3-run homer by a few feet.  In the 10th, it was Tulowitzki, again off Wilson, who got the game-winner, driving in Carlos Gonzalez. Emmanuel Burriss, Travis Ishikawa, Pablo Sandoval, and Nate Schierholtz all made appearances in the game as the Giants used 21 players in all.

The Giants streak of historically awesome pitching comes to a thunderous end. The best bullpen in baseball in September, led by the NL's best reliever, can't close it out in Colorado and the Giants fall into second place by one game in the loss column.

The Padres beat Cincinnati 4-3 earlier in the day, coming from behind for the second straight game with a walk-off hit in the 9th off rookie sensation Aroldis Chapman. They play Monday (in Chicago) when the Giants have an off-day, then it is six more for each team with three big ones head-to-head in San Francisco next weekend.

Matt Cain takes the hill tomorrow. A win all but buries the Rockies as they are four back. They play Monday (vs. LA) as well, and finish the season with four in St. Louis.

GO GIANTS! Your fate is in your hands!!


Friday, September 24, 2010


Two people reached base. Two. That, my friends, is domination.

Tim Lincecum (15-10) sliced through the threatening Colorado lineup with the entire baseball world watching. A tough ballpark, the division on the line, a sellout crowd, the only race left in the game.... this was obviously the biggest game of Tim's spectacular young career. So what did he do? Well, duh...he brought it.

Showing a complete command of all his pitches and a consistently high velocity, this was certainly his best "numerical" game since July. The numbers are sweet:
8 innings, 2 hits, 1 run, ZERO walks, and 9 strikeouts
That's a nasty 83 game score. But the numbers don't fully tell the story. This game was HUGE. The rookies are in a deep hole now. Also, the stats just don't capture the efficiency and poise that Tim put on display. Perhaps the tough period that he suffered through has hastened his development as a more complete pitcher. Hell, the first fifteen batters he faced were dispatched in a manner that got even the most hardened fan dreaming of a perfect game (you know who you are!).

More History making: Tonight was the 18th straight game in which we have held the opponent to 3 runs-or-fewer which ties the frigging 1906 Chicago White Sox!!!! The all-time record is 20 by the 1917 pale hose. If that's not enough, the 2010 Giants have given up 2-0r-fewer in 12 of their last 13!
How long can we keep it up???

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Getaway game: Giants go ga-ga

After scoring only one run in the first two games in Chicago, the Giants scored nine in one inning tonight and thirteen overall. The CSN guys noted at the end of the game that the Giants have been enjoying big outbursts of late in getaway games. The Giants scored one run against the Brewers in the first two games of that series and then pounded out nine runs in the final game. In the series before that, the Giants scored two runs in the first two games against the Dodgers, and then ten in the final. It's a little crazy, but it seems so in character with this club. Anything is possible, including Jose Guillen getting plunked twice in the same inning by the same pitcher!  Madison Bumgarner kept the Giants record streak alive with an impressive 7   7   0   0   1   9  line (Game Score 71). That's the fifth team shutout in the month and that's 17 games in a row in which the opposition has scored three or fewer runs. That's amazing. It's the best pitching I've ever seen. The last time the Giants had a month with a sub-2.00 ERA was May of 1989 (that was the trivia question on the broadcast tonight). Those guys allowed only 69 runs in 27 games and went 17-10. That staff only allowed 600 runs all season (3rd best in the NL) on their way to a pennant. The 2010 club has only allowed 556 runs with nine games left to play, and only 33 in the month with six remaining (the last three against SD are in October). The Giants are 13-7 in September, a .650 clip.

The Giants are 27-23 in one-run games, and 22-13 in blowouts (5+ run difference). Let's hope the hitting is contagious! We know this team can pitch, and if some unsung heroes can step it up and deliver with the bats we could really put a hurt on the NL West race. Juan Uribe deserves special mention of course, but I also want to give a nod to Freddy Sanchez and Cody Ross for chipping in seven hits! Even MadBum was showing off his stroke tonight (two hits in the same inning)! What a crazy game! What a mad, mad, mad, mad season!!



Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ten games left

When Kosuke Fukudome hit a homer in the 3rd off Jonathan Sanchez, I thought "here we go, another 1-0 game." How wrong I was! The Cubs scored a second run on a Sanchez wild pitch and a Buster Posey throwing error (yes, he's mortal) in the 5th to make it 2-0, and I felt a lot better. After all, I was just complaining how I didn't like 1-0 games, and the Cubs thankfully spared me another one. Randy Wells had the Giants hopelessly mesmerized, and I was momentarily hopeful when manager Mike Quade ("kwaddy") lifted him in the 8th with two on and two out. But The Man They Call Q summoned K-Master and closer Carlos Marmol, who practiced his Slider-fu on us, and that was the end of that.

It was a disheartening game, as Jonathan Sanchez made the fatal mistake of allowing the other team to score. The Giants have been shut out four times in September, losing to the Padres on the 11th, the Dodgers on the 14th, the Brewers on the 17th, and now tonight in Chicago. On the flip side, the Giants have thrown four shutouts in the month, held the opposition to one run five times, to two runs four times, to three runs four times, and to four runs twice. It's been a remarkable run of team pitching, perhaps the best sustained stretch we've ever seen as Giants fans. We are 12-7 in those 19 games, a .632 clip. Add a little offense to that and we'd be an .800 club!

We are what we are at this point--no sense wishing for what ain't there. We will live or die with the pitching. Ten games left, and they'll likely all be tortuous affairs. MadBum tomorrow, he was the victim of two of those shutouts. Let's hope he keeps up the great pitching and we score some goddamn runs.



Historical update tidbits (0636 Thursday): did you see this?
The Giants' hitting, or lack of it, is threatening to derail their bid for a postseason berth. The Giants have allowed fewer than three runs in 16 consecutive games, matching the record for the live-ball era (since 1920) shared by the 1972 Cleveland Indians and 1981 Oakland A's. (emphasis mine)
The 1981 "Billy-ball" A's lost in the ALCS to the Yankees. Interestingly, the Yanks had the best pitching in the AL (3.21 rpg) while the A's were tied for 2nd with Texas (3.70). The Yanks had below-average hitting (3.93 rpg, 9th), while the A's placed 6th (4.20). The 1972 Indians finished next-to-last despite excellent pitching (3.33 rpg, 4th). They had wretched hitting (3.30 rpg, 10th out of 12). Oh, and the Giants are 10-6 in those 16 games.

The Rockies are 3 back of the lead and 2-1/2 behind the Giants after losing to Arizona last night. The Padres won in LA (thanks, Dodgers, for rolling over and playing dead) and are 1/2 game up (1 fewer loss) in the West. The Braves have one more win and are 1/2 game up on the Giants in the Wild Card.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

We don't need no steenk-een' offense!

Buster Posey smoked a ball off righty Andrew Cashner to straightaway centerfield in the 8th inning that cleared the bricks and gave the Giants a 1-0 lead. To no one's surprise, that was the final score. Carlos Zambrano strutted, puffed, preened, and pointed through six shutout innings, alternately walking (five) and striking out (eight) Giants, throwing 56 balls and 60 strikes. Cody Ross had three 3-2 counts against Big Z, the first two ended in swinging strikeouts and the third in a walk. That sort of summed up the Giants offensive approach for the evening, which at least resulted in a high pitch count that forced the Cubs to go to the bullpen. Matt Cain, on the other hand, was his usual relaxed, workmanlike self, calmly throwing strikes and mowing down the opposition. He threw only 82 pitches in his six shutout innings, giving up two hits, one walk, and a hit batter for a Game Score of 69 (same as Zambrano). Bruce Bochy gambled and went to the bullpen early, pinch-hitting for Cain leading off the 7th inning. Fortunately, Ramon Ramirez and Sergio Romo were up to the task and knocked off six easy outs to give the ball to Brian Wilson. The Giants failed to score in the 7th, of course, as that would have given Cain run support and that's just not how we roll. But Posey's spectacular dinger that broke the deadlock made it all OK. Wilson, naturally, was perfect, and the Giants started the road trip with a big win with a little score. I'm not a fan of 1-0 games--there's just too much chance in baseball, too many weird things can happen. But I'm a fan of wins, however you get 'em, and the Giants stay in first place for another day.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Back on top!

Jose Guillen had quite a day, whacking a 1st-inning grand slam and stroking a 2-run single in the 5th, thus making a mockery of my complaints about him. Sure, he moves like Bengie Molina, but when you pound the crap out of the ball and lead the way in a must-win game, you get at least a nod and a tip o' the tam o' Shanter from yours truly. The offense-starved Giants found the soft underbelly of the Brewers pitching staff (finally!) and racked up 9 runs on 10 hits and 7 walks. Barry Zito put together a solid start and got a "W" next to his name for the first time since July 16th. While it's true he lacked run support in some fine outings (q.v. 7/31, 8/6, and 9/8), he did run off a spectacularly wretched stretch from August 11th to September 3rd, with Game Scores of 40, 34, 28, 13 and 39, throwing 23-2/3 innings and allowing 38 hits, 14 walks, and 27 runs. That included a loss in relief as well! The Giants need all the cylinders firing here at crunch time, and quality starts (Game Score 60 today) from Barry Zito are a necessary part of that, so I was happy to see some good work from him.

One thing about the 40-man roster that's puzzling me: where is our no. 3 catcher? In a blowout, I'd like to see Buster Posey sit out the last few innings. Eli Whiteside can do the job, and if we had a third catcher we could use him. Why is Steve Holm in Fresno? Forty guys on the roster and no catcher in the bunch? Buster Posey is the best player on the team, the most valuable hitter in the lineup as well as an exceptional fielder. He had another awesome day (2 hits, 3 walks, 3 runs). But he gets dinged up every time he goes out there--all catchers do. This is precisely why you have a 40-man roster in September! Ah well, just add it to the list of things I don't understand.

The Giants won a big game today and in a big way. The Padres lost. No complaints there. The Giants have a travel day tomorrow, then head for Chicago on the last road trip of the year. It ends with three games in Coors Field! It looks like Lincecum-Zito-Cain for Friday-Saturday-Sunday. Like I said yesterday, don't trim your nails, you'll need 'em to gnaw on.



Saturday, September 18, 2010

Short night Tim

On a night the San Diego Padres pounded out 8 runs in St. Louis, the Giants rolled over and played dead against another Milwaukee pitcher, this time their ace Yovani Gallardo. In a surprising move, Bruce Bochy yanked an effective Tim Lincecum after only five innings and 72 pitches with the team down 2-0. There was actually some logic to it--the Giants had two men on with one out, and hadn't scored a run in 13 innings. Sometimes you have to jump on those scoring chances when they present themselves, especially when you are struggling. Tim was genuinely shocked by the move, as the camera showed him looking pretty riled up. Pinch-hitter Nate Schierholtz hung in against Gallardo and worked a walk, no mean feat with C.B. Bucknor's random and capricious strike zone. Mike Fontenot's grounder scored a run, so the gamble somewhat paid off. The Giants didn't get a big inning, but they did halve the deficit. I'll give Ol' Boch credit for having confidence in his bullpen, and they delivered the goods with shutout baseball the rest of the way. The camera later showed Big Head walking over to Tim and talking directly to him, which also impressed me. Whatever failings Bonehead may have as a manager, communication with his players is not one of them. Everyone on the club seems to know exactly what is expected of him. You don't hear the carping and whining that you did under Alou, who seemed to talk only to his coaches. (Winning is the best tonic, of course, and winning clubhouses are generally happy clubhouses, but Bochy should get some credit for his handling of 25 egos and personalities.) It's also true that Tim is going to pitch some even more important games in the next few weeks, and that "saving" a few innings of The Franchise's arm is a defensible tactic.

In the end, it wasn't about Tim Lincecum, but the ghastly state of the Giants offense. Tim had some trouble in the 4th inning, but with a little luck and maybe a better play by Pablo Sandoval he could have managed another zero. With the bases loaded and one out, a grounder to third by the speedy Alcides Escobar was not going to be a 5-2-3 DP, but I thought perhaps the Panda (who was one stride from the base) had time to get the force and then throw home for the tag play. It was Prince Fielder running (er, lumbering), and he looked vulnerable coming down the line. Alas, they got only the one out, and no. 8 hitter catcher Jonathan Lucroy then fought off what looked like a good 1-0 pitch and blooped a 2-RBI single to right. Little things like that loom large in games where your team doesn't score. Tim, like MadBum last night, got Cained. The Giants have played 16 games in September and have scored 48 runs. The fantastic pitching by both the starters and the relievers have made it a winning month (10-6), but that kind of baseball is just not sustainable, and losing at home to a weak team is particularly galling. Here are the runs scored for September: 2, 2, 5, 3, 2, 6, 1, 7, 1, 0, 6, 0, 2, 10, 0, 1. In 13 of the 16 games, the Giants have managed only 25 runs. Andres, Andres, come back soon!

Tim gets tagged with his 10th loss, the first time he's had double-digit L's in his short but marvelous career. His final line was 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R (both earned), 2 BB, 3 K, facing 23 batters (Game Score 48). Despite the depressing result, the Giants are still in a virtual three-way dead heat with two teams they get to see again. Look at the run differences: SD, +90; SF +87; CO +82. It shouldn't be a surprise the three clubs are separated by only one game. The races in the AL are over. New York and Tampa Bay will both make the playoffs, either as East winner or Wild Card. Minnesota and Texas are locks with 10 game leads. Cincinnati is a virtual certainty, leading by 8 over fading St. Louis. Philadelphia (88 wins) is the best team in the NL, but pesky Atlanta is only three back and two up in the Wild Card race. The West is the place to be for excitement. There's a chance two clubs will make it, or that the division winner will ace out two other good teams. Let your fingernails grow, lads, as you'll be chewing on them the rest of the way. Let's hope we find our missing bats soon!



p.s. JCP usually handles the Tim Beat here at RMC, but he had another commitment tonight. He'll be back next week.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Still in first place!

Mattison Caingarner is not getting much help this month. He's given up three runs in 20 innings and has two losses and a no-decision. If you throw in his last start in August, it's four runs in 26 innings and another ND. MadBum wasn't exactly scintillating tonight, but he was reasonably effective, keeping the ball in the yard and getting his share of grounders. Unfortunately, the Giants looked ragged in the field and pathetic at the plate. Juan Uribe flashed some Hands of Stone/Feet of Clay moments to lead the way, but Jeremy Affeldt provided the finest fielding moment of the night in the 7th when he threw a splitter under Posey's glove and failed to get a runner at home on a comebacker. That mistake made it 3-0 and that was enough for Randy Wolf to finish us off. Oh, and is anyone else concerned about Edgar Renteria's total lack of speed and range at a premium defensive position?

The Giants, fresh off a joyous Dodger-whupping last night, couldn't sustain the energy and lost to a mediocre-would-be-a-compliment Brewers club on Orange Friday. The Buster T-shirts had no magic in them, unless you think they caused Mat Latos to give up 9 runs in St. Louis. Hey, I'll take it. We knew the Padres were cruising on fumes, and now they are looking at an empty tank. I expect the Rockies to blow past them any day now. That showdown in Colorado next weekend will be epic. Let's hope we find some offense before then. The Giants are 10-5 in September, built entirely on dominating pitching (27 runs allowed). The other side of the equation is not encouraging (47 runs scored, 23 of those in 3 games). I'm not sure what to do about it. It's not like Bochy has a lot of options. The top four batters tonight were 0-14 with a walk. Randy Wolf made it look easy (Game Score 85), facing only 30 batters and throwing only 111 pitches to complete the shutout.

Clayton Kershaw shut out the Giants to start the series against LA, but the good guys still took the next two. Let's hope that's the formula. We are still in first place!



Thursday, September 16, 2010


As the wise men said, " Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!!! "

The psychotic, but lovable, 2010 San Francisco Giants laid a major whoopin' on the feeble doggers, 10 - 2, and took over FIRST PLACE in the NL West. In one of the sweetest victories of the season, every aspect of the team put on a show. Think about it. On the pitching side, Jonathan Sanchez continued his climb into elite status with a true gem (game score 75!): 7 innings, 4 hits, 1 earned run, ZERO walks and a blistering TWELVE strikeouts. It was especially gratifying to see him show some real signs of growth, for example, a relatively low pitch count and he didn't get rattled in the few tough spots he had.. A couple low end bullpen members even chipped in perfect innings. On the offensive side, the fog didn't keep the balls from flying. Huff, Posey and Guillen homered. Three RBI's from FSanchez. But the real jaw dropper is Edgar Renteria: 4 for 5, including a triple, and two runs scored. Who knew? Well, I guess Bonehead did since he stuck him in the leadoff spot.

According to Flemming, The Giants are alone in FIRST PLACE in September for the first time since 2003. That deserves a good old fashioned

--JC Parsons

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Insurance is a Good Thing

At least that's what my Daddy always said...of course, he was an insurance salesman. Tonight, the entire Giants fandom could not agree more as the Giants outlasted the doggers, 2-1, and pulled back to 0.5 games behind San Diego.

Matt Cain (12-10) outpitched a worthy opponent as he continues a dominating second half of the season. Rather quietly, the Giants have won a remarkable 10 of Matt's last 12 starts. That's damn close to a sure thing! Tonight's version was a sizzling 76 game score; 7 innings, 0 runs, 3 singles, 0 walks, and 5 strikeouts. If I'm not mistaken, Matt never allowed a runner in scoring position. However, a tie score led to pinch hitting for Cain in the bottom of the seventh. I doubt Bonehead thought much about this rather bold move (I might have left Matt in) and he was a right! Little-used Travis Ishikawa doubled and ended up scoring on a soft liner by Rarely-used Mike Fontenot. Glory, Glory: We Scored! Then, in the eighth, almost as an afterthought: a Huff double, a wonderful wild pitch, and a weak RBI grounder by Pablo gave us a second run. What an uprising! Could we actually relax? Don't be silly. With two outs, Ethier homered (just to reach the minimum required torture level, I guess) but The Zeus Beard rebounded to "K" Gibbons for save #43. In the post-game show, Kuip or Kruk called this game a "Giants laugher."

One more bit of man-love toward Matt: Congratulations our your 4th straight 200+ inning season. You join Jack Sanford, Juan Marichal, Gaylord Perry and Jim Barr as the only SF Giants to pull off that feat of studliness. Keep up the good make us proud to carry your name here at this humble blog.

Reason #2 why insurance is good: The usual (and more more skilled) author, MOC, took a nasty spill while biking and needed a quick trip to the local ER. So he missed the game! Bummer, huh? Fear not, the last I heard everything seems OK and I'm sure he'll be chiming in soon.

--JC Parsons

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dodgers get one hit, win ballgame

Clayton Kershaw dominated the Giants, making them look like a weak-hitting club. Oh, that's right, they are a weak-hitting club. Speaking of weak-hitting clubs, the Padres scored five runs in four games against the Giants in San Diego. They've scored thirteen in two games in Colorado. I'll let other people figure that out. In twelve September contests, the 8-4 Giants have scored 35 runs. The pitching has been great, only allowing 21 runs. They've pulled off a neat World Cup hat trick with three 1-0 games in the last four. Two were losses, though. That takes the shine off things a bit. The Dodgers even the season series at eight games apiece with two to play. The 81-64 Giants are 1-1/2 games back of the 82-62 Padres who are 3-1/2 ahead of the 79-66 Rockies. The Giants are also 1-1/2 back of the 83-63 Braves in the Wild Card.

The loss of team talisman Andres Torres is a huge blow. Tonight Aaron Rowand played CF and batted 8th, while Cody Ross led off and played RF. I've had my fill of Jose Guillen, so I was happy to see Ross get the start. He and Rowand are the best fielders other than Torres, and should definitely be out there. Rowand is in the 8th spot for a reason, and I hope he stays there. Someone--I hope it can be Ross--has to fill Torres' shoes. I'm not sure about hitting leadoff, though. Then again, I can't think of anyone else.

Matt Cain tomorrow. Let's score some runs.



Monday, September 13, 2010

The 9th Inning

The Giants have played 144 games or 8/9 of the the season. One-ninth of the season remains--18 games. The first six at home, followed by a day off. Three with LA, three with Milwaukee. The next six on the road, again followed by a day off. Three in Chicago, three in Colorado. The last six at home: three with Arizona and three with San Diego. Then it's a lot of days off. Or, just a day or two, getting ready for crazed, short-season baseball.

Baseball Prospectus Postseason Odds says the Giants have about a 56% of making the playoffs. About a 43% chance of winning the West, and about a 13% chance of being the Wild Card. Sounds reasonable. In this irrational and unreasonable time, it's nice to have a little reason. Yeah, the Giants have a damn good shot, assuming they keep playing the way they are playing. If they lose 10 in a row, the odds change a bit for the worse. If they win 10 in a row, they get a damn sight better. Funny, we've had a team in the West do each of those things this month, and Colorado's win streak is still going! Anything can happen, as we know, we've seen it all. We're Giants fans. We've watched every kind of gut-wrenching loss you can imagine. The Giants are The Greatest 2nd Place Team of All-Time. We know what's it's like to lose at every level the game offers: the Series, the playoffs, the tie-breakers, the season, the season series, the home series, the away series, Spring Training, winter ball, rookie league, and the off-season. So this mad rush to the playoffs is a rush to madness. It's a crack high, it can't last, and you know it can't last, but you want it anyway, want it so bad you'll sell your soul (or at least a few of your less important organs, I mean, do you really need a spleen?). And if you get into the Devil's Bingo Game, and you get on a roll, you just might win the 11 games you need to get the Big Prize. So the crash from the crack high will be worth it, you see. After an insane month of playoff baseball, after all the MOST IMPORTANT GAMES OF THE YEAR have been played, you'll come tumbling down like Yosemite Falls. If the Big Prize is there, you can always rub aloe into the "SF" brand you had seared on your left breast in a moment of drunken revelry. If it ain't, if you come agonizingly close and lose, then at least you won't have a seriously ugly scar.



Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ace-Killer Tim

For the second time in the last eleven thrilling days, Tim Lincecum has beaten an opponent's "ace" in a huge NL West match up. The first showdown was the classic duel with Ubaldo Jimenez that Tim secured with a spectacular effort (game score 76)...Holy Jeebus, was that the last game those pesky Rockies lost? And, of course, the second beat down came today against the puds' much heralded Mat Latte', a 6-1 drubbing at DogFood Park in which Tim dominated from the start (game score 67). Lincecum seemed to own the bottom of the strike zone; only 5 of the 21 outs were fly balls and the only extra-base hit (a triple) was a hard grounder just by Huff. His velocity also seemed to be top notch, hitting 94 regularly, even late in the game. His line:

7 innings, 7 hits, 1 run (fie on you,Eckstein!), 1 walk and NINE STRIKEOUTS

No doubt that the "W" is really what "it" is all about, but isn't there some potent mojo associated with the fact that our #1 Stud can and WILL beat their #1 Stud? Tim Lincecum is still "The Man" in the West.

Other quick thoughts:

* Tim creeps up on another Juan-type accomplishment. At 208 strikeouts, Lincecum leads the league and has topped 200 for the third consecutive year. Marichal did it 4 times...Mathewson (3) and Rusie(4) did it too, but that was a frigging long time ago!

* Can I dream that Nate may get to play some now that Torres is out? Or does Rowand now just get handed the job? And does that sac fly RBI tonight from Guillen mean he's guaranteed a spot for another week? Jeez, what does Bonehead see that none of us do?

* Way to bring the RMC vibe down to San Diego, Bro! You represented!

photo credit: Who knew there already was an Ace Killer?

Postcard From Petco

First and foremost, I'm just extremely glad that my presence at the ballpark for such an important game did not contribute to a defeat.
Also, I'm glad it was not a close game. The Giants employed the tried and true strategy of "score early and score often" to great effect, and Lincecum was wonderful. (For more about this see adjacent article by JC Parsons, my bro)
I was underwhelmed by the ambiance of the ballpark. It is like Raley Field on steroids. Our seats were far from ideal, chosen to accomodate my 3 and a half year old grandson. So we were in the sandbox bleachers. We could see exactly none of left field.
I have nothing to say about the food. My frugal daughter Sarah packed a picnic. The plastic bottle of MGD beer I purchased was quite adequate.
An odd item to report is that there were so many Giants fans present it was hard to tell if something good or bad was happening to the Puds. For example, apparently late in the game the SD centerfielder made an error. I had to deduce this from subsequent action, and it certainly was not the type of thing they like to replay on the Jumbotron. Nonetheless, the crowd sounded delirious with joy.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Padre'd again, goddamnit!

Just when I thought we'd lifted the Curse of Petco, the Giants lose a 1-0 game on a Yorvit Torrealba homer. I don't know about you, but I'd rather be beat by one of the Hairstons--I don't care which one--or Chase Hundley or Todd Headley or whoever the fuck. You see, I like Yorvit. Always have. Rue the day we rid ourselves of him. Alas.

Winning an absurd 1-0 contest against your primary foe is great. Oh, how the gods smiled on us when Aubrey ran to third! Losing an absurd 1-0 contest to your nemesis team is not. Oh, how the gods cursed us with bad calls!

Madison Bumgarner was winless in his two previous against San Diego (8-Sep-09, 14 Aug 10). Maybe some day that boy will learn to be a winner.

The Franchise goes tomorrow in the biggest start of his career. The Giants were in 3rd place, 7-1/2 back on September 11th last season. I think it's safe to say Tim Lincecum has never pitched a more important game. There's a good chance the game he pitches next week will be even more important, but that is then and this is now. Two back in the loss column, the Giants can't afford to lose any more ground. They have to deliver against the sensational Mat Latos a day after getting muzzled by the guy named after frozen food. Let's hope the run support is there for The Freak tomorrow. Beat them down! Take no prisoners!



p.s. I missed the time change on the game and didn't tune in today. I'm kind of glad, the torture would have been a bit too much. Got some important tasks done, though, and that always feels good.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Weirdest game of the season

The Giants win 1-0 in San Diego and move into virtual tie for 1st place in the NL West by managing to out-Padres the Padres. Jonathan Sanchez "earned" a loss to San Diego on April 20th despite only allowing one hit in seven innings. Less than a month later, he "earned" another loss to the Padres despite yielding only one run in eight innings. Two lesser efforts after that (May 18 and August 13) meant the Padres were his daddy, and the only thing left for him to do was something radical. He had to shake things up, after all, just pitching wasn't going to cut it. First thing? He scratched out the SD logo on the Petco mound. That was some serious in-your-face disrespect! Second thing? He pitched around every hitter in the lineup! Yes, instead of getting them out, he simply walked them. Unorthodox, I know, but it worked. Giving up only one hit in his five innings, despite previous evidence that the Padres win when they get only one hit, Sanchez left the game a non-loser. Look, man, if you want to earn a "W" then you have to give up ZERO hits, remember?

The Giants scored their run, the difference in the game, without getting a hit. Clayton Richard dominated the Giants through six, then hit Aubrey Huff leading off the 7th inning. After falling behind 1-0 to Pat Burrell, Bud Black summoned Luke Gregerson who got the strikeout. Huff, though, stole second base! Jose Guillen then hit a grounder to short, and Huff took off for third base even though the ball was in front of him! He looked a bit like a kid caught with his hands in the cookie jar, glancing over at Migule Tejada as he chugged toward the bag. The throw was a bit wide, thankfully, and he slid in safely. It was sort of like the Sanchez pitching strategy: do the opposite of what you are supposed to do and it will pay off. This is Petco and the Padres, and it has been two season of weirdness and wretchedness with this club and in this stadium, so I can't blame the Giants for trying anything, even if it is the wrong thing. Tonight, the move worked, and all it would take now was a double-play ball to complete the scene. Juan Uribe, clutch performer that he is, obliged with a grounder to short. Pinch-runner Nate Schierholtz plowed into David Eckstein on the pivot and it was just enough to prevent the out at first and the run scored. The Giants kept up the theme, putting two men on with no outs in the 8th and the 9th and refusing to get insurance runs both times. Once again, the Padres strategy of getting studly bullpen work late in the game backfired, as the Giants won easily with a five-out save from Brian Wilson. One of those outs was a caught stealing of Everth Cabrera on a nice throw by Eli Whiteside and a quick tag by Edgar Renteria. Buster Posey, despite being the mortal offspring of gods, would have thrown that one into centerfield--it was that kind of night.

It was an amazing win by the Giants, a bizarre, flukey, how-was-that-possible win, but a win nonetheless. After all we've had to endure with this goddamn Padres team, it was sweet comeuppance. The stage is set now for the series victory, and, if I may be so bold, the sweep we all crave. A split doesn't help. We have to gain ground, and the only way to do that is to win at least one more game. I like our chances. Watch out for Colorado.

That's all I have to say about that.



Thursday, September 9, 2010

Country hardball 101: Giants win 7-3

Matt Cain was brilliant through eight innings, giving up only three hits, striking out eight, and issuing only one walk. In the 9th, leadoff hitter David Eckstein pounded out a single and Ryan Ludwick blasted one over the CF wall, ending Cain's night. It took 117 pitches and 30 batters for Matt to get his first win of the season against the Padres. Lifetime, he's 5-8 in 21 starts. Despite the 9th inning hiccup, it was an outstanding performance by the big fella from Tennessee. He had good velocity, hitting 94-95 mph late in the game, as well as good command of the off-speed stuff, and racked up his 11th victory with a Game Score of 67. I particularly enjoyed the three-pitch "grab some pine, meat" whiffing of the mighty Adrian Gonzalez in the 6th after a two-out double by the aforementioned Ludwick. That guy, I fear, is going to be a tough out this weekend.

Tonight was a true team effort though, as the boys broke out the big bats and slammed four homers and plated seven runs! And this in Petco Park, where long balls die and dreams of long balls die harder. And against the Padres, whose pitching staff has been ridiculous all year. The Giants needed to jump on Jon Garland early, and they did, getting a leadoff triple from struggling Andres Torres. Freddy Sanchez hit a comebacker that somehow scooted past Garland it was 1-0 in the 1st and you got the feeling the breaks would finally come for the Giants. Aubrey Huff hit a beautiful bomb to right-center in the 3rd to make it 3-0, and Juan Uribe answered Will Venable's solo shot with a big blast in the 4th to make it 4-1. Buster Posey hit an upper-deck moonshot in the 5th, and Pat Burrell capped the scoring with absurd golf shot down the LF line that seemed to still be going up when it hit the bricks. It was a thunderous display by the Giants, the first time they had ever hit four homers at Petco. With Cain dealing aces, it was a huge victory in a crucial series.

The Padres have had the Giants number both this year and last. They cobble together runs from Hairston Bros. pocket lint and David Eckstein gum wrappers. They run really fast and catch everything. They shorten games to 6 innings with impossible relief pitching. And they have Adrian Gonzalez. Writing it that way, it just doesn't seem like enough, but they nonetheless sit in 1st place and have to be beaten. Tonight was a fine example of how that might be done. I don't expect four tape-measure rockets every night, especially against the likes of Clayton Richard and Mat Latos, but I think some measure of offense will be a big help. I worry about Torres' slump, and Sandoval looks terrible, and those two will need to hit for us to win. But that's not a problem until tomorrow. For now, we'll savor tonight's terrific win.



update 0646 Friday: There's a nice piece about Mike Matheny on The Hardball Times (h/t Baseball Musings). It's easy to forget how beat up these guys get over the course of a career. Watching Buster Posey take foul balls off his mask every night--like every other catcher--gives me the hee-bee jee-bees. He's a sublimely graceful ballplayer, and seems to do everything well and with such apparent ease, it would be a shame if catching took its toll on him like it did Matheny. A great-hitting catcher like Joe Torre extended his career by playing both 1st and 3rd, something Posey could do effortlessly. Nothing to do with the 2010 pennant race, of course, but something to think about for the future.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Teaser Team?

The Giants got good pitching tonight from Barry Zito, but the Diamondbacks got even better pitching from Daniel Hudson. Runs have been in short supply lately, and they look to get scarcer in San Diego. The Giants are one game back of the Padres in the win column, but three back in the loss column. The 78-62 Giants just completed their 140th game, while the 79-59 Padres are two short at 138. Matt Cain goes tomorrow night against Jon Garland. Without an offense, he'll have to be damn close to perfect to get a win. A split doesn't help us much. San Diego will have 20 games left, San Francisco 18. If the Padres are 81-61, a mere .500 record sees them finish 91-71. The 80-64 Giants would have to go 11-7 to tie, 12-6 to win. The last three games of the regular season are in San Francisco on the first weekend of October. That could be an epic series, or just another tease. I can't tell with this club, I really can't. When they can't hit in Arizona, it scares the crap out of me. I know, I've watched the dramatic wins, I feel the magic inside and all that. I've seen this team play like champions. Then I see them break out a new-fangled offense built on Freddy Sanchez solo HRs. Don't get me wrong, I like HRs from unexpected places, but that only works when all the expected guys hit, too. San Diego has a whole army of Daniel Hudson-esque hurlers--how am I supposed to feel about that?

C'mon, Giants, quit horsing around with my heart. Grab a hold of the fucking Padres and beat the goddamn crap out of them!


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Teaser Tim

One of the most exciting aspects of superstud pitchers, like our own Tim Lincecum, is the possibility of a show-stopping performance. You know, complete game, shutout, 10+ strikeout type stuff. For the first six innings, that was just what Tim hit shutout ball. Crisp. Electric. Hell, it would have made Juan Marichal proud. He was ahead of everybody and flashed a changeup that had that ol' magic. Then the seventh inning happened: triple, homer, K, single, K, and then the one that ended his evening, a triple to some Abreu on a crappy 1-2 pitch. All of sudden no more Juan...more like Armando. Rarely will you see such a quick turn around from Tim; hard to fathom, perhaps he just ran out of gas. Regardless, it was plenty good enough to get his THIRTEENTH WIN, thanks to some big time slugging and slick relief pitching. His line:
6.2 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 0 walks, and ELEVEN strikeouts

So close, maybe next time. What a tease!

Special kudos to Javier Lopez. Our new "loogy" was asked to get 4 outs tonight, including a righty. No sweat...they barely touched it! He has been nasty since day one. Truly a good looking pickup for the stretch drive.

Monday, September 6, 2010

25 zeros

Matt Cain gave up four runs to the Dodgers in the 4th inning of Saturday's game. He followed that with three shutout innings, and then the 'pen finished the task with two more. Sunday's nine innings of shutout ball was then topped by today's eleven innings of zeros! That's TWENTY-FIVE consecutive innings on the road in which Giants pitchers have not allowed a runner to cross the plate. You pitch like that you are going to win. Madison Bumgarner matched Jonathan Sanchez' outstanding start with one of his own, his best since July 6th in Milwaukee. It's easy to forget he's a month past his 21st birthday--I say buy that lad a beer! Forgotten man Nate Schierholtz had an ignominious start to his day, getting picked off after being sent in to pinch-run, but redeemed himself later with a mighty blow--a gapper to right-center for a stand-up triple--that plated the go-ahead runs. It's been tough to score runs with both Huff and Torres slumping, and the club is going to need the bench-warmers to step up and deliver some timely hits in the interim. Andres made two very fine plays in center to take away hits, his glove continues to be a huge asset. It was a crisp, well-played game, as well as an agonizing, tortuous one. Only the Giants can combine those things so deftly.

The Padres send ace Mat Latos out against the Dodgers tonight in San Diego. He's given up two or fewer runs in fourteen straight starts. I think that streak of improbability will come to an end very soon. Hey, how about tonight? It's not like we are rooting for the Dodgers as much as we are rooting against the Padres, right? And we'd sell our immortal souls to Lucifer if he could guarantee us a World Series win, wouldn't we? Well, wouldn't we?

Keep on rolling, boys, keep on rolling!


UPDATE: Seems Latos is a scratch tonight.  I like the sound of "eleven in a row."

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Giants shutout LA, one back of SD

Jonathan Sanchez showed the Dodgers no mercy tonight, throwing 7 shutout innings and allowing only 3 hits and one walk while racking up 9 strikeouts. It was another brilliant effort (Game Score 79) by the inscrutable southpaw, and it came on the right night as LA righty Hiroki Kuroda also pitched well. Down 1-0 in the 7th, Kuroda gave up a single to Pablo Sandoval leading off. Juan Uribe followed that with another back-breaking 2-run homer, his second in two nights, and the Giants were rolling. Jonathan Sanchez set down the side easily in the bottom of the inning, and Sergio Romo and Brian "Beard of Zeus" Wilson snapped up the last of the feeble Dodger remnants. The lads marched off the field with a tremendous win and now head for Arizona. It was the kind of game we thought we'd see a lot of, but the Padres, it seemed, cornered the market on that in the first half of the season. Times have changed--the front-runners have lost 10 straight! The Giants and the Padres are tied with 76 wins (4th best in NL), but SD has two fewer losses.



Saturday, September 4, 2010

Great Beard of Zeus, Giants win!

At the end of the broadcast, AmyG talked to Brian Wilson and complimented him on his beard. He called it "The Beard of Zeus." That's the sort of thing it took tonight--divine intervention. Matt Cain pitched six top-notch major-league innings and one piece-of-shit inning, and the 4-0 pasting looked permanent until Buster Posey boomed a big one off Ted Lilly leading off the 7th inning. Edgar Renteria, who had looked like a resuscitated drowning victim at shortstop, led off the 8th inning with a solo bomb off Lilly, and the Dodgers went to the bullpen. Pat Burrell, pinch-hitting for Cain, launched a space probe off Octavio Dotel and all of a sudden the torture reached a new level. Would we fall short most agonizingly? Were we really mounting a comeback? Is this just another tease? Anguish, I tell you, anguish! Hong-Chih Kuo dashed some hopes by finishing off Huff and Posey, and you knew Jonathan Broxton was coming in for the final three outs. Broxton is pretty impressive, but he's had his share of struggles, too, so the idea of scratching out the tying run wasn't completely insane. Sure, I was down, and I thought the gig was up, but Cody Ross then legged out an impossible infield single with one out. The Giants had a pulse--just barely--but a pulse nonetheless. Juan Uribe stepped up next and delivered the biggest hit of the year, a no-doubter, a massive blast to straightaway center to make it 5-4 San Francisco. Brian Wilson scared the crap out of us all by putting two guys on in the 9th, but with the tying run at 3rd base he got the next two guys for the save. The Giants hit FOUR HOME RUNS and score five times to beat the Dodgers in an epic pennant race clash. With San Diego losing their 9th straight, the good guys find themselves two back in the West.

Make the proper sacrifices, lads, the gods are petty and cruel. Do whatever it takes to keep rolling!


p.s. Final line on Cain: 7 IP, 7 hits, 4 runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, 28 batters, 100 pitches, Game Score 52

p.p.s.Wilson's 125th save ties Greg "Moon Man" Minton.

Step one a little shaky

Chad Billingsley is a good pitcher. That's a fact. Getting beat by a good pitcher happens to all teams, not just slop-hacking also-rans. That doesn't take the sting out of last night's loss in the LAtrine, though. Barry Zito got himself in trouble, then worked his way out of trouble with strikeouts, only to bury himself and the team with 2-out, 2-RBI hits. The HR by Rod Barajas wasn't just more of that Rod Barajas Has Our Number stuff--it was a fat pitch over the plate that he was obviously looking for. I figured the Giants could scratch back the two runs, and they did with a clutch hit by Buster after some Dodger-esque dink ball. But the hit by Billingsley was an abomination, not just because he raked a fastball (a Zito fastball, not the other kind) on a two-strike count, and not just because it was a fat fastball (a Zito fastball, not the other kind), but because I thought our RF would catch it. I mean, the pitcher was up, the OF is playing in, it's just the kind of line drive that gets cut off in that situation. But our RF was Jose Guillen instead of Cody Ross or Nate Schierholtz and he lumbered over in his concrete galoshes and clanked it with his iron glove. Thus were the good guys doomed. Barry Zito needs to have a Tim-like resurrection soon, or he'll keep dooming us. And blown play at AT&T or no, I'd rather have Ross out there.

Mr. Consistency goes tonight. Let's hope he brings his A-game. GO GIANTS!


Friday, September 3, 2010

This Is It!

Tonight we start a stretch of 13 games against division rivals, with the first 10 on the road. Following that, we play 6 against midwestern teams (vs Milwaukee and in Chicago) and then a final 9 more in the division. I do not need to remind any constant reader of the less-than-stellar record of the Giants against the West, but here it is anyway: We are 6-6 vs LA, a pitiful 2-9 against San Diego, a fortunate 8-4 against Arizona and 7-8 against Colorado, for an overall record of 23-27. We're getting better, though - at one time we were 1-5 vs the smog-suckers and 1-7 vs the puds.

Henry Schulman in the Comicle this morning had a good explanation of how many games need to be won based on historical precendent to win a division or wild card. He concludes that the Giants need to win 90 games and that takes an 18-10 run through the remaining games. There is just no way that we can be in this without taking it to our rivals. If we go 1-5, say, against the puds (and is anyone else out there hating this team in that deep, dodger-loathing sort of way?) we have to have a 17-5 (.773). Not very likely. But, if we split with them 3-4, we need only to go 15-6 against the other teams. Difficult, but not implausible. Here is another way to look at it. We have 9 series left (guess which fucking team we have to play one 4 game series against?). If we win each series, even if we split the four gamer, we are 18-10. See above.

Or, we have to play better than San Diego by 4 games (at least 3 to tie). If they go .500 (hopefully with some help from us) they end up 91-71. We have to win 19 to tie, 20 out of 28 to win the division outright. A tough order.

The facts of the matter are these: We have to have our starters be the tough, gritty perfomers that we know that they can be, Tim, Barry, Matt, Jonathan, Madison, all of them (and all have shown the stuff to do it in their last outings, Barry excepted). We have the arms for relief as long as they are not over-used. We have Runsler back, and some other help if we need it (Sosa, for example). We have to play good defensive baseball. No more right fielders taking a route towards the left field foul pole on a deep drive towards 421. We have to avoid taking ourselves out of an inning when we have runners on base. We have to take advantage of opportunities (see: September 1). We have to use what muscle we have at the plate. Pablo has been looking better lately, although he can still be prone to swinging at horrible, horrible pitches. Huff needs to get back in the groove (the July Huff was really much better than the August Huff). Sanchez needs to continue not being death at the plate. Burrell, Guillen, Ross, if these guys are in the game, they need to contribute. And Posey needs to continue to be Posey.

The Giants could easily play themselves out of it in the next 10 games, or shine like the bright lights of the future that will swell our innocent hearts with pride, make grown men weep and women tingle. Time to stand up, grow some cojones, be counted and BEAT THOSE ANNOYING SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA TEAMS.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Re-Freaked Tim!

The Giants win a huge game with a unique combination: The Freak and The Speed Freak!!!

A old, familiar Tim Lincecum and a new, fleet footed September call up have combined to produce one of the most exciting and significant wins of this season. The Freak was his old self with a dominating line (game score of 76!): 8 innings, 1 run, 5 hits, 1 walk, and 9 strikeouts. Tim was actually better than those numbers imply; most of the hits (and the only hard hit one) were by one guy, Carlos Gonzalez (arguably the most exciting young hitter in baseball). One of the best signs was Tim's improvement as the game went on...a 7 pitch seventh inning and a one pitch denial of Gonzalez in the eighth. Sweet stuff for a thirsty crowd and when Tim came up to bunt in the eighth, the crowd sure poured out the love. Man, it was a long month! After a well documented and disastrous August, Tim has turned the page and thrust his team back into the hunt.

Obviously, Tim needed a little help to win this one...not much, but a little. The biggest contribution came from the most unlikely source, a classic September call up, the super speedy Darren Ford. Displaying the boldness that only the incredibly fast have, Ford took over the game as a pinch runner!! The guy didn't get to the ballpark til the second inning...don't you love September??

p.s. puds lose AGAIN!! We are 3 games back. Do I smell some dogger meat for the holiday weekend???