Thursday, March 31, 2011

Game 1: Giants Lose Opener to Dodgers 2-1,

Lincecum pitched 7, allowed 0 earned runs, 5 k's but loses due to walks and shady defense.

Burell goes yard.  Dodgers' Kershaw looks good.  Not scary good, but way decent good.  Latos-good.

I listened to the first 3 on the radio in the car, on my way to buy a new ukulele.  Then sort of followed the game on my phone and peeking around the corner into the bar at Noriega Pizza. 

aside from what looked like butterflies, thought they looked good.  Belt looked good, 1 for 3 with a walk, worked a couple counts.  Sandoval seemed to be playing light on his feet at 3rd.

All in all, a positive loss.  2-1 is just a pitchers' duel and Timmy was a little less perfect than Kershaw.  Dammit.

Time to get ready for a long season.  Oh, BTW, we got Jonathan Sanchez tomorrow, it'd be nice to take 3 out of 4, I'll settle for 2 on the road though (Z's pitching Sunday and he got a bonked head).

World Series Last Batter

In these last few moments of relevence before the long ass season begins

T-minus 53 minutes

Opening Day Lineup

Torres CF
Sanchez 2B
Huff RF
Posey C
Burrell LF
Tejada SS
Belt 1B
Sandoval 3B
Lincecum P

Final thoughts before first pitch

The Giants tap into something awfully primal in my soul.

Every year, the Giants are vastly underrated.  Sometimes they underachieve, sometimes they get hurt, and sometimes they disappoint, but my expectations are alwayts high.

I was nervous that a world championship would institute a sort of indifference in my attitude towards this team.  After all, once they've won, where would that fervent desire and chip on ym shoulder come from.


So, there's that.

Fact is, I'm more expectant than ever now.  2008 was a season that compeltely lost my interest by late July.

2009 brought tears to my eyes with SAnchie's no-no and Panda Bear's incredible hitting.  And Timmy's Cy Young.

2010 started with the expectation for play-offs.  I cursed DeRosa early, I cursed SAbean and Bochy.  Then I lauded them for Posey.  I struggled with Timmy in August, and, after one loss to the Dodgers in September, I cried in agony into a pillow for about 30 minutes -- without shame -- in front of my wife, in front of my dog (luckily my son was already in bed) because the Giants were 1.5 out of first and I thought the season was over.

(1-0 is my least favorite score)

And, then history, unlikely history, happened unexpectedly.

This season promises more of the same, and its the same team so they better effin' win!

Lineup Predictions

As I see it (w/ ideal season stats):

1. Torres CF (.280/12/60, 25 SB, 90 R, 2 Errors)
2. F. Sanchez 2B (.290/8/60, 80 R, 160 games, 6 errors)
3. Posey C (.295/20/90, 140 games)
4. Huff RF (.285/20/100)
5. Burell LF (.265/35/95, 550 AB, < 120 Ks)
6. Sandoval 3B (.310/25/90, 60 BB, 8 errors)
7. Tejada SS (.260/15/65, 12 errors)
8. Belt 1B (.285/15/70, 500 ABs)


Lincecum (19-8, 2.40, 250 K's and maybe a no-no)
Cain (18-9, 2.95, 180 K's, 250 IP)
J. Sanchez (14-8, 3.25, 200 K's, 200 IP)
Bumgarner (10-6, 3.55, 180 IP)
Zito (11-11, 4.00, 195 IP)

Brian Wilson (2-3, 40 Saves, 1.75 ERA, 1.10 WHIP)

[EDIT: actual opening day lineup Torres CF, Sanchez 2B, Huff RF, Posey C, Burrell LF, Tejada SS, Belt 1B, Sandoval 3B, Lincecum RHP]
(note, not all will be correct as injuries/trades happen)

Dodgers' Opening Day Lineup

From John Shea

Lincecum"s foes. Uribe sixth. RT @ Furcal 6, Gwynn, Jr. 7, Ethier 9, Kemp 8, Loney 3, Uribe 5, Barajas 2, Carroll 4, Kershaw 1

The Baseball Project

While I appreciate a band devoted to makign songs about baseball, I am not really into much of The Baseball Project because the songs lack -- I dunno -- subtlety?  No that might not be the right word.  Depth or abstract poetry?

But, there is a quaint, sort of nostalgic fantacism.  I'd say that you'll like the songs that apply to your team.

An exchange

from John Shea's article on Brandon Belt's ascension to the big club.

With a crowd at Belt's locker, a voice was heard from across the clubhouse:
"Hey, Belt, you crying?"
It was Aubrey Huff.
Belt: "A little bit."
Huff: "Why you crying? I'm the one who's gotta play right field every day."

Opening Freaking Day

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Player Preview -- The Pitchers

My final posting that will preview the ol' ballclub (the previous two being The Infielders and The Outfielders) visits the strength of the team: The Pitchers

(more below the fold)

Belt! (officially)

Ishikawa rides the long, lonely train out of SF -- make way for Brandon Belt.  I guess all of the eggs are in one basket now.

Thanks for the time Travis, I underesitmated you and


According to John Shea (and purposely over-purported with a misleading headline is this Yahoo Sports article), Brandon Belt might probably actually make the big club -- and we should know for certain today.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Player Preview -- The Outfielders

My second nugget breaking down the team before the season begins.  Previously, it was the Infielders, now it is the Outfielders

(read more below the fold)

Player Preview -- The Infielders

stolen from here
God the Hot Stove League is so short when you play into November -- here we are, less than 2 1/2 days from the start of the regular season.

The Giants depth is in the outfield, but their run scorers are in the infield.  It also might house their weakest cogs defensively.

(break down below the fold)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Pre-Season Picks

OK, time to put up or shut up. 

By Friday night, all but one team in MLB will have kicked off their road to heartbreak.

Thusfar, I've been sniffing around the Spring Training blogs and reports -- The Giants look good, save for a somewhat unnerving oblique strain to B Wheezy and a not-quite-alarming leg injury to Cody Ross.

Let's not forget that Wheez is stronger at the end than he is at the beginning, so maybe the extra week(s?) off will save us from a couple blown stinkers.

And, as much as I like the Rodeo Clown, Cody was strong for all of 10 games last year -- and they weren't before the leaves fell.

Besides, Schierholtz has been strong enough, and I think it's time to give the ol' boy a couple weeks to start the year and see exactly what we got (finally).

So, now without further ado, my division picks (after the fold)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ode to the Voices of the Giants

This Spring is going well,a nd there's not much to comment on.  Early on we saw the vestiges of what might be, and now it looks like its going according to the plan that we hoped iut would.

Not much drama, very little injury, and everyone is even more in shape than they were last year.

The Giants look good.

So, I'd like to take a moment to talk about how much I appreciate the voices of the Giants.

Before Jon Miller, we still had Kruk and Kuip.  As a kid, Mike Krukow was my favorite pitcher, fo no other reason than I thought he looked like what a pitcher should look like: tall and gangly, sort of laid back -- and he also never shied away from an open microphone.

I never had the pleasure to watch Duane Kuiper play, I was too young by the time his carer had finished.  However, I did have a VHS of the Greatest Baseball Bloopers, and one of their segments was a tribute to Duane Kuiper's first major league home run in 1977 -- in his 4th season.....He played until 1985 and it would also be his last ding dong.

Still, in my first year in earnest with the Giants in 1988, Smooth was int he booth and I immediately associated his dulcet tones with the Giants.  A few years later, Kruk joined him.

In 1997, Jon Miller signed on.  I was at that season's opening day, where the future HoFer, dressed to the nines in a tuxedo, introduced the club.  I thought he ooked like Chansey from Pokemon, but he sounded like Zeus....'s third wife: the one with beautiful baritone voice that =baseball-on-the-radio.

Only a few years ago, Dave Flemming, a kid at the time, joined the fray.  Fleming, only a few years my senior, made an impact not only in baseball, but also does college baseketball play-by-play.  He is enthusiastic and interesting.

This powerful quartet of descriptive and mood-setting baseball-lotharios have made it difficult for me to imagine that any other team in the Majors could be as blessed as the Boys by the Bay.  If I wasn't so damned enthralled by Tim Lincecum's movement, I would have no problem listening to the games on the radio (of course, Kruk and Kuip do the TV work, but during national games the whole team rotates through the KNBR booth).

In down years, the broadcasters are the reason I look forward to the season.  In up years, they're the liaison between me and where I want to be nightly.  Our guys are most definitely homers, but like most if not all Giants' fans, they are realists and pragmatists.  They are rarely critical, yet willing to point out problems in the lineup.  They are in support of the home team, but always willing to extend a kudos to the bad guys when deserving.  I can't tell if they help Giants' fans to be enthusiatic and modest at once, or if they are simply reacting to our collective enthusiam and modesty, but the fact remains we (meaning the fans and the broadcasters) compliment one another.

So, as we stand on the precipice of a new season, a championship defense, and 25 weeks of gut wrenching, hoopla-filled, at times drunken and at time sobering torture, I tell the guys in the booth that I'm damn glad to see ya again. 
How was your vacation? 
How is the family? 
Did you get anything cool? 
Let me see your new Tommy Bahama shirts.

All right, now let's go out and get 'em.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Cactus League: Giants' Bench Beats Rangers' Studs

Okay, maybe it's not fair to say that it was the Giants' bench that beat the Rangers last night.  But the team left Buster, Huffy, and Miggy in the clubhouse, and pitched the only guy that lost to Texas in October, whilst Ron Washington (dripping with thoughts of revenge) started 8/9 of his projected opening day line up.

And, still, Washington and the boys from DFW were left scratching their heads.

Don't worry Red State Central, Spring Training games don't count so nobody will guffaw.

Except for me.

That Heavy Sinker Feeling

Jonathan Sanchez will have a good year this year.  I know this for truesies and realsies.

In fact, Jonathan Sanchez will be remarkable this year.  How am I so sure?

Because he has a sinker.  An honest to goodness, heavier than a brick sinker. Something that will mop up the bases when he walks a couple.  Something that will blow up the bats of the 2nd hitters in the league.  Something that will look big as big as a beach ball to the D-Back whiffers, but fall right off the table before it gets to the plate.

Jonathan Sanchez now has a tool to right his wrongs, and I'm excited.  I can see him going at it hard as a Giant, going somewhere as a free agent with a decent paycheck, and becoming an awesome bust.  And I couldn't be happier for the guy.  Go Sanchie.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Cactus League: A Flash in the Suppan?

Belt hit a monster.  So did Rowand.  And Jeff Suppan sees an opening on the rotation so he answers.

I am only a tiny bit concerned with how well the Boys are doing this Spring.  Posey's hitting like .700 and Pablo's hit more home runs in the last week than Duane Kuiper did in his entire career.

Great, right?  Well, not necessarily if those knocks are coming off of a guy who'll be bagging groceries next week.  An MLB pitcher is good enough to make you miss those pitches just enough that they die on the warning track.

Still, Jeff Suppan's 3 scoreless is umpteen times better than Z's 5 walks and 5 outs outing on Monday. Well, Z going tonight in the split squad game. Let's see how he does.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

This Whole Barry Zito Thing

Z's been threatened with a trade or all-out pay-off and release according to Bruce Jenkins and his source: some guy "close to the team".

Finally, a little bit of drama out of camp.

There's two things going on here:

  1. Zito is under performing for any contract, let alone his big one
  2. The Giants are uncomfortable paying dozens of millions to a guy that can't even make their post season roster

If there is anyone in the organization that would be disgruntled with Z's performance to the extent that they want him off the team, it'd be the coaching staff: most natoably Rags and Boche.  The coaching staff's job security is tied to player performance and team winning percentage, they have very little to say about the dollars and cents.

Meanwhile, the men in the front office (Sabes and Neukom) would be very unlikely to cut a guy to whom they'll still owe $60 million dollars over the next three years.  After all, good or bad, you don't want to loose a guy into the free agent market and pay him so that he can perform for another team.

Still, this threat smacks of front office motivational techniques.  I'd have a hard time believing that Rags or Boche would leak information like this knowing full well that Z's temperamental and their best back up plan is Jeff Suppan (I mean come on, Jeff Suppan?).  This would be something that the coaching staff would bring up the third week of March, if at all before the season.

Meanwhile, a feigned sigh, shrug, and finger wag might be the only thing Brian Sabean can do to light a fire under Z.  Let's be honest "a source close to the team," whoever that is, is operating as a mouthpiece for Sabes and Neukom.  Nobody in the front office would piss in front of the press without the GM signing and initialing three pieces of paper to OK it. 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


OK, speech cadence check.

Charlie Sheen

Brian Wilson

It's hard for me to get clean audio of Charlie Sheen, but let's compare the two's voices (mostly their speech cadences)

What do you think?  Charlie Sheen taking after Weezy?

Any chance that the Ma-Sheen is deep in character and in ML4, Ricky Vaughn is going to be an eccentric, bearded, intense, focused closer? 

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Cactus League: Brandon effin Belt

I'm not going to dwell on Z's poor pitching performance.  The lead up to these first games was short, and I don't expect the pitchers to be doing anything other than practicing their junk and strategy.  I'd feel a bit better if he was giving up hits rather than walks, but there's 30 days until opening day.

I will, however, dote on a man who goes 3 for 5, with 2 doubles, and 4 RBIs.

Brandon effin Belt.  Effin Brandon Belt.
Brandon Belt, EFF!

Nope, none of those work for me.  How about Brandon FAWKIN Belt?

I like it.

I'm a little concerned about the surplus in the org right now.  Belt seems to only be slotted for the Mothership if someone gets hurt early.  And by someone, I mean Huff or Burrell.

If Pat the Bat's going to hit 30 and Huffy's going to put up a .290/25/85 line, I wouldn't want to trade either of them for Brandon Belt.  And the Giants just re-signed Pat the Bat and Huffy, so they're not going to try and move them (at least not early on).

I think we're going to have to wait a bit for Brandon Belt.  Hopefully not too long.