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Sunday, December 19, 2010

San Francisco vs Philadelphia (The Big 4 Edition)

So we've already seen the Giants knock off the Phillies for the National League crown in 2010. Apparently that didn't sit well with Philly, seeing our pitching staff shut them down and beat their allegedly superior starting pitching staff. So what did they do? They went out and convinced Cliff Lee to come back to them.

Is there any doubt they did this because they feared matching up with the Giants again in 2011? I can't help but think so. The Phillies had a far superior offense to the Giants on paper. And Halladay/Oswalt/Hamels should have matched up very well with Lincecum/Cain/Sanchez. Which should have meant the Phillies should have won, right? Well, wrong. It's why they play the games. And the games said the Giants were so good, they didn't even have to take the series to a seventh game.

It also had a lot to do with the fact that our fourth starter was better than their fourth starter.

So Philly went out and got the prize free agent of the offseason (Lee) and added him to Halladay, Hamels, and Oswalt. And now every baseball writer, blogger, and so-called expert outside of Giantsland is calling Philly's rotation historically good while completely ignoring the San Francisco rotation that completely shutdown the Phillies O (not to mention the uber powerful Texas offense!) to win a championship.

One question going into the 2011 season will be which team has the best rotation? A lot of people will pick the Phillies. After the Cliff Lee signing, MLBTR readers were polled as to who they thought had a better rotation: Philly or SF. The answer? A resounding 77% said Philly. And that's no east coast bias, MLBTR readers are from all over the place. It's much different than, say, if ESPN had conducted the poll. 77% said Philly. That's just blatant disrespect for a staff that just won a World Series title and a team that beat all of the pitchers in that Phillies current rotation at least once, and mostly twice.

Now, I get that the Giants play in a much friendlier pitching division. And that the Phillies ballpark is a joke. But still, are the Phillies starters THAT much better than SF's? Are they better at all? Let's take a look:

Career stats:

Lincecum (3.04 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)
Halladay (3.32 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)

Cain (3.45 ERA, 1.22 WHIP)
Lee (3.85 ERA, 1.26 WHIP)

Sanchez (4.26 ERA, 1.38 WHIP)
Oswalt (3.18 ERA, 1.18 WHIP)

Bumgarner (2.90 ERA, 1.29 WHIP)
Hamels (3.53 ERA, 1.17 WHIP)

Zito (3.86 ERA, 1.31 WHIP)
Blanton (4.30 ERA, 1.34 WHIP)

Lots of similar pitchers there. If the Phillies rotation is "historically" good then what is the Giants staff? I guess we'll settle it in 2011.

Overall, the pitching in the NL is the best it has been in years. With the Brewers acquisition of Zack Greinke (a great trade for both teams if you ask me) the NL boasts arguably all of the top starting pitching talent in baseball. I mean, when you're talking aces, who would you choose in the AL over Halladay, Lincecum, Greinke, Lee, Carpenter, or Josh Johnson? Felix Hernandez I'll give you. Then who? CC Sabathia? Maybe, maybe not. Probably not. Jon Lester? Josh Beckett? Verlander? Maybe.

And the #2 guys are just as good: Cain, Wainwright, Kershaw, Gallardo, Hamels, Oswalt, Hudson, Latos, Jimenez, Cueto?

Lots of fantastical pitching in the NL. Perhaps the tide is turning in MLB with the NL coming back to the strong side. Then again, the Red Sox did get Carl Crawford AND Adrian Gonzalez and the worst hitter in their line-up is probably Marco Scutaro.

Oh that's right, the pundits already have the Red Sox and Phillies in the 2011 World Series. We'll see what happens. All I'm saying is don't underestimate that Giants pitching. You know, that staff that just helped win the 2010 World Series???

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Offseason Is Officially Here

All sorts of preemptive craziness this Sunday before the Winter Meetings tomorrow. So Adrian Gonzalez is a Red Sock (I refuse to call a singular player on that team a Red Sox). Actually, he's not. He's still a Padre. And if the A-Gon to Boston deal is officially dead, then Javier Lopez's role as a lefty specialist becomes that much more important with Gonzalez still in a Friars uni. I was looking forward to seeing "The Human Trade Rumor" out of the NL West but it looks like we'll have to contend with him one more year. That being said, even if it's probably better for the Giants if Gonzalez HAD been traded to Boston, aren't you just a little bit happy that one of those big money teams didn't get who they wanted? Gonzalez didn't spurn Boston, he apparently DOES want to play there, but he wanted more money than Theo was ready to dish out. And now they don't get him (for now). That sort of makes me smile. I'll smile broader if Cliff Lee spurns the Yankees and stays with Texas (or any other team). Or Zack Greinke gets traded to anyone not named the Yankees or Red Sox. And speaking of spurning big money teams, look at Jayson Werth! He just Barry Zitoed Washington!

In case you don't know what Barry Zitoing is, it's having a team invest in you for 7 years and 126 million large for some previous nice seasons. There have been 3 cases of Barry Zitoing. Barry Zito and San Francisco. Vernon Wells and the Blue Jays. And now Jayson Werth and the Nationals.

I think Jayson Werth is a helluva player. And I incorrectly thought the Giants would be a dark horse for him this offsason. But not at Barry Zito money. And now he's a National. Which makes me smile. Because it's not the Yankees, Angels, Red Sox, or Dodgers. The Nationals offense looks to be solid for the next several years now with Zimmerman and Werth and eventually Bryce Harper. Now if only they can fix that pitching staff...

On to the Giants news:

Juan Uribe is a Dodger. That sucks. I predicted this would happen though. But now that it has actually happened, it sucks. It sucks because he allegedly accepted a Dodger offer that was similar to a Giants offer. And it sucks because it looks like he simply chose the Dodgers over the Giants. But unlike many other Giants fans out there, I hold no grudge against Uribe at all. I was listening to KNBR and someone was saying that players born outside of the country don't necessarily care about rivalries or allegiances. They simply want to play and take care of their families. It'd be like an American player going overseas and playing for, say Madrid. Then changing teams to Barcelona for slightly more money. An American probably wouldn't care about a move like that, but I'm sure the Spaniards would see it as high treason! A lot of Latin American players, for example, came from poverty. And they want to do what they can do to ensure their families will always be well off. Uribe ditching the Orange and Black for the Blue and White? It sucks for us fans. But I can't blame Uribe. I'm secretly happy he didn't take our offer of 3yrs/20M. I love Uribe. He's charismatic, he's Jose's nephew, and he deserved the OOO-REBAY chants. He had many clutch homers for the Giants in his 2 year career with SF, he had a game winning sac fly AND the series clinching homerun in the NLCS. He'll forever be remembered in Giants history. But now he's a Dodger. So I hope he plays more like his stats would indicate, meaning he'll strikeout a lot, walk almost never, and struggle to make contact against our superior pitching staff. Adios Juan, I begrudge you nothing, I'll cheer you your first time you step in the box as Dodger scum, and then I'll forgive and forget. From then on, you're just another player in a Dodgers uniform. I just hope the Dodgers fans don't try to steal the OOO-REBAY chant. That is 100% a San Francisco thing.

Which leads us to Miguel Tejada. Sabean acted quickly to replace Juan's Latin clubhouse leadership with another Latin leader. Miguel Tejada has had issues off the field. His birth certificate fiasco. The steroid stuff. But at the end of the day, Tejada has been a solid player throughout his career and has stayed on the field. At first, I was not excited about the signing. I had no idea whether he was meant to be our 3B or our SS. I thought Sabean was reverting to, well, himself, signing aging vets who are clearly on the decline. But it's only a 1 year deal. And it sounds like Tejada will be the everyday shortstop. Looking around, I don't see much better options. I did not want Bartlett and Scutaro doesn't have the offensive upside that Tejada has. I AM worried about the defense but let's face it, the Giants are solid at 3 points of the all important "up the middle" defense so they can sacrifice a little at shortstop. From all reports, Tejada is a great clubhouse guy and a hard worker. I can live with him for a year and hope he can hit .270 with double digit homer power while not embarrassing himself in the field.

Surprisingly, Pat Burrell was re-signed. I didn't see that one coming. And I definitely didn't see it happening for 1 million, no incentives. That is a huge statement from Burrell. He loves this team, he loves San Francisco, and unlike 99.9% of his colleagues, he doesn't give a shit about the money. He wanted to be here and he signed an extremely team friendly contract to do so. If Pat the Bat can come close to replicating his regular season from last year (.252/.348/.469 with TB and SF), he'll be the best free agent signing of the offseason.

Essentially, Sabean brought back the 2010 World Series team. He exchanged Uribe for Tejada and cut loose Velez and Ray and they might be signed back to minor league deals. Hell, even Edgar Renteria might be back. Is it a good plan? Well, this team won the World Series, so it's not a BAD thing to bring 'em back and see if they can do it again. But Huff, Burrell, DeRosa, Sanchez, Torres... they're all a year older and some guys had their career years. So it's risky.

But you know what, the Giants won the World Series in 2010. I can't be mad at anything Sabean does. As the winter meetings are set to begin tomorrow, Sabean has little to do. Maybe he can waste his time trying to find a suitor for Rowand...

How do you like the Giants offseason so far?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

So The Giants Need A Shortstop

The Giants need a shortstop. Everyone knows it. Edgar Renteria and Juan Uribe are free agents. Bochy is a big fan of both guys. Especially in the clubhouse. But it doesn't seem likely either will return. Neither is really an acceptable everyday shortstop option anyways. So what do the Giants do? Let's examine the options:

There's been murmurs of a Jason Bartlett connection. Jason Barlett had a career year in 2009 hitting 14 homers with 66 RBI's for the Rays. His previous career high was 5 HR and 43 RBI. In 2010, he reverted back to his old self and hit 4 HR with 47 RBI but batted only .254 with an OBP of .324. He has a career average of .281. I would say Bartlett would be a good fit, especially since he has a reputation of being a very good defender and grew up in the Bay Area (Mountain View), except he was subpar defensively last season. And I don't mean just below average, he was really bad if you look at his UZR (-13.9). Can the Giants afford to bring a light hitting SS over in a trade who all of a sudden has questions regarding his defense? It doesn't seem to be the right match or right risk. I mean, if you want a light hitting SS, you have one in your system that is almost ready and is allegedly very good defensively: Brandon Crawford. And by all accounts, Sabean is reluctant to promote Crawford, hence why the Giants are looking for a SS. But Barlett seems to have too many question marks from both sides of his game. I'd pass.

The Red Sox have two shortstops and are trying to trade one of them for bullpen help. Jed Lowrie was supposed to be the shortstop of the future in Boston but injuries have halted him from seizing the job. Marco Scutaro has Bay Area experience from his time in Oakland and is in the final year of a 2 year deal. It's unlikely the Red Sox would trade away Lowrie and keep Scutaro unless the haul was significant. Hence, I think they will deal Scutaro if they deal anyone at all. Scutaro is actually a perfect fit for the Giants. He's like Freddy Sanchez without the batting title. He's a solid, if unspectacular player, but he's one of those guys that fits on to a winning team. He doesn't do anything great but he does the little things well. He hit .275 with a .333 OBP for Boston this year while knocking out 11 round trippers while knocking in 56. He also is an average defender. He'll get to what is hit to him and will occasionally make a great play. What makes him perfect for the Giants is that he's affordable (5M), he's only under contract for a year (with an option), and he would fit in well with the clubhouse and with AT&T park. In SF, he probably would not hit double digit homers like he has in his past 2 seasons, but he'd play a respectable SS and probably bat 7th in the line-up. He shouldn't cost too much in trade either. In my mind, he is the perfect solution to the Giants SS problem.

The thing with the Giants is that they're trying to decide whether they need a stopgap SS or a long term answer. They're waiting for Ehire Adrianza or Brandon Crawford to prove they can be major leaguers but they know they're not ready yet. Crawford is closer to the big leagues than Adrianza and probably will get a call-up sometime in 2011. The Giants don't want to commit to a free agent shortstop until they know definitively whether or not Crawford or Adrianza can be the Giants SS of the future.

Which leads the Giants to one more rumored shortstop on the trade market: Jose Reyes. Jose Reyes is ideal for AT&T park. He's an above average defender, he's fast (something this team needs big time), and he has pop. As a leadoff hitter, here are Reyes's homerun totals in his healthy years (omitting his injury-marred 2009): 19, 12, 16, 11. His batting averages the past 5 seasons? .300, .280, .297, .279, .282. Oh yeah, and he also has stolen over 50 bases in 4 seasons. He's fast. He's basically Andres Torres at shortstop. But better and more consistent with a much larger track record. He would give the Giants insurance if Torres were to fall back to earth. Remember when Torres didn't start? The Giants had to scramble for a leadoff guy and the results usually weren't pretty. It's hard to count on Torres going into 2011. Can you really expect him to repeat his 2010? Even with his great season, he was vulnerable to lefties. Reyes would solve any problems the Giants would face if Torres were to falter as a leadoff option. The problem with Reyes is that he's somewhat injury prone and he would not come cheaply, both in terms of salary and trade pieces. He is a free agent after 2011 which would be intriguing for the Giants because it'd only be a one year investment. But also, by the end of 2011, the Giants will know more about Crawford and Adrianza and if it doesn't look like either are going to pan out, then the Giants can try to sign Reyes long term. There's no way the Giants will sign Carl Crawford but Reyes would be a legit leadoff option they could acquire. The question is who would you trade? I imagine Brandon Crawford, Thomas Neal, and Henry Sosa would get the conversation started. I would think the Mets would want players on the cusp of being MLB ready. Crawford could start Opening Day while Neal would be the blue chip prospect the Mets would likely require. There's no way Sabean deals Belt. However, at the end of the day, I don't think the Mets trade Reyes. They would have to be bowled over with an offer and I don't see the Giants putting together a package that will wow Sandy Alderson enough to part with Reyes. Which again leads me to believe Marco Scutaro is the best option.

Oh, there are other options as well. JJ Hardy might get non-tendered though it seems Minnesota is going to keep him and pair him with Nishioka. Orlando Cabrera (Renteria's nemesis) seems like a typical Sabean signing and wouldn't be the worst as a stopgap. But Cabrera's best years are clearly behind him. And of course, the Giants could just hand the keys to the diamond to Manny Burriss. But they weren't sold on him as a shortstop last season so I doubt they think he'd be the solution for 2011. If the Giants wanted to stress defense, they could sign Cesar Izturis but he's a former Dodger. Again, I'd rather give Crawford a shot than see Izturis in a Giants uniform. Miguel Tejada is another free agent option and can play 3B as well in case Sandoval doesn't relearn his kung fu magic. I would have liked to see a Tejada signing a couple years ago or even last offseason but I'm not sure how I'd feel about a Tejada signing for 2011. The guy looks old. He still can hit a bit but I don't want him to be on the Giants when he falls apart and I think he's very close to that point.

In any case, it'll be interesting to see what Brian Sabean and the Giants do here. There are several options. I think the best happens to reside in Boston right now. What do you guys think?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

I'm Thankful for the 2010 SF Giants

It's Thanksgiving tomorrow. And one thing I am most thankful for are the 2010 SF Giants. They brought me one of my best moments in life thus far. I don't know what that says about my priorities or my life, but there you go. If I had to rank where the moment lies, it'd probably be after I lost my virginity but before I graduated college. Somewhere in that spectrum. Granted, I am not married nor have kids so I can't say it was more exciting than those two things at this juncture. We'll see when those two things happen where this championship run lies.

But seriously, how great was this season. Brian Sabean took us on this ridiculous journey:

OPENING DAY LINE-UP 2010:

Rowand CF
Renteria SS
Sandoval 3B
Huff 1B
DeRosa LF
Molina C
Bowker RF
Uribe 2B
Lincecum P

vs

WORLD SERIES GAME 5 LINE-UP 2010:

Torres CF
Sanchez 2B
Posey C
Ross LF
Uribe 3B
Huff 1B
Burrell DH
Renteria SS
Rowand CF
Lincecum P

There were so many great moments this season, it's hard to remember them all. Right now, the only thing that replays in my mind over and over is Brian Wilson striking out Nelson Cruz and madness ensuing. I watched the game at Monaghans. And it was the most amazing experience ever. Beer showers non-stop. People acting like children. Group love. It'll never be like that again. The Giants have now won a World Series Championship. There will never be another "first time" for that. They have done it. I was there. You were there. And it was awesome.

I was telling some friends that it happened to me at the perfect time in my life. I'm 30, single, and living in SF. In 1989 I was 9. I was rooting for the Giants. But I wouldn't have been able to celebrate or grasp what a win would mean to the city had the Giants actually beat the A's. In 2002 I was 22 and living in Arizona going to college. I was a diehard by then. That defeat left me wounded right up until Nov. 1st, 2010. However, again, I wasn't in the city. It would have been a much different celebration. A solo celebration. It would have been sweet. But it wouldn't have been the sweetest. No, it was THIS year. At THIS time. Living in San Francisco. Able to go to bars with not only my fellow Giants fans, but my best friends. And we got to celebrate this first ever SF World Series Championship together. United. And free to act as crazy as we wanted.

Non-Giants fans keep asking me what it was like. And I can't accurately put it into words. The whole season, just amazing. The torture, the comebacks, the 1 run losses, the 1 run wins. Timmy struggling then dominating. Cain coming into his own. Brian Wilson morphing into Robb Nen. Posey channeling Will Clark but in a much more subdued manner. Huff and his rally thong (welcome back Aubrey, by the way). Uribe and his jazz hands. Cody Ross and his ownage of October. Pat the Bat and his clutch home runs, seemingly always to tie or put us ahead in the late innings. Freddy Sanchez experiencing winning baseball for the first time ever and taking full advantage. Torres rising from the depths of obscurity to become the leadoff hitter of a World Series team. Bumgarner showing ice in his 21 year old veins. The Ashkon video. Steve Perry.

I mean, every World Series team is going to have fantastic memories of the entire season and the playoffs. But this was our team. And our season. And for that, my SF Giants, I am super thankful. Thankful for you. Thankful to be a Giants fan. It doesn't get any better than it did on November 1st, 2010. A memory that will be treasured, cherished, and shared for generations not just by me, but literally by millions.

Thank you.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Free Agent Predictions (November Edition)

NOTE: Post updated with actual team italicized or bolded if correct.

Although I'm still basking in the aftermath of the San Francisco Giants World Series championship (as, likely, you are as well), baseball never stops. The offseason has begun and even though I'd like to just sit here on my laurels and let my beer shower soaked vestments further infect all my other clothing items, I shall not. Just as Bochy and Sabean got together a day or two after the parade, so shall I sit down at my keyboard and spout predictions about the top free agents in this 2010 class, inclusive of course of our beloved rally thong wearing, name chanting, WS game clinching homering guys.

Before I go into my free agent predictions, let me validate my prediction power. Towards the end of spring training last March, these were my predictions (bold means correct):

NL Playoff teams: Phillies, Giants,, Cardinals, Rockies
AL Playoff teams: Yankees, Twins , Red Sox, Mariners
ALCS: Yankees vs Red Sox
NLCS: Phillies vs Giants
World Series: Red Sox over Phillies
AL Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay
AL MVP: Ichiro (not even close)
NL MVP: Albert Pujols (Votto)
AL ROY: Austin Jackson (Neftali Feliz)
NL ROY: Madison Bumgarner (turned out to be his battery mate Buster Posey)

4 out of 8 playoff teams I got right. And possibly 3 out of 6 awards. Pat on back over. Here is where I think the top free agents are headed come Spring Training 2011

Cliff Lee (Rangers): I think the Yankees will throw everything they can at Cliff Lee. But Texas has a great young core and have money to spend and seem intent on hanging on to him. Actual: Phillies

Carl Crawford (Angels): Anaheim has made Crawford a priority. The Yankees and Red Sox are expected to go hard after Crawford as well. The Giants are said to be interested but won't be able to compete with the financial packages offered by the AL clubs. The Angels, after missing the playoffs for the first time in awhile, will get their man. Actual: Red Sox

Jayson Werth (San Francisco): I think the Giants are a darkhorse for Werth. With Pat the Bat unlikely to return, the Giants will replace him with another phormer Phillie. Werth will cost a lot of money, but the Giants coming off a WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONSHIP (god, that doesn't get old) will make a splash by signing Werth. Werth is one of the best right handed power hitting outfielders in the game and he plays a wicked right field. By the way, he hit a homer opposite way against the Giants at AT&T in the playoffs. Don't think the Giants didn't notice. He is a perfect fit for AT&T and unlike Aaron Rowand, I don't think taking Werth out of Philly will deflate all his power. Actual: Nationals (!)

Victor Martinez (Rangers): Although Bengie had a great October, he was pretty horrendous for the Rangers in the regular season. They are actively looking for an upgrade at catcher. Cliff Lee gets reunited with his battery mate from Cleveland. Actual: Tigers

Adrian Beltre (Red Sox): With the Red Sox striking out on Crawford and Werth, look at them to retain their 3B. Beltre will shop around but the Red Sox will step up to the plate and give him an offer he won't refuse. Actual: Rangers

Adam Dunn (Cubs): The Cubs need a first baseman. Dunn is familiar with the NL Central. And he won't be forced to DH. It's a good fit for both. Actual: White Sox (right city, wrong team)

Paul Konerko (Braves): Braves need a 1B. They've done the Adam LaRoche thing before (twice), they won't do it for a third time. Konerko will likely want to play for a contending team. The Dodgers (the team that drafted him) are a darkhorse but they have to trade Loney first and Loney is cheaper. Not sure they make that move. Konerko will settle in with the Braves. Actual: White Sox

Rafael Soriano (Angels): There are not a lot of teams looking for closer help. But the Angels are one of them. And Arte Moreno is not afraid to spend money. Tampa can't afford to keep him.

Carlos Pena (Diamondbacks): The Dbacks want a new first baseman. They are apparently very interested in Paul Konerko but I can't see Konerko going to a team in rebuilding mode. Carlos Pena is good defensively and has a ton of power. In the BOB, he could likely hit 40 bombs again. Actual: Cubs

Vladimir Guerrero (Rangers): I was surprised they didn't pick up his option. If another team doesn't come in and blow him away with an offer, I see Vlad and Texas resuming their baseball relationship.

Aubrey Huff (Giants): Huff says he'll pounce to return to SF "for the right offer". Let's not kid ourselves, Aubrey loved it here. This is posturing. He'll be the Giants 1B come Opening Day, 2011.

Jorge De La Rosa (Brewers): The Brewers like signing mediocre pitchers that turn out good seasons right before free agency (see: Suppan, Jeff and Wolf, Randy). De la Rosa will be another notch in that particular belt. Actual: Rockies

Manny Ramirez (retires or plays in Japan) I just don't see Manny accepting any offers from MLB teams because they'll not be what he's used to. Manny last season said he wanted to end his career in Cleveland. Manny says a lot of things. Cleveland won't offer him very much and he'll likely hang 'em up.

Magglio Ordonez (Rays): The Rays can't really afford big name free agents but they might be able to lure Magglio to Tampa Bay. Actual: Tigers

Derrek Lee (Nationals): Nats need a 1B. Derrek Lee needs a job. Actual: Orioles

John Buck (Red Sox): Red Sox lose out on resigning V-Mart so they go for Option B. Actual: Marlins

Javier Vazquez (Nationals): Vazquez played for the Expos. He'll play for them in D.C. as the Nationals. Actual: Marlins

Juan Uribe (Dodgers): Ooo-REBAY is beloved by the Bay. The Giants have no shortstop prospects ready and need an insurance policy at 3B in case Sandoval doesn't get his shit together. However, Uribe will command a multiyear deal at decent dollars. The Giants don't necessarily need him after 2011 and he's not an ideal SS anyways. He will get a better deal elsewhere. One team desperate for a 2B? The Dodgers. And Ned wants to be Brian Sabean, so... it'll be painful booing you in Dodger Blue, Juan.

Pat Burrell (Braves): Atlanta seems interested. Burrell has a tough to read market. He sucked as a DH so that rules out most AL clubs. His postseason was embarrassing as he looked like the Burrell that was cut from Tampa. However, Atlanta takes fliers on guys like Burrell (Troy Glaus) and likely would prefer him over Jermaine Dye or another reclamation type project. Giants enjoyed Pat the Bat's contributions and he'll forever be remembered by Giants fans for hitting clutch homers during the regular seasons, but it seems like Sabean squeezed just enough magic out of him and they seem to be aware of that. They'll let him walk for the bigger deal. Actual: Giants (Welcome back Pat the Bat!)

Edgar Renteria (Cardinals): Edgar claims he wants to end his career in Miami or St. Louis. St. Louis could use a back up middle infielder with clutch hitting ability. Tony LaRussa loves the guy. This is a reunion that should happen. Actual: Reds

Adam LaRoche (Orioles): LaRoche will wind up on the Orioles when the other 1B jobs disappear. Actual: Nats

And that's it for now. As guys are non-tendered, I'll put in a new prediction list.

Enjoy! And in case you forgot, the Giants are YOUR 2010 World Series Champions!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

They Did It

It's hard to believe I have not written a blog entry since the NLCS but as you can imagine, I've been a little, uh, busy.

The Giants pulled a fast one on everybody and went ahead and did the unthinkable. They did not fuck up. They exceeded expectations. And they won the whole goddamn thing.

San Francisco has reverted to the hippie days of free love. You couldn't start a fight right now if you went up and kicked somebody in the junk. Everyone is soaking in the victory of these 2010 misfit castoff CHAMPIONS. And love is in the air.

While some are writing this 2010 squad has exorcised demons of past failures, I say they simply have helped the catharsis of the fans and the city. The memories of '62, '87, '89, '93, '97, '00, '01, '02, '03, and '04 will always linger. McCovey and Mays still never won a ring in SF. Will the Thrill and Matt Williams and Kevin Mitchell never got that final champagne shower. And Bonds, Kent, Snow, Aurilia, Woody, and Nen were never the last ones galavanting around the mound.

But you know what? This was pretty special. No doubt those past teams might have been better on paper than this squad. Well, at least on the offensive side. I really think the core of this team, the pitching, will have them contending for the next 3-4 years until Lincecum and Cain get to free agency when the team will be forced to choose one or the other. But the starting pitching, not even mentioning their astute closer and relatively reliable set-up group, might be the best in SF franchise history. So sure, the previous pennant winning or playoff calibre teams might have seemed better on paper at a glance but really, none of those staffs could compare with what the Giants trotted out there every 4th game this October.

Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez, and Bumgarner.

And that is inevitably what won the championship. The line-up hit just enough. But it was the pitching that got them TO the playoffs and it's what got them the championship Giants fans and San Francisco have been thirsting for since 1958. It even satisfied some long time New York Giants fans.

Which is what also makes this championship so special. This team helped TWO cities celebrate. Lifelong Giants fans in New York who never forgot their allegiance to their original New York team, never adopted the other New York baseball teams, and who hadn't experienced a win since 1954. And San Francisco which hadn't experienced a championship of any kind since 1994 when the Niners last won the Lombardi and who had never got the euphoric feel of winning baseball's last game.

When I think of this improbable World Series title for the local nine, the word special keeps coming up. How cool is it that, despite never winning a ring here as members of the 25 man roster, ex-players got to celebrate and witness that epic SF ticker tape parade? I'm of course talking about the legends in particular and specifically Willie Mays and Willie McCovey. Two Giants, nay, BASEBALL icons who are regulars at the yard and for whom this Title was shared. And of course it doesn't end with them. Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Felipe Alou, Will Clark, JT Snow, and yes, even Barry Bonds. All of these guys have been soaking up the Giants run through October and have celebrated like they were part of this team. And in a lot of ways, they were and are.

But back to the actual guys. The 25 guys that made this happen. For a team of misfits and castoffs, this city fell head over heels for them. That is odd, even for a World Series winning team, when half the roster is of guys who haven't played for the team for more than a season or two.

Yes, there is a core that should be here for the next several seasons: Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Wilson, and Posey (and, we hope, a rejuvenated, reinvigorated, 2009ish Panda).

But then there's a lot of guys that were new to the jersey. Guys the city has embraced like they came up through our own farm system even though their service time had been less than 2 seasons. Guys like: Pat Burrell, Juan Uribe, Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, and of course, Cody Ross (then again, any time you have clutch hit after clutch hit in the playoffs, you're bound to earn some new fans).

And even the guys who fans had turned on got to feel the love during the playoff run. Rowand and Renteria specifically.

And that is what made this 2010 team so unique and so loved. They came together as a team despite from coming from all over, strangers who became friends who became family, and they combined to go 11-4 in the second season to capture the city a Title and the hearts of its inhabitants.

It has been an amazing ride. Torture and all.

*NOTE: With the season now over, stay tuned for rumors. I will post most valid trade and free agency rumors along with my thoughts. Even though this glorious 2010 season is over, SFGiantsGuy never rests! If you want your Giants news, keep checking in!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

5 Wins Away From Bliss

I don't practice tantric sex but I have to imagine this is what it feels like. The Giants are on the brink of their 4th World Series appearance as a San Francisco team. Now, plenty can happen. Halladay can happen. Oswalt can happen. And Hamels can happen. The Phillies O can happen. But.. let's consider this for one second as the Giants now lead the NLCS 3-1.

The Giants have beaten Halladay twice this year.
The Giants have beaten Oswalt FOUR times this year.
The Giants have beaten Hamels twice this year.

The Giants only need one more win against that trio. Can they do it? Who knows? This Phillies team is not going to roll over and play dead. They are going to come out firing with all they got tomorrow. Were you surprised to see Oswalt come in tonight? Be ready to see Halladay, Lidge, and Hamels come in for Game 5. The Phillies have their backs to the wall. And like any cornered predator, that's when they are the most dangerous.

That being said...

THE GIANTS ARE ONE WIN AWAY FROM OFFICIALLY BEING THE BEST TEAM IN THE NATIONAL LEAGUE!!

I can't help but think it's all the positive Giants mojo the organization is spewing... first pitch in Game 3? Pennant winners Bonds (doing his best Tom Cruise jumping on a couch impression), Snow, Nen, and Dunston. Game 4? Pennant winners Clark, Thompson, Williams, and Craig.

The Giants are slowly conquering their demons. They beat the Dick Stockton curse. Cain finally beat the Dodgers this year and yesterday he finally beat the Phillies. Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez etched their names on the SF Giants record books for strikeouts in a game. Buster Posey had 4 hits tonight, the most by a Giants rookie in the postseason since 1924 or something ridiculous.

Can they conquer the ultimate demon? The 0-SF Demon? The lack of a championship?

Tonight gave me (cautious) hope. But SFGiantsGuy will be there for Game 5 to see if The Freak, Seabiscuit, can nail it down.

In the words of the viral Ashkon video: Don't stop believing... this could be the season.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Phillies Vs Giants: Oh yeah, this is happening

I just checked out of the hospital because the Giants gave me several heart attacks this past week.

I mean, come on.

A 1-0 win in Game 1. A complete "Here I Am" moment from Big Time Timmy Jim. 2 hits. 14 K's. And he scribbled his name atop of the Giants franchise record books for most strikeouts by a Giants pitcher in the postseason. 9 tense innings. And a 1-0 victory. Little did we know that was going to be the LEAST exciting game of the series.

A 5-4 predictable heartbreak. Raise your hand if you thought the series was over after that game. (SFGiantsGuy raises his hand, looks around room, sees other raised hands). The Giants were fulfilling their own destiny with this loss. A 4-0 lead. Everyone feeling great. Cain cruising. A 4-1 lead in the 8th. Then an error. Then a 2 run double. 4-4 ball game. Before we even knew what was happening, Rick Ankiel drove a stake through Giants fans hearts and had them (me) thinking sickenly of Game 6 2002. The doubts creeped in. Same old Giants. Same old heartbreak. But then...

A remarkable turnaround. A once in a (Giants) lifetime comeback in October. A stunning counter punch to the Game 2 knockout punch, a 3-2 victory handwrapped by the Braves, with love, from Brooks Conrad. Thanks Brooks. And with that, the Giants had their swagger return. Just one more game to win. And a sure bet to return to SF at worst.

Then Game 4. Baseball world, meet our rookies Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner. Say hi, guys. Bets on a 1 run game? Clearly it had to be. And another 3-2 victory and one that may have been the most impressive of the series. Giants trail early 1-0. They're getting no hit. Then Cody f'ing Ross turns up, hits a game tying homer and gets the Giants believing. No sooner does he do that but McCann (the scariest guy in the Braves patchwork line-up) returns the favor and gives the lead right back to the Braves. But the Giants, playing looose with Timmy on the horizon at home if all else fails, mount a ho hum come from behind victory to send Bobby Cox packing for good. Cody Ross is the unofficial NLDS MVP and may have earned himself the starting RF job in SF next season just for helping them advance.

What a series. Giants starters? 3 ER in the NLDS. Suck on that Philly.

And now we have the privilege of facing the 2 time defending NL Champs. And you know what? I feel confident. The Phillies are not going to underestimate the Giants. But don't you get the sense they feel like they already have a ticket to the World Series?

They're in for a rude awakening. I'm not saying the Giants are going to win the NLCS. But I am saying this series is going to go 7 games. The Giants beat Halladay, Oswalt, AND Hamels this year. The season series was split 3-3 and the only reason it wasn't 4-2 in favor of the Giants is because Jayson Werth took a Brian Wilson fastball, ran it out to right field, and dropped it in the one place in the entire field where a ball would blow a game.

And oh yeah, then there's these stats:

Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels against the Giants this year? 1-2, 6.12 ERA.

Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez vs the Phillies? 2-1, 1.96 ERA.

Take your time to digest that. The Giants pitchers in the past couple seasons have had no problem shutting down the Phils offense.

I really think this series goes the full seven. People are saying the Giants have a chance but all seem to expect Philly to get by pretty easily.

This will not be the case. The Giants are going to give the Phillies all they can handle.

My theory is simple.

Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels are all strike throwers. They're not exactly the type of pitchers that the Giants have trouble against. The Giants really struggle against pitchers who move the ball out of the strike zone and fool batters. The Phillies Big Three come after you with wicked stuff but for the most part, they throw strikes. This bodes well for the Giants. It's why I think they did well against Halladay in April.

So game on Philadelphia. SF is primed to give you all you can handle.

Don't Stop Believing. This could be the season...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Game 4: Please No More Torture

Somebody wake me up. Am I dreaming?

Game 3 just ended. The only way I can express how I felt during the 8th and 9th inning:

It felt like I was at a party and somebody hit me in the face with brass knuckles. Then I was given a blow J by the hottest girl there for sympathy.

Brooks Conrad, you are my favorite Brave of All-Time. It also helps you're an ASU grad and you did this Sun Devil alum proud today. 3 errors, 2 which directly resulted in 2 of the 3 Giants runs they scored. Thank you from preventing me from calling the suicide hotline.

The Giants lead the series 2-1. This series could easily have been over by now with the Giants sweeping or the Braves sweeping. The Braves could very easily be leading 2-1 instead of trailing. Yet it's the Giants leading 2-1.

I have never seen a Giants team come back like that in October. Ever. I can't remember them having a comeback like that in their postseason history. Certainly not the San Francisco Giants. Brooks Conrad had a Bill Buckner moment and the Giants were the benefitting team. When has a break like that gone the Giants way? The closest I can think of is when JT Snow hit that homerun off Benitez in the 2000 ALDS but the Giants wound up losing that game anyways. This time, Posey hits a grounder to 2nd and it goes through the wickets and the Giants take the lead and Brian Wilson shuts down the Braves in the 9th.

Now the Giants turn to Bumgarner to shut the door on the reeling Braves who seem to lose a player every game to injury. Tonight, they almost lost Heyward AND McCann. They're already without Chipper, Prado, and Wagner. And Wagner being hurt probably contributed the most to the Giants victory. Any baseball person will tell you, the hardest 3 outs to get are the 3 to close out a game. With Wagner out, Bobby Cox had to turn to some inexperienced guys to close out a game. A playoff game. A pivotal Game 3. And they couldn't.

I've never felt such depression followed by elation in my Giants fandom. I've felt elation, then depression numerous times. And tonight looked like another chapter being written into Giants misery. But a different entry was penned instead. A comeback victory. In October. Against the odds.

It'll be hard to take Game 4 in Atlanta. They are the best team in the NL at home. But they have to be reeling right now. Demoralized. They took home field advantage from us on Friday night and they immediately gave it back with a choke job of their own in Game 3.

This is what the playoffs are all about. I can't wait for tomorrow.

By the way, the Giants starters? 1 earned run in the entire series. That is impressive considering the playoff experience they had collectively amounted to, yup, zero.

Obviously, the Giants are my world. But it's neat to see one more exciting series as the Rays and Rangers have made things interesting. Meanwhile, the Twins once again crapped their pants to the Yankees. Thanks Twins. I can only hope the winner of TB/TEX can knock off the money grubbers of New York.

Go Giants, Stop the Chop.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

A Retraction: And It Feels So Good

If I were ashamed of my mistakes and I had the power to erase them, I would. But I'm not ashamed. Because I am happy as shit that I'm wrong. That the Giants did not commit the ultimate choke job. The chokes of all chokes. No, they tortured as they're wont to do. They lost Friday and Saturday and then Jonathan Clinchez showed up, backed up his words from a month ago, and singlehandedly beat the Padres and knocked them out of the playoffs.

How's that feel San Diego? Not good, huh? I don't want to hear you whine about it. That's the first misery you've ever had. Try having that happen to you over and over and over. I have no sympathy for you guys.

So it's on. And I was wrong. The Giants were NOT eliminated in the last series of the year. They almost were. But they kicked the snide. They persevered! So I offer my retraction. The Giants are better than I thought. I thought they were good, I didn't think they were playoff bound.

The Giants are in the playoffs. Miraculously. And now they're a real threat. Experts around the country are already calling for a Giants/Phillies NLCS. Which makes me nervous. Not only did Halladay just pitch a no-no but we have to face the Braves, our arch nemeses. Yes, we beat them in 2002. But the Braves have beat down the Giants so much in the past 20 or so years, it almost feels like a Twins/Yankees match up. The Twins look like deer caught in the headlights when they face NY in October. They clenched up again this evening. Hopefully, this energetic, fraternal group of Giants who have no connection whatsoever to those teams in the past that used to get their asses kicked by the Braves, can make this cinderella story last a bit longer.

Lincecum vs ex-Dodger Lowe.

Cain vs one of the Hanson brothers

Clinchez vs Giant Killer Hudson

Maybe Zito, since he won't be doing anything else this week, can pick up Hudson on his unicorn and ride far far away... two birds, one stone.

There will likely be a deluge of posts coming during the playoffs.

Let the games begin.

GO GIANTS. STOP THE CHOP.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

On the Verge... of Collapse.

I've been telling you for weeks. I've been conditioning you. Getting you ready for THIS moment. The Giants are going to break our hearts. It is "The Giants Way". I never read Bill Neukom's handbook, but teasing your fans and then absolutely thrashing their heart has to be about 99% of that book.

The Giants came into the final series of the season needing one goddamn win to clinch the NL West. They have lost two in a row. They haven't pitched well and they already weren't hitting well. So instead of a champagne shower and me eating crow... the Giants are exactly where I thought they'd be: On the cusp of completely and utterly demoralizing a fanbase that already has to deal with the 49ers season going in the tank after 3 weeks and who's middle name is "gut wrenching heartbreak."

So I was wrong about one thing. The Giants definitely are NOT getting eliminated in THIS final series of the year. No, they have to make it even more painful. They have the potential of losing 5 games in a row not to make the playoffs. That, folks, will be the most legendary choke job in the history of baseball. More than the 2004 ALCS when the Yankees choked against the Red Sox. Even more than Game 6 of that World Series that did not happen. If they lose today (and they will) and if the Braves win (they will), the Giants will fly down for a 1 game playoff against the Padres in San Diego. If they lose that game, they will play a 1 game playoff against the Braves. Essentially, the Giants, needing only 1 win out of FIVE games to secure a playoff spot, will have the chance to break our hearts repeatedly today, Monday, and Tuesday.

That isn't even torture, the theme of the season. That's just downright criminal and sadistic to subject a fan base to that. But we're SF Giants fans. I mean... we do NOT get the credit we deserve for sticking with a team that repeatedly chokes in the worst ways possible. Sure, the Cubs haven't won in thousands of years. But Cubs fans really don't care. They just get drunk and have a good time at Wrigley. I do admit, the Bartman thing was pretty painful. But they've only had one of those moments. We've had many. Over and over. It's not that they lose, it's how they lose.

I mean, Freddy Sanchez rounding 3rd base on a flyout to right field by Huff? In the 9th inning? When he's the tying run? Where's the first base coach on that? What was he thinking? And then leaving our Saturday hopes to Barry f'ing Zito and Jose Guillen!? Jose Guillen!? Bochy, you take the slowest guy on the team (who might be slower than Bengie Molina) and you put him in a spot where a DP kills a rally when you have faster guys like Burriss or Velez on the bench. Or Freddy Sanchez waiting to atone for that ridiculous baserunning from Friday? Even Rowand, who had a pinch hit home run!? You put in Guillen, the guy that is batting something like .200 in September and runs like a turtle on sleeping pills??

Giants baseball is worse than fucking torture. It's blue balls times infinity.

And here they are, Sunday, on the 162nd game of the season, ready to provide that heartbreak I've been warning you has been coming for weeks.

Come on guys, just win ONE GAME!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

3 teams, 6 games, 2 spots

September baseball. There's nothing like it. Every day another team adds an "E" for eliminated in the standings. The circuit of 30 gets carved down to 8. In the American League, the teams are all but locked in. The only suspense is who is going to win the AL East? The tyrants of baseball, the New York Yankees? Or do the scrappy Rays from Tampa take it? The answer?

WHO CARES!? We're Giants fans here. We only care about the AL when we meet them in the World Series. Twins, Rays, Yanks, Rangers? Let them go play their 2nd rate baseball. We have real strategery to deal with here in the National League! You know, in the league where pithchers who participate in the game actually have to hit! Where there's more to managing than picking your nose and grabbing your crotch!

The Giants have a real dad-gum chance of making the playoffs. They lead the NL West by a full game for the first time since April, a time when hope lingered for every team (except the Pirates). They went into their personal house of horrors (Colorado) and took 2 of 3 while all but ending the Rockies last surge. Though, the Rockies are a lot like those monsters and villains from scary movies. They're never really dead until you cut off their head and take out their heart. And even then, they might come back. And the Rockies, while virtually being eliminated (the Braves would have to win the wildcard, the Giants would have to go 1-5, and the Padres would have to go 2-4 for the Rockies to sneak in) STILL are mathematically alive. Which means they're not dead. Yet. But Rocktober Part III looks to be coming to an end unless something ridiculous happens (it better not).

Which leaves the field to 3. The Phillies have already clinched the NL East. The Reds will clinch with their next win or the next Cardinals loss. And although the Reds seemingly are ready to go in the tank, they'd have to lose the remainder of their games and the Cards would have to win them all for Cincy not to see the postseason for the first time since grunge was cool and the original Melrose Place and Beverly Hills 90210 were primetime hits. Think 1995. And even with Dusty chewing on his toothpicks in the Reds dugout, ready to give the game ball to Johnny Cueto in the 7th inning, I don't see that type of collapse coming. That's 2 spots already accounted for in a 4 horse race.

Which leaves our beloved Giants.

The playoff picture gets messy now. The Giants are in first by a game and the Braves lead the Padres in the wildcard by a half game. I outlined the scheduling in the last post and right now, the Braves look the best. They have 2 left with Florida then 3 against the Phillies. But the Phillies have nothing to play for. They're in. And they pretty much have homefield locked up. So expect to see the Phillies field spring training like line-ups against Atlanta in the final weekend of the season. Meanwhile, the Padres and Giants will be going at it to determine who wins the NL West. Right now, both teams have patsies. The Diamondbacks come to SF and the Padres are taking on the Cubs in the Litter Box. And although the Cubs won a nail biter tonight 1-0, they're not a very good team. Sure, the Cubs and Dbacks can pretend they're playing their toughest because they're both trying to impress their front offices for next year but let's be real, neither team is good. The Padres and Giants should both dispatch these teams with ease. Which sets up the weekend series.

I've been pretty constant in my assertion that the Giants will be eliminated in that series. That disaster is setting itself up. The heartbreak kids are going to be able to bring more heartache to this city. The opportunity is there. The Giants never have it any other way. Well, they do. They'll win 100 games, then flub up in the Division Series. But they are the best at ripping their fans hearts to shreds. And it's all set up again.

The question is, can they, for once, avoid kicking us in the nuts?

2 spots left. 3 teams in it. The Braves did it to us in 1993. They can do it again. The Padres? Well, to be honest, we've never really had any beef with the Padres. It's hard to have beef with the Padres. They're just so... boring. But, they have an opportunity to make us hate them like we've hated the Rockies, like we've hated the Dbacks, and how we always and forever will hate those fucks from LA. You'd like to see some guys get hot. The pitching as a whole is hot. But it'd be comforting to know at least a bat or two was smoking. They're not, of course. Why make things easy?

So I'm cautiously hoping for a miracle while fully expecting sadness. It's not that I'm negative. It's just that I'm a Giants fan. I've been conditioned this way. But man, I really want to see THIS team in the playoffs. I have a good feeling about this squad IF they can make it. But of course, 6 games left and only up one is a lot like scoring a TD late in the game but leaving just enough time on the clock for the other team to kick a game winning field goal.

Monday, September 20, 2010

12 Games Left

So there's 12 games left in the season. And although I'm convinced the Giants will still provide heartbreak by getting eliminated in the final series of the season, I can't say I'm not living and dying with every pitch despite that inevitability. However, it's becoming more clear that the Giants path to October will have to be the division title. The Braves have a tough road to hoe facing the Phillies 5 more times (they lost tonight) but if the Phillies clinch the division prior to the last series of the year, I highly doubt they'll put their "A" line-up out to face Atlanta while we have our showdown against San Diego (where the Rockies will inevitably clinch the NL West... just trust me guys and prepare for it like I have).

It's been weird rooting for the Dodgers so much lately. Of course, the Dodgers being the Dodgers, they've helped make things difficult for SF by losing pretty regularly to people we need them to beat. I'm still in utter amazement they came back and beat the Rockies yesterday. And speaking of those Rockies, someeone needs to pitch Tulowitski in over and over until his hands go numb. His Bondsian assault on September is not what baseball needs right now. Do we really need to see that ugly Kenny Powers-esque mullet in highlights every night? No. Please stop hitting homers Troy.

So let's look at the Final Four, shall we.

Giants have 12 games left. They're going off on their final road trip. 3 against the all of a sudden red hot Cubs. Then 3 season defining games against the Colorado Humidors. And seriously, is anyone buying that the Rockies aren't doctoring their balls somehow? I'm not. Which is why they'll win the division. We finish the season with the "on vacation" Diamondbacks and the destined for 3rd Padres. 6-6 likely doesn't get us into the playoffs. 7-5 probably doesn't either. Meaning the Giants need to go 8-4 or essentially not lose any of their remaining series.

The Padres have a brutal schedule. They have 3 in LA (not terrible as the Dodgers are firming up their offseason vacations), then 3 at home against the NL Central leading Reds. They have 4 against the Cubs at Petco, then finish off on the road against us at AT&T. That's 6 games on the road and 7 games at home. But they face 2 contenders.

As mentioned, the Braves have 5 left with the Phillies. 2 more in Philly then 3 at home. In between the two Philly series, they squeeze in 3 at Washington and 3 home games against Florida. The Marlins are spunky. And always play hard. They're no pushovers. The Nats are pretty much done and the Braves should dominate them but they already lost a series to Washington earlier this month. So if the Rockies win the NL West, this is the slim chance the Giants have at gaining games on the wildcard leaders.

And finally, the Rockies. Those fucking purple clad Dinosaur mascot humidor cheating douches in Colorado. They have 3 away games at Arizona. The Rockies are terrible on the road and them being on the road would usually be a good thing. Except they're facing the Diamondbacks. Who's stadium is like Coors Field lite. Which means the Rockies will sweep them. Because they don't lose at "home". After feasting on the Dbacks, they have us at Coors. I can't remember the last time the Giants ever won a meaningful series in Coors. But I can remember when they lost one. Last year. And it was in Coors where Neifi fucking Perez took Robb Nen deep that time in 1998. In short, I fucking hate Coors Field and so should you. The Giants certainly do. It's most likely here where the Rockies take over 1st place in the West. After that, they have the worthless Dodgers in their homer haven meaning more wins and then finish the season off in St. Louis. Of course, that series will be meaningless as the Cards will have been eliminated and the Rockies will merely have to show up to clinch the NL West. Likely on the 2nd to last game of the season.

September baseball is fun. It's excruciating. And I'm much happier when the Giants are contenders in the month then when we're getting a look at all our "great" prospects like Todd Linden and Tony Torcato. But contending in September usually means a whole lot of tense games, bi-polar reactions to everything and anything and everyone in my life, and inevitably... heartbreak.

But we have 12 games left that mean something. And although I expect the worst... I wouldn't have it any other way.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Beware: ROCKTOBER

Ok, so I got a lot of flak for my last post. I was criticized for being too negative. Especially since the Giants immediately turned things around and won the series against the Rockies and have now crept back to 1 game back of the division and the wildcard.

Let me clear some things up here. I'm a Giants fan. I am a HUUUUUUGGEEE Giants fan. There is nothing I want more (besides money and women) than a Giants championship. But being a Giants fan for 30 years has jaded me. I want to believe like my optimistic Giants fan friends, those poor naive innocent optimists. But I can't. Why? Because I'm a Giants fan!!! I've already recited all the ways the Giants have broken our hearts when they've been in contention the past decade plus. Why would this year be any different? Because the clubhouse chemistry is so good? No.

This team has been frustrating, amazing, scintillating, and yes Kuip, torture to watch this season. So many good story lines. So many things to feel good about (except you Zito and Sandoval). And man, would it be great to hear about Aubrey Huff in the playoffs for the first time as a regular. Or Posey getting a taste of October in his first full season.

And I'm not a "sky is falling" dude. I actually think the Giants would have as good a chance as any team to reach the World Series IF they made the playoffs. But that is a big IF. Why? Because while the Giants have begun striking fear in the Padres, they've simultaneously opened the door for the Rockies to squeeze in.

The Rockies are the Giants biggest nemesis. Don't get me wrong. The Dodgers are our arch rival. But the Rockies are our nemesis. Remember 1993? All they had to do was beat the Braves once in the entire season and the Giants would have gone to the playoffs. Instead? They lost 13 games to Atlanta. If you pay attention (and seriously, go back and look at it), the Rockies almost always have a hand in f'ing the Giants. The Rockies love to play the Giants tough down the stretch. But when the Giants need them to win against other playoff hopefuls, they almost always lie down. Don't believe me? Look it up. Seriously.

It would be poetic in that Romeo and Juliet kind of way if the Giants stormed all the way back to knock the Padres off their perch only to be passed up by the Rockies. And trust me, it's going to happen. The Rockies have the most favorable home schedule the rest of the way. The Rockies play ricockulously well at Coors Field. I think they mess around with those damn humidor balls personally. The Rockies came back from a 5-0 deficit today to beat the Reds... ON A STEAL OF HOME!!! If that doesn't just reek of good omens, I don't know what does (it almost perfectly wipes out Darren Ford's wild pitch score against Ubaldo!).

The Giants are playing well right now. They're playing really well. They're doing what they need to do to get to October. The only problem is... so are those damn Rockies. And the Rockies live to eff the Giants out of the playoffs. And I just can't help but feel that's going to happen again. Because it's like clockwork. Just like how the Giants almost always bring heartbreak. Combine those two elements and I see reason to be concerned.

I'm enjoying the ride. I live and die with every pitch. But I just can't allow myself to start believing. Because if I start believing, I'm setting myself up for the heartbreak that is almost sure to come...

On a side note, the McCourts spend $150,000 on haircuts per year. Just another reason to hate those lovable Dodgers. May they never be relevant again...

Monday, August 30, 2010

"This is not good, folks..."

Man, I am numb right now. The Giants have been eliminated from the playoffs and I feel yet another year has slipped away from the hometown nine. Another season watching good (but not great) Giants baseball only to fall short, as per usual. Another close but no cigar year.

Ok, I'm saving the above sentence and posting it in about 3 weeks... when the Giants are officially eliminated from playoff contention. Because let's face the facts, the Giants are NOT making the playoffs. The Giants just blew a Jonathan Sanchez gem because newcomer Cody Ross got distracted by a broken bat and overcharged a ball that wound up sailing over his head. That was followed by a Freddy Sanchez throw into the dugout to allow the go ahead run to score and effectively put the final nail in the Giants playoff coffin. It was against the Rockies. In a statement game. When all the other teams the GIants needed to gain ground on lost. They went into the 9th with a 1-0 lead and feeling pretty good. They walked off the field with a 2-1 defeat and the season basically over.

Have I given up? Have the Giants players? Yes. And no. The Giants will continue to tease. That's what they do. They are MLB's version of Katy Perry. They tease you all the time, keeping you interested. But they never deliver the goods. I keep fooling myself into thinking one of these years, it'll change. That something has to give. That the city of San Francisco will see a parade down the Embarcadero to celebrate a Giants World Series victory. But then I pinch myself and remember these are the Giants. They live to bring their fans gut wrenching, hair pulling, heart stopping losses. The Giants had a chance to make a huge statement against other playoff contenders. They had a chance to take the reigns of their playoff destiny and excel. They folded. In case you haven't been paying attention...

1-3 vs ATL (the likely NL East division winners)
1-2 vs PHI (2 time NL defending champs and wildcard leaders)
1-2 vs STL (another wildcard rival)
1-2 vs SD (NL West Division leader)
2-1 vs CIN (NL Central Division leader)
0-1 vs COL (there's 2 games left in this series, and I'll be surprised if the Giants aren't in 3rd place by the time COL leaves)

That's a record of 6-11 against every team the Giants would likely face in any playoff scenario. And not only were there 11 losses in these games, but in about 50% of them, the Giants were blown out. Oh yeah, and Zito and Lincecum combined to go 0-fer in the win column. Both guys started the year with 5-0 records. Their records now? 8-10 and 11-9. Not the way guys who start 5-0 should look a few days before September.

The wheels are slowly coming off the Giants bandwagon. As they should. The Giants have never given fans a reason to think they can pull off miracles. In fact, they've been the team where miracles happen against them. A quick recollection of the Giants recent history while in contention. Careful, this will be painful...

1993: Barry Bonds becomes a Giant and has an MVP season. The Giants win 103 games and miss the playoffs. They get eliminated on the last day of the season. The Giants are the only team in history to win 103 games and not make the playoffs. Baseball soon after implements realignment and the wildcard.

1997: Giants have an epic showdown with LA and squeeze into the playoffs as the NL West division winners. They promptly get swept out of the playoffs by the Florida Marlins. The Marlins win the first 2 games of the series in their last at bat. They are the wildcard team but somehow the playoffs were set up that the wildcard team hosted the first 2 games and the division winner hosted the last 3. Makes sense, right? No. And after this season, baseball again changes the rules (1 year too late for Giants fans).

1998: Elite closer Robb Nen coughs up a game winning HR to no power/shit hitter Neifi Perez in Colorado. Instead of clinching the wildcard, the Giants are forced to play a 163rd game against the Cubs. Joe Carter nearly pops one out against former Giants great Rod Beck but it's caught at the wall and the Giants are eliminated from the playoff race.

2000: The Giants achieve the best record in the NL. They promptly lose in 4 games to the wildcard Mets in the first round. One loss comes immediately after JT Snow's memorable game tying HR off Armando Benitez. The other comes off a Benny Agbayani walkoff HR. The 3rd came from a complete game 1 hitter by shit pitcher Bobby Jones. The best team in the NL loses in 4 games and does so meekly.

2001: Bonds breaks McGwire's record against the Dodgers in the 3rd to last game of the season. The Giants and Dodgers go back and forth in the game with the Dodgers eventually winning, hence eliminating the Giants from playoff contention. Bonds gives a bittersweet speech as he tries to appreciate a personal record while the team's playoff hopes are dashed.

2002: The worst heartbreak of them all. Giants are up 5-0 against the Angels in World Series Game 6. They only need 7 outs to achieve that first World Championship. Dusty Baker removes Russ Ortiz (who was pitching a gem) and the tattered bullpen immediately coughs up the lead and the Angels win Game 6 6-5 and then take the Series against a reeling club (the champagne was in the clubhouse!) in Game 7. Robb Nen never pitches again after giving his all (and his arm) to get the Giants a title. As per usual, they come up short.

2003: The Giants again have the best record in the NL. Again they face an NL East team. Again they are upset. Gold Glove outfielder Jose Cruz Jr drops an easy fly ball that opens the floodgates in the 9th inning of a Marlins comeback. Instead of going up in the series 2-1, assuring themselves of at least one more home game, the Giants go down 1-2 and lose the series in 4. When the tying run in the 9th inning is thrown out at home plate to end the game, the series, and the Giants playoff run.

2004: The Giants are 2 games back with 2 games left against the Dodgers. They cruise for most of the game in the penultimate day of the season. Then interim Giants closer Dustin Hermanson, facing the bottom of the Dodgers order, walks the bases loaded. That sets up Giant killer Steve Finley's walkoff grandslam. An elimination grandslam. And the Giants are eliminated with a game to go in the season.

In 2009, you could say the Giants loss to the Rockies in extra innings in Colorado also was a gut punch loss. That was the infamous game in which Kuiper muttered, "This is not good, folks" as a ball was driven in the gap to give the Rockies a huge advantage in the wildcard race. The Giants recovered, then fell apart in September.

Hmm... fast forward to 2010... and the Giants just suffered an incredible loss to Colorado. 2 days before September.

Yeah, maybe I'm giving up on this team. But I've seen this movie before. Over and over and over. And it never is a happy ending.

Monday, August 16, 2010

When did Tim Lincecum turn into Shawn Estes?

Oh boy. Is it the curse of #55? There was another young stud pitcher in the Giants organization who wore #55 once before. In his first full season he went 19-5 with a 3.18 ERA and was named to the All-Star team. He was a main cog in a Giants rebirth and he was supposed to be our ace for years to come. He was never the same after that sensational first season. Sure, he had a couple of seasons when he won 15 games but his ERA's never approached sub 4 ever again.

That man? Shawn Estes.

Now, I'm not completely lumping Shawn Estes and Tim Lincecum in the same boat. Estes is left-handed, Lincecum is right-handed. And even in his 19-5 season, Estes had control problems. His WHIP was a very average 1.30 that year and he walked 100! Lincecum is having his worst season as a pro and his WHIP is 1.34 which would still be Estes's 2nd best. However, these two pitchers share a lot more than just the number on the back of their jersey.

Estes was always considered a cerebral pitcher. There were reports he was arguably the smartest guy on the team. When he wasn't focused on pitching, he was doing crosswords. He had all the talent in the world but couldn't reign in the mental aspect so well. Big Time Timmy Jim is having mental issues right now as well. He's not pitching out there. He's thinking way too much. He has become obsessed with his mechanics and obsessed with his missing velocity and it has hindered his performance. Perhaps he's thinking way too much about Bengie Molina. Lincecum was by far Molina's biggest backer in the Giants dugout and he hasn't been the same since Molina was traded. Posey is a god king. He can hit, he can throw out baserunners, and he can actually block balls in the dirt. But somehow Lincecum misses Molina. Maybe not vocally, but you can't think that he doesn't attribute some of his poor recent performances on the fact Big Money ain't catching him no more. Timmy has become too cerebral on the mound. Something Estes was knocked for a lot in his career.

Aside from the mental aspect is the expectations. Estes was supposed to be the ace of a decent SF Giants staff and he faltered and never regained his status of ace. This year, the Giants have a very good starting staff. And Lincecum is the ringleader. He is the rock star, the steady, the constant. The fans absolutely adore him. Has it finally gotten to him? Some believe Sandoval has suffered because he soaked in too much of the adulation (those goddamn panda hats) and let it go to his head. I mean, here he was, a 23 year old sophomore hitter and the Giants based their entire offense around him. At 23, I was anchoring the boat race table and that was stressful! Did Lincecum become too lackadaisical due to his natural talent and can do no wrong acceptance by Giants fans? There was this concern after he won his first Cy Young award. But he came back, was better than the year before, and won a 2nd Cy Young. But don't forget, Randy Johnson was in the clubhouse. A veteran presence who knew what it was like to win numerous Cy Youngs and strive to continue to get better. I think Randy Johnson's veteran presence actually has been missed this year on the pitching staff. The most veteran guy they have on the staff is Barry Zito and he's one of the guys. I mean, there's Guillermo Mota but I'm not so sure that starters go to bullpenners for advice or counsel.

Lincecum seems lost. He changed his windup, then abandoned the new windup for the stretch mid-game, then abandoned the new "old" windup and went back to what got him 2 Cy Young trophies. He struck out the side in the first inning then got dinked and dunked to death by those phucking Padres. He has not consulted his father, the architect of his unique windup, because he thinks he's too old to run back to daddy. Tim, you need to run back to daddy. And the worst part is his confidence is shaken. We saw what happened when a former Cy Young award winner lost his confidence and his grip on his mechanics. Think Barry Zito 2008.

Now, I don't mean to be dramatic. Lincecum isn't going to be 2008 Zito awful from here on out. He's not even going to be Zito bad 2007. But right now, Barry Zito 2010 is better than Tim Lincecum 2010 and who saw that coming? Statistically, Tim Lincecum is now the 5th best starter in the rotation (yes, his ERA is higher than even Big Mouth Jonny Sanchez).

If you're a Giants fan, it's time to be officially worried about The Franchise. I don't see a full collapse like Estes. But Lincecum is too young to have lost 6 MPH off his fastball without raising red flags. Madison Bumgarner scared all of us last year when he came up throwing like Jamie Moyer instead of Cole Hamels but he fixed a mechanical issue and now he's settled in at 91-92 MPH which is perfectly fine. The Giants playoff hopes rely heavily on the hope that T-Linc can do the same... or else the ghost of Estes (the original #55) lurks.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Contenders or Pretenders?

So the Giants are leading the wildcard as I post this. They're 2 games back of the pesky Padres. They're opening a 4 game series against the Piniella-less Zambranos and need to have a very good homestand to alleviate some concerns from a less than comforting road trip. Jonathan Sanchez needs to put up or shut up. Emmanuel Burriss is on the team again offering some much needed speed off the bench and we no longer have to sit through Todd Wellemeyer doing his best Brett Tomko impersonations. The Phillies are on the Giants backsides and they're not slowing down. The Cardinals and Reds are swapping first place every day but remain right behind the Giants in the wildcard race as well. And despite the Giants having one of the best July's ever, they're still quite in danger of missing the playoffs for the 7th consecutive season unless they start playing better against quality teams. But before they do that, they need to take care of the inferior ones. And the Chicago Northsiders defintely fit that bill. The Giants need to take a minimum of 3 games in this 4 game set to set up what should be a battle for first place against the Fathers. Now don't get me wrong, if they split the series or god forbid lose the series to Chicago, it's not the end of the world. But the path to October will be greatly impeded, especially since between the Cards and Reds, someone has to be a winner in that series. And the Dodgers go play the Phillies so the LA Smog could gain ground or help the Phillies continue their ascent up the NL East standings and the wildcard crown. The wildcard field has too many good teams. The Philllies, Reds, Cardinals, Rockies, and Dodgers all figure prominently into the picture. And should the Phillies overtake the Braves for 1st in the East, Atlanta would immediately become the favorite to win the wildcard.

The point?

The Giants need to take the division. Their focus should be on the division. The Padres, who have pwned SF 7 out of 8 games, still remain the easiest team for the Giants to overtake and bury. Not because the Padres are a bad team, but because we get to face them 11 or so more games face to face. Yes, we also face the Phillies and Cardinals and Reds (all this month) but we can't worry about what those teams are doing. The Phils and Braves are going to battle it out for the division and the Reds and Cardinals are battling it out for the division. I don't think any of those teams are thinking wildcard. They have the eye on the division crown. That's what the Giants need to focus on. But the Padres are like the 1997 Giants team. No one knows how the hell they've stayed in contention this long but they have the swagger and the confidence. By the way, the Pads also have the 2nd best record in all of baseball the past year. And I don't mean this season, I mean the past year. Meaning, from the 2nd half of last season to this season , only the Yankees have won more games. Unbelievable. Perhaps it's Dustiny. Oh wait, Dusty's got that going in Cincy.

In any event, this month is key in determining how real the Giants playoffs hopes are. They face all of the potential playoff teams so they can gauge how they match-up (unless there's a surprise team that gets hot). They just faced Atlanta and went 1-3 against them. They went 3-4 against Atlanta for the season. They get San Diego after the Cubs and we all know that dismal record. Then it's Philly in Philly (season series: 2-1), St. Louis in STL (season series: 2-1) , and Cincy in SF (season series: 2-2). These games in August will give us a great indicator as to whether or not the (mostly) divisional games in September will mean anything. So it's time for the Giants to step up to the plate. Sabean did not get that bat that was needed so we'll see if this team that, minus a 10 run outburst in Colorado for one game, scored 13 runs in the past 7 games (that's an average of 1.86 runs per game kids) can muster enough runs to get through the elite teams of the National League.

As a veteran Giants fan, we know that the chances aren't very good for us to see October baseball. But hope lingers. But are they contenders? Or are they fooling us again? Are they pretenders?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

No Major Moves...

Pat the Awesome inks himself into Giants/Dodgers lore! Great win against the dreck of southern California yesterday. Is it coincidence I write blogs during series with LA? Who knows? So the Giants get their first off day since the All-Star break tomorrow. Hopefully we can savor a home sweep of those deplorable Dodgers. And as we try for the sweep, it's going to take contributions from the guys we had on 7/30. That's because Sabean resisted the urge to trade Jonathan Sanchez and flat out refused to trade Madison Bumgarner. So because of that, the Giants are left with the team we had before the deadline. Well, except this equation:

Joe Martinez - Denny Baustista + Javier Lopez + Ramon Ramirez.

Sabean does what he always does at the deadline and that is get relief pitchers. Johnny Bowker and Joe Martinez got shipped off to Timbuktu (aka Pittsburgh) for Jason Christiansen, er, Javier Lopez. On the face of it, it looks like Sabean overpaid for a lefty specialist with a career 4.37 ERA and 1.49 WHIP. His WHIP this year is in line with his career at 1.47 but he's gotten out of more jams as his sterling 2.79 ERA suggests. In the end, he's holding lefties just over .200 while getting knocked around by righties. The Giants, with Runzler and Affeldt still weeks away, needed a lefty and Lopez fills that need. A lot of Giants fans are upset that Bowker was also traded for Lopez but let's face it, Bowker was never going to get a legit shot in SF. While Nate Schierholtz has been up the entire year, even he hasn't gotten a real chance to play everyday with the musical chairs rotation Bochy has going in th outfield. The organization thinks more highly of Nate and if he's not getting his chance, it's hard to imagine Bowker would ever get his. Sabean essentially confirmed this saying that instead of trading maybe lower level prospects that still have unknown upside, he rather trade JoeMa and J.B. because they felt they knew what they were getting from both of those guys and they just weren't long term options. I have no problem with that rationale. I don't think Martinez or Bowker could have been packaged for Scott Downs (the guy I really wanted) and I don't think they were in high demand in general. So shipping them out of SF for a piece the team needed seems reasonable enough to me. Besides, both Martinez and Bowker should get a chance to prove themselves as major leaguers in Pittsburgh.

That being said, was it truly necessary to get Javier Lopez when you had Alex Hinshaw and Geno Espinelli down on the farm? Espinelli has posted solid numbers this year in Fresno (2.61 ERA, 1.24 WHIP in 48 IP) and has been closing games for the Grizzlies. It's odd the Giants didn't give him an audition before deciding they needed to target help from outside the organization. Hinshaw has been relatively inconsistent and his numbers aren't very good down south but he has been relatively effective against lefthanders. There was a time I thought Hinshaw was a set-up guy or even closer in waiting. He has fallen off quite a ways in the organization's eyes and with Javier Lopez being arbitration eligible after this season, it's not hard to imagine Hinshaw being non-tendered in the winter. But, Sabean being Sabean, he probably looked at Lopez's "track record" and liked that Lopez has been part of playoff and World Series teams and decided to go with the lefty with experience. Again, I don't mind the trade at all but it wasn't an earth shaker.

I was much more intrigued with the 2nd trade the Giants made. The Giants need a consistent set-up guy. Romo has been good of late, but he has been scary in the role this season. Mota is a guy who has proven time and again that he folds in big pressure situations (yesterday's awesome 1-2-3 save not withstanding). Affeldt seemed to be rounding back into form then got hurt. Casilla has electric stuff but he too has been known to shrink the bigger the situation. And his command has been an issue as well. In the end, we needed a set-up guy and a lefty and I thought Sabean could get both in Scott Downs. Rumors had the Giants going hard after Downs right until the final bell but Toronto was being just too stubborn. Didn't Alex Anthopoulos not witness his predecessor JP Ricciardi get fired for bungling the trade of Roy Halladay? The Jays had decent reasons to hold onto Downs (draft picks) but there was no reason to hold onto Frasor or Gregg. Between he and the GM in Washington, they asked the world and wound up not doing anything. For team's out of contention, that's a cardinal sin. But I digress. With Downs out of the equation, Giants need to scurry and get a set-up guy. So they took a flier on Red Sox reliever Ramon Ramirez. Ramirez's numbers aren't spectacular but he has an okay WHIP of 1.29 both in his career and this season. His ERA is 4.46 but he plays in the tough AL East. Coming to the NL West, he should whittle down that ERA and he could be and will be given the opportunity to lock down the 8th inning. And being with the Red Sox, he too has that playoff experience Sabean craves. We gave up a decent prospect for Ramirez but not anyone we'll miss.

Both trades were decent. I won't miss the guys we traded and I do like Ramirez and Lopez was a void we needed filled. That being said, Sabean didn't make a blockbuster. He didn't even make a splash in the pond. He got 2 relievers. A bat was considered a luxury. I think the Giants might be playing with a house of cards regarding their offense. I don't think they can expect Posey to bat .350 all season or have 21 game hit streaks reoccuring, I don't think they can count on Huff continuing to match Pujols's season through the dog days, and I don't think they can count on Torres keeping up his torrid pace in his first full MLB season. It would have been a shrewd move to get a legit bat that could help carry the load when our guys eventually cool. Maybe we have that hitter in Sandoval, who's been cold all season. That's the consensus, that if Sandoval comes anywhere close to his last season #'s in the 2nd half, we don't need any other hitter. But watching Sandoval all season, I can't believe the Giants think he'll actually come around this year. He has seemingly made ZERO adjustments. I guess if things start heading south offensively, Sabean can attempt a waiver-wire deal. But it would have been a better bet just to go out and get that bat before the deadline.

The Padres restocked and the Dodgers filled some holes. It's going to be a dogfight down the stretch. We'll see what happens. For now, I'm off to watch Cain try to get win #1 against the Douchey Dogs from down south and the first home sweep of the Dodgers since either '03 or '04. Thanks for reading!


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

An Unbelievable Game to Kickoff The Site

So much for a weekly update. How can I ignore one of the most epic Giants/Dodgers games in several years? Easy answer? I can't. The Giants/Dodgers game tonight was one of the best Giants victories in years. It should become an instant classic in the Giants/Dodgers rivalry. And more importantly, it introduced many young Giants (and some new veterans) to this rivalry and what it's all about. It was slated to be an epic pitching match-up. Lincecum vs Kershaw. Two great young pitchers. Ours, a righthanded 2 time Cy Young Award winner who seemed to have righted the ship in his first two 2nd half starts. Theirs, a flame throwing lefty who had embraced the mantle of being the ace of the Dodgers staff at a mere 22 years old. Like most NL West games, I expected this game to be a low scoring affair settled likely in the late innings with the starters garnering no decisions after pitching beautifully. Wrong.

Lincecum: 4.2 IP, 5 ER, a reverse eephus pitch, and a Kemp beaning.

Kershaw: 6.0 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, a Rowand beaning and resulting ejection.

This game had it all. Timmy was not Timmy. He looked like Wild Thing out there. He had no idea where the ball was going. His velocity was down. He was not fooling Dodgers hitters when he was in the zone, which was rare. Kershaw was staked to leads of 3-0 and 5-1 and couldn't lock it down. He let the Giants back into the game (with the aid of a Manny Ram, er, Xavier Paul dropped sac fly off the bat of Pat the Awesome) and after plunking Rowand, it DID become a bullpen game. Both bullpens are erratic so I was expecting more fireworks. Somehow Denny Bautista and Santiago Casilla managed not to hit any Dodgers. That in and of itself was amazing. But really, down 1 run going into the 9th against an all-of-a-sudden hittable Broxton, I still wasn't sure how the game was going to turn out. Raise your hand if you picked "Rowand would lay down his first successful sac bunt since he was a Phillie and that Bruce f'ing Bochy would outsmart Torre and the entire Dodgers coaching staff and cite some obscure rule about double visits to the mound on one trip" as the turning point to what was already an insane game. Well, I did. I knew that was going to happen. Obviously. But I also thought Lou Seal was going to pop up as a pinch hitter and hit a grand slam, so... you win some you lose some.

Despite all the madness, the Giants still had to actually win the game. That meant Andres Torres had to not hit into a double play (a nearly impossible task for a Giant hitter) and as soon as I saw it leave earth I knew it was at the very least a sac fly and I jumped up off the couch in exhilaration. It wound up being a double and scoring 2, including the lead run and an epic comeback was complete. After Freddy Sanchez disappointed yet again in an RBI opportunity, the Savior Buster immediately got him off the hook with an RBI single. And here's a sidenote: What an impressive rookie class. I can't remember such a strong rookie class with so many guys with legitimate star power. Our very own Buster Posey (and let's not forget about Madison Bumgarner), Jason Heyward, Stephen Strasburg, Mike Stanton, and Ike Davis? Mike Leake who skipped the minors altogether. And Aroldis Chapman is chomping at the bit to get to Cincinnatti. But I digress...

With a 7-5 lead, the Giants still needed 3 outs. With B-Weez down for the count after pitching 4 consecutive games, Bochy had Romo or Affeldt to choose from. He went with Affeldt. And despite terrible numbers in save situations, Affeldt got ASU grad Andre Ethier to strike out with the tying runs on base on a full count.

Just an all around epic game and a memorable first game the day this blog launched. I don't want to say I'm good luck or anything, but SF Giants Guy is 1-0 and probably responsible for one of the best Giants/Dodgers games in forever.

And how about home plate umpire Adrian Johnson? This was a rookie umpire. One of his first assignments is this game. A Giants/Dodgers rivalry game. Bean balls. Warnings. Ejections. And an obscure rule that may have turned the game (though the way Broxton has been throwing of late, it might not have changed anything). Welcome to the league Adrian.

And last but not least, Bruce Bochy does not have a lot of fans here in San Francisco. Tonight, he was arguably the MVP of the game. It's not often we get to see Bochy outmanage the guy in the other dugout, but tonight he essentially outmanaged the entire Dodgers dugout. Kudos to Joe Torre, who not only got Kershaw and himself ejected, but likely earned his best starting pitcher a suspension.

What. A. Game! Giants 10 games over .500 for the first time this season. Zeets for the sweep tomorrow. Again I leave you with...


Introduction to SF Giants Guy

Well, hello fellow Giants fans. Let me introduce myself. My "internet" name is Macster but here on this blog, you can call me SF Giants Guy. I am a die hard San Francisco Giants fan. And I have taken issue with the fact that the Giants haven't brought the bling to San Francisco in my 30 years of living. I'm sure many of you who will stumble upon this blog will take issue with the fact the Giants have never won a championship as members of the San Francisco Bay Area period. I feel your pain. This blog is to vent, scrutinize, rumor-monger, and figure out ways we're better than Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy and how we can fix our damn local 9. I will update the blog on a weekly basis (or on off-days) with my thoughts on the team. I'll include fascinating rumors about the Gigantes as well as give my ideas on improving them. Feel free to comment, to agree, to disagree, to throw out your own ideas. My hope for this thing is that we create a nice little community of Giants fans that come here to catch the latest news, interesting trade scenarios, and of course, ripping or celebrating the play of the team.

Now, aside from that introduction, I might as well get a first Giants related post out of the way. We're playing the Dodgers, we have Lincecum(10-4, 2.96 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 136 K's), ) vs Kershaw (9-5, 3.16 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, 129 K's) tonight, which might be one of the best matchups of young pitchers on rivalry teams in the entire league. The Giants are playing well. They are on a 7 game winning streak (Eff You Cuzzi) and are major players in the wildcard and divisional race. However, as it is July 20th, the trade deadline looms. Brian Sabean has stated he is on the lookout for a lefthanded 1B or OF who is not a rental (we can also assume that Sabean is scouring the relief pitcher market after another shaky performance by the bullpen last night). We've been linked to the likes of David DeJesus and Prince Fielder. Adam Dunn is available but he'd be a rental. And then there's the worrisome lingering rumors of a Corey Hart for Jonathan Sanchez swap. Hart is righthanded and plays in band boxes for most of his divisional games. His defense is questionable as well. And just as recently as this past offseason, the Brewers looked at him as a platoon player. Jon Sanchez can be maddening, but he can also be brilliant. I would be livid to see him go for a trade of Corey Hart.

Anyways, of the players out there that are known to be available, who is the likeliest trade acquisition for Sabean?

A) David DeJesus OF (.318/.384/.445)

B) Prince Fielder 1B (.265/.396/.509)

C) Corey Hart OF (.291/.350/.567)

D) Adam Dunn 1B (.286/.374/.575)

E) Cody Ross OF (.280/.332/.408)

F) Lance Berkman 1B/OF (.250/.372/.448)

G) None of the above

I'm hoping B, expecting A, and realistically seeing G. Your thoughts? And more importantly: