Tuesday, April 21, 2009


The Pads...Again

Maybe it's just me, but I sort of consider the Padres to be an ally of sorts to the Giants in the NL West, kind of a Great Britain to our America. They're fairly innocuous, they have a great ballpark in a great city, and they hate the Dodgers with almost equal passion. I've always said that if the Giants aren't going to win the West it may as well be San Diego. I have nothing against them. Nothing. Well, maybe a little against Scott Hairston.

The Pads were supposed to be the worst team in the league by an arm and a leg, but they now sit at 9-4. Perhaps they fooled us all. Maybe when the Giants were in San Diego getting their bleep handed to them, they were in actuality getting smoked by one of the NL's elite. Maybe we've been so distracted by talk of John Moore's loud divorce that we didn't see the quality of the product on the field. Maybe Kevin Towers and Paul DePodesta are sneakier than we think. Maybe David Eckstein Is Magic will lead the Padres to the promised land.

Tonight Matt Cain goes for his second win, but his chances of getting it are slim because he brings his teammates down with his gloomy gus attitude in the dugout. Seriously. Just ask Tim Keown. I know it sounds batshit stupid, but hey, I'm ready to believe. I know Keown has no real evidence to prove his point, but who needs facts? The reason why Cain is 15-30 over the past two seasons despite well above-average ERAs is because his teammates don't like him. Makes perfect sense to me.

Monday, April 20, 2009


Free Andres Torres

This weekend, Giants starting pitchers surrendered exactly zero runs. None. Nada. Zilch. And yet they still managed to lose a game. Such is 2009 Giants baseball, I guess, where the offense makes a pitcher like Doug Davis look like a Hall-of-Famer, necessitating spotless performances from the starting pitchers day in, day out. Yesterday the winning runs came on a sacrifice fly and a double play ball with the bases loaded. Exciting! Pity the local sports newscasters who have to scramble together a highlight package from that.

The offense stinks right now, but it's worth it to remember that back in 2004 the Giants got off to a similar rough start, and it seemed like they were going to have trouble scoring runs all year behind their Neifi- and crotch-kicker-led attack. That team went on to win 92 games and score 850 runs. Now, this team as it is now won't even break 750 (and of course that '04 team had that guy named Bonds on it), but we shouldn't start drawing comparisons to the 1992 Angels after a slow two weeks. Guys get hot, batters will regress to the mean. They aren't this bad. Trust me.

So on to happier things, like the pitching. Jonathan Sanchez, Tim Lincecum and Randy Johnson all dominated, with only Lincecum getting the Matt Cain treatment. When Lincecum didn't come out for the ninth in Saturday's game, I could just hear the radio blowhards sharpening their pitchforks. Sure enough, the bullpen immediately came in and lost the game. I stayed far away from the KNBR dial on that afternoon, my friends.

What I didn't realize, until looking at the box score just now, is that Lincecum was only at 98 pitches, in which case the raving post-game callers may have had a point. Let me get this straight. Bruce Bochy ignores pitch counts in order to give Lincecum a shot at a meaningless shutout late in the season (with a big lead, no less), but bows to them in an extremely tight, early season game when the team isn't dead yet? I don't get it. I understand not trying to max him out early, but Lincecum was cruising, and he wasn't in a pitch count danger zone.

Also, pulling Randy Johnson after only 73 pitches was strange. Yes, the man is 45, but he was untouchable all game and didn't look tired at all. Maybe he asked out, I don't know, but I guess it was all rendered moot since Bob Howry and Brian Wilson made quick work of the DBacks to end the game. All in all, a good weekend and a series win, although it'd be nice if the hitting weren't so darned ugly.

Surprise of the weekend: How about Andres Torres? One week after Giants fans were baffled by the mere sight of his name on the Opening Day roster, they were cheering his name after he cracked a late-inning home run on Friday night, and it was no cheapie! It was only his second major league home run. He seemed like the first guy to Fresno when the Giants realize they need another catcher, but if he gets more big hits like that, he just may hang around some.

Hero of the Weekend: Giants starting pitchers. Duh. Now, if the starters can throw up a 0.00 ERA for the rest of the season, I smell rings, baby!

Zero of the Weekend: Travis Ishikawa. 0 for 9 in three games with six strikeouts. He looks absolutely horrible at the plate right now. How long do the Giants give him before their patience runs out? The end of the month? Two months? A youth movement obviously means giving these guys a chance, but he doesn't look like a major leaguer now.

Also, if not the Ish, then who? Shift Sandoval over and play (lord help us) Juan Uribe at third? Stick Eugenio Velez there and pray he learns how to field a routine ground ball? Unfortunately, it doesn't get any easier for Ishikawa with Jake Peavy and Chris Young coming to town this week. At least he's being given the chance to mess himself that poor Dan Ortmeier wasn't.

Friday, April 17, 2009


Stankeye Quote of the Week

From some commenter on a BTF thread:

"Cody Ransom is the worst player I've ever seen"

Geez, and I thought I was hard on the guy.


Requiem for a Post-Sweep Dream

I tuned out of last night's game right about the time Doug Mientkiewicz tore his shoulder apart sliding into second base. By that time, the game had degenerated into too much ugliness to handle. Bad defense, bad pitching, no hitting, and now an old Stankeye fave hurting himself after ripping a Giant-killing double. It finished off a bad, brutal sweep. Move on, nothing to see here.

Sadly, it seemed like things were taking a turn for the rosier on Wednesday night, when Aaron Rowand slammed the hangiest slider to ever hang into the left field bleachers. It looked as if the Giants' season had suddenly taken a turn for the better.

Then the bottom of the eighth came along, and there wasn't much to say after that. Well, actually there's a whole hell of a lot to say, but none of it good. The last sentence of this post sums it up pretty succinctly. Then last night, just pure ugliness, starting with Manny Burriss's first inning brainfart on the basepaths.

I'm confident that the Giants' pitching can get itself straightened out, but I'm not so sure about the hitting. I'm not at the point where I'd rather tear my eyes from my sockets than watch the Giants bat, but I'm getting there. The team is dead last in walks and home runs, and you're not going to score a lot of runs that way unless you're mad clutch, which the Giants haven't been so far by any stretch.

So when the Giants come to bat they need to start asking themselves: WWJCD? What Would Jack Cust Do? The answer: take a shitload of walks and hit home runs. Maybe they don't have the personnel to do that, but something has to happen. No more of these one-pitch at-bats or feeble peformances that make Eric Stults look like Steve Carlton.

The last roadtrip is something to put in the rearview mirror. Don't look back, as Bob Dylan would say. Recovery starts tonight at home against Arizona. Who do the DBacks have going tonight? Dan Haren? Um, okay, maybe tomorrow.

TGIF Vid...Anybody who can play guitar with his teeth is OK by me.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Fun Police Alert

Some people just can't have fun with the game. Enter Michael Kay. Sigh.


Licking Wounds and a New Fish

Remember when you were in Little League and you just suffered one of those absolutely horrible losses that made you want to immediately charge from the dugout and take a fungo to the snack shack? The kind of game where outfielders fell down, your starting pitcher was escorted off the mound in tears, and the opposing team's massive, chain-smoking slugger only strengthened your suspicion of his birth certificate by launching three home runs. After the game, the coach would gather everybody in a circle and say to just forget it, put it behind you and prepare for the next game.

Like hell! There's nothing more deflating than getting ten-run-ruled and then being forced to clap hands with your snickering opponent bastards after the game. I wish that, just once in my Little League life, when we were chanting "2-4-6-8, who do we appreciate?", some brave kid would have just broken from the pack and screamed, "Fuck You!" at the other team and then ran away. That would have made my childhood. As it was, we just had to deal with it, still aching and furious from the epic depantsing that had just ensued.

As poorly as that rah-rah crap flew as a little kid, it's exactly what the Giants need to do. Just forget about it. Dodger fans have had nearly 48 hours to eat, drink and be merry in celebration of Monday's whupping. Let them dance, I say! Tomorrow is a new day.

At the end of the season, if the Giants beat the Dodgers for a pennant, who is even going to care about Monday? Wait, not even that. What if the Giants rebound and win the next two games, taking two of three and winning the opening series? Will we care about the throttling we took in the opener? Will Orlando Hudson be anything more than the answer to a boring trivia question then? No.

Let's just put it past us. Let's munch on our snow cones, clean those stirrups (I love those things, they should totally bring them back) and think about tomorrow. Matt Cain pitched like a champ against the Brewers, and he'll try to get the team on the right track. I'm pumped, how about you? 2-4-6-8, who do we...eeeeaagh. Let's just beat those stupid Dodgers.

--Perhaps the days of the Easily Obtainable First Base Talent Rant are over here at Stankeye. Two years after I suggested that the Giants trade Matt Morris for him (heh), the team actually went and signed former Angels uberprospect Dallas McPherson to a minor league deal. McPherson rocked AAA last year for the Springfield Albuquerque Isotopes last season, mashing 42 homers.

Can McPherson ever live up to his potential now that he's in SF? Will that power translate to the majors? Scott Boras believes, but he's an evil sonuvagun. Me? I'm excited. McPherson is exactly the kind of guy the Giants should be looking for: cheap players with major power potential, kind of like Josh Phelps before he became superfluous (um, did he?). He might be able to play third, probably badly, in the event of a Pablo Sandoval collapse. He can definitely play first in the event of an Ish fall from grace.

Before we get too excited, remember that his major league performance has been less than inspiring. In 399 plate appearances, he has slugged a solid .468, but has walked only 27 times and OBPed a miserable .298, while striking out in 34% of his at-bats (that's, um, bad). If you're whiffin' but you ain't walkin you ain't going to be spending too much time with the big club.

My question is, is 399 plate appearances, spread out over four seasons, really a fair shot? The Angels are notoriously obsessed with batting average and little things, so I can't imagine McPherson's slow slugger thing played well at all with that franchise. Plus, he missed all of 2007 with injuries and he could just be a late bloomer. When you're mashing 42 homers at any level, you can hit. Perhaps the Giants have stumbled upon the next Carlos Pena or Jack Cust. It'll be interesting to find out, and hopefully they don't just give up on him after one slump in Fresno.

--This is awesome! Not only did the Yankees get their lunch thrown at them, Nick Swisher came out to pitch, threw a scoreless inning, and struck a guy out! I bet when Gabe Kapler went to the plate he was thinking to himself: "Don't strike out. Don't strike out. Please, God, just don't strike out!" Then, bam! He strikes out. Shades of Lenny Harris v. Brent Mayne back in the Candlestick day.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


A Cheery Look Into the Future...and a Rant

The Giants lost yesterday to the Dodgers. Never mind the details. Never mind that Randy Johnson looked every bit like a washed up 45-year-old pitcher. Never mind that Orlando Hudson joined Kevin Elster in the annals of Giant-Dodger notoriety. Never mind that the Giants scratched out six measly hits and struck out 11 times. Forget all that. It's over, done. Wednesday is a new day.

You know what's going to be funny? When, six months from now, the Giants are riding the high of a division championship, with four 20-game winners all sporting ERAs under 2. We'll look back at this mini-speed bump in the road, when the pitchers were all struggling at once, and we'll lean back, toast to each other, and think, my, wasn't that a scary two weeks. Here's how I imagine the future conversation will go...

Paulie: My, my, Nedley, do you recall that ghastly day when Randy Johnson rather sullied his druthers against that Dodger team and got us all in a tizzy? That was a redoubtable bit of claptrap. (adjusts monocle and sips martini)

Nedley (Paulie's rich dilettante friend with the thick Cockney accent): Mmm, yes, that was rather incommodious of the uncomely fellow. (twirls mustache with finger) Fortunately, he and his fellow confederates rejuvenated themselves to give their wayward adversaries a chapping good lashing. Here, here, young Paulie! To a fine conquest! (raises glass in toast)

Paulie: (raises glass) Well said, Nedley, my boy! Nyah!

Nedley: Nyah!

Paulie: Nyah!

Nedley: Nyah!

(repeat for two hours)

I'm sure that's exactly how it will go. This thing about some of the Giants pitchers struggling? Bah! Early season jitters. I'm sure they'll recover and everything will be alllllll right. Now excuse me, but that big dune of sand over there looks like a great place to stick my head in.

--Ok, now a rant. Some things just set me off, and people starting fistfights (or worse) over their favorite sports team is one of them. I don't know the circumstances of this stabbing outside of Dodger Stadium yesterday, but it appears it may have been a case of a Giants fan and a Dodger fan getting into it and the argument ending in violence. It certainly wouldn't be the first time.

Just last week, my friends and I were walking out of ARCO Arena after the Kings-Warriors game, when two fans, one for the Warriors, one for the Kings, started talking all kinds of loud shit to each other in the parking lot. Sure enough, the talk escalated into threats, and, faster than you could say "get a fucking life", the two idiots were circling each other, intent on coming to blows.

My friends and I just watched this display and laughed, knowing that most of these little tiffs fizzle out with macho histrionics and no actual bloodshed. Sure enough, the two morons eventually walked away without any punches being thrown, and sanity won another one. Sometimes, though, it doesn't, and you get scary situations like what may have happened today and what did happen a few years back at Chavez Ravine.

It basically comes down to this: if you're the kind of person who will pick fights with people because of some undying devotion to your sports team, you're a hopeless degenerate. I will never, to my dying day, understand this mindset. You're paying this large corporation a lot of money to watch and often advertise their product (by wearing jerseys and such), and yet you really believe that you're somehow a part of it because you root for them and wear their merchandise? Guess what, buddy. They don't care.

If you feel the need to defend your team's honor when someone starts dissing them, and you take pride at the end of the day because of it, that's wonderful. Give yourself a hand. Here's a clue, though: no one cares. Not the guys who work atrocious hours and make the big decisions in the front office, not the players, and certainly not the billionaire owners.

I have some friends who are Dodger fans, and some who are A's fans. As a Kings fan, I have a lot of Warrior fan friends. We rib each other, we talk trash, we even get into arguments that get a bit heated. What we don't do is start swinging blunt objects at each other when we point out the bad contracts each team has on its books. It's what separates us from the kind of people who show up on rap sheets because they have nothing better to live for than a sad obedience to their team.

It's baffling to me, it really is, how sensitive a lot of fans are about their sports teams, to the point that they'll get physical. It's a stupid game. It's entertainment. I personally devote far, far too much energy rooting for the Giants, and I get irrationally emotional when watching them play. It comes with the territory. We all do it, really. But starting fights? Threatening violence? Again, there are many, many more important things in life to worry about.

I'll never forget the Red Sox/Padres game I attended at PETCO where it took literally five minutes after we found our seats for a fat, belligerent Sox fan to start picking fights. I understand that he and his Red Sox Nation ilk suffer from a beer-induced depletion of brain cells and the undoubtedly related onset of obesity, but still, I was saddened by what I saw before me. Again, to those of you who act this way, just get a friggin' life.

--OK, that was your patented Paulie Rant for the day. I hope you enjoyed it. They're being sold on eBay and the bidding starts at only $4.95 a pop. Get 'em while they last!

Seriously, though, two sad losses in baseball today, in what is becoming a very down week. Harry Kalas, one of the great announcers of all-time, and Mark Fidrych, one of the most popular pitchers of all time, who had his career sadly shortened by injury. Fans loved "The Bird's" quirks, but watching old video of Fidrych, he seems less goofy than...genuine?

Monday, April 13, 2009


Numbskull Event Planners Overshadow Depressing Sweep

This weekend promised to be a great one for baseball. Beautiful weather, Easter baseball, Giants in San Diego, and the A's home opener, the latter of which I was enthusiastic about attending. It was the first opener, of any kind, I've ever been to. It's nominally a fun time. The house is full and loud, the atmosphere is great, people are excited about their team and the new season. It's a recipe for a timeless baseball experience, am I wrong?

Well, there would be no baseball enjoyment on this day. None of any kind. Some moron (or group of morons) decided it would be a good idea to schedule the A's opener on the same night as a Warrior game. Two teams, two arenas, one parking lot. You get where this is going. I know Draconian punishments are deemed unconstitutional, but I'm tempted to lobby for an exception in dealing with whoever was responsible for this mess. The sheer magnitude of the stupidity would seem to merit a caning of some sort.

Our group didn't leave Sacramento until like 5:30, which was our bad, but we had work so what are you going to do? By the time we hit Oakland and the exit to the stadium, it was past first pitch and we were smack in the middle of bumper-to-bumper traffic. Most of the people filing in at that point were Warriors fans, which further illustrated the absurdity of the situation. Some people decided to cut their losses and park in a nearby hotel or restaurant and walk. As we sat idle two miles from the Coliseum, loud obscenities emanated from our vehicle that would make Quentin Tarantino blush.

By the time the cars finally started moving, the parking lots were full, so we figured our last saving grace would be the nearby BART station. Nope. That was completely full. So we scanned the nearby streets, looking for parking spots in the kinds of neighborhoods you don't want to be lurking around as nighttime falls. We finally found a space, my friend nearly wrecked his back bumper when his back tire fell into a ditch, and there we were, in a horrible neighborhood with a ten minute walk ahead of us.

It became immediately apparent, as angry and terrified of being mugged as we were, that sobriety in this situation was definitely not the best policy. So we grabbed all the beers we could fit in two hands and proceeded to guzzle them as fast as we could on our walk to the stadium. As we finished off bottle after bottle, our anger slowly abated with increasing intoxication. It's amazing how, in the heat of the moment, deviant behavior provides an adequate antiseptic to the rage felt when being shafted at a sporting event.

We finally got to the stadium in the sixth inning, right in time to watch the A's strand the bases loaded (for the second time in the game, as it turned out). They would go on to lose to a Mariners team that had very few recognizable players. Highlights of our short time in the stadium included when I repeatedly pointed out how fat Ken Griffey Jr. looked in person, the notorious banjo-playing A's fan roaming into our section, and a two-inning save by none other than our old friend David Aardsma (I still regard the trade that sent him and Jerome Williams to the Cubs as one of the stupidest and most pointless of Brian Sabean's tenure).

We hung around for a bit after the game to let the traffic subside, and when everyone had left, that was when the extent of the devastation became apparent. Mounds of trash had been piled up in large plots of the parking lot, taking up entire spaces. Beer bottles were stacked in pyramids, oceans of wrapper blew lazily in the breeze. Someone left an entire grill in the parking lot. I want to hear the story behind that.

This wasn't just neglect; people actually made a concerted effort to be slovenly. Not only did they not give a shit, they made a display of it. I mean, trash had been piled up and sculpted into little castles for the world to see. It made me embarrassed to be a sports fan. At least as we were on our beer-swilling rampage leading into the stadium, we were depositing our bottles in the proper receptacles. Even as belligerent as we were, we still had respect for Mother Earth, for heaven's sake.

We finally made it home in the wee hours of the morning and none of us were happy. It was the worst ordeal I've ever gone through attending a baseball game, and I've been to Beanie Baby day! I thought nothing could top driving through LA traffic to get to an Angels game, but I was completely wrong. I mean, come on, anyone with half a brain should realize what a disaster this was going to be. They couldn't have delayed the Warrior game until Saturday night? It was a debacle, a damn shame.

So that was the worst part of the night, but the cherry on top was looking over at the scoreboard and seeing that Barry Zito had had a typical Zito-nain performance, not lasting past the fourth inning, and the Giants couldn't scratch back against the immortal Shawn Hill. Zito's line isn't terrible, and he didn't walk everybody in sight, a feature that characterizes most of his flameouts, so it's not the most discouraging thing in the world. Still, it's the Padres, in PETCO, no less.

The next night, Jonathan Sanchez started off like Sandy Koufax, then ran afoul of Henry Blanco-twice-and fell apart. I don't blame him; surrendering two bombs to Henry Blanco is bound to break anyone's concentration. With this start, Sanchez just continued what he did so often last year: mix flashes of awesome, Cy Young potential with game-killing bouts of wildness. It's one start, but it'd be nice if he'd get these control problems ironed out. Walking the pitcher to set up a rally just isn't going to do it.

Then yesterday it really got ugly. Tim Lincecum, who I figured would be the saving grace of the series, was sadly much like the aforementioned BART station. He started off well enough before running into control problems of his own, and he lost all of his command after the second inning. Of course, his defense did him no favors, as the normally reliable Fred Lewis flubbed two fly balls that led to runs. Eugenio Velez (starting in center field) also flubbed a single later on in the game which led to a run (again, why do people think this guy is an outfielder?) Once again, it's early. Depressing, but early, so please don't start mashing the panic button with your fist.

Still, I wonder when The Whispers will start. You know what I'm talking about. There are pitch count nazis out there just waiting for Lincecum to crack, so they can parade out into the streets waving their "I told you so" banners around, screaming that his poor performance is a result of being overworked last year. I'm not saying his '08 workload has anything to do with anything, but beware the murmurs getting louder if Timmy doesn't get it together his next time out.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


Get Well, Joe (and Brewer Recap)

First off, what an absolutely brutal day to be a baseball fan. First comes the news that Nick Adenhart was killed by a drunk driver mere hours after he pitched six shutout innings in last night's game. Forget his potential as a pitcher; any time any person that young is struck down in a random act of such stupidity is a tragedy of the highest order. Awful stuff.

Then Joe Martinez, one batter away from sealing the win today over the Brewers, took a liner to the forehead and had everybody in the ballpark holding their breath. Martinez walked off the mound under his own power and appeared to be okay, but this type of thing has ruined more than one career. So here's hoping he hangs in there and makes with a speedy recovery. His big league career got off to a bright start with a win in his debut Tuesday.

Last night I was watching Randy Johnson's Giants debut at a sports bar, but by the time the fifth inning rolled around, I had become so embroiled in a dumb argument about the state of the economy or something that I began to lose sight of the game. I glanced over at one point to see Johnson intentionally walk somebody to bring up, with two on and two out, a batter I didn't immediately recognize.

The next time I glanced at the TV, said unknown batter suddenly crushed a three-run homer over the left field fence. "Damn," I said aloud. "That was a shot. Who the hell was that guy?" My question was answered when I saw the words "Gallardo" appear on his back as he rounded the bases, and my heart sank. Giving up home runs to the opposing pitcher sucks. Giving up game-breaking home runs to the opposing pitcher is the stuff nightmares are made of, I don't care if the guy is one of the better-hitting hurlers out there.

The pitch by Johnson was horrible, a fat fastball that even a Bocock could send into the seats. Other than that pitch, and the mistake to Mike Cameron, the Unit was brilliant. It's the kind of performance where his WHIP will tell the story, not the ERA, but there are concerns if Johnson is going to be this homer-prone all year. His home run rates have steadily increased in the past few years.

Other than the Gallardo bomb and Tim Lincecum's disappointingly short outing (kudos to Bruce Bochy for not extending him trying for a win and just getting him the hell out of there), there's a lot to be happy about. Lots of offense, some freakin' run support for Matt Cain, solid bullpen work, and big hitting by Aaron Rowand, Bengie Molina, and Run Randy Run! (an appropriate moniker given that Winn has said he'll be running more out of the leadoff spot this year).

In a shocking development, Pablo Sandoval drew a walk today, but alas, it was intentional. Seriously, this guy swings at everything. Already the Brewers were trying to exploit his hacktastic ways, with Manny Parra striking Pablo out on a terrible slider in the dirt. Sandoval got the last laugh, though as he had four hits in 11 at-bats in the series. At the risk of being that guy who runs in and shouts "Project Mogul!" at a meeting of Roswell enthusiasts, I'm still remaining skeptical given Pablo's inability to take any pitches, but he is a ton of fun to watch.

Tomorrow: Do we dare to dream that Barry Zito can get his mojo back? Even against a lineup as pathetic as San Diego's? Maybe the offseason of baseball canyon throwing rejuvenated his fizzling left arm. Maybe he's burning twice the incense and ramped up the volume of the whale music, and that's helped his concentration. Maybe he's longing for Alyssa again and is inspired to turn her from the dark side. Yeah, we're really clawing at the wall with this.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Opening Day Post 2009

I attempted to do something different for my Opening Day post this year, something that goes beyond the usual hastily-cobbled together lineup dissection that usually fills these pages this time of year. Instead, I set up an interview with none other than Giants owner Bill Neukom, who was kind enough to sit down and discuss the upcoming season. Here's how it went:

Paulie: Hi, Duke, thanks for taking the time to talk to me.

Bill Neukom: Um, sure. Wait...Duke? Who are you, again? How'd you get in my office?

P: Er, I'm Paul, the guy who writes the highly-touted Giants blog "Give 'em Some Stankeye!" I'm sure your front office people have consulted me for advice at one point or another. Anyway...

BN: Oh wait, you mean that crappy web site that consists mostly of bad jokes involving Schwarzenegger movies from the '80's?

P: Yeah, that's the one! So, Duke, remember that time you told that big alien guy that you'd rip off his head and sh...

BN: Agh, I'm so sick of that joke! I hate that fucking game! Get a life, you asshole! Get out of here! Who gave you a press pass? Security!

P: GET TO THE CHOPPER! (drops notes and runs out)

So my attempt at Opening Day Interview 2009 didn't go too well. Unfortunately, Opening Day 2009 doesn't seem to be going that great either, as a tarp is over the field at the Mays with no sign of letup. I actually will have access to a radio now, so that'd suck if we have to wait yet another day for Giants baseball.

Monday, April 06, 2009


Tim Lincecum vs. the Overpaid Soft-Tosser and His Eight Wallbangers

Opening Day, Kaloo Kalay! Tomorrow should be a nice test to see how supposedly improved the Giant offense really is (I've got my eye on you, PECOTA), as the Brewers pit their $42 million mistake Jeff Suppan against defending Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum (how awesome does it feel to say that?). The Brewers lost their two best pitchers to free agency, so now the guy who tossed up a nearly five ERA last season gets the start in the opener. It seems like a complete mismatch, but baseball is a crazy game, so take nothing for granted.

I remember the Giants shellacking Suppan in this game way back in 1998 and thinking he didn't have a chance in the majors, but lo and behold, it's ten years later and he's a former postseason hero with 128 wins under his belt. Every step of the way, from Kansas City to Pittsburgh to St. Louis, critics were sure he was destined to fail, so kudos to him for proving everybody wrong.

Statistically, Suppan is a bit of a strange case. He's a soft-tosser who can't overpower anybody, so he must rely on impeccable control to get batters out, right? Guess again. His career rate of three walks per nine innings is hardly spectacular for anybody (that includes a huge spike last season). So he must get a lot of ground balls to negate the baserunners, then? Nope. Only 44% of balls put in play were grounders. Does he limit home runs? Nope, 30 of them last year.

(looks around frantically for help)

So, um, how the hell does this guy get anybody out? Frankly, your guess is as good as mine, as well as a nation of millions. Last year he wasn't really even any good as a league average innings eater, as he managed less than six innings per start, with an ERA+ of 87. He must get by with that good ol' veteran moxie that made him the toast of the '06 Cardinal postseason. At this point in his career, for a team with a real lineup, he'd likely be toast. But the Giants? Ehhhh....

--The Giants' roster is set, and here it is, in all it's glory. There were a few major surprises, some good, some...strange.

-Rich Aurilia/Juan Uribe. Who here really believed these two guys wouldn't be on the Opening Day roster when they were signed to minor league deals? Uribe is a terrible hitter who should strictly be used as a late-inning defensive sub, but he'll probably be starting in some capacity come July. I have more empathy for Aurilia because of the whole nostalgia thing but who wants to bet he gets waaaaaay more at-bats than he deserves this season, especially at the first signs of struggle from Travis Ishikawa?

-Andres Torres. Yeah, I have no idea who the hell he is, either. Apparently, he's a 31-year-old minor league vet who hasn't seen major league daylight since 2005. He can run like the wind and once upon a time could draw some walks, but don't you look at his minor league line and immediately think Alex Sanchez? Maybe I'm being unfair. If he can handle the glove and stick as a fifth outfielder I won't complain.

-Catcher situation. There's no Steve Holm, which means Pablo Sandoval is the backup catcher while getting regular at-bats at third, but this won't last long. The recurring nightmares managers have of being stuck with an emergency catcher, Pedro Feliz-style, probably mean Holm or someone else will be up around May or so.

-Eugenio Velez. (groan)

-Alex Hinshaw as LOOGY. Not too shocking, as Hinshaw can be filthy when he's on. He has to improve his control if he's going to be a viable late-inning option, and it'd help if he could get a righty out once in a while, but he's got the nasty stuff to be a key bullpenite this season.

-Merkin Valdez. Great to have him back after he was unfairly taken from us early by an elbow injury last season. If he comes back throwing like he did in April of last year he could help make this just a nasty bullpen, and, all these years later, still make that Russ Ortiz trade sorta worthwhile.

-Joe Martinez. Another double-take promotion. He's a control artist drafted in '05 with great K/BB rates in the minors. He'll probably be shuttling between here and Fresno all season, acting as Randy Johnson/Jonathan Sanchez insurance, or as a Scott Munter-type grounball artist experiment. Bay City Ball has all the dirt on him.

-The Luis Perdomo/Brandon Medders saga. It looked for all the world like Rule V pick Perdomo was going to make the team, but then he went and messed the bed on the Mays Field mound last Friday and off he went. The great strikeout numbers in Low-A looked intriguing, but he was a little old for the level and he was probably deemed expendable after the team pilfered Hector Correa from Florida.

Medders, meanwhile, hasn't done anything good, at any level, since 2006, so I don't really understand what made him preferable to, say, Justin Miller. I guess it's not worth it to get worked up over an interchangeable mop-up man, though.

Tomorrow I'll be catching the game on MLB Gameday on my lunch hour, about the best I can do to catch any updates of the game, short of draining my car battery listening to KNBR. Hey, it's better than seeing, via text message, that Armando Benitez has blown the game, like in Opening Day 2005. Anyway, it's been just way too long. I'm ready for Giants baseball, dammit!

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