Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Putting Out Fire

One thing about having a good starting rotation is that you can always count on a stellar performance from one of your guys to help you wash the bad taste out of a miserable loss. You're not stuck holding your nose hoping someone like Kevin Correia or Pat Misch can end a losing streak.

Enter Matt Cain, who came through with a typically brilliant performance, matching Dan Haren pitch for pitch and restoring hope to a fanbase with one foot hovering over the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge. Cain is seeing his old bad luck return with regards to his win-loss records, but that only matters to the BBWAA frumps who refuse to vote for any pitcher with less than 15 wins. Cain continues to deal, spitting in the eye of those who complained that his not-so-shiny peripherals would catch up to him.

Brian Wilson, who has been a total bulldog lately, finally ran out of gas in the ninth inning (at least Bruce Bochy seems determined to yank his arm from its socket), but a rejuvenated Sergio Romo came in to quash the last gasp Dback rally and prevent us from reliving the hell that was last night's game. Sanity restored, Giants fans talked off the ledge, and the previous night's loss reduced to little more than a bad dream.

Besides, you have to win any game at which Carlos Santana makes an appearance. Santana appeared with Kruk and Kuip in the broadcast booth, raising the coolness meter to a level that should be deemed illegal. Cain breezed through the half-inning with Carlos in the booth, cutting his bit painfully short.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Just Another Emotionally Devastating Giants Loss at Coors Field

Cue Godley and Creme. There have been bad losses at Coors Field. I've seen Neifi Perez mutilate the Giant' playoff chances. I've seen Matt Herges mistake a game-ending home run for a routine pop up. I've see leads blown, bullpens savaged, and Vinny Castillas turned into All-Star caliber hitters. This game, though, just might take the cake as the worst defeat at Coors ever. Whoah, that reached new heights of trauma. Years of sitting on a couch, babbling to a quack under the spell of a swinging pendulum won't be enough to get over what I just witnessed.

Where to even start? You have your best hitter bowing out early due to a strained calf muscle. You have the rest of your team swinging at every pitch for the rest of the night like they've never picked up a bat before. You have Dexter Fowler, who can't even walk, hobbling around the bases to score a pivotal run. You have the effing pitcher walking to force in another run. You have Adam Eaton*, one of the worst pitchers to grace Abner Doubleday's great sport, vulturing a win after a typically miserable performance. You had a game-ending grand slam to put the cherry on the big shit sundae. This one had it all.

Are the Giants dead? No. They get another go at the Rockies next weekend with the chance to snatch back some of the ground they gave up. They also face a crummy DBacks team for three games, as the Rocks and Dodgers beat the hell out of each other. So with a month to play and less than an hour away from sitting through the worst loss in years (dare I say since the Steve Finley game?), all I can say is that all is definitely not lost. It just bloody seems that way.

*Seriously Adam Eaton against the Giants' offense is like an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Tim Lincecum vs. The Masters of Evil and Their Conniving, Mustachioed Toadie, Bill Hahn.

Thank heavens for Tim Lincecum and Juan Uribe. Seriously, this was shaping up as a season-killing downer of a series, but Lincecum turned in a true Cy Young-caliber performance, and my former whipping boy Uribe earned himself a place in Giants lore. Uribe now absolves himself of any wrongdoing this season, including his perfect game-ruining error behind Jonathan Sanchez. Remember all those horrible things I said about him and his hacktastic ways? Yeah, forget about them. Never happened.

I didn't see any of the game today because I was at work, and for that I'm pissed. Picture me now as I'm frantically fast-forwarding to all the good parts on the Giants On Demand replay. From all the chatter, though, it was a classic. The Giants beat not only the Dodgers, but the four stooges standing around the basepaths apparently given orders to help LA out all series. Yeah, the umps definitely seemed to be bleeding Dodger blue in these three games. A miserable blown call in the ninth may have kept Lincecum from a complete game victory, somewhat damaging his chances at a second Cy. It's hard to imagine umpiring any more idiotic than the crew overseeing the Red Sox-Tigers series this past week, but apparently this clown outfit topped them easily.

I was able to periodically check online today to see how the game was going, with the help of our old friend Yahoo Gamecast (and no, I don't get kickbacks for that plug. If only...). When I saw Andre Ethier had tied the game with two outs in the ninth, I sunk my head and started repeating to myself: "Urge to kill...rising." It was shaping up to be a horrid homestand, with three losses that represent a flaming hot sword to the sternum. Luckily, Uribe went blammo and the Giants salvaged this one, saving me from plunging off the freeway on my way home and restoring hope in the Giants faithful.

There aren't many things more deplorable than the Dodgers. Hitler. Osama bin Laden. Glenn Beck. That's about it. Just as deplorable is losing to them, especially in a key series that precedes what promises to be a brutal road swing. Even worse is that the series loss follows another series loss to a completely hopeless Reds team that has Willy Taveras hitting lead-off for them, for God's sake.

So you can see the enormity of this game and the one swing of Uribe's bat. Uribe= Brian Johnson or Joe Morgan? No, but it might be closer than you think. Today's game will probably go down as one that won't be easily forgotten, and eventually not by me as I stay up in the wee hours of the night catching the re-broadcast.

Thursday, August 06, 2009


Houston Fling

Excuse me for having a case of the "Here we go agains" while watching Monday's game against Houston. I had a baaaaad feeling about that one early, as the Giants left runners all over the bases and squandered several chances to put a crooked number on the scoreboard. When you miss that many opportunities, bad things tend to go down, and sure enough, Matt Cain ended up getting beat by an inexplicable power display by two of the worst players in the major leagues.

It was a horribly demoralizing loss, one that seemed to foreshadow more road misery, but luckily the impending disaster wasn't to be. Good fortune shined down on the Giants, as they faced every Houston starter not named Roy Oswalt or Wandy Rodriguez. The offense came alive against Houston's gaggle of retreads in the next two games and the Giants won the series, and any time you can take two of three from anybody on the road, it's like frosting on the cake.

Special series props to three guys. First, Freddy Sanchez for tearing it up in the three games and helping quell our doubts about trading Tim Alderson for him. Second, to Eli Whitside for hitting his first home run in the majors in such a crucial manner, with the bases loaded and the game tied. Whiteside has been a pretty effective backup all year, removing himself further from the grey-haired, "whothehellisthatguy" label he had when he first came up. Pitchers seem to love throwing to him, also, so that's a plus.

Third, major thumbs up to Joe Martinez, who pitched a solid game to earn the win in his first appearance back from that horrid injury he suffered in April. It takes a better man than me to go up and face major league batters again only four months removed from taking a line drive to the eye socket.

Martinez, like erstwhile failed fifth starter Ryan Sadowski, doesn't have great stuff. Unlike The Big Sadowski, though, his minor league numbers were pretty solid. He doesn't walk guys and has a pretty heavy sinker, so his chances of sticking seem reasonable, at least enough to ride out the end of the year at the back of the rotation and not give us flashbacks to Jamey Wright or Russ Ortiz Part Deux.

The Giants kick off this homestand against suddenly not-so-genius Dusty Baker and the hapless Reds. After that, it's the Dodgers. This should be fun. Tomorrow, Tim Lincecum goes up against one of the worst lineups in the majors, full of guys who strike out a lot and don't take walks. Can I start salivating already?

Sunday, August 02, 2009


What Phunk?

Remember less than two weeks ago, when the Giants were in the throes of a rough road trip, and the shine of an unexpectedly exciting season looked like it was wearing off in a hurry? Giants fans who were heretofore jumping with glee were back to their old 2005-2008 ways, lining the sidewalks of 24 Willie Mays Plaza, holding signs proclaiming the end to be nigh, and demanding Brian Sabean be strung up by his Buster Browns.

Yeah, that seems like an eternity ago. Funny what a little home cookin' will to to revive a team and the loyalty of its fanbase. The Giants took three out of four from the first place Phillies in what had to be the most exciting series of the year so far. Barry Zito pitched another great game today, especially impressive since he didn't walk anyone. That makes four terrific starts in a row, and five of his last six. Dare I say he's starting to gain the trust of a Giants fanbase (not to mention blogging community) that derided him so? Most impressive of all was the fact that his fastball was touching 90 mph on several occasions. Perhaps the offseason training regimen in Muscle Beach is paying dividends, after all.

Freddy Sanchez made a major contribution in his Giants debut, hitting a game-tying double off of Cole Hamels that ended up sparking the victory. Good first impressions are always nice. Any player who is brought in, like Sanchez was, to help out in the heat of a pennant race benefits from a short honeymoon period (hell, even Shea Hillenbrand was cheered upon his arrival), and sure enough, he got a hearty ovation from the fans in his first at-bat and throughout the entire game. It served as a nice reminder that, as much as I (and many in the blog world) ranted about the lack of wisdom in the Sanchez trade, I'm in the significant minority on that subject and in my general Giants worldview.

I can't leave without mentioning Tim Lincecum's amazing start on Saturday night. In a performance that may have been his most impressive all year (that's saying something, obviously), he dominated one of the best lineups in the major leagues, and at times just had Phillie hitters eating out of his hands. I mean, you know you're good when everyone in the ballpark knows the changeup is coming, the batter sure as hell knows the change is coming, you still throw the pitch, and the batter still can't hit it. Even with Lincecum sitting at over 110 pitches after eight innings, I would have understood if Bruce Bochy had just left him in to finish the job. Brian Wilson came in and retired the Phils without incident, though, so it turned into a moot point.

Next up: A short road series against an Astros team that is slip-slidin' away from the upper regions of the NL Central, caught in a valiant race to equal their brutal Pythagorean record. Ideally, it's a series the Giants should win, but you could have said the same thing about the Pirates two weeks ago, and the offense has been even more terrible away from home, if that can be believed. Take nothing for granted, even with MLB's designated poster child for atrocious long-term contracts, Mike Hampton, going tomorrow.

--I have to say, one of my favorite crazes around the ballpark these days is the fans running around in panda suits. Fans of opposing teams must watch these games at Mays Field and think we've gone completely insane. Some guy even put a panda costume on his poor dog in the bleachers last night. Aside from the incredibly creepy "Spuds Mackenzie" panda masks (which is what Krukow refers to them as), it's a hilarious and fun phenomenon.

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