…. Get in line

Let's make sure that everyone reminds Yasiel Puig how to play major league baseball. Let's make sure that he know that going all out, that making mistakes with his base-running, his outfield throws, and his overall greatness, all of those things…. the mainstream media need to make sure that he stops that. Because a guy that comes in and bats .400 for three months, that leads his team from the cellar to the best record in the league in two months….. that guy needs to be told how to do it. He's doing it wrong.

We don't want a guy that plays all out, that excites the fans, the players on his team, and most of everyone that cares one fucking whit about baseball…. that guy needs to do cialis super active it the right way. The way he's doing it now, turning a team that was 12 games out of first place, into a team that is 10 games up, he's not doing it right. Thanks to all of the guys in the media to make sure they correct all of the flaws in his game.

Who needs an out of control player to turn your whole season around? That guy needs to be straightened out. Somebody needs to explain to him how to play the game right.


…. Disappointment

Wow. What a disaster of a season. Last place, 19.5 games behind the Dodgers, the Giants are on pace to have one of the worst seasons a defending champion has ever had. They've scored the third fewest runs, and allowed the third most. Talk about a complete fail by virtually every member of the team. I don't remember the last time a champ has looked this bad for this long. What a terrible defense of such a thrilling title.

Special thanks to Pablo Sandoval, who pretty much guaranteed he'd be worthless by showing up to camp roughly 50 pounds overweight. Way to be a leader, Panda.


…. Bullshit

You know, I've kind of ignored all the A-Rod mess. I think he probably broke the rules, and he's obviously a fucking moron, but, I have to say, the leaks and character assassinations have really gotten out of hand. And on top of it all is the bullshit line that Bud –Superman– Selig is somehow cleaning up the game and saving the children. He's learned from his mistakes, and now baseball is gonna be the one sport that gets it right. Yeah, right.

That isn't possible. It is not possible to legislate risk. It is not possible to tell people to do everything they can to be the best, but not that. It is not possible to ask that every member of your union be a completely uniform actor in a complicated world. The goal that baseball is aiming for, that the suits in the MLB and MLBPA offices are aiming for, is not available, and these people are just not smart enough to realize that.

It's sad, really. Thirty years from now, this chapter in baseball history is going to be laughed at. The managers who speak out against the “cheats” are embarrassing themselves. Players like Mike Trout, calling for a lifetime ban for all the “cheats,” don't even seem to understand how the process of discovering the “cheats” works. Neither do the sportswriters. Nor do the managers. The GM's. The agents. These people, who are rushing to throw the Ryan Braun's and A-Rod's under the bus, don't seem to understand how damaging it is to the Players Union, and to the protection of the rights of the players themselves this rush to judgement really is. The players who accepted their suspensions without appeal have literally undone 40 years of advances in the relationship between management and players. Without so much as an argument.

The sportswriters of this generation are destroying the very reputations they hope to burnish with all of their moralizing and posturing and saving of the children. Here's Mike Lupica, once again telling us how Seligula is a great man:

…. It is worth pointing out all over again that the same people who like to bang Bud Selig around for not doing enough about steroids in the buy cialis online no prescription old days now want to bang him around for doing too much.

You sort of can’t have it both ways.

Yeah, well, yes you can. Seligula did do nothing when he was being told he had a problem, and now he is doing too much. He is literally burning down the forest to save a couple of trees. Oh, and Mike? So are you. You and the rest of you children savers are guilty of the same thing. You guys did nothing when the problem was staring you in the face, and yes, you too are now doing too much. It's called over-correcting. It's a common problem. So common, really, that it's a cliche. Just like your protect the commissioner, fuck the players approach to writing.

Your position is shameless, embarrassing, and honestly ridiculous. Thanks for telling us that the boss is right. Never would have imagined that was the case. Oh, and of course….. Fuck all these players. They make too much money anyway. And they don't care about baseball the way you do. Thanks. I forgot.

UPDATE: A-Rod's lawyer is as pissed off as I am:

…. “They are threatening people if they don't speak to MLB; they will refer them to law enforcement,” Tacopina said. “A lawyer can't do that. That is what Major League Baseball lawyers have done here, telling witnesses that they will expose them to the media if they don't speak to them. We have a videotape of MLB investigators flashing badges into a gated community to try and find a witness. That is illegal. Why they are acting the way they are acting, I don't know. Why do they think it is OK to tell mom and dad that, 'We're sorry Mr. Bosch injected your minor, your son with narcotics, controlled substances? We are going to tell the federal prosecutors that he has been a really good guy that he helped us get some baseball players so you shouldn't prosecute him.' That's the deal that they made with this guy.”

…. “I would love nothing more than to sit here and be able to talk about Alex's testing results and MLB allegations and MLB's investigation into Biogenesis as it relates to Alex and specific dates and specific tests,” Tacopina said. “Nothing more, but there is a confidentially clause of the JDA. I will make Manfred a deal if he, in writing, waives the confidentially clause, and agrees that it would not be a breach of the confidentially clause, if he allows us to discuss exactly what he wants us to discuss, including the testing result, including the specifics of the tests, the results, we would be happy to discuss it. It would be my pleasure to discuss it. I would love to discuss it. But the minute I discuss it, I'm in violation of the confidentially clause of the JDA. Unlike them, I'm not going to hide behind some anonymous source leaking stuff that is in violation of the confidentially clause like they have done from Day 1.”

Hat Tip to Baseball Musings


…. Wow

Matt Cain has just allowed 9 hits and 7 runs in the bottom of the third inning at St. Louis this morning. So, for the fourth time in their last five games, a Giants starter cannot hold the opposition below 4 runs. Over the team's last 11 road games, they've allowed 10, 11, 6, 10, 10, 5, 4, 6, 9, and now 7 in what is now the fifth inning.

Not much more to say. Whatever is going on appears to be happening to every pitcher at the same time. I stand by my earlier post; either the league has figured out what the Giants overall pitching approach is, or every pitcher on the team spent the entire off-season watching highlights of their title parade and eating Taco Bell.


…. It's the pitching, stupid

Kickham notwithstanding, but what the hell has happened to our starting pitchers?

Lincecum has allowed an awful 34 runs in 60 innings.
Cain has allowed a staggering 39 runs in 64 innings.
Zito has allowed a Zito-esque 34 runs in 56 innings.
Bumgarner has allowed a pretty decent 27 runs in 72 innings
Vogelsong has allowed an astounding 44 runs in 46 innings.

For comparison:

Kershaw has allowed 18 runs in 80 innings.
Zimmerman has allowed 15 runs in 73 innings
Corbin has allowed 14 in 68 innings
Harvey has allowed 16 in 78 innings.

Our starters have the fourth worst record and ERA in the league. This is supposed to be the strength of the team. What the hell is going on? Anyone?

Every time I turn the game on, it's already 4-1. If it wasn't for our league best offense, we'd be in last place by a mile.

Don't expect any significant changes. These guys have to figure out what the league has figured out about them. They'd better get it done soon. The Giants are about to be on the road for most of the next month, and starting every game down 4 runs is a recipe for last place.

UPDATE: Not that it pertains to this post, but the Giants are down 5-2 in the 7th inning, and the three batters that just came to the plate (Belt, Torres and Crawford), and all three of them swung at the first pitch and flied out. Unbelievable.

UPDATE, PART II: Well, Lincecum looks completely lost. The only question is how much longer can the Giants keep running him out there. I can understand Bochy letting him hit with the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth, with the team about to be away for most of the next month, but Holy Christ, he walked out for the top of the fifth and just shit the bed completely. What the hell?

Sandoval isn't helping. 2 for his last 25. Swinging at every pitch. Jeez.


…. Redemption

As tough as it is watching Lincecum struggle, it is easily the most surprising and astounding turnaround to watch Barry –the Hit Man– Zito turn around his career. Kudos to Zito for handling his difficult time with class and dignity, never sniping, complaining, or really doing anything to convey his dissatisfaction with anything that was happening to him during his first five seasons with the team.

Really, that is perhaps the most inspiring part of his story. Between the horrible pitching, the constant pressure on him because of his huge contract, the booing, the demotion for the 2010 playoff run…. Zito has been a model player in the clubhouse, in the press, and apparently, everywhere else. The result is a player whose return to success is easy to root for, and is really one of the best redemption story imaginable. A player who is celebrated for his ability to turn around what had once seemed to be the end of his career and not only play well, but to even contribute to a championship of his own.

…. “It gets back to competing,” (Bruce) Bochy said. “It doesn't matter what you're doing in this game: pitching, swinging the bat, playing defense – it's all about competing. He's as tough a competitor as I've been around.”

His success so far this season has been a breath of fresh air, and reminds us that comebacks can happen, that people can overcome adversity, and they can do it with grace and class.

Good for him, and good for the Giants.

UPDATE: Jonah Keri goes deeper on Lincecum in Grantland today:

…. Baseball Prospectus writer and pitching mechanics expert Doug Thorburn addressed this in a pair of articles last year: Lincecum's delivery depends on perfect mechanics, and that trademark gigantic stride. As he wrote in an e-mail:

…. He was able to generate ridiculous momentum early in his career (a huge advantage), and he found a timing pattern with it that he could repeat, which was critical for commanding the fastball and keeping that split-change buried under the zone. That stride and momentum required excellent lower body strength, and when his delivery fell out of whack back in 2010, the solution was rooted in conditioning — he had lost his timing because he could not consistently generate his usual stride pattern. Last season, his momentum was noticeably down when compared to his peak, and he struggled to find his timing for most of the season — I thought it was telling that he did so well out of the ’pen, where he could go all out rather than conserve stamina.

Thorburn expressed some mild optimism that Lincecum could bounce back a bit if he can fix his mechanics, which could in turn allow him to better control where his pitches are going. But the beast of four years ago, the guy with the fastball that hit the high-90s and the split-change that was one of the most unhittable pitches in the game? That guy's almost certainly not coming back. Research on pitcher aging curves by Mike Fast and Jeremy Greenhouse suggests that a pitcher this young shouldn't be suffering from this steep of a performance decline, and that it can be very tough to improve once that decline starts.

The worst thing is that I agree with him. If the loss in velocity, now around 5+ MPH since his rookie season, is unfixable, he's either heading to a closer role, or he's done. Either way, I think it's safe to say Sabean looks like Nostradamus by holding the line on Lincecum's salary demands over these last couple of years. At any time over these last three years or so, Lincecum could have been signed to a five or six-year deal that right now would be terrifying to the team. Instead, they failed/succeeded in ensuring that whatever deal they were discussing, it didn't work for someone, and the Giants are actually looking at being able to walk away from Lincecum should this season be another train wreck.

UPDATE, Part II: Well, today did nothing to dispel my concerns. Lincecum looked completely lost, missing his spots by a foot or more. The hitters bailed him out again, but, holy Christ, he looks awful.


…. Struggle?

Tim Lincecum won his first start, but walked seven, matching a career-high. This Sam Miller piece, a BP Premium article, suggests that Hector Sanchez may have been responsible for much of the damage. In fact, the article outlines, using GIF's, the exact ways Sanchez fails to adequately frame Lincecum's pitches, and shows that Lincecum was robbed of perhaps as many as a dozen strikes, many

of them not even close to borderline.

The article explains the obvious fact that Sanchez is a subpar framer, and any analysis of his work shows that he lunges, drops his head, and generally acts like he's constantly surprised by the location of the ball. For all the talk throughout the Giants organization about players being ready for the majors before they are brought up, it's a little surprising to see that Sanchez is a player who is clearly not ready for the action on major league pitches.

And Miller highlights an article by Tim Kawakami that details the possible reason Sanchez has somehow become Lincecum's personal catcher:

…. It’s almost certainly true that Lincecum has never told Bochy he disliked pitching to Posey, and I know Posey wants to catch Lincecum.
But it’s probably just as true that Bochy knew that Lincecum was more comfortable with Sanchez or Eli Whiteside.

And it’s beyond doubt that Posey is nothing like Molina, who coaxed his pitchers, pumped them up, and especially was on the same emotional wavelength as the improvisational Lincecum.

Posey likes to make a plan, stick to the plan, and has been known to utter a few sharp words to pitchers—even Lincecum, even when Posey was young—during games to get them back on the plan.

Whether Lincecum realizes this is unknown, but he is struggling with Sanchez behind the plate (18 0f his last 20 starts), and Sanchez may very well be why. In fact, maybe the reason Lincecum was so lights out as a reliever in last season's championship run had nothing to do with the fact the he could “air it out” and not have to worry about running out of gas, and more to do with the fact that Posey catches and frames his pitches better, so he gets the calls.


…. Good enough

Terrific start to the season by the pitching staff. Barry Zito's seven shutout innings today gave the starters a run of 26 innings without allowing an earned run so far. Not quite as impressive as the Nationals domination (1 run allowed total, in three starts), but not too shabby.

The hitters haven't caught up yet, but not too many teams are scoring runs in bunches anyway.


…. Wow

Congratulations to Buster Posey and the SF Giants. Posey signed a new contract, locking him up til 2021 for the tidy little sum of $167 million dollars. Wow.

I sure hope he can stay healthy.


…. Been busy

Sorry for the lack of posts.

As the SF Giants head into their defense of last year's World Championship, I've been paying attention on the periphery, as work and family have kept me on my toes. I'm happy to see Brandon Belt looking like he's ready for a breakout season. He could help alleviate some of the drop off that's expected from players like Scutaro, who can't possibly repeat last seasons scorching .360 batting average as a Giant.

But reading today's little piece about Pablo Sandoval “accepting” his body weight for the next couple of seasons makes me more than a little worried:

…. Pablo Sandoval came to San Francisco Giants camp fat this year, like he does pretty much every year, because there are two truths about Pablo Sandoval, and one of them is he does not do skinny.

The other is that he's a remarkable hitter, preternaturally gifted like only a handful of players, maybe less. At 5-foot-11 (give or take – no, take – two inches) and 262 pounds (give or take – no, give – 20 pounds), Sandoval hits everything everywhere anytime anywhere. If anyone in baseball today is going to stroke a single off a pitch that bounces before it reaches home plate, it's him.

…. “I've got this year and next year to change all the things,” Sandoval said. “It's going to take me a while, but I can do it. I know I can do it. You need to learn. You need to grow up. You need to step up and know the difference between what you can do and what you can't.”

Yeah, well, I'm a bit skeptical. As the article points out, Pablo's missed at least 45 games each of the last two seasons, and whether you think the weight is the reason or not, allowing yourself to just walk around 40 pounds overweight all the time…. as a professional athlete, that's just something Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy must be concerned about.

You're talking about defending a championship, every team in the league is coming after you. After what happened in 2011, everyone associated with the Giants has to be thinking about heading into the season with a different attitude. Roll with it might work when you're trying to win a title, it doesn't work when you're defending it.

Hat Tip to Baseball Musings


All commentary is the opinion of John J Perricone unless otherwise noted.
None of the opinions expressed should be construed as being endorsed by the
San Francisco Giants, Major League Baseball, or any other organization mentioned herein.

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