Archive for September, 2010

…. First place (again)

The Padres lose, the Giants are back in first. What a season.

…. Nice start

Cain is perfect through three, and the Giants start out with a nice three-run lead. That’s what you call a bounce-back. At least for a beginning.

UPDATE: Cain is perfect through four. He has really come on during the second half of the season. Since the All Star break, he has the seventh best ERA in the NL (2.53), with 64 hits allowed in 89 innings, 77 strikeouts and just 17 walks. That all adds up to the second-best WHIP, (0 .91), which is simply outstanding.

For the month of September, Cain has been even better. Best WHIP in the league (0.71), 2.25 ERA, which is strangely high for a pitcher who is being so stingy. Best ERA in the NL for the month of September? Cole Hamels, at 0.63. Number two is none other than Jonathan Sanchez (0.73). Madison Bumgarner is at 1.00. With Lincecum at 2.08, good for 14th place, the Giants have four of the top 15 pitchers in the NL right now.

Actually, the Giants’ Core Four have been as dominating as any pitching staff in decades. The 18 game streak of not allowing more than three runs has only been bettered by the 1917 White Sox. Coming into today’s game, not one of them has a WHIP above 1.00. Actually, for all the Zito bashing going on here, his WHIP for the month is just 1.19, which is still pretty damn good, (although it’s possible that yesterday’s horror show isn’t included in today’s ESPN )

UPDATE: Cain has a no-no through five. Worked through his first jam after walking Tulo. That’s two Giants pitchers going no hits through five innings at Coors Field, which is, quite frankly, outrageous. You have to admit, Lincecum, Cain and Sanchez makes the Giants look like a devastating playoff opponent.

UPDATE: No-no through six. Getting interesting….

UPDATE: No-no through seven. Definitely feels likew something is going on right now. Can’t get away from the game, because, damn, a no-hitter at Coors would be historic.

UPDATE: No no-no. Loses the no-no, and then the shutout. Let’s not lose the game, especially with the Reds pounding the Padres 6-2 in the sixth.

Cain’s gonna go for the complete game.

UPDATE: Great. Tulowitzky gets to bat as the tying run in the ninth inning again. Damn, this guy is terrifying right now. One out away.

UPDATE: Huge, HUGE win!!!! Great job by Cain. Come on, Reds!!!

…. Zito bashing

I didn’t even get a chance to write that I was worried that Zito couldn’t keep the pitching streak going, and I walked in the living room to see that he was in the process of blowing a 4-2 lead. incredibly, the Giants hitters have bailed him out, at least to this point of the game.

It’s 8-6 G-men, with two on and nobody out in the sixth, after the Giants have put up six consecutive hits.

Torres was back tonight. He hit a homer, ran down a couple of blasts, and then left the game, hopefully just for precautionary reasons.

UPDATE: Hard to lose a game in a worse way than that. 4-2 lead, 9-6 lead, 9-7 lead, bottom of the ninth….. That was pretty awful. First time in a month that the bullpen faltered. Oh well. Zito is terrible. Just like that, out of the NL West lead.

UPDATE: Um…. Yeah, you guys are right. Bochy fucked up big time. Chris Ray? Really? Chris Ray?!?! Romero pulled after ten pitches? Not walking the hottest hitter in baseball with the game on the line, not once, but twice? You go after Tulowiztky two times in a row? That’s the plan?

Jesus Christ, what a collossal failure. Watching Bochy while he watched every move he made fail was like watching paint dry.

UPDATE: I was just looking up Tulowitzki. He’s got 15 home runs and 40 RBI this month. That’s in 94 at bats. 23 games. Wow. I’d also mention that he looked huge last night. He’s a shortstop, and I don’t remember him being so gigantic. His player page says he’s 6’3″ 205 pounds. Not anymore. I mean, he looks like he’s put on about twenty pounds of muscle from last season, no?

Big game today. The Giants need Cain to get the Colorado hitters back under control.

Back to the wrong Barry. If there was any doubt, it is now clear that the Zito contract is one of the three or four worst contracts in major league history, right up there with the Kevin Brown deal, the Mike Hampton disaster, and it is also clear that the Giants need to get out from under it someway. He is not just overpaid. It cannot be overstated how much it hurts a team to have a player who is not earning his keep, so to speak. Who cares that he is an adequate fourth or fifth starter? He practically makes more money than the entire rest of the pitching staff.

That has to be demoralizing. Sabean has to find a way to get him out of town.

…. Holding on

For dear life, apparently. ;-)

The Phillies have 91 wins, and there are five teams right around 86 wins fighting for the other four slots in the NL post-season tournament.

The Giants’ pitching staff has been engulfed in flames, posting an astounding 1.57 ERA this month, allowing essentially half as many runs as the second best team (Milwaukee!?) has. In eighteen games, they’ve posted 4 shutouts, allowed only 31 runs in 161 innings pitched, and are allowing batters to post a combined –and unbelievable– .171/228/.261 .489 OPS line. Essentially, the entire pitching staff is pitching like Ubaldo Jimenez did for the first two months of the season.

What does it all mean?

I think it means that if they can make the playoffs, they would have as good a chance as anybody to get to the Serious. Whatever edge the Phillies may have on offense, a staff that is this unhittable makes anything possible. And, if Torres could come back and give them a boost at the top of the lineup…..

UPDATE: Thanks to the umpire for giving Marmol all the help he possibly could.

I was wrong. As great as the pitching has been, the offense has been simply atrocious. Man on second with none out in each of the first two innings tonight, and astoundingly, the Giants fail to plate even one of the runners. In the month of September, the Giants have now scored 58 runs in 19 games, barely more than three runs per, so, even though the pitching staff has been otherworldly, the team is still just 12-7 in the month.

To be shut out again, to another nobody pitcher, on another nobody team, is just infuriating.

The Giants last eight losses are simply staggering. They’ve lost 2-0, 2-1, 3-0, 1-0, 1-0, 3-1, 4-2, and 2-1. That is eight losses, allowing a total of 18 runs, or 2.25 runs per game. Allowing 2.25 runs per game. With all due respect to the players on the Giants, that is embarrassing. It takes effort and commitment to fail at that level.

During the month of September, the Giants have pitched so well, you could say that they realistically could have won every game. EVERY. GAME.

Oh well.

…. Back on top

Once again, the minute I start ripping a player, he starts ripping the cover off the ball. Huff looked gargantuan last night, that three-run blast was Bond-sian.

Sanchez was filthy, and the offense came back to life. Renteria(!?) gets four hits in the leadoff slot, including a beautiful drag bunt. Posey, who has to be considered the front runner for Rookie of the Year, another blast.

First place by a half game, with seventeen to go. Not too shabby.

UPDATE: Well, that was shabby. The Giants hitters made Randy Wolf look like Randy Johnson, and the Giants lose a game they needed. Ugly effort.

…. Falling apart

12 consecutive innings without a run.

I don’t remember the last time Huff didn’t have a 1-2 count. I don’t remember the last time Sandoval swung at a strike, and took a ball, instead of the other way around.

UPDATE: 14 straight. Eugenio Velkez and Mike Fontenont batting 1 and 2. Unbelievable.

UPDATE: 17 consecutive innings. Wow. At least we won.

I looked up Huff, he’s batting .250 since the start of August, with just 4 home runs in 148 at bats. Is he just exhausted? It sure seems that he has faced a ton of two strike at bats lately, ( I have no idea how to look that up without going through his game log, and I ain’t got the time for that). If that’s true, I’d guess that pitchers have either figured out he was taking a lot more pitches than he had historically, or he has stopped doing so (or a combination of the two, obviously). Either way, there’s no time for rest, so he’s gonna have to get it done whether he’s exhausted or whatever.

As for Pablo, after a sizzling August, he’s back to his old, undisciplined hackers mentality. He’s 3 for his last 32, and 0 for his last 15. He left something like 8 or 9 men on base last night, almost single-handedly deciding the game. Forget about how fat he is. He looks like he has no idea what he’s doing at the plate at all. None. What is Meulens doing with him?

…. Second place

The Giants lost a nail-biter, falling to the Padres 1-0 as the stellar pitching of Tim Stauffer and the Padres outstanding bullpen trio.

Three hits allowed for the second straight game, as the Giants hitters failed to score against the Padres for what seems like the fiftieth time this season.

Today, the Giants will lean on Lincecum as they try and bounce back.

Go Giants!

UPDATE: The Giants lose Andres Torres for at least ten days due to an appendicitis attack. That’s a big loss.

…. How the West was One

One game back with 18 to play. After last night’s statement win, the Giants are in position to do something special right now. Can they solve Richards (3-0 against them this season) tonight?

…. How the West was won

On to the critical series of the year. Four games with the first-place Padres. Two wins isn’t enough. The Giants need to win at least three of four to have a realistic chance of catching San Diego.

Tonight, Matt Cain tries to continue the recent hot stretch by the starters, but the series will boil down to this:

Can the Giants get an early lead on the Padres, and make it stand up? The Padres bullpen has reduced the game to six-inning affair, not unlike the Yankees of 1996, with Mariano Rivera shutting down the seventh and eighth innings, and John Wettland closing out the ninth. If the Giants can get to Garland early tonight, it could set the tone for the whole series.

I’d love to see Sanchez on the bench tonight, maybe a lineup like this would be the way to go:


Or something like that. Maybe start Schierholz and have Guillen as a late inning, men on base pinch hitter. Freddie Sanchez should be the pinch hitter when the bases are empty, and for God’s sake, stop using Ishikawa with men on base. In fact, stop using him as a pinch hitter at all. He’s been cover-your-eyes awful.

It’d be nice if Posey got hot again, but the season might be starting to catch up with him.

…. Pretender?

Or contender?

Suddenly one game out of first place, (two games back in the all important loss column), the Giants have dusted off memories of Brian Johnson, evoked images of championship contenders past, and put a spark into the minds of the children in San Francisco. ;-)

Seriously, the Giants find themselves in this position thanks to a losing streak of historic proportions by the first-place Padres. It’s not like the team has been surging into contention by winning game after game. As nice as it was to see Juan Uribe blast the Giants past the hated Dodgers, it’s important to remember that the Giants have won 7 of their last 12 games. That’s a nice result, but hardly the stuff of legend.

Last night’s win against the D’backs was great, but tonight, Lincecum has got to continue his resurgence. This team has no real chance in the playoffs without a dominant two-time Cy Young winner.

UPDATE: Well, that was just what the doctor ordered. Timmy looked like he might have a no-hitter in his bag of tricks, showing dominant stuff, locating all of his pitches, which had to give the entire Giants nation a collective sigh of relief. I know I felt it.

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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