Archive for the 'Pablo Sandoval' Category

…. 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.


…. Nice touch

Tom Verducci chose the 2010 San Francisco Giants as his Sportsmen of the Year:

…. In three homes over 52 seasons did San Francisco follow this serial in wait for a championship. The Giants lacked the historical and literary embellishments of Brooklyn, Boston and Chicago, and so their suffering went underplayed, though much suffering did they know. Five times in those years they played a Game 6 or Game 7 with a chance to win the series, and lost every one of those games, getting shut out in three of those five potential clinchers.

The agony began with a 1-0 loss to the Yankees in Game 7 of the 1962 World Series, which ended when Willie McCovey lined out to second base with the tying and winning runs in scoring position. In the 1987 NLCS, up three games to two, they were shut out in back-to-back losses to St. Louis. And in the 2002 World Series, up 5-0 on the Angels with one out and nobody on in the seventh, they managed the biggest collapse in a potential clincher in series history, followed by a 4-1 whimper of an elimination in Game 7.

This is all you need to know about the cruelty of Giants culture: Charlie Brown is a Giants fan. Two months after McCovey’s lineout, Peanuts cartoonist Charles Schulz, from Santa Rosa, drew a strip in which Charlie and Linus sit brooding silently for three panels, only to have Charlie wail in the fourth, “Why couldn’t McCovey have hit the ball just three feet higher?”

…. Not only did the Giants give their fans a winner, they also gave them an unforgettable one, one with a Playbill’s worth of characters who exuded joy and thankfulness about what was happening. They are now characters, and not unlike the misfits and urchins Dickens himself gave us, who are established eternally.

Wilson and that frightfully awful beard. Aubrey Huff and the red thong. Lincecum and the hair. Cody Ross, the greatest in-season claim in the history of waivers. The prenaturally cool Buster Posey. The unflappable Matt Cain. The very roundness of Pablo Sandoval and Juan Uribe. The redemption of prodigal Bay Area son Pat Burrell. Watching these Giants, you half expected Jean Valjean to pop up in the on-deck circle at any moment.

Well done, Tom.

…. Letdown

Once again, the Giants come up one run short of the Padres. Let’s see, who were the goats in this disgrace of a game…..

Jonathan Sanchez, who gift-wrapped two runs for the Padres in the top of the second, about ten seconds after the Giants ignited the crowd and took a two-run lead in the bottom of the first. Oh, and then failing to get down a bunt with runners at first and second and no out. Oh, and then allowing the Padres to score the go-ahead run with a double and a single on two pipeline, batting practice pitches to start the top of the sixth.

Pablo Sandoval, continuing his season-long exodus into flail-town. Here’s an idea…. Swing at strikes.

Bochy, allowing Freddie Sanchez to continue his season-long effort to kill the team. Here’s an idea…. Bench the worst regular in the lineup.

Aaron Rowand, for inexplicably running off second base right after Sanchez fucked up his bunt attempt, getting picked off and essentially ending a first and second, no out situation in three fucking seconds.

That is a buzz kill of a game. Fuck the Padres.

If I were the Giants, I’d be hitting somebody tomorrow.

UPDATE: What has to happen for Bochy to bench Sanchez? Sanchez is 22 for 106 since the All Star break, running out a .216/.277/.265 .542 OPS line, with just three extra base hits. During that time, he has scored 6 runs from the #2 slot while the Giants have posted their best offensive numbers in five years. By comparison, even with Sanchez doing everything he can to kill the team, Andres Torres has scored 20 runs, running out an outstanding .316/.370/.547 .917 OPS line, with 18 extra base hits. Put another way, Torres has almost as many extra base hits as Sanchez has hits.

Either he needs to be benched, or he needs to be dropped down in the lineup. Ideally, he needs to be sent down, but that’ll never happen. Sit him down.

UPDATE, Part II: Fontenot replaces Sanchez and goes 2 for 5, with a double, essentially making me look like Nostradamus.

…. Futility, continued

Seven games, seven losses. All of them due to the offense, which could hardly look more anemic, more futile, more lost.

Pablo Sandoval is on a 10 for 62 skid. Matt Downs –5 for his last 30– has begun to show his true colors, (minor league Brown). Matt Cain failed to earn a win in a game in which he gave up two runs or less for the 37th time in his young career.

Side note: If you are his agent, how can you not get him out of San Francisco? How can you, in good faith, allow him to re-sign with a team that hits like this one?

Freddie Sanchez insists he needs more confidence-building at-bats against Triple-A bullshit pitching….

DeRosa’s gone on the DL, essentially ending his season.

Game after game, I run my calculator through the Giants runs scored and total games played, and I watch the numbers go lower and lower. After the first eleven games (April 17th), the Giants were scoring 6.18 runs per game. At the end of April, that number had already fallen to 4.59. As of today, the number is 4.29. Last season, the team averaged 4.05 runs per game. Is there any doubt, any doubt whatsoever, that we are looking at an offense that has not improved one single bit?

All of the stats are trending towards the bottom of the league. The team OBP, once aas high as .373, now stands at .331. The OPS (.699 last season) is at .731, almost exactly league average.

For the fifteen games in May, the Giants are scoring 3.68 runs per game, and running out a team-wide line of .235/.309/.367 .676 OPS. In other words, since the start of May, the Giants hitters of this year haven’t even been as good as the Giants hitters of last.

I’ve said it before, and I’m gonna say it again….

This team is wasting a championship pitching staff, thanks to the massive front office failure.

…. Back to earth

Zito had his worst game of the year, pretty much at the worst possible time, in a first-place showdown with the surprising San Diego’s. Struggling to find his rhythm the whole game, Zito was embarrassed by his buffoon of a manager, who tried to take him out during the fifth inning after he had gone to 2-0 on Oscar Salazar, with the first ball a wild pitch. Of course, Righetti had just visited the mound prior to the at-bat, so Zito had to finish the hitter. It was a pretty ridiculous sight, really. Out pops Bochy, practically running to the mound, only to be sent back to the dugout by the second base umpire.

Of course, the Chronicle manages to make Bochy’s gaffe seem like it was planned:

…. Zito said his “timing was off tonight. I didn’t have any command of anything.”

That was particularly evident during Oscar Salazar’s fifth-inning at-bat. Zito air-mailed his first pitch to the screen, allowing Yorvit Torrealba to waltz to second. The next pitch was extremely high and outside.

After that pitch, Bochy headed to the mound to check on Zito, but because pitching coach Dave Righetti had conferred with Zito just before Salazar came to the plate, Bochy could not speak with the left-hander. Bochy had to return to the dugout.

“When he threw those two pitches, I was concerned about him,” Bochy said.

Yeah, right. Everyone in the ballpark saw Bochy signal for a relief pitcher. Then again, why not lie to cover up your embarrassing mistake? The GM gets away with it constantly, and the local sports reporters only seem to insist on the truth when they’re harassing the greatest player in baseball history:

…. “The surgery I had was a failure.”

In October, DeRosa had an operation to repair a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist, an injury he sustained soon after joining St. Louis in a trade from Cleveland on July 1.

On Tuesday, DeRosa was examined by Giants doctor Gordon Brody and had an MRI exam. The diagnosis, according to DeRosa: “It’s completely ruptured again.”

The article goes on to mention that the Giants are, laughably, hoping that rest will make it all better. Of course, nowhere in the piece is any mention of the criminally bad contract that Sabean so generously gave to the known to be injured DeRosa. Now the team has two $12 million dollar players who cannot play, and a GM who simply does not know what he’s doing:

…. Hot-hitting prospect Buster Posey remains at Triple-A Fresno because Giants officials are not convinced he is ready to catch in the major leagues yet, GM Brian Sabean said.
The longtime GM also stressed that the decision to promote Posey has nothing to do with service-time concerns, nor will it.

“Let me dispel all that, all right?” Sabean said. “When we think Posey’s ready, just like when we thought (Tim) Lincecum was ready, and this starts from ownership, he’ll be in the big leagues. I’ll speak to the Lincecum thing. If we don’t bring up Lincecum, how do you know he’s on his way to winning the two Cy Youngs or more so helping us win 88 games last year? Now, in other places where you don’t have a deeper or more consistent budget, I can buy the strict clock. But we can’t be on a strict clock. Shoot, we’re trying to get back to winning ways and get to the playoffs, and everybody understands it.”

…. Sabean said the 23-year-old is “still learning how to catch. Some of that is game calling. Some of that is the consistency that he’ll need as, we hope, an offensive catcher.”

Besides, Sabean said he doesn’t put much stock into Triple-A statistics.

“Triple-A baseball isn’t very good,” Sabean said. “I’m going to tell you that right now. Especially from a pitching standpoint. Anybody who can pitch is in the big leagues.”

How many ways is this man ridiculous? Posey needs to be more consistent as a hitter? This, from a man who re-signed a catcher who made 450 outs last year. No pitching in Triple-A? Triple-A stats aren’t worth much? Lincecum won two Cy Young Awards because Sabean waited as long as he did to bring him up?

Whatever. Once again, we have a bottom feeder offense, 142 runs scored, and only the dismal performance of the two worst teams in baseball –the barely better than Triple-A Astros and Pirates– keep the Giants from having the worst offense in the game once again.

So, when you hear Sabean talking about anything at all, remember that it’s all bullshit. He’s got one of the wort hitters in all of baseball at just about every position on the diamond, and we’re supposed to listen to him tell us that a guy throwing up a .343/.436/.525 line isn’t hitting enough. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He doesn’t have the slightest idea how to evaluate hitters. He has been selling Giants fans the same bullshit bill of goods for going on fifteen year now. I wrote this eight years ago:

…. Over the last 30 days the Giants offense is DEAD LAST in the National League, meaning it is dead last in all of baseball. This, while Barry Bonds is posting a .565 obp and a .900 slg. Do you have any idea what that means? That means the Giants are even worse than their stats.

I heard the Brian Sabean show yesterday, and he said that he intends to show patience and trust that his hitters are going to start hitting. You know what Ray, that’s the single stupidest thing I have ever heard Brian say. You’ve got Marvin Benard taking swings in the last of the 8th in a one run game, and you’re telling me that I am supposed to trust that he’s gonna come around? Shawon Dunston has a spot on our bench? Damon Minor? Reggie Sanders? Sanders’ lifetime BA is .263, last year he was about 30% more productive than in ANY YEAR OF HIS LIFE.

…. which is more than you could say about JT Snow. There is nothing masking the fact that he is one of the most unproductive major leaguers drawing a salary. He is an out-maker, simple as that, and he gives nothing back for all of the outs he eats. Don’t talk to me about how many games he saves with his glove, that’s pure hyperbole. Bill James and a whole slew of baseball analysts have done reams of research into run prevention, and JT’s defense is worth maybe five runs a year, let alone five wins.

Eight years later, and the Giants are still comprised of one good hitter and bunch of out-makers. They’re still old. They are still slow. They are still injury-prone. The GM has signed more ancient mariners to more bad contracts, and the team is still just as boring and still barely competitive.

…. Why Bochy was right…. this time

That’s the title of Grant’s latest post, over at McCovey’s Chronicles. First, let me say that I am a huge fan of Grant’s work. His site is simply terrific, and his writing is first rate. That said, he’s wrong here. It’s a reasonable position, but it is clearly wrong:

…. When Shane Victorino walked in the ninth inning, the Giants still had a 96.8% chance of winning the game. That’s assuming average players across the board of course – there’s no way to tweak the formula to account for Tim Lincecum or the ridiculous heart of the Phillies order. But even factoring those things in wouldn’t make a big difference. When a team has a three-run lead with one out in the ninth inning, that team wins about 95 times out of 100, whether it’s a tired starting pitcher, an All-Star closer, or a tub of slurry trying to close out the game.

…. when Lincecum got under four straight fastballs and walked a weenie he’d effortlessly dispatched all day, I wasn’t really worried about the game yet. I wanted him out of the game because he’s still a young pitcher. There’s no need to push him in that situation if you think he’s fatigued in any way. You don’t want a tired Tim Lincecum struggling through a 12-pitch at bat to Chase Utley in a game that’s almost impossible to lose.

That’s Grant’s argument. Bochy made the right move, because there wasn’t a wrong move. Protect the lead, protect the pitcher. The chances of losing are so slim, it doesn’t matter what you do.

That’s not correct. In fact, that’s not even relevant.

What matters here is the indecisive, unclear, thoughtless, “everybody does it this way,” stupidity involved in how our manager handled the closing innings of yesterday’s horrible loss.

Up to the bottom of the eighth inning, the Giants had completely outplayed the Phillies in every way. We’d banged their ace around, won with our worst starting pitcher, out-hit them, out-pitched them, out-hustled them…. in every way possible, the Giants had opened up a can of whoop-ass on the two-time, defending National League Champions. How badly had we outplayed them? Glad you asked. At the end of the eighth inning on Wednesday, the Giants and the Phillies had played 26 innings. Here’s what the important stats looked like at that point:

Giants hitters 15 Runs Scored 35 hits 21 SO
Phillies hitters 4 Runs Scored 13 hits 29 SO

Are you looking at that? Three times as many hits, more than three times as any runs scored…. I mean, we were kicking their ass.

So, at the start of the bottom of the eighth inning, if you are the manager of the Giants, you have to ask yourself, how do I handle the end of the game? How do I handle the last three outs for each team? Lincecum is gonna be up second. If somebody gets on, you either pinch hit, or have Lincecum bunt. If you pinch hit, you have already made the choice. If you let him sacrifice, you leave your options open. Seems like an easy choice, once the leadoff man gets on, right? Leave your options open. Right?

Wrong. Let’s take it a step further. The whole reason you’re facing a tough decision is because you want to protect your ace as well as protect the lead. So, what happens after Lincecum sacrifices? What happens if the Giants put together a couple of decent at-bats, and end up adding a run or two? Pitching changes, hits, walks, runs scoring…. these things take time. It is this element of the analysis that is being conveniently forgotten in the rush to defend Bochy for this supposed once in a season type of loss.

If Lincecum and the Giants are successful during that eighth inning, then using Lincecum is a mistake, NO MATTER HOW TIRED HE MAY OR MAY NOT BE. If the question is whether to use a possibly tired young pitcher, then you absolutely have to ask yourself what happens if you are successful, and what happens if you are not. If you use a possibly tired Lincecum and nobody gets on, and the Giants don’t score, you’ve wasted an out in a critical late inning. If you use him, and the Giants do score, it’s gonna take some time, and you’re not gonna be able to send him out for the ninth anyway.

Why bring Lincecum out for the ninth if you’re not gonna let him go for at least a run allowed? Four pitch walk? Whatever. Who cares. These are questions you ask after you lose. Why have Wilson start the inning from the stretch? WHO CARES!?!

This series was shaping up to be a season starter, an inspirational, team-rallying, “WE JUST BEAT THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF THE TWO-TIME DEFENDING NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPS!!!” kind of series. And our manager sleepwalked through “the book,” and did what he was supposed to do, *yawn* just like all baseball lifers are supposed to do.

That was his mistake. That’s why he was wrong to handle it the way he did. He acted like it was just any old win, “Sure, Lincecum could move into the front-runner’s spot for the Cy Young Award again,” “Sure we could sweep the best team in the NL two years running, but remember, it’s a long season,” blah blah blah.


After four seasons of worthless, third and fourth place, worst offense in the league, almost no reason to care at all baseball, this team –and it’s fans, by the way– have been waiting for a season-defining moment, dreaming for a chance to show the league that they don’t just have enough pitching, that they’re coming at you game after game, with everything they have, all season long. You know, like the fucking gamers we’re endlessly told the Giants are.

Instead, their manager handled this game like he handles every game. Like he was in a coma. No urgency, no imagination, no cutting edge approach, no nothing. Because he’s asleep at the wheel, just like the GM, just like the owners. The Giants win in spite of the leadership, or lack, thereof, demonstrated by these men. And fans are subjected to more excuses, lies, and bullshit.

…. Bring on the Savior

Tim Lincecum takes his final turn in April, trying to both sustain the Giants recent run of success, and cement his status as the best pitcher in the NL. Multiple pitchers are looking super so far this season, including Ubaldo Jimenez, Roy Halladay, Livan Hernandez(!), Mike Pelfrey, and of course, Lincecum.

Jimenez won his fifth last night, and combined with his earlier no-hitter, hasn’t allowed a run in 22.3 innings. Pelfrey hasn’t allowed a run in 24 straight innings. Due to his loss to the Giants, Halladay is out of the running, and so is Livan, mostly due to his low strikeout totals. No, the battle for pitcher of the month is between these two and Timmy, so a strong showing tonight could/should be the difference. As of (Thursday) morning, here’s a quick comp:

Jimenez 34 IP 22 H 3 ER 31 SO 14 BB 0.79 ERA 1.05 WHIP
Pelfrey 26 IP 18 H 2 ER 19 SO 13 BB 0.69 ERA 1.19 WHIP
Timmy 35 IP 22 H 5 ER 43 SO 7 BB 1.27 ERA 0.82 WHIP

I think 7 innings, 8 strikeouts, and no earned runs will lock it up for the Savior.

As for the Giants, lots of hitting the last two games makes everyone happy, but there’s no getting around the fact that this level of inconsistency is here to stay. We still need power and walks. Still.

UPDATE: 8.3 innings, 2 earned runs, 11 strikeouts, no decision. I updated the above comparison. We’ll see.

UPDATE, Part II: I think Bochy should’ve started the ninth with Wilson, should’ve pinch-hit for Lincecum in the 8th, and avoided, not only the loss, but all of this bullshit.

“We felt like (Lincecum) was close (to being tired), and, once he walked (Shane) Victorino on four pitches, I went to one of the best closers in the game,” Bochy said.

Yeah, well, if you thought he was tired, then you should’ve told him to stay in the dugout for the ninth. Either that, or let him finish the game. Why bother having him go out there at all, if you’re not gonna let him finish the game. Oh, he walked a guy? Please. That kind of indecisive bullshit is infuriating. And it’s just one more example of how poorly this team is run.

I’d like to point out that the Giants have the best runs scored differential in the NL (+33 runs), and the second best in baseball. Accordingly, they should be more like 15-6, instead of 12-9. Not a huge difference, but something to keep an eye on. The reason for the difference is pretty obvious. The 1-0 loss when Sanchez gave up the one hit, last night’s blown 3-run lead, and Manny’s home run game. It’s also worth mentioning that that makes three excruciating losses in the first month of the season.

…. You get what you pay for

10 runs in their last six games ain’t gonna cut it, even when your pitchers allow only 12. That’s where the Giants live, a land in which every run is twice as valuable as it should be, a land where a three run lead is as rare as a white rhino.

In the NL, over the last seven days, there are 5 teams that posted an ERA under 3.00 ERA. Every one of those teams had a winning record except for the Giants, who went 1-5 while posting a staggering 2.08 ERA. That’s hard to do, but, then again, so is losing a game in which you allow only one hit.

Sabean should be fired today. Now. He went out and spent money, again, he went out and built this team of bench players, has-beens and never was players. Millions upon millions of dollars.

As I said six months ago, the Giants could have re-signed Uribe, brought up Posey, and landed Matt Holliday for the same money –without trading a top prospect, I might add– they threw on the ground to bring Aubrey Huff, Mark DeRosa, and Freddie Sanchez to the Bay Area. Anyone think this lineup is better than that one might have been?

Our entire pitching staff has been a Cy Young candidate so far this season, and we’re two games over .500. You know who has allowed the fewest runs in all of baseball? The Giants. They’ve allowed 53 runs. They have the fourth best record in the NL, and the eighth best record in baseball. The Tampa Bay Rays have allowed the fewest runs in the AL, 63. And they are 14-5, best in the land.

Gee, I wonder why?

…. Piling on

That was some three game series down there at Petco. A losing streak at four games, and an offense gasping for breath. First place sure seems far away already.

The Chronicle writers noted that the last time the Giants gave up a single hit and lost was 1917. They also noted how bad our hitters have been lately:

….The Giants are 1-for-30 with runners in scoring position during their four-game skid.

…. Again

Two games, 18 innings, five runs allowed, 3 runs scored, two losses.

This is what I thought we’d see lots of this season, not the offensive juggernaut of the first ten games. Lots of second and third with one out situations where we can’t even hit the ball out of the infield, lots of hittable pitches being swung through, lots of great pitching performances being wasted, lots of zero-margin-for-error innings by our pitchers.

After yesterday’s loss, the Giants are facing the reality that they will need to get their groove back if they are really gonna compete for the NL West crown this season. Sure, Sandoval just missed a home run in the sixth. Sure, Velez isn’t supposed to the everyday left-fielder. Sure, the last two lefty’s they faced were dealing.

At the same time, the number of clear mistake pitches that the Giants hitters simply missed yesterday was staggering. Again and again, Richard missed his target high, and again and again a Giants hitter fouled it off, or often, simply couldn’t get wood on it at all. DeRosa’s pinch-hit strikeout was especially disappointing, given that he never saw a strike at all.

Torres and Velez misplayed a potential throw out at the plate, after Velez misplayed a double into a triple….. These things don’t matter when you score four or five runs per game. When you are in a nail-biter, one run situation that lasts 18 consecutive innings, the pressure starts to mount.

And, the pressure is starting to mount for the Giants. It’s nice to start hot, and it stinks to start flat; but it’s worse to start hot and then fall flat on your face.

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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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