Monday, August 31, 2009

Our New, New #5 Starter, Brad Penny

According to multiple sources around the web, without officially confirmation, the Giants have signed Brad Penny to a contract through the end of the season today.

Penny was let go a few days ago from the Boston Red Sox after asking for his release. Penny cleared release waivers and became a free agent, allowing the Giants to sign him for a pro-rated portion of the league minimum, or only 75K for September.

Penny had been linked to multiple NL teams, most notably the Rockies & Marlins. By the Giants signing him, it at least prevents 2 of their closest competitors from getting him.

Penny had a rough go at times this year for Boston after struggling last season for the Dodgers amid injuries. Prior to that season, Penny was arguably the LA Dodgers most consistent performer. At 7-8 with a 5.61 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, 6.1 K/9, & 2.12 K/BB, Penny's stats don't look like an improvement, but remember that was in the hitter friendly AL East. Penny should have an improvement in the NL West, where he had dominated before.

At the very least, Penny should be a slight improvement over the Sadowski/Martinez combo who combined as the teams 5th starter posted a line of 5-6, 5.97 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, 5.63 K/9, & 1.30 K/BB. Penny not only should bring improved performance over these two, but he actually pitched a bit better in Boston than the Sad/mart combo has done here, plus his postseason experience is worth the try.

There's nothing saying the Giants owe Penny anything. If he pitches well, he should add at least one more win to this team. If he doesn't and the Giants still make the playoffs, they can leave him off the roster if they choose.

If the Giants miss the Playoffs, we can still blame him for being a Dodger, Bochy for pitching him, and Sabean for being, well, Sabean.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Edgar Renteria & the 3 million dollar homerun

I've said it before and I'll say it again, Edgar Renteria is the best signing the Giants made all year!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

What ever you do, DO NOT READ ANYTHING ELSE I'VE EVER WRITTEN ABOUT HIM. Just take my word on it, i'm good for it.

Today's 7th inning 2 out Grand Slam that put the Giants ahead 6-5 on a day when Matt Cain struggled mightily was the knockout blow the team was looking to produce.

For all the so struggles Renteria's endured this season and all the difficulties he's had trying to capture fan's hearts following not only the great Omar Vizquel, but living up to the lofty expectations placed on his head after inking that 2 year, $18.5 million deal, he's finally earned endeared himself to us.

That Grand slam was clutch, not clutch like it's "cool" to say "bro, that was clutch". No, I mean the real clutch. The kind you see from savvy ballplayers who are capable of getting a hit in the 1997 world series to win game 7... Wait, that was Edgar. Maybe he still can do it. Maybe it's been there all along and he was just waiting for the pennant race. Maybe he knows how to pace himself and the best is yet to come. Maybe that $18.5 million looks a bit more like $15 million right now. Maybe, just Maybe...

Then again, if Renteria goes o-5 and leaves another 8 on base Tuesday, I'll be the voice you heard screaming "you're a bum" in the background of the Philly broadcast.

Feeling a sweep, really needing a sweep

2 Down, 1 to go... that is, in this series...

Entering the final days of August, the Giants are in an all important position today facing the Colorado Rockies. Win and sweep the 3 game series, and close the gap to a tie in the Wildcard race, or lose and fall 2 games back entering the final month of the season.

At 15-12, the Giants have already secured a winning month, but 16-12 would look soooo much better.

With only 31 games left next month, a 2 game deficit isn't impossible, there's plenty of time, but an even playing field is such a better way to go about it. The Giants have a tougher month than the Rockies, especially at the beginning.

The Giants start with 3 in Philly, then 3 in Milwaukee before coming home for 3 against S.D., 3 with LAD, then the final 3 against CO. Back on a road trip is in LA for 3, then in Arizona for 3, and they finish at home against the Cubbies for 4 and the DBacks for 3, then the final, most likely deciding series in S.D. for 3.

All the more important the Giants put a stamp on this series today. Let the Rockies know they really weren't affected by that 14 game disaster the other day and as the Giants are advertising...they really are "in this thing".

Matt Cain goes today and after Barry Zito's masterpiece last night, the crowd should be energized and Cain will be feeling it. If the Giants can score more than 1 run, it may just be enough, but lets hope they make things a bit easier on Cain.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What in hum-baby's name himself was Bochy doing?


My hangover still hasn't cleared yet and I didn't even drink last night.

I feel like kinda like I was betrayed by my best friend and a need a few days away to eveluate our friendship. Problem is, I was on FUCKING vacation when it happened. How do I escape from that.

What I really need right now is Agent K or Agent J to come hit me up with one of them "Neuralyzers" so I can just forget yesterday ever happened because that's the only way. My mother always said, "even if you can't forget, you can always forgive." Well Mom, I guess we are gonna see if you're right this time...

Last nights debacle in the 14th left me sour, pissed, and down right angry. Way to screw up a perfectly good trip up the mendocino coast Bochy! My wife's birthday will now forever be mired with the nasty taste of a Ryan Spilbourghs swift punch to the gut. Justin Miller & Merkin Valdez are moving dangerously close to Felix Rodriguez/Livan Hernandez/Solomon Torres lore with that performance.

I am speechless and I assume you are as well... Actually, I'm not speechless at all but for the sake of anyone reading past this line, I'm pretending i'm speechless for now.

Fuck it...

I am so sick and tired of Bochy's "style" right now. If anyone, ANYONE AT ALL, on the mother f-in Giants knew how to bunt, this game would have been over ohh, i don't know, how about anyone number of innings:

How about Juan Uribe in the 8th? coulda got Randy Winn to 3rd with two outs for Bengie Molina.

Edgar Renteria in the ninth? IN THE NINTH INNING OF A TIE BALLGAME! No, it absolutely would not make sense to try to move a LEADOFF DOUBLE to third base. Nor would it make sense to try it one batter later when Aaron ( I don't have a sacrifice AB yet this season) Rowand comes to the plate with one out.

No, the best time to always try is when you have YOUR CLOSER BUNTING FOR THE FIRST TIME IN HIS LIFE TO MOVE A RUNNER TO SECOND, WHO HAPPENS TO BE YOUR ACE PITCHER PINCH RUNNING, BECAUSE HE REALLY IS EXPERIENCED AT BASE RUNNING, WITH ONE OUT. Why one out you ask? Because Boch didn't think it was the smart move one batter before... I mean, really, like, who bunts a runner over with no outs in the 11th inning of a tie game when you are on the road? I mean, come on...

OK, I'm gonna end the ranting there for today. It's gonna be a long last month and a week and I need to concentrate on something more positive right now...Like which Whisky I drink tonight as I watch the Giants game cause I can't do it sober again.

God help us if we lose the Playoff race by one game to Colorado

Thursday, August 20, 2009

An Ace named Barry

Huh? Did I just get confused with Barry Bonds? Certainly I can't be referring to Barry Zito! Actually, Yes, I am...Kind of.

Don't let me confuse you to much, because no one is going to argue Zito's the actual ace of a staff that has Tim Lincecum or Matt Cain. But I do give him a leg up on Bobby Howry. But the fact you cannot argue with is the end production.

Since the All Star break, Barry Zito has been the Ace of the team. The anchor, the guy who's saved the back half of the season by getting the team a win sandwiched between a few bad starts by Cain & Lincecum.

Zito has actually always been a second half guy. We've heard it before, but that's because it's just true!

Zito's career splits can be found here: Some notables...
1st half: 58-66, 4.23 ERA, 1.37 WHIP, 6.6 K/9, 1.75 K/BB
2nd half: 73-38, 3.42 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 6.8 K/9, 1.91 K/BB

In 7 starts since the mid summer classic, would you believe his 2.36 ERA is better than both Timmy & Matt? They have a 2.49 & 2.78 ERA in that same span. How about the fact that Zito has more strike outs than Cain (although Cain has 1 less start and should surpass him today) with 34-32. Barry's 3 wins are 1 more than both of them and his WHIP of 1.10 is very close.

If it had only been a few starts, you might be able to brush it off but 7 is on a freakin roll. Imagine what kind of damage the Giants can do in a 7 game series with a rotation whereas so many of them had been so dominant leading into the playoffs...And don't forget about Jonathan Sanchez!

Since the break, here is how the four line up:
Lincecum- 2-1, ERA-2.49, WHIP-1.01, BAA-.209, K/BB-4.80, BB/9-2.13, K/9-10.30
Cain- 2-2, ERA-2.78, WHIP-0.93, BAA-.200, K/BB-3.10, BB/9-1.99, K/9-6.15
Zito- 3-2, ERA-2.36, WHIP-1.10, BAA-.227, K/BB-2.80, BB/9-2.57, K/9-7.29
Sanchez- 2-2, ERA-4.04, WHIP-1.21, BAA-.202, K/BB-2.30, BB/9-4.54, K/9-10.35

Looks pretty good to me...Now if they can just get to October...

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

2009 Draft signings

The deadline has passed for teams to ink their 2009 first year player daft picks and the Giants seemed to do well this year at least getting their players under contract. The top 17 picks all signed and only 8 of the top 41 decided to pursue other avenues this year. Most importantly, the Giants were able to agree to terms with their overall top pick, P Zack Wheeler, at the last minute.

Signing Wheeler became even more important after 2 recent trades that brought the team AllStar second baseman Freddie Sanchez and first baseman Ryan Garko because in those deals, the Giants traded away the organizations #2 & #5 pitching prospects. Wheeler himself should immediately slot into the #2 or #3 pitching prospect. He isn't expected to make his professional debut in the minors until 2010 and by that time, Madison Bumgarner potentially could be challenging for an open major league rotation spot so Wheeler might just be the top dog.

Outside of Wheeler, the Giants had other very important signings, Here's the complete rundown:
1-Zack Wheeler, RHP
2-Tommy Joseph, C
3-Christopher Dominguez, 3B
4-Jason Stoffel, RHP
5-Brandon Belt, 1B
6-Matthew Graham, RHP
7-Nick Liles, 2B
8-Karl Benusa, CF
9-Evan Crawford, CF
10-Jeremy Toole, RHP
11-John Eshleman, SS
12-Christopher Heston, RHP
13-Shawn Sanford, RHP
14-Brian Salsbury, RHP
15-Kyle Vasquez, RHP
16-Ryan Cavan, SS
17-Christopher Gloor, LHP
19-Jason Walls, RHP
22-Andrew Biery, 3B
24-Alexander Berg, C
25-Steven Rogers, RHP
26-Luis Munoz, CF
27-Kyle Mach, 3B
30-Craig Wescott, RHP
32-Luke Andrews, 1B
33-Jake Dunning, RHP
35-Brandon Graves, LHP
36-Ryan Scoma, RF
37-Ryan Lollis, RF
38-Addison Proszek, RHP
39-Kyle Henson, C
40-Jonathan White, LF
41-Gary Moran, RHP
46-Juan Martinez, SS
50-Kaohi Downing, RHP

All told, the Giants drafted & signed 15-RHP, 3-LHP, 3-C, 2-1B, 1-2B, 3-SS, 3-3B, 1-LF, 2-CF, & 2-RF. Because they did signed everyone but #18 in the top 20, focus won't be on who they failed to sign, but maybe on who they failed to draft or who they actually did draft.

It appears at the onset, that the Giants drafted the best available player most of the way through with some critics debate as to whether Wheeler was the best available. The line their looks to be so thin that I would trust Sabean's judgement when it comes to talent scouting within the ranks of high school & college Pitchers.

It's the 2nd round that some questioned since the team took super prospect C Buster Posey last season, so why did they take a C here? Tommy Joseph wasn't always a C and in fact just recently focused on it. It's his bat they like as Joseph is a pure hitter. Teams always find a home for a bat, look at Pablo Sandoval. Plus, there is no guarantee Posey is a career catcher. Injuries or the athletic ability to play elsewhere can change his direction. Look at Mike Piazza or more appropriate comparison is Craig Biggio.

Others to watch, 3rd round pick Chris Dominguez is already powering through low-A ball with 8 homeruns since July 1. In fact, the roster is already littered with over achieving 2009 draft picks. Drew Biery is batting .361/.426/.556/.983 with 13 doubles & 6 HR's. John Eshleman, Ryan Lollis, & Evan Crawford (you can follow him on twitter) all have OPS hanging around .800. Chris Gloor is dominating as both a starter and reliever posting a 5-0 record with a 1.78 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, & 33 SO's in 30 inn. Jeremy Toole & Kyle Vasquez are also excelling and a Pitcher to really keep your eye on, 4th round pick Jason Stoffel has just begun throwing. He's unscored upon through his first 3 innings with 5 K's.

Two others of note to watch who have yet to begin play: 5th round pick Brandon Belt should be exciting as he brings the classic first baseman makeup with solid hitting and above average power. 6th round pick Matthew Graham is a RHP to watch. He's young, just out of H.S. and fell farther in the draft than expected due to sign-ability concerns. His Fastball is plus and some suggest he could be the best player out of this draft class in the end, but is VERY raw right now.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I really don't like the Dodgers!

I hate the Dodgers.

Do you hate the Dodgers too?

Hate is such a strong word tossed around recklessly among today's generation, whether it be the youth, adults, or elderly. We are all guilty. My parents tried to raise me to look past hate...

Except ONLY in the case of the Dodgers.

To understand where hate comes from, sometimes you just have to look back in time.

For me, it started before I was even born. My father would listen to Giants games and preach distaste of the Dodgers to me through my mothers belly.

The year I was born, the Dodgers lost the World Series. Only better way to start my baseball life would have been a Giants victory in the World Series.

My first words were actually "ti Tate ta Todgers" mother now says "you should have seen your fathers smile."

At 3, my father would read me bed time stories like "the Baby Bull and the three headed Campinella", "the Say Hey Kid saves the Bay from the Evil forces of the Drysdales", and "look out below, Jabba the Tommy's coming to town."

By 5, my dad took me to my first Giants/Dodgers game. I learned first hand bad names like Garvey, Sax, Guerrero, Valenzuela, & Welch.

My first year in T-Ball, I played on the Brewers and our coach taught us two post game celebrations. "2,4,6,8, who do we appriciate... (insert team name)" and 1,2,3,4, the Dodgers suck forever more"

At 7, my father bought me my favorite shirt. One I wish I still had, one I will have again, and one for which epitomises for which I stand on this very subject. I wore it often and I wore it proud. In Orange and Black, it simply stated "Duck the Fodgers"

At 9, I was drafted to my first little league team, unfortunately it was the Dodgers. I wanted to scream. My father said "don't cry, only Dodgers cry." So instead we formed a plan. My agent (dad) decided it was best for me to hold out through spring practice and see if I could force a trade. The GM (my ex-friends dad) was pissed and refused a trade, so I did the only honorable thing... played the year out in the minors.

At 10, I was drafted to the Expos and we beat the shit out of the Dodgers every game and chanted our to our hearts content.

At 11, I wanted to break both Kirk Gibson's other leg.

At 12, I called Tommy Lasorda a fat ass from the stands... It felt great. He called me a fat kid... that didn't feel so good but the hatred intensified.

At 14, Brett Butler broke my heart...HOW COULD YOU GO PLAY THERE TRAITOR

Jose Offerman's defense made me smile for half a decade until I was 18.

My 19th birthday I was treated to Jabba's retirement... hopes and dreams of the franchise tail spinning into the abyss were rampant

At 21, I was Orel Heirshisher threw the galaxy out of whack. It felt like french kissing my sister seeing him take the hill in Orange & Black. (thank god I don't have a sister eh? you'd all be really freaked right now)

I blame 2002 on the Dodgers cause FUCKING MIKE SCIOSCIA made the moves to get the better of FUCKING DUSTY BAKER and his fucking dumbass moves in game 6 and 7.

The next 10 years I enjoyed the hell out of watching Barry Bonds launch ball after ball out of the yard off them. I don't care how many suppliments he was taking, they were all doing it. It was an even playing field, it's just that we had the best and the Dodgers fans hated it.

I hated Eric Gagne, but loved Bonds duels with him.

I toasted Gagne when he was busted for cheating... That was a great beer...

Manny Ramirez went from bad to worse last year but gave me the best early season present I could ask for this year with his 50 game break. It's funny how the tables can turn...although OUR Barry (so called cheater) Bonds was never actually caught in a drug test. Manny's an idiot!!!

So now you know my story. I fucking hate the Dodgers and it's in my Genes. What's your story?

{some of these stories may have been slightly blemished, twisted, or complete blatant lies, but you get the point...who really cares...I hate the Dodgers}


Monday, August 10, 2009

Big Series, Giants/Dodgers matchup

Coming into this season, most so called "experts" picked the Giants to finish between last and might as well be last in the "miserable" NL West and the Dodgers with Manny Ramirez to run away with the Division. Much has happened between then and now but one thing hasn't changed much... The Dodgers are still supposed to run away with things.

It's now August 10th and the Giants are 61-50, 11 games over .500, and only 5 1/2 games back of the mighty Dodgers. Plus they own a tie atop the Wildcard standings with the Rockies.

With the complete lack of offense and only 2 "solid starters" it's apparently a wonder the Giants are this close to the chosen team. What with the rash of injuries they've had, and inconsistent play, the Dodgers ought to be 15 games ahead.

But they're not!

Think back to May 8th when the Ramirez story broke. The Giants were 6 games back of the baby blue boys when the 50 game suspension took effect. The Dodgers extended their lead to 8 games by early July when ManRoid returned. At the most since then, they got out to an 11 game lead. But somehow, some way, the Giants are only 5.5 back today.

Closer than in early May.

The Dodgers are suffering, have a sputtering offense (although capable of scoring MANY runs), inconsistent relief, and a VERY injured pitching staff. Perfect timing for a team 5.5 games back to overcome that deficit. Especially if they play three games against each other.

The Giants throw out Jonathan Sanchez, Joe Martinez, and Tim Lincecum vs, Hiroki Kuroda, Randy Wolf, and PTBN (Chad Billingsly's day but he's nursing a sore hammy). Advantage Giants. The key will be Martinez overcoming his emotions, first start at home.

A three game sweep sends the league a serious message. A three game sweep puts the Giants 2.5 games back of the Reigning NL West Chumps with 6 more head to head games.

First things first, one game at a time.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Worst game ever? hopefully we never see worse

Of all the games to miss, why couldn't it have been last night's...Dammit!!!

Damn my fascination with this team. Why couldn't I have just taken the night off like I was supposed to...It's Timmy's fault. If he hadn't have been pitching, I wouldn't have rushed home from Tahoe to catch the game in time...

At least I took my wife's advice and didn't place a bet on that game. Head's would certainly be rolling least mine would...

That Game was utterly disgusting!

It wasn't too bad seeing the Franchise struggle a bit, even though he was able to only allow 1 runner per inning. His K total was down and his pitch count was up. But when the King Eugenio gave him a 4-2 lead in the fifth, I was certain this game was over.

I mean, the Giants were 41-11 in games they score 4 or more runs this season...and Timmy was still pitching...

Then they got that much needed insurance run to make the game 5-3 in the 7th. It had to be over. At 36-4 when scoring 5 or more runs...This game was locked up.

Time to hand it over to our Bullpen! Rely on the defense! I recipe that has worked so well this season. But not last night.

Jeremy Affeldt got one batter...Walk...who later scored

Sergio Romo couldn't finish of the out, a hit and a walk... who would later score.

Brian Wilson came in needing a 5 out save with the bases loaded...That's a tough call considering he has a tough time with 3 out saves and the bases clear half the time... 2 runs score, tie game.

At least Wilson had a chance at 9th inning redemption. Got time to clear his head and refocus...Not really. Wilson started off the 9th with frustration, only getting 1 out while getting more pissed at a few bad calls by the plate ump... Game over!!!

Brandon Medders had to finish the inning off. The defense fell apart. 3 consecutive walks. 5 Errors.

Worst game I've watched since T-Ball... Maybe worse.

I guess there's a reason you are 0-14, 324 when you give up 7 runs in the last 2 innings

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Joe Martinez back in action

Don't call it a failed expirement, Ryan Sadowski just pitched well above expectations AND above anything he put together in the lower minors. He was bound to hit some struggles eventually. Think back to spring training; Sadowski wasn't ever mentioned as a guy to be this years long reliever, nevertheless the teams fifth starter.

Joe Martinez won that job. Kevin Pucetas was a close second. Justin Miller and Brandon Medders were the surprises in the pen. Even free agent lefty specialist was touted as a potential starting candidate (although that was before he spent 28 scoreless innings pushing Brian Wilson in the closers role). In the end, it was always supposed to be Martinez.

After 4 solid seasons in the minors, with steady improvement each year, Martinez headed into last offseason with the expectation he could push for a roster spot. He won it and looked like he would excel early.

Spring training went very well as he solidified his opening day roster spot as the long man.

Martinez saw his first action opening day as he came in behind a struggling Tim Lincecum shut down the opposition and take the win himself.

About a week later in just his second appearance of the season, pitching to Mike Cameron of the Milwaukee Brewers, Martinez took a lined shot off his head... The result was multiple skull fractures and a very long road to recovery.

Joe has been in Triple-A Fresno for month now rehabbing. In his 5 starts, he has not only put up good numbers, but he's pitching with confidence. More importantly, he's pitching without fear. He's earned his trip back to the bay, with or without Ryan Sadowski's return flight to earth.

Today Joe Martinez will take the ball in his first professional start. Expectations aside, it'll be great to see this comeback complete. For him, for his teamates, for us fans. For those who watched, or for those who heard...that skull crack, it's something you never forget. 

I'm watching today in anticipation of a guy who I hope can be the next great pitcher to be developed out of the Giants system. But I'm also watching in anticipation of seeing a guy who is about to overcome more adversity than mere mortal ballplayers can fathom. To see him conquer any deamons he might have will be special in it's own right.