Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Rivalry: Better Than Ever

As a Giants fan, watching last night's game was fantastic, then it wasn't, then it was. Let me explain. We were cruising through 8 innings with a nice lead, and had weathered a couple small Dodger scoring threats. Tim was set up nicely for another win after 7 quality innings, a quiet 1-2-3 8th Inning pitched by Romo, and another stellar performance by our 2010 RBI man, Huff. Of course, the 9th couldn't be without drama. It seems like every time we see the dreaded blue, it ends up being a tense game.

Here's the Play by Play:

1) Russel Martin Starts off the inning with a single off Romo, my stomach twinges. I'm thinking "That's ok we have a 4 run lead. It's just a single"

2) Jamey Carrol almost grounds into a double play, while I stand up and yell "turn it baby, turn it!". Alas he hustles down the line and beats it out. 1 down, 2 to go.

3) Scott Posednik (where did he come from?) Hits a deep fly ball to straight away center, Torres races back, and falls down after the ball bounds out of his glove. Posednik gets credited with a triple, plates a run, and I'm afraid this looks like it will be a wild 9th. Stomach starts a slow spin cycle.

4) Denny Bautista relieves Romo, promptly gets two quick strikes, then walks Furcal on 4 pitches...not good, but we still have the possibility of a double play to get us out of it. My confidence in Bautista is zero, apparently so was Bochy's because he gets pulled for...Jonathan Sanchez? WTF? Where is Wilson? Pan to the dugout. He and his Orange cleats are riding the pine. Quiet anger on his face. No one knows why he's not getting the call. Things are getting even more tense. No lefty reliever in the pen to face the dangerous Ethier. This is baaaaadd.

5) Sanchez throws a wild pitch, Posednik scores, and I almost crap myself. I can't believe what I'm seeing.

6) Sanchez gathers himself, K's Ethier, and I breathe a sigh of relief. Ethier is so clutch. I wish we had him on our squad. I briefly think about how much I hate Brian Sabean at this moment. Beane grows these guys on trees, and then gives em away.

7) Sanchez quickly beans Loney with a high fastball. I'm conflicted, both happy and disgusted. I love seeing the Dodgers wear one, but that means the tying run is on the bases.

8) Still no Wilson. Here comes Chris Ray. He seems to looks more scared than I feel.

9) Matt Kemp singles on a full count to plate Furcal, and moves Loney, the tying run to 3rd, my stomach is now in full spin cycle. How did this all happen?

10) Casey Blake steps in the box, and I'm seeing flashbacks of Finley dashing our playoff hopes in '04.

11) Blake grounds softly to Renteria, threat averted. Lincecum gets the win, and I can sleep somewhat peacefully. Lingering thought. What the hell is wrong with Wilson, why dont we have another left in the pen, and I now realize how close the Giants really are to being irrelevant with 1 key injury. No Posey, No Huff, No Torres, No Wilson = Giants mediocre again.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


I guess the Giants are trying to acquire Jorge Cantu from Florida. Frankly, I’m pretty surprised by this. He can’t play outfield and he’s a pretty poor defender. He’s right handed and I think they truly coveted a lefty. I don’t see exactly where he fits in as an upgrade. I would WAY rather have Uggla, if he was even an option. You could stick him at 3B and Panda at 1st, or vice versa, and then leave Huff in left. Do you think he gets a bullpen arm as well? He’s going to do something, I guarantee it. I hope they don’t lose Eric Surkamp in San Jose – I think he’s going to end up in the rotation for sure.

.308 OBP, .410 SLG, 10 HR. That’s just not a worthwhile upgrade, I mean, it’s probably a downgrade. What is Sabean thinking? Did I mention he’s a butcher with the glove?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Padres Don't Face Aces | Panda Troubles

Do you recall when I mentioned the Padres never face Aces? Well, they face the Dodgers this week – I think for a 4-gamer – and they won’t face Kershaw, how weird.

Both key AB’s for the Giants fell to Renteria last night, and he couldn’t even put the ball in play in either one. That’s pretty bad considering the Marlins have made, I believe, the most errors in the NL. He’s really awful. He has zero range at SS and zero power to speak of. His slugging percentage is .328 and he’s pulled exactly two balls all season I’m pretty sure. I don’t know why teams don’t just pound him with fastballs inside, outside, anywhere. His bat has gotten so slow that he was absolutely blown away by back-to-back 88 MPH fastballs last night. WOW!

This might be crazy but when that ball that Stanton hit in the 8th to left center left the bat, I thought Torres had a shot at it. As the camera panned towards the play I noticed it was Rowand and he had no shot. The ball went off the wall and I’m not sure Torres would have come close. Regardless, it reaffirmed my complete and utter disgust that Bochy has the audacity to move Torres to either RF or LF when Rowand plays or comes into the game late. He’s your starting centerfielder. He’s your starting centerfielder because he’s so far outperformed Rowand both offensively and defensively that there’s no question whatsoever he should be out there at all times. He’s made a two-dozen highlight reel catches already and we’re 100 games into the season. In fact, just last night he made perhaps the very best of all of his insane catches. Not to mention, he rarely even played in the entire first month of the season. With whatever progress Bochy has made with his rookie/ veteran treatment – it’s moves like this that he continues to do that just ware me out.

It’s not going to get any easier tonight when they face Josh Johnson. Johnson is without a doubt the best pitcher in the NL this year and it’s not smoke and mirrors. While Ubaldo’s luck has started to run out, Johnson has made 13 straight starts allowing 2 or fewer runs.

That catch was amazing, and it is precisely why Torres is the only CF needed unless he is out of the line up for rest. Absolutely insane to put Rowand there and move Torres to another position. I'm not a baseball genius, but I can't think of one way that helps the team win.

The padres have to be on borrowed time, if the giants can stay close I think you are right about taking the division right at the end.

I heard/read that Panda's going through a divorce (at 23?) and that is where he was at this weekend. If that is the case, I can imagine him not being focused because that is brutal - but does that explain a loss of bat speed? Who knows, emotions do have a very odd impact on your physical body sometimes and maybe getting this behind him will revive him. Not that I'm glad he's got this happening, but I am glad that there maybe some explanation for his decline.

That’s true – he is going through a divorce and that’s why he went back to Venezuela. I think there are kids involved so that complicates it even further. I’m sure if it’s not that main reason for his struggles, it’s not helping.

heard a guy on KNBR (a caller named Rob from SJ) say that he wishes the Giants would trade Sanchez for Cory Hart. I thought you'd be interested to hear that one.

A lot of people feel like giving Sanchez up for a bat is not such a bad idea, but what scares me about that is that even as inconsistent as JS can be, the fifth starter situation would be far worse. Without Bumgarner, that hole was enormous and almost an automatic loss (often a demoralizing one at that) every time. Ralph asked the caller this exact response. He also said that he thinks D. WIllis will be the answer to the "no lefty in the pen" problem. This guy was a comedian.

People are absolutely out of their minds if they think the Giants can easily trade away ANY of their starters. They may have a great rotation but they don’t have depth. Inserting Wellermeyer would be a disaster in my opinion. I like the idea of having Wellermeyer either in the pen as a long man or in Fresno in case of an injury to a starter, that’s it. The Giants have eluded to possibly using Wellermeyer a few times to skip Bumgarner’s spot down the stretch to keep his innings down. Even the thought of that makes me cringe. So trading away Sanchez goes even beyond the obvious. You lose depth – essentially going from poor depth to no depth. You also lose the ability to reduce Bumgarner’s innings. Unless, you’re willing to give Wellermeyer the 5th spot, Bumgarner the 4th, and then skip Bumgarner for Joe Martinez a few times. Now how ridiculous is this getting? The rotation goes from stellar to just ok. Not to mention, I’m less and less confident I know what we’re getting out of Timmy. I hate to say it, but how can that not be a consideration?

One last thing: Cory Hart sucks. He was a 4th outfielder for the Brewers coming into the season. He was a non-tender candidate after this season because his arbitration cost was starting to exceed his actual value. He’s having a career year, largely driven by hitting the ball out of the park and his slugging percentage because he doesn’t get on base all that much. He plays in total homer-haven, offensive park and hits in front of Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun. Ya, I really want to trade for this guy.

Guess who is starting in CF tonight?

Something tells me Rowand.

I didn't know Panda was "Sad Panda" this year. Seems like that could really jack a guy up. Dude is only 23 thrust into the spotlight, and his whole life is back in another country.

I would have loved to hear that caller on KNBR. Did the Razor and Mr.T rip him a new one? Everyone tals crap on Sanchie about being inconsistent jeez, any team IN THE ENTIRE LEAGUE would love to have someone as talented and young as him at even the 3 spot in the rotation. He's our number 4. Hart is mediocre at best. Ill break another chair if they pick him up. I'd rather stick with what we have and try to make a run at the division as is. I'm so sick of crappy mid to late season moves by Sabean.

Rowand had a couple hits last night, so maybe he'll get hot again. The guy rides streaks like racing stripes on a old man's BVD's.

Ya, Rowand gets white hot and just sizzles for like a week with multiple HR’s. Then, before you even know it, he’s oh-fer-twenty five with 15 strikeouts and 10 groundouts to shortstop

Yup, but do you think he has to play CF to be hot? Can't he play another position and still be his awfully streaky self?

No they really didn't rip the guy, the way Dirty put it was exactly what they should have said. Giving up Sanchez is a huge mistake and picking up Cory Hart is an even bigger one. Hopefully Sabean knows it.

I see that Lincecum has been inconsistent (by his standards only), I'm tryin to look on the bright side, which is he is still damn good. 3 bad starts in May, one in June and one in July - he's had a good to great start every other game, right? Sure his K's are down and he has given up a few louder hits all suddenly, but I think he'll still be in the top five in NL by seasons end.

Rowand is overpriced at any position. He is certainly not CF quality, he's at best a 4th outfielder or DH anywhere. I love his heart, but hate his batting stance, stick and arm.

No matter how tiny tim finishes in pitching rankings, we will always know he has the best haircut in the bigs.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Beating Neyer to the Punch

I was inspired to write what I thought would happen in the NL because of Neyer’s post on the AL earlier today. I knew his NL post was forthcoming and so I wanted to spit out my own before his NL was posted. Well, he just posted his NL projections and they aren’t so different from my own.

Seriously, you can bet on everything you're about to read. Bet the house. Bet the car. Bet the kids.

Seriously, don't do any of that. Don't even bet the dog. Baseball players are people and people are people and people will surprise you. But this is how I see the final National League standings, anyway ...

1. Braves
2. Phillies
3. Marlins

I'm not counting the Phillies out yet. They've won too many games over the years, have too much talent, and the Braves aren't exactly perfect. I just can't figure out how they're going to win on those days when Roy Halladay or Cole Hamels aren't toeing the old slab. If Chase Utley comes back strong, though, they'll be worth at least a sidelong glance. I am, on the other hand, giving up on the Mets. According to geniuses like me, they were supposed to make their push when Carlos Beltran got back into the lineup. Instead they've gone the other way, and it's not hard to imagine them getting worse before they get better.

1. Cardinals
2. Reds
3. Irrelevant

It's not that I don't like the Reds. It's just that I like the Cardinals more.
1. Giants
2. Padres
3. Rockies
4. Dodgers

Generally speaking, this entire exercise is roughly akin to dart throwing. But hashing out the National League West is like throwing featherless darts while blindfolded. Granted, there is some separation now, with the Dodgers six off the pace and the sliding Rockies 7.5 games out of first place. But Baseball Prospectus' third-order standings have them bunched up pretty good, with the Rockies actually on top. Granted, it's probably too late in the season for that to help them enough, but these teams really aren't as far apart as you might think.

Why the Giants over the Padres? Because a) I still don't quite believe the Padres are this good, and b) I get the impression that the Giants are finally putting, most nights, as much of their talent on the field as they c an. As for the Dodgers, I can't really figure why I've got them finishing fourth, except they're facing some tough competition and they simply haven't played well through almost four months of the season. They could almost as easily finish second as fourth, and it's too early to give up on first. But where's that going to come from? A big trade? Devastating second half from Manny Ramirez? A stirring locker-room speech by Jamie McCourt?

All of those things would make for a great story. And it's probably going to take a great story for the Dodgers to finish ahead of three other good teams.

Giants Run Differential

The Giants currently have the second best run differential in the NL behind the Padres, at +83 versus +91.

Padres: +91
Giants: +83
Cardinals: +79
Braves: +78

That’s also the four teams that would qualify for postseason were the season to expire today. I think this is exactly right and how it will likely shake up. I think the Phillies’ reign is over.

It would go:
Giants @ Atlanta
Cardinals @ San Diego

WEST: I do think there is still some hope that the Giants will win the West, but even if they don’t I think they’re a Wild Card team. The Dodgers at +13 and Rockies at +28, I believe, will not be able to keep up. Neither has the pitching to keep up.

CENTRAL: I think the Reds, +54, will keep this close down to the wire, but ultimately the experience of the Cardinals will propel them to another Central crown. I’d love to see Cinci make it to the playoffs for the first time in a long time, but I don’t think their pitching will hold up. With Wainwright and Carpenter anchoring the rotation and Pujols and Holliday in the lineup each day, it’s theirs to lose. I love the Reds’ first baseman Votto, though. He’s a stud.

EAST: Atlanta wins this easy, in my opinion. I think the Mets (+31) will stay close but they’ve been even streakier than the Giants this season while playing horribly on the road. I think the Phillies (+42) blew it by trading Cliff Lee for less than stellar prospects this offseason after acquiring Halladay and it cost them another NL East crown. They can’t overcome the injury to Utley – he makes them go.

Let’s not forget that it’s likely going to be a race to the end for NL Rookie of the Year honors. My money’s on the sweet-swinging, fireball-throwing catcher from Georgia they call Buster. I’ll take Jason Heyward as the runner-up, another complete stud. I don’t think it’s necessarily the offense that earns him the trophy. It’s catching one of the best staffs in baseball down the stretch, a task much much more difficult than right field.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Bullpen Looking Thin?

No lefty relievers in the pen anymore with Affeldt and Runzler injured, how did I not notice that until today?

Not sure but that's baddddd. Nothing in Fresno to help either, Hinshaw sucks. Will Ohman of the Orioles is on the radar, as is Scott Downs. Downs is on everyones radar though and will be expensive prospect-wise. He's a projected type-A free agent to be. So whoever gets him will get 1st round draft pick compensation if he signs elsewhere.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Is the Kid Alright?


I didn't see the whole game, but Timmy's box score...anyway, FP said that he thinks he wasn't sharp because of his complete game last week. Any thoughts, Dirty?

Good eye for ol' pumpkin head huh? Glad Torres capitalized on it and kept the momentum in the Giants favor. It's sweep time in LA!

Lincecum only threw 110 pitches to complete that shutout, so I wouldn’t think that’s the reason. Maybe the reason he was throwing 94 in the first game after the break was the extra rest. And maybe he was throwing 90-91 last night because he was throwing on regular rest. I think it’s safe to say that he’s not going to consistently throw as hard as he used to, not even close really.

His curveball hasn’t been very effective this year and his changeup hasn’t been as effective. He hasn’t been pounding the zone with his fastball because he either can’t, or isn’t comfortable doing so with his diminished velocity. It’s a mystery.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Big Game Tonight

Tonight should be a really good matchup, considering it will be Ace vs. Ace – Lincecum vs. Kershaw.

I must admit that it does appear Pablo is starting to come out of it. I don’t wont to get too ahead of myself because a there were a few times where it seemed he was waking up in late May and June but he never sustained it. Tonight will be a big obstacle because 1) he’ll have to face a good pitcher and 2) Kershaw is left-handed and everyone seems to think his right handed swing is finally coming around.
Is it me or is Burrel not playing nearly as often? His defense is poor but I really like seeing his bat in there. That’s another OBP type hitter with lots of pop. I guess he’s struggled a bit in July.
The Giants just have to keep pushing to win series’ and win as many games as possible. I still think the Padres have to hit some type of skid at some point but I don’t think the Giants should sit around waiting for it. It’s inexplicably not happened to this point so you-never-know.

As far as catching the Padres, after a look at the their August schedule and the Giants, we have the far more difficult one. They play Az like 8 times in August, they play Mil, Pit, and Philly, while we get Az 3 games and play Philly, STL and ATL in August. It's going to take the giants current momentum and a serious fall off of the Padres staff. Would you not say?

I did see the Padres’ schedule and concur it is more favorable, opponent wise. But the Giants have more home games from here on out than do the Padres so that has to be a consideration. I think it now stands 35-34 versus the Padres 32-37. I was chatting with Mike Helms yesterday and sort of broke it down. It should come down to September 9th through October 3rd, in my opinion. The Padres will play the Giants 4 straight at San Diego starting Sept 9 and then go on an 11 game road trip including St. Louis, Colorado and Cincinatti. They also finish the season against the Giants in San Francisco. In fact, I think they play 13 of their last 20 on the road. Of the 10 games left head to head, 6 are in SF, 4 in SD. That favors the Giants as well. What else? Well, the Padres have danced around facing Aces it seems like to me. For example, the Padres have played the Giants, what, 9 games? They’ve faced Lincecum 0 times. They didn’t face Strasburg either. It should come down to head to head games and the Giants aren’t going to go 1-8 again.

Let’s not forget that the last time the Padres played the Giants they were a much different team. The Giants now have Torres at leadoff, Posey catching, they’ve added Burrel and perhaps most importantly Bumgarner pitching every 5th day versus Wellermeyer. The Giants have significantly improved themselves in key areas since they last saw the Padres. When we think of Posey – we think offense. Well, I’m pretty certain that teams have taken notice of Posey’s athleticism and arm and flat out have reduced their stealing attempts. Their best starter, Latos, also went on the 15 day DL. If the Giants’ deadline deal improves them more than does the Padres, I think the Giants can do it.

And if not, there’s the Wild Card too. I wouldn’t bet against the NL West taking the honors for that.

Fireworks at the park tonight. Timmy looked like there was something wrong with him again. His fastball was down a few MPH, and his curveball didn't have any snap. It almost seemed like his changeup was the only pitch he had faith in.
I love that these guys have some heart again. I never count them out, even when down 4 runs. Watching the game now, hoping we can pull this out late.
I'm still not a believer in the Padres to run the table. I keep waiting for them to fade. Can they really stay in it all season with so many young guys, relying solely on good pitching, and defense?

I love this rivalry so much.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Velez Returns

The Giants apparently optioned Joe Martinez to AAA Fresno and replaced him with Eugenio Velez. Velez is typically nails for about 5-6 games, maybe a week, before going into an offensive freefall and making several key defensive mistakes. Unfortunately, by then our man Bruce Bochy has installed him into the everyday lineup. Anyway, this is still a good move. Nothing could be worse than carrying 13 pitchers (8 relievers). When you carry 8 relievers and you have an excellent starting pitching staff, you basically have 1-2 guys that sit in the bullpen and light each others cleats – or shoes since they know they won’t get in – on fire. Then when you’re in a tight spot in the 10th inning you have to let guys like Eli Whiteside (try to) hit – whom can’t even hit a hanging slider. I gave serious thought that having Schierholtz pinch hit – and likely intentionally walked – and Bumgarner hit with the bases loaded with no more position players might have been the best move as opposed to having Whiteside hit with 2 on.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Jerry Crasnik Compares Buster Posey to Larry Bird

This is from Jayson Stark's Insider's Only Column...

"In case you hadn't noticed this, Buster Posey is on the road to becoming more than just the greatest Buster in baseball history. He's on the road to becoming Ty Cobb.
In July (so far), this guy isn't merely hitting .300. And he isn't merely hitting .400. He's hitting .500 (22 for 44). That's all. Just .500, with a .977 slugging percentage and a 1.526 OPS.
Nobody has more homers (six) this month. Or more RBIs (16). Or more runs scored (13). And hang on, there's more.

If you missed the fabulous "Elias Says" column last Sunday, you missed this gem: Over his past 10 games, Posey cranked out 19 hits, six homers and 13 RBIs. So how many other rookies in National League history have had a 10-game stretch in which they did all that, according to the Elias Sports Bureau? That would be none. Nada. Zero. Amazing.

Want more evidence this man is a born hit machine? He's only been in the big leagues about a month and a half. But he already has more multi-hit games (15) than Manny Ramirez, Carlos Pena or Jorge Posada. And more three-hit games (5) than Chase Utley, Josh Willingham or Prince Fielder. And more four-hit games (2) than Ichiro, Joey Votto or Vladimir Guerrero.
And remember, all of this has gone on since the Giants exported Bengie Molina to turn their regular catching job into Posey territory. So obviously, the guy is really having a tough time with that kind of pressure. Otherwise, he might be hitting .800.
One scout I talked to compared him to Utley and Votto and said, "Of all the rookies I've seen in the last few years, this kid came up and made an impact faster than any of them. He's a force already."

And another scout dropped two even bigger names on me -- Joe Mauer and (you don't hear this one much in baseball) Larry Bird.
Why Mauer? "I'm not saying his swing is the same as Mauer. But you know how some guys walk to the plate with that quiet confidence? That's what I saw from him, right from the beginning. He knows he can hit. He's not afraid to hit with two strikes. And he never chased. That never happens with young guys. They always chase something. Not him."
OK, and why Bird? "He's Larry Bird-esque, in a baseball way, because he's got a vision. The game seemed to slow down for him, even when he was playing first base. It wasn't easy for him, but he always seemed to know the right thing to do and know the right place to be. He was never overwhelmed by the big leagues."
Well, I don't know how many 3-pointers Buster Posey is going to sink. But I know this: He already leads Larry Bird in most career Sandwich Awards -- 1 to 0."

Belt Update

So that Brandon Belt kid? In AA – the same AA that has basically taken last years promising A-Advanced, title winning, promising hitters, and slapped them in the face – it didn’t slow him down. Since his promotion, well see the stats below. 5 HR in 40 AB’s to go with a 1.337 OPS. And 5 of his HR have come against left handed pitchers even though he himself is a left handed hitter. I know it’s only 300 AB’s but holy smokes this kid is on fire. I hope they can retain him during the trade deadline because I want to see where this kid ends up. His apparent good eye and ability to draw walks is such a key in this organization – I wouldn’t doubt it if a trade partner conveniently tries to throw his name in the deal. The Giants would be smart to say, “no way.” They say A to AA is the biggest jump.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Last Night

Heard this: A top Royals talent evaluator was at last nights game to watch the Giants versus Mets. Let’s hope they’re working on a deal for David DeJesus and not Jose Guillen. I hope that Sabean is at least apt enough to know that they already have Jose Guillen, i.e. Pat Burrel – who’s actually probably a better player – and he’s costing them nothing. I think that DeJesus is possible the piece they need. They also might have one of the arms they need to shore up the pen in-house. For one, Romo has been stellar since May 9th. And two, the Giants have a reliever in Fresno named Steve Edelfson who is an EXTREME ground ball pitcher that also produces decent strikeout rates. He’d be good to add to that pen.

What's up with dontrelle willis?

He’s been terrible for three straight years. He can’t throw strikes anymore. He had a 6.35 ERA in Detroit this year and was released. The Diamondbacks picked him up and he posted a 6.34 ERA. Let’s just think about that. The Diamondbacks have serious pitching issues and they released him.
He looks to be done, but the Giants grabbed him at no risk. It seems to me that the Tigers and DBacks tried to keep him as a starter, whereas the Giants have said they intend to stick him in the bullpen in AAA and see how it goes. That’s a good idea because most relievers are failed starters. Anyway, his agent claims Dontrelle had many offers but chose the Giants because of known pitching guru and director of player development, Dick Tidrow, might be able to fix him. We’ll see. I suspect he’s dunzo but it doesn’t hurt. The Giants lack a left handed reliever right now with Affeldt’s struggles and Runzler’s injury, and apparently Dontrelle has always excelled versus left handed hitters.
Time will tell.

Here’s what I can gather from FanGraphs. In 2003 and 2004 he was a darn good pitcher. He struck out about 6-7 batters per 9 and walked about 3 batters per 9. In 2005, he put it all together for an outstanding season where he gave up hardly any HR, continued to strike out around 6-7 per 9, but only walked about 2 per 9. That’s a nice 3-1 K/BB ratio. In 2006, he appeared to regress back to his true skill set of 6-7 K’s per 9 and 3+ walks per 9. In 2007, he did about the same but walked closer to 4 per 9 which was a bad sign. The Marlins smartly traded him but unfortunately packaged Miguel Cabrera – a likely future hall of famer – for Cameron Maybin and Andrew Miller who are both close to busts as of right now. Maybin was recently sent down to the minor leagues after struggling this season when he was given the everyday CF job. Miller has toiled in the minor leagues.

Willis hasn’t been close to the pitcher he was since that trade. He’s never pitcher more than 63 innings in a season and his walk rate SKYROCKETED. He’s actually walked more batters than he’s struck out each season starting in 2008, and at times by a lot! I also looked into his pitch values. Sometime between 2006 and 2007 he abandoned his cut fastball. It hadn’t been a hugely successful pitch – it doesn’t seem – but he was throwing it 10-12% of the time. In 2005 his fastball was outstanding and he threw it about 66% of the time. In 2007 he threw more fastballs than ever and with less and less effectiveness, as well as abandoning the cutter. His fastball has not declined significantly, but it has dropped from around a 90-91 MPH average to about 88 currently. So basically since 2007 he’s thrown more fastballs than ever, at a slightly slower speed and with significantly poorer location. That obviously leads to: more walks, fewer strikeouts, more hard hit balls and home runs.

And to put the cherry on top, Dontrelle has suffered from anxiety issues and has faced DL time because of. He’s obviously got no confidence.

I say – 1) fix the brain/mindset/ confidence, 2) fix the fastball (and maybe add the cutter) – and maybe you 3) fix the pitcher.

This is an inspiring piece of analysis. D-Train intrigues me beacuse he's a local guy, and he always appeared to seriously love the game. I'm pulling for him, not necessarily for the Giants sake. If I remember correctly he was a huge part of that 2003 Marlins team that broke my heart. I think he was like 9-0 after being called up from the minors that year, plus hit a couple dingers. They were the, JT Snow tagged out by Pudge, end of the Giants Era, at Pro-Players stadium, Marlins.

You said exactly what I have been thinking!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Dirty Feeding Updates: Phew!

The Yankees are about to trade for Cliff Lee – the deal is basically done already. Wow, that’s cool. It gets more and more ridiculous every single day. I guess Werth is on the block in Philly … I wonder if the Giants would consider getting in on that …

FRIDAY, 12:50pm: Rosenthal says the Giants aren't ready to act on a trade for Hart (Twitter link). They would prefer a left-handed bat and would rather give up prospects than a major league arm like Jonathan Sanchez.

I think a QUALITY bat should be the goal, not certain handedness. That’s why I’m all for Willingham and not Hart’s lucky first half.

And the Rangers look to have pulled off the trade for Lee, sending the Yankees on their way.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Posey is SO sick.

That was one explosive game yesterday. They could have used a few of those runs to disperse over their previous 10 games. That’s two starts in a row in which Lincecum maintained a 94 MPH fastball throughout the game. That’s really encouraging. It’s kind of crazy to when you think of how disappointed we’ve been in him this year – and then you look at his stats and he’s at 3.16 or one good start from having a sub-three ERA to go with 9 wins and 131 strikeouts. He’s definitely a case where colossal expectations cloud your judgment on how good someone is or needs to be. I guess back-to-back Cy Young’s will do that. Speaking of Cy Young, how awesome was it to completely screw up Ubaldo Jimenez’s ERA? I didn’t see it but they tagged him for 7 ER, that’s awesome.

I guess the Giants are in love with Corey Hart. That seriously concerns me. Hart is having a career year but we’re talking about a hot 3 months. He sucked last year and wasn’t very good in 2008. He’s also not a great defender. His OBP is only .346 so his outstanding season is driven by slugging percentage. If anyone thinks his slugging percentage is going to continue to be above .550, they are smoking dope – especially if he’s playing half his games in AT&T and not the homerdome Milwaukee. All of his stats seem to be in line with his career numbers except for his fly ball % and HR/FB. He’s hitting the ball in the air more often and the ball is finding its way into the seats more often than it ever has. If they give up Jonathan Sanchez for this kid I’m going to lose my mind. Also, weren’t the Giants just saying they were concerned the lineup had gotten too right handed? So why is Corey Hart the answer, another righty? And if you trade Sanchez, who is going to pitch in his spot? Wellermeyer? Joe Martinez? Oh boy …

As disappointed as I was about the slump Tim was in, I never actually thought it was going to be long term. I was figuring he'd return to form day one after the all star break at the latest. He was way to good at the beginning of the season to not return to form (at least that was my take).

If the giants trade J Sanch for less than say Prince Fielder, I'll be disappointed as hell.

Padres haven’t yet played today, but the Giants are just 4.5 games back as of this moment. They just pummeled the Brewers for a 4 game sweep and still have a quality run differential. That was a rough stretch but they’re still very much in this NL West race. Posey hit another jack today, giving him 5 in the past week or so. Kids on fire – I remember telling Rusty how his HR seem to come in bunches. If Panda ever starts to even resemble the hitter he was last year and the Giants add some pieces, they’d be in pretty darn good shape.

I'm afraid to start believing again. After what seems like an eternity of dsiapointment after so many years of contention, my broken heart isnt quite mended yet. They can be so good in these stretches, then be so bad in other stretches. Think about how open the West really is...the fricking Padres are in first, and have been for a while. How did they do it you ask? Great starting pitching, a huge park, shut down bullpen, and speed with timely hitting. Sounds like a formula doesn't it? They will fade, guaranteed. Too young, and there is no way they can win without ever scoring runs. This is the Giants division for the taking. I hope Sad Fat Panda lays of the fried pork rinds over the break, and turns back into super Panda again.
Posey is soooooooooo sick!
I think the division is Colorado’s or the Giants’ for the taking. The Giants need to stop playing like trash when they play in the division. I feel like the Dodgers and Rockies have torn the Giants’ guts out so many times the past few seasons that the Giants have no confidence when playing them. If they can learn to play better against the West they’ll come out on top.

I don’t care how long the Padres have held the division lead, I agree completely. They can’t continue to win this many games with their pitching staff. Their starters in particular have over pitched, like Garland. Also, they have some younger guys in the rotation that might have innings restrictions – Latos and Richard. Timely hitting isn’t really something that is sustainable, either. It has a lot to do with luck. The Giants have been terrible at it while the Padres have been terrific at it. That’s a good sign for the Giants.

Posey is SO sick.

You remember the SJ first baseman I mentioned – Brandon Belt? Well, the Giants did promote him just after the all-star break. He’s the only player hitting in that AA lineup (although NEAL has thankfully started to turn it around) – and he’s already hit 2 HR in like 5-6 games. I don’t know where the heck this kid came from, but I hope he keeps it up.

If the Giants can accept grabbing a right handed bat though they prefer a left handed bat, they should be looking at Josh Willingham. There’s a reason why he (and not Hart) is on the Rays’ radar. Now that would be a quality bat and pickup.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Bengie Molina Trade: Follow Up

The PTBNL was actually a former 1st round pick. The Rangers have a quality farm system and Baseball America had him as their 21st best prospect. He’s a right handed pitcher that was just promoted to Double A. So, they actually did get something for Molina, holy smokes. His name is Michael Main I think.

Anyway, Molina had some nice things to say along with the hurt feelings which were apparent. No shock there but he was a good Giant.

Rowand is leading off again and Torres sitting … what the heck is Bochy doing? Could he be showcasing Rowand to trade him– much in the way that Molina started two games in a row and sat Posey for both early this week? I hope there’s SOME explanation. I don’t care if Torres has cooled down and Rowand has started actually hitting the baseball again. Stay tuned …