Wednesday, August 31, 2005

What about Ray Durham?

I'm a Ray Durham fan. One of my Giants jerseys has his name and number on it. I like his game. He's a solid hitter, able to hit for average, hit for some power, and he has speed.

Defensively, he's nothing to write home about, but he's not exactly a statue, either. When he doesn't make errors, he's solid. When he's having mental lapses in the field, he's just adequate. He does, however, turn a very nice double play, something which I think is a bit overlooked in his game. He's no Lou Whitaker, but if there's a way to turn two, he'll do his best to do whatever it takes to turn it.

He makes quite a bit of money (over seven million this season) and has a player option for next year (about seven million as well), so it's very likely he'll be back. Is this a good thing for the Giants? Let's take a look at some things and perhaps we can see.

1.) Injuries - It's a worry, sure, but one thing that has gone unnoticed in the past few years is that Durham was...durable in all of his years previous to his stint with the Giants -- the only time he was below 150 games was his rookie season, where he played 125. What's been overlooked a bit this year is that he's increasing his games played every year, from 110 in 2003, to 120 in 2004, and he's on pace for about 140. Something to think about, sure, but not anything that should make or break a decision one way or another.

2.) Defense - Something else that's a bit of a worry. Out of 16 major league second baseman, Durham is 12th in fielding percentage (of note, Jeff Kent and Alfonso Soriano are even lower), 14th in range factor (note that Soriano is 13th and Kent is 7th), and he is 11th in zone rating (Soriano is 12th and Kent is 14th).

So worry, yes. But panic? No. First of all, I personally do not totally buy into defensive stats as of yet. They tell a story, but I don't think they can be taken at face value. The reason why I kept track of Soriano and Kent is to show examples of players who are making as much or more than Durham, yet whose defensive statistics aren't all that great, either.

3.) Offense - Not a worry, right? Durham's back in form, right? This, too, is a bit of a worry.

Durham's stats this year (.299/.369/.435) look right about where they should be. 804 OPS this year, 790 OPS for his career. But there are a few worries that may or may not have an impact on him for next season:
  • Age. He'll be 34 in November, so there's got to be a bit of concern about his age and how that might affect him playing a demanding position like 2nd base. This could be a bit of a factor behind his nagging injuries -- we've all seen the virtual elimination of Durham being a threat to steal a base during his tenure in San Francisco, and much of this is due to the fact that a lot of his nagging injuries are leg/groin based -- much of the time it's a bit inadvisable for Durham to run all out more than necessary.
  • One funky stat for Durham this year is the large drop in pitches per plate appearance (p/pa). It's usually around 4.00 -- a good indicator that he's a patient hitter. This year, it's dropped to 3.48, which is more the type of p/pa that hitters like Pedro Feliz have (3.40 p/pa this year for Feliz). Does it mean anything? Doubtful, really, because he still walks at a decent rate, but it's an unusual blip at this stage of his career. I don't know if any correlation has been made between aging players and their p/pa as they get older, but it wouldn't surprise me if that number goes down a bit as players age.
  • One thing I really liked about Durham's game the last few years has been his groundball to flyball ratio (g/f ratio), which has averaged about 1.04 the three seasons previous to this one -- indicating that it's likely Durham was hitting a lot of line drives, which is a sign of a good hitter. This year, it's jumped to 1.41 thus far. Worry? Well, maybe. He's been this high before, several times as a matter of fact. It hasn't seemed to have much affect on his production (it's 1.32 for his career), but again, as he's aging it could mean something. Not seeing many pitches and hitting significantly more ground balls than fly balls isn't exactly a recipe for success.

So overall? All the signs are that Durham is fine right now, but there are a lot of little things to think about with him, which for me, adds up to a larger worry.

I'm thinking the best idea for the team's longer term future (as in 2 years +) is probably to trade Durham over the winter while he still looks like a decent 2nd baseman. He doesn't have a no-trade clause, so in effect a team would be trading for only one year of Durham -- something that I think would be fairly attractive to a lot of teams looking for a bit of help to get into or further into contention. This would save the Giants a large chunk of change and should bring back a couple of prospects, although it would create an immediate hole at 2nd that the Giants wouldn't be able to fill in-house. That leaves free agency...and even more questions, because the free agency field looks something like this (courtesy of :

Bret Boone
Carlos Baerga
Damion Easley
Fernando Vina (Expected to retire)
Frank Menechino (Team Option)(arbitration)
Tony Graffanino
Todd Walker (Team + Player options)
Eric Young (Team Option)
Damian Jackson
Ronnie Belliard (Team Option)
Manny Alexander
Marlon Anderson
Mark Grudzielanek
Pokey Reese (Team Option)
Miguel Cairo
Roberto Alomar (Retired)
Enrique Wilson
Denny Hocking
Dave Berg
Joe McEwing

Ouch. That's painful to even look at.

So the best thing for the team to do short term (as in 2006)? It looks like keeping Durham is really the best option for right now, which is fine by me -- because I'm a Ray Durham fan.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Deivi Cruz trade

Deivi Cruz was traded, as was Jason Christiansen. I don't know to who, or to where, but I do know Brian Sabean got minor league pitching in return.

I'd search a little harder, but I'm too lazy -- plus I know one of my fellow bloggers will be all over it by tomorrow morning, if not tonight.

I'll just sit back and do an analysis after I find out the names involved...of course, getting anything for Christiansen has to be viewed as positive.

EDIT: Okay, I lied, I'm not too lazy to look for it. Here's the scoop.

I wish Sabean had gotten a starter out of it, but perhaps he couldn't swing it. Two of the three pitchers acquired are 21 and 23, respectively, which is good. The other guy is 27, and is probably going to be some depth for the bullpen next season.

I forgot this about last night's game...

I may have some latent frustrations with Father Alou and his love of sacrifice bunts.

I'm much too lazy to research them all, but I've seen him sacrifice as early as the third inning, and I've seen him sacrifice with hitters like Ray Durham and now, Todd Linden.

Let me qualify. I'm not totally against the sacrifice:
  1. With a poor hitting pitcher.
  2. When you're down by one run in the 9th facing a dominant closer with no outs.
  3. When you're in the 9th and you're up by four runs and trying to put the game out of reach.

The last two, for me, are dependant upon the hitter at the plate -- those are fine with a poor, even non-pitcher hitter at the plate. But with anybody who's any good or has any power, throw those out of the window.

Alou had Linden sacrifice last night with no outs in the 7th inning, and the Giants down by a run. Let's review my stipulations and compare them with the aforementioned situation to see if I am justified in my irritation:

  1. Linden is not a poor hitting pitcher.
  2. They were down by one run, but it wasn't the 9th and they weren't facing anyone dominant (having a dominant game, yes, but that's another point for later)
  3. The Giants weren't up on the Rockies.

So, yes, I'm irritated. Now, to qualify further, Linden had looked terrible against Rockies starter Byung-Hyun Kim in his first two at-bats, so there was an added reason why Felipe used the sacrifice in that situation. Felipe also thought, obviously, that runs would be a premium tonight against Kim, as he'd only allowed one run against the Giants to that point. He wanted to put the Giants in position to tie the game, thus allowing them to have a better chance to win. Only problems are:

  1. Sacrificing a man to 2nd base (as Linden was doing) is much, much worse than to 3rd. You still are very likely to need a hit to drive the run home, and you would need the right kind of hit -- hard hit singles right at an outfielder might not get it done, and an infield single won't get it done. The Giants were hardly getting any hits off of Kim thus far -- why would they get an extra one just because Feliz was at 2nd? Also, Feliz doesn't run particularly well.
  2. Linden is a power hitter. Sure, putting Feliz in scoring position means he's in better position to score the tying run. But Linden is capable of hitting a double or a home run, the first of which could probably tie the game on its own, the 2nd of which could put the Giants in the lead. The next two batters were Mike Matheny and Deivi Cruz, neither of whom is a hit-machine. Sacrificing Linden takes away this possibility, and gives away an out for free.
  3. Having Linden sacrifice does absolutely nothing for his development, and could even hurt his confidence. Sure, he looked bad in his first two at-bats, but well, I dunno, is it an impossibility that Linden may have been able to...(gulp)...adjust? Isn't learning to adjust and apply what you've learned after facing a pitcher twice part of the game, and an integral part of a young player's growth?

I just hate the sacrifice in that situation. On top of everything else, it was the 7th inning -- don't you want to take a look at Kim in that inning to see if he might be gassed? Wild? Being a little tired often causes pitchers to hang breaking balls and mislocate fastballs -- were they that down on Linden that they think he wouldn't have been able to do something with a hanging breaking ball or a fastball mistakenly located in the zone?

If that's the case, perhaps he ought to go right back down to Fresno. There's no need for him here, now, because they obviously have no confidence in him at this point -- and how is he going to gain their confidence if they're giving away his opportunities to show something with sacrifice bunts?

And I didn't even get into the fact that selling out to try for an extra win by Felipe may also show that he, and the Giants organization, still believe they are in this pennant race, which would be folly on the highest order. That, as much as anything else, dictates you let Linden swing the bat -- the Giants are out of this race, so one extra opportunity to tie one ballgame isn't really worth it.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Well, I'm impressed

Matt Cain, he trow da ball real good an' stuff.

I was off by a wee bit on my prediction about Cain's line: 5 innings/3 hits/2 runs/4 bb/2 k's in a 2-1 loss to the Rockies.

Bit short on the innings (I said 6.2), way high on the hits allowed (I said 9), bit short on the runs (I said 2), dead-on on the walks (I said 4), and way short on the k's (I said 8).

But that's just fine, because I saw what I wanted to see: potential.

He held down the Rockies without his best stuff (he had particular trouble with the slider), and I'm sure there will be a little talk about his pitch selection before the next time he goes out, but overall, I'm impressed.

But you know who I'm even more impressed by at this moment? Jeremy Accardo. I'm trying to figure out how he has an ERA as high as 4.22 with the kind of numbers he's putting up: 21.1 innings/18 hits/ 4 bb/ 10 k's. He pitched 16 pitches last night, and 15 of 'em were strikes. As he gets more experience, I expect those strikeout totals to go up -- did any of you see the changeup he used to record his strikeout last night?

It was mo' stanky than 50 fat football players after playin' four hours in a sewer.

It's just too bad that the Giants are averaging 3.3 runs a game since the All-Star break, but couldn't even manage to hit their average last night. It seems like they can't get anymore than a couple of guys to hit every night, and they're on some kind of rotation so nobody is actually in a slump.

But they could go on a run anyday now!

What's in a name?

Daniel Smith. That's me. Daniel Smith. Most of you visiting here know that, of course. But I have yet to reveal all of my other interests to you besides blogging and poker. Behold...

This, and this, and this, and THIS, and this, and this, and this, and this, and this, and...WHOOPS! Almost forgot about this.

By typing in my name into Google (with quotes around), you get 207,000 results. Upon seeing that, I had two thoughts:
  1. Boy, do I get around.
  2. I wish parents would stop naming their kids after me.
  3. My Evil plan to take over the world with Evil, different-looking doppelgangers is coming to it's slow, Evil conclusion.
  4. I'm tired.
  5. Yes, I know I said two thoughts, and this is number five. But as I put down those two thoughts, I had two more afterwards, and of course explaining the previous four thoughts is a thought in and of itself. Deal with it.

I am, inbetween my time writing at this blog, a wildlife photographer, a K-9 police officer, an architect, a baseball player, an MD, an angler, a master of fancy writing fonts, a retired general, an active colonel, a soccer player, a basoonist, an angler (but, apparently, a different angler than the previous one), run an art supply, a law firm, and have about 20 PhD's.

I didn't find the real me until page 16 of the search, which turned out to be my Blogger profile. At page 75, I hadn't seen one reference to this blog. After going through about 30 seconds of extreme depression laced with wild thoughts of campaigning to win the Nobel Peace Prize and thus trump the other Daniel Smiths in popularity, I realized something...

My name is not on my blog.

Yes, yes, it's in my blog, in a sense -- But it's smashed together there with a "j" in the middle, so that doesn't count. I have my first name in a couple of different places, but not with my last name.

How could I experiment searching for my blog with my first and last name, when my first and last name don't appear anywhere on my blog together? Talk about self-defeating.

The things that one does when one is bored at work.

Cain you feel it?

Matt Cain is pitching tonight. At the time the game is to start, I should be in the middle of driving home from work. Instead, I'm going to be at home, because I'm going to leave work early, so I won't be in the middle of driving home from work at the time the game is to start.

That's what I'm gonna do. All attempts to stop me will be met with extreme prejudiced. Or, feigned nonchalance -- I get the two mixed up sometimes.

I will predict his line:

6.2 innings/9 hits/3 runs/4 bb/8 k's

It will take him...94 pitches to do it. There's still time to catch a flight to Vegas...hurry!

Sad note

I'm making a change to the sidebar, but it's not by choice.

Mike Berquist, writer of the excellent A Citizen's Blog, has quit blogging on the Phillies. It looks as if he succumbed to something that threatens all bloggers -- simply not having enough time in his life to do it.

I'm going to replace it with a blog called Beer Leaguer, which is another Phillies blog written by Jason Weitzel, formerly of Berks Phillies Fans.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Can there be any doubt?

Noah Lowry. Pitcher of the Month for August.

Noah Lowry. San Francisco Giants staff ace.

Now, come the 2006 season, Jason Schmidt may still very easily get the ball Opening Day, and I don't think there should be a problem with that -- he's given this team a lot, and he's still pretty good. But Lowry is on another level right now, and truth be told, it's on the level that Schmidt was on in his previous three seasons.

Noah's line for the month reads like this: 39.1 innings/22 hits/3 earned runs/9 BB/33 k's/0.79 WHIP/0.69 ERA. He gave up only two extra-base hits of those 22 hits, both doubles.


By the way...

Jason Christiansen is gone. Completely and absolutely missed that. Luckily Grant over at McCovey Chronicles noted it, and thus I was able to do this:


More News

Michael Tucker has been traded to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Although I never talked about Tucker much, his presence on the team was as unnecessary as it could be. I've ranted about Todd Linden's lack of playing time recently, and Tucker was the roadblock.

He was dealt for Dominican minor leaguer Kelvim Pichardo, who's minor league statistics look like this. From what I can find on Pichardo, he's a right-handed flamethrower, as you might expect from looking at the stats. Oddly, I cannot for the life of me find out how old the kid is (edit: it looks like he's 19). He's definitely a while away from contributing at the major league level. He plays in the Gulf Coast League, which is rookie ball -- not even low-A ball yet -- but his arm is apparently so lively that if he keeps putting up those high k rates and low walk rates, he could shoot up through the system pretty quickly.

Most organizational charts that I've seen lists Pichardo around 20th or so on their pitching prospects depth chart. Interesting deal from my perspective -- just as he trades away a bunch of young pitching, Brian Sabean throws an arm back into the system. With all the things that could happen to a pitcher in the minors, it's impossible to tell what might become of Pichardo, but getting him for a month of Michael Tucker has to be viewed as a good deal, I think.

As a result of this move, O&B favorite Jason Ellison has been recalled from Fresno. Much as I like Ellison, most days of what's left of the season he ought to sit in favor of Linden, who needs to be allowed to collect at least 100 plate appearance in September.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Pure Excitement

Matt Cain's been called up.

As much as I've ragged on Brian Sabean, I cannot deny the excitement of having four out of five pitchers in the rotation being 25 years old or younger. It'd have been nice if Jerome Williams, David Aardsma, and Jesse Foppert were still around -- there'd be some depth in the pipeline.

That being said, it is going to be an interesting September. If Cain just happens to be lights out, what are the chances of having next year's rotation be Jason Schmidt, Noah Lowry, Kevin Correia, Brad Hennessey, and Cain?

Not very good, really, but...perhaps it's possible. It would certainly save the team a bunch of money in the free agent market, not having to go after another starting pitcher. If only they could find a way out of Edgardo Alfonzo's contract...

Note: thanks to Danimal, Kevin, and Bigfly for leaving a comment despite all the spamming that seems to have started here lately. I was thinking, perhaps, if I was quick to delete them out those bastards wouldn't come back. No such luck.

I'm going to have to exercise some controls here, and like Kevin suggested, I'll have to activate a word verification on the comments for a bit -- when you leave a comment, it'll ask you to type in a word in a box to verify that it's a real human being and not spamming software.

Sorry for the inconvenience, but I'm sure you all would rather type in a word in a box than navigate through five comments from people trying to sell you pharmaceuticals or trying to get you to refinance your home.

Giants lose, but I'm happy...well, almost

Kevin Correia. Wow. Nice game.

I wrote just two days ago about Correia, and how his control and tendency to give up home runs were roadblocks to him being good enough to be given a starting spot next season, but how his strikeout ability meant that if he did overcome those roadblocks, he'd have a chance to be pretty good.

Enter the New York Mets on August 26th.

He did give up a home run, and it turned out to be the winning run, too, but I don't see Correia giving up a solo home run and nothing else as being something to get down about.

I've been waiting for a game like this from Correia, because when doing a comparison between him and one of the other young Giants hopeful, Brad Hennessey, it was a bit difficult to sell people on Correia having a higher ceiling as a pitcher. Hennessey has had a few games where he's been able to show what he can do when he's on, but Correia hadn't been able to put it all together before last night. Neat.

On another note, I am getting very impatient with the Giants' inability to see that the season is over. Last night was the 4th game in the last five where Todd Linden has not started, and honestly, it's pissing me off. There is absolutely no reason, other than stupidity, to not play Linden at this point. One of two things are obvious:

  1. The Giants don't think they're out of this race, despite still having the same three teams in front of them, and despite not having made up any ground whatsoever in a month's time.
  2. The "Brain" Sabean obviously has no intentions of considering whether or not Linden is actually capable of being his 4th outfielder next year -- his starting outfield is set for next year with a man who hasn't played in a year in Barry Bonds, his new pickup Randy Winn, and a 39-going-on-40 Moises Alou. Hey Sabes, don't you think it'd be a good idea to find out if Linden is capable of starting if say, one of your 40 year-old corner outfielder gets too old or goes down with injury next year? Nah, that's too farfetched, isn't it? I'm going to predict Sabean goes out and overpays for some 4th outfielder out on the free agent market, and Linden and Jason Ellison will be fighting for the 5th outfield/pinch runner role next season.

As I finished typing that 2nd point above, the Royals blow another big 9th inning lead, this time to the Yankees, and lose. Up 7-3 in the 9th at Yankees Stadium, they can't find a way to win.

What a lovely year -- I'm the fan of two of the worst teams in baseball. Can't wait for football season, where I'm the fan of the last year's worst team in the NFL, the San Francisco 49ers. Oh, and basketball season, where my favorite team, the Golden State Warriors, haven't had a winning season in a decade (although there is quite a bit of hope this year, I'll admit).

I'm such a lucky guy.

Friday, August 26, 2005

T-Shirts. Cool.

Another plug - Anthony di Giorgio (yes, everyone, that is a male runway model's name) is taking pre-orders for his Father Alou Cream of Wheat t-shirts over at his site.

The pre-ordering page is this one. In his words, "Go ahead, waste your money".

And with that warning, I still bought one. The damned thing doesn't even glow-in-the-dark, it's made of cotton, of all materials (why not Chinese Silk?), and won't protect you from sub-freezing temperatures.

What the heck was I thinking?

Fights I'd Like to See, Part III

More "classic" O&B stuff, with part 1 of this series here, and part 2 over here.

I don't know, really, what else I can say about Milton Bradley and Sydney Ponson that I already haven't said, but they just keep giving me new material. Bradley with his race-related rants, and Ponson with his desire to drink and drive.

I'd like to get them in the ring to duke it out, but there's a problem -- in addition to being my frequent targets of cynical sarcasm (if such a thing exists), they share something else: pain.

Ponson is currently on the DL for the Orioles, and Bradley is about to go on the DL and will likely miss the rest of the season. Shucks, there goes my Pay-Per-View revenue.

Bradley's issue can't come as a big surprise, simply because he had been in no trouble all year -- something had to be building up. Being that his racial remarks came at the expense of another jerk in Jeff Kent is just icing on the cake. Bradley should've found a way to include Uber-Jerk Jeff Weaver, too, but he must've missed my memo.

Can there be any doubt that Bradley is an idiot of the highest caliber? Kent chews out Bradley for not scoring from first on a double that Kent hit, then Bradley takes that to the level of Kent not knowing "how to deal with African-American people". Why does he have to "deal" with African-American people, Milton? Why can't he just deal with "people"?

Somebody get Emeril, because Bradley kicked it up about 27 notches with that dash of Cayenne Pepper.

It's stupid on Bradley's part, but it's often even funnier to hear the responses. Here's part of Kent's response: "That's a shame, and I take offense to that. That's just absolutely pathetic if it comes from his mouth."

And what, Jeff, it's not pathetic if it comes from his sphincter or his nostril? No, I guess that'd just be hilarious.

The thing is, I don't really fault Bradley for being irritated with Kent -- I'm sure Kent, being the jerk that he is, has done things to legitimately annoy Bradley. But to go from that to Caucasian-to-African-American player relations is silly. Bradley even went so far as to accuse the media of coming to his locker first because he's Black.

No, Milton, they came to you first because they knew something asinine would fly out of your mouth before Kent's. Instant story.

Anyhow, onto Ponson, the Judge-Puncher. He's gotten two DUI's and gotten into two physical altercations in the span of one year, he's got a 6.21 ERA with a WHIP of 1.73, he allows opposing hitters to bat .331 against him...

...and he makes 8.5 million dollars. Heh, and we worry about how overpaid Edgardo Alfonzo is.

Forget Eric Milton, Ponson easily has the worst contract in the majors. And to top it all off, he isn't even the most scandalous player on his team. That honor goes to Rafael Palmeiro at the moment, so Ponson can screw up like this and not even come close to the front page. The Orioles have a hugely overpaid punk in Ponson, a disgraced former Hall of Fame candidate in Palmeiro, and even have Mr. Corked Bat in Sammy Sosa.

Is it any wonder these guys fell out of the race? I feel sorry for Miguel Tejada.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Blatant Advertising

...I'm attempting to think of something witty and humorous. Bide a moment.


No, still nothing. So, in lieu of something that might actually pique your interest in what I'm about to plug, I'm just going to put the link up sans superfluous banter:

The windup, and here's the pitch: "You can buy or sell Giants tickets from other Giants fans for free at Join in on the fun and start building feedback within the community. Its a great resource for Giants fans and will surely become a reliable place to find great tickets."

I've taken a look at the site, and it's simple. You click on what Bay Area sporting event tickets you are after, and a list comes up with all the available tickets, the location of the seats, and the location of who's selling them.

I mean, do I need to explain any more? I'm sure some of you can find a way to take advantage of this at some point, which is why I'm putting the link up on that thar sidebar, so that you won't screw up and forget about it...okay, in reality, I'm putting the link up so that I won't forget about it.

A comparison

As the season runs

Okay, as the season stumbles along, the thought has occurred to me, over and over again, that the Giants will probably want to make a change or three next season if they desire to achieve a better won/loss record.

Call me Captain Obvious.

A couple/few of these changes will have to occur within the starting rotation. Besides Jason Schmidt and Noah Lowry, I really can't see any of the other pitchers currently starting for the Giants having some sort of lock on a spot next season. Brett Tomko's got to go, or a least take a paycut to league minimum, while Brad Hennessey and Kevin Correia are currently starting by default -- though I'm sure they think they are making a debut for next season. It's possible, but I can't see an effort to replace them in the free agent market this winter not happening. Brian Sabean won't want to depend on them next year unless they had pitched lights out this year, which hasn't happened.

But, really, would this be worth it? Trying to find any decent free agent starting pitcher is tough nowadays (just ask the Mets, Yankees, Reds about Kris Benson, Jaret Wright, or Eric Milton). So trying to find three has got to be well-nigh impossible, right?

Of course.

So Sabes, in reality, is faced with putting one of those three mentioned above (Tomko, Hennessey, and Correia) in his rotation next year, if not two. But is there any of them that he might be able to depend upon? Let's break them down and see what we can see...

Brett Tomko - No, he isn't going to ever figure it out. As much as we like to get upset with Tomko, we really have no reason to, because he's doing now what he's done pretty much every year. The only difference is the tease he gave us late last season where he was lights out. Otherwise, his k/bb ratio (strikeout to walk ratio) this year is at 1.74, which is one of the lower numbers of his career. His k/9 (strikeouts per 9 innings) is at 5.11, which is also one of his lower rates for his career. Opposing hitters are running an .811 OPS against him, which is one of the highest totals of his career. His ERA is 4.93, which again, is one of the higher totals of his career. As I've said before, Tomko is a 5th starter, regardless of his stuff or the velocity on his fastball. The only thing is, his numbers this year are among the worst they've ever been, so it may be wiser to let him go before it gets any worse. A move to the bullpen could help his career, but not making well over $2 million.

Kevin Correia - This one is relatively simple. It's all about walk rates and dampening power for Correia, as he's walking a batter at a rate higher than one every other inning this year (5.3 per 9 innings), and opponents are SLG .542 against him this year. In his other stints in 2003 and 2004, there isn't anything there to suggest that he might not actually be this bad. His career walk rate is 4.7 per 9 innings, and opposing hitter have SLG'd .506 when you include Correia's previous years.

The tantalizer? The stuff, and the strikeouts. Correia's got the pitches, but can't always locate them. However, his strikeout rate has been rising slightly with each stint he's been with the Giants: 6.41 in 2003, 6.63 in 2004, and 6.80 so far in 2005.

Can he be trusted? Heck, no. Even as a 5th starter, the way Correia's numbers stand right now, he's unacceptable. He's got to cut down on the walks to somewhere less than 4 per 9 innings, at least, and that opponents' SLG has got to come down to at least .450 or less -- then, we can talk. While it's easy to be tempted because of his stuff and how cheap he'll be, I would want him to show some progress towards cutting those numbers down in the five or six starts Correia likely has remaining this season.

Brad Hennessey - This one is simple as well. Hennessey has all of the same problems Correia has, only without the electric stuff and the strikeout ability. His walk rate is actually a bit lower than Correia's (4.35 per 9 innings), but when you compare that with his low-ish strikeout rate (5 per 9), then it's a bit of a problem. Hennessey actually struck out hitters at a higher rate last year (6.55), but it was a tiny sample size of 34 innings, plus his minor league stats suggest his k rate this year is more in line with what he's capable of.

Hennessey's also have trouble with dampening power, as hitters are running a .518 SLG against him.

So, essentially, you can't trust Hennessey, either. He also has to cut down his walks tremendously to support that lower strikeout rate, and he also needs to stop giving up extra-base hits before you can throw him out there for a full season.

The main difference between Hennessey and Correia is that Hennessey has several quality starts mixed in with his otherwise horrible outings, so the knee-jerk reaction is to grab ahold of those and use that as a body of evidence saying they are indicative of Hennessey's ceiling, or potential, as a pitcher. Correia, on the other hand, has been consistent in mediocrity, with only the strikeouts as an indicator that he could potentially do better things down the line.

My opinion? Hennessey has better control, but Correia has the better strikeout ability, so my tendency is to go with Correia over Hennessey over the longer haul. In the short term, neither of these two have provided much to suggest they can be trusted over a full season, but Hennessey has shown the ability to be the better pitcher (as opposed to thrower). So I think that unless there is one of these two pitches much better or much worse in September, Hennessey will be tentatively slotted for a rotation spot next Spring.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005


I'd talk about the game last night, if it wasn't for the fact that I don't really want to talk about the game last night.

But hey, for nostalgic, classic O&B article, check out this old rant on Jason Christiansen that I wrote way back in March.

A Rant on Christiansen, by Daniel Smith

To touch on other things...

  • Hey, who runs the advertising/marketing division of Chrysler nowadays? They have a brilliant ad campaign going right now with Lee Iacocca, former chairman of the automobile manufacturer. Only problem's already been done. Back in the 80's. Bunch o' sharp tools in that shed. Bring back an old, boring figurehead that none of the young, new carbuyers will even recognize, don't explain who he is, and then hope that it will sell some cars if you throw in Snoop Dogg into one of the commercials (that golf cart sittin' on chrome was kinda nice, though).
  • Cute little fluff article on about Julio Franco, who turned 47 yesterday. I think what Franco is doing is amazing, but...well, makes me wonder. How is it that players like him and Steve Finley seem to have avoided any steroid talk? I mean, here are players in their 40's still playing at a high level (well, Finley was doing that as recently as last year), and yet no talk, no accusations? Finley had a pretty big power spike last year at 40 years old, but I don't see him talked about much. Franco is 47, five years older than Bonds, and by all accounts, he's muscled like a housewife's fantasy. Don't get me wrong -- I'd rather there be no talk about these guys, because there isn't any concrete proof that they've done these things or how much it could've helped them, just like Barry Bonds. But things like this bring to light just how much of a witch-hunt people are on in regards to's all about the home runs and the attitude. Finley and Franco aren't threatening any hallowed records, and haven't offended a slew of media guys, so they are exempt.
  • This was about the funniest thing I've ever read.

If Todd Linden doesn't start tonight, tomorrow will be Rip-A-Manager/GM Day here at O&B Baseball. Just so you are forewarned...also, relating to Jason Christiansen to Brett Tomko, I had an anonymous suggestion that I start a campaign to jettison both of those worthies to the abyss. With Christiansen, there can be no doubt. Tomko, I'll have to consider for some several moments before deciding.

Keep an eye on that thar sidebar...which you should be doing anyway. We're up to 61 days since the "Brain" Sabean should've let As-Useful-On-The-Ballfield-As-A-Douchebag-Is-To-A-Man Alex Sanchez go. Sanchez is at Fresno, wasting somebody's time and energy, still drawing a paycheck from this organization.

Shame 'bout that.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Note to self

Dear Self,

Brett Tomko is not good. There is nothing good he does on the mound to merit the consideration of him possibly being good.

Self, please don't talk about Tomko's "stuff" anymore -- banish such thoughts from straying into the vast wasteland that often doubles as your mind. Tomko's well into his 30's, and if he were to magically "get it" or "put it all together", it would've happened somewhere around April...of 2001.

Tomko could be a serviceable 5th starter if he made league minimum, but that's it, Self. No more.


Your other self (no, not THAT one, the other one)

Fourth inning, and here comes Mr. MopUp, Jeff Fassero, who is probably going to throw four shutout innings to solidy the "Brain" Sabean's likely growing inclination to sign the 52,674 year-old lefty hander (edit: I lied, it only ended up being three shutout innings), despite the fact that the list of successful 40-plus year-old pitchers is very short, and usually has names like Johnson and Clemens on it.

Tomko, after he was taken out after the 3rd, did the obligatory abuse the Gatorade container (edit: found out the damned thing was a sunflower seed bucket...whatever)...hey, why is it that there's always an empty one of those things just lying around for frustrated ballplayers to kick? I mean, it's the 3rd inning -- shouldn't that thing still be full of Gatorade? Are there ever frustrated-ballplayer-tirades that are cut short because a guy goes to kick the Gatorade container, only to find it still full of lemon-lime refreshment?

What does the ballplayer do afterwards? Is there a frustrated-object hierarchy that we don't know about?
  1. Gatorade container
  2. Batting helmets
  3. Bats
  4. Gloves
  5. If none of the above are close by...
  6. Cameramen (how's the post-cameraman-abuse pitching going, Kenny?)

The answers to these and many other questions plague me...

UPDATE: As I watched Todd Linden hit a double as a pinch-hitter, I marvelled -- how quickly the Giants get off the young guys. Linden was getting hot, had a four-strikeout game, then promptly had his starting job taken for what...three straight games now? I mean, I would normally be able to buy the Michael Tucker-is-a-left-handed-hitter argument, but Linden switch-hits...

And into the game again comes the uber-useless Jason Christiansen, who will promptly allow a run to cancel out the run the Giants just scored in the bottom of the 6th to pull within three. I call it! (edit: I lied again, as Christiansen has already allowed two runs while only recording one out, and there is a man on 3rd)

Would it be that hard to let Christiansen go? He's only due around $250K on his deal -- he's a sunk cost. Why not cut bait on him? Why keep him? (edit: I just felt like adding another one of these edit-thingies in here just for good measure, in case I didn't have enough already)

Alright, ALRIGHT! He's the fricking ace, okay?

Should've smelled this one coming. Yesterday I was stupid enough to type this load of crap out:
He's a shaky ace at best. I've heard a lot of people lately giving Noah Lowry ace status, which is just a bit silly. Lowry's good and getting better, and make no mistake, he's pitched better than Schmidt overall this season (and at the end of last season, too). But to call him the "ace" and kick Schmidt to the curb at this point is premature. It certainly looks that way for right now, but I'd rather wait until about June of next season, personally.

That was just about the stupidest thing I've ever said, and I've said quite a few stupid things. The very same day I type that, Noah Lowry goes out and throws 8 2/3 innings of shutout ball, walking only one and striking out six.

For my next trick, I'll turn wine into water, and slowly melt the polar icecaps over the course of 14,238 years.

Noah's got one more start this month, and I'm wondering how, short of a disastrous start, that he doesn't land NL Pitcher of the Month. This month so far, he's pitched 31 1/3 innings, allowing two runs (that's two - dos, deux, due, zwei, twee, kaksi, randu...TWO!) on 13 hits, and striking out 27 while walking only eight. He's allowed two runs, but heck, Lowry himself has driven in two runs of his own this month.

His WHIP for the month is 0.67. He's allowed one double during the month, and that's the only extra-base hit he's allowed. Heck, Lowry himself has hit a double of his own this month (is there an echo in here?). His ERA this month is going to be something stupid like 0.60 or something like that after last night's game.

Near as I can tell with my rough calculations, hitters have hit about .110 against Lowry and SLG'd about .119 this month. Heck, Lowry himself has hit .333 and SLG'd .444 this month (damn echo again).

So, not only has Noah Lowry outpitched his opposition this month, he's outhit his opposition this month. That's gotta be illegal in like, 37 states or something.

Noah Lowry. Ace. There, I said it.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Finally had the courage to look...

And yep! There it is.

The Giants see the fewest amount of pitches in the major leagues.

Ah, and there that is.

The Giants have the worst ISO SLG in the league, meaning they hit for the least power in the major leagues.

But here is a bit of hope.

The Giants are only 24th (out of 30) in walks per plate appearance (bb/pa).

What does all of that add up to? This, of course.

The Giants are 3rd to last in the league in runs.

Many like to blow stats off, and say they aren't important (*cough* Joe Morgan *cough*). But I'm a bit clueless as to how the stats listed above cannot tell a story about this year's team.

  • They see the least amount of pitches per plate appearance, meaning they are the most impatient.
  • They are worst in the league at hitting for power.
  • They are among the league's worst in drawing walks.

What, did they run afoul of the Plate Discipline Nazi? No plate discipline for you!

When you don't see a lot of pitches in an at-bat, unless your name is Vladimir Guerrero or Ichiro Suzuki, chances are you are not getting your pitch in your zone to swing at. Most pitchers won't give in to a batter in four pitches. It means you're swinging at the first pitch you see in the zone, or, swinging at the first pitch you think is in the zone. This usually means you're not putting your best swing on the ball, because you haven't seen enough pitches from the pitcher to properly guage the velocity and movement of the pitches. Which means that even when you do make contact, it will not be solid contact.

Which means that even if you do get a hit, it won't be an extra-base hit.

At this point in the year, I'm sure it's in all the scouting reports that you don't have to pitch strikes to the Giants to get them out. Just pitch to a location off the plate with your fastballs, and pitch breaking stuff and changeups otherwise -- they'll get themselves out.


It really is simple. The Giants draw among the fewest walks in the league because they are not patient at the plate. The Giants hit for the least amount of power in the league because they are not patient at the plate. The Giants are the 3rd worst team in the league in scoring because they are not patient at the plate.

And remember, Mike Matheny won't hit like this next year, and Randy Winn can't hit like this for an entire season, and Moises Alou, Ray Durham, and Omar Vizquel are all due regressions because of advancing age...

It looks decidedly Not-Good for next season.

Two losses and a real loss

Well, the Giants should've taken two of three from the best team in the National League, but they didn't. Why, you ask?

Because that's what losing teams do.

Before I get into that superficial pain, though, I'm going to say a prayer for Thomas Herrion, who passed away after the 49ers' preseason game on Saturday. Speculation is rampant as to why, but I tend to want to save any opinions and guesses as to the cause of his death for later -- much later than two days after it happened. By all accounts he was a good man, and that's fine enough for me. My condolences go out to his family and all who cared for him, and I hope they can take solace in the fact that he died after doing something he loved doing, and giving it his all while doing it.

Rest in Peace, Thomas.

As far as the Giants' weekend, it was all about the pitching:

  • Brad Hennessey was doin' his thang on Friday -- holding what would normally be the best offense in the NL down to zero runs through seven innings for the 2nd time this season. But even without Scott Rolen in the lineup the Cards remain a threat, and Bad Brad only allowed five hits and three walks through those seven innings. He'll obviously never be a strikeout pitcher, but he obviously has some talent in him. I'll hopeful he can be a decent 5th starter next season.
  • Kevin Correia had the "gutty" performance of the weekend on Saturday. Didn't see it. However, I am noticing Jeff Fassero is doing well in his mop-up roles lately, and quite frankly, that scares me. If he somehow gets that ERA below 4.00, don't be surprised if the "Brain" Sabean re-signs the guy. My gut reaction would be to call that stupid, but I must admit that despite my early misgivings Fassero has done all the Giants have asked him to and more. Useful guy -- and I hope he hooks up with some American League club that'll give him a two year contract.
  • I declared Jason Schmidt to be back a couple of weeks ago, and apparently I was premature. Good performance Sunday, but he still seems to lack a certain something that he seemed to have regained a few weeks ago. He's a shaky ace at best. I've heard a lot of people lately giving Noah Lowry ace status, which is just a bit silly. Lowry's good and getting better, and make no mistake, he's pitched better than Schmidt overall this season (and at the end of last season, too). But to call him the "ace" and kick Schmidt to the curb at this point is premature. It certainly looks that way for right now, but I'd rather wait until about June of next season, personally.

I also declared Todd Linden to be on the rise, a bubble which he promptly popped with a big-time four at-bat, four strikeout regression. He's still striking out at a clip of over one time for every three at-bats.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Gee, whatta surrprise

Tyler Walker goes on the DL today with shoulder soreness. That wouldn't happen to be because of abuse, would it?

Nah, Father Alou would never abuse any of his bullpen pitchers. Pitching four out of five days is normal for relievers around the league.

The Streak is Over.

Oh yeah!

Friday, August 19, 2005

Real Day Off

Okay, this is it. Short entry. Taking a day off from the site. Couple of tidbits, though...

I will be at the A's/Royals game at...whatever the heck they're calling the Coliseum these days. The "Net" was a decent nickname, but out that went, and now it's McAfee Coliseum. In any case, I'll be there with my Royals gear along with a wing and a prayer tonight and either Saturday or Sunday, I think (perhaps both, we'll see).

In any case, those of you familiar with me know what happened the last time I was at an A's/Royals game at the Coliseum. Two grand slams by John Buck and Abraham Nunez, respectively, I got a ball tossed to me by Joe Randa, and my ugly mug ended up on SportCenter for about 2.7 seconds.

This time I don't need all of that -- just the two grand slams will suffice, thank you.

I'm going to do my usual. I'm going to the game all by myself, and I'm going to buy the closest available ticket to the visitor's dugout on the 1st base side. We'll see what happens...I'd say wish me luck, but the Royals need all the latent good luck you might have on your person, so please -- wish it their way.

18 in a row and counting...

Thursday, August 18, 2005

I could get used to this...

Winning, that is. Wrote this bit yesterday:

Noah Lowry on the hill today -- I wouldn't mind seeing a damper put on that Big Red Machine. We'll see if some changeups can slow those guys down.

And the kid delivered, too, on the mound and again at the plate. 3-2, Giants over the Reds.

Quick hits:
  • Winn again. From now on, until he has a good game that follows a couple/few poor games or something, that's all I'm going to say. I feel compelled to say something since they guy keeps putting out multiple hit games with extra-base hits, but...oh, well. A 2 for 5 day with a double for Winn. Ho-hum.
  • Ah, now here's something I can sink my teeth into: Todd Linden. Well, not sink my teeth into Linden, because that'd be kind of cannabalistic, or perhaps a bit gay. Sink my teeth into the topic, that is. Ahem. Linden had a three-hit game yesterday, and...wait for it...another game with no strikeouts! All the numbers keep creeping upwards, and he's looking comfy in RF, too. Again, what does the "Brain" Sabean do if Linden stays hot and ends up putting up great numbers by season's end? He'd only have, at best, about 200 at-bats, so Sabes wouldn't be able to really trust any breakouts because of small sample size. But although it's a bit cold, he should, at least, keep an eye on Moises Alou's early season performance -- if it seems for some reason that Moises has hit the end of the line (and this is all assuming the Giants are more competitive next season), then Sabes cannot be afraid to play Linden more. Doubt if that'll happen unless Alou gets hurt, but it's what he should do.
  • Seems obvious that the team is going back to platooning J.T. Snow and Lance Niekro. Snow had only seven starts in 16 games from July 22nd to August 9th, but now has started six of the last eight games. I'm not sure what precipitated this, exactly (perhaps because Snow got hot for a little while), because Niekro's numbers during that July 22nd to August 9th timeframe didn't really change much, but during the last eight games in a part-time role, however, Niekro is 0 for 13 at the plate and his numbers have dropped -- which, I'm sure, will be seen as a justification for Snow's continued play. But it'd sure be nice to make a plan and stick to it, because I thought that Niekro was going to get the lion's share of the time at 1st the rest of the season.
  • I mention the above simply because while it seems right now that Snow won't be asked back next season, if he happens to play most of the rest of the year and hits well, I don't see them not asking Snow back. It's just too easy to see coming. Sabean just loves late season, crunch-time hot streaks...even if it isn't really crunch-time because the Giants are out of it. But as long as there's the perception that there's a chance, then any better-than-normal production by any player will lock them down a roster spot on this team next season.

Already in today's game, Brett Tomko has given up two runs against the Reds on yet another Ken Griffey, Jr. home run (will somebody kneecap this guy already?). Fortunately, the going-to-be-resigned-next-season J.T. Snow (I'm just going to call it now) has homered to cut the lead in half. 2-1 Reds in the 4th.

UPDATEUS CURRENTUS: The Giants are hitting again! Wait, no they're not. Todd Linden is hitting, and J.T. Snow is hitting. 4-1 Reds, on the strength of two two-run homers by Griffey and Juan Encarnacion (edit: I was thinking of Edwin Encarnacion of the Reds, but he wasn't even the one who hit that 2nd homer -- it was Felipe Lopez. Thanks to Nick from Giants Cove for the correction). I think I'd get more chicks if I had a smooth name like Juan Encarnacion instead of...Daniel Smith. My name lacks a little style, a little impact, ya know?

UPDATEUS SECONDUS: Well, there went the sweep. It was setup in the 9th -- Linden got another hit and Michael Tucker drew a walk with no outs, but then Father Alou went with Edgardo Alfonzo and Deivi Cruz as pinch-hitters, consecutively, and they both struck out. Randy Winn had a day off from playing superhero and ground out to end the game.

Didn't Felipe see that the best hitter remaining on his bench was Noah Lowry? And if you think I'm kidding aobut that,'re right. Kind of.

Just thought of something...

With the extra wins overall that the Randy Winn trade seems to be headed towards earning for the Giants, I'm wondering... many losses, in counterpoint to that, is the replacement of Yorvit Torrealba by Yamid Haad? The guy is trying, to be certain, but he has one hit and a few gaffes behind the plate to his credit in six games played thus far.

Winn could end up giving the Giants the equivalent of four or five extra wins by the time the season's done, but Haad could end up giving a couple of those wins right back. Here's to hoping the guy turns it around -- it looks like he has the raw defensive skills, I just hope he can produce a little offensively.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Of Days Off and More Rarities

I thought yesterday I was going to take a day off. Then the Giants played the Reds, and Stuff happened in the form of a 10-8 victory over the Reds.

Forget all about Randy Winn's cycle on Monday, and even forget the rarer-than-a-dodo's-egg three walk performance by Pedro Feliz in the same game. We need new, we need fresh, we need...

New Career Highs.

Yes indeedy. Feliz has only walked three times twice in his career? How's about getting five hits in one game? Never, right?

Well, not until yesterday.

Deivi Cruz has had one five-hit game in his career, and had one five-RBI game in his career. How's about both in one game? Never, right?

Well, not until yesterday.

This team is trying to become "fun", all at the expense of the Cincinnatti Reds, their horrible pitching staff (even more horrible than the Giants, apparently), and the Great American Ballpark. While it sucks lollipops that Jason Schmidt was knocked out of this game early and looked more like the early-season Schmidt than the Schmidt of the last month and a half, it most decidedly does not suck that the Giants are scoring some runs...and winning a bit, too.

Other things that did not suck:
  • Okay, one is an accident, two is coincidence, and three is a trend -- Todd Linden with his 2nd strong game yesterday, with a couple of singles, a walk, and...wait for strikeouts! Hallelujah! His batting average has crossed the Mendoza line (at .208 currently), hopefully never to cross back. Now I can have a little hope.
  • Speaking of other firsts and rarities, Ray Durham has the ultimate way to put up an insurance run by hitting his first pinch-hit home run of his career. Heck, that's way more rare than a mere cycle. He did in in true pimp-fashion, too -- he came into the game, stepped into the box, and hit the first pitch he saw out of the park. Talk about Veni, Vidi, Vici...
  • This whole shut-down-the-opposition-bullpen thing is getting to be ridiculous. These guys just are putting out more zeros than a string of binary code (ba dump! crash!). Tyler Walker did give up another yahoo! oppo-field home run to Ken Griffey, Jr. in the 9th, but Griffey is apparently getting back to being Griffey at the plate, and with a three run lead, I don't really blame Walker for challenging.
  • Randy Winn still hitting. He's going to earn a freaking nickname if he keeps this up. The man, so far in his Giants tenure, has had more extra base hits (10) than singles (7).

On another note, although it was for the other team, it's nice to see Richie Aurilia still being productive -- in fact, if you look at his numbers, they are very much in line with his numbers from 1999 and 2000, which were the two seasons that put Aurilia on the map. Apparently the Reds are cutting Richie's playing time, and he's went so far as to ask to be traded to a contending team. I don't see a problem with this -- Richie is currently making peanuts at $500K and is running very good offensive numbers for a shortstop.

Aurilia, 2005 (through 78 games played): .266/.320/.454, 13 home runs in 293 at-bats.

Of course, a little digging reveals something -- Richie's has hit 10 of his 13 homers at home in the Great American (Home Run) Ballpark, and is running a .960 OPS there. On the road, however, he promptly turns into Neifi, with a .579 OPS.

One of the teams Richie brought up as far as trading partners was the Padres, because of the recent injury to Khalile Greene, but Richie -- with your road numbers, you want to go to Petco, the pitcher's park pitcher's park? As Mike Krukow would say, "You're killin' me!".

Noah Lowry on the hill today -- I wouldn't mind seeing a damper put on that Big Red Machine. We'll see if some changeups can slow those guys down.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Nick Schulte is the MAN

I say so, and thus it is true.

He took up a big chunk of my challenge on the previous post about Pedro Feliz (knowing that I am hopelessly lazy and wouldn't do it myself), and looked up Pedro's history as far as three walk games.

His comment is here. It blows my theory that Feliz has never walked three times in one game before yesterday's Randy Winn's Cycle Special, but I was pretty darned close: Feliz has only walked three times in game twice in his career, including yesterday. Read Nick's complete comment, though, because the other walk totals for Feliz are still enlightening...or depressing, depending on one's perspective (makes me wanna slash my wrists, personally...WALK MORE, PEDRO!).

So, as the numbers show, only .4% of the time Feliz walks -- and what I'm going to do is assume that Feliz did not walk three consecutive times in that other game like he did last night, and cut last night's occurence to a .2% chance.

Now, I am going to attempt to get off my large, ghetto-similar booty and do some of my own research to determine whether Feliz' three-consecutive-walk game is more or less rare than a cycle.

Wish me luck, going into the jungle of numbers that is...statistics. My work computer will serve as my machete.

UPDATE: Okay, I've determined that there have been 250 cycles hit since the year 1882. For the purposes of this comparison, I'm just going to start at that year.

250 cycles/123 seasons of major league baseball = 2.03 cycles per seasons. So close to a round "two" that I'm just going to say there are two cycles hit per year on average.

Pedro Feliz has played in 523 career games, or a small chunk over three years of major league baseball (3.22 seasons). In that time, he's drawn three walks in a game twice. So...

2 three-walk-games/3.22 seasons = .62 three-walk-games per season.

So, ladies and gents, as I first surmised (and again, thanks to Nick), that the more rare occurence that we saw yesterday was NOT the Randy Winn cycle, but the Pedro Feliz three-walk-game.

Boy, that was fun

This is what I'm talkin' about!

Winning is one thing, but it can't be expected at this point in the season for the Giants. While nothing can replace the feel-goody-ness that winning brings, exciting baseball will do for a substitute if win they cannot.

Just so happens that both things occured yesterday:
  • It seems that events will conspire to make all of us who did not like the Randy Winn trade look silly, even though the reasons for many of us not liking the trade are still in effect. Winn goes cycling, and does it neatly in the minimum four at-bats. The triple was easily the most impressive -- hitting a home run in the Great American Ballpark can't be viewed as some kind of superhuman feat, the double was a function of Winn just being late and fighting off on outside pitch, and the single was garden variety. The triple, though...heh, that was a thing of beauty. He's currently running a 1.054 OPS since joining the Giants, something that simply cannot continue, but something that I'll enjoy while it lasts. Go on witcha bad self, Randy.
  • Todd Linden broke out a bit with a two-hit game that included a solo home run. I'm loath to hope that this is the breakout game, because he still struck out twice yesterday. He's currently striking out at a pace slightly under once every three at-bats, which of course just cannot continue. Let's see if he can get that cut down to about once every four at-bats by the end of the season, something that would give me a lot more hope for him going into next season -- although I'll be darned if I can figure out where the kid will play if he does break out and hit something like he did in Fresno. Bonds in left, Winn in center, Alou in right -- what's the plan, "Brain" Sabean, if this guy really can put up numbers similar to his AAA production? What, trade him, too?
  • I'm realizing after typing that out that there's no way Jason Ellison makes next year's club, unless perhaps as a 5th outfielder. If they play Linden like they're supposed to (pretty much everyday in RF), then Elly is going to ride a lot of pine the rest of the year. He'll get a few games here and there when Winn isn't playing center, but Feliz will log most of the games in LF, and Michael Tucker's got to play a game or three here and there as well...
  • Speaking of player's who I wish could play more: Lance Niekro. You have no idea how happy it makes me that J.T. Snow is swinging a hot bat lately, but it serves no real purpose if Sabes is thinking about having Niekro be the everyday 1st baseman going into 2006 -- something which I doubt seriously. Sabean may be smart enough to not re-sign Snow, but he won't hand the job to Niekro, which of course is a pretty big gamble, but one that I think is worth it based on the fact that Niekro will make peanuts in salary next year. All the guy has to do is hold that production against lefties, then run about a .700 OPS against right-handed pitching and he'd be golden...
  • I still do not know what is up with Kevin Correia and all these gopherballs he gives up.

Oh, and while hitting for the cycle is neat and all, I willing to put a bit of money on which is more rare -- hitting for the cycle, or Pedro Feliz walking three times in one game, and consecutively, at that. My money's on Feliz's walks. I'm willing to bet that it's likely Feliz has never walked three times in a game, and has most certainly never walked three times consecutively.

Any takers?

Monday, August 15, 2005

I thought I told you guys to score...oh, okay. Nevermind.

This series could be very, very ugly.

The Reds. At home. Where the ball flies all over the place.

Kevin Correia chooses very quickly to show us all what's good and what's bad about him. First two hitters of the game? Struck 'em out. Next two hitters? Home runs. And while those two home run hitters were Ken Griffey, Jr. and Adam Dunn, powerful hitters both, Correia promptly gave up a double off the wall to Sean Casey, who isn't nearly as powerful as the other two.

And the Giants...well, all they did was load the bases with one out in the 1st inning, then strike out two consecutive times to end the inning with a whimper.

See? That's the lesson here -- if you are going to make some offensive noise and strike out twice in an inning, it's best to get the two strikeouts out of the way first.

Giants, Giants -- if lose another series you must, at least put up some runs and make it worth watching. If the Giants can't score runs in this ballpark against this pitching staff, it's going to be a very long rest of the season.

Aaron Harang has now struck out four Giants in a row. They're making him look like Superman.

(insert wordless cry of frustration and anguish here)

UPDATE: The End is upon us -- Pedro Feliz has drawn two walks in his first two plate appearances. Abandon Hope, All Ye Who Enter Here!

Ah, nevermind. It doesn't mean anything.

UPDATE (part deux): Okay, I told 'em to score, and that they did. Randy Winn goes deep again, and...Todd Linden. You just don't know how happy that makes me, that Linden was able to smack one out of the park. Hopefully he can build some confidence from that -- I really, really want to see this guy translate some of that Fresno hitting to the bigs. I was typing, Winn hits a double and the Giants have more runners on with only one out -- they are consistently putting men on base, so that does indeed bode well for their scoring chances.

Mmmmmmm, runs.

Dude. Score.

Score more, at least.

As has been written here and spoken of many other places, the Giants are facing a lot of tough, tough pitching since the All-Star break. But nevertheless, it is very tough to watch them at the plate.

In 29 games since the Break, the Giants have been held to one, single run 10 times. Unsurprisingly, they have a record of 1-9 in those games. Six other times they have scored either two or three runs, and they are 2-4 in those games. They've only won two of the last nine series they've played.

I'll not wish for a better baseball team, because that's not going to happen. But what I wish for, at least, is a more exciting baseball team. Shouldn't really matter, but I'm thinking this is one of the most bland group of dudes I've ever seen in orange and black. 'Course, that could be the .431 winning percentage talking, there.

Silver linings:
  • Bullpen. It continues to be very good, and could even be better -- if a superfluous player or two is given his walking papers after the season ends...or even now. Who are those players? One is the ever present, ever-mediocre Jason Christiansen. I don't think he'll be back next year, but can't be totally certain -- he shouldn't have been around this long. Of course, Joe Morgan would think Christiansen should be re-signed, since he's 6-1 this year and Morgan only looks at wins/losses, not any other stats.
  • The other? Jeff Fassero. He's been oh, so useful on this team, and I'm pretty sure he'll be able to play another year for another team doing the same kinds of things he did this year: long relief, spot start, mop up...whatever the team needs. On the flip side, though, he's 42 years old, and when he loses it for good, he'd better not be on the Giants. You got more out of him than other teams have in the last few years, Brian Sabean, but now it's time to cut bait and let him go.

Who would I like to see in their place? Jack Taschner. Let's get another guy in there who can miss bats and strike some guys out. Save a spot for Brad Hennessey as well -- by the time this year is over and he's shown that starting isn't likely to be his thing, he can migrate into the role Fassero occupied.

It's going to be interesting watching Armando Benitez come back and...well, pitch. I think it's pretty obvious at this point he was a waste of money on two different counts: 1) the Giants are a bad team, and bad teams don't really need seven-million-dollar-per-year closers, and 2) the bullpen has become good without him. It's not that Benitez can't come back and be as good as he has been -- if that happens, yes, the bullpen will be a little bit better, but Sabean has to now realize the smartest move would've been to re-sign Dustin Hermanson for the same two million the White Sox signed him for and use that extra five million dollars per year to shore up the other weaknesses on the team.

But perhaps not -- it's obvious that Sabes doesn't mind spending many millions on the bullpen. With Benitez and LaTroy Hawkins, and Scott Eyre likely cashing in to some degree over the winter, it's looking like the Giants will have somewhere around 15 million dollars of their payroll tied up in three relief pitchers -- or, about 1/6th of the team's current payroll for a bit less than 1/8th of the total players.

Doesn't that sound like odd figures for relief pitching? Doesn't that sound like...too much? For comparison's sake, 15 million is about the same amount that the St. Louis Cardinals pay for the services of Albert Pujols and Reggie Sanders. Three relief pitchers are worth more than Phat Albert and a decent corner outfielder?

Color me skeptical.


1, 2, 3.


Sunday, August 14, 2005

Goodbye, Woody

You gave us all you had, and made more out of it than any other player I've seen. There was no way you should've had the success you had, but the fact that you did have it is a testament to your intelligence and willpower.

Good luck in anything you do. You were a good Giant -- in many ways, one of the best Giants.

Kirk Rueter's statistics.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

That was impressive

Man, I made a small entry about how impressive Kevin Correia was in his eight strikeout performance against the Braves on Wednesday. I guess Noah Lowry will now deserve a large entry in his honor, or at least two small ones.

Dude, he was good.

I've never seen a pitcher this the plate. Oh, and he can pitch a bit, too.

I'm really not kidding when I say that Father Alou needs to think about batting Lowry higher in the order. He looks a sight better at the plate than Deivi Cruz does most times, and seeing how Lowry's stats are better than Cruz' (.282/.333/.410 vs .258/.295/.374, respectively), I think that it's a valid consideration. Did you know Lowry's .744 OPS is better than all Giants position players except Ray Durham, Moises Alou, Lance Niekro, and was better than Randy Winn's, too, until Winn's recent surge since joining the Giants.

They've pinch-hit Lowry a couple of times this season, already, but I want to see a little thinking outside the box and see the guy hit maybe 7th or 8th in the order.

Well, anyhow, onto that little pitching thing the guy does, too.

For all of us pessismists (or, realists, if you prefer) who realize the Giants won't be coming back in this race, Lowry and Kevin Corriea can give us reasons to get excited over these games. Despite the fact that Florida had neither Carlos Delgado or Paul LoDuca, you still have to get excited when the guy can totally shut down a playoff-contending team on four hits over 7 1/3 innings.

I feel a bit sorry for Dontrelle Willis, who finally pitched well against the Giants -- if you had told the guy before the game that he was going to go eight strong innings, allow only one run, and still lose...heh, he'd have been at least a little skeptical, I'm sure.

And, before I forget, how's about that Jeremy Accardo? He came in with men on 1st and 2nd base in the 8th, and got an inning ending double play on one, single pitch to Miguel Cabrera. And we can't forget Todd Linden, either, because he got himself a solid single and made a crucial catch in the 7th to end the inning with two on and two outs -- in foul ground, right before almost going ass-over-appetite on the Marlins low bullpen fence in RF. Doesn't sound like anything you haven't seen before, until you add in the fact that Accardo, along with Linden, didn't get any sleep the night before while finding a way to get to Florida to join the team.

Apparently when someone first set their flight up out of Fresno, CA, where the Giants AAA affiliate is based, they misread the AM/PM of the flight. So when Accardo and Linden when to catch the plane at 9PM (they had to be pulled from a game Linden was actually playing in just to go), the flight didn't exist -- it was a 9AM flight. So, they did what would occur naturally to anyone with a brain: they drove for three hours to San Francisco to catch a red-eye flight that stopped in Dallas before flying on to Miami.

Ah, youth. Ah, persistence. Is there any doubt these two guys want to stick and stay with the big club? Apparently it's likely with Linden (hooray!), as Felipe was quoted saying that Linden would indeed probably remain with the club the rest of the season, and get a good amount of playing time while doing so. Some of that might come at the expense of O&B favorite Jason Ellison, but it's something that makes sense and has to be done. Ellison is a handy 4th outfielder (a newer version of Calvin Murray who every now and then actually gets a hit or two), but Linden's offensive potential must be tested -- it's definitely head and shoulders above Elly's, that's for sure.

Oh, and yes, Randy Winn. Things like this seem destined to happen, what with Murphy and his Law always hanging around me. When you consider that the offense for three of the Giants seven wins in their last 14 games have come off of homers from Winn (in two games), and Brad Hennessey, well, it really shouldn't fill you with confidence. But those wins count just the same, and Winn has provided the big blows offensively for two games in a row, now.

Despite my still-firm opinion of the trade (bad), I must admit, Winn does seem to "fit" in with the club.

Friday, August 12, 2005

All According to Plan

That series went about how I figured it would. Check out the prediction if you don't believe me. To Gamesix: man, I should've bet you on this one.

In the last two games, the Giants have went directly opposite to the credo of "Score early, score often", instead opting to score seldomly early and score often late. Last night, it actually earned them a victory.

So the Giants end up in this series just confusing us even more -- laying an egg against what should have been a hittable pitcher on Tuesday in Horacio Ramirez, then rallying against much better pitchers the next two nights. They end up winning one, although they could have taken two.

Yep, sounds about par for the course.

The Giants refusal to be anything definitive (competitive or just plain bad) has been reeling us along all season. As Pops is wont to say, they are a team that is just good enough to lose (although in fairness Pops normally says that about the Golden State Warriors).

But, as another day goes by, the standing remain unchanged -- 8.5 back and no hope. However, the Dodgers are tantalizingly close at only a game and a half ahead of the Giants. Someone, either Lefty or Grant, I believe, stated catching the Dodgers as a goal that was not only realistic, but worthy. I wholeheartedly agree.

It's no shame to be out of it, really. Things have happened for the Giants pretty much like many have expected. The Giants had to make up ground while the Padres were reeling, and they did make up a bit -- but unfortunately the Padres have now won 7 of their last 10 and are now showing their mediocrity to be of slightly higher quality than the other "contenders" in the division.

Other teams are in the process of biting the dust, too. It has only taken a week for the Brewers and Cubs to eliminate themselves from contention, bringing the NL wildcard race down to a mere pittance: five teams still vying for one spot (pardon my French, but I call them the Clusterfuck Five, because all five teams are within four games of each other).

So it's onward and downward to Florida, where the Giants will face more Competent Pitchers and Good Hitters. There'll be no respite, as they'll have to run the gauntlet of Dontrelle Willis (still looking for his 1st career win vs. the Giants), Josh Beckett, and A.J. Burnett to achieve victory. Oh, and let's not forget the genuinely potent hitting of Miguel Cabrera and Carlos Delgado.

Doesn't look good, does it?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

That was cool.

Just wanted to have an entry to give some kudos to Kevin Correia, who gave us all a glimpse of what his ceiling is as a pitcher yesterday. Boy, that kid has some stuff. More control is needed, obviously, and he's just got to figure out a way to not give up home runs, but striking out eight batters against a competent, quality team can't be ignored.

Brad Hennessey's had some quality starts this year, but Correia is simply capable of doing more than Hennessey can -- the ability to stop a hitter from even putting the ball into play can't be overstated enough when figuring out how good a pitcher can be.

But, well, it's only one game. However, in this year of disappointment, I like to look for any silver linings in this dark cloud.

Nasty Surprise

Well, that sucked.

When I checked the pitching matchups for the Braves series on Tuesday, it listed Horacio Ramirez, Kyle Davies, and John Smoltz as the probables for this series. I was a bit more optimistic than I would normally have been, because the Giants would miss Tim Hudson and Jorge Sosa.

Uh, no.

I got a rude shock when I first tuned into yesterday's 5-4 extra innings loss to the Braves after I heard Dave Fleming utter the name, "Smoltz". This, I took to mean that Smoltz had something to do with the current game, and I further projected that it may even mean that he was pitching in the current game, seeing as how that's his job and all.


Upon verifying that yes, Smoltz was indeed pitching in that game and had made the start, I realized it was Wednesday. The schedule had Smoltz slotted in on Thursday. Wednesday is not Thursday.

After coming to the conclusion that if Smoltz was pitching on Wednesday, it was highly unlikely that he would pitch again on Thursday, I took step to ascertain which Atlanta Braves pitcher would start for them on Thursday.

Tim Hudson. Gr-r-r-r-reat.

Not that it matters, anyway. I wrote back on July 25th (when the Giants were seven games back) that the Giants had to close the gap on the Padres to around three games before the month was out, because their August schedule was too tough to hope to gain any ground, and because the Padres would win some games sooner or later.

Well, the Giants didn't close the gap as much as I figured they'd need to, the Padres did go on a five game winning streak, and the Giants are beginning to stumble through their August schedule. They are now 8.5 back, and facing Tim Hudson.

I'm not really bitter, but I had quite a few heated discussions with people over the last few weeks about the Giants chances to come back, with people calling me different sorts of names when I expressed that the Giants had little to no chance. Most of this took place when the Giants were anywhere from 7.5 to 5.5 games out, a week or more ago.

This team is capable of being competitive on a given day, but is not playoff worthy. Miracles do happen, but I'm not going to waste anymore keystrokes on the Giants "playoff chances" this season.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

I don't know what could've made you do that...could it be, uhmmm, SATAN!?

All references to Dana Carvey aside, this whole thing with Larry Krueger, Felipe Alou, and KNBR has just gotten out of hand.

Krueger, along with two other employees of the radio station, were fired last night as a result of Krueger's remarks and a series of silly reactions.

Everything was done incorrectly by everyone. Everything. Everyone.

Obviously, the real "brain dead" person to begin all of this was Krueger himself. Do I think the "Caribbean" remarks were racist? No. Were they about as stupid as they could be? Yep.

Krueger's suspension of a week was not enough. It should've been a month. Again, not because of the racial overtones of the remark, but because of the sheer idiocy of saying something like that on a popular radio station. KNBR should've known better -- they had to suspend Krueger for a month, even if they didn't agree with the length of the suspension and even if the knew Krueger's remarks weren't meant in the strict sense of how it was said.

That being said, Felipe got silly himself. Ridiculously stubborn throughout this process, he referred to Krueger as being in league with Satan, of all people/entities. That's loopy. Be offended if you like, I would understand that, and I even understand Alou not accepting Krueger's apology. But to go on national t.v. (ESPN) and invoke the name of Satan?


So, with all of this going on, what does KNBR do the next morning? Why, run a parody of Alou complete with South Park soundbites and all, mocking him for the Satan reference.

Uh, fellas? Remember? Popular radio station? People are listening, you idiots. They're waiting for the next stupid mistake, and apparently, morning show producer Tony Rhein was willing to provide one.

So, out goes Krueger and Rhein. And, probably caught in the crossfire, out goes program director Bob Agnew. He may not have had much to do with any of this, but heck, guilty by association. He's been working at the station since 1989, but out he goes!

2005 is turning out to be really crappy all-around. We have Bonds' injury and Steroid Watch, we have the poor performance of the team, we have the GM of the club picking up players who've tested positive for banned substances, we have near-zero impact trade deadline deals, and now we have the Caribbean Satan Scandal.

Sheesh. I think I'm going to watch the video of last night's Royals game, where they gave up a five run lead in the 9th inning by allowing 11 runs to the Indians to lose the game and extend their losing streak to 11 games.

That ought to cheer me up.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

VICTORY! Well, kinda...

(Thanks to Doug of Westwood Blues for turning me onto this wonderful bit of news)

Well, well, well...

When he first arrived, Alex Sanchez might as well have been pronounced D.O.A. (dead on arrival) for all the help he provided to the San Francisco Giants.

Now, he's been DFA'd (designated for assignment). Ha! I kill me.


This means, technically, that the "The Count-Up of How Many Days Late Brian Sabean is in Letting That Useless Hunk of Protoplasm Alex Sanchez Go" Campaign is a success, finally grinding to a halt after 45 days of misery.

So, does that mean I'll go ahead and take down the count-up on that thar sidebar?


All this does is irritate me, really. DFA'd? How about OR'd (outright released)?

No, it doesn't mean I'll be taking down the count-up, it means I'll be altering it. Ladies and gentlemen (I use the term loosely), get ready for the new campaign:

The "Count-Up of How Many Days Late Brian Sabean is in Getting That Useless Hunk of Protoplasm Alex Sanchez Out of the Organization" Campaign!

The count will begin at 45, and will not stop until that light-hitting, non-walking, non-power-having, non-catching, useless-speed-having poor excuse for an outfielder no longer draws a paycheck from the San Francisco Giants organization.

Let the Revolution Begin!

A sliver of light

In looking at the pitching matchups against the Atlanta Braves, I noticed an opportunity for the Giants.

The Braves will send three starting pitchers against the Giants in this series, and none of them are named Tim Hudson or Jorge Sosa.

They don't get to dodge the bullet of John Smoltz, but missing Hudson and Sosa will have to do. Hudson is damned good and Sosa -- well, he's having a good year despite walking a lot of hitters (something the hack-happy Giants probably wouldn't take advantage of in any case).

The two pitchers they'll face not named Smoltz are Horacio Ramirez and Kyle Davies. Both aren't particularly impressive statistically, as Davies has a problem with the walk (issues a walk every other inning, on average), and Ramirez has a problem with the gopher ball (21 given up in 137 innings pitched). In addition, Ramirez has a horrible K rate, striking out less than three batters per nine innings (he actually has two more walks than strikeouts). Both pitchers are allowing opposing hitters a batting average in the .270's and an OPS in the high 700's.

Sounds like an opportunity to me.

Of course, the Giants aren't exactly sending up top-notch pitchers, either, but Brad Hennessey has put up some quality starts recently, and Kevin Correia...well, I don't think he's hurt himself or anything, so at least he's healthy. Correia hasn't been absolutely horrible, but he's got to cut down on the home runs and walks -- I mentioned Ramirez and Davies each having a problem with home runs and walks, respectively, well Correia has a problem with both, giving up homers at a higher rate than Ramirez and giving up walks at about the same rate as Davies.

Hennessey, too, has given up quite a few homers, but seems to have an "ability" to keep most of them to solo shots (perhaps he simply challenges hitters more when there isn't anyone on base, I'm not sure). However, Hennessey has looked good in four of his last five starts, so we'll see if he can keep that rolling.

The final game will be very interesting (well, more so if the Giants manage to not lose the first two) as Noah Lowry squares off vs. Smoltz. Lowry's numbers are really coming into line: his walk rate is getting pretty low (2.38/9 innings), his strikeout rate is very solid (7.99/9 innings), his WHIP is coming down to respectable levels (1.38 currently), and opponents are teeing off on him anymore (.250 batting average against, .402 SLG against).

Smoltz is, of course, Smoltz. It'll be interesting to see if this guy makes one more switch -- he's already went from starter to closer and back to starter -- but I want to see if he has enough left to reach a certain milestone.

He currently has 175 wins for his career, and I don't think it's a stretch to think that he can get to 200. However, he'll probably need the rest of this season, all of next season, and a bit besides to get there. The way he's going right now, I think that's definitely attainable.

He also has 154 career saves. I don't think it's a stretch to think that he could get to 200 saves in a bit over a season and change of work as a closer, but it's hard to envision him going back to that role unless he loses some effectiveness as a a starter -- and if he loses effectiveness as a starter, who's to say that won't mean he's losing it for good?

The reason why I bring this up is I cannot think of a pitcher who has 200 wins and 200 saves. I'm too lazy to look really deep into it, but the pitcher who came to mind first as a candidate who might was Dennis Eckersley, but as it turns out, Eck did have the 390 career saves, but only 197 career wins. Juuuust short. I couldn't think of any other successful closers who were also starters for a long period of time off the top of my head -- does anyone want to see if they can find a pitcher with 200 career wins and 200 career saves?

Oh, and Smoltz also is closing in on 3,000 strikeouts, another big milestone. With a little under 500 to go, I'd think he'd need another three full years as a starter to get there (performing, at least, at his current level). That one might prove to be tough, and stands less chance of happening if Smoltz does happen to go back to a closer's role anytime soon.

Should be fun...unless the Giants get their lunch money stolen again. Then, it won't be quite so much fun.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Good Job

Congrats to the Giants.

Sounds a bit odd coming from me, especially since the Giants lost yesterday 8-1 to the Astros. But they deserve every bit of it.

Yesterday's game I'm writing off. It was a really impossible combination of Roger Clemens and a bit of bad luck finally catching up with Scott Eyre. Clemens' performance was very good, but I do give the Giants credit for putting balls into play -- they only struck out four times vs. the Rocket over seven innings, which is a minor accomplishment in and of itself.

Eyre was simply due some bad luck. He's pitched so well all season, and I'm sure he'll continue to pitch well the rest of the season. Hey, sometimes sh-- just happens, and feces did indeed happen in the form of a two-out rally vs. Scott yesterday.

How's about Brian Cooper, though? Called up for an emergency start, and all he does is come as close as one can usually get in matching Clemens pitch-for-pitch -- their lines were very similar yesterday. Apparently Brett Tomko has a sore foot and couldn't go yesterday, and Kirk Rueter had to go on the DL for gout, of all things. Not used to seeing Woody on the DL.

Over this weekend that saw my prediction of the Giants sweeping the Astros almost come to pass:
  • Randy Winn. What can I say? The guy is doing it, and doing it in very exciting fashion. Am I ready to eat crow as far as the trade for him? Heck no -- if he can continue to put up an OPS of 1.031 the rest of the season, well, I'll take my crow fried in butter, olive oil, onions, and garlic cloves, please. Otherwise, I'll give the guy some credit -- he seems to be as advertised (solid player), but I'll point out that despite his superb performance and the Giants taking 2 of 3 from the Astros, that the Giants have fallen back another game to 7.5 back.
  • Ray Durham seems to be fully back into form. Despite his slow start, all his stats are currently in-line with previous years, and he seems on his way to another solid season production-wise at the plate. And, something I mentioned before, even with all of his normal nagging injury problems, he's still on pace to play more games this season than his last two with the Giants (110 in 2003, 120 in 2004, on pace for 137 in 2005). While I think trading him wouldn't have been a bad idea, except for a some irritating defensive lapses and the injury woes, Durham earns his contract at the plate.
  • A guy who is, without doubt, earning his contract dollars is Mike Matheny. There isn't any way that anybody thought he'd hit like this in this park. But nevertheless, he is hitting like this, so I tip my cap to him.
  • Between Jason Schmidt and Noah Lowry, the Giants have two of the more devastating change-ups in the league -- and boy, is it fun to watch when they are on. Both pitchers have a need to be able to locate their fastballs to take full advantage of how nasty their change-ups are.
  • I officially state that Jason Ellison is settled in defensively. Regardless of my opinion of Winn being in CF over Elly, the fact remains that Elly should still cover a lot of ground in RF, and should be able to show off his arm even better from a corner OF spot as opposed to all the longer, more difficult throws from CF. And the diving catch and double play he made yesterday was sick, just sick.

Here's to hoping the Giants can continue to play good baseball. It's just a shame that when opportunity knocked in the form of the Rockies, the Giants didn't answer the door. They did very well to take 2 of 3 from the Astros, but unforunately things have worked out towards something I mentioned before -- the Padres have finally started winning again, now having earned four wins in a row.

This is the problem with having so much ground to make up. Things have to go almost perfectly for the Giants to come back, and there just isn't the luxury to lose 2 of 3 to the Rockies or lose on a day when the Padres win. Everytime those types of things happen it drives another nail in the Giants coffin for this year.