Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Parade Day AQA

I'm currently researching a couple of posts on Bruce Bochy and Brian Sabean and their places in baseball history.  That's gonna take little while.  In the meantime, we haven't done a Q/A in awhile and folks seem to like them.  Fire away.  Ask anything baseball related.  Giants, Farm, Draft, Fantasy.  This is a community so feel to add your 1 cents worth to the answers.

Dr B

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Down on the Farm: AFL Report 10/29/2012

Scottsdale Scorpions stung the Peoria Javalinas 7-1:

Gary Brown(LF)- 3 for 4.  BA= .308.
Joe Panik(SS)- 1 for 4.  BA= .250.
Heath Hembree(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.50.

Hembree now has 10 K's against 2 BB in 6 IP in the AFL.  Gary Brown now has the #20 highest BA in the AFL as sample size has brought some of the rabbits back to the pack.  He has a .378 OBP but has been caught 3 times in 4 SB attempts.

Some news from other winter leagues:

Todd Linden is tearing up the Dominican Winter League hitting .407/.500/.741 with 2 HR's in 27 AB.

Roger Kieschnick is hitting well with a .303/.378/.485 line with 2 dingers in 33 AB, also in the DWL.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Game Wrap 2012 World Series Game 4: Giants 4 Tigers 3

Game 4 of the 2012 World Series was a hard fought, tense see-saw battle that went to extra innings in some of the worst weather I've ever seen baseball played in.  In the end, the Giants prevailed with their tried and true formula of great pitching and defense with just enough timely hitting and a whole lot of torture for the fans thrown in.  Key Lines:

Marco Scutaro- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .250.  Scooter was on base for Posey's HR that temporarily gave the Giants a 3-2 lead, and he drove in the winning run with Riot scoring from 2B in the top of the 10'th inning.

Buster Posey- 1 for 4, HR.  BA= .267.  Buster had looked pretty bad in previous AB's. He just looked exhausted and worn down.  Great players rise to the occasion and overcome those things when the chips are down and did Buster ever?  2 run dinger in the bottom of the 6'th was what allowed this game to get to extra innings.  Buster, as always, was very aware of the importance of closing the World Series out with this game mentioning that if the Giants lost, Verlander would be coming after them in Game 5 and who knows what might happen after that?

Hunter Pence- 1 for 4, 2B. BA= .286. Pence started the scoring for the Giants by doubling off the left-CF wall in the top of the 2'nd, then coming home on Belt's triple.  Pence looked much more comfortable at the plate in the last couple of games of the series with a little less shoulder flying.

Brandon Belt- 1 for 3, 3B, BB.  BA= .077.  Belt was having an embarrassing series but came out swinging with authority in this one.  He took the first pitch he saw from Mad Max Scherzer and lined down the RF line off the wall for an RBI triple.  In a later AB facing one of the Tigers LHP's out of the bullpen, he struck out but took 3 very authoritative swings at the ball in the process.  Good signs.

Ryan Theriot- 1 for 4.  BA= .200.  MCC had a freakout when Theriot was announced as the DH, but even they admitted that there were no other options that an overwhelming argument could be made for.  Bochy wanted a guy who could make contact and some veteran savvy.  It looked like a bad call until the 10'th inning when he led off with a bloop single to right-CF and eventually scored on Scutaro's game winner.

Brandon Crawford- 1 for 3, Sac.  BA= .250.  More scintillating defense from the young SS. After Cabrera's wind blown HR, Fielder hit a ball up the middle that literally knocked Crawford off his feet.  He stayed with it, got up and gunned down the slow-footed one to restore order and keep the game from getting out of hand.  There were other excellent plays to numerous to recall all of them.  Arias had gotten a bat in the dugout to face the LHP until Theriot got on.  Crawford was sent out to bunt and laid down a perfecto that set up the game winning hit from Scooter.

Matt Cain- 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.86.  Matt Cain gave up 3 runs on 2 HR balls.  Both HR's had a howling tailwind out to RF.  Fangraphs quoted a study that had the cold weather shortening the distance by 8 feet on Cabrera's dinger but the tailwind adding a whopping 40 feet.  In normal conditions, there is no park it would have gotten out of.  No word on Delmon Young's HR but it didn't look like it was hit as hard as Cabrera's.  So, take away those two extremely wind-aided HR's, Matt Cain would have pitched a line of 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  Matt Cain is still THE MAN.  Not nearly enough credit for a QS in extreme conditions.

Jeremy Affledt- 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  Affledt's cumulative postseason line:  0-0, 0.00, 10.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K's.  Credit to Bochy for using him in exactly the right situations and to Affeldt for executing almost perfectly.

Santiago Casilla- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Casilla broke Omar Infante's hand with a heat seeker before getting Laird on a fielder's choice grounder to Pablo.  Casilla was certainly not trying to hit Infante but man, the Fox slo mo's and freeze frames were brutal. Man, that looked painful! Not sure the high def pics are such a good thing in that situation.  Anyway, here's Casilla's cumulative line for the postseason:  1-0, 1.29, 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K's.  Casilla can be frustrating to watch at times but arms like his don't grow in trees.  Hope he's back next year.

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, Save(3).  ERA= 0.00.  As Sergio Romo dominated the Tigers in the 10'th, my daughter who is a huge Brian Wilson fan turned to me and said, "you know, I don't think the Giants need to bring Brian Wilson back because Romo has proven he can be the closer."  I agree.  Only concern would be stamina over a full season of closing.  Here's Romo's cumulative line for the postseason:  1-0, 0.84, 10.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K's, 4 Saves.  I don't think we need to get into Romo's sensational gutsy third strike to Cabrera.  It's been discussed ad nauseum(deservedly so, BTW) around the internet today.  Fangraphs has a whole article devoted to it.  Summary:  Romo has not just one, but two very nasty pitches to work with.  Batters sit on the slider at their own peril.

The Win gives the Giants a sweep of the 2012 World Series.  They have now won the World Series 2 of the last 3 seasons.  The last NL team to do that was the Big Red Machine of the 1970's.  Think about that!  I could be wrong but I do think the Big Red Machine won back-to-back Championships at some point.

Parade on Halloween.  Next game is Opening Day 2013!

Thanks to everybody for following the blog through another long, but wonderful season.  Check back during the offseason. I will be posting often, but possibly not daily.  Depends on if I have something to say.

Right now, I'm just trying to wrap my head around what we've all just witnessed and have been witnessing for the last 3+ years.

Bloggers Note

Hey team!  Too much to read on the internets this morning.  Gotta get to work. I'll post a complete Game Wrap this evening.  Sorry for the delay.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

2012 World Series Game 4 Live Blog

Hey, back for Game 4.  Matt Cain tries to finish this one off.

I didn't think that football game was ever going to end.  The NFL has become a violent version of flag football.

What a horrible National Anthem!  That girl should not be judging anybody!

The hyperventilation crowd over at MCC is freaking out over Ryan Theriot being the DH.  No great options.  Theriot is the most likely to get a bat on the ball.

Here we go.  Pagan leads off with a K.

Scherzer made quick work of the Giants in the top of the first.  Now it's up to Cainer to answer that.  Berry gives Cain a battle but finally grounds out.  Ooh!  I'm not sure Cabrera went around on that!

Cain gets out of the first by striking out Fielder but threw a lot of pitches.

Buster Posey is out of sorts at the plate.  Another K looking!   Pence, on the other hand, seems to be not out of sorts anymore.  Brandon Belt comes out swinging and drives in Pence from 2B with a triple that bangs off the RF wall down the line!  Yes!!

Blanco at least got the ball in play, but not where it could drive in Belt.  Riot put a charge in it but with a bit too much hang time.  Giants up  1-0 in the 2'nd.  So far, the first team to score has proven to be a huge advantage.  Shut 'em down, Cainer!

Nice AB by Crawford who ended up beating out an IF hit.  Another ball crushed by Pagan that dies on the warning track.  Pablo singles with 2 outs.  Time for Buster to come through.  Not a strong swing from Buster.  He just looks gassed.

Scary play there on the bunt.  Nice play by Panda with a good dig by Belt.  2 outs with Miggy Cab at the plate.  Wow!  That one kept carrying!  2-1 Tigers.  Fielder hits a scorcher that knocked Crawford off his feet but Brandon stayed with it and easily throws him out.  Giants offense needs to answer back here.

Looks like Scherzer did not want any part of Brandon Belt there.  Ump took away a walk for Blanco followed by a K/throw out DP.  That wasn't good!

Gotta say, the first and third base umps have a quick trigger on the check swings tonight.  Personally, I think most check swings go around and not enough strikes are called on them.  Cainer sets 'em down in the 4'th.

Gotta say, every year they play the World Series in ridiculous conditions, although Texas vs SF in 2010 was nice.

Ha!  Brandon Belt comes charging in on the bunt by Laird who bunts a line drive that Belt had to leap to catch.  Funny looking play!  Another nice play by Crawford to keep Cabrera in the on-deck circle!

Scooter beats out a chopper down the 3B line to lead off the 6'th.  Time to get a run or two here!  Hate to say it, but that's a big K for Scherzer to get Panda there.  Come on Buster!  Yes!!!

OK.  Giants have the lead back.  Need  a shut down inning here in the bottom of the 6'th.

MCab K's on a nasty slider down and away.  Fielder pops up.  2 down.  Dang it!  A mistake to Young who drives it into the wind tunnel in RF.  Game tied.  You don't want RH batters hitting it to RF tonight!  OK. Peralta is having a bad series.  Gotta get him here!  Swing and miss at  a breaking ball but it was up in the zone.  Another one goes foul. Whew! That was close!  Cainer looks like he's about done.

Leadoff single by Blanco a good way to start the inning.  Stays out of the DP by running.  Oh well, it's as good as a sac bunt.  Might want to consider PH Arias for Crawford here, but do you take out Crawford's D with the game tied?  Lost opportunity.  Aaack!

Hold 'em here and Scooter leads off next inning.  Cainer gets through 7'th easily.  We might even see him in the 8'th.  OK, offense.  Time for a run or two.

Scooter leads off with a walk.  Leyland doesn't turn Sandoval around by brining in Coke.  Looks like Bochy just walked over and told Cain is work is done.  Dang it!  Sandoval hits it hard down the line but right at Fielder who steps in first and hangs up Scooter for the DP.  Darn!  Buster was going for it on that one swing there.  Buster K's.  Affeldt coming in to face the heart of the beast.

Affeldt walks Avisail Garcia after a prolonged AB but then gets Cabrera and Fielder easily.  And he K's Delmon Young on a nasty breaking ball.  Come on, offense!

Pence K's looking.  It was a nasty pitch.  Two LH batters up now facing the LHP Coke.  I'm impressed by Belt's swings here.  Good  AB so far.  Belt K's swinging but he got several healthy cuts in there.  Good AB!  And Blanco goes down.  Looks like this will be a game of bullpen attrition.  I think you gotta go with Affeldt for another inning here.

That flyball that Pagan tracked down off Peralta was a bit of an adventure.  Casilla in.  I'd say there is a high probability that Infante's hand is broken on that HBP.  Casilla out of the inning with a fielder's choice grounder by Laird to Sandoval.

Riot delivers a leadoff bloop single.  Arias had a bat, but Crawford stays in to bunt.  Textbook bunt!  Pagan K's on a nasty breaking ball.  Come on, Scooter! Yes!!!  Scooter comes through once again.  He's hitting something like .800 with RISP.

Romo time!  Anyone still mad that Riot was the DH?  Jackson K's.  2 outs to go!  Romo's 2 seam fastball has almost as much movement in the opposite direction as his slider.  The LHB K's on 2 seamers. 1 out to go, but it's Miggy Cab!  Strike 2! And Romo blows a fastball down the middle for strike 3!  Giants are the 2012 World Series Champions!!!!!!

What a triumph for Brian Sabean, Bruce Bochy and yes, Larry Baer!  What a redemption for Pablo Sandoval after getting benched for the 2010 run.  What a redemption for Barry Zito too!  He was completely left off the 2010 postseason roster!  Ryan Vogelsong's journey is now complete too.  So many great stories on this team!

Thanks to everybody for following along.  Thanks for the great comments.  Full Game Wrap to follow, probably in AM.

Game Wrap World Series Game 3: Giants 2 Tigers 0

The story of this World Series continued to be the Giants pitching and defense absolutely suffocating a heavily favored Tigers team as the Giants took a 3-0 lead in the 2012 World Series on a cold night in Detroit.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .300.  Pence scored the first run after the walk.  One of the hits was a swinging bunt on the IF, but Pence seems to have settled down a lot at the plate in his last few games.

Brandon Belt- 0 for 4, 3 K's.  BA= .000.  Absolutely dreadful night for Belt at the plate who struck out looking twice.  At least he got the bat off his shoulder for the last K.

Gregor Blanco- 1 for 4, 3B.  BA= .273.  Terrific night for Blanco who drove in the first run with a triple off the right-CF wall then scored the insurance run on Crawford's single.  He also went down into the LF corner to catch a  hooking drive that Peralta hit to lead off the 9'th inning that was quite remarkable.  That he was able to do it without slamming into the wall was a testament to his tremendous athletic ability in addition to his speed.  Big, big out there.

Hector Sanchez- 0 for 4, 3 K's.  BA= .000.  I'm not sure it's fair to let Hector sit around for days on end then put him out there in a World Series game on a freezing cold night and expect anything else.  He does seem to have all of a sudden developed Brandon Belt disease at the plate with way too many K's while looking.

Brandon Crawford- 2 for 3, SB(1).  BA= .222.  After The Hector struck out looking with 1 out and a Blanco on 3'rd, Crawford calmly stroked one to CF to pick up his teammate and get the extra run home.  That was the end of the scoring for the game.

Ryan Vogelsong- 5.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  I think we can finally officially start writing the screenplay for the movie The Ryan Vogelsong Story.  This was his 4'th consecutive biggest game of his life and he came through each and every one.  He will likely never pitch a bigger game than this one no matter what happens the remainder of his playing career.  Gutsy performance, but that's the norm for Vogey.  First, he had to fight off a ridiculous strike zone that was severely asymmetrical towards the opposing pitcher.  Vogey couldn't get a strike called above the belt while Sanchez lived at the letters all night.  Fortunately, Vogey was still able to paint the corners down in the zone just enough to keep the Tigers in check.  He got help from his defense, but hey, that's part of the game.  Had to laugh at Grant over on MCC(yes, I still go over there occasionally) who commented on the Giants making various pantomime gestures and that after he struck out Berry and got Miggy Cabrera to pop up with the bases loaded in the 5'th, he could have pantomimed pushing a wheelbarrow as he walked off the mound.  I'll let you figure out what he would be carrying in that wheelbarrow.  LOL!  Anyway, I think it's safe to say Vogey has reached the pinnacle of his unbelievable comeback story.  Mrs. V can be extremely proud of what her man accomplished out there and what he has accomplished the last 2 years.

If you read Vogey's comments about Mark Gardner and Rags in the article about Gardy on the Giants official website, it is apparent that the Giants pitching coaches really are pitcher fixers and his reunion with them played a big part in Vogey's desire to come back to the Giants and for his success since coming back.

Tim Lincecum- 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Wow! Timmy seems like a completely different person when he's coming out of the bullpen.  There were many times starting this year when he looked like the mound was the last place on Earth he wanted to be.  When he comes in out of the pen, there's a noticeable spring in his step and a look of enthusiasm on his face.  The Tigers are swinging at his dirtballs with regularity.  One of my theories about Timmy's struggles is that NL hitters have seen him enough that they can recognize the splitter as it's coming and lay off it.  The Tigers haven't seen him much, if at all, and it's still a bit of a mystery to them.

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(2).  ERA= 0.00.  The Tigers haven't seen much of Romo's slider either, although Peralta seemed to have it figured out pretty good before Blanco caught up with his drive in foul territory down in the LF corner.

The Win gave the Giants a 3-0 lead in the series.  There have been 23 times in the history of the World Series where a team gets  a 3-0 lead.  20 of those Series have ended in Game 4.  No team has ever come back to win the Series from a 3-0 deficit.  Us Giants fans should know better than anyone, though, that there is a first time for everything.  Max Scherzer is no pushover and Verlander will be looking to avenge his first game loss if the Tigers can get past tonight. That would bring the series back to SF with the Giants only having to win 1, but the two pitchers would be Fister and Sanchez who were both pretty darn good in Games 2 and 3.  So, it ain't over 'til it's over, folks.

Matt Cain facing Scherzer tonight in Game 4.  I think Cainer is the guy we would all pick to close it out.

Go Giants!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

World Series Game 3 Live Blog

Woohoo!  Come on hitters!  Let's get Vogey a lead!

Bugs me how McCarver puts the emphasis on the wrong syllable when he pronounces latino names.

Gotta give credit to Fox for great slo-mo shots of the ball making contact with the bat.

Hmmm......94 MPH with a great change up?  Better hope Vogey can turn this into another pitcher's duel.

Not sure what McCarver is talking about ignoring the radar gun on Vogey.  92-93 is not a bat radar gun reading.  Vogey pounds one inside and Jackson fouls it off his foot.  Ouch!  Weak grounder to 2B.

Ooh!  Close pitch.  Looks like ump may have a tight K zone.  Not sure what McCarver is talking about with the 3-2 count by Vogey.  Maybe he was being sarcastic?   Vogey typically has a lot of 3-2's.

Seeing eye single by Miggy.  Come on!  Get Fielder to hit a grounder!  And Vogey delivers the DP ball!

Shut up, McCarver!  Belt's toe obviously stayed on the bag.  Even Joe Buck sounded annoyed.

Pence draws a 4 pitch walk.  Come on, Belt.  Get one up into that wind blowing out to RF!  Belt keep his bat on his shoulder for strike 3, but Pence steals 2B.  Come on Blanco!

Wild pitch gets Pence to 3B.  Blanco has had a bat habit of looking at strike 3 in these situations.  Gotta put it in play!  Yes, Blanco!  The triple to the right-center gap drives in Pence and replaces him at 3B with just 1 out.

I would say A Sanchez is having trouble gripping the ball.  Nearly threw another one away.

Oh!  You cannot strike out looking with a runner at 3B and less than 2 outs, Hector!

Yes!  Crawford picks up Hector and Austin Jackson overruns another ball in CF!  Opportunity to add on.

OK, I usually defend Tim McCarver but this is getting ridiculous.  When you aren't  getting your pitches over the plate, it's usually a bad sign?  Really, Tim?  I never would have thought of that!

The bottom of the lineup gave Vogey a lead.  Giants pitchers have generally known what to do with leads.  Come on, Vogey!

After throwing more than 20 pitches in the first inning, Vogey gets his pitch count down below 40 through 2 IP.  Statistically, his command gets much better after his first 25 pitches.

And Scutaro is unhappy with the ump!

Oh Pablo! We know you are hot but you can't swing at that crap!  Sanchez uncorks another sailer.

Eeek!  Jackson beats out a dribbler.  McCarver starts going on and on about how the Tigers luck might be turning then Vogey erases them on a DP ball by Berry.  Yes!  Despite those 2 hits in the inning, Vogey is painting the corners with the FB and looking good.

Basehit for Pence who seems to have settled down a lot since I advised him to lay off the caffeine.

The Hector is getting caught with his bat on his shoulder a lot lately.  I think I like Hacking Hector better.

Vogey gets past the big 2 in the middle of the Tigers order.  A couple of strikes got called balls by the ump in that AB by Delmon Young.  Another GB to Scooter to end the inning.  Vogey seems to be rolling now.

Pagan gives it a ride but Jackson catches up with it on the warning track.

Sanchez was running up a healthy pitch count but that was a low pitch inning for him.

Vogey really laboring here.  Not getting much help from the ump.  Bases loaded  with just 1 out.  Heart of the order coming up.  Huge K on Berry.  Now he has to get Miggy Cab with the bases loaded.  Popped him up!! Brilliant gutsy pitching by Vogey there.  Do you let him come back out for the 6'th?

Oh man!  It is so frustrating to watch Belt just stand there and look at strikes go by.  I wonder if the MCC crowd is digging it?

Timmy time!  He gives up a hard hit ball to Peralta but right at Pence to get out of the 6'th inning.  9 outs to go.  Pitching could use an insurance run or two.

Blanco should have been called safe at 1B there.

Wow!  Very inconsistent K zone from this ump, especially at the upper edge although it's not really an edge with this guy.  It's more like an 8 inch vertical area where he randomly calls balls and strikes.

Over on Fangraphs Live Chat they are calling this the worst WS ever.  What a bunch of losers!  They are PO'd that Vogey had a much higher xFIP than Sanchez, yet is winning.

Timmeh!!!!  6 outs to go!  Let's get an insurance run or two.

Heart of the order again.  Still 2-0.  Brandon Crawford! Yes!  Giants fielding comes through once again.  Timmy embarrasses Fielder!  4 outs to go.  Uh oh, now Craw bobbles one and then rushed the throw when he didn't have to.  Belt can't dig it out.  Tigers hitters still not recognizing Timmy's dirt balls.  3 outs to go!

At least Belt went down swinging this time.  Blanco has every reason to be upset with that called third strike.  This has been an unbelieveable horsebleep strike zone tonight.

OK.  Romo time!  3 big outs to go!

Larry Baer looks like he's getting hypothermic.

How on Earth did Blanco ever get to that ball?  Giants defense strikes again!

Can of corn for Pagan.  1 out to go!  Strike 3!  Giants win and take a 3-0 lead in the series.

Giants pitching and defense is absolutely suffocating this Tigers team.

Thanks for following along, everybody.  Commenters too.  Full game wrap to follow.  Maybe in AM.

World Series Game 3 Pregame Live Blog

Hey everybody.  Chilly night in Detroit.  I know the cold can affect pitcher's grips and their feel for the ball, but gotta think it will affect the hitters more.  One of Vogelsong's stocks in trade is his ability to bust the fastball in on the hands.  That will produce a great big ouch tonight.  What to you think?

If you haven't already seen it, my friend ogc is on fire over on his blog, ObsessiveGiantsCompulsive.  Great pregame analysis including some very interesting data on how different umpires may affect pitching performance.  Check it out!

Ugh!  Did they have to show Lasorda in that disgusting Skechers ad?  That's a shoe I definitely won't be buying!

Starting lineups.  Standard postseason lineup except The Hector inserted into the 8 hole as DH with Brandon Crawford hitting 9'th.  I probably would have put the free swinging Sanchez in the 7 hole followed by Crawford and the OBP guy Blanco hitting 9th in front of the top of the lineup, but that's a very minor quibble.

I could be misremembering, but I seem to recall the Giants doing fairly well in Comerica Park.  At least I don't seem to have any emotional scars from it.

Zooey Deschanel is OK, but she's singing that thing way too slow.  Whew, finally got through that!

A bit odd that the Tigers do better against RHP's as they are pretty strongly RH leaning in the lineup.  Bust 'em on the hands on a cold night, Vogey!

Sanchez better against LH batters which tells me the changeup is probably his best pitch.

OK, Game On!

Down on the Farm: AFL Update

I don't think I've updated the AFL for a few days so let's take a look at the last 3 games:

10/24/2012  Scottsdale Scorpions edged the Mesa Solar Sox 4-3:

Gary Brown(LF)- 0 for 3, BB, CS(3).  BA= .258.
Joe Panik(SS)- 0 for 3, BB.  BA= .250.
Chris Dominguez(DH)- 1 for 3, HR(2), BB.  BA= .316.

Gary Brown still getting CS'd a lot.

10/25/2012  Scottsdale Scorpions defeated the Surprise Saguaros 6-3:

Joe Panik(SS)- 1 for 2, 2 BB, SB)(3).  BA= .265.
Dan Runzler(LHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's. ERA= 0.00.
Heath Hembree(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 0 K's.  ERA= 1.80.

Runzler now has 7 K's against 0 BB's in 5 IP in the AFL.  That backs up a K/BB of 34/15 in AAA this year.  Hopefully he's turned a corner in his control struggles.

10/26/2012  Mesa Solar Sox beat the Scottsdale Scorpions 8-4:

Gary Brown(CF)- 1 for 4, BB.  BA= .257.
Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 0 for 3, BB.  BA= .240.
Chris Gloor(LHP)- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.65.
Jacob Dunnington(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.38.

Gloor has had a strong AFL working as a starter with 14 K's against 5 BB's in 17 IP.  I would expect to see him in Fresno in 2013 with the possibility of an emergency callup if needed for either a starting or long relief role.

Be sure to check out a good article on about Giants Scouting Director John Barr and his long relationship with Buster Posey from way back before Barr started working for the Giants.  Also some discussion of how the Giants scouted and signed Brandon Crawford.

Another terrific article on CSN Bay Area about Giants Bullpen Coach Mark Gardner and his relationship with Rags and the Giants pitchers.

Last but not at all least, my friend ogc is on fire over on his website with his World Series game previews.  Today's was especially good with data about how pitchers fare with various umpires.  Great stuff.  Check it out!

Live Blog of tonight's game later.

Go Giants!

Blast From the Past: Memories of the 1965 World Series

I first became aware of Major League Baseball during the 1965 season at the age of 9.  I listened to a handful of Giants games on the radio and listened to a lot of conversation about the pennant race between the Giants and Dodgers.  There was also a lot of talk about the awesomeness of Sandy Koufax, how hard he threw, the arthritis in his elbow, his general unbeatableness.  Naturally I was disappointed that the Giants had lost out in the Pennant race and was intrigued by a team that seemed to have come out of nowhere, the Minnesota Twins.  I barely even knew that the state of Minnesota existed and first learned about the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Back in those days, the standard pitching rotation was just 4 deep and pitchers typically started every 4'th game and were expected to pitch complete games as long as they were winning.  That meant that in the World Series with it's travel days, teams could start their ace pitcher in games 1, 4 and 7 and still have him on his normal schedule of 3 days rest.  A team with a pitcher like Sandy Koufax seemed unbeatable in that scenario.

The Dodgers had Koufax and Drysdale and not a whole lot else.  Their offense basically consisted of Maury Wills getting on base, stealing a lot of bases and scoring a run or 2 per game on things like groundouts and sac flies.  The Twins were a more balanced team with young starters Jim "Mudcat" Grant and lefty Jim Kaat.  They also had a much more potent lineup with AL batting champ Tony Oliva, slugger Harmon Killebrew and AL MVP Zoilo Versalles who had hit 18 HR's as a SS but also committed 39 errors.  It seemed like nobody in our community had ever heard of these Twins players, though.  It was all Koufax and Drysdale and how the Dodgers had beaten the Giants in the pennant race.

I remember being pleasantly surprised when the Twins dominated the first two games in Minnesota and jumped out to a 2 games to 0 lead in the series.  I remember Koufax creating a stir when he refused to pitch the opener because it fell on Yom Kippur.  The Twins lineup battered Drysdale and Grant pitched well for an 8-2 Twins win in the opener.  Then came the real shocker!  In game 2, Jim Kaat outpitched Sandy Koufax and the Twins won game two 5-1.  Hmm... maybe the arthritis had finally gotten to Koufax?  Maybe the young Jim Kaat was the next Sandy Koufax!  Suddenly it was the Twins who were looking unbeatable.

The series moved to LA where Claude Osteen, the forgotten man in the Dodgers rotation was going to try to stave off a third Twins victory and an almost certain Dodgers series defeat.  Well, the forgotten guy went out and pitched a complete game shutout as the Dodgers won game three 4-0.  Grant and Drysdale squared off in game 4 for a redo of Game 1 and this time it was the Dodgers who won easily 7-2.  The series was now evened up.  Koufax and Kaat reprised game 2 with Koufax easily winning 7-0.  So far, the home team had won every game and the series went back to Minnesota for the final two games with the Twins needing to win both to win the series.

The now desperate Twins sent Mudcat Grant out on 2 days rest to face the guy who turned the series around for the Dodgers, Claude Osteen.  Bob Allison hit a 2 run HR early while Grant pitched great and the Twins easily won Game six 5-1 with Grant going all the way on the aforementioned 2 days rest.

For game 7, the Twins sent out Jim Kaat, again on just 2 days rest while the Dodgers countered with Koufax on 2 days rest.  Dodger manager Walter Alston announced his decision to go with Koufax during a tense pregame meeting.   Sweet Lou Johnson, a career minor leaguer who was filling in for the injured Tommy Davis told Koufax he would get him a lead and made good on it with a solo HR in the 4'th.  The Dodgers added another run in the same inning.  Kaat was pulled from the game and the Twins bullpen shut down the Dodgers the rest of the way.  Koufax, on the other hand, pitched a complete game 3 hit shutout while striking out 10 Twins for the second time in the series giving the Dodgers the 4 games to 3 World Series victory.

Of the 14 starts in the series, 4 pitchers, Grant, Kaat, Drysdale and Koufax started 11 of them.  3 of the starts came on 2 days rest.  All 7 winning pitchers threw complete games, the only time that has happened since something like 1913.  It will, obviously, likely never happen again.

This early experience in my baseball fandom taught me some important lessons about the World Series:

1.  Teams that get to the World Series are good and you can't ever count them out until one of them wins 4 games.

2.  Good pitching trumps good hitting.

3.  World Series leads do not mean much until a home team loses.

There have been way too many World Series since then to remember them all.  I'm pretty sure not many have actually played out like the 1965 World Series, but first impressions and experiences are hard to shake.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Game Wrap 2012 World Series Game 2: Giants 2 Tigers 0

Madison Bumgarner shook off his recent struggles and pitched 7 innings of shutout ball.  The Giants scratched out 2 runs.  The Committee made it stand up for a win and a commanding 2 games to 0 lead in the series.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence- 1 for 3, SF.  BA= .143.  Pence looked a bit calmer at the plate tonight.  He ended up accounting for both the Giants runs of the night.  He scored the first run on Crawford's DP ball in the 7'th and put on a tenacious AB for the Sac Fly to drive in the insurance run in the 8'th.

Gregor Blanco- 2 for 3.  BA= .286.  Blanco's bunt that the Tigers let roll down the 3B line, but stayed fair will likely become part of future World Series lore.  I'm sure there are already conspiracy theorists working feverishly on the case.  That bunt hit loaded the bases with no outs setting up Crawford's DP ball that scored the first run even though Crawford did not get credit for an RBI.

Blanco and the Giants defense played another pivotal role in the game earlier.  With Prince Fielder on first base after Bumgarner hit him with a pitch(I wouldn't guarantee that Bummy did not hit him on purpose for some reason).  Anyway, Delmon Young hit one down the LF line and into the corner.  The ball caromed back onto the field behind Blanco who was trying to track it down.  The Tigers 3B coach waved Fielder home as Blanco picked up the ball and threw toward his cutoff man, Brandon Crawford, except the throw went clear over Crawford's head.  Marco Scutaro was backing up the play about 20 feet closer to the plate and the ball was a perfect strike to him.  He whirled and threw another perfect strike to Posey who was set up to the 1B side of the plate and made a perfect swipe tag on the sliding Fielder who was out by about 2 inches.  With no outs, it was probably a foolish decision for Lamont to send Fielder on the play.  Fielder is not a fast baserunner.  Lamont should know that.  Holding him at 3B would have created a situation with runners at 2'nd and 3'rd with no outs. No reason to panic and take that risk that early in the game.

Jim Leyland- Bruce Bochy did not make any brilliant moves in the game, but he did not make any mistakes either.  On the other hand, Leyland made a very questionable decision to play his IF at DP depth with the bases loaded and no outs in the 7'th inning.  Sure enough, Brandon Crawford grounded into the DP, but that also scored the first run of the game.  Watching in TV, I know I breathed a huge sigh of relief when I saw the Tigers were not going home on the play because at that point I had a strong feeling that the first team to score was going to win the game.  Leyland defended the move by saying that the Tigers had to score a run anyway and he would rather get out of the inning down 1-0 than take a chance on the Giants putting up a crooked number.  Bochy was asked about the play in the presser, but refused to go there.  From his tone, though, I thought he was thinking he would have played the IF in.  Hunter Pence defended Leyland with exactly the same argument Leyland made.  I'm sure it will be debated for a long time.  Personally, I would have played the IF half way to leave open the option of coming home on the play.  I think Bochy would have done the same.  At any rate, it's interesting that a revered manager like Leyland is the one on the hot seat so far in the series.

The win gives the Giants a commanding 2-0 lead in the series.  About 80% of teams who start out with a 2-0 series lead win the series.  It's not a given though.  The first World Series I was aware of as a child was 1965 when the Dodger came back from a 2-0 deficit to beat the Twins in 7.  3 years later, in 1968, the Tigers came back from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Cardinals in 7 games.  Of course, we have the Giants experience from this year's NLDS and NLCS to know that it ain't over 'til it's over.

Today is a travel day.  Ryan Vogelsong takes the mound Saturday night against Anibal Sanchez who it seems like always pitches well against the Giants.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

2012 World Series Game 2 Live Blog

Hey everybody!  Got home in time to watch the first pitch.  Bummy gets the first batter on a K.  Let's hope he has the mojo and new mechanics working.  K's second batter too!  3 up, 3 down.  Come on, offense!

Fox's keys the the game?  Tigers:  Doug:  Get us home!  Giants:  Trust your instincts.  Who comes up with this stuff?  Here's DrB's key to the game:  Which starter is going to pitch better?

Fister has a heckuva tail on his two seam fastball.  Giants hitters are going to have a tough time squaring that up and elevating it.

And the defense comes through again!  Not sure what Fielder thought he was doing there though.

Not sure I'm digging Bumgarner's stuff but so far, so good.

Buster shows what kind of approach is going to work against Fister tonight.

Man, that is scary!  Line drive off the right side of Fister's head.  I think it hit in the parietal area rather than the temple.  The skull is thicker there so less chance of what happened to Brandon McCarthy, but they need to watch him closely.  Agree with McCarver that pitchers are going to have to start wearing helmets out there.

5 K's in 3 innings for Bummy.  Some of his pitches look a bit flat but the results are good so far.

Big inning for Bumgarner to get through.  He's gonna have to hang tough in this one because Fister is not giving up a lot of runs.  You don't want the leadoff batter on in front of Miggy and Fielder.

Pablo snags a liner off Miggy and Blanco tracks down a Fielder drive at the warning track. Well, it ain't pretty but the results are OK.  Bummy picks off Infante for the 3'rd out.

Giants hit some balls hard that inning but right at people.

Bummy's stuff is looking better.  We've got an old fashioned Giants pitching duel going.

72 pitches through 6 IP for Bummy with 8 K's.  I guess the Giants pitching mavens figured out what was wrong with Bumgarner and got it fixed.  I hear Bummy told Amy G and Kuip in his southern drawl, "I got fixed."  LOL!

Time for top of the order to get something going.

Fister up to 99 pitches and we're still in the 6'th.  Giants are doing a good job of fouling off pitches and running up the opponents pitch counts.  Not used to seeing that from Giants hitters.

That's right!  Cabrera gets a gift walk from the ump and Bummy just gets Fielder on a comebacker DP. Nice job by Bumgarner to realize he had time and could  wait for Crawford to get over to the bag.

Hate the DP there, but if that's what it takes to get the first run of the game, I guess we'll take it.

Come on, Riot.  Pick up your buddy Crawford here!  Oh well, I guess we'll have to be happy with 1 run.  Can The Committee bring it home?  6 outs to go!

Very nice inning from Casilla.  3 outs to go!  Let's get an insurance run or two here.

Dotel doesn't look like he really wants to be out there.....and he walks Posey!

Pence delivers the Sac Fly!

Romo time!  3 outs to go!

1 down!  Detroit hitters haven't faced Romo's slider before.  And there's the K!

Infante, on the other hand, has faced Romo in the NL.  2-2 count.

That's the ballgame!  What an effort by Bumgarner and the pitching staff!!

Thanks to everybody for following the Live Blog.  Full Game Wrap to follow, probably in the AM.

Game Wrap 2012 World Series Game 1 Giants 8 Tigers 3

Pablo Sandoval has been building to a game like this for awhile now.  It all came together for the Panda in this one as he tied a World Series record shared with none other than Babe Ruth(twice), Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols with 3 home runs off Justin Verlander who many observers believe is the best pitcher in baseball.  In addition, the Giants offense mounted a sustained, withering, grinding attack on the maestro pitcher to add on even more runs.  Barry Zito had another excellent start and Tim Lincecum shut it down for 2.1 innings when it looked like the Tigers might try to get back in the game.  The Giants came away with a huge win in Game 1 of the series that not many people expected.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .500.  Forget about the 2 doubles and the ball that caromed off 3B setting up Verlander's meltdown.  Pagan was grinding out AB's, refusing to go down without a fight already.  Every AB was 7,8, 9 pitches.  You could see that took a toll on Verlander.

Marco Scutaro- 2 for 4.  BA= .500.  Scooter just keeps on scootin' Another 2 hit game that was smack dab in the middle of 2 bit Giants rallies.

Pablo Sandoval- 4 for 4, 3 HR.  BA= 1.000.   As I said above, this did not come out of the blue.  Pablo has been building toward something like this for awhile as his in-season workout regimen has taken off pounds and put on muscle and his wrists have healed and gotten stronger and he has worked to get his timing back.  You could see the power returning in the NLCS and it was a matter of time before something like this happened.  Not necessarily 3 dingers in 1 game, mind you, but you could see that Pablo was getting ready to have a huge WS.  The pitches he hit were not hanging curves either.  #1: 0-2 FB out of the zone.  #2:  FB down and away that he took to LF.  #3 Slider down and in that he dropped the bat head on.

Buster Posey- 2 for 4.  BA= .500.  They were just a couple of singles, but it's a start.  Look for Buster to heat up as the series goes along.

Gregor Blanco- 0 for 4. BA= .000.  Defense was again a difference for the Giants as Blanco made 2 nice grabs at the tips of the grassblades to save some runs(Fangraphs snarks about his routes to the ball notwithstanding), while Austin Jackson overran a ball in CF and Delmon Young made a dying quail throw to give the Giants at least 2 extra runs.

Barry Zito- 1 for 2.  BA= .500.  Zito was already doing something he has become quite good at before he slapped that RBI single past Cabrera at 3B.  He was running up Verlander's pitch count.  Zito may still not get many hits, but he's learned to be selective at the plate and also learned how to foul off pitches and thus is able to contribute by forcing the opposing pitcher to throw more pitches than he wants to.

Barry Zito- 5.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.59.  Zito was not quite as sharp as he was in the NLCS but he kept the Tigers off balance and kept the Giants in the game early until they could build a big lead.  How many consecutive Zito starts have the Giants won now?

Tim Lincecum- 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Timmy is quite clearly much more comfortable coming out of the pen right now.  Bochy could be criticized for burning Timmy in a near-blowout game, but The Committee needed a rest and Bochy understood the importance of making sure the Giants came away from this one with the W.  We saw how fast it can unravel with Kontos on the mound in the 9'th.

With the win, the Giants take an unexpected 1-0 lead in the series.  Madison Bumgarner goes tonight against Doug Fister.  OGC has a nice pre-game analysis up on his blog, so check it out.  We don't know which version of Bummy is going to show up, but Fister has trouble with LH bats and trouble pitching in road games.  Giants have already accomplished what they had to do in the first 2 home games, but it sure would be nice to go to Detroit up 2-0.

Go Giants!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

2012 World Series Game 1 Live Blog

Hey team!  Got home from work just in time to see Panda hit it out.  Knew it was gone as soon as it left the bat.  Didn't catch the first inning but I hear from my family that Zito wiggled out of allowing 2 runners.  Gotta shut it down now Zeets!

Awesome curveball to K Peralta.  Grab some pine, Meat!
Nice play by Crawford.  Routine for him.  Belt almost gets his feet tangled up there.  Nice inning for Zeets.

Infante commits on the slider.  Grab some pine, Meat!  There's the D from Blanco!  Another nice inning for Zito.

Giants are forcing Verlander to throw pitches. He's now well over the 45 pitch target for 3 innings.  Now he has to throw some more!  Giants hitters are doing a good job of laying off the curveball and Verlander is not getting many called strikes with it.

And the Detroit defense gives the Giants a run!!!

Detroit pitching coach comes out and Verlander looks at him like, WTF?  Then, Panda goes deep again!!!  Giants up 4-0!!

Nice inning there, Giants!  Let's go, Zito.  You know what to do with a 4 run lead!

Wow!  Heads up play by Posey!  Tag and throw DP.  Another shut down inning for Zito.

LOL Zito!  RBI base hit to left and a terrible, terrible throw by Delmon Young!

Pablo Sandoval!!  How about that?  Ties a WS record with 3 dingers in 1 game!  The other guys to do it?  How about Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols?

Blanco picks another one out of the grass tips!

OK, you guys won't believe this, but my daughter wore a Panda hat tonight for our family WS viewing party.  She has never worn it before!

Timmy slams the door!

1,2,3 inning for Timmy.  Crowd goes wild!

No 4'th dinger for Pablo, but he goes 4 for 4!  At this rate, he might get another AB.

Tigers are short a pitcher because Valverde is useless right now.  Was that Benito Santiago in the stands?

AL hitters are not used to seeing Timmy's splitter in the dirt and can't lay off.

OK, 3 outs to go!

Pagan just misses bringing that one back.  8-3.

2 down!

Not a great outing for Kontos.

Giants win!  They beat the mighty Justin Verlander.  Up 1-0 in games.  Pablo ties a WS record.

Go Giants!!!

Thanks to everybody who followed along.  Thanks especially for the comments.  Full Game Wrap to follow, probably in AM.

World Series Preview: Giants Secret Weapon

The Giants opponent in this year's World Series is a fearsome breed of animal known as the Tiger.  The Detroit Tigers to be exact, and in many ways they certainly live up to their mascot name.  The lineup?  Fearsome!  The Tigers have they guy who might be the best hitter on the planet in Miguel Cabrera who hit something like 44 HR's this season and have him surrounded by other guys who can hit the ball out of the park at any time.  Pitching?  Well, for starters they have a guy named Justin Verlander who, when he isn't dating teenage starlets, is quite easily the best pitcher on the planet.  The next 3 guys in the rotation Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchez and Max Scherzer are no slouches either.  The Giants have benefitted from the managing wizardry of Bruce Bochy as far back as the 2010 postseason, but the Tigers have a manager, Jim Leyland, who Bochy is probably not going to be able to run circles around.  We can't count on Leyland making any gaffes in this one.

Now, the Giants have a pretty good pitching staff too but until the last 3 games against the Cardinals they seemed to be a bit fatigued from the long season.  Against this Tiger's pitching staff, Quality Starts might not be enough to get the job done.  As for offense, the Giants are pretty good at scoring runs themselves but generally do it without the long ball.  Their game is more putting the ball in play and stringing together hits, "keeping the line moving."  There's where the Giants secret advantage may come into play.

The Giants used defense to significant advantage in the NLCS, and could be in position to do that again in the World Series.  For all their offensive prowess, the Tigers position players are on the statue-like side when is comes to fielding the ball at their defensive positions.  Over the course of the season, the Giants had a Team UZR of +8.6, not great but in the top half of MLB.  The Tigers, on the other hand, had a Team UZR of -28.1 for 4'th from last, even worse than the aforementioned Cardinals and by a fairly large margin.

Both Comerica Park and AT&T Park are pitcher's parks and tend to suppress HR's.  Giants pitchers have been adept at keeping the ball in the park, even in hitter friendly stadiums.  If the Giants pitchers can keep the Tiger's hitters away from the longball and if Giants hitters continue to put the ball in play, that defensive disparity could produce a significant run differential and tilt what seems like a daunting mountain to climb into a brisk evening walk up a modest hill.

Defense!  The Giants secret weapon!

Go Giants!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

AFL Report: 10/22/2012 and 10/23/2012

10/22/2012  Phoenix Desert Dogs beat the Scottsdale Scorpions 5-1:

Gary Brown(LF)- 1 for 3, BB, CS(2).  BA= .286.
Joe Panik(SS)- 2 for 4.  BA= .276.
Jacob Dunnington(RHP)- 1 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.

10/23/2012  Peoria Javalinas defeated the Scottsdale Scorpions 7-2:

Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 2 for 5.  BA= .273.
Dan Runzler(LHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.

BTW, it seems that kid pitcher from Japan will be subject to the international bonus cap rules.  Apparently Texas has the most money left to spend.  Caveat:  The penalty for going over cap is a dollar for dollar penalty and a $250 K cap for next year so if a team really wants him, it's not much of a deterrent to go over cap.  Kid has reportedly talked to the Dodgers, Rangers and BoSox and has said he will sign with one of those 3 teams.  I'll guess Dodgers, but maybe he'll want to join Darvish in the Rangers organization.

Game Wrap 2012 NLCS Game 7: Giants 9 Cardinals 0

The Giants overwhelmed a shellshocked Cardinal team with relentless hitting, pitching, defense, crowd noise and finally a driving rainstorm in the 9'th inning to complete a comeback from a 3 games to 1 deficit to win the 2012 NL Pennant for the second time in 3 years.  That it came against last year's WS champions made it all the better.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 2 for 5.  BA= .242. Had to feel good about this one when Pagan led off with a single.

Marco Scutaro- 3 for 4, BB.  BA= .500.  Scooter started off with a beautiful hit-and-run single to RF in the first and never let up.  Made a couple more sparkling defensive plays to boot.  Series MVP!

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .310.  Good game and good series for Sandoval.  Amazing that in spite of all that he left 6 runners on base......and nobody cares!  Wow! This game could have been 13 or 15 to 0!

Hunter Pence- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .179.  Pence has been struggling.  From Extra Giants we learn that Pence took his bat up to Duane Kuiper for a blessing of good mojo which apparently Kuip bestows from time to time(I didn't know that).  Well, it worked and how did it work?!   With the bases loaded in the 3'rd inning, Joe Kelly threw a 95 MPH fastball on the inside corner that shattered Pence's bat.  The bat held together just long enough that Pence's bat head speed caught up with the deadened ball and sort of jai-alaied it toward SS.  Pete Kozma dove to this right and while the ball spun like a top to the left and into CF where it was booted by John Jay clearing the bases.  AMAZING!!!  Pence had another more conventional hit later in the game.  I thought Pence looked much better at the plate tonight.  A lot less fidgety and more focused, like he had a plan and knew what he wanted to do up there.  Hey, maybe he took my advice and cut back on the caffeine?!

Brandon Belt- 2 for 5, HR1).  BA= .304.  Fine, fine series for Brandon Belt who looked lost in the first couple of games.  Boy, did he ever look confident out there tonight?!  The ball he sent caroming off the wall in Game 6 might be the hardest hit ball I've seen this year and the dinger last night looked like it was crushed too.  Didn't even get out of the stadium.  Shows just how hard it is to get a splash hit, and Barry Bonds made it look easy.

Gregor Blanco- 1 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .182.  The BA doesn't look like much but his OBP for the series was .357 and he scored 6 runs.  Great defense in LF saved countless runs, seriously, it did!

Brandon Crawford- 1 for 4.  BA= .217.  Crawford didn't get many hits in the series but he sure made the most of them.  Have to mention his leaping catch of a humpback liner off the bat of Kyle Lohse to save at least 2 runs in the second inning that may have been the biggest game changer of the night.

Matt Cain- 5.2 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.19.  It wasn't pretty but Cainer gutted out 5.2 innings with some defensive help.  He didn't want to come out in the 6'th but Bochy was smart to bring in the LOOGY to face Descalso who led the Cards big comeback against the Nats in the NLDS.

Jeremy Affeldt- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Affeldt has earned every penny of his $5 M salary this postseason.  8.1 shutout IP in the NLDS and NLCS combined proving he is more than just a LOOGY.  Heck, Bochy might want to consider starting him in WS Game 2 with Timmy coming in out of the pen for long relief.

Bruce Bochy- Bruce Bochy once again out maneuvered an opposing manager.  This time it wasn't so much the great moves Bochy made, but the lack of mistakes while the inexperienced Matheny made several critical errors in decision making that contributed to the Giants victory and the Card downfall.  In the somewhat unlikely event that the Giants complete a WS championship run here, Bochy will have to start being considered a possible HOF manager.

Brian Sabean- hopefully, this run finally puts to rest the meme that 2010 was luck and that the Giant won in spite of Sabean's stupidity.  As with Bruce Bochy in the manager's chair, Brian Sabean is now 4 wins away from being a  legitimate HOF candidate as GM.

Giants win the Pennant!  World Series against the Detroit Tigers starts in SF tomorrow evening.  Hey, I told my co-workers after the All-Star Game that the Giants now had home field advantage for the World Series.  They all laughed at me.  Go Giants!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

2012 NLCS Game 7 Live Blog

Hey, how is everybody?  Just got home from work.  Cainer got through inning 1 but innings 2-4 have been the telling ones so far.  Giants need to get out in front early.

Pagan leading off with a line drive single is a good start. Lohse throws a lot of first pitch strikes and tries to get ahead of hitters.  Giants hitters might need to be aggressive.

I"m not a big fan of hit and runs but that was a beauty.

Pablo drives in a run with a swinging bunt.  Hey, it works as well as a 350 ft sac fly!

Posey still struggling and Pence still looks lost but getting the one run out of that was critical.  Come on Cainer!

Cainer in a bit of a jam. Doesn't seem to have great command so far.

OMG!  Thank God for Brandon Crawford!  I thought that was a 2 run single for sure!

Yes!!  Cainer drives in Blanco to help is own cause!

I'm tellin' ya.  Defense has been a huge difference in this series.  Giants fielders have it covered like a blanket!

OK,  we're in business again.  Come on, Buster and Pence need to come through here!

Bases loaded, no outs.  Matheny goes to the bullpen.  Time for Pence to come through.

That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!  Cards defense a factor yet again!  Kozma broke the wrong way and Jay bobbled it in CF.  Pence clears the bases!  Pence was smart to jump on that pitch before Kelly had a chance to get settled down.  Gotta figure he's going to come in and try to throw strikes.

Another bad decision by a Cardinals fielder.  Giants just chippin' away.  Keepin' the line moving!

Need to add on here.   Remember Cards were down 6-0 in NLDS Game 5.

Bad feed to 2B from Kozma breaks up the DP.  7-0!

Cainer needs to shut it down here.  A long layoff on a cold night can really stiffen a pitcher up.

Grab some pine, meat!  Nice shut down inning there and another scintillating play for Scutaro and the Giants defense.  Defense, defense defense.  Huge difference in this series!

Pence did not look fidgety and did look like he knew what he was doing on that one.

The way Pence tracked that flyball from Beltran, I'm guessing the wind blew it back by a good 20-30 feet!

If Cainer hit Holliday on purpose, and it sure looked like he might have, he must be feeling pretty darn confident.  Gotta hope it doesn't come back to bite.

Very smart of Bochy to take Descalso seriously.  He led the Cards big comeback against the Nats.  9 outs to go!

Factoid from High Heat Stats:  Giants, Cards and Dodgers have each represented the National League in 18 WS.  Let's break that tie!!   Go Giants!!

 6 outs to go!

Bochy pushing all the right buttons.  3 outs to go!!

Belt hits a dinger.  Thought for sure that was a splash hit.  Barry Bonds made it look so easy.  Happy for the insurance run.

1 out to go!

Not sure Lopez was able to really grip the ball.  Romo needs to have a grip to make his slider work.  Not digging this at all.

Romo actually got some movement on that slider.

Let the rain come down!  Giants win the pennant!

Scutaro a very deserving MVP.  Vogey and Zito could make a case too.

Game Wrap NLCS Game 6: Giants 6 Cardinals 1

For the second consecutive game, the Giants got what might be the best game or their pitcher's career as Ryan Vogelsong dominated the Cardinals while the offense built a 5-0 lead in the first two innings.  The Giants then cruised to a series tying win before a deliriously happy crowd at AT&T Park.  Key Lines:

Marco Scutaro- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .458.  Scutaro back on fire.  His double in the second to drive in 2 pretty much sealed this one.  I wonder if that slide by Holliday is in the back of his mind?  What a heckuva way to extract revenge!  Oh, and Holliday sat this one out with a bad back!

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .320.  Pablo is another hot hitter and it's great he and Scooter are hitting back-to-back in the lineup.

Brandon Belt- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .278.  The bottom of the order has come up big for the Giants in the postseason and Belt led the way in this one.  His triple got the 4 run rally in the 2'nd inning going.

Brandon Crawford- 0 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .211.  The Cardinals don't quite know what to do with Crawford.  If they pitch to him he gets a key basehit.  If they walk him, he comes around to score.  The defense has been key too.

Ryan Vogelsong- 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 1.29.   Another fastball clinic but he also had a beautiful changeup and a hammer curve that he used to finish off some of his K's.  Certainly the biggest game of Vogey's career and possibly his best.  This guy's story is already the stuff movies are made of and the ending just keeps getting better.

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Not a Save situation, but Romo polished the Cards off in the 9'th with just 8 pitches.  He should be ready to go again tonight, possibly for more than 1 inning if necessary.

Amy G-  If you haven't seen them already, Amy G has started doing some live chatting during games over at CSN Bay Area that is quite enjoyable to read.  Hard to believe Amy G has been doing dugout reporting for the Giants for 5 years now.  I remember not being too impressed when she started out, but she has worked really hard at her craft. Her ongoing interviews with Buster Posey, the bullpen pitchers and player wives have become some of the most interesting items on CSN Bay Area.  She has really bonded with the team and with the fans.  She has become kind of a mom-like figure for the Giants and their fans.  She also has a social networking business promoting restaurants and local businesses up in her hometown of Petaluma and even has a sandwich named after her up there.  Hard working lady!  Good work, Amy G!

The win brings the Giants back from the brink to even footing with the Cardinals.  It's now a 1 game playoff for a WS berth.  Matt Cain facing Kyle Lohse.  Again, nobody can know the outcome of 1 game and Kyle Lohse has had a terrific season, but Matt Cain is the guy the Giants want in there in this situation.

Go Giants!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

2012 NLCS Game 6 Live Blog

Hey everybody!  Are you as stoked for this as I am?

Love the Kingston Trio!  Great version of the National Anthem.

I don't think there's anybody we would rather have starting this game than Vogey, for better or worse.  He's the guy we want out there.

2 of the 3 Fox panelists are picking the Giants.  I figure that's the kiss of death.  Those guys are never right!  Karros couldn't bring himself to pick the Giants.  Has he ever?

Picking any team to win one game is stupid anyway.  Unless Verlander is pitching.  That's about as close to a mortal lock as anything right now.

OK, here we go.  Vogey K's the first batter!

Holliday is sitting this one out.  Maybe his back is hurting or maybe he thinks Vogey remembers the slide?

Beautiful changeup to K Beltran.  Grab some pine, Meat!

And Vogey strikes out the side!  Did I mention that Matt Carpenter looks a lot like Brian Wilson?

So far, Chris Carpenter is having trouble with is command.  Panda takes it to the wall in CF.  Come on, Buster!

At least they get a run.  First run in this game is huge.

Hammer curve to K Freese there.  We've seen a great changeup and a hammer curve already.  I like it!

And there's an elevated FB to get Kozma.  5 K's in 2 IP.  Go Giants!

Come on Belt.  Get that bat off your shoulder!  That's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

And the butcher boy play works!  LOL!

Yes, Scooter!  Carpenter is obviously not 100%, but Giants are taking advantage.  4 run lead with the way Vogey is pitching looks good.

Seeing eye single for Sandoval.  2 for 2 tonight.  He's red hot.

Cards are not a good fielding team.  Their fielding or lack thereof has hurt them terribly in this series.

Now I'm not sure who Vogey struck out with the high heater.  Must have been Descalso, but I thought it was a RH batter.

Vogey is painting the corners on Craig.  If you are going to stay inside, make sure you miss off the plate there, Vogey!  THAT's what I'm talkin' 'bout!

Vogey is under 60 pitches through 4 despite 7 K's.

Descalso breaks up the no-hitter.  Vogey is so dialed in right now, I think he could take on Verlander!

Come on Vogey.  Forget the no-no.  You'll get one someday!

OK, Vogey.  Let's put the hammer down on this one.

Vogey might be tiring a bit here.  Hope Bochy and Rags are watching him closely.

Whew!  Molina hit that one pretty hard too.  Can't let this Cardinals team start thinking they can get back in it.  They are relentless if they smell victory.

9 outs to go!

Vogey puts the hammer down!  6 outs to go.

Love the GBA singer!  LOL!

3 outs to go!  With a 4 run lead, do you try to let Casilla finish it and save Romo for tomorrow?

It's a bit late to be bringing in Eyechart.  Matheny should have had him face Crawford in the 4'th Friday night.

Defense has been a factor in this series.

WTF, Brian Wilson?

And Eyechart walks Crawford!

Riot get an RBI!  Lead back to 5.  Romo Time!

They did it!  We're back even and it's a 1 game series.  Do or die.  For better or worse, Matt Cain is the guy you want out there for it.

What an effort by Vogelsong!  The legend continues to grow!  The movie ending keeps getting better!

Thanks for following everybody.  Full Game Wrap later.  I'll probably miss the first few innings tomorrow due to work but I'll start live blogging as soon as I get home.

Thoughts on Barry Zito NLCS Game 5 Performance

Barry Zito's performance in NLCS Game 5 has produced page after page of published text marveling at how surprising and unexpected this performance was.  While it would be foolish to expect a performance like that from Zito, it should not have been surprising.

OGC has approached this through his PQS research on his blog, Obsessive Giants Compulsive so I'm not the first person to come up with this notion, but I'd like to share some data and thoughts that came to me while researching a comment I posted to a blog post by Chris Quick over on Bay City Ball.

Barry Zito had 17 Quality Starts during the 2012 regular season.  He had two more starts where he went 5 or more innings and allowed just 2 runs which is a near-QS(he had just one start where he went at least 6 IP and allowed 4 runs which is the other kind of near-QS).  In those 19 starts he pitched a total of 126.2 IP and allowed 29 runs for an ERA of 1.99.  In his other 13 starts(including the near-QS in which he allowed 4 ER), he pitched 57.2 IP, and allowed 56 ER for an ERA of just under 9.00.  He had 5 starts over the course of the season where he pitched 6 innings or more while allowing 0 ER.  In short, Barry Zito was either very good or he was very bad.

Most analysts, when they talk about how bad Barry Zito is, look at his season stat lines.  It doesn't matter what metric you use, ERA, FIP, SIERA, WAR, WPA, he comes out looking like a replacement pitcher because the badness of the bad Zito starts overwhelm the goodness of his good starts.  In reality, very few, if any, replacement pitchers would give you 19 starts with an ERA of 1.99.  Ironically, when all is said and done and you look at all possible stats, Barry Zito's W-L is probably the most accurate measure of his value to the team in 2012.

It really was not a question of whether Barry Zito was capable of the performance we saw in NLCS Game 5. He had 5 comparable starts during the regular season, so clearly he was capable.  The question was whether the good Barry or the bad Barry would show up.  If it was the good Barry who had a 1.99 ERA in 19 good starts then yes, you could almost expect him to pitch that kind of game.  The problem, and what most of us also quite reasonably thought was possible was that the bad Zito would show up and the Giants would be blown out by the 3'rd inning.

In summary, while no reasonable person would dare expect Barry Zito to pitch the way he did in NLCS Game 5, nobody should have been surprised by it either.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

AFL Report: 10/20/2012

Scottsdale Scorpions downed the Salt River Rafters 5-3:

Joe Panik(SS)- 3 for 3, BB, SB(2).  BA- .240.
Chris Dominguez(LF)- 1 for 4.  BA= .313.
Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 0 for 2, BB.  BA= .235.
Chris Gloor(LHP)- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.00.

Hot Stove Update: 3 Way Trade

Trader Billy Beane and the Oakland A's got the 2013 hot stove fired up with the postseason from 2012 still in full swing.  The A's sent SS Cliff Pennington and prospect Yordy Cabrera to the D'Backs for CF Chris B. Young.  The D'Backs then shipped Cabrera to the Marlins for RHP Heath Bell in what was technically a separate deal.  The D'Backs sent $500 K to the A's to pay a small part of Young's salary while the Marlins sent about $8 M to the D'Backs to cover part of the $21 M remaining on Bell's salary.  This one is a bit of a head scratcher in many ways so let's try to break it down:

The A's got a superior defensive CF with power coming off a year that was limited by injuries.  Young seems to have been around forever, but he's only 29 yo.  He rang up fWAR's of 4.6 in both 2010 and 2011 due to a combination of power, speed and defense.  What I find interesting is that he put up a fWAR of 2.8 in 363 PA in 2012 which projects to pretty darn close to the 4.6 he put up in the previous 2 seasons over a full season's worth of PA's.  That is more than the A's platoon of Jonny Gomes and Seth Smith put up this year.  Young played for A's manager Bob Melvin in Arizona and had a good relationship with him and that could be a factor in the trade too.  All in all, a nice buy low for Trader Billy.  He can jettison the Gomes/Smith platoon and go with a superior defensive OF of Young, Cespedes and Reddick with Coco Crisp as the 4'th OF.

The A's did not need Cliff Pennington, who is approximately a league average SS coming off a down year at the plate, because they have Stephen Drew, who they acquired from the same D'Backs in a mid-season trade this year. Yordy Cabrera was a second round draft pick in 2010 out of HS who is already 22 yo.  He has some power potential but will have to pick up the pace if he wants to make it to the majors.  Just looking at his numbers and age, he reminds me an awful lot of Wendell Fairley in the Giants system.

The D'Backs apparently decided to commit to Adam Eaton as their CF of the present and future which made Young expendable.  They also apparently decided to invest the savings of that trade-off in their bullpen.  Eaton is a scrappy young guy who can get on base a lot from a leadoff spot in the lineup, but who has little pop and is unlikely to have anywhere's near the WAR value of Chris Young.

Heath Bell was part of the Marlins' spending spree last offseason as they tried to jump start their future in their new stadium.  That went badly wrong as Bell became a gas can out of the bullpen and spent most of the season being greeted with thunderous booing when he would come into a game.  He was reportedly unhappy that he never regained his closer role which makes his acquisition by the D'Backs a bit puzzling as they have an established closer in JJ Putz who they just exercised their option on for 2013.  The D'Backs could still have more moves to make but for now appear to be aiming for a 3-headed monster of David Hernandez, Bell and Putz for the last 3 innings of games they are leading after 6 which makes you wonder how Bell is going to like that if he was unhappy with a setup role in Miami.

Miami gets to cut its losses with Bell's contract by quite a bit and gets a lottery ticket on the high risk/reward prospect in Cabrera who is a local kid to boot.

I'll give modest thumbs up to the A's and Marlins for upgrading their OF and dumping an albatross respectively and a thumbs down to the D'Backs who take on salary and possibly a headache without an obvious upgrade and a possible downgrade in personnel.

PS-two more thoughts:  1.  D'Backs GM Kevin Towers was Bell's GM in San Diego.  2.  Bruce Bochy was Bell's Manager in San Diego.  With the Giants possibly being in the market for a top of the line closer this offseason, Towers may have been heading that off at the pass as part of his motivation.

AFL Report: 10/19/2012

The Scottsdale Scorpions edged the Salt River Rafters 1-0:

Gary Brown(LF)- 2 for 4, 2B, 3B.  BA= .280.
Joe Panik(SS)- 1 for 3, 3B, BB.  BA= .136.
Dan Runzler(LHP)- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.
Heath Hembree(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.00.

In the 10/18/2012 game, Ricky Oropesa went 0 for 3 with a BB as the only Giants player to appear in an 8-3 Scorpions win over the Mesa Solar Sox. Ricky is hitting .267.

Game Wrap NLCS Game 5: Giants 5 Cardinals 0

The Giants got what might be the best game of Barry Zito's career and once again scored 4 runs in the 4'th inning to avoid elimination from the postseason.  Key Lines:

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 4, HR.  BA= .286.  Pablo added a nice grab of a line drive down the 3B line on defense.  Pablo is having a strong postseason and hit his second dinger in 2 games in this one.

Gregor Blanco- 0 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .133.  In the pivotal 4'th inning, Lynn pitched around Blanco to face Crawford which could not have been a bigger mistake.

Brandon Crawford- 1 for 4.  BA= .235.  After looking very bad on a K in the 3'rd inning, Crawford probably seemed like a gimme to Lance Lynn who was battling to get out of the 4'th inning after throwing the ball away on an attempted DP at 2B.  Instead, Crawford patiently worked the count to 3-2.  Lynn might have gotten a bit impatient and tried to surprise him with a curveball that Crawford just stroked up the middle for a 2 run single.  I kind of knew the Giants were going to win at that point.  Big, big basehit there for the Crawman.  One more thought:  Matheny may have made a managerial blunder here by underestimating Crawford and not bringing in Eyechart to face him and make sure he got out of the inning with a 1-0 deficit.  Might not have mattered anyway as the 1-0 lead may well have stood up, but a 1-0 deficit is a whole lot different than 4-0.

Barry Zito- 1 for 2.  BA= .500.  Zito laid down a surprise bunt single for a RBI to tack on an insurance run in the 4 run 4'th.

Barry Zito- 7.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  I figured we might be in for a special Zito start when he pitched his way out of a jam in the 2'nd inning.  First of all, it was a beautiful piece of pitching.  Secondly, If Zito can make it past the first two innings without getting bombed, he usually settles down pretty good.  He dominated after that.  He was able to locate his 84 MPH fastball, had a nice sharp curve and a very good changeup that was tailing down and away from RH batters.  Very nice work from the Z-man.

The win narrows the Giants deficit in the NLCS to 3 games to 2.  They now come back to SF for Game 6 and hopefully Game 7.  Ryan Vogelsong faced Chris Carpenter in Game 6 on Sunday evening with Matt Cain set for Game 7 if the Giants win Game 6.  Gotta feel there's a pretty good chance of that happening right now.

Go Giants!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Game Wrap NLCS Game 4: Cardinals 8 Giants 3

The Cardinals dominated this one in all phases of the game as Tim Lincecum struggled in his return to a starting assignment.  Key Lines:

Marco Scutaro(.471) and Angel Pagan(.333)- 4 for 8, 2B, 3B.  Once again the top of the lineup came through.  The rest of the lineup had just two hits, although they were both dingers.

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 4, HR.  BA= .235.

Hector Sanchez- 0 for 4, 3 K's.  I like Hector Sanchez, but even I would not put him in the 5 hole in a playoff game although I undertand Bochy's frustration with Pence in that slot and the Giants don't have a lot of other options.

Hunter Pence- 1 for 4, HR.  BA= .133.  The .133 tells the sad story of this series for the Giants offense.

Tim Lincecum- 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 5.40.  Timmy was out of sync in his first 15 pitches and probably does not have the stamina to go more than 3 or 4 innings right now.  Could he be next year's closer?  That would be one expensive closer!

The loss put the Giants backs back up against the wall as they now have to win 3 do or die games in a row.  Yeah, I know.  Anyway, Barry Zito gets the first chance tonight.  Zito is not a guy who inspires a ton of confidence and this Cardinals team is death to LHP's, but then again, Zito has pitched some big games for the Giants this year and done well in them.  Not expecting much but as always, there is a reason why the play the games.

Go Giants!!

The Detroit Tigers finished off a sweep of the Yankees and whoever faces them in the World Series has a heckuva mountain to climb.  For starters, Justin Verlander is the best pitcher on the planet right now and it isn't close.  That means the opposing team has to win 4 of the other 5 games in the series and it's not like Verlander is the Tigers only good pitcher.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

AFL Report: 10/17/2012

On 10/16, Surprise Saguaros pounded the Scottsdale Scorpions 11-3. Heath Hembree was the only Giant appearing for the Scorpions and pitched a scoreless inning.

In yesterday's game, the Scorpions downed the Mesa Solar Sox 5-2:

Gary Brown(CF)- 1 for 4, SF.  BA= .238.
Joe Panik(SS)- 1 for 4.  BA= .105.
Chris Dominguez(DH)- 2 for 3, 2B, HBP.  BA= .333.
Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 2 for 3, HR(1), BB.  BA= .333.
Jacob Dunnington(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.
Dan Runzler(LHP)- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.

Brown and Panik are still trying to get untracked.  Nice games from Chris Dominguez and Ricky Oropesa.  Ricky's mom will be stoked today. I'll have to give her a high 5.

NLCS Game 3 Game Wrap: Cardinals 3 Giants 1

Matt Cain pitched a Quality start, but the offense failed to drive in all but one of the Giants 14 baserunners and the Giants fell behind the Cardinals 2-1 in their best of 7 series.  Key Lines:

Marco Scutaro- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .462.  Scutaro has more than done his part this series.  His 2B was the only XBH of the game for the Giants.

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 5.  BA= .231.  Sandoval drove in the lone run which gave the Giants a short-lived lead in the top of the 3'rd inning.

Buster Posey- 1 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .200.  The top 4 batters in the lineup reached base 7 times with only 1 run to show for it.

Hunter Pence- 0 for 4.  BA= .091.  Pence left a total of 5 runners stranded. If you are looking for a goat in this one, I hear a bleating noised coming from Pence's locker.

Brandon Crawford- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .273.  The bottom 3 hitters in the lineup have played a huge role in the Giants offense.  Belt, Blanco and Crawford reached base a total of 5 times in this one.  Again, Hunter Pence's line is the big donut hole in the boxscore separating the top from the bottom of the order.  Pagan, at the top of the order, went just 1 for 5 and left 4 runners stranded, so he would be #2 in the goat line, but at least he's hitting .286 for the series so far.

Matt Cain- 6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  A Quality Start, but not what you want to see from your ace in a critical postseason game.  I was following it on Gameday and did not see what kind of pitch Carpenter hit the bomb on, but as Cain has relied more on breaking balls, which have helped to get batters out and hold his pitch counts down, he still hangs a few and they tend to get hammered, so his HR rate has risen accordingly.  Could be a temporary blip in his trends or it could be something to watch for in the future.

All in all, a very frustrating game to watch and a frustrating boxscore to read.  The loss puts the Giants down 2 games to 1 in this 7 games series.  This was not the must-win for the Giants that Game 2 was, but any game that swings the advantage in a 7 game series is big.  Now the Cardinals just have to split the next 4 games and they advance, while the Giants must win 3 of 4.  Big difference, though not impossible.

Tim Lincecum gets the start for Game 4 facing Adam Wainwright with the Giants obviously hoping the success Timmy found in the bullpen will carry over into his start.  Also, the Giants need to stick with RHP's as much as possible against this RH leaning ballclub.

Go Giants!!

PS:  I have always been a big fan of Hunter Pence mainly because his stat line from year to year has been so amazingly consistent.  He is obviously having a down year despite his gaudy RBI numbers and right now he just looks terrible at the plate:  Arms, legs and sundry other body parts all flying in different directions at once.  And he looks like he's mainlining caffeine.  For a start, I would recommend he limit himself to 2 cups of coffee in the morning only and lay off the energy drinks(I don't know that he is quaffing energy drinks but he sure looks like it!)  LOL!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Game Wrap NLCS Game 2: Giants 7 Cardinals 1

The Giants broke out to a lead in this one and Ryan Vogelsong pitched one of his strongest games as a Giant yet leading to an easy win marred by an injury to Marco Scutaro on what many Giants fans thought was a dirty slide by Matt Holliday trying to break up a DP.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 2 for 4, HR, BB.  BA= .333.  One of the keys to the game was getting the top of the order off the beam and Pagan answered that challenge immediately with a first inning HR and getting on base 3 times.

Marco Scutaro- 2 for 3.  BA= .500.  Scutaro got chop blocked by Matt Holliday on a possible DP ball that appeared to collapse his left ankle and knee.  Scooter stayed in the game long enough to avenge that with a bases loaded single that Holliday booted in left-centerfield to clear the bases in the decisive 4'th inning.  Scutaro later came out of the game only at the insistence of the training staff.  The problem seems to actually be in the hip.  X-rays are negative but I read someplace that he is going for an MRI tonight.

Ryan Theriot- 1 for 2.  BA= .500.  It probably made sense to bring in Theriot for defensive purposes anyway with Scutaro hurting.  Riot came through with a very Scutaro-like 2 run single in the 8'th to pad the lead.

Brandon Belt- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .375.  The bottom of the order has played a big role in the offense so far and Belt had a nice game tonight.  Nice catch in foul territory early then a dump hit down the 3B line for a double to start the rally in the 4'th and smoked a single up the middle later in the game.

Gregor Blanco- 1 for 3, BB.  Blanco again showed nice range in LF, got on base twice and scored twice.

Aubrey Huff- 1 for 1.  BA= 1.000.  I'm tellin' ya.  The Giants need Huff's LH bat off the bench against the extreme righty leaning pitching staff.  He even scored from 2B on a single!

Ryan Vogelsong- 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 1.29.  Vogie pitched a tremendous game.  He got a standing O as he walked off the mound at the end of the 7'th inning every second of it well deserved.  Hope Mrs. Vogelsong was there to take it all in.  I bet she was crying for this one.  Not that I want Vogie to lose that chip on his shoulder, but when he looks back on his career when it's all done, I hope he realizes that he took it all the way to the highest levels you can go in this game and came out a winner.  There has gotta be a movie about his story someday.

Jeremy Affledt- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  I don't remember Affeldt ever being this dialed in. He faced 3 RH batters in the 8'th and made it look easy.

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Not a Save situation but he hadn't pitched in 3 days and has tomorrow off, so he needed the work.  Nice non-stressful inning for him.  Little known fact:  Romo's 2 seam FB moves almost as much armside as his slider moves gloveside.  That was in evidence tonight as he faced a couple of LH batters.

The win for the Giants evens the series at 1 game apiece.  The next 3 will be in St Louis.  The Giants have done better on the road than at home this year, so it's not inconceivable that they might have the advantage here.  Bochy still has a lot of juggling to do to get what he can out of a tired pitching staff.  Vogies performance tonight makes that a whole lot easier though.

Matt Cain vs Kyle Lohse in Game 3 Wednesday afternoon.  Go Giants!!

NLCS Game 2: Live Blog

Sorry for the late start.   Had to pick up my car from the shop.

Vogie with a bit of a shaky first but like the 93 MPH I'm seeing on the gun.  Pagan gives the Giants a much needed lead.

Vogie loses a chance to keep his pitch count down there.

Wouldn't you know it.  Carpenter gets a big hit after the walk.  Arrgh!!  Jay hit the ball hard in his first AB.

Have to say something about Holliday's slide in the first.  He was completely off the ground while he was over the bag.  That was not a takeout slide so much as an injury causing slide.  Holliday is one of the biggest whiners in baseball to boot.  I'm sure AJ loved that one.

OK, damage limited.  Time for the bottom of the order to do their thing.

They announcers are talking about an ump meeting between innings.  They think it is about what they will do if Vogie plunks Holliday.  Right now not the right time to retaliate.  Wait until later in the game when Vogie will be coming out soon anyway or else let a reliever do the dirty work.

And of course there is the obligatory tape of Posey's injury.  Hate that!  It would be fine with me if they never showed that again.

Great pitch in the inside corner to K Craig.  And a nice play by Belt on the foul pop clear into the bullpen area right at the railing.  Love Belt's D!

Belt dumps one down the LF line and Blanco bounces one over the 3B head.  First and third, one out!
Ha!  About time the Giants get a break on some batted balls!

Vogie struggling to get a bunt down here.  Nice job by Vogie.  Come on, Pagan!  High leverage AB here.  OK Scooter, you've been coming through in this situation all second half.

Yes!!  Holliday boots it too!  Giants have a nice lead here.  Now Vogie needs to put the hammer down!  Very nice rally started by the bottom of the order again.   They made huge contribution to the 4 run rally last night too!

I don't agree with the booing of Beltran.  The trade didn't work out.  Time to move on.  Holliday?  Yeah he deserves the boos!

Vogie puts the hammer down!!

Great ovation for Vogie.  What a tremendous performance!  Whatever happens the rest of the way, he can hold his head high and know he competed and succeeded at the very highest level of this game.

Shelby Miller is a prospect who I think is equal or maybe slightly better than Zack Wheeler and as you all know, I'm a big Wheels fan.  Fantasy owners, keep him on your watch list next year.  If you are in a keeper league, grab him.  You could tell Buster had never seen him before, Belt too!

Crawford is robbed on a great catch by Jon Jay.    Perfectly placed between CF and RF, but hung up just a second too long and Jay covers a lot of ground in the OF.  So, Crawford helps the 4 run rally with a chopper that caused an error, then is out on two balls he hit hard.  All part of the game.  Now Huff hits a blooper for a single.

I think Brian Wilson is losing his mind.

Looks like the Giants made a quick read of Shelby Miller.  Go Giants!!  Yes!! Huff scores from 2B!!  Theriot fills in for Scooter and takes it to his old teammates.

Not sure what Matheny was thinking using his one and only LOOGY there.  I'll just call him "Eyechart" since I can't spell his name much less pronounce it.

Not sure I agree with using Romo here.  I guess he's had 3 days off and has an off day tomorrow, so needs the work?

Little known fact about Romo:  His two seam fastball moves almost as much armside as his slider moves glove side.....and there's the slider!   Game over!!!

We got 5 game series now.  Can the Giants win 2 of 3 in St Louis?  Win all 3?

Thanks for reading and commenting.  Full Game Wrap to follow.

AFL Report: 10/15/2012

Surprise Saguaros blanked the Scottsdale Scorpions 4-0:

Gary Brown(LF)- 1 for 4.  BA= .235.
Joe Panik(SS)- 0 for 3, BB.  BA= .067.
Chris Gloor(LHP)- 3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.86.
Dan Runzler(LHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.

BA has a nice article up on minor league FA's who made the biggest impact at the MLB level this year.  Gregor Blanco and Joaquin Arias ranked #1 and #6 respectively.  That got me interested in WAR numbers for each of them so I looked them up on Fangraphs.  Blanco had a WAR of 2.4 in 453 PA's while Arias' WAR was exactly 1.0 in 344 PA's.  All in all, the Giants reaped a stupendous $18 M worth of approximate value out of these two players at a combined cost of under $1 M.  What's even better is both of these players are still under 30 yo, have tools that give them further upside and have little enough service time that they can be kept for minimum salary again next season.  2 reserve spots on the roster that are already filled cheaply with Blanco, at least, contending for a starting role.

Game Wrap NLCS Game 1: Cardinals 6 Giants 4

A Giants starting pitcher once again staked the opposing team to a big lead early.  The Giants never caught up.  Key Lines:

Boxscore lines don't really tell the story here as the Giants scored all 4 runs in the 4'th inning.  The sequence was a single by Scutaro, outs by Sandoval and Posey, single by Belt, triple by Blanco, double by Crawford.  Scooter had the only 2 hit game for the Giants.

Madison Bumgarner- 3.2 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  Bummy looked good in the first inning hitting 91 several times on the radar gun.  By the 4'th, he was sitting at 89 and hanging his breaking stuff.  Add all that up and I see a tired pitcher who can't keep it going once the adrenaline rush wears off.  It tend to believe Bochy left him in 1 or 2 batters too long.

Bullpen- 5.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  Another outstanding effort by the bullpen.  Too bad it went for naught.  Cards bullpen was almost as good and consisted of a parade of arms who were hitting the upper 90's.  You just aren't going to score a lot of runs when you see a different pitcher with that kind of stuff every inning.

With the win, the Cardinals take a 1-0 lead in the best of 7 series.  Ryan Vogelsong takes the mound tonight facing postseason veteran Chris Carpenter who is coming off Thoracic Outlet Syndrome surgery.  I know, I know, the Giants came back from a 0-2 deficit at home in the NLDS and this team never quits, but gotta think that luck is going to run out sooner or later, probably sooner.  Must win tonight!

Go Giants!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

NLCS Game 1: Live Blog

Hey team!  Getting fired up for the game.  Hope the Niners weren't a bad omen here.

Just finished watching the last half of the Tigers-Yankee game.  Yankees have had more than their fair share of breaks over the years so tough to feel sorry for them but they did have to deal with some bad umpiring in this one.   Infante out by a mile rounding 2B called safe.  Led to 2 insurance runs.  Then the home plate ump gave Phil Coke at least 4 inches off the outside corner to LH batters.

All I can say is if the Giants and Yanks end up meeting in the WS, those LOOGYs will come in mighty handy!

A big Get Well Soon to Roberto Kelly who got hit in the head by a Buster Posey batting practice line drive that went over the protective screen then dived.  Think there was some top spin on that one?  Anyway, same injury as was suffered by first round draft pick Chris Stratton in Salem-Keizer.   Maybe players and coaches on the field who are not in the OF during batting practice need to be wearing helmets?

From Extra Giants:  This is the first time the previous 2 WS champs play in a championship series.  How great is that?

Gorgeous evening at the ballpark.  Best weather in SF is often in the fall.  Sun is going to be an issue for an inning or two, but with shorter days, the shadows are already out beyond the IF.  You can see the sun is distinctly farther south than in mid-season.

I usually don't like alternative versions of the National Anthem, but this one is nice.  I had heard of Jose Feliciano's version, but had never actually heard it before.

Leave it to Fox to create some extra drama by having Joe Buck do the Niners game then take a trolley and try to get to AT&T in time.

McCarver is already showing his bias.  Cards have more speed than the Giants?  Pagan and Blanco might have something to say about that.  Pence too.

Does Bumgarner have new shoes?

Bummy sails through the first inning.  Of course he and Cainer did the same in the first innings of Games 1 and 2 in the NLDS.

And this one is following the same script as the NLDS so far.  How did the Padres ever let David Freeze get away?  I guess the Giants have to face him fewer times with the Cards than the Pads.

Giants hitters killing worms in 2'nd inning.

Lance Lynn is bringing the heat.  Pumping 94-95 MPH fastballs.  Told you this guy is a beast.  Only redeeming feature from Giants perspective is he's thrown some pitches.  50 over first 3 innings slightly above target of 15 per inning.

And what's with Descalso?

If this postseason has taught us anything, it's to not get our daubers down too much, but this is disheartening.  6-0 Cards before the Giants get a hit.

And that's the way to do it.  Get on base and keep the line moving. Now Timmy needs to shut 'em down and keep it close.

Giving up a leadoff walk has not exactly been a recipe for success for Timmy.

Inning ending DP electrifies the crowd who are loving the New Timmy out of the bullpen.

Kozma didn't look like he has a lot of range on that hit by Scutaro.  Time for Pablo and Buster to step up.

The Cardinals seem to have an endless supply of right-handers who throw in the mid-upper 90's.

Odd that Matheny did not let Rzepczynski bat there and let him face Blanco and Crawford.  Guess he's a true LOOGY.  The only one the Cards have.  Wait 'til you get an eyeful of Rosenthal, though.

Seems like Bochy may have left Bumgarner in there at least 1 batter too long.  Bullpen has been shut down since.  Beltran's dinger is the difference in the game right now.

Well, there it is.  Giants put up a fight, but couldn't overcome the 6-0 deficit.  SP's are gassed and the bully can't pick them up forever.

Full Game Wrap to follow.