Sunday, August 31, 2014

Game Wrap 8/31/2014: Giants 15 Brewers 5

One common complaint you hear about the Giants is that they can't beat a team with a winning record(although ogc recently refuted that notion showing that the Giants actually have played winning teams about even and have something like the 3'rd best record in baseball against winning teams).  Anyway, the Milwaukee Brewers most definitely have a winning record, and left AT&T Park today with their tails between their legs, so to speak, after a resounding 3 game sweep to the Giants.  Key Lines(We could feature pretty much the entire Giants lineup plus some subs, but we'll limit it to the truly standout performances):

Hunter Pence- 4 for 5, 2B, 3B.  BA= .291.  Giants hitters played pepper with the CF and R-CF walls in this one and Pence certainly got his licks in.  He also got nailed by an errant foul shot by Joe Panik while Pence was standing in the on-deck circle, but he appeared to be unhurt.

Pablo Sandoval- 3 for 4, 3B, HR(15).  BA= .291.  Pablo keeps his drive for a .300 BA alive.

Andrew Susac- 3 for 5, 2 2B.  BA= .267.  Susac came into the game with something like a .225 BA.  Oh man!  Does this kid have a sweet swing or what?  And with power to boot!

Madison Bumgarner- 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 2.97.   This is what an off day looks like for Bumgarner nowadays.  96 pitches in 6 innings.  With a 7-1 lead, Bochy wasn't going to tire him out.  Fortunately the Giants scored another 7 runs in the bottom of the 7'th to make the relative ineffectiveness of the bullpen a moot issue.

Tim Lincecum- 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 4.70.  Timmy had reportedly been working on simplifying his delivery and getting his command in order.  He looked like the same old Timmy we've been seeing lately today.  Not an outing that is going to win him back his rotation spot or a bigger bullpen role anytime soon.

The Win allowed the Giants to remain 2.5 games behind the Dodgers who beat the Padres 7-1.  The Cardinals and Braves both won so the Giants remain 1 and 2.5 games ahead of them respectively.  The Pirates lost and fall 3 games off the Giants first Wild Card pace.

The Giants now travel to Colorado for a 3 game series against the Rockies but first of all they will resume a suspended game from May with pitchers to be announced.  Several players who were in that game are now no longer with their respective teams or are on the DL.  In the regularly scheduled game,  Tim Hudson faced Franklin Morales.  Huddy has had his problems in Coors Field throughout his career.

Down on the Farm: 8/30/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies stomped the Tacoma Rainiers 9-2:

Juan Perez(CF)- 3 for 5.  BA= .316.
Chris Dominguez(3B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .274.
Austin Fleet(RHP)- 6.2 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 5 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.95.
Erik Cordier(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 3.59.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels edged out the Binghampton Mets 7-6:

Kelby Tomlinson(SS)- 3 for 5.  BA= .268.
Blake Miller(2B)- 2 for 5, 3B.  BA= .318.
Angel Villalona(1B)- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .223.
Jack Snodgrass(LHP)- 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.56.

I think Blake Miller can hit!  Another triple for Angel V!  Does Richmond have some sort of Triples Alley in their ballpark?  Has Angel V gotten himself into better shape? Man, I would love to see him leg one out!

High A  High Desert Mavericks gored the San Jose Giants 10-5:

Daniel Carbonell(CF)- 3 for 5, 3B, 2 SB(7).  BA= .330.
Mitch Delfino(3B)- 2 for 4, HR(12), E(18).  BA= .291.
Brian Ragira(1B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .261.
Ben Turner(Catcher)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .296.

Man, is it possible that the Giants have a supremely talented 5-tool player who can actually hit in Carbonell?  Is he the #1 prospect in the Giants system?  Gotta be feeling excited about this one, but he still hasn't hit in the Eastern League.  Maybe he doesn't need to? I think Delfino can hit at the next level, but can he field the 3B position?  Those are Adam Duvall E numbers.  Brian Ragira is hitting .359 over his last 10 games.  His slash line is .300/.355/.523 since the All-Star Break.  Ben Turner is a nice sleeper in the system.

Low A  Charleston River Dogs defeated the Augusta Greenjackets 4-2:

Will Callaway(3B)- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .263.
Craig Massoni(RF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .259.
Randy Ortiz(CF)- 3 for 4.  BA= .269.
Nick Jones(LHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.
Luis Castillo(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.07.

Short Season  Boise Hawks topped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 9-8:

Austin Slater(RF)- 4 for 5, HR(2), SB(7).  BA= .342.
Ryder Jones(3B)- 2 for 5, 2B, HR(3).  BA= .245.
Travious Relaford(2B-SS)- 3 for 4, 2 HR(3).  BA= .288.

Very promising first pro season for Austin Slater.  Ryder Jones is making a late season push after wearing down in the summer down south.  Travious Relaford has always had the tools. Looks like he's finally found a bat this year.

Rookie AZL  Giants were idle.  AZL playoffs start today with the Giants opponent TBD.

Game Wrap 8/30/2014: Giants 3 Brewers 1

It was Jake Peavy's turn to take a no-hitter deep into the game.  This one lasted until there were 2 outs in the 8'th inning when Mark Reynolds poked a flare that dropped in RF.  The Giants offense put together a 3 run rally in the 4'th inning and that was enough for Peavy, the bullpen and a very impressive Giants defense.  Key Lines:

Michael Morse- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .281.  Morse doubled over Carlos Gomez in CF with Sandoval and Pence on base.  Pence almost ran down Sandoval at the plate in scoring the second run.  Morse is a tremendous bat to have in the 6 hole and he's not nearly the defensive liability at 1B that he is in LF, which creates a dilemma of what to do when and if Brandon Belt comes off the DL.

Brandon Crawford- 2 for 3, BB, SB(4).  BA= .228.  Crawford his looking like he feels better on the field.  In addition to a nice game at the plate, he made at least 2 highlight reel defensive plays in the field.  Maybe he should have gotten or taken some days off earlier if he was hurting?

Jake Peavy- 7.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 4.15.  Another throwback performance by Peavy.  This is the guy who the Giants had to battle against in San Diego all those years.  He has a 2.66 ERA in 7 starts for the Giants.  He took a no-no into the 8'th inning with the help of some pretty amazing defensive plays, which he acknowledged as he came off the field after giving up the hit.  After losing his first 3 starts for the Giants, he is now 3-1 in his last 4 starts and a big part of why the Giants are making noise in the pennant races again.

Sergio Romo- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 3.96.  Romo struck out Carlos Gomez on 3 pitches and make him look pretty helpless at the plate in the process.  There was one hanger in the middle, though, that could have been hit a long way, that Gomez just missed.  Bochy obviously thinks Romo is back.  Romo would have come out for the 9'th inning had the pitcher's spot not come up in the bottom of the 8'th.  The Brewers had a string of RH hitters coming up which Romo is much better against, so it made sense.  Bochy wanted to save Casilla for todays's game.

Santiago Casilla- 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K, Save(13).  ERA= 1.82.  Casilla made it interesting by giving up a leadoff double to Lucroy followed by an RBI single to Braun.  In Casilla's defense, Lucroy and Braun are two of the best hitters in baseball and could do that to anybody.

The Dodgers lost to the Padres 2-1 in extra innings for the second night in a row, so the Giants Win closed the gap in the NL West to 2.5 games.  The Cardinals split a twinbill with the Cubs so the Giants lead for the first Wild Card playoff spot is 1 full game over the Cards, 2 games over the Pirates and 2.5 games over the Braves.

It's Madison Bumgarner's turn to try for a no-hitter/perfect game this afternoon facing Kyle Lohse.  Oh, and he's going for a series sweep and the Giants 6'th win in a row too!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Down on the Farm: 8/29/2014

AAA  Tacoma Rainiers outslugged the Fresno Grizzlies 9-7:

Adam Duvall(1B)- 2 for 5, 2B, BB.  BA= .302.
Chris Dominguez(3B)- 3 for 4, HR(21).  BA= .272.
Brandon Hicks(2B)- 1 for 4, HR(6).  BA= .215.
Trevor Brown(Catcher)- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .323.

Brown hit .215 in 195 AB for San Jose earlier in the season.

AA Richmond Flying Squirrels edged the Binghampton Mets 2-1:

Mario Lisson(RF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .268.
Skyler Stromsmoe(SS)- 2 for 3, 2B, 2 SB(12).  BA= .230.
Adalberto Mejia(LHP)- 6 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 3 K.  ERA= 4.67.
Hunter Strickland(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save(11).  ERA= 2.02.

High A  San Jose Giants tamed the High Desert Mavericks 12-8:

Daniel Carbonell(DH)- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .313.
Brandon Bednar(SS)- 2 for 5, 2B, HR(5), BB.  BA= .253.
Tyler Horan(LF)- 3 for 4, HR(8).  BA= .312.
Ben Turner(Catcher)- 4 for 5, 2B.  BA= .294.
Joe Kurrasch(LHP)- 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.05.

Not sure why Carbonell came out of the game after 3 AB.  Hopefully because the game was a blowout early and not due to injury.  Maybe it's Turner who is driving for a .300 BA?

Low A  Charleston River Dogs defeated the Augusta Greenjackets 6-1:

Ty Ross(Catcher)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= 246.
Christian Jones(LHP)- 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.33.

Short Season  Spokane Indians topped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 11-5:

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 1 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .328.
Johneshwy Fargas(LF)- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .247.

Rookie AZL  Giants outscored the Angels 12-8:

Nicol Parra(CF)- 2 for 4.  BA= .254.
Christian Lichtenthaler(SS)- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .235.
Carlos Cartegena(RF)- 1 for 3, HR(1), BB.  BA= .164.
Nathanial Javier(3B)- 2 for 5, SB(1).  BA= .172.
Luis Lacen(DH)- 1 for 3, BB, SB(3).  BA= .250.
Garrett Hughes(LHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.84.

DSL  Rangers1 downed the Giants 9-7:

Mikey Edie(CF, 17 yo)- 2 for 4.
Robinson Medrano(RF, 18 yo)- 2 for 5.
Manuel Geraldo(SS, 17 yo)- 2 for 4, 2B, 3B.
Victor Concepcion(RHP, 17 yo)- 4.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 4 K's.

I believe this game eliminates the Giants from the DSL playoffs.

Game Wrap 8/29/2014: Giants 13 Brewers 3

The Giants offense scored early and often to support another strong start from Ryan Vogelsong and won this one going away.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 3 for 5, 2B, 3B.  BA= .306.  You want your leadoff guy to get into scoring position as quickly as possible.  He can do that by reaching 1B and stealing or with XBH's.

Joe Panik- 4 for 6, 2B.  BA= .312.  Panik continues to show plate discipline with a short stroke to the ball.  He played pepper with the field in this one.

Buster Posey- 5 for 5, 3B.  BA= .290.  I think Buster Posey is hot.  Reassuring to see this after his 0 for 4 in the finale against the Rockies.  Buster becomes the only catcher in franchise history to have two 5 for 5 games.

Hunter Pence- 3 for 4, BB.  Panik's emergence as a classic #2 hitter allows Pence to move down in the lineup.  I would probably bat him #4 with Sandoval at #5 but it's a minuscule difference.  Pence's speed is nice in the 5-hole.

Gregor Blanco- 1 for 2, HR(4), 3 BB, SB(14).   BA= .251.  3 things that are not coincidences:  Panik moving to the 2-hole, Blanco starting in LF and the Giants winning.   Blanco is on a HR tear with 3 in his last 6 games.  He has also draw 6 walks in his last 3 games.  He also raised his fWAR score by 0.3 points in 1 game last night from 1.0 to 1.3, and got his offensive contribution into positive territory on the year.

Ryan Vogelsong- 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.73.  Vogey got run support again.  He allowed the first two batters to reach in the top of the 5'th with the score 8-1.  Bochy left him in this time and he got out of it with just 1 of those runners scoring.

The Win was the Giants 4'th in a row.  The Dodgers lost to the Padres in extra innings so the Giants are now 3.5 games behind in the NL West.  The Cardinals lost so the Giants pass them for a 0.5 game lead for the home field advantage in a Wild Card game.  The Braves and Pirates won and trail the Giants by 1.5 and 2 games for the second Wild Card playoff spot.

Jake Peavy takes the mound this evening facing Mike Fiers, the man with a high fastball.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Down on the Farm: 8/28/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies outscored the Tacoma Rainiers 6-5:

Mark Minicozzi(1B)- 1 for 1, 2B, 3 BB.  BA= .297.
Adam Duvall(3B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .299.
Brandon Hicks(2B)- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(5).  BA= .214.

AA  Altoona Curve edged the Richmond Flying Squirrels 3-2:

Angel Villalona(1B)- 3 for 4, 3B.  BA= .222.
Ricky Oropesa(3B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .241.
Chris Stratton(RHP)- 6 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.52.
Phil McCormick(LHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.62.

I'd love to see Angel V run out a triple!  Nice start for Stratton.

High A  Lake Elsinore Storm pounded the San Jose Giants 8-5:

Daniel Carbonell(CF)- 1 for 5, 3B.  BA= .313.
Chuckie Jones(RF)- 2 for 5.  BA= .261.
Brandon Bednar(SS)- 2 for 4, HR(4).  BA= .249.
Jorge Bucardo(RHP)- 4.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.81.
Stephen Johnson(RHP)- 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.70.

Bucardo relieved Pat Young, who got shelled, with 2 outs in the first inning.

Low A  Savannah Sand Gnats smothered the Augusta Greenjackets 3-0:

Robert Ramer(RHP)- 5 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 4.73.

Short Season  Spokane Indians topped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 5-3:

Austin Slater(RF)- 2 for 5.  BA= .318.
Christian Arroyo(SS)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .328.
Dylan Davis(LF)- 2 for 4, SB(1).  BA= .205.
Travious Relaford(2B)- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .285.

Rookie AZL  Giants beat the White Sox 6-4:

Brennan Metzger(DH)- 2 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .354.
Jonah Arenado(3B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .257.
Kevin Rivera(2B)- 1 for 2, BB, SF.  BA= .228.
Stetson Woods(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.25.
Greg Brody(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save(2).  ERA= 0.63.

Strong outing by Woods after stumbling in his last appearance.

DSL  Rangers1 stomped the Giants 9-1:

NTSH.  First game of second round of DSL playoffs.

Game Wrap 8/28/2014: Giants 4 Rockies 1

Yusmeiro Petit set a MLB record for consecutive batters retired and went on to pitch a dominating 6 innings while Gregor Blanco led the offense to give the Giants a win in the 4 game series.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 3 for 4, SB(13).  BA= .301.  Pagan peppered the field with basehits.  What you want from a leadoff hitter.

Joe Panik- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .298.  Panik moves into 2-hole which is where he will probably spend most of he career.  Between Pagan and Panik, the first 2 batters reached base 5 out of 8 PA's yet scored just 1 run as Buster Posey cooled off to an 0 for 4 out of the #3 slot.

Gregor Blanco- 1 for 3, HR(3), BB.  BA= .249.  Blanco starts in LF for the 3'rd consecutive game, all Giants wins.  He is hitting .302 with a .368 OBP since the All-Star Break.  Historically, hitting HR's has tended to push him into bad habits and long slumps at the plate, though.

Yusmeiro Petit- 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 3.44.  Petit came into the game needing to retire the first 8 batters he faced to set a new MLB record for consecutive batters retired.  He did exactly that, then allowed a hit to the pitcher and a hit to the next batter and eventually a run in the 3'rd inning.  Gotta think there was a momentary loss of concentration after he broke the record.  I believe this is the first time this particular record has not included a perfect game as most of Petit's scoreless innings came in relief appearances.  His overall start was dominating, and probably means he stays in the rotation for at least 1 more.  When asked about his next start, Bochy said "It's hard to change that after the job he did."

Brandon Crawford was a late scratch due to general soreness.  He reportedly had ice packs in multiple locations around his body.

Brandon Belt and his wife welcomed their first child, a boy they named Greyson.

The Win got the Giants 0.5 games closer to the Dodgers, 4.5 games out of first place in the NL West.  They also got 0.5 games closer to the home field advantage in a  Wild Card game trailing the Cardinals by 0.5 games.  They lead the Braves by 1.5 games for the second Wild Card berth.

The Giants now take on the leaders in the NL Central Division, the Milwaukee Brewers with Ryan Vogelsong facing Wily Peralta tonight at AT&T Park in game 1 of the weekend series.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Down on the Farm: 8/27/2014

AAA  Memphis Redbirds edged the Fresno Grizzlies 5-4:

Gary Brown(CF)- 1 for 4, HBP, 3 SB(35).  BA= .269.

AA  Altoona Curve defeated the Richmond Flying Squirrels 8-7:

Kelby Tomlinson(SS)- 2 for 5.  BA= .264.
Mario Lisson(3B)- 3 for 3, 2B, HR(18), BB.  BA= .268.
Devin Harris(LF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .261.
Angel Villalona(1B)- 3 for 4, 2 2B, HR(9).  BA= .216.
Myles Schroder(RF)- 2 for 4.  BA= .250.
Clayton Blackburn(RHP)- 1.2 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.31.
Steven Okert(LHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.84.

Angel V has had a tough 2'nd half, but a great game here.  Blackburn follows up the best start of his career with this stinker.

High A  San Jose Giants crushed the Lake Elsinore Storm 13-0:

Daniel Carbonell(CF)- 4 for 5, 2B, BB.  BA= .320.
Chuckie Jones(RF)- 3 for 5, BB.  BA= .259.
Ryan Lollis(LF)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .261.
Mitch Delfino(3B)- 2 for 5, BB.  BA= .289.
Brian Ragira(1B)- 5 for 5, 2B, HR(19).  BA= .260.
Ben Turner(Catcher)- 2 for 5.  BA= .290.
Joe Biagini(RHP)- 5 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 4.01.
Jake Smith(RHP)- 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.00.
Ray Black(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.

Ragira's dinger was a grand slam and he drove in a total of 5 runs.  He's had a big second half.  Carbonell continues to show signs that he may be the real deal.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets beat the Savannah Sand Gnats 5-4:

Scott Price(DH)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .278.
Chase Johnson(RHP)- 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 4.57.
Luis Castillo(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, Save(10).  ERA= 3.14.

Chase Johnson certainly runs hot and cold.  Terrific game here.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes topped the Spokane Indians 3-2:

Travious Relaford(SS)- 3 for 4, SB(8).  BA= .280.
Austin Slater(RF)- 1 for 4, HR(1).  BA= .314.
Keury Mella(RHP)- 5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 1.20.
Eury Sanchez(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's, Save(13).  BA= 3.66.

Relaford has always had the tools.  He seems to have found a bat this year.  Mella has done nothing to diminish his status as one of the top pitching prospects in the organization this season.

Rookie AZL  Giants pounded the Mariners 9-2:

Richard Amion(CF)- 2 for 5.  BA= .267.
Byron Murray(DH)- 1 for 3.  BA= .274.
Brennan Metzger(LF)- 1 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .342.
John Riley(Catcher)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .183.
Mark Reyes(LHP)- 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.00.
Rayan Hernandez(RHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.53.
Kendry Melo(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 9.53.

Melo has 18 K's in 17 IP but he also has 21 BB's.   I think he has some upside, though.

DSL  Giants blanked the Tigers 2-0:

Prebito Reyes(LHP, 18 yo)- 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.

Tough to find information about the DSL playoffs, but it looks like the Giants won their first round.  They were the Wild Card team.  No information on subsequent rounds if there are any.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Game Wrap 8/27/2014: Giants 4 Rockies 2

It was almost deja vu all over again as Santiago Casilla blew the Save, but Buster Posey took charge in the bottom of the 9'th hitting a walk-off 2-run HR for the win.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 1 for 4, BB.  BA= .296.  Pagan got on base twice and scored twice.  A good night for the leadoff batter.  1 single + 1 BB in 5 PA's= .400 OBP, right?

Buster Posey- 3 for 5, HR(18).  BA= .292.  Buster drove in 3 of the 4 runs and is red hot right now, .386 BA with 5 dingers in his last 10 games.

Matt Duffy- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .250.  Duffy appears to not have quite the arm of Brandon Crawford, but he was scooting around the IF and making all the plays he had to.  Matt Duffy!

Tim Hudson- 8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 2.90.  For a few minutes, it looked like Huddy's stellar effort would go to waste, but Buster saved the day!  2000 career K's.

Santiago Casilla- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 0 K's.  ERA= 1.71.  It was a curious decision to lift Huddy for Casilla who reportedly had been sick and was still not feeling well.  Huddy was only at 85 pitches, but he's lost it at under 100 pitches this year, so I can see Bochy's point, sort of.  Maybe if Casilla was not feeling well, it would have been smarter to bring in Romo who has been pitching better except we all remember what happened the last time Romo closed against the Rockies in AT&T Park.  I guess I would have tried to stay with Huddy and brought in Romo or Casilla or Affeldt depending on the matchups if he allowed a runner on base.

The Win maintained the Giants 5 game deficit to the Dodgers, who won, in the NL West.  The Giants gained a game on the Cardinals and trail them by 1 for the first Wild Card playoff spot.  They maintain their 1.5 game lead over the Braves for the second spot.

Yusmeiro Petit tries to keep the momentum going and possibly win a permanent spot in the rotation tomorrow facing Jordan Lyles.  Petit also has a chance to extend his 38 consecutive batters retired to 46 which would pass Mark Buerhle for the all time record.  That would happen in the 3'rd inning if he can keep it going.

Down on the Farm: 8/26/2014

AAA  Memphis Redbirds outhit the Fresno Grizzlies 9-6:

Jarrett Parker(RF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .267.
Nick Noonan(2B)- 1 for 3, HR(3), BB.  BA= .237.

AA Altoona Curve edged the Richmond Flying Squirrels 3-2:

Mario Lisson(1B)- 2 for 3, HR(17), BB.  BA= .267.
Myles Schroder(3B)- 2 for 4, HR(5).  BA= .247.
Ty Blach(LHP)- 5.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA- 3.29.
Dan Slania(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.90.

High A  San Jose Giants defeated the Lake Elsinore Storm 4-1:

Daniel Carbonell(CF)- 2 for 4, BB, SB(3).  BA= .286.
Tyler Horan(RF)- 2 for 4, 3B, SB(6).  BA= .288.
Matt Lujan(LHP)- 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 3.38.
Tyler Rogers(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.99.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets beat the Savannah Sand Gnats 5-3:

Randy Ortiz(CF)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .269.
Will Callaway(3B)- 3 for 5, 2 SB(2).  BA= .282.
Luis Ysla(LHP)- 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 2.51.
Nick Jones(LHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.
Luis Castillo(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, S(9).  ERA= 3.21.

Nick Jones second appearance for Augusta after a callup from Arizona.  Just a reminder, he is a 6'6" LHP drafted out of JC ball in round 14 last year.  This is his first experience above rookie ball.  Ysla is 22 yo which is old for an international signee, but this is just his second pro season and first full season. He's done well with 111 K's in 118.1 IP.  Randy Ortiz is hitting .361 over his last 10 games.

Short Season  Spokane Indians scored 9 runs in the 6'th, 7'th and 8'th innings to bury the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 10-5:

Seth Harrison(CF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .271.
Skyler Ewing(1B)- 2 for 4, HR(8).  BA= .307.
Hunter Cole(LF)- 2 for 4, 2 HR(4).  BA= .278.
Tyler Beede(RHP)- 3.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.45.

Rookie AZL  Giants were idle.

DSL  Giants downed the Tigers 4-3 in 11 innings to square up their playoff series:

Mikey Edie(CF, 17 yo)- 1 for 3.
Alejandro Flores(RHP, 20 yo)- 6 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 6 K's.
Jose Morel(RHP, 20 yo)- 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.
Victor Concepcion(RHP, 17 yo)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.

As was mentioned in the comments yesterday, AFL rosters were announced.  The Giants are sending 7 players to the Scottsdale Scorpions roster, 4 pitchers and 3 hitters:  RHP Clayton Blackburn, RHP Erik Cordier, LHP Steven Okert, RHP Hunter Strickland, IF Matt Duffy, IF Blake Miller, OF Daniel Carbonell.  No big surprises here.  Both Duffy and Miller have had outstanding seasons putting themselves on the prospect map.  Carbonell is the most intriguing as a 23 yo Cuban emigre who signed late in the season and needs AB's.  Blackburn is by far the youngest representative.  He is finishing his regular AA season with a flourish.  I thought maybe Kyle Crick might go because he has not logged that many innings, but I think he went last year and there may be a no-repeat rule.  There is still one catching roster spot open.  Wonder if the Giants will fill it?

Game Wrap 8/26/2014 Giants 3 Rockies 0

Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey stood in the gap last night and led the Giants to an emphatic win that came oh so close to making baseball history.  Key Lines:

Gregor Blanco- 0 for 3.  BA= .248.  Nothing on offense here, but the second batter of the game, Drew Stubbs, hit a drive to the wall in LF that Blanco turned into an out, that I very much doubt Michael Morse would have made a play on.  That ball bounces off the wall and it's a whole different ballgame right off the bat, so to speak.

Hunter Pence- 1 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .286.  Pence's contribution was not as dramatic as Bumgarner's or Posey's but he stood in the gap along with them getting on base 3 times out of the 2-hole.

Buster Posey- 2 for 4, 2 HR(17).  BA= .288.  In the previous game, Buster got rung up on a pitch that was not close to the strike zone, apparently as payback to Jake Peavy for an incident earlier in the game.  Tonight Buster came back and made a statement of his own, showing that umpire how his fit of anger was not harmless and may well have changed the outcome of the game.  In addition, Buster made a statement to his teammates about his leadership and accountability for the success of the team.  Just a star performance by a star of the team.

Madison Bumgarner- 9 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 13 K's.  ERA= 3.02.  Talk about being a stopper!  Bummy took a perfect game into the 8'th inning.  The pitch Morneau hit for a leadoff double was a good pitch that he had to reach for, but managed to drop the bathead on the ball and poke it down the RF line.  In retrospect, that was probably not the best pitch Bummy could have thrown in that situation and it did look like a location mistake with an offspeed pitch that probably should have gone to the outside corner.  On to happier topics, Bumgarner has found a new weapon, the elevated fastball and he is dominating with it!  And what a beast Bumgarner is anyway!  Not only is he not wilting in the dog days, he has found a foot or two on the FB hitting 94 on the high hard one with regularity late in the game last night.  His 13 K's came on top of 12 from his previous game.  He now has pitched 5 QS's in a row with 49 K's against just 2 BB's in 40 IP.   He's had 2 CG's in that 5 game span with double digit K's 3 times.  Right now, Madison Bumgarner deserves to be in the conversation about who is the best pitcher in baseball, and he's still getting better!

The Dodgers also won, so the Giants remain 5 games behind them in the NL West.  The Braves lost, so the Giants now have a 1.5 game lead for the second Wild Card playoff berth.

Tim Hudson tries to build on this game tonight facing LHP Franklin Morales.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Thoughts on Buster Posey's Future

Ever since the horrific collision that nearly tore Buster Posey's foot off that the ankle, Giants fans have been understandably anxious about the continued risk of injury for him playing the catcher position.  Add in a 9 year contract and the need to keep him healthy and productive for the length of the contract and you don't have a situation that reduces anyone's anxiety.

Buster has played quite a bit of first base, and played the position well, with above average UZR's in a small sample size.  Some people point to the fact that Buster played SS in college as evidence he can play just about anywhere, but that was during his freshman season.  I don't think there is any serious fan who has watched him play lately who thinks he could move to SS.

Bruce Bochy has made some intriguing comments in the past about Buster possibly moving to 3B.  With Pablo Sandoval possibly headed out of town as a free agent, those comments have been seized upon to make a case for Buster Posey to be Pablo's replacement at 3B, should the need arise.  Then, 2 days ago, Bochy threw cold water on that idea saying there is currently no discussion about Posey moving from catcher as his primary position and while Buster Posey has the tools to play 3B, it would take time for him to learn the finer points of the position.  The transition to 1B would be much easier and quicker.  If and when the time comes for him to move away from the catcher position, it will be to first base.

So what's going on here?  Did Bochy just contradict himself here?  Is he blowing a smokescreen to protect Pablo Sandoval's feelings while there is still a possibility that he may stay and sign a new contract?  I decided to look up Bochy's prior quotes and see  if they shed any light on the issue.

The first report we read about Bochy saying Buster Posey might move to 3B came on October 3, 2012.    It was reported by Andy Baggarly on CSN Bay Area who said that this was not the first time he had heard Bochy discuss the subject.  Baggarly went on to say that he had spoken to other coaches and scouts who thought Buster would make a fine third baseman someday.   Here's the exact quote, "I think he could play third.  That's how athletic I think he is."  Bochy may have expanded on the thought, but if he did , Baggs did not report it.

The subject apparently came up again during a pregame chat with reporters on August 21, 2014.  As reported by Baggs, who, by the way, seems to have had a particular interest in the subject for a long time, Bochy's exact quote this time:  "I think he'd be a really good third baseman.  We like him where he's at now.  An this is something(that would happen) if he took the time to learn it in the offseason and spring training.  But, he's an athlete and he has the hands and arm."

Again, we are not given much of the context here in terms of what questions were asked by reporters or why the subject came up.  From reading the rest of Baggarly's article it seems that it came when Buster was slumping and questions about fatigue being the cause were coming up.

Then, this weekend the subject came up once again, probably because of internet and radio talk about possible replacements for Pablo should he leave via free agency.  This time, Bochy chose to be both more expansive and more precise in his wording:

"Right now, no.  Down the road, I'm sure it's something we will talk about.  You've got to like Susac's development over this past year.  We said the same about Hector.  Unfortunately, we are dealing with some (concussion) issues with Hector.  You'd like to lighten the load on Buster.  Whether at some point down the road he will get out from behind the plate, I can't answer that, but right now, there is no plan to do that.  But I will say, it's always nice to have that option.  It's a beautiful thing having that kind of option where you have somebody you trust to  be able to handle the staff, whether it is Susac or Sanchez.  I think it would be more to first base.  I think he could go at third base, but I think it takes some work because of slow rollers, bunts and things like that.  His hands, his arm, everything would work, but it would take a lot of work."

For what it's worth, and probably quite a bit, Brian Sabean has always been adamant that Posey is the teams's starting catcher.  That is what the value of his contract was based on, and that is where he is going to play.  I found one one source, Bay Area Sports Guy, whoever that is, who says he knows that Buster himself will not discuss the subject of moving off catcher at all.

So, what's going on here?  I have a few thoughts to add:

1.  I do not see any contradiction in Bochy's earlier comments and his current ones.  He's never said that Posey was going to move to 3B, now or in the future. He's always said he has the tools, still does.  He has always said it would take extended work(offseason plus spring training) to get him ready to play 3B.

2.  There are hints of internal debate about the issue with Sabes and Buster on one side and Bochy kind of on the other.  I don't get the idea that it's something Bochy feels adamant about, though.

3.  I believe it is highly unlikely that Buster Posey is anything other than the starting catcher next year or even the year after that.

4.  I believe it is highly unlikely that Buster Posey will ever be the Giants third baseman.

My personal opinion after watching Buster Posey play first base in quite a few games over the past 3 seasons is that he would not make a very good third baseman even with a lot of practice.  I just don't see the fluidity of movement, the quickness afoot and instincts for the position.  But I'm no scout and could be wrong.

Down on the Farm: 8/25/2014

AAA  Memphis Redbirds blanked the Giants 1-0:

Jake Dunning(RHP)- 4 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.65.

The Giants have talked about Dunning's potential as a starter.  Looks like he is getting an opportunity.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels edged the Altoona Curve 5-4:

Kelby Tomlinson(SS)- 2 for 4, HBP, 2 SB(49).  BA= .265.
Blake Miller(2B)- 1 for 3, BB, HBP, SB(1).  BA= .333.
Devin Harris(RF)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .260.
Jack Snodgrass(LHP)- 7 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 5 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.66.
Hunter Strickland(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, Save(10).  ERA= 2.94.

High A  San Jose Giants were idle.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets were idle.

Short Season  Spokane Indians topped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 4-3:

Johneshwy Fargas(LF)- 1 for 3, 2 BB, 2 SB(15).  BA= .239.
Jason Forjet(RHP)- 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.94.

Rookie AZL  Giants dominated the A's 7-0:

Richard Amion(CF)- 2 for 4, 3B, BB.  BA= .262.
Byron Murray(DH)- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .271.
Kevin Rivera(2B)- 2 for 3, 3B, BB.  BA= .224.
Nolan Riggs(LHP)- 3 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 6.43.
Dylan Brooks(RHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 3.09.
Greg Brody(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.68.

DSL  Tigers downed the Giants 4-3 in Game 1 of the DSL Playoffs:

Deiyerbert Bolivar(LHP, 18 yo)- 5.2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K's.

Game Wrap 8/25/2014: Rockies 3 Giants 2

The fatigue and frustration continued to impact the Giants play costing them a game they should have won.  Key Lines:

Andrew Susac- 1 for 2, HR(2), BB.  BA= .229.  Susac also made a terrific throw to 2B on a  strike 'em out, throw 'em out, and managed to get a tag on a sliding runner at home and got the out on a replay.  Very nice game by Susac.  I'm not sure why Blanco pinch hit for him in the 9'th as Susac seemed like one guy who just might catch lightning in a bottle and win the game on a walk-off HR.  I guess Bochy was going with experience and the L-R matchup?

Brandon Crawford- 0 for 4, 2 E(20).  BA= .228.  This looks worse than it was.  Both errors came in 1 inning.  The first error was on a ball that went deep into the hole on the left side.  Crawford did well to even have a play on it, but the throw was off line and the runner advanced to 2B.  It was ruled an error all the way.  It probably should have been a hit and an error and Crawford probably should have held the ball, but he has made his reputation on making plays like this, so I don't really blame him for being aggressive.  The second error was a squibber by Morneau that forced Crawford to make a long run to get to it out of the shift.  The throw bounced on the grass in front of first base and skidded, tying up Buster Posey who made an awkward looking attempt to catch it.  The throw got away enough to allow the lead runner to reach 3B.  Again, Crawford probably should have just held the ball, but has had success being aggressive on plays like this and was trying to make something happen.  I'll give Crawford a partial pass on these two errors even though they directly contributed to the loss.

Jake Peavy- 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 4.34.  Peavy pitched his heart out and pitched a fine game.  I have commented before that Peavy's emotions seem to be much more on display these days than I remember from his San Diego days and he needs to tone it down a bit.  Tonight those emotions cost him as he lost his concentration in the 3'rd inning after the 2 errors by Crawford and balked in a run after he lost track of Morneau and tried to step off that throw long after he was into his delivery.  I don't think I have ever seen a pitcher balk that late into a pitch and it was clearly a mental mistake caused by lack of concentration.

In addition, Peavy's glares and barking alienated the home plate umpire, Doug Eddings, to the point for Eddings clearly lost all objectivity and in a shameful display of payback, essentially refused to call any pitch a strike, and later pointedly rang up Posey on a similar pitch that was clearly out of the strike zone just to emphasize his anger at Peavy.  While the umpire was calling a terrible game and had lost control of his emotions, Peavy needs to tone it down himself and not alienate the umps that way.

Doug Eddings-  Eddings was already not calling a good game with a terribly inconsistent strike zone, but he clearly started making intentionally bad calls out of anger at Jake Peavy and the Giants.  In the process, he not only punished Peavy, but also Buster Posey who is about as respectful a player as you are going to find and a true star in the game of baseball.  It was a shameful, bush league performance worthy of discipline by MLB.  Just my opinion, but apparently one shared by several commentators, admittedly all on the Giants side of the broadcast booth.

The Loss left the Giants 5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West and 0.5 games ahead of the Braves in the race for the second Wild Card playoff spot.

Madison Bumgarner tries to right the ship tonight facing Jorge De La Rosa who is having a strong season himself.

Oh, and Tim Lincecum was officially removed from the rotation for an indefinite period of time depending on how Yusmeiro Petit pitches as his replacement and how quickly Timmy seems to get his mechanics back together out of the bullpen.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Down on the Farm: 8/24/2014

AAA  Memphis Redbirds swarmed over the Fresno Grizzlies 8-0:

Gary Brown(CF)- 1 for 3, 2B, CS(19).  BA= .272.

AA  Bowie Baysox blanked the Richmond Flying Squirrels 1-0:

Adalberto Mejia(LHP)- 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.85.

Mejia has a 2.22 ERA over his last 5 starts spanning 24.1 IP.

High A  Visalia Rawhide defeated the San Jose Giants 8-0:

Ryan Lollis(DH)- 3 for 4.  BA= .241.
Ben Turner(Catcher)- 3 for 4.  BA= .289.
Nick Vander Tuig(RHP)- 4.1 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.67.
Jake Smith(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.00.

Lollis and Turner had all 6 of the Giants hits between them.  Turner has not hit for much power, but he has 34 BB's and just 35 K's in 356 AB's.  In 2 pro seasons, he has just 59 K's and 54 BB's in 734 AB's.    Those kinds of ratios seem to be working out for Joe Panik.  We will continue to monitor Turner's progress.

Low A  Lexington Legends beat the Augusta Greenjackets 4-2:

Joan Gregorio(RHP)- 8 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.92.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes topped the Tri-Cities Dust Devils 6-5:

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 3 for 5.  BA= .325.

Rookie AZL  D'Backs downed the Giants 5-1:

Julio Pena(RF)- 1 for 3, HR(2).  BA= .211.
Sam Coonrod(RHP)- 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 0 K, GO/AO= 6/2.  ERA= 3.90.
Stetson Woods(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.57.
Ryan Hernandez(RHP)- 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.65.
Marcus Wilson(OF, D'Backs)- 0 for 4.  BA= .208.

From the stat line, it looks like Coonrod may be working on a 2-seam FB that he can pitch to contact and get GB outs making him less dependent on the strikeout.  All good things must come to an end.  This was the first game in which Stetson Woods has allowed runs.  Maybe the Giants got a better HS OF than Marcus Wilson later in the draft in Byron Murray?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Game Wrap 8/24/2014: Nationals 12 Giants 6

It's hard to believe that the Giants held a 6-2 lead as late as the 6'th inning, but the bullpen suffered a complete breakdown allowing a flood of Nationals runs in one of the more frustrating losses in recent memory.  Key Lines:

Gregor Blanco- 2 for 5, 3B, HR(2).  BA= .252.  Blanco has struggled in the leadoff role but not today as he led off the game with a homer into the jet stream in R-CF then later tripled down the 1B line on a ball that got deadened by the ballgirl's chair.

Buster Posey- 2 for 5.  BA= .287.  Buster was as hot as I've ever seen him in the 9'th inning both during a mound conference with Rags and Gutierrez and later in the dugout after his AB in the bottom of the inning.  Not sure what it was about.  Kuip thought he knew, but did not want to say until he talked to Buster.  The general banter seemed to be that maybe the Nationals were stealing signs.  Is stealing signs cheating?  Both Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson were thrown out of the game early after yelling at the ump to call a balk on Strasburg who they thought was not coming to a complete stop out of the stretch.

Travis Ishikawa- 1 for 3, HR(2), SF.  BA= .258.  Travis has been a breath of fresh air at the 1B position this road trip.  Could he be another Giants reclamation success story a la Ryan Vogelsong?

Brandon Crawford= 3 for 4.  BA= .230.  Crawford had a nice day at the plate, but late in the game appeared to be dead on the legs as he stood and watched grounder after grounder go by.  In fairness, it's hard to tell on TV what balls an IF should get to, but it seemed like some of those were fieldable.

Ryan Vogelsong- 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 4 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.78.  Vogelsong battled a very good Nationals lineup and left the game with a lead he probably expected to hold up.  Alas, it was not to be.

Jeremy Affeldt- 0.0 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 0 K's.  ERA= 2.72.  Affeldt relieved Vogey after Desmond's HR and proceeded to get lit up. Don't know if it is fatigue, but Affeldt has now allowed runs in 6 of his last 8 appearances.  The ERA of 2.72 is a testament of just how good he was before that.

All in all, just a really bad loss by an apparently exhausted Giants team, especially the bullpen, but the fielders looked like their legs were dead too.

The Giants now come home and immediately start a 4 games midweek series against the Colorado Rockies that will hopefully go better than the last time the Rockies came to AT&T Park with Jake Peavy facing Tyler Matzek.

Amazingly, the Dodgers, Cardinals, Braves and Pirates all lost today, so the Giants remain 4.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West and 1 game ahead of the Braves for the second Wild Card playoff spot.

By not announcing whether Tim Lincecum is making his next start, after saying he has discussed the issue with Rags and Brian Sabean but not Timmy yet, Bochy has made it quite clear that Timmy won't be making the start.

Down on the Farm: 8/23/2014

AAA  Nashville Sounds beat the Fresno Grizzlies 6-2:

Gary Brown(CF)- 3 for 4, 2B, CS(18).  BA= .271.
Brett Bochy(RHP)- 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.42.

Are relievers who throw under 95 MPH the new market inefficiency?

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels defeated the Bowie Baysox 7-2:

Kelby Tomlinson(SS)- 2 for 4, SB(47).  BA= .263.
Blake Miller(2B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .348.
Chris Stratton(RHP)- 4 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K's, GO/AO= 5/0.  ERA= 3.71.

High A  San Jose Giants downed the Visalia Rawhide 4-2:

Daniel Carbonell(CF)-  2 for 4.  BA= .290.
Mitch Delfino(3B)- 3 for 4, 2B, 3B.  BA= .290.
Chuckie Jones(RF)- 2 for 4, SB(15).  BA= .258.
Joe Kurrasch(LHP)- 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.16.
Ray Black(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.

Black makes his first appearance since his promotion to SJ successful.

Low A  Lexington Legends outscored the Augusta Greenjackets 4-2:

Conner Kaden(RHP)- 2.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.08.

Kaden was a 27'th round draft pick this year.

Short Season  Tri-Cities Dust Devils topped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 6-2:

Seth Harrison(CF)- 1 for 4, HBP, 3 SB(11).  BA= .267.
Nick Gonzalez(LHP)- 6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 0 K's.  ERA= 3.28.

Rookie AZL  Giants won over the Indians 7-4:

Richard Amion(CF)- 2 for 4, SB(8).  BA= .254.
Byron Murray(DH)- 1 for 2, 3B, BB.  BA= .288.
Jonah Arenado(3B)- 1 for 3, 2B.  BA= .256.
Matthew Gage(LHP)- 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 1.89.

DSL  Giants vs Rockies postponed due to rain.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Game Wrap 8/23/2014: Nationals 6 Giants 2

The enthusiasm from last night's game carried over into the top of the first inning as Hunter Pence gave the Giants a 2-0 lead with his 18'th HR of the season, but it all came to a halt as Tim Lincecum continued his struggles against a team and in a ballpark he has always struggled with.  Key Lines"

Hunter Pence- 2 for 4, HR(18).  BA= .284.  Pence is pretty much right no track for his standard stat line a the end of the season.  He is one of the most consistent players I've ever seen or heard of.

Pablo Sandoval- 3 for 4.  BA= .288.  Sandoval is on a drive to hit .300.  At his current pace, he'll make it easily.

Tim Lincecum= 2.2 IP, 6 H, 6 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.64.  The wheels are off and Bochy sounded a lot like this might be Timmy's last start for awhile.  He is not a competitive MLB pitcher right now.  The Giants are on the hook for $20 M for next year so they better figure out how to fix him before then.

Yusmeiro Petit- 4.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.59.  Another fantastic relief outing for Petit.  Since his last start, which did not go well, Petit has pitched 12.1 perfect innings over 6 appearances with 15 K's.  Look for him to get another shot at starting in the near future.

The Loss drops the Giants to 4.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West while the Braves lost to the Red 1-0 so the Giants remain 1 game ahead in the race for the second Wild Card slot.  The Pirates clobbered the BrewCrew 10-2 to get to 1.5 games behind the Giants.

Ryan Vogelsong tries for a series win facing Stephen Strasburg tomorrow morning on the west coast.

Down on the Farm: 8/22/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies silenced the Nashville Sound 3-0:

Chris Heston(RHP)- 9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.30.

Heston has a 2.80 ERA over his last 10 starts.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels blanked the Bowie Baysox 3-0:

Blake Miller(2B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .344.
Clayton Blackburn(RHP)- 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 9 K's.  ERA= 2.64.
Hunter Strickland(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, Save(9).  ERA= 2.14.

Blackburn has an ERA of 2.06 over his last 10 appearances.  In his last 2 dominant starts, he has pitched 15 scoreless innings with 20 K's against 2 BB's.

High A  Visalia Rawhide whipped the San Jose Giants 7-0:


Low A  Lexington Legends defeated the Augusta Greenjackets 6-4:

Scott Price(1B)- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .160.
Christian Jones(LHP)- 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 3.49.
Michael Connolly(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.00.

Connolly gets the call up from Arizona.  Jones has been up and down over his last 10 starts.  This was on of his good ones.

Short Season  Tri-Cities Dust Devils topped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 9-5:

Aramis Garcia(Catcher)- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .277.
Dusten Knight(RHP)- 3.1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 2.70.

This might have been Knight's best pitching appearance as a pro.

Rookie AZL  Indians downed the Giants 7-3:

Dylan Brooks(RHP)- 2.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.30.
Michael Santos(RHP)- 4.2 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.56.

DSL  Giants vs Rockies postponed due to rain.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Game Wrap 8/22/2014: Giants 10 Nationals 3

Joe Panik led what might have been the Giants best offensive game of the season with 4 hits including his first MLB HR as the Giants dominated the hottest team in baseball at least for one game.  Key Lines:

Buster Posey- 2 for 5, 2B, HR(15).  BA= .286.  Buster is hot and showed no ill effects from catching late into the night in Chicago plus arriving in Washington at 7 AM.  Look for him to stay in the lineup tomorrow at 1B with Susac catching Timmy.

Joe Panik- 4 for 5, HR(1).  BA= .316.  This ballpark, with a jet stream to R-CF is tailor made for Panik who got a ton of carry on a drive that direction to drive in the first 3 of the Giants runs.  He also had 2 sharp singles, one up the middle and the one through the hole to RF as well as a squibber to the left side that went for an IF hit.  As Kruk said, "stay hot, kid!"  I don't think anyone who reads Down on the Farm on a daily basis is surprised by any of this.  If Panik stays hot, and the Giants make the playoffs, does he deserve ROY consideration?

Gregor Blanco= 1 for 1, BB.  BA= .246.  Blanco is hitting .417 over his last 10 games and .304 with a .375 OBP in 31 games since the All-Star Break.  He also made a terrific catch on a drive down the LF line by Denard Span that was tailing away from him.

Tim Hudson- 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.99.  Huddy did not have his best command.  He went 3-0 on at least 2 batters in the first inning and ran up an uncharacteristically high pitch count.  But he characteristically battled into the 6'th inning.  Bochy came an got him at exactly the right time as he was obviously tiring.

Javier Lopez- 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.99.  Lopez started the season slow and was a forgotten man in the bullpen for awhile but he has always been terrific in the second half of the season and this year is no exception.  He slammed the door in the 6'th by striking out Adam Laroche and inducing Ian Desmond to ground out to SS.  Lopez has been as effective against RH batters as LH batters so far this season.

Jean Machi- 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.46.  Machi came in and retired 5 batters before allowing a single to Rendon with the fearsome Jayson Werth coming up.  Machi clearly did not want to come out of the game, but Bochy seemed to think Machi was getting tired and brought in Romo.

Sergio Romo- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 4.15.  Romo's job was to retire Jayson Werth who he struck out with aplomb.  Romo would make a terrific righty specialist.

The Win kept the Giants 3 games behind the Dodgers who beat the Mets 6-2.  The Giants also maintained their 1 game lead over the Braves for the final Wild Card playoff spot as the Braves beat the Reds 3-1 with Mike Minor taking a no-hitter into the 8'th inning.  The Cardinals lead over the Giants for the first Wild Card slot was cut to 1 game as the Cardinals lost to the Phillies 5-4.

Tim Lincecum takes the mound tomorrow facing Jordan Zimmermann in a yard where he has struggled with the heat and humidity in the past.

Bruce Bochy was asked prior to the game about Buster Posey moving out from behind the plate and Boch got fairly expansive in his answers.  He stated that there is currently not discussion regarding Buster moving to another primary position, although he expects it may happen at some point in the future.  He was pretty emphatic that if and when Buster moves to a new primary position it will be to first base, not third.  Bochy acknowledged that Buster has some tools that would play at 3B, but there are aspects to playing the position that would require a lot of work and the transition to 1B would be much easier.

Nationals have made a couple of very savvy trades in acquiring Doug Fister and Denard Span while giving up virtually nothing.  Span is perhaps the type of OF Sabes should be looking to make a trade for over the winter, not that Span himself is going to be available, but someone like he was when the Nats made the trade.

Down on the Farm: 8/21/2014

AAA Game 1  Fresno Grizzlies defeated the Nashville Sounds 8-4:

Juan Perez(LF)- 3 for 3, 2B, HR(7), SF.  BA= .340.
Tony Abreu(2B)- 2 for 3, HR(7).  BA= .284.

AAA Game 2  Nashville Sounds blanked the Fresno Grizzlies 7-0:


AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels soared over the New Britain Rock Cats 10-1:

Blake Miller(2B)- 2 for 5, 3B.  BA= .333.
Devin Harris(LF)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .258.
Ricky Oropesa(DH)- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .239.
Ty Blach(LHP)- 6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.30.

I think Blake Miller can hit.

High A  Modesto Nuts topped the San Jose Giants 2-1:

Joe Biagini(RHP)- 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 10 K's.  ERA= 4.17.
Mason McVay(LHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 4.12.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets outscored the Hickory Crawdads 4-3:


Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes blasted the Tri-Cities Dust Devils 12-5:

Johneshwy Fargas(LF)- 1 for 3, 2 BB, 2 SB(13).  BA= .237.
Christian Arroyo(SS)- 3 for 5, 2B.  BA= .324.
Ryder Jones(3B)- 3 for 4, 3B, BB.  BA= .265.
Aramis Garcia(Catcher)- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(2).  BA= .250.
Dylan Davis(RF)- 2 for 4, HR(4).  BA= .191.
Travious Relaford(2B)- 2 for 3, HR(1), SF.  BA= .281.
Keury Mella(RHP)- 4 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 0.90.

Ryder Jones is making a nice late run at the plate hitting .351 over his last 10 games.  Relaford seems to have finally found himself at the plate this season.  Mella making a nice showing late after missing a large part of the season with an injury.

Rookie AZL  Giants were idle.

DSL  Giants downed the Mariners 3-2:

Manuel Geraldo(SS, 17 yo)- 3 for 3, BB, 2 SB(16).  BA= .250.

Mikey Edie made an appearance going 0 for 2, then was replaced in the lineup.  Geraldo is hitting .324 over his last 10 games and .294 for the month of August after hitting .272 in July.  I really like what his 17 yo SS is showing.  6'1", 170 lbs?  Switch-hitter?  I'll take it!

Game Wrap 8/21/2014: Cubs 2 Giants 1; Giants 5 Cubs 3

The Giants were unable to capitalize on their opportunity to finish Game 1 of the series that was originally called after 4.5 innings in favor of the Cubs 2-0, then changed to delayed status and completed on Thursday before the regularly scheduled game.  It was probably not a good omen when the resumption of the delayed game was itself delayed by rain.  Joe Panik drove in one run in the top of the 6'th inning, and the Giants got 2 runners on base in the 9'th but the rally fizzled.

In the regularly scheduled game, Madison Bumgarner gave up back-to-back dingers in the first inning to fall behind 3-0, but settled down to pitch spectacularly through the 7'th, and Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval led the offense to a come-from-behind win.  Key Lines:

Buster Posey- 4 for 4, 2 2B, HR(14), BB.  BA= .284.  Buster was dialed in after getting game 2 off with one of his best offensive games in memory.

Pablo Sandoval- 3 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .284.  Pablo is cruising toward his 4'th consecutive month hitting over .300 as he is .320 so far in August after hitting .318, .301, .311 in May, June and July, a remarkably consistent run.

Madison Bumgarner- 7 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 12 K's.  ERA= 3.17.  The home plate ump had a very narrow strike zone, so after a rough first inning, Bummy made the adjustment and just went upstairs the rest of the night blowing away batter after batter with high fastballs.  Javier Baez, in particular, could not hit it and couldn't lay off it and ended the night 0 for 4 with 4 K's.  Not sure if other teams had advance scouts watching, but if they did, I'm sure they were furiously taking notes and sending memos in big bold letters re. Baez.

The split outcome left the Giants 3.5 games behind the Dodgers in the NL West and 1 game ahead of the Braves for the second Wild Card playoff spot.

The Giants now travel to Washington to take on the hottest team in MLB who have won 10 in a row with 5 walk-offs in their last 6 games.  The Nats are due for a correction on that, right?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Down on the Farm: 8/20/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies vs Nashville Sounds postponed.

AA  New Britain Rock Cats tore up the Richmond Flying Squirrels 7-0:

Kelby Tomlinson(SS)- 3 for 4, SB(46).  BA= .263.
Blake Miller(2B)- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .327.
Dan Slania(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 1.17.

High A  San Jose Giants edged the Modesto Nuts 3-2 in 10 innings:

Mitch Delfino(3B)- 2 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .291.
Brian Ragira(DH)- 2 for 4, HR(17), BB.  BA= .254.
Ben Turner(Catcher)- 3 for 4.  BA= .288.
Matt Lujan(LHP)- 7 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.72.
Tyler Mizenko(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.55.

Delfino continues his quest for a .300 BA and Ragira is gunning for 20 dingers.

Low A  Hickory Crawdads downed the Augusta Greenjackets 3-1 in 10 innings:

Chase Johnson(RHP)- 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 4.88.
Luis Castillo(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.33.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes topped the Tri-Cities Dust Devils 5-2:

Dylan Davis(DH)- 1 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .163.
Hunter Cole(LF)- 1 for 2, HR(2), 2 BB.  BA= .250.
Jason Forjet(RHP)- 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.21.

Rookie AZL  Giants defeated the Mariners 7-6:

Richard Amion(CF)- 0 for 2, 2 BB, 2 SB(7).  BA= .257.
Brennan Metzger(LF)- 2 for 3, 2B, HBP.  BA= .375.
Byron Murray(DH)- 2 for 4.  BA= .283.
Jonah Arenado(3B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .259.
Mark Reyes(LHP)- 3.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.38.
Stetson Woods(RHP)- 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.
Greg Brody(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.73.

Of all the performances by this year's draftees, I think I might be the most excited by Stetson Woods.  Woo Hoo!! or Yee Haw!!!

DSL  Giants beat the Mariners 2-0 in a rain shortened 5 inning game:

Mecky Coronado(DH, 17 yo)- 2 for 3.  BA= .297.
Deiyerbert Bolivar(LHP, 18 yo)- 4 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 1.27.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Game Wrap 8/20/2014: Giants 8 Cubs 3

The Giants offense struck early and often while Jake Peavy had his second QS and W in a row.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence- 2 for 5, HR(17), SB(11).   BA= .284.  Hopefully Pence is heating up again.

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 4, 2B, SF.  BA= .281.  Kind of a day at the office game for Pabs.  The best part was watching Kruk and Kuip show replays of the horseplay Pabs was getting himself into last night during the rain delay.

Michael Morse- 1 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .285.  Morse did not look too good against Wada last night, but seemed back on track today.

Joe Panik- 3 for 5.  BA= .295.  Missed just one game after dislocating his left little finger and gets 3 hits.  Kid is amazing!  Stay hot, Joe!

Travis Ishikawa- 3 for 5, 2 2B.  BA= .245.  Travis gets a rare start while Buster takes a breather and makes the most of it.  Bad news is Belt is expected to be out at least 2-3 more weeks.

Andrew Susac- 1 for 5, HR(1).  BA= .245.  Susac is a bit bigger than Buster Posey, but otherwise bears an uncanny resemblance.  I can't tell them apart in catcher's gear or from a distance at the plate.  His first MLB HR was a Busteresque shot that went the other way.  Nice job catching Jake Peavy too!

Jake Peavy- 7 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 4.48.  Peavy's ERA since joining the Giants is 3.60, over a full point off his ERA when he left Boston.

The Win, coupled with the announcement that the status of last night's game had been changed from Complete to Delayed cut the deficit in the NL West to 3.5 games behind the Dodgers who trail the Padres in their game 4-1 after 6 innings.  The Pirates beat the Braves 3-2 so the Giants now lead the Braves by 1.5 games for the final Wild Card slot and lead the Pirates by 2.5 games while the Cardinals lead the Giants by 2 games for the first Wild Card slot.

The delayed game from last night will be completed tomorrow prior to the regularly scheduled game.  Yusmeiro Petit will probably get the ball for the Giants to start the bottom of the 5'th inning, although it would be Ryan Vogelsong's regular throwing day, so he could possibly go an inning or two.  Of course the Giants start off the bottom of the 5'th trailing in the game 2-0.  Madison Bumgarner takes on Travis Wood in the regularly scheduled final game of the series.

Down on the Farm: 8/19/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies were idle.

AA  Game 1(Completion of Suspended Game from 5/22)  Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the New Britain Rock Cats 5-3:

Kelby Tomlinson(SS)- 2 for 4, 3B.
Adalberto Mejia(LHP)- 6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 5.12.

All stats from the game are credited to 5/22.  5.12 is Mejia's ERA as it stands now.

AA Game 2  New Britain Rock Cats defeated the Fresno Grizzlies 5-1:

Kelby Tomlinson(SS)- 2 for 4.  BA= .258.
Blake Miller(2B)-  2 for 4.  BA= .327.
Elliott Blair(RF)- 1 for 2, BB.  BA= .326.

Miller and Blair seem to be about the only players hitting for the Squirrels right now.

High A  San Jose Giants outslugged the Modesto Nuts 10-6:

Daniel Carbonell(CF)- 4 for 5, 2 HR(3).  BA= .356.
Brian Ragira(1B)- 2 for 4, HR(16).  BA= .252.
Tyler Horan(RF)- 1 for 4, HR(7).  BA= .306.
Nick Vander Tuig(RHP)- 5.2 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.18.

One day after Carbonell goes 0 for 5, he has this breakout game.  Ragira is  hitting .297/.348/.497 with 11 HR's over 47 games since the All-Star Break.  Horan continues his homer binge since his promotion to San Jose, 7 in 62 AB's over 17 games.

Low A  Hickory Crawdads edged the Augusta Greenjackets 2-1:

Randy Ortiz(CF)- 2 for 2, 2B, Sac.  BA= .264.
Luis Ysla(LHP)- 5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.40.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes were idle.

Rookie AZL  Cubs cuffed the Giants around 7-0:

Kevin Rivera(2B)- 2 for 3.  BA= .221.
Tyler Beede(RHP)- 3 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.12.

DSL  Giants downed the Red Sox 5-3:

Mecky Coronado(DH, 17 yo)- 2 for 5, 3B.  BA= .287.
Prebito Reyes(LHP, 18 yo)- 4.1 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.11.
Julio Benitez(RHP, 19 yo)- 4.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 0.84.

Game Wrap 8/19/2014: Cubs 2 Giants 0

The Giants were done in by an early Ryan Vogelsong pitching mistake and a botched placement of the tarp on the field during a brief rainstorm and the game was eventually called after a rain delay of several hours.  Key Lines:

Ryan Vogelsong- 4 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.73.  There were two keys to this game from the get-go:  1.  Don't fall behind early.  2.  Don't let Anthony Rizzo beat you.  So what does Vogey do?  He walks the virtually unwalkable Javier Baez with 2 outs in the first inning then serves up a gopher ball to Rizzo who hit it completely out of the stadium.  He settled down after that and pitched well for the next 3 innings, but when the rains came, there was not enough time to mount a comeback.

Tsuyoshi Wada- 5 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.75.  Wada, like most Asian pitchers, comes to a stop at the top of his leg kick.  This interrupts the timing of hitters, especially those with long timing mechanisms and the Giants have a few of those.  Usually hitters catch up after they've seen these guys a time or two, but this was the first time the Giants had seen Wada.  They got their hits in.  In fact, they got twice as many as the Cubs, but they were to scattered to be effective in mounting a rally.

Grounds Crew- The Grounds Crew completely botched the rollout of the tarp which resulted in a huge lake being formed around the shortstop position.  Was it incompetence?  A fluke?  A conspiracy that players will be telling their grandchildren about 40 years from now?  It's not like rain delays are a rare occurrence in Chicago!  On the other hand, why would the Cubs be playing games like that when all they are doing for the rest of the season is auditioning people for future seasons?  It then took them over 3.5 hours to decide that the field was never going to be playable and finally called the game after everyone had sat around all night.  Just a bizarre situation and an embarrassing one for MLB.

The Dodgers topped the Padres 8-6 so the Giants fall back to a 4.5 game deficit in the NL West.  The Cards won and the Braves crushed the Pirates 11-3, so the Giants are now tied with the Braves for the second Wild Card slot and a game ahead of the Pirates.

Jake Peavy hopes for better results and better luck in tonight's game facing Edwin Jackson.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Thoughts on Lineup Construction Part III

In Part I of this series, we looked at some basic parameters for the discussion.  In Part II, we showed, using a basic math calculation that a team's best hitter should bat 4'th and the priority for the first 3 batters is OBP.  Now, let's take a look at each individual lineup position.  We'll list the desired attributes of each batter followed by a discussion.

#1  1.  OBP.  2.  Speed/SB's  3.  Power.   The priority here is getting on base by any means, hits, walks, HBP's whatever it takes.  Most successful leadoff hitters will have good plate discipline and work deep into counts, see a lot of pitches.  This also helps get the opposing pitcher's pitch count off to a healthy start.  Some analysts completely discount speed and SB's and prefer power.  The goal here is to score runs and speed helps, not just with SB's, but also legging out XBH's and taking extra bases on hits by subsequent batters.  I do want my leadoff batter to have speed and be able to steal a base.  There is nothing wrong with power in the leadoff spot except if he has too much power, you are going to want him hitting lower in the order where he can drive in more runs.  Walks are harder to come by for leadoff hitters because opposing pitchers have a strong incentive to not walk the leadoff hitter.  They are going to challenge to avoid that outcome.

Median OBP for leadoff hitters right now is right around .350.  .360 or above is excellent.  Anything under .330 is probably unacceptable.  Pagan has an acceptable OBP and his XBH power is as good or better than SB's which he gets a few of too.  I would say the ideal leadoff hitter, Rickey Henderson excluded, was Brett Butler who had a career OBP of .377 and stole over 550 bases.

#2.  1.  OBP.  2. Speed/SB's.  3.  Power.  4.  Bats LH.  Again, for the mathematical reasons we reviewed yesterday, OBP is still the priority for the #2 hitter too.  Since high OBP hitters tend to see a lot of pitches, that dovetails nicely with the need to let your leadoff guy see some pitches to help him get a jump on possible SB's.  I like to stack speed on speed at the top of the lineup.  Again, there is no downside to power, but if your guy has too much power, you are going want to bat him lower in the lineup.  The LH advantage comes if your leadoff guy reaches base.  It opens the hole in the right side for a LH batter to pull the ball through.  You absolutely do NOT want your #2 batter giving up outs, especially in the first inning which is probably the only inning where lineup construction makes a difference!  Joe Panik might not have quite as much speed as would be ideal for a #2, but in every other way he is perfect!

#3.  1. OBP.  2.  Power.  The importance of speed starts to wane in the 3-hole and power starts to come to the fore.  Again, the priority is maximizing the OBP of your first 3 hitters, but if you do happen to get at least one of the first two on, it never hurts to drive them in before you get to the cleanup hitter.  You do not particularly want SB's right in front of your best hitter who should be hitting #4.  30-30 guys tend to get put in the 3-hole but they would probably be more valuable in the 5-hole where SB's probably become more valuable again, or even #4 where you want the HR's but if you only get a single, there is not as much downside to an attempted steal.  Buster Posey is great choice to hit 3'rd, the only downside being his tendency to hit into DP's but his other attributes more than make up for it.

#4.  1.  Power.  2. Batting Average.  3. OBP.  Cleanup is no place for a Dave Kingman.  Yeah, he had the power, but everything else about him was a black hole.  Your ideal cleanup hitter hits for both power and average.  This is where you want the best hitter on your team.  They call it Cleanup for a reason!  You are not looking for walks here, you are looking for RBI's, so OBP is not the priority it is for the first 3 spots in the order.  In the Giants case, they do not have a clear single best hitter on the team, so they have their choice.  I would probably go Pagan, Panik, Posey, Pence with Pablo hitting 5'th, but Pablo is not a terrible choice.  Morse could do it when he is hot, but his DP tendencies probably make him better suited for lower in the lineup if you have that luxury.  The current classic cleanup hitter in baseball is Miggy Cabrera, although I understand he is finally having a down season.  Albert Pujols in his prime was ideal.  And, as I have already pointed out in an earlier post, there is no question in my mind that cleanup was where Barry Bonds had to hit!

#5.  1. Power  2. Speed.  You want power from your #5 but probably won't get quite the well rounded hitter you want in the cleanup spot, so you might have to sacrifice some average.  OBP is way down the list of priorities here as it may be wasted on the lower half of the order.  Ironically, this is where your 30-30 guy would probably do the most good as opposed to the 3-spot where you really don't need the SB's so much.  When I was a kid, I always thought Bobby Bonds did the most damage out of the 5-hole where he occasionally hit while Mays and McCovey were still on the team.  Speed is not essential here though and this is where I would put Pablo on the current Giants team.  Hacking is welcome in the 5-hole!

#6.  1.  Power.  This is where you put your Dave Kingman!  He still has opportunities for multi-run dingers but the K's and terrible BA/OBP don't hurt nearly as much this low in the order.  It's also a great place for a young power hitter just starting out.  The Giants have a real luxury when they can bat Morse this low when everybody in the lineup is healthy.

#7.  Whatever you can get.  Another great spot for a young power hitter trying to get his feet on the ground, but you also can use an OBP/Speed guy here like Gregor Blanco to set up some bottom-of-the-order rallies.

#8.  Whatever you can get.  The conventional wisdom here is that in the NL, your #8 hitter has to be able to expand the zone to drive in runs when the opposing pitcher is trying to pitch around you to get to the pitcher in the 9-hole.  There are probably just as many times when the #8 hitter is leading off or batting 2'nd in the inning and taking a walk gives the pitcher a chance to be productive by sacrificing or  at least it gets you back to the top of the order to start the next inning.  Brandon Crawford actually does a nice job of balancing plate discipline with aggressiveness in the 8-hole and he's probably not really a good enough hitter to bat higher in the lineup anyway.

Down on the Farm: 8/18/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies blanked the Colorado Springs Sky Sox 5-0:

Gary Brown(CF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .267.
Mark Minicozzi(LF)- 2 for 4, HR(12).  BA= .297.
Austin Fleet(RHP)- 9 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K's, GO/AO= 10/3.  ERA= 3.69.

This was Fleet's 5'th start since being called up to Fresno.  He gave up 12 runs in 15.2 IP in his first 3 starts and just 1 run in 16 IP in his last 2 starts.  He also has 12 K's against 0 BB's in his last 2 starts.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels were idle.

High A  Stockton Ports defeated the San Jose Giants 7-3:

Mitch Delfino(3B)- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(11).  BA= .291.
Jared Deacon(Catcher)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .269.
Martin Agosta(RHP)- 3.1 IP, 4 H, 6 R, 6 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 9.23.

Delfino is this year's SJ Giant on a will he get to .300 watch.  A Jared Deacon sighting!  I don't see anything at all to be encouraged about from Agosta's line.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets were idle.

Short Season  Salem-Keizer Volcanoes buried the Boise Hawks 7-3:

Skyler Ewing(1B)- 2 for 3, 2B, HR(7), BB.  BA= .306.
Dylan Davis(LF)- 2 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .154.
Jose Reyes(RHP)- 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.82.

Rookie AZL  Game 1(completion of suspended game from 8/17)  Giants edged the Reds 7-6:

Richard Amion(CF)- 3 for 5, BB, 2 SB(5).  BA= .283.
Byron Murray(RF)- 3 for 6, 2B.  BA= .303.
Kevin Rivera(2B)- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .211
Christian Lichtenthaler(SS)- 3 for 4, 3B, BB.  BA= .250.
Dylan Brooks(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.62.

Love what Byron Murray is doing in his first pro summer.  Rivera has had enough good games that I am cautiously optimistic about him despite the low overall BA.

Rookie AZL Game 2  Giants outlasted the Reds 4-3 in 14 innings:

Christian Lichtenthaler(SS)- 2 for 5, SF.  BA= .264.
Brennan Metzger(PH-DH)- 2 for 2, 2B.  BA= .362.
Jordan Johnson(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K's.  ERA= 0.00.
Rayan Hernandez(RHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.82.
Michael Connolly(RHP)- 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.70.

Johnson makes his pro debut. He as a 23'rd round pick this year who I completely forgot about.  Don't even remember seeing him on the draft list now that he's appeared in a pro game!

DSL  Red Sox pounded the Giants 7-1:

Mecky Coronado(DH, 17 yo)- 2 for 4.  BA= .282.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Thoughts on Lineup Construction Part II

I'm going to start this post with a fairly simple mathematical exercise using hypothetical lineup models.  First, we'll start with 2 assumptions:  You want your the best hitter in the lineup hitting as often as possible.  2.  You want the best hitter in your lineup hitting with runners on base as often as possible.

First, lets take a situation where your the first 3 batters in your lineup all have an OBP of .333 or each one gets on base 1/3 of the time.  What you want to know is the probability that the following batter will come up with at least 1 runner on base.  The leadoff batter, of course, has a .333 chance of getting on base, so the #2 hitter has a 100% chance of batting in the first inning AND he has a 33.3% chance of batting with at least 1 runner on base.

In order to know the probability that the #3 hitter will come up with at least 1 runner on base, you first have to calculate the "off-base percentage" of the first 2 hitters or the probability that neither of them will reach base.  You can calculate it directly, but it's easier this way unless you know the formula and have a good calculator.  At any rate, the "off-base percentage" for the first two batters comes out to 2/3 X 2/3= 4/9=44.4%.  Now, if there is a 44.4%  chance that neither batter reaches base, there is a 100-44.4 = 55.6% chance that at least one of them will reach base.  Of course, there is a 100% chance that the #3 hitter will come to the plate in the first inning.

For the 4'th batter, there is a 2/3 X 2/3 X 2/3= 29.6% chance all 3 of the #1-3 batters will make an out and he will not come to the plate in the first inning.  Of course, that means he would lead off the 2'nd inning.  On the other hand, it also means there is a 70.4% chance he will come to the plate in the first inning with at least 1 runner on base compared to only a 55.6% chance of coming up with at least 1 runner on base if he was hitting 3'rd in the order.  That is why the 4 spot is known as the "Cleanup Hitter."

When you add all this together, including the 18 fewer PA's over the course of the season when moving down from #3 to #4 in the order, I believe there is a small, but significant advantage to putting the best hitter on your team in the 4 hole.  Of course, the probability of coming up at all in the first inning drops off significantly after the 4 hole, so you do not want your best hitter any lower than #4 in the order.

Now, lets do the same exercise using 3 hitters in the 1-3 slots who all have OBP's of .400.  The "off-base percentage" for the first 3 batters then becomes 0.6 X 0.6 X 0.6= 21.6%.  The chances of the "Cleanup Hitter" coming up in the first inning with at least 1 runner on base becomes 78.4% or almost 10% better than with the first 3 batters whose OBP's are all .333.

Conclusions:  1.  The best hitter in your lineup should bat cleanup rather than #3.  2.  OBP is the single most important parameter for all of the first 3 batters in your lineup if your goal is to maximize the effectiveness of your best hitter who bats 4'th.

Down on the Farm: 8/17/2014

AAA  Game 1  Fresno Grizzlies mauled the Colorado Springs Sky Sox 11-7:

Darren Ford(LF)- 2 for 4, 2 2B, 2 SB(32).  BA= .293.
Juan Perez(RF)- 2 for 3, HR(5).  BA= .324.
Brandon Hicks(3B)- 2 for 3, 2 HR(3).  BA= .200.
Guillermo Quiroz(Catcher)- 2 for 3, HR(3).  BA= .271.

Brandon Hicks prepping to be Pablo's replacement at 3B?  Just kidding!

AAA  Game 2  Fresno Grizzlies edged the Colorado Springs Sky Sox 4-3:

Juan Perez(CF)- 2 for 4, HR(6).  BA= .329.
Mark Minicozzi(1B)- 1 for 3, HR(11).  BA= .295.

AA  Portland Sea Dogs defeated the Richmond Flying Squirrels 7-1:

Blake Miller(SS)- 3 for 4.  BA= .326.
Tyler LaTorre(Catcher)- 2 for 4, HR(1).  BA= .269.
Kyle Crick(RHP)- 1.2 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.77.

Just after I write a post about how much Crick has improved, he drops a stinker like this!  Ironically, all the outs he recorded were K's.  Blake Miller can hit!

High A  San Jose Giants beat the Stockton Ports 6-2:

Chuckie Jones(CF)- 3 for 4, BB, SB(14).  BA= .259.
Mitch Delfino(3B)- 1 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .289.
Tyler Horan(LF)- 1 for 4, HR(6), BB.  BA= .315.
Jorge Bucardo(RHP)- 2.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.18.
Stephen Johnson(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.08.

Horan has hit 6 dingers in 14 Cal League games and 21 total on the season between Augusta and San Jose.  Can't wait to see what he does in Richmond next year, the place where Giants power hitting prospects go to die.

Low A  Asheville Tourists swarmed over the Augusta Greenjackets 11-3:

Craig Massoni(RF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .288.
Gabriel Cornier(Catcher)- 2 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .222.

Short Season  Boise Hawks topped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 7-6:

Austin Slater(RF)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .391.
Christian Arroyo(SS)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .322.
Brett Kay(2B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .258.
Tyler Hollick(LF)- 2 for 4, SB(6).  BA= .239.
Nick Gonzalez(LHP)- 6 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.34.

AZL  Giants vs Reds suspended after 4 innings tied 3-3:

This game will be made up as part of a DH today. I will report the highlights in the next Down on the Farm post.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Game Wrap 8/17/2014: Giants 5 Phillies 2

Michael Morse and the Kids in the second half of the Giants lineup led the way of offense and the bullpen picked up Timmy big time after he gutted his way through 5 innings.  Unfortunately, Joe Panik injured his pinkie finger on a slide into 2B and may be out for awhile.  Key Lines:

Michael Morse- 3 for 3.  BA= .286.  With the top 4 batters in the lineup going a combined 1 for 17 with a BB, Morse was the de-facto leadoff hitter and effectively set the table for the kids that followed him in the lineup.  Love that Morse is playing within himself and not trying to hit every ball for a HR.

Joe Panik- 2 for 4.  BA= .282.  Panik stayed hot as Bruce Bochy listened to me and moved him into the #6 slot in the batting order.  Ironically, his hardest hit ball on his first AB that he crushed a bit too close to Ben Revere in CF, ended up as a harmless out.  Panik made a heads up, hustling play by taking 2B on an overthrown cutoff man in the 8'th and eventually came around to score an insurance run, but he dislocated his left pinky finger on the slide.  Now, I love what Panik is doing and hope he is back soon, but I do not want to hear any nonsense about playing through a mallet finger or anything closely resembling that.  This kid's future is too long and too bright for any of that!

Andrew Susac- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .250.  What an impressive performance by Susac!  He nursed Lincecum through a very difficult 5 innings giving him pep talks, pounding his glove with his fist, fist pumps.  At one point Buster Posey added his thoughts during a mound conference with Rags.  He massaged the umpire like a veteran and got 2 basehits and a key walk to boot!  I love Susac's swing!  He had one other AB during the series and smoked a ball to LF that died in the AT&T Park air and was caught then the 2 hits today.  With Hector taking more foul tips to the head down in Fresno, it looks like Susac may be up for quite awhile.  I have a feeling he is going to have a lot to say about when Buster Posey moves out from behind the plate on a permanent basis.

Brandon Crawford- 1 for 3.  BA= .225.  Big hit for Crawford to drive in 2 runs with the Giants trailing 1-0 early.

Tim Lincecum- 5 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.48.  It as a struggle, but Timmy hung tough, kept his team in the game and came away with enough for the W.

Bullpen- 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K's.  Bullpen was lights out.  It's not the hardest throwing pen in the business, but they all know how to pitch.  Hey, maybe soft tossing relievers are the new undervalued commodity!

The Dodgers got blown out early by the BrewCrew so the Giants cut their lead in the NL West to 3.5 games.  The Cardinals edged the Padres and the Pirates dropped one to the Nationals so the Giants trail the Cardinals by 1 game for the first WC slot and lead the Pirates by 1.5 games for the second spot.

The Giants now get a day off to travel to Chicago to face the Cubbies on Tuesday, with Ryan Vogelsong facing Tsuyoshi Wada, a lefty who has been pitching well since his callup from the minors.

Thoughts on Lineup Construction Part 1

In yesterday's Comments, we had a discussion and a bit of a dustup about lineup construction which started with a comment about where Joe Panik should be hitting in the lineup.  This is something I have given a lot of thought to over the years.  Back in the day, there was a long running discussion among Giants fans about whether Barry Bonds should be hitting #3 or #4 in the lineup.  Felipe Alou had announced he was going to try moving Barry to the 3-hole.  I wrote a post on Message Board using a simple mathematical calculation to argue that Barry should bat 4'th because he would get more RBI opportunities in the first inning there than hitting 3'rd. Two days later, it was announced that Barry would be staying put in the cleanup spot because hitting 4'th gave him more RBI opportunities.  I like to think Barry or someone else read that post, but there are other places he could have gotten the same information from or he could have figured it out on his own, so I will never know.  I also had several discussions with someone over on the Message Board about lineup construction in general, mostly about the relative value of OBP in different areas of the lineup arguing against the notion that OBP is the #1 priority throughout the lineup.

I'll start this discussion with a few general thoughts about lineups then talk about what types of hitters you look for in each of the lineup positions in subsequent posts.  First, I would like to say I have not read The Book or really any other sources on the subject.  My thoughts come from the above experiences and thoughts I have put together through years of watching the game:

1.  The biggest impact of ineup construction probably occurs in the first inning of each game because in all subsequent innings the leadoff hitter occurs at approximately random locations in the order.  It may also matter to a lesser degree at the turnaround between the bottom and top of the lineup that generally occurs 3-5 times per game.

2. The benefits gained from the first inning must be balanced by the fact that given the randomness with which the last out of each game occurs in the lineup, each spot you drop a batter in the lineup costs that batter approximately 18 PA's over the course of a season.  That is probably negligible from one slot to the next, but the 9'th spot in the order will have approximately 162 fewer PA's over the course of the season than the leadoff spot, which is huge.  The difference between the leadoff spot and the cleanup spot is about 54 PA's which is not negligible.  That's 3+ HR's for a hitter who averages a HR every 15 PA's.  Those fewer PA's have to be balanced against the increase RBI opportunities your best hitter will get by hitting lower in the lineup in the first inning and farther away from the 8-9 spots in subsequent innings.

3.  AL and NL lineup construction will be different due to the difference between having a DH in the AL instead of a close to automatic out(in most cases) in the 9-hole of in the NL.  Guys who draw a lot of walks in front of the pitcher are probably not helping their team a lot whereas the presence of a competent hitter in the 9-hole in AL lineups would tend to favor high OBP hitters throughout the lineup.  This is probably a factor in the relative prevalence of "sabermetrically oriented" GM's and managers in the AL vs the NL.  For this discussion we will assume the hypothetical team is in the NL and the pitchers will be hitting.

4.  For the purposes of this discussion we will stipulate that if you had 9 Barry Bonds on your team, you would be very happy to have one of them hitting leadoff and another hitting #2 and so on.   Ditto for Ricky Henderson.  We are assuming an average to above average payroll NL team where you are not going to have the perfect hitter at every or even multiple positions.

Down on the Farm: 8/16/0214

AAA  Colorado Springs Sky Sox crushed the Fresno Grizzlies 10-0:


AA  Portland Sea Dogs squeaked by the Richmond Flying Squirrels 1-0 in 10 innings:

Clayton Blackburn(RHP)- 8 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 11 K's.  ERA= 2.87.

Blackburn sets a new personal record for K's in a game and pitches what is probably the most dominant game of his pro career so far.

High A  Stockton Ports outslugged the San Jose Giants 14-10:

Daniel Carbonell(CF)- 1 for 5, 2B, BB, Assist(home).  BA= .343.
Brian Ragira(1B)- 3 for 4, 2B, HR(15), BB.  BA= .250.
Tyler Horan(RF)- 3 for 5, 2 2B, Assist(3B).  BA= .320.
Chuckie Jones(DH)- 2 for 4, HR(14), BB.  BA= .255.

Chuckie Jones has hit 4 HR's in his last 10 games.  Ragira is 6 for 8 with 3 dingers in his last 2 games.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets blanked the Asheville Tourists 5-0:

Rafael Rodriguez(LF)- 2 for 5.  BA= .285.
Craig Massoni(DH)- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .280.
Randy Ortiz(CF)- 2 for 4, SB(6).  BA= .248.
Steve Messner(LHP)- 7 IP, 1 H,  0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 4.18.
Ray Black(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.86.

Short Season- Boise Hawks topped the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 4-1:

Christian Arroyo(SS)- 2 for 4.  BA= .320.
Skyler Ewing(1B)- 2 for 4, HR(6).  BA= .299.
Keury Mella(RHP)- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.

Rookie AZL  Giants were idle.

DSL  Giants defeated the Rojos(Reds) 5-0:

Victor Concepcion(RHP, 17 yo)- 5 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.18.
Weilly Yan(RHP, 18 yo)- 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.81.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Game Wrap 8/16/2014: Giants 6 Phillies 5

Michael Morse and Joe Panik peppered the alleys of AT&T Park and the Bullpen shut down the Phillies for 5 innings to lead the Giants to an exciting much needed come-from-behind win.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence- 1 for 5, HR(16).  BA= .284.  After looking pretty bad last night against Cole Hamels, Pence got the game off to a great start with a blast to left-center and an early 1-0 lead for the Giants.  It was the only hit of the game for Pence, who still looks a bit over-caffeinated at the plate of late.

Michael Morse-  3 for 3, 2 2B, 3B, BB.  BA= .281.  When Morse's bat is hot, he is an undeniable asset to the lineup.  He definitely seems to be back in a groove now, smoking the ball to the alleys.  He looks like he is having fun out there again too.

Joe Panik- 2 for 3, 3B, BB.  BA= .274.  Is there anybody out there who still thinks this was a bad draft pick for the Giants?  I mean, this kid has great AB's, gets himself into great hitters counts, stays within himself and does not try to do too much.  He appears to have solved the Giants problems at 2B for the next 6 years at least!  Right now, I find myself looking ahead in the lineup to see when Panik is going to hit so I don't miss any of his AB's.  He's that great to watch at the plate!

Gregor Blanco- 2 for 2.  BA= .243.  Blanco had a pre game heart-to-heart with the Manager and got the game-winning hit, driving in Panik after the triple for the winning run off a big lefty throwing gas.

Brandon Crawford- 0 for 2.  BA= .225.  Crawford came out in the bottom of the 4'th inning on a double switch with a right-hander on the mound for the Phillies.  That tells you something.

Matt Duffy- 1 for 3.  BA= .208.  Kruk and Kuip mentioned something I did not know:  Duffy came up from the minors with a reputation for killing fastballs.  He promptly hit a single to CF off a 97 MPH FB off Phillies LHP reliever Diekman.

Tim Hudson- 4 IP, 8 H, 5 R, 3 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.03.  Huddy was elevating his pitches and the Phils were hitting them like they were placed on a T.

Bullpen- 5 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.   The peripherals aren't too impressive, but once again the bullpen held an opposing team at bay for multiple innings enabling the Giants to get back in the game and eventually win it.

Joe West- West can be a real jerk and I don't think he is a very good ump, especially when he's behind home plate calling balls and strikes, but he can be entertaining at times.

Incident 1:  Michael Morse walks up to the plate with a lot of pine tar way up the barrel of his bat.  West asked for the bat and proceeded to us the knob to tamp down some loose dirt just behind the plate then handed the bat back to Morse.  Morse looked a bit non-plussed.  Jon Miller thought West might have been checking the pine tar, but then decided he just wanted to tamp the dirt down.  Still, very strange.  Even stranger, after the count got to 2-2 or 3-2, Morse called timeout and went to the on-deck circle and scraped all the pine tar off his bat!  I still have no idea what happened there, but I have a feeling Joe West was doing more than tamping dirt down.

Incident 2:  The Phillies have had Diekman warming up in the bullpen for over an inning.  After Panik's triple off Bastardo, catcher Wil Nieves goes out to talk to Bastardo.  Joe West was not having it.  He marched out to the mound less than 2 steps behind Nieves all the way and before Nieves could even say anything, tapped him on the shoulder and animatedly told him to get back behind the plate.  Sure enough, just as West got back to home plate, here comes Ryne Sandberg in to make the pitching change.  No reason at all to delay the game there.  Joe West had it right!

The Dodgers lost to the BrewCrew with Clayton Kershaw on the mound so the Giants deficit to the Dodgers in the NL West was cut to 4.5 games.  The Cardinals and Pirates both lost too, so the Giants now lead the Pirates by 0.5 games for the second Wild Card playoff spot and trail the Cards by 1 game for the first spot.

Tim Lincecum goes for the series win tomorrow facing David Buchanan.  Timmy has struggled of late.