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Written by Andy | 03 August 2011

This is my stream of thought about our three new hitters, brought to you from my home computer as I sit in front of the television and silently hex the Dbags.

Carlos Beltran

Assessment: Carlos Beltran is a rich man's Nate Schierholtz.  

Details:  Nate was walking along the street one day and he came across a bag of money.  It was 2003 so he thought the prudent thing to do was to invest this bag of money in a start-up company called Google.  That went pretty well.  He then bet all his money that the Red Sox would win the 2004 World Series, after they went down 3-0 in the ALCS to the Yankees, and that went pretty well too.  Then he invented YouTube and Twitter.  He then became Carlos Beltran.

 

Jeff Keppinger

Assessment:  Jeff Keppinger is a slightly poorer man's Freddy Sanchez.

Details:  One day Freddy Sanchez grew a beard and lost some range.  He then became Jeff Keppinger.

 

Orlando Cabrera

Assesment:  Orlando Cabrera is a middle class man's Miguel Tejada. 

Details:  One day, an average major league shortstop lost his money in a pyramid scheme and becamse broke and sad.  He then became Miguel Tejada.  Then he changed his name to Orlando Cabrera.  He then became Orlando Cabrera.

 

I would now like Ryan Vogelsong to throw some strikes.

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Written by Andy | 02 August 2011

It's all my fault.  My bad, guys.  This losing streak thing....it's on me.

The other day, the Giants had just smacked the Phillies around in their own ballpark, as only the Giants can do (probably a Mike Fontenot RBI groundout was involved), and I was feeling cocky.

I said some things I regret, mostly about how we wanted Arizona to catch Atlanta so that we could play Pittsburgh in the playoffs.  As if we had already clinched a berth.

I need to be punished.

As punishment, I will now recite the following to myself over and over again:

Ahem.

Here's the pitch to Neifi Perez...there's a long fly to right!  Deep!  Way back!  It's gone!  The Rockies win!  And the Giants will have to play a one-game playoff for the National League Wild Card!.......Speizio swings and drives one deep to right...Sanders back to the wall and it's gone!...Nen throws and Glaus drives one to left, Bonds going back but it's over his head!  Two runs are going to score!  The Angels take the lead....there's a fly ball to right field, Cruz moves over to the line and he's under it and he mak....no!  he dropped it!  Cruz drops the ball!....Finley swings, and there it goes!  Deep to right!  A grand slam!  The Dodgers are champions of the National League West!....Gregerson throws, and it's a slider in the dirt, swung on and missed, strike 3 on Aaron Rowand.

And again.

Here's the pitch to Neifi Perez...there's a long fly to right!  Deep!  Way back!  It's gone!  The Rockies win!  And the Giants will have to play a one-game playoff for the National League Wild Card!.......Speizio swings and drives one deep to right...Sanders back to the wall and it's gone!...Nen throws and Glaus drives one to left, Bonds going back but it's over his head!  Two runs are going to score!  The Angels take the lead....there's a fly ball to right field, Cruz moves over to the line and he's under it and he mak....no!  he dropped it!  Cruz drops the ball!....Finley swings, and there it goes!  Deep to right!  A grand slam!  The Dodgers are champions of the National League West!....Gregerson throws, and it's a slider in the dirt, swung on and missed, strike 3 on Aaron Rowand.

You got more?  Hit me with it.  I deserve it.

I will say this, however.  Carlos Beltran getting a standing O from Giants fans gave me goosebumps.  Because while Carlos Beltran may not be an inspirational figure, he did CHOOSE to come to San Francisco, and a few short years ago, nobody was leaving the Mets to come play for the Giants.  This losing streak will hopefully be a small blip on the radar, something to toughen us up for the stretch run. 

It's Timmy Time.

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Written by Andy | 29 July 2011

If I was Charlie Manuel, and my team had just gotten shut down by a pitcher who was puking his guts out the previous few days, I might compliment the pitcher or talk about the need for my team to improve its offensive performance. 

Instead, he denigrated the opposing pitcher and talked about how his offense could beat that pitcher, you know, usually, I mean, it was just a bad night, blah blah blah insert excuses here.

“They’re good pitchers. You say they’re great pitchers. To me, I don’t know how great they are. I think as they move on into their careers, there’s the longevity part and things like that. I think that’s when the greatness might come by. This is a consistent game. When you say somebody is great … tonight I saw 90 fastball, 92 at the best. I saw a good changeup. I saw a breaking ball. I saw a cutter. Good pitching, but at the same time we can beat that. I’ve seen us do that.”

“We can beat them. I know we can.”

Ok.

And then there's Brad Lidge.

According to Kruk and Kuip, Lidge said something to the effect of:  "the Phillies have nothing to prove in this series, this is more to find out how good the Giants are."

Oh.

Well.

In the past two games, the ones not pitched by Barry Zito, the Phillies scored a total of two runs, both of which were the result of our pitcher dropping a ball that was in his glove.  So maybe that's what Charlie Manuel meant when he says they're good but not great.  Matt Cain may have now thrown 14 consecutive innings against the Phillies without allowing an earned run, but he's mediocre at successfully calling off Eli Whiteside.  I think the conversation went something like this.

"I got it!  I got it!  Get out of my way!  Holy crap what is that giant green monster?  Run for your lives!"

The Phillies are, simply put, the 2nd best team in the National League.  Their offense is average, their starting pitching is as good as ours, and their bullpen is average.  Juggernaut?  I don't know.  They're good, I guess.  Not great.

That applies to their fans, too.  I was expecting a fired-up East Coast crowd to greet the Giants in Philadelphia.  I mean, if the guys sitting two rows behind the dugout during the NLCS (rich, fair-weather fans, you might think) can come up with "creative" signs like "fix your teeth," then you would think the schmucks sitting in the stands for a regular season series would be really ready to give it to the Giants.  Instead, watching on TV gave the impression that the Giants were playing in Arizona on a bobblehead night.  They booed Beltran (sure), they booed Cody Ross (whatever), and they got a little bit into it on big pitches after the 7th inning. 

Watching Chase Utley and Ryan Howard face Lincecum, Cain, and Lopez, you could almost feel how it meant more to the hitters than it did to the pitchers.  It's almost as if on the outside, they were saying "Rah!  We're the Phillies!  Best record in baseball!  We're at home!  We beat up Barry Zito!  You can't stop us!"

And on the inside, they were thinking:

"Oh god, it's Night Train Lopez."

Which is why their old fart of a manager is talking smack.  After all, how many times do you hear the team with the best record in baseball admit that a team that recently featured Nate Schierholtz as its cleanup hitter is better than they are?

Hey Phillies.

Boo!

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Written by Andy | 28 July 2011

If you get past the reactions you think you're supposed to have to an event, and the reactions you know you shouldn't have, and the reactions other people tell you to have, somewhere deep down, near the digested Gordo's burrito, is the reaction you actually have.

Here's my digested burrito reaction to Zach Wheeler for Carlos Beltran:   Guilt.

Guilt that I'm happy about the trade even though intellectually I think it was a mistake.
Guilt that maybe I didn't want to go through an October of playoff baseball with Nate Schierholtz as my leadoff hitter.
Guilt that I'm secretly excited about the Giants being one of those teams that trades prospects for all-stars.

But I have other reactions too.

1. Eric Surkamp is the man, now.  The bottom line is that there's no way the Giants trade Wheeler unless they believe Surkamp is legit.  The fact is that Surkamp has much better numbers than Wheeler in a higher level of the minors.  I could throw stats at you all day, but it's late and that would require research.  I think Surkamp has struck out 487 batters this season, and Wheeler had a 8.65 ERA (estimate).  So there you have it.

2.  The Giants will be less painful to watch offensively.  Duh.  Beltran and Sandoval are a 1-2 punch that pitchers have to actually pay attention to.  Or rather, a 1-2 punch to which pitchers actually have to pay attention.  This may be a blog, and blogs may be to grammar on the internet what texting is to grammar off the internet, but I was raised right by my editor father.  Anyway, suddenly our offense might actually relieve some of the tension of close games by exploding for 1, 2, or even 2 runs in a single inning.

3. The Giants should play Torres, Ross, and Nate 2 out of every 3 days and Rowand never.  Yes, I know, he tripled today and homered yesterday.  At this rate, he should hit for the cycle over the course of the month of July.  But Torres and Ross have been doing much better of late and Nate is maintaining his overall non-sucktastic season.  Play Torres and Nate against righties and Ross and Torres against lefties.  And then mix it up a little.  And teach Beltran how to play shortstop.  Or catcher.

4. The Giants might not be done, and that scares me.  The whole "trade a reliever for a mediocre catcher" rumor-mill terrifies me.  I do not want to upgrade from Eli Whiteside to Rod Barajas or Ramon Hernandez at the cost of losing Santiago Casilla or Ramon Ramirez.  I'd rather just write off the catcher position offensively and maintain the world's best bullpen.

5.  Carlos Beltran would look funny in a playoff beard. 

ON AN UNRELATED NOTE HOW GREAT WAS IT TO WATCH JAVIER LOPEZ GET CHASE UTLEY OUT AND THEN BRIAN WILSON GET RYAN HOWARD OUT?  IF THAT DOESN'T BRING BACK HAPPY MEMORIES I DON'T KNOW WHAT WILL.

It appears I left caps lock and bold on for that last sentence.  Well, Philadelphia, that's for talking smack about Sergio Romo's mama.  If you had any right-handed hitters, you'd be seeing a lot of Sergio in this series, but I guess he gets three days off to eat cheese-steaks and enjoy your beautiful, um, view of New Jersey.

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Written by Andy | 27 July 2011

It appears that Carlos Beltran is about to become a Giant.  The package looks like it will include either Zach Wheeler or Gary Brown, but nothing confirmed yet.  Stay tuned!

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Written by Andy | 26 July 2011

Today's game sucked, so let's move into a discussion of happy future things....namely, the playoffs.

As a Giants fan, you might be thinking that the only thing to root for at this point is for the Diamondbacks to lose.  The Rockies, after all, are, as the old Ukrainian saying goes, "like a sack of potatoes filled not with potatoes but rather with goat dung."  And who cares about the wild card if you're winning your division.

But it's not that simple.

What if things play out as they seem now and the Giants win the West and the Braves win the wild card?

Well, do you remember last year?  It'd be like that.  Except....

The Braves are much better than last year.  They have Martin Prado and Chipper Jones who were both injured during last year's NLDS.  They have Dan Uggla who, despite his current batting average of .002 is a dangerous hitter with a history of killing the Giants.  They have rookie Freddie Freeman who is definitely an upgrade on the corpse of Derrick Lee.  And their pitching....wow....

And if we survive that we get the Phillies.

No, I'm not interested in spending my October hiding under my couch.  I want an easier path, and I want everyone else to root with me to make it a reality.  Because if the Diamondbacks win the Wild Card, do you know who the Giants would play in the first round?

That's right.

The Pirates.

Or....

The Cardinals.

Or...

The Brewers.

Or...

The Reds.

Now that's more like it.

Give me a flawed first round opponent as a warm-up before we play the Phillies.  We deserve not to be tortured too much after last year. 

And yes, Phillies, we will see you in October.  You and your jerk fans.  You and your offense-that's-not-much-better-than-ours.  You and your terrible bullpen.  You and your starting pitchers who still have nightmares about our average hitters.

You and your fans who talked smack about Sergio Romo's mama.  "I thought, 'wow,' my mom lives in California," Romo said.  "And she loves me."

The Phillies don't love their moms.  Wait, that came out wrong.  They don't have multiple moms because Philadelphia may be the City of Brotherly Love but it's not San Francisco if you know what I mean.  They (plural) don't love their (singular posessive) mothers.  Why else would they say such mean things about Timmy's teeth, Jeremy Affeldt's manhood, and Sergio Romo's mother?

Yeah, we'll see you in October, Phillies.  And it won't be Barry Zito on the hill.

In the meantime, go Dbacks and whoever is playing the Braves.  And go Mariners.  Good Lord.

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Written by Andy | 21 July 2011

Watching Stephen Drew's ankle turn the wrong way last night was a painful (literally) reminder of....well....several things.

It was a painful reminder of what happened to Buster Posey.

It was a painful reminder that a season can be cut short without warning.

And it was a painful reminder that this guy is the worst person in the world.

And he knows it, too.  Note that the original title was "Buster Posey and the Joy of Schadenfreude."  And then he changed it to omit the word "joy."

No, Jim McMoron, I did not find anything to be happy about when Stephen Drew's season ended in agony last night.  I did not take joy in the breaking hearts of Diamondback fans (all 10 of you).  I didn't think it was somehow appropriate or fitting that Diamondback players were staring out at the field from the dugout with blank expressions, obviously overwhelmed with concern for their teammate. 

I don't want the Giants to win the NL West because Arizona lost its shortstop due to freak injury.  I don't think I've ever uttered the phrase "suck it, Diamondback fans.  Suck it long, and suck it hard" to paraphrase your eloquence.  I wish there was a magic ankle-healing fairy, even if said fairy was unable to fix Buster's ankle.  What a nice person I am.  Oh wait, that's not accurate.  What a normal human being I am.

That said, I would like somebody to please break Clayton Kershaw's left arm.  Thank you.

See?  Was that funny?  I bet some of you read that and thought, "ehhh, not funny."  And it was obviously a joke based on respect for Kershaw's ability!  He's so good I have to pinch myself because most people wearing that uniform profoundly suck.  So imagine if Clayton Kershaw actually broke his arm and I wrote a post saying "ha!  Now we might win the NL West!"

In fact, I'm actually rooting for the Diamondbacks these days, because I want them to win the wild card so the Giants will play the Pirates in the first round of the playoffs.  I've figured it all out and I'm pretty sure the Pirates aren't as good as the Braves or even as good as the Pirates if that makes sense.  So that's what I want.

So maybe I'm just being selfish when I state my opposition to Stephen Drew breaking his ankle.  Maybe it's all part of my selfish desires for the Giants' success.

Is there a German word to describe that?

I'll look that up.  I mean, I'm already on the German-English translation website so it shouldn't be too much trouble. I just looked up "Schadenfreude," you see, to find out exactly what it means.

Translation:

"Being an asshole."

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Written by Andy | 19 July 2011

I missed Sunday's game because I was watching Harry Potter in 2D.  It was awesome.  I still can't believe that they let Harry die in the end, though.  And due to an accidental rebound curse from Luna Lovegood that ricochets off of Hagrid.  Seems so wrong.

Anyway, when you don't watch a game live or on television, you miss a lot.  So when I turned on the game in the 11th inning and listened in horror as Brian Wilson proceeded to walk the entire Padre lineup, I wasn't getting the full picture.

I had forgotten that Mat Latos had pitched.

I didn't know the Padres were wearing their army fatigues.

I didn't see Emannuel Burriss' fist pump after turning the 11th inning double play.

These are important things.

First, I have to say that despite the implications for my patriotism, seeing the Padres in their camo uniforms makes me want to vomit repeatedly.  It's gross. 

Throw in Mat Latos and you have yourself a game that the 2010 Giants lose 2-1 on a two-run David Eckstein suicide squeeze that scores a pair of Hairstons. 

But not the 2011 Giants.  I can say with confidence now that the whole Padre mojo thing is done.  We have now beaten them as many times this year as we did all of last year and we still play them another 8 times.  Could we go 0-8 in that stretch?  No.  We could not.  Not these Giants.

Not with Ryan Vogelsong around.  Let's think of some pitchers who now have higher ERAs than Ryan Vogelsong....

Hmmmmm...

Roy "Oh no! It's Cody Ross!" Halladay

Cliff "Oh no!  It's Freddy Sanchez!" Lee

Roy "Thank God I'm not an Astro" Oswalt

Cole "I would have pitched Game 7 of the NLCS but..." Hamels

Tim "I'm too boring for a nickname" Hudson

Jair "I am from a country that was likely colonized by northern Europeans" Jurgens

Tommy "I should have been an All-Star cry me a river" Hanson

Derek "I'm a pretty big jerk" Lowe

Ubaldo "one-year-wonder" Jimenez

I'm out of nicknames, but also:

Chris Carpenter

Jaime Garcia

Clayton Kershaw

Chad Billingsley Obviously!

Mat Latos

Ummmmmm

Anyone the Diamondbacks have.

 

That's impressive.  And it gives the Giants four solid starters for the playoffs even if Jonathan Sanchez continues to get lit up in Class-A ball. 

The playoffs.  Yeah, I said it.

Last year, I would have slapped myself for such an egregious violation of "Don't-Jinx-The-Giants" by-laws.

But this aint last year.

Just ask Mat Latos....if you can find him, that is.  He's wearing camo.

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Written by Andy | 15 July 2011

I'm sick.  It changes one's perspective on things.

Yesterday, for instance, would have under normal circumstances been the kind of game that fired me up.  What a way to start the 2nd half!

Not when I'm sick.

Here's a recap of my state of mind during yesterday's game:

Innings 1-8: Good God I hate the world.

Inning 9:  Yes!   Yes!  Y...ow....must lie back down.

Innings 10-11:  Good God I hate the Giants.

Inning 12 (part 1):  Good God I hate Miguel Tejada

Inning 12 (part 2):  Exhausted satisfaction

Inning 12 (part 3):  Really, Javier?  Really?

Inning 12 (part 4):  Where's the spandex tux??

 

I hope Arizona and its fans were watching that game.  Let somebody else be tortured by our torture for once. 

I'm going back to bed.

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Written by Andy | 11 July 2011

We've reached the All-Star break and it's time to review the Giants' season to date.

Pitching:  A
Hitting:  F
Overall:  A

Am I missing something? 

No.  I am not.  But let's dive in a little deeper.

Who has been the Giants' biggest surprise?
Probably a tie between Ryan Vogelsong and Nate The Great, with a slight edge to Vogelsong because before the season nobody was having arguments about whether or not Ryan Vogelsong still had the potential to be good.  In fact, before the season, nobody was writing anything about Ryan Vogelong except for angry Japanese bloggers who were debating whether or not poor pitching performance could merit extradition.

Who has been the Giants' biggest dissapointment?
Aubrey Huff.  Not even close.  The only other possibility would be Brian Sabean who still hasn't managed to package Zito, Rowand, and Tejada in a trade for a young superstar.

Is it appropriate for Pat Burrell to be in a teenage girl's bedroom like in that ad?
No.  Not even with Bruce Bochy chaperoning.  And speaking of which...

Why can't the Giants come up with better ads?
It's ridiculous.  We have the most colorful personalities ever assembled onto a single professional sports team and yet the best our ad people can come up with is Andres Torres saying a bunch of Spanish 101 verbs while Cody Ross looks perplexed?  This is an outrage.  If I could design an ad, it would involve Brian Wilson, The Machine, Timmy's dad, Pablo Sandoval's nutritionist, Cody Ross' rodeo clown colleagues, Freddy Sanchez's publicist, Matt Cain's hair, and Sergio Romo as himself.  It would be awesome.  People would buy whatever it was selling.

What's up with that Showtime show?
I saw the preview and it looked good.  From what I can tell, Freddy Sanchez loves to kiss his wife, some Giants have some cute little kids, Brian Wilson looks like a huge goober when carrying golf clubs, and Barry Zito plays the guitar.  I can't wait.

What would our record be if we were healthy this whole time?
52-40. Because our injuries have been mostly on offense and it's pretty clear at this point that it really doesn't matter who we put in our lineup because the final score will always be approximately 2-1 anyway.  In fact, we’d probably be worse than 52-40 if everyone was healthy because Zito would have been pitching instead of Vogelsong.

What team did we think we’d have to worry about and we don’t?
The Dodgers.  I haven’t thought about them in months.  And when I do think about them I laugh.

 

What team do we have to worry about that we didn’t think we’d have to?
The Pirates.  They’re awesome.  The last time they were 4 games over .500, I was 9 years old.  Oh, you thought I’d say the Dbags?  Well, I’m not worried about the Dbags, so why would I say them? 

 

How good is Eric Surkamp?
Good.  Really good.  So good I just heard a rumor about him being traded for Carlos Beltran.  Eric’s ERA is under 2.00 and his strikeouts are off the charts.  You should join his fan club.  In fact, Eric thinks you should join his fan club.  This week, he sent me the following message:

“@24DaysOfMagic haven't heard from you in a while. How's the fan club coming along??”

To which I replied:

“Pretty amazing.  We have 2 million members.  Soooo, how’s Richmond?”

Do you want me to be a liar?  Join.  Now.

 

What’s a good motto for the 2011 Giants?
Well, I’ve got a few possibilities I’m kicking around.  Vote on your favorite.

GIANTS:  Good lord!  He’s at 3rd with no outs!  Hit a bleeping fly ball!

GIANTS:  Not Bankrupt.

GIANTS:  Just wait till Fontenot comes back!

GIANTS:  Just go with it.

 

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