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Written by Andy | 07 July 2011

Everybody's wrong once in a while.  Even Buster Posey.  Even me.

And while I can't actually think of a time when Buster was actually wrong, I am here to admit that I was wrong once.

Shocking, I know.  Most of my predictions have come true.  I started this blog late last season and I predicted that the only thing worse than the Giants not making the playoffs would be the Giants making the playoffs.  Imagine the torture, I argued.  I was right.

During the off-season, I predicted that signing Miguel Tejada was a huge mistake and that resigning Pat Burrell for $1 million would lead to me frequently forgetting how to spell "Burrell."  I was right.

And this season, I predicted that the Giants would win the division easily, and if it weren't for the injuries, we'd be approximately, carry the 3, 47 games ahead.  So I was right again.

The frequency with which I make correct predictions is shocking, actually.  And yes, I'm stalling before getting to the part where I admit I was wrong about something.

CORRECT PREDICTIONS ANDY HAS MADE IN THE PAST 24 HOURS

Prediction:  We're not going to score a run this inning.  Or next inning.  Or the inning after that.

Prediction:  Sergio Romo is going to slap his glove and yell crazily after he strikes somebody out.

Prediction:  I am not going to be able to figure out what time it is when I get up in the middle of the night to put my baby back to sleep because the clock in the kitchen is currently set to what time it was in Beirut 38 minutes ago and my math is bad when I don't sleep.

Prediction:  Luke Gregerson is going to throw a slider or eight.

**

Ok, fine, I'll get to me being wrong.

This spring, the big discussion was what the Giants were going to do with their final two roster spots.  The candidates were Brandon Belt, Aaron Rowand, Travis Ishikawa, and Nate The Great. 

My argument was that Belt should make the team but would not, which was correct as he only made the team because Ross was on the DL.  As for the other two spots, I stated that the Giants should keep Ishikawa and Nate, but that because they would never leave Rowand off, the real decision was between Nate and Ishikawa and I felt Ishikawa was the more valuable player.

My argument made sense in that I believed Nate served only as a late inning defensive replacement and if Rowand is going to make the team, why bother with Nate?  How silly and mistaken I was.  Late inning defensive replacement?  Try Hall of Fame caliber masher.

And it's a good thing Nate has pop, too, because that walk-off homerun was very close to bouncing off the brick and coming back.  And since it would have been misplayed by the Padre right-fielder and since Nate was hustling out of the box because he's Nate, it would have been a triple.

And nothing says "the Giants aren't going to score a run this inning" like a leadoff triple.

As for Pablo, I do have to say I'm pretty upset about him standing and watching his 8th inning shot.  He ended up with a double, but had he run hard all the way, he clearly would have ended up motoring around 2nd, tripping and falling, belly-flopping, and then crawling back to 2nd and beating the tag with a creative Kung-Fu slide.  That would have been fun to watch.

I'm not going to say this was the biggest win of the year, but it was probably the biggest win of the decade, depending on when you say the decade started.  Beating the Padres is one thing, but beating Mike Adams is crazy.  Insane.  We beat Mike Adams about as often as Mat Latos hugs kittens.

Alright, we can move on now.  Who do we play tonight?

You're kidding.  Again?

There should be a law against that.

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Written by Andy | 06 July 2011

There has been a lot of talk recently about realignment.

Some want to overhaul the current system dramatically, while others want to make modest changes.

I'm in Group A.  Below is my revolutionary proposal for realignment.  I believe it is the only proposal that should be considered.

 

AL WEST:

Seattle

Texas

LA Angels

Oakland

 

AL CENTRAL:

Chicago WS

Cleveland

Kansas City

Detroit

Minnesota

 

AL EAST:

Boston

New York Y

Toronto

Baltimore

Tampa Bay

 

NL EAST:

Philadelphia

New York M

Washington

Atlanta

Florida

 

NL CENTRAL:

Chicago C

Houston

Cincinnati

St. Louis

Pittsburgh

Milwaukee

 

NL WEST:

San Francisco

Colorado

Los Angeles

Arizona

 

Who's with me?

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Written by Andy | 05 July 2011

To be sure, there were some dissapointments on this latest road trip.  But in the end, the Giants returned home farther ahead of the Dbags than when they left, with a winning road trip, no new injuries, and a rejuvenated Timmy.  It's July 4th, we're in first place, we're coming home, and we're facing the.....oh.  It's you again.

I had forgotten all about the Padres.  Hadn't watched Mike Adams pitch in months.  Hadn't bothered even paying attention to how they were doing because by not hearing anything about them anywhere I was able to correctly gage that they were doing, pardon my language, shittily.  That they were.  But that's only because they weren't playing us.

Against any other team, that 9th inning rally ends in triumph.  Maybe Andres Torres hits a double off the wall and it ricochets past the right fielder and into, say, Burlingame and we win.  Maybe Rowand drives a double into the gap and the two outfielders collide and everybody scores and we get to see a happy Pat Burrell jumping up and down and mentally already plotting which bar he's going to hit up after the game to celebrate.

But no.  Heath Bell is a big goober and I hate him.

So now we find out what the Giants are truly made of.  In the next 10 days, we play the Padres 7 times.  Win 3 of those games and I'm throwing a party.  Win 4 and I'm buying everybody drinks.  Win 5 and I'm flying to Japan and demanding that they name a neighborhood in Osaka "Vogelsongville."

But there's another school of thought.  One that says that last year's Giants, who won the World Series in 5 Games Against the Texas Rangers EdgarRenteriae3runshotOhmygod, would go 2-5 in this stretch and so should this year's Giants.  That only by truly sucking against the Padres can we maintain our mojo.  Perhaps.

But can we just win instead and create an offshoot of last year's mojo?  Like, Torture 2.0 or something?

***

Listening to talk radio this morning and hearing about how Tommy Hanson is 9-4 and Timmy is 6-7 and therefore, how can he be on the All-Star team?  I mean, really?  Are we not advanced enough to look past wins as a measure of a pitcher's success?

For instance, you know who got the win in Detroit on Friday?  Yeah.  The guy who punched a wall and beat the crap out of a defenseless Gatorade jug.  You know Pablo was sitting there thinking "damn, that was my favorite flavor.  Mountain mist."  That tells you right there how much wins matter.  Of course there's a legitimate case to be made for Hanson over Timmy.  But we won the World Series, so too f'ing bad.

***

And lastly...I saw Buster Posey sitting on the bench yesterday and I gotta say....he looked ready to go.

I googled "Buster Posey" and I couldn't find any news on his injury or if there's any remote chance he could come back in October.  Has anyone else?

So then I became angry and googled "Mat Latos has a big butt" but that certianly didn't get me any search results I wanted to see.  So then I googled "Giants Win World Series."  Much better.

One must do what one must do to soothe one's troubled soul before one watches the Giants play the Padres again. 

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Written by Andy | 30 June 2011

If there are typos in this short post, it'd because I just punched a hole in my computer after watching the Giants lose the kind of game the Giants don't lose for the second night in a row.  And obviously this one was much worse.

Losing a couple games isn't a big deal.

Splitting a road series is fine.

It's just this feeling that comes from believing that these are the kinds of games we're supposed to win.  Lose one, and it's like "well, you can't win them all."  Lose TWO and it's like you want to punch your computer screen and create a Geovanny Soto voodoo doll.

Ugh.

Ugh.

UGH.

And I object to the idea of the Cubs winning close games.  That's not supposed to happen when your players have clearly given up and your fans gave up 85 years ago.

Whatever.  I'm moving on.

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Written by Andy | 28 June 2011

Aren't you just so tired of the San Francisco Giants?  I mean, I know we won today, but I can't take any more of these kind of games.  Every day it's the same:  we hit, we can't pitch, we score a million runs, we give up a million runs, and somehow we find a way to win.  Oh what I would give for a 1-0 game in which the winning run scores on a balk.

It started all over again today with Ryan Vogelsong, a pitcher so bad he has only 6 wins despite pitching for a team that can only be considered an offensive juggernaut in the mold of the '27 Yankees or the 2008 Albany Little League A's (that gratuitous reference was for you, Parker, Robin, Collin, Reed, Kye, Jesse, Jethro, Reilly, and of course Charlie).  And yet there he is again, being trotted out there to throw a bunch of slop and get knocked around to the tune of six runs in five innings, fully 50% of which were earned.

Thankfully Vogelsong and the terrible bullpen that followed him to the mound today (which barely held on to an early 6-run lead, eventually winning by 6 runs) was salvaged once again by the mighty bats of Miguel Tejada, Aaron Rowand, Aubrey Huff, and Pat Burrell.  You can imagine those hitters back in the clubhouse confronting the likes of Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain:

"Could you guys give us some help, please?  I mean, we're busting our butts out here, and it's like you're not even trying."

---

Speaking of my friend Robin of the 2008 Little League A's (and we really were awesome)...he had a good idea today.  Bruce Bochy should select only Giants to the All-Star game.

Imagine.

The starters are a predictable mix of guys who were really good in about 2007.  You know, Jimmy Rollins, Carlos Beltran, etc.

But the starters are pulled immediately after introductions and replaced with....

Nate Schierholtz!
Eli Whiteside!
Brandon Crawford!

And your starting 2nd baseman, fresh off the couch....Bill Hall!

It would be glorious.  It would be the Giants vs. the Entire American League, and the funny part is, it would be just like every other Giants game.  We'd win 3-2 or lose 2-1 or tie or something crazy and the game would end on a double-play foul bunt or a walkoff catcher's interference or something equally absurd.  And those Phillies and Mets and Cardinals would be watching from the dugout.

The best part?

The game is in Arizona.  They thought they were buying tickets to an All-Star game but instead they were buying tickets to a Giants game.  Shouldn't have spent $500 per ticket on StubHub, Mr. Diamondbacks Fan.  Hilarious.  Not that the people in the pool would care because they don't really watch the game anyway.

The only question is whether or not Ryan Rohlinger qualifies for the All-Star game...I'm not sure if he had enough big league at-bats this year.  Somebody should call somebody and ask.

Oh yeah, and the Dodgers are bankrupt.  I was going to write a post about that but I forgot.  Maybe tomorrow.  Will they still be bankrupt tomorrow?  They will?

Life is good.

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Written by Andy | 27 June 2011

Us.

Would you want to play us in October?  And face Timmy, Bumgarner, Cain, and Vogelsong in Games 1-4 of a series?  And our bullpen in innings 7-9?

If you're the Cardinals or the Phillies or the Braves, would you want to travel to San Francisco and have your homeruns become fly outs and your opponent's doubles become triples?  Have your right fielder try to guess how to play the carom off the archways?  Have to deal with all the magic in that park?

I saw today that the Giants have a negative run differential for the season.  In other words, we're just lucky.  Now, I'm a pretty big stat geek and I love Moneyball and I love Bill James, but I'm not sure these rules apply to the Giants.  And besides, I'm pretty sure the only reason we have a negative run differential is because of Dan Runzler.  So I don't care.

No, the Giants are not lucky.  They are what they are.  They don't hit much, but they don't need to.  Their pitching is other-worldly.  Their home ballpark is a nightmare for visitors.  And they play in a bad division.  After this homestand, the way forward is quite clear:

1. Win the division.
2. Make the playoffs.

Simple.  Every injury must be measured against this issue alone.  Does losing Freddy Sanchez prevent us from winning the division?  No.  Does it threaten our ability to win the division?  No.  Does losing Buster Posey prevent us from winning the division?  No.  Does it threaten our ability to win the division?  Yes.  But I think we'll be fine.

And once we're there, I can't promise we'll win the world series, but would you want to play us?

---

Santiago Casilla for Yorvit Torealba.  That's the rumor.

NO!  NOOO!

How much better has our bullpen been since we sent Runzler down and brought Casilla off the DL?  Lots better.  The other day we brought Casilla into the game in the 5th inning with the bases loaded and he saved the game right there. And then we still had Lopez, Ramirez, Romo, and Wilson for the late innings.  With Casilla we have five guys who can pitch in the 8th and 9th.  Oh wait.  Affeldt.  After last night, I guess you could say we have six guys.  And Mota can pitch the 9th in the World Series when we have a 9-0 lead and the other team has just crapped all over themselves on national TV.  So beat that.

Please don't do this.  We don't need to actually get any hits from our catcher position.  We just need him to have a canon arm and catch the ball.  We have that already.  Don't trade our strength for a guy who will sorta hit once in a while.  Please.....

PLEASE....

If that plea isn't good enough...I will try chain mail form.

DEAR MR. SABEAN.  IF YOU DON'T NOT TRADE SANTIAGO CASILLA TO 15 tEaMS in the next 30 minutes!! you will be made to have BAD lucks!  PASS IT ON NOW!  A man in North Bolivia Did NOt NOT trade Santiago Casssssilla and HE DIED OF FROG BITES!

That should do it.

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Written by Andy | 24 June 2011

Yesterday's game was great.  Timmy came back with a vengeance, and that alone is worthy of a blog post.  And then the game ended with Pablo Sandoval catching somebody from behind in a foot-race.  It was like the scene in the karate movie where the Kung Fu Hero has kung fu'd all the bad guys and then the last bad guy decides to make a run for it.  Not so fast!  Hiiiiya!

Awesome.

But yesterday's game is only interesting if you're not in love, and I am deeply, deeply in love.  I think only of one person, my love, whom I love above all others.  To him (I am secure), I dedicate this post, written in the lyrical style of the musical theater.  Or theatre if you're so inclined.

---

VOGELSONG!  The Musical

(Scene:  San Francisco's Chinatown.  Young Jimmy, aged 10, is sitting on his stoop, looking forlorn.  Enter man in business suit and top hat.)

Man:  Jimmy!  What seems to be the problem, kiddo?
Jimmy:  (sigh)  All my heroes are dead or on the disabled list.
Man:  Well, I have a new hero for you, one who will rise above all others and carry this great city on his back!  Come with me!
Jimmy:  Dad says I shouldn't go places with strangers.
Man:  But it will be a magic carpet ride!
Jimmy:  Oh, ok, whatever.  Sure.  Dad won't know anyway, he's a meth addict.

(Jimmy and Man leave on Magic Carpet and fly to Japantown)

Man:  Behold!  Japantown!  Home of Sushi and Ryan Vogelsong.
Jimmy:  That pitcher?
Man:  Pitcher?  Yes.  But more.  Hero.  Legend!  The best pitcher in the National League!  And a Japan Town hero since he spent his early days pitching in the Japanese leagues where he fooled the other 29 big league teams by posting an ERA of 34.89.  All to make sure he could come here, to San Francisco. 
Jimmy:  Is that his name on the menu of that restaurant?
Man:  You bet!  It's the Vogelsong Roll!

(Cue music)

All Singing:  Vogelsong!  Vogelsong!  He's our guy, he's our guy!  He pitches like Gibson, he keeps the dames wishin'!  Vogelsongggggggggggggg!

Man:  See that, Jimmy?  That's North Beach.
Jimmy:  Why is there a picture of a naked woman on that theater?
Man:  Never mind that.  Did you know Ryan Vogelsong is a hero to the Italian community?  He led the fight against Mussolini back in WWII.  And then he pitched in the Italian Co-Ed Softball league, where he posted an ERA of 41.39, all a ruse to fool the other teams that might have tried to sign him.
Jimmy:  That Vogelsong is one swell guy!
Man:  Oh, we're not done yet.  Let's go over this way.

(Fly to Pittsburgh)

Jimmy:  What's that smell?
Man:  Welcome to Pittsburgh!  Ryan Vogelsong pitched here too, and posted an ERA of 103.  The people here love him anyway, however, because he single-handedly brought back the steel industry and ended years of globalization that threatened to shut down cities like this across the Rust Belt!
Jimmy:  What's a Rust Belt?
Man:  See there?  They even have a football staidum named after him!

(Sign:  Welcome to Ryan Vogelsong Field, Home of the Pittsburgh Steelers)

(Cue music)

Men in hard hats singing:  Vogelsong!  Vogelsong!  We wish you the best, way out west.  You brought back steel, we love you for real!"

(Fly to Fremont, California)

Jimmy:  Why are we here?
Man:  Fremont is home to the largest Afghan population in the United States.  And do you know what the Afghan people think of Ryan Vogelsong?
Jimmy:  They love him?
Man:  Love him?  Hell!  They just elected him President For Life.
Jimmy:  Cool.  Does he get a jet?
Man:  Yes, and his own personal poppy field.  For, um, his bagels.
Jimmy:  Did he even pitch in Afghanistan?
Man:  Oh yes.  He was the #4 starter on the Kabul Kashalnikovs.  Went 7-18.  What a trickster.  But on weekends, he was training with the Navy Seals across the border.  Who do you think killed Osama?
Jimmy:  Wow.  That Ryan Vogelsong is a real hero.

(Cue Music)

Afghan warlords singing:  Vogelsong!  You are the dream we all dream.  You are not what you seem.  You are the best pitcher on your team!

(Fly back to Chinatown)
Man:  Well, Jimmy, we're back home.  Did you enjoy learning about the greatest pitcher in the history of baseball, Ryan Vogelsong?
Jimmy:  I sure did!  Thanks, mister!
Man:  No problem.  And remember...

(Cue Music)

All singing:  Vogelsong!  Vogelsong!  We lovvvvvvvvvvvve you!  We lovvvvvvvvve you!  You're going to keep doing this, right?  Every fifth night?  We think you might.  You're out of sight.  You're...
Ryan!
(drums)
Vogel!
(drums)
Songgggggggggggggggggggggggggggg!!

(Fade to black)

----

I need to find an agent fast.

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Written by Andy | 22 June 2011

Have you seen "Airplane"?

If not, you should.  It's really funny.

If so, then you'll know what I'm talking about when I say that the Giants have reached the point in the movie when the stewardess (yes, yes, flight attendant, but this movie was made in the 70's) gets on the PA system and says:

"Hi everyone.  Just a couple of things.  First, to the right, if you look out your window, you can see the Grand Canyon.  Also, not to alarm anyone, but we do have a small problem up in the cockpit and we're wondering if there's anyone here who knows how to fly a plane?"

At which point the cabin erupts into chaos.

"AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

The equivalent here is Madison Bumgarner's outing yesterday.  We already know we can't hit much, and that's sort of ok.  But if we start not pitching either, look out because this could get ugly.  Yesterday's outing by Bumgarner was like when the pilot in the movie is carried out from the cockpit because he ate the fish and is now in a coma.  You watch it and you think....this is not good.

It's as though Renel got on the PA system and said:

"Hi everyone!  If you look out beyond right field, you can see the San Francisco Bay.  And there, to the left, is the Bay Bridge and the Oakland Hills.  Tonight's home plate umpire is Bob Davidson.  Oh, and by the way, does anybody out there in the stands know how to pitch?"

"AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Every team goes through a rough stretch, and honestly the Giants were due for one.  You can't win every close game and you can't keep scoring 2-4 runs per game and expect to win.  Simply put, we need to start hitting and we need to understand that our starters are not going to be perfect every time out.  Even Vogelsong.  Although tonight we could kind of use a perfect game from him. 

And it's not that bad.  I mean, despite the lack of hitting, the injuries, the bad starts by Timmy, the debacle in Oakland, and the fact that Miguel Tejada routinely hits 2nd in our lineup, we're still in first.  First!

What's that?

Who passed us?  The Dbags??

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

The Giants do, however, need to play with a sense of urgency.  Look no further than the visitor's clubhouse and you'll see a team that has played with urgency for the past month.  The Twins were 17-37 when they decided that they'd rather not be the 2011 version of the 2010 Pirates and since then they're 15-2.  Every game is the 7th game of the World Series to them.  It shows.

It's tough to have that much urgency in the NL West.  Too bad.  Time to man up, Giants.  This is the part of the movie where Leslie Neilson walks into the cockpit and finds Ryan Vogelsong struggling with the controls of the plane and says: "I just wanted to say good luck.  We're all counting on you."

We're counting on Ryan Vogelsong to help us fend off a challenge from the surging Diamondbacks?  Surely you can't be serious!

I am serious.  And don't call me Shirley.

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Written by Andy | 19 June 2011

My family is moving to a new home this week, which has made finding the time to blog about the Giants very difficult.  We also happen to own a lot of stuff...stuff I personally think we should get rid of but only because I do not comprehend each individual item of stuff's profound purpose for existing.

You know what else has made blogging about the Giants difficult this week?

The Giants.

If I were Oakland, I would find my worst pitcher currently in Single-A and call him up to pitch today.  If they throw Trevor Cahill, I think that gives the Giants a shot.  We only hit well against good pitchers.  It's just how we are.

So sorry for the lack of posts.  This won't be a trend that continues after July 1st when we are fully moved-in.  At that point I will invite all of you over to my house for a Let's-Not-Watch-The-Giants party in which we all stand around and talk about how happy we are that we're not watching the Giants because if we were watching the Giants we'd be miserable.

Bring some dip.

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Written by Andy | 13 June 2011

Wait, he's hurt too?

Good God.

The news on Freddy Sanchez is bad.  He's going to try to rest and recover but if that doesn't work and he needs surgery, the surgery will be the season-ending kind of surgery.  That's not good.  Can we blame Brandon Phillips for that?  Sabean?  Latos?  Somebody needs to pay.

I did some research to see if there's a pattern to how the Giants have handled injuries this year and here's what I found:

Giants Without Cody Ross:  3-4
Giants Without Cody Ross AND Andres Torres:  7-3
Giants Without Andres Torres:  2-6
Giants Without Andres Torres AND Pablo Sandoval: 6-3
Giants Without Pablo Sandoval:  9-5
Giants Without Pablo Sandoval AND Buster Posey: 9-7
Giants Without Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, Freddy Sanchez, Brandon Belt, Mike Fontenot, Mark DeRosa, Barry Zito, and Will Clark:  1-1

I stared at those numbers for a long time trying to find the pattern and eventually my eyes hurt and my wife called me a weirdo and my toddler started hitting me with her "fluffy dog" so I had to stop. 

If anything, it looks like the injuries at this point have been mostly distributed in that the only period of time where the offense really took an unbearable hit were the 18 games during which both Posey and Sandoval were injured.  And the Giants were 10-8 during that stretch.

In other words, we have really good pitching.

Now Pablo returns and not a moment too soon.  If Huff and Ross can hit and Torres can hit and walk and run, we will score enough runs to torture ourselves into October.  What's sad is we'll never know what this year's team could have done with everybody healthy.  This lineup makes me want to cry:

1. Torres
2. Sanchez
3. Sandoval
4. Posey
5. Huff
6. Ross
7. Burrell/Schierholtz
8. Tejada/Crawford

Posey is not replaceable, obviously, since Whiteside is hitting .170 and until last week, Chris Stewart hadn't gotten a hit in the big leagues since 2007. 

"We weren't even dating when he last got a hit," I pointed out to my wife.

"Turn on the Red Sox game," she responded.  Oh sure, now they're not boring anymore, what with them scoring 56 runs per game.

As McCovey Chronicles used to say, there was a movement for a long time in Giants fan circles called: "Trade-A-Pitcher-For-A-Brewer." 

Maybe we need to trade a pitcher for a Red So...uh...Red Sock? 

Listen, Theo.  We got this guy in the minors.  He's a lefty.  Great looking curveball.  Plays a little guitar.  Interested?

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