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Written by Andy | 18 May 2011

For anyone trying to forget about this recent visit to Colorado (we've been there twice now, is that enough?  Do we have to go back??), check out this article on Yahoo Sports:

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/blog/big_league_stew/post/-8216-It-Gets-Better-8217-Giants-announce-pl?urn=mlb-wp6793&active_dimension=carousel_coke_today&ysp_frm_woah=1

If nothing else, this will mean the Giants will be airing an ad that doesn't suck.  Really, Giants PR Department?  You have Brian Wilson and you can't come up with a funny ad?  Unbelievable.

Anyway, the Giants are a big family.

You beat up our fans, we close ranks.
You yell slurs at our fans and do obscene things in front of children at our games, we close ranks.
You bully gay teens, we run a PSA.

Don't mess with us.  We already messed with Texas, so you know where we stand.

But unfortunately, Dexter Fowler doesn't care.  Why, Bruce Bochy, was Jonathan Sanchez pitching in the 8th inning of yesterday's game?  Bring in Romo or Lopez, then go to Wilson who hadn't pitched in almost a week. 

When Jonathan Sanchez leaves a game after the 7th inning up 3-1, you say "wow!  that's awesome!" and you go to the bullpen.  It's not a knock on Sanchez.  It's just that you don't need to press your luck with a guy who gives you inconsistent performance start to start or inning to inning.

Let's say you are making a living robbing banks with a crazy partner named Chucky.  And every once in a while, when you're in the bank, Chucky rips off his mask and yells "Chucky and Tommy, baby!  Try and stop us!"  Oh yeah, your name is Tommy.

Anyway, Jonathan Sanchez is Chucky, but not intentionally.  He just can't help it.  So if you've robbed 7 banks with Chucky and you only need to rob two more to get enough money to retire to an island without an extradition agreement with the U.S., shouldn't you ditch Chucky and be grateful that he helped you as far as he did?

You know what I mean?

No?

Now maybe I don't know what Bochy knows.  Maybe Jonathan Sanchez dominates in the 8th inning lifetime.  I don't know.  I don't think I've ever seen him pitch in the 8th inning, honestly.  It was a first for me.

***

Checking in on Eric Surkamp:
Eric had a below-average start last time out, allowing two runs in 5 and two thirds and striking out 5, the first time he'd struck out less than 10 in his last four starts.

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Written by Andy | 17 May 2011

Everybody, if you're not already watching, turn on the Giants game RIGHT NOW.

It's the 6th inning, and yes, you guessed it, something special is going on.

Jonathan Sanchez is throwing a No-Walker.

You might never see this again.

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Written by Andy | 16 May 2011

The Giants are a very average team on the road.  Very average.  Like 12 wins, 12 losses average.  They're so average, they managed to split a 3-game series this weekend in Chicago.  That's tough to do.

That got me thinking about the NBA playoffs and the whole home-road dichotomy.

For instance, here are the playoff road records of the four NBA teams still alive.  In other words, the four teams doing the best.

Dallas:  3-2
Oklahoma City: 2-3
Chicago:  3-2
Miami:  2-3

Not impressive.  So you might ask how they remain alive after two rounds.

Their home records:

Dallas: 5-0
OKC:  6-1
Chicago:  5-1
Miami:  6-0

So the formula is simple.  Win your home games, split your road games.  You do that, you win.  And in baseball in the regular season, it's kind of the same way.  The Giants have just taken it to another level in the past couple weeks:

Road Trip:  5-5
Home stand:  6-0

Last year, three teams boasted better home records than the Giants but didn't even make the playoffs.  Because while the Giants split their road games (43-38), these teams did not, and two of them even finished 3rd.

Detroit (29-52 on road)
St. Louis (34-47 on road)
Colorado (31-50 on road)

Of the eight teams that made the playoffs, six of them were right around .500 on the road, while one of them was far below (Atlanta, who had the best home record in baseaball but still needed a win on last day of season just to make the playoffs as a wild card) and one of them was far above (Tampa Bay, who easily won baseball's best division last year).

So in analyzing the Giants' 2011 season so far, I think we have to take this issue into account.  They have played 24 road games, fully 30% of the road schedule for the entire year, and they're at .500.  That is a very, very good sign.

Now, that said....the Giants haven't gone to Philadelphia yet.  Or Florida.  Or Atlanta.  Or St. Louis or Cincinnati.  Losing 3 of 4 in Washington isn't good.  Losing 3 of 4 in Los Angeles isn't good.  But then again, we played three games in Philadelphia last October and we did ok. 

---

Imagine you're the Rockies.  First, adjust to the fact that you're wearing purple.  Are you there?  Good.  You're in first place, kinda sorta.  Oh wait, you're not in first place anymore.  You were.  For a while.  And now you have to play the Giants again.  But at least Tim Lincecum pitched in Chicago so you don't have to...it what?  It rained? 

Life is good.

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Written by Andy | 14 May 2011

Are squirrels rodents?
I wasn't sure.

Anyway, ignoring yesterday's trainwreck in Chicago, I got the following picture album sent to me from a supporter of the Richmond Flying Squirrels, otherwise known as Eric Surkamp's temporary home.

Enjoy.

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Written by Andy | 13 May 2011

This has just been one of those weeks when your personal life gets in the way of your blogging and you think "man.  I really need to get rid of my personal life because it's seriously negatively impacting my blogging."

Even right now, I'm blogging but I have a meeting for work in 8 minutes and I can't exactly be brilliant with that much time pressure hanging over my head. 

So let me cop out by simply making this one point"

Below, I am going to list the ways this past homestand could have been better:

Ahem.

WAYS THIS PAST HOMESTAND COULD HAVE BEEN BETTER



















-

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Written by Andy | 11 May 2011

Four home games.
Four wins.
Three walk-offs.

Watching the Giants is fun again, because the torture/magic balance has seemingly shifted dramatically simply by virtue of having won a championship.  You might disagree with this, but please consider.

1. Are you really going to kill yourself because the Giants lose a close game to the Nationals when we just won a World Series?
2. Aren't we kind of playing with house money, at least this year?

What I'm realizing is that this year's primary motivation isn't, in fact, proving to the Baseball World that last year wasn't a fluke.  Because this is not a team motivated by anger or bitterness or some sense of needing validation.  This team is more fun than that, and that's why we love them.

I mean, do you really think Tim Lincecum goes to bed each night after throwing the remote at the TV because Tim Kurkijian thinks the Rockies are better than the Giants?  Does Buster Posey have a Rob Neyer voodoo doll?  Does Brian Wilson rage in a negative way or a positive way? 

Oh, make no mistake.  The Giants are going to prove the world wrong again and in doing so, they most certainly are going to send a message to the Baseball Elite.  But that message is going to be: "you take yourselves too seriously.  We don't.  And we're still better than you."

Case in point:  In four home games, we have allowed four runs.  I'm not a math guy, but I'm pretty sure that's about one run a game, give or take a cosine.  That's dominant.  And it's only going to get better.

Doubters could look at our season so far, see all the walk-off wins, the one-run wins, the extra-inning wins, and they could say it's not going to last.

But we have two responses to that:

1. Screw you, you're ugly.  Magic is just how we roll.

2. We've been playing without our #4 starter, our leadoff hitter, our #6 hitter, our best hitter, a key member of our bullpen, and our #3 hitter is hitting .208 and our #4 hitter is hitting .240.  Our shortstop is so bad we replaced him with a guy who last year had a negative VORP.  And we're 19-16.

If I'm the Rockies, that scares me.  It scares me a lot.  Not like "My Bloody Valentine" scary, where there's blood everywhere and no subtlety.  More like "Psycho" scary, when Anthony Perkins is talking too fast about the stuffed birds he has on the wall.

Hey Rockies.  Don't stress.  Everything's ok.  You're still in first place.  We all go a little crazy sometimes.

Boo.

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Written by Andy | 09 May 2011

The Eric Surkamp fan club is now on Facebook!

We figured it was time to take it to the next level, what with Eric making AA hitters look like Miguel Tejada trying to hit major league pitching.

Sorry, we should stop making fun of Miguel.  It's not his fau....wait, how much does he get paid?

Anyway.

Join!

And then comment below and let us know what you think the Giants should do when Barry Zito comes back.  The options are:

1. Say: "Hi Barry!  So glad you're back!  Listen, we gotta talk....it's just that while you were gone we got lonely, and there was this really nice guy named Vogelsong who started coming over to keep us company and, well....this is awkward."

2. Trade Sanchez for Reyes, keep Vogelsong.  (No!!)

3. Trade Sanchez for Pujols, keep Vogelsong.  (yes!!!  Wait.  Can Pujols play SS???)

4. Send Vogelsong to Fresno, bring Surkamp up to Fresno, dominate the PCL

5. Ro-sham-bo, best two out of three.

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Written by Andy | 06 May 2011

Dear Rockies-

Welcome to San Francisco! 

See, we know that this series is starting to get some billing as a "showdown" series...an early test for both teams.  Division leaders vs. Defending World Champions.

And we get that, especially from your perspective.  I mean, you even think we're your rivals!  So this must be a really big series for you, us being your "rivals" and all.  That's so cute.

But here's the thing.  We're not ready.  Look, I know, that sounds like a cop out.  But we're not.  I mean, I'm blushing here, but I feel like you're kind of pressuring us.  It's like it's our wedding day, you're trying to take our photograph, and we haven't even put on our dress yet.  We're wearing sweatpants and a tank top and no makeup.  Give us some time!

Right now, a guy with 1 career hit is probably only our third or fourth worst hitter.  Mike Fontenot might be our best hitter.  Our starting center fielder and third basemen are both injured.  Our richest pitcher is injured.  We just finished a long road trip; we're tired!  Have you ever flown from Washington D.C. to San Francisco?  It's a lonnggggg flight.  They didn't even have honey roasted peanuts, which are our favorite.  They had those Nabisco Snack Packs that have three different kinds of crackers that are all orange and consist of fake cheese and salt.

And now it's Willie Mays' birthday.  We know you can't relate to that since you sadly lack a "history" or a "past" or a "hall of famer" and your first season ever was during the Clinton administration whereas ours was during the "Old Crotchety White Guy With A Long Beard Who Had A Name Like Rutherford or Winthrop" era of the presidency.  But believe us, it's a big deal.  Willie Mays is the best player in the history of baseball, and we don't feel like losing on his birthday.  

So what if we called tonight a scrimmage game and then agree to split the next two?  We can always have a showdown series in August or September.  It's not like we're scared of you, it's just that we're trying to take this Title Repeat thing slowly.  We don't want to get all worked up in April, because you never know when you'll end up 41-40 and then finish 51-30 and then win a bunch of games in October and then it's like, "see?  What were we all worried about back in May?" 

Plus, we're sorry to be the ones to break this to you, but teams that wear purple not named the Lakers don't have a really good track record of winning championships.  The Vikings, for instance.  Zero.  The Rockies.  Zero.  Who else even wears purple?  The Jazz used to, kinda sorta.  Zero.  The Northwestern Wildcats have never been to an NCAA basketball tournament, the only team from a BCS conference who can say that.  Not one.  So if this is a big showdown series, what is it a showdown series for?  You're not going to win a World Series while you wear purple. 

Alright, thanks for reading.  Please don't let your pitching coach verbally assault our fans or do anything nasty with a baseball bat.  Sorry every fly ball you hit won't be a homerun.  Try not to throw a fit or anything.

Hey, do you have need for a minor league pitcher?  We're looking for a shortstop and yours is ok.

Hmmmm.  I think that's it.  Your new ads suck.  We like last year's ads better.

Sincerely,
The Giants

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Written by Andy | 04 May 2011

The rumors are flying that the Giants talking to the Mets about Jose Reyes.  The key, according to CSNBayArea:

The source noted that a Giants-Mets swap could work in that New York isn't likely to do what many teams have done to end conversations with Giants general manager Brian Sabean: demand a member of San Francisco's vaunted starting rotation.

Well that's good, because there's only one member of the starting rotation I'd be willing to trade and after watching Ryan Vogelsong pitch last night, I'm not sure I'd even want to trade him.  Oh, well Ryan Vogelsong is part of the Giants' rotation.  Maybe we can trade him for Reyes?  Straight up?  We'll throw in Tejada and also Ryan Garko.

I know there are downsides to a trade for Reyes, including his salary and what we would have to give up in return, which probably includes star pitching prospect Zach Wheeler.  We'll get back to Wheeler later on.  But it's not often that a team can address their biggest hole and fill it with a genuine star.  Imagine our lineup in July, if you will:

1. Reyes, SS
2. Torres, CF
3. Huff 1B
4. Posey C
5. Panda 3B
6. Ross RF
7. Burrell LF
8. Sanchez 2B

That sure as heck beats the monstrosity that we'll probably run out there tonight after starting centerfielder (sob) and leadoff hitter (sob) Aaron Rowand left the game with back spasms:

1. Miguel Tejada "3B"
2. Mike Fontenot SS
3. Aubrey Huff 1B
4. Buster Posey C
5. Pat Burrell LF
6. Cody Ross RF
7. Emannuel Burriss 2B
8. Darren Ford CF

I hope Timmy's on his game.

Yesterday's win took the torture motif to new levels in both the top and bottom of the 9th inning, and it's easy to look at this road trip and say "we're 4-4, but we really very easily could be 1-7" and that's true.  But yesterday's win had a miraculous, epic feel to it.  The offensive breakout from the strangest of lineups, the obligatory Dan Runzler blown hold, the 9th inning meltdown, the 9th inning Houdini escape, and then, finally, the "You Shall Know My Name!" upper deck blast from a very frustrated Aubrey Huff.  That's the kind of win that can change your season.

But getting back to the Reyes trade.  Wheeler is no small loss.  One mitigating factor, however, is how well Eric Surkamp is pitching in AA.  

Eric's ERA is 2.05, and certainly that's fantastic.  But what's really getting the attention of the organization and the baseball world in general is his ability to strike batters out despite the lack of the supposedly mandatory 90-95 mph fastball.  In just 26 innings, Eric has 41 strikeouts.  That's really, really good.  Like, really, really good.  No, you don't understand.  If Eric Surkamp's K/9ip ratio were a terrorist-killing president, it'd be Barack Obama.  If it were a fat NBA player, it'd be Zach Randolph.  If it were chinese food, it'd be San Tung on the corner of Irving and 12th in the Inner Sunset.  I'm just looking forward to when Eric makes it big and I get my own locker in the Giants' clubhouse to write my blog from as he promised me during his interview.  I think he promised me that.  I should probably go back and check my tape recorder. 

If you asked me today if I would pull the trigger on Reyes for Wheeler, I'd probably tell you I had to think about it, then yell "oh my God!  It's Osama Bin Laden!  Over there, by the Chase Bank!" and when you turned around, I'd run as fast as I can in the other direction so I wouldn't have to make a decision.  I guess that's why I'm not a major league GM. 

But I will say this.  The 13-15 Giants showed up in New York to face the 12-16 Mets, and trotted out a lineup with Mike Fontenot AND Emmanuel Burris in it and with Ryan Vogelsong as our starting pitcher.  And the talk is whether or not the Mets are going to give us their best player. 

Winning the World Series gives you swagger.

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Written by Andy | 03 May 2011

Aaron Rowand is batting leadoff.
Miguel Tejada is batting second.
Mike Fontenot is batting third.
Are you still reading this?

Nate Schierholtz is batting 6th.
Emmanuel Burris is batting 8th.
And Ryan Vogelsong is pitching.

Didn't we just win the, like, World Series?

Oh, and we've scored 5 runs in the first 4 innings.
But we're not winning.

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