Written by Andy | 02 May 2011

I'm not going to write about Osama Bin Laden.  That's not what I'm not paid to do.  But I will include him.  Oh no, Osama, you can't escape the shame of being compared unfavorably to Miguel Tejada.  Take that, terrorist.

This is the post I think we all expect to read after today's game:

"Miguel Tejada's glove is now catching up to his bat as the single greatest weapon of mass destruction threatening to derail the Giants' Title Defense.  His unforgivable error in the 7th inning of a game in which the Giants had no margin for, excuse the pun, error was yet another example of the harm he's caused his new team both on offense and defense.  The Giants' Title Defense is currently hiding out in a bunker in the mountains, and Miguel Tejada's suckiness is like a team of Navy Seals threatening to blow the doors open and bust in with guns blazing."

But here's the post I'd really rather be writing:

"Boy, I sure did laugh at Miguel Tejada's 7th inning error.  Sure it was bad, what with letting the ball roll right under his glove, eventually leading to two runs that were charged to Madison Bumgarner only because the Nationals' scorekeeper is an evil-doer and probably a jihadist.  Oh, Miggy, I thought.  Now it's only 10-2!  Thank God Buster Posey and Pat Burrell and Freddy Sanchez and Aubrey Huff had all doubled three times each!  Thank God that Cody Ross had hit his 34th homerun of the season, which I think is a record for May 2nd.  Thank God that Miguel Tejada had only struck out three times and not hit into any rally-killing double plays!  Yes sir, the Giants are 19-9 not because of Miguel Tejada, but despite him.  Let that be a lesson to you, Brian Sabean!  You can get away with making dumb off-season moves only once in a while, and one of these days you're really going to regret being such a terrible GM!"

I guess my point, in case it didn't come across clearly, is that it would be easy to blame one person for all our problems.  And certainly one person can cause a lot of problems (international acts of terrorism, terrible hitting, etc.).  If only the world were that simple.

On a related note, I think with Osama out of the way, the world needs a new bogey-man.

Might I make a suggestion?

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Written by Andy | 30 April 2011

Well, here we are.  No offense.  Lots of injuries.  And now, the big blow, the news that Pablo Sandoval is out 4-6 weeks with a fractured bone that nobody has ever heard of and that Pablo probably couldn't even see or feel until about four months ago when he lost a layer of himself in the Arizona desert.

To review, our lineup is decimated top to bottom.  Our leadoff hitter is injured, replaced by a guy who continues to refuse to completely suck but is slowly, inevitably, headed in that direction.  Our #2 hitter is painfully average.  Our #3 hitter is completely awful.  Our cleanup hitter is a shell of last year's hitter.  Our #5 hitter is injured.  Our #6 can hit homeruns but otherwise does little else.  Our #7 hitter is hovering around the mendoza line.  Our #8 hitter makes the rest of them look great.

So there's two ways our season can go at this point....we can either fold up and finish a "not-particularly-competitive-3rd-place" as Rob Neyer predicted and we swore was a figment of the East Coast Media's collective lack of imagination, or we can find a way forward.

And it's that way forward that leaves us slapping our foreheads, yelling "of course!" and then apologizing to startled bystanders.  Of course!  How else could it have been?  There's only one way for the Giants to win enough games in the next 4-6 weeks to stay in the NL West race.  We have to out-torture our opponents.  It could only be this way.

Today's game was, to say the least, a good example of this.  Jonathan Sanchez's outing might have been the highest torture-rific performance in Giants history.  In the first two innnings he walked 5, hit 2 batters, watched another hitter reach on an error, threw a wild pitch, and allowed one bloop single that bounced off our shortstop's glove.  The damage?  One run.  Incredible.

The winning run was torture too, a sure RBI-double negated by a painful bounce of the ball over the wall, but then an intentional walk to our backup catcher so that our supposed best hitter could bat with the bases loaded, at which point he draws a walk on a 3-2 pitch. 

And then the 9th.  Oh, Brian.  We love you.  But we also want to kill you.

So dig in, folks.  It's torture time.  Maybe it's a little earlier than last year, and maybe that's a good thing.  Get the unwatchable games out of the way while the NBA playoffs are at least on to distract us.  Say this for the Memphis Grizzlies.  They've never once made me want to gouge my eyes out with a rusted spoon. 

That's more than I can say for some teams.

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Written by Andy | 29 April 2011

The most innacurate phrase in the English language is: "I hate to say I told you so."

Nobody hates being right.  Even if it's one of those situations where you wish you were wrong, you still are happy about being right.  Do you really want to be the guy who told your friend that he'd never get that girl to go out with him and then she says yes and you look like a big dummy?  I mean, you're glad your friend is happy, but now you're an ass. 

So no, it does not make me happy that I was so correct about Miguel Tejada that the Giants have replaced him with a guy who last year had a negative VORP.  NEGATIVE.  LESS THAN ZERO.  But it does make me slightly happy that I was right.  Better that than being Brian Sabean, who was both wrong and had the negative outcome that came with being wrong. 

Miguel Tejada's numbers so far:
.210 / .250 / .309

I know it's early.  But it's not like this is a surprise.  Early means Buster Posey doesn't need to stress out about his .742 OPS.  Early means Carlos Gonzalez gets lots of articles written about how he's struggling and later he'll stop struggling.  Early means "huh, that's weird, that guy usually is better or worse than this...the law of averages will catch up later, I guess."

This is not weird!  This is exactly what we expected him to do!  And this is exactly why paying him $6.5 million is/was/will always be insane!

Damnit, Sabean, don't you read my blog?  After you signed him, I wrote about why it was a stupid idea to sign him.  Couldn't you have then un-signed him? 

The replacement is Mike Fontenot or Emannuel Burriss, whose name I can never spell right.  Either way, the 8-spot in the order is a black hole.  And we're just going to have to live with that unless the Giants trade for Joe Mauer and make Buster Posey a shortstop again.

Now, that is not to say that we should have overpaid for the Traitor Uribe.  I think we escaped a very bad contract by him turning down our 3-year $20million panic offer.  But in the meantime, at least we could have a shorstop with a cool chant-thing that goes with his being announced in the starting lineup.

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Written by Andy | 27 April 2011

Hey.  Wipe that frown off your face.  There is no shame in beating the Pirates

See, last year the Pirates were bad, I know.  Really bad.  Lose-100-games-and-have-your-fans-chant-Let's-Go-Steelers-during-games bad.  But not at home, they weren't.  The Pirates were slightly under .500 at home, which means that mathematically, you were more likely to split a series in Pittsburgh than you were to win 2 of 3, unless of course it was a 3-game series in which case you were unlikely to split it unless one of the games was the All-Star game and Bud Selig was hanging out near the dugout.

It's just that on the road, the Pirates were 17-64, which as I pointed out in a post last year, means they lost 2 out of 3 17 times in a row and THEN lost 30 straight games.

So winning in Pittsburgh really isn't no big deal.  It's a big deal.  It's a road game.  We'll take it.

That said, you'd be hard pressed to find a team that was successful in the regular season that didn't take care of business against the Pirates.  There was, of course, the crazy season had by the Nineteen Eighty Eleven Salt Lake City Long Underwear who went 2-16 against the Pirates but 98-46 against the rest of the league on their way to a World Series championship.  But of course I made them up.

So last night was certainly a good win.  Down 2-1 in the 8th, having completely blown a potential rally in the 7th, and with multiple opportunities to screw up both the 8th and the 10th (Nate getting thrown out at 3rd, Huff unable to get a run home from 3rd with no outs), the Giants managed not to choke away a game they kind of sort of needed.  I mean, it's April.  There are no must-win games in April.  But then again, March is the new April now, just like November is the new October.  So maybe there are no must-win games in March, but there are must-win games in April.  I don't know. 

What I'm trying to say is, we didn't lose to the Pirates.  Maybe you have crazy ideas about our President being born in Mecca and I don't.  Maybe you think it's cool to call The Heat "The Heatles" and I don't.  Maybe you're a moron and I'm not.  But cant we just agree that losing to the Pirates is a bad idea and beating them is a good idea?

Bill Mazeroski feels like 100 years ago.  Hell, Andy Van Slyke feels like 100 years ago.

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Written by Andy | 26 April 2011

Eric Surkamp has had 3 starts so far, with pretty good success, though in the grand tradition of Giants pitchers, his success hasn't translated into any actual, you know, wins.

He's 0-2 with a 3.38 ERA.  He has allowed 14 hits in 13.1 innings, walking 8 and striking out 21.  The 21 strikeouts in 13.1 innings is obviously fantastic.  If you project that out to a starting pitcher in the majors, that would probably be some kind of record.

The old adage that your best pitching prospects are in AA and your best hitting prospects are in AAA certainly seems true for the Richmond Flying Squirrels, who don't have a single hitter with a .300 average.  In Fresno, meanwhile, some guy named Brett Pill is hitting .377 and he plays first base, which is probably pissing off Brandon Belt something awful.  In three games back, Brandon is hitting .333 with a .538 obp and a .778 slugging.  But the team leader in batting average is some clown named Cody Ross, who is hitting .500.

Travis Ishikawa?  .237.


A quick note.  I know nobody can comment on the blog and it's frustrating.  I'm frustrated.  I haven't gotten an explanation yet on why it hasn't been fixed, so I'm just going to go ahead and assume it's some sort of conspiracy involving Tommy LaSorda, Jim Harbaugh, and the shady figures who hang on the periphery of LeBron James' sad little world (like his mom's lawyer, for instance).  I'll try to get it fixed ASAP so you can go back to making Harry Potter jokes at my expense.

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Written by Andy | 25 April 2011

Sometimes, baseball is like The Grapes of Wrath.  See, everything's going fine, but then one day you wake up and realize that you're living in a dusty shack in the middle of Oklahoma, eating stray rabbits (starting 1-3 against Dodgers).  So you get your butt in gear and pack up your truck (split road series in San Diego), kill some pigs and eat some bacon (taking 2 of 3 from St. Louis), hit the road and make some good time (beating Dodgers 2 of 3), get through some tough obstacles on the road in the desert and the mountains(winning 2 of 3 in Arizona and Colorado) and things are looking good (10-8 record).

And then you wake up one morning and the car is broke down and grandma is dead and you've run out of side meat (swept at home by Braves).

I don't want to spoil this wonderful, long, and also long book for anyone who might be tempted to read it, but let's just say that if our season ends the same way the book ends, we're not going to be having any parades down Market Street.  More like we'll end up in a barn with the Mets, trying not to get shot by private security guards or contract any water-borne diseases.

Maybe this reference is too old-school for you?  Let's see, how can I make this more current:

It's like this.  You're a really rich man. You've got a private jet and your own reality TV show and everything.  Nobody takes you that seriously because you have ridiculous hair, but still, you've got a lot going for you.  Routinely, people cannot remember if the hot woman who shares your last name is your daughter or your wife.  When that happens, you know you're doing something right. 

So naturally, you decide to run for President.  Things are looking up.  And then you decide to take the position that the current President was not actually born in the United States even though that's completely insane.  And then you claim you have spies in Hawaii who are going to reveal everything soon.  Only problem is, you don't have any spies and there's nothing to reveal.  So pretty much you're just a big idiot.

Too political?  Sorry.  It's just that this past series really pissed me off and I have to take my anger out on somebody and Donald Trump seems as good an option as any other.  Can't blame Zito.  Can't blame Rowand, really.  Can't really blame Sabean.  Can't blame the Dodgers or Yankees.  It's just that sometimes we hit but we don't pitch and sometimes we pitch but don't hit.  This won't continue. 

I miss Santiago Casilla.  Seriously.  The bullpen feels one man short.  I can't tell you how many times I've turned on the television and gasped because Dan Runzler or Jeremy Affeldt was pitching AGAIN.  Lefty, righty, who cares.  Casilla just kills people with his fastball.  He's nasty.  He's awesome.  I miss him.

I don't even know who we play next.  I don't want to know.  Tell me when we win a game.  Even Matt Cain being next in line to pitch doesn't chear me up because last time he pitched he gave up 38 runs in 4 innings.  This sucks.

I need something to cheer me up.

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Written by Andy | 22 April 2011

The announcement that Major League Baseball is taking over the Dodgers brings with it two equally strong reactions from most Giants fans:

REACTION 1: Dodgers Suck
REACTION 2:  Oh crap.  They might not suck forever now.

Yes, Baseball took a look around the landscape and saw the Florida Marlins playing in front of 800 retirees, the Pirates preparing for 19 consecutive losing seasons, the Royals continuing to build an awesome farm system while making historically bad major league transactions, the A's playing in front of 5,000 people, and the Mets paying tens of millions of dollars to old, injured people, and they said, essentially: "looks good!"

And then they saw the Dodgers.

My problem with this move is that it basically sends the message that some franchises are worth more to Major League Baseball than others.  That the Pirates will never be saved from ruin because they are the Pirates but the Dodgers will never be left to rot because they are the Dodgers.  And yes, of course, some franchises are more important than others.  If you don't believe that, then ask yourself which would be better for baseball:  New York falling into the ocean or Tampa Bay falling into the Gulf of Mexico.  It's not even close.  But just because that's true doesn't mean we can act like it!  Some people are better looking than others, but we don't go around saying that out loud!  C'mon, Selig!  Have some tact!

My friend asserts that the Pirates are a different story because they've been owned by different owners during the 18 years.  In other words, after being run into the ground, the owners sell it to somebody else who promptly runs it into the ground.  And Baseball watches this and approves.

But we Giants fans know the truth.  We know that this exercise will ultimately be fruitless.  Listen, Bud Selig.  The Dodgers just suck.  It's just the way it is.  But if you want to make them as great as you've made the Brewers all these years, we're not going to stand in your way.

In fact, don't mind us at all.  We'll be over here, admiring our rings, and trying to remember which of our outfielders are injured.

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Written by Andy | 20 April 2011

Before the season started, when we were trying to figure out who would make the team, we joked about the Giants having some players get "hurt" so they could put them on the DL rather than have to cut anyone.  And then when one of the players came off the DL, somebody else would get "hurt."  We really did.  We just didn't know the Giants were reading our blog.

Sabean.  I know you're there.  I know you're reading this.  TRADE ROWAND NOW WHILE HE'S HITTING .360! 

Sorry.  Moving on.

Anyway, here's how it worked out, first with the pitchers.
Decision: Keep Mota or Runzler?
DL: Brian Wilson
Perfect!  We don't have to choose!  Oh right, but we don't have a closer.
DL: Santiago Casilla
Brian Wilson comes off DL.  We still don't have to choose!
DL: Barry Zito
Up comes Ryan Vogelsong, fresh from Japan and the Pirates.
And thus when Casilla comes off DL, Mota/Runzler can stay on team because we can still send down Vogelsong.

Orginal Mota/Runzler decision date:  3/31
New Estimated Mota/Runzler decision date: 4/24

Now, the Hitters:

DECISION:  Nate Schierholtz or Brandon Belt?
DL:  Cody Ross
Perfect!  We don't have to choose!  Send the old man to the outfield and make him chase Matt Kemp line drives!
DL:  Andres Torres
Bring up the fast kid who might be headed to jail!  Keep Belt and Nate.  This is awesome.  Oh right, we lost our leadoff hitter.
INJURED: Aaron Rowand
Perfect, as Cody Ross is about to come back up.  If Rowand goes on the DL, we're golden.  If not, but he can't play, we send down Ford.  Wait, then who plays Center Field?

Oh right.  Him.

Original Belt/Schierholtz decision date: 3/31
New Estimated Belt/Schierholtz decision date: 4/26


Actually, that last part isn't true.  Belt is probably headed to Fresno today when Cody Ross is activated, and weirdly, it's partly BECAUSE of Rowand's injury.  Were Rowand not hurt, Darren Ford would be the first cut.  But now we don't have a center fielder.  So Ford may stay and bat 8th, which will push Tejada to 10th in the order, and Belt will bat 3rd in Fresno.  It will be great to have Ross back in the lineup and have Huff back at first base, but I don't think the Belt experiment was a failure.  Belt proved he can hit big league pitching, Huff proved he can't play right field, and we all got some chills when Belt crushed that homer off Chad/Thad/Chip Billingsley.

And two wins in Coors Field?  This is an awesome road trip.  We could lose 34-1 today, and it would still be an awesome road trip.  I'm going to regret saying that...

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Written by Andy | 18 April 2011

I gotta admit, 9-6 sounds a lot better than 8-7.  That's what I told myself after yesterday's loss, and then spent 30 minutes convincing myself that this was just a figment of my imagination and that really it's just one game and "sounds better" is the kind of stupid thing that somebody who thinks RBI's are important would say.  But then I went through each series and analyzed what I thought the Giants should have done and what they did do and I came to an unfortunately conclusion: 9-6 actually IS where we want to be at this point, and thus we're one game behind where we want to be.

All this analyzing took place while celebrating my anniversary with my wife, which would explain the blank stare I gave the waiter when he asked if I wanted black pepper on my salad.  I was crunching numbers.  Being a husband, a dad, and a Giants fan all at once is hard enough...now I have to be a restaurant patron, too?  I'm ready for a nap.

Expectation vs. Reality
@Dodgers (2-2) vs. (1-3)
@Padres (1-1) vs. (1-1)
vsCardinals (2-1) vs. (2-1)
vsDodgers (2-1) vs. (2-1)
@Dbacks (2-1) vs. (2-1)
TOTAL (9-6) vs (8-7)

We have to make up the extra Dodger loss.  Maybe by winning a series in Denver.  Maybe by winning FOUR games out of 3 when we play the Pirates.  Maybe by following the advice of McCovey Chronicles and putting all our baseball in a vat of seal urine so they, um, do something we like.  Maybe injecting Mark DeRosa with whatever Manny Ramirez was taking, and if he gets caught, well, so be it, he's served his purpose.

Barry Zito - 15 Day DL
Slipped on a pile of cash while walking to the safe in his room to deposit some cash
Expected return: A few weeks.
Impact:  Ryan Vogelsong is no Barry Zito, but why not see what he can do?  This can't cost us more than one game, max.  Right?

Andres Torres - 15 Day DL
Was running to help a busload of nuns avoid a fiery collision with a diesel tanker.  Was successful, but hurt foot.
Expected Return: April 26
Impact:  Well, um, normally, this would be a big loss, but Aaron Rowand is getting all of his 2011 hits this month, so it actually works out well.

Santiago Casilla - 15 Day DL
Threw the ball too hard.  Hurt arm.
Expected Return: Any day now...
Impact:  Not good.  Too much Jeremy Afefldt and Dan Runzler, not enough Santiago Casilla.  We miss him more than I expected, honestly.

Cody Ross - 15 Day DL
Roy Halladay, in the conservatory, with the lead pipe
Expected Return: This weekend
Impact.:  No.  More.  Aubrey.  Huff.  In.  Right.  Field.  Thank.  God.

The question of who to send down when Ross comes back is now temporarily delayed by Torres going down.  Darren Ford will go down when Ross comes up.  When Torres comes up, the options then shift to Brandon Belt or Nate Schierholtz.  More on that in later posts.

So, where are we today?  Houston?  Kansas City?
What's that?  I didn't hear you.  Speak up.
Oh #$$@

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Written by Andy | 16 April 2011

Sully Baseball is one of my favorite blogs, and the best part is, I don't even have to read it all the time because occasionally Sully will email me something he does.  In this case, he emailed me the following video, which is pretty hilarious.  Enjoy.

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