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Written by Andy | 03 April 2011

Before yesterday's 10-0 GIants win, I turned to my wife and said:  "You know what I think would really help?  If we batted MIguel Tejada leadoff and stuck Aaron Rowand in the lineup."

Bruce Bochy, you are a mad genius.

I was so satisfied with the win and the hitting that I almost forgot, as I was watching, how amazing it was that Matt Cain got 10 runs of support.  After the game he put his head down and refused to look at any of the GIants' hitters, either because he was pissed that they just now decided they would stop screwing him over or for fear that if he made eye contact, they'd take it back. 

***

This baseball season makes no sense so far unless you remember that over the course of just a few days, virtually anything can happen in baseball.

Of note:
-While Adrian Gonzalez and the Red Sox go down in flames in Texas, the Padres scored 11 runs yesterday.  Last year, the Padres won about 8 games against the Giants without scoring 11 runs.
-The Rockies lost a home game against Arizona in which Ubaldo Jimenez was the starting pitcher.
-Blue Jays rookie catcher J.P. Arencibia hit two homeruns and a triple on opening day and was promptly benched the next day in favor of a Molina.
-The Giants have outscored their opponents 14-6 in three games and are in last place
-The Pirates were a few outs away from starting 2-0 on the road after going 17-64 on the road last season.  Of course, they blew the second game, so I guess that does make sense.

Barry Zito tonight.
Who's fired up?
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Written by Andy | 02 April 2011

Losing two games is not a big deal.

Losing two games by one run is not a big deal.

Losing two games to the Dodgers is not a big deal.

It's just annoying.

My theory is that Miguel Tejada read all the things I wrote about him in the past couple days and said, "yeah, well, watch me bunt!"  That was quite a bunt.  I hope he does that 150 more times.

Belt's homerun was a thing of beauty and was by far the best news from an otherwise depressing game.  I think my facebook message to him the night before the game was the key.  I said "Brandon, Billingsley likes to throw fastballs right down the middle.  Take him out to center and then try not to smile while you're jogging around the bases."  You can't buy wisdom like that.

I'd give Sanchez something like a B minus.  It wasn't a bad performance, and I'm convinced the Dodgers are not going to get lucky hits at this rate for the rest of the weekend, let alone the season.

So to recap this stupid season to date:

*We injured the traitor
*We lost two one-run games and are doing all we can to make Jonathan Broxton the Rolaids Relief Champion
*We're 1.5 games behind the Padres already
*Our fans got attacked by drunk Dodger fans
*We're 0-2 and Zito hasn't pitched yet.
*We resigned an injury-prone veteran for next year two days into this year.

Was Sabean like "hey Freddy, if you can make it through 9 innings without getting hurt, we'll give you a contract extension?"
Sheesh.
The equivalent in my line of work would be:
"Alright, Andy.  If you can write one blog post in which you don't swear, you spell everybody's name mostly right, and you make it through tthe whole post without your finger falling off, we'll sell the rights to your blog to ESPN."

Done.
Can I have a cubicle next to Tim Kurkijan?
Did I spell that mostly right?
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Written by Andy | 01 April 2011

I love that we signed Miguel Tejada.  I really like Tejada and I think he's going to kick some serious butt this year.  40 home runs, maybe a .340 average.  An OPS above 1.000.  Probably the best defensive infielder I've seen in the last ten years.

Yep, I love it.

April Fools

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Written by Andy | 31 March 2011

One game.  And it's already torture.

Good:  Timmy.  He hit 95 on his fastball, pitched out of trouble, gave up cheap hits, didn't walk very many batters, and had several low-pitch-count innings.
Bad:  Casilla.  STOP HANGING BREAKING BALLS!!  Flashbacks to Placido Polanco in Game 4!  AHHHH!
Ugly:  Giving up the go ahead run on a stupid error.  Taking torture to new levels.

Good:  Brandon Belt.  What a debut.  The kid has an almost Barry Bonds-esque batting eye, battled two good pitchers all night and looked great in the field.
Bad:  Andres Torres.  Aaron Rowand could have done that.
Ugly:  Miguel Tejada.  If you read this blog, my hatred of that signing is going to become a common theme.  He looked awful at the plate, and made a key error that cost us the game.  Brandon Crawford would have turned two on that grounder for about $6 million less.

Good:  Panda in the field.  He was like a cat out there, making diving catches.  Not like a panda.  And that's good.
Bad:  The Wild Kingdom Defense in the outfield.  Burrell and Huff in the same outfield?  Scary.
Ugly:  Panda at the plate.  He looked almost worse than last year.  This might have been the most troubling aspect of the whole night.

Good:  Burrell owns Jonathan Broxton.  Let's put that in our back pocket and take it out in, say September.
Bad:  Clayton Kershaw owns the rest of our lineup.
Ugly:  Jonathan Broxton.  He is just an ugly man.

If we play 161 more games like this, I'm going back to spending my nights reading books and watching The Office. 

Except when Brandon Belt is up...
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Written by Andy | 31 March 2011

Title Defense Time.

For all the haters out there at ESPN, or in Philadelphia, Los Angeles, San Diego, Dallas, Denver, and New York, this one's for you.  We've got an old dude wearing tight jeans and rocking long greasy hair.  And you have?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-W9SatPrhmU&feature=related  

Or, if you're as nerdy as me:

Giants

Haters

Two hours and change.

 

 

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Written by Andy | 31 March 2011

The 2011 Giants:

C: Buster Posey
1B: Brandon Belt
2B: Freddy Sanchez
SS: Miguel Tejada
3B: Approximately 70% of Pablo Sandoval
LF: Pat Burrell
CF: Andres Torres
RF: Aubrey Huff

I have to say I'm surprised Brandon Belt made the team, but i'm ready to embrace the decision.  The Giants' time is now...screw 2016.  With Ross out, we have a downgrade in outfield defense to say the least.  It will be interesting to see how quickly Bochy panics if the Wild Kingdom Defense in the outfield starts allowing a bunch of extra runs.  And what would the panic look like?  Rowand?  DeRosa? 

I can't wait to watch this team play.  I'm excited to see a (mostly) full season of Cody Ross.  I'm excited to see what Belt can do.  I'm excited to see a full season of Buster Posey.  I'm excited to see Andres Torres with the confidence of having the starting job.  I'm excited to see what skinny Panda is capable of. 

Still, I'm worried.  Barry Zito is crashing his car, Brian Wilson is hanging out with Charlie Sheen and can't pitch, and Cody Ross injured his calf while Rodeoing.  Ok, that last part isn't strictly correct.  Actually it was your typical baseball injury in which a grown man who is supposedly a professional athlete and in top physical shape injures himself while doing something that doesn't look particularly difficult.  Yes, yes, I know.  But it makes our sport look bad.  Football players injure themselves while being attacked by 300 pound men.  Basketball players injure themselves while jumping 10 feet in the air.  Baseball players injure themselves while jogging on the grass.

Four and a half hours....I can't wait.

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Written by Andy | 30 March 2011

I'm sick.  Really sick.  Whatever this virus is that I caught, it comes from a planet inhabited by people who have immune systems more impressive than mine.  First it got my wife, then my son, then my mother-in-law, and then my little baby.  You haven't really enjoyed parenthood until your baby can't sleep at night because she can't breathe unless she's upright and she wakes up crying every 30 minutes and making horrible pathetic sniffling sounds.  Yay. 

Finally, it got me too.  And so I've been home sick the past two days, too ill even to post to this blog.  Sorry about that. 

But what really gets me is the timing of it.  Could I have been home sick on the first two days of the NCAA tournament?  That would have been fun.  Or could it have waited until tomorrow when I could have watched opening day baseball all day and not had to worry about rushing home from work to see the first pitch of the Giants game?  No, of course not.  I'll probably be well enough to work tomorrow.  Thanks a lot, mutant alien virus.  Really appreciate it.

Meanwhile, the big news is Brian Wilson and Brandon Belt.  This, from the Chronicle's John Shea:

Reporter: "If a rookie is playing every exhibition this close to Opening Day, wouldn't that generally mean he'd make the team?"

Bochy: "I can see your thinking there."

Reporter: "Is that your thinking?"

Bochy: "Could be."

 

Wow.  I really like this font.  I'm going to write the rest of this post in this font.  Anyway, thanks Bochy.  Really helpful.  You'd think he works in the folksy wing of the CIA. 

Belt making the majors to start the season is kind of like being given a huge ice cream sundae when you're not that hungry.  I mean, wow, it looks so great, but in the back of your mind you're thinking: is this a good idea?  We could wait 60 days and save a year of arb control.  We could wait four hours and eat the sundae later, or maybe have a carrot stick (Travis Ishikawa).

As for Wilson, he's going to start the season on the DL which sucks mostly because we all wanted to see him slam the door on the Dodgers and Casey Blake on opening day.  The good news is his "DL" stint could be as short as five days since it can be retroactive to a date in spring training.  Which means he could be back as soon as the Padres series early next week.  Not that we'll need him then since we never play any close games with the Padres. 

If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go lie down and cough for a while.

Also:  A shout out to Oats and Juju.

Also:  If you're wondering if the reason I stuck with this font was I couldn't figure out how to get the old one back, well, that could be my thinking.  Is it?  Could be. 

 

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Written by Andy | 27 March 2011

So it looks like the Giants will start the season without Cody Ross.  Now, this is by no means a mortal blow.  More than anything, I'm just kinda bummed because I was excited to see which Cody Ross would show up for the whole season.  Is he really a homerun hitting rodeo clown?  Or just a dude with more hair on his face than on his head?  Not that there's something wrong with that.  I apologize to all our readers who have more hair on their face than their head.  After all, John Locke on Lost is my favorite person ever and he's got more hair on his face than on his head just by virtue of having stubble.

Anyway, Ross' stint on the DL leaves the Giants with a bunch of options.  Let's review them:

OPTION 1:
Torres in RF
Rowand in CF

What's Good About This Option:  Defense.
What's Bad About This Option:  Were you around for any of last season?  Have you ever seen Aaron Rowand hit?  This is the kind of move that infuriates me about Bochy except that all the moves that I expected Bochy to make that would infuriate me in the postseason he weirdly decided not to make thus resulting in a World Series Championship.  No, this can't be.  Rowand would bat 8th, but then that means we have THREE automatic outs in our lineup except when Cain is pitching at which point we have 2.5 automatic outs.  Yes, I mean Tejada.

OPTION 2:
Belt at 1B
Huff in RF

What's Good About This Option:  Brandon Belt!  OMG!!
What's Bad About This Option:  The Wild Kingdom Defense of Pat Burrell's creation...a gazelle in center field and a couple of water buffaloes on either side (and a Panda at 3rd).  Andres Torres would have a lot of ground to cover.

OPTION 3:
DeRosa in RF

Can he even play RF?  Is his wrist really healthy?  Is Mark DeRosa even a real person? 

Option 4:
Sandoval in RF

I just wanted to see if you were still paying attention.

Option 5:
Schierholtz in RF

What's Good About This Option:  Defense.
What's Bad About This Option:  I think we covered this already.  Nate Schierholtz is a cheaper and younger version of Aaron Rowand.  This option also results in three automatic outs in the lineup.  Not good.

The other interesting thing about this is that it allows the Giants to stall in terms of making a Rowand/Schieholtz/Ishikawa/Belt decision.  Which is really a Schierholtz/Ishikawa decision because there's no way they can unload Rowand and we all have to come to grips with the fact that Belt is headed to Fresno.  

Which option would you select?
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Written by Andy | 25 March 2011

I admit that part of my motivation for writing this post is to test the new comment system on Bloguin.  So far I've heard some negative reviews, though some of that came from the makers of Canadian Viagra, so I'd say the jury is still out.

Where will you be watching opening day?
Coolest Answer: Dodger Stadium
Worst Answer:  When is that?

It's Thursday, man!  C'mon!  5pm!  ESPN!  Giants vs. Dodgers! 

Are they going to show the plane flying over the stadium that says BEAT LA?  I hope they do.  I hope they spend a lot of time focusing on that, especially if we're losing.

FUN FACTS!
1. Today is the last Friday before the baseball season starts.  Tomorrow will be the last Saturday.
2. The Dodgers, after careful review, still suck.
3. It's ok if your closer is hurt if you win 10-2.
4. Our game is on national television without any other games at the same time, so the whole country will be watching until everyone on the East Coast goes to sleep so they can wake up early and do whatever it is they do while we're still asleep.  Sell stocks?  Bomb people?  Shovel snow?  Who knows what they do...
5. The first batter of the Giants' season will be Andres Torres and not Aaron Rowand.  Right?

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Written by Andy | 24 March 2011

The impending start of the season got me thinking about what Giants fans will be like now that we're World Champs.  I mean, it could get bad.  Imagine this scenario: 

You're at a Giants-Padres game in San Diego, and you're just a neutral observer, a Royals fan in town for a comic book convention.  You're watching the game, and the Giants are just killing the Padres.  I mean, its like 2-0 and it's only the 7th inning.  Padre fans start to file out, knowing they can't score more than 2 runs in three innings, and it's a sad, slow exodus, full of walkers and canes and USS Abraham Lincoln hats.  And as these poor old people are leaving, you see a grown man wearing a fake beard, a panda hat, a "Let Timmy Smoke" shirt, and waving an orange rally rag.  "Go home, geezers!" he yells.  "This is Giants Nation, baby!  WOOOOOOOOOO!"

See?  Just writing that paragraph makes me dislike the Giants, and that's hard to do.  So we have to set some ground rules.  What is acceptable for Giants fans to do and what puts us in the Red Sox/Yankees category of obnoxious gloaters?

Here's a handy guide.

Can I gloat?
Yes.
Can I beat up people?
No.
Dodger Fans?
No.
Mat Latos?
Sure.
Can I yell "World Champs" at a fan of an opposing team that is beating us?
Yes, but only this year.  Unless we win again.  Then you can do it again next year.
Can I ever utter the phrase "Giants Nation"?
No.
Can I ever utter the phrase "we've got too much awesome in our bats!"
Not if I'm sitting next to you.
What CAN I do??  This sucks.
You can throw back at all the haters all the hate they've thrown at us.  Jesus said that was ok.
Like "Fix Your Teeth?"
Yes.  You can tell Phillies fans to fix their teeth.
LIke "Hippy Trash."
Yep.  And you can make fun of the fact that Carlos Ruiz has 10 kids named Carlos.  Even some girls.
He does?
Yes.  Check it out.
That's just dumb.
Agreed.
Rangers Fans?
They were very polite, by all accounts.  We won't be playing them again in October any time soon, so I would let that one go.
Braves Fans?  Can I yell "Brooks Conrad!" at them?
Only if provoked.
Padre Fans? 
Fair game, but speak up.  They might not be able to hear you.

It's a tough line to walk.  I think in general, we want to avoid becoming hated but also avoid being perceived as lucky one-time winners that everyone else can ignore.  The Giants should become a loveable dynasty, a team that keeps winning and winning but the average fan doesn't mind because the alternative is the boring Red Sox or Yankees or Phillies.

----

Ross injured.  Wilson injured.  Cain battling elbow issues.  Belt headed to Fresno.  Tejada as terrible as we all expected, if by "we all" we mean "everyone other than Brian Sabean."  This spring was going so well, and now it sucks.  How much to worry?

Well, everyone has injuries, and it's better to get them out of the way early if they're small.  I'd rather Cody Ross miss 10 spring training game five regular season games than go on the DL in June.  But we also want to start out hot and not have to play catchup all season.  The Giants' early schedule is actually pivotal in that most of it comes against bad teams but on the road.  How we do in April might go a long way toward deciding our fate.

Wilson's injury is not a huge deal if it's a short-term situation.  Let's say you miss 15 games.  Well, for starters, you have to figure you win only 9 of those 15 games.  And then you figure you win 3 of those 9 games in blowout fashion or at least by 4 runs or more.  So you're talking 6 games he might miss.  I think our bullpen can absorb that.  But if the injury lingers, or impacts his performance later in the season, then that's a substantial loss.

Maybe we should just stop playing baseball until next Thursday.  Who's with me?

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