Thursday, June 30, 2005


Noah Lowry has struggled mightily at times this year on the mound, but the boy can hit...the way he looks at the plate, I'd pinch hit him before Alex Sanchez.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Veterans and Rookies

I've made a few changes to that thar sidebar, and I'll tell you what they are.

The first one is David Pinto's Baseball Musings. It took me way too long to link this site, as I've seen links to it on a bunch of different baseball sites. Then, I actually went there and read a bit, and found out I'd been missing out. David covers a wide variety of topics, mostly in short, sweet entries. If you've a hankering for some good analysis, or just wondering what's going on around the majors, you should make his site a daily stop -- and sometimes, stop by two or three times, as David makes entries on whatever comes to his mind throughout the day.

The second is a newbie, but one of the most interesting debuts I've seen for the year or so I've really been reading blogs. It's called Bleeding Black & Orange, and it's a freaking do you spell that...corn-o-cope-ee-uh of Giants fun, as author Anthony Di Giorgio (yeah, I know, he sounds like a frickin' male runway model or something) has everything from rundowns on each player (why he likes 'em, why he doesn't), to black and orange illustrations to illustrate his entries, to the coolest hit counter any of us have ever seen (yes, you too -- you're thinking you've seen a cooler hit counter, but really you haven't).

Doesn't hurt that we share part of a name, too -- Orange & Black, Black & Orange. With those colors embedded within the name, there just isn't any possibility of the know, sucking, or anything like that.

I've also removed a few links for a couple of sites which have been idle for well over a month -- if any of you are reading this, please contact me if you start things back up, and I'll link you back up in a jiffy. One of them is Steve Shelby's Giants News Diary, which, if you'll pardon me, is a site who's absense will cause me to shed a tear or two. Ridiculously useful site, and I hope whatever caused Steve to cease updating isn't anything too serious.

The Lukewarm Seat

Unless I start a poll, it's a bit difficult to garner the overall opinion of the Giants' fan base of Brian Sabean. I tend to think, by the close of the season last year, that it was a decent one. I myself thought he was fine, the influence of Barry Bonds notwithstanding. However, over the course of the subsequent seven months, Sabean's been...questionable. I could use a stronger adjective, but I'm trying to remain objective.

When I mean questionable, I don't even necessarily mean the performance of the team he's put together, although that's obviously questionable. What I mean by questionable has been his moves. It just seems that there's a callous disregard for the Giants fanbase, and although what the fans want should have no bearing on a GM's final decision on a move, the fans opinions should be a factor in the decision-making process (albeit a small one).

Let's consider a few recent things Sabean has done:

  • Trading Jerome Williams - now, I won't even get into the ramifications of this move as far as the value of the players traded, their salaries, etc. That's already been done. However, I will bring up this one simple fact: Jerome Williams was a fan favorite. Whether it was a combination of his youth, puka shells, or whatever, most fans loved Williams and was behind him 100%. I like to think that there was a certain tolerance of his struggles in lieu of how young he was, in addition to some early success. I don't believe the Giant fanbase, in general, was very happy with his departure, and for a middle reliever no less. Strike one.
  • Acquiring Alex Sanchez - again, I won't harp on the potential (or lack thereof) of Sanchez' possible contribution to the team in terms of production and value, but I will state that this is another bad PR move. Not only with Sanchez' track record and recent drug-testing baggage, but when asked about the acquisition in regards to fan favorite Jason Ellison, Sabean had this to say: "If you think he's [Ellison] going to play every day, I don't think anybody believes that." Okay, Brian, now you've publicly slighted your CF not only by bringing in a replacement-level-at-best player to play alongside him, but you've questioned the toughness of a player that gives 110% on every play -- much like another fan favorite outfielder you let go, Dustin Mohr. Sanchez, being himself, has already estranged a large portion of the Giants fanbase by blaming Ellison for a blown play that he had a hand in, and don't think the estrangement of Sanchez by the fans can't be transferred, in part, the the GM who brought him in. Strike two.

So, two strikes in the public-relations deparment, with the potential for a third one very soon. Many rumours have placed Jason Schmidt on the trading block -- another fan favorite. Personally, while I would like Schmidt to remain in San Francisco, I cannot fault the idea that it could be time to trade him. However, with each dominant start he puts up since his recent injuries and struggles, his trade value rises -- but his standing with the fans will be re-affirmed and reinforced.

Much of the opinion of any potential Schmidt trade will lie in what the Giants get in return...or, possibly more aptly, who the Giants get to replace him. Other rumours have placed the Giants firmly in the hunt for a starting pitcher, and the names brought up have been Eric Milton of the Reds and Jason Jennings of the Rockies.

Can you imagine, just for a second, the firestorm of backlash that will ensue if Sabean not only trades Schmidt and gets questionable value in return, but then replaces Schmidt in the rotation with an Eric Milton or a Jason Jennings?

That'd be a definite strike three, and the calling for a new GM will gain copious amouts of steam. Many fans, and some in the blogging community, have already expressed dissatisfaction with Sabean's recent tenure, but were those things to come to pass, I think it's safe to say Sabean's seat will be scorching hot, not just lukewarm like it seems to be now.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Beer and Hot Links

It's a virual plethora of posting today, isn't it? I'm just chock full of stuff to say, what with my unexpected day off.

Here's some interesting rumour mill fodder I've picked up.

One is involving Jason Jennings of the Colorado Rockies.

The other is involving Eric Milton of the Cincinatti Reds.

Although they're only rumours, when taken together they could well mean something -- Brian Sabean is on the warpath for a starting pitcher. That's good news.

The bad news: those two pitchers just aren't prize possessions.

Jennings pitches in Coors, of course, which skews things a bit, as does Milton's pitching in the Great American Ballpark in half his games -- both hitter's parks.

However, the price for Jennings in the article is stated as Yorvit Torrealba and Merkin Valdez. Unfortunately, this sounds all too familiar -- Sabean trading away youth for...whatever Jennings is. Sounds too high to me, unless the Rockies were to throw in Shawn Chacon, another pitcher who was once thought to be suffering greatly from Coors. Both Jennings and Chacon still can't be seen as anything except a gamble, but when taken together I can see giving up Valdez and Torrealba for them. But for just Jennings? I hope this one doesn't have any truth to it.

Eric Milton is simply too expensive, and not any good. This one would be another milemarker on Sabean's Run for Insanity, if indeed it were to come to pass. The article states that the Reds would pick up half Milton's salary, but who cares? They could pick it all up if they wanted -- Milton hasn't pitched anywhere he's been.

You want to see something eerily similar? Look at some of the career peripherals stats of both Milton and Brett Tomko, here for Milton, and here for Tomko.

If you're as lazy a bastard as I am, then I'll list them for you. These are career stats, remember:

k/9 (strikeouts per 9 innings): Milton (6.54), Tomko (5.89)
k/bb ratio (strikeout to walk): Milton (2.49), Tomko (2.00)
p/gs (pitches per game per start): Milton (97.6), Tomko (98.1)
opponents' line against: Milton (.263/.315/.462), Tomko (.267/.325/.450)

We'll go even a bit further:

Career w/l record: Milton (74-66), Tomko (78-68)
Career ERA: Milton (4.96), Tomko (4.58)
Team's winning % when starter takes the mound: Milton (.529), Tomko (.534)

Ain't that just a bit weird?

Milton is three years younger, which is one difference, and the other? Milton's on a phat contract that the Giants won't be able to afford next season, and Tomko's fairly cheap for what is obviously similar performance. Even if the Reds were to pay all of Milton's salary this season, this'd be a loopy move for Sabean to make. Milton's a great 5th starter, but as his contract averages out to $8 million per season, a 5th starter isn't what the Giants need -- they have a couple of those already.

Incompetence and Incompetence

I'm not supposed to be home typing this, but apparently the health care "professionals" at Northbay Health can't stick a needle in a guy correctly nor figure out which day of the week it is, so instead of starting my new job today I'm here. It's a long story.

So, instead, let's talk about the Giants.

Or, rather, let's talk bad about the Giants. I set a few goals for them in the entries of the last week or so, and they've failed to meet any of them:
  • Take 3 of 4 from Arizona - failed
  • Take 2 of 3 from Oakland - failed

I deliberately didn't write anything up about any of the games against Oakland. At the time I first suggested (and thought possible) that the Giants could take the series, the A's weren't really struggling, which was something that I missed. They had won each of their last four series before this weekend's series, three of them coming against competitive NL East teams, and had taken six of their last seven series. They were 15-8 in those 23 games. That isn't struggling, that's surging. The Giants, apparently, never stood a chance.

Now, starting tomorrow, the Giants face the task of sweeping both the Diamondbacks and Padres in six consecutive games just to stand a ghost's chance of looking like they might stay somewhat close to the vicinity of the general area of contention. Maybe. I'm not sure about that, though. I'll get back to you in a week.

Tournament - Next time, I'll just give you the money up front and you can kick me in the balls

My first live tournament yesterday. Yeah. Chance to play live against people I don't know in a no-limit game.

It was a $55 buy-in, with a limit of 50 players. Winner takes home $1500. All players start off with 500 in chips.

This was the quickest-paced play I've ever faced. The blinds were brutal, going up about every 10 minutes. There just wasn't much chance to wait for a hand and be patient, which is exactly what my game is.

Are you looking for another spectacular flame-out from me? Another bad beat story? Another chance to show you just how unlucky I am?

Well, I'm gonna show you how unlucky I am, alright, but not through my usual method. Nobody caught any cards against me. You see, of the hour and about 15 minutes I was in, and of the...oh, about 60+ hands or so that were played while I was at the table, I it about eight flops. And of those eight flops, about six of those were because I was in the small or big blind.

I actually played, by choice, two hands. The first was pocket 4's which didn't trip and saw 9, 10, queen hit on the flop. Somebody bet, I folded. The second was ace/jack offsuit, where I raised the pot, only to have someone go all in. After the all in was called, I folded. The next best hand I had was the hand that put me out, the next best after that was king/eight offsuit, and it went down from there. Oh, I forgot, I had pocket 3's as well, but there was an all-in before I could even call the blind. The winning hand was a flush.

That was it, folks. The hand I was put out on was queen/jack, which didn't even bother to pair, losing to ace/10.

Let's say, for whatever reason I was able to play every, single hand I was dealt. Do you know what my best, my absolute best hand ever was?

Pair of sixes, coming on the flop -- if I had bothered to play my 2/6 suited.

There was not a single hand where I would've won. Not one. Even if I had played my garbage, I wouldn't have one. I had one hand that, if I had played it, would've earned me an inside straight draw...on the river. I had one hand that, if I had played it, would've earned me a flush draw...on the river. In other words, they weren't really draws at all.

I would've liked to bluff or something, but at the table I was at, two of the players ended up with huge chip stacks after about 30 minutes, knocking out players left and right going all-in on silly hands. By the time it might have occurred to me to try a bluff, those players had at least four times as many chips as I did, and both were using them aggressively.


My only consolation? I was playing the $3/$6 tables before the tournament started and after I was knocked out (I was waiting for my buddies Dave and Jay, who both managed to get to the final table coming in 8th and 3rd, respectively). I did fairly well on those tables, earning about $40 over what I started out with.

So, the final tally really isn't that bad -- including breakfast, I ended up spending about $16. I suppose I was wanting my first live tournament experience to be a bit more fulfilling -- playing for over an hour and never getting a hand better than a pair of sixes is a tad frustrating.

I'll get 'em next time.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Poker Night - King of the Bad Beats

How is it that I manage to win two of four games, and still come out feeling...soiled? Violated? Vamboozled? Shanghai-ed? Shafted? Hi-jacked? How many more words can I come up with to describe...swindled? Screwed? Stepped on?

My mixture of bad luck and bad timing remains legendary, at least in my own mind.

Picture this: you're playing in a game that started out with eight players, and now has whittled itself down to three. You're looking at Rich, who has the big stack with at least twice as many chips as you have, and Melanie (Mel for short), who has about the same as you in chips.

The cards are dealt, and you are dealt pocket kings while in the big blind. I shudder to think how obvious it must be, given the situation, as to what you must do right now. You must gamble. With ice water in your veins (or, more likely, a couple of Moosehead beers), you push all-in. You almost don't expect a call, but with the blinds at a significant amount at this stage of the game, raking in Rich's call of your big blind and Mel's call from the small blind can't be considered too bad.

You do, however, get a call.

Mel has called you. A bit surprised (but pleased), you wonder what she has that could possibly compete with your cowboys, especially while three-handed; pocket kings are even stronger three-handed than they are with seven or eight players still left. You turn over your cards, and get a collective shout of surprise from the players who are observing.

Mel turns over her cards, and lo and behold, has pockets aces. Bullets. American Airlines. Alcoholics Anonymous. ACES, like that book about Mark Mulder, Barry Zito, and Tim Hudson that came out some time ago. That collective shout that went up after they saw your kings? Five times as loud when the aces are revealed.

You feel like you have the Titanic in your gut -- that's the only way to describe the sinking feeling. But, perking up a bit, you do realize that you simply need to catch one card to crack the aces and set yourself up for a showdown with Rich.

The flop comes: king of clubs, nine of clubs, and the 10 of spades. Holy mother of all that is Good, you've tripped your kings! You're ahead! Mel now has to catch a card to beat you! Hallelujah, Amen, and every other word of praise you can muster comes to mind.

The turn comes: 10 of clubs. A bit of luck, there, as Mel catches a club to put her on an ace high flush draw, but as it's the 10 of clubs, it gives you a full boat, kings full of tens, which effectively nullifies the flush draw and puts Mel down to one out card. Does your heart leap with joy? Do you pump your fist, pat yourself on the back, do a backflip? No, because there's one card left, and Mel has one out.

An ace.

Can you see the freight train coming? For me, I not only saw it, but I felt it, heard it, smelled it, and tasted it.

Mel apologized afterwards, but it wasn't necessary, because I expect for people to catch cards against me -- I've got the most fatalistic approach to all-ins of anyone I've played with. Whatever can happen to me, I expect to happen to me.

For instance, what does most everyone else do when flopping a king high flush? Many would slowplay it, hoping to induce bets from someone with a smaller flush, or let someone catch a smaller flush on the turn or river.

Me? Nope. Fatalistic. I assume somebody has the freaking ace of hearts, and if I let the turn and river come out, they'll catch a higher flush. So, I bet very, very strong, not minding if everyone folds. Jay said it was the most obvious flush he's ever seen. Yeah, it was, but then, he's not me. Fatalistic, remember?

Let me tell you what the flop actually was: two of hearts, seven of hearts, and five of hearts, to make the flush with my king/nine suited.

What did Rich have? Pocket twos.

So Rich has trips against my flush. For bonus points, can anyone tell me what Rich's three out cards were? If you said any two, seven, or five, pat yourself on the back.

Does anyone care to guess which of those outs hit, and where they hit? If you said a damn seven hit on the turn to give Rich his full boat, pat yourself on the back. Heck, somebody could've whipped my king high flush with 2/7 offsuit.

Friday night was right up there with the night I was twice beat (and put out) on all-ins by running fours (once when I had flopped another king high flush), courtesy of my nemesis and the Luckiest Sumbitch on the Planet, Luis, and the only guy who's more fatalistic than me, Donnie.

And let's not forget the tournament where I was put out, again, on a king high flush that I flopped, by a guy catching running queens to beat me.

I'm still the unluckiest poker player all of you know. Break out the violins, soothsayers, and slim, winsome women to sing me dirges of pain, death, and destruction -- all while kicking me in the balls, giving me wedgies, and taking my lunch money.

...okay, it's not that bad.

...wait, nevermind, yes it is.

And with all of this in mind, I'm going to play in a tournament today with a $50 buy-in, the winner to earn about $1500 dollars. There's to be 50 players. So, your friend Daniel (along with about four of five of my friends) will have a 2% chance to take home a nice chunk of change. Call me a glutton for punishment -- or, more aptly, a freaking poker addict.

Stay tuned for more tales of my glorious ascension, only to come plummetting back down to Earth in a fiery mass of bad luck. (chuckle)

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Get Rid of Sanchez -- NOW

Another idiotic pickup by Brian Sabean.

I'm watching Alex Sanchez' first game, and throwing up in my mouth just a little.

He's misplayed a ball hit off of the wall by Eric Chavez, dropping the ball about 3 times when he could've had a play on Chavez coming into 2nd base.

Then, he dropped a gimme, routine fly ball after he had come to a full stop.

And then, he was in on a routine flyball along with Jason Ellison, and not only didn't peel off and let Ellison have the play, like a RF is supposed to do with the CF, but his glove ended up bumping into Ellison's glove, causing Ellison to drop the ball.

Oh, and he's 0-3 at the plate, too.

Sabean, you're &#$%&* brilliant. Great move. This one is even worse than the LaTroy Hawkins acquisition.

Friday, June 24, 2005

This just in: I'm good, and Felipe is bad

Sometimes, I hate being right.

But, I know my Giants. Check out my comments over here, at Jim McLennan's most excellent and highly recommended Diamondbacks site. I was bored and off of work today, so I did some live comments over on Jim's site for kicks. If you look at my predictions concerning Kirk Rueter, Troy Glaus, Jason Christiansen, and the Giants offense's chances against Arizona starter Brandon Webb, you'll see why I'm changing my name to:


Thaaaaaaaaaat's right. Danieldamus. Ahem.

Anyhow, onto the game, which, by the way, the Giants lost 7-2:

  • Memo to Todd Linden: stop getting down in the count so early. I think he can be a very good hitter, but at the moment he's so busy...I don't know, guessing/getting fooled on the first few pitches that he always seems to be in a two-strike count, which can't be good (and isn't...11 k's in 36 ab's). I do hope they keep feeding him at-bats, though, because I like his switch-hittedness in the lineup.
  • Son Alou continues to hit, and even swiped a bag yesterday. He still has some go in his get-along.
  • Can anybody tell me why Jason Christiansen gets to face ANY right handers? Felipe's reliever substitution patterns make little sense at times. Two nights ago, he lifted Scott Eyre in the 9th for Tyler Walker after Eyre got a strikeout on a left-handed batter. There were a couple of righties coming up, so Felipe treated Eyre as a LOOGY -- a lefty specialist brought in for only one batter. Although Eyre is better than this (righties hit .207 off of Eyre), I'm not mystified by the move, just a bit puzzled why F. Alou chose not to trust Eyre when he struck out the only batter he faced. However, last night he brings in Scott Munter to relieve Woody and get a right-handed batter out, which he did, but then brings in Christiansen the next inning. That was fine as well -- Tony Clark isn't as potent when batting right-handed and facing lefties, and Shawn Green is left-handed. However, Felipe then leaves Christiansen in against Quinton McCracken, who switch-hits and actually hits well vs. lefties, and Chris Snyder, who hits lefties well, and -- here's the clincher -- left him in vs. the pitcher's spot, which Felipe should've known would see a pinch-hitter in the form of the switch-hitting-and-better-vs.-lefties Alex Cintron. So while Christiansen is good vs. left-handed batters, he's not very good vs. righties, and Felipe should've known and seen that three consecutive hitters were coming up that hit lefties well, and pulled him just like he does with other pitchers. Instead, he opts to trust Christiansen, not even having righty Brandon Puffer get up to warm up until it was too late and Christiansen had given up three runs. Why is Christiansen trusted vs. righties, but Eyre isn't? Eyre's OPS against righties is .587, Christiansen's is .801. Christiansen has faced as many right-handed batters as left-handed batters this year (49 ab's vs. righties and 47 vs. lefties), and faced almost as many righties as Eyre, who actually does well against them (49 vs. 58). This make so little sense I want to scream.
  • This bullet point is to say sorry for rambling like that. But Felipe doesn't make any damned sense sometimes, and last night is a situation where I believe the manager could well have cost the Giants a game all by himself by making incorrect moves -- moves that are obvious to me, without the benefit of having managed 1600+ games.
  • The Giants, if they are to make a feint at contention (all but impossible now), need to find a power stroke or find some power hitters. The offense is absolutely punchless at times. With the current lineup, I really don't think anything can be done about it except to make sure Linden stays in the lineup.
  • Puffer may not stick with the Giants for too long -- his career isn't outstanding -- but one thing is for certain: sidearmers are cool, and having one on the roster should always be a consideration for GM's for entertainment value. I'm not an A's fan, but when they had all those side-armers in their bullpen a couple of years ago, it was fun as heck to watch the latter innings of A's games.

In yesterday's game I missed why Ray Durham was pulled from the game -- if anyone heard or knows why, please leave it in the comments section, LOCATED AT THE END OF EACH ARTICLE. Ahem. Durham's nagging injuries are a nagging concern, and sometimes, although I really like Durham as a player, I wonder why he just doesn't go to the DL after he gets his 55th groin or hamstring pull, instead of limping/struggling his way in and out of the lineup playing at 80%.

Oh, and something I forgot in yesterday's entry -- with all of the BALCO scandal surrounding the team, is it really the wisest thing to pick up a guy in Alex Sanchez who was suspended for testing positive in a drug test? I mean, we all know the worth of that test, but perhaps this is just the kind of move that shouldn't be made, given that the Giants are far out of contention and Sanchez simply does not make enough difference to help this club do anything they weren't already going to do. Did I mention that Sanchez' fielding percentage in CF is just about as bad as Jason Ellison's? So why pick the guy up?

Sorry, but that move still mystifies my -- it's just unnecessary and silly. I mean, yeah, now that Sanchez is here whatever, the Giants stand a shot at making a run at the Padres, right? It does seem fairly obvious that Marquis Grissom's days are now numbered in the single digits, but I'd have been in favor of keeping Adam Shabala as opposed to acquiring Sanchez. Tucker can play centerfield when Elly isn't playing, and be plenty more productive than Sanchez could.

Alright, I'm done!

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Is it that bad?

I'm trying to figure out what possible advantage the waiver wire pick-up of Alex Sanchez can afford the Giants. He bats lefty, but then, so does Michael Tucker, and Todd Linden can switch-hit.

There's a move I'm missing, I'm sure. Is Tucker hurt? Then it would make sense (after I typed this Tucker made a pinch-hit appearance in today's game, so nevermind). Otherwise I'm a bit mystified why the Giants would need a singles-hitting, non-walking, centerfielder who's fast, yet only steals bases at a 54% clip for his career.

To be fair, I'll post Sanchez' 2005 line: .346/.373/.466 in 133 at-bats

Sound good? Sure it does. But remember, even Neifi once had a 1.029 OPS at one point in the season, and still maintained an .833 OPS through 200 at-bats.

What's Neifi at now? .721 and falling. What's that tell ya?

Looks like, sounds like, smells like, feels like a duck...

Sanchez' best ISO SLG (Isolated Slugging) for his career is a Tom Goodwin-esque 76 points above his batting average, so that SLG he's sporting now won't hold. That batting average is pretty, and he did hit .322 over 300+ at-bats last season with the Tigers, so I won't take that away from him.

Perhaps the Giants are thinking platoon with Jason Ellison in centerfield, I'm not sure -- perhaps he's just an insurance policy, and they'll put him in Fresno.

I need some more information before I end up looking foolish for overreacting...which I probably already do.

About Face

Well, that'll shut me up.

I haven't written a lot about Jason Schmidt's future with the club, and for good reason -- I wanted to try and avoid foot-in-mouth disease.

However, I did make some comments about not being able to depend upon Schmidt to be...well, Schmidt. One might think that he would've earned more support from Giants fans (and bloggers) than that, but I was too busy cursing the Fates and whining in consternation.

Since that time, Schmidt hasn't done any of those things. He's just gone out and fixed his problems, throwing two eight-inning gems to prove it. The one last night was vintage Schmidt, with him striking out 10 batters (the changeup was particularly nasty) and -- this is the key -- taking only 116 pitches to do it. I'm not sure what everyone else thinks, but the biggest thing I'm taking from these last two starts isn't the shutouts through eight innings, but the efficiency with which Jason did it. More on that in a bit.

One thing I hadn't really looked at during Schmidt's struggles was his k rate, which has held at least comparable to his previous years, if a tad lower (I was assuming it was significantly lower). Still striking out about one batter per inning pitched indicated most times that there is still plenty of pitcher there, but many of us bemoaned the lack of velocity as the harbinger that Schmidt was losing it.

Well, the velocity was about fully returned last night, with several 95's and 94's on the gun to back that up. Suggestions that there was something mechanically wrong with his delivery could be on the mark -- Schmidt himself has said he's made physical adjustments as well as mental.

And, furthering and qualifying the point about efficiency, is the return of Schmidt's control. His k/bb ratio has been way down, and it ain't because of the strikeouts -- it's because of all the extra walks. His lack of velocity and lack of control could both have easily been a mechanical flaw, and as both have seemingly returned, I don't think it's a bad assumption to make. Only two walks over eight innings last night, and only one walk through eight innings in his last start.

Looks like the Giants got their ace back.

On the subject of miraculous comebacks, things are in a holding pattern. I've already stated what the Giants must do to make a run, and they'll be on their way towards that if they beat Arizona today and take the series three to one. If they were to do that, they'd still face the task of realistically needing to win five of the remaining six games vs. Arizona and San Diego, plus not faltering against the A's and winning that series, but at least they have something better than a snowball's chance in Hades.

Say, rather, a snowball's chance in the tropics at night.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005


You guys will have to excuse me for my semi-lapse in the last few days, but I'm trying to get my bald ass on television.

I've been playing in tournaments on, trying to place in the top 10 for a chance to play a game of Hold 'Em on t.v. to win 10K -- and qualify for the final table, where the winner will take home 200K.

The registration and tournament is totally free, and that's the big-time draw. One thing I like about this site as opposed to, say,, is that the site keeps running statistics on your play at each table you're at. So you can see just how much of an idiot you might be: 1) you can see what percentage of flops you've played (usually around 15% for me), 2) how many hands you've won (and that overall percentage), and 3) of the hands you've won, where you won them at (pre-flop, flop, turn, and river). Cool stuff.

Also, when in a tournament, you can keep track of how you're doing. The site has constant updates on your standings in the chip count (along with current chip leaders and how much they have), along with how many players are left -- it even has the average chip count of everyone remaining in the tournament. There are breaks about every hour, and the blinds and such raise at a good pace. The site keeps track of the tables and moves people around to keep things balanced.

I've played in three tournaments thus far:
  • The first had about 1900 people registered. I was in the top 200 with a decent chip stack. Unforunately there was a huge glitch, and my tournament was cancelled along with a few others around the same time frame. I quickly got an e-mail apologizing for this.
  • The second had about 5000 people registered. I made it below 700 people, but then got bumped something nasty. My chip stack was sem-low, so I wanted to make a move to make sure I could keep up if I got moved to a table with people who had high chip stacks. So a guy goes all in with just a tad more chips than I had. I had pocket 7's, and was figuring it was time to gamble. Well, the guy (sheepishly, I'm sure) turns over 6/7 suited hearts. So I have him by the short hairs, as we are sharing his top card. Guess what happens? If you saw that he was suited and guessed flush, pat yourself on the back. He made it on the river, and typed "sorry" about 20 times after he took my chips. I guess, despite not knowing what anyone had and still having 4 people after him to bet, he figured nobody would call. Yeah, sure, whatever. Lucky bastard.
  • The third one was last night, and had a touch over 2000 people in it. I'm afraid a little stupidity came into play for me. I was doing very, very well. There was only about 65 people left, and I was in 45th place overall with about 55K in chips (the leaders were around 200K). For some silly reason I played j/4 suited spades, and I caught four to the flush on the flop. It was two-handed, and the guy before me put out a very strong bet of about 8K or so. Deciding again it was time to gamble, I went all-in, and he called me. You'd think with my poor, poor luck in acquiring flushes when suited I would've just maybe called to the turn to see if I could get lucky or just fold, but instead I went all-in and the guy beat me with a pair of aces when my stupid spades didn't hit. Idiocy on the highest level.

I'm going to try once more a bit later on. My main problem seems to be that I'm playing too well -- really, without ego, I can say that after playing for a while at a table I ended up getting people scared of me despite not being chip leader. Whenever I got a hand I couldn't get much out of people. If I checked my hand, everyone else checked along with me. If I bet strong, they'd fold. If I bet small, they might call for one more card, but if I bet again in any way they'd fold. The chip leaders, for whatever reason (perhaps greed), seem to be able to acquire chips endlessly on questionable calls. So in essence, I can win 6 hands in 20 but not earn as many chips as another person who wins only once, but gets two silly calls and rakes in boatloads.

Well, wish me luck! Perhaps you might see my coyote-ugly face on Fox in the very near future.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Self-Congratulatory Yuck-a-Muck

I'll post a real entry around 8:00 or so, but in the meantime I wanted to thank all of you continuing to stop by and read my ramblings -- this site went over the 10,000 hit mark yesterday, and I'm almost to 7,000 individual visitors. For me, utterly remarkable.

A tip of the cap to all the sites who've linked me and brought so many new people around (especially in the last few weeks), and another tip of the cap to readers like BB and TJW, who are kind enough to use the COMMENT SECTION, LOCATED AT THE END OF EVERY ARTICLE.

In case you missed it, that's the COMMENT SECTION, LOCATED AT THE END OF EVERY ARTICLE. Not that I need bunches of insightful, witty comments to continue to write my drivel, but it's sure nice when readers throw in their two cents on things. Even if you disagree with what I, check that, especially if you disagree with something I say, be sure to let myself and other readers know what you think, and why. Some of you send e-mails instead, which is great, but don't sell yourselves short -- other people can learn from you, too, and just because you don't run your own site doesn't mean your opinion is any less valuable than my own.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

One is an accident, two is coincidence, three is a trend

And a trend I'd like to continue. I think the Giants have struck gold with this new score-more-runs-than-the-other-team strategy that Father Alou has employed over the last three games, last night coming in the form of a shutout vs. the Detroit Tigers.

Not to mention, the rest of the NL West has continued the We Suck Parade and given the Giants another reason to get charged up. The Padres, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks all got smacked around again by AL Central teams (Padres game was tight, but lumping them in with the smacked-around group makes me feel better). This means...well, still not much. The Giants are still seven games back of the Padres, and with the Phillies currently having a better record than the Padres do, it's division title or nothing for the G-Men at this point.

I'm a realist, but it's hard not to cling to a bit of hope with the top three teams in this division playing so poorly. The upcoming 10 games against Arizona (seven) and San Diego (three) are starting to gain some significance.

Last night? It was all about three players: Jason Schmidt, Mike Matheny, and Tyler Walker.

Not only was this a dose of hope with their third win in a row while gaining another game on every team ahead of them in the NL West, but it came with Schmidt pitching eight shutout innings. The Giants throwing a shutout really turns me on (as long as you add in a scantily-clad Salma Hayek somewhere in the mix).

I must needs purchase this game from tomorrow, because instead of watching the game, I was getting beat at poker...again. Included in my Little Shop of Horrors last night was:
  • Getting pocket pairs on seven different occasions and never getting a set (we even chased the rabbit to see...nope).
  • Two of the occasions where I was able to bet my pocket pairs (queens once, and eights the other time), I was re-raised by pockets aces, both times by the same person.
  • I failed twice to put out Lucky Luis, my nemesis, each of those times with Luis catching his one out card on the river to stay alive.
  • Losing on pocket kings.

I remain the unluckiest poker player all of you know.

Friday, June 17, 2005

Giants win! G-g-g-g-g-g-g-Giants win!

Vying for the two most annoying homer announcer calls must be Ken Harrelson of the White Sox with his, "You can put it on the boooooooard...YES!" crap, or John Sterling and his "Yankees win! The-uh-e-uh-e-uh-e-uh Yankees win!" call to conclude...what else? Yankees victories.

Could be that my seething hatred for these two ballclubs could have something to do with it...nah, nevermind. Those calls just suck, that's all.

Anyhow, go, look, and be amazed at the 2nd Giants win in a row; a 14-7 victory over the Minnesota Twins. ESPN's headline reads, "Giants offense comes alive with 18 hits...", ignoring the fact that they just had 14 hits two days ago.

I'm a much happier camper. The Giants have beaten a good team in the Twins on the road in two out of three games, and the Royals have swept the Yankees and Dodgers in the last couple of weeks. It's almost enough to make me wanna...go make a sammich. Ham sammich.

From last night's game:

  • Somebody get the water hose, because Omar Vizquel and Son Alou are on fiya. Vizquel has gone eight for his last 11, raising his batting average 21 points in two games, and Moises is trying to be the single most important hitter on the ballclub, with seven singles in his last eight at-bats (his batting average rose 27 points). Omar's driven in six runs over the last two games.
  • Pedro Feliz is trying to snap out of his slump, as he went 3-5 last night, but he still looks lost most of the time...ah, nevermind. Feliz reached 40 RBI with the three in yesterday's game. Yep, that oughta fetch sumthin' in a trade...Pedro Feliz, RBI Man!
  • Ray-Ray Durham is trying to heat back up again like some Memorial Day BBQ. He got cold in the last week after his hot streak, but now is heating back up, and none too soon for Brian Sabean to shop his 7 million dollar makin' ass around. Course, trading Durham would make my nicer Giants jersey obsolete...2-5 last night for Ray Ray, and that SLG has finally reached .400. May it never dip below .400 again. He needs to clean up the freaking defense, though, after a silly whiff on a well deserved out served up by Yorvit Torrealba on a steal attempt at 2nd base. Perfect throw, and Durham just missed it. Yech.
  • That was a bunch of bullpen! Jason Christiansen (who is starting to piece together a serviceable season, I must admit), rookie Jack Taschner, and Grizzled Vet Jeff Fassero all pitched well to keep the Twins from scoring again after Brett Tomko showed all of you why I say he's Jeckyll & Hyde on the mound -- 4.2 innings, 9 hits, 7 earned runs allowed. Definitely Doc Jeck last night.
  • By the way, I thought this merited it's own bullet -- kudos must be given to Sabes for hanging onto Fassero. He's turned out to be one useful dude.
  • Torrealba with the good day at the plate...hey, seems like a good time to ask this. Has anyone seen Mike Matheny do anything this year that Yorvit couldn't? I mean, really? Matheny hasn't exactly failed expectations, but then, I wasn't expecting much to begin with.
  • Another rookie, Adam Shabala, picking himself up a couple RBI's in his first major league game, in addition to a couple of towering fly balls that he barely missed sending out of the park. Seems to have some pop, he does.

And the Giants actually gained a game in the standings, as the Padres were swept as well as the Dodgers. The NL West has been getting pimp-slapped by the AL Central thus far, going a collective 15-30 against the supposedly weak division of the AL (which really isn't true anymore). The Giants are 3-6, the D-Backs and Dodgers went 4-5, and the Rockies and Padres both went 2-7.


I hate to even mention this, but with the struggles of the entire division, well, it's a thought...of the Giants next 20 games, 10 are against the 1st and 2nd place teams in the division (seven vs. Arizona and three vs. San Diego), and another seven games are against teams with poor records (the A's and the Reds).

The Giants would have to rum rampant through all that, going something like 14-6 and winning almost every game against Arizona and San Diego, but...well, it's there. Feeble, cold, hungry, and tired -- but it's there.

I can't always be the Harbinger of Doom, can I?

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Live Blogging: 6/15 Giants vs. Twins

Can't do the whole game, but I'm home and I'm bored, so here I go. Updates after each half inning.

Top of the 1st:

  • Kyle Lohse just had the most obvious balk I've ever seen in my life. In the middle of his pitching motion, it looked like he just said, "Ah, forget it." Omar Vizquel to 2nd base after flaring a single into center.
  • My first viewing of a Todd Linden at-bat in 2005 was unsuccessful. Fly out to left.
  • J.T. Snow, as always, working the count. He kept fouling off offspeed stuff, and Lohse won't throw a fastball...oh, man, are the Giants snakebitten again? Snow takes a breaking ball right off the the front of his kneecap, but doesn't seem to be too hurt...he's staying in the game. You could hear the impact off of his bone. Ick. Makes me want to...go and make some chocolate milk.
  • Son Alou has been a pleasant surprise for me this year. I didn't really think he could put up a 900+ OPS, but he's done it thus far. 2-2 count, and Alou ends up out in front, but still puts the ball through the middle for a single, plating Vizquel. 1-0 Giants.
  • Quick out -- Ray Durham flies out to left. I'm much more confident with Durham batting left-handed than right-handed. He seems a lot more natural and easy at the plate.
  • Michael Tucker gets the start vs. the righty pitcher. Tucker's been good at drawing walks for a while...and with a 3-1 count, Tucker gets a fastball and torpedoes it into right off the glove of Jacque Jones, who almost made a specktackaler play. It plates Snow and Alou. Alou probably shouldn't have scored, but Michael Cuddyer didn't check on him so Alou kept running. Tucker smartly moves into 3rd base. 3-0 Giants.
  • Pedro Feliz, quickly singling into left on the first pitch to plate Tucker. 4-0 Giants.
  • Quickly again, Jason Ellison only takes two pitches to record a ground out to 1st. Inning over.

Bottom of the 1st:

  • Noah Lowry starts off looking good, putting away Shannon Stewart on three pitches. Fastball, changeup, fastball.
  • Gets ahead of Lew Ford quickly -- fastball for a called strike, changeup taken, then a changeup catching the outside corner. Down 2-1, Ford gets jammed and Lowry catches the soft liner.
  • Joe Mauer flies out harmlessly to left after three pitches, taking a big swing up 2-0 in the count. That's easily as impressive of an inning as Lowry's had all year. Looked in control and confident. Hm.

Top of the 2nd:

  • Mike Matheny looking absolutely horrible on a three pitch strikeout. That at-bat looked like a guy who's hitting .229.
  • Vizquel back up, and now I'm remembering we're in an American League park. Sucks here, because my suspicion is that Lowry is actually a better hitter than Matheny. Vizquel quickly goes down looking, and all of a sudden Lohse looks loose.
  • Starting off ahead of Linden with a quick strike and line shot foul, and Linden is down 0-2, which becomes 0-3 after Linden is caught looking at a fastball. Ouch. Starting 0-7 with 4 strikeouts is not the kind of start I envisioned for Linden. The kid's going to have to get a positive at-bat quickly, or all his Fresno hotness will matter not one whit. He'll forget how to hit in a hurry. Inning over.

Bottom of the 2nd:

  • Snow came out of the game, and the Giants insert Deivi Cruz at 3rd while moving Feliz to 1st. Torii Hunter with a flyout to Elly on the 1st pitch.
  • Lowry still looking good, getting Jacque Jones reaching for a groundout to Feliz at 1st.
  • Justin Morneau's got a good looking stride before he swings -- pretty short foot plant, not a lot of extraneous motion in his swing. Lowry gets Morneau on a lazy fly to right, with Morneau just getting a bit under it. Inning over.

Top of the 3rd:

  • Deivi Cruz is falling back to Earth fairly quickly -- he's another guy who could fetch something in a trade, but he'd have to get back to that 800+ OPS thing he had going a couple of weeks ago. Soft ground out to shortstop.
  • Moises quickly on with a solid single to left.
  • And Durham follows almost as quickly with a solid oppo single to left. Nice looking hit -- his eyes were locked in on the ball the whole way to the plate.
  • I'm thinking that Tucker is seeing the ball well out of Lohse's hand. Mauer lost a breaking ball in the dirt for a sec, and Old Man Alou took advantage by taking 3rd base. That play ends up being huge, as Tucker sends on to the track in center right afterward, scoring Alou. 5-0 Giants.
  • Feliz just can't wait to get back out to play some defense at 1st -- first pitch swinging, ground out to 3rd. Inning over.

Bottom of the 3rd, and I now have chocolate milk. I'm a happy man...

  • Lowry is really working the change, putting it in different spots, showing it in different counts, and not falling into a rhythm. Good stuff. Working the fastball in the same fashion, and the mix of the two is putting Twins hitters off-balance. Gets Cuddyer swinging.
  • Glen Williams takes a MIGHTY foul it back, thens fouls another to get down in the count 1-2. Lowry catches too much plate on the next pitch, though, and Williams jumps on it to single into left. Twins first hit of the game, and now we get to see if Lowry can keep his rhythm while in the stretch.
  • Juan Castro is next up, and Lowry still is keeping 'em off-balance. Castro seemed to be leaning out a bit to cover the outside part of the plate where Lowry had been doing some painting, and Lowry busts him high and inside for the strikeout. Nice, nice pitching.
  • Stewart comes up again, and Lowry gets him way out in front...but like Moises' first hit, Stewart stays with it nicely and bloops it into center.
  • Lowry is getting out ahead of a lot of hitters with first pitch looking strikes. Works Lew Ford outside/inside to get ahead 0-2 without a swing, leaving him with opportunities to work outside of the strike zone. Throws some high heat and gets Ford swinging, changing what Mike Krukow likes to call "sight lines". Two singles given up, but Lowry strikes out the side. Inning over.

Top of the 4th inning:

  • Elly up again, and out on a slow bouncing ball to Castro, who looks oh-so smooth in throwing Ellison out.
  • Matheny takes two pitches to ground out to Castro, who looks oh-so smooth again while ranging to his left. No, not as smooth as Omar, but still pretty smoooooooth.
  • Lohse is rolling along now. After 31 pitches in the 1st, he only takes 30 pitches to get through the next three innings. Vizquel out on a lazy fly to right-center. Inning over.

Bottom of the 4th...I may have to quit pretty soon to get dressed to go run a quick errand. Somehow, I doubt that happens to Duane Kuiper or Jon Miller.

  • Mr. Mauer works the left field line nicely for an oppo-field double.
  • Lowry gets ahead of Hunter 1-2...and leaves a changeup over the plate, which Hunter promptly lines out of the park to plate himself and Mauer. Can't catch that much plate with a few pitches to waste, to Hunter, who recognized the pitch quickly and stayed back long enough to put a nice swing on it. 5-2 Giants.
  • Lowry comes back quickly on Jones, throwing him a changup on a 3-2 count to record another strikeout.
  • Morneau up again -- I'm wondering if the Twins have made the adjustment to Lowry and have started looking for the changeup. Lowry's still got 'em reaching, though -- Morneau's lazy fly to Linden in right gets out #2. Kruk and Kuip observing that Linden does not seem to like this park -- he seems close to losing the ball in the white roof of the Metrodome on just about every opportunity.
  • I guess the Twins haven't quite made the adjustment. Cuddyer, up 3-1 in the count, gets a changeup about letter-high and pops out. Inning over.

Top of the 5th:

  • Linden leading off, and again, quickly down 0-2. It's becoming a bit of a theme with him in the early going. After taking a high fastball, he goes fishing after a pitch low and outside. Ouch. 0-8 with five strikeouts...not that I'm keeping track or anything.
  • Lohse very, very much in command. Deivi Cruz out on a slow grounder he almost managed to beat out.
  • Moises simply looking locked in, as another solid single has him 3-3 on the day. All three hits have been to left field.
  • Durham blows the feel-good-2-out-knock with a first-pitch-stupid-flyout to Hunter, who hardly had to move to use up one of the Giants 27 outs. Hardly seems fair. Inning over.

Bottom of the 5th:

  • Greg Williams up, then down swinging on four pitches. Lowry didn't take long to get settled back in after giving up the bomb to Hunter.
  • Lowry quickly up 0-2 again, but makes sure to not catch any plate in getting Castro to pop out in foul ground to Matheny.
  • Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good -- Stewart getting another excuse-me hit for the Twins, this one a broken bat, jam-shot double to left. If he scores, it's gonna piss Lowry off.
  • Well, I guess Lowry's pissed. Ford shoots one down the left field line and plates Stewart on the first pitch. You see how these things happen -- Lowry's pitching a great game, but a couple of flares and one large mistake to Torii Hunter has seen him give up three runs in 4.2 innings. Doesn't seem fair, really. 5-3 Giants.
  • Lowry still coming back and getting up in the count, but again is unlucky as Mauer fights off a pitch in his kitchen to get a hit. Jason Ellison with another one of his ill-advised attempts to be a hero and turns a single into a double with a silly dive for the ball. It could've been an inside-the-parker if Mauer hadn't fallen down rounding first base. 5-4 Giants.
  • Dangerous at-bat here against Hunter. Again up 1-2 in the count, he works way outside in two consective pitches to run it full. I got to think he needs to stay away...and he does, getting Hunter reaching for the punchout. Boy, Lowry's showing some mental toughness here after the way Minnesota put their four runs on the board. Easy to get frustrated, but he's stayed around the plate and effective. Inning over.

Top of the 6th:

  • If the Giants didn't think they'd need any more runs than those first five, they're mistaken. Tucker up, and down on a high strike in a 1-2 count.
  • Feliz looks so overmatched against breaking balls...doesn't he get tired of being out in front leaning on his front foot? Stay back, dude! Fly out to Hunter on a pitch that was in on his hands.
  • Nice spot for an Elly round-tripper, here. Two out home runs are...heh. Nevermind. Ellison showing how to change momentum with a nice, nice bunt that Williams could do nothing with.
  • Of course, Mathney is now up, and all Hope is dead. Ellison probably should be looking to steal, here, especially after how horrible Matheny looked on that slider. Matheny looks horrible on another slider, and Ellison does try to steal 2nd...but is thrown out fairly easily by Mauer after a well-nigh perfect throw. Only the 2nd time Elly's been caught this year. Inning over, and now Matheny will get the opportunity to look bad again leading off the next inning. Oh, joy.

Bottom of the 6th:

  • Lowry starts off the 6th with a four pitch walk to Jacque Jones. Yeah. If we can't read the writing on the wall here, weez be i-llit-rate. A double play would ease my fears, however.
  • Heh. Call me guru. 6-4-3 double play on the grounder from Morneau.
  • Another walk, and Scott Munter is now ready in the 'pen. Lowry is up over 100 pitches, and Father Alou makes the move. I'd have loved it if Felipe had allowed Lowry one more hitter to get out of the inning, but I can't really fault the change.
  • It takes Munter one pitch to get a ground out to Durham to end the inning. If I was Lowry, that'd put me in a surly mood. One pitch. Heh.

Top of the 7th...I'm going to be heading out any moment now...

  • Giants got to somehow knock Lohse out of the game. The Giants are so good at getting a few runs early, then doing absolutely nothing the rest of the game. Matheny is still up, and wonder of wonders is down 1-2 in the count, looking like he's some 34-year old catcher that can't hit (yeah, I know, don't remind me). End up hitting a one-hop piece of crap back to Lohse. Egads, man, at least get the ball to the outfield!
  • Vizquel with a liner through Lohse's yuck-a-muck for a single up the middle.
  • Linden's up, and gets to watch as Vizquel stupidly tries to steal before Lohse even starts his freaking motion towards home. At least Linden's got a batting average after a nice inside/out swing for a line drive single to left centerfield. This is where Deivi Cruz gets one of his clutch doubles to plate Linden. I can feel it, I'm tellin' ya!
  • I lied, Cruz ends up flying out high to straight away center. Inning over
  • Newsflash: Jose Lima, posterboy for the Law of Averages, is pitching a great game in Kansas City against the Dodgers. Only one run allowed through seven innings pitched.

Bottom of the 7th:

  • Twins with a leadoff single. Sorry, I'm a little behind.
  • Stewart with a nice game with a 2-3 going, but let's see how he does again Big Ol' Munter. Munter is like 6'5", but the way he pitches I'm surprised it gets over 90 mph. He looks like somebody's Dad throwing to the kids in the backyard...except that he's 6'5". Hm. Nice, professional turning of two by Vizquel and Durham again, 6-4-3 -- except that it really looks like Stewart beat out the throw to 1st, and it looks like it was a fairly easy call. At least, in slo-motion it does.
  • Stinky Lew Ford spits on a back door pitch almost on the outside corner for a 2-2 count, which becomes 3-2 on the next pitch. Wow. Durham with a nice, nice play on a slow, tweener groundball around the bag at 2nd base and barely gets Ford. Inning over.

Top of the 8th:

  • Moises got some mojo workin', lemme tell ya. Soft single into center, and he's a perfect 4-4. Can you say insurance run? I knew you could!
  • Ouch. One, or two good double plays deserves another. Durham grounds to short, Twinkies turn two. Looks like Ron Gardenhire might go to the 'pen with the lefty Tucker on deck.
  • Lima update: if you don't believe in God, believe now. Lima's gotten through 8 innings giving up only one run and one walk.
  • Tucker grounds out to 1st, and that's the inning. Scott Eyre will pitch the bottom of the 8th. Best man for the job.

Bottom of the 8th, or, in a game this tight...Crunch Time. Heck if I know what exactly is crunching late in close games, but nevertheless...Crunch Time.

  • Distractions...Eyre with the strikeout on...heck, I don't know. I got a phone call, man. Oh, it was Mauer.
  • Hunter with a fly out to Ellison in straight center.
  • Eyre overpowering Jones with the high heat. Easily the best reliever in the Giants 'pen. Inning over.

Top of the 9th:

  • This is why I have faith in Ellison -- he's always trying to make some sort of impact, and he does more often than not. Double down the line, and a day that seemed to start poorly for him ends up as a two-hit day.
  • Matheny. Again. Did I mention the law of averages? No more Lohse, and Matheny doubles down the left field line. Lovely, and it plates Ellison. 6-4 Giants.
  • Vizquel...pokes a ball out of the park, if that's possible. Omar's a strong little dude, but that was a weird way to hit a ball out. He looked to be on his toes a bit while turning -- one of those swings that ends up in a hard hit ball hit way foul nine out of 10 times. 8-4 Giants, and those insurance runs I asked for finally come through. Neat.
  • Deivi grounds out to 1st. Inning over.

Bottom of the 9th:

  • Tyler Walker on, in one of those bothersome non-save situations. Just sit 'em down, Tyler. I lost an out somewhere...if you find it, e-mail me with it, alright?
  • He gets a pop out on...Cuddyer, I believe. He got ahead of him, which is a good sign.
  • Walker gets ahead of Williams 0-2, another good sign. After a foul out of play, he gets him swinging for the last out of the inning. Inning over, game over.

All in all, a nice, professional-looking road win for the Giants. They didn't look like a team that had lost 15 of 17, but I've spoken of the Law of Averages a few times already, so there you go.

Winning is undoubtedly superior to losing.

Good night, folks!

The New Era Begins...uh, today?

The New Era begins today.

If that sounds familiar, well, it's because I said that yesterday. But yesterday the Giants lost again, and everybody knows you can't start a new era, not mention a New Era, with a loss. Especially not a loss where one of the big pieces of the New Era goes 0-5 with three strikeouts (Todd Linden, I'm looking at you, bubba).

And having another big piece of the New Era scratched from the lineup after fouling a ball off his toe in batting practice? No, New Eras don't start on days like that.

Part of it went as planned, at least, with Jesse Foppert turning in one of those keep-'em-in-the-game performances: five innings pitched, five walks, two earned runs allowed...wait a minute, five walks in five innings? Gotta work on that.

While some might want to blame the bullpen for the loss, I beg leave to point out that it'd be difficult for any bullpen to get through five innings without allowing a run. The Giants bullpen pitched five innings last night, allowing the one game-winning run. Good job. The Giants offense, though, leaves much to be desired. Last night it was Ray Durham and a Bunch of Dudes.

It's times like these that make me happy I've been a Kansas City Royals fan for the majority of my life, and especially the last 10 years. Giants fans are used to winning, so regardless of the circumstances surrounding it, losing is taken poorly.

Me? The other half of my baseball Jones has been doing almost nothing but losing since 1995. The way I look at it, the Royals having been losing to prepare me for the year it all come crashing down, so that I can look at the Giants losing ways with a collective mouth twist, eyebrow quirk, and deep, emotion-draining sigh.

It'll seem odd that the Royals Recap I'll be doing on Thursday will actually be the happy entry of the week.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

The New Era Begins Today

Sounds dramatic, no?

Well, it does. Begin, that is. New Era. All that. Mark this day...or don't, if you don't feel like it. Matters not to me. I'm going to mark it, and if it turns out I'm wrong about it being the beginning of the New Era, I'll just come back to this entry and delete this part of the post.

Marquis Grissom and Edgardo Alfonzo go on the DL. The timing of this leaves me suspicious for no real reason -- these two had to be at or near the top of Brian Sabean's trade list, and now they're out of action. Regardless, I can't see either of these two here next year. Grissom won't be re-signed, and I'm sure Sabes will pay large portions of Fonzie's contract to get him outta there.


Jesse Foppert takes the hill against the Minnesota Twins today, and I don't want to see him sent down the rest of this year. Keep him here, and keep him starting. This is a great opportunity to have Foppert in a situation with less pressure, so that he can get comfortable and show what kind of pitcher he may be with the big club.

Todd Linden has been called up in place of Grip, and he ought to get some chances -- real chances -- to show if that Fresno line of .319/.537/.681 really means something. I'm sure it means, at least, that he can hit better than Grissom, and probably better than Michael Tucker as well.

The Giants also brought up Adam Shabala from Fresno, but I know nothing about him except his line: .286/.390/.484, and that he bats lefty. He's 27 years old, and likes puppy dogs and hummingbirds...alright, I threw in that last part just to see if you were paying attention. You are, right? Can you hear me now? Good!

As far as winning tonight's game, well, call me pessimistic if you wish, but as the Twins have Johan Santana on the hill tonight -- you'll understand if I'm a bit leery of going all Joe Namath on you, right?

Monday, June 13, 2005

Mr. Right

This entry is purely so that I might tell everyone I was right about something.

I went over to read myself some o' that Lefty feller, and found out that it isn't good to miss a couple of days without your computer, cuz then...well, you can miss stuff.

Turns out what I wrote about the Giants needing to jettison Jim Brower last Monday, and what I wrote about Al Levine last Friday were simply harbingers of the inevitable, as Levine was DFA and Brower was released in the past few days. My rant about Brian Sabean needing to make moves at least for PR reasons was seemingly on the mark, too. Both Sabes and Father Alou said in this article that more changes would be forthcoming.

And the white flag has officially been waved (or waived, take your pick). The Giants have actually brought up someone who is younger than 30 to fill Brower's roster spot: Jesse Foppert.

A lot of what Sabean said in the article have been things Giants bloggers have been saying in one way, shape, or form for a couple of weeks now, and I'm honestly feeling he read my mind. He's making moves that will not only attempt to make the team just a bit better right now, to try and avoid estranging the fan base by being idle, but any trades, etc. that come along will be for people with a future with the ballclub. I'm assuming that means that they'll be players he'll be installing for last run next season.

This also means we can really, really forget about Barry Bonds. He wasn't going to be rushed in the first place, but after the Giants have lost their shirt over the last few weeks, now things will be taken ultra-slow -- I wouldn't even think to see Bonds until mid-August, or perhaps even September. And believe it or not, that's great, because the Giants will be able to get some more information on players like Pedro Feliz and Jason Ellison, who are both players that could fetch some value from a contender in the next month or so. Of course, I think that the Giants may have gotten extremely luck with Elly, so it's hard to say whether or not he should be traded. The longer he plays this well, the more Sabean may want to gamble that he's the real deal -- being able to pay league minimum for that kind of production simply can't be overlooked, especially as cash-strapped as the Giants will be next season. Feliz is trade bait, plain and simple, but his future with this ballclub may rest of the tradeability of Edgardo Alfonzo. If they can trade Fonzie, then Feliz probably stays. If not, well...hasta la bye-bye to Feliz and his GIDP's and untimely three pitch strikeouts.

Worst Team

I've been dancing around this for a bit, but then I looked down, and noticed I had tennis shoes on, not patent leather.

San Francisco Giants, worst team in the...National League. No, I won't say they're the worst in all of baseball, yet, but the Kansas City Royals smacked them around in 2 of 3 games while in SBC, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays do have Lou Piniella for a manager, who is good for throwing some sort of tantrum and forcing his team to win 5 of 6 or something.

And yes, the Colorado Rockies do currently sport a worst record than the Giants by four games.

But last I checked, the Rockies have managed to win six of their last 10. The Royals have won seven of 12 under their new manager, and the Devil Rays...well, they've been horrible, but they've won two of their last 10 games, just like the Giants have.

Have any of those teams lost 14 of their last 16 games? Nope.

The Rockies have lost 11 of their last 16, the Royals have lost 10 of their last 16, and the Devil Rays?

They've managed to only lose 12 of their last 16 games.

So having represented the worst stretch in baseball in the last 10% of the season, you might understand why I don't see the current losing trend changing anytime soon, and perhaps projecting that within the next few weeks the Giants could easily have the worst record in baseball.

Luckily I worked this weekend, so I only saw one of the three losses that the Indians hung on the Giants -- again, in San Francisco. I start my new job in about 10 days, so then I can see more of the losses.

Oh, joy.

The Giants currently have the worst offense in the NL. Only the Washington Nationals and Milwaukee Brewers average less runs per game, but the Nats have that whole 1st-place-in-their-division thingie to console them should they feel a bit down about it, and the Brewers -- well, nobody projected them to bring home a division title now, did they?

Only three teams have allowed more runs than the Giants, and those teams are the Diamondbacks, the Reds, and the Rockies. I'd be joyous that the Giants aren't dead last in this category, but since those three teams all play in hitter's parks while the Giants supposedly play in a pitcher's park, you'll understand if that fails to soothe me.

I've never expected much out of this team as it currently stands, but becoming acclimated to winning does strange things to your brain. Even though logic tells you that they won't be any good, your brain will convince you otherwise based on a series of hopes and what-ifs. This team's winning percentage is about what we should've expected given the circumstances. But geez, win more than two of 16 games, will ya?

Okay, well that's enough of that.

I'm having major computer problems, so while I hope to post daily, I may not be allowed to. I'm putting this entry up after I thought I'd eliminated the problems about four different ways, but they keep coming back -- I can't find the program that's regenerating the problem. How did I get this problem? Sing it with me now...

(music) Looking for porn in all the wrong places, looking for porn in too many... (uh, end music)

Did I actually just write that?

Friday, June 10, 2005

The Thrill of Defeat and the Agony of Victory

The Giants won yesterday.

You know, I used to hear about wins, way back when I was only a wee lad who had yet to see his 10th summer. Me Pappy used to doddle me on his knee and regale me with tales of when the Giants used to achieve victory three, sometimes even four or five times on a weekly basis.

"Carrots are really good for eye health," he'd reminisce, "but they're not as good as a Giants win. I always used to see so clearly after a Giants victory. I also like the smell of gas."

.....moving on to today's action

I'm just starting to watch today's game, and I'm seeing the Indians take advantage of Triples Alley even better than the Royals did in the previous series. First inning, and Brett Tomko gives up naught but extra base hits, in the form of a double and two triples.

Adding onto that is the fact that the Indians have C.C. Sabathia on the mound, and with the Giants already getting shut down by journeyman pitchers lately, I shudder to think how they'll look against a quality pitcher. Sabathia went to high school in my home town of Vallejo, and I actually played some basketball with him a time or two. The basketball team he was on at Vallejo High, in addition to having a ML bound player on it, also netted a NBA player in Brandon Armstrong. Not bad at all.

Update: I'm not sure if Al Levine really has a place on this roster, either. Nice spring and all, but he's as necessary to the future of this ballclub as Marquis Grissom, which is to say not at all. Isn't there any reliever in the minors doing well enough to be rewarded and replace this guy?

Changing a couple of roster spots would do nothing to change the fortunes of the Giants this season, but it would be a nice P.R. move if Brian Sabean would do something besides trade away possible pieces of the future and hold onto unneccesary and poorly playing pieces of the present. He's making himself look more and more ineffective the longer he sits on his hands. Again, replacing players like Grissom and Levine wouldn't make this team any better, really, but Sabes is going to have to do it sooner or later. If he does it now, it'll at least make him look like he's not idle.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

More Mixed Feelings

Another day, another nail in the Giants coffin.

This one came in the form of a 4-1 strangling, again at the hands of the Royals and their...obviously dominant...pitching staff.

I'll toot my own horn again, and remind everyone that I did say both D.J. Carrasco and Runelvys Hernandez could pose some trouble to the Giants, as both had come off good starts going into their series with San Francisco.

Yeah, I said it, but it was more a cautionary note than it was a real belief that the two would do something like combine to pitch 15 innings, allowing only nine hits and two runs between them.

Didn't see all that coming.

Anyhow, I'm going to do a game recap separately. In the meantime, I got a neat opportunity after the game to speak a moment with Mike Sweeney, the Royals 1B/DH, who took the day off to nurse a tender side (yeah, Royals didn't even need their best player to whip the Giants...jeez).

He is a great guy, first off. He was talking to a couple cousins of his and their friends and/or relatives. By the time I got there (after taking a pic of Royals rookie Shane Costa and exchanging a few kind words with him), there was really only six of us by the wall down the right field line in front of the camera pit.

He noticed my combination Giants/Royals attire and asked me, "Both, huh?" After replying, I mentioned I had a Giants website where I'd batted around the idea of him coming to S.F. in a trade.

"No, I don't want to get traded, though." he said immediately. "It's hard to get away from the rumors, but I really want to stay here."

Class acts aren't necessarily hard to come by, but they are much harder to come by than they were 20 years ago. Mike Sweeney is a class act. If he can't be with the Royals, I'd count myself lucky if he were with the Giants.

In any case, I asked him for a quick picture, and he obliged by throwin' up two fingers...

Mike Sweeney: PEACE!

A sucky a good way

Notes from the game I attended June 8th between the Giants and Royals:
  • These are both bad teams. After Jeff Fassero took 54 pitches to get through the first two innings (innings where they both scored), what did the Royals do in the 3rd? Get retired 1-2-3 on...six pitches. The Giants, not to be outdone, took only four pitches to retire themselves in the 5th. Horr-freaking-endous, and they're both MY favorite teams? Sheesh.
  • Anybody who watched Fassero's something-like 12 pitch at-bat against Runelvys Hernandez and wasn't in stitches by the time it was over has no sense of humor. Fassero, a young 42 years old, hitting with a man on 1st and two outs, tried a drag bunt to get on base, and when that didn't work, decided to foul off 11-eventy thousand pitches before hitting a weak grounder up the middle that he seemed determined to beat out. That ol' man can still scoot just a bit...
  • What in the name of all that is Good and Holy is wrong with Pedro Feliz? He's on the superhighway of Regression, looking silly in plate appearance after plate appearance, always on changeups or breaking balls, over and over again. Lay the f--- off those pitches, Pedro -- you...cannot...hit...them. If Feliz is thought to be shopped at all, Brian Sabean had better do it now before the tape of this game circulates throughout the league.
  • And if nobody else has said it, let me be the first to say the bloom is officially off the rose of Mike Matheny. He ain't doing better than we expected anymore, with his .231 batting average and now below .400 SLG, his OPS has also fallen below the OPS-Mendoza line...which for me stands at 700. After yesterday, Matheny is at .691. Doesn't look like I'll be eating that crow on this particular subject after all. Matheny is back to his non-hitting ways.
  • I was telling some of the fans sitting around me that if the Giants didn't touch up Hernandez before he left, the game was all but over, because the Royals bullpen was nasty. Thing is, I said it and actually meant it, and I believe it to be true. Many of you saw Jeremy Affeldt and Mike MacDougal pitch for the first time...the Royals have three more arms in that bullpen with stuff almost as nasty, and Mike Wood isn't a slouch in the 'pen, either. I'm telling you all, the bullpen is the strength of this team and shouldn't be touched in any trade.
  • Jason Ellison continues to be the only bright spot I look to perform day after day. He seems to find a way to contribute almost every day. Some have said trade him while his value is high, to which I say...dumb shit. The Giants have an opportunity to possibly have a very good centerfielder patrolling SBC/Mays Field for...league freaking minimum. Do you understand why Elly is a gamble Sabean must take? He needs to be able to save money somewhere for 2006 and beyond, and if Elly even close to as good as he's played thus far this season, centerfield is the place to do that.
  • By the way, the reason stated on the above bullet is why Lance Niekro shouldn't be traded. What, do you expect J.T. Snow to continue his great defense/singles parade for another few seasons? The Giants need a slugger, and Niekro just might be one. Another position where Sabean could save tons of money for 2006 and the subsequent seasons.
  • The Royals are just comfy with Triples Alley, aren't they?
  • To me, the similarities in the hitting approaches (if you can call them that) of Feliz and Angel Berroa are frighteningly similar. Swing at the 1st pitch, and if the at-bat is to continue after that, look for fastballs only and flail away at anything else, hoping to get lucky. Those two are totally feast-or-famine hitters.
  • Buddy Bell's ejection drew a curious reaction from the Giants fans on the 3rd base side of the park: confusion. Nobody seemed to feel Bell deserved it, and wondered what he could've done to get himself thrown out in the very first inning.

I could go on, but I think that'll be enough.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

YAY! No, wait...BOO!

8-1, Royals over the Giants.

Let me satisfy the Royals fan in me really quickly here...OH YEAH! ROAD WIN, BABY!

Okay, now onto the Giants fan in me...


Well, I guess I told you all that the first two games would be more difficult, with both D.J. Carrasco and Runelvys Hernandez coming off good starts, and Carrasco looking like he possibly has the makings of a decent 4th or 5th starter. Guess I was right.

Shame 'bout that.

Not to pour salt in the wound, but this ought to give all the optimistics a glimpse. Sure, the Royals are playing better ball lately, but this team had just gotten spanked twice by Texas, giving up 22 runs in two games, and they'd lost eight in a row on the road.

If you want to contend for anything, be it division title or wildcard, you win these types of games. Period. You don't let failed-relievers-turned-starters five hit you through nine innings, and draw nary a walk against a guy who's never been known to have tight control.

I'll be at the game tomorrow early enough to catch batting practice. I'm thinking around 6:00 I'll be there, and I'll be making a spectacle of myself wearing my nicer Giants jersey on the outside, my nicer Royals jersey just underneath, and my Royals t-shirt underneath all. I'll top that off with one of my Giants hats. Everything'll be equal that way: two pieces of Giants apparel, two pieces of Royals apparel. The Giants stuff will be outermost because this is SBC/Mays Field, and the Giants need the win tons more than the Royals do.

Perhaps I'll be on ESPN like I was last August at the A's/Royals game on August 13th after Abraham Nunez hit a grand slam off of Mark Mulder which set me off to standing and clapping (and catching a few bottle caps off the noggin). The bottlecaps got me to shouting and yelling, which brought more bottlecaps, which led to me shouting and yelling even more after John Buck hit the Royals 2nd grand slam of the game an inning or two later. Yep, they love me in that thar Coliseum.

15 seconds of fame? No, it was more like three seconds, but I got it on tape. Whoo hoo!

Now, of course, I don't know what I'll be doing if they put me on camera -- I could be grumbling, yelling, pouting, cheering...oh, heck, just watch out for me, alright?

Oh, and if anyone is at the game and wants to flag me down (or buy me some beer and/or garlic fries), feel free. I'll discuss just about anything except Marquis Grissom's continued, useless presence on the Giants roster.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


There's oodles and bunches of talk going around about whether or not the option for staff ace Jason Schmidt should be picked up next season.

Firstly, play like Roy Rodgers and sloooooooow down, pardner.

We don't know half of enough about Schmidt's condition. He's had a DL stint and some fairly poor pitching for two months.

I'm wondering why, when talking of other veteran players, two months is usually a small sample size, yet with Schmidt, the writing is as clear on the wall as if a 5 year-old with fire-engine red Crayolas spelled it out.

Sure, things don't look good -- heck, they look positively shitty. However, I'll add this small, but relevant, caveat: it sure looked like Livan Hernandez was never going to amount to much, didn't it? The Red Sox seem to think letting Pedro Martinez was the right move for them. Didn't look like Kenny Rogers was ever going to do much again, did it? And these guys had whole seasons for their teams to see the writing on the wall, and they still misinterpreted it.

I think it's a bit dumb to think Schmidt is done after two months. Question, wonder, worry...yes, do all of those things, because I'm doing the same. But let's not overreact, alright?

Onto other things, I've added two links: Royals Corner, written by David Sanford, is a new Royals blog, and seems to off to a good start. The other is Oleanders & Morning Glories, which is a Washington Nationals blog (my first Nats link). It's written by Jean-Pierre Allard, et je pense que il est un bon ecriveur (gosh, hope my dusty French is still functional), and also Harper Gordek. The Nats are in 1st place, so perhaps we should start payin' some 'tention.

Divided Allegiance

On the eve of the three game series between the San Francisco Giants and the Kansas City Royals, I find myself with some mixed feelings.

These are my two favorite teams. They have played before, but I've never had the opportunity to even see any of those few games on television. This is the first time I'll be able to see a game live, and even with that, I'm going to miss today's game in addition to Thursday's game while at work (I just accepted a new job today that'll hopefully take care of some of my constant and irritating schedule conflicts with things that really baseball).

Wednesday's game will be viewed by yours truly, and it'll be viewed as up close and personal as I can manage. I'll be at Wednesday's game, by myself, to insure that I can get the best possible ticket as close to the action as possible. I'm going to try and get there very early to see some batting practice and see if I can't get an autograph or two.

But, whatever shall I wear? Those of you who have clicked on my blogger profile lately have probably seen the split picture I sport there with both Giants and Royals gear on. I've considered wearing one, I've considered wearing the other, I've considered wearing both (and looking a damned fool while doing it).

I've been a longer tenured Royals fan than a Giants fan (26 years vs. 18 years), but while it's been much more difficult to follow the Royals until the last couple of years (and the miracle of high-speed Internet, and MLB Audio), it's been easy to follow the Giants and know their teams better than the Royals' teams.

In reality, I know what has to happen in these three games -- Giants taking at least 2 of 3, or sweeping. The Royals season is finished like Michael Jackson's career, so they can stand another couple/few losses, unlike the Giants. I guess it's more the manner of those losses that worries me; yes, the Royals must lose the series, but I want them to make a competitive showing in all three games. (I keep getting this Al Davis vibe, "The Royals must go down, and they must go down hard.")

Those who have heard me yammer over the prowess of Mike Sweeney will get to see him up close for what may be the first time -- his production has slipped a bit lately, which is a bit odd because the Royals offense has been putting up some runs recently. The Giants should definitely take the last game of the series, because Jose Lima, for some reason, is being allowed to start Thursday's game. The first two, with D.J. Carrasco and Runelvys Hernandez starting, might be a tad more difficult. Carrasco has been starting for the Royals this year after being primarily a bullpen guy (and a shaky one at that), but has done well in two of his three starts. Hernandez has struggled for the most part this year, especially with his control. It's a wait-and-see with him, however, as he is coming off Tommy John surgery. His last start against the Texas Rangers was a good one.

Well, if any of you happen to go to the game Wednesday or are watching on television, if you see a guy with a Royals and Giants jersey on, you'll know it's me. I'll look a fool, but I'm leaning towards wearing both jerseys.

I think it's the only way to be true to myself.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Let's do the math

The San Diego Padres, currently in 1st place with 34 wins against 23 losses, stand nine games in front of our beloved San Francisco Giants, who currently are in 4th place with 24 wins against 31 losses.

Let's figure out about what the Giants would have to do to catch them.

The Padres are running just under a .600 winning percentage, which would put them at a pace for about 97 wins. The Giants, meanwhile, are at a .436 winning percentage, calculated out to around 71 wins. If we give the Padres just a skoche of bad luck, and put them at 95 wins, the Giants would have to go a scintillating 72- 36 from here on out just to tie the Padres. 72-36 would be a .667 winning percentage, meaning the Giants would have to win at a pace that is 65% better than what they are doing right now.

And remember, they'd have to start doing that right now. No waiting for Jason Schmidt to figure out how to become dominant again, no waiting for Barry Bonds to return as Superman and play every single game the rest of the season. No waiting for Brian Sabean to figure out that Marquis Grissom just can't help this team, and that there are two better, cheaper, younger options on the team in the forms of Jason Ellison and even Michael Tucker.

There also isn't any room for Jim Brower. He's been pretty good for the Giants in his previous seasons with the club, but he stinking up the joint right now, and the Giants can't afford to run him out there in any kind of game-deciding situation. I don't think the guy is as bad as he's been pitching, but again, if we are thinking of what the Giants would have to do to even consider catching the Padres, Brower can't be a part of it. It's too risky.

LaTroy Hawkins has to pitch like he's back in Minnesota, and Tyler Walker can't keep doing this Jeckyll and Hyde routine -- he's got to pitch like he has in 18 of the 25 games he's pitched this season, which have been scoreless outings. He definitely can't be like four of those 25 games, where he's given up 12 runs to get six outs.

Both Kirk Rueter and Jeff Fassero must keep surprising us with their effective pitching, and rookies Lance Niekro and the aforementioned Jason Ellison must keep up their production (.917 and .860 OPS, respectively). Edgardo Alfonzo, Omar Vizquel, Mike Matheny, Moises Alou, Pedro Feliz, and J.T. Snow definitely can't afford to be worse than they are right now -- they have to at least keep their production levels steady, and hopefully be a bit better.

Deivi Cruz has got to keep hitting off the bench, and Michael Tucker needs to hit more off the bench. Yorvit Torrealba is doing okay, but also must get no worse.

Scott Eyre must continue to whoop ass out of the bullpen, and Scott Munter has to continue to quietly surprise us. Jason Christiansen had better be lights out against left-handed batters, and if he's kept around, Al Levine must be good enough to use in non-mop-up situations. Otherwise, get him out of there and promote somebody with more ability, Sabean.

Noah Lowry should take a look at his 2nd starts vs. the Pirates and Padres, in addition to his start vs. the Athletics, because that's how he's got to pitch the rest of the season. He shouldn't look at all the other starts because if he's anything like me, after looking at them, he'll throw up in his mouth just a little.

Brett Tomko's got to become Jason Schmidt, and do it for only 2 million dollars a year. He can't just be a decent #2 starter or a good #3 starter, he's got to pitch like a staff ace because Schmidt can't be counted on to do that right now.

It starts with the series beginning tomorrow vs. the Kansas City Royals. The Royals were playing better for a second under new manager Buddy Bell, but have since gotten their lunch money taken in their last two games -- the Giants have to beat them up, along with the Cleveland Indians, who come into town right after the Royals. The goal should be winning five of six games.

Let's see how everybody responds, eh?

Sunday, June 05, 2005

Hate to be a hater, but...

This season is over, folks. Schmidt is off for whatever reason, and the Giants can't afford to have their ace be off like this while being about 10 games behind.

They've lost eight of nine on their way to losing nine of ten, and their best pitcher is pitching like their worst pitcher.

The wildcard is a tempting lure, to be certain, as the Giants are only six or seven behind there, but with a different problem everyday I'm beginning just to hope for 3rd place and a respectable record.

If anybody wants to give me a pep talk, feel free -- I'd like to see how anyone can put a positive spin on the last 10 games.


Two games, a chance for two wins.

Of course, the Giants have had eight chances to win over the last eight games, too, and haven't managed to get one.

I'm firmly convinced that the Giants stand a pretty good chance at winning a game if, after nine innings, they have more runs than the Mets do.

Watching the first game, and Ray Durham comes through in the clutch with a knock to drive in Yorvit Torrealba. Lance Niekro then does what he does best -- hammer somethin' -- to earn a double. Tie game at 1-1 in the 3rd inning. Gotta figure that Kaz Ishii will offer up some opportunities to score, but it's up to the Giants to take advantage.

In another disheartening move, Father Alou put Marquis Grissom, the Professional Outmaker, in again at centerfield. You know, it starts to become less of a Grissom vs. Jason Ellison thing, because F. Alou is playing Ellison in right field (which is stupid, too, but nevermind). It's becoming more of a question of Grissom vs. Whomever Isn't Playing, which in the first game is Edgardo Alfonzo. Whenever Grissom starts, either Ellison, Pedro Feliz, or Alfonzo is likely to lose a game to compensate. Seeing as how each of those three are better hitters than Grissom (heck, Michael Tucker is more useful offensively than Grissom as well), this really shouldn't happen.

Let's break it down like this, folks. Do you remember the Neifi Trifecta I mentioned to you earlier this year? How Neifi somehow managed to be so poor offensively last season with the Giants that his batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage were all under .300?

I present to you Marquis Grissom: .204/.242/.283 -- how can those...numbers...find their way into the Giants lineup, especially on consecutive days?

Update (4:00p.m.): Giants up 6-2, and after LaTroy Hawkins earns his keep by allowing consecutive hits, Felipe is going to Tyler Walker in the 'pen. This...looks dangerous. It is, however, a save situation, so we can now put to test a little theory that's been making its way around that Walker doesn't pitch well in non-save situation. Whatever, just get three outs, Tyler.

...whoo hoo! Two sliders for strikes against Mike Cameron, and then blows him away by throwing some super-heated plasma (okay, it was only 93 MPH). Two away.

...then allows a long single to Carlos Beltran, which brings up Mike Piazza as the tying run. Piazza hadn't looked great in the early going, but found a way to get a single last time...oh, nevermind -- Walker snaps Piazza's bat in half for a ground out to Happy Feliz. Game over!

Brett Tomko is easily the Man in this one - 7 2/3 pitched, 6 hits, 1 run allowed, 2 walks vs. 5 strikeouts. If he keeps pitching like this, he just might make it to .500 sometime in August.

Saturday, June 04, 2005

Weekend Thoughts

In the middle of watching (in frustration) the Giants/Mets game. Marquis Grissom is off the disabled list and playing, and again, playing in centerfield while Jason Ellison plays in right.

Father Alou did this before, but then Grip went on the DL, making room and opportunity for Elly to show out in center. And to my eyes, besides a bit of overexuberance, that's exactly what Elly did. A bunch of nice catches that obviously would have been more difficult/impossible for Grissom to make, along with a few diving ones thrown in for good measure. Throwing out a couple of runners at the plate, something that I'd be totally certain that Grissom couldn't do, except that I saw Kenny Lofton throw out a runner at the plate the other day. So I suppose it possible, just not likely -- and obviously Elly has a much stronger arm than Grissom.

More range, stronger arm...yeah, sure, put him in right field, Felipe, that makes a lot of sense.
  • Interesting, as I'm watching the Mets, that the Mets really think that Carlos Beltran should be in center over Mike Cameron. It could just be a respect nod, as Beltran's the 100 million dollar man and all, but Cameron's got Gold Gloves for a reason, and Beltran doesn't for a reason. It's not as if Beltran's not a more than capable centerfielder -- he's very good there, but I think that Cameron's better. Any Mets fans reading that want to chime in on this?
  • F. Alou disappointed me. Noah Lowry gets a leadoff double, and Felipe has Elly bunt him over to third. It's the 3rd inning, Felipe, why give away an out at this point, especially when you have a hitter at the plate with home run power? Sure enough, Omar Vizquel can't get the runner home and Deivi Cruz strikes out to end the inning. So stupid to bunt while only down one run in the first few innings of the game.
  • FOX has a decent play-by-play guy, but I'm wondering who the color guy is, because I want to make sure I avoid his broadcasts from now on. He'd be pretty good if it weren't for the fact that he's terrible.

I have to give a tip of the cap to my other fave team, the Royals, who have now improved to 4-0 under new manager Buddy Bell. Three of those wins coming at the expense of the New York Yankees in a sweep. Unfortunately the Royals keep sending Jose Lima to the mound, so with his start today that streak will come to a screeching halt. With an 8.13 ERA, I think I might be able to use Lima's performance to scare little children...

"And then, even though we thought he was dead for sure, Lima keeeeept coming back. With a spooooky 1.70 WHIP, and already giving up 15 home runs of terror in only 55 innings pitched, Lima shambled to the mound..."

Heck, I'm scared.

UPDATE: Of course, now that I've said that, the Royals have already taken a 2-0 lead in the 1st inning. The Reverse Curse (tm) seems to be working quite well.