Tag: Baseball

Sad Tale of Melky Cabrera

The San Francisco Giants, holding to a tenuous lead in the NL West, were dealt a possible death blow by their superstar yesterday. Melky Cabrera, the top offensive performer for the Giants by far and one of the powerhouses of the National League, idiotically flushed his season — and maybe his career — down the toilet along with a bunch of testosterone needles.

As Keith Olbermann used to say, "That man is an idiot!"

Without Cabrera, my guess is the Giants fall to second or third place in the West and stay there. What a greedy, selfish man Cabrera clearly is. I'm sure he had a raft of rationalizations for his clearly illegal behavior but at the end of the day he destroys his teammates and his fans in the name of a tiny bit of additional power and strength that he probably didn't even need.

It's a sad day for the Orange and Black.

Google News Does Crappy Job of Updates on Some Topics

Sfgiantsongooglenews

As a long-time user of Google News, I am becoming increasingly annoyed by the app's apparent inability to tell time. Or, for that matter, to read a calendar. This image shows you my Google News page's custom San Francisco Giants entries as of 5 p.m. Pacific today.

They're about to kick off a game at St. Louis' Busch Stadium. What does the "news" have to offer me?

* The score of yesterday's game
* A pre-game story about a game that was played July 10 in Kansas City!
* A story about…not the Giants as requested and clearly labeled…but the 49ers (whom I also follow via Google News)

Not even anything about the more recent games between July 9 and yesterday. Let alone any pre-game coverage for today.

Meanwhile, Yahoo Sports' page on the Giants is chock full of brand-new news, including:

* A trade the Giants made in which they picked up lefty reliever Jose Mijares from the Royals TODAY
* The AP's preview of tonight's game and the series
* A good wrapup of the just-completed sweep of the Rockies

And there's lots of other stuff there as well.

It's obvious from this and tons of other observations I've made that Yahoo is really serious about being a major content player while Google dabbles in it using their (apparently time-unconscious) search algorithms to create news pages that are just embarrassingly dumb and out-dated.

Giant All-Star Madness!

I didn't know Pablo "Panda" Sandoval could run all the way to third base without a break!

Matt (Cain) Masterful.

Melky Cabrera is the All-Star MVP in his old home park. How cool is that?

I'm not a big fan of the All-Star Game. Never have been. I didn't watch the game last night. But it was so cool to wake up this morning and read about the awesome exploits of my Giants that I couldn't resist a Wahoo!

Six Ideas for Fixing Baseball’s All-Star Game That I Agree With

The WEEK has a good piece today listing six ways to improve Major League Baseball's mid-season classic. Every one of them is sound and I agree with all of them. In case you care.

If you don't want to take time to read the piece, here are the six suggestions the mag gathered:

  1. Invite fewer players.
  2. De-emphasize fan voting. (I'd be in favor of giving fan voting some tie-breaking value.)
  3. Ditch the World Series home-field advantage prize. (One of non-commissioner Selig's truly dumb ideas. And he's had a lot.)
  4. Stop insisting that every team is represented.
  5. Schedule the game on the weekend. (Please?)
  6. Move it to cable. (Or anywhere off Fox)

Giants Off to 0-3 Start Thanks to…Pitching?

The Giants opened their season in Arizona. Which should have been a tip-off all by itself. The G-men often struggle in the Arizona desert. You'd think that this close to Spring Training in that state, they'd be acclimated. You'd be wrong.

At least as far as the pitching is concerned.

In recent years, Giants' pitching has been top-rank while their offense has sputtered and been terribly inconsistent. Now it appears that their starting pitching is — for the moment at least — the bane of their existence. The Diamondbacks won all three games by one run even though the Giants scored four or more in all three contests. Last season, when the Giants scored four or more, they had a huge upside W-L percentage.

But the present starting rotation had a three-day ERA of 8.22. And defense — the other supposed mainstay of this year's version — stumbled as well, committing three errors each in Games 1 and 3. Frighteningly enough, SS Brandon Crawford committed two errors in the three-game set, which is a radical departure from his usual steadiness. (To be fair, the D-backs committed five errors Sunday as well; the Chase Field infield is a piece of burnt concrete that induces errors.)

Meanwhile, the hitting, while anemic — the team BA is .219 and with runners in scoring position, it's .217 — has been timely. The Giants went long four times in three games. Meanwhile, the highly touted starting three of Lincecum, Bumgarner and Cain served up six gopher balls.

Last year, ace Lincecum had a mediocre 13-14 year in the W-L department primarily because of poor hitting support. The Giants batted just under .200 behind him and he lost six shutouts. But he was, for the most part, pretty sharp, earning a respectable 2.74 ERA while holding opponents to a .222 average. If he can relocate his form and the Giants can up the hitting average while maintaining some HR power, this start could be an aberration, but still….

Giants Lose Season Opener Thanks to Muffs, Timmy

Last year, the SF Giants averaged 2.79 runs per game when their supposed ace, Tim Lincecum, was on the mound. They served up 10 shutouts behind him. No wonder he had such a so-so record.

The good news is the G-Men scored four runs in their season opener at the Diamondbacks this afternoon. The entirely revamped offense showed signs of resurgence, though they left eight men on base which is a continuation of another somewhat disturbing trend from 2011.

The bad news is that Lincecum pitched like he did too often last season: erratic start, settle down, then fall apart with little notice. He was helped along by three errors committed by the defense, the most egregious being committed by shortstop Brandon Crawford and third-sacker Pablo Sandoval. The latter was scary in large part because it continues a pattern we saw too often last year and during spring training.

But this one can be laid at the feet of Lincecum. The unevenness with which he pitched in streaks was reminiscent of last year, particularly against the D-Backs, who've now beaten him four straight times.

Melky Cabrera was the hero for the Giants, scorching a line-drive homer onto and over the right-field fence to score two runs at a time when the Giants were trailing 3-0. 

One game does not a season make. Nor does it make a trend. But it does make for nerves.

Two Rarities in Extra Innings Giants Win

Chris_stewart

There are a few plays that a baseball fan sees so seldom that when they occur they are like little gems that any fan worth his peanut shells enjoys savoring over and over. The Giants, who defeated the San Diego Padres 4-3 in 11 innings yesterday at Petco Park, pulled off two of these beauties in one inning.

In the top of the final inning, the Giants scored what proved to be the winning run on a brilliantly executed suicide squeeze bunt by Catcher Chris Stewart that scored Emmanuel Burris. 
Then in the bottom of that frame, with Brian “Fear the Beard” Wilson in relief playing his usual “let’s make this win as dramatic as we can”,. Stewart provided the first half of a sparkling 2-5-4 double play that pulled the peanuts out of the fire, as it were.
The suicide score was a thing of drama and beauty. Burris had set things up when, after singling to get aboard, he stole second and then ended up at third when the Padres throw to second scampered into center. Padres Manager, former Giants pitching ace Bud Black, suspected the the Giants’ skipper, Bruce Bochy, might call for the squeeze, so he thwarted it with a pitch-out. Burris stayed solidly at third. Black then ordered reliefer Chad Qualls to pitch to Stewart. On the pitch, Burris took off for home and Stewart laid down a perfect bunt on the third-base side for the easy score.
Kyle Phillips, the Padres’ catcher, tried to move two runners along in the bottom of the 11th, only to fall victim to brilliant heads-up defense by the G-men. Stewart pounced on the bunt, which traveled down the third-base line and not quite far enough to be effective, and fired the ball to Pablo Sandoval, who made a quickl-thinking throw to first and got Phillips for the back end of the double play. Burris covered first on the play.
The Giants broke form to win this one, stealing a team-record-tying six bases in the game. 
The win kept the Giants up by 3-1/2 in the NL West over the Diamondbacks as the rest of the division fades from view. The orange and black have won seven of their last nine.

Clemens Perjury Trial Begins Tomorrow; More Taxpayer Money Wasted

In another display of failed national priorities, tomorrow in Washington, D.C., one of the greatest men ever to play baseball goes on trial and could face up to 30 years in prison for lying to Congress. Former ace pitcher Roger Clemens has been charged with presenting false testimony about his use of performance-enhancing drugs, as has San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds. He was convicted April 13 of obstruction of justice (the least significant charge that the jury could convict him of) but his attorneys are appealing the verdict.

Clemens' biggest problem is going to be his old buddy and teammate Andy Pettitte. The guy is a prosecutor's dream witness, with no apparent motive to lie about his long-time friend when he told Congress that Clemens had confided in him about some past drug usage. Clemens' lawyers are going to have a hard time discrediting Pettitte. The key witness against him is former New York Yankees strength and conditioning coach Brian McNamee, who has testified to injecting Clemens with several illegal substances.

I think McNamee's easily dealt with because he has some previous record of being less than candid on allegations against him in a rape case. Plus given he had an official role with the Yankees, it seems to me that the government risks alienating a jury if they don't go after him and the club, who were certainly complicit in any steroid use that may have taken place.

It's sordid and ugly and demeaning and pointless all around. Although the game of baseball seems to have recovered from the height of the scandal, a fresh conviction of a guy of Clemens' stature and image could throw the whole thing back into a tizzy again. And for what? Steroid use is all but a victimless crime. Fans clamor for individual performances, only want to see shutouts and home runs in replays and then faint in shock when the money players find shortcuts to giving them what they want in return for millions of dollars. At the end of the day, it's just a game.

Giants Eat Tigers, Spit Them Out Behind Sizzling Zito

My San Francisco Giants drubbed my old home team Detroit Tigers in a rain-delayed marathon in Detroit tonight by the NFL-like score of 15-3. A lot of folks will look only at that fact and say, "Yeah, give ME 15 runs and I can win, too. Zito's a bum." Ahem. The Z-man pitched six innings of scoreless ball despite a more than two-and-a-half-hour rain delay between the second and third innings. That's his second win since coming off the DL. I, for one, am glad to see him back (though I'll admit having some trepidations about him earlier).

The Giants have now won nine of their last 11 starts and are 3 up on the Diamondbacks and 6-1/2 ahead of the Rockies. The Padres are the only club in the West keeping pace at the moment and they're still 10 games back.

But lest the Giant sticks get big bat-heads over their 15-run outburst, they might want to take note of the fact that the Tigers have been playing like housecats of late, giving up 14 or more runs in three of their last five games. Over that span they are 1-4. As skipper Jim Leyland said, it's getting ugly out there. Detroit remains a contender in the AL Central but they've dropped from first to second and are 1-1/2 back of the Indians.

If the Giants can hang on to their present .571 pace to the All-Star break July 12, they're going to be hard to catch down the stretch when guys start coming back from injuries.

Giants Split With Clubs. Grrrrrrrrr

It always bugs me when the Giants lose to the Chicago Cubs. For some reason — perhaps their Century of Mediocrity — I've always held the Cubs in disdain. (Though, I hasten to add, not their fans, who have to be the largest group of Saints assembled in the United States in the 20th or 21st Century.) 

Many years ago when the G-men still played at rundown Candlestick Park, I had season tickets in an upper box. I always try to get to the park to watching batting practice. As I arrived at the park for the opening of a three-game set with the Cubs (a set which my guys swept!), I spotted a lone Cubs fan about 25 rows up in the upper reserved seating. I made my way up to his seat. He was decked out in full Cubs regalia, up to and including the two-beer-can-baseball-cap-with-straws that always seemed to me in those days was like the world's greatest invention ever.

I looked at him and with what I hope was a puzzled look, I said questioningly, "Chicago Cubs?"

Without missing a beat, the guy said defensively, "Hey, any team can have a bad century!"

So when my G-men started out in Chicago a few days ago winning a twilight twin bill 13-7 and 6-3, I thought they were going to breeze through the Windy City and pack four more W's under their belts. But 'twas not to be. After dropping a real classic 2-1 yesterday, the Giants went down to a 5-2 setback in 13 innings today. That meant they split the series and, sorry guys, but that just isn't good enough.

At least the split didn't cost them in the standings. They remain 2 up on the Diamondbacks and six up on Colorado.

Next up for the Giants is my hometown favorite Detroit Tigers, who are locked in a race for the top of the AL Central with a 44-38 record compared to the Giants 46-36 slate.