Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bengie Molina Traded to the Texas Rangers

UPDATE: Wow. Turns out the PTBNL is Michael Main, the 24th overall pick in the 2007 draft. Now, Main did have a terrible 2009 in Single-A, going 4-6 with a 6.49 ERA, but he has rebounded this year to post an ERA of 3.45 and 7.1 K/9. His 2009 year was supposedly affected by a bout with a viral infection. Main has a ton of potential, can reach the mid-90s with his fastball, has a potentially plus curve, and is still just 21 years old. He was a first round pick for a reason, so obviously he has some upside. He's a no risk, high reward player. I can't believe Sabean got both Main and Ray for Molina. I can't believe what I'm about to say, but good job Brian Sabean.

Bengie Molina has been traded to the Texas Rangers for RHP Chris Ray and a player to be named later, as first reported by Jon Paul Morosi of The Giants will also reportedly send about $2 million in cash to the Rangers.

First of all, Bengie Molina was a good Giant. He deserves credit for catching one of the best pitching staffs in the major leagues and a two-time Cy Young award winner and he was always an important veteran presence in the clubhouse. While he was never a great average hitter and had mostly below average OBPs, in 2007 and 2009 he hit 19 and 20 home runs, respectively, as the Giants cleanup hitter. He should've never been the cleanup hitter, but that isn't his fault. That being said, it was absolutely time for Molina to go. His line of .257/.312/.332 with an OPS of .644 just wasn't good enough to justify him being in the lineup. There's also the fact that a young catching prospect by the name of Buster Posey needed to be catching everyday. With Bengie gone, Buster will move to catcher, Uribe will slide over to third and Renteria will be manning shortstop on most days. The bottom line is that now the Giants will be putting their best players out on the field.

This deal is pretty surprising because I assumed the Giants weren't going to get much at all for Molina, but they ended up with two players. Chris Ray is a reliever with a fastball that runs up to 94-95 mph and a slider and splitter. His best year came in 2006 when he was the closer for the Baltimore Orioles. He had 33 saves, a 2.73 ERA, and a WHIP of 1.09. He missed the entire 2008 season recovering from Tommy John Surgery and came back to have a horrible year in 2009 when he had 7.27 ERA and a 2.01 WHIP!! However, he's recovered nicely this year, posting an ERA of 3.41, and should be a good addition to the bullpen. Don't expect the PTBNL to be anyone significant, but the fact that the Giants were able to get relief help and another player for one of the worst hitters in the lineup has to make Giants fans happy.

Even though Molina's season has been a struggle, you've got to appreciate his contributions to the Giants.

Game Recap: LA 8, SF 2

I hope this is rock bottom. The Giants need this to be rock bottom. They have just been swept by the hated Dodgers and have now lost five games in a row. They sit 5.5 games out of first place and they need to pick things up fast. Next is the toughest road trip of the season, with 11 straight games in Colorado, Milwaukee, and Washington. They can't afford to be slumping so hard when the NL West figures to be close and competitive all year long.

I guess I can talk about this game a little bit. There's nothing to say about the offense. It wasn't good again and I'd be surprised if Bochy doesn't sit down and consider some major changes. As for the pitching, Jonathan Sanchez was doing pretty well until he allowed a single that should have been picked up by Burrell but instead got past him and allowed 2 runs to score. He proceeded to allow 4 ER in 5 innings. Another not so good outing from a starting pitcher. Usually the starting pitching can make up for our lackluster offense, but not on this homestand. Absolutely nothing was working.

Maybe going on the road can light a fire under the Giants? I'm just grasping at straws at this point.

Game Recap: LA 4, SF 2

That was the worst game I have ever been to. I mean, I've probably been to worse games, but no game has taken more out of me than that one. And it was all because of Sandoval's baserunning error. It was the epitome of suck. No play in recent memory has made me angrier because it was his second dumb baserunning error in 2 games and all of my pent up frustrations towards him just exploded. All season long, I've believed that Pablo would get out of his funk. He showed last year that he was too good a hitter to just regress so much in one year. But this isn't a temporary slump. Sandoval is broken and he needs to be fixed. Whether that means giving him the Matt Kemp treatment and sitting him for a few games to figure out what's wrong or whatever else, the Giants need to figure out how to get him going offensively because they need him if they are going to be successful.

It's obvious that other changes need to be made. Sandoval getting it together is the first thing. Buster Posey wasn't in the lineup for the second game in a row which is just mind-boggling to me. Bengie Molina does not deserve to be in a major league lineup. It is up to Bruce Bochy to have enough balls to take him out because it's best for the team. I don't care how well he works with the pitchers. His handling of the pitching staff does not negate his shortcomings at the plate. Obviously, another big hitter needs to be acquired, and not another Freddy Sanchez or Ryan Garko. It needs to be a BIG hitter. Anything and everything needs to be explored because this team is just not good right now.

The Giants are now 4th in the West, 1-4 on this homestand and 3-8 in their last 11 games. Everyone is slumping with the exception of Pat Burrell and the pitching staff isn't as dominant as it was early in the year. After this series they go on an 11-game roadtrip without an off-day until the All-Star break. Things aren't looking up anytime soon so forgive me if I'm not too optimistic.

You know what's disgusting? Matt Cain is 6-7. He wasn't good tonight, but there is no way he deserves that.

The only thing good about this game was that Pat Burrell's 9th inning attempt to bring me out of my game long depression got me a free burrito from Chipotle. Gotta love them stadium promotions.

Monday, June 28, 2010

International Free Agency

MLB's International free agent signing period begins on July 2nd, which is fast approaching. I'm no expert on the international free agents, but it is an aspect of baseball that has always interested me. I'm of the opinion that teams need to spend less money in free agency and more money in the draft and on international amateurs, and seeing as the Giants' draft was pretty underwhelming, I'm hoping they invest a fair amount in the international market. The Giants have dipped into the international free agency pool before of course, signing Angel Villalona for $2.1 million in 2006. He never really played too well and, uh, he could very well be going to prison for alleged murder, so I guess that didn't work out very well. Since then they haven't done much besides signing Rafael Rodriguez for $2.55 million in 2008. Anyway, here are a few names that seem like intriguing options for the Giants:

Eskarlin Vasquez, OF - Vasquez is a right fielder from the Dominican Republic with a very strong arm. Potentially a five-tool prospect, he has good power and many scouts believe he's the best position player available. Back on May 17, Frankie Piliere of MLB Fanhouse said the Giants were the favorites to land him.

Vicmal De La Cruz, OF - Others might think De La Cruz has the best bat of anyone in this class. He is a potential five-tool prospect with maybe the highest upside of anyone on this list.

Phillips Castillo, OF - Castillo is another outfielder from the Dominican Republic who's calling card is his power. He could be the best power bat in this class and he could come cheaper than others.

Martin Steylon Peguero, SS - Tools, tools, tools. That's what this guy is all about. He's raw and athletic but supposedly has huge upside and power potential. A power bat at a premium position sounds good to me. Too bad the Giants never go after raw hitters, probably because they know they are too incompetent to develop them.

Elvis Sanchez, 3B - Sounds a little like Pablo Sandoval. He's improved his body a lot but still may have to move off third in the future. His main tool is POWER. He's got lots of it, and I yearn for a time when the Giants will have a legit power hitter.

Luis Heredia, RHP - Maybe the best pitcher from this class of free agents, this kid is only 15 years old. He's already 6'4" and is extremely projectable. He'll be tough to sign though. His team in Mexico owns his rights and according to MLBTradeRumors, the Giants, Pirates, Dodgers, Yankees, Blue Jays, Mariners, and Rangers are all interested.

Geronimo Fransua, LHP - He's thin and projectable like a lot of the guys on this list. His velocity is already in the low-90s and he may have room to fill out and reach up into the mid-90s. He's also got some decent secondary pitches that will improve over time.

Luis Abad, RHP - Abad, also from the Dominican Republic, is really interesting because he's another pitcher with high upside. He's 160 pounds and can run his fastball up to the mid-90s with extremely good movement.

Jorge Feliz, RHP - Feliz throws in the low-90s with an already good curveball. These prospects don't normally have plus secondary pitches, so Feliz could be interesting.

Roughned Odor, SS - This guy is mostly on the list because of his name. Besides his awesome, or terribly unfortunate (depending on how you look at it) name, Odor is expected to be a high average hitter who can stay at shortstop. Those guys are always nice to have.

The farm system is fairly weak right now, so the Giants could use some young talent. Expect them to sign one or two guys from this list.

Game Recap: LA 4, SF 2

In less than 2 full seasons, Casey Blake has become one of the most hateable players on the team down south, and tonight added to his resume. Not much to say about this game, we all pretty much knew it was over when the aforementioned Blake turned around a fastball, a home run whose pain can only be compared to the kind of leg amputations that must have taken place on Civil War battlefields.

What's with Sandoval? Seriously, what is with him?

Barry Zito was okay, too many pitches though.

I really thought Gerald Demp was going to do something magical in the 9th.

Burrell keeps hitting, huh?

Did you know Matt Kemp is having a pretty disappointing year? Yep.

That's it. That's all.

Big Z a Giant?

In our second installment of "Trade rumors that will be forgotten and never mentioned again due to their obvious unlikelihood in hindsight", the Giants have been mentioned in a Carlos Zambrano article by Tim Dierkes over at In his effort to find a team with overpaid players that could be traded for Zambrano, Edgar Renteria and Aaron Rowand have been proposed. If traded, their combined salaries would be $36 million, which means the Giants would take on $9 million extra with Zambrano.

When I first saw this, I thought, how could the Giants possibly pull off getting Carlos Zambrano for Edgar Renteria and Aaron Rowand? Then I thought, why would we trade for a pitcher? Then I thought, Renteria and Rowand? How? Is Zambrano having that bad of a year? Is he that horrible of a human being? You have to be a horrible human being to be traded for Aaron Rowand's contract, right?

If this trade is possible, which I seriously doubt, there is no question the Giants should go for it. Zambrano has a career 3.58 ERA, 9th best among active pitchers with enough innings, and he has never had a year with an ERA over 4.00. He's 29. His ERA is 5.66 this year, but if you disregard his Opening Day start, where he gave up 8 runs in 1.1 innings, it's 4.47. Is this a pitcher that should be banished to the bullpen, with the track record he has? I understand the character issues Zambrano brings with him, but I'm willing to take that risk if it means getting rid of Aaron Rowand's playing issues.

Lincecum, Zito, Cain, Sanchez/Bumgarner, Zambrano?

Brian Wilson is a MAN

Brian Wilson is awesome. I think you can usually tell a lot about a person from their face. And by looking at Brian Wilson's face, there's no way he's not awesome. So this is just going to be a post reflecting on how cool he is. His last outing wasn't so good, but that makes this the perfect time to write about him. If Friday's game made you a little down on Brian WIlson, it shouldn't have. With the exception of that game a couple others, Wilson has been pretty dominant.

First, let's look at Wilson's not so good outings. There was the save opportunity against the Phillies where two perfectly placed bloop singles and a double down the line brought in two runs to tie the game. You can't really blame this one on Wilson. Those bloop singles were some of the cheapest and flukiest hits you'll ever see, and I don't care if flukiest is not a word because it definitely applies here. There was the game against the Pirates when Wilson gave up a game-tying home run to Delwyn Young, who had at that point hit only 1 homer on the season. We'll just call that an unfortunate event. It happens to the best of the best. And of course there was the previously mentioned game two nights ago when the Red Sox were getting hit after hit after hit until Wilson got Darnell McDonald to groundout with the bases loaded to end the game. That was just not good at all, but it didn't cost the Giants the game, so it's okay. But that's pretty much it, besides a couple of fluke hits and one bad game, everything else has been dominant.

When I looked at Wilson's WHIP I was a little surprised at how high it is. Right now it's at 1.313, but before Friday's game (4 H, 2 BB in 1.1 IP), which we can assume was just an anomaly for Wilson, it was 1.174. So far all of the stress it seems like WIlson causes, it really hasn't been that bad, as his WHIP is better than those of guys like Heath Bell and Jonathan Papelbon. And I'm just going with my gut, but it seems like Wilson gets a strikeout (44 Ks in 32 IP) whenever he needs it, so the walks and hits don't hurt him. And if you're not satisfied with his WHIP, all you need to do is look at how reliable he has been. His save percentage of 91% is 2nd in the NL only to Ryan Franklin who has only 15 saves to Wilson's 21. And you have to mention his endurance. Wilson has been an absolute horse, eight times coming in during the 8th to get a 4, 5, or 6 out save. Closers just don't do that very much anymore. I don't care how he does it but if the job gets done 91% of the time and he can come in and get a long save anytime, especially with our bullpen struggles of late, that's extremely valuable.

I'm sure we'd all love for him to keep the stress level down in the 9th; I know several times he's almost given me a heart attack. But maybe that's not how Brian Wilson works. You can tell the guy loves being the closer and lives for pressure situations. So far he's shown that with the exception of a couple of performances, all he does is get the job done. And that's all you can ask for.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Game Recap: BOS 5, SF 1

Well that was not good. Lots of O-fers for the Giants offense today. Pretty much everyone but Edgar Renteria is slumping. But that was to be expected. I'm used to that.

What I don't want to get used to are these legitimately bad outings by Tim Lincecum. I said during the stretch where he was walking 5 a game that people were overreacting, that he would be fine, and all great pitchers have to be allowed a period of struggle. It looked like Lincecum was starting to come out of it, even though he still hasn't had a really dominant start since going 8 1/3 against Philadelphia two months ago. His recent starts have been better, going longer in the game and allowing fewer runs, but giving up an uncharacteristically high number of hits. Then today he looked as bad as he's ever been this season. This is starting to bother me.

But hey, Dan Runzler looked really good, striking out 5 out of 6 batters. And the pitching staff combined for 3 strikeouts of the bearded creep. And now, for three days, we can forget how the Giants have played so far, or how the season may go after, or what the hell the rest of the league is doing, because the Dodgers are coming to town, and nothing else matters.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Game Recap: BOS 4, SF 2

Madison Bumgarner pitched well in his season debut against a tough team, but the few mistakes he made cost him, and the Giants lost the game 4-2. Bumgarner gave up an early home run to Darnell McDonald, and in the second inning Mike Cameron's 3-run bomb to center field gave the Red Sox all the runs they would need. After that, Bumgarner recovered nicely, keeping his pitch count very manageable and finishing 7 innings. He only had one walk, and 5 strikeouts, including getting the bearded creep twice. Bumgarner had no trouble hitting the strike zone in this outing (66/96 pitches thrown for strikes), which is also probably the reason for those home runs early in the game. Enjoy watching Buster Posey catch a game, because it won't happen for another month. Now that Bumgarner is a major league pitcher, he'll need someone with a wealth of major league experience like Eli Whiteside to call the game.

It looked like the Giants might have a chance to come back like they did yesterday after Red Sox starter Clay Buchholz left the game injured in the 2nd inning. However, the Boston bullpen shut them down for the most part, the only real threat coming in the 6th inning, where the Giants only managed to get a run on a Buster Posey sacrifice fly.

Andres Torres is starting to slump. Juan Uribe is starting to slump. Even the Huffster hasn't displayed his usual awesomeness lately. And Aaron Rowand just started two games in a row in center field.

Madison Bumgarner Called Up

Joe Martinez can't be too happy about this news. As first reported by Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News, Madison Bumgarner is being called up to start Saturday's game against the Red Sox. The move is a little surprising, only because I expected Joe Martinez to get more of a shot to claim the 5th starter's spot. In his one start against the Orioles Martinez wasn't great but he wasn't terrible either. It could just be that the Giants think Bumgarner is ready to contribute and Martinez wasn't going to be a long-term solution. Either way, it's pretty exciting news.

After Buster Posey was called up to the majors, Bumgarner was the best prospect left in our farm system. In fact, as recently as the beginning of last year, Bumgarner was seen as perhaps the best pitching prospect in all of baseball. In 2008 he absolutely dominated hitters in A-ball going 15-3 with a 1.46 ERA and 164 strikeouts in 141.2 innings. His dominance continued into 2009, but when he was promoted to AA he went through some struggles. He was still having success and even pitched well during a short stint in the majors, but towards the end of the season his velocity started to drop. His fastball had normally been anywhere from 92-95 MPH, but all of a sudden it was topping out at 88 MPH. No one really knew what was wrong but the struggles continued into this season. He had a terrible spring training and his velocity was still way down at the beginning of the season in AAA. But as of late, he has found what made him so successful in the first place. His velocity is back up around 92 MPH, and even though his strikeout numbers are down he has been very effective with a 3.16 ERA in Fresno.

I assume the Giants are taking the same route with Bumgarner as they did with Posey; that is, they didn't want to call him up until he was going to be here to stay. Bumgarner is still considered one of the best pitching prospects in the minors and his promotion should immediately strengthen what is already a terrific pitching staff. And hey, barring any injury, Wellemeyer won't be starting anytime soon, which is always good news. Get excited people, the Madison Bumgarner era has officially begun.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Game Recap: SF 5, BOS 4

When Kevin Youkilis hit that monster home run in the first inning, and the far too many Red Sox fans in the stands starting "Youing" him, I really thought that this game was over. Then, in the 2nd inning, the Giants were able to get some hits off Wakefield, and took advantage of some very strange defensive decisions by the Red Sox, which would help them later in the game as well. They tied the game 3-3.

Just when you thought Juan Uribe was going into a slump (.087 avg. in last 7 games), he belted a solo home run down the left field line to give the Giants a 4-3 lead in the third inning. The score would remain like this till the 8th inning, but not without turmoil and turbulence. Jonathan Sanchez, who pitched relatively well after the first inning, was relieved by Sergio Romo in the 6th with 2 runners on. Romo loaded the bases, but was then able to get out of the inning with a strikeout. In the 7th, Vicente Casilla came in, and boy was he wild. After numerous wild pitches and walking the bases loaded, Casilla was able to strike out Victor Martinez to end the inning. Then in the 8th inning, with 2 outs, Bochy brought in Wilson, who immediately put two runner on, before once again ending the inning with a strikeout.

In the bottom half of the inning, the Giants got a crucial 2nd run, thanks to the continuous wild pitching by the Red Sox, and a bad play by Bill Hall. They would need it, because Wilson got 2 quick outs in the 9th, and then proceeded to give up a run and load the bases before getting the final out. The Giants bullpen, despite their problems throwing strikes tonight, managed to cling to the lead and win the game. Wilson and the boys may be wild, but they are wild MEN, and they get out of the trouble they create more often than not.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Game Recap: HOU 7, SF 5

I am convinced that Wandy Rodriguez put some kind of spell on Matt Cain and the Giants and I have many points that support my theory. First of all, look at his face.

Just take a look at it. That man has something up his sleeve. Plus, his name is Wandy. I mean c'mon!! All of the clues are there. The Astros CRUSHED Matt Cain today. No one has crushed Cain this year. The Giants were mostly ineffective against Wandy Rodriguez. EVERYBODY is effective against Wandy Rodriguez. Something was amiss today and I think it's safe to say it's his fault.

We lost to Rodriguez, the man with a 6.09 ERA coming into today's game. For whatever reason, Cain pitched like Todd Wellemeyer. To make things worse, I got a little excited in the 9th when we had a chance to take the lead, but of course the Giants disappointed me. Shame on them. We lost a series to the freakin' Houston Astros. Terrible game. Terrible series.

I'm kind of excited to face the Red Sox at home, but I'd be more excited if I felt like we weren't going to get swept.

Game Recap: HOU 6, SF 3

4 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K.

Zito's line tonight certainly looked a lot more like 2007-2009 Zito than 2010 Zito. It's not really too surprising that after starting the season so well Zito would regress a little bit. And even if he hasn't been as dominate of late, he's still been very good and very valuable. I guess he was due for a game like tonight's. The Astros scored early and often and it never really felt like the Giants had a chance to come back. Oh well, a loss like like this will happen once in a while.

Posey wasn't in the lineup again tonight. According to Henry Schulman, Bochy wanted to keep the same guys in the lineup tonight because we won last night. I don't know if Bochy pays attention to the games, but the offense was not the reason we won last night, it was Tim Lincecum's pitching. I'm not saying inserting Posey into the lineup will magically cause the Giants to score lots of runs, but Bochy's reasoning for keeping him out of the lineup is a little ridiculous. You don't keep one of your better hitters on the bench for a second day in a row because the offense scored 2 runs the night before. I understand that Renteria deserves to be playing right now, after all he is hitting .343, but for the life of me I can't understand why Molina is still in the lineup. If Renteria is going to play regularly, there is no player worthy of being sent to the bench besides Bengie. He's hitting .263/.315/.344 with a .659 OPS. In other words, he has been terrible this year. We'll have more on this in the coming days.

Let's take the series tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Game Recap: SF 3, HOU 1

Missed bunts. Overthrows. Missed catches. Passed Balls. This was a messy, messy game. And up until the 7th inning, it was a pretty boring game too. The turning point was a great at-bat from Juan Uribe. With one out and a runner on, Uribe was quickly behind in the count 0-2. But he fought back, working the count and fouling pitches off, and drew a walk after an 11 pitch at-bat. A single and a groundout from Burrell and Sandoval, respectively, brought in the two runs the Giants would need to take the lead and eventually win the game.

Lincecum's line will read 8 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 7 K. A very, very good start from him. He's definitely bounced back from the string of 4 starts where he really struggled but it's clear that he's not all the way back to being as dominant as he can be.

One more thing. What the hell are the Astros thinking???? They are letting their young catching prospect play catcher??? In his first major league game?? Hahahahaha, I pity them. They are so stupid. In all seriousness, no more of this nonsense where Renteria or Molina being in the lineup means less playing time for Buster Posey. It needs to stop.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Giants Interested In DeJesus

The Giants have interest in KC Royals outfielder David DeJesus, according to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi. However, there haven't been any "serious talks". The fact that the Giants are thinking of trading for an outfielder when all 3 of their current outfielders are mashing, means either they have no idea what they are doing, or Bengie Molina is about to be benched for Posey, and Huff is going to move back to first base. Of course, that will never happen, so it's safe to assume the Giants don't know what they are doing.

I think DeJesus is good, good enough that he might cost too much. In 5 seasons in Kansas City, he has a career OPS of .791, and he's having his best year so far, .328/.400/.492. As far as I know, he's good defensively, and he'd certainly be an improvement over Burrell or Huff. He might end up requiring too good of a prospect, especially because the Royals don't really have any need to trade him right now. I do think this team needs another hitter, and if it's an outfielder who's presence will set in motion the tectonic movement required to shift Molina permanently to the bench, then DeJesus is a great option, especially if he can be gotten relatively cheap. Neither is likely though.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Game Recap: SF 9, TOR 6

When it was looking like we were going to lose this game because Jonathan Sanchez was walking what seemed like every other batter that he faced, I was going to write about how much I hate walks. But forget about that! In a surprising development, the Giants starting pitching was bad and the offense SCORED SOME RUNS!!!

We'll get to talking about those runs, but let's start from the beginning. Sanchez was not good. In 2 2/3 innings he only gave up 3 runs and did have 5 strikeouts, but also walked 5 batters and really struggled with his control all day. In the second inning alone he walked 4 batters and one bloop single brought in two runs. The third inning wasn't much better for Sanchez and his day was done early. A Huff homer made the score 3-1, but for a while it was looking like it was going to be another bad day for the offense.

Then came the sixth inning, and it was a big one. Shaun Marcum, who had largely stumped the Giants with his 88-MPH fastball and a nasty changeup, was out of the game and Brian Tallet was in for the Jays. First Renteria walked and Rowand doubled. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, Torres singled, scoring a run. Then the other Sanchez picked a great time to hit his first home run of the year. Freddy Sanchez hit a 3-run homer to left field right inside the foul pole gave the Giants a 6-3 lead. Uribe added a run-scoring double and Burrell hit a two-run shot in the 8th to give the Giants a 9-3 lead. The Blue Jays made it a little interesting in the 9th, but it wasn't enough to overcome the offensive outburst from the Giants.

And we can't talk about the game without giving props to the bullpen. With the exception of Jeremy Affeldt (ouch!), the bullpen pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings. They've had some issues recently, but they really came through today.

The Giants have to be glad to get out of Toronto. Bring on the Astros. Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Game Recap: TOR 3, SF 0


I think I just watched the same game all over again. A Giants starting pitcher is pitching a beautiful game. The Giants offense doesn't give the pitcher enough run support. In a tie game, an 8th inning homer gives Toronto the lead and eventually the win. There's not much else to say about this game.

Cain has been the best pitcher in the National League over the last month and today was no different. His fastball was explosive, and while he didn't have many strikeouts, almost every batter was grounding out weakly or hitting shallow pop-ups. That is until the 8th inning, when again, one mistake cost the Giants the game. In a 0-0 tie with two outs, a high fastball came back right over the plate, and Aaron Hill crushed it. I have to admit, the Toronto offense scared me a bit coming into this series. Their lineup is full of low average, powerful hitters, and their power is certainly what has doomed us in these two games.

The real concern is obviously the offense. Both games this weekend have resulted in pitchers getting losses when they deserved wins. Whether it's because of being on the road, or the fact that right now our 7-8-9 hitters are a black hole in the lineup, the offense is in a mini-slump. Bad, impatient at-bats from a lot of players. If it is an issue of being on the road, that's a real problem. If the Giants are going to be a true contender they need to win on the road. And while the offense is MUCH improved from last year, I think it's fair to wonder if this offense can be consistent enough to win games. Maybe these two games have just been an anomaly and we can just blame the struggles on Canada.

Sanchez on the hill tomorrow against Shaun Marcum, who has been very good for the Jays. I would like it very much if we were not swept.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Game Recap: TOR 3, SF 2

Well, maybe that wasn't 8th inning weirdness, but more like 8th inning disappointment.

Zito pitched a fantastic game that he didn't deserve to lose, but he made one mistake and that mistake ended up costing him the game. With the game tied at 2-2 going in the bottom of the 8th inning, Edwin Encarnacion smashed a hanging breaking ball to put Toronto up 3-2 for good. 8th inning disappointment.

This game was sloppy. Zito was cruising, not allowing a hit until the 5th inning, when things started to fall apart. First an infield single. Then Zito hit Jose Bautista. The next play was where things really started to go wrong. On a groundball to Sandoval, the Panda double clutched and was late with the throw to second. It was definitely a mental error, as tagging the runner headed for third or throwing to first would've been much better options. With the bases loaded and zero outs, Encarnacion (him again?!) ripped a single to bring in two runs. Zito did a great job getting out of the inning, inducing an inning-ending double play, but still, the damage was done.

To make things worse, in the next half inning, Huff, thinking he had his 12th homer of the year, went into a trot and only got a double out of what should have been a triple. A couple of plays later on a single from Burrell, Huff badly misjudged the ball and was out at the plate by a wide margin. Definitely some more mental errors. But hey, I'm not going to criticize Huff too much. He's been a huge part of the team's success this year, so he's allowed one off night.

Anyway, tough loss, but we've got Cain taking the hill tomorrow. That's pretty much a guaranteed win these days.

One more note: I was among the many who were a little frustrated that Fred Lewis was never given a fair shot in San Fran. Boy, did it work out well for us. If Lewis was still around, Torres probably wouldn't be playing, and as we all know, Torres is having an All-Star caliber season. Let's compare their stat lines:

Torres - .292/.393/.474
Lewis - .286/.327/.471

I'll take the first player, please.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Welcome, Giants Fans!

Welcome to 8th Inning Weirdness!

This is a San Francisco Giants blog, where hopefully the content is creative and witty enough for you to care about what I have to say. My name is Mack, and along with some guy who calls himself Reza, I plan on doing many things with this blog, all Giants-related. There will be game recaps, analytical posts, critical posts, and maybe, just maybe, a few optimistic posts.

I am currently a student at UCLA studying Communications, and while I live in Los Angeles, believe me there is nothing that I hate more than Dodger Blue. Oh, and I have an unhealthy love for Gerald Buster Posey. That's not's not.

Please comment, please discuss, please debate, and please keep coming back. The success of this blog will depend on you, the 8th Inning Weirdness community. Here's to the Giants and hoping that they can be awesome at pitching, not terrible at hitting, and good at winning. How 'bout that for some optimism!

P.S. The blog's name was born from a phrase recently coined by Kruk and Kuip to describe the late-inning weirdness going on with the Giants bullpen. It seemed appropriate.