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Showing posts from October, 2010

Giants Starting To Feel It, 1 Win Away

Just one victory separates the Giants and their first World Series tittle in their San Francisco era after rookie left-hander Madison Bumgarner baffled the Rangers with 8 shutout innings, and the Giants have to be sensing something special. I said it after his relief outing in game 6 when the Giants clinched the NLCS, Bumgarner's nails in pressure situations, and looked to really get back on track in that outing, and it definitely showed in Game 4 in Texas Sunday. Bumgarner held the high-powered Rangers offense to just 3 hits, none for extra-bases, and struck out 6 Ranger hitters on the night. Offensively, all the Giants really needed was Aubrey Huff's 2-run bomb in the 6th, but for good measure, Andres Torres drove in a run with a double, and Bu ster Posey hit a solo homer off of Darren O'Day to push the Giants lead to 4 runs. Though the offense looked good, the defense was dominant, as Bruce Bochy fielded his best defensive club, and they really came through for Bumgarner

World Series: Rangers Back in it With Game 3 Win

The Rangers really had to win Saturday's game 3 in order to avoid going down 3 games to none to the Giants in the World Series, and they did just that, getting to Jonathan Sanchez early, then shutting down the Giants the rest of the way to hold on the win. Sanchez once again had a rough start, as he's really hit a wall after finishing the year so strong, then dominating the Braves in his lone NLDS start in Atlanta. He struggled in his 2 starts in Philly, looking very bad in his last on in game 6, a game in which he failed to get out of the 3rd inning. He didn't throw particularly bad Saturday, but gave up a huge 3-run bomb to Mitch Moreland in the 2nd inning. After that, Sanchez really cruised into the 5th inning, until, once again, he was taken out of the yard by Josh Hamilton. That AB by Moreland was a tough battle, and you kind of have to tip your cap to the Rangers' first basemen for fighting off those tough pitches until he got that low fastball in the zone where m

WORLD SERIES: Giants Move Up 2-0 on Texas

PreGame After taking game one in a surprising slug-fest , the Giants look to go up 2-0 on the Rangers in the World Series on Thursday night. The Giants are sending out Matt Cain, a guy who I'm sure every Giants' fan is pretty confident in. He'll be a opposed by C.J. Wilson, who's in his first year as a full-time starter, but has been brilliant in the role. He did struggle his last time out though, so hopefully the Giants can get to him early and get into his head a bit. I'm going to do something I've never done here on this unique occasion, and sort of do an in-game post. updating this post every time I feel I have something to add. So go Giants, and be sure to check back throughout the game, and after, to vent or whatever! As long as Matt Cain keeps rolling, and the Giants keep coming up with those clutch 2-out hits, we should be OK. Texas has that high-powered offense that can score in a hurry, as we saw last night, so the Giants cannot let down and have to t

Giants and Rangers Set for World Series

The Giants are now past party mode, and have re-focused on baseball, as they prepare for Wednesday's Game 1 showdown at AT&T Park, as the Giants send Tim Lincecum to the hill vs. Cliff Lee. Both Lincecum and Lee have been very good this postseason and their numbers in their 3 starts are nearly identical. In 3 starts and 24 innings, Lee's gone 3-0 while allowing just 2 runs, 13 hits and 1 walk. He's also struck out 34 batters, and allowed just a .151 BAA. In Lincecum's 3 starts this postseason, he's gone 23.1 innings, allowed 5 ER and 14 hits with 30 k's, good for a .145 BAA... Game 1 is going to definitely be a good one and are just as enticing as the Lincecum-Halladay match-up's were, especially since it's the World Series. After Lee, the Rangers starters drop off a little, but not much. The Giants will probably face C.J. Wilson (15-8, 3.35 era, 170 k's in 2010) in game 2, Tommy Hunter (13-4, 3.73 era, 1.24 WHIP) in game 3 and Colby Lewis (12-13

Giants Win NL Pennant

The crazy ride the Giants have taken us all on in 2010 is going to the World Series, and the Giants have a legit shot at bringing home the first world championship in San Francisco team history. First off, I'm in full celebration mode, so this post won't be a long one... Jonathan Sanchez wasn't on his game Saturday night, but just about everybody else on the Giants pitching staff, starters included, were. Both Jeremy Affeldt and Madison Bumgarner's performances out of the pen was what saved the game in my opinion. The Phills had the momentum going off Sanchez early, but Affeldt, then Bumgarner righted the ship and shut Philly down. Once again the Giants found themselves in a tie game going into the later innings, and as they've done so many times in this postseason, they found a way to get it done. Juan Uribe showed why the Giants fans are so found of him in San Francisco, even though he hit just .248 in the regular season. The dude comes up with clutch hits, and of

NLCS Heads Back to Philly For Game 6

Roy Halladay didn't have his best stuff, and Tim Lincecum actually looked better than Doc again out there Thursday night, but the Giants defense cost Lincecum the game. They also didn't do a whole lot at the plate, but if they make a few plays that they didn't, they very well could have taken this ballgame. The big play that comes to mind was Aubrey Huff's blunder on that ground ball off the bat of Shane Victorino in the second inning. A play which led to the Phillies scoring 3 runs rather than the likely goose egg that would have gone up had Huff fielded that ball cleanly. That was all the Phillies really needed though, as the Giants wouldn't score more than 2 runs on the night, even though Roy Halladay didn't have his uncanny control, or his sharp breaking pitches really working for him throughout the night. The Giants collected just 7 hits on the night, as the middle of their order (Huff, Posey, Burrell) went a combined 1-11, and series superman Cody Ross k&#

Giants 1 Win Away After Taking Game 4

The Giants have looked like a team on a mission all postseason long, and have moved to within 1 win of making their first World Series trip since 2002. Madison Bumgarner was on early, but ran into some trouble in the fifth abd couldn't quite hold the 2-0 lead the Giants gave him. Bruce Bochy didn't really give him a chance to pitch out of it though, as he went to the Giants bullpen early. Santiago Castilla proceeded to allow 3 runs, and forced the Giants to come back for the first time in the series, and they did just that. The bullpen really took care of business after that hiccup in the fifth, and the Giants offense took it from there. Buster Posey had his big breakout game that t he Giants have been waiting for this series, going 4-5 with 2 big RBI. Aubrey Huff also had a big night, something the Giants really need out of him after he started 2-20 this postseason, going 3-5 with an RBI and of course got that game-winning rally in the 9th started. The Giants also got a huge h

Giants in Drivers Seat For Game 4

The Giants are now up 2-1 vs. the Phillies, and now have perhaps their most favorable pitching match-up of all set up for Wednesday night in San Francisco. The Giants will send out rookie Madison Bumgarner against the Phills' Joe Blanton. Bumgarner has been awesome down the stretch, and pitched very well in his start vs. Atlanta in the DS, and once again, like with the rest of the starting pitchers in this playoff rotation, I have complete confidence in the kid. The Phillies sport that left-handed heavy lineup, so the fact that Bumgarner throws left-handed is just icing on the cake. Now, the Giants can't take Blanton lightly, and they should know that by now. He's made the Giants look foolish on more than 1 occasion, and has turned in some gritty performances during the postseason in the past. Still though, it's the first pitcher the Giants will be facing that isn't some sort of all-star (Hamels, Oswalt, Hudson, Hanson) Cy Young winner (Halladay), or some legendary

Giants Change Lineup Drastically For Game 3

Well, I think everyone knew at least a change or 2 where on the way after the team was stymied by Roy Oswalt in Game 2 of the NLCS Sunday, but I don't think anyone anticipated the huge shake-up to the lineup that Bruce Bochy ended up applying. There is almost nothing the same carrying over from game 1 and 2, as the Giants will leadoff with Edgar Renteria, and will send both Mike Fontenot and Andres Torres to the bench. Also changing, will be Buster Posey moving from cleanup to third, Burrell to cleanup, Cody Ross up to fifth, and Huff into the 6th spot. Perhaps the most surprising though, was seeing that Aaron Rowand will get his first start of the 2010 postseason, but again, I think Boch had Rowand on the roster with this game in mind. Rowand will hit 8th. I like that Bochy realized that he had to mix things up a bit. This team is focused enough to not let the changes bother them, and maybe it will get a few guys jump-started. I'm curious to see how Renteria and Uribe handle t

Giants Take Game 1

It was another nail-biter, like most of the Giants games have been here in the postseason, but the Giants got the job done against Roy Halladay and the Phillies in game 1 of the NLCS Saturday night. It was a much anticipated battle of two of baseball's premiere right-handers, and they didn't really disappoint. The real difference was Roy Halladay's repeat mistake he made to Cody Ross after Ross took him deep in the 3rd. Lincecum, who was battling a blister problem on his throwing hand showed no ill-effects, as he went 7 strong innings, and threw well over 100 pitches. The Giants just look like a confident bunch right now. They're capitalizing on opportunities, for the most part, and they're doing just enough to win these close games. They did have a big chance in top of the 9th to cushion their lead with the bases loaded and only 1-out, but Brad Lidge did some tight-roping of his own and got out of the mess without allowing a run. With all the attention on this game

Giants Off to Philly for NLCS

In another tight, tense game, the Giants took care of business and Braves' mistakes in game 4, clinching themselves the series, and a spot in the NLCS! Once again, the Giants got another great outing out of their starting pitcher, as rookie Madison Bumgarner went 6 strong, allowing 2 runs on 6 hits while striking out 5. The bullpen actually did their job this time (Romo was not used), and held the game for the rook, as Santiago Casilla was brilliant, going 1.2 innings, allowing just 1 base-runner while striking out 2. I think Boch has to roll with him in the 8th inning set-up role to Wilson until he proves otherwise, as he's been downright nasty lately. Over his last 7 innings, he's allowed just 2 hits and a walk with 7 strikeouts, and was really nails all season long. Both Bumgarner's start, and Casilla's relief effort were somewhat overlooked by Brian Wilson's tight-rope save, and the clutch game played by Cody Ross, who went 2-3 with a homer and 2 RBI, and in

Giants Capitalize in Game 3, Up 2-1

The Giants definitely got some help by the Braves, mainly 2 nd basemen Brooks Conrad, as I'm sure everyone is aware of by now. However, what is getting overlooked, was the dominant, gritty performance turned in by Jonathan Sanchez, and the fact that the Giants refused to lose that game for him. Now, I'm sure everyone has read plenty of recap on game 3 and I don't need to hash out detail for detail what went down, but I did want to point out a few specifics. First off, I love how Boch mixed things up by adding Mike Fontenot to the lineup, stronger defensively for sure, and it gave Pablo a full game to take in from the bench. Hopefully that will calm him down a bit and he can relax. At the time of typing this, the game 4 lineup has yet to be released, but it wouldn't surprise me to see Fontenot right back out there again tonight, although both he and Sandoval have had pretty good success lifetime vs. Lowe... Another thing, I don't know who was calling those pitche

Giants' Pen Costs Them Game 2

The Giants were cruising, and on their way to a 2-0 lead on the Braves, up until that top of the 8th inning, when the Giants bullpen came unraveled, including Brian Wilson, and allowed Atlanta to get back into the game. The Giants had a 4-1 lead entering that dreaded 8th, and once a few runners got on base, Bruce Bochy, to my surprise, went to Brian Wilson. It was funny because Boch had just said a day earlier that he really wanted to avoid using Wilson to get 6-outs unless it's do or die. Anyway, I think bringing in Wilson that early ended up biting the Giants, throwing Wilson off kilter a bit and throwing off the whole rhythm of the bullpen. Not that you can blame a loss on one move, one play or one player, I just didn't think going to Wilson at that point was the right move, even with the tying run coming to the plate. Brian Wilson was used heavily in 2010, especially towards the end of the year, so asking him to get more than 3-4 outs per night in a playoff setting right no

Lincecum Dominates Game 1

The Giants took care of business in game 1 of the NLDS at AT&T Park Thursday night, as Tim Lincecum defeated Derek Lowe and the Atlanta Braves in a hold-your-breath type pitchers duel to give the Giants the 1-0 series lead. The only run of the game came on a Cody Ross RBI single in which the Giants got a break because Buster Posey, the runner who scored on the play, should have been caught stealing second base moments prior to that hit. Still though, I think the Giants would have found a way to pull this one off. Lincecum was absolutely on, striking out a Giants' playoff record 14 batters in a complete game 2-hitter. Talk about a way to start a Postseason, and a way to make a statement. Now, the Giants can't treat lightly in game 2. The will send Matt Cain to the hill, and there isn't a pitcher on the staff that's throwing better than Cain right now. Problem is, he's opposed by a guy in Tommy Hanson, who has been awful Cain-like himself in 2010 (3.33 era, 177 k&

Game 1 Lineups In; Zito, Guillen Out

We're less than an hour from the scheduled first pitch of the NLDS game 1 between the Giants and the Braves here at AT&T Park, and the lineups for both squads are in. No real head-scratchers in the lineup tonight, but I was a little surprised to see that Jose Guillen did not make the Giants 25-man roster for this series. Apparantley, he's not at %100 (neck/back issue) and it's been showing lately, so I agree with rolling with Ross in right for this series under the circumstances. Anyway, enough pre-game blabber. Stay tuned during the game as we'll try and do a few in-game menions here, but regardless, here is the lineup (w/key '10 stats) the San Francisco Giants will be sending up against Derek Lowe, as well as the lineup that will oppose Timmy Lincecum: BRAVES 3B Omar Infante RF Jayson Heyward 1B Derek Lee C Brian McCann SS Adrian Gonzalez RF Matt Diaz 2B Brooks Conrad CF Rick Ankiel P Derek Lowe (16-12, 4.02 era) GIANTS CF Andres Torres 2B Freddy Sanchez 1b Au

Giants Prepare For Atlanta

As I'm sure you'll well aware of by now, the Giants will be playing host to the Braves in this upcoming National League Divisional Series, so they first 2, as well as any potential game 5 will all be played in San Francisco. And Game 1 is just over 24 hours away! The Braves, who had a near identical record as the Giants at 91-71, have a team that is somewhat similar to the Giants' bunch. They both had a 2010 rookie breakout and become one of their leaders, and they also used a few in-season additions (Derek Lee and Alex Gonzalez for Atlanta) which really put them over the hump. They'll also rely heavily on an above average starting rotation and bullpen to help get them through games, much like the Giants do. The three-game pitching match-ups are setting up to be incredible, with Lincecum/Lowe on Thursday, followed by Hansen/Cain, then Hudson/Sanchez, as there really isn't an arm in that bunch that isn't throwing with confidence right now. However, the one area i

Giants Win National League West

It took them until the season's final day to do so, but the San Francisco Giants will be playing October baseball for the first time since 2003, after defeating the 2nd place San Diego Padres Sunday. Jonathan Sanchez got the start, and although he was a little wild (walked 5 batters in 5+ innings), he kept the Padres off the board, and allowed the Giants offense to give themselves an early cushion. Freddy Sanchez and Aubrey Huff each had RBI base hits in the third inning, putting the Giants on top 2-0, a lead they would not relinquish. The Giants bullpen did an epic job, once again in holding down San Diego for the second half of that ballgame, starting with Santiago Casilla's inducing double play with 2 on and nobody out in the 6th inning after relieving Sanchez, who at that point was having trouble finding the strike zone. Casilla ended up going 1.2 scoreless with a couple of k's, was followed by scoreless outings from Ramon Ramirez, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo. Then, fo

Padres Refuse To Quit, Giants Getting Nervous?

The Padres took care of business Friday night, and have begun Saturday's game in similar fashion, getting to Barry Zito for 2 quick runs in the top of the first inning. Everyone was getting excited coming into this series thinking that it was basically a done deal as far as the Giants winning the West is concern, but the Padres look determined to defy the odds. It's only the bottom of the 1st inning in Saturday's game (as I type this), but the difference in the way t he two teams are playing is already evident, and the Giants better get it together, or else they could lose their grip on this thing. The frustrating part of it was watching Zito struggle through a nasty, 30+ pitch inning to start the first inning, then watching the Giants offense come up in the bottom half and go down in just 8 pitches. The reason why the Giants offense had been clicking lately, is because they weren't being so over-aggressive at the plate. Now all the sudden, they must be feeling the play