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Showing posts from August, 2011

Giants Bite the Bullet, Tejada and Rowand Out

Fans who've despised Brian Sabean's desire for over-the-hill veterans and players who have passed their prime had to breath a little easier when they went online today and read the latest Giants news. The Giants have cut ties with their second highest paid player, Aaron Rowand, and finally admitted the center fielder never came close to fulfilling expectations the team had for him. ARow had a few clutch hits in his time as a Giant, the last 2 opening days stick out especially, but let's face it, he was never going to be a starting outfielder for this team again, and there's just no reason to keep him and his $13 million ego on the pine. I've heard teammates say a lot of good things about Aaron Rowand, but with my few dealings with him, I've never been a fan. I met him at a Giants event in '07 and he gave a real "brush off" type of attitude. Then there was his interview this year in Chicago which he praised Chicago, but declined to say a word ab

Minor League Depth Put To Test

With the rash of Giants' injuries that's wiped out a good portion of this clubs top contributors, the Giants have been calling on more and more minor leaguers to step up and fill some pretty big shoes. The latest and perhaps biggest minor league call-up came Friday, as the Giants brought up new top pitching prospect, Eric Surkamp, who was absolutely dominating AA Eastern League batters. Surkamp was 10-2 with a 2.02 era in 142 innings in AA, striking out 162 batters while sporting a WHIP slightly over 1. With Jonathan Sanchez and Barry Zito each shelved with ankle problems, the Giants basically had to call on the 23 year-old lefty by default, but he sure didn't pitch like an emergency starter Saturday in Houston. The newest Giant went 6 solid innings, allowing just 1 run on 6 hits with 4 strikeouts. He got out of trouble a few different times and really looked a bit like Bumgarner and Cain in the way he was able to mow through the Houston Astros despite allowing a few ba

Beltran Finally Makes Impact

In his first start since coming off the 15-day DL, Carlos Beltran finally showed why the Giants sent their top pitching prospect to the New York Mets for the All-Star right fielder. Beltran had his best day as a Giant, hitting a Tim Stauffer sinker on a line into the arcade above the right field wall. Beltran finished the day 2-4 with his first home run since July 20th, and it couldn't have come at a better time. The Giants got yet another outstanding performance out of their ace right hander, as Timmy shut down the surging offensive juggernaut that are the San Diego Padres. Although they've had a down year all the way around, ever since the Padres inserted former Giant farmhand Jesus Guzman into their lineup, they've turned into a team to be reckoned with when at the plate. Not to mention, they always seem to play their best ball against the Giants, but Lincecum had their bats quiet all night, going 8 strong innings, allowing just 4 hits with 7 strikeouts. The one numbe

Belt's Bat Saves Giants in Houston

Well, the Giants got some more bad news on the injury front this weekend in Houston, but thanks to Brandon Belt, they were able to salvage the finale Sunday and move back to within 1.5 games of first in the West. On the injury front, Brian Wilson's arm was bad enough to the point that they DL'd him, which I'm sure was the last thing they wanted to do with Sergio Romo already down. Luckily, the Giants bullpen hasn't missed a beat without their two best arms, even though the team struggled again in Houston. They were shut down in the first two games, as they were shut out in game one, then Madison Bumgarner was rocked in game 2. They did, however, manage to figure it out just in time to avoid being swept back to San Francisco though, thanks in large part to the bats of Brandon Belt and Pablo Sandoval. Brandon Belt has all the sudden found his stroke at the big league level, and I think it's going to be impossible for Bochy to sit this guy with the way he's play

Offense Spiraling Downward

The Giants were shut out in the series finale in Atlanta Thursday, and were once again held scoreless in Houston Friday night, as their offense continues a tailspin of epic proportions. How this team is still 2.5 games out of first in the West with the way they've played since the calendar turned to August is beyond me. Perhaps the worst game of the stretch came Friday night, as the Giants rolled into Houston to take on the worst team in baseball, and had their rear-ends handed to them in a 6-0 loss. Within 24 hours of being shut down by Braves rookie left-hander Mike Minor, the Giants went up against another quality left-hander in Wandy Rodriguez, and were once again held scoreless. The batting order Bruce Bochy trotted out was one of the worst I've seen the Giants use in a couple of seasons at least, featuring a top-3 of Aaron Rowand, Mark DeRosa and Cody Ross. No Beltran, no Pablo and no Keppinger. In fact, Nate Schierholtz was the only hitter in Friday nights starting

Injury Bug Ripping Through Giants

The Giants have lost the first two games of this important 4-game set with the Braves, and ballgames are not all this team has been losing. Over the last week or so, the Giants have watched nearly 1/2 of their lineup go down with some sort of injury, and it's landed their prize trade acquisition on the DL. What has been discussed about as much as pertaining to the Giants over the last week is when the heck is Carlos Beltran going to get back into the lineup. What was supposed to be a minor tweak of his right hand has now turned into a 15-day DL stint, leaving the Giants without their 2nd best hitter until at least August 22nd (retroactive to Aug. 7th). Joining Beltran on the DL is top set-up man Sergio Romo, with right shoulder inflammation, and leadoff man Andres Torres (contusion) leaving the Giants paper thin in the outfield. Those three could also soon be joined by Jonathan Sanchez, who pulled a Barry Zito and sprained his left ankle coming in to field a bunt. That's fou

Brandon Belt Returns With 2 HR Game

Well, the first game of the Marlins series looked a lot like what we saw all home stand from the Giants, good pitching, and very little offense. Luckily, they sparked the offense enough to salvage the last 2 games and win the Florida series, thanks in large part to the bat of Brandon Belt. With Carlos Beltran missing the last week of play with his bum wrist, the Giants haven't had anyone really step up and fill his shoes. Cody Ross had a nice game 2 in his return to Florida, and Aubrey Huff has picked it up a lot in the month of August, but the only 2 guys in this lineup that are playing up to their standards are Pablo Sandoval and Jeff Keppinger. Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy each knew that they needed another bat up here while Beltran's recovering, and the team once again recalled top prospect Brandon Belt, who's destroyed AAA pitching this year and really has nothing left to prove down Fresno. Belt responded in a big way, hitting 2 balls out of Sun Life Stadium for his

Sanchez's Struggles Cost Giants Series

The Giants have lost their mojo, and if they don't get themselves right on this upcoming road trip they're going to find themselves looking up at the Arizona Diamondbacks before long. What was supposed to be the teams strength, the starting pitching, was really roughed up this whole home stand. Jonathan Sanchez's start on Wednesday was just the boiling point, as it was Sanchez's second start since returning from the DL and 2nd ugly loss in is many starts. The Giants 28 year-old lefty continues his Jekyll and Hyde season which has seen him really tank in his last 4 starts, including the last 2 before his DL stint. Over those last 4 starts, Sanchez is 0-3 with a 9.88 era and 15 walks in just 17 innings pitched. Wednesday was basically those 4 starts in a nutshell, as all 4 batters Sanchez walked came around to score. The DL stint apparently did nothing for the left-handers confidence for effectiveness, cause he looks like a deer in headlights out on the mound. It's

Giants Salvage Finale Vs. Phillies

A wild weekend series that saw a bench clearing brawl and the Giants lose 3 out of 4 despite getting terrific starting pitching came to a close Sunday, and despite the rough weekend, the Giants escaped the mess still clinging to first place in the West. Lincecum was huge as stopper on Sunday, going 7.2 innings allowing 7 hits and a run with 5 K's en route to his 10th victory on the season. The starting pitching was really strong all weekend outside of Jonathan Sanchez's blunder on Friday night. Bumgarner and Cain each gave up an early lead, but en ded up with strong starts overall. The bats didn't step up until finally showing some signs of life Sunday. The Giants collected 13 base hits, but only 2 went for extra-bases, and they didn't hit well with runners in scoring position, so they only came up with 3 runs on those 13 hits. Two guys who haven't had a problem with runners on are a couple of the newest Giants, Orlando Cabrera and Jeff Keppinger. Their new second b

Giants Right Offense In Time For Philly

Well, the Giants barely escaped that Arizona series with sole possession of first place in the West, and things aren't about to get any easier. The Philadelphia Phillies arrive in San Francisco today for a big re-match of the series in Philly in late July which the Giants took 2 games to one. It was only about a week ago, so it's still pretty fresh in every body's memory, as are the comments made by Charlie Manuel about the Giants starting pitching, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum especially. Luckily for the Giants, they got out of their offensive skid just in time to keep hold of 1st place and inject some confidence into the lineup in time for a big 4-game weekend set with their newest rival. The Giants broke out for their biggest scoring output at home this season Wednesday, and all of their new toys contributed in big ways. Carlos Beltran went 3-5 with a triple and an RBI. Orlando Cabrera was 1-4 but had a 2-run double and drove in 3 on the afternoon hitting in the 5-hole. C

Trades Yet to Pay Dividends

Since the Giants made their blockbuster deal and added Carlos Beltran to their roster, they've won just one time. Granted, he's only played 5 games as a Giant, a 1-4 start after obtaining the sought after right fielder isn't the start Brian Sabean had in mind. Beltran took a few games to get acclimated, but he looked a lot better at home in Monday night's loss to the surging Diamondbacks. Despite the teams 5-2 loss, Beltran put up his first multi-hit game as a Giant going 2-4 with a triple. Surprisingly, it hasn't really been the offense that's tanked here these last few games. Sure, they haven't been on fire, but the Giants pitching has hit a rough patch over this last week. We saw Madison Bumgarner and Barry Zito each get lit up in Cinci, then Matt Cain turned in his worst performance in months on Monday night to allow the D-Backs to move within 1 game of first place. Cain threw 5 2/3 innings, allowing 8 hits, 3 walks and 5 runs, certainly a night to forge