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Showing posts from April, 2012

Strong Pitching, Clutch Hitting Beats Padres

After tough loss Friday night in which the Giants youngster Eric Hacker pitched well but not quite as good as Padres youngster Corey Luebke, the Giants tightened up and beat the Padres Saturday and Sunday to take the weekend series from San Diego. Timmy Beats SD It really was all about starting pitching and timely hitting for the Giants, as they didn't go crazy on offense, but did just enough in each of their wins to support excellent starting performances by Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner. Lincecum's gem was especially re-assuring, as it was by far the right-handers most dominant outing of the young season (8 IP, O ER, 4 Hits, 5 K's) to improve to 2-2 and drop his ERA down to 5.74, which is good considering he went into that start with a 8-something ERA. He's know won his last 2 starts and is starting to look much better. He's still not hitting his location as often as he's used to, as I think he was a bit out of whack with his mechanics but is now ge

Pagan Heating Up, Hacker to Start Friday

Well, in what will go down as quite a bizarre road trip in which the team saw it's first basemen leave the team in the middle of, just before they played a double-header, had a nice ending to it Thursday, as the Giants beat the Reds to avoid being swept and return home at 10-9. Pagan Had 3 HR's on Trip One guy who really has caught fire on this road-trip has been Angel Pagan. The Giants leadoff hitter was so slow out of the gate this year, that there was prompt talk about him possibly being moved from the leadoff spot, or out of the lineup all together in favor of Gregor Blanco, but he's put that non-sense to rest on this roadie. He hit 3 home runs, the third of which won the Giants the game in Cinci Thursday to avoid the 3-game sweep, a clutch, towering 3-run shot in the top of the 9th inning with the Giants down 2. Pagan entered this road-trip hitting down around .200 with 0 home runs and 2 RBI, but returns home with his average up to .241, and climbing, with 3 bomb

What's Up with Aubrey Huff?

Aubrey Huff's struggles last season have carried over into 2012, and on Monday morning apparently, he sent Bruce Bochy a text message saying he had urgent matters to attend to in Florida, and had to leave the team. Huff Goes on Bereavement It took until Wednesday for the Giants to put Huff on the Bereavement List, which will give him a week to figure out his personal matters and return to the team, otherwise he'd have to go on the DL. The Giants, playing shorthanded over the last couple of games, and that big double-header Monday, have purchased the contract of Joaquin Arias, who was on fire in Fresno (.330, 2 HR, 17 RBI) and had a terrific Spring Training for the club. He'll take Huff's spot on the 25-man roster until Huff's situation is resolved, but the Giants have been hush-hush on that front and it only makes you wonder what the heck is going on. Normally, bereavement leave is reserved for players who need to leave their team to attend to family matters s

Giants Sweep Double-Header, Take 3 of 4 in NY

After a couple of nail-biters to start the series on Friday and Saturday, the Giants and Mets paused for mother nature Sunday due to rain, only to play two Monday, and it couldn't have worked out better for San Francisco. Lincecum gets first win Tim Lincecum pitched game one, and although he was once again off with his command and, as Dave Flemming was saying, "all over the place" but he managed to minimize the damage he allowed, and the Giants gave him a nice cushy lead to work off of early on and it was easy sailing from there. The reason they got off to the cushy lead was thanks to a Pablo Sandoval RBI single, followed by a Buster Posey blast, that put the Giants up 2-0 before the Mets even went to bat. They tacked on in the third and fourth, as Nate Schierholtz, who continues to look like a man possessed, hit a line-shot, three-run home run to right field to really open up the game for the Giants. Then Brandon Crawford had an RBI double the following inning for

Giants Hold on late in New York to beat Mets

Well, if you would have told me that the Giants would have gotten swept out of the gate in Arizona this season, lost their closer for the year with a torn elbow ligament, and are still playing without former all-star and batting champion, Freddy Sanchez, I'd expect something like a 4-9 start or something. Zito has another strong start Luckily for them, they've stayed strong as a team and thrived in the absence of their closer, as they got another decent outing from Barry Zito as he continues his attempt at a comeback season. Zito went 5.1 innings, allowing just 2 runs on 4 hits, though he did allow two long balls and walked 4 batters. He did a decent job though at getting himself out of trouble and kept the Giants in the game against the Mets top arm, Jonathan Niese. Say what you want about Santana, but fact is, he's nowhere near the arm that he was when he threw for Minnesota. I've actually watched Niese pitch a few different times this season already and he is t

Giants Walk-Off with Series Win over Philly

After their ace got banged around yet again Monday night, the Giants responded extremely well vs. the reigning AL East champions, as they won their 3 game series vs. the Phills 2 games to one on a Melky Cabrera walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning Wednesday night. In a series that started out pretty badly Monday, then took a complete 180 Tuesday night, the Giants were able to put the finishing touches on another brilliant outing from Matt Cain. Unfortunately, the Giants bats didn't come up with any runs while Cain was out there, as Cliff Lee was on his game tonight as well, but Cain threw 9 scoreless, allowing just 2 hits and a few walks. That's 3 hits allowed over his last 18 innings pitched, and if he keeps that up, the Giants will be thanking their lucky stars they signed him before he had a chance to go free. I didn't get a chance to post about Tuesday's game, but that was another strong starting effort as Madison Bumgarner went out and dealt in his firs

Giants Give Bumgarner Five-Year Extension

On the heels of some really tough news over the weekend that they're star closer and one of their team leaders was out for all of 2012 after he undergoes Tommy John Surgery on that blown out right elbow, the Giants started the week off some good news, as they announced an extension with Madison Bumgarner that will keep the lefty in a Giants uni along with Matt Cain through 2017. The deal is in the neighborhood of $35 million, so the 22 year-old lefty will stand to make an average of $7 million per season, starting next year, in a deal that should look very good in a couple of years as long as Madison keeps on the same path he's been on since 2010. For such a young arm, he's already so accomplished, dominating a World Series game, winning a ring and giving the Giants another horse in the rotation behind Cain and Lincecum. Needless to say, I'm a huge fan of this signing, and am completely behind it. It also gives the Giants financial certainty with yet another one of thei

Brian Wilson Injury Mirrors Posey's Loss in 2011

Well, I won't quite categorize it as big of a loss as losing Buster last season was, but the news breaking Saturday that closer Brian Wilson has structural damage on his right elbow and is most likely headed under the knife for season-ending surgery. Wilson first sustained the injury late last season, then really never recovered, as he was used sparingly in Spring Training, then in only a few games to start the year. His velocity had been down early on, and didn't quite look right in the games he did appear in. There's really nothing else the Giants are saying at this point other than there's structural damage to the right elbow and Wilson will be out indefinitely. He'll most likely hit the DL tonight, opening up the spot for Ryan Vogelsong to make his start tomorrow afternoon. They were carrying 8 relievers, so the swap of Wilson and Vogey won't require another reliever be called up as they'll be back at the normal seven that they typically carry. I can'

Giants Back Cain's 1-hitter Win in Home Opener

The Giants have looked like a completely different team the last two days than the team that started the season 0-3. They've pitched terrifically, gotten timely hitting and have finally gotten those jitters out in the field and have tightened up on defense. Friday's opener was really all about Matt Cain though, as the new 112 million dollar man showed you exactly why the Giants felt comfortable giving him that deal, throwing his 5th career complete game shutout, and yet another 1-hitter. I'm telling you, for all the 1-hitter's this guy's thrown, I'm surprised he hasn't thrown a no-no yet. He had everything going Friday, with his fastball running in in righties and away to lefties in the low 90's. His off-speed stuff was right on as well, as his slider and curve ball were each un-hittable at time and his new found friend, that change-up, has given a dominant pitcher another trick to play with out on the mound. There really isn't anything else to say o

Bumgarner Brings Giants Home With Series Win

Well, after opening up the season getting swept in Arizona, Giants fans were biting their nails a little bit hoping this team would come home with at least a victory under their belts. However, a lot that tension was eased Thursday as the Giants starting pitching, that had been suspect early on, got right back on track behind the left arm of 22 year-old Madison Bumgarner. The lefty held the potent Rockies lineup down to just 1 run on 4 hits in 7 1/3 innings work, striking out two and walking two before yielding to Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez after getting an out in the eighth, then Brian Wilson in the ninth. Wilson's outing was the roughest, as he allowed a run on 3 hits and put the tying runs in scoring position before getting the final out. Every Giants fan held their breath there for a while, as Wilson started off the inning looking solid, throwing 95 mph cutters like he normally does, then all the sudden, he started throwing his fastball in the mid to high 80's, and it brough

Lincecum, Starters Struggling

For a second straight start, Tim Lincecum was lit up pretty good, this time in Colorado by the Rockies. Not the start he was looking for after getting lit up for 5 runs in the five innings on Opening Day vs. Arizona last week. It was much of the same for Timmy Wednesday, only this time he didn't get out of the messes enough to last till the fifth like he did last Friday. He lasted only 2 1/3 innings (6 runs, 8 hits, 3 K's), for his shortest outing of his Major League career, and put the Giants behind the 8-ball early again. It's a shame too, because, once again, their offense showed up, and a halfway decent performance out of Timmy on any other ordinary night would have netted an easy 8-4 victory or something like that, certainly not a football score-type loss. The Giants offense hasn't scored less than 4 runs in any of their 5 games this season, which was the supposed magic number for them to get to in order to support their "dominant" pitching staff. Problem

Zito's Best Start as Giant Gives Them First Win

Well, after that first series in Arizona in which the bats showed up, for both teams, and the Giants came up a run short in each of the three games. It had fans starting to wonder what the heck was going on? The Giants were scoring 6-7 runs a game but they weren't winning, which was supposed to be automatic with this staff. Unfortunately, the Giants pitching staff made a few more mistakes than Arizona's did in that opening series, and they ended up sweeping the series and taking a strong-hold early on the NL West. However, the Giants looked like a completely different team on Monday in Colorado, behind perhaps the most enigmatic arm they've had over the last decade in Barry Zito . The 33 year-old shut down the potent Rockies lineup for his first complete game shutout in 8 seasons, long before he became a Giant! Needless to say, this was his most crisp outing as a Giant and they absolutely needed it as they came out of the game 0-3 despite actually putting some runs on the

D-Backs Show They're Alpha Team of the West

Well, both Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner didn't throw bad games in these opening two games to the 2012 season, however, after two, the Giants find themselves 0-2 and scratching their heads a bit as they try and figure out how they're going to turn things around. Bumgarner wasn't quite as sharp as Timmy was in the opener, though neither had their A-stuff, and the D-Backs like the young hungry team they are, took advantage of early mistakes made by the two star pitchers. There's really no other way to suger coat things. It's not like the D-Backs were hitting the Giants all over the yard, but they're were just a few location mistakes and a few walks by Bumgarner that really set-up Arizona for their two big innings. I just can't get over the fact they kept throwing Aaron Hill fastballs in that AB after his first homer when Bumgarner got ahead. As Byrnes said on the telecast, those pitches should have been off-speed away and not heaters right into Hill's

Giants/D-Backs Open 2012, Post-Game Notes

Well guys, it's been a long winter, but we're finally here on the eve of opening day, as the two division favorites, Giants and D-Backs, prepare to square off in the desert Friday evening. Pre-Game : It's been a while since the Giants opened up a season with a night game, as opening days are traditionally day games, but the Padres did it Thursday vs. LA and the D-Backs will do the same Friday with against the Giants. All the rosters are set and the comeback begins as the Giants try and fight their way back to October with a more feisty, 2010 like bunch that has sort of gone through a youth movement of sorts from how they ended 2011. Out 35 year-old Carlos Beltran, 36 year-old Orlando Cabrera, 32 year-old's Andres Torres, Cody Ross, Mike Fontenot, and 34 year-old Eli Whiteside. Instead, the Giants have replaced those guys with Melky Cabrera (27), who already looks like an impact player and should soften the loss of Beltran, in the brief time I've seen him play this s

Giants Finalize Opening Roster

The Giants went down to the wire to figure out their roster situation, but they've finalized their opening 25-man roster Wednesday, and there weren't a whole lot of surprises. The guy I'm most stoked upon earning a roster spot is rookie backup catcher Hector Sanchez. The Giants optioned Whiteside to Fresno and will trade Chris Stewart, basically putting all their faith in the 22 year-old to help Posey through the season. His bat this spring is what earned him the spot, as it's not secret the Giants need all the power they can get and will give them a big left-handed bat off the bench. As I said a few posts back here, the Giants had a chance to go with veterans or go wi th youth on the bench, and they went with the ladder. Other guys on the bubble to make the 25-man out of the gate are Brett Pill, Brandon Belt, Manny Burris and Nate Schierholtz. In fact, Belt did so much this spring that Boch is moving Huff to left field and inserting Belt into the everyday lineup. Schie

Matt Cain Staying Put, Signs Five-Year Extension

Well, Giants fans that were starting to worry about Cain possibly bolting after the 2012 season get to breath a lot easier Monday afternoon, as the Giants and Matt Cain are reportedly closing in on a new 5 year/$110M extension that would keep Cainer in the Orange and Black through 2017. If these numbers are correct, then I think the Giants have to consider themselves lucky they made out by only having to give up 110 mill over the 5 years. There were some suggesting he'd get at least $25M annually for 6 years if he hit the open market, so $22M for 5 years is definitely a lot more palatable. Now, the deal isn't even final yet, and I'm not sure on the specifics, but my guess is that the Giants have back-loaded the deal so Cain receives the majority of his money once the Zito contract comes off the books. Rowand's $12M comes off after this season, which will help, but it's Zito's $18M after 2013 that will really give this franchise some breathing room. Chances are a