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Showing posts from June, 2012

Offense Hits a Wall

We all knew the shutout streak would come to an end, but I don't think anyone foresaw the tables being turned on the Giants the way the have been the last few games. Ever since the Giants moved into sole possession of first place atop the NL West, they've gone into an offensive rut that's yielded them just 2 runs over the last two games vs. Cinci. Zito Throws Well in Loss Sat. They started off the series in terrific fashion Thursday night behind a strong performance from Madison Bumgarner, but Barry Zito and Matt Cain could not do enough in their starts on Friday and Saturday to overcome a couple of slow offensive games for the Giants. One part of the new-look Giants lineup that was working so well was that they've avoided pro-longed team slumps. I know 2 games isn't a huge slide, but coming up with just 2 hits off of Mat Latos on Saturday brought back some very unpleasant memories. The only run the Giants manufactured Saturday came on an RBI groundout by Greg

Giants Move Into First, Now Time to Separate

The Giants just completed a near perfect series against NL West leading Dodgers to move into a tie atop the division. With the Giants playing well and the Dodgers' two best hitters banged up, the time is now for the Giants to create some separation. Giants Sweep LA Back when Matt Kemp went on the DL for the first time this season and the Giants were within striking distance of LA, the Dodgers continued to play well even without their superstar. This time around, they haven't been as lucky, as the team has hit a tailspin over the last 2 weeks and just aren't the same without #27 patrolling center field for them. Then on top of that, they got news yesterday in the series finale that their other star outfielder, and guy they just gave an $85MM contract to, Andre Eithier, could be joining Kemp on the DL after straining his oblique Wednesday. Now the door has really opened for the Giants, and they've at least gotten their foot in this time. Watching them take care of t

Giants Take Gm. 1, Vogey/Kershaw in Gm. 2

The biggest series to date this season has arrived, and after a strong weekend over in Oakland, the Giants look up to the task at making a run at the first place Dodgers. Sandoval Rounding into Form The Dodgers came into AT&T Park limping and struggling, and the Giants jumped all over them Monday night, like a wounded animal. They pounced early with their bats and got a helluva performance out of Barry Zito in one of his most important starts as a Giant. The Dodgers looked completely flat, and the Giants took advantage. They scored 7 runs in the first two inning, basically wrapping the game up while fans were still trickling into their seats. Gregor Blanco, Melky Cabrera, Angel Pagan, Pablo Sandoval and Hector Sanchez all had multi-hit games. Sandoval was the standout though, going 3-3 with 3 RBI and 2 doubles. It was his most impressive day with the bat since he returned from the DL earlier this month, and helped make up for the fact that Bruce Bochy still insists on the San

Giants Closing in on Dodgers in West

Although the Giants narrowly missed sweeping the A's this weekend, there were still some good things to come out of this weekend's set in Oakland, including gaining another game on the Dodgers in the West. Cain just misses 10th win I think the best thing to come out of this weekends series obviously has to be the performance that Tim Lincecum provided after just a terrible first inning on Friday night. After giving up 3 runs in that first inning though, he rebounded to throw 5 straight, no-hit innings, allowing the Giants to climb back into the ballgame. Although he didn't get credit for the win, it was the first time since April in which the Giants won a Lincecum start. That coupled with the fact that he really started looking like the old Timmy in the middle of that game definitely gives reason for optimism. Matt Cain also threw a gem in Sunday's finale, though the Giants bullpen, which had a really rough weekend, failed to hold the lead for him. In Saturday nig

Giants Return To Bay Area in a Rut

The Giants tour through the AL West that started out in Seattle, then went through LA, has gotten off to a rough start. Luckily for them, although the series is in Oakland this weekend, they got a much needed return home and off-day Thursday as they try to right their ship vs. the surging Athletics. Weaver Shuts Down SF The A's are coming off a series themselves where they helped the Giants stay within striking distance of the first place Dodgers by sweeping them during the week. They'll be rolling into the weekend set with a full head of steam and on the heels of some pretty outstanding starting pitching. They held the potent Dodgers attack, albeit without MVP-candidate Matt Kemp, to just 2 total runs in the three game series. Unfortunately for the Giants, at the same time that was happening, they were having offensive troubles of their own in LA as they were shut out in the rubber match by Angels' ace Jered Weaver. Friday night's matchup at The Collesium should

Brandon Belt Finding His Stroke

Anytime the Giants and Angels get together to play in Anaheim, it always brings back memories of that memorable and excruciating 2002 World Series. 10 years later, and with all new players, the rivalry still lives on. Belt Quietly Has .800 OPS The Giants got the better of LA in game one of the series Monday, as Matt Cain made his first start since throwing his perfect game at AT&T Park last week. He still looked like he was in a bit of a daze from his last start, and had one of his worst starts of the season but it didn't matter as the Giants offense was there to support him. Although Cain allowed 10 base runners to reach in his 5 innings of work, the Giants banged out 13 hits on offense including 3-hit efforts from Melky Cabrera and Ryan Theriot and another multi-hit game from the newly reformed Brandon Belt. Just a week ago, the Giants first baseman's lack of production was prompting talk all over the internet and bay area radio waves that it was time for a change a

Giants Tumble in Seattle

After a commanding victory in game one Friday night at Safeco Field, the Giants took a turn for the worse in the final two games of the series. Tim Lincecum lost his 9th straight start on Saturday, followed up by an offensive meltdown in Sunday's rubber match. Timmy Loses Homecoming Now, I know that most people want to keep harping on Tim Lincecum after yet another bad outing Saturday, and even though I'm a big supporter of letting your star players work out their own mistakes, I wouldn't be opposed to maybe sitting Timmy down for his next scheduled start and give him 10 days to just clear his head and work on the side in the bullpen. They're not going to exile him to the bullpen or send him to the minors, so why not give him a breather? I've said many times here that in order for the Giants to be a legit contender, they need Timmy throwing like he can. I don't really want to say much more about Lincecum cause it'll just be beating a dead horse. There

Vogelsong, Posey and Cabrera Lead Giants

The Giants launched a critical weekend series in Seattle Friday night with a big win, as Ryan Vogelsong got the team back on track after a wild week at AT&T Park with his token 7-inning, 2-run performance. Melky: 6 HR, .365 AVG. I haven't checked the stats on all of Vogelsong's starts for the year, but I'd bet that he's gone 7+ innings while allowing 2 or less runs in over 3/4 of them so far. It seems like every start lately he goes 7 strong and gives the Giants a great opportunity to win and it was no different Friday night at Safeco. While Vogey didn't quite match the masterpiece we saw Matt Cain paint Wednesday night, but he did take a 2-hitter into the 7th inning. He's still having a bit of trouble getting past the 7th though, as it seems like either pitch count and/or fatigue start catching up with him around the 6th and 7th innings. Still, with his win Friday, it not only started the Giants out on the right track vs. the Mariners, but also gave h

Matt Cain. Perfect!

Matt Cain exemplified perfection Wednesday night at AT&T Park, as the man who's come so close to no-hitters in the past, finally went the distance, throwing the first perfect game in Giants' history. Matt Cain In Midst of Perfection Cain struck out a career-high 14 batters in route to his perfect outing, as Houston hitters looked lost at the plate all night long. I've been to a few games when Cain has taken no-hitters into the 8th and 9th innings before, but I've never seen him in the form he was in Wednesday night at AT&T Park. The 27 year-old right-hander is the one that got the big contract in the winter, not Tim Lincecum, and the early dividends have paid off huge for San Francisco. With Cain's perfect outing, he moved his record to a dominant 8-2, coupled with a 2.19 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. It was his 7th straight victory, and he's allowed 1 or less runs in 5 of those 7 outings. This game also has to put him on the map as the potential starter for

Giants Beat Houston, Sign Stratton

The Giants accomplished two key things Tuesday, taking the first game of their 3-game set with the Astros and before the game, announcing that they had come to an agreement with first round selection, Chris Stratton. Bugmarner Homers then Wins We'll start out with the game, in which the Giants offense woke up a little after a rough weekend set vs. Texas. They got a big fly and a great outing from starter Madison Bumgarner, who improved his record to 8-4 on the season with an absolute gem vs. Houston. The Giants' young lefty went 7 2/3 allowing just 6 base runners while striking out a season-high 12 batters. He also sparked the Giants offense with a solo home run in the bottom of the third inning which put the Giants on the board. After that, their offense which was shut out twice over the weekend, got rolling. The lineup got the return of Melky Cabrera and the Giants' potential all-star right fielder responded with a 2 for 4 line and an RBI. Perhaps the most important

Rangers Get Revenge on Lincecum, Giants

In their first appearance in San Francisco since the 2010 World Series, the Rangers showed up with a chip on their shoulder and thoroughly outplayed the Giants to take their 3-game set. They also beat up Tim Lincecum, who lost his 5th straight and has fans wondering aloud what is going on with the 27 year-old ace. Lincecum's Struggles Continue First off, I want to talk about Lincecum. I know we've talked a lot about his struggles here lately, as they've been a big reason why this team hasn't taken off and is up their with LA in the West right now. He's been bad, there's no denying that, but his struggles are specific and ones that should be smoothed out with more time. It's not like this guy hasn't gone through a funk before. Never has it lasted quite this long, but he went through a very similar grind in August of 2010 before the Giants took off down the stretch. As I've been saying all along, the Giants need Lincecum to right the ship, they n

Panda Returns, Giants Even Up Series

The Giants originally had their star third baseman's return scheduled for Tuesday next week, but after suffering through a scoreless game one vs. Texas Friday night, the Giants decided to pull the trigger earlier than expected. Pablo Starts Saturday After an offensive explosion of sorts in San Diego Thursday, the Giants returned home Friday night only to be shut down by Matt Harrison. It also didn't help matters that Barry Zito descended back into pre-2012 Zito for the start, as the Rangers knocked him around for 9 hits and 4 runs over 6 innings. Not the worst numbers from a number 5 starter, but it really didn't matter as the Giants hitters just couldn't figure out the Rangers' lefty. Harrison went the full nine, holding the Giants to just 5 hits with 5 K's. His outing kind of reminded me of classic Kirk Rueter performance when Rueter was on. He didn't overpower guys with a bunch of K's, but really neutralized the Giants bats with timely off-speed

Giants' Bats Go Off in San Diego

The Giants have used the "small ball" formula for much of their offensive success this season, but they had a power outburst in the most unlikely of all places, lighting up Petco Park this week to take 2 of 3 from the reeling Padres. Blanco Goes Deep Twice in SD The Giants connected for 37 hits in the three-game set, including 5 big flies, which is normally about a seasons worth of home runs for them at Petco Park. This week, the air was thin down south though, and one guy who really took advantage of that was Gregor Blanco, who went deep twice in the series after connecting for just one in his previous 130 at-bats in 2012. It wasn't just the long ball that Blanco was supplying either, as the leadoff man went 7-15 with 5 extra-base hits vs. San Diego. He narrowly missed a two-homer game in the rubber match Thursday, as he knocked one off the wall in deep center after going yard earlier in the afternoon, but Gregor Blanco did a bit of everything in this series, and s

Giants Take MSU's RHP Chris Stratton at 20

Well, the Giants pick just rolled in and they got themselves a good one. I mentioned a few posts back in our draft preview that this guy would make a lot of sense, and I think the Giants were real surprised he lasted until pick 20 with all the arms that were going off the board. Here's a little piece we did on him in the Draft Preview, along with a link to a video. "RHP, Chris Stratton, Miss. St.: Stratton could also make a lot of sense for the Giants as most believe he'll last into the 20's and could be the best college arm available when the Giants choose. He's almost like a right-handed version of Andrew Heaney, who I think would be a great choice at 20 if he fell as well and we'll discuss in a moment. Stratton started as a reliever at Mississippi St., but became a starter this year and quickly became the team's ace. He's got a mid-90's fastball and three average to above-average pitches to go with it, which if he refines, would give

Giants Sweep Chicago to Improve to 31-24

Giants take care of business vs. one of the NL's worst teams, as the pitching staff shut the down when need be and the offense came up with just enough support to yield positive results. Won 14 of 21 and now 31-24? Zito: 5-2, 2.98 ERA As has been the case for the starting pitching in general this year, it was again brilliant this last week. Even Tim Lincecum finally shook off some of his struggles in Thursday's game (despite getting another loss) to set the tone for the weekend, and it continued through Vogelsong's start Monday. Perhaps the most impressive start of the weekend though, came from the arm of Barry Zito on Sunday to shore up the series win for the Giants. Zito turned in his best outing of the season, throwing 8 1/3 innings of shutout ball, allowing just 4 hits with 5 strikeouts. Zito improved to 5-2 and dropped his ERA under 3.00. This all came on the heels of nearly an identical performance out of Matt Cain on turn back the clock day Saturday. Cainer cam

MLB Draft Day: Possible Targets for the Giants

With the Giants on a red hot streak lately, I almost forgot about today's upcoming MLB's Amateur Draft. I'm not as well versed with this class as I've been the last couple of drafts, mostly because the Giants aren't selecting at the top like they were before 2011, and because baseball's draft is the biggest crap-shot of all drafts in professional sports. So the chance of the Giants actually drafting one of these guys is very slim. I've only seen small amounts of some of the projected first rounders, either through video or in actual game play (for a few of the collegiate players that is), and I came up with a short list of five players who could be available for the Giants at 20. RHP, Zach Eflin, HS, FLA: Eflin is one of the higher touted prep right handed starters in this draft, and really reminds me a lot of another Zach the Giants drafted then dealt away last summer for Carlos Beltran. Eflin has a quiet, compact motion but the ball explodes out of

Bumgarner K's 11, Panda Ready to Rehab

The Giants continued their strong play of late, winning 13 of their last 20 games, with a game one victory over the reeling Chicago Cubs. I said in our last post that this is a series the Giants should be able to sweep this three-game set, and they certainly got off on the right foot. Casilla Hurt Friday Night Madison Bumgarner, who was the Giants' pitcher of the month in April, had a hard time finding victories in May, collecting just one. However, he showed up Friday night at Wrigley in complete focus mode, striking out a season-high 11 batters over 8 terrific innings of work. The Giants ace lefty did not walk a single Cubs hitter, and allowed just 2 runs over the 8 innings before yielding to Santiago Casilla and Javier Lopez in the 9th. After winning 5 straight games from April 12th through May 5th, Bumgarner had gone win-less in his last 4 starts before Friday's gem. The win raised his record to 6-4 and dropped his ERA down to 3.04. The biggest surprise to come out of