Archive for October, 2010

Don’t get me wrong. I’m happy the Giants won. We managed to get a win with Cliff Lee starting on the mound, the scariest opponent in the postseason in my opinion. But this was one of the worst games of baseball I’ve seen in a long time. The box score really doesn’t do an adequate job of explaining this game. It’s been awhile since I’ve written, but today was a perfect game for a rant.

Box Score says 8 hits off Cliff Lee: I would love to say that the Giants got 6 earned runs and 8 hits off of Cliff Lee driving him out of the game before finishing five. Unfortunately, we didn’t see Lee in his true form and I already have his next start marked as a loss for the Giants. Lee didn’t have control of his pitches and when you’re a control and not a speed pitcher, that’s a bad spot to be in. The bright side of this: The Giants capitalized. Honestly, half the time I watch the Giants I swear they would strike out on a tee. They clearly know this (and how could you not? Everyone comments on their miserable offense) and their batting practice was evident. I’m not ready to say they took enough batting practice to be able to hit good pitching, but they did take enough batting practice to be able to hit mistakes. The recent offensive contributions from everyone on the roster not named Cody Ross have also been a welcome change. Hopefully this game was the confidence booster they needed to add continued run support.

Box Score says 8 hits off LIncecum: Lee had a bad game, but so did Lincecum. What was supposed to be an even better pitcher’s duel than last week’s Halladay vs Lincecum turned into a batting practice session.  Lincecum, known for being a strikeout pitcher, only rung up 3 today over 5.2 innings of work. He gave up a double to Cliff Lee. He issued a walk in the first with no outs and a runner on. He’s usually lights out once a runner is on. He luckily calmed down a bit after his first two innings of work and avoided the train wreck that was foreshadowed in the first two innings. He wasn’t horrible, but it wasn’t the end of season Tim Lincecum. Unfortunately for Giants starting pitchers, I just don’t think we can win this if they’re anything less than perfect. Our offense produced today, but I don’t think we can count on that continuing. This team is undeniably built off our starting pitching and although it’s unfair to put all the pressure on them, it’s the situation they’ve been in all year. I expect a better outing from Lincecum the second time around…not that improvement from a 6.35 ERA today is an outstanding goal for a two time Cy Young winning pitcher.

Box Score says 6 errors: Thank God for both teams that baserunning errors aren’t included. Just about everything the Giants do on the bases is an error. For having such bad hitting, you would think the Giants would learn to be aggressive on the bases. Instead, they actually supplement their awful hitting with awful baserunning.  I guess I can’t be completely mad at him, going 4 for 5 today, but there’s still not much of an excuse for Freddy Sanchez. In the bottom of the first, a ball got away from Bengie Molina that should have resulted in moving the runner up. Sanchez didn’t even attempt to go to third. With one out, you especially need to take third base if it’s given to you for free so you can set up the sacrifice fly. To add to his baserunning upset, he got doubled up on the next play getting too far off the bag on a fly ball. I’ll give Kinsler credit, he made an amazing play, catching a ball over his shoulder and immediately spinning and throwing to nail Sanchez at second. Only thing is he would have gotten him whether or not he made an amazing play. Sanchez can say he fell, but he fell while three quarters of the way to third. What business does he have being three quarters of the way to third? With one out and a pop fly in potentially catchable zone, he should have been waiting. If they drop it, he’s making it to third even if he’s only a quarter of the way. I won’t go into it, but I also thought Andres Torres should have scored from first on the Sanchez double. As a leadoff hitter, you should have the speed and aggression to score on that when the outfielder is chasing a ball into the corner with his back to you. This also could just be the tipping point for me on Andrew Torres after he refused to steal second in the Phillies series when a ball got away from Carlos Ruiz (similar to Sanchez not stealing third today).

I don’t care if a pitcher can’t hit. Lincecum’s spin move the other day is about what I expect from a pitcher hitting. One thing they should know how to do though: sacrifice bunt. So why is Lincecum turning at the last second as if he’s bunting for a hit? Turning at the last second makes everything about a sac bunt harder; making contact with the ball, making sure your bat head is up, and cradling the ball, so that you’re not pushing It towards the fielders and making a play at second possible. From pitch one Lincecum was turning too late, so it’s no surprise that he popped out and ruined an opportunity to move up his runner.

In the other dugout, I think it was Kinsler, who made the most elementary of baserunning errors and threw away his infield single. After running through first, he made a move towards second before realizing that the ball hadn’t gotten past Aubrey Huff. Heads up fielding by Huff to immediately tag Kinsler out.

Box Score says the Giants used 5 pitchers in the final 2 innings: For a bullpen that gets as much credit as the Giants, I am a bit sad that Bochy used so many pitchers to close out the last two innings when we had a four run lead going into the eighth and a 7 run lead going into the ninth and there’s a game tomorrow. I just don’t think it’s worth the risk of having a sore bullpen.

Bright sides to the game:

It was nice to see some 3-2 counts. A characteristic swing happy team finally worked the count and got Lee out early. They were disciplined and made Lee throw over 100 pitches before getting retired.

Santiago Casilla came out hard after struggling a bit with Philly. No issues today.

Freddy Sanchez hitting 4 for 5. Our number 1 and 2 hitters are finally producing and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

Juan Uribe. The following is a quote from a gchat conversation I was having with a friend around the fourth inning.

Me: “Uribe wants a homerun or nothing. Bad hitting.”

Friend: “It’s Juan Uribe. Of course it’s bad hitting.”

This friend is a Dodgers fan, so I was thrilled when he jinxed Uribe for the better and Uribe made it to those fences he was swinging for. Although his 4 at bats today included 3 swinging strikeouts (the true box score of someone looking for a homerun), I couldn’t be happier with the timing of his hit. Just as the Rangers pulled Cliff Lee hoping that that would be the end of their woes for the day, Uribe crushed it and kicked them while they were down. Wonderful and much appreciated.

Taking the first game was huge for the Giants, and more important is making sure they win as many home games as possible since it’s not gonna be easy in Texas.

I would love to see the Giants bring a championship to San Francisco, but I’d really rather see it in a good series. Tomorrow I’m hoping for the good starting pitching this series promised and less than 6 errors.

I would just like to conclude by responding to another comment made to me earlier, and say that I still don’t believe Cliff Lee is human.

I repeat: NOT HUMAN

Sand-Rant

Advertisements

It’s League Championship Series time and, boy, did I get it wrong.  Before the divisional series started I thought Minnesota, Tampa, Philadelphia and San Francisco would all go through.  Well, I got half of it right.  I though the Giants had too much pitching for the Braves and the same went for Philadelphia against the Reds.  I was right about that part.  The other two games, not so much.

The Twins finished the season playing .620 baseball over the last two months while the Yankees limped in going 29-30 in August and September.  Maybe the loss of Justin Morneau was too much for 3rd best hitting team in the majors.  Having Joe Mauer bat .250 with no extra-base hits didn’t help either.

 

Joe Mauer will OWN baseball someday, just not this year

 

Cliff Lee and Texas were too much for the Rays.  When you’re 26th in batting during the regular season, like the Rays were, it’s hard to score runs when you fall behind.  A team like the Rangers can get hot in a hurry, Tampa can’t.

ALCS

New York Yankees v Texas Rangers

Pitching Matchups:

Game 1 @ Texas – CC Sabathia v C.J Wilson

Game 2 @ Texas – Phil Hughes v Colby Lewis

Game 3 @ NY – Cliff Lee v Andy Petitte

Game 4 @ NY – Tommy Hunter v A.J. Burnett

The rest of the games are TBD.  Game 5 is also in New York and the final two games are in Texas, if necessary.

Sabathia and Hughes are probably the better pitchers in the first two games.  A win by either or both would be huge for New York.  Game three is where it gets tricky.  Andy Petitte has been money whenever the Yanks have needed him in the postseason but he’s no Cliff Lee.  Lee is 6-0 with a 1.44 ERA lifetime in the postseason.  He went 2-0 with 21 strikeouts in two starts against the Rays.  Texas is paying the price for not closing out Tampa in the ALDS.  I’m sure the Rangers would’ve wanted Lee and/or Tommy Hunter in those first two games in Texas.

 

Can he stay hot?

 

Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz tore it up for Texas against Tampa but they will need Josh Hamilton and Michael Young to find their swings if they want to beat New York.  Kinsler batted .444 (8/18) with 3 homers and 6 RBI.  Cruz went 8/20 (.400) with 3 homers but struck out six times.  That might be a problem against the Yankees.  Hamilton and Young went a combined .132 (5/38) with six strikeouts each.

Curtis Granderson is batted .455 (5/11) against the Twins.  He only batted .247 in the regular season.  Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez have seven hits between them but they’re all singles and that won’t be enough for the Yankees to get by.  As a team Texas is batting .254 while the Yankees come in at .314.  Can the Yankees keep up this pace?

I saw on ESPN where they have the team matchups and they gave the edge to Texas in coaching.  How do you figure?  Am I wrong or did Joe Girardi win the World Series last year?

NLDS

San Francisco Giants v Philadelphia Phillies

Pitching Matchups:

Game 1 @ Philadelphia – Tim Lincecum v Roy Halladay

Game 2 @ Philadelphia – Jonathan Sanchez v Cole Hamels

Game 3 @ San Francisco – Roy Oswalt v Matt Cain

Game 4 @ San Francisco – TBD v TBD

Joe Blanton (Philadelphia) and Madison Bumgarner (SF) are the other starting pitchers but either or both teams might opt for a three-man rotation.  Game 5 is also in San Francisco and the final two games are in Philadelphia, if necessary.

Make sure to watch game one of this series.  Even if your team is not playing right now and you have no interest in this game, this is a must see game.  Lincecum and Halladay are two of the top pitchers in the game over the last three seasons.  If you like baseball, you’ll love this game.  Tim Lincecum threw a complete game one-hit shutout against the Braves in game one of their series.  Roy Halladay did him one better by throwing the second no-hitter in postseason history against the Reds in game one of that series.  I can’t say it enough, watch this game.

 

You usually don't want to bet against this guy

 

Jonathan Sanchez and Cole Hamels are similar in regular season stats.  Hamels threw a complete game shutout with 9 strikeouts to clinch the series against Cincinnati.  Sanchez gave up 1 earned run with 11 strikeouts in a no-decision against Atlanta.

Roy Oswalt and Matt Cain are also similar in stats but Oswalt has a lower ERA.  Cain went 6.2 innings with 0 earned runs in a no-decision against the Braves.  Oswalt only lasted 5 innings in his only outing, giving up 3 earned runs and 2 home runs.  This matchup could determine who wins this series.

Neither team is hitting particularly well.  Both teams hit .212 in their divisional series.  Don’t expect that number to get any higher in the first game.

Who Wins:

Philadelphia has too much pitching not to win this series.  Roy Oswalt only needs an above average game to beat the Giants.

Same goes for New York, too much pitching.  Sabathia and Hughes are better than Wilson and Lewis.  Lee should be able to handle Petitte.  It’s game four that will be huge.  A.J. Burnett was terrible in the regular season.  He went 10-15 with a 5.26 ERA.  Tommy Hunter went 13-4 with a 3.73 ERA in the regular season but lasted only 4 innings against the Rays.  Is A.J. Burnett better than a 10-15 pitcher?  Yes.  Can he show it against the Rangers?  That remains to be seen.

 

Which A.J. Burnett will show up?

 

Get ready for a Philly – New York World Series.  I’m sure the rest of the country can’t wait for that.

 

I'd watch this, again.