Slaughtered in the Desert

The Giants suffered their worst loss of the season Wednesday night as the Diamondbacks blasted baseballs out of the ballpark left and right like it’s the thing to do! Well, it is Major League Baseball, so I guess, it kind of is the thing to do.

Todd Wellemeyer started for San Francisco going 5 innings giving up 5 runs on 4 hits (3 HR’s). But that wasn’t even the worst of it. Between Denny Bautista and Brandon Medders doing bullpen work, Arizona rallied up another 8 runs on 7 hits (3 HR’s). Oh yeah, that was only in 3 innings!  

The Giants also walked 8 batters as they looked completely hopeless out on the mound giving up 6 HR’s for the first time since god knows when. Some major bronus points will be given out to anybody that can tell me when that was?

Besides the pitching, offensively the Giants looked just as hopeless as Ian Kennedy struck out a career high 9 batters on route to his third victory. Kennedy pitched 8 innings yielding only 3 hits and 1 run. The D-backs ran away easily with this one, 13-1.

Ex-NL batting champ Freddy Sanchez was back in the lineup for the first time since September 21st of last year in the same ballpark. He didn’t do jack diddly squat which has pretty much been his story since we acquired him from Pittsburgh on July 21, 2009. But hey that’s how we do in San Francisco right? Go and snatch old washed up players in hopes that they will return to their prime form.

On a good note, struggling slugger Pablo Sandoval went 2-4 with a double and an RBI. That’s promising considering he is only batting .156 in the month of May. Let us all just hope that his slump has ended!

With this beating out of the way, we as Giants fans do have one thing to look forward to and that is the fact that our very own 2-time Cy Younger will take the hill tomorrow. In 9 career starts vs. the Diamondbacks, Lincecum holds a 5-1 record and an ERA of 1.87.

Right hander Rodrigo Lopez will get the start for Arizona. Lopez is coming off a solid performance in Atlanta in which he went 8 innings giving up 1 run on his way towards his second win of the year.

Friday night, Barry Zito will be looking for his first win against his former team on the other side of the bridge. He is 0-3 with an ERA of 9.22 against the A’s! I have a feeling that Zito just might come through in this one, I don’t know it’s just a feeling I have.

  

 

Swept by Padres, once again!

Giants fall 1-0 Thursday afternoon in a pitcher’s duel at AT&T Park. Eli Whiteside was the lone hit for the Giants as Matt Latos of the Padres threw 9 shutout innings earning his 3rd win of the season.

Being a die-hard fan for the last 17 years or so I do not have too many good things to say right now but I will try my best to keep the negativity away as the Giants lose their fifth game out of the last six.

Jonathan Sanchez did pitch a solid game for the G-men in which he went 8 innings only allowing one run on three hits. But that wasn’t enough as the Padres sweep the Giants for the second time this year and took control of the NL West by 3.5 games.

San Francisco moved to 3-9 with in the division after this series and with this type of inter-division play, I have no idea how we expect to make it to the postseason. During the series, we only managed to score 4 total runs! I realize we have one of the top ERA’s in the baseball but by averaging 1.3 runs per game, how are we supposed to win?

Knowing that we got swept down south earlier this season I was kind of thinking it was time for payback as this series was in Nor Cal. Going in we were only ½ game out of first place and I was thinking for sure we would take over the #1 spot by today.

Could my foreshadowing have been any worse?

Barry Zito had his worst outing of the year in game 1 which came totally unexpected and was followed up by Matt Cain’s horrifying performance after being completely dominant in his previous two starts.

Looking at Sanchez’s previous two starts I was already worried of the sweep but he pitched phenomenal. We just couldn’t back him with any offense whatsoever!

As of right now I guess the one thing we do get to look forward to is a series with the Astros who are tied for the 3rd worst record in the majors. The Giants swept the Astros in Houston during the first three games of the season and hopefully we can continue that trend as they are headed out to the bay to face us this time.

The series will start Friday with Todd Wellemeyer on the mound who is 1-3 this year with an ERA of 5.97. The Astros will throw right hander Felipe Paulino who has yet to win this year and holds a 4.67 ERA.

 

Rowand lifts the Giants past the Mets

Aaron Rowand bombed a 2 run shot off of Jenrry Mejia in the top of the 8th to boost the G-men over the Mets 6-5 at Citi Field. All three games of this series were decided on home runs in which the Giants fell victim to Friday and Saturday but reversed the trend on Sunday.

On Friday night Jonathan Sanchez pitched seven innings, giving up four earned runs on seven hits. Going into the ninth, San Francisco was down 4-3 until John Bowker hit a monstrous pinch hit homer into the second deck to tie the game with one out.

However, in the bottom half of the inning Rod Barajas hit a walk off shot off Sergio Romo for his second homer of the game and 9th on the year! And Just as I thought Sergio had gained his confidence back, there it all went flying out the window.

Saturday afternoon the Giants had Todd Wellemeyer on the mound but he left in the 5th having pitched 4.1 innings, giving up five BB’s, three hits and four runs.  The Giants found themselves down 4-2 until an 8th inning rally in which they rallied together two runs to tie it at 4. 

To the bottom of the 11th, and as of right now our bullpen has been brilliant. Brandon Medders came in and threw a few solid innings as well as Jeremy Affeldt. Guillermo Mota pitched through the 10th inning which gave the bullpen 5.2 innings of shutout baseball only allowing three hits. Unfortunately, that all changed with the first batter of the 11th, Henry Blanco, who went yard and sent everybody in New York home happy for the 2nd straight night.

Are you serious?? Two walk-offs in a row! The Mets didn’t even have two walk-offs all of last year!

WOW!

On to Sunday where Tim Lincecum took the hill still in search of win #5. San Francisco took a 4-0 lead into the 6th where the Mets then manufactured two runs and made it Lincecum’s last inning as he had already reached 116 pitches.

Dan Runzler came on in the 7th before leaving with the bases juiced and only one out. Romo came in relief of Runzler, and the first batter he faced hit what should have been a routine fly ball to left field. The problem was the wind was blowing gusts of up to 40 mph and Andres Torres failed to get a good read on the ball off the bat. He started drifting back and the ball was coming in, Torres had to adjust to try and make a play but didn’t work out so well as New York put two more runs up. The very next batter scored Jose Reyes on a sac fly and that right there my friends, took Tim off the decision board for the 3rd time in as many starts and put the Mets on top 5-4.

That is when Rowand connected on a 3-2 fastball in the top of the eighth deep to right center which ultimately became the deciding factor of this game. It actually was the Giants only extra base hit all game and with as many base runners we had, thank god we finally capitalized. Out of the 13 free passes we had (11 BB, 2 HBP), we only managed three to go all the way around the bases and score. 

Are you kidding me? With that many base runners reaching freely, we should have straight wiped these guys out! But I guess when you’re the worst team in the league with a .193 batting average with runners in scoring position and two outs, it makes sense we can only score on three of those thirteen freebies.

Brian Wilson took the game over in the bottom half of the 8th and after Jason Bay led off with a double, Wilson decided to take control. He retired the last five batters of the game with five strikeouts on his way toward his 7th save of the year.

The Giants completed the quick east coast swing taking 4 out of 6 games and will be headed back to the bay for a showdown with the division leading Padres.

Tuesday – Padres will toss lefty Wade LeBlanc on the mound who absolutely owns the Giants as of right now. In two starts, he has given up two runs and has got himself two wins.  Oh, and he is holding us to .133 batting average! Barry Zito will be looking to continue his dominance and snatch up win #6 Tuesday night at AT&T Park.

Wednesday – Clayton Richard will start for San Diego and in his two appearances versus the Giants, has been straight rocked! On the year he holds a 1-2 record with an ERA of 3.34. Matt Cain is coming off of two consecutive solid outings and looks like he has his confidence knob turned up! And let us all pray that he plans to keep it that way.

Thursday Most likely to be on the mound is Matt Latos who is coming off an eight inning performance in which he gave up no runs and only two hits. He also pitched seven shutout innings against the Giants in San Diego back on 4/20. Jonathan Sanchez is the probable starter for San Francisco and is looking real hard to come out strong after two subpar performances. No better way than to do it against the team he had no hit back on July 10, 2009!

As of right now, the Padres hold a 0.5 game lead on us and I cannot wait to get this series started. Both of these teams are backed by excellent pitching staffs. The Padres lead the league in shutouts with seven and also have the 2nd best ERA in the MLB at 2.73.  They also have the 3rd best opponent batting average at .296 but the Giants have the 7th ranked batting average at .273 to go against that.

The G-men have the 4th best ERA in the big leagues at 3.04 and are holding opponents to a batting average of .294, good for 2nd in the league. The Padres are 23rd in batting average at .243 and also have struck out 266 times which is the 3rd highest mark in the majors. San Francisco is tied for the MLB lead with 257 strikeouts.

Should be a fun series! I’m excited that’s for sure and hopefully at the end of it we will have switched spots in the NL West standings.  

Meanwhile, back in the bay…….

The bay? Okay, maybe not the bay, but the “Town.” The town where Oakland pitcher Dallas Braden was working on some serious town business!

Sunday afternoon Braden became the 19th pitcher in MLB history to throw a perfect game in the A’s 4-0 victory of the red hot Devil Rays. The same D-Rays who had only lost one road game out of their first fourteen to start the year but just got handed two in a row. The same D-Rays who were victims of the 18th perfect game thrown by Mark Buehrle on July 23, 2009. Ahh, but most important, the same Tampa Bay Devil Rays who own the best record in the big leagues but were perfected by Dallas Braden on mother’s day of 2010. 

Dallas Braden?  The same Dallas Braden who called A-Rod out for jogging over the mound on his way back to the dugout at the Oakland Coliseum.  Apparently a big no-no. That is most likely what he was best known for, but that has all changed as the 26 year old left hander blanked the D-Rays and improved his record to 4-2 on the year. Congratulations player!

 

BEHIND CAIN, 1ST PLACE OBTAINED!

Yeah that’s right, Giants ride Cain, complete the sweep with a 6-3 victory and grab the top spot in the National League. The Cardinals have one more win, but also have one more loss than us. According to win percentages, that puts us in 1st place baby!

It’s funny how the two top teams in the league also happen to be the 1-2 in team ERA. Going into today, the Cards had the #1 spot with a 2.62 team ERA with the Giants right behind at 2.79. That’s how it is supposed to be though; good pitching always beats good hitting.

Speaking of good pitching, how about Matt Cain? My dude had a no-no going through 5.2 innings when Chris Coghlan broke it up with a dribbler up the middle. Hanley Ramirez led off the 7th with a double for the Marlins and later scored on a Dan Uggla single to score there first run.

Cain left the mound after pitching 7 innings, giving up 2 runs on 4 hits with 3 walks and 6 strikeouts.

Mota, Runzler, and Affeldt all worked out of the bullpen before Brian Wilson struck out Wes Helms for the second night in a row to end the game.   

On Wednesday night,

Barry Zito got his 5th win of the season in a solid 7 inning performance. His only troubles came in the 8th when he loaded the bases with nobody out. Bruce Bochy came out to the mound to pay him a visit but chose to leave him in, which I did not find to be a bad decision considering recent events that have happened.  Zito surrendered his 4th straight hit after the visit before leaving the game with 7 IP, 1 ER and unknowingly on his way to a victory.  

With Zito leaving the bases loaded and Sergio Romo getting the call, I have to say I was a little bit scared. Especially after he came in to relieve Lincecum on Tuesday, only to spoil his 2-run lead and slap him with his second straight no decision.

However,  all those BG’s went away real quick when Romo struck out Hanley Ramirez and then got Jorge Cantu to ground into a double play right after!

Now, that’s what I call some serious pitching!

Considering the previous night Romo had blown the lead, and then was given the job of coming in the next night with no outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth inning. Holding a 2-run lead. Facing the heart of the Marlins lineup.  Yeah, so to say the least that was a huge confidence booster.

Brian Wilson came on in the 9th and before you know it, he had run into some troubles. Nothing to serious though, as he did close out the game and earn his 5th save of the year. I have to say I was a bit nervous when all of a sudden the bases were loaded and only 1 out. But I was soon relieved when Wilson struck out Wes Helms to end it.

OTHER NOTES:

Matt Cain grabs his 2nd win in as many starts after a few rough outings. In those starts Cain has pitched 15 innings, giving up 5 hits and 2 ER!

Big ups to Aaron Rowand as he went 6-14 with 2 HRs, triple, and 7 RBIs in the series with the Marlins. Oh, did I mention his glove? Dudes looking like Griffey in his prime out there in center!

I would also like to congratulate Bengie Molina on his 10-game hit streak. Congratulations big fella! Only 47 more to go!

Giants are now 9-3 since the nasty 4-game losing streak. They will be heading into New York to play the Mets tomorrow, and Jonathan Sanchez is looking for a rebound vs. RHP Mike Pelfrey (4-1, 2.40).

 

Giants snag Marlins in 12

By the time I was able to tune in to the game on Tuesday, it was already the 6th inning and San Francisco was up 3-0. I quickly glanced at the stat sheet only to find that my boy Lincecum had been nothing less than dominant thus far, giving up only two hits and striking out 11 batters. Every player in the Marlins lineup except there starting pitcher had been K’d at least once. There starting pitcher, for real? Of all people?

Anyway, the very first batter I saw him face singled. The very next batter singled. At this point, I’m starting to get a little nervous. Then the next batter bangs what looks like a double out into left center that will score two runs, until… Aaron Rowand comes striking out of no where and makes a phenomenal diving catch! If you missed it you could probably catch the replay on Sportscenter’s Top Ten plays. Or Baseball Tonight’s top web gems of the night. Or if you don’t have time for that, simply YouTube it. It is most definitely a must see!

However, the catch didn’t really matter because Hanley “On Straight Fire Right Now” Ramirez (9-15 in last 3 games with 4 HR and 10 RBI’s) blasted the very next pitch into the left field bleachers to tie up the ball game. I almost didn’t even want to watch the game anymore because I felt like I was bringing bad luck, it was horrible. 

But I kept watching, and Tim kept pitching. He got himself out of the inning and pitched through the 7th as well with no problems.

Come the 8th inning, still a 3-3 ball game, Pablo Sandoval singled to put himself on base with two outs. The next batter, Bengie Molina, doubled off the wall. Then the Marlins elected to intentional walk Aubrey Huff which I did not really understand at all, I guess they wanted the righty-righty matchup with Juan Uribe on deck. Dumb decision when you ask me. Seems like intentional walks always come back to haunt you.

Especially when you have someone as clutch as Uribe stepping into the box, who in this situation sends the first pitch down the left field line to score two and put the Giants ahead 5-3. Ohhhh yeahhhh!! That’s what I’m talking about, way to make them pay big guy!

Lincecum was replaced by Romo in the 8th after throwing for the most part 7 solid innings and striking out 13! His only big mistake came on the homer by Ramirez, but you know what? It only proves that he’s human.

So with the Giants up 5-3 in the bottom of the 8th I am thinking to myself “Sweet, Tim might get his 5th win tonight.” Well, that thought did not last very long because just as I was thinking it Dan Uggla jacked a 3-run shot off Romo, and just like that the Marlins took the lead over.

Onto the 9th and the Giants are on their last out with nobody on. They are in desperate need of a miracle and boy did they get it. With a 1-0 count, Aaron Rowand smacked a slider out the ballpark and tied it up!

Jeremy Affeldt came on to work the bottom half of the ninth. He got the first two outs but with lefty killer Ronny Paulino at the plate, Bochy called on Brian Wilson. With runners on 1st and 3rd, Wilson got Paulino to ground out to 1st and send the game to extras.

With one out in the 12th, Andres Torres singled off of Burke Badenhop. Sandoval followed that up with a double and the Marlins chose to walk Bengie intentionally.

So even after they saw what had happened the last time they loaded the bases intentionally, they still decided it was in there best interest.  And I still will beg the differ because guess what?

Aubrey Huff made them pay with a single up the middle to score two runs! The next batter, Uribe singled. Nate Schieholtz was then hit by a pitch which gave us our third run of the 12th and with a 9-6 lead, we turned to Guillermo Mota for the close.

With a fairly easy 1,2,3 inning, the Giants snagged the Marlins in the first game of the series and improve  to 15-10 on the year.

Dan Runzler got the win, Guillermo Mota got the save and the loss went to Burke Badenhop for the Marlins.

The Giants will be in Florida Wednesday and Thursday before heading to the Big Apple Friday night. Tune in to watch as it appears this series will be a dandy one. Zito is set to go Wednesday and Matt Cain on Thursday so it should definitely be fun.

 

 

 

 

Rockies ride rookie, do not let the sweep take place

Giants fall to Rockies in series finale 4-1 Sunday afternoon in San Francisco.

Rookie Jhoulys Chacin was sensational on the mound for the Rocks, pitching 7 shutout innings with only 1 hit given up as he rolled on to the first win of his career.

The lone hit Chacin gave up was a double to Matt Downs in the bottom of the fifth and that about summed it up for the Giants. They did get a spark late when Aubrey Huff came through with a leadoff HR in the ninth, but a quick 1-2-3 after that and it was over!

Despite the loss, Huff straight tore it up over the series going 6-10 with 2 Homers, a double and 4 RBI’s. Personally I’m not surprised though, considering he went 0-4 with 3 K’s last Wednesday. It only makes sense that he had a good rebound series. I mean, you figure a guy has got to step it up after a performance like that right?

Left hander Jonathan Sanchez pitched for the Giants, but unfortunately he didn’t quite last as long as I had hoped for. Although Sanchez’s last three outings have been nothing short of spectacular (20 IP, 2 ER), He yielded 3 runs in only 4.2 innings this afternoon suffering his 2nd loss of the season. Our bats were not up and running Sunday at all so even behind 4 innings of decent bullpen work we could not get out of this one.

Other than Huff’s homer, Matt Downs had 2 hits and Aaron Rowand provided a single in his first game back from being nailed in the face 2 weeks ago.  Pablo Sandoval, who entered the series riding a 9 game hit streak in which he batted .457 (16 of 35), struggled big time against the Rockies pitching staff going 1-12 in the series.

The Panda also grounded into 2 more double plays on Sunday bringing his season total up to 8. This means he is now on pace for a record breaking 54 GIDP’s this year, which would shatter the previous record of 36, set by Jim Rice back in 1984.

All in all I can’t complain too much as we did close out the home stand at 6-3. Zito also improved to 4-0 and Matt Cain had an impressive outing Saturday throwing 8 one hit innings on the way to his first win of the season. Congrats Matt!

The Giants will have the day off Monday before heading out to the East Coast for 6 days. They will stop in Florida Tuesday before hitting New York to take on the Mets Friday. The Mets have been playing extremely good baseball having won 8 in a row before dropping the last 2 to Philadelphia, in which they were outscored 21-5.

UPCOMING

TUESDAY 5/4 – The Giants will be at Sun Life stadium beginning a three game series with the Marlins. The ball will be in Tim Lincecum’s hands on Tuesday as he is coming off a tough no decision and seeks his 5th win of the season. To start the series off for the Fish, right hander Anibal Sanchez will be on the hill, he is holding a 4.32 ERA with 1 win and 2 losses on the year.

WEDNESDAY 5/5 – Battle between some lefties! Barry Zito will have the start for San Francisco; he is coming off a solid 8 inning performance against the Rockies and is off to the best start of his career. Like Lincecum, he is also seeking to become 5-0. For the Marlins, Nate Robertson will be on the mound. He holds an ERA of 5.18 and has lost his last two decisions.

THURSDAY 5/6 – There cannot be a better way to close out the series than with Matt Cain on the mound. He gained a gang of confidence Saturday versus the Rocks and you can expect him to come out here and be just as effective. If I was scheduled to start for Florida on Thursday I would be trying my hardest to find a way to get the day off. Pitching for the Marlins will be a righty by the name of Ricky Nolasco. All time against the Giants he is 1-1 with a 1.18 ERA and my suggestion is that we change those numbers up a bit!     

 

 

 

Bullpen Disaster

So once again, San Francisco makes a costly and extremely unnecessary pitching change! This time, the game was in Timmy’s hands Wednesday afternoon when we decided to turn to closer Brian Wilson, which turned out to be a complete disaster!

Lincecum started the ninth inning with a 4-1 lead after only giving up 3 hits (2 of which were to Ryan Howard including a homerun), but other than that Timmy had the rest of the Phillies lineup numbered with 11 K’s, 0 walks and only 1 baserunner other then Howard. Sure looked like he was on his way to his fifth win if you ask me. 

With the 1st pitch of the 9th inning he got Greg Dobbs to groundout, but then surrendered a walk to Shane Victorino. No biggie, right? “The Freak” is still in command. Right? Boy was I wrong?!?!

So out comes Brian Wilson to close the game and the next thing I know, the bases became loaded. With Jayson Werth at the plate and 2 outs, I am literally sweatin as I pace back and forth waitin on the 3-2 pitch from Wilson. Can you guess what happens next? BAM! Werth smacks a bases clearing double! Can you say blown save? I can. “BLOWN SAVE!” And I smelt it as soon Tim left the mound.

So we go to extra innings and between Affeldt and Romo we surrender another 3 runs, 1 in the 10th and 2 in the 11th. We got the 1 in the 10th but was only able to come up with 1 more in the 11th for a 7-6 loss. A tough, tough, tough loss at that. 

Boy, do I feel bad for Lincecum? And all of our starters for that matter. 

I can not give an accurate count of the amount of times we have pulled our starter while he is in command this year, but this one will definitely stick in my head right up there with Zito’s superb outing against the Dodgers a few weeks back.

Remember that one? When he was in control going into the eighth inning of a game in which we were leading 1-0. And he walked the first batter of the inning, so we pulled him only for then pinch hitter Manny Ramirez to bang a two run shot over the wall off of Affeldt.

Here is a note: When a pitcher is on, he is on! Leave him in the game please! He will take care of business.

ON A TO A GOOD NOTE……………..Big ups to Nate Schierholtz! My dude got a cannon! Threw out Howard and then Chase Utley at second base from the wall in yesterdays game! I sure hope you don’t think you are going to stretch out an extra base with this guy out there.

And how about Nate going 5-5 in todays game along with a walk. I can not remember the last time I seen a Giant reach base 6 times in one game. Keep it up kid, and you will have no problem maintaining that spot out in right field.

UPCOMING: Friday 4/30 – The Rockies come into town and they will be throwin right hander Aaron Cook, who is coming off of a solid complete game outing. Get your bats ready boys! On the mound for us on friday will be Barry Zito and I cannot seem to find a way to express how happy I am with his performance so far this year. Just keep on rollin’ baby!

Saturday 5/1 – We will be tossing Matt Cain out on the mound who is coming off of one of his more solid outings this year and we definitely need this guy to get his swag on! Colorado has placed Jason Hammel and Jorge De La Rosa on the DL so they will be pulling someone up from the minors, most likely right hander Esmil Rogers.

Sunday 5/2 – To close out the series the Rockies will be going with the righty, Jhoulys Chacin. On the hill for the Giants will be Jonathan Sanchez, who is looking dandy so far this year holding a 1.85 ERA with a 2-1 record and is among the league leaders with 33 strikeouts.