Clinchez

FRIDAY

I was really hoping for a Matt Cain victory on Friday.  Not only is he my current favorite starting pitcher, but it was his birthday, and it would have got the pressure off right away so that I could enjoy a stress-free weekend.  Unfortunately no such luck.  I wasn’t able to watch the game, as my step-daughter was only going to be with us on Friday this weekend, so I sacrificed baseball in favor of a pizza-kid movie evening, but I kept up with it on MLB’s Game Day, periodically checking in to watch as the Padres hit a home run in the second…third…fourth inning, ultimately taking the game 6-4.  Oh well, Giants baseball is not about making things easy for fans, and we’ve still got two more games to go so it’s cool…right?
SATURDAY
While I haven’t been especially confident in Zito lately (which is a shame, because he was real fun at the beginning of the season) I had this weird fantasy that he would destroy the Padres to ensure himself a spot in the post-season, maybe even throw a shut out or perfect game or something, just to make up for all his bad luck.  But a fantasy it was.  Again I couldn’t watch the game, because a family friend of my wife’s family planned a wedding during baseball season for some weird reason.  But at one point we took a break between wedding and reception at a sports bar and I got to see my Giants losing, but also witness another UUUU-RIBE home run.  Afterwards I followed the score on my cellphone as the Giants lost again 4-2.
So okay now we had one more chance before tying with the Padres and having to play a tiebreaker in their home town.  But what are the odds that a team could lose three games in a row?  Or four?  While proceeding to drink mass quantities of free alcohol, I desperately tried to recall if and when and how often the Giants have had a 4+ game losing string this season, or this season post-All-Star break, and I couldn’t think of any examples, but I was pretty sure they must have at some point.  I was starting to feel the panic.
But then the rum kicked in and I realized with perfect clarity what they were doing.  They were waiting for Mat Latos.  Of course!  Why not clinch it when Mat Latos is pitching?  It’s way more dramatic.  The guy trash talked this team, so of course the Giants want to make sure he’s the reason they clinch it.  Plus Jonathan Sanchez will be pitching, and he talked a bunch of bravado about beating the Padres in August and didn’t come through, so this would be HIS chance to back up his bold statements.  That MUST be why they’re playing it this way…right?  Right?  
SUNDAY
Right!
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The Giants finally take the victory with a 3-0 shut out.  Sanchez and the bullpen give up four hits and zero runs while Latos only makes it six innings, giving up two of the three runs.  AND Sanchez got the runs rolling with a triple off Latos in the third inning!  
Again, I ended up following much of the game via the computer (seriously, I’m the worst baseball watcher ever) but I tuned in at the bottom of the eight, just in time to see Posey hit his last home run of the regular season.  From there it was just a matter of Mr. Wilson getting us three outs, which is his specialty, and it was over!  The pressure was off!  Bouncing ensued!  
There’s still a big hill or three to climb, but the Padres are gone!  Not even wild card, just GONE.  That alone is a victory for the Giants this year in my book.  
Tomorrow I’ll start examining the stats and theorizing on our chances of dominating the National League.  Today though, I’m just going to enjoy the feeling of triumph.  
Congratulations Giants!  
MONDAY
Hey look!  I made the first page!  (No I’m not the girl holding the sign…)
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Not a huge deal I guess for the veteran bloggers out there, but it’s a first for me, and a nice bit of icing on a great NL West clinching weekend!  I guess I’d better start spelling things right now…
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Well Shut Me Down!

What’s with me and the Star Wars references this week?  I’ll balance it out with some Star Trek in a minute.  Anywho.

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Pablo? Buster? Aubrey? Anybody?  Talk about a pitching war.  No denying Chad Billingsley was pretty amazing, throwing his second career shutout and third complete game.  But y’know, even though we lost, Zito had a steller performance as well, making it to the eighth inning and allowing only six hits and two runs, the second run chalked up to Romo allowing one hit in the 0.2 innings he pitched. Yeesh. 

yeesh.jpgThis is the second time in a row we’ve lost the last game of the series.  Both times I’ve felt bummed afterward, which is kind of a negative considering we still won the series.  In fact we’ve won the last FOUR series, and are still ranked #2 in the division, with only FOUR games behind the Padres.  Today’s blog post is sponsored by the number…

number4.jpgOff to face Arizona in a FOUR game series.  The D-Backs are trailing the division, 19 games behind the Padres and 15 games behind us.  Please please PLEASE let us slaughter them! 

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What’s the S Stand for Again?

Bay Area Slaughter?

sgtslaughter.jpgThat’s two sweeps in a row.  I watched enough of Friday’s game to see Zito give up three (of six) runs.  Watched all of Saturday’s torturous struggle, on a big screen no less, just to really give it resonance.  Could have watched Sunday’s game, but opted out after three innings because it felt like a repeat of Saturday, and frankly I was just bored.  Three games and one run, how is that not boring?  Sorry Giants.  

bored.jpgIn exchange for me crossing my fingers for the Yankees, Jane Heller was supposed to cross her fingers for the Giants on Friday.  Yankees won, Giants didn’t.  What’s up with that Jane? 

backstabber.jpgWe started out so strong, and now it feels like we’ve lost any momentum we managed to generate.  Still have more than half a season to go, but I feel like fourth place is looming dangerously close!

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Nationals up next.  At home!  Can we break this horrific streak?  They are last place in pitching, batting and fielding this year.  Good god, we’d better!

Down a Step

Well, it’s official!

standings20100521.jpgThe D-Back, of all teams, officially knocked us down a peg. Weird game. We lose by one run, which is ridiculously usual for us, but Golden God Tim only pitches five innings, walking five and surrendering five hits, including a home run. And even weirder, the score on both sides exceeded one run. In fact, at one point, both teams scored five runs back to back. Unheard of this season! Bochy ejected? Affeldt allowing a stolen run to home? Weird game.

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I was really expecting to sweep the D-Backs, not get swept. But it occurred to me that I should have known better. Here’s my theory on what happened. Behold this man:

james.jpgThat is my father-in-law. He’s one of those guys that are good at winning. He’s the guy who’s ahead of you in your fantasy football league. He’s the guy who’s going to take all your chips if you sit down with him at the poker table. He’s the guy who’s going to draw the elusive domino needed to go out in Mexican Train.

winner.jpgAnd this year he’s decided to get into baseball again, and since he lives in Arizona, he’s decided to be a D-Backs fan. And sure, they’re in last place, so one could argue that his winning powers aren’t all that. But that’s now how it works, folks. How it works is, he wins when it’s important. He wins when brother-in-law and I are dying to rub it in that the Giants creamed his team. THAT’s when his powers kick and we get swept. So again Giants fan, this guy is why we lost:

jamescloseup.jpgBay Bridge Series next! Would love a win or three, but fun either way. Zito’s up tonight, pitching against his old stomping grounds, hopefully doing better than he’s done previous:

Rk Date Tm Opp Rslt IP H R ER BB SO HR
1 2008-06-13 SFG OAK L 1-5 5.2 6 4 4 4 3 0
2 2007-06-09 SFG OAK L 0-6 4.0 9 4 3 1 2 1
3 2007-05-18 SFG OAK L 3-15 4.0 6 7 7 7 2 1

Apparently he doesn’t like being booed. But he’s doing great this year, reinvented himself, so here’s hoping he’s got thicker skin tonight.

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Gone Fishing

As if in honor of Willie’s birthday Giants finally swept again!

sweeptheleg.jpgAre we sick of the Karate Kid references yet?  Yeah, me too.  Anyway, I can’t remember who said this, I think it was on the post game show, but it’s completely true.  Giants Baseball = TORTURE!

torture.jpgTwo out of three games they won by the skin of their teeth.  That first one especially, they “went plaid” again with 13 innings.  Thank god Rowand tied it up in the 9th with that very timely home run. 

aaronrowand.jpgSecond game, the Marlins load the bases, what?  Twice?  With zero outs.  I can’t remember if that’s what really happened, but if felt like it.  Thank god for Romo, who bailed us out and let us keep our one run lead.  Can’t believe I’m saying, because I’ve been kind of despising Romo this season.

lovehate.jpgYesterday’s game was a little less pressure, as we had 3 runs on ’em by the end, thanks to Cain’s 6 inning shutout, but the Marlins still managed to squeeze one more out before the Giants ended things, and I admit I got a little nervous, because this season has proved that it ain’t over until it’s over.

fatladysings.gifOur starting pitchers keep the other team at bay. Our weak hitting keeps the other team competitive, despite our starting pitchers.  Our bullpen seems to drop the ball and ruin our leads around the 8th or 9th inning every game, which makes being cocky and confident an impossibility. 

overconfidence.gifBut I’m not here to complain.  We swept!  We took the last series. Whatever we’re doing is currently working, it just makes for some real nail biters. 

nailbiter.jpgOff to New York, #1 again in our division, with a three game winning streak under our belt.

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Rockin’ Weekend

Kinda.  Didn’t get the sweep.  I guess Jhoulys Chacin knows the crane kick because he shut us out for seven innings in the last game. 

cranekick.jpgSpeaking of shut out, no game two on television?  The one day I actually could have sat down and watched a good chunk of it, and it was know where to be found on Direct TV.  What’s that about?

tvsucks.jpgTrying to recap the last game on baseball-reference.com, but how do ya read all this stuff?  How can I tell who started for the Giants?  How can I tell who was pitching in the 5th when the Rockies scored 3?  That information has to be somewhere amongst all these numbers and abbreviations, but I’m sure not finding it. 

confused-baby.jpgAnyway, congrats to Cain for finally kicking *** in game two!  Only gave up one hit and zero runs in eight innings.  Fantastic!  And congrats to Zito for his first ever 4-0 record, with the help of Romo and Affeldt.  Cliff Lee thinks you’re all very cool! 

awesomepitchers.jpgOne final thought on this series…what’s with the jerseys?

rockiesjersey.jpgNow off to Florida to face the Marlins.  They don’t sound especially scary, so let’s not let them whup us!  Should I do the prediction stat thing again?  Meh, who cares?  What happens happens.  Our W-L% is .583 and the Marlins have a .520, so we should win, right?  Right?  Exactly.

Rockies @ Giants Preview

Though I wasn’t especially satisfied with my last preview, I think I’ll try this again anyway.  But I’m not going to do the stats again because that told me nothing.  Just scribbles all over the place.  I did the same charts for the Rockies and it was much to same.

So let’s look at it from a head-to-head history with the Rockies.  Here’s last year’s games:

Out of 18 games, we won 10, so not bad but pretty close.  What else can we look at?  Well, it’s a home game series again, so how about that?

So out of nine home games, the Giants took seven.  That’s promising.  What about um…hmm…ooo how about starting pitchers?

Date Tm   Opp RS RA Win Loss Save
2009-08-29 San Francisco Giants Colorado Rockies W 5 3 B. Zito J. Marquis B. Wilson
2009-09-15 San Francisco Giants Colorado Rockies W 10 2 B. Zito U. Jimenez

Tomorrow is Zito.  He was 2-0 against ’em and 3-0 overall this year.  Cool.

Date Tm   Opp RS RA Win Loss Save
2009-05-02 San Francisco Giants Colorado Rockies L 1 5 J. Marquis M. Cain
2009-05-07 San Francisco Giants @ Colorado Rockies W 8 3 M. Cain J. Marquis
2009-07-24 San Francisco Giants @ Colorado Rockies W 3 1 M. Cain J. Hammel B. Wilson
2009-09-16 San Francisco Giants Colorado Rockies L 3 4 J. de la Rosa M. Cain R. Betancourt

Saturday is Cain.  He was 2-2 and 0-1 overall this year. Meh.

Date Tm   Opp RS RA Win Loss Save
2009-07-25 San Francisco Giants @ Colorado Rockies L 2 8 J. de la Rosa J. Sanchez
2009-08-21 San Francisco Giants @ Colorado Rockies W 6 3 J. Sanchez A. Cook

Sánchez on Sunday.  1-1 against the Rockies last year and currently is 2-1 overall.

Date Tm   Opp RS RA Win Loss Save
2009-07-26 San Francisco Giants @ Colorado Rockies L 2 4 A. Cook R. Sadowski H. Street
2009-08-21 San Francisco Giants @ Colorado Rockies W 6 3 J. Sanchez A. Cook

The only reoccuring starter for the Rockies is Cook, who had a 1-1 against us and is currently 1-2, so once again our pitchers prevail, but only because I have no one on the Rockies side to compare with.

What else is there to look at?  Um…batting and pitching for this year?

GIANTS BATTING AVG

Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BA ▾
1 RF Nate Schierholtz* 26 20 51 45 8 17 6 1 0 3 .378
2 3B Pablo Sandoval# 23 21 93 83 11 31 7 1 3 9 .373
3 C Bengie Molina 35 17 68 60 8 21 2 0 1 8 .350
4 SS Edgar Renteria 33 18 83 75 8 24 3 0 1 10 .320
5 2B Juan Uribe 30 19 69 60 10 19 4 0 2 11 .317
6 CF Aaron Rowand 32 10 48 46 6 14 2 1 1 6 .304
7 OF Andres Torres# 32 15 47 40 4 11 4 0 0 4 .275
8 1B Aubrey Huff* 33 21 86 75 14 17 3 1 2 8 .227
9 LF Mark DeRosa 35 19 73 63 8 14 2 0 1 7 .222
10 UT Eugenio Velez# 28 15 48 42 6 8 2 0 2 7 .190
11 OF John Bowker* 26 17 45 43 3 8 2 0 1 4 .186
Team Totals 30.1 21 809 716 96 202 42 4 18 87 .282
Rank in 16 NL teams 12 8 4 7 8 11 1

ROCKIES BATTING AVG

Rk Pos Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BA ▾
1 RF Brad Hawpe* 31 15 50 42 8 15 6 0 3 7 .357
2 OF Carlos Gonzalez* 24 18 79 76 14 27 4 1 3 16 .355
3 SS Troy Tulowitzki 25 22 96 88 17 28 9 0 1 13 .318
4 C Miguel Olivo 31 14 56 51 10 16 2 0 5 13 .314
5 3B Ian Stewart* 25 22 88 75 15 22 3 1 4 12 .293
6 1B Todd Helton* 36 19 80 70 9 19 4 0 0 4 .271
7 CF Dexter Fowler# 24 22 91 79 12 20 4 3 1 3 .253
8 LF Seth Smith* 27 18 52 48 6 11 2 0 4 12 .229
9 OF Ryan Spilborghs 30 18 44 38 4 8 1 0 2 6 .211
10 2B Clint Barmes 31 18 59 53 6 10 5 0 1 7 .189
Team Totals 28.6 22 860 757 119 208 48 7 26 112 .275
Rank in 16 NL teams 2 2 3 2 3 2 4

Giants win it again.  (And did I mention how much I’m liking Schierholtz?)

GIANTS ERA

Rk Pos Age W L W-L% ERA ▴ G GS GF CG
1 RP Guillermo Mota 36 0 0 0.00 9 0 3 0
2 SP Tim Lincecum 26 4 0 1.000 1.27 5 5 0 0
3 SP Barry Zito* 32 3 0 1.000 1.32 4 4 0 0
4 RP Sergio Romo 27 0 2 .000 1.64 10 0 4 0
5 SP Jonathan Sanchez* 27 2 1 .667 1.85 4 4 0 0
6 CL Brian Wilson 28 0 0 2.25 8 0 6 0
7 RP Dan Runzler* 25 0 0 2.70 9 0 0 0
8 RP Jeremy Affeldt* 31 2 2 .500 3.12 8 0 3 0
9 SP Matt Cain 25 0 1 .000 3.80 4 4 0 0
10 Brandon Medders 30 0 0 5.40 8 0 5 0
11 SP Todd Wellemeyer 31 1 3 .250 6.33 4 4 0 0
Team Totals 28.3 12 9 .571 2.78 21 21 21 0
Rank in 16 NL teams 4 12 2 7

ROCKIES ERA

Rk Pos Age W L W-L% ERA ▴ G GS GF CG
1 SP Ubaldo Jimenez 26 5 0 1.000 0.79 5 5 0 1
2 RP Matt Daley 28 0 0 0.82 12 0 1 0
3 RP Manuel Corpas 27 0 1 .000 1.13 9 0 1 0
4 Joe Beimel* 33 0 0 1.35 7 0 2 0
5 CL Franklin Morales* 24 0 2 .000 3.72 9 0 7 0
6 RP Matt Belisle 30 0 0 3.77 9 0 3 0
7 SP Jorge de la Rosa* 29 3 1 .750 3.91 4 4 0 0
8 SP Aaron Cook 31 1 2 .333 5.01 4 4 0 1
9 RP Rafael Betancourt 35 0 1 .000 5.40 9 0 1 0
10 SP Greg Smith* 26 1 2 .333 7.33 5 5 0 0
11 SP Jason Hammel 27 0 2 .000 9.16 4 4 0 0
Team Totals 28.2 11 11 .500 3.83 22 22 20 2
Rank in 16 NL teams 7 7 6 1

Giants win it again. 

Yeah, so I’m no expert, but I don’t see any reason why we can’t take the next series.  Let’s hearken back to the early days of April and get another sweep! 🙂

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