Killing Time

I’ve got baseball on the brain, but at the same time I’m trying not to spend too much time and effort over analyzing every little thing about today’s game.  So instead I revisisited one of my favorite baseball sites, Flip Flop Fly Ball to see what latest and greatest graphs and charts were available to peruse.  And much to my delight, there was a bobblehead chart!  Check it.    

The first thing that came to my mind was which two teams gave away a bobblehead when the Giants were visiting.  Not an easy thing to figure out without researching every teams’ bobblehead activity, which is what I ultimately ended up doing.  (Like I said, this day is crawling way too slowly towards 7 PM!)   So using Flip Flop’s own key, I made my own chart:
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I found a few discrepancies in Flip Flop’s chart, but for the most part they’re the same, square-wise.  I added all the applicable teams though, so on the left side you can see what team was visiting during bobblehead day, and on the right you can see what teams gave away a bobblehead while being visiting. 
I would have assumed that most teams would decide to give away a bobblehead when they’re scheduled to play a bad team in an attempt to generate ticket sales.  The Phillies giving away a Roy Halladay bobblehead on the day they have to play the Pirates makes perfect sense.  (And photos of the sucker blew up all over Twitter, so obviously it worked!)  But then there’s the Dodgers giving away a bobblehead when the Giants came to play, and what would fill seats better than a Dodgers-Giants game?  
Note also that the Braves, Red Sox, Rockies and Yankees are too cool for bobbleheads (or draw enough ticket sales without gimmicks) and the White Sox was the only team to give away a bobble when the Red Sox and Yankees came to town (not enough of a draw for Chicago, I guess).  
I wonder if there’s a bobblehead website…

Today’s Magic Number…

Giants won yesterday, but so did the Padres and the Braves, so the gap did not get wider, and the standing did not change for either the NL West Division or the Wild Card.  But the magic number changed from four to three.   Three measly games and we see playoffs.  Or…if the Giants sweep the D-Backs tonight and the Padres lose, I think the magic number would be one. Or the Giants AND the Padres could win tonight and the number would be two.  I think.  

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The Bay Area is playoff happy already.  I’m trying not to be negative (my natural state) but I think it’s premature to think it’s a lock, too. Maybe I shouldn’t be watching that Ted Williams biography right now.  His entire story seems to be “soooo cloooose…!”  What a crusher if…well never mind.

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Pitching dominated again last night, the Giants only managing five hits. Luckily their five hits were more productive than the D-Backs eight, thanks to the 3-run RBI homer by Pat.  Even though he’s apparently not part of the team, I’ll take the runs!  Sorry Latos. 
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“There’s Beard Inside” is the new slogan, if the hotties holding up the Brian Wilson signs wearing the fake beards have any pull in the advertising department.  Wish I had a picture of that-hilarious.  Oh and did you hear? Samwise Gamgee and Rudy are pulling for the Giants to win the World Series!  Wait…
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Apparently Sean Astin is normally a Dodgers fan, but was at the game last night and decided the Dodgers are out so he’s rooting for the Giants.  I think that makes him NOT a Dodgers fan, but we can consult with Emma about that one.  Stab me in the head but for some reason I’m always interested in which celebrities like what teams.  I wish there was a site that chronicled that.  I know the Dodgers and the Yankees get all the pretty celebrities in their fandom, but the Giants have celebrity fans too!
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You hear that Giants?  “You can do it!”

Perfection

That’s what yesterday was.  I got exactly what I wanted:

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The Dodgers beat the Rockies, ELIMINATING them from playoff contention.  I’ll go back to hating you next year but for now, thank you Dodgers!
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The Cubs beat the Padres, knocking them two games back.  So thank you Cubs!  I still like your hats.  
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The Giants beat the D-Backs and maintain the number one position, thanks to the RBIs of Burrell and Schierholtz and another UUUUU-Ribe home run. 
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I miss Nate.  Now that the Giants have 285 outfielders, he doesn’t get played that much.  I think I heard on the radio that he has started in 60 games.  I don’t know about his batting, but he’s a great right fielder. His arm is ridiculous and I still remember the Phillies game where he got not one, but two batters out who had delusions of getting a double.  I’m not saying Bochy is wrong in not starting him, I’m just saying I miss him and it was nice to see him get a chance and succeed in helping the team out last night with a timely RBI single.
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So it’s down to the Padres and the Giants, which is no real surprise.  The Friars still have two more games with the Cubs to go before coming to SF.  Will they be knocked out before then?  How many games do they have to lose before it’s officially over?  One or three?  I’m horrible at figuring out these “games behind” stats.  I think they’d have to be swept by the Cubs to be completely out before SF.  What’s weird though?  Looking at their schedule, the Giants aren’t even on it.  Have they given up already?
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It’s September Inside

That’s the new Giants slogan.  Not sure if that’s better or worse than the “magic” variety.  

Anyway, totally sucking up this blog.  I haven’t written in it since August.  I’m not sure I’ve been writing here less when the Giants are doing well.  Everyone else seems to be coming out of the woodwork to write about them and I go and disappear.  Maybe it’s easier to rant than to rave.  I think my recent move took out a lot of my momentum.  Also, the idea of having to log into the MLBlogs Network and watch the hourglass is a huge deterrent.  I sure wish this site was faster!  
Anyway, lts of fun stuff happening!  The Giants are neck-and-neck with the Padres, currently on top but that seems to change with each game.  Playoffs are in the air and each and ever game counts.  The Giants were off yesterday so I watched the Cubs beat the Padres, just to make sure it happened.  Go Cubs!
I’m also rooting for the Dodgers this week.  I’m not sure if that’s against the rules as a Giants fan, but since they are officially out, I don’t see the harm. I think if they beat the Rockies tonight, the Rockies will be out too.  Not sure about that, but a Rockies loss is a good thing either way. 
We got the D-Backs for the next three days.  Worse team in the division, but our division seems to still give us a hard time, so I’m somewhat nervous.  I would hate for the D-Backs to be the way we get denied.  We have a 10-5 record against them this year, so hopefully that means we clobber them.  We have a 3-2 record against their upcoming pitchers though, which is a bit scarier:

I also have this theory that teams that are officially out are playing better than teams that are still in the race.  Maybe it’s a “relaxed” thing.  Aubrey Huff looks like he’s going to pop a new blood vessel every game, these days.  

But sweeping them like the 24-game back team they are would be great, especially if the Cubs can help by beating the Padres one or two more times.  I have a feeling it’s going to come down to the last series this week: Padres @ Giants.  Home field advantage but a 4-5 record…it’s anybody’s playoffs!

What’s in a Stat?

I’ve decided statistics mean nothing.  They’re fun and all, and god knows I’m somewhat hooked on them now, read them, post them, do more with them than I ever thought I would when I first started this blog…but yeah they mean nothing.  With each and ever game, you never know.   You can pretend to know, but you never know.  You can look at the Cubs, just as a for instance, and notice they are 17 games back, 5th in their division, with a win-loss record of 48-67 and say to yourself, “ppfffftt…easy series!”  And then they come into town and make you struggle like you’ve never struggled before!

bigheadache.pngGiants ultimately take the four game series with a 3-1 record, but MAN! were the Cubs tougher than I thought they would be.  They made the Giants earn every freaking win.  There was no easy game.  Everything involved that “skin of their teeth” expression.  A win is a win, and we did good, but I am so glad those guys are going home.  And it makes me wonder: are we slumping again or did they just happen to bring their A++++ game? 

a+++.jpgSpeaking of the Cubs, their logo stirs me for some reason.  I have a Cubs memory that I cannot remember.  It is maddening.  Something about their logo and my childhood.  But I can’t remember.  All I can remember is that I can’t remember something I’m supposed to remember.  Perhaps…I think…MAYBE…I had a Cubs hat when I was a kid.  Why did I have a Cubs hat though?  As I’ve said before, I didn’t grow up in a sports obsessed family.  I didn’t grow up in a family that came from Chicago either.  Why would I have had a Cubs hat?  It makes no sense, and yet I cannot shake the vague recollection that it’s true anyway. And even if it is true, and I am recalling correctly, why do I care or remember it at all?  Why does it affect me so?  I wasn’t a hat person, I’ve never been a hat person.  Why do I have such fond almost-memories of a Cubs hat?  What happened with that hat?  I do not care about the Cubs, I don’t follow the team, I don’t care about its roster or standings, and yet…they have those hats…

cubshat.jpgSo, we’re back to 2.5 games behind and we’re finally going to face the Padres again, the scary, consistently number 1 team in the NL West.  They destroyed us before, but so did everybody else, and we have been issuing much payback since post-All-Star break.  Can we do the same with the Friars?  Our bullpen is tired, Andres Torres didn’t get his break yesterday, Jonathan Sánchez is inexplicably talking smack and I can’t say that I’m not worried.  This next series feels like the true test as to whether we’re playoff worthy. 

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Disssssss

Well I got what I wanted.

sweeptheleg.jpgTook the series, four AWAY games against a DIVISION rival.  I mean, yeah I guess not really a rival since the D-Backs have been way behind for quite some time, but the Giants are so bad at facing the NL West, a win is a win is a win is a win!  I talked about the first game already, but some things that stand out about the other three:

Posey Keeps On Hitting

And hitting and hitting and…a .371 batting average and an 18 game hitting streak, which places him second to McCovey for rookie Giants hitting streaks.  Is he stoppable?  Probably, but let’s enjoy the ride, eh?

busterposey.jpgVelez Knocked in the Head

The most hated player on the Giants roster, if you go by Twitter, is knocked in the head while drinking his Gatorade by a foul ball from Pat Burrell.  Dislike him or not, that’s still not cool.  Is there no way to keep the dugout safe from such random attacks?  It’s happened at least three times this year that I’ve read about. (Maybe he can do Mountain Dew commercials now, though.)

eugeniobeamed.jpgJuan Uribe’s Grand Slam

My step-daughter and I were shouting the “OOO-RIBEH!” chant in our living room when he decided to hit his fourth career grand slam in the 7th on game three, with two outs and on the first pitch to boot.  I totally think it was our chant that did it.

uribeslam.jpgStill in second place and three games behind because the Padres JUST WON’T LOSE!

Rk Tm W L W-L% GB Strk
1 SDP 58 39 .598 W 3
2 SFG 56 43 .566 3.0 W 4
3 LAD 53 46 .535 6.0 W 2
4 COL 51 47 .520 7.5 L 5
5 ARI 37 62 .374 22.0 L 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/26/2010.

We’re also first now in the Wild Card race, but who wants to get to the series that way?

Rk Tm W L W-L% GB Strk
1 SDP 58 39 .598 W 3
2 ATL 57 41 .582 L 1
3  SFG 56 43 .566 W 4
4 STL 55 44 .556 1.0 W 1
5  CIN 55 45 .550 1.5 L 1
6  LAD 53 46 .535 3.0 W 2
7  PHI 52 46 .531 3.5 W 4
8  COL 51 47 .520 4.5 L 5
9  NYM 50 49 .505 6.0 L 2
10  FLA 49 49 .500 6.5 W 1
11  MIL 47 53 .470 9.5 W 4
12  CHC 45 54 .455 11.0 L 1
13  WSN 42 57 .424 14.0 L 3
14  HOU 40 58 .408 15.5 W 1
15  ARI 37 62 .374 19.0 L 4
16  PIT 34 64 .347 21.5 L 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 7/26/2010.

I also saw on the television that we’re number one hits this month.  Not sure if I saw that right and have no idea where to go to validate it but if that’s true?  MAN what a different team post-All-Star game, eh?

SF @ MIL | CHC @ SF

I LOVE the new scoreboard layout on MLB.  Way cooler. 

SF @ MIL

milatsf20100329.jpgHow many times can you beam Fielder and call it an “accident?”  Seriously, enough’s enough!  The first time was too much, let’s not create a new “beam Fielder” tradition every time we play the Brewers.  It’s beyond childish at this point. 

CHC @ SF

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Only one more spring training game and then we’re on to the real thing.  The world seems excited about this team, and I am too.  On the other hand, it’s a clean slate for everyone, so if you have a team you’re not excited about, that sucks.  It’s also unlikely.  Which coach is on television this season saying “Yeah, we probably don’t have a chance…”?  None of them, for sure.  Everyone thinks their team is going to be it this year, that’s why the beginning of the season is so great, nothing bad has happened yet, and there’s plenty of time to get there. 

Spring training means nothing, but if it did, we’re looking pretty good!

standings20100331.jpgOnly one more fake game to go, and it’s a biggiee.  Can we lock it in and take them out twice?  Random guy says YES!

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