2010 Cy Young

Congrats to Roy Halladay for winning the 2010 Cy Young Award. 

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With a perfect game, a post-season no hitter, a 21-10 win-loss record and an overall 2.44 ERA, all in one season, who else could have won this thing, really?  As awesome as Giants starters were this season, I didn’t expect any of them to snag it, as none of them had those kind of stats.  It was nice to see three on the list though, including Matt Cain and Brian Wilson, the latter who scored more points than Lincecum.  Crazy.
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So again congrats to Roy Halladay.   I love pitching and you were certainly impressive this year. BTW, Cody Ross says “hi.”
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2010 TYIB Awards

Pitching won the World Series and yet not a single Giants starter is amongst the nominees for MLB’s This Year In Baseball Awards.  Who comes up with the nominees?   It almost seems too silly to participate in the voting, but of course I did.  If you’d like to vote party, here’s a handy-dandy cheat sheet.  Remember you can vote more than once in each category, so make sure you tag every Giant!

STARS

Rookie – Buster Posey
Closer – Brian Wilson
X-Factor – Pat Burrell
Executive – Brian Sabean
Manager – Bruce Bochy
Postseason MVP – Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, Cody Ross, Brian Wilson
MUST C

Postseason – Tim Lincecum, Buster Posey, Edgar Renteria, Juan Uribe, Brian Wilson
And there you have it.  Apparently there was nothing to see from the Giants until they hit the postseason.  Awesome.  

The Torture is Over

I’m supposed to be preparing for my trip to Seattle.  I have tons to wrap up at work, I have packing to do, but I can’t concentrate.  How the heck am I suppose to accomplish anything after last night?  

I started by listening to it on the radio on my way home from work.  Cliff Lee was back.  Uh oh.  This is going to be tough.  Sounds like we’re coming back to San Francisco and I’m going to miss it.  Damn.
But no, Lincecum is in full force too!  Three up, three down.  The Freak is on the mound and he’s taking no prisoners.  He saw Cain and Bumgarner’s shut outs and he wants a taste.  This is going to be a tight race.  
For seven innings they battled, neither giving up a run.  This is what everyone wanted in the first game.  This is what everyone wanted when Lincecum faced Halladay.  This is a pitcher’s duel.  
lincecum.jpg VS lee.jpg
Then in the 7th, the first slip.  Ross and Uribe hit singles to center field.  Could this be the opportunity?  Huff bunts…BUNTS a sacrifice and the two men on gain a base.  Ross is so close to putting a run on this board.  I couldn’t sit, I couldn’t watch, I HAD to watch.  Burrell up.  Oh no, why is he still playing?  Maybe this will be his time to make up for his post-season.  Sacrifice fly?  Get someone home?  C’mon Burrell!  Strike out.  Ack.  So much for drama.  Edgar Renteria up. Now would be a good time for a home run, I really said that. He hits it out of the park.  Where there were no runs scored by either team, now there are three and they are Giants runs.  
OMG!  And it’s the 7th.  We can hold them until the end.  We do it all the time.  This is our thing.  We have it!  
Lincecum gets excited and Nelson Cruz knocks one out of the park.  Whoops!  Okay so the lead is getting tighter, we can still do it.  Ian Kinsler walks. Oh no, Lincecum is losing it.  The Rangers are going to issue out some payback now.  
Nope!
Lincecum reigns it in and adds two more strikeouts to his belt, ending the inning before more damage is done.  He also takes care of the 8th.  I’m thinking, much like Bumgarner the night before, he probably could have knocked out the 9th too, but Bochy sticks with tradition and brings in Wilson to finish it off.  
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No champagne, no jumping up and down, I just sat there on the couch soaking in the surreality of the moment.  I watched all the post-game coverage, I watched the awards given out in the Rangers hidecloset, I did some dishes and listened to Jewel, which has nothing to do with baseball but somehow helped satiate the excitement that was consuming me.  
I dreamed about baseball. I woke up thinking about baseball.  I’m not going to get anything done.  I’m going to be in Seattle with no underwear.
But who cares?  THE GIANTS WON THE FREAKIN’ WORLD SERIES!!!!!
Watching the World Series last year, when my baseball obsession was starting to blossom, I thought and wrote the following:
I got home in time to see the Yankees win it and watch the post-game hoopla and I got to wondering what it would feel like to have a team you had an investment with in a game like this, win or lose.
Who the heck could have thought that it would happen the very next World Series?  I can’t even believe.  I still don’t believe it.  I’m not sure it’s sunk in completely. I have no idea how to even communicate my thoughts on all this.  I feel like I could write an entire book on these guys in one sitting, while at the same time I’m struggling just to put a coherent sentence together.  
I love this team.  I love everything about them that everyone is now latching on to. I love the misfits, the team made up of rookies and players nobody wanted.  I love the beards and ‘fros and pandas and freaks.  I love that every person on the team contributed in some way.  When someone was slumping, someone else rose to the occasion.  They’re all superstars.  I’ve followed them from Spring Training to the top of the world.  I never want this band to break up. 
In some ways this might be a horrible season for me to have started caring.  It can only be downhill from here.  It’s not like this can happen every year, right?
“Why not?” ~ Buster Posey

Giants-Rangers Game 2: Cake Walks

I am completely confused as to what’s going on.  This is not Giants baseball as I have come to know it.  20 runs in two games?  Not that I’m complaining, mind you, it’s kind of nice actually.  Is this what games are like for other fans?  Lots of runs, great defense, no torture?  I could get used to it, but on the other hand, the pessimist in me is waiting for the other shoe to drop.  

It started out like a normal Giants game.  No runs for the first four innings, both Cain and Wilson (C.J. Wilson, now our Wilson) shutting out the competition.  Then Edgar Renteria decides to relive his past World Series experience and knocks one out of the park. 1-0, still a normal Giants game.  That run ultimately won the game BTW, but let’s keep going.
Bottom of the 7th, Juan Uribe, the other “old guy” on the team with post-season experience, knocks a single into right field and Cody Ross scores.  2-0 Giants.  Okay now, from past experience, the goal now is to keep those measly two runs and prevent the other guys from catching up by using our awesome bullpen to shut them down, sealing the deal with Brian Wilson.
But then the 8th happened.  Like this:
  • O’Day now pitching, strikes out Torres.  One out.
  • Freddy Sanchez up, strikes out.  Two out.
  • Buster Posey, single to second base.  Still two out.
  • O’Day replaced by Derek Holland. Nate Schierholtz walks.  Buster to 2B.  Still two out.
  • Cody Ross walks, Posey to 3B, Scheirholtz to 2B.  Bases loaded.  Still two out.
  • Aubrey Huff WALKS.  Posey scores.  Scheirholtz to 3B.  Ross to 2B.  Still two out.  SFG: 3, TEX: 0.
  • Holland out, Lowe in.  Walks Juan Uribe.  Scheriholtz scores.  Ross to 3B. Huff to 2B.  Still two out.  SFG: 4, TEX: 0.
  • Renteria singles to LF, Ross and Huff score.  Still two out.  SFG: 6, TEX: 0.  
  • Lowe out, Kirkman in.  Aaron Rowand triples to RF, Uribe and Renteria score.  Still two out.  SFG: 8, TEX: 0.
  • Andres Torres doubles to LF, Rowand scores. Still two out.  SFG: 9, TEX: 0.
  • Freddy Sanchez strikes out swinging.  Three out.

The Texas bullpen just died or something.  Giants score 7 runs in one inning, two from walks.  It was like one of those cake walks at the community fair, where everyone is just walking around in circles waiting for the music to stop.  It finally stopped after 7 runs.  Of course, as I said above, only 1 run was needed to win this game, so the 8th inning was just icing, but an icing that certainly boosted confidence and hopefully sucked some life out of Texas.  I guarantee you there will be a pitchers meeting before Game 3.  

Fear the ‘Fro again, people!  Matt Cain performed another shut out, keeping his post-season 0.00 ERA intact.  I’m so glad the world gets to see how awesome this guy is.  (Well, the world that’s watching, because y’know.. the Yankees and Red Sox aren’t in it this year.)   Ian Kinsler almost knocked one out of the park in the 5th, but he was about 10 cents short and the Ranger remained scoreless.  
Series Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
2010 NLDS g2 Oct 8 SFG ATL L,4-5 GS-7 6.2 7 1 0 2 6 0 0.00
2010 NLCS g3 Oct 19 SFG PHI W,3-0 GS-7 7.0 2 0 0 3 5 0 0.00
2010 WS g2 Oct 28 SFG TEX W,9-0 GS-8 7.2 4 0 0 2 2 0 0.00
21.1 13 1 0 7 13 0 0.00
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/29/2010.
Matt Cain everyone!
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Speaking of awesome pitching, and I don’t think I ever have spoken about this guy, but how sick is Javier Lopez?  His crazy pitching style had me from the beginning, but I always overlook him in my posts because he generally only pitches for one or two at-bats.  But they’re always smoking.  He takes out left handers like a freakin’ ninja with Chinese throwing stars.  His sideways looking bullet eliminated Hamilton’s last chance to get something going in the 8th.  It was a beautiful thing.
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So the Giants are 2-0 so far.  Everyone around here is getting all cocky again, just like they did in the NLCS. I hate that, personally. I guess I’m too negative to celebrate before anything is official.  Of course, all the premature back patters were right about the NLCS, so maybe they’ll be right about the World Series too.  I heard on the way to work this morning that a 2-0 lead has happened 51 times in World Series history, and of those 51 2-0 teams, forty have gone on to win the title.  Pretty good odds, but how much you want to bet the Giants were one of those 9 teams who didn’t make it?
Not to be negative though.  Be positive. But not too positive.  Everyone keep wearing the same hats, sweaters, lucky socks; whatever you’re doing keep it going.  Don’t change your routine now.  We’re in Texas now.  Enemy territory.  Don’t look ahead, focus on the next game.  Keep your cool, your determination, look for those lucky breaks to feed on.  Wait…who am I talking to?
GO GIANTS

WORLD SERIES WIN COUNTER
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Giants-Phillies Game 3: Home Sweet Home

I love day games because I get to watch them. Digitally anyway, as I hide MLB’s Game Day amongst my many open work windows. You would think watching a pixelated baseball game wouldn’t be very exciting but I’ve found that it’s just as interesting as listening to a game on the radio or watching it on TV. Well maybe not “just as….” but pretty close. 

Yesterday’s game was a good example of how the Giants have been doing it all year; stellar pitching, a sprinkling of offense and the game is won. The only difference between yesterday’s game and your average win of the season was that it was completely free of torture. Other than a very brief nail biter in the 7th inning, the game was very straight forward. Even Brian Wilson didn’t load the bases before getting his three outs. Weird! 
The Bochy Shuffle seems to be working as Matt Cain, who swapped starting positions with Sanchez, threw a three-hit shutout. Renteria moved to first and got the first hit of the game in the 5th. Cody Ross was bumped to fifth and drove Renteria home with a single to left field. In the same inning, Huff, who was bumped to sixth, drove home Burrell with a single to second base. Aaron Rowand was added to the line-up and gets on base in the 6th with a double to left field, and Freddie Sanchez, who’s probably the only guy who kept his same position, runs in Rowand with another single to second base.
Huff and Sanchez should thank Utley for doing his best Brooks Conrad impression.
Yesterday I posted a comparison chart between Hamels and Cain:
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Here’s how they compared yesterday:
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Other than the bases on ball, pretty much the same thing, eh?  I love it when a stat comes together!  Matt Cain is not an undersized, two time Cy Young winner with a wild pitching style.  He’s doesn’t have a shoe polished beard.  He has no drama, so no one talks about him.  But he’s Mister Giant in terms of tenure, and he’s a constant, which may not be interesting for the media to talk about, but I think he rocks anyway.  Check it:
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Bad start in April and a mild dip in June, but otherwise the guy is a flat line.  Certainly more consistent then his fellow starting pitchers.  Not better or worse, but right down the middle.  
Anyway, two more to go.  It would be great if they could clinch it in San Francisco, but that’s probably asking too much.  It would be great if they could clinch it period.  Let’s stick with that.  

Cain vs Hamels

Can’t write about Game 3 today because it hasn’t happened yet.  Everybody got a day off yesterday so they could bring the fun to San Francisco.  So let’s look at more stats!

Now that it’s a tied series, Game 3 seems like a pivotal point for both teams, so I’m glad Cain got swapped with Sanchez for third starter position.  Not that I dislike any of our starting pitchers in the slightest, but I feel like Cain is the coolest cucumber of the bunch.  Giants lose today and everything will fall on Bumgarner, which may not be fair to the rookie.  
So let’s see what Matt’s up against: Matt Cain vs Cole Hammels.
Cole Hammels
H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA
Buster Posey 2 2 0 0 2 0 0 .667
Edgar Renteria 2 0 0 0 2 1 0 .667
Andres Torres 1 1 0 0 2 1 1 .333
Pablo Sandoval 2 1 0 1 1 0 0 .333
Juan Uribe 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .500
Pat Burrell 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 .000
Aubrey Huff 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 .000
Tim Lincecum 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000
Cody Ross 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333
Aaron Rowand 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000
Freddy Sanchez 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 .667
Jonathan Sanchez 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000
Nate Schierholtz 2 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.000
Eli Whiteside 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/19/2010.
Matt Cain
H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA
Jimmy Rollins 3 0 1 1 3 0 0 1.000
Carlos Ruiz 2 0 1 0 1 0 0 .667
Chase Utley 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .333
Joe Blanton 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Ross Gload 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Raul Ibanez 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 .000
Placido Polanco 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Shane Victorino 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Jayson Werth 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/19/2010.
Summary
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They tie for home runs allowed, but Cain has a better RBI, bases on balls and overall batting average.  Unfortunately Hamels clearly has the better strike out count, which is my personal favorite pitching stat, as it seems like the only one they have complete control over.  Oh well, Cain still takes three out of five. 
How about just offense in general.  Seems like the deciding factor in everyone’s mind is that the Giants probably won’t make it because, while they have great pitching, their offense isn’t there.  I can see that argument, I have been following them the entire season after all. So how do they do against the Phillies offensively?
Tm R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA
PHI 772 1451 290 34 166 736 108 560 1064 .260
SFG 697 1411 284 30 162 660 55 487 1099 .257
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/19/2010.
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Yep.  The Phillies either tie or are better than the Giants at everything offensively, except their overall batting average, which is worse by a hair.  But speaking of hair, that chart doesn’t make the Phillies offense seem as foreboding as I was lead to believe.  Yes it’s better, but not by leaps and bounds.  They have 4 more home runs than the Giants this season.  Seems more like the Phillies base stealing and ability to generate bases on balls is what the Giants should be worrying about.  
Since I looked at the offense, let’s look at pitching, even though according to everyone it’s a wash:
Tm W-L% ERA H R HR BB SO
PHI .599 3.68 1402 640 168 416 1183
SFG .568 3.36 1279 583 134 578 1331
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/19/2010.
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So how come pitching is a wash but offensive is a shoe in for the Phillies?  Seems like both sets of stats are fairly close (something I would assume is true of all post-season teams), the Giants edging out the Phillies in everything but bases on balls (damn that Sanchez!).  
Anyway, I guess I’m bias, but all I’m saying is I think this is a closer race than people are thinking (and by people, I mostly mean media).  
So let’s take Game 3 and shock the crap out of everybody.  GO GIANTS!