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.  
Advertisements

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.  
2010worldserieschampions.jpg
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-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:
cainvshamels.jpg
Here’s how they compared yesterday:
cainvshamels.jpg
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:
fourstarters.jpg
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.  

Philadelphia vs San Francisco

In an effort to kill time while I impatiently wait for Saturday, I guess I’ll do what I did last time before facing the Braves and look at some numbers going into the Championship series.  I should point out that looking at the numbers didn’t help me predict anything in any way, and they probably won’t again, but it makes my blog look fancy, so let’s do it anyway.  

How do they rank overall?  Well I already know the Phillies are the #1 ranked team, but let’s suffer through the details anyway:
Rk Tm W L W-L% last10 last20 last30
1 PHI 97 65 .599 6-4 15-5 23-7
3 NYY 95 67 .586 3-7 8-12 13-17
5 SFG 92 70 .568 7-3 12-8 20-10
8 TEX 90 72 .556 6-4 11-9 16-14
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/13/2010.
Yep, they pretty much dominate everything in that department, don’t they?  The Giants have a better “Last 10” but not by much, and that’s not counting the post season, where the Giants lost one to the Braves while the Phillies swept the Reds.  So yeah, no help there.  (But keep in mind that the #1 team doesn’t always win the World Series!)  Let’s see how they do against each other:
Hey that’s better!  3-3 against each other this season, and both teams have a 2-1 record in away games.  So if we don’t do so hot in Philadelphia, maybe we can make up some ground when we return home.  
Of course the big draw of this series is the pitching.  It’s great that the starting rotation is in sync too, so we’ll be getting one against one, two against two, etc.  So like last time, sticking with just the first game pitching, we have the superstars: Roy Halladay vs Tim Lincecum.
Roy Halladay:
H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA
Eli Whiteside 2 1 0 1 2 0 1 .667
Aubrey Huff 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 .333
Edgar Renteria 2 0 0 0 0 0 1 .500
Cody Ross 2 0 0 0 0 0 2 .167
Jonathan Sanchez 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Pablo Sandoval 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 .500
Nate Schierholtz 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Andres Torres 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .250
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/13/2010.
Tim Lincecum:
H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA
Ryan Howard 2 1 0 1 1 0 1 .667
Greg Dobbs 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Ross Gload 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Cole Hamels 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000
Raul Ibanez 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000
Roy Oswalt 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .200
Placido Polanco 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .333
Carlos Ruiz 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Chase Utley 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 .000
Shane Victorino 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000
Jayson Werth 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 .000
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/13/2010.
Summary
halladayvslincecum.jpg
Pretty close overall though Lincecum edges out in the RBI’s allowed and overall Batting Average against him and is the clear winner in the Strikeouts department.  They’ve both pitched one game during the playoffs, and while Halladay’s was probably more note-worthy as it was a no-hitter, Lincecum’s two-hitter was more success in terms of overall pitching domination as he had 14 strikeouts to Halladay’s eight.  AND Roy Halladay has yet to face Pat Burrell, Buster Posey and Juan Uribe, who could arguably be our best hitters right now.
But a close race to be sure.  I’m really looking forward to this series.  As I’ve mentioned many times before, I like the Phillies quite a bit so I’m excited to face them.  Of course I want the Giants to come out on top, but regardless of the outcome, watching two of my favorite teams going head-to-head in the NLCS should be really fun!

Braves-Giants Game 1: Teeth Skin

I talk Giants with a co-worker fairly regularly, especially lately of course.  Passing  my desk on his way out the door yesterday, we speculated on how this Braves series is going to go, and I made a prediction that it’s going to go all five games and every game is going to be a 1-0 victory.

So far so “good.”  
To paraphrase Wayne Campbell, “Giants Baseball…Torture!” is not just a clever slogan.  How many games this season have been a 1-0 victory?  That’s not rhetorical, let’s count…one…two..three…okay only three.  Really?  Seems like more.  There’s also been three 0-1 games, so maybe I’m lumping them all together.  
Anyway, hard to complain about a win, but I’ll give it a shot.  It’s hard to “suffer” through a 1-0 game, there’s always nail biting, fidgeting and lots of pacing accompanying each pitch to the opposing team, knowing that all it takes is one good hit to tie up the game or flip the lead around.  It’s hard to watch players stranded on base or an awesome triple by Buster Posey being reduced to a waste.  It’s hard to watch a pitcher having to carry a game without run support.  
But then that’s drama, which is why we’re watching, eh?
As we all knew he would, Derek Lowe pitched a ridiculous game, pitching 5 innings and allowing only 4 hits and 1 run.  On any other day that’d be enough, but he was facing The Franchise yesterday at his very best.  Tim Lincecum pitched a complete game, his fourth for the season, shutting out the Braves and allowing only two hits with 14 strike-outs, which is apparently a Giants post-season record and third best record in MLB history (don’t quote me on that last part).  I love it when Lincecum has a good day at the office.  
lincecumstrikeouts.jpg
I also speculated to my co-worker yesterday that I thought whomever made the first error was going to be the team that lost, which again turned out to be true.  But I can’t decide if the Braves made the first mistake, or the umpire Paul Emmel.  
Posey steals second in the 4th (his first stolen base…awww) and the umpire calls him safe.  ERROR maybe because it’s possible he was out  I couldn’t really tell last night, even with the umpteen instant replays, as they never seemed to show the foot and the tag on camera at the same time for some reason.  But this photo that’s been floating around the web doesn’t scream “safe” to me:
poseysteal.jpg
On the other hand, I think the photo is an optical illusion, (so why did I even post it?) because Conrad didn’t tag Posey’s arm, but instead brought his hand all the way down to Posey’s waist.  So I’m still not sure if he was safe or not.  Judge for yourself.  
So now Posey’s on second and Lowe strikes out Burrell and Uribe.  Up comes Sandoval and they decide to walk him.  ERROR because next up is Cody Ross who singles to left field and drives in an RBI Posey, which ends up being the only run of the game.  Maybe the Braves should have pitched to Sandoval, who probably would have struck out swinging over his head, per usual.  I guess the panda hats are scarier than they look.
pandahat.jpg
While I wish the winning run, the only run, wasn’t tainted I’m glad the Giants came out on top and Game 1 is behind us.  Lincecum was better than anyone could hope for and August seems like years ago.  Now bring on Game 2: Cain vs Tommy Hanson.  How’s ol’ Tommy look?
H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA
Aubrey Huff 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 .000
Pat Burrell 2 1 0 0 0 1 0 1.000
Travis Ishikawa 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000
Buster Posey 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Cody Ross 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 .000
Freddy Sanchez 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Pablo Sandoval 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Andres Torres 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 .333
Juan Uribe 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 10/8/2010.
Hmmm….

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.  

fingercount.jpg
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.

liljinx.jpg

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. 
pat3rbihomer.jpg
“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…
astindodgersfan.jpg
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!
robthegiantsfan.jpg
You hear that Giants?  “You can do it!”

Perfection

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

Family_Christmas_fun_094_042.jpg

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!
go_dodgers.jpg
The Cubs beat the Padres, knocking them two games back.  So thank you Cubs!  I still like your hats.  
chicagocubswin.jpg
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. 
uribehomer.jpg
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.
natedoubles.jpg
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?
sdschedule.jpg