A Place To Talk About Giants Baseball

17 Different Line Ups in 22 Games. Time for an 18th in 23.

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 30, 2012

The last thing I want to do is start picking apart Bochy’s line ups. There’s never any resolution and for the amount of time we can spend cogitating and debating a topic, it’s not really worth it. And yet, I can’t stop myself. I don’t care if the Giants are facing the average left handed offerings of Clayton Richard. Yesterday’s line up, despite it’s *match up* potential, leaves us way too exposed on defense. And the supposed extra offense you get in return just isn’t there. If that’s the line up we see against lefty’s (maybe twice a week?) over the course of the season the UZR hit will be harder than any bump in offensive production we might get from it. I didn’t compare our position players using UZR, but I did list off who are *best* defensive players are at each position in my April 28th thread. They are:

Blanco: CF

Cabrera: LF

Panda: 3rd

Posey: C

Nate: RF

Belt: 1B

Crawford: SS

Burriss: 2B

Besides the absence of Pagan, I actually like that line up a lot. The odd man out is Blanco and I wouldn’t mind seeing an outfield of Pagan/Blanco/Cabrera since as most of us understand and should already know, Nate should be coming off the bench, not starting.

The other spot in *my* line up that I wouldn’t mind a change would be at shortstop. I haven’t had a problem with Crawford playing there mostly because it’s a position I understand isn’t going to give me much offense, he’s a fabulous defender and there hasn’t been anything behind him that’s been exciting enough for me to say “Hey! We should be playing THAT guy at shortstop!!!”. Well, minus the exclamation points, I will just say this:

“Hey, we should play Arias at shortstop.”

B-Craw is probably a little banged up, both physically and mentally. Running him out there everyday doesn’t seem to be working. And what you lose with Arias defensively just isn’t that much with the flip side offensive contribution being far more delicious.

At first base, I feel the same way. What Buster and Hector give you offensively at 1st and catcher respectively, just doesn’t justify what you’re losing defensively.

Posey is going to give you more at the plate than Hector will. But Posey isn’t necessarily going to give you more offensively than Belt would at first base. And defensively Posey is better at catcher than Hector and Belt is better at first than Buster. So, if you believe Belt is ready to hit consistently like a normal mlb first baseman, then it doesn’t make a lot of sense to go with this Hector (C)/Posey(1B) thing.

And Brett Pill would never get into a line up card that I would compose. He’s gotta have the softest .934 OPS I’ve ever seen in my life. And to make up for that lack of range in left field, he better start hitting with an OPS of .1000+ to make up for what he’s NOT going to give you defensively out there. Remember, it’s not just about *not making errors*. If you have no chance to get to the balls your replacement player would get to, that is just as bad as making an error on the play if you were able to get to them. On Saturday, this is the play by play box score of the top of the 4th inning:

Looks pretty uninteresting, right? Just a nice, clean 1-2-3 inning for Timmy? Hardly. That inning was all-Cabrera. And if Pill were out there I would bet that he wouldn’t have gotten a glove on any of those 3 balls. Had Pill been playing LF, it is totally conceivable that the Padres would have put up 2 (or more) runs that inning. And that’s how lack of range defensively can turn a 2-1 victory into a 3-2 loss.

You can’t put together a line up card and tunnel vision your focus on solely L/R *match ups*. There’s more to it than that……..



I read the idea that Dirt tossed out in yesterday’s thread about an alternative to me shutting the blog down after post 1000 (today was post #721). I liked it, especially the part about having a stable of guest-bloggers to pick up the slack. Definitely a topic to re-visit.

No Thread Today

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 29, 2012

Sorry fellas, don’t have time to spin enough BS together today to create a discussion. Game’s at 1:05pm. I’m sure you’ll have no problem finding a topic to kick around……

More Defense Please

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 28, 2012

Carl Steward at the The Merc already blogged about this last night but I thought we could kick it around here, too. Last night, Bochy went “all offense” with his LU. The flip side of that is that you really expose your defense.

Cabrera in RF: worse (I know he gunned down someone at third and he didn’t do anything egregious out there, I’m just saying, if he’s playing RF he’s *worse* than Nate)

Arias at SS: worse than Crawford

Theriot at 2nd: worse than Burriss (from a range standpoint)

Pill in LF: definitely worse than Cabrera

Posey at 1st: worse than Belt

Hector at C: worse than Posey

Pagan in CF: worse (than Blanco)

That’s 7 positions where you weaken your defense. And Steward is correct, with Hacker on the mound, you are going to get a LOT of balls put in play. You’re just asking for trouble when 7 of your 8 positions are weaker defensively than the replacement player.

How much are you really strengthening your offense with that LU? Is it really THAT much more?

Cabrera > Nate? Yes.

Arias > Crawford? Definitely yes

Theriot > Burriss? No. I’d rather have Burriss in there for his offense (and his defense, frankly)

Pill >Cabrera? No

Posey > Belt? If  Belt ever starts producing the way everyone here says he’s about to start doing then I would go with *no* on this one. Posey puts up great numbers for a C but as a 1B his offensive numbers are average at best.

Hector > Posey? No

Pagan > Blanco? Yes

There are just not enough resounding *yeses!* on that list to justify putting such a significantly substandard defense on the field together. And I’m not talking about what that defensive alignment would do game-to-game or what they did last night. I’m talking about what it would do over the course of time. And the end result, I think, would be a defensive unit that would make a lot of errors. And that’s not even counting the errors they don’t make because they don’t have the range to get to the ball that the *other* guys would have gotten to. In other words, there will be balls hit to LF that Pill doesn’t get an error on but he also doesn’t make a play on because he can’t get to the ball in time. Same with Theriot. And all of them, actually.

This is your best *all-defense* LU:

Blanco CF

Cabrera: LF

Panda: 3rd

Posey: C

Nate: RF

Belt: 1B

Crawford: SS

Burriss: 2B

And I’m not saying go with this LU every game. Just mix some of it in instead of going with the *all offense* LU Bochy went with last night. The offense those guys will produce just isn’t that much more than their replacement player would produce and it certainly isn’t enough to make up for the defensive gap that is created when they have to stop hitting and go play the field…….

Settling in for a 9 Game Homey And Many Reasons to Feel Positive

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 27, 2012

Pagan’s home run was huge, it was the difference between us coming home 10-9 and 9-10. And 10-9 just looks better. We face San Diego, Miami, and The Brewers for 3 a piece. There are plenty of positives to indicate the Giants are headed in a winning direction right now…..

To wit:

Pagan has quietly put together an 11 game hitting streak. He also hasn’t taken a walk in 9 games and that is a streak that needs to end. I’m looking forward to at least 3 triples from him during this homestand………

It looks like Belt has finally gotten another chance at 1st base and that’s a positive for all the fans who think he’s ready right now. We’ll see if he takes advantage of the opportunity. He’s 3 for his last 7 and though it was only 3 singles he’s nudged his OPS above .700 to .732. That number needs to climb if he’s going to hit in the middle of the line up. I’m not optimistic that he’s ready for a regular starting job but will be happy if he is. And the fact is, there’s really no one else to turn to with Huff on the DL and Brett Pill being the only other option……..

Barry Zito is showing a fairly stable degree of reliability although I’ve been wrong about every single one of his starts this year so maybe I should just stop making any positive comments about him. “I formally predict that the Marlins will destroy him next Wednesday to the tune of 6 earned runs in 2.2 innings. He’ll walk 4 strike out none.” There, that should do the trick…….

The Giants are hitting an even .200 as a team with RISP. I actually consider that a *backhanded* positive because I think that number has nowhere to go but up. They are a decent, legitimate hitting team this year, unlike last year. There really isn’t any at bat that comes up that I feel like is an automatic out. Crawford comes closest to that but as we’ve seen with our own eyeballs, Crawford has hit many balls hard that have found a glove or just missed being fair by inches. Having said that, I am glad to see Arias up. He hits better than Crawford and he will give the kid a blow which is what he needs right now. And unless Arias is significantly worse at defense than Crawford, our LU is stronger with him in it right now. Mr DJ Loo noted an interesting fact about Arias the other day: He was the PTBNL in the A-Rod/Soriano trade and he was also traded for Jeff Francour. He’s got skills, and with Crawford nursing a thumb and elbow injury and a scuffle at the plate I think Arias will be an excellent insertion into our LU over the coming days……

Burriss is showing everyone how far he’s come as a major leaguer (Marty Lurie, please make a note of that). As I’ve said for a while now, Glass Sanchez’ career is over and it’s nice to know we have a young, home grown player who is finally ready to shine. I’m happy for him, he seems like a great guy……

Pablo has cobbled together an 18 game hitting streak to start the season. Luebke will be a challenge for him tonight but he will be up for it. All this guy has to do is stay healthy and he will make a run at the NL MVP award this year….

Casilla’s lights out/curtains drawn appearance yesterday will hopefully give Bochy the confidence to go to him regardless of the *match ups* from here on out. The one neg right now is our bullpen–Lopez is all over the place, Affeldt seems to have turned into a jerk and Hensley might not be as good as everyone thinks he is. Casilla has been the rock. Getting the ball to him with the lead is going to be the real challenge……..

The weather is heating up, the boys are back in town, and I’m ready for a game, son…….



Aubrey Huff

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 25, 2012

I have only done some preliminary reading about Huff’s DL stint and the *anxiety disorder* that is being attributed as the cause of the DL move. Without getting into too many details, I have a fair amount of experience (as well as a Masters degree)  in the field of psychology. So I’ll preface this thread by saying that with almost no information about this case I still feel like I am in the ball park of being able to comment on it. And that’s what I’m gonna do……

One thing that I’ve been reading in the preliminary reports, especially from the bloggers, is that they are assuming Huff is suffering from *panic attacks*. This is not necessarily the case, it’s more of a presumption based on the the word *anxiety*. Though they can be treated with different cognitive techniques as well as medication, panic attacks can be crippling. But again, we don’t know that is what he’s dealing with. All that has been disclosed is that he has gone to the DL with something to do with *anxiety*.

And there are many different anxiety disorders that he could be diagnosed with. PTSD is an anxiety disorder, and it’s entirely possible that he has suffered from this for years. I don’t know the details of his father’s murder, but he wouldn’t have to necessarily witness the murder to suffer from this disorder. And it’s often impossible to tell what triggers an episode.

Believe it or not, OCD is also classified as an anxiety disorder. There’s nothing that remotely seems to connect Huff to OCD. I’m just saying, it falls under the anxiety classification….

Panic Disorder and Generalized Anxiety Disorder are related but the symptoms are different………

And there is more, but you can google more info if you want it. My point with this thread is to not just automatically assume he’s having panic attacks just because you see the word *anxiety*. He could be having them, and it would render him almost incapacitated during such an episode. The aftermath of a panic attack (or multiple attacks) can be difficult to deal with, too. They can be like an earthquake— there’s *the big one* and then a bunch of after shocks afterwards. Regardless of whatever anxiety disorder he’s dealing with, at his age, I doubt it’s the first time he’s dealt with it. It’s my guess that he was diagnosed years ago and something has disrupted his medication treatment. It could be related to the past week or it could just be a problem that needs a med adjustment. Maybe he stopped taking them. Or maybe he was never on them at all. No one knows……

Over the last season and 3 weeks I’ve spent a lot of time being frustrated with Aubrey and his production at the plate and in the field. I’ve made fun of his name. I’ve criticized a possible smoking habit. I’ve questioned his conditioning. But today’s news was a critical reminder that I’m never better or worse than anyone else in this world. I was reminded today that it’s irresponsible for me to render judgement on a fellow man and his performance in baseball without knowing anything about the man personally. I never walked the earth in his shoes. No one has. And I will try to remind myself of that the next time I get frustrated with a baseball player’s performance……..

Grade School Mentality

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 25, 2012

Baseball players are brain dead lemmings when it comes to responding to  perceived *disrespect*. If you glance at your homerun for a second too long you’re likely to get hit in the ribs in your next at bat. There are all sorts of little traditions you have to honor and you’re not allowed to violate any of them, even by accident, or you’re subjected to being hit with a 95 mph heater. It’s all 100% stupid.  I think most *retaliation pitches* are not justified but I don’t have a problem with it under a very specific circumstance: 1) clear and obvious intent to hit one of your star players with a pitch that could possibly cause injury.

Last night, I will admit, Otero’s pitch that hit Votto *looked* bad if all you look at is the pitch. But unless there was something going on in-game that we didn’t see or hear about, there is no reasonable way you could draw a line from Otero to intent to hitting Votto. Simply put, there was no antecedent that preceded Otero throwing at Votto……

LeClure’s pitch was an obvious message pitch and it had a significantly greater chance of causing injury than Otero’s—it just missed Buster’s knee. Not a guarantee to cause an injury but more likely to cause one than just getting hit on the side of the hip (where Votto got hit).

If you saw Dusty in the tv shot after LeClure’s pitch he let out a hard, long spit that was basically saying “that’s right, it’s on, fuck you for hitting Votto.” What a dumbass……

Buster answered by shaking his head a few times, milling around the box as both benches got warned and then promptly depositing an opp-o HR into the seats in right center. A better “fuck you” than Dusty’s, to be sure…….

I’m sure the Reds weren’t happy that Votto got hit but their response seemed to be  a “you hit us, we hit you” mentality regardless of whether there was any intent of not. And that’s a pretty stupid, juvenile approach to anything in life. I do believe LeClure was trying to hit Buster somewhere in the leg area and he was agile enough to not get hit. If you are simply sending a *message* with a behind-the-player pitch it’s usually *higher and wider* not a few inches from the knee.

Still, if anyone deserves to get plunked today it’s Votto. I wouldn’t judge the Giants for retaliating for that pitch near Buster’s knee. That’s not really the Giants-way, they don’t seem to get too caught up in displaying 12 year old behavior, but they at least have a reason to respond, in my opinion, based off the criteria I used above.

The reason not to do it is obvious: If Votto gets hit today there’s a good chance that the pitcher who throws that pitch will get days. Depending on the brawl afterwards, many players could get days, including Bochy. And do we really need to deal with that right now? No. Besides, Buster laid out the best *punk job* you could land on a pitcher—he went opp-o on him in the very same at bat that LeClure tried to hit him. It was perfect…….

Some Random Thoughts as We Brace for The Launching Pad in Cincinnati

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 24, 2012

First off, congratulations to Pablo Sandoval for tying Willie Mays record of 16 straight games with at least one hit to start the season. He’s developed into such an accomplished hitter. They need to come up with a new scouting report on him because the slop pitchers used to throw up there is getting spit on by Pablo this year. Makes you wonder why he didn’t get lasix surgery a long time ago…….

Hector Sanchez is really starting to block balls in the dirt better. It was quite noticeable last night how far he’s come, even from his last start. He does seem to have a problem hitting breaking balls and I’m sure that will find it’s way to his scouting report soon enough. But he seems like such a good hitter, I’m sure he’ll figure it out……

Speaking of *improvement*, it’s impossible not to notice E-Burr’s hitting skills this year. What happened to this guy? He’s ROPING balls in all directions. This is an immeasurable development, I think Burriss will hold down the 2nd base job all year long. It still pisses me off to think about Marty Lurie saying that the Giants “desperately need Glass to come back and play first base” without any mention whatsoever of the job E-Burr has done this year. Did anyone catch Glass’ comments yesterday? “I still have some work to do on the shoulder.” If by “work” he means “stop throwing a baseball” then I am 100% behind his take. I believe, and have for months now, that his career as a major league 2nd baseman is over. He seems to be trying desperately to come back, though with him you never really know. Remember, Bochy has publicly questioned him before from the stand point of “Um, why isn’t he here playing yet?” I know that was a couple of years ago and he hasn’t said anything like that during this most recent rehab assignment. I’m just sayin’, it’s impossible to know what *work* Sanchez still needs to do on his shoulder…….

I appreciated B-Jenk’s take on Huff’s absurd play:



I Predict We Win Both of these Games Today :)

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 23, 2012

On paper, we look good to go today. Lincecum/Bumgarner vs Bautista/Gee? Please. Bring it. But actually I see big problems if we get these games in today. First of all, nothing on paper ever works out. We could easily lose both these games today. Secondly, the 2nd game doesn’t start till 7:10 EST. So they’re going to play baseball all day and into the night (and you KNOW one of these games is going to go extras) and then hop a plane at 1am to Cincinnati where they get to sleep for a few hours before having to go play in that launching pad against a stacked Reds line up. At least Zito isn’t going till Wednesday. Can you imagine having to count on his to save the bullpen arms in Tuesday’s game?

Bottom line: If these games get played today, it is critical for Timmy and MadBum to pitch deep, DEEP into them. Otherwise, this will torch off a bullpen inferno that could take a week to douse….

Speaking of Zito, did anyone notice the wheels start to come off in his last start? He got lucky by not having anyone on base when he gave up those two dongs. He walked more than he struck out and he was gone after 5. On the other side of the bay, the A’s have Bartolo Colon turning back the clock, throwing nothing but strikes, and he’s sitting on a 3-1 record with a 2.63 ERA. Of course, his arm could fall off, literally, at any moment. Here’s my question of the day for you guys. Who would you rather have on a 1 year deal in 2012: Colon or Zito? Assume they make the same amount of $$$ for the year.

The Line Up Going Forward

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 22, 2012

Here’s today’s line up:

Pagan CF
Cabrera LF
Sandoval 3B
Posey C
Schierholtz RF
Belt 1B
Burriss 2B
Crawford SS
Lincecum SP

This game likely won’t be getting played. But I do think this is the line up we are going to see for the rest of the year. Huff has gotten so bad it’s time for the Giants to release him. When you can’t hit or field (or remember to run to second base on a ball hit to shortstop) it is time for you to go. And there is absolute precedent for this. The Giants ate all of Rowand’s contract this year (12 mil). They released Dave Roberts a month before the season started a couple of years ago (eating 6.5 million).

It’s time to pay Aubry Huff to go away…….

And Belt will be the welcomed winner. I know why Bochy hasn’t been playing him and I’ve discussed it several times. No need to get into it again. Once Huff is released there really will be no other direction to turn other than Belt. It would also allow the Giants to call up Arias to replace Huff and that will give us some infield depth. I know the Huff fiasco was forced on Bochy because of Theriot’s illness but I think Crawford needs a game or two off a week. I’m guessing his thumb is bothering him and playing every day is hard to do, especially for a rookie. And hitting 65 points less than a struggling Brandon Belt is just not going to cut it as an every day player.

If Belt gets run out there every day I’m not the least bit confident he’ll succeed, especially if he continues to fail at the plate as often as he has this season. But there is also the chance that he starts hitting, builds some confidence, gets on a roll and never looks back. Plus we get automatic gold glove defense at first base. If Belt doesn’t turn it around and he’s hitting a buck fifty at the end of May then I suppose they could give Pill the job. But Pill is not the answer at first base. He’s going to continue to provide decent pop off the bench. That’s where he belongs. And there is nothing in the minors at first base—nothing that’s ready to help now, anyway…..

There is no chance that Huff turns this around. It’s obvious in his hitting, his defense, and the eyes of everyone on him: he’s done. Release him immediately………

Mendoza Would Fit Right in This Year……..

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 21, 2012

As everyone knows, The Mendoza Line is used as the definition of incompetent hitting. Mario Mendoza, a shortstop for 9 years in the major leagues, had a career batting average of .215. Today, the term *The Mendoza Line* refers to a batting average under .200. I bet that somewhere, Big Mario is doing a slow burn about getting cheated out of those precious .15 batting points….

But whatever, if you’re hitting below .200 you are degraded and embarrassed with comments like, “Dude, Crawford is hitting below The Mendoza Line.” Ouch. And it doesn’t really even matter if you’re hitting above .200 because if you’re close to it you get comments like, “My God Crawford is a bad hitter. He’s hitting .205. He’s almost below The Mendoza Line!!! Bahahahahahaha!!!!!!”

The horror…..

As an owner of several (currently under performing) fantasy teams I keep track of pretty much every hitter in baseball. And what I’ve been struck by this season is how many players seem to be hitting under the dreaded Mendoza Line. I hadn’t bothered to confirm if it’s more or less than normal until this morning. And I don’t even know what a *normal* number of Mendoza Line batters is anyway. But even without a frame of reference, this list surprised me:

I had to shrink the page down to 90% just so I could capture the entire list with my trusty *snipping tool*. Take a look at that list. That is some serious collective failure. And most of those guys aren’t within a country mile of the Mendoza Line. They’re all looking up at Brandon Belt (currently hitting .200) and saying, “Man, that dude might be saddled with a fat wife but check out that batting average! Some day, I hope that’s me…”

I decided to see how many Mendoza Line Transgressors there were last season and I couldn’t snip and paste that list into this thread because there was no such list to snip and paste. The lowest batting average in the major leagues last year was Vernon Wells at .218. Of course, they only listed players with a qualified number of at bats. But my first list was also drawn from those who qualified this year.

So then I decided to look at team batting averages. I assumed that no collective TEAM could be batting under .200 so I decided to just look at how many teams are batting under .240 this year. Here they are:

Man, 10 teams? And three of them are batting under Mario’s actual career batting line? What is going on here?

For a point of reference, I checked how this compared to 2011. Two teams batted under .240 for the year: San Diego at .237 and the Mariners at .233. I’m assuming you are all as shocked as I was to not see the Giants on that list……

In 2010, 1 team hit under .240: Again, the hapless Mariners. They were a seaworthy bunch, but they couldn’t hit a lick. 🙂

In 2009, no team hit under .240….

And yet in 2012, there are 10 teams hitting under .240. What gives? I’d love to get to the end of this thread with some plausible theories as to why the hitters are so collectively bad this year but I don’t have any. And that’s where you people come in as I had the baton off to you in 3….2…..1

New York Bound and a Barry Zito Anonymous Program

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 20, 2012

A quick check of the Ex-Giants *Watch* list shows a bedraggled, motley crew. Outside of Beltran and (and maybe Ross a little bit) our ex-Giants are displaying some of the same skills or circumstances that led us to become so regularly frustrated with them.

This weekend series was probably circled by both Torres and Pagan. Unfortunately, Torres has been on the DL since the Opening day after he strained a muscle in his calf. The Mets are being cautious with him, still not allowing him to run. I can’t imagine how difficult this is for Torres. To have to muzzle his boundless energy on the bench knowing how badly he wants to contribute to his new team must be eating him up inside. Personally, I’m bummed we don’t get to see him lead off 4 times a game this weekend.

Tonight……Barry Zito. After his complete game shut out in Colorado I admitted to the world that I was wrong and Zito isn’t “completely done as a major league pitcher”. You can’t produce a complete game shut out ANYWHERE at this level if you are *completely done*. And he was very impressive in his follow up start in San Francisco. I’m not looking to do any “I told you so’s!” tonight. I want him to pitch well just like all the rest of us. But I am looking at this start tonight to see just how wrong I really am about Zito. The start in Colorado was some weirdo-Karma-tea leave thing. Nothing will ever explain that. And his 2nd start was against a terrible Pirates team at home.

Tonight he goes against a team on the road. A team who moved their fences in this season. A team who, though Vungo-free and not Pirate-esque, is still a pretty decent hitting team….

If Barry repeats something close to start #2 tonight I will move up one level  in my BZ Anonymous Program. It’s a 5 step program that I suggest you all get into if you want to be able to make it through a full season of 30 Barry Zito starts.

The 5 steps you have to go through:

1) Admit that, as a fan, you are powerless to stop a Zito start from happening

2) Admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being that you were wrong about Zito being “completely done* as a major league pitcher.

3) Humbly ask Bruce Bochy to remove him before he finishes the 7th inning since we all know he usually gets destroyed when having to go through the line up a 4th time……

4) Accept that even though you can finish this 5 step program you never actually finish anything. It’s ongoing and a process that never ends.

5) Though there will be moments this season when you want to ring his chicken neck, just keep saying to yourself “I’m ABZ”—All ‘Bout Zito, baby…….

1-0 Masterpiece? Or Just a *Great Pitching Duel*?

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 19, 2012

Everyone says this was *one for the ages* and since I didn’t pick it up till the 8th inning I don’t feel qualified to comment on it.  Well, maybe I’ll comment on it a little. After my softball game ended, I got in my car around 8:50, turned on the radio, and Flemming says “So after 8, the score is…..” and I’m thinking, “After 8? After 8 what? I know it’s after 8 it’s almost 9pm. Wait, what inning is it?” I checked my clock again, still not believing we were going into the 9th inning before 9 o’clock. Sure enough, we were.

Just like last night’s game, I didn’t see any of those Marichal/Koufax duels. Even so, I am leaning towards believing that comparing last night’s game to one of those epic pitching duels from the 60’s seems like a bit of an over-dramatization. It’s a good thing nobody compared it to a Marichal/Spahn duel because that would have been ridiculous. I didn’t have to see this game to know this one was truly *one for the ages.*


But again, I only saw the last couple of innings. I didn’t see Cain throw a pitch and I only caught an inning from Lee. Though it’s hindsight, I think Bumpkin’ Manuel made a big mistake by not letting Lee go back out there. He’d only thrown 102 pitches and he was begging to stay in. He deserved the chance to get through 11, in my opinion, and if both his head and his arm say it’s cool, why not let him? It lessened an otherwise amazing box score to have it turn into this:

But  isn’t 7 hits an awful lot to give up, even through 10, to qualify as a masterpiece? Again, didn’t see the game, didn’t see any games in the 60’s, probably not qualified to comment on what defines a *masterpiece* or *one for the ages* or just * a really well pitched game*……

But I’m sure there are many of you who did see the game and who did watch all those games in the 60’s so by all means let’s hear your thoughts on all of this……..

The Curious Cult of Brandon Belt

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 18, 2012

I’m fairly surprised to read the comments from bloggers all over the local blogs who all seem to be in unison in their uproar about how Bochy is handling Brandon Belt. “They’re messing with his head again! Leave him alone and just play him every day!”

Sorry, but I am not getting this unconditional, across-the-board support for Belt.  This league is about results. Nothing more. Murph (or Mac, I listen to them every day and can’t tell who is who) was interviewing Kuip yesterday and could barely contain his man-crush for Belt. “Kuip, why can’t they just leave this guy alone and run him out there for 400+ at bats this year? Who cares if he’s started slow? Melky is 0-12 and you don’t see him in any danger of being yanked from the line up!” It amazes me how either of those two doohickey’s can be paid to host one of the biggest radio morning sports shows.

Anyway, you could hear Kuiper laughing at him quietly in the background before he patiently explained to Murph/Mac that this league is about results. No one is worried about Melky going 0-12. All major league ball players go through slumps in a season. You ride it out.

But Belt, at least at this point in his career, is a major league ball player in name only. What has he done at this level? Forget his .167 batting average for 2012 (if you must). In 205 total mlb at bats he’s hitting .220. 205 at bats is not a small sample.

You know what Belt has proven he’s consistently good at? Sulking. He wears a sulk-look better than any of them. And that would absolutely explain why he’s had two rock solid spring trainings only to be immediately followed up with underwhelming (at best) starts to the mlb seasons. Based on how he looks after a poor at bat (and you have many, many examples to consider) he gets down on himself pretty easily. It’s not a terrible quality, it shows how hard he’s trying and how badly he wants this. But you have to have a flip side to that mentality. You can’t wallow in it. To me, it seems that when things aren’t working, Belt seems to get consumed by the immediate failure in the moment and I think it effects him in subsequent at bats. And that is no way to hit at this level.

You could all argue (and probably all will since it seems like every single Giants fan on the planet wants this guy in the LU) that I’m reading too much into his body language and assigning psycho-drama to a player who doesn’t deserve that type of amateur-arm chair psychoanalysis. And you might be right. But that’s how he it looks to me……

Someone on the other thread mentioned Freddy Freeman and wondered why he gets to keep playing everyday (and Belt doesn’t) despite having a slow start to the year. Look, I’m no Freeman fan, I’ve never really understood the hype on him. I think it’s his name–he’s got a snappy name. But again, this is about track record. You have to have at least SOME track record to get some slack through your slumps. Freeman hit 20 bombs last year and finished 2nd in the NL ROY voting. What’s that? That’s “track record”, baby……

The flip side to Belt’s slump is Huff’s slump. The good news for Huff is that he’s executing Belt from a batting average standpoint. He’s got him by 40 points! The bad news: he’s hitting .207. But Huff has 2 things that Belt doesn’t have: a track record and an 11 million dollar deal. I DO think the Giants would bail on Huff fairly soon if Belt was showing ANYTHING at the plate. But Bochy is trying to put together the best offense he can on a daily basis. And even if you think Huff is under-performing this year he’s still helping the team more than Belt is. So if you think about it, Huff has recent track record on Belt, too…….

This is a big-boy league. You take advantage of your opportunities when they present themselves or you don’t. Belt IS getting opportunities. He’s had 205 of them. He’s not taking advantage of them.

Kuiper told a story the other day about his rookie year. He said he got called up to sub for the Indian’s second baseman (can’t recall his name) who hit the DL with a minor ailment. When he arrived, the manager told him that he would only be here for 10 days or so until “name” came off the DL. Kuip performed, in the field and at the plate, and went on to have a very serviceable 12 year mlb career, never seeing the minor leagues again……

Belt could still do this. I’m not calling his career a certain failure or anything. He’s clearly shown that he can hit and scouts like his potential. But you don’t get a free pass to the plate 400+ times a year just because of your potential or your *good at bats*. At some point, you have to start producing to stay up here. A good start for him would be to wipe that sulk off his face and start acting like a major league ball player………

Tim Lincecum: This is Not Good…..

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 17, 2012

How bad has Lincecum been this season? Last night’s *bad* start was so *good* that he was able to shave two full points off his ERA ratcheting it down to a tidy 10.54. As we all know from watching Zito pitch for the last several years (excluding this year) it’s pretty hard to win a game when you give up a 4 spot in the first inning. Yes, Pagan screwed up making the inning more stressful but Pence, Victorino and Nix all found him quite hittable and all of that is on Timmy. We had our chances against Doc and could have scored more with a little better luck but you just can’t give up 4 runs in the first to anyone, much less Halladay…….

Timmy righted his sinking ship, only giving up one run the rest of his start. But, as we’ve also seen with Zito, after a team puts up an early crooked number they often ease into cruise control and don’t score much the rest of the way. Lincecum’s fastball was 91 or so for the first 3 or 4 innings. He seemed to throw a lot more off speed pitches and the hitters, in turn, are expecting them. That’s not a good ratio to get into. His FB dipped mostly to 89 in the 5th and 6th. Again, he threw so many sliders it was hard to tell if he still had a live fastball as the game progressed. It didn’t look or feel live to me……

I don’t think Lincecum is hurt the way I thought Wilson was hurt. His problems might be mechanical but it seems to me to be more mental. His swagger is gone. The confident grin, also gone. When the camera panned to him in the dugout before he ran to the mound to pitch the first he had a look on his face that looked like a loss. And he had the same look and expression the entire game. It was like a passive, pensive look that appeared to have a feeling of acceptance to it—like someone who was accepting defeat. Some pitchers throw “hit me” fastballs. Last night, Timmy wore a look that said “beat me.”

Back in the day, when Mark Grace would find himself in a slump, he would end it by finding himself a *slump buster*. You can look that definition up yourself if you want, I don’t want to seem like I’m condoning the practice. I don’t know what Timmy is going to do to come out of this. Maybe he needs his dad to come down and kick him in the ass. But one thing I know about competition is this: It’s easy to be a winner. When you win, everything falls into place—confidence, attitude, self esteem, etc….When you lose, you find out what kind of competitor you are. When you lose, you face adversity, and that’s when you have to do a lot of work to preserve things like *confidence*, attitude*, *self esteem*. Right now, to me, it looks like Timmy has lost it mentally. And if he can’t overcome it, this is a problem that will be a far greater influence on the ultimate outcome of the 2012 season than the loss of our quirky closer………

Not Worrying About The Loss of Bee-Wheezy

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 16, 2012

I pulled some stats from last season that covered *post all star break*– that doesn’t cover it perfectly, but it covers most of the time that Wilson missed last season. They had 2 blown saves post all star break 2011 which was 2nd best in the NL next to Arizona (who had 1). They only had 21 save opportunities post AS break, but that’s still a 90% success rate, which is outstanding.

Maybe I’ll feel different after a few wild and wild and whooly appearances from that maniac Casilla. We’ll see. But right now, the closer role is not on my list of things to worry about (Giant’s related).

In fact, I don’t have a single thing to worry or complain about regarding the team. At this point in the season, that’s fairly amazing. Zito is pitching reliably. The hitting has been fine collectively. The shoddy and downright weird starting pitching has righted itself. I suppose if Timmy gets shelled tonight that’ll give me something to rant about tomorrow.

Speaking of tonight, this is an exciting match up.  Four Cy Young’s between these two. The Phillies are shells of their phormer phucking selves, at least in terms of their bats. I phear no Philly bat this year……

Bee Wheezy’s Gone: Who is his Successor?

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 15, 2012

The Giants have a deep bullpen and for that you can thank Brian Sabean. I questioned his off season moves to keep both Lopez and Affeldt thinking the better move would be too pool all the extra dough into an offer for Beltran. But Sabean picked up 2 outfielders instead (Melky and Pagan) and kept the bullpen in tact which now appears to have been a critical move. With Bee Wheezy down for the count we now turn to our stacked bullpen to somehow find a replacement for The Bearded One.

Remember, if you turn one of the current guys into a closer that creates a hole in another part of the bullpen. I’m sure Bochy doesn’t want to disrupt the roles those guys have down there. There are guys down there he trusts but probably none who stand out.

So it’s not an easy decision for Bochy. Or me. I had Wilson on 2 of my NFBC teams and I’ll be reluctantly kicking him to the curb later today. In those leagues, you have $1000 free agent dollars to spend for the year. You bid once a week (Sunday at 5pm) on any available free agents who you want to acquire. When a closer job opens up the cost can be huge. As an example, Jordan Walden (more on him later) went for $342 the week that Scioscia decided to replace the ineffective Fernando Rodney with the young rookie from AAA. Last week, I bought Hector Santiago for $222 because I was desperate for a closer in that league. The 2nd bid was $60 so I had a little buyers remorse at the time but have since decided it was a sound purchase….

Anyway, there is no clear cut decision in fantasy or real life for who the next closer will ultimately be. The early favorites seem to be Casilla or Romo. Casilla just walks too many people, I can’t see him holding the job for long. And Romo has a balky elbow, I don’t think the Giants would run him out there as often as a closer sometimes has to work.

Affeldt or Lopez? Maybe a spot save or two if the match ups worked but I can’t see either of them getting the job long term.

Otero? He’s the guy with all the minor league closer experience. He’s got good control but his *stuff* isn’t as electric as you’d like to see for a major league closer. I suppose there’s a chance the job could default down to him but it doesn’t look or sound like that will happen…….

Heath Hembree? The electricity is there. I’m not sure if he knows where the ball is going or if he would be confident enough to roll with the big boys at this level.

Last year, the Angels made a bold move by anointing  Walden the closer to replace the beleaguered and bedraggled Fernando Rodney. He was 23, the same age as Hembree. He had pitched 6 games for the Angels in 2010 and he had more minor league experience than Hembree. But Hembree has 43 minor league saves to Walden’s 9. Plus, Hembree had a handful of saves in college (unlike Walden who didn’t go to college).

Anyway, Walden had a nice season last year saving 32 games for the Angels. I wonder if the Giants would consider Hembree at some point this year……

None of these 6 guys seem worth purchasing to me, and they are all on my waiver wire at the NFBC. Romo and Casilla will probably both go for north of $200 this evening. I could probably buy Hembree for a few bucks since he’s not going to get the gig until and if others fail before him. Still, he can chill on my bench and wait for his turn. Either that, or he never gets called up and I will have wasted a few bucks on a long shot. No big deal…….

I’ve gotten texts from several non-Giant fan friends (who are also huge into fantasy baseball) wanting to know who I think will be our next closer. I’m telling everyone the same thing: I’ve got no idea. I think the safest and best plan is to stay out of the bidding for Casilla and Romo and take a shot on the cheap with one of the under-the-radar guys. Bruce Bochy doesn’t have the same luxury, he has to deal with real baseball. I don’t envy his position…….

The (Mis?)Handling of Brandon Belt

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 14, 2012

The bloggers are up in arms over this one. Bochy’s said he was “giving him a day” but that day turned into 3 or 4 and now it appears that Belt is no longer the starting first baseman. He’s got 1 hit this season in 11 at bats to go along with 5 strike outs. He’s been terrible at the plate. Krukow had a long winded excuse for him the other day that had something to do with his front shoulder. I wasn’t really listening. With Krukow, everything comes down to mechanics.

It’s also quite possible that Belt isn’t mentally ready to hit at this level. He seems to have spring training and the minors down pat. But he gets to the big leagues and it’s like the *off* switch gets hit. And frankly, I don’t blame Bochy at all for how he’s handling him. The bottom line is that Huff is producing. He’s taking walks, he’s getting hits and he’s better placed at first base than he is in the outfield.

The next natural question is, what about Pagan? Why isn’t he on the bench? It’s  a decent question, Pagan has been equally horrific, but he’s got 3 things that Belt doesn’t have: 1) an MLB track record 2) speed. 3) a mood you don’t want to disrupt.

Pagan boldly claimed in spring training that he would steal 50 bases this year. 50? Well, he’s on pace to steal *0* for the season. As it stands, he’s gonna come in a skosh shy of that brash  prediction. But speed is a hypnotic temptress, Bochy is doing the right thing in waiting on Pagan. He’s stolen 69 bases the last 2 seasons. It would be tough to send that to the bench a week into the season. And while Pagan seems to be a good teammate right now his *track record* is that his mood turns sour quickly and the Giants probably don’t want to deal with that so early in the season……

You might say, well why is Nate getting starts? I thought he was the 4th outfielder? Nate seems to be able to hit in Coors Field and I’m hoping his 2-bomb game doesn’t trick Bochy into giving him more starts in RF. Nate is clearly best coming off the bench.

What about The White Shark? Should he be getting more starts? Eh, maybe. He’d probably get some for the same reason that Bochy is leaving Pagan out there. His speed. But I don’t see Blanco getting much more than a spot start here and there (unless Bochy moves Pagan down the LU). He’s just happy to be here, he’s fine coming off the bench. Another reason why I think Pagan will continue to hold on to a starting outfield spot.

But the plan for Pagan will probably be to move him down in the order at some point in the near future (probably to 6th). If that happens THEN I could see Bochy sliding The White Shark into the LU to give us a leadoff hitter.

Melky probably isn’t going to see any time at leadoff.  He’s our 2nd best hitter right now, just leave him where he is…….

When considering all of the immediate short term possibilities I just don’t see where Belt fits into the line up on an everyday basis. I like Belt, I’m happy he made the team. But you have to produce at this level to stay at this level. Eleven at bats is certainly not enough time to give him but there are circumstances (mostly related to Pagan) that are pushing Bochy to make the recent decisions he’s made.

Maybe the plan WAS to just give Belt a day off. It turned into *3 or 4*. And now he’s back to the bench and probably headed to Fresno when Glass comes off the DL…….


Opening Day And a Potential Major Problem with Bee-Wheezy

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 13, 2012

Wild weather here in the Bay Area—non-stop rain and even lightening and thunder. If it was a night game I’d be more confident about getting this one in. Maybe it just gets delayed a few hours (which would be perfectly fine with me) and they start late this afternoon. It feels like we’re about a month into the season and we still haven’t played a game at home. And there’s no guarantee of that happening today…….

If you fired off the *worry alarm* regarding Brian Wilson, I would not call you a pussy. The team is saying he *tweaked* his ankle and is attributing his sketchy performance to this *injury*.  And yet after the game Wilson sat at his locker in flip flops, no ice, with no visible indication that he tweaked or sprained his ankle. Listen, ankle’s can be resilient as hell but you can visibly see swelling at even the slightest sprain. In his blog, PAV said that after the game, “you couldn’t even tell which ankle was hurt.”

He threw a 93 mph FB to Giambi before this supposed ankle injury so that was good to see. But I don’t believe that any other FB in the at bat touched 93. This is a dude who used to throw 98. For the entire appearance he threw almost exclusively off speed pitches. I’m basing this off mlb.com’s play by play page. I didn’t add it all up but it looked to me like it was about 5-1 (off speed/FB).

I don’t know if Wilson is hurt but there are warning signs everywhere that this is more than just an *ankle tweak*….

Favorite Idiot KNBR Call in Call of the Day: During Tolbert’s show, a caller opined that’s Wilson’s drop in velocity was due to his beard. According to this Einstein, the size and density of the beard was somehow affected by wind resistance resulting in a slower delivery and, ultimately, a slower fastball. “Shave the beard, recover the lost velocity” was the flavor of the call. Tolbert responded (though incorrectly): “Well he threw one FB at 95.” Caller’s response: “yeah, whatever.” With Tolbert laughing in the background (a refreshing change from the deep, heaving sobs I heard from him on Wednesday after The Razor got the Axe), they went to the next caller……..

A reminder that Lincecum is not the only stud starter to come out of the gate slowly:

Zack Greinke: 2 starts, 6.75 ERA

James Shields: 2 starts, 5.54 ERA

Josh Johnson: 2 starts 8.83 ERA

CC Sabathia: 2 starts 6.75 ERA

Josh Beckett: 1 start, 13.75 ERA

Danny Haren: 2 starts, 6.97 ERA

Matt Latos: 2 starts, 5.59 ERA

Yovani Gallardo: 2 starts, 5.91 ERA

I’m more worried about Wilson than I am Lincecum, at least from a hidden injury standpoint………


Happy 65th Twinner, good luck today……..

“Weirder and Weirder”—Jay Trotter.

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 12, 2012

I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t wait to see what unfolds in today’s game. This series has been, without question, the weirdest series I can ever remember the Giants playing.

And I’m not just talking about Zito’s complete game shut out. The Rockies have 26 hits this series and not one of them have left the ballpark. Last night, Krukow kept blabbering on about the game being like an old Rockies game pre-humidifier but I don’t remember too many games in Colorado where the Rockies banged out 26 hits in 2 games without hitting a single home run. Their hitters put on a hitting clinic last night, spraying balls all over  the yard. Of course, when your pitchers are basically setting them up on a tee, it’s not that hard to put on a hitting clinic. Lincecum and Affeldt were equally horrendous……

I don’t know what Timmy’s average FB was last night but it was obviously better than the one he had in Arizona. It started out 92-93 and then mysteriously dropped to 90-91 by the 2nd inning (his FB averaged 89.7 in his first start in AZ). Had he gone longer in the game it would have been interesting to see what it would have been over the course of a normal start. But he got bounced in the 3rd inning so we will never know what would have been the ultimate end-point of his diminishing fastball…….

Regardless, Timmy has a problem. It’s possible he has a hidden injury. The public word is that his mechanics are screwed up. He also might just hate pitching in Arizona (all of ST plus Opening Day) and then got caught up in that weirdo game last night that seemed to affect all the Giants pitchers. There’s the “Hector” factor to consider but I think that’s a completely bogus argument— Timmy is a 2-time CY winner, if his game can get completely rattled and undone just because he’s pitching to an unfamiliar catcher then he needs to head down to The Man Store at Cahones and 3rd Avenue and re-apply for his Man Card. Make your freaking pitches and stop sulking about who’s catching them……….

Regarding the offense, it continues to click along in fantastic ways. Pablo is displaying all the expected signs that he could win the NL MVP this year. Hector is a refreshing breath of energy and success that only fans subjected to a full season of “Whiteside/Stewart” could fully appreciate. Nate hit 2 bombs, giving an emphatic 2 finger salute to those who doubt him. Pagan and Belt are another story. I don’t think the Giants will bail on Pagan this early but he’s on the clock. Belt is frustrating. He’s looked horrendous and that is hard to tolerate after watching him tear up spring training. I don’t know if he’s got a mental problem with the *real season* starting or if he’s just not ready to hit at this level. But if he doesn’t get it going quick he will be getting a quick ticket to Fresno—the Giants have a surplus of outfielders and first basemen who are producing. He probably won’t start today against Moyer and to not get a start in any of the 3 games in Colorado would be an ominous sign for his security on the team in the near future……..

Anyway, bring on Game 3. So far, this series has been spectacular theater……..


Final Thought: Shout Out to “that fucking Clown”. The Flap’s got your back, dude. Good thoughts and good vibes being sent your way during this tough time…….

Still Trying to Make Sense of What Happened on 4/9/12

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 11, 2012

Do you know how many people told me they missed that game? I still haven’t talked to a single person who claims to have seen any of that game—some caught an inning or two on the radio. Kinda reminded me of 1938 a little bit…..


Let the conspiracy theories commence……..


Stolen off Baggs’ Blog:

A list of all opponents to throw a shutout in 18 years at Coors Field:

Barry Zito, SF — 2012
Roy Oswalt, HOU — 2008
Andy Ashby, SD — 1999
Dave Mlicki, LAD — 1998
Pedro Martinez, MON — 1997
Tom Glavine, ATL — 1997
Hideo Nomo, LAD — 1996 (no-hitter)
Pat Rapp, FLA — 1995
Tom Glavine, ATL — 1995

Two visiting pitchers this century have thrown complete game shut outs at Coors Field?

T-W-O!?!?!?!?!?!?!……………………2. Let’s say 12 seasons X 81 games–that’s 972 visiting starts this century. Two of 972: .002%

Now, for conspiracy theory #2 of the day: If the Rockies started humidifying the baseball is 2002 then shouldn’t it stand to reason that it would be easier to throw a shutout and not harder? 7 visitors threw shutouts in the first 5 years of the park’s existence and 2 threw shutouts in the 10 years since they started humidifying the balls? Hmmmmmm…….

Also reading Baggs, I got some clarification on the Zito “113-6” stat. It is 4 or more runs scored while he’s in the game. Intuitively, that makes sense, I just haven’t ever had anyone clarify it. He’s 28-2 as a Giant, by the way, when he gets 4+ runs in his starts. Of course, I suspect Timmy, Cain, etc…. have a similar record.

That stat actually says a lot about Zito as a pitcher. He’s the ultimate front runner. When he’s ahead (implied in the stat) he’s got confidence and is spotting his pitches. Of course, there’s a flip side to that sparkling record.  As a Giant he is now 44-61 and if he’s 28-2 with 4+….hmmmmm……almost there……….that would make him 16-59 when he DOESN’T get 4+ runs of support……Ouch. He clearly can’t pitch when he’s behind and so often he puts his team in a hole with a blow-up first inning. It’s difficult for teams to score runs when they’re down 4-0 after the first inning. I don’t know why, maybe they get emotionally deflated, maybe they get tired of standing in the field for Zito’s loooooong innings and it effects them later at the plate. Who knows……..

I will never understand what happened on Monday afternoon, and I’ve read all the articles that attempt to explain it with all the quotes from Zito and the Rockies hitters. It’s still too many standard deviations away from 1 (with “1” being Barry Zito on earth and the point of deviation located a few miles north of Mars)  for me to apply any of it to a future occurrence. I did learn and accept one thing about that start: Zito is not completely done as a major league pitcher. You can’t throw a complete game shutout in ANY stadium and be finished.

Tom House? He’s finished. At least with any pitchers in the Giant’s clubhouse. I can’t imagine Raggs ever allowing for anymore of that crouching nonsense on his pitching staff………

I’d like to say that I’m worried about Timmy’s start today because his velocity is down and he’s obviously a little out of whack mechanically AND he’s pitching at Coors Field. Well, I don’t worry about Coors Field anymore. I can’t. Barry Zito threw a complete game shutout there on Monday afternoon. I could say that a million times and I’d never believe it…….

An Unexpected Outcome

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 9, 2012

I was staring at this pitching line earlier today. It’s like it’s come from another planet or another time continuum. I’m not into astrology in the slightest but trip out on that pitching line.

1 “9”

4 “4’s”

9 “0’s”

And now for some weird fun with numbers:

It’s April 9th— “4/9”

Today was Zito’s 44th win as a Giant

Had he lost, we would have started the season “0-4”

There are probably other bizarre 4-9-0 connections that I’m missing……..

I mean, am I being too weird0-girly to get the heebie jeebies over this pitching line?

The same way I’ll never forget Rowand for his no-hitter saving catch to preserve Dirrrrrty’s no-no, I’ll never forget how huge Zito was today. He was a man-child today. After all of his ant-small performances, especially the 2nd to last game of the 2010 season, I still almost can’t believe what he pulled off today.

And that pitching line is down right eerie……….


Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 9, 2012

If I walked into a room and just said “Lincecum, Bumgarner, Cain….” and then walked out of the room, you’d probably feel pretty good even if you didn’t know what I was talking about. You’d definitely be wondering how and why you had just awakened in an empty room with a stranger named “Big Flavor” standing irritatingly close to you, but you’d likely feel content–like everything was gonna be all right. Those 3 names just sound good when said together……

And yet all three failed this weekend. They failed in different ways. I give Cain a little more slack than the other two who put us in a hole from the get-go. But Cain still nearly squandered a lead of 6 runs (Bochy pulled him before the disastrous 7th started) and there’s only so much slack a guy pitching with a 6 run lead can get……..

And as improbable as The Big 3 Failing was too consider before the D-backs series started, it is equally improbable to consider “Zito as Stopper” without your friends trying to get you 51/50’d. But as Pawlie said in the last thread, “….maybe something in the lunar tides and magnetic jitterbugs of the celestial orbs w/granola…..”

And he’s right, baseball is improbable and often makes no sense. Zito pitching well today and helping us earn our first win would make no sense. But neither did “Lincecum, Bumgarner, Cain” spitting the bit the way they did in Arizona this weekend…….

The bottom line isn’t that we are 0-3 staring into the abyss of what appears to be an almost certain 0-4 start to the season. The bottom line is, do you believe in our pitching staff or not? If you think Timmy’s sending off warning signs with his 89.7 mph fastballs and that the dough has already gotten to Cain’s head and that Mad-Bum is just a dumb country hick who’s tapped out talent wise, then by all means, send off the tsunami alarms, the Giants are in big trouble this year….

But you don’t feel that way, do you?

And our offense seems perfectly tolerable, falling somewhere between “watchable and borderline reliable”. Although  Blanco’s strike out in the 6th inning with 1 out and runners on 2nd and third was brutal. That was his *moment* to secure our lead as well as more playing time and he blew it. But that’s ok. I like Gregor Blanco.

If you think Brandon Crawford will continue to make critical errors and that Posey’s 3 errors through 3 games can be safely extrapolated out to 162 for the year, then by all means, send off the tsunami alarms. Because we are screwed if that happens…….

But you don’t feel that way, do you?

This weekend was tough, it was irritating, and there’s no clear sign of when all this is going to end. Our bullpen is chewed up and we are beginning a series in Colorado. Not the way you draw it up.

But this team has dominant pitching, good defense, and a greatly improved offense. Forget this weekend. The Yankees, Red Sox and Braves are trying to do the same thing…..

“Lincecum, Bumgarner, Cain……”

Have a great day……..

Ugly Loss. Swept in Arizona. Pissed Off In California……..

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 8, 2012

Now THAT one hurt. The strange thing is that I didn’t really feel this one slip away. Cain wasn’t pitching badly at all. It felt like he was pitching the way you are supposed to pitch with a 6-0 lead. Oops. The only questionable move (at the time, by me) was Bochy going to Affeldt instead of letting Cain pitch. He was at 97 pitches and pitching decently. I said earlier today that I wanted to see Cain go at least 7 to spare our bullpen, already overworked this year, with Zito looming tomorrow. Plus, the D-backs had two right handed hitters coming up after Kubel. Affeldt can’t get him and then all hell breaks loose. To be clear, I am not vociferously complaining about Bochy’s decision to pull him–just that I could have seen him leave him in and I would have been fine with that, regardless of the outcome…….

How much do you believe a tossed manager continues to manage from the locker room? Did Bochy seriously pinch hit Pill for Belt and then let fucking Crawford and Burriss bat for themselves? That move made no sense at all and I HOPE that was a *Wotus* decision.

Buster did not have a good game in the field. I watched that play at the plate three times, frame by fram in HD. To me, it looks like his foot was NEVER on the bag. And the throw wasn’t bad, it was slightly off target. Nothing that PULLED Posey off the bag. Also, Posey was completely over-matched in the 9th vs Shaw……..

Romo was the player of the game and gave us a chance to win it……

Pagan is on his last thread of rope with me…..

Right now, Belt to Fresno, Huff to first base and Blanco to CF full time (with Pagan in LF and Melky in RF OR Melky in LF and Nate in RF) is sounding pretty good right now. And yes I know it’s only been three games. This one was ugly. *Call for changes* ugly. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Bochy more visibly pissed off, as he should have been, after Crawford capped that 2 inning sequence with a butcher-job error. He even looked pretty good arguing, too, which he’s never put much energy into…….


Zito tomorrow.

In Colorado…..

Tell NASA to get their satellites out of the way NOW unless they don’t mind baseballs banging into them in orbit…….

What Have We Learned From These Two Games? Plenty.

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 8, 2012

For starters, we are blowing past last year’s 3.7 runs a game like “Arazi ran past….” ok, time to put that analogy to bed. But the added offense is impossible to miss. Take away the 2 run bombs from Melky and Pill and you are left with what we  were force fed last year: Pablo and little else. Though it’s early in the year, it certainly *feels* as though we won’t have to win too many 3.7-1.0 games in 2012. Maybe we actually win a few “4.0-1.0” games? It’s possible the team might want to score 4.5 to 5.6 runs on Monday with Zit-man going in Colorado. Probably a good time to trot out the *Zito stat*. What is it? If he gets 4+ runs of supports he’s 112-9? I never understood that stat totally. Is that *more than 4 runs* or *4 or more runs*? Either way, it’s a dumb stat and just about the last vestige of hope that any Zito Apologist can grasp on to. Has anyone noticed that stat getting worse over the last 2 years? It used to be 106-2. It will continue to get worse starting on Monday…….

Even though we are 0-2 I feel like *so far so good*. I don’t think anyone questions our starting pitching and that has been the single main problem with these first two games. The bullpen has been great and the offense has been as advertised: improved…..

Unfortunately we are facing that dukey-soft-tossing-fuck Collmenter today. But he’s not going to get to feast on last year’s punchless group. There’s a good chance we see The White Shark today and maybe Burriss….

I feel confident about this game. We should score 3.7 runs by the 6th inning, ultimately winning 5.6-4.0. Then take a few deep breaths and gear up for Monday’s shellacking. It will NOT be a good thing if Bochy has to eat into his bullpen today……..

Breaking Down Opening Day…….

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 6, 2012

Pagan was underwhelming. I know he had the double but he fucked up multiple times at the plate tonight in critical situations.

Pablo looks fat to me. Not as fat as he did at the end of 2010 but not good. I support muscle as weight but I can look at him and see that he’s not what he was last year. Having said that, his double in the 9th was brilliant. He tried an HR bomb swing on the first pitch. When that didn’t work he easily broke down Putz’ plan for him and ended it by blasting a double the other way. He didn’t used to do that. If he can somehow keep his weight under control (and I think he doesn’t have a pound to spare right now) then I think he will have a fantastic year………

Timmy sucked tonight. You can’t give up 3 runs in the first inning and expect to give your team a chance to compete. He rallied it together and had some nice strikeouts but that’s what the D-backs do, they strike out a lot. Couple the sh!t first inning with the ass up-face down in the bottom of the 6th and you have an opening day start for your ace that qualifies as *bad* and maybe worse.Unacceptable for Mr. 40+ Million Dollar/2Year Guy……..

Crawford’s error was horrible, a bad thumb isn’t an excuse for missing that…….

Posey can’t do that 2-0 with the game on the line……

And Belt looked beaten most of the night…….

Blanco. I like Blanco……..

And you can’t shake a stick at Melky and not be down with that cat. And remember, if you take away the Pagan double/Melky Bomb then all you have through 6 is the Crawford ground out to short stop to score a run. And that’s what last year was all about all year every fucking inning.

They battled today, and I enjoyed the game……….

Opening Day, 2012……

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 6, 2012

I tried to muster up the interest in a *prediction* thread but it just isn’t happening. I think everyone thinks this team looks good on paper. With the recent roster decisions as well as being only a year removed from the World Series, I would *predict* that this is the happiest and most positive  the Giants fan base has EVER BEEN going into a baseball season. And it’s not much fun to *predict* something if everyone is slapping each other on the back predicting  the same thing……..

So I’ll say they win 91 and move on to a more interesting topic: What to do with Nate.

I think this one is a slam dunk decision. You trade Nate for a #5 starter. I realize at this point in the season there aren’t a lot of teams looking to trade any of their starting pitching. But it couldn’t hurt to try and there are a few teams out there who could use a 4th outfielder and might even find Nate interesting enough to start. Baltimore and Pittsburgh are two nice targets. Both fan bases are used to losing and probably wouldn’t protest too much about an early season trade. Never too early to wave the white flag in either of those cities…..

Now remember, Number 5’s aren’t too appealing, we’ve been spoiled in SF over the last few years. But if you subscribe to the “ABZ” approach to rooting for the Giants then you have to lower your expectations on who you can stomach as our Number 5. I’ll pause for a moment while you make that adjustment……..

Keep going………


Ok, that’s probably low enough. If I had more time this morning I could get more creative than this, but here are 2 pitchers who I would try to trade Nate for.

Jason Hammel–He’s a ground ball pitcher who has spent the last few years in Colorado not throwing too many ground balls. Now in Baltimore, a change of scenery will probably do him some good. He’s making about 4 million this year, he rolls with an ERA in the high 4’s and I’ve got a restraining order against him that specifically states he’s not allowed within 500 feet of any of my fantasy league staffs. But again, if I flip the ABZ switch to “on” I can tolerate me some Hammel in the nether regions of my Giants pitching staff…….

AJ Burnett: AJ is making a lot of dough and is currently out for another couple of weeks healing his broken eye socket that he suffered on the first day of spring training when he bunted a ball into his eye. Steady Flavor, “serenity now, serenity now…” Deep break, ok….But I actually could see AJ having a decent year in 2012. Getting out of the AL East will do wonders to your pitching stats. And this guy DOES have good stuff, he just never really, as Krukow would say, *learned how to pitch*. If you’re looking for hidden silver lining, his xERA last year was like 3.83 (I left the Forecaster at work, but it was in that ballpark). That’s a lot better than his non-hidden 5.19 ERA. Anyway, Burnett is owed 16 mil a year over the next 2 seasons and while I think the Yankees are eating a lot of that I would be surprised if the Giants went this direction…….

But there are other #5’s out there who Nate could be traded for, I believe…….

There are a few changes to The Flap as we enter our final season. The BB’s of the day will be spending the spring on the bench. I might bring them back in the Summer, we’ll see. I’m leaving the BBOTD-POTD’s because I think it’s a funny list. And let me just say again, I had a blast this winter coming up with BB’s for you guys to *caption* (Tom Petty, if you’re reading this, just think “closet-ed” and you’re good to go 🙂 ). Your creativity was incredible. The core group of BB *caption* bloggers were (in no order and I might forget a few): Bozo, Snarkk, WILLIE-D,Chuck, Dennis, AllyKat, Ewisco, Kevin, ST, TED, MacDog, a little of Blade, EDD, Pawlie and (not enough of) Loo. And I appreciate your great tolerance on the *dark days* when I would post a BB who you likely greatly regretted clicking on. That was all about me LQTM, baby……..

There’s also an ex-Giants page to follow to the right. If you want me to add anyone let me know. I’ll see if Matt Downs made the Astros squad, and add him if he did. That *watch list* is from the Flap Fantasy League so it will list who owns the player (or it will say *FA* if no one in the Flap league owns him) and it will also list what percentage of fantasy players own him in all of the espn leagues.

Of course, there will also be a Flap Fantasy Baseball Standings page and you can check on that one at your leisure…….

And I will continue to list a link to purchase Pawlie’s book, *Baseball’s Starry Night”. I’m 80 pages into it, and I’m enjoying it immensely. He was on the clock to get the book out on time and there are some minor indications of this in the book. But the stories from *that night* that he re-counts from baseball fans in St Louis and Tampa Bay (at only 80 pages in I haven’t yet gotten to the fans in the other cities) are riveting and the *way* he presents it makes it very difficult to stop turning the pages. It’s obvious that he did a TON of research when writing the book. Plus, there is an underlying love of the Giants that weaves throughout, which we all appreciate. I encourage anyone who loves the game of baseball to purchase it…….

Start the freaking season already…….

Be Careful What You Wish For…….

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 5, 2012

Brandon Belt starting in SF and not Fresno? Check.

Nate to the bench? Check.

El Presidente and his VP no where to be seen in the clubhouse on Opening Day? Double check.

Hector Sanchez? Yup.

This is just all unfolding too weirdly. What do the bloggers have to complain about today? Bochy and Sabean hit just about every single wish the fans had for the team this year (minus the grand daddy of them all, an outright Zito release). Just remember, this is what all the yahoos at Pav’s Blog wanted to see happen. Hey, it’s what I wanted to see happen but never believed the Giants would do…….

And then it happened….

I’m not too sure where Nate goes from here. In hindsight, I really don’t understand why Bochy made comments back in December that basically gushed all over Nate and suggested the right field job was his going into the 2012 season. I guess there is an ongoing unsaid expectation that if you don’t produce you lose your job. And it’s that way for pretty much everyone, as even Bochy’s beloved Whiteside found out yesterday….Of course, it has now been established that I know nothing about Bruce Bochy so I’ll let others more *in the know* than I explain it to me…….

According to the team, Nate struggled with a bunch of minor injuries all Spring. That’s been the story of his career, hasn’t it? Jenkins said in his article today that some inside the organization have privately questioned his desire and commitment to the game. That claim caught me a little off guard. If that’s the case then why roll with Nate for all these years, basically handing him the job last December and saying (paraphrasing here, I don’t have time to look up the quote) that Nate has worked so hard and he’s earned the chance to start at this level?

Anyway, we got what we all wanted. Nate is taking his rightful spot on the bench (he’s a definite trade candidate if Blanco keeps it rolling) and Hector’s bat will be mercifully replacing the two-headed silliness of Whiteside and Stewart….

Now, let’s play some ball……….

Which Ex-Giant is Going to Have the Best Year?

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 4, 2012

In the widget list to the right, you should see a tab that says “Ex Giant Watch List”. Click on the actual stat pic to enlarge it.  It will update daily so you can track how our former players are doing. I need to figger out how to get Rowand to email me updates on how many hours a day he’s spending in his batting cage at home and include that in the list 🙂 If you would like me to add a name to the list, throw it out there and it will get done. THe list is from espn and the “% own” indicates what % that player is owned in espn fantasy leagues. *Type* indicates who owns him in our fantasy league. If it says *FA* then he is a free agent in The Flap league…….

Vungo: He *appears* to be good to go for Opening Day. He’s been battling a calf injury but played in a game yesterday going 1-1 with 2 runs scored. All signs point to him leading off in center field for the Mets this year.

Cody Ross: He’s had a fantastic spring with 6 big flies, a .370 batting average and a 1.257 OPS

Dirrrrrrrty: Man, I’m gonna miss writing his name. He’s had a bad spring. Two terrible starts, 2 ok starts. His ERA is 8.74. He’s given up an alarming number of hits (17 in 11.1 innings) and for a guy who misses so many bats I think that is the most surprising part of his spring. Anyway, he doesn’t seem too worried about it. Here’s an interesting article on how he got started playing ball:


I’m not going to include Beltran (in the poll)  because he wasn’t here long enough for me to care about him. Rowand’s back at home. Ishikawa is on the bubble for a back up job in Milwaukee………

I think that’s about it in terms of ex-Giants. So we’ll just go with those 3……..

Matt Cain is Locked Up. Good or Bad Idea?

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 3, 2012

My mind has been re-conditioned to see “5 years/112 million” and not even blink twice. As haunting as the Zito deal is, the Cain deal almost seems like a bargain in today’s world of insane contracts. Of course, I wish it was a 3 year deal but there was no chance of that ever happening. We’ve already discussed the benefits of extending Cain—I feel like our pitching staff is in very good condition going forward. I will be disappointed if we somehow lock up Timmy because that means that we’d be paying 3 pitchers 20+ million a year by 2015 or so (Bum could easily get there in arbitration) and that is not the right payroll model to work from.

But the money is there to pretty much do whatever they want. Everyone talks about the cable money that is flowing through baseball but the internet business is *right there* in terms of being a cash cow for the owners. All the mlb sites are managed by a company called MLB Advanced Media and it’s another multi-billion dollar business that is subject to the same revenue sharing rules as everything else in baseball.

Selig gets a fair amount of crap from the fans, much of it deserved, but the owners must be using pictures of him as beat-material. The revenue generated under Selig’s watch is staggering……..

By the way, imagine my surprise when I received my copy of Baseball’s Starry Night in the mail and found a Flap reference on the back of the book! –Probably the only time Jayson Stark and I will cross paths, at least on a back cover. I have only gotten through the first 20 pages but on Page 17 there is ANOTHER Flap reference along with a quick blurb about Blade’s role in Pawlie’s experience on the night of September 28th, 2011. Though Pawlie is too modest to post the link here, I will continue to do so regularly. You can also get a kindle version at Amazon, too.


My Opening Day Line Up

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 2, 2012

As we know, the opening day line ups in 2010 and 2011 didn’t resemble the end of the season line ups in 2010 and 2011. It’s just one game, and as Baggs said on his blog: “If you predicted on opening day 2010 that the Giants would win the world series you get to take no credit. That team didn’t win it, another one did. ”

I know this line up has a small percentage chance of happening but this is the line up I would start this Friday against the D-backs:

Batting 1st: Blanco (Center Field): I know, insane and contradictory to the low expectations I’ve held for him all spring. But I’m coming around slowly, and I recognize that is driven by *hope* more than anything else. But, he’s been quoted as saying that his game didn’t start clicking until he started to do what everyone was telling him to do and that is be more aggressive. And it wasn’t just this Spring that he started doing it, he was the MVP of the Venezuelan League this Winter. And I’m tossing last year’s .202 minor league batting average out the window because, well, I have to if I’m starting this cat on Opening Day in the big leagues. Who knows what that was all about. Maybe a hidden injury, maybe a personal issue, maybe it was just an outlier year. Whatever. I’m going to trust my eyes on this one. He starts for me and leads off this Friday…….

Batting 2nd: Melky (right field): He’s a switch hitter who can go to all fields. He’s a fine #2 hitter (and a significant upgrade from Glass who spends way too much time trying to send the ball to right field in all his at bats)…..

Batting 3rd: Buster Posey (catcher): I just think your best hitter should bat 4th…..

Batting 4th: and that’s Pablo (3rd base)

Batting 5th: Brandon Belt (1st base). It’ll probably be Huff starting at 1st base on Friday but this is my line up and there are no salary considerations in The Nation That Flavor Built…….

Batting 6th: Pagan (left field). I don’t think 6th is his ideal spot but of my 3 remaining players he’s the best option for 6th. Plus if Belt is on base in front of him he will stand a lesser chance of the bases getting clogged up when he blasts one into triples ally. Belt has more speed than people realize. I’m also still considering batting Pagan 2nd and Melky 6th because I just think Melky would be a much better 6 hitter than Pagan. Of course, I think he’s a much better 2 hitter than Pagan, too. Tough call……

Batting 7th: Theriot (2nd base). I just can’t put Burriss AND Blanco in the same line up. Plus, I trust Theriot’s at bats more than I do Burriss’.

Batting 8th: Crawford (SS) because he’s got to bat somewhere. Word is he has finally stopped trying to pull everything and it’s shown up in his spring training stats this year. If that’s true I’ll be excited since that’s exactly what I’ve said he needs to start doing. We’ll see if he can do it when the games start to count……

Batting 9th: Timmy

That LU goes L-S-R-S-L-S-R-L and I think that’s absolute *perfection*………

Feel free to post *your* opening day LU………

Scoring Runs: Speed? Power? You Have to Have At Least One

Posted in Uncategorized by Flavor on April 1, 2012

As I said several times at the beginning of last season and throughout it, we were in big trouble as an offense without any speed and without any power. We scored 570 runs as a team. St Louis scored 192 more than we did (762).  Why the gap? Well, we were slow (14th in NL in stolen bases) and weak (11th in NL in HR’s), a pretty bad combo no matter what game you’re playing. Yes, we had injuries last year but every team deals with them and you can’t use them as an excuse. Bottom line: our team had no identity last year. This year, that’s all changed. And our *name* is *Speed*……..

It’s exciting to think of how fast this team *could* be this year. Part of that is a huge leap of faith because I’m considering The White Shark and Burriss in the mix. But if lightning strikes and those two can somehow take their spring performances and transfer them to the major leagues then we have a team that is going to have opposing pitchers and catchers nervous, twitchy and distracted—and the added benefit of that is that when you get the battery distracted you get them to make mistakes and major league hitters pound mistakes. So it’s not just stolen bases to look forward to but better pitches to hit as well…….

We stole 85 bases last year. If Pagan, Cabrera, The White Shark and Burriss all played a full season they collectively could steal 130+ bases. If that happens, we will *run* past 700 runs scored on the year the same way this horse blasted past Bertrando in the ’91 Juvenile:

“and Arazi runs right by him!!!!” is still one of the great Breeders Cup calls of all time…….

But I digress…….

Look, I know it’s spring training and we could look back on this thread in August and laugh out loud at it. Burriss and Blanco could be selling used cars by then. For that matter, Pagan could be, too.

But, at least to start the season, we look to have the fastest team we’ve had in years. Maybe ever (in San Francisco). San Diego stole 170 bases last year and even with *The Dream* of those four fast cats running wild all year I doubt we could eclipse that number. But we’d come close……