8/22/12

I was going to title this post as “Couldn’t Dodge a Giant Sweep”. But then again this series does not deserve such a dramatic title.

What was important is how well the Giants are playing. For two reasons: 1. Giants needed to punch back after getting swept at home; 2. Giants need to be ready to play a tough series against the Braves.

So what I want to say about the series:
Giants won the series while never being tied for even a half inning. Which comes as a hug surprise to me as historically, in the Bochy era, Giants have been from poor to terrible in the first inning. And yet, we scored, every game. Refreshing.

New life by Giants hitters showed up. But not in the replacement outfielders, but in the form of a certain NBA prodigy look-a-like. The wrap floated the idea that Arias should try play the outfield while the other hard(ish) hitting infielders.

Defense did not bad either. *see highlights by the left side.

I’ve went this long without talking about the pitcher’s? So it’s one of those series…. All the starters should be applauded for their effort. 21+ innings just 2 ER’s. Bumgarner had battle a guy that would only allow two runs and no more. Lincecum had to negotiate a tight zone. Cain was up against a desperate Dodger team, not as easy thing it seems. Relievers could have been better, but I’m not complaining, they could use some tuning up as we get ready for four straight with the Braves.

8/20/2012 In-Game Notes

Just bullet points:

  • Vogelsong unable to put Cabrera away in the 1st till the nth pitch: He was only throwing fastballs and the guy couldn’t hit him. Cabrera definitely a steal threat, needs more work in the cages. Big league hitters can hit the fastball.
  • First run gift by Padres to Giants: Giants league the league in sacrifice flies; not sure how I feel about that. On one hand we’re executing well. And on the other hand we’re not hitting with runners in scoring position (sorta, right?).
  • Brian O’Nora’s strike zone isn’t going to help Vogelsong, it’s rather high. Which is the scouting report. As I write Vogelsong escapes the 2nd inning jam.
  • Scutero fakes bunts in the 2nd: A subway fan question of the game a while back asked about fake bunting.  Nice that an outsider (fans) brought it up… As a little league player you only came around the fake a bunt to distract the pitcher from making a good pitch.  The broadcast revealed that the “move” was primarily to check how the corner infielders are playing. If they come in, the hitter has a better chance of hitting a ball past them.  Putting the bat in front of the catcher’s view would also help the base runners.
  • Kole Kuiper is shown on the broadcast for a couple of frames. And Duane’s first comment is: “hey it’s one of the new owners.” How cold could a joke get….
  • Baseball needs to clean up this retaliation of HBP (Hit by pitch) even better. Vogelsong hits Quentin in the previous inning while behind and with runners on: totally unintentional.  Then the Padres retaliate by hitting Belt with two outs. Brian O’Nora then steps up and warns both benches.  This happens a lot and I’m sick of it.  Either let it go, or toss the retaliation pitcher. Cause what this is really doing is hurting the other team’s pitchers.
  • Cabrera does not tag on a fly ball to center to take third base: Padres have been very passive on the base paths today. If they play their normal, aggressive ways, this shouldn’t even be a game.  But then he steals the bag…..thanks Everth. You’re not the first Cabrera to disappoint me.

Hacked Off At The Hacking Melkman

My friend and I agree that in sports: the best franchises are the ones that make the least headlines. Or something to that extent.

The news that broke on the afternoon of August the 15th (16th? Jeez, I don’t know I’m in a different time zone on top of this insanity) is overwhelmingly heartbreaking.

We joke about how he comically thanked the fans by repeatedly saying “tank the fang, tank the fang…” But we certainly will not joke about cheaters in this game. We boo and rip guys who under perform at our sanctuary, but they still honor the game we all love so much and that deserves our respect. Indeed, I get jealous of teams with talented players who lead the league in whatever there is to lead, and I want that guy to play with our colors on.

At the same time, I must acknowledge the defendant. When your going good, you want to keep the currents going in the same direction. First and foremost Melky has a responsibility to his family; he also has the obligation to the organization to perform well and win. It would make me happy to see dozens of audience members to show their appreciation for me through visual aids, and I would not want to let them down.

But the reality is that I will let people down. I am human and I can not avoid letting people down, while I hope I have the good sense to choose to do the right thing. The reality is that I put so much emotion and make such a commitment to the game, and so do you Cabrera. So why?

The Dodgers, according to Kuip’s read on their broadcast, feel like they will run away with the West. That, and the fact that our very own cheated on us…well, they’re in for a rugged run. Cause the rest of us will not live with being a “Giant Disgrace”

4/22/12 Intro: SCU Broncos

The Giants started the 2012 season 0-3. My head told me: this is too small of a sample size. My heart told me: oh, we’re screwed. Turns our my head was right. The Giants that were not pitching well, but lighting up the scoreboard where indeed a bit of an illusion. What is conspiring as we wait on the doubleheader in the Big Apple is that the Giants are resembling last year’s squad. I have yet to investigate the numbers, but my impression is that the Giants average a fair number of runs (4-ish?) in most games, but are still hard pressed to hit consistently in the clutch.

I am always too optimistic about our lineup and production in the preseason. But what I look at is the projected Batting Average. The money hits don’t come easily, that’s why RBI totals are a good indicator of a hitter’s clutch-ness.

Anyhow, the season just began. First goal: break .500. Since our three game sweep, we have won every series which totals to a 7-4 record. Not too shaby.

Because San Francisco is too far away
When the Giants are away
I watch my school baseball team play

Not my best poetry, but I wanted to start with something different for the next section.

During the summer of 2011 I introduced the Brother Elephants. This spring, I will usher in, to my blog, the Santa Clara Broncos. (Baseball of course)

Located half a mile away from the historical Santa Clara Mission Church, sits the 9 million dollar Stephen Schott Stadium. Built in 2005, it is a fully equipped, beautiful stadium.

As for the team…
Apparently, last season the coach was a jerk and the program was a bust. So the Athletic department goes out and hires first year coach Dan O’Brian and replaces the entire coaching staff. The team started hot, winning the season’s first five games, including all four games at a invitational tournament in Texas. Since their hot streak ended at 13-3, they have gone 6-14. The team’s biggest issue is middle and late inning relief.

As I am writing this blog the Broncos gave up seven runs in one half inning. Good grief.
At least they are better than our 0-17 (conference play) basketball team.

2011 Over With

Happy New Year!

 

Fall and winter was way too long for my taste.  I am not referring to my move to California, or the start of college.  I’m talking about seasons with no baseball.

 

Ok truth be told, I should have wrote more during the summer and find time during fall semester (I only took 14 units in the fall).  But I will, hopefully, make it up this season.

 

I must admit that lat year, the moment we lost Freddy Sanchez, I didn’t think we have enough left to win the west.  More specifically, when we lost to the Reds in extra innings.

 

I was being more realistic than being a fan.  And in the case of a bay area sports fan, probably pessimistic?

 

It turned out to be realistic expectations don’t you think? Least runs scored in league, least runs scored in past decade(s).  Diamondbacks surging?

 

On the other hand, there were good things out of last season. We did battle for a long time. (just two series left) Ending with a solid record. (86-76) Young players were able to showcase their talent. (Belt, Crawford, Pill) And it was a lot of fun being the most exciting finishers in the league.

 

But on to 2012. (The year my sister graduates!) Let’s get back together!

Rock, Hard Place, Giants August

completely opposit to the last post, this one is enraged and frustrated.  The series lost in Atlanta, as Andrew Baggerly said, was closer than the 3-1 victory for the Braves might suggest.  Every game other than the Giants win was a one run loss, and the  win was after dodging a Braves rally that fell short by two runs.  What motivated this post was the series opener in Houston.

Wandy Rodrigeuz, an average major league pitcher, did pitch a great game, deserving of the W.  But on the other hand, the Giants did the very opposite, Eric Byrnes chews the position players tonight on the Sports Phone segment (rightfully so) raving about the lack of energy and lack of passion.  I do need to point out that the previous night he did set them up by telling the Giants to relax and just go and play, so not like he’s always putting out a clear message. Byrnes did warn against taking the Astros for granted.

A major topic with the Sports Phone tonight, and for the past two weeks, is to interchange the team with the minor league players in the system.  The Brandon Crawfords, the Bret Pills, Hector Sanchez (who is currently on the team because of Whitesides concussion symptoms).  On a smaller scale, there is a loud outcry for the Bochy to do something about his right now dead and useless veterans. Such examples are playing Belt over Huff at least some more, and take Rowand out of the leadoff spot.  Rowand has had a much better year as a PH.  Bochy pointed out that he needed an experienced right-handed hitter to lead off against Rodriguez, to justify Rowands measly .278 OBP.

Vogelsong no doubt is frustrated with himself allowing the two big innings, but yet another strong pitching performance considering only two runs were earned. And in the sixth, we should expect either DeRosa or Huff to make ONE of the two groudball catches to end the inning.

Just an observation: Guillermo Mota is a much better pitcher when he is tasked with multiple innings.  He has given up 11 ER in July and August which is 15 outings. 8 outing was just 1 inning and in four of those eight, he gave up a run.  As opposed to 6 outings that were multiple innings where he only gave up runs in one of the outings.  Not saying its a given, but I’m just pointing out.

Giants desperately need the energy of AT&T, but before we can even think of that, let’s take the series here in Houston.

Back after a bad one…Atlanta game 1

Giants lose to the Braves today in the bottom of the 9th.  Luckily for me I was off to drives-ed when the rally commenced.  So I only watched the first eight innings, which, in my opinion, was hilarious.  It was typical Giants Baseball Game (of late), where Bumgerner gave up a few quick runs, but the hapless offense crawls to a tie, and a few boopers provides what seems like a miracle. *see NLCS 2010 game 6.  Of course Brian Wilson pitches and gets the 3rd out.  BUT remember that I wasn’t around to see it.

So how do I take this loss? I’m sure it hurts the guys, but I found it incredibly entertaining.

1. Giants baseball feels predictable: in the later innings Bumgarner escaped several jams with runners all over, or Brian McCann would hit a loud foulball.

2. The first few runs were given to us. No hits with RISP resulted in runs.

3. Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper’s commentary has been outrageously funny after they signed the six year extension.

So all the focus is on Brian Wilson for this loss: deservingly.  After 11 consecutive saves he blows a big one. Remember last year in game 4 when the Giants rallied with two outs, and Brian Wilson thought to himself “better not blow this.”-Just keep that in mind.

4. If ANYONE or ANY PART of the Giants game is wrong, they lose. (Hitters can’t produce, runs allowed by the pitchers) That’s why we love last October’s run.  So fair enough, Brian Wilson takes this one. But don’t you think he feels that way too?

Anyways. Brian Wilson.  Still in character.  Maybe he has to tone it down, yes; but his teammate: Aubrey Huff wanted to get serious about this season and is struggling.  The Beard stays until we don’t have a good run this October.

And finally: 5. August is not good for the Giants.  So I will laugh until September comes.

The grace of baseball is it is a everyday game. So we can go at it tomorrow.  If your still mad when the first pitch is thrown tomorrow, find a new sport.  I was laughing my butt off today, it was a entertaining game to me, and that’s all the matter as a viewer.

Brother Elephants have been struggling, too.  They hit the road tomorrow (Taiwan time) to try to find some momentum.

BE Intern Day 3…Giants Break 5 Game Skid

Day 3 had nothing baseball related as the team was traveling south to play a season game.  So all i did was cut news paper clippings starting of the team.  This post, therefore, will be a quick lesson in the “Third generation” Brother Elephants team.

The first paper was January first of 2010, which was a depressing time for the team because it was discovered that some players were throwing games in order to make more money from gambling groups.  About a dozen players were under question, and like the big leagues, each team can field 25 man teams.  What made the case even worse was the fact that the team reached the Taiwan Series in 2009, the championship series of the league.  The 2009 team was a combination of 2nd generation and 3rd generation players.  Being that the league often has repeated champions, so the Brother Elephants had two generations that each won a three-peat of the CPBL champions.  This third generation was born in 2008 when the Brother Elephants made the Taiwan Series for the first time in 5 years.  The only bright side of the case was that most of the wrong-doers were of the second generation.  And after the tragic investigation, the team won the 2010 Taiwan Series.  So in “Giant” like fashion, they fought through and were victorious the same year the Orange and Black stormed the baseball world.

So back in San Francisco… Giants break a frustrating losing streak with a 8-1 convincing victory over the Diamondbacks.  The offense clicked with two four run rallies, an event that has been lacking for the Giants this season.  And of course Vogelsong was the man who provided the stop job.  I didn’t watch the game this morning, but it was a good one, because now we got some swag’ going against the Phillies, which is important. (according to Kuip)

It’s great to have a baseball game to watch both in the morning and at night….just sayin’

Summer Intern 2011

This post, not about the Giants, but still baseball related.

Using this blog as a journal, I will write about my intermship with the Brother Elephants.

Brother Elephants, a pro baseball team in Taiwan, are one of two teams that have remained in the Taiwan pro league.  The team is sponsored by the Brother Hotel in Taipei.  They have enjoyed being the most popular sports team in Taiwan.  Out of 21 League championships, they have won seven.  I’ve been a fan of the yellow sea since they visited my school years ago.

But this summer, at least for the next five weeks, I will be in their effort to win their eighth.  I am the first unpaid “intern” in the organization.  My skills will enable me to translate and coach little league, and of course: manual labor.  Maybe I might even be part of the marketing and sales component of the team.  There is no clear plan for my time here so I’ll just go with the flow.

So, into the grind:

8/2: Technically my second day of work, but there was nothing to the first day other than meeting the team owner.  This was a day off for the team, but they had practice at their facility in Longtan, an hour drive away from downtown Taipei.  After a twenty-minute talk from the coaches in the dugout, the players split the pitchers and hitters onto the two fields at the complex.  Good for me, all three foreign players were pitchers and spoke english.  I was thrown a first baseman’s glove and hustled over.  The 10 pitchers played come catch and then did their running for cardio exercising.  Two guys took turns taking a bullpen. (I think) While some position players had batting practice (BP).  But on the main field, the real hitting clinic was going on.  Three station for three groups of players took a turn each at each station.  I eventually moved onto the main field to help “shag” balls and collect them.  There was a lot of small talk around the field that was both meaningless, and kinda explicit that I won’t go into specifics…  A Taiwanese boxed lunch was waiting for me as I boarded the bus to head back home.  What was cool with today’s work was that the seat i sat on the bus, was the spot for the team’s star hitter and oldest tenured player.  He is injured and recovering and did not participate in practice.

Trade Deadline (non-waiver of course)

I’m not the biggest follower of sports trade and the deadline.  But the one observation that I would like to put out is that the league this summer is starting to hoard the better players to the better teams, and the postseason picture is more unclear than ever. –That’s funny because last year the Giants were potentially out of the picture last summer.

Anyhow, thanks to the article by Jeff Passan of Yahoo, I can get the picture without going to every team’s site. Some noticeable team changes:

- Texas Rangers adding Mike Adams and Koji Uehara to solidify their bullpen.  I remember when the Giants played the Padres, there were a few bullpen dogfights and facing Mike Adams and Heath Bell was not the ideal combination.  Now the Rangers have a very scary 25. (Bell is still with the Padres)

- Phillies add Hunter Pence to their lineup.  Already a scary team gains an even scarier piece.  It did cost them a lot, due in large part to poor drafts and a weak farm, but the downed (haha) Phillies lineup might get a huge boost from Pence.

- Atlanta Braves trade for Michael Bourn and catcher Wil Nieves.  A speed guy goes to the powerful east team, are we finally done here??

- Dodgers obviously had a bad trade session this year.  Nothing is going to go right for them, unfortunately.

- D’Backs got pitching help.

- Pirates got hitting help.

- Brewers early on traded for Francisco Rodriguez, and later Felipe Lopez and Jerry Hairston Jr.  Incremental moves to help them out in the crowded NL Central.

- Padres got prospects, hu-raw.

- Oh so did the Rockies, oh my. (For real, a bit scared)

Just something I wanted to share with the world.  Brian Sabean and good deals are fitting well so far.

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