Monday, September 29, 2008

If You Were Matt Cain...

If you were Matt Cain, would you ever consider going to a ballclub where runs aren't so hard to come by?

In 4 years of major league ball, Cain has W-30 L-43, ERA: 3.74, BB-276, K-558, IP-665.

His record, much like that of Barry Zito, would be much better if the team for whom he pitches scored more than the 1.5 runs they average when it's his turn to pitch. (Zito has a decidedly better record when his team scores 3 runs, like the A's were very capable of doing, as opposed to the Giants, who just can't seem to score when it's Zito's turn either.)

If you were Matt Cain's agent, you would want what is best for your client. So you'd ask him if he likes the San Francisco Giant organization enough to tolerate this lack of support when it comes time to re-sign.

I'm not so sure I would. Although, we all tend to think the grass is greener on the other side of the fence, it's not always better. Especially when you are on the outside looking in, so to speak. But I'd want a chance to see how far I could go in my major league career. Nobody knows if they have Hall of Fame capabilities until things begin to fall in place and you string together several seasons of quality production. And baseball is all about longevity, so unless you shined for a couple of years and set records nobody can approach you probably won't get any sculptor making any appointments to mold a likeness of you for lifetime enshrinement into Cooperstown, NY.

For the sake of the Giants keeping their rotation together, I really hope those whose job it is to evaluate players and sign the players who are the best fit for this team, which is very much on the rise, do so this off-season.

Those days of "Bye-Bye-Baby" with Mays, McCovey, Cepeda, Hart... need to be revisited. I don't know about them acquiring potential Hall of Famers, but they had better get some hitters who are a threat to hit a home run any time they step into the batter's box. This past season, that threat did not exist.

(thanks to Baseball-Reference for the stats on Matt Cain)

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Just Stay Healthy

Stay healthy. That's what my prayers will be asking for, that these guys and every player stay healthy.

In alphabetical order, I will list the names of those prospects, the players with the most potential, for making an impact next year on their respective teams. Not everyone in this article is listed, only the ones who look like can't miss were selected.

Remembering a quote from former Atlanta Falcons center, Jeff Van Note, about the word potential, Van Note claimed that was French for 'not having made it yet.'

Cleveland Indians: Carlos Santana. Of course, the guitarist has made it into elite status but this 22-year old catcher, acquired in the trade that sent Casey Blake to the Los Angeles Dodgers, hit 21-HR with 117-RBI in 130 games, all but two of them in high-A ball.

Kansas City Royals: Kila Ka'aihue. 24-year old first-baseman, hit 37-HR, 100-RBI, while batting .314 at Class AA Nortwest Arkansas (Springdale, AR) and Class AAA Omaha. He had 104 bases on balls with 67 whiffs. Nowadays when you see a player with that kind of differential between walks and strikeouts it should make you take a long look at the player. Because, oh by golly, it is rare!

New York Yankees: Catcher, Jesus Montero. 18-years old, led the Yankees farmhands with 87 RBI and had an .867 OPS for low-A-Charleston (SC.). He also had 17-HR and 34-doubles.

Oakland A's: Right-handed pitcher Trevor Cahill. 20-years old. Had 19 starts at high-A Stockton, CA and Class AA Midland, TX, compiling an 11-5 won/loss record. He appeared in the All-Star Futures Game and joined Team USA in the Beijing Olympics.

Colorado Rockies: RHP Jhoulys Chacin, 20, led all minor leaguers with 18 wins and had an ERA of 2.03 at low-A Asheville, NC and high-A Modesto, CA. He also struck out 160 in 177 1/3 innings.

San Francisco Giants: lhp, Madison Bumgarner. 19-years old, went 15-3 with a 1.46 ERA, 164 K's and 21 walks in 141 2/3 innings at low A-Augusta, GA. The Giants 1st round pick (10th overall) in the 2007 draft was one of the youngest players in the South Atlantic League.

After hearing the Giants bring up players, from within their farm system, throughout the season and then seeing their contributions it's not far-fetched to say their future looks promising.

The key is to stay healthy. Barring no season-or career-ending injuries these aforementioned ballplayers should bring joy to those who root for the teams in which they play.

(thanks to the September 10-16, 2008 issue of Sports Weekly)

Kevin Marquez

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Giants Hurt Dodgers Big Time!

The San Francisco Giants gave the Dodgers a taste of 'what for?' when they first lost to Arizona in 4 straight games and then they traveled to Chavez Ravine to take 2 out of 3 games.

Because, since 1958 (when the Trolley Dodgers and Giants decided to move west from New York) they have always been there to haunt and torment each other in what has been the best rivalry in baseball. It may not always count in the standings, as it does this year, but when these two teams get together you must expect the unexpected with a consistency you wish most home plate umpires possessed.

Because of what the Giants did, with a little more than a week to play, the Dodgers go into the upcoming week ahead of Arizona only leading by 2.

Yesterday (9/21) was no different. On the mound were Derek Lowe of the Dodgers and the Giants' Matt Cain (Cain is 25-6 with at least 3 runs scored, 13-1 at AT&T). Cain had never beaten the Dodgers and didn't get credit for the win yesterday either, but he sure kept the Giants in the game.

In the bottom half of the 1st inning, the first 3 Dodger batters reached base only to have Cain reach back for a little something extra and dispose of the next 3 Dodgers without anyone touching home plate. Thanks in large part to a leaping grab of a line drive by Ivan Ochoa.

Later in the game Nate Schierholtz made a diving grab to snare another Dodger hit and prevent a bases-clearing extra base-hit from happening.

Later still, Aaron Rowand threw his best throw of the season to Benjie Molina at home who swipe-tagged the Dodger runner (Angel Berroa) who was called out by the home plate umpire. Further review showed he made the proper call.

Finally, in the 11th inning, after Rowand singled then was forced out on a liner by pinch-hitter, Pablo Sandoval who hustled to beat the throw trying to prevent a double-play. Brad Hennessey came in to pinch-run and stole second base when the pitcher, Saito, didn't bother to pay any attention to Brad. Brad didn't like that he wasn't noticed and went to second base without a throw.

Eugenio Velez then beat out an infield hit. Replay again showed that the first base ump, Balkin' Bob Davidson, was correct in his ruling. With Hennessey on third base and Velez on first, the clutch hitting veteran, Rich Aurilia, stroked a liner to left and Hennessey scored the first and only run of the game.

Brian "Don't Worry Baby" Wilson came in to close the door on the Dodgers and get his 40th save.
Kudos to the fine pitching performances of Matt Cain, Alex Hinshaw, Sergio Romo (Romo faced 9 Dodgers and got all 9 out) and of course, Wilson.

With 6 games remaining the Giants play their final 3 at AT&T against the Dodgers. We'll have to wait and see if those games have any bearing on which team wins the Pacific division, Los Angeles or Arizona. I think is quite possible that the Dodgers could miss Tim Lincecum in the rotation again, as he pitched the final game of the Diamondback series before this past series.

(I can't help but think of the blip shown during Comcast telecasts of Giants games where the highlight is of Joe Morgan hitting a home run to knock the Dodgers out of the playoffs. Then Darrell Evans says how he knows most of the guys over there so he doesn't want to rub it in or anything but 'Now they know how we feel,' and then the camera zooms in on his Howdy Doody-looking mug as he kiddingly says something to the effect, 'so it was a good thing that happened.')

You know the Giants' vets and rooks were feeling it yesterday and will look forward to the final 3 at AT&T just to relive that good vibration. If Brian Wilson gets the save of the game that knocks the Dodgers out of the playoffs, his nickname will change once again to Brian "Good Vibrations" Wilson.

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hall of Fame Hopefuls... (Class of 1964, Sort of)

As printed by the Associated Press...Joe Torre, Ron Santo and Gil Hodges are among 10 players on the latest Hall of Fame ballot for Veterans Committee voters.

Richie Allen, Jim Kaat and Luis Tiant also are on the list... Tony Oliva, Al Oliver, Vada Pinson and Maury Wills also were among the candidates announced.

Richie Allen and Tony Oliva won the Rookie of the Year award for 1964.

Luis Tiant made his major league debut on July 19, 1964 with the Cleveland Indians vs. the New York Yankees. Innings pitched-9, hits allowed-4, runs-0, strikeouts-11 and 4-bases on balls.

His 1964 season: W-10 L-4 in 19 games. 16-games started, 9 complete games, 3-Shutouts.
127-innings, 105-K's, 2.83-ERA

Al Oliver was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an amateur in 1964.

Ron Santo debuted on 6/26/1960. His bests were: AB-608 (1965), R-107 (1967), H-187 (1963), 2B-33 (1964), 3B-13 (1964), HR-33 (1965), RBI-123 (1969), AVG.-.313 (1964). The year he achieved career highs the most was 1964.

Maurice Morning Wills born October 2, 1932 in Washington, DC was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1951. In 1956 he was drafted by the Cincinnati Redlegs in the minor league draft. Before the 1958 season he was sent from the Redlegs back to the Dodgers. It is listed as an unknown transaction.

He made his debut in the major leagues on June 6, 1959 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 1962, the year he was the National League MVP, he played in 165-Games, had 208-hits, scored 130 runs, hit 6-HR, with 48-RBI. Stole 104 bases being caught 13 times and batted .299.

James Lee Kaat (Kitty) attended Hope College of Holland, Michigan. The team was known as the Flying Dutchmen. Kaat was signed by the Washington Senators as an amateur free agent in 1957 and made his debut on 8/2/1959 vs. the White Sox.

He would go on to win 20-games 3 times (1966, 1974 and 1975). Best season: (1966) W-25 L-13 ERA: 2.75 Career wins: 283 L: 237 ERA: 3.45. He played back in the day before and then during the designated hitter, so he hit a few homers. 16, to be exact.

Vada Edward Pinson, Jr. was signed by the Cincinnati Redlegs in the 1956 amateur free agent draft. He made his debut on 4/15/1958 vs. the Philadelphia Phillies. His career totals: R-1366, H-2757, HR-256, SB-305, AVG.-.286.

In the 1961 World Series between the Redlegs and the NY Yankees he batted 22 times and got only 2 hits. Any sports fan is well aware of the New York press and how they have all the say, all of the time, but this horrific performance was 2 years after Vada Pinson's rookie year.

Please review the numbers of Willie McCovey and Vada Pinson. Because it was Willie McCovey, NOT Vada Pinson, who won the Rookie of the Year for 1959.

You be the judge as to who had the better season. And know this, neither was on the World Series winning team that year.

  1. Mc Covey AB-192 R-32 H-68 HR-13 RBI-38 AVG.-.354
  2. Pinson AB-649, R-131, H-205, HR-20, RBI-84, AVG.-.316

Later, in the world of major league baseball, Rafael Palmiero would win a Gold Glove for first-basemen in the American League and play in less than 75 games.

In the words of Desi Arnaz (a.k.a. Ricky Ricardo) "Somebody has some 'splaining to do."

Let's hope those best qualified enter the Hallowed grounds of Cooperstown, NY. Those being Ron Santo, Vada Pinson, Jim Kaat and Luis Tiant. And if Joe Torre gets the nod because of his managerial record, vote Gil Hodges in for his miracle Met season. Heck, a player referred to as Broadway Joe, pretty much got in for one stellar game under the brightest of lights and Gil's Mets had to win 4 games.

(Thanks to Baseball-Reference)

Kevin Marquez

One is the Loneliest Number But It Aint Zero

Duane Kuiper gets all kinds of ribbing from his former teammate and now broadcast buddy, Mike Krukow, about his lone homer off of former Giants pitcher and Cy Young winner, Steve Stone.

But how about the son of former slugger Dick Stuart, also known as (a.k.a.) Doctor Strangeglove, who belted 35 homers in 1961 with the Pirates at spacious Forbes Field. Then with the Red Sox in 1963 he hit 42, following that with 33 in 1964, again with the Bosox.

In 1981: Rick Stuart of the Johnson City Cardinals hit the only home run of his professional career, over the left-field fence. As his teammates gathered around the dish, to congratulate him, he failed to touch home plate and was called out on appeal. Holy Tummy Ache, Batman!!

(thanks to Retro Sheet)

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

But Every Junkie's Like a Setting Sun...

Dan Haren. Born September 17, 1980. Was involved in the trade that sent Mark Mulder to the Cardinals. (He, Daric Barton and Kiko Calero were sent to the Oakland A's.) Then the A's let him get away and he signed with Arizona.

On September 16,2008, a day before his 28th birthday, he pitched a complete game shutout against the orange and black uniformed 0n-lookers. You always had the feeling there was plenty of game left as nearly each and every San Francisco Giants stepped into the batter's box with the idea of taking one, even if it was right down the middle.

It didn't bother the Giants that the D'backs took the exact opposite approach, following Adam Dunn's lead from the night before. He saw Brad Hennessey's first pitch and smacked it into the seats for a game winning home run.

Dan Haren, looking a lot like Neil Young, with his scruffy appearance and jersey not buttoned properly (nor were a couple of other D'backs, as if they planned it that way) and facing a team that just let him do what he wanted with the most fitting Neil Young lyrics reverberating throughout the B.O.B (Bank One Ballpark)... as sung by none other than the home plate umpire Nelson? He was lighting a match after every inning, as if he was demanding an encore. If Danny Haren and the D'Backs did their part, the ump most assuredly would do his!

I caught you knockin' at my cellar door,
I love you baby, can I have some more...

Then, what seemed like all of a sudden, the Giants were running out of outs.

I've seen the needle and the damage done
A little part of it in everyone
But every junkie's like a setting sun

and the final out was made. D'backs: 2 Giants:0.

On a personal note: I'm in the final round of my fantasy league. It's me against a team called the Pinstripes. And his logo is a picture of the shrine of Hall of Famers, out beyond the centerfield wall at Yankee Stadium.

I've played this guy 3 times this year, during the regular season and he's won all 3, although the last time, a few weeks ago, I lost by 2 points!

I went into last night's contest tied at 27.

Then the Giants layed an egg against Dan Haren, one of his long list of stellar pitchers. (He has Tim Lincecum, by golly!)

So I'm down 99-59 and need my pitchers to strap it on and at least get the Win. I don't expect them to pitch a complete game shutout, as Haren did, but I expect respectability and a win.

What is happening reminds me of a song by Neil Young. It's, to my interpretation, filled with euphemisms and the title is most definitely how I felt before going to the Land of Nod, last night.

Barstool Blues

If I could hold on

to just one thought

for long enough to know

Why my mind is moving so fast

And the conversation is slow.

I have seen you in the movies

And in those magazines at night

I saw you on the barstool

when You held that glass so tight.

And I saw you in my nightmares

But I'll see you in my dreams

And I might live a thousand years

Before I know what that means.

Once there was a friend of mine

Who died a thousand deaths

His life was filled with parasites

And countless idle threats.

He trusted in a woman

And on her he made his bets

Once there was a friend of mine

Who died a thousand deaths.

(thanks to Baseball-Reference and Neil Young. Because "bad" luck has to be a figment of the imagination or we might just realize someday, we have no chance.)

Kevin Marquez

Leon Joseph "Bip" Roberts

I saw an article, from our favorite player-writer (Todd Jones) and it spoke of the unwritten rules on retaliation (9-1-08 edition of the Sporting News). Here's a snipet of what I'm talking about...

Disclaimer: This is about pro ball. I'm not advocating throwing at a hitter.

When you play the game for a living, you sometimes do things because they are part of the game. That doesn't mean you're proud of doing them. (Todd is fond of the apology.)

The retaliation rules of thumb: (a) hit superstar for superstar, position for position or same spot in the order for same spot in the order.
(b) Do not let things linger. All sides, including the umpires, know what's happening. Umpires, for the most part, allow us to police ourselves.
(c) Go after a guy's legs or backside; never go above the head, uh I mean belt. When a pitch is sailing behind a hitter, his first movement is to back away; flinch. And he'll back right into the pitch with his backside. That's what you want.

Todd goes on to say: I've been told-not asked-to hit someone. It's not fun, though I was once told to plunk Bip Roberts, and because nobody-on my team- liked him, they enjoyed seeing Bip getting his.

Leon Joseph "Bip" Roberts was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the first round, during the secondary phase, and was the 13th overall pick of the 1982 amateur draft. (He would go to the Padres in 1985, thru the rule 5 draft.)

His career in the majors began with the San Diego Padres, then ventured over to Cincinnati before returning to San Diego. From there he went onto Kansas City, Cleveland, Detroit and finished up his career with the Oakland A's. He had AB-4147, H-1220, R-663, HR-30, RBI-352, SB-264 and was caught stealing bases 95 times. His lifetime batting average was .294.

Bip Roberts is now doing the pre-game and post-game show on the Comcast network for the San Francisco Giants with Greg Papa. The duo is dynamic because Bip is as energetic and informative as his very astute sidekick, Greg Papa.

Together, they come up with some perspectives I appreciate and applaud, since I myself hadn't thought of it. That's not to say I'm hip to that stuff, I just like the opportunity to learn things and by seeing them differently sometimes we get a better grasp of what's going on.

Bip Roberts once said, and I wish I remembered his exact words because they were poignant, to say the least, that baseball is not meant to be played by those who try too hard. It's a game of rhythm and balance and if you overdo- what it is you are trying to do- you will usually fail.

I think that's the way life is too. You just have to stay within yourself to get your best results. As long as you are giving it your best, it'll all somehow work out.

(thanks to Sporting News and Baseball Reference)

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Baseball's Lineage: Second Generation's Best May Be a Manager

Every spring is the time of the season to always come upon a player who had a father- or relative- play before him.

Some families are considerable contributors to the lineage of baseball. The Bells (Gus, Buddy, David and Mike), The Boone's (Ray, Bob, Aaron, Bret), The Alomars (Sandy Sr., Jr. and Roberto), The Griffey's (Ken and Junior), Bobby and Barry Bonds, The Alous (Felipe, Matty, Jesus and Moises) and the Francona's, Tito and Terry. To name a few of the many.

Some fans may think Junior Griffey and his dad were the best one-two combination and others may go to Bobby and Barry Bonds. But we cannot leave out Tito and Terry Francona, when you see how well Terry manages his ballplayers who have already won 2 World Series Champions, in a city that may have thought it would never again see that day.

John Patsy (Tito) Francona was born on November 4, 1933, in Alquippa, PA. Signed as an amateur free agent by the St. Louis Browns in 1952. Didn't crack the big leagues with the Baltimore Orioles until 1956.

Tito played for the Orioles (1956-57); White Sox (1958); Tigers (1958); Indians (1959-1964); St. Louis Cardinals (1965-66); Phillies (1967); Atlanta Braves (1967-69); Oakland A's (1969-1970) and Milwaukee Brewers (1970).

Francona Sr. had 125 lifetime home runs, having his best success as a Cleveland Indian. In 1959, the best season of his career, by far, he batted 399 times, scored 68 runs, had 20 homers, drove in 79 runs and batted .363, which was second in the AL that season (Harvey Kuenn, with the Detroit Tigers, for whom he won the Rookie of the Year award in 1953 was the very same Harvey most people think of at the mentioning of the Milwaukee Brewer's Harvey Wallbangers, was acredited with leading the league that year with a .353 average. Harvey had 561 at-bats, so Tito's 399 must not have been enough. Perhaps this was the year they established a minimum number of at-bats in order to qualify for a batting crown?)

Another interesting tidbit of Tito's career was that he was traded for Larry Doby, the second African-American to crack the color line in major league baseball. Doby would finish his career with 253-HRs but check out his numbers and you can see that the guy was good.

On December 3, 1957, Larry Doby, at the end of his stellar career, was traded by the Chicago White Sox with Jack Harshman, Russ Heman and Jim Marshall to the Baltimore Orioles for Tito Francona, Ray Moore and Billy Goodman. Check out the surnames of these individuals, you'd have thought the creator designed it this way. Involved in a Larry Doby trade, with all the stuff he went through (that wasn't nearly as well-documented as Jackie Robinson) were a harsh man, he man and a good man.

Again, in 1959, Larry Doby was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Detroit Tigers, straight up for Tito Francona. This trade was the best thing that ever happened in Tito's career and it involved a Hall of Famer, Larry Doby.

Oh, by the way, on April 22, 1959, son Terry Jon Francona (Tito) was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota. No wonder the old man had his best season ever!

Terry didn't have much more than a couple cups of coffee in the big leagues but he absorbed how the game is played. Because nobody gets more out of his players, without that ultimate need to call a player out for the purpose of kicking him in the ass (and I'm not saying he doesn't discipline) for the purpose of embarrassing that player so that the player never thinks to do whatever it was he did EVER AGAIN. A style which is as antiquated as the school is old.

(thanks to Wikipedia and Baseball Reference for the statistics and accurate details)

Kevin Marquez

Retired Jersey Numbers

I understand that an organization retires a player's number as a way of honoring the player for all the player did for the organization. But wouldn't a statue serve the same purpose?

I say this because some numbers have been worn by more than one superstar, in the same organization, and it just might be a bad thing to remove the mojo that number brings.

Lou Gehrig was the first player in major league baseball to have his number, 4, retired.
(The Dodgers retired #4 for Duke Snider, The Giants retired #4 for Mel Ott.)

There were also 6 players who had their jerseys retired who played before the advent of uniform numbers. They are: Ty Cobb, Rogers Hornsby, Grover Cleveland "Pete" Alexander, Chuck Klein, John McGraw and Christy Mathewson.

(Klein, of the Phillies, had various numbers at the end of his career, but he did not wear a consistent number so the Phillies chose to honor him with a "P" on his jersey.)

(John McGraw and Christy Mathewson of the Giants have their numbers denoted with an "NY" and their names at AT&T Park.)

Three times a number has been retired twice. The Cincinnati Redlegs decided to pay tribute to Willard Herschberger by retiring his number 5, after the catcher committed suicide in 1940. It was later unretired in 1942 and then along came another catcher by the name of Johnny Bench and the number was retired for good.

The New York Yankees retired #8 for Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey.
The Montreal Expos retired #10 for Rusty "Le Grande Orange" Staub and Andre Dawson.

Let's switch leagues and jump to the National Football League. And the best example for keeping a jersey in circulation is the #20 of the Detroit Lions. Wide receiver, Jim Doran on the Lions' championship teams of the 1950s, Hall of Famer Lem Barney, running backs Billy Sims and Barry Sanders all wore the number until it was retired for Sanders. Now that was some serious mojo.

Occasionally when I tune into a ballgame and I'm watching a game with players I am not familiar with I try to recall who wore the number before them and often I can come up with pretty fair ballplayers and that's where this thought came from. Just watching a game and wondering why numbers that have brought a little mojo, seemed to have a little magic and almost always brought good fortune were taken out of circulation.

Imagine if the Yankees had kept #3 (Ruth) or #4 (Gehrig) in circulation. The Braves #44 (Aaron), or the Giants' #24 (Mays) or #44 (McCovey). Or those loveable losers, the Chicago Cubs, a team in-need of mojo, had kept Ernie Banks' #14 in circulation their fates may have fared a little better. GO with the mojo vs. letting go of the mojo?

(thanks to Wikipedia)

Kevin Marquez

Friday, September 5, 2008

J.T. Snow on the Radio is a Breath of Fresh Air

Young child with dreams
dream, every dream on your own
when children play
seems like you end up alone... (lyrics by Neil Diamond to the song Shilo.)

Baseball takes me to a place I can call my own. Thoughts are undisturbed and they are aplenty.

I wouldn't begin to know how to look this up, but there has to be a long list of players who made a living off of spoiling a team's chances of making the playoffs, the way the team he played for had someone else do to him.

I suppose I could dig up a list of players who hurt the San Francisco Giants but the current year has been painful enough.

Has Phillie closer, Brad Lidge, ever been referred to as Brad Ledge?

Is it me, or does Ryan Howard have the same nose as Babe Ruth? And if it is similar, it's a home run snout!

The 1964 Philadelphia Phillies choke (with rookie of the year Richie Allen)
The 2007 New York Mets choke
The 2008 Chicago Cubs choke?

Tim Lincecum is the favorite for the 2008 Cy Young award, now that Brandon Webb has struggled in his last 3 starts. As the season winds down Webb's needle appears to be stuck on E as his team (the Diamondbacks) is suddenly in desperate need of a good finish. Lincecum can put a real hurting on the D'backs tonight with a strong effort. And the strong effort will go a long way to improving his chances to capture the coveted Cy Young award.

Lincecum's teammate, 20-year old Pablo (pronounced Pah-Blow...unlike Duane Kuiper's Pabb-low, the Pa sounding like Pabst Blue Ribbon and not one of the Kettles..Ma or Pa) Sandoval is having a heckuva run in his first month of major league baseball. He plays third base, first base and catcher and although he needs work at all positions, holds his own at each spot. Sandoval is a 20-year old who has a really good idea of what he is doing when he steps into the batter's box. Listening to J.T. Snow on the radio comment about how impressed he is with Pablo is encouraging because J.T. speaks with the knowledge of someone who knows what needs to be done both at the plate and in the field. J.T.'s a broadcaster who is very concise with the words he chooses. The more I hear J.T., the more I like what he has to say. Very educational without all the facts and figures.

Kevin Marquez

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Areas in Need of Improvement

The San Francisco Giants are teetering in that unbalanced area of 100 losses. And it wouldn't be too tough to find areas of their game that need improvement.

*The Giants' pitching staff leads the National League in walks (a.k.a. bases on balls) issued.

*When facing opposing pitchers, the Giants' staff has to be the worst at getting him OUT! I am unable to find such a statistic but lately Giants' radio play-by-play voice, Dave Fleming, has been all over the subject. Repeatedly and full of angst saying how he can't remember when he's seen a staff have so much trouble getting the opposing pitcher out.

*The Giants have scored the fewest runs in the National League.
*The Giants have hit into far more double plays than they themselves have turned.

But they did sign their top picks in the 2008 Amateur draft.
The players they've shuffled back and forth from Fresno to San Francisco have shown some promise. AND, their pitching staff, aside from the walks allowed (which has a couple of determining factors) has proven formidable and with some run support could catapult the team sooner than later toward winning more frequently.

(As for the walks, I have this uneasy feeling that 50% of these league leading walks is due to some umpires and their unbelievably inconsistent strike zone. Also, if you factor in this thing about making "rookies" pay, like only umpires can do and seem to have a whole lot of fun doing- as measured by their body language- I believe you have the bulk of your free passes. If the Giants' pitchers are issuing more walks it also means that when it is the Giants' turn to bat, their players ARE NOT getting the same strike zone as their opponents. The team has tried out several first timers this year, all subject to the rookie treatment. Just another reason to let an ump have it when you attend a ballgame, ya think?)

Kevin Marquez