Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Why Are Teams Pitching to Albert Pujols?

Earlier in the 2009 season teams were electing to walk Albert Pujols every time he came to bat.
Albert was losing patience and in time teams thought it was okay to pitch to him. Why?

If you see he was losing patience, continue to frustrate the guy. Do not give in and think he won't find a way to correct the problem.

The Giants had a guy who was lucky if he saw one pitch to hit, every night he played. You remember Barry Bonds, don't you?

Until Albert Pujols is able to hit that one pitch a game I will not be convinced he's as good as they (the media) say he is. Oh, don't get me wrong, the guy is good. But teams are pitching to a guy who showed he couldn't handle being issued bases-on-balls. He swung out of the strike zone. He did exactly what the opponent wanted him to do.

And now, for some reason, teams are beginning to pitch to him. I just don't understand it.

Four wide ones is the way to go. Frustrate him by not giving him anything to hit. It is the opponents' objective to annoy, bother, bug, etc., a player who can hurt you if you choose to ignore such tactics. You're doing him a favor by pitching to him. Don't give him what he wants. Pitching to a guy like Pujols allows him to get into a comfort zone.

He's the enemy! You don't give him what he wants.

Kevin Marquez

Sunday, June 28, 2009

It's Been A While

It's been a while but Joe West, the home plate umpire in yesterday's Giants @ Brewers game (although to be exact, on Mexican heritage day it was the Cerveceros vs Gigantes) had a curious strike zone that benefitted the hometown Milwaukee boys.

I'm on a leisurely walk, listening to Duane Kuiper on KNBR, 680 on your AM dial, describe a Barry Zito pitch as high, when upon further review I saw the pitch cross the batter's belt. I ask you, when was a pitch across the belt high? When the umpire is so fat he has to take the shoe shiner's word for it when he says 'Your shoes are shined, sir.'

Zito kind of looked in as if he couldn't believe his eyes and West glared out at him. That's the thing about Joe West. He has zero tolerance for players who display what he considers to be a bad attitude by showing their outward bad body language in reaction to a Joe West call. When this happens, beware, Joe West will exact revenge. For the rest of the game throw out the rulebook because every call will be left to West's interpretation. It is Joe West's understanding that since a good number of calls he makes are left to his interpretation that any given rule can be overlooked in the case of making his point that a player who tried to show him up must be held accountable for his actions.

As for West's accountability, that's not necessary. Because you see, Joe West is a hypocrite, emphasis on the hippo.

So Zito looks at West wrong and the next thing you know "Munch" Fielder now needs 4 strikes to be out, since one of Zito's gems was purposely missed by West. Next pitch, Fielder deposits in the right-field seats. Score: Gigantes 4 Cerveceros 3.

Zito is removed for Medders and on Medders' first delivery McGehee puts that gift into the left field seats. Gigantes 4 Cerveceros 4.

Game remains tied until the top of the 9th when the Giants score 2 runs. And coming in to pitch the bottom half of the 9th is Brian Help Me Rhonda Wilson. And boy was Wilson a test dummy for the attitude-in-need of adjustment calling balls and strikes. Throughout his entire time on the mound, Wilson got squeezed by West like he was a plastic container of ketchup and West's hamburger was too dry for the fat man to choke down without the condiment.

Wilson didn't show up West but there was a moment when West put both hands on his bulging hips and Wilson did a double-take after a call and from then on it was four strikes yer out. Well, the Brewers/Cerveceros are too good a hitting ball club to let that advantage slip away. They made it work to their advantage and won, when Munch Fielder ripped one down the rightfield line for a game winning RBI. Cerveceros- 7 Gigantes- 6.

Alas, I must mention one more thing before putting to rest this sad ending to a Giants/Gigantes game. When you let an umpire have full control and all the decisions are left to his judgment there will be times when he just misses the call. Leaving ALL calls to an umpire's interpretation can have those moments where the umpire totally misinterprets the call. And that's what happened on this day. More than once West misinterpreted what was and was not a strike and the Brewers/Cerveceros benifitted greatly.

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, June 27, 2009

There Seems to be a Pattern Shaping Up in 2009 Major League Season

Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson dead on the same day (June 25, 2009). Made for lots of conversation at the local watering holes or workplace water cooler. Even though I know enough about both Farrah and Michael I chose not to enter into the conversations instead opting for laying back while others shared their stories.

Only a couple of things I enjoy talking about and that's baseball and football. It's not football season so the hometown San Francisco Giants are front and center.

Or shall I call them the San Francisco-Fresno Giants, as they are filling the holes of those- not doing their jobs worthy of remaining with the big club- with players on their triple A affiliate (in Fresno). And in doing so, we can see that there is talent from withing the Giants' minor league farm system.

One thing about the 2009 season is that several teams are calling on their young stud pitchers to make their debuts in the majors and seeing if they can stay a while. There is the factor that if you have never seen a pitcher before, it is the pitcher who has the edge. Team the pitcher with a headsy batterymate (catcher) and this may be an effective tool.

The Giants have had series after series where it was the first time they faced the pitcher throughout the series. And their won/loss record shows dramatically how it favors the never-before seen pitcher and his team, that is, if the pitcher keeps the opponent under 3 runs or better.

With all of the charts and newfangled numbers utilized by those whe appear to be in-the-know, there may even be a way to further enhance this usage of a pitcher who the league is without book.

We're all experts watching the game, you've got to know being there (in person) exposes things national coverage (on television) couldn't possibly reveal. If that's an accurate assessment, there's no doubt the guys in the dugout will figure something out for that newcomer to succeed.

Kevin Marquez

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Good Call Jeffrey!

"I've often wondered what happens to a players' I.Q. in certain situations." Jeff Van Gundy

This is so true. How many times are you watching your favorite team and you think you know what you are getting and a player surprises you by doing something uncharted?

Think coaching is hard, try figuring out the players based on what they show athletically, their behavior and mental make-up. Bruce Bochy hasn't been given a whole lot to work with but he does have some talented kids and determined veterans and they seem to be putting together a respectable season, at least as of June 12, 2009.

At the beginning of the season, general manager, Brian Sabean said if the team was competitive, the Giants would be in the market to make a deal. Well Brian Sabean, they are there, what do you plan on doing?

Listening to Damon Douche,uh, Bruce, on KNBR SportsTalk radio and he's all over the Giants for not signing Manny Ramirez. Now he's in his 'all they need is a serviceable player, an extra-bat in that anemic lineup,' mode.

As long as they don't depart with one of their up and coming stars and choose instead to deal a Fred Lewis or Jonathan Sanchez I'm okay with it. I don't want a Conor Gillaspie, Ryan Rohlinger or Tim Alderson to be included as part of a deal for a guy with no future. And I'm confident Sabes wants the same. The player they trade for has to have a future with the orange and black or it's a rental and that's not going to help the team in the long run.

Meanwhile, tune into KNBR680AM or Comcast and watch these guys. They're becoming a ballclub that is more than a .500 team.

Kevin Marquez

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Some Giants' News...Old and New

ESPN magazine issue in May had a list of the Most Runs by one team, by inning.

1st inning: Brooklyn Dodgers 15 runs in 1952.
2nd inning: Cleveland Indians 14 runs in 2009.
3rd : San Francisco Giants 13 runs in 1966.
4th: Chicago Cubs 14 runs in 1922.
5th: New York Yankees 14 runs in 1920.
6th: Cleveland Indians of 1923, Detroit Tigers of 1925 and Montreal Expos of 1997 all scored 13 runs
7th: Boston Red Sox scored 17 runs in 1953.
8th: Texas Rangers scored 16 runs in 1996.
9th: California Angels of 1978 and Detroit Tigers of 2001 both scored 13 runs in the final inning.
Extra innings: Texas Rangers scored 12 runs in the 15th inning in 1983.


In the same ESPN mag, there was a little notice entitled A Giant Wave of Talent that offers some hope to the fans of the orange and black.

The article starts out: For the past two decades, the Giants have earned a reputation for relying on veterans and free agents. In fact, from Royce Clayton (their 1st round draft pick of 1988) until Noah Lowry (2001), San Fran didn't have a single first-rounder contribute significantly in the bigs. But homegrown hurlers Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain have started a new trend by the Bay. Over the past three years, the Giants have handed out the five largest amateur bonuses in club history, and their new emphasis on player development is on display every night in San Jose, their Class A affiliate in the California League.

Angel Villalona (an 18-year old), 2008 first-round pick Conor Gillaspie, a third baseman who saw some action last season with the big league club; 2007 first-rounder Nick Noonan, a second-baseman; slugging outfielder Roger Kieschnick, nephew of former major leaguer Brooks Kieschnick; and shortstop Brandon Crawford, a UCLA product who just might be the steal of the 2008 draft (as a 4th rounder).

And those guys aren't even the prize players. Buster Posey, 22, Catcher. Madison Bumgarner, 19, left-handed pitcher. Tim Alderson, 20, right-handed pitcher.


In other news, it looks like the time is now to send Fred Lewis back to the minor leagues and give someone else a look. He's tailed off considerably and is not appearing to be having any fun. In other words, he's trying too hard and nothing he does is working. (Been there, done that...Haven't we all?)

(thanks to ESPN magazine for the bulk of this piece.)

Kevin Marquez