Monday, September 1, 2014

September Callups Ho!

Bruce Bochy loves him some extended rosters.  An extra pen arm, a pinch runner, Bochy has a good record of getting extra value for the September stretch.

Juan Perez gets called up yet again.  Big up-down year for him, he was one of the few players with an option.  His play was pretty ho hum in the show, so it was an easy call to yo-yo him between Fresno as 25 man crunch happened.

Two 25 man guys get put on the 60-day DL: Hector Sanchez and Ehire Adrianza.  This officially ends their seasons.  Sanchez has had big time concussion issues and his career is in jeopardy.  Adrianza has battled hamstring/quad issues all year.  Both give the farm system/big club extra depth, and hopefully rest and rehab will get them ready for next year's spring training.

Guillermo Quiroz gets bumped up, he might get a couple games here and there, but I expect Andrew Susac to get the majority of the non-Posey plays, Susac has looked great out there.

Big Chris Dominguez gets the call.  Pretty fun stats from him this year - he's part of a very exclusive minor league ball 20/20/80 club.  He played Shortstop a lot in Fresno.  He has light tower power, big time contact issues and a rifle of an arm.  I'm really psyched for Dominguez, the 3rd round pick from the 2009 draft who has put in his time.

On the pitching front, its Mike Kickham for lefty-ness.  Kickham has been pretty consistent at Fresno, his stats were pretty comparable to Edwin Escobar and might have been one of the reasons the Giants felt comfortable trading a close to the show guy.  Kickham looks like a future LOOGY.

Hunter Strickland is the other promotion.  Great stat line from him this year, just refused to walk anybody, which is always nice to see from your pen guys.  Giants snagged him off of waivers and protected him on the 40 even with TJ.  So right there you know they really like the guy, who throws mid 90s with ease.  Strickland is the only promotion from Richmond at the moment.

I imagine Adam Duvall is re-called as well, didn't get an announcement from the beats on that one. 

Sooner or later either Darren Ford or Gary Brown might be getting re-called.  But Perez is first in line.  Giants have a lot of good defensive options.  Brown has to be considered a bust at this point, I'd still like to see what he can do.  The Giants can shift Cain and Scutaro to the 60-day anytime if they want to add on to their 40, which is full at the moment. 

A wild card is Cuban Daniel Carbonell, who has had a great start to his MLB career.  Hitting 344/390/538 in the California league currently, playing CF.  He's younger than Brown, Ford or Jarrett Parker, and he's on the 40 because of his contract clause. 

Giants farm is looking great.  You get Mac Williamson back next year, along with Derek Law, you throw in the three power arms they drafted as well as Aramis Garcia as the next catching prospect now that Susac has essentially graduated, and you have some very nice looks.  Carbonell could leapfrog big time.  And don't forget about Blake Miller, tearing up the Big Bad Eastern. 

Ironically, in a system with a big time pitching development rep, the Giants have been adding hitter after hitter.  Looks like there are some more stacking and racking, ready to press.  Good stuff.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Giants Light The Candle - Sweep the Brew Crew - Series Rundown #43

Looking back... One of the best nights in Gigante history Photo: Sf gate
I had a hard time thinking of who to put up for a photo.  A ton of great performances.  So I decided to go with the glue guy: the guy who is out there every inning, always hustling.  Hunter Pence is a great Giant.  Not often that gets thrown around with a non-farm guy, but I'm Ok with it.  Great trade, great move to retain him.  Let's see how September treats Pence.  It might not show up in the stat line.  That's OK.

The Giants just kicked the hell out of a very good Brewer team.  Showing their capability, with pitching, with defense and with the bat.  They are a very dangerous team if they get a shot at the postseason.  Its going to be a very interesting September.

August 29 Giants 13, Brewers 2
August 30 Giants 3, Brewers 1
August 31 Giants 15, Brewers 5

I'm not much for run differential.  The cold hard fact is that the Giants play the NL West, pitchers extreme, and battle royale in division.  (However, those "gritty" Arizona diamondbacks are lying down like... ahem... and if they really took offense about the Dodgers pissing in their pool, they might want to man up sometime soon against the boys in blue).

Shank's Keys to the Series: limit the long ball, don't be the keystone cops out there, get the bullpen to be consistent.  Score first, hold your lead, pitch shutdown innings.  Tighten up all aspects of play, rachet up the intensity, and start a real win streak, one with a crooked number.  For the love of the Baseball Gods sub out Morse in the 6th.

The Starting Pitching has been insane.  Limiting the long ball.  The defense has been great.  No more Keystone Cops.  All aspects have been tightened up.  Especially taking dead aim at the pitching.  The stat lines have been... un Giant like.  This is racheting up the intensity.  This is starting a real win streak.  And a crooked number.  And Bochy has been putting in Ishi like clockwork.  A+ all around.

Good hitting: Yes

Bad hitting: No

Good pitching: Vogelsong, Peavy and Bumgarner.  3 red ass mofo's ready to rock the house.  Love it.

Bad pitching: Casilla and Timmy.  Gotta tighten up.  Like Romo's slider did.

Now how will it go?  Gotta go complete a game, then do 3 at Coors.  The Giants have been awful against the Rocks until the last series.  They need to keep it up, pad the stats, and alter the series story.  Go roll tide baby!   Balls fly out, bullpens melt, stat lines get padded.  Make it the Grey, Orange and Black having those advantages.

Hudson/Morales
Petit/Lyles
Vogelsong/Bergman
Plus the mystery men to resume the 2-2 tie.

Keys to the Series: Do what you just did!  Pitchers pitch well, defenders defend and the batters go apeshit.  Pablo Sandoval, you're in a contract year!  Posey, you've had some doubters!  Pence, your stat line needs some padding!  You rookies, its time to put up some positive babip.  And no bullpen meltdowns.

Series Rundown Recap:
Giants have 24 series wins on the year, 16 losses, 3 splits.  5 series wins have been sweeps, 5 series losses have been sweeps
 
Playoff Watch: 2.5 back of the Dodgers in the NL West - that's a race for the ages about to happen; 1 game up on the Cards/Brew Crew (putting both into a tie) for the Wild Card spot in the money for the 1st spot, Braves 2.5 back, and Bucs 3 back.

Add on: the Giants gave us yet more insanely fun stuff to think about: Petit sets the consecutive batters retired for all time, Peavy takes a no hitter 7.1, Bumgarner shows how to knuckle down.  Joe Panik plays like a cool calm vet.  Susac gets in on the action.  Michael Morse gets hot.  As does Gregor Blanco.

You gotta like these kids.  You gotta like these Giants.  These ARE the Glory Days.  Its fun.  Enjoy the hell out of them.

EDIT: Would love to make up a video of them taking off set to the Right Stuff soundtrack when they "light the candle" - not enough time right now... But they appear to have the right stuff, fo sho.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Giants Take 3 of 4 From Rocks - Rollin' Rollin'? - Series Rundown #42

Money In The Pocket Photo: ESPN

 Its getting late in the game.  Giants have been starting to heat up, they've won 3 of their past 4 series, and should have a big winning streak going but for some bad beats.  They finally solved the Rockies (worst in the majors road record) bad juju.

August 25 Rockies 3, Giants 2
August 26 Giants 3, Rockies 0
August 27 Giants 4, Rockies 2
August 28 Giants 4, Rockies 1

Shank's Keys to the series: Its put up or shut up time.  33 to go, the clock ticking big time.  Have to win 3, a sweep would be great.  Are these Giants up for it?  Every time momentum looks like it might be starting stink-bombs come around.  The Rockies are without their 3 best hitters, their pitching is never good, and the Giants bats are coming around.  Go time, pure and simple.  Bochy had best stop sleepwalking with Morse, I bet he is licking his chops for the expanded rosters, Bochy is notorious for bullpen changes the way Beyonce changes outfits.  I'm sure a couple of defensive OFs will be a coming as well.  But they have a week to go, and these games are precious.

3 of 4 is very good.  Shoulda coulda had a sweep.  Since their terrible play at KC, the Giants have lost six games, all very winnable, even the blowout in Washington.  Two were extra inning games, three were one run games.  They've won nine.  Now if they can dig a bit deeper, they might be able to pull something out.

Classic games though - a one hit almost perfecto 13 K game from Bumgarner, aided by Posey going deep.  Casilla blows a great game from Huddy, Posey again answers the bell with a walkoff.  And today Petit sets the MLB record for consecutive batters retired with 46 straight.  Pitched a mean game, that means Timmy stays in the pen for a bit.

Good hitting: Buster Posey is carrying the team on his back.  Pagan is warming up.  Blanco hitting home runs?

Bad hitting: Crawford is getting benched, he's injured.  Pablo Sandoval continues to not bat in runs.  I just don't see that guy as a classic middle of the order bat.  He's an awesome #6 hitter if you have enough coverage though.

Good pitching: All 4 starters were excellent.

Bad pitching: the defense didn't help, and Casilla got shaky.  Then the defense helped!  Duffy to Panik to Ishikawa.

Next up: the Giants get to orange Friday it up against the Brew Crew.  This is one of them competitive teams.  So compete!

Vogelsong/Peralta
Peavy/Fiers
Bumgarner/Lohse

The Brewers gave up their 1st round pick to sign Lohse, 28th overall, the Cards (division rivals) took Robert Kaminsky with their 2nd pick of the round (Marco Gonzo with the 19th pick was their first).  It is an interesting way to comp.  I think they've got a lot of stability and value out of Lohse.

Keys to the Series: limit the long ball, don't be the keystone cops out there, get the bullpen to be consistent.  Score first, hold your lead, pitch shutdown innings.  Tighten up all aspects of play, rachet up the intensity, and start a real win streak, one with a crooked number.  For the love of the Baseball Gods sub out Morse in the 6th. 

Series Rundown Recap:
Giants have 23 series wins on the year, 16 losses, 3 splits.  4 series wins have been sweeps, 5 series losses have been sweeps

Playoff Watch: 4.5 back of the Dodgers in the NL West; 0.5 back of the Cards for the Wild Card spot but in the money for the 2nd spot, Braves and Bucs 2 back.

QUICK EDIT: On the You Gotta Like These Kids Front...

Show me a catcher who is ranked in the top 100 or top 10 catchers who has done anything this year.  Andrew Susac gunned a fool today, hit a towering HR the other day, to dead center.  Just using the MLB/Mayo/Callis rankings... Susac is #3, Panik is off now (I think he was 10 or 11, can't remember), Duffy is 17.  The Giants have 4 rookies who were very unheralded playing great ball on the 25, Duvall getting shuffled here and there.

On the AFL front, its Blackburn (#7), Okert (#10), Duffy, and some unranked fun: Daniel C stands for Cubano, the 100 MPH guy Erik Cordier, Hunter TJ Strickland, and the next sleeper to look out for: Blake Miller.  The Giants have a fun sleeper system to watch and root for, one that has made a lot more contributions than much higher ranked orgs.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Posey Bochy Hudson

Bruce Bochy passes Tommy Lasorda on the all time wins list, 1600 to date, on a Buster Posey walk off.

That was a beautiful hit into the San Francisco night.

Anybody who thinks that Posey isn't a franchise player is nuts.  There, I said it.

Casilla had the yips tonight, but the KIDS bailed him out.  Duffy to Panik to Ishikawa.  Got your nuclear wasteland right here baby.

Hudson got his 2,000 strikeout.  Big ups for his career.  You know who's next?  Jake Peavy, who is quite the red ass himself.  I like having a bunch of pitchers who hate to lose.  Maybe between Vogey, Peavy and Huddy they can teach Timmy how to stop being spacey man Johnson out there. 

Or Timmy just becomes a big ass fireman the way the G's drew it up, and we go rampage.

Don't let this team reach the playoffs.  Might be 5 games back right now, but we are mighty.  We Giants. 

Great win the last two nights following the two worse losses of the season.  Getting close to September... Might have to fire up some BBQ or something.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Giants Blow Leads, Lose Winnable Series to the Nats - Series Rundown #41

Dude Where's My Sink?

Your opinion might vary, for me that was the worst loss of the season.  You score 5 off of one of the best pitchers in the game in Steven Strasburg, you expect to get a well deserved win.  Instead, it was the gas can clown show.  Doubling over was Bad Timmy's clown show on Saturday, giving up a gift wrapped early lead.  This looks like a momentum killer, something this team does again and again.

August 22 Giants 10, Nats 3
August 23 Nats 6, Giants 2
August 24 Nats 12, Giants 6

Shank's Keys to the series: The Nats are going to be heavily favored.  Fister has really come on huge, what was that trade about for the Tigers?  Lincecum has been terrible and likes to fade in the humid heat.  Hudson has not been good either.  Vogelsong has quietly been very strong.  He has also been very, very Cained this season.  The hitters need to hit, give the pitchers a chance.  Bochy might need to have a quicker hook going forward with Timmy.  We know all the signs of Spacey Timmy.  Get that pen going early and often.

Timmy needs to go to the pen.  Enough of this.  Were the Nats stealing signs?  Sure had Posey fired up.  They were tee-ing off.  It was a shame to finally get Vogey run support and then have the implosion.

The sideshow of Peavy and Hudson both getting ejected was funny.  The network broadcast didn't pick up on Huddy getting ejected, just Peavy.

Rockies come to town.  Hey!  Maybe getting back to square one, the series that really did them in... oh wait, it was the Nats then the Rockies.  So instead of being swept by the Nats, they got one (when they could have had 3 with good Timmy/good Affeldt)...  So did the pen get all the disaster out now, or is it Rockies 2, Electric Boogaloo?

Peavy/Matzek
Bumgarner/DeLaRosa
Hudson/Morales
Lincecum*/Lyles

Keys to the series: Its put up or shut up time.  33 to go, the clock ticking big time.  Have to win 3, a sweep would be great.  Are these Giants up for it?  Every time momentum looks like it might be starting stink-bombs come around.  The Rockies are without their 3 best hitters, their pitching is never good, and the Giants bats are coming around.  Go time, pure and simple.  Bochy had best stop sleepwalking with Morse, I bet he is licking his chops for the expanded rosters, Bochy is notorious for bullpen changes the way Beyonce changes outfits.  I'm sure a couple of defensive OFs will be a coming as well.  But they have a week to go, and these games are precious.

Series Rundown Recap:
Giants have 22 series wins on the year, 16 losses, 3 splits.  4 series wins have been sweeps, 5 series losses have been sweeps

Playoff Watch: 4.5 back of the Dodgers in the NL West; One back of the Cards for the Wild Card spot but in the money for the 2nd spot, Braves 1 back and charging, Bucs 1.5 back.

Giants have quietly been 6 for their last 10, but its disheartening because they should be 8-2 or even 9-1.  They have to win ballgames, other teams won't keep losing for them.  Make your own luck fellas.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Giants Take Two Of Three At Wrigley The Soggy Way - Series Rundown #40

August 19/21 Cubs 2, Giants 1
August 20 Giants 8, Cubs 3
August 21 Giants 5, Cubs 3

The Giants came a bad Vogelsong pitch or maybe a Angel Pagan bouncer away from a series sweep.  There was a tarp involved.  The Cubs did the right thing, supporting a continuation after a big time fiasco.  They ended up winning that one.  The rest, it was all about the Road Greys baby, and all about the prime time players stepping up.  Bumgarner and Posey stepped up big tonight.

Keys to the series: the Giants are at a point in the season that they have to beat up on weaker teams.  The Cubs hit every branch on that tree.  Anthony Rizzo is the big threat.  Castro usually makes 2-3 bonehead plays a series.  The Giants needs to take advantage of mistakes, a lot of rookies on the team as well.  39 games to play, make them count.

Castro had a awful family tragedy to deal with.  Best wishes.  Rizzo... got one pitch to hit and he hit it.  Vogelsong!  The Giants rookies played very well, especially for the middle game.  Jake Peavy has been very solid, a very nice pickup that has stabilized the rotation.  Bumgarner had a hickup, but then busted out his can of whupass.  Javier Baez, top prospect?  Try on the Golden Sombrero, welcome to the big leagues, son.

Good hitting: POSEY!  He's been getting some heat from fans on message boards and what not lately.  If the Giants make a move, they'll need him big time.  Joe Panik can ball.  0 for 4 in the finale, it drops his average to 297.  The top of the lineup is picking up, one can hope it continues with a bit of consistency.

Bad hitting: Brandon Crawford, what the hell is going on?  Enough of this.

Good pitching: pretty much everybody.

Bad pitching: Vogelsong gets that one pitch back...  Oh well, no crying in baseball, especially about spilled milk.  But a win there would have really tied the room together.

Next series: how about the hottest team in baseball?  Is that something you'd be interested in?  5 walkoff wins in six tries, lets go see what this is all about eh?  10 game winning streak, first 10 game in the majors this year I believe.  Looking strong... looking tough...

Hudson/Fister
Lincecum/Zimmerman
Vogelsong/Strasburg

Keys to the series: The Nats are going to be heavily favored.  Fister has really come on huge, what was that trade about for the Tigers?  Lincecum has been terrible and likes to fade in the humid heat.  Hudson has not been good either.  Vogelsong has quietly been very strong.  He has also been very, very Cained this season.  The hitters need to hit, give the pitchers a chance.  Bochy might need to have a quicker hook going forward with Timmy.  We know all the signs of Spacey Timmy.  Get that pen going early and often. 

That's two series wins in a row.  And two losses that could have easily been wins.  Are things turning, or is it just a slow bleed out?  Hmmm...

Series Rundown Recap:
Giants have 22 series wins on the year, 15 losses, 3 splits.  4 series wins have been sweeps, 5 series losses have been sweeps

Playoff Watch: 3.5 back of the Dodgers in the NL West assuming they beat the Padres; Tied with the Cards for the Wild Card spot, Braves 1 back and charging, Bucs 2.5 back.

Did Trader Billy make a couple too many moves?  The A's are 2-8, they're 2 out in the AL West.  Just like the Giants, nobody really expected them to do so well.  Now they're feeling the regression.  I would have kept Cespedes personally, he's well liked, a good glue guy, and he's one of the few I think will hit in the playoffs. 

Struggles of Top Prospects

Peter Gammons on the scene...

Oh the irony of Joe Panik and his 282 BA.  I know, I know, small sample size.  Just remember that the lad was sneered at as a utility guy from day one, and then when he didn't post up stupendous minor league numbers he got dismissed.

But as you've seen if you've read my comp series where I go at the highest rated front offices and farm systems and ruthlessly put the Giants to the test, the Giants come up a lot better than what you would read in most prospect rating watering holes.  The hyped BoSox guys keep coming, but has any made a landing yet?  The Cards guys got tons of press - where do they keep finding these guys?! - but none with the exception of Matt Carpenter have really done much in the grand scheme.

Its extremely early, and all 4 of the yoots on the 25 will face gruesome tests as the scouting reports come in looking for holes, but I'd line up Adam Duvall, Joe Panik, Matt Duffy and Andrew Susac against anything other teams have.  Joe Panik in particular will be tested this next month.  His short swing and great contact rates versus pitchers challenging him more and more to do damage.  Its going to be a fun thing to watch.  As is comping him to Wong, again and again.