The Padres and the Rockies

Welcome to the 7th Czar’s blog of 2015 celebrating our World Champion San Francisco Giants! 

 

The question of the day - - Will the G-Men win another series at home?

It really hurts to lose 9 out of the last 10 games at home (does anyone remember what Tony Bennett sounds like?). Somewhat balancing that disaster the G-Men currently possess the best road record in the NL. What goes here? We take 2 out of three from the Dodgers and then get swept by the Snakes and the Pirates? It is a strange season for sure. Up and down is putting it mildly.  This is like a roller coaster.  Last year the G-Men had an outstanding May and went into the tank in June but even then (at June 22) they were 45-30 as versus today’s 38-33.  That’s a shot of perspective. The G-Men really need to get it on.

The question is which direction are we going in?  I say we maintain the momentum, start hitting at home (it’s hard to win when you don’t score runs), get our pitching back and start a winning streak.

To break the home losing streak I also suggest that the Giants keep the team in a hotel on this home stand – I’m just saying that if they play that well on the road maybe we should pretend they are still the away team.  I think another team somewhere did just that it break a home losing streak but I can’t recall who or where (any idea out there?)

Certainly injuries are taking their toll, the worst being Pence’s wrist.  The most current information is that Pence will most likely be out until after the All-Star game.  We need his energy, badly.  The latest injury is Aoki’s leg bruise.  He’s not on the DL but we also need him (certainly he’s the best off-season acquisition the Giants have made since Cody Ross in 2010) leading off and batting..317, with 33 runs, 19 RBI’s and 12 stolen bases.  This does give Pagan some shot at lead off again and he thrives there.

It is also true that the stars of tomorrow are playing for the Giants today.  I’ll take Panik, Duffy, Crawford and Posey any day over a Bryce Harper or Mike Trout.  We will be telling our grandchildren that we saw this infield.  Panik and Crawford deserve to be All-Stars, Posey already is, and I wonder if Duffy will be eligible for rookie of the year.

So, bottom line, all is not lost and we are looking for a good week at home.

Right now Maxwell is in for the duration at right field, McGeehee is on the bench as a pinch hitter (where he has been surprisingly effective as long as there are no men on first base so that he can hit into a double play) and Blanco is showing what he can do with more playing time (a lot because he isn’t worn down yet).

On a side note, the G-Men resigned Marco Scutaro so that he could retire as a Giant.  That was an incredibly classy move. No one will ever forget the arms to the heaven in the rain moment at the end of the 2012 NLCS. The only thing that I wish for is a snow globe of Scutaro at that moment for my bobblehead wall.

Anyone for a six-man rotation?

Cain and Peavy are almost ready to come back.  A healthy Cain is a number one or two guy, a healthy Peavy is maybe a number three guy, at best.  The book right now is that Lincecum goes to the pen (lasting an inning an half yesterday might have sealed it, although he still has a better ERA than Hudson, Vogelsong and Peavy).  That would be because Timmy has shown in the playoff’s that he can be effective out of the pen. My prediction is that either Vogelsong also goes in the pen and Strickland and Broadway (I love that name) go to Sacramento or that Strickland stays and Hudson comes down with a mysterious (but not serious) 39 year old muscle pull somewhere that is enough to place him on the DL for a month.

Lining up after the All-Star break (probably) will be Bum, Cain, Heston, Peavy and Hudson.  No need to talk about the pen because they have been nails, and Strickland does look like the real thing as the closer of the future.  Does anyone else see his resemblance to Robb Nen? He has Nen’s fastball and Wilson’s attitude.

The Upcoming Series against the Padres and the Rockies

Winning at home is the goal over the next six games against the NL West where the Giants are 9 and 17 against NL West teams not named the Dodgers. Unfortunately the 9 and 17 record is mostly against the Padres and the Rockies.  Everyone knows by now how tough those two teams are and what a dog fight the next six games will be – I want to see it and I want the G-Men to win. We are a game and half behind the Dodgers and it’s time to start pulling away.

 

It’s time for baseball!

 

Ciao, and GO GIANTS!

 

The Czar

Giants v. Mets

The G-Men are now 39 and 45 and 4 ½ games back in the NL West  This is one of the saddest blogs that I’ve written in a long time.  I’m currently watching the first game of the Dodger’s series at home following the season’s second road trip from hell, this one even worse than the earlier one.  The G-Men were 1 win and 9 losses in the last 10 games, are 15-30 on the road and over the last two months have been the worst team in the major leagues after being swept by the Dodgers in LA, losing 2 out of 3 to the Rockies in Denver and losing 3 out of 4 to the Reds in Cincinnati.  The only reason they didn’t lose 4 out of 4 was because the 4th of July game was rained out (we count that as a victory of sorts). It’s hard to be upbeat when Matt Cain can’t even make it through the 3rd inning and the Dodgers are celebrating an early 8 to 1 lead, which is the current situation.

The Positives

The only positives that I know of is that the Giants are only 4 ½ games out, Buster Posey continues to hit like the All-Star and the MVP he is and Bumgarner (the pride of North Carolina) is pretty much solid as a rock (although some run support would be helpful).

Everything else pretty much sucks.  Except for Posey, the core hitters (Scutero, Blanco, Sandoval, Crawford, Pence and Torres) are 6 for 127 over the last ten games.  That is pathetic. Blanco even struck out hacking at a pitch that bounced 2 feet in front of the plate. That’s how anxious and out of sorts the hitters are. I’d talk about tonight being the first time in 15 games that the Giants had a first inning run but that pales beside the utter failure to hit with men in scoring position.

The headlines asked if the G-Men had hit rock bottom after being no-hit by Bailey in Cincinnati: no, it’s getting worse and watching the Dodger’s high-five each other is worse.

The pitchers can’t hit their spots, the hitters are the worst they have been probably since 1985 (remember, when the Giants lost 100 games before Will Clark came up in 1986), the bullpen is worn out and the defense is making errors (physical and mental). I’d talk about power numbers but there aren’t any: home runs have been few and far between. It’s depressing.

The Negatives

First, see above.

We should mention injuries because the G-Men are about as beat up as a team can be.  Crawford’s hand, Scutero’s back, Arias’s hamstring, Pagan’s hamstring (which is so bad he’s probably out for the season), Vogelsong’s hand, Gaudin’s hand, Casilla’s oblique and Zito’s inability to pitch anywhere else than AT&T (that would be a mental injury). If there is any team that needs a serious break it’s the Gigantes.

Of all the injuries Pagan’s might be the one that most affected the team. He was the top of the order hitter and the sparkplug.  It seems like the air went out of the team when he went down (on his game-ending walk off inside the park home run – I was there; maybe the high point of this season).

What Can the Giants do?  Is there any hope?

We are only half-way through the season and 4 and ½ games out.  In 1951 the Giants came from 13 ½  games down on August 15th to tie the Dodgers and get into the World Series.  In 1962 the Giants of Mays, McCovey, Marichal and Perry were 4 games down with 6 to play and pulled even on the last day of the season and won a three game playoff with the Dodgers.  So, is it over?  No, as Pence pointed out in Animal House, was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?  NO.  Think about the playoff’s last year. On cold nights always remember the Buster Posey Grand Slam against Mat Latos.

Of course you all understand that I’m reviewing history because we have to believe, and we do. We came through Candlestick, the Earthquake series, the 100 loss season, the crushing loss to the Monkey-rally Angels in 2002 and having the Dodger’s knock us out of the playoff’s in 2004 on Steve Finlay’s 9th inning walk-off grand slam following a Cody Ransom error that would have been the third out and a playoff qualifying victory (I was there for that also – in LA).  It’s not time to wear paper bags over our head yet.

My suggestion is that we trade for Alex Rios (we need another outfielder, one that can hit with power) and a starting pitcher; maybe Nolasco or even Jake Peavy, all with large contracts and available for next year (might as well think about that).  Then we send Lincecum to the bullpen where I think that he will thrive (think John Smoltz), Panda to the bench until he loses some weight and stop thinking about the post-season (we may not be there but we can certainly play better ball then we are right  now).

The guys to watch are Buster Posey, who will have a monster second half and may carry the team by himself and Brandon Belt who is very close to being the big bopper that the G-Men thought he could be. Look for Gaudin to be a solid fourth or fifth starter, look for Cain to get his head on straight after the All-Star break and look for Vogelsong to stabilize the pitchers when he comes back.

The Series to come

The Dodgers are glorying in their rookie, Puig, who has singlehandedly turned their season around in a month (I personally find it offensive that the LA papers think that Puig should go to the All-Star game after a month in the majors - but that is very LA). Tomorrow Bumgarner pitches and Sunday it will be Gaudin against Kershaw.  It would be very nice to take the next two games, although the current 10 to 2 shellacking that the Dodgers are putting on the Giants is no fun. Other than that I really do not want to talk about the Dodgers.  They are the best team that money can buy and as full of themselves as the Yankees of old.  Remember that we are only half way through the season.

The question is whether or not we can get healthy on the Mets before the desperately needed All-Star break. The Mets are in 4th place in the NL East, 12 games out and seemingly counting the days until the break, although they just got Ike Davis back and are currently wiping up the floor with the Brewers (12 to 5).  We will be seeing David Wright, a lock for the All-Star game with a .305 BA and a great attitude and, if the Mets rotation holds, we will see Zach Wheeler (who we lost in the Beltran trade) pitching on Wednesday. It will be a “what could have been” moment.

Ciao, and GO GIANTS!

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