Giants Recap: Two Weird-Lookin Fellas Do Just Fine In Texas

You can’t take anything in baseball for granted. Literally, anything. A projectile small than an adult’s closed fist is being hurled at velocities well exceeding the automobile speed limit and then bounced around thousands of square feet of space occupied by nine fragile sacks of meat and bone piloted by a mysterious chemical concoction. Really, once you’ve spent enough time considering the convoluted track of evolution and conditioning necessary to produce Hunter Pence, it’s no stretch at all to think “Yeah, of course the Astros could beat the Giants this year. Weirder things have happened.

But if ever there was a chance for a sweep, this series was it. So thank all that’s holy that the Giants cashed that chance in, especially after a game that looked Belisario ugly in the opening innings. Ryan Vogelsong hasn’t been Vogelsongian lately – or rather, he’s been an entirely different kind of Vogelsongian, one hopefully consigned to the dustbin of history – and one hopes that he’ll regain that potent combination of movement and location on his fastball.

That said, if there’s a single pitcher on the Giants’ roster who will just slam himself into the wall (figuratively speaking) as many times as it takes to fix whatever is broken, it’s Vogelsong. Hell, he struck out seven in six innings tonight, which is a good sign of putting it back together after the Zitonian beginning. He got the win! Continue reading

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Giants Recap: Bullpen Bails Out Zito

Kontos holds it down. (photo: flickr/SD Dirk)

The Giants played the Astros today. There’s probably one guy you’ve heard of who was in today’s lineup. Literally one. He’s the one who has become a unit of measurement. Yeah, that one.

Given that, it’s kind of hard to muster much to say about a game against the Astros, where they sent out arguably their worst starter and the Giants sent out Barry Zito. There was a game. Of baseball. It took nine innings. The Giants won. Yup.

But alright, anyone who follows me on Twitter or has talked to me recently knows of my seat at the front of the George Kontos bandwagon, and today was everything I could have hoped for. 2.2 innings of relief, including getting out of Zito’s jam after he got pulled early, eight up, eight down, and a totally respectable at-bat, all adding up to his first big league win.

Other things of note:

  • Hunter Pence hit a three-run home run, just his second as a Giant
  • Guillermo Mota is back in action after serving his suspension
  • Santiago Casilla looked pretty good
  • lol Zito
  • lol Astros

Giants attempt to avoid avoiding the sweep tomorrow evening with Ryan Vogelsong vs. Jordan Lyles.

Giants Recap: Still In First Place!

Matt Cain, though not perfect like he was in his last start against the Astros, pitched one pretty good game today.

6.1 innings pitched, striking out six, giving up only one earned run, two runs total, and one walk. Not shabby at all. Although, he did have that one error that wasn’t nice to look at. But, still, not a terrible outing.

But then, there’s Emmanuel Burriss, he of the .210/.272/.218 line. He’s also the proud owner of a — get this — .008 ISO.

.008. ISO.

And that’s just this season. His career ISO is now at .027.

Now, I don’t exactly expect much from Burriss, but his numbers aren’t too encouraging. I would hope for at least a .030 ISO on the season or career-wise, but he just doesn’t seem like he’s got that in him.

There’s also his .224 wOBA on the season.

So, he can’t hit, he can’t bunt, he fields like there’s going to be lots of pasta diving happening. His base running has a lot to be desired. Yet he’s still on the bench, most likely because he’s out of options. For inexplicable reasons, it’s like Hinshaw 2.0.

Man. Man.

That narrative’s gonna be annoying for a while.

On the bright side, this also happened today:

Thank you, Padres, for doing your job. Giants fans salute you today.

Giants Recap: Oh Hai First Place

Dueling narratives. (Photo: Inha Leex Hale/flickr)

Man, I can’t keep the narratives straight anymore.

I do know that

  1. There may or may not be a personal catcher rule in effect, but Hector Sanchez is totally catching Tim Lincecum every start, whether you like it or not.
  2. Tim Lincecum may or may not be back, but the media is totes going to say he is.
  3. Tim Lincecum was pretty awesome tonight.
  4. And with an 8 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 11 K line, why wouldn’t he be?
  5. Hector Sanchez may or may not be the reason why Tim was awesome again tonight, but let’s all just say he is because that’s how it works.

I think that’s all the narratives that happened until the 9th inning. I think.

Anyway, Hector Sanchez is … a backup catcher for a reason. He’s not particularly the best defensively and unfortunately, tonight was the night it really showed.

The game should’ve been over in the top of the 9th with a strikeout, except there was the throwing error and the wild pitch and then, oh, look, the game’s tied. Herpity derp. Continue reading

Giants Recap: So The Second Half Apparently Begins

Madison Bumgarner facing the Astros is usually a fun thing to watch.

Last time he faced them, he hit his first career home run — something that I know I’ve definitely been waiting to see since I heard he hit a grand slam in AA Connecticut. (Remember when the Giants’ AA team was still the Connecticut Defenders and not the Richmond Flying Squirrels? That was, like, three or four seasons ago? What the what now?)

Anyway, tonight, he faced the Astros once again. Seven innings, two hits given up, two walks, one run, five strike outs. Pure awesomness, of course. Sure, someone can credit that also to the fact that it’s the Astros and they don’t exactly have the best team in the National League. But Jose Altuve went 0-for-4 tonight, which means something.

Buster Posey ran massive_dingerz.exe and crushed one into centerfield. It was awesome. That’s Buster Posey.

I would have rather not seen any kind of collision at the plate, even if it was one of the Giants bowling over the opposing catcher. That … was just not pleasant to watch, honestly.

But otherwise, with the exception of the 8th and 9th innings when I was promptly distracted by the internet, it seemed like a good game. And they won! Which is a nice change from losing. But it’s not like there are any other options than that.

Giants Recap: Barry Zito Does Not Record A Perfect Game

This showed up in a search for "sad face." So here's a photo. (Photo: hjhipster/Flickr)

Okay, so, raise your hand if you were surprised by how this game went. Is your hand up? Good. Now I know who all the liars are.

Matt Cain went out and made history last night, with stoic, ruthless efficiency. I’d love to talk about that (literally for hours), but that’s not the game I’m recapping; I mention it because if I was going to draw a linear graph of pitching experiences, “Matt Cain throws a perfect game” would be exactly diametrically opposite of “Barry Zito walks the bases loaded and gives up a grand slam.” So really, maybe I am a little surprised by just how fitting it was.

Anyway, Zito’s still got a lot of goodwill to burn through this season, after that startling season debut and quite a few quality starts since then. When your standards are as low as “please be an acceptable fifth starter,” pitching some legitimately really good games can do a lot to make friends. But after today, Zeets has a 4.92 FIP, the third worst in the National League. His 3.61 ERA is pretty middle of the pack, which is nice; the problem is that it has been a long time since Barry Zito routinely outperformed his FIP and other peripherals. That was when he was good, and an Athletic. Since becoming a Giant, his actual performance and predicted performance have basically gone hand in hand. Continue reading