Barry looking guiltier...

In a story originally reported in the Chron and was followed up by ESPN and their full-time reporter following Barry, Pedro Gomez, Barry Bonds has reportedly started working out with Greg Anderson again.

WHY BARRY?!? He's a smart guy. He knows what out in the press. His testimony to the Grand Jury is that he wouldn't take any and that Anderson knows that if he doped Barry, he would drop him. Well, all the evidence currently (I'm keeping an open mind) says that Anderson did apparently dupe Barry into taking substances that Balco called the Cream and the Clear (now known as arthritis balm and flaxseed oil).

Hasn't Barry talked with Anderson? Wouldn't he ask him why the FBI and IRS says that Anderson had schedules documenting that he gave Barry some of Balco's best? Can he see that by associating with Anderson, he is making it look like to fans that he was in on this?

I know how people can be blinded when it comes to their friends but his "friend" has entangled him in a world of suspicions and doubt as to his abilities, at least those shown in the past 5 seasons, and it should bother him, even if he thinks his friend is just an innocent bystander to Conte's machinations. But at minimum, I would grill my "friend" on any and all points regarding this whole thing and I cannot imagine any answers that would get me to say, "OK, you are a good friend, let's go exercise together."

I still hope for the best, but I fear the worse and it is getting worst with each allegation.

Tucker's Da Man!

Wow, who would have thunk that Tucker would add his name to the annals of McCovey Cove Splash Hitters? And a Grand Salami at that, the first of his career! And what a game! The pitching was great, especially my man Jerome but the bullpen gets it right today as well after a few gasoline-lit outings, though Benitez did give up a run.

And the offense just did enough again. Obviously, the offense is not a high powered machine without their two legitimate 30+ home run hitters out of the lineup. But it is full of little engines who could and together they can do some damage, as they have shown all spring training - remember, Alou was basically AWOL until the last week of spring training.

Amazingly enough, it is doing it without Durham playing his normal brand of baseball, which has been good enough to rate the Giants #1 in the leadoff spot in OPS the past two years, even with him out of the lineup a lot. Imagine what it can do once he gets it going.

Thus far, the offense has been led by the hot Edgardo Alfonzo, who apparently finally realized this off-season that he's not getting any younger, so he worked out, lost a lot of weight (lots of comments in today's game about how he would not have reached so many of the balls that he has gotten to this season if he was in the same shape he was last season), and played winter ball for the first time in years. He already has 2 homers, 5 RBI, and is hitting .533.

Pedro Feliz, Omar Vizquel, J.T. Snow, (amazingly) Mike Matheny, and Marquis Grissom has also done well, virtually the whole lineup. Only Alou (before his injury), Durham and Tucker hadn't been doing much but then Tucker did just enough today. As the cliche goes, there's a new hero every day. And that's the way the Giants offense will have to win it until Moises, and then Barry, rejoin the lineup.

And the starting pitching has been sterling, with all the starters doing good to great except for Tomko who was just ordinary Tomko. If the bullpen had not imploded like they did, the Giants could be 4-1 right now. But I will take 3-2 with Moises and Barry out.

First Mays Field party

For all those interested in renaming SBC, here's a meeting for you:

To all the friends of Mays Field, www.maysfield.org
Our first Mays Field party will be at the Brickhouse during and after
tomorrow's 1:05pm game:
The Brickhouse
426 Brannan Street (between 3rd and 4th)
San Francisco, CA 94107
Directions from Mays Field: http://tinyurl.com/4rclv
Help us spread the word by downloading this one-page flyer
(http://tinyurl.com/58w3f, PDF, 531 KB) and sharing it with your
friends. And be sure to wear some Mays Field gear to get $1 off each
and every beer.
Sorry for any cross-posting. Go Giants!

Roller Coaster Ride

Man, what a game! Giants were cruising along, leading 6-0, then all of a sudden the Rockies score a touchdown and got the conversion, 8-6 lead for the Rockies! Then the Giants inch back to 8-7 before Grissom lines one into the stands for a 3-run homer, 10-8 Giants win! KNTV left out the part about leading 6-0, that was a big flavor of the game (bad Raj! :^).

I have to admit that playing fantasy baseball skews my thinking a bit. The little voice goes, "Oh, come on, get me that rotisserie score!" Like I was going to get my first Win because I have Lowry and I was thinking "Score!" but then the wheel comes off the bullpen - AGAIN! - before they right themselves and enable the team to come back and win.

Well, this bullpen is just on fire, and not in a good way. I guess that is why Al Levine was re-signed the other day, just in case. Don't know what to say other than bullpen, heal thyself! Otherwise, the offense is about what I would expect, some good days like today, some poor days like the last two games against the Dodgers, and the starting pitching has been good to OK as well. If the bullpen can turn it around the Giants should be fine until the big guns return to the lineup.


It's not the end of the world

OK, the Giants lost 2 of 3 to dem bums, now have their two best hitters out injured (possibly both on DL depending on Moises' MRI Friday), and their bullpen has been a regular gas brigade. But it's not the end of the world... yet.

Obviously the view is not pretty but luckily Sabean has a number of players on the bench who have been and could be starters on at least a limited basis. As maligned as Tucker is (it's not his fault the Giants chose to give up a draft pick for him), he is a pretty good hitter vs. RHP, .264/.347/.437/.784 with 100 HR in 3106 AB, or 1 HR every 31 AB, or about 20 HR playing 162 or so games. When Carlos Beltran was out early one season, Tucker hit so well that Kansas City was contending even though Beltran was out. He would be good in a platoon with a strong platoon RHH like Grissom. Unfortunately, with 1 maybe 2 outfielders out, there's no one to platoon with him. However, he tends to hit better early in the season then peters out, so hopefully he can heat up now when we need him, then rest up when Alou and Bonds come back, and be ready to heat up during the playoffs.

So, if Moises go down, I guess that means that Niekro will probably come up and platoon with Snow while Feliz is busy in LF, unless the Giants think that Linden is ready to get some ABs (doubtful). Assuming it is Niekro coming up, that means Feliz in LF, Grissom in CF, and Tucker in RF with Ellison and Torcato backing up. I can see Ellison getting some ABs vs. LHP in RF (or CF with Grissom shifting over to RF) but Torcato probably won't get the call to play LF much vs. RHP as long as Feliz continues to hit them RHP like last season: .269/.301/.483/.784 with 15 HR in 331 AB, a 30 HR pace whereas before he was stymied by RHP and was strictly a platoon player, killing LHP.

The lineup would be Durham, Vizquel, Snow, Feliz, Alfonzo, Grissom, Tucker, Matheny. Not great but if Durham, Vizquel and Snow can get on base a lot like they normally can, Feliz and Alfonzo will be coming up with runners on base often and get a chance to drive in a lot of runs. If they can hit like they've hit in the past, the offense should be decent enough to keep the team in games. Unfortunately, the Giants as a team has not been driving in runs during the regular season play, they have been leaving a lot of runners on base.

The starting pitching has been OK thus far so the main thing that will determine how well the Giants do while their sluggers are ailing is their bullpen. The bullpen need to steady themselves and stop giving up so many runs. If they can be as good as they should be, the other teams will not be scoring that many runs, giving the Giants offense a good chance to win without scoring a lot of runs, kind of like how the Dodgers won in the 60's with their great starting pitchers, Koufax and Drysdale.

And the defense has been sparkling the first three games. The pitching should be feeling good about allowing batters to hit the ball to one of their fielders, knowing that they will get to the ball and make the play. That type of confidence takes time but the display of Vizquel's artistry has been an attention getting already so it's only a matter of time.

Lastly, the Giants play Colorado 6 of the next 8 games, plus the Brewers in 9 of 15 games. Plus the Dodgers again, Padres and the D-backs, 2 games each. None of these clubs look to be juggernauts during the early season plus we also get 3 games with the Pirates at the end of the month. That's not a really scary schedule for now, so the Giants should not be pushed down to the ground like they were at the start of last season. Plus Alou will hopefully be back in less than two weeks, assuming they retroactively DL him so he misses only 13 games. Their offense is adequate enough, I think, to support our starting rotation, we only need the bullpen to start pulling their weight.

Sometimes it just don't pay to be a programmer...

Addendum: apparently they have created a new function to allow you to recover your post. Ironically, the new software has made my browser all goofy and I've been having a heck of a time trying to enter in a post or this comment, which I was originally going to do as a comment to my other post but it failed and now I'm trying to post it here...


Your 2005 San Jose Giants!

And possibly the future starting OF for the San Francisco Giants. There was a nice article in the Merc on the San Jose Giants today. It discusses a number of strong prospects in the Giants farm system, including the three outfielders drafted rounds 2, 3, 4 last season, Eddy Martinez-Esteve, John Bowker, and Clay Timpner (considered the best defensive CF already), Nate Schierholtz, who has shown a lot of power thus far, Travis Ishikawa, who has shown a lot of power thus far, and San Jose's own Kevin Frandsen.

Not as many "name" prospects on the pitching side, but there's a lot of talent, with Garrett Broshuis, 5th round last season, who pitched well after signing, Jesse Floyd, Ben Thurmond, Joe Bateman, who was the All-Star rep for Hagerstown last season, and Justin Hedrick. I'm not as savvy about these pitching prospects but these are the guys I would keep my eye on.

Small nitpick about blogger (but you can't beat free :^): I was ready to post something on yesterday's game but it froze when I tried to post and I lost all my writing (again) when I tried to go back and resubmit. I was lucky the other times as all I needed to do was refresh the posting window but this time I lost it all and don't have the heart to try to recreate it. It has to do a better job recovering posts.

OK, I will go simplistic in my blog template

Hopefully the contrast is a bit better now, plus I get my splash of orange and black. OK, back to funner things!


Season Home Opener: Giants beat LA, 4-2

Ah, the sweet smell of victory! Punctuated by an Alfonzo two-run homer (maybe it was his uniform number change from 13 to 12 that did it for him :^) and a 3-4 day at the plate, 2 runs, 2 RBI. Made all the sweeter because I have Alfonzo in my Yahoo Fantasy Baseball League.

Schmidt was shaky at first (2 runs in first 2 IP) but then found a groove to pitch 7 innings in about 100 pitches (102 to be exact). Later in the season, he would have gotten another 20 pitches and the chance to get a complete game. 9 K's, only 4 hits and 2 walks, his only mistake was to the first batter of the game, Izturis, who belted a homer to lead off the game. It looked shaky from the start but he settled down and then Alfonzo's homer tied the game at 2-2.

Then Eyre came in the 8th and struck out 2 hitters and retiring all three batters he faced, earning a hold. Lastly, the frosting on the cake with Benitez coming in and, after giving up a hit, was saved by two great defensive plays, first by Vizquel, second by Snow, resulting in a slick doubleplay and a groundout. Cha-ching, first save.

The Giants had a number of opportunities to break the game wide open but the heart of the lineup - Snow, Alou, Feliz - failed to deliver this game. That's OK. Schmidt was in control for much of the game and the offense did just enough (with the help of 2 Dodger errors) to win the game, which is the most important thing.

Plus there were some standout offense. Vizquel went 2-3 with a walk (though no runs...). Snow was 1-3 with a walk. Tucker went 1-2. The Giants amassed 10 hits and 2 walks but blew a number of opps to score with no timely hitting. Luckily the Dodgers played oopsy with the ball at inopportune times and the Giants have a win. Go Giants!


Article: Giants 2005 Season Preview: How Old Can They Go? They Can Go All the Way!

My latest article on sfdugout.com is a preview of the 2005 Giants changes and chances for the season. Go Giants! Beat dem Bums!

Description: Will the greybeards of San Francisco teach the whippersnappers a lesson or two? The Giants are poised for a good season, even without Barry to start the season. And they look prepared for a long season and to go long in the playoffs, perhaps to win it all, because of their pitching and defense.


Play Ball!

Yankees beat the defending World Champions Red Sox in the first game of the season, played in NY. Sorry, but I'm a sentimentalist/traditionalist on this particular ritual of baseball: have the damn Reds play the first game of the season!