Football score at Coors today: Giants 13 - Rockies 6

Wow, what a game. Lowry extended his winning streak: he is now 7-0 for his career. However, it was pretty rough, 5.1 IP, 6 runs given up. But Feliz had a grand slam and 5 RBI, Snow had 3 hits, 2 RBI, Grissom double and HR, 2 RBI, almost everyone had like two hits except for Alfonzo and Vizquel, even Lowry had two hits. Giants winnah!

It was so early, I was surprised that Alou didn't bring in Williams to pitch. Unless... maybe he gets a change of heart, lets Schmidt pitch tomorrow to keep him on schedule but then pitch Williams on Sunday and push back the rotation to follow with Rueter, Tomko, Lowry, then back to Schmidt and Williams? It's not like Rueter and Tomko couldn't use an extra day of rest, they weren't great at all so far.

Tomko's comment about how he would have gotten more on the free agent market, that the Giants got a bargain, notwithstanding, he is the same old Tomko, lost and inconsistent. And I was sooo hoping that all the things he said would make a difference - the sports shrink, the move towards more fast balls, the different exercise regimen in the off-season - but I guess not. At least not so far. But it is still early, maybe he can still figure it out, but it has been same-old, same-old. Luckily the season is long and the Giants have a good offense (great once Bonds and Alou are in there) so he just needs to pitch a typical Tomko year to win 12-15 games for us.


Sometimes you just have to tip your hat...

One game difference between OK and horrible. For whatever reason, Odalis Perez got our number. Well, him and Kent. (Ugh, I hated seeing his ugly puss on TV, another "I've been dreaming of playing for the Dodgers..."; that explains his lack of impact during the playoffs...) It would have been OK if the Giants had cashed in their 8 runs to start against Weaver but it was not to be and we get swept in a 2 game series.

But we are still .500 and not that far back of the "leaders". Whether the Giants or whomever, I expect the leadership to rotate among the four teams currently at top, at least until Alou and Bonds return. Then I expect things to pick up nicely from there for the Giants.

As could be expected, in retrospect, Jerome Williams turn in the rotation was skipped to keep everyone (i.e. Schmidt) on their regular day to pitch. Alou's talk about no 5th starter was probably to "aye mein" (Chinese Cantonese for "give face" or in today's lingo, giving it up for his homeboy, some r-e-s-p-e-c-t) to Williams to try to reduce the sting of being skipped plus make it look like the decision was not made automatically but was given some days to ferment and congeal. In addition, when this affects your ace, Schmidt, I think everyone has to ready to bend over backward to make sure Schmidt is OK and pitching well.

But it also made sense from another aspect: we're playing 3 games in Colorado over the weekend. Odds are, one of the starters will get shelled early and probably Williams will be utilized as long relief to give the bullpen some rest (especially since Rueter is now slated to start Sunday against them). That will save the bullpen for the more important duties of (hopefully) keeping the lead.

Off days are the worse after a losing streak...


It just doesn't get any worse....

It's bad enough losing to the Dodgers... But to lead 8-5 going into the bottom of the 9th with your monster closer going for you in Armando Benitez... Then the rook Jason Ellison - welcome to the big leagues! - overplays the ball and the winning run scores on his error (shades of Cody Ransom!). So instead of Dodger fans crying in their soup watching their team get whomped on their home opener... Tomko better have a great outing Wednesday!

There was so much to like about the game up to then. Vizquel's been a marvel hitting. Matheny too. Feliz got his first dinger today and it was a beaut! And Alfonzo has been on FIRE! 4 hits! Again, the Giants had the opportunities to score but failed after the 3rd and the bullpen failed them again.

But it is still early yet and no one is running away yet. The Giants just need to stay within shouting distance of 1st place before the big boys come back to the lineup and jazz the lineup up. With the way the Giants offense has been going, can you imagine what would happen once their two best hitters join the lineup? We'll be winning a lot of football scores (14-10, 9-7) with the way the bullpen has been giving it up and the lineup has been performing with either of their sluggers.


These are a few of my favorite prospects...

Minor league season has started and while it is way too early to be making anything of these stats, I thought I would point out some of the performances of Giants prospects that I like on this off day:
  • Pat Misch: 6 IP, 3 hits, 1 walk, 2 strikeouts, 2 ER
  • Jesse Foppert: 5 IP, 3 hits, 2 BB, 9 K's!, 0 ER
  • Scott Munter: 1 IP, 2 hits, 0 BB, 0 K, 0 ER
  • Fred Lewis: .333/.333/.333/.667 in 18 AB, 1 run, 3 K's
  • Dan Ortmeier: .063/.063/.205/.288 in 16 AB, 1 HR, 1 run, 2 RBI, 4 K's
  • Brian Buscher: .091/.231/.091/.322 in 11 AB, 1 run, 1 RBI, 0 K's
  • Merkin Valdez: 4 IP, 5 hits, 2 BB, 6 K's
  • Nate Schierholtz: .417/.533/.500/1.033 in 12 AB, 1 2B, 2 runs, 6 K's
  • Kevin Frandsen: .286/.444/.286/.730 in 14 AB, 2 runs, 2 K's
  • Travis Ishikawa: .267/.353/.600/.953 in 15 AB, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 runs, 3 RBI, 2 K's
  • Clay Timpner: .231/.333/.615/.948 in 13 AB, 1 3B, 1 HR, 2 runs, 2 RBI, 2 K's
  • Eddy Martinez-Esteve: .154/.353/.154/.507 in 13 AB, 2 runs, 2 RBI, 5 K's
  • Joe Bateman: 2 games, 3.2 IP, 2 hits, 0 BB, 3 K's, 2 ER
  • Marcus Sanders: .389/.389/.500/.889 in 18 AB, 1 3B, 6 runs, 3 SB, 1 K
  • Craig/Roger Whitaker: 4.2 IP, 2 hits, 2 BB, 7 K's!, 2 ER, 1 HR

Giants had total domination

The Giants totally ripped the Rockies on Sunday from every which way except for power. They scored 11 runs dinking hits all over. They got a great start from Schmidt plus good relief outings for the most part, stopping the bad trend of the bullpen giving away tons of runs before settling down. It was a good game all around. Hopefully the Giants can keep it going on the road against L.A. and Colorado.

Alou gave me the sign this weekend that he does take L/R and OBP seriously. Many times the past two seasons he would play someone against L/R conventions or low OBP at the top of the lineup. People, including me, would whine.

However, this weekend, with his two biggest sluggers out of the lineup, he went for the R/L advantage by playing Ellison in RF and Niekro at 1B against LHP when the easy route would have been to say that he needed his vets and play Tucker and Snow. No one would have blamed him for that and it would have been the safe choice. Plus, he is giving the young guys a chance to show their talents by doing this, which is another benefit.

Yes, Feliz still plays against RHP, but the Giants need his power, even if he does hit poorly against RHP (though much much better last season, he is Neifi-ish against RHP for his career).

Basically, it seems like he will go against the grain to show confidence in the player and encourage the player. Plus you never know when you catch lightening in a bottle, like he did with Grissom two years ago. Plus you need to develop your young players somehow. Alou will go against the book to accomplish such objectives.

But his talk about Grissom batting lower because of his OBP was not all smoke, he only did batted him leadoff two years ago because Durham was out and he needed a leadoff hitter. Desperate measures for desperate times. Otherwise, from what I could tell in general, the low OBP will bat lower while the higher OBP would bat higher in the lineup. And left would face right and vice-versa.

But he is not wedded to those plans, he would do anything he can to help him win the game. And he realizes that such moves, while optimum, is not that much different on a one game basis to the alternatives, so he doesn't do everything "by the book" in setting up the lineup when the net gain is not that great. He would rather give a player a vote of confidence by playing him than to just continue what he was doing before.