And a Man-Child shall lead them unto the Playoffs

Man oh man, my thoughts are running a mile a minute!!! And, no, my title does not refer to this year - still don't look good, especially with the 'Dres leading the D-gers right now - but to the near and far future: Cain is the real deal!!! He is the face of the post-Barry Giants!!!

I normally don't gush like this but how can I not: complete game victory, only 105 pitches but still with 8 strikeouts but only 1 walk and 2 hits with 1 run/ER. DOM-IN-ATING!!! And only in his third career start. I know it is not his first start but it has to rank up there with Marichial's 1-hitter in his first start and Bill Laskey's 7-0 shutout victory in his first start, in terms of great start to pitching career.

And just when we needed it, big time, to keep whatever shred of hope for the playoffs for this season. And he outpitched the Giants prior top pitching prospect, Jerome Williams, who did very well himself. But the contrast between the results of the two pitchers show why the Giants kept Cain but jettisoned Williams: Williams pitched 7 IP with 7 hits, 2 runs, 1 ER, 2 walks but only 1 strikeout. He refuses to strikeout batters for whatever reasons, despite his abilities to fool batters. And yet he had thrown 2 more pitches than Cain did - 107 vs. 105 - despite not striking out as many and going 2 innings less.

I loves the strikeout pitchers and Cain is the first one, really, since I first started following the Giants and had Montefusco as one of my fave players. And he not only dominated in that way but it was the way he pitched the 9th inning that really pushed me over the top in excitement. Most of you know the drill with how Giants starters attack the hitters in the top of the 9th, only slim 2-1 lead: they try to bite off the corners and not challenge any of the hitters.

But Cain, facing the top of the lineup plus Derrek Lee as the 3rd batter, the only hitter to get a hit off him all night and it was a homerun, challenged all of them. He even gave up a hit to the first batter and had to face Neifi Perez, Derrek Lee (why couldn't we have traded for him?), and Jeromy Burnitz with no out and a runner on first. And he retired the three of them on one pitch each, he challenged them with his fastball and got Perez and Lee to pop up and Burnitz to meekly ground out to Durham for the last out. DOMINATING!!!

He has the cajones to become the ace of the staff after Schmidt leaves the team and with the two of them we could have a pair of dominating, high strikeout starters like the D-backs had with Johnson and Schilling. Plus then we would put Lowry between the two of them to mix it up and what a playoff rotation that would be!!!

A Milestone... (of sorts)

And now I feel totally old because the Giants during the Sabean era had older players so the key players I rooted for were relatively close to my age and Barry is just a few years younger than I. Plus the farm system didn't really produce any good players to root for. But Cain will be the first one I consider a fave player to be young enough that he could have been my child.

But WOO-HOO, what a game, what balls, what a man!!! The Giants in 2006 looks like it will have a great rotation and bullpen, now we need to boost up the lineup (1B power hitter or 3B power hitter if we can trade either or both of Alfonzo/Durham; Feliz should really only be our backup LF/RF/3B as long as we have Bonds) and we could go all the way next year. To show my age (but those who know what I'm talking about, you're probably thinking the same thing), I've been mentally imagining Steve Martin doing his "Happy Feet" routine over and over again. And I've been fighting the urge to jump up and do it myself and to scream "YEAH" at the top of my lungs! I am just floating around internally.

I know I'm being premature but the signs look so good that I cannot help myself. I normally don't get so excited over an unproven prospect, not even for Lowry after what he did last season, but I just have this great feeling right now. Feel free to bring me down but it just feels so good right now.


Well it ain't no fairy tale, its baseball

You win some, you lose some, you lose some horrific games to your hated rivals in their last at-bats. Worse yet, you get to see Jeff Cent smile upon shoving it to the Giants. We coulda, shoulda been just 4 games out but now we are 6 games back and its looking bad again.

That's life on the edge, its time for the Giants to either put up or shut up. Given Lowry's poor start tonight and Schmidt's pulled groin, it seems like shut up but we'll see. We still have a lot of games against the Padres and they haven't been setting the world on fire either. And as I noted in a previous post, somebody will have to win those games the two teams play, no matter how poorly either club plays.

And Bonds on the edge to joining the team should give the team and especially the offense a big boost. Even if he just takes 4 wide ones 3 times a game. I think the Giants should initially play Bonds for 3 ABs a game or 4 if he gets it by the 6th inning, then either pinch run for him if he's on base, or replace him defensively the next inning. That way, he is eased into play, he gets most of the ABs he's going to get in the game, but he will skip defensive work for about a third of the game. Then leave it in his hands after a few games, if he's OK, he stays in, if he's getting a little tired, pinch-run/defensive replace him. Too bad he couldn't have joined in August when we had all that great pitching, we could have had a monster month and caught up with the Padres already, instead of still trailing by so much.


Is Christiansen certifiable?

The news has spread that it is Christiansen who was the pitcher who scuffled with Bonds over the presence of Bonds' trainer, Harry Shields and had Bonds in a head lock. He claims now that he has no problem with Bonds and Bonds likewise with him. But neither denied that some incident happened either (then again Rafael Palmeiro thrusted his finger and declared that he has never taken steroids...). No word yet from Harry Shields to confirm or deny. :^)

Assuming this is true, besides the idiocy of complaining about the presence of a trainer - what, they're not good enough to be around the players? - what about the idea of attacking your team's $20M player who is recovering from a knee injury and either putting him in a headlock or grabbing him? Is that what good teammates do? Putting the team's most valuable player in jeopardy of hurting his leg again and taking longer to rehab?

Not that Bonds get off easy either, taking a swing (perhaps now no more than a shove, the player confirming this confrontation said there were no swings, just some grabbing) at Christiansen when he should be taking utmost care not to injure his leg. This is probably why the Giants sent him to LA, so that no other player would find a reason to piss off Bonds. Or Bonds any reason to be pissed off at a player.

And Christiansen has been one of the poorest player acquisition in Sabean's reign as GM. He had a nice half year with us but then was lost to us, for the most part, after he signed his contract, whether from his arm going out and needing surgery or getting him back while his arm was still recovering from being unused for so long. Why we paid so much for a pitcher who faces only left-handed hitters (what's that term, LOOGY?) I have no idea.

And I have found his attitude curious because he acts like he has Schmidt's stats only, well, he doesn't. He can get away with such an attitude if he had done something really good in his career, but no, he hasn't - he's a lefty relief specialist. Nobody has made the Hall of Fame doing that, no one has won an MVP doing that, no one has won a Cy Young doing that. So why does he think he's so special?

Good riddance, let's hope the players we picked up can contribute more than he has. He's already contributing to the Angel's the way any long-standing Giants fan would want him to contribute: 13.50 ERA.