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Tag:San Francisco Giants
Posted on: October 29, 2010 8:42 pm
 

Trick-or-treating with Jeff Francoeur

ARLINGTON, Tex. -- There was a time when the boys of autumn who will be playing a World Series game on Halloween night this weekend dressed up and trick-or-treated like most every other kid.

And Texas outfielder Jeff Francoeur still lights up at the thought of his old neighbors across the street supplying a cotton candy machine for kids on Halloween night.

In fact, that's such a sweet memory for Francoeur that when he was playing in Atlanta and living with Braves catcher Brian McCann, the two rented a cotton candy maching for Halloween, 2006.

"I swear we had 700 kids lined up," Francoeur says. "Their parents wanted a margarita machine."

Amiable hosts that they were, Francoeur and McCann drew the line there, and not just because they were short on salt.

"I don't really think that would be good on Halloween," Francoeur says, smiling broadly.

Likes: The Margaritaville frozen drinks machine that my buddy Dr. Dan sent to me a couple of springs ago after he picked one up for his office party one year when the Indianapolis Colts were headed to the Super Bowl. ... The House of Prime Rib in San Francisco. Had the King Henry VIII cut the other night with three different kinds of horseradish. Excellent, excellent meal. ... Snickers and M&Ms on Halloween. Hot Tamales and Milk Duds are good. No Butterfinger bars or Milky Ways, please.

Dislikes: The World Series on Halloween. Besides the fact that baseball should not be played into November for myriad reasons, it takes me away from my daughter and her friends as they trick-or-treat and from my wife on her birthday (yes, Halloween day). Time was, if you covered baseball, Halloween was extra festive because it marked the beginning of some time at home in the off-season. No more, and it stinks.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"The zombies were having fun
"The party had just begun
"The guests included Wolf Man
"Dracula and his son
"The scene was rockin', all were digging the sounds
"Igor on chains, backed by his baying hounds
"The coffin-bangers were about to arrive
"With their vocal group, "The Crypt-Kicker Five"

-- Bobby "Boris" Pickett, The Monster Mash

Posted on: October 29, 2010 2:25 am
 

Put him in coach, Fontenot ready to play

SAN FRANCISCO -- Poor Mike Fontenot.

There he was, ready to play in the first World Series game of his life.

There he was, in the on-deck circle to bat for relief pitcher Javier Lopez in the eighth inning as the Giants were en route to a 9-0 crushing of Texas in Game 2 on Thursday night.

There he was, being introduced by the public address announcer as the next batter with San Francisco comfortably ahead 6-0.

There he was ... U-turning back to the dugout when manager Bruce Bochy elected to hit Aaron Rowand when Texas summoned lefty reliever Mike Kirkman.

"Fontenot, he's entered a game in the World Series," said Giants veteran Mark DeRosa, who has been sidelined for most of the season with a wrist injury. "He told me that when he got back to the bench.

"He said, 'I played.'"

Indeed, because he was announced as a pinch-hitter, you will find Fontenot's name in the Game 2 box score. No plate appearance, but, hey. He played. Sort of.

Maybe next time.

Likes: The Willie Mays statue in front of AT&T Park rightfully gets all the recognition, but the Juan Marichal statue a little further down Third St. next to McCovey Cove is very cool, too. The statue captures the incredibly high leg kick of Marichal, who had the grace of a ballerina. You'd swear it would topple over with a good gust of wind. ... Went for a long run along the Embarcadero here down toward the ballpark, and you forget how many delivery trucks it takes to make sure a ballpark is well-stocked for a postseason game until you see them all parading through around 10 a.m. or so. ... Jokes about manager Bruce Bochy's cap size never get old. Especially because he's making all the right moves right now. ... The energy in this city is incredible. Orange and black Giants garb being worn everywhere. ... Monroe (Mich.) St. Mary Catholic Central High ready to debut in the state football playoffs on Friday night against those big, bad Dundee Vikings. My Falcons advanced to the Division 6 state title game last year, and Coach (and friend and classmate) Jack Giarmo has 'em ready to rock again. Go get 'em, Falcons.

Dislikes: Early morning flights, like the one I'm on very shortly here as I type these words!

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Goodbye to all my friends at home
"Goodbye to people I've trusted
"I've got to go out and make my way
"I might get rich you know I might get busted
"But my heart keeps calling me backwards
"As I get on the 707
"Ridin' high I got tears in my eyes
"You know you got to go through hell
"Before you get to heaven"

-- Steve Miller Band, Jet Airliner

 

Posted on: October 28, 2010 11:14 pm
 

Giants demolish Rangers in Game 2


SAN FRANCISCO -- The Rangers, one night after watching Cliff Lee get hammered, could not even raise (Matt) Cain and now head back to Texas in a deep hole.

Their first World Series threatening to get away from them, the Rangers were dropped 9-0 by the Giants thanks to a wicked combination of Matt Cain's continuing postseason brilliance, one jaw-droppingly bad break, a couple of missed opportunities and another searing bullpen meltdown.

Bottom line is, the Rangers are in trouble unless they figure out this masterful Giants pitching. You can rip the Texas bullpen if you wish -- and you should -- but San Francisco pitching is shredding this Texas lineup like wet toilet paper.

Anybody who's not yet ready to give San Francisco's pitchers full credit, maybe you'd better go back to whatever it was you were doing before this postseason caught your attention.

We've heard a whole lot about Cliff Lee and Roy Halladay and CC Sabathia, but behind Cain, Tim Lincecum and the rest, the Giants take a back seat to nobody.

Cain entered the game as the first pitcher to not allow an earned run in either of his first two postseason starts since Atlanta's Steve Avery in 1991. He departed after 7 2/3 innings having not allowed a run in his first THREE postseason starts.

The Rangers went 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position against Cain, who now is up to 21 1/3 scoreless postseason innings. Think October agrees with this young man? Opponents now are 0 for 17 against him this postseason with runners in scoring position. He's produced more bagels than Einstein's the past three weeks.

And the one time the Rangers thought they had him, well, that's where the jaws dropped. Ian Kinsler slugged a deep fly to center to start the fifth that appeared to be gone. But in an impromptu test of gravity, physics and geometry, the ball bounced off the top of the wall, and somehow angled itself off the padding to bounce backward toward center fielder Andres Torres.

Instead of a homer and a 1-0 Texas lead, Kinsler got a double. Then he got left at second when David Murphy, Matt Treanor and C.J. Wilson were mowed down behind him (Mitch Moreland was intentionally walked before Wilson grounded out).

The Giants broke the scoreless tie with Edgar Renteria's solo homer in the fifth, tacked on a run in the seventh after Wilson left with a blister and then turned it into a laugher with seven runs in the eighth against four 'B'-league level Rangers relievers with manager Ron Washington inexplicably slow to the switch.

Now, it's tough to tell which needs a change of venue more, the Texas Rangers or this World Series.

We'll get one for Game 3, back in Texas on Saturday. But unless the Rangers figure a few things out, this Fall Classic is destined for all the drama of a Saturday afternoon oil change.

Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:18 pm
 

Giants contemplate roster, lineup

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants will wait until Wednesday morning to finalize their World Series roster, but it is expected that Barry Zito, who has been left off of the roster in each of the first two postseason rounds, will remain on the sidelines.

As for a lineup, outfielder and leadoff man Andres Torres has been instrumental in making the Giants go this summer. But with lefty Cliff Lee starting Game 1 and with Torres having strained a muscle near his left hip in Game 6 of the NL Championship Series, indications are that the Giants may go with an outfield of Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand and Cody Ross in Game 1.

"The lineup, you'll probably see it get tweaked a little bit with the left-handers, as we did when Cole Hamels was throwing against us," manager Bruce Bochy said. "Again, you're going with match-ups, how lefties handle certain lefties.

"I know they have a couple going against us the first two games. You could see it teaked a little bit. As far as Torres, I'll know more [Wednesday]."

Torres has never faced Lee or Game 2 starter C.J. Wilson. Rowand, career, is hitting .280 (7-for-25) with one home run against Lee. Overall, the Giants only have a few players with a very small number of at-bats against Wilson -- Juan Uribe leads the team with four at-bats against him.

Posted on: October 26, 2010 11:07 pm
 

Let Tim Smoke

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants fans have plenty of gear to choose from at the concession stands, from Pablo Sandoval "Kung Fu Panda" hats to Tim Lincecum wigs, but one T-shirt you see around town is only sold on the streets.

It reads "Let Tim Smoke", which neatly ties together Lincecum's arrest on a misdemeanor marijuana charge last winter along with the ballot initiative in California next Tuesday to legalize pot.

Lincecum, preparing to start Game 1 of the World Series, was asked in a news conference Tuesday about "those funny T-shirts that you see people walking around the streets with" and his folk hero status.

"It's a really good atmosphere," Lincecum said, "As far as the shirts go ... [it's an] it is what it is kind of thing. I'm having fun with it. You see all the Pablo hats or the Panda hats and the Brian Wilson 'Fear the Beard' shirts and things.

"It's just something for them to play on and have fun with, and it's good. I think it gets them involved, and I feel like they're part of the team."

Posted on: October 26, 2010 10:56 pm
 

The Flying Molinas and the World Series

SAN FRANCISCO -- The road to the World Series goes through the Molina brothers.

Texas catcher Bengie.

St. Louis catcher Yadier.

And Toronto catcher Jose.

One of the three has played on a World Series team in five of the past nine seasons: Bengie (Texas this year, the Angels in 2002), Jose (Yankees, 2009), and Yadier (Cardinals, 2004 and 2006).

"It's because there's so many of them," Rangers reliever Darren Oliver jokes. "They're all over the place."

It's sort of true.

Bengie, the current World Series Molina, said Tuesday that it is not a subject he and his brothers discuss.

"Not yet," Bengie says. "Once we're done with baseball, we're going to sit down with some pina coladas somewhere special and talk about what we've accomplished. But that's not now."

Posted on: October 25, 2010 10:33 pm
 

Giants: Lincecum Game 1, Cain and Sanchez flip

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who has made all the right moves so far this postseason, is flip-flopping Matt Cain and Jonathan Sanchez in the club's World Series rotation.

Moving away from Philadelphia's left-heavy lineup, Bochy is slotting the right-handed Cain in for the Game 2 start, with Sanchez starting Game 3 in Texas.

Tim Lincecum, as expected, will start Game 1 on Wednesday night against the Rangers' Cliff Lee.

The Giants lined up with Lincecum, Cain and Sanchez against Atlanta in the Division Series. But in the NL Championship Series, they went Lincecum, Sanchez, Cain and rookie Madison Bumgarner. Bochy wanted the lefty Sanchez to pitch Game 2, partly to break up his righties and lefties in the rotation and partly so that Cain, a fly ball pitcher, would not be exposed to the home-run trap that can be Citizens Bank Park.

Like Philadelphia's park, the Ballpark in Arlington is notoriously friendly to hitters who launch fly balls, and that probably factored in to the Giants' thinking. One reason Bochy voiced: Cain last started before Sanchez, back on Oct. 19, and he wants to get the big right-hander back on the mound.

Cain's reaction?

"We'll start it out with Timmy against Cliff, and then we'll go to the next game," the mellow righty said.

As for pushing Sanchez back, it's got nothing to do with the lefty's rough (two-innings-plus) start in Philadelphia in Game 6.

"The guy had a hiccup," Bochy said. "We're here because of what Jonathan Sanchez did down the stretch. He had an off night. It's going to happen."

"It doesn't matter," Sanchez said of when he pitches. "You're just going to pitch one game. I've just got to throw a bullpen when I have to."

The way things set up now, Sanchez could pitch Games 3 and 7, but he said he hasn't thought about that.

"We'll see what happens," Sanchez said.

As for Lincecum, as he made adjustments following his rough August, he mostly stopped throwing between-starts bullpen sessions. Of his three-batter relief outing in Game 6 of the NLCS, Lincecum said he did not -- and will not -- do any extra bullpen work.

So the relief appearance serves as his between-starts bullpen session?

"I suppose," he said.

Posted on: October 24, 2010 2:40 am
 

Sanchez chased but spark lit

PHILADELPHIA -- No, Jonathan Sanchez was not trying to drill Chase Utley.

Truth is, Sanchez had no more idea of where his fastball was going than he did of what a gallon of gas will cost next Thursday. But there is no question that the San Francisco Giants were a different team following the benches-clearing incident in their 3-2 Game 6 NL Championship Series clincher here on Saturday night.

After Sanchez hit Utley, the second baseman reflexively picked up the baseball and tossed it in Sanchez's direction en route to first base. The lefty did not appreciate the gesture, and Sanchez hollered as much at Utley. Which is when the benches cleared. (The umpires, by the way, did an excellent job of keeping things under control without issuing any ejections).

As the champagne sprayed in the Giants' clubhouse after, Sanchez refused to say what he hollered at Utley.

"I'm not going to say nothing about that," Sanchez said.

As for Utley tossing the baseball toward him, Sanchez had plenty to say about that.

"You can't do that," Sanchez said. "Take your base. He tossed the ball back to me. If you're a professional, you don't do that."

It was the third time Utley was hit by a Sanchez pitch in 20 plate appearances during his career. The two have had one previous set-to. During a game in July, 2009, Sanchez threw a fastball near Utley's head, after which the second baseman took a step toward the mound and glared at the pitcher. Later in the same at-bat, Utley called for time late, stepping out of the batter's box just before Sanchez delivered a pitch. On the next pitch, Utley smashed a homer.

Still, Sanchez said, none of that has anything to do with what happened Saturday night.

"I was trying to throw strikes with my fastball and I couldn't get anything over the plate," he sdaid.

While pitching coach Dave Righetti said Sanchez had some of his best stuff of the year during pre-game warm-ups, it disappeared by the time the first inning started. Sanchez was removed two batters into the third, after a walk and then hitting Utley in the upper back with a pitch.

His line: Two innings plus, three hits and two earned runs. He had as many wild pitches and hit batters each as strikeouts (one). He walked two.

"I didn't have it," he said. "I didn't have my best stuff."

It's not as if he didn't contribute, though. Closer Brian Wilson agreed with third-base coach Tim Flannery's assessment that the benches-clearing incident sparked the Giants.

"I'll tell you what," Wilson said. "It certainly lit a fire. I'm glad it happened. You realize what was at stake.

"At that point we were losing [actually tied 2-2] and you're looking for any reason to wake up."

 
 
 
 
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