Tag:San Francisco Giants
Posted on: October 20, 2010 7:14 pm
 

Molina hits, Giants cheer

SAN FRANCISCO -- From the other coast, 3,000 miles away, the Giants are watching their former catcher help Texas bludgeon the Yankees. And they are loving it.

Nothing against the Yankees, understand.

But the Giants still love Bengie Molina.

"We're very, very excited for him," San Francisco starter Matt Cain said before the Giants and Phillies tangled in Game 4 here Wednesday. "We're loving watching him. It couldn't happen to a better person. He was great with us. I'm sure it's the same over there."

Cain and the other Giants hurlers pitched to Molina for nearly 3 1/2 years, from 2007 until Molina had to go when the Giants traded him to Texas on July 1 to make room for rookie Buster Posey.

Nothing personal, just the way baseball works.

Posey helped change the Giants season. And, as things turned out, Molina, 36, was the perfect addition for the Rangers.

Especially in New York Tuesday, when he crashed a three-run homer to help put away Game 4.

"Good for him," Giants shortstop Edgar Renteria said. "He's a good man. He deserves everything good.

"He helped a lot of guys in here."

One of them is Pablo "Kung Fu Panda" Sandoval. Molina took Sandoval under his wing after Panda broke in with the Giants in 2008.

"He helped me with everything," Sandoval said. "Inside and outside of the field. How to deal with fans. People."

Molina entered Game 5 Wednesday hitting .417 against the Yankees in the ALCS with a .462 on-base percentage.

Likes: The Brewers could do worse than hiring Pat Listach as manager. He interviewed Wednesday. ... The pitching in this Giants-Phillies series has been a treat, just as expected. We've barely gotten over the Game 1 hype and here come Tim Lincecum and Roy Halladay to hook back up for a Game 5 duel Thursday. ... Edgar Renteria may be at the end of his career, but he sure is going out strong. The guy is playing in this NLCS despite a completely torn biceps muscle in his left arm. Ouch. ... Credit Giants manager Bruce Bochy with maneuvering his lineup with the skill of an expert watch-man. ... Always a good thing when Clint Eastwood has a new movie out. Looking forward to seeing Hereafter.

Dislikes: First June Cleaver, now Mr. C. Tom Bosley, who will always be Happy Days' Howard Cunningham, passed away on Tuesday. Peace, Mr. C. I'll see ya on reruns. ... Look out, we're about to get Huey Lewis for the Game 5 national anthem here.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I keep a close watch on this heart of mine.
"I keep my eyes wide open all the time.
"I keep the ends out for the tie that binds.
"Because you're mine, I walk the line"

-- Johnny Cash, I Walk the Line

Posted on: October 19, 2010 9:58 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2010 11:01 pm
 

Giants rotation keeps history, Posey busy

SAN FRANCISCO -- You've got Tim Lincecum, with his two NL Cy Young Awards, sizzling fastball (even with this year's reduced velocity), killer slider and mind-bending curve ball.

You've got lefty Jonathan Sanchez, who has a sneaky fastball, wicked slider and solid curveball.

And you've got Matt Cain, who spots his fastball that creeps up to 94.

All along, the Giants were the one team in the NL that could hang with the Phillies' killer front-three of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels if things broke right. And so far, especially after San Francisco's 3-0 Game 3 win, things are breaking right for them.

So, rookie catcher Buster Posey, which of those three is the easiest to catch?

"I'd have to say probably Cain," Posey says. "Johnny and Timmy's stuff is just so electric. Tim's fastball moves a ton. Jonathan's tremendously deceptive.

"Matt's command, he's pinpoint a lot of the time."

With the Phillies sticking with Joe Blanton for Game 4 -- despite some calls for Roy Halladay on short rest -- their hitters will get a crack at Giants rookie Madison Bumgarner, who went 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA this season.

Bumgarner is riding a pretty good wave of momentum: The Giants' shutout in Game 3 -- Cain, Javier Lopez and Brian Wilson combined -- following Tim Lincecum's Game 1 shutout of Atlanta last round gives the Giants two shutouts at home in the same postseason for the first time since they blanked the White Sox in Games 3 and 4 of the 1917 World Series.

The Big Three," Wilson said. "Or you can call them the Fab Four, I don't know. Madison shouldn't be counted out.

"You never know. At 21, he might be our secret weapon."

Likes: Tuesday afternoon by the Bay was so gorgeous it makes you wonder why every October playoff game isn't in the afternoon. Oh, yeah, the television money. My bad. ... San Francisco really has become a great baseball city. Loud, loud crowds. ... Robinson Cano's home run in Yankee Stadium against Texas should have been reviewed via replay, but it was not comparable to the Derek Jeter/Jeffrey Maier disputed homer in 1996. Maier reached over the fence into the field of play. These fans Tuesday night did not. ... Mike Quade as the new Cubs manager. He did a fantastic job after Lou Piniella left. Here's a column I did on him in late September. ... Gorgeous shot of Bay Bridge and San Francisco Bay on jumbo board in center field before seventh inning started Tuesday. ... The gnocchi at Umbria Italian Ristorante in San Francisco. Great find, that place. ... Ben Gibbard from Death Cab for Cutie singing the national anthem. Great voice.

Dislikes: Obese mice.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"To everything (Turn, Turn, Turn)
"There is a season (Turn, Turn, Turn)
"And a time to every purpose, under Heaven
"A time to be born, a time to die
"A time to plant, a time to reap
"A time to kill, a time to heal
"A time to laugh, a time to weep"

-- The Byrds, Turn, Turn, Turn

Posted on: October 19, 2010 2:02 pm
 

Giants order: Renteria leadoff, Uribe at third

SAN FRANCISCO -- Juan Uribe's MRI exam was "clean", according to Giants manager Bruce Bochy, with "nothing structurally wrong. It did show some inflammation, but he was fine once the swelling went down."

So consequently, this is how the Giants' Game 3 lineup shakes out Tuesday afternoon against the Phillies: Edgar Renteria is playing shortstop and leading off, Uribe is at third and hitting seventh and Aaron Rowand is playing center and hitting eighth.

Makes as much sense as anything the Giants could run out there, being that with Andres Torres on the bench, they don't exactly have the consummate leadoff hitter. Renteria's on-base numbers against Philadelphia starter Cole Hamels (.333 on-base percentage, .250 batting average at 6-for-24) qualifies him as much as just about anyone else.

Not exactly a powerhouse, but that's how the Giants and Bochy have won all season, by moving parts around and patching things together.

Meantime, lefty Aubrey Huff is dropped to sixth against the lefty Hamels, with Buster Posey hitting third, Pat Burrell fourth and Cody Ross fifth.

"We felt like we needed a leadoff hitter, and Edgar is our best option with Torres not in there," Bochy said.

Things still could shift if Uribe does not react well during batting practice today. In that case, the Giants would scratch him and play Pablo Sandoval at third.

Meantime, Bochy expects the struggling Torres (3-for-25 this postseason with 12 strikeouts) back in the lineup for Game 4 against the Phillies' Joe Blanton.

"I think stepping back will help him out," Bochy said of Torres. "And you say that about a lot of hitters who are struggling a little bit. And there's a lefty going today. And there were times when we gave him a day against left-handed pitching.

"But I think sitting back, watching the game, will give him a break. Especially mentally more than anything."

 

Posted on: October 18, 2010 9:33 pm
 

Batting around Giants Game 3 lineup options

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants went home from Monday's off-day workout expecting lineup changes for Game 3 but not quite sure what they would be.

Infielder Juan Uribe underwent an MRI exam on his bruised wrist and manager Bruce Bochy indicated he would not know whether Uribe would be a go until Tuesday.

"Yes, it will impact our lineup," Bochy said as the Giants worked out Monday. "If he's good to go, he'll be out there. So it's just a matter now of waiting to see how he feels and the results from the MRI."

The best guess as to the Giants' Game 3 lineup goes something like this: Edgar Renteria likely will play shortstop, either Uribe or Pablo Sandoval will start at third base and Aaron Rowand probably will play center field.

Bochy wasn't definitive as he finished preparations for Game 3, but there were indications that the Giants had seen enough -- for now -- of Mike Fontenot's shaky third base defense and of leadoff man Andres Torres' continued struggles (3-for-25 this postseason with 12 strikeouts).

On whether Uribe would play short or third if he's able to go at all, Bochy said, "I can't answer that right now. I'll talk to the guys as far as the whole lineup. But getting back to Uribe, he will impact how we go. We have a couple of options. We know whether Pablo is at third or Edgar plays short, Uribe at third, or if Juan can't go, you've got Edgar and Pablo."

A bit later, Bochy made it crystal clear: "If Juan is not available, yes, Pablo will be out there."

As for Torres, Bochy left that hanging, too -- with hints left all over the place.

"I'm not prepared to tell you what we're going to do until I talk to the players," Bochy said. "I know Andres is battling it right now."

So assuming Renteria is at short, Uribe or Sandova (likely Sandoval) is at third and Rowand in center, that leaves one more big question: Who will supplant Torres atop the lineup?

Hot-hitting Cody Ross is one option. Rowand is another. So is Renteria.

Looking at the numbers against Phillies starter Cole Hamels, Ross or Renteria would appear to be the best options. For his career, Ross is batting .300 (9-for-30) against Hamels with a .323 on-base percentage, four home runs and six RBIs. Renteria is at .250 (6-for-24) with a .333 OBP. Rowand is only hitting .200 (3-for-15) with a .200 OBP.

"Ross has done it [batted leadoff]," Bochy said. "When Torres wasn't in there, Row's done it. Edgar has done it. So these are things that we're talking about now."

Likes: No surprise that Tony La Russa will be back with St. Louis in 2011. How would any manager in his right mind leave a team whose centerpieces include Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and Matt Holliday. ... Supposed to be beautiful 70 degrees when Game 3 of the NLCS starts here at 1:07 p.m. local time Tuesday. ... Critics are giving solid reviews to the new Elton John/Leon Russell disc The Union. But I may have to buy it just for the goofy cover shot of two weirdos at the piano. ...

Dislikes: Sure am glad I wasn’t on the road when Junior Seau drove off the cliff in my home town. Glad my wife wasn't on the road, too.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I'm just a guitar in the pawn shop on the corner
"Hey come on by and listen to my song
"I've seen at least a million of those tiny smokey barrooms
"And I've helped to heal some heartaches
"And I've helped to sell some beer
"And the last one to help me
"Just couldn't wait to sell me
"For 20 dollars and left me hanging here
"But I dream about the spot light
"And the roaring of the people
"And I wonder if I'm ever gonna hear 'em sing along"

-- Jamey Johnson, The Guitar Song

Posted on: October 18, 2010 2:17 am
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Posted on: October 18, 2010 2:16 am
 

Andres the Giant not so giant

PHILADELPHIA -- The most painful part of Sunday's 6-1 loss for San Francisco might have been watching the continued struggles of leadoff man and center fielder Andres Torres.

After fanning four times against Philadelphia starter Roy Oswalt, Torres now is 3-for-25 this postseason with 12 strikeouts.

He's whiffed six times in nine at-bats in this NL Championship Series.

Suffice it to say, if only for his own good, the Giants are going to have to make a move with their lineup for Game 3 Tuesday in San Francisco.

"It's obvious his timing's off," manager Bruce Bochy said. "This kid has had a great year for us. He's a big reason why we're here."

Not only did Torres help the Giants take off once Bochy installed him as an everyday player by the end of April, he made a gutsy comeback from appendicitis a couple of weeks earlier than doctors expected. Stricken on Sept. 12, Torres was returned to the lineup Sept. 24.

After never having played more than 75 games in a season, Torres appeared in 139 for the Giants this season. His 570 plate appearances more than tripled his previous career high of 185 in Detroit in 2003.

"There's no question he's struggling, but other hitters are, too," Bochy said. "He's fighting it a little bit.

"He got here early and was working on some things. But you get in a rut like this, you start battling yourself a little bit. I think that's the case with Andre. He's certainly a guy who makes us go when he goes. It would be nice to get him going, no question."

As for whether Aaron Rowand might replace Torres in the lineup, or even whether Pablo Sandoval could play third instead of Mike Fontenot -- who had a rough day defensively Sunday -- in Game 3, Bochy was not prepared to address that in the immediate aftermath of Game 2.

"These are things we'll talk about on the flight back," he said. "Facing a left-hander [Cole Hamels], you'll see a couple of changes."

Likes: The late Harry Kalas on the Citizens Bank Park big screen leading the crowd in "High Hopes" after a Phillies win. ... Tim Lincecum's reaction to the whole wolf-whistle thing in Game 1 in Philadelphia on Saturday. He handled it perfectly -- with humor. ... Looks like Texas and the Yankees is going to be quite the shootout. Both the ALCS and NLCS are setting up very well for those of us who like lots of drama. ... The cheesesteaks at Carmen's in Philadelphia's Reading Terminal. ... Glad to see Michigan State remain undefeated, fun to see highly ranked Ohio State and Nebraska go down. What a great Saturday in college football. You just never know. ... Another great run Sunday along the Schuylkill River on a gorgeous fall day. Fun cruising by the blues band that was playing in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum, entertainment for a charity walk raising money for breast cancer.

Dislikes: Aw, terribly sad to see June Cleaver -- Barbara Billingsley -- pass away over the weekend. One more harsh reminder of time marching on.

Rock 'n' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Here comes my baby, flashin' her new gold tooth
"Here comes my baby, flashin' her new gold tooth
"Well she's so small, she can mambo in a pay phone booth
"Now flip, flop and fly, I don't care if I die
"Now flip, flop and fly, I don't care if I die
"Ah, don't ever leave me, don't ever say goodbye
"I'm like a Mississippi bullfrog, sittin' on a hollow stump
"I'm like a Mississippi bullfrog, sittin' on a hollow stump
+I got so many women, I don't know which way to jump"

-- Big Joe Turner, Flip, Flop and Fly

 

Posted on: October 18, 2010 1:54 am
Edited on: October 18, 2010 1:54 am
 

Memo to Cole Hamels: Re. pitching Cody Ross

PHILADELPHIA -- Looking like Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds rolled into one, San Francisco right fielder Cody Ross belted another home run in the Giants' 6-1 loss to the Phillies in Game 2 of the NL Championship Series here Sunday, giving him three home runs in two games.

That ranks second-most in Giants history in LCS play. Jeffrey Leonard holds the record with four in 1987.

Meantime, with four homers in his last three postseason games, Ross is one of four players in Giants history with at least four in single postseason. The others: Barry Bonds hit eight in 2002, Rich Aurilia six in '02 and Leonard four in '87.

So, how might Phillies starter Cole Hamels want to approach Ross in Game 3 at AT&T Park?

"Don't throw it down and in," said Roy Oswalt, who did just that in surrendering Ross' fifth-inning blast Sunday. "The last three balls that he hit were in the exact same spot. Just bad pitches."

True. Each of the homers Ross smashed against Roy Halladay in Game 1 also were middle-in.

"I mean, throwing it right into his bat, pretty much," Oswalt said. "If you can make your pitches, you are going to do well. But if you miss down-and-in, that's pretty much where he's hitting them."

In Ross' third plate appearance Sunday night, he nearly got another one. He drove center fielder Shane Victorino all the way back to the warning track before Victorino hauled it in.

That was a fastball over the plate, too, but not quite as inside as the three Ross drove over the left-field fence.

Does Ross pretty much figure he's seen the last of the inside fastballs for awhile?

"I'm not really worried about where they're pitching me," Ross said. "I'm just trying to see it."

He's been doing a good enough job of that that the Philadelphia crowd has started giving him the business. Playing the villain isn't exactly a role Ross is familiar with, given his heretofore nondescript days with the Florida Marlins, but it's a role he'll take.

"That's what you want as a player," Ross said. "I know they're not going to cheer for me. It definitely doesn't make me feel like I should stop.

"I want to keep going. It's kind of a weird feeling."

Posted on: October 17, 2010 7:25 pm
 

Giants scratch Uribe for Game 2

PHILADELPHIA -- The Giants have scratched shortstop Juan Uribe from their Game 2 lineup because of a bruised left wrist sustained Saturday night.

Veteran Edgar Renteria will replace Uribe at shortstop in San Francisco's lineup and hit eighth. Outfielder Cody Ross, the Game 1 hero with two home runs, will move up to sixth (from eighth).

Uribe suffered the injury, to his left wrist, while sliding into second in the Giants' 4-3 Game 1 win. As he slid by the bag, Uribe reached out to grab it with his left hand, and that's when it happened. He was in the Giants' original lineup and was not scratched until a couple of hours before game-time.

Renteria played in only one regular season game down the stretch after Sept. 17 for the Giants. He played in two Division Series games against the Braves, batting only twice (he singled both times).

One thing to remember about this late switch: Renteria has hit Philadelphia starter Roy Oswalt fairly well during his career, batting .281 (9-for-32) with a .333 on-base percentage in 32 at-bats.

 
 
 
 
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