Posted on: May 5, 2011 1:19 pm
Edited on: May 5, 2011 1:22 pm
Andre Ethier is a long way from tying Joe DiMaggio. He's not far from tying Willie Davis.
If not for Jonathan Sanchez, he already would have.
Sanchez was the Giants' starting pitcher on April 1, the only time this year that Ethier was held without a hit. He had a hit the day before, and he's hit in all 29 games he's played since.
Sanchez is why 29 isn't already 31, which would tie Davis's Dodgers franchise record.
"He just doesn't see me that well," Sanchez said. "Lefty on lefty. I get him out. I'm not sure why."
Ethier has just four hits -- and 11 strikeouts -- in 30 career at-bats against the Giants' left-hander. He's 0-for-6 with three strikeouts against Sanchez this year, going 0-for-3 on April 1 and also on April 13 in San Francisco.
In the April 1 game, Ethier went 0-for-3 against Sanchez, then grounded out in his final at-bat against reliever Dan Runzler. On April 13, after his 0-for-3 against Sanchez, Ethier singled against Javier Lopez to extend his streak to 10 games.
Sanchez isn't the only opposing starter to hold Ethier hitless this year, but he is the only one to do it twice.
Ethier also went 0-for-3 against Chris Carpenter (in Game 14 of the streak) and Tim Hudson (in Game 15), and went 0-for-2 against Barry Zito (in Game 2) and Ryan Dempster (in Game 20). Ethier also went 0-for-1 against Clayton Richard, who left after one inning because of a long rain delay.
The Dodgers face the Giants April 18-19 in Los Angeles. Good news for Ethier: Assuming the Giants stay with their current rotation, Sanchez (who is pitching against the Mets Thursday afternoon) would not pitch in that two-game series.
Posted on: April 4, 2011 12:09 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2011 12:46 pm
The biggest concern of the Yankees' opening weekend was Phil Hughes, whose startling spring training decline in velocity continued into an ugly first start of the regular season.
But what about Derek Jeter?
It's only three games, and it was cold, and everything could change a month from now, or even a week from now. But in the Yankees' first three games of the season -- and they won two of them, don't forget -- one of the most stunning sights was Jeter's lack of mobility at shortstop.
"I'm shocked," said one Northeast-based scout who has followed Jeter's career. "I know there's been a lot of talk about his range the last few years, and I didn't really buy it until last year. But [this weekend], it was really down. He didn't react to balls off the bat.
"He almost looks overmatched by the ball."
Again, it's possible this is just an early-season blip. A scout who watched the Yankees this spring in Tampa said that while Jeter's range was a little down, it wasn't shockingly bad.
Jeter didn't look good at the plate against the Tigers, either (2-for-10), but that's less of a concern now than his defense -- even if the defense is a long-term concern.
Hughes' lack of velocity is already significant.
Scouts noticed it all spring in Florida, when he was throwing his fastball 87-89 mph (as he did in Sunday's loss to the Tigers). The Yankees played it down publicly at that point, but as Joel Sherman revealed in Monday's New York Post , even during the spring Hughes and new pitching coach Larry Rothschild worked on his mechanics in an attempt to get the velocity back (Hughes regularly hit 94 mph last year).
As Hughes told reporters Sunday, "It is tough for me to pitch at this velocity."
A few other opening weekend thoughts:
-- The Giants' defense is a serious issue, enough so that it could end up being the reason they don't repeat. One scout who watched their opening weekend series in Los Angeles came away convinced that the Giants are below average defensively at almost every position in the field. "Barry Zito pitched a very good game [Sunday], and he should have won the game," the scout said. "[Zito] competes with the stuff he has. If the defense makes the plays behind him, he'll compete enough to be a fourth or fifth starter."
-- The Angels bullpen was bad against the scrappy Royals, but one scout who watched them came away talking more about how bad Scott Kazmir looked. "Terrible. No velocity. No command. No nothing," the scout said.
-- When I wrote last week about teams that benefit from fast starts, I really should have mentioned the Orioles as a team that would be interesting to watch this year. It's going to be hard to do in the AL East, but the O's have the good young pitching that can help carry the momentum when a team starts strong (e.g. Padres 2010). One thing to remember about the O's: If they somehow stay in the race through midseason, you can count on them to be aggressive in the July trade market. "We'll be all-in," one O's person said.
-- One more thing about the O's. Scouts who watched them this spring were not surprised to see Zach Britton pitch so well Sunday against the Rays. One scout said Britton was the Orioles' best pitcher this spring, and two more said that they liked Britton ahead of Yankees superprospect Manuel Banuelos, who got more attention. Britton only started Sunday because Brian Matusz was hurt, but there's already speculation that he'll stay in the rotation even when Matusz returns.
Posted on: September 26, 2010 9:35 pm
As Bruce Bochy walked out to the field for batting practice Sunday, he turned back with a message.
"Kansas City, 1," the Giants manager said. "See, I'm watching the scoreboard."
For four more days, Bochy will keep watching, and not to see if the Royals score another run. For four more days, the Giants and Padres and Braves will eye each other from a distance, knowing that all three teams remain very much alive and that only two playoff spots can be divided among them.
It's really that simple now in the National League. The Phillies are in, and the Reds are basically in, too. The Rockies, it now seems certain, are out.
So among the Giants, Padres and Braves, the teams that end up with the two best records will make it. The team that ends up worst among those three won't.
As the week begins, Bochy's Giants have the advantage, holding a half-game lead over the Padres (and thus holding first place in the NL West) and holding a one-game lead over the Braves (who trail the Padres by half a game in the wild-card race).
The Braves have other advantages, mostly because the Padres and Giants meet at the end of the week (meaning that for the last three days of the season, one or the other them has to lose), but also because their final three games are against the Phillies, who by then will no doubt have officially clinched the NL East crown and will be more focused on preparing for the playoffs than on beating the Braves.
But the Braves have other issues, mainly that they're not playing nearly as well as the Giants or Padres are right now.
In any case, it should be a fun week for everyone, at least until one of the three teams gets knocked out.
"Intense," Giants outfielder Cody Ross said. "This is as much fun as I've ever had playing baseball."
On to 3 to watch:
1. The Braves have their final six games at home, where their 52-23 record is the best in the majors. That much we know. Now, if we only knew who was going to pitch. The Braves told reporters Sunday in Washington that Jair Jurrjens may get a shot in his sore knee Monday, in hopes that the pain will let up enough that he can start a game for the first time since Sept. 14. There's been some thought that Jurrjens could return for Marlins at Braves, Tuesday night (7:10 ET) at Turner Field , but the Braves also said that they've considered bringing Tim Hudson back on three days' rest to make that start. If Jurrjens can't go, and if manager Bobby Cox doesn't want to use both Hudson and Derek Lowe on short rest, the other option would be to use rookie Mike Minor, who seems to have hit a wall and is 0-2 with a 9.37 ERA in four starts this month.
2. The Padres have rotation questions of their own, and the biggest one is how Mat Latos will do. Latos has been San Diego's top starter all year, but in his last three starts he's 0-3 with a 13.94 ERA, and has lasted a total of just 10 1/3 innings. Latos faces Ryan Dempster in Cubs at Padres, Tuesday night (10:05 ET) at Petco Park . The way the Padres' rotation sets up, Latos would also start the final game of the season, Sunday in San Francisco.
3. So how about the Giants? They have Monday off, and that leaves them with the question of whether to pitch Tim Lincecum on his normal day, in Diamondbacks at Giants, Thursday afternoon (3:45 ET) at AT&T Park . The other option would be to pitch Barry Zito Thursday on normal rest, and save Lincecum for the first head-to-head game with the Giants on Friday night. Bochy said Sunday that such a plan hasn't yet been discussed, but he added that they will "talk about the club and any changes" on Monday. As of now, the pitching matchups for the series with the Padres would be Zito vs. Clayton Richard on Friday, Matt Cain vs. Tim Stauffer on Saturday and Jonathan Sanchez vs. Latos on Sunday.
Posted on: July 4, 2010 4:54 pm
Edited on: July 4, 2010 5:15 pm
The last time the Giants were in Milwaukee, Prince Fielder hit a walkoff home run, his teammates fell down like bowling pins, and the Giants got so upset they still haven't forgotten it.
The last time the Yankees were in Oakland, Alex Rodriguez ran across Dallas Braden's mound, Braden got upset, and a week later Braden's grandmother told A-Rod to "stick it."
So now it's July, and the Giants are back in Milwaukee, and the Yankees are back in Oakland.
Which no doubt means that Prince and A-Rod will be back in the news this week. But for what?
With Prince, the questions will be whether the Brewers should trade him right now, and how interested the Giants should be in trying to trade for him (or, perhaps, for Brewers outfielder Corey Hart).
The teams have talked in the past, but the Giants' reluctance to part with any of their big-time pitchers was always a big sticking point. Of course, that's the same sticking point that has kept the Giants from acquiring any significant hitter these last few years, which in turn has kept them from first place in the National League West.
In any case, the Giants could sure use Fielder, so much so that they'd have no problem overlooking the celebration they hated so much last September. When Andy Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News asked Barry Zito about Fielder , Zito answered, "There's a ton of guys in the league we hate to play against, but we'd love to play with."
Remember, Zito is the guy who threw at Fielder this spring in Arizona, a payback for the bowling-pin display last September.
There's no chance of A-Rod getting traded to the A's -- his $32 million salary would cover more than half the Oakland payroll. And there's no chance he'll run across Braden's mound -- the A's lefty is on the disabled list.
So if we're talking A-Rod this week, we're more likely talking the run to 600 home runs. Rodriguez is at 595 right now, which means it's unlikely but not impossible that he'll get to 600 in Oakland.
For the record, Rodriguez has hit 19 career home runs in 86 games at the Coliseum. He hasn't hit more than one home run in a series in Oakland since 2004, and hasn't ever hit more than three in any series at the Coliseum.
On to 3 to watch:
1. If the Phillies are going to survive all their injuries, you'd think they would need to win every game that Roy Halladay starts. Instead, they've struggled to score runs for Halladay, and thus they're 3-7 in his last 10 starts. They get another chance, in Braves at Phillies, Monday night (7:05 EDT) at Citizens Bank Park .
2. No one remembers it now, but the A-Rod/Braden game back in April was a Yankee loss, and a CC Sabathia loss. And while Braden won't pitch in this week's series, Sabathia will, in Yankees at A's, Tuesday night (10:05 EDT) at the Coliseum . He pitched well in that April start, allowing just four hits in an eight-inning complete game (a 4-2 A's win), but for his career, Sabathia is 2-5 with a 5.95 ERA in 10 starts in what is basically his hometown ballpark.
3. Zito has just one win in his last nine starts (and a 5.30 ERA in that span), so he'll have more on his mind than just Fielder, in Giants at Brewers, Thursday afternoon (2:10 EDT) at Miller Park . For the record, Fielder is just 2 for 12 against Zito in his career, although one of the two hits was a home run.
Posted on: November 10, 2008 4:23 pm
Edited on: November 10, 2008 4:41 pm
While the Giants' main focus this winter is on finding some way to add offense -- no surprise since San Francisco was 29th in the majors in runs scored -- they've also told teams that they'd love to dump Barry Zito.
"They're trying to give him away," said an official of one team that had spoken to the Giants. "I think they would eat as much money as it would take to get rid of him."
You can be sure it would take a lot. Zito has $101.5 million and five years still to go on the $126 million, seven-year deal he signed with the Giants two winters ago. Two years into that deal, Zito has lost his fastball and has also lost 30 games, going 21-30 with a 4.83 ERA for the Giants.
The Giants have decided to build their team around young starters Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, and they've told teams both are untouchable in trade talks. Somehow, though, the Giants will need to find some hitters.
"They're starving for power at the corners," the official said. "They want a third baseman, a right fielder, a first baseman. They just need bats."