Talking Giants Baseball: A San Francisco Giants/Baseball Blog: April 2011

Saturday, April 30, 2011

My Interview With the San Francisco Giants' No. 1 Draft Pick Gary Brown

Here is my first ever interview with a professional sports player. I had the privilege to interview the San Francisco Giants' No. 1 draft pick -- the speedy center-fielder Gary Brown.

Brown is currently playing for the Class A San Jose Giants, and he is doing very well. He is hitting .341 with one home run and a .429 on-base percentage.

Brown is a very confident baseball player who is ready to play. I think you will all like what he has to say. He's young, fast, and ready to contribute.

He is another character that will be good inside the Giants' clubhouse. Enjoy the interview.

video


What do you guys think about this future sports star?




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Saturday, April 23, 2011

I have not left, just been busy

Hey all,

Sorry for the lack of posts the last couple days. I've been a bit busy, but I will be back tomorrow. Hopefully, the Giants can bring some offense.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chris Haft/MLB.com: Sandoval's homer plenty for surging Giants; plus Vinnie's quick thoughts

DENVER -- After the Giants dismantled the Colorado Rockies, 6-3, Tuesday night, one player used non-verbal communication to explain how San Francisco could thoroughly subdue a club that seemed so dominant in the early season.

Link: http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_04_19_sfnmlb_colmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=sf

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Getty Images


The Giants are impressive in the way they have been scoring first-inning runs. They set the tone early by scoring five runs in the first inning on Monday, four on Tuesday, and one on Wednesday.

This early scoring is essential to the Giants' success. When you have a team with such great starting pitching as do the Giants, early scoring will put pressure on other teams -- extra pressure when you have to come back against Matt Cain or Tim Lincecum. The best thing for a pitcher is when the batter tries too hard and gets himself out.

Rockies' starter Ubaldo Jimenez was not himself yesterday in his first start since is injury. His velocity was down just a bit (my MLB At Bat '11 app. had his fastball cruising between 92-93 mph). Once he gets fully healthy, he should throw those blazing 98-100 mph fastballs with movement.

That said, this post is coming a little late because of the quick turn-around time. So, I will wrap it up here.





  
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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

San Francisco Giants vs. Colorado Rockies Preview; Andrew Baggarly/San Jose Mercury News: Giants lineup for Tuesday plus the return of Cody Ross (sort of)

http://www.relaxedpolitics.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/San_Francisco_Giants_logo_2000.png              VS               http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-H2fc0rLCSvM/TZIpkAeoVvI/AAAAAAAAAC4/M3fDrRccZ1E/s1600/rockies.gif



Another big game tonight between the Rockies and Giants. Here is tonight's lineup.

CF Rowand
2B Freddy Sanchez
1B Huff
C Posey
3B Sandoval
LF Burrell
RF Schierholtz
SS Fontenot
P Jonathan Sanchez

Cody Ross is back with the team. He will not be activated until tomorrow, since he had a late night in Fresno.  Miguel Tejada gets a rest.

Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News will give you a much better preview of tonight's game than I can in my short time before photography class.

Enjoy!

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Cody Ross is here and the Showtime cameras are following him around like a rock star. Pat Burrell took one look at him walking down the hallway and yelled out, “The Show is back!”

Link: http://blogs.mercurynews.com/extrabaggs/2011/04/19/giants-lineup-for-tuesday-plus-the-return-of-cody-ross-sort-of/

Monday, April 18, 2011

Chris Haft/MLB.com: Lincecum superb behind Giants' offensive outburst; plus Vinnie's thoughts

DENVER -- Receiving overpowering hitting in the early innings and overpowering pitching from Tim Lincecum throughout the evening, the Giants asserted themselves Monday night with an 8-1 victory over the Colorado Rockies.

Link: http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_04_18_sfnmlb_colmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=sf

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The Giants will have a tough decision to make, perhaps as soon as tomorrow. Chris Haft of MLB.com reports that Cody Ross is likely to be activated from the disabled list tomorrow, and Giants' manager Bruce Bochy hinted Brandon Belt would be optioned to AAA Fresno to make room for Ross.

This is a wise decision. Although Belt leads the team with eight walks, he has had a difficult time catching up to major league fastballs. He is hitting just .196 in 16 games this year.

The move would get Aubrey Huff out of right field and get him back to first base where he belongs. The Giants would then have a half-way decent outfield of Pat Burrell, Aaron Rowand, and Cody Ross.

Furthermore, Ross back in the lineup would be a huge boost for the Giants' clubhouse. He is a great presence who brings a lot of energy. At this point, Ross is probably going to put up better numbers than Belt -- and he certainly can matchup with big league pitching (remember Roy Halladay?).

With the improved defense and hitting, the Giants will perhaps play a cleaner, more error-free game.

Tim Lincecum just continues to impress. He made Coors Field look like Petco Park, even when the ball was carrying like classic Coors.

Although fans might be disappointed with Lincecum throwing a batting practice fastball to Carlos Gonzales for the first hit of the game in the seventh inning on a 3-1 count, he did the right thing there.

You cannot give up free passes at Coors Field. Many teams have seen big leads disappear quickly there, so no-hitter aside, Lincecum had to challenge. Unfortunately, it cost him the no-hitter. Still, most importantly, Lincecum got the win.

CSN Bay Area's ticker just said that Zito will be out for at least month.

This is not that much of a concern to me. Zito has been struggling and is having a hard time getting his fastball up to 85 mph. Perhaps some time off would help him clear his mind. In the meantime, Ryan Vogelsong might be a bit more of a help to the team at this point.

The Giants won a big game tonight. No team wants to fall five games behind first first place in April, and the Giants avoided that for the time being. At least they will avoid the disaster of being seven out in April.

If the Giants can find a way to at least take this series and make it a 4-2 road trip, they will be in great shape heading home against the Atlanta Braves.




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Barry M. Bloom/MLB.com: Long balls don't carry Giants far enough

PHOENIX -- It wasn't as if Aubrey Huff was going to traverse an entire season without hitting a homer, but he picked game No. 15 on Sunday at Chase Field as an opportune time to blast No. 1.

Link: http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_04_17_sfnmlb_arimlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=sf

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Getty Images

No time for thoughts today. The Giants did not get it done defensively, and it cost them yet again. The Giants need to turn it around in Denver if they want to win this series.

Here's Kruk and Kuipe for the game recap...


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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Barry M. Bloom/MLB.com: Mota's heroics help Giants down D-backs; Vinnie's very quick thoughts

PHOENIX -- It was Bruce Bochy's 56th birthday Saturday and the bullpen gave him a Giant present: 7 1/3 innings of one-run, three-hit ball and a 5-3 win over the D-backs at Chase Field.

Link: http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_04_16_sfnmlb_arimlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=sf

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Barry Zito sporting his new mustache.
Getty Images

I know this is not very timely, but I briefly wanted to mention this.

The Giants won the game yesterday because Barry Zito was taken out of the game -- and because the Giants' bullpen is lights out.

Zito's fastball was maxing out at 83 mph last night, where he is supposed to cruise around 86-88 mph to be successful. He was getting hit hard by the Arizona Diamondbacks prior to the injury, so it could have very well been a 5-2 deficit for the Giants -- or worse.

Zito was placed on the 15-day disabled list today. His numbers for the year prior to today were 0-2 with a 6.23 ERA.

To replace Zito on the roster, the Giants purchased the contract of right-hander Ryan Vogelsong.

Vogelsong did well in spring training and was doing well in AAA Fresno. He was 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA in his two starts with the Grizzlies.

If Zito does not get healthy or get that fastball velocity back up to the mid-to-high-80s, then Vogelsong is surely an upgrade over Zito. That said, Zito is a great guy and a wonderful person in the clubhouse, so hopefully, the $126 million-dollar man could get back on track.

It would also be nice to hear the "Barry! Barry! Barry!" chants at AT&T Park again.

Or maybe, Zito needs to shave the mustache and grow a beard.







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Saturday, April 16, 2011

Barry M. Bloom/MLB.com: Sandoval's homer all that strong Cain needs

PHOENIX -- For much of his career, Matt Cain hasn't been accustomed to the Giants giving him many runs. So he must have been in seventh heaven Friday night when Pablo Sandoval staked him to a lead with a three-run homer in the first inning.

Link: http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_04_15_sfnmlb_arimlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=sf

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For the third day in a row, the San Francisco Giants' winning blueprint came into fruition. The Giants scored first, Matt Cain threw a tremendous game, the defense played flawlessly, and the bullpen shut the door.

Of course, this formula would make any team successful.

Watching Pablo Sandoval mash the ball again is an extremely positive sign. He is now hitting .356, hitting the ball with power, and playing a gold-glove caliber third base. The Panda is back.

Aside from today's game, I wanted to talk about something else I noticed.

Watching this game in Arizona was a far cry from the way things were in the desert in year's past. Back in the late '90s and early 2000s, the Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks were rivals always competing for the top spot in the National League West. Every game between the two clubs brought excitement, drama, and rowdy crowds. Not anymore.

Tonight's game drew just 23,090 fans, and only a fraction of those fans actually showed up. The Diamondbacks' fans were pretty uninspiring, and it is no wonder why their team sleepwalked their way through tonight's game.

Such is the shame of losing. Just a few years ago, the Diamondbacks were one of the best teams in the National League, but now, everyone in Arizona seemed to have just about given up.

As for Giants fans, it is just the opposite, as even a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates would generate an all-out party at the corner of Third and King.





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Friday, April 15, 2011

To My Readers: My upcoming interview with San Francisco Giants' hurler Jonathan Sanchez

There's a very good chance I will be doing an interview with Jonathan Sanchez, starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. I am really excited for this opportunity, and I hope it goes through.

In a nutshell, my The Bleacher Report piece on him led to the interview. One of my readers contacted me about the article, and it eventually led to a possible interview with the star pitcher.

Now is where you guys can participate. If you have any suggestions on topics I should ask about or angles I could go for, please feel free to contact me or comment below. This would be my first time interviewing a professional baseball player, and I am a little nervous to be honest, but I should be just fine.

Also, please feel free to contact me with possible interview questions. If they are good, I might use them, but nothing controversial. My goal is to profile Sanchez and make him look good, not bash him.

We all know Sanchez frustrates Giants fans with the high walk totals, loads of baserunners, etc., but he is one of the best pitchers in the game and has a good story to tell like all professional baseball players -- and I look forward to hearing it.


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CBS San Francisco (KPIX): Bonds Guilty Of Obstruction; Mistrial On Perjury; Plus my quick thoughts

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5 / KCBS) — The jury in the Barry Bonds trial found him guilty of obstruction of justice on Wednesday afternoon, but the judge declared a mistrial on several perjury charges after jurors indicated they couldn't reach unanimous agreement on those...

Link: http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_localsfbg/20110414/ts_yblog_localsfbg/bonds-guilty-of-obstruction-mistrial-on-perjury.

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Getty Images


Eric Byrnes of KNBR said it best. The whole trial was a waste of time, proving something that we already know.

The trial process cost $55 million and took eight years to finally complete. In a time of budget deficits in the trillions, the United States government could have spent the money on benefiting the country rather than giving Bonds a slap in the wrist.

The other athletes found guilty of obstructing justice in the BALCO case were all given house arrest. Although the penalty for such a crime is 15 to 21 months in prison, legal experts (according to KPIX) said that it is unlikely Bonds will face any jail time.

That said, Bonds was a great player and beloved in San Francisco. It would be interesting to see how Giants fans would react if they ever saw Bonds taken away in handcuffs -- or would the court let Bonds turn himself in with dignity like they did with KGO's Bernie Ward?

The bottom line is Barry Bonds knew what he did. If he would have just admitted it years ago, none of this mess would have happened, and Bonds would be in the Hall of Fame.

Now, it is a little less clear when or if Bonds will be voted in.


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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Chris Haft/MLB.com: Two-homer inning lifts Giants past Dodgers

SAN FRANCISCO -- If the Giants' initial homestand was any indication, get ready for another wild ride this season...

Link: http://sanfrancisco.giants.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2011_04_13_lanmlb_sfnmlb_1&mode=recap&c_id=sf

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Getty Images

Like Tuesday night, the San Francisco Giants played like the 2010 Giants on Wednesday night.

Jonathan Sanchez grinned out another gutsy performance, pitching six good innings of three-run ball. Two swings of the bat put a dent in his run column -- a two-out, two-strike mistake pitch at the belt to Rod Barajas that tied the game at two, and a RBI triple by Aaron Miles.

Sanchez's velocity dipped to the high 80s by the sixth inning, but he used what he had to keep the Giants in the game. In years past, if Sanchez's stuff was not all there, he would fall apart. His maturity from a thrower to a pitcher really showed in last night's game in the way he made the best of what he had stuff-wise at the time.

The Giants got clutch home runs from two unlikely heroes. Pablo Sandoval proved that he is back to his 2009 form from the right-side, and Mike Fontenot showed why he is a good, little player.

A concern has got to be Pat Burrell. He has four home runs so far this year, but just four RBIs. He is hitting only .182, and his starting job is in jeopardy when Cody Ross is activated from the disabled list.

Another nod to the 2010 Giants was the Giants' tremendous relief pitching last night. In three innings of work, the bullpen held the Los Angeles Dodgers to two hits, no walks, and no runs.

It should also be noted that the Giants' defense came through with no errors in last night's game. The earlier defensive struggles were probably a result of the team still getting used to each other, and of course, the lack of defensive talent in the outfield.

The Giants will spend the weekend in Arizona. If the Giants can take two out of three and win their third series in a row, they should enter Colorado with a lot of confidence.














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