Archive for March, 2011

San Francisco Giants Game 1 Thoughts 3/31/11

March 31, 2011

Thoughts from the game

Positives

1. Brandon Belt looks like a legitimite ready for the bigs player in his first game reaching base twice and battling a tough closer in the 9th.

2. Tim Lincecum did not have his best stuff tonight but battled throwing 7 innings and allowing no earned runs.

3. The Giants never gave up and Burrell’s homer in the 9th gave the Giants hope.

Negatives

1. The fielding was bad including two costly errors leading to the first run for the Dodgers.

2. Huff and Burrell in the outfield at the same time seems dangerous due to their lack of range.

3. Santiago Casilla looked wild throwing 30 pitches in the 8th inning allowing the Dodgers to tack on a huge second run.

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San Francisco Giants Game 1, 3/31/11 at Dodgers

March 31, 2011

Vin Scully starts his 62nd year in the booth for the Dodgers as the World Series Champion Giants come to Los Angeles to start the 2011 season.

1st Inning – Top

The game starts with Clayton Kershaw throwing from the shade into the sun. This is making it difficult on the hitters. This will probably effect the hitters for the first couple of innings.

Kershaw looked sharp in the first inning. Freddy Sanchez reached on an error on Rafeal Furcal on a routine grounder to short. Kershaw strikes out the side in the first.

1st Inning – Bottom

Furcal leads off the bottom of the first by grounding out to second. Brandon Belts gets his first career chance with the putout from Sanchez. Either and Kemp have back to back two out singles. But Lincecum works out of the jam throwing a respectable 13 pitches compared to Kershaw’s 18 pitches in the first.

2nd Inning – Top

Brandon Belt gets an infield hit to first base in his first career at bat.

2nd Inning – Bottom

Lincecum looks like he does not has his best stuff so far this evening. He has allowed two hits through the first two innings and was helped out by Juan Uribe being tagged out after over sliding second base after an Andres Torres fielding error.

3rd Inning – Top

Kershaw has 6 strikeouts and allowed one hit through 3 innings but has a realtavely high pitch count of 44. The pitch count could become an issue in the 6 or 7 inning.

Kershaw has electric stuff tonight as opposed to Lincecum battling. This is the type of game that would be huge for the Giants to win.

4th Inning – Top

Aubrey Huff leads off the 4th and flies out to right. It looks like he just missed hitting it out.

Kershaw 8 strikeouts in 4 innings on 54 pitches.

6th Inning – Top

Through 6 innings Kershaw still has 8 strikeouts on 83 pitches.  The Giants had a couple of hits but an Aubrey Huff 4 6 3 double play killed any possible scoring threat.

This game has the look of the first team that scores will win.

6th Inning -Bottom

Lincecum starts the 6th having thrown 66 pitches.  Kemp draws a one out walk on a close pitch and Loney reaches on a throwing error by Tejada giving the Dodgers 1st and 3rd with 1 out. This is the first serious scoring threat for either team.

We will probably see what Tim has left in the tank as he looks to need a strikeout in this situation.

Lincecum hits Uribe loading the bases for Barajas.

Posey makes a bad throw to third base in a pickoff attempt of Matt Kemp.  Sandoval tries to reach around Kemp into foul territory but is unable to make the catch and the ball goes down the left field line allowing Kemp to score the first run of the game.

Barajas draws a walk loading the bases while upping Lincecum pitch count to 86. Tim needs to get out of the jam without further damage if the Giants hope to get back in this game.

Tim induces a soft grounder from Kershaw limiting the damage to one run.  Tim is due up 4th in the 7th so this maybe have been his last inning as he is now at 92 pitches.

This would be a disappointing way to lose on opening day as the run appears to be a gift run.

7th Inning – Top

Kershaw is back on the mound for the 7th inning.

Kershaw breezes through the 7th and now stands at 96 pitches. You have to wonder if Mattingly will let him go back out for the 8th. How much was he stretched out in the spring. You generally don’t expect starters to throw 100+ pitches too often on opening day.

7th Inning – Bottom

Lincecum back on the mound for the 7th. This will undoubtedly be his last inning as he is scheduled to lead off the top of the 8th.

Lincecum breezes through the 7th. Let’s see if the bullpen and bats can pick him up form a possible tough luck loss.

8th Inning – Top

Kershaw and Lincecum are out of the game to start the 8th. Kuo is in for Kershaw and the forgotten man of the 2010 season, Mark DeRosa is on to pinch hit for Tim.

Getting Kershaw out of the game can only be a good thing at this point.

On cue DeRosa draws a leadoff walk and Schierholtz pinch run for DeRosa.  Kuo manages to finally throw a strike on his seventh pitch of the inning. I am hopping Torres is patient since Kuo looks wild.

Torres has worked the count to 3-2 and Kuo has thrown 12 pitches already.

Torres has worked Kuo for 12 pitches so far. Torres flies out weakly to left on the 13th pitch. Scierholtz is not able to advance from 1st base.

Freddy Sanchez strikes out for the second out of the inning. He is visibly upset.

It will be up to Aubrey Huff if the Giants are going to score in the 8th. Huff hits a routine fly ball to center on the first pitch to end the top of the 8th.

8th Inning – Bottom

The Dodgers closer situation was terrible the second half of 2010 so there is reason for hope if the Giants can prevent the Dodgers from scoring anymore runs.

Santiago Casilla is on the mound for the Giants in the bottom of the 8th. He shows signs of his wild performances of the 2010 postseason by walking Kemp on 6 pitches to lead off the inning.

Kemp steals second on the first pitch to Loney. Posey throw is nowhere close. Posey goes to the mound and appears animated towards Casilla. My guess is he told him to throw a strike and trust his stuff.

On the next pitch Loney double off the base of the short right field wall on a hanging slider. Kemp scores making it 2-0.

Jonathan Broxton is warming up in the bullpen as Juan Uribe bats with Loney on second and none out. Uribe in his feast or famine style strikes out without advancing the runner.

From the what if category, Barajas flies out weakly for the second out of the 9th. Could Loney have scored if Uribe had advanced him to third?

Carrol flies out to center to end the inning. The Dodgers have to think they should have scored more than one run. Casilla clearly labored through the inning throwing 30 pitches.

9th Inning – Top

The Giants have Posey, Burrell and Tejada scheduled in the 9th.

Now the big question. Which Broxton will we see tonight? The one from the first half of 2010 or the one from the second half of 2010.

A patient hitter like Posey leading off the 9th is a good thing. Let’s make Broxton throw some strikes.

On Broxton’s first pitch Posey hits a sharp grounder over the first bag that Loney bobbles and recovers to flip to Broxton for the first out of the 9th.

Burrell works Broxton to a 2-1 count before hitting a ball just over the left field wall for a solo homer. Dodgers still lead 2-1. Broxton his allowed two hard hit balls to two batters.

Reason for hope for the Giants if they make Broxton throw strikes.

On a 1-1 count Tejada hits a dribbler about three feet from the first base side that is easily fielded by Barajas and thrown to Loney for the second out of the 9th.

That leaves it up to Brandon Belt. A tough assignment for a kid making his first major league start. Belt does have an advantage of being a left-handed batter against Broxton.

Broxton gets up 1-2 in the count. Belt need to make Broxton throw him a strike.

Belt is battles Broxton to a 2-2 count. Six pitches so far.

On pitch 8 Broxton coaxes Belt to hit a soft liner to Uribe at 3rd base.

Although Belt did not reach base his ability to battle Broxton was a good sign.

When Broxton is on his game he is one of the better closers in the National League.

The loss drops the Giants to 0-1 on the season.

Opening Day 2011 for a Cubs and Giants fan

March 31, 2011

Today is opening day for the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants.

I am a conflicted Cubs and Giants fan. I have been a Cubs fans since I was a kid growing up in Ohio. I have been a Giants fans since I moved to the Bay Area in 1995.

My plan is to update this blog with my thoughts on every Cubs and Giants game this year. It  should be a fun challenge which would equal 315 games since the Cubs and Giants play each other 9 times in 2011.

I also plan on updating on other baseball related topics that interest me.

Bengie Molina may retire, but open to comeback

March 15, 2011

Multiple reports state Bengie Molina is set to retire but is open to a comeback.

Molina was the starting catcher for the Angels in 2002 when they won their only World Series over the Giants.

Ironically Molina would become a fan favorite in San Francisco putting in 3.5 seasons for the Giants helping develop Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum and Jonathan Sanchez.

He showed a great deal of class after he was traded to the Rangers last July paving the way for Buster Posey.

I attended Game 1 of the 2010 World Series and I can say the ovation Bengie received at AT&T Park was great. When I watched the replay at home later that night I was sad that television did not do justice to the love the crowed showed Bengie. It was a neat moment.

Good luck Bengie.

Adrian Gonzalez Extension in the works?

March 15, 2011

John Paul Morosi of Fox Sports is reporting the agent Adrian Gonzalez is set to visit Red Sox camp next week.

Thoughts are a rumored long-term extension could be negotiated at that point.

There has been wide speculation a deal will be signed after opening day so the Red Sox circumvent a luxury tax for 2011.

If Gonzalez would happen to become a free agent after the 2011 season things could get interesting with Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder set to test the free agent market as well.

You have to wonder if three $20 million plus per season first basemen on the market at one time would hurt the market for their services?

From all reports Gonzalez wants to stay with the Red Sox beyond 2011 and a deal seems imminent.

Pujols is of course a one in a generation player that should have no trouble getting a $25 million plus per season long-term deal.

Fielder could be the most interesting of the three. He should be motivated this season knowing whats on the line.

Andrew Bailey Diagnosed with Forearm Strain

March 15, 2011

Jane Lee of MLB.com is reporting Andrew Bailey has been diagnosed with a Forearm strain following his visit to Dr. James Andrews.

It appears at this point Bailey and the A’s have dodged a bullet, although his availability for the start of season is in doubt.

If Bailey can’t start the season save opportunities would likely fall to Grant Balfour or Brad Ziegler.