San Francisco Giants Game 3 Thoughts 4/2/11

April 2, 2011

Thoughts about the game

Positives

  1. Cain pitched well but did not have his best stuff going 6 shutout innings on 86 pitches. Cain’s ability to shut teams down even when he does not have his A-1 stuff is impressive.
  2. The bats finally awoke pounding Dodger pitching for 10 runs on only 13 hits only 1 of which was a homer.
  3. Mark DeRosa getting his first start in nearly a year got on the board for 2 hits and 2 runs. One of DeRosa’s hits was a nice hustle double.
  4. The defense bounced back playing error free baseball for the first time this season.

Negatives

Hard to find too many negatives in a 10-0 win but there is always room for improvement

  1. Pat Burrell struck out three times. His bat has looked slow since the 2010 Postseason. He is a defensive liability in the field and his bat seems to be getting slower by the day. His days as an everyday will probably be over when Cody Ross comes back from the disabled list.
  2. If I am being nitpicky I would like to see Cain get though 6 innings with less than 86 pitches. But definitely cannot find fault with Cain’s effort today.
  3. Once again being nitpicky. Lopez had an 18 pitch inning. Granted the Giants had a big lead and there was no pressure. I am sure Lopez will be good to go when his left-handed specialist duties are needed.
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San Francisco Giants Game 3, 4/2/11 at Los Angeles

April 2, 2011

1st Inning – Top

Miquel Tejada hitting leadoff for the first time in 12 years grounds out from third baseman Aaron Miles to James Loney. Loney makes a nice pickup of a throw in the dirt.

On an 0-1 pitch Freddy Sanchez hits a routine fly ball to left fielder Xavier Paul

On a 1-2 pitch Huff flies out on a routine fly ball to Paul

1st Inning – Bottom

Matt Cain is on the mound for this first start of the season.

On a 1-2 pitch Aaron Miles line out sharply to Matt Cain. Nice catch by Cain.

De Jesus battles Cain for 8 pitches before grounding out to third baseman DeRosa to Belt.

Either grounds out softly to second base Sanchez to Belt.

Cain has a 16 pitch first inning.

2nd Inning – Top

On a 1-2 pitch Posey hits a hard one hopper to second baseman De Jesus who field and throws to Loney for the out.

Pat Burrell is called out strikes on a 2-2 breaking the looked to catch a lot of the plate. Burrell appeared to be completely fooled.

Belt called out on a strikes on 1-2 pitch that caught the inside corner. Nice location by Lilly.

2nd Inning – Bottom

On a 1-2 pitch Kemp continues his hot hitting blasting a fastball of the left center field wall.

Cain is going to have to work hard to keep the Dodgers off the board in this inning.

On an 0-2 count Loney reaches for an outside pitch and grounds out Tejada to Belt.

Kemp advanced to third. Tejada looked at Kemp but took the sure out at first. For the second game in a row Kemp makes a daring base running play to advance from second to third. Last night it paid off when he scored on a sacrifice fly.

With Gimenez up the Giants bring the infield in to try to keep the run off the board. Gimenez battles Cain for 6 pitches before grounding out to Belt unassisted.

Belt looks Kemp back to third before recording the out.

On a 1-2 pitch Paul hits a routine fly ball the left field that is caught by Pat Burrell.

Nice job by Cain pitching around the leadoff double by Kemp.

Cain his thrown 34 pitches in 2 innings.

3rd Inning – Top

On a 2-1 pitch DeRosa hits a solid line drive single to center field

On the first pitch Rowand singles on a looping liner to left field.

On a 2-1 count Cain lays down a good bunt to third base field by Miles to Loney for the out.

The sacrifice bunt is successful as DeRosa and Rowand advance to second and third setting a great scoring opportunity.

Tejada hits a chopper on an 0-1 count that Loney back peddles on before fielding and flipping to Lilly for the second out. DeRosa scores and Tejada gets the RBI giving the Giants a 1-0 lead.

Rowand advances to third.

Freddy Sanchez walks on a 3-2 pitch after a 7 pitch at bat.

On an 0-2 pitch Huff skies a foul pop down the left field line the Either catches at the wall in foul territory.

Lilly limits the damage to 1 run and is at 43 pitches after 3 innings.

3rd Inning – Bottom

On a 1-1 pitch Carroll ground out softly DeRosa to Belt

On an 0-2 pitch Lilly hits a dribbler back to Cain who flips to Belt for the out.

On a 1-2 pitch Miles hits a soft comebacker to Cain who fields and flips to Belt to end the inning.

Cain is off to a good start today with 44 pitches through 3 innings.

4th Inning – Top

On a 1-2 pitch Posey hits a routine grounder to Carroll who throws to Loney for the out.

On the first pitch Burrell hits a swinging bunt towards third that Lilly pounces on, wheels and throws to Loney for out number 2.

On a 3-2 pitch Belt flies out on a routine fly ball to center fielder Kemp ending a 7 pitch at bat.

Another nice at bat by Belt making Lilly work by throwing 7 pitches.

Lilly is now at 55 pitches

4th Inning – Bottom

DeJesus strikes out swinging on a 2-2 pitch but has a 6 pitch at bar.

On a 2-1 pitch Either singles on a slow chopper to DeRosa.

On a 0-1 pitch Kemp hits a ground ball that kicks off the mound and goes to Tejada who steps on second and throws to Belt at first to complete the double ending the inning.

Giants still lead 1-0.

Cain is at 56 pitches

5th Inning – Top

DeRosa grounds out Carroll to Loney for out number one

On an 0-1 pitch Roward hits a line drive single to left field

Rowand advances to second base on a balk by Lilly.

Cain strikes out looking on three pitches on a low inside fastball for the second out.

It’s going to take a two out hit to score a run this inning.

On an 0-1 pitch Tejada hits a solid single between Carroll and Miles driving Rowand in with the second run of the game for the Giants. Tejada advances to second base on Paul’s throw to the plate. Tejada picks up his second RBI of the game.

Freddy Sanchez doubles on the first pitch down the third baseline on a ball that hit the tarp and died. Nice play by the ball boy to leap over the ball avoid interference. Tejada scores and Sanchez picks up an RBI making it Giants 3-0.

Huff singles on a ground ball between Loney and DeJesus driving in Sanchez and giving the Giants a 4-0 lead. Huff is able to find a hole despite DeJesus playing him to pull on the short right field grass.

Don Mattingly removes Ted Lilly from the game and replaces him with Mike MacDougal.

On a 1-2 pitch Posey singles on a line drive to right fielder Either.

On a 1-2 pitch Burrell strikes out swinging.ending the inning.

Nice inning by the Giants stringing several hits together to score three runs.

5th Inning – Bottom

On a 1-0 pitch Loney flies out to Burrell in left field on a routine fly ball.

Gimenez flies out to Rowand on the first pitch of the at bat on a routine fly ball to left center.

On a 2-2 pitch Paul gets an infield single when he hits a sharp ground ball behind the second base bag that Sanchez fields and throw to Belt at first. Paul barely beats the throw at first earning the infield hit.

On a 1-2 pitch Carrol hits a line drive single to left center advancing Paul to third base.

Cain is now in a two out jam.

Barajas pinch hits for MacDougal.

On a 1-2 pitch Barajas strikes out on a slider low and away. Nice pitch by Cain to get out of the two out jam. Cain is at 74 pitches after 5 innings.

6th Inning – Top

Kenley Jensen is in to pitch the 6th inning for the Dodgers.

Brandon battles back from a 1-2 count to draw a walk on a nice 7 pitch at bat.

On a 3-1 pitch Belt steals second base for his first career stolen base.

On a 3-2 pitch DeRosa doubles on a ball that Kemp cuts off in the left centerfield gap. DeRosa is able to stretch what appeared to be a single into a double. Belt scores the Giants fifth run of the game. Nice heads up play by DeRosa.

On a 3-1 pitch Rowand pops out to shortstop Carroll. Not a productive at bat for Rowand.

Cain draws a walk on a 3-2 pitch

On a 1-2 pitch Tejada singles on a hard hit ball off the leaping Miles glove at third base. The ball trickled behind Miles on the infield dirt.

On a 2-0 pitch Sanchez singles on a bloop hit near the right field line. DeRosa scores giving the Giants a 6-0 lead. Sanchez picks up the RBI.

On a 2-0 pitch Huff lines a singles back up the middle just missing hitting Kenley. Cain and Tejada scores making the score Giants 8-0. Huff picks up his second and third RBI of the game.

Posey strikes out on a letter high fastball for the second out of the inning.

Burrell strikes out on a blazing fastball right down the middle.

Another nice inning for the Giant where they scored four runs while piecing together several hits.

6th Inning  – Bottom

Miles line out on a 0-2 pitch

DeJesus called out on strikes on an 0-2 pitch.

Either hits a solid ground ball single to right field between Belt and Sanchez.

Kemp reaches for a slider low in the strike zone and flies out to right fielder Huff on a 1-2 pitch

7th Inning – Top

Lance Cormier now pitching for the Dodgers.

Uneventful innings for the Giants hitters.

Belt reaches first on a throw that pulled Loney off the first base bag.

DeRosa lined out to second baseman DeJesus and Rowand struck out.

Fontenot pinch hit for Cain and from Cormier to Loney

Nice outing for Cain 6 IP 0 ER O BB 3 Ks on 86 pitches.

7th Inning – Bottom

Javier Lopez is making his first appearance of the season

Lopez was the Giants left-handed bullpen specialist after his trade from the Pirates in August of 2010. His work against Utley and Howard in the NLCS was outstanding.

Lopes allows singles Gimenez and Carroll while working a scorelss 7th inning.

8th Inning – Top

Cormier is back out for the 8th inning.

Tejada grounds out DeJesus to Loney

Freddy Sanchez hits a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall for a solo home run giving the Giants a 9-0 lead.

Cormier retires Schierholtz and Whiteside back to back to end the top of the 8th

8th Inning Bottom

Ramon Ramirez throws a scoreless 8th inning allowing a single to Either while retiring Miles, DeJesus and Cormier.

9th Inning – Top

Cormier still on the mound for the Dodgers

Andres Torres hits a pinch hit double to right field

Brandon Belt walks

Torres advances to third and Belt advances to second on wild pitch.

DeRosa grounds out second to first driving in Torres making the score Giants 10-0

Belt advances to third.

Rowand strikes out.

Sandoval grounds out third to first to end the top of the 9th inning.

9th Inning – Bottom

Jeremy Affeldt on the mound for the 9th inning. He is making his first appearance of the season.

Loney grounds out Sandoval to Belt

Gimenez strikes out on foul tip

Ellis singles on an infield single off Freddy Sanchez’s glove.

Carroll pops out to right field Shierholtz to end the game.

The Giants pick up their first win of the season and their record improves to 1-2 on the season.

San Francisco Giants Game 2 Thoughts, 4/1/11

April 1, 2011

Thoughts from Game 2

Positives

1. Brandon Belt looked good at the plate hitting his first major league homer. Giants fans are going to have to be patient with Belt when he hits a slump at some point during the season. Advance scouts will be looking for any weakness in his plate appearances. When they find it he will he to show he can adjust. That being said he has looked incredibly poised in his first two games and looks like he is in the big leagues to stay.

2. Pablo Sandoval had a couple hits and looked more agile in the field.

3. Dan Runzler had two nice innings retiring all 6 hitters he faced on only 16 pitches.

Negatives

1.  The defense was horrible again. The defense only made 73 errors last season and has already made 5 in two games this season. The Giants need to hope Cody Ross comes back by the end of April. Huff and Burrell in the outfield at the same time is not going to work for the long-term.

2. Jonthan Sanchez was his enigmatic self tonight. At times he looked dominant. At at times he looked lost.

3. The Giants scored all three runs tonight on one swing of Brandon Belt’s bat. It’s hard to win a lot of games setting back and waiting for the 3-run homer. Billingsley dominated the Giants in 2010 but did not look to have dominating stuff tonight. I would have liked to seen the Giants scratch out another run or two against him.

San Francisco Giants Game 2, 4/1/11 at Los Angeles

April 1, 2011

Jonathan Sanchez squares up against Chad Billingsley in the second game of the season.

Both pitchers have a reputation of having lots of talent mixed with lots of inconsistency. Both have the stuff to beat anybody on any given night.

In 5 starts against the Giants in 2010 Billingsley posted a 2-1 record with a fantastic 0.74 ERA while holding the Giants to a .160 batting average.

The Giants appear to have their work cut out for them tonight.

1st Inning – Top

On a 1-1 pitch Torres beats out a perfectly placed bunt the Billingsley is not able to field on a do or die attempt. This is the type of play I love to see. This will keep the Dodger infielders on their toes the rest of the night whenever Torres bats.

Billingsley hits Sanchez with the first pitch with pitch that looks to barely graze Sanchez on his uniform near his waist.

On an 0-1 pitch Huff hits a soft grounder to Loney who throws to second to erase to Sanchez.

The Giants have a good scoring opportunity with 1 and 3 and 1 out with Posey at bat.

On a 2-2 count Posey has to protect on an outside pitch and grounds fairly sharply into a 6 4 3 inning ending double play.

Billingsley gets out of the jam throwing only 11 pitches

1st Inning – Bottom

Furcal lead off by hitting bloop single to right field on a 1-1 pitch. This is a ball that landed 3 feet in from of Huff. In my opinion Cody Ross could have made the catch. The Burrell and Huff outfield has already played a part in this game.

Before the first pitch to De Jesus, Sanchez picks off Furcal with an excellent move to first.

Sanchez makes De Jesus look bad on a three pitch strikeout getting to chase a slider in the dirt.

Sanchez strikes out  Either swinging on a well placed 1-2 fastball on the outside corner.

Sanchez looks sharp in a 10 pitch first inning.

2nd Inning – Top

On an 0-2 Burrell grounds out on a routine grounder to short.

Billingsley strikes out Sandoval swinging with a excellent 0-2 slider on the inside corner.

On an 0-1 pitch Belt hits a weak 2 hopper and is retired unassisted by Loney.

Billingsley looks to have good stuff tonight. He has made it through the second inning throwing only 19 pitches.

This appears to be setting up to be another low scoring game.

2nd Inning – Bottom

Sanchez strikes out Kemp on 4 pitches with a sharp breaking slider in the dirt.

On a 1-2 pitch Thames singles on to 2nd baseman Freddy Sanchez on a broken bat infield hit.

On a 1-0 pitch Loney hits a routine fly ball to Torres for out number two.

On a 1-2 pitch Barajas inside outs a pitch into right center field just over the head of second baseman Freddy Sanchez.

Jonathan Sanchez has been victimized by a couple of bloop hits so far this inning.

On a 2-2 pitch Sanchez strikes out Miles on a pitch well off the outside corner of the plate.

Sanchez pitched well stranding the two runners.

Sanchez looks sharp with 4 Ks on 30 pitches through 2 innings.

3rd Inning – Top

On a 1-2 pitch Tejada grounds out sharply third to first. Billingsley left the ball hanging over the middle of the plate and appeared to be fortunate Tejada did not hit is harder.

Jonathan Sanchez strikes out on 4 pitches on a high outside 93 MPH fastball.

Torres lines the first pitch of the at bat into left field for a single.Good piece of hitting by Torres hitting a good pitch that was on the outside corner.

With Freddy Sanchez hitting on a 2-2 count Barajas just misses picking off Torres with a snap throw to first.

Sanchez draws a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Good plate appearance by Freddy.

On an 0-2 count Billingsley strikes out Huff looking on a great fastball on the inside corner.

3rd Inning – Bottom

Sanchez looks wild walking Billingsley on 5 pitches to lead off the inning.

Sanchez bounces back striking out Furcal on 5 pitches.

Sanchez walks De Jesus after an 8 pitch at bat.

Sanchez has reverted to his 2010 erratic postseason form.

Either fly’s out sharply to right on the first pitch advancing Billingsley to third.

Sanchez is one out away from pitching out of the jam.

Kemp hits an 0-1 pitch into into the left field gap. The ball bounced on the warning track an into the seats for a ground rule double driving in Billingsley.

This appears to be a ball a better left fielder may have been able to catch. I hope I am not being too critical of Huff and Burrell in the outfield. But most fans agree they are both below average fielding outfielders at this point in the careers.

That being said Sanchez is not doing himself any favors with his inability to consistently throw quality strikes.

Thames strikes out chasing a high fastball intentionally thrown out of the strike zone.

Sanchez his thrown 54 pitches in three innings.

After 3 innings the Dodgers lead 1-0

4th Inning – Top

Posey leads off the inning hitting a solid single just in front of a diving Either in right field. Great attempt by Either. Nice piece of hitting by Posey.

Good at bat by Burrell working the count to 3-2. Burrell battles though a 7 pitch at bat before flying out to medium depth left field.

Sandoval has a nice 6 pitch at bat fouling off 4 straight pitches before singling sharply up the middle. Nice to see Sandoval battle a tough pitcher.

On a 2-0 pitch Brandon Belt blasts his first major league homer to dead center driving in Posey and Sandoval.

Billingsley retires Tejada and Sanchez but damage is done with the 3 run homer by Belt.

Nice inning by the Giants hitters. Liked the patience I saw from Burrell and Belt. Like the way Sandoval battled.

Bottom of the 4th Giants 3-1

4th Inning  – Bottom

Would like to see a shutdown inning by Sanchez.

Loney grounds out weakly to Belt unassisted on a 1-0 pitch.

Barajas walk after working the count to 3-2.

Miles fly’s out to deep left center on a 0-1 pitch.

Sanchez strikes out Billingsley with a nice slider just off the outside corner.

Nice shutdown inning for Sanchez. Did not like seeing the walk to Barajas.

5th Inning – Top

Billingsley retires Torres, Sanchez and Huff in order on 12 pitches. Nice bounce back inning. Billingsley is at 79 pitches after 5 innings.

Billingsley is making Huff look bad tonight.

5th Inning – Bottom

Sanchez retires Furcal, De Jesus and Either in order on 11 pitches in the 5th.

Nice inning through the top of the order for Sanchez.

6th Inning – Top

Billingsley retires Posey and Burrell in order to lead off the sixth. But both grind out nice 6 pitch at bats bringing Billingsley’s pitch count up to 91.

Sandoval hits first pitches to Thames in left who drops it for an error allowing Sandoval to reach first.

Belt hits the first pitch for a sharp grounder to Loner who has it deflect to second baseman De Jesus who throws back to Loney to end the inning.

Another hard hit ball by Belt.

6 Inning – Bottom

Kemp leads off the inning with a single to center.

Thames grounds out Sandoval to Belt. On the ground out Kemp runs hard from first to third barely beating the return throw from Belt.

Is it a good hustle play or a bad decision he got a away with?

In my opinion he is already in scoring position with the tying run at the plate so I would lean more to ill advised. It’s never smart to make an out on the base paths when the tying run is coming to the plate in the late innings.

Loney fly’s out to Huff in left field driving in Kemp.

Barajas hits a solid single to left over Sandoval’s head.

Miles singles on a swinging bunt to Sandoval at third. Sandoval makes a wild throw past Belt at first allowing Barajas to advance to third and Miles to advance to second.

Visit makes a quick visit to the mound. I am guessing Bochy is telling Sanchez to get him one more out so he can pinch hit for him in the 7th. Bochy obviously does not want to waste a relief pitcher in the 6th when he will pinch hit for him in the 7th.

Giminez hits a swinging bunt towards third that is bobbled by Sanchez allowing Barajas to score the tying run.

The decision to leave Sanchez in for one more batter proves costly. Sanchez is releived bu Guillermo Mota.

The Giants defense has been terrible the first two games of the season. When you are playing bad defense balls seem to find the wrong guys at the wrong time.

Mota throws a 1-0 pitch right down the middle and Furcal lines into right field driving Miles in and giving the Dodgers a 4-3 lead.

Mota strikes out De Jesus to end the inning.

This was definitely a nightmare inning for the Giants.

7th Inning – Top

Top 7th – Inning.

Blake Hawksworth  is now pitching for the Dodgers

Tejada leads off the inning dropping down a perfect bunt down the third baseline. Miles tries to let it roll foul but it stays just on the grass. I love these types of plays.

Mike Fontenot pinch hits for Jonathan Sanchez

On a 1-2 pitch Fontenot grounds softly to Loney  who throws wide to Furcal at second forcing out Tejada. It appeared Furcal may not have had his foot on the bag when he caught the ball. Teajada disputed the call but did not put up much of an argument.

Torres strikes out on three pitches.

It’s up to Freddy Sanchez if the Giants are going to score in the 7th.

Freddy keeps the inning alive with a solid single to left.

Aubrey Huff draws a 5 pitch walk.

Buster Posey strikes out on a 3-2 pitches. His bat fly’s out of his hands into the stands and appeared to strike a Dodger fan.

Hopefully the fan will be okay.

7th Inning – Bottom

Dan Runzler making his first appearance of the year on the mound for the Giants.

Runzler gets Either, Kemp and Thames in order on 7 pitches in the 7th. Nice inning for Runzler.

8th Inning – Top

Matt Guerrier now on the mound for the Dodgers

Guerrier strikes out Shierholtz on three pitches.

Sandoval in Panda reaches for a pitch low and outside and hits a ground ball single to center field.

Brandon Belt has another good at bat hitting sinking line drive to center that Kemp made a sliding catch on.

Tejada pops out to left field on a weak fly ball.

Another good at bat for Belt even though the ball did not drop. Good catch by Kemp.

8th Inning  – Bottom

Runzler back out for the 8th inning.

Sandoval makes a nice running catch in foul territory down the left field line to retire Loney to lead off the inning.

I like what I am seeing out of the thinner Sandoval in the first two games.

Barajas flies out to Huff in left field and Miles grounds out Sandoval to Belt to end the inning.

Very nice outing for Runzler

9th Inning – Top

Jonathan Broxton on the mound.

De Rosa leads off the 9th pinch hitting for Runzler and looks fooled as he takes a called third strike right down the middle.

Torres flies out to Either who makes a running catch in right field

Freddy Sanchez is the last hope for tonight. Sanchez pops to Loney to end the game.

Broxton earns an easy 9 pitch save and drops the Giants to 0-2 for 2011.

Chicago Cubs Game 1 Thoughts

April 1, 2011

Thoughts from the game

Positives

  1. Starlin Castro looked good collecting 3 hits and scoring 2 runs.
  2. Darwin Barney had 2 hits and scored a run.
  3. Kosuke Fukudome reached base three times with 2 hits and a walk.

Negatives

  1. Dempster had a bad outing allow 6 runs in 6 2/3 innings to Pirates team that is not expected to contend this seson.
  2. Samardzija looked bad and was fortunate to pitch a scoreless inning. It is looking more and more like Samaezdija is settling into the role of a mop up pitcher until he can prove he is worthy or more responsibility.
  3. The Cubs were only able to scratch out 3 runs on 11 hits and 2 walks. They need to score more than 3 runs when they have 13 base runners if they are going to be successful.

Chicago Cubs Game 1, 4/1/11, Pirates

April 1, 2011

Cubs game 1, 4/1/11 hosting the Pirates.

I was not able to watch the game live so this account was done after that fact from a Tivo viewing.

The traditional opening day ceremonies included a moment of silence in honor of Cubs legend Ron Santo.

1st Inning – Top

Dempster started out slowly going to 3-0 on leadoff hitter before inducing a ground ball to short. Castro makes a nice behind the second base bag and does before making the throw to first to just beat Tabata at first.

McCutchen hits a ringing double up the left center field gap the reaches the left field wall.

Dempster strikes out Overbay on four pitches stranding McCutchen at second. Dempster ends up with a respectable 13 pitch first inning.

1st inning – Bottom

Kevin Correia get the opening day start for the Pirates.

On a 0-1 count Fukudome hits a routine fly ball to the edge of the warning track in left center field that McCutchen caught routinely.

On a 1-0 count Castro sharply hits a belt high changeup right at third baseman Pedro Alvarez  that is bobbled allowing Castro to reach first base. Castro is credited with a hit. The ball was sharply hit but right at Alvarez so in my opinion it could possibly have been ruled an error.

On a 1-1 count Byrd tops a ball to third the Alvarez fields and throws over the head of a leaping Overbay at first base. Jones fields the ball in the right field bullpen and makes a good throw to the plate, but the throw is just late as Castro makes a head first slide to the plate scoring the first run of the season for the Cubs.

Correia works through the inning without further damage but threw 18 pitches in the inning.

2nd inning – Top

Dempster retires Alvarez, Doumit and Jones in order on 12 pitches in the second inning.

2nd Inning – Bottom

With one out Barney singles on a line drive to right on a 2-2 pitch.

Dempster strikes out on three s straight missed  bunt attempts for the second out. The inability of Dempster to get the bunt down is frustrating. This is the type of little thing the Cubs have not done the past couple of years costing themselves valuable scoring opportunities.

Barney is caught stealing on a strike two pitch to Fukudome ending the inning.

Correia finishes the second inning with a respectable 32 pitches logged.

3rd inning – Top

Dempster retires Cedeno, Correia and Tabata in order on 13 pitches in the third.

Dempster has good pitch count of 38 through 3 innings.

3rd inning Bottom

Fukudome singles sharply to right on the fifth pitch of the at bat.

On a 2-0 count Castro hits a sharp one hopper to second baseman Walker who was shaded up the middle. Walker babbles the ball before getting a weak toss to second base to force out Fukudome.

On a two count Byrd lines a single to center field.

The Cubs now have an excellent scoring opportunity with runners on first and second and one out with Ramirez at the plate.

The Cubs need to add to their lead in this situation.

Ramirez singles sharply to left on a ball fielded on one hop by left fielder Tabata.

Castro has to play it safe and hold at third.

The Cubs are now set up for a big inning was the base loaded , one out and the feast or famine Pena at the plate.

On a 1-0 Pena hits a grounder that Walker fields to his left and wheels throwing to second erasing Ramirez and scoring Castro. Pena earns an RBI for the ground out.

Pena appeared to chase a changeup on the outer half of the plate. I would have liked to see Pena swing at a better pitch being up 1-0 in the count.

On a 3-1 count Soto hits a broken bat grounder to short that is easily fielded by Cedeno who flips to Walker covering second to end the inning.

Although the Cubs did score a run the inning felt like wasted opportunity to put additional runs on the board.

Corriea threw 20 pitches in the inning upping his total to 52 after three innings.

4th Inning – Top

Dempster retires Walker and McCutchen before giving up a double to Overbay. Alvarez strikes out swinging.

4th Inning – Bottom

Corriea retires Soriano, Barney and Dempster in order  on 8 pitches.

5th Inning – Top

Doumit singles to center field to lead off the inning.

Jones grounds out Ramirez to Pena advancing Doumit to second base.

Dempster walks Cedeno on 6 pitches giving the Pirates a good scoring opportunity with runners on first and second with 1 out.

On the first pitch Correia lays down a sacrifice bunt the is fielded by Dempster and thrown to Pena at first to record the second out of the inning.

Doumit and Cedeno move up to second and third on the successful sacrifice by Correia.

Dempster walks Tabata on 6 pitches to load the bases.

Neil Walker was up next in what would be the key at bat of the game. Walker worked the count to 3-2 on 5 pitches. Walker fouled off the sixth pitch of the at bat setting up the key pitch of the game.

Dempster threw the 7th pitch at the knees over the middle of the plate and Walker blasted it into the top row of the leftfield bleachers before it bounced over the wall onto Waveland Avenue for a Grand Slam.

That swing of Walker’s bat turned a 2-0 Cubs lead into a 4-2 Pirates lead.

It was disappointing to see Dempster fall apart in the inning. The two walks Dempster issued came back to haunt him.

5th Inning – Bottom

Corriea has an easy shutdown inning retiring Fukudome, Castro and Byrd in order on 12 pitches.

6th Inning – Top

Dempster works around walks to Overbay and Jones to keep the Pirates off the board in the 6th. Dempster had to work hard throwing 22 pitches in the inning.

6th Inning – Bottom

Ramirez hits a leadoff single and Correia rebounds retiring Pena, Soto and Soriano to end the inning.

The Pirates still lead 4-2.

7th Inning – Top

Dempster retires Correia and Tabata on a strikeout and ground out to start the top of the 7th

Walker hits a 2-out double to right and McCutchen follows with a 2-out 2-run homer giving the Pirates a 6-3 lead. Dempster is knocked from the game and replaced by James Russell.

Russell strikes out Overbay to end the inning. But the Cubs are now trailing by three runs heading to the bottom of the 7th inning.

7th Inning – Bottom

Barney reached on an infield popup that was deflected by Correia.

Colvin struck out swining.

Fukudome lines a single to right field driving in Barney making the score 6-3.

Castro singles to right field advancing Fukuidome to second base.

Byrd and Ramirez  came to the plate representing the potential tying run. Both flied out to center fielder McCutchen to end the threat for the Cubs.

8th Inning – Top

Jason Grabow works a scoreless top of the 8th for the Cubs.

Alvarez grounded out Barney to Pena to lead off the inning.

Doumit walked on 5 pitches before Grabow rebounded to retire Diaz and Cedeno to end the top of the 8th inning.

8th Inning – Bottom

Evan Meek worked a scoreless bottom of the 8th pitching around a leadoff single by Pena.

After the Pena single he retired Soto, Soriano and Barney to end the inning.

9th Inning Top

Jeff Samardzija work a scoreless 9th inning on 23 pitches.  Samardzija was fortunate to work through the inning without allowing any runs. With one out Overbay hit a line drive to Castro who doubled off Walker off second base to end the inning.

Samardzija was very fortunate to get out of the inning without giving up any runs. He needs to prove he can consistently get hitters out at the major league level. The Cubs are obviously running out of patience waiting for Samardzija to return to his 2008 form.

9th Inning – Bottom

The Cubs were able to get the tying run to the plate before Byrd struck out and Ramirez grounded out to end the game.

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.

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.