Category: Dailies

AL team

Now it’s time for the AL…
first, ignoring fan voting and the one player on every team rule:
Starters:
C. Joe Mauer
1B. Jason Giambi
2B. Ian Kinsler
3B. Alex Rodriguez
SS. Michael Young
OF. J.D. Drew
OF. Jermaine Dye
OF. Josh Hamilton
DH. Milton Bradley
P. Cliff Lee
Reserves:
C. A.J. Pierzynski
1B. Kevin Youkilis
1B. Justin Morneau
2B. Brian Roberts
2B. Dustin Pedroia
3B. Mike Lowell
3B. Evan Longoria
SS. Jhonny Peralta
OF. Grady Sizemore
OF. Carlos Quentin
OF. Manny Ramirez
OF. David DeJesus
SP. Ervin Santana
SP. Roy Halladay
SP. Justin Duchscherer
SP. C.C. Sabathia
SP. Felix Hernandez
SP. Joe Saunders
RP. Francisco Rodriguez
RP. Mariano Rivera
RP. Joakim Soria
RP. Jonathan Papelbon
By Team:
Red Sox: 6
Rangers: 4
Indians: 4
White Sox: 3
Angels: 3
Yankees: 3
Twins: 2
Royals: 2
Orioles: 1
Rays: 1
Blue Jays: 1
A’s: 1
Mariners: 1


Now factoring in fan voting and the one player on every team rule:
Starters:
C. Mauer
1B. Youkilis
2B. Pedroia
3B. Rodriguez
SS. Derek Jeter
OF. Hamilton
OF. Ramirez
OF. Ichiro Suzuki
DH. David Ortiz
Reserves:
C. Pierzynski
C. Ivan Rodriguez
1B. Giambi
2B. Kinsler
2B. Roberts
3B. Lowell
3B. Longoria
SS. Young
OF. Drew
OF. Dye
OF. Sizemore
OF. Bradley
SP. Santana
SP. Halladay
SP. Duchscherer
SP. Sabathia
SP. Hernandez
SP. Saunders
RP. Rodriguez
RP. Rivera
RP. Soria
RP. Papelbon

By Team:

Red Sox: 7
Rangers: 4
Yankees: 4
Indians: 3
Angels: 3
Mariners: 2
White Sox: 2
Twins: 1
Tigers: 1
Rays: 1
Blue Jays: 1
A’s: 1
Royals: 1
Orioles: 1

My All Star Teams- National League

With the All Star teams being announced later today, I figured I would post my teams, ignoring the fan votes and one player on every team rule
My teams, my rules
National League:
Starters:
C. Brian McCann
1B. Lance Berkman
2B. Chase Utley
3B. Chipper Jones
SS. Hanley Ramirez
OF. Pat Burrell
OF. Matt Holliday
OF. Ryan Ludwick
DH. Albert Pujols
P. Tim Lincecum
Reserves:
C. Geovany Soto
C. Russell Martin
1B. Derrek Lee
2B. Dan Uggla
3B. David Wright
3B. Aramis Ramirez
SS. J.J. Hardy
OF. Xavier Nady
OF. Jason Bay
OF. Nate McLouth
OF. Rick Ankiel
OF. Corey Hart
SP. Edinson Volquez
SP. Ben Sheets
SP. Johan Santana
SP. Dan Haren
SP. Carlos Zambrano
RP. Brian Wilson
RP. Kerry Wood
RP. Billy Wagner
RP. Brad Lidge
RP. Jon Rauch

By team:
Cubs: 5
Pirates: 3
Cardinals: 3
Brewers: 3
Mets: 3
Phillies: 3
Braves: 2
Marlins: 2
Giants: 2
Astros: 1
Rockies: 1
Dodgers: 1
Reds: 1
Diamondbacks: 1
Nationals: 1

Using the one player on every team rule, along with the winners of fan voting:
Starters:
C. Soto
1B. Berkman
2B. Utley
3B. Jones
SS. Ramirez
OF. Alfonso Soriano
OF. Ken Griffey
OF. Kosuke Fukodome
DH. Pujols
P. Lincecum
Reserves:
C. McCann
C. Martin
1B. Adrian Gonzalez
2B. Uggla
3B. Wright
3B. Ramirez
SS. Hardy
OF. Burrell
OF. Holliday
OF. McClouth
OF. Ludwick
OF. Ankiel
SP. Volquez
SP. Sheets
SP. Santana
SP. Haren
SP. Zambrano
RP. Wilson
RP. Wood
RP. Wagner
RP. Lidge
RP. Rauch
By Team:
Cubs: 6
Cardinals: 3
Mets: 3
Phillies: 3
Braves: 2
Marlins: 2
Reds: 2
Brewers: 2
Giants: 2
Astros: 1
Dodgers: 1
Padres: 1
Rockies: 1
Pirates: 1
Diamondbacks: 1
Nationals: 1
I’ll post my American League team shortly

Things are looking up

Giants 5, Dodgers 2
Today’s game was probably my favorite game of this Giants season.  Zito looking like he did in 2002, getting a win (at home), and a come behind win against the Dodgers.
What more can you ask for?
When the season started, I thought this Giants team was gonna be one of if (if not the) worst teams in franchise history.  With the franchise record for losses being 100 in 1985, one look at the roster prior to the season would suggest surpassing that mark easily.  Most people (including myself) predicted this team to be the worst in baseball this year.
After years of Brian Sabean risking the future for small short term gains, it finally started to catch up to the team a few years ago.  The last two seasons the Giants would have likely been the worst team in baseball had it not been for a guy named Barry Bonds.  Without Bonds, the downward spiral seemed to reach rock
Yes, this team is still a lousy team, but a hell of a lot better than expected.  Third place, only four games out of the division lead (and yes, I know it’s a horrible division, but still), and on pace for 72 wins is a lot more than expected.  What’s more, they’ve gone 22-20 since May 19th, when they were 17-29 and on pace for 60 wins, about as expected going into the season.
What makes things more promising is that, if you look at the performance up and down the roster, nobody is really overachieving, and on top of that certain guys who were playing over their heads earlier in the season (Fred Lewis, Aaron Rowand, and Bengie Molina) have come back down to what was pretty much expected of them, and yet the team has been playing better since then.
If anything, this team should continue to play better.  While nobody is playing above their heads, some guys should perform better in the second half.  Offensively, things will probably be about the same as the first half, with a slight improvement, due to Omar Vizquel.  While he’s never been a good hitter, especially at this point in his career, he’s a lot better than he’s been hitting and will likely improve upon his Neifi Perez-like stats in the second half.  And if not, he’ll likely lose his starting  job to Emmanuel Burriss, who himself is a mediocre hitter, but at least it’s a hell of a lot better than what we’ve been seing from Omar.
But look for the pitching to be a lot better in the second half.  Tim Lincecum is the real deal and, barring (god forbid) injury, will continue his dominance in the second half.  With Matt Cain, it’s not a matter of if, but when will he emerge into the ace we’ve been waiting for him to become, and it’s looking more and more like it will be at some point this season.  His rookie year, he would have become an instant ace had he not walked so many batters (over 4 an inning).  Last year, he cut down his walks, but the fewer strikeouts really hurt him.  This year, the walks remain down, while the strikeouts are back up (slightly higher even) to what they were his rookie year.  Mainly, he’s been having bad luck in that more balls in play have been falling in for hits, and that he’s been giving up a lot more home runs, which is essentially the result of one extra bad pitch every few games, something that can be easily improved upon.  What’s more promising is that, since April when he had 29 strikeouts to 23 walks, he’s had a phenomenal 78 walks to 24 strikeouts.  What’s been really killing him, however, are the occasional starts where he’s just gotten rocked, therefore skewing his percentage/ rate stats, and (which has been the biggest problem since his rookie year) the lack of run support and bullpen help, resulting in his weak records that fail to display his true abilities and performances.
Jonathan Sanchez is another guy waited in the wings to breakout.  While not as heralded a pitching prospect as Cain and Lincecum, the 25 year old pitcher’s stuff ranks among the best younger pitchers in the game.  And Kevin Correia is a little better than he’s pitching, and should be the best you can hope for from your #5 pitcher.
But Zito is the one who we’ll likely see the most improvement in the second half.  Over his last few starts, his velocity’s been back to what it was in Oakland, and his stuff has gotten a lot better as well.  While one would be dreaming to expect him to return to his Cy Young form from 2002, look for him to return to what he was his last few years in Oakland, which would be a really solid, reliable,  #2 starter, which in a rotation with Cain, Lincecum, and Sanchez, would make him a great asset (salary aside), especially for your #4 pitcher.  As for the salary, what’s done is done, and in a way, his salary is made up by the Giants paying the best pitcher in baseball league minimum.
Overall, this team still isn’t going anywhere this year, especially considering  at least one of the teams in the division that are heavily underachieving (D-Backs, Rockies, or Padres) will likely go on a second half tear, but at least it will be fun to watch this team continue to move in the right direction.  And an effort to continue in this direction, along with a strong system in the low minor leagues, this team has a decent shot at being once again a World Series contender in a few years (something that just a few months ago I thought would be a lot longer).  And who knows, one or two really good bats in the off-season, and a slightly improved bullpen may be enough to bring the Giants back.  All I know is, the Giants finally have a future to look forward to.

2 straight losses

Before I start, I want to send my condolences to the friends and family of Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock.

Josh Hancock

Well, the Giants are on the verge of getting swept by Arizona.  A few thoughts:
-It was just a matter of time before Barry started getting walked again.  He has, at 43, resumed his role as the best in the game.  His current numbers: .362 batting average, .519 OBP, .828 slugging percentage, and a 1.347 OPS.  May I remind you that he’s a few months shy of turning 43?
-What does Matt Cain have to do to get a win?  He’s averaged 1.2 runs , 2.4, and 7 innings hits in his five starts, posts an ERA of 1.54 and a WHIP of .089, and has an opponents batting average of .136 and OPS of .500.  Despite all that, he only has one win, compared to DOntrelle Willis, who has a 5.59 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, and opponents are batting .312 against him.   Despite all that, he’s won five of his six starts.
That’s just fair
-of course I had to jinx it by saying the bullpen was finally pulling it together
Hopefuly we can avoid the sweep.  Right now the Giants are only one game of the division, so hopefully they can take the lead within the next few days.  Playing catchup  all year just isn’t fun.

Giants 25 year team

Going faster in this instalments is the 25 year team…I will then do the San Francisco team (1958-present) and the all the time team
To make it a little harder, from this point forward, I will only use one player from each year
83, 85
C. Bob Brenly (1987)
1B. Will Clark (1989)
2B. Jeff Kent (2000)
3B. Matt Williams (1994)
SS. Rich Aurilia (2001)
LF. Barry Bonds (1996)
CF. Brett Butler (1990)
RF. Jack Clark (1982)
Bench:
C. Todd Greene (2006)
IF. Pedro Feliz (2004)
IF. Steve Scarsone (1995)
OF. Mike Aldrete (1986)
OF. Ron Roenicke (1985)
Rotation
SP. Jason Schmidt (2003)
SP. John Burkett (1993)
SP. Shawn Estes (1997)
SP. Mike Krukow (1984)
SP. Bill Swift (1992)
CL. Robb Nen (1998)
MR. Scott Eyre (2005)
MR. Tim Worrell (2002)
MR. John Johnstone (1999)
MR. Jeff Brantley (1991)
MR. Craig Lefferts (1988)
MR. Gary Lavelle (1983)

Sweep!

Two and a half weeks ago, I sat there after the Dodgers trounced the Giants 10-4 to sweep us for the second straight time, completely depressed.  Now, it’s the complete opposite.
I love payback.
Russ Ortiz, by some miracle, allowed 3 runs in 5 1/3 innings, and the bullpen gave us another good outing (with the exception of one home run given up by Brad Hennesey to Andre Ethier), and Armando had another great outing in which he pitched a 1-2-3 inning for the second straight night, culminating in a lengthy battle with Nomar Garciaparra, in which Mr. OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) struck out on the ninth pitched.
I’ve been one of Armando’s toughest critics (with good reason), but he has gotten the job done so far this year (knock on wood) and got the save in all three games.  If he keeps pitching like this, the rest of the bullpen will fall into place (like it has been), and if that happens, look out for the guys in orange and black.  The rotation has been the best in the national league, and the offense will be just fine as long as Barry stays healthy.
Some other positive notes from tonights game:
-the Giants were able to sweep without using Cain or Zito
-Omar finally came through tonight, Winn had a good series, and Pedro and Roberts both had key homers, which is huge considering those four guys have struggled
-THat Bengie Molina signing is looking very smart right now
Now it’s off to Arizona.   Hopefully we can sweep them again, but 2 out of 3 shouldn’t be too hard with the top of the rotation going.  Now that the Giants are in first place (I can’t believe it took me that long to mention it, so I’ll say it again: the Giants are in first place), they need to keep that hot streak going.  This is the most crucial part of the season, as it set’s the tone for the rest of the year, so let’s keep on winning (not getting my hopes up though)!