The story of another struggling Giants pitcher

A few years back, there was a struggling young pitcher for the Giants. He had tremendous stuff and was regarded as one of the top Giants prospects in recent memory, but was struggling to realize his potential. As his struggles continued, there was talk of sending him down, or even trading him for another bat to support Barry Bonds.

What happened ultimately? It was decided to keep him with the Giants, but skip him for a couple of starts and give him a chance to work out his issues. He threw some sessions on the side with Dave Righetti, made one appearance in relief, and then was reinserted into the rotation.

Who was this pitcher? Matt Cain.

In Cain’s case, the Giants showed patience and it paid off big time. Hopefully the same course of action can help Jonathan Sanchez.

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This post was written by Hank on June 29, 2009

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What A’s Fans and Giants Fans Resent

Giants fans resent that the A’s have overall done better than the Giants. Even if you count the entire history going back to NY and Philadelphia,¬† the A’s have still won more World Series (9) than the Giants (5).

A’s fans resent that despite that fact, nobody really cares, and the Giants are still the “alpha” team in the area. The Bay Bridge Series is typically the few days where all the A’s fans pound their chests and point out the fact above…and then once interleague play is over, everybody goes back to paying attention to the Giants.

It’s like being the very capable, but somewhat low-key guy at work, who stands up during a meeting and says something completely reasonable and correct, and then the entire room just nods and then goes back to listening to the guy who’s flashier and more personable.

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This post was written by Hank on June 25, 2009

Time for a new 2B!

Emmanuel Burris was sent down and Matt Downs was called up to take his spot. To make room on the 40-man roster, Steve Holm was designated for assignment.

A couple of observations:

Whiteside pretty much made Holm expendable, as they’re both essentially the same level of talent, except Whiteside has hit a little better in his time up in the majors than Holm did. However, Holm has probably shown enough to be a competent, if not capable, backup catcher in the major leagues. I’d be pleasantly surprised if nobody claimed him.

As for Burriss, he was essentially rushed to the major leagues. Folks forget that he jumped from Class A ball to the big leagues in 2007, so he really didn’t get much of a chance to really develop a game. It’s really shown these past few weeks. He’s already shown that he can play great defense- I think this stint in AAA will help him figure out his offensive philosophy, which needs to evolve. If I were his hitting coach, I’d recommend that he work on bunting for base hits, baserunning, and perhaps adjusting his swing to hit a few more ground balls that he could beat out. He should get another chance post-Renteria, if not sooner.

Downs was a 38th round draft pick out of Alabama in 2005. HIs minor league stats showed some power (20HRs last year splitting between San Jose and Fresno), and a little speed (24 steals, though caught a lot). He is of no known relation to former Giants pitcher Kelly Downs. Like how the Giants gave him Kelly’s old number though.

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This post was written by Hank on June 17, 2009

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On the ‘89 team reunion

That was just classic when Craig Lefferts sprinted in- as he did in every relief appearance he made back in ‘89. One of my fondest Giants memories from the 80s.

Most poignant moment was when Jose Uribe’s wife and daughter appeared with Juan Uribe, and Mrs. Uribe put on the number 23 jersey.

Rick Reuschel looks like he could still pitch. I think he actually still does, on the fantasy camp circuit.

Roger Craig still has the same walk he did when going out to the mound. He just needed those black vinyl sleeves underneath his jersey.

There was an eclectic but long list of the ‘89 Giants who appeared. From utility infielder Ed Jurak, who had exactly 42 at bats with the Giants that year, to Will Clark, Robby Thompson, and of course, ‘89 NL MVP Kevin Mitchell. Roger Craig and his coaches, heck, even the trainers were invited. Here’s the complete list:

Coaching Staff: Roger Craig, Wendell Kim, Norm Sherry, Bill Fahey

Staff: Greg Lynn, Mark Letond, Mike Murphy

Infielders: Will Clark, Robby Thompson, Ernest Riles, Ed Jurak, Greg Litton

Outfielders: Pat Sheridan, Kevin Mitchell, Donnell Nixon

Pitchers: Rick Reuschel, Don Robinson, Scott Garrelts, Kelly Downs, Atlee Hammaker, Bob Knepper, Mike Krukow, Dave Dravecky, Randy McCament, Ernie Camacho

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This post was written by Hank on June 14, 2009


Giants Rain Delay Outdraws the A’s?

An interesting item from the Merc:

Rating for the A’s-White Sox game on Wednesday: 0.82

Rating during the Giants rain delay on Wednesday: 0.79

Of course the Wednesday Giants game, had it been played, would have had the obvious historical implications. But you’d think folks would at least watch the A’s game first until the Giants game started. Are Giants fans really that indifferent about the A’s?

Original article from the Merc

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This post was written by Hank on June 5, 2009

Congratulations Randy Johnson on 300!

Some trivia on Randy Johnson hitting 300:

  • 6th left hander to get 300 wins
  • 24th member of the 300 win club
  • First to have beaten every major league team over the course of his career
  • Second oldest at the time he won 300 games (first was Phil Niekro)
  • Joins Tim Keefe, Mickey Welch, and Christy Mathewson as pitchers who got their 300th as Giants
  • First to get 300 as a San Francisco Giant
  • Fifth best winning percentage in the 300 club (.647)

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This post was written by Hank on June 4, 2009

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More Randy Johnson Retrospective

As we wait out the rain delay, two more articles on Randy Johnson, from

Jerry Crasnick’s Starting 9 column features nine memorable moments from Johnson’s career:

  1. His perfect game in 2004.
  2. The pitch over John Kruk’s head in the ‘93 All-Star Game.
  3. The playoff game in 1995 for the Mariners, after they had stormed back from a 13 game defecit.
  4. After throwing 7 innings in Game 6 of the 2001 World Series, he came back the next day to get the last four outs in Game 7.
  5. The “exploding bird” incident. Interestingly enough, it was against the Giants in a spring training game. The immortal Calvin Murray was the hitter.
  6. Striking out 20 Cincinnatti Reds in a 2001 game.
  7. His one career home run in 2003.
  8. The camera shoving incident when he first joined the Yankees.
  9. The really long home run McGwire hit off him in 1997. In that game, he struck out 19.

Some really funny quotes, and even a Duane Kuiper reference thrown in for good measure.

The second article, which was the main feature on ESPN’s baseball section, interviews various hitters who have faced Johnson throughout the years, and lists which hitters have fared the best and worst against him.

The best five hitters (BA, min 20 PAs):

  1. Rene Gonzalez (.500 ?!?!)
  2. Bob Melvin/Randy Velarde (.452)
  3. Jose Reyes (.450)
  4. Reed Johnson (.429)
  5. Albert Pujols (.429)

The Five Worst Hitters (BA, min 20 PA)

  1. Craig Grebeck (0 for 21)
  2. Steve Sax (1 for 26)
  3. Rafael Palmeiro (1 for 21)
  4. Eric Davis (1 for 18)
  5. Candy Maldonado (1 for 17)

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This post was written by Hank on June 3, 2009

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Patrick Misch DFA

Designated to make room for Kelvin Pichardo, a pitching prospect coming back from a 50-game suspension for pulling a Manny Ramirez. Misch, originally a 7th round draft pick in 2003, pitched parts of 4 seasons for the Giants, going 0-7 in a total of 38 games.

Perhaps knew something the Giants didn’t-as of this writing, its profile for Misch had already listed his “Final Game” as 9/23/2008. I’m guessing he’ll probably just get outrighted to Fresno after clearing waivers, but if the Giants can trade him for an actual player, hey all the more power to Brian Sabean. Not sure though if he’s shown enough to earn a career as a “token left handed pitcher”.

UPDATE: Misch was claimed off waivers by the New York Mets and assigned to their AAA affiliate at Buffalo. So starts his journeyman career.

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This post was written by Hank on June 2, 2009


Triple Big Unit

Three articles today to share on Randy Johnson:

Randy Johnson in high school: 90 mph and attitude recollects his exploits back in the early 80s at Livermore High School. Features recollections from local players who faced him, and some photos including a black-and-white photo of him complete with the same mullet he has now.

Is Johnson the last Big Winner? by John Shea of the Chronicle speculates whether Johnson will be the last 300 game winner. The article lists some of the winningest pitchers today and mentions that Roy Halliday, who at age 32 has 139 wins, would need to average 16 a year to get to 300 by age 42. Johnson, on the other hand, due to the early struggles in his career, only had 104 wins at age 32, and actually had two recent reasons where he only won 4 and 6 games due to injury, as well as five-win and nine-win seasons in his prime years.

Not to be excluded, the Merc also weighed in on Randy Johnson as he goes for his 300th win in Washington. Andrew Baggarly’s blog article approaches the topic from the angle of, what kind of makeup does it take to be a 300 game winner? Being healthy, playing for winning teams, pitching and winning in your 40s, those all make sense. Slightly more interesting is being in the American League, the idea¬† being that the DH keeps pitchers in games longer and thus gives them more chances to win.

Just for fun, Barry Zito has 124 wins and age 31 as of this writing. He would need to average 18 wins a year (actually, 17.6) over the next 10 years to reach 300. If he pitches as long as Johnson (until 45), he could do it averaging 13 wins a year (12.55). It’s too early to do a projection on the other Giants starters, so we’ll check back on them in say, 5 more years.

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This post was written by Hank on June 1, 2009

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