Tagged: Giants

It Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This

Well, as much as I thought I would be busy this upcoming year, I have realized that I have a lot more time on my hands than I thought I would.  I had planned on not being able to write on this blog for a while, since I would be doing track this year.  Since I have the extra time, I figured I’d get back to blogging on the MLBlogosphere.  And I mean c’mon.  Can you blame me.  I couldn’t stay away from this too long.  And what a perfect time to come back, right as the playoff races are coming to a conclusionn.  There is still no winner in the AL Central and NL West, the Yankees are dominating and the Red Sox got lucky to even get into the playoffs as the wild card, considering they haven’t been able to win consistently recently.  Well, I’m back and… HERE WE GO!

To start off, the Tigers’- Twins series last week was phenominal.  Every morning before school I would make sure I got to the t.v. and see the score of the game.  It was a great series.  Orlando Cabrera came up big in one game.  Another, the Tigers’ pitchihng was dominating.  The Twins had no answer.  It was a great series.

The Yankees have been 100% untouchable over the past few weeks.  Now, by untouchable, I don’t mean they haven’t been able to lose, because they have, but when they did, it hasn’t really struck anybody as a tough blow, the Yankees haven’t lost that much recently but when they did, it didn’t hurt.  They have been on that kind of roll.

The Red Sox… well, I guess I can say they deserve to be in the playoffs over the Rangers who have all but fallen off the edge of the earth this past month.  The Red Sox haven’t done all that much better.  They clinched on a night when both them and the Rangers lost.  They have been about as inconsistent of late than any other losing team.  They won’t make it very far into the playoffs.  If history runs its course, they will beat the Angels, but they won’t get past the Yankees in the ALCS if they even get that far.

The playoff race in the NL West has gotten a little slow lately but that is comparing it to the way it was when the Rockies were unbeatable. They have lost a few key games over the past few weeks but the race is still close.  Neither the Dodgers or the Rox have clinched and it will most certainly go down to the wire.  One thing that is definite… the Giants made a run but their pitching couldn’t carry them all the way.  They need to hit too.  All I have to say to the Rockies is this… if you’re gonna go out there and lose, you better watch out for the Braves who could easily sweep out of no where and take the wild card.

That’s all for now and I feel great.  Until next time…

Go Yanks!

Go Braves!

-Dillon

Talk About Some Comeback

Over the course of the season, the Dodgers have been designated as the best team in the NL West.  Well, since June, when the Rox were something like 15 games back of first place, the Rox have been one of the better overall teams in the Majors. They have been hitting, pitching, and playing good defense.  The coaching has been really good as well with all the decision making they have to do over the course of a game.  Jim Tracy has been the core of that team which has been so successful since June.

Last night, the Rox, as they have been for a while now, were on center stage, playing games that meant so much.  If they lost, their position in either the West or the Wild Card would be affected.  But they have been playing well and they have been winning.  They have been moving up and past the Giants who were their closest competition in the Wild Card race.  Now, they have their eyes on the Dodgers who they play a three game series against this week.  Another very important series for the Rox that will keep them on the edge of their toes.  That is another reason the team has been so successful lately.  They know how important the games are and the way they prepare for them is effected by this.

Last night, the Rox and Giants finished off a series that took place over the weekend.  The Rox really took advantage of the series as they won 3 out of 4 games.  Last night’s victory came with hard work and determination.  They were down late in the game and they came back from three down to win it.  Jim Tracy was in a tough spot having only one bench player available to pinch hit.  He worked around it though.  In the final inning, Dexter Fowler took one off the knee and went down.  He stayed in the game and was walked.  Tracy told their pitcher who had to bat for himself since there was no one else to bat for him, to take every pitch since the opposing pitcher had walked the previous batter.  The pitcher did what Tracy said and he got a nice four pitch walk to send him down to first.  Another chance for the Rox.

Eventually, after a very wild inning of suspense, Ryan Spilborghs came up to the plate with the bases loaded and jacked one to right center field.  A walk off grand slam ended a game that was one of the best in a while.  A great game to watch I can assume.  I am not anywhere near the Rockies’ television broadcasting but the replays on ESPN’s Sportscenter were amazing enough that I can assume the game was a great one.

The Rockies are in position to take over first place soon, as long as they have success against the Dodgers this week.  If they can win a couple, or even complete a sweep, the Rox will surely take over first place before the season is over.  The Yankees are one of the hottest teams in baseball right now…. I think the Rox are the next hottest team at the moment.

-Dillon

Expect the Unexpected

This phrase is one that most people know and understand, one that applies to every day life.  It is a simple one.  Meaning that you can’t always expect what is supposed to happen.  Sometimes, unexpected occurrences happen and you don’t know what to do.  Sometimes the unexpected isn’t anything hard to deal with but you just didn’t expect it to happen.  It’s not that hard to understand which is why it is a critical saying to general every day life.

Now, think about this.  If I asked you who would win the NL Wild Card, you would probably give me a breakdown of every division and who would come in first and second.  Then you would probably figure out who has the best chance at having the best record among the second place teams.  So, I did a little experiment with my pal Jay.  He was unaware of my intentions to put this in my blog so he’ll figure out later.

Me: Jay, how do you think the NL playoffs will be shaped up at the end of the season.

Jay: The Dodgers, no doubt, are gonna win the West.  That’s no question.

Me: I agree 100%.  How could Manny and Ethier and Furcal and the O-Dog go without winning that division.  They’re just too good and too consistent.

Jay.  I think the Cards will pull it out in the Central because they have Holliday now to bat behind Albert.  Too much power and good enough pitching to get along.  Now the East is the toughy.

Me:  It always is.  That’s why I say the Phils are gonna repeat as NL East champs.

Jay: I think the Phils will as well.  The Mets were my pre-season choice but now with all the injuries I can’t pick them and you’ve got to like what their doing down in Philly.

Me: That addition of Cliff Lee will probably end up being the biggest, most important trade of tbe year if the Phils get deep into the playoffs.

Jay: I think the Cubbies could make a run at the Wild Card.  They have been playing better of late and I think they will continue winning and take themselves into the playoffs.  I think that’s how it’ll all work out.

Me: That’s a very intersting look at things but it’s your decisions and I can’t make them for you.  Thanks man.

Jay: No problem.

This conversation took place over the phone a day after the Cards aquired Matt Holliday from the Athletics.

Now, I agree with every one of those predictions except the one that the Cubs will win the wild card.  How can you not think about the Rockies.  They have been playing really well of late and they are at the top of the Wild Card standings.  Jay said that he still thought the Cubs will streak right past both Colorado and San Fran but I don’t think that’s going to happen.  The Cubs may be playing great of late but the Rox are too.  I think they will pull away.

Now why would I go to all this trouble just top see who someone would pick to win the Wild Card?  Because seriously, who would think the Rockies would be in the playoff picture at all.  And how ’bout the Giants too.  I don’t think I would meet anyone that thought they would have a chance at the playoffs.  This is why you have to EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.

The Rox have a real good chance at makign the playoffs as the Wild Card.  They pulled away another  game yesterday with a win and the Giants’ loss.  The Rox are riding a four game win streak and I don’t think they will let anyone stop them from getting to the playoffs.

Even though the Rox were in the playoffs in 2007 in which the Red Sox beat them in four games, they were unexpected to be there that year too.  They just weren’t considered a good enough team to get that far into the playoffs.  Somehow they did and then they got swpet by a really good Red Sox team.  But still, the point is that they were unexpected to be there.  Same with this year but they may just do it.

Watch out MLB, here come the Rox.  And maybe even the Giants.

-Dillon

Will Strasburg Sign?; The Art of the Catch at the  Wall

The San Diego State phenom that has taken the baseball world by storm has until tonight to sign a contract with the team that drafted him.  The Washington Nationals, the worst team in the MLB for the past two years were lucky enough to have the chance to pick Strasburg in the draft but if they can’t sign him, they can just say good bye to their hopes and dreams of having any chance next year.

The situation with Strasburg is a big one.  Pretty much a do or die for the Nats.  Sort of…  If the Nats can’t sign him, they will not have the star pitcher they were hoping to have next year, since it is thought that Strasburg would glide through the minors and join the team next season.  Strasburg could be the start of a new and reformed Washington Nationals club.

The Nats do have a few guys that are pretty talented on offense.  The pitching isn’t that great but they get through the season.  Strasburg could take that pitching staff to a whole new level and put them back among the “not the worst” staffs in the league.  But the thing is, he has to sign to be able to play with them.

My dad and I were having a conversation about this topic yesterday and we both agreed (this rarely happens when talking about sports) that Strasburg should just sign with the team that drafted him if he really wants to play baseball.  He got drafted by the worst team in the league because he was the best player in the draft.  The worst team has the first pick and that’s just how it works.  Some players don’t sign with the teams that draft them just because they are not one of the better teams in the league.  But the thing is, if you want to play, you have to sign.  You may never get picked by the team you want to play for but that’s not your decision.

A bad team is bad for a while because they do not have the talentto keep up with the rest of the teams and their minor league teams aren’t producing the good young talent that will make them good in the future.  After a while, the farm systems start shaping up with some of the better players since they get a lot of high draft picks.  Strasburg is one of them that the Nationals, a bad team, has drafted.  He should just sign if he gets a good enough deal to compensate for his draft place.  JUST SIGN THE FRIGGEN DEAL!

Tony Gwynn, Strasburg’s manager at San Diego State, keeps saying that Strasburg just wants to play and that he is a baseball player.  If he wants to play so badly, then just give him a deal that he is worthy of and he will most likely sign it.

I hate how draftees take so long to sign contracts.  Especially the high draft picks.  They think just because they are the highest of the draft picks that they deserve a contract that some veterans aren’t getting.  They aren’t even rookies in the league yet.  When you get drafted, you sign with the team that took you in the draft, play in the minors for a while, then get your chance in the Majors.  Some get a chance quicker than others but most guys eventually get their chance.  When you get to the Majors, you play for the team that picked you for so many years until your contract runs out.  Strasburg should play with the Nats until his contract runs out (assuming he signs one).  Then when it runs out, you should consider signing a new one or maybe signing one with a different team.  That’s how the MLB works.  It’s always changing.  Some teams are good for a while, then they go bad because they lose their talent and the talent in the farm systems.

I know that if I was in the baseball draft and I got picked anywhere, I would be ecstatic and would sign right away.  I mean seriously.  The money a lot of baseball players get is more than an average person gets doing some non-athletic job.

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Now to another topic.  The art of catching a ball at the wall.  Now, it happens a lot in baseball.  But only so many guys can pull it off.  It requires concentration, talent, and ability to actually catch the ball while hitting the wall.  My favorite player, Curtis Granderson, happens to be an expert at it.

Now, this catch is probably the craziest catch I’ve ever seen.  He’s practically falling over the wall.  It was an amazing catch and I think some of you may be able to see why I like him so much.

Granderson made another great catch yesterday as he snagged a ball while hitting the wall in the Tigers’ game against the Kansas City Royals.  He robbed a Royals’ batter who ripped a ball to straight away center.  He hit the wall hard after making the catch but was able to hold on and was able to run off the field.  Thank goodness I would hate to see him get hurt.

Aaron Rowand is another of the great “at the wall defenders.”  That’s what I call them at least.  He has made many great and spectacular catches at the wall, including robbing a few home runs in his time.  This year, Rowand made a game saving rob at the wall to save a no hitter for the Giants’ Jonathon Sanchez.  It was a key catch and he made it.  He has been considered one of the best center fielders in the MLB for the past many years.  I forget what year it was but when he was with the Phillies he made a nasty catch while running into the wall and banged up his nose and all that.  It must have hurt a ton but he did make the catch.  That just shows you his will to make the play.

Torii Hunter is another one of those great center fielders that has made a few amazing catches in his time.  Currently with the Angels, he has already made many amazing catches since coming from the Minnesota Twins where he made even more spectacular, top ten worthy catchs.  One of his most famous was in an All Star Game in which he robbed Barry Bonds of a home run.  That was great.

There are so many great “at the wall defenders” that I can’t name them all, but these three are tops on my list and I wouldn’t change it at all for another few years before some new faces come into my perspective.  But this is my favorite baseball moment.  When an outfielder makes a rob at the wall.  Whether it is a home run rob or just an extra base hit rob.  It’s all great in my mind.

-Dillon

I Am In Desperate Need For a Yankee Victory Over The BoSox

Being a Yankee fan, or even for those Red Sox fans on this MLBlogosphere, these next four days should present nothing else but Red Sox-Yankees analysis on any Yankee fan’s or Red Sox fan’s blog.  That’s so simple.  The best rivalry in baseball is nothing short of what it is put up to be.  It is the single best part of the MLB.  It is my favorite part of the year when the Yankees and Red Sox face off and everyone else’s involved in this rivalry.  And basically, it is the only thing that should be talked about by any Red Sox or Yankee fan during the 18 games they play each other every year.  It is just STELLAR.

So, everyone knows that the Yankees have been unsuccessful against the Red Sox thus far this season.  They have been unable to win at home or on the road; extremely disappointing to Yankee fans.  Now, with first place in our posession (meaning the Yankees), the Bronx Bombers have a certain upside to things now, now that they have succeeded past the Sox without actually beating them.  But these next few games they play against the Red Sox will be played with a bigger sense of importance.  The Yankees can really pull away from the Red Sox, and push their already solid 2.5 game lead to maybe a 5 game lead or a 6 game lead at best.  A sweep would be phenominal seeing that we haven’t beaten them once this season.  Four straight wins would be STELLAR.

The Yankees and Red Sox play a total of ten games to finish off the season series.  Three of those are in Boston and the rest of them are in New York.  This is a huge advantage for the Yankees and they need to take advantage of it.  I can’t think of any better way to say it than that.  If you can’t win at home, you don’t have as good a chance to win on the road.

Victor Martinez… just aquired in a blockbuster deal from the Cleveland Indians.  A catcher/first baseman that has helped the Red Sox immensely in their current infield situation.  They have Mike Lowell who hasn’t been to the top of his health.  Since this has been the case, he has not started at third in the recent past and has forced Kevin Youkilis to shift over to third, the position he came to the Red Sox to play.  Victor Martinez has fit into the first base position and has let Jason Varitek remain behind the plate.  Late in the games, Mike Lowell has appeared to pinch hit giving the Red Sox much needed depth.  Martinez will get his first dose of the Yankees-Red Sox action and will be a huge part in it.  Martinez is the offensive bat that has fit into an already loaded lineup for the Red Sox that has its fair share of power and just general good hitting.  It will be interesting to watch how he performs.

Now, going sort of off topic.  How about that Kung Fu Panda?

No not that one… this one.

Pablo Sandoval has been a huge part of bringing the San Francisco Giants back into the playoff race.  They are currently first in the wild card race in the NL, only a half game ahead of their closest competitors in the NL West, the Colorado Rockies.  The Giants aren’t going to get to the top of the division, with the Dodgers easily pulling away from day one, but with Sandoval leading the way offensively, the Giants could be the underdog that gets into the playoffs.  They have the pitching; Lincecum and Cain.  They have the defense; Rowand and Molina among them.  They have the offense; Sandoval and Sanchez.  What else is their that they need.  Obviously they don’t have an overly great team, but they have what it takes to perform to a high standard and they could surely make it to the playoffs.  Now, how far will they go in the playoffs?  I’m not so sure.  They do have to face off against the best of the best in the NL; the Dodgers, the Phils, most likely, and possibly the Cards, the Cubbies, or even the Brew Crew.  All tough teams, but they should have enough to get into the playoffs in the first place.  Sandoval leads the way offensively and all I can say to the Giants is this:

THE KUNG FU PANDA WILL LEAD YOU TO WHERE YOU NEED TO BE.

-Dillon

An No-Hitter For the Books

Last night, Jonathon Sanchez put in the best performance from any pitcher in the Major Leagues all season, and boy was it a show!  And yeah, I’m talking about the Jonathon Sanchez that was 2-8 going into the game, had been demoted to the bullpen, and had a 5.30 ERA.  Yeah.  He that’s the guy that just no-hit the San Diego Padres.  Now, the Padres aren’t what you would consider a good team, not that they are all that bad though.  The way they have played in stretches this season would back that up.  But they weren’t good enough to be a team that would be considered unno-hittable.  Now, you have to give props to Sanchez who has had an extremely tough season for doing what no one has done yet this year.  Great job man.

In most no-hitter scenarios, the pitcher generally dominates, making few mistakes that he is fortunate enough not to have ruined their no-hitter.  In the game last night, there were a few balls that just missed leaving the ballpark.  If the batter had hit it just a little farther, this story would be nowhere.  It wouldn’t even be in anyone’s head.  “Jonathon Sanchez throwing a no-hitter… not with the stats he has.”

Last night, two of those hits came from Adrian Gonzalez, the slugging first baseman that will be competing in this year’s home run derby.  He hit two to left field that forced the left fielder to the warning track.  A little more on each of those hits and he would have had two more homers added on to his impressive home run total for 2009.  The other one that was probably the most important of the game was the one that was off the bat of… some guy that batted in the eighth that I don’t know the name of.  It went deep to straight away centerfield.  With some centerfielders, it would have hit the wall and bounced off for a double, possibly a triple, ultimately ruining the no-no.  But who better to have in center than Aaron Rowand.  The wall-crashing-into-specialist.  He jumped to catch the ball and robbed the batter of extra bases- saved Sanchez’s place in history.  My dad and I both watched the recap video of the game on MLB.com and we both said the same thing when Rowand snagged the ball… “Oh wow!”  Now, imagine if the ball would have been a homer and Rowand robbed that… think about that for a minute…

To further appreciate his dominance in this game and just his totally STELLAR pitching, Sanchez’s no-hitter would have been a perfect game if not for an error by the one and only Juan Uribe.  I don’t know about any of you, but Uribe has always struck me as that guy that would ruin something great and just didn’t have it as a professional.  Not that he’s a bad player… he’s a lot better than me… but he just isn’t that reliable. 

Sanchez’s season and even his career has changed dramatically with this no-hitter.  It was a tremendous performance and his perseverance just makes it all the better for this guy.  He’s a young pitcher and to have thrown a no-no will boost his confidence a mile high… figuratively speeking.

Congrats to Jonathon Sanchez!

-Dillon

A Pair of Aces Toss Two Hitters

Tim Lincecum… man what a great young stud this is.  He is athletic, he is a great pitcher, he is really good looking… as many of my female friends say (but that’s besides the point).  The point is, this kid is good.  And I mean really good.  Yesterday he displayed work that proves exactly how good he is in his outing against the St. Louis Cardinals.  He tossed a two hitter, complete game shutout to the Cards in front of the opposing Cardinal crowd.

Well, I don’t think he could have gotten any better without throwing a perfect game.  He struck out eight, gave up no walks.  He had a commanding fastball (as he has his whole career) and was dominating with his secondary pitches.  He was even doing it on the defensive end.  In the fifth inning, Lincecum fielded a ball that was grounded just over the reach of his glove.  He slid on the grass, picked it up and threw to first for the out.  Did I mention he was really athletic?

He was just STELLAR.  Seriously.  He was great.  He is definitely in contention for another Cy Young award.  And the triple crown.. well I’m just saying it’s not out of reach.

Now, Lincecum wasn’t the only ace to throw a two hit, complete game shutout.  Astros ace Roy Oswalt also did so.  The only difference between these two starts is that Oswalt allowed one run and gave up two  walkes.  Other than that, Oswalt was STELLAR.  He also got the win and the Astros got their series with the Padres under way with a win. 

Oswalt has had a tough start to the season.  Some say the WBC took its toll on him.  Some say he is just slumping and is having a tough season.  Well, this win is going to give him a tremendous boost in confidence.  You can’t pitch much better than he did yesterday without throwing a no hitter of perfect game.  He is starting to get older but still has a lot left in him.  I think he will get back into the groove of things soon because this win is going to get him going.

Oswalt now has a record of 4-4.  This isn’t all that bad.  He has a 4.02 ERA which is also respectable.  He is going to get better as the season goes on so you can count on him being the ace the Astros are used to having.

So that’s the wrapup for today.  They are both great pitchers and are going to continue to be great throughout their careers.  Especially Lincecum.  He is really something special.  I’m excited to see him grow into a true professional.  Not that he isn’t already there but there’s a little more to go.  They both were absolutely STELLAR yesterday and I thought they should be recognized for it.  Congrats guys.

Well that’s all.  Adios!

-Dillon