2015 San Francisco Giants: These laurels look pretty comfortable

Lars The Wanderer

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Key subtractions:
Pablo Sandoval
 
Additions:
Casey McGehee
Nori Aoki
 
Returning from long DL stints:
Matt Cain
Angel Pagan
 
I'm not expecting much from the Giants in 2015 (of course, I didn't expect anything from them last season either). Seen as players for various big name free agents this offseason, they seem to have settled on 2nd tier players as is their custom. To be fair to the team, they were fully prepared to pay way too much money for Jon Lester before he decided to join the Cubs. Can't really blame ownership for being cheap. It just seems they had a particularly hard time convincing players that SF is a good place to play baseball, which seems strange to me.
 
Anyway, as the "the most screwed 3-time champion in MLB" prepares to defend their championship it appears that their fortunes hinge on the health of Matt Cain and Angel Pagan. Granted the team was able to squeak into the playoffs without significant contribution from either player in 2014, I doubt they can count on that happening again.
 
I'll add more to this later when I need to procrastinate at work. I just thought it was time to get it kicked off with the turn of the calendar. Congrats to my fellow Giants fans on this board. As a fan since the 70's, I never thought I'd get to see 1 much less 3. These are the salad days and they may already be over so I suggest that we enjoy them to the fullest. :love:
 

nattysez

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I'm pretty surprised that they're going into ST with MadBum, Cain, Hudson, Peavy, Lincecum as their rotation.  Given that Crick is at least another year away (and there's no one else in the minors who's ready) and Petit is seemingly best as a fill-in starter/long reliever, it seems like they are at least one major-league arm short of having a defensible rotation.  I keep hoping that they'll sign Shields, but that seems like a pipe dream.  I think things could get pretty ugly with Lincecum barring some borderline miraculous off-season work on his part.
 
The improvement of the Padres and Cubs is going to make a WC spot a bit harder to achieve this year.  And while I think the Dodgers' offense is going to take a big step backwards this year, they should easily have the pitching to win the division, barring injury.   
 

gaelgirl

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So... looks like Vogelsong is back in play. I'd be willing to bet that Vogey does sign with the Giants. He isn't really motivated to go anywhere else, I don't think. The Giants would be coming in with a ton of starters, but they're also coming in with a ton of question marks at starter, too. So, I guess we'll be spoiled for choice in terms of starters. (Or, more pessimistically, we'll be chanting "Bumgarner and Cain and pray for rain.")
 
Losing Sandoval was a huge blow to the Giants, but I am happy that they didn't respond with an overpriced signing that wouldn't work out long-term. They are piecing together a team and hoping for the best. It's sort of the Giants way. Sometimes it really, really works out well. But I can kid of see why we're on an every-other-year rate of success, because it seems every success is followed by a key contributor bailing or getting hurt or just being ineffective. 
 

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While I'm disappointed in not getting Lester and it seems like they're out on Shields, I'm happy they're going after pitching. It seems like someone up there's getting park effects. 
 
The offense is basically fine. They were 5th in the NL in runs scored last year in a big pitcher's park. They lost Morse, but they'll get a full year of Panik, hopefully a full year of Belt, and some decent performances from Aoki and McGehee. They need to hit on some bench players, and they're screwed if somebody (especially Posey) gets hurt, but I'm not that worried. 
 
But the rotation is a mess. Bumgarner can't be horsey mchorsehorse for two years in a row and all Hudson/Vogey (I think he signs)/Peavy can be combined is adequate - if they can put up 4 WAR between them then gravy. So Cain's going to have to come back and be Matt Cain again for them to have a chance, and oh man, THEY CANNOT HAVE TIM LINCECUM IN THE STARTING ROTATION.
 
TIM LINCECUM IS THE WORST STARTER IN BASEBALL. TIM LINCECUM IS THE WORST STARTER IN BASEBALL. TIM LINCECUM IS THE WORST STARTER IN BASEBALL.
 
Put him in the bullpen, which might actually shore up the bullpen something good, and stop letting him be a gas can every fifth day.
 
86-76, 2nd place, out of playoffs. If everything breaks right, they could get up to 91 and 92 and contend for the division and likely at least be in the play-in game. But I expect I'll see more Mike Krukow defending Timmy than I'd like, Belt will get hurt, and other than Susac they won't have any dependable bench options. They'll look like the best team in baseball 1-2 times a week, and look like a 90-loss team 1-2 times a week. 
 

Lars The Wanderer

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I'm not too worried about Belt. His injuries were a broken thumb after a HBP and a concussion that occured during infield practice. Those things are freak-type of injuries and not the shoulder/knee things that tend to be chronic.
 
I agree with Bong that Lincecum doesn't belong in the rotation. Dude is a mess and he walks the park. His mechanics just aren't repeatable and as a result, he makes Jonathan Sanchez look like Greg Maddux. Since this is the final year of his contract, he better figure it out right out of the gate or find himself on the waiver wire. I don't think the Giants would be too hesistant to eat his salary to free up a roster spot for a mid-season trade.
 

Spacemans Bong

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I really hope so. I love the guy, he seems like a good dude and he was one of my favorite pitchers to watch when he was on. But even 2010 Lincecum, solid but not a Cy contender, is not walking through that door. The unbelievably long leash the fans have given him has probably inspired the Giants to sit on the problem a bit longer than they should have. 
 

Lars The Wanderer

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Happy P&C Day!
 
The biggest news so far as been an off-the-field change. After 57 seasons of being the clubhouse manager, Mike Murphy is stepping aside and handing the duties to Bret Alexander. Mike Murphy will transition to Senior Advisor/Travel Director. To the non-Giants fan this might seem like a small thing but it really is the end of an era.
 
Thanks for everything, Murph!
 
Edit for some updates:
 
Bochy has stated that Lincecum will start the season in the rotation (ugh). That means:
Bumgarner
Cain
Peavy
Hudson
Lincecum.
 
Vogelsong and Petit will be in the bullpen.
 
Alex Pavlovic reports that Hudson is a little behind schedule due to an ankle problem.
 

Lars The Wanderer

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Bruce Bochy was taken to Scottsdale Medical Center Thursday after reporting chest discomfort. He received 2 stents in his heart and is said to be recovering well. He is going to remain in the hospital for a couple days. Ron Wotus will be running things in Bochy's absence. Scary stuff.
 

Lars The Wanderer

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Buster Posey won that stupid Face of the MLB thing that has been clogging up all your twitter feeds for the last month.
 
Santiago Casilla took a comebacker off of his shin while throwing live BP to Casey McGehee. He was able to walk off the field under his own power. He says he is okay. Way to introduce yourself to your new teammates, Casey!
 
There are no starting position player spots up for grabs this spring. The most compelling position player battle would be Andrew Susac or Hector Sanchez for backup C. Assuming everyone makes it out of spring training in one piece, it shapes up like this:
 
C Posey
1B Belt
2B Panik
3B McGehee
SS Crawford
RF Pence
CF Pagan
LF Aoki
 
Bench:
Ishikawa
Blanco
Arias
Susac/Sanchez
 

Lars The Wanderer

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Regarding baseball in California:
 
According to the largest online retailer of officially licensed gear, Fanatics.com, the five best-selling names in baseball so far this year are all from California. In order, they are World Series hero Madison Bumgarner, Trout, Posey, Kershaw and Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig.
 
Link
 
But national broadcasts will continue to be the same two Northeast teams at every opportunity.
 

Lars The Wanderer

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The folks suggesting Craig for the Giants are nuts. You have to be at least decent with the glove to play RF at AT&T. Even if you move Aoki to RF and play Craig in LF it isn't going to work. It's not happening.
 

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Lars The Wanderer said:
The folks suggesting Craig for the Giants are nuts. You have to be at least decent with the glove to play RF at AT&T. Even if you move Aoki to RF and play Craig in LF it isn't going to work. It's not happening.
I agree. Maybe Victorino, but if Pence will be back by mid May or so it's not worth giving up any of their limited assets.
 

Lars The Wanderer

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Weirdness from Pablo Sandoval yesterday as he made some unflattering remarks about the Giants in an interview with Scott Miller yesterday:
 
Sandoval’s most pointed comments came when asked about his teammates. The third baseman said he doesn’t miss the Giants clubhouse, considered one of the best in the sport.  "Only Bochy," Sandoval told Miller. "I love Boch. He's like my dad. He's the only guy that I miss. And Hunter Pence. Just those guys. But now, I feel like I'm home.”
 
After that parade, Sandoval said he hoped to stay in San Francisco, 
“I love being here, I love being here,” he told reporters at City Hall. “I love the way they keep all their guys together ... I want to be here for the rest of my career. I want to wear that jersey for the rest of my career.”
His words an hour earlier turned out to be more truthful. According to people who were near him on the parade route, as Sandoval was waving to cheering fans that day, he turned and told family members that he was waving goodbye.
 
Link
 

nattysez

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Even weirder:
Dave FlemmingVerified account@FlemmingDave

He did love it RT @AlexPavlovic: Sandoval repeatedly said "I love being here." Turns out he didn't love being here: http://bit.ly/1wTYhA6 
 

Dave FlemmingVerified account@FlemmingDave

This was an agent/family thing. Poisoned the waters. RT @writingfreak88: Just for clarification--is he lying now?
 
 
I guess Flem is saying that his agent/family soured him on the Giants, but that doesn't make a ton of sense to me, especially if the money was there in SF.
 
In more upbeat news, Cain had an excellent 2 IP today.
 

gaelgirl

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If you've been following Flemming for a while, he's basically said this exact thing before. So, for me, it's not a surprise. Flemming implied earlier when Pablo left (and he tweets way too much for me to go back and find it) that his brother and his agent were the ones who wanted out of San Francisco. He also implied that they were very, very anti-Giants, pretty much in direct conflict with Pablo's feelings himself. It's notable that Pablo said that the Giants didn't respect his agent and that's why talks broke down. It's sad, really, but it appears Pablo isn't his own man making his own decisions. He's treated like a child and he acts like one, too. 
 
Maybe the reason he and Ramirez are getting along so well now is that they are both jerks. 
 
I wish the Red Sox the best, but I suspect Pablo's tenure with the team is going to be very, very rough. He's going to learn right quick what real disrespect means. Whatever happened in San Francisco is probably a tenth of what will happen over there. His Spring Training weight reports never resulted in Late Night Top 10 lists, after all. 
 

Lars The Wanderer

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gaelgirl said:
If you've been following Flemming for a while, he's basically said this exact thing before. So, for me, it's not a surprise. Flemming implied earlier when Pablo left (and he tweets way too much for me to go back and find it) that his brother and his agent were the ones who wanted out of San Francisco. He also implied that they were very, very anti-Giants, pretty much in direct conflict with Pablo's feelings himself. It's notable that Pablo said that the Giants didn't respect his agent and that's why talks broke down. It's sad, really, but it appears Pablo isn't his own man making his own decisions. He's treated like a child and he acts like one, too. 
 
Maybe the reason he and Ramirez are getting along so well now is that they are both jerks. 
 
I wish the Red Sox the best, but I suspect Pablo's tenure with the team is going to be very, very rough. He's going to learn right quick what real disrespect means. Whatever happened in San Francisco is probably a tenth of what will happen over there. His Spring Training weight reports never resulted in Late Night Top 10 lists, after all. 
 
He has stuff like this to look forward to.
 

Lars The Wanderer

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Lars The Wanderer said:
The folks suggesting Craig for the Giants are nuts. You have to be at least decent with the glove to play RF at AT&T. Even if you move Aoki to RF and play Craig in LF it isn't going to work. It's not happening.
 
Shows how little I know! Gammons is saying the Giants did ask about Craig but the Sox weren't interested in "selling low". My guess is that the Giants were looking for a salary dump type of deal with the Sox picking up at least a part of his contract.
 

Lars The Wanderer

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Outfielder injuries seem to be a theme with the Giants this year. The latest one has the potential to be a long term thing. Angel Pagan received an injection in his back due to "stiffness". As a reminder, Pagan had back surgery in the offseason. The Giants claim this isn't related but it just feels too much like a Scutaro/Freddy Sanchez type of thing to me.
 
link
 

Lars The Wanderer

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The GIants have reorganzied their head office. Brian Sabean is now Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations. Bobby Evans is now General Manager. Jeremy Shelley, John Barr and Dick Tidrow will be Asst. GMs.
 
Brian Sabean was GM for 18 seasons and was the longest-tenured GM in baseball.
 

nattysez

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Cain is now out for a minimum of two weeks with a forearm strain, which is usually (though supposedly not in this case) a precursor to needing Tommy John.
Peavy is having back issues severe enough that he missed his start and did not have a good bullpen session tonight.
Vogelsong gave up 7 ER in 4.2 IP tonight.
Belt now has a groin injury and is out for an undetermined amount of time.
 
The funny thing is that they are scoring runs, albeit against the D'backs, so trading for Craig doesn't fill the most immediate need, which is pitching.  
 
I don't see where they're going to get the pitching to fill out the rotation all year.  They need a miracle from someone in the minors and probably need to move Petit to the rotation.  
 

Lars The Wanderer

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Yeah, yesterday was a folly of injury.
 
In Cain's case, the team is saying the issue is with a flexor tendon not the ligament. So TJ surgery is not required. Chris Heston is being called up to take his spot in the rotation.
 
Peavy will probably miss his start but they haven't made that call yet.
 
The team is trying to downplay Belt's injury but it looked pretty bad when it happened. I guess Hector Sanchez could catch and they could move Posey to 1B, but that would mean a call up for Andrew Susac and I don't think the team wanted to do that yet.
 
Vogelsong gave up 2 3-run homers and was behind in the count for most of his outing. The first one came after not getting a strike 3 call against Goldschmidt that would have gotten him out of the inning. Instead it was ball 4 and the next batter (David Peralta) got a fat pitch. Shit happens.
 

Lars The Wanderer

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The Giants called up Chris Heston to take Matt Cain's spot in the rotation. He went 6IP 3H 0ER 2BB 5K in a victory against the DBacks to earn his first career win. The GIants take the series 2-1 and move on to San Diego.
 

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Lars The Wanderer said:
The Porcello discussion on the main board makes me appreciate Bumgarner's deal even more.
Sure, but Bum was signed after his 21 YO season when it wasn't known yet he'd become a complete ace (not that Porcello is an ace). Bum's agent, or agents (who are they?) said this last fall:
 
As Bumgarner’s agents pointed out to MLB.com’s Chris Haft, the deal was the richest in history for a player with between one and two years of Major League service time.
 
http://heavy.com/sports/2014/10/madison-bumgarner-contract-salary-money-world-series/
 
Maybe some rationalizing to themselves though. 
 

Lars The Wanderer

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Giants drop a 4-game series in San Diego 3 games to 1. Their record is now 3-4. The teams split the opening to games with consecutive 1-0 scores before the Padres blew out the Giants in the last two. Casey McGehee injured his knee in the second game of the series and is "day to day". The team says it is just a bone bruise but later said that McGehee had a cortisone shot and is feeling better (cortisone for a bone bruise?). I don't think I buy their explanation of his condition.  The good news is that Brandon Belt returned from his groin strain and showed no ill effects.
 
The home opener is today against Colorado. The Giants will be raising the 2014 World Series Championship banner. First pitch is 1:30pm PT but get there early.
 

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I caught a bit of yesteday's game and the Giants looked sloppy on defense. That isn't the norm, right?
 

Lars The Wanderer

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Yeah, that isn't really their game. Part of it is due to injuries to Pence and McGehee, but at least some is laziness or maybe fatigue. Another (and most likely) explanation is sample size. Maybe they are just grouping their bad games at the beginning of the season. We shall see.
 
On the bright side, Chris Heston made another really good start. I think the Giants may have stumbled on to something there.
 

Lars The Wanderer

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The lackluster season continues. After being swept in their home opening series by Colorado, the Giants lost 2 of 3 to Arizona. They close out their homestand with 3 against the Dodgers so it doesn't stand to get any better. Lincecum vs. Anderson in the opener. This season reminds me a lot of 2008 from an offensive standpoint. Zero power (Brandon Crawford leads the team with 3 homers). Aoki, Panik and Pagan are doing pretty much everything they can to set things up, but nobody in the middle of the lineup is cashing in. When you add that to what has been a miserable performance from the rotation so far, it doesn't get any uglier.
 
The lone brightside continues to be Chris Heston. He is 2-1 in his 3 starts with a 0.84 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. Called up as a replacement when Cain went down, it stands to reason that he is going to remain on the big league club for the rest of the year.
 

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Lars The Wanderer said:
The lone brightside continues to be Chris Heston. He is 2-1 in his 3 starts with a 0.84 ERA and 0.97 WHIP. Called up as a replacement when Cain went down, it stands to reason that he is going to remain on the big league club for the rest of the year.
 
Note that Hesto Presto didn't even make the Top 30 list of Giants' prospects.  I don't know if Righetti is just a genius or what.
 
In other news, Crawford and Panik turned a beauty of a DP tonight.  Lincecum allowed 1 ER over 6 IP, thanks in part to 3 DPs.  
 

Lars The Wanderer

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Well, that was unexpected.
 
The Giants closed out their homestand with a 3-game sweep of the Dodgers. That last 2 wins coming on walk offs. Prior to this series, the Dodgers had won 7 straight. Baseball, man...who the fuck knows? Anyway, the Giants now stand at 7-10 and last place int he NL West. Good news is that also means they are only 3 back of the Dodgers for 1st. Lots of baseball left. I remain unconvinced.
 
Next up is a 6-game road trip starting with 3 in Colorado. I fuckin' hate that park.
 

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Lars The Wanderer said:
Well, that was unexpected.
 
The Giants closed out their homestand with a 3-game sweep of the Dodgers. That last 2 wins coming on walk offs. Prior to this series, the Dodgers had won 7 straight. Baseball, man...who the fuck knows? Anyway, the Giants now stand at 7-10 and last place int he NL West. Good news is that also means they are only 3 back of the Dodgers for 1st. Lots of baseball left. I remain unconvinced.
 
Next up is a 6-game road trip starting with 3 in Colorado. I fuckin' hate that park.
The Giants tend to hit pretty well at Coors Field though, maybe even waking up some previously dormant bats, even for games after they leave COL. My most hated parks is the Trop, nothing close. I suppose if I'd been at the Oakland Coliseum during a bathroom toilets backup...it is badly outdated though.
 
Congrats on the sweep. 
 

Lars The Wanderer

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Thanks.
 
Yeah, I'm just not a fan of the 10-8 scores and 4000 pitching changes that tend to happen in that park. I know it is a minority opinion these days, but I prefer a low scoring, crisply played 3-2 game rather than the video game numbers that playing at altitude generates. Even worse is when stops at Coors FIeld happen at the beginning of a road trip. You burn out the bullpen right away and then have to travel to the next city running on fumes. Speaking of, the Giants go to LA after the Colorado series. Joy...
 

nattysez

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McGehee is killing them right now. He single-handedly killed two rallies last night with GIDP. His knee injury provides the team with an easy excuse to stick Duffy at 3b for a few more days - I wish they'd do that.

Curious to see if this is Justin Maxwell's breakout year or just an early-season hot streak
 

Lars The Wanderer

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The Giants split 2 games with the Rockies in Colorado. The 3rd game was rained out. Now on to LA for 3.
 
Game 1: Lincecum vs. Anderson
Game 2: Bumgarner vs Kershaw (the sequel)
Game 3: Heston vs Geinke
 

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Two ugly starts for Hesto Presto -- he might've turned back into a pumpkin.  Fortunately, Lincecum and Vogelsong have pitched very well of late.  SF could probably use one more pitcher, but maybe Cain or Peavy can come back and give them a few starts.
 
The Casey McGehee situation has really gotten ugly.  He can't hit, and his fielding has been sub-par.  I think they are going to have to start Duffy at 3b regularly until he shows he can't do the job.  Let McGehee play 3b when Duffy needs to spell Panik.  Panda really picked the wrong horse.
 

Lars The Wanderer

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I'm throwing out the start in Colorado because that place is a nightmare. However, Heston's start yesterday was pretty bad; even if he did get blooped and seeing-eye groundered to death. He wasn't missing bats and 3 walks in 5 IP at AT&T is horrid. Prior to yesterday's game, Heston had an excellent start against the Angels. A little inconsistency is to be expected in his first full season in the majors.
 
In fact, before yesterday's game, the homestand was going great. 5 straight wins against the Angels and Padres; the last 3 games were shutouts. After a bad start to the season, they have been playing some good ball. They definitely need Pence back asap.
 
Up next is 4 against the Marlins. Michael Morse will get his World Series ring in a pregame presentation. He is definitely going to get a standing ovation. Amazing how quickly a little postseason heroics will endear you to a crowd.
 

nattysez

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Lars The Wanderer said:
I'm throwing out the start in Colorado because that place is a nightmare. However, Heston's start yesterday was pretty bad; even if he did get blooped and seeing-eye groundered to death. He wasn't missing bats and 3 walks in 5 IP at AT&T is horrid. Prior to yesterday's game, Heston had an excellent start against the Angels. A little inconsistency is to be expected in his first full season in the majors.
 
In fact, before yesterday's game, the homestand was going great. 5 straight wins against the Angels and Padres; the last 3 games were shutouts. After a bad start to the season, they have been playing some good ball. They definitely need Pence back asap.
 
Up next is 4 against the Marlins. Michael Morse will get his World Series ring in a pregame presentation. He is definitely going to get a standing ovation. Amazing how quickly a little postseason heroics will endear you to a crowd.
 
Fair points on Heston -- I hope you're right.
 
Morse seemed to revel in the reaction he got from the crowd tonight.
 
In other news, Tim Hudson is losing in large part because Dan Haren (yes, that Dan Haren) is 2-2, 2R, 2RBI.  And the double he hit to drive in those runs was not a cheapie.  It's a funny game.
 

Lars The Wanderer

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The Giants finished their 10-game homestand with a 7-3 record. 4 of the victories were by shutout.
 
Today is a travel day. Up next is a 6-game road trip. 2 vs. Astros and 4 vs. Reds.
 
Hunter Pence has started his rehab assigned in Sacramento. He should be back relatively soon.
 

gaelgirl

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I think the Giants have done a very, very good job hanging in while key members are out injured. It will be interesting to see what happens when Pence comes back, but also when Peavy or Cain come back. Which spot in the rotation will they take? Vogelsong has had a couple bad outings and several good ones (including two awesome ones in the last two starts). Heston is young and unsurprisingly inconsistent. Lincecum is up and down, as is Hudson. Heck, Bumgarner is even a little tired.
 
I think the every-other-year World Series wins may be because our pitching staff (the most consistent aspect of the three WS winning teams) just gets tired after all the postseason play. 
 
I loved the Morse ovation. That was awesome.