It’s been widely reported that former Cy Young Award winner and three-time World Champion, Tim Lincecum, will be holding a showcase for major league teams this Friday in Scottsdale, AZ. Dodger scouts will be there.
Lincecum is coming off arthroscopic hip surgery and has suffered through some down seasons the past few years, but according to DodgersNation.com, that might only encourage my Beloved Bums to sign The Freak.
Well, the Dodgers certainly have a track record of going after oft-injured pitchers on the downside of their careers, what’s one more?
I have to confess, I would be OK with the signing. I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for the skinny kid with the funky delivery. I know, he’s been a Giant his entire career, but you have to believe even the blackest of black and orange hearts can be redeemed. A couple of hours in Dodger Blue has been known to have restorative qualities greater than those of the waters of Lourdes. Well, if you believe Tommy Lasorda, anyway.
As DodgersNation.com points out, it wouldn’t be the craziest thing the Dodgers have done, assuming Timmy throws well at the workout and doesn’t mind a middle relief role. Although, that fifth starter spot has been sort of a black hole for the Dodgers and throwing Lincecum into that job might work out while the youngsters gain experience. In other words, why not?
Wherever he ends up parking his skateboard, I wish the kid well. Still, all in all, Timmy putting on a Dodger uniform would sure be a story, wouldn’t it?
At least not for 80 games. Such is the modern game. But, what’s amusing to me, a Dodger Fan in China Basin, is the smugness and absolute gall of Giants fans in regard to the suspensions of Josh Ravin, a Dodger, and Dee Gordon, a former Dodger.
“Look! What a dirty organization! Cheaters!” they howl.
If there were ever fans of a team that should keep their mouths shut about PEDs, it would have to be Giants Fans, right? But, no, there are a good many taking the opportunity to gloat in Dodger misfortune. Never mind Dee Gordon never failed a test with the Dodgers, but once united with Marlins hitting coach, Barry Bonds, he suddenly turns up dirty. But, to be honest, ’tis neither here nor there. No team in the sport is immune from the plague of PEDs, and until there’s a meaningful deterrent to their use the cheating will continue.
So, Jints Fans, give it a rest. OK?
All right, one final dig …
Living day to day in such close proximity to the evil, black waters of McCovey Cove, it is sometimes necessary for yours truly to make a soul restoring pilgrimage to Blue Heaven On Earth. It’s important to touch that bright and joyful part of your heart on occasion, if for no other reason than Sanity Maintenance.
So, last week my four sons gathered from various locales like Chicago, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Canoga Park to meet The Old Man on Sacred Ground and to take in the Jackie Robinson Day festivities at 1000 Vin Scully Avenue, Los Angeles, California. Of course, as fate would have it, my Beloved Bums would be facing my loud and obnoxious neighbors in a three game series. We had tickets for Games 1 & 2 … and the Friday game day tour of Dodger Stadium. Check another item off the Bucket List, to quote Tommy Lasorda, This Is What I Live For!
We loved the Stadium Tour and afterward felt compelled to visit Philippe The Original, Home of the French Dip Sandwich. They claim to have invented the French Dip, but whether you buy into that assertion or not, you may have to concede that they perfected the thing. It’s pretty darn good. The place has been serving up sandwiches since 1908 and with its proximity to Chavez Ravine has been a popular Dodger Fan pre/post-game hangout since Dodger Stadium opened in 1962. It is one of those magical places that has a reputation of having healing powers. Visiting Giants Fans have been known to walk into Philippe’s, take one bite of the Beef Dip and walk out with a new and glorious light in their eyes and a heart pumping Dodger Blue … a Baseball Epiphany, if you will. Anything can happen in the shade of Saint Lasorda’s Shrine, even the rescue of a poor, lost black and orange soul.
Game 1, Shootout in the Ravine, Bumgarner vs. Kershaw, Part Two or “Hey, Kersh, I Get A Kiké Out Of You”
Feeling cleansed, we passed through the turnstiles at the ballpark, collected our Jackie Robinson replica jersey and settled into the sea foam green seats on the Reserved Level and watched with pride and humility as Rachel and Sharon Robinson took part in the pre-game honoring of their husband/father. You cannot be a baseball fan or an American and not feel goosebumps while the number 42 is being worn by every player on the field. What better place to be on MLB’s Jackie Robinson Day than Dodger Stadium? The fact the game is against the rival Giants is just icing on the cake. Throw in a pitching matchup of Bumgarner vs. Kershaw and it just becomes silly good.
For Dodger Fans, the game was more fun than a Yasiel Puig rundown! Kershaw did his thing and everybody’s favorite player, Kiké Hernandez, hit MadBum’s first pitch about 450 feet into the left field pavilion. The Banana Rally Boy went on to hit another home run and a two-run double to ice the game, 7-3, for my Bums.
Did the Giants really think they could beat the Dodgers on Jackie Robinson Day at Dodger Stadium? That’s just not gonna happen.
Random Notes: This was the first time all four Fountain Boys and I had attended a game together at Dodger Stadium. For me, it made the Dodger Dogs a little tastier and a win over the Giants a little more satisfying. It was a great day for an old, pot-bellied weirdo with a Dodgers obsession … and I liked it too.
Another thing I noticed was the lack of Giants Fans in the stands. The games I’ve attended at AT&T Park it seems that a good third of the crowd is wearing Dodger Blue. Now, I hope that’s not residue from the horrible Bryan Stow incident. I don’t think it is because the next night there were a few more black and orange caps scattered around the ballpark, but nowhere near the numbers I was expecting. Maybe Giants fans just hate L.A. that much … or maybe they didn’t want to be around the Jackie Robinson celebration. Dodgers fans are pretty proud of being the organization that broke the color barrier and that’s likely hard for Jints fans to take. I get that. But, they missed some nice, warm, pleasant evenings at the ballpark. Too bad.
Dodgers Two-Week Report Card: Well, here we are, two weeks into the season. What do we think of the 2016 Dodgers so far? Here’s my take:
- Today’s standings show the Dodgers tied for first place in the NL West with the Colorado Rockies at 8-5. The Giants are 1.5 games back at 7-7 while the Diamondbacks and Padres are currently under .500. Sure, it’s just two weeks but it’s always better to be in first place, even if you have to share it with the Rox. So far, so good. A-
- So far, the “depth” the Dodgers have amassed seems to be paying off. How many teams could start a season 8-5 with 11 guys on the DL? Everybody has injuries, I know, but how will other teams in the division fare when it happens to them? We’ll see if Friedman’s philosophy gets us to another postseason or leaves us stumbling with a bunch of “half-decent” players. So far, so good. A
- Kenta Maeda is doing what Zack Greinke did for us last year. In his first three starts he’s given up one run, a missed location pitch to Joe Panik that was unceremoniously swatted into the bleachers. So, one run … a homer … and that’s it. D-Bags are wishing they were getting that kind of production from their quarter billion dollar investment. So far, so good. A
- Scott Kazmir has been, well, stinky. He looked great his first seven innings against the Padres, but like the obnoxious meme says, “The Giants Ain’t The Fucking Padres.” Maybe the Jints have his number. Maybe he’s continuing his inconsistent career path. We know he can be dominant. Maybe he will be again. He better, or we might have a problem. D
- The bullpen. What is with the bullpen? Who are they? Why do they look un-hittable one day and then suddenly turn into Bryce Harper’s dad lobbing to his kid at the Home Run Derby? Currently they are on a 14 inning scoreless streak. At AT&T last week you needed more than ten fingers to calculate their ERA. I don’t get it. But, one thing’s for sure; Kenley Jansen may be the best closer in the National League. B-
- Attitude. This team is responding to Dave Roberts. I’m not a big believer in “team chemistry” but it seems that teams that are loose, yet focused and that genuinely seem to like each other have more success. I hope that’s true because this group has the best camaraderie I’ve seen on a Dodgers team since the Lasorda days. Have you seen their tweets? Kiké, A-Gone, A.J., heck, even Puig are all laughing, dancing and tweeting to beat the band. Justin Turner’s presidential bid will be a running gag all season and should help keep things loose. Kenta Maeda has endeared himself to his teammates and Chase Utley is providing that veteran presence the young guys need. It’s great to see. All credit to Dave Roberts … he’s got these guys scrapping. A+
- The offense. These guys can hit. They can score. Like all teams they are vulnerable to good pitching, but even the opponent’s ace better be on his game or these Bums will rough ’em up. They jumped on Cueto for five first inning runs the first week of the season (and then watched Kazmir and the bullpen give it back) and they’ve won against MadBum in both of his starts against them. Utley has been great at the top of the order. Seager is the best young hitter the Dodgers have ever had. Joc is a work in progress but he’s gettin’ his dingers, including a game-winner against the Giants on Sunday. Trayce Thompson can play and Kiké is just going nuts. This is a fun team to watch and the offense is showing the potential to be great. A
- Defense. Last year the Dodgers led MLB with the fewest errors made by any team. This year? A little sloppy so far but flashing signs of brilliance. Corey Seager is one of the smoothest fielding shortstops I’ve ever seen and his arm is great. He will likely get even better as he learns the league. A-Gone is always a Gold Glove-caliber guy and Yasmani Grandal has been terrific framing pitches. In fact, the tandem of Grandal and Ellis is one that pitchers have gotta love. But so far, early in the season, fielding has been a bit inconsistent, but it will get better. B
All in all, we’re a game and a half ahead of the Giants after two weeks of play. I’ll take that any old time.
After pummeling the San Diego Padres 25-0 over the season opening series, the Dodgers traveled to My ‘Hood to take on the hated Giants. And, how did that work out for us, you ask? Let’s talk about it. It helps to talk about it, right?
APRIL 7, 2016 Giants Home Opener, Game One of Series
Woke up to a gorgeous day on the banks of McCovey Cove, perfect for baseball. Or so I thought. Even though the Dodgers placed their 11th player (Carl Crawford) on the DL that morning, they were coming off a three-game sweep of the Padres. Like James Brown used to say, “I feel good!”
My wife, who works next to AT&T at the Public Safety Building (which is why we live so close to the ballpark) was attending the game with a few co-workers. Now, her co-workers have never been quite sure what to make of her revelation that she was a (gasp!) Dodger Fan. Truth is, she’s really an Angels Fan, but for the sake of our marriage (and the kids) she agrees to root for my Beloved Bums whenever they aren’t playing the Angels. So, her friends got her a ticket. If you ask me, everything that happened after the fourth inning that day is her fault. But, in 36 years she’s never really been guilty of anything I’ve blamed her for, so maybe take my accusation with a grain of salt.
Things started on a bright note, Our Bums got to Jake “I’m Not A Mental Case I’m Just Intense” Peavy for four runs and it looked like we might have a shot at spoiling the Giants’ party. After all, Dodger pitchers entered the game with a scoreless streak of 27 consecutive innings, which was extended to 31 before Alex Wood got to the fifth. I wish I drank because now I want wanted to get to the fifth. But, I don’t, so I was sober when the Jints nicked Wood for three runs to give the Dodger staff an E.R.A. and put the Orange & Black Scourge back in the ol’ ballgame.
After he put the first two guys on in the fifth we brought in Pedro Baez who loaded the bases … and then unloaded them … and the Giants took a 7-4 lead. A very welcome Joc Pederson bomb brought the Dodgers to within a run at 7-6, but the bullpen imploded and the Jints won the opener, 12-6.
OK, we were due for a let down. We’ll get ’em tomorrow.
April 8, 2016, The Stripling Game, Game Two of the Series
Ross Stripling won the fifth spot in the Dodger rotation because Ryu, McCarthy and Anderson are on the DL and Mike Bolsinger, the obvious replacement, got hurt. Sure, they could have gone with promoting Zach Lee or one of the phenoms, Urias or DeLeon, or maybe opt for a guy like Carlos Frias who has major league experience. But they elected to go with Stripling because Carlos Frias had a terrible Spring and they really don’t want to rush the Phenoms.
So, Stripling gets the call to take on Matt Cain on a cool, damp, drizzly San Francisco night. Good luck, kid. Have at it!
Well, all Mr. Stripling does is no-hit the Giants into the eighth inning … then, all heck breaks loose.
When Stripling walks a batter with his 100th pitch, new manager, Dave Roberts channels his inner Don Mattingly and leaps from the dugout to pull Ross and cheerfully hands the ball to Chris Hatcher. Guess what happens next? Well, pretty much the same thing that used to happen to Mattingly when he handed the ball to Chris Hatcher …the Dodgers lose.
Did Roberts make a mistake by pulling Stripling? Depends on how you look at it. Consider this:
- Stripling had Tommy John surgery in 2014.
- Stripling had never, never, ever thrown one hundred pitches in a game in his life.
- His command and velocity were obviously waning. He lost 3-4 mph on his fastball over the last five batters and was starting to miss his spots.
- The Dodgers had a three-run lead with five outs to go.
- The kid had never pitched in a game above Class AA.
- For what it’s worth, Stripling’s dad confronted Roberts after the game and, with teary eyes, thanked the manager for protecting his son.
- Ross himself agreed with the move.
Regardless of how you feel about the decision to pull a guy pitching a no-hitter, the failure of the bullpen made this one of the most disappointing losses I’ve ever witnessed. Stripling, and Dodger fans, deserved better.
April 9, 2016, Kersh vs. MadBum, Shootout on the Embarcadero, Game Three of Series
This was the first ballgame I’ve attended of the 2016 season. I went with my wife (who left after the first inning because she’d already been there an hour and wanted to take a nap), and our son, Nick. We were all fired up for what promised to be a great pitching matchup. And, like every game Kershaw starts, we were also expecting a Dodger win. However, it wasn’t all Hot Dogs and butterflies, the dreary San Francisco weather continued to gloom the place up. It rained all night Friday night and the forecast was for showers on and off all day Saturday. We actually thought the game might be postponed, but after a forty-minute rain delay, the AT&T ground crew removed the tarp. So, we pulled our hoods over our Dodger caps and hunkered down in Section 302, Row 9, seats 1, 2 and 3 and put our game faces on. We were pleased to see the Dodger Booster Club, Pantone 294, occupying the upper half of the right center field bleachers. It’s always nice to see plenty of Dodger Blue at the ballpark in China Basin. It helps to neutralize the otherwise sinister vibe.
The Kershaw v. MadBum saga continues to perplex me. I don’t like Madison Bumgarner. For one thing, Madison is a girl’s name, period. For another thing, he’s a yahoo from North Carolina. North Carolina sucks. It’s a regressive Southern state, friendly to bigots and their obsession with Tar Heels basketball is unhealthy at best. Oh, and Madison Bumgarner comes from there. Also, the Giants play the Charlie Daniels Band’s “Fire On The Mountain” for MadBum’s walk-up music. The only good thing about Charlie Daniels is that he played bass on some great Leonard Cohen records, other than that, he sucks too. Be that as it may, MB is the Giants ace … and arguably, their best hitter. So, when he came up in the second and homered, I wanted to puke. The stench of ballpark garlic fries didn’t help, but I was literally ill. I later learned, while watching the replay and reading Kersh’s lips, the he and I had uttered the same exact thing when the ball left Bumhumper’s bat, “You’ve got to be F#$@ing Sh&!ing me!”
Kershaw’s incredulity would be further tested when the number nine hitter, shortstop Ehire Adrianaza also took him yard. It wasn’t a typical Kershaw start … he gave up a lot of fly balls and wasn’t striking hitters out at his usual clip, but even off-his-game Kershaw is better than 99% of other pitchers in the league.
Kershaw wasn’t destined to be the star of this game anyway. The player that saved the Dodgers’ bacon in this contest was journeyman infielder, Charlie Culberson.
Culberson barely made the Opening Day roster because there’s no real shortstop available to back-up Seager. Charlie proved his worth by making a nice 360 degree spin move to throw out Denard Span in the fifth. After Seager entered the game, Culbertson moved to left field. He hadn’t played the outfield all Spring. So, naturally, the first batter lines a shot to left. It was an “Atom Ball” (right at ’em) but Culbertson held his ground and made the play. But, with two out Angel Pagan lined a Kershaw pitch to the gap in left center, from Section 302 it looked like extra bases for sure … but … wait!!! … is that a bird? … is it a plane? … no! It’s Charlie Culberson laying out to make a sliding catch just as the ball was about to skip off the outfield grass! Whatta play, whatta play!
Culberson wasn’t finished. After the Dodgers caught a break in the ninth when Giants’ second baseman, Kelby Tomlinson bobbled a potential game-ending double-play ball and Utley was able to score from third. So, we move to the 10th … the two Dodger shortstops teamed up with back to back doubles with Culberson’s hit scoring Corey Seager and giving the Dodgers a 3-2 lead. Kenley Jansen held the Jints in their half of the inning and the Dodgers got away with a soggy, but much needed, win.
My son and I, and Pantone 294, left the ballpark feeling a little bit better about life.
April 10, Kazmir vs. Cueto, Game Four of Series
I had a ticket for Sunday’s finale, but it wasn’t in my usual spot. This time I was parked in Section 330 (notice how I’m always in the nosebleeds?) Row 1, Seat 24 … end of the aisle! Pretty cool. It was cloudy and cool but not nearly as uncomfortable as Saturday.
The Dodgers jumped all over new Giants acquisition, Johnny Cueto, scoring five times in the first! All right! I’m settling in for what looks like a laugher! The Dodger offense has been pretty good this first week and there’s no reason to believe we shouldn’t cruise to an easy win this afternoon. After all, we’ve got Scott Kazmir pitching and his 2016 ERA is 0.00 so far this year! Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy, let’s go Blue!
Kazmir gives back two runs in the bottom of the first. He gives up three more in the third and we’re tied, 5-5. The young lady sitting next to me blushed at the foul language she heard sputtering from the old, pot-bellied bald guy in the Dodger gear. Poor kid had found herself sharing tight quarters with a curmudgeon in Blue. Sorry, girlie, life is hard … get used to it. At least I wasn’t eating nachos … those really give me gas … count your blessings, sweetheart.
Suffice to say the day went downhill from there … we’d lose the game big and the stupid Jints would come away with a third win in the four games.
But, let’s think about it a little bit. It’s the first week of the season, nobody died. There were some things I took away from the series …
- The Dodger offense isn’t a problem so far. Seager, Gonzo, Puig and the boys are hitting the ball hard.
- The Giants starters didn’t do all that well in the series. Bumgarner was fine, but we beat up Peavy and Cueto. I would think the Jints would be at least a little concerned with Cueto. He’s been a real off and on guy the last season or two.
- Corey Seager is a stud.
- Ross Stripling was waaaaaaaaaay beyond what we could have reasonably expected in his first start against an arch rival.
- The Dodgers start the season 4-3 against division foes. Given the injury situation (no excuses, just a fact) we have to be happy to be treading water. I mean, 11 guys on the DL, not to mention losing Van Slyke with back soreness in game three, come on, that’s tough.
So, my Bums go back to L.A. for their Home Opener against the D-Backs tomorrow. Kenta Maeda will make his first start in font of the home crowd and things are always interesting against the D-Bags. Greinke back at Dodger Stadium and all that jive. It should be fun.
I’ll be making my pilgrimage to Chavez Ravine for Jackie Robinson day against the Giants and will hang around Saturday for the 6 p.m. game as well. I’ll tell you all about it next time!
Let’s go BLUE!!!
I can’t help it, I just love them. Their misty, dewy, soft, uncomprehending eyes. Their complete and total disregard for rational thought. Their myopic view of the world … they’re sort of like the Elders of some bat-shit crazy Bible Belt denomination that keep women and children in the basement … preparing garlic fries all day. Oblivious. Keepers of their very own reality. Yes, I simply ADORE Giants Fans. Cuter than a pink hamster twirling a parasol on a unicycle.
It’s a good thing I find them amusing because I’m surrounded by them. When I take the dogs for their walk around McCovey Cove, wearing my Dodger cap, I feel something like Barack Obama would if he wandered unexpectedly into a Tea Party Rally. It’s a tangible awkwardness mixed with a fear of assassination. Of course, I may be over-reacting, but sometimes I take off the hat … just in case.
Fearing for my life, however, does very little to dampen my affection for fans of The China Basin Scourge. They appeal to my love of the absurd … the entertainment value of speaking with people whose synapses are obviously misfiring. It’s the same thing that makes me insist on engaging Jehovah’s Witnesses. Heck, I knock on THEIR doors when I get bored. They’re a hoot and a half! But, Giants Fans are the best. And, here’s why …
THE BELIEF SYSTEM
- Giants fans ACTUALLY DO BELIEVE that because it’s an even year, their team is destined for a World Series™ Championship. Ask them for proof and they will point to 2010, 2012 and 2014. How can you argue with that logic? They also believe that after the final out of the 2016 Series, Buster Posey will ascend from the field into the night sky and be taken aboard the spacecraft trailing the Hale-Bopp Comet to preside over a New Age Of Enlightenment and Refined OPS Calculations. I can’t prove them wrong – and it infuriates me.
- Giants Fans seem to TRULY BELIEVE that winning three World Series™ titles over a 61 year period is somehow better than winning six over the same time span. Go ahead, ask one. They’ll give themselves (and possibly you) an aneurysm shouting, “Three In Five, Three In Five!!!” over and over. Never mind that it’s now three in six, at the very best. Math is obviously not their strong suit.
- Giants Fans are unwilling to admit the fact that their Beloved Redneck With A Girl’s Name, Madison Bumgarner, was recently employed by the Trump Campaign to sit at the border and throw sliders at immigrants attempting to enter the U.S. for work. I have video proof that such a deal is in place! I’ll post it on YouTube™ when I’m finished with post-production. You’ll see!
- Giants Fans have a bit of a double-standard. Barry Bonds, Tito Fuentes and Sergio Romo are “colorful” while players like Yasiel Puig and Bryce Harper are “disrespecting the game.” It’s really cute.
- Most Giants Fans think the name ‘Minnesota Twins’ refers to the conjoined love children of Jesse Ventura and Minnesota Fats that they think they’ve seen on tabloid covers at the supermarket. They have no knowledge of any other baseball team in either league. They know about the Dodgers, because they’ve been told to dislike them by some grouchy newspaper columnist. Just for giggles, ask a Giants fan who the catcher for the Milwaukee Brewers is and watch their head start spinning like Linda Blair on Ritalin.
- Giants Fans won’t concede the “Beat L.A.” chant was created by Celtics fans and first used when the Lakers would come to Boston Garden to pummel their Green Shirts. It was adopted by clever Jints Fans some years later.
- Sometimes people can say things so outlandish that it becomes impossible to ever take what they say from that point on as anything other than random, guttural grunts and addled, fevered gibberish. Colin Cowherd once said that U2 was a better and more influential band than the Beatles. Goodbye Colin, maybe you’ll have a future as a speechwriter for Sarah Palin, you now have zero credibility left, which is not necessarily a drawback for hosts of sports talk shows. Be gone with you, Philistine! Giants fans run the same risk of an eternity of derisive mockery when they attempt to, somehow, propose that their team broadcasters (the insufferable Kuip and Kruk) are even relatively close in ability, insight or talent to that of legendary Dodger broadcaster, Vincent Scully. This notion is so beyond the pale as to be surreal. They might as well try to tell us Carrot Top is a comedic genius on the level of names like Groucho, Kovacs, Brooks, Carlin and Pryor. If someone actually walked up to me and made a claim that anyone was better than Vin, I would have no choice but to view them as a feeble-minded and useless cretin who might as well try to convince me pixies paint the flowers to give them color and that Justin Beiber really knows how to rock. It is a blasphemy, a sign of raging dementia, or maybe even demonic possession. Jints Fans, lay off Vinny … it’s beyond lame to criticize the Red Head. Your charcoal heart is showing.
- Giants Fans should never ridicule Dodger Fans for “arriving late” or “leaving early.” I have witnessed a two-thirds empty AT&T Park after the 7th inning of a one-run game on more than one occasion and those fans don’t have a three-hour freeway drive to look forward to, so there.
- Note to Giants’ management: Replace the elderly “Ball Dudes” with some cute girls in shorts. Watching these old geezers fall all over the place and taking line drives to the dentures isn’t amusing. It’s sad. Cruel even. Speaking as an “Old Dude,” it’s a practice that I would like to see retired … like that guy asleep in that folding chair at the end of the Giants’ dugout. Elder abuse is a crime.
- Finally, I will take a grilled Dodger Dog over a basket of soggy garlic fries any day of the week. I mean, come on, it’s a baseball game. Wine spritzers and crab cakes have no place in the bleachers of a ball game.
But, like I said, these beliefs make Giants Fans endearing, in a sick kind of way – and I still love these besotted little gremlins.You can’t really fault them for harboring their bizarre allegiance. Many were simply “born into it.” Others, unfortunately, may have fallen into some unholy stupor after having tried to look into Bruce Bochy’s eyes. Either way, it’s not really their fault. Bless their pointed little heads.
THE DEFENDING CHAM ….. oh, wait …. they’re not defending any titles this year, are they? Now, you wouldn’t know that by listening to Giants fans. They’re still slobbering about three titles in five years. I mean, that’s nice and all, they do indeed have the trophies, but their perspective is a little off. I mean, isn’t it really more like three titles in 61 years? But, be that as it may, let’s talk about 2016, shall we?
After finishing 8 games behind the Dodgers and missing the playoffs in 2015, the Giants went into the offseason determined to bulk up their starting pitching and try to add some bats to the aging and oft-injured outfield. To their credit, the front office addressed those very issues. To the bemusement of Dodger fans, they did it in a way that isn’t exactly “intimidating.”
The starting pitchers out there in free agency that were most coveted didn’t land on the tranquil shores of McCovey Cove … but, the rival Dodgers didn’t get them either. So, I guess that counts as a win for the Jints. But Sabean & Co. did spend some money on pitching!
They got Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. Cueto got $130,000,000 over 6-years and Samardjiza got $90,000,000 over 5-years. That’s a lot of garlic fries.
But, here’s the thing … what did they get for their nearly quarter billion dollar investment?
Johnny Cueto is among baseball’s elite pitchers … sometimes … he’s been consistently inconsistent, especially last year. Of course, he was troubled with a bum elbow, but let’s not that worry us, OK? In the Giants’ defense, there wasn’t much “affordable” pitching out there and they got the best guy left after Greinke and Price signed for super ridiculous money. (Good luck with those signings, Red Sox and D-Bags). But, should Cueto return to form, he will LOVE pitching in AT&T Park and he’ll fit nicely into the #2 spot behind MadBum. But, honestly, I think there was a reason the Dodgers didn’t outbid them for Cueto’s services. We’ll see if that was a good or bad decision as the season wears on.
Now, as far as the OTHER big free agent pitcher they signed …
I have to admit, this move surprised me a bit. I know starting pitching is at a premium, but $90MM for Samardzija? Heck, that’s almost as much as he made as a wide-receiver for Notre Dame!
Lifetime Samardzija is 47-61 with a 4.09 ERA. Last year he gave up more hits, runs and home runs than ANY pitcher with 30+ starts.
NOTE: DUE TO A TECHNICAL GLITCH, THE SECOND-HALF OF MY BRILLIANT ANALYSIS OF THE GIANTS POSITION PLAYERS, BULLPEN AND COACHING STAFF DID NOT APPEAR IN THIS POST. I’M SORRY. IT WAS REALLY GOOD. I’LL TRY TO COME UP WITH SOMETHING SOON.
Since moving from New York here’s a list of all of the years that the San Francisco Giants didn’t win the World Series:
1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015.
Years marked in blue are the seasons the Los Angeles Dodgers did win the World Series. So, it’s still 5 to 3, advantage, DODGERS!