Monday, September 24, 2012

The Giants Clinch the NL West...

...and somewhere else, Mat Latos grinds his teeth. Sure, it was Saturday, but he's probably still at it.

But we're not Mat Latos, and lol Dodgers. 

Yup, I just wrote that.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Anything But a Spoiler of Padres

The smile of a man whose rivals are a fluke of Diamondbacks.

Earlier today, thanks to @grumpyowl, I learned that the collective noun for magpies is "tidings," as in: "I saw a tidings of magpies." I responded that a few, lesser-known collective nouns include:
A bar-full of writers.
A murder of philosophers.*
No, seriously, look it up. You'll find support for this somewhere--probably, uh, right here. In any case, somewhere a Padres fan is trying to get "a spoiler of Padres" in The Oxford English Dictionary of Sport.** Yes, the magic number is three, and while the Padres can't prevent the Dodgers from stinking it up against the Reds this weekend, they can turn the next three games--and possibly three more in San Diego--into a mess of bloops, stolen bases and importune line drives. Maybe even a home run or two. Giants losses rather than wins. Sure, they don't have the greatest record, and you probably won't forget that part in April when they dropped six of seven against the Dodgers, but the Padres have an ax to grind. This probably has something to do with 2010, though I'm sure that this spoiler of Padres would also love to clinch a NL West rivalry with a team other than the Diamondbacks or the Rockies.

It's the Giants' job to let that lucky team be the Dodgers***--I mean, the Dodgers have Adrian Gonzalez! He's rightfully the Padres'. Right? No? Whatever? 

But beating the Padres cannot be taken for granted. Since the start of August, they've gone 28-17. Since those first two series against the Dodgers, they've gone 5-2 against LA. The Giants are 8-4 against San Diego, and if you're reading this, you probably share my interest in watching at least three more wins. Chalked up as soon as possible.

Nevertheless, here's a lineup of potentially irritating Padres:
Cabrera SS, Forsythe 2B, Headley 3B, Grandal C, Alonso 1B, Guzman LF, Venable RF, Maybin CF and Kelly RHP
Especially Headley. And probably Alonso. And Carlos Quentin at some point, though each Padre has a touch of potential spoiler within him. I say let him spoil sometime between September 25th and 27th.

As far as pitching goes, while they no longer have Mat Latos--he'll face the Dodgers on Saturday--they have a starting rotation, but not with any of the guys you remember, since they've all been injured. In the bullpen they have Luke Gregerson, and they just activated Huston Street from the DL. Bud Black has commanded them to spoil, because the Padres have six more games against San Francisco, and he knows that Bruce Bochy is three games away from peppering his  lineups with Pennies, Burrii, Pegueros and Pills. That's no way to play a rivalry.


* Hegel said that somewhere. I promise.
**This doesn't exist, but if it did, it would be a prescriptivist's nightmare, with adverbial/adjectival jive such as "hitting the ball good" and "thank you very nice."
***It's like adding another wild card. The Giants are the Dodgers' first rivalry (always and forever), and the Padres would be the second.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Home Stand Preview Wish List: Rockies Will Not Rock, Dodgers Will Not Dodge, Giants Will Not Implode

The Giants begin their final home stand of the season with a four game series against the Colorado Rockies. It's September, so it feels like the Giants just played the Rockies, and they  just did. But the big difference now is that they aren't at a Coors Field that was playing like the Coors Field of lore.

And the magic number is nine. That's definitely what you're thinking about, and it's what I'm thinking about. I am somewhat interested in the pitching match-ups (the Giants will see Jhoulys Chacin, Jeff Francis, Tyler Chatwood, and somebody else to be announced), but, but, but, the magic number. I've rolled the scenarios around, and would like to see the Giants clinch the NL West at home. Who, not draped in Dodger blue, wouldn't? And while the Giants see the Rockies, Padres, and Diamondbacks, the Dodgers face the Nationals, Reds, and Padres on the road. 

Nine. Any number of Giants wins and Dodger losses. In order for the final series of the season to be meaningful for the NL West division title, the Giants have to do no better than 5-8, and in that case, the Dodgers have to win all 12 of their games. But we already know, anything less than 6-4 (or, for some, 7-3) over the next ten games will feel like defeat.

OK, back to the Rockies. Let's not get too far ahead of ourselves, making jokes about how the Dodgers will have piled up a $198 million dollar payroll to face the Fresno Grizzlies at the end of the season. Those will come later.

First, what we need to know: baseball can be amazing, fun, weird, and hubristic. I'm not rooting for hubristic baseball. We've seen weird, lately, and a few amazing (which I'd define as those plays which produce yelling at the screen while they happen, including expressions of incredulity that such a play would turn out as it did, etc.) and fun things lately. However, do keep in mind that Carlos Gonzalez, Jordan Pacheco, and Wilin Rosario could be seriously aggravating hitters in crucial situations. Dexter Fowler and Josh Rutledge can get on base and be very annoying when one desires to retire the Rockies without weirdness.

And the Giants could hack, go and hack away at undertalented and/or beleaguered pitching staffs, although last time through Colorado, there was a decent display of plate discipline. It seems obvious that if a starting pitcher has a 75 pitch limit, that it helps the cause to let some pitches go by, and the odds are that Marco Scutaro and Buster Posey will see at least 20-25 of those. Pablo Sandoval, who I'd prefer to see not scuffle, will see at least two or three.

In the best-case scenario, the Rockies will not discover their offense. The Giants will not hack. The starting rotation will return to form, Buster Posey will do that MVP stuff, and Sandoval will be a little less of the sad panda with no plate discipline (.216/.273/.250... .250 slugging?!) that he's been for at least the past 28 days.

And more Buster Posey.