A Chicago Cubs Blog
EST. 2007

Connect

Join The Bandwagon



Search

Bullpen Brian's Tweets

Giant Letdown In NLCS

By bullpenbrian - October 18, 2012 - 4:30 am 2 comments.

My gut feeling was the Giants couldn’t win two-in-a-row against St. Louis. So far I’m right.

I also said Game 3 was a must-win for San Fran if they were to maintain any chance of winning the NLCS. Of course, the the Giants lost 3-1, and in doing so seemingly assured us of another Cardinals vs. Tigers World Series.

Oh, the joy.

Perhaps what’s more frustrating, however, is the continued realization the National League’s best clubs are at home after choking away in the division series while the Cardinals get to play big brother against the bay boys.

That thought, in particular, has made it hardly bearable watching the Giants waste countless scoring opportunities against St. Louis, and even more difficult to understand how they failed to score despite posting the highest team-batting average (.272), on-base percentage (.348) and OPS (.707) of any team remaining in the postseason.

The Giants are getting scoring opportunities by the boat load this series, especially last night when Kyle Lohse walked 5 batters in 5.2 innings. But San Fran couldn’t capitalize on a single one, left 15 men on base all totaled, including going 0-for-5 with RISP and 2-outs and grounding into 2 double plays.

Where are the Nationals & Reds when we need them?

The big miss has been the Giants’ supposed big-hitters. Buster Posey has been virtually non-existent going 2-for-10 with no RBI and no extra base hits in the LCS. And for all the pre-game rah-rah chatter from Hunter Pence, he’s 1-for-11. Neither player has a single hit with a RISP.

When Ryan Theriot has your biggest clutch knock (a bases loaded 2-run single in Game 2) you know you’re performing well below standards offensively. 

The Cards, meanwhile, have only outscored the Giants by a messily 2-runs through 3-games. But that’s already enough to force the Giants into winning 3 of the next 4 to advance. Anyone willing to take that bet?

Sadly, Orangetober as we know it is dead. Albeit, unofficially. And even if the Giants do have a heartbeat, it’s not detectable…or better said, not scoring.

Must be nice for the Cardinals facing an opponent lacking a ‘clutch gene’ as the lone remaining hurdle to reaching the World Series. Only against the Red Birds would the National League make it so easy.

Share

NLCS Game 3 Must-Win For Giants

By bullpenbrian - October 17, 2012 - 2:30 am Leave a comment.

I wouldn’t bet on the Giants holding the Cardinals’ lineup in-check for a second consecutive game.

St. Louis has easily scored the most runs (45) and driven in the most RBI (28) with RISP of any team this postseason.

That kind of production can be halted with good starting pitching, which the Giants have plenty, but those Red Birds also have a knack for rebounding quickly from postseason losses.

Only once over its last 4 postseason series have the Cardinals lost back-to-back games: coming in Games 4 & 5 of the World Series at Texas last year, and even that didn’t prevent St. Louis from winning the next 2 contests and the world championship.

So from my perspective, that makes Game 3 a must-win for Matt Cain and the Giants this evening.

Otherwise, if St. Louis wins Game 3 and then simply goes on to trade victories with San Francisco, as they did through Games 1 & 2, the Cardinals eventually take the series in 7-games.

Of course, the Giants would still be alive even if St. Louis wins the next 2 contests, but what are the odds San Fran strings together another 3-game winning streak the likes of what they accomplished vs. Cincinnati in the division series?

We know the Cards will get their runs. The question is, will the Giants score enough runs of their own to win tonight? If they can’t, we can go ahead and pencil St. Louis into the World Series.

Share

Live Game Blog | Game 5 NLDS | Giants vs. Reds

By bullpenbrian - October 11, 2012 - 1:23 pm Leave a comment.

What a terrific comeback by the Giants who become the first team in the National League to win the NLDS after losing the first 2-games of the series…not to mention, doing so in this one-year format where they had to play the last 3-games on the road. Outstanding.

Buster Posey’s fifth-inning grand slam made the difference as part of a 6-run inning against Reds starter Matt Latos. Cincinnati had plenty of chances, including having the game-tying runs at the plate in four consecutive innings. It was too little, too late from the Reds who could never finish off the Giants after leaving the bay up 2-0.

“The Reds did not lose this series, the Giants won it.” -Ron Darling TBS

Share

Cubs Can Take Giants Series

By bullpenbrian - August 30, 2011 - 12:33 am Leave a comment.

If there’s any team scuffling as bad as the Cubs are offensively, it’s the Giants.

Since August 4 the Giants are averaging an MLB-worst 2.6 runs per game, undercutting its dominate starting pitching and dropping them 4.0 games back of Arizona in the West.

The Cubs, meanwhile, are right on par with San Fran averaging 2.5 runs per game over its last eight contests, seven of which have been losses.

However, it’s reasonable to believe the Cubs have a shot at taking this series, if for no other reason than the Giants being as bad, if not worse, than Chicago when it comes to hitting in the clutch.

Share

Freak Show In San Francisco

By bullpenbrian - November 2, 2010 - 11:30 am 2 comments.

This wasn’t the World Series I was looking for six days ago. The two teams I  wanted were there, but the five-game series was largely dominated by San Fran.

Other than the Giants’ brilliant starting pitching, neither side played well. There was a lack of drama and the big-ticket pitching match-ups never fully materialized. Just wasn’t a very memorable Fall Classic, unfortunately.

I still believe having two teams that were not expected to be league champions is good for baseball, despite the low TV ratings.  A competitive six or seven game series would have been better, of course, better  for the fans, and yes, better for television. But for me, this series was still better than watching New York vs. Philly.

Lots of praise was heaped on Cliff Lee, and rightfully so, but Tim Lincecum  reminded us he’s an ace, too. Lee loss both his starts. ‘The Freak’ won both of his. I think most fans, including myself, thought Lee would nab at  least one victory. Lincecum’s performances, however, was the deciding factor in the series.

Tim Kirkjian said it best about the Giants: “They’re not always pretty to watch, but they win.” Curt Schilling said on ESPN that he believes “the best team always wins.” For certain, the Giants had the better pitching, and better pitching usually wins.

Looking back, I think the Giants would have toppled either New York or Tampa Bay. The Yankees pitching is on par with Texas, and the Rays’ lineup is sub-par to Texas–not that such speculation really matters.

You could see Edgar Renteria’s three-run homer coming from a mile away. Lee was looking tired having allowed back-to-back singles to Ross and Uribe, which marked the first time a Giant reached second base all game.

When Lee missed badly on his first two pitches to Renteria, you knew a strike was coming next. Renteria didn’t miss it, clubbed the winning home run and pocketed the MVP Award. I understand Lee’s mentality to go-after hitters, but the decision not to pitch around Edgar will always be questioned.

Here’s to wishing Lee doesn’t sign with the damn Yankees this offseason. He’s a good fit for the Rangers, or any team for that matter, but anywhere other New York would suite me fine. St. Louis, however, would be tough to swallow!

I’m very interested to see were the Giants turn. Do they keep their castoffs that just won the title or start moving again in a younger direction?

And after watching San Fran’s starting pitching end 56 years of frustration, remind me again why the Cubs dealt Ted Lilly?

Share

DVR Reveals Lee’s Woes

By bullpenbrian - October 28, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

My Wednesday night package for the Blackhawks had me scoreboard watching Game 1 from the 300-level seats at the United Center. Hawks vs. L.A. isn’t quite Lincecum vs. Lee, but that’s the beauty of a DVR.

Couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw SF leading 8-2 in the fifth. The Giants are far from an offensive juggernaut, and this was against Cliff Lee?

The DVR, however, revealed two things we haven’t seen from Lee this postseason. One, he regularly worked deep in the count. Two, he left the ball up in the zone.

The Giants’ patience paid off by forcing Lee to throw more than 100-pitches through 4.2 innings. This was key because not all their hits were hard, but had just enough wood to knock him out early.

The long layoff in between starts didn’t appear to be in Lee’s favor, either. Which was also the case with Roy Halladay after his no-hitter.

But I’d say the chances of Lee repeating his performance from Wednesday night are slim. He’ll be back to his regular routine, and he’s simply too good not to rebound.

Winning Game 1 is always a huge victory. (Game 1 winners have won the series 61-percent of the time). But it goes without saying what kind of confidence builder this is for San Fran–defeating a once unbeatable force in Lee.

The pressure, obviously, is squarely on Texas for Game 2. The offense was there having scored seven runs, but it’s all about the pitching. No question the biggest hurdle will be recovering from Lee’s hangover.

PS – Blackhawks won 3-1!

Share

Rangers Giants Picture Perfect

By bullpenbrian - October 25, 2010 - 12:01 am Leave a comment.

SI.com

Watching the Rangers win the ALCS was beautiful.
Literally, the weather, the crowd shots, the fireworks–picture perfect.

It’s been a while since a baseball game had me jumping off the couch in celebration. But Vlady’s two-out two-run double in the fifth had me leaping for joy, as did Nelson Cruz’s monstrous two-run homer that landed in the deepest part of the ballpark!

For me personally, it goes a step further. I say the Ranger’s monumental victory saves the 2010 season. Witnessing New York win another World Series with a $200-million payroll couldn’t be any more anti-climatic.

Meanwhile, whoever thought Philadelphia’s three-headed monster of Halladay, Hamels and Oswalt would fall short against San Fran?

Lots of attention is being given to the band of misfits headlined by Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, and Cody Ross. And without question, it’s well deserved. But Lincecum, Cain and Sanchez isn’t a bad threesome, either. Downing H2O in six games was no fluke.

This matchup makes for a terrific World Series. There are plenty of good storylines, good pitching and good defense, and I’m happy no matter who wins.

If I must choose a winner, however, I like Texas. Cliff Lee is likely to get two starts and the Rangers lineup is dominate compared to a Giants offense that’s scored four or more runs in just two of its 10 postseason games.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qk5wXdKVemM&fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x006699&color2=0x54abd6]

Share

Bye Bye Barry

By bullpenbrian - October 22, 2010 - 12:01 am 2 comments.

Ann Killion of Sports Illustrated wrote an interesting article about how the Giants have moved on from Barry Bonds, who tossed out the ceremonial first pitch of Game 3 of the NLCS.

Bonds was in attendace at AT&T Park as part of the honoring of the club’s 2002 World Series team, which lost the series in seven games to Anaheim.

Even today I remember that Giants team well. I loved guys like Reggie Sanders, Benito Santiago, Kenny Loften and Robb Nen. I oohed & ahed over the brand new ballpark, and more than anything, I remember the Giants adopted theme song.

A song for which, I must apologize in advance for sharing before what could’ve been a wonderful weekend for you. But the memories, I tell you, are all worth it!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=He82NBjJqf8&fs=1&hl=en_US&color1=0x006699&color2=0x54abd6]

Share

Buster Posey NL ROY

By bullpenbrian - September 22, 2010 - 12:01 am 2 comments.

Buster Posey is my NL Rookie of the Year.
He’s been the back bone of the Giants since being recalled May 29.
San Fran is nowhere near the West title without him.

Since his call-up, Posey is batting .324. That’s fifth highest in the NL and trails only Carlos Gonzalez (.350), Omar Infante (.338), Joey Votto (.329) and Matt Holliday (.325).

He’s hit safely in 12 of his last 16 games and 17 of his last 38 hits (45%) have gone for extra bases, including his game-winning home run Tuesday night at Wrigley.

Posey’s started 94 of 97 games, has 36 multi-hit efforts, and plays the toughest position on the field. He’s already logged more than 550 innings behind the plate, including six shutouts.

Among rookies, Posey ranks:
1st in average & slugging percentage.
2nd in on base percentage.
4th in RBI (62) & multi-hit games (36).
5th in HR (15).
6th in hits (118).
7th in doubles (23).

Rookie. Of. The. Year!

Share

Mike Fontenot Update

By bullpenbrian - August 25, 2010 - 1:01 am Leave a comment.

Since joining the Giants via trade on August 11, Mike Fontenot is 6-for-21 at the plate (.285) with three runs scored and zero RBI. He’s played seven games, starting five–3 at second base and 2 at shortstop.

All totaled between Chicago and San Francisco, Fontenot has played 82 games making 45 starts–32 at second base, 9 at shortstop and 4 at third base–batting .284 with 1 home run and 20 RBI.

In exchange for Fontenot the Cubs received speedy Single-A center fielder Evan Crawford, who’s currently projected as a back-up major league outfielder in the coming years.

Fontenot, the 19th overall pick in the 2001 draft, spent six seasons with the Cubs after joining the club as part of the Sammy Sosa deal with Baltimore in 2005.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1ayjFWrzJc&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xd0d0d0&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

Share

Our Sponsors