Issue: Is the bug back?
Analysis: Oakland’s thrilling victory Tuesday was the type that, under normal circumstances, could be a “propeller” win.
You know, the type so uplifting that it propels a team toward a ripping-good-fun run of baseball, maybe even taking an early season underdog into a summer of surprising contention. Read More
Issue: Should you believe in Barry?
Analysis: Largely lost in the defensive debacle that was Monday night’s loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers was Barry Zito’s solid six-inning outing.
Say what you want about the merits of a so-called quality start — a year of six innings and three runs is, detractors will eagerly point out, a line that would leave you with a 4.50 ERA for the season — but also say you’d take a quality start from Zito every time out. Read More
It’s not often I’ll get heavy in this space, but in light of what’s been going on in and around the previously bullet-proof world of the NFL, it’s time.
Junior Seau. Head shots. Concussions. Bounties. Dementia. Lawsuits. On and on and on.
In the wake of the multi-day party that was the NFL draft, we’ve been inundated by nothing but awful, depressing and, in some cases, genuinely tear-jerking news. Read More
Issue: Closing time
Analysis: Grant Balfour won the spring training competition for the closer’s role and got off to a terrific start to the regular season on the strength of outstanding command, an aggressive approach to attacking the strike zone, and the type of commanding mound presence with which you typically associate your ninth-inning man.
Of late, however, he’s looking like just another former successful setup man miscast as the end-of-game arm, most recently seen in Oakland in the form of Arthur Rhodes circa 2004.
So what to do? Read More
Issue: Offensive on defenseAnalysis: Much has been made after the first month of the season of the sloppy glove work seen in San Francisco, mainly because it wasn’t expected to be a problem.When the season started, you figured, in order:Catcher: Buster Posey. Above average with the leather, right?First base: Brandon Belt. Way above average by all accounts.Second base: Manny Burriss or Ryan Theriot. Average at worst, with Burriss more than a hair better than the much-older Theriot. The weakest defensive link. Read More
As an opinionated, occasionally caustic member of the Bay Area media, not to mention a lifelong Warriors fan, I’ve had quite a bit of fun with the whole are-they-tanking-or-not thing over the past few weeks.
The fun, and the season, is over now, so it’s time to get real.
Look, whether you think they should have been doing it or think they were doing it, all with that No. 7 pick in this year’s draft in mind, here’s what everyone needs to understand:
The NBA draft, no matter how deep the pundits tell you in any given year, is and always will be a crapshoot. Read More
Issue: Kudos for Curt Young
Analysis: It was easy to overlook the fantastic work of Oakland’s understated pitching coach when his staff was headlined by high-profile, highly drafted luminaries such as Mark Mulder, Barry Zito and Tim Hudson.The Big Three’s talent was so obvious. Who could possibly screw that up? Leave them alone, give them the ball and watch the wins pile upon piles. Read More
Issue: Hating on Huff
Analysis: An internal debate was waged regarding the focus of today’s issue. It could easily have been “Handling Huff,” which would put more of the culpability in this mini-controversy on the Giants themselves.
You know the deal. Fans and media alike have been alternately puzzled and incensed by the revelation that Huff, in the wake of an absolutely brutal weekend in Gotham, left the team with a text message. Read More
We’ve had a few days now to absorb the trio of mind-blowing pitching performances on the local big-league scene Wednesday, and still it’s difficult to settle on which was the most impressive.Matt Cain, on the heels of a one-hit shutout in his first home start since signing his mega-deal with the Giants, squared off with the ridiculously consistent and efficient Cliff Lee of the Phillies at AT&T Park — and with zero margin for error, he ripped off nine more goose eggs, allowing two hits while appearing as stressed as John Nash helping a third-grader with his math homework. Read More
Issue: Who’s No. 1?Analysis: It seems like a no-brainer: Who’s the best player on the A’s?Come on. It’s Yoenis Cespedes, right? Five tools. Crazy upside. Limitless future, and not a bad presence by any stretch.But don’t you have to consider Josh Reddick as a strong counter-argument at this point? Read More
Issue: Identity crisisAnalysis: It’s early, but it’s not. It’s definitely not too early, after six weeks of spring training and a couple of weeks of regular-season games, for every team in big-league ball to have started to establish an identity.But what is the Giants’ identity? Do you have any clue whatsoever? If you do, you’re seeing something most of us aren’t. Read More
Two starts into his season, Tim Lincecum and his struggles are of grave concern among Giants fans. And maybe the concern is legit. He’s their ace, he had a bad spring, he wasn’t good on Opening Day, and he had his worst career start Wednesday in Colorado.Without him pitching like a legit top-of-the-rotation guy, the Giants don’t feel like a contender at all. Read More
Issue: Fan focusAnalysis: The paltry attendance figures in Oakland aren’t going to change in any dramatic way anytime soon, but already they’ve become something to which some folks are pointing as evidence that A’s fans are bad fans. Read More
Issue: Early waveringAnalysis: So many were so encouraged when the Giants announced their Opening Day roster. It suggested a long-promised commitment to the youth they’ve developed over the past several years, with Brandon Belt tops among them, having been handed the starting job at first base.Yet here we are, less than a week of games into the regular season, and already Belt has been “given a couple days” off because he started slow and admitted to manager Bruce Bochy that he’s been pressing. Read More
When the Giants set their 25-man roster for the regular season Wednesday, it marked a welcome shift in philosophy of which we first caught a glimpse during that magical run to glory in 2010.It was just as dramatic and emphatic back then, but as we found out in the disappointment of 2011, it was temporary.Will it stick this time? All signs suggest it will, and for that the franchise will be healthier than it’s been in a long time. Read More