In a shockingly good move for the post-Theo-Epstein Red Sox, they unloaded a lot of players on the Dodgers and then basically laughed all the way to the bank. They got James Loney, ‘cause he’s lonely and they felt badly or whatever and a nice quad of prospects as well. The Dodgers got one of the biggest busts in recent baseball memory, Carl Crawford, who also recently underwent Tommy John surgery. They got Josh Beckett, who’s not really (at all) that good and Nick Punto who’s probably extremely talented at many things, but baseball is not necessarily one of them. (I kid, I kid. All Major Leaguers are extremely talented, of course, Nick Punto included. But still). Last but not least, they got Adrian Gonzalez who’s batting .300, compared to the .254 average that Loney was sporting. It’s an upgrade, but with all the money the Dodgers are dropping – which, according the LA Times is over a quarter of a billion dollars – they could have gotten millions of tall Dark Roasts at Starbucks or hundreds of thousands of Victoria Beckham handbags or, say, some really good ballplayers. They did none of the above.
Never fear, Giants fans. The National League West did not just get significantly better. It just got significantly less coffee.
p.s. If you’re not really a coffee person, a) leave this blog now or b) imagine how much of that divine Iced Lemon Pound Cake at Starbucks they could also have gotten. I can’t seem to find the price of that online, but let’s just say they could have gotten enough to feed the entire crowd at Dodger Stadium for a hundred years or so. Especially considering the size of an average Dodger Stadium crowd. (Low blow? Yes. True blow? Yes to that too.)
Barry Zito is one of the most puzzling creatures currently gracing Major League Baseball. And I mean that in the nicest possible way (for now). He took the mound last night in San Francisco and led the Giants to their fourth straight win. Those four straight wins, incidentally, have been the four games following the MCM. Speaking of puzzling news. Sabes should really take note of the fact that this team evidently responds quite well to reverse psychology and the media saying their world has come crashing down and all that stuff. Heck, maybe he should start paying the media to say nasty things about the team’s future. Four-game win streaks might follow. Might be awesome. Might be the new Moneyball. Might stop the Bay Area is a cheating hotspot! chatter (lookin’ at you, Bartolo Colon) and usher in a new era of, Bay Area is a baseball innovation hotspot! Or is paying the media to write something about you cheating…?
Either way! Back to Zito. It’s August 24th and he’s sporting a winning record and an ERA of 4.31. He’s had some terrible starts and some absolutely dazzling ones, but he’s been good enough overall that I don’t feel the difficult-to-resist urge to cringe every time he pitches. And yesterday, he pitched a shutout into the ninth. And got “Barry!” cheers. And was like, “Duuuuuude,” in his postgame press conference. (Just kidding about the last part.)
He also wore a backwards cap, which was kind of a trainwreck, but nothing else about last night was, so I’ll just forgive and forget.
Angel Pagan went on being über-Angel Pagan who’s his amazingly fabulous alter ego, as far as I can tell. The offense actually hit and Hunter Pence put down a marvelous bunt which all left me in a state of slight disbelief. In a good way. A very, very good way.
The Giants and I had a little texting back-and-forth. It went like this. (My texts are in blue. The Giants texts are in grey.)
We beat LA. We swept LA. We took first place from LA. They kind of took It’s Magic Inside from us but, really, that’s fine, they’re welcome to it. They’re also welcome to It’s September Inside. (You don’t say! Here was me thinking it was a different month inside and outside the stadium. Nice to hear it’s September inside, too.)
I am a Giants fan, so I am genetically programmed to like low-scoring games. Especially when those low-scoring games feature Madison Bumgarner going eight innings, scoreless, and the offense squeezing out enough to just win it by a final of 2-1. The Sergio-Romo-can’t-deal-with-Hanley-Ramirez-and-D-list-celebrities is a blip on the map. This series in LA, which is a pretty huge one, couldn’t have gotten off to a better start. Sure, a little more offense might have induced a little less nail-biting, but overall, the Giants pretty much did what they’ll have to do to win games down the stretch. Additionally, they took first place in the National League West – up half a game up from the Dodgers – and set a slightly suspect record. Per @MLB: For first time in liveball era, pair of LHPs (Bumgarner & Kershaw) reached double digits in K’s and issued 0 walks in same game.
Which is kind a cool statistic, despite the multitude of modifiers which make it roughly similar to me telling you that I made lemon cupcakes on the third Tuesday in August for the first time ever and expecting you to be really stoked. Okay, maybe not exactly similar. But roughly. Definitely roughly.
Anyhows. Lincecum is taking the mound tonight, so I’m kind in limbo about how to feel. I’m just going to try to be mellow and peace out, because that’s what we do in the Bay Area when we’re stressed, right? No? Well, it’s worth a try. The rivalry with the Dodgers is certainly a lot of fun this year, with both teams being in contention again, but I may not think it’s fun at all after tonight. Right. Optimism only. Tonight is going to be fantastic, people!
Lastly, one more thing for GMs to consider before finalizing a deal! Make sure the player has a current passport and he knows where it is and all that jazz. Especially if you’re in the American League, but even if you’re not, because Bud Selig does love his Interleague Play, you know. And if the thing that’s scared the guy away from getting a passport is the dreaded photo, never fear, USA Today has lots of useful tips for that! Playing Jose Bautista and whoever else is on the Blue Jays, come hither.
Holy Melky Cabrera. One of America’s most trusted news sources, the New York Daily News, got their feet wet in the MCM (Melky Cabrera Mess, that is) today with a story about how he did some insignificant things like cheating and lying and creating a fake website to cover his tracks and then presenting aforementioned fake website as proof that he didn’t cheat and lie. You can read the story here if you so choose, but if you’d rather just go watch Shattered Glass for the lowdown on why Melky – I mean, Stephen Glass, is an unhinged sociopath, by all means, do it. That is one of my favorite movies of all times, aside from my sneaking suspicion that it’s actually scientologist propaganda. Since it’s produced by Tom Cruise, y’know.
Anyhow! Back to the point at hand. Just when you thought the MCM couldn’t get any worse… it did. Cabrera’s camp is already distancing themselves from the person/people who cooked up the (un)brilliant fake website scheme and in turn, the Giants organization is distancing themselves from Melky’s camp. It’s just hard to know, in general, how it all went down and although there may be more info within the history of his appeal, etc., that’s all confidential for the moment. So we’ll have to live with the bits and pieces that our favorite New York Daily News drags up.
I’d say I’d rather just watch some baseball, but I’m biting-my-finger-nails-nervous about the upcoming series in LA and the momentum from the fab first two games in San Diego were kind of crushed today. Vogelsong struggled, as has been the story for him lately. I have to think fatigue is playing a role at this point and the specifics of his struggles would point to that – he doesn’t seem mechanically terribly off and no signs point to injury. The season is long and August is a hard month to grind through, not two ways about it.
Still, with first place on the line on August 20th, you have to think everyone will be bringing their A-game tomorrow. And maybe their fake websites too, but only if we’re very lucky.
You think Hayden Christensen can play Melky in the upcoming movie, Spilled Melk? (Credit to the @cjholley8 on Twitter for coming up with that one. I saw it when it was retweeted by the always fantastic Adam Penenberg. Who was, incidentally, the one who uncovered the real Stephen Glass.)