The second half is going to suck less, right?

Hi everyone, I haven’t forgotten about the blog, nor have I forgotten about the shitshow that was the first half of the season (no matter how hard I try).

Pretty much everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. Injuries, slumps, regressions and bad luck have stacked up to put the Giants on the wrong side of .500 in one of the worst World Series hangover years in recent memory.

But, there’s reason for hope. Despite anything and everything going wrong, they’re still very much in this. The NL West as a whole has been underwhelming, to say the least, and the Giants are due to make a run.

They have all the tools to do so. The pitching staff is the same one that dominated the last few years, and with Posey steady in the middle of the order they’re just a couple of hot streaks away from being right back in the picture.

Of course, these are all speculations. While guys may be “due” for better numbers, there’s nothing that says they have to. The pitching staff has extended itself into November two of the last three years and opposing teams are always bringing their best against the World Series champs.

Still, you can’t help but feel optimistic for the second half of the season. At least we know it won’t get a whole lot worse than what we’ve been watching these last few weeks.

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106 Responses to The second half is going to suck less, right?

  1. Chico says:

    Looking forward to the second half! Good post. Realistic, but optimistic.

    I was just listening to KNBR and F&Brooks said that replay will be here next season, and the PED suspensions are coming down next year, not this year. Anyone here about that?

    • xoot says:

      The PED announcements are supposed to get released soon after the AS game, but the union is objecting to that. I guess every suspended player should have a right to seek arbitration through the union grievance procedure. Apparently, there’s only one arbitrator, a guy in Santa Monica, so the line may be long. The actual suspensions have to wait until after he rules. I haven’t heard anything about deferring the suspensions to next season, but some or all of them may drag into next season in response to union challenges.

      One of the strange things about this investigation/prosecution/holy war is that the union didn’t make a peep until now. Suddenly they’re complaining about info leaks and threatening to drag things out to next season. Some big ticket players and agents must’ve complained, because for the last six months the union sat by and watched as mlb filed a lawsuit in Fla. against the clinic to obtain evidence and to coerce the clinic owner’s cooperation. The union could’ve intervened then, and didn’t. The union’s whining now seems pretty weak to me. The evidence gathered will sink a bunch of players, and the grievance process will not save them (imo).

  2. unca_chuck says:

    Shit, I just want to see Braun go down for his asinine stance after getting away with it.

  3. shoelessinlassen says:

    Hopeful is us. Given the Giants have rarely played as a complete team – on offense, in the field, and starting pitching / bullpen support, the Giants true potential for the second half depends on the team getting healthy, staying healthy, and coming together to play as a more finely tuned machine.

    I’m hopeful, because

    1) I’m not a cynic (or pessimist) at heart.
    2) I’m not a misguided A’s or overly insecure Dodger fan trolling SFGate.
    3) Yogi Berra is right.
    4) The Giants have so much latent talent, assuming, of course:
    a. Pablo is and stays injury free.
    b. Crawford comes back like before his infamous head-first slide.
    c. Pence gets more of an occasional break if only to stay fresh(er) – he played every damn game in the first half and it shows.
    d. Belt gets and stays hotter with his bat – while always a defensive asset.
    e. Cain (hopefully isn’t hiding some kind of injury) bounces back.

    Four unanswered concerns:

    1. Scutaro’s back (and bent pinky)
    2. Arias (I am not currently up to date as to his health status)
    3. The bull pen – Affeldt immediately comes to mind. Hoping Casilla returns ready for bear.
    4. Vogelsong (Zito or not, the Giants need Ryan’s arm back – assuming Sabean doesn’t see to acquire another legit starter).

    If Sabean believes the Giants have a second half chance, I see him bolstering the bull pen (and possibly one more outfielder wielding a bat) as keys to Giants chances – coupled to the whole team health issue that plagued the first half.

  4. unca_chuck says:

    Arias had an appendectomy 10 days ago?. Those take 3 weeks? Pablo seems to be getting his timing back. He looked lost coming back, but he’s driving the ball. Pence is the biggest ? to me. He has looked lost for a loooong time. The pen and the pitching in general will hopefully respond to Casilla and Vogie coming back. The defense is a big deal at this point.as well. Theyu’ve been hot and cold. They will likely look at Vogie and how he does before pulling the trigger on a deal.

  5. mailorderwife says:

    Giants always do better in the 2nd half, so I look forward to the rest of the season. Even if it doesn’t pan out, hockey pre-season starts in September.

    The key might be how well Timmy does on a consistent basis, whether or not Zito can manage to win on the road and if the offense can get it together. While I’d like the Giants to keep Timmy, I’m pretty okay with the Giants not taking that last year option on Zito’s contract. Winning on the road is vital and was a strength last year, and Zito needs to come through here.

    I also think that Belt needs to start having a better second half. I love the guy because he is that that loser kid who eats his boogers, but needs a break to show that he can manage being an adult. His second half last year was awesome, and he needs to do that again.

    Most of all, the team cannot give up on themselves. Someone needs to be Rev. Pence or Burrellesque rally leader to take the team to the next level.

  6. xoot says:

    Update from the NY Daily News on the Biogenesis imbroglio, with some insight into the union’s peculiarly passive role so far. In an interview yesterday,

    “the executive director of baseball’s union painted what is potentially an ominous picture for A-Rod’s future and that of the other major leaguers linked to the Biogenesis scandal.

    “. . . Michael Weiner said that if Major League Baseball has overwhelming evidence linking the players to the defunct anti-aging clinic and its founder, Anthony Bosch, the powerful Players Association may be in the position of having to cry uncle.

    “’I can tell you, if we have a case where there really is overwhelming evidence, that a player committed a violation of the program, our fight is going to be that they make a deal,’ Weiner said without referring to specific players. ‘We’re not interested in having players with overwhelming evidence that they violated the (drug) program out there. Most of the players aren’t interested in that. We’d like to have a clean program.’”

    • mailorderwife says:

      What do they consider “overwhelming” is the issue? I mean, are they demanding video evidence? DNA samples on needles? This could become a nightmare. I can understand wanting to protect a player ala Mike Andrews v. Charlie Finley, that’s one thing. But if there is good evidence that these players were on the penis pump — especially someone like Ryan Braun, who got off on legal technicalities — isn’t there a more overwhelming need to just comply? It’s not as if baseball is on a rampage against these drugs, as they only blow the whistle when caught.

      • xoot says:

        Well, it’s a violation of the drug agreement to purchase PEDs. And any mlb player who purchases PEDs over a period of time has pretty much proven use by circumstantial evidence. What’s the defense? Roger Clemens claimed he gave his hgh to his wife, but that was a one shot deal, not a monthly dose. And testosterone might be a tougher sell. 😉

  7. xoot says:

    Buster! 4 to 1 Giants in the 5th, with Cain coming back out in the 6th despite the high pitch count. The Giants are playing the DBacks tough. They want this series.

    • mailorderwife says:

      I hope the 2nd half brings lots more great baseball. Today’s game was nice. Leaving runners on base needs lots of improvement, but we’re getting there. However, watching Dave the Trainer come out for every new reliever was a bit jarring.

  8. shoelessinlassen says:

    While a no hitter from Bumgarner today would be great (!), more realistically, 8 strong innings would afford the bullpen – and tortured fans watching yesterday’s game – some considerable relief.

    • shoelessinlassen says:

      Bumgarner strong through 7. Obviously, it’s Madison’s game to win or lose … oh, wait, the Giants offense needs to put up some runs; and a tad less show of enthusiasm by Flannery in the 6th might have proved a more able assist. (You win some, you lose some – I know – but Pablo on 2nd and Buster on 3rd with no outs sure looked quite promising in the 6th.)

  9. xoot says:
      the second half better see better ball than we saw today
  10. mailorderwife says:

    Xoot! Your opinion of today’s Braun events?

  11. sandy32koufax says:

    I’m not xoot but my op is that 65 games is a sweetheart deal for a guy that should not have been MVP and should have taken the 100 game hit…period.

  12. xoot says:

    my op is that mlb and the union want to wrap this up without appeals. They have bullet-proof cases against a bunch of players based on business records and Biogenesis witnesses. They do not want Biogenesis clients appealing and delaying the suspension to next year. So they’ll make somewhat generous settlements now to clean the BioG guys out quickly. No one wants a BioG client with a losing case playing in the PS. And mlb and the union want to proclaim that they truly are cleaning up the game.

    If the union had wanted to prevent this purge, the union would’ve figured out how to intervene or challenge mlb’s lawsuit in Florida earlier this year. After the Miami newspaper broke the story, in January I think, mlb sued BioGenesis for interference with the CBA, etc. Odd claim. mlb used the lawsuit to take discovery–i.e., get documentary evidence–and to intimidate witnesses and defendants into cooperating with mlb’s agenda. mlb also issued subpoenas in the case to get third-party witnesses roped in. The union let all of that evidence gathering proceed, without a peep. The result now is the raft of bullet-proof cases mlb has built against a bunch of players.

  13. mailorderwife says:

    What an ugly game. And it’s only the 2nd inning…

    • shoelessinlassen says:

      ‘Apparently’, the Giants just ran into yet one more Cy Young candidate, this time sporting Red … Giving up 11 runs over nine innings just doesn’t feel like baseball … more like some kind of hybrid sport, combining football with baseball … sheesh.

  14. Chico says:

    xoot, they way you’re roasting them over at the other place is nothing short of impressive. Kudos, bruddah.

  15. xoot says:

    Well, the Giants played baseball in the second game last night. Nice change of pace.

    BioG update with a Lone Star perspective: http://rangersblog.dallasnews.com/2013/07/with-justice-in-biogenesis-scandal-on-its-way-nelson-cruzs-decision-could-greatly-affect-rangers-playoff-hopes.html/

  16. Chico says:

    I got an email from Chuck saying that he isn’t able to post on this updated blog post.. I don’t know how to fix that.. Anyone?

  17. Chico says:

    Fugly ass baseball..

  18. Chico says:

    Well…

  19. Chico says:

    Stock the farm..

  20. sandy32koufax says:

    Schierholtz had a career night in the desert in the Cubbies win, hell, he’s having a good year,

  21. xoot says:

    Small but strong south swell so I took acouple of days off to get the teenager inthe water in sc
    Of course I need the time too
    Stay after those aholes on the gate

  22. sandy32koufax says:

    Cincy stays hot in LA…AZ wins

  23. Chico says:

    Dodgers and A’s lost!

  24. Chico says:

    Hilarious that Slats/Mac thinks that me, JDR, Xoot, and Mattalac, are the same person..

  25. sandy32koufax says:

    Your girl?

    That slats guy, like his odd-fellow bud moosebutt, is a boob. Neither has anything to say that is based is in anything but paranoia or envy…

  26. mailorderwife says:

    Would sure be nice if we could score!!!!

  27. shoelessinlassen says:

    Why Belt continues to find himself in ‘no man’s land’ (snared between the bases) is one of the universe’s still unanswered questions.

  28. mailorderwife says:

    Brandon Belt on the basepaths. Le Sigh.

  29. unca_chuck says:

    And he whiffs on the grounder to hose this one up. And has a chance for redemption in the bottom of the 9th . . .

  30. sandy32koufax says:

    Rally caps, jints fans???

  31. mailorderwife says:

    Chico – that Kruk and Kuip group is fun sometimes, but it’s too much like dealing with new baseball fans.

  32. unca_chuck says:

    And, to answer the question above, apparently not.

  33. datswhatsup says:

    So my JDR ban has been lifted, too?

    Not sure what I did but I half expected to get knee capped IRA style.

    • xoot says:

      Now would a guy who entertainingly mocks Lasorda’s gluttony be a provo zealot? I don’t see it. So it’s gotta be a glitch that blocked you, dats. Just send some emails if it happens again. Maybe this blog will be a good place to hang out until ST. Many things to consider and to reflect upon.

  34. datswhatsup says:

    What I’d like to see.
    Reds sweep LA SF sweeps Cubs died last night, time to sell and learn.
    Trade Lopez, he can get you a piece that is MLB ready, his 2010 and 2012 playoff impact is obvious to a contender
    Trade Blanco and Arias for any prospect, they are valuable only to a playoff team.
    Trade TL for a cant miss prospect…if there is such a thing
    ditto on Pence, they can’t pay Pence like a top 5 OF when he’s more like a top 20…get a top prospect
    Trade for Cliff Lee…Cain MadBum and Lee make them a force in 2014.? Use TL and Pence prospects for Lee
    Tll and Lopez salary pays Lee.
    Use Zito and Pence money to go get starting OFs
    Lastly don’t pull a Winn. I wass bothered that Winn got so many ABs his last year when they should go to Nate.
    Let’s see what the OF prospects can do inthe OF. SF will be better able to evaluate.

    Stop freezing me out and I’ll be more brief!

  35. shoelessinlassen says:

    Bumgarner brought his A game tonight. Scoreless through 8 … 4Hits, 2Walks, 7K’s, 116 pitch count. Now, it can’t possibly be asking too much for the Giants offense to complement their ace with a winning run?!!

  36. mailorderwife says:

    Been watching the SF Giants since the days of Mays, McCovey and Marichal. There were the lean years where there were maybe 1 or 2 good players on the team. This year’s team is the worst I have ever seen from the SF Giants. Hands down.

  37. xoot says:

    mlb probably will levy, and announce, most of the Biogenesis suspensions this week, so that the players popped for 50 games can serve their sentences this season. If a player challenges a decision, a 3-person arbitration panel will consider the evidence. The panel has limited power to modify or reduce the punishment. As a result, arbitration will have mainly a thumbs-up or thumbs-down conclusion. It won’t be as brutal as the high-noon gunfight you get with salary arbitration, but if the evidence mlb has compiled is as bullet-proof as they say, any Biogenesis arbitrations should go mlb’s way.

    The panels will consist of a permanent arbitrator, hired jointly by mlb and the union, and two additional arbitrators, one chosen by each side. As a result, the permanent arbitrator is typically the swing vote. Either mlb or the union can fire the permanent arb, too. In early 2012, after the initial Ryan Braun debacle, mlb fired the long-time permanent guy because he voted to overturn the Braun suspension. mlb and the union then hired the current arbitrator, Fredric Horowitz. Given the union’s cooperation–hell, complicity–in this prosecution, it’s hard to envision Horowitz facing any tough choices here.

    But we’ll see. One thought keeps nagging–is it possible the Giants clubhouse is such a black hole of negative energy lately because they know that a Giant is on the Biogenesis list? None of the reports about the list suggest so. I guess I’m just ranging far and wide for some sort of rational explanation for this team tanking . . . .

    • shoelessinlassen says:

      Wow … if any Giant WERE on the Bio list, I’m extremely disappointed said Giant was still performing like some scrawny, puny, 100 pound weakling! at least if you’re gonna cheat, hit, run, and play better ball, dammit!!! 😉

  38. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, MOW, I said much the same on Flav’s blog a couple weeks ago. Just that I’ve never seen a team look SO uninspired and flat since the dogshit days of the early 80s. I don;t mind losing (well, I do), but to lose playing bad defense and leaving 25 runners on base every game is incredibly frustrating. The fans are finally booing these guys. It’s about time. IT’s really depressing.

    Thankfully football season is cranking up soon.

  39. unca_chuck says:

    From all I’ve gleaned, no GIant is near that list, but that doesn’t mean we are clear. Just that they’ve been in the doldrums for a long time. Certainly long enough to predate worrying about the BioG shit.

  40. xoot says:

    Buster’s bat exploding into splinters yesterday with the bases loaded–that’s a moment that I just can’t get out of my mind’s eye. Painful damn season.

  41. datswhatsup says:

    Tanking the season not hard to figure out in retrospect.

    They are pros, no one is quitting, but digging deep for that something extra is not a light switch.

    1) they have rings, most two already
    2) Zito & TL are shadows of former self, last year gave them a chance for one more shot at glory…this year, no such motivation
    3) No big contract year (Pagan & Scutaro playing for his big paydays last year) no one fits the bill this year
    4) Best players are “lead by example guys” not get in your face guys (Posey, Cain)
    5) No reason for Panda to listen to anyone (watch him pull an Uribe and slim down next year when it’s contract time)
    6) Waiting for a gamble to work out (Sabean has gotten guys whose first or last chance inspired the team in the past Burrell, Uribe, Vogelsong, Pagan) this year Francour, Abreu & Tanaka fell flat.

  42. datswhatsup says:

    Sabean’s main mistake this year was not realizing how poor his offensive bench was.

    Losing Vogelsong and Casillas hurt since CG had to then start which meant two key middle guys were gone forcing scrubs to play a role they were not ready for and also forced Affeldt to pitch injured.

    That being said, they could have survived that but Pagan and Sandoval exposed the entire bench for what it is…terrible.

    Torres was a gamble that crapped out.
    Blanco is a 4th OF not an every day guy
    How bad is your back up IF when an obviously injured and struggling Crawford cannot sit?
    How bad is your back up 1B when Belt, who appears to be emotionally fragile based upon body language only sits for Posey? Belt at his career worst is superior to Quiroz in the line up.

    The good news is there is hope:

    Screw the extra first round picks, the Giants need player now while Cain, Madbum, Posey, Sandoval, Scutaro, Crawford & Belt are all young. Remember with Craw & Belt there is a huge advantage to paying a starting player anything less than $1.5M/yr)

    Use guys who you can get reasonable prospects for to the right team looking for playoff help (Blanco, Arias, Goudin)

    Use Pence, TL, Javy to get either proven prospects or a MLB ready player.
    Use the $60M to $70M from TL, HP, AT, GB, RV, BZ, JL, JA to pay your guys and get right in 2014

  43. datswhatsup says:

    $70M free

    They will need 3 SPs and two OF

    Good news is that 4th and 5th SP can be had cheaper by guys wanting to pitch in SF and boost their numbers for a bigger, next contract

    3rd starter will be expensive, but there a quite a few guys set to be FAs after the season

    Consider overpaying for Ellsbury, he is built for AT&T

    Plan B would be Choo

    Wild Card Matt Williams Sandoval to the AL. If they get prospects for Pence, TL Lopez along with Sandoval & Belt maybe they can pry Kendrick or Aybar and Trumbo away from the Angels.

    Pujoles is a DH now, they need youth, hell if they ate half the money I’d roll the dice on Hamilton…he’s lost there but at $10M erases their mistake and gets them younger.

  44. unca_chuck says:

    Boring, flat, and pathetic. Zits should not start another road game this year. All the good will he garnered last year is gone. As is most of the rest of the team’s.

  45. datswhatsup says:

    Well I see I pretty muched nailed my prediction above.

  46. Chico says:

    It ain’t over till it’s over!

  47. unca_chuck says:

    Zits on the road? I’m getting nervous.

  48. unca_chuck says:

    Ooops. Cain’s going tonight. THought that was too quick between gawdawful starts . . .

  49. Chico says:

    My buddy is reppin in Philly!

  50. Chico says:

    As for people not being able to post here (looks like it was a glitch), I’m having problems posting on the Flap.. It’s gotta be a wordpress problem. No other explanation.

  51. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, my problems here mysteriously disappeared.

    • Chico says:

      I’m trying to post on the Flap and it says ‘comment won’t load’ or something like that.. But it worked yesterday. WTF?

  52. Chico says:

    Nice win! Now that was torture!

  53. Chico says:

    Chuck, I can’t post on your blog either.. “Sorry, this comment could not be posted”

    The Niners should look at Syd’Quan Thompson, who will be playing against my buddies team this weekend in a semi-pro football league for the championship.. Ruptured Achilles in 2011, but he’s been back and playing well.. He was a great player at Cal.. Just a thought.

  54. unca_chuck says:

    Shit, lemme check my spam filter. I don’t filter anything though.

  55. unca_chuck says:

    Yeah, it’s all over the place lately.

  56. datswhatsup says:

    Sabean you can’t win so don’t Winn.

    I have whined in the past about my confusion regarding the 2009 choice giving Randy Winn 500+ ABs (knowing he was done as a Giant and as it turns out in MLB) while giving a young Nate S. 100+ ABs

    2010-2012 were in the hunt so no vet cost a younger player PT. This year is 2009-esque.

    No more Torres, JF (Blanco is a legit #4 OF)
    –what are they waiting for on Brown? Confidence? If college AND 4 in minors aren’r enough what are you protecting?
    –Perguero WTF happened to this dude?
    –Kieschnick should be getting those ABs wasted on AT & JF

    HEctor sanchez please Quiroz i= wasted ABs

    Play Belt in the OF if for no other reason that to get him and Pill ABs

    Give Zito one more home start…that’s it. Consider giving him the last home game, Fan Appreciation day and lshow highlights from 2012 post season. BZ was a terrible signing but the dude took the ball everytime he was asked and never bitched about the streaks when he pitched better than his record showed. End it the classy SF way

    Use this time to better plan what you have for 2014.

  57. xoot says:

    Anyone interested in the Biogenesis suspensions should take a look at Wendy Thurm’s piece posted on FanGraphs home page today. Her analysis of the Joint Drug Agreement strikes me as exactly right. If you’re like me, you won’t be all that interested in the part of the article devoted to tracing the way mlb may have reached its punishment for ARod. To hell with ARod. But her overall discussion is a hundred times better than anything I’ve seen elsewhere.

  58. unca_chuck says:

    Chico, I started a new thread. See if it works now.

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