Tagged: Tim Lincecum

Giants, Vogelsong, 58 Year Old Broom

The San Francisco Giants are proving themselves a force to be recognized against the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers (88-74) were playing very strong ball to take the AL Central as Champions, routing the Chicago White Sox by only three games in the last days of the regular season for the title.  Moving on to the LDCS, the Tigers playing Oakland A’s, tied 2-2 in the series, won the last game to advance to the ALCS.  The Tigers swept the Yankees handily in four games, giving their team five days of rest ~ waiting to see if they would be traveling to St. Louis or San Francisco.  Now, in the World Series ~ many will argue the five days off was not to the Tiger’s benefit.

The Giants  (94-68) handled their division over the laboring LA Dodgers to take the NL West Division to reign as Champs. Moving on in their LDCS against the Boston Red Sox, performing much as the Giants had done ~ taking the tied series from the Red Sox, winning the last game. In the NLCS, they faced the St. Louis Cardinals, coming back from a 3-1 deficit Cardinal lead, to take the series and advance to the World Series.

Along with a very strong pitching staff ~ starting and relief ~ for the Giants, SP Ryan Vogelsong has been their story maker. Vogelson is not a 20+ year old rising star. He is 35 years of age and has had a roller-coaster career. However, he has not given up to achieve the level in which he now enjoys ~ coming full circle since 2000 when he was drafted by the San Francisco Giants to begin his career. He was traded to the Pirates, had to have Tommy John’s surgery early in his career.  2004 was his first full season in the majors, but was not effective in his three year stint on the mound and released by the Pirates.  He traveled to Japan, playing in the Nippon Professional League until 2010. Vogelsong signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies.”He was released on July 15, 2010.  Then signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on July 28, 2010, but was released at the end of the season.”

“In 2011, Vogelsong signed a minor league contract to return to the San Francisco Giants with an invitation to spring training. On April 17, 2011, the Giants purchased his contract to replace the injured Barry Zito. On April 28, 2011, after making two relief appearances, Vogelsong got his first start since the 2004 season against his former club, the Pirates. He held the host Pirates to two earned runs on four hits and struck out eight en route to a 5–2 Giants victory and his first MLB win since September 2005.”

Since his return to the Giants, he proved himself worthy of a spot in the regular line-up, and he certainly has proven his expertise this season in the playoffs.  He has worked hard throughout the years even with adversity along the way. But his biggest fan, the one who has encouraged him most, is his wife of six years, Nicole ~ never letting him give up. “Vogelsong was awarded the 2011 Willie Mac Award, given annually to the Giant who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership consistently shown by Willie McCovey throughout McCovey’s long career.” And, also, “Vogelsong was named Giants Breakout Player of the Year by MLB.com for the 2011 season.”

Last night’s game was another commanding game for Vogelsong, only allowing the Tiger’s 5 hits, with three strike outs ~but did walk four. He was retired in the sixth with two outs on the board and a walk for Dirks.  Giants RP Lincecum came in and controlling the situation, shut the Tigers down and left Dirks stranded. Between SP Ryan Vogelson, RP Tim Lincecum and CP Sergio Romo ~ the Tigers saw no runs. The Giants now lead the series, 3-0.

If there was a bright side to the Tigers losing ~ would be that SP Anibal Sanchez, even though allowing two runs, he and the bullpen held the Giants to zero runs after the second inning. However, the Tigers just could not put it together offensively ~ not even their Triple Crown winner, Miguel Cabrera. He stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded in the fifth ~ two outs on the board … the Tigers mighty hitter had a pop-up fly to shortstop.

As much as the Tigers experienced a remarkable sweep over the Yankees ~ the Giants are looking for a sweep over the Tigers in today’s game. With almost flawless games, the Giants have only allowed the Tigers three runs in Game 1. They have shutout the Tigers in Games 2 and 3, 2-0 in each game.  With very strong offense, the Giants have performed with great defensive plays to keep their team just one game away from being the World Series Champions. The rath of the “Giant” that was felt by the St. Louis Cardinals … now has been unleashed upon the Tigers.

The last World Series sweep was by the Boston Red Sox over the Colorado Rockies in 2007. The last time the Giants had a four game sweep was 58 years ago over the Cleveland Indians, in 1954.  Even though, the Giants are not without being swept themselves.  In 1989, they were taken out by the Oakland A’s.  Today’s Giants have a very good chance of making history for themselves.

To all ~ enjoy your NFL Sunday and ~ just maybe a World Series for the history book.

Always ~ Elichap

Giants Vogelson Proves to be Cardinals Achilles’ Heel

“An Achilles’ heel is a deadly weakness in spite of overall strength, that can actually or potentially lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, idiomatic references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to downfall are common.”  This is exactly what Giants SP Vogelson and team has been for the Cardinals ~ not only in Game 2, but in Game 6 last night.  The Giants handled the defending champions well taking the win, 6-1 and tied the series, 3-3. This was the second match-up for Cardinals SP C Carpenter and Giants SP Vogelson.

Ryan Vogelson went seven innings and had a career record nine strike-outs. Only allowing 4 hits, and one walk for a 1.29. A glimmer of hope for the Cardinals in the sixth. Beltran connected for a double, followed by Craig with a single bringing in Beltran for the Cardinal’s to put a run on the board. Their hope was soon deflated, and that was the only run the Cardinals would see for the night.

The Giants took advantage of Cardinals SP Chris Carpenter. Carpenter had returned to the line-up late in the regular season to replace the injured Jake Westbrook. He was coming back  from Tommy John surgery, had only pitched three games, 0-2/3.71 ERA in 17 innings pitched. For this series, he is 0-2 and, once again, had problems right out of the gate.  Unfortunately, he did not settle in until the third. However, the damage of the Giants offense within the first two innings let their presence be known, with one run in the first and adding four more in the second. Carpenter allowed the Giants six hits, five runs, two walks and the high note for Carpenter ~ did come out with six strike-outs before being retired after the fourth. He was not able to lead his team to the promise land.

The Cardinals looked tired, sluggish, and almost a defeatist attitude as they approached the  plate. LF Matt Holliday had been held out of the game due to lower back stiffness and replaced with Matt Carpenter in the line-up.  1B Craig was moved into LF, and M Carpenter to cover 1B. With ineffective pitching and having players in positions unfamiliar, also, added to the Cardinals frustration. They did get five hits from M Carpenter, Beltran, Craig, Descalso and Kozma but were unable to ignite anything beyond their one run.

The Giants proved, in front of their home crowd, they were just as much a “comeback” team as the Cardinals have been. Even though, we are not finished yet with series tied, 3-3, Game 7 ~ “winner take all” ~ is tonight.

There is rain in the forecast for the Bay Area today, so that could pose a possible postponement of the game.  However, it looks like the rain will settle in through tomorrow, also.  So that will remain to be seen.  Should the game be postponed and re-scheduled for Tuesday ~ that brings both teams right up to opening day for the World Series.  Granted, the Giants are at home, so no travel involved should they win.  However, should the Cardinals be victorious, travel back to St. Louis to play Wednesday. Either or ~ the Giants or the Cardinals ~ will face the well rested Detroit Tigers who took the ALCS pennant, in four games against the Yankees, adding three extra days rest, just waiting to see who their opponent will be.

For Game 7, it will be Cardinals Kyle Lohse, 16-3/2.86 against Giants Matt Cain, 16-5/2.79.  In regular season, Cain had only pitched once against the Cardinals on May 17, which the Giants won 7-5.  Lohse had never faced the Giants until postseason.  This is a rematch for the pitchers as they faced one another in Game 3, Oct 17 in St. Louis, Cardinals winning, 3-1. Lohse took the win, 1-0/1.59 against Cain, 0-1/4.05.  Out of all the SP’s for the Cardinals, I would say Lohse is their bullet currently.

It has been reported that Wainwright may be part of the Cardinals relief pitching for tonight’s game. Tim Lincecum has been added to the bullpen for the Giants.  Should that scenario become reality for the Cardinals, in the event Lohse can sustain the Giants through six or seven innings, with Wainwright in the bullpen, along with CP Jason Motte ~ could prove quite the combination.  However, the Cardinals offense has got to come alive ~ as we know they are capable of at the plate. ~ Because !! The Giants are 5-1 when scoring first in postseason play.

Another consideration for the Cardinals manager Matheny, should Jon Jay remain in the lead-off position. Jay has been at bat 25 times, only 5 hits with 1 double, 3 RBI’s and only at .200 for the NLCS. Would Craig or Beltran, at this juncture, be better suited.  Jay is an excellent player for the Cardinals and had done well during regular season ~ just has not been able to “connect” at the plate to get things going for his team during this series. I have no idea if Matheny will give thought to this consideration for tonight’s game. Just seems Jay, at the moment, may be better suited a bit down the line.

“While the Giants have won five straight games facing elimination this postseason, the Cardinals have won their last six dating to last year. This is the first time the NLCS has gone seven games since 2006, when St. Louis beat the New York Mets 3-1 at Shea Stadium. Carlos Beltran, now with the Cardinals, struck out looking when Adam Wainwright froze him on a curveball.”

Last night’s game, both offensively and defensively, the Cardinals certainly didn’t display too much enthusiasm. As for the Giants ~ “they were comfortable in their own skin” ~

So to Game 7 ~ “winner take all” ~ “one and done”.  Do the Cardinals have the gumption not to be denied yet another victory.  I don’t believe the Giants will be very accommodating with the efforts they have shown.

Even so, I still believe in #12-n-12 ~ who is waiting in the wings to return to help his team.

To all ~ enjoy your games. The Chicago Bears (4-1) host the Detroit Lions (2-3) in tonight’s MNF.  First time the Lions have played at Soldier Field on a Monday night in six meetings of the two teams.  Another exciting night in sports.

Have a great day! Always ~ Elichap

Barry Zito Keeps Hope Alive for the Giants in NLCS Game 5

One good thing about last night’s game for the Cardinals against the Giants in Game 5, they remain in the lead for the series, 3-2.  That would be the only positive the Cardinals were able to walk away with after Giants SP Barry Rito did an excellent job shutting them down, 5-0.

And, for Tim Lincecum ~ you have nothing to feel bad about, except maybe, walking away without a tied series after Thursday’s game.  In comparison to the performance of Cardinals SP Lance Lynn, in last night’s game ~ a bad night happens.

As fired up and “on” as the Cardinals were in Game 4, there was no evidence of that even with seven hits by the Cardinals in last night’s Game 5.  Giants Barry Rito made sure six runners on were left stranded. With Giants CP Sergio Romo taking care of the seventh. Rito put up great numbers for his win and a shutout ~ going 7.2 innings, with six hits, obviously no runs, one walk and six strike-outs for an 0.00/ERA for the night.

On the flip-side of the coin, Cardinals SP Lance Lynn was smacked by the strong offense of the Giants. Lynn had struck out five of the first ten batters through the third. His undoing came in the fourth when he made a toss on a possible force-out which deflected off the second-base bag, paving the way for the Giants’ fourth giving up four unearned runs with RBI’s by Pence, Crawford and Zito off four hits. He allowed two walks, but did have six strike-outs to his credit. Lynn was retired after 3.2 innings with a 4.91. The Cardinals bullpen were doing their best to hold the Giants at four runs ~ waiting for their offense to ignite.  Down to the eighth with RP Boggs on the mound, facing lead-off batter Pablo Sandoval at the plate on a full count, gave Sandoval a pitch to connect with for a solo home run.

However, Giants Barry Zito has experienced his woes on the mound as well. This was his first postseason win since 2006. “Zito was left off the postseason roster when the Giants won the 2010 World Series because he had pitched so ineffectively. He started Game 4 of the division series against the Reds earlier in this year’s playoffs and lasted only 2 2-3 innings.”  I don’t believe there are any pitchers who have been without games they would really like to forget.  But for all intent and purpose ~ Zito did very well for his team last night, not only on the mound … but at the plate as well.

In last night’s line-up for the Cardinals, manager Matheny placed RF Carlos Beltran back in their active roster. Beltran had not been in the line-up since after the first inning of Wednesday’s game. He had been placed on the day-to-day DL due to a strained left knee.  Matt Carpenter had been his replacement and made quite a difference for the Cardinals. With wanting to take the win, close this series out at home, take the pennant … the question will always be ~ why? Beltran could have had an extra day’s rest … in the event of a win = an additional four days rest for Beltran to be ready to face the Detroit Tigers in the World Series.

Matt Carpenter had been key player both offensively and defensively in Games 3 and 4. We know Beltran has proven to be a very valuable player for the Cardinals, but it takes a team effort to win. The team seemingly had a fire going with M. Carpenter in the line-up … why change a good combination for this one game.  Now …. had Beltran been able to hit a double, triple or home run to get runs on the board and the Cardinals had taken the win ~ the decision would have been viewed as excellent planning. But they didn’t see such an outcome. With M. Carpenter in the line-up ~ the outcome of last night’s game could not have been any worse, but certainly could have been a positive difference. So why change a very good mix for one game as important as this one. However, it is what it was ~ the Cardinals just could not seal the deal.

Now the Cardinals travel back to San Francisco for Game 6 on Sunday.  It will be a re-match with Cardinals SP Chris Carpenter, 0-1/4.50 against Giants Ryan Vogelson, 1-0/1.29.   They faced one another in Game 2, Oct. 15th, with Carpenter only going 4 innings in that game.  Vogelson pitched a complete game for the Giants to take the win, 7-1, which tied the series at that point.

Once again, the Cardinals face the possible “one and done” situation away from home should the Giants take Game 6 to tie the series.  Of course, the Giants will be looking at the same, should they do so ~ however, the Giants sit in that position currently with the Cardinals lead in the series.

The Cardinals have overcome such a situation winning over the Braves and the Nationals on the road.  The Giants lost their first two games against the Reds at home, but came back to take 3 straight on the road to advance them to the NLCS.  We will have to wait to see if the Giants continue to win at AT&T Park … or will the road game for the Cardinals be to their benefit.  Aaaah ~ just have to love baseball for all it’s possibilities.

Until tomorrow ~ college football is in abundance today.  Enjoy your respective teams … and good luck to all.

Have a great day!  Always ~ Elichap

Cardinals Inch Closer To Their Second Consecutive WS Appearance.

The ‘slogan’ for the St. Louis Cardinals for the postseason is “#12 in 12”.  A friend of mine and myself have entertained ourselves with  numerology during October and if the science has anything to do with good fortune ~ last nights game for the Cardinals is an indicator. Since the chosen number for the Cardinals is “12”, in last night’s game they had 8 runs within 4 innings = ’12’ on ’12’ hits.  Just a thought, just a note this truly could be the magic number for the St. Louis team ~ winning Game 4 over the Giants, 8-3 ~ 3-1 for the series … without a rain delay.

It was Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright who helped to make a difference in last night’s game against the Giants.  He only allowed one run ~ a home run by Pence in the second ~ no walks and five strike-outs through the seventh, for 1-0/1.29.  And complimented by his team members, not only defensively but offensively, did their jobs with Holliday – 2 RBI’s, Craig – 1 RBI, Molina – 2 RBI’s, Jay – 2 RBI’s and Kozma with 1 RBI.  Cardinals bats were alive and well last night. RP Salas took over for the eighth. Still on the mound in the  ninth ~ allowed two hits ~ a double by Scutaro, and with only one out, on a 0-0 count … a two run homer by Giants Sandoval.  Salas went the two innings with only one strike-out, however no walks, also. Even though the Giants were able to add runs on the board in the ninth, Salas and the Cardinals were able to give Wainwright his win for the is series. And, handed Giants Tim Lincecum a loss.

For Giants Tim Lincecum, he had been pulled from the bullpen to the line-up. His first start in postseason and very rough road on the mound.  Which after six hits, four runs, three walks and three strike outs ~ he was retired after 4.2 innings, 0-1/5.40.  His hopes in returning the the line-up as a regular may be dim after his performance last night.  Even after being retired from duty, the Giants RP’s Kontos’ and Mota didn’t help in damage control with allowing two runs each by the Cardinals.

Have the Cardinals experienced such woes ~ yes. Example ~ pitcher Lance Lynn. He had a great start in regular season and began to falter; thus, stepped down to the bullpen to recapture his skills, brought in occasionally as relief.  He was brought back to the line-up when Jaime Garcia was placed on the DL. Slowly but surely he has begun to prove himself worthy ~ but on any given night, a pitcher can be off and only in for short innings … of which, even Cardinals SP Carpenter, Wainwright and Lohse have experienced from time to time.

I’m sure, with the talents that Lincecum possesses ~ he will not give up. However, in a key game, in a key series to take the pennant ~ his performance was of a crucial nature.

Game 5 is this evening we will see Cardinals SP Lance Lynn, 18-7/3.78 against the Giants Barry Zito, 15-8/4.15.  The last time on the mound for Lynn was against the Nationals, Oct. 8, with a win 12-4.

With the Detroit Tigers taking the win, 8-1, over the NY Yankees yesterday ~ the Tigers shut the Yankees down 4-0 to take the  ALCS Pennant to advancing them to the World Series.  “The Yankees failed to win a game in a postseason series for only the fifth time. They hadn’t been swept since a best-of-five ALCS against Kansas City in 1980. The last team to sweep four straight against them had been Cincinnati in the 1976 World Series.”

Should the Cardinals win the NL Pennant to face the Detroit Tigers in the World Series ~ it would be the two teams with the worst matching  W/L records at the end of 2012 regular season, in the standings, at 88-74.  The Tigers wait to see if they will be traveling to St. Louis or San Francisco as the NL team has home field advantage.

A special note for Cardinal fans ~ it is reported the FB Lance Berkman just may be ready to return should the Cardinals advance to the World Series. #12-  in 12.

To all ~ have a great day.  Always ~ Elichap