Tag: Pat Burrell

San Francisco Giants: Clayton Kershaw, Errors Too Much in Opener at L.A.

The Giants did not expect to start their trek to a repeat title like this.

The Giants hit a road block on Thursday’s opening day at Dodger Stadium, kicking the ball around in the sixth inning.

Miguel Tejada botched a throw to second with a runner at first with one out, followed by a rare Posey throwing error with the bases loaded. Just nanoseconds before, Posey made a great save on a pitch by Lincecum in the dirt.

The Dodgers drew first blood in the game on the error.

As Posey threw the ball, the runner at third, Matt Kemp, appeared to already be back on the base.

“I thought he was off the base,” Posey said after the game. “I would not have thrown it if I thought he wasn’t.”

To complicate matters further for the Giants, Clayton Kershaw was dominant for the Dodgers. In seven shutout innings of work, Kershaw held the Giants to four hits and one walk, including nine strikeouts.

Cleanup hitter Buster Posey was one of the few to get something going against Kershaw, finishing the night one for four, but with two strikeouts.

“He did a good job of moving the ball around and mixing up some off-speed pitches,” Posey said of Kershaw.

The Giants seemed to struggle in all facets of the game in their three-error debacle—except for pitching. Tim Lincecum was nearly as fantastic as Kershaw, but earned a tough loss, pitching seven strong innings of unearned one-run ball.

The Dodgers tacked on another run in the eighth inning on a James Loney RBI double.

The Giants avoided embarrassment by scoring in the ninth off Jonathan Broxton. Burrell lined a screamer over the left field wall, reminiscent to his game-winning home run off Jonathan Broxton last July.

Brandon Belt had a game to remember. In his first at bat, he accomplished an important milestone—his first major league hit, an infield single.

Belt had impressive at-bats throughout his 1-for-3 night, including a walk off Clayton Kershaw.

Although he made the last out of the game on a soft line drive to Uribe, Belt battled Broxton till the end.

Starter Tim Lincecum shrugged the loss off as best he could.

“Games like this are going to happen,” Lincecum said. “Hopefully, we’ll get them tomorrow.”

One noticeable improvement was the defensive play of Pablo Sandoval. During the sloppy sixth inning, Sandoval shined, as he saved two runs with a diving play on a line drive to his left. Runners were on second and third at the time.

The good news for the Giants? Tomorrow is a new month.

WP: Clayton Kershaw (1-0), LP: Tim Lincecum (0-1), Broxton (S, 1)

HR: Pat Burrell (1, 9th inning off Broxton)

My Thoughts

Aside from the errors in the sixth inning, the Giants cannot expect to win many games by scoring two runs. Clayton Kershaw is a great pitcher, but some questionable at-bats hindered their chance at mounting a rally.

An at-bat of note was Andres Torres’ eighth inning plate appearance. Hong-Chih Kuo threw six straight balls to start the eighth inning, but Torres swung at what appeared to be ball three.

Torres would go on to have a good, long at-bat and line out to Andre Ethier in right field, but Torres probably should have taken a strike there with Kuo struggling with his control. If he takes the 2-0 pitch, the count might be 3-0 (the pitch was borderline) and who knows what happens?

Although Belt did not get the ball out of the infield, his approach was good. In the fifth inning, Belt somehow laid off Kershaw’s two-strike off-speed pitches and worked out a walk. Even his last at-bat off Broxton was a two-strike battle, although it was a line drive out to third base.

A questionable defensive miscue came from Buster Posey in the defensive nightmare sixth inning.

After Posey made an amazing block to keep the runner at third, there was no reason to throw the ball. The runner at third, Kemp, was standing on the base as Posey fired an errant throw to third.

The bottom line is the Giants did not get it done offensively or defensively. Scoring one run will not win many ball games.

Regardless of the errors, the Giants gave up few enough runs to win. Every team makes mistakes, but the good teams make up for those errors and pick up their teammates who caused the blunders.

The Giants have to do what they did last year to win. That is to catch the balls they could get to, get timely hits, and have fun.

The Giants will try to rebound tomorrow against the Dodgers at 7:10 p.m. from Dodger Stadium. Jonathan Sanchez will make his 2011 debut against Chad Billingsley.





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This article was featured on the blog Talking Giants Baseball

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Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell: Veteran Success Key to S.F. Giants’ 2011 Campaign

Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell—after the 2010 season, we feel like we know these guys.

We saw them hit. We watched them orchestrate a dramatic transformation of the Giants clubhouse with their veteran leadership. We know their sense of humor, and we rattle off tales of their college days together with autobiographical familiarity, as if we had tagged along for the shenanigans too.

By God, we even learned their underwear preferences over the course of the 2010 season.

But the players who were so instrumental to the Giants’ championship campaign are largely unknown quantities coming into the 2011 season. With the short-term memory of post-championship fans, we forget that Burrell and Huff weren’t always the same players we saw hoisting the World Series trophy last year.

We don’t really know them as well as we think we do.

Critics are quick to point out that 2010 was a statistical deviation from the recent downward trajectory of Huff and Burrell’s careers.

Huff was jobless until the Giants picked him up off the couch in January. He had just finished a season in which he hit a meager .189 following a trade to Detroit. Burrell had been designated for assignment after hitting only .218 with the Rays when the Giants took a chance on him.

Then in San Francisco, both players spectacularly outplayed their 2010 contracts in a veritable career renaissance.

Will the 2011 season justify critics’ claims that Huff and Burrell’s 2010 numbers aren’t representative of the players they actually are? Or have the Giants found a way to harness their true talent in a way that can be showcased in the coming year as well?

The answer to this question will play a large role in the whether the Giants succeed in 2011. The veteran performances of Huff and Burrell will be crucial in the coming season, and here’s why.

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San Francisco Giants: The Competition In Left Field

It’s not a bad problem to have, but Bruce Bochy has admitted it, the San Francisco Giants have a competition for the starting spot in left field.

This is something the Giants haven’t experienced in some time, what with Barry Bonds being the left fielder in the past.

But the Giants should be happy with this. Bonds is gone and they have three viable contenders to start in left field with each bringing their own unique pros and cons to the lineup.

For the sake of the argument, I am going to eliminate the Brandon Belt possibility from the equation.

No matter how hard he tears up spring training the rest of the way, all signs point to the Giants starting Belt in AAA-Fresno and not San Francisco, just like they did with Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Pablo Sandoval and the rest of the gang.

The system has proven to work. So why change it?

Come midseason, or whenever the Giants decide to call up Belt, this argument never happened.

Aubrey Huff moves to left field and Belt starts at first base. It’s a done deal.

Until then, we may have a game of musical chairs going on in left field.

Here are the three main players to be considered for the left field starting job.

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15 Former High-Priced MLB Stars Now Proud to Play for Peanuts

Some of the former big names of baseball still linger in the sport today, even if it is just some time in the minor leagues. Some people say that these players should hang up their spurs, because those players do not know when to walk away.

Some of the players who took the biggest contracts in baseball, or at least had an extremely expensive market price, are now contracted to play for mere fractions of the contracts that they were once signed to. This has allowed some players to get good play time for teams who are in desperate need of a rebuild. It also reunited Johnny Damon and Manny Ramirez, but some other players are making chump change playing for a minor league team, at least in comparison to what they once made.

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MLB Stars Past Their Prime: 10 Players Who Will Retire After 2011

Major League Baseball has had its share of legends who played deep into their careers. Some of the most recent to finally hang up their spikes and walk away from the game include Ken Griffey Jr., Trevor Hoffman, and, barring an unexpected comeback, Andy Pettitte.

Each of the aforementioned players stuck around for a long time and were able to leave a lasting impression on the game we all love.

Over the last couple of seasons, team executives have turned their focus to building winning programs with young, athletic, and less-expensive players while the elder generation nears a mass exedos via retirement.

Many of our favorite players will soon be leaving the field and this wave of retirees could certainly see the 2011 campaign as one last “hoorah.” Let’s take a quick look at ten impact players who will retire following the upcoming season.

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2011 MLB Spring Training Preview: Analyzing Each Team’s Biggest Position Battle

With Major League Baseball’s spring training just around the corner, most teams are about done with their offseason shopping.

But for most clubs, that’s just the first step—even once everyone has signed, there are still big decisions to be made about who will play and where.

Here’s a look at each team’s biggest position battle heading into Spring Training.

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Jayson Werth Isn’t the First OF the Philadelphia Phillies Have Had to Replace

Jayson Werth became a fan favorite in his four seasons with the Phillies, be it because of his great production on the field, his blue-collar attitude and hard work, or his beard.

Werth his 95 home runs, batted in 300 runs, and stole 60 bases. He was the power right-handed bat that balanced a lefty-dominated middle of the lineup. He also was very good defensively, both with his fielding and his arm.

He was very productive for the Phillies. So productive, in fact, he became too pricey to keep.

A free agent, Werth signed a seven-year, $126 million contract with the Washington Nationals, numbers the Phillies were in no way going to compete with.

While the fan base is disappointed they won’t be keeping their bearded right-fielder, they must remember that the team has lost fan-favorite outfielders before, replaced them without missing a step, and watched the decline of the by-gone outfielder’s career.

It all started in 2006, when the Phillies traded Bobby Abreu to the Yankees. Abreu was the Phillies star player, hitting as many as 31 home runs in a season and batting as high as .335. In seven full seasons with the Phillies, Abreu hit .300 or better in six of them.

In the four seasons after the trade, he hasn’t hit over .300 and has averaged 17.8 home runs a season.

Not terrible numbers, but the Phillies did a good job of replacing him with Shane Victorino.

In the four seasons Victorino has been a full-time starter, the Phillies have made the playoffs each year. He’s won three Gold Glove awards, and has been selected to one All-Star game. He’s got tremendous speed on the basepaths and in the outfield, and he provides a ton of energy.

Aaron Rowand was the team’s center-fielder in 2006 and 2007 and he cemented himself in Phillies’ lore by running into a fence to make a catch against the Mets. He suffered a broken nose, but he made the catch, saved at least one run, and the Phillies went on to win the game 2-0.

His contract year of 2007, he finished career highs in home runs (27) and RBI (89). He signed a five-year, $60 million contract with the San Francisco Giants that offseason.

Rowand has not hit more than 15 home runs, batted in more than 70 runs, or hit higher than .271. In August of this previous season, he became a platoon player.

While he has fallen off the radar in San Francisco, the Phillies moved Victorino to center field and put Werth in right field.

And then there is Pat Burrell. Even though his last three seasons in Philly he couldn’t hit higher than .258, he still had a lot of pop in his bat, hitting 29, 30, and 33 home runs. After finally winning a World Series after nine seasons with the franchise that drafted him first overall, he was not brought back and he moved on to Tampa Bay.

Burrell continues to struggle with his average, finishing 2009 with a .221 average and 2010 (with both Tampa and San Francisco) with a .252 average, and he also doesn’t have the power numbers he used to put up, hitting 14 and 20 home runs with only 64 RBI both seasons.

The Phillies replaced Burrell with Raul Ibanez, who in his first season in Philadelphia hit 34 home runs, 93 RBI, and had a .272 batting average, along with being named to his first All-Star game. His home run total dramatically dropped last season to only 16, but he still drove in 83 runs and hit .275.

Maybe the change in ballpark goes into these players’ numbers dropping once they leave Philly, but none of those players were more popular on a national scene then when they were a Phillie. And when they left, their replacement rose to stardom.

So with Werth gone, who will take his place?

It could very well be an in-house candidate—most likely Ben Francsico, who came over from Cleveland in the Cliff Lee trade, or farmhand Domonic Brown.

Francisco has been a solid contributor off the bench for Philadelphia, and he could, like Werth, get even better if he became an everyday player. Brown was named Major League Baseball’s top prospect by Baseball America in 2010, and like Werth, is considered a five-tool player.

So while it may be disappointing to see Werth leave, the fans should trust that the organization will properly fill his spot in the lineup.

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MLB Rumors: 5 Possible Replacements for Philadelphia Phillies Jayson Werth

The Philadelphia Phillies right fielder Jayson Werth becomes a free agent at 12:01 AM ET this Sunday.   

While there is still a chance that Werth may remain in Philadelphia, many doubt that the Phillies will give him the contract that him and his agent Scott Boras are looking for.

Philadelphia’s talented outfielders currently include Raul Ibanez, Shane Victorino and the young Dominic Brown.  

The problem is that Werth provided a right-handed bat to a lineup that is lefty heavy.  Brown, his likely replacement, bats left-handed as well. 

Ibanez is not getting any younger and it is hard to predict his production next year.   

If the Phillies lose Werth, they need to sign or trade for another right-handed outfielder because Ben Francisco is not the answer.

Here are the best five possible fits for the Philadelphia Phillies if Jayson Werth signs with another team.  

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San Francisco Giants May Have Title, but 2011 Yankees Want It Back

Congratulations to the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants, who beat the Texas Rangers four games to one to win the title.

Any World Series Championship team has to consist of talent players who like to play the game of baseball together, and this Giants team was exactly that. The Giants played with a lot of heart.

The Giants won on pitching, just as they did all season long, but they would not be where they are without the veteran hitters.

Aage and experience should not be brushed aside as too many fans and media do in baseball. Appreciate infielders like Audrey Huff (34), World Series MVP Edgar Renteria (35), Freddy Sanchez (33), Pat Burrell (34) and relief pitchers like Javier Lopez (33).

My hope for 2011 is that the Yankees can get back to being World Champions again, with all the great veterans in pinstripes. Maybe watching the Giants take what was still theirs up until a few hours ago will get the Yankees to start to believe in themselves again.

The Giants never stopped believing, just like the 2009 Yankees wouldn’t give up until they were on top.

New York’s championship crown has been passed to the new kings on the West Coast. The Yankees reign feels like forever ago again, But hopefully the fans and players will get back again in 2011.

But for tonight, it’s all about the city of San Francisco, and their mighty Giants. You have earned the right to be proud, because you are the best in the World.

The most sincere congratulations, from me, a Yankees fan.

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World Series Game 3: Rangers Use Long Ball To Defeat Giants

Down two games to none in the World Series, the Texas Rangers desperately needed some home cookin’, and more importantly needed a win in Game 3. The guy they relied on for a big performance was Colby Lewis and like in his three postseason games prior, Lewis delivered.

Lewis gave up just five hits, two runs, walked two and struck out five in 7.2 innings of work as he helped the Rangers defeat the Giants 4-2 on Saturday night. The Giants now lead the best-of-seven series 2-1.


I thought Lewis’ start was more like his Game 2 start against the New York Yankees than his Game 6 start. Lewis danced through raindrops in that Game 2 start, and I thought he did the same thing on Saturday.

Lewis only gave up five hits and two runs, but it could have been a lot worse. He left a lot of balls right out over the plate and somehow avoided serious damage all night.

According to PitchFx, Lewis threw 57 sliders and curves in Game 3. Take a look at his pitch chart, notice how many of those pitches he left up…

Lewis left an insane amount of sliders and curves not only over the middle of the plate, but up in the zone. How he didn’t get hurt more than he did is a mystery to me.

The two mistakes he did get caught on were an inside fastball to Cody Ross and a right down the middle fastball to Andres Torres. After this postseason, I don’t think any pitcher is going to throw a fastball on purpose to the inner half of the plate to Ross. He has manhandled that pitch all postseason.

Lewis is now 3-0 with a 2.35 ERA and 24 K’s in four postseason starts. If there is a Game 7, it will most likely be Lewis taking the mound for the Rangers.

While Lewis was doing it on the mound, the Ranger offense just did enough to get by.

The first big blow for the Rangers came from Mitch Moreland in the second. After fouling off four tough pitches, Moreland hit a frozen rope over the rightfield wall for a three-run HR. Why Buster Posey would call an inside fastball in that spot was a little puzzling.

Josh Hamilton added to the lead in the fifth when he hit a hanging curve from Jonathan Sanchez into the right center field seats. Sanchez put that pitch on a platter for Hamilton and he didn’t miss it.

Here are some other observations from Game 3…

The Giants are going to have quite the decision on their hands if this series goes seven games. Sanchez was terrible for the second straight game and if this series goes seven, he is slated to start.

Sanchez only lasted 4.2 innings, and gave up four runs on six hits and three walks. Sanchez is so Jekyll and Hyde that I don’t think Bruce Bochy can go to him in a Game 7.

The Giants’ hitters weren’t much better.

Three World Series games and eight strike outs in nine AB’s. This is the Pat Burrell Tampa Bay Rays fans knew to grow and love.

While Tim McCarver thought Nelson Cruz made a poor baserunning play in the bottom of the second, I thought he made the right decision.

Here was the setting: Cruz was on third with one out and the infield was playing back. Jeff Francoeur hit a slow roller up along third. Instead of going home, Cruz went back to third. Juan Uribe looked Cruz back and then threw out Francoeur at first.

Okay, here is my take on this. Uribe fielded the ball right in front of third. If Cruz goes home off of contact, he would have been out by 20 feet. The contact play clearly wasn’t on and instead of having a runner on first with two outs, the Rangers still had a runner on third with one out. Maybe it’s me, but I would rather have the latter.

Can someone please tell Ron Washington it’s the World Series. Despite Darren O’Day getting the job done in the eighth, I still can’t believe Washington refuses to go to Feliz for a four-out save.

I will have to admit, I didn’t mind it when Washington left Lewis in the game to face Aubrey Huff in the eighth. Yes, Torres just hit a HR. And yes, Edgar Renteria hit a rope to left for an out. But Huff didn’t represent the tying or go-ahead run, so let the guy try to finish things out.

However, once Lewis hit Huff, Washington has to go to Neftali Feliz. Who do I want pitching the most important AB of the game? O’Day or Feliz? I will take Feliz for $1,000 Alex.

I was completely shocked Bochy went to Ramon Ramirez in the bottom of the eighth in a 4-2 game. I didn’t think he would see the mound again in this season unless it was a blowout.

If you told the casual fan after watching last night’s game that Pablo Sandoval hit .330 last year, they would laugh at you. He has zero and I mean ZERO confidence at the plate right now.

Moreland had 145 AB’s during the regular season, so he won’t qualify for the Rookie of the Year award in 2011, but not being up for the award aside, Moreland should be good for a .260-.270 average with 20 plus HRs.

Words can’t describe how big Game 4 is on Sunday. The difference between 2-2 and 3-1 can’t be understated. The Rangers will have Tommy Hunter on the mound trying to tie the series, and the Giants will have rookie Madison Bumgarner on the mound trying to give them a 3-1 series lead.

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