Waiting for Boof
Blog devoted to the San Francisco Giants
     Thursday, May 29, 2003
 

Changes Afoot



Waiting for Boof will only be updated on Sundays from here on out. I've decided to spend more time on fiction writing -- mainly that sitcom about the sassy robot -- and I ain't givin' up my Baseball Stars time. While this might be like when the suits at NBC started jerking around Suddenly Susan's time slot, losing any chance of a following, the actual content probably won't decrease. Just think of me as the Bruce Jenkins of the Giants blog world, but putting out a Column of Ellipsis-Sprinkled Crap on Sunday nights instead of Saturday mornings.

Thanks for reading.

posted by G at 11:20 PM





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     Thursday, May 22, 2003
 I'll be on vacation until Sunday, May 25th, and not likely to post until Sunday night. To tide you over, here is the official generic post of Waiting for Boof:

1) Neifi Perez? Ain't no good.

2) A young righthander in the minor league system had a decent game last night. If he could get his walks down, he'd really be something.

3) Knock knock
Who's there?
Magowan.
Magowan who?
'M agowan to get Dusty Baker the hell out of here if it kills me.


Feel free to pretend it's a new post every time you visit. It's depressingly close to the actual content....

posted by G at 11:49 PM





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     Monday, May 19, 2003
 

Jason Phillips?



1) When the only offense a team is getting is coming from Marquis Grissom, there's problems afoot. Two weeks ago, Jose Cruz had everyone hoping he'd get a five year deal after the season, and now he's a pop-up looking for a breaking ball. Barry Bonds is just good. Ray Durham has been out for the last two months, and...wait, he's only been gone for a week? Ugh. Time drags in the Neifi Zone.

When this team doesn't score, it's generally a frustrating affair. The baserunners are there, but they aren't strung together in the right order. The absence of clutch hitting is the kind of thing which shouldn't last, though it certainly did in 2001, also known as The Year of a Gazillion Baserunners and Seventy-Three Runs. The only thing making me feel any better is the Yankees going through a similar stretch. Misery loves company, indeed.



2) I can't claim it as an original thought, but it makes sense: If Neifi Perez is going to get significant playing time, the least he can do for the organization is suck. There'd be nothing worse for the San Francisco Giants than Neifi Perez hitting .300 in 75 at-bats. He isn't a insurance plan, he's the spring-loaded snake coming out of the fire extinguisher. His only redeeming quality is that he looks as bad as he is, and I can't imagine the intelligent people in the front office ignoring that. With each first-pitch groundout by Perez, Rich Aurilia is closer to coming back after this year. I hope.



3) I miss Russ Ortiz, as I'm sure most Giants fans do. I miss Jeff Kent's bat, but not the do-you-know-how-fast-you-were-going smirk. I miss Livan's hitting, but not the 6 ip, 10 h, 5 er, 3 BB, 3 K line. I miss Robb Nen's real slider, and the idea of having a closer every bit as dominating as Eric Gagne or Mariano Rivera. I miss Candlestick Park in the same way you'd miss an ex-girlfriend who passed chlamydia from your boss to you before stealing your car, but always made excellent brownies.



4) Jerome Williams had his best start of the year, going a full nine innings, only walking one and striking out eight. Damon Minor -- who might have only tool, but that's one more than Pedro Feliz -- hit three homeruns. Todd Linden had three doubles in the game after entering the game with one for the year, but the starting pitcher for New Orleans was Jared Fernandez. Even Juan Pierre could rope doubles in the gap off poorly moving knuckleballs, so it might be best to temper the enthusiasm. Still, Linden has been on a bit of a tear lately.

Noah Lowry dominated his start in AA, allowing only one hit in seven innings.

5) I know little about Derin McMains. He's a switch-hitter who is hitting for average and a little power, taking walks and stealing bases while playing all over the infield. In this organization, that'll earn him the nickname Derin "The Franchise" McMains. He's definitely old for Low-A at 23, but the Giants will take any good news they can find.

posted by G at 12:08 AM





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     Friday, May 16, 2003
 

Snapping The Streak



1) The carnage, oh, the carnage. Mangled ankles, bruised egos, relievers still wet from the kerosene jug they were sipping from...what's going on with this team? This last series against the Expos reminded me of the first time Montreal visited San Francisco in 1997. The Giants were off to a hot start in that season as well, before being humiliated by Montreal. Totally humiliated. Jeff Juden getting a win in a 19-3 game humiliated.


2) Five double plays in one game, and not one by J.T. Snow? That's like a CD of Van Halen's worst songs without any Gary Cherone.


3) Al Leiter is still a tough pitcher, so mauling him was an excellent way to end a losing streak. Andres Galarraga was 3-5 against Leiter, raising his averages to .388/.434/.633. My knee-jerk reaction is to hope Snow is benched for Galarraga, but after roughly 60 at-bats to start the season, Snow had outstanding stats similar to Galarraga's current line after 49 at-bats. Small sample sizes could be the only thing making noise here. I don't think Galarraga has magically recaptured the swing he had as a precocious 38-year old, but, really, it's not like we're talking about benching Todd Helton after a poor month. It's been a couple of years since Snow was even an average hitter.

If Snow gets a little more time to work through this slump, I'd understand. If Galarraga starts getting more starts, I'd understand that as well. I'm starting to blindly trust Felipe Alou, so I'm curious to see how this works out.


4) According to pitching coach Dave Righetti, Jesse Foppert never threw mid-90s heat in the minors. Rags doesn't theorize about how it became a commonly held belief Foppert could throw that hard. Maybe it was a case of too many scouts sharing indistinct information, and the fabled fastball was in the purple monkey dishwasher tradition. The whole setup sounds iffy to me, because everyone was reporting the same speed, but I'll believe it because it's what I want to hear. Righetti is basically saying this is the same Foppert who posted the absurd strikeout totals in the minors. Sounds good to me.

posted by G at 5:51 PM





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     Monday, May 12, 2003
 

I'll Tell You Where You Can Stick That Tomahawk...



1) The Day of Reckoning...'tis nigh. Ray Durham's injury was painful to watch, but the morphine should go to the baseball fans forced to watch Neifi Perez, Lemaster of his domain. Perez is one of the worst hitters of all time according to both advanced statistical measures I don't understand, and my own eyes, which might yet be clawed out of their sockets. Durham was one of the best hitting middle infielders in the game before this season even began. He was even better this year. Replacing Barry Bonds with Ruben Rivera would hurt the team more, but there aren't too many scenarios worse than this. Swapping the two players out for a month shouldn't cost the Giants more than a game or two, but it'll be a long month.

2) Marvin Benard is now starting for the Fresno Grizzlies. Conspiracy theory time: Could Marvin's injury just be a ploy to get him some regular at-bats, either instigated by the team or Marvin himself? Maybe I'm wrong, but if a player has an inflamed right knee, the last thing you would want that player doing is roaming the outfields of the Pacific Coast League.

3) After a couple of shaky starts, titular sensation Boof Bonser had a good outing last night, allowing only one hit and three walks through six innings. The problem with following the minor leagues mostly through box scores, is that I can't tell you a thing about the Akron Aeros. They could be the worst offensive team in the minors not populated by Giant farmhands. Akron is an affiliate of the deepest organization in baseball, the Indians, so I'm sure they have some talent other than Grady Sizemore, but the point remains. If Jason Schmidt goes seven innings and allows three runs against the Brewers, that's a little difference than the same performance against the Phillies. With the minor leagues, viewing the stats in the right context is hard to do unless you are a professional scout, or write for Baseball America.

4) Angel Chavez has had a good start to the year, and while five walks in 120 at-bats isn't so exciting, a 21-year old shortstop hitting for good power in High-A ball is. In the Giants' system, it wouldn't take much to be the second or third-best hitter. Fred Lewis and Travis Ishikawa are walking up a frenzy in Low-A, but are striking out quite a bit also. Todd Linden sat in favor of Marvin Benard last night, which is sort of a chilling metaphor for the entire organization.

5) "Vladimir? Vladimir, hello, my name is Ned Colletti."
"Hello."
"Vlad, is there anything I can offer you while you are visiting San Francisco?"
"Thank you for your kindness, but I can not think of any..."
"Well, we usually don't do this with opposing players, but I can get anything you want."
"Uh..."
"What's your thing, Vlad?"
"Uh..."
"Our players here, they get what they ask for. Anything. We have solid gold Ferraris for our players to use. Or just keep. Especially the new free-agent arrivals. Do you like Ferraris, Vlad?"
"I'm not sur..."
"Concubines. Are concubines your thing? We can do that."
"¿Que?"
"Felipe Alou is our manager, you know. He loves you like a son. Like a son, Vlad."
"I must be going..."
"Like a son! Like a son, damnit!"

posted by G at 2:09 PM





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     Saturday, May 10, 2003
 

Another Streak



1) Kurt Ainsworth and Jesse Foppert are both going deeper into games, which is something the Giants absolutely need. The bullpen is being shredded, and the team can't afford to hand out gold stars and atta-boys for 100-pitch, four inning outings anymore. Foppert's game against Atlanta was his best yet, as he was lifted after only 84 pitches in six innings.

I'm not an expert on the physical side of the game, so I'm at a loss for Foppert's loss of velocity. His fastball is still good enough to make hitters swing and miss, but the signs foretelling Foppert's arrival --crop circles, blood-red skies, burning bushes, etc... -- usually mentioned a 95 mph fastball. I have no idea if Foppert's extra four feet of fastball is gone for good, or if he'll suddenly discover it in June. Let's hope for the latter.


2) Marvin Benard, who has been sucking like a black hole with a straw, was officially designated as disabled by the Giants. Taking his place is fellow Lewis and Clark State College Warrior Jason Ellison, with only minor doubts remaining that they have a secret handshake like Tim Robbins and the Muncie Screamin' Eagles in The Hudsucker Proxy. While Ruben Rivera shouldn't be discarded over five at-bats a week, if that, it's worth seeing if Ellison can contribute and maybe claim a spot.

3) Another roster move was made yesterday, with Chad Zerbe being replaced by The Somewhat Useful Ryan Jensen. If Ainsworth and Foppert start to struggle again, Jensen can be the official sacrificial lamb of the San Francisco Giants, pitching three innings of long relief whenever needed. Jensen has the early lead in the Best Giants Quote in 2003 award after describing his last rehab start in Fresno as a smooth one, "until I threw my patented stupid hanging something and gave up a home run." Brilliant.

posted by G at 11:29 AM





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     Wednesday, May 07, 2003
 

Quickly



1) Skip Bayless wonders if the league will catch up to Jesse Foppert like it did to Ryan Jensen. That's like wondering if a new kind of Budwiser will sell even though Pepsi Clear didn't. They're both beverages, but more than a little different. Bayless proposes a trade for Javier Vazquez, one of the few players I would trade Foppert for in Theory Land, but in addition to Foppert, Bayless would offer a choice of either Jensen or Jerome Williams. That sound you hear isn't Expos GM Omar Minaya rustling through his pockets for a coin to flip.

At the end of the column, Bayless suggests the Giants could get Juan Cruz for Pedro Feliz. Bayless must have some friends in dentistry, because if that isn't nitrous oxide talking, I don't know what is. Any situation where Feliz is traded for anything of value should come from "Harold on the car phone" calling into KNBR, not someone paid to follow baseball.

posted by G at 4:43 PM





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     Monday, May 05, 2003
 

Gone Fishin'



1) Though the Giants couldn't hit Danny Graves, the Reds were the right staff at the right time. Edgardo Alfonzo and Rich Aurilia both had games good enough to -- and I'm just guessing here -- make Mike Krukow loudly proclaim, "They're back!" He may or may not have added the word "meat" to the end of the phrase. Alfonzo has been driving the ball over the last two games, which is certainly a welcome plot twist. If he and Aurilia can start to mimic their second best years, not even their career years, the Giants should have one of the better offenses in the league.

2) Everyone's now hip to the lookie-what-we-got-here feeling of Jose Cruz's good start, as well as the what-in-tarnation astonishment of J.T. Snow's fast start. It's about time the spotlight is turned on Ray Durham, who is hitting, walking, running, and scoring. Despite rumors of horrible defensive abilities, he has yet to kick a ball into the press box. A real leadoff hitter? How un-Giant. Durham is doing everything Brett Butler did in his prime, but you don't want to pummel Durham.

3) Clay Hensley pitched a perfect game on Saturday for the Hagerstown Suns. He didn't even walk two batters like that weenie Kevin Millwood. Hensley is one of the many Giant farmhands with a good arm and interesting strikeout totals. Tim Hudson became one of the best pitchers in baseball with little warning, and while that's certainly the exception to the rule, it is a reason for paying attention to the random mid-rounder with no pedigree. After the big names, the Giants have several pitchers like Kevin Correia, Greg Bruso, Wes Hutchinson, and Hensley worth following.

4) There are two groups of people who follow the Giants' minor leaguers: those who prefer Aaron Sobieraj, and those who prefer Aaron Hornostaj. There is no in-between. The sooner you decide, the sooner you can get on with your life.

5) In the Sunday game against the Reds, Marvin Benard provided another example of the Benard Theorem (aptly rechristened by The Southpaw). With two outs, and Kirk Rueter coming up, Bernard was thrown out attempting to bunt for a hit. Wow. Maybe I'm going out on a limb here, but you really shouldn't count on Rueter tripling you in with two outs. In a 1-0 game, which it was at the time, you should be trying to hit the ball hard. It just might leave the park. The only way Benard scores in that inning is if he hits an extra-base hit. Either he homers, or Rueter follows a double with a rare, but possible, single.

Bernard is in the middle of a terrible slump and might have just wanted any hit he could take. Maybe he was trying to turn the lineup over for Durham to lead off the next inning. I just have the nagging suspicion that Marvin just wasn't thinking.

posted by G at 10:12 PM





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     Friday, May 02, 2003
 

May Day?



1) Since 1997, the Giants have been perennial contenders. In those six-plus seasons, I'm not sure if there has been a better pitching performance than Jason Schmidt's Wednesday night masterpiece. Maybe Shawn Estes' two-hit, shutout against the Astros can compete. Considering it was Schmidt's first start after the death of his mother, it was a start worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Dave Dravecky's comeback.

2) Damian Moss had his best start of the year, but was victim to one of Felipe Alou's quickest hooks of the year. He threw only 74 pitches over six innings, but the Giants dropped the series. Edgardo Alfonzo booted the third out of the tenth and final inning, which might fly if he weren't hitting -.018. He has a looooong way to go to win over the fans, and I don't envy him. He looks dreadful at the plate, and if you were to ask Alfonzo about his performance, I doubt he'd beat around the bush. If he tried, he'd probably just ground the bush weakly to the right side. But it still makes more sense to put more stock in the 1100 games Alfonzo was in prior to this season as opposed to the first 24 of this year.

3) The offense has stunk, but you can't fault a team too much for struggling against Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. Because of superstition and fear, I won't write about the uncanny ability of the Cincinnati pitchers to give up scads and scads of hits, and how they're the perfect team for a struggling offense to face. But, you know. Read between the lines. Even if Ryan Jensen doesn't pitch this series, I still predict he'll give up a 500-foot homer to Adam Dunn.

4) With one month of the season complete, it's about time to freak out about Todd Linden's horrible start. He's still only 22, which is young for AAA, but only has two extra-base hits and a .224 average, which is more Rey Sanchez than J.D. Drew. If it makes him feel better, the entire Giants organization is hitting like minor league versions of a hungover Detroit Tigers team. Fred Lewis has hit well since his recent return from the disabled list, taking walks and learning how to steal bases, but he's almost the only bright spot among the young hitters.

5) Today is the 14th anniversary of Greg Litton's major league debut. If you forgot to get flowers for your significant other, you're sleeping on the couch.

posted by G at 8:19 PM





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