Archive for the ‘ Dailies ’ Category

A perfect way to ring in a second score of wedlock

OK, I’m ready to toss my hat into the ring … for the ring.

MoreSplashHits is reluctant to share this information with all of you as it could lessen the chances that I might win.
Or maybe after you hear my story, you’ll be inspired to buy some raffle tickets for me (Thank you, in advance).

The San Francisco Giants are holding a raffle this summer with the winner getting an authentic World Series ring exactly the ones the players received in the opening weekend at AT&T Park earlier this month. The winner’s ring will even include the winner’s name on it.

How cool is that?

But wait! There’s more.

The winner’s will be presented his (or her — but with wishful thinking, really just HIS) ring during a pre-game ceremony at AT&T Park on Aug. 27 prior to the Giants-Astros game. And that, of course, would include two tickets for “premium” seats to the game.

But wait! There’s more!

The winner also will receive two nights accommodations at a downtown San Francisco hotel, plus coach airfare to San Francisco (What?!? The Trophy flies first class, but this lucky fan flies coach? OK, whatever), plus $250 in vouchers for selected San Francisco restaurants.

But wait! There’s more!

The Giants also will play the winner’s Federal taxes for winning the World Series ring, almost $5,000.

Could it get any better?

Well, maybe if they threw in a Panda hat.

Now, it just so happens that MoreSplashHits already has the weekend of Aug. 27 off from work, as he’ll be celebrating his 20th wedding anniversary that weekend.

And what better way to celebrate 20 years of wedded bliss than an weekend in The City by the Bay? (But, sorry honey, you don’t get the ring. I already got you one of those.)

The raffle tickets cost $2 each, and there’s a five-ticket minimum. Proceeds will benefit the Giants Community Fund, which works to enrich the lives of underserved youth through the Junior Giants program and other initiatives.

Sounds like a win-win-win situation.

So, what do you say? Purchase your raffle tickets for me right here.

Weekly Giants Farm Report

The minor league season if off  and running for the affiliates of the San Francisco Giants.


Three Giants prospects in the minors have more stolen bases this season than the entire Giants roster.

Leading the way is infielder Emmanuel Burriss, who has stolen 13 bases in his first nine games with the Triple-A Fresno Grizzlies. He’s only be caught once. It’s a good sign for a player who has spent chunks of the past two seasons sidelined by a broken foot.

Burriss went 2 for 3 with two walks in Friday’s 11-7 win for Fresno at Las Vegas, improving the Grizzlies to 6-3 on the short season.

Burriss is hitting .323 with a .447 on-base percentage for Fresno. He’s scored a team-high 11 runs. Burriss is playing second base for Fresno, but can also manage shortstop.

Outfielder Darren Ford, who got called up to the big club Friday to replace the injured Andres Torres, had seven stolen bases in seven attempt in seven games before getting his call. He was hitting .323, a very good sign for a player who struggled with his average at Double-A last season.

And outfielder Gary Brown, a 2010 first-round pick by the Giants, has 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts in nine games with the Class A San Jose Giants. Brown is hitting .308 with a .413 OBP.

The San Francisco Giants have six stolen bases through 13 games this season, and that include two cheapy stolen bags Friday night. With one out in the fifth inning, Aubrey Huff was on second and Buster Posey was on first. Both runners were running on a 3-2 pitch to Pablo Sandoval, who struck out swinging. Huff would have been easily thrown out at third, but Arizona catcher Miguel Montero’s throw sailed into left field. Huff and Posey were both credited with a stolen base, with both advancing an extra bass on the throwing error.

So the speed in the farm system is clearly a good sign of things to come.

Other players of note

TRIPLE-A FRESNO: Not that the Giants need another hot-hitting first baseman, but Brett Pill is leading the Grizzlies in hitting. He has 2 home runs, 9 RBI and a .486 average through nine games. 3B Conor Gillaspie has 1 HR, 11 RBI and is batting .316. P Ryan Vogelsong is 2-0 with 1.59 ERA and 17 strikeouts in 11.1 innings. P Marc Kroon has allowed no earned runs in 4 innings of relief.

DOUBLE-A RICHMOND: 2B Charlie Culberson, who is projected as the heir-apparent to Freddy Sanchez, leads Richmond in hitting through nine games. He is hitting .270, but has 10 strikeouts in 37 at-bats. That’s something that will need to improve. P Justin Fitzgerald is 2-0 with an 0.90 ERA in two starts.

CLASS A SAN JOSE: P Zach Wheeler, a 2009 first-round selection, threw five hitless innings in his first start for the San Jose Giants. Wheeler walked three and struck out three in the outing.

Injury notes

SS Brandon Crawford is expected to miss most or all of April after suffering a broken finger. Crawford was expected to start the season at Triple-A Fresno.

OF Thomas Neal has missed the past week after suffering a bruised foot after being hit by a pitch in Fresno’s second game of the season.

SS Ehire Adrianza is expected to miss a couple of months after suffering torn ligament in his hand during Spring Training.

OF Francisco Peguero had knee surgery and is expected out until late May or early June.

Aches and pains, losses and gains

It’s the mantra: Win series at home, split on the road.

The Giants failed to earn the latter half of that mantra in their season-opening road trip. But after rallying for consecutive wins over the Dodgers Tuesday and Wednesday, the Giants finished a 4-2 home stand to even their season record to 6-6.

The home stand was like a mirrored opposite to the road trip.

In the six-game road trip, the Giants won two games by an average of 7 runs and lost four games by an average of 1.5 runs.

In the six-game homestand, the Giants won four games by an average of 1 run (yeah, four one-run wins) and lost two games by an average of 5 runs.

Now the Giants head back onto the road with another six-game trip, this time to Arizona and Colorado.

And hopefully, they’ll get healthy soon.

Mike Fontenot was a late insert into Wednesday when Freddy Sanchez was given a day off to rest a sore shoulder and Mark DeRosa had his wrist flare up in batting practice.

Neither injury was considered serious.

But Fontenot responded with a run-scoring double and a go-ahead home run.

Andres Torres took batting practice prior to Wednesday’s game and was to visit the doctor afterward. The Giants said they should have an idea of whether Torres can return to the lineup or head to the DL on Friday. It’s possible Torres could be back in the lineup Saturday in Arizona.

Cody Ross will travel with the Giants to Arizona and play some extended spring training games in Scottsdale over the weekend. Bruce Bochy said the outfielder could be activated by the time the Giants return home to play the Braves on April 22.

We’ve also seen video of Brandon Belt taking fly balls in the outfield. We could see Belt playing right field and Aubrey Huff returning to first base by this week.

We’re not sure how we feel about this. Belt hasn’t played the outfield since high school, but that’s not our concern. He’s an athletic kid, he’s got a great arm (he’s a former pitcher) and he can run. He’ll certainly cover more ground in the outfield than Huff, and we doubt the can look as lost on balls hit in front or over his head as Huff has.

But here’s the question: Will the runs Belt will save in the outfield offset the runs he has saved at first base.

Every time we’ve seen Huff stumble around in the outfield, we’re reminded of a dozen times that Belt has dug out low throws in the dirt from Tejada or Sandoval like they were nothing.

Would Huff have as much ease on those plays as Huff?

Even when responding to criticism, John Steigerwald still clueless about Bryan Stow piece

When you’re a writer for a small or midsized daily newspaper in a suburban community, there are two basic ways that your work can gain exposure outside of your local reading area.

One way is to write a well-researched, meticulously composed and thought-provoking piece on an unique or compelling subject.

The other way is to write something that makes you sound like a complete imbecile.

The problem with John Steigerwald, a columnist for Observer-Reporter of Washington and Greene counties in Pennsylvania, is that he STILL doesn’t understand what kind of column he wrote last weekend.

His column “Know when you’ve outgrown the uniform” has gone viral on the internet, with the overwhelming number of respondents railing against him for “blaming” Giants fan Bryan Stow for the beating he received outside of Dodger Stadium on Opening Day.

By Wednesday morning, Steigerwald’s column had received 162,000 page views and was still climbing.

Now, I spent part of the morning listening to Steigerwald defend his column, and he was defiant.

Before making conclusions of your own, read the piece here. Then read his blog for his explanation. And then decide for yourself.

On his blog, Steigerwald says “I don’t apologize for the column, but I do apologize to the Stow family if this nonsense has reached them and in any way added to their pain. I don’t, for one second, blame (Bryan) Stow for the beating he took. I do blame the ever increasing out of control, out of perspective behavior by fans, too many of whom are no longer satisfied with going to their stadiums and cheering for their teams. And I sure as hell don’t think — as some hysterical posters have claimed — that (Bryan) ‘had it coming.’ “

Now after listening to Steigerwald defend his column Wednesday, I’ve come to the conclusion that he is not an unreasonable person, and that he had some good points to make.

He just failed miserably in making them.

In his defense, this was the point Steigerwald was trying to make.

Apparently, Steigerwald, who is hailed as the “King of Old School” on his radio program, has long railed against the growing phenomenon of fans wearing the jerseys or colors of their favorite team to sporting events. Steigerwald longs for the days when fans just wore regular clothes to sporting events. He said “I know I’m in the minority on this point. All you have to do is look in the stands to see that.”

But he really doesn’t understand the practice of fans of the visiting team wearing their uniforms into enemy stadiums. In stands where drunken fans are starting to resemble soccer “hooligans,” that practice puts fans in harm’s way, he says.

“I understand fans want to show support for their team,” he said. “But I feel that the need for my own safety overrides my need to show support for my team.”

A good point. A valid point. And it’s a point that was not specifically made in his column. Steigerwald might think it’s in there, but it’s not.

Instead, Steigerwald decided to belittle fans, like Stow, who follow this practice. And in turn, he belittled Stow, a man who is in a coma fighting for life after receiving a beating he did not deserve.

Did he express compassion in his column for Stow and his family? No. Did he say Stow did not deserve to be beaten for wearing a Giants jersey to Dodger Stadium? No. He really didn’t even go out of his way to condemn the act of the assailants

Why? Steigerwald said there was no point in belaboring the obvious.

“I’m not a guy who is into making gratuitous attempts to show what kind of compassionate guy I am,” Steigerwald said. “Who doesn’t feel that what this guy has gone through is terrible? What am I, Adolf Hitler? Maybe I’m giving the reader too much credit, but I just didn’t feel like it needed to be said.”

John, shame on you. The “giving the reader too much credit” remark is the most overused and empty-headed defense a columnist can give.

There were 271 comments on your column online before the comment feed was shut off. I looked at all 271. Have you? They were ALL — not most — ALL were vociferously negative toward your column.

Steigerwald used the analogy that people to call the electric company to tell them what a good job it is doing. They only call when they have an issue.

Well, John, if that’s true, you just short-circuited the power grid to one-third of the country.

When you write an opinion in which you look down your nose at fans, like Bryan Stow, who wear visiting jerseys to opposing ballparks and question the wisdom of someone in a coma, it helps to show you’re not a heartless *******.

If you don’t, people will assume you’re a heartless ******* when you write “Maybe someone can ask Stow, if he ever comes out of his coma, why he thought it was a good idea to wear Giants’ gear to a Dodgers’ home opener …”

Or when you write “Are the 42-year-olds who find it necessary to wear their replica jerseys to a road game those kids who are now fathers who haven’t grown up?”

You said you weren’t trying to be flippant. But it sure read like it. Why? It was a poorly constructed sentence. You said that latter sentence was referring to fans in general and not Stow specifically. Of course, Stow happens to be a 42-year-old father. Again, if that was your intent, it was a terrifically poorly constructed sentence.

Those were your starting points. Every other criticism you tossed out after that appears if it were piling on a guy in a hospital fighting for his life.

Heck! Even your lead was “Maybe it’s time for sports fans to grow up.”

You said some of your later criticisms were actually directed at drunken fans who feel the need to start fights against anyone where the opposing colors in the stands. But at no point do you firmly establish that in your column, so it all reads as if you’re unleashing your venom on Bryan Stow.

And that’s why the response has been so rabid. And the fact that you don’t see that is astounding.

How is this possible, you may ask. The answer is simple: arrogance.

Just read Steigerwald’s response to criticisms that “he should be fired” for his column or “he’s a hack” who has no business writing for a daily newspaper.

Steigerwald says he ignores such comments because “I haven’t had a successful career. I’ve had a spectacularly successful career in the field that I’ve chosen.” And whenever he’s received comments like these over the years, he’s ignored them “because my paychecks kept getting bigger.”

Wow. John, might we suggest the picture of your head in your column sig in not quite big enough.

Every writer, no matter how seasoned or how accomplished, is not above stumbling from time to time. Every writer worth his salt knows that.

This was a terrible column from start to finish, and it could have been a good one.

And the fact that dozens of sports talk radio shows want to talk to you today about it, the fact that your name is being condemned all over the internet, that your column will soon eclipse 200,000 page views, or that you had to go on your blog today and defend and explain point-by-point that you were trying to make in your column hasn’t convinced you that perhaps you didn’t quite convey the point you were trying to make … well, that’s simply mind-boggling.

Trying to dispell some myths about Aaron Rowand


The Associated Press

MoreSplashHits decided it was about time a Giants blogger gave Aaron Rowand a hug. He’s earned one.

Rowand has been the target of all sorts of rants from many folks who call themselves part of the Giants faithful. He’s even been booed by fans at AT&T Park … in a PRESEASON GAME for crying out loud!!

MoreSplashHits decided we should dispell some of the myth that have been passed around as facts by some Rowand-haters.

MYTH: Rowand has been terrible from the day he arrived in San Francisco.

TRUTH: Rowand was not terrible in his first two season with the Giants. He was an average player, maybe slightly below average. In 2008 and 2009, Rowand averaged 14 HRs, 67 RBI, .266 AVG. He had an average offensive winning percentage (the winning percentage a team of nine Aaron Rowands might expect to have with average pitching and defense) of .471 in those two years. That may not sound like much. But consider that the Giants team OWP in 2010 was .486.

But what drove Giants fans nuts is that’s not the production they expected to get when the Giants signed Rowand for $12 million a year. It also didn’t match his OWP of .638 he had with the Phillies in 2007 (but it was better than the OWPs of .459 and .437 he posted in 2005 and 2006).

And, of course, his OWP of .336 in 2010 was completely awful. However, if Rowand can return to his 2008 and 2009 production, he could be a servicable No. 8 hitter in the lineup or fourth outfielder.

MYTH: Rowand won’t play anywhere but center field

TRUTH: Rowand will play anywhere Bruce Bochy tells him to play.

This myth grew out of story during spring training when Rowand wasn’t happy talking about playing other outfield positions than center. Big surprise! He’s played CF his entire career. Here’s another surprise! Ready? He’s not happy about being a bench player. But that’s exactly what he’s become. Still, Rowand has been a professional and stayed ready to contribute when counted on. And what we have seen so far this season, Rowand in left field, Rowand in right field.

MYTH: Nate Schierholtz is clearly a better player than Aaron Rowand.

TRUTH: They’re really about the same player. In fact, Rowand may be a bit better.

Over the past three seasons, Rowand has had a wins over replacement player of 0.9, 1.0 and -0.2.

Schierholtz over the the last three seasons were 0.2, 0.0, -0.4.

In other words, Schierholtz plays like a replacement player.

Schierholtz’s offensive win percentage was .444 in 2009 and .400 in 2010.

In short, Schiertholtz has been given a chance to show what he can do as a big leaguer. And what we’ve learned it that he’s a really good fielder, but he has little power as a hitter and doesn’t hit for a high enough average to offset his lack of power.

MYTH: Rowand’s salary shouldn’t be factor when trying to decide the best 25 players for the roster.

TRUTH: What world do people who think this live in? Do they have mortgages? Jobs? Would these people, after buying a car that turned out to be a lemon and drained  their wallets with repair, simply decide to send that car to the junkyard even though it still runs and they still had two years of payments to make on it? The Giants are going to keep Rowand because of salary, because that’s the smart thing to do.

MYTH: The Giants should just cut their losses and release Rowand, similar to what the Cubs did with Carlos Silva or the Mets did with Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo.

TRUTH: Silva had one year left on his contract for $11.5 million. Perez had one year left at $10 million. Castillo had one year left at $6 million. Rowand has two years left at $24 million. Do the math. It’s not the same. The best move for the Giants is to keep Rowand, hopes he turns it around and become productive enough to attract trade partners after this season, even if that means trading bad contract for bad contract. That’s what the Mets and Cubs did. And when it didn’t work out, they cut the players lose with a year to go on their contracts. The Giants may follow a similar path next season, but not this season.

THE BOTTOM LINE: MoreSplashHits is rooting for Aaron Rowand, just as every Giants fan should be doing. The better Rowand plays, the better it is for the Giants.

MoreSplashHits was actually hoping that the Cardinals would walk Freddy Sanchez in the 12th inning on Friday in hopes it would provide Rowand a chance to be the hero and quiet all those Rowand-haters.

Rowand’s had a nice approach at the plate this season. He isn’t trying to do too much, hitting to all fields. He’s 6 for 10 with five singles and a home runs (although Friday’s 12th-inning single would have been a three-run double if it didn’t end the game).

All three of his at-bats Friday were solid at-bats. He had a two-out single to center in the ninth that started the Giants game-tying rally. He had a sharply hit grounder to third that would have won the game in the 11th if not for a nice play by Allen Craig, an outfielder playing third base in Tony LaRussa’s five-infielder alignment. And then there was his game-winner.

Hey Bochy! Let’s give Aaron Rowand a start Saturday night against the Cardinals!

Think about it. It’s makes sense.

The Cardinals are starting a tough lefty in Jaime Garcia, who shut out the Giants on three hits last August.

So start the right-handed Rowand in right field, move Aubrey Huff to first base and give left-handed hitting Brandon Belt a day off to regroup and recharge. Plus, Huff can use a breather at first base with a day game on Sunday.

So what do you say, Boch? Give Rowand a start. He’s earned it.

MoreSplashHits moves up to No. 44

The March rankings are in and MoreSplashHits moved up six spots to No. 44 on the Fan blogs with the most March page views on MLB blogs.

And if you think about it, there’s an eerie link.

Stay with me now.

MoreSplashHits is named in honor of the Splash Hits, home runs belted by a Giants player into McCovey Cove outside of AT&T Park.

No44.jpgMcCovey Cove is named for San Francisco Giants Hall of Fame Willie McCovey.

Willie McCovey is the all-time favorite Giant of the author of MoreSplashHits.

Willie McCovey wore No. 44.

Ooooooooooohh. It’s like the stars were aligned or something, right?

OK, maybe that’s a bit of stretch.

Stretch! Get It! Ha!

All kidding aside, MoreSplashHits would like to thank all those followers who helped solidify MoreSplashHits in MLB Blogs Fan Top 50.

MoreSplashHits made its Top 50 debut last month at No. 50 (to honor legendary Giants great … uhhhhhhh … Scott Garrelts???).

Now at No. 44, it brings back a Willie McCovey memory.

McCovey was the one Giants player I remember my dad pointing out to me at the first Giants game I ever attended at Candlestick Park in 1973.

And then the Giants traded Big Mac to San Diego at the season’s end. The following summer, my family moved from Sacramento to the LA suburb of Simi Valley — Dodger Country.

But in 1977, McCovey was back with the Giants, and he was re-installed as my favorite Giant.

That season the Dodgers decided to honor the 39-year-old McCovey with “Willie McCovey Night” at Dodger Stadium on August 16.

Some remember August 16, 1977 as the day Elvis Presley died. I remember it as the day it rained all day in Southern California. Willie McCovey Night was rained out.

It never rains in LA in August.

The game was replayed the next day, but “Willie McCovey Night” was rescheduled for a night in September. My dad got issued replacement tickets for the rained out game for September 26, the rescheduled “Willie McCovey Night.”

That night, Willie Mac hit one out and the Giants won 9-1. It was the first time I had ever attended a Giants-Dodgers game at Dodger Stadium that the Giants actually won.

And all those in attendance that night could take their ticket stub to a LA-area McDonald’s for a free Big Mac. So the next day, that’s what I did.

So, on Friday, to commemorate the Giants’ home opener and MoreSplashHits coming it at No. 44 on the MLB Blogs Fans Top 50 for March, I think I’ll go to McDonald’s and get a Big Mac.

You think if I showed them the link to the MLB Fan Blogs rankings, they’ll give me my Big Mac for free?

Southern California is lovely in April … except for the Giants

Sorry, it’s Spring Break and MoreSplashHits was away from the computer since our last post. Just  as well as there wasn’t much good news to report.

The schedule makers really didn’t like the Giants when they made out the 2011 schedule.

First, they only schedule nine of the Giants’ first 31 games at home and only 15 of their first 44.

Then, they didn’t have the World Series champions open at home (I know, the schedules are put together like a year ago, but it’s still annoying).

Then, they go and have the Giants open at LA and San Diego. Couldn’t have picked a nice road trip to Phoenix and Denver? Trips to Southern California in April have not gone well for the Giants.

Counting this season’s 1-4 road trip (so far), the Giants are 2-15 in April in games at Los Angeles and San Diego over the past three years.

Remember, the Giants had a 1-5 road trip to SoCal in April last season and still went on to win the World Series. This road trip is a bit more annoying because it’s to open the series.

So if the Giants can scramble and get a win Wednesday with Tim Lincecum on the mound, a 2-4 road trip might sound just fine. Compared to last season, the Giants will be one game ahead of last season.

You heard it here first: Freddy Sanchez is hot


Well, that felt good.

After two frustrating losses to the Dodgers, the Giants finally broke into the win column in 2011 with a 10-0 win on Saturday.

Apparently, the Giants read MoreSplashHits most recent post in which we detailed how the Giants have struggled to score runs without hitting a home run going all the way back to the World Series.

Well, on Saturday, the Giants scored 10 runs and nine of those runs scored without a home run.

The Giants drew walks, slapped hits, got runners over and got them in.

If there’s anything that we can be critical about the Giants on Saturday, it’s that they scored 10 runs when they only needed one.

Too bad we can’t get a little run equity.

The Giants only needed one run because Matt Cain was again brilliant, shutting out the Dodgers over six stellar innings. Cain could have gone farther, having throw 87 pitches through six innings. But with the Giants up 8-0, there was no point.

Freddy Sanchez was the star of the game. Hmm, somewhere I read about how Sanchez was swinging the bat better than any Giant in the early going. Can anyone remember where I read that?

Anyway, Sanchez went 3 for 4 with walk, double and the Giants’ lone home run. He also scored two runs and drove in three.

Miguel Tejada, starting in the leadoff spot for the first time in 12 years, went 2 for 5 with two runs and two RBI.

Mark DeRosa, making his first start of the year, went 2 for 5 with two runs, two RBI and a double.

Even Aaron Rowand had a solid game, going 2 for 5.

It was a great day all around, and Bruce Bochy was able to get all 13 position players on the roster into the game and at least one at-bat.

Now, the Giants look to get the split on Sunday night. Remember, the mantra: “Win series at home; play .500 on the road.” A 2-2 open series in L.A. would be a good series.

The Giants send Barry Zito to the mound, just a few days after he was involved in a late-night auto accident. 

Say what?!? Tejada in the leadoff spot?!?

Just got a peek at the Giants’ lineup for Saturday. Not exactly the kind of lineup that instills confidence for a team struggling to swing the bats.

But MoreSplashHits sort of saw this coming.

Managers often like to get their reserves into the starting lineup during the first week of the season.

So as Mark DeRosa and Aaron Rowand are right-handed batters, it figures Bochy would want to start them against at lefty. And as the Dodgers’ Ted Lilly is the only lefty the Giants will face over the next few days, we sort of saw this coming.

Also, Andres Torres and Pablo Sandoval are weaker hitters from the right side than the left.

So here’s the the lineup for today.

SS Miguel Tejada (R)

2B Freddy Sanchez (R)

RF Aubrey Huff (L)

C Buster Posey (R)

OF Pat Burrell (R)

3B Mark DeRosa (R)

1B Brandon Belt (L)

CF Aaron Rowand (R)

SP Matt Cain (R)

Doesn’t instill a lot of confidence, does it?

And what’s up with Tejada at the leadoff spot? I suppose the silver lining here is that Bruce Bochy has finally realized that Aaron Rowand in NOT a leadoff hitter. And if Rowand is going to be in the starting lineup, this is exactly where he should be in the lineup.

But Tejada leading off? Yeah, I don’t get that either.

If MoreSplashHits were making out the lineup, we’d make three simple adjustments.

Sanchez batting leadoff. He’s been swinging the bat as well as any Giant in the early going, so have him in the No. 1 spot.

DeRosa would then follow at No. 2. That’s where he often resided in the lineup last season before he went on the DL.

Then Tejada in his normal spot in the No. 6 spot.

But no one asked MoreSplashHits. Let’s hope that’s Bochy’s only mistake today.

Big Belt and a bunch of bobbles

MoreSplashHits is still trying to figure out what’s worse.

The fact the Giants still don’t have their first win of the 2011 season.

That both losses to open the season were to the hated Dodgers.

That they’ve wasted two solid pitching effort.

That the Giants aren’t hitting well.

That despite all that, the Giants still could have won if they had simply played with more focus on defense.

For the second straight night, the Giants basically gave a victory to the Dodgers, losing 4-3 Friday night.

If there’s good news, it was the performance of rookie Brandon Belt. Belt hammered a 2-0 pitch from Chad Billingsley in the fourth over the center-field fence for his first career home run, a three-run shot.

But the rest of the night, the Giants failed to deliver a clutch hit. Buster Posey struck out in the seventh with a bases loaded.

Here’s an interesting stat to note. Dating back to the World Series, 12 of the last 13 runs the Giants have scored have come via the home run.

There was Belt’s 3-run blast Friday, Pat Burrell’s solo shot Thursday, Edgar Renteria’s three-run homer in Game 5 of the World Series, Buster Posey’s solo shot and Aubrey Huff’s two-run shot in Game 4 of the Series and solo home runs by Cody Ross and Andres Torres in Game 3.

The only non-homer produced run in that stretch was an RBI double by Torres in Game 4.

But unlike in the Fall Classic, the Giants aren’t doing the little things to win so far in 2011.

On Friday night, the Giants were up 3-1 in the sixth when Matt Kemp led off with a single. Kemp then went from first to third on a slow chopper by Marcus Thames.

Sandoval charged the ball and never looked over to Kemp before throwing Thames out at first. Kemp never stopped to go from first to third.

The mental lapse came back to get the Giants when Kemp scored on a sacrifice fly by James Loney.

After Rod Barajas singled to left, Aaron Miles rolled a swinging bunt to Sandoval at third. Sandoval charged, bare-handed the ball, then threw wide to first, allowing Barajas to advance to third and Miles go to second.

Instead of eating the ball, as he had no chance of getting Miles, Sandoval compounded the situation by throwing the ball away.

But it looked as if the Giants might escape the game when Hector Gimenez hit a weak bouncer back to Jonathan Sanchez. But the lefty took his eye off the ball, and dropped it, allowing Barajas to score the tying run.

Guillermo Mota relieved Sanchez and gave up a single to Rafael Furcal, scoring Miles with the go-ahead run.

So, some dumb luck (three balls that didn’t leave the infield grass), bad decisions and bad fielding left the Giants 0-2.

The Giants turn to Matt Cain to help stop the slide on Saturday afternoon. Let’s hope the Giants play some better defense behind the right-hander.