Trailer for Showtime’s “The Franchise” featuring the San Francisco Giants

As a Giants fan, I just went from six to midnight watching the trailer for the new “Hard Knocks”-like documentary “The Franchise,” which will be featured on Showtime this summer.

I’m biased, but could Showtime have picked a better team to follow for its first season? Brian Wilson’s popularity has grown overnight, but there are some other great personalities on that team, including Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell and Sergio Romo (the reliever who found himself locked in Wilson’s unmarked police car in the clip). Then you’ve got Andres Torres chucking around a freaking cinder block in the middle of the field – are you kidding me? I’m in.

Given how popular “Hard Knocks” has become, the “The Franchise” should have no problem taking off as well.

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Lewis, Moreland get Rangers right back into World Series

Texas Rangers' Mitch Moreland (R) is congratulated by teammates Bengie Molina and Nelson Cruz (L) after hitting a three RBI home run against the San Francisco Giants in the second inning during Game 3 of Major League Baseball's World Series in Arlington, Texas October 30, 2010. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Here are five quick-hit observations from the Rangers’ 4-2 win over the Giants in Game 3 of the World Series. The victory cut San Fran’s series lead to 2-1.

1. Colby Lewis brilliant yet again in key situation.
Lewis is now perfect in his last three postseason starts, recording two wins against the Yankees and one Saturday night versus the Giants. Until Cody Ross took him deep in the seventh, Lewis was nearly unhittable. On the night he allowed just two runs on five hits while striking out six in 7.2 innings of work. The Rangers absolutely needed to have this game and Lewis was unfazed by the pressure of pitching in a World Series with his team down two games to none.

2. Ron Washington fortunate that 8th inning blunder didn’t cost Rangers.
Washington’s lack of experience showed in the eighth inning when he left Lewis in after he gave up a home run to Andres Torres to make the score 4-2. Closer Neftali Feliz wasn’t warmed up and instead of bringing in a relief pitcher after Torres went yard, Washington stuck with Lewis and the starter wound up hitting Aubrey Huff to bring the tying runner to the plate. Fortunately for Washington and the Rangers, Darren O’Day got Buster Posey to ground out to short or else this night could have ended in disaster. Washington should have made the change after Torres hit his home run and certainly should have had Feliz warming up in case the closer needed to pitch multiple innings.

3. The Giants are in trouble if this series goes seven games.
The reason is that Jonathan Sanchez would likely be their starter for Game 7, which isn’t good given his last three appearances this postseason. After lasting just two innings in Game 6 of the NLCS, Sanchez followed up that performance on Saturday night by throwing only 4.2 innings while giving up four runs on six hits. He also walked three batters and gave up two dingers, one of which put the Giants in 3-0 hole after Mitch Moreland went deep in the second. Josh Hamilton then went yard in the fifth to put Texas up 4-0 and Sanchez was pulled shortly thereafter. After a fantastic outing in Game 3 of the ALDS, Sanchez has fallen apart. He had a solid regular season, but he’s started to revert back to the pitcher that loses his cool and succumbs to pressure situations. If Tim Lincecum pitches Game 5 and Matt Cain Game 6, then Sanchez would pitch Game 7 if this series lasts that long. That has to be a concern for Bruce Bochy and company, even if they won’t admit it now.

4. The Giants have to sit Pat Burrell.
Burrell is one of the reasons why the Giants are in the World Series and his experience has kept him in the lineup to this point. But the guy is brutal right now and looks completely overmatched. After striking out four times on Saturday, he’s now 0-9 with eight strikeouts against Texas. Bruce Bochy can’t continue to write Burrell’s name in at the cleanup spot with this kind of production. Nate Schierholtz has primarily been a backup all season, but he would give the Giants another lefty in the lineup and he would dramatically upgrade their defense. Bochy has to make a switch because Burrell just doesn’t have it right now.

5. If Nefatli Feliz was nervous, he certainly fooled me.
As Joe Buck and Tim McCarver noted in the broadcast, there had to be some concern for the Rangers about how the 22-year-old Feliz would perform in his first World Series. But after he threw a 96 mph heater to the first batter he faced in the 9th inning, that concern had to fly out the window. He retired all three batters he faced in order and struck out Pat Burrell and Juan Uribe (two home run threats when they’re on) on straight cheddar. What an impressive World Series debut by the youngster.

Giants’ band of misfits and miscasts beat Phillies to advance to World Series

San Francisco Giants players, including Pablo Sandoval, Cody Ross, Brian Wilson, Andres Torres and Aubrey Huff (L-R) celebrate their victory against the Philadelphia Phillies to win the National League pennant in Game 6 of their Major League Baseball NLCS playoff series in Philadelphia, October 23, 2010. REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

After failing to land Adam LaRoche in the offseason, the San Francisco Giants “settled” on Aubrey Huff, who nobody showed much interest in.

After a successful stint with the Giants in 2009, Juan Uribe didn’t garner much interest from other teams this offseason on the open market, so he re-signed with San Fran for one year on the cheap.

In fear that the Padres would pick him up, the Giants claimed Cody Ross off waivers from the Marlins, who wanted to save a measly $1 million so they basically gave him away for free.

It was Huff’s single in the third inning that put the Giants on the board after the Phillies had taken a 2-0 lead in Game 6 of the NCLS Saturday night. It was Uribe’s home run in the eighth that broke a 2-2 tie, and it was Ross’s MVP play throughout the entire series that helped the G-Men knock off the defending National League champions to earn a date with the Rangers in the 2010 World Series.

Of course, there were others that helped San Fran get to this point. After he was dumped midseason by the Rays and couldn’t find work, the Giants took a flier on Pat Burrell, who essentially took a hometown discount because nobody else showed any interest in the veteran. The club’s best hitter is rookie catcher Buster Posey, who started the year in Triple-A because the Giants were concerned that he couldn’t handle their outstanding pitching staff. Andres Torres is a 32-year-old lifelong journeyman who came out of nowhere to seize the leadoff spot in their lineup when Aaron Rowand was hurt and ineffective earlier in the year.

Manager Bruce Bochy calls this team the “Dirty Dozen” because it’s essentially a bunch of miscasts and misfits that came together to do something pretty amazing. The Giants’ pitching staff rivals that of anyone in the league (just ask the Phillies and Braves), but none of this would have been possible if guys like Huff, Burrell, Torres, Posey and Ross didn’t gel. Did the Giants catch some breaks along the way? Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean that they’re any less deserving. The resiliency that this team has shown throughout the year is impressive and just when you think they’re done, they find a way in the end.

They’ve tortured their fans throughout the year with too many one-run games to count. But alas, torture has never felt so good.

Giants’ magic number down to 3 thanks to Lincecum

San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Tim Lincecum throws a pitch against the Chicago Cubs during the third inning of their MLB National League baseball game in San Francisco, California August 10, 2010. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASEBALL)

Even with a head cold, Tim Lincecum was able to reduce the Giants’ magic number for making the postseason down to three games.

Despite being sick Wednesday night, the Giants’ ace allowed just one run over seven innings and struck out 11 in a 3-1 win over the Diamondbacks. He allowed a home run to Stephen Drew on the first pitch of the ballgame, but then settled in to dominate Arizona’s strikeout-friendly yet dangerous lineup the rest of the way. Unless he’s needed in a playoff-clinching start on Sunday or Monday, “The Freak” will finish the regular season with a 16-10 record and a 3.43 ERA.

Offensively, Pat Burrell took Arizona starter Ian Kennedy deep for a three-run shot in the fourth inning to give the Giants all the runs they would need. The 33-year-old has been rejuvenated in San Francisco, as that was his 20th homer since becoming a Giant.

The Padres beat the Cubs 3-0 last night, so the Giants couldn’t bring their magic number down to two games, but with only four remaining San Francisco is certainly in the driver’s seat. That said, San Diego comes to town for a three-game set starting on Friday, so the Giants can’t slip up now. If they lose to the Diamondbacks today in the series finale and the Padres beat the Cubs, there will only be one game that separates the NL West rivals with three games left.

This is what September baseball is all about.

Giants’ Sabean throws all logic out the window, acquires Jose Guillen

April 12, 2010: Kansas City Royals' Jose Guillen (6) during the MLB baseball game between the Kansas City Royals vs Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan.

Jose Guillen can’t play defense, can’t get on base and he can’t hit for average.

So naturally Giants’ GM Brian Sabean had to have him.

On Friday, the Giants acquired the 34-year-old former Royal, who is well known for having a poor clubhouse reputation. That’s something the close-nit Giants don’t need right now heading into a huge weekend series with the first place Padres (the team the Giants are trailing by 2.5 games in the NL West).

Clearly hypnotized by his 16 homers this season, Sabean felt the need to add the outfielder despite the fact that Guillen is more useless than a chair with only two legs. Plus, his acquisition means that Aaron Rowand, Travis Ishikawa (assuming Aubrey Huff moves back to first base) and Nate Schierholtz will receive less playing time than they already are, which is befuddling when you consider that Guillen isn’t a better option than any of them.

If I punch myself in the side of the head enough times and squint hard enough, I might see the need for Guillen as a pinch hitter. But there’s no way that the Giants actually believe this schmuck is a starter. Do you know how much ground there is to cover in right field at AT&T Park? Guillen would be an absolute train wreck and for what? A couple of home runs down the stretch? I thought that’s what Pat Burrell was for? Didn’t Sabean already acquire Pat Burrell already? I’m confused.

The worst part is, Sabean traded away two capable outfielders earlier this season in Fred Lewis and John Bower – two homegrown players that were better defensively than Guillen and who came with zero baggage. How does trading Lewis and Bowker and trading for Guillen make any sense? Tell me what the difference is between those players, or how Guillen makes the Giants better than Lewis and Bowker? And what happens to Schierholtz? The kid entered spring training as the favorite to start in right field and after a poor couple of weeks at the plate, he became Lewis’d, Bowker’d and Kevin Frandsen’d in the blink of an eye. If I were a Giants’ farm player, I’d want to be dealt immediately because Sabean will eventually block my position with a crusty old vet. It’s only a matter of time.

Sabean doesn’t have the slightest clue what it takes to build an offense. For every Burrell, Huff and Juan Uribe, there’s a Rowand, Edgar Renteria and Mark DeRosa (who clearly wasn’t healthy when Sabean decided to hand him a two-year deal this past offseason). For every Bengie Molina trade, there’s a Guillen, Ryan Garko and Freddy Sanchez deal right around the corner.

I’ve never see a man make so many stupid decisions and yet retain his job for 14 years. If Brian Sabean were the President of the United States, half the nation would be underwater right now.

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