The Giants are going to have some problems in 2011

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There will be a metric butt-ton of “10 reasons the Giants won’t repeat” or “10 reasons the Giants will repeat” articles written in the coming weeks.  Hint: avoid the ones with slide shows. They’re awful.

Actually, you can probably avoid all of them except (a) the one I inevitably do when I’m hurting for content in a week or two; and (b) the one that Dan Szymborski did over at ESPN today.  Bonus: it’s only four reasons long. And apologies, but it’s Insider-only content.  I’ll give you the executive summary, though: the rotation was unusually healthy last year, Posey, Huff, Burrell and Torres are likely to regress, and there isn’t a lot of room on the roster to work in the couple of young guys on the horizon like Brandon Belt.  I think the first reason Dan cites is the best, however:

While the team didn’t win the World Series, the 1993 Phillies shared a lot of similarities with last year’s Giants; both teams played on the perception that they were made up of a bunch of unkempt castoffs. The Phillies kept the roster intact and fell apart the next season, the premature end of the season due to the strike almost a mercy to the 54-61, fourth-place team.

The Giants have basically stood pat. Their most notable move that didn’t involve simply retaining a player was letting Juan Uribe go and signing Miguel Tejada instead.  I think that’s a step down.
Everything broke right for San Francisco last year and they are either intentionally or effectively banking on it happening again.  That tends not to work out very well very often, and I don’t think it will work out well for the Giants in 2011.

Another interestingly named player is promoted by the Pirates

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When you promote a player from the minors, the first and foremost consideration is whether or not he can help your ball club. But, assuming that’s taken care of, teams should really, really make it a priority to call up dudes with cool sounding names because it makes life more interesting for the rest of us.

The Pirates are doing that. The other night Dovydas Neverauskas made his big league debut. In addition to being the first Lithuanian born-and-raised player in major league history, it’s a solid, solid name. Now the Pirates are making another promotion: Gift Ngoepe.

Yep, Gift Ngoepe. He’s an infielder from South Africa, making the leap to the bigs due to David Freese‘s hamstring injury. Ngoepe, 27, was batting just .241/.308/.379 through 66 plate appearances this season with Triple-A Indianapolis, his ninth in the minors, so he’s not exactly a prospect. But man, that’s a killer name.

It’s also worth mentioning that Gift and Neverauskas were arrested together in a bar fight last August in Toledo, so there is already a good basis for some bonding here.

Good luck, Gift. Gift Ngoepe. Mr. Ngoepe. G-Ngo. Man, I could do this all day.

Manny Machado teaches us to never give up

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The Rays beat the Orioles last night, but the play of the game belonged to an Oriole defender.

Evan Longoria was batting and he chopped a ball foul down the third base line. At least it started out foul. As we all know, however, it doesn’t matter where the ball starts, it matters where it is when it crosses the bag.

Manny Machado knows this and didn’t give up on the ball despite it starting several feet in foul territory. He watched it come back, stayed with it and threw out Longoria who, unlike Machado, did give up on it, assuming he’d merely get a strike and another hack. Watch:

Longoria would get Machado back, however, fielding a ball Machado smoked to third base in the ninth inning, recording the second to last out of the game.