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A Lefty FAQ, And Today's Regular-Season Memory

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I'm approaching ten years of this blog, and I don't think I've ever done this. A couple successful World Series runs later, and some of you newer readers might be wondering what... who... why... where... and, say, how does Bud Selig grow such a sumptuous thick pelt atop his thunderdome? Let's dive right in. 

Q: I'm new to your site. Give me a quick tour.

A: Great idea. Across the top, under the banner picture, you'll find a few goodies. "Depth Chart" is where I track the team's 25- and 40-man rosters and salaries. "The Rotation" is my collection of short music reviews. I once had the ambition to post about music every month, but ha. I love music. If there's something you think I should be listening to, I'm all ears. "Archives" is archives, all the way back to 2003, when Giants bloggers wrote things like this: "Richie is now 32 and has been oft-injured since his wet-dream 37-HR year in 2000. Would you pay him $15 M over 3 years? Someone will. But Ransom's just as good defensively and has some pop. And Neifi, like it or not, is under contract next year."

Q: Can your readers post things, too?

A: Yes. Look to your right: Guest Posts. Anyone can do it. Not enough people do. I highly encourage it, and I try to promote them in my posts when I can.

Q: Who are you?

A: I'm a reporter and editor by trade, been doing it since my college days; I'm also a San Franciscan, a father of two (aka Miss Monkeypants and Miss Mouse), a husband to the lovely and feisty Mrs. Malo, who could give a flying fudgesicle about baseball; on weekends I am a fashioner of omelets, and 24/7, yes, a lefty.

Q: What's up with your psuedonym? 

A: I was a pitcher on my high school team. One summer, our team went to Mexico for a tournament; I think it was suburban Guadalajara. In our first game, played on a sun-baked field circled by rickety wooden stands, I pitched well against the home team for several innings, perhaps all seven, I don't quite remember. The only fans in attendance were a gaggle of drunks down the third-base line, who spent the game heckling the young gringos. Their favorite insult for me was "Lefty Malo," a name I still wear with pride.

Q: How much do you get paid for this?

A: Practically nothing! Shocking, isn't it? If you want to provide a salary that lets me quit my day job, I'll name my blog after you. Well, unless your name is "Dodgers Rule" or "The Garvey Experience" or "Boehner." I have a few others on my no-fly list. 

Q: Do you still play baseball?

A: Yes, in the 35+ division of the Bay Area Men's Senior Baseball League. Emphasis on the "senior." I rarely pitch anymore because of termites in my shoulder, but I play a pretty good outfield and run fast when if I get on base.

Q: Why don't you tell us your real name?

A: It's on a need-to-know basis.

Q: Who's your favorite Giant?

A: When I was eight, it was Jack Clark. So many others since then.

Q: How can I contact you?

A: Email is nice. I'm on gmail. I also tweet @leftymalo. I'm not on Facebook. Facebook is stupid.

Q: Can we please get to today's 2012 highlight?

A: Calm down. I've got two for you.

I'm giving you two plays because they're really two pieces of one puzzle. They both happened on August 20, a few hours after the Giants pulled into LA for a three-game series, a few days after Melky Cabrera got exiled, and only a half-game behind the Dodgers. The Giants scored two runs -- scratched out two runs -- against Clayton Kershaw, exhibits A and B above, and won because Madison Bumgarner pitched his second best regular-season game of the year. (He also threw 123 pitches and wasn't right the rest of the year, at least until Game 2 of the World Series.)

They won, they beat LA in LA, they beat Kershaw in the highest-stakes game of the year up to that point, and they never looked back. The Giants swept the three games and by the end of August were 4.5 games up.

What I love specifically about those two plays is the reminder of how good the Good Angel Pagan made the 2012 team. He struggled in the NLCS and World Series, so Good Angel wasn't as front and center in our jubilation as Scutaro, Sandoval, Vogelsong and Romo. But it's good to remember that hot hot Paganista heat -- and on August 20, he was in the midst of a 1.000 OPS month. A couple weeks later, Dave Cameron of Fangraphs called him the most underrated player in baseball.

On August 20, hitting right-handed, he doubled to lead off the game, took third on a Scutaro bunt, and scored on Sandoval's sac fly. In the sixth, after two were out and no one on, he legged out an infield single, took second on a Scutaro single, then somehow scored on a the play captured above. A little gap power, a ton of speed, the Panda putting the ball in play, and Dodger tears. Giants Baseball 2012.

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Header photo courtesy of Flickr user eviltomthai under a Creative Commons license.