Injuries, Shminjuries!

The Giants have been plagued with a lot of injuries lately.  Matt Cain’s out with a right hamstring strain, Hunter Pence is out with a torn right hamstring tendon (he underwent surgery for this on June 9th), and most recently Matt Duffy is out with a left Achilles strain.  Is this Giants fan worried about how these injuries will affect her team?  NOPE!  I am so thrilled with the way my boys have bounced back from all this.  Albert Suarez has done an amazing job filling in for Matt Cain.  Both Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson have helped Gregor Blanco fill in for the ailing Hunter Pence.  And in the last two games against the Pirates, both my boy Conor Gillaspie and Ramiro Peña have performed beautifully while replacing Matt Duffy, both contributing significantly to the wins.  Even with injuries, they had an 8-game winning streak going and now they’ve won the last 10 out of 11 games.  Add to that the fact that the bullpen performed so well tonight after Jeff Samardzija came out after pitching only 3 innings.  The bullpen combination of Law, Strickland, Osich, Gearrin, and Casilla allowed exactly zero runs in six innings.  Remember how worried we were about Sergio Romo being out?  Plus the bats came alive the last two games (unfortunately not in Madison’s game, though), with my boys scoring 15 runs on Tuesday and coming back from a 6 to 1 deficit to win tonight.  What’s there to worry about??

Ramiro Peña has really made a great first impression with the Giants.  He’s played in 5 games so far, and he’s batting  .462 (6 for 13).  He’s also got 4 RBI already.  And since he’s actually been in the bigs before (he played for both the Yankees and the Braves), you can’t blame it on the pitchers not knowing how to pitch to him.  Plus his defense looks pretty good, though he did make an error today after doing so well offensively.  Conor Gillaspie did the same thing last night – he went 4 for 5 and then made an error.  I guess the excitement just gets to you.  Hey, if they can continue to play like that, they can have an error every once in a while.  So happy that Conor was able to emerge from his hitting funk.  I knew he could do it!  Looking forward to him contributing more to the offense.

It was so great to see Ryan Vogelsong yesterday during the game.  If you didn’t know, he’s on the Pirates now, but he’s on the disabled list after being hit in the face with a 92 mph fastball.  Here’s video of him getting hit (definitely not for the squeamish – the sound alone is horrible).  They showed him in the dugout (you’ll see he makes a guest appearance in one of the spit counts!).  You can see the scar below his left eye.  I heard an interview with him on KNBR, and he said that he broke 7 bones in his face.  Three of those bones actually moved into his nose (YIKES!) and they had to be surgically moved back into place.  After a month, he said his face is still pretty swollen.  He was taking pictures with Madison before the game yesterday.  I also saw Nicole Vogelsong sitting in the stands with Ali Bumgarner tonight.  I miss them so much!  Both Ryan and his wife told Mike Krukow to be sure to tell all the Giants fans how much they appreciate all the support.  Ryan says he plans on making a comeback.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed for him because I think it’s a long shot.  But if anyone can do it, he can.

In minor league news our old friend Travis Ishikawa was given a minor league contract with the Giants.  Wouldn’t that be great if he could play with my boys again?  The Giants also acquired Ruben Tejada as a minor leaguer.  You may remember Tejada from the playoffs last season when idiot Chase Utley slid directly into him at second base and broke his leg.  Here’s video of the slide.  And then Utley got off scott-free.  He was originally suspended, but he fought it and got off.  Wouldn’t it be great to see Tejada in the bigs again playing in a Giants uniform against Utley of the Dodgers?  Payback is beautiful.

Tim Lincecum had his first start for the Angels against the A’s last Saturday, and he did pretty darn good!  He went 6 innings, gave up 1 run on 4 hits and walked 2.  His fastball peaked at 90 mph.  The caveat is that it was against the A’s who currently have a win/loss record of 29 and 42, but still.  I’m glad he’s made it back to pitching in the bigs and isn’t embarrassing himself.  A lot of Giants fans that I know were at that game.  We all still love the guy.  And happy to see that he’s still wearing #55.

The trade rumors have already started.  I’ve heard the name Ryan Braun connected to the Giants, and I have to say I am not pleased about it.  After his PED scandal where he basically threw a lab worker under the bus, I’m hoping the Giants steer clear of him.  If somehow the Giants do sign him (which I don’t think they will because he’s too expensive and the Brewers will want our top prospects), I will continue to boo him.  He will never be one of my boys.  The guy is a total loser in my book.  Another interesting name that I’ve heard recently connected to the Giants is Carlos Beltran.  He’s been doing quite well for the Yankees and might be a helpful addition in the outfield.  But I still think they should give the kids (Williamson and Parker) a chance to get more playing time before resorting to going elsewhere.

On the weird front, I heard this morning on KNBR that Jake Peavy was the victim of a Ponzi scheme that bilked him of $15 million.  This represented the vast majority of his capital.  He became aware of it right before the season started.  This could explain his extremely poor performance at the beginning of the season.  Could you imagine losing that much money, money that you were counting on retiring on?  They mentioned on KNBR this morning that Jake told the head of the player’s union about it and said he wanted to share his experience with other players so that something like this couldn’t happen again to them.  Gotta love the guy for that.  Hope he can at least get some of that money back.

Congratulations to both Santiago Casilla and Billy Hayes on the addition of baby girls to their families this past week.  Santiago was out three days on paternity leave.  Came back tonight like gangbusters!

On a funny note, my cousin Manny showed me this video that was produced when Johnny Cueto first joined the Kansas City Royals.  So funny!  We need to come up with a new one to welcome him to the Giants.  Johnny loves every minute of every game and always has so much fun.  He’s always got that great smile on his face, and he’s always going all out to win.  Best entertainment there is!

I’ve got 3 new spit counts for you.  Here you go:

June 8th

Giants:

  • Bumgarner 4
  • Belt 3
  • Tomlinson 1
  • Span 1
  • Parker 1
  • Strickland 1

Red Sox:

  • Price 17
  • Vazquez 6
  • Bogaerts 6
  • Ortiz 4
  • Young 2
  • Shaw 1
  • ? 1 (someone in the dugout)

Misc.:

  • Umpires 2

Game Spit Master General = Price at 17

Giants Game Spit Master General = Bumgarner at 4

That’s a total of 50 spits during a 2 hour and 45 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.3 minutes.

It was interesting that David Price didn’t start spitting a lot until the later innings of the game when he was under pressure.  Also David Ortiz spits into his batting glove.  Since this was a Bumgarner start, I also did a snot rocket count.  Madison logged 7 during this game.

June 20th

Giants:

  • Bumgarner 5
  • Pagan 2
  • Hayes 1
  • Parker 1
  • Belt 1
  • Suarez 1 (seeds)
  • Cueto 1 (seeds)

Pirates:

  • Locke 11
  • Harrison 3
  • Polanco 2
  • McCutchen 1
  • Kratz 1
  • Vogelsong 1
  • Watson 1

Game Spit Master General = Locke at 11

Giants Game Spit Master General = Bumgarner at 5

That’s a total of 32 spits during a 2 hour and 25 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.5 minutes.

Kratz spat into his batting glove.  Again, as this was a Bumgarner start, I logged his snot rockets.  He shot off 5 during this game.

June 21st

Giants:

  • Cueto 16
  • Belt 4
  • Gillaspie 4
  • Span 2
  • Samardzija 1 (seeds)
  • Parker 1

Pirates:

  • Boscan 3
  • Harrison 3
  • Polanco 2
  • Caminero 1
  • Mercer 1
  • Hurdle 1 (seeds)

Game Spit Master General = Cueto at 16

That’s a total of 39 spits during a 3 hour and 50 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 5.9 minutes (pretty low average even though Johnny was his usual spitting self).

I noticed something spitwise during this game.  When Jarrett Parker logged his single spit, it landed in his goatee.  He had to wipe it off with his shirt.  I’ve seen Denard Span catch saliva in his beard as well.  YUCK!!  If you’re going to spit, get rid of the facial hair!  It’s just a lugie collector!  And it’s disgusting!

Tomorrow the boys play the final game of the series against the Pirates.  Not going to be able to watch as it starts at 9:35 am and I’ll be at work, but I’ll try to keep tabs on them.  I’m thinking with the way they’ve been playing, even with the injuries, they will take that game and take the series.  I know you can do it, Boys!  Just keep on doing what you’ve been doing, and please don’t get hurt!  Put more distance between yourselves and those Dodgers!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  BEAT THE BUCS!

Looking on the Bright Side

It’s June 8th.  We are in first place in the NL West, 3 games ahead of the Dodgers.  We are in third place in the NL.  We’re in 4th place overall in Major League Baseball.  Even though we’ve lost the last few games, this is an amazing place to be right now over a third of the way into the season.

Injuries have finally started to have a major impact on the team, the most damaging being Hunter Pence’s hamstring tear.  He’ll be out for at least 2 months.  We’ve seen before how devastating this can be to our boys.  When I heard about the injury on the radio I freaked out.  I was disappointed that he would be gone but also cringed at the idea of his hamstring actually tearing.  Can you even imagine what that would feel like?  The things that these guys deal with!  He’s scheduled to have surgery to reattach the muscles on Thursday.  Hope all goes well.  Pretty ominous when you take into account that they mentioned on KNBR that the same type of injury ended a guy’s career.  Hope Hunter fares much better – hoping his enthusiasm and positive attitude will help pull him through this.  His role, along with Angel Pagan’s (who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with, of all things, a hamstring injury), have been filled by Gregor Blanco, Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson.  Gregor is always someone to count on in these situations, and I’m hoping that the kids will take advantage of this opportunity and shine.  Parker has made some excellent defensive plays and hit homeruns in his last two appearances.  One of the homeruns illicited this response from the pitcher, Carlos Martinez of the Cardinals.  HA HA!  Mac has mostly come in off the bench to date so it’s tough to judge his performance so far.  Angel is expected to begin his rehab assignment next Monday, so at least that’s a happy thing.  Sure do miss seeing his face out there in left field.

Matt Cain also pulled a hamstring (imagine that!) and has been placed on the 15-day disabled list.  But this story has a silver lining in Albert Suarez, his replacement.  In the three games Suarez has pitched in Cain’s place he’s got a 3.09 ERA, allowing less than one hit per inning pitched and just 9 runs.  He was also able to make it to the 7th inning in his last outing, taking some stress off the struggling bullpen.  I’m so glad they were able to identify this guy just in case we continue to need him to fill in during the season.  Matt should be back in the rotation shortly, thankfully.  Insurance is always nice, though.

Sergio Romo, who is also out on the 15-day DL with a flexor strain in his right elbow (amazingly not a pulled hamstring), could be activated as soon as this week.  Thank goodness!  The Giants bullpen has had some woes of late, and I hope this will help bring the spark back.  It may also alleviate some of the pressure from Santiago Casilla who seems to be the target for a lot of criticism lately.  I know he’s blown some saves, but he’s really our best bet right now.  A little better run support would sure go a long way to help that.  Just saying.  However, if a trade is made in July, according to Bobby Evans, something may be done to help out our bullpen.  Help in the outfield has also come up as a target.  We’ll have to see.  Always love anticipating those moves.

On a super happy note, my boy Johnny Cueto was named National League Player of the Week at the end of May for his complete game shutout of the Padres and his gem at Coors Field (the hitter’s paradise) where he allowed only one earned run in 6 innings.  I continue to enjoy watching this guy in action, and I’m so happy he is getting kudos for his work.  Congrats, Johnny!  Kudos also to Giants Hitting Coach Hensley Meulens on being elected into the International League Hall of Fame.  Meulens spent parts of five seasons with the Columbus Clippers and was the league MVP in 1990.  He also led the league in homers, RBI and runs in 1992.  Congrats, Hensley (and thanks for the heads up, Alex Pavlovic!).

Two new rule changes are pending for next season.  One raises the bottom of the strike zone from below the knee to above the knee.  The goal for this one is to generate more offense and decrease strikeout rates.  Apparently the overall percentage of strikeouts has increased steadily every year since 2008.  I agree with this one because some pitches that are called strikes now are impossibly low to hit, but I’m also concerned that this will increase the length of games.  I also wonder if umpires can seriously adjust their personal strike zone in this way, since individual strike zones vary greatly.  The second rule involves the intentional walk.  If the rule is accepted, pitchers will no longer have to pitch the 4 balls to give a guy an intentional walk, he’ll just be given it.  This is supposed to make games shorter.  Really?  First off, how often are intentional walks given – maybe at most once a game?  And this would save like 15 seconds?  I don’t get it.  I also enjoy watching intentional walks to see if the pitcher or catcher will blow it.  And this actually happens occasionally.  Neither rule has been decided upon yet, but they may be put in place next season.  What are your feelings on this?

Just in case you were wondering like me what Tim Lincecum’s making this season, he signed a one year contract with the Angels for $2.5 million, about 14% of what he made last season.  He really missed out by not signing a 5-year deal with the Giants when he had the chance.  Oh well, at least he’s still in the big leagues.  Guess you just never know how things will turn out.  He may be starting for the Angels as soon as this weekend since he’s been pitching well in Triple-A for the Salt Lake Bees (love that mascot!).  Also came across an interesting bit of trivia in doing my research on this.  Timmy’s middle name is LeRoy.  Yeah.

There’s been a lot of talk about Madison Bumgarner being entered into the Home Run Derby this season, especially after he hit one into the third deck of Busch Stadium on Sunday.  Check this out.  He usually puts on a great show during batting practice.  We all know the guy has power.  And the guy can hit homeruns (he’s hit as many homeruns in his last 190 plate appearances as Mike Trout and Bryce Harper).  And he’s strong as an ox.  Personally, I don’t see what the harm would be.  It’s not like he’d be pitching and staining the muscles he’d be using for that.  And it’s during the All-Star break anyway, so it’d just be like he was taking batting practice during that time.  I say let the guy have at it!  Could you imagine what the TV ratings would be if they allowed it?  I’m pretty sure the Giants would never allow it, though.  What do you think?

Finally, before I give you the latest spit count, here’s a funny for you.  While doing said spit count during a recent Cardinals game, one of the ESPN broadcasters, Aaron Boone, did his impersonation of our Bruce Bochy.  I’d seen him impersonate guys hitting and pitching before, but never a manager.  It was priceless and spot on!  He had his walk perfected!  Unfortunately, I can’t find video of it on the interwebs, but I’ll keep searching.  If anyone finds a link, please let me know.

OK, so here’s the latest edition of “Who’s Spit is it Anyway?”:

June 5th

Giants:

  • Belt 5
  • Parker 2
  • Peavy 2*
  • Samardzija 1 (seeds)
  • Span 1
  • Bumgarner 1*
  • Pence 1 (seeds – whew!)
  • Pagan 1
  • Posey 1
  • Osich 1

Cardinals:

  • Matheny 3
  • Grichuk 2
  • Gyorko 2
  • Molina 1 (seeds)
  • Martinez 1*
  • Carpenter 1
  • Hazelbaker 1

Misc.:

  • Umpire 1

Game Spit Master General = Belt at 5

That’s a total of 28 spits during a 3 hour and 5 minute game for an average of one spit every 6.6 minutes.

I asterisked a few of the names because their spits deserved extra explanations.  When Peavy spits, he creates what I term the “midget loogie”.  He gets this tiny white mass of phlegm on his tongue and then expels it.  Blech!  Why in heaven’s name is it white?  Not sure I want to know, but I’ve seen other guys with white loogies as well.  A mystery.  Madison was caught spitting during the video of his amazing homer-filled batting practice.  I think that may be the first spit ever logged during a highlight film.  Carlos Martinez created one of the most disgusting spits I’ve ever logged.  I call it the “brown fountain”, clear evidence that he must be chewing tobacco.  So absolutely disgusting.

The second game against the Reds is tonight.  Hoping with Madison at the helm we can pull off a win and tie the series.  I was so pleased to see that they acknowledged David “Big Papi” Ortiz last night since this is the last series he will be playing at AT&T Park.  If you missed it, here’s the video.  Truly a class act by my favorite team for one of the best in the game.  I will definitely be watching the Giants game tonight, but I’ll have to keep tabs on the Warriors as they go for their third win in a row against the Cavs.  I’m sure they’ll do great.  Keep up the great work, Giants!  I know you can do it!  Get some momentum for your series against the Dodgers this weekend!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  STAY ON TOP!

Spring Cleaning in Arizona

I like sweeps!  This one was extra sweet for a lot of reasons.  First off, and probably most importantly, Matt Cain and Jake Peavy continued to perform well after the dreadful start to their seasons.  Both gave the team the opportunity to win once again.  I like this trend, and am seriously hoping it can continue.  If they can keep this up, we are in great shape.  Also during this series, some of the guys started to get hot.  Denard Span went 2 for 5 on Thursday, 2 for 4 on Friday and 4 for 4 on Saturday.  Buster also got his average up during this series.  And I’m so relieved that Angel Pagan and Joe Panik are back and getting right back at it.  Plus how about that Trevor Brown hitting a homerun for us while filling in for Buster!  Love it!  Finally, we won a game against Zack Greinke for the first time ever.  Beautiful!  A 5-game winning streak is hopefully a sign that things are turning around for my boys.

Today’s game was the only one I actually got to watch completely.  Not a whole lot of action, but there were lots of interesting things that happened.  I think I feel a list coming on…

  • You know how guys get high fives in the dugout after they hit a homerun? Well after Trevor Brown hit his today, he proceeded to start the high fiving, but in the process left one guy hanging – Buster!  It was so funny!  Of all people to do that to, his fellow catcher!
  • Johnny Cueto likes to blow bubbles in the dugout. Big bubbles.  Humongous bubbles.  Today they showed him blowing one that was almost as big as his head.  They also showed the wad of gum which must have contained 10 pieces.  Here’s some video of him from today’s game.  And I love how the cameramen keep switching back to him in the process.  Those kind of things make watching baseball that much more fun.  Plus it makes me love Johnny Cueto that much more.
  • One bummer was how the game ended. That double play was amazing, but I hate it when the last call of the game has to be decided in New York.  It was obvious that Belt had the out at first, but I’m still wondering about the play at second.  It sure looked like Crawford pulled his foot off before making the tag.  Guess the guys in New York couldn’t see enough to overturn it.  Glad that D-Back got called out by the umpire initially, otherwise that game could still be going on.  Even Crawford seemed a little wishy washy when talking about it in his post-game interview.
  • Then after that double play, the umpire totally blew it when relaying what they said in New York to the crowd. He made the signal for out at first and safe at second.  It was supposed to be out at both first and second.  How do you possibly get that wrong?  The same call at both bases!  Sheesh!  He had to go through the motions about three times before he got it right.  The umpire that did the blowing of the call is Jerry Layne.  Who’s in for buying that man some glasses?  Or a hearing aid?  The best part of that call was how Jim Kozimor of CSN was doing the blown call dance in the post-game.  I’m thinking it will be the next dance craze.

There was also an opportunity for increasing our baseball knowledge in this game.  I’ve always wondered what exactly the rules are for a foul tip.  Is it like a foul so if it’s caught it’s an out?  Or is a foul tip somehow different than a regular foul?  There was an incident in the game today that involved a foul tip.  A D-back hit a foul tip that hit Trevor Brown in the chest, but Brown caught it on the rebound before it touched the ground.  Brown thought that this was an out (the batter already had 2 strikes on him).  So what is the official ruling on this?  Well, I did some research, and it turns out that a foul tip is very different from a regular foul.  MLB defines a foul tip as “a batted ball that goes sharp and direct from the bat to the catcher’s hands and is legally caught.  It is not a foul tip unless caught and any foul tip that is caught is a strike, and the ball is in play.  It is not a catch if it is a rebound, unless the ball has first touched the catcher’s glove or hand.”  In this case, since the ball rebounded off of Trevor’s chest without touching his hands first, it was not a catch, so it was just a foul ball, not a strike.  And since you can’t strike out on a foul ball, the guy was not out.  The key is that it has to hit the catcher’s hands first.  Also, the path of the ball has to be “sharp and direct” to be designated a foul tip, so any significant deviation from a straight path of the ball would not be considered a foul tip.  I guess “sharp and direct” is judged at the discretion of the umpire.  So I learned something today because I did not think a foul tip counted as a strike unless the ball was in the strike zone.  I also didn’t know that if a foul tip is caught, the ball is still in play.  For example, you can steal on a foul tip that is caught.  I hope you were able to learn something from all this as well.

I’m curious – what did you all think about the Casilla incident the other day?  Here’s what happened:  On Friday night, Bochy brought in Casilla with one out in the ninth.  The score at that point was 4-2 Giants.  The first two batters he faced singled, placing guys at first and third.  He then struck a guy out, but walked Paul “Goldy” Goldschmidt (aka “The Timmy Killer”) to load the bases.  Next up would be Jake Lamb.  Lamb had hit a game tying, ninth inning homer off of Casilla last month in San Francisco.  What would you do in this situation?  Well, Bochy decided not to take the risk and called on Javier Lopez to make the last out against Lamb (which he did), a lefty-vs.-lefty matchup.  But Casilla was not pleased with being taken out of the game at this point, and this is how he reacted.  A couple of things come into play here.  First, it’s not totally Casilla’s fault that the bases were loaded.  It was probably a good decision not to give Goldschmidt any good pitches due to his history with the Giants.  A homerun at that point would have lost the game.  Second, the closer is the closer.  He’s supposed to be the guy who ends the game for you.  You’re supposed to count on his adrenaline to end it.  If you don’t have faith in the closer, they won’t come through for you in the future.  However, I also see Bochy’s point in putting in Javi with the history that Casilla had with Lamb.  Overall, though, I’m very disappointed in the way Casilla reacted to Bochy.  He’s just not that kind of guy and he let his emotions get to him.  He was extremely disrespectful to his manager – so out of character.  In the end, Casilla did approach Bochy on his own the next day and apologized.  Plus Bochy put him in as closer in the next two games, so it appears there are no ill effects due to his behavior.  But I still have a yucky feeling about the whole thing.  Would love to hear your thoughts on this.  And Santiago, you’re still my boy.

Here’s a look at one of the dark sides of baseball that I really hate.  A fight broke out at the Rangers vs. Blue Jays game today.  It all started when Jose Bautista made a hard slide into Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor.  Odor thought the slide was illegal, words were exchanged, and Odor hauled off and punched Bautista in the face.  Here is the video of this horrible incident.  Bautista and Odor were ejected as well as Toronto’s Josh Donaldson and Rangers bench coach Steve Buechele.  But then once the game restarted, Blue Jays reliever Jesse Chavez hit Prince Fielder with the next pitch.  Chavez was also ejected because umpires had warned both sides earlier after Bautista was hit by a pitch.  I hate it when guys lose their temper and do stuff like this.  Even though there was some history with Bautista, nothing can justify this type of response (he flipped his bat in dramatic fashion after a 3-run homer in Game 5 of the AL Division Series against the Rangers last season).  This is one of the most vicious attacks during a game that I’ve ever seen.  Come on, guys!  Put a cap on that testosterone!  It will be interesting to see what types of punishments the league levies on these guys after all this.

Now back to my boys – they take on the Padres in San Diego in a 3-game series starting Tuesday, then they come home for a 3-game series against the Cubs.  I’m feeling pretty good about the Padres series, but the Cubs are another story.  Their win record stands at 27-9.  I have faith in my boys, though, and I’m hoping they can come out and rise to the occasion.  Have a happy flight to San Diego, enjoy your day off, then win some games for us!  Plus you can savor being in first place alone in the NL West because the Dodgers lost to the Cardinals today!  GO GIANTS!!  KEEP THE WINNING STREAK GOING!

I Was Right…

…but for the wrong reason.  The boys lost the series with the Blue Jays.  They lost the Peavy and Cain starts.  But they didn’t lose because of anything that Peavy and Cain did.  Peavy only lasted 5 innings, but when he left he had only allowed 3 runs so they had a chance to win with any type of run support.  He only got 1.  Cain surprised everyone, pitching through 8 innings, allowing only 2 runs and striking out 7.  The last time he pitched 8 innings was in 2013.  He got exactly no runs in support.  This morning on KNBR, I heard a very interesting stat involving Matt Cain.  I knew that historically he has gotten very little run support, but they mentioned that this was the 49th time he had gotten zero runs of support in a game.  That’s just sad!  So basically I need to eat my words and apologize to both Jake Peavy and Matt Cain for not trusting in their ability to come back from their previous dismal starts.  Great effort, Guys.  Just wish the bats would wake up.  Angel Pagan is scheduled to make his return this weekend, so maybe that will spark something.  He sure was hot when he left (batting .315).  And the power of Jarrett Parker in the lineup might help, too.  We’ll see.  I know they’ll come around eventually (hopefully sooner than later).  And please stop going into extra innings!!

Besides the decent starts from Peavy and Cain, the pitching woes seem to be working themselves out.  George Kontos, who’s been out with a flexor strain in his right elbow, is scheduled to return from the DL next week.  Sergio Romo continues to make progress.  Albert Suarez has made a name for himself in relief since he came up to the bigs and has been mentioned as a potential substitute for a starter if the need arises.  He’s pitched 4 innings to date and not allowed a single run.  Plus Chris Heston seems to have finally gotten back on track in Triple-A Sacramento, allowing only 1 earned run in 6 2/3 innings in his last start.  Hopefully we won’t need either one to start, but it’s nice to have good options.

As an aside, I’d like to congratulate the Golden State Warriors on making it to the Western Conference Finals.  Their games are so much fun to watch.  So glad the injury to Steph didn’t hold them back.  Go all the way, Guys!

My boys start a series in Arizona tomorrow.  My cup’s half full again, and I’m hoping we can generate some runs and make some noise.  Something has got to happen soon.  It will!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  SMASH THE D-BAGS!

They Won a Series, They Tied a Series…

…and they’re going to lose the next series.  There.  I said it.  I said what everyone is thinking.  Since Peavy and Cain are the next two pitchers in line for starts, we are going to lose the next series.  Besides the fact that the Blue Jays will be throwing three stellar pitchers at us (Aaron Sanchez, J.A. Happ, and Marcus Stroman with ERAs of 2.82, 2.5, and 3.6 respectively), their lineup is packed with power.  The way things have been going for Jake and Matt, I’m seriously afraid of what is going to happen in the next two days.  The TV may get turned off.  I never do that.  This is coming from a true optimist – the glass-half-full girl.  I’m dreading the next two days.

What are we going to do about these guys?  How much longer can we go on giving them chances and hoping that things will somehow magically change?  From what I’ve heard in the media, Bochy will at least give them a couple more starts before taking drastic measures.  So that’s 4 more games pretty much thrown away.  I love the guys, but can we afford to do this?  I’m also not really sure there is an alternative at this point.  Heston seems the most likely replacement if one of them should take a break.  But we don’t have a Petit or Vogelsong to fill in for the other.  And it sounds like none of the kids are ready to come up.  A true dilemma.

At least we basically have three aces at the top of the rotation.  They’ve been pitching beautifully.  They’ve been getting the wins.  It’s also a shame that they haven’t been getting any support offensively, though.  The Cueto game on Saturday should never have gone into extra innings – the guy pitched a shutout 8 1/3 innings and didn’t even get credited with a win!  Then the next day Samardzija pitches a gem, giving up only 2 runs in 7 2/3 innings and gets absolutely no run support.  The runs will come, though.  I’m not worried about that.  This is the same lineup that was almost entirely batting above .300 for a long stretch last season.  They’ll pull it together.  And I seriously think that when Brandon Belt signed that long term contact, the huge sigh of relief he breathed also breathed some life into him.  I think just knowing that he is truly wanted in SF has worked wonders for him.  His at bats have been a joy to watch.

I was lucky enough to go to the game today.  I went with my wonderful sister (she got the tickets for us – Field Level in the shade – my favorite place to sit!).  Everything about the day was fabulous, except that they didn’t win of course.  We got to watch Samardzija pitch a beauty, we got the fantastic giveaway (we went extra early this year to be sure to get it – a really nice Giants bag), we got to see the boys in their pink cleats, we got to eat hot dogs, I got a sundae, we got to share each other’s company, we got to cheer for our boys, it turned out to be a beautiful day, and we even got free popcorn near the end of the game (they give it away after the 7th inning – we sat right in front of the popcorn vendor).  Just wish they could have pulled off a win for us.

I made an observation about Johnny Cueto on Saturday while watching the game.  You know how the announcers are always talking about how a good catcher will give the pitcher a clear target with his glove?  Well, Cueto pitches so fast that he doesn’t even give Buster time to get his glove down after he gives the signal!  Watch this in his next start.  So basically Cueto can find his target without the catcher!  Just shows you how truly amazing and accurate this guy is.  And what a quick-acting catcher Buster is.  I like it!

I wanted to be sure and congratulate Hunter Pence on his accomplishment last week.  He was named the NL Player of the Week.  In the six games he played that week, he tied for the Major League lead with 10 RBI, had the NL’s second-highest slugging percentage (.895), NL’s 5th highest batting average (.421 – 8 for 19), NL’s 4th highest OBP (.500), and NL’s 7th highest total bases (17).  During this period he also hit two home runs and had four runs scored.  Congrats, Hunter!  Hope some of that rubs off on the other guys!

Did anyone watch Timmy’s showcase on Friday?  I wanted to, but by the time I got home from work it was already over.  Still very surprised that it was televised in the first place.  If you missed it like me, here’s a video of Timmy discussing it with some of the highlights.  A couple of things struck me about it:  His upper body seems much more buff and I had forgotten how little he is.  His stuff seemed to be pretty good.  We’ll have to see if anyone rushes in and makes him an offer.  I hope he lands anywhere besides a certain area in Southern California.  A spot on the Giants would be extra nice, whether or not he can solve the starter crisis.

I have a new spit count for you.  Samardzija became my new hero during this game.  You’ll see why…

May 3rd

Giants:

  • Span 6
  • Bochy 2
  • Casilla 2
  • Posey 1
  • Belt 1
  • Cueto 1
  • Samardzija 1

Reds:

  • Phillips 5
  • Barnhart 4
  • Votto 3
  • Holt 2
  • Bruce 2 (1 was a spray)
  • Hamilton 1 (seeds)
  • DeJesus 1

Game Spit Master General = Span at 6

That’s a total of 32 spits during a 3 hour and 5 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 5.8 minutes.

Matt Duffy continued his snot rocket streak with one this outing.  At least he didn’t spit.  So why is Samardzija my hero?  Because he was the starting pitcher during this game, lasted 8 innings, and only logged one spit!  Plus the one spit didn’t occur until the 8th inning!  He’s also my hero for breaking his bat over his knee after striking out late in the game.  If you missed that, here’s the video.  So funny!  Plus I love how many times they showed the bat break during the game.  At least 100.  I’m not exaggerating.

So here we go.  The Blue Jays for three at the beginning of the week, then my boys travel to Arizona for four against the D-Bags.  Holding my breath.  Of course, I’ll be watching it all.  Well, at least until it gets out of hand and I go for the remote.  Really trying hard to be positive, but it sure is tough right now.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  PLEASE PROVE ME WRONG!!

Struggles in the Big Apple

The Mets are the reigning NL Champions.  In our series against them, we lost the first game (horribly, I might add – more comments later), almost took the second game (I was so hoping that they could come back), and won the third game.  I’m looking at this with glass-half-full eyes and being hopeful, especially since the first two starts were from our 4th and 5th starters, and we almost took that middle one.  Cain gave up runs, but he could still locate pitches when he needed to.  And we ended with a win going into Cincinnati.  And we’re still in a tie for first place in the division with the Dodgers.  Glass half full.

The only glass-half-empty part of all this was that Peavy start on Friday.  Have you ever seen back-to-back pitchers give up 6 runs each, and in the 3rd inning to boot??  We helped the Mets set a record that game, giving them their best single inning offensive output in their franchise’s history.  Yikes!  What are we going to do about Peavy?  I love giving guys chances, but we can’t afford for this to keep happening.  I guess Mike Broadway isn’t getting any second chances – he got sent down to the River Cats the next day, being replaced by Vin Mazzaro.  My guess is that Peavy was kept in because Bochy is loyal to his starters, hoping he could dig himself out of the hole, and Broadway was left in to save the bullpen for the upcoming long road trip.  During that game I kept wondering when does Bochy just give up and call it a loss?  He did make bench substitutions with Gillaspie and Brown for Duffy and Buster fairly early in the game.  That third inning seemed to go on for an eternity.  You start to wonder if it could just go on forever!  And what’s up with that Conforto kid on the Mets?  I’m going to have to remember that name for my Beat the Streak picks (which is currently in a 3-way tie between me and two of my brothers at 8 so far).  I’m sure Bochy won’t make any moves with Peavy in the near future (he mentioned this after the game), but I also know that if it continues much longer, there will have to be some sort of move made.  Come on, Jake!  Get it together!

Speaking of possible moves, remember Tim Lincecum?  Yeah, that guy that just about every Giants fan loves who’s been sorely missed and was supposed to have a showcase that never materialized?  Well folks, it’s about to happen.  It’s scheduled for this Friday in Arizona, and several teams are planning on attending to see what the kid’s got after his surgery, including the Giants.  Here’s a link to an interview with his dad and a story by Alex Pavlovic about it.  If you ask me, his dad sure likes being in the limelight!  A tad bit annoying!  But I have to say that I’m intrigued by all this and dying to hear how this thing goes.  And frankly, Timmy’s timing couldn’t be any better with the starter woes the Giants have been experiencing.  And if not starter, possibly long relief?  For all you Timmy lovers out there (and I know there are tons), you’ve got some hope!  Personally, I do miss seeing him in the clubhouse, and I know a lot of the players miss him as well.

Joe Panik suffered a groin injury during the game on Friday night (another major bummer about that game).  He was evaluated on Saturday and was out of the lineup both Saturday and Sunday.  He’s not expected to return until at least Tuesday, and Kelby Tomlinson will be filling in for him in the meantime.  Get better, Joe!  We need you!  And Brandon needs his double play buddy back!

During the game on Saturday, the new rule about sliding into second base came into play.  Brandon Crawford was attempting to throw to first after tagging second base and getting Neil Walker out, but Walker slid right into him and prevented him from getting a throw off.  Bochy protested, and the play was reviewed in New York.  If the slide was deemed illegal, the guy at first would have been out.  But the guys in New York said it was not illegal and the guy at first remained on the bag.  Here’s the video of the slide.  Note that the announcers for the video are Mets announcers, and they sided with the guys in New York.  The Giants announcers, on the other hand, thought that the slide should have been deemed illegal.  Interesting how both sets of announcers sided with their team.  I have to say that rereading the rule, even though I’m a Giants fan, I have to agree with the umpires in New York.  Rule 6.01(j) states:

A “bona fide slide” for purposes of Rule 6.01 occurs when the runner: (1) begins his slide (i.e., makes contact with the ground) before reaching the base; (2) is able and attempts to reach the base with his hand or foot; (3) is able and attempts to remain on the base (except home plate) after completion of the slide; and (4) slides within reach of the base without changing his pathway for the purpose of initiating contact with a fielder.

He slid before the base, reached the base with his hand, attempted to remain on the base, and didn’t change his path.  Granted he used his legs to try to take out Crawford, but he did not break this rule.  So why don’t they change the rule to say that you have to slide AIMING YOUR FEET AT THE BAG???  Wouldn’t that make more sense, especially if the goal of the rule is to protect the fielder?  I’m really starting to hate this rule because it’s being interpreted differently by different officials and it’s not doing what it was intended to do.  Plus it’s confusing runners who don’t know exactly how they are supposed to slide any more.  I’m hoping they can fix it at some point this season because it’s not working.

Just cause I’m feeling sassy, I wanted to throw something else out there.  Everyone keeps trying to find ways to shorten a baseball game.  Three hours for a sporting event is a loooooooong time.  The limits on mound visits and pitchers warming up have helped a bit, but really only cut off a few minutes from a game.  How about this – take off one or two innings.  I know, crazy right??  But is it really?  It would definitely shorten the game, and you wouldn’t have to worry about keeping so many relievers, thus saving money for the team that could be passed on in ticket prices (even though it probably wouldn’t).  Plus a lot of people leave after the 6th inning anyway.  I know there’s a big downside to this in that all the record keeping would be messed up (like a perfect game would not mean as much), and current records couldn’t be compared to previous ones, but it might keep people’s interest more if the game were shorter.  Just saying.  Do you think I’m crazy?  Let me know in the comments, or let me know if you have any other suggestions on shortening the game.

I have a new spit count for you.  Here you go:

April 30th

Giants:

  • Gillaspie 5 (Welcome back!)
  • Duffy 3
  • Span 2
  • Belt 2
  • Strickland 2
  • Posey 1
  • Pagan 1

Mets:

  • Cespedes 5
  • Rivera 3
  • Reed 3
  • deGrom 1

Game Spit Master General = tie between Gillaspie and Cespedes at 5

That’s a total of 28 spits during a 3 hour and 10 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 6.8 minutes.

This was a relatively low-spitting game.  Guess the guys got the spit knocked out of them in that game on Friday!  However, my boy Conor Gillaspie has come back with a vengeance to his old spitting ways, especially when you consider he came in to this game half way through.  I remember from his previous stint with the Giants that he always had a huge wad in his cheek, and that habit has continued.  I did notice a never before witnessed routine that he has that involves spitting.  Three different times he spat into his hand, picked up some dirt and mixed it with the spit, then worked it into the handle of the bat.  I’m assuming he did this to improve his grip.  Yeah.  I think maybe I should send the guy either some batting gloves or some Lizard Skins (here’s a link to their website).  SHEESH!  Also, once again, Matt Duffy was caught launching a snot rocket during this game.  Sigh.

The Giants continue their road trip tomorrow with three games against the Reds, then they come back home to battle the Rockies four times.  Both the Reds and the Rockies suck, however unfortunately for us, the Reds do well at home and the Rockies do well on the road.  So Boys, I’m not going to be super greedy, but continuing with the “Slow and Steady” theme, I’d like for you to take both series.  I really think this is possible, especially with 2 Cueto, 2 Samardzija, and 1 Bumgarner start in there.  Cain and Peavy, I know you can do better than you have, too.  You can all do it, Boys.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  KEEP THE LEAD!

We Got the Sweep!

I love sweeps!  And they’re that much sweeter when the Dodgers lose 3 in a row at the same time!  YES!  We’re now within a half game of them again.  It’s coming together.  Starting pitching has rocked this week.  My favorite was the Cueto game yesterday.  Even though the poor guy only got one run of support, he was able to get a complete game shutout with 11 strikeouts.  And it was his 100th win to boot!  Thank goodness!  I love the chemistry that has developed between Buster and Cueto.  You can see they are both having such a good time during those starts.  Then there was the win that started it all on Monday.  Bumgarner pitched beautifully, then the bullpen almost gave it up.  After almost 4 hours I thought I was going to be physically ill if they let that one go, but Casilla set the tone and ended up saving the day, literally, and logging his 100th save (congrats, Santiago!).  Then today, I didn’t get to watch the game, but I got updates from my brother every few minutes.  The first text said 3-0 Giants, then 4-3 Pads, then 4-4, then 6-4 Giants, then half an hour later it was 12-4 Giants.  WHAT???  How did they hit so much today?  Final score was 13 to 9.  Duffy, Belt, and Pence each had three hits, Belt alone had 5 RBI, and Samardzija even got in on the action with a hit and an RBI.  I like it!  This is just what they needed as they head over to New York to take on the Mets this weekend.  Talk about happy flight!  OK, guys – keep this going.  Make sure you get plenty of rest on Thursday, then go after them!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  TAKE ANOTHER SERIES!

Slow and Steady…

OK.  They didn’t sweep the Marlins, even though the Marlins stink (5 and 9 before our series with them). I was so bummed listening to the radio on the way home from work today when they gave up a run late in the game and they got behind.  Then they lost.  Why couldn’t they sweep??  But some words of wisdom came from Mike Krukow in the post-game wrap.  They did take the series.  They did make up some ground in this series.  Slow and steady.  If they keep taking series they will do fine.  And the bats did seem to wake up during those first two games.  And they were actually stringing hits together like when they are at their best.  The potential is still there.  Slow and steady.  Keep the faith.

There have been lots of roster moves due to injuries that I’ve been meaning to mention.  Sergio Romo (15-day – flexor strain in right elbow), Ehire Adrianza (60-day – broken bone in left foot), and George Kontos (15-day – flexor strain in right elbow) are all on the DL.  Then Chris Heston was optioned to Triple A Sacramento (had a bit of a rough start this season, recording a 10.8 ERA after 4 games in relief).  Poor Mac Williamson came up as a replacement but was sent back down only a week later.  The four replacements who remain on the team are relief pitcher s Derek Law, Steven Okert, and Mike Broadway (who’ve all been impressive to date) and my boy, Conor Gillaspie.  I’m assuming Gillaspie came in as a utility player replacement for Adrianza.  He’s only had one pinch hit at bat to date, but I’m really pulling for the guy and hope he does well.  He’s got a lot of potential.  Also wishing all my boys who are injured a speedy recovery – we need you back!

On a totally different note, I’ve been meaning to put this out there for a while:  What do you all think about having the designated hitter in the National League?  Apparently Commissioner Rob Manfred has brought the idea up for discussion, but he’s got to get the buy in from the owners in order to make it happen.  One reason it’s come up again is in order to prevent these multi-million dollar pitchers from not being able to pitch due to batting injuries (eg. Max Scherzer and Adam Wainwright last season).  My thoughts – quit being a baby about it!  I hate the DH for so many reasons.  First, especially on our team, a lot of pitchers can hit.  These guys would hate losing that option.  Second, I love watching pitchers hit.  When they connect it’s so exciting.  Case in point is when Bumgarner got that recent homerun off of Kershaw.  I love lipreading profanity that spews from the opposing pitcher’s mouth.  Why would you want that to go away?  Third, I love the strategy involved when the pitcher comes up to bat.  Do you put on a bunt?  Do you pretend to bunt and then hit (the famous butcher boy play)?  Do you just have the pitcher stand there and make the opposing pitcher work?  If it’s Bumgarner, do you have him swing for the fences?  You never know what can happen.  Finally, if you’re going to put in a designated hitter for the pitcher and make the game all about specializing, why not put in a designated hitter for every position?  Get all the best fielders and all the best hitters and have them play only defense or offense.  Why?  Because that’s dumb!  Just like a designated hitter for a pitcher is dumb!  Every player should be a complete player, playing their position in the field AND batting.  I get so worked up about this!  That’s my opinion.  Would love to hear yours.

Another game-related issue came up the other day on Tim Flannery’s Facebook page, something that for some reason never occurred to me.  It has to do with the replay system.  Here’s a link to Flannery’s rant.  He mentions that over 40 percent of challenged calls were overturned.  So the system is working, right?  Flan who was originally against the replay is now a proponent based on this fact.  But he goes one step further (I love this).  He says you should use the system as a way of grading umpires, and if you get more than 10 calls wrong a season, you’re fired.  Brilliant application of this!  Why aren’t they doing this now?  Is it that hard to find qualified umpires?  I would think there would be a long list of people trying to get those jobs.  He also mentions that poor calls slow down the game, so if you want to speed it up, just hire better umpires.  I love it!  Personally, I love the replay system.  I just think that if you’re out, you’re out.  It shouldn’t be up to the discretion of the umpire (who apparently is wrong 40% of the time!).  This is also why I think they should use the Pitchf/x system to call balls and strikes.  It’s either a ball or a strike – not up to anyone’s judgment.

On the lighter side, I have a great video to share with you.  Did any of you see the Giants vs. D-Bags game on April 18th where a fan sitting down the left field line interfered with a ball?  And the girl sitting next to him covered her head in her hoodie as they left their seats?  I always hate it when fans do this, but thankfully it didn’t affect the outcome of the game in this instance.  It did, however, affect the fans.  I’ve heard that fans get ejected from the game when this happens but always wondered if it is true.  Well, thanks to Jimmy Kimmel who did a story on the couple, I got my answer.  Here’s the video.  I don’t think I could ever sit in seats like that.  The temptation to reach over at an inopportune time would be too great for me.  And you’d hate to spend that much on tickets only to be kicked out and booed by everyone.  I’ll just have to keep praying that a foul ball will make its way to me further back in the stands.

I’ve got another spit count for you from this weekend.  One of the guys I sent a Thank You For Not Spitting certificate just last week has already greatly disappointed me…

April 23rd

Giants:

  • Peavy 6 (WHAT???)
  • Belt 6
  • Span 4
  • Duffy 4
  • Bochy 3
  • Meulens 2
  • Samardzija 1 (seeds)
  • Kelly 1

Marlins:

  • Fernandez 4
  • Mathis 3
  • Bonds 3 (seeds)
  • Gordon 2
  • Rojas 1
  • Breslow 1
  • Morris 1
  • Ege 1 (pronounced “Eggy” – strangest last name ever)

Game Spit Master General = Tie between Peavy and Belt at 6

That’s a total of 43 spits during a 2 hour and 45 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.8 minutes.

PEAVY!  Guy gets an award for not getting caught spitting at all last season and then ties for Game Spit Master General this season.  UGH!  I noticed that Jake had a huge wad in his cheek, but at first he wasn’t spitting at all.  That started in about the 3rd inning.  I’m wondering if the wad was one of those Grinds pouches that have coffee in them.  Still, something was making him spit!  Maybe it had something to do with his poor vision – during this game, Buster even had white paint on his fingers to make the signs more visible for him.  For one of Bochy’s spits, he took a sip of water and spat the entire thing out.  I call this a “waterfall”.  I also call it “disgusting”.  Even Barry Bonds got into the act, but at least only because he was chewing sunflower seeds.  It was so weird to put his name on the Marlins side of my tally sheet!  Matt Duffy did his Bumgarner impersonation during this game and logged a snot rocket.

Next, my boys take on the Padres at home and then they travel to New York to take on the Mets.  The Padres are at the bottom of the NL West.  We should easily take that series (if not sweep).  Even though the Mets are starting out pretty well, I really think we can take that series, too.  The bats are slowly starting to wake up.  I have faith in my boys.  And I’m not being greedy.  Just win series.  Slow and steady.  We can do this.  GO GIANTS!  KEEP MOVIN’ ON UP!

I Love Johnny Cueto!

I think Johnny Cueto is now officially my favorite guy on the team.  I’m seriously considering buying a Cueto jersey.  Isn’t this guy amazing??  I love the crazy way he pitches.  So much entertainment value there.  And even with that crazy, ever-changing delivery, he is so accurate.  He had a perfect game going into the 5th inning today and a shutout into the 7th.  And guys are always laughing when they try to bat off of him.  And he’s always smiling.  How could you not love this guy??  Then today, I realized that I enjoy his at bats just as much.  He tries really hard.  Mike Krukow mentioned that Roberto Kelly was giving signs, but Cueto wasn’t looking!  And did you see him run out that bunt attempt today?  Plus he got a hit!  So much fun in one package!  I can’t wait until he pitches again.  I am so thrilled that he has joined OUR team!

OK.  I’ll stop with the Cueto gushing. Other guys definitely contributed today to his win.  Panik, Crawford (thank goodness you’re back), and Span all had amazing plays defensively.  And we were able to score 4 runs off of Kazmir by keeping it moving.  And even though Lopez gave us a scare in the 8th (it’s OK, Javi – everyone’s entitled to a bad game once in a while), the other relievers held the dreaded Dodgers so that we could log a win.  So there’s that.  That game definitely got rid of the sour taste in my mouth from the game yesterday.  What were they doing yesterday?  So much sloppy baseball!  But today was great.  I did a spit count during the game today, and usually when I do that I make notes at the bottom of my tally sheet on interesting things that happened during the game.  Well, today’s had tons of notes on it, so I think I’ll put them all into one of my famous lists.  Here you go:

  • Cueto was wearing high socks today. I hadn’t noticed him do that before.  It definitely worked for him, so I hope he continues.
  • The broadcasters mentioned today that more Giants fans are being brave and wearing orange in Dodger Stadium. Maybe the fans there are starting to act more human.  That would be nice.  I’m still afraid to attend a game there again.
  • Why do Dodgers fans boo Buster? I noticed it when I attended a game in LA and I’ve noticed it in every game televised from Dodger Stadium.  He gets really loud boos compared to anyone else.  Are there any Dodger fans out there who can comment on this?  Is it because he’s so good?  Is it because he’s too innocent looking for Dodger fans?  I’m confused.
  • Tim Lincecum’s name came up during the broadcast today. Mike Krukow mentioned that he keeps in touch with Dave Groeschner, the head trainer.  They didn’t say what his status was, though.  He still hasn’t had the pitching showcase he was supposed to have in January that keeps getting delayed.  I’m hoping for the best for the kid.  Opening Day without him was really strange.  Sigh.
  • There was a great Krukow quote during this game about how Cueto changes it up on guys: “Jam sandwich – thanks for stopping by!”  Love Krukisms.
  • I’m really enjoying Jeremy Affeldt in the pre- and post-game shows. It’s great to get a reliever’s perspective, and he is so entertaining and kooky.  Love how they were blaming all the scuds during the game today on him.  Even though he’s not on the team any more, he’s still the butt of all the jokes!
  • I love that the outfielders are doing the jump again when they win.  They meet in the middle of the outfield and jump high toward each other.  They had stopped for a while last season when Aoki joined the outfield, and they were shaking hands instead.  Jumping > handshake.  Span really gets into it.

Here’s another spit count for you.  So far all three this season have been against the Dodgers:

April 16th

Giants:

  • Cueto 26 (!!!!)
  • Span 4
  • Belt 2
  • Wotus 2 (seeds)
  • Strickland 2
  • Panik 1
  • Posey 1
  • Casilla 1

Dodgers:

  • Seager 4
  • Thompson 3
  • Kershaw 1
  • Pederson 1
  • Culberson 1 (into batting glove)

Game Spit Master General = Cueto at 26

That’s a total of 49 spits during a 3 hour and 30 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.3 minutes.

So my boy Cueto may unfortunately be the overall Spit Master this season with that outing.  His spit output definitely increased as the game wore on, especially after the 4th inning.  Thankfully he doesn’t appear to be chewing tobacco, though.  Hope he switches over to gum – I noticed that after he started chewing gum in the dugout he didn’t spit as much.  Still no spits from Gregor, Brandon C., Hunter, and Javi.  Hope they can all make it to the end of the season spit-free.

I’ve got all the spit certificates ready to send out this week – Spit Master General Award for Andrew Susac (will have to send his to Sacramento) and Thank You For Not Spitting Awards to Javier Lopez (hope it makes up for the game today), Jake Peavy, and Gregor Blanco (for the 5th time).  Hope Samardzija can carry the Cueto momentum into tomorrow and get a win for us.  Looking forward to finally getting a chance to watch him pitch.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  TAKE THE SERIES FROM THE DODGERS!  PUT US BACK IN THE LEAD OF THE NL WEST ALONE!

First Spit Counts of the Season

I was looking forward to today’s game because Johnny Cueto was scheduled to pitch.  I love what I have seen of this guy so far.  He started off pretty rocky, giving up 5 runs in the first.  I could just hear other Giants fans saying, “Get rid of this bum!”  But he didn’t let the rough start get to him, and he allowed only one other run in the next 6 innings.  That’s a pretty tough thing to do.  It was also probably tough for Bochy to keep him in, but that’s how Bochy shows his players that he has confidence in them.  My other boys definitely backed Cueto up today, starting right off and scoring 2 runs immediately in the first off of Scott Kazmir. Kazmir had only given up one hit in 6 innings during his last start (granted it was against the Padres, but still).  Love it when the guys support their pitcher.  The offense really came through today, and the home runs continued.  To date this season, the Giants have hit 14 homeruns.  14!!!  Buster, Brandon Crawford, and Matt Duffy each have 2, and Angel, Brandon Belt, Adrianza, Panik, Brown, Bumgarner, Pence, and Span each have 1.  We rank second overall in the major leagues behind the Rockies in homeruns!  And their ballpark is a homerun haven!  This is the first time in franchise history the Giants have hit at least one homerun in the first seven games of the season.  I’m liking this!  So the rough start ended up turning into a never-giving-up victory, landing us alone atop the NL West standings.  The boys can have a very happy flight to Colorado this week!

As promised, I have the first two spit counts of the season for you.  I had high hopes for significantly decreased numbers based on the new rule banning chewing tobacco during games at AT&T Park (if you want to learn about the ban, here’s a link to a news story about it), but alas, they are finding ways to spit anyway.  Here you go:

April 9th

Giants:

  • Pagan 3
  • Bumgarner 2
  • Belt 2
  • Strickland 2 (disgusting sprays)
  • Posey 1
  • Tomlinson 1
  • Bochy 1 (seeds)
  • Duffy 1
  • Adrianza 1

Dodgers:

  • Thompson 5
  • Pederson 2
  • Barnes 2
  • Culberson 1
  • Turner 1
  • Ellis 1
  • Utley 1
  • Hatcher 1

Misc.:

  • Umpire 1

Game Spit Master General = Thompson at 5

Giants Game Spit Master General = Pagan at 3

That’s a total of 29 spits during a 3 hour and 20 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 6.9 minutes.

Granted this is one of the lowest spit averages ever, but why are they still spitting so much if they aren’t chewing tobacco??  Today’s Game Spit Master General is none other than Trayce Thompson, younger brother of Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors.  Guess he’s trying to get out of his brother’s shadow and make a name for himself in spit history.  Strickland continues to blow out these incredible sprays of spit even though it was obvious he was chewing gum during this game.  Oh well, at least he’s not chewing tobacco.  The umpire who got caught spitting was Jeff Kellogg, the same guy who threw Dave Roberts out of the game on Friday.  Throw yourself out for spitting, Dude!  Also, since this was a Bumgarner start, I did my first snot rocket count of the season – Madison logged 7 today.

April 10th

Giants:

  • Belt 6
  • Cueto 6
  • Span 5
  • Pagan 3
  • Duffy 2
  • Bochy 2
  • Samardzija 1
  • Tomlinson 1
  • Meulens 1 (seeds)
  • Osich 1
  • Casilla 1

Dodgers:

  • Barnes 4
  • Thompson 3
  • Turner 2
  • Puig 1

Misc.:

  • Umpire 1 (wasn’t Kellogg today)

Game Spit Master General = Tie between Belt and Cueto at 6

That’s a total of 40 spits during a 3 hour and 10 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.8 minutes.

Unfortunately all three of the new additions logged their first spits today.  My dreams of another non-spitter on the team were dashed.  Brandon Belt gets the most disgusting spits of the game award for three times in a row spitting directly into his bare hand and rubbing it in as he prepared to take his position at first base.  I have never witnessed anything like this before.  Any other time a guy spat into his hand it was covered in a batting glove and he did it to get a better grip on the bat.  Why does Brandon do this?  Is it his way of getting extra spit on the ball for the pitcher??  What’s up with that?  YUCK!  Also I had a guest snot rocket launching by Matt Duffy today who snuck one in during one of his at bats.  Lovely.

Made a couple of interesting observations about the Dodgers during this series.  One is the shift they put on when Brandon Belt comes to bat.  They shift their third baseman all the way over to almost 1st base.  They did this every time he was up.  Once he took advantage of this and bunted towards third base and made it to first.  The broadcasters comment on it every time.  Guess it’s a pretty unusual shift, but I would imagine they do it because he rarely hits out to left field.

I also noticed something that at least two of the Dodger left fielders did (Charlie Culberson and Trayce Thompson).  Each made the last out in the inning, and then each made a motion like they were going to throw the ball into the crowd, but instead kept it in their glove.  What a couple of jerks!  Maybe this happens all the time but I had never noticed it before.  Has anyone else observed this?  Hope my boys don’t do this.

I had read on the SF Giants Gamer Babes Facebook page that Lou Seal has an interesting routine while Renel is announcing the starting lineup for the Giants at the beginning of a game, and I decided to check it out for myself during the game on Friday.  He makes a different gesture for each player!  For example, he salutes for Angel Pagan, he pretends to throw his hair back for Brandon Crawford, he gets super animated for Hunter Pence, and he strikes a Duffman superhero pose for Matt Duffy.  Love it!  Next time you are at a game check him out!

My boys are headed to Colorado for a series against the Rockies starting on Tuesday.  With the way they’ve been hitting homers, I’m really looking forward to what they can achieve in that hitter’s park!  Will be watching when I can.  Come on boys!  Let the momentum from taking the Dodgers series carry you on to more wins at Coors Field!  GO GIANTS!  CRUMBLE THE ROCKIES!

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