Let me just start by saying HEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!! The boys did it! They won the NL Division Series! They beat the first place team! They rock! I am so excited. Granted the clinching game was a little weird, but hey, my boys know how to take advantage of mistakes and scrape out a win. What made it even sweeter was that the Dodgers lost today, so they’re out of it!! We’ll take on the Cards starting on Saturday. So happy for Tim Hudson that he’ll go to the NL Championship Series for the first time in his career (he made it to the Division series 7 times previous to this season, but never got past it). Always love watching the champagne fly! Have a nice rest, Boys, and go for it on Saturday. We know you can do it. Their shirts tonight said, “Our Year. Our Time.” Yes it is. GO GIANTS!!!
What a difference a week makes, eh?? Last I blogged, we weren’t even sure who we would be facing in the Wild Card game, and look at us now! So much has happened in the last week, and all of it has been simply amazing.
They showed the Wild Card game on the big screen at AT&T Park on Wednesday, and my sister, my niece, and I went to watch the game amongst other fellow fans. Game watching is so much sweeter when you are surrounded by a ton of screaming Giants fans, even if it’s being played out thousands of miles away! We got there just before the game, and just in time to get some hot dogs and get to our seats. They had the Field Level open, so we sat in covered seats behind home plate to avoid the seagulls and pigeons – lots more pigeons that night for some reason. Lou Seal kept shooing them off of the field. We were excited that it seemed guys were getting hits off Edinson Volquez from the beginning, and Madison was shutting down the Nats. Then when Crawford hit that grand slam in the 4th the place went nuts! It was so fantastic to be there with everyone screaming their lungs out and high fiving. The best part was that everyone was doing the “YES, YES, YES” chant that Hunter Pence did with the crowd during his speech after the last game of the regular season. We also noticed that at this point, Volquez, who had been feverishly chewing his gum while pitching, stopped chewing altogether (maybe he thought it was affecting his concentration??). And as loud as we were at AT&T Park at that point, the Pirates fans were silenced. We had heard so much about how loud and intense the fans there get in the post season, and how they can affect the play of the other team, but they lost their voices once we scored those runs. And the fun continued as Madison pitched a complete game shutout and my boys continued to add on runs. After the game was over, they flashed on the screen at AT&T “San Francisco Giants vs. Washington Nationals Friday, October 3rd at Nationals Park” and it finally hit me that the boys were really going on to the playoffs!! All that worry about the one game elimination was over! So glad that my sis and niece agreed to go with me as I wouldn’t have gone without them (and I think they had as much fun as I did!). And to think that Travis Ishikawa was the starting 1st baseman on Opening Day for the Pirates and he was starting Left Fielder for the Giants against the Pirates in the Wild Card game. Talk about coming full circle! Bet he’s pretty ecstatic about how it turned out, too!
Then we came back to reality. We had to now beat the Nationals, and in their home. The Nationals came in first place of all the National League teams, and we had the task of beating them 3 of 5 games. Yikes! Plus, since Madison, our ace, had pitched in the Wild Card game, he wasn’t available for the first game of this series. We would have to rely on Jake Peavy, a guy who also did a great job for us during the regular season, but who had never won a post season game in his career. Plus we were going against the Nationals ace, Stephen Strasburg. Double yikes!! I couldn’t watch this game as I was at work, but I was monitoring through MLB Sportscenter on my phone when I could (along with several of my coworkers who are also Giants fans). And there it was – we were ahead 2 – 0! Then by the top of the 7th, it was 3 – 0! WHAT??? And they did it by playing small ball. According to batting coach Hensley Meulens, “That was our approach. Not to be too big. Not to try to do too much. Just put the ball in play and see what happens.” That approach seemed to work against Strasburg, who struck out only 2 Giants hitters in the 5 innings he pitched, the lowest total ever in his career when he’s gone at least 5 innings. Jake Peavy pitched superbly, allowing no runs, 2 hits, 3 walks, and getting 3 strikeouts in the 5 2/3 innings he pitched. Then my boy, Hunter Strickland came in after Peavy had loaded the bases and managed to strike out Ian Desmond to end the inning. No pressure there! Unfortunately, in the next inning, Strickland gave up 2 home runs. Poor kid! But I love how Bochy doesn’t give up on his guys and allowed Strickland to continue, getting the next guy to pop up for an out. And then the bull pen held them and we got the win. We did it – we won one at their place! And Jake Peavy recorded his first post-season win! And the Dodgers choked that night behind Kershaw against the Cards! SWEET!!
Then yesterday, insanity ensued. The pitching matchup was Hudson vs. Zimmerman. Hudson had had some struggles near the last couple of months of the season, but his last appearance was pretty good. Zimmerman, on the other hand, had pitched a no hitter in his last regular season appearance. Can you say YIKES?? It was definitely a pitchers’ duel, and I was so proud of Tim for coming through for us and pitching his little heart out. Zimmerman was on fire as well. By the eighth inning, it wasn’t looking good for us as Zimmerman still had his stuff and Hudson had allowed one run, giving the Nats a lead. Then it happened. The small ball again. In the top of the 9th with 2 outs, Joe Panik walked. Doesn’t sound like much, but there were a couple of pitches during that at bat that were pretty tough to take. This visibly seemed to shake up Zimmerman, and he was taken out of the game and the bullpen took over. Next Buster singled on a line drive. Then Pablo “Clutch” Sandoval doubled down the left field line to bring in Panik. Tied game!!! Just when we thought we were out of it! Buster also came into home, but on a very close call (that Bochy challenged to no avail) he was called out. Thus began the bullpen duel between both teams, including a 6 inning stretch for Yusmeiro Petit (who did a fabulous job). The game just kept going on and on. Through an additional 8 innings, each bullpen allowed only 2 hits and no runs. I was watching the game with my mom, and I made it through the 16th, but then had to dash out and get something to eat. Luckily I got back right before the 18th started, cause that’s when Brandon “The Ender” Belt smacked one into the second deck to give my boys a one run lead. They were leading after all that!!! WHAT??? Even Brandon was cautious afterward, telling the guys in the dugout it wasn’t over yet. They would have to hold that lead for 3 more outs. And who came in to save the game? None other than Hunter Strickland, the guy who got out of a bases loaded situation the night before but proceeded to give up two runs the next inning. Talk about nailbiting! But the kid did beautifully. Learning from the night before that he shouldn’t depend solely on his 100 mph fastball to get guys out, he mixed up his pitches this time. Though he did walk one guy, he was able to close it down and allow everyone to finally call it a night. It was the longest game in MLB post season history EVER! AND WE WON!! WE WON 2 AGAINST THE NATIONALS!!! IN D.C.!! PINCH ME!
Moving away from the Playoff frenzy for a minute, I do have some other items of interest to share with you. Tim Hudson won the Good Guy Award, presented by the Bay Area Chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. The award recognizes one Giants player each year for his cooperation with the print media. Tim has a reputation for being approachable and for giving some interesting quips once in a while. Guess the frank comment he made the other day to the media would qualify. When asked about their chances against the Nationals, Tim responded, “Obviously they (the Nationals) have a talented group over there, there’s no question. They have some great pitching. But come playoff time, talent can take you a long ways, but what do you have between your legs? That’s going to take you real far. And I think we’ve got a group in here that really has some of that.” The Nationals took offense to this and the Washington media went nuts with it (tee, hee!), but Tim said he just meant that his team was pretty tough, and it was not directed at the Nats. Whatever. All I know is we’re ahead 2 games to none. Nuff said. Congrats on your award, Tim!
I have two articles to share with you. One is about Sergio Romo and his relationship with a girl battling cancer. Here you go. I had no idea this was going on during the 2012 World Series. Such a great story. Sergio’s earned a ton of points in my book for this one. And get the hankies out! There is also a great story about Kruk and Kuip, detailing how they are dealing with Kruk’s muscle disorder. Here’s the link. It’s very well written and gives you some interesting insight into Kruk’s struggle and the wonderful relationship that he and Kuip have. Enjoy.
I noticed a couple of things watching games recently. Travis Ishikawa has an interesting way of gripping the bat. The pinky of his top hand goes under the pointer finger of his bottom hand. You can kind of see it in this picture. Has anyone else noticed this? And does anyone know why he would do this? I’ve also noticed that Madison Bumgarner has something on his left ring finger that looks like a scar. I was wondering if it was a tattoo. I did some research and found out that indeed it is a tattoo, and the story behind it is great. Madison hates wearing jewelry of any kind, so instead of wearing a wedding ring, he had his wife’s name (Ali) tattooed on his left ring finger where the wedding ring would go. Isn’t that adorable? It’s the only tattoo he has. He had it done before Spring Training this season. It is interesting that he would risk getting a tattoo on his pitching hand, but I guess he thought she was worth the risk. AWWWW!!
Since the regular season is over, I guess I should give you an update on how I did with the Beat the Streak contest this year. I came in second to my brother Nick and my cousin Manny (they tied for the lead). This is the first time since we’ve been doing this that I didn’t win. I did make a valiant run for the gold during the last week of the contest, though. Up until then, my high streak was at 10 and the leaders were at 17. That week I was able to get up to 15, and if my 2 guys could get hits the next day, I would have tied for the lead. But alas, Jose Altuve failed me and I didn’t get there. Congrats to Nick and Manny! Would love it if we could get some more competition going next season. It’s really a fun game, and it’s free!
So my boys can potentially clinch the NL Division Series tomorrow. I like their chances with Madison pitching and since they’ll be back at home. I’m bummed that I can’t watch the game, but I’ll definitely be keeping track. I have to share something that I’ve been doing on Facebook. I’ve been using my status update to write the Giants letters. The first one came before the penultimate game of the season. It went, “Dear Giants, Win these next 2 games so that you have some momentum going into the Wild Card game. Just do it! I will be watching. Love, Carm.” They won that day. The next day, I thanked them by writing, “Dear Giants, Thank you. Nice job, Kids. And nice clutch hit, Brandon. One more tomorrow, please. Love, Carm.” They won that last game of the season. Then I wrote, “Dear Giants, Thanks again. I feel like you’re actually listening to me. One last thing – win on Wednesday. No one wants your post-season to end after one game (well, maybe the Pirates, but they don’t count). Love, Carm.” They pulled that one off. Then I wrote, “Dear Giants, You came through for us again! That game yesterday was fabulous on so many levels. Thank you. I promise not to be too greedy with this next request. Just win at least one in DC. I know after that last game you guys have the post-season fire in you, and you can do it. GO GIANTS! Love, Carm.” They exceeded my request, winning both games in DC. Today’s installment reads, “Dear Giants, You did it!! And you even surpassed my expectation, taking 2 instead of 1 in DC. Yesterday was another example of all my boys coming together and battling to get the job done. Thank you. I have another favor to ask: Take this series at home. You can do it either on Monday or Tuesday, but please do it in front of the home crowd. You can use the extra rest to prepare for the next stage of your October Quest journey. I’ll be watching/listening. Love, Carm.” We’ll see what happens. All I know is the letters seem to be working and somehow they are answering my requests, so I can’t stop now! I’ll take it all the way to the World Series! And I know they can do it! These guys have shown how tough they are – all of them! My boys can do ANYTHING!! GO GIANTS! WIN THE NLDS!!
Well, the boys made it into the post-season by the skin of their teeth. At least we’re in it, right?? Still not sure who we’re going to play as St. Louis lost tonight and Pittsburg is only behind them by a game. But we’re still in it. That’s all that matters. We still have a chance to continue the even-year streak. And Ginny and I still have the chance to go to another parade. It can happen.
Even though it didn’t really count for much as we will definitely be playing the Wild Card game on the road, I still enjoyed watching today’s game. Guess I just truly love baseball (and my boys of course). And even though the makeup of the team today was a bunch of kids, they still pulled it off. That’s got to count for something. I’m sure some of those kids will make it into the post-season lineup. Gary Brown got his first major league hit today in his first major league start – and it was off of a bunt! And aren’t the Giants fans amazing, giving the kid a standing ovation? That must have been so special for him. He also logged another hit during the game.
Hunter Strickland got his first win today (he also logged another first which you’ll learn about later). Don’t you love that kid?? I am so excited about the potential he has to be a closer in the near future and I’m looking forward to the help he’ll give us in the post-season. I love to watch his pitches – hard to keep your eye on them they are so fast! Bochy commented that he’s got a “great makeup.” He seemed like a really nice kid when I met him in Spring Training. I saw him signing autographs before the game again today. Always like to see a good one succeed. I heard from reading Andrew Baggarly’s blog that Hunter got doused with some not so nice liquids after his first major league save. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, “After he earned his first major-league save in the 13th inning of Monday night’s 5-2 win, rookie Hunter Strickland’s teammates shoved him into a laundry cart, rolled him into the showers and seasoned him with all manner of liquids: salad dressing, lotion, whatever” on the day before his 26th birthday. And I was actually at that game! The Dodgers were in shock when they saw his stuff. Love it! And to think that we got that kid off waivers from the Pirates two years ago when they designated him for assignment to make room for Jonathan Sanchez (The Walk King) on their roster. Sabean, you’re a genius!
Today the other Hunter, Hunter Pence, didn’t start for the first time in 331 games. It was his first day off since September 23, 2012. That was the longest active streak in baseball. How does the guy do it? According to Andrew Baggarly, “Bam Bam” Meulens asked Hunter how important the streak was to him, and Pence replied, “Winning a World Series is important to me.” He gave up the streak for the sake of the team. However, since he did pinch hit at one point during the game, his consecutive game streak is still going at 382. Did you see Hunter’s sermon the other day right before their playoff celebration? If not, here you go. Supposedly he didn’t know that live video cameras were rolling, and he was embarrassed that some F-bombs made it onto live TV. I love that guy. So glad he’ll be with the Giants for years to come. After the sermon video, there are some other videos of the post-game celebration for you to enjoy. I can never get enough of that stuff!
Madison Bumgarner won the Willie Mac Award on Friday night. From the press release sent by the Giants, “The award was established in 1980, in honor of legend and Hall of Famer Willie McCovey. Bumgarner will receive a plaque prior to tonight’s game. Engraved on the plaque are the words “Competitive Spirit, Ability and Leadership” to characterize the qualities both McCovey and Bumgarner exemplify.” Considering the amazing season Madison had and the leadership he brings to the team, the award is well deserved. Unfortunately, due to a serious infection in his legs, this was the first time in the award’s history that Willie was unable to attend the ceremony. Hang in there, Willie. We’re all thinking of you and hope to see you back at the park soon. And congratulations, Madison!
Just because I haven’t in a while, I decided to check in on how my boy Eli Whiteside is doing. He played in eight games for the Cubs this season in June, had 25 at bats, got 3 hits (one of which was a double), and 2 RBI. He was designated for assignment on June 22nd and cleared waivers on the 24th, and was assigned to the Cubs’ Triple A affiliate. At least he’s still playing baseball. Hang in there, Eli. I’m still pulling for ya!
I did my last spit count of the season today. It was very interesting, to say the least:
- Susac 15 (!!!)
- Sandoval 3
- Petit 1
- Wotus 1
- Meulens 1
- Peavy 1
- Strickland 1
- Casilla 1
- Grandal 13 (!!!)
- Venable 2
- Goebbert 1
- Umpire 1
Game Spit Master General = Susac at 15
That’s a total of 41 spits during a 2 hour and 35 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.8 minutes.
It was the battle of the catchers today as each logged the highest spit count for their team. Susac’s actual count was probably even higher as I didn’t realize how often he was lifting his mask to spit until a couple of innings into the game. I’ll definitely keep a closer eye on the guy next season (I’m assuming he’ll be Buster’s backup again as he rocked it this year). This was the second highest spit count by a player for the entire season! The highest will be revealed at a later date – I’m such a tease! If you can’t stand not to know, just scroll through my earlier blogs. Even I was surprised! Also, as I hinted at earlier, besides getting his first major league save today, Hunter Strickland logged his first spit as well. Sigh.
I had the privilege of attending three Giants games on the road with three of my siblings recently – two in San Diego and one in LA. Of course, we had a fantastic time (even though my boys lost more of the games than they won). I’ll detail our escapades in a future blog.
Tomorrow marks the last game of the regular season. It doesn’t really mean much for us, but I’ll be watching. Chris Heston will be making his first appearance as starter, and it will be fun to see what potential he has as a starter for next season. And of course, I always love to watch my boys any chance I can get. A win would be nice to get some momentum going into the Wild Card game. Come on, Boys! Keep fighting! Win one for the fans on Fan Appreciation Day! GO GIANTS! AND KNOCK OUT WHOEVER YOU PLAY NEXT WEDNESDAY!!! YOU CAN DO IT!!!! ONE MORE DAY!!!
…and the excruciatingly painful agony of defeat against the Dodgers. Talk about rollercoaster! One day I’m yelling “YEAH!” at the TV every 5 minutes, then the next day I’m turning it off so as not to get an ulcer. I don’t want to discuss today’s game (it was brutal enough to go through once), so let’s focus on yesterday. Weren’t my boys fantastic??? Madison pitched a stellar game, giving up only 3 hits and 2 walks in 7 innings while striking out 9 in his shutout of those jerks from LA. Juan Gutierrez finished them off in the last 2 innings, not allowing any hits and striking out 2. And what a hit fest it was for us! All the starters (except Madison and of course Angel because I picked him as one of my Beat the Streak picks for the day) got at least one hit. Brandon Crawford homered and Travis Ishikawa(bunga!) got a splash hit. Sweetness!
OK, maybe I should mention today’s game, especially since my sister, my brother-in-law, and my niece had the misfortune of being there in person. For you three, I’ll stick with the positives:
- Pagan started off the game with a double. I actually got to text “YEAH!” to my siblings at this point.
- Just about every September callup guy on the team got to play in this game. That’s a positive – they got some real practice.
- My sister et. al. got to witness Brett Bochy’s major league debut – the first time in baseball history a father manager handed the ball to his pitching son. And Bochy struck out Puig.
- The Dodgers didn’t score any runs in the innings that Erik Cordier and Chris Heston pitched (even though they scored at least 2 in the innings of the other pitchers – but I shouldn’t mention that).
- My niece got a cool Giants cup with a baseball lid as a giveaway.
- My brother-in-law got to experience AT&T Park caramel corn for the first time.
- Bruce Bochy wasn’t fired (my mom was calling for this once Timmy came into the game).
- I wasn’t doing a spit count, so I didn’t have to watch the entire game.
- Um…The Dodgers didn’t beat their all time record for hits in one game against the Giants (they only tied it).
See???? There’s always a bright side! If you have any other positives to share from today’s game, please list them in the comments. They will be greatly appreciated!
Moving on to other things, two of my boys made National news recently. Madison Bumgarner was named NL Pitcher of the Month for August. This is the second time this year he has received this honor. According to Alex Pavlovic, “Bumgarner went the distance in three of his six August starts and finished the month 4-1 with a league-best 1.57 ERA. He led the league in innings (46), WHIP (0.63) and strikeouts (56) while walking just three batters. Opposing batters hit .163 against Bumgarner in August. He struck out 12 more batters than the next best pitcher, Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw. On Aug. 26, Bumgarner nearly added a historic feat to the outstanding month, taking a perfect game into the eighth inning of a game against the Colorado Rockies.” Then yesterday he reached 208 career strikeouts, passing Ray Sadecki (206 in 1968) for the most strikeouts by a left-handed Giants pitcher in the San Francisco era. Also Buster Posey was named NL Player of the Week for the week ending September 7th. According to MLB.com, “Posey was Baseball’s top hitter last week, posting a .565 batting average (13-for-23) while leading the NL in hits, runs scored (8) and total bases (22). The 27-year-old also had the League’s second-highest slugging percentage (.957) last week and ranked among League leaders in on-base percentage (3rd, .593) and RBI (T-3rd, 8). On Tuesday, Posey’s season-high four RBI led the Giants to a 12-7 victory at Colorado. The Georgia native clubbed a pair of doubles and a home run in the contest. He continued to swing a hot bat into San Francisco’s weekend series at Detroit, marking a renewal of the 2012 Fall Classic. On Friday, Posey collected a pair of hits and scored a run in an 8-2 victory. In Saturday’s outing, the two-time All-Star went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and his 20th homer of the season in the Giants’ 5-4 victory. It was his fifth multi-hit outing of the week and second three-hit game in that span. With the impressive week, Posey raised his average to .309 for the season, which ranks fourth in the NL. This is his third career weekly award (also: July 11, 2010 and June 30, 2013).” Always love to see my boys make the National news. Way to go, Guys!!
I’ve got a new spit count for you (thankfully – from yesterday’s game). Here you go:
- Vogelsong 7 (no, he didn’t pitch – all from the dugout)
- Pagan 6
- Sandoval 6
- Posey 3
- Bumgarner 3
- Sanchez 2
- Arias 2
- Morse 2 (thankfully just seeds)
- Quiroz 1
- Righetti 1
- Perez 3
- Turner 2
- Guerrero 1
- Ramirez 1
- Puig 1
- Pederson 1
- Umpire 1
Game Spit Master General = Vogelsong at 7
That’s a total of 43 spits during a 3 hour game for an average of 1 spit every 4.2 minutes.
Vogey joins his buddy Tim Lincecum as the only pitchers to earn the Game Spit Master General Award while not even playing in the game. I was sad that Mike Morse got caught today, but thankfully his spits were only from him spitting out sunflower seeds (still yucky, but not as bad as tobacco or saliva). And as this was a Bumgarner start, I also did a snot rocket count – Madison logged 5 today.
Before this Dodger series began, I predicted the outcome of these three games. I figured with Madison and Huddy pitching the first two, we had a chance to take them, but a win against Kershaw on Sunday would be a long shot. I’m batting .500 so far. After the outcome of today’s game, I’m going to make a new prediction for tomorrow. I really think that as well as Petit has been pitching, he can pitch at least 6 shutout innings to the Dodgers and then the bullpen can maintain the shutout until the end of the game. All we have to do is score one run off of Kershaw. I think that is possible with the way the guys have been hitting (ignore today’s game). That’s what I’m hoping for. I want us to end this series one game behind the Dodgers, not three. I really think we can do it. Go out there and do it, Boys! DO IT!!! Give us a Friday night replay! GO GIANTS! TAKE THE SERIES!
I asked them to take at least 3 of 4 from the Rockies. They did that. I hoped they could take the series from the Brewers, thinking this was a long shot as the Brewers were in first place in their division at the time. They swept them. THEY SWEPT THEM!!! Is this sweet or what? If they can keep this up, we can win the division, especially if the Dodgers keep losing. But we can’t count on that – we just have to keep winning. And I think they have all the pieces now to make that happen. They have to keep taking series, from both good and bad teams. They lost the first one to the Rockies today (even though they battled to the end), but they can still take the series. They NEED to take the series. We need to win the division – wildcard isn’t good enough. It’s too scary – you play a one game to get in, probably using up your best pitcher to do it, then you are weaker when you start the division playoffs. Not acceptable. We have to win, and we can.
Why can we? Again, all the pieces have come together. We finally have a solid second baseman in Joe Panik. We finally have a solid backup catcher in Andrew Susac. We finally have a solid backup second baseman in Travis Ishikawa. Jake Peavy, Ryan Vogelsong, and Tim Hudson are finally getting some run support. All the starting pitchers have done an outstanding job lately, with 3 of them pitching near perfect games (Bumgarner, Peavy, and Petit). We’ve got Angel back, and boy is he back! All the bats have woken up. In that Brewers series, they scored a total of 31 runs! And that’s against a first place team! And now that they can call up guys from the extended roster, the relievers can get some relief. Today Hunter Strickland pitched, and granted he gave up some hits in his first big league game, but he didn’t allow any runs, and that is key. Plus I love that kid – I met him at Spring Training and got his autograph. He signed autographs for everyone who wanted one, and he was so cordial. And he’s built like Madison Bumgarner – he’s a stud! Plus he’s a cutie pie! Word is that we’ll see a lot of him this September – hope he succeeds in the bigs (even though he did appear to be chewing tobacco today – hoping it was just gum – will have to investigate further).
I was lucky enough to go to two of the Brewers games this weekend. Seriously, I assumed they would lose both (I hate to admit that): the first one because the Brewers’ starting pitcher (Mike Fiers) had an ERA below 2 (which we proceeded to raise!) and the second because I thought there was no way we could sweep that team. I should know better than to underestimate my boys! What a fantastic time I had. That one inning in the game on Sunday seemed to go on forever. But I felt so great that the boys were getting hits and moving guys along. Fantastic! Plus there were so many beautiful defensive plays that they made. Plus I almost witnessed a no hitter on Saturday. Talk about heaven for me!! My win-loss record for this season now stands at 7 – 4. WOOHOO!! Not bad!
Have to share this video of my boy Mike Morse that has been making its way around the MLB news. Here you go. He is such a crack up! I hope he didn’t hurt his hip seriously today so that he can be back in the lineup tomorrow. Love his energy.
I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned this, but I have another baseball trip planned with my siblings. We’re going to 2 Giants games in San Diego, then a Monday night Giants game in LA near the end of September. I am so excited, and with the way things have been going, I’m hoping the games will actually count for something. We’re only 2 games behind LA – we can easily make that up, even in the next few days as we are playing the Rockies and they are playing the Nationals. Yes we can! So go out there and take this series, Boys! You can do it! GO GIANTS!! GET AHEAD OF THE DODGERS!!
I was so excited this morning. The Giants were leading 5 to 0, and I was looking forward to blogging about how they had finally won a series against a good team and they’d have a happy flight back home to us. I thought my Vogey shirt was seriously working (I was wearing it during the game). Then my hopes were dashed, big time. How could that happen? 14 to 6?? Poor Vogey. He finally had a game where he got some run support, and it was still 6 to 3 when he left the game. What a shame. The only consolation is that the Dodgers are currently losing to the Mets 9 to 2. Not much consolation. Even if they lose, we’ll still be 4.5 games behind them in the West. Sigh.
There have been some rays of light for this team in the last few weeks, though (always try to remain positive). One such ray is Joe Panik. Man, that kid has risen to the occasion. He’s done a great job defensively at 2nd base, and he’s batting .307 (.447 in his last 10 games). Way to make a statement in the Bigs! And Travis Ishikawa, who came up to replace Brandon Belt at first, has been doing great as well. He’s been solid defensively and has hit .385 in the last three games he started. Plus he hit that important homerun today (well, it was important at the time). Even Andrew Susac has gotten more comfortable in the Bigs, hitting his first home run the other night. He’ll be so important in that backup catcher role. And lots of the bats of the veterans have woken up – including Buster, Pablo, and Mike Morse. And considering the losses of Belt and Sanchez due to concussion and Cain due to his surgery, they’ve actually come together quite nicely as a team and battled. But is it enough to make it to the post season? I’m seriously holding out hope that they can come through for us.
I was thinking the other day about the sacrifices that some guys make in order to play this game we love. I know – they make tons of money. But besides not seeing their families much during the season and the constant traveling, it’s kind of crazy the lengths they will go to to stay in the game. I was listening to an interview with Jeremy Affeldt on KNBR, and he was recalling a time when he couldn’t pitch because he was getting blisters on one of his fingers that were interfering with his delivery. He ended up having three layers of blisters on that finger. OUCH!!! It got so bad that he ended up having the nail on that finger surgically removed to solve the problem. The nail will never grow back. He basically maimed himself so he could continue to pitch. I find that fascinating. Pablo had the hamate bone in each hand removed so he could continue to bat well. Angel Pagan had one of his hamstring tendons removed – completely! According to Andrew Baggarly, “Pagan’s left hamstring tendon wasn’t just fixed, he said. It was removed completely, and the structure of his left leg was altered as a result. He now has two tendons instead of three, and he’ll have to do extra rehab and strengthening work for the rest of his career.” And how many pitchers have had Tommy John surgery in order to keep pitching? And what about Brandon Belt and Hector Sanchez who both experienced concussions that have put them on the DL probably for the rest of the season? To me, that’s pretty darn scary! It just makes you wonder how far a guy would go to keep playing.
To get your minds off today’s game I have a couple of fun videos for you. The first is an interview that Hunter Pence did on MLB.TV’s Intentional Talk. You’ll notice some guest appearances by his teammates. Fun! Here’s the link. Makes you love those guys that much more!!! They also talk about the crazy Pence signs phenomenon. Here’s an amazing video of a one-armed little leaguer. Check it out. What an inspiration that kid is! And do you think it was destiny for that kid to play baseball with that name?? Speaking of little league, did you get a chance to see the first girl to pitch a complete game shutout in her team’s first game of the Little League World Series? She’s Mo’ne Davis, and the kid is amazing! Check her out. What a great moment for women in sports!
On a personal note, I entered the Call Kuip’s Shot contest that Comcast put on. You had to video yourself calling Duane Kuiper’s only career homerun. Here’s my call. I ended up being chosen as a runner up winner! I won a signed Duane Kuiper bobblehead. Special thanks to my sister for filming the insanity and to my niece Rosey for being my teleprompter. That was so much fun!
I’ve got a new spit count for you. We’ve got a new spitter in our midst! :
- Murphy 11 (! – all seeds)
- Sandoval 5
- Susac 5
- Pagan 3
- Petit 3
- Bochy 2
- Lopez 1 (seeds)
- Meulens 1 (seeds)
- Zimmerman 2 (didn’t start spitting until the 8th inning)
- Werth 1
- Williams 1
- Desmond 1
- Thornton 1
- ? 1 (one of the coaches)
Game Spit Master General = Murphy at 11
That’s a total of 38 spits during a 2 hour and 40 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.2 minutes.
Murphy = Mike Murphy, the equipment manager for the Giants. Kruk and Kuip were talking about him while they showed him in the dugout, and he was eating sunflower seeds. I can’t get totally upset with him as it was seeds and not regular spit, but unfortunately for him it still gets him into my count. And if not for all the seed spitting, this would have actually been a pretty low spitting game. Another unfortunate result from this game was that Andrew Susac logged his first spits, and the boy spits a lot. I’m going to have to watch him more closely because he lifts his mask a lot while he’s catching, but I couldn’t always tell if he was spitting (usually this is a sign of spit). It’s also curious how the Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmerman only started spitting at the end of the game. What changed? Did he save up all that spit ‘til the end? Was he getting nervous? Or tired? Does being tired make you spit? So interesting.
So the boys are on their way home to start a series against the Rockies tomorrow. Time to take advantage of a team that has been struggling. The Rockies are currently in last place in the West, so we need to take at least 3 of the 4 games we’re playing against them. I’m throwing that out there to my boys. This is what we need to do to take the division from the Dodgers – beat weaker teams. And forget about the wildcard – that’s too scary. We need to win the division. We can do it with this team. They can do it. Yes, they can! GO GIANTS!!!! BEAT THE ROCKIES!!!
The non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, yet no trades were made by the Giants besides the Peavy trade. Thank goodness at least that one was made considering the news on Matt Cain. It’s sounding like he will be out the rest of the season. He has bone chips in his elbow that have been causing inflammation, and it’s been recommended that he have surgery to remove them. There’s no real reason for him not to have the surgery now as he’s not going to be able to pitch effectively with his elbow bothering him anyway. Plus Andrew Baggarly made the point that if he has it now, he will hopefully be available for the next three seasons, seasons where he will be paid $20 million each. It’s predicted that if he has the surgery now he would be available for Spring Training next season. The Giants want to get the most bang for their buck, and personally I think Jake Peavy is pitching better than what we’ve seen Matt do with his injury this season anyway, so it puts them ahead for the rest of the season. On a positive note, at least Cain’s elbow ligament seems to be in good shape, so there’s no Tommy John surgery in his foreseeable future. I also like Peavy’s spunk – did you see how animated he gets when he pitches? Plus he’s definitely easy on the eyes and so freakin’ excited to be on our team and to work with Bochy again. Check out this interview Mindi Bach did with him when he got to SF. How can you not love that guy??
So what do you think about Sabean’s inactivity before the non-waiver trade deadline? There was so much speculation as to who we could acquire to fill in at second and in the outfield. I guess the cost was too high. Hopefully the guys on the team will realize that management is putting its trust in them to come through and get it back together so we can make it into the post season. The fact that Brandon Belt and Angel Pagan are scheduled to rejoin the team in the next few days is definitely a plus. And there may still be deals in the future where we can acquire guys off of waivers. Who knows what Sabean has in store??
There’s been a lot of movement on the roster besides just the Peavy acquisition. Marco Scutaro was put on the 15 day DL with lower back strain on July 25th. So frustrating that we can’t have him regularly in the lineup. Just shows you what an important part good health plays in maintaining a strong, contending team. That same day Ehire Adrianza went back on the DL with a strained hamstring. They were replaced with Dan Uggla and Tony Abreu in an attempt at getting something going at second base. We know how that went – awfully! Uggla played in 4 games, had 11 at bats, no hits, one walk, and 6 strikeouts. He also committed 3 errors. Not much magic there. Abreu had 4 at bats in two games with no hits. This resulted in Uggla being designated for assignment and Abreu being sent back to Fresno. Epic fail. Hector Sanchez went on the 7 day DL with a concussion on July 26th. That poor kid takes so much abuse in the head when he catches Timmy. Sanchez was replaced with cutie Andrew Susac from Fresno. Adam Duvall was optioned to Fresno on July 29th. I liked that kid and wish he had gotten more of a chance to show off his stuff, but I guess they had to clear the way for Belt coming back. Tyler Colvin was designated for assignment (spit counts will make a drastic drop now), and Juan Perez has made a comeback up to the bigs. Travis Ishikawa has also come up with the big guys to cover for Belt. He played yesterday at the end of the game, filling in for Morse. Glad to see him back – Ishikawa played first base for the Giants from 2006 to 2010, earning a World Series ring in the process.
A couple of youngsters were added to the team yesterday – Matt Duffy and Jarrett Parker (Age 23 and 25 respectively), both coming from the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Both had impressive records there, so it will be interesting to see how that translates to the big leagues. Duffy will be covering 2nd base and Parker is an outfielder. Guess the Giants are willing to try anything to get the team back in shape. I remember both these guys from Spring Training – Duffy because he looks like he’s about 12 and Parker because he hit an amazing grand slam at Scottsdale Stadium over the tremendously high center field wall. Hopefully we’ll see some of that power in SF. Duffy already had his first start at second yesterday, and he did impress, both offensively and defensively. He got his first big league hit, an RBI single. He also turned a double play and made a beautiful line drive catch. Welcome, Matt and Jarrett! Maybe some youth is the secret to turning this team around.
For the second year in a row, Hunter Pence received the Giants Heart and Hustle Award. The award is given annually to one member of each team to honor players who demonstrate passion for the game and best embody baseball’s values, spirit, and tradition. That is the definition of who Pence is. It is the only award in Major League Baseball that is voted on by former players. Congratulations, Hunter! So well deserved!
I guess I’m not always on the forefront of Giants news. I learned the news of Mike Krukow’s ailment from some national broadcasters as I watched the last Giants/Dodgers game. I was texting my siblings at the time, and they said they all already knew about it. How embarrassing!! They referred me to Alex Pavlovic’s article about it in the San Jose Mercury news. Kruk suffers from the degenerative muscle disease inclusion-body myositis, which causes progressive weakness in muscles in the wrist, fingers, thigh, and foot. He was diagnosed eight years ago, but kept it private until now. It’s not fatal, but he will eventually not be able to walk unassisted. When asked by KTVU for an interview for a story they were doing on him, he said he didn’t want the attention focused on him. Just like Kruk. He just wants to try and maintain as normal a life as possible. I know he’ll have the support of every single Giants fan. Hang in there, Kruk. We all love you!!
I’ve got two new spit counts for you. The results should surprise you:
- Sandoval 3
- Posey 2
- Adrianza 2
- Scutaro 2
- Hudson 1
- Gutierrez 1
- Duvall 1
- Ruf 5 (all into batting glove)
- Howard 3 (didn’t even play this game!)
- Rollins 1
- Byrd 1
- Asche 1
Game Spit Master General = Ruf at 5
Giants Game Spit Master General = Sandoval at 3
That’s a total of 23 spits during a 2 hour and 45 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 7.2 minutes.
- Duffy 5
- Niese 3
- d’Arnaud 2
- Black 1
- Umpire 1
Game Spit Master General = Duffy at 5
That’s a total of 12 spits during a 2 hour and 5 minute game (Vogey pitched a gem!) for an average of 1 spit every 10.4 minutes.
Duffy plays in his first game and wins the spitting crown for the day. Granted the cameras were on him a lot as it was his debut, but still. This is the first time ever only one player on the Giants has been caught spitting. So interesting that these 2 games had some of the lowest spitting averages ever. I’ve definitely noticed a downward trend in spitting recently, and I think it may correlate with the death of Tony Gwynn. Will be interesting to see if this continues. I hope so!!
I went to the first game of the recent Pirates series with my sister. We had the best seats I’ve ever sat in – Premium Lower Box between home and third. We had a great time as usual, but too bad the boys couldn’t win it for us. My season record now stands at 5-4. Gotta at least stay above .500!! We’re off to a good start against the Mets, and we need to sweep them since they have a worse record than we do. Have to keep doing that! Hopefully Belt and Pagan coming back will make an impact, and the new energy of the kids will spark something. We are still in this!!! Always faithful! GO GIANTS! SWEEP THE METS!!
I went back and read my blog from yesterday and realized I was really ticked off. Today is much better. They won the first one against the Phillies, and it wasn’t that close. This is the kind of game I love to watch (even though it was getting scary there for a while). They lost the lead a couple of times, but they got it back. That’s my team. That’s what they need to keep doing – keep on battling, especially against weak teams like the Phils. Not the greatest outing by Vogey, but in his post-game interview he mentioned that he has been battling a cold, so I’m going to let him off easy for this one. It seemed like everyone was contributing to the win tonight. And wasn’t it great that the two guys who got called up today, Duvall and Kontos, were the stars of the game? Duvall with his lead taking homer and Kontos with his win, coming in with guys at the corners but getting out of that inning run-free and then pitching another beautiful one after that. Keep it up, boys!
There’s always something to burst my bubble, though. Matt Cain ended up going on the DL today with elbow issues. We all knew something wasn’t quite right with him, and now we know what it was. Cain claims it’s a new thing, but Bochy says he’s had issues with bone chips ever since Spring Training. It’s something he might have to deal with surgically in the off season because apparently they can continue to cause inflammation. For now he’s on the DL, which was retroactive to July 11th, meaning that if he’s OK he could pitch Sunday against the Dodgers. Tomorrow, Petit will pitch for him. Hope they can pull of that game because Petit has been kind of iffy as a starter of late. Get better and come back soon, Matt!! We need you!
In other news, the Giants signed Dan Uggla to a minor league contract today in an inexpensive attempt at putting a bandage on their second base woes. He was picked up off waivers from the Braves. Tim Hudson (Uggla’s former teammate) may have swayed the Giants into taking a chance on Uggla. I don’t get this move at all. I know he’s a Giant now, and I should embrace him, but he really stinks. This season, he had been batting .162, and last season he batted .179. How is that supposed to solve the problem of run generation??? Also, the guy’s batting stance is really kooky – check it out. Check out that front leg dance he does. This video doesn’t even do it justice – it’s so much more goofy than this. Will be interesting to see how he does in the minors and if he actually sees any time with the big boys. Welcome to the team, Dan, but I definitely have mixed feelings about you!
So my husband enlightened me with some baseball trivia the other day. Yes, my husband, the “are you watching another game” guy. Everyone knows that Abner Doubleday invented baseball, right? Well, IT’S ALL A LIE!!! This lie was perpetuated for years. The myth is that Doubleday, a decorated Union Army officer, invented baseball in 1839 in Cooperstown. But it was later discovered that Doubleday was at West Point in 1839. Also references to baseball date back to the 18th century. It is now accepted that Alexander Cartwright came up with the rules that are the basis for the modern game in the 1840s. So there. You can toss that bit of trivia out and impress your friends. Thanks, Dan!
I have a new spit count for you from tonight’s game. Here you go:
- Posey 4
- Colvin 4
- Sandoval 2
- Kontos 2
- Bochy 1
- Vogelsong 1
- Casilla 1
- Brown 11
- Rollins 2
- Byrd 2
- Howard 2
- Asche 1
Game Spit Master General = Brown at 11
Giants Game Spit Master General = Tie between Posey and Colvin at 4
That’s a total of 33 spits during a 3 hour and 30 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 6.4 minutes.
So glad that I can go to bed tonight with happy Giants thoughts in my head. Hope they can keep this momentum going and sweep the Phillies. They have the ability, even though they are missing key guys. Take advantage when you can! GO GIANTS!! KEEP ON WINNING!!
Due to a freak accident, Brandon Belt will be placed on the DL tomorrow, probably the 7-day concussion DL. The plan is for Adam Duvall to meet the team in Philadelphia to replace him. According to Andrew Baggarly, the incident occurred during batting practice on Saturday in Miami. Belt was looking to center field for a throw when a ball came at him from second base (from either Joe Panik or Marco Scutaro) and hit him in the head. Tests today confirmed a concussion. Belt played in the game on Saturday for three innings, even hitting a double in the second inning and scoring a run. But in the third he complained of an intense headache and nausea, so Bochy pulled him out.
Can you believe this luck??? He had just come off the DL with his broken finger and had started contributing and now this. How often do you hear of something this freakish happening?? Almost as bad as Cain cutting himself with the knife while making a sandwich. However the league knows to take concussions seriously. And it’s an issue that hits home with the Giants. Catcher Mike Matheny (now manager for the St. Louis Cardinals) had to end his baseball career due to too many concussions. The 7-day DL was actually instituted in 2011 to address concussions, since teams were reluctant to put a guy who had sustained a concussion on the 15-day DL if they thought he could be back in 7 days. So it’s good that Brandon will get the time off he needs to recover, but it stinks that this whole thing happened at such a key point in the season when he is needed so badly. And he won’t be in against the Dodgers next weekend!! Take it easy, Brandon, and get lots of rest. You will definitely be missed.
Belt wasn’t scheduled to play today anyway since the starting pitcher for the Marlins (Brad Hand) is a lefty, so we can’t blame the loss today on that. Kudos to Buster for stepping up and tying the game with his two run double, and Hunter got two hits, but it’s sad that other guys couldn’t step up and get things going. I thought for sure they would win this one with Timmy pitching, but it just goes to show you that you never know what you’re going to get with this team (sad to say). I’m happy that at least they took the series, but they really should take advantage of playing teams with records below .500 and sweep them. That’s the only way they are going to be able to compete against the Dodgers. Win series and sweep weak teams. We’ll see later this afternoon if we can hold on to our spot at the top of the West after today’s loss (Lose, Dodgers, LOSE!!).
I did a spit count today while watching the guys lose (sigh):
- Scutaro 5
- Sandoval 3
- Posey 2
- Sanchez 2
- Meulens 1
- Hudson 1
- Arias 1
- Colvin 1
- Lincecum 1
- Hechavarria 3
- Valdespin 2
- McGehee 2
- Hand 1
- Umpire 6
Game Spit Master General = Scutaro at 5
That’s a total of 31 spits during a 2 hour and 40 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 5.2 minutes.
I have to applaud Timmy for only getting caught once during a game where he was the starter. All the umpire spits came from home plate umpire Tony Randazzo. Tony, you’ve earned the opposite of applause.
Now it’s off to play four games against the Phillies, another below .500 team. I’m asking for a sweep. I know we’ve got injuries to deal with, but this team should still be able to do it. Everyone’s got to step up and contribute. Do it for the fans that stand behind you!! GO GIANTS!! BEAT THE PHILS!
Were you as shocked as I was that day? Not only did Buster hit a grand slam, but so did Madison. It was the first time in MLB history that a starting pitcher and catcher got grand slams in the same game. And it’s the second grand slam this season for Madison. AND HE’S A PITCHER!! That boy has a good chance to win the Silver Slugger award this year. What a way to take the series from the D-Bags and go into the All-Star Break! WOOHOO!! Hopefully they can take that momentum into the second half of the season and get that beginning-of-the-season magic back.
Because of those grand slams, I learned the definition of “battery” as it applies to baseball. It’s a term for the pitcher and the catcher. Some new knowledge for me that I thought I’d pass along. And thanks to Brandon Crawford’s blog, I also learned about the hierarchy involved in catching fly balls. You know how you see guys run toward each other and call the other guy off when making a catch? There’s actually a method to this madness. Here’s how it works with respect to fly balls according to Brandon: “The center fielder has priority over everybody — outfielders and infielders. Outfielders have priority over infielders. If there’s a popup between the OF and the IF, it’s an easier play for the OF. The shortstop has priority over all infielders. If the ball’s near second base and the shortstop is calling for it, he has priority. If it’s in shallow left field behind third base, and I’m calling for it, Pablo backs off. Infielders have priority over the catcher. And everybody has priority over the pitcher. A pitcher would catch a fly ball only if it’s a low pop-up that only he can reach. You don’t see it very often.” I wondered how they don’t crash into each other more often. Always learning here!
While watching a game last week, a hit and run play was put on. My hubby asked me what that actually meant. I kind of knew (the guy on base starts running assuming that the batter is going to connect with the ball), but I wasn’t totally sure so I decided to research into it. Basically it’s what I mentioned – a sign comes from the coach, both players know it’s on, the base runner starts running as soon as the pitcher commits to throwing to the plate, and the batter makes contact with the ball. But there’s so much more involved, like the best situations to use it and where the ball should be hit. I found a great article explaining the hit and run play – you can find it here. I learned a lot from it, and next time I’ll be able to impress hubby with my amazing knowledge! Maybe I’ll dedicate a blog to it in the future.
Gregor Blanco made an interesting comment in one of his recent blogs. He questioned the idea of making heroic plays, like catches where an outfielder crashes into a wall. He made the point that this isn’t always a good idea. If you get injured on the play, you might be out of commission for several games, so is it really worth it? Sometimes you might think a guy is not hustling on certain plays, but maybe he’s just using his self-preservation skills and keeping himself in the game. You have to weigh the importance of one play vs. losing a guy for several games. Interesting perspective.
Wishing a big welcome back to Marco Scutaro. Who would have thought at the beginning of the season that it would take over half the season for him to make his first start?? But I’m so glad he has. He’s going to take it easy at first and only play a few days a week, but I’m sure his presence is going to make a huge difference in the lineup and in the clubhouse. So happy I’ll be seeing your great at bats again! And I love that he’s using AC/DC’s Back in Black as his walk up music!
Bruce Bochy made a change in the pitching rotation after the All-Star break. It is now Bumgarner, Hudson, Lincecum, Vogelsong, and Cain. It used to be Bumgarner, Cain, Hudson, Lincecum, and Vogelsong. Bochy claims that Cain is fine and the change wasn’t made due to any illness, but that’s a pretty major change and it makes you wonder. Glad that Timmy has moved up in the order since his recent starts have been amazing. And congrats to Tim Hudson on being named to the All-Star roster as Madison’s replacement. Very well deserved, and a nice 39th birthday present for him!
On the spit front, I’m immensely excited to report that we may be seeing a lot less spitting going on in the near future during baseball games. The players are thinking about banning chewing tobacco during games. This will be discussed when they negotiate their next labor contract in two years. According to the players’ union leader, Tony Clark, several members quit “cold turkey” after the recent death of Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn due to oral cancer. So it appears Gwynn’s outspokenness about the dangers of chewing tobacco is already having an impact. You can read more about this here. I love the fact that the initiative on this is coming from the players themselves. One interesting note is that there is a rule already in place that states players cannot use chewing tobacco during pre- and post-game interviews, but in a post-game interview that Juan Gutierrez gave in June that I linked to in my blog (see “Rocked by Rockies, Socked by White Sox, Bitten by Snakes), he obviously has a huge wad of tobacco in his mouth. Guess they haven’t been enforcing this one, but maybe they will now. That will definitely be a day for me (and all the other spit haters) to celebrate if this all comes true!
On that note, here’s the latest spit count for you. Are these results just a coincidence?:
- Scutaro 2
- Posey 1
- Lincecum 1
- Belt 1
- Hill 3
- Inciarte 2
- Miley 2
- Parra 1
Game Spit Master General = Hill at 3
Giants Game Spit Master General = Scutaro at 2
That’s a total of 13 spits during a 2 hour and 45 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 12.7 minutes.
THIS IS INCREDIBLE!!! That is the lowest spit average EVER RECORDED!!! Can we attribute this to the effect of Tony Gwynn’s passing? In honor of an amazing man, I am going to say yes. Let’s see if this trend continues in the weeks to come. Keeping my fingers (and everything else) crossed! Maybe the goal of a spit-free game is within our grasp!!
So it’s a fresh beginning tonight as we start a series against the Marlins. The guys should be refreshed and rested after their break and ready to cruise on into the second half of the season with a new intensity. We’re only a game out of first place in the West after all, and I know we can rally the troops and get out there and win. Do it for your loyal fans, Guys! We’re still behind you through thick and thin, and we know the thick is coming back! GO GIANTS!! GET THAT MAGIC BACK!!