How Do You Solve a Problem Like Casilla?

HE BALKED IN THE WINNING RUN!  HE SKIPPED OFF THE RUBBER!  HE DIDN’T GET AN OUT!  HE WASTED BUSTER’S HOME RUN!  WHAT THE HELL?  OK – I’ve tried to be patient.  I love the guy, and I know he’s a very talented pitcher.  But I think we can all safely say that he shouldn’t be the closer anymore.  If we have any hope of taking it all the way this season, Santiago Casilla should no longer be the closer.  Any time he comes in, everyone holds their breath, then screams.  And my mom’s blood pressure goes up.  And the tenth inning yesterday was just downright pulling-your-teeth-out-one-by-one torture.  In the post game, even Duane Kuiper mentioned, “The trade deadline is in two weeks.”  If he’s saying it, you know it’s a big deal.  Fans have mentioned that Sergio Romo should take over the closer job, but that’s not a solution either.  He had that job, and he couldn’t handle it either.  We need a proven closer.  I’ve been trying to put some sort of positive spin on this thing, as Giants Fan Carm likes to accentuate the positive, and the only thing I’ve come up with is that this will start a fire under Bobby Evans to finally take action and get someone ASAP.  Not sure who it will be at this point, and kind of afraid of who we’re going to have to give up to get someone fabulous (key prospects Christian Arroyo, Tyler Beede, and Phil Bickford have been mentioned), but it’s reached the point where I think even the players want some sort of move to happen.

One other positive from that game – I learned a new baseball strategy from Duane Kuiper that I had never heard about.  He said that in certain situations, his manager would encourage him to drop a pop fly.  For example, if there was a runner on first, you could drop the ball and throw the guy out at second (because he wouldn’t be running thinking the ball would be caught) instead of getting the batter out.  You couldn’t do this if it was an infield pop fly because the infield fly rule would come into play, but you could if it was in the outfield.  This comes in handy if the guy on base is a faster base runner than the guy at bat.  Crazy!  He also mentioned that even though this play was only put on rarely, he didn’t like to do it because the crowd wouldn’t know he had dropped the ball on purpose and think he was a loser.  Ha ha!  Jon Miller mentioned that they don’t use this play anymore.  Well, at least we don’t think they do – who knows!

We can’t lose today’s game.  We can’t be swept by the Padres, of all teams.  That would give us horrible mojo going to the east coast.  And I want them to be happy over there so that I can witness some good games and not be at the mercy of the Yankee and Red Sox fans.  We need a happy flight.  Johnny’s pitching today, so I’m pretty sure they’ll win since he’s motivated to erase that horrible All Star start from the minds of his fans.  He can do it.  My boys can do it.  They just need to get more than a 3-run lead early!  Eliminate the Casilla factor!  Will be interesting to see if Casilla will even be used in that role now after yesterday.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  BURN THE PADRES’ BROOM!

Cruising Into the Second Half

I always hope for a perfect game from the start when I’m watching a baseball game.  Whether it’s from my living room or from the stands, I always have that hope in the back of my mind.  If a game is perfect after even three innings, I’ll text my siblings that we have a perfect game going.  I know this is silliness, but I think perfect games, even no-hitters, are pretty magical.  Just think of all the perfection that has to come into play, both from the pitcher and from the defense behind him, for this rare event to occur.  And one of my biggest baseball dreams is to be in attendance for either a perfect game or a no hitter.  My brother and two of my nieces have had the fortune of experiencing that thrill, being at AT&T Park for Tim Lincecum’s last no hitter.  Well, I may have gotten as close as I’ll ever get this last Sunday as I got to watch Madison throw a near perfect game in person.  I went with my hubby, and we had great field level seats between home plate and first.  Had a perfect view of my boy, and paid homage to him wearing my Bumgarner jersey.  By the 5th inning, you could just feel the tension and excitement building.  Then when Gregor dropped that fly ball (the sun was wicked that day – don’t feel bad, Gregor) and was charged with an error, the perfectness went away.  You can’t have a perfect game with an error, even if it’s not your fault.  Still, the no hitter was on the table.  With every inning he got out of cleanly, the excitement rose in the park.  There were deafening screams and cheers with every out.  He got a standing ovation with every walk back to the dugout.  Then, with one out in the eighth, Jake Lamb hit one to right field and made it to first.  Dreams shattered.  Still, Bum was met with overwhelming and well deserved applause.  After that, he was able to complete the game, allowing only one walk and no other hits.  This was the 4th one-hit game Madison had logged, an accomplishment in itself.  Still waiting for that perfect game or no hitter, but this game was indeed magical nonetheless.  And I’m sure Madison will get that no hitter, if not perfection, someday.

Regarding the seats we had (Section 110), I have to put a warning out there.  This season, the Giants extended the netting at the backstop in order to protect people from flying bats or balls.  The problem is that there is a pole to support the netting, and it can block your view depending on where you’re sitting.  Unfortunately Dan’s view of the batter was blocked by said pole.  Not sure I will sit in those seats again.  Better off being a little closer to first base in sections 109 or 108.  Angel and I sat in 108 last Tuesday, and those seats were perfect – well, except for the fact that there was a pigeon hanging out in the rafters above us.  Luckily he missed us!  Guess being covered doesn’t always provide protection from aerial attack!

Did anyone else watch the homerun derby?  I know a lot of people just ignore it, but there’s just something about seeing a guy hit a homerun.  I always love it.  And this year, Giancarlo Stanton was unbelievable!  He made up for us not being able to watch Madison blast some out of the park.  Stanton hit a total of 61 homeruns during the competition, smashing the previous record set by Bobby Abreu in 2005 of 41.  Five of his homers went 490 feet or more, the longest reaching 497 feet.  Incredible!  And so much fun to watch.  Definitely could have done without Chris Berman’s “BACK, BACK, BACK” calls, though.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out this hysterical remix of his calls.  Sounds like he’s channeling a chicken!

My brothers told me that the Giants have some sort of jinx going on with the All-Star game.  They rarely do well.  Unfortunately, my boy Johnny Cueto fell victim to this during this outing.  How did our hero have two guys get knocks off him during that game?  And both were teammates of his last season, Eric Hosmer and Salvador Perez of the Kansas City Royals.  Think they have some inside info on how to hit off of him?  Or was it just the excitement and distraction of everything around the All Star game that got to Johnny?  The Giants are having him skip his next scheduled start on Saturday, giving him an extra day to recoup from that insanity.  But I’m sure he’ll be back to his regular self in his next start.  Bum didn’t pitch because he had just pitched that gem on Sunday, but he did get to enjoy all the festivities nonetheless, including being booed by all the San Diego fans (at least they booed the Dodgers players, too).  Buster was the starting catcher and got to work with Johnny at the beginning of the game (making Johnny’s rough outing even more strange – he was pitching to his home boy!).  It was nice to see Buster out there representing us, but the only offense he could muster was a walk.  At least it was better than Brandon Belt, who actually made an appearance in the eighth inning but flew out to left field.  Not a reflection on Brandon, though, because the pitcher he matched up against, Yankees reliever Andrew Miller (who happens to be on the Giants reliever radar), was totally dealing.  Even the broadcasters were commenting that they were surprised he could even connect with one of those pitches.  Not a very good showing for my boys.  Then they had to keep bringing up the fact that the only grand slam ever allowed in an All Star game came off of Giants pitcher Atlee Hammaker.  Sheesh!  Poor Giants!

Speaking of Brandon Belt, that kid was so thrilled to be going to his first All Star game.  The Giants front office put out an aggressive ad campaign to get Belt in during the final-vote runoff.  That campaign included this video, one of my all-time favorite Giants productions.  Be sure to check out the website, too – it’s real and hysterical!  Anyway, to thank the front office for all their hard work, Brandon and his wife, Haley, bought pizza for the entire front office, 34 in all.  He was constantly thanking them whenever he was being interviewed about the All Star game, and kept saying he wouldn’t be there without them.  He also wouldn’t be there without his wife.  If you haven’t already, you have got to read his latest blog installment.  It brought me to tears.  In fact, I just reread it, and I’m crying again! Lends some insight into the support team behind every player.  Here’s the link.  Very glad he’s appreciative of her.

Sounds like we’ll be getting some key players back in the lineup and on the mound soon.  Hunter Pence could start a rehab assignment as soon as Saturday, and Joe Panik may start as early as Sunday.  The expected dates for return to the bigs for the two are July 25th for Hunter and July 22nd for Joe.  YAY!  Matt Duffy, on the other hand, is not expected to return soon.  He’s still recovering from an injured Achilles, and the Giants are giving him more time to get back.  Matt Cain is also due to return soon.  He allowed 2 runs over 5 2/3 innings in a rehab start in Sacramento.  He’s scheduled to have one more rehab start and then possibly return to the team July 19th.  It’s really amazing that with all these significant losses to the roster, the boys have been able to continue to compete at a high level, garnering the highest win total in all of baseball at this point in the season (57 and 33).  Love my boys!

I have another installment of “Angel’s Question” for you.  Angel was wondering if, when a manger pulls out a pitcher and he walks to the mound to take the ball, is he required to do that, or is it done out of respect for the pitcher?  I looked it up, and the manager is not required to take the ball away from the pitcher.  I guess that’s just baseball tradition.  When a new pitcher comes in, it is not typically announced to the home plate umpire (unless there is a double switch).  In this case, MLB rule 3.08 applies.  It states, “If no announcement of a substitution is made, the substitute shall be considered to have entered the game when, if a pitcher, he takes a position on the pitcher’s plate.”  No mention of the manager initiating the switch.  I think it’s nice that the manager comes out, though, and it definitely shows respect.  Thanks for another great question, Angel!

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it on here yet, but come Monday I’m embarking on a Giant adventure.  My two brothers, my sister and I are going to be following the Giants to New York and Boston, plus we’ll be attending a game in Philadelphia just to cross it off my list of parks.  I am SOOOOOOOOO excited!  So if I don’t update this for a while, you’ll know what I’m up to.  Look for my sister and I on the broadcast of the July 22nd game vs. the Yankees.  We’ll be sitting in the Finnerty’s section with all the other crazies.  Can’t wait!

Madison takes the mound again tonight in San Diego to begin the second half of the season.  At least he and the other Giants All Stars didn’t have to travel far!  I’m sure he’s going to be fabulous tonight, and considering he’s going against the Padres, who knows what magic might happen!  Keep this amazing streak of happiness going for us, Boys!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!

Keeping It Together

The boys continue to hold it together while dealing with key players out of the lineup.  At the halfway point (after 81 games), we had 50 wins.  If we can keep this up, that puts us on track to win 100 games this season.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?   And we’re still 5 games up on the Dodgers.  Plus even though I actually like Clayton Kershaw, it doesn’t hurt that he’s out with back issues.

Even the backups are starting to get hurt!  Ramiro Peña has been out with a sprained ankle the past few games, an injury he sustained while crashing into Mac Williamson as they both went for a pop up in the outfield during the third game in the A’s series.  Luckily he was back today to pinch hit, getting the game-winning RBI.  Way to come back big, Kid!  That game against the A’s was unbelievable!  Those were not my boys out there!  I think some A’s fan had a set of Giants voodoo dolls or something.  And poor Mac Williamson.  It just was not his night.  Besides crashing into Peña (which, by the way, was not Mac’s fault – the outfielder has first dibs on those plays, and he called Peña off), he also hit into a double play with the bases loaded.  Then there was that homerun ball that was in the pocket of his mitt that he just couldn’t hang onto.  It would have been an amazing catch if he had held onto it, especially since he had to jump so high to get it and time the jump perfectly, but luck was not with him that evening (voodoo dolls, I’m telling you!).  Then, to top it all off, he slid into second trying to break up a double play, but since he slid past the base, he was called out as well as the batter.  This is because of the new rule they are calling the “Tejada Rule” where you have to be able to touch the bag after you slide into second.  Oh, and how ironic was it that Ruben Tejada, appearing in his first Giants game, the guy who the rule is named after, was in the on deck circle witnessing the event as it all went down!  Poor Ruben!  And poor Mac!

I was watching the game Friday night against the D-Backs (which we won – YAY!) and noticed that my boy Johnny Cueto was acting kind of strange.  He normally takes very little time between pitches, but this night he kept walking off the mound and wandering around trying to get focused.  He just looked really uncomfortable.  I found out why.  First, he had a pretty bad stomach bug!  He kept grabbing his stomach in between pitches.  I can’t believe he was able to pitch that well when dealing with something like that.  But he was also dealing with an extremely sad event.  He had just learned that his beloved pony, Popeye (named after the restaurant), had died in the Dominican Republic.  Aw!  Double whammy for the poor guy, and he was still able to pull off a win.  So sorry for your loss, Johnny.  I know how much you love horses.  And thanks for the heads up on this, Andrew Baggarly.

Mike Krukow made an interesting comment during the Cueto start on Friday.  He mentioned, “I’d like to know at what point in Johnny Cueto’s life he came up with the shimmie.”  I’d like to know, too.  He was shimmying a lot during that game.  How do you decide that should be part of your repertoire?  If I ever meet him, I’ll have to ask.  Just keep shimmying, Johnny.  We all love it, and it’s working!

I have a new installment of “Angel’s Question” for you.  We were watching the game last night together, and she asked if I knew how players from other countries (like Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, or Japan) are able to play in the United States and stay here.  I didn’t know, so I did some research.  Found out that there are two paths they can take.  They can either apply for a green card to become a permanent resident or they can apply for a visa.  There are actually specific visas for athletes.  The visa allows them to be temporarily employed in the United States.  The team serves as the official sponsor for the player.  Established players are typically issued visas that allow them to remain in the states for up to 5 years, while minor league players usually receive visas for 1 year.  Individual teams are primarily responsible for obtaining visas for their players, though MLB works closely with the state department if any issues should arise.  Getting that visa is not always an easy proposition, especially if the athlete has had a brush with the law while in the United States.  Every season, you hear about foreign players arriving late to Spring Training due to problems with the visa process.  For example, just this spring, former Giant Juan Uribe had to return to his home in the Dominican Republic midway through spring training in order to resolve some issues with his visa.  So there you go.  Thanks for the question, Angel!

I’ve got two new spit counts for you.  A prediction came true, and sad to say one of my heroes let me down:

June 29th

Giants:

  • Gillaspie 5
  • Tejada 4
  • Belt 3
  • Parker 3
  • Pagan 2
  • Peavy 2
  • Crawford 1 (NOOOOOO!!!)
  • Kontos 1
  • Stratton 1

A’s:

  • Vogt 32 (SEE???)
  • Hendriks 4
  • Reddick 2
  • Axford 2
  • Semien 1
  • Lowrie 1
  • Valencia 1
  • Dull 1 (another unfortunate name)

Game Spit Master General = Vogt at 32 (new season record)

Giants Game Spit Master General = Gillaspie at 5

That’s a total of 66 spits during a 2 hour and 45 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 2.5 minutes (new season record).

As I mentioned in my last blog, Stephen Vogt spits A LOT, so I wasn’t surprised by this result.  At least he didn’t exceed his record of 34 from last season.  I did notice something interesting while watching him, though.  He can’t spit through his mask any more (he did last season).  I guess they redesigned the catcher’s mask so that it has padding in front of your mouth.  He had to lift the mask every time he spat.  Didn’t seem to slow him down much.  Even more concerning that Vogt’s plethora of spits was the fact that Brandon Crawford logged even one!  I’ve sent that guy Thank You For Not Spitting certificates before!  So disappointed!  I also observed him spit once yesterday (in the dugout) and again today (on the field after making an amazing play).  What is this insanity?  Is it those voodoo dolls again?  Josh Reddick’s spits spread out like a fan.  Not sure how he does that.  And Jarrett Parker spat three times in succession, catching the last one on his beard.  So totally nasty!  Also Ruben Tejada made his debut on the list this evening.  Sigh.

July 1st

Giants:

  • Cueto 17
  • Gillaspie 9
  • Parker 4
  • Green 4
  • Belt 2
  • Casilla 2
  • Posey 1 (seeds)
  • Tejada 1
  • Bochy 1

Diamondbacks:

  • Castillo 5
  • The Goldschmidt 4
  • Bourn 2
  • Hale 1
  • Miller 1
  • Segura 1
  • Delgado 1
  • Lamb 1
  • Herrmann 1
  • Gosselin 1

Game Spit Master General = Cueto at 17

That’s a total of 59 spits during a 2 hour and 50 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 2.9 minutes.

My boy Johnny Cueto “won” again, but at least he didn’t pass his record for the season of 26.  Gotta give the guy a break as he had a tummy ache that day.  Maybe spitting was helping him feel better.  Grant Green logged his first spits as a Giant today.  Every spit was launched into his batting glove.

The All Star roster will be announced on Tuesday.  If at least Buster and Brandon Crawford aren’t on there I will be very ticked off.  They’ve both played like All Stars so far this season.  Would be nice to have a couple of other guys in there, too.  I’m pretty sure Madison and Johnny will be invited as well.  We start a series against the Rockies tomorrow.  Not gonna jinx anything, but hoping we can at least take the series.  The kids have continued to come through for us, so I have high hopes.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  MAKE IT A HAPPY 4TH OF JULY WEEK!

It Wasn’t All Bad…

It’s all my fault!  The Giants lost the last two days because of me!  I posted at the end of my last blog that the A’s stink, and that must have ticked them off!  What has gotten into them?  Actually, they had just taken a series against the Angels 3 games out of 4, and I would imagine that gave them some momentum coming into the Bay Area rivalry.  I’m sorry, Giants fans!  It’s all on me!

Seriously, what is going to happen with Jeff Samardzija?  He’s had some issues of late with guys making solid contact off of him.  I wonder if maybe he’s forgotten the advice I’m sure Dave Righetti gave him at the beginning of the season.  Somehow he was doing better then.  And the bullpen got lit up yesterday (except for Josh Osich and Derek Law).  This was strange because they had been doing so well lately.  Do you think that rivalry really means that much to the A’s that they were just more motivated to win?

And I’ve been really trying hard not to go there, but we really need to do something about the Casilla situation.  He just doesn’t seem to consistently be able to handle the closer role.  I think it’s too much pressure for him.  I bet Bobby Evans is extremely busy right now trying to find someone who would be a little more dependable as it’s looking like we have a good shot at making the playoffs.  Sorry, Santiago, but you’re driving everyone NUTS!

I was at the game yesterday.  I mentioned the $10 View Level tickets in my last blog, plus my brother got a free parking pass.  Cheapest AT&T Park experience for me in a long while.  Even though we lost, I still really enjoyed that game.  Of course, going with my family (my brother along with my other brother and by niece who tagged along with us) is always a fun thing.  And my niece and I were able to get on TV while they were doing the CSN broadcast from Willie Mays Plaza!  Our heads were right behind Tim Flannery!  Our minute of fame!  There were a ton of A’s fans there, and you really had to appreciate what loyal fans they are what with the horrible things Billy Beane has done to that team.  Tough to stay loyal when the players are constantly changing.  There was even a crowd of yellow in the right field bleachers, complete with a drummer!  That’s some loyalty!  There was one sitting behind us, along with his father who is a Giants fan.  He was a crackup!  He kept spouting trivia to his dad that wasn’t true!  He celebrated a lot when the A’s would do something good (which is to be expected – and he wasn’t really obnoxious), but then he also kept it real and constantly was cutting down the A’s players as well.  So funny!  We laughed a lot.  The part I really enjoyed was how even though the pitching crashed, the offense kept coming back and scoring runs.  I’m sure this was a huge ego boost for a lot of our players, especially the kids.  Five guys had multiple hit games, plus Conor Gillaspie went 4 for 5 and Brandon Crawford had 5 RBI.  And those back-to-back homers by Jarrett Parker and Denard Span revived the overwhelmed crowd at the end of the game.  I like offense, and this team is going to need it if they are to survive all the injuries they’ve been plagued with.

Speaking of injuries, want to send a shoutout to Joe Panik, who was pulled from the lineup right before the game yesterday due to concussion symptoms.  He had been struck by a pitch on the back of his helmet 10 days previous in Tampa Bay.  He passed three days worth of concussion tests at the time, but concussions can be tricky.  I’m guessing he has had other symptoms all along that he was hiding.  Hope now he can get some rest and get over it.  We all know how long it took Brandon Belt to overcome his concussion last season.  Don’t want to have Joe out of the lineup that long, but would rather that than have him seriously injured.  Take it easy, Joe, and please let the coaches know how you are really feeling.  Actually, LISTEN, BOYS – BE HONEST WHEN DISCUSSING INJURIES!  It is better in the longrun for you and your fans.

I’m definitely going to do a spit count tonight.  At the game last night, I saw Stephen Vogt catching for the A’s and was reminded that he can spit up a storm.  In fact, he logged the most spits by a non-Giant last season, expelling 34 in a single game, the majority of which exited THROUGH HIS CATCHER’S MASK!  I see he’s catching tonight, so that game should be spitacular!

I’ll leave you with a little nugget I found on Gregor Blanco’s blog today.  If you haven’t read his blog, you should.  Here’s the link.  Today’s addition is extra specially heartwarming because he discusses how great an experience it was to work with kids in the Challenger Divisions of Little League Baseball.  Also in his blog, he mentions that each team is running someone for president this season.  He just happens to be the candidate for the Giants.  Check out his campaign video.  So much silliness!  And definitely better looking!

So I think since we lost two in our house to the A’s, we need to take two from them in their house.  It’s only fair.  Jake and Madison (if they get run support like last night) can do it.  We just need the starters to go deep so the bullpen can get some rest.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  GIVE THE GIANTS FANS AT OAKLAND COLISEUM SOMETHING TO CHEER ABOUT!

I Like It!

The wins just keep coming!  The boys are still doing fine with key players out of the picture.  As Kruk mentioned on KNBR this morning, you hope in that position that they can maintain at .500, but you never expect something like this.  They can’t seem to get a win for Madison though (lost his last two even though he pitched beautifully), but hopefully that is just a fluke.  At this moment, they are tied with Texas for the most wins in all of baseball, and they’re 7 ½ games ahead of the Dodgers.  Who would believe they could do this with Pence, Cain, Romo, and Duffy out?  I was at the game yesterday, and I felt like it ended so perfectly for this winning streak that they’ve had.  Tied in the ninth inning, Ramiro Peña hits a double, then Conor Gillaspie brings him in with a walkoff double to win the game.  So much contribution from the substitutes.  And of course, the regulars are strutting their stuff as well, especially Angel, the Brandons, and Joe Panik.  Beautiful.  Happy time to be a Giants fan.

I went to the game yesterday with my brothers and my niece.  So much fun.  Torture, but fun.  Every time we got a lead, the Phillies would match it.  But we won out in the end.  And it’s always a fun experience being with my family, eating pizza, seeds, and licorice, and enjoying the play of my boys.  During the game, the Phillies pitcher hit three of our guys.  Then my boy Johnny Cueto hit one of their guys.  In a post game interview, Johnny said it was an accident, but my no-longer-naïve baseball self knows that it was done on purpose to show that Cueto cares about his teammates, an act that I still find pretty silly.  You don’t need to hurt someone on the other team to support your own guys.  And obviously the other guy didn’t do it on purpose because one time he hit a guy with the bases loaded.  Mike Krukow agreed that Cueto probably did this on purpose and didn’t see anything wrong with it.  Guess pitchers have to stick together.  But it also brought up another interesting issue.  Both Cueto and Krukow mentioned that after Cueto hit the guy, the strike zone magically shrunk for him.  Pitches that had been strikes earlier in the game were now being called balls.  It’s like the umpire was teaching Cueto a lesson.  And that could explain why Cueto’s game was off after that.  I would imagine that would really mess with your head.  All this could be resolved if they used technology to call strikes and balls (I’m going to keep harping on this until they do it!).

During the game, I was chatting with a kid sitting next to me about baseball.  I love chatting people up about my love of the game when I’m enjoying one at the park.  After the Phillies pitcher had hit his third batter, he asked me if there was a limit to guys you can hit before you are ejected from a game.  Good question, Kid!  I didn’t know the answer, so I asked my brother, Nick.  He said that there was no limit – that it was based on if, in the umpire’s opinion, there was intent to hit the batter or not.  That’s why the Phillies pitcher could do it three times and not get a warning, but Johnny got a warning after one time – the umpire assumed Johnny did it in retaliation.  I guess you would hope a guy would be pulled from the game before he hit too many guys as each time he’s giving up a walk.  I decided to pursue this further, and did some research on what the record is for the most batters hit by a pitch in a game.  The record for a single game is a tie at 6 between Ed Knouff (April 25th, 1887) and John Grimes (July 31st, 1897).  The record for a single inning is 3, and there are too many players who have achieved this to list.  Plus several of those guys did it in consecutive order!  Kind of crazy.  I’d be freaking out if I was next at bat!  At least that record shows you that they would probably be pulled from the game before the number gets too high.

While doing this research, I came across an interesting article that discusses how intentionally throwing a ball at a player is a crazy idea.  You can check it out here.  Be sure to click on the links to some incidents that started feuds leading to hit batters.  So much silliness!  I pretty much agree with what the article is saying.  If you think about it, it is equivalent to a felony.  And the penalty is not very severe.  What are your thoughts?

If you missed Gillaspie’s walkoff on Sunday, here you go.  And if you did catch it, who doesn’t love to relive a walkoff?  My favorite part of this video – Kuip mentioning that Bochy calls Gillaspie “Mr. Happy”.  I’m dying!  The most ironic nickname ever!  I love Conor, but he’s always so serious!

More fun times with my boys:  Did you see the end of the game on Friday night?  You know how the outfielders always meet and jump up and chest bump each other?  Well, at the end of that game the outfielders were Angel, Denard, and Gregor.  And Angel and Gregor had a few tricks up their sleeve.  They planned ahead of time not to jump, and Denard ended up jumping by himself!  Too funny!  Apparently Denard already has plans for revenge.  Love this stuff!  I tried to find the video to share with you to no avail.  I’ll keep looking.

I guess Timmy’s luck at the plate was short-lived.  He got lit up by the A’s in his second meeting with them last week, giving up 4 runs and lasting only 3 innings.  Sigh.  Will be keeping an eye on him.  Hope he can do much better than that next time.

The Giants start a 4-game series against the A’s tonight – 2 games in San Francisco and then 2 in Oakland.  I’m going to the game tomorrow night with my brother, Nick.  We were able to get $10 View Level tickets from the mom of the kid I spoke with at the game yesterday (they won them and couldn’t go – SCORE!).  I’m hoping my boys can continue with their winning ways as the A’s stink right now.  Come on, Boys!  Keep it up!  GO GIANTS!  BEAT THE ATHLETICS!

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!!

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