My boys continue to rack up the awards over the break. Three of them received Silver Slugger Awards for the 2015 season. This award is given to players who stand out offensively at their position, and it’s voted on by the MLB managers and coaches. Buster won the catcher award for the third time, Madison took home the pitcher award for the second time (I pretty much figured he had it in the bag, so this was no surprise to me), and Brandon Crawford won a silver bat to go with his gold glove, winning the short stop award for the first time. The Giants were the only MLB team to take home three of these awards – just goes to show you that we no longer just have to depend on pitching and defense to win games! Congrats, Guys! In addition, Buster also won the 2015 Wilson Defensive Player of the Year at catcher. Unlike the Gold Glove, this award is determined solely by statistics using sabermetrics (the award was created in 2012). Buster’s gonna have to buy a new house just to store all those trophies!
The team won its own award, being named the 2015 recipient of the MLB Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence. The Giants were recognized for the Junior Giants program. Commissioner Manfred said, “I congratulate Larry Baer, the Giants Community Fund and the entire Giants organization for the continued success of the Junior Giants program, which is a perfect example of our commitment to reaching young people both inside and outside the game. For many years, the program has used the popularity of our sport to help change thousands of young lives. The program teaches healthy habits, improves literacy and prevents bullying. I thank the Giants and all of our Clubs for their year-round efforts to reach out to their respective communities.” Nice job, Larry. Makes me proud to be a fan.
Ginny was able to breathe a sigh of relief this week as Brandon Crawford was given a 6 year, $75 million contract which includes a no trade clause. This buys out two years of arbitration and four years of free agency. So happy the Giants did this quickly – that guy is so precious to the future of this team. Love the fact that so many of my boys will be around for a while. And Ginny – the jersey’s good for at least a few years longer! Interesting that he also got a $1.2 million signing bonus that vests over the six years. When you’re making that much dough, why is that necessary?? That boy and his kids and his kids’ kids are set for life already! He mentioned in an interview that since he knows he’ll be on the team for a while, he’s looking at buying a home in the East Bay. Probably wants to be close to the folks. Very happy for the kid – definitely well deserved. Still waiting to hear what will happen with Brandon Belt, another guy who is arbitration eligible and important to the team.
In personal news, Andrew Susac got married on November 15th. Congratulations, Andrew! He’s also been one of the few being mentioned in trade rumors during the Hot Stove. Grant Brisbee mentioned in an article that Susac would be the perfect trade fodder to acquire right-handed pitcher Shelby Miller from the Braves (thanks for giving me a heads-up on this, Nick). We need pitching – they may need a catcher to start over Christian Bethancourt. Brisbee also believes Susac would not be enough, and we’d probably have to trade additional prospects. However the nice thing is we’d have Miller under control for 3 years with that trade. Giants are going to have to do something in the pitching arena. Still holding out for Greinke (I can dream!). At least he didn’t win the Cy Young this year, so maybe there’s still hope we can get him for a reasonable price (yeah, right!).
Speaking of pitching, the Giants added 8 minor league prospects to the 40-man roster today, all of them pitchers. The five right-handers are Kyle Crick, Chris Stratton, Clayton Blackburn, Ian Gardeck, and Jake Smith and the three left-handers are Steven Okert, Adalberto Mejia, and Ty Blach. Guess they’re really taking the pitching thing seriously.
In weird news, former Giant Aubrey Huff is trying to launch a comeback after being out of baseball for three years. In an interview on CSN, Huff said he left originally due to anxiety and depression issues, but he’s put that behind him and feels like a new person. He’s been working out and thinks he’s still got what it takes to play. He’s going to try to get on a Winter Ball team and hopes to try out for a team during Spring Training. My opinion on this: The guy will be 39 years old next month. He missed baseball after he left, like anyone who leaves does. I don’t see it happening. But I’ll wish him luck anyway cause he’ll always be one of my boys.
In family news, my brother and my niece went to a book signing with Amy G. They bought her book Smarty Marty’s Got Game and had her sign it. My brother said she was very gracious and spent a lot of time speaking with my niece. Love her! He also ran into one of the Comcast broadcasters there, Mindi Bach. I love her, too! He chatted with her for a long time and said she was really friendly. She lives in San Carlos and her kids attend the same school as my niece. Mindi is the one who asked Amy G. to come to the school for the event. All around awesome experience for them.
Somehow I never posted the last spit count of the season, so here you go:
- Williams 3
- Parker 3
- Noonan 2
- Meulens 2
- Byrd 2
- Cain 1
- Frandsen 1 (spat out gum)
- Pagan 1
- Hall 1
- Perez 1
- Blanco 1 (seeds)
- De Aza 1
- Tomlinson 1
- Descalso 2
- Bergman 2
- Blackmon 2
- Reyes 2
- Dickerson 2 (into batting glove)
- Parker 1
- Weiss 1
Game Spit Master General = Tie between Williams and Parker at 3
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 (lowest spit average of the season!).
They waited until the final game of the season to back off on the spitting, logging the least amount of spits per minute of the season on this day. I’m wondering if that’s because there were so many kids playing in that game – look at that list! Whatever it was, I’ll take it. I want to give a special thank you to Jeremy Affeldt who took the gum out of his mouth with his hand instead of spitting it out onto the field during this game. A true gentleman who will be sorely missed.
Sorry I keep delaying that final spit analysis that you’ve all been waiting for, but I promise it will be out before next season! Waiting for the Hot Stove to heat up and any news whatsoever on that front. Will try to post as soon as I hear anything. Would love to know what’s going on behind closed doors right now. They sure are keeping hush hush about it. Gosh, I miss baseball. Until next time, GO GIANTS!
So happy to report that Brandon Crawford was chosen as the 2015 Rawlings Gold Glove winner at shortstop for the National League. The winner is chosen by votes from managers and coaches combined with statistical analysis in collaboration with the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR – as in “sabermetrics”). Crawford beat out Andrelton Simmons of the Braves and Adeiny Hechavarria of the Marlins. Finally this guy is getting some national attention. Brian Murphy of KNBR mentioned that this could be due to the fact that Crawford amassed 21 homeruns last season, a personal best that probably turned some national heads. Brandon mentioned that his All-Star status this season may have also contributed to his cause. Regardless, the honor is well deserved. Check out some of the moves that won this kid his award. Crawford gave kudos to Bench Coach Ron Wotus for helping him reduce the number of errors he made this season by encouraging him to play smarter and not throw the ball if the odds were slim of making an out. Nice job, Coach! Something I never thought of that Brandon mentioned comes into play if you want to be a good fielder is your footwork – when you throw, you have to make sure to set your feet and direct your momentum toward the base. He sure has figured out how to excel at this. To honor his accomplishment, his wife baked him a cake in the shape of a glove frosted in gold. Isn’t that just too adorable?? Congrats to you, Kid!
In other Giants news, the Giants declined the 2016 contract options of Nori Aoki and Marlon Byrd. That would have been $5.5 million for Aoki and $8 million for Byrd. This doesn’t mean that they won’t be back for sure – just that they won’t be back for that much. When asked about it, Bobby Evans said that the timing was tough with all the things they need to accomplish this winter. One of the biggest of those things is finding at least one star-caliber pitcher, so I’m glad at least Evans is thinking that way. Will definitely be sad though if these two guys don’t come back. Both made significant contributions to the team last season. I enjoyed the energy both brought to the team. We’ll just have to wait and see.
And on the new player front, there has been an awful lot of talk out there about the fact that the Giants may actually make a run for some of the high priced free agent pitchers out there, including Zack Greinke and David Price. They haven’t been willing to spend the big bucks since being burned in the Zito deal, but they may be just desperate enough to do it this winter. Wouldn’t it be fabulous to take Greinke away from the Dodgers?? And what a weapon he would be to add to our arsenal. Would have to learn how to spell his name without looking it up and would also have to get used to looking at his scary eyes, but I’m willing to do anything for my team. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we get someone big. With Madison as the only known solid starter on our pitching staff, we definitely could use a big boost. Hoping, hoping, hoping the big bucks come out!
I heard some scary news the other day that Brandon Belt is still experiencing concussion symptoms. The guy’s too young to be dealing with this! Distressing to think that this could put his career in jeopardy, not to mention his quality of life. Definitely keeping the kid in my thoughts and request that you do, too.
I had a few odds and ends left over from the end of the season that I never put out there. A couple involved Matt Duffy. Here’s an article in The Player’s Tribune written by Matt about finally making it to the big leagues and what it was like. The guy can write! So nice to hear how encouraging the veterans are to the new players. Definitely could explain how the young kids can do so well so quickly in the Bigs. Duffy’s dad also put together a photo collection for The Player’s Tribune that chronicles Matt’s life in baseball from the time he was a young lad, including some key moments in his career. The senior Duffy is an extremely talented photographer. I especially love his action shots. You can find those pictures here. Enjoy.
I learned something interesting near the end of the season about Jake Peavy. Have you ever noticed that when guys catch for him, they don’t just put that fluorescent tape on their nails to make their signals more readable. They also cover their fingers in black paint to make that tape even more visible. Here’s a picture of what it looks like. Why? Because Jake Peavy has terrible vision. In fact, he’s legally blind without corrective lenses. Even with corrective lenses, the best he can see is 20-40. In low light situations, it makes it extremely difficult for him to see signals. Considering this, it’s pretty amazing how well the guy pitches. You kind of need to see the target to hit it!
I hadn’t written about my boy Eli Whiteside in a while, and then a few weeks back I came across this video where my boy manages to find a way into the spotlight once again. He participated in the McCovey Golf Classic back in September, along with several other Giants alumni including my BFF Bill Laskey. How does Eli manage to stay in the spotlight all the time? Oh well, it makes me happy. And this video is just reminding me of what a terribly good looking man he is. Whew! Also Tiny Felder is one of my new favorite alumni. And Barry, get over yourself! And if you don’t care as much about Eli as I do, watch the video to get one more glimpse of my hero, Willie McCovey. So happy he’s still able to attend the tournament that bears his name. What a gem.
While searching for the previous video, I stumbled across this one. A present for Ginny. The Crawfords visit Pixar. Definitely an 11 on the cuteness scale.
I’m thinking about adding a feature to my blog next season entitled “Angel’s Question.” My friend Angel is a huge Giants fan, and every once in a while she’ll ask me a Giants-related or baseball-related question that I can’t answer. So just in case you’re wondering what the answer is as well, I’ll answer them here. My first installment in this series answers the question, “Whatever happened to Justin Maxwell?” The guy was doing really well there for a while up in the Bigs, then he magically disappeared and faded into oblivion. I looked it up, and although he initially showed promise and was amazing in the outfield, he spiraled into a hitting slump that forced the Giants to designate him for assignment on September 1st. The addition of Alejandro De Aza to the team may have forshadowed this move. Interesting to note that Maxwell played in 100 games last season – that’s way more than I thought. He is currently a free agent. He’ll probably get picked up next season as I’m sure he can make a positive contribution somewhere. Thanks for the question, Angel! Keep ‘em coming!
I still have to compile the spit count data from last season and crown the overall Spit Master General for 2015. Hoping that will be done within the next week – I know you’re all waiting with baited breath! Until then, I’ll keep my ears open for any news on roster changes (and that Greinke acquisition!). Watching the Brandon Crawford highlight video made me realize how much I miss watching baseball. Have to be patient. Until next time, GO GIANTS MANAGEMENT! FIND US SOME PITCHING!
I am steaming mad right now! There is so much wrong with what happened between Chase Utley and Ruben Tejada yesterday during game 2 of the NLDS between the Mets and the Dodgers. And unfortunately, as I was rooting against the Dodgers, I saw the whole bloody thing unfold live. I’ve even been having a Twitter conversation with Dave Benz about it and ranting in my Giants Facebook groups. I’m ticked!
For those who haven’t seen this disaster yet, here’s the video (the second one on this page). I’ll summarize: Chase Utley was at first. Kiké Hernandez was on third. The Dodgers were down 2 to 1 at this point with one out. Howie Kendrick was at bat and hit a line drive to center field, Daniel Murphy fielded it and then threw to Ruben Tejada at second to get Utley out. In an attempt at breaking up the double play, Utley slid into Tejada, causing him to flip and making it impossible for him to get the batter out at first. Utley was called out, but Hernandez came in to tie the game.
After the play, it was obvious that something was wrong with Tejada. He had suffered a fractured fibula as a result of Utley taking him out, and he had to be driven off the field. But the insanity didn’t end there. The Dodgers had the play reviewed, and since Tejada never actually touched second base, Utley was called safe. The interesting thing is that Utley never tagged second either.
So what is wrong with this picture? So many things! First, let’s talk about the fact that Utley was subsequently called safe because Tejada didn’t touch the bag. My old friend the neighborhood play should have come into play here. Tejada doesn’t have to touch the bag so that he can get out of the way of the runner easily while trying to make the double play. This play is called all the time, so he should expect that it will be called this time. But no, the umpire ruled that the neighborhood play was not in effect because Murphy’s throw pulled Tejada off the bag. That’s a load of excrement! Watch the video! Imagine you’re Tejada. He could have easily tagged the bag, but he was trying to get out of the way of the guy who was barreling at him at full speed trying to take him out. So if they had called the neighborhood play like they should have (even though I hate it), Utley should have been out.
Wrong thing number 2: How could Utley be safe when he never even touched the bag? The claim for this one is that once he was called out, the ball was dead, so when the play was called into question, it was the umpire’s duty to decide since Tejada never tagged the bag if Utley would have been safe or not. This part of the equation would be mute if they got the call right in the first place.
Wrong thing number 3: Ignore those last two. There is a rule that the umpires could have evoked that applies to the situation where the runner purposely tries to blow up the fielder at second. MLB rule 6.01 (6) states “If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate. In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner.” Did he interfere with the fielder? Yes. He broke his leg. It’s kind of hard to throw to first with a broken leg. Was the intent to break up the double play? Well, it sure wasn’t to get to second base as he slid after the bag and he never even touched it! If the umpires had gotten it right and followed this rule, not only would Utley be out, but Kendrick would be out as well and no runs would have been scored that inning. And the outcome of the game for the stinkin’ Dodgers may have been a little different without the momentum they got from that inning.
I’ve been looking at what people are saying about this on social media, and it’s interesting that for the first time I can remember, instead of all the players coming out in favor of Utley, it’s pretty much split right down the middle. You usually get all the macho guys saying, “That’s just baseball,” or “He wasn’t trying to hurt him, just playing hard,” but some guys like Justin Upton and Jose Reyes believe it was poor judgment on Utley’s part. Even the guys in the booth that night had differing opinions about whether it was right.
So should we all vilify Chase Utley? Even though I hate the Dodgers (and Chase Utley), the answer is no. Guys do this kind of thing all the time. They are even taught to do it. Why? Mainly because they are allowed to get away with it even though there is a rule against it. The fault lies with the umpires who rarely if ever evoke this rule. Plus the rule is still open to interpretation by the umps. We want these amazing players in the game making fantastic plays, not out of it. Maybe a better rule needs to be written. They did it for the catchers. Maybe it’s time to do it for other infielders. If there was a better rule, maybe Ruben Tejada would be in the starting lineup on Monday instead of watching the game from his couch.
As I’m writing this, I just read that Chase Utley is being suspended for games 3 and 4 of the Division Series as a result of all this. Joe Torre, MLB Chief Baseball Officer, stated, “After thoroughly reviewing the play from all conceivable angles, I have concluded that Mr. Utley’s action warrants discipline. While I sincerely believe that Mr. Utley had no intention of injuring Ruben Tejada, and was attempting to help his Club in a critical situation, I believe his slide was in violation of Official Baseball Rule 5.09 (a) (13), which is designed to protect fielders from precisely this type of rolling block that occurs away from the base.” The purpose of the rule is “to penalize the offensive team for deliberate, unwarranted, unsportsmanlike action by the runner in leaving the baseline for the obvious purpose of crashing the pivot man on a double play, rather than trying to reach the base.” That’s refreshing. Maybe finally players (and umpires) will take note. Utley can appeal and I’m assuming he will, meaning he’ll still be able to play until they make a decision (and who knows when that will be). But at least it’s a start. Good job on taking action, Torre.
So many guys have lost playing time and even their careers to this kind of thing. I found out recently listening to Mike Krukow on KNBR that even our own beloved Duane Kuiper was a victim of this as well. In 1980, while playing second baseman for the Cleveland Indians, Kuip leaped to avoid Tom Paciorek who was sliding into second base. Kuip came down on his right leg and it gave out. Surgery was required to repair cartilage and ligament damage. He ended up being out for more than a season because of it, and when he did come back he had to wear a bulky brace on his right knee. Kruk said if you asked Kuip, he’d say the guy who slid into him wasn’t doing anything wrong. That’s how those guys are. But they deserve to be protected.
OK, coming down off the soapbox now. I would love to hear what you people have to say about this. Comments are always appreciated. Will continue to watch the Dodgers and root for their demise. Plus the season awards should be coming out soon, so I’ll let you know if any of our boys are honored. I have a bunch of other goodies, but I’ll save them for later as once again, this has turned out much longer than I expected! Until next time, GO GIANTS!
It’s over. They made a valiant effort at the end, staying in it up until 5 games before the season ended, even with all those injuries, but it’s over. Maybe there is something to this odd year curse. Am I sad? Not really. It was a great season, with lots to be happy about. And there were so many great memories and moments to savor. I found so much joy watching these guys since back in Spring Training that it’s tough to be sad. And in the spirit of ending the season on a high note, I’ve decided to make a list of all the great things that came out of this season that will carry forward into next season:
- Have to start with the most important in my book, Matt Duffy. This kid didn’t even begin the season as a starter, and had rarely played third base, but he took over for Casey McGehee when we needed him and earned his spot in the lineup. He can hit, he can play his position, and he’s got stamina. Not only is he a super talented kid but he’s a great interview and has a great sense of humor to boot. Just imagine what next season will be like with him there from the beginning. Who’s Pablo Sandoval again?? By the way, congrats on capping off a great season by winning the Willie Mac Award, Matt. Definitely well deserved.
- Kelby Tomlinson. The kid who saved us when Joe Panik went down. Another kid who is amazing both defensively and offensively, plus he’s got super-human speed (did you see that inside-the-park home run yesterday??). I’ve heard that he’s going to get practice in the outfield during the offseason so that he can be a super-utility guy next season. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
- Jarrett Parker. The kid with the bat. As long as he can get better defensively before next season, it will be hard for Bochy to keep that power out of the lineup. And kids are much cheaper than going elsewhere. We’ll see what happens, and I’m looking forward to seeing him at Spring Training again.
- Matt Cain. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at his outing today. He seemed like he really had it together, like the Matt Cain we used to know. A healthy Matt Cain next season to take some of the pressure off Madison would be lovely.
- Mike Leake. I think we didn’t really get a good look at him this season because of his injury, but I like the fact that he can go deep into a game (allowing the relievers some rest), he can defend, and he can hit. And he wants to come back. Will be interesting to see if the Giants give him that chance.
- Josh Osich. The guy who said that if he didn’t make it to the bigs this season, he would have become a forest ranger. The lefty who pitched in 35 games with a WHIP of 1.12. The guy who would be a shoe-in for a Jeremy Affeldt replacement. Talk about serendipity. Expect that he’ll be back with his wicked stuff.
- Chris Heston. The “who’s that?“ kid who’s talent was discovered because others had to leave the lineup due to injury. He came right in and became number 2 to Madison right away. Then he pitched a no hitter. If he can figure out how to condition himself to make it through an entire season, the kid can be a force next season. He’s definitely a possibility.
- Marlon Byrd. This one’s kind of a mixed bag. I’ve loved this guy ever since he became one of my boys. I love his power and his hustle. However he is 38, and his defense isn’t the best. But he could be added for a decent price. We’ll see how this one plays out.
- Nori Aoki. I miss this guy so much. At the beginning of the season, when he was at the top of the lineup, you were pretty much guaranteed that he would find a way to get on base. Whether it be a walk, a bunt, or that throw-the-bat-at-the-ball swing for a hit. Hope the offseason gives him enough time to recover from the concussion issues and that he really wants to come back, because I’m pretty sure if the price is right, he will be welcomed with open arms.
- Gregor Blanco. The unsung hero who is constantly filling in for injured outfielders and rising to the occasion. Well, even Gregor outdid himself this year. He played in 115 games, batted .291 with an OBP of .368, having the best statistical season of his career. I absolutely love this guy, and I’m sure he’ll be part of the outfield next season, if not as a starter as a backup. Plus he still doesn’t spit – always a plus.
- George Kontos. For this one, please ignore today. It was a blemish on an otherwise remarkable season. The guy really outdid himself, pitching in 73 games with a 0.94 WHIP, the lowest of his 5 year career. And all this considering that at the beginning of the season, the guy was being worked to death due to the fact that the starters weren’t going deep. What a nice surprise he was this season. Hopefully he can continue next season and work less with a strengthened rotation.
- Brandon Crawford. Yes, Ginny, I’m mentioning your boy. And he deserves it. The kid earned his All-Star title this season. This was definitely his breakout year, and though he only had a .256 batting average (seemed to slump of late), he racked up a .321 OBP, 21 homeruns and 33 doubles (both the highest of anyone on the Giants), and 84 RBI (second only to Buster). He also significantly decreased his errors from last season, plus his WAR almost doubled, from 3.2 to 5.6. And he’s still a kid. He’s in the conversation for both the Silver Slugger and the Gold Glove for short stop this season. Looking forward to even better things to come from Ginny’s boy.
- Joe Panik. Forget about a sophomore slump for this kid (well, except for the injury that ended his season). In the 100 games he played in, the kid batted .312 and surprised us with some power and 8 homeruns. We’ve definitely found a permanent second baseman, and last year wasn’t a fluke. Looking forward to his return next season and hopefully his presence in a lot more games.
- Jake Peavy’s September and October. OK, the first half wasn’t stellar and he got injured. But those final month numbers were amazing. In his last 6 starts of the season, he had an ERA under 2. And he went 7 innings in two of those games. He’ll definitely be back next year, and hopefully he can start off the season like he ended.
- Hunter Strickland. Last year’s post-season was definitely not fun for the kid, but he was able to come back this season and make a name for himself. He’s still got some control issues, but he’s definitely worked something out. He pitched in 55 games and ended the season with a 0.86 WHIP. And even more significantly, he only gave up 4 homeruns. He gave up more than that last postseason alone! Plus lefties this year (the problem last year) only hit .185 off of him. I love his pitch speed, and I really think if he continues to improve he can be the closer of the future.
- The overall offense. The Giants ended the season first in the National League in batting average. The last time that happened for the Giants was in 1993 (thanks for this info, Andrew Baggarly). I like offense, and it was definitely a breath of unexpected fresh air this season. And pitchers like run support. With the majority of that lineup slated to return, those numbers should return as well.
Pair all this wonderfulness with the return of proven players like Madison, Buster, Hunter, Angel, Brandon Belt, Javi, Sergio, and Santiago, plus some strengthening of the starting rotation (which Baer has pretty much promised is their priority this offseason) and I think we’re in good shape to make a run for it next season. Hopefully the hellish injuries are behind us. Like Bochy said after today’s game, “Next year’s an even year. We have work to do!”
I need to mention the careers of two amazing Giants as they leave us to be with their families: Jeremy Affeldt and Tim Hudson. Jeremy – I will always remember your sense of humor and how you were the butt of everyone’s jokes but were able to laugh with them. Your pitching was wicked and helped us win so many games. I thank you for that. Keep doing all the wonderful work you do for so many people in the world. Enjoy the family and stay out of trouble! Hope you can somehow stay in baseball because you are wonderful in front of the camera. Tim – we were so blessed to have you as a Giant, albeit for such a short time. People seem to only mention your contributions during the post-season last year, but you played a big role in even getting us there in the first place. You were basically the ace for the first half of last season. You were the guy we could count on to get a win during that period, even more so than Madison. I thank you for that, and I thank you for sharing your wonderful family with us. Thanks also for all the knowledge you shared with our pitching staff, especially your little buddy, Madison. Best of luck with all of your charitable endeavors, and enjoy your kids and your wife. I’m sure they’ll enjoy you. Come back from Alabama and visit please (I’m sure Madison would love that).
I was lucky enough to go to the game yesterday with my buddy, Angel. She likes to go to the Star Wars games and of course I was happy to tag along. We had a fantastic time. The giveaway was a Chewbacca bobblehead that’s standing on a Giants helmet – so cute! We did have to wait in line for that one as they only gave out 20,000, but it was a short wait. We went to the Public House to see Marty Lurie broadcasting, and I even gave him one of my bracelets. He got a kick out of our shirts (we were wearing our “Anybody but the Dodgers” shirts). We also got margaritas there – a lot stronger than the ones in the park, I must say! We got yummy Crazy Crab sandwiches for lunch, then went to visit my friend Anne who works in the concessions (she was so happy to see us!) and decided we couldn’t leave her without buying some of the pizza she was selling. That pizza is a new fave – we got the deep-dish kind and it was fabulous! We sat next to a guy who had brought his grandmother to the game. They were very friendly and we chatted with them throughout the game (always seem to sit near friendly people). The pre-game tribute to Tim Hudson was beautiful and very moving. I’m really going to miss that guy, and I’m sure Madison is. We wondered why Madison went up to the podium with Jake, but only Jake spoke. Was he too choked up?? The highlight of the game was that inside-the-park home run by the amazing Kelby Tomlinson. What a thrill – my voice still hasn’t recovered! We were so happy that they were able to pull off a win. My 2015 season record stands at 5 and 2 – not too shabby!
During the game, I noticed that Andres Torres was sitting in our same section in the front row. People were walking up and taking their picture with him. Of course, I wasn’t going to let that opportunity slip away! After the game I walked down and asked if I could take my picture with him and he said yes. I asked what he was doing since he wasn’t playing baseball any longer, and he said he had moved here and has a business selling clothes and electronics. Based on what he was wearing, the clothes must fit really tightly! The guy is so buff! He was very friendly and very gracious with everyone. Needless to say I was star struck and thrilled. I miss that guy. I hope now that he’s local he’ll be attending a lot of games.
As I made my way back up to Angel after that, I noticed a woman walking toward us that looked familiar. It was Kim Hudson, Tim Hudson’s wife! I caught her eye and said, “We love you!” and she said, “Aw – we love you, too!” She came over and talked to us and I gave her a big hug because you could tell it had been an emotional day for her. She said that it was really nice what the Giants and everyone had done to recognize Tim, but it had been really exhausting for them to be so emotional for so long. She had started crying that morning because she was so emotional about what the day would hold for them with the tribute. She said that she knew Bobby Cox (Tim’s manager with the Braves) would be talking and that would set her off again. She said that so much of their life had been spent here starting with their years in Oakland. Her kids were even born in San Ramon. I said that the kids must be thrilled that he will be home, and she said yes, especially her son. He’s already asked his dad, “Can we go to the farm?” (looked it up – yes, they have a farm!) I asked her about how tough it was to make the sacrifices she had to in order for him to play ball, and she just said that it was a blessing. They got to meet so many wonderful people and see so many places. She also said that they would be leaving on the red eye Sunday night to go back home. Sad that the guys would be separated from each other so quickly after the season ended. She was so extremely friendly and so generous with her time. Then Larry Baer came by and she asked how his wife Pamela was doing. They started chatting and he said they would have to come back and attend some games. She joked that maybe Madison Bumgarner could get them some tickets! I also asked if I could take a picture of Larry Baer’s ring, and he said, “You know, she has one, too!” Yes, I know. And I’m so thankful that Tim and his family could share in the joy of earning it while they were here in San Francisco. It was so lovely meeting all of them, and I was so lucky to have the opportunity.
Some news on the new kid front today: The Giants signed 20-year-old Cuban outfield prospect Eddy Julio Martinez to a minor league contract worth $2.5 million. Apparently, since the Giants have gone over their international bonus pool (whatever that means), he will cost them $5 million. He’s currently #4 on MLB.com’s top prospect list. Sounds great to me! Sabean had said he would be looking into the Cuban market more – guess he meant it. And it’s surprising that we didn’t get outbid on this kid by those pesky Dodgers. Will keep you posted if I hear anything else about him.
One fun thing to share that I just learned about from Alex Pavlovic regarding today’s game. Brandon Crawford is apparently the DJ of the clubhouse. He’s the one who picks out what music they play when they win a game to celebrate. He tries to accommodate eveyone’s taste by mixing it up. Well, he chose Mike Leake’s walk up music last week (“Ghetto Superstar”), and since it worked out so well for him, he also prepared a list of walk-up songs for all the players today and forwarded it to the stadium operations people to play during the game. Here’s the link to the list that Alex Pavlovic posted on his Twitter account. What a crackup! You can tell the guy spent a lot of time on this – even his wife, Jalynne, attested to this via Twitter. And they are all so perfect. The one that needs explaining is the Mac Williamson one – he’s from North Carolina and that song mentions North Carolina in it (in amongst all the naughtyness!). According to Pavlovic, the clubhouse favorite was “I’m Too Sexy” for George Kontos. Considering his performance today, I don’t think he’ll be keeping that one! But what a fun thing for Brandon to do, and I’m sure it lightened the spirits of the guys on this last, emotional day of the season.
I’ve got a new spit count and some more Giants nuggets for you, but this is getting awfully long so I think I’ll tease you with them until later in the week. Now that the season’s over, I’ll have more time to blog during the week (kind of ironic, isn’t it?). Thanks for an amazing year, Guys! Until next time, GO GIANTS! GET SOME REST!
When I went into work yesterday afternoon, I anticipated an uncomfortable encounter. One of my coworkers is a huge Dodgers fan. As I passed by his table, he caught my eye and remarked, “Tonight is the end!” Of course, I wasn’t going to just take that, so I blurted back, “No, the end is next Sunday! We’re still in it!” He just laughed. He then mentioned that if the Giants won that first game, they would sweep. Well guess what, Nostradamus? They did! This was the game they were definitely supposed to lose since their ace Zack Greinke was pitching, that guy who will probably win the Cy Young this year. But when it comes to the Dodgers, especially on our home turf, and especially in an elimination game, my guys don’t care about stuff like that. Everyone played a role in that win. I love when that happens. And I love that they’re still fighting. I am so looking forward to going to work this afternoon. Ha ha! GO GIANTS! BEAT LA!
My title today is a tribute to Yogi Berra who unfortunately passed this week at the age of 90. What a storied baseball career that guy had. He was voted MVP of the American League three times (and came in the top 4 four other times), made 18 All-Star teams in 19 seasons of playing, was a World Series champion 10 times (most all-time), and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1972. And with all those accolades, he was just a down-to-earth kind of guy. Buster Posey had the privilege of meeting him in 2012 at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center. Here’s some video of their meeting. Buster posted on Instagram about Yogi’s passing, saying, “Had the pleasure to meet Yogi Berra one time. Easy to see why he was such a beloved person. A genuinely kind and happy person that will be missed. But a wonderful life that impacted so many.” He’ll definitely never be forgotten.
Yogi’s words inspired me this week regarding the fate of my boys. It ain’t over till it’s over. That about sums it up. It ain’t over. The magic number (or as Greg Papa calls it the “tragic number”) stands at 2 right now. The fact that there’s still a magic number to keep track of means we’re not out of it yet. Just remember that. And there’s still some fight in this team. And if we aren’t eliminated tomorrow, we take on the Dodgers 4 times, and you all know how my boys rise to the occasion when they’re pitted against those guys. It ain’t over till it’s over. Thanks for the inspiration, Yogi.
Did you watch today’s game? The Hudson/Zito tribute game? I was so excited that these two guys were to be honored during this game, but I have to say the outcome as far as they were concerned got me super emotional. I’m sure that wasn’t how any one dreamed it would turn out. I almost started tearing up when they showed Tim in the dugout after he came out of the game. He had never walked in two runs ever in his career. He couldn’t even last as long as Barry did. But that’s what happens when you expect too much of guys that are at the end of fantastic careers. Still love them both and I’m still happy that they were honored. And especially proud of my boy Buster when he tipped his cap to Barry when he went out to hit against him. That’s class right there. I loved the beginning montage that Comcast showed of the two of them. Lots to be proud of.
Thankfully, someone took our minds off of all this: Jarrett Parker. WOW! Three homeruns in a single game, including a tie-breaking grand slam in the eighth. Boch said that was the best offensive game he had ever seen in person. And the kid’s hit a total of 6 homeruns since he came up on September 11th, 5 of those within the last 3 days! He had a rough time of it when he first came up in June, going 1 for 9 with 5 strikeouts. Guess he figured something out! My siblings and I were privileged to see the guy hit a grand slam at Spring Training two years ago. As I recall, everyone in that park (especially the coaching staff) took note as he hit the ball over the center field wall in Scottsdale stadium. That’s no ordinary wall – it’s 430 feet from home plate and 30 feet high! Gotta have some wicked power to do that!
Today’s game combined with the season winding down got me to thinking about next season and the potential makeup of the team (apparently Ginny was thinking the same thing – smart minds think alike!). I have to say I am feeling good about things, especially the kids. I think if they can get at least one big name starting pitcher, we’ll be OK. The kids are alright – Duffy, Panik (a healthy one), Williamson (who I really think will get better as he gets used to being in the bigs), Parker, Osich, Strickland, Heston (with some rest). I like it. I think we’ll be good.
I saw a post earlier today on Facebook about all the guys that are currently injured. I hate to be a whiner and blame our plight on injuries, but the numbers truly are staggering. Here’s the summary: Four guys are still on the DL from concussions (Adrianza, Aoki, Belt, Blanco), Timmy’s recovering from left hip surgery, Panik has lower back inflammation, two have left oblique strains (Pence and Perez), Sanchez has a left ankle sprain, Scutaro has back issues, and Susac had wrist surgery. None of these guys is expected to return before the end of the season. I can’t remember it ever being this bad. And lots of the guys listed are key players.
My boys gave me more reasons to love them with their own special tributes to Tim Hudson this week. Earlier this week, the entire team dressed in white polo shirts (Huddy’s usual travel attire) and bald caps to pay homage to him. Here’s a photo of some of them. Then today, Javi had ordered #17 black Hudson T-shirts for all the team members and clubhouse staff to wear. Check it out. I bet he really loved that. My boys rock!
I’m posting the next video because I missed watching this game live and I laugh out loud every time I watch it. I couldn’t believe it when I heard about it. It’s the staredown between umpire Joe West and Madison Bumgarner on Thursday night during the Padres game. Here’s the video. Guess Madison was pretty ticked about some of West’s pitch calls, but he kept his cool so he wouldn’t get kicked out of the game. I love how Buster keeps looking back and forth between the two of them! That is the longest staredown EVER! What a crackup! And what an immature umpire that guy is! The show’s not about you, Umpire Guy! You go, Madison!
More randomness: Noticed today that Brett Lawrie of the A’s uses “Fat Bottomed Girls” by Queen as his walk-up music. Would love to know the story behind that. If anyone knows, please share. Fascinating.
I did a spit count during the Hudson/Zito tribute game today. Guess guys don’t spit any less when they’re honoring their teammates. On the contrary! Sheesh! Here you go:
- Parker 5 (hitting homeruns makes you salivate I guess)
- Byrd 4
- Hudson 4 (so does being honored)
- Duffy 3
- Brown 3
- Hall 2
- Reyes 2 (seeds)
- Pagan 2
- Posey 1
- Righetti 1
- Meulens 1
- Wotus 1
- Osich 1
- Bochy 1
- Vogt 34 (way to ruin the moment, dude!)
- Brooks 3
- Canha 2
- Sogard 2
- Otero 2
- Lawrie 1
- Zito 1
- Crisp 1
Game Spit Master General = Vogt at 34
Giants Game Spit Master General = Parker at 5
That’s a total of 77 spits during a 3 hour and 30 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 2.7 minutes.
Unbelievably Stephen Vogt of the A’s didn’t set the season record with his antics today, but he is an interesting spitting specimen. He is one of a select few catchers that has the ability to spit through his catcher’s mask. He is interesting in that the majority of his spits were through his mask, unlike previous catchers who have this ability. And the spits that came through the mask were amazing sprays of saliva. I wouldn’t be surprised if spray made its way onto some of the batters. So disgusting. I would hate to have to clean that thing after he’s used it – I wonder if that job falls to the clubhouse manager. Poor soul. On a positive note, this was the first spit count I did where my boy Mac Williamson played, and he didn’t spit once. Keeping my fingers crossed that at least I have one non-spitter in the future since all the other kids got caught today.
One more game against the A’s with Chris Heston at the helm, then a 4 game series against the Dodgers. It ain’t over (especially since I just found out that the Dodgers lost again today – HA HA!). The boys just need to listen to those inspiring words chanted by Jarrett Parker as he left the field after his third homerun of the game: “LET’S GO!” Indeed. Until next time, GO GIANTS! KEEP ON FIGHTING!
Last I blogged, we had just won the Saturday game against the Rockies. The boys came through and won on Sunday as well. Even with a 7 ½ game deficit to the Dodgers and only a handful of games left to play, I was staying positive. Tough thing to do under those circumstances. But I’m a pretty positive person. Then it happened. We were facing the Diamondbacks, and the Diamondbacks stink. Low hanging fruit. A chance to gain some ground. And we lost the series, only winning one game against them. Sigh. I have to admit, I was ready to throw in the towel. Even had the title for my next blog ready, and it wasn’t a happy one. Looking ahead to a future filled with a lack of run support for pitchers who are finally seeming to pull it together was not promising. I had hit rock bottom and given up.
Then the Padres series happened. The Padres also suck, but I assumed after the Diamondback trouncing we were in for it again. Nothing had changed – same lineup lacking several key players (Pence, Aoki, Panik, Crawford), same lack of power. Never assume. And never underestimate the strength of this team. They demolished the Padres. And that lack of power somehow morphed into a series where we outscored the Pads 27 to 4. And the inexperienced rookies (including Adrianza and Tomlinson) gained some confidence and started making beautiful plays just like their ailing counterparts. And then all of a sudden Angel was back hitting the way he used to, stealing bases, and making amazing catches in the outfield like this one. And then there was that almost perfect game by our pitching savior, Madison Bumgarner. How could you lose faith in a team like that? We’re still 7 ½ games behind the Dodgers, just like last week. Only 19 games to play. But again, 4 of those games are against the Dodgers. If we can gain at least 3 games on them by the time they come here at the end of the month, it’s still possible. And we’re looking better than we were last week at this time. Tough, but still possible. Staying positive.
How about Madison last night? If anyone deserves a perfect game, he does. I was so disappointed when Upton got that hit, but still a stellar performance by our boy. Definitely something to be proud of. And what a frustrating night it was for me last night! Of all nights, for the first time ever I couldn’t get the game on TV. For some reason the local NBC affiliate wasn’t showing it, even though everyone I know was watching on NBC. I was losing my mind, especially when the importance of that game became clear. I got on social media to see if anyone else in the area could find the game to no avail. I even called Comcast, but they couldn’t help me. I ended up going out to my car to listen on the radio so that I could somehow share in the excitement and listen to my guys calling the game (watching on Gameday just wasn’t cutting it!). Finally MLB network switched over from the Angels game to the Giants in about the 7th inning, so I was able to catch the amazing defensive play made by Adrianza that kept the perfect game alive and then the hit by Upton that killed it. Sigh. I apologize to anyone who had to read my texts and posts on Facebook during that time. I was one frantic woman!
Going to share some random thoughts from the last week that I thought you might find interesting. First off, the fact that Bruce Bochy got booed at home for the first time ever. And if I was at the park, I would have booed him, too. His son, Brett, was pitching in the ninth inning on Friday night. Brett managed to get two guys out, but then dad came out to get him so that Yusmeiro Petit could get some work in (the bullpen is so huge now that guys aren’t getting much of a chance to pitch). Boch got booed big time by the crowd on his way out to the mound. According to the elder Bochy, “That was pretty emotional for me. I was kind of caught there. I’m not going to lie to you, the crowd influenced me. I needed to get Petey some work. I got a battalion down there (in the bullpen). I could hear the crowd. I told Brett: I need to give Petey some work, but you’ve got this hitter.” As Boch walked back to the dugout, the crowd cheered and started chanting, “Boch-y! Boch-y!” What a great moment for the kid. And he proceeded to strike out that hitter, ending the game. Sweet.
In the 8th inning of that game, this guy made an appearance. That’s Giants relief pitcher Cory Gearrin. I had never heard of him before, and magically he was there. He played for the River Cats this season and was called up on September 8th. Why am I even mentioning this? The guy has major stink eye. If I had to hit against him, I think I would drop the bat, run away, and cry. Creepy.
Has anyone else noticed the plastic animals that the guys have in the dugout on the Powerade cooler? They’re a collection of multicolored dinosaurs and snakes and other critters. Found out through Amy G.’s Instagram account that some mystery player started the whole thing with one green dinosaur. They call him “Winodactyl.” He even showed up on Matt Cain’s dashboard. Then a grey rat showed up. And they continue to multiply. During today’s game, I noticed at least 10 critters atop the Powerade cooler. They even have their own hashtag now – #dinopower. Even fans are adding to the collection. Check out Amy’s picture from today’s game. And here’s the original picture of Winodactly. Guess they’re good luck charms. They sure worked this weekend! Love those crazy boys! Always having fun!
Haven’t done a spit count in a while (was planning on doing one last night, but Comcast nixed that!!), but I did have a snotrocket sighting the other day. It was during the game on September 7th. And it wasn’t the usual suspect, Mad Bum. This time it was, of all people, Matt Duffy! He let one fly during an at bat. So silly. And so yucky.
This week we take on the Reds and the D-Bags. Both stink. Especially the Reds who are 60 and 82. We need to capitalize and creep up on the Dodgers this week. I’m hoping that being at home will do the boys some good – it sure did this weekend. Maybe that will make a difference with the D-Bags this time. And my boys get another day of rest this Thursday, so they can be fresh for Friday. Maybe next weekend I’ll be able to report that we’re only 5.5 games out. It could happen, especially since the stinkin’ Dodgers are taking on the Pirates this week, and the Pirates definitely don’t stink. Still keeping the faith. Hope you are, too. Until next time, GO GIANTS!! FEEL THE POWER OF THE WINADACTYL!
Getting swept by the Dodgers stinks. Especially when each loss was by one run. And extra especially when one of the games went 14 innings. But there was hope. There was hope that the schedule was getting better. Then two losses to the Rockies. What? These were the games we were supposed to win. These were the games where we would get back into the race, not the games where we couldn’t score any runs in a hitter’s park. Can’t blame any of it on pitching – well, except for the Vogey start. Peavy, Bum, Leake, and Heston pitched their little hearts out. But the Dodger pitching was just a little bit better, and Heston didn’t get any run support in the thin air of Colorado. And they’re hurting. I know every team’s hurting right now, but we have several key players out. It’s enough to make any Giants fan lose all hope at any chance of a post-season.
But not this fan. They won today. And they won even with key players out. Who would have guessed that a win was possible with the lineup Boch had to use today, with untested Alejandro De Aza (the newest Giant from the Red Sox) in left, Hector behind the plate, and of all people Nick Noonan at first base (for the first time in his career). But they did it. And they showed they can still be scrappy and pull off a win. And again the pitching was stellar. Peavy pitched a gem (and hit two doubles for the first time ever) and the relievers all shined. It will be a tough battle, but we’re not out of it yet.
Kudos to Nick Noonan for taking over for Brandon Belt at first today. Belt was out of the lineup due to stomach issues. Noonan excelled tonight at his new position, practically doing the splits to make two great outs at first, making a great feed to Peavy for another out, and catching an infield popup that no one else could spot. He also hit a double to drive in the first lead-taking run and walked to force in a second. And talk about a cool cat! He was totally calm during his post-game interview, like he’s been doing this for years. Thanks, Nick Noonan. You were the shot in the arm we needed tonight.
Kudos also to Angel Pagan, showing that he’s really back in form by launching his first home run of the season. Glad it finally happened for him, and hope it’s the start of great things to come.
The major bummer of the game was that Hector Sanchez sprained his ankle while hustling to first after a perfectly placed bunt. And on a night where Buster was supposed to have a day off. With Andrew Susac out for the rest of the season due to a recurring wrist issue, Bochy had no other choice but to put Buster in. And his only backup on the current roster would have been Juan Perez – guess that kid can play anywhere! After the game tonight it was announced that they will be calling up catcher Jackson Williams from Double A Richmond to fill in, and he’ll be with the team tomorrow in case he’s needed. Can you imagine what is going on in that guy’s mind right now? Here’s your chance, Dude! Take advantage!
More bad news came by way of a call from Nori Aoki this morning. He told the trainers that he’s having recurring concussion symptoms so he’ll be rested at least for a few days if not longer. Don’t want to mess with that kind of thing. Bochy expressed how sorry he felt for Nori having to deal with not just the concussion but the fractured fibula this season. He said it was unfortunate since he was having such a fantastic year beforehand. Sending healing vibes to you, Nori. Miss your at bats. On the positive side, Joe Panik is scheduled to join the team on Monday in Arizona. So at least there’s that. Hoping he can make a smooth transition back and pick up where he left off.
I hate to in any way relive a Dodgers game, but a couple of interesting plays occurred in the last week that I thought were worth mentioning. The first involved a steal attempt by Justin Turner of the Dodgers. As he slid into second, his helmet fell off and launched toward Ehire Adrianza, hitting him on the glove. Here’s the video of the play. It looks to me like the helmet might have blocked Adrianza’s view of the slide. I was wondering how this couldn’t be some sort of interference call. After doing some research, I found a rule that covers this (sort of). MLB Rule 6.05(h) states, “If, in the umpire’s judgment, there is intent on the part of a baserunner to interfere with a batted or thrown ball by dropping the helmet or throwing it at the ball, then the runner would be out, the ball dead and runners would return to last base legally touched.” I guess since he didn’t actually throw the helmet, he didn’t interfere. At least Turner didn’t end up scoring that inning. Sometimes the baseball gods balance things out.
Another controversial play went against the Dodgers (HA HA!). In a game against the Padres, the Dodgers thought they had a double play, but the ump ruled that Chase Utley did not tag second. Here’s the video of that play. You may recall that I discussed the “neighborhood play” in an earlier blog, and Utley was definitely close enough to second to have tagged it, but didn’t to avoid injury. That’s the whole point of that play. But according to Don Mattingly, that ump said he didn’t believe in the neighborhood play, even though it’s become almost a rule in the major leagues. In this case, the play was a game changer, starting a rally that caused a 7-4 Dodger lead to convert to a 10-7 Padre win. Just one more reason to hate the neighborhood play. And a big HA HA to the Dodgers on that one!
I’ve got a couple of fun videos to share with you. Ever wonder what is inside a baseball player’s locker? Well, Hunter Pence’s girlfriend, Lexi, takes us on a tour of his. Here’s the video. I find it fascinating all the junk he has in there! So many batting gloves – guess he gets lots to try out from different vendors. Plus a Pence on the Fence doll hiding in the bottom drawer – that doll is EVERYWHERE! And who would have thought players collect bobbleheads? Hunter also uses Grinds (the coffee grind tobacco substitute) and some other caffeine/guarana chew thing – good boy! Which reminds me – the spit count on the video was 1! And when she shows some of his fan mail, I think one of the large envelopes was the spit certificate I sent him! Well, it could be, right?
I actually learned some things about baseball from watching this. Like I never knew what “lizard skin” was. It’s a tape that guys can wrap around the handle of a bat to make it easier to grip and reduce vibration. They’ve been using it in the big leagues since 2013. The only rule is that the tape can’t extend more than 45 centimeters. Am I just not observant or is this also news to any of you? While watching the game tonight, I noticed that several guys on the Giants use it on their bats. And I didn’t know that Boch wrote a book – I’ll have to see if I can get a copy.
This next one proves that you’re only as old as you feel. Check out this video of pitcher Bartolo Colon making an unbelievable play. The guy’s 42. WHAT??
We’ve got 26 games to go. We’re 7 ½ games behind the Dodgers. A lot can happen in 26 games, especially when 4 are against LA. It can happen. Yes, it can. We just need to keep thinking that. And the boys need to keep thinking that. Keep the faith. Just keep it together, Guys. We know you’re capable of it. Until next time, GO GIANTS!! MAKE US PROUD!!
First, I have to apologize for taking over two weeks to update my blog. Would love to do this full time, but life happens sometimes. So much has happened in the last two weeks, most notably some injuries but also thankfully some much needed contributions from the new guys. Since August 6th when they started that series against the Cubs, the boys have gone 10 and 13. That may not sound great, but you have to keep in mind that they are nearing the end of the most challenging part of their season, encountering the Cubs (twice), Astros, Nationals, Cardinals (twice), and Pirates, all of whom are playoff contenders. And those Cardinals have by far the best record in all of baseball right now at 84 and 46. The challenge continues this week with three games against the Dodgers. After that, besides the four games we play against the Dodgers at the end of September, it’s pretty much smooth sailing against a slew of teams with records way below .500.
I wasn’t very disappointed at the loss today, even though Duane Kuiper said it was “barfable.” I think a list is in order – why I’m feeling positive even after a loss:
- Aoki and the middle of the order (Belt, Posey, and Byrd) had multiple hit games against a pitcher who had a 1.77 ERA coming into this game (Jaime Garcia). They raised his ERA to above 2 for the first time since the middle of June. You’ve got to like that.
- Byrd has made an amazing showing as a Giant – today alone (on his birthday to boot) all of his hits were for multiple bases (two doubles and a triple), and he was responsible for driving in 4 of the 5 runs. Those two hits that he sent to almost the exact same place to just left of the right field foul pole were amazing. On Twitter, Andrew Baggarly mentioned that you hardly ever see a ball go there, but Byrd did it twice. And he’s hit three bombs with the Giants in only 9 games, including the grand salami he launched on Friday night to secure a win. Loving this guy.
- Kelby Tomlinson does need some defensive work playing second since he’s used to being a shortstop, but he’s also come through offensively for us. His current batting average is .328, he hit his first homerun (of the grand slam variety) on Thursday night to contribute to the win against the Cubs, and he hit a walk-off single on Friday night to end the game. Superman indeed!
- The bats of Brandon Belt and Buster Posey appear to have been awakened.
- Juan Perez has a .389 batting average through the 10 games he’s hit in while in the Bigs this season. WHAT?? Everyone’s stepping up! I’m so happy for Dan’s boy. Plus, he’s pulling off stunts like this in the outfield. Unbelievable! I’ve heard from guys both on the radio and TV that that was the most spectacular catch they’ve ever seen. I know it was for me!
- Jake Peavy continues to provide us with strong outings.
- Madison Bumgarner – well, he just continues to be himself. Thank goodness for that.
- Relievers have gotten some rest and have been fairly strong, especially Romo and Lopez who have been “en fuego” (on fire – my siblings and I text this back and forth to each other during games). Well, Lopez did give up his first homerun this season today, but I really think he was jinxed by Amy G. who did an interview with him before the game and mentioned his success. Oh, Amy!
- We’re still only 4 games back of the Dodgers (plus they’re losing to the Cubs 2-0 as I write this – GO CUBBIES!).
Lots right there to be positive about.
However, with the good comes the bad. First off – starting pitching overall. Besides Bum, Peavy, and Leake, I really don’t have any confidence in the other potential starting pitchers. Sorry, but you gotta be real sometimes. Heston didn’t give us anything to hang our hat on today after coming off the DL and getting some rest, Cain has been a big question mark the entire season, and Vogey has been pretty inconsistent. This is the issue that scares me the most, even more than the injuries. As far as that goes, Pence and Panik still don’t have a definite return date, but Crawford is scheduled to start the Dodger series on Monday, and Pagan and Hudson are scheduled to be activated on Tuesday when rosters expand (As of September 1st, teams are not limited to only 25 active players. Guys on the 40-man roster are also entitled to play. Those dugouts will soon be pretty crowded!).
More bad news this week – Tim Lincecum is still experiencing pain in his hips and back. According to Andrew Baggarly, Lincecum’s hips locked while he was trying to throw off the mound at the Giants’ complex in Arizona last week. Lincecum says he has good and bad days, but, “the bad days are outshining the good ones.” According to Bruce Bochy, when asked about Lincecum’s return to pitching for the Giants, he simply said he’s “not close.” Sigh. I feel so incredibly sorry that this is happening to him. He has contributed so much to the success of this team, and he is loved by so many fans. I’m definitely pulling for the guy, but it’s not looking good, especially since he’ll be a free agent next season. Hang in there, Timmy. We’re all pulling for you. Hoping for a miracle.
In brighter news regarding the Giants pitching staff, Madison Bumgarner was voted the NL Player of the Week on August 17th. This came after an amazing 7-day stretch where Bum pitched two complete games against Houston and Washington, the latter being a shutout. And the guy managed a double and a homerun in the game against Washington. Where would we be without him?? He even pinch hits (and successfully!)! I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being named Player of the Month.
I mentioned in a previous blog that Brandon Crawford’s wife, Jalynne, is expecting another baby. Well, they recently found out that said baby is a boy! As Brandon put it in his blog, he’s happy that he’ll have “a comrade in our house of girls!” No news on the name yet, but I’ll keep you posted. I’m sure it will be creative.
I’ve got a new spit count for you:
- Susac 22
- Vogelsong 10
- Byrd 8
- Belt 7
- Petit 2
- Adrianza 1
- Meulens 1 (seeds)
- Crawford 1
- Kontos 1
- Tomlinson 1
- Molina 4
- Carpenter 1
- Piscotty 1
- Tuivailala 1
- Giants Fan 1 (after catching foul ball)
Game Spit Master General = Susac at 22
That’s a total of 62 spits during a 3 hour and 10 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.1 minutes.
I have to give kudos to the Cardinals for keeping the spit numbers way down. Vogey’s number was up, and I think it’s because he wasn’t chewing gum during this game. Byrd logged his first spits today. I’m disappointed not only because he got caught for the first time but because of the telltale bulge in his cheek while he was doing it. Sigh. And our friend Andrew Susac was his usual, spitting self today behind the plate. Also, I’m pretty sure Yusmeiro Petit launched a snot rocket during this game. He turned his head to the side at one point, and I notice a stream of liquid emanating from his nose area in the opposite direction. Picking up bad habits from Bum. And Brandon Crawford – I’m just so disappointed. I thought so much better of you. Also typing the name Tuivailala reminded me of how much fun the announcers had pronouncing his name yesterday. They’re just so silly.
Even though I didn’t do a spit count during the game today, I did make an interesting spit observation. As if to rub salt into the wound from the loss, Mark Reynolds of the Cardinals expelled the contents of his mouth at the end of the game (an obvious wad of tobacco), then topped that off with a spit. Jerk.
The boys are off to Los Angeles to start a 3-game series against the dreaded Dodgers. At least our top 3 pitchers (Peavy, Bum, and Leake) are scheduled to pitch down there. The Dodgers haven’t announced who they’ll start yet, but you know Kershaw and Grenke will somehow make it in there. Just keep your fingers crossed that Nori can hit so many foul balls that the starters will be out early and we can have a field day with their relievers. Their relief staff sucks! (Just checked – Dodgers are still losing 2-0 in the 7th! Maybe we’ll only be 3.5 behind tonight! Plus it’s a no hitter in the 7th!! HA HA!!). My boys always seem to rise to the occasion when it comes to opposing the Dodgers, so I’m staying positive. Really looking forward to these games. Until next time, GO GIANTS! BEAT LA! BEAT LA! BEAT LA!
Last I blogged, Giants Fan Carm was feeling mighty low. The boys were about to start the series with Houston after suffering a 4-game sweep by the Cubs. Figured we had a chance of splitting the two games with Houston, and we did. A sweep would have been nice, but can’t be greedy after all. The win on Tuesday was so much sweeter after that sweep. Tony never sounded so good. So on to the Washington series and the likes of Stephen Strasburg and Max Scherzer, two of the toughest pitchers in the National League. Gulp. Did anyone else figure those first two games were pretty much over before they started? Come on, be honest! I love my boys but I’m also realistic. I should know better. Strasburg game – even though the Nats started off the game with a homerun, my boys one upped them at the end of the inning, scoring two runs. Vogey recovered and pitched a gem, allowing only two more hits in the next 4 innings. His showing, combined with wicked relief from Strickland, Romo, and Casilla, allowed that lead in the first to hold. YEAH!! Scherzer game – Giants got 6 runs in the first three innings. WHAT?? OFF OF SUPERHUMAN SCHERZER?? Matt Cain pitched beautifully up until the 5th when he gave up 4 runs. But the boys had his back – the relievers came to the rescue, allowing only 1 hit (thank you Affeldt, Kontos, Osich, Romo, and Lopez). Scherzer thwarted! The beautiful thing about these two games was that once again this season, everyone contributed. Timely hits, spectacular defense, and amazing pitching came from all over the place. This is the team that I seriously still think can come through and win the division this season. Yes, I said it. We’re only 2 ½ games behind the Dodgers right now and presently strutting our stuff, even against tough teams and even while dealing with a bunch of injuries. I’m liking it! Gio Gonzalez today – piece of cake!!!
There have been a lot of rumors lately about the Giants acquiring Chase Utley from the Phillies. It was also confirmed by Bobby Evans that a trade offer for him has been made (no details available right now). I don’t get this. I know he was also talked about last season to take over for Marco Scutaro, but since then the guy’s numbers have plummeted. He’s currently hitting .208 (and that’s not a typo), down from .270 last season, with 4 home runs and 29 RBI. But after doing some investigating, these numbers may be misleading. Utley went on the 15-day DL with ankle inflammation in late June, and since he’s come back he’s gone 11 for 22 with 4 doubles. That’s .500 folks. Looks to me like the guy is trying to impress someone, even though he has a no-trade clause in his contract. But who wouldn’t want to leave the Phillies right now, who are 17 games out and bottom feeding in the NL East?? On the pro side, Utley can give us some much needed depth at second both offensively and defensively while Joe Panik is out. On the con side, he’s owed $4 million for the remainder of the year, he may not be interested in being a backup second baseman, and he’s an old man (36) so his recent hitting may not be sustainable. Will keep you posted as this plays out. Inevitably there will be some breakthrough on this right after I post today!
So many injuries to deal with lately. Figured I’d catch you all up on what’s been going on with the roster lately. Nori Aoiki was placed on the concussion DL as he was feeling nauseated and lightheaded a few days after he was hit in the head with a fastball. He says that he’s not feeling that bad, so hopefully that means he’ll really be back with us after the 7 days are over. Concussions are tricky, though, so you never know. Keeping all my fingers crossed. He was replaced by Ryan “Lolly, lolly, lolly, get your adverbs here” Lollis. Angel was put on the DL (finally) due to patella tendonitis (AKA knee problems). We all knew that was coming. Hopefully some rest will do him good. He has been replaced by Dan’s boy, Juan Perez. It was nice to see him batting again the other day. Josh Osich came back up to the Bigs when Mike Leake went on the DL with hamstring issues and Ryan Vogelsong has filled in beautifully for Leake as a starter. Leake is expected to return early next week (more finger crossing). Andrew Susac hit an RBI double in a rehab game in San Jose Thursday so hopefully he’ll be back soon to fill in for Buster when needed. Joe Panik remains on the DL with no clear end in sight. Gosh, I miss that kid! Also of note is the fact that Nick Noonan was resigned to a minor league contract with the Giants. He played in the Yankees organization last season, but was released recently and picked up by his original team. Welcome back, Nick!
Congrats to Brandon Crawford on receiving the Heart and Hustle Award presented by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association to one player on each MLB team who demonstrates a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit, and traditions of the game. With his all-out play, dedication to charity, and all-around good guy-ness, you couldn’t have chosen a more deserving guy for this award. Nice job, Kid!
The Giants marketing team is truly amazing. They are having a Full House event at the end of September, and they have released this video promoting it. This thing is spectacular! All my boys surely rose to the occasion. Of course Brandon Crawford plays the part of his doppelganger, John Stamos. My favorite part of the whole thing is Javi Lopez – hysterical! You can also watch the original to see how close they got with this. Love, love, love it!
Also have one more reason to love Kruk and Kuip. Check out this video of the pregame show on Friday night (you have to click on the thumbnail of Kruk and Kuip wearing ring hats down below). Oh my gosh, I adore these two! Especially love when Kuip starts making his wiggle. And Ahmed’s initial reaction. We are so very fortunate to have these guys around!
Today Jake Peavy goes against Gio Gonzalez. With as well as Jake’s been doing, I have to say I’m looking forward to some late-night crooning by Tony. I know we can do this. Hoping the boys can finish with the Nats, and then carry that much-needed momentum to face the league-leading Cardinals and the oh-so-hot Pirates on the road. I know these guys can do it. Just keep on doing what you’ve been doing. We’re all behind you. Until next time, GO GIANTS!! GAIN SOME GROUND ON THOSE DREADED DODGERS!!