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!!
It’s inevitable. Every season seems to have a dry spell. We’ve got one going on now. The boys have been struggling this last week. We all knew this was coming due to their tough schedule, but I don’t think anyone thought it would be this bad this soon. That sweep by the Cubs was brutal, especially since we’re in a Wild Card battle with them. Since I last blogged, we’ve gone 3 and 7. Ugh! But as we try to keep things positive here, at least all those games were close ones. And we have had our share of injuries. Angel Pagan has been struggling with lots of physical ailments, including bad knees. He just doesn’t seem to have the hustle he usually does. I’m kind of confused as to why he’s not given a rest and replaced by Gregor Blanco – maybe that’s coming. I’ve even heard some talk about Mac Williamson possible being called up. Joe Panik is out with a bad back. I really miss having his bat in the second spot in the lineup – he always keeps things moving. Then the guy we just got to solve some of the pitching problems, Mike Leake, ends up pulling a hamstring after his first start as a Giant and lands on the DL. So maybe if you keep all this in mind, things aren’t so bad. They’ll get better once everyone is healthy, right? But it’s so tough right now to be a Giants fan. And having an off day after that sweep is making it even tougher. Can’t wait for the next game to get that rotten taste out of our mouths. We’ll all get through it together. Gotta hang in there and keep the faith.
Speaking of the DL, did you see Nori Aoki get hit in the head by that pitch yesterday? That was wicked! On a positive note, it doesn’t seem to have been bad enough for him to go on the DL, though. That guy is tough!
If you need something to cheer you up while we’re waiting for the boys to make a comeback, check this out. It’s the video of Kelby Tomlinson getting his first Major League hit during his first Major League at bat. I’ve been pulling for the guy all season as he was one of the kids whose autograph I got at Spring Training. He came up when Joe Panik was placed on the DL. I got to watch it all play out live. What a beautiful moment. And the best part of the whole thing was when they pulled away to the shots of his wife and his father-in-law in the stands while it was all playing out. Plus I love how into it Kruk and Kuip got. I can only imagine the emotions that were playing out – to work so hard all your life for one goal, to sacrifice so much, to struggle so much, to wonder if it is all worth it, then to have your dream finally come true. You could almost feel all that through the TV set. I love his wife’s comment about the whole ordeal: “I’m still in disbelief. It was all the emotions all at once. It was so exciting. I wanted to throw up. I’m just so proud of him.” I felt so bad when I heard that his parents couldn’t share in the moment in person at the park because they had such short notice of his call up and they couldn’t get off work in time. But I’m sure they were watching at home showing similar emotions (probably making the neighbors wonder what all the ruckus was!). I’m sure they’re also proud of the fact that Kelby dedicated his first hit to Kaiser Carlisle, the 9-year-old batboy for the Liberal Bee Jays, the collegiate summer league team that Tomlinson had played for. Kaiser was struck in the head by a bat at a game and later died of his injuries. Here’s the video dedication. Very classy move by Tomlinson. Looking forward to seeing all the Kelby “Clark Kent” glasses at AT&T Park soon.
In an attempt at continuing to keep your mind off of the last week, did you see Matt Duffy’s appearance on Intentional Talk? If not, here you go. What a total crackup! But seriously, couldn’t they think of anything else to ask him about besides his cat? The guy really gives a great interview, and they blew their chance at really getting to know more about him. I did love his comment about how the cat “made a life decision and is losing some weight.” Such a great sense of humor. Matt also received more national recognition in a USA Today article about why he should be considered for Rookie of the Year over Joc Pederson and Kris Bryant. Here’s the article. I like it! Boy’s finally getting the press he deserves. What an amazing year that kid has had. So glad he’s one of us. And so glad Skeeter’s finally shedding some pounds!
I feel the need to comment on the bench clearing event that happened on July 31st during one of our games against the Rangers. Here’s the video of the incident. It’s not the first time Madison Bumgarner became incensed over a bat flip. The flipping this time was by Delino DeShields. I always hate when guys’ tempers get the best of them. But I’ve come to learn that it’s always the same thing that sets Madison off – a young rookie flipping a bat not because he hit a homerun off of Madison but because he didn’t launch a pitch he thought he should have. Madison feels it’s disrespectful for a kid to do that to a veteran, and he lets guys know it. Pretty old school of him, but I still hate to see him lose control. Not a good look for us. At least there weren’t any punches exchanged during this one.
Continuing with the diversion, I’ve got two new spit counts for you:
- Sanchez 6
- Duffy 5
- Strickland 4
- Wotus 2 (seeds)
- Meulens 2
- Bochy 2
- Pagan 2
- Casilla 2
- Affeldt 1
- Panik 1
- Petit 1
- Maxwell 1
- Belt 1
- Beltre 8
- DeShields 4
- Hamilton 3
- Wilson 2
- Banister 1
- Odor 1 (what a tragic last name)
- Moreland 1
- Umpire 3
Game Spit Master General = Beltre at 8
Giants Game Spit Master General = Sanchez at 6
That’s a total of 53 spits during a 3 hour and 45 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.2 minutes.
I made a couple of interesting spit observations during this game. Neither Cole Hamels nor Chris Heston, the two starting pitchers, logged a single spit today. IT IS POSSIBLE, GUYS!! Also, Hector Sanchez, today’s Giants Spit Master General and starting catcher, didn’t start spitting until the 10th inning. What does this mean? I know the trend is for spitting to increase as the game goes on, but why would you start that late? And it was hot, so you would think he would want to conserve his fluids. I don’t get it. Do you spit more when you’re tired? At least it did appear that Hector was not chewing tobacco during this game. Hoping it’s the start of a trend.
- Belt 9
- Leake 6 (seeds)
- Cain 3
- Duffy 3
- Posey 2
- Aoki 2
- Romo 2
- Tomlinson 2
- Vogelsong 2
- Meulens 1
- Adrianza 1
- Strickland 1 (*see below for a detailed description)
- Wotus 1
- Maxwell 1
- Sanchez 1
- Casilla 1
- Petit 1
- Bochy 1
- Pierzynski 7
- Markakis 5
- Peterson 5
- Garcia 4
- Johnson 3
- Perez 2
- Maybin 2
- Detwiler 2
- Gomes 1
- Marksberry 1
- Ciriaco 1
Game Spit Master General = Belt at 9
That’s a total of 73 spits during a 3 hour and 55 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.2 minutes.
Mike Leake logged his first spits as a Giant during this game, but all were captured while the camera was on him in the dugout and he was spitting out sunflower seeds. Kelby Tomlinson also can add another first to his first Major League hit – his first appearance in my spit count! When you join a team, beware of the camera in the dugout! I’ll be watching! Two of the Braves players have some disgusting spit habits: Perez spat into his batting gloves and Pierzynski spat into his catcher’s mitt.
*I feel that the “spit” logged by Hunter Strickland during this game needs further explanation. I have never experienced anything like this before. The way the saliva exited his mouth was reminiscent of the most amazing spit take I’ve ever seen. The notes I took that day on this one spit read “spray explosion”. I have never seen spit travel and create such a wide, voluminous spray. How can you have that much liquid in your mouth without drinking water (this particular spit occurred while he was on the mound)? Incredible. And disgusting.
Tomorrow brings us to the Astros series. We’ve got to beat another playoff contender. Hoping the rest and the trip home will do my boys some good. At least the Dodgers have been doing their part and choking. Still only 2.5 games behind them. Sending positive thoughts to my boys so they can win some at home. Until next time, GO GIANTS!! WE KNOW YOU CAN DO IT!!
I didn’t think the Giants were going to make any moves before the trade deadline today, but they surprised us last night with a doozy. The Giants acquired right handed pitcher Mike Leake from the Reds for two minor league players: infielder Adam Duvall and right handed pitcher Keury Mella. This gives them a much needed bolster to a starting lineup that hasn’t had that usual spark that we’ve come to expect from the Giants. They did have to give up two prospects, but when you consider what Leake can do for us now, I think it was worth it. Duvall has been up in the bigs a couple of times and does have some power, but he had a lot of problems defensively. Keury Mella showed much more promise, so it will be interesting to follow his career as he leaves for Cincinnati.
So what exactly do we get with Mike Leake? I feel a list coming on:
- He’s gone 9-5 with a 3.56 ERA in 21 starts this season for the Reds. This is impressive on its own, but if you focus in on his last 4 games, he’s gone 4-0 with a 0.60 ERA. Super impressive at a time in the season when many pitchers are feeling run down.
- The above stats come with a caveat – he’s accomplished all this while having Great American Ballpark as his home field. 11 of his 21 starts this season were pitched there. That field is a hitter’s paradise, thus earning it the nickname “Great American SMALLpark.” Makes the guy almost seem god-like when you add that into the mix.
- He’s coming to a ballpark that is a pitcher’s dream. We all know how tough it is to hit one out at AT&T Park. There’s definitely potential there for that nice ERA to take a dive once he comes back home. I can just imagine him walking out on that field for the first time as a Giant. (cue angels singing “Alleluia!” in his ear)
- The guy goes deep into games. He pitched 8 innings in 3 of his last 4 starts. (cue Giants relief pitchers singing “Alleluia!”)
- Not only can he pitch, but the guy can hit. He’s got 3 doubles, a homerun, and 5 RBI this season. Might give Madison some competition.
- He’s only 27, so he’s still got a lot of pitching in him. This bodes well for him having enough stamina to make it through the post-season (positive thoughts, positive thoughts).
- He’s a California native. I’m sure the idea of coming back to this beautiful state from Cincinnati was appealing. This is important because he’ll be a free agent next season, and we’ll need a replacement for Huddy who plans on retiring. Hope he enjoys being back home.
- As soon as the news of the trade broke, he changed his Twitter picture to him wearing a Giants uniform. Think the guy is happy about being a Giant??
- This being a blog written by a girl, I just have to mention that fact that the guy is beautiful. Doesn’t hurt.
Considering all that, I’m pretty stoked about having him on the team. He wore the number 44 for the Reds, but since that was retired in honor of Willie Mac, he’s taken the number 13, his father’s favorite number (AWWWWW!!!!). Hopefully it will be lucky for him. He’s scheduled to make his debut on Sunday in Texas against the Rangers. I’m already trying to come up with some sort of a leek hat in his honor. Will make him feel right at home amongst all us crazies! Welcome to the team, Mike! Can’t wait to see you in orange and black!
Of course, as one player comes in, another must leave to make room for him. Unfortunately that player is Tim Hudson. He’s been put on the DL as of today. And what class that guy has. When asked how he felt about the move, he said that he was fine with whatever it takes to get more wins for the team. He agreed that the starting lineup needed some help, and he thinks Leake is the guy that can do it. He was also asked if he would rather be traded to another team where he could pitch, and he firmly said no. He appreciates the fact that there is potential for this team to go all the way again. Plus he feels that he can still contribute by traveling with the team and mentoring from the dugout. He may even be a mentor for Leake, who says he’s learned a lot from watching Tim and is looking forward to picking his brain. I love Huddy so much. I’m sure he’ll still have a positive impact on the team, and I hope he can still pitch somehow.
In other roster news, Jean Machi was claimed off waivers by the Red Sox and was added to their 25-man roster. I’ll miss him, but I’m happy that he’ll still be able to pitch. He’s still a great pitcher. Good luck to you, Jean.
Just when you thought you couldn’t hate the Dodgers any more they go around and mess with my boy Michael Morse. Morse was picked up by the Dodgers in the trade that landed them Mat Latos (hate that guy and he stinks – perfect pickup for them). A few hours later, Michael was designated for assignment. Then today he was traded by the Dodgers to the Pirates. Poor guy! Being tossed around like that! Don’t they think about the player at all?? There are two positive outcomes to this in the end: He didn’t end up becoming a stinking Dodger and he can hang out with his buddy Travis Ishikawa again. Good luck, Michael! Maybe we’ll see you in the upcoming Pirates series!
I don’t have a new spit count for you, but I do have some spit news. I was watching the Giants game this Tuesday against the Brewers and couldn’t help but notice Jonathan Lucroy behind the plate and his spitting antics. From the crouch he was constantly pulling his mask forward to spit – sometimes three or four times while the pitcher was about to pitch. How could he be focused on the game doing that? And how distacting for the pitcher! The guy must really have a bad addiction to smokeless tobacco to have to do that. I’ve never seen anything like it. Wish I had been doing a spit count at the time – it would have been remarkable! Get some help, Dude!
The Rangers series is about to start, and I’ve got high hopes for my boys. Madison is on the mound tonight and I’m sure he’ll put on a great show. Just hope my boys can handle the heat. Stay hydrated, Guys, and go out and show them what you’ve got! GO GIANTS!
Had another wonderful time watching my boys with my sister and my nieces yesterday. Great game and we won again! Got to see Heston pitch, Nori’s return (the crowd went wild when his name was announced), a Crawford homerun, three double plays, a torturous double error in the ninth to keep things exciting, and some silly Brewers antics. Plus the weather last night was lovely. We sat on the View Level this time. Granted you’re not as close to the action up there, but you can still see everything, the view is breathtaking, and the fans are so much more into it up there than in the more expensive seats. I had missed that. The icing was that they won and I got to hear Tony sing again, bringing my current season record to 4 and 2. We’re now only half a game behind the Dodgers and looking so good I’m sure it won’t be long before we overtake them. I love being a Giants fan right now!
There were two calls that the Giants disputed during the game last night. I didn’t know at the time because I was in the stands, but come to find out on the way home that both were attributed to our old friend, Phil Cuzzi. He’s the umpire who was doing a horrible job behind the plate at a Giants game a few weeks ago that ended up booting Ryan Vogelsong and Bruce Bochy. At least this time his calls could be reviewed (you can’t ask for a review of ball and strike calls). And lo and behold, both of his calls were overturned. On the first one, Duffy was called out when he was “tagged” at second. Even from my vantage point in the View Level behind home plate it was obvious that the guy missed the tag. How could he have blown that?? Then Carlos Gomez of the Brewers stole second and was called safe. The replay showed that he was tagged before he got to the base. At least that one was a little closer, but on the big screen it was evident that he was tagged in time. How does Cuzzi still have a job? I dread the game Wednesday when he will be behind the plate again.
When Gomez was called out on that replay, he acted like a little baby. He stormed off the field and threw his helmet on the ground. At that point he was kicked out of the game by another ump, but he refused to leave the dugout. The ump had to walk over and make him leave. Really? What is with these guys? I loved Duane Kuiper’s comment on the whole thing. He said the only guy he should be mad at is himself. If you steal second with a 2-run deficit, you better make it. To make things worse, the manager, Craig Counsell, then went out to yell at the ump. What did he think that was going to accomplish besides getting himself kicked out as well? The final decision on the play was made in New York, not on the field. Counsell was given the boot as well. At that point it didn’t really matter that either was gone because it was the ninth inning, but it was such a waste of our time. All of the booing by the crowd was kind of fun, though.
I had a revelation last night at the game regarding food, specifically hot dogs. I love grilled onions on my hot dog, and I only found them as an option for my dog once during the entire time I’ve been going to games. Why aren’t they standard fare? And where can the elusive grilled onions be found? The mystery was solved last night. I spied a woman with grilled onions on her dog and asked where she had gotten it. She directed me to a Doggie Diner booth. Only Doggie Diner offers the grilled onions, not the standard vendors! Plus I think their Giant dogs are a bit bigger than the others. So now you know!
Last night was the first time this season that I saw Panda hats in the crowd – at least three of them. I wondered at the beginning of the season if they would linger even with Panda gone, but up until then I hadn’t seen a single one. All the wearers were teenage boys. What were they thinking? Could they be that clueless? It wasn’t that cold, so the answer can’t be for warmth. I have to admit I was angered by it. He’s gone, and frankly good riddance! Don’t remind me, please! My Panda hat is still sitting in my closet, waiting for me to donate it to Goodwill. No way I would wear that thing again.
On the way home, I was listening to KNBR and Ray Woodson increased my baseball strategy knowledge. I always learn so much from listening to those guys. At one point in the game, Crawford was on third and Pagan was in the on-deck circle. Crawford ended up coming in to score right before a throw to home was made. Woodson mentioned that at that point, Pagan’s role should have been to take over as base coach and tell Crawford whether he had time to come in standing or whether he should slide, but he just stood back and watched. Luckily Crawford was safe anyway. So many things these guys need to keep in mind, even when they’re on deck. I had no idea.
I was surprised when Joaquin Arias was DFA’d yesterday to make room for Nori Aoki when he returned. I really thought it would be Maxwell. I love Arias, and I think he is a strong bench player, but apparently the Giants think Ehire Adrianza is better. Word is that since neither had any options left, they thought that Adrianza had a better chance of being picked up off waivers so they took the chance with Arias. I hope he isn’t picked up so that he can stay a Giant. He’s been so important to the team. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Was also shocked to hear that Troy Tulowitzki was traded from the Rockies to the Blue Jays yesterday. That guy is amazing. At least we won’t have to worry about facing him anymore as he’ll be out of the NL West and into the American League. And they mentioned on KNBR yesterday that the trade might bode well for Brandon Crawford as he’s one less outstanding short stop he’ll have to compete with for awards this season. And you know our boy Brandon is destined for some major recognition this season with the way he’s been playing.
With regards to trades, nothing for the Giants yet, but there has been a lot of talk about them acquiring a starter to put second in the rotation behind Bumgarner. Three names that have been tossed around are Jeff Samardzija, David Price, and Cole Hamels. All three would be expensive, plus we would probably have to give up some strong prospects, so I’m not sure the Giants would really end up going for it. Plus they’ve got a lot of competition from other teams for these guys, including the dreaded Dodgers. I myself am pulling for Cole Hamels. For selfish reasons – the boy doesn’t spit! And you gotta like that fact that he recently pitched a no hitter (missed out on the Domino’s pizza for that one!).
Just for fun I decided to check in on the status of the Tortoise Race – the homerun race between Joe Panik and Matt Duffy. As of this morning, Panik is at 7 and Duffy is at 9. Pretty impressive for Duffy, considering he didn’t hit a single homerun in his entire college career. Amazing what putting on a little weight can do for you. Just don’t follow your cat’s example to the extremes, Kid! Keep battling, Guys!
My boys are doing their part to keep the momentum going as we reach the upcoming tougher schedule. Hope they can keep it up. Loving this! Until next time, GO GIANTS! SPILL SOME MORE BEER!