I did not get to watch the entire game yesterday as I was attending a 50th birthday party. On the way home, I turned on the radio, and at that point the score was 8-0. Yeah, Baby! What a difference from Friday! Of course, once I got home and started watching it got a little dicey (always have to keep it exciting!), but they were able to even get a couple more runs and hang on for a much needed win. Super outing by Madison, who followed in his teammate’s footsteps and kept Goldschmidt from getting a hit (though he was still able to drive in one run – bugger!). He pitched 5 shutout innings, then fell off a bit, possibly due to the fact that he actually scored a run in the 6th inning! He also put down a squeeze bunt that brought in Brandon Belt in the fourth. Way to come through, Madison!
The bats also woke up yesterday. So many guys came through offensively, spanking the D-Bags’ pitcher, Cahill, sending his ERA skyward. Ginny’s boy, Brandon Crawford, had a career high 4 hits, Gregor Blanco hit a pair of doubles, and both Buster and Hunter hit homers at key points in the game. Knew you guys could do it!
Also of note – Pence stole two more bases last night. That puts him at 12 for 12. That’s the most bases stolen by any player in the majors without getting caught (thanks for that stat, Andrew Baggarly!). That’s a fantastic accomplishment, especially since this team depends a lot on “small ball” to get most of their runs. He was really on fire last night.
The relievers were a mixed bag. Ramon Ramirez had a terrible outing, walking 2, giving up a sacrifice fly, and apparently pitching where Buster wasn’t expecting it, causing a passed ball that allowed a run. Javier Lopez started out rough, but then got them out of that scary 6th inning. Jean Machi pitched two great innings, allowing only one hit and striking out two, and Mijares closed it, pitching 1 inning, allowing 2 hits, one run, and also striking out two. At least they didn’t let things get out of hand and handled it. But if I was Ramon, I’d be a little worried at this point. Poor guy – used to love to watch him. Seems like he’s just lost some of his steam.
One big negative, though. Pablo aggravated his injury and left the game after the third inning. Hopefully it’s not too bad and he can come back soon. We need that bat in the lineup.
We also got to see the first appearance of newcomer, Tony Abreu. He didn’t get any hits, but now he’s over his beginner’s jitters. I missed this, but Nick Noonan was optioned back down to Fresno (hasn’t been so hot lately), and Abreu came up. Abreu was out of minor league options, and he had just finished a rehab assignment, so they had to either get him on the 40-man roster or they could lose him on waivers. Look forward to seeing more of you, Tony! And welcome!
Manny suggested that I do a blog on umpires vs. the electronic strike zone for calling pitches. This came after the fact that the ump from Friday night seemed to have a strike zone that was constantly changing, aggravating Matt Cain. I actually did touch on this in a previous blog (see “Strike Zone” – July 2011), but it would be interesting to look into the actually accuracy ratings of umpires vs. the machines. I’ll try to delve further into that sometime this summer. Thanks for the suggestion, Manny. And if any of you have suggestions for future blog topics, please pass them along to me. We’re always learning here!
Outfielder Juan Perez will get his first start today. He came up to replace Angel when he went on the DL. Kind of hard to keep track of all these new guys! Andrew Pavlovic blogged about his being called up to the big leagues, mentioning the fact that his mom cried when she heard the news. Love those kinds of stories! Go on out there today and make Momma proud!
So this is it, boys. Just like I said yesterday, you can still take the series. We need to show those D-Bags that they are no match for us. We are the champions! Chad – just do what you did last time. You rock, Dude! I know you can handle it. Boys, you should easily be able to hit off Skaggs. He got lit up by the Cards this week. Just keep the momentum going from yesterday. And relievers, I know you can come through again. We got this. We can get to within 1 ½ games of the D-Bags today. Together we’re Giant! GO GIANTS!!