First Sweep in Atlanta Since My Wedding Day!

Yes, it’s true.  I’ll be celebrating my 26th wedding anniversary at the end of this month, and that’s how long it’s been since the Giants swept the Braves in Atlanta.  Can you believe this?  My boys are doing so well.  It’s really been a team thing.  They’re all taking turns contributing.  The starting pitchers have been amazing, the bullpen has been fabulous, the defense has come together beautifully, and somehow we’ve become one of the homerun leaders in the league.  This series has been so strange.  We won three games while going 0 for 13 with runners in scoring position!  All five runs in the first two games were solo homeruns, and then Brandon Crawford belted another two today (first time in his career he hit two homers in one game).  The Giants have hit at least one homerun in the last consecutive 11 games.  Incredible.  Seriously.  No one would believe this could happen to this team.  Wish they could hit the long ball with guys on base, but hey, I’m not gonna complain.  I am soooooo loving this!

We did get some sad news today after the game, though.  Matt Cain was placed on the 15-Day Disabled List.  Jake Dunning was recalled from the minors to take his spot on the roster.  The placement is retroactive to April 24th, so though Yusmeiro Petit will most likely pitch for him tomorrow, he could be back for his start against the Dodgers on Saturday.  If you hadn’t heard, Cain cut himself with a knife in the clubhouse making a sandwich right before he was supposed to start on Tuesday.  My sister and I went to that game (bobblehead game – thanks for the tickets, Manny!), and were surprised when they listed Petit as the starting pitcher on the scoreboard.  Maybe Cain has been hanging out with Affeldt a bit too much!  He had a rehab start in preparation for tomorrow, but apparently the wound hasn’t fully healed, so they aren’t taking any chances.  After how well Petit pitched in that last start, I’m not really worried.  Hope you heal quickly, Matt, and have someone else make those sandwiches for you!

Speaking of that game, I had the best time with my sister that night.  So many awesome things happened.  Comcast was broadcasting from outside the park since it was a Tuesday night, and I got Jim Kozimor to wave at me.  It was bobblehead night, so we went to Seals Plaza to get the bobbleheads for my cousin.  They had a reception area, and we were able to see Chumlee from Pawn Stars there.  The bobblehead is Chumlee holding a Chumlee bobblehead.  I know – pretty creepy.  Anyway, we got the bobbleheads, and went in.  The weather was fantastic – first time I can remember that I didn’t need a jacket for an entire night game.  Then we noticed a cameraman in the stands near us and we both got on the jumbotron.  Then there were some foreign exchange students in front of us in the stands and I got to explain the game of baseball to them (heaven for me!).  Plus I got a Chicago Dog and a Ghiradelli Sundae.  Plus I got to hang out with my amazing sister.  Plus they won and we got to hear Tony sing.  Perfect AT&T night!

I also went to two other games since I last blogged.  One was with my hubby, my sis, and my niece on April 15th.  That was the extra inning game that ended at 12:15 am!  We held out until the bottom of the 10th inning, but then decided to leave (it was 11:30 by then).  I swear we won that game due to my niece, Lizza, turning her cap into a rally cap.  As soon as she did that, we came to life and ended up winning.  That kid is a true gamer!  Then Dan and I attended the game on April 25th thanks to some tickets that my brother Paul gave to us.  It was Duane Kuiper bobblehead night.  They commemorated the one home run that Duane hit during his baseball career.  It was kind of a joke thing, but boy, was that guy great defensively.  They showed a bunch of clips of him between innings.  The funny thing was that they must have shown the homerun clip at least 5 times!  So funny.  Even he commented after the game that it was ridiculous how many times they showed it!  They won that one, too, so my win/loss record for this season now stands at 4 and 1.  Pretty sweet.

Dan’s boy, Juan Perez, got sent down to the minors when Jeremy Affeldt came off the DL, but then he was sent back up when David Huff was put on the DL when he injured his left quadriceps while running out his first major league hit (what a freakish thing to happen!).  I’m so glad Juan’s back, but I’m a bit concerned because he doesn’t have any options left now.  What happens when Huff comes back?  We’ll have to wait and see.  Dan’s keeping his fingers crossed.  Do wish that boy’s bat would come to life, though.

Still haven’t heard anything about Scutaro’s return.  Guess the Giants aren’t super concerned right now as Brandon Hicks has been doing a wonderful job at second base.  I did hear a rumor about Scutaro from someone I trust that makes me think a lot less of him as a person.  I really need to stop putting these guys up on pedestals.  They are actually just people after all.  So disappointed.

Did you see goofball Tim Lincecum in yesterday’s game?  It was the annual Heritage game for the Braves, so the Giants players wore replica jerseys of the 1946 San Francisco Sea Lions, part of the West Coast Negro League.  And yes, that was a cub, not a sea lion on the jersey.  The Sea Lions got hand-me-down jerseys from a club that had recently disbanded, the San Francisco Cubs.  Anyway, Tim was being silly and wore dark rimmed glasses and a pillow in his jersey so he could resemble an out-of-shape manager of that era.  He walked over and delivered the lineup card to the umpires like that.  Glad he’s relaxed enough to have a good time.  Bochy said he would never have done something like that a couple of years ago.  And the boys looked pretty nifty in those jerseys I have to say.  Loved that they were all wearing the high socks.

Came across an article titled “Returns on Investment” about the best MLB free agent deals so far this season.  Here’s the link.  On that list of 5 players:  Michael Morse.  Nice to see him getting some recognition, and boy do I agree with that article.  He’s brought a definite punch to the lineup, and what he lacks defensively hasn’t been that big of an issue (in fact he made a great catch today).  And his contract was a bargain at $6 million for one year.  The guy does need to learn to pronounce his teammates’ names correctly, though.  When asked about how the bullpen did on Friday night in a post-game interview, he commented on how well “Santiago Castilla” did.  Just FYI Mike, it’s Casilla.  I’m sure he’ll forgive you – this time.

Speaking of Morse, I had a comment on my blog from a guy named Ricky.  I had mentioned in the last blog that I was excited because I had yet to catch Morse spitting during my spit counts.  Ricky commented, “Just noticed Morse adjusting his chewing tobacco in his (pocket) during tonight’s game. Was 8th or 9th inning after him and Perez nearly collided in left-center.”  Darn.  Thanks for the comment, Ricky.  That circular bulge in a back pocket is a dead giveaway, but I’m still holding out hope that it’s something else, especially since he hasn’t been caught in the five spit counts to date (two to follow).  But Ricky – I’ll definitely keep a closer eye on him now – and that back pocket.  Not too difficult.  Teehee!

During the game today, there was an incident of catcher interference.  I discussed this in a previous blog, but today’s was an interesting situation.  Hunter Pence was at third, and Buster swung at a pitch, hitting the catcher’s mitt but also connecting with the ball.  Buster was thrown out at first and Hunter came home.  Buster brought up the interference to the umpire, and at first the umpire said that the run didn’t count and that Buster was at first and Hunter remained at third (for catcher interference, batter takes a base and other runners remain on their base unless it is a force).  However Bochy went out and argued with the umpire because the actual rule (6.08c) states “If a play follows the interference, the manager of the offense may advise the plate umpire that he elects to decline the interference penalty and accept the play.”  So Bochy said he wanted the play to stand, Buster was out, and the run scored.  Smart move, especially with how well the team has been batting with runners in scoring position lately!

There was another interesting observation this weekend.  One of the Braves relievers, Jordan Walden, has an unusual delivery.  Check it out (scroll down to see it all).  He actually jumps at the batter before delivery.  Kruk and Kuip were discussing this, and both were saying that he actually balks every time he pitches.  The MLB definition of an illegal pitch is “(1) a pitch delivered to the batter when the pitcher does not have his pivot foot in contact with the pitcher’s plate; (2) a quick return pitch. An illegal pitch when runners are on base is a balk.”  His foot is not in contact with the pitcher’s plate (rubber) when he delivers the ball.  I think they’re right, but why don’t the umpires think so?  Andrew Baggarly mentioned in his Instant Replay after the first Braves game, “Jordan Walden balks on every pitch. Jordan Walden balks on every pitch. Jordan Walden balks on every pitch.”  LOL!!  You think he feels strongly about this??

I noticed that Andrew Baggarly was behind the Comcast SportsNet desk this weekend instead of being in Atlanta with my boys.  I also noticed that the guy has impeccable taste in clothing.  He was wearing this beautiful suit on Saturday, complete with purple satin tie and matching pocket kerchief.  I decided to tell him on the Twitter that I liked his suit and asked why he wasn’t in Atlanta.  He tweeted back, “Thanks.  Not making half the trips this year.  Budget cuts.”  I was surprised at that, since you would think they were doing great with all the successes of the local teams this year.  I wonder if he’s bummed about less traveling or not.  I tweeted back that was too bad, but I was enjoying seeing him on CSN and glad he was still doing his Instant Replay reports after the games.  He said, “Thank you for continuing to read/watch!”  Actually, it said “watchi” – assuming that was a typo and he wasn’t being silly (that’s something I might tweet!).   Love the Twitter.  And no, Keen, I don’t have a crush on the guy!  Just enjoy his work.  And his suits.

More baseball weirdness:  Yankees pitcher Michael Pineda got ejected from a game on April 23rd.  Why?  The umpire found pine tar ON HIS NECK!  He claims he was using the pine tar to get a better grip on the ball because it was cold, and he didn’t want to hit anyone.  Really.  The guy didn’t think the umpire would see pine tar on his neck.  You can clearly see the pine tar on the guy’s neck in this video.  REALLY???  He ended up getting suspended 10 games for this, which means he’ll miss 2 of his starts.  I had no idea stuff like this still happened in baseball.  And apparently there is some back and forth going on between specifically the Yankees and the Red Sox.  The Yankees claim that a couple of the Red Sox pitchers run their hands through their hair to get grease on the ball.  Craziness.

And here’s a fun video.  This guy actually knocked the cover off the ball, and whackiness ensued (cue Benny Hill music).  Too funny.

I’ve got two new spit counts for you:

April 18th

Giants:

–          Sandoval 5

–          Pagan 4

–          Sanchez 4

–          Belt 3

–          Gutierrez 3

–          Adrianza 2

–          Lefevbre 1 (seeds)

–          Cain 1

–          Bochy 1

Padres:

–          Venable 3

–          Gyorko 2

–          Rivera 2

–          Denorfia 1

–          Ross 1

Game Spit Master General = Sandoval at 5

That’s a total of 33 spits during a 2 hour and 35 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.7 minutes.

The only spit that Cain logged was when he spat out his gum coming off the field (same thing happened in the last spit count).  He also swatted at the gum with his mitt.  Goofball.  I really think the gum keeps them from spitting so much.

May 3rd

Giants:

–          Sandoval 10

–          Lincecum 5

–          Belt 3

–          Pagan 2

–          Bochy 2

–          Hudson 1

–          Posey 1

Braves:

–          Gattis 12

–          B.J. Upton 9

–          Teheran 7

–          J. Upton 1

Misc.:

–          Umpire 6

Game Spit Master General = Gattis at 12

Giants Game Spit Master General = Sandoval at 10

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

Can you guess who pitched for the Giants in this game?  No, it wasn’t Lincecum or Hudson (who made guest appearances in the count from the dugout).  It was Ryan Vogelsong.  And Ryan was chewing gum the entire game.  I’m really loving this gum thing, and enjoy seeing those tubs in the dugout.  Hope that gum is replacing a lot of tobacco.  Thanks for not spitting, Ryan.  Maybe the Braves need some gum in their dugout, as the most disgusting spit was delivered by Evan Gattis when he allowed the brown, nauseating contents of his mouth to fall out during his last observed spit.  YUCKY!!!

There are seven more games left on this road stand with no breaks.  Hope the boys can keep the momentum going and power on through the Pirates (sorry Donna – I know that will be a tough series for you) and then those nasty Dodgers.  If they keep going like they have and the pitchers can keep it together, I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised.  Get lots of rest, Guys, and go get ‘em!  Enjoy your happy flight!  GO GIANTS!!

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