Putting Up Crooked Numbers

What a nice comeback it was today!  This is the first time the boys came back from a 3 run deficit to win all season.  Timmy started out strong, then was scary with the way he fell off the mound again.  And I think Bernie Brewer was getting a sore butt from coming down that slide so much with the 3 homeruns Timmy gave up.  But the boys came through for him with that amazing 6th inning, giving him the win.  Talk about putting up a crooked number!  I guess 7 is as crooked as it gets!  They scored more runs that inning (7) than they had all season in a single inning, even as far back as August 31st last season.  Also big kudos to Hunter Strickland for pitching 2 1/3 innings, not allowing a hit, and getting 3 strikeouts.  I was wondering if this was a test for Hunter as we had a 4-run lead and he faced mostly lefties, the guys who have rung him up in the past.  Nice job, Kid!  And super sweet job to all the guys that kept the line moving in that 6th inning.  And extra kudos to Hunter Pence for going 3 for 4 and our unsung hero Nori Aoki for going 4 for 4 with a walk.  What a joy to watch!  And they didn’t even torture us at the end!

Vida Blue made an interesting comment about the rally in the 6th.  The guys on Comcast SportsNet were mentioning that Hunter almost got a homerun at one point, but that sometimes a homerun can actually kill a hitting rally.  Vida explained why this can happen.  If a player gets a homerun, the pitcher can go back into the windup, a much more comfortable way for most pitchers to pitch.  Leaving guys on base forces him into the stretch and puts him under more pressure dealing with guys on base.  So interesting.  Thanks, Vida!

Guess I didn’t have to worry about the rain in Milwaukee like I mentioned yesterday as Miller Stadium, home of the Brewers, is a covered stadium.  And I learned today that the ball actually carries better when the dome is closed.  But what was up with them opening the roof right in the middle of Brandon Crawford’s at bat?  Aren’t there rules against that?  I would think that would be pretty distracting.  I researched this, and according to MLB official guidelines for retractable roofs, “If the game begins with the roof closed, it may be opened when, in the opinion of the home club, the climatic environment has reached a level where fan comfort and enjoyment will be best served by opening the roof to the natural atmospheric conditions.  The Umpire Crew Chief shall notify the visiting club, which may challenge the opening of the roof if it feels that a competitive imbalance will arise.”  Guess they decided it was better for the fans, and the Giants didn’t protest the decision.  As far as it being opened while Crawford was batting, “The opening of the roof shall only commence between innings.”  This was not the case, but perhaps they started opening it between innings.  Hank Schulman mentioned on Twitter that even if they start to open it between innings, it takes 10 minutes to fully open so it ends up overlapping the game.  My question:  why don’t they wait the 10 minutes for it to fully open before restarting the game to be fair?  Poor Brandon – he struck out on that at bat.  Who knows if things may have gone differently if the ceiling wasn’t opening up above him while he was trying to concentrate on hitting.  And as far as the comments I read mentioning that the Brewers may have been trying to get some sort of advantage by opening the roof – well, it didn’t work!

This whole discussion about the covered stadiums made me wonder about something:  Why isn’t Coors Field covered?  Wouldn’t that make sense?  They’ve had at least 4 rain postponed games this season, and we all know that there were several rain delays when we played them this last weekend.  The Arizona Diamondbacks even poked fun at them on their twitter account, saying, “@Rockies So…when are you guys going to get one of these?” adding a picture of their retractable roof.  Guess it’s too late to do it after the fact, but why didn’t anyone think of this when they built that stadium?  They even get snowed out!

I really like the fact that the guys honored our veterans who lost their lives today by wearing uniforms with camo numbers and letters, and even camo bills on their hats.  Good job, Guys.  They deserve our respect on this special day.  Made me proud to be a Giants fan.

Was anyone else confused about what was going on when Davis got that first homerun for the Brewers?  Dan and I were watching and had no idea what the delay was.  Once Braun came to the plate, they called Davis out, saying that when he ran the bases after the home run, he missed home plate.  You have to give some credit to Andrew Susac – the guy was watching the plate as Davis came home and was probably the one that mentioned it in the first place.  Who would be looking for that?  It turned out that when it was challenged, they couldn’t see clearly enough whether his foot actually touched the plate or not.  For me, it looked like his heel was above the plate, but hard to make out if it touched or not.  I had no idea this was a rule. You would think if he hit a home run, that’s it – done deal.  But as usual, we’re always learning new things here.  I looked up the official MLB rule, and the explanation I found for this case is (Rule 7.10d), “A runner shall be called out, on appeal, when he fails to touch home base and makes no attempt to return to that base, and home base is tagged.  Any appeal under this rule must be made before the next pitch, or any play or attempted play.”  Susac touched home plate when Braun came up to bat, so at that point, Davis was out (even though it got overturned).  So even hitting a home run doesn’t guarantee you a home run.  Still not sure why, with all the hoopla going on, the Brewers didn’t figure out what was going on and just have Davis go back and touch home plate.  It cracked me up that when Davis got his second home run (sigh) he made sure to plant his foot firmly on the plate.  Don’t think he’ll make that mistake again.  EVER!

The Brewers pitcher that got caught with stuff on his arm that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Will Smith, pitched today.  I carefully looked at both arms while he was pitching.  No stuff.  Guess he learned his lesson.

Unlike the Giants who embrace one mascot, namely Lou Seal, the Brewers have several different mascots.  There’s Bernie Brewer, the buff guy who slides down the slide whenever the Brewers get a home run.  Then I noticed this beer barrel guy.  He’s called Barrelman, and he was originally on the Brewers logo but only became a mascot this season.  Kind of creepy.  Finally I noticed a third mascot, and he’s my favorite.  He’s a dog and his name is Hank.  I also love that his number is K9.  Cute!  Hank (named after Hank Aaron) started out as a real stray dog who wandered onto the Brewers’ field at Spring Training last season.  He was taken in by the team and became an immediate hit with both team members and fans.  He became so popular that the Brewers started selling Hank T-shirts, with part of the proceeds going to benefit the Humane Society.  Now he’s been morphed into a human-sized mascot.  I have to say, besides my boy, Lou Seal, he’s one of the most adorable team mascots I’ve ever seen.  And what a great thing for the Brewers to do.  Good job, Boys!

I observed something interesting that the Brewers catcher, Martin Maldonado, did today.  While Aoki was up to bat, Maldonado put his glove on the right side of the plate and hit it, making it seem like he was looking for a pitch inside, but then he set his glove up on the left side of the plate.  Just as I noticed this, Kruk and Kuip commented about it.  He does this to confuse the batter into thinking that he’s getting a pitch inside when he’s not.  Sly little bugger.  I wonder if that move ever works.  It didn’t against Aoki.  HA HA!

As you can see, I learned an awful lot through observation in this game.  There is always so much to learn, and I really enjoy it.  Another opportunity for expanded knowledge reared its head when I noticed that the Brewers have their pitcher hit 8th instead of 9th.  I had seen this before when the pitcher was actually a good hitter, but the pitcher today had a batting average of .111 and the ninth hitter, Sardinas, had an average of .289, a pretty decent one.  What is the strategy behind this?  According to Vida Blue in the post-game show, you’re looking for the pitcher to be the last out, not to be the set up guy for the top of the lineup.  You want the top of the lineup to hit with guys on base, so that 9th guy can hopefully get on base.  For anyone who’s really into statistics, I found an in depth article on this strategy here (apparently it was really popular with Tony La Russa years ago), but even the author says that the advantage is super slim – you’d on average be 0.6 runs better off over the course of an entire season.  But I guess guys will still try anything to eek out an advantage.  Bochy seems to have his lineup all worked out, though, so keep that pitcher down at the bottom please.

More sad but inevitable news today from the team.  The Giants reinstated Travis Ishikawa from the disabled list only to designate him for assignment.  There just wasn’t room on the team for him.  I hope that something will work out for him, even if it has to be on another team because I love that guy and I want what’s best for him.  I will always remember being in the crowd for his game-winning walk off homerun to clinch the NLCS last season.  Thanks for that memory, Travis.  Wishing you all the best.  You’ll always have a place in Giants history and in my heart.  Keeping my fingers crossed that there’s some way you can still be a Giant.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I went to a San Jose Giants game on Saturday with my husband, my sister and her family, and my brother.  It was only the second one I had ever attended.  What a great time we had.  Dan and I got there early, and I found a ball in the stands.  So cool!  I had never seen one up close, and it looks like it had been hit several times – it’s pretty beat up!  We also got offered an upgrade on our seats (we sat in general admission and even those seats were pretty amazing), but we didn’t take it because we wanted to sit with the rest of the family.  Thankfully we didn’t because those seats were in the sun.  The game was so much fun.  They do so many fun activities while the game is going on.  Dan’s favorite was the Beer Batter.  They designate a batter from the other team to be the beer batter, and if he strikes out beers are half price for the next 15 minutes.  Whenever he got up, everyone chanted, “BEER, BEER, BEER!”  He did strike out once for us, so of course Dan and my brother took off!  They also had fireworks after the game and they were so much better than I expected.  For food, they have a great BBQ court – I had pulled pork and it was yummy.  Of course we also had to partake of the garlic fries.  Our boys ended up stomping the Rancho Cucamonga  Quakes (the Dodgers Triple A affiliate) 11 to 0!  HA HA!  Even our minor leaguers beat the boys from down south!  All in all it was a fantastic, fun night and I would love to go again.  I highly recommend it.  Plus the price can’t be beat – $11 for general admission seats, and $10 for parking.  Parking is $5 more on fire works nights and tickets cost $1 if you buy them on the day of the game, so get them in advance from the box office (no fees that way).

I have a new spit count for you from today’s game.  One of my boys was being pretty naughty.  Here you go:

May 25th

Giants:

  • Susac 23 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  • Strickland 4
  • Belt 3
  • Aoki 2
  • Lincecum 1
  • Posey 1 (seeds)
  • Duffy 1

Brewers:

  • Lohse 10
  • Gomez 3
  • Gomez 2
  • Davis 2
  • Lucroy 1
  • Braun 1
  • Cotts 1
  • Rodriguez 1
  • Maldonado 1

Misc.:

  • Umpires 2

Game Spit Master General = Susac at 23

That’s a total of 59 spits during a 3 hour and 15 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.3 minutes.

Yes, that’s 23 exclamation points for Andrew Susac’s 23 spits.  He set a new Giants record for the season.  So disappointed in that boy.  And it’s obvious that he is chewing tobacco – he has that telltale bulge in his cheek.  He has the habit (like Buster used to) of lifting his helmet a lot while he’s catching to spit.  That’s where most of his dings came from.  Guess the kids pick up this bad habit in the minors.  On a happy note, even though Hunter Strickland logged 4 spits, he was chewing gum at the time, so at least they weren’t due to tobacco.  Still yucky, though.

Finally, in keeping with the Memorial Day theme, here’s a video about a player who was involved in the military.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  I’m hoping that the boys can keep the line moving for the rest of this series.  Madison’s pitching tomorrow, and I’m sure he’ll be strong.  Then Vogey on Wednesday, and he’s coming off a fantastic start against the Rockies.  Just hope his tweaked calf is doing better.  The bats just need to keep it up.  After the Brewers, they’re back home to play the Braves.  I’m really hoping I can make it to one of those games.  That would be wonderful.  Sorry this blog ended up being so long, even after I just posted yesterday.  I just can’t help myself – I love this game and this team!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!

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2 comments

  1. jimsgin

    Thanks for all the information, I think you are more informative than any newspaper. San Jose Giants games sounds like a fun place, congratulations on finding a ball.

  2. Pingback: Discover: Tuesday Roundup « MLB.com Blogs

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