It’s over. Not gonna do it anymore. No longer will I make requests of my boys to win games. I think it puts too much pressure on them. I asked them to take 5 of 6 on the road (pretty ambitious of me), and they ended up getting swept in both series. So devastating! It’s all my fault! Every time I watch a game with my mom and I get frustrated, she reminds me that it’s just a game. And she’s right. I have to remember that. Plus, even though we got swept (that’s so hard to type), there were some positives to that road trip. You know how fond I am of lists, so let’s make a list of all the positive things going on with my boys right now:
- Even though they lost all six games, they lost 3 by only 1 run and 2 by only 2 runs. At least they stayed competitive.
- Duffy, Panik, Blanco, and Posey still have batting averages above .290. Gotta love that.
- Newcomer relief pitcher Josh Osich pitched in 2 of the Washington games and he was brilliant. He pitched a total of 2 1/3 innings, allowing no runs, no hits, and he walked 2. He also retired Bryce Harper of the Nationals twice – definitely a feat on its own! Welcome to the bigs, Josh!
- Jake Peavy had a fantastic first outing back from the DL on Friday, pitching 6 1/3 innings, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits, striking out 4 and walking 4. He would have gotten a win if it wasn’t for that one pitch (which resulted in a 2-run homer)!
- Even though Matt Cain’s return on Thursday wasn’t what we were hoping for, Bochy said he was “encouraged.” He said he looked “comfortable.” That’s gotta count for something. Hopefully he’ll improve in his next few starts.
- The Giants hit 6 homeruns in those 6 games, showing that the power is still there (Buster 3, Crawford 2, and Blanco 1).
- Hunter will be back soon. He took batting practice with the guys in Washington, and people were commenting that he should be a part of the Home Run Derby! I like it!
- There were some amazing defensive plays made, including an amazing dive by Angel and a spectacular catch by Panik in yesterday’s game to rob Nats of hits.
See – it wasn’t that difficult to make a positives list. And they’ll just have to work out the negatives, including some sloppy baserunning and defense. I’m sure a lot of those boys are tired as well, and the upcoming All-Star Break will do them a world of good.
In yesterday’s game, the issue of whether umpires should call balls and strikes came up once more as home plate umpire Phil Cuzzi made some “creative” calls that hurt the Giants. Even the Fox broadcasters had issue with a lot of his calls. In one at bat, a third strike call was pitched to the exact same spot as an earlier pitch called a ball. How is a batter supposed to know which pitches to take and which to swing at when that is going on? Unfortunately for us some tempers flared, and Vogey and Bochy ended up being ejected for taking issue with the calls. It was the first time Vogey had ever been ejected from a game for arguing with an ump. Cuzzi has some history with the Giants as well. According to Andrew Baggarly, Cuzzi blatantly blew a call at the plate in 2010 and called Travis Ishikawa out, causing them to lose a game to the Mets.
So should the job of calling balls and strikes be taken out of the hands of the umpires? Each ballpark has the technology to be able to see if a pitch is within the strikezone. You can see this when you watch games on Fox – a box appears over the plate, making it obvious when an umpire gets it wrong. And they sure do get it wrong a lot. The annoying thing is that different umpires have different strike zones. Kruk will usually mention at the start of a game what the home plate umpire’s strike zone is – whether he calls high or low strikes, and how wide of a strike zone he has. Kruk also mentioned that in general, umpires have evolved a lower strike zone, calling balls that are almost impossible to hit strikes. With all the comments about the lack of offense in baseball, you would think it would be better to do away with this problem. I heard Bob Fitzgerald of KNBR ranting about this today, saying that the strike zone is the strike zone and it’s not up to interpretation, especially when the technology to solve the problem is right there. I once posed this question to Ray Ratto during an online chat, and he disagreed with using the technology, saying that it’s not a game of robots. For myself, being a baseball purist, I want a strike to be called a strike. I like the technology, and I think it’s time has come. Some ideas for how this could work include a wristband that the ump could wear alerting him to whether a pitch was a strike or ball, or a KNBR listener suggested today that the ump could wear goggles with heads-up technology. What do you think?
My cousin Manny made a comment about my earlier blog regarding the neighborhood play – how a second baseman can technically not touch the bag and a runner would still be forced out. I said I don’t like the play, and he responded, “Tell that to Marco Scutaro.” You’ll recall that during game 2 of the 2012 NLCS (which I just happen to have attended), Matt Holliday slid hard into Marco Scutaro at second base in an attempt at disrupting a double play. Holliday slid so hard, in fact, that he went past the bag. In fact really, he started the slide AFTER the bag. Here’s the MLB rule that governs this play (rule 7.09e): If, in the judgment of the umpire, a base runner willfully and deliberately interferes with a batted ball or a fielder in the act of fielding a batted ball with the obvious intent to break up a double play, the ball is dead. The umpire shall call the runner out for interference and also call out the batter-runner because of the action of his teammate. In no event may bases be run or runs scored because of such action by a runner.” For me, this one’s pretty obvious – Holliday should have been out, the batter should have been out, and Holliday should have been fined up the wazoo. He slid into Scutaro, not into the bag. And if you watch the video here, it’s interesting to hear the take of either team’s announcers on the play. How can you say that was a fair slide?? Scutaro did get hurt on the play, but he was able to continue in the game, eventually hitting the game winner. Ha ha! In this case, the neighborhood play wasn’t used – Scutaro tagged the bag. But the injury came from an illegal move. That’s where I think the impetus needs to be put, not on the second baseman. Fine guys heavily so they stop doing this. It would be interesting to hear what Scutaro would have to say about the whole thing. At the time, he was quoted as saying, “Uhh… after I saw the replay… you know… that guy always plays hard. I think he just kind of slid a little bit late. But I guess he wasn’t trying to do that. He was coming full speed. But to be honest, I’m just happy that nothing real bad happened…” Then later he said if Holliday tried to apologize he would “kick his ass!” Ah, Marco! I miss you so much! Thanks for the comment, Manny.
Lots of movement on the roster lately. Right handed reliever Mike Broadway was recalled from the River Cats at the end of June but optioned back on July 3rd. Casey McGehee was DFA’d (again) and replaced with Ehire Adrianza. Adrianza’s already gotten some playing time, pinch hitting in two games and starting in yesterday’s game. As expected, Timmy was placed on the DL to make room for Matt and Tim Hudson was placed on the DL to make room for Jake. Sad to hear that Brett Bochy was DFA’d – that must have been a tough one for Boch. Also Travis Ishikawa was DFA’d and picked up by the Pirates. Hope he does well there – love that guy. We’ll miss you. Reliever Josh Osich came up from the River Cats as well as right fielder Ryan Lollis. I remember Lollis from Spring Training – every time he would come up to bat, we would sing the “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here” song from Schoolhouse Rock. It will be interesting to see if any trades are made in the next few weeks. Will keep you posted.
Here’s a fun video of a new Buster Posey commercial. Seriously, the guy can act! What a great job he does! I love it! So funny! “Honey, you’re embarrassing me in front of Buster Posey!” And congrats to Buster on being named the starting catcher for the National League All-Star Team. Sweet! And this just in: Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik, and Madison Bumgarner have all also been named to the All-Star Team. So well deserved by everyone. And I voted for all of them!
I have a new spit count for you. Andrew Susac seriously needs an intervention:
- Susac 41 (there are no words)
- Pagan 5
- Meulens 2 (seeds)
- Strickland 2
- Bumgarner 1 (wasn’t even playing)
- Posey 1
- Vogelsong 1
- Bochy 1
- Affeldt 1
- Decker 1
- Belt 1
- Williams 7 (mostly seeds)
- ? 7 (some player in the dugout)
- Harper 5
- Desmond 3
- Ramos 3
- Espinosa 2
- Escobar 2
- Fister 1
- Scherzer 1 (seeds)
- Span 1
- Thornton 1
- Nationals Bat Boy 1 (seeds)
Game Spit Master General = Susac at 41 (new season high)
That’s a total of 91 spits during a 3 hour game for an average of 1 spit every 2 minutes (new season high).
Susac takes over the record for most spits in a single game this season, surpassing Tuffy Gosewisch’s previous high of 32. He’s definitely on his way to earning that certificate. The interesting thing is that I don’t think the guy is chewing tobacco – he is obviously chewing gum. So why all the spitting?? Just a nervous habit? Bochy seriously needs to get a spit intervention group together. Batting coach Steve Decker logged his first spit of the season during this game. Great.
We start the series against the Mets tonight. No more requests for my boys – just hoping we can win some to get out of this slump. Hope the boys are happy to be back home out of that crazy heat. Maybe that will do them some good. The Dodgers are still within our grasp. GO GIANTS!! SNAP THE SKID!!