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!