Getting swept by the Dodgers stinks. Especially when each loss was by one run. And extra especially when one of the games went 14 innings. But there was hope. There was hope that the schedule was getting better. Then two losses to the Rockies. What? These were the games we were supposed to win. These were the games where we would get back into the race, not the games where we couldn’t score any runs in a hitter’s park. Can’t blame any of it on pitching – well, except for the Vogey start. Peavy, Bum, Leake, and Heston pitched their little hearts out. But the Dodger pitching was just a little bit better, and Heston didn’t get any run support in the thin air of Colorado. And they’re hurting. I know every team’s hurting right now, but we have several key players out. It’s enough to make any Giants fan lose all hope at any chance of a post-season.
But not this fan. They won today. And they won even with key players out. Who would have guessed that a win was possible with the lineup Boch had to use today, with untested Alejandro De Aza (the newest Giant from the Red Sox) in left, Hector behind the plate, and of all people Nick Noonan at first base (for the first time in his career). But they did it. And they showed they can still be scrappy and pull off a win. And again the pitching was stellar. Peavy pitched a gem (and hit two doubles for the first time ever) and the relievers all shined. It will be a tough battle, but we’re not out of it yet.
Kudos to Nick Noonan for taking over for Brandon Belt at first today. Belt was out of the lineup due to stomach issues. Noonan excelled tonight at his new position, practically doing the splits to make two great outs at first, making a great feed to Peavy for another out, and catching an infield popup that no one else could spot. He also hit a double to drive in the first lead-taking run and walked to force in a second. And talk about a cool cat! He was totally calm during his post-game interview, like he’s been doing this for years. Thanks, Nick Noonan. You were the shot in the arm we needed tonight.
Kudos also to Angel Pagan, showing that he’s really back in form by launching his first home run of the season. Glad it finally happened for him, and hope it’s the start of great things to come.
The major bummer of the game was that Hector Sanchez sprained his ankle while hustling to first after a perfectly placed bunt. And on a night where Buster was supposed to have a day off. With Andrew Susac out for the rest of the season due to a recurring wrist issue, Bochy had no other choice but to put Buster in. And his only backup on the current roster would have been Juan Perez – guess that kid can play anywhere! After the game tonight it was announced that they will be calling up catcher Jackson Williams from Double A Richmond to fill in, and he’ll be with the team tomorrow in case he’s needed. Can you imagine what is going on in that guy’s mind right now? Here’s your chance, Dude! Take advantage!
More bad news came by way of a call from Nori Aoki this morning. He told the trainers that he’s having recurring concussion symptoms so he’ll be rested at least for a few days if not longer. Don’t want to mess with that kind of thing. Bochy expressed how sorry he felt for Nori having to deal with not just the concussion but the fractured fibula this season. He said it was unfortunate since he was having such a fantastic year beforehand. Sending healing vibes to you, Nori. Miss your at bats. On the positive side, Joe Panik is scheduled to join the team on Monday in Arizona. So at least there’s that. Hoping he can make a smooth transition back and pick up where he left off.
I hate to in any way relive a Dodgers game, but a couple of interesting plays occurred in the last week that I thought were worth mentioning. The first involved a steal attempt by Justin Turner of the Dodgers. As he slid into second, his helmet fell off and launched toward Ehire Adrianza, hitting him on the glove. Here’s the video of the play. It looks to me like the helmet might have blocked Adrianza’s view of the slide. I was wondering how this couldn’t be some sort of interference call. After doing some research, I found a rule that covers this (sort of). MLB Rule 6.05(h) states, “If, in the umpire’s judgment, there is intent on the part of a baserunner to interfere with a batted or thrown ball by dropping the helmet or throwing it at the ball, then the runner would be out, the ball dead and runners would return to last base legally touched.” I guess since he didn’t actually throw the helmet, he didn’t interfere. At least Turner didn’t end up scoring that inning. Sometimes the baseball gods balance things out.
Another controversial play went against the Dodgers (HA HA!). In a game against the Padres, the Dodgers thought they had a double play, but the ump ruled that Chase Utley did not tag second. Here’s the video of that play. You may recall that I discussed the “neighborhood play” in an earlier blog, and Utley was definitely close enough to second to have tagged it, but didn’t to avoid injury. That’s the whole point of that play. But according to Don Mattingly, that ump said he didn’t believe in the neighborhood play, even though it’s become almost a rule in the major leagues. In this case, the play was a game changer, starting a rally that caused a 7-4 Dodger lead to convert to a 10-7 Padre win. Just one more reason to hate the neighborhood play. And a big HA HA to the Dodgers on that one!
I’ve got a couple of fun videos to share with you. Ever wonder what is inside a baseball player’s locker? Well, Hunter Pence’s girlfriend, Lexi, takes us on a tour of his. Here’s the video. I find it fascinating all the junk he has in there! So many batting gloves – guess he gets lots to try out from different vendors. Plus a Pence on the Fence doll hiding in the bottom drawer – that doll is EVERYWHERE! And who would have thought players collect bobbleheads? Hunter also uses Grinds (the coffee grind tobacco substitute) and some other caffeine/guarana chew thing – good boy! Which reminds me – the spit count on the video was 1! And when she shows some of his fan mail, I think one of the large envelopes was the spit certificate I sent him! Well, it could be, right?
I actually learned some things about baseball from watching this. Like I never knew what “lizard skin” was. It’s a tape that guys can wrap around the handle of a bat to make it easier to grip and reduce vibration. They’ve been using it in the big leagues since 2013. The only rule is that the tape can’t extend more than 45 centimeters. Am I just not observant or is this also news to any of you? While watching the game tonight, I noticed that several guys on the Giants use it on their bats. And I didn’t know that Boch wrote a book – I’ll have to see if I can get a copy.
This next one proves that you’re only as old as you feel. Check out this video of pitcher Bartolo Colon making an unbelievable play. The guy’s 42. WHAT??
We’ve got 26 games to go. We’re 7 ½ games behind the Dodgers. A lot can happen in 26 games, especially when 4 are against LA. It can happen. Yes, it can. We just need to keep thinking that. And the boys need to keep thinking that. Keep the faith. Just keep it together, Guys. We know you’re capable of it. Until next time, GO GIANTS!! MAKE US PROUD!!