We took a series against the Dodgers, which included a win against Clayton Kershaw. It looked like the boys might be getting back on track. Then in two games we gave up 27 runs, and to the Reds no less. Adam Duvall must be eating this up. What is going on? This is the same team that won that series a few days ago. The potential is there. Why is it not showing up? It’s definitely a tough time to be a Giants fan right now. Am I still a die-hard Giants fan? Am I still watching games and cheering this team on? Am I still enduring the torture? YES!! That’s what being a true fan is all about. You’re with them through the good AND the bad. In fact, they need your support more during the bad, right? They need it to pull them through this. And it’s not like this kind of unexplainable slump has never happened to them before. Look at last season. They were flying high until the All-Star break, then it fell apart. Not to mention other seasons where the players were the same but inexplicably the results were not. I still have faith that something will click and they’ll get out of this. And you know that behind the scenes, Bobby Evans is taking matters into his own hands to ensure that they come out of this. We just have to be patient and keep supporting our boys, even though it is incredibly tough right now. They’re still our team.
One interesting thing I heard mentioned about the Reds’ ballpark, Great American Ballpark, is that the pitcher’s mound is flatter than most in baseball. Both Bruce Bochy and Ryan Vogelsong (in an interview on KNBR) mentioned that this can throw pitchers off. Can that be a factor? I wonder, especially since Matt Cain had been pitching so well before this outing. Just something to think about (as we’re all somehow trying to explain what is going on).
As the Giants also try anything to make things better, there have been more roster moves since last I blogged. Neil Ramirez was DFA’d and claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays. Best of luck with your new team, Neil. He had some promising moments, but gave up 6 runs on 2 different occasions – not what you need from a reliever. He was replaced with Bryan Morris. Morris played for the Marlins last season. He’s had a pretty rough start, giving up 5 runs in 2 innings in his first two appearances, but yesterday he was able to pitch a hit-free inning, so maybe things are looking up (please??). Chris Stratton (who started out great and then fizzled) was sent down to Sacramento and replace with Josh Osich. Osich has pitched in 3 1/3 innings since his callup and has only allowed 1 hit. ALLELUIA!! Plus it’s nice having another lefty option in the bullpen. Then due to his lackluster offense (2 hits in 22 at bats – sigh), Drew Stubbs was DFA’d and replaced with Justin Ruggiano. Ruggiano was a standout in Spring Training and has a history of hitting well off of lefties, so there is some hope he can help out. But he’s 35. Sigh. And he only played 9 games for the Mets and Rangers last season, plus he underwent shoulder surgery near the end of the season. Double sigh. Plus he went hitless in 3 at bats yesterday. Heavy sigh. Finally, Brandon Crawford remains on the DL with his groin strain, but he should be back soon. I’m seriously hoping that having him back will be the needed spark to get something going. Plus I’m sure it will warm Ginny’s heart, and that’s always a happy thing!
Since I’m always looking for the positive here, I would like to end with some happy memories of my favorite game of the season. It was the April 26th game against the Dodgers. I’m going to list all the happy things about this game to emphasize that this team does still have what it takes to win games:
- We beat the Dodgers. That’s always a happy thing.
- Christian Arroyo hit his first major league homerun off of Sergio Romo, and with a guy on base. I like homeruns with guys on base. Not used to seeing this.
- We were behind by 3 runs and came back to win it. Usually when we are behind by even 1 run this season, I figure that’s the end of it (I hate to admit that, but it’s true). But we came back from a 3-run deficit. It’s possible. And possible with this team.
- Our bullpen (Okert, Strickland, Melancon, Law) allowed only 2 hits and no runs in 4 innings. They can do it.
- Michael Morse, in his first at bat after being called up to the Bigs this season, as a pinch-hitter in the 8th, hit a game-tying homerun. He did exactly what he was called up to do. And watching the joy on his face as he ran the bases finally brought back some joy to that clubhouse.
- Unsung hero Gorkys Hernandez started the 10th inning rally by getting a hit and then stealing second. Nice way to get things going, Gorkys. I don’t care what anyone says, I love this guy, and I still think he has potential to do good things for this team.
I felt so good after this game – couldn’t remember the last time I felt that way. And I realized a huge part of it was due to Michael Morse. He brings joy to that clubhouse. But it was kind of weird because he rushed into the clubhouse after he hit that homerun, and it was like the guys didn’t know how to respond. Last year if that had happened, guys would have been going nuts. But this time it was as if Morse was celebrating alone. Afterwards, he just went to the clubhouse fence to watch the game and it looked like he was trying his best to remain calm. Why??? Bring the silly and happy back, Michael! Go nuts with Hunter again! I loved that. And it might just be what this team needs. It’s like they’ve forgotten how to celebrate. Might help them to stop grinding and relax. Take Michael’s advice and talk to your bats (Did you all see this? Love this kind of stuff!).
And keeping things light-hearted, I’ve got a new spit count for you. It just happens to be from that joyous game:
- Cueto 8 (4 were seeds)
- Law 8
- Arroyo 7
- Gillaspie 5
- Nuñez 2
- Wotus 1 (seeds)
- Samardzija 1 (seeds)
- Bochy 1
- Grandal 2
- Kershaw 1
- Turner 1
- Gonzalez 1
- Toles 1
- Roberts 1
Game Spit Master General = Tie between Cueto and Law at 8
That’s a total of 40 spits during a 3 hour and 10 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.8 minutes.
This was a fairly low spitting game. It was weird because it started out being super low spitting, then the spitting accelerated as the game progressed. I’ve also noticed that when games are televised on KOTR as this one was (KOTR is my local station that carries games not televised on NBC Sports Bay Area), the picture is not as clear and they don’t do as many closeups, so this could cause my counts to be lower. Also the award for most disgusting spit during this game goes to Conor Gillaspie who ejected a large brown wad from his mouth at one point. Thanks for making me ill, Conor.
I have some exciting news to mention as I end this. I won a Twitter contest and I get to have dinner with Marty Lurie from KNBR!!! I am so excited to meet Marty and talk Giants baseball with him. Really looking forward to it. Hoping that the boys can turn it around by then so that it can really be a celebration! Getting ready to watch today’s game and hoping that Johnny can bring them a win in his old park. Until next time, GO GIANTS!!! WE’VE STILL GOT YOUR BACK!!
Geez, what a crazy ride it’s been since Madison got injured last Thursday! I can’t believe how many roster moves have been made. Some are really sad, but some are super great. Here’s the list:
- Chris Marrero was DFA’d. I think we all knew this one was coming as he hadn’t shown the same offense that he did in Spring Training, hitting only .132 in 38 at bats.
- To replace Marrero (and set off a firecracker under this team), the Giants succumbed to all the pressure and brought up Christian Arroyo from Triple A. This is the move I am most excited about, and I’m sure everyone else is as well. Management kept saying they wanted to wait for him to have a full year at Triple A, but I guess that just goes to show you how desperate they were to change things up with our dismal start. He’s playing at third so he can feel comfortable in the bigs, and Eduardo Nunez has been moved out to left field. Christian’s played in two games so far, and though his bat hasn’t been super hot yet (give the kid some time), he has gotten his first hit (and against Clayton Kershaw no less – nice story he’ll have to tell for the rest of his life), and he did hit a ball in his first game to move Brandon Crawford to third, allowing him to eventually score. Plus he’s shown some defensive prowess, even throwing out Yasmani Grandal at first after his hit ricocheted off of Matt Cain, sending him to the ground for a front row seat on the play. I love that the kid went over and picked Cain up! He’s also got the gift of gab – what Duane Kuiper calls the “6th tool”. In his post-game interview with Amy G. he told the story of getting called up and just wouldn’t stop! Amy didn’t have to say anything! I am so looking forward to what this kid can do for us.
- Aaron Hill was put on the DL with a right forearm strain. Again, probably won’t see much affect from this because his numbers weren’t that great so far.
- Denard Span made an amazing catch in the outfield this week, but ended up crashing into a wall and suffering a shoulder sprain. At first he wasn’t put on the DL, but now his shoulder’s been acting up so he was today. Man, that catch was beautiful!
- To fill in at center field, Drew Stubbs was called up. He’s played in the last two games and hasn’t logged a hit yet, but he’s done a great job in center field. We’ll have to see if his bat warms up.
- Then today, since Span was put on the DL, my boy Michael Morse was called up. YAY!!!! It happened!! He made it!! What a true fantasy this is for this guy. To think it all started with a conversation with Bobby Evans at Hunter Pence’s wedding. I bet Hunter is thrilled to have his buddy back. Can’t wait to see them together in the dugout tonight (though he is not in the lineup). Hope Michael can bring some pop back to this team. According to Andrew Baggarly, Morse will help off the bench and start occasionally at first base. Welcome back, Michael!! Can’t wait to hear Take On Me again!
- Chris Stratton was called up to fill the spot left by Madison’s departure. He pitched three innings in relief of Matt Moore in the game where Matt got lit up by the Rockies, and he did an amazing job. He didn’t allow a hit, allowed only one walk, and tallied 3 strikeouts. I am really excited about this kid. He also shows great poise and confidence on the mound. Looking forward to seeing more of him (and not really sure why he hasn’t come into a game since – maybe since he pitched 3 innings and that’s a lot for a reliever?).
- Brandon Crawford is on bereavement leave for the next three days so that he can attend services for his sister in law. Apparently the minimum you can take off for such things is three days. He only needed two, but as it turns out he suffered a groin injury in yesterday’s game and may even end up on the DL when he gets back. I sure hope not. I’m so tired of documenting injuries on this team so far! There are enough guys out!
- Kelby Tomlinson was called up today to provide some infield help while Brandon’s out. So glad he’s back. I love that guy and I’m hoping to see a lot of him this season.
- Finally Matt Cain injured his hamstring in his stellar performance on Monday night. It was so sad that he had to leave after 6 innings while he had been doing so well. The guy’s numbers for this season are just crazy and so unexpected. He’s the ace so far this season, with a 2.42 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in the 4 games he’s pitched. Who would have thunk? Thankfully, the x-ray results on the hamstring injury came back negative so he avoided a major injury, but we’ll have to see if he is able to make his next scheduled start. If not, maybe they can put Stratton in – I love that guy!
I know you’ve all been waiting with baited breath, but your wait is now over. I have the first spit count of the season for you! Here you go:
- Gillaspie 6
- Bochy 4 (all seeds)
- Nunez 3 (2 of these were seeds)
- Moore 2
- Stratton 2
- Span 1
- Belt 1
- Posey 1
- Reyes 1
- Meulens 1 (seeds)
- Panik 1
- Marrero 1
- Arenado 4
- Reynolds 4
- Story 4
- LeMahieu 3
- Senzatela 2
- Cardullo 2
- Blackmon 1
- Umpire (Rob Drake) 14 !!!!!
- Fan 1
- Fan 1
Game Spit Master General = Drake at 14
Giants Game Spit Master General = Gillaspie at 6
That’s a total of 60 spits during a 3 hour game for an average of 1 spit every 3 minutes.
At first I thought this was the first time an umpire won out as the Game Spit Master General. Then I seemed to recall the name of said umpire – Rob Drake. I looked it up, and indeed he was the Game Spit Master General for the game on August 24th, 2012! And during that game, he logged a whopping 40 spits! So at least he’s calmed it down a bit! I kept noticing him lifting his mask and finally realized he was doing it to expel saliva. Sheesh! Why does an umpire need to spit?? These were the first fan spits logged in a while – two different guys. Really?? Matt Moore wins the award for most disgusting spit – one of his ended up mostly on his face, and he wiped it away with his glove! Blech! Also noticed during this game that Moore is also a snot rocket launcher – he launched 3 today. Kudos to Neil Ramirez today – he may have given up 6 runs in one inning during this game (including walking one in), but he didn’t get caught spitting once! Hoping he keeps up the non-spitting this season (and keeps guys off the bases while doing it).
Going to leave today with a question: Why does Nick Hundley only wear one shoulder protector behind the plate? It’s over his right shoulder. Check it out next time he’s in the lineup. Anybody have a clue? Please leave a comment if you know why. Going to the game on Saturday with my entire family – all 11 of us! So excited to get to my first game. The giveaway that day is the two flaps down hat, so I’m hoping to get a picture of all of us together wearing it! Also hoping that we can take these next two games against the Dodgers. My boys always seem to rise to the occasion against their arch rivals. They won Monday, and even though they lost yesterday, they did battle and keep it close (and it was Kershaw after all). Plus Ty Blach did an amazing job – what a relief that we can count on this kid to get us out of a jam. Will be cheering them on tonight from my living room. Come on boys! You can do it! Bring us some energy in the clubhouse, Michael! Until next time, GO GIANTS!! BEAT LA!!
On paper, it looked like the Giants would have smooth sailing at the beginning of their 2017 season – NL West matchups for the first two weeks against the Diamondbacks, Padres, and Rockies. Not even any games against the Dodgers. Who would have predicted that after 13 games they would be sitting at the bottom of the NL West with a 5-8 record? Not to mention that the Diamondbacks would be at the top of that list? Craziness! There have definitely been some exciting moments, but these last couple of weeks have been rough.
Unfortunately, we’ve already suffered some major injuries. Buster was hit in the head by a 94-mph pitch from the Diamondbacks Taijuan Walker on Monday. Being extremely careful with any player who potentially has a concussion, he was put on the 7-day concussion DL. He appears to be doing well, slowly adding his normal baseball activities to his routine, but I’m sure the Giants aren’t going to rush anything. And that’s the way it should be. However, this leaves us without our prized catcher for at least a week. I love Nick Hundley, and he’s really stepped up both offensively and defensively to help the team out with Buster gone, but there’s still that factor of the starting pitchers not being as used to pitching to him. You wonder how that affects them. Word is that if everything goes well, Buster will travel with the team to Kansas City and probably be the designated hitter for those games, giving him a longer break away from catching. And maybe in the long run, having more time pitching to Hundley will be good for the starting rotation.
Then today, there was another devastating injury. Jarrett Parker raced to make an amazing catch in the outfield, but in the process crashed into the wall and sustained a broken right clavicle. There’s no estimate yet as to how long he’ll be out, but sheesh! The guy broke his clavicle! I’d assume it won’t be any time soon. And of course, left field has been the position where we’ve been lacking this season. This sure doesn’t help, especially since recently Parker had been hitting better, going 1 for 2 with a walk on Monday (finally getting his first hit this season), then 2 for 3 with a walk on Wednesday. WHY???
It will be interesting to see who ends up taking Parker’s place. Maybe Chris Marrero, the guy that got his first major league homerun yesterday (after 144 plate appearances in the majors), the guy who showed amazing power in the spring, and the guy who ruined Tyler Chatwood’s perfect game in the 6th today when he came in to replace Parker. He’s also made some beautiful defensive plays. There’s also Aaron Hill, but he hasn’t been very hot offensively. Kelby Tomlinson is also a possibility. Mac Williamson and Michael Morse still aren’t ready to come back. Then recently the Giants added two more possibilities, signing both to minor league deals: Melvin (formerly BJ) Upton and Drew Stubbs. But though both of these guys are great defensively, they are lacking offensively, and isn’t that really what we need over there? Some pop? Pop from somewhere? ANYWHERE?? This whole left field issue is really annoying, like an uninvited house guest that keeps eating all your food. Yeah. I don’t like it. Wonder if Bobby Evans is making some frantic phone calls right now. I kind of hope so.
Speaking of Melvin Upton, I was wondering why he no longer goes by BJ. Most people suspected that since he had recently been struggling professionally that he wanted a new start. But Upton commented, “This has nothing to do with starting a new chapter. I just wanted to. My father thought enough to give me his name, so why not?” He also mentioned that most of his friends call him Mel or Melvin anyway, so it’s just natural. Plus I would imagine having the nickname BJ would be difficult around baseball dugouts (sorry – just had to go there). Guess Melvin wouldn’t be much easier. Sorry.
On a much more serious note, we all received some sad news this week – a reminder that tomorrow, no matter how young we are, is never guaranteed. I found out through an Instagram post that Jalynne Crawford made earlier this week, and even though she didn’t say exactly what happened, you could tell it was terrible. Jennifer Pippin, Jalynne’s oldest sister, passed away suddenly on Wednesday due to a severe asthma attack. She leaves behind her husband and two daughters, ages 9 and 6. What a terrible tragedy for this extremely close family. Brandon drove down to LA on Wednesday night to be with the family, then drove back on Thursday and even pinch hit in the game that night. Then Friday, when he hit his homerun, he looked up to the heavens when he crossed home in tribute to her. After the game, Brandon said (regarding the home run), “That one’s for Jen. That one’s for my sister in law. I know she was watching this game tonight.” AWWW!! Jalynne has set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with expenses here. Sending my deepest condolences to all of the family members.
Did you folks watch the game on Friday night? At one point, some of the crowd starting using their flashlights on their phones like you do at a concert. It really caught on, and soon there were lights around the entire stadium. The boys must have really loved that! And they sure responded, piling on hit after hit and scoring 4 runs in the 7th inning. That was truly beautiful! I wonder if that will be a thing at night games from now on. Or could it be a distraction to the pitcher? Even if it was a distraction, would security be able to stop it? We’ll have to wait and see. I personally loved it!
Going to end with some random craziness just because. First, the other night, Mike Krukow kept saying that Conor Gillaspie was a pig farmer. He said that’s why he doesn’t wear batting gloves – he builds up calluses on his hands so he doesn’t need them. I didn’t realize that Conor Gillaspie was a pig farmer, so I Googled it, but nothing came up. Is he, or was he, really a pig farmer? Or was Kruk just being a weirdo as usual? Is pig farmer the nickname of some weird team he played on? If anyone knows about this, please let me know. Then there’s this. This is Yadier Molina, catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, stopping a wild pitch in the most unusual manner ever! The ball stuck like Velcro to his chest protector! I have never seen anything like this! After the game, he denied having put pine tar or any other adhesive on his chest protector to make the ball stick. Sounds kind of fishy to me. Even if he had, apparently there’s no rule against it, as long as the sticky stuff is not on the skin or the ball. Crazy! Then I noticed last night that the Rockies catcher had a wristband on with codes for play calls. I had only ever seen one other guy wearing this thing, but apparently they are becoming more popular. You can even buy them on Amazon.com. It’s a way for a coach to relay pitches or plays to the catcher with multiple signs (usually numbers) so that the other team can’t pick up on the sign. For example, the wristband could show 10 different numbers that all mean pitch out. Always trying to stay one step ahead of the competition. Personally, I’m sure that would be too complicated to keep track of!
Tomorrow is the last game against the Rockies, then the boys travel to Kansas City to play on Tuesday and Wednesday. Hoping that Buster can come back healthy by then and the pieces of this team can start working together better. There have been many moments of promise, but also many cricket-filled innings where you are just waiting for something to happen. Hoping the spark will come along soon. You never know where it will come from. Until next time, GO GIANTS!! GET US SOME WINS!!