Tagged: Eduardo Nunez

Bliss and Barf

So, do you want the good news or the bad news first on this Opening Day?  I think I’ll start with the bad so I can end with the good.  And I feel some lists coming on:

Bad List (Barf):

  • Two of the five runs scored today by the Giants were scored by the pitcher. Where’s the power??  Belt, Posey, and Parker were hitless in a hitter’s park.  Granted it was against Greinke, but Buster hits well against Greinke usually.  And Belt and Parker are lefties.
  • Once Madison got into the stretch, the game fell apart. All momentum lost.
  • Pitchers blew saves not once but twice IN A SINGLE GAME!! And one was blown by the guy who was supposed to stop all this.  Andrew Baggarly even predicted it on Twitter – “Don’t forget – you can blow more than one save in a game.”  Thanks, Mr. Jinx.  I love how the abbreviation for blown save in the box score is BS – BECAUSE THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT IT IS!!!
  • They didn’t show the National Anthem on TV so I missed out on some of the Opening Day festivity glory. Thanks new NBC Sports Bay Area for robbing me of my hooplah!
  • We lost. We can’t go 162-0 anymore.  Dreams shattered.

Good List (Bliss):

  • Stud muffin Madison Bumgarner took a perfect game into the 6th
  • Madison Bumgarner, the starting pitcher, hit two homeruns. WHAT??  He’s the only pitcher IN MLB HISTORY to ever hit 2 homeruns in an Opening Day game.
  • Madison Bumgarner now has the most career home runs (16) of any Giants pitcher EVER and the most of any current pitcher.
  • Madison Bumgarner has the highest batting average (1.000 – he went 2 for 2 with a walk) and the highest number of homeruns (2) in all of baseball (hey, it’s true!!). Sorry all of this was overshadowed by the loss today, Dude.
  • Eduardo Nunez went 3 for 4 today. He also made a great defensive play, saving extra bases.
  • Though Brandon Belt didn’t get a hit, he did walk twice. Good eye, Kid.
  • Conor Gillaspie came through with a pinch hit RBI – exactly what he was hired to do.  Nice one!
  • Ty Blach and Hunter Strickland pitched really well in relief. There’s hope for that bullpen.
  • Greinke didn’t look great – hopefully it stays that way throughout the season.
  • I actually got to watch my boys play in a game that counted. BASEBALL IS BACK!!

Bliss and barf – if you are a true baseball fan, you have to take the bad with the good.  Guess that’s why we love it so much.  The rollercoaster ride never ends!  Next game is on Tuesday against the D-Backs.  Get some rest, Boys, and shrug this one off.  We know there is more bliss hiding in there somewhere.  You can do it!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  AVENGE MAD BUM!!

Pitchers and Catchers Report in 13 Days!!

I seriously need to update this thing more often!  Even though baseball hasn’t started yet (but it will very soon!!), there has been some news to update you on regarding our boys.  Here’s a list to get you up-to-date with what’s happened in the past month:

  • My beloved Gregor Blanco will be leaving the Giants. He was offered a minor league deal by the Diamondbacks and will be battling for a spot on their team during Spring Training.  At least I might get a chance to see him again as we will be attending a D-Backs game in March.  I am really going to miss that guy.  He definitely came through for us when we needed some outfield support.  Plus he made several amazing catches (including the one in the Matt Cain perfect game) and clutch hits (remember that leadoff homerun in Game 2 of the 2014 World Series?).  Besides his production, he is just an all-around nice guy, so I’m sure he’ll be missed in the clubhouse as well.  Best of luck, Gregor.  And thank you for not spitting!!
  • Santiago Casilla will also be leaving as he signed a 2-year contract with the Oakland A’s. At least he doesn’t have very far to travel!  I think everyone expected this after his performance last season, but I will really miss Santiago as well.  He always gave it his best and he was another really nice dude.  I won’t miss the torture in those late innings, though.  Glad he was picked up by another team.  Best of luck, Santiago.  Thanks for helping us win those rings.
  • Conor Gillaspie, George Kontos, Eduardo Nuñez, and Will Smith all avoided arbitration with the Giants and signed 1 year deals. Gillaspie gets $1.4 million, Kontos gets $1.75 million, Nuñez gets $4.2 million, and Will Smith gets $2.5 million.  Very excited about all these guys coming back.  Conor earned his place on the team as a backup third baseman with his amazing post-season play.  George was a treasured gem in an otherwise lackluster bullpen, posting a solid 2.56 ERA and 1.16 WHIP last season (plus he’s adorable!).  Eduardo came through with some amazing support both offensively and defensively at third after the Matt Duffy trade (still hard for me to type that).  He may even see some time in left field next season as he has experience in that role.  We need some outfield backup with Angel and Gregor leaving.  And Will showed much promise at the end of the season.  He’s a much needed lefty in the bullpen with the probable exit of Javier Lopez.
  • Still haven’t had confirmation whether Sergio Romo or Javier Lopez will be coming back, but at this point it doesn’t look good. On KNBR this morning, Duane Kuiper mentioned that if Javier isn’t offered a major league contract up front, he probably will retire.  He could definitely have a second career in baseball as an announcer, though.  That guy is so intelligent and witty!  On the other hand, Sergio Romo would be willing to try out for a team during Spring Training (even though he’s never had to do that before).  Romo mentioned in an interview that he would love to come back, but at this point he’s assuming it’s not in the cards.  I would have to agree.  Supposedly the Mets and the Nationals have shown interest in him.  Will keep you updated if I hear anything.  I love Sergio and all he did for us during his time on the Giants, but I have to say his disrespect of Bruce Bochy near the end of last season has left a sour taste in my mouth.  Sergio will be pitching for Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.
  • The Giants signed Korean 3rd baseman Jae-gyun Hwang to a minor-league deal. He will be competing for an infield roster spot during Spring Training.  I mentioned him as a person of interest in my last blog.  He did really well in the Korean League, so we’ll see how that translates here.  There’s going to be a lot of infield competition this season!
  • The most surprising move to me was the signing of Nick Hundley, former starting catcher for both the Padres and the Rockies. He was given a major-league contract, agreeing to a 1-year, $2 million dollar deal, meaning that he will most likely be Buster’s backup catcher.  Hundley hit .260 with the Rockies last season, but that was in a park that is super batter friendly.  Still that’s above average for a backup catcher, and he is a veteran behind the plate so I’m sure guys will feel comfortable pitching to him.  I remember Hundley from watching games where he was our opponent, and what I remember is that you need to watch out when he comes up to the plate!  Definitely made a good impression on me!  This addition surprised me because I assumed Trevor Brown would be the backup catcher, but I guess even though the starters like to pitch to him, his bat has been a bit too quiet for comfort.  Trevor is a guy who may also be able to play another position, making the Spring Training competition that much more lively.  Welcome to the team, Nick.  Wonder how he’s going to adjust to the lower altitude?
  • As one player gets added to the roster, another must leave. Thus when Nick Hundley was signed, Ehire Adrianza was designated for assignment to make room for him.  I liked Adrianza, but I’m kind of surprised that he wasn’t released sooner.  He was never really that impressive.  Today he was claimed off of waivers by the Brewers, so at least he’ll be on a team again.  Thanks, Ehire, and good luck to you in Milwaukie.

I also heard that one of my favorite ex-Giants players, Ryan Vogelsong, signed a minor-league deal with the Twins.  I’m so happy he’s able to continue playing baseball.  I love that guy!  And I’m sure he’ll continue to battle, giving it his all and surprising people.  Keep on going, Vogey!  Wishing you the best.  And all the best to your lovely wife Nicole as well.

I heard on KNBR about a study that was done on the effects of jet lag on baseball players.  At first I said, “DUH jet lag affects baseball players!” but some of the results were interesting.  They found the offense of jet-lagged home teams is much more affected than that of jet-lagged away teams, and eastward travel had more negative effects on home teams than on away teams.  Negative effects on offense were related to base running, such as stolen bases, number of doubles and triples, and hitting into more double plays.  Pitchers were especially affected, giving up more home runs.  This effect was large enough to erase the home field advantage for the pitcher.  The other weird thing is that there are worse ill effects from eastward jet lag than westward jet lag.  If this is true, our boys, who are usually travelling eastward to games, would be at a disadvantage.  But of course, they are amazing, and they do well for us regardless!!  Pretty interesting stuff after all.  Wonder how much they spent for that study, though.  As a result, you may see teams sending starting pitchers to away games ahead of the rest of the team in order to allow the jet lag to wear off.

I have a fun video to share with you.  Bruce Bochy did this piece with Yahoo Sports where he opened a pack of 25-year-old baseball cards and commented on each of the guys.  Man, he knows everyone!  It was so cool because he had stories about almost every single one.  Listening to the interview I realized how much I miss that guy!  Here is the interview.

Also came across a heart-warming baseball story that I wanted to share.  It’s not about the Giants but the San Diego Padres.  The story involves pitcher Matt Lachappa.  He was drafted in the second round of the 1993 draft by the Padres and played Class A ball for them in Rancho Cucamonga.  In April 1996, while warming up for a relief appearance, he stopped and clutched his chest and then fell to the ground.  The team’s trainer got to him quickly and performed CPR for 20 minutes until help arrived.  Surprisingly at such a young age, Lachappa had suffered a heart attack.  He survived, but the lack of oxygen to his brain for that period took its toll, leaving him unable to walk and slowing his speech.  Of course, sadly, Matt could no longer play baseball, plus he would be burdened with hefty medical bills if he lost his insurance from the team.  But Priscilla Oppenhiemer, director of minor league operations at the time, wasn’t going to let that happen.  She asked why the team couldn’t continue to offer Lachappa a contract with insurance benefits each year, and she got no resistance.  So to this day, Matt Lachappa is signed to a minor league contract with the Padres and continues to have his medical bills paid through the team.  That’s a great story right there.  Baseball people take care of their own!

I can finally count the days to FanFest on my fingers!!  It’s only 10 days away!  Can’t wait!  I wonder if the guys that are going to the World Baseball Classic will be wearing their countries’ jerseys again this time.  And I’m hoping that Angel and I can score that Peet’s orange mug that we barely missed out on last year!  Will be so wonderful to be in my happy place and see my boys again.  I’ll keep my ears open for any late off-season news for you, though there’s not much time left for any major moves.  Let me know if any of you are going to FanFest and we can try and meet up.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!!  LOOKING FORWARD TO SEEING MY BOYS AGAIN!!

Oh, Happy Day!

I don’t usually get excited when I hear that the owners and the players’ union in Major League Baseball have a new collective bargaining agreement.  Yes, there was some worry that the process was taking too long this year, and there was even some mention of a possible lockout if they didn’t make the deadline, but with all that money on the line you knew they were extremely motivated to find common ground.  But they came together and got ‘er done in time.  There is something in the agreement that I didn’t know was being discussed but which directly affects part of what I do here, namely counting spits, and I am more than excited about this.  I am thrilled to announce that the MLB has banned smokeless tobacco.  (cue the angels singing) Hallelujah!  Isn’t this incredible?  Now the one caveat is that if you played at all during the 2016 season or before, you are grandfathered in and can still chew to your heart’s content, but otherwise YOU CAN’T CHEW!!!  I am so excited about this!!  I’m almost positive this is in response to the untimely death of Tony Gwynn a couple of years back due to salivary gland cancer.  Gwynn and his family attributed his cancer to his habit of chewing tobacco.  I am very proud of all those involved in making this decision as I’m sure it will not only improve the health of many players but it will almost definitely save lives.  Way to go, MLB!!  What a wonderful tribute to the life and talent of Tony Gwynn.  Plus, I wonder if this will cause my spit counts to drastically decrease.  I can only hope so!!

There were many other things decided upon in the CBA.  Here are a few of the more interesting points:

  • The regular season was lengthened to give the boys some extra days off. They deserve it – a 162-game season is harsh enough.  And time with the family is important to their well-being.
  • World Series home team advantage will now go to the team with the better record, not to the winner of the All-Star Game. This seems so much more fair to me, and I bet they’ll still take the All-Star game seriously even though there is nothing at stake any longer.  They will still be on the big stage after all representing their team.
  • Clubs will play games in Mexico, Asia, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, and London over the next five years in order to increase the popularity of baseball worldwide. This can include regular season games, and the players will get extra compensation for playing in these countries.  MLB is all about making the game more popular in other countries right now.  Will be fun to see how fans react in other countries – not just fun for us but fun for the players.  And will they still eat hot dogs?  Or fish and chips?
  • One thing I’m really thankful for is that the league is ramping up drug testing and making penalties for offenders harsher. There will be increased testing for human growth hormone, with double the amount of random testing during the season and triple the amount during the off-season.  Players caught taking stimulants will be warned after their first offense plus have increased random testing, be suspended 50 games for a second offense, 100 for a third, and up to permanent suspension for a fourth violation.  Plus if you are suspended, now you don’t accrue service time during the suspension, thus closing a loophole in the previous agreement.
  • The league’s domestic violence policy has remained intact, plus there will be new anti-hazing and anti-bullying policies. Sad to think that this actually exists in baseball, but glad to hear they’re doing something about it.

As far as the Hot Stove League goes, still not a lot of news but a few tidbits to mention.  Cory Gearrin and Ehire Adrianza were signed to one-year contracts.  Gearrin will get $1.05 million plus performance bonuses, and Adrianza will get $600K while in the majors and $300K while in the minors (guess that’s how they do it when a guy will potentially be in the minors for a big chunk of the season).  The Giants have also tendered offers to Conor Gillaspie, George Kontos, Eduardo Nuñez, and Will Smith, saving them from free agency.  They will either receive a contract soon or go through the arbitration process.  Regarding the opening in left field with the departure of Angel Pagan, Bobby Evans mentioned that he would like to give Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson the opportunity to take that role.  He’s still keeping all options open for acquiring a player, but he thinks they would do fine as well.  I would have to agree with him, and I’m sure they will play better if they see more playing time.  The strongest rumor to date revolves around the Giants possibly obtaining a closer.  According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com, free agent Mark Melancon (formerly of the Washington Nationals and Pittsburgh Pirates) has multiple 4-year, $60 million plus offers, with the Nationals and the Giants definitely in the mix.  Crasnick thinks the Giants have the strongest offer.  Melancon pitched in 75 games last year for 71 1/3 innings, had an ERA of 1.34, and WHIP of 0.90, struck out 65 while only walking 12, and logged 47 saves.  Hope Jerry is right and we get him.  What a relief that would be (haha – get it??)!

The Winter Meetings started today in Maryland, so there will probably be some important moves made in the next few days.  All 30 front offices will be there with lots of opportunity to negotiate.  While doing some research, I learned that the Winter Meetings are actually a minor league networking event, but the major league teams always tag along.  Can’t wait to hear some solid news.  Bobby Evans, work your magic!

I’m always impressed by how active my boys are in community service.  I learned recently that one of our newest members, Matt Moore, supports a charity that benefits our veterans.  It’s the cycling based non-profit organization Ride 2 Recovery.  They use biking to help vets get out and active.  They’ve gotten many off medication in the process.  They also fund research into vet related issues like PTSD.  Moore did not choose a charity that supports veterans by chance.  He has a personal stake.  His father was in the Air Force for 23 years.  One of his best friends is a combat-wounded veteran.  Matt hopes that his work with the charity can reduce the extremely high suicide rate amongst vets as well.  Approximately 20 veterans commit suicide each day.  “That’s something you can’t really walk away from,” Moore said recently.  “I believe that it’s our duty to take care of the people who have protected and served our country and provide help when they need it.”  Nice work, Matt.  If you’d like to help Matt’s cause, you can get more info at www.ride2recovery.com.

Well, I purchased our first set of game tickets for our Spring Training trip!  I can almost taste those hot dogs, smell that freshly-mown grass, and feel that intense heat already!  I miss everything about baseball.  Will keep you posted if I hear any news about player transactions.  Hopefully we’ll hear something at least about a closer soon (probably right after I post this – that seems to happen a lot!).  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!

Coming and Going

Wow.  I had planned on blogging this morning.  Then I decided against it, realizing that the trade deadline was this afternoon.  The Giants might make another move today, and I wanted to be able to post about it if they did.  And oh boy, did they make a move.  Two even.  And one was extra unexpected.

Let’s start with the first.  I need to thank my brother Paul for alerting me to this one via text.  The Giants got left-handed reliever Will Smith from the Brewers in exchange for pitching prospect Phil Bickford and Andrew Susac.  I had mentioned in previous blogs that Will Smith was on Bobby Evans’ radar, so that’s not really a surprise.  The Giants feel they needed another lefty in the bullpen to enable Bochy to work his bullpen magic.  I understand that and agree with that.  But is it worth losing Phil Bickford, probably their best pitching prospect, at a time when they will soon need to bolster their rotation?  And Susac?  I know he’s been hurt, but the guy is a solid catcher.  Sounds like they were pretty desperate to get someone to me.  And they new it was going to cost them.  As far as Smith, there are several positives.  He’s not a temporary acquisition – he’ll be under Giants control through 2019.  And he’s a good pitcher.  Well, if you ignore his July, he’s a good pitcher.  So I’m hoping he can overcome whatever changed during last month and get back on track, because there is a lot of potential there.  So I’m trying to be positive about this one.  But we sure had to give up a lot of potential to get this guy.  Welcome Will Smith (the Fresh Prince of SF), and goodbye Phil and Andrew.  And special thanks to Andrew for filling in as backup catcher and helping us win that ring in 2014.

I can’t leave this topic without bringing up something I found while doing research on Will Smith.  Besides the fact that I need to remember to put something besides just “Will Smith” into Google when I do a search for him, I came across an interesting fact about him.  He had an unusual, Affeldt-like injury at the beginning of the season during Spring Training.  Is it just a left-handed reliever thing to be accident prone?  The incident occurred while Smith was trying to take off one of his cleats.  He was standing on one leg to take off his other shoe when he lost his balance and twisted his knee.  “My knee just went up and popped,” claimed Smith.  Wow.  This caused him to start the season on the DL, and he didn’t pitch in his first game with the Brewers until June 2nd.  Wow.  Just hope this kind of freak accident doesn’t follow this guy around like Mr. Affeldt.  Please, please, please stay away from knives and small children!

Now we’ll move on to that second trade.  I really thought the Giants were done after the first one, so I was very surprised to hear about another one.  Credit goes to my brother Nick this time for informing me of the details.  The Giants acquired left-handed starting pitcher Matt Moore from the Tampa Bay Rays.  Sounds great.  I wasn’t expecting a trade to bolster the rotation, but a lefty is definitely nice, especially when you consider the heavy lefty lineup of the Dodgers.  With the inconsistency of Peavy and Cain, it’s also nice to have some insurance.  His ERA is a little high (4.08), but it’s been consistently moving downward since mid June.  Combine that with having Dave Righetti as a pitching coach and I see a lot of promise there.  But what did they give up for Moore?  Two prospects (shortstop Lucius Fox and pitcher Michael Santos).  Oh, and MATT DUFFY!  WHAT?  How desperate were they to bolster the rotation?  Thinking about it, though, that trade for Eduardo Nunez makes a lot more sense now if they knew this was coming.  I’m still in shock that Matt Duffy is no longer a Giant.  I know it’s just a business and stuff like this happens all the time, but I loved Matt Duffy as a player and a Giant.  Going to be so weird seeing him in a Rays uniform.  So weird.  The guy threw his batting glove to me at Spring Training (I didn’t catch it, but I almost did!)!  And I love his dad, too!  I’m really gonna miss that guy!  Come to think of it, it’s kind of ironic that he gets traded this year.  He was on the flip side of this kind of thing when he came up to the bigs last season and Casey McGehee was released.  You really never know in this sport.  Giant today.  Ray tomorrow.  We welcome one Matt and say goodbye to another.  Welcome to the team, Mr. Moore.  And all the best to you, Duffman.  You’ll always be a Giant to me.

With the addition of Eduardo Nunez to the team and the returns of Joe Panik and Hunter Pence, there were corresponding moves to make room for them on the roster.  When Joe Panik was activated, Grant Green was designated for assignment.  Hoping he won’t be picked up so he can remain a Giant as he did a fine job as a replacement.  When Eduardo Nunez came to the team, Jarrett Parker was sent to Triple A.  This was expected, as Mac Williamson made his case to stay in the outfield (and in the batting lineup) a little more strongly than Parker.  At least he’s still in Sacramento and could easily come up again if needed.  Then when Hunter came back to the team, Ramiro Pena was designated for assignment.  I’m most upset about this one.  Pena was key to keeping this team going while guys were injured.  He came through with some clutch hits while maintaining an incredible batting average during the games he played as a Giant.  Keeping my fingers crossed that no one picks him up off waivers so that we can keep him.

Another guy who snuck into the roster when Josh Osich went on the DL is left-handed reliever Matt Reynolds (so many Matts to keep track of!).  Reynolds is not a newbie to the bigs, having played several years for both the Rockies and the Diamondbacks.  He’s pitched in two games thus far while not allowing any runs.  I like that.  Welcome to the Giants, Matt!

It’s been a crazy rollercoaster ride for the Giants since the All Star break, but it appears things may have finally settled down with these last two wins against the Nationals.  Those wins are extra significant as the Nationals top the National League East Division.  My boys went from the low of winning only 2 out of 13 games, capped by that horrible triple play on Friday night (was anyone else just sitting in shock, dumbfounded, staring at the TV with their jaw dropped like I was?), to the high of winning two in a row against the Nats.  And to counter that unbelievable triple play, on Sunday Bum (a pitcher) pinch hit for Cain (a pitcher), got a double, and was pinch run for by Samardzija (a pitcher) who ended up scoring the game winning run.  You can’t make this stuff up!  I’m not totally sure, but I can’t believe that’s ever been done in the history of baseball!  Kudos to Bruce Bochy for being a maniac and bringing the entertainment!  And kudos to Matt Cain on getting his 100th win during that game yesterday.  So proud of you!  Nice accomplishment, Matt!  So many Matts!

I forgot to mention that Ginny and I discovered two new taste treats at AT&T Park when we attended the game last Tuesday (that they won!).  We both had loaded tater tots (loaded = sour cream, cheese, scallions, and bacon bits) and grilled brussel sprouts.  Both were fabulous!  We found them on the View Level near section 321 where we were sitting, and I’m not sure they are available anywhere else in the park.  They are definitely worth a trip up those stairs!  And Ginny realized that since they won that game, we need to do that every time we go to the park as a good luck charm.  I’m game!

I’ll end on a funny note.  Came across this on Facebook today.  I absolutely love it when players do stuff like this.  Makes the game that much more fun.  Silliness is a good thing!  Poor Bochy gnome!  At least he was returned to his owner (breathing might be a bit difficult, though).

The Giants start a series against the Phillies tomorrow at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, one of the ballparks I just visited.  Nice park – dull fans.  Hope the quiet isn’t too distracting.  And hope all these changes to the roster aren’t too distracting, either.  Hoping they can carry the momentum of those two wins to the other side of the continent.  Unlike the Nats, the Phillies are in 4th place in their division, so I’m looking for lots of Ws.  You can come together as a new, improved unit and do this, Guys!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  TAME THE PHILLIES!

Who’s Nunez?

That’s what I asked my brother Paul after he sent me the following text last night during bingo: “Love the trade!  Nunez is a stud!”  Trade?  Nunez?  Must be a reliever, right?  That’s what the Giants need most right now, right?  Wrong.  When I asked for details, my brother told me that we had actually traded a lefty starting pitcher prospect (Adalberto Mejia) for him, and that Eduardo Nunez plays second base, third base, and shortstop.  During his season with the Twins, he amassed 12 homeruns, 47 RBI, and 27 steals (the most in the American League) while batting .296.  And the guy was an All-Star.  That sounds pretty good to me.   But why did they give up a starting pitching prospect when they will probably need to replace Cain and Peavy soon?  And why did they need more help in the infield?  According to Bobby Evans, “We’ve seen the need for depth in our infield.  I think as guys come back, when we think about the amount of rest they may need and the amount of time we still have in the season, just to have a guy that has (Nunez’s) experience and has served in that role in the past and done well, we just feel like he could help us cover the tracks as we get 100 percent healthy.”  OK.  That makes sense.  This way we can get some pop in the lineup while the recently injured guys can get a break.  Plus at least they didn’t have to give up their top prospects.  It’s sounding even better to me as I’m writing this!  Then I came across this video, and it made me feel even better about him.  Then there’s this smile – love it!  Would be fantastic if he can get guys out of their funk and steal bases or get hits in the clutch.  Will keep my fingers crossed.  Welcome to the team, Eduardo!

So what about getting that reliever we need?  Some of the guys on the Giants radar have already been moved, including Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs and Andrew Cashner to the Marlins (he is a starter, but Giants thought they could use him in the bullpen).  Other guys who’ve been mentioned are Andrew Miller of the Yankees (probably would have to give up too much for him), Luke Hochevar of the Royals, Huston Street of the Angels, Jeremy Jeffress and Will Smith (Fresh Prince – couldn’t resist) of the Brewers, and Mark Melancon of the Pirates.  All just rumors at this point, but with the trade deadline this Monday, if they’re going to make a move it will happen soon.  Will keep you posted.

I learned something about baseball schedules while on my East Coast trip.  My brother Nick mentioned how they decide which American League teams the Giants will play each season.  Turns out it rotates between the three divisions every year.  20 interleague games are played in eight series.  Each team plays one three-game series against four teams from one division in the other league, and two two-game series (one home, one away) against the remaining team in that division.  The remaining four games are played against a team’s “natural rival” in two back-to-back two game series.  Of course for the Giants, this “natural rival” is the A’s.   So this season, the Giants play AL East teams, next season they’ll play AL Central teams, then the following season, they’ll play AL West teams, and so on.  Knowing this, it’s nice that the Giants got to play the Red Sox during Big Papi’s last season.  Thanks for enlightening me, Nick!  And if you’re curious as to what the “natural rival” teams are throughout the country, here’s the list including the name of each series:

  • Orioles vs. Nationals – Beltway Series
  • Cubs vs. White Sox – Windy City Series
  • Reds vs. Indians – Ohio Cup
  • Tigers vs. Pirates (no name found)
  • Royals vs. Cardinals – I-70 Series
  • Angels vs. Dodgers – Freeway Series
  • Marlins vs. Rays – Citrus Series
  • Brewers vs. Twins (no name found)
  • Mets vs. Yankees – Subway Series
  • A’s vs. Giants – Bay Bridge Series
  • Padres vs. Mariners – Vedder Cup

Four teams in the East and West form split rivalries, and they have a different rival every other year.

  • Red Sox vs. Phillies or Braves
  • Blue Jays vs. Phillies or Braves
  • Astros vs. Rockies or Diamondbacks
  • Rangers vs. Rockies or Diamondbacks

I’ve got a new spit count for you.  Here you go:

July 25th

Giants:

  • Law 5
  • Parker 4
  • Bochy 3 (seeds)
  • Belt 3
  • Strickland 2
  • Span 1
  • Posey 1 (into batting glove)
  • Gillaspie 1 (into hand)
  • Blanco 1 (seeds – whew!)

Reds:

  • Bruce 6
  • Phillips 4
  • Barnhart 3
  • Votto 2
  • Duvall 1
  • Hamilton 1

Game Spit Master General = Bruce at 6

Giants Game Spit Master General = Law at 5

That’s a total of 38 spits during a 3 hour and 5 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.9 minutes.

The curious thing about this game was that the Reds didn’t log their first spit until the 4th inning.  And even though Blanco spit (which he NEVER does), he was eating sunflower seeds, so I’m giving him a break.

The concern for my boys continues as they can’t seem to get out of this post All-Star funk.  So many guys left on base.  At least they won the game that Ginny and I attended on Tuesday (plus we got a free blanket from CSN – sweet!).  Those tickets were so cheap, and I forgot how good seats can be on the View Level.  Perfect!  Maybe Eduardo Nunez will be the spark they need.  And maybe the return of Joe Panik (who was in the lineup last night – YAY!), Hunter Pence (who trainers say still needs some time), and Matt Duffy (who’s scheduled to start his rehab assignment this weekend) will bring things back to normal.  We’re still 2 games ahead of the Dodgers, but I’d like that number to get back to where it was before the All-Star break.  Insurance is nice!  Come on, Boys.  We’re all still behind you.  We know this is just a phase and you’ll find a way through it.  Maybe tonight against the Nationals will be the start.  You can do it!  GO GIANTS!  SWAT THE NATS!