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!!
Tomorrow’s the day we’ve all been waiting for! The baseball drought is over! It’s time to play ball again! The National Anthem, hot dogs, the crack of the bat, the cheers, the crazy outfits, the kiss cam, Kruk and Kuip, Tony singing, and my boys in their real Giants uniforms are all back! The Giants start off their season in Arizona playing the D-Backs – Bumgarner vs. Greinke. I am thrilled that I can watch my boys regularly again. Tomorrow’s game will be extra special with all the opening day ceremonies – love ALL of it!! Planning on spending the entire afternoon in front of the tube on the couch enjoying my boys and the official start of the 2017 season. That reminds me – I have to get my Beat the Streak picks in! Wonder which one of my boys matches up well against Greinke. Hmmmmm… it says Buster, Eduardo Nunez, and Nick Hundley all have batting averages above .300 against him. Gotta love that!! Maybe I’ll start my first streak of the season off by picking Buster! Are you all going to be watching along with me?
I wanted to see what the final 25-man roster is, but it hasn’t been updated on the sfgiants.com site yet. I found an article that says they are still making some last-minute tweaks. It did answer a question about who will be the 5th starter, though. Matt Cain has earned that job over rookie Ty Blach, though Blach will be on the 25-man roster as a long relief option. He may also see some time as a lefty specialist since the team lost Will Smith to a season ending elbow injury. Kelby Tomlinson, Albert Suarez, and Josh Osich were optioned to Triple A. The five backup position players will be Nick Hundley (catcher), Conor Gillaspie (infield), Gorkys Hernandez (outfield), Aaron Hill (infield), and the surprise of the Spring, Chris Marrero. Marrero can play in the outfield or also at first base. Marrero wowed his way onto the team with his power bat – he finished tied for second in homeruns this spring in all of baseball. His defense is a little lacking, but I am so excited to see some pop in the lineup. He will form a platoon in left field with Jarrett Parker who also showed promise in the spring. Marrerro’s kind of similar to Michael Morse – not the greatest defender, but a powerful bat. And though my boy Michael Morse will not be on the 25-man roster due to an injury he sustained during spring training, there is talk that he will be rehabbing in an attempt at possibly joining the team later in the season. He also had a great spring and impressed the big wigs enough that they are still considering him. So very happy for him! Do your work and get back with us soon, Michael! Hunter misses you! Once Morse or Mac Williamson are healthy again, they would probably replace Marrero in the outfield (unless Marrero gets super hot – you never know!).
Had a fantastic time at Spring Training in Arizona last month. I went with my brothers Nick and Paul and my sister Kathleen. We always have a great time on our trips because we’re all pretty mellow and just go with the flow. We watched 3 games in 4 days – all away games. I actually plan our trips that way because away games are so much cheaper. It’s always fun to watch the new kids and see the old familiar faces. And being in a ballpark again is always fabulous! We went to Surprise for the first time this year, and the ball park was really nice – a bit further out than most but not too bad. I have to say that I’ve really liked all the Spring Training ballparks we’ve ever been to. Besides Scottsdale Stadium, my favorite is Salt River Fields at Talking Stick (plus I love that name!). We watched the Giants play the D-Backs there this year (a preview of tomorrow’s game). Gregor Blanco started for the D-Backs – it was so nice to see him out there, even if it wasn’t for the Giants. He did really well in that game, and he does have a minor league deal with them, but he won’t be starting in the bigs due to a strained oblique. Hope he heals quickly so he can join the team – love that guy and wish him all the best. Besides games this year, we also adventured to a couple of new spots in Arizona – South Mountain Park and Papago Park. We drove to the top of South Mountain Park and enjoyed the spectacular view of the Phoenix area and beautiful dessert. At Papago Park, we climbed up a mountain with a hole in it (the climb was really mild – I’m not a climber – but the view was great). I recommend both places if you are ever there. We were lucky to stumble upon them.
One fun thing to do is to sample the food in these parks. It’s almost like being in the team’s real park foodwise because many of the parks carry the signature food from their team’s home park. We got to sample two ballpark delicacies on this trip. At Salt River Fields, we tried the signature hot dog of the Diamondbacks. It’s called a Mega Dog – a huge hot dog covered in pulled pork and jalapeno mac and cheese – fantastic! Then at Goodyear Ballpark, I got to try the signature food of the Cincinnati Reds – a Skyline Chili Coney Dog. It was a hot dog smothered in Skyline Chili (famous in Cincinnati – we had it there on our trip in 2012) with onions and cheese. It was really small, but really tasty.
The highlight of my trip this year was the single autograph I got. At the first game we went to I just missed getting Hunter Pence’s autograph. I noticed him signing and moved over to where he was, but by the time I got there he had to leave. He was being so patient and friendly and signing for so many people. I figured I had missed my chance for that trip. Then two days later, I was lucky enough to actually be standing close to the area where he came over to sign autographs. As he was signing, I asked him, “Are you happy to be playing with your buddy Michael (Morse) again?” He gave me this big smile and said, “Very happy! Great things happen when we get together!” And luckily he eventually made his way over to me and signed my journal! YAY!! It was so adorable because I noticed it was taking him a while to sign. Then he said, “I’m trying to draw you a smiley face!” And thank goodness he told me that because I wouldn’t have known what it was otherwise! LOL! He’s such a cutie pie!
Congrats to Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey, and Mark Melancon (even though he didn’t play much) on their World Baseball Classic championship! Sounds like all three had a blast playing in that series. I know that there were a lot of comparisons to the All-Star game, but it was even nicer for them because they actually got to build a relationship with their teammates over several games, not just one. It’s kind of more like the Olympics in that sense. It was very nice for Brandon to be in the national spotlight, even being mentioned by the announcers as a possible WBC MVP candidate. I had a lot of fun watching the games and enjoying the different ways different countries play and enjoy the game of baseball. Those Japanese fans really get into it, even coming up with different songs for each of the different players! And the Latin celebrations are fantastic! Bottom line, though – really glad no one got hurt!!
Melancon reminds me that I have two new questions from Angel to answer. The first is about the pronunciation of Mark Melancon’s name. Angel wonders why you pronounce the c like an s. I assumed it’s because it’s French. I looked it up, and it is a French name. The c is actually ç (cedilla), and it is pronounced like s. Melancon is the Americanized version since we don’t have that letter in our alphabet. Another interesting thing I discovered about the name Melancon – it means “an ill man”. Why in the world did that first Melancon choose that as their last name??? Angel was also curious about how they select the managers for the WBC teams. Well, I couldn’t find an outright answer to this question, but I did find out that no manager currently working in the Major Leagues can head a WBC team, although coaches are potential candidates if they are given permission from their individual clubs. That’s why Hensley Meulens was able to manage the Netherlands team. And Jim Leyland could manage the US team because he’s retired. If anyone else has any insight into this question, please help Angel out. Thanks!
Saw my first intentional walk of the season on Friday (well, preseason anyway). Brandon Crawford was intentionally walked. Bob Melvin, manager of the A’s, simply held up four fingers to the umpire and that was that. One second Brandon was warming up swinging the bat and the next he was on first. I don’t like it!! Angel and I were texting about how much we hated it. Oh well – I guess that’s what we’ll be seeing this season. Even Kruk and Kuip mentioned how weird it was. BOOO!!
There will be some new pre and post-game analysts at Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area (soon to be NBC Sports Bay Area – why do they have to change things???) this season, and I’m really excited about the additions. Besides Javier Lopez, Matt Williams and Cody Ross will be joining the team. I was surprised about Matt Williams because I thought he was still a manager somewhere, but I guess not. So glad he’ll be talking about my boys. And who doesn’t love Cody Ross?? Look forward to seeing that great smile again!
Will end today on a silly note. I heard a crazy story about the Giants on KNBR the other day, on the Tolbert and Lund show. Those two guys make me laugh out loud all the time! Anyway, they were talking about how the Giants have full-time sports scientists on their medical staff. They can use all sorts of cutting edge gadgets to make sure that the players are working at their optimum capacity. Well, one of the areas they are interested in is proper hydration. I can see how this would be a good thing, and I would imagine that good hydration could give the players and the team a competitive edge. It’s just the way they are going about it is pretty hysterical. They measure the player’s hydration by measuring their urine specific gravity. Of course, this is accomplished by taking a urine sample, and it’s taken before batting practice. The testing is 100% voluntary, but in order to get guys to buy into this, they’ve turned good hydration into a competition – the best hydrated player after every series wins a coveted prize. That prize is a golden urinal trophy! Check it out!! And I love the Twitter quote: “Think of it as the M-V-Pee trophy!” HAHAHAHAHA!!!! What would you do with that thing if you won it??
Hope that the boys can carry the momentum of an A’s sweep with them to Arizona. So looking forward to all the pomp and circumstance of an Opening Day game. I should go out and buy some hot dogs just to feel like I’m there! Come on, Boys! Show us what you’ve got! We’ll be cheering for you! Until next time, GO GIANTS!! PLAY BALL!!