Tagged: Hunter Strickland

Fight Club Revisited

I fully intended on this blog being about how my boys are trying to get back into the race, having taken the series against the Braves.  Then a fight broke out.  I hate baseball fights.  I know a lot of people actually love the excitement, but I hate them.  And today’s was a doozy.  The excuse is usually some old score that needs to be settled or bad blood between players or teams.  So silly.  To me that’s something that three-year-olds do, and it’s just testosterone run rampant.  There are so many reasons why today’s melee was stupid.  I think I feel one of my lists coming on…

  • Hunter Strickland obviously hit Bryce Harper on purpose. I don’t think anyone can deny that.  That’s what makes this fight more heinous than most.  Of course he’s saying that since Harper had hit two bombs off him that he wanted to go inside, but come on.  We know for some stupid unwritten baseball law reason you have to say that, but no one believes you.  And even though he probably aimed for his hip, you know that guys have been hit in the head that way and injured.  Even though Bryce Harper has a reputation for being a jerk, I don’t blame him for going after Strickland.  Strickland is definitely a hothead – it took three of his teammates (Pence, Williamson, and Kontos) to literally lift the guy off the field.
  • The incident Strickland was retaliating for happened 3 YEARS AGO! And it’s not Harper’s fault he hit two homeruns off of Strickland in the playoffs – it’s Strickland’s fault for leaving pitches where Harper could launch them.  Even if Harper did watch his homeruns for a bit, Strickland let it get to him, so much so that he held that inside and felt the need to retaliate 3 YEARS LATER!
  • Any time there is a fight on the field, it’s a total distraction for the rest of the game. Not to mention that we lost one of our relievers in the process when Strickland was ejected.  That’s exactly what this team doesn’t need when they’re trying to come back from a 3-0 deficit.
  • When you instigate a fight, you are putting your teammates at risk of injuring themselves as well. Did you see the crash between Samardzija and Morse?  They weren’t even fighting each other.  There is always a pile on and guys have seriously been injured in the past this way.  Way to be selfish, Strickland.
  • All the hoopla surrounding the fight took the focus away from an amazing start that Matt Moore had today. He pitched a full 7 innings allowing only 2 runs.  Unfortunately, with the way our guys have been hitting, and with THE HUGE DISTRACTION OF A SENSELESS FIGHT, they weren’t able to come back and win it for him.
  • Today’s game was played in honor of Memorial Day. Yeah, I guess that message was lost.
  • Now that Strickland hit Harper, you know the Nationals will retaliate at some point during this series. It’s another one of those unwritten, stupid baseball rules.  And you know who they’ll retaliate against – our star player, Buster.  After Harper got tagged, you could almost hear him saying to himself, “Great.  I’m next.”  Maybe that’s why Buster didn’t get involved in the fray – he was ticked off that Strickland put him in that situation.  It was also a smart move on his part because we don’t want him taking any chances and getting hurt, especially in a fight that has nothing to do with him.  And I think that’s why the main focus was separating Strickland and Harper and not other guys getting into it – it’s between them only and not the two teams.
  • Not only did the stupid fight affect this game, it will affect at least the next two games. Pitchers will be warned that if a player is hit by a pitch, they will be ejected from the game.  That’s just what our pitchers need on their plate right now – more to be stressed about on the mound.  Thanks, Strickland.
  • Finally, I feel like we were all jipped out of an intriguing at bat. I was looking forward to the rematch.  I assumed that Strickland had matured since back then, and that since his pitching had evolved in the last three years he would give Harper a run for his money.  After all, wouldn’t the best revenge be striking the guy out?  But no, we didn’t get that opportunity.

The only positive from the fight was that I learned a new Krukism – donnybrook.  He kept using this term during the fight and I had no idea what it meant, so I researched it.  According to Merriam-Webster, a donnybrook is a usually public quarrel or dispute.  The word just sounds like one that Kruk would make up, but he didn’t. The word has its origins in Ireland.  The Donnybrook Fair was held every year in a suburb of Dublin from the 13th through 19th centuries.  It was well known for the vast quantities of alcohol consumed there, and thus also became associated with huge drunken brawls, so much so that a free-for-all fight became known as a donnybrook.  So now you know.

Let’s take a break from all the excitement and switch gears to something more entertaining – 2 new spit counts!  Here you go:

May 27th

Giants:

  • Hundley 6
  • Law 5
  • Meulens 3 (seeds)
  • Belt 3
  • Span 3
  • Hill 2
  • Parker 2 (seeds)
  • Bochy 2
  • Nuñez 1
  • Posey 1 (seeds)
  • Nevin 1
  • Panik 1 (sigh)
  • Hernandez 1
  • Samardzija 1 (seeds)

Braves:

  • Markakis 1
  • Inciarte 1 (into batting glove)
  • Phillips 1
  • Ruiz 1
  • Washington 1 (seeds)
  • Krol 1
  • Flowers 1
  • Peterson 1

Game Spit Master General = Hundley at 6

That’s a total of 40 spits during a 2 hour and 30 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.8 minutes.

The Braves pitcher, Mike Foltynewicz, didn’t spit at all, but he did get caught launching a snot rocket once.  On a happy note, Ty Blach pitched today and didn’t log a single spit!  There’s hope I’ll have a new Thank You For Not Spitting Award recipient this season!

May 28th

Giants:

  • Cueto 15
  • Nuñez 3 (1 of these was seeds)
  • Belt 2
  • Meulens 1 (seeds)
  • Hernandez 1
  • Gearrin 1
  • Wotus 1

Braves:

  • Phillips 1
  • Ruiz 1
  • Peterson 1
  • Markakis 1

Misc.:

  • Umpire (Rob Drake) 32 (!!!!!!!)

Game Spit Master General = Drake at 32

Giants Game Spit Master General = Cueto at 15

That’s a total of 60 spits during a 2 hour and 30 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 2.5 minutes (new season record).

Once I heard that Rob Drake was going to be umping behind the plate I knew it would be a high spit count game.  He outdid his 10 spit performance of April 22nd but still did not eclipse his all-time record of 40 set on August 24, 2012.  If it wasn’t for the spitfest going on between Johnny Cueto and Rob Drake, this would have actually been a very low spit count day.  On a positive note, Matt Kemp of the Braves wasn’t caught for a single spit even though he played in both games I counted against the Braves.  When Kemp played for the Dodgers, he would always be the Game Spit Master General.  Kudos to you, Matt Kemp!  Glad getting away from the boys in blue has had a good influence on you (of course it would!)!  Also wanted to mention that I loved how the K’s during this game (the strikeout markers) all had dreadlocks on them in honor of Dia de Cueto!

Going to end with something that will make Angel happy.  During the games, did you see the Buster Posey commercial with the puppies???  So amazingly adorable!  I’ve tried to find it on the internet but with no luck.  I’ll keep looking and hopefully post a link next time.  Angel and I are planning on going to that game and getting our own Buster hugs blanket.  The boys need to try and put this fight thing from today out of their minds (Thanks, Strickland!!!) and focus on winning games again.  Just keep taking those baby steps and trying to win series.  If they can just win 9 of 12 series from now until the All-Star Break they can go into the second half of the season with a .500 record and take it from there.  And who knows – maybe they can even log some sweeps!  It can happen!  I have faith in these guys!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  NO MORE DONNYBROOKS AND KEEP TAKING THOSE SERIES!!

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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!!

Train to Reign in a New Season

Yikes, it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged!  So many things to chat about!  First off, I need to mention my Spring Training trip – another successful adventure with my brothers.  We were in Arizona for 4 days, and while there attended 3 Giants games.  The trip had some bad and good aspects, so I feel some lists coming on.  Here are the good and the bad of this trip (and some things I learned for next time):

Bad Things (first so I can end on a high note because it was really a great trip):

  • We accidentally planned the trip on Easter weekend. I had already bought game tickets before I realized this.  Besides the fact that I didn’t get to spend Easter with the rest of my family, this meant that both airline and game ticket prices were much more than usual.  Won’t do that again.
  • Didn’t end up getting any current players’ autographs even though I waited for hours before all three games.
  • Went on a hike of Camelback Mountain not knowing that it is an extremely difficult hike, so we didn’t make it to the top (my brother said his back was hurting about half way up – I think he was lying because he didn’t want me to die. I’m not the greatest hiker.).
  • When we got back to the car after hiking Camelback Mountain, we were greeted by a parking ticket. Beware – it’s not obvious where the no parking zones are!
  • We lost all three games we attended, including a shutout by the Dodgers and a game that lasted over 4 hours that was on ESPN (and it only went 9 innings!).

Great Things that made up for the Bad Things:

  • I got to see my boys play up close and personal.
  • We made sure we purchased tickets in the shade this year. So much more comfortable, and worth the extra we paid for them.
  • I got Darrell Evans’ autograph (even though I had to pay for it) and took a picture with him. Such a nice guy.
  • I got to chat with a bunch of other retired players, including Gaylord Perry and George Foster.
  • I got Dave Fleming’s autograph (he was the only Giants broadcaster I was missing). Actually, I also got to chat with Erwin Higueros (one of the Spanish language broadcasters) and I was a dummy and didn’t think to get his autograph as well.  He’s such a friendly guy!
  • I chatted with Jon Miller about my failed hike up Camelback Mountain (he has made it up several times). Also got to shake his hand this time.
  • We found a couple of new restaurants that were fantastic – Joe’s Farm Grill (best tuna steak sandwich I’ve ever had – they have a farm on site where they get their produce) and Little Miss BBQ (be prepared for a looooooong line, but well worth it).
  • Got to see Juan Perez and Travis Ishikawa play for the Cubs and White Sox respectively. Really miss those guys.  Travis even hit a homerun!  Unfortunately, neither made their team’s starting roster.
  • Got to see Bob Costas up close and personal during the game that was on ESPN. That man sure has had a lot of work done!
  • Got to see Tim Hudson in the dugout during one of the games (I think he was there because Madison was pitching).
  • Got to see Gregor Blanco hitting balls to his son in the infield before one of the games.
  • Had a close encounter with Sergio Romo’s family during one game. They were sitting on the other side of the aisle from us while Sergio was pitching.  When he gave up a homerun, his son put his face in his hand and yelled, “OH, DAD!!”
  • Got to boo Mat Latos when he pitched for the White Sox (he stunk that day).
  • The weather was milder than it’s ever been for us there – between 82 and 87 degrees.
  • Got to meet and speak with tons of awesome Giants fans. One even showed my Larry Baer’s business card!
  • Of course, one of the best parts was getting to hang out and be silly with my brothers.

A week later, it was time for real baseball.  I could not believe how ready I was for the season to start.  When I heard Mike Krukow mention on KNBR one morning that there should be no more “jimmyjacking”, I knew the season had officially started!  Here’s the 25-man roster for your 2016 San Francisco Giants (I can just hear Renel saying this!):

Pitchers:

Madison Bumgarner

Matt Cain

Santiago Casilla

Johnny Cueto

Cory Gearrin

Chris Heston

George Kontos

Javier Lopez

Josh Osich

Jake Peavy

Sergio Romo

Jeff Samardzija

Hunter Strickland

Catchers:

Trevor Brown

Buster Posey

Infielders:

Ehire Adrianza

Brandon Belt

Brandon Crawford

Matt Duffy

Joe Panik

Kelby Tomlinson

Outfielders:

Gregor Blanco

Angel Pagan

Hunter Pence

Denard Span

Some notes about this lineup:  Andrew Susac probably would have been the backup catcher if it wasn’t for the fact that he was having tendinitis in his surgically-repaired wrist this spring.  He was optioned to Triple-A Sacramento because the Giants still want him to get regular playing time while he is recovering.  Lucky for Trevor Brown!  Also of note is that all our starting pitchers are healthy (as I’m typing this, I’m hoping I’m not jinxing anything).  There was some question about whether this would be the case during Spring Training, and Chris Heston was ready and willing if he was needed to fill in.  I love Chris, but so glad he’s not needed right now.  And I am so, so excited about our starting lineup!  I really enjoyed watching Johnny Cueto pitch the other day and love his style.  It seems like he never has the same motion twice, plus he doesn’t waste any time getting to his next pitch.  Haven’t had a chance to see Samardzija in action, but boy that guy sure is animated in the clubhouse!  I think Hunter has a new buddy!  I’m really excited about Cory Gearrin being in the bullpen.  He definitely proved his worth during spring training, and I’m sure he’ll be an asset.  Meanwhile Ehire Adrianza gets another shot at coming off the bench.  He sure proved himself today with some great defensive plays and that homerun off of Kershaw!  Also with Hunter Strickland starting off in the bullpen this season, it will be interesting to see if Bochy tries him as closer at some point.  Santiago better be on his toes because Hunter is waiting in the wings.

Denard Span is another player that I’m really excited about, both for his offense and defense.  It’s been great to get to know him better through some interviews I’ve seen on the internet.  Here’s one that he did with Randy Winn.  I love the format of this interview – very low key with a former player and a current player discussing the ins and outs of playing in AT&T Park.  Denard also was allowed to be a guest writer for the Brandon and Brandon blog today.  You can see what he wrote here.  It’s also a nice view into his personality, and gives some insight into how other teams view our boys.  And his sense of humor seems to fit right in!

I was extremely lucky to get a great deal on some Field Level tickets to the Dodgers vs. Giants game on Friday night.  I went with one of my favorite game buddies, my sister.  We had seats that were covered so we didn’t get rained on.  It was kind of cool because all the people around us were season ticket holders and they all knew each other.  They were also very nice to us newcomers.  Talk about a roller coaster of emotions during that game!  Going in, all I really hoped for was that Matt Cain had a good start.  He’s been the biggest question mark of the starting rotation.  So glad and relieved that he had a fantastic night.  Just wish he could have gotten a little more run support!  That Dodgers kid Stripling was dealing!  I don’t think anyone was expecting that.  We were both so ticked off because the few Dodgers fans around us were being extremely obnoxious.  Any time the Dodgers would get a hit, they would stand up and face all of us and flaunt it, and especially this one guy named Barajas (had his name on the back of his jersey).  We kept saying, “Sit down, Barajas!”  It was getting depressing because besides Matt’s great showing, we didn’t really have much to cheer about.  We were praying that the tides would turn so that we could shut the Dodgers fans up.  Then by the end of the 7th inning, we were afraid we were going to experience a moment in history – for our arch rivals!  My boys still hadn’t gotten a hit off that kid!  They even started sending notifications on ESPN about it.  The eighth inning came and still no hits, but he did walk Buster.  Then something happened that no one ever anticipated – Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts took the kid out!  We were all in shock – both Dodgers fans and Giants fans alike.  How could he do that, with the kid taking a no hitter into the eighth during his first major league appearance?  The only player in modern history to throw a no-hitter in his first major league start was Bobo Holloman in 1953 (thank you, Andrew Baggarly).  1953!  Dave Roberts, you’re messing with baseball history!!  After the game, I found out that Stripling had a preset pitch count because he had Tommy John surgery and they didn’t want to take any chances with his arm.  I’m sure no one anticipated what would actually happen though.  Stripling’s father even thanked Roberts today for thinking of his son’s health first.  Anyway, after all the booing and excitement of Stripling coming out, I knew things were going to be different because the Dodgers bull pen stinks.  They were ahead 2 to nothing at this point.  Then came the kid, Trevor Brown.  Skyed one out of the park to left.  One of the top ten moments I’ve ever had at a Giants game.  Take that, silly Dodger fans!  We were all screaming and high fiving, but Barajas had magically disappeared.  Of course once he got back to his seat, he got an earful!  Then it went back and forth and we ended up in extra innings.  Brandon Crawford wasted no time and shot the first pitch he saw over the left field wall.  Fabulous!  Again, everyone was screaming and hugging and life was beautiful again.  Plus the fireworks show afterwards was so much sweeter with that win.  And talk about ironic – the music for the fireworks show came from Brandon Crawford’s clubhouse playlist!  We went from the lows of worrying about witnessing a no hitter for the other team to the highs of handing it to the Dodgers with a walk off homerun.  BEAUTIFUL!  And I got to share all of it with my sister, making it that much sweeter.

Here’s a link to the 2016 Giants commercials.  My favorite one is the Bochy one, but there are several that are pretty great.

I’ll end with the news of Brandon Belt’s extension.  He received a 5-year extension which will give the Giants control over him through 2021.  It covers his last remaining year of arbitration and 4 years of free agency.  He will make $72.8 million over the 5 years starting with the 2017 season.  I always find it interesting what some of the details of these contracts are, and for Belt’s he can designate 10 teams to which he can’t be traded to without his consent.  How do they come up with these things?  Why 10?  Did they go back and forth on that number?  Overall, though, I guess it means he really wants to remain a Giant.  Happy for the guy that he’s finally gotten a commitment from the big guys, and glad he’ll be part of the home-grown core for a while.  He’s definitely earned it in my book.  Guess this also means that Buster will continue to play catcher for a while.  Glad about that, too.  In honor of the Belt extension, Pablo Sandoval did some belt extending of his own during the Red Sox game today.  Check this out.  HA HA!!!

I did the first spit count of the season today, but I think I’ll post it tomorrow as I may do another one then.  Always keeping you in anticipation!!  So happy the way the season is starting out for my boys.  Hope they can take the series from the dreaded Dodgers tomorrow.  Looking forward to another exciting Cueto start.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  BEAT LA!!

(cue the fat lady)

It’s over.  They made a valiant effort at the end, staying in it up until 5 games before the season ended, even with all those injuries, but it’s over.  Maybe there is something to this odd year curse.  Am I sad?  Not really.  It was a great season, with lots to be happy about.  And there were so many great memories and moments to savor.  I found so much joy watching these guys since back in Spring Training that it’s tough to be sad.  And in the spirit of ending the season on a high note, I’ve decided to make a list of all the great things that came out of this season that will carry forward into next season:

  • Have to start with the most important in my book, Matt Duffy. This kid didn’t even begin the season as a starter, and had rarely played third base, but he took over for Casey McGehee when we needed him and earned his spot in the lineup.  He can hit, he can play his position, and he’s got stamina.  Not only is he a super talented kid but he’s a great interview and has a great sense of humor to boot.  Just imagine what next season will be like with him there from the beginning.  Who’s Pablo Sandoval again??  By the way, congrats on capping off a great season by winning the Willie Mac Award, Matt.  Definitely well deserved.
  • Kelby Tomlinson.   The kid who saved us when Joe Panik went down.  Another kid who is amazing both defensively and offensively, plus he’s got super-human speed (did you see that inside-the-park home run yesterday??).  I’ve heard that he’s going to get practice in the outfield during the offseason so that he can be a super-utility guy next season.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
  • Jarrett Parker. The kid with the bat.  As long as he can get better defensively before next season, it will be hard for Bochy to keep that power out of the lineup.  And kids are much cheaper than going elsewhere.  We’ll see what happens, and I’m looking forward to seeing him at Spring Training again.
  • Matt Cain. I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at his outing today.  He seemed like he really had it together, like the Matt Cain we used to know.  A healthy Matt Cain next season to take some of the pressure off Madison would be lovely.
  • Mike Leake. I think we didn’t really get a good look at him this season because of his injury, but I like the fact that he can go deep into a game (allowing the relievers some rest), he can defend, and he can hit.  And he wants to come back.  Will be interesting to see if the Giants give him that chance.
  • Josh Osich. The guy who said that if he didn’t make it to the bigs this season, he would have become a forest ranger.  The lefty who pitched in 35 games with a WHIP of 1.12.  The guy who would be a shoe-in for a Jeremy Affeldt replacement.  Talk about serendipity.  Expect that he’ll be back with his wicked stuff.
  • Chris Heston. The “who’s that?“ kid who’s talent was discovered because others had to leave the lineup due to injury.  He came right in and became number 2 to Madison right away.  Then he pitched a no hitter.  If he can figure out how to condition himself to make it through an entire season, the kid can be a force next season.  He’s definitely a possibility.
  • Marlon Byrd. This one’s kind of a mixed bag.  I’ve loved this guy ever since he became one of my boys.  I love his power and his hustle.  However he is 38, and his defense isn’t the best.  But he could be added for a decent price.  We’ll see how this one plays out.
  • Nori Aoki. I miss this guy so much.  At the beginning of the season, when he was at the top of the lineup, you were pretty much guaranteed that he would find a way to get on base.  Whether it be a walk, a bunt, or that throw-the-bat-at-the-ball swing for a hit.  Hope the offseason gives him enough time to recover from the concussion issues and that he really wants to come back, because I’m pretty sure if the price is right, he will be welcomed with open arms.
  • Gregor Blanco. The unsung hero who is constantly filling in for injured outfielders and rising to the occasion.  Well, even Gregor outdid himself this year.  He played in 115 games, batted .291 with an OBP of .368, having the best statistical season of his career.  I absolutely love this guy, and I’m sure he’ll be part of the outfield next season, if not as a starter as a backup.  Plus he still doesn’t spit – always a plus.
  • George Kontos. For this one, please ignore today.  It was a blemish on an otherwise remarkable season.  The guy really outdid himself, pitching in 73 games with a 0.94 WHIP, the lowest of his 5 year career.  And all this considering that at the beginning of the season, the guy was being worked to death due to the fact that the starters weren’t going deep.  What a nice surprise he was this season.  Hopefully he can continue next season and work less with a strengthened rotation.
  • Brandon Crawford. Yes, Ginny, I’m mentioning your boy.  And he deserves it.  The kid earned his All-Star title this season.  This was definitely his breakout year, and though he only had a .256 batting average (seemed to slump of late), he racked up a .321 OBP, 21 homeruns and 33 doubles (both the highest of anyone on the Giants), and 84 RBI (second only to Buster).  He also significantly decreased his errors from last season, plus his WAR almost doubled, from 3.2 to 5.6.  And he’s still a kid.  He’s in the conversation for both the Silver Slugger and the Gold Glove for short stop this season.  Looking forward to even better things to come from Ginny’s boy.
  • Joe Panik. Forget about a sophomore slump for this kid (well, except for the injury that ended his season).  In the 100 games he played in, the kid batted .312 and surprised us with some power and 8 homeruns.  We’ve definitely found a permanent second baseman, and last year wasn’t a fluke.  Looking forward to his return next season and hopefully his presence in a lot more games.
  • Jake Peavy’s September and October. OK, the first half wasn’t stellar and he got injured.  But those final month numbers were amazing.  In his last 6 starts of the season, he had an ERA under 2.  And he went 7 innings in two of those games.  He’ll definitely be back next year, and hopefully he can start off the season like he ended.
  • Hunter Strickland. Last year’s post-season was definitely not fun for the kid, but he was able to come back this season and make a name for himself.  He’s still got some control issues, but he’s definitely worked something out.  He pitched in 55 games and ended the season with a 0.86 WHIP.  And even more significantly, he only gave up 4 homeruns.  He gave up more than that last postseason alone!  Plus lefties this year (the problem last year) only hit .185 off of him.  I love his pitch speed, and I really think if he continues to improve he can be the closer of the future.
  • The overall offense. The Giants ended the season first in the National League in batting average.  The last time that happened for the Giants was in 1993 (thanks for this info, Andrew Baggarly).  I like offense, and it was definitely a breath of unexpected fresh air this season.  And pitchers like run support.  With the majority of that lineup slated to return, those numbers should return as well.

Pair all this wonderfulness with the return of proven players like Madison, Buster, Hunter, Angel, Brandon Belt, Javi, Sergio, and Santiago, plus some strengthening of the starting rotation (which Baer has pretty much promised is their priority this offseason) and I think we’re in good shape to make a run for it next season.  Hopefully the hellish injuries are behind us.  Like Bochy said after today’s game, “Next year’s an even year.  We have work to do!”

I need to mention the careers of two amazing Giants as they leave us to be with their families:  Jeremy Affeldt and Tim Hudson.  Jeremy – I will always remember your sense of humor and how you were the butt of everyone’s jokes but were able to laugh with them.  Your pitching was wicked and helped us win so many games.  I thank you for that.  Keep doing all the wonderful work you do for so many people in the world.  Enjoy the family and stay out of trouble!  Hope you can somehow stay in baseball because you are wonderful in front of the camera.  Tim – we were so blessed to have you as a Giant, albeit for such a short time.  People seem to only mention your contributions during the post-season last year, but you played a big role in even getting us there in the first place.  You were basically the ace for the first half of last season.  You were the guy we could count on to get a win during that period, even more so than Madison.  I thank you for that, and I thank you for sharing your wonderful family with us.  Thanks also for all the knowledge you shared with our pitching staff, especially your little buddy, Madison.  Best of luck with all of your charitable endeavors, and enjoy your kids and your wife.  I’m sure they’ll enjoy you.  Come back from Alabama and visit please (I’m sure Madison would love that).

I was lucky enough to go to the game yesterday with my buddy, Angel.  She likes to go to the Star Wars games and of course I was happy to tag along.  We had a fantastic time.  The giveaway was a Chewbacca bobblehead that’s standing on a Giants helmet – so cute!  We did have to wait in line for that one as they only gave out 20,000, but it was a short wait.  We went to the Public House to see Marty Lurie broadcasting, and I even gave him one of my bracelets.  He got a kick out of our shirts (we were wearing our “Anybody but the Dodgers” shirts).  We also got margaritas there – a lot stronger than the ones in the park, I must say!  We got yummy Crazy Crab sandwiches for lunch, then went to visit my friend Anne who works in the concessions (she was so happy to see us!) and decided we couldn’t leave her without buying some of the pizza she was selling.  That pizza is a new fave – we got the deep-dish kind and it was fabulous!  We sat next to a guy who had brought his grandmother to the game.  They were very friendly and we chatted with them throughout the game (always seem to sit near friendly people).  The pre-game tribute to Tim Hudson was beautiful and very moving.  I’m really going to miss that guy, and I’m sure Madison is.  We wondered why Madison went up to the podium with Jake, but only Jake spoke.  Was he too choked up??  The highlight of the game was that inside-the-park home run by the amazing Kelby Tomlinson.  What a thrill – my voice still hasn’t recovered!  We were so happy that they were able to pull off a win.  My 2015 season record stands at 5 and 2 – not too shabby!

During the game, I noticed that Andres Torres was sitting in our same section in the front row.  People were walking up and taking their picture with him.  Of course, I wasn’t going to let that opportunity slip away!  After the game I walked down and asked if I could take my picture with him and he said yes.  I asked what he was doing since he wasn’t playing baseball any longer, and he said he had moved here and has a business selling clothes and electronics.  Based on what he was wearing, the clothes must fit really tightly!  The guy is so buff!  He was very friendly and very gracious with everyone.  Needless to say I was star struck and thrilled.  I miss that guy.  I hope now that he’s local he’ll be attending a lot of games.

As I made my way back up to Angel after that, I noticed a woman walking toward us that looked familiar.  It was Kim Hudson, Tim Hudson’s wife!  I caught her eye and said, “We love you!” and she said, “Aw – we love you, too!”  She came over and talked to us and I gave her a big hug because you could tell it had been an emotional day for her.  She said that it was really nice what the Giants and everyone had done to recognize Tim, but it had been really exhausting for them to be so emotional for so long.  She had started crying that morning because she was so emotional about what the day would hold for them with the tribute.  She said that she knew Bobby Cox (Tim’s manager with the Braves) would be talking and that would set her off again.  She said that so much of their life had been spent here starting with their years in Oakland.  Her kids were even born in San Ramon.  I said that the kids must be thrilled that he will be home, and she said yes, especially her son.  He’s already asked his dad, “Can we go to the farm?” (looked it up – yes, they have a farm!)  I asked her about how tough it was to make the sacrifices she had to in order for him to play ball, and she just said that it was a blessing.  They got to meet so many wonderful people and see so many places.  She also said that they would be leaving on the red eye Sunday night to go back home.  Sad that the guys would be separated from each other so quickly after the season ended.  She was so extremely friendly and so generous with her time.  Then Larry Baer came by and she asked how his wife Pamela was doing.  They started chatting and he said they would have to come back and attend some games.  She joked that maybe Madison Bumgarner could get them some tickets!  I also asked if I could take a picture of Larry Baer’s ring, and he said, “You know, she has one, too!”  Yes, I know.  And I’m so thankful that Tim and his family could share in the joy of earning it while they were here in San Francisco.  It was so lovely meeting all of them, and I was so lucky to have the opportunity.

Some news on the new kid front today:  The Giants signed 20-year-old Cuban outfield prospect Eddy Julio Martinez to a minor league contract worth $2.5 million.  Apparently, since the Giants have gone over their international bonus pool (whatever that means), he will cost them $5 million.  He’s currently #4 on MLB.com’s top prospect list.  Sounds great to me!  Sabean had said he would be looking into the Cuban market more – guess he meant it.  And it’s surprising that we didn’t get outbid on this kid by those pesky Dodgers.  Will keep you posted if I hear anything else about him.

One fun thing to share that I just learned about from Alex Pavlovic regarding today’s game.  Brandon Crawford is apparently the DJ of the clubhouse.  He’s the one who picks out what music they play when they win a game to celebrate.  He tries to accommodate eveyone’s taste by mixing it up.  Well, he chose Mike Leake’s walk up music last week (“Ghetto Superstar”), and since it worked out so well for him, he also prepared a list of walk-up songs for all the players today and forwarded it to the stadium operations people to play during the game.  Here’s the link to the list that Alex Pavlovic posted on his Twitter account.  What a crackup!  You can tell the guy spent a lot of time on this – even his wife, Jalynne, attested to this via Twitter.  And they are all so perfect.  The one that needs explaining is the Mac Williamson one – he’s from North Carolina and that song mentions North Carolina in it (in amongst all the naughtyness!).  According to Pavlovic, the clubhouse favorite was “I’m Too Sexy” for George Kontos.  Considering his performance today, I don’t think he’ll be keeping that one!  But what a fun thing for Brandon to do, and I’m sure it lightened the spirits of the guys on this last, emotional day of the season.

I’ve got a new spit count and some more Giants nuggets for you, but this is getting awfully long so I think I’ll tease you with them until later in the week.  Now that the season’s over, I’ll have more time to blog during the week (kind of ironic, isn’t it?).  Thanks for an amazing year, Guys!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!  GET SOME REST!

It WILL Get Better

It’s inevitable.  Every season seems to have a dry spell.  We’ve got one going on now.  The boys have been struggling this last week.  We all knew this was coming due to their tough schedule, but I don’t think anyone thought it would be this bad this soon.  That sweep by the Cubs was brutal, especially since we’re in a Wild Card battle with them.  Since I last blogged, we’ve gone 3 and 7.  Ugh!  But as we try to keep things positive here, at least all those games were close ones.  And we have had our share of injuries.  Angel Pagan has been struggling with lots of physical ailments, including bad knees.  He just doesn’t seem to have the hustle he usually does.  I’m kind of confused as to why he’s not given a rest and replaced by Gregor Blanco – maybe that’s coming. I’ve even heard some talk about Mac Williamson possible being called up.   Joe Panik is out with a bad back.  I really miss having his bat in the second spot in the lineup – he always keeps things moving.  Then the guy we just got to solve some of the pitching problems, Mike Leake, ends up pulling a hamstring after his first start as a Giant and lands on the DL.  So maybe if you keep all this in mind, things aren’t so bad.  They’ll get better once everyone is healthy, right?  But it’s so tough right now to be a Giants fan.  And having an off day after that sweep is making it even tougher.  Can’t wait for the next game to get that rotten taste out of our mouths.  We’ll all get through it together.  Gotta hang in there and keep the faith.

Speaking of the DL, did you see Nori Aoki get hit in the head by that pitch yesterday?  That was wicked!  On a positive note, it doesn’t seem to have been bad enough for him to go on the DL, though.  That guy is tough!

If you need something to cheer you up while we’re waiting for the boys to make a comeback, check this out.  It’s the video of Kelby Tomlinson getting his first Major League hit during his first Major League at bat.  I’ve been pulling for the guy all season as he was one of the kids whose autograph I got at Spring Training.  He came up when Joe Panik was placed on the DL.  I got to watch it all play out live.  What a beautiful moment.  And the best part of the whole thing was when they pulled away to the shots of his wife and his father-in-law in the stands while it was all playing out.  Plus I love how into it Kruk and Kuip got.  I can only imagine the emotions that were playing out – to work so hard all your life for one goal, to sacrifice so much, to struggle so much, to wonder if it is all worth it, then to have your dream finally come true.  You could almost feel all that through the TV set.  I love his wife’s comment about the whole ordeal:  “I’m still in disbelief.  It was all the emotions all at once.  It was so exciting.  I wanted to throw up.  I’m just so proud of him.”  I felt so bad when I heard that his parents couldn’t share in the moment in person at the park because they had such short notice of his call up and they couldn’t get off work in time.  But I’m sure they were watching at home showing similar emotions (probably making the neighbors wonder what all the ruckus was!).  I’m sure they’re also proud of the fact that Kelby dedicated his first hit to Kaiser Carlisle, the 9-year-old batboy for the Liberal Bee Jays, the collegiate summer league team that Tomlinson had played for.  Kaiser was struck in the head by a bat at a game and later died of his injuries.  Here’s the video dedication.  Very classy move by Tomlinson.  Looking forward to seeing all the Kelby “Clark Kent” glasses at AT&T Park soon.

In an attempt at continuing to keep your mind off of the last week, did you see Matt Duffy’s appearance on Intentional Talk?  If not, here you go.  What a total crackup!  But seriously, couldn’t they think of anything else to ask him about besides his cat?  The guy really gives a great interview, and they blew their chance at really getting to know more about him.  I did love his comment about how the cat “made a life decision and is losing some weight.”  Such a great sense of humor.  Matt also received more national recognition in a USA Today article about why he should be considered for Rookie of the Year over Joc Pederson and Kris Bryant.  Here’s the article.  I like it!  Boy’s finally getting the press he deserves.  What an amazing year that kid has had.  So glad he’s one of us.  And so glad Skeeter’s finally shedding some pounds!

I feel the need to comment on the bench clearing event that happened on July 31st during one of our games against the Rangers.  Here’s the video of the incident.  It’s not the first time Madison Bumgarner became incensed over a bat flip. The flipping this time was by Delino DeShields.  I always hate when guys’ tempers get the best of them.  But I’ve come to learn that it’s always the same thing that sets Madison off – a young rookie flipping a bat not because he hit a homerun off of Madison but because he didn’t launch a pitch he thought he should have.  Madison feels it’s disrespectful for a kid to do that to a veteran, and he lets guys know it.  Pretty old school of him, but I still hate to see him lose control.  Not a good look for us.  At least there weren’t any punches exchanged during this one.

Continuing with the diversion, I’ve got two new spit counts for you:

August 1st

Giants:

  • Sanchez 6
  • Duffy 5
  • Strickland 4
  • Wotus 2 (seeds)
  • Meulens 2
  • Bochy 2
  • Pagan 2
  • Casilla 2
  • Affeldt 1
  • Panik 1
  • Petit 1
  • Maxwell 1
  • Belt 1

Rangers:

  • Beltre 8
  • DeShields 4
  • Hamilton 3
  • Wilson 2
  • Banister 1
  • Odor 1 (what a tragic last name)
  • Moreland 1

Misc.:

  • Umpire 3

Game Spit Master General = Beltre at 8

Giants Game Spit Master General = Sanchez at 6

That’s a total of 53 spits during a 3 hour and 45 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.2 minutes.

I made a couple of interesting spit observations during this game.  Neither Cole Hamels nor Chris Heston, the two starting pitchers, logged a single spit today.  IT IS POSSIBLE, GUYS!!  Also, Hector Sanchez, today’s Giants Spit Master General and starting catcher, didn’t start spitting until the 10th inning.  What does this mean?  I know the trend is for spitting to increase as the game goes on, but why would you start that late?  And it was hot, so you would think he would want to conserve his fluids.  I don’t get it.  Do you spit more when you’re tired?  At least it did appear that Hector was not chewing tobacco during this game.  Hoping it’s the start of a trend.

August 3rd

Giants:

  • Belt 9
  • Leake 6 (seeds)
  • Cain 3
  • Duffy 3
  • Posey 2
  • Aoki 2
  • Romo 2
  • Tomlinson 2
  • Vogelsong 2
  • Meulens 1
  • Adrianza 1
  • Strickland 1 (*see below for a detailed description)
  • Wotus 1
  • Maxwell 1
  • Sanchez 1
  • Casilla 1
  • Petit 1
  • Bochy 1

Braves:

  • Pierzynski 7
  • Markakis 5
  • Peterson 5
  • Garcia 4
  • Johnson 3
  • Perez 2
  • Maybin 2
  • Detwiler 2
  • Gomes 1
  • Marksberry 1
  • Ciriaco 1

Game Spit Master General = Belt at 9

That’s a total of 73 spits during a 3 hour and 55 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.2 minutes.

Mike Leake logged his first spits as a Giant during this game, but all were captured while the camera was on him in the dugout and he was spitting out sunflower seeds.  Kelby Tomlinson also can add another first to his first Major League hit – his first appearance in my spit count!  When you join a team, beware of the camera in the dugout!  I’ll be watching!  Two of the Braves players have some disgusting spit habits:  Perez spat into his batting gloves and Pierzynski spat into his catcher’s mitt.

*I feel that the “spit” logged by Hunter Strickland during this game needs further explanation.  I have never experienced anything like this before.  The way the saliva exited his mouth was reminiscent of the most amazing spit take I’ve ever seen.  The notes I took that day on this one spit read “spray explosion”.  I have never seen spit travel and create such a wide, voluminous spray.  How can you have that much liquid in your mouth without drinking water (this particular spit occurred while he was on the mound)?  Incredible.  And disgusting.

Tomorrow brings us to the Astros series.  We’ve got to beat another playoff contender.  Hoping the rest and the trip home will do my boys some good.  At least the Dodgers have been doing their part and choking.  Still only 2.5 games behind them.  Sending positive thoughts to my boys so they can win some at home.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  WE KNOW YOU CAN DO IT!!

Putting Up Crooked Numbers

What a nice comeback it was today!  This is the first time the boys came back from a 3 run deficit to win all season.  Timmy started out strong, then was scary with the way he fell off the mound again.  And I think Bernie Brewer was getting a sore butt from coming down that slide so much with the 3 homeruns Timmy gave up.  But the boys came through for him with that amazing 6th inning, giving him the win.  Talk about putting up a crooked number!  I guess 7 is as crooked as it gets!  They scored more runs that inning (7) than they had all season in a single inning, even as far back as August 31st last season.  Also big kudos to Hunter Strickland for pitching 2 1/3 innings, not allowing a hit, and getting 3 strikeouts.  I was wondering if this was a test for Hunter as we had a 4-run lead and he faced mostly lefties, the guys who have rung him up in the past.  Nice job, Kid!  And super sweet job to all the guys that kept the line moving in that 6th inning.  And extra kudos to Hunter Pence for going 3 for 4 and our unsung hero Nori Aoki for going 4 for 4 with a walk.  What a joy to watch!  And they didn’t even torture us at the end!

Vida Blue made an interesting comment about the rally in the 6th.  The guys on Comcast SportsNet were mentioning that Hunter almost got a homerun at one point, but that sometimes a homerun can actually kill a hitting rally.  Vida explained why this can happen.  If a player gets a homerun, the pitcher can go back into the windup, a much more comfortable way for most pitchers to pitch.  Leaving guys on base forces him into the stretch and puts him under more pressure dealing with guys on base.  So interesting.  Thanks, Vida!

Guess I didn’t have to worry about the rain in Milwaukee like I mentioned yesterday as Miller Stadium, home of the Brewers, is a covered stadium.  And I learned today that the ball actually carries better when the dome is closed.  But what was up with them opening the roof right in the middle of Brandon Crawford’s at bat?  Aren’t there rules against that?  I would think that would be pretty distracting.  I researched this, and according to MLB official guidelines for retractable roofs, “If the game begins with the roof closed, it may be opened when, in the opinion of the home club, the climatic environment has reached a level where fan comfort and enjoyment will be best served by opening the roof to the natural atmospheric conditions.  The Umpire Crew Chief shall notify the visiting club, which may challenge the opening of the roof if it feels that a competitive imbalance will arise.”  Guess they decided it was better for the fans, and the Giants didn’t protest the decision.  As far as it being opened while Crawford was batting, “The opening of the roof shall only commence between innings.”  This was not the case, but perhaps they started opening it between innings.  Hank Schulman mentioned on Twitter that even if they start to open it between innings, it takes 10 minutes to fully open so it ends up overlapping the game.  My question:  why don’t they wait the 10 minutes for it to fully open before restarting the game to be fair?  Poor Brandon – he struck out on that at bat.  Who knows if things may have gone differently if the ceiling wasn’t opening up above him while he was trying to concentrate on hitting.  And as far as the comments I read mentioning that the Brewers may have been trying to get some sort of advantage by opening the roof – well, it didn’t work!

This whole discussion about the covered stadiums made me wonder about something:  Why isn’t Coors Field covered?  Wouldn’t that make sense?  They’ve had at least 4 rain postponed games this season, and we all know that there were several rain delays when we played them this last weekend.  The Arizona Diamondbacks even poked fun at them on their twitter account, saying, “@Rockies So…when are you guys going to get one of these?” adding a picture of their retractable roof.  Guess it’s too late to do it after the fact, but why didn’t anyone think of this when they built that stadium?  They even get snowed out!

I really like the fact that the guys honored our veterans who lost their lives today by wearing uniforms with camo numbers and letters, and even camo bills on their hats.  Good job, Guys.  They deserve our respect on this special day.  Made me proud to be a Giants fan.

Was anyone else confused about what was going on when Davis got that first homerun for the Brewers?  Dan and I were watching and had no idea what the delay was.  Once Braun came to the plate, they called Davis out, saying that when he ran the bases after the home run, he missed home plate.  You have to give some credit to Andrew Susac – the guy was watching the plate as Davis came home and was probably the one that mentioned it in the first place.  Who would be looking for that?  It turned out that when it was challenged, they couldn’t see clearly enough whether his foot actually touched the plate or not.  For me, it looked like his heel was above the plate, but hard to make out if it touched or not.  I had no idea this was a rule. You would think if he hit a home run, that’s it – done deal.  But as usual, we’re always learning new things here.  I looked up the official MLB rule, and the explanation I found for this case is (Rule 7.10d), “A runner shall be called out, on appeal, when he fails to touch home base and makes no attempt to return to that base, and home base is tagged.  Any appeal under this rule must be made before the next pitch, or any play or attempted play.”  Susac touched home plate when Braun came up to bat, so at that point, Davis was out (even though it got overturned).  So even hitting a home run doesn’t guarantee you a home run.  Still not sure why, with all the hoopla going on, the Brewers didn’t figure out what was going on and just have Davis go back and touch home plate.  It cracked me up that when Davis got his second home run (sigh) he made sure to plant his foot firmly on the plate.  Don’t think he’ll make that mistake again.  EVER!

The Brewers pitcher that got caught with stuff on his arm that I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, Will Smith, pitched today.  I carefully looked at both arms while he was pitching.  No stuff.  Guess he learned his lesson.

Unlike the Giants who embrace one mascot, namely Lou Seal, the Brewers have several different mascots.  There’s Bernie Brewer, the buff guy who slides down the slide whenever the Brewers get a home run.  Then I noticed this beer barrel guy.  He’s called Barrelman, and he was originally on the Brewers logo but only became a mascot this season.  Kind of creepy.  Finally I noticed a third mascot, and he’s my favorite.  He’s a dog and his name is Hank.  I also love that his number is K9.  Cute!  Hank (named after Hank Aaron) started out as a real stray dog who wandered onto the Brewers’ field at Spring Training last season.  He was taken in by the team and became an immediate hit with both team members and fans.  He became so popular that the Brewers started selling Hank T-shirts, with part of the proceeds going to benefit the Humane Society.  Now he’s been morphed into a human-sized mascot.  I have to say, besides my boy, Lou Seal, he’s one of the most adorable team mascots I’ve ever seen.  And what a great thing for the Brewers to do.  Good job, Boys!

I observed something interesting that the Brewers catcher, Martin Maldonado, did today.  While Aoki was up to bat, Maldonado put his glove on the right side of the plate and hit it, making it seem like he was looking for a pitch inside, but then he set his glove up on the left side of the plate.  Just as I noticed this, Kruk and Kuip commented about it.  He does this to confuse the batter into thinking that he’s getting a pitch inside when he’s not.  Sly little bugger.  I wonder if that move ever works.  It didn’t against Aoki.  HA HA!

As you can see, I learned an awful lot through observation in this game.  There is always so much to learn, and I really enjoy it.  Another opportunity for expanded knowledge reared its head when I noticed that the Brewers have their pitcher hit 8th instead of 9th.  I had seen this before when the pitcher was actually a good hitter, but the pitcher today had a batting average of .111 and the ninth hitter, Sardinas, had an average of .289, a pretty decent one.  What is the strategy behind this?  According to Vida Blue in the post-game show, you’re looking for the pitcher to be the last out, not to be the set up guy for the top of the lineup.  You want the top of the lineup to hit with guys on base, so that 9th guy can hopefully get on base.  For anyone who’s really into statistics, I found an in depth article on this strategy here (apparently it was really popular with Tony La Russa years ago), but even the author says that the advantage is super slim – you’d on average be 0.6 runs better off over the course of an entire season.  But I guess guys will still try anything to eek out an advantage.  Bochy seems to have his lineup all worked out, though, so keep that pitcher down at the bottom please.

More sad but inevitable news today from the team.  The Giants reinstated Travis Ishikawa from the disabled list only to designate him for assignment.  There just wasn’t room on the team for him.  I hope that something will work out for him, even if it has to be on another team because I love that guy and I want what’s best for him.  I will always remember being in the crowd for his game-winning walk off homerun to clinch the NLCS last season.  Thanks for that memory, Travis.  Wishing you all the best.  You’ll always have a place in Giants history and in my heart.  Keeping my fingers crossed that there’s some way you can still be a Giant.

I forgot to mention yesterday that I went to a San Jose Giants game on Saturday with my husband, my sister and her family, and my brother.  It was only the second one I had ever attended.  What a great time we had.  Dan and I got there early, and I found a ball in the stands.  So cool!  I had never seen one up close, and it looks like it had been hit several times – it’s pretty beat up!  We also got offered an upgrade on our seats (we sat in general admission and even those seats were pretty amazing), but we didn’t take it because we wanted to sit with the rest of the family.  Thankfully we didn’t because those seats were in the sun.  The game was so much fun.  They do so many fun activities while the game is going on.  Dan’s favorite was the Beer Batter.  They designate a batter from the other team to be the beer batter, and if he strikes out beers are half price for the next 15 minutes.  Whenever he got up, everyone chanted, “BEER, BEER, BEER!”  He did strike out once for us, so of course Dan and my brother took off!  They also had fireworks after the game and they were so much better than I expected.  For food, they have a great BBQ court – I had pulled pork and it was yummy.  Of course we also had to partake of the garlic fries.  Our boys ended up stomping the Rancho Cucamonga  Quakes (the Dodgers Triple A affiliate) 11 to 0!  HA HA!  Even our minor leaguers beat the boys from down south!  All in all it was a fantastic, fun night and I would love to go again.  I highly recommend it.  Plus the price can’t be beat – $11 for general admission seats, and $10 for parking.  Parking is $5 more on fire works nights and tickets cost $1 if you buy them on the day of the game, so get them in advance from the box office (no fees that way).

I have a new spit count for you from today’s game.  One of my boys was being pretty naughty.  Here you go:

May 25th

Giants:

  • Susac 23 (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
  • Strickland 4
  • Belt 3
  • Aoki 2
  • Lincecum 1
  • Posey 1 (seeds)
  • Duffy 1

Brewers:

  • Lohse 10
  • Gomez 3
  • Gomez 2
  • Davis 2
  • Lucroy 1
  • Braun 1
  • Cotts 1
  • Rodriguez 1
  • Maldonado 1

Misc.:

  • Umpires 2

Game Spit Master General = Susac at 23

That’s a total of 59 spits during a 3 hour and 15 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.3 minutes.

Yes, that’s 23 exclamation points for Andrew Susac’s 23 spits.  He set a new Giants record for the season.  So disappointed in that boy.  And it’s obvious that he is chewing tobacco – he has that telltale bulge in his cheek.  He has the habit (like Buster used to) of lifting his helmet a lot while he’s catching to spit.  That’s where most of his dings came from.  Guess the kids pick up this bad habit in the minors.  On a happy note, even though Hunter Strickland logged 4 spits, he was chewing gum at the time, so at least they weren’t due to tobacco.  Still yucky, though.

Finally, in keeping with the Memorial Day theme, here’s a video about a player who was involved in the military.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  I’m hoping that the boys can keep the line moving for the rest of this series.  Madison’s pitching tomorrow, and I’m sure he’ll be strong.  Then Vogey on Wednesday, and he’s coming off a fantastic start against the Rockies.  Just hope his tweaked calf is doing better.  The bats just need to keep it up.  After the Brewers, they’re back home to play the Braves.  I’m really hoping I can make it to one of those games.  That would be wonderful.  Sorry this blog ended up being so long, even after I just posted yesterday.  I just can’t help myself – I love this game and this team!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!

BRANDON BELT ANSWERED MY QUESTION!!

Yes, Brandon Belt answered my question!  I asked him a question via his blog, and he was gracious enough to answer it, along with other questions people had asked in the comments.  Here’s mine, with his answer:

Me:  Do you hear conversations between the runner and first base coach?

Belt:  I certainly try!

Yeah, that was the extent of the reply.  But at least he responded!

OK, I’ve been avoiding the obvious topic of the day.  What happened in that game today?  I was planning on doing a spit count today (thank goodness that didn’t happen – it would have been dreadful to have to sit through that entire thing!), but when the game was delayed, my hubby and I decided to go to the movies instead.  Mad Max: Fury Road if you’re curious (not really my cup of tea, but it was non-stop action).  When the movie was over, I checked to see if the game had started, and I noticed a bunch of texts from my siblings.  Here’s the exact sequence of the texts:

“This sucks!”

“Way to go Machi”

(a thumbs down emoji)

(a bull emoji next to a poop emoji)

“This game stinks!”

“Yeah it does.”

Needless to say, I was afraid to look at the score.  It couldn’t be that bad, right?  WRONG!  When I checked we were behind 10 to 0.  Criminy!  Huddy allowed 8 runs (on 6 hits) in 3 2/3 innings.  The final score was 11 to 2.  The curse of Coors Field on Huddy continues!  He’s never won a game there in his entire career.  I was so hoping the curse would have been broken today, but sadly it reared its ugly head again, and big time.  Then to top it all off I had Hunter for one of my Beat the Streak picks, and he didn’t get a hit.  Sigh.  At least they didn’t get shut out, they ended up splitting the series with the Rockies, and they were able to high tail it out of there today, heading out to Milwaukee for the next series.  Craziness always seems to ensue whenever they travel to Denver – and rain delays are a pain in the butt!  And why is it that my boys seem to play better against better teams?  The Rockies and the Brewers were supposed to be a walk in the park.  Keeping my fingers crossed that they have better luck in the land of the Cheeseheads.

The inevitable happened today – Casey McGehee was designated for assignment.  I can’t say I was surprised, but I really feel for the guy.  It’s not like he wasn’t trying.  He apparently took it pretty hard.  He may not be picked up on waivers due to the large dollar amount left on his contract (roughly $3.5 million), but when he was interviewed he wasn’t sure he would take a minor league assignment if the Giants asked him back.  He said he had a lot to discuss with his family.  That’s understandable.  And kudos to McGehee for privately taking Matt Duffy (his replacement at third base) aside and telling him he shouldn’t feel guilty for the move, and he should be proud that he forced the issue.  McGehee told him that he was in the same situation when he was on the Brewers and took Bill Hall’s job.  My hope is that he will stay in the minors and figure things out.  Best of luck, Casey.  You’ve got class.

McGehee’s spot on the 25 man roster was filled with Hunter Strickland.  The Giants decided to increase their pitching staff by one as they don’t have another off day until June 4th, so he will most definitely be needed.  Strickland pitched 2 innings on Saturday, only allowing one hit and getting 3 strikeouts.  Nice job, Kid.  Welcome back to the Bigs.  I knew it would happen eventually.

I don’t know about you, but I feel the need for some positivity right about now.  How about a list of positive things that happened in the last week for my boys?  Here goes:

  • I’ll start off with the most awesome of all – THE GIANTS SWEPT THE DODGERS! HA, HA, HA!  Nothing is as sweet as this!  That’s a perfect record against the dreaded boys in blue at home this season.
  • Madison hit a homerun off of Clayton Kershaw. That’s sweet in itself, but it’s even sweeter because it’s the first time in Kershaw’s career that he’s allowed a pitcher to hit a homerun off of him.  EVER!  I’m sure Madison shared that info with all his buddies in the dugout.  Nice job!
  • Eight guys on the team are batting over .290, namely Angel (.311), Brandon B. (.311), Buster (.310), Brandon C. (.301), Joe (.301), Matt (.297), Nori (.295), and Hunter (.294). That’s all of the starting position players!  When’s the last time that was true??  Not any time I can remember.  The Giants have the highest overall batting average of any team in major league baseball for the month of May.  I like it!
  • Brandon Crawford holds the current record for RBI amongst shortstops this season at 31. An All-Star spot this season would definitely be well deserved with the way that guy is playing.
  • Buster has a 16-game hitting streak going on. Sweet!
  • Madison and Timmy have ERAs in the 2s.
  • It sounds like both Jake Peavy and Matt Cain are close to returning. Finally!  Jake had a rehab start in San Jose on Friday night.  He pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowed only 1 hit, 1 walk, and struck out 4 batters.  He also threw 37 strikes out of a total of 50 pitches.
  • We won the first two games against the Rockies, contributing to an 8-game winning streak.
  • Did I mention we SWEPT THE DODGERS??? AGAIN???  Can’t say that enough!

Did any of you witness the strikeout by Gregor Blanco at the beginning of the first game of the double header?  He ended up at 3rd base on that strikeout.  Baseball is definitely a crazy thing sometimes.  He even made some national highlights.  Here’s the video.  The last strike pitch got away from the catcher, allowing Gregor to run for first base.  Then a wild throw to first by the catcher allowed him to make it all the way to third base.  I’ve seen guys make it to first before on that type of play, but never to third.  Craziness.

I may have a clue as to why Matt Duffy recently changed his number from 50 to 5.  Joe Lefebvre recently left his job on the team as hitting assistant coach, and Lefebvre wore the number 5.  Maybe Matt really wanted it all along, but didn’t want to take it from him.  I couldn’t find out what number Matt wore in the minors, though.  So it’s still kind of a mystery.

I’ve got several interesting links for you today.  The first involves Brewers pitcher Will Smith being ejected for a foreign substance on his arm.  Turns out it was a mixture of rosin and sunscreen.  It was brought to the attention of the umpires by Atlanta manager Fredi Gonzalez.  Here’s the video of the ejection.  You might not want to watch this one with kiddies in the room due to Smith’s response!  From listening to the discussion about the incident, it seems that using something to get a better grip on the ball is pretty commonplace even though it’s against the rules.  This case was just too blatant to ignore I guess.  Here’s a video of an amazing slide by Mike Trout of the Angels.  How did he do that??  Here’s a link to an interesting article about how Tim Lincecum has reinvented himself, all explained through the wonders of statistics.  Kudos to you, Timmy!  Always love it when my boys make it into the national spotlight.  Here’s a link to an article about 10 bizarre baseball rules.  Some are pretty crazy, like being able to request where you wanted a pitch and catching balls off a bounce.  And finally, speaking of catching balls off a bounce, here‘s a fun video of Gregor Blanco trying to put one past the umpire last season.  What a crackup!

The boys should be in Milwaukee by now, heading off to bed for their game in the morning.  They’ve got an early start tomorrow, at 11:10 am our time.  Hope they can get some rest and forget about the last two days.  And I hope it doesn’t rain there!  Hope the boys can put those high batting averages to good use and tap the Brewers.  Maybe they can celebrate with a pint or two!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!!