Tagged: Justin Ruggiano

Turning a Corner?

We’re all about accentuating the positive here at Giants Fan Carm.  So today’s blog is going to be all about the positive.  I just have this feeling that things are going to be different with the boys from here on in.  Why?  I feel one of my lists coming on…

  • They’ve won 2 games in a row. This is only the second time this season that they’ve been able to do this.  Sad on the one hand, but if we’re looking at the glass as half full, this is a happy thing.  Let’s see if they can pull off the win today to set a streak record for the season.  They can do this!
  • Out of the blue, they have this crazy power streak going on. In the last 6 games they’ve hit a total of 10 homeruns, and in 4 of those games 2 guys hit homers.  It’s been a Bye, Bye, Baby Bonanza!  That accounts for more than a third of the homeruns they’ve hit all season.  Plus Buster hit homeruns in three consecutive games.  I know this team is not built on power, but it doesn’t hurt.  And everyone likes to see the long ball and hear Bye, Bye Baby.
  • Speaking of homers, one of them was a walkoff by Buster in the 17th.  We haven’t been able to celebrate many walkoffs this season, and walkoff bombs are the best.  But the best thing about this walkoff was Buster’s reaction, and it’s one of the main reasons I think they are at a turning point.  Check this out.  Notice Buster’s reaction as he gets close to home.  He throws his helmet in the air and raises his arms up as he nears the plate.  Who was that guy???  This was not your typical, calm, not-expressing-any-emotion Buster.  I think he did this on purpose to energize his team.  And I think it’s working.
  • Span is back. I know there are a lot of Span haters out there, but his coming back has also been an energizer.  Two of the above-mentioned homers came from Span, and they were in his first two games back.  In his first three games back, he’s hitting .500.  WOW!!  And you can’t deny that he’s the best defensive center fielder we have.  Welcome back, Denard!
  • Justin Ruggiano. The guy had a slow start offensively when he first came up to the Bigs on May 6th, but in his last 3 games he’s hit .385 and he provided one of the above-mentioned bombs yesterday.  Could this finally be the solution to our outfield problems?  I am staying cautiously optimistic.  He’s in the lineup today so we’ll see if he can keep it going.
  • Brandon Crawford is back off the DL. I mention this for two reasons:  the guy is one of the key pieces of the Giants puzzle both offensively and especially defensively, plus I knew this would make Ginny happy.

Ginny and I sent inspirational rally pictures to several of the guys via Twitter, so I like to think we’ve contributed to all this somehow as well.  So come on, everybody!  Get those rally caps out and keep this thing going!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  MAKE IT AN EXTRA-HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!

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These Are the Times That Try Fans’ Souls

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:

April 26th

Giants:

  • Cueto 8 (4 were seeds)
  • Law 8
  • Arroyo 7
  • Gillaspie 5
  • Nuñez 2
  • Wotus 1 (seeds)
  • Samardzija 1 (seeds)
  • Bochy 1

Dodgers:

  • 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!!

Is It Baseball Yet?

Once the new year arrives, my thoughts begin to focus on the upcoming baseball season.  Can you believe that pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in only 40 days???  And FanFest is even sooner than that.  I can’t wait to see my boys again after the long winter lull.

On the Hot Stove front, there hasn’t been much major going on since the Melancon acquisition.  However, one nugget of joy did fall into our Giants lap – my boy Michael Morse is back!  Granted he’s got a minor-league deal, but he’ll be at Spring Training and I’m so looking forward to seeing his smiling face there.  I bet Hunter Pence is thrilled to have his old buddy back again as well.  May the Morse be with you!  Odds of him actually making the team are pretty slim, but who cares! He’s back in the Bay Area!  I love that guy!  Besides Michael, the Giants also signed Jimmy Rollins and Justin Ruggiano to minor league deals.  Rollins spent most of his career with the Phillies, though he also played a season with the Dodgers (BOO!) and last season played 41 games with the White Sox.  The Rollins signing brings back memories of the Pat Burrell and Ryan Theriot signings – the Giants brought in guys who were once really good and tested them out to see if they had anything left in the tank.  Rollins’ season last year was not stellar (he batted .221) plus he’s 38 years old, but you never know what can happen on this team.  He’ll be battling for a backup infield spot.  Ruggiano has moved around and played on 7 different major league teams (including one season with the Dodgers – BOO!), and he’s also on the older side (34).  He has been a good hitter when he’s healthy (last season he was on the DL twice for shoulder and hamstring issues).  Plus he can play both corner outfield positions and first base.  So again, we’ll see if some magic can come to him this year – another Giant-like signing.  Trevor Brown will also be getting some competition as the Giants signed catcher Tim Federowicz to a minor league contract.  Besides his Triple A time, Federowicz has played in parts of 5 major league seasons, including 4 for the Dodgers (BOO!! – I sense a trend here!).  Unfortunately, his major league batting average is .194, but he’s hit over .300 while in the minors, so the Giants are hoping he can show them some pop when he competes for a spot on the team in the spring.

As far as rumors regarding potential signings, the Giants have expressed interest in slugger Mark Reynolds as a way of adding some power to the lineup.  Reynolds played for the Rockies last season and batted .282 with 14 homers and 53 RBI in 118 games.  That’s some pop right there!  I like pop!  He’s recently played at first base, but he could also play third, so potentially he could be a third base starter, sending Eduardo Nunez to the bench as a backup.  Also rumored as a person of interest to the Giants is Korean infielder Jae-gyun Hwang.  He would also be a potential third baseman.  He’s an unrestricted free agent, so he wouldn’t require a posting fee (and those can get pretty excessive!).  Last season in Korea, he hit .330 with 26 homeruns and 104 RBI in 118 games.  Granted the Korean League is known for being offense friendly, but those stats are still impressive.  We’ll see if the front office actually pursues either of these guys.  I’ll keep my ears open.

It breaks my heart to update you on this next item.  The wife of our beloved Andres Torres lost her battle with cancer on December 7th.  Soannie Torres was only 37 years old.  She had been fighting the disease since February.  Shortly before she died, the two renewed their wedding vows.  So touching.  Jorge Ortiz, a Bay Area sportswriter and friend of the Torres family, gave some insight into how Soannie helped Andres with his ADHD: “She would settle him down in a kind, caring way.  She once told me how sometimes he would get up in the middle of the night and start taking air swings, obsessively trying to hone his hitting skills, until she would implore him, ‘Yungo (his nickname), come to bed.”  The couple have two children, Diego (12) and Mia (4).  I was lucky enough to meet Andres in person, and he’s such a friendly and generous man.  This is such horrible news.  I send my deepest condolences to him, his children, and their family.

Switching over to the lighter side, I have several nuggets to share with you dealing with my boys.  Here’s a link that showcases Matt Moore’s offseason wiffle ball prowess.  Who would have known?  It’s tough to hit a wiffle ball that far!  Watch out, Madison!  Then there’s Johnny Cueto and a donkey right here.  True love.  Gosh, I miss watching that guy pitch!  Then there’s this letter that a young fan wrote to Bobby Evans trying to get him to sign Melancon.  Thanks, Kid!  Plus there’s one last article on how Melancon feels about coming to the Giants right here.  I know you’re probably tired of reading this stuff by now, but READ IT!  I almost didn’t, feeling that same way, but I’m so glad I did.  Love that guy even more now.  Plus I didn’t realize that he played on the Astros with Hunter.  There’s a great Hunter story in there.  Plus he mentions the kid that wrote to Bobby Evans – he’s going to be one pumped little boy!  READ IT!!

Also found out today that Kate Scott is leaving KNBR.  I knew that she was too talented to stay there for very long.  She’ll be calling women’s basketball games during the week and anchoring Sports Report on Sunday nights on the PAC-12 Network besides calling some WCC men’s games on CSNBA and CSNCA on Saturdays.  Busy girl!  Who’s going to keep those KNBR guys in line?  And who’s going to take over the MC job for the player interviews during FanFest?  She rocked that!  I’m super sad to hear she’s leaving, but she really deserves to move on to bigger and better things.  Best of luck on your new endeavors, Kate.  Still hoping to run into you at a Giants game one day.

I’ve noticed that even KNBR is starting to talk more about baseball now that 49er football is over.  So exciting!!  Can’t wait for Spring Training to get here.  I’m all set to go with my siblings to Arizona in mid-March.  Can feel the heat already!!  If anything exciting happens in the near future I’ll definitely let you know.  Gotta get my spit certificates ready to send out in early April!  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!