Geez, what a crazy ride it’s been since Madison got injured last Thursday! I can’t believe how many roster moves have been made. Some are really sad, but some are super great. Here’s the list:
- Chris Marrero was DFA’d. I think we all knew this one was coming as he hadn’t shown the same offense that he did in Spring Training, hitting only .132 in 38 at bats.
- To replace Marrero (and set off a firecracker under this team), the Giants succumbed to all the pressure and brought up Christian Arroyo from Triple A. This is the move I am most excited about, and I’m sure everyone else is as well. Management kept saying they wanted to wait for him to have a full year at Triple A, but I guess that just goes to show you how desperate they were to change things up with our dismal start. He’s playing at third so he can feel comfortable in the bigs, and Eduardo Nunez has been moved out to left field. Christian’s played in two games so far, and though his bat hasn’t been super hot yet (give the kid some time), he has gotten his first hit (and against Clayton Kershaw no less – nice story he’ll have to tell for the rest of his life), and he did hit a ball in his first game to move Brandon Crawford to third, allowing him to eventually score. Plus he’s shown some defensive prowess, even throwing out Yasmani Grandal at first after his hit ricocheted off of Matt Cain, sending him to the ground for a front row seat on the play. I love that the kid went over and picked Cain up! He’s also got the gift of gab – what Duane Kuiper calls the “6th tool”. In his post-game interview with Amy G. he told the story of getting called up and just wouldn’t stop! Amy didn’t have to say anything! I am so looking forward to what this kid can do for us.
- Aaron Hill was put on the DL with a right forearm strain. Again, probably won’t see much affect from this because his numbers weren’t that great so far.
- Denard Span made an amazing catch in the outfield this week, but ended up crashing into a wall and suffering a shoulder sprain. At first he wasn’t put on the DL, but now his shoulder’s been acting up so he was today. Man, that catch was beautiful!
- To fill in at center field, Drew Stubbs was called up. He’s played in the last two games and hasn’t logged a hit yet, but he’s done a great job in center field. We’ll have to see if his bat warms up.
- Then today, since Span was put on the DL, my boy Michael Morse was called up. YAY!!!! It happened!! He made it!! What a true fantasy this is for this guy. To think it all started with a conversation with Bobby Evans at Hunter Pence’s wedding. I bet Hunter is thrilled to have his buddy back. Can’t wait to see them together in the dugout tonight (though he is not in the lineup). Hope Michael can bring some pop back to this team. According to Andrew Baggarly, Morse will help off the bench and start occasionally at first base. Welcome back, Michael!! Can’t wait to hear Take On Me again!
- Chris Stratton was called up to fill the spot left by Madison’s departure. He pitched three innings in relief of Matt Moore in the game where Matt got lit up by the Rockies, and he did an amazing job. He didn’t allow a hit, allowed only one walk, and tallied 3 strikeouts. I am really excited about this kid. He also shows great poise and confidence on the mound. Looking forward to seeing more of him (and not really sure why he hasn’t come into a game since – maybe since he pitched 3 innings and that’s a lot for a reliever?).
- Brandon Crawford is on bereavement leave for the next three days so that he can attend services for his sister in law. Apparently the minimum you can take off for such things is three days. He only needed two, but as it turns out he suffered a groin injury in yesterday’s game and may even end up on the DL when he gets back. I sure hope not. I’m so tired of documenting injuries on this team so far! There are enough guys out!
- Kelby Tomlinson was called up today to provide some infield help while Brandon’s out. So glad he’s back. I love that guy and I’m hoping to see a lot of him this season.
- Finally Matt Cain injured his hamstring in his stellar performance on Monday night. It was so sad that he had to leave after 6 innings while he had been doing so well. The guy’s numbers for this season are just crazy and so unexpected. He’s the ace so far this season, with a 2.42 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in the 4 games he’s pitched. Who would have thunk? Thankfully, the x-ray results on the hamstring injury came back negative so he avoided a major injury, but we’ll have to see if he is able to make his next scheduled start. If not, maybe they can put Stratton in – I love that guy!
I know you’ve all been waiting with baited breath, but your wait is now over. I have the first spit count of the season for you! Here you go:
- Gillaspie 6
- Bochy 4 (all seeds)
- Nunez 3 (2 of these were seeds)
- Moore 2
- Stratton 2
- Span 1
- Belt 1
- Posey 1
- Reyes 1
- Meulens 1 (seeds)
- Panik 1
- Marrero 1
- Arenado 4
- Reynolds 4
- Story 4
- LeMahieu 3
- Senzatela 2
- Cardullo 2
- Blackmon 1
- Umpire (Rob Drake) 14 !!!!!
- Fan 1
- Fan 1
Game Spit Master General = Drake at 14
Giants Game Spit Master General = Gillaspie at 6
That’s a total of 60 spits during a 3 hour game for an average of 1 spit every 3 minutes.
At first I thought this was the first time an umpire won out as the Game Spit Master General. Then I seemed to recall the name of said umpire – Rob Drake. I looked it up, and indeed he was the Game Spit Master General for the game on August 24th, 2012! And during that game, he logged a whopping 40 spits! So at least he’s calmed it down a bit! I kept noticing him lifting his mask and finally realized he was doing it to expel saliva. Sheesh! Why does an umpire need to spit?? These were the first fan spits logged in a while – two different guys. Really?? Matt Moore wins the award for most disgusting spit – one of his ended up mostly on his face, and he wiped it away with his glove! Blech! Also noticed during this game that Moore is also a snot rocket launcher – he launched 3 today. Kudos to Neil Ramirez today – he may have given up 6 runs in one inning during this game (including walking one in), but he didn’t get caught spitting once! Hoping he keeps up the non-spitting this season (and keeps guys off the bases while doing it).
Going to leave today with a question: Why does Nick Hundley only wear one shoulder protector behind the plate? It’s over his right shoulder. Check it out next time he’s in the lineup. Anybody have a clue? Please leave a comment if you know why. Going to the game on Saturday with my entire family – all 11 of us! So excited to get to my first game. The giveaway that day is the two flaps down hat, so I’m hoping to get a picture of all of us together wearing it! Also hoping that we can take these next two games against the Dodgers. My boys always seem to rise to the occasion against their arch rivals. They won Monday, and even though they lost yesterday, they did battle and keep it close (and it was Kershaw after all). Plus Ty Blach did an amazing job – what a relief that we can count on this kid to get us out of a jam. Will be cheering them on tonight from my living room. Come on boys! You can do it! Bring us some energy in the clubhouse, Michael! Until next time, GO GIANTS!! BEAT LA!!
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!!
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!
Last I blogged, we had just won the Saturday game against the Rockies. The boys came through and won on Sunday as well. Even with a 7 ½ game deficit to the Dodgers and only a handful of games left to play, I was staying positive. Tough thing to do under those circumstances. But I’m a pretty positive person. Then it happened. We were facing the Diamondbacks, and the Diamondbacks stink. Low hanging fruit. A chance to gain some ground. And we lost the series, only winning one game against them. Sigh. I have to admit, I was ready to throw in the towel. Even had the title for my next blog ready, and it wasn’t a happy one. Looking ahead to a future filled with a lack of run support for pitchers who are finally seeming to pull it together was not promising. I had hit rock bottom and given up.
Then the Padres series happened. The Padres also suck, but I assumed after the Diamondback trouncing we were in for it again. Nothing had changed – same lineup lacking several key players (Pence, Aoki, Panik, Crawford), same lack of power. Never assume. And never underestimate the strength of this team. They demolished the Padres. And that lack of power somehow morphed into a series where we outscored the Pads 27 to 4. And the inexperienced rookies (including Adrianza and Tomlinson) gained some confidence and started making beautiful plays just like their ailing counterparts. And then all of a sudden Angel was back hitting the way he used to, stealing bases, and making amazing catches in the outfield like this one. And then there was that almost perfect game by our pitching savior, Madison Bumgarner. How could you lose faith in a team like that? We’re still 7 ½ games behind the Dodgers, just like last week. Only 19 games to play. But again, 4 of those games are against the Dodgers. If we can gain at least 3 games on them by the time they come here at the end of the month, it’s still possible. And we’re looking better than we were last week at this time. Tough, but still possible. Staying positive.
How about Madison last night? If anyone deserves a perfect game, he does. I was so disappointed when Upton got that hit, but still a stellar performance by our boy. Definitely something to be proud of. And what a frustrating night it was for me last night! Of all nights, for the first time ever I couldn’t get the game on TV. For some reason the local NBC affiliate wasn’t showing it, even though everyone I know was watching on NBC. I was losing my mind, especially when the importance of that game became clear. I got on social media to see if anyone else in the area could find the game to no avail. I even called Comcast, but they couldn’t help me. I ended up going out to my car to listen on the radio so that I could somehow share in the excitement and listen to my guys calling the game (watching on Gameday just wasn’t cutting it!). Finally MLB network switched over from the Angels game to the Giants in about the 7th inning, so I was able to catch the amazing defensive play made by Adrianza that kept the perfect game alive and then the hit by Upton that killed it. Sigh. I apologize to anyone who had to read my texts and posts on Facebook during that time. I was one frantic woman!
Going to share some random thoughts from the last week that I thought you might find interesting. First off, the fact that Bruce Bochy got booed at home for the first time ever. And if I was at the park, I would have booed him, too. His son, Brett, was pitching in the ninth inning on Friday night. Brett managed to get two guys out, but then dad came out to get him so that Yusmeiro Petit could get some work in (the bullpen is so huge now that guys aren’t getting much of a chance to pitch). Boch got booed big time by the crowd on his way out to the mound. According to the elder Bochy, “That was pretty emotional for me. I was kind of caught there. I’m not going to lie to you, the crowd influenced me. I needed to get Petey some work. I got a battalion down there (in the bullpen). I could hear the crowd. I told Brett: I need to give Petey some work, but you’ve got this hitter.” As Boch walked back to the dugout, the crowd cheered and started chanting, “Boch-y! Boch-y!” What a great moment for the kid. And he proceeded to strike out that hitter, ending the game. Sweet.
In the 8th inning of that game, this guy made an appearance. That’s Giants relief pitcher Cory Gearrin. I had never heard of him before, and magically he was there. He played for the River Cats this season and was called up on September 8th. Why am I even mentioning this? The guy has major stink eye. If I had to hit against him, I think I would drop the bat, run away, and cry. Creepy.
Has anyone else noticed the plastic animals that the guys have in the dugout on the Powerade cooler? They’re a collection of multicolored dinosaurs and snakes and other critters. Found out through Amy G.’s Instagram account that some mystery player started the whole thing with one green dinosaur. They call him “Winodactyl.” He even showed up on Matt Cain’s dashboard. Then a grey rat showed up. And they continue to multiply. During today’s game, I noticed at least 10 critters atop the Powerade cooler. They even have their own hashtag now – #dinopower. Even fans are adding to the collection. Check out Amy’s picture from today’s game. And here’s the original picture of Winodactly. Guess they’re good luck charms. They sure worked this weekend! Love those crazy boys! Always having fun!
Haven’t done a spit count in a while (was planning on doing one last night, but Comcast nixed that!!), but I did have a snotrocket sighting the other day. It was during the game on September 7th. And it wasn’t the usual suspect, Mad Bum. This time it was, of all people, Matt Duffy! He let one fly during an at bat. So silly. And so yucky.
This week we take on the Reds and the D-Bags. Both stink. Especially the Reds who are 60 and 82. We need to capitalize and creep up on the Dodgers this week. I’m hoping that being at home will do the boys some good – it sure did this weekend. Maybe that will make a difference with the D-Bags this time. And my boys get another day of rest this Thursday, so they can be fresh for Friday. Maybe next weekend I’ll be able to report that we’re only 5.5 games out. It could happen, especially since the stinkin’ Dodgers are taking on the Pirates this week, and the Pirates definitely don’t stink. Still keeping the faith. Hope you are, too. Until next time, GO GIANTS!! FEEL THE POWER OF THE WINADACTYL!
First, I have to apologize for taking over two weeks to update my blog. Would love to do this full time, but life happens sometimes. So much has happened in the last two weeks, most notably some injuries but also thankfully some much needed contributions from the new guys. Since August 6th when they started that series against the Cubs, the boys have gone 10 and 13. That may not sound great, but you have to keep in mind that they are nearing the end of the most challenging part of their season, encountering the Cubs (twice), Astros, Nationals, Cardinals (twice), and Pirates, all of whom are playoff contenders. And those Cardinals have by far the best record in all of baseball right now at 84 and 46. The challenge continues this week with three games against the Dodgers. After that, besides the four games we play against the Dodgers at the end of September, it’s pretty much smooth sailing against a slew of teams with records way below .500.
I wasn’t very disappointed at the loss today, even though Duane Kuiper said it was “barfable.” I think a list is in order – why I’m feeling positive even after a loss:
- Aoki and the middle of the order (Belt, Posey, and Byrd) had multiple hit games against a pitcher who had a 1.77 ERA coming into this game (Jaime Garcia). They raised his ERA to above 2 for the first time since the middle of June. You’ve got to like that.
- Byrd has made an amazing showing as a Giant – today alone (on his birthday to boot) all of his hits were for multiple bases (two doubles and a triple), and he was responsible for driving in 4 of the 5 runs. Those two hits that he sent to almost the exact same place to just left of the right field foul pole were amazing. On Twitter, Andrew Baggarly mentioned that you hardly ever see a ball go there, but Byrd did it twice. And he’s hit three bombs with the Giants in only 9 games, including the grand salami he launched on Friday night to secure a win. Loving this guy.
- Kelby Tomlinson does need some defensive work playing second since he’s used to being a shortstop, but he’s also come through offensively for us. His current batting average is .328, he hit his first homerun (of the grand slam variety) on Thursday night to contribute to the win against the Cubs, and he hit a walk-off single on Friday night to end the game. Superman indeed!
- The bats of Brandon Belt and Buster Posey appear to have been awakened.
- Juan Perez has a .389 batting average through the 10 games he’s hit in while in the Bigs this season. WHAT?? Everyone’s stepping up! I’m so happy for Dan’s boy. Plus, he’s pulling off stunts like this in the outfield. Unbelievable! I’ve heard from guys both on the radio and TV that that was the most spectacular catch they’ve ever seen. I know it was for me!
- Jake Peavy continues to provide us with strong outings.
- Madison Bumgarner – well, he just continues to be himself. Thank goodness for that.
- Relievers have gotten some rest and have been fairly strong, especially Romo and Lopez who have been “en fuego” (on fire – my siblings and I text this back and forth to each other during games). Well, Lopez did give up his first homerun this season today, but I really think he was jinxed by Amy G. who did an interview with him before the game and mentioned his success. Oh, Amy!
- We’re still only 4 games back of the Dodgers (plus they’re losing to the Cubs 2-0 as I write this – GO CUBBIES!).
Lots right there to be positive about.
However, with the good comes the bad. First off – starting pitching overall. Besides Bum, Peavy, and Leake, I really don’t have any confidence in the other potential starting pitchers. Sorry, but you gotta be real sometimes. Heston didn’t give us anything to hang our hat on today after coming off the DL and getting some rest, Cain has been a big question mark the entire season, and Vogey has been pretty inconsistent. This is the issue that scares me the most, even more than the injuries. As far as that goes, Pence and Panik still don’t have a definite return date, but Crawford is scheduled to start the Dodger series on Monday, and Pagan and Hudson are scheduled to be activated on Tuesday when rosters expand (As of September 1st, teams are not limited to only 25 active players. Guys on the 40-man roster are also entitled to play. Those dugouts will soon be pretty crowded!).
More bad news this week – Tim Lincecum is still experiencing pain in his hips and back. According to Andrew Baggarly, Lincecum’s hips locked while he was trying to throw off the mound at the Giants’ complex in Arizona last week. Lincecum says he has good and bad days, but, “the bad days are outshining the good ones.” According to Bruce Bochy, when asked about Lincecum’s return to pitching for the Giants, he simply said he’s “not close.” Sigh. I feel so incredibly sorry that this is happening to him. He has contributed so much to the success of this team, and he is loved by so many fans. I’m definitely pulling for the guy, but it’s not looking good, especially since he’ll be a free agent next season. Hang in there, Timmy. We’re all pulling for you. Hoping for a miracle.
In brighter news regarding the Giants pitching staff, Madison Bumgarner was voted the NL Player of the Week on August 17th. This came after an amazing 7-day stretch where Bum pitched two complete games against Houston and Washington, the latter being a shutout. And the guy managed a double and a homerun in the game against Washington. Where would we be without him?? He even pinch hits (and successfully!)! I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up being named Player of the Month.
I mentioned in a previous blog that Brandon Crawford’s wife, Jalynne, is expecting another baby. Well, they recently found out that said baby is a boy! As Brandon put it in his blog, he’s happy that he’ll have “a comrade in our house of girls!” No news on the name yet, but I’ll keep you posted. I’m sure it will be creative.
I’ve got a new spit count for you:
- Susac 22
- Vogelsong 10
- Byrd 8
- Belt 7
- Petit 2
- Adrianza 1
- Meulens 1 (seeds)
- Crawford 1
- Kontos 1
- Tomlinson 1
- Molina 4
- Carpenter 1
- Piscotty 1
- Tuivailala 1
- Giants Fan 1 (after catching foul ball)
Game Spit Master General = Susac at 22
That’s a total of 62 spits during a 3 hour and 10 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.1 minutes.
I have to give kudos to the Cardinals for keeping the spit numbers way down. Vogey’s number was up, and I think it’s because he wasn’t chewing gum during this game. Byrd logged his first spits today. I’m disappointed not only because he got caught for the first time but because of the telltale bulge in his cheek while he was doing it. Sigh. And our friend Andrew Susac was his usual, spitting self today behind the plate. Also, I’m pretty sure Yusmeiro Petit launched a snot rocket during this game. He turned his head to the side at one point, and I notice a stream of liquid emanating from his nose area in the opposite direction. Picking up bad habits from Bum. And Brandon Crawford – I’m just so disappointed. I thought so much better of you. Also typing the name Tuivailala reminded me of how much fun the announcers had pronouncing his name yesterday. They’re just so silly.
Even though I didn’t do a spit count during the game today, I did make an interesting spit observation. As if to rub salt into the wound from the loss, Mark Reynolds of the Cardinals expelled the contents of his mouth at the end of the game (an obvious wad of tobacco), then topped that off with a spit. Jerk.
The boys are off to Los Angeles to start a 3-game series against the dreaded Dodgers. At least our top 3 pitchers (Peavy, Bum, and Leake) are scheduled to pitch down there. The Dodgers haven’t announced who they’ll start yet, but you know Kershaw and Grenke will somehow make it in there. Just keep your fingers crossed that Nori can hit so many foul balls that the starters will be out early and we can have a field day with their relievers. Their relief staff sucks! (Just checked – Dodgers are still losing 2-0 in the 7th! Maybe we’ll only be 3.5 behind tonight! Plus it’s a no hitter in the 7th!! HA HA!!). My boys always seem to rise to the occasion when it comes to opposing the Dodgers, so I’m staying positive. Really looking forward to these games. Until next time, GO GIANTS! BEAT LA! BEAT LA! BEAT LA!
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:
- 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
- Beltre 8
- DeShields 4
- Hamilton 3
- Wilson 2
- Banister 1
- Odor 1 (what a tragic last name)
- Moreland 1
- 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.
- 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
- 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!!