Tagged: Melvin Upton

Rough Start

On paper, it looked like the Giants would have smooth sailing at the beginning of their 2017 season – NL West matchups for the first two weeks against the Diamondbacks, Padres, and Rockies.  Not even any games against the Dodgers.  Who would have predicted that after 13 games they would be sitting at the bottom of the NL West with a 5-8 record?  Not to mention that the Diamondbacks would be at the top of that list?  Craziness!  There have definitely been some exciting moments, but these last couple of weeks have been rough.

Unfortunately, we’ve already suffered some major injuries.  Buster was hit in the head by a 94-mph pitch from the Diamondbacks Taijuan Walker on Monday.  Being extremely careful with any player who potentially has a concussion, he was put on the 7-day concussion DL.  He appears to be doing well, slowly adding his normal baseball activities to his routine, but I’m sure the Giants aren’t going to rush anything.  And that’s the way it should be.  However, this leaves us without our prized catcher for at least a week.  I love Nick Hundley, and he’s really stepped up both offensively and defensively to help the team out with Buster gone, but there’s still that factor of the starting pitchers not being as used to pitching to him.  You wonder how that affects them.  Word is that if everything goes well, Buster will travel with the team to Kansas City and probably be the designated hitter for those games, giving him a longer break away from catching.  And maybe in the long run, having more time pitching to Hundley will be good for the starting rotation.

Then today, there was another devastating injury.  Jarrett Parker raced to make an amazing catch in the outfield, but in the process crashed into the wall and sustained a broken right clavicle.  There’s no estimate yet as to how long he’ll be out, but sheesh!  The guy broke his clavicle!  I’d assume it won’t be any time soon.  And of course, left field has been the position where we’ve been lacking this season.  This sure doesn’t help, especially since recently Parker had been hitting better, going 1 for 2 with a walk on Monday (finally getting his first hit this season), then 2 for 3 with a walk on Wednesday.  WHY???

It will be interesting to see who ends up taking Parker’s place.  Maybe Chris Marrero, the guy that got his first major league homerun yesterday (after 144 plate appearances in the majors), the guy who showed amazing power in the spring, and the guy who ruined Tyler Chatwood’s perfect game in the 6th today when he came in to replace Parker.  He’s also made some beautiful defensive plays.  There’s also Aaron Hill, but he hasn’t been very hot offensively.  Kelby Tomlinson is also a possibility.  Mac Williamson and Michael Morse still aren’t ready to come back.  Then recently the Giants added two more possibilities, signing both to minor league deals:  Melvin (formerly BJ) Upton and Drew Stubbs.  But though both of these guys are great defensively, they are lacking offensively, and isn’t that really what we need over there?  Some pop?  Pop from somewhere?  ANYWHERE??  This whole left field issue is really annoying, like an uninvited house guest that keeps eating all your food.  Yeah.  I don’t like it.  Wonder if Bobby Evans is making some frantic phone calls right now.  I kind of hope so.

Speaking of Melvin Upton, I was wondering why he no longer goes by BJ.  Most people suspected that since he had recently been struggling professionally that he wanted a new start.  But Upton commented, “This has nothing to do with starting a new chapter.  I just wanted to.  My father thought enough to give me his name, so why not?”  He also mentioned that most of his friends call him Mel or Melvin anyway, so it’s just natural.  Plus I would imagine having the nickname BJ would be difficult around baseball dugouts (sorry – just had to go there).  Guess Melvin wouldn’t be much easier.  Sorry.

On a much more serious note, we all received some sad news this week – a reminder that tomorrow, no matter how young we are, is never guaranteed.  I found out through an Instagram post that Jalynne Crawford made earlier this week, and even though she didn’t say exactly what happened, you could tell it was terrible.  Jennifer Pippin, Jalynne’s oldest sister, passed away suddenly on Wednesday due to a severe asthma attack.  She leaves behind her husband and two daughters, ages 9 and 6.  What a terrible tragedy for this extremely close family.  Brandon drove down to LA on Wednesday night to be with the family, then drove back on Thursday and even pinch hit in the game that night.  Then Friday, when he hit his homerun, he looked up to the heavens when he crossed home in tribute to her.  After the game, Brandon said (regarding the home run), “That one’s for Jen.  That one’s for my sister in law.  I know she was watching this game tonight.”  AWWW!!  Jalynne has set up a GoFundMe page to help the family with expenses here.  Sending my deepest condolences to all of the family members.

Did you folks watch the game on Friday night?  At one point, some of the crowd starting using their flashlights on their phones like you do at a concert.  It really caught on, and soon there were lights around the entire stadium.  The boys must have really loved that!  And they sure responded, piling on hit after hit and scoring 4 runs in the 7th inning.  That was truly beautiful!  I wonder if that will be a thing at night games from now on.  Or could it be a distraction to the pitcher?  Even if it was a distraction, would security be able to stop it?  We’ll have to wait and see.  I personally loved it!

Going to end with some random craziness just because.  First, the other night, Mike Krukow kept saying that Conor Gillaspie was a pig farmer.  He said that’s why he doesn’t wear batting gloves – he builds up calluses on his hands so he doesn’t need them.  I didn’t realize that Conor Gillaspie was a pig farmer, so I Googled it, but nothing came up.  Is he, or was he, really a pig farmer?  Or was Kruk just being a weirdo as usual?  Is pig farmer the nickname of some weird team he played on?  If anyone knows about this, please let me know.  Then there’s this.  This is Yadier Molina, catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, stopping a wild pitch in the most unusual manner ever!  The ball stuck like Velcro to his chest protector!  I have never seen anything like this!  After the game, he denied having put pine tar or any other adhesive on his chest protector to make the ball stick.  Sounds kind of fishy to me.  Even if he had, apparently there’s no rule against it, as long as the sticky stuff is not on the skin or the ball.  Crazy!  Then I noticed last night that the Rockies catcher had a wristband on with codes for play calls.  I had only ever seen one other guy wearing this thing, but apparently they are becoming more popular.  You can even buy them on Amazon.com.  It’s a way for a coach to relay pitches or plays to the catcher with multiple signs (usually numbers) so that the other team can’t pick up on the sign.  For example, the wristband could show 10 different numbers that all mean pitch out.  Always trying to stay one step ahead of the competition.  Personally, I’m sure that would be too complicated to keep track of!

Tomorrow is the last game against the Rockies, then the boys travel to Kansas City to play on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Hoping that Buster can come back healthy by then and the pieces of this team can start working together better.  There have been many moments of promise, but also many cricket-filled innings where you are just waiting for something to happen.  Hoping the spark will come along soon.  You never know where it will come from.  Until next time, GO GIANTS!!  GET US SOME WINS!!

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