We took a series against the Dodgers, which included a win against Clayton Kershaw. It looked like the boys might be getting back on track. Then in two games we gave up 27 runs, and to the Reds no less. Adam Duvall must be eating this up. What is going on? This is the same team that won that series a few days ago. The potential is there. Why is it not showing up? It’s definitely a tough time to be a Giants fan right now. Am I still a die-hard Giants fan? Am I still watching games and cheering this team on? Am I still enduring the torture? YES!! That’s what being a true fan is all about. You’re with them through the good AND the bad. In fact, they need your support more during the bad, right? They need it to pull them through this. And it’s not like this kind of unexplainable slump has never happened to them before. Look at last season. They were flying high until the All-Star break, then it fell apart. Not to mention other seasons where the players were the same but inexplicably the results were not. I still have faith that something will click and they’ll get out of this. And you know that behind the scenes, Bobby Evans is taking matters into his own hands to ensure that they come out of this. We just have to be patient and keep supporting our boys, even though it is incredibly tough right now. They’re still our team.
One interesting thing I heard mentioned about the Reds’ ballpark, Great American Ballpark, is that the pitcher’s mound is flatter than most in baseball. Both Bruce Bochy and Ryan Vogelsong (in an interview on KNBR) mentioned that this can throw pitchers off. Can that be a factor? I wonder, especially since Matt Cain had been pitching so well before this outing. Just something to think about (as we’re all somehow trying to explain what is going on).
As the Giants also try anything to make things better, there have been more roster moves since last I blogged. Neil Ramirez was DFA’d and claimed off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays. Best of luck with your new team, Neil. He had some promising moments, but gave up 6 runs on 2 different occasions – not what you need from a reliever. He was replaced with Bryan Morris. Morris played for the Marlins last season. He’s had a pretty rough start, giving up 5 runs in 2 innings in his first two appearances, but yesterday he was able to pitch a hit-free inning, so maybe things are looking up (please??). Chris Stratton (who started out great and then fizzled) was sent down to Sacramento and replace with Josh Osich. Osich has pitched in 3 1/3 innings since his callup and has only allowed 1 hit. ALLELUIA!! Plus it’s nice having another lefty option in the bullpen. Then due to his lackluster offense (2 hits in 22 at bats – sigh), Drew Stubbs was DFA’d and replaced with Justin Ruggiano. Ruggiano was a standout in Spring Training and has a history of hitting well off of lefties, so there is some hope he can help out. But he’s 35. Sigh. And he only played 9 games for the Mets and Rangers last season, plus he underwent shoulder surgery near the end of the season. Double sigh. Plus he went hitless in 3 at bats yesterday. Heavy sigh. Finally, Brandon Crawford remains on the DL with his groin strain, but he should be back soon. I’m seriously hoping that having him back will be the needed spark to get something going. Plus I’m sure it will warm Ginny’s heart, and that’s always a happy thing!
Since I’m always looking for the positive here, I would like to end with some happy memories of my favorite game of the season. It was the April 26th game against the Dodgers. I’m going to list all the happy things about this game to emphasize that this team does still have what it takes to win games:
- We beat the Dodgers. That’s always a happy thing.
- Christian Arroyo hit his first major league homerun off of Sergio Romo, and with a guy on base. I like homeruns with guys on base. Not used to seeing this.
- We were behind by 3 runs and came back to win it. Usually when we are behind by even 1 run this season, I figure that’s the end of it (I hate to admit that, but it’s true). But we came back from a 3-run deficit. It’s possible. And possible with this team.
- Our bullpen (Okert, Strickland, Melancon, Law) allowed only 2 hits and no runs in 4 innings. They can do it.
- Michael Morse, in his first at bat after being called up to the Bigs this season, as a pinch-hitter in the 8th, hit a game-tying homerun. He did exactly what he was called up to do. And watching the joy on his face as he ran the bases finally brought back some joy to that clubhouse.
- Unsung hero Gorkys Hernandez started the 10th inning rally by getting a hit and then stealing second. Nice way to get things going, Gorkys. I don’t care what anyone says, I love this guy, and I still think he has potential to do good things for this team.
I felt so good after this game – couldn’t remember the last time I felt that way. And I realized a huge part of it was due to Michael Morse. He brings joy to that clubhouse. But it was kind of weird because he rushed into the clubhouse after he hit that homerun, and it was like the guys didn’t know how to respond. Last year if that had happened, guys would have been going nuts. But this time it was as if Morse was celebrating alone. Afterwards, he just went to the clubhouse fence to watch the game and it looked like he was trying his best to remain calm. Why??? Bring the silly and happy back, Michael! Go nuts with Hunter again! I loved that. And it might just be what this team needs. It’s like they’ve forgotten how to celebrate. Might help them to stop grinding and relax. Take Michael’s advice and talk to your bats (Did you all see this? Love this kind of stuff!).
And keeping things light-hearted, I’ve got a new spit count for you. It just happens to be from that joyous game:
- Cueto 8 (4 were seeds)
- Law 8
- Arroyo 7
- Gillaspie 5
- Nuñez 2
- Wotus 1 (seeds)
- Samardzija 1 (seeds)
- Bochy 1
- Grandal 2
- Kershaw 1
- Turner 1
- Gonzalez 1
- Toles 1
- Roberts 1
Game Spit Master General = Tie between Cueto and Law at 8
That’s a total of 40 spits during a 3 hour and 10 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 4.8 minutes.
This was a fairly low spitting game. It was weird because it started out being super low spitting, then the spitting accelerated as the game progressed. I’ve also noticed that when games are televised on KOTR as this one was (KOTR is my local station that carries games not televised on NBC Sports Bay Area), the picture is not as clear and they don’t do as many closeups, so this could cause my counts to be lower. Also the award for most disgusting spit during this game goes to Conor Gillaspie who ejected a large brown wad from his mouth at one point. Thanks for making me ill, Conor.
I have some exciting news to mention as I end this. I won a Twitter contest and I get to have dinner with Marty Lurie from KNBR!!! I am so excited to meet Marty and talk Giants baseball with him. Really looking forward to it. Hoping that the boys can turn it around by then so that it can really be a celebration! Getting ready to watch today’s game and hoping that Johnny can bring them a win in his old park. Until next time, GO GIANTS!!! WE’VE STILL GOT YOUR BACK!!
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!!
Baseball’s back!! Well, at least baseball training is!! I can even watch games on TV again! In case you’re interested and dying to get that baseball fix as much as I am, here’s a link to the broadcast schedule (both TV and radio) for the Giants Spring Training games. I’ll definitely be watching that Giants vs. Dodgers game on Wednesday. Maybe we’ll even get a view of Romo with his new teammates (UGH!!).
Yes. We knew he probably wasn’t going to be a Giant this season, but now we know Sergio Romo will be wearing Dodger blue. Sigh. It is going to be really tough to watch him play in that uniform, joking around with the likes of Adrian Gonzalez and (choke) Yasiel Puig, but I can’t really blame him for making that choice. When I first heard, I was pretty upset, but then I heard about a text he sent to Paulie “Mac” McCaffrey of KNBR. Here’s a link to it. Sergio made it clear that he has no ill will and is moving to the Dodgers for family reasons. He grew up a Dodgers fan, his dad is still a Dodgers fan, his family lives in the area, and frankly, they offered him a job. He still wants to work, and the Giants didn’t come a calling. He turned down some offers from East Coast teams, but that’s understandable coming from a guy who puts his family first and has young children. I always hate it when my boys go to that team, but I understand. Come game time, though, he ain’t going to be getting any cheers from me!! Thanks for all you did for us, Sergio. You (and “El Mechon”) will definitely be missed!
It’s also been confirmed that Javier Lopez will not be a Giant and that he is retiring from playing baseball. Thankfully, he’ll still be hanging around and will be announcing some games along with Jeremy Affeldt. This comes as Mike Krukow will have a lighter workload this season due to his medical issues. Can’t think of a better replacement – Javi is a natural and will fit right in. He’s also supposed to help out at Spring Training as a special instructor. Looking forward to hearing him in the booth (and the craziness that will ensue when he and Jeremy get together!).
Another former Giants reliever, Brian Wilson, is trying to make a comeback. This time, he’s trying to make it as a knuckleballer. He hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2014 when he played for the Dodgers (Yeah – remember the World Series ring fiasco with Larry Baer? Still hate the guy for that.). And he must be serious because he even shaved off his beard. I had forgotten how cute his face was under that thing! Here’s a pic of his clean-shaven face. Whatever. You have to admit, the guy is entertaining I guess. We’ll see if he can make his way back onto a team or not.
I’ve got some more Spring Training tidbits for you. Our beloved Cody Ross is also helping out the Giants in Arizona this season. I love that guy – he’s always so happy. Glad he’s coming back. The Giants signed Gordon Beckham to a minor league deal. If that name sounds familiar it’s because he played in 3 games for the Giants at the end of last season. Guess they’re going to give him a chance again this year. Plus they are also giving Aaron Hill a chance to compete for a spot, signing him to a minor league deal as well. Hill batted .262 between the Brewers and the Red Sox last season, but he floundered near the end of the season and found himself up for grabs. The list of guys competing for infield utility spots now stands at 8 (Kelby Tomlinson, Jae-gyun Hwang, Orlando Calixte, Conor Gillaspie, Jimmy Rollins, Aaron Hill, Gordon Beckham, and Juniel Querecuto – thanks for this list, Grant Brisbee). That dugout sure must be crowded! How stressful it must be to know you have to beat out that many guys to earn a spot on the team. Guess that’s part of why they make the big bucks.
I learned a fun fact about how Michael Morse ended up in Spring Training camp this season. It was due to a bit of crazy serendipity. He was at Hunter Pence’s wedding (of course he was there because those two have a major bromance going on), and he happened to run into Giants general manager Bobby Evans there. During a casual conversation with Evans, Morse mentioned that he felt he still had something to offer as a reserve player, to which Evans responded, “Well, if you don’t think you’re done, why don’t you come to camp?” WHAT??? Isn’t that crazy??? And Morse said that he wouldn’t want to play for any other team than the Giants. I love that boy! Hoping, hoping, hoping I get to see him at Spring Training.
Has anyone else been wondering what the heck happened to Jake Peavy? I hadn’t heard a word about whether the Giants were pursuing him or if he had been picked up by another team until last week. It turns out the poor guy has had some horrible luck lately. Not only was he the victim of a Ponzi scam last season that bilked him of millions of dollars, but he also came home after the 2016 post-season and was greeted by divorce papers from his wife of 15 years. Harsh! Understandably, he’s decided he needs a break to be there for his kids at this difficult time in their lives, so he’s not planning on playing for a team right now. I feel so bad for the guy. I hope everything works out. He hopes that once things settle down he may be able to help out some team near the end of the season. Wishing you all the best, Jake. Hang in there.
There are a couple of new rules that baseball is considering in order to speed things up, and frankly I’m not a fan of either. The first is a change to the intentional walk. Pitchers would no longer have to throw any pitches to do this – the bench would simply signal to the umpire that the batter is being intentionally walked. I think this stinks. If you are going to walk someone, you need to walk them. That’s 4 pitches the pitcher is being saved – not fair! Plus it’s always exciting when something crazy happens during an intentional walk, like a passed ball or an actual connection by the batter. And seriously, how much time is this going to save? Another rule that’s being tossed about really makes me angry. In order to speed up games that go into extra innings, a runner would be placed on second base at the start of the inning. They are actually trying this out in the low minors this year. I hate this in so many ways. Who is that runner going to be? How is that runner going to affect the pitcher’s stats? And with both teams getting that runner, how is it going to change anything?? I still think if you want to speed up the game, cut off a couple of innings!! And apparently, Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins agrees that it’s something to consider. Check out some of the other ideas that came out of an interview during Spring Training Media Day in Florida. What do you think? Personally, I say just leave the game I love alone!
I’ll end by mentioning what a fantastic time I had at Giants FanFest two weeks ago. The lines definitely seemed a bit shorter this year – Ginny and I got to the park at about 7 am and we were right up in the front of the line. We got into the KNBR Q&A session with Bruce Bochy, Bobby Evans, and new closer Mark Melancon, we got lots of goodies from vendors down on the field, we watched our boys being interviewed down on the field, we walked on the field (Ginny got to stand where Brandon does at short) and in the dugout, we went to The Garden in center field (Ginny’s first time), we got to get close to lots of my boys signing autographs, and we toured the Press Box. We also got to talk to many of the wonderful AT&T Park staff members – they’re always so friendly and helpful. But the highlight of my day was when I got to take a picture with my boy Eli Whiteside as he was walking from one autograph booth to another. What luck! And what a thrill! Thanks for having the peace of mind to stop him for a photo with me, Ginny! I owe you big time! Just being in that park always makes my day wonderful! Heading off to Spring Training in less than two weeks – can’t wait to see my boys up close and personal again! Hopefully I can update you on some of the kids in camp next time. Have to start learning those names. Until next time, GO GIANTS!! BEAT LA ON WEDNESDAY!!
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!!
I didn’t think the Giants were going to make any moves before the trade deadline today, but they surprised us last night with a doozy. The Giants acquired right handed pitcher Mike Leake from the Reds for two minor league players: infielder Adam Duvall and right handed pitcher Keury Mella. This gives them a much needed bolster to a starting lineup that hasn’t had that usual spark that we’ve come to expect from the Giants. They did have to give up two prospects, but when you consider what Leake can do for us now, I think it was worth it. Duvall has been up in the bigs a couple of times and does have some power, but he had a lot of problems defensively. Keury Mella showed much more promise, so it will be interesting to follow his career as he leaves for Cincinnati.
So what exactly do we get with Mike Leake? I feel a list coming on:
- He’s gone 9-5 with a 3.56 ERA in 21 starts this season for the Reds. This is impressive on its own, but if you focus in on his last 4 games, he’s gone 4-0 with a 0.60 ERA. Super impressive at a time in the season when many pitchers are feeling run down.
- The above stats come with a caveat – he’s accomplished all this while having Great American Ballpark as his home field. 11 of his 21 starts this season were pitched there. That field is a hitter’s paradise, thus earning it the nickname “Great American SMALLpark.” Makes the guy almost seem god-like when you add that into the mix.
- He’s coming to a ballpark that is a pitcher’s dream. We all know how tough it is to hit one out at AT&T Park. There’s definitely potential there for that nice ERA to take a dive once he comes back home. I can just imagine him walking out on that field for the first time as a Giant. (cue angels singing “Alleluia!” in his ear)
- The guy goes deep into games. He pitched 8 innings in 3 of his last 4 starts. (cue Giants relief pitchers singing “Alleluia!”)
- Not only can he pitch, but the guy can hit. He’s got 3 doubles, a homerun, and 5 RBI this season. Might give Madison some competition.
- He’s only 27, so he’s still got a lot of pitching in him. This bodes well for him having enough stamina to make it through the post-season (positive thoughts, positive thoughts).
- He’s a California native. I’m sure the idea of coming back to this beautiful state from Cincinnati was appealing. This is important because he’ll be a free agent next season, and we’ll need a replacement for Huddy who plans on retiring. Hope he enjoys being back home.
- As soon as the news of the trade broke, he changed his Twitter picture to him wearing a Giants uniform. Think the guy is happy about being a Giant??
- This being a blog written by a girl, I just have to mention that fact that the guy is beautiful. Doesn’t hurt.
Considering all that, I’m pretty stoked about having him on the team. He wore the number 44 for the Reds, but since that was retired in honor of Willie Mac, he’s taken the number 13, his father’s favorite number (AWWWWW!!!!). Hopefully it will be lucky for him. He’s scheduled to make his debut on Sunday in Texas against the Rangers. I’m already trying to come up with some sort of a leek hat in his honor. Will make him feel right at home amongst all us crazies! Welcome to the team, Mike! Can’t wait to see you in orange and black!
Of course, as one player comes in, another must leave to make room for him. Unfortunately that player is Tim Hudson. He’s been put on the DL as of today. And what class that guy has. When asked how he felt about the move, he said that he was fine with whatever it takes to get more wins for the team. He agreed that the starting lineup needed some help, and he thinks Leake is the guy that can do it. He was also asked if he would rather be traded to another team where he could pitch, and he firmly said no. He appreciates the fact that there is potential for this team to go all the way again. Plus he feels that he can still contribute by traveling with the team and mentoring from the dugout. He may even be a mentor for Leake, who says he’s learned a lot from watching Tim and is looking forward to picking his brain. I love Huddy so much. I’m sure he’ll still have a positive impact on the team, and I hope he can still pitch somehow.
In other roster news, Jean Machi was claimed off waivers by the Red Sox and was added to their 25-man roster. I’ll miss him, but I’m happy that he’ll still be able to pitch. He’s still a great pitcher. Good luck to you, Jean.
Just when you thought you couldn’t hate the Dodgers any more they go around and mess with my boy Michael Morse. Morse was picked up by the Dodgers in the trade that landed them Mat Latos (hate that guy and he stinks – perfect pickup for them). A few hours later, Michael was designated for assignment. Then today he was traded by the Dodgers to the Pirates. Poor guy! Being tossed around like that! Don’t they think about the player at all?? There are two positive outcomes to this in the end: He didn’t end up becoming a stinking Dodger and he can hang out with his buddy Travis Ishikawa again. Good luck, Michael! Maybe we’ll see you in the upcoming Pirates series!
I don’t have a new spit count for you, but I do have some spit news. I was watching the Giants game this Tuesday against the Brewers and couldn’t help but notice Jonathan Lucroy behind the plate and his spitting antics. From the crouch he was constantly pulling his mask forward to spit – sometimes three or four times while the pitcher was about to pitch. How could he be focused on the game doing that? And how distacting for the pitcher! The guy must really have a bad addiction to smokeless tobacco to have to do that. I’ve never seen anything like it. Wish I had been doing a spit count at the time – it would have been remarkable! Get some help, Dude!
The Rangers series is about to start, and I’ve got high hopes for my boys. Madison is on the mound tonight and I’m sure he’ll put on a great show. Just hope my boys can handle the heat. Stay hydrated, Guys, and go out and show them what you’ve got! GO GIANTS!
The roller coaster of a Giants season has continued since I last blogged. We swept the Brewers (which we should have because they stink), we split the series with the Braves, we were swept by the Pirates (sigh), and we took 2 of 3 from the Phillies (who we should have swept because they also stink). The boys have really got to take advantage of those weaker teams and get those brooms out! They start the series against the Mets tonight, and surprisingly this season the Mets are a force to be reckoned with. They are at the top of their division, but we actually have a better winning percentage than they do, so I’m looking forward to some really entertaining games between the two (and hopefully we at least take the series!).
The boys got to go to the White House again this last week to celebrate their World Series victory last year. I loved seeing the pictures of all my boys dressed up. Some of the boys were really stylin’, including Santiago Casilla with his purple suit and Gregor Blanco with his pink jacket. They looked like they really had a good time there. I think it meant the most to Tim Hudson, since it was the first trip there of his career. He said, “It’s a thrill for all of us, but especially for me. I spent a long time waiting for this opportunity, and this is why I came to San Francisco.” He was even one of the lucky guys mentioned in the President’s speech about them. Loved the President’s comments about Madison’s post-game celebrations! I was happy that Michael Morse got to join them (and loved that checkered jacket!). Sad that Timmy, Ishi, and Kruk and Kuip weren’t there. Even though it was the third time for some of the guys, I would imagine that kind of stuff just doesn’t get old.
There was some naughtiness going on as the boys were lining up on the risers that you may have missed. Those boys are always clowning around with each other and messing with the rookies. Check out this video that Alex Pavlovic shared on Twitter. When I first saw it, I didn’t know what was going on, but watch as Matt Cain walks up, and observe the reaction of Matt Duffy. I think Brandon Crawford was in on the whole thing by the way he looked back before the incident occurred! Maybe he dared Cain to do it. Such sillies!
There’s been some roster movement since last I blogged. Both Travis Ishikawa and Casey McGehee ended up accepting assignments to the Sacramento River Cats (YAY! Glad they’re still with us!), then Casey was brought back up when Jean Machi was put on the disabled list due to a left groin strain (um…ouch and awkward). Casey apparently lit it up when he went down to Triple A, hitting .357 with two home runs in just 10 games. He’s only had one at bat since he’s been up because Matt Duffy has continued to impress, but I’m sure he’s happy to be hanging out with the big boys again. Hunter Pence wasn’t put on the DL, but he’s been out since last Wednesday with a sore left wrist. He may be back in the lineup tonight – I sure hope so! Erik Cordier was designated for assignment after his rehab assignment ended, then he decided to explore free agency instead, then a few days later was picked up again by the Giants. Things that make you go hmmmm… The Giants also signed left fielder Kevin Frandsen to a minor league contract. Frandsen played for the Giants from 2006 to 2009.
I came across a couple of interesting plays I wanted to share with you. I love this kind of stuff. First off, check out Jose Bautista being awarded a double after he hit a pitch that John Danks balked on. I thought the ball was dead once the balk was called, but this is not true. According to MLB rule 8.05, if there are runners on base and the batter reaches first on a hit, “the play proceeds without reference to the balk.” So basically if the final outcome of the balk is positive for the offense, they get to take advantage of it. Here’s one you’ve probably only ever seen in little league – a player walking on a count of three balls. Yes. Here’s proof. Watch the pitch count in the lower left corner. Joey Votto is one lucky guy. How could no one have realized this mistake?? Definitely a head scratcher. Who knows how that could have changed the outcome of that game (even though it ended up being a blowout).
I went to the Braves game with my brother Paul and my niece Giuliana on May 31st. What a great day we had. And that kid is such a trooper for being only 5-years old. We got to the game about an hour early and took her on the Coke slides. Then we got our lunch and settled into our seats. P and I got Chicago dogs – hadn’t had one in a while, and boy are they good! We sat on the View Level but still had a great view of my boys. I actually like sitting up there sometimes and being able to have a good view of the entire field, especially the outfield. The game was extremely exciting (including back-to-back homeruns by the Brandons) up until the end when the boys had a win in their grasp several times and let it slip away. After the game, we took G to run around the bases. I was disappointed that they wouldn’t let me run with her (she wanted me to), but I did get a See’s candy butterscotch sucker out of the deal. I have to take a minute to brag about my amazing niece. First off, she knows all the Giants players’ names and actually watched the game. She didn’t whine ever during the entire game, even with the extra hour before and extra hour after. Love going to games with that kid. Since we lost that day, my record for the season now stands at 2 and 1. Can’t wait to go again!
Here’s the latest spit count. Andrew Susac continues to disappoint…
- Susac 13
- Lincecum 4
- Petit 3
- Duffy 2
- Belt 2
- Bochy 2 (seeds)
- Wotus 1
- Kontos 1 (huge spray when leaving mound – sheesh!)
- Peterson 16
- Perez 3
- Bethancourt 3
- Markakis 3
- Umpire 1
Game Spit Master General = Peterson at 16
Giants Game Spit Master General = Susac at 13
That’s a total of 54 spits during a 2 hour and 50 minute game for an average of 1 spit every 3.1 minutes.
Peterson of the Braves was obviously chewing tobacco. Shame! Even though Andrew Susac didn’t match the record he set last time, he continued to make a name for himself on the spitting front. And George – don’t you realize the ladies hate the saliva sprays?? That was horrible!
I’m really bummed that I’m not going to be able to watch any of the Mets series as I’ll either be working or taking Mom to bingo. Why couldn’t Thursday be a day game?? This should be a very competitive series (I hope!). We’ll be seeing their best pitching, so I hope the boys keep those bats hot. Wishing my starting pitchers strength against the boys from the Big Apple. Just keep it together. You can do it. You’ve done it before. We’re only one game behind those pesky Dodgers. GO GIANTS!! TAKE THE SERIES FROM THE METS!