Methinks the GIANTS Doth Protest–Just Enough

The GIANTS lodged a formal protest after Tuesday’s game, asking MLB to change the called game from a regulation game–game over–to a suspended game–play resumes. I know you don’t want to know all the gory details involved in the rules and regs–and I couldn’t spew them if I tried–so here’s the Reader’s Digest version: A game is a regulation game if it is called after 4½ innings of play have been completed and the home team is ahead. If the visiting team is ahead, the game is a regulation game if it is called after 5 innings of play have been completed. Tuesday’s  game was called in the middle of the 5th–with the Cubs in the lead–i.e., a regulation game. Bottom line: a regulation game is a done deal. Finito. Over. A suspended game will pick up right where it left off. Translated: a suspended game would give the GIANTS their only shot at playing the game, which would give the GIANTS their only shot at winning the game. Maybe. But, in a word–Hope.

Joe TorreThe basis for the GIANTS  protest was that the Cubs grounds crew mishandled the tarp used to cover the field during what turned out to be a short–maybe 15 to 20 minute–rainstorm. Actually it was more like a deluge. The Official Baseball Rules provide 6 specific circumstances where a game–that would otherwise be a regulation game–will be suspended requiring play to resume. One of the exceptions is failure of a mechanical device that is under the exclusive control of the home team. Meaning, If the thingamajig that broke was part of the Cubs equipment, then the game will be suspended until play can resume.  So this tarp–which was rolled around a big metal whatchamacallit–wasn’t rolled properly. Apparently there were failed mechanics involved. Who knows? Could be rocket science for all I know. Joe Torre was the official that determined there was a mechanical failure, upholding the GIANTS protest. And who are we to argue with Joe Torre? People, People–we’re talking Joe Torre here. If you opened up Joe Torre’s head, you would find his brain is white, round, and has red stitching holding it together. He has a baseball brain.

I said all that to tell you this–the loss I wrote about in yesterday’s blog doesn’t exist. Never happened. Today–around 2:00–Petit will pitch the bottom half of the 5th inning of Tuesday Night’s game. Tune in–the GIANTS and the Cubs will play the 4 ½ innings remaining in Game 1 of the series and then at 5:05, they’ll play Game 3. So, let’s talk about Game 2…

Last night’s game–the 2nd of the 3 game series between the Cubs and the GIANTS–belonged to the rookies. Sure, the veterans did their part–in fact they played a huge part, but the rookies were a serious contributing factor in last night’s win. They were out there flexing their big league muscles like old pros.  I am a huge fan of our rookies. I was  just as dazzled by Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford when they came up.

peavy.08.20Jake Peavy–not a rookie–was on the mound for the GIANTS, and he had an impressive outing. His battery mate–a rookie–was Andrew Susac. Peavy went 7 full innings and gave up 10 hits, 2 runs–1 was a HR–zero walks and struck out 8. The defense kept some of those hits from scoring by turning 3 outstanding double plays. Angel Pagan led-off in the 1st with a base hit, Pence followed with another base hit moving Pagan over to 3rd. Pablo scored Pagan with a SAC fly to center field. Morse came to the plate and drew a walk, but while he was at the plate, Pence took 2nd base on a wild pitch. Panik was up next and while he was batting, Pence stole 3rd. Panik singled on a line drive that scored Hunter Pence and advanced Morse to 3rd. Ishikawa doubled, plating both Morse and Panik. Busy inning. After 1, the score was:

GIANTS 4, Cubs 0

ish.08.20The Cubs put up a bit of a fight in the 2nd, scoring 2 runs. In the 3rd Morse led-off with a double, advanced to 2nd when Panik lined-out, and scored when Travis Ishikawa roped a line drive for a double. Susac stepped up to the plate and sent one over–his 1st big league big fly–a 2run HR that brought Ishikawa home with him. Pence knocked a solo HR out of the park in the 4th. Neither team scored in the 5th, 6th or 7th. The Cubs made one last attempt with a solo HR in the 8th. The final score was:

GIANTS 8, Cubs 3

We have a GIANT day ahead of us. Finish Game 1. Play Game 3. Then on to DC.

Let’s win there.

 

One last thought: is it just me, or do the GIANTS play better when things get whacky and weird?

 

 

Rain, Rain Go Away

imageAnd so it did. But, unfortunately, tarp ineptitude caused the Cubs grounds crew to put the tarp on the field incorrectly and if that wasn’t enough, remove it incorrectly–basically rendering the field unplayable and the game was not resumed. Trust me, it wasn’t for lack of wanting to on the GIANTS part–the players, coaches and staff waited in the dugout 4 ½ hours to complete the game. But it didn’t happen. Here’s the bad part: the game had already gone 4 ½ innings–with the Cubs in the lead–making it a regulation game. The GIANTS only hope for a win was to have play resumed or the game suspended. Neither happened and the GIANTS took the loss.

Casey Stengel once said “Now there’s three things you can do in a baseball game: You can win or you can lose or it can rain.” GIANTS found out last night you can do two of them at the same time.

Ryan Vogelsong pitched yesterday’s game against the Cubs–the 1st game in a 3 game series at Wrigley Field. He walked the Cubs rookie 2nd baseman in the 1st and the Cub’s 1st baseman–a NL HR leader came to the plate and did what Cubs fans have come to expect: he hit a HR. After 1, the score was:

GIANTS 0, Cubs 2

imageThe GIANTS got 6 hits off the bats of Pagan, Pence, Arias and Crawford. At the end of the GIANTS half of the 5th, the rains came. The Cubs grounds crew rolled the tarp out on the field–at some sort of odd angle–and failed to cover much of the left side of the infield. When the rain stopped and the tarp was removed, the crew dumped water on the infield. After scurrying for a couple of hours to get the infield dry–using squeegees, blowers, tractors and something called Turface–the Cubs grounds crew spent the last hour or so of the delay standing around.

imageThey left 1 lone grounds crewman with a rake. The Cubs said they were going to do all they could to make the field playable, but I’m not convinced this was their best effort. I could be wrong. You don’t really think I’d admit to that in writing, do you?

The final score was:

GIANTS 0, Cubs 2

Two…In a Row

According to the pundits, the GIANTS haven’t won two games in a row in their home ballpark since June 8th. This might sound like I’m repeating–but just the thought of that leaves me–well…speechless. Honestly, that doesn’t seem possible. So I looked it up.* And it’s true. The GIANTS actually won three games in a row from June 6th through June 8th–when they swept the Mets. The GIANTS have won two games in a row on the road since then–many times–but not at home.

image

Sunday’s Game

Lincecum was on the mound and it looked like he was headed for a rough outing with an early exit. He ended up going 5 innings and gave up 7 hits, 2 runs, 4 walks and a hit batter. He struck out 2. The Phillies got the scoring started early. In the top of the 1st their lead-off man got a base hit, but Susac threw him out when he attempted to steal 2nd. The next batter drew a walk. The 3rd man in the Phillies line-up hit an RBI triple to score the 2nd hitter. The GIANTS came out swinging in the bottom of the 2nd. Morse hit a single, advanced to 2nd on Susac’s base hit and scored on Crawford’s RBI single. Crawford hit a ground ball to right field and while Morse was on his way home, the right fielder threw to 3rd and missed. Susac scored on the error. Crawford made it to 3rd on the throw. After 2, the score was:

GIANTS 2, Phillies 1

imageThe Phillies scored another run in the 3rd, tying the game. Morse led-off the 4th with a base hit, advanced to 2nd on Panik’s single, and scored on Susac’s RBI single. After 4, the score was:

GIANTS 3, Phillies 2

The GIANTS held a one-run lead until the 8th inning. Blanco–who entered the game in the 6th to pinch-run for Morse–led-off in Morse’s spot and hit a double. Panik followed with a base hit, moving Blanco to 3rd. The Phillies’ right fielder, thinking Blanco was going to try to score, threw the ball home and Panik advanced to 2nd on the throw. Susac drew a walk to load the bases. Crawford hit a SAC fly, scoring Blanco. Arias–batting in the pitcher’s spot–hit another SAC fly, scoring Panik. The final score was:

imageGIANTS 5, Phillies 2

So, the GIANTS won Saturday, and they won  Sunday. That isn’t just two in a row–that’s a streak. One thing I have noticed–when the GIANTS do well, the Rookies are right in the middle of it–getting base hits, RBIs, runs, good defensive plays–looking like seasoned pros. Maybe Sabean really wasn’t able to find a 2nd baseman to fit the GIANTS needs. And then again, maybe he didn’t really look very hard.

Gamer Babe Marie and her husband spending their Sunday afternoon at the Yard. #GoGiants!!

Gamer Babe Marie and her husband Mickey spending their Sunday afternoon at the Yard. #GoGiants!!

The GIANTS are off today and headed for Chicago for a 3 game series against the Cubs. Belt is on his way to Pittsburgh to see a concussion specialist–he’s just not shaking off the concussion symptoms completely yet. Panik dislocated his pinkie finger when did a head-first dive into 2nd during the 8th inning yesterday and right now he says he’s day-to-day. Hector Sanchez took a foul tip to his face mask Saturday while playing in a rehab game for AAA Fresno. It’s a big setback in his recovery.

*for those who are interested: my favorite websites for baseball stats and player stats come from 2 sources: for team stats–like the ones we are discussing–I usually go to baseball-almanac.com and for player stats–both major league and minor league–I use baseball-reference.com

What Can I Say?

I’m Floored. Flummoxed. Flabbergasted. Or maybe it’s Baffled. Befuddled. Bewildered. I know what you’re thinking. Toni, what has you so Dumbfounded? Discombobulated? and what’s with all the alliteration? Well, I’ll tell you. The GIANTS turned my whole Feast or Famine theory upside-down. And I like alliteration. It makes me look smart.

08.16Having the Feast or Famine thing blow up in my face is not the worst possible outcome for yesterday’s game–the 2nd in a 3-game series between the GIANTS and the Phillies. In fact, as it turns out, it was a good thing. Hunter Pence was the 2nd GIANTS hitter to come to the plate in the 1st inning. He took 3 pitches–2 balls and a strike–and then: “he hits it high, he hits it deep, it–is–outtahere!!” Duane Kuiper’s famous homerun call.  Music to my ears. After that? Nothing.  Oh, sure, sure–the GIANTS fought, got a base hit, even an extra base hit, drew a couple of walks–but no runs. Hudson pitched through a couple of tough spots, but in the 3rd he gave up a walk, a couple of base hits and a SAC fly–and the Phillies took advantage of it–scoring 2 runs. After 3, the score was:

GIANTS 1, Phillies 2

The Phillies led off in the 5th with the top of their line-up and scored after getting a base hit, a walk, an RBI double and another  base hit that scored 2 runs. After 5, the score was:

GIANTS 1, Phillies 5

rookies.08.16It was starting to look like another abysmal outing for the GIANTS. Posey led-off the bottom of the 6th with a single, and Pablo followed with a little infield pop-up. The Phillies didn’t catch it. Some of you may be wondering why the infield fly rule wasn’t applied. Well, I’ll tell you why–the rule only applies when there are fewer than 2 outs–as was the case here–AND there is a force play at 3rd base–which was not the case here. Buster was on 1st, Pablo was headed in that direction, and when the ball dropped–much to everyone’s surprise–Buster high-tailed it to 2nd and Pablo made it to 1st before the Phillies sufficiently recovered to successfully throw one of them out. That brought up Morse. With 2 men on and nobody out, he roped an RBI double to center field, scoring Buster and advancing Pablo to 3rd. Adam Duvall was up next–replacing Ishikawa–and he drew a walk. Panik came to the plate and hit an RBI single, scoring Pablo. Blanco was up next in the pitcher’s spot and he singled, scoring Morse. Angel Pagan hit a SAC fly to plate Duvall, tying the game. After 6, the score was:

GIANTS 5, Phillies 5

panik.08.16The GIANTS scored again in the 8th when Panik led-off with a triple and scored on Blanco’s RBI single. Romo closed out the game for the GIANTS. The final score was:

GIANTS 6, Phillies 5

So instead of Feast, then Famine it was Famine, then Feast. But who cares? Bottom line–the GIANTS won. But it’s got me wondering–what made this game a winning game for the GIANTS? I know what you’re thinking: Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. But still–to say the least–I am Stumped. Maybe that’s it. Or Stunned. Or I know–Speechless.

It Ain’t Over

Just like I said in my last blog post the catchphrase for the 2014 GIANTS should be ‘Feast or Famine’. Last night’s game, sadly, was a little bit of both–all rolled into 1 game.

imageWe feasted

The GIANTS jumped into a nice lead in the 4th. Posey hit a single, Pablo followed with a double and then Morse brought them, and himself, home with a 3-run HR.  Bumgarner pitched a  beaut-going 7 full innings, giving up 4 hits, 1 run, no walks, and he struck out 9. He was brilliant.

Then came the famine

imageThe fightin’ Phills fought back in the 5th with a solo HR and then in the 8th with a 2-run HR, tying the game. But the GIANTS battled back in the bottom of the 8th. Pablo got a base hit, Blanco moved him over to 2nd with a SAC bunt, and Panik hit a nice single to right field which got Pablo safely to 3rd, but he was in super Panda mode and he continued to head for home in an attempt to score the go-ahead run. He didn’t make it. The Phillie’s right fielder fired a rocket to the Phillie’s catcher and Pablo was tagged out to end the inning. After 8, the score was:

GIANTS 3, Phillies 3

Neither team scored in the 9th. The Phillies cobbled together a couple of runs in the 10th with a double, a SAC bunt–with the hitter reaching anyway–a walk, a hit batter and a SAC fly. The GIANTS didn’t score again. The final score was:

GIANTS 3, Phillies 5

imageThe GIANTS keep fighting. They’re keeping a positive frame of mind. Same with the GIANTS fans. You think “Together We’re Giant” is just a marketing slogan? Think again–We Believe–Together We’re GIANT. Those guys play with a lot of heart. When they get out there on that field they’re playing to win. Every time. You can see it in their faces. That’s why when the GIANTS lose, it reminds me of something Yogi Berra once said: “I can see how he (Sandy Koufax) won twenty-five games. What I don’t understand is how he lost five.” That’s how I feel. When the GIANTS win, I get it! They are the GIANTS after all. But when they lose? I’m perplexed.

imageIt’s the middle of August. The post-season will be here before we know it. Now is the time when everyone starts to pay close attention to the pennant chase. We watch the standings like hawks. I bring this up because in the spirit of bad news/good news, there’s this: the GIANTS lost last night–that’s the bad newsbut so did the Dodgers–that’s the good news. That means the GIANTS are the same 5.5 games back today as they were yesterday. You know, that reminds me of something else Yogi Berra once said: “It ain’t over till it’s over.” and it sure ain’t over yet. Not by a long shot.

Feast or Famine

The catchphrase for the 2010 GIANTS was ‘GIANTS Baseball–Torture’. The catchphrase for the 2014 GIANTS has to be  ‘GIANTS Baseball–Feast or Famine‘. It seems like the GIANTS either lose by a chunk–or even a shutout–or they win by a bunch. That’s a different kind of torture. Last night’s game was similar to 2010-style Torture–a close game, with nothing happening for the GIANTS until the last inning(s) of the game. Read about it in my previous blog post: Nanu, Nanu. Today’s game was more like 2014-style Feast or Famine, with a little late inning Torture thrown in.

Peavy.08.13Today’s game turned on a 7th inning call at the plate in the GIANTS half of the inning. The White Sox were on the board with 1 run–courtesy of a HR in the 4th, but the GIANTS had yet to score. Peavy pitched and he was looking for his 1st win in a GIANTS uniform, and at that point he’d pitched a helluva game. All the GIANTS needed to do was score some runs. So they did. 7 of them. I could go through the plays hit by hit and run by run, but suffice it to say that every single player in the line-up contributed in one way or another to get the job done. Neither team scored after the 7th. The final score was:

GIANTS 7, ChiSox 1

blanco.08.13The 7th inning was amazing to watch–not amazing by the fact that the GIANTS battled together one right after the other and so relentlessly, because they always do–but because they were triumphant. They were victorious. And, for whatever reason, that isn’t always the case. It started when Panik hit a soft grounder toward 1st base, and instead of taking the out at 1st, the 1st baseman chose to try and take Blanco out at home, so he fired the ball to the catcher. But the White Sox catcher was blocking the plate before he had the ball, and under the rules, the runner must be given a lane–the catcher is not allowed to block the plate without the ball. If no lane is given, the run scores. The umpire called Blanco out, Bochy asked for a review and on the replay review, the call was overturned. The out was taken away and the run scored. Game tied. After that the GIANTS couldn’t be stopped. They feasted. And Peavy got the W.

Nanu, Nanu

image“Goooooood Evening San Francisco!” is how he greeted the sold-out crowd at AT&T Park–instead of the Nanu, Nanu salutation he made famous as Mork, TV’s most loveable space alien–for Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS between his beloved San Francisco GIANTS and the Atlanta Braves. He was an extraordinary human being,  a comedic genius and legend, a true fan of San Francisco and a huge fan of our San Francisco GIANTS.  I think the best way to pay tribute to Robin Williams is to follow the advice he gave as the character Jack in the movie Jack: “Please don’t worry so much. Because in the end, none of us have very long on this Earth. Life is fleeting. And if you’re ever distressed, cast your eyes to the summer skies, when the stars are strung across the velvety night, and a shooting star streaks through the blackness turning night into day. Make a wish. Think of me. Make your life spectacular. I know I did.” It is with sincere heartbreak and deepest sympathy for his family and loved ones that we mourn his passing. RIP Robin Williams–you will always be one of the greats.

Tuesday Night

The GIANTS faced the Chicago White Sox in the 1st game of the 2-game inter-league series at AT&T Park. Although it was Jerry Garcia Tribute Night, Renel Brooks-Moon led the sold-out crowd in a moment of silence to pay tribute to Robin Williams.

The White Sox jumped to an early lead with a 2-run HR in the 1st. The GIANTS didn’t give up. They battled back, finally wearing down the White Sox ace. It may be a case of too little, too late–but I don’t think so–it may have been too late, but it sure wasn’t too little. They battled hard. They’re persistence paid off in the 9th when Sandoval, Morse and Ishikawa hit 3 singles in a row. With the bases loaded, Panik hit into a double play. It was an extraordinary play, what could have–should have–been an up the middle grounder for an RBI single turned into 2 unlikely outs at the hands of the ChiSox 2nd baseman. Panik didn’t get credit for the RBI–because it was, after all, a double play–but Sandoval scored. Crawford came up and got a base hit, plating Duffy, who was pinch-running for Morse. Game tied. After 9, the score was:

GIANTS 2, ChiSox 2

And it was on to extra innings. But it only took 1. With 2 outs and the bases loaded, the White Sox were able to score a runner with an RBI single. The GIANTS weren’t able to score again. The final score was:

GIANTS 2, ChiSox 3

It was so close. Extremely close. Remember the old saying “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades”? That’s just part of the saying. The full quote, attributed to Frank Robinson (GIANTS manager from 1981-1984) actually goes like this: “Close don’t count in baseball. Close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.” Frank Robinson, huh?–who knew???

I’ll leave you with a bit of wisdom, courtesy of Robin Williams, about the use of PEDs in baseball:

“Everybody’s worried about people playing baseball on steroids. I’m going, really? Here’s one quick way you tell. Two things happen on steroids: your balls shrink and your head grows. So if someone steps up to the plate with a Mardi Gras head and Raisinettes, you’re out!”

The Good, the Bad, & the Ugly

You know how in the blog post I wrote for yesterday’s game about having hope right up to the last pitch of the game? If you watched today’s game you get it now, right? The GIANTS staged 2 late inning rallies–including one in the 9th–that kept me thinking “we have a chance.”

The Good

imageThe GIANTS scored 1 run in the 2nd. Pablo led-off with a base hit, moved to 2nd when Duffy took 1st after being hit by a pitch, Panik’s SAC fly advanced Pablo to 3rd, and Pablo scored on Susac’s RBI single. In the 7th, Duvall led-off and drew a walk, Panik drew a walk as well, advancing Duvall to 2nd. Duvall and Panik both scored on Susac’s 2 RBI double–count ‘em, that’s 3 RBIs for our rookie catcher. He’s on fire! Pagan’s base hit moved Duvall over to 3rd and Duvall scored on Pence’s RBI single. The GIANTS didn’t score another run in the game, but they gave it a good go in the 9th. With 2 outs and the bases loaded, Pablo smoked a line drive to center field that found a glove–worst luck ever!–ending the game.

The really good news was the role the rookies played in scoring the GIANTS runs. There were 4 rookies in today’s  game and each made contributions to all 4 of the runs that scored–either by advancing the runner on the base path, batting a run in–like Susac did 3 times!–or scoring the run itself. I was excited when the rookie-centric line-up was announced because I couldn’t wait to see what our new GIANTS could do. They did not disappoint. Hey, Rookies! You were good!

The Bad

imageThe Royals scored 7 runs and stole 7 bases–thieves!–to win the game. Timmy gave up 4 runs in the 1st on a base hit, a walk, a double and a homerun. Timmy left the game in the 4th after giving up 2 more hits and a run. Gutierrez took over and gave up a 2 run homerun. The final score was:

GIANTS 4, Royals 7

The Ugly

The Royals won all 3 games in the series. They swept the GIANTS. That’s fairly self-explanatory.

 

I’ll end on a good note–the GIANTS didn’t give up and neither should we. They kept battling–right up to the very end. For all we know, that’s what hope is.

Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This

Yup. That’s what my mama said.

In case you didn’t know, the GIANTS lost last night. I’m disappointed, dismayed, disconcerted,  dissatisfied and other disses too numerous to mention. But I’m going to stop short of discouraged. All the disses I mentioned earlier are temporary states of mind–they typically signify a feeling about something in the past–the types of feelings that will go away before the 1st pitch of the next game. But discouraged signifies no hope and I always have hope. I am a GIANTS fan. Hope is my middle name.

Before the 1st pitch of last night’s game I had hope. Hope stayed with me right up to the last pitch. Alexander Pope, in An Essay on Man, said “Hope springs eternal in the human breast…”  Pope would have loved baseball.

There are 162 games in a regular baseball season. The GIANTS are going to lose a few along the way. They’re also going to win a few. We can’t lose hope now–there is plenty of baseball left.

Hope. Because when my mama told me there’d be days like this, she said it wouldn’t be every day.

 

Let’s Get Mythological

I got the Kansas City Blues. I was looking for a little Kansas City Jazz, but it didn’t happen. I think it’s time to shake things up. I think it’s time to get mythological.

Friday Night

The GIANTS and the Royals met up in Kansas City for the opener of the 3 game inter-league series. Madison Bumgarner pitched a complete game. The Royals got things started with a double followed by a HR in the bottom of the 1st. The GIANTS scored 2 runs in the 3rd: Sandoval hit a single and Morse followed that up  with another single moving Pablo over to 2nd. Arias hit an RBI double–he hit 2 doubles in yesterday’s game–scoring Sandoval. Duffy–Go Rookie!–hit an RBI single to plate Morse. Game tied. The Royals scored 2 runs in the 6th, one by a base runner who reached on a GIANTS error. At that point I wasn’t singing the blues, I was crying the blues–in my beer. The final score was:

GIANTS 2, Royals 4

I watched Intentional Talk on the MLB Network earlier in the day–they interviewed Hunter Pence and some of the GIANTS appeared on camera showing off their superhero t-shirts. And it made me realize something: it’s time to stop foolin’ around with these comic book characters. They’re cute and all, but the GIANTS need to go big or go home. They need to get mythological.  It’s time to…

Can’t you just hear Kuip making the call? That’ll jazz things up!

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