SF Giants spring upset WS Champs Giants style

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The Giants played their final ST game in Arizona Tuesday–facing the WS Champ Chicago Cubs.

The guys gave the Cubbies a lesson in baseball–Giants style. But first they kicked it off with a little unorthodox move–Denard Span hit a solo home run to lead off the first inning. It’s not the way the Giants usually do business. But I like it. Later in the inning, Brandon Crawford hit a double and Jarrett Parker drove him in with a base hit.

Matt Cain was masterful in the first two innings, he sent the first seven batters back to “grab some pine” before giving up a base hit to his Cubbie counterpart. He pitched five and a third, allowed four runs on five hits and a walk, and struck out five.

Cain helped himself out on offense too. In the sixth, Conor Gillaspie drew a walk, Nick Hundley hit a single and Cain drove them both home with a double to left. A stand-up double.  All in all, not bad for the grand old man of our roster. He can pitch and he can hit. I think it’s a decent argument for a rotation spot.

I like Ty Blach a lot too. Maybe they can job-share.

Although the Cubs scored a couple of runs in the third, in the sixth they cobbled a bunch together–Giants style–more than was acceptable. The Cubs took the lead and added on in the seventh.

The Giants came back around in the ninth and got things going. Hunter Cole–one of our 2014 draft picks–hit a double and Gorkys Hernandez hit a single. Chris Marrero hit a home run scoring them all and putting the Giants back in the lead. Justin Ruggiano followed with a solo home run, then Tim Federowicz hit another and suddenly we were playing long ball. Not Giants-style, but we’ll take it. All day, every day.

The final score was: Giants 10, Cubs 7

That’s it! Spring in Arizona is over. The Giants don’t play Wednesday, but Thursday, if you head to AT&T Park, you will find:

THE BOYS ARE BACK IN TOWN. SPREAD THE WORD AROUND.

And this Gamer Babe is so excited she can hardly stand it.

If you look to your left, you will see the upcoming info for the next three games. Here’s what I know–after writing on this platform for ?–I think I’m starting to get the hang of this blogging thing. I’m trying!

Toni Cecchetti

28 March 2017

SF Giants Buster’s Birthday Bash

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A Gamer turns 30

The Giants were on fire Monday and Madison Bumgarner was carrying the torch. It was an embarrassment of riches for the Giants and I think the Reds were left wondering if anyone got the license plate of the bus that hit them.

Madison threw seven complete innings against the Cincinnati Reds, allowing two runs–one was a home run–on four hits. Nobody took a walk and he struck out nine.

The Giants offense was hot too. They scored early and often. But the fourth inning was where the score really changed. It went like this:

The Giants scored two runs in the first inning–Denard Span drew a lead-off walk and scored on Brandon Crawford‘s single; Buster Posey reached first on a force out and scored on Aaron Hill‘s single. In the second inning Joe Panik was hit by a pitch and scored on Gorkys Hernandez‘s first double of the day. There were more to come.

The Giants batted around the lineup in the fourth. Hernandez delivered his second double,  Span hit a single, scoring Hernandez, then he advanced to second base on Brandon Belt‘s single. Hunter Pence hit a two-RBI double, scoring Span and Belt.  Crawford drew a walk and Hill hit a double plating Pence and Crawford. Jae-gyun Hwang added a couple more runs to the score with a two-run home run.  Bumgarner had a nice base hit too, but was left standing when the inning ended.

Hernandez hit his third double for the day in the seventh, and scored on Span’s single.  In the eighth, Buster hit a double–on his 30th birthday, Happy Birthday Buster!–Juan Ciriaco was brought in to pinch run for the old man. Kelby Tomlinson drew a walk, Hill was walked next and Hwang hit a single scoring Ciriaco and Tomlinson. Jarrett Parker plated Hill with a sac fly.

The final score was: Giants 14, Reds 2

It was a good day to be a Giant. And an even better day to be a Giants fan. Let’s play two!

And what a way to celebrate Buster’s birthday.

Tuesday the Giants take on the WS Champ Chicago Cubs for the last ST game in Arizona. The game starts at 1:05 pm with Matt Cain on the mound. You can watch on the MLB Network or listen through MLB.com. So they tell me.

The Giants return to the City this weekend to face the A’s at AT&T Thursday & Friday, and then to Oakland Saturday. Sunday, it’s back to Arizona where the Giants play the Diamondbacks on Opening Day. I believe it’s a national holiday. Act accordingly.

Toni Cecchetti

27 March 2017

SF Giants spring flip

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I had a some trouble getting this written because I had a little writers block. I know all I have to do is write what happened at the game, but still, the words should follow each other in a way that makes sense.

The Giants won the game Saturday against the Padres in a walk-off.

Then Sunday the White Sox came along and flipped the switch–taking out the Giants in a walk-off. It happens. Some people call it Karma.

Ty Blach was the starter for the Giants in Sunday’s game at Camelback Ranch and he pitched a solid six innings, allowing two runs on seven hits and one walk. He struck out one. In the ninth inning a couple of prospects combined to give up a couple of runs for the ChiSox. Not what we were hoping for fellas.

Oh well, like I keep saying–it doesn’t count.

Sunday’s game looked a lot like a try-out for the the almost rans. The guys who are close, but may, or may not, land a spot in the opening lineup. Jimmy Rollins played second base. Conor Gillaspie was at third and Kelby Tomlinson played short. Jarrett Parker was in right field, while Jusin Ruggiano played center and Chris Marrero was in left.

Marrero is the one to watch. He leads the club in games played (24), at bats (54), runs (11), hits (15) and home runs (6).He’s tied for second most RBIs (11) and has drawn the second most walks (6). He just needs a spot on the field. He is a first baseman, but the Giants played him in left Sunday. Will he work out in the outfield? Maybe.

Speaking of Marrero–the Giants scored three runs in the second inning and it all started with Marrero’s lead off walk, followed by Gillasie, who hit a double into centerfield. Marrero got picked off at third while Ruggiano was at the plate and Ruggiano hit a single advancing Gillaspie to third. Tim Federowicz hit a single, scoring Gillaspie. Eduardo Nunez hit a double, scoring Ruggiano and Federowicz. The Giants didn’t score after that, while the White Sox scored two in the fifth and two in the ninth. I believe I already mentioned them.

The final score was: Giants 3, White Sox 4

Monday the Giants play the Cincinnati Reds at home in Scottsdale. Game time is 1:05 pm with  Madison Bumgarner on the mound. You can listen to the game through MLB.com. I don’t know if will be on TV. Your guess is as good as–or maybe better than–mine. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Toni Cecchetti

26 March 2017

SF Giants spring upset

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8 days to go!

The Giants played the Padres Saturday afternoon at the Giants ST home in Scottsdale–it’s a good thing, too because the Giants needed the last ups.

It was Johnny Cueto‘s turn to pitch, but since the Giants will see the Padres very early in April, Cueto switched places with minor league camper Chris Stratton to keep his moves a secret.  I get the feeling Johnny Beisbol had more fun over in the minor leagues.

Stratton got rung up like a cash register on White Flower Day at Macy’s. He pitched to 18 batters in three innings and gave up seven runs–three were home runs–on nine hits and a walk. He struck out three.

The Giants scored one run in the second inning when Buster Posey–who found his power bat on the WBC circuit–led off the inning with a solo dinger to right. The Giants scored again in the fifth after Nick Hundley led off with a double and Chris Marrero reached on an error. Hundley scored when Aaron Hill groundout and Marrero scored on Gorkys Hernandez groundout.

The Giants scored two more in the sixth when Buster led off with a single and Brandon Crawford–whose performance in the WBC was MVP worthy–hit a home run, scoring two. In the seventh, Justin Ruggiano led off with a double and Joe Panik tripled him home. Marrero drew a walk in the eighth–Bryan Reynolds was brought in to pinch run–and Reynolds scored on Hernandez’s double.

By then the score was all tied up. It all came down to the ninth inning. And the Padres weren’t able to add to their score at the top of the inning.

Ruggiano drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the ninth. Rando Moreno put down a sac bunt to advance Ruggiano–who reached second safely–and Moreno made it to first anyway. Austin Slater was up next and he was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Jae-gyun Hwang‘s base hit scored Ruggiano for the walk-off win.

The final score was: Giants 8, Padres 7

hwang 03.25What a fun game to watch. Especially the walk-off win part. Hwang is making a great argument for a spot on the opening day roster. Speaking of Hwang, he is this year’s Barney Nugent Award winner. For those who have to ask–like me, for example–the Barney Nugent Award is an award for the best player at his 1st big league camp. Coaches, players and trainers have been awarding this honor for years, but renamed it after the Giants’ former trainer  who passed away in 2014. Past awards have gone to players like Russ Ortiz, Tim Lincecum, Matt Duffy and Trevor Brown. That puts Hwang in pretty good company.

Sunday the Giants head over to Camelback Ranch to face the Chicago White Sox. Ty Blach–who just got engaged!–will start for the Giants at 1:05 pm. The game will be televised on the MLB Network or you can listen on KNBR 680. Your choice. Sometimes it depends on who is handling the TV duties, doesn’t it?

Toni Cecchetti

25 March 2017

SF Giants spring Rox

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Just nine days left….Baseball! It’s what’s for summer.

What a difference a day makes. Thursday the Giants were dragged underwater by the Mariners and Friday the Giants topped the Rockies.

The Giants game Friday started as a serious drubbing by the Giants, but the Rockies came roaring back in the ninth and almost turned it around. Here’s how it went:

Jeff Samardzija was on the hill for the Giants and he was brilliant. He faced 14 hitters in four innings, allowed two hits and struck out three.

The Giants offense got busy in the third when they batted through the entire order and then some. Kelby Tomlinson hit a one-out triple and Jeff Samardzija roped a double to left for the RBI. Denard Span singled and Brandon Belt came through with a home run, scoring three. Hunter Pence hit a single but was tagged out at home when Buster Posey doubled. Buster scored on Brandon Crawford‘s RBI single.

The Rockies manufactured a run in the bottom of the seventh, but the Giants took it back in the top of the eighth when Chris Marrero hit a solo shot over the center field wall.

The Rockies got their bats going in the bottom of the ninth, ringing up Derek Law for four runs on four hits and a walk. Giants Dominican Republic pitching prospect Reyes Moronta came in and got the third out.

The final score was: Giants 6, Rockies 5

Whew! The Rockies came close. But you know what Frank Robinson said about close and baseball. It don’t count. We’ve talked about this.

The Giants play at 3:05 pm in Scottsdale against the Padres. NBC Bay Area is broadcasting the game on TV, KNBR 680 on the radio. Tune in, turn on, watch baseball.

Toni Cecchetti

24 March 2017

SF Giants spring underwater

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The Giants faced the Mariners and got the baseball equivalent of a keel-hauling.

Matt Moore was on the hill for the Giants and he got rung up early and often. He got out of the first inning leaving a runner stranded, but the second inning was a whole different ball game. Moore stayed for two-thirds of the inning. Here’s his bottom line after pitching an inning and ⅔: he faced 11 hitters, allowed four runs on four hits and two walks. He struck out three.

It went downhill from there.

The Mariners kept going–scoring three runs off Hunter Strickland and two more off Cory Gearrin. Let’s face it, it wasn’t the Giants night. I was tired, the guys were tired, tomorrow’s another day. Let’s put this one behind us.

Shh! Just between you and me, it doesn’t count anyway.

The Giants scored one run in the seventh–Joe Panik hit a double, advanced on a wild pitch and scored when Conor Gillaspie hit a ground ball for an out at first. The Giants scored another run in the eighth after Aramis Garcia led off with a walk, advanced to second on defensive indifference and scored on Justin Ruggiano‘s RBI single.

The final score was: Giants 2, Seattle 9

I’m so tired I’m seeing double. I kept it short because I wasn’t sure if I made sense. Gotta run. I’ll post tomorrow after the Giants and Rockies face off with Jeff Samardzija on the mound. It will be on TV on the MLB Network or you can listen in at MLB.com.

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Meet the newest Gearrin-Izzy! #NationalPuppyDay

Happiness is a warm puppy. Today is National Puppy Day. Hold your puppies tight and keep them warm. They don’t ask for much. Just a little TLC.

Toni Cecchetti

23 March 2017

A Gamer Babe gets misty

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Brandon Crawford at the plate for Team USA

I can’t help it. When I see certain movies–even when I know how they will end–I cry. Some of the posts I see on the internet–especially the ones that show soldiers coming home, surprising their wife, their kids or their dog–I blubber like a baby.

I cry at baseball games too. I tear up when the national anthem is sung, my eyes sting with pride when Tony’s song–I Left my Heart in San Francisco–gets played after the Giants win. I cried with pride when Matt Cain threw his perfecto–like he was my own kid.

I still tear up when I see clips of 2010, 2012, or 2014 WS highlights. And I can’t sit through Ashkon’s We are the Champions without choking up.

You can imagine what happened when Team USA played Team Puerto Rico for the World Baseball Classic championship game. I went through more than one box of Kleenex®. I’m not going to give you the play-by-play, other than to mention that USA’s pitcher, Marcus Sroman–a Toronto Blue Jay during the regular season–took a no-no into the seventh. It got broken up by PR’s left fielder, Angel Pagan–former SF Giant–turned out to be the spoiler for Puerto Rico. USA won anyway.

The final score was: USA 8, PR 0

The very best part of the night–the part that made me write this–was when USA took a victory lap around Dodger Stadium, Puerto Rico was waiting in their on deck circle to offer congratulations, hand shakes and hugs. It was good sportsmanship at the highest level. We don’t see it often enough.

Jim Leyland dedicated the win to the men and women who serve our country. He had a little trouble speaking when he said it.  It was a misty night. And it wasn’t even raining.

I love baseball.

Toni Cecchetti

22 March 2017