I’ve got one for you–what do the August 23, 2014 Washington Nationals baseball team and Windex® have in common? Give up? No Streaks!! HaHa! No? Ok, well how about this one? What do the 2014 San Francisco GIANTS and Windex® have in common? Wait for it…they get rid of streaks!! Not that one either?? Tough crowd. Ok–forget the humor–let’s talk about the game.
Friday night the GIANTS faced the Nationals in our nation’s capital for the 1st game in a 3 game series. The Nationals entered the game wielding a 10-game winning streak. I bet they thought beating the GIANTS was gonna be easy, huh? The GIANTS started off with a smattering of boo-boos and bungles, but fortunately, they settled in and played a great game. Part of the problem might be their very late–or very early–arrival in Washington, they probably didn’t get a whole lotta rest. They left Chicago after Thursday’s game–which got started late–but were forced to delay their exit because of the weather. They were getting rain delays on their rain delays. They arrived in DC at around 6 AM and probably didn’t get much sleep. But there’s an old saying in baseball–“you can sleep in November.”
The GIANTS went scoreless in the top of the 1st. In the bottom of the inning, Hudson walked the 2nd hitter he faced, who then stole a base and scored on a GIANTS error. The GIANTS started shaking themselves out in the 4th. With 2 outs and nobody on, Pablo got a base hit and breathed some life into the inning. Morse followed Pablo with another base hit. That brought Panik to the plate. I had pretty high hopes that we might get somewhere because Panik has been pretty good with the bat and at that point he and Angel Pagan were the only GIANTS who had hits in the game. I was counting on him to get another one. He did not disappoint. On the 1st pitch of the AB, he stepped into it and drove that ball over the right-center field wall. A 3 run HR. Pretty nice dinger for his 1st big league big fly, right? In the bottom of the 4th, the Nationals scored a solo HR. After 4, the score was:
GIANTS 3, Nationals 2
The GIANTS continued to add-on: Buster Posey hit a solo HR in the 6th. In the 8th, Blanco drew a walk and Panik followed with a base hit. Ishikawa roped a double to score them both. The GIANTS entered the 9th with a 4 run lead. Arias led-off in the pitcher’s spot with a base hit and advanced to 2nd when Pagan reached 1st on a Nat’s fielding error. Pence was up next and Arias scored on his base hit. Posey hit a double, scoring Pagan; and Pence came home on Pablo’s SAC fly. Blanco plated Posey with a base hit. In the bottom of the inning, the Nationals added on another run. The final score was:
GIANTS 10, Nationals 3
Hudson pitched a good game. He went 5.1 innings, gave up 5 hits, 2 runs–1 unearned–walked 1 and struck out 3. The bullpen followed up with a solid performance. I will stick my neck out and say this, though: I don’t think Gutierrez is cut out to be a closer.
The GIANTS snapped the Nationals 10-game winning streak while playing without a decent night’s rest, after getting off to a shaky start and while facing a pitcher that has been pretty stingy about giving up hits–and forget about runs. But enough about the Nationals. Let’s talk about Panik for a minute. He’s been with the big club for a couple of months and already he looks, acts and plays like a seasoned veteran. Last night he successfully hit in 4 out of 5 plate appearances. He is just so much fun to watch. I’m more and more convinced that Sabean didn’t look for a 2nd baseman at all before the trade deadline. And that’s a really good thing.