Snakebit!

The GIANTS are in Arizona to play a 3-game series against the Diamondbacks. Last night’s opener did not go the way I planned. Or I should say–envisioned–and the GIANTS lost. They were bit by a big Diamondback.

09.15.vogVogey pitched 5.2 innings and gave up  6 hits, 4 runs, 4 walks, and he struck out 5. It was not his finest hour, but it was not his worst either and there were flashes of brilliance. Vogey doesn’t go down without a fight, and last night’s game was proof of that. He got into some trouble in the 1st–the lead-off man got a base hit and he walked the next batter. The next guy lined into a double play turned neatly by Crawford and Panik. Then Vogey struck out Trumbo, Arizona’s big bat. He pitched a 1, 2, 3–grab some pine, meat–second inning. He got into more trouble in the 3rd. Two singles, a wild pitch and a walk later and there’s Trumbo again. With 2 outs and the bases loaded, Trumbo hit a HR making it the 1st grand slam that Vogey has ever given up. Ever. Pence tried to keep it in the park but he was a few feet shy. One swing of the bat and suddenly it’s a different ball game. Vogey pitched a  shut down 4th and a shut down 5th, but he ran into trouble again in the 6th. After 2 quick outs, he gave up a double, 2 walks and threw a wild pitch. That was enough for Bochy. He called in Javy Lopez to get the 3rd out–Lopez threw 1 pitch, the hitter groundout, the inning was over. After 6, the score was:

09.15.penceGIANTS 0, Arizona 4

Arias led-off  the 7th with a base hit, advanced to 3rd on Blanco’s ground-rule double and scored on Crawford’s RBI groundout. Arizona responded in the bottom of the inning with 2 more runs of their own. In the 8th, Panik led-off with a double and scored when Posey followed with an RBI single. The final score was:

GIANTS 2, Arizona 6

The checked swing

The checked swing

Branch Rickey once said “Baseball is a game of inches” and he was absolutely right. In the 3rd inning, the hitter who was up just before Trumbo hit the GS–checked his swing on what could have been called strike 3. I know–coulda, woulda, shoulda–the umpire ruled “no swing” but it was such a close call it’s being 2nd guessed by fans and analysts alike. Not that it would make any difference, but at that point Vogey was just inches from a clean getaway. Instead it’s called a ball and the guy drew a walk to load the bases. If strike 3 is called, the inning is over, the Grand Slam never happens.

The takeaway? It’s what I’ve been saying all along: score early, score often. With enough runs on the board early enough, the GIANTS will have insurance to protect against the big inning. It will also give the pitchers some run support–help take some of the stress off.  And quit hacking at the 1st damn pitch! Be nice to wear down the other pitcher instead of giving them free passes with 8 or 9 pitch innings.

Tonight it’s on to game 2–the GIANTS need to bring their snake bite kits and their anti-venom. Or bite them before they bite us.  As long as the GIANTS bite first and bite often.

 

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