What happens when you expose a bunch of east coast ball players to the magic of San Francisco? They become the Fightin’ Phils. And they gave the San Francisco Giants a serious run for the money.
The Giants came back to AT&T Park after a very successful road trip. We swept the Rays down in Tampa Bay and although we lost the first game to the Pirates, we took the remaining three games of the four game series.
The we come home in the wake of all this success to face the NL East fourth place team, the Philadelphia Phillies. The Giants have the most wins in the NL and we are tied with Texas for the most in the MLB. You’d think it would be no contest. You’d be wrong. Playing the Phils this weekend was like trying to play Whack-A-Mole. Every time we knocked them down, they popped right back up. It was starting to get annoying.
The absolute worst of it happened Saturday night. It was a Madison Bumgarner start, and we sort of take it for granted that we will win when Bumgarner is on the mound. The one game we lost on our last road trip was a Bumgarner start. Saturday night’s game–the only game we lost against the Phillies–was a Bumgarner start. One-run wins. Frustrating.
Saturday night Bumgarner was brilliant until the seventh, when the wheels came flying off the bus. He pitched six and a third innings, allowed three runs on five hits, one walk and struck out seven.
The problem was run support in both of Bumgarner’s losses–the 1-0 loss in Pittsburgh and the one at home Saturday night, the Phillies won 3-2. Just one key hit could have changed the outcome in both games.
Enough about that. How about we talk about that game today? Johnny Cueto was on the mound, and things quickly escalated from a run-of-the-mill baseball game to downright weird.
Buster Posey was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the first, and even though he didn’t score, the game seemed to devolve from there. The Giants and the Phils each scored a run in the first. Game tied.
The Giants pulled ahead in the third, Denard Span’s bunt single to third got him on board, Angel Pagan’s double brought Span home. Buster Posey doubled scoring Pagan and Brandon Crawford’s single moved Buster to third. Jarrett Parker’s single scored Buster. Ramiro Pena was hit by a pitch, so was Conor Gillaspie with the bases loaded giving Gillaspie an RBI for taking one for the team as Crawford scored.. That makes three Giants hit by pitches.
Cueto hit one of the Phillies with a pitch in the fourth–and that’s when the ump decided to issue a warning. Unbelievable.
Phillies scored two in the fourth and two in the fifth, game tied again. The Giants scored one in the sixth and one in the seventh giving us the lead again, but the Phils came back and scored one in the seventh and one in the eighth. Game tied again. Whack-a-mole.
In the ninth, with one out, Ramiro Pena doubled, probably would have been a triple but he stood at the plate and watched it go–turned out it didn’t matter, Gillaspie hit a line drive double to right for the walk off. Sometimes it pays to be the home team. The final score was:
Giants 8, Phillies 7
I don’t mind that the Phillies are acting more like the Fightin’ Phils than whatever you want to call their earlier dismal record, in fact it’s good to see them coming back. Today’s game required dramamine, though. Up, down, up, down. Ugh. I still feel queasy.
One team I really like this week is the Pirates. They took a licking from the Giants and turned it around and dumped it on the Dodgers. They are up three games in the series with the Dodgers–in fact, their rookie pitcher, a kid named Chad Kuhl (just like cool, only spelled differently) beat the great Clayton Kershaw in a 4-3 game Sunday.
Monday we take on the A’s in the Battle of the Bay. Game time is 7:15 pm and you can watch on NBC Bay Area or listen on KNBR 680. You can also watch on CSN-CA if you want to hear Kuip’s brother and Ray Fosse–the backstop the Pete Rose express rolled through–call the game. Up to you.
You can also join fellow Giants fans on the Facebook group SF Giants Game Time Thread & Chat. It’s fun, and there’s lots of fans to talk with throughout the game. Bring your own peanuts and Cracker Jack. Follow the thread: