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As I Stepped Into the Pub, Buster Hit a 2-Run Homer …
It was incredible. The sun was shining into the doorway and as my foot hit the bright rectangle of light on the floor in the doorway, I heard the crack of the bat! I turned to the screen and saw Posey put Tim Lincecum ahead early. 2-0 Giants.
Timmy stayed in ’til the 7th giving up three runs, the last a solo shot in the 7th to bring the Padres within a run, 4-3. Then the bullpen handled the business, though Romo was shaky in closing and that made it interesting. Lots of crisp defense, double plays. Great game.
It was very much like last year today against the Pads: A Timmy Quality Start (@SD4/21/13) in which he struck out 8 and got the shutout. Except there was more action on the basepaths. Buster made a tag at the plate that was called “safe” then reversed when challenged. He also gunned down a runner trying to steal second with a fluid rise and extremely accurate throw. MVP-type day for Gerald.
I started up this blog again with a mic check because of the torture of this past week.
Matt Cain remains my favorite Giant for seven years now and I feel terrible that we struggle to provide even two runs when necessary to get him these wins. #CainedAgain has become a thing. (sigh) Once again this week Cain was great. Bumgarner, too. Huddy – near perfect. and then the bats? (cricket sounds).
In that piece last year, I came up with what I see as Bruce Bochy’s basic formula for victory for the pitching/batting mix of our team, our budget and our pitcher’s ballpark. Thought I’d apply it to today’s game just for kicks.
a. quality start – Timmy, with a 2-run lead hung in there for a quality start (“one pitch too many” Marty said, and I like it). 7 Ks. Marty called it “acceptable, but I’d say not only consistent – look at the performance one year earlier (link above) – but he looked like he was in control and doing what he wanted to be doing. He kept the ball down. They swung at balls in the dirt because they assumed it was going to rise. Tim looked stable. Should NOT have sent him out there for the 7th. Should have left Matt Cain in the other day, should NOT have left Timmy in today.
b. stable relief pitching – Pen was good. Machi did his job. It was Affeldt’s first start and Jeremy was good. Looked solid, comfortable and handled it: 3 up 3 down.
2. sharp defense – must make mention of Hicks-to-Crawford-to-Belt 4-6-3 DP! beautiful! Hicks was textbook. Way too good to make a “Brandons” joke.
3. situational hits for “just enough” runs – Timmy’s bunt was perfect. That is the baseball we’ve been missing: bunts, sacrifices, moving guys over and driving ’em in. Once Pagan did drive him in, however … back to (cricket sounds) not another hit!
4. take advantage of opponents mistakes – not many of these today.
I think this year “just enough runs” is NOT going to cut it. We desperately need more: more situational hits to move people along, more hits with RISP, more early leads and more runs, in general.
GM Brian Sabean should be commended for doing what we all hoped: namely going after and locking up bats we can afford, including a true platoon in left with the addition of Morse. Torres/Blanco wasn’t a platoon since they’re so similar, so Mr. Sabean got a power guy, a hitter to pair with Blanco. He signed everybody. So that even without Marco Scutaro:
WE HAVE SIX GUYS WHO COULD POTENTIALLY HIT .300!
POSEY, PENCE, MORSE, SANDOVAL, PAGAN AND BELT
and Crawford, Blanco and Sanchez should be able to hit at least .230
An important point is that our pitchers are decent hitters, arguably good hitters. This is going to mean a whole lot against the American League in our pursuit of wins.
Recently I’ve read articles LA is using millions to go after “pitchers who rake.” We don’t need to.
Our defense shows brilliance one day and then utter idiocy the next, but it’s early and they seem like a crisp, capable group. Scutaro was struggling to make plays at the end of the year. To his credit, Hicks is a sharp addition. Love Brandon Hicks.
Happy Birthday Brandon Belt. My wish for you is that you are graced by the spirit of my second favorite Giants 1B, Long George High Pockets Kelly. A HoFer who led the league in RBIs twice – once driving in 136 runs – and led the league in homers with 21 in 1921, thereby keeping Rogers Hornsby from the Triple Crown.
Brandon, High Pockets won two World Series, just like you. The Giants need to use the trip to Colorado to get the bats going again. Looking forward to altitude homers.