Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Can Buy A Thrill

Imagine you are a SF Giants fan who lives within an hour or two of the city, and you don't have a lot of money.  There probably still are such people, even in this high income tech zone.  Anyway, you can't afford a lot of games but you got tickets early to a game that was available and not especially important: a Tuesday night game with the New York Mets.  Maybe you even got it from somebody sufficiently discouraged by a 7 game losing streak.

Well, you got quite a night.  First, Matt Cain in his first start at home in a year.  But at least that was scheduled, you knew that going into the ballpark.  What you didn't know, what noone knew, was that you were going to see Hunter Pence suddenly return to the Giants lineup.

I can just imagine the buzz, the swirl and then the roar of sound when he trotted out onto the field.

Then how about when he drove in the Giants first run.  And then when he singled in the Giant's second run--which turned out to be 2/3 of their total.

And then the catch and throw, which quickly got the honor of playing on a loop on the SFG's Bleacher Report page all night.  He layed out for a fly ball on the line, jumped up, and gunned down the Met heading for home.  Pretty much the play of the year so far.


The Giants won that one 3-0.  That goose egg courtesy most of all of Matt Cain, who pitched a strong 6.

Wednesday's day game was played under the lights, as the fog played around fly balls before lifting to a gloomy marine layer.  And it stayed gloomy, as ace Mets pitcher and All Star de Grom held them in check.  The Giants hit some hard deep balls but for outs, plus a Hunter Pence homer that went foul by inches.  They also had an inning of opportunity which they blew with poor baserunning by Justin Maxwell.  Otherwise, nothing until they scored one in the 9th.

The worst part of it was they again wasted a superlative start by Jake Peavy.  He's pitched well enough to win both outings since his return, and he's lost both because the Giants didn't score behind him.

There was some managerial bad luck, too.  Bochy rested Buster Posey (with a hamstring problem) and the hurting Angel Pagan, but not Brandon Crawford, who made an uncharacteristic and costly throwing error.  Then in the 9th Andrew Susak was the tying run at the plate with two outs, with Posey set to pinch hit if he extended the inning.  Bochy couldn't pinch hit for the catcher because Posey, the only other catcher on the roster, couldn't catch with that hamstring.  But that was minor, really.  Even though Susak hit the ball up the middle but not hard enough for a hit, it was a good at-bat, and he's enough of a hitter to trust in that situation.

The Giants are unquestionably limping to the break.  But if they can win the last few, they won't be in bad shape--and the last few days have shown that the second half could be good.  Peavy and Cain are clearly ready, Pence is back.  I think Bochy learned today that Maxwell can play left field (he sure can't play center)--so with him in left, Blanco in center and Pence in right,  it's a solid defense.

Meanwhile the Pirates are sprinting to the break, as they did last year.  In fact, last year the break broke their mo.

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