Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Running Wounded

It's why they play the game, and why this team is so much fun to follow.

Injuries seemingly have been rampant almost everywhere this year but with the San Francisco Giants it is getting ridiculous.  Missing three starting position players already and a rotating two or three starting pitchers, the Giants on Wednesday lost their All Star shortstop, home run leader and RBI leader for most of the season, Brandon Crawford.  And the player who came off the bench to become an offensive as well as defensive mainstay in center field, Gregor Blanco. This was but a few hours after reliever Jeremy Affeldt had another of his habitual weird household accidents and was out.

And then in Wednesday's game, their rookie of the year Matt Duffy sprained an ankle.  He stayed in the game and was instrumental in the Giant's victory, but he's day to day.

Did I say victory?  Their first win over the Chicago Cubs this year, 4-2.  Timely hitting and running by rookie replacement Kelby Tomlinson, a gut-check pitching performance by starter Jake Peavy, and bullpen perfection won the day, ending with Casia's incredible ninth inning--he threw 8 pitches, all strikes, and got two strikeouts and a ground out.  And no drama.

As for the walking wounded, Duffy is day-to-day, Crawford will sit out tomorrow's game (rubber match with the Cubs, Bumgarner pitching) but hopes to be back for the first game with the Cards.  No word on Blanco, but Angel Pagan is scheduled to be back for the Cards series.  Encouraging words on Joe Panik's return soon as well.

Tim Hudson may return early to pitch Sunday in Matt Cain's spot, or Chris Heston could be recalled, to replace an injured pitcher.  Pence is not even in the conversation yet.

The Cubs victory on Tuesday sent several local writers into despair about a wild card spot, but I thought that's been pretty much out of reach for awhile.  Even with this loss, the Cubs are 21-5 in their last 26 games.  The Mets aren't quite as hot but they're close.  While the Giants lost one and won one, the Dodgers won two, and are 2.5 games in front.  The schedule just doesn't favor the Giants the rest of the way, and a musical chairs lineup doesn't help either.

But then there are games like this one, that started like it was going to be an absolute disaster, almost got into keystone kops territory again in the sixth, and then a few key hits and a mesmerizing bullpen turned it into an electric evening in San Francisco.

Meanwhile the Pirates beat up on the Marlins, as Cutch hit a 3-run shot, his 20th homer of the year.  St. Louis also won, over Arizona.


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