Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Bad Luck Giants, the Dubs Await, and Baseball History in Pittsburgh

The San Francisco Giants must have had a lot of very good luck in their championship years because their run of bad luck over the last two seasons and so far this season has been extraordinary.

On Thursday, the Giants started exactly one of their opening day starters in his regular position.  Catcher Posey played first, first baseman Belt played left field and third baseman Nunez played shortstop.  Only Pence played his usual position of right field.

Reserve Hundley was catching. The rest of the team wasn't even on the team: Arroyo at third, Tomlinson at second, Hernandez in center.  Although the Giants' dearth of hitting might suggest starters were benched, it was actually injury.  After their left-fielder Parker crashed into the wall and hurt his shoulder, their center fielder Span crashed into the wall and hurt his shoulder.  Could this actually be happening?

The new blood helped--Arroyo and Tomlinson got two hits apiece--but not enough.  Once again the Giants could manage only one run, ruining a fine outing by starter Matt Moore.  And once again, the bullpen lost it, this time in the 10th, allowing 4 runs.

Splitting a low scoring four game series with the Dodgers was however a kind of improvement.  Still, the ESPN story noted that it was another sellout in San Francisco but empty seats were visible.  It might not be much longer before that string of sellout games comes to an unlucky end.

Meanwhile, the Warriors have swept Portland in the first round and await the winner of the Utah/LA Clippers series.  Kevin Durant helped them to a record-setting first quarter in the fourth game, but there's still no word on when Coach Kerr will return.

 In Pittsburgh, a player born in Africa played in a US Major League baseball game for the first time on Wednesday. He's an infielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and in his first at bat he hit a single. He has a great baseball name, too: Gift Ngoepe.

It may seem weird since it took until 2017 for the first African to play while so many African Americans have played the game. In fact, the first all-black starting lineup also belonged to the Pittsburgh Pirates back in the 1970s. But the lack of African players has not been due to racial discrimination, at least not since Jackie Robinson. Baseball is apparently not a major sport in any African country, and to be born and raised in South Africa presents fewer opportunities to learn and play the game.

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