The Giants won another home game. The situation of late has felt dire enough that making a big deal out of a home win seems perfectly reasonable. The offense has been so crapnificent at AT&T Park that 7 runs the day after 6 runs feels almost extravagant. Winning, of course, never feels excessive, and here we are with another Giants win.
The level of difficulty to achieve a win continues to increase as more players fall victim to the season's grind. Yesterday, Jeremy Affeldt was placed on the DL with a left shoulder strain (which, if you're long-time player of Baseball Mogul, then you know that a shoulder strain is a precursor to a labrum tear). Hunter Pence has a sore wrist. Sergio Romo has a sore knee. Angel Pagan has *two* sore knees. Justin Maxwell has regressed to the mean. Add to that how the Rockies usually play the Giants really tough, especially when they come into AT&T Park and this series could very well be a painful slide into irrelevance. Instead, a win today brings hope for a series win tomorrow.
A loss today, with all the injuries and uncertainty in the rotation (do not check out Peavy's line from his last rehab start), and no immediate help on the horizon, and the outlook for the next month might've been grim. The hot, young bats of Matt Duffy and Andrew Susac went a long way, of course, to improving said outlook.
Andrew Susac hits the ball hard, judges pitches in the strike zone pretty well, and plays decent defense behind the plate. He is a great baseball player for the Giants to have and putting him into the starting lineup more often is not a bad thing. His absence from the bench, however, weakens the bench. It's a tricky thing when a team willingly goes with 13 pitchers. Shortening the bench AND weakening the bench is not a good look. Of course, it's impossible to create unlimited organization depth and the Giants dropping down to 12 or even -- gasp -- 11 pitchers doesn't mean that the extra bench bat will be much better, but the Giants are both aided and limited in the number of moves they can make in-game given their depth and talent. It's a weird situation for a manager or an organization, but Susac has done the only thing he needs to do: played well. The last two games have been strong showcases for his talents. Needed to be pointed out!
Matt Duffy is what the Giants had hoped Casey McGehee would be. Seriously. Some power, some plate discipline, some above average contact, average-at-worst defense at third base. But Duffy is so much better than Casey McGehee because he is NOT Casey McGehee. Sure, he's also another nice surprise from the Formerly Known As The Laughingstock of Baseball Giants' Farm System and he's probably playing "way above his perceived ceiling", but he's not Casey McGehee. He's not killing the team...
51.7% of Casey McGehee's plate appearances have ended in double plays this season. He came in as a pinch hitter in the bottom of the sixth inning to face Chris Rusin who was definitely going from solid to shaky late in his start. It was the most favorable matchup you could give him: he's been a decent pinch hitter for his career and you've got the whole righty vs. lefty matchup (although, if you look at his career lines, he's got a .322 OBP against righties & lefties).
It's not a good look for me to pile on a guy, who is very likely a better human being than I will ever be (it's already accepted that he's a better athlete than I'll ever be), but he has demonstrated no skill that would warrant a roster spot. And yet, the various injuries have necessitated his presence on the roster. But, man, is he making it hard for fans and coaches alike to like him (again, as a baseball player). It's entirely possible that after today's GIDP that Bruce Bochy might not use him in a pinch hitting role with runners on base... right?
Hah. No. Who are we kidding? He will continue to be used as long as he's on the roster. Never forget that. Bochy always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always, always sticks with his veterans...
With two outs in the second inning, Tim Lincecum took a line drive off his pitching elbow. He left the game. It was a relief. I can say that now because it's not a fracture, it's not career-ending, so it's both a relief that he's okay (it could've been worse!) and that he won't be in the rotation for a while.
Sure, Bochy was unlikely to keep Lincecum as a starter with the pending returns of Matt Cain and Jake Peavy. And if he had to choose between Hudson and Lincecum he'd probably stick with Hudson, too. Lincecum has always been the dividing line between veteran performance & for the good of the team. He's moved him to the 'pen before and he'd surely do it again. Plus, the chance to have Petit and Lincecum as long men to piggyback Peavy and Hudson is probably a far better idea than having those guys piggyback the Petit and Lincecum (you don't put out a fire with gasoline). But there's always a chance that something strange happens in ways we can't imagine -- maybe ownership would've mandated that Lincecum stay a prominent face for public consumption -- and now this injury makes it easier for everyone involved.
That's the relief. The end of Lincecum's career as a Giant won't be so painful. For a week or two, anyway. This brief let-up in anxiety is welcomed.
Hey! Another fan reached out and touched a ball in play. It was lucky that Matt Duffy is so fast because that fan could've killed a rally and lost the game for his team. Literally lost the game for his team. How about that? Isn't Baseball a silly game? People pay lots of money to come watch other people grunt, spit, swing wood, hit leather, run around on dirt and grass, talk on telephones to unseen people, yell at people who monitor imaginary boundaries, and basically just be passively entertained.
So when one of them decides to take part in the action, to REACH OVER A WALL THAT HAS BEEN ERECTED TO SEPARATE HIM FROM THE ACTION HE HAS PAID TO WATCH PASSIVELY, my blood boils. *Your* blood should boil. We really need to institute a Prime Directive for baseball fans. Non interference! Just sit and watch the game, you dummy! You stupid, lousy, jumpy, dumb, foolish, ridiculous fool.
This week saw some institutions decalcified a bit and it was a good thing because change is always progress. Progress itself is not a good/bad thing. It's simply forward. It's always propelled by what comes before -- information, feelings, ideas, etc. History buoys progress and so on. We're always living in history. As with this Perfect Era of Giants Baseball, the times we live in are a sight to behold.