Feels like there are too many of these introductions: Forget about the baseball game and worry about the player who looked concussed. Concussions are pernicious, nasty things, injuries that can steal the prime away from an MVP. Brandon Belt was hit in the head, and little else matters about the game.
Belt crumpled immediately, and if your first instinct is to pooh-pooh the possible damage because the pitch was a breaking ball, please take a trip to the local batting cages and stand behind the fence to watch the 70-mph pitches. You don’t want them coming at your head, even if you’re wearing a helmet. I mean, I’m scared of spiders, but I’d probably put one in my mouth before taking a breaking ball to the head.
It was Belt’s post-beaning reaction that’s cause for concern. He was down quickly, and he stayed down for a good, long while. When he got up, Dave Groeschner made sure to stick around and support Belt if he got wobbly, and they gingerly made their way to the clubhouse.
A reminder of Belt’s career injuries:
- Hit in the face with a throw from Marco Scutaro when he wasn’t looking
- Hit in the thumb by a Paul Maholm pitch
- Hit in the head by a pitch in college
- Hit in the head with a knee while sliding into second
- Groin strain
Brandon Belt gets hit by things, and I don’t know why. People need to stop hitting him with things.
We don’t know the severity of the injury, if it’s a day-to-day situation or something more sinister. With concussions, we might not know for a couple of weeks. All we know is that one of the Giants’ best hitters staggered off the field after getting hit in the head. Nothing else matters a whole bunch.
It doesn’t help that the Giants lost a dull, sleepy game. There were three hits. None of them left the infield.
It’s my duty to remind you that when it comes to Things We Actually Care About For Next Year, Madison Bumgarner looked fantastic. If you’ll remember back to the dirt bike jamboree, all we knew at first was “Grade 2 shoulder strain,” which was just ominous enough. Now it’s August, and Bumgarner looks like his old self. That’s a fantastic development.
Matt Cain bit him last year, though. That’s the only explanation. People aren’t talking about this. They had a clubhouse tussle last year, Cain bit Bumgarner, and that’s how he got the low run support. It doesn’t have to be chronic, but it often is.
Boy, I hope somebody gave a real stern talk to Cain. No biting.
Unless that didn’t happen, in which case I apologize, but I’m just a little irritable when it comes to thinking about how the Giants can’t win when Bumgarner pitches, even when he pitches well. The Giants have won a single Bumgarner game this year. It’s August. Even if the year was going to be lousy, at least give us something every five days. And the baseball gods will look down and whisper “No.” The Giants will never score more than three runs for Bumgarner again, apparently.
One of you made a deal with some dark forces in 2009, and while I’m not mad at you, I think I speak for all of us when I say that we just wanted a little more warning. That’s all.
I learned long ago that it’s not always fair to pick on single at-bats from a hitter. Tony Gwynn failed more than he succeeded, and hitting is hard. A hitter who isn’t expecting a first-pitch curve is a hitter who might go down 0-1. A hitter who’s behind in the count is a far worse hitter than he was a few seconds early, by definition.
That written, I would like to point out when the Giants lost the game. With the bases loaded and one out, Gorkys Hernandez came up. After a wild first-pitch changeup, Mike Krukow said, “He’s sitting on one pitch. Something hard.” When the first fastball of the at-bat came, it sure looked like Gorkys was sitting on it.
He missed it. He missed two of the three fastballs he saw, and he meekly fouled the other one off. Two of the fastballs were down the middle (2 and 5).
Banda is a fine prospect. There’s a reason he’s in the majors, and those fastballs were going mighty fast. Baseball is hard.
At the same time, I can’t imagine that Hernandez wasn’t looking for a fastball down the middle, at least on that second pitch. And I can’t imagine he wasn’t at least prepared for the one down the middle, even if there were two strikes.
Hernandez has been hot, so I don’t want to rip him too much. But if you wanted to know how the Giants wasted their best opportunity, there you go. The Diamondbacks were in trouble. Hernandez was ahead in the count, and he could look for a pitch. He got it. He missed it entirely.
The 2017 Giants, man. What a team.
No, wait, here’s the 2017 Giants: The reliever they let go in spring training came in to shut them down. He got prospects for the team that swooped in and signed him. He’s an eighth-inning presence for the team that traded for him.
The Giants got nothing.
Wait, that’s not entirely true. The Giants got handled quietly in the eighth inning. That’s what they got for their David Hernandez experiment this spring.
Now let’s all sit in a dark room and worry about Brandon Belt. Happy Friday, everyone.