Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Giants jump on Jimenez

Jonathan Sanchez drives me crazy. He nibbles, gets into long counts, walks guys, and looks ready to come apart at the seams at any moment. Then you look up and see that he's given up one hit in six innings and nobody has really made solid contact. Tonight was no exception. He bedeviled the Rockies with his usual assortment of high ones and low ones and ones they miss and ones they hit weakly. Sanchez faced 25 batters, and only 13 of the 25 saw a first-pitch strike. After an out, a hit, and a walk, his night ended in the 7th with 96 pitches (57 strikes) thrown. The Giants had built up a fat 6-1 lead, the old "grand-slam-plus-one" advantage so necessary in the purgatory that is Coors Field. Sure enough, the Rockies loaded the bases with two outs and tacked on a couple of runs when Dexter Fowler doubled off Ramon Ramirez. That was it, though. In the 8th, Javier Lopez faced the heart of the order--Carlos Gonzalez. Troy Tulowitzki, and Todd Helton--and set them down on seven pitches. That was impressive. Wilson picked up the save and the Giants had another great win on the road.

Mike Fontenot got a start at shortstop and responded with a triple and two walks, not to mention a fine diving stop in the 6th inning on a hard grounder up the middle by Ryan Spilborghs. There was a mix-up between him and Freddy Sanchez in the 5th when neither of them covered second and Buster Posey's throw to get the runner went into center field. Ty Wigginton wound up at third and later scored on an out. The funny part is that it was ball four, and the throw was pointless, but Buster didn't know that and it was a close pitch on a 3-2 count. Neither infielder broke to cover the bag. Still, you have to like it when your reserve utility guy can come in and play well and contribute to a win.

The Giants are a pitching club and that's a fact. But tonight the hitters deserve a ton of credit for jumping all over Ubaldo Jimenez in the first inning. The staff ace has missed time with an injury, and this was his first start since the season opener. Nine men came to the plate, and Jimenez threw 32 pitches, giving up four hits, a walk, and a hit batsman. Pablo Sandoval had one of the four hits--a towering three-run home run that put the hurt on. To Jimenez' credit, he lasted through the 5th without allowing another run, racked up six strikeouts, and was hitting 96 mph with the fastball. I expect he'll be back to full strength soon, and the Giants will very likely see him in San Francisco on the first weekend in May.

Matt Cain gets a daytime start tomorrow against Jorge de la Rosa. I was greedy in Arizona, and wanted a sweep. It didn't work out. You'd think I'd learn from my sins (Greed: one of the Seven Deadly). Nope. I want Matt Cain to go for the kill. I know it is only April, and I should be happy with two big wins. But I want more, so much more. I want a spirit-crushing manliness-questioning sweep with relentless pitching and pitiless power hitting. Is that so much to ask?




Ron said...

Most encouraging stat of the season to-date:

Pablo Sandoval already has 2 HR's with runners on base. Last season, during the entire season, he had 1.

Keep it going, Panda!

Brother Bob said...

These Giants win when they have to. Big early leads on the road must be so nice for the starting pitcher- before you even throw a pitch you know you're almost certain to win.
Sanchez is so determined to not give up hits that he hates to actually put the ball in the strike zone. He'd rather give up the walk.
I see him gradually getting better and better. He hasn't had what you could call a great start yet, but he hasn't had an implosion yet either. He always gives us a chance to win.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Yeah, Wilson does the same thing. They are both so stubborn and will NOT throw strikes! But hey, you can't argue with the results.

I'm loving the "new" Panda. He looks really determined to prove his detractors wrong.

Does Belt go down?

Anonymous said...


I'm starting to want him to switch places with Huff.

@MC: I think so. The kid (he's older than me!) was rushed into the majors. I think everyone - including him - was surprised by that. He's definitely got the plate discipline and the defense has been fine, but he doesn't have that spark to hit with power. I think two months down there will do him some good.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Ross in, Belt out.

No worries here. Belt needs to play every day. He has the talent and makeup to be an ML regular. He just needs seasoning. We will see him again soon, I think.

Let's hope Ross can provide some steady D and league-average hitting with a little pop. That's valuable on our club, esp. in the corner OF spots.

Ron said...

This is impressive: