Monday, March 31, 2014

A Victory In Spite of Themselves

I was all set to write a glowing review of Madison Bumgarner's opening day start, but there was little glowing about it.  In fact, I was rather depressed part way through the game, asking myself - how can these guys be so unready to play?

Madison did not look sharp.  He walked batters in the first and second innings, and threw 40 pitches between the two.  The Giants, meanwhile, were letting Brandon McCarthy set them down with ease.  In the third, Brandon Crawford broke the drought with the Giants' first hit, and then scored the first run on Angel Pagan's rbi double.  Madison looked a little better in the third, but the Giants conspired to lose this thing in the fourth.  Belt error, Sandoval error and a single to load the bases.  Another single scored two.  Then a couple of outs before Aaron Hill doubled home two more runs to make it 4 - 1 Arizona.  In all of that, no earned runs were charged to Madison Bumgarner although he was now up to 78 pitches.

In the fifth, the Giants were able to chip away.  Michael Morse walked and Brandon Crawford's second hit of the game, a good looking double, sent him to third.  Morse scored on a Gregor Blanco ground out, batting for Madison at the bottom of the order.  Arizona tacked on two more in the bottom of the fifth, to make it  6 - 2, again on Giants lack of defense, this time off of Yusiermo Petit.  Then in the sixth, Brandon Belt, up to now useless in two at bats, crushed one into the right field stands with no runners on to make it 6 - 3, but of course the snakes' Goldschmidt and Trumbo combined for a run to make it 7 - 4.  The snakes appear to have some pretty good hitters with those two and Montero.  This was the point at which I was not having fun.  Mike Krukow later remarked that the Giants should have been charged with six errors, and that didn't include the mental ones.

But they must believe in themselves, or something like that.  They got really a whole bunch of hits, mostly with two outs, and including some flukey ones in the seventh to score 4 and tie the game at 7.  Hits from Morse, Adrianza in an impressive at bat, Pagan, Belt, Sandoval and a walk issued by Brad Ziegler to Hunter Pence.

How about some late drama?  In the ninth, the snakes' new closer, Addison Reed, induced Pagan to fly out.  Belt singled, but Sandoval K'ed on a slider inside.  Buster the man was having no losses today, however and hit a very big fly into the left field bleachers (actually, it looked to hit the scoreboard hanging from the upper deck in left in that oddly-configured park.  The Giants up 9 - 7, even though Sergio Romo gave up a home run to start the season with a save and a horrendous 9.00 era.  Machi got the win, and he looked great with a fork ball or split or both.  Sometimes, I guess you get lucky.  Sloppy, but a win is a win, and I have to say that the offense seems like they have confidence, or savvy or something.  They kept scrapping and it paid off.  Go get 'em, Matt.


M.C. O'Connor said...

Machi was my highlight. He looked very good against the D-Backs best hitters. Got to love an 87 mph forkball!!

Nice to see Adrianza get that big hit. The Giants need their bench guys to deliver. Brandon Belt looked lost and then unstoppable. Probably what he'll do all year long--he's funny that way.

I thought Romo striking out the lefty Chavez was clutch. Lefties give our boy some trouble and that was a big out.

Buster's bomb was a monster. I can't believe their closer tried to come in on him. What, no scouting report?

The fielding was really ugly and the mental mistakes worse (uh, Brandon, throw the damn ball). And I was just crowing about the Team D. Baseball makes you eat your words every day! (I still think Team D will be a strength.)

A win is a win is a win. Ugly, pretty, whatever. Just get them damn W's.

ogc obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Ehire was my highlight. Made his first roster, first opening day, manager puts him up in key hitting situation where he needed to deliver, and he did in spades, and looking good doing it too, with a nice AB.

I would note that this offense is actually much like the offense of late 2012 and early and late 2013, where the team had no quit, no matter how far behind, or mistakes made, the only thing that mattered was whether they got the W or not.

And that's a reflection of Bochy, I believe. Pulled his opening day starter before 5 innings, cause that was a great shot to get back into the game. Went to a lot of relievers, and pinch-hitters, and it all finally paid off in Buster busting one. And Bochy would probably say amen to that: just get them damn W's.

Zo said...

I think that pitch to Buster was a slider that hung. I understand that no one on the team has faced Reed, except for Morse, once. I didn't really pay attention to the dbacks-doggers games a week or whenever ago, but let's hope the snakes' bullpen giving up runs is a trend we can rely on.