Thursday, August 30, 2012

Half a sixpence . . . is better than none

Hunter Pence launched a three-run homer in the 1st inning in Houston last night, a real moon shot that hit high up on left-field wall. The Giants had already scored a run, but you never have enough in this game. The plucky no-name Astros chased Barry Zito in the 3rd and made a game of it. Six Giants relievers subdued them eventually, and Joaquin Arias got a big two-out, two-run triple in the 6th to seal the deal. Give that man a cheroot! He's earned it. Pence has hit two homers as a Giant, both of the half-sixpence variety, and has managed to drive in 19 runs in his 27 games. But the .219/.274/.352 line is getting old. It does look like he's making better contact these days and the at-bats seem to be trending upward, but the team is really going to need something closer to his career averages real soon. He racked up 304 total bases in 2011! Let's hope another night at Minute Maid Park helps.

Angel Pagan led off the game with a double, and Marco Scutaro followed that with a bunt. I like to think he was trying for a hit--I don't get the logic of sacrificing someone to third base. The man is already in scoring position, and he's a fast runner. Why give up outs so early in a game? Teams win more often when they score first, I get it. But playing for one run means you only get one run. When the Houston Astros, one of the historically-worst teams in baseball history, can score four runs off a good pitching staff, playing for one run at the beginning of a game is, in my view, a loser's tactic. I'd rather see Scutaro hit in that situation. He's patient and selective, and I trust him to find a ball he can hit the other way if nothing to his liking comes in. A grounder to the right side at least has a chance of going through for a hit, and he's running out a .328/.356/.432 line as a Giant. Why give yourself up when you are one of the best hitters on the team? It wasn't Kershaw vs. Bumgarner at home, fer chrissakes. That's a hitters park down there. Thankfully Pablo Sandoval got a bloop for the RBI and Buster Posey walked to give Pence his chance. It's a quibble, I know. One of the things I like most about Ol' Boch is he's not big on bunting. (A game like last night really makes you appreciate how well he and Rags handle the pitching staff.) The Giants got the win and kept the pressure on LA, and that's what matters most.

A sweep would be sweet. Go get 'em, Vogie! And swing the bats, lads. Another sixpence ought to be enough.



Russian River said...

Kontos is clutch. I was listening to the game driving home stuck in f......g traffic and Zito was really starting to piss me off. Remember when you were a kid and were told to go to bed but the game was still on? You hid under the covers and listened to the game on your transistor radio. I remember the "crack" of the bat when the Giants (or their opponent) got a hit. That was Zito yesterday. I didn't need the announcer to tell me what had happened. The "crack" told the whole story. Ba...bye Barry and hello George. Way to stop the bleeding. OK......there were a number of other players that contributed to this win, but my hero on the night was Mr. Kontos. Go Giants!

Zo said...

I was also in the car. But instead of the memories (perfect description, by the way, Russian, thanks) I couldn't get past "Fuck, Zito, what?, you were so clutch last time, Zito, Fuck!". I turned it off because I was having a hard enough time concentrating as it was. A double bonus: Hensley sent down (groin strain) to make room for Affeldt, who pitched well last night.

Mark, you raise a good point. I have to wonder about the "you score first, you win" statistic. Sometimes teams do not score at all, so a first score could be in the ninth inning. If you take out the shutouts, how would that affect the stat? Also, is that circular logic in a statistic? A team that scores more always wins. Is a team that scores more likely to score first? That would seem to be true even if scoring were random. If so, you are equating correlation with cause and effect.

Brother Bob said...

I like it that Sandoval is driving in runs on a regular basis. He hasn't exactly been hot, but he's been reliable.
Arias, on the other hand, is smoking hot. How does he fit into our long-range needs?

Russian River said...

I almost turned off the radio as well, but decided, what the fuck, which is worse? Being stuck in traffic or listening to Barry fucking up and giving up hit after hit with pitches up in the strike zone. Quite the mental picture while operating a vehicle on 101 near Santa Rosa, CA. I chose to continue to listen.

I was negligent by not praising the lads and their much improved defense of late. If I can't hear the "crack" of Giant's bats hitting home runs as I drive, then I'm satisfied in hearing the "smack" of strike three hitting Buster's glove or Jon Miller's "Double Play" calls. Makes me want to curl up under the covers and listen to the radio. Who the hell am I kidding? HD broadcasts and DVRs rule! Go Giants!

nomisnala said...

Pence 23 hits in 105 AB's since the trade. At the same time the Phillies brought up Frandsen and started playing him at third. He has 38 hits in 107 AB's. Small sample size? Or does ballpark have a huge effect on one's numbers

nomisnala said...

Buster needed to tag out the runner coming home, but the careful, don't get hurt mode behind the plate has worked in the long run. The giants won the game anyway.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Bad throw by Pagan--too far up the 1B line. It didn't give Buster much of a chance, and it was an excellent slide and nice move with the arm by the runner to avoid the tag. I vote for swipe tags. Keep Buster in the lineup.

Great work by Kontos, indeed.

I miss getting the games on the radio. I miss that a lot. Sure, I can do the GameDay thing, but it is not the same.