Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Game Reflections - #141 vs Giants

Another game, another 10+ strikeout day for a Giant pitcher.  This game was closer, and not as close, as the 7-2 final would suggest.  Hard to believe, but true.

- Pablo Sandoval hit the longest HR I've seen at Petco this year with 2 out in the first - 436' to the beach in deep RC.  Two innings later he followed up with a moonshot to RF.  It's worth wondering what has happened to Tim Stauffer.  In his last 31 innings he's been torched, including 12 HR allowed.  His 173 2/3 IP this season is more than double the most innings he'd ever thrown at the major league level.  Fatigue maybe?

- Stauffer did hang on to finish six innings.  I was mildly surprised Bud Black didn't pinch hit for him in the fourth with Chris Denorfia at third and two out.  At that point the score was 4-1.  Faced with a similar decision on Saturday afternoon Black also chose to stay with Cory Luebke.  At least Stauffer went out and pitched two more effective innings; Luebke got lit up in the fifth inning Saturday and was removed.

- Welcome Back Chris Denorfia.  The first three balls he hit were hammered, including his double to deep CF in the fourth which missed being a HR by about 5 feet.  However, when he struck out against Santiago Casilla in the ninth it meant every Padre hitter struck out at least once on the afternoon. And that does include the lone pinch hitter (Aaron Cunningham).

- Maybe it's me, but it seems every time Cunningham hits he either strikes out or pops up.

- The 4-1 score held through the seventh, which is why I said at the top the game seemed closer than it was.   Giant starter Madison Bumgarner retired 12 in a row after Denorfia's double in the fourth, broken by Bartlett's soft single to CF in the eighth, which is why I said at the top the game seemed not as close as it was.

- The top of the eighth is one of the more surreal innings of the year.  Newly acquired reliever Jeff Fulchino walked Andres Torres on 5 pitches.  Torres stole second, Jeff Keppinger signed softly to center, Fulchino's 1-0 pitch to Sandoval found the backstop sending Keppinger to second.  Sandoval was walked intentionally.  After getting Darren Ford to hit into a force out (Torres retired 4-2), Cody Ross hit the next pitch into the LF corner for a 2-run double.  Cue the RAIN, and Black taking Fulchino out.  Josh Spence walks Brandon Belt; Brad Brach walks Mark Derosa, forcing in a run; the second runner is retired at the plate on Chris Stewart's ground ball to third; and Bumgarner strikes out looking to end the inning.

So four walks (one intentional), three pitching changes (including Fulchino relieving Andrew Carpenter to start the inning), two runners retired at the plate, and a rain squall.  Surreal.  It sounds better if you sing it to 'A Partridge in a Pear Tree'.

Yesterday's game was the 10th time this season a starting pitcher has rung up at least 10 Padres in a game.  It's the second time a Giant has done it; it's the second time said Giant has struck out 13.  Tim Lincecum fanned 13 on April 6, the fifth game of the year; San Diego was 3-1 going into that game.  Seems like a very long time ago.

Eric Surkamp will make his second career start tonight against Wade LeBlanc.  LeBlanc has only faced the Giants once at Petco; he won that night.

It would have helped if I had looked at my notes before I finalized this post.  Some other things from yesterday's game that I meant to mention:

- Belt rolled a single to RF in the second, sending Ross to third.  Jesus Guzman didn't even flinch as the ball went through the infield.  It is entirely possible he had no play on the ball - it was to his right, he was holding Ross at first - however the ball rolled closer to him than it did to Hudson, who ran a long way and couldn't get it.  I've played a little 1B in my time; I was surprised Guzman didn't move at all.

- Denorfia might have had a play on Ross at the plate in the third inning, but the ball slipped out of his grasp on the exchange from glove to hand so that went by the boards.  He then had a play on Brandon Crawford at first (Crawford had taken a wide turn), but his throw to Hudson (who alertly came over to cover first) was a bit behind him and he couldn't get back to tag Crawford in time.  Tough play.

- Torres should have scored on Fulchino's wild pitch in the eighth. The ball ended up kicking all the way to the camera well next to the Padres dugout.  No idea what Torres was thinking on that play.

- I think Kyle Blanks got an off-speed pitch on a 2-0 count in the first inning, but it was middle-out on the plate and he fouled it straight back off the end of the bat.  He might have been off-balance because he was expecting a fastball, but it really looked like he was trying to pull it.  I said it before but it bears repeating - Blanks desperately needs to learn to take that outside pitch the other way and not try to pull everything.  I can't understand why any pitcher would ever pitch him inside since he can't handle the outside pitch.

- Jason Bartlett almost lined into an other 5-3 DP in the third inning. It would have been the second time in 3 days that had happened to him, but this time the baserunner (Cameron Maybin) managed to get back.  Talk about hitting in tough luck.  Maybin inadvertently caught Aubrey Huff's glove hand under his body as he dove back in; Huff came up in obvious pain and eventually left the game because of it.

- Bumgarner set a career high for strikeouts yesterday.

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