I haven’t seen a line-up yet for today so not sure if Mike Trout is playing or Pujols (they better be). But, Tim Lincecum is. And I will be there. The Freak is in the building. Keep checking back. I’m going to try to get technology to work for me today and blog live from the game. No promises though. After all it is technology.
#### Trout DNP. No surprise there. Pretty much the rest of the Angels were in the lineup versus Lincecum, including Pujols, Howie Kendrick, Mark Trumbo, Erik Aybar, etc all. Both teams appear to be serious contenders in their division, with pitching and depth being the keys.
This was my first look at Albert Pujols in person and I’ve gotta say, I came away quite impressed. Dude just looks smooth out there, on defense and at the plate. Still not sure why the STL decided to give up on him.
Speaking of fun to watch, is there anyone more entertaining than Pablo Sandoval? I have no idea what he’s doing up there, but Kung Fu Panda just goes up to the batters area and starts kicking dirt around. Strange. Can’t argue with the results though.
A sad side note from today’s game came off the bat (literally) of Mark Trumbo. He broke his bat which went flying into the stands, just above the Angels dugout, about 5 rows away from where I was sitting. The lady it hit was clearly knocked out cold. I’m hoping she’s ok. Play was stopped and she was taken out on a stretcher. She did walk to the stretcher so that is a good sign. I’m certain she is in the thoughts and prayers of young #44 this evening.
Day 1. 4 games in 5 days. The final stretch of my 2012 Cactus League experience. Offense still rules. 7-6. Final. Rockies over Giants. 33 hits. 3 Home Runs. 2 runners picked off. And a Troy Tulowitzki mo-hawk.
In the first inning, Tulo steps up to bat. 2 out, runner on first. #99 pitching for the G-Men. I leaned over to my group and said, “Who is #99?” followed up with, “#99 wants no part of Tulo here.” Sure enough 99 used his best pick off move to get the runner at 1st. End of inning. Tulo left standing flabbergasted at the dish.
Fast forward to the second inning. Tulo leading off. 1st pitch from #99, Tulo launched way over the trees in left, out of Scottsdale Stadium, landing somewhere near the library. “Told you he wanted no part of him.”
Two of the best stories from the Cactus League, Buster Posey and Juan Nicasio, both played very well Saturday. The Buster Posey experiment continues as the Giants try ‘ol Busta Bust at various positions besides catcher. He played 1st base today and looked smooth as butter doing it, adding two hits and 2RBI. The Giants can afford to take some chances with Posey, because, this just in:
San Francisco has found themselves another catcher. Hector Sanchez can flat out hit. Home run today and a double, 2 RBI. 4 HRs in Spring ball.
Nicasio who is coming back after missing much of last year with a broken neck and taking a line drive to the face, pitched very well. 6 innings, 3R, 6K’s, good life on his pitches.
#5pm update… I’ll be back with more thoughts from today’s game. Beer + sun + peanuts = dehydration. Need water. Cactus League in desert.
And we’re back…. nicknames section…. the Milk Man had another 2 hits today… Brett “Jagged Little” Pill added 2 hits off the bench… Guillermo “Fumar La” Mota baked up a scoreless inning in relief…. Gregor “Mr White” Blanco continues his torrid Spring with a 2/5 HR kind of day…. Kung Fu Panda kicked himself into an 0/4.
Just a few of the images I shot so far this Cactus League Season. KungFu Panda, J-Up, Madison Bumgarner, Todd Helton, Ryan “The Riot” Theriot, Beer Man and a shot of Scottsdale Stadium, the Spring Training home of the San Francisco Giants.
The San Francisco Giants are starting to scare me. The NL West might be the Arizona Diamondbacks division to lose, but it appears the Giants may have figured out how to hit. Not good for anyone wearing Sedona Red.
Melky Cabrera continues his torrid Spring. Another 2/3, 2 RBI performance and he continues to launch homers from both sides of the plate. Think he can break Barry’s HR record? I joke.
Others who put the fear of God into me (besides Brian Wilson and that beard) are Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, Angel Pagan, Brandon Belt and Brett Pill. Their shortstop, Brandon Crawford, who last year couldn’t hit his way out of a cardboard box, seems to have gained a ton of confidence. Aubrey Huff continues to stink, but no surprise there.
With the pitching rotation of Lincecum, Bumgarner, Cain, Vogelsong and Zito, the G-Men are stacked. They’ll keep opponents to a low score and just need to put up 3+ runs in offense. Last season, that was a problem. This year it appears they’ve improved enough to make the D’Backs shake their rattles at least a little.
The San Francisco Giants are no longer the hunted. A year removed from their World Series Championship and subsequent feature on HBO’s The Franchise, the Giants are flying a bit under the radar.
Last year was a mess of a season where the Giants held first place for much of the season, only to cough up the lead to the D’Backs down the stretch. Perhaps it was that hideous Brian Wilson beard, or his terrible Taco Bell, ESPN and PlayStation commercials. Maybe it was their appearance on the afore mentioned HBO show. It could have been the nightmare injury that occurred to Buster Posey. All of these could have played a factor, but at the end of the day, the problem was, the Giants couldn’t hit.
They lost tons of games 1-0, 2-1, 2-0, etc., so you can’t fault the pitching. Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Ryan Vogelson and Madison Bumgarner did their parts. Wilson was ok, but nowhere near his 2010 dominance. Sergio Romo is a basket of nastiness. Expect the trend to continue.
So what did the Giants do about the offense? Essentially they cleaned house. Bye bye Beltran. C-ya C. Ross. Burrell, DeRosa, Keppinger, Torres, all gone.
Newbies Angel Pagan and Melky Cabrera will provide much needed speed. The Milk Man (Cabrera) will give them some pop. Buster Posey will be back. Pablo Sandoval, aka Kung Fu Panda is the man. I like Brandon Belt a lot more than Aubrey Huff. Freddy Sanchez is okay at best and after that there looks to be a big drop off. So, it looks like the lack of offense trend will continue, too.
Expect much of the same as 2011. Dominant pitching. Spotty hitting. 2nd place in the NL West. The good news? Scottsdale Stadium is the best place to watch a Spring Training game. And I just saved a bunch of money on my car insurance.