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.
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 Milk Man is delivering. These days, it doesn’t come in handy glass bottles and dropped off on your doorstep. It comes in the form of mammoth home runs deep into the lawn seats at Scottsdale Stadium. One of his shots almost hit the Salty Señorita patio in right field, where they do have glass bottles, but they ain’t filled with milk.
On Tuesday, Melky homered from both sides of the plate. How do you follow that up? Well, it’s tough, but how about a 3/3 performance with an RBI and run scored. I know, not quite as impressive, still three hits is solid no matter what league you’re batting in.
Quick Cactus League notes…. Jeff Samardzija pitched three scoreless innings with 3K’s as he makes his case for the Cubs starting rotation… Manny Ramirez has an injury, that didn’t take long…. Jesus Montero continues to impress for Seattle, adding 2 more hits to his total…. don’t look now but the Mariners are 5-1…. Josh Reddick had another 2 RBI for the A’s…. APB Alert, MIA Yoenis Cespedes, Jurickson Profar, Mike Trout… Wednesday marked a day of hitters catching up with pitchers… Tattooed were Trevor Cahill 3ER, Tyler Skaggs 4ER, Jonathan Sanchez 3ER, Tim Lincecum 5ER, all of those in one or two innings for each of them.
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.