Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Grind

Brian Wilson called last night's win to take the series against the Dodgers a "grind." Like last year, the Giants are going to play a lot of close games, and they are going to need offensive contributions from everyone on the roster. Last night's slugging star was emergency starter Mike Fontenot, who hit an RBI double in the 2nd and the tie-breaking homer in the 6th. It was his first home run in orange and black! Jonathan Sanchez got burned on a couple of fat pitches by Giant-killer Rod Barajas and This Year's Blue Goo Pest Award Winner Aaron Miles, but was otherwise effective over six innings. Matt Kemp went 0-4 including two strikeouts, one by Sanchez and the other by Sergio Romo, who looked very tough. The "frisbee slider" (the proper Krukovian term) was really nasty, and the 7th inning whiff of Kemp with a man on to end the inning was a big lift. The Giants had reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the 6th and needed to put up some zeros. Sanchez finished with 9 K in his 6 IP (109 pitches) against only 2 walks.

Aaron Miles was at the plate in the top of the 8th with Tony Gwynn at second base after a one-out double. A very ugly bouncer from Jeremy Affeldt looked like it would emasculate Buster Posey, but he scooped it up with the grace and elan we've come to expect from the young star. Gwynn foolishly started to break toward third, thinking ball would elude Buster, and was caught in a 2-6-5 rundown to end the inning. Miles led off the 9th against Wilson and grounded out harmlessly after a 3-hit evening. It was a nice bit of payback for Posey, who was hit by Ted Lilly pitches in his first two plate appearances, the second prompting a both-benches warning from home plate ump Greg Gibson. To Buster's credit, he kept his cool and took his lumps without a fuss. It was obvious payback for the Juan Uribe plunkings, but it seemed a bit excessive. Lilly certainly did not need to drill him twice, and Bruce Bochy was understandably hot about it. The Giants responded by beating the Dodgers with good old-fashioned fundamental baseball--homers and strikeouts and stuff. You have to love back-to-back come-from-behind wins!

A dozen games into 2011 and the Giants sit at .500, three games behind Colorado. They play 16 of their next 19 games on the road. Keep the Maalox handy, it's going to be a grind.



Brother Bob said...

I watched the highlight videos and the strike-three montage for Sanchez was impressive. Mostly nasty stuff down and usually in the dirt. Throw after throw to first for the putout.
Come-from-behind victories sure feel good, don't they? Here we are at 6-6 and I'm utterly optimistic.

Ron said...

TTHTGR Meter goes down 3 ticks:

- -1 for a decent performance by Sanchez.

- -1 for an unexpected major contribution from Fontenot.

- -1 for winning a series against the smog-suckers.

We're at 1,190.

Kudos to Mark for working the word 'elan' into his post.