Tag Archives: San Francisco Giants

Linceblog: The San Francisco Giants’ dramatic weekend

Are you SF Giants fans feeling a touch nostalgic about 2010’s “torture” yet?

That was when the Giants were “all pitch and no hit,” and we wondered how they’d eke out a score on anything but a bases-loaded double-play.

Now the Giants spot teams like the Rockies two-runs early, as the starters try to keep the pitch count to under 70 in the first three innings. Meanwhile, Giants’ batters figure out how to work themselves into a rally frenzy to win it all in the end.

It’s very much like Sea Biscuit, the legendary champion race horse who would spot his challengers 10 lengths or more, only to turn it on late to win by a nose.

So which do you prefer? Slow drip or late rush? To paraphrase the Bard, would torture by any other name smell as sweet?

Depends on how you want the excessive drama in your life.

The two victories over the Rockies this weekend sure fit the come-from-behind nature of the 2013 Giants.

From Giants stats machine: Over half of the Giants’ 27 wins this season have been come-from-behind victories…their 14 such wins are tied for the fourth-most in the bigs…SF also has 10 wins in their last at-bat, tied with the D-backs for the most in the Majors.

As for one-run squeakers? Saturday’s was the 11th this season, tied with the D-backs, Reds and Indians for the most in the Majors.

Saturday also provided this obscure first, according the folks at Elias: The 10th inning victory was the first in 4,408 games in San Francisco in which they won after overcoming a deficit of four or more runs and in extra innings.

Glad that’s settled.

Personally, when it comes to victories, I’ll take mine in nine.

Cain’s work on Sunday, and Pagan’s ITP HR on Saturday are games worth savoring and replaying when all seems lost.

Some fans and the media seem disappointed when the Giants don’t win every game. But the Rockies series offers us some real perspective.

For the players, these kind of games should now be forever installed in their baseball DNA. Never say die? Don’t give up? You know it’s not empty rhetoric after this Rockies series.

And how do Giants’ pitchers survive 65 pitches to get just six outs in two innings?  Well, after this weekend, Matt Cain knows how it’s done.

Remember these two weekend games for future reference.

More immediately, they also help flush and forget series like that abominable road trip to Canada and Colorado last week, eh?

San Francisco Giants beat Nationals, 4-2; Immigrants win and lose, 13-5

DC’s favorite baseball team, the Nationals, lost to the San Francisco Giants in extra innings 4-2 when the Giants scored a run in the ninth to tie, and World Series hero Pablo Sandoval hit a walk-off homer in the 10th.

Back in DC, also in extra innings, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted that immigration reform package out of mark up and on to the Senate floor, 13-5.

Hard to say who won there.

The Gang of Eight’s compromise is still together, and a pathway to citizenship is still in play for 11 million undocumented immigrants.

But Asian Americans failed to get deleted provisions in the current law restored.

And in the biggest blow, same-sex advocates couldn’t even get a vote on an amendment that would allow for bi-national partners to re-unite.

Same-sex marriage is hard enough. Same sex immigration not even in the discussion.

Discrimination continues. That’s why 13-5 isn’t quite the victory it could have been.

See my 5/22 post on the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund blog.

 

 

 

Linceblog: Bad break diminishes San Francisco Giants 8-0 win over Washington Nats; Vogelsong on fracture: “It stinks”

After a discouraging 1-5 road trip, the Giants found out how you can have a discouraging 8-0 victory.

“It does rain on your parade when you lose your starting pitcher,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy in the post-game news conference.

Pitcher Ryan Vogelsong, who had struggled in his first 8 games with an 8.06 ERA– the highest among all qualifying pitchers in the Majors—was finally pitching a game like everyone knew he could.

And then, he got unlucky.

Afterwards, he didn’t mince words on how he felt.

Yeah, it stinks.

And now he’s out 4-6 weeks.

With the score  6-0 and the Giants batting in the bottom of the 5th,, Vogelsong  looked like he had it all together.

He had what some observers still believe is the “best team in baseball” at his mercy with five innings of shut-out ball. He had made Nats phenom Bryce Harper look foolish with a swinging strike three. Vogelsong even had a bunt RBI to help his own cause in the fourth inning.

Vogey was having himself a game.

And then in the fifth, always the toughest inning for him all year, when he’s allowed 16 of his 44 runs and teams have batted .500 against him, Vogelsong survived a Giants error, and went to bat at the bottom of the inning looking to contribute to yet another Giants rally.

But then he took a swing at a ball that hit his pitching hand.

It was enough to force him out of the game as both a hitter and pitcher.

The diagnosis: a fractured right hand, with two breaks to his pinky and a knuckle, requiring surgery in the morning.

The Giants had jumped on Nat’s spot starter Zach Duke early, tagging the Nats with 2 runs in the second, as Pence and Belt singled and Torres and Crawford drove them in.  The Giants added 3 more in the fourth, as Pagan and Scutaro delivered RBI hits. For Scutaro, his two hits helped extend his Major League leading hitting streak to 18 games.

Brandon Belt added a home run to right center in the 5th to make it 6-0. Along with three singles, Belt had a four-hit night for the fourth time of his career.

It was working out to be a good cathartic victory, with lots of Giants contributing. The kind of team victory you need after losing 8 out of the last 13 games.

And then all the good feelings were deflated in the bottom of the fifth.

Of course, it was just a game.

Just prior to the start, an announcement was made about the tragedy in Oklahoma where dozens lost their lives to a monstrous tornado.

A moment of silence added a little perspective to the night.

Linceblog: The Shrinking Giants in Canada; The growing trio of scandals in Washington; And, we’re half-way through AAPI month, have you hugged an AA or a PI yet?

I’m sorry, I must not have the proper immigration visa to comment on the San Francisco Giants poor performance in Toronto.  Multi-run defeats to a last place team? I commented at the start of the series, dismissing it saying ex-Giant, new-Blue Jay, Melky Cabrera was having a non-dairy creamer kind of season.  But he played more like 100 percent homogenized. And well, there are other things than baseball for a few days.

By the way, was that  really baseball? The turf seemed to baffle the Giants, who played like they were newcomers to cricket. That was it, right? It was cricket?

If you can’t trust baseball, what more the government? Between the IRS, Benghazi, and AP scandals,  I’ll have more on that later and how it could affect the immigration bill at www.aaldef.org/blog.

Oh, we’re also half-way done with Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month? So now you can officially celebrate if you’re half-Asian?  No, AAPI Month is for everyone!

Linceblog: On Mother’s Day, Tim Lincecum labors like a mother early, then comes on strong with “best” game of season as SF Giants thump the Atlanta Braves

The Giants, all muscle on Mother’s Day, pounded the Atlanta Braves with three solo homers– a splash hit homer into McCovey Cove from Pablo Sandoval, and long-balls to left from Brandon Belt, and Marco Scutaro.

It was just the lift Giants starter Tim Lincecum needed to provide 7 innings of shut-out baseball, as the Giants beat the Braves 5-1, winning three games in the four-game series.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Lincecum “was on top of his game,” keeping the ball down with effective use of his secondary pitches.

“Today he had great focus,” said Bochy. “That’s when he’s at his best when he has his concentration on every pitch, and today I thought he did. He didn’t drop his guard at all when he got ahead in the count. He just pitched. Every pitched. He and Buster worked great together.”

I asked Lincecum in the locker-room about that “focus” Bochy talked about.

OK, his best game this year. But, still, as Lincecum said, he’s “not jumping up in the air right now.”

A bit more consistency is needed before we can all joyously proclaim the Lincecum of old is back.

At the start of the game, as Lincecum took the mound, he greeted an older woman, part of the Strike Out Cancer Day ceremonies, with a warm hug and signed her baseball.

Then, as Lincecum has in previous starts, he began to labor—almost like a mother.

In the first inning, he threw as many balls as strikes (nine each) and got into trouble with a runner in scoring position. He settled down to strike out Justin Upton. But then Freddie Freeman drew out a 7-pitch at- bat before flying out to right.

The questions began: Would we see the good Lincecum or bad one today? Would he have that one infamously bad inning?

In the third, the Braves threatened again. Jordan Schafer took Lincecum to a 3-1 count before singling. He stole second and went to third on a grounder. Lincecum then walked the dangerous Brian McCann on 4 straight pitches.

With runners on 1 and 3rd, Lincecum showed his wildness by throwing two more balls out of the zone to the next batter, clean-up hitter Justin Upton. Then Lincecum settled down, and with his fast-ball got Upton to fly-out to right.

From then on, Lincecum cruised  with “three-up/three-down” innings in the 4th, 5th, and 6th.  The seventh was marred by an inconsequential walk.  In all, he threw 111 pitches, 65 of them strikes. In pitching shut-out ball, he gave up just two hits, struck out seven and issued three walks.

Lincecum seemed to relax once the offense got going. Belt’s solo blast in the second was just a hint of what was to come. Then came Sandoval’s splash homer in the third. Crawford knocked in a run in the fourth. In the fifth, the Scutaro homer and a ground-rule double from Gregor Blanco added two more runs to complete the scoring.

On this Mother’s Day, there were no bad innings for the Giants at bat, or for Lincecum on the mound.

The seventh win in this 10-game homestand showed Eastern Division leading Atlanta that it’s no fluke the Giants are first place in the West.

 

Linceblog: Some thoughts on sports life and Mother’s Day; The San Francisco Giants are up, the Golden State Warriors are down?; and more on Tim Lincecum’s mom and why he’s what I call a “hesitant” Filipino

There comes a time when life and sports collide. I was at a personal/family event on Friday night, when sports must be relegated to life’s backdrop. Like the weather, it’s there. You go about your business and know there are games going in some alternate universe. Every now and then you sneak a peak. The Giants knock out Hudson? How did they get those 4 runs?  Now 8?  And what about those Warriors? Down by 3 possessions? More?  In the first-half?

And then you get back to “playing in your own life” and hope your teams win without you.

One did. The other didn’t. The Giants behind Cain came back to avenge the opening Braves loss. And the Warriors? In game 3, the team seemed flat, stuck in some valley and never reached a mountain top. In fact, the ankle injury to Curry completes the metaphor. You try climbing a mountain on a banged up ankle. The Spurs played well, and fought off the Warriors every time they came close in the second-half.

Mother’s Day will be the next stop for the Warriors. The Giants after Saturday’s game, will play on Sunday too.  If your Mom is a sports fans, that’s great. Make sure there’s enough beer.

If not, one will be in “alternate universe”mode again.

Tim Lincecum will be pitching for the Giants in a 1pm game. The reason I write the Linceblog portion of my blog is because I have editors at Filipino outlets that allow me to follow the premier Filipino American player in Major League Baseball.

Lincecum is half-Filipino on his mom’s side. But he’s somewhat of what I call a “hesitant” Filipino and it’s mostly due to his relationship to his mom.

When I asked him about being Filipino earlier this season, he was pretty honest.

 

Lincecum’s relationship with his mom is his personal business and I chose not to press him on it in one of those post-game locker room scenarios usually reserved for answers like “He hit a  change-up high in the zone.”

But Timmy should know he has all sorts of Ninangs and Lolas in the Filipino community rooting for him and wishing he ate just a little more lumpia. And Ligo sardines.

“I like rice,” he told me with a smile one day in the dugout.  “I eat lots of rice.”

Ligo is the company that sponsored that Filipino scarf the Giants gave away recently on Filipino Night. The one with Lincecum’s #55 on it. 

Now if he wants to be a real half-Filipino, he should eat sardines the Filipino way. Open up a small can of Ligo sardines (they come in tomato sauce). Dump it in a fry pan of onions and garlic. When it heats up, use it to  top off your mound of rice. Now that’s what I’d call a pre-game meal. The garlic keeps hitters away.

It’s also something a Filipino mom would do for her son. My mom did something similar for me, while I watched games on TV, though I preferred “tapa.”

Lincecum’s comment on his mom makes you realize how much we are defined by that relationship with Mom and how lucky we are when it’s a special one.

If you are lucky to have your mom close, give her a hug, maybe some flowers, make her a meal (but no Ligo).

Just make sure she’s part of your game.

Linceblog: 442nd hero Lawson Sakai honored at San Francisco Giants Japanese Heritage Night; Then Cliff Lee and Phils end the Giants’ win streak with 6-2 beatdown; UPDATE-Giants doppleganged 6-2, by right-handed Lee clone

Lawson Sakai, 442 vet and Congressional Gold Medal awardee.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throwing out the first pitch on this night was a man who was playing third base for his college baseball team during the Pearl Harbor attack.

Lawson Sakai was a student at Compton College in Los Angeles,  but when Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during the war, his family was sent to live in Manzanar. While in camp, he volunteered for the Army where he served with the celebrated 442nd. The late Senator Dan Inouye was one of his company mates.

Sakai said he was saddened when his close friend died last year in December.  “He said Hawaii would lose so much if he retired,” said Sakai. “So he died with his boots on.”

 

left to right: Col. Brian Shiroyama; USAF Capt Kiyo Sato; Asa Hanamoto; Sakai; Terry Nakanishi, Women’s Army Corps, MIS; Dr.Howard Kline, physician to Nisei vets.

 

 

Sakai, 90 in October, is  retired and living in the South Bay, where he is a Giants fan and often reflects on what the 442nd accomplished.

“We were really outcasts, in 1943,” said Sakai. “If the Nisei didn’t join the 442nd and fight the Germans, we (Japanese Americans)  would not be here today.”

 

89-year-old Sakai throws out the first pitch

 

Now for the other pitches of the night in the actual game.

Oh yeah, the game.

This was supposed to be a pitching duel between the Phillies’ Cliff Lee, and the Giants’ best pitcher of the season, Madison Bumgarner.

In addition, the Giants came into this game euphoric with a six-game streak after sweeping the Dodgers.  The Giants are now also the official comeback kids of the National League, tied with the Orioles in the Majors with 11  late rally victories.

That’s a lot of drama.

So you know it was OK to spot the Philadelphia Phillies for 3 runs in the 2nd.

They would come back, right? Even with Cliff Lee, who’s been 3-0 with a 0.51 ERA at AT&T Park?

Big question marks.

For the Giants, only Hunter Pence stayed streaky hot. He homered in the bottom of the 2nd, and scored  the Giants second run after a double in the 8th.

He was the lone offensive spark on a night the other Giants couldn’t get on base.

So there was no drama. This was more an informercial for Phillies starter Cliff Lee.

The night belonged to Lee, who scattered five hits (including the Pence HR), and kept the Giants at bay with 6 strikeouts.

Bumgarner had 7 strikeouts, but the Phillies were hitting him hard all night.

S’not his night, you might say. 

Bum’s line: 8 hits, 5 runs, one homer run, 2 wild pitches, 100 pitches in all.

That really might have been enough to win if the Giants were hitting like they did in the Dodger series.

No such luck with the Phillies, not when Cliff Lee is on his game to shut down the drama.

UPDATE-5-8-2013  Giants doppleganged as Phils win again 6-2 

 On the anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants’ arrival to the U.S. (May 7, 1843), the coincidence of having a Filipino American starting pitcher may have seemed like the stars were aligned for the Giants on Asian American Pacific Islander Heritage Month.

But Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick doesn’t know much about history—as Sam Cook would say.

He created his own history against the Giants, facing them for the first time and making them look foolish at the plate

In 7 innings, Kendrick gave up just 6 hits, 2 runs, and posted six  strikeouts, with no walks.

He had it going.

And Giants hero Tim Lincecum didn’t.

Lince’s line: 7 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs, 3 walks, 7 strikeouts, 1 HR.

Getting to be a similar story each Lince-start.  Signs of brilliance, but it takes a while for it to show in a game. If he’s not on right away, he starts losing it. Runs score, maybe a big inning. And then he settles, is good. And then it’s up to the hitters. That’s the pattern.

Pitching wise, Lincecum doesn’t talk mechanics so much as his “rhythm.”  His rhythm is like a dancer’s. If he’s out of step, he’s all left feet.  In ballet, in baseball, it’s subtle but noticeable. 

Still, it may have been a good enough effort to win, if the Giants’ batters were able to solve Kendrick.

They weren’t.

The Giants were out-pitched,  out-hit, 12-7, and with  2 errors, out-played.

This early in the season, all you can say is, “Next.”