I thought the At Bat app on my phone was broken yesterday afternoon when I was driving through Venture on HWY 101 and checked the score. 11-2? That score became 14-3, and the talk today turned to whether there were too many celebrations and ceremonies over the weekend. Were the Giants thrown off their respective routines?
It’s impossible to answer that question, and in truth it doesn’t really matter. If you win a World Series, you deal with the consequences of enjoying the fruits for one series. If the Giants win another title in our lifetimes, they’ll do the exact same thing. Hell, they’ll probably celebrate for an entire opening homestand.
But instead of a flag or rings greeting the team when they came to AT&T Park on Monday, it was a Colorado Rockies team that started the season with some silly offensive numbers and a 5-1 record. Madison Bumgarner wasn’t the same brilliantly accurate thrower I saw in person on Tuesday in Los Angeles; in fact, he walked five and gave up a looooong homer to right to Carlos Gonzalez. Good thing for the Giants, their bullpen was nearly perfect.
Hunter Pence hitting one more than halfway up the bleachers with two on in the first inning also helped.
(All GIFs courtesy of @carmenkiew)
Not a bad way to start off this game, and the team looked like they had already forgotten yesterday’s drubbing by the time Pence got to the dugout.
Also — and I’m not kidding — I looked for Ryan Theriot in this GIF. Old habits die hard:
Pence was displaying this kind of power all spring. Especially in batting practice, where I think he almost killed a few Scottsdale Stadium employees tending to beer carts in the left field corner with their backs to home plate. Now he has three home runs and his contract year is off to a better than decent start.
But this game was just as much about the relievers as Pence’s bomb, since Santiago Casilla, Jeremy Affeldt and Sergio Romo combined to strike out six Rockies over 3.1 innings. Casilla struck out Yorvit Torrealba with a runner on second and two outs in the sixth in relief of Bumgarner, and he also pitched a clean seventh. Affeldt retired Troy Tulowitzki, Gonzalez and Michael Cuddyer in roughly 43 seconds. Romo gave up a leadoff double, and instead of worrying about it he struck out the side. All three pitchers were given raises this past offseason, and nobody was complaining after this one.
— What exactly is Pablo Sandoval doing here after this first inning single? Nonchalantly unsheathing a knife? Playing piano? He isn’t making a heart gesture, that’s for sure.
— Sandoval went into full TOOTBLAN mode tonight, and while it was also due to an undeniably good defensive play by Gonzalez, sometime after this I got this text from my stepsister Kate: “Seriously !? The panda needs to lose 50 lbs! F&*% man!”
Yes, it’s early … but the panda is also hitting .360 and went 2-for-3 today. Not bad for a guy who looked doubtful to start the season a few weeks ago with elbow soreness.
— Bumgarner’s fourth inning was one of his easiest, thanks to this double play turned by Brandon Crawford, Marco Scutaro (who brought his average over .100 with his third hit of the season) and Brandon Belt (who brought his average over .100 with his second hit of the season):
— Bumgarner was so happy about this double play, he interrupted a lower jersey adjustment to celebrate:
— Angel Pagan got his first steal of the season off Chris Volstad (not the fastest guy to the plate in the world), after a pretty ludicrous number of pitchouts and pickoff throws called by Walt Weiss. Former Giant (and pretty much every other team you can think of) Torrealba wasn’t too pleased:
— We’ll end this one with a celebratory leap. Someone surely warned Pagan and Pence that Andres Torres could easily end up getting injured doing one of these. This one was very safe. Like the Volvo of postgame outfield jumps: