Other than the completely disorganized parking situation and a lack of vendors and suitable concessions stands, Maryvale Baseball Park is a great place to watch a game. Since my wife is heading back home tonight, I bought a couple $22 tickets that put us five rows behind home plate. It’s hard to remember many times that I’ve been that close that didn’t take place during the late innings of frigid night games at Candlestick Park. And after two days of thunderstorms and general dreariness, the 70-degree air and sunlight were back in the greater Phoenix area on Sunday.
Matt Cain looked good this afternoon, although he didn’t feel all that great.
Matt Cain gave up four hits and a run in a 6-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers but left after the third inning because of an upset stomach. “Something at dinner didn’t agree with me,” Cain said.
Cain wouldn’t tell us where he ate.
“I don’t want to throw anybody under the bus,” he said.
See what I miss when I watch in the stands instead of from the press box? I could’ve heard straight from Cain about how he felt nauseated while facing Scooter Gennett! I saw Cain walk off the field with Dave Groeschner in the middle of the third, and he had a look on his face that said something was wrong. I started worrying about elbow trouble or some sort of leg injury, but Cain walked normally and was moving both arms just fine. Turns out he just wanted to puke. Here’s how he looked on the mound:
The rest of the pitchers were healthy and impressive. Jake Dunning pitched a couple shutout innings, Sandy Rosario pitched a 1-2-3 sixth inning (and gave a hearty fist pump afterward as he walked off the mound). Jean Machi and Dan Otero pitched the eighth and ninth against a relatively anonymous Brewers lineup, and George Kontos pitched a scoreless seventh to lower his Cactus League ERA to 1.50. That Kontos was acquired for Chris Stewart ranks as a pretty great trade for Brian Sabean? Have I mentioned that before? About 10 times? Sorry…
— Kensuke Tanaka played third base and looked pretty smooth over there. He only had to make a couple throws, and he double pumped on both while running toward first, but the throws were accurate and did the job. He went 1-for-5 with two strikeouts, one of those we’ll explore in a bit…
— Wilson Valdez picked a good day to go 2-for-4 with some nice defense at shortstop, as Tony Abreu will play for the first time this spring tomorrow against the Rangers.
— Cole Gillespie was the only other Giant with two hits (the Giants had an Emmanuel Burriss game on Sunday — no extra-base hits).
— When I heard Willie Mays talk with Marty Lurie the other night, one of the things the Hall of Famer brought up was when Gregor Blanco went from first to third last year during Spring Training on a play where the ball didn’t leave the infield (I can’t remember if it was an errant pickoff throw or a wild pitch). Mays said he told Blanco not to limit himself — he should have scored!
This afternoon, Blanco showed just how much damage he can do with his speed, and he also displayed a little toughness.
First, he hit a chopper between first and second that he easily beat out for an infield single:
Then Blanco took second on a wild pitch:
(You know you’re fast when you can start your slide this early and make it to second easily.)
Blanco advanced to third on a Hunter Pence groundout, then Tanaka swung and missed at a pitch in the dirt that got by Brewers catcher Robinzon Diaz:
Tanaka took off for first, and Blanco was halfway home, then hesitated:
Then the little Willie Mays on Blanco’s shoulder told him to make something happen:
What followed was a lot of dirt flying and a fairly strong collision for a play on March 10.
I love Diaz’s expression here:
Blanco looked a little shaken up, but stayed in the game for a few more innings.
Maybe some words of encouragement from Bruce Bochy helped: