San Francisco and Boston are 3,000 miles apart, but there seems to be a kinship of sorts between the two cities. Maybe it’s the whole NY/LA thing, or all the recreational drinking. It used to seem like an easy parallel to call the Giants a West Coast version of the Red Sox after the Giants finally broke through and won a title in 2010, but since then both franchises kind of went their separate ways and Giants fans don’t like making that connection too much anymore.
This was not the best week, as you all know. On Monday horror struck, and things got scarier and harder to comprehend for everyone as the week trudged on. The Giants’ fortunes have nothing to do with the world, and making a comparison between getting swept in Milwaukee and a terrorist attack is beyond crass. It’s stupid. Bear with me …
I arrived at the ballpark a little later than usual today, right around the time the authorities apprehended 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. There were no clouds in the sky at the time, but something lifted at AT&T Park. There were smiles aplenty in the pressbox. Twitter was a happy place for the first time in what seemed like forever. And while it took quite a while for the stands to fill up due to the increased security at the gates for today’s game (get here early, folks), the place was jam-packed and loud when “Sweet Caroline” played between innings.
“That’s touching, it is, with what’s happened in Boston,” Bruce Bochy said. “It’s a tragedy, but it’s nice to honor Boston and their courage.”
There was still plenty of game left after the Neil Diamond singalong, with the Giants and Padres tied 2-2. After George Kontos and Santiago Casilla both pitched 1.1 scoreless innings with two strikeouts apiece, it was time for a little magic in the bottom of the ninth. Like the Madison Bumgarner groundout that almost turned into a triple play earlier in this game, it got a little ugly for San Francisco.
First, Gregor Blanco tried to fillet the ball to left field and hit a blooper just to the right spot. That was gorgeous compared to Andres Torres’ bunt attempt, which bounced obediently to Luke Gregerson who easily got Blanco at second. Torres knew he needed to steal a base to make it up to everyone, and he got a great jump and Nick Hundley obliged the Giants with a poor throw to second. Then Angel Pagan stepped to the plate and delivered a line drive single to right to provide the pre-fireworks fireworks.
Tim Lincecum will pitch to Posey tomorrow, by the way. On 4/20. Not that it matters or anything!
– Pagan on the aftermath of a walkoff win: “I got punched really hard. We’ve got some big guys over here. Pablo, oh my God. Pablo was coming like a bull.”
– One might think it would be uncomfortable between Blanco and Torres since they’re competing for playing time. That could hardly be further from the case. When Torres was talking to reporters, I got a tap on my shoulder. I stepped aside and Blanco walked by me, over to Torres while he was talking. Blanco interrupted Torres with another tap on the shoulder and said, “Nice job, Andres” with a big smile. As I left the clubhouse, Blanco had gone back over to Torres’ locker and the two were chatting and chuckling about something.
– Maybe they were sharing a laugh about Jose Mijares’ cologne situation. The Giants reliever may have been trying to get the smell of Jean Machi’s fart out of his nostrils, because he sprayed himself at least a dozen times a few lockers down from Torres.
– Bumgarner was his regular self today (no cologne as far as I could tell, just the standard Carhartt gear and some really fancy cowboy boots). Pitching-wise, Bumgarner’s normalcy makes him the most consistent Giants starter this season (four starts, four quality starts). The only difference was this time he was striking guys out like crazy — 10 over six innings, five caught looking.
I asked Bumgarner about what, if anything, is different about the games where he strikes out a bunch of guys. He didn’t seem to think strikeout totals mean much either way, but he told me he was happy with his command.
“We threw everything for the most part,” Bumgarner said. “Command to the outer part of the plate was good tonight, as well as inside too.”
– “I try not to do too much, like what happened to me in the first half of last season,” Pagan said when asked about how he approaches RBI opportunities with the game on the line. I asked him exactly what he meant by “not trying to do too much” and he said some interesting things about getting moved around in the order last season.
In short: Pagan likes being a leadoff hitter. That’s good. When I saw Marty Lurie interview Willie Mays in Arizona, Mays mentioned that leadoff is where Pagan needs to be.
– We’ll finish this post by sending our condolences to Mr. Mays, who lost his wife of 41 years, Mae Louise Allen Mays. She passed away peacefully in her sleep this morning at age 74 after a long bout with Alzheimer’s.