It’s a repeating cycle of terrible offense that hopefully won’t age Madison Bumgarner six years in a six-month span, because he’s already suffered enough. Angel Pagan may have finished a home run short of the cycle, but that seemed perfect since the Giants pulled off the vaunted LEADOFF SQUANDERING CYCLE.
- In the first inning, Pagan hit a leadoff single and didn’t score.
- In the third inning, Pagan led off with a double … didn’t score.
- In the fourth inning, Hunter Pence walked to lead off the inning … nope.
- In the seventh inning, Pagan poked a leadoff triple down the left field line and oh hell just get Heath Hembree in the game.
This game has to be remembered as the Heath Hembree debut game, because otherwise it’s the Buster Posey loses a fingernail game, and no one has the energy to remember another game because of the damage a baseball did to one of the team’s best players.
Posey had nail get ripped off when he was hit on hand. Bochy said he’s questionable to play tomorrow.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) September 4, 2013
It’s hard to determine what reason could there possibly be for Posey to “strap it on” for the 3:40 game tomorrow (with Tim Lincecum on the mound) with only nine fingernails, but Javier Lopez pitched to Chris Denorfia (a right-handed hitter) with men on first and third on Tuesday night. So who knows these days. I was halfway expecting tonight’s postgame show to feature Rich Aurilia and Shawn Estes, but CSN paired Estes with Greg Papa as usual. Oh reality. Sad, humorless reality.
Let’s mercifully segue back to Hembree, who struck out two in a perfect first inning of Major League work. Hembree’s a guy who rose through the ranks with 95-mph expectations, but the Giants will take well-located 92-mph cutters and 86-mph sliders. Most of all, Hembree’s a rare prospect with name value attached, the only guy who came up in 2013 that people hoped they’d see during the regular season back in March when everything was peachy. Instead, all the Giants saw was a line of guys with names like Juan Perez, Francisco Peguero, Kensuke Tanaka, Mike Kickham and Roger Kieschnick — all guys who can do some good baseball things from time to time, but were brought up mostly because the team needed to fill roster space.
This isn’t a time to complain about Gary Brown and his .286 OBP, it’s a time to sit back and smile when thinking about Mike Murphy. Murphy, the longest-tenured San Francisco Giant, gave Hembree Brian Wilson’s old number: 38. Maybe it was a statement on how Murphy felt about Wilson while he called the Giants’ clubhouse home, or it’s just a small way to help turn the page and look ahead to future days of dominant late inning relief. Either way, hard to argue with Murphy’s instincts here.
Murphy’s numerical choice was a statement that would’ve looked almost sad if Hembree came out and got knocked around for four runs at Petco in his first big league outing. What instead transpired was an impressive 10 minutes — the rookie righty was ready to embrace the moment he and the Giants have been waiting for since he struck out 78 in 53.1 innings in 2011, his first full season in the minors.
The Giants said they wouldn’t use Hembree in pressure situations, but he wasn’t given one of Guillermo Moscoso’s mop-up post-Zito outings. There’s still pressure involved when the deficit is 3-2 in the eighth inning, even against this Padres team during this season. The Giants could’ve (stop laughing) tied the game in the ninth, especially with Brandon Belt (two more hits tonight, although he was one of four Giants to leave at least three runners on base) hitting a rope to left-center for a double in the ninth. Belt was stranded, of course, and the Giants were reminded of their 2013 inadequacies once again when the game went final. At least this time they were reminded of good things that might come in 2014.