It doesn’t seem to matter who’s wearing those garish uniforms. The Florida and/or Miami Marlins always seem to cause angst and frustration whenever they rear their fishy faces, and tonight was no different. The Giants gave up another lead and lost another outfielder (more on that a little later), as the Marlins won their ninth straight at AT&T Park.
Different players, different managers, it doesn’t seem to matter. To most teams, a four-game series at home against the team with the worst record in the National League is a special gift from the scheduling Gods. Instead, two more games against the mighty Marlins sounds like a terrible way to spend a weekend. Perhaps they actually aren’t a bad team at all, they just need to play in front of packed houses to reach their true potential. Or the Giants aren’t capable of beating teams outside their own division.
Were there injuries? Oh, but of course! Andres Torres decided to stretch a double into a triple and was thrown out easily. However, in the process of trying to avoid the tag while sliding, he drove his right knee pretty hard into the dirt. He left the game with a bruised knee (x-rays were negative), and now the only healthy outfielders on the active roster are Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco and Juan Perez.
“I really hit my kneecap, it was really sore. So we put some ice on it and we’ll see how it goes tomorrow,” Torres said. “Going to come in tomorrow early and see how it feels. I hope I feel good to go tomorrow.”
Tim Lincecum’s quality start
Lincecum’s outing was pretty close to fantastic … save for the times he faced Logan Morrison, who in three plate appearances against the Giants’ starting pitcher hit a home run into the arcade, lined out to Joaquin Arias and drilled a triple into the alley. But Lincecum handled Mike Stanton, who drew applause from the home crowd during batting practice when he launched a ball over the left field bleachers. Some say one of his shots hit the base of the Coke Bottle, but I’m pretty sure that was an exaggeration. Regardless, Lincecum struck Stanton out twice, both times swinging.
That was a common occurrence during Lincecum’s seven innings, as his breaking balls made the Marlins look foolish on several occasions (except for Morrison’s HR, which came on a get-it-in changeup). According to MLB.com’s pitch tracker, 15 of the 16 times the Marlins swung at missed against Lincecum came on changeups or sliders. Seven of Lincecum’s eight strikeouts were of the swing-and-miss variety, and he only walked one while giving up four hits. Lincecum told me that he was “trying to be aggressive over the plate,” and that it worked to his benefit except for two pitches: the previously mentioned changeup to Morrison, and a slider that Marcell Ozuna hit up the middle (and off the back of Lincecum’s foot, as he tried to stop the ball from skipping through the middle) to score Morrison and tie the game in the sixth.
— “Angel (Pagan) re-aggravated that tendon in his knee,” according to Bruce Bochy. “We’re going to talk about our options. In the next day or two we’ll have to decide which way we’re going to go with him as far as treatment.” When asked whether surgery could be a possibility, Bochy said, “Sure, no question it’s an option.” If Pagan does have surgery, that would probably put him back on the field sometime around late August or early September.
— Can’t leave tonight without writing a little about the bullpen — the exhausted group that was asked to carry the team at times throughout April and May. We’re seeing the effects now. The skinniest member of a group that has been stretched very thin lately, Jake Dunning, only retired one of the four batters he faced in the eighth. Javier Lopez struck out Morrison, then was removed so Jean Machi could face Ozuna. Ozuna once again collected a run-scoring hit against the Giants, the first of three straight singles off Machi.
— Now that the starting staff is starting to stabilize a bit — as long as Chad Gaudin’s forearm bruise doesn’t linger — the damage done to the bullpen is starting to show.
“We’ve been going to them a lot, because we’ve needed them. Them being so outstanding, it’s easy to go to them when the starter struggles. I know I’ve been a culprit to that,” Lincecum said. “It’s just about taking it upon yourself to go deeper into games. That’s your job as a starter.”
— The Giants collected 11 hits on Friday night, but they haven’t hit a home run for seven straight games.
— The minor league game in Stockton brought considerably better news than the Major League one played in San Francisco, as Kyle Crick (oblique) pitched four shutout innings and struck out 10 in his first outing since April 18, and Pablo Sandoval hit a solo home run in his first rehab game.
— The highlight of the night at AT&T park might have come before the game, but the highlight during the contest, at least for Giants fans, was watching Lincecum hit the second triple of his career:
Two funny things about this play:
1. Lincecum actually has a decent swing and a little pop during batting practice. Nothing like Madison Bumgarner’s power, which is just a shade or two under what Stanton brings to his BP sessions, but you’d think Lincecum would have more luck at the plate than he does.
2. He can run, too! When Lincecum hits ground balls to infielders, he runs them out like Bonds used to — which means he doesn’t really run at all. But he showed that when he smells triple, he can move pretty well for a pitcher.
— If you haven’t already heard, Colin Kaepernick threw an 87-mph ceremonial first pitch before Friday night’s game that almost took the mitt off Sergio Romo’s left hand.