Barry Zito

Nate Schierholtz collides with Chinese catcher

Nate Schierholtz absolutely blew up China’s backup catcher Yang Yang (and it’s taking every ounce of my being not to put a joke in here … I just don’t think BASG is ready for an Imus moment), and it was the best plate collision I’ve seen all year.

If you haven’t heard the story, you have to check it out. The U.S. won 9-1, and the game featured five U.S. players getting hit by pitches and two Chinese catchers getting mack-trucked at the plate. A lot of unwritten baseball rules were broken in that game, and if Schierholtz doesn’t make it back to Fresno we should send Tyler Walker over to break Schierholtz out of whatever Chinese prison he’s stuck in. Currently Schierholtz is hitting .200 in 25 at-bats for the U.S., whose record sits at 4-2 after a 4-2 victory earlier today over Taiwan.

Anyway, all this Schierholtz business made me realize that I’ve been totally ignoring baseball. The Giants and A’s are still playing, and both teams won yesterday for the first time since 2001, I believe. Here’s a little update to get us back up to speed.

San Francisco Giants (53-71, 11 games back of Arizona)

The road trip wasn’t as horrible as it could have been after getting swept by the Astros in a four game series. The Giants not only won a series from the Braves at Turner Field for the first time ever, they had quite a few great things happen since last time we checked in with them.

1. Tim Lincecum wasn’t injured by that line drive off the knee in Houston and got win number 13.

2. Brian Wilson now leads the National League with 33 saves, pretty amazing given he pitches for the Giants.

3. Travis Ishikawa (.353, 3 RBIs and maybe most importantly a home run) and Pablo Sandoval (.417, 2 RBIs) aren’t just hitting well, their hits are winning games.

4. Barry Zito pitched 7 innings yesterday’s 5-0 win and took a big step towards avoiding 20 losses (he’s currently at 7-15 with 7 starts left).

5. The Giants signed Buster Posey, their top draft pick.

The news isn’t all good for the Giants (but of course this year it never is); Jonathan Sanchez is on the DL with shoulder pain (uh-oh), Tyler Walker is still pulling down a Major League salary, and they face a sure loss tonight with Florida coming to Mays Field to start the homestand (Ricky Nolasco is facing Kevin Correia, the Giants had to leave late after an odd 4:35 start in Atlanta yesterday and Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper were openly talking about how drunk they were going to get on the plane ride home during yesterday’s post-game wrap, with Kruk talking about bringing a brown bag onto the plane with a “lampshade” in it … I’m guessing the team didn’t get much sleep last night, with a drunk Kuip repeatedly yelling “Outta here” to an extremely annoyed Dave Flemming, who really doesn’t like being interrupted while watching “The Presidents” on DVD).

Oakland Athletics (57-67, 19.5 games behind  the L.A. Angels of Disneyland)

Oakland’s win last night against Minnesota was the fourth in their last 20 games, but the A’s suffered maybe the toughest blow of their season when Justin Duchscherer left the game in the third inning with a sore hip.

Since Duke usually hits the disabled list and stays there, the A’s can’t be very optimistic that they’ll get their lone All-Star back this season.

Huston Street is no longer closing for Oakland, Brad Ziegler’s scoreless inning streak was finally broken at 39, and the rest of their home games will be played with yard markers in the Coliseum’s chewed-up outfield courtesy of the Raiders. But hey, get out to McAfee for the game against Minnesota on August 29, when it’s Jack Cust Bobblehead Day!

OK, enough of that. I’m going to go watch some steeplechase on MSNBC.

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