The Giants needed a game like this.
After the debacle that was last night, when a 15-minute cloudburst turned into a four-hour rain delay and a loss, and a protest (more on that later), everyone associated with the Giants needed a game like this — the players, the coaches, the broadcasters, the fans, and especially the skipper.
With Buster Posey getting the night off due to a sore hip and a lineup featuring Mike Morse in the clean-up spot, Travis “Guy on Left” Ishikawa at first base, and rookies Joe Panik and Andrew Susac in support of fifth starter Jake Peavy, this game had all the makings of another stinker. Instead, the Giants got seven strong innings from Peavy and a laugher gift-wrapped in non-tarp material by an offense that has quietly scored 29 runs in their last five (and a half) games.
The offense jumped on Cubs starting pitcher Edwin Jackson early in this one, with five of the first six Giants batters reaching base. With one out and runners on first and third, Ishikawa jumped on an 0-2 fastball right down the middle and lined a double down the left field line. The Giants batted around in the inning, putting four runs on the board for Peavy, who took some hacks at the plate before taking the mound himself – always a good sign for a starting pitcher on the road.
Ishikawa added another RBI double in the third, then trotted home a few moments later after Andrew Susac deposited his first career home run over the right field fence, making it 7-2 in the third inning.
Look at those Cubs fans, man. Brutal. I count at least three Giants fans (sorta) in the mix for the ball, but it rolls to the Cubs fan and he just turns around and chucks it back onto the field.
I wonder if he showed it to them right before he chucked it. That would be such a bleacher bummy thing to do. Ahh, well. At least Susac got to keep his first home run ball.
Running up a big lead early allowed Bochy to get a few of the starters out of the game and give Posey a full night off. Even the bullpen escaped another windy night at Wrigley relatively unscathed. After getting back to the hotel in the wee hours of the morning, the outcome of this game could not have been better for the Giants.
Peavy settled down after giving up a two-run home run to Chris Valaika in the second, scattering 10 hits and two runs over seven innings while striking out eight and walking none. It was another solid effort from the 33-year-old veteran, who has done all the Giants have asked him to do so far. Peavy hasn’t been dominating — although he has shown flashes at times — but what he has done is keep the Giants in every game and quiet down some of the concerns about the Giants rotation in Matt Cain’s absence. Barring a collapse over the last six weeks of the season, it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see the Giants offer him a one- or two-year deal in the offseason. Bochy obviously loves him and Sabean absolutely needs to go into Spring Training next season with something more than five starters and a prayer.
With the game in hand, the broadcasters were able to have a little fun tonight too. Well … maybe not all of them were having fun.
With Dave Flemming back from his assignment at the Little League World Series, both booths were at full strength. Around the sixth inning, Comcast cameras showed Flem and Jon Miller in the Wrigley Field radio booth doing their thing. With the full “charm” of Wrigley on display last night, Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow were in the mood to talk some smack about the old ballpark. As the Cubs trotted out a cavalcade of middle relievers, Kuip launched into a story about how a rather large spider floated down onto his shoulder earlier while he was recording a pregame segment. The spider crawled into his shirt collar and down his neck, prompting Flemming’s arachnophobia to kick in. As Kruk and Kuip yucked it up, the cameras caught Flem and Jon looking for more spiders in the radio booth.
Apparently, the friendly confines aren’t so friendly after all for visiting radio broadcasters…
Flem inspecting the booth for scary spiders. Jon supervising (and broadcasting the game). pic.twitter.com/oikSc8UslO
— LOL KNBR (@LOLKNBR) August 21, 2014
Flemming used his phone to snap a pic of the spiders and … awwwww, they’re kind of cute actually …
I’m naming these two Wood and Prior – and they won’t stay healthy if I have any say pic.twitter.com/O0NoBIym61
— Dave Flemming (@FlemmingDave) August 21, 2014
Oh look, here’s a close-up, thanks Flem, this is really great of you to interact with the fans-GAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! WHAT ARE THEY FEEDING THESE CREATURES??!?
They are lurking in every corner of the booth at Wrigley. Crawling over scorebook, equipment pic.twitter.com/2xDK7nYlm3
— Dave Flemming (@FlemmingDave) August 21, 2014
KILL IT WITH FIRE!!!!
— About half an hour before first pitch, word came down from MLB that the Giants protest of last night’s loss was upheld. Larry Baer had just finished an interview with Tom Tolbert and Ray Ratto on KNBR, in which he sounded particularly confident in the Giants chances – even though MLB had not upheld a protest in almost 30 years. This graphic shown tonight on the Comcast broadcast sums up MLB’s ruling nicely.
— The #Tarpgate game will resume tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. with the Giants down 2-0 and the Cubs batting in the bottom of the fifth inning. If the Giants can pull off a comeback it would be a huge win for Sabean/Baer and company, especially after the demoralizing way everything transpired last night.
— Speaking of demoralizing, after seeing a concussion specialist in Pittsburgh yesterday, Brandon Belt will need at least another two or three weeks of rest while he recovers from being hit in the face with an errant throw during batting practice on July 19. Wow. talk about a lost season. First the bum luck on the broken thumb and now a concussion issue that has gone the wrong way in a hurry. Nobody wants to get this kind of news. Perhaps he’ll be ready in time to contribute for the last couple weeks (and the playoffs, if necessary) but at this point, you have to wonder if Belt isn’t better off just shutting it down and starting with a (hopefully) clean bill of health for next season.
— As mentioned above, Andrew Susac hit his first career home run tonight, an opposite field line drive that got up and over the ivy-covered right field wall at Wrigley Park in a hurry. Kruk & Kuip interviewed the rookie catcher on Comcast after the game and Susac recalled a special, personal moment he shared in the dugout with teammate Madison Bumgarner: “Yeah, Bum actually said congratulations! You just hit your first home run in a Mickey Mouse park!”
— Via @AceballStats on Twitter, Hunter Pence’s blast in the 4th inning was the 13,959th home run in franchise history. The Giants are now just 41 home runs shy of becoming the first team in National League history to reach 14,000 home runs.
— KPIX sports anchor, Dennis O’Donnell appeared on KNBR 1050 today with Ted Ramey and had a few interesting tidbits to share. O’Donnell said Brian Sabean thought he had a deal for Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy “in his back pocket” minutes before the deadline and that the Giants are serious about spending money right now to land highly sought after Cuban slugger, Rusney Castillo. Tolbert asked Larry Baer about the Castillo rumors later in the afternoon and Baer confirmed the Giants interest, saying Castillo is a guy who could potentially help the team right now.