I kept hearing about the fantastic performances coming from the Giants’ starting pitchers on a daily basis, so it wasn’t a shock to see Ryan Vogelsong get lit up from the very beginning of the first Spring Training game we attended in 2014.
I watched yesterday’s 18-3 loss to the Mariners and today’s 8-0 win (loss?) over the “Future Team” from the stands with my wife, my cousin Heather and her boyfriend Vince, so I didn’t exactly take detailed notes. But there were a few things I noticed — some good, some not so great. Let’s start with the negative stuff first.
Ryan Vogelsong: I wasn’t watching on TV and there are no radar readings on the scoreboard at Scottsdale Stadium, but his pitches seemed to lack life and he had a really hard time against Seattle’s lefty-stacked lineup. Mariners left-handed hitters went 6-for-10 with a walk and two home runs off Vogelsong, who was removed after 2.1 innings. Vogelsong gave up seven runs (five earned).
Sergio Romo: Since we were sitting down the left field line, it was again difficult to know exactly what Romo was throwing and what the velocity was on his pitches. It appeared that he was once again sticking with fastballs and changeups instead of his frisbee slider, and he didn’t record an out. Five runs (all earned) sent Romo’s ERA to 33.00, and even though it’s only Spring it was awfully strange to see him walk a couple guys.
Javier Lopez: Three earned runs allowed in one inning isn’t what we’re used to seeing. He didn’t retire any of the three lefties he faced, which is certainly different from the norm. Again, it’s just Spring Training.
Kyle Crick: In today’s Giants vs. Futures game, Crick looked nervous. It’s no secret that Crick’s issues are 100% control-based, and he put Andrew Susac through the wringer with two wild pitches and a few others in the dirt. Crick only gave up one hit, but he walked four and gave up five earned runs in two-thirds of an inning.
Marriage proposals: The Scottsdale Stadium featured proposals during both games. “Oh honey, during the Futures game? You shouldn’t have!”
Pablo Sandoval: It was my first time seeing Sandoval in person this year, and this happened right when I saw him trot out to third base.
Some older guy in front of me yelled, “Yeah, Panda baby!!! SEXIFIED!!!” pic.twitter.com/o0QofKiXtp
— Bay Area Sports Guy (@BASportsGuy) March 8, 2014
I don’t know about that, but he fielded his position well (like, 2011 well) and his fourth inning single was the Giants’ first hit on Saturday.
Madison Bumgarner: As Alex Pavlovic pointed out, Bumgarner is younger than some of the guys on the Future squad. He completely overmatched the Futures, however, allowing one hit, two walks and no runs through four innings while striking out five. He also laced a sharp single to right-center. Bumgarner clearly relished a rare Spring Training opportunity to take some hacks against live pitching.
Roger Kieschnick: It was off Kendry Flores (a pitcher who performed well at Augusta last year, but not a guy who’ll make the big league roster anytime soon), but Kieschnick’s home run today was an absolute bomb. It landed on top of an umbrella on the party deck beyond the right field wall.
Derek Law: He only pitched to two Giants (and by the end of the game the two squads were made up of minor leaguers only), but wow. We were just to the left of the visitors dugout, but you didn’t need to be behind the plate to see that Law’s stuff is nasty.
Christian Arroyo: He didn’t do anything flashy, but I really liked what I saw from the Giants’ 2013 first round pick. There were some questions (that he didn’t seem to appreciate) after getting drafted about whether he’ll remain a shortstop for the duration of his baseball career, and one look at him shows why. He doesn’t have a prototypical shortstop’s body. Brandon Crawford doesn’t either, but Arroyo is built kind of like Buster Posey. But Arroyo looks like he belongs on a diamond somewhere. How he fields his position, swings the bat (he had a single in two plate appearances) and comports himself all scream big leaguer. I can see what the Giants like in this kid — he looks ridiculously young (he’s still 18), but on the field he seems older. He definitely isn’t shy, although I already knew that from his first interview after getting drafted.
So that’s the rundown from a fun, sun-filled weekend that may or may not have included a couple XXL beers and a surprisingly good Philly cheesesteak (I have another two weeks here, so there’s plenty of time to get a few orders of Island Noodles). Starting tomorrow I’ll be watching games from the press box and taking photos with an actual camera instead of an iPhone. Barry Bonds speaks to the media at 9:30 am tomorrow, so I’m sure my experience will go from relaxed to crazy pretty quickly.