I sat down to write today’s post-gamer, and I ended up staring at a blank screen for about five minutes trying to think of something to write about. I surfed over to today’s box score to find something interesting, “Liked” something on Facebook that my friend posted about something or other, talked to my friend about some video games, and oooh it’s my turn on Words With Friends! Maybe I’ll go with “oil” in the corner there… oh right, this game.
Today’s game was pretty annoying. The offense wasted an excellent outing by
Matt Cain Barry Zito, and the bullpen blew it again. Those are things that will happen, but that doesn’t make them any less annoying. Still, I’ll focus on some positives.
Angel Pagan’s homer was a really well struck hit, and the guy’s got some good power. His 10-game hit streak has been pretty well overshadowed, as his early struggles have kept his season numbers low, but he’s really getting into a groove with both power and speed. I’m finding myself looking forward to his at-bats more and more.
And this Zito thing is just getting weird. Zito’s stupidly unsustainably low ERA dropped even lower, he carried a one-hitter into the fifth inning and a shutout into the seventh, and he actually looked good doing it. He gave up two walks and a hit in a long first inning, but got out of it unscathed and retired 12 straight before giving up two more hits in a scoreless 5th inning. He started to fade in the sixth and gave up some loud outs to Votto and Phillips, but he looked like a pitcher again. I’m still skeptical, as always, but after Lincekkah, Cainzaa, Thanksgarner, and Vogelover, Zeaster isn’t the train wreck of a holiday that it used to be.
If I could just rant for a second here about Tuesday’s game, I’m baffled by the way that game ended. By leaving Dan Otero in the game, Bochy essentially forfeited was was then a 3-0 game in the 7th inning. Otero gave up two hits and recorded two outs, but even the drunks outside of Red’s Java House could see that Otero had lost it. He pegged Joey Votto, and then proceeding to throw in the exact same Votto-less spot after that. With Sergio Romo still available in the pen, he would have been a far better choice against Brandon Phillips, and the game could still be within reach going into the 8th. I was confused then, I’m confused now, and mostly I feel bad for Otero and what now looks like a bad season for him.
Brandon Watch 2012:
Belt: This is just getting awkward.
Crawford: He seems to be fine after eating some dirt last night , so that’s a sigh of relief. His “hot” streak recently has pulled his average up over the Mendoza line, and adjusting for the fact that more than half of his 13 hits went for extra bases, you could even push that line down further. The fall last night was certainly scary, and especially him staying still on the ground for a few seconds afterward, but hopefully he’s fine. Given the absolutely dearth of middle infield talent on the Giants, seeing who plays in the event of a Crawford injury would make us appreciate Professor Stamos all the more.
Huff: Not a Brandon, but still worth a mention as Aubrey Huff today went on the 15-day DL due to anxiety . There’s a lot of Huff hate flying around the Internets, and we’ve been critical of him as well, but I hope that nobody is taking Huff’s situation lightly. I don’t pretend to know what’s going on with Huff, whether it’s a direct or cumulative result of his poor on-field performance, his divorce, a chemical/hormonal imbalance, or any of a thousand other things. The truth is, we can’t really know or understand exactly how it’s affecting him.
In my very strange day job I write a lot about anxiety and depression and the effects on people and how oppressive and damaging they can be, and I can’t even begin to imagine how hard it would be for somebody who lives under as much constant scrutiny and pressure as a professional athlete. We hear a lot about how much of a player’s success comes from mental stability, whether it’s Ryan Vogelsong concentrating on his pitches  and not on where to eat dinner that night, Pablo Sandoval’s divorce in 2010 screwing with his focus, or many others.
I remember being amazed last year when I found out that former A’s pitcher Justin Duchscherer had missed long portions of playing time for depression , because I didn’t remember hearing before about depression among baseball players. Usually we hear things like “exhaustion,” and other buzz words that really don’t mean anything. I was impressed by Duchscherer’s bravery in admitting the reason behind his DL stint, because I’m certain he’s not alone. With Huff, I’m happy that he’s taking time to seek treatment.
Stats of the Day:
119: Points that Angel Pagan has raised his batting average during his 10-game hitting streak
18: Consecutive games in which Pablo Sandoval has gotten a base hit.
38: More games to go to reach Joltin’ Joe, Panda.
12: Total baserunners for the Giants.
2: Extra-base hits for the Giants. Shingles hitters, the lot of them.
0: Earned runs given up by Clay Hensley. Because he threw it wild to first. Earned runs are stupid. Errors are stupid.
5: Stolen bases for Melky Cabrera on the season, out of 13 total for the Giants. I know he’s been running a lot, but I still didn’t notice he had that many.
Bonus Stat of the Day:
Who the heck is Eric Hacker ?