The last two times Jeremy Affeldt went on the disabled list, there was an interesting to story to go with it.
But not this time. Affeldt was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a right oblique strain on Tuesday. At least, not yet.
Affeldt told manager Bruce Bochy he didn’t feel anything when he pitched on Sunday, when he walked three leading to two runs that allowed the Cubs to take the lead in the eighth inning. He said he didn’t feel anything until Monday’s off day, and an MRI on Tuesday confirmed the oblique strain.
The Giants said they didn’t know how or when Affeldt hurt himself. Could it be he’s not telling us something?
The last time Affeldt went on the DL was last year when his son, excited to greet his father as he came home from a game, jumped off the sofa and into his father. Affeldt suffered a sprained knee.
Affeldt’s previous trip to the DL to that came late in the 2011 season, when while BBQing on a day off in San Francisco, Affeldt sliced his hand with a knife trying to separate frozen hamburger patties.
So there’s got to be a good story with this one.
Here are some possibilities:
- He hurt his side by laughing so hard while attending a performance of Second City while in Chicago.
- He hurt himself while performing the “Schlemiel! Schlimazel!” bit from Laverne and Shirley with George Kontos during a visit to the Shotz Brewery in Milwaukee.
- It happened while giving Hunter Pence a high-five following Pence’s game-tying home run on Sunday. If that’s the case, the Giants are lucky not to have more players on the DL.
- Affeldt jumped out of bed after having a nightmare, thinking the Giants were staying at the haunted hotel frequented by MLB teams while staying in Milwaukee.
- Pablo Sandoval was really excited to see Affeldt return to the team hotel, so he got up on the bed and ….
Any of those explanations would be good.
Anyway, the Giants called up Jean Machi to fill Affeldt’s roster spot. Machi had thrown five scoreless innings in five appearances this year for the Fresno Grizzlies. He has allowed five hits and one walk while striking out five.
The Giants went 6-1 last week, leaving them 9-4 for the season, 1st in the NL West , 0.5 games ahead of the Diamondbacks and Rockies.
- Monday: W 4-2 vs. Rockies. WP: Bumgarner (2-0). HR: Pence (3).
- Tuesday: W 9-6 vs. Rockies. WP: Casilla (1-0). HR: Crawford (1).
- Wednesday: W 10-0 vs. Rockies. WP: Zito (2-0).
- Thursday: W 7-6 vs. Cubs. WP: Vogelsong (1-1).
- Friday: L 4-3 vs. Cubs. LP: Romo (0-1)
- Saturday: W 3-2 vs. Cubs. WP: Bumgarner (3-0).
- Sunday: W 10-7 (10) vs. Cubs: WP: Kontos (1-1).
The Giants continue to get fat against the Rockies and Cubs. If not for a couple of wind-blow balls on Friday, leading to Sergio Romo’s first blown save of the season, the Giants might have had a perfect week. On the other hand, the Giants also had wins when they rallied from being down 6-2, 5-0 and 4-1. Giants are still waiting for Buster Posey and Brandon Belt to start hitting, and the starting rotation has had some mixed results. So room for improvement. In Week 3, the Giants face two teams they had success against in 2012 and that are struggling early in 2013.
GIANTS AT BREWERS (3-8)
- Tuesday: Giants (Barry Zito 2-0) at Brewers (Peralta 0-1), 5:10 p.m.
- Wednesday: Giants (Ryan Vogelsong 1-1) at Brewers (Lohse 0-1), 5:10 p.m.
- Thursday: Giants (Matt Cain 0-1) at Brewers (Gallardo 0-0), 10:10 a.m. MLB Network
The Giants went 4-2 against the Brewers in 2012. … The Brewers are struggling to score runs, and the issue is hitting in the clutch. The Brewers rank 10th in the NL in team hitting (.252) but 14th in runs scored (36). … Miller Park is the perfect setting for Posey to get rolling. He loves, loves, loves to hit in Milwaukee. He is a career .500 hitter (12 for 24) with 6 HRs and 15 RBI in seven games there. … There are three starting pitchers in the NL who have yet to allow an earned run — Atlanta’s Paul Maholm (20.1 IP), Jake Westbrook (15.2 IP) and Barry Zito (14.0 IP). … But Miller Park has not been kind to Zito. He is 0-4 there with an ERA of 7.67. But those starts came before Zito’s renasance that started last August, during which the Giants have won 16 consecutive Zito starts.
PADRES (3-10) at GIANTS
- Friday: Padres (Volquez 0-3) at Giants (Madison Bumgarner 3-0), 7:15 p.m.
- Saturday: Padres (Richard 0-1) at Giants (Barry Zito 2-0), 6:05 p.m.
- Sunday: Padres (Stults 2-1) at Giants (Ryan Vogelsong 1-1), 1:05 p.m.
The Padres have always been a team that tends to give the Giants fits in recent seasons. But the Giants went 12-6 against the Friars in 2012. … The Giants will not see Carlos Quentin in this series. The Padres outfielder dropped his appeal of an eight-game suspension for charging the Dodgers’ Zach Greinke last week. Good news for the Giants; Quentin has 5 HRs and 12 RBI in 34 games against the Giants. … But the Padres should get 3B Chase Headley back after missing the first couple of weeks of the season with a broken finger sustained during spring training. … Padres’ Volquez has an 11.68 ERA in three starts this season. … The Padres’ team average of .238 is fourth-worst in the NL.
Remember when Marco Scutaro got off to a 2-for-23 start and we were wondering what was wrong with the Giants second baseman?
Was it his sore back? Was it bad habits when he battled a sore back in spring training?
Well, whatever it was, it’s gone.
Scutaro got well against Rockies and Cubs pitching, hitting .444 (11 for 25), with four runs, three doubles, 4 RBI and just one strikeout. Now, that’s more Scutaro-like.
For that, Scutaro was MoreSplashHits’ pick as the Giants player of the week for Week 2, over the likes of Brandon Crawford and Santiago Casilla.
Crawford hit .364 (8 for 22) with five runs, one double, one home run, 5 RBI and 5 walks last week. Casilla pitched six scoreless innings, allowing just one hit, no runs, on walks, while striking out six. He picked up a six-out save.
On Sunday in Chicago, the Giants needed a hero. They found one in Hunter Pence.
In doing some research on nicknames for Giants players, I discovered that Hunter Pence’s nickname is Captain Underpants. Well, at least according to Baseball Reference.
I searched for an explanation on the Underpants moniker and all I could find was a story when Pence played in the minors, a heckler mistakenly thought the stadium P.A. guy said “Underpants” when introducing “Hunter Pence.” The heckler then called Pence “Underpants” the rest of the game.
From Underpants, the title “Captain” was added, a reference to the children’s novel series in which two 4th graders hypnotize their mean principal to become the pseduo-superhero Captain Underpants.
Well, whatever you want to call him, he’s been a hero for the Giants in 2013.
Pence belted his fourth home run this season for the Giants. In 59 games after being acquired in a trade with the Phillies last season, Pence hit seven home runs for the Giants.
He came through in the clutch Sunday when with two outs and on a 2-2 pitch from Shawn Camp, Pence launched a homer to left-center to tie the game at 7-7.
The Giants added three runs in the 10th for a 10-7 and take the series from the Cubs, 3-1.
Amazingly, the Giants won for the third consecutive time that Tim Lincecum has started. In all three games, the Giants have had to come from behind.
After rallying from a modest 1-0 deficit to beat the Dodgers on April 3, the Giants had to erase a 6-2 deficit against the Rockies to win 9-6 on Tuesday.
On Sunday, after surrendering two-run homers to Starlin Castro and Nate Schierholtz in the first inning to give the Cubs a 4-1 lead, Lincecum settled down to four scoreless innings to keep the Giants in the game. He was actually in line to get the win after the Giants scored four runs in the sixth.
The Giants got creative with their runs scored, or should we say the Cubs did. The Giants scored runs on a passed ball, a wild pitch and a balk.
But the Cubs rallied to take the lead themselves by scoring two runs in the bottom of the eighth off just one hit. Jeremy Affeldt issued three walks, including one with the bases loaded, and Alberto Gonzalez added a sacrifice fly.
After Pence tied it in the ninth, the Giants tallied three runs in the 10th on singles by Hector Sanchez, Brandon Crawford, Buster Posey and a double by Marco Scutaro — as well as the aforementioned balk from Camp.
Sergio Romo came in to save it in the bottom of the 10th. Although we’ve stated we don’t like using Romo to save three-run leads, with the day off Monday, we had no problem with going to Romo in this situation.
The win gave the Giants a 3-1 series win. The series opened and closed with Giant comebacks. The Giants rallied from 5-0 down to beat the Cubs 7-6 in the series opener. They even erased a 2-0 deficit in the top of the ninth Friday, before giving the lead back in the bottom of the ninth for their lone loss in the series.
Saturday started with smiles for Nate Schierholtz. It ended with a loss.
Now you know how the rest of your ex-teammates on the Giants feel.
During batting practice Saturday, Giants manager Bruce Bochy presented Schierholtz with his World Series ring.
When presenting the ring, Bochy told Schierholtz: “Thanks for everything you did for us. If not for you, we never could have rallied around Hunter Pence‘s inspiring pre-game speeches.”
OK, so he didn’t say that.
But as a member of the 2012 Giants, Schierholtz received his ring Saturday. It was cool that Bochy packed away Schierholtz ring on the trip to Chicago. It was a little odd that he would decide to wait until before the third game to give it to him.
Oh well, better to wait two days than three months, when the Cubs visit San Francisco in late July.
It could have been that Bochy was waiting to give the ring to Schierholtz in the first game that Nate was not in the lineup.
And even though he was on the bench, Schierholtz (or his absence) factored in Saturday’s game.
In the seventh with one out and pitcher Madison Bumgarner on second, Marco Scutaro looped a single into right. Bumgarner waited to see if the ball would fall, so he got a late break off of second. Still, third-base coach Tim Flannery sent Bumgarner. Any kind of a good throw would have easily got MadBum at the plate. But right-fielder Scott Hairston‘s throw was anything but good, and Bumgarner scored to make it 3-0.
If Schierholtz is in right, there’s no way Flannery sends Bumgarner home. Pablo Sandoval followed by grounding into an inning-ending double play. So instead of being 3-0, it might have been 2-0, and Dioner Navarro‘s pinch-hit homer in the seventh might have tied the game.
Schierholtz again could have been a big factor in the eighth. The Cubs put the first two runners on, and Alfonso Soriano hit a ball sharply off the chest of Sandoval. But shortstop Brandon Crawford picked up the ricochet and threw out Soriano at first. BARELY (if at all). If Soriano had been called safe, then Schierholtz comes to the plate as a pinch-hitter with a chance to do big damage.
But with the out called, it left first base open. So Bochy walked Schierholtz. Then Wellington Castillo hit the first pitch into a double play to end the inning.
- Bumgarner had his third outstanding start of the season, giving up just the two-run pinch-hit homer to Navarro on his 110th pitch of the day. He finished allowing two runs on six hits and two walks in 6.2 innings. He fanned six and has a 1.77 ERA on the season.
- Santiago Casilla was outstanding in posting a six-out save. He only allow one baserunner, and that was on the intentional walk to Schierholtz.
- Marco Scutaro is back. After starting the year 2 for 23, he’s now hitting .286 after going 3 for 4 on Saturday.
At the top of the list on concerns for the San Francisco Giants heading into the 2013 season was the organizational depth at starting pitching.
Should something go awry with one of the Giants’ five starting pitcher, there are questions on who would be able to step in and fill the void.
At the top of that list in right-hander Chris Heston. Heston was the Double-A Eastern League pitcher of the year in 2012, which is worth noting because former Giants prospect Zach Wheeler also pitched well in the Eastern League last year.
In his first two starts at Triple-A, Heston is learning the difference from pitching in the pitcher-friendly Eastern League and the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League. (more…)
Well, you knew it couldn’t last forever.
Sergio Romo was absolutely brilliant through the first 10 games of the year. He was 6 for 6 in save opportunities, had an ERA of 0.00 and had only allowed two baserunners.
But Wrigley is Wrigley, and the Cubs used the wind to their favor.
After the Giants rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth to take a 3-2 lead, Dioner Navarro greeted Romo in the bottom of the ninth with a wind-blown solo home run to right.
It was the third wind-blown homer of the day for the Cubs. All three would have been outs on Thursday. All three would have outs at AT&T Park — well, at least two would have been for sure.
It spoiled what looked to be another great day to be a Giant. After being stifled for 7.1 innings by Carlos Villanueva, the Giants finally got into the Cubs’ shaky pen and it paid off in the ninth.
Marco Scutaro started the rally with a one-out double to left-center. Pablo Sandoval followed with a bloop single to right, scoring Scutaro. Buster Posey was hit by a pitch. After Hunter Pence forced out Posey at second (on a play that look REALLLLY close to being a double-play), Brandon Belt lashed a double to right, scoring Sandoval and then Pence all the way from first for the lead.
With Romo in the ninth to close it, it looked like game over. But not on Friday. Not at Wrigley.
But Romo then got the next two Cubs out, and announcers Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow raised a good point.
Lefty Javier Lopez was warming up in the bullpen, and they wondered whether manager Bruce Bochy would bring in Lopez to face the left-handed DeJesus.
Krukow’s point, and I would agree, was that Romo’s job was to get the save. Now, with that gone, there’s no point taxing Romo with more pitches, especially when he was pitching in his fourth game in five days. (I would also argue that Bochy should not have used Romo to protect a three-run lead in the ninth inning Tuesday against the Rockies).
But Bochy left Romo in to face DeJesus. Romo was one strike away from ending the inning. But he tried to sneak a fastball by DeJesus, which he promptly laced to center for a single.
Then he made the same mistake to Starlin Castro. Slider, slider, slider for a 2-1 count. Then, on his 20th pitch of the inning, a fastball that Castro doubled off the wall in right center for the game winner.
The Giants talked this spring about not overworking Romo as he makes the transition into a full-time closer. And yet, 11 games into the season, Bruce Bochy has turned into Dusty Baker.
Hopefully, if some good comes out of this loss, it will make the Giants rethink how they use Romo in the future.
The San Francisco Giants have a menagerie of animal nicknames for their players.
Kung Fu Panda
They all make for good sellers at the Giants Dugout store.
And now that other items like the Timmy wigs (he cut his hair) and Wilson beards (off the team) are now in the clearance bins, maybe it’s time for another fuzzy nickname.
And rookie infielder Nick Noonan appears to be the perfect candidate.
Of course, the first thing that comes to mind when Noonan comes to the plate is to yell “Noonan! Noonan!” in reference to the Danny Noonan character from “Caddyshack.”
Well, that’s not a good nickname. You don’t want Giants fans yelling “NNNNNNoonan!” whenever he comes to the plate. But if you want a cute and fuzzy nickname, you just need to take the Caddyshack reference a step further.
Noonan = Caddyshack = Gopher!
Somebody cue Kenny Loggins!
Noonan has certainly earned it. He went 3 for 5 with two runs in Thursday’s game against the Cubs, raising his season average to .455 (5 for 11) and helping the Giants rally from an early 5-0 deficit.
And think about, the nickname worked on Thursday. Bill Murray is a big Cubs fan. Murray starred in Caddyshack as the groundskeeper who was tormented by …. The Gopher! The Gopher tormented the Cubs on Thursday.
Last season, the rookie call-ups from Fresno didn’t fare so well. Charlie Culberson, Conor Gillaspie and Francisco Peguero struggled to hit their own weight.
But Noonan is holding his own after he became the Giants’ fallback option for a reserve infielder. He may even allow the Giants to forget about Tony Abreu, who still hasn’t begun his rehab assignment from quad troubles that sidelined him during spring training.
Noonan can play second base (where he got his first big league start Thursday in place of the resting Marco Scutaro), shortstop and third base.
So let’s hear it for Noonan, a.k.a The Gopher. Let’s get some legs on this nickname. Spread the word.
I expect to see gopher hats in the Giants Dugout stores by the end of the month.
When the Giants handed the starting shortstop job to Brandon Crawford prior to the 2012 season, they told him that all he had to worry about was playing good defense.
The Giants would take any kind of offensive production he could offer.
But I’ve always like what I saw from Crawford, from the day he got called up to the majors. And it wasn’t just his grand slam in Milwaukee in his big-league debut. Even as he battled to hit .200 for the Giants that season, he just had the look of a good hitter.
But results have been slow in coming. Crawford followed up his .204 2011 season by hitting .248 in 2012. I felt 2013 could be a big season at the plate for Crawford. It was one reason why I drafted him in fantasy baseball league (and, yes, it’s an NL-only league; and, yes, I was the last owner to select a shortstop).
After a quiet first week, Crawford is starting to produce at the bottom of the lineup, and Tuesday brought one of the bigger moments of the brief big-league career.
With the Giants trailing 6-2 in the bottom of the sixth, the Giants got something going after walks to Gregor Blanco and Hector Sanchez to open the inning. Colorado starter Juan Nicasio was replaced by Adam Ottavino.
Crawford greeted Ottavino with a three-run home run to left — his first opposite-field home run since opening the 2011 with Class A San Jose rehabbing a broken finger suffered in spring training that year.
“I’ve kind of lost the feeling for opposite-field home runs,” Crawford quipped afterwards.
It was only his second home run in 363 at-bats at AT&T Park, and it was the first home run this season for a Giant not named Pence or Sandoval.
Here’s another interesting home run fact for Crawford: he’s hit eight home runs in his career — three have been three-run homers and two have been grand slams.
The Giants don’t need Crawford to be a .300 hitter for them to succeed. But if he manages to hit .260 or .270, it will be big boost.
And Tuesday’s win wasn’t just about Crawford’s blast. It was a team effort. Every Giant who took at least one plate appearance Tuesday got a hit or a walk — well, except Brandon Belt who went 0 for 5.
Angel Pagan went 3 for 5, Marco Scutaro went 3 for 4, Pablo Sandoval was 1 for 3, Hunter Pence was 2 for 5, Blanco was 1 for 3 with two walks, Sanchez drew two walks (SANCHEZ!!!). Even Tim Lincecum and pinch-hitters Nick Noonan and Andres Torres were 1 for 1, as the Giants banged out 14 hits and drew six walks.
And the bullpen was once again outstanding in relief of Lincecum, throwing four shutout innings, allowing no hits and only one walk. Good job by Jose Mijares, George Kontos, Santiago Casilla and Sergio Romo, who is now 5-for-5 on save pops.
Lincecum had a terrible second inning, but he might have escaped trouble with a little help from his defense. After walking Troy Tulowitzki to open the inning, Michael Cuddyer hit grounder to Marco Scutaro. Instead of taking the sure out at first, Scutaro try to throw the lead runner out at second. His throw was off the mark, allowing Tulowitzki to take third. Todd Helton’s infield chopper brought the first out of the inning, but it also allowed Tulowitzki to score. After a walk to Wilin Rosario, a wild pitch and stolen base put runners on second and third, Lincecum struck out Chris Nelson for the second out. With the pitcher Nicasio up next, it looked as if Lincecum would get out of the jam having allowed just the one run (on zero hits). But Lincecum inexcusably walked Nicasio to load the bases. Dexter Fowler followed with a two-run double, and Josh Rutledge hit a two-run single to make it a five-run rally.
“You have to feel good after the team wins, especially coming back from the hole I put them in there in the second inning,” Lincecum said. “I feel good about that. But I’m going back to the chalkboard after every start and going into refining mode and trying to fix the errors. That second inning really was a doozy for me.”
Yes, it was.