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Orange Friday 2013 – Six Wins and Four Losses

July 27, 2013

orange fridayIt was Orange Friday out at the yard last night and with stubborn confidence, Giants fans believed that things would be better.  After a day off Thursday, we were looking to turn things around after a brutal four-game series against the Cincinnati Reds.  The Giants were swept 3-0 in Cincinnati earlier this month, scoring only three times in the series.  This time, the Reds brought their hot bats to town and won three of the four in a convincing manner, outscoring the Giants 31-11 with 55 hits, including six home runs.  Giants fans knew that this was going to be trouble right out of the gate.  Tim Lincecum, in his first game since his no-hitter last week, didn’t make it out of the fourth inning.  The Reds scored eight runs on nine hits, including three home runs before Bruce Bochy went to the bullpen.  Unless we see them in the post-season playoffs, we’re relieved from facing the Reds again this season.

Other than the third game of the series, which the Giants won 5-3, things were pretty grim out there.  There was reason for celebration that day however, as the win was the number 1,500 for Bochy in his career as a big league manager.  He picked up 951 of those with the San Diego Padres before joining the Giants in 2007 and of course was at the helm in 2010 and 2012, when the Giants won the World Series.  He is third active manager to win as many games, joining Jim Leyland of the Detroit Tigers and Dusty Baker of the Reds, who preceded Bochy in San Francisco.  We think that he is the best manager in the game.

Matt Cain was matched up against Edwin Jackson, as the Giants brought this year’s 6-3 Orange Friday record into the game against the Chicago Cubs yesterday.  Both pitchers pitched beautifully and when the bullpens took over late in the game, the Giants were up 2-1.  With this same one-run lead in the ninth inning and Sergio Romo, our fine closer, on the mound, things became stressful for the faithful.  The first two batters reached base before Romo struck out David DeJesus.  Then, speedy Junior Lake (isn’t that a great name?), who was just called up to the big leagues a week earlier, hit a sharp ground ball to third, where Pablo Sandoval fielded it cleanly and tried to start an around the horn double play.  The infield handled it with textbook purpose, but Lake was simply too fast and beat it out at first.  at&t

The Cubs’ slugging first baseman, Anthony Rizzo, pushed Romo to a batter’s 3-1 count.  Romo pitched a slider for a strike and now it was a full count.  After a couple of mistake pitches that Rizzo fouled off, including an inside fastball that Rizzo swung around on too soon and pulled it foul a mile high into the right field stands, everything was reset.  Giants fans were on their feet and ready to wrap it up.  Lake had moved over to second base uncontested, as first baseman Brandon Belt had stopped holding him on first.  Belt took a deep position on the edge of the outfield grass to protect the line against anything that Rizzo would pull.

And then in a nightmarish moment, everything fell apart.  Rizzo hit the ball sharply to the sure-handed Belt, but it went straight through his legs and both runners scored, putting the Cubs ahead 3-2.  This just couldn’t be!  Belt is a good fielder and in the thirteen years that the team has played at this ball park, nobody other than the beloved J.T. Snow, who played with the Giants from 1997-2005, has been more reliable than him.  He has fielded 99.2% of the chances that he has had in his young career here.  It didn’t matter that Rizzo raked it, we’re used to seeing Belt grab these.  Everyone was stunned.  This was a new way to lose.  The local broadcast showed the typically stoic Bochy tossing his chewing gum with a bit of emphasis, as he made a call to the bullpen to bring in a left-handed pitcher to face the left-handed hitting Nate Schierholtz.  Belt and Buster Posey went out to the mound to meet with Bochy when the pitching change was made.  It has been widely observed how much Belt cares about his trade and how badly he feels when he lets the team down.  He wasn’t hiding anything as he stood out there in the middle of the field with 42,000 fans now wringing their hands.  In what must have seemed like an eternity, with his manager standing next to him, Belt watched as the pitching change was made.  We stood there with him, wondering just how much longer the season can go this way. 

There is no better time than the present.  Madison Bumgarner will head to the mound to face the Cubs tonight.

From → Baseball

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