The San Francisco Giants are at the half-way point of their annual preparations for the upcoming season, and with the exception of Hunter Pence being hit by a pitched ball with a resulting broken forearm, the exercise has been either predictably smooth, or smoothly predictable, whichever you prefer.
Wait a minute. Are the Giants not 3-7, ten games into the 36-game schedule? Has Sergio Romo pitched in a game thus far? Has Madison Bumgarner had a routine outing yet? And no worries about Nori Aoki-he did get a basehit that went out of the infield in yesterday’s 3-0 loss to the (gulp) Texas Rangers.
Yes, there have been ten exhibition games featuring a wide range of players from veterans working on specific agendas, both self-imposed and those put into place by the coaching staff, to rookies with only one year of low-A professional ball on their resumes. There are more than sixty players in camp Bruce Bochy will assess, and then and relay information about to Brian Sabean.
Much goes on during this frenetically repetitive madness each March. The initial workouts are over, the players have had a minute or two to size each other up, as fleeting of a time period as it will be for all but the fortunate twenty-five, and each has taken steps not to allow his personal sense of urgency to be manifested in any manner. It’s not that no one cares, because they all do, but each also has himself as numero uno. There can be only one numero uno.
October 31, 2012; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants former center fielder Willie Mays waves to the crowd while riding in a car during the World Series victory parade at Market Street. The Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers in a four-game sweep to win the 2012 World Series. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
My point is that the purpose of playing these meaningless games is to allow each player to pursue his own interests.
Spring training games may be meaningless, but much is determined nonetheless.
Theoretically, if there is enough talent and quick thinking involved, the Giants will win their share of these contests, but in the long run, no one cares. No one except for the fans of those teams at the top.
That’s the way it works; if your team is doing well, then you celebrate that fact. If your team is encountering technical difficulties or is just not putting anything together, or hasn’t won three of the last five world series titles, then you simply nod sagely and intone, “All good. It’s only spring training.” It’s a win-win deal, the only one of its kind during the entire season for many clubs.
Here are a few points to consider, when trying to determine how the glass is situated, as far as being half-empty or half-filled for the Giants:
Matt Cain, out since last July, retired the six batters he faced in his spring debut.
Aoki has two hits in twenty at-bats, but Bochy told him through his interpreter that the Giants are not worried, and he should not press.
Tim Hudson pitched one inning in his initial outing, allowing a hit and a walk, but getting out of the inning unscored upon.
MadBum’s three appearances have been merely perfunctory; he has given up basehits each time out but he looks good and there are no complaints.
Angel Pagan is playing pain-free, while reflecting back on trying to perform last season, while suffering from a bulging disc.
Santiago Casilla got banged on the shin by a batted ball during practice, February 26th: 4 games, 5 innings pitched, 6 earned runs, 7 hits
Brandon Belt: 6 G/17 AB, 3 R/7 H/3 RBI, .412/.500/.647/1.147
Earliest timeframe for One Hunter Percent to be back in the lineup is mid-April.
Aug 8, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Francisco Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford (35) makes a throw to first for an out against the Kansas City Royals during the eighth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Brandon Crawford’s sore shoulder has mellowed out, allowing him to begin getting some work in during games. He is 2 for 4 so far, with a double.
Sergio Romo did throw live batting practice on Tuesday, reporting that his shoulder felt good, and should be in a game this weekend.
Casey McGehee is going well with eight hits in 17 at-bats, a .471 average.
Tim Lincecum has a sore neck and an ERA of 13.5 in six innings pitched, but has looked impressive as far as control of his fastball is concerned, and has been consistently ahead in the count.
Hunter Strickland, in search of the elusive twelfth pitching spot, gave up two homers in his first two appearances of exhibition games.
Pitching prospects: Here is a brief glimpse of some of those with multiple outings:
Erik Cordier ………..3 G, 3 IP, 0.00 ERA
Joan Gregorio ……..4 G, 3.1 IP, 0.00 ERA
Kyle Crick………….. 2 G, 4.2 IP 0.00 ERA
Adalberto Mejia……3 G, 4 IP, 5 SO, 0 BB, 0.00 ERA
George Kontos…….4 G 4.2 IP, 4 K, 0 BB, 1.93 ERA
Steven Okert……….3 G 3.1 IP 2.70 ERA
Brett Bochy…………4 G 3 IP 3.00 ERA
Notable lineup prospects:
Christian Arroyo…….4 G/6 AB 3 R/ 4 H/ 1 RBI, .667/.667/.833/1.500
Mitch Delfino…………7 G/9 AB, 3 H/3 BB, .333/.500/.333/.833
Aug 8, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Francisco Giants second basemen Matt Duffy (50) chases down a ground ball against the Kansas City Royals during the fifth inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Duffy…………….8 G/19 AB, 3 R/6 H/3 RBI, .316/.350/.632/.982
Jarrett Parker……….10 G/16 AB, 4 R/5 H/4 RBI, .313/.421/.375/.796
Hector Sanchez…….7 G/16 AB, 5 H/2 R/ 3 RBI .313/.313/.438/.750
Andrew Susac………..7 G/ 10 Ab/ 1 H/.100 AVG
In the big picture, everything is going along according to plan at the halfway point. I find it frustrating to try and monitor the games via computer, so I rarely will recap them before the team returns to the Bay Area.
Meanwhile, there is still plenty to talk about, which is what I will continue to do this spring.
Only I call it chinwagging.