At a time in the early going, when success is measured not in the final score of a game, but in ways that various San Francisco Giants perform in preparation for the upcoming season, Sunday’s game was the best of both worlds. Prevailing over the Arizona Diamondbacks, 5-0, San Francisco showcased solid pitching and hitting together, in winning for only the second time in their last ten games.
It was a 2-0 affair until the Giants drew away with one in the seventh and two more in the eighth, two of the three runs scoring on a pair of triples by Matt Duffy (scoring Crawford in the 7th) and Mac Williamson (scoring Kelby Tomlinson in the 8th). The final run scored when Williamson scampered home on a wild pitch by Seth Simmons with Gary Brown at the plate.
Six Giants pitchers combined to shut out the Snakes, beginning with Tim Hudson (0.0 spring ERA), who allowed five base runners on three hits and two walks, in an inning-and-a-third. Hudson has reported that his surgically-repaired right ankle is not an issue.
This is his right ankle which was so horribly injured in July of 2013, by being stepped on while Hudson covered first base on a ball to the infield.
Tim Hudson’s problematic ankle isn’t. Problematic, that is.
Then in early January, he had bone spurs removed from the same ankle, placing his projected start at the beginning of the season in jeopardy.
It would appear that he is on schedule as far as rehabbing from his surgery, even if he is not yet game-ready, and no one is worried. As has been noted in the past, spring training is a time when players work on fundamentals, which may include pitch release points, or other mechanics.
By definition, these mechanics must take place in the context of live competition. That’s why no one is worried that his pitches got hit (three singles) and he walked two batters. However, with the bases loaded in the second, and only one out recorded on a brilliant play by Brandon Crawford on a blistering liner, manager Bruce Bochy opted to bring in Curtis Partch (1.2 IP, 1 H, 1 SO, 5.06 ERA).
Jun 13, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants shortstop Ehire Adrianza (6) waits for the ball as Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki (2) successfully steals second during the first inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports
Partch turned in his best performance of the spring by getting Archie Bradley on a called third strike and Ender Inciarte on a ground ball to first baseman Travis Ishikawa, leaving the bases jammed. He followed up in the third inning with two more ground ball outs and a strikeout sandwiched around a single by Cody Ross. With the Giants scoring in the bottom of the second on a single by Ehire Adrianza and again in the third on a single by Casey McGehee, Partch was credited with the victory.
Yusmeiro Petit (5.40 spring ERA) threw two-and-a-third innings, allowing one hit and one walk, while striking out one, and Cody Hall (3.38 spring ERA) went one-and-a-third, giving up two singles. Javier Lopez (3.38 ERA) tossed a 1-2-3 eighth inning with one K, and Jean Machi (3.86 ERA) finished off in the ninth, surrendering only one single.
Altogether, after Hudson’s two walks, Giants pitching gave up only one more free pass, and all eight hits were singles. Two players fighting for backups spots had excellent days: Adrianza (.273) went 2-4 with a double, a run scored and a run driven in, and Juan Perez (.286) went 2-3 with matching credentials to Adrianza.
Matt Duffy (.375) and Mac Williamson (.308) distinguished themselves with their triples and Gary Brown threw Ender Inciarte out at home plate in the first inning, after Cody Ross had singled, to help Tim Hudson remain unscored upon.
No one I know cares about how many games the World Champions have won this spring (4), or how many runs Madison Bumgarner has given up (6). March is not the time to focus on winning-it’s the time to zero in on basics. One step at a time, starting slowly.
If it’s done properly, the pace picks up and by the time September comes, the team is up and sprinting. Considering baseball is a marathon, that’s reasonably impressive.