The San Francisco Giants head back to the Bay Area to play their annual Bay Bridge Series with the Oakland A’s, after defeating the Cleveland Indians, 5-2, in their final Cactus League game. Madison Bumgarner pitched four innings, giving up one run on four hits, while striking out four and walking none, in an outing that was not designed to exceed the allotted four innings.
Cleveland ace Corey Kluber started and retired the first ten batters he faced before yielding three consecutive singles to Joe Panik, Brandon Belt and Buster Posey, the third of the three scoring Panik with the first run for the Giants. Brandon Crawford ended the rally by grounding into a double play, shortstop Jose Ramirez fielding the ball, stepping on second to get Posey, and then throwing on to first baseman Jesus Aguilar.
With the score 2-1, Tribe, going into the bottom of the fifth, Matt Duffy put San Francisco ahead for good with his third home run of the spring, 3-2, Justin Maxwell scoring in front of him after singling to get on base. John Bowker added a run-scoring double in the seventh and Mac Williamson homered to right field in the eighth inning to close out the scoring.
Sep 13, 2014; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Brett Bochy (43) son of Giants manager Bruce Bochy made his MLB appearance against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the sixth inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
For the Giants Brett Bochy (W, 1-0, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 2.42 ERA), Yusmeiro Petit (H, 1, 2 IP, 4.22 ERA), Jean Machi (H, 3, 1 IP, 3.46 ERA), Sergio Romo (H, 1, .2 IP, 2.45 ERA) and Javier Lopez (.1 IP, 4.05 ERA) finished up for MadBum, as the Giants took care of their final spring game in the desert.
They finished out the season in Arizona with an 11-20-1 record, with three more games to be played this Thursday through Saturday against Oakland. For most teams a poor spring record might be a harbinger of things to come, but for the Giants, this period of time has been just right this year, with much being accomplished and a lot of prospects getting the opportunity to show off their talents.
Justin Maxwell was informed that he has made the team, pretty much already determined when Juan Perez was sent back down. With the Giants desperate for offensive firepower, Maxwell has put good wood on the bat this spring and will be on the Opening Day roster, at least until Hunter Pence returns to the lineup. What happens then is going to be based on how Maxwell does in Pence’s place, hopefully creating some tough decisions for Bruce Bochy and his coaching staff.
No decision has been forthcoming on Matt Duffy as of yet, but his two-run home run in Wednesday’s game will certainly be taken into consideration. Also, the fact that he was awarded the Barney Nugent Award is going to enhance his chances, simply because it is acknowledgement from his peers that he has a lot going for him, and that fits into the plans of the Giants quite well.
The game on Thursday night will be at AT&T Park, with the other two in Oakland. The Giants will not be back in San Francisco until they open their home season, April 13, against the Colorado Rockies.
My final thoughts on the 11-20 spring record is to give it as little attention as possible, especially since there are at least four other teams with just as poor of a spring record, who figure to feature prominently in the postseason: Washington (10 wins), Baltmore (11 wins), Seattle (11 wins) and Detroit (ten wins).
The Giants did not set out to win their spring training games; they set out to prepare themselves for a 162-game marathon. It’s not that winning comes automatically for the Orange and Black, but they have had a lot of practice and have proven that the time to be winning games is in September and October, not March.
They leave that to other teams who don’t fare as well in October.