`Sep 4, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Chris Heston (53) is relieved by manager Bruce Bochy (15) during the sixth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
I’m going to keep saying this until the San Francisco Giants find a way to give Matt Duffy some rest.
Duffy did it again Friday night‒hit into a double play. If it sounds like I’m upset with Duffy, think again. I’m not. In fact, I have to say I’m pretty impressed with the fact that Duffy seems to be playing more than any other Giant. I got curious about the number of games Duffy has been in. So I looked it up.
To be honest, Brandon Belt (125), Buster Posey (125) and Brandon Crawford (122) have all been in more games, but Duffy (121) has only been the everyday third baseman since just before Casey McGehee left at the end of June.
I am sure if Duffy ever found out I said this, he’d take me out back and have me shot. But I’m gonna say it anyway…the kid is tired. He’s been carrying the full load of a veteran baseball player and he’s anchoring the hot corner. They don’t call it the hot corner because it doesn’t get much action. On the contrary, it’s called the hot corner because it gets a lot of the action. It ain’t for the faint of heart.
The hot corner is used to describe third base because the third baseman is close to the plate, and right-handers tend hit the ball to the left side‒the third baseman sees a lot of ground balls hit sharply his way. Third basemen don’t have a lot of time to react.
A third baseman has to have quick reflexes and a strong arm to throw all the way across to first. Think Joaquin Arias, ninth inning, last out of Matt Cain’s perfect game, Kuiper made the call: “on the ground to Arias from deep third…GOT HIM! and that’s the perfect game…” Arias sent the ball to first, beating the runner by just steps.
It was an amazing play for a couple of reasons: it was the last out of a perfect game and because of what it took to get the ball from where Arias was playing third to first base‒the throw had to be perfect and thrown hard enough to get there in time.
That’s what Duffy does every day. There are a few exceptions like: the ball isn’t hit in his direction (rare) or an error (very rare). He’s a rookie. He’s an amazing rookie. He’s a Rookie of the Year rookie. But it’s not going to happen if he can’t stay o track through the stretch.
Let’s get this kid some help, let him take a game here and there. It might have to be forced on him–he doesn’t seem the type to sit idly by resting while the Giants are in the hunt for orange October. When his leg was hurt recently, his response was, tape it up!
In case you haven’t figured it out, we lost. Again. The Giants put up their seventh straight loss Friday night. I’m not saying it‘s Duffy’s fault. That’s not what I’m saying at all. But there is an accepted theory that hitting is contagious. I think hitting into a double play is contagious too.
Although Duffy hit into a double play Friday night, it was not the usual around the horn grounder. This time he lined out to second base and Pagan, who had the jump in anticipation of a base hit, was doubled off before he could get back.
Juan Perez hit into a double play in the seventh to end the inning, and Crawford ground into a double play in the ninth, ending the game.
Chris Heston pitched a great game. In the bottom of the first he gave up back-to-back jacks, and he could have let that define his night‒but he didn’t. He pitched five and ⅔ innings of solid baseball, allowing just the two runs, seven hits and two walks while he struck out four.
Perez led-off the sixth inning with a base hit, Heston moved him over with a sac bunt, and Perez scored on Pagan’s base hit. The final score was: Giants 1, Rockies 2
I still believe. I won’t stop believing. I watch Ashkon’s Don’t Stop Believing and We Are the Champions videos every day. Check them out on youtube.com‒pure inspiration.
Because it ain’t over yet. Not by a longshot. To quote the eloquent Will Smith in the great American movie classic, Independence Day: “I ain’t heard no fat lady.”
I haven’t either.