Sep 14, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco Giants first baseman Brandon Belt (9) greets center fielder Angel Pagan (16) after he scores on a two run RBI by third baseman Matt Duffy (not pictured) in the first inning of their MLB baseball game with the Cincinnati Reds at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Lance Iversen-USA TODAY Sports
San Francisco Giants baseball is torture‒and Monday night was torture squared. Or torture to the 3rd degree. Or torture to the ninth power. I live, breathe, sleep and eat Giants baseball. Are we going to have an Orange October? Who are we going to acquire in the off-season? What about the guys on the DL…the list of questions about what’s ahead for the Giants seems endless.
But right now I’m not going to talk about where the Giants are going, or where the Giants have been, or who’s on the road with them, or ahead of them or behind them. I’m going to just focus on Monday night’s game.
For starters, it was a really good game. Tim Hudson was on the mound for the Giants and he pitched a gem‒for the short time he was in. It seems as if manager Bruce Bochy has Huddy on a short leash. Honestly though, at this point, I think everyone is on a short leash, and will get yanked at the first sign of trouble.
I think maybe I feel a little sentimental about Hudson because we are coming down to his waning days. Make no mistake, trouble was brewing‒at least percolating and Bochy yanked Huddy after he allowed a double, a single and issued a walk. Bochy it seems, had seen enough.
After the game Huddy said he had a hip problem‒what I call a hitch in his giddy-up. For those of you who are under 30 50, that means his hip was out of whack. He didn’t say exactly what was wrong or how it happened, he said it was because he is old. Apparently 40 is the new 60 70.
Even so, Hudson pitched four and ⅓ solid innings. He allowed one run on three hits and three walks. He struck out one.
Javier Lopez came in to relieve Hudson and he allowed one of Hudson’s baserunners to score. The first hitter he faced hit a ground ball to first and Belt immediately threw to Buster to get the force at the plate. Brilliant ball playing. It was a risky play and the degree of difficulty is probably off the charts, but Belt was so smooth, he made it look easy. It looked like something he and Buster practiced every day.
The Reds didn’t score but the bases were still loaded. Javy walked the next batter, which walked in a run‒so Bochy took him out of the game. George Kontos took over and pitched one and ⅓ inning of score-free baseball.
Hunter Strickland gave up a hit and struck out two batters. Then Bochy did another pitching change, and brought in Josh Osich, who inherited Strickland’s baserunner. Of course, the first guy Osich faced went yard, scoring a run for Strickland and a run for Osich.
Sergio Romo was lights out and Santiago Casilla got the save after giving up two hits. The last hitter for the Reds roped a line-drive to left, back, back, way back‒all the way to Marlon Byrd’s glove‒where it landed to end the inning and the game.
The Giants bats came through at the right time. Not only that, the Giants took advantage of the Reds mistakes and they made the Reds pay.
In the third, Duffy doubled again, Brandon Belt scored him with a triple and Byrd plated Belt with a double. Duffy reached first on a throwing error in the eighth, and he took second after the throw went wide. Buster ground out, giving Duffy the chance to scoot over to third and Belt hit a sac fly that got far enough out to give Duffy the chance to tag up and get home. The final score was: Giants 5, Reds 3
One thing I have to say before it ends. Congrats to our DuffMan, who has the longest consecutive game playing streak. He is working very hard.
So here we are‒18 games away from the end of the season. What does that mean? To be honest, not much.
Clearly, the most significant thing it means is that we are coming to the end of baseball for the year. I’m not ready for that. Not even a little. Hopefully I’ll be rooting for the Giants in October. But if not…oh, who am I kidding? I can’t conceive of any other option right now.
Because I still believe. And I still have hope.