Thursday, April 09, 2009


Get Well, Joe (and Brewer Recap)

First off, what an absolutely brutal day to be a baseball fan. First comes the news that Nick Adenhart was killed by a drunk driver mere hours after he pitched six shutout innings in last night's game. Forget his potential as a pitcher; any time any person that young is struck down in a random act of such stupidity is a tragedy of the highest order. Awful stuff.

Then Joe Martinez, one batter away from sealing the win today over the Brewers, took a liner to the forehead and had everybody in the ballpark holding their breath. Martinez walked off the mound under his own power and appeared to be okay, but this type of thing has ruined more than one career. So here's hoping he hangs in there and makes with a speedy recovery. His big league career got off to a bright start with a win in his debut Tuesday.

Last night I was watching Randy Johnson's Giants debut at a sports bar, but by the time the fifth inning rolled around, I had become so embroiled in a dumb argument about the state of the economy or something that I began to lose sight of the game. I glanced over at one point to see Johnson intentionally walk somebody to bring up, with two on and two out, a batter I didn't immediately recognize.

The next time I glanced at the TV, said unknown batter suddenly crushed a three-run homer over the left field fence. "Damn," I said aloud. "That was a shot. Who the hell was that guy?" My question was answered when I saw the words "Gallardo" appear on his back as he rounded the bases, and my heart sank. Giving up home runs to the opposing pitcher sucks. Giving up game-breaking home runs to the opposing pitcher is the stuff nightmares are made of, I don't care if the guy is one of the better-hitting hurlers out there.

The pitch by Johnson was horrible, a fat fastball that even a Bocock could send into the seats. Other than that pitch, and the mistake to Mike Cameron, the Unit was brilliant. It's the kind of performance where his WHIP will tell the story, not the ERA, but there are concerns if Johnson is going to be this homer-prone all year. His home run rates have steadily increased in the past few years.

Other than the Gallardo bomb and Tim Lincecum's disappointingly short outing (kudos to Bruce Bochy for not extending him trying for a win and just getting him the hell out of there), there's a lot to be happy about. Lots of offense, some freakin' run support for Matt Cain, solid bullpen work, and big hitting by Aaron Rowand, Bengie Molina, and Run Randy Run! (an appropriate moniker given that Winn has said he'll be running more out of the leadoff spot this year).

In a shocking development, Pablo Sandoval drew a walk today, but alas, it was intentional. Seriously, this guy swings at everything. Already the Brewers were trying to exploit his hacktastic ways, with Manny Parra striking Pablo out on a terrible slider in the dirt. Sandoval got the last laugh, though as he had four hits in 11 at-bats in the series. At the risk of being that guy who runs in and shouts "Project Mogul!" at a meeting of Roswell enthusiasts, I'm still remaining skeptical given Pablo's inability to take any pitches, but he is a ton of fun to watch.

Tomorrow: Do we dare to dream that Barry Zito can get his mojo back? Even against a lineup as pathetic as San Diego's? Maybe the offseason of baseball canyon throwing rejuvenated his fizzling left arm. Maybe he's burning twice the incense and ramped up the volume of the whale music, and that's helped his concentration. Maybe he's longing for Alyssa again and is inspired to turn her from the dark side. Yeah, we're really clawing at the wall with this.

Check out Bay City Ball's chart of Pablo at bats vs. MIL. It's rather interesting. Maybe it was by accident, but it appears he's was able to hold off and not swing pitches out of the zone. Though if it was near the zone he was going after it.

Small sample size police are probably going to coming hunting for me and deservedly so. But maybe he can keep it up.
It seemed to me that Randy Johnson's concentration lapsed just a little bit in the 5th inning. Also, the two homers he allowed were on 2 strike pitches. Still a promising outing for him.
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