As Live As I Can Be: the San Francisco Giants vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks — September 30, 2010

I know there’s a better way to do this, but today I’m doing it this way. A live set of commentaries on the Thursday September 30, 2010 MLB game between the San Francisco Giants and the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday September 30, 2010 at 12:45PM PST.
You will need to refresh this page frequently to follow.

sanfransiscogiantsballlogoAfter stopping Colorado two out of three last weekeknd, the Giants had six left to play with a one game NL West lead over the San Diego Padres. The Giants beat Arizona Tuesday, and the Padres lost, and both teams won on Wednesday. So the Giants start this game two up over the Pads, and have a magic number of 3.

The big news is that Freddie Sanchez (after injuring his arm last weekend) is back at second base and batting second in the line-up. SF Manager Bruce Bochy continues to play Pablo Sandoval at third, so Mike Fontenot sits. And so does the infield defense. But it must bother the Panda that he’s batting 8th in the line-up.

1st inning
Giants starter Madison Bumgarner is looking for his first win at AT&T Park. Lead-off Snake’s batter, Stephen Drew, goes down on strikes. Then, whadda know, a great foul pop-up catch by….  Pablo Sandoval. With Chris Young up, a hard grounder to Sandoval, who makes a good throw to Huff at first. OK, ok, Pablo’s glove is on today. Arizona 2nd baseman Kelly Johnson has a nice .369 OBP.

Great to have Andres Torres back at lead-off everyday (and playing center). Torres a base hit to right. This Giants line-up is unlike the sub-par line-up of the past six years, and very different from the championship line-ups of the early 2000s. In the first case, every batter (literally every batter) is a threat to hit the ball. In the second case, a line-up not built around one a single superstar (Bonds, of course).

Stolen base Torres. Aubrey Huff a walk. Huff has an amazing .383 OBP– the man absolutely knows what to do at the plate. Buster Posey up; where would the Giants be right now if they had brought Posey up in April and relagted Bengie Molina to back-up status during his 2010 retirement year? Posey’s groundball not a DP because Bochy sent both runners. Second and third, two out, Burrell up. Another great OBP for Burrell – .367. And a strikeout.

2nd inning
The cliche about MLB pitchers applies so well to Bumgarner: he is a strike-thrower. All his pitches are around the plate almost all the time. Adam LaRoche continues his year-long torment of Giant pitchers with a double off the left field wall. See my first blog of 2010– LaRoche gave up several million dollars and a multi-year deal to sign with Arizona (and not San Francisco). LaRoche will never recoup that money– there are innumerable free agent first basemen in 2011, and LaRoche will be in the bottom third of that group (.260/.320./464). And we are thankful for that– because the Giants got Huff and he has proven to be a leader and an RBI creator. More great pitching from Bumgarner, Snakes out, LaRoche does not score.

Home run Pablo Panda!!! Splash hit solo homer, Giants 1-0. I knew they should play him today instead of Fontenot.

Smart play by the Giants not messing with Lincecum’s and Cain’s pitching routine. When the team gave Lincecum a couple of extra days’ rest in August, he got shelled. This weekend against the Pads: Cain Friday, Zito Saturday, Sanchez Sunday– an absolutely overwhelming pitching attack.

3rd inning
Two hits for Arizona after one out. Now the big boys are up, Kelly Johnson, Chris Young, Adam LaRoche. Strikeout Johnson– great pitches to a batter trying to hit a bomb. And strikeout Young…. looking! The Arizona braintrust must still be reeling at how badly and quickly this team has fallen apart this season. Not only a new manager and General Manager, they need to come up with a long-term plan to pull this team out of the mudhole. It will not be easy in the extremely competitive NL Western Division.

Arizona’s best chips to deal in the off-season are SS Stephen Drew, and baggage carrier 3rd baseman Mark Reynolds. If some hitting coach can increase Reynolds’ contact percentage at the plate, he could be a monster RBI machine for some team.

4rd inning
LaRoche a strikeout off Bumgarner’s fantastic breaking ball. Six stikeouts in 3.2 innings. Walk to Reynolds, hit by catcher John Hestor, Cole Gillespie hit by a pitch– bases loaded 1 out. Arizona pitcher Barry Enright is hitting .250! Sacrifice to RF by Enright– tied at 1-1. SS Drew ground out. Tied 1-1.

Buster Posey now 0-2, and the average is slowly going down the past several weeks– currently .309. Burrell flyout. Guillen a single. Jose Guillen is a player who could loom huge in the playoffs; if his bat gets hot in a short series, he can absolutely carry a team’s offense. Uribe out.

5th inning
This is the 55th anniversay of actor James Dean’s 1955 death in a car accident at a solitary crossroads 28 miles east of Paso Robles, CA, where CA 41 and 46 meet at Chalome. It looks pretty much the same today, even though the highway has been slightly rerouted and the crash crossroads has been modernized. Dean was 24 years old, he would have been 79 today.

After Ryal grounded out, Kelly Johnson and Chris Young both singled. A critical point in the game for Bumgarner. Strikeout out LaRoche on another tremendous Bumgarner breaking ball. Mark Reynolds a groundout to Uribe at short. Great comeback by Bumgarner!

After two out, the incredible Andres Torres hits a solo home run to right-center field, 2-1 Giants. Number 16. Hopefully the team goes easy on the hugs/slaps/pummels. Sanchez the third out.

There are a number of myths about Dean’s accident, the most popular being that Dean was speeding excessively. A National Geographic reconstruction of the crash determined that Dean was going a reasonable 60-65 MPH as he sped westbound on highway 46. But the other car, going east on 46, stopped on the highway to make a left turn across Dean’s lane to go down Highway 41. In the twilight just as the sun was setting, the other driver did not see Dean’s car and turned right in front of him.

6th inning
Santiago Casilla relieves Bumgarner. Three quick outs, with a SO. Bumgarner went 5 innings, 7 hits, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO. He had hit 85 pitches, which is likely the reason for pulling him.

Aubrey Huff leads off with a tough walk after taking 2 strikes. Posey at 3 balls, 1 strike; Giant batters are working the counts. Strike two as Huff steals his 7th base of the year (no caught stealing). Posey a two-run homer to deep centerfield! He absolutely drove the hell out of that pitch. 4-1 Giants on Posey’s 17th homer of the year.

Arizona starter Barry Enright is out, reliever Blaine Boyer in the game. Boyer is 2-2 with a 4.34 ERA. Boyer has 5 holds, and 29 SO and 29 BB in 59 innings pitched. Burrell poped out, Guillen grounded out, Uribe up. You know, the Uribe chants are getting old; and most crowds just don’t do the name cheer very well. Uribe grounds out. Good job by Boyer to put out the fire.

7th inning
The 7th inning Giants defense alignment has been put in place: Nate Schierholtz replaces Guillen in right, Cody Ross replaces Pat Burrell in left. All is now right and correct in the defensive world.   

Casilla still pitching. Stephen Drew ground out, left fielder Rusty Ryal strikeout. Next up– the Snakes big three (K. Johnson, C. Young, A. LaRoche). Johnson, a walk. Young flies out. Maybe the last time to face Arizona’s best hitters.

Pablo Panda up. A hot shot to Reynolds at third– Pablo has been all over the ball all game. Travis Ishikawa pinch hits for Casilla and grounds out. Ishikawa hitting .268. Torres lines out to SS.

8th inning
Sergio Romo starts the 8th. Romo: 2.28 ERA, .99 WHIP, 19 holds, 66 SO in 59 innings, 5-3 record. Wow. Adam LaRoche grounds out– Giants pitching has really handled LaRoche well this game. Mark Reynolds strikes out– that’s 208 strikeouts this season for Reynolds! Romo strikes out pinch hitter Miguel Montero. 4-1 Giants.

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 Leo Rosales comes in to pitch for the Snakes, Miguel Montero stays in at catcher. Freddie Sanchez grounds out quickly. Huff lines out. Buster up……    typically working the count 2-1. Then a base hit. Posey is on top of those pitches again and driving the ball, his average back up to .313. Schierholtz grounds out. Will Wilson come in to close… again?

9th inning
No. Ramon Ramirez comes in to start the ninth inning. Wilson has been worked hard the past week, including a 5 out save Tuesday, and a save last night. A good move by Bochy. Fontenot takes over at second for Freddie Sanchez. Another good move. Great Giant defense on the field right now. Geraldo Parra pinch hits for Gillespie and flies out. Ryan Church pinch hits for the pitcher Rosales. Strikeout. Two out in the 9th. Stephen Drew up…  3-2 count on Drew…  fly out to Andres Torres! 

Giants win 4-1. Winning pitcher: Madison Bumgarner 7-6 with a 3.00 ERA. Ramon Ramirez gets the save. Attendance: 37,261. Three home runs from the Giants, and Pablo’s home run is the 55th splash hit in AT&T history.

The Giants pick up 1/2 game on San Diego. Their magic number is now 2! The Padres play the Cubs at San Diego at 3:35pm PST– in 20 minutes. The Giants sweep Arizona at home as they storm the National League West to take the Division flag.

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