Friday, May 21, 2010

San Francisco Giants 7 at Arizona Diamondbacks 8 - May 20, 2010

I'm back in Phoenix for the 3rd time in 3 years. I love the hot desert weather, the In-N-Out burgers, and the scenic drives nearby. Of course, right now Arizona is going through some problems with their new immigration law that permits police to stop those they suspect of being illegal immigrants. As a foreigner in Japan, that sort of treatment is something we are also subject to. It's never happened to me, but friends have reported the occasional encounter with the authorities. I won't get all political here, but I am not boycotting Arizona when there's baseball to be seen.

Friday's Front Row

I posted on Chase Field last year, but there is one thing that I didn't try that I'd like so mention. It's the Friday's Front Row restaurant that is located well above the left field fence. You can eat here before the game and catch batting practice before the gates are opened. If you want to sit there during the game, there are a variety of options, with the most reasonable being the Upper Deck Tables at $30 per person with the entire ticket price being credited to food and drink. As you can see below, you are far away, but it might be worth trying once, and the food wasn't that bad.

The Game

With that said, let's get to the game. I was fortunate that 2-time defending Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum (above) was scheduled to start for the visiting Giants. He leads the majors in strikeouts while the D-backs lead all teams in times fanned, failing to make contact on nearly 25% of plate appearances! So I expected a K-fest tonight.

Just before the game started, the roof opened as it was a perfect 92 degrees outside. Beats the crappy cold cricket I sat through in London last week.

Rodrigo Lopez took the hill for the Diamondbacks and gave up a run in the first on a Pedro Sandoval double (below) that scored Freddy Sanchez, who was just activated off the DL.

Though staked to the early lead, Lincecum was not sharp. It was immediately noticeable as he walked Conor Jackson with one out and then gave up a monster fly ball to Stephen Drew. Chase Field is 413 feet to center and I'd say this ball went 412. But it was just a loud out and Justin Upton struck out to end the first.

Lincecum walked another in the second and then gave a free pass to Lopez in the third. A lead-off double by Adam LaRoche in the fourth went nowhere but it was obvious that Lincecum was struggling, missing with a lot of his pitches and looking frustrated on the mound.

With the Giants up 2-0 in the fifth, Lincecum gave up a 1-out single to Kelly Johnson and then walked Jackson for the second time. Drew then drove the ball down the right-field line that rolled around in the corner, resulting in a 2-run triple. A sacrifice fly by Upton gave the D-backs a 3-2 lead. After a walk to LaRoche, strikeout king Mark Reynolds, who had already K'd twice, crushed a fastball to deep left and Arizona were up by 3. Lincecum finished the inning but his night was over. He had a most interesting line though:
IP H  R  ER  BB  K  NP  BF
5 5 5 5 5 6 100 25
Twenty pitches per inning - certainly his worst start of the season and one that put him in line for his first loss. But Lopez couldn't hold it, giving up back-to-back jacks to Jose Uribe and John Bowker to start the 6th. After a walk and single, Lopez was gone but Sergio Romo was not much help, giving up a sacrifice fly to Sanchez and then intentionally walking Sandoval before Aubrey Huff doubled home two more runs to make it 7-5 Giants. That's back-to-back 5-run innings, an uncommon sight.

In the 7th, Arizona fought back on doubles by LaRoche, Reynolds, and pinch-hitter Chris Young that tied the game at 7. Jeremy Affeldt was on in the 8th and gave up a leadoff double to Jackson, who moved to third on a botched double-play ball off the bat of LaRoche (below).

If Uribe handled the toss at short, the inning would have ended, but he bobbled it and LaRoche was safe. With Reynolds batting, Affeldt tossed one in the dirt that bounced away from former Ottawa Lynx Eli Whiteside. Jackson gambled and took off for home. Whiteside couldn't pick up the ball and Jackson crossed safely with the go-ahead run.

Aaron Heilman continued in the 9th after pitching a perfect 8th, but he was pulled after a 2-out walk. Chad Qualls came in and struck out Uribe on 3 pitches for the save and Arizona had the 2-game sweep with an 8-7 win. Giants' manager Bruce Bochy was ejected (above) arguing the first called strike, but Uribe missed the next two by so much (below) that I don't think it made much difference.

This was not a particularly good game with the Giants walking 9 batters in just 8 innings and blowing two 2-run leads, but it was interesting. Lots of extra-base hits, some monster homers, and the home team winning in their last at-bat is entertaining at least, even at 3:14. Let's hope that's all the winning the Diamondbacks do this weekend.


The scoreboard here is incredible. The player's season stats, day's performance are shown for each appearance, and for one appearance his entire career stats are shown baseball-card style. The inning summary is also available, as well as the updated pitching line. Lots of interesting stories for each player too. Definitely the most informative scoreboard I've seen.

The Giants had an off-day last week but didn't skip their fifth starter. Lincecum pitched last week on 6-days rest and said he felt uncomfortable. I wonder if the simple decision to give him an extra day threw off his rhythm as he has walked 5 two games in a row.

With the Jays in town for the weekend, I won't do a daily posting of each game, but just a summary of the series. Also hoping to get a Suns-Lakers ticket for Sunday night. Check back early next week for all the details.



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