I totally forgot to mention this in my Boys Are Back post. How could I forget something so important?? (Hint: hadn’t had coffee yet)
Even though I don’t actually live IN San Francisco, there’s a definite change in the air when the Giants get home from a road trip. This road trip was weird, starting with Ryan Theriot getting the death flu from his kids and ending with a 3-run jack in the eleventh hour to take the series sweep from the Reds.
Tim Lincecum saw some improvement in his stats, even if it wasn’t the prettiest road to get there. Naysayers will be naysayers and argue anyone who says anything positive about his outing in NYC, and yes, it was the Mets, but he kept them from seeing the ball very well and he got 7Ks on the night. Impressive for a guy who is in such a big slump.
Zito continues to dazzle my socks off. I don’t completely take back everything I’ve said about him, but he’s starting to win me over. Damn you, Barry Zito.
The doubleheader killed us. By the time we got to yesterday’s game, I didn’t care if the guys laid down at their positions and took naps. I really didn’t care if we got swept or won or lost or whatever. I wrote the game off. I did. I’m so sorry, fellow Giants fans (and any Giants affiliates who read this), but I kind of wanted the boys to come home so we could have Orange Friday. I’M SORRY.
But don’t worry, Angel Pagan showed me up by hitting a 3-run homer and then Casilla shut down the Reds in 11 pitches and now the boys are back. Tonight is the first official Orange Friday of the season. Our first Giants game of the season is a week from today. Things are looking up.
Oh, and before I forget, Brian Wilson is either enjoying his pain medication or is bored out of his mind, because he shared this with us the night before last:
Never change, Bweez.
TRIGGER WARNING: mental illness, anxiety
The buzz among the Giants faithful today was the placement of Aubrey Huff on the 15-day DL. The reason? Anxiety. When I saw the first message about this, my heart sank for several reasons. First, because people are douchebags who will be really, really mean about this, and second, because I am intimate with anxiety.
People are Douchebags
It’s common knowledge for most people who use the internet with any frequency, but some people just aren’t aware that you should never read the comments. On anything. Ever. (Except on this blog!) Comment sections are where the lowest of the low go to wield their imaginary internet schlongs around so we all know that they exist. And that vague pronoun is vague on purpose. These are the people who will blatantly ignore an entire article or blog post just so they can submit a dissertation on the exact opposite point of the article/post. Or they submit a dissertation that proves the article’s/post’s point perfectly.
I was surprised when I started seeing mentions here and there about Giants fans and “are we going to be stereotypical or are we going to stop being dicks and start being Giants fans?” Sigh. Cool it with the jokes. This is a serious matter. Which brings me to point numero dos.
I Am Intimate With Anxiety
I will not divulge details but I have dealt with anxiety and panic disorders both personally and with loved ones for years. As I’ve grown to know anxiety and its aftermath, I’ve become more aware of its non-stop presence in my world. Friends of friends suffer from panic attacks, musicians I love experience crippling stage fright, baseball players I get frustrated with crumble under the weight of stress caused by high intensity jobs.
I wouldn’t wish a panic attack on anyone. I had a fairly horrendous one a few weeks ago, and I’m still trying to recover from it. Anxiety is no joke. When people I have a particular interest in – yes, even baseball players – get struck down by something so silent and insidious, my heart hurts. I am a fixer. A caretaker. If there’s a problem, yo I’ll solve it*. I’d love to give Aubrey a hug (I excel at enveloping), make him some tea, and just sit quietly nearby in case he needs more tea or a new movie in the DVD player or someone to talk to. Because I’ve been there and it’s terrifying and you ARE alone, because no one can be in your panic with you, but sometimes people can be BESIDE your panic and that can help an awful lot.
Whatever Aubrey Huff is dealing with is none of our business until he makes it our business. I hope he’s able to identify the trigger and work to resolve it. I hope he’s given the space he needs to figure it all out. Anxiety and panic disorders cannot be rushed or ignored. And I hope when we finally see Aubrey on the field again, we let him know that we’re pulling for him and wish him nothing but the best.
I mean, c’mon. How can you not wish this guy well?
This’ll be short because I have to finish getting everything ready for dinner with BFF’s parents tonight, but I was sitting on the couch icing my knee and I was like, “Hey, I should tell you guys about the awesome game we played today!” You should know that when I say awesome, I really mean bizarre. I mean, for starters, this happened:
No, you’re not missing anything. The Giants are though – a second baseman. I mean, there was one in the game but he had never played at second before in his career, so when this ball went into play, he dived toward first before retreating back to second. But it was too late at that point, and Aubrey Huff is not very fast to begin with, so this was our undoing.
On the plus side, we were able to score three runs in the top of the ninth to tie the game up, but in order to get there, we had done some weird substituting and Aubrey Huff became our second baseman and oh dear god why. Posey on first yesterday, Huff on second today. What’s next for tomorrow? Pagan in the squat?
*Gif courtesy of findtheswagger on Tumblr.
I knew tonight’s game against the Phillies would be good. Generally, I both fear and anticipate a series against them because so much could happen. Both teams have a strong pitching staff. The Phillies have more power in their bats. We have more…luck? I don’t really know. But tonight’s game was so good, you guys. So good.
The first time I saw Cliff Lee pitch was during the World Series in 2010 when he played for the Texas Rangers. He’s one of the reasons I became a Rangers fan during the series (but I couldn’t tell anyone this because they were the Rangers and they were the enemy and grrrr). Even though he isn’t with the Rangers anymore, the plus side of seeing the Phillies for me is Cliff Lee. When I saw that he’d be battling Matt Cain, I knew we were in for a good one. I just didn’t know how good.
I am far too tired to look up the line on Cain and Lee but it’s impressive. They were almost neck and neck the entire game, down to the pitch count (Cain was almost always 1 pitch ahead). Cain came out after the 9th inning and Lee stayed in through the 10th. Both were consistent, both were pitching clean and tight with very few mistakes. We managed to get on base a bit more than the Phillies but we couldn’t do anything there. Lee’s pitching was that good.
In the end, we won when Brandon Belt (#FreeBelt) came in one or two outs into the top of the 11th. After Brandon Crawford struck out in the bottom of the 11th, Belt singled to center (I think). With one out and one man on, Angel Pagan singled to…somewhere on the field I don’t even remember (this is the best game recap ever, right? This is why I’m going to learn scoring this season) and then Melky Cabrera stepped up to the plate, and on the second or third pitch, ripped one right and Brandon Belt stretched those giraffey legs of his and hauled his ass to home plate. Giants poured from the dugout. Timmy cleared the railing with a single hop (both legs tucked under him), and Melky was dogpiled along the third base line. It was glorious. GLORIOUS!
ETA: Brian Wilson undergoes his second Tommy John surgery today (April 19). They’re calling it Tommy John but we all know what it is: a procedure for a bionic arm. We (me) wish you a successful surgery and a Posey-esque rehab. See you soon, Willie.
So this happened tonight.
Our season is young, very young, and right now it looks like the most uncoordinated, bumbling baby that has ever existed. Our hitting is sporadic, our fielding is atrocious, and our pitching is…improving. Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum seem to be having some sort of Freaky Friday thing going on so far, which is very bad except for the way in which it is good: Zito’s pitching some amazing games. And hey, I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a fan of his but I never wanted him to fail. Take it as your personal challenge to prove me wrong, Zeets.
Lincecum’s shaky (dismal) start to the season is a bummer, but tonight he showed some resiliency (6.0 IP, 8H, 5ER, 1BB, 6K — I thought he got 7? Must’ve lost count). I mean, his ERA is like, a zillion now but after the first inning, he seemed to settle in a little and he looked REALLY good in the 5th and 6th (or maybe just one of those innings, I can’t remember — this is why I need to start taking notes). The guy who had serious ownage on him didn’t do much all night, which was a relief. If our offense had been able to string together more hits, the game would’ve been a lot closer. We might’ve even won.
I started a post on Sunday about Pablo, Melky, and Vogelsong, but I didn’t get to finish it before it faded into the obscurity of the following game. The point I most wanted to make in it stands, as far as I’m concerned, and it’s about Pablo. I think they sacrificed batting and fielding in favor of conditioning in the offseason and during spring training. I think it shows in how sloppy Panda’s playing 3rd base. This isn’t a guy I’d trust behind the plate. I don’t think it has anything to do with his weight. He’s held that post down at higher weights.
I think Brandon Crawford is going to wear himself out trying to cover all the weak spots in our defense. Huff’s slow coming out of left, Panda’s getting sloppy, Burriss is better than Theriot at fielding but he’s still missed a few vital plays. Crawford’s effectively covering a lot of ground around those areas. Definitely has more hustle than we’ve seen at SS in awhile. When his bat gets hot – and I predict it will – he’s going to be an incredible asset to this team.
Tomorrow (Tuesday) our shining hope, Madison Bumgarner, takes the mound. Wednesday, Brian Wilson goes to see Dr. Andrews in Florida. This weekend’s news (season-ending injury) might not be as bad as initially thought but Willie’s going to be out for awhile at the very least, and it’s going to suck (for those of us who lovehate his innings). He’s going to rehab in SF, so I look forward to Kruk & Kuip inviting him upstairs for a chat during a few games.
As for the rest of the season, who knows? Maybe we’re just getting all of our bad ball out of the way now so we can spend the rest of the season dominating. It’s a dream, at least, and until it comes true, I’m going to cling tight to Buster Posey’s angel wings and pray for a miracle.
*Image courtesy of estrella55
Sometimes it feels like a curse. Sometimes it feels like death is the only preferable option. Sometimes it feels like there’s an elephant on my chest or sand in my lungs. Sometimes the pain is exquisite, delicate and sharp behind my lungs, resting on my stomach. Sometimes the person trapped inside screams, thrashes herself bloody against the walls, retches until her sides split open and everything rotten inside pours out onto my floors.
Tonight it is dark, deep blue, velvet under my fingers. Tonight it is bittersweet, staring out a dark window into a dark night. Tonight is cutting out my heart with a dull knife. Tonight is cold, stale, filled to the corners with emptiness. Tonight is mourning a friend who turned out to be a stranger. Tonight is evidence and conjecture, tonight is hopeless. Tonight is unending.
I have a very volatile relationship with my writing. I have for a very, very long time. If pressed, I think I’d call it my longest, most emotionally unstable relationship ever. I’ve thrown it away, only to pick it back up ten minutes later. We’ve experienced uncomfortable alienation from time to time. At best, we are antagonistic toward one another these days.
The italicized bit up there is how I felt about writing last night. Tonight I feel less. Next to nothing. I can’t decide which night is worst: the one where words won’t come or the one where I am apathetic toward the process.