Thursday, March 09, 2006

Giants @ Angels

I guess the big story of the day was the return of one Barry Lamar Bonds. Bonds was in extremely good spirits and seemed very happy to be returning to action. He visited with a few of the Angels players before the game and did several running drills prior to game time. Barry ran high knee lifts, side shuttle runs, and full sprints and seemed to be running very well. I saw no signs of a limp either before or after the game.

Bonds had two at bats as the DH. He went 1 for 2 with a relatively weak bouncer in the hole between 1B and 2B and a strikeout. The Giants stranded him on 1B, so we did not get to see him run the bases. All and all I am sure he was happy with his performance. It was good to see him play in a spring game for the first time in 2 years. The fans gave him a mixed reaction, but I was surprised that in an away park, the cheers far outnumbered the boos. I just watched Sport Center and their coverage sounded like the cheers and boos were about even. I don’t know where they had their microphone, but that is not the reaction I heard. The Angels fans were actually quite receptive. They seemed to be as happy to be able to see Bonds play as the Giants fans did.

The Giants lost the game when Kendry Morales slammed a solo HR off of Tyler Walker in the 9th inning to break a 5-5 tie. It is hard to tell how Tyler was pitching, as Morales was the leadoff hitter in the 9th. I don’t think Tyler quite has it yet. This is the second game he has blown already this spring.

Matt Morris started the game and got in 4 innings of work. He wasn’t at all sharp, giving up 7 hits and 4 earned runs. Morris seemed to be around the plate and was not falling behind the batters, but the batters were just hitting him with regularity. Armando Benitez relieved Morris and gave up 3 hits to the first 3 batters he faced, 2 of the hits were on first pitches. Benitez, then buckled down and got out of the inning with only 1 run scored.

Jamey Wright pitched scoreless 6th and 7th innings while giving up 2 hits and recording 2 strikeouts. I like what I have seen in Wright so far. He has a good pitcher’s build, decent velocity and has been around the plate in his appearances. The old man, Jeff Fassero pitched a perfect 8th inning while striking out 1 Angel. In a change from what we saw last year…..the Giants’ pitchers have been avoiding the walk like the plague this spring. Despite giving up 6 runs today, the Giants’ gave up zero walks. Giants pitchers are averaging less than 2 walks per 9 innings this spring.

The Giants’ had 10 hits in this game to go along with 1 walk and 2 errors committed by the Angels. Steve Finley led the attack going 2 for 2 with a HR, a run and 2 RBI. Todd Greene was 2 for 3 with 2 LONG doubles off the CF wall at the 420 foot mark. Lance Niekro went 1 for 3 and in yet another big change from last year, received his FIFTH walk of the early spring season. Jason Ellison went only 1 for 4 but he had an easy triple, had 2 RBI and scored a run.

It was a close, well played game on both sides. The Giants’ record now stands at 5-3 for the spring. I am always a little uncomfortable about the Giants having a winning Spring Training record, but I must admit that it is more fun to watch a win than a loss.

Tomorrow the Giants play the White Sox in Tucson. This will be the only Giants game of the spring that I will miss. Rather than take the 2 hour drive to Tucson, I will be staying in Scottsdale and watching Team USA try to make the next round of the WBC tournament by beating a truly awful South African team. I sure hope the Americans remember who they are and play better than they have been. If they put Al Leiter in the game, I will just scream!!!


DrBGiantsfan said...

Thank you once again for the great pictures and reports. Jamey Wright indeed looks like a horse out there. Did we really need to sign Matt Morris? LOL! The other guy who sure looks like a player if he could somehow close the holes in his swing is Todd Linden. There appears to be unlimited potential in that body.

Teh Neifi Chicken said...

Good to hear about Wright, I've been pulling for him since the signing for a host of reasons.

That's really the key for him too, staying around the plate. If he can do that well, he's gonna do well. Unfortunately, he's never really been able to over his career