Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Giants vs A's - March 21st, 2006

The Giants lost to the A’s 6-4 yesterday (as they always seem to do in Spring Training) on a day where the weather started out nice and ended up dark and dreary. For the Giants it was a slow, sluggish day where they left another 11 men on base and where 3 of their 4 runs were unearned because of 2 A’s errors. The A’s were almost as lackluster as the Giants. They had 12 hits, yet half of their runs were unearned because of 2 errors by the Giants. The Giants played all of their projected starters with the exception of Barry Bonds and Lance Niekro. They certainly didn’t play with much energy. All and all an ugly game on a mostly ugly day.

Noah Lowry had what I thought was a terrible outing, although I read in the paper that he was happy with his day. His pitches were mostly high and mostly very hittable. Somehow the A’s needed an error by Mark Sweeney, to score more than 2 runs off of Lowry, even though he gave them 10 hits and a walk in only 4 2/3 innings. Sweeney fielded a groundball at 1B, tagged the bag for one out and then threw to home for what should have been an easy double play. Sweeney rushed the throw and bounced it about 2/3 of the way to Matheny at home. The ball got by Matheny and the A's baserunners were off to the races. It’s not a good thing to only throw the ball 60 feet when your target is 90 feet away. Just one of many mediocre to bad plays on the day.

Even though he was not charged with any errors, Omar Vizquel had a terrible day in the field. He just seemed to be a step slower than normal the entire day. Four of the A’s hits came on groundballs to SS that Omar just missed by a foot or less. He just wasn’t getting that quick first step to the ball that we have all come to expect from him. Add to that a 0 for 3 day at the plate and Omar’s day, like most of the game, was very forgettable.

After the starters left the game, the Giants kids came on and didn’t play any better than the veterans. Todd Linden was 0 for 2 and left 4 men on base. Kevin Frandsen was 0 for 2 and also left 4 men on base. Daniel Ortmeier was 0 for 1 with 2 left on. Jason Ellison was a little better going 0 for 1 with a walk and a stolen base. The only Giants replacements to get hits were Abraham Nunez, who went 1 for 2 with a walk and Todd Greene who had a single to show for his 2 ABs, although Jose Vizcaino (playing 1B for the first time this spring) did have 2 walks in 2 plate appearances.

The pitchers who followed Lowry did pretty well. Kevin Correia came on to relieve Lowry and pitched 2 1/3 very good innings, giving up no runs on no hits and no walks while recording 3 strikeouts. Correia had the A’s totally under control while reducing his spring ERA to 2.70. I thought he was out of the competition for the #5 starter spot a week or so ago. Now I am not so sure. Tyler Walker had his usual bad inning, giving up 1 run on 2 hits and a walk while registering 1 strikeout. Merkin Valdez finished the game with a perfect 9th inning, striking out 1. Merkin is another player who may be forcing the Giants to think about him for the 2006 season. Other than one outing, Merkin has REALLY looked good…….and that fastball is just smoking!

As an aside, the Giants’ pitchers were saved from further damage because they continue to be very stingy with the bases on balls. The Giants’ pitchers gave up only 2 walks on the day. In a real change from past years……the pitchers are not giving up the free pass like they usually do. Let’s all hope that trend continues into the regular season. Make the batters EARN their way on base.

Not a very memorable day, but there were a few bright spots. Correia and Valdez on the mound…….Finley, Durham and Winn at the plate. Like most spring games, some good…..some bad….although it was mostly bad.

Tonight is the Giants vs the Angels at Scottsdale for a 7PM game. I hate night games in the spring, but this game is particularly poorly timed. The weather is just starting to take a real turn for the better here, but the temperature is only supposed to get up to around 70 degrees today; whereas tomorrow we are supposed to get up close to 80. I hope you folks back in the Bay Area appreciate that I will have to endue another chilly game, just so you can watch the game on Fox Sports!! ;-)


GRMG said...

And yet...some of us in the Bay Area made our only trip to Scottsdale to sit in the cold and wind and rain!!

Jeremy said...

I'm going down to spring training on Friday. I'm catching the two weekend games. I'm staying in Phoenix. Anything that i must see or do while down there?

DrBGiantsfan said...

I think it's pretty obvious now that Merkin is getting a serious extended look. Nice bounce back from his last outing. One of the characteristics of a successful closer is the ability to bounce back after a blown save.

Tyler Walker would seem to be in some trouble, at least he should be.

Haven't seen Jeremy Accardo's name in the boxscores for awhile. Did he get reassigned? Is he hurting?