Thursday, March 01, 2007

First Spring Game - Giants at Cubs

Finally, the first "real" game of the Spring; Giants vs Cubs at Ho Ho Kam Park in Mesa. I was seated farther away from the field than I will be this entire spring. My camera was on full zoom for most of the photos. My photos usually show the players from a closer point of view.......but that was not possible today.

I thought with Bochy as the new manager, we might see a few more of the regulars this spring than we have in past years. But whether it was by design or because of the "flu like" symptoms that have been going around the clubhouse, that was not the case today. The Giants only started half of their regular position players. Fred Lewis replaced Barry Bonds in LF, Todd Linden replaced Randy Winn in RF, Kevin Frandsen replaced Ray Durham at 2B and Mark Sweeney replaced Rich Aurilia and Ryan Klesko at 1B. It didn't matter though, since the Giants thrashed the Cubs 9-2. The Giants last 4 runs were unearned because of the Cubs replacement thirdbaseman, Scott Moore. It didn't matter....I would have been happy with a 5-2 win.

Again I am not going to repeat the information contained in the photo captions. Also, boxscores are readily available all over the I won't duplicate them either.

Zito and Ortiz really made my day. They both looked good. I don't think Zito's curveball is getting as much bite as it will later on in the year. Hitters seemed to foul off many of the curves that I think they might swing through once the team leaves Arizona. Ortiz was as good or better than I have seen. He had a good fastball and he was hitting the corners with regularity. By the way.......before someone mentions it (although they will anyway), I know that Spring Training performance doesn't mean anything.......especially this early when the pitchers are ahead of the batters. But, I will give my opinions of player performance, good or bad. I realize it may have no correlation to regular season performance........but I am going to give my opinions anyway. That being said, it's hard not to be optimistic about Ortiz' performance today......early or not.

I was not so impressed with Vinnie Chulk or Jack Taschner today. I detailed Chulk's performance with his photo caption. Taschner gave up the other Cubs run in the 7th. Again, like Chulk, although I thought the Cubs hit the ball way too hard off of Taschner......I also think that with good defense he could have gotten out of the inning without a run scoring. After getting the first 2 batters of the inning out, Taschner gave up a single. He followed that up by allowing a very deep double to the wall at the 410 foot mark in CF which allowed the run to score. No question the ball was hit VERY hard......but also no question that Clay Timpner got back to the wall. It could have been the sun......but Timpner was turned around a couple of times while chasing the ball and while he was deep enough, the ball bounced off the wall to his left. It would have been a good defensive play.....but it could have been made.

I covered most of the offensive highlights with the photos.......except Thomas DeLaRosa. DeLaRosa continues to say "Wait a minute" to the notion that Kevin Frandsen has the utility infielder position sewed up. He hit a solo HR in his first AB. That gives him 2 HRs, a double and 4 RBI in 9 innings of play including today's game and the two intra-squad games. Todd Linden also hit the ball well with an infield single (good speed) and a double in 3 ABs. The double was a rocket that was hit right at the firstbaseman. The ball took a bad hop and it was hit so hard that it damn near put a hole in the firstbaseman's shoulder, before bouncing into RF (that's gonna leave a mark). The scorer rightfully scored it as a clean double. Even without the bad hop the ball could have been ruled a hit if the firstbaseman mishandled it. With the bad hop.......he is lucky he escaped with his life. A few inches difference and the ball could have hit him in the face. Linden is just pounding the ball.

Good day.....good Giants win....even though spring wins mean nothing. Tomorrow it is the Giants' home opener against the Brewers. If any of you are in Scottsdale Stadium......come by and see me. I will be in section 113 row H seat 1.


Anonymous said...

Glad to hear Todd's started off good. I wonder if Boch would bench Winn & his salary if Linden is hitting better in May.


DrBGiantsfan said...

bI don't think it's too early to start getting impressions about certain players. Does this game guarantee that Ortiz is all the way back? Well no, but he needed to get off to a good start this spring and he sureasheck did. Zito, Ortiz, Wilson, Linden. I would consider those the stories of the day. Great to see Brian Wilson slam the door even if it wasn't a save situation.

I agree with you about DeLaRosa. As much as I love Kevbo, I'm not so sure he wouldn't be better off playing everyday in Fresno than being the utility guy in SF.

Man, I sure hope that flu bug doesn't set everybody back too far. I guess if it's going to happen, it's better to come right at the beginning of ST so the guys have time to recover. I think I read that this is more of a GI virus than respiratory. That's good because while GI viruses tend to cause more violent illness, they also don't tend to hang on as long.

Anonymous said...

we kid you about your "off days", but I appreciate the photos and insight...................................keep up the great work.

brycemus said...

Thanks for keeping me up to date on what's going on. It's not that easy to follow your favorite team when it's 5-7,000 miles away.
I've seen reports that Ortiz changed some mechanics...and it seems to be noticeable now.

But what about Zito...has he lost anything with his changes?

Giantfan9 said...

Zito's "changes" only lasted 2 days. His delivery is exactly the same as it was last year.

Anonymous said...

hi fan9, glad to hear Linden is stingin the ball.
On Ortiz--the photo looks like he is rearing back in a normal way like he said he would, rather than short arming. I am curious to hear and see whether he returns to bad habits as the innings build up and the tension increases.
Will be awaiting your observations--54