Romo looks to take it even higher and more amazing Morse muscle
You don want to hyperventilate too much over the 29th game of a 162 game season, but Friday night 2 1 Giants win over the Braves at Turner Field definitely had a playoff feel to it, even it was just the first game in May. A lot of really good things happened to start this l o n g 10 game road trip. OK, so the Giants had chances to break the game open a few times and couldn get the big hit, but perhaps it better that they had to nurse a one run lead for much of the game, and down to the last pitch.
wins, as Sergio Romo termed it, go down better because they almost always take more than one hero. The Giants had a bunch. Angel Pagan, leading off the game with a homer. Tim Lincecum, fighting through at least four jams in six innings and only surrendering one run. Michael Morse, hitting yet another ridiculous homer, and more on that in a bit. Brandon Crawford, making two scintillating plays, including one that may have saved the game to start the ninth. Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla delivering more splendid set up, and finally, Sergio Romo, conquering his demons in a park that has not been kind to him at all in his career.
a great way to start a trip, said manager Bruce Bochy. get two runs and win on the road, it always a good thing. here. Yes, the Giants may have won the 2010 NLDS at Turner (not easily, though, and Brooks Conrad still doesn have his World Series ring). But in the regular season, this place has been a bitch for the Giants. They won precisely two series here in 20 YEARS. That right, one in 2008, and another in 2012, and that it since 1994. They don have this one yet, but Friday was a nice start. And the Giants were savoring it just a bit more than the garden variety regular season victory, as they should have.
closing out the World Series in 2012 and proving he could be a full time closer with a 43 save 2013 season, Romo could be resting on his laurels. But give him props for trying to improve his already high standard of relief pitching. He already has the guts, as he showed against Justin Upton by throwing a fastball by him for the final out, much like he did Miguel Cabrera to end the Series.
But he also still working hard to improve his arsenal of pitches and refine his locations with those pitches. He not just Mr. Slider Slinger anymore. He has that changeup now. He worked in a two seam fastball that he started throwing last year.
thing about a pitcher who doesn power his way through hitters, they have to be smart and they have to try to get smarter with other pitches to help him, said Bochy. who he is. He doesn have that 97, but he got the savvy and he got good stuff. He throws harder than you think, but lefties were hitting him pretty good, so he worked hard on his changeup to help him out there. who threw a filthy split finger to strike out Freeman in the seventh, made an even more pointed assessment about Romo.
at Upton, Affeldt said. was away away and then he throws that pitch (fastball) and it locks him up. Lefties now, they aren going sit to be able to slider coming in (on the outside corner). They start reaching out there, he got that changeup. That a big pitch for him, and it a groundball pitch. It a moving pitch. Movement for him is key, because he can dot his heaters. It makes it really tough on hitters. downplayed it, but getting his first save in this park was a real breakthrough for Romo. He came into the game 0 2 with a 16.88 ERA in five appearances here. He blew a save last year on a Freddie Freeman walk off. He also had that two run Eric Hinske playoff homer on his ledger back when he was a setup man in 2010.
What is it about this park? Romo doesn know, but he was adamant that it has had nothing to do with that silly Tomahawk chant.
some reason, I taught myself selective hearing over the course of my career, he said. I didn hear it tonight, no. One that traveled over 340 feet. Morse said he was looking away in both of his first two at bats. The first time, he really did pop one up for an out. But the second, while he didn get it all, got more wood. The man simply has amazing, Kingman esque strength. He quickly becoming one of those guys you definitely don leave your seat when he comes up to hit. You never know what you going to see.
just kind of muscled it out, he said. tough to explain. so strong, I said it had a chance when he hit it, said Bochy. got a little different popup than the rest of them. should also be noted that Morse made a very nice play on a sinking shot to left by Justin Upton with two on and two out in the fifth to help preserve Lincecum chances for victory after a run had scored.
feeling good in left, he said. getting some opportunities, and I real relaxed and confident. man becomes a bigger bargain by the day. If he can just stay healthy now It been a fun gig with the Warriors of late, but it good to be back in a ballyard for a game of this kind of quality. So we send it out with a great Solomon Burke tune, In Your Heart. Other sports are wonderful, but baseball is where I ultimately feel I belong.
Great post Carl. A very hearty post game report. I have always believed Romo to be one of the smartest pitchers on the Giants, and that includes starters. He is a crafty right hander and its easy to forget that because of all the exuberance he pitches with. He has a loud act but behind all the noise, you begin to notice just how sharp he is upstairs. He understands very well what makes him succesfull. The wipeout slider is obviously a nasty pitch but its Romo pinpoint control that allows him to throw an 88mph FB and be a big league closer and a damn good one. Along with that, he understands pitching no question.
I think a lot of Giants pitchers can learn from him that pitching with pinpoint control, keeping the ball down, and understanding hitters can do wonders for you when you play half your games at ATT.
About the Braves : okay so they lost Medlen Beachy. Minor last night, he good. Teheren today he a stud, .93 WHIP, can swing the bat, Persian Cat is actually Columbian. A couple of capable young guys in Wood and Hale.
Ervin Santana is pitching great in ATL looking much better than Ubaldo. Harang off to a great start but how long can that last. And Gavin Floyd is coming off the DL by next week.
As for that nasty pen, Johnny Venters coming back from DL this summer.
So, a tip of the cap to Frank Wren. The Braves are built to contend for sure.
Blackburn averaged well over a strikeout per inning in his full years with Augusta and San Jose, so I don know about missing bats, but he apparently has outstanding command. Maybe the closest comp for him on the Giants is Petit, who strikes out a surprisingly high number of hitters despite a mediocre FB.
Blach was a college pitcher and is several years older than Blackburn, who just turned 21 in January surprising he a more finished product. But Blackburn looks like he may be a 16th round steal.
Blackburn is a 16th round steal. Lucky for the Giants the draft rules changed the year after the Giants drafted him. They would not have been able to offer him a hundred grand to bypass college without paying a big fine. He would have been some other teams first round draft pick last year out of the University if Oklahoma. Blach is only 23 (doesn turn 24 until October) I like both equally well. The surprising thing about Blach is just how far ahead he is compared to Stratton and Agosta, both drafted ahead of him.
Quick note on Josh Osich. He really struggling at Richmond this year. The guys that announce the Squirrels games say his problems are not physical but mental. Too much going on in his head. Don be surprised to see him back in San Jose if his problems continue. Steven Okert could pass him up if he continues to impress at San Jose.
The vast majority of are missed by the hitter. How many times do you hear was right on that one
Most of those are and result in foul balls, and there are many just missed, popped up, or otherwise don result in hits, let alone HRs. A may even be a good pitch(accidentally) if say the hitter was looking down and away. Footsy is right for a change ( OK, that was to let him know I feeling better ). In addition to all that I listed, Romo probably gets away with more of these because nobody expects anything above the belt and in the zone from him.
The Giants are doing exactly what they didn do for much of May, June and July of last year and that hitting when they need to hit and pitching when they need to pitch. Even in most of the games where the starters got blasted early, the offense has picked it up and given the team a chance to win those games except for perhaps two or three occasions. The main ingredient so far has been the pen. Even last night, three stellar innings. I said it last night and I say it again, with Lincecum at 91 pitches and with the way the Giants pen has been pitching, I think the Braves best chance was PH Gattis in the sixth instead of a light hitting LHB catcher. I bet my bottom dollar that if Bochy were managing the Braves, Gattis would have batted right then.
Responding to Clutch from last night regarding Lilard last shot. I believe it was Parsons guarding him. Definitely wasn Lin. it one thing for a guy to catch and launch but in last night case Parsons (?) was so far behind that Lillard was able to set his feet. Up by 2 with .9 seconds left and a foul to give i don understand why NBA coaches don extend the defense and take away the three pointer. it not 1992 anymore. Most teams have at least one player that hits 40% on three With a longer in bound pass inside the arc there a better chance the defender can foul before the shot. Parsons was a good 15 feet away from Lillard when he caught the ball. Something for McHale to ponder in the off season.