First off, the team can’t get around its injuries. Moises Alou’s sprained ankle is just the latest problem the Giants have to deal with. The league’s best hitter left a huge hole in the Giants offense, and were he in the lineup, maybe Saturday’s 4-1 outcome would have been different. As far as runs are concerned, the game at Citizen’s Bank Ballpark was tame. It gives Coors Field a run for its money with wacky scores, and ranks right up there with how an inning can turn from bad to horrifying in the Colorado ballpark.
Weirdness touched down in a big way. While it was not quite a Candlestick night, the wind was a factor. Everyone is waiting for Barry Bonds to hit another home run. Saturday night, the best he got was an eighth-inning bloop single to left, and without help from the wind, he’d have an 0-fer on the evening. Then there was the double play that shouldn’t have happened, set up in the oddest of ways.
Bonds stood at first after his bloop, with Feliz standing at second. Steve Finley hit a ball that in turn hit Bonds as he ran to second, and Bonds was ruled out, with Finley safe at first. It took the team out of the sure double play, but it led to an even stranger turn. Lance Niekro hit one to shortstop Jimmy Rollins, who bobbled the ball. Feliz broke from second, and after the ball was dropped, kept going. He was caught up, and tagged out by third baseman David Bell. Only Pedro Feliz can turn a non-force situation into a force. Finley was out at second, and scorekeepers across America cried as they tried to sort it all out.
Somewhere in the madness, there was a baseball game, one that’s probably better forgotten. Wright pitched well enough, again, but was on the wrong end of the result. He went six innings and allowed five hits, but his line was littered with mistakes. Philadelphia second baseman Chase Utley is making a name for himself in the league, and is becoming a real pain to the Giants. He took Wright deep in the first inning, no cheap home run even in this ballpark, and later would collect an RBI on a double that scored pinch hitter David Dellucci.
On a night where the other big Philly bats were silencedBobby Abreu, Ryan Howard, Pat Burrellthe Phillies still found a way to get to Wright. A third inning walk with the bases loaded scored starting pitcher Ryan Madson, bad enough to give away a run for free. Perhaps worst of all is how many times the Phillies ended up empty handed with runners aboard, and how the Giants just could not capitalize on the futility.
Ryan Madson is in danger of losing his rotation spot to phenom Cole Hamels, and with his ERA above 7.00 before tonight, it’s not hard to see why. He allowed the Giants base runners throughout his six innings of work, and only one could cross the plateMike Matheny on Randy Winn’s groundout. The Giants mounted rallies in the first, second and third innings, and through various mistakes, left all runners stranded.
Other lowlights of the game include Kevin Frandsen looking worse than Giants fans have hoped, or for those who have been following him since the minors, like nothing they’ve ever seen. Young Frandsen’s fielding was sloppy at best, with a double clutch on a double play turn in the third inning. He recorded the out, Jimmy Rollins scored from third anyway. Frandsen is blameless in that one, as Rollins would have scored regardless, but it’s difficult to see the rookie stumble after his stellar debut.
A small scare came right away, when Bonds broke back on Rollins’ fly out to lead off the game. The wind took it for a ride, and caused Bonds to move faster than his gimpy knee is used to. He made the catch, after a lot of lumbering, no doubt sending Giants fans into fits and panic. Between that and his acrobatics to avoid the ball that hit him on the base paths, it is to wonder if he’ll be around to play games very much longer.
Feliz’s big day was wasted, but his three singles point to his improvement as a hitter. Add it to the solid defense he’s provided all season long, and it’s a small bright spot for the team on this hellacious road trip.
Jeremy Accardo has returned from AAA Fresno and thrown well. Aside from the run he gave up in the seventh inning, he’s thrown five innings of shutout ball in relief. He also struck out reigning National League Rookie of the Year Howard and Burrell back to back in the eighth, no small achievement.
From here, it gets no easier. The finale of this series comes Sunday night at 8pm on the East Coast. While it’s good for ESPN to have the Great Ruth Chase on national television, saying it’s bad for the Giants is the understatement of the year. They have to play a very late game on getaway day, and be back in the Bay Area for a 7pm start against Houston Monday night. At what cost publicity?
SFDugout.com Player of the Game: Everyone’s favorite whipping boy Pedro Feliz wins the prize. In a game like this, it’s a prize nobody wants. But he’s hit safely in six straight games and was featured in the three hole of Felipe Alou’s lineup. It may be that he was put there as a result of Moises Alou’s absence. Whatever the case, he made it count.
Notes: Don’t get too comfortable with the idea of Justin Knoedler behind the dish He joins the club again, with the roster spot vacated by Alou. The Giants need another catcher for a few days while Todd Greene recovers from being run over by Prince Fielder in the Milwaukee series…the locals on the Phillies didn’t do a lot. Burrell (Bellarmine Prep) went 0 for 3 with an RBI and Rollins (Encinal High) went 1 for 4 with a run scored…too bad the Giants couldn’t win one for the greatest of them all. Willie Mays turned 75 today, and his present was a feeble Giants loss. Is it the thought that counts?
Chris has been a Giants fan since her days in utero. She loves baseball and writes about whatever she can get her hands on…even the Athletics. She's a Bay Area gal through and through. This is her 23rd season of fandom and first where she's had the honor to write for the Giants on SFDugout.com. Love/hate mail can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org, where the love mail gets top priority and the hate mail gets used for kindling.
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