|That's happy celebration!|
The Giants bench really picked up the bullpen today. Like really. With Mark DeRosa out, Freddy Sanchez with a (supposedly) ailing knee, and Aaron Rowand jamming up his back, the Giants bench was remarkably thin only a couple days ago.
But every Giants that came in today played a huge role in getting over that 2-run deficit in the late innings. Rowand didn't do so hot, but Manny Burriss comes in and pinch-runs for Pat Burrell in the seventh, has a couple great defensive plays, and then gets the game-winning hit.
Nate Schierholtz had a huge, huge at-bat against Grant Balfour in the eighth, working a 3-2 count before homering on seemingly the only mistake Balfour has made in the past three weeks. Bruce Bochy finally decides that Darren Ford might be able to hit in this league and he promptly singles, steals second, and scores on the single by Burriss.
Rowand, Burriss, Schierholtz and Ford. Sounds a lot better than DeRosa, Velez, Bowker, Ishikawa to me. A LOT better.
Again, even with the injuries they've had, the Giants right now are a very deep team, and that will bode well for them later in the season.
Also, 18 sell-outs at home. Bandwagon fans? If so, WHO CARES? The Giants are winning every game those fans come to! They might take away from the experience a little bit when they talk about how they remember "all the way back" when Bengie Molina was playing, but the atmosphere is palpable, the baseball is exciting, and none of them left early this whole series.
What's going on with Jeremy Affeldt? Brian Sabean looked like a genius when he locked up Affeldt through 2012 for only $9.5M, but as we've seen time and time again, middle relief is expendable. I'm not saying the Giants should cut Affeldt, but he was fantastic in 2009, regressed heavily in 2010 but recovered when it counted, and has started off 2011 in a similarly underwhelming fashion.
WHIP? ERA? BB/9? All up. All way up. I don't know what it is. When he's good, he's flat-out dirty. We saw it last year in the playoffs. If there's no Jeremy Affeldt, the Giants might not get past that a@#hole Chase Utley and the Phillies when Jonathan Sanchez goes down.
But when he's bad, it's like today. Affeldt gives up a single, a sac bunt, a double, and a single. Sergio Romo and Ramon Ramirez have ERAs under 1.50, and Javier Lopez is at a miniscule 1.06, but Bochy still goes to Affeldt, and for the third time this year, he's blown the lead.
If it keeps getting worse, put Marc Kroon on watch. The Giants don't need another lefty, but they do need another late-inning stopper.
Manny Burriss is a class act. That guy came up a couple years ago, was heralded as a future star, and then broke his most valuable asset: his foot. Then he got it repaired, rehabbed, came back as a monster in Spring Training, and broke it again. When you're built for speed, and then your break your foot legging out a triple, that's just bad luck.
He didn't have the power to stick, and when he was playing for the major league club, he just couldn't hit. And then he buckled down, figured something out in Fresno, and has come back with a vengeance to make this club. He was hitting .361 at Fresno and had 16 steals.
He's playing outfield. He's playing middle infield. And hey, if they really, really need him to, he's been taking grounders at short. It's like Eugenio Velez.
Sorry, let me rephrase that. It's like Eugenio Velez, BUT 1000 TIMES BETTER.
Remember when the Giants tried to make Velez into middle infield/outfield/pinch-runner? That didn't work out so well. He was terrible in the field and had no idea how to run the bases. And he was still in "prospect mode" when he was 28 years old.
Burriss has figured out a way to contribute off the bench, and maybe its the language barrier or something, but he seems like he wants to contribute, unlike Velez ever did. And he's 26. He's young. He's under team control. He can spell Freddy Sanchez and Fontenot up the middle. He's good.
Bruce Bochy has nicknamed Darren Ford "The Bullet" this season. Not just because he's fast, but because he's that one bullet he can use late in the game. So what's he going to call Manny Burriss? "The Other Bullet?"
They're both very fast. In seven games at Fresno, Darren Ford went 7-7 in stolen base attempts. In 21 games, Manny Burriss went 16-19 swiping bags. In all, the Grizzlies have been running wild, stealing 83 bases in 44 games. That's not a typo. Thats almost two steals per game. The next highest total is Reno, with 52.
Anyways, Burriss and Ford have grown very close. They're always together inside and outside the clubhouse. They're this year's edition of the Giants bro-mantic comedy that starred Aubrey Huff and Pat Burrell last year. So it seemed only fitting that today Burriss knocked in Ford from second to win the game. And it's about time they both got the chance to show that they can do more than just run.