Do you remember those animated cartoons from TV in the late 60's where the Pitiful Little Man with hat in hand is followed around by a dark rain cloud? That Little Man was the Post-Posey-Injury Giants. This pitiful bunch just began a seven day road trip in Milwaukee, the first week of a 17 game stretch without a day off...look up foreboding in the dictionary and there's a picture of this week's SF Giants...
They clearly looked like Shell Shock Victims in their loss Thursday night to the visiting Florida Marlins. Friday night, a new light burst through that pesky rain cloud, and the World Champion San Francisco Giants are standing in the sunlight again!
Unfortunately, Giants' catcher Buster Posey isn't the only Giants player out with injuries...in fact Buster wasn't the only Giant hurt in Wednesday's game! Giants' shortstop Mike Fontenot pulled a groin muscle trying to beat out a hit to first base Wednesday and was placed on the 15 Day Injured Reserve List along with speedy base stealer Darren Ford.
The Giants recalled Brandon Belt from the their Fresno Triple-A Club, and bought the contracts of two Giants' prospects from their Farm System, catcher Chris Stewart, also from Fresno, and infielder Brandon Crawford from the Single-A San Jose Giants. Call Stewart an insurance move, as Giants' back-up catcher Eli Whiteside is the real deal, and the pitching staff knows and trusts him.
Getting his first Major League Start Friday night, Brandon Crawford played shortstop for the injured Fontenot. Typically, the first hit of the game was a grounder to Crawford who fielded the ball on one hop and threw the batter out at first.
Crawford lined out to center in his first at bat, and hit into a double play in the 5th. Then, in the seventh inning, Brandon Crawford hit it out of the park...with the bases loaded! Grand Slam, the Giants take the lead 5-4. Giants' Play-by-Play announcer, Duane Kuiper called the play: "High drive...right-center field...Outta Here! And the Kid hits a Grand Slam, and the Giants take the lead"... "Welcome to the Majors, Kid" Priceless...
You could almost see the sunrise in the Giants' dugout! That pesky cloud and all the Pitiful Little Men had vanished...heads were held high once again, and the Posey deal was removed from the team's focus. The Brewers scored to come within one run in the 8th, but with a little drama in the 9th, closer Brian Wilson saved the win for starter Tim Lincecum, who didn't have his best stuff, but still didn't issue any walks, gave up three runs on six hits, and struck out four.
As has been the Giants' style since last July, it's a different hero every night. What a relief. As the Narrator said in Steinbeck's "Cannery Row": "Once again the world was spinning in greased grooves" I second that emotion!
Rookie Crawford is only the third Giant to hit a Grand Slam for his first Major League hit. It was only moments after the Homer that TV put up a graphic with the three Giants who'd achieved the feat, and I realized I was in the stands of Candlestick Park on June 25th, 1968 when rookie Bobby Bonds got his first Major League hit, a Grand Slam. Bobby (Barry Bonds father) grounded out to shortstop, and was hit by a pitch, all while swinging for the fences, and the fans let him know of their displeasure when he wiffed big at the first pitch of his third at bat. Bobby blasted the ball over the right field fence and the boos became cheers, the Giants won that game and a star was born...not a given by any means...the Giants were loaded with Hall of Famers then, Willy Mays, Willy McCovey, Juan Marichal, and Gaylord Perry.
So the clouds are lifted off my Giants...this afternoon we saw some blue sky here in the Inland Valley too. The forecast says High Sierra campers will be cold...and may be making snowmen...1-3 inches of snowfall in Saturday night's forecast, and snow levels low enough that chain controls are possible...
I keep telling myself at least the boat ramps will be in the water come October!