Nothing like a day game, and though the Giants and Athletics bade farewell to the saguaro, coming north--and home--to the wonderful Bay Area. And, while those of us in Northern California cannot really complain about our winter weather compared to the rest of the country, it has rained here 25 of the first 30 days of March. In fact Diane and I were supposed to go and meet friends in Lake Tahoe last week, and both days we planned, we got rain, but the Sierra got so much snow that Interstate 80, the artery between El Cerrito and Soda Springs, had to be closed.
But today, the sun came out. Finally. Gorgeously. And hopefully now spring has really sprung.
Not to mention, as I noted a while back, I am a foodie, and I love the show "Chopped," and since today was final cut day, that just all seemed right (in fact "Chopped All Stars" is playing in the background as I write).
As for the game, it was hard to be disappointed at ATT. It is such a wonderful ball park, with such a great view of the bridges and bay and parts of downtown. And, of course the sun, and the final baseball game of the pre-season for both squads.
So, Madison Bumgarner took on Dallas Braden, and both pitched well, and in and out of jams, with Braden going almost seven, tossing 89 pitches, 59 for strikes, while Bumgarner went six, and threw 85 pitches, 49 of which strikes. And, after eight, the only run was the result of a Ryan Sweeney double in the second, a swipe of third, and a sacrifice fly by Coco Crisp.
That was it till two out in the bottom of the ninth, after Bobby Carson got Tyler Graham on a grounder to second, and Sharlon Schoop to strike out, when Mike Fontenot singled, and was picked off, but a wild throw spared him, and moved the infielder to second. Eli Whiteside, who nailed three hits for the day, singled Fontenot home, and then advanced to second on the throw. Third string catcher Chris Stewart came in to hit for the eventual winner, Marc Kroon, and belted a deep single that scored Whiteside and that was all she wrote.
On the bubble, Aaron Rowand banged a pair of singles raising his spring average to .222, while Oakland's Conor Jackson played both first and outfield, but went 0-for-4, dropping his spring average to .174. And, through the excitement closers Brian Wilson and Andrew Bailey will start the season on the DL, but San Francisco upstart Brandon Belt had his contract purchased, so as my mate Jason Mastrodonato noted yesterday in this space, don't lose sight of him. In fact get him!
To answer your closer questions, the feeling is that both teams-deep in relievers--will go with the logical hot hand, depending upon circumstances. In other words, closer by committee. Though I will keep an eye on Michael Wuertz and Javier Lopez, myself.
Now all that is left is playing the games!