Hitting the road

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Another really tough loss today. Matt Cain had a no-hitter going into the fifth and we ended up losing, 13-8. Five losses in a row at home, and now we’re off to Colorado, Florida and Arizona for nine games on the road.

We’re very, very frustrated with what we’ve done so far as a team, I can tell you that. There were times during this homestand that I could hardly move from my locker after a game. I always try to talk to reporters because when I talk to them, I know I’m talking to the fans. But sometimes I take the losses so hard, I can’t talk to anybody.

I know other guys feel the same way. You always feel, if you didn’t come through when you’re needed to, that you let all your teammates down. And you let the fans down. That’s the worst feeling.

Still, you know you have to put it behind you. You have to keep fighting. That’s the only way. You don’t make it very far in baseball if you can’t battle through tough times. There is so much failure in this game that it’s easy to get beaten down by it. The ones who DON’T let it crush them are the ones who survive at the Major League level. And believe me when I tell you that this is a team not just of survivors, but of warriors. When we get to the ballpark in Colorado, we’ll put a fence around this awful loss and be ready to go 150 percent.

Part of what I do to get ready at the start of each series is to study the inch-and-a-half-thick scouting report on our opponent. Right now, I’m on the plane from San Francisco to Denver and going through the reports on each batter for the Rockies: How have they been swinging lately? What percentage of the time do they swing at curve balls, sliders, fastballs? What do they want when they get one strike? Two strikes?  How do they run?

Steve Holm is sitting in the row in front of me, and he’s going through the same stack of papers. We talk about the hitters and get an idea on how to pitch to each one, how to get each one out. At the ballpark, we’ll watch videos of the Rockies’ last few games with Dave Righetti and Mark Gardner, the pitching coach and bullpen coach. Those two guys are very, very prepared for every team. It’s amazing how much homework they do. So we go over the lineup together and come up with a plan for every batter.

Of course, once the game starts, what we prepared for and what actually happens could be totally different things. A batter might not do anything that the scouting report said he would. So Holmy and I have to be ready to adjust. Between innings, we’ll consult with each other and with Righetti about the next three guys in the order. Sometimes, in the dugout, I’ll look at the scouting report again to refresh my memory about a particular guy. Then, after all the hours of preparation, it’s up to the pitcher to make the pitch.

Two real positives of this homestand were Omar Vizquel’s return from the disabled list and Tim Lincecum’s continued great pitching. Omar is always so motivated and happy that he lifts everyone up. We feel pretty secure when he’s out on the field. Not taking anything away from the younger guys, but Omar is a veteran, a future Hall of Famer, and when he’s out there, we all feel pretty good.

People have been asking me what makes Lincecum special. The first thing I say is he has a great heart. He’s not afraid of anything. He’s not afraid of getting hit. His skills, of course, are amazing: He throws over 95 mph, has a great changeup, a great slider and curve. But what makes him so good, at least in great part, is that he believes no one can hit him. Sometimes pitchers give too much respect to batters. But Lincecum always seems to believe that no matter how great the batter’s reputation, he’s better, and he’s going to get him out.

Hitting the road1.JPG

OK, I should get back to studying this scouting report. Thanks for checking in. I’ll try to write more often. But I admit, when we lose, I’m not very eager to share my thoughts.

And during homestands, I’m trying to spend as much time with my family as I can, so I run out of time for anything but family and baseball. I took my younger daughter to the Exploratorium on Saturday and had a great time. What an amazing place. She thought it was awesome. Then after the game Saturday night, I took her into the batting cage behind the dugout and tossed balls to her. I was still in my uniform and dog-tired. But she was so happy that we stayed until about 11. She flew back today to Yuma, where she lives with her mother.

The toughest part of any homestand, besides letting go of the losses, is saying good-bye.

12 Comments

Any lose is a tough lose. the trick is to look at ths positives that developed during. For instance; Cains no hitter, Aurilia’s HR to open the board. never die attitude that was shown by our offense.

compared to where we were last year at this time( cuddling Bonds’ run at the HR record) we are at a much better place. These young players and pitchers should realize that regardless of our record, opposing hitters are scared of the pitching staff, as well as our offense, which is not affraid to lay out a squeeze bunt, when any other team would try for shallow fly for a hit.

keeping the defenses guessing, base hits, strong pitching and defense, that is going to be key for us.

attendance (I know) has not been there for the team this year, but don’t think for a minute that the true fans arent there in spirit. with a new born it makes it hard to go as many home games as i have in the past, but believe that my son has already been to three games this year after being born in Feb. his 1st being march 30 against oakland.

i subscribe to mlb tv so that i can watch and listen to the games when i can not attend.

I belive that our Giants will make a run at the NL west title, we will make it to the post season, and next year, if not this year, we will make it to the fall classic!

Thanks so much for taking the time to write in this blog. You give us hope that the players will get a break and be able to team well enough to come home victors!

My friends and I send our best wishes!

I finally got the see Alex Hinshaw pitch last night and I was amazed at his arm and his control. Mid 90’s fastball and a nasty curve. He is the real deal and I hope he gets to stay in the majors all year.

Are there other kids in AAA or AA that we can bring up to replace Walker and Chulk? I’m sure they are great guys, but they have cost us several games now and as a Giants fan I would rather bring up someone with fire in their belly that isn’t going to kill us every night.

Thank you for continuing to blog – especially during the ‘off’ days. Great win in CO tonight!

Dear Beamo (my nickname for you because you are like a beam of light for the team – someone to look up to): Your writing this blog says it all..you are a dedicated player and it shows on the field. As a fan, I appreciate your wanting us to know how hard the team works. It is very obvious that every time you go to the plate or catch a pitched ball you are doing your best. You are a hero! Louise

Bengie!! Haha let’s see if you can guess who this is. I had no idea you were doing this blog this year. I just came upon it by chance. I heard you won NL player of the week for last week and came to the Giants forum to see what everybody was saying about you. Glad to see you’re having such an awesome year so far. I try to catch as many games as I can on satellite, I’m always flipping between the Angels and Giants now. Man I always think how awesome the Angels would be if they still had you…but oh well at least you’re striving and leading your new team. The family says hi! Keep in touch bro…

Bengie!! Haha let’s see if you can guess who this is. I had no idea you were doing this blog this year. I just came upon it by chance. I heard you won NL player of the week for last week and came to the Giants forum to see what everybody was saying about you. Glad to see you’re having such an awesome year so far. I try to catch as many games as I can on satellite, I’m always flipping between the Angels and Giants now. Man I always think how awesome the Angels would be if they still had you…but oh well at least you’re striving and leading your new team. The family says hi! Keep in touch bro…

bengie- great blog!
we really appreciate that you’re writing from your heart here…glad you took the opportunity to do it

any players or coaches come to mind that you’ve met whose writing you’d like to read?

you know, mark grace called you a god (at the plate) on the diamondbacks broadcast😉 the other day, so it’s especially impressive that you take the time…

keep smackin the ball !

Hey Benjie! I enjoy reading your blogs so much!
Anyway, CONGRATULATIONS to you and the Giants for the sweep. It must feel so good for you guys to beat such a good team. My happiness might be comparable to your’s right now. (haha just kidding, but I am VERY VERY happy)
This season has definitely been my favorite season to watch since I started watching baseball several years ago. It’s just so fun to watch now. Every day, there’s a pitcher that I am confident in. Not only are the pitchers phenomenal this year, but you guys are hitting! I haven’t been this confident in our Giant’s team in a long time–when you guys make mistakes or have days where you guys just aren’t doing that well, I still feel so confident in you guys. I know that you guys can do it.
I am so proud of you guys. It really sucked in the beginning of the season when everyone said that the Giant’s would be the worst team–but what just happened this week?–you guys swept one of the best teams in the league! Anyway, good job Benjie! You have been doing so well–keep going!!

Fras-don’t take all the losses personally, you know you leave it all on the feild and it seems like your teammates are too, the rest is out of your control…????
You won the willie mac award for the above reasons, looks like you and rowand are battling for another. We see all that you do and know there’s way more we don’t see.
Nice wins lately, controbutions from everywhere, great rallies, way better ball than last year, Thank God Barry is gone, the real Giants fans are back and the games are better
Could you talk a bit about your two batting approaches I’ve heard about, the one with 2 strikes and the one without. What are you watching/thinking about while on deck. Do you go into the batters box with an approach and if so how do they vary
We’d love to hear from you again whenever you get time.
Take Care,Zman

Bengie,

Great win today. Glad to see we didn’t get swept by the Pads.

I was wondering why you called for a first pitch curveball against Gonzo? Hinshaw did a great job buckling Giles after many curveballs, why not start Gonzalez with a fastball?

He was obviously looking for that pitch and put a good swing on it to the deepest part of the yard. Are you getting too predictable?

I really enjoyed your blogs and I was wondering where I can get a hold of the Giants scouting report, so I can learn more about the team? I am living in Japan now and can’t watch any games. I can only read the stats. I would love to get a more in depth look at the guys. Thanks for the great work throughout the season. I had a great time following the new game plan and the new players. I will be following everything throughout the off season and be ready for next.

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