Results tagged ‘ Bruce Bochy ’
This is baseball in a nutshell.
I landed in the record books with seven hits on Monday night.
The day before, I went 0-for-4.
The day after, I went 0-for-4.
Try to make sense of it and you’ll go crazy.
I began the game using the same bat I’d be using the whole road trip. The way I’d been hitting during the road trip, there was absolutely no indication that bat had so many hits in it. Though I guess I could look at it another way: the bat had plenty of hits left because I sure hadn’t used up too many.
I remember being pretty happy with my first hit on Monday night, a two-strike squib in the second inning that Dee Gordon couldn’t make a play on. I don’t get too many infield singles, so it felt like a gift.
My second hit was a lead-off double over the first-base bag. Again a little lucky. A few inches to the right and it’s foul.
I struck out my third time up.
Then, down 5-1 in the seventh, I got a two-hopper between first and second in the five-run rally that put us ahead 6-5.
We fell behind again, 7-6, and in the eighth I jammed a blooper into right field that tied the score at 7. I thought Giancarlo Stanton had a chance to dive and catch it, so I lucked out again a bit there.
Now it’s the 11th inning. Buster’s on first, no outs. I get two strikes, foul twice, then hit a line-drive single up the middle. That’s when Buster tried to eat third base. I was worried at first then he got up and, other than a little embarrassed, he looked fine. So of course I thought it was pretty funny — until I heard that he had jammed his finger. And that scrape on his chin was pretty bad.
(But Buster had a sense of humor about it. In the clubhouse after the game, I saw him on his phone watching it on the MLB app and he was laughing to himself. MLB network showed it in slow-motion on TV and we all got laughing. His finger was still hurting, though, and he sat out the next day.)
So that was my fifth hit. I’d never had five hits in a game before. I’d only gotten four a couple times. So I’m thinking this is pretty cool. And I figured that was it. We were already in extra innings, so I probably wasn’t going to get another at-bat, much less another hit.
But the game slogs into the 13th and I hit a triple to right.
Six hits. Crazy.
Now we go to the 14th. Belt and Buster get on base. Two outs. Here I come to the plate. I’m no statistician, but with six hits already, I know I’m not going to get a hit. I’m due – overdue – to make an out. I’m thinking, “It’s too bad it’s me in this situation. This kind of sucks for us.’’
The Marlins had just brought in Andrew Cashner to pitch. I’d done fairly well against Cashner. I know what he has. But of course I don’t know how he’s going to pitch me here. First pitch is a ball. Then I get a slider up the middle that I drive into center. And we go ahead, 8-7.
After the game, after watching all the replays of Buster’s face-plant, a reporter told me that seven hits in a game is rarer than a perfect game. I shared this information almost immediately with Matt Cain. He was a bit defensive, pointing out that every starting pitcher has a chance to get a perfect game but rarely does, while most batters never even have the chance to get seven hits.
Well, I don’t care. I’m pretty thrilled with it. I’m never going to get the home run record or career hits record, but I’ve been incredibly lucky in the record-book department. I’m one of just six players to hit a grand-slam in my first Major League game. And I’m the first shortstop in baseball history to hit a grand slam in a post-season game (2014 Wild Card game against the Pirates).
It’s crazy to think that in the whole history of the game, you’re among such a small group of people who accomplished a particular feat.
However puffed up I might have been feeling on Monday, I was humbled on Tuesday with the 0-for-4. That’s the game. Always humbling you.
I think I’ll blame it on giving the bat to the Hall of Fame. Maybe it still had some juice in it.
MLB has to authenticate all your stuff from the game on the day it happens, so they were in the clubhouse that night. They authenticated my bat, gloves, helmet, jersey and cleats. I’m keeping the jersey and the cleats. The jersey just because I want it. And the cleats because they’re the only ones I have and want to use them the rest of the season.
I think I’m getting the lineup card, too.
I know right now it might not look like that 14-inning win is the turning point in our season. But I think it still might prove to be the moment we look back on. We had to grind it out – Bochy in the hospital, Pence with his black eye, Buster with his scraped face and jammed finger. As Jon Miller said, we looked like a poster from the Civil War.
We were feeling pretty great that night though we were completely exhausted. You couldn’t help but look around the clubhouse and think, I’ll take my chances with these guys any day.
I know you all are happy with MadBum for the grand slam today. I’m mad at him. I have two grand slams in my whole life. He has two this year! I’m never going to hear the end of it.
My two grand slams: One in Triple A, and one in high school. The one in high school was against Will Alvis. That’s Will Alvis. A-L-V-I-S. He’s one of my buddies now. I want to make sure everybody knows I hit a grand slam off him.
This win against the Diamondbacks was a great way to go into the break. Great offense, great defense, great pitching. As Bochy has said, we’ve been a Tale of Two Teams. But we can’t change that. Now we have to use this game as kind of a springboard into morphing back into the team we know we really are.
I was scratched from the lineup right before the game. I tweaked my back in batting practice and started spasming. It’s nothing new. It happens about twice a year. It almost happens in spring training because I’m not used to playing. That’s probably the reason it happened today, too. My body is not all the way back from my time off with the thumb injury.
I did treatment in the training room all afternoon, but nothing helped. I’m about to get on a plane back home to Texas tonight, so I’ll take a pain reliever. I’ll rest it over the next few days of the All-Star break, and it’ll be fine.
Haylee and I plan on setting up the baby’s room while we’re home. We’ve shipped a crib we bought here and a bunch of great stuff people gave Haylee at her baby shower a couple weeks ago. Those baby showers are pretty awesome. I’m not sure we have to buy anything!
The rest of the time at home we’ll hang out with family and friends and take it easy. We’ll have people over for a cook-out Tuesday and watch the All-Star Game. To be honest, I don’t know if I’d watch the game if my friends weren’t coming over. It might be nice to get away from baseball altogether for a couple days. But we’ll have a good time.
No movie reviews today. I drove to the theater Thursday night to see the new Planet of the Apes movie, but when I got there I was so tired I turned around and went home. I drove there again yesterday and when I pulled up, I said, “Nah.’’ Too many people, for one thing, and I just didn’t have the energy. I think I’m just not used to playing yet.
I’m empathizing a little more with Haylee and her tiredness being pregnant. If this keeps up, I’ll have to add another grade to my movie rating system: BA — Brandon Asleep.
Here are a few answers to your questions:
Yes, I read all the comments. I like reading them. I appreciate all the advice and suggestions and funny replies. Sorry I don’t answer all of them.
We don’t prank new players when they arrive. We wait until the end of the season. That way we can include the September call-ups. It’s not that bad: Mostly you just have to dress up in ridiculous outfits. The photos will be all over the internet, so you’ll get to see what we do. ICYMI, here’s a photo of me and Crawford in 2011.
No, I don’t like True Lies because of the hotel dance scene. But it’s pretty comical. It’s Jamie Lee Curtis stripping for her husband but she doesn’t know it’s her husband.
We did not name Lilly after the Pink Martini song. I’ve never heard it. I will try to check it out sometime soon.
That’s it! If I don’t get out of here right now, I’m going to miss my flight. Talk to you after the break!
It’s been a week already since I was in Napa with Haley. It was awesome. We went to Black Stallion winery on Silverado Trail. They were Giants fans so they took really good care of us. Then we went to Il Posto Trattoria and I had the best chicken parmigiana. It was such a relaxing time and really great to spend time with Haley. During the season, you never have enough time with your family, so you really appreciate the time you do have.
Neither one of us knows anything about wine, but we have a great time bumbling through and trying not to embarrass ourselves too much. Everyone’s really nice about explaining how the wine is made and what to pay attention to in the different kinds of wine. I don’t know if I’ll ever be a big wine drinker, but Haley and I both love it up there. I think the wine country will be an annual getaway for us.
As you know, it’s been a really uneven start to the season for us. With the injuries and some of us scrapping a bit more than usual, Angel Pagan called a players-only meeting on Friday. He talked about how we’re a good ball team that knows how to win and that if we keep playing hard, things are going to start going our way.
Then other players spoke. Buster, Melky (with Angel translating), Huff. Javy Lopez. A lot of the veterans. (Buster is like a veteran even though he’s so young.) They reassured the younger players that even though you might be struggling now, it’s a long season and you’re going to get on track. Don’t let your struggles affect your confidence.
I think it helped. As a young player, when things are going bad, your mind can start racing. You’re thinking, “Maybe I should be doing this. Maybe I should be doing that. What should I be doing different?’’
So the veterans were telling us to just step back and take a deep breath and get some perspective. There’s still a lot of season left to play. We can still make up ground. They reminded us to just work hard every day. Trust what got you here. Stick together. Be a team.
It was great to have just the players in there because we know it’s up to us. Bochy can have the best strategies in the world but it’s up to us to execute. We have to play the game the way it’s supposed to be played – the way we know we can play it.
We can’t wait to get into Dodger Stadium.
Last year when Bochy called me in his office and told me I made the Opening Day roster, I was so emotional that I had to take a few minutes to collect myself before going back into the clubhouse.
This year was a little different. I still didn’t know if I was going to make the team. So that part was the same. For six weeks in spring training you’re wondering and wondering. You’re thinking, “God, I just want to know.’’ They don’t tell you anything. It’s nerve-wracking. I figured I wouldn’t find out until Wednesday, when the final cuts were to be made and announced.
So Tuesday afternoon in Oakland, I’m at the cage during batting practice before the preseason game against the A’s. Bochy comes up to me and asks how I’m doing.
“I feel pretty good,’’ I say. “Hope to get a couple more hits tonight.’’
“If you get two,’’ he says, “you make the team.’’
I laugh and say, “I’ll do my best.’’
“No,’’ Bochy says. “You made the team. Congratulations.’’
It was awesome to hear that. I was really happy and relieved. But no tears this time. (By the way, I got only one hit that night so good thing Bochy was kidding.)
The biggest difference from last year to this year is my confidence. Last year, I didn’t know what was going on. Even as far as the plane and hotels. You’re always one stupid move from making a complete fool of yourself.
And when I struggled at the plate, I got advice from a bunch of different people and felt obligated to listen to all of them. This year, I’m confident in my approach at the plate, something I worked on in the Dominican winter league and during spring training. If I do go into a slump, I know I’ll come out of it without scrambling around and changing everything. I know myself better and what works for me. So I’ll take the advice that’s useful and leave the rest.
The team feels different this year, too. Not radically. But I feel we gelled right from the start of spring training. It seems like everyone’s kind of on the same level, like there’s no hierarchy.
Of course, it could be just that my perception has changed because I’m no longer a rookie. Last year, I came into a clubhouse with a lot of veterans and I kind of felt I was by myself. This year, not only do I have a year of experience under my belt, but there are more young guys – Brandon Crawford, Brett Pill, Hector Sanchez.
The other thing is having Buster back. He’s one of the biggest leaders in the clubhouse and one of the biggest bats in the lineup – both of those are huge and have an impact on how the team feels overall. Everyone’s real confident.
I’m sharing the blog this year with Crawford. We’ll be alternating. So look for his entry in the next couple days.
See you back in San Francisco next week. Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave comments. I love reading them and will try to answer your questions in an upcoming entry.