I go out to eat almost every day. Nothing fancy, mind you I'm not really a white table-cloth type. I'll eat a burrito three, four times a week, easily, and I ain't even ashamed. When I do eat at home, cereal. And Cheetos. The really hot kind that comes in the black bag. I dip those into Fage Greek yogurt to make it healthy. And then when those moments of clarity hit, when I realize how utterly depressing this situation is, I head down to Daly City, to the house I grew up in, and give my mama a big wet kiss and I inhale. Ahhh, home cookin'.
Two Sundays ago, the Giants ended a less than spectacular road trip, having gone 3-7, including getting swept out of Chicago in a four-game series against the team the Giants are chasing for the final wild-card spot. Then they touched down at SFO and got some of that home cookin' and a made a week of it. They won one and lost one against the AL West leading Astros. They put down a four-game sweep of their own, putting the Nats in the dustbin.
A 5-1 homestand. My mama's kimchi jjigae can make grown folk cry. It's good to be home.
Oh, and in the final game of that homestand, the Mad Bum pitched a three-hit, complete-game shutout. He struck out 14. He also went 2-3 at the plate with two RBI. He also scored a run when he hit a home run.
That's crazy, right? Maybe not as crazy as what happened just a couple nights later.
There is one fundamental difference between the National League and the American League and it's the DH. The designated-hitter doesn't take the field. The pitcher doesn't take an at-bat. Over there, the pitcher pitches but doesn't hit; the DH hits, but doesn't field. Over there, they have a starting 10. That ain't right. The American League justification for this heresy is that pitchers are a soul-sucking black hole at the plate that pitchers are an automatic out and a wasted at-bat. They're not wrong. They also don't have Madison.
In the second game of their three-game set against the Cards in St. Louis, the Giants were clinging to a 1-0 lead in the 7th inning. With two outs and Giants starting pitcher Ryan Vogelsong due up next, Bochy sent in a pinch-hitter in Vogie's stead. MadBum grabbed a helmet and a bat and strode into the batters box. Wait, what?!
The Giants sent in a pitcher, a supposed automatic out, as pinch-hitter in a one-run game. This isn't the first time this has happened. Hell, it isn't even the only it happened in that series Madison was sent in as a pinch-hitter again the very next game. But the sight of a pitcher as a pinch-hitter will never not make a baseball fan giggle. And when that pinch-hitting pitcher get a hit? And scores? Yeah, that'll make us laugh, and we'll raise a pint, and we'll shake our heads in joyful disbelief. And that's exactly what Madison had us doing. Never mind that Madison doesn't just hit well "for a pitcher" he's bonafide. We will never tire of seeing Madison doing Madison things.
I hope the Giants packed some tupperware because after having lost two of three in St. Louis this week, they will be in Pittsburgh for the next four days. Second place in the NL Central Pittsburgh. Second best record in the National League Pittsburgh. 41-19 at home Pittsburgh.
And they'll be looking at the next two weeks or so without Hunter Pence, who is out with a strained oblique. My friends who workout love talking about obliques. They'd probably advise Hunter on his poor form and give oblique exercise suggestions and demonstrations. Unsolicited, of course.
On the other hand, we have Nori back. Thankfully, he's been symptom free since getting hit on the head by a pitch (do I get a high-five for not doing the "he's A-oki" pun?). Our outfield, man.
Season to-date: 65-55 (.542); 2nd Place NL West
Games back: 2 NL West; 3 Wild Card
Mon: at St. Louis (lost)
Tue: at St. Louis (WON)
Wed: at St. Louis (lost)
Thu: at Pittsburgh, 4:05 PM
Fri: at Pittsburgh, 4:05 PM
Sat: at Pittsburgh, 1:05 PM
Sun: at Pittsburgh, 5:05 PM