TEMPE, Ariz. – If this continues any longer, they’ll have to introduce penalty kicks to the Cactus League. Or maybe let Ryan Vogelsong try to win in a chip-off.
In what’s believed to be a franchise first, the Giants played to a tie for the third consecutive day. Sergio Romo surrendered a two-run lead on three hits in the ninth inning as the Los Angeles Angels came back to forge an 8-8 result at Tempe Diablo Stadium on Wednesday.
A day earlier, the Giants scored four with two outs in the ninth to tie the Dodgers 8-8 at Camelback Ranch. And the day before, the Giants blew a 9-0 lead before playing to a 9-9 draw with the Chicago White Sox at Scottsdale Stadium.
You don’t find this many stalemates when the Spasskys and Fischers get together.
“We got sloppy,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, referring to a pair of cutoff plays that went awry behind Romo in the ninth. “Little things got us. You hate to see it, but it’s the early part of spring training.”
Romo, Santiago Casilla and Jose Mijares each gave up two runs. Bochy wasn’t concerned, even though he’ll lose all three relievers to the World Baseball Classic in a few days. There’s still plenty of time to work out the kinks, he said. The manager was more concerned that Casilla failed to cover first base on a ground ball.
The Giants will try to break their tie streak behind Matt Cain on Thursday at Scottsdale Stadium. He’ll face Jon Garland and the Seattle Mariners.
It was almost too much to handle: #RallyEnchiladas followed by #RallyZito.
Vogelsong impressed in his three shutout innings and Barry Zito, while not nearly as crisp, accomplished what he wanted.
It was Zito’s first time facing a hitter in an opposing uniform since Game 1 of the World Series, and who should step in? None other than full-fledged phenomenon Mike Trout.
Zito fell behind 3-0 but stole a strike and broke out a good curveball that Trout lifted for an easy out to right field. He continued to work deep counts, though, and gave up two runs on two hits and a walk in 1 2/3 innings. Both of his runs scored after Chad Gaudin relieved him.
Zito said he was “in and out” of focus between pitches but didn’t feel his misses were that bad. His curve is usually the first pitch he locks in; the cutter, which has become such a key pitch for him, takes the longest to feel right.
The Giants don’t face the Angels this season, but Zito isn’t assuming that’s the last time he’ll face Trout.
“Maybe we’ll see him again this season,” Zito said. “Who knows?”
Neither Buster Posey nor Scott Cousins played in Wednesday’s exhibition and the two men still haven’t stepped on the same field since the collision at the plate May 25, 2011.
Bochy said it’s an extra-long spring and he was just taking it easy on Posey, who didn’t play for the second consecutive game. Posey will catch Thursday and then either start at DH or first base after that, the manager said.
Angels manager Mike Scioscia is doing something similar with his regulars. Albert Pujols still hasn’t played in a game and Josh Hamilton only has one appearance thus far.
If you’re an Angels fan who decided to come early to spring training games this year, you probably aren’t a satisfied customer.
The Giants media guide is out, and in case you were curious, Pablo Sandoval is listed officially at 242 pounds. (Jean Machi is 261 and Angel Villalona is at 257.)
Then again, I think I was listed as 6-foot-4 on my high school basketball team.
Left-hander Javier Lopez (left hand contusion) played catch and should be able to get back on a mound soon, Bochy said.
Kensuke Tanaka is still looking for his first hit of the spring, although first base umpire Dana DeMuth sure seemed to take one away from him. Tanaka appeared to beat the throw on a chopper off the plate, but DeMuth called him out.
Tanaka is 0 for 9, he’s made a bad throwing error at second base and generally hasn’t been too impressive. Bochy is getting questioned about Tanaka every day, too, from the cluster of reporters assigned to follow him.
“He can hit,” Bochy said. “His numbers in Japan are good. He’s probably pressing to get that first hit.”
Stay hot, Brett Pill. A day after hitting two home runs, he launched a triple. Angel Pagan followed with a two-run home run.
Remember Bill Hall, who was a Giant for a short time in 2011? He’s in Angels camp, wearing No. 0. He started at third base, but departed with a tight right quad after trying to charge a slow grounder. He’s day-to-day, along with the rest of us.
The Giants just missed getting an out at the plate, but right fielder Roger Kieschnick was able to show off his arm. It’s a good one. Not Schierholtz good, but solidly above average.
While doing research for the Baseball America top-30 prospects list, a scout who covered the Double-A Eastern League said that by the end of last season, Juan Perez was the best defensive outfielder in the circuit. That’s saying something, since he played left to Gary Brown’s center.
Well, Perez made the defensive play of the spring Wednesday. He ran down a ball on the warning track in left center, then crashed into the wall. It’s still possible a younger outfielder could crack the Giants roster. But if not, between Perez, Kieschnick, Brown and Peguero, the Giants will have a crowded and talented group at Triple-A Fresno.
You do not want to punk Brown, by the way. He is the master of revenge.
One of his favorite targets in the minors is pitcher Craig Westcott, who has been taped to bus seats while sleeping, among other things.
Well, Brown told me that Westcott did something to cross him last year. So Brown stole his car keys, dumped a bunch of glitter into the air conditioning vent and set it to start on full blast.
I asked him: Where on earth did you see that?
“Just kind of came up with it,” he said.
Just call him Gary Glitter from now on.