Torres makes things happen; Wild Card musings

OAKLAND — At best, Andres Torres ranks as the Giants’ fourth outfielder. But he moved to the front of the line as a source of the Giants’ success in their 4-1 victory Tuesday night over the Oakland A’s.

Torres coaxed a first-inning walk on Vin Mazzaro’s 3-2 pitch and opened the scoring by rushing home on Pablo Sandoval’s double. Many runners might have held at third base. But third-base coach Tim Flannery, aiming to capitalize on Torres’ speed, waved the speedster home. Sure enough, A’s shortstop Orlando Cabrera’s hurried relay flew high and wide.

“He ignited us,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said of Torres. “That showed you what speed can do. He plays with a lot of energy, which you love.”

Torres helped seal the victory by making a not-so-routine catch of Adam Kennedy’s fly ball against the wall down the left-field line in foul territory. It ended the seventh inning and stranded two A’s baserunners.

“He probably saved us with that catch,” Bochy said.

Torres’ grab propelled Tim Lincecum to his complete-game victory. “I thought he was going to run into the wall, which he did, but it was nice the ball stayed in the playing field,” Lincecum said of Torres’ grab. “I was as pumped as anybody else.”

Torres, who wouldn’t boast about his skills if you paid him, explained that common sense helped him make the play on Kennedy’s fly. Kennedy, said Torres, had been trying to hit the ball to the opposite field all evening — probably a wise ploy against Lincecum. So, said Torres, “I tried to play that way a little bit.”

Encountering the wall didn’t concern Torres in the least. “I was just trying to catch the ball,” he said.

*****

I was all set to devote a sentence or two in my game wrapup to the Giants staying ahead in the National League Wild Card race. First, however, while waiting to interview Lincecum in the Giants clubhouse, I heard a player watch a televised sports report — I couldn’t tell which network was airing it — that trumpeted the Wild Card standings. This player shook his head in mild disgust. “Five years from now they’ll be talking about the Wild Card in April,” he told the Giant sitting next to him.

Translation: It’s far too early to make a big deal about the Wild Card. So I opted not to contribute to the hype.

I’ll occasionally mention it in the near future, though. It’s relevant to monitor, since the Giants’ position likely will influence what general manager Brian Sabean does or doesn’t do before the July 31 trade deadline. But getting overly worked up about it and delivering twice-daily updates is probably premature.

– Chris Haft 

 

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2 Comments

While it’s too soon to get really excited over, it is still a significant accomplishment for a team that has been near the bottom of the standings – either divisional or wild card – for much of the past 4 seasons, heck, near the bottom of the majors for the past 2 seasons.

Yeah, April would be too soon, and I see the point that anything can and will happen even now, but that’s true for the divisional leaders as well, not just for the wild card. While it is probably better for the players to be professionals and not get too high regarding this achievement (or low regarding any failure), I think fans should enjoy it right now, I don’t see what is wrong with that.

Instead of all these teeth gnashing over the Giants offensive issues, why not enjoy the fact that the team has the 2nd best record in the NL and the 4th best in the majors. And while there is still 91 games to go, 71 games is not non-trivial either, we are almost at the halfway point of the season and 7 games above .500. If we continue to play at that rate, the Giants will have 90 wins at the end of the season.

And the thing is, except for Cain and Sandoval, no one is really playing way above was expected out of them going into the season. If anything, there are a number of players who have disappointed – Renteria, Lewis, Winn, Burriss/2B, Howry – and the only group really doing well on the whole is the bullpen. Sanchez is messing up the rotation and I’ve already noted the lineup problems. If we get any of those starting to contribute (or their replacements), then we could even do better.

Go Giants!

Remember that the two wild card teams met in the World Series in 2002 – the Giants and the Angels.

In about twenty games it will affect trading, between what Sabean wants and what other teams think they can get. Otherwise, it can be like watching your IRA value when you won’t retire until twenty years from now… :) (And, yes, I am aware most of you readers aren’t, but just think of it that way. Your investment hint for today… :) )

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