Results tagged ‘ Merkin Valdez ’

All hope is not lost, but …

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants’ season and their playoff push are far from over. But after their 6-4, 14-inning loss Monday at Colorado, anybody feeling less than hopeful is excused.

In 40 years of following this team, this is among the most crushing come-from-ahead defeats I’ve witnessed (albeit on TV; I wasn’t on assignment for the Rockies series). Granted, the Giants are well-positioned to shrug off the effects of this setback and losing three of four to the Rockies, who lead them by four games in the National League Wild Card standings. If the Giants can recover against Arizona while Colorado struggles against the Dodgers in the next few days, San Francisco will be poised to regain ground when the Rockies visit AT&T Park next weekend.

After all, it’s not even September yet.

But for now, the Giants are reeling.

The bullpen that has sustained the Giants so well this season is in rough shape. Most relievers are suddenly overworked. Those who aren’t no longer inspire confidence, such as Merkin Valdez. If the Giants put second baseman Freddy Sanchez on the disabled list, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them fill his spot on the 25-man roster with a reliever, though lacking a full complement of position players handcuffed manager Bruce Bochy somewhat in the 14-inning marathon.

The Giants’ plight will be worsened if third baseman Pablo Sandoval is out for more than a few days with his calf injury.

Tuesday’s pregame hours could be intriguing as the Giants evaluate the fitness of Sandoval and their bullpen.

– Chris Haft

Giants might bid adieu to Aurilia

SAN FRANCISCO — Nothing’s official, so this could be pure speculation. But a huge hint was dropped Monday night that when right fielder Nate Schierholtz is activated Tuesday, releasing veteran infielder Rich Aurilia will be the corresponding roster move.

If so, it’ll be an untimely development for an individual who has conducted himself with class through 12 Major League seasons. The thinking here is that the Giants could have used Aurilia’s bat off the bench down the stretch — if he’s indeed gone.

A Giants official said that no move had yet been made. But shortly after reporters were admitted into the Giants’ clubhouse following their 4-2 loss to the Dodgers, Aurilia and bench coach Ron Wotus were seen exchanging a hug. They wouldn’t have been doing that sort of thing if Wotus planned on hitting Aurilia grounders during batting practice on Tuesday.

Aurilia remained mostly mum — and cordial. “I’ve got nothing to say, guys,” he said. “Good night. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

*****

Some bright spots for the Giants:

– Bengie Molina homered for the third time in four games.

– Randy Winn, who entered the game in a 6-for-42 (.143) skid, went 2-for-4.

– Eugenio Velez extended his hitting streak to 16 games. He’s batting .420 (29-for-69) in that span.

– The bullpen was outstanding. Justin Miller worked two scoreless innings, Sergio Romo continued his dominance of the Dodgers (they’re 1-for-32 in seven games off him) and Merkin Valdez coolly stranded a runner on third base.

But …

– The Giants have lost back-to-back home games since the Angels swept them in mid-June.

– Chris Haft

Nifty one-liners from Monday, Aurilia bats cleanup

SAN FRANCISCO — Rich Aurilia, king of the one-liners among the Giants, spun another good one as he described the odd eighth-inning play that was instrumental in San Francisco’s 5-4 victory Monday over the Dodgers.

After fielding Aurilia’s nubber up the first-base line, Dodgers right-hander Ronald Belisario gloved the ball and unwisely flipped it home — while positioned smack dab in front of Aurilia and directly over his head.

“I ‘Matrixed’ him,” Aurilia joked.

Right-hander Merkin Valdez, who earned Monday’s decision, delivered a perhaps unintentionally witty response when asked how he felt on the mound upon pitching for the first time since April 16.

“Fresh,” Valdez said.

***

Aurilia also made a funny remark referring to Barry Bonds’ presence in the park Monday. “It felt weird hitting cleanup with that guy here,” Aurilia said.

Certainly Aurilia hasn’t been the offensive dynamo that Bonds was in the middle of the order. But Aurilia wasn’t a slouch in his limited appearances batting fourth, either.

With Cincinnati in 2006, Aurilia accumulated 227 at-bats as a cleanup hitter, sometimes with Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn surrounding him and sometimes when either one of them needed a rest. Aurilia hit .269 — not bad for a so-called bench player — with 11 home runs and 33 RBI. His slugging percentage was .485.

For his career, entering Monday, Aurilia’s .835 slugging percentage in 77 games (including 68 starts) at cleanup is his best from any spot in the batting order, except for leadoff (a spot he has occupied only 10 times and just once as a starter). His lifetime batting average at cleanup was .295 (84-for-309) with 12 homers and 43 RBIs.

– Chris Haft  

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