Kruk & Kuip: Giants take another one on the chin
Hunter Pence wants to remain with the Giants, but that's out of his hands at this point. (USA TODAY IMAGES)
PHILADELPHIA – The unofficial phrase was “nothing’s cooking” as the Giants dressed and walked out of the visiting clubhouse following their 7-3 loss Tuesday night.
But it’s all short-order grease this time of year, and anything could happen before Wednesday’s 4 p.m. EDT non-waiver trade deadline.
Hunter Pence appeared to be keyed up (more than normal, anyway), and it’s clear that having been dealt at the deadline in each of the previous two summers (from Houston to Philly in 2011 and from Philly to San Francisco last year) doesn’t make the rumors any easier to handle this time.
We talked for a bit before batting practice and I told him that it’s a good barometer that so many teams (Reds, Rangers, Yankees, Pirates) have been linked to him. It should give him some idea that he’ll have no shortage of choices when he hits free agency after the season.
“That’s true,” he said. “Thanks for cheering me up.”
As we told you last week, Pence loves being a Giant and wants to stay. He made sure management knew his stance as well when GM Brian Sabean met with some of the players attached to rumors in an attempt to keep them focused on baseball.
Remember, draft compensation doesn’t apply when you sign a player who’s been traded midseason. Now that the rules have changed, I don’t understand why more teams wouldn’t deal an impending free agent, then re-sign them after the season. Seems like a good way to get a free prospect.
All Pence has ever wanted is for some team to step up and offer him a long-term contract. He hoped the Phillies would do it. Now, after winning a World Series with the Giants, he hopes they’ll do it – even if they trade him first.
By this time tomorrow, Pence might be packing his equipment bag for the third consecutive July. Or he might not. But at least he’ll know what color his high socks will be, and that should cheer him up.
The waiting is always the hardest part.
My sources tell me the Giants won't cave at the last minute and just give Pence or Javier Lopez away. They recognize the value in finishing as strong as possible, even if they're out of the race. They saw their solid finish in 2009, when the broke a streak of four losing seasons, as a precursor to what they were able to accomplish in 2010. The Padres did the same thing, finishing as one of baseball's hottest teams in '09 before surprising everyone by contending to the last day of the season in '10.
It's about creating a winning atmosphere and environment, and while it's almost impossible for them to play baseball this October, it's not too late to perform a mental reboot. Pence can be a big part of that, and unless they get legitimate talent back in a deal, it won't be worth selling him off for trinkets.
Brett Pill came back from Fresno with a hint of a mustache, and it was Roger Kieschnick’s fault.
Fresno got swept in four games at Salt Lake and Kieschnick compelled everyone to try a little ‘stache power to change things around. They won the next series.
“It worked down there so I thought I’d bring it up here,” Pill said.
Kieschnick appears to have used a razor since then, though.
It’s a big deal, of course, for Kieschnick to be in the big leagues. But he’s also reunited with friends, and that’s meaningful as well. Remember, he was one of four college hitters taken at the top of the 2008 draft, with Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford among them. Kieschnick was in Crawford’s wedding. So they’re ecstatic to be together in the big leagues.
Did Kieschnick feel he made progress at Fresno this year?
“For sure,” he said. “I played a full year. I stayed healthy. So that’s progress, and I feel great.”
Bochy said Guillermo Moscoso had good stuff and made one mistake by giving in with a 2-0 pitch to Michael Young. Otherwise, he had plenty in the tank and would’ve stayed out there longer if the Giants didn’t need to pinch hit for him.
Moscoso, by the way, would have relieved Barry Zito in the first inning if the left-hander hadn’t gotten Carlos Ruiz to pop up.
Tyler Kepner of the New York Times came up with this oddity: Jean Machi and the Phillies’ Justin DeFratus are the only players in major league history to wear No.79. And they both pitched the last inning for their respective teams at Citizens Bank Park Tuesday night.
Good for Eli Whiteside. He received his 2012 World Series ring from Fresno manager Bob Mariano. The Grizzlies are playing host to Round Rock, the Texas Rangers’ Triple-A affiliate.
Dave Righetti is back with the Giants but not making mound visits just yet. His elbow surgery was not a simple tuneup. He needed a reconstruction after blowing it out while lifting a suitcase. He had plenty of wear and tear left over from his playing career.
Congrats to Zack Wheeler for taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning. I know it’s going to drive some Giants fans batty when he has success, but be happy for the kid. He’s got a lot of expectations on him.
This will make you feel better. Kyle Crick struck out the first seven batters he faced for Single-A San Jose Wednesday night. The right-hander finished with a career-high 11 strikeouts in five innings, and has whiffed 64 in 45 2/3 innings this season.
San Jose announcer Joe Ritzo described Crick’s fastball as 94-96 mph and “overpowering.”