This Week In Orange: The wind and the west
You hear that, Giants Nation? It’s the sound of September baseball calling. After a successful road trip through Southern California and a rather annoying home stand.
I say “annoying” because if the cameramen zoomed in on Chipper Jones’ face one more time, I was going to become homicidal. Our boys in uniform (74-57) closed out an interesting run of August ball with a hard-to-get but well-worth-the-fight sweep of the Houston Astros (40-91).
Next on the agenda: A Labor Day series in the Windy City, and then a month chock full of NL West action. Nothing but the Padres (61-71), Rockies (53-76), D-backs (64-67) and yes, those pesky Dodgers for the rest of the regular season.
Oh, did I mention that we’re four-and-a-half games ahead of them in the West?
So in honor of the last hoorah of summer party season, pour yourself some seriously-spiked lemonade, pull up that bar stool, and let’s look at who we want to stay hot — remember people, NEW HOTNESS — and what we need to pummel the competition in September:
Techno Viking Goes Yard: After what was quite possibly the most frustrating cold streak everrrrr, Hunter Pence finally hit the offensive hot spot while playing against his old club down in Texas. Pence not only hit a towering homer Wednesday night, but then went 2-4 with two RBIs in Thursday’s game.
Stay hot, Viking Man. It’ll help shut those Dodgers up about their stupid multi-bazillion dollar trades.
Oh hey, did I mention yet that we’re four-and-a-half games ahead of them in the NL West?
The Brandons & Their Beards: The Tutu Twin and I decided that BiBBLES’ new facial hair resembles a chin strap, while BC’s is so fluffy and that he must use leave-in conditioner on his whole werewolf muff.
Whatever works, guys. Belt was 4-for-5 in Thursday’s 8-4 victory over Houston alone. And Crawford has been a defensive phenom, rolling backwards and leaping for flipped balls from Pablo Sandoval’s glove.
If the facial fuzz keeps them playing competitively, I’ll learn to live with it.
Hot Damn Joaquin Arias: If there’s one guy that has come out of the woodwork and shown he’s diggin’ in for the postseason, it’s Arias.
The Kobe-Bryant-look-alike continued his hot streak in Houston an has gone 12-25 in his last 10 games, 23-54 for the month of August. Heck, even getting hit on the wrist by a pitch in Wednesday night’s game couldn’t keep him down, and he answered Thursday night with a solo home-run to help beef up the Giants come-from-behind victory.
Get Better, Buster! To any haters reading this and thinking it’s a good idea to test me: No, I don’t think Buster’s recent tight hamstring is going to hurt his chances at NL MVP.
However, I want the guy as healthy as possible. Anything to get that glaring yellow-orange “Day-To-Day” dot off his ESPN player profile.
This Windy City Business: Quick turn-around for the Gigantes, who fly straight from their Thursday night game in Houston up to Chicago for an 11 a.m. Pacific Time start Friday morning.
Luckily, big guy Madison Bumgarner flew ahead of the team so he could get a full night’s sleep before he takes the mound at classic Wrigley Field against the Cubbies (50-80).
The Wild West: Keys to September are as such: Starting pitching needs to be crazy-strong, the defense needs to cover those gaps, and absolutely nobody can be doing the splits or pummeling into walls and hurting themselves.
Oh, and don’t make any stupid mistakes against the likes of the Rockies or Padres, who are collectively more than 30 games behind the G-Men.
Arizona tends to do this snaky thing at the end of the regular season where they threaten to be competitive. They’re 10 games out of first place right now and seven back in the NL Wild Card race. The D-backs are, shall we say, still requiring our full attention.
And then, there are those blue-sporting fools.
We know we can hit them. We know we can beat them. But we can tackle that next week when those beezies come back into town.
And just for the record: The Giants are four-and-a-half games ahead of the Dodgers in the NL West.
You all can drop me a line on Facebook at “You Know You Bleed Orange And Black When. . .” with any player nicknames you think up or any game you feel the need to discuss.
And to answer a question that a couple of you have asked: Yes, I am considering a weekly football column as well. More on that to come.
Have a fun, sun-filled and safe Labor Day weekend.
Rock’n’roll. Go G-men. Ra-ra-ra.