Saturday, May 21, 2016

An evening with the Cubs at Giants

Jason Hayward makes a spectacular catch off Denard
Span in the first inning. (AP photo)
It was a study in contrasts from a distance. In front of me Friday evening at AT&T Park in San Francisco were a pair of first-place teams, one of of them threatening to be historically good; also in front of me on the scoreboard was the score from Target Field, where the Twins are threatening to be historically bad.

By the time Jake Arrieta took the mound, the Twins, playing two time zones earlier, were behind 7-1. By the time the top of the second inning ended in San Francisco, the Cubs led 5-0. Ultimately the Twins lost by less to the Toronto Blue Jays (8-3) than the Giants did to the Cubs (8-1), but the Giants looked, at least in the field, more competent than the Twins have for much the season.

I intend to write about the San Francisco park for the Monday print column. As for Friday's game:

Jake Peavy was in trouble from practically his first pitch. He entered the game with an ERA above 7 and didn't help it with five earned runs in 1.6 innings -- and one of those five outs was the result of a Cubs baserunning blunder.

Jason Hayward injured himself on a fabulous diving catch on the warning track in right-center field. No word on the severity of the injury. It reminded me of a catch I once saw Byron Buxton make, and it further reminded me that while I understand why the Twins sent Buxton down and why he remains down, the Twins really need to improve their outfield defense if the pitching is going to get better.

Arrieta was, in some ways, as close to ineffective as he's been all year, but he only allowed one run in seven innings. The Giants bunched three of their four hits off him together in the third to score a run, and they hit a few other balls well, but Arrieta pitched like the Cy Young winner he is.

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