Saturday’s opening game of a split doubleheader was one to forget for San Francisco Giants fans.
It started out with the announcement that outfielder Mac Williamson would need to go on the 7-day concussion disabled list when he failed one last test on Saturday morning.
It got worse when the Giants announced the Joe Panik would need to go on the DL with a sprained thumb.
And things didn’t get any better when the game started. In the first inning, Chris Stratton had a hard time finding the strike zone, walking four Dodgers which led to three runs.
In the second inning, Stratton found too much of the strike zone and the Dodgers hammered him, sending him out of the game with one out in the second inning having allowed six runs.
And it didn’t get any better as the Dodgers tallied 15 runs on 20 hits and seven walks.
But then in the ninth inning came a little relief.
That’s when Pablo Sandoval became the first Giants position player to pitch in game since Greg Litton did it in 1992.
The Panda recorded a 1-2-3 inning.
“It’s not that easy, but I do everything I can to save some bullpen for the next game,” Sandoval said. “We lost the game, but we had a little fun at the end of the game.”
It provided a lot of reaction.
Manager Bruce Bochy said: “It did bring some levity to a real long game. With that said, it was pretty impressive what he did.”
Shortstop Brandon Crawford said: “”He was hitting corners. You do that, it’s tough to hit, tough to drive a ball, even if it’s 87 or whatever it was that he hit. He got us some ground balls.”
Pitcher Jeff Samardzija said: “A couple of more miles an hour, he’s serviceable.”
Even Dodgers manager Dave Roberts was impressed. “[I] like Pablo, like the arm stroke. Good secondary. Sometimes it’s amazing how certain people can make the game look so easy. It was a big inning for them. They needed him. It’s a crazy game. I was thinking [Austin] Slater, but Pablo was the right choice. Touching 88.”
It’s even more amazing when you remember that Sandoval was born a left-handed thrower. But as a child, he yearned to play shortstop, which is hard to do as a lefty. So his grandfather helped him learn to throw righty.
And he threw 88 on Saturday.
Because of that, we offer a new nickname for Pablo Sandoval.
The Panda Express.