I had a chance to go to tonight’s game and get a nice seat in the video board room (more to come on that in a blog post). The job requires focusing intently on the game and tonight that meant getting a chance to see September call up Darren Ford putting on a running display to help the Giants beat the Rockies.
After Mike Fontenot walked to lead off the inning, the Giants sent Tim Lincecum out to sacrifice him over to second. After a couple of pitches Darren Ford was sent out to pinch run for Fontenot. Ford was called up today as major league rosters expanded to 40 for the pennant race. While Ford hasn’t hit all that well at AA, he had 37 stolen bases and was thrown out 15 times. He may not be the smartest base stealer, but there’s no question about his speed.
After Lincecum bunted away a second foul ball, the team let him bunt again even with the chance of a third foul getting him out. On the attempt the team had Ford running and Lincecum was successful in getting the bunt down. The Rockies corner infielders pounced but Ford was too fast to leave a play at second.
Andres Torres was the next man up and midway through his at bat, Ubaldo JImenez threw a pitch in the dirt that bounced to Miguel Olivo’s left. The ball only bounced 3 or so feet to the left, but Ford pounced on the opportunity and took off for third. A perfect throw might have gotten him by a hair, but the pressure of the situation caused Olivo to throw the ball into left field. Ford got up and scored fairly easily, given the Giants a 2-1 lead that Brian Wilson locked down in the ninth.
It remains to be seen whether Darren Ford will ever hit at the major league level. He was drafted back in 2004 and prior to today had never exceeded the Double A level, where he was hitting .251 with an OPS of 680. Nonetheless, the speed he brings to the table is absolutely perfect in the world of September call-ups. The team can afford to have a guy who is only going to pinch-run. His speed can be a game-breaking tool in a pennant race. I’d imagine we’ll see a lot of him on the base paths the rest of this month.