Alex Dickerson Hitting Everything in Sight, Even Cardboard Cutouts
It's been a crazy couple of weeks for San Francisco Giants outfielder Alex Dickerson. He's been in the middle of games being postponed because of COVID, he's been bounced around the West Coast trying to stay ahead of wildfires and he's even had a beef — well justified — with a newspaper reporter, all while expecting a baby any day.
And through all this, he's been on a tear. He's hitting everything in sight lately and had another three hits Wednesday night in the Giants' 9-3 win over the Seattle Mariners.
Since Aug. 29, he's 19-for-45 — a wicked .422 average – with five home runs, five doubles and 12 RBI. During that time, his batting average has gone from .195 to .279, a jump of 84 points.
Dickerson, who's one of five former Indiana baseball players currently in he major leagues, also been having fun out in left field, taking target practice at the cardboard cutouts in the stands with foul balls.
That's been hilarious. He said he's just been doing it to keep his arm loose.
It's definitely a good laugh. Dickerson has to do it himself because MLB deemed ball boys as irrelevant this season, so the players have to track down every foul ball.
"I'm not very happy every time I have to chase those down,'' Dickerson said. "For some reason we didn't think ball guys are essential workers this year. I get kind of tired over there and I also wasn't very loose, so I was taking that time to pick out random three or four cutouts and see if I could knock the heads off of them to get my arm loose.
Fans have been able to order the cutouts, but Dickerson said it's just been target practice, and that he hasn't really taken any heads off yet.
"They made those things pretty sturdy, unfortunately," he said. "We'll keep trying it out. Maybe if I just stay through it a little better."
Dickerson's hot streak has helped the Giants get right into the thick of the National League playoff race. They are now 24-24 with 12 games to play. They are in the playoffs at the moment, but have just a half-game lead over the St. Louis Cardinals for the eighth and final spot in the new eight-team playoffs. The Philadelphia Phillies are .500 too.
This was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Giants, but they've survived everything pretty well.
“We knew there were going to be challenges,” Giants manager Gabe Kapler said. “We knew there would be situations we haven’t had to deal with in major-league seasons past. We have to be good within the construct of whatever the season hands us.
“We haven’t been dealt the easiest hand, but these guys are incredibly resilient. They’re fighters. What the lineup did speaks to that.”
All the Giants have had to weather the storm.
“The whole season has been really weird,” starting pitcher Drew Smyly said. “A lot of weird stuff going on with COVID and then now we’ve got the air quality affecting the West Coast. It’s definitely different with everything going on. But it’s still a playoff race. We’re still right there in it.
"We’re trying to hang on and just win these games down the stretch. The adrenaline has definitely picked up. We’re in the home stretch. It’s just up for us. We’re in the driver’s seat, and we just have to go out and win and hold on to that Wild Card. It’s an exciting time to play. This is what we all suit up for. We’re just ready to finish strong.”
Hoosiers in the Pros on Wednesday
- Caleb Baragar, San Francisco Giants: Baragar had a very strange pitching line in that 9-3 win over Seattle. He came in with two outs in the fourth — and proceeded to walk all three batters he faced. Because starter Drew Smyly was responsible for the guys on base, Baragar wasn't charged with any of the runs scoring. He was removed after that third walk, and Trevor Cahill got a strikeout to end the inning. Baragar has now gone 11 consecutive outings without giving up a run, but this one has an asterisk for sure.
- Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs: Schwarber was 0-for-4 with a walk and a run scored in the Cubs' 3-2 win over the Cleveland Indians. Schwarber's batting average has dropped to .194 on the season as his long hitting slump continues. In the Cubs' last 11 games, he is just 1-for-31. The Cubs, who are 30-20, are still in first place in the NL Central, leading the St. Louis Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds by 5.5 games with 10 to go. They are the only team in the division with a winning record.
- Aaron Slegers, Tampa Bay Rays: Slegers did not pitch in the Rays' 4-2 loss to the Washington Nationals. The Rays are 31-18 and in first place in the American League East with 11 games to go. They have a three-game lead over the New York Yankees, who have been on fire of late, winning seven games in a row.
- Jonathan Stiever, Chicago White Sox: Stiever did not pitch in Chicago's 5-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins. He made his major-league debut on Sunday. The White Sox are 32-17 on the season and have the best record in the American League. They lead the AL Central by two games over the Twins, and the two teams play again on Thursday afternoon.
- Kyle Hart, Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox placed Hart on the 45-day injury list on Tuesday, so his season is done with Boston. He struggled in his major-league debut, appearing in four games — three starts — but allowing 19 runs and 24 hits in just 11 innings.
- Josh Phegley, Chicago Cubs: Phegley was designated for assignment by the Cubs and was sent to their alternate site on Sept. 3.
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