Tuesday, September 23, 2014

"You're going to win this game for us"

That was what Andrew Susac was told by last night in the 9th inning; 4 innings later, he got the key clutch hit to win an essential game at Dodger Stadium, per the SF Chron

Here's part of the game story -- outstanding work from the pen, Belt finally getting hits and clutch hitting overall in the later innings...

The Giants had precious few chances for seven innings. They had one hit against Dan Haren, a Gregor Blanco homer to lead off the game, then no more. They scored their second run in the third on a Joe Panik safety squeeze after a three-base Matt Kemp error.
Then, the Giants put 10 runners on base from innings eight through 12 and could not get one home. One tried real hard, but Yasiel Puig threw out Brandon Belt with a fantastic peg in the 11th after he grabbed Brandon Crawford's single.
Five no-hit innings from Sergio Romo, Jean Machi and Santiago Casilla allowed the Giants to reach the 13th, when they finally busted through against Kevin Correia.
Belt, who had his first two hits since Aug. 5, singled with one out.
With two outs, Belt at second and Brandon Crawford on first after an intentional walk, pinch-hitter Andrew Susac hit an RBI single to make a prophet out of the Giants’ strength and conditioning coach.
Susac said Kochan sidled up to him in the dugout in the ninth inning and said, “Stay locked in. You're going to win this game for us.”


Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chris Dominguez!

Chris Dominguez was about the only decent thing that happened in today's game. He closed the gap from 5-0 to 5-2 in the 7th, then the pen gave up 3 more runs in the bottom of the inning.

He broke in on Sept. 3 and had gotten 3 at bats until the start today.

I did not know he's a 27-year-old rookie. I'm glad that someone besides the awful Juan Perez got the start today. Anyhow, Here's Henry Schulman's nice sidebar for the SF Chron ...

Chris Dominguez was beaming despite Sunday’s 8-2 loss, and nobody could blame him. Making his first major-league start, the 27-year-old rookie homered against Ian Kennedy for his first big-league hit.
The ball went over the fence down the left-field line, hit off the Western Metal Supply Co. building and wound up in the hands of a little girl named Estella who was celebrating her birthday.
The Padres dispatched an employee to retrieve the ball, but before a swap could be completed, the little girl’s sister got ahold of the ball and wrote on it, “Happy birthday, love M.”
The girl agreed to give the ball to Dominguez, but not before she added her own missive. She wrote, “Congratulations, (heart) Estella.”
“That is awesome,” Dominguez said when he saw the inscriptions. “I think it’s great for the memories.”

Let's go Giants!!!!!

This is the crazy-making time of year -- the good guys have pretty much locked up a wild card slot if they can just win a game here and there....

The Padres start today is Ian Kennedy -- here's some good news....he month of September hasn't been kind to Kennedy, though, as he has a 5.19 ERA in three starts. He was tagged for four earned runs on nine hits in 6 1/3 innings June 25, his lone start against the Giants this season.

And this as we wonder what the hell Juan Perez is doing in the lineup...

Juan Perez started in center Saturday, but Bochy said former first-round pick Gary Brown may see playing time if Perez doesn't improve at the plate.
Bochy mentioned that he and his staff discussed the possibility of playing Brandon Belt in left field while two outfield openings exist. However, Belt has not started a Major League game in left field since Sept. 30, 2012.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Matt Duffy????

I saw him smash a pitch up the middle at the August 16 game and thought "this kid can hit!" 

Fast forward a month and a day to Phoenix. It was Duffy's 12th hit in the bigs in his 51st AB. His 5th and 6th RBIs.

 This is what good teams do -- score late and hold down the other team. Here's mlb.com's recap of the 9th inning --

The Giants' ninth-inning uprising against D-backs reliever Addison Reed (1-6) began with Pablo Sandoval's leadoff walk and continued with a single by Brandon Crawford, who went 4-for-4. Pinch-hitter Brandon Belt, ending a prolonged absence caused by concussion symptoms, walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases.
Up came Duffy, who rapped a 3-2 pitch to center field, delivering Sandoval and Crawford.
Sergio Romo (6-4) pitched a scoreless eighth to earn the win. Santiago Casilla recorded his 17th save and second in two days.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

6-1, 1.13 ERA

That's Jake Peavy's record over his last seven starts.

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle makes the point that he's now the No. 2 starter on the staff of a team that's heading for the postseason (as long as there aren't any more losing streaks longer than one game!)

Here's the first half of the game story. Boldface is mine. 

PHOENIX — Buster Posey was just commenting on how Jake Peavy always tries to think one step ahead when Peavy revealed he already is contemplating the series opener in Los Angeles on Monday night, which he will start.
“I'm not going to lie to you,” Peavy said. “I was just in the shower thinking about Dee Gordon. Isn't that crazy? I was in the shower thinking about how I'm going to get Dee Gordon out.”
Is that any crazier than the numbers Peavy has been posting? He is 6-1 with a 1.13 ERA in his past seven starts, including a 2-1 victory against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night that moved the Giants three games behind the Dodgers for first place in the National League West.
“Tonight was big,” Peavy said. “We had to have it the way we lost he last three. I feel very blessed to feel healthy and be a contributing factor for a team fighting for our lives every day.”
Peavy is contributing more than the Giants could have hoped when they acquired him from the Red Sox for two waning pitching prospects, Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree.
Peavy gave Boston the same lift after a midseason trade with the White Sox last year and said, “I do have experience being thrust into that situation.”
If Madison Bumgarner is the clear No. 1 — he goes for his 19th win in the series finale Wednesday — Peavy is the equally clear No. 2, which will be reflected in any postseason rotation.
On Tuesday, Peavy made Buster Posey's 21st homer and a Brandon Crawford sacrifice fly stand for the Giants' 83rd win. He allowed one run in 72/3 innings, matching his longest start with San Francisco.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Yusmaddux Petit?

Grant Bisbee at McCovey Chronicles proposed that as a nickname for Yusmeiro -- who pitched very well today in a 4-2 loss to the dodgers and was done in by crappy fielding.

It's an amusing aspect to what was otherwise a lousy day which I won't dwell on ....

I  know what you're thinking. Hold on. There are times when Petit reminds you of Greg Maddux, even if in an abstract way. Petit threw 62 strikes and 20 balls on Sunday. That's kind of like Maddux, right? He mixed and matched, hit his spots, and at his best, completely confused hitters. His masterpiece last week was almost as good as Maddux's best game. Hey, he's a control maven who can miss bats. If we can compare every skinny Dominican pitcher with a changeup to Pedro Martinez -- "You traded Felix Diaz for Kenny Lofton? But he's the next ..." -- we can compare Petit to Maddux.
So, Yusmaddux Petit.
You hate it because Petit was a minor league free agent who may or may not be a worthwhile rotation experiment on a contending team. Greg Maddux was one of the best pitchers in baseball history.
Except you're missing the beauty. When he hangs a slider and gives up a 400-foot dinger, you can turn to the person sitting next to you and dismissively say, "Yeah, Mike Maddux."
He is both. He is a master of command. He can be hard to hit. He can be easy to hit. He can strike batters out. He can give up long home runs. He is a blessing and a curse, but mostly a blessing. He is the Maddux brothers in one package, kind of like the Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt split cartridge, except your cousin dropped your light gun in the toilet last year, so you can't even play the other game. Yusmaddux Petit.
Okay, maybe not.
More like Mike Maddux. Who was actually pretty okay, looking back.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Back to April 4

Dodgers are up just 1 game now.

The Giants lit up Hyun-Jim Ryu at the dodgers home opener five months ago and clobbered him tonight in SF.

He only lasted one inning and gave up 4 runs; it was a great way for me to come home after a tough workweek. So now we've avoided the worst case scenario of a dodger sweep, like they got in late July in SF.

Here's part of the LA Times coverage --

Replacing Ryu in the second inning with Chris Perez wasn't what the Dodgers had in mind when they realigned their rotation so that their three best starters could pitch in this series. Zack Greinke will pitch Saturday and Clayton Kershaw on Sunday.
Something was clearly wrong with Ryu, as the majority of his fastballs were clocked at under 90 mph.
"I kind of felt it a little bit during the warmup session before the game," Ryu said. "It's something that I normally feel, but in the inning, it got very uncomfortable and I wasn't able to execute the pitches I normally execute. The results showed."
Indeed, Ryu was uncharacteristically hittable. He gave up successive one-out doubles to Joe Panik and Buster Posey, resulting in the Giants' first run.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Peavy Power

What's not to like? What a turnaround this guy has made since being traded from Boston, per John Shea in the SF Chron -- 

The Giants are in the position they’re in — two games behind the first-place Dodgers — in large part because of Peavy, who’s 5-1 with a 1.12 ERA in his past six starts. In that stretch, the Giants are 18-8.
Peavy’s impact hasn’t gone unnoticed by teammates.
“He brings a lot of intensity, he brings a lot of energy, he brings a lot of veteran leadership, he brings a lot of guts,” Hunter Pence said. “He’s been a big charge to this run we’ve made. That energy is exciting to be around. It’s a different dugout when he’s in it.”
Said Buster Posey, “He’s a vocal guy. We don’t have a ton of vocal guys on the team. When he gets to saying things, people will listen.”
Sometimes the wrong people. On Aug. 24, both Peavy and fellow starter Tim Hudson, neither of whom pitched that day, were ejected by third-base umpire Paul Emmel, who tossed Hudson for arguing that the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg wasn't coming to a proper stop from the stretch.
Emmel tossed Peavy for supporting Hudson.
“Sometimes that’s part of being a good teammate, trying to keep umpires accountable,” Peavy said. “But you try to stay in the game.”
Peavy struck out eight batters Thursday, five in the first two innings, and walked none. He gave up six hits and one run, coming in the sixth on Cliff Pennington’s triple and Mark Trumbo’s double.

Lincecum off the playoff roster?

Steve Berman of CSNBay Area speculates that the Giants -- who are leading the NL Wild Card race by 5 games -- will leave Tim Lincecum off the 25-man postseason roster. 

The story was posted before the Giants won 5-0 over the Dbacks on 2 hits. Tim warmed up in the second inning but did not get into the game. Here's most of the Berman story --

Lincecum has looked shaky in his new role. He gave up three runs (two earned) at the end of a 15-5 win over Milwaukee. He pitched a clean ninth inning in the Giants' 8-2 victory on Saturday in Detroit, but nearly gave up an opposite-field home run to Nick Castellanos in the process.
Enter Hunter Strickland. He has three relief appearances in September compared to just one for Lincecum, and his numbers are impressive – both on the radar gun and in the boxscore (three innings, no runs, three strikeouts).
"We've got to keep (Strickland) sharp. We can't keep them all sharp, but he's one of those guys that I, Rags, Gardy, we all feel comfortable with him in a setup type role," Bochy said.
Bochy isn't just comfortable using Strickland in higher leverage situations than Lincecum, that's exactly what he's done since the day he was called up. His first big league outing was in the eighth inning at Coors Field, in a game where the Giants were only down by two runs.
With only 18 games left and a five-game lead over the third place team in the wild card race, Bochy certainly has put some thought into who'd make the postseason roster. Lincecum thrived as a "super sub" type reliever in 2012, but the current roles don't lie. One of the five current starters – Petit, in all probability -- would be the long reliever, and clearly Bochy trusts Strickland more than Lincecum in the later innings right now.
Things could change, but Lincecum has only pitched twice in the last 15 games. The Giants are known for being loyal to their veterans with track records, but Bochy has left a struggling former Cy Young winner off his postseason roster before. Just ask Barry Zito.