Monday, August 13, 2018

Shades of 1962

Friday, August 10, 2018

13-10

The Giants hung on tonight to break a 3-game losing streak -- matching its total in runs scored for the previous five games.

Buster Posey got 4 hit. MC OConnor at Raising Matt Cain had this post


SF 13  PIT 10
The Giants lineup enjoyed a rare fruitful evening, battering Pirates rookies starter Clay Holmes for seven runs in the first three innings. (Holmes was born in Dothan, Alabama, birthplace of Matt Cain.) They battered reliever Casey Sadler for four more in the next three innings. Fun fact: Buster Posey had four hits in the first four innings! Former Giants pitcher Kyle Crick was crazy wild and generated some bad blood on the home bench when he drilled Evan Longoria in the 7th, that led to another run. Crick was a first-round draft pick (#46) in 2011 and went to Pittsburgh in the Andrew McCutchen deal. The Giants also got Joe Panik (#29) in the first round that year.

You'd figure 12 runs would be enough, and it was, but the Bucs battled back with three off Derek Holland in the first five innings and four in the 7th with a grand slam off Pierce Johnson (two runs were charged to Holland). Johnson was a first-rounder (#43, Cubs) in 2012, the year Chris Stratton was the 20th pick. I only mention that because new pitcher Casey Kelley, just promoted from Sacramento, was also a first-round pick (#30, Red Sox). That was back in 2008 when Buster Posey was the fifth pick overall.

Tony Watson had a rare bad outing in the 8th, giving up two more runs, and the Giants 11-3 lead dwindled to 12-9, but they added on in their half to make it 13-9, which was good as closer Will Smith gave up a run in the 9th. It was ugly, it should have been a cakewalk, but there's no sense complaining about esthetics when the team is desperate to put together a winning stretch.

The Giants have yet to name a starter for tomorrow's game at 6:05 Pacific. Let's hope they keep swinging the bats!

--M.C.

Sunday, August 05, 2018

A glorious 3-2 victory

The Giants hung for a 3-2 victory today in Arizona for a 57-56 record. It was their fifth 3-2 win of the season

Zo at Raising Matt Cain has an excellent post about how strong the Giants pitching has been for the past 6 weeks


I heard on the radio that since June 20 (I'm pretty sure that was the date mentioned) the Giants have the best ERA, save Boston, of any team in the major leagues.   Obviously, Boston has been doing a lot more winning in that time frame.  Can that even be right?

Giants salvaged a split in Arizona, which gives them a win for their road trip (4 - 2).  That is their first winning road trip this year.  They won behind some good pitching from Derek Holland and a spate of relievers by a score of 3 - 2.  Nick Hundley got an rbi and Evan Longoria got 2, the second an 8th inning solo shot to give the Giants the lead.  Ray Black was on the mound in the 7th, so he was credited with the win.  Watson and Dyson pitched the 8th, and Will Smith the 9th.  (Also, Reyes Moronta pitched 2/3 of an inning after Holland was pulled after 5 1/3.)  The Giants scored 8 runs in the first game of this 4-game series, and 3 in each game thereafter, for a total of 17.  The snakes scored 18 total.

So if the Giants are now only 1 game over .500, but their pitching has been very good, I guess you can figure out why they aren't posting a better record.  We seem to be in pretty good shape as long as DRod, MadBum or Dutch is on the mound.  Maybe Andrew Suarez and Chris Stratton need nicknames.  Or maybe Blach needs to start a game, although he has been damn good as a reliever.  Maybe Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutcheon can carry a bit of the load until Crawford can get a bit more consistent at the plate and Belt comes back.  But the season's running along, the Giants need to improve if they are going to have any hope of an impact.  Buster Posey played at first, he went 1 for 3.  Houston up next at the Phone.  That's not going to be easy.  

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Four in a row

After an ugly 4-game losing streak, the Giants have ripped off a 4-game win streak. They managed their longest of the year between May 30 and June with five. Now is the time to match and go past

 They've gotten good contributions from six new players -- Reyes Montara, Andy Suarez, Derick Rodriguez, Alen Hanson, Steve Duggar and Austin Slater.

Grant Bisbee at McCovey Chronicles explains why the Giants decided to stand pat with the same roster at the trade deadline. 

Here's part --

The Giants are holding on to their controllable bullpen because ... they actually expect to contend next year, too.
This is a big paradigm shift. My guess is that the Giants were trying to build a .500 team this year because .500 teams are watchable, if frustrating. And look at that, the Giants have built a .500 team that might be the most watchable-if-frustrating team in baseball. They knew that being abjectly terrible again would be murder for their brand, so they at least wanted to be watchable, and there was a fair chance that they would contend at the same time. Mission accomplished.
But how they got there is another story. Aside from the usual suspects, three of the top 11 rookie pitchers by Baseball-Reference’s WAR are on the Giants (Dereck Rodriguez, Reyes Moronta, and Andrew Suarez), and they’re getting contributions from youngsters like Alen Hanson, Austin Slater, and Steven Duggar. They look like a roster that might be able to reload sensibly in the offseason, when they’re free of luxury-tax restrictions.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Echoes of 2016

One of the worst times to be a Giants fan was 2016. The team had the best record in MLB at the All-Star break at 57--33, then collapsed in the second half and went 33-39. It took a combination of Bumgarner and Gillaspie to win the playoff game over the Mets but thing fell apart after that.

So the Giants managed to put together a decent team this year and thrashed the stupid A's 5-1 in the first game after the break. Now they've gone 1-6 since then; Cueto has fallen apart and no one can hit.

I actually blame the extremely over-rated Hensley Bam Bam Muelens for being a terrible hitting coach. Every veteran he coached is declining. I've read that he's expected to be a manager somewhere. Good riddance.

I'd love to see the Giants make use of Barry Bonds but that idea seems too radical for the front office.

Sami Higgins of McCovey Chronicles has a recap of tonight's game. 

I wrote about perspective in this morning’s BP, noting the triple play, walk-off balk and the many other rock-bottom moments of the second half of the 2016 season. It was supposed to be taken as perspective about how much worse things could be. It wasn’t supposed to be taken as a challenge.
However, the Giants didn’t get that part of the memo, as they went hitless through five innings and looked like they were going to get no-hit completely. Thankfully, Nick Hundley ended both the no-hit and shut-out bids by hitting a home run to center field in the sixth inning, his ninth on the season.
Seven Giants reached base, two only because they were hit by a pitch and one walked. One Giant trotted around the bases, two were thrown out trying to steal, and four were stranded. The offense continues to be incredibly lifeless. To the point where it doesn’t even matter that the pitchers had a bad game tonight. Even if they’d only given up two runs, that is a now a death sentence with this offense.
But, Johnny Cueto did struggle tonight. His velocity was down from the start and he never quite looked right. Then things started to fall apart in the second inning. The Brewers weren’t necessarily hitting the ball well but they were hitting it to trouble spots, making it difficult for the defense to get plays going in time.
A double, single, single, sacrifice bunt and another single scored three runs for the Brewers. Christian Yelich attempted to stretch his single into a double and was thrown out for his trouble to end the inning. But the damage was done for the whole game because the Giants don’t know how to hit the ball.
Thankfully, we didn’t have to see a lot of it because Brian Wilson was being interviewed by Amy Gutierrez. Wilson said he is glad to be associated with the team again, saying he looks forward to bugging Kruk & Kuip in the booth and putting on a uniform and pretending to be Brandon Crawford. And he could do it, too, he’d just need some hair gel since his hair is now at Crawford’s length. He is also currently playing shortstop with his softball team. The team has no idea who he is.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Crossing our fingers

It sounds like the Giants aren't going to make a trade deadline deal. According to AJ Casavell of mlb.com, the owners are determined to stay below the luxury tax threshold

Here's the relevant part --

The Giants aren't a complete team by any stretch. But they might have a hard time adding a big-name piece at the Trade Deadline. They could use some pitching help, but they're already close to the luxury tax threshold and are firmly committed to staying below that mark.
AL front-office member: "They have a mandate from ownership to not get to the Competitive Balance Tax in 2018. That is why they made a recent deal with Texas to get further down, giving up a good prospect to do it. Giants need some veterans to step it up offensively in the second half, most notably [Hunter] Pence, [Andrew] McCutchen, [Joe] Panik, and should have [Evan] Longoria back in August. They'd like to add another bullpen arm, and with some rotation inconsistency, are scouting for starters, a challenge given their CBT mandate."

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Best Giants game of 2018

That's what Zo at Raising Matt Cain had to say about tonight's 7-1 gem. Here's the whole post --

This was, perhaps, the best Giants game of the year.

The San Francisco Giants beat the Oakland Athletics by a score of 7 - 1.

The Giants pitching was superb.
Madison Bumgarner was the starter.  He got his 3rd win, which, perhaps, is a good illustration of how odd the designation of a W to a pitcher can be.  Madison threw 6 fantastic innings, he gave up a home run to Oakland left fielder Chad Pinder in the 5th inning, with no one on base.  That was Oakland's first run, and it tied the score at 1 each.  The Giants had scored on a balk the previous inning.  Apparently, the Oakland starter, Edwin Jackson, slipped or caught his cleats or something as he was in his motion.  It brought Steve Duggar in from 3rd base.  In those 6, Madison gave up 2 hits, 1 walk, struck out 5 and threw 84 pitches.  Madison also pitched in the 7th inning, and did not fare so well.  He threw 18 more pitches, gave up a single followed by 2 walks and was pulled for Reyes Moronta.  Reyes induced a strike out, a line out to the Panda, and a ground ball to Brandon Crawford.  If you could award a "win" based on sheer grit and savvy, Reyes gets the credit.  Innings 8 and 9 were handled perfunctorily by Sam Dyson (a 4-pitch 8th).

After that, it fell apart for the A's.  A series of relievers in the 7th culminating with Santiago Casilla (who also pitched the 8th) gave the Giants 5 runs for the final score.

The Giants hitting was timely.
Steve Duggar scored 3 times, walked, hit 2 doubles and picked up 2 rbi.  In the 7th, with the bases loaded by way of two singles and a walk, Duggar slammed a double to right to score 2.  Belt was hit on the hand (but stayed in the game), McCutheon hit a sac fly to score d'Arnaud and send Duggar to 3rd, where a wild Santiago Casilla pitch brought him in.  A Buster Posey double scored Belt.  Buster had 2 rbi, both coming with 2 outs.  The Giants had to scrap for opportunity early in the game, but took advantage of them when they came.

The Oakland A's had just beaten the world champion and AL West division-leading Houston Astros in 3 games out of 4.  Oakland, even with tonight's loss, would be in first place in the NL West.  Mark's hope is still alive.