Thursday, March 31, 2016

I'm going to learn to spell Samardzija

That's not really that hard. He retired 15 consecutive Oakland A's tonight in a 3-1 vic. 

Here's the top of Chris Haft's story for --


SAN FRANCISCO -- Both the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's used Thursday night's Bay Bridge Series opener as an opportunity to test-drive their respective lineups. Neither team delivered high-performance offense, as Jeff Samardzija led a procession of effective pitchers in San Francisco's 3-1 exhibition triumph.
Samardzija worked five innings, retiring 15 consecutive batters after Billy Burns smashed a leadoff triple off the right-field wall. The Giants' projected No. 3 starter had pitched progressively better in his six starts but still entered this game with a 7.20 spring ERA.
"Keep working and you get a day like this where it all comes together," said Samardzija, who walked none and struck out five.
The Giants scored in three consecutive innings after breaking a scoreless tie in the fourth, when Hunter Pence doubled and came across on Brandon Crawford's two-out single. Buster Posey and pinch-hitter Ehire Adrianza added RBI singles in the fifth and sixth, respectively.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Trevor Brown, Ehire Adrianza in the Orange and Black

Trevor Brown, Ehire Adrianza, Kelby Tomlinson and Gregor Blanco -- that looks like the Giants bench for the April 4 opening day

Here's what Chris Haft of wrote on Sunday --

The Giants essentially finalized their Opening Day roster after Sunday's 13-9 loss to the Chicago White Sox, trimming their squad to 26 by jettisoning nine players.
San Francisco optioned outfielders Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson, as well as right-hander Mike Broadway, to Triple-A Sacramento. Non-roster invitees reassigned to Minor League camp were left-hander Braulio Lara, catcher George Kottaras, outfielder Gorkys Hernandez and infielders Conor Gillaspie, Grant Green and Ramiro Pena.
The lone remaining move the Giants must make to reach the 25-man season-opening limit involves backup catchers Trevor Brown and Andrew Susac. Chances are that Susac, who's recovering from a right wrist injury, will begin the season on the 15-day disabled list. Also, Brown is out-hitting Susac in Cactus League action, .324 to .217.
Otherwise, all of the Giants' roster-related issues have been settled, at least until management feels the need to make personnel changes.
The pitching staff will indeed consist of 13 members, one more than the Giants would prefer. But since injuries have prevented starters Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain from building enough stamina to work deep into ballgames, manager Bruce Bochy needs an extra reliever available.

Thus, the Giants' bench will consist of switch-hitting infielder Ehire Adrianza, right-handed-hitting infielder Kelby Tomlinson, left-handed-hitting outfielder Gregor Blanco and the backup catcher. All-Star catcher Buster Posey will double as the reserve first baseman, though Adrianza and Brown received a smattering of experience at that spot this spring.
Bochy began Spring Training announcing that the talented Williamson probably would need more Minor League seasoning. This created the implication that Parker would have a chance at making the team. Instead, they're both bound for Sacramento, with Williamson (.298, five home runs, 14 RBIs) having outperformed Parker (.239, three homers, 11 RBIs).
• Brown won the Barney Nugent Award as the club's top performer who was in his first big league camp. He emerged victorious in a vote among teammates, coaches and the medical and training staffs. Third baseman Matt Duffy was last year's winner; the most accomplished recipient since the award's inception in 1988 was right-hander Tim Lincecum in 2007.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Sixth Homer for Hunter

It looks like he's back. The pitching, not so much. Chris Haft of describes a 16-14 loss to the Cubs.

The Cubs sent 13 batters to the plate in their big fifth. Dexter Fowler's two-run single and Kris Bryant's two-run triple did the most to fuel the uprising.
Chicago's outburst erased San Francisco's 11-5 edge that featured more productive hitting from Hunter Pence, who hit his sixth home run in nine games and contributed a single to a five-run first inning. He went 2-for-3, hoisting his exhibition batting average to .500.
Pence's first-inning single was the last of four consecutive hits allowed by Arrieta, who left the game after working one-third of an inning due to a blister on his right thumb. Arrieta was "frustrated" that he couldn't go longer in what was a marquee spring confrontation between pitching aces.
"You have to view them as one of the top contenders as well as some other teams around the league, along with a couple in the National League West," Arrieta said of the Giants. "We'll play a lot of great teams this year. It's frustrating to not be more involved tonight because I was looking forward to this. It was a fun game to be part of. I'm more excited about not allowing this to get past a point of uncertainty as far as having to deal with an open blister, so that's a benefit there for me. I think we're fine."

Saturday, March 19, 2016

A decent start for Matt Cain

He only gave up three runs. 

Here's the recap --

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- For Giants starter Matt Cain, his long-awaited spring debut included pregame jitters, a couple of hits at the plate and most important of all, a lot of quality pitches.
Cain actually stretched his pitch count a bit higher than anticipated and used his breaking ball effectively in an outing of 2 2/3 innings Friday night, giving the Giants reason to feel good about his progress on a night when their offense broke out for a 15-6 win over the Padres.
It was Cain's first appearance since his spring was interrupted by the removal of a cyst from his pitching arm, and catcher Buster Posey was duly impressed.
"I don't say it lightly," Posey said. "I really thought his stuff was really good."

Monday, March 14, 2016

Mel Ott

You can call yourself a real Giants fan if you know who Mel Ott is. One of the greatest Giants ever.

Joe Posnanski has written a great profile of Ott, who was Vin Scully's fave when he was growing up.

Joe rates him the 34th best player of all time. Here's part of the article --

Ott’s genial nature belied athletic genius. He was not a home run hitter. He was, instead, a complete and self-made hitter. Ott grew up in in a small Louisiana town called Gretna, just on the other side of the river from New Orleans. His father worked long hours in a cottonseed oil plant; Ott always said his family didn’t have much other than church, sports and each other. Ott learned baseball from two uncles who played on a local semipro team.
Ott was not the first to left his front leg high in the air in order to time pitches — the flamingo batting style dates back to the 19th century. But in that little town, through his trial and error, Ott did invent his very own batting style. The first time Giants manager John McGraw saw a 16-year-old Ott, he said, “That’s a natural hitter.”  Ott was in the big leagues at 17. He was a star by 19.
Ott never won an MVP Award though he was probably the league’s best player five or six times during his career. He hit with power, of course, led the league in walks six times and had a tremendous right field arm. He led the National League in WAR five times, finished top four every year from 1929-39, and his 107.8 career WAR is 16th in baseball history, squeezed between Nap Lajoie and Mickey Mantle. When it comes to Mel Ott’s overall play, I would say he’s been underrated by history.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Mac Williamson homers

Ok, it was in a 9-5 loss to the Angels but I liked writing that headline 

It's in the 4th paragraph of the game story --  The Giants got a run-scoring triple from Brandon Crawford in the first and plated a couple of runs in the second on a misplayed grounder by Angels third baseman Yunel Escobar, a converted shortstop. In the fifth, outfield prospect Mac Williamson -- ranked seventh in the Giants' system by -- blasted a two-run homer off setup man Joe Smith.

Hunter Pence homers

What a beautiful headline. I wish it were April 11 not March 11....

 By Chris Haft / | | March 11th, 2016
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- The thrill ride otherwise known as Hunter Pence's baseball career resumed Friday at Scottsdale Stadium. He couldn't quite operate at full speed, but he generated excitement nonetheless.
Appearing in his first exhibition game after recovering from right Achilles tendinitis, Pence lined a titanic fourth-inning home run in the Giants' 5-4 loss to the Seattle Mariners. The Giants welcomed the powerful display from Pence, whose injury-induced absence during most of the 2015 season proved too much for the ballclub to overcome.

Thursday, March 03, 2016

Denard Span and his 572 games in the minors

Span discusses how hungry it made him to play six seasons in the minors before he got to the bigs, according to Chris Haft at

"I never take anything for granted," said Span, who made his Giants debut in their 8-7 Cactus League loss Thursday to a Milwaukee split squad. San Francisco's projected everyday center fielder and leadoff hitter served as the designated hitter and went 0-for-2.
Span made another pointed remark about his extended stay in the Minors.
"It made me hungry as well," he said.
That attitude partly fueled the Giants' motivation to remove him from the free-agent market by signing him to a three-year, $31 million deal during the offseason.
Fewer players nowadays receive as much big league preparation time as Span did. Consider three other Giants: first baseman Brandon Belt, third baseman Matt Duffy and shortstop Brandon Crawford played 196, 248 and 305 games in the Minors, respectively. This doesn't necessarily mean that they're significantly better ballplayers than Span. Factors such as need at a particular position or whether a club is struggling or succeeding can influence the timing of a promotion.