Thursday, September 29, 2016

11, 11, 11

For the third straight night, The Giants starter struck out 11. Matt Moore, Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto -- first time that's happened in 41 years when Ed Halicki, Pete Falcone and John Montefusco each had double figure strikeouts.

This is the way to end the season - especially with the cheating Cards getting an undeserved vic tonight.

A remarkable game for Cueto, running full speed in the 6th and luring Arenado to make a stupid play -- throwing the ball into right field and letting in 2 runs. Here's the mlb recap --

SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants got everything they needed Thursday night. They reclaimed some of their lost offense, received a strong performance from starter Johnny Cueto and recorded a much-needed victory with a 7-2 decision over the Colorado Rockies.
Cueto's deft bunt single and an accompanying throwing error by Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado accounted for two runs in San Francisco's three-run, sixth-inning outburst that broke a 2-2 tie.
The outcome tightened the National League Wild Card race entering the regular season's final weekend. The idle New York Mets (85-74) continued to hold on to the first Wild Card spot, while the Giants (84-75) possess the second Wild Card berth, a game back of New York. The St. Louis Cardinals (83-76) remained a game behind the Giants with their controversial triumph over Cincinnati.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Small ball comes up big: Another key bunt besides Cueto's in the Giants' sixth-inning rally was laid down by Angel Pagan, who kept a roller fair up the third-base line. The Giants then loaded the bases on Joe Panik's grounder to first baseman Gerardo Parra, whose throw to third was too late to retire a sliding Brandon Crawford. Conor Gillaspie's sacrifice fly preceded Cueto's bunt.
Another solid swing: Rockies rookie outfielder David Dahl has made his mark during a rough road trip. His first-inning triple off Cueto drove in the Rockies' second run and was his fourth extra-base hit of the trip. He also homered off Dodgers closer Kenley Jansen on Sunday and doubled in each of the first two games against the Giants.
UPON FURTHER REVIEW
The Giants challenged a third-inning ruling at first base, where Daniel Descalso was declared safe on a pickoff attempt by Cueto. A video review confirmed that first baseman Brandon Belt indeed brushed his glove against Descalso before the Rockies baserunner made it back to the bag, and the call was overturned.

The Rockies' challenge, in hopes of getting an out that could have mitigated damage in the sixth, fizzled when a safe call -- Crawford sliding back to third to beat Rockies first baseman Parra's throw -- was ruled to stand after review. Parra had fielded Panik's bouncer.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Gordon Beckham in the Orange and Black?

Grant Bisbee at McCovey Chronicles is perplexed by the front office decision to bring on Gordon Beckham for the last five games of the season in reaction to Eduardo Nunez having a season-ending injury....


Huh. That’s the only possible way to respond. Beckham wouldn’t be eligible for a postseason roster, so huh.
Huh.
Beckham isn’t very good, for one. His .655 OPS (76 OPS+) is bad even by Giants bench standards, and he’s not anything more than an average fielder, at best. There’s a reason why no one tried to recreate the 2013 White Sox piece by piece before this.
As generic depth for six games? Okay, fine. Maybe there’s something we don’t know about Gillaspie, Tomlinson, or Adrianza, if not all three. But if you’re going to go to the trouble to make a 40-man roster move, why not give the gig to someone already in the system? Grant Green, for example.


Dunno. The trade itself isn’t going to hurt, as it’s likely just for cash, but the Giants either have to designate someone for assignment or place someone on the 60-day DL to make room on the roster. If it’s the former, that seems absurd, regardless of the career prospects of the player exposed to waivers. That risk, any risk at all, can’t be worth six games.
If it’s the latter, well, huh.
Huh.
There’s a chance that the Giants make the postseason on the last day of the season, and that Beckham is the one who hits a grand slam to get them there, so don’t equate "ineligible for the postseason roster" with "exempt from even-year shenanigans." There’s a chance we’ll say more than "huh" before the end of the season.
Until then, well ...

Monday, September 26, 2016

16 from 2014

The SF Giants web site points out that 16 of the players on the current roster were also on the 2014 World Series winners

5. Look in the mirror
The Giants have played with virtually no swagger. That comes simply from losing too often. They need to remember that Buster Posey and Hunter Pence remain capable of taking over a game, that Brandon Crawford is a big-time shortstop, that Angel Pagan, Denard Span and Eduardo Nunez (if healthy) are legitimate threats and that Joe Panik is an ideal second baseman.
Among the current Giants, 16 played for the 2014 champions. Dwelling on the past would accomplish nothing. However, figuratively and perhaps even literally, they need to hold their championship rings to the light and let the reflection guide them along this week's path.

Here are the ones that come to mind -- Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, Angel Pagan, Hunter Pence.

Here are the others -- Gregor Blanco, Hunter Strickland, Jake Peavy, Matt Cain, Ehire Adrianza, George Kontos. The last three were not on the 2014 postseason roster

Saturday, September 24, 2016

This is why the Cubs are cursed

Jon Miller pointed out during last night's TV broadcast that the Cubs' curse dates back to 1908 and them being awarded a victory that they did not deserve on Sept. 23.

Of course, that's the 1908 Merkle game. Miller's point was that the curse stems from the Cubs going on to win a World Series that they should have never gotten to in the first place.

Ed Sherman did a nice writeup in 2008 and noted that Keith Olberman reviewed the play and concluded that umpire Hank O'Day had made the decision by invoking a rule that was never enforced after Johnny Evers got a ball that was probably not the game ball. That fact alone -- that there was no way to prove that it was the actual game ball -- should have been enough to declare the game had been won by the Giants.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Playing for the Wild Card

The Giants are now in a tie for the Wild Card with the Nats and Cards. 

They won so many games before the break that they will actually still in contention for the postseason -- despite being lousy for the past two months.  

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Boos at AT&T Park

Hard to believe, but Santiago Casilla got booed tonight as he came into the game in the top of the 9th in a save situation, then blew yet another save.

Fans can be pretty stupid but sometimes they're actually geniuses collectively. Fans who know the game and follow the Giants closely KNOW that something is not right with Casilla. He simply isn't reliable any more. It's frustrating that Bochy and Righetti believe he's still a viable option.

Come on, Bruce and Dave -- you have a dozen options out there. Let Romo finish, bring in Derek Law, Joe Nathan, Osich, Gearin, Kontos. Stop trying to make Casilla be something that he isn't anymore.

Here's John Shea's story from the SF Chron --

If the Giants reach the playoffs, their rotation seems set. If only manager Bruce Bochy could say the same about his bullpen.
Jeff Samardzija put the Giants in position to win Saturday night’s game, and Santiago Casilla put them in position to lose it.
Giants fans don’t often boo their own, especially in the wake of three championships since 2010, but Casilla was booed off the mound after blowing another save opportunity in a 3-2 loss to the Cardinals.
The Giants are five games behind the first-place Dodgers and fell into a tie with the Mets for the wild-card lead. The Cardinals are two back.
The Giants were one out from securing their third straight win over St. Louis, but the ninth inning provided another disaster. Manager Bruce Bochy began the inning with Sergio Romo but replaced him with Casilla after Jedd Gyorko’s one-out single.
Before the game, Bochy provided support for Casilla in the wake of a scoreless eighth inning Friday. “He’s in the mix,” Bochy said, “including closing.”
Casilla got booed as he jogged from the bullpen, and his relationship with the crowd didn’t improve when pinch-runner Tommy Pham stole second and Yadier Molina walked. Fans let out a collective groan when Randal Grichuk hit a tie-breaking single.
That was all for Casilla, who walked off the field and, amid the boos, began to jog and clap into his glove. Something that isn’t seen out of the long-time Giants reliever.
Matt Reynolds replaced Casilla, and Kolten Wong hit a sacrifice fly to break the tie.
Jeff Samardzija, who yielded one run in 6 2/3 innings, was denied his 12th win. He surrendered Brandon Moss’ first-inning homer and departed after 104 pitches. His ERA in his past eight starts is 2.74.
Without on-field batting practice for a third straight day, the Giants did just enough offensively for their third straight victory, at least through eight innings.
Hunter Pence singled to extend his hit streak to 11 games and scored on Brandon Belt’s double to center. It was Pence’s 15th run of September. He’s the Giants’ best hitter this month, batting .377 with four homers, 10 RBIs.
Mike Leake, a Giant the last two months of last season, got into trouble again in the fifth when Eduardo Nunez opened with a single and stole second base, beating Molina’s throw.
Nunez tried to steal third, but Denard Span, the leadoff hitter turned No. 8 hitter, singled to right. Unaware of what Span did, Nunez wasn’t able to push himself off the ground in time to score. Still, the Giants had runners at the corners with no outs.
Samardzija squared to bunt, and then he pulled back. On Leake’s second pitch, Samardzija hit a fly to medium-deep right field, far enough to score Nunez. Span was caught in a rundown on the play.
The Giants won’t have batting practice Sunday, either, but that’s because it’s a day game following a night game. Their next scheduled BP is Monday night at Dodger Stadium.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

This is why the Giants got Cueto


Mike Krukow said on the postgame wrap tonight "Games like tonight are why the Giants went out and got Johnny Cueto in the offseason."


SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants broke out for more runs than they scored in their entire series with the Padres and Johnny Cueto recorded his fifth complete game of the season, as San Francisco defeated the Cardinals, 6-2, at AT&T Park on Thursday night.
The win moved the Giants one game in front of the Mets and two games ahead of the Cardinals in the National League Wild Card standings. San Francisco also gained a game on the Dodgers, closing to within four games of the NL West leaders. The Cardinals' loss officially handed the Chicago Cubs the NL Central crown.


"This is an important time for us," Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright said of the team's push to advance to the postseason for a sixth straight season. "I'm not trying to downplay the game, but we do have time left. We have plenty of time left to make this happen."
After combining for just five runs while getting swept by the Padres, the Giants' offense resembled a much more complete group. Hunter Pence hit a two-run homer to extend his hitting streak to nine games, Buster Posey recorded four hits and Cueto even supplied a sacrifice fly to score the go-ahead run. Denard Span, who batted eighth for the first time this year, added to the lead with a two-run base knock in the seventh inning.
"We tacked on," said Giants manager Bruce Bochy. "Guys did a good job. It's been an issue in some of these games. They kept fighting."
 



Monday, September 12, 2016

Clemens?

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Best game of the year

Kelby Tomlinson delivered the goods once more in a game the Giants had to win. 

Henry Schulman of the SF Chron calls it a "crazy" game. Casilla blew a save in the 10th; Bochy pitched Cory Gearrin in the 12th, put him in left and brought in Lopez and then had Gearin go back on the mound to close it out.

Here's part --

 
PHOENIX - With two outs to go in Friday night's 7-6, 12-inning victory against the Diamondbacks, reliever Cory Gearrin stood in left field facing incredulous stares from Denard Span and Hunter Pence.
"They were asking me, 'What are you doing out here?'" Gearrin said with a huge grin. "I asked them where I should go. They told me to just play straight up. I said, 'What's straight up? Where do I line up for that?' It was fun. It was definitely a first for me. It's something I'll never forget."
The entire 5-hour, 23-minute game was hard to forget, not just Gearrin becoming the first Giants pitcher since Noah Lowry in 2007 to play another defensive position, and the first since Keith Comstock in 1987 to start an inning on the mound, move to a different position, then return to the mound.
Gearrin earned the save after Santiago Casilla blew another one in the 10th inning, a remarkable occurrence in so many ways, starting with manager Bruce Bochy's surprising decision to let him try to save a 6-5 game.
On Friday afternoon, two days after Casilla allowed a ninth-inning homer in what became a 7-6 loss to the Rockies, Bochy declared he would use different relievers to preserve games, ending Casilla's reign as the singular closer.
With 11 other relievers his disposal, Bochy let Casilla start the 10th. Even more incredible, with one out, Bochy let Casilla face his personal Torquemada, Jake Lamb, whom Diamondbacks manager Chip Hale sent to pinch-hit.
Lamb was 2-for-2 with two homers against Casilla this season and had three homers against Casilla overall.
Sure enough, Lamb homered again to tie the game 6-6 and pinned Casilla with his eighth blown save, the most by a Giant since Armando Benitez in 2006.


Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Worst game of the year

The Giants bullpen self-immolated tonight in Denver, only getting one out in the bottom of the 9th as Casilla, Osich and Joe Nathan gave up 3 runs.

There are still 23 games left so perhaps we can say they got an awful one out of their system tonight. I hate the Rox and their stupid park.

Henry Schulman's stpry for the Chron tells you all you need to know --

DENVER - Some stats and notes jump off the page and seem incomprehensible, like the Giants having played 26 road games in the second half without consecutive wins.
The Giants were three outs away from checking that off their list Wednesday night when they ran into a painful and familiar problem: Santiago Casilla's inability to shut the door consistently.
The Rockies came back from two runs down in the ninth to beat the Giants 6-5 on Cristhian Adames' two-run double off Joe Nathan with one out in the ninth inning.

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Kelby returns

That guy with the glasses was clutch tonight. He drove in the winning run and started a game ending DP. Here's the SFChron's story - 

DENVER - This is the glory of baseball.
The Giants were ready to sell their souls for a clutch hit and finally got one in the ninth inning Tuesday night from a September callup who is here for his baserunning and bunting and atoned for getting picked off first base and failing to execute a suicide squeeze.
It was Kelby Tomlinson's night at Coors Field, good and bad, with the good prevailing in a 3-2 victory that prevented the Giants from falling out of the top Wild Card spot.
"He saved himself rom a fine there with that base hit," manager Bruce Bochy said through a smile that had been missing in action.
The game was tied 2-2 and the Giants had runners on the corners thanks to a two-base Daniel Descalso throwing error and a Hunter Pence infield hit.
After Boone Logan struck out Brandon Crawford, Bochy gave Tomlinson the suicide-squeeze sign even with slow-footed Buster Posey at third base. Tomlinson fouled his bunt to the right side. First baseman Gerardo Parra nearly caught it with a dive.
Logan threw another strike before he mislocated an 0-2 fastball that Tomlinson lined into left to bring Posey home with the winning run.

Bochy then turned to Santiago Casilla to close, seven blown saves be damned. Casilla retired Giants-killer Nolan Arenado on a flyball, walked David Dahl then got Parra to hit sharply into a double play to end the game. Fittingly, Tomlinson started it.
A team that seemed to forget how to do the little things succeeded in enough of them to beat the Rockies.
"That's what it's all ab0ut, especially in September. You've got to find a way to win," Jeff Samardzija said after he set the table with seven superb innings. He allowed two runs and lowered his ERA in three career starts at Coors to 2.01.
Apparently, guys who can use a 97-mph fastball with three good secondary pitches to strike out nine need not fear the elevation.
The Giants won for the fifth time in 55 games this season when trailing after seven innings. They tied it in the eighth on an Eduardo Nuñez infield out after Gorkys Hernandez and Trevor Brown started the inning with singles against starter Tyler Anderson.
Nuñez homered for the first Giants run, ending a team scoreless streak at 19 innings.
Management did two things in a bid end a five-game stretch with four or fewer hits, which tied a modern big-league record. Bochy sat badly struggling regulars Brandon Belt, Denard Span and Joe Panik, and played Tomlinson, Brown and Hernandez, with Posey at first base.
Batting coach Hensley Meulens also conducted a 15-minute hitters meeting before batting practice. Brandon Crawford, said no new ground was broken. Meulens just reminded everyone what they have been told.
"Anytime you can bring yourselves together and refocus and make sure we know what everyone is striving for at the end, it gives you energy," Tomlinson said.
The Giants then outhit Colorado eight to four.
Bochy also said a lot by turning to Casilla two days after his devastating blown save in the getaway game at Wrigley Field, his seventh. Bochy said he had not considered replacing Casilla.
"I know he's had some hiccups," Bochy said. "They all have. It's the nature of being in the bullpen. You've got to stay behind him. He's got great stuff. I just didn't feel there was a need for a change right now."
Casilla appreciated the gesture.
"When I see the manager have confidence in me, it makes me keep my head up," he said through translator Erwin Higueros. "The manager is the one in charge. He makes the last decision. He knows me. We've been together six years. He's like a father to me. Whatever decision he makes, I'm going to go for it."

Sunday, September 04, 2016

The Wild Card

The LA Times reported that the dodgers plan to start pitching Clayton Kershaw again soon, which probably is going to relegate the Giants to a wild card spot.

The Giants just went ahead 2-1 in the 5th so there's still hope

Friday, September 02, 2016

The Giants gift the Cubs

Here we are in September and the Giants started by giving away a 1-run vic at Wrigley. It's great that the game was close and unlucky that the winning by Addison Russell came on a shattered bat single.

These are the games the Good Guys won before the stupid All Star break.

They scored 4 runs on three hits and still played well enough to win. Only true fans can stomach this mlb.com recap --

 

CHICAGO -- Odd as it may seem, it's possible to contend that the Giants received a decent pitching effort Thursday night in their 5-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs.
Or, as right fielder Hunter Pence said, citing one of his favorite inspirational quotations: "See victory where others see nothing."
That bromide suited this game, from the Giants' perspective.
Obviously, Jeff Samardzija endured an atrocious first inning and Hunter Strickland, the first of four relievers manager Bruce Bochy employed in the seventh inning, began that frame by putting the tying and go-ahead runs on base.
But instead of dissolving after the rigorous first inning, Samardzija toughened. Striking out opposing pitcher Mike Montgomery to end the first put Samardzija on course to retire eight consecutive batters and 10 of the last 12.
And though the bullpen couldn't hold the lead, Trade Deadline acquisition Will Smith turned in one of his best performances as a Giant during the seventh, striking out Anthony Rizzo and inducing a popup from Jason Heyward with runners in scoring position.
However, Cory Gearrin was forced to swallow a dose of bad baseball luck. Replacing Smith, the right-hander broke Addison Russell's bat with a hard, inside sinker, thrown how and where he wanted it. But Russell put enough splintered wood on the ball to muscle it into left field for the two-run single that erased San Francisco's 4-3 lead.
"That was a tough one," Gearrin said. "Those are the situations I want to come into. ... It's frustrating because you want to get the result no matter what."
The Giants' determined performances prompted optimism from the ever-upbeat Pence, whose two-run, first-inning homer was the loudest hit among the meager total of three that San Francisco collected.
"It's very important in these tough stretches to see the little victories -- the great fight and great performances from a lot of our bullpen pitchers," Pence said after the Giants fell two games behind the first-place Dodgers in the National League West.
Pence praised Samardzija's "gutsy" effort, which ended after four innings and 87 pitches. Given Samardzija's thorough recovery after the first inning, Bochy was asked whether the right-hander could have worked into the fifth, which might have saved a bullpen arm or two.