Sunday, August 27, 2017

Stratton and Cain

Chris Stratton had a great start and Matt Cain gave up 8 runs in the 8th in Phoenix. An ugly victory for the Snakes. Here's the recap from Raising Matt Cain

AZ 11  SF 0
Chris Stratton had another excellent start but the Giants were both shut out and swept by the Diamondbacks. It was a close game until the 8th when Matt Cain (2/3 IP, 8 R) had perhaps his worst appearance ever. If not the worst, then close, and that's saying a lot considering he's been in the bigs since 2005 and has logged over 2000 innings. But that's not really important. For all his career accomplishments in orange-and-black Matt Cain is not a part of the future. It makes me sad to say that but it happens to all players, and he leaves behind an outstanding body of work. The only thing we can be interested in at this point in this wretched season is next season and the season after that, etc. The present is intolerable; the future has a chance to be better. Chris Stratton is showing some major-league moxie and I'm excited by that. Even if his ceiling is only as a fifth-starter (and it may not be), the Giants still need choices for that role, and he's serving notice that he should be in the mix. Good for him. Let's see more guys bang on the door and say "put me in coach, I'm ready to play."

Next stop is San Diego tomorrow night. Jeff Samardzija gets the ball.


Monday, August 21, 2017

First home shutout of they year

A great game in a year that's seen too few of them -- the Giants got their firsts home shutout of the year.

Giants are now 51-76

Here is the top of the story  --

SAN FRANCISCO -- Chris Stratton employed a different strategy to achieve a similar result Monday night at AT&T Park, where he delivered six innings to propel the Giants to a 2-0 victory over the Brewers, San Francisco's first home shutout of the season.
Stratton (2-2) limited the Brewers to four hits while striking out only one batter. In his previous start Aug. 13 at Washington, the right-hander amassed 10 strikeouts while working 6 2/3 shutout innings. Stratton, who allowed only three runners to reach scoring position Monday, extended his streak of scoreless innings to 12 2/3 -- the longest by a Giants rookie since Chris Heston amassed 16 1/3 in July 2015.
Brewers starter Zach Davies (14-7) also lasted six innings and essentially matched Stratton. Davies lapsed only in the fourth inning, when Brandon Crawford doubled home a run and Nick Hundley's groundout scored another. The outcome dropped the Brewers 2 1/2 games behind first-place Chicago in the National League Central and 3 1/2 games behind the D-backs for the second NL Wild Card slot.
MOMENTS THAT MATTERED Defense vs. trickery: The Brewers unsuccessfully tried to bedevil the Giants on the basepaths in the fourth inning. With two outs and Stephen Vogt on first base, Orlando Arcia singled to right field and took a wide turn around first base. As shortstop Brandon Crawford began to run Arcia back to first, Vogt, who had advanced to third, broke for home. Ryder Jones, who had taken a relay from Crawford, made a perfect throw home to retire Vogt.
Not quite art: Arcia remained a central figure in the bottom of the fourth, darting up the middle and executing a 360-degree slide as he snared Hunter Pence's grounder. But second baseman Neil Walker couldn't barehand Arcia's relay. That gave the Giants runners on first and second with nobody out as they proceeded to score twice.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Over in the first inning

Damn, I hate the Marlins and their stupid stadium and their stupid owner.

Matt Cain pitched today so I thought I would post the recap from Zo at Raising Matt Cain - 

 Mark is off in the desert, staring at the sky.  In Miami, the Giants proved themselves incapable of beating the Marlins today, losing 2 of 3 behind Matt Cain.  They are 1 - 5 against Miami this year.  Today's score was 8 - 1.  If you only had a little time today, you heard all you need to about this game.  It was over in the 1st inning.  Miami scored 4 and that was 2 more than they needed.  The Giants pushed 1 across in the 3rd, assisted by a throwing error, no rbi was awarded.  Cain lasted 4 innings, gave up 5 runs, only 2 of which were earned due to sloppy defense.  The first inning saw a catcher's interference (Hundley, not Buster) and an error by Crawford.  After Matt exited, Alberto Suarez gave up 3 more runs in 3 innings, then Josh Osich gave up 1 hit but no runs in the 8th.   Osich cannot complain about not getting chances.  25 year old Jose Urena pitched for the Marlins, he picked up his 11th win in 5 innings of work.  Giancarlo Stanton did not hit a home run.
I thought it was important to win this game.   After their miserable showing in Los Angeles in late July, they split with the A's, then beat Arizona and the Cubs each 2 of 3.  Then they went to Washington.  Well, Washington is a very good club, but Miami is not (much better than the Giants, but that's not saying much).  If they were to play anything like what they were supposed to be capable of this year, it would have been good to get back to winning a series.  And they would have breached that .400 barrier.  They didn't do that.  So now, 4 games against Philadelphia in our own stadium.  Anyone know what the over-under is on a split?

Did you know?  Matt Cain struck out 7 today.  He is now within 17 strikeouts of Tim Lincecum's Giant totals.  Tim is 4th on the all time leaders list for strikeouts, behind Christy Mathewson, Juan Marichal and Amos Rusie.   Considering that he has been left for dead by the press, I'd like to see him pick up those K's.  It would at least be something in this stinkpot of a year.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

All is not lost for the 2017 Giants

Ty Blach is the real deal -- a legit MLB starting pitcher who is now 8-7 for the Giants, now the third worst team in baseball with 45 wins. (Phils have 41, Chisox have 43).

And there's Sam Dyson, who has been closing far better than Mark Melancon. He got his 7th in eight chances tonight. 

Dave Flemming noted on the postgame show that Buster Posey had caught Dyson in the World Baseball Classic and said that the sinking fastball was the best he's ever caught -- which is saying something. He got DFAd by the Rangers, picked up by the Giants and somehow got straightened out. Posey hit a 3-run homer in the first, only the fifth the Giants have hit all year. Ty, Sam and Buster are the shining lights in a dismal season -- so bad that it would take a 25-game win streak to get to .500.

Here's the Mercury-News story, which notes that Blach closed down the Cubs for 3 innings in the 2016 NLDS too.

SAN FRANCISCO – Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto opened the season as one of baseball’s best and most accomplished 1-2 punches – a pair of aces that could match up against anyone in the major leagues.
Hey, dirt bike accidents and blisters can happen to anyone.
The Giants might be four months into a wasted season, but not all is lost. They discovered this summer that Ty Blach is for real. They discovered the rookie left-hander could even serve as ballast to a pitching staff that was ready to tip over.
There can be no doubt after Tuesday night’s 6-3 victory over the Chicago Cubs: Blach has been the Giants’ best starting pitcher this season.
All he does is throw strikes and then sprint off the field like a college freshman who was taught to always, always hustle. Blach (8-7) beat the defending World Series champions for the second time this season, holding the Cubs to two runs in seven innings. It marked the fifth consecutive time he completed at least seven frames. And unlike his previous start, Blach didn’t need to hit another three-run home run to aid his cause.
Buster Posey provided it, instead. His shot into the first row of the left field seats survived a replay review in the first inning as the Giants won for the third time in four games.
It’s never too late to get a little run going.
“It started in college,” said Blach, asked why he runs wind sprints from the mound to the dugout and back. “If you ever watch a Creighton game, everybody starts at the third base coaches’ box and sprints onto the field. I started trying to beat the position players. It sort of became a tradition, and I just stuck with it.”
Blach beat the Cubs for the second time this season, which is a feat considering the North Siders entered with a 19-7 record against left-handed starters – the best winning percentage in the major leagues. He also threw 3 1/3 scoreless innings against them in the NL Division Series last year.
The left-hander showed the same ability to stay one step ahead of the competition when he faced the formidable Dodgers for the third time this season on July 29 and spun a beauty against them.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Blach has added the ability to work up and down the strike zone, in addition to in and out. That’s given him another dimension as he has whittled his ERA down to 4.15 this season.
But it is more than that. In a year when a record amount of contact is resulting in home runs, the pitcher with the highest contact rate also has the lowest home run rate.
Blach has allowed just 10 home runs in 128 innings. His 0.70 home runs allowed per nine innings is the lowest figure among National League pitchers. And yet Blach’s 0.48 strikeouts per inning is the lowest ratio among all major league pitchers.
What has been his secret?
“Hitters are able to leverage pitches they can get extended on,” Blach said. “It’s just having the understanding to know how to keep them off balance.”
Posey had been out of balance. He was 1 for 17 on the homestand entering Tuesday and missed several shots to knock in runs a night earlier in a loss to the Cubs and Jake Arrieta. But he connected against left-hander Jose Quintana for his first home run in 76 at-bats.
It was Posey’s first home run since July 14 and his first at AT&T Park in almost three months. He had hit just two other homers at China Basin this season, the previous one coming on May 15 against the Dodgers. The other was his May 12 walk-off shot to end a 17-inning epic over the Cincinnati Reds.
He came up in an RBI spot because Gorkys Hernandez led off the first inning with a single and Hunter Pence reached on an error by Cubs shortstop Javier Baez.
Blach managed to help his cause, too. He lined an RBI single in the fourth inning that scored Brandon Crawford that gave the Giants a 4-0 lead.
The Cubs managed to chip away. They combined two singles, a sacrifice bunt and a ground out to score a run in the fifth inning. Then hot-hitting Willson Contreras and Ian Happ hit consecutive doubles in the sixth. Blach managed to strand Happ by getting a pair of ground outs.
But the Giants found those tack-on runs that have eluded them so often this season. Kelby Tomlinson walked, Pablo Sandoval hit a pinch single and the Giants scored on Joe Panik’s ground out in the seventh.
Then Posey stole his fifth base of the season before scoring on Brandon Crawford’s single up the middle. Posey has five steals this season, including his first two-steal game Sunday against the Diamondbacks.
The Cubs obviously scouted that game, since they held Posey on first base in the eighth. It didn’t matter, nor did Baez’s lightning fast snap tag at second base. Posey stole the base anyway after the play survived a video review.
“I thought he got me,” Posey said “I’m a little faster than I thought.”
Crawford followed by stealing his third base of the season. Did Posey believe that Crawford’s attempt was about more than getting into scoring position?
“Yes I do, 100 percent, because I already talked smack to him about it,” Posey said, smiling. “And I told (Denard) Span, `I’m tied with you now.’ So he needs to step it up.”
Those runs provided a bit more breathing room for the Giants bullpen. Hunter Strickland limited the damage to a run after Panik made an error on a potential double-play smash in the eighth. Then Sam Dyson made quick work of the ninth to record his seventh save in eight chances.

Sunday, August 06, 2017

A game to remember

Now THAT'S more like it 

Just when the game looked like so many 2017 games -- the Giants down 4-0 in the seventh at home -- Pablo Sandoval smashed a ball into left center for a double. 

Here is Henry Schulman's game story for the SF Chronicle --

Did Nick Hundley really dump an entire bucket of water on Jarrett Parker while he was being interviewed? Did the Giants really have — what do they call it? — fun? Did Pablo Sandoval actually ignite a great comeback win for the Giants on the Red Sox’s dime?
Yes, yes and yes.
The Giants stormed back from four runs down to beat the Diamondbacks 5-4 in 10 innings Saturday night. It might be easy to chalk it up to Pablo-mania, especially since he struck the first blow, but this was one of the their best team wins of the year.
And the first among equals was Jarrett Parker, who not only won the game with a two-out single against left-hander T.J. McFarland, but also hit an RBI double, helped throw a runner out at the plate and set aside worries about testing his collarbone against another wall with a sliding catch down the line to save a run.
Parker had a three-homer game in Oakland two years ago, but this might have been his best all-around effort.
“I hope to have many just like it,” Parker said. “Make an impact defensively and at the plate every day. That’s the goal.”
All five Giants pitchers, from rookie starter Chris Stratton to winner Hunter Strickland, got bigs outs even if they allowed runs, while Parker and Denard Span each got an outfield assist. That is big news for a team that had a majors-worst eight to start the night.
Span had his first of the year throwing out David Peralta trying to stretch a single into a double. Parker and Brandon Crawford made the relays that got Jake Lamb out at home to prevent a two-run first from escalating further.
Span scored the winning run after hitting a leadoff double in the 10th. A double play and two intentional walks later, Parker hit a grounder up the middle. Second baseman Adam Rosales was playing the shift, in the outfield and off to the right.
Had he not been shifted he might have gotten the third out. Instead, he could only stop the ball from getting into center field and had no chance to get anybody out, and the game was over. Parker had his first career walkoff hit. The Giants had their sixth of the season.
They also had their biggest rally of 2017, trailing 4-0 into the bottom of the seventh, and Sandoval started it with an off-field double against starter Taijuan Walker.
“That kind of woke us up because we looked dead in the water,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Parker lined an RBI double to right for the Giants’ first run before Hunter Pence hit his first homer at AT&T Park since September, cutting the lead to 4-3.
“After that, there was life in the dugout,” Bochy said. “I wasn’t surprised we found a way to tie the ballgame.”
That happened in the eighth, when pinch-hitter Kelby Tomlinson and Crawford singled against left-hander Andrew Chafin. Bochy had Buster Posey bat for Sandoval, who would have hit from his weak side. The Diamondbacks countered with right-hander David Hernandez.
Hernandez got a pretty good result even if the Giants tied the game 4-4. Posey hit into a double play, getting Tomlinson home but emptying the bases.
Sam Dyson overcame a bases-loaded rally in the ninth and Strickland a leadoff walk in the 10th to set up the winning rally.
Stratton’s second big-league start was better than his first, but he still left plenty of room for improvement as he allowed three runs (two earned) in five innings, with four walks and four Ks.
The Diamondbacks scored unearned runs in the fifth and sixth after errors by Sandoval and Crawford, pushing their lead to 4-0. But Kyle Crick and Cory Gearrin each pitched scoreless innings to keep the Giants in the game.
In the fifth, Sandoval charged an A.J. Pollock roller and threw it over first baseman Ryder Jones’ glove, allowing the pitcher Walker to score from third.
Might be nice if Stratton can actually have a normal pregame routine.
He got a half-hour notice before starting July 6 in Detroit for Johnny Cueto, who was sick. The opposite happened Saturday. He was all warmed up and ready to roll, but the 1997 reunion ceremony went long and the game was delayed by eight minutes.
During the ceremony, the Giants asked for a moment of silence for Darryl Hamilton, Rod Beck (whose wife Stacey was here), athletic trainer Barney Nugent and clubhouse employee David Lowenstein.
By the time the night was over, the Giants had a 1997-type win. They showed spirit and won by a single run, which the ‘97 team did 23 times.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

The Panda makes it back

Pablo Sandoval in the Orange and Black. Brandon Belt just went on the concussion DL so there was a spot on the roster. They traded Eduardo Nunez for prospects -- let's find out asap if Pablo has anything left in the tank.

Here's the story --

SAN FRANCISCO -- Pablo Sandoval is back on the Giants' 25-man roster. A spot for the third baseman opened on Saturday, when the Giants placed Brandon Belt on the seven-day concussion disabled list -- a day after he was hit in the helmet by a 79-mph curveball.
The club purchased the contract of Sandoval, who last played for the Giants in Game 7 of the 2014 World Series.
Sandoval, 30, had 38 at-bats over 12 games in the Minors before rejoining the team. He was 8-for-38 (.211) in 12 total Minor League games. In 48 total plate appearances, he's homered once and collected four RBIs.
The Giants re-signed Sandoval on July 22 after he was designated for assignment by the Red Sox. The third baseman apologized to fans and his teammates during a news conference at AT&T Park last month.

After signing with Boston, Sandoval said that manager Bruce Bochy and right fielder Hunter Pence were the only Giants he would miss. Saying "I learned my lesson" and citing "miscommunication," Sandoval apologized to players and fans for those remarks. He added, "Hunter's like my brother now; Bochy was like my dad at that time."
Bochy said earlier this week that he wanted Sandoval to collect more at-bats before his ascent back to the Majors.
"When the time comes, it will happen," Bochy said on Wednesday.
Sandoval figures to assume duties at third base, with Eduardo Nunez traded and Belt hurt. Recently promoted Ryder Jones, the team's No. 14 prospect according to, will likely move to first base while Sandoval takes over at third.

Tuesday, August 01, 2017

The Giants bullpen explosion

Until the All-Star break last year, the Giants bullpen was a thing of beauty for seven straight seasons. Now, it's never a surprise then the bullpen loses a game. They did it Friday and Sunday night in LA and again tonight in Oakland.

Here's the game recap from MC O'connor at Raising Matt Cain -- 

I suppose the biggest stories of the night are the deadline deals that sent Sonny Gray to the Yankees and Yu Darvish to the Dodgers. The Dodgers don't need Darvish. They are already a powerhouse, Darvish just gives them another arm for October. They have the luxury of planning for the post-season now. The Yankees are in a genuine fight over in the AL East so picking up a stud like Gray is potentially a big play. He could be a difference-maker in the final two months. The rich got richer, just like in real life.
Back in the crime scene that is Giants baseball, the bullpen took a perfectly good 3-2 lead in the 6th and turned it into a heap of rubbish. Matt Cain did that crazy thing he does, going five innings and clogging up the basepaths but somehow only giving up two runs. He left with a lead, I suppose you can add this one to the long list of Cainings which include NDs as well as Ls. The Giants were valiant, and fought back, but it was not enough and the A's prevailed 8-5.

Jeff Samardzija tomorrow night: it's Game 108, end of the sixth seasonal inning.

Go Giants!