Friday, May 26, 2017

Matt Cained

2-0 loss in SF
Matt Cain found himself in familiar circumstances tonight: pitching well but the team failing to deliver runs. It felt like the good old days in '07 and '08 when he put up a 15-30 W-L record. The team was a robust 149-175 over those two seasons; that .460 win percentage looks pretty good right now. It was a 0-0 tie until the top of the 7th when the Giants intentional-walk-of-the-no.8-hitter gambit bit them in the ass. The Braves pitcher, veteran southpaw Jaime Garcia, got a two-out hit and two runs scored on the play and that was the ballgame. Garcia had thrown six scoreless by that point and he got two more outs in the bottom of the 7th before handing it over to the 'pen who kept the string of zeros going. The Giants got four hits, all singles, all against Garcia.

Buster Posey played first base. Imagine how rested and protected Posey would be if he could DH. He'd be a great DH. I say we lobby the NL to adopt the DH. I'm not willing to go there, usually, but we're talking about Buster here. I'm willing to go there for Buster. The question is: are you?

--M.C.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Cubs Club Giants

Today's 5-1 loss in Chicago came a little too soon after last night's 5-4 loss for my taste. I was still hungover from that gut-wrenching game and I didn't need another disappointment. Ah well, another wasted start from--get this--team ace Jeff Samardzija who was mostly effective in his gangly strong-armed way. He even whacked a double and gave the Giants a good chance to get a run but the lineup failed to get it done. Today the Giants hit some balls hard and had some bad luck but that matters not anymore. This team needs to hit the ball in key spots and they just don't do it consistently enough or with sufficient power. Mostly they just make too many outs: the team OBP is .288, tied for last with the Royals.

The Cubs not only blasted the ball (10 homers in the four games) but played superbly in the field. Their defense is as good as advertised. Giants are now 11-12 for the month of May.

Matt Cain tomorrow at home against the Braves. GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Lester Liquefies Giants

Loss, 4-1 @ CHC 

Jon Lester (3-2) needed 99 pitches to dominate the Giants and coast to a complete game win, 4-1.  His performance was scary good (game score 93!) so there was slim chance for Johnny Cueto (4-4) on this rainy night. However, JohnnyC (game score 42) didn't help any with three more homers (that makes 11 this year) .  That is not at all like the Cueto I remember from last year.  Time to worry?

Put this game in the better forgotten column.  I'm kind of surprised we scored a run!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Blach in the Win Column

The Giants opened a 4 game series in Chicago this evening and came out looking good, winning the opener, 6 - 4.

Joe Panik batting in the #1 hole, led off with a home run off of old Giants nemesis John Lackey.  Giants kept the pressure on, scoring 2 more in the 3rd (again, Joe Panik, doubling in Gorkys Hernandez and then scoring on a Brandon Belt single); 1 in the 4th (Justin Ruggiano doubling in Edward Nunez); 1 on a Belt home run in the 5th; and 1 in the 8th on a Ruggiano home run.  So it was 6 - 0 going into the bottom of the 8th inning.  Ty Blach was on the mound, with only 90-some odd pitches through the 7th and no runs with the help of some great defense.  In particular, in the 3rd, Buster Posey gunned down the speedy Javier Baez with a throw as perfect as you will ever see.  Too bad it is not on the highlight reel on sfgiants.com or espn.  It really was the highlight.  Helpful, too, considering that Ben Zobrist, up next, tripled.  However, at that point there were 2 outs and the next batter grounded out.

Blach pitched great.  At the end of 7, he had struck out 3 and walked none.  He came out to pitch the 8th, though, and got into trouble.  A Jason Heward single followed by a Baez home run and an Ian Happ triple brought Derek Law into the game, who gave up a home run to Zobrist to make it 6 - 4.  Fortunately, with the help of Okert and Strickland, the Giants went into the 9th with a 6 - 4 lead, and Melancon got the save.  Whew!  So Blach picked up 3 earned runs and the Giants pick up a win (but did not gain on the Crockies).  Joe Panik was 3 for 4.  How many consecutive solo home runs is that now?  16?  How is that not a record?  Also, this seems like an oddity: the Giants batting order had (except for the pitcher) the outfielders batting last.  Keep winning!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Cardinals Prevail

8-3 loss in StL
Matt Cain got clobbered in the getaway game today in St. Louis and Giants hitters were subdued by perennial stud Adam Wainwright. The Giants take 2 of 3 however and win their third straight series. They go to Chicago to take on the defending champion Cubs for four games starting tomorrow night before coming home at the end of the week for three against the Braves. They finish the month and the homestand with three against the Nationals. The Giants are 10-9 for the month of May after starting 2-6, let's hope they can keep the winning momentum going.

--M.C.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Giants Win . . . Again!

3-1 win (13) in StL
The Giants win in extra innings on the road. I'll say that again: the Giants win in extra innings on the road. That makes two wins in a row. I'll say that again: that makes two wins in a row. Jeff Samardzija had to match up with a nearly unhittable Carlos Martinez and wouldn't you know he delivered eight scoreless frames and kept the Giants in the game. The game, like last night, featured a rain delay, but the Giants prevailed thanks to a big hit from Christian Arroyo in the top of the 13th. I have to say I like this version of the 2017 Giants a lot better than what we were seeing last month.

--M.C.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Giants Win!

6-5 win in StL
I couldn't come up with anything clever, but that was perhaps the best win of the season. For a team as offensively challenged as the Giants to come from behind not once but twice is almost impossible to believe. When the 'pen gagged the lead I was sure it was over. I know, I know, anything can happen and I really do try to stay positive but it's not like the team has engendered a feeling of confidence in 2017. But here it is, a win. A come from behind win on the road. SIX runs in the last three frames for the Giants.

--M.C.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

No Joy from JohnnyC

Loss, 6-1 vs. LAD 

The lovely five game win streak ran into Clayton Kershaw and it was no contest.  The undeniable L.A. Ace, Kershaw (7-2), completely outdueled the stand-in S.F. "Ace," Johnny Cueto (4-3),  in a game that only a dogger fan would love.  And since I am assuming there are no such fans reading this, I figure there isn't much point in rehashing this one.

The only detail "worth" mentioning was the rare display of hostility from our usual fun-loving JohnnyC.  It seemed like he got pissed at Grandal for hitting a good pitch.  He actually seemed to be channeling his inner MadBum.  Turns out  he thought Grandal was stealing signs.  Anyway, it got juicy when Cueto uncorked a fast ball near the dude's head. Intentional? I doubt it; it did let a run in on a wild pitch.  Then after Grandal flew out they "exchanged words" which of course led to "benches clearing."  No action, no ejections.  Just a rare and strange display by a frustrated JohnnyC.

We get a day off and then we START ANOTHER WIN STREAK!  Go Giants!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Blach Belt

I'm getting giddy.  The Giants won their 5th in a row, beating the doggers in a typical, low-scoring AT&T nail biter, 2 - 1.

Except, it wasn't that much of a nail biter.  That's because Ty Blach, young Madbum replacement, was in command for much of the game.  He had a few moments of concern.  In the 4th, Turner was at third after a Hernandez double with 1 out, but Christian Arroyo astutely nailed Turner at home and Blach induced a ground ball out to end the inning.  Then, in the 6th, after a lone home run to Chris Taylor, Gutierrez singled, working his way to 3rd before Blach retired the side on a Puig fly-out.  I think that was it for dogger runners in scoring position, though.  Ty threw 8 innings, struck out 4 and walked 2.  Derek Law threw a 1-2-3 9th.

Brandon Belt was the offensive hero, with a solo shot to left center in the 4th, and then scoring the Giants 2nd run in the bottom of the 6th on a Brandon Crawford single.  That is now 10 consecutive Giants home runs with no one on base.   That's amazing!  The Giants have 5 wins in a row!  That's also amazing!  Kershaw versus Cueto tomorrow.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cain and Giants Whip Dodgers

8-4 win in SF
Lots of things have gone wrong for the San Francisco Giants this season but one of the things that hasn't is Matt Cain. It was easy to think that any faith in the big righty was misplaced; age catches up with all athletes, no matter how accomplished. Somehow The Tennessee Stud has reinvented himself as a curveball pitcher and is getting results I have to think are better than most people expected. I've held out hope all along that the former ace, if healthy, could still pitch in the bigs and get guys out. He's been doing that pretty well so far--tonight was his second fine start against the Dodgers and the fifth time the Giants have won with him on the mound in eight chances. He also put down a sacrifice bunt and got a base hit.

The Giants had a four-run inning in the 4th, their second in two days, and scored eight runs in the game for the second time in two days. Who are these guys? It's an offensive juggernaut! Buster Posey hit another home run and he's now slashing .375/.453/.598 which I think we have to say is acceptable.

Giants get their fourth straight win and are now .500 (7-7) for the month of May.

--M.C.


p.s. Hunter Pence goes on the DL and Mac Williamson gets the call and he responds with two hits, a run scored, and a run batted in. Hey, I'll take it! On the flip side, Cory Gearrin turned a laugher into a save situation with two hits allowed to two batters with two runs scoring. That's 15 hits and 13 walks in 15-2/3 IP with 9 inherited runners out of 14 scoring. Yikes!