Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Giants Sweep Padres

13-9 win in SF
I said I wanted "a big, thumping, sweeping kind of win" and the Giants certainly delivered, smacking 16 hits and scoring 13 runs. Jeff Samardzija looked good, then bad, then good, then not-so-good and lasted only 5-2/3 after yielding five runs. Steven Okert gave up a 3-run homer to Wil Myers in the 7th to make a 13-5 laugher a 13-8 not-as-funny, but that was a minor blip. The lineup went after Andrew Cashner and the Padres bullpen full bore, scoring in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th. Brandon Belt, Hunter Pence, and Matt Duffy all had three hits. Belt drove in five on a homer short of a cycle. What do you call it when someone hits a single, a double, and a triple in the same game? A Triplet? The Holy Trinity? Le Tricolore? A Hit Trick? Help me out.

The Shark was not as sharp as last time but he finishes his first month with his new club having logged 32-2/3 IP over five starts, allowing 14 runs on 31 hits (3 HR) and 10 walks while striking out 26 (134 TBF).  He gets awarded a W today and so his record is 3-1, the team is 3-2 in the five games. I like what we've seen despite the ups-and-downs. He's workmanlike, not flashy, tough, not overpowering. If he can log lots of quality innings--rack up mound time with the team in striking distance--he's doing his job and that should translate into wins. FanGraphs rates him at a 3.62 FIP, which puts him in the "solid starter" pack, which is what we expected. A little more consistency from the big righty would be nice, it seems like he cruises and looks unhittable and then suddenly he is very hittable, but it's a pretty small sample. I'm betting that over the long haul the Giants will get lots of value from this guy. He got another hit and RBI today, too! The other Shark, El Tiburón Blanco, came off the bench and delivered a hit and RBI in the 6th, then made a great catch in the 8th.

The team is off tomorrow and then off to the Big Apple for a showdown with the Mets.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Vlog #7 JohnnyC Notches #100

I saw a complete lovely Giants game without staying up until midnight.
Bless you, Johnny Cueto.

Vlog #7 JohnnyC Notches #100

P.S.  Kershaw lost tonight!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Weekend Split

5-4 loss in SF
Jake Peavy pitched well and drove in two in yesterday's game to lead the team to a 7-2 win. Today Matt Cain, despite ten hits and four runs, showed some improvement over the last two starts. A misplay by Angel Pagan led to a run in the 6th and ultimately to Cain being pulled. A little luck in the 5th, maybe the Marlins don't get that run either, and it's a different start. As it was the Giants took Matty off the hook by tying the game only to lose it later. I'm hoping what we saw from Peavy on Saturday is what we are going to see soon from Cain. It's extended Spring Training, right? He's just not ready. Yet. Neither were the Giants, today. Many, too many, way too many blown chances this afternoon. Angel Pagan got thrown out at home in the 5th, and hit into a double play with the bases loaded in the 8th. A 1-2-3 double play which meant the tying run didn't score! If you need a goat, you could pick Angel. Miami was 0-7 with runners in scoring position, but had two big homers including the go-ahead blast in the 8th off Josh Osich. Dee Gordon got a chance to run wild, stealing two in the 3rd inning which led to a run. The third out of that inning came on a caught stealing (Christian Yelich).

A weird game. An unsatisfying game. It really felt like the Giants were going to win when they tied it in the 6th and again when they loaded the bases in the 8th. Ugh. Shoulda beena sweep.

MadBum takes on the Padres tomorrow night.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Friday, April 22, 2016

1st inning: 8-10

8-1 win in SF
Jeff Samardzija pitched a great game and also smacked a couple of run-scoring hits to lead the team to a much-needed win. Who knew The Shark would be The Stopper? Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto both gave valiant, stopperesque efforts, but neither of them tallied three RBI, and neither enjoyed a 14-hit attack. Everyone but Matt Duffy had a hit, but in true team-first fashion it was the third baseman's 1st inning sac fly that plated the Giants first run.

Tonight's win over the Marlins was Game 18 and thus the end of the First Seasonal Inning. 18 x 9 = 162 so every 18 games is 1/9th of the season, a perfect time to look back on the state of the team. And the state of the team is OK. Really. Losing streaks fill a fan with an irrational terror that their team will never win again. Reasonable people know this to be unlikely, but fans are not reasonable. Fan is short for fanatic, from the Latin fanaticus or divinely inspired, that itself from fanum, temple. The ballpark is our church; we are its adherents. Cultists can be forgiven for losing all reason in the midst of losing streaks.

Alas, we are still here, and thus still possessing our rational faculties. Isn't it wonderful what a win can do? Believing myself to be among the rational, I present to you the history of the First Seasonal Inning since the Giants moved to PhoneCo Park. In case you've forgotten, Pacific Bell Park opened for the 2000 season and the Giants went 7-11 in their First Inning. For the rest, make of it what you will:


The visitors throw Jose Fernandez tomorrow, the home squad counters with Jeff Peavy.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Vlog #6 : "A Loss to be Remembered"

We lost again, and, yes, that is 8 losses in the last 9 games.  Ugly indeed. But a loss that can and will be shed, so please try to stay calm.  And positive.  You will live longer.

Some losses seem especially hard to take.  R.I.P.  Prince

RMC Vlog #6

"You don't have to be cool to rule my world"

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

7 of 8

So this is how it is.  Last year, Madison Bumgarner had to face Clayton Kershaw or Zack Greinke.  This year, he has to face Clayton Kershaw AND Zack Greinke.  That makes it hard to get a win for your ace, and it is that much harder when your team plays shitty defense or scores few runs.  The Giants committed no errors tonight, nor did they score enough runs to win the game.  After 18 scoreless innings, they did manage to push 1 across the plate, though.

The Giants got as many hits as the d-backs, each team had 7.  The Giants got hits in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 7th, and 9th.   A quick bit of math will tell you that 7 hits in 6 innings means that only 1 inning had more than 1 hit.  That was the 7th.  A Gregor Blanco triple was followed by a single from Angel Pagan for the Giants big run-scoring inning.  Arizona only scored in 1 inning, also the 7th, on a Wellington Castillo home run.  Unfortunately, there was a man on base.

If there was something positive to take from this game in which the Giants dropped their 7th game in their last 8, it was Madison's performance.  He threw 7 full, which is an improvement.  He had given us 16 innings in his previous 3 starts, and that is not enough considering that his last 2 starts followed Jake Peavy and Matt Cain, who have given us 14 and 15.1 innings, respectively in their 3 starts.  Madbum allowed 5 hits, struck out 8 and walked 1.  Giants have gone from a good start at 6 - 2 to become a 7 - 9 team.  Tomorrow, our sole winning pitcher, Johnny Cueto, faces Shelby Miller.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

And the Woes Continue

3-0 loss in SF
Matt Cain allowed no hits in his first four innings and then allowed five hits in the 5th. Arizona scored three times and that was it for Matty and for the Giants. Robbie Ray, the young Diamondbacks southpaw, kept the Giants off the board through the 6th and three relievers finished up. On the plus side Giants bullpen newcomers Mike Broadway and Steven Okert made their 2016 debuts and put up zeroes, and slumping Matt Duffy had two hits and a walk.

It's an ugly time for fans of the orange and black. One thing you don't expect to see is this lineup get shut out. And it's clear Matt Cain is not ready for prime time, at least not yet. Tonight he faced 23 batters with 87 pitches and only generated four swings and misses. He walked four, one intentionally. Whatever it is, it's not working.

It's Bumgarner and Greinke tomorrow night.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Not Pretty

Giants lose 9-7 in extras after being ahead 2-1, 6-2, and 7-6 and are now a .500 team. Kontos goes on the DL. It's a lousy way to start the day.

Matt Cain tonight. GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Maeda Stifles Giants

3-1 loss in LA
Jeff Samardzija pitched a good game. He made a couple of mistakes and got hurt by them, but mostly he pitched a good game. Unfortunately his opposite number, Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda, pitched a better game. The Giants could not solve the former Hiroshima Carp star and he left after seven with his team leading 3-1. Maeda's final line was four hits, three walks, and seven strikeouts on 98 pitches. He allowed a solo shot to Joe Panik in the 3rd which was the first run he's allowed in his three starts.

The Shark batted for himself in the bottom of the 6th with a man on and bunted into a double play to end the inning. When he came out for the 7th the Giants were down 2-1 but he could not get an out and LA tacked on the extra run. Yasiel Puig got a hit on an 0-2 count and stole second when Brandon Crawford could not get a handle on Buster Posey's throw. Puig later scored on a ball up the middle when Posey could not get a handle on Crawford's throw. Samardzija finished with six hits in six-plus innings, three runs allowed, three walks, and three whiffs. A two-run homer from Joc Pederson in the 5th was the difference-maker. It was a missed location and you could see the frustration from Samardzija who had been making all his pitches before that mistake.

Perhaps in another situation we would have seen Mac Williamson pinch-hit for the pitcher but I imagine Bochy was trying to get all the innings out of his starter he could. The 'pen is a little battered. Josh Osich, however, looked good tonight and that's encouraging. He cleaned up the mess in the 7th and got the first two in the 8th on only nine pitches.

Jake Peavy gets the call at home tomorrow night against the Diamondbacks. Let's hope we get a better result from him this time.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.