Sunday, May 20, 2018

Giants Thump Rockies, part II

SF 9 COL 5
The Giants had 13 hits today, three of them homers, and overwhelmed the Rockies in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings to come from behind and win. The team is back to .500 at 24-24 and find themselves only two games behind the reeling division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks. Colorado, despite losing the final two of the series, are just a half game out. Things are bunching up! Like yesterday the lineup had at least one hit in all nine spots. Seven different guys scored at least one run and five different guys had at least one run batted in. The biggest hit was Brandon Belt's three-run blast in the 7th that broke the tie and gave the Giants an 8-5 lead. One could argue that Kelby Tomlinson's two-run triple with two outs in the 6th was equally clutch, if not more so. It's a nice argument to have! Belt hit his 11th dinger off lefty reliever Jake McGee: it was his first homer off a southpaw this season.

The bullpen once again stepped up for a shaky starter. Ty Blach could not get through the 5th but five relievers got it done and the Giants had a big win. They are going on the road and start with two in Houston against the World Series Champion Astros. Andrew Suarez gets the ball on Tuesday and Jeff Samardzija on Wednesday.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Giants Thump Rockies

SF 9 COL 4
Finally! The Giants break through today with 17 hits and overwhelm the Rockies to snap their three-game losing streak and creep back to within one game of a .500 record. Brandon Crawford was the hitting star with three hits (including a two-run homer) and four runs batted in. Brandon Belt continued his run of good work with two hits, a walk, a run scored, and a run batted in. Andrew McCutchen had three hits and two runs batted in. In fact all nine spots in the lineup had a hit, Austin Jackson getting a single in the 5th pinch-hitting for starter Chris Stratton (who also drove in a run with a ground out in the 2nd). Speaking of Stratton, he labored, facing 23 batters in his five innings (8 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 1 whiff), but two of the Rockies runs scored on double plays. He wasn't pretty but he held on and the lineup and bullpen did the rest. The Giants relief corps is increasingly impressive and that was no exception today with four hurlers (Will Smith, Pierce Johnson, Sam Dyson, Tony Watson) delivering a scoreless frame each with only one hit and one walk allowed versus five strikeouts. The 'pen looks like a team strength and the return of Mark Melancon (two weeks?) ought to only make it better.

Ty Blach gets the call tomorrow. Go Giants!

--M.C.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Three in a row

SF 5 CIN 3
The Giants pinch-hit for Ty Blach after only four innings and 62 pitches but it paid off as Pablo Sandoval drove in two to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 3-3 tie. Two batters later it was 4-3 San Francisco and the bullpen hung on for the win. An insurance run fueled by a nit-picky Joe West balk call (hey, we'll take it) in the 8th sealed the deal. Kelby Tomlinson's error with two outs in the 3rd was followed by a two-run homer to make it 2-0 Reds but he redeemed himself with the RBI hit to make it 5-3, driving in Brandon Crawford. BCraw was 4-for-4 and was balked to second base before Tomlinson's single. The relief corps did the heroic work with five shutout innings. Pierce Johnson held the line in the 5th and Will Smith (6th), Sam Dyson (7th), and Tony Watson (8th) each had two strikeouts in their frames. Hunter Strickland got two quick grounders in the 9th and struck out Joey Votto to end it. Zo pointed out earlier that the Giants have a plethora of closer-types even with Mark Melancon on the DL, that bodes well for the rest of the season.

Brandon Belt blasted a splash hit to start the scoring in the 4th, that's two homers in two games. Brandon Crawford is killing it, 9-for his last-12, and hitting .455 in May. You have to like that!

Andy Suarez at 12:45 tomorrow with a chance for a series sweep.

--M.C.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Giants outlast Reds

SF 10 CIN7
The first six guys in the Giants lineup all had at least one hit and scored at least one run and the eighth guy, Kelby Tomlinson, drove in two runs with a hit in the 3rd. That's what I call a team effort. Brandon Belt led the way with three hits including a double and a homer and three RBI. And they needed it as starter Chris Stratton was a little shaky, giving up nine hits and four runs in his five innings against a hot Reds team that had won six straight. Home cookin', I suppose, is always best and the Giants looked rejuvenated tonight after their painful 4-6 trip. Speaking of Kelby, the injuries to Joe Panik and Alan Hanson have forced the team into using the utility man as the starter at the keystone, and he was in the middle of all three double plays the Giants turned. Let's hope he can hold down that spot with solid play on both sides of the ball. Rookie Austin Slater, just called up, had a hit and a walk and two stolen bases. By the way those six consecutive wins the Reds had before tonight included a four-game sweep of the Dodgers in LA. Pierce Johnson (1), Cory Gearrin (2), and Jose Valdez (1) finished up. The youngster allowed a three-run homer with two outs in the 9th, but ten runs was still enough for the win.

One-fourth of the way through the season (42 games) and the team is at .500 with a 21-21 record. It's not exactly pretty, but with all the injuries and roster moves I have to feel encouraged. A little stability in the rotation coupled with some consistency on offense and this could be a really good club. Not asking a lot, am I?

Ty Blach tomorrow night. Go Giants!

--M.C.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Twenty!

SF 5 PIT 0
The Giants finally notch their 20th win of the season by blanking the Bucs. It was Derek Holland's best start so far (6-1/3IP  4H  0R  5W  7K, GSc 67) and the lineup backed him with a 13-hit attack that included five extra-base hits (homers by Gorkys Hernandez and Nick Hundley and three doubles by the Brandons). Every starter had a hit except Evan Longoria (and Holland). It was a good effort this afternoon in Pittsburgh and stopped a sickening six-game skid. It wasn't merely a losing streak, it was a getting clobbered streak. Reyes Moronta, Will Smith, and Hunter Strickland finished up. That's the way they draw it up: solid start, big hits, clean defense, stout relief.

The Giants are home tomorrow night against the Cincinnati Reds. Chris Stratton takes the hill.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Ugly, Ugly, Ugly, Ugly

Put Philly in the rear view mirror and step on the gas.  Jeez.  The Giants got swept in Philadelphia, losing the final game by a score of 6 - 3.  That hasn't happened since 1982, when Mike Krukow was on the mound in game 4 for the Phillies and Duane Kuiper led off for the Giants.

In the 1980's, the Giants were mostly bad.  Real bad.  It remains to be seen how good the Giants are in 2018.  They looked terrific in Atlanta, but got the crap beat out of them, repeatedly, in Philly.  Philadelphia has some good, young players that appear to not have any fear.  They have one veteran hitter, Carlos Santana, who hit 3 home runs against the Giants in the series and picked up 13 rbi.  They have one veteran pitcher, Jake Arrieta, whom the Giants did not face.   Not that Arrieta could have been more effective.  The Giants struck out 15 times today and a grand total of 55 times in the series.  55 times!  Given each team has 3 outs, or chances, an inning, that is 1.5 chances each inning the Giants' hitters are giving away.  3 outs every 2 innings!  From some guys named Velasquez today (7 starts before this season), Pivetta (in his 2nd year), Nola (in his 4th year who is actually from Baton Rouge, not New Orleans), and Eflin (parts of 2 previous seasons).  The Giants were outscored 32 to 8.

Ty Blach had the honor of picking up the L today.  The Giants actually led the game until the 4th, that's the first time that's happened this series.  So I guess that's positive.  Also, the Giants, after some sloppy play in the field, committed no errors.  The road trip that started out 3 - 0 is now under .500 at 3 - 4.  On to Pittsburgh.  Hit the ball.  Get some wins.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

2nd inning: 12-6

1st inning: 7-11
2nd inning: 12-6

That's a nice turnaround for the team after a lackluster opening. The Giants had won 12 of 16 before the trip to Philadelphia but then ran into a Phillies buzz saw. Last night was an 11-0 thumping that featured three homers by the home club and 12 whiffs by the visitors. A 4-2 loss tonight featured 17 whiffs by the visitors and three homers by the home team. Ugly. That takes a little shine off the .750 stretch, but I ought not to complain. I want to see winning baseball and so far that's what we are getting. Overall the 19-17 record (.528) is the 15th best in baseball and good for third place in the division behind Colorado and Arizona. If they keep this up they'll finish with 85-86 wins.

Other than the recent stretch of series victories the Giants aren't doing anything particularly well. Both the pitching and hitting are roughly around league average. The Giants infield has turned 42 double plays which is the most in the majors. The team has committed 30 errors, the second-most behind Texas.

Brandon Belt is raking with a .300/.422/.536 slash line (1.3 f WAR, best on the club) and seems to be in the middle of all the rallies. His 33 hits ties Buster Posey for the most on the team and his 18 runs scored are second to Andrew McCutchen's 21. His six homers are second to Evan Longoria's seven and his six doubles are third behind Longoria (9) and Posey (7). His 22 walks are second to McCutchen's 23 but his 32 strikeouts tie for the team lead with Austin Jackson and Longoria. Speaking of Jackson he is a disaster with a .573 OPS which is about as bad as it gets. Steven Duggar has a .750 OPS in AAA, is it too early to consider a change?

The injury to Johnny Cueto is a brutal blow to a jury-rigged rotation. Jeff Samardzija is still in Spring Training and Derek Holland is, at this point, strictly at fifth-man level. The young studs (Stratton-Blach-Suarez) are holding the whole thing together with the help of a rejuvenated bullpen. Tony Watson has been excellent and Sam Dyson, Hunter Strickland, Reyes Moronta, and even Pierce Johnson have been solid. The 'pen is a big part of the team's winning record.

Chris Stratton tomorrow. Go Giants!

--M.C.

Stinker

tv turned on
5th inning
Giants at bat, 2 men on, 1 out
2 outs, quickly
Philly up
walk
double play ball bobbled, 2 men on, no outs
home run
tv off

Do do better today

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Sweep!

SF 4 ATL 3
A shaky Hunter Strickland turned a 4-1 lead in the 9th into a 4-3 nail-biter (with the tying run on third base) but got the last batter (phenom Ozzie Albers) on one pitch to finish it. The Giants won with another solid start from a young arm (this time Andrew Suarez) and a team-wide offensive attack (seven different players had a hit, four different players scored a run) that was just enough to hold off the Braves. The Giants looked poor in the field today and in fact committed seven errors in the series, but also made big plays, especially turning two, and made up for it with a 24-run barrage. I'm hoping we see fewer misplays, and I expect we will as the season goes on and the team piles up more innings together. Great work from Tony Watson again with three outs on six pitches, and the top two in the lineup (Gregor Blanco and Andrew McCutchen) each had a hit, a walk, and RBI, and a run scored. Philadelphia tomorrow at 4:05. Jeff Samardzija gets the ball--he needs to get his season going, the youngsters are showing him up.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Ty-dy Win

Way to start a road trip, boys!  11 - 2 win over Atlanta.  Ty Blach pitched us into the 8th inning, giving up only 2 runs.  I like what these youngsters are doing on the mound for the Giants. 100 pitches even, 7 hits, only 1 earned run (2 runs) and 0 walks.  Meanwhile, the Giants were piling up runs, 10 of them by the time Blach was relieved.   Cory Gearrin finished the 8th.  Reyes Moronta looks like he still is lost, he threw 8 pitches and none of them were strikes in the 9th, but Pierce Johnson finished the game with 9 pitches.

Meanwhile, a home run and 4 rbi for Alen Hanson.  2 rbi for Posey and Crawford, and 1 each for Belt, Longo, and Hundley. 

This was Ty's best non-LA game.  I'm liking this young pitching staff, even if it's partly there because of injuries.  We have enough savvy veterans in the pen so that we can hold close ones, and it seems like the success of the youngsters feeds itself.  Let's keep it going.