Saturday, April 29, 2017

Giants Fall Apart, Again

SD 12  SD 4
Matt Cain labored a bit but had good results over his abbreviated outing. The pitcher's spot came up just after the Giants had tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the 5th and Kelby Tomlinson got the nod and that was it for Matty. He'd thrown 86 pitches to 21 batters to get the 15 outs, walking no one and getting seven swinging whiffs. Tomlinson got the pinch-hit, by the way, and wound up scoring on Brandon Belt's two-out single and the Giants turned it over to the bullpen for the final four frames with a 3-1 lead. Chris Stratton got the 6th and unfortunately made a mess of it, giving up four hits and two runs and leaving with the bases loaded and only one out. Neil Ramirez came in and poured gasoline on the fire and the Padres wound up scoring eight in the frame and three more in the next to make it a laugher. Another bullpen collapse! And I thought it couldn't get worse. That was just a wretched performance, the lack of execution has me speechless. The Giants have won two games in a row only ONCE this season!

SF 4  SD 3
Friday night the Giants got a strong effort from Jeff Samardzija (7 IP, 3 R) and a clutch late homer from The Kid, Christian Arroyo, to prevail 4-3 over the Padres. Brandon Belt had three hits and a walk and scored two. Derek Law and Mark Melancon finished up and the Giants sewed up a big win. They're all big at this point as there are way too many losses so far this season. It was an exciting and dramatic evening, but the joy was quickly dissipated by the disaster that followed the next night.

The Giants lifted themselves out of the cellar with the win on Friday but the loss on Saturday landed them right back on the bottom. Let's hope the team wins the rubber game tomorrow behind the other rookie, Ty Blach. This has been an embarrassing month of baseball--one of the worst ever--and I'm getting ill having to endure it.

--M.C.


p.s.  Buster and other catchers have a lot to say to Jerry Crasnick about life behind the plate in this article for ESPN. Check it out.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Giants Fail in Finale

LA 5  SF 1
After a couple of poor outings Matt Moore returned to form and pitched impressively against the Dodgers this afternoon in San Francisco. He threw 104 pitches over seven innings and yielded just one run on a solo shot by, you guessed it, Corey Seager. His finest moment was his final two hitters in the 7th, whiffing them both with the go-ahead run on third base. It was 1-1 when he left and both George Kontos and Mark Melancon put up scoreless frames but Cory Gearrin, Steven Okert, and Hunter Strickland combined to ruin the top of the 10th and the Dodgers ran away with it.

The Giants really needed a series win, they've had only one so far this season. They lost 3 of 4 in Arizona to open things, then lost 2 of 3 in San Diego before coming home and winning 2 of 3 from the Diamondbacks. They followed that by losing 3 of 4 to the Rockies and then went on the road and split two in Kansas City and got swept in three games in Colorado. So, yeah, winning a goddamn series had some urgency. Unfortunately they just did not have enough offense to make that happen. It's a scarily bad lineup so far, the lack of scoring (77 runs in 23 games!) is pathetic. You can't win when the hitting is this poor. It's a shame to waste the good pitching. And to see the bullpen collapse--again--just as it seemed they were getting it together is discouraging as well.

Phenom Christian Arroyo continues to be blessed by the gods, he had two hits including the game-tying RBI in the 6th. Keep on rockin', kid, you are the best thing that's happened in this wretched month!

San Diego comes to town for three. GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Smile Has Returned!!


The first truly great moment of the 2017 season occurred as Michael Morse crushed a pinch hit homer in the bottom of the eighth which sent the Giants on to an extra inning win.  It may be late April but the ballpark exploded like October when the popular pretty boy unleashed his dinger.  The sheer joy of that moment is something you must relive:


That magical moment also served to make Christian Arroyo's first homer become a huge key to the win rather than a pleasant side note.  It also gave Hunter Pence the chance to battle through an epic bases loaded foul ball festival before getting the GW sac fly.  So, TWO big homers give the Giants a massively important win. Ain't that wacky?

 And if Matt Moore can get a win tomorrow we have ourselves a sweet series victory that we might be able to build on.  Do you think Morse will get a start?  I bet he does...  And who knows if Arroyo will ever come out.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

2 - 1 Again

Giants against doggers.  Another 2 - 1 game.  This time, the good guys lose. To Kershaw.  He's a very good pitcher.  Lacking Madison Bumgarner, we threw youngster Ty Blach against him.   Remember last year, when Ty Blach was a stud against Kershaw at the end of the season?  Ty Blach was a stud against Kershaw tonight. 

Ty's line:  5 IP, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 BB, 2 K.  He did what he could to keep the doggers in check.   Kershaw gave up 6 hits, one of them was a double to Ty Blach.  Ty Blach scored, for the Giants only run of the game.  He now has 3 hits against Clayton Kershaw.  That is the most by any pitcher not named Bumgarner.  Kershaw's line: 7 IP, 6 hits, 1 BB, 7 K.  Brandon Crawford might be hurt, he pulled up with a groin tightness in 8th rounding first after singling Buster Posey to third to produce a great, yet unrealized, chance for the Giants to score.  They had a few of those.

Some other thoughts. 1)  If Buster Posey is behind the plate, the game goes into the 5th inning tied.  Yeah, the throw was low, but it also wasn't scooped out.  Buster does that.   2) Christian Arroyo, batting second, got a hit.  Off of Clayton Kershaw.  His first major league hit.  How may people would like to say they got a hit in a major league baseball game off of Clayton Kershaw, even if they never got to play major league baseball again?  I'd say at least 240,000,000.  3)  The Giants played tough.  That's nice.  It would be nicer to play tough and come up with a W.  4)  Ty Blach has the capability of being a starting pitcher in the major leagues.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Giants Edge Dodgers Behind Cain

SF 2  LA 1
Just when I was thinking the Giants Brain Trust wasn't going to do anything dramatic they did something dramatic. 2013 1st-round draft pick Christian Arroyo was called up and assigned to third base and the sixth spot in the order for tonight's contest with the Dodgers. The 21-year old phenom went 0-for-4 in his debut but he put the ball in play each time and even moved up a runner with one AB, a runner that actually scored. That's a rare occurrence with this club! He looked like he knew which pitches to whack at and which to lay off of, and certainly did not have the deer-in-the headlights look some of the rookies do. He made a couple of clean picks in the field, one in a clutch spot, and even rescued Matt Cain with a barehand catch-and-throw off a ricochet. That earned a chest bump from the grizzled vet.

Speaking of Matt Cain, he was terrific. He put up zeros in an efficient six innings; only 70 pitches to 21 batters, two hits, one walk, three strikeouts. He had a nasty curveball working and a crisp two-seamer with good break that generated a lot of weak contact. It's too early to tell but perhaps our grizzled vet is re-inventing himself a bit, learning how to get outs with a somewhat different repertoire than the young stud of yore. Mysteriously he was removed after that excellent outing with "tightness in his hamstring." Perhaps the ball that rebounded off his leg over to Arroyo had something to do with it.  Fortunately the bullpen (Okert, Kontos, Law, Melancon) got the job done. The final play was Buster Posey, catcher extraordinaire, throwing behind Justin Turner on second base to pick him off after he strayed too far on a swing-and-miss from Adrian Gonzalez. Beautiful, man!

Wins are good. I like wins. Let's see some more. Rookie Ty Blach matches up with the best in the game, Clayton Kershaw, tomorrow night. I love it. Let's get some youthful energy injected into this struggling team! GO GIANTS!

--M.C.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Barf

COL 8  SF 0
The Giants got their asses kicked once again, this time not just displaying ineffective pitching and abysmal hitting but including bumbling fielding as well. There are three legs to the baseball triangle: pitching, hitting, and fielding. Right now the Giants can't do any of them. I don't mean to discount things like baserunning, but you have to have baserunners to do that, and you have to be in situations (i.e. close games) where a base or two can make a difference. It's like having a $62M closer and not being able to use him because the team never has a late lead! Oh, wait  . . .

This is the nightmare start that you hope never to see. As much as I hate to say it I don't think the team leadership can do much about it, at least in the short term. The players have to execute, they have to do their jobs, the manager can't make that happen. The GM can't make that happen. The owner can't make that happen. The players have to play better, and a couple of laps around the rosary beads is about as effective as anything else that can be done. In another month, if things are still this bad, then you'll figure the changes will come. You don't have a $175M payroll and flounder in last place! But for now we'll just have to burn the incense and make the offerings and hope the pitchers pitch better, the hitters hit better, and the fielders field better.

Matt Cain opens the Dodger series tomorrow night in San Francisco. GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

1st inning: 6-12

COL 12  SF 3
Matt Moore got clobbered in Denver tonight giving up three homers and six runs to the Rockies in his four innings. Coming on the heels of MadBum's wreck and JohnnyC's poor outing it's a cruel blow to end the first seasonal inning. The lineup couldn't get anything going for seven innings (other than a solo shot by Joe Panik) off Colorado starter Antonio Senzatela. He was also on the hill in the victory over the Giants on Sunday in San Francisco. Two more were added in the 8th off the bullpen, and Brandon Crawford came to the plate as the tying run, but that was as close as it got.

Not much to say, fortunately it's April and we've got 8/9 of the way to go, 144 more chances. It's not just that they are scoring fewer runs (69) than they are allowing (81), it's the run of rotten luck as well. Case in point, another injury, this one to Denard Span making a catch in center. It's one thing to play below par but when the gods fuck with you as well you best grit your teeth and take your beating. They'll tire of it eventually and go pick on some other club, and then maybe we'll see what's what with the 2017 Giants. Chris Stratton mopped up after Moore and looked good with three hitless innings, that's a nice bright spot.

Jeff Samardzija tomorrow. GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

It is Official: Giants are Off to Bad Start

Loss, 6-5 @ COL 

On the day after "Dirt Bike Drama," JohnnyC (3-1) and the Giants took another disheartening loss to fall further into the NL West dungeon.  Sure there are lots of gory details ( bloop grand slams, lame inside the park homers, you know, the usual ) but individual game woes just don't seem to compare to the big picture concerns.  Anyway, I hate that ball park and most games that are played there seem somewhat tainted, so I'm going to choose to ignore this one. The place is a freak show:  sure, Hunter will turn flyballs into homers. Sure, JohnnyC will give up his first ever grand slam (that would not have been a homer anywhere else) and THEN give up an inside the park type in the SAME inning. The place is a freak show.

However, the beginning of this long journey is clearly not what we all hoped for. Too early to give up? Oh yeah, for sure. Hell, things don't get really bad until June around here.  But it is never too early to be scared shitless.  And my list of scary shit grows every day:  no FNG stepping up to DO ANYTHING,  no bullpen except a closer,  currently a rotation with one high quality guy,  outfield production at T-ball level,  a manager with a heart that is about to go,  a lineup incapable of a long ball,  a superstar catcher that hasn't played very well in a while and is one foul ball from being done, and, of course, now an ace that thinks high testosterone levels justify bullshit treatment of your teammates.   All that and I'm sure I forgot a bunch of things. Feel free to add to the list.

But even with all that scary shit, we all know it will get better.  Every team stumbles for a while and corrects, some teams do it all season and never get their act together. We can go either way. I will say this though: We are not the worst team in baseball.

Technically, that is Toronto.

Friday, April 21, 2017

OMFG

Breaking news from the Oh-My-Fucking-God Department: Madison Bumgarner injured in a, get this, "dirt bike accident." That's called going-all-Jeff-Kent-on-ya. Thanks, MadBum, for doing something really dumb. I am loath to criticize guys who don the orange-and-black; I try to like all of them and I try to give all of them a break. But that's mostly in regards to on-the-field performance. Outside the lines? I try not to give a shit. But this one is squarely in the WTF category. I am at a bit of a loss. I get it, these guys are intense and competitive and adrenaline junkies and all that. It's harder for those types to sit still than most. But this is professional baseball. You get hurt on the field, fine. You get hurt dirt biking? During the season? Jaysus-Mary-Joseph! That's bad for business. That's a lousy career move. That makes you look like a diva.

MadBum, you and Buster are the faces of the team. Like it or not, you aren't just a ballplayer, you are the poster boy for a multi-million dollar enterprise with an enormous customer base. That moves things beyond baseball and fandom, I'm sorry to say. Speaking as a fan, I'm crushed. Get well soon, Bum. And I still love you.

--M.C.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Shut Down

In this short 2 game series, we held Kansas City to 3 runs in 23 innings.  That's decent pitching and defense.  Unfortunately, we could only win 1 of those games.  Boo.

Madison Bumgarner on the hill.  He was far from dominant but seemed to be finding a way to get it done and held Kansas City scoreless though most of his 7 innings.   He had several rough innings, though, and KC pushed a run across in the 5th.  It was enough.  Madison lasted 7, gave up 7 hits, walked 1 and struck out 4.  For the Royals, Jason Vargas was on the hill.  He spent most of the last couple years dealing with Tommy John surgery.  He was only throwing his 3rd start in 2017, but has only given up 1 run in his previous 2 (13 2/3 IP).  After 7 tonight, his ERA is 0.44.  The Giants got 4 hits only.

Gosh, I feel like I typed this before.......not very long ago.......is my mind going?   Oh wait, here's why.  Last time Madison was on the mound, the Giants scored 1 run and lost.  The time before that, the Giants scored 1 run, and lost.  Tonight, they exceeded their previous crappiness, scored none and lost 1 - 0.  That sucks.  Our lineup featured Aaron Hill in left and Gorkys Hernandez in center.  They were hitless.  Should there be a tag that supercedes "anemia offensivia?"  "Offensivia horribilis?"  After a day off tomorrow, they show up in Colorado, where they need to score closer to 1 run an inning, not 1 run every other game.