Monday, September 26, 2016

Feeble Giants Lose Again

SF 3 SD 4
The Giants gave rookie Ty Blach his first start, subbing for the injured Johnny Cueto, and he only lasted three innings. He left with a 3-2 lead but the 'pen couldn't hold it for the final six and the lineup couldn't add on and the Padres won the finale. It's a familiar tale, oft-told, of the 2016 Giants. Just not enough. Coming up short. Too little, too late. Giants finish 11-8 against San Diego, 9-0 before the Break, 2-8 after. A Tale of Two Seasons, the best of times and the worst of times. Speaking of that the Dodgers clinched the West with their win last night. As things stand right now they would go to D.C. to play the Nats in the first round.

The Giants (82-74) have six games, all at home, in which to decide if they would like to get invited to the dance. They sit in the number two spot and are idle tonight. The Mets (83-73) are in the lead for the Wild Card top spot by one game. Their last six games are on the road--Miami and Philadelphia. The Cardinals (81-74) are a half game behind the second wild card spot. They have seven games remaining (they play tonight), all at home against Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. The two winners will play to determine who goes to Chicago for the first round.

Six games to go, Giants. Make it happen!

--M.C.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Giants Blow It, Win Anyway

SF 9 SD 6 (10)
Madison Bumgarner got rocked for three homers this evening in Petco Park, one in the 4th, one in the 5th, and one in the 6th after the Giants had taken a 6-0 lead. He turned it over to the bullpen leading 6-5, it wasn't too hard to imagine they would find a way to give up the lead and sure enough the Padres tied it 6-6 in the 7th. It went to extras and somehow (Kelby Tomlinson and Angel Pagan) the Giants managed to have a big three-run rally (two-run homer by Denard Span) and they held on (Sergio Romo) to close it out in the 10th. Dodgers win tonight as well and reduce their magic number to one to clinch the West. Cardinals win and Mets lose so St. Louis (81-73) is a half-game back, the Mets (82-73) are tied with the Giants in the wild card race. At least we know that the Giants will finish over .500 for the season!

Seven games left. Giants play a day game tomorrow (1:40 Pacific, looks like Ty Blach) and are off Monday, then have six at home (three with Colorado and three with LA) and finish the regular season on Sunday, October 2nd.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

p.s. I like Brandon Belt hitting second.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Giants Get Four Hits

7-2 loss in SD
That's not the formula. You have to get some hits. And your starter can't give up a three-run homer in the 1st. They tried that a couple of nights ago, that didn't work out. This one didn't either. What is this team? A bad good team? A good team gone bad? A good bad team? I don't know. I don't understand. This team is in the post-season hunt. They have a legit shot to be in the playoffs. They are one of the best teams in the NL, fifth in fact with 81 wins, but are 9-13 in September and 4-6 in their last ten games. Who are these guys? How are they hanging around? And if they hang on they just might get a wild card and they just might win and get to play the Cubs in Chicago in the playoffs. Can you get there getting four hits? Will they make it or crap out before then? Questions! Questions! So many questions. Those questions could be answered with a few wins, especially a few in a row.

Madison Bumgarner tomorrow, 5:40 pm Pacific. Go Giants!

--M.C.

Giants Cling to Life

2-1 win in SD
The Giants beat the Padres--that's right, the Giants beat the Padres--behind an impressive Jeff Samardzija who had a season-high nine strikeouts in his seven shutout innings. Derek Law gave up a homer in the 8th but Will Smith and Sergio Romo got the final five outs. Romo gets his second save in three days. It is nice to see him finally look like the Romo of old. The Giants needed everyone to scratch out a win: a slump-busting double from Joe Panik, a Kelby Tomlinson pinch-single, a blooper from Angel Pagan, a liner from Hunter Pence, a great stop at third by Eduardo Nuñez, another base runner thrown out by Buster Posey, and etc. You know, teamwork!

Nine games to go: still tied with the Mets and a half-game up on the idle Cardinals. Albert Suarez tonight, Madison Bumgarner tomorrow. It's possible that Ty Blach will take Johnny Cueto's start on Sunday.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Final Countdown

9-3 loss in LA
After two well-pitched games the Giants folded in the finale and the Dodgers sent them off to San Diego six back with ten to play. Fortunately for the club's post-season hopes the Mets and the Cardinals both lost and the three teams remain tied with identical 80-72 records. Giants are 3-7 in their last ten games--I don't think that will work. I imagine it will take at least 6-4 to grab a spot. This is it, the countdown starts tonight with Jeff Samardzija getting the call. Last night's starter Matt Moore only lasted an inning-plus and was tagged for seven hits and six runs. It was his worst start of the season and it came at a most inopportune time. The mercurial lefty has made ten starts in orange and black, here are his game scores: 59, 60, 42, 45, 86, 60, 21, 63, 46, 14. His average line is 5-2/3 innings, 5 hits, 3 runs, 3 walks, 5 strikeouts.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Injuries Dim the JohnnyC Joy

2-0 win at LA 

There is still life.  Johnny Cueto (17-5) was dazzling once again but left abruptly in the sixth with some mysterious pain (I was watching the LA TV feed with no sound so you may know more than me).  I'm thinking back pain which could be a problem.  Earlier in the game, Brandon Crawford looked like he broke something in his left hand (again I hope I'm wrong).  So the obvious joy that should follow shutting out the doggers has been greatly diminished.  We just can't catch a break (ouch, pun not intended).

The real joy of the evening was the bullpen.  Okert, Smith and Romo all behaved like adults and locked the win down.  They did the last 3.2 innings, giving up 1 hit and striking out 7.  That is some sweet relief!  Can they do it a few times in a row?

Mets lost and Cards won.  Does that mean its a three way tie for the WC?  Yikes!!

Monday, September 19, 2016

Yasiel Puig Beats Giants

Los Angeles batted Yasiel Puig 7th and Chase Utley 8th.  The Giants, 5 games back with 6 to play and needing a sweep to take matters into our own hands, batted Gorkys Hernandez 5th.  Los Angeles put the reigning Cy Young winner on the mound.   Clayton Kershaw pitched well, but Madison Bumgarner pitched better.  Clayton Kershaw gave up 3 hits, only one of them mattered.  In the 3rd inning, Eduardo Nunez got a sort of hit - basically an infield tap that couldn't be picked up quickly enough.  He stole second, then went to third on a throwing error.  A wild pitch from Kershaw allowed him to score.  Kershaw lasted 6 innings and was removed after 88 pitches.  I was surprised.

Meanwhile, Madbum was a beast.  He gave up 1 hit - to Yasiel Puig, in the 2nd inning.  He struck out Puig next time up.  He struck out Seager 3 times.  He struck out Hernandez twice.  His line - 7 innings, 1 hit, 1 batter hbp, 0 runs, 10 strikeouts.  Madison Bumgarner became the Giants all time leader for strikeouts in a single season with 247.  That's getting up there in Big Unit/Nolan Ryan territory.  In the bottom of the 7th, though, Puig came up for the third time in a 1 - 0 ball game, with 2 outs.  Puig hit a slow bouncer down the first base line and Madbum and Belt combined for a terrific defensive play to get him out.

On the way into the dugout, though, something happened.  Did Madison say something to Puig?  Did Puig say something?  Was there a funny look?  I don't know.  But Madison went for Puig and benches emptied.  Nothing happened (although it was fairly amusing to see Smardjy and Cain barely able to hold Madbum back).  Both managers were warned. 

So the Giants can't play a psychological game, either.  Yasiel Puig made a weak out and got Madison Bumgarner out of the game after 97 pitches.  Anyway, you know what happened.  Will Smith and Derek Law kept LA scoreless in the 8th, in the 9th, the bullpen gave up the game, 2 -1.  Javier Lopez got the L, although he was the only guy who did his job.  The Giants got 3 hits in 6 innings off of Kershaw, but none thereafter.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Score Two, Lose Two

Giants scored two runs on Saturday and zero runs today. That's not the winning formula. Both days the Cardinals scored three runs. That's it, just three runs. But it was enough. Giants lose two games by a combined score of 6-2. I don't understand this team. They are five back with three to play in LA starting tomorrow night. With a lucky 13 games left in the season it seems they have to at the very least win two of three and pick up a game on the leaders. A sweep would be better, but that's a tall order. Giants are a game back of the Mets in the wild card and a game ahead of the Cards. I don't understand this team.

Bumgarner v. Kershaw on tap next. GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Winning is good

Winning is always good. I like winning. The Giants won again, 8-2 at home against the Cardinals. Buster Posey snapped his months-long homerless streak with a two-run clout in the 4th and a stout 'pen backed a shaky Matt Moore and the Giants had another win. Did I mention I like wins? Yadier Molina made a throwing error that lead to a six-run 3rd and that set the tone. Moore managed five, facing 24 batters on 93 pitches. But he hung on and didn't implode and the lineup took advantage of their opportunities to score. Suddenly the team looks like the pre-ASB Giants. I like this new look. Let's see more of it.

Jeff Samardzija tomorrow (6:05 Pacific) against Mike Leake. After they got Leake last season I thought he was going to be our middle-of-th-ro' guy this season. But we got Samardzija for that. And the Cardinals got Leake. And now they pitch against each other. Which one of them would you rather have?

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Vlog 28 "The Playoffs Begin, Kinda"

6-2 win vs StL   

Forget the last few weeks (my god, has it been months?).  Forget the horrors and heartbreak that the 2016 Giants have crammed down your throat.  Bask in TONIGHT.  Pretend that Buster gets four hits every night, that Hunter goes deep right off the bat all the time.  And most of all, soak up the JohnnyC Joy.  And actually when it comes to Cueto, there is no pretending needed here: complete game #5, a nifty 16-5 record and clutch 83 game score performance in a playoff type game.  I can't wait to see what he does to the doggers next Tuesday.

Vlog 28 "The Playoffs Begin, Kinda"