Monday, August 3, 2015

Homer-happy in Atlanta

Turner Field played small tonight and the Giants raced to a 6-0 lead on three big flies by the Brandons, one by Belt and two by Crawford, and bomb of his own from Buster Posey. Unfortunately Matt Cain's game fell apart in the 6th when the Braves strung together four hits including a three-run homer to halve the deficit. Bruce Bochy didn't like what he was seeing from the big righty and yanked him after 80 pitches. George Kontos allowed a two-out hit to Nick Markakis and it was suddenly 6-4 with Cain's last batter scoring from second base. Matty had worked an efficient five, putting up zeros, but the Braves had hacked out six hits with an aggressive approach early in the count. He was helped by two double plays including a stylish 3-6-4 on a bunt attempt.

Things got dicey in the 7th when Hunter Strickland allowed his first long ball of 2015 (out of 112 batters faced) and the Braves were only down by a run. Sergio Romo was stalwart in the 8th however, and Ehire Adrianza, Justin Maxwell, and Nori Aoki created an insurance run with two outs in the 9th. Javier Lopez got Markakis to start the bottom half and Santiago Casilla came on for the final two but could not get it done. A.J. Pierzynksi of all people blasted a game-tying two-run homer with two outs to ruin things. Somehow the team got the third out and it went to extras. It's looking a little scary with the closer out there these days.

Yusmeiro Petit got the call to keep the lid on things and he got through to the 11th untouched. In the 12th rookie Kelby Tomlinson got a hit in his debut plate appearance and wound up scoring on a two-out hit by Buster Posey. Way to go FNG, batting 1.000!! I've worn glasses since the third grade--I think I have a new favorite player. Ryan Vogelsong came on to get the save and the Braves hit ANOTHER two-run homer (this time Adonis Garcia) to walk off as 9-8 winners. It was a wretched ending after the terrific start, and it was especially agonizing to see two blown save chances. The Giants hit the first four homers of the game but the Braves hit the last four.

I did not see a single inning of the games in Texas as we had a big family get-together over the weekend. I was happy to note in the boxscore that FNG Mike Leake pitched well. They lost their hitting mojo when he was out there it seems, and missed a chance to win the series. Joe Panik was placed on the 15-day DL for his back issues. The kid has been raking (.309/.374/.443) and his glove has also been exceptional, B-R rates his season so far at 3.3 WAR. It's a cruel blow. Not sure what to say about Cainer. He is still in April while the team is in August. That's life in the big leagues, I guess. The Giants need to get some of that winning magic back, and soon. It's Jake Peavy tomorrow against Shelby Miller.




carmot said...

Hey M.C., if you're interested in catching up... You can always go to MLB's Media Center and watch the condensed games.

They're completely *free*, no registration/log-in or anything required. No play calls/announcers, just the plays. Most are about 15-18 mins. That sort of thing. Personally, I thought Saturday's 8/1 game ( was one of the finest wins of the season. YMMV. That condensed game is 21:20. Sorry, your site won't allow me to embed the code.

Losing Joe Panik to the DL leaves me kinda sick to my stomach. I hope he heals up quick. I love watching him play. And it's tough to say this, but Cain isn't looking good. I don't know if he's barely 70% healthy or what. Maybe Casilla is pitching through some injury? In fact, how healthy are others? Like Pence, Aoki, Sanchez, Peavy, and Affeldt? We all can see Pagan isn't right. Over 700 PA's since his last HR. Weak bench. We actually have MORE bullpen arms, but less quality depth. Dang.

Hope this turns around quick. Cheers.

JC Parsons said...

Two blown saves in one game is always a crime, luckily that shit usually only happens once or twice a season. In the previous 57+ innings the bullpen had given up ZERO homers, so I guess you could say they were due. I worry that they are all getting over used and it still surprises me that we didn't pick someone up yet.

Zo said...

I think the top worry right now has to be Cain. He did give 5 innings of scoreless ball, but gave up a number of hits (6). In the sixth, the hits he gave up were, just like his last start, not cheap. We've had the bullpen throw 13 innings so far this road trip, and that is 4 games into the 10 before a day off. We need Peavy and then Madbum to give us some innings.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I agree with JC. Stuff happens. My angle was that generally when Belt, Posey, Crawford homers, you win the game, but then the Braves lucked out with AJP then Garcia hitting homers.

I was hoping the Giants would pick up a closer type, like Sabean did way back in 1997, to boost up the back of the bullpen. But maybe they feel that with Osich, Okert, Law in the upper minors, they have enough to cover should the old guys peter out. Unfortunately, you can't DL someone just for being tired, they have to be physically hurting in some way.

I know some joke about the Giants "phantom" injuries, but the thing is many athletes play in spite of the pain they are going through - and better, can still perform well - and if the Giants can DL them instead of having to let them go, why not? They are using the rules as they exist, nothing wrong with that, just like when the Angels were allowed to use K-Rod in the 2002 playoffs even though he wasn't even brought up to the majors until after the August "deadline" for eligibility for their playoff roster, I didn't think much of that rule, but they used the rules to their advantage, which is what the Giants are doing.

I'm not terribly worried about Cain. Every rotation will have a pitcher who is up and down, Cain is basically our 5th starter now, and teams can win with such a pitcher, because most teams generally have someone like that in that spot. The Giants had poor 5th starters in 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, and that didn't stop them from winning those seasons. Plus, the umpire had a whack strike zone, I didn't listen to the whole game, but it was like he was drunk or blind or both. And perhaps it was the heat overwhelming the ump, which could have had an effect on Cain and the opposing pitcher too. Lastly, he's still going through what would be April for others, if he was horrible every game, then I would agree, but he's been good, bad, ugly, OK, all the spectrum. There has been some good.

I am worried about Panik though. Back issues are pretty bad, as a back pain sufferer myself. And he's only 24 YO, he shouldn't having those types of problems so young, should he? I'm no doctor though, but it just don't seem good, just from a common sense perspective. Maybe there is a doctor out there who can allay our fears.

Not sure about health, but given that Pence is hitting .298/.359/.576/.894 since returning from DL, and Aoki, after two games of adjusting to MLB, has hit .313/.353/.438/.790 in his past four games, which is roughly what he was doing before for us, and Peavy in 5 starts since returning has a 2.84 ERA and 18 K/6 BB, they seem to be healthy enough.

Zo said...

Good point about the umpiring, OGC. The announcers were mentioning all game that balls were called strikes and strikes were called balls.

nomisnala said...

I wanted to see Tomlinson start on Tuesday instead of Adrianza. but Adrianza may be showing signs of coming out of his terrible slump. Of course he made an error late in the game, but this time the giants did not fall apart after a late error. Pence's DP in the Texas game, and last nights failure to really pour it on hurt us. Giants had a chance to seriously have a blow out game, but seemed to be ok without piling it on. Those kind of losses used to happen when Atlanta was good. Hate to lose to a mediocre Atlanta team, and a terrible Marlins team on the rode. I think the giants may just not be a great warm weather team, especially the pitchers. Giants need to take the next two games in Atlanta on Tuesday and Wednesday. Bumgarner needs a win.

JC Parsons said...

As we often mention in baseball, how you respond to heart breaking losses is probably more important than the loss itself. A horrible extra inning loss, combined with placing a key player on the DL indefinitely, AND playing on the surface of the sun can all lead to a meltdown and road trip disaster. But these 2015 Giants dont look like they want any part of that. Tough, focused at bats, one right after the other. It is getting to the point where I sort of want our batters to fall behind in the count. I know that has to be statistically stupid yet they repeatedly up their game ang get amazing 0-2 hits; two of those went over fences yesterday!!! I am usually thinking the ARMS are what will lead us to the next level (and that is still how I feel, time to pick up another reliever!) but this team is starting to make me a bigger fan of the BATS. Duh, both is the best but that just doesnt happen too often.

Speaking of our offensive rebirth: Who the FECK is this Matt Duffy? You could see the Braves fans (sad how few there are in the stands) almost wording that phrase after he got his FOURTH hit on Tues. Believe me, a lot of Giants fans feel a bit like that too. This guy is blazing through baseball now and no one seems to be making the adjustments. It looked like the Braves were trying to stay inside on him but he has a good eye and he never much left his plan. Every AB they finally put a pitch on the outside and he stroked it into right. I'm pretty sure the league is going to try to stay on the inside half, especially after yesterdays display. He looks even better than Buster at taking it the other way and that is something the league will adjust to. So look for the Duffman to pull some shit into the LF corner today. heehee

It would be fun to see Tomlinson, FNG's are almost always entertaining. However, I agree that Adrianza is finally looking comfortable and confident at the plate. The silver lining of a Panik hiatus may very well be giving Ehire a chance to get up to speed. We all know how important our bench will be at the end. I like the bench now, lots of speed and defense, wish we had more power but so does every one else. Any one have info on the Panik return?

M.C. O'Connor said...

Nice win last night--another good effort from Peavy, especially matching up with Miller.

nomisnala said...

More power? Giants have the second most road homers in the N.L. What we do not
have is the kind of power that translated to our home park. We definitely have
a team with the kind of power that translates nicely on the road. I think Duffy
can hit the inside pitch as well. Glad to have Duffy, I expect him to continue
developing his defense. Tomlinson could be another hitter in the mold of Panik,
and Duffy. Bumgarner's ERA post all star break is 3.79. Perhaps he needs a rest,
or we can use a six man rotation once or twice through the rotation. While Kershaw
has gained strength in the second half, Bummy has not. Perhaps now is Bummy's time
to turn it around and go on a hot streak of his own. I'm sure that he is happy to
be playing in the N.L. and taking his at bats.

JC Parsons said...

That was the perfect team for Peavy to face. Lots of free swingers, especially without Freeman. When Jake faces a patient, BA dependent team (like us) he has a much harder time. In fact, it seems like Peavy is built in such a way that certain teams are almost always going to give him fits. Check his numbers lifetime against KC, which is why I never got as mad as some about his post season action in the WS. It was really very predictable that he would fail in that situation. Right now he looks great, a true #2 type starter. If only Matt can get it together, then we will have the four starters you need for the post season.

When I said we need power, that was in reference to the bench. Otherwise, jeesh we got much more pop than I ever dreamed. Especially, since Pagan is now allergic to the long ball. Is he now our fourth OF?