Sunday, August 16, 2015


The Giants finished off a 4 game sweep of the struggling Nationals today at PhoneCo Park today, 5 - 0.  The Giants and Nats came into the series in the same boat, trying to catch a first place team.  The difference was that the Nats were heavily favored to win the east and the National League while the Giants were, as usual, slated to finish behind LA.  Only one of the teams could make a meaningful move, or neither could, but the Giants did it.  The Giants look great lately - like it is the time in the season to make a move and they are ready to do it.  What's more, they overcame a 0 - 3 record in 2015 against Washington after a disastrous July series there and won the match-up, 4 games to 3.  Also, going back to that more recently disastrous 3 - 7 road trip that started July 31, they are at .500.  A  5 - 1 home stand.  The Giants only tallied 7 hits, but that included a Hunter Pence 3 run home run and a solo shot from (who else?) Madison Bumgarner.  The Giants seem to be hitting a lot of doubles and triples lately.  Doubles today for Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Madbum.  Remember when the meme was that the Giants won on the road but not at home?

Let's talk about Madison Bumgarner, shall we?  Today's line: 9 IP, 3 hits, 1 BB (what's up with that?), 0 runs, 112 pitches and 14 K.  Madbum was 2 for 3 at the plate, with 2 rbi, including the solo shot home run.  That is his 4th home run of the year.  In 53 at bats.  Project that out to a full season as a regular batter and you can put him down for 40 hr.  His OPS today was a crisp 2.000.  He has passed Jason Schmidt on the list of San Francisco strikeout leaders (in order: Juan Marichal, Tim Lincecum, Gaylord Perry, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner).  He is the only SF Giant player besides Juan Marichal to hit a home run and strike out 10 players in the same game.  It was his 5th double-digit K game of the season.  Madison Bumgarner just turned 26 on August 1.   The Nationals beat the Madison Bumgarner last October for their only win of the 5 game series, then knocked him out of the box with 6 runs after 5 innings on July 4.  So, yeah, he wanted it.  Bryce Harper went 0 - 4 against Madison, with 3 strikeouts.  Make no mistake though. Harper is a beast.  I was hoping, when he flied out to deep, deep center in the 7th, that he wouldn't get another chance, but he came up in the 9th for his 3rd K of the game. 

The Nats are struggling, and as has been noted, Matt Williams may not last long as their manager.  He has been criticized for his pitching moves (or lack of moves) and as being too much by-the-book.  Some of the blame has to go to some of their hitters.  Ian Desmond looked good this weekend, but he is carrying a .225 average, Rendon is at .247 and Zimmerman is at .219.  Their pitchers, so good at the start of the season, were chased early and often by the Giants this weekend, and that chews up a bullpen.  Sound familiar?  And kharma-wise, Jonathan Papelbon cannot help a team.

But enough about them.  The Giants are 6 games into a home-and-away 13 game stretch before an off day.  They are heading to St. Louis for 3 and Pittsburgh for 4.  Madison Bumgarner just bookended the home stand with complete games.   Peavy gave us 5 2/3, Cain 4 2/3, Vogie 5 and Heston 6 1/3.  In the past 7 days, Kontos has thrown 3 1/3 innings in 3 games, Petit 2 innings, Affeldt 1 inning, Romo 2 1/3 innings in 3 games (and looked damn good doing it), Hunter 2 innings, Casilla 1 innings, Lopez 2/3 innings in 2 games and Osich 1 1/3 innings in 2 games.  That is, considering last Monday's off day, 13 1/3 innings in a week.  Leake is expected to be start Tuesday, which frees up Vogie to spell Matt Cain, if necessary, or pitch long relief.  Let's take some of this magic on the road and tamp down on some Cardinal and Pirate dreams!


Zo said...

Oh! As Carmot mentioned, it is Juan Marichal day at the ball park. They gave out little statues like the near the bridge. Juan Marichal, always one of my favorites from when I was growing up.

M.C. O'Connor said...

It was a hell of a performance and a great fucking game!!

Ron said...

That's a bit of an understatement, Mark - for me, that was beyond one 'hell of a performance'. In fact, I would suggest that that was one of the top 10 performances by a NY or SF Giants' Pitcher of all time. If they could come up with an Overall Game Score instead of just a Pitching Game Score, this one would have been off-the-map:

- Complete Game Shutout
- 3-hitter w/ 1 BB
- 14 K's
- Absolutely ripped right-center field RBI 2B (perhaps the best AB anyone had all day).
- Towering HR.

Amazing ... amazing!!!!!

Brother Bob said...

The Giants are like the little girl with the curl on her forehead, when they are good they are very, very good. You know the other part.
Susac had a strong game for the River Cats yesterday, so expect him to be back in the squat for the big boys soon.
Are these comments searchable? Because I'd like to know when I stated that Bumgarner would ultimately be the best pitcher on the Giants. I think it was like 4 years ago when it was all still about Lincecum and Cain in the public mind. And who doesn't love to say "I told you so?"

Zo said...

I guess the question is whom the Giants are going to drop off the 25 man squad when Leake returns Tuesday. The paper today says that Cain worked on his mechanics for two hours yesterday. If Cain is to remain and pitch, and (as Bochy has said) they don't want to send Osich down as the sole guy with options, then do we need Petit, and Kontos, and Vogelsong as long relief? I guess this is what you call a first world problem.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Yeah, this was a historic performance by a historic player. Simply amazing, and the Giants called it when they drafted him, Sabean said he would make the majors in a couple of years and he did. Only great players make the majors by age 20, even Cain took to age 22, and Lincecum as fast as he rose, was older than Cain already.

I see the ups and downs for the team, but first I think it was driven by the loss of Pence, and the last one, I see it more as a trip effect, as the stretch of downs recently was driven by high heat in the cities they were visiting, accentuated by no days off. Other than that, since Pence returned, the Giants have been dominating, and really on an upswing until that Cubs sweep. Now that looks like a pause, with this 5-1 homestand. This road trip against two teams who dominate at home is the big test, with the heat of the games as well as the heat in the weather, and the travel leaving them little rest for today.

Heston gets two starts on the road, where he has struggled before, but mostly at hitter's parks. Pirates is actually neutral, where Heston has done OK, and St. Louis is a pitcher's park, where he has done well at. So hopefully he can do well there, as it has been pitcher's performances that dictates what happens in the games (of course, it helps that our hitters have been hitting the other pitchers and helping with that).

Leake also returns to face two teams he has faced often. And he has done very well so far in his career, 3.19 ERA in St. Louis, 2.54 ERA in Pittsburgh.

Cain gets to pitch in St. Louis, where he has been beat like a drum, both in the past and recently. Don't look good unless there is an injury and Vogie takes over.

But Cain's the biggest question mark in the rotation right now. Peavy and Bumgarner had been pitching well, best in the rotation. Leake had been pitching well, did well for us in first start, and he's historically good in the two parks. Heston has mainly been hit on in hitter's parks, and neither park ranks as one right now.

nomisnala said...

Bob I like your comment about Bumgarner. When he came up, I posted in another venue, "mark my words he will be the giants ace", I was lambasted for my comments, as we of course had Timmy, and Matt, but I think a lot of giants fans that really pay close attention did see that day coming. It happened as soon as I expected. My hopes for Tim Alderson never materialized, but again, he was traded when he was still a minor leaguer. So far the Wheeler trade has not hurt us, but the book is not fully closed on that. It looks as if we have a whole bunch of minor league pitchers, just a year or two away from the show. Not sure about starters though.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Hallowe'en night in 2010 was when Bumgarner said "I'm the man!" (It was an AL park or he probably would have hit a homer, too.) The world wasn't quite ready to believe it then, but that's starting to change.

I think the book is "closed" on the Wheeler trade in the sense that it can't "hurt" the Giants, even if he turns out to be a stud. The Mets have to win two World Series with him on the roster just to "break even", don't you think? :-) In fact, they are doing damn well even with him on the DL.

I know Beltran was a bust, but losing Wheeler did not slow down the orange-and-black. They just went out and got more good players. After all both Heston and Belt were from the same draft class (as was Mike Leake). The Giants 2010 draft class looks a little weak (Brown, Parker, Hembree, Duvall, Kickham) but they made up for it with 2011 (Panik, Susac, Osich, Tomlinson, oh and Crick, too)!

carmot said...

Oh man, maybe I'm being too critical... but I'm seeing a G's team that looks worn down. Only 1 out into the 3rd inning... Already a bobble that cost Craw a chance to turn two, Tomlinson couldn't range to a ball in the shift, Blanco with a poor decision/execution on a squeezebunt, nobody catching the Wacha pop fly near the 1B line.

Against the best teams, we need to jump on opportunities. LIke Heyward getting pulled. Like Tomlinson's great AB and Heston's hit. These are the "types" of factors I see, do you all see 'em? No bueno so far. Gotta turn things around. Quick!

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

One game against a really good pitcher, after sweeping the Nats, and they look worn down? Yeah, you're being too critical. There's a reason the Cards are 76-42, the best record in the majors by 4.5 games. One game. on the road.

Ron said...

Blanco's non-catch was eerily reminiscent of Pagan's play that I witnessed in Seattle. Crawford ... I have no idea what he was doing. He had 2 options to get the DP: flip to Tomlinson or take a direct route to bag with the classic toe drag on the base & throw. Instead, he invented a weird spinning move which not only resulted in him losing sight of the target, but may have been late anyway, even with a plodder like Reynolds running. It was bizarre. Too bad Buster was about 3 feet from setting it all right in the top of the 9th. It pained me to see him sit against Wacha. Why would you rest him against a guy like that, & go with Maxwell? I think that they should gone to the Belt in LF, Buster @ 1B lineup yesterday, & saved the rest day for later.

M.C. O'Connor said...

On the telecast it looked like Craw bobbled the ball taking it out of his glove and so he improvised, figuring he couldn't re-grip and feed it to Tomlinson in enough time. It was a heartbreaker--when he scooped it I was sure of the DP. He'd already saved the team with the 2-out double to tie it. It felt like the Giants were going to win after that.

I was sure Posey's ball was out, too. But Susac needs to play--Buster needs a break now and then. It worked out fine when Susac walked to bring him up as the go-ahead run. I was sure he was going to deliver and he almost did.

JC Parsons said...

I was quite surprised that we went without Buster, too. Felt like we were giving that one to them and that is pretty much exactly how it played out. That was the closest game of the year, against the best team in baseball by far, and the best player on either team got the day off. They caught a break there and took advantage of it. Just like the great team that they are. They just don't make mistakes, what can u say?

If we keep Buster behind the plate, we have to sacrifice games like that. Not to mention the wear and tear that is bound to slow him in the stretch. Every time Susac comes up I am praying that he breaks out and takes over the position. Unfortunately I'm not seeing anything yet. He put the ball in play and didn't look over matched, so maybe it is just a matter of time.

JC Parsons said...

The Crawford play was a shocker. The bobble did seem to be the key and everything was a little whacked after that. I can't help but think all of the mistiming with Tomlinson around second (I can think of 3 times when they screwed it up) made it so Brandon felt like he was on his own out there. A shame. We are used to winning that way, not losing.

It looked like Blanco took a step in before breaking break too late for the big hit. I don't think he dogged it, just misjudged it. Another shame. His bunt attempt was also a heartbreaker, I guess it was a good idea. Hard to take when guys are swinging the bat so well. But Wacha is a monster, so small ball really is a good thought. Just another example of the tiny little things that are needed to beat these guys. Shit, they win 70% at home! Without Buster, I figure we had a 20% chance. The Pirates are just as good at home, so don't look for any more days off for old #28 on this road trip!

Zo said...

The game was not about Buster's long out, the game was a study in bumbled opportunities and, as Jon so eloquently stated, "They just don't make mistakes" but we did. They did not win as much as we lost.

Blanco's idiotic bunt attempt
Belt running into a double play
That fly dropping within reach of Belt, Pence and Tomlinson
The failed double play (I agree with Mark, and Crawford admitted as much).

Apparently, Leake is not ready (I think he can throw, but the hammie is untrustworthy on running and fielding) so it will be Vogie tonight and Cain. That at least puts off a decision on who to send down for a turn through the rotation and gets us that much closer to September.

JC Parsons said...

I'm quite pissed about the Leake situation. Isn't this the second time in a row we have been hosed by rentals that are DAMAGED GOODS? I suppose you can chalk it up to bad luck, but it could be something we do poorly. It is a questionable technique of roster management and I bet we don't do it again for awhile.

So who goes in these last couple roster moves before Sept? Petit? Are we really going to put Cain in the bullpen?

M.C. O'Connor said...

Guys get hurt. It sucks, but it's not indicative of anything. I mean, guys get hurt. It's part of the game. When you think of all the moves that have worked out they make the ones that don't pale by comparison. Seems to me the Giants roster-bate as well as it can be done. It's a risk to acquire ANY player. And you have to take those risks to improve the team. I wouldn't play poker with Sabes, Boch, or Evans, EVER. Those guys play with live ammo. They have to juggle the most unpredictable quantities every day under incredible scrutiny and sleep well at night with no regrets and no second-guessing! And they have to answer to a cabal of multi-millionaires when all is said and done.

Bad luck, nothing more.

JC Parsons said...

More bad luck... Pence out and getting an MRI. I bet it is an oblique problem. Which sucks big time.

Rain delay. We need some heroes tonight. My choices are Vogie and Buster. Boring right? I tend to the classics during crunch time.