Tuesday, June 20, 2017

4th inning: 4-14

1st inning: 6-12
2nd inning: 6-12
3rd inning: 10-8
4th inning: 4-14

That's  26-46 or .361 ball. It's as bad as it gets. The great ride we've been on is over.
If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the human race was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the death of Domitian to the accession of Commodus. [AD 96-180]
That's Gibbon. The Edward Gibbon of History of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Just a little editing and we get this:
If a man were called to fix the period in the history of the world during which the condition of the Giants fan base was most happy and prosperous, he would, without hesitation, name that which elapsed from the promotion of Buster Posey to the departure of Sergio Romo. [AD 2009-2016]
Oh, yes. The accession of Buster Posey. And Madison Bumgarner. And the Core Four. And Matty and Timmy and the rest. Alas, those days are over. This new incarnation, the 2017 Giants, stinks. That's it. They stink. Even if they play .600 ball the rest of the season they will finish 80-82, hardly a playoff-caliber squad. This is a team with a $180M payroll, in the top five for MLB. This kind of performance is a disaster.

The Giants had an epic run from 2009 to 2016, getting to the playoffs four times and winning three World Series titles. That's the past. They kept the band together as long as they could, and it worked, getting that third championship and having a real shot at a fourth. Not many clubs can claim that. But the higher you climb, the harder you'll fall. It was an incredible experience to watch high-caliber championship baseball. But we have a new reality. To put it in newspeak, this is a team in transition.

I don't claim to know what to do. The team needs an obvious re-build, that's for sure. Key members will still be key members, but changes will happen and it will take more than just one season. It should be fun, as fans, to watch that happen. And that's it: I'm a fan. Just because the team sucks doesn't mean I stop being a fan. Sure, the crash after a raging high is tough, but I can handle it. I liked the team in 1985 when they lost 100 games; I'll stick by them now.

But it'll be rough going. I'll need a lot of bourbon, local herb, and Bessie Smith records to get through it. Will you stick with me?

--M.C.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Adios Amigos!

Loss, 9-0 @ ATL

I am so out of here!  My first ever trip to Costa Rica starts in just a couple minutes and I can't wait.  Sure wish I was already gone just so I could have missed that piece of sh*t today. But that is true of this entire crappy season actually.  So my brain is in no place to talk about a seven game losing streak, or the obvious need to make changes, or the incredible amount of this disaster that we still have ahead of us.  Sorry.  Talk among yourselves.

Pura Vida, ya all!   Talk to you in about a week!   I'm off to find that elusive, yet ever Resplendent  Queztal.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

And So It Goes for the Giants

Well.  In an exchange of e-mails with my friend in Colorado, I stated, "I predict the Giants will win one by a fluke."  And they almost did!  But then, they didn't.  Swept for their 6th consecutive loss, they lost to the Rockies, 7 - 5.  The Giants are 4 - 12 for the month of June.

Ty Blach pitched well.  Beautifully, in fact.  He went 6 2/3 and gave up 3 runs.  When your starter does that in Coors field, you want to give him a W.  Ty gave up 7 hits, 2 home runs (both with no one on) and struck out 5.  George Kontos took over and finished the 7th and held the Rockies scoreless in the 8th.  In spite of 18 runs in the previous 3 games, the Giants had only 2 going into the 9th and were down 3 to 2.  With 1 out,   Hernandez walked.  Then Hunter Pence, pinch hitting for Kontos, hit his first ever pinch hit home run (in few pinch hit opportunities).  That gave the Giants a rare 9th inning lead.  And, much to their credit, they added to it.  Joe Panik singled and somehow got caught on the basepath and wound up safe at second, and then Crawford doubled him home to take a 5 - 3 lead.

Finally, a chance to showcase Mark Melancon, who had not appeared in this series and who hails from just up the road in Arvada.  I think that at the end of the year, we might look at Melancon's blown saves and conclude that it is not a terrible number.  But, man, the guy seems to pick the spots where it hurts.   One out, a single, another single, another single (5 - 4), and then a 3 run Nolan Arenado home run.  That gave him a cycle, the Rockies the sweep and left the Giants almost 20 games back well before the half-way mark.  The Giants are one of only two teams with less than a .400 win percentage.

After getting hit for 12 earned runs in his last 2 outings, Ty held the Rockies to 3. That's good.  But on the whole, just as our offense has improved, our pitching has gone from pretty decent to crappy.  In the first game of the month, on June 2, Ty Blach threw a complete game shutout against the Phillies.  The Giants won 10 - 0.  Since then, the Giants have allowed 94 runs in 16 games (including June 2).  5.875/game.  Not fair to include Coors, you say?  Excluding Coors, the Giants have allowed 62 runs in 12 games.  5.169/game.  The offense has netted 82 runs in that time, 5.125/game.  5+ runs per game is an improvement for the Giants.   The league leader, the Nationals, are averaging just over 5.5 runs per game.  Yet, the Giants, this June, at 5.125 runs/game, have a .250 winning percentage.  After scoring 10 runs to beat the Phillies, they scored 7 and lost.  Then they beat the Brewers twice with scores of 7 and 9 runs.  They scored 13 to beat the Twins and then scored 9 and 8 in two losses to the Rockies.  They have only won 4 of 7 games where they have scored 7 or more runs, and only 1 game of 9 where they have scored less than 7.  That's some bad pitching.  And so it goes.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Worthless Wednesday

Loss, 7-2 vs. KC 

I have had to post about losses/no decisions/crappy pitching for seven of the last eight times, so this is getting really old.   It was bad enough to waste a lovely spring day by watching that shitty game, so I don't think I will add to the damage by writing much about it.

Our "ace" this season, Johnny Cueto (5-6), is not up to the job.  Today (game score 20!) was another version of the same problem this year: the long ball.  Three today...yuck.  The only difference was that he had only given up one at home all year (with 13 on the road).

Any one else feel like they were in a hurry to get out of town?  Why on earth would they want to go to Denver?  We are in deep poop.

Congratulations Warriors!

I was away for a couple of weeks.  Saw some beautiful scenery, some awesome wildlife and was out of touch with the innertubes for a good part of it, which is a good thing.  On my return, not much changed.  I find the Giants still playing shitty, sub-mediocre baseball.  They haven't won a series in my absence and won't win one against Kansas City.  I have to consider the possibility that my presence or absence has little effect on this team.

I heard the Giants 13 - 8 win on the radio as I was driving through heavy traffic and a terrific electrical storm between Sacramento and Vacaville.  Real rain in June?  But today, the Giants lost again, back to the 1 run offenses that we have become accustomed to seeing.  Kansas City now has a better record than the Giants, that didn't used to be true.  Thank goodness for the Filthies and the Pudres.  Those teams, by the way, are the only 2 teams with a worse record than the highly paid, World Series winning Giants SINCE THE LAST ALL STAR BREAK.  We're almost up to one year of a record vying for the worst in baseball.  Some accomplishment for this overpaid team.  Let's face it, no slump goes on this long.  Get ready for the fire sale.

Kansas City's Jason Vargas against Ty Blach.  Ty Blach managed 5 2/3 innings, gave up 7 runs.  He pitched well and not so well in the last couple weeks.  Is he about spent for the season?  Did everyone figure him out?   He was kind of a bright spot for awhile, now, I'm not so sure.  About much of anything.

How 'bout those Dubs, though!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Comeback!

SF 13  MIN 8
The Twins chased Matt Cain in the 5th and appeared headed for another victory but somehow the Giants scored NINE runs in the final two frames to stave off a series sweep. Buster Posey and Hunter Pence were, fittingly, the hitting stars. The bullpen took a 13-5 lead into the 9th and gave up three runs (FNG Sam Dyson faced four batters and got none of them out, three scored) but the 8-run cushion saved the day. That's right, the Giants had an 8-run lead at one point. Crazy, eh? Eduardo Nunez and rookie Austin Slater also had big days at the plate. The 13 runs is a season high. Joe Panik, The Brandons, and Denard Span were all on the bench. Kelby Tomlinson took the leadoff spot and had two hits and two runs scored. Whatever works!

Off-day tomorrow and then the Royals are in town for two with Blach and Cueto on the hill.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

p.s. Eight doubles (Hernandez, Slater, Posey, Nunez 2, Pence 3) by the club tied an SF record.


Saturday, June 10, 2017

Giants Come Up Short--Again

MIN 3  SF 2
Go to the ESPN MLB statistics page. Select the ALL MLB Player Pitching link. Click on Expanded II Pitching Stats. Find the RS column near the right-hand edge. One click will sort ascending, click again to sort descending. RS is 'run support average per start.' Coming in to today's game you would have seen that Giants starter Jeff Samardzija was fourth on the list. That is, he had the fourth-worst run support in the game at 3.08 runs. It should be noted that Matt Moore, Matt Cain, and Ty Blach are all in the top twenty. Such are the signs of a stinky season. The Shark allowed three runs today in his six innings. The Giants, in their nine innings, scored two. That's easy math, mates.

--M.C.

Friday, June 9, 2017

Ervin Magic

MIN 4  SF 0
Ervin Santana came to town with some interesting numbers behind his season: only 23 runs allowed, third-best among starters; 0.89 WHIP, also third-best; .520 OPS against, second best; 81 IP, tied for first; and two shutouts, the league leader. So he proceeded to throw another shutout and his bases-clearing double in the 4th broke the game open. That was his first hit, he had DH'd in his 12 previous starts. He had never faced the Giants in his 13-year big league career. I think he made an impression. The Giants were helpless: they only saw 91 pitches total and managed four hits and a walk. With a 1-0 lead in the 3rd Santana yielded a leadoff triple to Aaron Hill. Two pitches later it was two outs and two pitches after that the inning was over. That summed up the Giants night.

--M.C.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Late Runs and a Lying President

Win, 9-5(10) @ MIL 

On my desk , while I was giving my Biology students their final exam, I had my phone playing today's game as my desktop streamed the Congressional Hearings with the former FBI director.  Talk about multi-tasking.  The exam taking was very boring but the other two events were smokin' hot.  So, while James Comey detailed how the POTUS lied and obstructed justice, our beloved boys pulled off a highlight packed thriller.  By the end of the crazy ass game, I was at a retirement party for a couple dear friends! Needless to say, it was an odd and fun day.

Some game notes:
*  JohnnyC can't seem to lose against the Brewers; the last time was in 2012. He sure didn't  seem comfortable at any point today though.  5 innings, 2 er, 6 hits, 4 walks, 4 k's  game score 39
*  Austin Slater crushed his first homer,  a 461 ft. shot that is the longest rookie dinger this year
*  Melancon blew it for the third time.  He regrouped but yuck.  Are we suppose to forgive him due to lack of work? Hmmm.
*  Five hits in a row in the tenth inning!!! Sweet!  Four runs before we made an out.  Even Pence contributed!
*  Aaron Hill is quietly making a difference.  I think that is three or four big pinch hits this week.

Sorry if I missed a few tidbits, but I was a bit distracted.  In fact, time for me to get back to my MSNBC feed.   Go Giants!!!    Resist!!!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Beat Goes On

MIL 6  SF 3
Well, the beat-down, anyway. Giants get beat-down in Milwaukee for the second night in a row. It looked good for a little while, what with Buster Posey giving the team the lead in the 3rd with a two-run homer, but in the end the Brewers were better. They scored in the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th and got three scoreless innings from their 'pen. Ty Blach had a rough night with nine hits and five runs in his six innings. George Kontos kind of summed up the season in his two innings of relief: struck out four but allowed a homer. Can't have the good without the bad, I suppose.

JohnnyC tomorrow to finish the series and the road trip.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Brewers Prevail

MIL 5  SF 2
Matt Cain pitched five innings again, unfortunately he allowed 10 hits and five runs. He got clobbered by a good lineup and had a little bad luck as well. The Brewers were sitting on the curveball, Cain's new weapon, and that was that. Matty has hung on as a fifth starter but the lack of strikeouts (5.9/9) and the high walk totals (3.8/9) aren't sustainable. He's putting 1.5 guys on base every inning and that can't last. I don't know what's going to happen but I think when MadBum is back and Cueto gets traded they'll call up Tyler Beede and either send Cain to the 'pen or cut him loose. It's that kind of year. I see the team picked up a former stud closer who has fallen on hard times, Sam Dyson. The Giants, it seems, love projects. The best I can say is to quote FanGraphs' Jeff Sullivan: "It's Anyone's Guess What Sam Dyson Has Left."

--M.C.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Shark Attack

SF 7  MIL 2
Jeff Samardzija overpowered a potent Brewers lineup tonight in Miller Park, at one point he retired 19 in a row. The big righty bounced back from a stinker last time and delivered one of his best starts of the season, especially when you consider it was on the road against a good team. He threw a season-high 119 pitches and struck out 10 in 7-2/3 IP. The Giants made it a laugher late but The Shark was the difference tonight. Belt, Posey, and Nunez all had two hits; Strickland and Melancon did their jobs, the closer got it done with six pitches. A great win, something much too infrequent this season!

--M.C.


Saturday, June 3, 2017

Familiar Loss

Loss, 5-3 @ PHI 

This game report has been written a bunch of times already in this sorry ass season.  Solid starting pitching is betrayed by shoddy bullpen work and a feeble offense that makes a mediocre opponent look outstanding.  Sound familiar?  Today it was Johnny Cueto (5-5, game score 54) doing pretty good for six innings but when he handed off a couple baserunners in a tie game to Strickland it all went BOOM.  Meanwhile, some minor league wonder pretty much handcuffed us for 7 innings.  If not for a small uprising in the ninth, this game was a total waste of a lovely Saturday afternoon.

So, one day after a great "up lifting" victory, we are right back to the drawing board.  It seems like the crucial question for this team is "Are they capable of putting together a winning streak?"  If we stand a chance we need to do a 22-8 kind of thing.  Even 14 of 16, to get us around .500.   Can we do that??

Friday, June 2, 2017

Blach Leads Giants

SF 10 PHI 0
It was the best game of the season. Ty Blach threw a 112-pitch shutout and the lineup got 15 hits and scored 10 runs. It was the kind of game the Giants need to play, oh, ten more times, at least. I'm happy the rookie is looking good, we need young blood badly on this club. Giants beat up on a team much worse than them--let's hope they keep doing that.

--M.C.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Scherzer Completes the Sweep

Nats 3 Giants 1
Not many teams would have hit Max Scherzer tonight. He was overpowering and not just because it was the Giants. He really had it going on and tossed a brilliant game, needing only 100 pitches to finish it. Matt Cain did his usual, five competent innings. Giving up a three-run homer in the 1st is not good, but keeping it at that for another four is not bad. I wonder what will happen when MadBum comes back. Ty Blach has been impressive and one would think he'd bump Matty for the fifth spot. I wonder if Cain could turn himself into a super-reliever who could go long, spot start, or be the setup man depending on the situation. Most starters don't do that. I think Tim Lincecum would still be playing if he was willing to be a reliever. I think Cain could do a lot of different things out of the 'pen. What do you guys think?

--M.C.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

3rd inning: 10-8

1st inning: 6-12
2nd inning: 6-12
3rd inning: 10-8 
 
The Nationals are a better team than the Giants, that much is clear. So are the Cubs. And the Rockies. And the Dodgers, although the Giants seem to play well against LA. Diamondbacks, Mets, and Reds are better, too. I'll stop now. We all know the 2017 Giants are stinking it up. 22-32 is a .407 win percentage. Let's imagine they go 10-8 in the remaining six innings or 2/3 of the season, 108 games. That's 60-48 or .556 ball and they'd finish 82-80, respectable but hardly in the post-season running. The question is: is this team capable of playing .556 ball for 108 games? At this point, after 54 games or 1/3 of the season, I'd have to say "no."

What would it take to get to 90 wins? Well, 68-40 of course, or .630 ball. That's not going to happen. The Giants need to have 12-6 innings. 10-8 is certainly an improvement but it's not enough. It won't cut it. The hole they've dug is too deep and they don't have the talent to compete. Everything that could have gone wrong has gone wrong and the next question we have to face is: what now?

What to play for? They aren't going to make the playoffs with this roster. It's not in the organizational DNA to throw in the towel and have a fire sale. They will make every effort to look like they are fighting for a spot in the tournament. Perhaps they will be able to trade Johnny Cueto for some shiny minor-league bauble to a playoff-bound team that loses a starter to injury or needs to beef up the rotation. But that won't net much, I hate to say. Most likely he'll finish out the year on an up note and take his opt-out and get $30M/yr from the Yankees, Red Sox, or Indians. (I'll say sayonara JC it was grand thanks for all the great pitching sorry we couldn't get you the ball in Game 5.)

And what's also most likely is that we'll see a lot of Christian Arroyo and Orlando Calixte and Mac Williamson whether they hit .220 or  not. And we'll have our infield intact for 2018: Belt at first, Panik at second, Crawford at short, Arroyo at third, and Buster at catcher. And MadBum, Moore, Samardzija, and Blach will be starting. Denard Span and Hunter Pence will still be on the payroll but the jury's out on whether they'll be on the roster. Mark Melancon will be the closer. Closers are useless on bad teams. Maybe some pennant-hungry team will need a closer and the Giants will trade him at the deadline for some exciting 22-year old. Hmm, does that sound like the Giants? (Hint: no.)

So, life is handing us lemons and it's up to us to make lemonade.

Matt Cain tomorrow night. At 13-15 the Giants are guaranteed a losing month, no matter the outcome. I'm sure you saw that Mike Morse hit the DL with concussion symptoms. Each day I find a new thing that "epitomizes" the 2017 Giants!

--M.C.

Monday, May 29, 2017

One Moore Wasted Start

Nats win 3-0 in SF
The Giants couldn't do anything on Memorial Day other than create a little melodrama. Hunter Strickland hit Bryce Harper (below the belt I might add) in the 8th and that was the gasoline on the fire Harper needed to go bananas and go after Strickland. He charged the mound, feinting a helmet toss which got Strickland to flinch, then the two traded blows before the teams spilled out. The scariest/stupidest moment was Jeff Samardzija and Michael Morse knocking heads in the scrum. I'm hoping they are thick-skulled enough so I don't have to worry. Harper is the volatile sort, and it seemed like he way over-reacted, but Strickland's madness lasted longer and it took three teammates to drag him off the field. Plenty of silliness to go around. Both were ejected, of course. (Oh, Harper's run wound up scoring, just to rub salt in the wound, not that it mattered.) It was the only thing worth writing about today and that ought to tell you something. Moore pitched well and got Cained, ho-hum, that's the 2017 Giants in a nutshell.

--M.C.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

A Genuine Easy Win

Win, 7-1 vs. ATL 

Combine the fact that JohnnyC broke a personal three game losing streak with a solid performance, and the fact that the Giants offense had no trouble with a knuckleball today, and you get an easy win.   Yep, you read that right.  An honest to goodness easy victory.  In a season where nothing is quite going right, we should relish this one for a while.

Here's a partial list of the good stuff: Three RBI's from BCraw, 2 runs scored from Panik and Nuñez, a Cueto (5-4) game score of 67 that included 8 strikeouts in 6 innings,  three solid innings of no drama relief,  an opposing knuckleballer that let loose a season high 5 walks, a wild pitch and a passed ball.  Oh yeah, Dickey made a big error too.    All told, it was a lovely vacation Sunday.

Sure hope the love continues against the Nationals. Moore is a god at home so that should help. Happy Memorial Day everyone!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Blach Stop

Ty Blach on the mound, on what appeared to be military style clothing night, as the Giants tried to snap a 4 game losing streak.  That's right, the Giants haven't won since Ty last pitched.  So they won again!  The Giants scored as many runs as in their last 4 games and beat the Atlantans, 6 - 3.

Ty gave us 7 2/3 innings, 102 pitches, 2 runs, 6 hits, struck out 5 and walked 3.  Ty is not the kind of guy to chalk up a lot of strikeouts, he gets ground balls and double plays.  Atlanta grounded into 2 of those.  Law followed and finished up the 8th, started the 9th, but after giving up a walk and a triple with 1 out, Melancon finished for the save.  Ty has now given us 7 innings in his last 4 starts.  What more do you want out of a guy who wasn't on the team until Madison Bumgarner got hurt?

We got 6 runs!  Nick Hundley, behind the dish, hit his first home run, a 2-run shot that scored Aaron Hill (who replaced Steven Okert on the major league roster).  Hundley was 4 for 5, scored and picked up another rbi late in the game with a single.  Belt hit a solo shot.  Ty picked up an rbi with a single, as did Denard Span.  Here is a stat that falls somewhere between pleasant and startling:  the Giants were 3 - 5 with runners in scoring position.  I must say that the military look, olive drab, is not a good one paired with orange trim or shoes.  But still, if it takes a fashion faux pas to get this team rolling, I'm all for it.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Matt Cained

2-0 loss in SF
Matt Cain found himself in familiar circumstances tonight: pitching well but the team failing to deliver runs. It felt like the good old days in '07 and '08 when he put up a 15-30 W-L record. The team was a robust 149-175 over those two seasons; that .460 win percentage looks pretty good right now. It was a 0-0 tie until the top of the 7th when the Giants intentional-walk-of-the-no.8-hitter gambit bit them in the ass. The Braves pitcher, veteran southpaw Jaime Garcia, got a two-out hit and two runs scored on the play and that was the ballgame. Garcia had thrown six scoreless by that point and he got two more outs in the bottom of the 7th before handing it over to the 'pen who kept the string of zeros going. The Giants got four hits, all singles, all against Garcia.

Buster Posey played first base. Imagine how rested and protected Posey would be if he could DH. He'd be a great DH. I say we lobby the NL to adopt the DH. I'm not willing to go there, usually, but we're talking about Buster here. I'm willing to go there for Buster. The question is: are you?

--M.C.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Cubs Club Giants

Today's 5-1 loss in Chicago came a little too soon after last night's 5-4 loss for my taste. I was still hungover from that gut-wrenching game and I didn't need another disappointment. Ah well, another wasted start from--get this--team ace Jeff Samardzija who was mostly effective in his gangly strong-armed way. He even whacked a double and gave the Giants a good chance to get a run but the lineup failed to get it done. Today the Giants hit some balls hard and had some bad luck but that matters not anymore. This team needs to hit the ball in key spots and they just don't do it consistently enough or with sufficient power. Mostly they just make too many outs: the team OBP is .288, tied for last with the Royals.

The Cubs not only blasted the ball (10 homers in the four games) but played superbly in the field. Their defense is as good as advertised. Giants are now 11-12 for the month of May.

Matt Cain tomorrow at home against the Braves. GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Lester Liquefies Giants

Loss, 4-1 @ CHC 

Jon Lester (3-2) needed 99 pitches to dominate the Giants and coast to a complete game win, 4-1.  His performance was scary good (game score 93!) so there was slim chance for Johnny Cueto (4-4) on this rainy night. However, JohnnyC (game score 42) didn't help any with three more homers (that makes 11 this year) .  That is not at all like the Cueto I remember from last year.  Time to worry?

Put this game in the better forgotten column.  I'm kind of surprised we scored a run!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Blach in the Win Column

The Giants opened a 4 game series in Chicago this evening and came out looking good, winning the opener, 6 - 4.

Joe Panik batting in the #1 hole, led off with a home run off of old Giants nemesis John Lackey.  Giants kept the pressure on, scoring 2 more in the 3rd (again, Joe Panik, doubling in Gorkys Hernandez and then scoring on a Brandon Belt single); 1 in the 4th (Justin Ruggiano doubling in Edward Nunez); 1 on a Belt home run in the 5th; and 1 in the 8th on a Ruggiano home run.  So it was 6 - 0 going into the bottom of the 8th inning.  Ty Blach was on the mound, with only 90-some odd pitches through the 7th and no runs with the help of some great defense.  In particular, in the 3rd, Buster Posey gunned down the speedy Javier Baez with a throw as perfect as you will ever see.  Too bad it is not on the highlight reel on sfgiants.com or espn.  It really was the highlight.  Helpful, too, considering that Ben Zobrist, up next, tripled.  However, at that point there were 2 outs and the next batter grounded out.

Blach pitched great.  At the end of 7, he had struck out 3 and walked none.  He came out to pitch the 8th, though, and got into trouble.  A Jason Heward single followed by a Baez home run and an Ian Happ triple brought Derek Law into the game, who gave up a home run to Zobrist to make it 6 - 4.  Fortunately, with the help of Okert and Strickland, the Giants went into the 9th with a 6 - 4 lead, and Melancon got the save.  Whew!  So Blach picked up 3 earned runs and the Giants pick up a win (but did not gain on the Crockies).  Joe Panik was 3 for 4.  How many consecutive solo home runs is that now?  16?  How is that not a record?  Also, this seems like an oddity: the Giants batting order had (except for the pitcher) the outfielders batting last.  Keep winning!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Cardinals Prevail

8-3 loss in StL
Matt Cain got clobbered in the getaway game today in St. Louis and Giants hitters were subdued by perennial stud Adam Wainwright. The Giants take 2 of 3 however and win their third straight series. They go to Chicago to take on the defending champion Cubs for four games starting tomorrow night before coming home at the end of the week for three against the Braves. They finish the month and the homestand with three against the Nationals. The Giants are 10-9 for the month of May after starting 2-6, let's hope they can keep the winning momentum going.

--M.C.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Giants Win . . . Again!

3-1 win (13) in StL
The Giants win in extra innings on the road. I'll say that again: the Giants win in extra innings on the road. That makes two wins in a row. I'll say that again: that makes two wins in a row. Jeff Samardzija had to match up with a nearly unhittable Carlos Martinez and wouldn't you know he delivered eight scoreless frames and kept the Giants in the game. The game, like last night, featured a rain delay, but the Giants prevailed thanks to a big hit from Christian Arroyo in the top of the 13th. I have to say I like this version of the 2017 Giants a lot better than what we were seeing last month.

--M.C.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Giants Win!

6-5 win in StL
I couldn't come up with anything clever, but that was perhaps the best win of the season. For a team as offensively challenged as the Giants to come from behind not once but twice is almost impossible to believe. When the 'pen gagged the lead I was sure it was over. I know, I know, anything can happen and I really do try to stay positive but it's not like the team has engendered a feeling of confidence in 2017. But here it is, a win. A come from behind win on the road. SIX runs in the last three frames for the Giants.

--M.C.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

No Joy from JohnnyC

Loss, 6-1 vs. LAD 

The lovely five game win streak ran into Clayton Kershaw and it was no contest.  The undeniable L.A. Ace, Kershaw (7-2), completely outdueled the stand-in S.F. "Ace," Johnny Cueto (4-3),  in a game that only a dogger fan would love.  And since I am assuming there are no such fans reading this, I figure there isn't much point in rehashing this one.

The only detail "worth" mentioning was the rare display of hostility from our usual fun-loving JohnnyC.  It seemed like he got pissed at Grandal for hitting a good pitch.  He actually seemed to be channeling his inner MadBum.  Turns out  he thought Grandal was stealing signs.  Anyway, it got juicy when Cueto uncorked a fast ball near the dude's head. Intentional? I doubt it; it did let a run in on a wild pitch.  Then after Grandal flew out they "exchanged words" which of course led to "benches clearing."  No action, no ejections.  Just a rare and strange display by a frustrated JohnnyC.

We get a day off and then we START ANOTHER WIN STREAK!  Go Giants!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Blach Belt

I'm getting giddy.  The Giants won their 5th in a row, beating the doggers in a typical, low-scoring AT&T nail biter, 2 - 1.

Except, it wasn't that much of a nail biter.  That's because Ty Blach, young Madbum replacement, was in command for much of the game.  He had a few moments of concern.  In the 4th, Turner was at third after a Hernandez double with 1 out, but Christian Arroyo astutely nailed Turner at home and Blach induced a ground ball out to end the inning.  Then, in the 6th, after a lone home run to Chris Taylor, Gutierrez singled, working his way to 3rd before Blach retired the side on a Puig fly-out.  I think that was it for dogger runners in scoring position, though.  Ty threw 8 innings, struck out 4 and walked 2.  Derek Law threw a 1-2-3 9th.

Brandon Belt was the offensive hero, with a solo shot to left center in the 4th, and then scoring the Giants 2nd run in the bottom of the 6th on a Brandon Crawford single.  That is now 10 consecutive Giants home runs with no one on base.   That's amazing!  The Giants have 5 wins in a row!  That's also amazing!  Kershaw versus Cueto tomorrow.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Cain and Giants Whip Dodgers

8-4 win in SF
Lots of things have gone wrong for the San Francisco Giants this season but one of the things that hasn't is Matt Cain. It was easy to think that any faith in the big righty was misplaced; age catches up with all athletes, no matter how accomplished. Somehow The Tennessee Stud has reinvented himself as a curveball pitcher and is getting results I have to think are better than most people expected. I've held out hope all along that the former ace, if healthy, could still pitch in the bigs and get guys out. He's been doing that pretty well so far--tonight was his second fine start against the Dodgers and the fifth time the Giants have won with him on the mound in eight chances. He also put down a sacrifice bunt and got a base hit.

The Giants had a four-run inning in the 4th, their second in two days, and scored eight runs in the game for the second time in two days. Who are these guys? It's an offensive juggernaut! Buster Posey hit another home run and he's now slashing .375/.453/.598 which I think we have to say is acceptable.

Giants get their fourth straight win and are now .500 (7-7) for the month of May.

--M.C.


p.s. Hunter Pence goes on the DL and Mac Williamson gets the call and he responds with two hits, a run scored, and a run batted in. Hey, I'll take it! On the flip side, Cory Gearrin turned a laugher into a save situation with two hits allowed to two batters with two runs scoring. That's 15 hits and 13 walks in 15-2/3 IP with 9 inherited runners out of 14 scoring. Yikes!


Sunday, May 14, 2017

Motherly Love

8-3 win in SF
The Giants take their third straight over the Reds with a big win today behind Jeff Samardzija and a resurgent lineup. Four runs in the 1st and three in the 2nd backed the big righty and Brandon Belt launched a long homer in the 6th to complete the scoring. Today was among the Samardz-jiest starts of the season for The Shark with dominant strikeout stuff mixed in with nine hits allowed. 114 pitches to get twenty outs, lots of foul balls and long counts and busy innings but overall effective, even if not very pretty. No walks or homers allowed--that's what I like to see. By my reckoning he's pitched well enough to win in at least five of his eight starts, four if you are picky, and had no decisions in his two best outings. He hasn't been great, but he's been perfectly adequate in the fourth-starter role and the 1-5 W-L record reflects the team's inadequacies more than his. The only W's that matter are in the team's win-loss record, as we all know, and the Giants get their fifteenth win and crawl out of the NL West cellar.
forget about
the brotherly and otherly love
motherly love
is just the thing for you
Happy Mothers Day to all the mothers out there!

--M.C.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Two in a row!

3-1 win in SF
Giants beat the Reds and win two in a row for only the second time all season!! The Giants hit TWO HOMERS and they also conjured up a run with small ball to give the bullpen a two-run cushion. For the Giants, that's huge. Now if they could only hit homers with men on base  . . . but I'm not complaining, the Giants won the goddamn game. Nice to see Matt Moore deliver a strong start. Jeff Samardzija tomorrow.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Marathon Must Win

Win, 3-2 (17) vs CIN 

Buster Posey hit a mammoth homer at 12:43 this morning to send a few hundred stubborn fans home in absolute joy as the woeful Giants nipped the Reds, 3-2 in SEVENTEEN innings.  I followed this game in my car as I traveled down I-5 to see family in SacTown.  Since I got a late jump and was departing the Mt. Shasta area at 7pm I figured that I'd be "watching" this one on line.  Little did I know that I would get to see the last hour on a big screen!

I'm sure we all hope this game is the turning point. Only time will tell. It sure did have a few memorable highlights:
     *  Buster's bat flip and look of sheer relief are priceless. It was his longest of the Statcast era (431         ft.).  I think it was longer. It friggin' one hopped the Coke bottle.
     *  JohnnyC did his thing: 8 strong, game score around 70, 2 sac
     *  I may be odd, but I love me some small ball.  We had 3 perfect bunts in a row, 2 hits and a double sac which set up the red hot Span to single in the tying run.
     *  BCraw and Buster combined on a sweet tag out at the plate, which was quickly followed by picking a guy off second to end a major threat. I love when we use our defense as a weapon
     *  The game ball goes to the bullpen, no doubt. Everyone was used and everyone did their job. Gearrin went the last two and who knows would have gone next (Moore?)

So, is it a meaningful win? Or just a lucky W ?  Or maybe even a costly win... since Buster and most of the bullpen is very unavailable today?

Only time will tell. Go Giants!!


Friday, May 12, 2017

2nd inning: 6-12

Giants follow a terrible inning with a terrible inning. After a 9-17 (.346) month of April they bounce back with a 3-7 (.300) May. It doesn't matter how you slice the numbers they still come out ugly. Their 12-24 (.333) record is the worst in the majors. That's two losses for every win, not exactly a formula for success.

--M.C.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

0-134 no more

6-5 win in NY
Christian Arroyo crushes a bases-clearing double in the top of the 9th against Mets closer Jeurys Familia to lead the Giants to a come-from-behind victory! That breaks a streak of 134 consecutive losses when trailing after eight innings. Naturally the Giants were without $62M closer Mark Melancon in one of their very few save chances, but Derek Law managed to get it done despite almost giving it all away (with a little help from Justin Ruggiano). Just add it to the list of crazy unbelievable shit that's happened in 2017.

Matt Cain bounced back from a horrid start in Cincinnati and pitched effectively today in New York. Did I mention that the Giants WON the game? The team is 4-3 in his seven starts. Ideally, you want your guy to do one thing: pitch better than the other guy. It was close today, Cain allowed three runs on four hits (one HR) and two walks in five innings. Tommy Milone gave up two runs on six hits (one HR) and two walks in his five innings. Matty's job is 5th starter, I daresay he has fulfilled that role so far. But today's story, believe it or not, is the lineup and the bullpen. Like Cain, the bullpen wasn't exactly dominating or pretty, but they were effective. The lineup, in grand 2017 style, had a solo shot and a sac fly to go with eight singles and two walks before the 9th inning. They finally got an extra-base hit with men on base, something they've seemed genetically unable to do in this young season.

One major positive of this series is three homers from Buster Posey. That big fly stroke has been absent for a while, it's nice to see it back. He has been making hard contact but has also been hitting ground balls, it seems, at an alarming frequency. Maybe he made an adjustment, or maybe he was a bit unlucky earlier. Perhaps with Brandon Belt really struggling these last two weeks we'll see more of him at first base (even though he did make an error that led to a run) and Nick Hundley behind the plate.

Thursday is Game 36. Doesn't it seem like the season has been a lot longer than just two innings? That was the Giants longest road trip of the season, and the longest losing streak. They come home to face the Reds and Dodgers.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.


p.s. You might be interested in this piece from FanGraphs called Jeff Samardzija is the Best and Worst He's Ever Been. I should note that, with 0.8 fWAR, he's by far our best pitcher (excluding Madison Bumgarner who still clocks in at 0.9!). But for the enigma that is The Shark, this is an illuminating article, even if it might be a little too saber-y for most folks.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Thank God for Gin

Ah, Gin.  The spirit that soothes the worried mind (when taken in sufficient quantity).  My mind is worried.  The doormats of the major leagues lost again, their 5th in a row and second to a Mets team beset by injuries, but reveling in the gifts brought by San Francisco.  Every team in the major leagues must be checking their schedules to see when they can rest their regulars and still pick up a couple wins at the Giants expense.  You'd think the Giants could stumble their way into a win just by random chance.  Apparently not.  Here's the gist.

Tonight, in a new display of ineptitude, the Giants' outfielders (Nunez and Hernandez) refused to catch the ball.  Maybe it was a slowdown to protest working conditions.  I did that once in my career as a government bureaucrat, but after a couple months I realized that no one had noticed, so I called it off. There were not errors charged because the outfielders just stood there and let the balls go by, so Jeff Samardzija, who was so brilliant in his last start, was charged with earned runs.  They were not.  The Giants scored 1 run on 2 hits.  2 freaking hits.  The 1 run was because Buster hit a pitch into the seats.

Apparently, now Mark Melancon is on the disabled list.  I don't know what he is suffering from.  Ennui, perhaps?  I think this drink is called an Etonian.  Or at least, I had a drink like it the other night and tried to replicate it tonight to help me forget that I am a fan of the San Francisco laughing stock of a baseball club.  I can only hope I am humiliated by this post in the very near future.  Take a strong, but floral gin.  I used Nolet's, which comes in at something over 90 proof.  Put 1.5 or 2 oz on ice in a shaker.  Add 1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino Cherry Liqueur and 1/2 or 1 oz Lillet.  Add orange bitters, like Fee Brothers.  Mix.  Strain into a glass and add a lemon twist.  Drink.  Repeat.  Or if you're not into gin, drink something else.  It's all we have left.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Swept Out of Cincy

Loss, 4-0 @ CIN  

Putting forth an effort that is probably not worth a lousy blog post, the Giants got finished off by a Scott Feldman shut out, 4-0.  Considering the previous two losses, this one felt rather merciful.  It was pretty much over after they scored two in the first.  JohnnyC (4-2) did OK (7 innings, game score 54) and sure had his strikeout stuff (a season high 10).  But they had Scott Feldman.  Yes, the Scott Feldman.  The Hawaiian born, College of San Mateo stud that once won SEVENTEEN games for the Texas Rangers.  Of course, that was in TWO THOUSAND AND NINE!

Oh, never mind.  I would rather vacuum than talk about this team right now.  Peace, out.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Blach-ed Out

Well.  That pipe dream, the one where the Giants win every series in May, sure went in the crapper in a hurry.  The doormats of the National League dropped another one in Cincinnati, 14 - 2.  And you thought yesterday's blow-out was bad.

Ty Blach was the bad news bearer of hit-able pitches this time.  I guess you can forgive a rookie, he is awfully new and has been great so far, even though he has only pitched in a winning game once in 10 2017 appearances (April 18 at KC).  Ty gave up 10 runs on 11 hits.  8 of them were earned.  He lasted only 3 innings.  He was followed by Kontos (2 IP, 2 runs), Morris (1 IP, 0 runs), Okert (2/3 IP, another 2 runs), Osich (1 1/3 IP, 0 runs).  Our bullpen is getting chewed up because our starters are only putting in cameo roles.

I guess it's approaching time to ask whether this team, loaded with All Star talent, with a starting rotation that should be the envy of any team and a newly minted closer that we paid top dollar for, will actually put in a competitive season.  Hell, it's about time that we ask whether they can get to .500.  Or even .400.  I'm sure everyone associated with this team is scratching their heads in wonderment at this team's stinkitude, just like we are.

Friday, May 5, 2017

I'm glad I skipped this one

Reds 13 Giants 3
You read that right, thirteen runs allowed, nine charged to starting pitcher Matt Cain. He had a nice run going with only three runs allowed in his last 23 innings but the Reds took care of that straight away on a wet night in Cincinnati. Not much else to say, rookie Christian Arroyo got a homer off grizzled vet Bronson Arroyo, Buster had three hits, and Nick Hundley got another double which makes eight two-baggers out of his twelve hits. The nightmare continues. It seems they can't put together back-to-back good games. And it's alarming that two starters both allow nine runs in the same turn through the rotation! In fairness, not much was expected of Cain, he was listed as the fifth starter for a reason. Two stinkers in six starts, and the Giants won three of the other four, he's been holding his own at the back end, I have to say. I've held out hope that he would "find it" again and it seems he might have. Let's hope tonight is the aberration and not the trend. Cain I feel OK about. The team, not so much.

Ty Blach tomorrow. I'm excited that the rookie's getting his chance even though it came about in a shitty way. Skipped the broadcast tonight and went out socializing. You gotta pull the damn needle out of your arm now and again, eh?

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Giants Edge Dodgers in Extras

SF 4  LA 1 (11)
The Giants spent most of the evening doing their best not to get a clutch hit or score a run. Fortunately starter Jeff Samardzija was up to the task with his best effort of the season, an 8-inning, 11-strikeout, no-walks gem. The Giants gave up a run in the bottom of the 6th on an error by Joe Panik and some hustle by Yasiel Puig and it looked for all the world like a classic Caining but they eked out the tying run in the top of the 8th. Hunter Pence took two bases on a passed ball and Buster Posey knocked him in with a groundout. Some fabulous relief work--that's a phrase I've not typed much--gave the good guys a second wind and they finally broke through in the 11th with run-scoring hits from Gorkys Hernández and Brandon Belt. Mark Melancon put two guys on in the bottom half but put up the zero to seal the deal and the Giants had a series win.

Perhaps the Dodgers should be the only opponent for the rest of the way. It seems our boys deliver their best performances against the men in blue, yesterday's implosion notwithstanding. The Shark now has four decent starts out of six; the two turkeys account for 13 runs in 10-2/3 IP, the others including tonight make 11 runs in 28-2/3. He certainly earned the game ball but southpaw Steven Okert's five-out no-run appearance spanning the 9th and 10th was equally clutch. The Giants can't slug it out with teams, they have to play low-scoring games. This was more like the winning formula we expected.

Of note were Belt's four walks, he now has 22 or the fourth-most in baseball, leader Bryce Harper has 25. The Kid, Christian Arroyo, was 0-for-6 with three whiffs. You're in the big leagues now, lad.

Off-day tomorrow and then it's on to Cincinnati for a three-game set. Matt Cain gets the call Friday against 40-year old Bronson Arroyo (no relation!).

--M.C.

Monday, May 1, 2017

A Good Way to Win

Win, 4-3 @LA 

Let's hear it for May!!

Any win is a good win, especially after a nightmarish April, but when you start a nine game road trip by beating Clayton Kershaw, you have truly found a very good way to win.  All it took was a high quality start from your ace, a flawless bullpen job, and home runs from your superstars.  No problem, we can do that all the time in May.

It just seems like we win when JohnnyC (4-1) takes the mound and tonight was no different.  A nifty outing of 107 pitches, 7 complete innings, 6 hits, 3 runs, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts, resulting in a game score  of 65 (compared to Kershaw's pedestrian 41).  A big key was avoiding the long ball, which has pestered Cueto lately.  His lovely work was not wasted by the Melancon-less bullpen.  Okert got 5 straight outs and Law got the save with the last out.  Just the way you dream about it.

The best part of this dream game may be the offense. Yes, you heard me right, the offense.  In the first inning, Hunter Pence smacked a hanging curve out for a two run lead.  I think that was our first runs scored in the first inning since 2014.  OK, maybe not, but it felt like it.  So that was kinda HUGE.  And then, maybe even more up lifting than that, Buster Posey hit a homer.  No shit, he can still do that.  It even made Kershaw do a "aw schucks" reaction.  That is not something you see very often.

As I said, truly a good way to win.  I think I'll have a wee dram to celebrate.  Who knows when we will get such a sweet one again.  Cheers.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Again Again

I was working in my backyard today.  It's mostly a driveway leading to an alley, but what there is of yard has grown lush with the spring rains.  My white climbing rose, shown behind the geraniums, is bursting with blooms.  Can you see the peach color in the rose closer to the house?  It is also going crazy with blooms after struggling for a couple of years to get going.  I thought I'd show you this because working in the yard is soothing and I find it enjoyable.  Unlike listening to a Giants game.

The game was not enjoyable.  The Giants dropped another game, at home, to the Padres, 5 - 2.  Ty Blach pitched well, and the Giants took a 2 - 0 lead into the 9th inning.  Mark Melancon allowed a 2 run home run to Hector Sanchez for a blown save.  According to Grant Bisbee, Hector Sanchez has now hit as many home runs in San Francisco in a Padres uniform as he did in roughly 800 plate appearances in a Giants uniform.  In the 12th inning, with George Kontos pitching his second inning of relief, the Giants allowed another home run, this one a 3-run shot from Will Myers.  Of course, the Giants were unable to score in the bottom of the 9th, 10th, 11th, or, for that matter, the 12th.

I was just thinking, as Derek Law was pitching in the 8th after a 7 inning, 3 hit, 0 run effort from Ty Blach (2 BB, 1K)  that the Giants haven't really found pitchers for their bullpen niches yet, except for Melancon at closer.  You want a bullpen where you have guys to rely on for the 7th and 8th inning, with maybe a specialist for left handed hitters, and maybe an extra in case you get into a situation where you have to use these guys on a lot of days.  Then you have some guys that can do long relief or spot start and maybe a guy for garbage time.  You don't see those guys as often but they are expected to pitch longer when they are in the game.  And of course, a closer.  The Giants went out a got a closer, but, I thought, the other guys haven't settled into defined roles, yet.  Bruce Bochy keeps trying them out, and they all look pretty good at times, except when they don't.  Like yesterday.  Or Thursday.  Or for that matter, Friday, even though they held on to win.  Closers give up a bomb and blow a save every now and then.  It happens.  Rod Beck did it, Rob Nen did it. So did Santiago and Sergio.  But 2 in April averages out to 12 in the season.  That's too many.   And the Giants just seem to rotate between different ways to lose.  Make no mistake, though, pitching or not, the Giants can't win too many games if they are only scoring 2 runs.

Johnny Cueto throws tomorrow in Los Angeles.  The Giants have now played every team in the western division both at home and away except the doggers, and have a losing record against every one of those teams.  They are 29th in runs scored and 29th in slugging percentage, and 27th in on base percentage.  The Royals are at the bottom of slugging and obp.  One of their 7 wins was against the Giants.  Tomorrow would be an excellent time to start to atone for that.

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.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

7 4 1 1 2 3 ND

SF 2  KC 1 (11)
The Giants won an agonizing extra-inning torture-fest in Kansas City. That's a big story, the wins have been a little sparse lately. But the real story was a brilliant effort by Giants starter Matt Cain. He gave up a couple of hard-hit balls early but quickly found his repertoire and other than a solo shot by rookie Whit Merrifield in the 5th he was in command and got stronger as he went on. He got pulled after seven and 86 pitches. What a superb job on the road against a tough lineup! The team's failure to support him with runs was a familiar old tale. Matt Cain pitched well--that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

It was a painful game as the Giants blew multiple chances to open things up. This lineup has a tough time getting big hits, and could use an occasional homer. They ultimately broke through with two outs on no one on in the 11th when Nick Hundley's double was followed by Joe Panik's single. There have not been many chances so far to give the ball to the closer, but he got the call in the bottom half. Mark Melancon gave up two hits but got the job done with three strikeouts and the Giants had a huge win. All the relievers made it difficult; the Royals had eight baserunners in the final four frames.

Bruce Bochy had a medical procedure and was not in the house, he'll join the team Friday. Ron Wotus had managing duties.

Madison Bumgarner tomorrow. GO GIANTS!

--M.C.


p.s. I neglected to mention that Buster Posey was in the lineup as the DH and got three hits. That's good news!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Giants Can't Resurrect Bats

COL 4  SF 3
The good news is Jeff Samardzija threw five scoreless innings. The bad news is that came after four runs allowed in the first two innings. Still and all, seven innings and four runs is a winnable start, and the Giants had plenty of chances but preferred to hit a double or triple when a homer would have been better, a sacrifice fly when an extra-base hit would have been better, and a weak grounder when a sacrifice fly would have been better. They say timing is everything. Giants batters look like their timing is off, in fact, they look off in general, it's not a lineup that's inspired confidence so far. The situational hitting in the 7th inning was particularly atrocious, but it's a team-wide offensive failure and not entirely due to good pitching from the other guys, yesterday notwithstanding. I suppose getting Buster Posey back ought to help, assuming he's healthy, but there's just not enough thump here in the early going.

Giants get no help from the Holy Spirit on Easter Sunday and the Rockies take three of four in San Francisco. Off-days both tomorrow and Thursday with two in Kansas City in between. Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner get the nods at 5:15 Pacific. The Royals started 0-3 and 2-6 but are back to even with four wins in a row.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.



p.s. Once-vaunted Giants prospect Clayton Blackburn was traded to Texas for a 21-year old switch-hitting middle infielder named Frandy De La Rosa (and cash). Blackburn signed with the Giants right out of high school in 2011, he's 24 and has never appeared in the majors despite being briefly on the roster last May. De La Rosa was in the high-A Carolina League, he'll probably be assigned to San Jose.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Rockies Silence Giants

COL 5  SF 0
Matt Moore didn't have it this afternoon in San Francisco but it mattered little as Rockies starter Tyler Chatwood most certainly did and he kept the Giants quiet. In the 6th Chris Marrero got a single with two outs, that was a big moment as Chatwood had retired the first 17, mostly on weak ground balls. Joe Panik led off the 7th with a single, and Denard Span walked to open the 9th but that was it. Chatwood gets his first career 9-inning complete game and first career shutout. He stifled the Giants last September in Game 158 with 8 shutout innings and only three hits allowed. Chatwood, it should be noted, is a double TJS survivor. Nolan Arenado, naturally, had three hits including a homer. The final line on Moore was 10 hits and five runs in 5-2/3 IP. On the bright side Neil Ramirez had a good outing in relief (four batters, two strikeouts) and both George Kontos and rookie Ty Blach pitched scoreless frames.

Jeff Samardzija gets the call on Easter Sunday at 1:05.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.


p.s. Jarrett Parker made a great play in LF but injured himself, breaking his clavicle. Tough blow for the club, the outfield situation was already uncertain, we'll see who gets the call.


Friday, April 14, 2017

Cueto Subdues Balky Rockies

Win, 8-2 in SF 

Johnny Cueto (3-0) became the majors first 3 game winner with yet another solid performance as the Giants took down the Rockies, 8-2.  It seems like every time JohnnyC takes the mound the world is our oyster and we can do no wrong.  And this feeling of almost complete control and confidence started pretty much the minute he became a Giant.  Remember his great start last year? I think Cueto became only the fourth Giant to go 3-0 to start a season twice in a row...did that make sense?

Besides the solid start (7 innings, 6 hits, 2 runs, 1 walk, 6 k, game score 68), we enjoyed some nifty offense on this opening orange Friday.  The top seven hitters all got hits and scored runs, which is rather sweet.  Hunter Pence got three hits with 2 RBI's, BCraw went deep and drove in 2.  But the best news was a 2 hit night from Chris Marrero, including a swell dinger.  That was his first ever major league homer, after something like 140 in the minors!  Way to go, Chris!  We all hope to see many more in the bigs as a Giant.

Oh yeah, the balks.  Did you see them?  Did any one?  The first one looked like he stepped toward home.  But the second one???  You can't really say they were the turning point in a 8-2 loss, so Bud Black looked rather dumb getting tossed.  But I can't blame him for being frustrated.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

0 for......68?

I think that's what I heard on the radio.  Can that be right, that the Giants are 0 for their last 68 games in which they were behind after the 8th inning?  We all know about when the Giants were ahead after the 8th inning, and wound up losing, but they haven't been able to come back once in that long a time?  Jeez.

No win to blow tonight, they were never ahead.  Without Brandon Crawford or Buster Posey, they only managed to score 1 run.  They gave up 3 but 3 was plenty on a night when the offense is AWOL.  Giants lose, 3 - 1.  Madison Bumgarner pitched 6 innings, gave up 3 runs and struck out 8.  Trevor Story hit a home run.  The Giants only had 5 hits, they did not bunch them up.  In the 9th, there was hope.  The Giants loaded the bases with 1 out on 2 infield singles and a walk, but, well, you read the title.  Nunez GIDP.  Greg Holland has 6 saves already this year.  The Giants don't have 6 victories.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Cain & Crew Get It Done

SF 6 AZ 2
Matt Cain walked off the mound after 13 unlucky pitches in 6th inning tonight in San Francisco to a warm ovation from the home crowd. It was a redemptive performance of sorts for the big righty, he only lasted five innings, but he allowed just one run--in the 1st, mind you--and actually left with the lead, striking out six of the 23 batters he faced. As impressive as his start was, and yes the bar has fallen for the once-formidable ace, it was his booming double with one out in the bottom of the 5th that got the go-ahead rally started. Jon Miller was particularly inspired by Cain's blast, saying he "obliterated it." Denard Span hit a single to center and Giants nemesis AJ Pollock hesitated just enough for Phil Nevin to give Matty the go sign and he scored easily. You have to love a pitcher who ties the damn game! After a Brandon Belt walk, Hunter Pence singled to score Span, and Conor Gillaspie singled to drive in Belt and make it 3-1.

When Cain left in the 6th the issue was very much in doubt but Cory Gearrin struck out the three batters he faced (with two men on and no outs, mind you). It took 13 lucky pitches but he got three swinging whiffs. Now that's relief pitching! I was expecting an Old School Caining and was actually sanguine about the notion, after all, Matty losing (or ND'ing) close games happened all the time when he was a stud. So I figured if the Giants lost a nail-biter I'd be OK with it, just for the good news about Cain. But George Kontos got it done in the 7th, Nick Hundley blasted a double in the bottom half to drive in BCraw and make it 4-1, Panik walked, and Jarrett Parker got the cathartic rocket launch that should have been a homer but was instead a triple to make it 6-1.

Derek Law had some room to work with and he took it, but he kept the lid on and Hunter Strickland got the honors in the 9th with a four-run lead and he made it quick. The 6-2 final was a team effort par excellence. The Giants win a series for the first time in 2017 and they beat the hottest team in the division to do it. It's been a rocky start for our beloved boys so let's enjoy the big wins. I hope everyone is stoked about Matty's performance. Maybe he can be like Barry Zito was in 2012, sort of a talismanic presence that creates wins. After all, BZ was the same guy all the other years he pitched in orange-and-black, but that season all the cards fell in order and he scored big. A fella can dream, eh?

Madison Bumgarner tomorrow night against the Rockies.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Punchless Giants Fall to AZ

If you'd told me Hunter Pence would get on base five times, Nick Hundley would have three hits, Eduardo Nunez four, and Jeff Samardzija would deliver a quality start I'd have figured the Giants to win. Alas, they came up short. Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray kept the Giants from scoring and got a huge assist from his star centerfielder AJ Pollock. They did not have him last season due to a spring injury--as the Giants have learned, he's a difference-maker. On the home side Gorkys Hernandez probably should have made a play on a deep ball in centerfield that made a one-run sacrifice fly into a three-run triple. The rest of the lineup was anemic: Belt is 1-for-14 since his two-homer game, Buster is out for a week, and the Chris Marrero experiment is not paying off. Neil Ramirez is an interesting case--this is the second time he's struck out three in an inning and yet allowed a run (in this case the game-winner). The Giants have to figure out how to harness that stuff. Matt Cain gets the call tonight.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.


p.s. Samardzija plunked Goldschmidt on the hip early in the game with a big heater. He hit only one batter last season so I think we can safely say it was a payback pitch. Not that it helps much.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Happy Home Opener (mostly)

4-1 win in SF
Matt Moore dazzled the Opening Day crowd with a sterling 93-pitch effort (3 hits in 8 IP with no walks and 5 whiffs) to subdue the sizzling Arizona Diamondbacks. Their young flamethrower Taijuan Walker had horrified the home audience straight away with a wild fastball that beaned Buster Posey during his first plate appearance. He was taken out of the game.** The Giants didn't retaliate, just relied on Moore to keep the buzz saw running. They then scored three runs on a goofy play in the 4th. Walker, with the bases loaded and one out, Moore batting, tried to field a swinging bunt and his throw home to get the force got past the catcher. Two runs scored, and a bad throw by the catcher allowed a third, Moore wound up at second. The Giants put a lot of guys on but couldn't get a big hit, 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position. But they cashed in on the fielding lapses, and that's good baseball, particularly when your guys make big stops and turn hits into outs.

But Moore was the man today, and that's the formula for the orange-and-black, get a big start. Yasmany Tomas hit a homer leading off the 5th but that's all Arizona could muster, the lefty was particularly strong at the end, throwing seven pitches in the 7th and eleven in the 8th. Happy to see Jarrett Parker get something going, a walk and a hit, he scored the third run on that nutty sequence, that was good baserunning by the Giants overall. I was also happy they scored another run late and even happier that FNG Mark Melancon got the last three outs. Wins are good. Wins are always good. Let's have some more. Jeff Samardzija tomorrow night.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.


**At the time of this posting all the info on Buster's injury has been that he's OK and no roster move likely.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

"W" #2 and Melancon's First Save

Win, 5-3 at SD

The Giants ended their sad opening road trip (2-5) on a good note with a quality start from the remarkable Cueto and an inaugural save from our big money new closer, Mark Melancon.  It is far too early to talk about a "must win," however this one sure felt important.

All of the classic parts showed up today for the first time this season: a good start (game score 61, 7 solid innings), some offense from our big guns (Pence and Posey hit back to back dingers!), and an actual save (with a game ending DP).  Things were getting a bit tense way too early around here. I mean, come on, complete lack of trust in our ability to score runs and to protect a lead shouldn't be here until June. Right?  This game is a quick fix for that paranoia. We can all take a breath now. It is going to be okay.  Until tomorrow.

(Note: No Vlog and limited posting due to the fact that my crazy life kept me too busy today. I had a big photo shoot with my gorgeous wife's dance troupe, so I really didn't follow the action. Forgive me and look for the Vlog again soon)

Saturday, April 8, 2017

5 in the L Column

I thought Matt Cain would be the one to step up and get the Giants a win - he just seems like the kind of guy to do just such a thing.  But he threw a couple of meatballs and then the relief threw a couple more and the Giants blew yet another one.

Tonight it wasn't so much a "blown opportunity" as much as they never got an opportunity to blow.  Jouhlys Chacin pitched for the Padres, and the Giants struggled to get a hit.  Meanwhile, Madison Bumgarner also struggled.  He threw 20 pitches in the first inning, hit the first batter, who scored, and then didn't look much more comfortable after that.  He gave up another one in the 2nd, but, with much effort, held the game at 2 - 0 and gave the Giants 8 innings (114 pitches, 5 K, 6 hits and 2 BB).

Chacin gave up only 3 hits, and the Giants only got 2 more after he departed after 6 1/3.   That was in the 9th against San Diego's closer, Ryan Buchter, when Brandon Crawford knocked in Buster Posey from 2nd for the Giants only run.  Padres win, 2 - 1.

Who are these guys?  They have a bunch of unfamiliar names, but they play like they have nothing to lose.  It is discouraging to have to find positives in yet another loss, but Madison gave us 8 innings, which is useful, because they have to go twice more through the rotation before they get a day off.  Defense was good.  Remember last year?  The Giants got off to a 5 - 2 start after their first 7 games, including 4 against LA.  They proceeded to take first and then played like shit for much of the summer, stumbling into the playoffs.  Maybe they will do the opposite, pick themselves up and storm through the summer, cruising to a first place NL West spot.  Ah, well........anyway, Kershaw got beat by the Rockies.

Friday, April 7, 2017

Pads Pound Giants

7-6 loss in SD
On the one hand Matt Cain didn't pitch any worse than Matt Moore or Jeff Samardzija. On the other hand I can't take any comfort in that. The Padres got big games from no-name rookies Manuel Margot (2 HR), and Jose Torres (a perfect 7th) as well as three hits and four runs batted in from All-Name Team All-Star Yangervis Solarte. That's the story. Guys with no names and a guy with just about the coolest name in the bigs made life miserable for the good guys. Cain did not appear to have anything special working, maybe the occasional curveball, but it wasn't pretty, and this is Not Pretty, Part Three. It stinks writing about losses! Brandon Belt may finally silence his critics this season, I sure hope so, he looked great hitting two homers including his first-ever grand slam. The home park will always suppress his numbers, but the dude can rake. He hits booming liner after booming liner to right-center, the worst place for AT&T, so if he's going to get the dingers he's going to have to do it on the road. Rock on BB, and keep on doing what you are doing.

That's now 34 runs allowed in 5 games by the pitchers. That's going to need some improving.

MadBum tomorrow. GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Not Pretty, part two

9-3 loss in AZ
Once again the Giants fell apart after a promising beginning--the Diamondbacks scored four runs in the bottom of the 6th and took control of the game and the series. Starter Jeff Samardzija looked strong over the first five frames with nine strikeouts but after an interminable top of the 6th a different man came out of the dugout. A walk, single, and homer greeted the big righty and the Giants lost their 3-2 lead and were effectively done. Hunter Strickland came on and gave up one of The Shark's runs to make it 6-3 Arizona but followed it with a clean 7th. Ty Blach had two outs and no one on in the 8th and then walked two and gave up two hits and that made it 9-3. The D-Backs didn't need their closer in this one. The lineup, sadly, had only four hits, but one was a homer by Aaron Hill and Buster had two doubles, so there's some silver lining in the dark cloud.

Giants pitchers gave up 27 runs in the four games. At least they leave that horrid place and go to a ballpark in San Diego that plays more like San Francisco. Matt Cain goes tomorrow for the Padres home opener, note it is at a goofy time, 3:40 p.m.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Not Pretty

8-6 loss in AZ

The Giants were up 4-1 in the 5th and Matt Moore got two quick outs when he started to look a little shaky and couldn't locate his pitches. Chris Owings doubled and Paul Goldschmidt walked and they followed it with a nifty double steal to put runners on second and third. That moved the meter from shaky to reeling, you have to give the D-Backs credit for putting him on the spot. He's going to have to do a better job holding runners. The next batter Jake Lamb whacked one down the line that Brandon Belt misplayed and it was suddenly 4-3 and Moore was clearly done. He was serving up fat ones and a booming double by Yasmany Tomas tied the score before Brandon Drury grounded out to end it.

Moore had less than nothing in the 6th (I was shocked Boch sent him out there) and quickly put two on. Cory Gearrin walked two and gave up a hit before Neil Ramirez got the strikeout to end it. In the 7th, Ramirez' wild pitch on a strikeout put the leadoff runner on then a passed ball and two hits later it was 8-4 Arizona. Ramirez has nasty stuff and it looked like Buster got crossed up more than once. I think he's going to be an effective late game pitcher but it may take a few outings to smooth the rough edges. That's seven runs yielded by three pitchers in the 5th, 6th, and 7th. Ugly stuff! It took away from good work by Eduardo Nunez (another flashy manufactured run), big power from Belt (triple and homer), and two hits apiece from Hunter Pence and Buster Posey. George Kontos worked a scoreless frame.

It would be nice to see the Giants get the hell out of Arizona with a split. Why am I starting to feel like Chase Field is as cursed as Coors Field? Weird shit always happens down there in the desert.

Jeff Samardzija tomorrow.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.