Sunday, July 23, 2017

One Win Per Series, That's All We......Get

Don't know why I'm posting after today's loss - it's the same score as the last time I posted, a couple of days ago.  I could have just cut and pasted from the last post.  After a 12 inning, gritty victory that I witnessed in person with Ron, JC Parsons and Brother Bob, coincidentally inversely predicted by JC, who said that Nick Hundley can't even get an extra base hit anymore, the Giants came back Sunday only to lose to the Padres, 5 - 2.

There was one Giant starter with more wins that losses.  Now there are none.  Ty Blach against Dinelson Lamet.  Really.  And, just like so often the case where the Giants face a minor league call-up whom they haven't seen before, they flailed.  That seems to have been true for years, even throughout their winning years.  I have never understood this.  Don't they have, like scouting reports or something?  Dinelson gave up 8 hits, but only 2 runs.  Ty meanwhile, gave up a solo shot in the 1st.  The Giants got that run back in the bottom of the first, thanks to Denard and Buster.  In the 4th, a walk, 3 consecutive doubles, and a single made the score 5 - 1.  Gorkys picked up an rbi in the bottom of the 4th, scoring Miguel Gomez, who got 2 hits and played 2nd base today.

2 hits for Gomez.  That was a small bright spot.  Another was Nunez, who went 3 for 4 on the day, but did not score.  The only other one was Ty Blach, in a way.  He gave up the 5, but also gave us 7 innings.  He did not let things fall apart after the 4th, but gave us a scoreless 5 through 7.   Small potatoes when the Giants fold like soggy cardboard.  So we are now 4 - 9, or .308 against the Padres.  The Padres.  Hector Sanchez has had 63 at bats this year, has hit 7 home runs and has 17 rbi.  23 of those at bats have been against the Giants, resulting in 4 of those home runs and 13 of those rbi.  Wil Myers has hit 6 of his 20 home runs against the Giants, 5 of those have been at ATT.  Only 1 Giant, Brandon Belt, has hit more than 5 home runs at home.  Add these to the lengthy list of things I just do not get about this 2017 team.    

Thursday, July 20, 2017

San Diego...................and Another Giant Loss

Well, it's not like the Giants were facing pushover teams like last year's World Series runners-up.  No.  They were facing the tough, tough Padres, who lead the league in just about everything.   Wait, what?  They aren't even a .500 team?  I thought they were at least .850 for the season they way they manhandle the Giants with all their All Stars.  What, they have guys that were in A ball on their team?  Gosh.   Maybe the Giants aren't a really good team after all.  An unsurprising loss, at home, to team that is (unlike the Giants) intentionally crappy, 5 - 2.

We are now 3 - 7 against the Padres.  Oddly, the Giants are almost inversely successful against teams in the west.  We actually have a winning record, at this point, against the doggers.  I do not expect that to last.  We play better against the dbacks, then slightly better against the pudres than the roxies (.300 vs .285).   Weird.

Madison Bumgarner vs Jhoulys Chacin, who, as usual had the Giants flummoxed.  Bumgarner got through the first, then gave up a quick hit and a 2 run blast in the 2nd, then another 2 run shot in the 7th.  Madison gave us 6 1/3 innings, gave up 4 earned runs on 6 hits.  He walked 1 and struck out 5.  Kontos gave up the Padres 5th run, and Crick gave us 1 2/3 innings and looked pretty good.  Nunez and Span got rbi's for the Giants.  As usual, they had several chances to tie the game or take the lead, but they did not do that.  Beating San Diego?  No, we don't do that, either.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Buster!

SF 5  CLE 4
It was good work by Matt Cain today in his new spot-starter-out-of-the-bullpen role: six innings, five hits, three runs (all in one inning), two walks (both scored), five strikeouts, no homers. He even got a base hit! Alas, the lineup could not score the tying run despite having some good chances and he left with the team losing 3-2. The Indians added another run in the 8th and it looked for all the world like another Caining. But the home squad, undaunted, rallied in the bottom half, scratching out a run to make it 4-3. Then Buster Posey, pinch-hitting with two on and two outs, roped a two-run double to make it 5-4 Giants. It was one of the more exciting moments of the season, I must say. Sam Dyson scared the crap out of everyone but managed to close the door and seal the hard-earned victory. That's a series win against a talented squad. Let's see some more of that!

Denard Span continues to shine, scoring two runs and driving in another (himself!) with a double and a splash-hit homer. If he can stay healthy he solves a big outfield problem for next season, that of having a competent major-leaguer out there regularly.

I don't know if you saw this tweet from Baggs in the sidebar:
Tyler Beede threw 7 strong innings today. At 109 IP. Would make sense to promote him, maybe use in relief for a bit, then join SF rotation.
I'm very curious about Beede (rhymes with 'beady') and would love to see him sooner rather than later. He turned 24 in May and has about 400 IP in the minors after three years at Vanderbilt. He's a two-time first-round draft pick, first by the Blue Jays in 2011 (21st) and then by the Giants in 2014 (14th).

Padres come to town for four starting tomorrow night. GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Ty Ties Tribe - Ten!

Giants won tonight in a low scoring duel that lasted into extra inning, besting Cleveland, 2 - 1 in 10.  It was a well played game in spite of a Cleveland error by outfielder Brandon Guyer that led to the Giants first run.  Ty Blach on the mound for the Giants and an impressive youngster, Mike "Hippie" Clevinger on the mound for Cleveland.  They were a pretty good matchup.  Ty gave up a run in the 3rd on a single by USF's own Bradley Zimmer followed by a triple to Guyer.  Ty worked around his other hits, though, giving the Giants 7 innings on 106 pitches.  He gave up 7 hits, walked only 1 and struck out 3.  Meanwhile, Clevinger mostly had the Giants befuddled.  He threw 100 pitches in 6 innings, gave up only 3 hits, struck out 7 and walked 1.  In the 6th, Eduardo Nunez landed on 2nd after the error by Guyer, then was singled home by Buster Posey.  Nunez was the hero in the 10th, too, when Cleveland closer Cody Allen, pitching in his 2nd inning, gave up a double to Conor Gillaspie, who was replaced on the base paths by Kelby Tomlinson.  Denard Span bunted, and was safe to put Kelby at 3rd.  Nunez singled in the winning run.

It was, according to the tv, Nunez's first ever walk off hit.  Brandon Crawford won the ex-major league players' Heart and Hustle award, but was 0 for 4.  This game, though, was about pitching.   Ty was outstanding, as was Clevinger.  Hunter Strickland allowed no one on base in the 8th, and Sam Dyson only walked 1 in his 2 innings of work, picking up the W.   A win every now and then is nice, just for a change of pace.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Boom-Boom, out go the lights

SD 7  SF 1
Padres hit two big homers off Jeff Samardzija and take the rubber match in San Diego. No subtlety with the big righty--he blows it by you or you blast it past him. Giants start the second half in style, losing two of three. It's a trial, I tell ya. These guys are working harder and doing worse. I suppose it's all about looking at the bright side. Denard Span got three hits, he's finally hitting like a real player (.288/.337/.446). Buster Posey got two hits, he's doing that 300-400-500 thing (.328/.408/.509) that I think is really cool. I want to see more of Kyle Crick. Matt Cain pitches Wednesday at home, I'll report back then.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Bum's Back

Madison Bumgarner returned for the first time since April, and he looked pretty good.  He gave the Giants 7 innings, gave up 3 runs on 4 hits in 102 pitches.  Madison got us through the 1st 2 innings setting down the Padres 1-2-3.  Then, he gave up a solo shot in the 3rd.  The Giants were up 2 - 1 at that point, because of a couple of walks, a bunch of hitting, and a 2-out 2 rbi single by Hunter Pence in the 1st.  Then a walk and another home run in the 4th, this one to put the Pads up 3 -2.  You can look up who hit these shots, the trick is remembering these guys until tomorrow.  Might as well get used to them, though, they might be the Padres of the future.  So at that point only 2 hits to Madison's record, both of them long ones.  Joe Pan helped us out in the 6th with a solo shot to tie the game at 3 all.   Madison gave up a bunt single in the 5th and a 2-out double in the 6th, and a walk in the 7th.  In all, he walked 2 and struck out 5.  He looked pretty good, too.  If he is not off, he has an easy looking, smooth delivery.  That was there, as good as ever.  He is a bit prone to the long ball this year, but then again, he gave us a quality start coming off the 69 day DL and that is all you can ask.

Hunter Strickland relieved Madison in the 8th, put 2 men on base, but held the score at 3 - 3.  Gearrin took over in the 9th, and gave up a single.  Okert took over for him, and gave up a towering shot to none other than Hector Sanchez.  Giants lose this one to San Diego, 5 - 3.   Madison does not have a 2017 win to his record.

I had a fantasy.  I mean, one I can share.  It was, what if the Giants swept the western division in the remaining 72 games?  That would be 39 wins out of 72 game, .541.  That in itself is not so impressive, but sweeping the west in the 2nd half would be.  I know, we'd still have a losing record against the Rockies.  And that alone wouldn't get us to .500.  But we could win some of those other games, too.  But that dream's over.  My bubbles are so easily popped.  We've only won 3 of 8 against the Padres.  Fer Chrissakes!  We have 11 games left against them, starting with tomorrow.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Let the Second Half of Hell Begin!

Win 5-4, @ SD 

The second "half" of the season to forget has officially begun and the Giants earned a tight win over the Padres.  I have to honestly admit that I barely watched and only checked in occasionally.  That is pretty much the plan for the rest of this crap season.  I did catch a few images:  a shaky JohnnyC continuing to flail in mediocrity ( 4 innings, 3 runs, 6 hits, 3 walks ),  a beaming Gorkys Hernandez collecting 4 hits for the first time ever,  and the same old Buster putting a perfect swing on a fat pitch for the difference making homer.  In general, it was a well played close game that was sickeningly insignificant.

I'm not sure if there is any significance to the rest of the season at all.  What do we root for?  Decency?  Do we want  a #1 draft pick?  Do we want JohnnyC to suck? Or to be great and want to return?  Is it all about looking at prospects now?  Or is it about figuring out which veterans to jettison?  Or all of the above?   ...I'm confused....  All I know is that I really don't want to watch it any more...  And that is after a win!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

5th inning: 8-10

1st inning: 6-12
2nd inning: 6-12
3rd inning: 10-8
4th inning: 4-14
5th inning: 8-10

That's 34-56 at the Break, .378 baseball, 27 games out of first place. Only the Phillies have a worse record. It looked like this might be a second winning inning after six wins in a row but they reverted to their 2017 ways and finished the first half losing five of six. It's an inexplicably bad team, and I don't mean we can't diagnose the weak spots (they are legion), just that it should be a better team. At least that's what most of us thought. The timing of this team-wide drop-off couldn't have been worse what with the Rockies and Diamondbacks enjoying resurgences and the Dodgers looking like a juggernaut.

The Giants don't score enough runs at 3.93 per game, that's ahead of only the Padres and the Phillies. They give up too many runs at 5.03 per game, that's better than only seven other teams, or perhaps it's best to say it's worse than 22 other teams. The league mean is 4.67 runs so you can see they pitch better than they hit which isn't saying much.

The team has to do something for next year, that's obvious, but it's not obvious what they should do. They have a lot of money already committed. Cain comes off the books, I'm sure they'll buy him out at $7.5M. They'll have to put a youngster in his spot, perhaps Ty Blach. Pence ($18.5M) and Span ($11M) are both signed for next year (and both free agents in 2019, Span gets a $4M buyout) but neither are really tradeable. They have to be replaced, but by whom? The young outfielders, other than Austin Slater, don't look ready for prime time. The Mac Williamson/Jarret Parker/Gorkys Hernandez experiment has failed, with injuries and poor performances aplenty. What they can deliver in the second half or even next season is a big question mark.

The loss of ace Madison Bumgarner, the most valuable player on the team, was a huge blow, but even a healthy and productive MadBum would not have kept this team from poor play. There are too many others performing below expectations especially his co-ace Johnny Cueto. We had the idea that Cueto would at least bring some useful return on the trade market but he is unfortunately in the midst of a mediocre season, especially by his lofty career standards. What to do about Cueto? Will he exercise his op-out? Maybe the Giants re-sign him to a shorter term but higher AAV deal if the FA market doesn't develop. I think it's increasingly likely he'll be on the team next year. Let's hope this season is an aberration. I sure like watching him pitch and having a real no. 2 starter is obviously essential.

The black hole that is the outfield has been covered enough. On the infield side only Buster Posey is playing at or above his career norms. Brandon Belt is hitting the ball hard (.227 ISO, career high) but not getting enough reward for it, his .283 BABIP is fifty points below his career mark. He's logged back-to-back 4+ fWAR seasons but will not hit that this year. At least his drop is encouraging in the sense that it's not as far a fall as some, he's maintained his excellent walk rate (13.9%, 17th-best), and he's been showing signs of improvement these last few weeks. He is signed through 2021 and I expect he'll be the first baseman and/or left fielder for the duration. Love him or hate him you'd best get used to him, although I'll admit he is perhaps the most tradeable guy on the club in terms of age, cost, and talent. Joe Panik is looking a lot better this season, but his 1.2 fWAR is strictly middle-of-the-pack as far as second basemen go. He's cheap and has three arb-years left so he's somewhat inconsequential in the big scheme. He can't get all that much in trade return but he's not breaking the bank so if this is the ceiling for him the best we can hope for is as part of a package for an impact player. I like Joe but if he can't deliver enough offense it makes his defense a lot less valuable. Brandon Crawford on the other hand can still deliver value with his glove, I'm sure he's the most valuable defender on the team by far (with Posey second), and certainly in the top two or three in baseball at his position. That kind of work can earn a limp-bat pass, but he'll have to hit better going forward, and I expect he will, though probably never again at the level of the last two years. The days of the no-hit defensive specialist are probably over. BCraw is also signed through 2021, I don't see the Giants parting with such a popular player who really is a treat to watch perform and plays such a valuable position. Third base is completely up for grabs, I'm guessing Jae-gyun Hwang is the front-runner at this point with Christian Arroyo perhaps getting another shot at the hot corner in 2018. It might take a foray into the FA market to beef up that spot. Eduardo Nunez is a free agent at the end of this season. Like Panik he's cheap but not all that desirable as a trade chip so what happens to him is not worth sweating over, I'm sorry to say.

The most disappointing performance this year has to be Matt Moore's. He's allowed the most earned runs (66) of any starter in the league! The Giants hold options ($9M and $10M) on him for the next two years with cheap ($1M and $750K) buyouts. Hold or fold on Moore? He's only 28, and a lefty, with some real positives in his track record, you have to think he's fixable. But I'm no guru, I've really no idea. The other big bust is of course closer Mark Melancon. At this point it is sunk money, all we can hope for is that he's 100% for next year, then perhaps he's part of an improved bullpen. At the least he could be a valuable trade chip. As far as the 'pen goes I'm at a loss. Obviously the standard set by the Core Four & Co. is awfully hard to replicate. Will Smith comes back next year and Sam Dyson looks like a nice find. Kontos, Gearrin, and Strickland are all serviceable, Okert is too young to give up on, and Kyle Crick may have the goods to be an impact reliever. But it's anybody's game at this point. Are there FA relievers out there worth chasing? I expect they'll have to look.

The Giants have an old team. They need youth. They need power hitting. They need reliable relief pitching. They have a lot of needs. It's easy to say "pull the team apart" but you have to put bodies in the places you take them from. So until you have replacements you have to go with what you have already. And some of the costs (like Pence and Span) are not recoverable. Study this document carefully before making proposals about what the FO should do. The LA Dodgers have set the new standard for team operations and the Giants will have to compete with the Yankees-of-the-West from now on. Not only do they have the highest payroll at a quarter-billion dollars they also have enormous sunk costs (Kazmir-Ethier-Crawford etc. $50+M) and enormous value from cheap talent like third-year players Corey Seager and Alex Wood as well as rookie Cody Bellinger. They have the best pitcher (Kershaw) and the best reliever (Jansen) in the game. That's a big wall to climb. The Giants have their work cut out for them.

Sorry for the extra-long post. Thanks for sticking it out. Going forward, I'd like to see the team crawl above .400 and finish the year without 100 losses. They are on pace for an abysmal 61-101 record. They've 72 games left, a 36-36 record would see a 70-92 (.432) final. That might not be do-able. Regardless, let's see some improved play especially from the youngsters. That's what I'm looking for and that will get me through the dog days. I bleed orange-and-black win or lose. It's a lot less fun when they stink, but I'm not going anywhere. This is our 10th full and 11th total season here at RMC. That's a lot of posts!

Enjoy the respite. Next game is Friday night in San Diego with JohnnyC getting the ball. Bumgarner gets the call on Saturday--I'm looking forward to that.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.


p.s. Baggs interviews Sabes.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Giants Suck

There, I said it.  I expect Mark (we're at the end of 6 innings) or Jon to post, but neither hasn't done it yet, so here is a rant.

The Giants have not played .400 baseball in 1 year.  They went into the All Star Break last year with the best record in baseball.  Coming out, they sucked.  Their post ASB record was 30 - 42.  They had a pretty good spring training, going 20 - 16, but then sucked again once the season started, going 34 - 56 up to now.  Today's game was a good example.  The Giants did some good things.  They came back from a 7 - 3 deficit by scoring 2 in the 8th and 2 in the 9th.  But then blew chow in the 11th and lost, just like so many times before. 

This is the same fucking team that compiled the best record in baseball up to 1 year ago.  Here is a list of the guys who have not been a disappointment:

Buster Posey.

That's it. Maybe Blach, only because the expectations were so low.   I don't have a solution.  No one does.  If there was one, it would have been implemented by now.  Maybe it is a little bit of every damn thing every lazy sportswriter has copied from somebody else.   Whatever.  It is clearly not one thing.  So here is a list, in order, of the things that suck from most to somewhat less, in my opinion, without stats to back them up:

1. Relief pitching
2. Batting
3. Starting pitching
4. Fielding

And you know what makes it worse?  Up to a couple days ago, trading Johnny Cueto (and then maybe signing him next year) seemed like a good idea.  Today, what could we get for him?  Who would want him?  Some contending team with a MIDDLE OF THE ROTATION AT BEST pitcher who just got hurt - maybe.  What would we get?  Maybe a prospect.  Johnny might be good next year, but here's the thing.  If he picks it up and pitches great - he opts out.  If he doesn't, he doesn't opt out and the Giants are stuck with his contract.  Great deal, huh?  Trading Nunez?  He's hurt - he's worth nada.

So if management decides to blow this team up, and I mean BLOW THIS TEAM UP, I'm OK with that.   Well, not Buster, that would be baseball suicide.  But ANYONE and EVERYONE ELSE.  I have a totally irrational hope.  Last year, the Giants were winning like crazy up to the ASB.  There was 1 blip, when they dropped 3 of 4 to the A's at the end of June.  This year, they had a blip - it was their 6 game winning streak.  So my irrational hope is that they come out of the break and inexplicably win just like they inexplicably lost for the past year.  Wacky, right?  Totally.  That just shows what kind of voodoo this fucking team has wrought. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Tydy Win in Detroit

Especially, if by tydy, you mean that the Giants almost blew it, but didn't.  But a 5 - 4 victory is the start of a new winning streak!  The Giants scored first, in the 3rd inning off of rookie pitcher Daniel Norris, who's been having a bit of a tough time lately.  Kelby Tomlinson singled, followed by a  Gorkys Hernandez bunt for 2 runners on.  Tomlinson went to 3rd on a wild pitch, and Tomlinson stole 2nd.  Pence got the first rbi on a line out, and Hwang got the second.  In the 4th, Nick Hundley doubled, Tomlinson walked and then Belt drove in Hundley.  Pence tripled into the left field power alley and that made the score 5 - 0.  The Giants could not add to that.

Ty Blach cruised through 6 innings, giving up 3 hits but no runs.  Then, in the 7th, a single, a double and a single scored the first 2 of Detroit's runs.  A parade of bullpen appearances in the persons of Kontos (gave up a single), Okert (K), and Gearrin (wild pitch, walk, single and sac fly) gave Detroit 4 runs, although they managed to scrape through the 7th still in the lead.  Hunter Strickland gave up a double but held the Tigers scoreless in the 8th, and Sam Dyson pitched a very crisp 9th for the save.  The Giants got some good contributions from a bunch of guys who don't normally start: Hundley, Gorkys and Kelby.  Buster Posey, at DH, got intentionally walked twice, and hit by a pitch.  He was 0 for 2 but on base 3 times.  Pence picked up 3 rbi, and Hwang and Belt had 1 each.

I was looking at the schedule, and the Giants can win a lot this month.  They come home to play Miami, then they play San Diego twice, and Cleveland (who is a good team) and Pittsburgh at home.  Then LA at the end of the month.  Of course, the Giants could have played a lot better earlier in the year, too, but they didn't.  But fuck that - let's do it!  Let's amaze the baseball world with the turnaround.  We'll worry about standings and races later.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Independence Day

DET 5  SF 3
Matt Cain's 6-1/3 IP was his longest since he went seven on May 26th, a 2-0 loss against the Braves. Alas, the five runs were too much today. Giants hit some balls hard and got denied but really couldn't solve Tigers starter Michael Fulmer. Matt Cain could have had a better outcome, what with a play or a bounce or a call here and there. But the flip side is that he's now gone 90-1/3 innings and allowed 116 hits as well as 36 walks. That's a lot of baserunners and you do that enough you will give up runs. But I'm not complaining, the Giants had a nice run of wins. What happens now really measures the team: if they can play consistent winning baseball for a long stretch (like the rest of the season*) we can say it's a good team having a bad year. If they give it up again and play like doormats then we have to say it's a bad team. Different kind of fixes depending on the diagnosis, eh?

Happy Fourth of July to everyone!

--M.C.


*Here's a bit from Belt: "I think there's a confidence and expectation to win," said first baseman Brandon Belt, who leads the Giants with 16 homers and 42 RBIs. "I'm not sure what triggered it, but this is the way we feel we should have been playing the whole time."

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Make that Six

SF 5  PIT 3
The Giants complete another sweep, this one on the road, and notch their sixth straight win. A two-run homer in the 8th by Brandon Belt was the difference, but a three-run 7th was the key to the comeback victory. Hunter Pence, not known for his patience, walked to start the rally and Buster Posey followed with a double. Belt's single plated a run, as did Brandon Crawford's, and pinch-hitter Kelby Tomlinson's sacrifice fly finished it. The Giants are suddenly looking like a real team. Jeff Samardzija gave up a two-run homer in his six innings but he also struck out five and walked, you guessed it, none. Another strong outing by the big righty; the team is now 7-10 in his starts. The only blip for the relief crew was Steven Okert giving up a solo homer to make a 5-2 game 5-3, but Cory Gearrin had already delivered a stalwart 1-2/3 and Sam Dyson's 1-2-3 9th (comebacker-comebacker-whiff) was outstanding.

I'm happy the team finally looks good. We knew they could play like this but it's been a rare sighting since last season's ASB. They get these spurts of superior baseball but can't sustain it. Maybe that will change. Did you see that Christian Arroyo got hit by a pitch and broke his hand? Bummer. Looks like next year for The Kid.

--M.C.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Five in a Row

SF 2  PIT 1  (11)
Undefeated in July! This afternoon in Pittsburgh the orange-and-black eked out a very Giants-y win, scratching and clawing and finally prevailing after 11 innings. It's a win that depended on a shut-down 'pen and a patient lineup. Sometimes the other guy has to crack first, and that's just what happened when Daniel Hudson threw a wild pitch to Buster Posey and Denard 'I'm on Fire' Span scored the go-ahead run. Kudos to FNG Austin Slater for breaking up Pirates starter Chad Kuhl's no-hit bid with a solo shot in the 6th to tie the game at one apiece. He's raking a cool .333/.385/500 in 91 PA. Matt Moore walked six in 5-2/3 yet somehow pitched around it and only allowed the one run (McCutcheon scoring on a Bell single) in the 3rd inning. That means the club delivered (Kontos, Okert, Strickland, Osich, Dyson 5-1/3 IP) eight scoreless frames after that. Play like contenders!

--M.C.


p.s. George Kontos has looked particularly good lately and Jae-gyun Hwang got a pinch-hit double after a gritty effort. Accentuate the positive, right?

Friday, June 30, 2017

Top of Order Tops Bucs

Win, 13-5 @ PIT 

The Giants recorded their season high in hits (18, with all but 2 singles) and tied their high in runs (13) as they handily secured their fourth victory in a row.  This uncharacteristic outpouring of "O" was largely due to an amazing 10 of 14 from Span, Panik and Pence at the top of the order.  Denard may have had his finest game as a Giant with a 4-5 night: including a lead-off HR, 4 runs scored, a walk, and a stolen base.

On the pitching side, not much great to report.  JohnnyC (6-7) got the win but it wasn't very pretty. Eleven baserunners (3 of which scored) in only 5 full innings made it seem like he was always in trouble.  The key moment came in the bottom of the fifth with a 5-3 lead.  Cueto was visited by Bochy with runners on second and third, one out and he rose to the occasion to get the next two guys.

So, can we put together a bit of a winning streak?  Save a little face?  Get the f*ck out of the cellar, maybe??  Well, if we do win tomorrow, that would be a good sign considering Moore is the worst road pitcher in the MLB and we have won once in the last 7 Moore starts.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Ty One Hwang

The Giants Win the Pennant!   The Giants Win the Pennant!  The Giants Win the Pennant!  The Giants Win the Pennant!

Well, no.

The Giants sweep a series and win their third in a row for the first time this year!
The Giants sweep a series and win their third in a row for the first time this year!
The Giants sweep a series and win their third in a row for the first time this year!
The Giants sweep a series and win their third in a row for the first time this year!

I'm giddy.

Ty Blach on the mound for the 3rd game against a tired, beat up Colorado Rockies team.  You have to take advantage of situations like that, and the Giants did.  Ty was far from perfect.  He made a throwing error in the 1st to allow the Rockies to score the first run.  He flung the ball far to the right of Brandon Belt on a bunt single in the 6th, turning it into a triple.  That was the Rockies third run, which tied the Giants at the time.   Mostly, though he pitched well, giving us 6 1/3 in 110 pitches on a day after a 14 inning night game.  Ty gave up 3 runs on 7 hits (only 1 of those runs was "earned" although it is tough to say he didn't earn them when it was his errors that led to the runs).  He walked 3 and struck out 6.  George Kontos and Steve Okert both pitched last night, but they gave us an inning and 1 1/3, respectively, holding the Rox at 3.  Hunter Strickland got a 1-out save.

Jae-gyun Hwang made his major league debut.  He got the Giants' first run home on a 1-3 ground out with Joe Panik on the bases.  Nick Hundley homered with Austin Slater on base in the 4th.  That put the Giants ahead until the Rockies scored in the 6th.  In the bottom of the 6th, Hwang came to the plate against Kyle Freeland.  He put one 417 feet into the left field bleachers.  The guy has some power.  The Giants added 1 in the 8th when Belt grounded into a fielder's choice to score Gorkys Hernandez who was in scoring position from yet another wild pitch by Rockies' reliever Jake McGee.

I am a big fan of having Asians on the Giants.  San Francisco is a gateway to Asia, there is a lot of Asian culture here, and those people are Giants fans.  Check this out (be sure to hear the call in Korean).  You know what's happening in Korea right now?  Well, not right now, it's 7:45 Thursday morning, but soon, stores will be selling out of Giants merchandise.  Travel agencies will be developing tours that include Giants games.  Giants games will be broadcast in Korea.  And some young kid will grow up wanting to be a San Francisco Giant, and he will turn out to be an absolute stud.

I am thrilled.  The Giants have now played a couple of games like contenders.  It is damn near impossible at this point that they would be in contention this year, but there has never been a reason that they can't play like it.

Back-to-back

Giants win two in a row for the first time since May 27-28. The Rockies have now lost seven straight and have fallen off the pace in the West. Matt Cain entered the 6th with a 1-0 lead and got the first out but a single, walk, and homer made it 3-1 the other way in the blink of an eye. He finished the inning and the night and it looked like another slow Giants death. But the team rallied for one in the bottom half and another in the 8th and sent it to extras. The bullpen was stout and kept it together and they finally pulled it out in the 14th after 4 hours and 45 minutes. Cory Gearrin was the hero with three shutout innings. Buster Posey threw out two more would-be base-stealers, that's 14 so far this year (in 39 attempts). Giants are now 3-10 vs. Colorado.

--M.C.
 
p.s. Jae-Gyun Hwang makes his deubt tonight. (12:45 today)

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Shark Cruises

SF 9  COL 2
Jeff Samardzija continued his excellent pitching with another strong start and the Giants scored nine runs to whip the Rockies. Colorado visited Los Angeles over the weekend and got their asses kicked so this is a good time for the Giants to pile on. It's only the second win for the team against ten losses versus the purple-clads. And only the sixth win in the month of June. But a win is a win. The lineup produced steady results, scoring in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 7th and 8th innings. The Shark is now posting a 2.96 xFIP, his best ever, and a 3.38 FIP, his second-best (he finished 2014 at 3.20). They don't match his 4.63 ERA (he's had four starts with 6 or more runs allowed) but otherwise he's on to something. His strikeouts are off the charts (10.03/9) and he's only walked 13 people in 16 starts (1.11/9). He's giving up the long ball, but who isn't, especially on this team, but he's eating innings with the best (105 is 5th behind Sale, Kershaw, Scherzer, and Santana) and is rated at 2.2 WAR which is the best by far on the staff (and 14th in baseball).

--M.C.


p.s. Buster Posey's .347/.424/.536 (.948 OPS) rates a 152 OPS+ his highest since his MVP year (171) in 2012 and well above his career (137) mark.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Relief, or Lack Thereof

I think this is a big part of the Giants problem.  Javy Lopez and Jeremy Affeldt retired, and the Giants cut the cord with Sergio Romo and Santiago Castilla.   Here is what the new guys have accomplished (excluding those who have less than 10 innings work).  All numbers from this morning's Chronicle.

Gearrin       33 IP;  47 hits+BB;  26 K
Strickland   27 IP;  38 hits+BB;  28 K
Kontos        36 IP;  45 hits+BB;  40 K
Melancon    19 IP;  28 hits+BB;  17 K
Osich           21 IP;  31 hits+BB;  24 K
Law             30 IP;  51 hits+BB;  27 K
Morris         21 IP;  35 hits+BB;  15 K
Okert           14 IP;  23 hits+BB;   8  K

Strike out "stuff", sure, but look at those runners put on base.  Mixed artfully with games where the offense just isn't there, and you can get a lot of losses.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

BCraw's Blues

There are lots of ways to measure offensive performance but I'm going to use B-R's OPS+. This takes the hitter's OPB and SLG and compares them to the league averages and adjusts for the home park. A score of 100 means that player is hitting at the league mean. 120 means that player is 20% better than a 100-OPS+ player; an 80 means he is 20% worse. We've watched Brandon Crawford struggle at the plate this year and it got me thinking about whether we've seen his ceiling as a hitter. I can't see any flaws with his range, arm, and glovework this season, he's still the best player on the field and still delivers jaw-dropping performances out there. I've no doubt he saves runs by the bucketload, not that it matters on this club. At age 30 (he'll be 31 in January) his 2017 slash line of .240/.282/.387 is below his career .251/.316/.393 mark for the first time since his 2013 season.

BCraw became a full-time player in 2012 at age 25 after logging 220 PA and over 500 innings in 65 games in 2011. He improved offensively every season and remained relatively injury-free, averaging 550 PA and 1220 innings for five straight years. Here are the numbers:

2012 (age 25), 86
2013 (age 26), 93
2014 (age 27), 104
2015 (age 28), 113
2016 (age 29), 109 (but career-highs in ave and obp)
2017 (age 30), 77.

There's a lot of work out there on aging curves for ballplayers. Turns out they are mostly the same. Players don't get better, they only get worse. Once a player hits a plateau of performance, learns the league so to speak and plays at their true talent level, that's it. (Superstars don't fit normal aging curves, but superstars are the exceptions, hence the "super" part.) Most players are peaking at 27-29 and declining thereafter.

If you like fWAR his numbers from 2012 are 2.0, 2.3, 2.9, 4.5, 5.8, and this season 0.8 in 62 games (out of 78) played. He'll be lucky to crack 2.5 by season's end, even with a burst of production. For comparison the top four MLB SS (Seager, Cozart, Bogaerts, Correa) are rated from 2.6 to 3.2 fWAR already. As long as BCraw's fielding remains in the superior bracket he will deliver value, but he no longer looks like a middle-of-the-order hitter. In fact he looks more like a defensive specialist. That can work in San Francisco on a pitching-dominant team, but not at his current (77 OPS+) level. His career average is 98 OPS+ and I do expect him to improve in the second half and get closer to that even if he may never top out again. This is something we have to face since he is signed for $15.2M/yr for the next four (2018-2021) seasons. He's a cornerstone player along with his fellow Brandon, Mr. Belt. The big first baseman will be the subject of a later post.

One positive: his BABIP is almost 30 points below normal so maybe he's hitting it hard but having some bad luck. We'll see. He's a great athlete, keeps himself fit, works hard to improve, and is a beloved player who is appreciated for what he does best. Those things add up to success, usually, as long as the body cooperates. Four more years of BCraw? He's posted over 18 WAR in his career, averaging 3.5/yr in his five full seasons. Do you think he can produce another 12 WAR (3.0/yr)? Or is 10 (2.5/yr) more likely? I know I'll never get tired of watching him play shortstop. But I do think we've experienced his peak as a hitter and now it's all about how slowly he'll fade, how much he can fight the inevitable decline and still deliver adequate major-league quality with the bat.

--M.C.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Blech Blach

After dropping 7 of their 8 game road trip in Colorado and Atlanta, the Giants returned home.  And lost.

Ty Blach on the mound for the Giants, against the Mets' Seth Lugo.  Ty has been a bright spot for the Giants through their dismal season, but, not unlike tarnish, rust or wood rot, tonight the dismal-ness has spread to Ty's performance.

The Giants lost to the Mets 11 - 4.  If you were finishing up dinner, or, for that matter, blinked, you could have missed the scoring.  The Giants went into the 2nd inning tied at 1 each, and then the Mets threw in 3 doubles, a Cespedes home run and an rbi sac fly for good measure to make it 7 - 1.   Yeah, they scored more later, mostly in the 6th.  The Mets, who themselves have been losing much like the Giants, had 20 hits.  Ty went 3, gave up 7, all earned, on 11 hits.  Some of those hits were bloops, but then, some were not.   Gearrin went 2, gave up none; Okert gave up 3 in 1 inning; Osich 1 more in 2; and Melancon, appearing so he could have something to do, gave up a booming high off the bricks on his first pitch, but managed to retire the side without scoring.  I believe that makes 10 losses in their last 11, and gives us a June record of 5 - 16.  The All-Star break seems a long way off.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Comeback Falls Short

ATL 12  SF 11
Kyle Crick made his big-league debut tonight and gave up a run-scoring hit to the first batter he faced. Then he retired the next seven. Derek Law was demoted to make room for the rookie--he probably saw it coming with 40 hits and 11 walks in 30 IP. The lineup did its best with 15 hits and 11 runs, the final five runs coming in the 8th and 9th to close a 12-6 gap. Alas, it wasn't quite enough. Crick was the 49th pick in 2011 (Joe Panik was the 29th). Tyler Beede was drafted 21st by the Blue Jays that year but did not sign and was later taken by the Giants (14th pick) in 2014. I expect we'll see Beede when the rosters expand in September.

Matt Cain had been averaging 5-1/3 IP in his previous 14 starts but he could not get out of the 5th tonight. He faced 22 batters and gave up 10 hits and seven runs. I sorted for pitchers with a minimum of 70 IP on FanGraphs before the game and looked at their WAR. There were 82 listed and Matt Cain's 0.4 was 66th. For comparison Matt Moore is 58th (0.7), Johnny Cueto is 55th (0.8), Ty Blach is 49th (0.9), and Jeff Samardzija is 17th (1.9).

Buster Posey had a good night, he's hitting .344/.427/.537 these days.

--M.C.

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.