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.