Saturday, March 31, 2018

Whiff

LA 5 SF 0
The Giants whiffed at the plate and in the field tonight, striking out ten times against LA starter Kenta Maeda in five innings. They made three errors as well, two of them in the 4th which led to two runs. FNG Andrew McCutchen made a bad decision on a sinking liner to right in the previous inning and turned a single into a triple with go-for-broke dive. That led to a run. It wasn't an error but it was definitely a whiff. It was 5-0 after five innings. Maeda departed having thrown 90 pitches, yielding five hits and a walk, and generally making the Giants look silly.

I thought FNG Derek Holland deserved a little better. Yeah, he showed some jitters with the early runs but I think he got hosed on some ball-and-strike calls later and obviously the rest of the team didn't give him any help. He gutted out an ugly five innings, 80 pitches to 21 batters, only three hits but three walks, and five runs allowed. I'm eager for his next start as I think we'll see some better results.

Act III was a letdown after Acts I and II. Act IV is tomorrow and Chris Stratton gets the call.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.


p.s. FNG Pierce Johnson had his Giants debut tonight and he threw one scoreless inning (6th) using only nine pitches. Sam Dyson (7th) and Reyes Moronta (8th) also threw scoreless frames. The lineup had nine hits, eight of them singles, and three walks, but left ten men on base, hitting into two double plays.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Joltin' Joe and a near-perfecto

SF 1 LA 0
The Giants have scored only two runs so far this season. Both have come on Joe Panik solo homers. Yesterday he took Clayton Kershaw deep. His long ball was the difference in a 1-0 win. Tonight he took Kenley Jansen deep. His long ball was the difference in a 1-0 win. Joe Panik homers in back-to-back games against arguably the best starter and the best closer in baseball! That's some serious VSC! And some serious craziness--consecutive 1-0 games to start the season? Have the Giants ever won the first two games of a season 1-0? Have the Dodgers ever lost the first two games 1-0? Has any team had either happen? Crazy!

Speaking of VSC, Johnny Cueto was brilliant tonight. He retired the first 18 batters he faced and lost his perfect game to the leadoff hitter (Chris Taylor) on a single to right-center in the 7th. But Corey Seager obliged with a double-play grounder and Yasiel Puig flew out to left and that was 21 hitters and 21 outs. Tony Watson was perfect again in the 8th and new closer Hunter Strickland followed with a perfect 9th. Giants pitchers faced the minimum! You could argue that Dodgers starter Alex Wood was even more dominant, giving up only a weak infield grounder (to Brandon Crawford in the 5th) over eight innings. It should have been an out but the infield was in a shift. He pitched through some wretched fielding, too. Alas, it went for naught with Panik's heroics in the 9th.

Two games, two nail-biters, two wins. Giants pitchers have thrown 18 scoreless frames. On the road. Against the defending NL champs. That's not a bad way to start the season, I must say.

FNG Derek Holland tomorrow. GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

GIANTS WIN!

The San Francisco Giants went out for opening day, in Los Angeles, without Madison Bumgarner, and without closer Mark Melancon against Clayton Kershaw.  And FUCK YES, THEY WON.

Ty Blach drew the opening day assignment.  Why not?  His era in Los Angeles was 1.67 and he was 2 and 2 out of 7 games vs Kershaw.   His numbers improved.

Clayton Kershaw is a hell of a pitcher.  He had not given up a single run in spring training.  He gave up only 1 today.  That was a 5th inning, no one on blast to Joe "Pan the Man" Panik.  He gave up 8 hits in 6 innings, though and the Giants should have probably had another couple of runs.  But really good pitchers don't buckle under pressure, and his one mistake was the Giants only score.

Ty Blach gave us 5 innings, 81 pitches, 3 hits and 3 walks.  He looked a bit shaky towards the end of the 5th, but Josh Osich (1 walk, 0 hits), Cory Gearrin (2 hits), Tony Watson (3 strikeouts after K'ing 0 all spring, 1 walk) and Hunter Strickland (1 leadoff hit) held LA scoreless.  That potent line-up got a total of 6 hits.

Giants had 8 hits and 2 walks.  Those were all against Kershaw.  Their relievers, for 3 innings, did not allow a baserunner.  Every Giant in the starting lineup had a hit, except Buster Posey who got 2 walks, and Evan Longoria.  Hunter Pence had 2, and Joe Panik had 2, and the only rbi.

Giants 1, doggers 0.  It's baseball season!

Opening Day Roster

Starters: Ty Blach, Johnny Cueto, Chris Stratton, and Derek Holland.
Yup--only four for now.

Relievers: Pierce Johnson, Roberto Gomez, Sam Dyson, Cory Gearrin, Josh Osich, Hunter Strickland, Tony Watson, and Mark Melancon.
No word this morning on Melancon--he may join Bumgarner and Samardzija on the DL.

Infield: Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Evan Longoria, and Brandon Crawford.
I think we are expecting a lot from this bunch.

Outfield: Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez, Austin Jackson, Hunter Pence, and Andrew McCutchen.
Pence has never played left field in his career!

Bench: Nick Hundley, Pablo Sandoval, and Kelby Tomlinson.
I think we are all curious about what Panda can still do.

That's the 25-man roster at 8:00 a.m.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.



****UPDATE: Mark Melancon starts the season on the DL. Reyes Moronta takes his spot.****

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Here We Go

The meaningless games are finally out of the way and we can get on with some real baseball. Giants open the season in LA on Thursday afternoon. It's not the Spring we'd hoped for, that's for sure, but the lineup is intact and that's something. I expect we'll see an improved attack and that should help the team win. We all know the pitching woes that face the Opening Day squad so no reason to go over them again. The rest of the crew will just have to pick up the slack. This team needs to win ballgames and it matters not how they get that done.

June 2016 was a good month: the Giants went 17-10. They had losing months the rest of the way. Then came 2017 which was nothing but losing months. The Giants need a winning month. Of course they need several winning months, but that's stuff to worry about later. Right now they need to win some ballgames. In their first 28 games (March 29th to April 29th) the Giants play the Dodgers ten times. Six of those games are at home. They also play a combined ten against the Diamondbacks (6) and the Padres (4). The pennant race is here. At the very start of the season. The Giants have been on a losing streak since July of 2016--that has to change.

At least we'll find out right away what this team is in for in 2018. I know that a slow start doesn't have to doom a ballclub but the Giants don't have a lot of wiggle room. They can't afford any more disasters. It's time for Veteran Savvy Clutchness from the veterans. It's time for youthful inspiration from the youngsters. It's time for the FNGs to show us what they've got. It's time for us to root for our boys.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.


p.s. Steven Duggar and Josh Rutledge go to AAA and they keep Gregor Blanco, Kelby Tomlinson, and Gorkys Hernandez. Also Pierce Johnson and Roberto Gomez round out the pitching staff. Both have minor-league experience as starters.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Bummer

I watched today's contest between the Royals and the Giants, the final game in Arizona. I got to see Madison Bumgarner take a line drive off his pitching hand. Turns out his hand is broken and he'll be undergoing surgery straight away. He probably won't pitch again until after the All-Star Break. This comes right after the news that Jeff Samardzija will miss about a month. I thought the starting rotation might be a team strength in 2018, now it looks like we won't get to find out. This is the time for someone like Derek Holland to step up and be a stud. Johnny Cueto is suddenly of supreme importance--he has to pick up the slack for the men slotted to be on either side of his starts.

There's no way to put a good spin on this one. It stinks. Just when I though the Giants would get a full season from their ace after last year's debacle the unthinkable happens. Ah, well. Now is the time to find out what the rest of the team is made of. And if the organization has a backup plan!

--M.C.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

The Giants Infield

FanGraphs has a season-preview feature called "Postional Power Rankings" where they look at all 30 teams and rate them by position. The infield portion is complete and I thought we might look at the results. I really like the Giants infield and I believe if all goes well they could generate 18 WAR (Buster 5, Belt 4, Panik 3, BCraw 3, Longoria 3, for example). If you follow the links and read the summaries you'll see that FanGraphs rates the TEAM by position but I only looked at starters. BCraw (3.1) rates higher than Addison Russell (2.8) but the Cubs have Javier Baez (0.7) backing him up so they get the #8 spot at 3.5 because Kelby Tomlinson is only projected for 0.1 WAR and thus the team comes out at 3.2 WAR.

Catcher: Giants are rated #1 with Buster at 4.3 WAR.
First base: Giants are rated #6 with Brandon Belt at 3.3 WAR.
Second base: Giants are rated #10 with Joe Panik at 2.6 WAR.
Shortstop: Giants are rated #9 with Brandon Crawford at 3.1 WAR.
Third base: Giants are rated #17 with Evan Longoria at 2.8 WAR.

That's 16.1 WAR. I'm willing to say I may be over-projecting Buster a bit and perhaps Belt but I also think I'm under-projecting BCraw and even Longoria. Regardless, this is a core team strength and if they stay healthy I believe they will exceed FanGraph's projections. We'll take a look at the starting pitcher projections when they come out.

--M.C.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Roster Moves

Mac Williamson was among today's cuts to the Opening Day roster. He had a good spring but there's a logjam for the two outfield spots. Williamson apparently still has an option and Jarrett Parker does not. Mac won't like going to AAA but he may have a chance of a promotion later. It's fish-or-cut-bait time for both of those guys, if Parker fails to impress I imagine they'll trade him to free up space. Non-roster invitee Steven Duggar is still in the mix for the 5th OF spot, he'll have to get past Gorkys Hernandez. That's assuming Gregor Blanco gets the 4th spot, and the word is that he's looked good so far. But really only three OF spots are taken: Hunter Pence and the FNGs Austin Jackson and Andrew McCutchen.

Derek Law and Tyler Beede are also headed to AAA. When the Giants picked up Tony Watson that made the bullpen squeeze a little tighter. I thought Law might stick, but I knew Beede would go down. Our 2014 1st-round pick has yet to develop after 400+ professional innings (zero in the bigs). He turns 25 in May so he's still got time. Rule V pick Julian Fernandez, Josh Osich, and FNG Derek Holland survived this round of cuts. We'll see who sticks.

--M.C.

Saturday, March 17, 2018