Thursday, May 23, 2019

L for the Blond Guy

So, after 13 innings, we lost 3 of 4 games to Atlanta.  The final score, 5 - 4 Braves.

We played 2 competitive games and 2 where the team really wasn't in it.  I guess that's an improvement over last year, and the year before that, when the team mostly wasn't in it, but it's not much of an improvement.  The Giants wind up 21 - 28.  Although, 49 games into 2018, the Giants were 24 - 25.

Madison Bumgarner was on the mound, he threw 102 pitches, got through 6 innings, gave up 2 (1 solo shot home run) on 6 hits.  He walked 2 and struck out 6.  Another fine effort.  Another fine effort to no avail.  Mark Melancon came in, pitched a scoreless 7th and Tony Watson gave up 2 in the 8th. That tied the game.

The Giants, meanwhile, showed some, although not a lot, of offense.  A single and a double by Belt and Longoria, respectively, put runners on 1st and 3rd.  A wild pitch by the Braves starter, Kevin Gausman, plated Belt and Longoria scored on a Donovan Solano sac fly.  The Braves got 1 in th e4th and a high pop-up that got blown out of the park in the 5th to tie the score at 2 each.  The Giants answered in the bottom of that inning with a Panik double and a Duggar single, and the Tyler Austin homered with no one on in the 7th.

Following Watson in the 8th, the Giants used Smith, Dyson and Gott for an inning each (which is probably a good thing, considering Arizona shows up tomorrow before a travel day Monday.  Reyes Moronta (who, by the way, dyed his hair yellow) pitched 2 and got the loss, but you really can't pin it on him.  Have you seen Atlanta?  Freddie Freeman, Brian McCann, Nick Markakis and a bunch of 21 year-old superstars.  Austin Riley has hit 5 home runs and has a batting average of damn near .400.  He's been in the major leagues since May 15.  Our rookie is 25 yo Steven Duggar who has a sub-.300 OBP.  You give Atlanta an extra four innings without scoring a run, they will beat you.

Unearned runs still count

ATL 9  SF 2
Jeff Samardzija and the Giants had a nightmare 2nd inning that included a botched double play, a runner safe at first after striking out on a wild pitch, and two homers. Baseball bookkeepers called those six runs unearned but I say the team earned every one of them. Derek Holland gave up a three-run homer in relief. Madison Bumgarner goes today at 12:45 PDT.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

WALK OFF WIN!!!

SF 4 ATL 3
Joe Panik got the game-winning hit, driving in two runs with two out in the 9th to shock the Braves and give the Giants a huge home win. Down 3-1 it looked bleak but Brandon Crawford got a hit and was driven in by Kevin Pillar who then stole second. The never-say-die Panda got on base with an infield hit, Pillar to third, and Mac Williamson, pinch-running, stole second. He and Pillar scored on Panik's hit which came on a 3-2 count, the 8th pitch in the at-bat. The Giants really had to grind it out and conjure up a miracle, and by golly they did. Panik has been hitting really well lately and looks very disciplined in the box. The Braves may rue letting the Giants run freely on them in that situation. Normally a guy like Luke Jackson is pretty tough to score on so perhaps that's what they were figuring. This time it didn't work out and the fans went home happy.

Shaun Anderson should not have come out to pitch the 6th inning. He had already faced Josh Donaldson and Nick Markakis twice, there was no reason to have him do it for the third time. They both got hits and both later scored. In the old days this was considered a necessary ritual to toughen up the starter for longer outings. Five innings with one run allowed, regardless of the pitch count, is a damn fine effort, especially for a rookie. Didn't we already talk about the Times Through the Order Penalty? But I'm happy to see Anderson out there earning his stripes. Let's hope he can keep improving.

A big win tonight--those are few and far between so let's savor it.

--M.C.

Monday, May 20, 2019

Braves Prevail

ATL 4  SF 1
The Braves stymied the Giants with their 21-year old phenom Mike Soroka on the mound (8 IP, 2 H, 0 W, 7 K) and their 21-year old star Ronald Acuna, Jr. (3 H, 2 HR) in center field. The game was not as close as the score. Andrew Suarez delivered a decent effort (6 IP, 3 R) but the team was over-matched in the talent department. The Giants could use a couple of 21-year olds like those guys.

--M.C.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

Pitching & Defense

SF 3  AZ 2 (10)
A couple of old friends showed up today in Arizona and led the Giants to a series victory. Starter Drew Pomeranz walked five but didn't give up the long ball. In fact he made it until the 4th before they scored off him, and he helped the D-Backs out with a walk and two wild pitches. The Giants conjured up their runs in the 3rd, capitalizing on two singles and two walks. The bullpen was spectacular, and a spectacular play by Brandon Crawford saved the game in the 9th. Both Steven Duggar and Joe Panik made big plays in the field as well. Panda got to play the hero, hammering a pinch-hit homer off Yoshihisa Hirano in the 10th for the game-winner. Will Smith struck out the side for the save.

The Giants looked terrible on Friday night and yet they bounced back with two wins against a good club. They didn't have much of an offense today (5 H, 5 BB, 11 K) but those stalwarts, pitching & defense, made the difference.

Andrew Suarez was called up and he makes the start tomorrow night at home against the Braves.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

Yellow and Black, I Want my Logo Back

What's the deal with the Giants yellow logo hats?  Tribute to pollen?

Madison Bumgarner tossed another good game for the Giants tonight.  That has mostly led to speculation in our local rags that he will make a good trade candidate.  Which really irritates me, obvious though the trading potential may seem at first glance.  The assumption, of course, is that the Yankees, or some other team will be desperate for pitching and give the Giants the keys to their super good farm system in exchange for a couple months of rental.  But that's not how it works these days, there is too much data to quantify player value and teams are not going to trade away too much of their future.  Maybe the Giants, but they did that and look where it got them.

The Giants were in Arizona, and the theme, in contrast to last night, was to score early, keep the pressure on and put a few more runs on the board from time to time.  The Giants scored in the 1st, 3rd, 6th, 8th and 9th.  Arizona chipped away at the total, but the Giants were able to keep ahead of the snakes and win this one by a score of 8 - 5.

Madison threw 105 pitches and made it through 6 1/3 innings.  He walked 2 in the 7th, gave up a double to score 1 and then Sam Dyson gave up a run on a ground-out, which was charged to Madison.  He also allowed a solo shot in the 4th, after the Giants were up 4 - 0.   He struck out 6 and walked 4 (each of whom, btw, scored).  But only 5 hits on the night.   It was a team effort, and I must say, the team looked pretty good.  Joe Panik scored twice.  Steve Duggar had 2 hits and an rbi, Buster Posey had 2 hits and an rbi, and Brandon Belt had 2 hits and an rbi (on a solo shot into the chlorinated faux-asis in center field).  Evan Longoria and Mac Williamson each had an rbi and Pablo Sandoval had a pinch hit home run.  Brandon Crawford is carrying a .205 average, but had rbis in 2 innings, a sac fly that scored Buster in the 3rd, and a triple to score Longoria in the 6th.  That is the kind of team effort that is necessary for this team.  Want to hear something weird?  The Giants have scored the 2nd most runs in May per game of any team.  Who would have imagined?

Friday, May 17, 2019

TTOP

AZ 7  SF 0
There is this thing called the "Times Through the Order Penalty." It is a favorite topic among the saberistas. There is a fellow by the name of Mitchel Lichtman who is very smart and writes exhaustive analyses of baseball situations and he says this:
As you can see, the “times through the order” penalty is a significant effect that should be incorporated into a manager’s decision about when to remove a starting pitcher. In fact, it would behoove managers and pitching coaches to be much more mindful of a starter’s “times through the order” than his pitch count.
Obviously you have to read the whole piece to catch his drift. (I italicized the first sentence.) I remember being in a computer science lecture decades ago where the prof really got into some deep shit and lost half the class and then whipped out "as you can clearly see" before launching into a new arcane tangent. Even among that nerdy bunch there were chortles of derision. That's how I feel about some of this saber-stuff. But they are on to something. I'm not saying Boch should have pulled Smardj after five, but it's worth thinking about. I suspect Boch knows more than me about baseball, so I'm not complaining, just noticing that the game is always changing and I'm learning new things all the time. Here's more from Lichtman:
In an article I wrote two years ago about the benefit of “quick hooks,” I showed that a typical NL team could add from a half to a full win per season simply by removing a starting pitcher who is not an ace whenever he comes to bat in a high-leverage situation after pitching at least five innings, even if his replacement is a league-average reliever.
In the end, the players gotta play better and the coaches gotta coach better, and well, the goddamn owners gotta own better! (Thank you, George Scott.)

MadBum goes tomorrow. Go Giants!

--M.C.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Rookies Lead the Way

SF 4  TOR 3
Rookie Shaun Anderson had a perfectly acceptable debut: 5 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 5K. It took him 96 pitches to get through the 21 batters he faced. Not bad, really. He gave up a run in the 1st inning, but that just makes him a good teammate. You don't want to show guys up on your first day. There was a comical sequence in the 3rd where he walked a guy, wild pitched him to second, the guy went to third on an out, and then he wild pitched him home! He was victimized by an error and his own bad pickoff later, too, and that led to a run. But the youngster also had two hits himself, very impressive, and he showed some power and poise getting big outs. I'm looking forward to more Mr. Anderson. And I know you asked about Matt Cain's debut, didn't you? I thought so: 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 K. And I'll answer the next question: Timmy's was 4-1/3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 5 K.

Good bullpen work (Melancon/Dyson/Watson/Smith) and some nice defensive work to make up for the earlier sloppy stuff kept the Jays off the board the rest of the way. Panda got things started with a run-scoring double in the 1st, and rookie catcher Aramis Garcia's two-run homer in the 2nd put the Giants on top. After the Jays tied it in the 5th, Brandon Crawford's solo shot in the 6th made it 4-3 and that's how it ended. Will Smith struck out the side in the 9th--that's 11-for-11 in save opportunities.

Off-day tomorrow. They'll be in Arizona Friday night, 6:40 PDT.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

That didn't go as planned

TOR 7  SF 3
The Giants give up runs in the 1st inning. That's a fact. It matters not who is pitching! Opener Nick Vincent gave up four hits and three runs (including Vladito's--that's Vladimir Gurrero, Jr.--first ML homer) after getting the first batter on a fly out. It took him 31 pitches to get three outs from the seven batters he faced. Maybe next time. Tyler Beede flashed some pop with five Ks but also had four hits and three walks. Travis Bergen and Trevor Gott (opener candidates, don't you think?) pitched well but Reyes Moronta got tagged again. That's six hits and five runs in his last 3-1/3 IP. OK, it was another homer from Vladito! Derek Holland pitched the 9th and walked two but did not give up a run. The Giants offense was a two-run homer by the irrepressible Panda and an RBI double from Mac Williamson.

--M.C.


update: Beede optioned to AAA, RHP Shaun Anderson makes his debut today.

Opener Day

Many years ago I remember thinking that a team ought to try a 3-3-3 approach. Get three guys to throw three innings apiece. Heck, you could have three sets of those guys on your staff and pitch every other game that way. Anyway, it was a notion no one took seriously and that's probably good.

Despite the disappearance of the complete game every team still wants a rotation of five Max Scherzers. Of course there is only one of him and maybe a handful of guys just as good as him. There aren't 150, that's for sure. Thus we have killer bullpens and five-inning starters. The so-called "opener" has come to the fore and teams are giving it a try. Why not? If you have LOOGYs why can't you have openers?

Is it a gimmick? Will it wind up in the dustbin of baseball history? Maybe. But teams are playing baseball RIGHT NOW and they need to win ballgames RIGHT NOW. We can worry about the history books later. I say do what works. If the opener gives the Giants a better chance to win then what's the problem?

Nick Vincent gets the call today against Toronto. No, this outing is not a referendum on the new-school, analytics-driven baseball of the 21st century. It's one game. It's not going to make or break Farhan Zaidi's tenure as PoBO. But it does say something, and it's pretty simple: do what you have to do to win. Get the best matchups for your players. I appreciate that Mr. Old School Himself, Bruce Bochy, is smart and adaptable and willing to risk opprobium in order to try to make the team better. If a guy like Boch can embrace the opener, shouldn't we all?

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Giants Rally Past Reds

SF 6  CIN 5
Madison Bumgarner has thrown 18 innings in his last three starts, six innings in each. He's walked only three and whiffed 23, but has allowed 20 hits including three homers. It all tallies to eight runs allowed but more importantly three wins for the team. Today his catcher Erik Kratz didn't help him out (first batter reached on catcher's interference and was PB'd to second) and he put the team in a 2-0 hole after a two-out hit. Pablo Sandoval tied it up in the bottom half with a two-run homer, but Bum gave up another two-out hit which led to a run in the 2nd inning. After three scoreless Bum batted for himself in the 5th, striking out, and then gave up a homer to the first batter of the 6th (Yasiel Puig). That was enough to doom the Giants, normally, but they rallied late and got a big pinch-hit homer from Brandon Belt (driving in Brandon Crawford, who had walked) to tie it 4-4 in the 7th. Reyes Moronta loaded the bases in the 8th and that led to a run, but the Giants rallied again to take a 6-5 lead in the bottom half. Big hits from Evan Longoria, Panda again, and Kevin Pillar gave Will Smith a chance to save it and he did so. The Giants snapped a three-game losing streak.

It was a good start, overall, in a string of terrible starts. Bumgarner and the 'pen held the Dodgers to one run on May 1st and won that game (and the series). Here's the tally since then by the starters (IP/R): 2.1/8, 5/8, 5/4, 1.2/7, 6/3 (MadBum), 2.2/7, 5/4, and 4/3. Not pretty. Oh, that included 18 HR. That's right: eighteen homers. Dereck Rodriguez was sent back to AAA, Drew Pomeranz was put on the IL, and Derek Holland was moved to the bullpen. I can't argue with any of that. Tyler Beede will get the start on Tuesday and then it is TBD. Perhaps they'll call up a youngster like Shaun Anderson or Andrew Suarez. I don't know! It's an uncertain time out there for anyone not named Madison Bumgarner.

Apparently Derek Holland caused a bit of a local kerfuffle complaining to the media about his demotion and claiming his IL stay was "fake." Buddy, EVERY TEAM uses the IL creatively! A hangnail is almost good enough. If his ERA was other than 6.75 it would not have happened. Everyone also knows you go to your coaches and/or manager first if you have a beef, and you don't rip "the front office" (i.e., your bosses) in public without at least doing it in private first. But that's OK. If a player is happy after a demotion I think he's in the wrong profession. Pitch well, and the problems will go away. Winning clubhouses are happy clubhouses. I have to give Boch a lot of credit for keeping stuff like this under wraps these last few seasons when the team has played so poorly. You have to figure folks get grumpy when week after week they perform below expectations. With the regime change everyone also knows things are going to be different and there is some uncertainty ahead for many of the players. That has to weigh on their minds. FZ made a point to say that if he has not made it comfortable for players to come to him with problems then "that is on him" and he will do more to improve communication. He's the new sheriff in town and there's bound to be some growing pains but I remain convinced he's the right person. I particularly like that he is relentlessly positive and looks for solutions. He doesn't pass the buck or cast blame.

Off-day tomorrow and again on Thursday with two against the Blue Jays in between.

--M.C.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Buster Bopped

Buster Posey took a foul tip off his mask on Sunday and was placed on the concussion list. He's out at least a week. We all know how uncertain these things are, one can only hope for the best. Buster has taken a beating back there, like all catchers. His importance to the team makes it different for Giants fans, I think. Lots of catchers get hurt, but few have the celebrity status of Posey, who advertises for the world's number one carmaker, fer chrissakes. I took this from a Baggs tweet:
Buster Posey: “I value who I am and who I will be as a husband and father first and foremost. At the same time, I enjoy my job and plan on doing my job.”
That sounds like Buster who has a real knack for saying the right thing. I wouldn't be surprised if he was a Senator some day. What I'd like to see is Posey managing. Seems like he's perfect for the job, especially in this media-saturated landscape. Aaron Boone had no experience managing but the Yankees chose him over more traditional picks and his time on TV was a selling point. Buster is really good in front of a microphone. His calm demeanor and natural reticence, along with his good looks--and that tinge of a Southern accent--make him a camera magnet. Hensley Muelens can manage the Giants until Posey retires and takes over. Wouldn't that be fun?

Drew Pomeranz also goes on the IL and Tyler Beede takes his spot. Aramis Garcia will handle the catching duties with Stephen Vogt.

--M.C.



p.s. The Giants got beat 12-11 in a cold, snowy Denver today. Derek Holland had a disaster start, giving up three runs in the 1st and four in the 2nd. Tyler Austin had two three-run homers, both big blasts, to lead the comeback effort (it was 8-8 after his second in the top of the 6th) but they ultimately fell short. The bullpen wasn't up to the task as Tyler Beede, Mark Melancon, and Sam Dyson gave up six hits, five walks, and five runs.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

2nd inning: 8-10

1st inning: 8-10
2nd inning: 8-10

The Giants were rained out tonight in Colorado. The game will be made up on July 15th as part of a doubleheader. Play resumes tomorrow at 12:10 PDT, Derek Holland will get the start. He was recalled from the IL for the start this evening and Williams Jerez was optioned back to AAA.

At 16-20 (.444) the Giants are tied for fourth (last) in the NL West with the Rockies. They are seven back of the 24-14 Dodgers. Their 136 runs scored is 25th in baseball. That means five teams: the Blue Jays, the Indians, the Pirates, the Tigers, and the Marlins have scored fewer runs. The Giants have allowed 164 runs. That puts them squarely in the middle of the pack at the 15th spot. The league average across MLB is 164 runs allowed. The pitching had been better-than-average for a long stretch, then they gave up 23 runs to the Yankees, 13 to the Dodgers, and 37 to the Reds.

The team comes home to face the Reds on Friday, then they have an off-day and play two against the Blue Jays, then another off-day before a weekend series in Arizona. That's five games in seven days at home after the getaway game tomorrow.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Springtime in the Rockies

2, 12, 2, 6, 4, 14.  Those are the runs scored in the Giants last 6 games.  Schizo, huh?

Coors Field in Denver.  The Giants have not won there in over 5 years, or at least, that's the way it seems.  Somehow, they shook off that curse, if only for 1 night.  14 friggin' runs!  Who'da thunk it?

Madison Bumgarner: a lead-off home run (given up, not hit), 6 innings pitched, 8 hits, 3 runs total, 1 walk and 8 K's.  And a W.  Why?  Because the Giants gave him 7 runs in those innings, after 2 or less in 8 of his previous 9.

The Mac is back, with an attack.  2 hits, 2 runs, 4 rbi (3 on a 4th inning home run).  Also: home runs for Pillar, Longoria.  Also: RBI's for Panik, Duggar, Crawford and Tyler Austin.  Also:  Williams Jerez pitched the 9th.  Not particularly well, but he allowed 0 runs.

I have to say, I like the looks of this outfield (Duggar, Pillar, Williamson) one hell of a lot better than whoever those chucklefucks were that we started the season with.

Tomorrow:  Anything could happen.  Like snow. 

Monday, May 6, 2019

Pomeranz Pounded, Pablo Pitches

CIN 12  SF 4
The Panda hit a 3-run homer, too. Sandoval pitched the 8th after Nick Vincent, Pat Venditte, Sam Dyson, and Travis Bergen came on in relief. Pomeranz was responsible for the first seven runs and Venditte for the next five. Giants starters were not ready for this trip to Cincinnati. Let's hope they are ready for Coors Field.

--M.C.

p.s. Venditte hit three guys in one inning and Dyson made it four in the same frame, tying a record. Sandoval hit a guy, too, but then induced a double-play grounder.

p.p.s. Game was delayed because of bees. That happened before to the Giants and Reds but at Riverfront Stadium in 1976.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

B-Craw Bomb Beats Reds

SF 6  CIN 5
Brandon Crawford hit his first homer of the year in the 9th inning to lead the Giants to a come-from behind win in Cincinnati. Buster Posey had a big game as well with a double and a three-run homer. Starter Jeff Samardzija gave up three homers in a row in the 1st inning but then put together four scoreless and turned it over the the 'pen. The A-Team of Trevor Gott, Reyes Moronta, Tony Watson, and Will Smith shut the door and the Giants had their fourth win in their last six games.

They've one more in Cincy tomorrow morning (9:35 PDT) with Drew Pomeranz getting the call. It's on to Denver Tuesday with Madison Bumgarner.

--M.C.


p.s. Giants claimed RH starting pitcher Andrew Moore off waivers, he was with the Rays (and came up though the Mariners system). Breyvic Valera was DFAd to make a spot on the 40-man. Breyvic was a favorite for the All-Name Team, I'll be sorry to see him go.

Saturday, May 4, 2019

Not-wow

CIN 9   SF 2
The Reds pounded another Giants starter--this time Dereck Rodriguez--and took an 8-1 lead in the 5th inning. This time there was no miraculous comeback. Kevin Pillar made a superb leaping grab to rob a homer from Nick Senzel. Steven Duggar is hitting better. Jeff Samardzija goes tomorrow at 1:10 Pacific.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Friday, May 3, 2019

WOW!

SF 12  CIN 11 (11)
You saw that one coming, eh? The Giants fell behind 8-0 after three innings but battled back to win 12-11 in extra innings. Crazy! The Reds have a really bad offense, much like the Giants, but they clobbered poor Tyler Beede who was just called up from AAA. The Reds, like the Giants, have a strong pitching staff. Not that the Giants noticed as they scored in the 4th, 6th, 8th, 9th and 11th innings, pounding out 17 hits including two doubles and three homers. FNG Stephen Vogt, now the backup catcher in place of Erik Kratz, had three hits and three runs scored. His homer in the 9th kept the Giants alive. Vogt was recovering from surgery and the Giants had him stashed in the minors until they could activate him. Looks like a good move.

In another roster move the Giants finally gave up on Gerardo Parra. His nifty glove work could not make up for a .198/.278/.267 slash line. Mike Gerber got the start in LF tonight and had a hit and a walk. He was claimed off waivers in December and was posted to Sacramento after spring training where he hit .357/.402/.655 in 21 games.

Same two teams tomorrow at 4:10 PDT, D-Rod v. Tanner Roark.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

 

p.s. this is the win probability chart from FanGraphs:



Wednesday, May 1, 2019

First and Last

This was a game that reminds us cynics of why we were baseball fans.  It reminds us that baseball is, perhaps, the most human of sports.  The Giants scored in the 1st inning, a Belt sacrifice that scored Steve Duggar.  He hit it to triples alley, deep towards the 421 sign, but it was an out.  It would be a shame not to see that next year, even if it does give Belt a few more home runs.  Hyun-Jin Ryu, on the mound for LA, quickly found his groove and the Giants were pretty much shut down for the rest of his 8 innings.

Madison Bumgarner pitched the best he has this year.  That was the opinion of one authority, Buster Posey on the post-game show, and confirmed by the radio and tv announcers.  His fastball had the best velocity of the year, and he used it the most he has this year.  His slider had some snap, too.  Madison struck out 8 in 6 IP, threw 114 pitches and walked 2.  He gave up 4 hits and 1 run.  That run came in the 6th, Kike Hernandez doubled, then Bum got the next two batters out, then Bellinger hit what might have been the 3rd out, an infield dribble.  It would have probably required either a slower runner or a faster pitcher, Madbum didn't cover 1st, and it probably wouldn't have mattered.  Meanwhile, Kike Hernandez scored from 2nd on what was a ballsy running play.  But it tied the game.

Madbum batted in the bottom of the 6th, which gives you an idea of what the Giants offense is like, but did not pitch the 7th.  That meant that Reyes Moronta, Tony Watson, and Will Smith had to hold LA to 0 runs, and that is not easy.   Reyes put 2 runners on (1 hit and 1 error on Brandon Crawford), Watson had a 1-2-3, and Will Smith then put another 2 doggers on before getting out of the inning unscathed.

Then came the 9th.  A groundout by the Panda hitting in the pitcher's spot.  Then Duggar, the only guy on the Giants who could be called a speedster, got his 3rd hit of the night off of Julio Urias.  Parra singled him to 2nd before Brandon Belt struck out.  LA brought in Pedro Baez to face Buster Posey and Buster, on a 3 - 1 count, lined to left.  It had to have been Buster, and anyone but Duggar would have had to stop at 3rd or been thrown out, the line drive just wasn't deep enough.  The Giants scored on a Buster Posey walk-off single, beating LA by a score of 2 - 1.  Oh yeah, Bochy got tossed somewhere mid-game.

So here we are.  We beat LA 2 of the 3 games on what was looking like a real dumpster fire of a homestand.  We got some measure of redemption on what is sure to be a season to try men's and women's souls.  Why can't we summon that intensity against anyone else?  The doggers score tons of runs and we held them to 1.  And scored twice.

Tyler Beede is slated to start in Cincinnati Friday.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Yuck

LA 10  SF 3
That was no fun. Ty Blach gave up seven runs in his return to the majors. He relieved Drew Pomeranz who gave up three on a weird homer to RF by right-hander David Freese. It's a juiced ball, man! Anyway, the Giants got clobbered.

Madison Bumgarner tomorrow at 6:45 PDT.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Giants bounce back

SF 3  LA 2
Tonight the Giants got creative in the field and pulled off both a 5-6 putout and a 9-1 putout! I love that kind of stuff. I also like the way the Giants used Jeff Samardzija. He was excellent for five shutout innings and 79 pitches--and they yanked him. This third-time-through-the-lineup penalty is a real thing. No reason to subject a starter to that when there are quality bullpen options. It didn't quite work as the normally reliable Tony Watson gave up two runs in the 6th inning, but it was the right move. Fortunately the Giants rallied in the 7th and turned that 2-0 deficit into a 3-run lead behind a bases-clearing double from Evan Longoria. He pinch-hit for Pablo Sandoval who started at third. Sam Dyson bailed out Watson and covered the 7th, Reyes Moronta got the meat of the order in the 8th, and Will Smith closed the door.

After that wretched display against the Yankees it was nice to see the home squad deliver a better effort. It seems Derek Holland is the first casualty to what has mostly been a healthy start for the club. He goes on the IL and Ty Blach takes his spot. They expect Holland to miss one start.

Drew Pomeranz goes tomorrow at 6:45 PDT.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Bombers Bang Away

NYY 11  SF5
It was the same story today as yesterday. The Yankees had too much firepower for the Giants and the home squad had a late rally to make it a little less painful.

Dodgers tomorrow at 6:45 p.m. PDT.

--M.C.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

Yanks Slam Giants

NYY 6  SF 4
Catcher Gary Sánchez hit a grand slam in a 5-run 5th and that spoiled starter Derek Holland's outing this afternoon in San Francisco. Behind 6-0 in the 9th the Giants rallied for four runs before succumbing to Aroldis Chapman. At least they showed some life and didn't get shut out. Yangervis Solarte and Erik Kratz hit the late homers. Trevor Gott and Travis Bergen each threw two scoreless innings in relief of Holland.

The Bombers are making the local lads look like a not-ready-for-prime-time outfit. It feels like the 70s when the Dodgers would come to Candlestick and slap the Giants around with impunity. Re-building is painful.

D-Rod gets the call tomorrow. He's right-handed, maybe that will improve the odds. 1:05 Pacific.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Yanked

Remember how MLB sold us on interleague play with the promise that fans in any city would get to see all the other teams, at least within 3 years?   The last time the Yankees were in San Francisco, at what was then Pacific Bell Park, was just before the park-opening 2000 season for a couple of exhibition games.

They're back, and without their marquee sluggers, Stanton and Judge.  No matter, they still won by a score of 7 - 3.  Madison Bumgarner squared off against James Paxton, lefty against lefty.  Madison put us in a 2 run hole to lead off the first inning, again.  The Giants got 1 of those runs back, though in the bottom of the 1st.  That would make, if I am correct, the 2nd 1st inning run they have scored this year.  The Yankees added 1 in the 3rd, 1 in the 5th and 1 in the 6th.  That made it 5 - 1.  Madison pitched into the 6th, but after the score and a sacrifice to move runners, he was pulled for Nick Vincent.  Madison did not give up a home run, nor did he walk anyone, but he gave up 11 hits, and that's too many for 5 2/3 innings.  He struck out 5.  The Giants scored 2 in their half of the inning, but James Paxton was the better pitcher; 5 hits, 3 BB, 3 runs, 8K.   The Yanks got 2 more in the 9th with Melancon pitching, Luke Voit homering and scoring our old friend DJ LeMahieu.

Buster Posey had 2 rbi, Solarte had the other 1.  Buster is hitting .234.  That is the best average of any of the batters in the line-up for the Giants, except for Austin Tyler, who has only 17 at bats.  .234.  My god.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Three in a row

SF 4  TOR 0
The last time the Giants threw a shutout was on April 11th against the Rockies. Jeff Samardzija was the star that day and FNG Kevin Pillar provided all the offense with a solo homer in a 1-0 win. Today the star was FNG southpaw Drew Pomeranz who retired the first 13 batters he faced. He left after six innings (87 pitches) having allowed only two hits and two walks. Reyes Moronta took the 7th and Trevor Gott the 8th and 9th. Gott, impressively, delivered a six-up, six-down performance with three whiffs. The Giants showed some power with four doubles: Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, Evan Longoria, and Kevin Pillar. DH Pablo Sandoval hit a 112-mph homer from the left side off Clay Bucholz. That was the hardest hit ball by a Giants hitter this season. He then blasted a 111-mph liner, this time from the right side against Tim Mayza, but Jays SS Richard Urena made a nice play to turn it into an out. The Panda is 12-for-36 with seven doubles and two homers.

Outstanding effort by the lads today. The Yankees are coming to town on Friday and Madison Bumgarner gets the call against James Paxton.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Giants hit four homers!

SF 7  TOR 6
Evan Longoria, Joe Panik, Pablo Sandoval, and Brandon Belt all went deep for the Giants tonight in Toronto. It was just enough--a rare bullpen blip turned 7-2 to 7-6 in the 8th--and they held on to get their 10th win. Kevin Pillar got a rousing homecoming and responded by driving in the Giants first run in the 3rd. Jeff Samardzija delivered a typically Smarjy-style start and left after 5-1/3 having yielded two runs on five hits. Mark Melancon finished the inning. Sam Dyson pitched a scoreless 6th but loaded the bases in the 7th and was pulled for Tony Watson. The ace lefty shockingly allowed a grand slam to rookie slugger Rowdy Tellez (who is from Elk Grove) but finished the inning with the lead intact. Will Smith closed it out on 14 pitches.

Drew Pomeranz tomorrow at 1:07 PDT.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Required Reading!

Giants fans and all of us here at RMC should check out this piece from Tim Keown of ESPN. It is about Farhan Zaidi, the team's President of Baseball Operations. He's an interesting character and I think we are going to enjoy having him around.

--M.C.

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Buster Busts Out!

After a disappointing rain-shortened 3-1 loss on Saturday the Giants bounced back this afternoon to edge the Pirates 3-2 and snap their four-game skid. Dereck Rodriguez allowed four hits in his 5-2/3 but one of them was a two-run homer from Josh Bell that put the Bucs up 2-0 in the 4th inning. Buster Posey responded in the very next frame with a three-run blast to straightaway center field off Chris Archer to give the Giants the lead. Reyes Moronta and Tony Watson held on through the 8th and turned it over to Will Smith in the 9th. He walked catcher Francisco Cervelli with one out and then induced a perfect double-play grounder from Jung Ho Kang to Brandon Crawford who, shockingly, bobbled it and only got the lead runner. Former Giants farmhand Brian Reynolds (part of the McCutchen deal) roped a double into the right field corner that looked like it would tie the game. But Steven Duggar and Joe Panik teamed up to get the ball to Buster who made the final putout on Kang trying to score from first and the Giants left town with a win. It was a little close for comfort but I think we'll take it. The Giants were 31-50 (.383) on the road last season, this year they are 4-9 (.308). Let's hope they pick up the pace.

Jeff Samardzija goes Tuesday in Toronto at 4:07 PDT.

--M.C.


p.s. D-Rod led off the 5th with a single and Duggar's bunt single put the two runners on that Buster brought home with his homer. Posey also doubled in the 3rd inning.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Bucs Beat Bum

Madison Bumgarner got two quick outs in the 1st and then gave up four runs and that was the ballgame. The Pirates didn't score again and the Giants eked out a run in the 8th on a Buster Posey base hit. The Mystic Zo is here with me tonight and neither of us were particularly excited about posting. After all, it was another goddamn feeble effort. Derek Holland tomorrow at 1:05 PDT.

--M.C.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Giants can't solve Corbin

WSN 4  SF 2
Patrick Corbin signed a big contract with the Nats in December after a breakout year with the Diamondbacks. Today he carried a one-hitter into the 8th and notched his first "W" in four starts. It was almost unfair against the Giants anemic attack. The best hitter in the lineup (.231/.342/.508) was called out on strikes twice, with the first resulting in a Boch ejection, and the second resulting in a Belt ejection. One of Belt's strengths as a hitter is his plate discipline and he will take close pitches and that means sometimes he gets burned. At least one of those two pitches ought to have been called a ball--those aren't bad odds so I'm not going to get upset at his approach. If you can't get a pitch to hammer be patient and maybe you can find another way to get on base.

Once again the Giants made some noise against the Washington bullpen scoring a run in the 9th off Sean Doolittle. Pittsburgh tomorrow at 4:05 PDT. MadBum is on the hill.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Nats Outslug Giants

WSN 9  SF 6
It never fails in baseball. If you talk a guy up he goes 0-for-4 the next day with three whiffs. If you praise a pitching staff they give up four homers and nine runs the next time out! It's part of the curse of being a fan. Just when you get excited you get your legs cut off. Oh well, tomorrow is another day. At least the Giants made it exciting at the end and the Nats had to scramble to get their closer in the game. That's another thing--I talked about how anemic the lineup has been and they respond with ten hits including two doubles and two homers. Is that all it takes? A little criticism? That ought to be easy!

The getaway game/rubber match is at 10:05 in the morning (PDT). Drew Pomeranz gets the call.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

1st inning: 8-10

SF 7  WSN 3
The Giants put on a stellar display tonight in Washington, powering past the Nationals for their eighth victory in their first eighteen games. The team has completed one seasonal inning: 1/9 of their 162-game schedule. Even Longoria, Steven Duggar, and Brandon Belt all homered off Stephen Strasburg to back Dereck Rodriguez who struggled early but finished strong. D-Rod needed 94 pitches to get through five innings but he held the Nats to just one run on five hits and three walks (he'd had only one in his previous 17-1/3 IP) while whiffing six. He left with a 4-1 lead. Reyes Moronta threw a dominating 6th and the Giants tacked on two more in the 7th. Sam Dyson gave up two in the bottom half to make it close--those two "insurance runs" gave the team a nice cushion, not something we've seen much of this season. They tacked on another in the 8th to make it 7-3, taking advantage of a struggling Nats bullpen. Tony Watson, Mark Melancon, and Will Smith wrapped things up.

I'm still reeling a bit from the three homers! We all know the Giants have been anemic offensively so tonight was a nice break from the torture. The pitching however has been very strong, and the fielders have delivered a lot of big plays, including tonight, as Buster Posey threw out two runners trying to steal. The outfield defense in particular has been a bright spot here in the early going. FanGraphs likes the Giants pitching staff, rating it fifth in WAR (2.7), fourth in FIP (3.43), and third in xFIP (3.83) out of the 30 teams. In 18 games (163 IP) they've allowed 58 runs or 3.22 per game, second-best behind the AL East-leading 13-4 Tampa Bay Rays, who sit at a paltry 2.50 rpg. The MLB average is 4.68 rpg.

Jeff Samardzija and Jeremy Hellickson tomorrow at 4:05 Pacific.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.


p.s. Not to spoil things with bad news, but the Giants number one prospect, catcher Joey Bart, broke his hand playing in A-ball. He'll miss 4-6 weeks.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

One hit

COL 4  SF 0
That's all the Giants managed today. German Marquez is a good pitcher. He signed a 5-year, $43M extension with the Rockies earlier this month. I was really hoping for a clean sweep, 4-0 against Colorado, but I should be happy with 3 out of 4 and avoiding the cellar.

Game 18 is Tuesday in Washington at 4:05 Pacific. D-Rod gets to face Stephen Strasburg.

--M.C.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

That's Three

The San Francisco Giants and the Colorado Rockies played 18 innings of baseball last night.  In that game, the Giants used every available reliever (and even Derek Rodriguez got used as a pinch hitter).  So the one thing the Giants wanted was to have today's afternoon starter give them a good outing.  Who better than Madison Bumgarner, 50% stubborn ox anyway?

Madison did what he was asked, and did it well.  98 pitches got him through 7 innings.  He gave up 1 run in the 6th and 1 in the 7th after the Giants already had 3 on the board.  He gave up 6 hits,  struck out 7 and walked no one.  Although the Giants used every reliever last night, an number were only used for 1 inning; Moronta, Dyson, Watson, and Smith.  Madison came out to pitch the 7th, but the first batter, Chris Ianetta, landed on second base with what probably should have been cut off to hold him to a single.  Reyes Moronta was brought in, and did a fine job of striking out the next three batters.  Sam Dyson made it an uneventful 9th for the Giants third win in a row, and third over Colorado.  Given the way Colorado chewed up and spit out the Giants last year, I am surprised.  They, like the Giants, have had a lot of trouble putting runs on the board this year.  For example, Nolan Arenado has yet to hit a home run.  I expect that to change, but you need to jump on teams when they are down and the Giants haven't done nearly enough of that in the last couple years.

And speaking of runs, the Giants, after doing just enough the last couple nights, added on in the bottom of the 8th (sac flies from and Parra and Duggar) to make the final score Rockies 2, Giants 5.  Buster Posey picked up his first rbi of the season with a 3rd inning double, and Pillar got the other 2 rbi with a sac fly in the 3rd and a solo home run in the 5th.

But really:  pitching.  The Giants have held the Rockies to 4 runs in 36 innings.  The Giants are right up there with the best in the NL in pitching stats, along with Pittsburgh, and we'll see them on the road trip that starts after tomorrow's game.  But first, tomorrow.  Everyone's tired, but with a decent start out of Dutch, and with Watson and Smith having today off, anything (like a sweep) is possible. 

"Mr. 18th Inning"

SF 3  COL 2 (18)
Brandon Belt doubled to lead off the 18th inning and eventually scored on a grounder by Erik Kratz (who caught the entire game) and the Giants slipped past the Rockies to make it two in row. Yes, it reminded everyone of another 18-inning game!

The lineup managed only 8 hits and 5 walks (along with 17 strikeouts) so the accolades go to the pitching staff, and I mean staff. The entire bullpen was used and even starter Dereck Rodriguez had to pinch-hit (for Vincent in the 16th--K looking). Moronta-Dyson-Watson-Smith-Melancon-Gott-Vincent-Bergen combined for 13 shutout innings allowing five singles and two walks while punching out 19 batters. It was a spectacular effort especially from Travis Bergen who whiffed five in his two innings (the 17th and 18th!). Nick Vincent covered the three (14th, 15th, and 16th) before that--that was 1/3 of his season total so far! Even Mark Melancon, who dug himself into a hole in the 10th and the 11th, showed some moxie wriggling out both times.

Zo said he wanted a team with grit. Well, throw in some moxie and I'm behind that all the way!

That's back-to-back wins for the first time in 2019. Let's see if they can make it three in a row. MadBum takes the hill at 1:05 Pacific.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Pillars of Strength

SF 1  COL 0
FNG-no-longer Kevin Pillar continued his heroics with a game-changing blast in the 7th inning. In a scoreless tie he hammered Jon Gray's first pitch of the frame over the left-centerfield wall to make it 1-0 for the home team. Add in a dominant start by Jeff Samardzija who fanned seven over seven allowing only three singles and one walk and the Giants prevailed. Excellent relief (Tony Watson in the 8th and Will Smith in the 9th) and slick fielding closed the door on the Rockies.

You could call a game like this "a scintillating pitchers duel" but there is nothing scintillating about the Giants offense. They did just enough, however, and I think we'll take it! Giants go to 5-9 and are now a game-and-a-half out of last place (Colorado is 3-10).

Let's keep the good times rolling. Drew Pomeranz tomorrow night at 7:15 Pacific.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Giants can't get it done

SD 3  SF 1
The Giants waste a strong start from Dereck Rodriguez who faced 27 batters in his seven innings of work. He allowed only four hits and one walk and struck out five (101 pitches). One of the hits was a solo homer by Manny Machado. The offense managed seven hits (by seven guys) but scored just one run on a solo shot by Kevin Pillar. Reyes Moronta pitched a scoreless 8th and Will Smith gave up a run in the 9th.

The Rockies come to town for four games starting tomorrow. Both teams have scored a paltry 38 runs, but the Giants have given up 47 compared to the Rockies 69. That minus-31 difference is the worst in MLB. They have lost five in a row and are one-half game behind the Giants for last place. Jon Gray is listed for Colorado but the home team starter is still TBD on the website. It's Jeff Samardzija's turn as he last pitched on Saturday.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Pillar of Strength

SF 7  SD 2
For the second straight night FNG Kevin Pillar chipped in four RBIs, but this time it paid off in a big win. He gets the RMC FNG of the Week Award! He must have read the memo: How to Impress Your New Fanbase. But I'm burying the lede. The real hero tonight was southpaw starter Derek Holland who subdued a right-handed lineup for seven solid innings. Only two walks (and five hits) against NINE strikeouts and Dutch matches Bumgarner's opening day dominance but with some offensive support. Holland's only blemish was a solo shot from Hunter Renfroe with one out in the 7th and he responded with two strikeouts to end the inning. Trevor Gott gave up a run in the 8th and Mark Melancon closed out the 9th. A fine effort from the lads tonight.

D-Rod goes tomorrow afternoon, 12:45 PDT start time. Go Giants!

--M.C.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Salami Nolo Contendre

The fog rolled in about 3 pm today in my neighborhood, then got heavier and heavier until it was a drizzle.  By game time, it had let up enough, but was hardly dry.  The park looked the same, until the fog rolled back in again late in the game.

No matter, the ball seemed to jump from time to time.  The Giants scored in the bottom of the 4th, Brandon Crawford singled home FNG Austin Tyler for 1 run, and then scored himself along with Brandon Belt, Yangervis Solarte and the batter, Kevin Pillar, on a grand slam home run.  That will net you some fans at the new team.  It was the first grand slam the Giants have hit in 2 years and 1 day.  That, I think, is the result less of a paucity of home runs (although there's that, too) and more of a failure to put men on base - they haven't had many 3 run home runs or 2 run home runs either.  After a good 4th inning, the Giants followed up with - nothing.  A few chances wasted, but they were stuck on 5 and that was not good enough to win tonight.  Padres 6, Giants 5.

Madison Bumgarner on the mound, and the Giants got him 5 runs to work with after he had held the Padres hitless through 4.  Not runner-less, though, as he put Fernando Tatis Jr. on via a HBP.  That was the guy who came back in the 5th and hit a 2 run shot.  The kind of electric talent that we only wish we had.  Madbum gave up a solo shot to Wil Myers on a pitch after he thought he had struck Myers out, but according the the little box on the screen, it was clearly a ball.  Madbum pitched into the 7th, when he put Tatis Jr on again by the HBP.  He scored on a ground out after Francisco Meija (another youngster) doubled and he went to 3rd.  That made it Padres 4 and brought in Reyes Moronta.  With Meija on, Moronta gave up a no-doubter to Franmil Reyes (23 years old, like Meija) for the 5th and 6th runs.   For Madbum: 6 IP, 3 K, 4 hits, 1 BB, 5 runs and 2 HBP.  Moronta got the loss.

I like the new 6:45 start time, but am curious as to what the Giants think they'll accomplish.  If baseball has a "demographics" problem with its audience, an earlier start time is a move to attract seniors, like me.  You know, the kind that take advantage of the 4 pm dinner specials.  Punks, they're fine with being up late.  Sparse crowd, tough weather, and no win tonight.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Zilch

TB 3  SF 0
The Giants got five singles and two walks this afternoon, and also hit into a double play and struck out twelve times. Predictably, they were shut out by the Rays. Drew Pomeranz struggled through four innings (21 batters, 6 H, 4 BB, 1 HR, 94 pitches) and left with the team trailing 2-0. The bullpen allowed another run on a bizarre balk by Nick Vincent, who threw the ball to a surprised Evan Longoria in a pickoff attempt at third base. The problem was that Longoria was not on the base! Trevor Gott and Mark Melancon combined with Vincent for the final five innings. Anyway, the Giants got zilch today.

MadBum goes tomorrow night against the Padres. The new home start time is 6:45 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

First Home Win

SF 6  TB 4
The Giants scored SIX runs this afternoon in San Francisco and defeated the hot Tampa Bay Rays for their first win at Oracle Park. A stinky start by Jeff Samardzija (4-2/3 IP, 6 H, 3 R, and most regrettably giving up the lead in the 5th) couldn't spoil the fun. First- and second-place hitters Steven Duggar and Brandon Belt (3 H, 2 R and all six RBI) brought the big bats (Belt HR, Duggar 2B) and got some help at the bottom of the lineup from Joe Panik (2 BB, 2 R), Kevin Pillar (1 H, 1 R) and pinch-hitter Connor Joe (1 H, 1 R). The bullpen delivered 4-1/3 IP and yielded only one run.

FNG Pillar had a bunt hit and stolen base in the 3rd that led to a run and he made a dandy play in the field later to save at least a run. I thought it was interesting that the Giants bunted twice successfully in the 3rd, with Samardzija bunting Pillar to third base (he scored on Duggar's sac fly). In the 5th, with two on, Duggar faked a bunt and that brought in the defense and he wound up ripping a double past the first baseman. Was that a bit of game theory maneuvering from the skipper? Regardless, it was fun. Let's see if they can keep it up.

Drew Pomeranz tomorrow afternoon. Go Giants!

--M.C.

Friday, April 5, 2019

Rays Spoil Opener

TB 5  SF 2
Dereck Rodriguez got the first two outs in the 1st inning and then had a nightmare sequence: double, double, homer, homer. Suddenly it was 4-0 Rays and the home team never quite recovered. They did conjure up a couple of runs and had the bases loaded with no outs late in the game but responded with a strike out and double play to erase that chance. And so it goes.

Jeff Samardzija takes on Ryne Stanek at 1:05 Pacific tomorrow.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Dodgers Take Finale

LA 5  SF 3
One of the problems with bullpen-based baseball is that the bullpen has to be perfect. Tonight, it wasn't. Ace reliever Reyes Moronta gave up two hits, a walk, and two runs in the 7th with the big blow coming on two strikes with two outs. Nobody's perfect. It turned a 3-2 Giants lead into a 4-3 deficit. Tony Watson allowed a run in the 8th as well. Derek Holland had yielded two in the 1st but a solo shot by Steven Duggar and a two-run shot by Brandon Belt in the 4th reclaimed the lead. Speaking of Duggar, he was in right and FNG Kevin Pillar got the start in center.

Giants play their Home Opener on Friday at 1:35 Pacific. D-Rod gets the nod against the Rays.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Salami

I was all set to write a post about how the Giants couldn't (again) help out Madison Bumgarner with so much as a single run aside from those he generated himself, but then they showed some grit and actually made a game of it.  Pablo Sandoval hit into a double play to end the game with the tying run on 3rd.  Final score from LA: Giants 5, LA 6.

Madison on the mound, he went 6, threw 95 pitches, struck out 4, but gave up all 5 dogger runs in the 3rd.  They were not earned.  A throwing error by Maddy put the first runner on, he scored, then a couple of outs and then the big salami.  Had Russell Martin been thrown out, he could have gotten out of it with no runs.  But he didn't.

In the 6th, with Geraldo Parra on base, Madison went yard.  So at least I get to use that label.

The Giants made a game of it in the 9th.  At this point I was surprised, but I guess tonight the optimist had the better outlook, even with the eventual disappointment.  They looked like they might do it off of our old friend, Kenly Jansen, but after plating in 3 runs, Joe Panik struck out and then Pablo hit into the dp.  So it goes.  Grit's good though.  Grit makes for better games than, well, no grit.  I much prefer my Giants with grit.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Duck the Fodgers

SF 4  LA 2
The Giants battled back late in the game against the Dodgers in their first trip to LA. Drew Pomeranz gave up two solo shots, one to Chris Taylor and the other to pinch-hitter Alex Verdugo, to fall behind 2-0 in the bottom of the 5th inning. In the top of the 6th Brandon Belt greeted reliever Joe Kelly with a solo shot of his own to narrow the gap. In the 7th Yangervis Solarte opened things with an infield single and moved to third with two outs. Pablo Sandoval poked a dramatic two-strike single up the middle to tie the game. Steven Duggar then roped a double to set up the big blow by Belt who doubled off new pitcher Scott Alexander to score both runners. Suddenly it was 4-2 San Francisco with the entire stadium wondering what just happened!

Trevor Gott (6th), Mark Melancon (7th), and Tony Watson (8th) all pitched a scoreless frame in relief of Pomeranz who struck out six of the 21 batters he faced (90 pitches). Julio Urias held the Giants down for the first five innings with seven strikeouts and only three hits allowed.

Will Smith got the call for the 9th inning and he put a runner on with one out but whiffed two to end it. The red-hot slugging Dodgers got cooled off by the multi-headed monster that is the Giants pitching staff! The offense got to the magic number of four runs scored and it worked, just like they drew it up. After that terribly deflating trip to San Diego this feels like a big win. They played good baseball, especially in the field, and got some timely hits to back up the hurlers. Let's see some more of that.

Madison Bumgarner goes tomorrow night. GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

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SD 3  SF 1
It was more of the same anemia offensivia infecting the Giants today in San Diego. Rookie phenom Chris Paddack lived up to the hype and stymied the lineup for five innings, yielding only two hits and a run along with seven strikeouts. Jeff Samardzija labored (86 P, 21 batters, 4 BB, 1 R) in his five but was effective enough to leave with the game tied. The second-tier bullpen (Nick Vincent and Sam Dyson) weren't as impressive as yesterday's varsity squad (Moronta-Watson-Smith). They surrendered two and it was another loss. The Giants score 5 runs in 4 games for a sizzling 1.25 rpg. Oh, and they made three errors, two of them by Pablo, both leading to runs.

Otherwise I had a lovely Sunday.

--M.C.


p.s. Drew Pomeranz gets his first start tomorrow night in LA at 7:10 Pacific.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

A Win!

SF 3  SD 2
The Padres 22-year old phenom Nick Margevicius--who made the leap to the bigs from A-ball (with one start in AA)--kept the Giants quiet for five innings on his debut. Somehow the Giants conjured up a rally in the 6th: a pesky Steven Duggar led off with a single and went to second on a wild pitch, Yangervis Solarte looped an RBI double, and Evan Longoria followed that with an RBI single. With two outs Joe Panik added another RBI single and it was 3-0, the first lead of the season. Dereck Rodriguez hurled five scoreless but also ran into trouble in the 6th, putting two guys on, and Erik Hosmer's two-run double off Travis Bergen made it much too close.

Enter Reyes Moronta. He struck out the side (Machado-Myers-Renfroe) to complete the 6th and notched two more strikeouts in the 7th to keep it 3-2 Giants. Wow! Tony Watson threw a scoreless 8th and Will Smith a two-strikeout 9th to close it.

The Padres have another phenom pitching tomorrow, 23-year old Chris Paddack, he'll go against Jeff Samardzija (1:10 Pacific). It sure is nice to see the team in the win column, let's hope they keep it up.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Friday, March 29, 2019

A run!

SD 4  SF 1
The Giants broke their 17-inning scoreless streak in the 9th inning when Evan Longoria led off with a homer against Padres reliever Phil Maton. They loaded the bases with one out against closer Kirby Yates, but Gerardo Parra and Brandon Belt both struck out looking to end it. Home plate umpire Lance Barksdale got an earful from both hitters and the Giants bench as both final strikes were borderline calls. He probably had a hot date and needed to finish up! Regardless, the lineup struggled once again to execute and create scoring chances. The Padres didn't exactly batter Derek Holland (4 IP, 3 R, 5 K) and Trevor Gott (1-2/3 IP, 1 R, 2 K) but they did enough with seven hits (including two doubles and a homer) and four walks. Travis Bergen, Mark Melancon, and Sam Dyson completed the final 2-1/3 yielding only one hit and whiffing two. Holland looked like he had a nice fastball-slider combo working but the Padres wore him down (18 batters, 71 pitches) anyway. Gott has some nasty stuff but looked a little wild. It was a revamped lineup (Posey batting second and Longoria cleanup--I like those choices) but a familiar result.

Tomorrow's game is at 5:40 Pacific with Derek Holland facing 22-year old Nick Margevicius.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

2019 Opening Day: Goose Egg

The Giants were not built on 3-true outcome guys, where the players swing for the fence and if they hit the ball, it stands a good chance of going out.  They were built of a philosophy of a bunch of guys hitting, all together, to produce runs.  Today they got 5 hits spread over the game and didn't look particularly good at the plate in their first test of 2019 in San Diego.  The net result: San Diego 2, Giants 0. 

5 hits isn't going to do it.  Brandon Belt, for one, needs to hit - he looked particularly inept (which he can do from time to time).  Buster Posey got 1, but was immediately erased on a fielder's choice.  Brandon Crawford got 1, Evan Longoria got 2, and Madison Bumgarner got 1, but was quickly picked off.  Add 1 walk, by Connor Joe, and that describes the Giants familiarity with the basepaths.

It's too bad, because Madison Bumgarner pitched a great game.  7 innings, 9 strike outs, only 1 walk.  A lot of swinging strikes.  He only gave up 5 hits, 1 of those a solo shot by Wil Myers, and 1 was an rbi single to Wil Myers.  Madison succeeded in putting Manny Machado down 3 times, 2 of them on strikeouts.  Nick Vincent threw a hitless 8th.

Aren't hitters supposed to be ahead of pitchers early in the season?  Well, the doggers hit 8 home runs today, hanging 7 runs on Greinke in 3 2/3 innings, and 12 runs total.  They won the National League last year and have a couple of rookies set to crack their roster.  The Giants will see them in their next series, then Tampa Bay at home followed by San Diego again and Colorado.  That's 14 games against NL West teams in the first 17.  A chance for the Giants to prove they aren't a lost cause this season, but it will take a bit of scoring to do it.

Here We Go

The 2019 Giants season brings with it few expectations. After a disastrous 2017 (64-98, last place) and an improved but not-so-pretty 2018 (73-89, next-to-last place), the fans are hoping for something better. The pundits and the projections are pessimistic and expect more of the same: a sub-.500 club battling to stay out of the cellar.

Farhan Zaidi was brought in to rebuild the team. He hasn't done anything flashy, other than a futile pursuit of superstar Bryce Harper, but he has stockpiled talent in the upper minors and overhauled the parts of the Active Roster that he could move. We all know the problem: the Giants are loaded with aging, expensive veterans whose performances have declined from their former All-Star levels and are thus impractical trade chips. In essence FZ's hands are tied by what he's inherited. It is going to take time to improve and fans aren't noted for their patience.

What's the best-case scenario? The veteran core stays healthy and produces value. The pitchers hold the line and keep the games close. The young talent plays at a major-league level all season long. The new depth in the organization comes through at key times. The team won nine more games last year than the year before, if they do that again they'll have a winning (82-80) record. That would be something! Of course the whole thing could implode (they went 5-21 last September) and the Giants could be out of the race by June. Changes that we know are coming will happen a lot faster if that's the case.

It's Bruce Bochy's final season. It might even be Madison Bumgarner's last go-round in a Giants uniform. Team CEO Larry Baer dug a hole for himself, he might not crawl back out. An organizational shake-up is already happening! That's good, the time has come. The glory days are past and now we have to face forward. So let's watch and see how the franchise gets back on its feet again. If they are committed to the improvements needed and do the work that has to be done then all is OK in the world. Bad times often follow the good ones and that's when the real tests come. As a fan I want to believe the organization is up to the task and will put out the necessary effort to get better. I'm actually looking forward to the process. We've been here before, right? We're pros at this.

It's the San Diego Padres Home Opener at Petco Park this afternoon, 1:10 Pacific. MadBum squares off against Eric Lauer.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

The Twelve

Bruce Bochy announced the twelve position players yesterday. Around the diamond are Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford, and Evan Longoria. That's five. Two utility players, Yangervis Solarte and Pablo Sandoval, make the list. Gerardo Parra is the presumptive right fielder and Steven Duggar has been anointed center fielder and leadoff man. That's nine. You have to have a backup catcher and that's Eric Kratz. Ten. The last two spots are Connor Joe and Michael Reed. They will be left field and the other two spots in a pinch. That's the full squad as they are carrying thirteen pitchers. I neglected to mention Trevor Gott earlier when I was counting up the hurlers.

I can be forgiven. It's a constantly buzzing transaction wire in Farhan Land!

The Giants lose Mac Williamson and Alen Hanson, both out of options, we'll see if they get picked up somewhere.

--M.C.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Lucky 13

Giants notch their thirteenth win (against thirteen losses) in their final Cactus League game. Pablo Sandoval had two hits and a run scored and Alen Hanson hit the game-winning homer. Both of those guys are "on the bubble" and fighting for a spot. The Panda actually has minor-league options, but his veteran status means he does not have to accept a demotion and can ask for his outright release (at least that's my grasp of the Byzantine MLB roster rules). We'll see what shakes out. All assumptions are off: FZ is still wheelin' and dealin' and I don't expect The Final Twenty-Five to be named until the last possible moment.

Giants face the A's tomorrow at 1:05 in Oakland and follow that with two evening games (6:45 start times) in San Francisco (what are we calling The Park--The Big O? The Orifice?). The real thing starts on Thursday in San Diego. It's the Padres Home Opener!

--M.C.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Connor Joe

This guy makes my All-Name Team on the first try. As we had surmised Drew Ferguson was cut loose. Connor Joe is a utility man who has yet to appear in majors. Here is MLBTR:
Joe, 26, is a former first-round pick who had largely struggled until a breakout 2018 season. In 435 plate appearances in the upper minors, he turned in a robust .299/.408/.527 slash with a career-high 17 home runs and sixty walks to go with 88 strikeouts.
Joe was drafted in 2014 and was the 39th pick. Tyler Beede was the 21st. (Of those 41 picks only 20 have made the bigs.) The Giants had to trade for Connor, he was acquired for righty pitcher Jordan Johnson who was at AA last season.

Here's Baggs:
He plays first, third and outfield and hits right-handed. That was to be Pablo Sandoval's role. If the Giants carry 13 pitchers, and Joe, it's hard to imagine Panda making the club.
Hard to argue, not to mention they gave up a player to get him. I always root for the Panda, but maybe this is the end of the line for him.

--M.C.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring is Here

Baseball had its earliest opening day ever with the Mariners defeating the Athletics 9-7 in the Tokyo Dome. The vernal equinox occurs at 2:58 p.m. PDT today, but spring really starts when the games count. Well, that one counts, and they play another one before returning home and resuming the exhibition schedule (A's have three vs. Giants starting Sunday). Cory Gearrin and Hunter Strickland each threw a scoreless inning for Seattle.

The Giants see the Indians tonight and the Cubs tomorrow afternoon, with a split squad matchup against the Royals and Rockies Friday. Then it is the Diamondbacks on Saturday before the Oakland series. The real thing is only a-week-and-a-day away: Thursday the 28th in San Diego!

I was hoping there would be more roster cuts by now but it seems that waiting until the very last minute is the new m.o. and I guess I can't complain about that. Roster cuts give me something to write about. I'm ready for the 2019 season even if the team isn't.

--M.C.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Rotation

Giants manager Bruce Bochy has reportedly named sophomore Dereck Rodriguez as one of his five starters. Of course Boch hedges his bets:
Right now, he’s part of this rotation,” manager Bruce Bochy said following the Giants’ 8-0 loss to the Cubs on Saturday. “That’s where he stands. He’s throwing the ball well.” (I added the italics!)
That's one of those definite 'maybes' that managers are good at. That's fine. You have to win ballgames and thus you have to use the players who are performing. And D-Rod's performance last season was one of the few highlights, and so far this spring he isn't doing anything to discourage the brass. That likely bumps Andrew Suarez who still has three options left. A crowded 'pen means he'll start the season in AAA, probably alongside Tyler Beede, the 2014 first-round pick who has impressed everyone so far with a rebuilt repertoire.

Obviously Madison Bumgarner is the centerpiece of the 2019 rotation. Two injury-shortened seasons interrupted a run of six straight 200+ IP campaigns, and his two-year peak (2015-2016) was worth 10 WAR. Lots of questions are buzzing around the big lefty what with dropping fastball velocity, reduced break on the curve, and an increased walk rate, but he's not yet 30 (that happens in August) and ought to be able to return to form. If he stays healthy I should think we have a good chance of seeing a rejuvenated MadBum. Will they trade him? Only if they are in last place by the deadline. Aging players and analytics are one thing--fans in the seats are another. I think the Giants would love to keep him and will try to if he has a strong year. At the very least they can make him a qualifying offer in the off-season and get compensation if he bolts. Publicly Bumgarner has said he wants to stay, I believe him, and I hope he can.

The rest of the group seems pretty easy: Derek Holland, Jeff Samardzija, and Drew Pomeranz. With Chris Stratton in the wings (swing man in the 'pen?), who is out of options, and Ty Blach also down in AAA (along with Jose Lopez and Merandy Gonzalez), the Giants have some flexibility. Samardzija's main value has been his durability and long outings, coming off injury maybe they'll use him a little less and try to maintain his effectiveness with some shorter stints (it looks like a strong bullpen this year). The Dodgers only used Rich Hill for 25 starts in each of the last two seasons, for example, and that kept him fresh. Even Clayton Kershaw maxes out under 180 IP these days. We may see that with Pomeranz, who was a 6+ WAR pitcher in 2016-2017, his career high is 173-2/3. Holland made 30 starts last year, I'll take the under on that one.

The projection systems aren't kind to the Giants, but I think this bunch has a lot of talent and if they are used creatively they could be strong all season. I mentioned the Dodgers because Farhan Zaidi is much associated with the revolving-door rotation that LA has employed lately. I can't argue with it. The Giants had that big-arm innings-eating style way back in 2016 with Johnny Cueto joining Bum and Smardj in the 200+ club, but them days is past.

I know this post is about the starters, but keep an eye on 2018's phenom Reyes Moronta. This guy is fun to watch and has made it clear he wants to be a closer. Well, 79 whiffs out of 262 batters (30%) ought to get you some notice!

--M.C.

Monday, March 4, 2019

On the field and off

Some things don't change. The Giants will go with infield stalwarts Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford at first base and shortstop. Those guys have been around for awhile. Joe Panik still looks like the second baseman at this point, that's another familiar face. And of course Buster Posey will be the catcher. He's been there (mostly) full-time since 2010! The only new old face is Evan Longoria who debuted for the Giants last year at third base, and his 2018 was pretty forgettable, so perhaps to casual fans he'll feel like a new face. Pablo Sandoval, who came up with the Giants in 2008, will likely be the utility man (alongside newcomer Yangervis Solarte). My point is that those are the guys in uniform and under contract and if the team is going to win ballgames the infield will have to play at or near their career norms. They haven't done that lately, what with aging and injury and bad luck and all that messy stuff.

Speaking of messy stuff, the Giants may be looking down the road at even bigger changes. Larry Baer has stepped aside, at this point described as "personal time away from the Giants," but there are rumblings he'll eventually have to be replaced. He doesn't own the team, but he is the public face of the ownership group, and domestic ugliness isn't just bad, it's bad for business.
“Mr. Baer has acknowledged that his behavior was unacceptable, apologized to the organization and is committed to taking steps to make sure that this never happens again. He has also requested, and the Board has accepted, his request to take personal time away from the Giants beginning today. The Board has asked the Giants executive team to manage the day to day operations of the Club during this period, reporting directly to the Board.
“As leaders in the community, we at the Giants hold ourselves to the highest standards and those standards will guide how we consider this matter moving forward.”

I took this from Baggs' story on The Athletic (paywall) although the Giants website has it as well. That sounds a lot like the first step in a dismissal, but I don't really know. We'll see how it plays out.

In the meantime they are still playing baseball. I've been avoiding a post about the pitching staff because there are too many damn arms and I keep feeling like some of the veterans (bullpen, especially) will be traded before the final roster shakeout. Perhaps with the CEO on the outs some of the potential transactions will be delayed or shelved. Again, I don't know. Larry Baer made a stinkin' mess for himself and the organization, we'll see how the team copes. As for Mr. Baer, he got caught acting like an asshole, his task is something much bigger, I should think.

--M.C.

Friday, March 1, 2019

The Outfield

The Giants made a push for outfielder Bryce Harper that ultimately came up short. According to Andrew Baggarly's article on The Athletic (behind a paywall), it was Farhan Zaidi who led the charge and not Larry Baer & the Ownership Group. All that tells me is FZ is willing to go after talent, be it Rule V draftees or free agency. Guess what? That's good! You want your ballclub to be ready to sign the players they need, don't you? I'm willing to give our new PoBO (he's not a GM, but a President of Baseball Operations) a fair chance and that means I'm not going to judge him after a mere four months or so on the job. I expected the Giants NOT to pursue high-dollar free agents (I note they stayed away from Manny Machado) so the fact that they took a chance on Harper means I don't really know what their roster-building strategy is. And I'm OK with that. I also think it means I was right and they have heaps o'money and they'll cough up the big bucks when they think they need to.

So, where do we stand? The outfield is still a big question mark. I know they really want Steven Duggar to shine and take over CF and the leadoff spot. But they are hedging their bets by signing Cameron Maybin. I could see a platoon there, but I also think Maybin has his sights on a full-time job. The Giants generally treat players well and I imagine that the veterans on minor-league deals will be traded if they don't make the 25-man roster (or don't get assurances about playing time). Gerardo Parra is in the same situation as Maybin, he probably expects to win a corner OF job since he's competing with borderline candidates. Mac Williamson is at that fish-or-cut-bait point in his career, and with no options left I suppose he'll be traded or DFA'd if he doesn't make the grade. The Giants would love to see him swing a major-league power bat and I hope he can do that. Rule V man Drew Ferguson would seem to have an inside track as a fifth outfielder, but that's only because they'd have to give him back to the Astros if he fails to make the big-league team. But I don't know--maybe they are willing to eat that cost.

Chris Shaw and Austin Slater have options left, as do NRIs John Andreoli, Mike Gerber, and Anthony Garcia. Henry Ramos, the older brother of hot prospect Heliot Ramos, was signed as a free agent, as was Craig Gentry. I'm not sure anyone else in camp has a legitimate shot to open the season with the big club. That leads me to believe a trade is coming. The list of remaining free agent OFs is not too encouraging. With the surplus of relief pitchers--some of whom are established late-inning guys--it seems almost too obvious that's who will get moved. Then again I did not see the Harper push coming so it's anybody's guess what our PoBO has up his sleeve.

Madison Bumgarner has his second spring start this afternoon. Both Chris Stratton and Jeff Samardzija threw well in their recent outings--all positive starting pitcher news is good news as far as I'm concerned! I'm wondering when we get to see Drew Pomeranz again, he pitched two innings on Monday.

--M.C.


p.s. Melissa Lockard at The Athletic says to keep an eye on Jacob Heyward (Jason's younger brother), Aaron Bond, and Malique Ziegler as up-and-comers in the Giants system. All are OFs and projected for A, A+, or AA this season.

p.p.s. The game is tonight, and televised (NBC-Bay Area).

p.p.p.s. Ugly shit about Larry Baer (https://www.tmz.com/2019/03/01/larry-baer-giants-san-fransico-ceo-wife-altercation/) just popped up in the Twitter feed.


Thursday, February 28, 2019

Who's Running the Show?

I honestly don't know.  We hired a guy, Farhan Zaidi, as President of Baseball Operations.  He was hired because he was an "analytics" guy.  And "analytics" tells us that long-term, expensive contracts are not a very productive way to build a winning ball club.  Because of that, we're not seeing so many of them and players and agents are whining about collusion.  Farhan Zaidi has had a big role in building a winning ball club, with that blue-ish team down in LA.  That team may be nearly unmentionable to Giants fans, but you have to admit, they have done a good job of winning.  Like, in the playoffs each of the past 6 years, in the world series the past 2.  I know, they haven't won it all, but they have been in a position to do so, unlike the Giants lately.

One of the reasons the Giants went out and got a shiny, new President of Baseball Operations, was that our previous GM, Bobby Evans, signed a number of players to long-term contracts that have not been very productive, and have certainly not made the Giants into a winning team.  Mark Melancon is a case in point, having pitched a total of 69 innings in his 2 years of service as a closer for $15.5 million per year.  You are, of course, familiar with others.  Injuries are part of it, perhaps a big part, but the fact is, the Giants have not been a competitive team the past couple of years.

So here we are, and word is that the Giants are offering Bryce Harper, a guy who's stats are the poorest in Oracle nee PhoneCo of any major league stadium, a long-term contract of, maybe, more than 10 years and more than $300 million.  How new is this "new direction"?  How "analytical" is this long-term deal?

This is today's bit from MLBTraderumors.com on the Bryce Harper shitshow.  I don't know what Bob Nightengale knows.  I honestly don't understand what the Giants are doing.  I don't know if Farhan Zaidi is running the team or not.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Spring Training Notes

Tomorrow is the first spring game, and here's the lineup:


via Kerry Crowley/twitter

--M.C.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Bochy to Retire

Bruce Bochy announced today that this will be his final season as a manager. That ends much of the speculation surrounding him, don't you think? He turns 64 in April and 2019 will be his 25th as a big-league skipper. He'll have over 4000 games managed by the end of this year and only seven other guys have done that: Connie Mack, Tony LaRussa, John McGraw, Bobby Cox, Bucky Harris, Joe Torre, and Sparky Anderson. That's some remarkable company! Only ten guys have three (or more) World Series rings as a manager: Casey Stengel, Joe McCarthy, Mack, Torre, Walter Alston, LaRussa, McGraw, Anderson, Miller Huggins, and Boch. Again, not a bad bunch to be a part of.

--M.C.


p.s. There's a season's worth of chances to say it, but I should have said it first thing: THANKS, BOCH!!


Sunday, February 17, 2019

A peek at the 'pen

Not much went well for the Giants last season but they did see some strong performances from the relief corps. Rookie Reyes Moronta dazzled with 79 whiffs in 65 IP, and kept a lid on scoring with 20 RA on only 34 hits. Look for the burly righty to see a lot of action in 2019. Well-traveled veteran Sam Dyson delivered 70-1/3 IP of similar quality relief without the 97+ mph gas of his younger teammate. Dyson, also a righty, was a closer in Texas in 2016 (38 SV). Lefty Tony Watson was picked up just before the season started and he was a mainstay, generating 1.8 bWAR in his 72 appearances, walking only 14 batters and allowing only four homers. His fellow southpaw Will Smith was equally dominant in his 54 games, becoming the team's closer down the stretch and earning the coveted Willie Mac Award. He missed all of 2017 due to Tommy John surgery.

Sophomore Moronta is obviously still under team control and Dyson is due for another year of arbitration in 2020 before becoming a free agent in 2021. Watson has a player option for 2020 and Smith is a free agent after this season.

Injury-plagued right-hander Mark Melancon is still around and is signed through next season. He was a star closer in Pittsburgh (51 SV in 2015) but has not been healthy for most of his time in San Francisco. Recent acquisition Pat Venditte (ven-DITTY) is a unique character in that he pitches both left-handed and right-handed. He's also a switch-hitter! I'm guessing he'll make the team if he has a good spring, he has just a little over a year of service time. Another left-handed arm to keep an eye on is Travis Bergen, he's on the 40-man roster, but has no big-league experience. Righties Trevor Gott and Jose Lopez are also new to the team, Gott came up as a 22-year old with the Angels in 2015, Lopez has yet to appear in the majors.

They'll be competing with some familiar names like Ray Black, Ty Blach (he made 13 starts in 2018), Steven Okert and Tyler Beede who are still in the mix. Derek Law was cut loose but still invited to camp. Josh Osich was also DFA'd and I don't know his status. Neither Cory Gearrin nor Pierce Johnson are with the team anymore. Chris Stratton and Andrew Suarez will be around hoping to be starters but one may wind up a reliever. Dereck Rodriguez made 19 starts last season and looked good, he may grab one of the spots again. The top four appear to be set with Bumgarner, Samardzija, Holland, and new guy Drew Pomeranz, but that's another post.

Check out Roster Resource for more details! No other news on the Giants front this weekend.

--M.C.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

New Old Faces

The Giants have signed several veteran ballplayers in the last few days to minor-league deals. Those come, it seems, with an invitation to camp and a chance to compete for a roster spot. The latest is Cameron Maybin who has been with several teams but Giants fans probably remember him best in a Padres uniform. He's a former first-round pick (2005, #10) and an established glove-man, primarily as a centerfielder. At 31 he's been in the majors a remarkable 12 seasons, debuting in 2007 as a 20-year old. Also in the mix is Gerardo Parra, at one time a rising star with the Diamondbacks, who plays all three outfield spots, and has spent the last few seasons with the Rockies, thus another familiar fellow. Versatile infielder Yangervis Solarte--who we've also seen with the Padres--is hoping to bounce back after a rough 2017, having been a roughly 6-bWAR player from 2014-2017. Both are also 31. There is nothing to dislike about these signings, they are the perfect players to add depth and to measure the youngsters against. All three are accomplished major-leaguers but don't take up a spot--yet--on the 40-man. I think this is the kind of stuff FZ cut his teeth on with Billy Beane in Oakland.

--M.C.


p.s. I neglected to mention Craig Gentry, a 35-year old outfielder, probably because he's not as familiar as the above group even though he spent two seasons ('14-'15) with the Athletics. He came up with the Rangers in '09 and has also played for the Angels and the Orioles. He is also mostly known as a glove-first type, logging 1972 innings as a centerfielder over his ten seasons.