Friday, May 9, 2014

Giants Pick Up a Win

The boys from San Francisco have been flashing leather all over the country lately, and the infield in particular really delivered last night. Brandon Crawford may never win the popularity contest called the Gold Glove, but we know he can pick it as well or better than anyone in the game. He couldn't handle a smash from Yasiel Puig that was ruled a hit, but otherwise he smothered the Dodgers chances with three beautiful plays to back up a surging Ryan Vogelsong. Defensive positioning (and some slick work by Brandon Hicks) robbed Adrian Gonzalez of at least two hits, probably three, and certainly kept the Dodgers off the board. I've said before that I think the Giants have an edge on defense, and much of the credit has to go to the advance scouts and Ron Wotus, and to the pitchers for sticking to the game plan and inducing hitters to hit into the shifts. Pablo Sandoval is still struggling with the bat, but he's been impressive at the hot corner, knocking down hard hit balls and gunning out runners with regularity. Brandon Belt got a the only hit with a runner in scoring position all evening for the Giants, and this after two more swinging strikeouts earlier in the game. Yeah, he's streaky, you never know what you'll get from one PA to the next! His long reach and sure hands certainly help with the shutdown defense.

It takes a village, man. The Dodgers are absolutely loaded with talent--their lineup is scary, and the parade of relievers they can bring out there slinging 95 is ridiculous. And I haven't touched on the fact that they probably have the two best starters in the game in Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke. But here in the early part of the season the Giants are 5-2 against their rivals and have held them to a mere 18 runs or 2.57 per game. That works against any club.

Madison Bumgarner gets the ball tonight against lefty Paul Maholm. Matt Cain is listed for Saturday--he matches up with Greinke. Tim Hudson and Kershaw on Sunday. The Dodgers have their two big weapons to close out the series, and then there are only three more games left on the schedule in LA (September 22-24). The other six are in SF (July 25-27 and September 12-14.)




Ron said...

So, up here in Oregon, it's hard for me to follow all of the inside news. Is Marco Scutaro pulling a Freddy Sanchez? Will he ever play for us again? Is he on rehab somewhere? B. Hicks hits the occasional vital long ball & provides us with the possibly unique Brandon-Brandon-Brandon DP combination, but he doesn't seems like the longer-term answer. So, what's up?

Brother Bob said...

Apparently Scutaro is still on a "wait-and-see" status, so yeah, sounds like Freddy all over again. Scutaro is 38 years old.

ogc obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

FYI, the local media has gotten to naming it "Marco Mondays" as the Giants decided to share any news on his progress on Mondays, so that they don't get asked every day, seemingly.

My understanding is that this is different from Freddy. Freddy just plain could not play anymore. Zilch is what I heard.

Marco can play, but then he can't play the next day.

Where I see this playing out is that he's probably going to be like this all season, but then he can just join the team in September where they can use him whenever and give him all the time he wants for rest.

Then, given that Adrianza nor Perez hasn't really distinguished himself offensively yet and presumably won't, I suspect that Scutaro will make the playoff roster as backup in place of one of them, and be a great bat off the bench a la Renteria in 2010. He probably can't start much on the field, so I don't see them giving him a start, but he should be able to DH some should we make it to the World Series.

Not that I'll be disappointed if they don't reach there, but I think that they have a good chance to make the World Series this season. I like the offense, the bullpen has been stellar (with basically the same people, but some key upgrades), and the starting pitching is starting to round into shape.

I've been saying 90+ wins, and that 95+ wouldn't surprise me if Morse, Lincecum, Vogelsong do what they can do and the team stays healthy.

Ron said...

Thanks for the updates.

Go Giants!!!!!

Zo said...

Isn't Cain on the DL?

ogc obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Cain is currently on the DL, but his first day he can come off is Saturday. Would be logical that Kontos then get sent back down, but read somewhere from one of the beats that maybe Perez might get the axe.

However, with Belt's thumb busted today, probably the Giants will place him on the DL tomorrow in order to activate Cain, as they try to figure out the 1B situation going forward.

Since nobody is hitting really well in AAA to warrant a call-up, I can't see any of our prospects getting the call. Susac might have gotten the call had he not missed some time with his concussion, as his batting line is OK, but he's not going to get the call with him just returning.

It could be fate: they recently added Ishikawa as emergency backup in the minors when the Pirates dropped him. They could decide to bring up Ishikawa to platoon at 1B with Posey, to give him extended relief at 1B while Belt is out, and thus giving Sanchez more ABs, but right now the team is at the max 40-man roster and would need to either jettison someone or move one to the 60-day DL. Possibly it could be Scutaro, but the rules are arcane there so I'm not absolutely sure. But if so, that is probably the best solution given our prospects lack of production.

If they feel like experimenting, they could bring up Duvall to play 1B (or 3B, pushing Pablo to 1B, but I think they won't do that since he's struggling at 3B as it is). I think that he's not doing well enough that they try that.

Another option might be to move Morse to 1B while Blanco starts in LF. But then who to add as backup in the OF? Again, nobody shining in AAA.

I think Ishikawa in a platoon at 1B is the best solution.

Giants win!!! Bumgarner!!! Crawford!!! Chance to win the series!!!

ogc obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Oh well, there goes that idea: Ishikawa is on the DL...

Bochy mentioned maybe Posey, Morse, Hanchez, or even Duvall from AAA, he's on the 40 and could play 1B (hasn't really played it but was playing there tonight apparently; the thought is that Sandoval is that much better defensively at 3B).