Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Punchless Giants Fall to AZ

If you'd told me Hunter Pence would get on base five times, Nick Hundley would have three hits, Eduardo Nunez four, and Jeff Samardzija would deliver a quality start I'd have figured the Giants to win. Alas, they came up short. Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray kept the Giants from scoring and got a huge assist from his star centerfielder AJ Pollock. They did not have him last season due to a spring injury--as the Giants have learned, he's a difference-maker. On the home side Gorkys Hernandez probably should have made a play on a deep ball in centerfield that made a one-run sacrifice fly into a three-run triple. The rest of the lineup was anemic: Belt is 1-for-14 since his two-homer game, Buster is out for a week, and the Chris Marrero experiment is not paying off. Neil Ramirez is an interesting case--this is the second time he's struck out three in an inning and yet allowed a run (in this case the game-winner). The Giants have to figure out how to harness that stuff. Matt Cain gets the call tonight.



p.s. Samardzija plunked Goldschmidt on the hip early in the game with a big heater. He hit only one batter last season so I think we can safely say it was a payback pitch. Not that it helps much.


JC Parsons said...

Well, that was rather disheartening. Our ability to lose close games that we should probably have won is remarkable. I was driving home during the game and I didn't want to subject the wife to a intermittent audio, so I only caught parts. Or perhaps I should say didn't catch, as one thing I heard was Hernandez's weird misplay at the fence. That was the key in this close game. Gorkys is sucking it up, like almost all the young and FNG's. I'm sure they will settle in, however we have bigger problems.

So can we agree on a few things here? Buster Posey is two or three foul tips into the face mask away from being forced to retire. Actually the NEXT foul tip could be the one, especially if they are stupid enough to let him catch in the next few months. There is a good chance this season is already impacted. Just like last year and Panik. Yes, I know Buster got hit while batting, which everyone is at risk for. That just makes it worse as we all know the beating he takes as a catcher. And with concussions it is all about repetition. Have you ever seen Buster get clocked? How many times? Ten? Twenty? Nick Hundley is now the most important pickup of the year and Brandon Belt must go into left field. I have been saying this for awhile, along with Ron (if I remember correctly), Buster is too valuable an asset to be put into the risk of catching. The decision is going to be taken out of his hands, soon.

I bet we didn't all agree on a few things there.

Ron said...

And, given our absurd, but foreseeable, lack of production in LF (not to mention CF), this is the perfect moment to play Buster at 1B & Belt in LF for an extended period. If that were to be the plan, then we obviously need a real everyday Catcher. But, I still think that we are stronger & safer with Hundley, Posey, & Belt in the lineup every day than we are with Posey, Belt, & Parker/Marrero/Hernandez/any other stiff.

We knew that we had a LF problem, but we didn't do anything about it. Buster's injury forces us to address it in a different way.

Next up, finding a real CF. Span's ability is sinking quickly.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Well, there's always Melvin Upton, Jr.!

We saw two teams last season: the pre-ASB Giants who did everything right for 90 games and the post-ASB Giants who did not. This 2017 model reminds me of last August. But, it's April, and funks can be gotten out of just as surely as they can be gotten in to.

I think the determiner of Posey's fate is Posey. He'll decide, and the team will go the way he says. He strikes me as smart, but also as stubborn, that is one who relishes a challenge. Catching in the bigs is the ultimate baseball challenge, and Posey wants to measure himself against the best. I think they'll tear the tools of ignorance out of his cold, dead hands.

Zo said...

The Giants scored 3 runs and gave the dbacks 3 if you consider the 3 that scored when Hernandez failed to make the catch in center a gift. One of those runs was put on base intentionally. And the Giants left 13 men on base. 13. (Although AZ left 10 on). And lost 4 - 3. Any way you add that up, Buster or no Buster, that is not good baseball. Szmardjy pitched about as well as you can expect him to. Pitching and defense doesn't work well without defense. So the best we can do is 3 - 4 against Arizona in the first home and away series. Arizona is much improved. Know what? Colorado is, too.

nomisnala said...

What the heck is Angel Pagan doing these days? Seems like an answer.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Andrew Baggarly at the SJ Mercury News likes the Belt to LF idea.

JC Parsons said...

I am a bit surprised at how cavalier some of you can be about the Buster situation. To actually refer to his cold, dead hands is rather flippant, in my opinion. I can only imagine how his wife and twins would feel if they knew his devoted fan base would prefer he sacrifice his life so we can have arguably the best defensive catcher. I know that is not how you feel but it is how it comes across sometimes. These players are people, not commodities. Whatever, I guess I'm worried. I don't think this concussion thing is going away soon and I don't trust that wise decisions will be made. Like the idea that Buster gets to make the decision based on some macho desire. The face of the organization for the next decade or two probably will consider the organization, not just his resume. He already has the credentials for HOF , he just needs longevity of his OFFENSE. We all know many catchers that switched at the end of their careers. Usually they blame legs ( which Buster can already! ) but I bet many of those changes were really head concerns.

Anyway, sorry. I guess I'm not going to find any concussion jokes very funny for awhile. Don't mean to be preachy but I'm worried.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Cavalier? Not at all. Having had a concussion myself, I'm quite sensitive to the topic. My point was that fan speculation may not take into account what Buster wants and how he sees himself. I think he loves the challenge of the toughest position in the game and that he is also smart enough to understand the risks. But I've REALLY NO IDEA and neither do any of the rest of us!

I've continued to ski and mountain bike (where I hurt my head) in spite of the risks, and not because of my overflowing machismo, but because of the joy I get from the activities. I know I could break a leg or crack my head again or worse but I'm smarter and better than I was then. So, I keep going. Buster's an elite, world-class athlete, I'm an amateur hack. I'm giving him credit for brains and perspective, I don't think he's a dumb jock (far from it) and I think he knows exactly what he's doing. And I think the organization trusts him to be honest and that they'll support what he wants. Like I said, none of us really know, this is just my speculation.

And I use the infamous Hestonian "cold, dead hands" all the time, I just love that phrase, to me it's a darkly humorous way to describe an intense passion for something!

Zo said...

From Scott Ostler in today's Chronicle: