Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas . . .

. . . and a Happy New Year.

I skied yesterday in a lovely snowstorm and when I was in the lodge I saw Santa. I went over and said "all I wanted for Christmas was snow, so thanks!" He shook my hand and said "no problem."

Of course what I really want for Christmas is for the 2019 Giants to be awesome! Am I right?

I hope everyone is enjoying the holidays.


Saturday, December 8, 2018

The Winter Meetings

The Giants Brain Trust and their twenty-nine counterparts will be meeting this coming Monday in Las Vegas for the annual MLB rite known of course as The Winter Meetings. Newly-installed President of Baseball Operations Farhan Zaidi brought in some new people in advance of this. Long-time amateur scouting director John Barr has been replaced by Michael Holmes who worked in Oakland in a similar capacity. They also added Zack Minasian who was a special assistant in Milwaukee. He will oversee professional scouting. Former Toronto GM J.P. Ricciardi is also supposedly joining the team as a special assistant. I suppose the organizational flowchart will be in flux for a while and we might not fully know who's-who and what's-what but I suspect it will come together at some point. The Giants are making changes just like they said they would. Perhaps by the end of the week we'll have some new bodies in Giants uniforms as well.


Saturday, December 1, 2018

Opening Moves

The FZ Era of Giants baseball begins! The Giants declined arbitration with Hunter Strickland, Gorkys Hernandez, and Chase d'Arnaud making them free agents. Joe Panik, Sam Dyson, and Will Smith were all tendered contracts. Smith (Willie Mac Award winner) and Dyson both pitched very well last season while Strickland saw his numbers decline (not to mention his behavior issues) so the Giants kept the older, more expensive pitchers and obviously hope for similar performances next year. Joe Panik was injured and played well below expectations but his youth and low cost (plus a lack of an alternative) keep him in orange-and-black. You can't give up on first-round picks, but I get the sense this is a fish-or-cut-bait season for the lefty second baseman.

It isn't very exciting stuff and fairly predictable but it is Giants news and so I had to post. As far as the big stuff goes, I don't expect a Madison Bumgarner trade. He's too valuable to the team right now and I can't see them getting a decent enough return. If he has a good year then they can discuss an extension or make him a qualifying offer so they'll at least be compensated if he leaves. I think the odds are good he will stay healthy and pitch well in 2019 which is the best outcome to hope for. He is at a point in his career where he'll likely have to make big changes in his conditioning and preparation in order to remain an ace starter. Age catches up with everyone and the athletes who adjust continue to succeed. I'm curious if Bumgarner has the mental makeup of someone like Justin Verlander who seems able to reinvent himself and stay at an elite level.

The Winter Meetings are December 9-13 in Las Vegas. Maybe we'll get some action then. Meanwhile we had our first snowfall in town last night and this morning!


Wednesday, November 7, 2018

It's Official

One way to improve your club is to poach talent from another club, in this case your long-time rivals. The Giants hired Dodgers GM Farhan Zaidi to be their President of Baseball Operations.

“We set out to find one of the best minds in baseball and Farhan’s many accomplishments and expertise exceeded our expectations,” said Baer. “Farhan is widely viewed as one of the top executives in our industry and we are thrilled to have him lead the next chapter of Giants Baseball.”
Here's Mr. Z:
“I am delighted to return to the Bay Area and to join one of the most storied franchises in the game,” said Zaidi. “I have watched the Giants from afar and I have great respect for the organization’s culture and many accomplishments. I am excited about this new opportunity and I’m looking forward to getting right to work.”
Zaidi has a PhD from Cal and worked for the Athletics before going to LA. By all accounts he is a very smart and accomplished fellow so I am happy the Giants landed him. He has a five-year contract. Here's Baggs' take (this is before the announcement):
But the mere fact that Zaidi is their first choice should tell you something: they are no longer interested in a caretaker to prop up a fading roster. They are ready to do a 180 from a highly accomplished but flawed front office whose insular methods of roster creation have allowed them to fall behind their contemporaries.
The off-season just got very interesting!


Thursday, November 1, 2018

RIP Willie Mac

Willie McCovey passed away on Wednesday. Giants fans of my age group (I was born in 1959) got to see him at his best when we were young and impressionable. His greatest seasons were 1968-1970 and ballplayers seemed like mythical beings when we were that age. He really was something on the field and he came back to the Giants and flashed a little of the old magic for a few years before retiring in 1980. He was much beloved by fans, teammates, and the organization.


Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Been there, done that

Much was made of the how well the 2018 Boston Red Sox hit with runners in scoring position and two outs in the World Series. Seems like we know a team that did just about the same thing not long ago:

The chart is from Jay Jaffe at FanGraphs.

Yes, that 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants team is special for a lot of reasons. Slugging .895 with two outs and runners in scoring position is just another on the list!


Sunday, October 28, 2018


The Boston Red Sox complete their remarkable 108-win season with a remarkable 3-loss post-season. They played three really good teams--the Yankees, the Astros, and the Dodgers--and lost only one game to each. That's, like I said, remarkable.

No more baseball in 2018, unless of course you are fans of the Japan Series. The Mystic Zo reports that the Carp have notched the first win of the best-of-seven finals. The Hiroshima Toyo Carp is the NPB team-of-choice here at RMC.

The Giants have tantalized us with talk of a new brain trust for 2019. I'm expecting they'll have to have people in place by the Winter Meetings. That means the month of November ought to be interesting.

Only 115 days until the first Spring Training game!


Sunday, October 21, 2018


The 114th version of the World Series is upon us. Game One is at Fenway on Tuesday. The 2018 AL champion Red Sox beat two 100-win teams, including last year's champs, to get to the Fall Classic. Early odds have Boston at -125. The LA Dodgers return as NL champions winning on the road in Milwaukee in the seventh game of the LCS. Naturally we here at RMC were rooting for the Brewers, but such is life. I have a lot of friends who are Dodgers fans so I know they'll be happy. The Red Sox are my mom's team and I know my east coast family members are happy.

Giants fans will have to wait until next year, of course. Perhaps we'll get some exciting changes this off-season. In the meantime, enjoy the ballgames.


Wednesday, October 10, 2018

LCS set

It seems fitting that the two best teams in the American League, the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros, will meet to decide the pennant. The two best teams in the National League, the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Dodgers, meet to decide the pennant as well. The playoffs worked, mostly, as seeded. The number-one team will open their best-of-seven series at home. The NLCS starts Friday and the ALCS starts Saturday. Eduardo Nuñez is the only former Giants player I'm aware of on an LCS roster, if you are looking for a rooting interest. Obviously it is "Beat LA" around here, not to mention that it is very hard to root against a team named for beer-makers. I not only like beer, I make it, too. So "Go Crew!"


Friday, October 5, 2018

How Much Do Injuries Matter?

I throw out the question because, with respect to the 2018 Giants, I honestly don't know.   Here is a list of the Giants' position players who have spent time on the disabled list this season:

Buster Posey
Brandon Belt
Evan Longoria
Joe Panik
Hunter Pence
Alen Hanson
Steve Duggar
Mac Williamson
Pablo Sandoval

That's our entire infield including a couple of the back-ups.  It's easier to make a list of players that weren't on the DL: Kelby Tomlinson, Brandon Crawford, Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez, Nick Hundley (thank god for that), Austin Slater and the FNG's called up in September.  I see 2 guys there who are legit full time major leaguers (maybe 3 if Slater develops further).  And Andrew McCutcheon, who gave us 5/6 of a season before he was traded.  Of course, that doesn't include the pitchers: Madison Bumgarner, Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija, Mark Melancon, Will Smith, Hunter Strickland.  The Giants fortunately got exceptional performances out of their young pitchers, otherwise, it would have been a long view up at San Diego.

But just what toll did the injuries take?  There have been some statements to this already.  Ron said, "Every team has plenty of injuries every season."  Nomisnala said, "Injuries hurt this team severely."  I read a quote from the Giants trainer that said he had never even heard of a team with this many injuries.  Of course, that is a bit of a self-serving line for the Giants to put out.  But I wonder, just how much better would the Giants have been had they gotten decent seasons out of most of their players?  Clearly injuries played some part, and clearly every team has them throughout the year.  Also, the injuries have an effect that is longer than the length of the DL stay - a player has to rehab, and then get back to major league play.  It doesn't seem like that happens easily.  Madison said his mechanics were at their best right before he got hurt - not late in the season after he had rehabbed in the major leagues for 4 months.

So what do you think?  10 games?  That would make a big difference.  1 game?  It's clear that the Giants need to make some moves to muscle up the team, yet it is also clear that the Giants are still going to be built around pitching (finishing, after that historically horrendous September with a 5th-best team ERA).  I've said that I thought the Giants improvement (which was ultimately only 9 wins) was the result of pitching.  But how better could they have been without the injuries?

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Thus Spoke Bossman

This was the tail end of a longer piece from LarryB on the website. You can read it here.

A sampling:
You’d think with all the ups and downs of the game I’d have learned how to accept them as simply part of the life cycle of a team. I don’t. We don’t. The expectation of the San Francisco Giants every single year is to contend for the postseason. Falling short any year is a disappointment.
I like to take a guy at his word until he proves I ought not to. Like I said before, it should be an interesting November!


Sunday, September 30, 2018

9th inning: 5-13

1st inning: 7-11
2nd inning: 12-6
3rd inning: 6-12
4th inning: 10-8
5th inning: 11-7
6th inning: 8-10
7th inning: 8-10
8th inning: 6-12
9th inning: 5-13

Today was a sad day to be a Giants fan. Some team in Giants uniforms showed up to play, but they delivered a listless, desultory performance that had some in attendance--with good reason--streaming for the exits in the early innings despite Fan Appreciation Day giveaways. If Dodgers fans won most of the prizes, good on them. Today was an embarrassment and it capped a month of the worst baseball we've seen in a long time, perhaps ever. The Giants go 6-21 5-21 for September: a .222  .192 win percentage. I don't want to know where that rates in the History of the Franchise, but I'm sure someone will tweet it before the end of the day.

Should be interesting this November!


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Madison Bumgarner's 2018 Numbers, or Bum's Nums

In 2018, Madison Bumgarner started the season with a broken hand, suffered at the end of spring training.  Madison's record this year is 6 wins against 7 losses.  That was after a 2017 that featured his dirt biking accident that kept him sidelined for about half a season.  Neither season was notable, except for how poorly the Giants did in 2017, and they will finish as a sub-.500 club in 2018 as well.  Their improvement is only notable because it came from such a low baseline.  Madison Bumgarner is the ace of our staff, without question.  There is more energy when he is on the mound, although he usually (not always, though) is fairly non-emotive as he pitches.  Here is a comparison of the last couple of years:

2014   217 IP,  9.07 K/9,  0.87 HR/9,  1.09 WHIP,  21 HR,  8.04 H/9,  3.36 R/9
2015   218 IP,  9.65 K/9,  0.87 HR/9,  1.01 WHIP,  21 HR,  7.46 H/9,  3.01 R/9
2016   226 IP,  9.97 K/9,  1.03 HR/9,  1.02 WHIP,  26 HR,  7.07 H/9,  3.14 R/9
2017   110 IP,  8.19 K/9,  1.38 HR/9,  1.09 WHIP,  17 HR,  8.19 H/9,  3.36 R/9
2018   130 IP,  7.57 K/9,  0.97 HR/9,  1.24 WHIP,  14 HR,  7.46 H/9,  3.54 R/9*

* Innings pitched, Strikeouts per 9 innings, Home Runs per 9, Walks + Hits per Inning Pitched, Home Runs, and Runs per 9.

So, without applying statistical analysis to any of these figures (most of which I have forgotten anyway), I would say that Madison's WHIP and runs/9 innings have gone up a little bit.  If his WHIP is up, it has to be because his walks are up, because his hits/9 is actually down from last year, and more consistent with his best years of 2014 - 2016.  In fact, the number of walks he issued matches the number in 2014 (43) in nearly 100 fewer innings.  In comparison, in 2017, he issued only 20 walks.   Why is that?   Have right-handed batters learned to lay off those pitches that tail away from the strike zone?  Also, in spite of the fact that the number of hits he has given up has fallen to a number consistent with his 2014 - 2016 totals, the runs he has given up has increased.  I don't know if the difference is significant, but it is interesting to me to see these numbers all in the 3's.  That means you need 4 runs to win, which at least right now, seems a stretch for the Giants.  Here is how it breaks out in terms of runs allowed per game:

2014 - 2.45; 2015 - 2.28; 2016 - 2.32; 2017 - 2.41; 2018 - 2.71

I'm just going to say that I think 2.71 is significant.  It means more than 5 runs in 2 games whereas in his prior years, he allowed less than 5 runs in 2.  That means something on a team that struggles to score any.

John Shea wrote a column the other day that stated that the new GM, whomever he or she may be, could trade Madbum.  Of course, that is predicated on the fact that he, unlike Buster Posey or Brandon Crawford, does not have a no-trade clause.  It's also a recognition of the potential value to a trade partner.  Those clauses can always be broken, though with the player's consent.  But he's really not saying anything.  The same is true for any player without a no-trade clause and is equally true for Bobby Evans as it is for a new face.  Bruce Jenkins, taking a brief pause from his "you kids and your statistics get off my lawn" rants, opines that the Giants should keep Madbum because the rest of the pitchers are too young and inexperienced.  Personally, I want to see him stick around.  I love hearing his thick drawl on the commercials, and I want him on my team should the Giants get back to playoff baseball.  He has more than earned it.  And I am not convinced that he can't get back on track, should he be able to remain injury-free.  A broken hand seems to be a tough thing to come back from.  I don't think his skill set is deteriorating, he's only 29.   The way he is built, he has the potential to be pitching when he is 40.  That's potentially a lot of valuable left handed starts from someone who has 3 World Series rings and has been instrumental in winning all of them.  I'll say this, though.  If Madbum is to be traded, it better damn well be for a monster.  No middle infielders with "potential", we've got those guys up the ass.  Aaron Judge.  Ronald Acuna.  A real force.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Madbum's Last of 2018 is a Turgid Affair

This was supposed to be a story about Madison Bumgarner, ideally one in which he would dominate the doggers and the Giants would put a dent in the playoff and division championship hopes of LA.  Instead, it was a just OK Madbum and too, too much of the same old, same old 2018.  Too little offense.  LA 3, Giants 1 in our park.

Madbum threw 6 innings, he had to pitch around an error and a hit in the 1st, but held LA scoreless.  By the end of the 2nd, he was already at 40 some-odd pitches, and had given up another hit.  LA scored in the 3rd, and then Justin Turner hit a 2-run shot in the 5th.  Madison was done after 6, with 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 7 hits, 3 earned runs and 112 pitches.  Duane Kuiper reported that he had asked Madbum when during the year his mechanics felt best, and Madbum said it was at the end of spring training.  That was right before he got his hand broken.

Todd Hundley launched a home run over the Chevron car in left in the bottom of the 2nd.  Of course, no one was on base.  The Giants loaded the bases with 1 out in the 4th, but grounded into a double play.  The Giants grounded into 5 double plays on the night, including in the 8th and 9th inning.  So that effectively erased all their hits except the Hundley home run (although the Giants actually were the beneficiaries of 3 walks and 1 error).  No matter, it was a punk effort that came up short.  It is going to take better than pretty good pitching to win with this offense.

I was going to post some numbers and thoughts about Madbum, but it's late, and I'll get to that later.

Three to go

The Giants have three games left in their disappointing season and they take on the LA Dodgers who are fighting for a playoff spot. The boys in blue are one game back of the Colorado Rockies for the NL West top spot and a game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for the second Wild Card berth (the Milwaukee Brewers* have clinched the other). The urgency for the Dodgers should add some frisson to the matchups, with nothing left for the Giants but bumping their rivals we could see some good games. Madison Bumgarner gets the call tonight against Hyun-Jin Ryu. Rookie Dereck Rodriguez faces Clayton Kershaw tomorrow, and rookie Andrew Suarez takes on rookie Walker Buehler on Sunday. The Giants, I suppose, are itching to play spoiler. I sure hope so--it's not much but it beats finishing in fourth place. If the Rockies and Dodgers tie, they will play a tiebreaker Monday in LA. If the Cardinals catch up and force a three-way tie, the winner of Monday's game will play in St. Louis on Tuesday to determine the Wild Card, and that game (vs. Cubs or Brewers) would be on Wednesday.



*The Brewers are a game back of the Chicago Cubs and could still win the NL Central. If they tie, they play a tiebreaker Monday in Wrigley.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Walk-off Win!

SF 5  SD 4 (12)
Madison Bumgarner's pinch-hit in the 12th wins it for the Giants, driving in Gorkys Hernandez who had tripled. It was a long and painful game but it was a win, and all wins are to be celebrated especially after four losses in a row. Chris Stratton had an inning from hell in the 3rd and was done by the 5th, and Will Smith blew a save in the 9th, but it all worked out. Gregor Blanco had a clutch pinch-hit to give the Giants a late lead, and Hunter Pence hit a homer. The Giants have 11 wins in 18 games against the Padres, but it doesn't seem like it.

Casey Kelley gets the start tomorrow night. Go Giants!


Monday, September 24, 2018

Takin' one for the Team

SD 5  SF 0
That's Bobby Evans, former minor league administrative assistant and now former General Manager. It was quite a ride and it came to an end after twenty-four years. This is the Giants which means they will keep him around--assuming he wants to stay--and find another job for him. But a new GM is on the agenda for Larry Baer and Brian Sabean. Sabes wants to stay upstairs, his late night poker games are a thing of the past. BobbyE was supposed to do that part of the job but it didn't work out. Brian's a family man, and made the mistake of hiring another like himself. The Giants probably need an outsider who will clash with senior management and ownership now and again just to keep the water in the hot tub fresh. We'll see if they can pull it off. I don't expect anything splashy, like luring Kim Ng away from the Commisioner's Office, but some new blood seems likely.

In the meantime the Giants got shut out by the Padres, at home no less. On the bright side that's only the eighth time they've failed to score at least a run this season. They drop to 4-17 for September, a brisk .190 clip.

Chris Stratton tomorrow night.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Midwest Madbum Matchup

The St. Louis Cardinals came into tonight's game as the 2nd wild card team.  They're in decent shape to end the season in that position, but it's far from certain as the Story-less Rockies, coming off the losing end of a sweep by the doggers (damn it) are not far behind.  The Cardinals played like a team that has designs on playing in the post season.   And the Giants......gave it a pretty good effort themselves.  This was no give-away by the orange and black, but they came out on the losing end by a score of 5 - 3.

Madison Bumgarner on the mound.  He threw 98 pitches to get through 6 innings, and gave up 3 runs on 8 hits and 1 walk.  He struck out 5.  It seems to me like Madison is striking out fewer people per start this year, I'll check at the end of the season to see if that is true.  He still has the smooth, deceptive, sweeping lefty-handed delivery that we're used to, but maybe the league has caught on to him a bit.  At the end of 6, the Giants were behind, 3 - 1.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals' starter, John Gant, couldn't finish the 3rd inning, but they brought in Tyson Ross to get through the 5th.  The Cardinals used a total of 6 pitchers on the night, compared to the Giants' 5 (Okert and Moronta in the 7th, Melancon and Watson in the 8th).  The Giants scored 2 more in the 7th on a Blanco single and a Longoria ground-out to tie the score at 3 all, but Melancon gave up the game in the 8th on a 2-run double to Matt Adams.

The Giants struck out 16 times in this game.  Think about that.  16 times.  That's like coming to the plate with 2 outs per inning in every inning except 1.  Although the Cardinals struck out 8 times, so, like giving away 1 out in every inning except 1.   The announcers were saying something about how the Giants have a hard time hitting fastballs, Buster Posey and Alen Hanson excepted.  That doesn't make sense to me.  I always thought the one criteria for being in the major leagues was that you could hit a fastball, therefore pitchers always needed other pitches.  Is that not true for the Giants?  Evan Longoria had a good game, he is hot at the end of the season, so maybe his broken hand bothered him for a bit longer than his stint on the disabled list would indicate.  No one else had a notable offensive night.  And with this loss, the Giants cannot finish at .500.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Giants Score Five Runs!

SF 5  SD 4
And they needed them all. It tool pluck and luck for the Giants to prevail but prevail they did. The Giants scored eight runs in a loss in Colorado on September 3rd and then scored 2, 3, 2, 3, 3, 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 2 before Monday's four and last night's five. In the two games before that 8-run outburst the Giants scored a run apiece. So it's pretty exciting to see a five-spot on the board. Derek Holland allowed four runs in his five frames but the relief corps held the line. The Padres missed a game-tying homer in the 9th by mere feet but them's the breaks. Hunter Pence blasted a two-run homer--he's likely in his last days in a Giants uniform, as we know, so appreciate him while you can.

If the Giants run the table they'll finish 82-80. If they win 9 of 10 they'll have a .500 season. Hey, why not? As our friend nomisnala pointed out it was pretty long odds they'd LOSE eleven straight! Improbability is not impossibility.

Chris Stratton starts tonight at 6:10 Pacific. GO GIANTS!


Monday, September 17, 2018

A Win in a Lost Season

SF 4  SD 2
The Giants scored four runs tonight and snapped their streak of eleven consecutive games scoring three or fewer. That, and they were officially eliminated. It should not be overlooked that rookie lefty Andrew Suarez pitched a fine game (7-2/3, 4 H, 2 R). Homers by Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria provided the offense. Rookies Chris Shaw (3 hits), Austin Slater (a superb 9-6 outfield assist), and Aramis Garcia (RBI single) also contributed. At 71-80 the team could win all their remaining games and finish above .500! Even if you think they are a .500 club the probability of winning eleven coin flips is 1/2048 or less than 0.05%. So we won't worry about that.

Derek Holland tomorrow night. GO GIANTS!


Saturday, September 15, 2018

A Twinge of Regret

The Giants won their second consecutive shut out of the Colorado Rockies by a score of 3 - 0,  Madison Bumgarner at 5 - 6 coming into the game against Rockie German Marquez, with a 12 - 9 record.  Marquez has been a mainstay for the Rockies this year, already with 177 IP and a 3.96 era.

The Giants were able to score early, in the 2nd and then again in the 3rd.  A Crawford single and a Hundley double led to the first run on a Slater ground out and the 2nd on a Pence single.  In the 3rd, Madison Bumgarner led of the inning with a double.  Blanco singled, then after a Panik ground out, Longoria was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  A very wild pitch scored Bumgarner, but the Giants left the other runners on base.  That was it for scoring.

Meanwhile, Madison scattered 5 hits, 1 walk and 1 hit batsman nicely over 6 innings.  He threw 64 pitches, striking out 2.  Watson, Melancon and Smith pitched scoreless innings for the win.  And speaking of twinges, Madison Bumgarner left the game after 6 with a twinge in his side.  It was reported that Bruce Bochy "thought he would be ready for his next start."  Let's hope so.

The net result is that LA, after pounding St. Louis by a score of 17 - 4, is now in 1st place.  Fucking great.  The Giants couldn't win when it would do them some good, now they win, only to help the smogsuckers.  The Rockies have yet to go to LA, so they just might have to do things themselves.  The dbacks lost.  There's still a wild card race and St. Louis is not a lock.  In fact, no one is.  Milwaukee lost.  Washington (who beat the Braves) might even have a late season shot.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Stopper Stratton

SF 2  COL 0
I've always hated the idea of a 'stopper' in baseball, it's such a negative thing. Instead of a guy who helps you win you have a guy that stops you from losing. Terrible. But baseball is as much about losing as it is about winning. Kind of like what one guy--I can't remember who--said about writing, that it was really about managing writer's block. I can relate to that. So tonight we got a guy who stopped the losing, and far from a negative thing it was an enormous positive event. I know "enormous" is hyperbolic, by my goodness an eleven-game losing streak is a string of events that even hyperbole can't encompass.

Chris Stratton breathed life into the gasping near-corpse that is the 2018 Giants with a scintillating shutout of the first-place Colorado Rockies. It was his first MLB complete game and the first by a Giants pitcher this season. The 27-year old from Tupelo allowed only two hits and two walks and kept the Rockies from making solid contact all night long with a dazzling array of curveballs and superb command of the fastball and cutter. Despite leading the club in pitcher-wins (10) it has been a hard slog for the former first-rounder. Only half (12 of 25) of his starts have been of the QS variety (min 6 IP, max 3 RA). Eleven times he's lasted five or fewer frames. Eight of those he's allowed four or more runs. But at the end of August he threw eight scoreless against the D-Backs at home and followed that with a solid effort against the Mets. He got rocked in Milwaukee, but responded with his best-ever effort tonight to play the stopper.

The Giants ended their eleven-game slide, the worst in the sixty-year history of the San Francisco franchise. Like I said, baseball is as much about losing as it is about winning. How you manage your losing streaks--and they will come to all ballclubs--says much about you. Just like how players manage those inevitable slumps. They will happen to every one in uniform, no exceptions. The Giants have played themselves into a gaping organizational cavern, and how they'll find their way out is anyone's guess. But at least we can get excited about a terrific performance by a player that will probably be an important piece of next year's team. For tonight, that's all right. Nice work, Strat. Keep it up!


Monday, September 10, 2018

8th inning: 6-12

1st inning: 7-11
2nd inning: 12-6
3rd inning: 6-12
4th inning: 10-8
5th inning: 11-7
6th inning: 8-10
7th inning: 8-10
8th inning: 6-12

That brings the team to 68-76 (.472), fourth place in the NL West, 11 games off the pace. The Giants are winless (0-8) in the month of September. They had already taken themselves out of the race and now they've fallen off a cliff. Starting tonight there is one seasonal inning--18 games--remaining in 2018: six three game sets; four at home (39-30, .565) and two on the road (29-46, .387). The Braves are in San Francisco this week and the Rockies visit this weekend. The Giants then go to San Diego and St. Louis, and finish the season at home with the Padres and Dodgers. There are three Thursdays left in September, all are off-days. The one tiny flickering hope is that LA will need to win those final three games (Sep 29-30) and the Giants can somehow prevent that. But that's a small consolation in a frustrating and ultimately disappointing season.

The team's 557 runs scored (3.87 rpg) is the 5th-worst in MLB and their 613 runs allowed (4.26 rpg) puts them right in the middle of the pack. One of the few bright spots of the season, rookie right-hander Dereck Rodriguez (1.8 fWAR in 97 IP), gets the ball tonight at 7:15 Pacific.

Go Giants!


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Yeah, They Lost Again

It's been almost a week since anybody put out a new post, but the story is the same. An ugly losing streak. The silver lining is some interesting FNGs, I suppose.
Shit, I'm not ready to start caring about the 49ers.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Lefties Labor in Loss

COL 9  SF 8
Madison Bumgarner did not have the good stuff today in Denver. The Giants ace southpaw gave up three homers in his five innings of work, leaving with the Rockies ahead 7-2. Lefty reliever Steven Okert, bucking the day's theme, had an efficient, scoreless 6th. Righty reliever Pierce Johnson kept things quiet in the 7th. The Giants, meanwhile, made an explosive comeback, surging ahead 8-7 with a run in the 6th, two in the 7th, and three in the 8th. Chris Shaw's first major league hit was a spectacular two-run bomb pinch-hitting for Johnson. Alas, Tony Watson gave it back in the bottom of the 8th and the Rockies reclaimed the lead with two runs off the normally stalwart lefty. The Giants score EIGHT runs in one game but still lose. There's the season in a nutshell!


Friday, August 31, 2018

Young Giants Shine

SF 7  NYM 0
It was a nice combination of youth and experience that led the way for the Giants tonight. Rookie Andrew Suarez allowed only two hits and no walks in his seven shutout innings. He was especially impressive in the top of the 7th, wriggling out of a jam with the game still scoreless. The Giants would break through against Zack Wheeler in the bottom of the 7th with a double by Brandon Belt. The big fella scooted over to third base on a grounder to shortstop, probably surprising Jose Reyes who hesitated just enough so that he had to get the out at first base instead of taking a chance with a throw to third base. Belt then came in on a sacrifice fly by rookie Chris Shaw who was making his debut. The Giants led 1-0 and Wheeler was done after that inning, having allowed only four hits while whiffing nine. He got the loss, his first since June 22nd.

Rookie catcher Aramis Garcia, also making his debut, homered in the 8th to start a barrage by the Giants. He batted again later in the same frame and drove in another run. It took four Mets relievers to stop the six-run outburst. Brandon Belt had a two-run triple to really get things going. I'm happy to see him hitting the ball again! Veteran Tony Watson took care of the 8th and youngster Ty Blach covered the 9th. A lovely game, to be sure, and one we thought we might see more of this season.

Congratulations to Aramis Garcia who not only was filling in for Buster Posey--no pressure there--but playing in his first major league game. He called a shutout, the team's thirteenth. And he hit a homer, joining quite a list of guys who hit a homer in their debut while also in the starting lineup: Orlando Cepeda, Bobby Bonds, Will Clark, Randy Kutcher, Eliezer Alfonzo, John Bowker, Brandon Crawford, Brett Pill, Adam Duvall, and Jae-gyun Hwang.

Derek Holland tomorrow. Go Giants!


Adios, Andrew

Andrew McCutchen won a lot of fans with his play and demeanor in his short time in San Francisco. Predictably he was traded before the deadline after he cleared waivers. The business part of the game still intrudes rudely despite five decades of fandom. I knew the odds he would be in another uniform by the end of the season were pretty good, and it is a move the organization has to make, but it still stinks. Cutch played with grace and class and was well-liked almost immediately. At 31 and in his tenth season, he's not the 7+ WAR player he was from 2012-2014 when he won the MVP ('13) and finished third in the voting twice ('12, '14). But that doesn't mean he isn't a good player! He leaves leading the team in hits, runs, doubles, homers, RBIs, total bases, and stolen bases. Of the Giants 135 games Cutch has started in 128 and appeared in 130 (most on the team), and also has the most plate appearances. The guy has been a rock in a season of inconsistency. So, farewell to our short-timer, and I would normally wish him well but he wound up on the Yankees, and they're no fun to root for. Maybe he'll hit a bunch of homers in the playoffs but the Bombers will still lose. That'll be OK by me.

McCutchen was the 11th pick of the 2005 draft. Here are some guys drafted ahead of him: Justin Upton, Alex Gordon, Ryan Zimmerman, Ryan Braun, and Troy Tulowitzki. Here are some guys drafted after him (still in the 1st round): Jacoby Ellsbury, Jay Bruce, Jed Lowrie, Clay Buchholz, Colby Rasmus. The Giants did not have a pick until the fourth round that year, and the only significant piece from that draft came with the 852nd pick (28th round): Sergio Romo. The Giants had to give up their picks in the first three rounds as free agent compensation for Armando Benitez, Mike Matheny, and Omar Vizquel.

In return the Giants get two youngsters from the Dominican Republic. One is a 23-year old utility infielder named Abiatal Avelino. He's been in the Yankees system since he was 17 and has some time in the Dominican Winter League but no ML service. The other is an almost-21-year old right handed pitcher named Juan De Paula. He was in the Seattle organization and has seen some time in the Domincan Summer League as well as low-A ball with New York. He also has no ML service. Welcome aboard, FNGs!


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Thriller Gets the Giants to........ .500?

I love me a 1 - 0 game, especially when my favorite pitcher is on the mound.   But this was a weird one.

This game felt like the Giants were going to lose.  They allowed a lot of base-runners.  Clay Bucholz didn't seem to allow much to the Giants, each hit he allowed was shortly erased.   The Giants grounded into double plays to end both the 1st and 2nd innings.  Brandon Crawford grabbed a line drive, only to have the ball bounce out of his glove.  Madison Bumgarner was called out on a 3rd strike that was at least 9 inches outside, and no, he did not get that call when he was on the mound.  In fact, there seemed to be numerous bad ball / strike calls and those bad calls didn't favor the Giants.  I don't think I've ever seen a 3-base error, but Austin Slater made one that put Jon Jay on 3rd with one out.

Yet, they held on.  Madison Bumgarner threw 107 pitches to go 7 full.  He gave up 4 hits, but walked 4 and struck out 5.  He got some pop-ups and grounders when he needed them.  And a relay, Duggar to Crawford to Hundley, at least 9 1/2 feet in the air, that Hundley caught to tag out Nick Ahmed at the plate in the 8th.  Clay Bucholz left the game after 7, the game was scoreless at that point.  Sam Dyson gave up 2 hits in the 8th, but no runs (well, thanks to that tag at the plate).   Will Smith worked the 9th, and looked good doing it.  In the bottom of the 9th, Steve Duggar walked with Brad Ziegler on the mound, went to 2nd on a Nick Hundley single, and then jammed his left arm coming back to 2nd base as he thought better than to try for 3rd.  But he stayed in the game.  Alen Hanson was to hit for Will Smith, so the snakes swapped pitchers, bringing in Jake Diekman.  So Bochy swapped Hanson for Gorkys.  Gorkys saw one pitch, hit one pitch and Duggar scored before a throw from left got close.  Then, I assume, he immediately went to get his arm iced and examined.  The score was 1 - 0 Giants.

Steve Duggar scored the Giants only run.  He also has been responsible for 4 of the Giants 5 runs they scored in the last 2 days.  The Giants have now won 4 in a row and are a .500 club.  In their last 9 games, the Giants are 6 - 3 with a 1.84 era.  Colorado picks up a game, as do the blue goo.  Derek Rodriguez pitches tomorrow.

Strat Attack Sinks Snakes

SF 2  AZ 0
Chris Stratton had his best start ever last night (8 IP, 0 R) and got just enough support for the Giants to slip past the first-place Diamondbacks. The 28-year old former first-rounder from Tupelo has been in the organization since 2012 but has yet to throw 200 ML innings. Maybe this opportunity late in the season will be what he needs to put his game together for next year. With Cueto out the team will certainly need lots of quality innings from the starters. Time to make yourself part of the mix, Strat! Speaking of serving notice, rookie centerfielder Steven Duggar hit a two-run homer in the 2nd to provide all the scoring. His glove will keep him in the outfield mix, it will be nice to see if he can add a reliable bat to go along with his great speed.

Madison Bumgarner tonight. GO GIANTS!


Sunday, August 26, 2018

Giants Edge Rangers

SF 3  TEX 1
Bullpen woes Friday night cost the Giants a win and made things uncomfortably close yesterday afternoon. But today the 'pen delivered a scoreless 2-2/3 in support of a strong start from Derek Holland (6-1/3, 3 H, 1 R) and that led to a series win for the home squad. Mark Melancon got the save, just like yesterday. Steven Duggar's two-out triple drove in two in the 4th, and Evan Longoria scored on a passed ball after a triple in the 1st and that was just enough to prevail. How often have the Giants scored in an inning in which they hit a triple? I'd venture not too often. The triple, a feature of PhoneCo Park, is one of those baseball appendages that has fan appeal but not much value in the age of the home run. According to B-R there have been almost seven times as many homers (4484) as triples (662) this season, and ten times (6685) as many doubles.

Chris Stratton is apparently the starter tomorrow night against the Diamondbacks. I'm guessing we'll see MadBum Tuesday and D-Rod Wednesday, but they may take advantage of the off-day on Thursday to to push the rookie (just off the DL) back to Friday. In that case they'll probably use Ty Blach. Go Giants!


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Giants Hang On

SF 5  TEX 3
After blowing a 6-0 lead last night the Giants looked like they might blow today's 4-0 lead but they hung on to win 5-3. Rookie Andrew Suarez had an excellent start: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, righting the ship after a disastrous start in Cincinnati. Last night rookie Dereck Rodriguez delivered 6 IP and only 2 R but the 'pen couldn't hold the lead and the Rangers prevailed in extras. This afternoon the 'pen was shaky but ultimately shut down the Texas lineup when it mattered and the team managed to notch one in the win column. The Giants sit in fourth place at 64-67, 8-1/2 off the pace in the West. Getting back-to-back solid outings from the young starters is nice to see. Let's hope they can carry their successes over to next year as the rotation will be without Johnny Cueto.

Buster Posey goes for surgery on Monday, ending his season. The hope is that he will be healthy for the start of next season. Aramis Garcia will be called up to take his spot. Garcia was a second-round pick in 2014, the 52nd overall, five spots above Andy Suarez. Tyler Beede was the team's first-round pick that year (#14), and Austin Slater was acquired in the 8th round (#238 overall). Derek Holland gets the start tomorrow in the rubber game. The rotation has not been announced for the Arizona series.



Thursday, August 23, 2018

Shitty Road Trip Ends With a Win

The marquee match-up: Madison Bumgarner facing Jacob deGrom on a fine looking Thursday afternoon in New York.  DeGrom, as you may be aware, is a leading candidate for the Cy Young award because of these numbers:  214 K in 174 innings; 1.71 ERA; 0.97 WHIP; .205 BAA.  He doesn't have so many wins, though, actually, after today he is 8 - 8.  That's because the Mets are actually a worse team than the Giants, clocking in with a 56 - 71 record.

DeGrom struck out 10 today in 6 innings, allowing 1 earned run and 2 total.   He allowed only 4 hits but put 4 Giants on base via the walk.  Madison pitched better.  He went 8 innings, threw 109 pitches (but only 73 to get through 6 innings), hit one Met with a pitch, but walked none.  Also, the 2nd run was a Madison Bumgarner rbi double in the 4th, scoring Austin Slater.  The first was Steve Duggar, who walked and went to 3rd on a ground out before scoring on a passed ball.  Todd Frazier homered for the Mets in the 7th.  Evan Longoria hit a solo home run in the 8th to make the final 3 - 1 Giants.  Will Smith got the save.

This road trip started with 2 victories over a good Los Angeles dogger team.  It ended with today's victory to give the Giants a 4 - 6 road trip record.   There are 6 teams in the 15-team National League that have a record that is sub-.500.  The Giants aren't even on the top of that pile of dog doo, Pittsburgh is.  The split the 4 games with the Mets (15 games under .500) and lost all 3 to the Reds (also 15 games under .500 which includes the victories over the Giants).  The Giants climb back to 3 games under.  It never ceases to amaze me how the Giants have the talent to play with the elite teams, but manage to play down to the crappy ones.  They come home to face the Rangers (last in the AL West at 15 under, so THEY should be a problem) and Arizona (still in first place in our division of deplorables) before they get a day off.

Monday, August 20, 2018

7th inning: 8-10

1st inning: 7-11
2nd inning: 12-6
3rd inning: 6-12
4th inning: 10-8
5th inning: 11-7
6th inning: 8-10
7th inning: 8-10

Tonight the Giants had the joy of facing their 2009 number one pick, Zack Wheeler, who is having a great season. Predictably, he kicked ass. He's part of a formidable three-headed rotation that also features Jacob DeGrom and Noah Syndergaard. Wheeler missed all of 2015 and 2016 and much of 2017, but is now popping 98 mph with his fastball. Not that it matters: the Giants make everyone look like an ace. Mickey Calloway probably left Wheeler in for one inning too long, and the Giants tied the game in the 7th, but he still struck out ten against only one walk. It was all for naught as the good guys prevailed in 13 innings, 2-1, the winning run the result of two Mets colliding in left field.

The Mets, like the Giants, expected much more of their season. They were NL Champs in 2015, the year after the Giants won the Series. And they made the Wild Card game the next year, losing of course to the Giants and Madison Bumgarner. Like the Giants, they stunk last season (70-92) and are stinking this season (54-69). They are also on the hook for some big salaries with aging stars: Yoenis Cespedes, David Wright, and Jay Bruce have $113.5M coming in 2019 and 2020. But this isn't about the Mets. It's about the Giants.

At the trade deadline the Giants stood pat. They were 55-54 on July 31st, and five games back, and optimists could say they still had a chance. They followed that with a 6-10 run to effectively jump off the cliff and take themselves out of the race. I know, there are 36 games remaining, but the team can't win games consistently enough to generate any enthusiasm among the fans or strike fear into their NL West opponents. At this point they'll be lucky to finish with a .500 record.

Andrew McCutchen has been placed on revocable waivers (according to Baggs). That's not surprising. They'll give him a chance to exit with some grace and style and it will save the team a few shekels the rest of the way. You have to assume this means the organization is waving the surrender flag. Will another poor season force the staid and conservative Giants into big changes? I can't answer that. They should make some big changes, but I'm not much for should. I'm only interested in what they will actually do. (Not that I don't want to hear what you guys think! The comments section awaits your words.) I'm patient--the big stuff will have to happen in the off-season.


Saturday, August 18, 2018

One Run a Game, That's All We Ask

Well, that sucked, didn't it?

32 innings, 3 games, 3 runs.  Remember back, earlier in the season, when the Giants were among the league leaders in home runs?  WTF happened?  We hit fly balls to the track, they hit home runs.  When we go to a bandbox on a warm night, we hit fly balls to the track.

Madison Bumgarner pitched against the Reds and Matt Harvey.  The Reds are in last place in their division, by a substantial margin.  The Giants are now 2 games below .500.  Matt Harvey was at one time a pretty good pitcher with the Mets.  Then he sucked.  But maybe seeing his name in the lineup to start against the Giants is like a super B vitamin/steroid/line of coke/adrenaline rush.  Or maybe it's magic, because it seems to work for everything from untested rookies to washed-up rehab projects.

Madison pitched well for 3 innings, then he didn't.  After 6, it was 6 - 0 Reds.  Then Hunter Strickland, who is here solely to be showcased before he can be moved for, hopefully, someone with at least half a brain added a run.  Matt Harvey threw 6 1/3.   The Giants loaded the bases in the 8th with NO OUTS.  They got 1 run, and were lucky to get that.   Final score: 7 - 1 Reds.

Ron's right - short of astounding reversal at this late date, there has to be a change.   Probably several, and look for many of our favorites to be gone in the off season.  Waiting for guys to get healthy is not going to win more games - everyone IS healthy except for Cueto and Smardjy, and you're not going to see better performances from them than you've seen from DRod and Holland lately.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Giants Slide Past Dodgers

SF 2  LA 1
If the Giants want to serve notice to the rest of the NL West that they are indeed contenders there's no better way than to beat the Dodgers in LA. For the second straight night they rallied in the 9th inning for a stirring win and have put themselves in position for a sweep. And a sweep is what it will take. At this point in the season the Giants have to think about winning streaks. The Dodgers have been vulnerable since their ace closer Kenley Jansen went on the disabled list--tonight's defeat was their 5th in a row--and they've had a hard time finding his replacement, giving up runs in the 9th in their last four games.

Alen Hanson gets the hero's wreath for delivering both RBI hits, one from the right side (off Alex Wood in the 2nd) and one from the left side (off Kenta Maeda in the 9th). Nick Hundley and Yasiel Puig got into it in the 7th and both were ejected. It seemed that Hundley took exception to Puig's antics (gee, that's news) and gave him an earful to which Puig responded by throwing punches. The Giants weren't happy that Hundley had to go and felt it was Puig's problem all the way, but the umps had their say and that was that. Fortunately the Giants won the game and the Dodgers couldn't boast about how the fight fired them up. They did come back in the 8th to tie it up after being behind 1-0 all night, but that only set up the Giants last at-bat heroics. Brandon Belt returned from the DL and entered the game when Hundley left (Buster was at first and had to move to catcher) and wound up getting a hit and scoring the winning run. Nice to see him back.

Derek Holland goes tomorrow night. The Dodgers have struggled lately against lefty starters, let's hope that continues. GO GIANTS!


Monday, August 13, 2018

Nick the Stick

Nick Hundley has been a very valuable pick up for the Giants.

Madison Bumgarner vs Clayton Kershaw in Los Angeles.  These guys are supposed to be (along with Greinke, who has more wins this year than Madbum and Kershaw combined) the elite pitchers in the NL West, but the stadium was half-empty.  LA.   It was much as advertised.  Kershaw threw his best game of the year in 18 starts.   Madbum struggled, although pitched well.  He gave up 2 runs, a weird play that took Brandon Crawford out of the game on a collision with Gorkys Hernandez on a bloop hit that scored 1, and a Justin Turner home run that scored the second.  He threw 97 pitches in 6 innings, gave up 7 hits, struck out 4 and walked 2.  Kershaw threw 8 full innings, striking out 9, walking none and giving up 4 hits.  A couple of those hits scored Steven Duggar who joins the list of Giants who manage somehow to get hits off of Kershaw (he had 2).  So the score going into the 9th, after Sam Dyson and Ray Black pitched a scoreless 7th and 8th, respectively, was 2 - 1 LA.

Kenley Jensen is on the DL.  With 1 out, d'Arnaud singled.  Posey singled.  Longoria hits into a fielder's choice, Posey out at 2nd.  2 outs.  Slater works the count, but is hit by a pitch to load the bases.  Hundley is brought in to pinch hit.  On the first pitch, he lines a shot to right field, scoring 2 for the Giants lead.   Gorkys singles to score Slater, and then steals second.  Duggar should have been out, but the doggers muff the play and Nick Hundley scores, only to bounce around the dugout like a little kid.  Will Smith gets the save, the Giants win, 5 - 2.

So the Giants climb back to .500.  They aren't really a factor in the NL West race right now, and they aren't really a factor in the Wild Card race, but for tonight, at least, they rocked just like old times.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

D-Rod Does It Again

SF 4  PIT 3
The best story of the Giants 2018 season is the excellent work from rookie right-hander Dereck Rodriguez. For the third straight start the 26-year old from Arlington, Texas finished seven frames and allowed three or fewer hits and one or fewer runs. Today it was 7/2/1, and both times before that it was 7/3/0; he logged Game Scores of 72 (today), 78 (August 6th) and 71 (July 31st). Today he gave up just TWO HITS, and has given up a mere 61 hits in 80 innings pitched. Whatever he is doing it is working.

The bottom of the lineup got it done this afternoon, with Nick Hundley's (#8) two hits and two RBI, Steven Duggar's (#7) two hits and a run scored, Joe Panik's (#6) two RBI, and Gorkys' (#5) two runs scored. Reyes Moronta and Tony Watson combined to give up two runs in the 8th in relief of D-Rod, making a 4-1 game a 4-3 game, but Will Smith closed it out on 15 pitches (and two whiffs) in the 9th.

On June 9th Dereck Rodriguez' ERA was 5.25 and after today--ten starts and one relief appearance later--it is 2.25! You have to like that.

It's Bumgarner vs. Kershaw tomorrow night in LA. GO GIANTS!


Friday, August 10, 2018

Giants Outlast Pirates

SF 13  PIT 10
The Giants lineup enjoyed a rare fruitful evening, battering Pirates rookies starter Clay Holmes for seven runs in the first three innings. (Holmes was born in Dothan, Alabama, birthplace of Matt Cain.) They battered reliever Casey Sadler for four more in the next three innings. Fun fact: Buster Posey had four hits in the first four innings! Former Giants pitcher Kyle Crick was crazy wild and generated some bad blood on the home bench when he drilled Evan Longoria in the 7th, that led to another run. Crick was a first-round draft pick (#46) in 2011 and went to Pittsburgh in the Andrew McCutchen deal. The Giants also got Joe Panik (#29) in the first round that year.

You'd figure 12 runs would be enough, and it was, but the Bucs battled back with three off Derek Holland in the first five innings and four in the 7th with a grand slam off Pierce Johnson (two runs were charged to Holland). Johnson was a first-rounder (#43, Cubs) in 2012, the year Chris Stratton was the 20th pick. I only mention that because new pitcher Casey Kelley, just promoted from Sacramento, was also a first-round pick (#30, Red Sox). That was back in 2008 when Buster Posey was the fifth pick overall.

Tony Watson had a rare bad outing in the 8th, giving up two more runs, and the Giants 11-3 lead dwindled to 12-9, but they added on in their half to make it 13-9, which was good as closer Will Smith gave up a run in the 9th. It was ugly, it should have been a cakewalk, but there's no sense complaining about esthetics when the team is desperate to put together a winning stretch.

The Giants have yet to name a starter for tomorrow's game at 6:05 Pacific. Let's hope they keep swinging the bats!


Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Another Gem, Wasted Of Course

You really didn't expect anything different, did you?

Madbum threw a fine game.  7 innings, 100 pitches, 0 runs, 3 walks, 5 hits and several scrapes escaped.  He exited with the lead.  Brandon Crawford was again responsible for the Giants offense, with a double and the run scored courtesy of Chase d'Arnaud.

Ray Black gave it up in the 8th.  He has pitched well, not giving up a run in about 10 outings since his first, shaky debut.  Houston hit a home run with a man on base, because, of course they did.  The final score was 2 - 1.

Giants failed to score Alen Hanson after his lead-off triple in the 7th, because, of course.  I heard the announcers claim that the Giants have more blown saves (25) than any other major league team.  I assume they mean blown saves and holds, as today's fail was not technically a save situation.  It was not in the 9th inning.  No matter.

I like well pitched, low scoring games.  I realize that's an anomaly in today's market, where the goal seems to be more runs in less time elapsed.  I did not enjoy today's game.  As the innings mounted, I expected the Giants to cough it up, and they did.  I do not like listening to a game with this feeling.

Monday, August 6, 2018


HOU 3  SF 1
Dereck Rodriguez made the best start of his young career last time out, a seven-inning, three-hit, one run effort against the Padres on July 31st that resulted in an extra-inning win for the Giants. D-Rod got an ND, of course. Tonight the rookie righty topped that performance with a seven-inning, three-hit, zero-run effort against a much better club, the Astros. Brandon Crawford backed him with a solo shot in the 6th and the Giants went to the 9th with a 1-0 lead. Alas, closer Will Smith was not sharp and gave up a two-out, three-run homer to Marwin Gonzalez that tipped it for Houston. It was Smith's first blown save, he's been a rock in the 'pen otherwise. D-Rod, of course, had another ND.

It was a tough loss for the team especially because it was so close to being one of the best wins of this frustrating season. Charlie Morton, having a great year, delivered seven strong and the Astros 'pen did the rest. The Giants never got anything going on offense, BCraw's blast was the only breakthrough. The takeaway from tonight of course is the fine work, once again, by Dereck Rodriguez. I'm sure you all remember the many heartbreaking losses and no-decisions accumulated by Matt Cain in his early seasons. D-Rod has enjoyed a little more success (he's 5-1, after all), but his two best starts have resulted in two "atta-boys" and that seems particularly Cain-esque. The Giants are back to .500 and seem determined to stay there, but at least we can get excited about a new young arm no matter what else happens.


Sunday, August 5, 2018

Giants Eke Out Split

I heard on the radio that since June 20 (I'm pretty sure that was the date mentioned) the Giants have the best ERA, save Boston, of any team in the major leagues.   Obviously, Boston has been doing a lot more winning in that time frame.  Can that even be right?

Giants salvaged a split in Arizona, which gives them a win for their road trip (4 - 2).  That is their first winning road trip this year.  They won behind some good pitching from Derek Holland and a spate of relievers by a score of 3 - 2.  Nick Hundley got an rbi and Evan Longoria got 2, the second an 8th inning solo shot to give the Giants the lead.  Ray Black was on the mound in the 7th, so he was credited with the win.  Watson and Dyson pitched the 8th, and Will Smith the 9th.  (Also, Reyes Moronta pitched 2/3 of an inning after Holland was pulled after 5 1/3.)  The Giants scored 8 runs in the first game of this 4-game series, and 3 in each game thereafter, for a total of 17.  The snakes scored 18 total.

So if the Giants are now only 1 game over .500, but their pitching has been very good, I guess you can figure out why they aren't posting a better record.  We seem to be in pretty good shape as long as DRod, MadBum or Dutch is on the mound.  Maybe Andrew Suarez and Chris Stratton need nicknames.  Or maybe Blach needs to start a game, although he has been damn good as a reliever.  Maybe Evan Longoria and Andrew McCutcheon can carry a bit of the load until Crawford can get a bit more consistent at the plate and Belt comes back.  But the season's running along, the Giants need to improve if they are going to have any hope of an impact.  Buster Posey played at first, he went 1 for 3.  Houston up next at the Phone.  That's not going to be easy. 

Friday, August 3, 2018

An August Victory

After scoring less than 4 runs per game for July, the Giants beat the dbacks behind Madison Bumgarner tonight by a score of 8 - 1.   That suggests that Madison dominated and that the Arizona starter flailed, but neither of those things are true.  Zach Greinke threw for the snakes, he was effective and made it through most innings in very few pitches as the Giants made quick outs.  Evan Longoria put the Giants on the board with a 1st inning solo home run, and Madison loaded the bases before getting the 3rd out in the 1st.  Maddy also loaded the bases in the 2nd, and allowed a tying run to score on a sac fly.  He allowed 2 runners on in the 3rd, 1 in the 4th and 1 in the 5th.  Somehow, no further runs scored, but by that time he had thrown over 100 pitches and was done for the evening.  Maddy's line: 5 innings, 101 pitches, 7 hits, 3 walks, but only 1 run.  Meanwhile Greinke allowed only 4 hits and 1 walk.  2 of those hits came in the 5th, when Austin Slater, who is the only Giant who has a batting average that is not totally unimpressive these days, doubled, went to 3rd on a Steve Duggar ground out, and then scored on a Madison Bumgarner rope to left.  That was the Giants' second run and Greinke left the game at 2 - 1 Giants.

The game fell apart for the dbacks with their relief - recently acquired Jake Diekman was a mess, walking 2; recently acquired (or, re-acquired) Brad Ziegler gave up 4 runs on 3 hits and TJ McFarland added the 8th.  Melancon, Black and Blach allowed no runs in relief.

So that's 4 wins in a row for the Giants, just 1 short of their season's best streak.  It is also their 5th consecutive win against the dbacks.  LA won (by a lot), so the win only moves the snakes 1 game behind, although Colorado also loses a game.  The Panda will need hamstring surgery, so is out for the year.  Brandon Belt will need another 8 - 10 days on the DL, according to Alex Pavlovic.  Chris Stratton is expected to re-join the Giants.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Giants Edge Padres in Extras

SF 3  SD 2 (10)
The Padres touched rookie Dereck Rodriguez for a run in the 1st on a two-out double by veteran Eric Hosmer. It would be all they'd get off the Giants starter who threw perhaps his best game of the season, and boy would the team need it. In a thoroughly Giants-y inning they tied it up in the 4th with a six-batter, three-hit attack: out, single, single, infield single, sacrifice fly, out. The extra-base hit with men on base has so eluded the team in 2018, and the theme would continue. In the 5th Andrew McCutchen, subject of much media interest, led off with a homer to make it 2-1. Note the extra-base hit but with no one on base. Of course the Giants had a chance to break it open and in an even more Giants-y sequence in the 8th and doom was foretold, it seemed, by the outcome. Single, single, walk--bases loaded and no one out. But a chance was blown as ball four went to the backstop and the runner at third (Evan Longoria) inexplicably failed to score. That was followed by a strike out, a grounder with the force out at home, and a fly out. The Padres tied the game up in the bottom half off Reyes Moronta, who has been awesome but, like the entire 'pen, over-used. Fortunately the Giants kept it together and gave themselves a chance with another spectacular Giants-y rally. Longoria led off the 10th with a triple which was quickly followed by a Nick Hundley strike out and an Austin Slater fly out. Brandon Crawford finally gave the club a run-scoring hit with a single and it was 3-2 Giants. They loaded the bases after that but got no more. Will Smith, for the third straight game, closed it superbly.

It was a grind-it-out win, the only kind the Giants can do with any consistency. There's not enough punch to thump opponents. They have to rely on the pitching and today was D-Rod's day. The final line was 112 pitches to 26 batters over seven innings, three hits, three walks, seven strikeouts, and just the one run. Tony Watson buzzed through a scoreless 9th after Moronta's uncharacteristically labored 8th, and Smith finished. But I have to come back to the rookie's performance, not just today but overall. That was his 10th start--ever in the bigs--and he's had one stinker and one meh and the rest have been at least six innings and two or fewer runs allowed. Check out this guy's game log--he's done a fair impersonation of Johnny Cueto!

Madison Bumgarner is next: Thursday at 6:40 in Arizona. GO GIANTS!


Monday, July 30, 2018

6th inning: 8-10

1st inning: 7-11
2nd inning: 12-6
3rd inning: 6-12
4th inning: 10-8
5th inning: 11-7
6th inning: 8-10

The Giants claw their way back to .500 (54-54) with a 5-3 win over the Padres. It only took twelve innings but a win is a win. A three-run homer from Chase d'Arnaud gave them an early lead but they couldn't hold it. They survived a scare in the 11th but then Gorkys Hernandez hit his 13th homer in the 12th and they scratched out another run to give Will Smith a cushion to close it. He struck out the side imperiously and the Giants had a big win.

After 108 games the Giants have three winning innings and three losing innings. Does that surprise you? We are all waiting for this team to "make a move" and put together a stretch of consistent winning baseball. When they score four or more runs and/or allow three or fewer runs they are a hell of a club. Can they do that for their final 54 games? They'll have to do it without Johnny Cueto who appears headed for Tommy John surgery. Despite the looming trade deadline the Giants have yet to make a move. Maybe they really mean it when they say they just have to get the guys they already have to play better! We'll see. Rookie Dereck Rodriguez gets the start tomorrow at 1:05 Pacific.



Sunday, July 29, 2018

Bam-Bam's Giants Outlast Brewers

SF 8  MIL 5
Bruce Bochy turned the reins over to Hensley Muelens today as he was in Cooperstown for Trevor Hoffman's induction. The Giants probably should have scored ten runs this afternoon as they had a lot of opportunities. Thankfully Buster Posey had his best day of the season, getting four hits, driving in three, and scoring two, his bases-clearing double in the 3rd setting the tone and leading the way. Andrew Suarez got rocked a bit, eight hits and four runs allowed in his six frames, but held on enough to take advantage of the lineup's output. Gorkys Hernandez has been cold lately but hit a long homer in the 4th, and Pablo Sandoval drove in two in the 5th with a triple. Unfortunately Panda had to leave the game after that with a hamstring strain. Seems the good has to come with the bad. Andrew McCutchen was also pulled with a contusion on his foot due to too many foul balls! The final tally was 8-5, Sam Dyson allowing a homer in his inning (the 7th), but Tony Watson (8th) and Will Smith (9th) each had a clean sheet to take the final game from Milwaukee.

A win staves off the doom-and-gloom talk, usually, but the Giants go to San Diego next, and they've seen their dreams die there recently. It is only two games, thank the gods, and the Dere(c)ks get the assignments, Holland tomorrow night (Game 108, end of the 6th inning) and Rodriguez Tuesday afternoon. The team is 9-14 for the month of July and can't finish off a winning month no matter the results. They'll be in Arizona to open August, we'll see if they make a move by the trade deadline.


Friday, July 27, 2018

Anemic Giants Fall to Brewers

MIL 3  SF 1
Madison Bumgarner pitched a great ballgame but got no support from the lineup and the team fell below .500 for the first time in over a month (they were 38-39 on June 22nd). On July 1st the Giants were 45-40 and have gone 7-12 since. That .530 mark was the high point of the season. Bumgarner looked very sharp over the first five but yielded single runs in the 6th, 7th, and 8th to turn a 1-0 lead into a 3-1 deficit. The first two runs were manufactured by a pesky and lucky Brewers lineup, both coming on ground outs. I'll give them credit for good situational hitting as MadBum kept their big power bats in check. The third run needed a nifty poke by Ryan Braun on a two-out, two-strike pitch well out of the zone. Sometimes you make a good pitch and still get burned. But the real issue was the feebleness of the Giants offense. They got back-to-back doubles in the 2nd (Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford) but that was it. They briefly conjured up something of a comeback attempt in the 8th but it went for naught. They are 2-5 since the Break (and 3-7 in their last 10) and making a case for irrelevance.

Johnny Cueto at 6:05 Pacific tomorrow. Go Giants!


Thursday, July 26, 2018

Report from the Northland

I came to Seattle for the sun and to see a Giants game, the weather has been clear and warm.  This chance (to see the Giants) only comes along every 3 years, so a lot of Giants fans have had exactly the same idea.  I've been in Seattle since Friday and the town has been awash with orange and black.  It made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Seattle is a great town.  It's beautiful, has loads of hip eateries and drinkeries, friendly residents and some of the most godawful traffic you can imagine.  I'm pretty sure I saw Jon Miller on the waterfront Monday and I saw Hunter Pence walking in to the stadium yesterday.

I could go on, all this is my way of avoiding talking about yesterday's game.  The Giants lost 3 - 2.  They got 6 hits, which was more than the M's.  The Giants did not hit a home run, the M's did.  Brandon Belt got hurt for at least a couple of games.  It was in the low 80's in Seattle, but there was little air movement in the stands.  The Giants are 2 - 3 since the break.  If they are to make any kind of a move, they've yet to show any signs of it.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Team effort downs M's

SF 4  SEA 3
Kelby Tomlinson got things going for the Giants offense tonight and with a little help from Steven Duggar and Hunter Pence and, well, a whole bunch of guys, they prevailed in Seattle. The Giants led 1-0, 2-1, and 3-2 and the Mariners tied the score in every case. Somehow they conjured up the go-ahead run in the 9th and gave Will Smith a chance to close it out. He did. This team just cannot seem to put the thump on another club. They have to play these agonizing, nail-biting, hard-fought, bloody wars of attrition. I want to see a goddamn ass-whuppin'. Or two. OK, OK, maybe that's too much to ask. How about a nice run like 24 out of 30? I guess I'll settle for a two-game sweep.

Derek Holland gets the ball tomorrow against familiar face Mike Leake (1:10 Pacific).



Sunday, July 22, 2018


OAK 6  SF 5 (10)
It's a truism among baseball fans that if you praise a player one minute he'll break your heart the next. And the opposite is true as well: if you dis on a cat for poor play he'll kick ass the next time just to smack you down. Naturally I had to rave about BCraw's brilliance last night--he was deserving of the plaudits--and of course the gods would see to it that he'd boot the game-winner for the A's this afternoon. It was an impossible play, one of those perfect bouncers that could not be fielded, but number 35 gets the spotlight for "failure" nonetheless. But this is not to moan about Brandon Crawford, one of the bright spots on this confounding team.

It's been 101 games and that ought to be enough to assess the club's character, and after back-to-back losses to Oakland in extras when starting their two best pitchers, I find it wanting. Not that the fellas don't try hard. When I say "character" I don't mean their virtue, manliness, courage or whatever sports-writing jibber-jabber bandied about by the professional media. I mean it in a purely descriptive sense, not a moral one. The team's character is what emerges and at this point they are a .505 outfit. The 51-50 record is a fair assessment--they are strictly middle-of-the-pack.

There were plenty of reasons to believe the Giants would be really bad this season, instead they've shown us, at times, some terrific play. They just can't seem to string wins together which is what they'll need if they expect to chase a playoff spot in their final 61 contests. Neither Johnny Cueto today nor Madison Bumgarner yesterday could pitch as well as the rookie did on Friday night. At this point in the season it's Dereck Rodriguez I want to see, along with Andrew Suarez, Ray Black, Reyes Moronta, Steven Duggar, Austin Slater and I think you catch my drift. The expensive veteran-heavy lineup is not good enough, and the expensive veteran-heavy starting rotation can't get it done, either. The youngsters are taking up more of the roster spots and they deserve to.

There are eight more games before the July 31st trade deadline. Do you expect any significant moves? I don't, the only pieces they might have to move are pieces they ought to keep like the aforementioned newbies. Any big-time vet (like Brandon Belt, another bright spot) would only go if a playoff-bound team had a catastrophic injury to a first baseman and had the payroll to add a guy still owed $51+M. But I've no claim to insight or insider knowledge, I've really no fookin' clue what the Giants are thinking. I expect it is something to the effect of "hold on the rest of the way" and hope to finish over .500 and thus stay, at least mathematically, in the fight for the second Wild Card until the middle of September. That's the boring, conservative move, but good for institutional morale, in the sense that it means you are showing confidence in your guys to keep improving.

So that's it, I suppose. Be a good fan and hope to see some improved play. Have faith that the talent that's there will ultimately show itself and wins will start to come in bunches. All right, then. I'm ready! They're off tomorrow and then play two in Seattle before coming home on Thursday. It's a Suarez start, something to savor.



Saturday, July 21, 2018

56,310 Get Their Money's Worth

OAK 4  SF 3 (11)
Down 3-2 with two outs in the 9th against All-Star closer Blake Treinen the Giants managed a dramatic comeback to tie the game. The third batter in the inning, Alen Hanson, whiffed to apparently end it. Catcher Josh Phegley, however, dropped the ball and Hanson raced safely to first base. Hunter Pence, with a full count, ripped a double and that scored the speedster and the Giants suddenly were back in the fight. Tony Watson got into trouble in the bottom half and miracle man Reyes Moronta was summoned to bail the team out. He did that with aplomb, inducing a double-play to send the game to extras. He followed that with a scoreless 10th as well, continuing his superb work in this his rookie season. The Giants unfortunately could get nothing going and the A's broke through against Will Smith in the 11th to win it.

It was not a good night for Giants starter Madison Bumgarner as the ace southpaw was wild, throwing 92 pitches to 19 batters and only 47 of them were strikes. He walked SIX in his four-plus innings of work, loading the bases in the 5th and walking in two runs. Those were the third and fourth bases-loaded bases-on-balls in his career. He left with the score 2-1 (a Brandon Belt solo homer in the 4th) and the bags full. Sam Dyson got the double play but it scored a run and it stayed 3-1 until the 7th. The Giants got three hits (Buster Posey, Hanson, Pence) to make it 3-2 and that set up the improbable 9th. Good relief work once again made it possible; Dyson, Ray Black, and Derek Holland delivered four hitless frames after Bumgarner exited.

The A's opened up sections of the Coliseum typically closed to baseball fans and the result was the largest baseball crowd in the Bay Area since the final game at Candlestick Park in 1999 which was seen by 61,389 folks. Tonight's 56,310 is also the largest MLB crowd this season.

Johnny Cueto tomorrow afternoon. GO GIANTS!


Friday, July 20, 2018

D-Rod Does the Job

SF 5 OAK 1
Rookie Dereck Rodriguez delivered another strong start for the Giants (6-1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 5 K) and stifled the potent A's lineup in Oakland tonight. He got some help from his fielders (notably a few nice grabs from Andrew McCutchen in right field) but mostly kept the Athletics power bats in check. They opened the scoring in the 2nd on a double by Khris Davis and two deep fly balls to make it 1-0 but that was it. The Giants tied it in the 4th with a Cutch double and a nifty two-out wrist-flick single from Buster Posey. Sophomore sub Ryder Jones--on the roster due to Brandon Belt's paternity leave--smacked a deep fly off the foul pole leading off the 5th to give the Giants the lead. Well-traveled veteran Edwin Jackson gave up another solo homer, this one to Pablo Sandoval with one out in the 7th, and was done for the night. The Giants nicked familiar face Yusmeiro Petit for two in the 8th and that finished the scoring. Reyes Moronta, my pick for closer next year, finished the 7th on five pitches. Mark Melancon looked shaky in the 8th but still logged a zero and Tony Watson had an effortless 9th to close it out.

Madison Bumgarner gets the ball tomorrow at 6:05 Pacific. Go Giants!


p.s. Today is the 49th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Neil is still my hero.

Sunday, July 15, 2018


The Giants fall flat in the final two games against the Athletics, losing yesterday 4-3 and today 6-2. The offense has been absent for the entire month of July: they've scored only 51 runs in 14 games and are 6-8 over that span as a result. Brandon Belt's appendicitis looms large as he's yet to re-discover his spectacular pre-surgery form.

Yesterday Jeff Samardzija had nothing and as expected was returned to the DL. It seems five straight seasons of 32 starts and 200+ innings has taken its toll. The Shark's value as a pitcher is mostly due to his durability--even if he comes back and pitches effectively later it's a lost season for him. Andrew Suarez looked good again, but ran into some bad luck as the A's strung together a sequence of weakly-hit balls that derailed his day. The bullpen had to be overused in both games and in each case a nearly unhittable reliever (Tony Watson yesterday and both Reyes Moronta and Will Smith today) finally succumbed to the dreaded regression to the mean and yielded runs.

After 98 games the Giants are 50-48 (.510) which is good for fourth place in the NL West. There are eight other teams in the NL with a better record, and three are in the same division. They've got 64 games left and if they play .600 ball (38-26) they'll finish with 88 wins. After 98 games they've managed only that .510 pace so it may be a reach asking for such an improvement. (A .510 clip would yield an 83-79 final record.) At least we are getting a chance to see some great work by the youngsters (Suarez, Moronta, Dereck Rodriguez, Steven Duggar, Ray Black, etc.) and some surprise performances (like Gorkys Hernandez and Alan Hanson) as well as an All-Star campaign from Brandon Crawford.

Enjoy the Break!


Friday, July 13, 2018

Mad About Madbum, but Diggin' Duggar and Ravin' about Reyes

This was, perhaps, the best Giants game of the year.

The San Francisco Giants beat the Oakland Athletics by a score of 7 - 1.

The Giants pitching was superb.
Madison Bumgarner was the starter.  He got his 3rd win, which, perhaps, is a good illustration of how odd the designation of a W to a pitcher can be.  Madison threw 6 fantastic innings, he gave up a home run to Oakland left fielder Chad Pinder in the 5th inning, with no one on base.  That was Oakland's first run, and it tied the score at 1 each.  The Giants had scored on a balk the previous inning.  Apparently, the Oakland starter, Edwin Jackson, slipped or caught his cleats or something as he was in his motion.  It brought Steve Duggar in from 3rd base.  In those 6, Madison gave up 2 hits, 1 walk, struck out 5 and threw 84 pitches.  Madison also pitched in the 7th inning, and did not fare so well.  He threw 18 more pitches, gave up a single followed by 2 walks and was pulled for Reyes Moronta.  Reyes induced a strike out, a line out to the Panda, and a ground ball to Brandon Crawford.  If you could award a "win" based on sheer grit and savvy, Reyes gets the credit.  Innings 8 and 9 were handled perfunctorily by Sam Dyson (a 4-pitch 8th).

After that, it fell apart for the A's.  A series of relievers in the 7th culminating with Santiago Casilla (who also pitched the 8th) gave the Giants 5 runs for the final score.

The Giants hitting was timely.
Steve Duggar scored 3 times, walked, hit 2 doubles and picked up 2 rbi.  In the 7th, with the bases loaded by way of two singles and a walk, Duggar slammed a double to right to score 2.  Belt was hit on the hand (but stayed in the game), McCutheon hit a sac fly to score d'Arnaud and send Duggar to 3rd, where a wild Santiago Casilla pitch brought him in.  A Buster Posey double scored Belt.  Buster had 2 rbi, both coming with 2 outs.  The Giants had to scrap for opportunity early in the game, but took advantage of them when they came.

The Oakland A's had just beaten the world champion and AL West division-leading Houston Astros in 3 games out of 4.  Oakland, even with tonight's loss, would be in first place in the NL West.  Mark's hope is still alive.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


SF 5  CHC 4 (13)
Buster Posey got to play the hero this afternoon, roping a double off the right-field wall to drive in Brandon Belt with the winning run. Belt was walked with two outs and Andrew McCutchen singled him to second before Posey's walk-off blast. Dereck Rodriguez pitched the 11th, 12th, and 13th innings and faced only 11 batters, allowing no hits and just two walks while striking out three. Johnny Cueto struck out seven in his five innings of work and was staked to a 4-0 lead in the 1st frame (Chase D'Arnaud led off with a homer) but gave up a run in the 3rd and two runs in the 5th. He was pulled after five with six hits and three walks (86 pitches) on the tally. The bullpen was epic again, the only blemish a Javier Baez homer off of Tony Watson to tie the game in the 7th. But Watson can be forgiven, he has been nearly untouchable this year, and in fact it was only his second homer allowed.

The team kept it together, much credit having to go to young D-Rod for some clutch relief work. The winning rally in the 13th was by the big studs in the lineup and came with two outs as I mentioned. That's a hell of a win against a very good club! Giants take the series from Chicago and have three coming up with Oakland after a day off tomorrow.


Tuesday, July 10, 2018


SF 2 CHC 1 (11)
The Giants hung on to beat the Cubs in extras after a mostly fruitless offensive evening. Kyle Hendricks had the local lads completely befuddled for 8-1/3 innings but good work by Andrew Suarez (6 IP, 3 H, 1 R) kept it close. The Giants superb bullpen added five shutout frames and that gave the lineup enough chances to put a winning rally together. The only run off Hendricks came in the 5th on a bad pickoff. Alan Hanson--who Jon Miller called "electrifying"--scored all the way from first base on the errant throw that went down the right field line. Second baseman Javier Baez hesitated after retrieving the ball and that was enough daylight for the speedster who clearly caught the Cubs infield by surprise. Pablo Sandoval delivered the game-winning hit in the 11th off Pedro Strop after Steve Cishek had loaded the bases with one out. Even when he was down 0-2 you had the feeling that Panda was the right guy in that situation with his excellent contact skills and sure enough he served one to left for the winner and the Giants had a dramatic victory.

Johnny Cueto tonight. GO GIANTS!


UPDATE: word from Baggs is that Holland may get the start to give Cueto an extra day

Monday, July 9, 2018

Giants Hit, Win

I was prepared to post a much more pessimistic missive, but then the Giants won in most uncharacteristic fashion.

Madison Bumgarner for the Giants in the 4th game of this home stand against the Cardinals that continues tomorrow with the Cubs.  Maddy wasn't sharp - it was probably the weakest outing since he returned from the DL, but he, and the Giants, got the win.  That hasn't happened nearly enough lately - we've been getting just the opposite - good pitching and a loss.

Madison's stats don't matter much.  He went 5+, gave up 4 and threw 101 pitches.  When he missed, it often wasn't close.  Dyson let in 1 and then Ray Black, given enough rope to nearly hang himself, let in 3.  The Giants scored 13, however, to make the final score 13 - 8.

Here, however are some of the hitters' stats going back through Colorado, take from them what you will:

Buster Posey, 4 hits in his last 17 at bats in the previous 6 games, 2 for 5 today.  Andrew McCutcheon, 3 hits in his last 16 at bats, 3 for 6 today.  Brandon Crawford, 1 hit in his last 17 at bats, 1 for 4 today.  Pablo Sandoval, 1 hit in his last 17 at bats, 3 for 5 today, including 5 rbi.  Gorkys Hernandez, 4 hits in his last 21 at bats, 2 for 4 today.  Alen Hanson, 5 hit in his last 19 at bats, 3 for 5 today.  Brandon Belt, perhaps our one bright spot lately, 7 hits in his last 23 at bats, 2 for 3 today.  The Panda hit a smashing home run to right.  Steve Duggar got 2 hits.

If the Giants can breathe easier because of today, great, but it doesn't get easier.  The Cubs have been playing well lately, as have the A's.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Trade Season

The Giants have started their trade season by unloading Austin Jackson and Cory Gearrin (along with A-level RHP Jason Bahr) to the Texas Rangers. It seems the Rangers wanted Bahr who has been dominating in the low minors (117-2/3 IP, 95 H, 34 W, 139 K) and had to take a package deal to get him. This frees up a couple of million bucks for the Giants to make--perhaps--a modest addition at the deadline and stay under the cap. Jackson's .604 OPS is the worst of his career and puts him in the bottom twenty of all MLB hitters with at least 150 PA.

The two roster spots will be filled by Steven Duggar who gets his chance to help in the big-league outfield, and Ray Black, he of the 100-mph fastball. We've all felt the team needs to get younger and with Duggar (24) joining Austin Slater (25) maybe that's starting to happen. They were forced to get younger in the starting rotation with all the oldsters getting hurt; seems like Dereck Rodriguez (26) and Andrew Suarez (25) have earned the right to stay. Black is 28 but replaces 32-year old Gearrin who was very effective last season but inconsistent this year. The rest of the 'pen has set a pretty high bar and Gearrin was at the bottom of the heap. Black, just to whet your appetite, has 240 strikeouts in 125-2/3 innings over five seasons. He's also got 87 walks!

Madison Bumgarner gets the ball today. Let's hope the Giants bats come to life and they can get a win behind their big star.