Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Coors Win

SF 7 COL 4
The Giants grind out a getaway win in Colorado with some timely hits and a stalwart bullpen. Derek Holland wasn't great, but following M.C.'s Dictum, he was at least better than the other guy. Once the Giants relievers got a hold of things they put up four zeroes and sealed the deal. Holland got things going in the 1st by giving up a three-run homer to (who else?) Nolan Arenado. The Giants answered with two in the 2nd on hits by Brandon Crawford, Mac Williamson, and Pablo Sandoval with a Jon Gray wild pitch in between. The Rockies pushed it back to 4-2 right away but the Giants answered with two in both the 4th and the 5th with an Evan Longoria triple being the big blow. Buster Posey added an RBI single in the 8th to make it 7-4 and that's how it ended. Reyes Moronta, Tony Watson, Sam Dyson, and Hunter Strickland did the relief work.

The Giants were 2-6 on the trip. They are off tomorrow and then home for six games. Jeff Samardzija goes on the DL and Tyler Beede gets called up. Chris Stratton starts on Friday against the Phillies and Andy Suarez gets Saturday. No word yet on Sunday's starter. There's a chance Madison Bumgarner could start against Arizona on Tuesday.

Go Giants!


Tuesday, May 29, 2018

3rd inning: 6-12

1st inning: 7-11
2nd inning: 12-6
3rd inning: 6-12

Overall 25-29 (.463), four games back in fourth place.The Giants undid all that good work earlier in the month by losing five of their last six. Last night they had a 5-4 lead in the 6th only to blow it and lose 6-5 in extras. The Dodgers had lost six straight earlier in the month but have won nine of eleven to surge past the Giants into third place. The formerly first-place Diamondbacks, riding an 18-7 April, followed that with a 7-18 May and have allowed the Rockies to slip past them for the top spot. Colorado's record is the reverse of San Francisco's: 29-25. The Padres 22-33 looks bad, but it is better than the Rangers, Marlins, Reds, Royals, White Sox, and Orioles.

What do we know after one-third of the season? That the Giants still can't score runs consistently although the team average has finally cracked four per game (219/54 = 4.06). Only six teams are worse and those include the Padres (3.67) and the Diamondbacks (3.77). The others are the Marlins, Orioles, Royals, and White Sox. Such august company! With Johnny Cueto and Madison Bumgarner still sidelined (although the news is good on Bumgarner) the starting pitching is a mess and that puts the relievers to work too soon and too frequently and the result is 4.89 runs allowed per game. That's half a run over the league average of 4.39 and rates at eighth-worst. Yes, the Royals, White Sox, Orioles, Rangers, Reds, and Marlins are in that list with the Blue Jays thrown in as well.

The bright spots? Obviously it is great to see the Brandons both performing at a high level. Gorkys Hernandez has been a nice surprise and I'd sure like to see him keep it up. FNGs Longoria and McCutchen should be merged into one player that has Longo's SLG (.458) and Cutch's OBP (.371). That guy would almost be as good as Brandon Belt (.970 OPS, 9th in baseball). The bullpen core (Strickland, Watson, Dyson, Moronta, Smith) has been strong overall and would be very effective if the starters could get it going and last past the 5th inning. The Giants have been absolutely clobbered on the road, losing 19 of 30 games and allowing 145 runs while scoring only 90. After a .500 April at 13-13 they've slipped to a .400 May at 10-15.

Jeff Samardzija tonight at 5:40 Pacific. Go Giants!


Sunday, May 27, 2018

Tyed Down, Left For Dead

I was away for a bit, but am now back.

I have been highly amused by Sergio Romo and the reaction to the fact that he was used to start a game rather than relieve a starter.  He pitched an inning twice against the Angels recently because the Angels start with 3 right handed hitters in a row and Sergio has been effective against those kind of guys lately.  So the idea being that they get past the first, the starter doesn't start off with the lead off hitters, and maybe goes an inning longer and the lead off hitters don't get to see him a third time.  But because there is more Sports News than there are sports these days, the media is all over this.  When he did it twice (he has now done so 3 times, and was not as successful on the third time) the media was already asking if it was the new trend.  Of course, as soon as they were, Officious Baseball Commentator Types were all over it as an abomination.  I can see Bruce Jenkin's column now: Analytical Types, Who Have Never Seen A Game And Live In Their Mother's Basements (he still thinks this is funny) Are Idiots And If They Would Watch A Game Like I Do They Would Know That This Is Fundamentally Wrong-Headed And Will Lead To The Downfall Of The Noble Game.  So what happens next is that once everyone piles on about how detrimental the practice is, no one will notice that it is not a practice at all - just a team trying to use some of their limited resources to win a couple games.  Unless the Rays win the World Series, of course, then every team will be trotting out 1 inning starters.

What to do about Hunter Pence?  Apparently, he has been scalding the ball in Sacramento, but the Giants really want Mac Williamson on the team.  And Gorkys Hernandez isn't going anywhere, he is the team's best hitter, or nearly so, lately.  And Gregor Blanco hasn't done poorly enough to release.  And McCutcheon is McCutcheon.  And Austin Jackson hasn't done much lately, but he is supposed to be pretty good.  So Hunter Pence racks up at-bats in Sac.  Maybe the Giants management doesn't trust that he is actually good again.  Maybe they are waiting for the day when they need fewer relievers.  I'm not sure.  But eventually they will have to figure something out.  But, good news!  Madison Bumgarner is probably about to rejoin the team.

The game tonight was a fucking mess.  The Giants scored 3 in the 1st inning off of former Rockie Tyler Chatwood.  Then Ty Blach was just as bad, giving the runs back.  The Giants loaded the bases with no outs in the 2nd, but did not score.  They loaded the bases in the 3rd and did not score.  Ty walked the first 3 Cubs in the 3rd, but got out of it unscathed.  In the 4th, Ty walked Randy Rosario, who had replaced Chatwood.  Rosario was in the AL and minors, he never has had a hit.   A 3 run homer followed, then some more scoring as the Giants slowly faded in the rear view mirror.  The final was 8 - 3.  The Giants have won 1 game so far on this road trip out of 5.  They go into Colorado for tomorrow's game.  The Giants have had serious trouble with Colorado for years, and are 2 - 2 against them so far this year in one series at ATT.  Colorado is now in first in the NL West.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Wrigley Win

SF 5 CHC 4
The Giants looked good in sunny Chicago this afternoon and held on to beat the Cubs. Gorkys Hernandez flashed some mad small ball skills and Brandon Crawford dazzled with the bat and the glove and the visiting squad snapped their three-game skid. Contributions from Brandon Belt, Andrew McCutchen, and Mac Williamson did the rest of the damage as the Giants overcame 2-0 and 3-2 deficits. Hernandez is slashing .311/.333/.505 with 12 hits in his last eight games so I think he's earning his playing time. Chris Stratton faltered, but didn't fall apart, and finished strong, striking out six in his five innings (21 batters, 88 pitches) and leaving with a 4-3 lead. Reyes Moronta and Sam Dyson put up zeroes in their frames but Tony Watson gave us a scare with two hits and a run in the 8th. Fortunately Hunter Strickland had a 1-2-3 9th to seal it and the Giants had an impressive, well-played win.

Ty Blach tomorrow at 5:08 Pacific. GO GIANTS!


Tuesday, May 22, 2018


HOU 11 SF 2
The Giants corps of young arms (Andy Suarez, Pierce Johnson, Reyes Moronta, Josh Osich) was overwhelmed by the surging Astros who won for the 10th time in 13 games. The walks didn't help and the Houston lineup was 7-for-18 with RISP. The defending champs have the best pitching in baseball as well (only 125 runs allowed in 49 games, 2.55 pg) and tonight was no exception as Gerrit Cole struck out eight in his six innings. His only blemish was a two-run homer by his brother-in-law Brandon Crawford. Cole had gone exactly 7 IP in each of his previous five starts, allowing six runs total. and is one of the dominant hurlers of this still-young season. The Giants were overmatched and that's about the size of it. Jeff Samardzija and Justin Verlander tomorrow at 11:10 Pacific.

Go Giants!


p.s. FanGraphs decides Brandon Belt is worthy of notice. That's good. He's the definition of "under-rated" or "under-appreciated" as a ballplayer. I'm happy to see the coverage, he deserves it. He was Player of the Week after his marvelous homestand.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Giants Thump Rockies, part II

SF 9 COL 5
The Giants had 13 hits today, three of them homers, and overwhelmed the Rockies in the 5th, 6th, and 7th innings to come from behind and win. The team is back to .500 at 24-24 and find themselves only two games behind the reeling division-leading Arizona Diamondbacks. Colorado, despite losing the final two of the series, are just a half game out. Things are bunching up! Like yesterday the lineup had at least one hit in all nine spots. Seven different guys scored at least one run and five different guys had at least one run batted in. The biggest hit was Brandon Belt's three-run blast in the 7th that broke the tie and gave the Giants an 8-5 lead. One could argue that Kelby Tomlinson's two-run triple with two outs in the 6th was equally clutch, if not more so. It's a nice argument to have! Belt hit his 11th dinger off lefty reliever Jake McGee: it was his first homer off a southpaw this season.

The bullpen once again stepped up for a shaky starter. Ty Blach could not get through the 5th but five relievers got it done and the Giants had a big win. They are going on the road and start with two in Houston against the World Series Champion Astros. Andrew Suarez gets the ball on Tuesday and Jeff Samardzija on Wednesday.



Saturday, May 19, 2018

Giants Thump Rockies

SF 9 COL 4
Finally! The Giants break through today with 17 hits and overwhelm the Rockies to snap their three-game losing streak and creep back to within one game of a .500 record. Brandon Crawford was the hitting star with three hits (including a two-run homer) and four runs batted in. Brandon Belt continued his run of good work with two hits, a walk, a run scored, and a run batted in. Andrew McCutchen had three hits and two runs batted in. In fact all nine spots in the lineup had a hit, Austin Jackson getting a single in the 5th pinch-hitting for starter Chris Stratton (who also drove in a run with a ground out in the 2nd). Speaking of Stratton, he labored, facing 23 batters in his five innings (8 hits, 4 runs, 2 walks, 1 whiff), but two of the Rockies runs scored on double plays. He wasn't pretty but he held on and the lineup and bullpen did the rest. The Giants relief corps is increasingly impressive and that was no exception today with four hurlers (Will Smith, Pierce Johnson, Sam Dyson, Tony Watson) delivering a scoreless frame each with only one hit and one walk allowed versus five strikeouts. The 'pen looks like a team strength and the return of Mark Melancon (two weeks?) ought to only make it better.

Ty Blach gets the call tomorrow. Go Giants!


Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Three in a row

SF 5 CIN 3
The Giants pinch-hit for Ty Blach after only four innings and 62 pitches but it paid off as Pablo Sandoval drove in two to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 3-3 tie. Two batters later it was 4-3 San Francisco and the bullpen hung on for the win. An insurance run fueled by a nit-picky Joe West balk call (hey, we'll take it) in the 8th sealed the deal. Kelby Tomlinson's error with two outs in the 3rd was followed by a two-run homer to make it 2-0 Reds but he redeemed himself with the RBI hit to make it 5-3, driving in Brandon Crawford. BCraw was 4-for-4 and was balked to second base before Tomlinson's single. The relief corps did the heroic work with five shutout innings. Pierce Johnson held the line in the 5th and Will Smith (6th), Sam Dyson (7th), and Tony Watson (8th) each had two strikeouts in their frames. Hunter Strickland got two quick grounders in the 9th and struck out Joey Votto to end it. Zo pointed out earlier that the Giants have a plethora of closer-types even with Mark Melancon on the DL, that bodes well for the rest of the season.

Brandon Belt blasted a splash hit to start the scoring in the 4th, that's two homers in two games. Brandon Crawford is killing it, 9-for his last-12, and hitting .455 in May. You have to like that!

Andy Suarez at 12:45 tomorrow with a chance for a series sweep.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Giants outlast Reds

SF 10 CIN7
The first six guys in the Giants lineup all had at least one hit and scored at least one run and the eighth guy, Kelby Tomlinson, drove in two runs with a hit in the 3rd. That's what I call a team effort. Brandon Belt led the way with three hits including a double and a homer and three RBI. And they needed it as starter Chris Stratton was a little shaky, giving up nine hits and four runs in his five innings against a hot Reds team that had won six straight. Home cookin', I suppose, is always best and the Giants looked rejuvenated tonight after their painful 4-6 trip. Speaking of Kelby, the injuries to Joe Panik and Alan Hanson have forced the team into using the utility man as the starter at the keystone, and he was in the middle of all three double plays the Giants turned. Let's hope he can hold down that spot with solid play on both sides of the ball. Rookie Austin Slater, just called up, had a hit and a walk and two stolen bases. By the way those six consecutive wins the Reds had before tonight included a four-game sweep of the Dodgers in LA. Pierce Johnson (1), Cory Gearrin (2), and Jose Valdez (1) finished up. The youngster allowed a three-run homer with two outs in the 9th, but ten runs was still enough for the win.

One-fourth of the way through the season (42 games) and the team is at .500 with a 21-21 record. It's not exactly pretty, but with all the injuries and roster moves I have to feel encouraged. A little stability in the rotation coupled with some consistency on offense and this could be a really good club. Not asking a lot, am I?

Ty Blach tomorrow night. Go Giants!


Sunday, May 13, 2018


SF 5 PIT 0
The Giants finally notch their 20th win of the season by blanking the Bucs. It was Derek Holland's best start so far (6-1/3IP  4H  0R  5W  7K, GSc 67) and the lineup backed him with a 13-hit attack that included five extra-base hits (homers by Gorkys Hernandez and Nick Hundley and three doubles by the Brandons). Every starter had a hit except Evan Longoria (and Holland). It was a good effort this afternoon in Pittsburgh and stopped a sickening six-game skid. It wasn't merely a losing streak, it was a getting clobbered streak. Reyes Moronta, Will Smith, and Hunter Strickland finished up. That's the way they draw it up: solid start, big hits, clean defense, stout relief.

The Giants are home tomorrow night against the Cincinnati Reds. Chris Stratton takes the hill.



Thursday, May 10, 2018

Ugly, Ugly, Ugly, Ugly

Put Philly in the rear view mirror and step on the gas.  Jeez.  The Giants got swept in Philadelphia, losing the final game by a score of 6 - 3.  That hasn't happened since 1982, when Mike Krukow was on the mound in game 4 for the Phillies and Duane Kuiper led off for the Giants.

In the 1980's, the Giants were mostly bad.  Real bad.  It remains to be seen how good the Giants are in 2018.  They looked terrific in Atlanta, but got the crap beat out of them, repeatedly, in Philly.  Philadelphia has some good, young players that appear to not have any fear.  They have one veteran hitter, Carlos Santana, who hit 3 home runs against the Giants in the series and picked up 13 rbi.  They have one veteran pitcher, Jake Arrieta, whom the Giants did not face.   Not that Arrieta could have been more effective.  The Giants struck out 15 times today and a grand total of 55 times in the series.  55 times!  Given each team has 3 outs, or chances, an inning, that is 1.5 chances each inning the Giants' hitters are giving away.  3 outs every 2 innings!  From some guys named Velasquez today (7 starts before this season), Pivetta (in his 2nd year), Nola (in his 4th year who is actually from Baton Rouge, not New Orleans), and Eflin (parts of 2 previous seasons).  The Giants were outscored 32 to 8.

Ty Blach had the honor of picking up the L today.  The Giants actually led the game until the 4th, that's the first time that's happened this series.  So I guess that's positive.  Also, the Giants, after some sloppy play in the field, committed no errors.  The road trip that started out 3 - 0 is now under .500 at 3 - 4.  On to Pittsburgh.  Hit the ball.  Get some wins.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

2nd inning: 12-6

1st inning: 7-11
2nd inning: 12-6

That's a nice turnaround for the team after a lackluster opening. The Giants had won 12 of 16 before the trip to Philadelphia but then ran into a Phillies buzz saw. Last night was an 11-0 thumping that featured three homers by the home club and 12 whiffs by the visitors. A 4-2 loss tonight featured 17 whiffs by the visitors and three homers by the home team. Ugly. That takes a little shine off the .750 stretch, but I ought not to complain. I want to see winning baseball and so far that's what we are getting. Overall the 19-17 record (.528) is the 15th best in baseball and good for third place in the division behind Colorado and Arizona. If they keep this up they'll finish with 85-86 wins.

Other than the recent stretch of series victories the Giants aren't doing anything particularly well. Both the pitching and hitting are roughly around league average. The Giants infield has turned 42 double plays which is the most in the majors. The team has committed 30 errors, the second-most behind Texas.

Brandon Belt is raking with a .300/.422/.536 slash line (1.3 f WAR, best on the club) and seems to be in the middle of all the rallies. His 33 hits ties Buster Posey for the most on the team and his 18 runs scored are second to Andrew McCutchen's 21. His six homers are second to Evan Longoria's seven and his six doubles are third behind Longoria (9) and Posey (7). His 22 walks are second to McCutchen's 23 but his 32 strikeouts tie for the team lead with Austin Jackson and Longoria. Speaking of Jackson he is a disaster with a .573 OPS which is about as bad as it gets. Steven Duggar has a .750 OPS in AAA, is it too early to consider a change?

The injury to Johnny Cueto is a brutal blow to a jury-rigged rotation. Jeff Samardzija is still in Spring Training and Derek Holland is, at this point, strictly at fifth-man level. The young studs (Stratton-Blach-Suarez) are holding the whole thing together with the help of a rejuvenated bullpen. Tony Watson has been excellent and Sam Dyson, Hunter Strickland, Reyes Moronta, and even Pierce Johnson have been solid. The 'pen is a big part of the team's winning record.

Chris Stratton tomorrow. Go Giants!



tv turned on
5th inning
Giants at bat, 2 men on, 1 out
2 outs, quickly
Philly up
double play ball bobbled, 2 men on, no outs
home run
tv off

Do do better today

Sunday, May 6, 2018


SF 4 ATL 3
A shaky Hunter Strickland turned a 4-1 lead in the 9th into a 4-3 nail-biter (with the tying run on third base) but got the last batter (phenom Ozzie Albers) on one pitch to finish it. The Giants won with another solid start from a young arm (this time Andrew Suarez) and a team-wide offensive attack (seven different players had a hit, four different players scored a run) that was just enough to hold off the Braves. The Giants looked poor in the field today and in fact committed seven errors in the series, but also made big plays, especially turning two, and made up for it with a 24-run barrage. I'm hoping we see fewer misplays, and I expect we will as the season goes on and the team piles up more innings together. Great work from Tony Watson again with three outs on six pitches, and the top two in the lineup (Gregor Blanco and Andrew McCutchen) each had a hit, a walk, and RBI, and a run scored. Philadelphia tomorrow at 4:05. Jeff Samardzija gets the ball--he needs to get his season going, the youngsters are showing him up.



Saturday, May 5, 2018

Ty-dy Win

Way to start a road trip, boys!  11 - 2 win over Atlanta.  Ty Blach pitched us into the 8th inning, giving up only 2 runs.  I like what these youngsters are doing on the mound for the Giants. 100 pitches even, 7 hits, only 1 earned run (2 runs) and 0 walks.  Meanwhile, the Giants were piling up runs, 10 of them by the time Blach was relieved.   Cory Gearrin finished the 8th.  Reyes Moronta looks like he still is lost, he threw 8 pitches and none of them were strikes in the 9th, but Pierce Johnson finished the game with 9 pitches.

Meanwhile, a home run and 4 rbi for Alen Hanson.  2 rbi for Posey and Crawford, and 1 each for Belt, Longo, and Hundley. 

This was Ty's best non-LA game.  I'm liking this young pitching staff, even if it's partly there because of injuries.  We have enough savvy veterans in the pen so that we can hold close ones, and it seems like the success of the youngsters feeds itself.  Let's keep it going.

Friday, May 4, 2018

One down, nine to go

SF 9 ATL 4
The Giants get the road trip started in style with a big win over the Braves. I was at our local watering hole and had my back to the TV and by the time I turned around it was two-zip Atlanta. I had little to worry about though as our boys responded with a six-spot. Yep, they sent ten men up to bat and plated six of them. I like those kinds of innings. Which brings me to a technical point. What does "batting around" mean to you? Is it nine men sent to the plate with the tenth, the first batter of the inning, in the on-deck circle? After all, the home team sent their entire lineup up to bat. That's batting around, isn't it? Or, do you think it requires ten plate appearances, that is, the first batter of the inning has to be in the box? (What if there is the third out on a pickoff before a pitch is thrown to the tenth man?) A semantic quibble, to be sure.

What I am sure about is that this Giants team is putting together a nice run. After stumbling to twelve losses in the first twenty games the club is 9-3 for a sizzling .750 and an overall 17-15 clip. You do that five times and you're at 85 wins. I think this team is capable of a better finish than that. It's going to depend a lot on the injuries, of course, and the young arms like Stratton, Blach, Suarez, and someone from the Moronta-Johnson-Snelten nexus. Or so it seems. The main thing is that the Giants kicked ass on the road tonight, and you have to like that.


Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Giants Blast Past Pads

SF 9 SD 4
Nick Hundley (4 H, 4 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI) was the hitting star but had lots of help from The Brandons (Belt 2 H, 2 R, 2 W, RBI; Craw 2 H, 3 RBI) and Austin Jackson (2 H, 2 W, 2 RBI). In fact, it was a fine performance by the lineup overall as they put runs on the board in the 1st, 3rd, 4th, and 6th innings. Note I said "runs." Derek Holland put together five innings with 87 pitches and held on to the lead, allowing three runs on four hits. The bullpen delivered shutout frames from Pierce Johnson, Will Smith, and Cory Gearrin. DJ Snelten got two outs in the 9th but yielded a run and Sam Dyson had to finish up but it was a good team effort. I am excited by Will Smith's return, I think he is an important piece of the puzzle.

A great win today against a pesky foe. That makes four series-wins in a row (Angels, Nats, Dodgers, Padres). This is good. I like this. Despite the injuries the club is responding impressively and grinding out tough victories. The upcoming road trip is ten games long (Atlanta, Philly, Pittsburgh) and will be a real test. The team is 6-8 on the road so far in 2018 and have only seven home games (versus 18 away games) remaining in the month of May.

Chris Statton faces the Braves Mike Foltynewicz on Friday, 4:35 Pacific. GO GIANTS!


Tuesday, May 1, 2018


SF 6 SD 5
The Giants snatch victory from the jaws of defeat with a stirring, two-out, three-run, 9th-inning rally against Padres closer Brad Hand. Austin Slater, leading off, was hit by a pitch. Gorkys Hernandez and Andrew McCutchen struck out and Buster Posey walked. A single from Evan Longoria plated Slater and Brandon Belt followed with a walk. A single from Nick Hundley plated both Posey and Longoria and that was that. The Giants had taken a 3-0 first inning lead but a leaky Jeff Samardzija (5 IP, 2 R, 88 pitches) got pulled early and Reyes Moronta got battered for three runs in the 6th and the Padres were up by two. It looked bleak for the home squad but Cory Gearrin, DJ Snelten, and Pierce Johnson held the line and gave the lads a chance for a comeback. It was one of those games:

The Giants finish the month of April 13-13 and with a 2-1 March are 15-14 overall. They've won two of five against San Diego and have two more in the homestand before an off-day Thursday. They go to Atlanta Friday and follow that with four in Philadelphia and three in Pittsburgh.



p.s. Joe Panik needs thumb surgery and will be out six weeks. The chart is from FanGraphs.