Sunday, June 30, 2019

June 30, 2019: Madbum Still Not Traded Yet

In spite of the fact that each day since my last post I have heard some allusion to him being traded, I am increasingly convinced that the Giants strongest assets lie in their relief pitching.  Will Smith (21 for 21 saves) is going to be an All-Star.  The record for consecutive saves is held by Rod Beck, with 24. 

The Giants discovered some offense today, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks for a 4-game split by a score of 10 - 4.  That was after a disappointing effort against Greinke last night, in which the Giants held the snakes scoreless behind Pomeranz for 5 and Moronta for 1 before Kevin Pillar dropped a fly ball in center field and to allow a run with Sam Dyson on the mound.  Greinke made quick work of the Giants in the 7th, in spite of hitting Vogt with a pitch and in the 8th, Crawford erred his way (his 10th) into allowing a run behind Melancon (who "earned" 2 himself).  The Giants scored 3 in the 9th, which would have been enough to win it if not for the poor fielding.  Crawford currently has the worst fielding percentage in his career.

Today was different.  The Giants looked sharp on offense, especially Kevin Pillar (a home run, 4 for 5 and 5 rbi's) and Buster Posey (3 for 3 and a BB).  Buster also hit the ball well Friday (3 for 4).  Longoria, Yastrzemski, Panik and Sandoval also had rbi's.  Madison Bumgarner threw 7 innings and used 96 pitches to do so.  He walked no one and allowed 1 run on 4 hits.  He struck out 9.  That ties him with Tim Lincecum for 4th place on the all time Giants' strikeout list.  Take a look.  Christy Mathewson, Juan Marichal, Amos Rusie, then Madbum and Tim, then Matt Cain.  That should tell you all you need to know about how the Giants won 3 world series titles in a 5 year stretch.

Yet, with the win Friday night, they took 2 of the 4.  That makes the Giants record 14 - 13 for June, and 9 - 10 against the western division since we started this stretch against them June 7 in LA.  We play 3 in San Diego starting tomorrow and then 4 (including a double-header) in Denver on July 15 - 17.  At this point last year, the Giants were 43 - 40.  So, to use the whole season, as Mark has done, to project a 70 - 92 season is not the only way to figure out what the Giants are "on a pace" to accomplish.   One could also say, based on recent performance, that the Giants are "on a pace" to go 77 - 85.  That would be an improvement over last year's 73 win season (remember, the Giants lost A LOT at the end of the year).  We're supposed to be improving this year, right?  Don't trade Madbum!

Saturday, June 29, 2019

Giants Down D-Backs

SF 6  AZ 3
Buster Posey had three hits, including an almost-homer to right field, plus a run scored and two driven in. It has been a hard slog for the veteran backstop whose .241/.304/.369 slash line is a far cry from his career norm (.303/.372/.461). Hip surgery for a professional athlete is often a career-ender, just ask Tim Lincecum, so you have to be impressed by Buster's effort this year even if the results aren't what anyone was hoping for. Brandon Crawford, another oldster, had three knocks as well and reached a career milestone with one thousand. Pretty cool. FNGs Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson chipped in two hits apiece, and one of Dick's was a homer. Brandon Belt hit leadoff and had a walk in front of Posey's double (the almost homer). I like the move, he should hit there or the second spot. I fear his knee health is not good and he is barely hanging on, although he looked sharp in the field last night. At least they have a platoon option with Tyler Austin. Belt is the only regular who has been above league average at the plate this season, so his batting average drop (now at .221) is alarming. Like I said, I suspect the knee is the culprit.

Shaun Anderson turned in another gritty effort, this time 5-2/3 with two runs allowed. He gave up hits but no big flies and thus kept the team in the game. I like this guy, he is young and unpolished but shows a lot of confidence and determination. Let's hope he keeps developing his game.

Drew Pomeranz takes on the ageless Zack Greinke this evening at 7:05 Pacific. Go Giants!


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

June 25, 2019: Madbum Not Traded Yet

And once again, when and whether Madison Bumgarner would be on another team was the very first thing out of the mouth of the host of the post-game show on tv (Kelli Johnson).  (following long winded rant deleted).

But anyway, Madbum pitched great and the Giants beat the Crockies, 4 - 2.  It probably should have been 4 - 1, but in the 6th, after a Charlie Blackmon double, David Dahl hit a pop that our left fielder, Alex Dickerman, had no clue as to the location of.  It dropped and Blackmon scored.  It wasn't an error, even though it kind of was, because Dickerman never got close to the ball.  Madbum threw 97 pitches in 6 full innings, he gave up a solo home run to Ian Desmond in the 2nd and a total of 2 runs, 3 hits and 3 walks.  He struck out 11.  That means he just passed Matt Cain by 1 K to claim the #5 spot on the all time Giants strikeout list.

Madbum got a hit, too, that proved to be the GWRBI.  In the 4th, after Dickerson singled to start the inning, and Pillar and Longoria lined out, Crawford drew a walk and Solano singled to score Dickerson and put Crawford on 3rd.  That was the Giants second run.  Madbum, with 2 strikes, lined a single to left to score Crawford for the third.  Belt sacrificed Solano home in the 2nd and Tyler homered with no one on in the 7th.  Know what else happened?   The Giants did not roll over against a pitcher they had never seen before.  How about that!  The Giants are 12 - 10 in June and 7 - 7 against western division foes this month, with more to come. 

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Bullpen Leads the Way

SF 7  AZ 4
The Giants relief corps threw five scoreless innings last night, allowing only two hits and two walks while striking out five. Trevor Gott, Mark Melancon, Sam Dyson, Tony Watson, and Will Smith (who is 20-for-20 in save chances) each recorded three outs after Tyler Beede went the first four frames and gave up four runs (three in the 1st). FNG Alex Dickerson had two doubles and three RBI--that's nine in two games, a Giants record. Kevin Pillar and Brandon Crawford had two hits each and Mike Yastrzemski drove in two with his fifth homer. Yaz has raised his average 50 points in the last 10 games.

Shaun Anderson gets the ball this afternoon at 1:10 Pacific and the Giants go for the sweep. Yep, you heard that right. The rookie has shown some grit in his seven starts and has kept the team in the game. Let's hope the lineup keeps putting runs on the board.


Saturday, June 22, 2019

Alex "Big Stick" Dickerson

SF 11  AZ 5
Buried in a comment of mine on Zo's June 9th post about MadBum was this little tidbit:
Giants get another OF, another lefty (Alex Dickerson)in a trade with SD. The Pads get All-Name Team All-Star RHP Franklin Van Gurp.
At the time it was just another roster-churning Zaidian move, part of the endless search for some outfield help. The list of those guys is getting pretty long and I didn't give it more thought than the time it took to write the sentence.

I suppose we'll have to take another look. The 29-year old from Poway has played 108 games in the big leagues, all with the Padres. In his debut with the Giants he had three hits and six runs batted in with the big blow a grand slam home run in the 3rd inning. Bobby Bonds (in 1968) and Brandon Crawford (in 2011) each hit a big salami in their Giants debuts. Those were also their major league debuts, so it is a little different with this one but still pretty damn cool.

So, congratulations to Alex Dickerson and "welcome aboard." The Giants won the game, too, and played like some other team rather than the one we saw in LA, which is good. Kevin Pillar, batting in front of the FNG, had a big night as well. Dickerson also had a triple, and all his RBIs came with two outs. Good stuff!

All I'm hoping for from this roster-shuffling is competent major league play for extended periods. We seem to be getting some of that from Mike Yastrzemski (.772 OPS). Can we get a couple of fellows in the outfield to finish out the season with at least an average shot at getting a big hit every few days? I don't expect superstars, just players who aren't black holes with the bat and can catch the ball when it comes their way. In the pool of so-called "replacement players" there ought to be some who can pull that off, don't you think?

Anyway, the boys play another tonight in Arizona, 7:05 Pacific, and Tyler Beede gets the start. Go Giants!


Thursday, June 20, 2019

Giants Show Spunk But Lose

You would have been forgiven for leaving this game early.  I almost did.

Madison Bumgarner had his worst among 35 starts against LA.  He didn't even face a starter, LA simply used relief (which is not their strength).  He did pretty well for 3 innings, giving up just 1 run.  Then came the 4th.  They batted around + 1.  It went like this: whap, homer, whap, homer, K, single, single, single, fly out, single (for the 5th run of the fucking inning), Bruce Bochy can't take it anymore, changes pitchers.  Out.

LA ran the score to 7 - 1 before the Giants mounted a rally in the 7th.  They scored 3 from a Crawford sac fly and a Yaz home run.  LA got 2 more to again rack up 9 for the game and make it a 5 run lead.  The Giants showed spunk in the 9th.  Longo and Pillar reached, then Crawford doubled them home.  That made it 9 - 6 and brought in Jansen, their closer.  He did not shut down the Giants.  Yaz singled to bring home Crawford (9 - 7); Vogt, pinch hitting, walked; Panik singled (his first hit of the series, 1 more than Brandon Belt) to drive in Yaz (9 - 8).  Austin bunted, and Vogt was out at third.  Maybe.  But Posey lined out and Belt flew out to end it.

Were there bad calls?  Posey, a guy who takes the discretion-is-the-better-part-of-valor view of umpire interactions, made a case because he was called out on a strike that Madbum did not get, just before Barnes' home run.  Vogt may have been safe.  I am sick of hearing about how you have to have sufficient evidence to overturn.  Either make the correct call, regardless of what the on-field umps called, or the hell with it.  In any case, the Giants, so badly over-matched for 2 games after their impressive win way back on Monday, drop the 4th game of the series by a final score of 9 - 8 and head to Arizona.   Where we will see if their recent semi-decent play, Tuesday and Wednesday notwithstanding, are a sign of the team or just a mirage.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

4th inning: 10-8

1st inning: 8-10
2nd inning: 8-10
3rd inning: 5-13
4th inning: 10-8

The Giants lost the last two games in LA by a score of 18-2 but have otherwise had a decent stretch in the month of June (9-7). Not that it matters much as the team sits in last place at 31-41 (.431). The Giants have scored 97 fewer runs (271) than they have allowed (368).

FanGraphs rates the Giants hitters as 29th out of 30 teams in wOBA (.282). They rate the pitchers as 21st out of the 30 teams by FIP (4.66). They stink on both sides of the ball, but we knew that already.

Madison Bumgarner goes tomorrow night, 7:10 Pacific.

Go Giants!


Monday, June 17, 2019

Beede Beats LA

SF 3  LA 2
He had help, of course, it's a team game. But the young right-hander had his best outing of the season, limiting the Dodgers to a solo homer in his six frames. He worked hard, walking five, but he allowed only two other hits while whiffing seven. Beede left with a 3-1 lead having thrown 97 pitches to 26 batters. Sam Dyson covered the 7th, Tony Watson gave up a run in the 8th, and Will Smith was masterful again in the 9th and the Giants had a big win against a tough foe. The Dodgers are 28-9 at home.

Brandon Crawford had the big hit, a two-run double in the 2nd, and the Dodgers gifted the Giants another run in the 6th, and that was enough. Giants have won five of six and are 9-5 in June.

Shaun Anderson matches up with Clayton Kershaw tomorrow night (7:10 Pacific). GO GIANTS!


Saturday, June 15, 2019


Stephen Vogt be trippin'.  2 triples in a game for a Giants' catcher hasn't been accomplished since 1984 by Steve Nicosia.

The Brewers be trippin'.  A 5 - 1 Brewer lead in the 5th.  At that point, the Giants had produced 2 base hits to start the game, then made consecutive outs until the bottom of the 4th when Pillar drove in Vogt after the first of his triples.  Then, Jimmy Nelson (apparently no relation to Ozzie) loaded the bases on 13 pitches.  Adrian Houser replaced him, walked Belt on 5 pitches to make it 5 - 2 and then allowed 2 more runs to score on sacrifices by Vogt and Panik.

Kevin Pillar be trippin'.  In the 4th, with 1 out, and runners at 2nd and 3rd due to a walk and a double, Pillar dropped a catchable sacrifice fly, allowing the batter, Hernan Perez to be safe at second.  2 more runs would score in the inning to put Brewers up 4 - 0.

Will Smith be trippin'.  17 saves in 17 chances breaks Rob Nen's record of 15 for a left-hander at the start of the season (actually, he did that yesterday).  He still has a ways to go to catch Rod Beck's record. 

Madison Bumgarner started, went 6 innings, gave up 5 runs, 3 of which were "earned" on 5 hits and 3 walks.  He struck out 6.  That makes him the # 1 left-handed strikeout leader in all time Giants history, surpassing Carl Hubbell.  He be trippin'.  Giants win their 4 in a row, a feat they haven't accomplished since some time last year, by a score of 8 - 7.   Wacky!

Giants Bop Brewers

Giants win their third straight with a three-homer attack. Panda got it started in the 4th driving in Belt with a bomb, Pillar added a solo shot in the 5th, and Young Yaz drove in Pillar with a dinger of his own in the 7th. Drew Pomeranz kept the Brewers in the yard for five innings and the 'pen did the rest. Mark Melancon had a little trouble in the 8th but Reyes Moronta, Sam Dyson, and Will Smith all threw scoreless frames. Smith is Mr. Automatic: 17 for 17 in save chances.

Drew Pomeranz has had a pretty rough 2019 so it is good to see some effective innings from him. He labored: 24 batters and 93 pitches, but he didn't implode. Maybe this can be the start of a better stretch for him. He certainly has an impressive curve ball that can get a lot of swinging strikes and his velocity seems decent, regularly hitting 92-93 mph, so there's hope.

Milwaukee is a tough opponent, the rest of the weekend will be a challenge. Madison Bumgarner goes this afternoon (1:05 Pacific). At this point every start of his is an audition, I suppose.

Go Giants!


Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Two in a row!

SF 4  SD 2
A strong effort from starter Shaun Anderson kept the lid on the Padres and gave the Giants a chance to win. The rookie whiffed six over six, allowing four hits and two runs, throwing 88 pitches (52 strikes) to 24 batters. Sam Dyson and Tony Watson did their thing in the 7th and 8th, and Will Smith kept his save streak (16 for 16) alive despite loading the bases and giving us a scare. Donovan Solano had two hits and two driven in, Steven Duggar had two hits and two runs scored, and Kevin Pillar had a solo shot to provide enough offense. I like how they padded their 3-2 lead with a run in the 7th, that was nice to see. Day off tomorrow, then the Brewers come to town for the weekend.

Drew Pomeranz gets the ball Friday night at 7:15 Pacific. GO GIANTS!


Giants run past Padres

SF 6  SD 5
Tyler Beede gave up a homer with the first pitch of the game. He made a bigger mess but then wriggled out of it, notching a strikeout in the process. He then struck out two in the 2nd, two in the 3rd, and two in the 4th, looking for a stretch like a real major-leaguer. It crumbled in the 5th behind an onslaught of infield hits, but I took encouragement from his outing. If he can harness the stuff he threw last night he might just learn how to stick around and help the club.

Steven Duggar had put the Giants up 3-1 with a two-run homer in the 4th before the Padres chased Beede in the 5th. Down 4-3 the Giants fought back in the bottom of the 7th with an Evan Longoria triple that drove in two. Belt, pinch-hitting, led off with a walk and Panik's single sent him to third. Panik ran like a maniac from first on Longoria's triple into the left field corner and scored the go-ahead run. He probably should have been out by ten feet but the throw was off-line. Sometimes running like a maniac works out! Panda's sacrifice got Longoria home. Tony Watson gave up a solo shot to the ancient Ian Kinsler in the 8th and it finished 6-5 for the home team. It was a fun and interesting game and we haven't had many of those.

Shaun Anderson tonight, 6:45 Pacific. GO GIANTS!


Sunday, June 9, 2019

The Commodification of Madison Bumgarner

I got in the car this morning, and the radio was still set to the AM dial from yesterday's game.  Too early for game-time, KNBR was on some sports talk show (I abhor sports talk radio).  Before I could switch the channel, I hear some dickhead talking about how Madison Bumgarner would look great in a Yankees uniform.

Madison Bumgarner would not look great in a Yankees uniform.  Madison Bumgarner in a Yankees uniform would be a fucking tragedy.  Moreover, it would be a glaring indictment of how badly our former mis-management had let our farm system go to hell.  We will soon, as the constant stream of commentary would have it, be trading away our best players.  Think about that for a minute.  Trading away your best players.  Why?  Because that is the corner we have been backed into, and nearly everyone else has a no-trade contract or has no value.  Maybe back a few years we got a bit more out of some players coming up through the farm system than we should have (Tim Lincecum comes to mind).   Maybe we got a bit less than we should have more recently (Mac Williamson, perhaps).  But what is stunningly clear is that there was no plan to replenish our team with young talent from within or from outside the country.  Instead we went with the "sign a name and hope the band-aid works" style of management and pissed away our future.  As a result, our wonderful, wonderful core players; Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Joe Panik, and yes, Madison Bumgarner are sure to never see another world series, at least not in a Giants uniform.

LA has a team with a 2016 Rookie of the Year, a 2017 RoY and NL MVP, and Walker Buehler, who debuted at the end of 2017 and pitched LA to their only victory in the 2018 World Series.  The Giants rookies are 25 and 28 years old.  The Giants lost 1 - 0 and are now 18 games behind.

Madison Bumgarner threw a great ball game.  He was allowed to stay in for 7 innings (removed for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the 7th with no one on and 2 outs.  He threw only 86 pitches, struck out 5 and walked 1.  He gave up 4 hits.  Unfortunately, 1 of those was a home run to Max Muncy in the 1st inning.  (Muncy's 13th.  He is third on LA in home runs.  The leading Giant is Belt with 9.)  Walker Buehler pitched 8 innings, struck out 9 and allowed 5 hits and walked 1.  The Giants were 0 for 7 with RISP, including the bottom of the 5th when they had a runner at 1st and 3rd with no outs..  Yesterday, they were 1 for 11.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Giants Edge Kershaw, Dodgers

SF 2  LA 1
Clayton Kershaw is certainly the best pitcher against the San Francisco Giants in my lifetime. Before tonight this was his line against the boys in orange-&-black: 45 G, 44 S, 6 CG, 5 ShO, 323-1/3 IP, 229 H, 70 R, 46 BB, 333 K. That's a 22-10 record with a 1.70 ERA. Only 18 HR allowed and a ridiculous 0.851 WHIP. That's the picture of dominance, and that's over 12 seasons. The guy is absurd, and tonight he held the Giants to two runs over seven frames and the home team still prevailed. Brandon Belt got everything going with a great effort against his greatest nemesis in the 6th, working a walk and starting the two-run rally that proved to be the difference. Drew Pomeranz could have fallen apart in the 1st inning but whiffed two with the bases loaded and sported a filthy curveball that kept the Dodgers in the yard for five innings. Nice to see him bounce back from that stinker in Baltimore. Reyes Moronta handled the 6th on 13 pitches and Sam Dyson used 13 pitches for the 7th. Tony Watson gave up a solo shot in the 8th, but a superb 9th from Will Smith got it done.

Giants improve their home record to 11-18. They've scored 88 runs in those 29 games.

Jeff Samardzija and Rich Hill are the starters tomorrow, 4:15 Pacific.



Thursday, June 6, 2019

Coming home

NYM 7  SFG 0
NYM 7  SFG 3
The Giants end their road trip, which started promisingly, with a resounding thud. They got whipped by Jason Vargas on Wednesday night with rookie Tyler Beede getting knocked around. Today they played tough against Zack Wheeler and got a gritty effort from rookie Shaun Anderson but still lost. I thought it was a mistake to send Anderson out for the 7th inning. He had pitched five scoreless after being rocked for two homers in the 1st inning. With a 3-2 lead I thought they'd bring in Moronta to start the frame and go with Watson and Smith to close it out. Alas, Anderson walked the first guy and he scored the tying run after a fluky sequence which ended with Moronta giving up a bloop on a pitch well out of the zone. Watson got a double play to end the frame, and Mark Melancon got the 8th and he fell apart. Todd Frazier's homer to break the tie was one of those impossible hits, but the rest of the inning was a disaster.

Giants square off against the high-flying Dodgers this weekend in San Francisco. Friday night looks like a major mismatch with Drew Pomeranz facing Clayton Kershaw at 7:15 Pacific. Starters for Saturday (vs. Rich Hill) and Sunday (vs. Walker Buehler) are TBD. At least they don't have to face Hyun-Jin Ryu.


Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Win One for the Skipper

A big one.  The Giants notched their 1,000th win of Bruce Bochy's San Francisco Giants managerial career tonight over the New York Mets by a score of 9 - 3.

The game was not as lop-sided as the score would make it appear.  The Giants needed 10 innings to win, and scored 6 in the 10th to make it happen.  There were no home runs for the Giants.  Those 6 runs were the result of keeping the line moving.  RBI's for 6 different guys: Pablo, Duggar and Vogt had 2 each and Pillar, Yaz and Belt each had 1. 

Madison Bumgarner had a role in this historic occasion.  He was the starting pitcher, matched up against Noah Syndergaard and each starter gave up 3 in 6 innings (6 2/3 for Thor).  Madison gave up 6 hits, including 2 home runs, struck out 5 and walked 4.  He was not his best, but then, he kept the Giants in the game and they found a way to win.  Mark Melancon pitched the 9th and picked up the W.

Bruce Bochy also has 951 wins for the San Diego Padres.  The question is, can he get enough wins to retire with an even 2,000?  That would mean 49 wins in 103 games.   It seems like a stretch for the 2019 Giants, but, hey, it's a goal.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

New Giants

Giants draft OF Hunter Bishop with the 10th pick and 1B Logan Wyatt with the 51st pick. I think the draft is an anachronism and should be abolished. Players should be free agents from the start. Perhaps with the growth of the international game and the larger "market" for baseball talent we will see an erosion of the owner-controlled model and more freedom and flexibility for players. The athletes have a very short window of productive seasons, it seems un-American to me to force them to sign away their earning power. I know: vox clamantis in deserto.

Regardless, welcome aboard Hunter and Logan!


Sunday, June 2, 2019

Two in a row!

SF 8  BAL 1
Jeff Samardzija produced an outstanding effort after a worrisome start. He allowed a solo shot in--you guessed it--the 1st inning but put up five zeroes after that. Three hits, no walks, and six strikeouts for the Shark who threw 110 pitches to 21 batters in his six frames. The Giants scored in the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th to dominate in Baltimore and make it two wins out of three over the hapless Orioles. Evan Longoria (three hits including a homer) and Brandon Crawford (two homers) delivered the thump. Reyes Moronta, Tony Watson (who struck out the side), and Will Smith finished up.

Travel day tomorrow then it is three against the Mets in New York. Madison Bumgarner against Noah Syndergaard on Tuesday, with Tyler Beede and Shaun Anderson on Wednesday and Thursday.



Saturday, June 1, 2019

Giants Subdue Orioles

SF 8  BAL 2
Rookie Shaun Anderson had an outstanding effort today in Baltimore, notching his first big-league "W" with seven strong innings. Giants starters had a 7+ ERA for the month of May, and had not delivered a 21-out start since April 13. It really helps when the hitters get it going early and this afternoon the Giants scored two in the 1st, one in the 3rd, and four in the 5th (and another in the 9th) to support the young right-hander. Buster Posey had a homer and two walks, scoring three runs and rookie Mike Yastrzemski had a hit and a walk and scored two. Brandon Belt, hitting in the number five spot, had two two-RBI hits, one in the 1st and one in the 5th. A good day for the good guys. Mark Melancon and rookie Sam Coonrod finished up.

Anderson is supposed to pitch again on Thursday, bumping Drew Pomeranz. Jeff Samardzija gets the call tomorrow morning at 10:05 Pacific.