Wednesday, July 31, 2019

6th inning: 13-5

SF 5  PHI 1
Do you remember the third seasonal inning? Good, you shouldn't. It was a bleak time, the month of May. There was a goddamn seven-game losing streak, for example. Here's a review of the season so far:

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

Here's what I said after the 5th inning:
That brings the team to 42-48, still in last place, but certainly in a better place than before.
And they are in an even better place now. How about 19-6 (.760) in July?

6th inning: 13-5

I remember thinking after that 5-13 stinker that it would be OK if they Giants could pull off a 13-5 inning. And I thought the odds of that were vanishingly small, so small they were no different than zero.

Shows you what I know. They are now 55-53, with 54 left to play.

Tonight in Philadelphia the mostly still-together Giants kicked ass. Jeff Samardzija had another strong outing (6 IP, 3 H, zero runs, 5 K) and the lineup exploded for five runs in the 6th and that was enough. Here's how it went: Yaz walk, Buster homer, pitching change, Panda homer, BCraw single, Pillar homer. That's a Giants half inning for you!

Tony Watson gave up a run in the 7th. Reyes Moronta became the new Sam Dyson and pitched a scoreless 8th. Will Smith handled the 9th despite the four-run lead.

The Giants see Jake Arrieta tomorrow at 10:05 a.m. PDT. The website says TBA for the Giants starter but they just recalled both Dereck Rodriguez and Andrew Suarez, so I'm guessing it will be D-Rod. RHP Jendel Gustave also got called up, I was mistaken about Melvin Adon, he was promoted to AA.

As far as all the trades and other moves, I feel like the Giants threaded the needle. They got some new talent without compromising the core of the team. They even got some salary relief. If this team is truly a "contender" then they are still a contender and yet they improved the roster for the future. And they managed a "rental" second baseman, Scooter Gennett, who was a 4-WAR player last year! If he is healthy he could be a really nice pickup for the stretch run.

I just want the Giants to play winning ball. If they do that, opportunities may emerge. For now, just keep grinding out the wins. And avoid the losing streaks. One series at a time.



p.s. I note that the already-formidable Astros got Zack Greinke. That cost them four players! I wonder if the price for MadBum was that high. It doesn't matter, I'm happy the team held on to him.

The Deadline passeth

The Giants are active at the trade deadline but Madison Bumgarner and Will Smith, the two most-talked about names, stay put.

The Giants shake up the bullpen and send Drew Pomeranz and Ray Black (currently at Sacto) to the Brewers for 25-year old AAA SS/2B Mauricio Dubon. I'll miss Black, he throws 100 mph, but I like the new infielder. He is supposedly ready for the big time but he'll probably report to the River Cats.

Mark Melancon goes to the Braves for two players, Tristan Beck (23-year old RH minor league starter) and Dan Winkler (29-year old major league righty reliever). No details on salary considerations yet. This one was a surprise as I did not think Melancon was tradeable with all the money owed to him. Perhaps the Giants are eating the bulk of the cost.

Sam Dyson goes to the Twins for three players. Prelander Berroa is a 19-year old RH pitcher in rookie ball, Kai-Wei Teng is a 20-year old RH starter in low-A ball, and Jaylin Davis is a 25-year old AAA OF, a right-hander with some pop. That seems like a fair haul for Dyson.

Scooter Gennett comes to the Giants from the Reds for "cash considerations." When healthy this guy was really raking at second base. Joe Panik's struggles have been obvious all season and they needed an immediate upgrade.

It certainly improves the All-Name Team: Scooter, Prelander, Tristan, Mauricio, Jaylin . . . those are all good ones.


p.s. Tonight is Game 108, the end of the 6th seasonal inning, and the end of the month! I'll try to have a full report on things later.

p.p.s. Giants pick up 25-year old lefty OF/1B Joe McCarthy from the Rays for 21-year old southpaw Jacob Lopez who is in low-A ball.

p.p.p.s. Melvin Adon, another 100-mph thrower, gets the call-up from AA. He has 59 K in 45 IP.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Phillies prevail in opener

PHI 4  SF 2
The Giants right-handed lineup had no luck against southpaw starter Drew Smyly, managing only four hits and a walk in seven frames. In fact no one got to second base! They made a game of it in the 8th when the lefties came in and tagged righty reliever Nick Pivetta for two pinch-homers. Those were from Brandon Belt and Stephen Vogt. Otherwise Tyler Beede gave up ten hits in his five innings, the big blow a two-run blast from Rhys Hoskins.

MLBTR says the Giants and the Astros are talking about you-know-who, but as of post time there's been no action. (Remember: the R stands for Rumors.) The deadline is 4:00 p.m Eastern tomorrow. Jeff Samardzija takes the hill for the Giants in game two at 4:05 p.m. Pacific.



Sunday, July 28, 2019

4:42 pm July 28: Madison Bumgarner STILL Not Traded

Giants win yet another series in San Diego by a final score of 7 - 6.

This game should not have been a one-run game.  The Giants played their last game of 2019 in San Diego (remember how they finished with Cincinnati on May 12?) and took the series 2 - 1.  They of course play San Diego again at home in August so we can play Boston in September.

Madison Bumgarner on the mound.  His numbers indicate a well pitched game: 7 innings in 86 pitches, 4 runs on 4 hits (1 home run), 6 K and 2 BB.  But there was a fair amount of sloppiness, especially in the early innings.  Maddy started the game with an out on the first pitch, then gave up a single and a walk, threw a wild pitch to advance the runners and then had Hunter Renfroe at 1 - 2 before he let him sacrifice the runner in.   The Giants came back with 2 and held the Padres scoreless in the bottom of the 2nd before a 3 run shot in the bottom of the 3rd by Renfroe, again, put the Pads up 4 - 2.  That was a 3 run shot because of a single and a hit-by-pitch to put 2 men on.

The Giants kept plugging away, though.  16 hits in the game, with most players contributing.  Yaz was the hero, 4 hits in 5 at bats, 2 runs and 2 rbi.  He also made a spectacular catch against the wall, possibly pulling back a home run.  It was small, or perhaps, medium ball all day long.  3 hits for Posey, 1 run and 1 rbi; Solano, 2 hits, a run and 2 rbi; Dickerson, 2 hits a run and an rbi; and 2 hits for BCraw, 1 run and an rbi.

Sam Dyson had a 5 pitch 8th and Will Smith allowed a single and a home run to make the score 7 - 6 before he recorded the save.  The Giants hit no home runs.  San Diego is a young team that has a lot of power, even if they need polish, especially in their pitching staff.

So the Giants have now won 19 of their last 24 (.792) and have not lost a series since June 26.  They are now in second place in the NL West again and only 1.5 games behind the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies for the wild card.  They are 6th in overall standings not including the two division leaders, LA and Atlanta, 6th in a race that includes whoever might come out on top in the NL Central, currently tied between the Cardinals and Cubs.  And guess what?  The Giants spend August playing Philadelphia 7 times (starting Tuesday), Colorado in Colorado again, Oakland 4 times, Arizona 6 times, Chicago, and San Diego again, and we still play St. Louis again in September.

June 26 marks almost exactly the three year anniversary of when they got crappy.  And stayed crappy until June 26 2019.  I maintain that the baseball gods, or whatever power to which you wish to subscribe, gave the Giants a three-year time out for the sins visited on them by their fans.  Remember 2016?  That was when the story was that the Giants were going to win the world series again because it was a year that ended in an even number.  Can you imagine?  The incredible hubris!  Had we forgotten the mere inches by which some of those hits missed gloves?  The number of times the Giants were an eyelash away from elimination?  The pitches that, on another day, would have been pulverized?  It seems we have paid for our sins and our players have been allowed to thrive again, at least for now.  Don't make the same mistake again.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

The Deadline Approacheth . . .

SD 5  SF 1
Shaun Anderson struck out seven in his five-plus innings but was tagged for four runs. Trevor Gott got the other. The lineup had a tough time again, managing only one run. Hits have been scarce for the Giants in San Diego.

Tomorrow Madison Bumgarner takes the hill and a month ago I would have said this would be his last start in a Giants uniform. The team's winning ways since then have forced me to re-think that.

The narrative is Buyers & Sellers. If you think you will make the post-season, buy the guys you need to make a real run for the title. If you are out of it, sell the few assets you have and hope to hit the franchise reset button. This binary thinking is great for journalists, blowhards, bloggers and the poor, suffering fans who have to put up with all that hot air and spilled ink.

Through it all we have our very own PoBO, Farhan Zaidi, who always seems to be eager, curious, and positive. For a high-energy guy in a competitive business he is surprisingly serene. Most successful people view problems and dilemmas as opportunities and relish the creative and analytical challenges. I don't think FZ sees The Trade Deadline as a binary exercise. Trade player X, Yes/No? That's not how he rolls. He is on a mission to improve the club and win ballgames. Sounds like a truism, I know, you expect all GMs and PoBOs and whatnot to approach their jobs that way.

FZ isn't going to view July 31st in black-and-white terms. Sacrifice the future to win now! Sacrifice now to win in the future! That's not how his head works. He's capable of operating on several timelines simultaneously and can see winning now and rebuilding as the same, multi-faceted operation. I know I'm making him sound like fucking Yoda, but I have to say he really does come across that way, and I'm happy to let him do what he wants to do.

Giants fans are a bit spoiled, and whiny, and there are a heap of geniuses out there who know what's best for the club. They aren't going to be happy with what FZ does. Buy, Sell, Buy-and-Sell, Stand Pat--it doesn't matter. There will be plenty of bitching to go around.

It seems to me a lot less likely they will trade Bumgarner. Only two or three teams could use him and they won't spend the resources the Giants would want in return on a rental. That's cool with me. I want the Big Fella to stay. They can make him a Qualifying Offer at the end of the season and see how it plays out. Or sign him to an extension. That would be a chunk of change, but we are talking about Madison Bumgarner. Fans love MadBum. Keeping fans happy is good. He's proven he is still a good pitcher, a valuable teammate, and a great performer. Having a star player who shows up on highlight-reels is a lot of fun.

The Big Three (Dyson/Watson/Smith) might get broken up. Or, FZ might surprise us and trade a young arm (Black, Coonrod, Moronta, etc.) because teams really like cheap, controllable assets. The Giants might get some prospects in trade and then turn them around and buy a starter or a power bat to help the team immediately. I've no idea, but I'm not expecting anything too dramatic. FZ likes the incremental approach, but he could certainly surprise us.

The Giants played decent ball in June after a terrible start and have played great ball so far in July. I want that to continue. If the team plays good baseball then good things will happen. I just want to focus on the day-to-day and watch the club grind out wins and sustain the winning energy and culture that's been missing the last two seasons. The biggest thing the Giants will do this year is not going to happen this week but in October when they say goodbye to Bruce Bochy and get themselves a new manager. They will be doing that whether they finish strong or not, and after 13 seasons and three World Series wins, that will be quite a change!

So relax and enjoy the baseball. That's my advice. Don't sweat the trades. We can't make 'em, so we have to trust the guys in charge. And I feel pretty good about that.



Panda Power!

SF 2  SD 1 (11)
No, that's not a re-run of a previous game. It's a whole new extra-inning win on a Sandoval homer. And five shutout innings from the bullpen. That's just the way these Giants roll! They won a bunch of games earlier in the month by clobbering the ball and scoring a heap o'runs. Lately they've struggled to score but are still managing to win games. Neither team could do much last night. The Padres had three singles, a double, and a solo homer. The Giants had two singles, two doubles, and a solo homer. If you like low-scoring pitching duels, you are in the right place. Jeff Samardzija bounced back with a good start and has put together an impressive July: 32-2/3 IP, 23 H, 9 R, 30 K, and 6 BB with the Giants winning four of the five games. Mark Melancon has also looked good, over his last six appearances (7-2/3 IP) he's allowed only two hits, one walk, no runs, and whiffed seven. Both of them are signed through next season (and are free agents in 2021) so let's hope we continue to see good health and quality work from them.

The Diamondbacks lost so the 53-51 Giants are all alone in second place. Shaun Anderson starts today at a funny time, 5:40 Pacific. Go Giants!


Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Two outta three ain't bad

Last night: SF 5  CHC 4 (13)
Today: CHC 4  SF 1
The Giants pulled off another amazing, dramatic win on Tuesday. Madison Bumgarner gave them seven strong innings but the bullpen could not hold the lead and it went to extras. Pablo Sandoval finally ended it with a homer in the 13th.

This afternoon the Cubs beat up on Tyler Beede, getting ten hits, three of them homers. The youngster did strike out seven in his 5-2/3, and only walked one, otherwise the damage would have been worse. Javier Baez brought the big stick for Chicago and their bullpen gave them five scoreless after starter Tyler Chatwood left after four.

Taking two of three from the Cubs after three of four from the Mets means a 5-2 homestand. I have to think that's pretty damn good. Four of the Giants five wins were walk-offs. They played fifteen extra innings! But with the off-day tomorrow the team should be well-rested before their nine-game road trip. They go to San Diego for three, then have a travel day before three in Philadelphia, then it's three in Colorado. It's been a magical month (16-4, .800) so far, let's hope they can keep the fire going.

Jeff Samardzija Friday night (7:10), Shaun Anderson Saturday (5:40), and MadBum Sunday afternoon (1:05).



Monday, July 22, 2019

Giants keep it rolling

SF 5  CHC 4
The Giants keep up the thrills with a big 8th-inning comeback against the Central Division-leading Cubs. Down 4-2, Panda led off with a double. After Stephen Vogt struck out BCraw singled in the run. Kevin Pillar hit into a force play but an Austin Slater double and a Joe Panik double gave the Giants the lead. Sam Dyson, giving Will Smith a rest, got the save.

Shaun Anderson worked hard in his five innings but kept it together, allowing three runs but also striking out five. Drew Pomeranz came on in relief and whiffed four in his two innings. Trevor Gott gave up a run in the 8th to make it 4-2, and that felt like the killer "insurance run" good teams get on their way to a win. And the Cubs are a good team. But the Giants rallied off Pedro Strop and had another fabulous win. They are 10-2 since the Break and 15-3 in July. And tied for second place (51-50) with Arizona!

Should be a good matchup tomorrow: Madison Bumgarner and Yu Darvish. Both pitchers are looking strong lately. Bum is coming off his best start of the year and Darvish has allowed only four hits and two runs in his last 12 IP.



Sunday, July 21, 2019


SF 3  NYM 2  (12)
Mike Yastrzemski launched the game-winning homer with one out in the 12th inning and the Giants delivered another thriller for their 100th game of the season. The club is back to .500 with 50 wins and 50 losses.

There are 62 games left with 31 on the road and 31 at home. There are 8 in July (3 at home), 27 in August (14 at home), and 27 in September (14 at home). I'd like to see them finish above .500 and that would require a 32-30 (.516) record for the rest of the season. I think that is something they can pull off, don't you?

It was an impressive debut for two new Giants. Rookie starter Conner Menez went five innings, throwing 84 pitches to 19 batters. He surrendered two solo shots in the 2nd, but only one other hit, and he whiffed six, allowing just the two runs. Rookie third baseman Zach Green had a hit in his first plate appearance, part of three in the 2nd that led to the team's first run. He also hit a double his next time up, notching an RBI and tying up the game in the 4th. As fun as it is to have the youngsters getting their shots, I get the feeling that guys with options (both have three remaining) are going to shuttle up and down as the team needs them. Unless of course they play spectacularly and force them to move someone else! Regardless of whether or not the Giants are active at the trade deadline I expect the roster will continue to be fluid.

The Giants bullpen threw five hitless innings after Menez departed, using the A-team of Moronta, Watson, Dyson, & Smith for regulation and Mark Melancon for two in extras (he gave up a hit in the 11th). Trevor Gott handled the 12th, and the Giants finally broke through in the bottom half. What a crazy series--three extra-inning games and three walk-off wins!

Fifty victories puts the Giants ahead of 12 of the 30 ML teams, six in the NL (COL, SD, PIT, NYM, CIN, MIA) and six in the AL (CWS, SEA, TOR, KC, DET, BAL).

The 54-45 Chicago Cubs come to town for three starting tomorrow night at 6:45 Pacific. Shaun Anderson gets the call.



Saturday, July 20, 2019


NYM 11  SF 4
Good times come to an end. It's one of those things you learn in life that is never fun, just relentlessly true. The Giants had a brilliant seven-game win streak come to a thudding halt this afternoon in San Francisco. The Mets lineup clobbered seventeen hits including four homers and a triple off Jeff Samardzija, Derek Holland, and Ty Blach, thumping the local lads with impunity.

The Giants scored five runs in the first 34 innings since coming home. They got two wins out of that which tells you they were on quite a hot streak. Today they were down 11-1 in the 9th before Alex Dickerson hit a two-run homer and Mike Yastrzemski  added a solo shot.

Tomorrow they will continue their run of excellent play (13-3 in July) and kick off a new winning streak, right? Young southpaw Conner Menez gets the start--his major league debut--which is an exciting development. There are now three rookies in the rotation! This kid (he's 24) has risen quickly through the system and now he's earned a shot with the big club. Conner is from Hollister and went to San Benito High School (their nickname is the Haybalers, you have to love that).



Friday, July 19, 2019

Seven Straight!

SF 1  NYM 0 (10)
Last night it was Thor, he of the epic heat. Tonight it was deGrom, one of the most badass whiff artists in the league. The Giants won in extras last night. The Giants won in extras tonight. Hey, bring it on. This team is ready for it.

Well, it was 0-0 until the 10th, and much credit is due to rookie hurler Tyler Beede who threw the best start of his big-league career. He gave up only three hits in eight innings and subdued the Mets on a crisp 89 pitches. I think the pitcher his pedigree says he should be--1st round pick from Vandy--is starting to emerge. That's good news for the rest of the season and beyond.

The game was decided on one of those fluke plays that happen now and then. With Alex Dickerson on first with two outs, Panda popped one up to shallow left field. The shortstop, Amed Rosario, ran after it BCraw-style, looking to get it over-the-shoulder. The left fielder, Dominic Smith, probably should have taken charge, and eventually did reach out to catch the ball as Rosario realized he would not reach it, but then he dropped it. Dickerson was almost to third base when Wotus gave him the "go" sign and he rounded the bag. Smith alertly picked up the ball and fired it to third baseman Todd Frazier who whipped around and threw right to home plate. Unfortunately no one was there. Catcher Wilson Ramos was in foul ground, on the third base side, either out of position or yielding the running lane, I couldn't tell. Regardless, he was not able to get to the ball and Dickerson scored the winner easily.

Weird, but wonderful.

The Giants have achieved what seemed impossible not long ago--a .500 record. They are 49-49 and 2-1/2 games up on San Diego and Colorado, and only a game behind Arizona.

Jeff Samardzija goes tomorrow afternoon, 1:05 Pacific.




SF 3  NYM 2 (16)
It only took 4 hours and 47 minutes but the Giants notched another walk-off win, courtesy of a Donovan Solano ground ball that slipped through the drawn-in five-man infield that allowed BCraw (who had doubled in the tying run) to score the winner. It all looked lost when rookie sensation Pete Alonso homered off rookie Williams Jerez (just recalled from AAA--Suarez was optioned back) in the top of the 16th. But Alex Dickerson doubled to start the bottom half and Crawford brought him home, Slater was hit by a pitch, a Pillar single loaded the bases, then DoSo did his thing. They want to call him "Donnie Baseball" but that's lame. I admit DoSo is hideous, so help me out here, readers!

It was a superb matchup with Noah Syndergaard and Madison Bumgarner. The Giants lefty threw perhaps his best start of the season, going nine innings and giving up just one run on five hits. He walked only one and whiffed six. Thor lasted seven, with eight strikeouts, and was popping 99 mph even after 100 pitches.

It gets more fun every day--this is a remarkable run by the ballclub. They are 14-3 since beating the Diamondbacks at home on June 28th. They took two of three in that series, then swept the Padres in San Diego, came home to take two of three from the Cardinals, then after the Break beat the Brewers two of three in Milwaukee, and finished the trip with the epic four-game sweep of the Rockies. They were 34-46 and in the cellar. Now they are 48-49 and creeping up on second place!

Last year's NL Cy Young Award recipient Jacob deGrom goes for the Mets tonight (7:15 Pacific). The Giants send out rookie Tyler Beede who has looked better lately and seems to be harnessing his strikeout stuff. Look for a lot of whiffs today.

The Giants have won six straight. Let's go for seven!


Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Red-hot Giants blast past Rockies

SF 11  COL 8
The Giants pounded out 18 hits today and continued this crazy, wonderful hot streak by completing the sweep in Coors Field. Savor that! Four wins in four games in Denver. Wow! This team is playing exceptional baseball. Starter Shaun Anderson got rocked a bit but made it to the 5th where Derek Holland took over. He handed it to Reyes Moronta who passed it to Andrew Suarez who was just recalled from AAA. Suarez pitched a great 8th but could not finish the 9th and Mark Melancon got the final out.

All eight starters in the lineup had at least one hit today (Donovan Solano had four and Brandon Belt three). Mike Yastrzemski was the only one not to score a run, but he had two hits and one RBI. The Giants scored three in the 1st, two in the 5th, one in the 6th, two in the 7th and three in the 8th. They took an early lead, lost it, got it back, piled on more runs, then held off a late charge by the Rockies. In short, it was a great game.

Giants have won 12 of their last 14 and come home to face the Mets for four starting tomorrow night at 6:45 Pacific. It should be a great matchup: Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard.



Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Wild, wild life

SF 8  COL 4 (10)
The Giants continue to play utterly relentless baseball. They took a 2-0 lead in the 1st and stretched it to a 4-1 lead in the 9th. Then Mr. Automatic, Will Smith, gave up two homers in the bottom of the 9th and the Rockies tied the game and sent it to extras. Oh, no problem. The Giants ripped out another four runs and took an 8-4 lead into the bottom of the 10th. Mark Melancon then finished it off.

It's a wild, wild life.

Mike Yastrzemski and Alex Dickerson went 7-for-10 with four runs scored and five runs batted in. Kevin Pillar continues to make superb plays in the field to rob hits and save runs. I don't care if his OBP is under .300, man. That's 11 wins in the last 13 games.

Shaun Anderson goes tomorrow at 12:10 Pacific.



Monday, July 15, 2019

Giants slip past Rockies

SF 2  COL 1
Dereck Rodriguez survived some shaky defense and gave the team five strong innings, leading the way to another win at Coors. Brandon Crawford's ridiculous day continued with another homer, this one a solo shot following a solo shot by Stephen Vogt in the 4th. Those two runs were enough. Reyes Moronta, Tony Watson, Sam Dyson (struck out the side!), and Will Smith made those runs stand up. The Giants play two in Denver and allow a total of three runs. That's crazy!

They are now 9-2 in July and have improved to 45-49 on the season.

Drew Pomeranz goes tomorrow at 5:40 Pacific.



Giants slaughter Rockies

SF 19  COL 2
The Giants went crazy today in Denver, having a Coors Field dream day after two-plus seasons of nightmares. They went 1-8 last year and 1-9 in 2017. This season they are 2-1 after three games! With 21 hits and 19 runs there are a lot of hitters to talk about but I want to mention that Jeff Samardzija pitched another good game. Here's his line in July: 21-2/3 IP, 13 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 17 K. The Giants are 3-0 in those games and 8-2 in July.

The outfield, composed of players not on the Opening Day roster (Alex Dickerson, debut 6/21; Mike Yastrzemski, debut 5/25; Kevin Pillar, debut 4/2), combined to go 9-for-16 with eight runs scored and six driven in.

Brandon Crawford had a career day with five hits (two homers) and eight runs batted in. Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda are the only other SF Giants with eight RBI in a game. Buster Posey looked good with two hits and three runs scored and Brandon Belt had two hits, a walk, and two runs scored.

Over the last eleven games the Giants have scored 94 runs, the most ever by a San Francisco club in any eleven-game stretch. They were historically bad at hitting and scoring earlier in the season, it feels good to see them be historically awesome!

D-Rod is supposed to get the start in a couple of hours to play the scheduled game (this was a makeup game) but the weather looks dicey. We'll see.



p.s. Both Ray Black and Sam Coonrod pitched in relief. Evan Longoria goes on the IL with plantar fasciitis.

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Giants Kick Ass

SF 8  MIL 3
The Giants fought impressively all afternoon and finally exploded with a six-run outburst in the 7th to bury the Brewers.Tyler Beede not only had a fine start (6-2/3 IP, 3 R, 7 K) but he successfully pulled off a butcher-boy play in that same 7th inning to drive in the first run. Derek Holland and Mark Melancon did the rest and the Giants had a series win on the road against a tough opponent. It was nice to see the Brandons look good at the plate: Craw had a hit, two walks, and two runs scored; Belt had two hits (including a homer), a walk, and two runs scored. Evan Longoria, who has been the hot hand lately, left the game with a foot injury, otherwise it was all positives today in Milwaukee.

The Giants play a makeup game in Colorado tomorrow at 11:10 a.m., Jeff Samardzija gets the start. Then Derek Rodriguez gets the ball for the regularly-scheduled 5:40 p.m. game.



Saturday, July 13, 2019

Things Mixed Up. Madison Bumgarner Still Not Traded, Though!

The Giants relief pitching, normally so reliable, let them down.
The Giants defense, normally so reliable, let them down.

The Giants lost, 5 - 4 in a wild one.  The Giants went up 1 - 0 in the 1st on a Yaz sac fly.  The Brewers, or Cerveceros tonight, tied the game in the 5th.  The Giants went up 2 - 1 in the 7th on a Slater double.  The Brewers tied the game at 2 in the 8th, then scored 2 more to go up 4 - 2 with Sam Dyson on the mound.  The Giants tied the game in the 9th on a Vogt single and a fielding error by Lorenzo Cain that allowed Slater to score.  But the Brewers won in the bottom of the 9th.

Madbum back on the mound in his first outing since the July 6 game where he took a line drive on the triceps of his pitching arm.  He did not look very sharp, but he threw 103 pitches, had his velocity and could throw his whole array of pitches.  That sometimes happens over an All Star break, injury or not.  Madbum lasted 5 innings, gave up 7 hits, 1 walk and struck out 6.  He left with the game tied 1 - 1, the run he allowed was not earned.

Mark likes to say, "a run is a run" but today, the earned runs tell a story.  The Giants lost by a score of 5 - 4, but only the 3 runs that Sam Dyson allowed were considered earned  (he gave up 4 hits and did not get an out).  Joe Panik bobbled a ball that allowed Madbum's run, then Brandon Crawford bobbled a ball that allowed the 9th inning run to hang the loss on Reyes Moronta.   Trevor Gott, Tony Watson and Derek Holland also pitched.  The Giants were scrappy.  The Giants didn't get their 3rd hit until the 7th inning.  They wound up with 7, the Brewers got 15.  And in spite of all that, were it not for the defensive miscues, the Giants would have won.  Nothing to do but go out tomorrow and prove that scrappiness wasn't a fluke.

Friday, July 12, 2019

Buster Slams Brewers

SF 10  MIL 7
Buster Posey launched the first pitch he saw in the 10th inning far over the center-field wall for a grand slam that punctuated a dramatic win for the Giants in Milwaukee. Buster's blast was the fifth round-tripper of the evening for the good guys against zero for the home squad. Tyler Austin hit a homer off the normally invincible Josh Hader in the 8th and for good measure Brandon Crawford tagged another one off him in the 9th. That gave the Giants a 6-5 lead but Christian Yelich led off the bottom of the 9th with a triple off Will Smith and eventually scored to spoil his perfect save record. But a tremendous rally in the top of the 10th to load the bases for Posey made that moot.

Starter Shaun Anderson lasted only five innings against the tough Brewers lineup but he "served notice" by striking out the aforementioned Yelich three times! The young righty has shown some real fortitude so far in his eleven starts. Giants scored two in the 5th and two in the 6th on homers by Austin Slater and by Evan Longoria turning a 2-0 deficit to a 4-2 lead. The Brewers chased Anderson in the 6th but the orange-and-black ultimately came back and got the win. Mark Melancon gave up a run in the 10th but struck out Lorenzo Cain to finish it off. Giants pitchers notched 14 strikeouts tonight.

That has to be the best win of the season. Giants complete Game 90, the fifth seasonal inning, with a sparkling 11-7 record including seven wins in the last eight games, not to mention 6-1 in July.

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

That brings the team to 42-48, still in last place, but certainly in a better place than before.

Madison Bumgarner is healthy and ready to go tomorrow, 4:15 p.m. GO GIANTS!


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

All Star Break; Where Are We?

Numbers, numbers, numbers.

San Francisco Giants:  41 - 48 at the All Star break.
Home: 20 - 26;  Away: 21 - 22
March: 1 - 3
April: 11 - 15; 1st "inning": 8 - 10
May: 10 - 16; 2nd inning: 8 - 10
June: 14 - 13; 3rd inning: 5 - 13 (yuk!); 4th inning: 10 - 8
July: 5 - 1.
The Giants will complete their 5th inning at the conclusion of the first game after the break Friday night (their 90th game).

San Francisco Giants vs NL West:  23 - 24;
vs Arizona: 6 - 7; vs Colorado: 5 - 4; vs Los Angeles: 5 - 8; vs San Diego: 7 - 5, with 4 more to play vs Colorado right after the break to complete the early and middle face-offs against our division foes. 

However, since the June 7 start of these series, here is how the numbers shape up:
vs Arizona: 4 - 3; vs Colorado: 1 - 2; vs Los Angeles: 2 - 5; vs San Diego: 5 - 0.  It would appear that San Diego, looking so strong at the start of the season, is erratic while the smogsuckers are looking dominant, at least in the divisional race.  In that time, the Giants are also 4 - 2 against non-divisional opponents.  Make of this what you will.  However, after a mediocre start and an awful 3rd inning in which the Giants dropped 7 in a row, anyone would have to admit that they are playing tough, competitive baseball.

Since the All-Star break in 2016, the Giants have been the worst team in the National League, save Miami, and if I had written this at the end of June, the Marlins would have had a better record than the Giants.  The Marlins are 1 - 5 in July vs 5 - 1 for the Giants.  And ever since, I have been tearing myself up asking, "WHY?"  The answers haven't come to me - injuries, aging, over-valuing players and locking them into long-term contracts, all that has a part, but I could never reconcile just how bad the Giants became, seemingly overnight.  In 2016, the Giants had the best record in baseball prior to the All Star break and coasted into the playoffs only to lose to the Cubs juggernaut.

But, the Giants are now playing well with a winning 4th inning and a great start to July.  They are 7 games under .500, even though they were once 12 games under.  Their offense has been number 1 in the major leagues lately, at least before the 1 - 0 win on Sunday.  Can these random newcomers really have made that much of a difference?  32 wins out of 73 remaining gives the Giants a better record than last year.  33 wins out of 73 remaining gives Bruce Bochy a nice, even 2000 wins for his career.  40 wins out of 73 remaining gives the Giants a .500 record for 2019.  In an interview in the Chronicle today, FZ said that he did not feel pressure to be a seller and that, in fact every team is in an evaluation mode.  Is .500 possible?  Can it be that a 3-year curse which we do not begin to understand has finally been lifted?

C'mon Giants!  Don't trade Madbum!

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Just enough!

SF 1  STL 0
The Cardinals promising young righty Jack Flaherty dazzled the Giants for six no-hit innings in San Francisco this afternoon, dominating what had been a hot-hitting club. Fortunately Jeff Samardzija matched him with six zeroes himself, and Kevin Pillar bailed out The Shark in the 7th with two big catches to keep the shutout intact. In the bottom half Evan Longoria launched a no-doubter and the Giants had a 1-0 lead in the final game before the All-Star Break. Sam Dyson whiffed three in the 8th and Will Smith made it 23-for-23 with only seven pitches in the 9th and the win was in the books. That's six victories in their last seven games, and a 5-1 record for July. Game 90 (end of the 5th seasonal inning) is the first game back, Friday night in Milwaukee.

Seems fitting that we get a soccer score today as the USWNT completed their World Cup quest with a convincing shutout win in France over The Netherlands. Good show, ladies!

The Giants are playing better quality, more entertaining baseball. Let's hope they keep it up when they come back.


Saturday, July 6, 2019

Madbum Leaves Early; Not Because He's Traded

Fluky game.  Madison Bumgarner was the starting pitcher.  And start he did, giving up a single.  The second batter, Jose Martinez, hit a line shot that caught Maddy's pitching arm in the triceps at about 99 mph.  He shook it off, gave up a run and pitched a scoreless second in spite of a big lump visible on the tv.  But the swelling and, probably, stiffness got to him and he did not come out to pitch the 3rd.  Madbum's short line: 2 IP, 2 K, 4 hits, 1 run.  After the game, they reported nothing broken.

The Giants tied the game in the bottom of the 1st.  1 - 1 remained the score until the bottom of the 4th.  Pablo singled, and 2 missed fly balls tied the bases with 1 out.  Austin Slater, brought in to hit for Sam Dyson, who relieved Madbum, put one in the seats for a pinch hit grand slam!  Did I say fluky?  In the 5th, the home plate umpire caught one in the facemask and had to be replaced.  The Giants, after a short outing by the starter, Drew Pomeranz, last night, used Dyson, Moronta, Melancon, Watson and Smith to finish out the game.

The 5 - 1 score after the grand slam was not the end of the Giants or the Cardinals scoring.  The Giants tacked on 1 in the 7th on a Alex Dickerson triple and 2 more on a Pablo Sandoval home run, and the Cardinals added 3 in the 8th off of Watson on a Paul Goldschmidt (who else?) home run.  The Giants win a game in which Madbum was knocked out of the box (almost literally) after 2, by a final score of 8 - 4.  4 rbi for Slater, 3 for the Panda, and the Giants showed some moxie after a loss.  That was their first pinch hit grand salami since Rich Aurila hit one in 2003.  Rubber match tomorrow before the All Star break.

Wednesday, July 3, 2019


SF 7  SD 5
The Giants win their fourth in a row and take the three-game set from the Padres with another strong offensive effort. A three-run burst in the 3rd that featured two homers and a four-run festival in the 6th that featured three doubles got the job done. The Padres were a little unlucky in that 6th inning with a goofy, accidental hit-by-pitch and a ball lost in the lights. But it's about time the Giants are on the receiving end of some fluke plays, don't you think? Shaun Anderson was battered a bit (4 IP, 8 H, 4 R) but the bullpen was epic, with Trevor Gott and Reyes Moronta making a bridge to the three-headed monster of Sam Dyson, Tony Watson, and Will Smith. Watson gave up a solo shot to Hunter Renfroe, but that guy is a beast. Smith made it look easy again, he's 22-for-22.

The Giants have played baseball on The Fourth of July every non-strike season since 1941. But they are off tomorrow. Drew Pomeranz faces the Cardinals on Friday night in San Francisco.

Enjoy the holiday, everyone.


Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Beede, Bats Beat Pads

SF 10  SD 4
Tyler Beede had his best start ever (7 IP, 4 H, 1 R) and the Giants pounded out 17 hits to subdue the Padres in San Diego. That's three straight games in which the Giants have scored in double figures: 10 on Sunday, 13 yesterday, and 10 tonight. Who are these guys? One is Evan Longoria who had four hits including a double and a homer, scoring three and driving in five. Donovan Solano led off the game with a homer and had two more hits and is starting to look like a real option at shortstop. Kevin Pillar had four hits, Brandon Belt added three, and Austin Slater two. But the story is Tyler Beede who threw 100 pitches (63 strikes) to 24 batters, with a solo homer to Wil Myers his only blemish. Let's see some more of that!

Reyes Moronta had an ugly 8th but also struck out Fernando Tatis, Jr. and made him look bad. Derek Holland gave up a run in the 9th but got the last three outs. The Giants take a shot at a sweep tomorrow behind Shaun Anderson.



p.s. Tomorrow will be the 20th straight game for the Giants (June 14th to July 3rd) and thus they will have an off-day for The Fourth. They are 10-9 in those 19 games.

Giants Clobber Padres

SF 13  SD 2
Jeff Samardzija had his best start of the season (8 IP 5 H 2 R) and the lineup blasted 14 hits including nine that went for extra bases. That's what I call a convincing win. The Giants scored in five straight innings: the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th. Austin Slater, newly returned to the big club, had a triple and a homer. Donovan Solano played shortstop and hit leadoff and had two hits in six tries. His .294/.329/.338 slash line is semi-respectable, let's hope he can hit like a major-leaguer at some point. He'll need to add some pop: 17 of his 20 hits are singles. Buster Posey had two more hits as did Evan Longoria. Every time the team has a big offensive day I think "this is when they'll turn it around" but that's just fan-talk. Brandon Belt leads the club in OBP at .359 and that puts him at 47th among qualified regulars, just behind Corey Seager and Alex Verdugo. The Dodgers have three other guys ahead of them. It's best to savor these outbursts, they are few and far between. Giants are undefeated in July!

Tyler Beede goes tonight at 7:10 Pacific.