Friday, July 31, 2020

The Texas Tromp Stomp

SF 9  TEX 2
Chadwick Tromp made his debut on Wednesday and struck out three times. Tonight he got two hits (including an RBI double) and two runs scored and also caught SIX different pitchers! It was a supreme bullpen effort, 5-1/3 innings with only two hits and no walks or runs and seven whiffs. And we can't forget the real game-changing blow in the 5th, a 3-run homer by Wilmer Flores that erased a 2-1 Rangers lead. It was all Giants after that. Darin Ruf was a beast, Mauricio Dubon seems to be finding his stroke, and Evan Longoria is obviously healthy. I note Brandon Belt sat against the lefty starter (Mike Minor). Dubon made a nifty play at short and then later made a couple of bad throws. It seems like the whole team is still figuring out how to play together. It's a challenge with all the shifts and the changes, although tonight Kap stuck with one crew, mostly. Steven Duggar subbed for Pence at the end, Hunter is still hitless for 2020.

The 'pen, after Logan Webb's 3-2/3, was Conner Menez (1-1/3), Shaun Anderson (1), Wandy Peralta (1), Tony Watson (1), and Sam Selman (1). Watson seemed to be back on track. Selman is up for the injured Sam Coonrod.

What a great win! Nine runs! Let's see some more of that.

Tomorrow's game is the same early start, 6:10 p.m. PDT. The Rangers have righty Jordan Lyles.



Extra in extras

SD 12  SF 7
The Giants got a look at the new extra-inning rules last night but things didn't work out too well. Somehow Tyler Rogers gave up six runs in the top of the 10th. I'm still not sure how that happened, it seemed too quick yet there were no homers in the frame. That spoiled a great fightback by the home squad who were down 6-1 in the 7th but tied it in the 8th. The lads should have taken the lead then but they stranded Yaz at third (he'd tripled in the tying run) with no outs. Wilmer Flores led off the 9th with a hit but it was to no avail and the Padres broke it open in the 10th. The Giants had 11 hits and 7 walks and probably should have scored more runs in regulation. They had four homers on Wednesday and none last night.

Kapler made a boo-boo in the 10th as well, pulling Rogers after a mound visit by pitching coach Andrew Bailey and bringing in Rico Garcia. Under the rules, a pitcher has to face one more batter after the visit. Rogers had come off the field and had to go back out. Garcia finished the frame. Kap pulled a boner in Philly with a pitching switch in his first stint as a manager, so he's going to wear that tag for a while. Fortunately it didn't make a difference as the Padres had already piled on Rogers.

I was impressed by the team's ability to come from behind. It was not a good game for the pitching staff. Tonight's game is at 6:10 PDT. The Rangers come to town and are throwing lefty Mike Minor. The Giants are TBD.

Go Giants!


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Giants Blast Past Padres

SF 7  SD 6
I was so wrong about this team! They CAN come back! They CAN hit the big home run! Wow, I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around tonight's game. Let's see if we can hit the highlights: Johnny Cueto got hammered. Not much of a highlight--he threw 87 pitches to get 11 outs. Trailing 6-2 after four innings, the Giants used Tyler-power (Anderson and Rogers) to put up zeros from the 5th through the 9th. Meanwhile Alex Dickerson hit a solo homer in the 6th and Donovan Solano hit a three-run game-tying bomb in the 8th to set up Mike Yastrzemski to be the hero. Yaz had homered in the 3rd inning and he wasted no time in launching the game-winner leading off the bottom of the 9th. I did not think this team was capable of such a power surge and I did not think this team could fight back from an early deficit. It is especially gratifying to win a game in which the putative ace of the staff got knocked around. (Let's hope JohnnyC finds his mojo!) Not to mention the Padres threw their ace and he only lasted five innings.

What a great win! It was nice to see Brandon Crawford break out with three hits. He kept the rally going in the 8th before Solano's homer. That blast is the clutch-iest clutch hit of the young season. What a great win. Did I say that already?

The Giants have not announced a starter for tomorrow. The Padres are going with RH Dinelson Lamet who won his last start with five strong innings against the D-Backs on Saturday.



update: AmyG says Kevin Gausman is starting tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Padres Spoil Giants Homecoming

SD 5  SF 3
The Giants don't have the firepower to come back from a 5-1 deficit. They tried, but the best they could do with the bases loaded was to score a run on an out and a run on a single. The Padres only mustered five hits but one was a three-run homer and one was a two-run homer. Of the Giants seven hits, five were singles and two were doubles, although one of the doubles was really just a no-man's-land pop fly. Like I said this version of the Giants lacks the power hitting to put together a credible comeback.

Jeff Samardzija was something of a mystery: why didn't they use him in Los Angeles? The answer was obvious tonight: he's not, in baseball hipster parlance, "missing bats." His final line was 17 batters, 75 pitches, 4 IP, 5 H, 5 R 1 BB, 1 K, 2 HR. Conner Menez went nine up and nine down in an impressive three inning stint. Sam Coonrod had some drama but put up a zero in the 8th, and Dany Jimenez delivered a scoreless 9th. There's some pitching on this team, but it remains to be seen if it is in the starting rotation!

The Giants called up RH C Chadwick Tromp and DFAd LH C Rob Brantly. Switch-hitting Tyler Heineman has been impressive so far, especially hitting lefty, so that made the more experienced Brantly a bit redundant. Not to mention the Giants added veteran LH C Chris Herrmann to the taxi squad. Tromp should be a nice platoon partner with Heineman and potentially has pop.

Johnny Cueto tomorrow night at 6:45 PDT.



Sunday, July 26, 2020

Pitchers prevail

SF 3  LA 1
What's the collective noun for pitchers? A platoon of pitchers? A plethora? A plenitude? Whatever it is, the Giants used a whole passel o'pitchers tonight in Los Angeles and shut down that vaunted lineup and eked out a win. There were seven in that heap o'hurlers: Drew Smyly (3-1/3 IP, 1 R), Shaun Anderson (1 IP, 2 K), Wandy Peralta (1 IP, 1 K), Rico Garcia (2/3 IP, 1 K), Sam Coonrod (1 IP, 1 K), Tyler Rogers (1 IP), and Trevor Gott (1 IP, 1 K). Rogers loaded the bases in the 8th but wriggled out of it, and Gott put two on in the 9th but survived to notch the save. The three hits by the Dodgers in those last two innings were the only ones allowed by the bullpen. The four pitchers after Smyly gave up only two walks in their 3-2/3. Smyly, the starter/opener, threw 64 pitches to 15 batters, yielding four hits, a walk, and fanning two.

If you like old school small ball it was your night. The Giants collected nine singles! Darin Ruf pulled off a lovely sequence in the 7th with the team up 2-1, walking with one out, stealing second, and scoring with two outs on a single by Donovan Solano. Mauricio Dubon had a two-out RBI single in the 6th, and Ruf started the scoring by driving in Dubon (who reached on a squibber) in the 3rd. Man, what I would give for a two-run homer!

The Giants went into LA with a very high probability of getting thumped, and it sure looked bad after the first two games. Yesterday they showed quite a bit of improvement in their nail-biting win and today all the strings Kapler pulled seemed to pay off. The matchups worked and the Dodgers couldn't get anything going. It was another nail-biter, but it was a win, a big win. The Giants come home after grinding out a split against the consensus best team in the NL. Not a bad way to spend a Sunday!

Off-day tomorrow. The Padres come to town for three starting Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. PDT.



p.s. Jeff Samardzija gets the first start at home.

p.p.s. I forgot to mention Ruf made a catch in LF in the 6th and crashed through the bullpen gate! He made the out, of course. It was a good night for him.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

Giants win!

SF 5  LA 4
It was torture, but the Giants prevailed this afternoon in LA. At one point on the broadcast Duane Kuiper said "I'm going to puke!" and that was exactly how I felt. The Giants youngsters--Logan Webb, Caleb Baragar, and Shaun Anderson--delivered seven strong innings against the formidable Dodgers linuep. Webb had command issues but showed tremendous concentration and determination and with a little help from his fielders kept the lid on for four innings. Webb also made a huge play himself, backing up at third base to nail Chris Taylor in the 4th to help defuse a possible big inning. Baragar made his debut today and got six massive outs in relief, looking quite poised in the process. He turned it over to Anderson who walked the first man he saw but whiffed the next three. Nicely done!

The lineup enjoyed a better day, scoring five runs over the first four innings to take a 5-1 lead into the 7th. Austin Slater walked (he had three on the day) and scored on Darin Ruf's hit in the 1st, Yaz doubled and scored on a wild pitch in the 2nd, Wilmer Flores homered in the 3rd, and Donovan Solano doubled in two in the 4th. Solano's egregious error in the 8th set up two runs for the Dodgers, but I have to put the blame on Tony Watson for that ugly inning. He's the veteran, he has to get the lefties out, especially after how well the rookies performed in front of him. Flores also looked shaky late in the game and almost threw a ball away. I don't need that! Trevor Gott gave up a solo shot to Will Smith in the 9th (aaaaghhhh!) but retired Max Muncy, Mookie Betts, and Cody Bellinger to close it out.

Hunter Pence got hit by a pitch and it looked bad but he stayed in. We'll see if he's hurt. Giants pitchers hit Muncy twice and Joc Pederson once. Maybe it was something in the air.

Regardless, THE GIANTS BEAT THE DODGERS!! First win of the season in the books!

Giants will see the lefty Julio Urias tomorrow at 7:08 p.m. PDT. It's TBD for the Giants, I suppose we'll be playing "pin the tail on the starter/opener" for a while. It seems like they aren't quite ready to stretch someone out. Should be interesting going forward.

Go Giants!


Friday, July 24, 2020


LA 9  SF 1
That was yucky. No hitting, no pitching, no fielding. Jaylin Davis hit a homer--that's some good news. The Giants called it Spring Training 2.0 instead of Summer Camp. This opening series in LA looks like Spring Training 1.9 and it hurts to write that. I suppose you can tell a lot about a team by how it faces adversity. You lose, you look bad, what do you do? You put your big boy pants back on the next day and play some goddamn better baseball, that's what you do.

The Giants are going with TBA again. The Dodgers have Alex Wood. The game is part of the Fox Saturday broadcast and it starts at 1:10 p.m. PDT.

Go Giants!


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Giants get their butts Kike'd

LA 8  SF 1
Dodgers second baseman and Giants arch-nemesis Enrique "Kike" Hernandez got four hits and drove in five runs to bury the Giants on Opening Day. It was a good game for six innings but in the 7th it all fell apart. The Giants got MVP'd  with back-to-back hits from Mookie Betts and Cody Bellinger that put runners on second and third. Giants pitcher Tyler Rogers got the infield grounder he wanted but the 2018 AL MVP (Betts) slipped in past the tag and broke the 1-1 tie. Justin Turner was safe at first on the play. The next batter, Corey Seager, hit a grounder to Rogers but he misplayed the rundown, getting the out on the 2019 NL MVP (Bellinger) but allowing the other runners to advance. They both scored on Hernandez' hit and it was a rout after that. The Giants looked shaky on defense and the late inning pitchers (after Rogers it was Dany Jimenez and Conner Menez) got pounded.

Johnny Cueto started and got through four innings with one run allowed. Drew Smyly and Rico Garcia covered the 5th and the 6th but the Giants lineup could only produce one run. Clayton Kershaw was a late scratch and young flamethrower Dustin May got the call and he threw a lot of nasty strikes in 4-1/3, giving up seven singles but no walks.

It was real baseball. It was ugly. It was weird. But weird baseball and ugly baseball are both better than NO baseball!!

Giants have not announced a starter for tomorrow. The Dodgers are going with Ross Stripling. Game time is 6:40 p.m. PDT.



Opening Day!

Here's the 30-man roster:

The taxi squad will be added for road trips and will have three players, one who must be a catcher. Steven Duggar and Andrew Suarez have been named so far. Chadwick Tromp would seem a likely candidate but he is apparently nursing a hamstring injury. So, we'll see if they bring a third guy along. There are four games in LA and then an off-day Monday, then six at home (SD and TEX) starting on the 28th.

Johnny Cueto gets the start tonight for the Giants. Clayton Kershaw will take the mound for the Dodgers. Game time is 7:08 p.m. PDT.



Wednesday, July 22, 2020

The Yaz & Dick Show

SF 4  OAK 2
The two outfielders combined for five hits and three runs scored, both launching homers in their first at-bats. Yaz' led off the 1st and Dick's the 2nd. The Giants 9-man staff subdued the Oaklanders on two hits and it was another nice win. The A's had a beef in the 2nd when Chad Pinder's long blast was ruled a two-run triple and not a three-run homer, but otherwise they couldn't get anything going against the Giants one-man-one-inning approach. That's 18 pitchers, 18 innings across the two practice games! I'd love to see that in a regular-season game. I remember, many decades ago, telling people that in the future baseball teams would use three guys for three innings apiece instead of starters and relievers. I was mocked, of course, but if any manager and team would try something like that it would be Kap and the 2020 G-men. No one anticipated the use of "openers" and now it is part of the league's repertoire. With this weird season ahead of us, it behooves us to remember Hunter S. Thompson's immortal words: "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."

Neither Brandon Belt not Evan Longoria will be on the Opening Day roster due to nagging injuries. Johnny Cueto will get the start in LA on Thursday against Clayton Kershaw.

Go Giants!


Monday, July 20, 2020

Slater Slays A's

SF 6  OAK 2
I know, I know, it was only an "exhibition" game. (If there are no fans, can you still "exhibit" a game?) But it was still fun, even if it was weird. (Canned fan noise? Really?). Gabe Kapler had some fun, throwing nine pitchers out there for an inning apiece, and it worked. Giants pitchers allowed only four hits and two runs in Oakland tonight. Austin Slater starred for the Giants with three hits including two doubles, driving in five of the team's six runs. Mauricio Dubon, in case you were wondering, played both center field and second base. Chadwick Tromp started behind the plate and had two hits and two runs scored. Joey Bart caught the last three innings and got an at-bat.

They play again tomorrow in San Francisco, 6:45 PDT.


Monday, July 13, 2020

Actual baseball games a-comin'?

I took this from an SFG tweet:

With Buster Posey opting out of the 2020 season the Giants catching corps will need reinforcements. It seems Chadwick Tromp is making some noise. Tromp is from Aruba, is 25, and has been in pro ball (Reds system) since he was 18 but has no ML time. The right-hander is considered a long shot but that calculation has changed since Posey's announcement. He was a non-roster invitee. Two other NRIs, Rob Brantly and Tyler Heineman, are favored to see the most innings in the early going. Brantly is a lefty, 30 years old, and has seen time with the Marlins, White Sox, and Phillies. Heineman is a switch-hitter, 28 years old, and he made his debut with the Marlins last season. Both are originally from Southern California and played college ball there (Brantly UC Riverside, Heineman UCLA).

They don't seem to be in a hurry with top prospect Joey Bart. The message has consistently been that he needs more development. I suspect he'll play this season, but they'll wait until they have a spot they like. Necessity might force their hand but I don't think either Kap or FZ are concerned about that. If he gets the earlier-than-planned call that wouldn't be a bad thing, just not ideal from their outlook.

This is going to be a weird, weird season, if we get a season at all, but it would certainly be great to have baseball back. Even weird baseball beats no baseball!


Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Travel in 2020

Teams play 40 games against their regular division opponents, 10 games apiece. Unfortunately the splits are lopsided, for example, the Giants play three at home against the Dodgers but seven on the road. Not that home-road splits mean much with no fans, but perhaps player comfort level will be a factor. The Giants get a seven home, three away advantage over the Diamondbacks, and a six home, four away advantage against the Padres. The Giants have to play six with the Rockies in Colorado versus four in San Francisco. That works out to 20 home games and 20 road games.

The remaining 20 games are against the corresponding AL division. The Giants will get, in addition to the usual six games (three home, three away) against the A's, three (home) against the Rangers, three (away) against the Astros, four (two home, two away) against the Angels, and four (two home, two away) against the Mariners. So it is an even split. It is a cockeyed schedule, but these are cockeyed times. Here's a graphic from Daren Willman (MLB R&D head and creator of Baseball Savant):

Sure hope they can pull it off!


p.s. It seems several teams including the Giants have had to shut down practice facilities while they await test results.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Giants Open in LA

The Giants will play the Dodgers in Los Angeles on Thursday the 23rd of July. The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 7:00 p.m Pacific. The Nationals will host the Yankees that same afternoon to kick off the season. The rest of baseball starts on the 24th. The Giants-Dodgers game on Saturday the 25th will be on Fox.

I watched the "special presentation" on MLB network with Matt Vasgersian, Harold Reynolds, and Tom Verducci. Matt was very stylish in his colorful sport coat-and-slacks ensemble while Harold and Tom opted for natty blue windowpane suits. From the knees up they looked great. All of them, unfortunately, wore hideous sneakers which Nike must have foisted on them. Matt and Harold flashed leg flesh between their cuffs and shoe tops while Tom had the good sense to wear tall enough socks. (Why a man would go to all the trouble of wearing fancy trousers only to display his hairy legs is beyond me.) Please guys, get rid of those ugly goddamn tennis shoes and find something else to put on your feet. You're adults! (You'd think their wives would have told them how ridiculous they looked in $1500-plus suits with footwear designed for kids.)

I'm focused on sartorial issues only because the show was almost useless. They failed to cover every team! They picked out the teams they wanted to talk about and skipped the rest! The Giants did not make the cut as you can imagine. I planned to take a snap of the schedule when it was displayed on the screen and then post it here on the blog. So, fuck those MLB assholes. We got the Dodgers, the Rockies, the Padres, and the Diamondbacks, but not the Giants. Like I said, fuck those MLB assholes.

I suppose the Giants will post the schedule later on their website. So much for my scoop!


p.s. here it is:


Saturday, July 4, 2020

Summer Camp

Now that is a terrible name, don't you think? Summer camps are cancelled all over the country and MLB has the genius idea to call the pre-season Summer Camp. Here's a photo I stole from Andrew Baggarly's article in The Athletic:

Yup, looks like summer camp. Here's Jeff Samardzija:
… Everything is not great and fluffy. This is not a good time. But we need to figure out how to get things done in a bad time. And I think if we work together and trust each other and don’t do anything stupid, then we’ll be all right.
That sort of sums it up for me. Playing sports in the midst of a pandemic might be a really stupid idea. At the same time, if they can pull it off and be (relatively) safe then who can argue with some baseball for the rest of the summer? I said it before and it bears repeating: sports and other such ventures could serve as a model for more critical things like re-opening schools. What we learn from MLB's re-start might inform us as to the best way re-start other events. That's the optimistic outlook, and I'm going to stick with that.

The Giants announced a second positive test for COVID-19, pitcher Luis Madero. Athletes are interesting test cases in that they are young, unusually fit, and generally have access to excellent medical care. Most of them may not have long-lasting complications from the infection, but of course they could transmit the disease to family members and friends who are not as physically prepared. It is a big concern for many of the players, as you would expect. Health care workers and others in critical jobs face that dilemma daily. If you have not heard Mike Trout express his concerns you might check out the article and give him a listen.

Across the league Freddie Freeman, Will Smith, Touki Toussaint, Pete Kozma (all ATL), Tommy Pham (SD), Willians Astudillo (MIN), Delino DeShields, Jr. (CLE), Brett Martin (TEX), and Salvador Perez (KC) have all tested positive for the virus. (Teams only have to release test numbers, the players have to consent to being publicly named.) Welington Castillo, a ten-year veteran catcher on the Nationals, is the latest to opt out of 2020.

The Giants added Will Wilson to the 60-man camp squad. He was the 15th pick of the 2019 draft and came over to the Giants from the Angels. The Giants bought out Zack Cozart's contract and got Wilson in the bargain (Cozart was released). He'll be 22 on the 21st of this month and has not played above rookie-ball. At NC State he was a middle infielder with pop (and a teammate of Patrick Bailey).



 p.s. Here's the Pence Bump (from the Giants website):