Sunday, August 30, 2020

Cueto and Giants get it done

 SF 4  AZ 1

Johnny Cueto had some command issues early in the game but settled down to retire, at one point, 13 in a row. The Giants had a 1-0 lead thanks to an Alex Dickerson homer in the 1st but did not get another hit until the 8th inning. Meanwhile the Diamondbacks tied it up in the bottom of the 6th with a solo shot of their own. Cueto delivered a splendid 6-2/3 yielding three hits and three walks on 106 pitches. Fine bullpen work from Tony Watson, Tyler Rogers, and Sam Coonrod (who closed it) gave the Giants a chance. They responded with four hits in the top of the 8th to plate three runs and come away with a tidy win. The Giants improve to 8-11 on the road and 17-19 overall.

So far no news from Giants HQ regarding the trade deadline which is 4 p.m. ET tomorrow.

Monday is an off-day and then the Giants go to Colorado for two, with Tuesday at 5:40 and Wednesday 12:10 (p.m. PDT).


Saturday, August 29, 2020

Giants Snap Skid

 SF 5  AZ 2

The Giants put a quick hurt on the Diamondbacks, taking a 4-0 lead after three innings, but had a setback when starter Trevor Cahill had to leave in the 4th with a hip injury. He had a physical issue in the 3rd but Kap and the trainers felt he was OK for another go-round but after yielding a two-run homer discretion got the better part of valor. The 4-2 lead was agonizing for Giants fans as the lineup had repeated chances to break the game open but could not deliver the big hit. Good thing the bullpen was up to the task and kept the lid on the Arizona hitters the rest of the way. Wilmer Flores added a solo shot in the 9th to make it easier for Tyler Rogers to close it out. Jarlin Garcia got five outs in relief of Cahill, Sam Coonrod popped 100 mph on the gun in the 6th, Trevor Gott handled the 7th, and Tony Watson got the 8th in front of Rogers.

I missed Friday night's loss as I was in a kayak on a nearby mountain lake as part of a (socially-distanced) surprise birthday celebration for a friend. Nutty, I know, but it sure broke up the routine and provided a nice diversion from everything. A good time was had by all.

The Giants snap their three-game losing streak! It was a surprisingly hard-fought victory as it really felt like they should have put up seven or eight runs. But the team got the job done and that's what matters. I'd really like to see them kick some butt tomorrow (1:10 Pacific) and take the series. Johnny Cueto gets the start against righty Taylor Clarke.



p.s. You might be interested in "Giants More Likely to Buy Than Sell" by TC Zencka at MLBTR. There's also this tweet by notorious rumor-monger Jon Heyman that the Giants are interested in Jackie Bradley, Jr. I don't put too much stock in these things, these guys have to talk about something now that we are so close to the trade deadline. I have to say I'm much more interested in talking about what the Giants actually do as opposed to what they could or should do!

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Dodgers Double Down

LA 7  SF 0

LA 2  SF 0

The Dodgers made quick work of the Giants in the first game. Logan Webb had command issues early and with some bad luck added on that was enough for the Dodgers. They turned nothing into something in a hurry. Webb kept the ball in the yard--the hardest hit was a double to center by Austin Barnes--but also walked two and hit two in addition to four hits allowed. Giants hit the ball hard off Clayton Kershaw but were denied by the excellent LA outfield defense and that was all the big lefty needed. He blanked the Giants for six innings on 89 pitches. Rookie Josh Sborz finished up. It was an abrupt ending to the seven-game win streak and the first time the Giants have been shut out this season.

Kevin Gausman got the call in the nightcap. He was supposed to be matched with Walker Buehler but the righty was a late scratch and sent to the IL. The Dodgers sent out southpaw Caleb Ferguson instead. They played a bullpen game and used six more pitchers after that. It didn't really matter as the Giants went stone cold and even if they could square one up someone was there to catch it. Gausman struck out six in 4-2/3 but got burned on a couple of extra-base hits. The two runs held up as the Giants were shut out for the second time.

After Tuesday's thrilling win I think the Giants stuck their chests out and told the Dodgers "let's go toe-to-toe" which you have to admire. The Dodgers said "OK, bring it on" and proceeded to throw 14 scoreless innings. Well, they are the best team and I have to give them credit for picking up the gauntlet and slapping the Giants in the face with it. The Dodgers take the season series six games to four.

Next game is in Arizona, tomorrow at 6:40 p.m. PDT. Giants are there through the weekend and then have a travel day Monday (7/31) before two in Colorado. They are off on Thursday (8/3) and then open a home series against the Diamondbacks on Friday.

Go Giants!


Wednesday, August 26, 2020


That's the official word. Tonight's Giants-Dodgers game has been postponed.

As Gabe Kapler put it: "some things are bigger than sports."

Both the Giants (in particular manager Kapler) and the Dodgers (in particular Clayton Kershaw) have been outspoken about injustice and systemic racism in our society and this action seems consistent with those stands. Things started with what one might call a "boycott" or "wildcat strike" by the NBAs Milwaukee Bucks and that quickly spread to all the teams in the NBA playoff bubble. Baseball's Milwaukee Brewers acted not much later and that rippled to other MLB teams on the schedule for tonight. Here's the word from MLB:



Giants Win Slugfest

 SF 10  LA 8  (11)

The San Francisco Giants have four wins against the Los Angeles Dodgers, a team that has lost only nine games. Last night the 3-4-5 hitters, Evan Longoria, Brandon Belt, and Donovan Solano, went 9-16 with 7 runs scored and 8 RBI while the rest of the lineup went 5-for-30 (three by Brandon Crawford) with 11 whiffs. The team was 3-for-22 with runners in scoring position! It was a crazy game: Giants used nine relievers after Johnny Cueto went four innings and overall the ten pitchers threw 199 pitches (122 strikes)!

It was more like a heavyweight boxing match with the Giants as the upstart contender and the Dodgers as the veteran champion. In fact, last night was merely the opening rounds of what promises to be a great three-game fight. In the opening frame, Max Muncy blasted a 3-run homer on a 3-0 pitch (I wonder if pitchers will stop grooving 3-0 pitches now that batters swing at them) but the Giants counter-punched with a 3-run homer of their own in the bottom half. That was the first of two for Brandon Belt, the other was a solo shot off Kenley Jansen that tied the game in the 9th! The Giants trailed in the 9th, 10th, and 11th but still won the game. Donovan Solano had just one hit but it was the game-winning two-run homer, only his second home run of the season.

Seven wins is a row. Kevin Gausman and Clayton Kershaw tonight at 6:45 p.m. PDT.



Sunday, August 23, 2020


SF 6  AZ 1

The Giants designated Hunter Pence for assignment today, the halfway point in the 2020 season. It's not a surprise given his performance but it says a lot about the state of the team. There's just no room for him! Pablo Sandoval can swing a lefty bat and still back up at third base in a pinch so he hangs on to his job, at least for now. But Hunter was just too low on the outfield depth chart. We were privileged to root for this unique, accomplished, and lovable ballplayer. I wonder if he'll find his way back to San Francisco after his playing days are done.

But today was about the team on the field. They won again behind a strong start, a patient lineup, and a bend-but-don't-break bullpen. Two big homers, a solo shot by Mike Yastrzemski in the 6th and a three-run blast by Alex Dickerson in the 7th, were the difference-makers. Trevor Cahill went 5-1/3, throwing 88 pitches and striking out eight. Caleb Baragar allowed an inherited runner to score in the 6th to make it 1-1 but that was it--the Giants took the lead in the bottom half and didn't look back.

Halfway through 2020 I did not expect the Giants to be on a roll (six wins in a row!) and sniffing (14-16) a .500 record. My expectations for this season were low. When they were 8-12 after the first twenty games I thought the .400 percentage was a fair measure of their ability. Shortly after that they had a nightmare stretch of blown games and really bottomed out. To their credit they turned it around and in the six straight wins they've scored 42 runs and allowed only 13!

I'm glad I was wrong about this team. I'm not sure what they are capable of but it is certain they are not as bad as they were predicted to be. The pitching staff seems to be stabilizing behind the resurgent starters and I think we'll get a better picture after this next series. The high-flying Dodgers come to town for three (Tues/Wed 6:45, Thu 5:05 p.m. PDT) and it should be a real test. Johnny Cueto pitched Wednesday so I suspect he'll get the ball in the first game. They have a well-earned off-day tomorrow.



Saturday, August 22, 2020

Complete Game!

SF 5  AZ 1

Southpaw Tyler Anderson pitched his best game of the season so far, and in fact his best game in years, perhaps his best ever. Tonight's three-hitter was his first career complete game in his 76th career start. He pitched the best game of the season so far for the Giants, that's for sure. The Giants had one complete game last season, a five-inning rain-shortened outing from Derek Holland which they lost 3-1 to the Pirates. The last time they had a real complete game was in 2018 when Chris Stratton threw a two-hitter and beat (believe it or not) Tyler Anderson and the Rockies 2-0.

Anderson took a one-hitter into the 7th with the Giants up 1-0, but a throwing error by Brandon Crawford put Ketel Marte on and he eventually scored the tying run. It was a frustrating moment as Arizona starter Zac Gallen was putting up zeroes of his own. Gallen walked the first three batters he faced but got a double play grounder from Brandon Belt (that scored a run) and then struck out Evan Longoria. You know those blown chances always come back to hurt the team. But Belt got a big hit in the bottom of the 7th in a weird inning that saw the Giants grind out four runs, the highlight a booming double by Joey Bart that was almost a homer.

Gabe Kapler deserves a lot of credit for sticking with Anderson in the 9th. The first batter hit a double (Ketel Marte again) but Kap stayed in the dugout and let his starter go. Anderson finished with 103 pitches so he'd worked efficiently all game long. Kap also started Chadwick Tromp at catcher and he obviously got in a good groove with Anderson and even got a base hit. Bart pinch-hit in that crucial 7th and that paid off, he also wound up scoring, and of course he caught the final six outs. Mauricio Dubon also pinch-hit in that inning and walked and scored, then took over center field from Steven Duggar (who was 1-for-2). So, a couple of smaller moves worked as well, it seems that Kap is getting into a better rhythm with his players and his substitutions.

But it all goes back to Tyler Anderson who really performed superbly tonight and that meant the Giants could be patient and wear down the other side, which they did with another fine team effort. Despite the BCraw error the Giants also got excellent defense with a great catch by Mike Yastrzemski in RF and a fine play from Alex Dickerson in LF. This lineup is showing a lot of patience (8 walks, 148 pitches) and fortitude lately, and I keep thinking "who are these guys?"

They are the San Francisco Giants, that's who, winners of five in a row. Tomorrow at 1:10 p.m. PDT it is Trevor Cahill with a rested bullpen and an off-day on Monday.



Friday, August 21, 2020

Webb Snares Snakes

 SF 6  AZ 2

The Giants played another great ballgame tonight and got the better of Robbie Ray and the Diamondbacks. Ray has been plagued by walks this season (20 in 22 IP coming into the game) and added five more in his five innings and the Giants dinged him for two two-run homers (Evan Longoria and Wilmer Flores) to win their fourth in a row. The big story was Logan Webb who kept the ball in the yard for seven impressive innings (5 hits, 2 runs, 0 walks, 8 strikeouts, 102 pitches) to lead the way. The 23-year old righty showed some poise in his final two starts last season and I think everyone has been waiting to see some similar results this season. Tonight he may have erased a few doubts with a strong outing and the Giants lineup backed it up. Joey Bart hit a double and also added a bases-loaded walk in the 7th as part of a two-run rally that bumped it from 4-2 to 6-2. Tony Watson and Tyler Rogers covered the 8th and the 9th. The Giants are now .500 (6-6) at home.

Tyler Anderson tomorrow at 6:15 p.m. Pacific.



Thursday, August 20, 2020

Three in a row!

SF 10  LAA 5

The Giants jumped on the Angels young lefty starter (Jose Suarez) for two runs in the 1st and then piled on four more in the 2nd off him and reliever Matt Andriese. The Giants added two more in the 3rd, one in the 4th, and another in the 6th off Julio Teheran. Wilmer Flores had three of the lineup's 12 hits and drove in four runs. Austin Slater had two hits and two runs scored as did Brandon Crawford who is looking better every day. Joey Bart was 1-for-4 with a double in his debut. Gabe Kapler pinch-hit Alex Dickerson for Darin Ruf in the 2nd inning (he was 0-for-1) to get a platoon advantage with the bases loaded and it worked as Dick walked to drive in a run. He drove in another with a sac fly in the 6th.

Kevin Gausman was charged with four runs in his 5-1/3 but struck out eight with only one walk. Sam Selman finished the 6th. Shaun Anderson made a bunch of new friends by throwing high heat to Mike Trout to open the 7th. Angels manager Joe Maddon flipped out after Anderson's pitch and you could hear him drop the f-bomb on the radio. The umpires issued the warnings and Trout promptly tripled, just missing a homer. He wound up scoring after Anderson loaded the bases with two outs and Wandy Peralta walked him in. That was the tensest the game got. Peralta got the strikeout to end the frame and then pitched a clean 8th. Jarlin Garcia threw 11 pitches (9 strikes) to close it out.

Just another routine Giants victory! 11-16 (.407) may not look like much but its better than the Royals, the Tigers, the Red Sox, the Angels, the Mariners, and the Pirates. The Arizona Diamondbacks come to San Francisco for three games, tomorrow night is at 6:45 Pacific.




p.s. Logan Webb, Tyler Anderson, and Trevor Cahill this weekend.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Kicking Ass, part two

SF 7  LAA 2

The Giants played another outstanding ballgame tonight, besting the Angels behind some formidable pitching (13 strikeouts!) and a relentless attack (10 hits, two homers, two doubles). Johnny Cueto had to work hard (112 pitches) for his 17 outs, yielding four hits, a walk, and two runs, but he also whiffed eight. Andrew Suarez allowed the hit that drove in the second run, and Caleb Baragar had to come in to finish the 6th which he did with a strikeout. He added a clean 7th and Tyler Rogers struck out both Mike Trout and Albert Pujols to take care of the 8th while Tony Watson closed out the 9th on 13 pitches.

Wilmer Flores was the hitting star, Kap sat Brandon Belt to get the righty in against the lefty starter (Patrick Sandoval) and it paid off with two hits (one a 3-run homer) and four RBI. Austin Slater is not 100% and can't play the field so he led off tonight as the DH and chipped in two hits (one a two-run homer) and two runs scored. I especially enjoyed the late rally with the meat of the lineup (Solano/Yaz/Longo/Flores) carving out two runs in the 7th to make it 7-2 and take the pressure off the bullpen.

Kevin Gausman goes tomorrow at 6:45 p.m. Angels beat reporter Rhett Bollinger tweets that their starter for tomorrow is lefty Jose Suarez (that fact was re-tweeted by Andrew Baggarly, which was in the sidebar, which is why I have that feature there). The Giants came into tonight's game with a .268/.331/.455 line against southpaw starters and then they racked up six hits and five runs against another one! So, I think they like facing lefties.


Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Giants Kick Ass

 SF 8  LAA 2

Wow! A win! The Giants prove that the world has not yet ended by winning a baseball game. I've talked about it before--when your team is on a losing streak it can feel like it might never stop. That they'll never win again. Mostly, it is an irrational thought. Not with this team, though. After the last few games I think any Giants fan who thought they might finish the season stuck at eight wins (with 52 losses!) was at least semi-rational.

That notion was buried today by a superb team effort. I like to say it's not how bad you get knocked on your ass, it's how well you pick yourself up off the canvas and answer the bell for the next round. The Giants did that today. There were a lot of good things this afternoon: a Yaz leadoff homer, a Panda blast in the next inning that put the Giants up for good, a big two-out, two-run hit from BCraw, a four-inning hit-less, scoreless bullpen beast (Baragar/Selman/Peralta/Garcia), three straight doubles (Belt, Longo, Panda) for two runs in the top of the 9th, and best of all a bottom of the 9th inning that featured all three outs.

Shaun Anderson got the call in the 9th with an 8-1 lead. He walked Mike Trout. Anthony Rendon got a hit. A wild pitch moved up the runners. Shohei Ohtani drove in a run with a ground out. Brian Goodwin popped out and Jo Adell struck out to end it. If you freaked out a bit after the first run scored it's OK.

Anderson had a couple of wayward pitches buzz Trout who gave the kid a WTF look after the second one. Angels manager Joe Maddon didn't see intent and instead said "that's just a young man not ready to be here." Ouch. Yes, the Giants have some young and inexperienced pitchers! The Angels fall to 8-16 which shows that even a talented club with an accomplished veteran manager can fall flat on its face.

Good work today, Giants. It was especially gratifying to beat Dylan Bundy who came into the game arguably the hottest pitcher in baseball.

Johnny Cueto gets the ball at home tomorrow night at 6:45 p.m. against these same Angels.



It can't get any worse . . . right?

 LAA 7  SF 6

They say "third time's the charm" but for beleaguered Trevor Gott the third time just might be "the farm." The Giants blew another 9th-inning lead when Gott surrendered another walk-off home run. He's not fooling anyone at this point and it's hard to know what's next for him. Manager Gabe Kapler did what a manager is supposed to do, at least in my book, which is show faith in his guy and "have his back" if the shit hits the fan. Unfortunately his faith has not been rewarded and the Giants continue their losing ways.

On the good side, the bullpen did deliver three scoreless frames (one apiece for Jarlin Garcia, Tyler Rogers, and Tony Watson) to give the team a chance. The lineup had ten hits including a homer from Brandon Belt, a triple from Evan Longoria, and a double from Mike Yastrzemski. Mauricio Dubon had two hits. Tyler Anderson started and gave up five runs in five innings but also had eight strikeouts.

Getaway game today at 1:10 p.m. Trevor Cahill gets the start.

Go Giants!


Sunday, August 16, 2020

The Giants don't have a bullpen

OAK 15  SF 3

It looked like there might be the makings of a 'pen a little earlier in the season, but the A's made it clear this weekend that the Giants relievers throw what amounts to batting practice. I remember writing before this series with Oakland that the Giants really needed better work from their starters. They got that. Unfortunately the bullpen imploded, collapsing upon itself in a firestorm of home runs.

We knew the Giants had a chance of playing even worse baseball in 2020 than they had from 2017 to 2019. We also held out hope they could get some surprise performances from the youngsters and some bounce-backs from the veterans and maybe take a run at a .500 record. Breaking even in the win-loss department would have been, in my mind, a terrific season.

Alas, the worst-case scenario has struck, and struck with a vengeance. The Giants don't have a bullpen. They have a reasonably effective lineup. They can score some runs. They are still a little weak, but they aren't useless. They are starting to show some effectiveness in the starting rotation. They might even get a front-line pitcher from the group, someone like today's starter Logan Webb. Johnny Cueto and Kevin Gausman are pitching like major-leaguers again. But they don't have a bullpen.

I don't know what they are going to do about it. This goofy season is getting goofier. I suppose the thing to do is treat it like a bad acid trip. I mean, once you gobble the tabs there's no going back, so you just have to ride it out. The team might be in a shit-hole right now, but there's always a shiny bauble to find now and again so you have to enjoy those moments when they happen.

Monday (6:40 p.m.) and Tuesday (1:10 p.m.) they are in Anaheim to take on the Angels.

Go Giants!



p.s. The A's are good. I'd like to see them knock off one of the big powerhouse teams (like the Yankees) this post-season. Assuming we get the full season in, of course. That's still an open question.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Oh, well

OAK 7  SF 6

The Giants are determined to lose games they should win. Last night's wretched loss was one thing, to have it repeated tonight was too much. Once again a veteran player (this time Hunter Pence) gave away an out in the 9th inning on a routine play. When a rookie or other youngster makes a gaffe in the field I can usually let it slide, but when an experienced player makes that kind of mistake you have to really wonder why they are on the roster. Gabe Kapler tried to give Trevor Gott another chance and it blew up in his face. The knives will be out for sure after this one. I have no issue with Kap and I have no problem with his bizarro approach to things. I'm patient. It's a young team, lacking the talent to compete, and I'm OK with that. And this is a goofy season. The lack of a proper Spring Training has really hurt the Giants and most likely any team in a re-build. Player development is the theme for this 60-game sprint and it will be the theme next year, too. But I wonder if the fans will put up with it for much longer. That's too bad as the Giants really are a couple of years away from any serious contention NO MATTER WHO THE MANAGER IS, but I don't think that will make a difference. I hope ownership will stick to the plan and suffer the indignities that go along with it because I don't see an alternative. The Giants are who they are. Oh, well.

Kevin Gausman didn't make it through the 6th inning but he once again flashed some electric stuff getting ELEVEN strikeouts from the 25 batters he faced. Maybe the best thing that can happen is he gets traded at the deadline for a youngster or two.


Friday, August 14, 2020

Giants get gut-punched

OAK 8  SF 7 

The Giants got a great start from Johnny Cueto and slugged past the A's lefty starter Jesus Lazardo to the tune of a 7-2 lead in the 9th inning. Alas, Trevor Gott finally lost his mojo and blew the save big time. The Oakland lineup scored five runs off him--a solo homer and a grand slam--to crush the Giants hopes of an easy win. The sequence was particularly galling: a walk, a fielder's choice that got no one out (a mental gaffe by Wilmer Flores), and a hit batter before the slam. Tyler Rogers came in to get the final two outs and almost gave it away before getting it done. It was really too bad as they had played a clean, strong game until that point. But the A's have a really good team and have been playing well so giving them extra chances in the 9th was a recipe for disaster.

Besides the fine work by Cueto (7 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 SO, 104 pitches, 26 BF) the lineup showed some spunk with 13 hits, at least one by every starter except DH Pablo Sandoval (0-for-5 with 2 K). Mike Yastrzemski was 0-for-his-first-4 before connecting for a solo shot in the 8th off lefty reliever T.J. McFarland.

Jarlin Garcia got the call in the 10th and the A's pushed their magic runner across for an 8-7 lead. The Giants had Austin Slater on in their half but were overpowered by Liam Hendricks who struck out three to end the game. It was a brutal loss. Let's hope they can do better tomorrow.

Kevin Gausman gets the start against Frankie Montas at 4:07 p.m. PDT.

Go Giants!


Thursday, August 13, 2020

1/3 of the season

The Giants are 8-12 (.400) after 20 games. There are five teams (Phillies, Angels, Mariners, Red Sox, Pirates) with a win percentage below .400 and all have fewer than eight wins. The Giants have scored 85 runs and are 14th out of 30 teams, but their 4.25 rpg is only 22nd (league average 4.59). Only the Mariners (117) have allowed more runs than the Giants (114). The Giants 5.70 rpg is the third-worst in baseball. We all know about their shaky defense--their 20 errors leads the pack.

They just finished a 3-7 road trip against the Rockies, Dodgers, and Astros, but 11 of their next 13 are at home. They won't see the Astros again and they won't go to Dodger stadium again.

Mike Yastrzemski, Donovan Solano, and Austin Slater are leading the offense with some help from Alex Dickerson and Wilmer Flores. Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Crawford, Hunter Pence, and Brandon Belt have fallen off the map and Evan Longoria is right behind them. Chadwick Tromp and Darrin Ruf are hanging in there, but Tyler Heineman and Mauricio Dubon are barely hanging on.

On the pitching side Trevor Gott and Sam Selman have been the most dependable. Kevin Gausman has shown electric stuff and Logan Webb has shown some potential but the injuries (Jeff Samardzija and Drew Smyly) have really thinned the ranks. Johnny Cueto looks like he might be fully healthy again and that's a good sign. The bullpen has been a wild ride but Shaun Anderson and Wandy Peralta look like keepers.

I think the .400 record is a fair reflection of the talent and the state of the team, but I think they could finish the season a little stronger. A .500 record would require 22 wins in the next 40 games and that might be a reach. There's obviously room for improvement, especially in the field, but getting more consistent starts is the first order of business.

Next game is Friday night, 6:45 at home against the A's.

Go Giants!


Tuesday, August 11, 2020


 SF 7  HOU 6 (10)

I almost titled this one "Gabe Kapler's a Genius" but that would be a bit much. The skipper does deserve a nod for getting Hunter Pence into the game against rookie lefty Blake Taylor in the 7th. The three-run pinch-homer turned an apparent 6-2 rout into a 6-5 nail-biter. Pence raised his average to .118 with another big hit in the 9th that set up Darin Ruf's game-tying hit. Ruf came in as a pinch-hitter in the 7th like Pence. The Giants got a "magic runner" in the 10th and got him home to make it 7-6 but were feeling like they should have scored more. In another Kap-move, Tyler Rogers was tasked with the save. He struck out Carlos Correa and Kyle Tucker to end it. Can you imagine the heat Kapler would have taken if Rogers had blown it again? And he has stuck with Pence despite the horrid start--they need the vets (BCraw, Belt, Longo, Panda) to step up.

Tyler Anderson started and gave up four runs in five innings, but the real hurt was Rico Garcia giving up two more in the next frame. After that the 'pen was tough, allowing no hits but yielding four walks, and of course no runs. Shaun Anderson got a little help when Tyler Heineman threw out a runner at third to end the 8th. The Giants have hurt themselves in the field this season so it is good when they can execute and get a big out.

It's been a very tough road trip but the Giants can at least say they won a game in each park. Tomorrow they face Zack Greinke at 4:10 p.m. PDT.



Monday, August 10, 2020

At least it wasn't a no-hitter

HOU 6  SF 4

Or a shutout. Lance McCullers, Jr. carried a no-hitter into the 7th inning in Houston tonight. Donovan Solano broke it up with a two-out double. In the 8th Austin Slater hit a homer off reliever Josh James to end the shutout bid. Otherwise it was just another wacky night of Giants baseball. Solano, the man they call "Donnie Barrels," kept his 15-game hitting streak alive but made two poor plays in the field in a goofy 3rd inning with the Giants trailing 1-0. With one out he let a grounder under his glove at third base for a single. Chadwick Tromp was then called for catchers interference to put on another runner. Starter Logan Webb, who deserved better, walked the next batter. A pop fly that fell, barely fair, in front of left fielder Alex Dickerson (who didn't really have a play on it) went for a double with two runners scoring. Next was a grounder to Solano who tried to throw the runner from third out at home and wound up hitting him! Another grounder was too slow to turn two and a run scored. Another grounder ended the inning and it was 5-0. Solano hit a double and drove in a run in the Giants valiant comeback attempt in the 9th, and he's of course absolutely raking, but it is frustrating when the veteran players make mistakes in the field. I expect some from the raw youngsters (like the two catchers!) but the fielding miscues have hit everyone on the team, even the older players.

6:10 p.m. PDT tomorrow.

Go Giants!



p.s. LHP Jarlin Garcia made his Giants debut in the 7th with an inning of relief. He walked two and gave up a hit but no runs. Garcia is 27 and has 170 IP (150 G) over three seasons with the Marlins, who waived him in the off-season.

Sunday, August 9, 2020


LA 6  SF 2

Tyler Rogers had one job: keep the ball in the yard. He hadn't allowed a homer in 2020, despite inconsistent work, but streaks like that don't last. I wonder if the Rogers experiment might need re-thinking. It was certainly an intriguing idea, that a submariner could work both sides of the plate, get a lot of ground balls, and do multiple-inning stints. I was all for it, in fact. Unfortunately the results haven't been there for Rogers. Today he gave up a hit, got a strikeout, and then got tagged with the big three-run bomb. Overall for 2020 he's faced 43 batters in 8-1/3 IP (9 appearances), yielding 12 hits and 11 runs with two walks, three hit batters, and six strikeouts.

Gabe Kapler will likely take some heat for pulling Kevin Gausman with one out and one on in the 7th. He dominated a tough LA lineup with a sizzling fastball through six innings and then gave up a long fly out to Mookie Betts to start the next frame and a single to Cody Bellinger. Kap had seen enough even though it was only 80 pitches (Gausman had thrown 83 in Colorado in his last start). You have to figure they are being really careful about stretching out their starters. Gausman is one of those guys who seems to have all the parts but the sum hasn't always been there. The Braves dumped him after a very poor start last season and the Reds gave him a shot but kept him in the bullpen. The Giants took a chance on his live arm and, I think today, tried to protect him from that "third time through the lineup penalty." It didn't work out. Like I said Kap will get some heat for sticking to his saber-script instead of going with his gut but it was a defensible move. Rogers needed to execute in that situation and unfortunately did not. Gausman records the Giants first "quality start" (6-1/3 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 6 K) of 2020.

The Giants offense couldn't really get anything going against Walker Buehler and the Dodgers relief corps. Mike Yastrzemski got a clutch two-out two-run single, but that was it. The Giants bullpen fell apart in the 8th and LA cruised to a win in a game that looked like the Giants might sneak away with.

Giants head for Houston tonight and play tomorrow at 6:10 p.m. PDT.



p.s. I should note that Yankees manager Aaron Boone had a similar decision today, his starter James Paxton had a 3-0 lead over the Rays after six and he let him come out to pitch for the 7th. Result? Double, out, homer, homer and a 3-3 tie! Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Giants chase Kershaw

SF 5  LA 4

It's not often the Giants get the better of Clayton Kershaw but they did just that in LA tonight. In the 3rd inning Austin Slater and Mike Yastrzemski hit homers off the big lefty to make it 2-0 Giants. In the 5th, Slater hit another bomb and doubles by Donovan Solano and Yaz made it 4-0 and that was it for Kershaw. Meanwhile Johnny Cueto no-hit the Dodgers through five. In the top of the 6th, Hunter Pence got a hit (only his second of the season!) and came around to score later on a sacrifice fly by Mauricio Dubon. That would be a crucial run. Pence blew a routine fly ball (lost in the lights?) to open the bottom of the 6th. It turned into a triple and the next batter drove in the run with a ground out. Cueto then lost it, walking the next two batters. He probably should have come out then (his pitch count was up to 90) but with a 5-1 lead and an over-worked bullpen Kap let him pitch to Justin Turner. A 400-foot 3-run homer ended Cueto's night but Tony Watson got the last out of the inning and the bullpen did the rest. Tyler Rogers got the next six outs and Trevor Gott held his nerve against the heart of the order in the 9th to get the save.

The Giants have had really poor starting pitching so far this year and it looked like JohnnyC was going to fix that problem. He did just that for five innings but the "third time through the lineup penalty" bit him on the ass. The unfortunate misplay by Pence that ended the no-hit bid was a gut punch and certainly did not help. But the walks have been an issue so far for Cueto (9 in 18-1/3 IP) and they hurt him tonight. He does appear to be getting stronger and starting to look more like his old self and that is certainly good news. Slater's emergence as a hitter is also good news. He's slashing .310/.394/.586 so far!

Kevin Gausman tomorrow afternoon (1:10 PDT).



That's not gonna work

LA 7  SF 2

Jeff Samardzija has started three games this season. He's faced 65 batters over the course of 13-2/3 innings and given up 18 hits and four walks and has hit two guys. One-third of the hits (6) have been homers! He's struck out only five guys. The 16 RA (15 earned) is good for a 9.88 (!) ERA, a 9.29 FIP, and -0.5 fWAR. Yup, you can have "negative" WAR. I don't know what the Giants are going to do about Shark.

Johnny Cueto today at 6:10 p.m.

Go Giants!


Thursday, August 6, 2020

Rockies prevail

Tyler Anderson was superb for five innings, allowing only two hits and no runs today in Colorado. They pulled him after 66 pitches, but apparently that is part of the plan. He's coming back from knee surgery and had yet to throw 50 pitches in an outing this season. (He only pitched in five games last year.) With the abbreviated spring it was probably too much to expect an extra inning or two from him, especially when you consider it would have been the third time through the order, and that lineup has some thump. He left with the game tied 0-0. Wandy Peralta gave up a solo homer in the 6th but the Giants responded with a two-out, three-run homer from Mauricio Dubon in the 7th. I was feeling pretty good. Unfortunately, carnage ensued with Rico Garcia and Caleb Baragar getting clobbered for five runs in the bottom of the frame and the Rockies came away winners. The Giants added a run in the 8th but the rally fizzled.

It would have been nice to see a split. They played better in the field today (Dubon made a nice catch in right-center) and they got eleven hits to back the good start by Tyler Anderson, but the 'pen couldn't keep the ball in the yard. Garcia and Baragar pitched on Monday, and the Rockies saw Baragar yesterday, so maybe Kap went to the well too many times. Then again Garcia had only faced one batter in that game and should have been sharper. I'm not going to quibble about managerial decisions. The Giants have a lot to work on and I want to focus on the good stuff. I'm glad that Anderson is progressing, it will be nice to see him get back to full health and be able to pitch deep into games. Dubon can handle, it seems, the multiple positions, now his bat needs to get hot. He had another hit later. Conner Menez pitched well.

Off to Los Angeles for the Dodgers tomorrow at 6:40 PDT.

Go Giants!


p.s. Giants announce their starters: Samardzija Friday, Cueto Saturday, Gausman Sunday.

Belt Leads Giants

SF 4  COL 3 

Brandon Belt hit his first homer of the season, a 3-run shot, and later doubled and scored on Wilmer Flores' single and those four runs were all the Giants needed. They got a good start from Logan Webb who pitched into the 6th and only allowed two runs, and some fine bullpen work from Caleb Baragar (again!), Tyler Rogers, and Trevor Gott (who closed it out). Tony Watson gave up a solo shot to--who else?-- Nolan Arenado in the 7th, that's three homers in three games against the Giants. The team needed a win after two sloppy losses. Baragar retired David Dahl, Trevor Story, and Charlie Blackmon. He has yet to have an easy pitching assignment!

Tyler Anderson gets the start today at 12:10 PDT.



p.s. rosters are reduced today to 28, that will be the new limit for the rest of the season, and the taxi squad will be increased to five players

p.p.s. Steven Duggar and Andrew Suarez sent down; they will join the taxi sqaud

Monday, August 3, 2020

Coors strikes again

Johnny Cueto came out to pitch the 6th inning with the Giants leading 4-1. He probably should not have. I get that Kap needs to stretch out his guys, the team can't rely on the bullpen every night. But Cueto got burned, predictably, on his third time facing the Rockies batting order. A Charlie Blackmon single and a Nolan Arenado homer made it 4-3 and that was it. He'd thrown 85 pitches to 22 batters, yielding five hits and three runs. Wandy Peralta came in and got a ground ball out, but the next batter hit a ball off the glove of Alex Dickerson and it went for a triple. A couple of hits followed and Dick made a throwing error that allowed two more to score. It was an ugly half inning! The Rockies added another in the 7th to make it 7-4, that final run making a difference, unfortunately. The Giants fought back in the 9th and scored two, and poor Dick got to make the last out. He had two hits in the game including a homer, but his fielding misplays were costly. It's been the story of the season so far--poor fielding. They need to tighten that up just like they need to get more innings out of their starters.

Tomorrow Colorado sends out German Marquez at 5:40 p.m. PDT.

Go Giants!


p.s. Caleb Baragar continues to impress. The lefty had another good outing tonight, retiring Blackmon, Arenado, and Daniel Murphy.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Not today

TEX 9  SF 5
Jeff Samardzija became the first Giants starter to log five innings. Unfortunately he gave up two extra-base hits with men on base (a two-run double and a two-run homer), much like his last start (a two-run homer and a three-run homer), and the result was the same in both cases--the team lost. The Giants clawed their way back to a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the 6th, but the bullpen let them down in the 7th. Andrew Triggs, activated today when Drew Smyly went on the IL, walked three to open the frame. Tyler Anderson gave up a sacrifice fly and a three-run homer (Joey Gallo) and suddenly it was 9-5 Rangers. I have to like that the Giants battled back. And that Chadwick Tromp hit his first ML homer! The pitching stunk today and that ruined the chance for a sweep.

They go to Colorado for four starting tomorrow, and follow that with three in Los Angeles (Dodgers) and three in Houston. That's a tough ten-game stretch. They have an off-day on the 13th.

Go Giants!


Saturday, August 1, 2020

Two in a row!

SF 7  TEX 3
Drew Smyly looked like he might be the first Giants starter to get through five innings but a finger injury ended his night after four. It was a strong four, three hits and two walks, along with seven strikeouts. The Giants blew a rundown at third base with two out in the 1st and the next batter drove in two runs, otherwise Smyly would have had a clean slate. Catcher Tyler Heineman has only appeared in ten major league games, it's not surprising that he would make a mistake on a play like that. His brother Scott is an outfielder for Texas--Tyler got to tag out Scott later in the game! He also got his first extra-base hit, a double in the 8th.

The Giants managed seven hits but they also collected ELEVEN walks (four by Yaz). Donovan Solano and Evan Longoria had the big RBI blows. Solano, aka Donnie Barrels, leads MLB in RBI with 13!

Once again the bullpen had to put up a string of zeros and they delivered the goods. Shaun Anderson (2/3), Caleb Baragar (1/3), Rico Garcia (1), Tyler Rogers (1), and Trevor Gott (1) kept a lid on the Rangers. Sam Selman gave up a solo shot in the 9th but whiffed three. I don't know how long you can play this all-hands-on-deck style, it seems like it will come tumbling down soon if the starters and "bulk innings" guys can't get it done. But nothing is normal so I don't expect normal baseball. The Giants are doing what they have to do with the players they've got. Tonight, it worked.

Tomorrow they have a chance to sweep.