Sunday, June 13, 2021

Bupkes

WSH 5  SF 0

The Giants were blanked by Joe Ross today, the second time they were shut out this weekend. In fact they only scored three runs in the series, so it's amazing they won two of the four games. Kyle Schwarber hit two homers off Johnny Cueto to go along with the game-winner he hit off Kevin Gausman yesterday. His second homer, a three-run shot in the 2nd inning, came on a neck-high fastball. It's hard to imagine anyone hitting a homer on a pitch like that! Giants bats have gone stone cold. Let's hope home-cooking heats them up!

Alex Wood takes the ball tomorrow night in San Francisco at 6:45 Pacific, opening a four-game set with the Diamondbacks.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Giants eke out a split

WSH 2  SF 0

SF 2  WSH 1 (8)  

The Giants did not score today until the very last inning, and that was an extra inning, the 8th frame in a 7-inning contest. They've had trouble scoring in D.C., plating only three runs total in the three games, but three runs was enough to take two of the games! Craziness! 

Kevin Gausman gave up two runs in the first game and that was enough for the Nationals as the Giants lineup could not get anything going. That offensive feebleness continued for seven frames in the nightcap. Fortunately the bullpen matched up and put up zeroes of their own. In the 8th, LaMonte Wade, Jr. roped a single to score the magic runner, and the Giants followed that by loading the bases with no outs. Wilmer Flores poked a single to score one run, and we all had thoughts of a big inning. Alas, the Giants hit three weak ground balls and failed to score any more runs. Caleb Baragar then gave up an RBI double to open the bottom half and followed that by hitting the next batter, Victor Robles. A deep fly to center saw the two runners tag up and try to advance. Robles, inexplicably, over-slid at second base and was tagged out. It was a weird play but good for the Giants as Baragar got the final out and the Giants got their 40th win.

You can win pretty and you can win ugly. Friday was pretty and today was ugly but they both go in the win column. Tomorrow it's Johnny Cueto (10:05 a.m. Pacific) with a chance to take the series.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Friday, June 11, 2021

39th win is a doozy

SF 1  WSH 0 

Anthony "Disco" DeSclafani was groovin' in D.C. tonight, dominating a tough Nationals lineup for a complete game shutout, his second of the season. But believe it or not, that's not the whole story! After all, Washington's ultra-ace Max Scherzer was the starter and it figured to be a pitching duel from the get-go. Max, unfortunately, got gone after only ten pitches, tweaking something on a delivery that led to him leaving the game. If the Giants thought they'd get a break they were soon proved wrong by some inspired bullpen work from the Nats relief corps. Buster Posey broke through with a solo shot in the 4th, but that was it. The lineup mustered up a mere four hits and struck out ten times.

DeSclafani cruised into the 7th clinging to the 1-0 lead and up came super-stud Juan Soto with one out. It was the third time through the order and Soto whacked a 3-2 pitch to left-center that for all the world looked like a homer. In the way was--who else?--Mike Tauchman, who made a perfectly-timed over-the-fence leaping grab to pull the ball back and make the out. It was a sensational moment, one of those belief-defying baseball occurrences that keep us tuning in every night. Tauchman also made another superb catch on a foul pop to get the first out of the 9th. He's hitting under .200 but finding ways to help the team win.

And win they did. The Man They Call Disco said "we don't need no steenk-een bullpen" and he nailed down the outs in the 8th and 9th to complete the shutout. That's a hell of a story all by itself. But magic moments from Posey and Tauchman added to the excitement and made it an even better story. Imagine if Scherzer had pitched: the Giants would have raked him for heap o'runs, I've no doubt!

Doubleheader tomorrow, the first game is at 11:05 Pacific. Kevin Gausman gets the start, and the bullpen gets the nightcap.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Legends

SF 9  TEX 4

Mike Tauchman's biggest moment in orange-and-black, the game-saving catch in LA against the Dodgers, upstaged a Giants legend. Last night in Texas his grand slam, the second-biggest moment in his orange-and-black career, was upstaged by another Giants legend. The first time, Buster Posey's three-run homer got lost in the shuffle of a highlight-reel victory. The second time, Brandon Crawford's historic day took center stage in a blowout win.

It was 4-2 Rangers in the 8th and a frustrated Giants lineup kept missing out on their many scoring chances. Tauchman, batting ninth in an AL park, came up with the bases loaded and two outs and calmly stroked a liner into the right-field seats for a game-changing blow. It was a big hit for the team and also for the struggling lefty who has had a hard time getting results with the bat.

That's not the case with Brandon Crawford who is hitting as well as he ever has. He hit a solo homer in the 6th to give the Giants a short-lived 2-1 lead. He hit a three-run shot in the 9th to make it a laugher. That's the fifth time he's hit two homers in a game. But the real accomplishment was becoming the Giants all-time leader in games played at shortstop. His 1326th game is the most in the 138-year history of the franchise. That's one hell of an accomplishment and we got to watch all of it. In addition to the two homers he--of course--made a couple of brilliant Crawfordian plays to help shut down the Rangers.

Early game today (11:05). Zack Littell will get the opening nod with Sammy Long making his debut in long (we hope!) relief.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

 

p.s. Update: Giants lose getaway game 4-3 in 11 innings. Late-game relief let the team down. Tyler Rogers blew saves in back-to-back chances and Jake McGee gave up the winning run in his inning. A mostly punchless offense must shoulder some of the blame, too. Fine debut from Sammy Long, at least. They are in Washington, D.C. tomorrow, game time 4:05 Pacific.

p.p.s. Update: Thursday's game postponed. Friday will play as scheduled. Saturday is now a doubleheader. Anthony DeSclafani tomorrow against Max Scherzer. Kevin Gausman will pitch one of the DH games.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Cubs avoid sweep

CHI 4  SF 3

The Giants jumped on Kyle Hendricks for three runs in the first two frames but could not chase him from the game. He lasted into the 7th and the bullpen took over from there, denying the lineup any more scoring. Johnny Cueto was not sharp and he allowed all four runs in his 4-1/3 innings. One scored on an error, but the real damage was done by Patrick Wisdom who hit two homers. He homered yesterday off Kevin Gausman and has seven in his 13 games with the Cubs. I was greedy this morning and eager for a sweep, but I have to like them taking three of four from the NL Central leaders.

Tomorrow is a travel day. The team opens a two-game series in Texas on Tuesday at 5:05 Pacific. The Rangers are 23-38 and in last place in the AL West. Alex Wood is the scheduled starter.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Gausman gets it done

SF 4  CHI 3

A near-nightmare 9th didn't spoil the afternoon for the Giants and they chalked up their 37th win. Kevin Gausman was great again, this time striking out ten in his seven innings of two-hit work. One of the hits was a two-run homer in the 2nd, but that was the only blemish on an otherwise outstanding start. The Giants quickly recovered from the early 2-0 hole, scoring in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th to take a 4-2 lead. Alex Dickerson had an opposite-field homer to get things going, and a three-hit rally in the next inning netted two more. A Brandon Crawford double added the final run.

Jake McGee got it done quickly in the 8th and Tyler Rogers was called on for the 9th. The first batter hit a grounder to Mauricio Dubon at second base and he flubbed it. The next grounder to BCraw got an out on the lead runner but Dubon flubbed the exchange. He was in there as a defensive replacement and he looked bad on back-to-back plays! A ground ball single put two on with one out, and then another grounder between third and short resulted in a collision between Craw and Evan Longoria. A run scored. Rogers then got a huge strikeout, and finally another grounder to end it. Longo had to come out of the game and Dubon moved to third. Donovan Solano was inserted at second base and he handled the final chance.

Whew! Torture! But a win, and that's what matters. The Giants have played eleven games since being swept at home by the Dodgers and they've won nine of them. They've taken the first three from the Cubs and have a chance for a sweep behind Johnny Cueto tomorrow. Game time 1:05 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Four more homers

SF 8  CHI 5

The Giants have hit 83 home runs in their 57 games this season. That's second only to the Braves who have 85. Last night they got the big hit from Alex Dickerson, a three-run bomb in a six-run 2nd inning. Steven Duggar had a solo shot hit a two-run homer in the same frame, and LaMonte Wade, Jr. and Jason Vosler each added solo shots in the 4th. Vosler was pinch-hitting: that's the 7th PH HR by the Giants, they lead the league.

Starter Scott Kazmir didn't fare well, giving up two in two IP, and Dominic Leone gave up two more in his two IP. Zack Littell pitched the 5th and gave up a run, but Conner Menez followed with a scoreless 6th and 7th. Jake McGee and Tyler Rogers closed out the 8th and 9th, with Rogers only needing eight pitches for three groundball outs. For a banged-up team with an emergency starter they fared pretty well!

NL Pitcher of the Month Kevin Gausman goes today at 4:15 Pacific. It's a Fox Saturday game.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Friday, June 4, 2021

BCraw leads Giants

SF 7  CHI 2

Anthony DeSclafani pitched another good game and this time the Giants relief corps was up to the task and nailed down the win. Brandon Crawford's three-run homer was the big blow. He had another RBI earlier and continues to make big plays in the field. Other than perhaps Buster Posey he's the team position-player MVP at this point. 

Unfortunately the Giants lost two more players to the IL. Logan Webb's shoulder issue re-surfaced, he will miss his next two starts. Mike Yastrzemski sprained his thumb and he'll be out as well.

The Giants came into this season touting their deep roster and it is being put to the test. The Cubs are a good team. Tonight they'll likely go with Conner Menez in place of Webb. They have Nick Tropeano as well. (I'm not sure of Scott Kazmir's status.) Game time 6:45 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Stinker

LAA 8  SF 1

The Giants played a stinker tonight. They haven't played many of those. Alex Wood looked like Alex Wood for two innings and then the wheels came off. Four walks and a hit batter with a few hits sprinkled in and it was 4-0 Angels. Matt Wisler poured gas on the fire and it was 8-0. Angels southpaw starter Andrew Heaney was tough (6-1/3 IP, 5 H, 1 R 1 W, 7 K) and he also had a hit, a walk, and a run scored.

I thought Curt Casali's struggles on offense (.104/.250/.119) would prompt a change and he was placed on the IL with a wrist strain. (Every MLB catcher has a wrist strain or two!) Chadwick Tromp gets the call-up, not Joey Bart. They like what Bart is doing at AAA and he is also just back from injury. Tromp is the emergency guy. Nick Tropeano, who finished up the win yesterday, goes back down. RHP Dominic Leone gets his shot. He's 29 and has 253 innings of ML-experience over seven seasons. Conner Menez is back. He took Scott Kazmir's spot who is on the "restricted" list for some personal issue. Tromp, Leone, and Menez all saw action tonight. Steven Duggar had two of the Giants six hits and scored their lone run.

Off-day tomorrow. The Cubs come to town for a four-game series starting Thursday night.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Monday, May 31, 2021

3rd inning: 12-6

1st inning: 11-7

2nd inning: 11-7

3rd inning: 12-6

We've reached the one-third mark of the season. The Giants have played 54 games and have a record of 34-20 (.630). They are in first place in the NL West, 1/2 game ahead of the Padres. There are 108 games (six innings) left to play.

Today is also the last day in May and so we've completed the first two months of the season. The Giants were 16-10 in April (.615) and 18-10 in May (.643). These results obviously far exceed the expectations for this team. Way to go, Giants!

In this afternoon's 6-1 victory against the LA Angels Johnny Cueto struggled early with his command and gave up a run in the 2nd. After that he figured things out and racked up five scoreless frames. His final line was five hits allowed in seven innings with no walks and five strikeouts (97 pitches to 27 batters). The Giants have relied on terrific starting pitching to power their fast start. Johnny's long outing meant the bullpen only had to get the last six outs! Nick Tropeano was given the task and got it done without much fuss. That's something we need to see more of.

The Giants have also relied on patience and power hitting--today's lineup smacked three homers and two doubles to go along with six walks (and two singles). LaMonte Wade, Jr. played first base again, he hit one of the homers, and is slashing .350./458/.550. Steven Duggar continues to rake, he had two hits today and he is slashing .308/.357/.554. I think they call that "serving notice."

Alex Wood gets the start tomorrow night at 6:45 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Three in a row

SF 5  LA 4

Kevin Gausman was brilliant again and shut down the Dodgers for six innings, yielding only two hits. The bullpen made a mess of things, giving up not one but two two-run homers in the last two frames, but it wasn't quite enough to spoil the party. And it was quite the party early against ultra-nemesis Clayton Kershaw. I often say that Kershaw is "the greatest pitcher in San Francisco Giants history" and if you look at his career stats against our beloved ballclub you might agree. Warning: not safe for children. Today was his 50th career start and the Giants jumped on him for five runs in the first four innings. The big blow was a two-out, two-run homer in the 1st from Mauricio Dubon. That's right, Mauricio Dubon. It was his second career blast against the super southpaw, his first was this game in 2019. He now has one more than Kelby Tomlinson! Austin Slater hit an opposite-field homer in the 3rd, his third career shot which ties him with Buster Posey. The other slugger against Kershaw? MadBum, with two.

Gausman threw only 72 pitches, 62 of them for strikes. He was absolutely dominant and he also drove in a run in the 4th with a two-out hit. He tweaked his hip making a play on a ground ball and that ended his day. Let's hope the injury is minor. The Giants had a chance to blow the game open, loading the bases with no outs against Joe Kelly in the 7th but failed to score. It was one of those moments you knew would come back to bite them, and it almost did. The best you can say about the Giants bullpen is "work in progress." This afternoon both Zack Littell and Jake McGee were victimized by Dodgers sluggers when they left fat pitches out in the middle of the zone. The relievers really need to execute better.

Here's the bottom line: THE GIANTS BEAT THE DODGERS THREE STRAIGHT IN LA!!!

That's awesome.

The Giants come home and play a two-game series against the Angels followed by a day off. Then the Cubs come to town for four. Tomorrow--Memorial Day--Johnny Cueto gets the ball at 1:05 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Up to eleven

SF 11  LA 6

The Giants put a hurt on Dodgers starter Julio Urias, rapping out eleven hits and scoring seven runs in his five innings of work. They rapped out five more hits and scored four more runs off the LA bullpen to take a commanding 11-4 lead into the 8th. Jose Alvarez, back for his second inning of relief, suddenly could not throw a decent pitch and he gave up a two-run homer to Albert Pujols. Matt Wisler had to come in for the last two outs and he returned for the 9th to protect the five-run lead. It took 21 pitches but he got it done. We've seen enough late-inning meltdowns this season, don't you think? How big of a lead is enough? I can't say for sure, this season has me really spooked in the late innings. Thank goodness today's version of the lineup was "up to eleven!"

Logan Webb pitched well in his return from the IL. He had a rocky 1st and gave up a run and then two errors by Donovan Solano in the 2nd led to another. But after that he got his slider working and retired nine straight, putting up clean sheets in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th. He threw some nasty pitches and finished with seven whiffs and no walks. Gabe Kapler pulled him after only 62 pitches, but I think they are playing the long game with Webb. He's young and just off the IL, as I said, and the team had a big lead, so I can see the reasoning. It was going to be the third time through the order and with the lefties (Muncy and Bellinger) coming up they decided to go with Scott Kazmir. It wasn't pretty--he gave up a leadoff bomb to Muncy and gave up another run on a walk and two hits. Some might think Kap was getting too cute there, but with injuries up all over baseball it is probably the smart move to be a little over-cautious. Webb, at times, looks like he can be a really tough pitcher, even a star, and I think the Giants have high hopes for his development.

In the end the Giants bashed enough baseballs and plated enough runs to win the game. Evan Longoria and Donovan Solano both homered with a man on, Wilmer Flores had three hits, Mauricio Dubon had three RBI, and both Mike Yastrzemski and Brandon Crawford had two hits. Plenty of highlights and accolades to go around. The Giants had not scored in double digits in LA since 2013!

When this four-game set started I was hoping for a split. I'd turned the page on the ugly sweep in San Francisco and decided that the Giants just needed to show they could hold their own against the Dodgers. They've now had back-to-back wins, scoring 19 runs in the process. I think they've shown that. They given themselves a shot at winning three of four and taking the series. Way to go, Giants!

Kevin Gausman tomorrow afternoon at 1:10 Pacific.

BEAT LA!

--M.C.

Friday, May 28, 2021

Extra effort in extras

SF 8  LA 5  (10)

The Giants prevailed--miraculously--in an epic, see-saw contest in Los Angeles to get their first win against the Dodgers. Buster Posey got the biggest hit of the season, a three-run homer in the 8th to break open a nail-biting 2-2 tie. So we thought. Tyler Rogers got burned by too many squibbers and managed to give up a two-out, three-run homer to pinch-hitting Austin Barnes to blow the save. He nearly blew the game when Albert Pujols jacked one to left that would have gone out except for a spectacular catch by Mike Tauchman. In the 10th LaMonte Wade, Jr. smoked a single to score the magic runner. Mike Yastrzemski walked and with two outs Evan Longoria drove both runners home with a double. Jarlin Garcia got the final three outs to seal the win.

The urgency of beating the Dodgers made this game particularly nerve-wracking. When Buster got the big blast (his 150th, by the way) it seemed like the Giants had finally broken through the blue wall that's been vexing them this season. Alas, it wasn't going to be that easy. The Giants had to have another three-run lead in order to finish it off! When Pujols hit his big fly after the back-breaking, game-tying homer, I was sure it was over. But Tauchman "had it all the way" and timed his leap perfectly, reaching over the fence and plucking the ball back. He collapsed on the track but held on to keep the Giants alive.

It was a thoroughly excruciating contest. It's hard to stomach those bullpen collapses, but to be fair to Rogers he's pitched exceptionally well overall. One of the grounders should have been handled by Mauricio Dubon but he flubbed it, that play ought to have been the second out. Rogers isn't really a strikeout pitcher so the fielders have to make the plays. Nonetheless the Giants survived and pulled out a great victory.

Tomorrow it's a Fox Saturday game, 4:10 Pacific. Logan Webb gets the start.

GO GIANTS!

--M.C.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Giants strike out

LA 4  SF 3

The Giants fell behind 2-0 in the 3rd on a homer by Justin Turner. Evan Longoria cut that in half in the 4th with a solo shot, but the Dodgers countered in the 5th with a solo shot from rookie DJ Peters. In the 6th, Mike Yastrzemski dragged a bunt for a base hit and Donovan Solano tied the game with a homer. Those were only the second and third hits for the team and they would not get another. In the bottom of the 6th Max Muncy launched an 0-2 pitch from Alex Wood into the seats and that was the game. Wood struck out eight without issuing a walk, but of his six hits allowed three were home runs. Zack Littell and Jarlin Garcia took the last two innings. The Dodgers used seven pitchers in a bullpen game and once again they stifled the Giants attack. The lineup struck out 13 times--five in the first 2-2/3 IP against David Price, and four in the last two innings against Blake Treinen and Kenley Jansen. That's four straight losses against LA and the team continues to look over-matched. Let's hope they figure it out soon.

Anthony DeSclafani and Walker Buehler tomorrow night at 7:10 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Comeback!

SF 5  AZ 4

Tyler Rogers gives up a lot of weak contact. That was nearly his un-doing. In to protect the one-run lead in the 9th, the submariner gave up a feeble infield hit to Pavin Smith, who to his credit hit five foul balls in a ten-pitch at-bat. Nick Ahmed then singled before Stephen Vogt popped out. Another single from Josh Rojas loaded the bases. Rogers then got burned on a bad call--a feeble grounder in front of the plate by Ketel Marte was seized by Buster Posey. He got the force at the plate and was about to throw to first to complete the DP but it was called a foul ball. Rogers shook it off and channeled his inner beast and got the strikeout. He then got another weak grounder, this one from Eduardo Escobar that had just enough legs so Brandon Crawford could throw him out and that was the game. It was torture, but it was a win.

The Giants fell behind early but mounted a huge comeback to take a 5-4 lead to the 9th. Johnny Cueto went five innings, giving up four runs, he was followed by an inning apiece from Caleb Baragar, Nick Tropeano, and Jake McGee before Rogers' dramatic finish. The hitting hero was Jason Vosler who was called up because Brandon Belt went on the IL. Darin Ruf started and got hurt running the bases so Vosler had to pinch-run and grab his first baseman's mitt. He hit the game-winning homer in the 8th! Austin Slater had the other big blast in that frame, a two-run pinch-hit bomb to tie the game. Steven Duggar had a great at-bat in the 6th to get a rally going that scored the first two runs.

The Giants really needed to win these two games in Arizona. They go to Los Angeles next for a re-match with the Dodgers, a four-game set starting tomorrow night.

Alex Wood gets the start at 7:10 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

Stomp the Snakes

SF 8  AZ 0

The best tonic for a losing streak is a winning streak. Does one win count as a streak? I say it does. The Giants put a hurt on the Diamondbacks tonight in Phoenix, snapping their three-game losing streak and compounding Arizona's misery. Those guys have lost nine straight and have the second-worst record in baseball. The D-backs are down, and the Giants need to keep kicking them. Beating up on the bad teams is a good formula for success.

Brandon Crawford hit a two-out bases-clearing double in the 1st, Evan Longoria added a three-run homer in the 3rd, he added another RBI on a double in the 7th, and Curt Casali had a pinch-hit RBI single in the 9th. That took care of the scoring. Kevin Gausman was a little wild early and racked up a big pitch count but still threw five scoreless with nine strikeouts. Jarlin Garcia struck out four in two innings of relief, and Jose Alvarez and Sam Selman finished up.

Johnny Cueto tomorrow evening at 6:40 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Swept

LA 11  SF 5

You know it's bad when the opposing pitcher gets a hit and drives in a run. What's worse is when he does it again. Dodgers starter Julio Urias had a double in the 2nd that drove in two and a single in the 3rd that drove in another. It was that kind of day. Anthony DeSclafani gave up ten runs in his 2-2/3 innings, that's probably his worst game ever, but I didn't bother to research it. The Dodgers had an answer for everything this weekend and gave the Giants their first series sweep of the season and their first three-game losing streak. It's as if Dave Roberts and his players sat down before the three-game set and said "let's give these pretenders a smack upside the head and remind them who the best team is." Even with a shorthanded lineup (no Betts/Seager/Bellinger) and without using Kershaw LA dominated. It's no wonder lots of people picked them to win 110+ games!

On the bright side, this is the first time this season the Giants have looked over-matched. And, as I mentioned, the first time this team has lost three in a row. We've seen them bounce back from some hideous losses already--a season's worth for some teams--and I expect they'll bounce back from this debacle. At least they know better what they are up against and what adjustments they'll have to make to compete.

Tomorrow is an off-day and then they go to Phoenix for two before a four-game set in, you guessed it, Los Angeles.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

That was no fun

LA 6  SF 3

Walker Buehler becomes the first pitcher this season to complete seven innings against the Giants. He was overpowering for the first six, not to mention getting every borderline call, especially low in the zone. Memo to umps: pitchers don't need the extra help! Brandon Crawford led off the 7th with a booming double that missed being a homer by a foot. He scored later on an opposite field single by Alex Dickerson. That was all the Giants could muster off Buehler. Buster Posey launched a two-run homer in the 8th off reliever Alex Vesia for the other two runs.

Emergency starter Scott Kazmir gave up a homer to Max Muncy in the 1st but pitched three scoreless innings after that. For a guy who hasn't been in the majors for five years he did OK. He could be a valuable piece going forward. Reliever Jarlin Garcia gave up a run in the 5th, Nick Tropeano gave up two runs in his two innings, and Jose Alavarez did the same. At least they got some work in and maybe they will find their groove soon. Both Mike Yastrzemski and Steven Duggar made misplays in the outfield that led to runs. It was not a good day for the home team.

Anthony DeSclafani gets the start tomorrow at 1:05 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Friday, May 21, 2021

Bats cool off at home

LA 2  SF 1

Trevor Bauer is one of the hardest pitchers in baseball to get a hit against and the Giants found that out tonight, managing a total of two. They made Bauer work hard and forced him to throw 126 pitches in his 6-1/3 innings but could only get the one run. Two walks in the 7th and an a throwing error from Bauer himself let the run in and got him out of the game, but that was it. Alex Wood pitched well despite giving up eight hits in his six frames. A two-run homer from Chris Taylor in the 3rd was his undoing. Wood struck out seven and walked two. Zack Littell, Caleb Baragar, and Jarlin Garcia finished up. Bauer had 11 strikeouts and four walks, with Nate Jones and Blake Treinen getting the final eight outs on 25 pitches. Interesting note: no starter has completed seven innings against the Giants this year.

As I suspected, the Giants sent Camilo Doval down to make room for a call-up. They chose Nick Tropeano who I thought would make the team after Spring Training. He has ML experience as a starter.

Tomorrow's game is on Fox at 4:15 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

Ka-pow!

SF 19  CIN 4

The Giants overwhelmed the Reds today to sweep the four-game set and head home with a five-game win streak. That's a 6-2 trip and it bumps their road record to 14-12. Johnny Cueto, in his first start off the IL, lasted only three innings, yielding eight hits and five runs. In his next start he lasted 4-1/3 IP, again allowing eight hits but only two runs. Today he managed five innings, allowing five hits and only one run. I like that sort of improvement. Let's hope he's back to full strength in his next go-round.

The lineup produced their biggest run total so far, it's also the most runs by any team this season. They looked great in the first inning, wearing down Reds starter Tyler Mahle with patient, disciplined at-bats, grinding out a run with two outs and forcing him to throw 28 pitches. When the top of the lineup got a second look in the 3rd inning they went on a rampage and pounded out nine runs. The highlights were a grand slam from Steven Duggar and two-run homer from Darin Ruf (he had a four-hit day). Brandon Crawford had six RBI in a three-hit day (including his 11th homer), and Evan Longoria added three hits including a homer. It got so bad the Reds used two position players to pitch the final two innings.

Sam Selman looked good in the 6th. Camilo Doval was wild in the 7th and gave up a run but also had three strikeouts. Jose Alvarez, just off the IL, gave up a two-run homer in the 8th but finished the frame. Matt Wisler gave up a two-out hit in the 9th but also struck out three.

The YouTube telecast was amateurish, unfortunately. They had FOUR GUYS talking about the game! Really? You need four guys? Jeremy Affeldt was one of them, and he's a motor mouth and doesn't know when to shut up. Even if he has something interesting to say his incessant chatter quickly becomes annoying and ultimately intolerable. Not to mention those nauseating interviews during the live action and the split screen that shows the interviewee more than the action. But that's why they invented the mute button!

The Giants crushed it this week and they set up a terrific showdown with the Dodgers who have been on their own hot streak. It's a three-game set starting tomorrow night at 6:45 PDT with Alex Wood facing Trevor Bauer. Saturday's game is a Fox Game of the Week (4:15 Pacific). Logan Webb went to the IL so no starter has been named. I suspect Sunday it will be Anthony DeSclafani.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Shutout!

SF 4  CIN 0

The San Francisco Giants used four pitchers to blank the Reds in Cincinnati tonight. Kevin Gausman was superb again, going six scoreless, and left after 94 pitches with the team clinging to a 1-0 lead. Zack Littell pitched a scoreless 7th and Jake McGee, in a bit of a switch, pitched a scoreless 8th. That left Tyler Rogers for the 9th, but the Giants spoiled the save by getting a massive two-out bases-clearing double from Buster Posey in the top of the frame to make it 4-0. Rogers put the first two runners on with a walk and a ground ball, but retired the next three to spare us all heart attacks.

The Reds have scored five runs in the three games, all but one coming off relief pitchers. Logan Webb, Anthony DeSclafani, and Kevin Gausman have thrown 19 innings in that bandbox stadium and allowed just the one run. That's some pretty serious starting pitching!

Johnny Cueto, who made his name pitching for the Reds, gets the start tomorrow morning at 9:35 Pacific. It's a YouTube game so check it out here.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Disco deals

SF 4  CIN 2

Anthony "Disco" DeSclafani returned to Cincinnati and delivered a terrific start to subdue his former team. He lasted a full seven innings and allowed only one run, a leadoff homer to the first batter he faced. He left with a 4-1 lead and Zack Littell and Jake McGee finished up, giving Tyler Rogers a well-deserved off-night. Littell gave up a solo shot in the 8th to give us all a scare, but that was it. The bullpen continues to be a mystery! A well-rested McGee got three outs in the 9th on nine pitches.

The Giants got eight hits and four walks and struck out seventeen times. Seventeen! Starter Luis Castillo (a former Giants farmhand*) struck out eleven in his five innings but gave up a three-run homer to Alex Dickerson in the 4th and left trailing 3-1. Another homer by the Giants--this one from Brandon Crawford--in the 7th off reliever Heath Hembree (a former Giants player**) pushed it to 4-1. It was BCraw's 10th homer in 36 games, a Bondsian stretch. Plus he continues to make big plays in the field. The Reds had eight hits and also had two homers, but both blasts came with the bases empty.

DeSclafani had the moves tonight and the Giants got another big road win. The team is now 12-12 away from home. They've two more games in The Great American Smallpark before the weekend series in San Francisco with the Dodgers. Kevin Gausman goes tomorrow at 3:40 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

 

*traded for Casey McGehee in 2014

**traded for Jake Peavy in 2014

Monday, May 17, 2021

Webb leads Giants

SF 6  CIN 3

Logan Webb pitched six scoreless innings to open the series in Cincinnati and the Giants held on to win. Webb did not have his strikeout stuff and gave up six hits but also did not walk a batter and induced ten ground balls, two of which led to double plays. It was an outstanding performance against a strong lineup. He kept the ball in the yard, a tough task in that park.

The bullpen gave up the three Reds runs, the first in the 7th when Jarlin Garcia had a two-out brain fart (walk, WP, single), and again in the 8th when Matt Wisler gave up back-to-back homers. He almost gave up a third before getting the final out. The Giants need both Wisler and Garcia to be reliable bullpen options and they unfortunately have not performed with any consistency so far this season. Tyler Rogers--again--came on to get the save in the 9th. Brandon Crawford made a two-out error to dial up the TortureMeter™ but Nick Castellanos flied out to end it.

The offense cranked out three homers, a two-run shot from Wilmer Flores, and solo shots from Mauricio Dubon and Mike Yastrzemski. The Reds played some poor infield defense, gifting the Giants a run in the 1st and again in the 8th. In fact the Flores homer in the 4th was after an error that put BCraw on base ahead of him. The play in the 8th was a blown rundown. With two outs Austin Slater was picked off first base, but he stayed in jeopardy long enough for Darin Ruf to scoot home from third. Duane Kuiper called it "junior varsity" on the post-game show!

But the story was young Logan Webb who out-pitched veteran Sonny Gray and got his first road win of the year. He's lined up up to pitch Saturday at home against the Dodgers.

Anthony DeSclafani tomorrow afternoon at 3:40 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Relief!

SF 4  PIT 1

The Giants even up the series with a win in the getaway game in Pittsburgh. Today the bullpen delivered three scoreless innings to back up another fine performance from Alex Wood who is 5-0 in six starts. The Giants took a 2-1 lead in the top of the 6th when Evan Longoria scored on a wild pitch. Wood batted for himself and made the third out but it paid off with a scoreless bottom half. That left the 7th for Caleb Baragar who gave up a walk but no runs and the 8th for Matt Wisler who was perfect. Mike Yastrzemski bopped a two-run homer in the top of the 9th to pad the lead. Tyler Rogers has been the best Giants reliever this season and he was tabbed for the 9th. He hit the first batter to give us all the heebee-jeebies but only needed nine more pitches to get the final three batters and the save.

Logan Webb opens the series in Cincinnati tomorrow afternoon at 3:40 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Saturday, May 15, 2021

Not again

PIT 8  SF 6

The Giants bullpen had another meltdown, this time blowing a 6-2 lead and losing 8-6 to the Pirates. It was ugly. It's obviously the Achilles Heel of the team. Maybe they have a plan to fix it. I hope so. I don't really want to cover the particulars, it's a little too painful. For all the good this team is doing, these late-inning disasters, blowing chow in spectacular fashion, are hard to take!

Alex Wood goes tomorrow morning (10:05 Pacific) in the getaway game.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Friday, May 14, 2021

Cained

PIT 3  SF 2  (11)

Kevin Gausman gets the Matt Cain Award for a brilliant effort that results in a loss for the team. He held the Pirates scoreless through eight and was leading 1-0 in the 9th but was bedeviled by two bloopers from the first two batters. On came Jake McGee who gave up a grounder through the drawn-in infield and the game was tied. McGee struck out the next three and Tyler Rogers pitched a scoreless 10th. The Giants could only manage one run in the 11th and Caleb Baragar couldn't hold the 2-1 lead. The Pirates got two in the bottom half to even up the series.

If you like old school NL-style pitching duels the 2021 Giants are your team. In fact, the 2021 version of MLB is looking like 1968. Tonight there were a lot of clutch defensive plays by both teams and luck--both good and bad--played a big role. When games are close, anything can happen. The Giants lineup could not get it going against six Pittsburgh pitchers and it cost them a win. Kevin Gausman's final line: 8+ IP, 5 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 12 SO, 96 pitches to 29 batters.

Johnny Cueto tomorrow at 3:35 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

 

p.s. Baragar had only allowed one run (unearned) this season in his first 14 appearances (11 IP). He did not allow a run in his final 16 appearances last season (14-1/3 IP).

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Pitchers plank Pirates

SF 3  PIT 1

Anthony DeSclafani pitched a brisk five scoreless frames, allowing only one hit and one walk with five strikeouts. He was out of the game after throwing a mere 76 pitches to 17 batters as Gabe Kapler pinch-hit for him in the 6th. It was a bold move, but it was a good matchup with Darin Ruf against a lefty with two on. The Giants were up 3-0 and had a shot to break it open but Ruf grounded out. It didn't matter as Caleb Baragar and Zack Littell each pitched a scoreless inning in relief. In the 8th Camilo Doval gave up a solo shot for Pittsburgh's only run, and Tyler Rogers took the 9th and got an easy save.

The bullpen has had its ups and downs and it is interesting that Kap trusted his relievers in a close contest for four innings. They stepped up and sealed the win. The Giants grind out another close contest! They scored all of their runs in the 5th on a Steven Duggar homer and a two-run triple from Mike Yastrzemski. Buster Posey scored one of those runs and was on base three times (a hit and two walks).

Kevin Gausman goes tomorrow at 3:35 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

2nd inning: 11-7

1st inning: 11-7

2nd inning: 11-7

Raise your hand if you saw this coming. You did, right? You foresaw that the San Francisco Giants would be tied for the best record in baseball, didn't you?

NOT!

You did not. I did not. No one did.

But after 36 games, two full seasonal innings, the Giants are 22-14 (.611) and tied for the best record in baseball.

It's a beautiful thing, man. The Giants are playing well and playing especially well at home. They are 14-4 in San Francisco and 8-10 on the road. They go on the road for eight games starting tomorrow, four in Pittsburgh and four in Cincinnati. When they return home on the 21st they get their first showdown with the Dodgers.

I say bring 'em on!!

--M.C.

 

p.s. 18 games is 1/9 of the season (18 x 9 =162). So 18 games is one "seasonal inning" and 36 games is two innings, etc.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Posey, Slater ding Pads

SF 5  SD 4

The Giants parlayed four hits into five runs and edged the Padres tonight in San Francisco to take the first game of the three-game weekend set. Buster Posey got it started with a two-run bomb to right field in the 3rd off Blake Snell, and Evan Longoria drove in two with a bases-loaded single in the 5th. Snell walked six in 4-2/3 IP. Anthony DeSclafani ran into trouble in the 6th, yielding a two-run blast to Trent Grisham, and reliever Sam Selman was burned by a second two-run homer from Eric Hosmer in the same frame. But Austin Slater bopped a solo shot in the 7th (also to RF) to give the Giants the lead and they held on for a huge win. Tyler Rogers was dominant once again, shutting down the Padres on 14 pitches in the 8th. Jake McGee walked the first batter in the 9th, but struck out the final three hitters to record the save. It took 25 pitches, but he got the job done!

Willie Mays turned 90 today and the team conjured up a victory to celebrate the occasion. The Giants hang on to first place with their 19th win. I should note that Camilo Doval was impressive in a scoreless 7th, shutting down the heart of the order, and he was awarded the win. Mike Yastrzemski helped him out with a nice running catch.

Tomorrow and Sunday are both day games, start times 1:05 Pacific. Kevin Gausman and Johnny Cueto are slated to start.

Go Giants!

--M.C.


p.s. I'll be AFK  ("away from keyboard") for the next several days and won't be blogging. I'll be back some time next week.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Six-runned

COL 6  SF 5

For the second straight game the Giants gave up six runs in an inning. Today it was the 4th inning, not the 9th, but the results were the same. Jon Gray, the Rockies starter, is a good pitcher and he kept the Giants in check. They had a chance against the bullpen in the final three innings but could not quite get there. It seems only the home team gets miracle comebacks at Coors Field. A promising series in Colorado instead leaves a foul taste.

Ah well, it's a day off for the lads tomorrow before a home series with San Diego starting Friday. Let's hope home cookin' is still best. Buster Posey had two hits but left the game for reasons yet to be determined. Please, no more injuries. The Giants are banged up enough.

--M.C.


p.s. I posted the above yesterday. Today is the 6th which is Willie Mays' birthday. Happy Birthday, Willie! He turns 90. He was born in 1931, the same year both of my parents were born. My mom will be 90 in September. (Her favorite player was Ted Williams--sorry, Willie.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Ten spot

SF 12  COL 4 (7)

On June 29th, 1967 in St. Louis, the Giants scored 11 runs in the first inning. Nine of those were charged to Bob Gibson who exited without getting the third out. Bob Gibson! The Cardinals won the World Series that season. No one is going to confuse German Marquez for Bob Gibson, or the '67 champs for the '21 Rockies, but the Giants scored 10 runs in the first inning in Denver today. Marquez only lasted 2/3 of an inning, too.

Brandon Belt launched a no-doubter for a grand slam, and had an RBI single as well, giving him a 5-RBI inning. Let's just say there were lots of offensive highlights, but we do have to mention Buster Posey yanking one immediately following Belt's bomb, which is way cool. Buster had three hits and is now slashing .382/.440/.735 for an OPS of 1.175!

Is ten runs enough in Coors Field? Maybe. The Giants tacked on two more in the 6th with a two-run homer from Brandon Crawford, so apparently they weren't sure, either. Way to go, greybeards! Seriously, you never know in that accursed place, and I admit to some irrational worrying that the Giants would make a mess of things and blow the lead. That's because "Coors Field, man." Do I have to say more?

Aaron Sanchez gave up a grand slam of his own to Raimel Tapia, but that was it for the Rockies. They got all seven hits in the first four frames. The Giants bullpen--Jose Alvarez and Matt Wisler--split the final three innings, marred only by Alvarez' two walks. Wisler was awarded the win for completing the final 1-2/3. Obviously a starting pitcher has to go five innings in a nine-inning game to get a W, but don't you think it could be changed to four innings for a seven-inning game? (I don't really care, mind you, but it does raise the question.)

That's a great way to start a series, don't you think? Score ten runs first chance you get? Yeah, I like that. Let's see some more of that!

--M.C.

 

update: See? 10 runs is just enough! The Giants lose the second game 8-6 on a walkoff homer. Giants led 6-2 going into the bottom of the 7th but Jake McGee could only get two outs and got pulled after giving up three runs. Camilo Doval then induced a pop-up that shoulda-coulda been the third out but fell for a hit. Then the homer. The Giants wasted a lot of scoring opportunities earlier in the game. Brutal loss. A sweep would have been sweet.

p.s. Logan Webb tomorrow at 12:10 Pacific. Go Giants!

Monday, May 3, 2021

Opener in Denver rained out

The Giants and Rockies will play a doubleheader tomorrow (Tuesday) afternoon starting at 2:40 Pacific. Both games will be seven innings. Lefty Alex Wood is listed as the Game 1 starter--Aaron Sanchez was scheduled for today, the starter for Game 2 wasn't posted on the website.

--M.C.

 

UPDATE: looks like it is indeed Sanchez for Game 1 and Wood for Game 2. Tommy La Stella goes to the IL and Jason Vosler gets called back up.

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Gausman, Tauchman get it done

SF 7  SD 1

The Giants have relied on their starters so far this year and ace Kevin Gausman did not disappoint. He allowed a short-porch oppo-shot to Fernando Tatis, Jr. (who else?) in the 1st but that was it. He also got a hit and scored two runs! The Giants needed a stopper today and he delivered. His final line was 6 IP, 6H, 1 R, 1 W, and 6 K, throwing 97 pitches to 25 batters. The big blow was a three-run homer in the 3rd from FNG Mike Tauchman. He also drove in a run later on a bases-loaded walk. I should note he was robbed of extra bases in the 1st with a big play from RF Jurickson Profar. Tommy La Stella had two hits including a triple, two runs scored, and two RBI before leaving the game with an apparent injury. The Giants kept the pressure on, scoring two more in the 5th and another in the 9th to take the heat off the pitchers.

The bullpen has been a source of frustration for Giants fans so far this year but today they stepped up with three scoreless in relief of Gausman. Caleb Baragar was a strike-throwing beast last season but has struggled with command in the early going. He went 3-0 on the first batter he saw in the 7th but fought back to get a foul-out. He gave up a two-out infield single to Trent Grisham but then struck out Tatis. Tyler Rogers got two quick ground ball outs, gave up a single to Jake Cronenworth, but got Tommy Pham to ground out. In the 9th Camilo Doval struck out Profar (who'd homered off him last night) and Victor Caratini in succession, then induced a pop-up from Ha-Seong Kim to end it. Good show, lad!

The Giants played a good game when they needed to and avoided a sweep. They've split six games in San Diego so far and get their first chance at home against the Padres this coming weekend. Their 17-11 record keeps them in first place by a half game over the Dodgers.

Aaron Sanchez starts tomorrow night (5:40 Pacific) in Colorado.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

Giants strike out

SD 6  SF 2

The Giants played a good game for seven innings but a three-run outburst by the Padres in the 8th broke things open. Anthony DeSclafani gave up a three-run homer in the 1st, but followed with five scoreless, and left after six for a pinch-hitter. He looked really strong and had only thrown 76 pitches and would have managed at least another inning, maybe two, but the Giants, down 3-2, were desperate for runs at that point. Like last night they loaded the bases twice (in the 4th and 5th) but could not get the big hit. The Giants scored two in the 5th before loading the bases: one a leadoff homer by Mauricio Dubon, the other on an RBI single by Darin Ruf. He drove in DeSclafani who'd reached on an error. Like last night the two runs (both off starter Blake Snell) would be all they'd get.

Caleb Baragar and Zack Littell faced five batters in a scoreless 7th. In the 8th Camilo Doval gave up a leadoff homer and then put two on in between getting two outs. Jose Alvarez was summoned to face lefty Jake Cronenworth who singled home both runners. That was after a double steal--Alvarez did not seem prepared to deal with baserunners. San Diego is a base stealing team, they lead MLB in that category. The Padres bullpen was overpowering, striking out the side in the 7th and 8th. That's 28 strikeouts for Giants hitters in the two games.

Kevin Gausman goes tomorrow afternoon at 1:10 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Friday, April 30, 2021

Giants come up short

SD 3  SF 2

The Giants played a close, hard fought game tonight in San Diego but could not get the big hit and ultimately lost to the Padres. They were 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position. Darin Ruf just missed a pinch-hit grand slam in the 7th, and in the 8th they loaded the bases again but could only score one run. The Giants had the matchup they wanted--Evan Longoria against Drew Pomeranz--but he hit a double-play grounder on the first pitch. It was a game of agonizing near-misses. Logan Webb pitched well, kept the ball in the park, and deserved better. Buster Posey hit a homer off Yu Darvish in the 1st, but a poor play by Tommy La Stella in the bottom half let the tying run score with two outs. La Stella's fielding has not been stellar so far, and his bat is not making up for it. Let's hope he gets it going soon. The Padres rallied in the 6th for the two runs that ultimately decided the game. The Giants worked hard against Darvish but he got the big outs when he needed them.

Final line for Webb was 6 IP, 7H, 3R, 1 BB, 4 SO, with 26 BF on 96 pitches. Darvish (6-1/3 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 12 SO, 27 BF, 107 p) is one of the best in the league and Webb, subbing for Kevin Gausman, really stepped up and gave the team a chance against him. Call-ups Zack Littell and Sam Selman each threw a scoreless inning in relief. Brandon Crawford was hit by a Darvish pitch in the lower leg and was pulled in the 5th, let's hope he's back soon. The Giants finish the month of April 16-10, in first place in the NL West. With all the hype over the Dodgers-Padres matchups so far this season, it's worth noting the Giants-Padres games have had plenty of drama themselves. Here are the scores (SF-SD): 3-2, 1-3, 3-2, and tonight's 2-3.

Anthony DeSclafani goes tomorrow against Blake Snell, 5:40 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.


p.s. The Giants were 18-7 in April of 2003, the best start since they've occupied the new park. They were 16-11 in April of 2014, so 2021 looks pretty good!

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Wood, Doval sparkle in win

SF 7  COL 3

The Giants complete a 5-2 homestand by taking the rubber match against the Rockies. Alex Wood was perfect through four, gave up a walk in the 5th, and a two-out double in the 6th. In the 7th a leadoff walk and a bunch of dinkers put a run across and loaded the bases with no outs. The Giants were up 4-1 at the time and Kap summoned rookie Camilo Doval to snuff out the rally. He gave up a run on a double-play grounder, then walked a batter, then got a comebacker. It was a huge moment and the kid delivered. Wow! I'm not sure I would have thrown the youngster out there in that situation but they like Doval and they obviously have confidence in him. The Giants tacked on three in the bottom of the 7th to make it 7-2 and we all breathed easier. Caleb Baragar hadn't pitched in a week (how is that possible?) but survived a hit and a walk and some hard-hit balls, and Matt Wisler took the 9th. He gave up a run but finished the game with a strikeout and a pop-out.

Rockies pitchers threw 189 pitches. The Giants are really good at that--they make teams throw a lot of pitches. FNG Mike Tauchman had three hits. Wood's final line was 6+ IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 9 SO on 97 pitches--he's been great in all three starts. He did get thrown out on the bases, apparently trying to steal third base, but it didn't hurt the team. The last Giants pitcher thrown out trying to steal third base? Mike Krukow on April 23rd, 1985, in a complete game 2-1 win over Fernando Valenzuela and the Dodgers.

Off-day tomorrow and then off to San Diego for a real test against a high-powered team. It was supposed to be Kevin Gausman against Yu Darvish on Friday, but it looks like Gausman will be pushed back to Sunday as he's dealing with some groin issue. Logan Webb will get the start with Anthony DeScalfani going Saturday. Mike Yastrzemski goes to the 10-day IL.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Rockies walk, then bop

COL 7  SF 5 (10)

Aaron Sanchez walked two batters with two out in the 1st and both scored on a double. The Giants got a run back in the bottom half, tied the game in the 4th, and took a 3-2 lead in the 5th. Jose Alvarez, in relief of Sanchez, allowed the tying run in the 6th. Camilo Doval and Tyler Rogers each delivered a scoreless frame but Jake McGee gave up the go-ahead homer in the 9th to Garrett Hampson. Brandon Crawford then rescued the Giants in the bottom of the 9th with a splash hit off closer Daniel Bard. In the 10th Gregory Santos unfortunately gave up two homers and the 7-4 deficit was too much to overcome. An RBI hit by Buster Posey made it 7-5 but the Giants couldn't get any more and the Rockies had their first road win of 2021.

Sanchez was not sharp, walking five in his 4-2/3, and Alvarez walked C.J. Cron to start the 5th and he wound up scoring. In the 4th Mauricio Dubon ran through a stop sign at third base, trying to score with two outs, and bumped into Ron Wotus on his way to the plate. He was out by a mile, and it seemed he never saw Wotus or the stop sign. It was a weird play, and fit perfectly with the weird night. The Giants kept fighting back but could not get the job done. Bullpen woes continue. Santos has major-league stuff, but he has to learn that leaving any pitch in the heart of the zone against good hitters is not going to work!

The Giants worked a trade with the Yankees, sending lefty reliever Wandy Peralta (and a PTBNL) for lefty-hitting outfielder Mike Tauchman. I suspect they are worried about losing Mike Yastrzemski for an extended period. I thought they liked Peralta, but his performance has, like many of the Giants relievers, been inconsistent.

Alex Wood goes tonight, 6:45 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Monday, April 26, 2021

Party Time!

SF 12  COL 0

Anthony DeSclafani was superb tonight, and a start like that ought to be the story. But we do have to take a moment and give a nod to the hitters as they exploded for 12 runs to overwhelm Austin Gomber and the Rockies. Gomber is a good pitcher. He came to Colorado in the Nolan Arenado deal. The Giants, however, lit him up for four runs in the 1st and chased him in the 2nd when they added five more. What's cool is only the final two runs came via the homer, Buster Posey's two-run big fly in the 6th. In the 1st it was single, walk, single, double, single, groundout and in the 2nd it was single, single, groundout, double, strikeout, walk, walk, double. They added a run on a sacrifice fly in the 4th before Buster's blast.

We've all been waiting for the hitters to start hitting so it was a cathartic evening. And we've all been waiting for a lopsided win. All the previous games were decided by four runs or fewer! I'm still pinching myself. I actually relaxed during the broadcast.

But back to DeSclafani whose nickname, by the way, is "Disco." He was superb, as I mentioned. He breezed through eight innings on 85 pitches so it was only natural Kap would send him out for the 9th with a chance for a complete game and a shutout. He seized his moment: Garrett Hampson flew out to right (3 pitches), Josh Fuentes struck out (6 pitches), and Ryan McMahon struck out (6 pitches). It was a tremendous performance and he dominated from start to finish, retiring the last twelve batters. Final line was three hits and a walk, nine strikeouts, and ten groundball outs.

Who would have thought Anthony DeSclafani would be the Giants pitcher to get the first complete game of the season and the first shutout? Certainly not me. Like I said--party time!

Aaron Sanchez tomorrow night at 6:45 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

Webb leads the way

SF 4  MIA 3

The short-handed Giants continue to look feeble on offense, and the bullpen continues to be inconsistent, but the team pulled off another series win. Today young Logan Webb went a long way to establishing himself as a genuine major league starting pitcher. He has not pitched well overall but has shown flashes of ability that keep the brain trust interested. Today he not only threw seven scoreless innings, his two-run triple was the big blow of the game! Webb allowed three hits, three walks, and hit two batters, but struck out eight and induced three double play grounders. He threw 107 pitches to 26 batters. It was a big performance and the Giants needed every inning of it.

Up 4-0 in the 8th manager Gabe Kapler went with Matt Wisler who looked great striking out the first two guys. After an infield hit Jesus Aguilar hit another two-run homer. He's dinged closer Jake McGee, rookie Gregory Santos, and slider specialist Matt Wisler in successive games. Damn. Maybe, this time, it ain't the pitcher. The guy is just locked in right now. I've been giving the Giants credit for showing resilience and the ability to fight back. I have to give the Marlins credit for the same thing. All seven games were tough contests.

Tyler Rogers got the call in the 9th and he gave up, you guessed it, another infield hit. You thought I was going to say two-run homer, didn't you? A groundout and two singles later it was 4-3 and phenom Jazz Chisolm was at the plate. He grounded out and saved me from having a stroke. Rogers gets the save and the Giants get the series win. I don't know why they didn't go with McGee, but maybe they figured Rogers was less likely to allow a homer and would be more likely to keep the ball on the ground. The Marlins have shown they can hit the big fly in the big moments.

McGee and Rogers have both been used a hell of a lot. Maybe Kap was trying to give McGee more time on the bench. Rogers is more of the rubber-armed type, perhaps Kap & Co. feel they can lean on him more heavily. I don't know, it's all a fascinating exercise. I'm glad they are making the decisions and taking the heat for them. I only have to write about them. These days I'm more interested in what they actually chose to do rather than what I think they ought to do or what I think they should have done. I figure they know more than me and I enjoy going along for the ride and trying to understand how they think and how they solve the myriad of roster and game management problems a season presents.

These close games are really exhausting. I did not expect so many nail-biting finishes. But if that's the price I have to pay for a good ballclub, I'll take it.

The Rockies come to town for three. Anthony DeSclafani at 6:45 tomorrow night.

--M.C.


p.s. Jason Vosler got his first MLB hit today. Also, MadBum threw a seven-inning no-hitter against the Braves. Jonathan Sanchez, Matt Cain, Tim Lincecum, and Chris Heston all threw no-hitters while pitching for the Giants. Considering all the great performances by Bum in orange-and-black, it's kind of weird that he never threw a no-hitter. MadBum had a terrible year in 2020, and 2021 started horribly for him, but it looks like he's turning a corner.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Long balls sink Giants

MIA 5  SF 2

Kevin Gausman pitched his best game of the young season, going eight full innings and allowing only two hits and a walk while striking out eleven. Unfortunately the Marlins countered with an excellent start by Pablo Lopez and scoreless bullpen work from Anthony Bass and Dylan Floro. Gausman and the Giants were up 1-0 after six but a solo shot from Jon Berti tied it in the top of the 7th. He was done after eight having thrown 101 pitches, 72 for strikes. Rookie reliever Gregory Santos came in for the 9th and gave up the big hit, a two-run homer from Jesus Aguilar. Welcome to the big leagues, kid. That swung the game to the Marlins. Aguilar was the one who hit the homer in the 9th against Jake McGee last night. Wandy Peralta finished the frame but the four-run outburst put the Giants in a 5-1 hole. Mike Yastrzemski, 0-for-3 with three whiffs, hit a solo shot off closer Yimi Garcia in the bottom half but that was it.

Gausman delivered the goods tonight but a lack of offense and poor relief work wasted the superb effort. It's a tough loss--something the Giants have endured too many times already in these first few weeks! The flip side is that Gausman is doing everything the Giants hoped when they made him a Qualifying Offer. He's thrown 33-2/3 innings over his five starts with 19 hits, 10 walks, 8 runs, and 34 strikeouts. He has a 1-0 record and the team is 3-2 in those games.

It's a day game tomorrow with Logan Webb taking the hill at 1:05 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Friday, April 23, 2021

Wood dazzles in home debut

SF 5  MIA 3

The Giants made it two straight from the Marlins behind a superb start from lefty Alex Wood. He went seven full innings facing only 23 batters and allowing just one hit and one walk. The hit was a leadoff homer by Jazz Chisolm, Jr., but after that Wood dominated. I like that he works fast. He had seven strikeouts and nine groundouts. The Giants got a two-run homer from Mike Yastrzemski in the 3rd and held on to the 2-1 lead until a 3-run outburst in the 7th made it 5-1. Those insurance runs made the difference. Tyler Rogers pitched a clean 8th and Jake McGee struck out the first two in the 9th. Then Wilmer Flores, playing third base, made a poor throw on a grounder that Brandon Belt couldn't handle and the Marlins had a pulse. Jesus Aguilar hit a two-run homer to make it 5-3 but McGee struck out Garrett Cooper to end it.

It was a little weird there in the final moments but it was otherwise another good game by the orange-and-black. I should point out that Flores had two hits, an RBI, and a run scored, and has generally looked much better at third base this season. And I think it is interesting that Kapler stuck with both Rogers and McGee even with the four-run lead. Hey, when you have the chance to nail down a win, you take it. Worry about tomorrow, tomorrow. I can't really fault that mentality.

Buster Posey caught his 1000th game. That's a franchise record, apparently. Wes Westrum is the closest with 902 games. Wow, that's a hell of a milestone. Congratulations to Buster!

Kevin Gausman goes tomorrow, at little earlier in the evening at 6:05 PDT.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Another shutout!

SF 3  MIA 0

The Giants used five pitchers to blank the Marlins in the first game of the homestand. Aaron Sanchez allowed two hits and that's all the Florida lineup could muster. Leadoff hitter Jazz Chisolm roped a single to open the game and the next batter Miguel Rojas was hit by a pitch. But Jesus Aguilar hit a comebacker that turned into a double play and that was the only threat of the night. The Giants responded in the bottom half with a double by Mike Yastrzemski, a walk to Evan Longoria, a double by Darin Ruf to score Yaz, and a single by Curt Casali to drive in two more. That was it for the scoring.

Sanchez was pulled after five having thrown only 67 pitches. He appeared to be fine and was cruising along so I don't know why Kap had the quick hook. Maybe that was the plan all along. I thought they'd push him to save the bullpen but it all worked out. Sanchez wasn't throwing very hard, perhaps there was something off with him. He certainly got a lot of called strikes and ground balls and kept the Marlins off balance. 21-year old rookie Gregory Santos (who came to the Giants in the Eduardo Nunez trade in 2017) worked a perfect 6th with two strikeouts. Matt Wisler had a scoreless 7th and Tyler Rogers got three outs in the 8th on ten pitches. Jake McGee struck out the side in the 9th for the save.

It was a chilly night in San Francisco. Evan Longoria was taken out with a tight hamstring but the word from Kap after the game was "it's not too bad." Let's hope that's true as the team is a bit banged up. Once again the deep, versatile roster pays off. Ruf played LF and 1B, Mauricio Dubon played both SS and 2B, and Wilmer Flores handled both corners, 1B and 3B. The infield turned two DPs: Sanchez-La Stella-Flores (1-4-3) in the 1st and Flores-La Stella-Ruf (5-4-3) in the 7th. And Dubon handled all four chances at short cleanly.

I should note that Curt Casali has done an amazing job behind the plate. He's the FNG but got up to speed quickly this spring and has a good thing going with all the pitchers. He's caught all five shutouts!

Alex Wood tomorrow night, 6:45 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

1st inning: 11-7

PHI 6  SF 5

The Giants had a real shot to win today but this time the Phillies fought back in the late innings and avoided a series sweep. Anthony DeSclafani was not sharp early and left after four frames down 3-0. The Giants rallied for four in the 7th, down 4-1 at the time, but the 5-4 lead quickly evaporated on a Bryce Harper homer. He also got on and scored the game-winner in the 9th. Darin Ruf had a pinch-hit three run homer in that big 7th inning, that's the fifth pinch-homer by the club this year. Camilo Doval was victimized by the Harper blast but there's no shame in getting beat by one of the best hitters in the game. The outcome was disappointing but once again the Giants showed their ability to fight back. Overall it was a good road trip as they split the six games in Miami and Philadelphia.

The first 18 games marks 1/9 of the 162-game season. The Giants put up an 11-7 record in their first 2021 seasonal inning and find themselves in second place in the NL West, just ahead of the Padres. It's the team's best start since the 2013 season. That season unfortunately did not end well as the Giants finished 76-86 after going 18-34 in June and July. It does remind us, however, that anything can happen. But we also know how hard it is for teams to recover from poor play early so it is exciting that they've come out of the gate this year in a strong fashion.

The Giants are home tomorrow for seven games, four against the Marlins and three against the Rockies. They then have an off-day before heading to San Diego at the end of the month.

Aaron Sanchez gets the start tomorrow night at 6:45 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

 

p.s. It appears Donovan Solano will head to the IL as he pulled up lame running the bases. No roster moves have been announced yet.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

10 runs!

SF 10  PHI 7

The Giants blasted their way past the Phillies tonight, scoring six runs in the 8th inning and hanging on for another huge road win. I missed the game as I was out celebrating with friends, a rare occurrence these days. It was a splendid evening, made even more splendid when checking the Giants score and seeing the fabulous result. Buster Posey hit two homers, both off starter Zack Wheeler. Tommy La Stella hit one off the former Giants farmhand as well. The real damage was done off reliever Connor Brogdon, who surrendered two three-run bombs, one by Alex Dickerson and one by Wilmer Flores. You have to wonder why the Phils stuck with Brogdon for eight batters--maybe they were short-handed with the COVID situation.

No matter. The matchup tonight certainly favored Philadelphia, but the Giants were able to get to Wheeler and keep it close despite a poor start from Logan Webb.

"Our pitching has been incredible for us to this point," Dickerson said. "It was time for us to put the foot on the gas and really start producing." (ESPN recap)

Ain't that the truth!

Anthony DeSclafani gets the start in the getaway game tomorrow at 10:05 a.m. Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Win #10

SF 2  PHI 0

The Giants throw their second straight shutout, this time against a tenacious Phillies linuep, and win their tenth game of the season. Last year they didn't get their tenth win until their 26th game. The three seasons before that? I'm glad you asked. The 2019 Giants needed 24 games, the 2018 Giants needed 22 games, and the 2017 Giants needed 27 games to get to ten wins. This team notched its tenth win in its 16th game! They have now thrown four shutouts in those 16 games. If you like low-scoring baseball and nail-biting games then the Giants are your team.

Kevin Gausman had some command issues and the Phillies put pressure on him every inning but he still kept them off the board. He allowed six hits and four walks but got the big outs in the crucial spots. After 108 pitches to 28 batters he was done after six frames. Kapler was in a bit of a bind, being without Jake McGee and Tyler Rogers, so he called on struggling Matt Wisler for the 7th and the righty managed an effective 1-2-3. The Giants need Wisler and I'm happy to see him get good outcomes, especially against the meat of the lineup: Rhys Hoskins, Bryce Harper, and J.T. Realmuto. Rookie Camilo Doval got the call in the 8th and he also put up a zero despite yielding his first hit. Ballsy move from Kap to dip into the well two days in a row but the kid pulled it off. In the 9th Wandy Peralta took the hill and got the final three batters on 12 pitches. Peralta has had his ups and downs but he has some serious weapons and I think the Giants are going to keep asking him to get big outs late in games. That's his second save.

Giants hitters struck out 12 times, continuing their misery, and were 1-for-8 with RISP. Fortunately the one hit was a Brandon Belt two-run homer in the 3rd. It would be nice to see the Giants win some games by comfortable margins. But I'll take any kind of wins, really!

Logan Webb tomorrow at 4:05 PDT.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

 

p.s. Gabe Kapler, who managed for two seasons ('18-'19) in Philly before coming to SF, managed his 400th game tonight. His teams have a combined record of 200 wins and 200 losses. Phillies beat writer Matt Gelb tweeted that's the first time that's happened in ML history, that a manager has gone 200-200 in his first 400 games. Don't you just love weird baseball stats?

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Dandy debuts

SF 1  MIA 0

Alex Wood, in his Giants debut, was superb over five innings. Kap pinch-hit for him in the 6th with the Giants clinging to a 1-0 lead but Wilmer Flores flew out to end the inning. Wood had only thrown 61 pitches, 42 for strikes, but the opportunity to score some runs--the bases were loaded--was too big to ignore. "National League rules" force that sort of decision on the manager, obviously. Wood probably could have continued even though he's fresh off the IL, but I can't fault Kap's choice. Sometimes you have to go for it even if it potentially costs you somewhere else. The lineup was 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position on the day, continuing their season-long poor hitting.

The bullpen, however, stepped up. Four pitchers retired the next twelve batters and nailed down a terrific 1-0 bounce-back win. After last night's agony, it was a huge performance. Jose Alvarez pitched the 6th, getting three outs on 17 pitches. Rookie Camilo Doval made his major-league debut and blew away the opposition on only 11 pitches, getting two strikeouts. He has some seriously nasty stuff! It's exciting when young players get a chance in a big spot and come through. Caleb Baragar also used 11 pitches and got two whiffs in the 8th, and Tyler Rogers used 11 pitches to get the save in the 9th.

A lot of little things went right for the Giants today and they avoided the sweep. Miami, for some reason, is not a happy place for road trips. I'm sick of the damn Marlins and of course they are coming to San Francisco for four on Thursday. In the meantime we get to enjoy a dandy win.

Kevin Gausman gets the start in Philadelphia tomorrow at 4:05 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Oh, that hurt

MIA 7  SF 6

Giants lose a wild one in extras in Miami. It seemed like they had no chance early as Marlins starter Sandy Alcantara, the hardest thrower in the bigs, had a no-hitter through six. But that "third time through the lineup" penalty bit him hard in the 7th with Brandon Belt belting a leadoff homer. An Evan Longoria double, Brandon Crawford single, and Buster Posey HBP later and Alcantara was out of the game. The Giants, down 3-0, crept back to within a run. Pinch-hitter Austin Slater then jacked a home run off reliever Richard Bleier, scoring three to take the lead 5-3. That was Bleier's fourth homer allowed this year (7 IP).

Caleb Baragar ran into trouble but Tyler Rogers bailed him out with 1-2/3 of superb relief work. The 9th went to "lights-out" closer Jake McGee, and you had to like the Giants chances. Alas, McGee looked mortal and gave up the tying runs and was lucky it wasn't more. He had a chance to seal the win but could not get the third out, which happened to be Starling Marte, last night's hero. In the 10th a clutch two-out double from Belt gave the Giants a 6-5 lead, but Jarlin Garcia could not get it done. He also had a chance to seal the deal but a two-out double against the defense by Jorge Alfaro pushed the winning runs across.

The Giants finally got the bats going but the pitchers, all eight of them, gave up 15 hits, six walks, and also hit three batters. They wriggled out of a lot of messes but the sheer volume of baserunners did them in at the end. The Marlins were 5-for-17 with runners in scoring position. Seventeen. The Giants "only" had nine such chances (and got four hits). Shoulda-coulda-woulda, this one got away. One thing I've learned, the Giants are a resilient bunch. Tomorrow is a new day.

Alex Wood makes his first start of 2021 at 10:10 a.m. PDT.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

 

p.s. I'm concerned about Mauricio Dubon. He isn't hitting, but in that he has company. Unfortunately, he made a poor play in centerfield that led to a run, and on the bases he could not beat out a grounder that was bobbled. Those were "late-and-close" crunch-time moments and he should be able to deliver there. I hope he starts performing soon.

p.p.s. Kap "went for broke" with McGee and had used all his pinch-hitters by the 10th and Anthony DeSclafani got the call. He was asked to bunt with men on first and second and it looked like a good one but the Marlins catcher (Jorge Alfaro again) made a great play to get the runner at second. DeSclafani was unable to score on Belt's double after that. They probably would have taken a chance with a position player. Dubon followed with the grounder that he should have beat out. It was a wild one, like I said.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Starling Stars

MIA 4  SF 1

Marlins centerfielder Starling Marte broke open a pitchers' duel in the bottom of the 8th in Miami with a three-run homer off Wandy Peralta. Giants starter Anthony DeSclafani had another fine outing, six innings of four-hit, one-run ball, but was pulled for a pinch-hitter in the top of the 7th with the game tied 1-1. Tommy La Stella lined out to end that inning. The lineup didn't get much going, only five hits overall. Matt Wisler pitched a scoreless bottom of the 7th, and got the first out in the 8th before walking pinch-hitter Jesus Aguilar. That was the only walk allowed by the Giants. It turned out to be the winning run. Peralta came in and gave up a single to Corey Dickerson before Marte launched his bomb.

It's a shame to waste a good start. The hitters are not hitting. But I like what I've seen from the pitchers overall. Yes, sometimes guys will come in out of the 'pen and give up the ghost, but that happens to all of them. As long as it doesn't happen too many times! Like I said, the Giants have gotten some good pitching so far. Let's hope the lineup starts producing more consistently.

Aaron Sanchez tomorrow. Game time 3:10 PDT.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Giants shut out Reds

SF 3  CIN 0

Johnny Cueto had another excellent start this afternoon but after getting the first two outs in the 6th he gestured to the dugout that he had to leave the game. Giants were up 2-0 at that point. Caleb Baragar got the final out of the inning. Cueto's final line was 5-2/3 IP, 3 H, 0 BB, and 4 SO (20 batters, 68 pitches). It seems Johnny had a tight lat muscle and let's hope that he recovers quickly. He's pitched superbly so far this season and it would be a big blow to lose him. The Giants have an off-day tomorrow and then a 12-game stretch before the next off-day. Logan Webb, who pitched a scoreless 7th, might have to take Cueto's next turn.

Meanwhile the Giants lineup, befuddled at first by Reds starter Tyler Mahle, broke through in the bottom of the 5th with a single by Donovan Solano and a double by Austin Slater. Curt Casali pushed in a run on a fielder's choice but was later thrown out at home on Tommy La Stella's two-out single. No matter, the Giants created a third run on a couple of walks and a fluky bloop hit from Mauricio Dubon in the 8th. Tyler Rogers came on in the bottom half and walked the first guy but then coaxed a double-play grounder and an inning-ending grounder. Jake McGee was once again called on for the 9th and after a two-out hit from Joey Votto he whiffed Eugenio Suarez to end it.

The Giants reversed the result of Monday's loss and pulled off an impressive series win. Shutting down the high-flying Reds offense was quite a feat--Cincinnati's hitters scored nine runs total in the three-game set, having scored 66 in their previous nine games!

The team is playing good baseball and getting results: their 8-4 record is the fourth-best in MLB.

Anthony DeSclafani takes the hill in Miami on Friday at 4:10 p.m. PDT.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Giants outslug Reds

SF 7  CIN 6

It was a wild game in San Francisco tonight as the Giants overcame early deficits to edge a tough Cincinnati club. Everyone expected a pitchers duel with Kevin Gausman and Luis Castillo but the lineups weren't buying it. The Reds hit two two-run home runs off Gausman in the 1st, both by lefties (Joey Votto and Mike Moustakas). The Giants didn't like being shown up and responded with two two-run home runs of their own, both by lefties (Mike Yastrzemski and Brandon Crawford). Four big flies in the first inning! Eight runs!

The Reds got a two-out hit to make it 5-4 in the next inning but Gausman kept it together and threw four scoreless frames after that. The Giants clawed back in the bottom half of the 6th on Evan Longoria's fourth homer, a Buster Posey single, and an Austin Slater triple. Kap pinch-hit for Gausman with Darin Ruf but could not get the extra run and it was 6-5 going to the 7th. Wandy Peralta had a bad stretch (balk and wild pitch) sandwiched around some bad luck (two dink hits) and the Reds tied it up. Undaunted, the Giants put a couple of walks and a sacrifice fly together to conjure up a run and take a 7-6 lead, and that held up for a big win. Tyler Rogers struck out three in the 8th and Jake McGee struck out two in the 9th to finish it.

It was a breakout night for the bats, especially noteworthy against a tough starter like Castillo. They had eleven hits overall, five for extra-bases, with Tommy La Stella rapping out three from the leadoff spot. They also had four walks, two by Donovan Solano, his first two of the season.

Johnny Cueto gets the start in the rubber match, tomorrow afternoon at 12:45 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Monday, April 12, 2021

Two hits

CIN 3  SF 0

The Reds neatly tag-teamed the Giants tonight, with starter Wade Miley handcuffing the lineup for five frames, and reliever Tejay Antone following with a hitless 3-2/3 IP. Lucas Sims came in to get the last guy, but the 1-2 punch was enough for a TKO. Aaron Sanchez did a credible job, allowing a two-run homer to Jesse Winker in his five innings, and certainly would have continued if not being lifted for a pinch-hitter. Jarlin Garcia gave up a solo shot to Joey Votto in his 2-1/3, and Matt Wisler finished the 8th with two strikeouts. Jose Alvarez had a 1-2-3 9th. The pitchers kept it close but the hitters could not get anything going. Austin Slater had two walks, Buster Posey and Donovan Solano had a hit apiece.

Kevin Gausman goes tomorrow night, 6:45 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

Sweeeeep!!

SF 4  COL 0

That's three straight posts with exclamation points! The fans in San Francisco got another treat this afternoon as the Giants won their fourth straight, finishing the sweep of the Rockies with a team shutout. Anthony DeSclafani put together a second impressive start, recording the first six zeroes and once again notching two big strikeouts to end a threat in his final frame. He faced 25 batters (94 pitches), allowing six hits and a walk versus eight strikeouts, and showed a lot of calm determination with men on base, keeping them from scoring.

It was a good script for a win: score right away, get a good start, score some insurance runs late, and rely on the deep bullpen to finish it. Alex Dickerson hit a long homer to center with two out in the 1st, and Brandon Belt followed with a walk and--get this--a stolen base! He took everyone by surprise as the Rockies didn't make a play. Evan Longoria got a clutch hit to drive him in and make it 2-0 off German Marquez. Belt, looking rejuvenated, hit a solo shot in the 6th to pad the lead, and walked again in the 7th to keep a rally going. That gave Longo a second chance for a two-out RBI and he delivered.

Jose Alavarez got two outs but put two on in the 7th. Tyler Rogers loaded the bases with a walk but then got a comebacker for the final out. He went back for the 8th and retired the side. Wandy Peralta was called on for the 9th. He got two quick outs, then walked two, but got a grounder to end it. Reyes Moronta was placed on the 10-day IL and they didn't replace him, so it is good to see the bullpen depth emerging. It should be a strength of the team. Speaking of a team strength, is it too soon to hope it will be starting pitching?

Aaron Sanchez takes on the Reds tomorrow night, 6:45 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.


p.s. LaMonte Wade, Jr. was called in from the taxi squad to take Moronta's spot. He got two hits and a walk in his Giants debut. Jaylin Davis was moved to the 60-day IL and the Giants picked up a middle infielder, Thairo Estrada, to take the spot on the 40-man roster. Estrada is from Venezuela and was purchased from the Yankees. He's 25, right-handed, and has 121 PA in the big leagues.

Saturday, April 10, 2021

BCraw!

SF 4  COL 3

Brandon Crawford's two-run double was the big hit yesterday, and his three-run homer was the big hit today. It was a dramatic blast in the bottom of the 6th, turning a three-run deficit into a 4-3 lead. Starter Logan Webb struggled with command and gave up a lot of well-struck balls, but kept the game in check through four innings. In the 5th Ryan McMahon's two-out, two-run homer broke the 1-1 deadlock. Rockies starter Chi Chi Gonzalez put up a zero in the 5th but was replaced in the 6th after 80 pitches. It was the first start of the year for him. Lucky for the Giants lefty reliever Ben Bowden walked two guys and with one out Craw launched one into the arcade in right field. The lineup isn't exactly lighting it up these days so it is exciting to see one of the beloved old vets deliver the goods. Speaking of beloved old vets, Buster Posey threw out two baserunners trying to steal second base!

Four relievers each delivered a scorless frame: Caleb Baragar, Reyes Moronta, Tyler Rogers, and Jake McGee. Closer McGee has four saves in the team's five wins. Also noteworthy was FNG Tommy La Stella starting at second base and leading off: he had two hits, a walk, and a run scored. That's the kind of thing the team needs.

Anthony DeSclafani takes on German Marquez tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 Pacific. Don't you love all these day games?

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Johnny!

SF 3  COL 1

Johnny Cueto dazzled the fans at this afternoon's Home Opener, twirling 8-2/3 innings of 4-hit, 1-run ball, stifling the Rockies lineup and leading the team to a 3-1 victory. We all know he's a great showman and when the stuff is working he is hard to beat. The 7,390 fans in the ballpark had a grand time.

"I like to perform and pump up the crowd," Cueto said with a smile.

Yeah, we can tell!

Rockies starter Austin Gomber was equally impressive, matching zeroes through six until the Giants finally broke through in the 7th. He walked Wilmer Flores in the 2nd and gave up his only hit, a single from Buster Posey, in the 5th. Two walks undid him in the 7th, and reliever Tyler Kinley loaded the bases with another walk before Brandon Crawford's two-run double broke the deadlock. Brandon Belt singled off reliever Robert Stephenson in the 8th, and a walk to Flores and another hit by Posey loaded the bases. Alex Dickerson plated the third run with a single to finish the scoring. Those were the second and third bases-loaded opportunities the Giants lineup has created so far this season.

But the day belonged to Johnny. He cruised into the 9th and everyone was anticipating a shutout, but Chris Owings led off with a triple. Garret Hampson brought him home with a sacrifice fly, but everyone was still expecting a complete game. Ryan McMahon lined out, but Trevor Story singled, and that's when Gabe Kapler came to get his starter. The tying run was at the plate and Cueto had thrown 118 pitches at that point, so it was the right move. Jake McGee struck out Sam Hilliard to end it. Hilliard was in the game because Charlie Blackmon had been kicked out for arguing balls and strikes! Johnny was a shimmying fool today, using every hesitation move in his book, and you have to figure he sometimes faked out home plate umpire Ben May. Cueto got 25 called strikes as well, so you know he had the good stuff going.

The Giants have had a hard time scoring runs, something I did not expect, but the pitchers have been stingy allowing runs, something else I did not expect. If Johnny Cueto can regain some of his vintage form that would be a huge lift for the team. He kept the ball down today and threw strikes. It sounds so simple but it is obviously hard to do. I hope the back-to-back big performances by the number one and number two starters inspire the rest of the fellows in the rotation.

Logan Webb takes the hill tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 Pacific.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Giants get the getaway win

SF 3  SD 2 (10)

The Giants take two of three from the Padres and get their first series win of the young season!

Kevin Gausman out-pitched Blake Snell, going seven innings and giving up only one run on four hits. It was another excellent start. Kap pulled him after 96 pitches and trusted the 8th inning to Tyler Rogers. It worked for two outs and then Will Myers (who else?) hit the game-tying homer. This is a funny year. No one knows how the pitchers will respond to the full-season workload and teams are understandably cautious with their aces. All of their starters, in fact. I can't fault the decision to sit Gausman after a superb day's work. He'll be stretched out as the season goes on. At some point the relievers have to get the job done. Rogers made a mistake, a fat pitch up in the zone, and he paid for it. Jake McGee, who threw 25 pitches on Monday, delivered a 1-2-3 9th inning and the Giants stayed alive. I thought it was interesting that Kap used McGee there, in a tie game. Perhaps he sees some increased urgency with the new extra-inning rules, or maybe he just wants multiple guys to be able to close games.

Darin Ruf hit a two-run homer off Snell in his first at-bat in the 2nd to open the scoring. Ruf's job is to mash lefties and he has done so. The ball bounced out of the center fielder's glove and over the fence so it was nice to catch a break there. It should have been enough with Gausman dealing, but the Padres and Myers forced it into extras. The Giants, miraculously, pushed the automatic runner across in the 10th on a sacrifice fly from Donovan Sandoval.

Wandy Peralta was called on to get the save, and he got it done, stranding the automatic runner in the bottom of the 10th. Peralta got a big strikeout for the second out and has really started to emerge as a bullpen weapon. Kap seems to have a lot of confidence in him. It was his first career save.

The Giants played three pitchers' duels in San Diego and came away with two wins and finish the road trip 3-3. They've shown resilience since their opening day debacle. It was a massive win today!

Off-day tomorrow. The Home Opener is Friday at 1:35 Pacific against the Rockies. Johnny Cueto takes the hill. Both Saturday and Sunday are day games, 1:05 PDT start times.

Go Giants!

--M.C.

Pads shut down Giants

SD 3  SF 1 

Aaron Sanchez had an impressive debut when you consider he has not pitched in two years. He threw 74 pitches over five innings giving up six singles, three of them seeing-eye grounders, and just one run against a potent San Diego lineup. It's good news for Giants fans. First time through the rotation and all five starters have done a credible job, with no blow-ups or meltdowns. Let's hope that continues.

Padres starter Yu Darvish was his usual impressive self, striking out seven over six innings, allowing a solo shot to Brandon Crawford and two singles. The bullpen struck out four more over the final three hitless frames and the Giants went down meekly.

Matt Wisler gave up the game-winning homer to new Giants-killer Victor Caratini in the 7th. Wisler has faced 12 batters in 1-2/3 IP and given up five hits, two walks, and six runs. The converted starter has been an effective reliever the last few seasons but in four games for San Francisco he's been a mess. Let's hope they get that straightened out soon.

Giants hitters are trending downward. They have a .212/.272/.418 slash line. The ten home runs is the bright spot, but they aren't putting enough men on base to take advantage of the power as nine have been solo shots. And they have 51 whiffs vs. 13 walks. They have to get the bats going.

Gausman gets his second turn this afternoon at 1:10 facing Blake Snell.

Go Giants!

--M.C.