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!


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!


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!


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!


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.


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!


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!


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!


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!



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!


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!



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!


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!



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!


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!


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!


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!


Sunday, April 11, 2021


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!


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


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!


Friday, April 9, 2021


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!


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!


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!


Monday, April 5, 2021

Giants homer past Padres

SF 3  SD 2

The Giants hit three solo home runs--Darin Ruf in the 2nd, Evan Longoria in the 4th, and Mike Yastrzemski in the 7th--and that was just enough to beat the Padres tonight in San Diego. Yaz had been scratched from the starting lineup but pinch-hit for Caleb Baragar with the game tied and got the big blow. Presumably his hand injury was acting up. He was hit by a pitch in the last Cactus League game and had been struggling at the plate in the early going. It was a dramatic blast but the win tonight really belonged to the pitchers. The lineup had a couple of other chances to score but could not get a clutch RBI and thus the bullpen had to step up.

Anthony DeSclafani got through the first five innings, yielding four hits and three walks on 86 pitches (23 batters), and got pipped for one run in the 2nd on a two-out hit. He showed a lot of grit and determination in the 4th to stymie a rally and got two big strikeouts to end the 5th, shutting down another big chance for the Padres. After that it was Matt Wisler who gave up the tying run on a triple that probably should have been caught in right-center. Mauricio Dubon and Austin Slater miscommunicated and it cost the Giants a big run. Caleb Baragar finished the 6th, and Reyes Moronta got three ground ball outs in the 7th. Tyler Rogers had a clean 8th and Jake McGee pulled off the save in the 9th. He put two guys on with two outs and gave up a long fly ball but it stayed in the park and the Giants had a satisfying, if nail-biting, win.

The Padres lost their superstar shortstop, Fernando Tatis, on a weird play. He struck out in the 3rd and fell down after the swing, grabbing his left arm. He was replaced by former KBO star Ha-Seong Kim. Tatis is of course a big part of San Diego's future, let's hope he isn't seriously hurt.

Aaron Sanchez gets the ball tomorrow at 7:10 Pacific and faces Yu Darvish.

Go Giants!


Sunday, April 4, 2021


SEA 4  SF 0

Nothing but zeroes last night. Seattle starter Chris Flexen and his bullpen mates stymied the Giants hitting attack and the Mariners prevailed. Donovan Solano had two hits of course, but he also struck out twice, and that was the story as the lineup whiffed a total of 12 times. Logan Webb went 5-1/3 and allowed seven hits, three walks, and three runs on 97 pitches (25 batters). Reyes Moronta gave up the final run, a solo shot to the first batter, but otherwise was sharp, and both Matt Wisler and Jose Alvarez pitched well.

On to San Diego where Anthony DeSclafani gets the start Monday night, 7:10 Pacific.

Go Giants!


Saturday, April 3, 2021

Much Better

SF 6  SEA 3

The Giants played a good game for seven innings on Thursday and last night they played a good game for all nine innings and notched their first win of the 2021 season. Johnny Cueto labored into the 6th and kept the ball in the yard and the team in the game. His final line was 5-2/3 IP with 6 hits and 3 walks with 3 runs allowed but it took 107 pitches and 24 batters to get there. It wasn't pretty but it was effective (7 K, 2 DP) and the Giants fought back from their 3-1 deficit to tie it in the top of the 6th and take the lead for good in the 7th. Buster Posey jacked another homer for the team's first run and Evan Longoria knocked a two-run bomb to tie it and added the go-ahead RBI later. Donovan Solano got the big hit, a two-run double that sealed the deal.

Speaking of sealing the deal, Wandy Peralta was summoned with two outs and the bases empty after Kap pulled Cueto in the 6th and he sparkled. He retired the next four batters on 17 pitches with two whiffs and gave the team a big lift. Tyler Rogers scared us all in the 8th by walking the first hitter and going 3-1 on the next guy. Then he got a tricky grounder that Solano made a good play on, followed by a comebacker and a strikeout. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Jack McGee had an effortless 9th: 11 pitches, 9 strikes, two whiffs.

Logan Webb tonight, an hour earlier at 6:10 Pacific.

Go Giants!


Thursday, April 1, 2021

Craziness in Seattle

SEA 8  SF 7 (10)

The Giants combined a superb start from Kevin Gausman with a spectacular late-inning collapse to create a dramatic extra-inning opener in Seattle. Maybe "ugly" is a better word than "dramatic." Perhaps you might accept "weird." It looked like the Giants were cruising, up 6-1 in the 8th, but a whole bunch of bad stuff happened in the bottom half and it was suddenly 7-6 Mariners. Let's rewind a bit.

Kevin Gausman had a fine debut, shutting down the Mariners on two hits and one run over 6-2/3 innings. He had excellent command of his fastball and threw his splitter for strikes. He walked two and struck out six and induced a lot of weak contact. He threw 90 pitches to 24 batters.

The lineup delivered impressively as well, racking up ten hits (six for extra bases) and working four walks. Evan Longoria belted a solo homer off Seattle starter Marco Gonzalez in the 2nd, and Buster Posey added his own in the same frame. Wilmer Flores doubled home Donovan Solano in the 4th, Austin Slater popped a solo shot in the 5th, and Brandon Belt added an RBI single three batters later, driving in Solano. Flores scored an unearned run in the 8th after his second double and it was a five-run lead for the visitors.

Back to the horrid debacle. Matt Wisler opened the 8th with a walk. After two hits and a run scored he was out, and in came Jarlin Garcia. He made a mess of it with two more walks sandwiched around a strikeout. In came Tyler Rogers who gave up a double to the first man he faced and it was suddenly a 6-5 nail-biter. He then hit the next batter which loaded the bases. On the next play Brandon Belt made a throwing error on a ground ball that could have been an inning-ending DP. The Mariners, impossibly, had a 7-6 lead.

But, the Giants have a deep bench. Alex Dickerson, pinch-hitting for Slater, bopped a homer in the 9th to rescue the evening and make it 7-7. At least it gave us all hope. Jake McGee put up a zero but the Giants, despite the automatic runner in the top of the 10th, failed to break the tie. That gave the Mariners a shot against Jose Alvarez with their automatic runner and they pushed across the winner without swinging the bat. Alvarez walked the three batters he faced! Seven walks and a hit batsmen for the bullpen tonight, not to mention seven runs allowed. My goodness, that's as bad as it gets. I'm going to focus on the good stuff, like the start by Gausman and the strong attack by the hitters. Tomorrow is another day.

Johnny Cueto at 7:10 Pacific.

Go Giants!


Final roster


The taxi squad will consist of LHP Conner Menez, RHPs Trevor Gott and Nick Tropeano, C Chadwick Tromp, and OF LaMonte Wade, Jr. These players will be available for road trips and can be "called up" for action immediately if someone on the active roster is injured. It does not impact their contract status or count as an option.