One of the biggest questions for the Giants heading into the postseason was answered Saturday: Hunter Pence will remain a Giant.
There were two schools of thought regarding Pence’s future in San Francisco.
The first says it would be great to re-sign Pence … if the price was right.
The other school of thought was that the Giants had to re-sign Pence. They HAD to. They could not go into the offseason trying to replace their left fielder AND their right fielder.
The money really didn’t matter. The market would determine the money. Considering the options, the Giants had to re-sign Pence.
Ray Woodson on KNBR Friday night, I thought, correctly stated when he said the discussion would need to start at four years, $60 million.
So when the first reports said the deal the Giants and Pence agreed to was five years, I thought “OK, I guess it took five years to get the deal done now.”
Then the number came in: $90 million. Five years, $90 million. $18 million a year.
Wow. Just wow.
If you had asked me to project where Pence’s number would come in, I would not have come anywhere near five years, $90 million.
During his press conference Friday, Giants general manager Brian Sabaen must have used the word “budget” a dozen times.
He must have been talking about the budget AFTER giving Pence $90 million.
So the good news is Pence will return in 2014. That leaves one question mark in the starting lineup: left field.
But how much money is in the coffers to spend on a quality improvement for a left-fielder?
One possible solution is recent Cuba defector Jose Abreu. Abreu, 26, is a power-hitting, right-handed first baseman who will soon hit the international free-agent market.
The Giants are reportedly to be most interested in Abreu, among teams that include the Red Sox, Pirates, Orioles and maybe even the Mets.
Of course signing a first basemen means Brandon Belt would have to move to left field. It’s a move that Belt says his willing to make and he’s shown ability in brief stints in the outfield.
Another question the Pence deal brings is how does it impact the efforts to re-sign Tim Lincecum.
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Giants reported the Giants, having secured Pence, have moved their efforts to agreeing to a new deal with Lincecum.
If a deal can’t be reached before the start of the offseason, the Giants are expected to make a qualifying offer to Lincecum for one year, around $14 million, putting them in position for a compensatory first-round pick if he signs elsewhere.
It also decreases the chances of the Giants signing a free agent who has been offered a qualifying offer, which would cost the Giants’ first-round pick next June. The Giants likely will pick anywhere from No. 11 to 14.
If true, you can scratch Shin-Soo Choo, Jacob Ellsbury, Nelson Cruz and maybe even Ervin Santana from your wish list.
It’s September, so it’s time to look at prospects.
From Sept. 1 through the end of the regular seaso, any player on the 40-man roster is eligible to play in an official regular season game. Many young players make their Major League debuts in this way, as “September call-ups.”
The Giants in the past few seasons have not called up a ton of minor leaguers in September. But in the past few seasons, they’ve been in contention for the postseason.
Not this season, so it’s time to take a look at the youngsters. So we’ll start with players who are on the 40-man roster, but not on the current 25-man roster or on the DL
RHP Jake Dunning
Pitched well in his first stint in the majors, posting a 2.84 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in 19 innings before being sent down in late July. He’s gone 1-2 with 1.37 ERA in 46 innings at Fresno. He’ll surely get a call-up.
LHP Edwin Escobar
Escobar started the year at High-A San Jose, going 3-4 with 2.89 ERA and 1.138 WHIP in 16 games (14 starts). His numbers got better since his promotion to Double-A Richmond — 5-3, 2.59 ERA, 1.068 WHIP in nine starts. But at 21, and a starting pitching prospect, he’s likely not to get call this September.
RHP George Kontos
A key contributor in the bullpen in 2012, Kontos struggled with the big club in 2013, posting a 5.05 ERA and 1.49 WHIP in 46.1 innings. He’s pitched well at Fresno (3-1, 3.74 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 21.2 innings), so he’ll get a call.
LHP Dan Runzler
After losing most of the 2012 season to injury, Runzler was visibly upset when he was sent to minor-league in spring training. But things have not gone well at Triple-A for the lefty (5.79 ERA and 1.83 WHIP in 51.1 innings). But at 28 years old, it’s time for the Giants to see what they’ve got in Runzler as they make offseason roster decisions.
LHP Eric Surkamp
After losing the 2012 season to Tommy John surgery, necessity forced the Giants to call on Surkamp a little earlier than they should have. The result was an ugly start in July vs. the Reds. But he’s been very good in Triple-A (7-1, 2.54 ERA, 0.90 WHIP in 10 starts), and he’s been especially good since being sent back after his one ugly start in the bigs (5-1, 1.47 ERA in six starts). So he deserves another look with the Giants and could be asked to contend for starting spot in 2014.
SS Ehire Adrianza
A former top prospect, Adrianza built a reputation as a guy with big-league glove, minor-league bat. After hitting .240 for Double-A Richmond to start 2013, he was promoted midseason to Fresno more out of necessity. But since arriving for his first stint at Triple-A, he’s hit .311 with a .418 OBP in 39 games. He walks about as much as he strikes out. It might be a surprise, but maybe he’s worth a look.
IF Nick Noonan
Noonan earned a job with the big club out of spring training and opened the season well. But a lack of consistent playing time led to a drop-off (he’s hitting .209 for the season). A demotion to Fresno didn’t help the numbers (.245 in 42 games). But he’s shown some ability when given the chance to play, so the Giants may give him more ABs in September.
1B Angel Villalona
Villalona emerged from nearly three years out of the game because of legal problems. He hit .229 with 14 HR and 42 RBI in 73 games to High-A San Jose before getting moved up to Double-A Richmond, where he’s hit .236 with 7 HR, and 27 RBI in 46 games. He still needs to find his hitting stroke, so don’t expect him in San Francisco this September.
OF Francisco Peguero
Peguero was just up with the big club before being sent down to make room on the roster for Angel Pagan, who was activated from the DL on Friday. So we can expect to see Peguero back up when rosters expand.
OF Juan Perez
Perez was another player who showed brief flashes early in his call-up to majors. He’s continued to hit at Triple-A (.301 in 94 games) but his lack of patience at the plate (.333 OBP) nullifies one of his assests — his speed. His shown a good glove, and with Andres Torres done for the year, the Giants could use outfielders.
IF-OF Kensuke Tanaka
The Japanese League veteran held his own in his brief stint with the Giants (8 for 30, .267, in 15 games). He’s shown he can handle Triple-A pitching (.331 avg, .403 OBP) and he actually walks more than he strikes out (like the Giants could use that?). He’ll get another look in September.
PLAYERS NOT ON THE 40-MAN ROSTER
The Giants might not restrict a September call-up to players currently on the 40-man roster. They may want to take a look at others.
Right now, all 40 spots on the 40-man roster are spoken for. But the Giants could create a spot if they wanted to.
One easy to do that is to put infielder Tony Abreu on the 60-day disabled list. Abreu has been bothered with knee issues dating all the way back to spring training. He worked his way back into playing shape and earned a promotion to the big club in July. But knee issues resumed and he returned to the DL in late July. If the Giants determine that Abreu won’t be 100-percent healthy in September, they could put in him on the 60-day and open a roster spot.
With pitchers Matt Cain, Jeremy Affeldt and Chad Gaudin expected to return soon from the DL, the only other way to create a spot on the 40-man roster is to designated someone for assignment.
The prime candidate for MoreSplashHits is Barry Zito. We’ve seen enough of Zito over the past seven years, and we don’t need to see any more. If Cain is able to come off the DL next week, as expected, the Giants have plenty of starting pitching candidates with Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum, Ryan Vogelsong, Yusmeiro Petit, as well as youngsters Mike Kickham and Eric Surkamp.
I would rather see what Surkamp has to offer instead of Zito. Surkamp is a candidate to contend for a rotation spot in 2014. Zito is not.
BUT, Zito is slated to start Monday against the Padres at home. Let’s hope this is final send-off.
Here are candidates to get a call-up who are not on the 40-man roster.
RHP Heath Hembree
Hembree wowed the Giants during spring training 2012 as he became the “closer of the future.” But arm troubled sidelined him a bit in 2012, and he struggled early in 2013 for Triple-A Fresno. But he’s been pitching better of late, posting a 2.70 ERA with seven saves, eight strikeouts, one walk in 10 innings in August. He’ll need to be added to the 40-man roster this offseason, so the Giants might as well take a look now.
C Johnny Monell
Teams often like to call up a third catcher in September. And the idea of giving Buster Posey more time off in September seems like a good one. Monell, a 27-year-old, impressed the Giants with his power in spring training, but he needed to improve his defense. He’s worked on that at Fresno while he has continued to hit. He has 20 HRs, 63 RBI and batting .279 in 118 games for the Grizzlies.
OF Gary Brown
We throw this name in for the heck of it. Brown, a first-round pick in 2010, has been one of the Giants’ top rated prospects the past few years, but he has had a poor year at Triple-A this season. He’s hit .233 this season in a hitter-friendly league and has a team-high 132 strikeouts for Fresno. Not what you want to see from a guy you had hoped could be a leadoff candidate. Brown’s not ready. Another year in Triple-A would be good. No need to call up Brown now.
Another loss — a 4-2 setback to the Washington Nationals on Tuesday — has put the San Francisco Giants on an historic path.
A historic path of the worst kind.
The loss dropped the Giants to a .441 winning percentage on the season. That prorates to a record of 71-91 on the season. It would match the Giants’ worst season since going 71-91 in 2007, Barry Bonds’ final season with the Giants.
If the Giants lose 92 games this season, it would be their worst season since going 68-94 in 1996.
But when put into context of defending World Series champions, it gets really bad.
When it comes to follow-up seasons for World Series champions, the 1998 Florida Marlins set the gold standard with their 54-108 season. The Giants only need to win three more games to surpass that season.
After winning the 1997 championship, the Marlins traded away players like Kevin Brown, Al Leiter, Moises Alou, Devon White, Jeff Conine, Robb Nen, Ed Vosberg and Dennis Cook in the offseason. They would trade away Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Bobby Bonilla, Jim Eisenreich and Felix Heredia during the 1998 season.
In the Nen trade with the Giants, the Marlins received in return Mike Villano, Joe Fontenot, Mick Pageler. So it’s no wonder they lost 100-plus games in 1998.
By contrast, the Giants kept the bulk of their 2012 championship trophy together for 2013. So they won’t challenge the 1998 Marlins. But they are right on course for the second-worst record by a defending World Series champion.
Presently, that honor goes to the 1991 Cincinnati Reds, who went 74-88 (.457). To finish ahead of the Reds, the Giants only would have to go 23-21 the rest of the way. If the Giants finish 75-87, they would also surpass the third-worst mark by a defending champ, the .460 mark of the 1918 Chicago White Sox (57-67).
On more win would put them ahead of the 1932 St. Louis Cardinals. Another win and they slide past the 1986 Kansas City Royals and 1967 Baltimore Orioles.
In all, 15 defending World Series champions have failed to post a winning record in their encore season. For the Giants to avoid becoming the 16th team, they would have to finish the season 30-14.
The most likely scenario is somewhere in between. So here is the list of the worst records of defending World Series champions, along with (in parenthesis) the record the Giants would require in their final 44 games to surpass that mark.
- 1998 Florida Marlins 54-108 .333 (3-41)
- 1991 Cincinnati Reds 74-88 .457 (23-21)
- 1918 Chicago White Sox 57-67 .460 (23-21)
- 1932 St. Louis Cardinals 72-82 .468 (24-20)
- 1986 Kansas City Royals 76-86 .469 (25-19)
- 1967 Baltimore Orioles 76-85 .472 (25-19)
- 2003 Anaheim Angels 77-85 .475 (26-18)
- 1994 Toronto Blue Jays 55-60 .478 (26-18)
- 1989 Los Angeles Dodgers 77-83 .481 (27-17)
- 2007 St. Louis Cardinals 78-84 .481 (27-17)
- 1919 Boston Red Sox 66-71 .482 (27-17)
- 1961 Pittsburgh Pirates 75-79 .487 (27-17)
- 1983 St. Louis Cardinals 79-83 .488 (28-16)
- 1964 Los Angeles Dodgers 80-82 .494 (29-15)
- 1965 St. Louis Cardinals 80-81 .497 (29-15)
The San Francisco Giants officially listed their starter for Sunday’s game in Tampa Bay as “TBA.”
Sunday is Barry Zito’s turn in the rotation.
Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle tweeted: “Not a good sign for Zito. … Chances of Zito pitching that game … not good.”
Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea chimed in with: “We might have (seen) Barry Zito’s last start as a Giant.”
MoreSplashHits remains completely baffled as to why the Giants didn’t use Monday’s off-day (not to mention last Thursday’s) to skip Zito’s turn in the rotation.
Then they could have given Zito some time in the bullpen to work on his delivery, while Chad Gaudin, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner pitched in Philly and Tim Lincecum, Zito and Gaudin pitched in Tampa.
Instead, they said the ONE GUY who has been terrible on the road and make him the only pitcher to be slated for two starts on the six-game road trip.
Now, they find themselves looking for a replacement starter possibly on Sunday.
So what are the options?
Ryan Vogelsong: Vogey made his second rehab start after his long DL stint with a broken finger Tuesday in Richmond. That would put him on pace to pitch Sunday. But manager Bruce Bochy said Vogey will remain on his original rehab schedule, which is to pitch Sunday for Double-A Richmond. If all goes well, he will return to pitch for the Giants on Aug. 9 at home against the Orioles … in Zito’s spot in the rotation.
Guillermo Moscoso: The Giants acquired Moscoso from the Cubs a week ago just for this situation. Moscoso, 29, was 7-5 with 3.93 ERA in 17 starts for the Cubs’ Triple-A team in Iowa. He had a shaky debut for the Giants in relief of Zito on Tuesday. He gave up a single, intentional walk and hit batsmen before escaping without giving up a run in the fourth vs. the Phillies, set down the side in order in the fifth, then gave up another walk and a two-run homer in the sixth.
Eric Surkamp: Zito could develop some mysterious ailment that would prompt a trip to the DL — or he could be DFA’d — creating a roster spot for Surkamp. Surkamp struggled in his first big-league start since Tommy John surgery, giving up seven runs in 2.2 innings vs. the Reds on July 23. Surkamp was optioned to Fresno on July 24, meaning he needs to stay at Triple-A for 10 days. That period would expire Saturday, allowing the Giants to recall him to start on Sunday. In his first start back at Fresno, Surkamp gave up one run on three hits over seven innings on Tuesday, putting him right on pace for a Sunday start.
Pray for rain: Rain is the forecast Thursday in Philadelphia. The two teams will wait out for a window to play for as long as possible as Thursday’s game is the last scheduled in 2013 between the two teams. But if the game is postponed, then Cain starts Friday in Tampa, followed by Bumgarner and Lincecum. That would give the Giants the option of pitching Zito on Monday in San Francisco against the Brewers, where he’s had more success.
And so ushered in the Roger Kieschnick era.
Kieschnick singled in runs in his first two major league at-bats, finishing the night 2 for 5 and included a nice grab in left field as the Giants snapped a five-game skid with a 9-2 win at Philadelphia.
It’s been a long road to the majors for Kieschnick, a third-round pick in the 2008 draft that included Buster Posey (first round), Conor Gillaspie (sandwich pick), Brandon Crawford (fourth round) and Eric Surkamp (sixth round).
Injuries have stunted Kieschnick’s progress through the minors. After hitting .296 with 23 home runs and 110 RBI for Class A San Jose in 2009, he spent two injury-filled seasons with Double-A Richmond in 2010 and 2011. He was off to a solid start in 2012 with Triple-A Fresno and might have earned a call-up to the majors, but he injured his wrist while crashing into a wall while trying to run down a foul ball, effectively ending his season.
He was hitting .273 with 13 HRs and 56 RBI for Fresno this season before getting his first call-up on Monday. He made his debut on Wednesday.
Here’s how Kieschnick’s debut matched up with other MLB debuts for players on the current Giants’ roster who made their debut as a Giant.
- Sept. 11, 2009 vs. Dodgers — 0 for 1, 1K, entered game in eighth inning
- Sept. 25, 2009 vs. Cubs — 0 for 3, 2 K
- March 31, 2011 at Dodgers — 1 for 3, 1 BB, 1 K
- May 27, 2011 at Brewers — 1 for 3, 1BB, 1 HR, 4 RBI (grand slam)
- Aug. 14, 2008 at Astros — 0 for 3, 1 RBI, 1 SF
HECTOR SANCHEZ (currently on DL)
- July 15, 2011 at Padres — 0 for 0, 1 BB, entered game in ninth inning
- Sept. 10, 2011 vs. Dodgers — 0 for 2, 1BB.
- Sept. 6, 2011 at Padres — 1 for 3, 1 HR, 2 RBI
When news broke Tuesday that Brian Wilson had signed had signed with the hated Los Angeles Dodgers, Twitter blew up with a mix of reaction from San Francisco Giants fans that ranged from “thanks for the memories” to “burn in Hell, you traitor.”
MoreSplashHits is convinced that if Wilson had signed with any other team, the reaction from Giants fans would have been almost universal “Thanks, and good luck.” But the Dodgers?
We finally heard from Wilson on Wednesday via post on gossip site TMZ.com.
Oh, and on a side note, is it odd to anyone else that this is the second time in the last few months that TMZ has been lucky enough to “catch” Wilson strolling down a public street? I mean, if there’s any place Wilson with his trademark beard could bleed into anonimity, it’s on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood.
Anywho, in the video (which can be viewed above), Wilson said: “I don’t worry about rivalry, bro. I just want to play baseball. You know, if there are 30 teams out there and 29 teams don’t want me, what am I going to do, say I’m not going to play baseball?”
He continued: “I’ve got much love for San Francisco. We had a good time. But there’s nothing I can do. They don’t want me back, so it’s all good.”
We get it. If you’re a free agent, you can choose where you want to play. And the Dodgers are an attractive destination. They are a contender. Wilson lives in Malibu. And the Dodgers have deep pockets.
Just don’t expect to get Buster Hugs from Giants fans. For the record, the Dodgers play three more games in San Francisco this season: on Sept. 24, 25 and 26 (Games No. 157, 158 and 159 of the season).
Wilson had a public tit-for-tat with the Giants last offseason when negotiations between the two parties broke down because the Giants didn’t offer him a guaranteed contract and Wilson felt the Giants owed him more — even though the Giants paid him more than $8 million in 2012 for two appearances.
Why wouldn’t you expect a guy like that wouldn’t go running to the free-spending Dodgers?
Giants CEO Larry Baer thanked Wilson for his service with the Giants, and added that Wilson signing with the Dodgers “doesn’t mean he’ll never be a Giant again. People go and come back.”
I’m sure Baer was speaking in broader terms, as in Giants who leave the Giants, then return later.
But if you’re talking about San Francisco Giants who left to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers then returned to the Giants, we could only find one example of that.
Jose Vizcaino, who started his career as a Dodgers in 1989-90 before being traded to the Cubs, was traded from the Indians to the Giants after the 1996 season. After the 1997 season, Vizcaino signed with the Dodgers and played there for two-plus seasons. Six years after leaving LA, Vizcaino re-signed with the Giants for the 2006 season. He hit .210 in 136 games that season before being released in August.
What’s the price of one’s soul? Brian Wilson will soon find out.
The former Giants closer reached a minor-league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, USA Today reported on Tuesday.
Wilson has not pitched since undergoing Tommy John surgery in April 2012 after making just two appearances for the Giants in the 2012 season. Then he became grumpy when the Giants didn’t offer him a contract in the offseason for what would have cost the Giants more than $6 million.
Wilson vowed to be ready by spring training. But workouts last January showed that Wilson was still a long way off from being ready.
Then we lost sight of The Beard, until he showed up in San Francisco last week to throw for scouts that included the Giants.
But ultimately, Wilson, who lives in Malibu, decided to join Big Blue. Reports say Wilson could be called up to the big club in as soon as two weeks.
When that happens, Wilson will join a long and storied list of players who have played for the Giants and Dodgers.
But since Ned Colletti left the Giants to become the Dodgers general manager after the 2005 season, the outcome for players leaving the Giants and directly joining the Dodgers have not been good.
Played for Giants in 2005, signed by Dodgers as free agent before 2006 season
With the Dodgers
- 2006 — 8-7, 4.73 ERA, 112.1 IP in 44 games, 15 starts
- 2007 — 2-11, 5.80 ERA, 104 IP in 33 games, 15 starts
DFA’d on Aug. 24, 2007
Played for Giants in 2006, signed by Dodgers as free agent before 2007 season
With the Dodgers
- 2007 — 1-4, 6.31 ERA, 25.2 IP in 6 starts
- 2008 — Did not pitch, injured
- 2009 — 2-2, 5.60 ERA, 17.2 IP in 4 starts
Retired from baseball after 2009 season
Traded by Giants to Dodgers on Aug. 9, 2007
With the Dodgers
- 2007 — 0 HR, 3 RBI, .273 in 33 ABs in 30 games
- 2008 — 0 H, 5 RBI, .130 in 92 ABs in 98 games
Retired from baseball after 2008 season
Played with Giants in 2010, signed with Dodgers as free agent before 2011 season
With the Dodgers
- 2011 — 0 HR, 1 RBI, .000 in 34 games
Released after 2011 season
Played with Giants in 2010, signed with Dodgers as free agent before 2011 season
With the Dodgers
- 2011 — 4 HR, 28 RBI, .204
- 2012 — 2 HR, 17 RBI, .191
- 2013 — 5 HR, 30 RBI, .262
The Giants are not going to be contenders for a playoff spot in 2013. If that wasn’t clear last week, it became crystalized after being swept at home by the Cubs.
So in a week or so, the Giants went from potential buyers to potential sellers.
The news Monday that the Giants would be calling up first baseman Brett Pill and outfielder Roger Kieschnick from Triple-A Fresno to open the road trip Tuesday in Phil sent Giants fans into a Twitter.
There was no corresponding moves, but many speculated that a trade could be in the works, namely for Hunter Pence.
Given the Giants’ dismal state in the standing, dealing away Pence would seem to make sense. But there are reasons for hanging onto the right fielder.
If the Giants keep Pence, they can tender him a contract for 2014 and receive a draft pick as compensation if he signs elsewhere
Under new free agency rules, teams can offer their impending free agents the average of the top 125 average annual salaries in baseball for one year. Heading into 2014, that will likely be around $14 million. If the Giants make that qualifying offer to Pence, and he rejects it, they will receive a draft pick in return if he signs with another team.
But others may say that the Giants could get a prospect better than one that could be drafted No. 30-36 in next June’s draft. The draft pick the Giants would receive is a sandwich pick between the first and second rounds. Maybe. Maybe not. For those folks thinking the Giants could get a top-notch prospect (i.e. the Rangers’ Jurickson Profar), you’re dreaming. It won’t happen. Pence isn’t that kind of draw.
You’ll remember in 2011 when the Giants added Carlos Beltran for Zach Wheeler? Well, it wasn’t Beltran for Wheeler straight up. The Mets had to send the Giants $4 million to pay for most of the balance of Beltran’s remaining 2011 salary to make the Giants agree to send the Mets a prospect who was still two years away from making it to the majors. So what would the Giants have to pay to lure a quality prospect from another team in addition to Pence.
The Giants have said they want to re-sign Pence, and the best way to do that is not trading him
When was the last time a player was traded in July, then returned to the team that traded by signing as a free agent the following offseason? I can’t remember. I can tell you it doesn’t happen often.
But more than that, making the qualifying offer doesn’t just give the team a guarantee of some kind of compensation, it could give the team some kind of leverage.
You’ll remember Kyle Lohse and Michael Bourn last offseason. Both rejected qualifying offers and held out for long deals for big money during the free agent season. When teams decided they didn’t want pay big money for a player AND give up a draft pick, Lohse and Bourn lingered on the market. Eventually, they signed for much less than they originally sought.
If the Giants trade Pence, the team that acquires him cannot make him a qualifying offer. That means Pence hits the free agent market with less restrictions around him than if the Giants kept him and made the qualifying offer. That drives up his price in a market that appears very thin for outfielders.
Keeping Pence gives Giants exclusive negotiating rights for next three-plus months
The Giants have said they want to bring Pence back. Pence wants to return to San Francisco. Pence’s Facebook page “Team Pence” even linked to an SF Examiner.com post saying why the Giants should not trade the outfielder. Given the mutual interest, there is a good chance the Giants could agree to a deal with Pence BEFORE he hits the market — and potentially save the team some money to fill other needs.
The Giants will NEED a right fielder for 2014
Without Pence, the Giants will head into the offseason looking for a right fielder, a left fielder (unless they want to continue with the Blanco/somebody platoon) and will have a center fielder coming off a significant hamstring injury. Not only that, but they’ll likely be looking for a couple of starting pitchers and a reliever. That’s a ton of uncertainty. And, again, the potential 2014 free-agent class appears thin on outfielders. Shin-Soo Choo is the best option. And while we would prefer Choo over Pence, the price is likely to be higher.
The Giants still have two months of game tickets left to sell
The Giants boast of their consecutive sellout streak, and Pence has become a fan favorite with the Giants fans. The Giants still need a reason for fans to buy tickets for the remainder of 2013. Sending Pence away leaves the team with an outfield of Blanco, Francoeur, Torres, Kieschnick and maybe Peguero. Not all that exciting. Keeping Pence sends the message that the Giants are committed to being a contender in 2014.
Sometime between Travis Wood’s second-inning single and his fifth-inning home run in the Cubs’ 2-1 win over the Giants on Sunday, MoreSplashHits decided to do some research concerning how the Giants have fared against opposing pitchers.
It’s not good.
Wood’s home run was the fourth allowed by the Giants to opposing pitchers. No other team in the majors has allowed more than two (yeah, yeah, we know AL pitchers don’t usually face AL pitchers at the plate, but saying “majors” just sounded better than “NL.”)
Woods’ two hits on Sunday gave opposing pitchers 32 hits against Giants pitching this season. That’s tied for third-most in the NL, behind the Rockies (33) and Nationals (33).
And when you add in extra-base hits — the Giants have allowed 10 doubles (most in the NL) — it gives opposing pitchers 54 total bases against Giants pitching this season, the most in the NL in by LARGE margin. The Nationals (45) are next, followed by the Rockies (43).
Here’s the list (as of mid-afternoon Sunday)
HITS/2B/3B/HR (Total bases)
- Giants 32/10/0/4 (54)
- Nationals 33/9/0/1 (45)
- Rockies 33/7/0/1 (43)
- Diamondbacks 31/2/1/2 (41)
- Dodgers 28/1/1/2 (36)
- Mets 24/6/0/2 (36)
- Marlins 25/3/2/1 (33)
- Reds 23/6/0/1 (32)
- Brewers 30/2/0/0 (32)
- Padres 24/4/0/0 (28)
- Phillies 22/3/1/0 (27)
- Cubs 23/1/0/0 (24)
- Pirates 18/2/0/1 (23)
- Braves 18/1/1/0 (21)
- Cardinals 15/0/0/0 (15)
With the 2013 season quickly going nowhere, MoreSplashHits thought it was time to look to the future.
So we thought we’d take a quick look at how the top 20 players drafted by the Giants in the June draft were doing this season.
One thing to note — and I don’t know if this is a point of stress for the Giants (and if it is, good!) — but a lot of these young hitters appear to be showing signs of good patience at the plate
Second-round pick Ryder Jones has an OBP of almost .500. CF Johneshwy Fargas has an OBP of .417. SS Brett Kay has an OBP of .458.
These are small samples. And it also should be noted that almost three-quarters of the Giants’ rookie league roster is batting above .300. But it’s encouraging all the same.
Here are the numbers through Thursday (ages in parenthesis):
1 SS Christian Arroyo (18)
Arizona Rookie League — 20 G, 80 AB, 1 HR, 18 RBI, .300/.363/.463, 15 K, 9 BB
2 3B Ryder Jones (19)
Arizona Rookie League — 16 G, 57 AB, 1 HR, 9 RBI, .404/.493/.579, 10 K, 10 BB
3 RHP Chase Johnson (21)
Arizona Rookie League — 3 G, 5.1 IP, 0-0, 1.69 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 7 K, 1 BB
Short-A Salem-Keizer — 3 G, 3 GS, 14.0 IP, 1-1, 0.00, 0.64 WHIP, 13 K, 2 BB
4 1B Brian Ragira (21)
Arizona Rookie League — 15 G, 28 AB, 0 HR, 6 RBI, .357/.379/.464, 6 K, 1 BB
Short-A Salem-Keizer — 15 G, 54 AB, 1 HR, 7 RBI, .278/.409/.389, 16 K, 11 BB
5 RHP Daniel Slania (21)
Short-A Salem-Keizer — 1 G, 1 IP, 1 H
6 SS Brandon Bednar (21)
Arizona Rookie League — 1 G, 2 AB, 1 BB.
Short-A Salem-Keizer — 30 G, 118 AB, 3 HR, 22 RBI, .280/.344/.415, 19 K, 10 BB
7 RHP Nick Vander Tuig (21)
Arizona Rookie League — 1 GS, 1 IP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 K, 0 BB
8 LF Tyler Horan (22)
Arizona Rookie League — 13 G, 49 AB, 0 HR, 5 RBI, .245/.321/.388, 12 K, 6 BB
Short-A Salem-Keizer — 16 G, 61 AB, 0 HR, 5 RBI, .262/.333/.377
9 LHP Donald Snelten (21)
Arizona Rookie League — 7 G, 9.1 IP, 2-0, 0.96 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 12 K, 7 BB
10 RHP Tyler Rogers (22)
Arizona Rookie League — 6 G, 7.0 IP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 13 K, 3 BB
Short-A Salem-Keizer — 3 G, 4.1 IP, 1-0, 2.08 ERA, 1.85 WHIP, 5 K, 4 BB
11 CF Johneshwy Fargas (18)
Arizona Rookie League — 13 G, 31 AB, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .323/.417/.355, 3 K, 3 BB
12 C Tyler Ross (21)
Arizona Rookie League — 3 G, 11 AB, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .182/.308/.273, 1 K, 2 BB
Short-A Salem-Keizer — 10 G, 30 AB, 0 HR, 2 RBI, .300/.382/.467, 4 K, 4 BB
13 RHP Pat Young (21)
Arizona Rookie League — 2 G, 1 GS, 5.0 IP, 1-0, 3.60 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 5 K, 1 BB
Short-A Salem-Keizer — 1 G, 1 GS, 3.1 IP, 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.67 WHIP, 4 K, 0 BB
14 LHP Nick Jones (21)
Arizona Rookie League — 7 G, 5.2 IP, 0-0, 6.35 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 4 K, 4 BB
15 C Eugene Escalante (22)
Short-A Salem-Keizer — 25 G, 80 AB, 1 HR, 8 RBI, .300/.370/.388, 21 K, 6 BB
16 3B Jonah Arenada — UNSIGNED
17 C Rene Melendez (18)
Arizona Rookie League — 2 G, 1-for-6 batting
18 LHP Christian Jones (22)
Arizona Rookie League — 4 G, 5.1 IP, 0-0, 1.69 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 4 K, 2 BB
19 LHP Garrett Hughes (21) — UNSIGNED
20 SS Brett Kay (22)
Arizona Rookie League — 15 G, 41 AB, 1 HR, 9 RBI, .341/.453/.488
San Francisco Giants fans have been talking about rock-bottom for a month now.
Others said it was when they got no-hit by Homer Bailey.
And more said it was when they got shut down by Zach Wheeler on a day when Matt Cain didn’t pitch out of the first inning.
Well, for MoreSplashHits, it was Friday night.
It’s rock-bottom because no matter how many games the Giants lose from this point forward, they won’t matter a bit. Because Friday night is when the last of my hope of the Giants making something out of the 2013 season when right out the window, or more precisely, right between our legs.
From this point on, it would take a miracle for the Giants to make the postseason. And, yes Al Michaels, I do believe in miracles. But they just don’t happen all that often.
The Giants lost to the Cubs after blowing a 2-1 lead with two on and two out in the ninth when Anthony Rizzo hit a ball right at Brandon Belt at first and the Giants’ sure-handed first basemen let it go right between his legs, allowing the Cubs to score the tying and go-ahead runs for a 3-2 win.
On the same night, the Dodgers, Diamondbacks and Rockies — the three teams ahead of the Giants in the NL West — won. The Giants are now eight games out of first place and 10 games under .500. They have the worst record in the majors over the past two months.
And the win allowed the Cubs to have a better record than the Giants. Ponder that for a moment.
After I pondered that fact for a moment, I discovered it was a good thing. Because I’m not looking at 2013 anymore. I’m looking at 2014. Here are the standings I’m looking at.
- Astros 34-68 .333
- Marlins 39-62 .386
- White Sox 40-60 .400
- Brewers 42-60 .412
- Twins 43-56 .434
- Padres 46-58 .442
- Giants 46-56 .451
- Cubs 46-55 .455
- Mets 46-54 . 460
- Blue Jays 47-55 .461
- Angels 48-53 .475
The Giants have the seventh-worst record in all of Major League Baseball.
That’s not so important to just pick up the No. 7 pick in next June’s draft. But remember, if the Giants go after a free agent next offseason who has been tendered a qualifying offer, it won’t cost the Giants a first-round pick to sign that player if the Giants have a top-10 selection in the draft. It will cost them a second-round draft pick.
It’s very likely the Giants could be looking to fill four spots on their roster vacated by free agents: a right fielder (Hunter Pence), two starting pitchers (Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito) and a reliever (Javier Lopez).
While it doesn’t appear there will be more than about a half-dozen players who will actually receive qualifying offers this offseason — recent trades of Ricky Nolasco and Matt Garza make them ineligible to receive one, and one of those qualifying offers may be made to Pence if the Giants opt not to trade him — it still takes a least one hurdle out of the Giants’ way if they want to go after a player like Shin-Soo Choo, who we fill would make a nice fit in right field.
And when you start looking toward 2014, these tough losses won’t seem so tough.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Anquan Boldin talked to the media Friday at training camp … wearing a San Francisco Giants cap.
Uh oh. MoreSplashHits hopes he doesn’t get fined.
Actually, Boldin looked pretty good in a Giants cap (San Francisco Giants cap!). And wearing that sleeveless shirt, Boldin looks like he could hit a ball a loooooooong way.
Instead of asking Boldin how he is fitting in with the 49ers, maybe somebody should have asked him if he’d be interested in moonlighting as a baseball player.
He looks like he would make a great left fielder for the Giants.
At least we know he can CATCH THE BALL!!!!!!!!!!!
You ever see a player get into some kind of mischief on the field — throwing at a batter or charging the mound — and draw, say, a five-game suspension.
So, of course, he appeals the penalty.
And while he waits for his appeal to be heard, he plays on.
But then a couple of games go by and he tweaks his hamstring or rolls an ankle, causing him to miss a couple of games.
So the player decides to drop his appeal and start serving his suspension, using the five days to rest and recover from his injury.
Doesn’t that annoy you? How a player can manipulate the system to lessen the impact of his penalty.
It happens frequently. But this week it happened on the biggest stage, when Ryan Braun agreed to begin serving a 65-game suspension for unspecified violations of the MLB’s drug program.
MLB may think, after more than 21 months of pursuit, it finally got its man. But in reality, they let Braun wriggles himself off the hook.
Braun’s 2013 was been a walking pain. He was bothered by a neck problem for most of April and lingered into May. Then in late May, he was bothered by a thumb injury that eventually landed him on the DL for a month.
He returned from the DL and played in one game on July 9 before a trip on the bereavement list took him out of action through the All-Star break. When he returned, Braun declined to detail the nature of the “family medical emergency” that sent him home, only saying “This was one of those moments where I needed to be home with my family. Everybody is doing much better.”
After playing in three more games, his 2013 season was ended by the suspension.
To review, his 2013 season has been marred by injury, the inflamed nerve in his thumb was not completely healed even after his month-long stint on the DL and the Brewers’ season was going nowhere fast.
Sounds like a perfect time to cease his battle against MLB and take a 65-game suspension, and come back in 2014 and start fresh.
It seems to me that Braun beat MLB, again, just like he did in the spring of 2012 when he was suspended for testosterone use from a failed test during the 2011 playoffs that followed his MVP season. He appeals that penalty, and won … on a technicality.
He played it off as vindication.
Now who is vindicated?
Certainly not MLB. It had a chance to show it was serious about eradicating performance-enhancers by hitting one of the game’s biggest stars where it hurts.
But does this hurt?
Braun gets to go home, spend time with his family, heal his thumb that has been hurting him for more than a month, all while not hurting his team which was not a playoff-bound team with him in the lineup at less-than-100-percent.
Sure, there is the $4 million in salary that he will forfeit. But considering he’s due another $100 million-plus from the Brewers over the next seven seasons, what’s $4 million? Uncle Sam is going to take way more of Braun’s money as a normal course of business than what MLB will take by invoking a penalty.
But that is the penalty. And until MLB, and the players union, get serious about cleaning up the game and proposing some far more serious consequences to violators — and not allow players the right to plea bargain their way to a lesser penalty because it’s easy and convenient — MLB will again find itself allowing the cheaters to gain the upper hand.
The Cincinnati Reds have faced two San Francisco Giants pitchers who were called up from Triple-A Fresno this season.
The Reds lit both of them up for seven runs on nine hits in 2.2 innings.
The first was Mike Kickham on July 1 in Cincinnati. The second was Eric Surkamp on Tuesday’s first game of a doubleheader.
In fact, in four starts this season, starting pitchers called up from Fresno have given up 23 earned run 13 innings. That’s a 15.92 ERA.
If Kickham and Surkamp were the best two options at Fresno, and another — Chris Heston — was released by the club last weekend, we thought it might be time to take a look at the top-rated starting pitchers in the Giants’ system and see how they are doing this season. These ratings are set by MLB.com.
NO.1, RHP KYLE CRICK
Crick, 20, was rated as the Giants’ No. 1 prospect by MLB.com. He lost two months of this season to an oblique strain. But since returning from the DL, he’s been awesome, allowing 3 ER in 25 innings over five starts (1.08 ERA). He was selected to the Futures Game and Baseball America had him at No. 49 in their midseason rankings of prospects. For the season, he has 50 strikeouts in 34.2 innings, but walks are a concern (24 on the season). Don’t look for him contributing to the big club until 2015.
NO. 2 RHP CHRIS STRATTON
It was thought that Stratton may be able to contribute soon for the Giants after being the team’s No. 1 pick in the 2012 draft. But that doesn’t appear to be the case. Stratton, 22, is 7-3 with 3.66 ERA in low-A Augusta. He has 92 strikeouts and 32 walks in 91 innings for the Green Jackets. He’s been hot and cold. Twice in his last six starts he’s given up 11 hits in a start. But also in his last seven starts, he has twice throw seven shutout innings and two other times gone six innings with one earned run. So consistency appears to be the key.
NO. 3 RHP MARTIN AGOSTA
Agosta, the Giants’ second-round pick in 2012 out of St. Mary’s, is pitching very well at Augusta. He is 8-3 with a 2.03 ERA in 15 starts. He has 97 strikeouts against 34 walks in 79.2 innings. Over his last seven starts, he’s been even better — 5 ER in 39 innings (1.15 ERA). Perhaps a promotion could be in order.
NO. 4 LHP ERIC SURKAMP
Surkamp, a former top prospect for the Giants, had Tommy John surgery last July. He pitched well for Class A San Jose but he had a 4.79 ERA in four starts at Triple-A Fresno when he got the call to start Tuesday. Expect Surkamp to go back to Fresno to keep working. He might see him against in September and he could battle for a starting job next spring.
NO. 5 LHP EDWIN ESCOBAR
Acquired in a trade with the Rangers as an 17-year-old in April 2010, Escobar, now 21, has improved with age. He was an organization All-Star in 2012 after going 7-8 with 2.96 ERA for Augusta. He was promoted to high-A San Jose this season and went 3-4 with 2.89 ERA with 92 strikeouts and 17 walks over 74.2 IP. After being named California League pitcher of the week on July 8, he was promoted to Double-A Richmond. In three starts for the Squirrels, he is 1-2 with 4.32 ERA, but still throwing strikes — 17 Ks against 3 BB in 16.2 innings.
NO. 6 RHP CLAYTON BLACKBURN
Blackburn is a big kid at 6-3, 220. He was drafted in the 16th round out of high school in 2011. He went 8-4 with 2.54 ERA at Augusta in 2012 and is 5-4 with 4.26 ERA in 17 starts at San Jose. But the 20-year-old has a 1.147 WHIP with 107 strikeouts against 26 walks in 95 innings.
NO. 7 LHP MIKE KICKHAM
It’s been a bumpy 2013 for Kickham. After a slow start in April for Fresno, he put together a nice string of starts (1.72 ERA over six starts) that earned him a promotion when Ryan Vogelsong went on the DL. But a poor start against Oakland got him a trip back to Fresno where he had some very mixed results. When Chad Gaudin went on the DL, Kickham was called on again. He had an so-so start against the Dodgers before getting lit up by the Reds. The Giants kept him as a long reliever before sending him back to Fresno in the middle of July. He is 3-6 with 5.12 ERA in 15 starts in Fresno this season.
NO. 8 RHP JOAN GREGORIO
Gregorio is tall — 6-foot-7 — but not a lot of beef (180 pounds). He was signed as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican. He had a bumpy season in 2012 at shortseason Salem-Keizer (7-7, 5.54 ERA). Now 21, he is 6-2 with 3.12 ERA in 11 starts for Augusta with 73 strikeouts against 13 walks in 60.2 innings.
NO. 9 LHP ADALBERTO MEJIA
Signed out of the Dominican in 2010, Mejia, 20, is on a faster track than Gregorio. He was 10-7 with 3.97 ERA for Augusta in 2012 and now he’s 3-3 with 3.51 ERA in 10 starts for San Jose. He has 50 strikeouts against 15 walks in 51.1 innings.
NO. 10 LHP TY BLACH
Drafted in the fifth round of the 2012 draft out of Creighton, Blach, 22, has been impressive in his pro debut in 2013 for San Jose. He’s 10-3 with 2.59 ERA with 95 strikeouts and 11 walks in 100.2 innings. He has pitched at least five innings and not given up more than two runs in any of his last seven starts.
Johnny Vander Meer didn’t have to wait long to pop that champagne bottle in heaven.
There would be no repeat of Vander Meer’s back-to-back no-hitters when Tim Lincecum took the mound on Monday against the Reds.
It took six pitches before Shin-Soo Choo lined a double to left on a 3-2 pitch to open the game to record the game’s first hit against Lincecum.
And unfortunately for the Freak, there would be eight more hits by the Reds before Lincecum was lifted from the game in the fourth inning.
In the end, Lincecum got tagged for eight runs (all earned) on nine hits and one walk in 3 2/3 innings. He also gave up three homers, a far cry from the no-hitter he tossed in San Diego nine days before.
So he went from one of the best starts of his career to one of his worsts. It was the first time in his career that he got tagged for eight earned runs.
It was not his worst start, statistically speaking. That honor would go to his April 11 start of last season, when he got tagged for six earned runs in 2.1 innings in Colorado (a 23.48 ERA for that start). But Monday’s start (19.62 ERA) would rank as second-worst if you used ERA as the measuring stick.
And before you start thinking it, Monday’s outing was also not the worsrt ever pitched by a pitcher coming off a no-hitter.
I started research the 273 starts the followed no-hitters in baseball history (I excluded no-hitters thrown by combined pitching efforts), and I only had to go back to 2008 to find a start worse than Lincecum’s follow-up effort.
That belonged to Carlos Zambrano of the Cubs, who on Sept. 19, 2008 — five days after he no-hit the Astros — got tagged for eight runs on six hits and three walks over 1.2 innings against the Cardinals.
Philip Humber of the White Sox got tagged for nine runs in his starter after no-hitting the Mariners last season, but he did that over five innings.
I don’t know if Zambrano’s start is the worst following a no-hitter, but you’d be hard-pressed to find one worse than eight earned in 1.2 innings.
So now, naturally, come the questions of whether than 148 pitches Lincecum threw in his no-hit effort against the Padres played a role in Monday’s start.
Lincecum said no, and I tend to believe him.
“I mean, I felt just as normal as I have in recent starts,” Lincecum said. “So there’s no toll.”
If you’re looking for another culprit, you might look at the eight days off between the two starts.
Lincecum is a prisoner to his unusual mechanics. And we’ve seen him get out of whack repeatedly over the years. And that’s what happened Monday.
“I think just repeating, you know?” Lincecum said. “I wasn’t consistently hitting spots with my fastball so that meant I had to go to my secondary pitches. I think I just used them up a little too much early and let them see them a little too much.”
Also circumstance had a hand in the debacle as well.
Choo’s lead-off double looked like the kind of ball Giants fans had gotten used to see Gregor Blanco catch in left field. But he didn’t and it went for a double.
The Giants then didn’t pounce quickly enough on Derrick Robinson’s clear sacrifice attempt and the speedy Robinson beat it out for a single.
After Lincecum struck out Joey Votto, he got Brandon Phillips to tap back to the mound for the second out.
Then he got up 0-2 on Jay Bruce before, in a very Lincecum fashion, couldn’t put him away and walked him.
That was followed by a hit-me fastball to Todd Frazier, who hammered it over Andres Torres’ head for a bases-clearing double.
The 31-pitch first inning likely led to more trouble later in the game for Lincecum.
Lincecum gets the Cubs at home this weekend, and Giants fans can only hope to finds his mechanics again and gets a little help along the way.
The San Francisco Giants are 2-0 after the All-Star break.
We knew the series against the Diamondbacks was going to be big. And these two games had the feel of October baseball.
In fact, Saturday’s 4-3 win by the Giants over Arizona felt a lot like Game 5 of last October’s NL Division Series against the Reds.
Think about it.
Matt Cain gets the start, pitches well early, is given the lead, but can’t get through the sixth inning.
Jeremy Affeldt gets injured.
Buster Posey hits a big home run in the fifth inning to extend the Giants’ lead, and the homer represents the last of the Giants’ scoring.
The bullpen runs the gauntlet in the late innings, escaping jam after jam and hanging onto the lead.
Sergio Romo gives up a one run in the ninth, but locks down the victory.
CAIN’S START: After an ugly outing in St. Louis on June 1, Cain posted a 1.84 ERA over his next five starts, lowering his ERA from 5.45 to 4.29. Then he had two ugly starts vs. the Dodgers (2.1 IP, 8 ER) and Mets (0.2 IP, 3 ER) and his ERA was back at 5.06. Cain came out Saturday and threw up four zeros before getting charged for single earned runs in the fifth and sixth. He should have escaped with another zero in the fifth when he got Eric Chavez to hit a double-play ball to second. But shortstop Tony Abreu, playing in place of the mildly hurt Brandon Crawford, threw the throw to first away, allowing a run to score. At the time, the run was unearned, as it scored on an error. But when Cain followed with back-to-back walks, it turned the run into an earned run. But if Abreu makes the play he should have, no runs score. He opened the sixth by giving up back-to-back singles and exited with 102 pitches in five-plus innings. Again, the Abreu error in the fifth led to Cain throwing an extra 15-18 pitches in the fifth.
AFFELDT HURT: Last October in Cincinnati, Affeldt suffered a minor injury when he tried to avoid a foul ball in the dugout. Saturday’s injury was a bit more severe. Affeldt suffered a strain groin and is likely headed to the DL. It’s quite possible Affeldt may be out a month. Jean Machi likely will get recalled to fill Affeldt’s spot, but when does Dan Runzler get another shot in the bigs? He’s a lefty, even though the Giants have lefties Javier Lopez and Jose Mijares in the pen.
BUSTER’S BLAST: After Andres Torres singled with one out in the fifth, Buster Posey blasted a shot over the center-field wall for his 14th homer of the year. It gave the Giants a 4-1 lead.
BULLPEN STARTS, THEN PUTS OUT FIRES: After Cain got the hook with two on and no outs in the sixth, George Kontos gave up an RBI single to Martin Prado to make it 4-2, then got Cody Ross to line out to second for the first out. Affeldt was brought in for Kontos and got Cliff Pennington to fly out to Pence in Triple’s Alley. But then strained his groin on a 2-2 pitch to A.J. Pollock and Jose Mijares was called in. Mijares walked Pollock to load the bases, but struck out Adam Eaton to end the threat.
In the seventh, and Santiago Casilla pitching, Aaron Hill got a two-out walk followed by a single by Miguel Montero. So again, go-ahead run came to the plate. But Castilla got Martin Prado to ground out.
In the eight, Sandy Rosario came into pitch and gave up a lead-off single to Cody Ross that glanced off Rosario’s ring finger on his pitching hand (X-rays after the game were negative). After Rosario got Pennington to fly to center, Javier Lopez came in. Wil Nieves reached on an error by Crawford, again bringing the go-ahead run to the plate. But Eaton made the second out on a comebacker to Lopez and Gerardo Parra grounded to second to end the inning.
In the ninth, Sergio Romo came in and gave up an infield single to Paul Goldschmidt off Romo’s glove. Hill flied to center, and Montero grounded to first with Goldschmidt taking second. Prado hit a bloop single to right to score Goldschmidt, but Romo struck out Cody Ross to end the game.
Now, the Giants clinched the series win they needed to get. They are 4.5 game out of first place, four games behind the second-place Dodgers. A win tomorrow will get them at least within four games of the lead, maybe 3.5.
This is an opportunity with All-Star Madison Bumgarner on the mound. The Giants need to seize on these opportunities. And it would be nice if they could do without going too deep into the bullpen that used seven of eight pitchers in the pen on Saturday.
Chad Gaudin did it again on Friday.
Gaudin, the journeyman pitcher who joined his Xth team this spring when he signed with the Giants, turned in his best performance of the season when he limited the Diamondbacks to three hits and no walks or runs over seven innings in the Giants’ 2-0 win on Friday. He struck out eight, improved his record to 4-1 and lowered his ERA to 2.15.
He is 4-0 with 2.23 in seven starts since moving to the rotation in place of the injured Ryan Vogelsong.
Since coming off the DL after being hit in the arm with a line drive, Gaudin is 2-0 with 0.95 ERA over three starts.
Manager Bruce Bochy admitted that it would be hard to remove Gaudin from the rotation when Vogelsong returns from his stint on the DL next month.
So it left many Giants fans to wonder: Who goes to the pen when Vogey returns? Vogey? Gaudin? Tim Lincecum? Barry Zito?
Well, the answer may have come Saturday afternoon.
Ryan Vogelsong threw 40 pitches in the bullpen, then 35 more from the main mound at AT&T Park to coaches Shawon Dunston and Roberto Kelly as well as outfielder Gregor Blanco.
“I came out of it healthy,” he told the San Jose Mercury News. “I took out of it what I needed to. The hand feels good, the arm feels good.”
Barring any setback, Vogelsong’s next step to pitch in an Arizona Rookie League game next week, then a start with Class A San Jose and another with Double-A Richmond. The “soft” return date to the Giants is Aug. 9.
August 9, eh? Hmmm. That could be very telling. Take a look at how the Giants’ rotation sets up between now and then.
- July 20 vs. Diamondbacks (Cain)
- July 21 vs. Diamondbacks (Bumgarner)
- July 22 vs. Reds (Lincecum)
- Jul 23 DH vs. Reds (Zito and TBD – either Yusmeiro Pettit, Mike Kickham or Eric Surkamp; Pettit seems longshot as it would require opening a spot on the 40-man roster).
- July 24 vs. Reds (Gaudin)
- July 26 vs. Cubs (Cain)
- July 27 vs. Cubs (Bumgarner)
- July 28 vs. Cubs (Lincecum)
Now, the Giants have two upcoming days off — July 25 and July 29. If they stay on turn, Zito would pitch on July 30 in Philadelphia to open a six-game road trip. It would also mean Zito would pitch twice on that road trip.
Considering Zito has been so dreadful on the road — he is 0-6 with 9.89 ERA on the road compared to 4-1 with a 2.45 ERA at home — it would wise to use those off days to skip Zito’s turn in the rotation, limiting him to one start on the road trip. Then the rotation would look like this:
- July 30 at Philadelphia (Gaudin)
- July 31 at Philadelphia (Cain)
- Aug. 1 at Philadelphia (Bumgarner)
- Aug. 2 at Tampa Bay (Lincecum)
- Aug. 3 at Tampa Bay (Zito)
- Aug. 4 at Tampa Bay (Gaudin)
- Aug. 5 vs. Milwaukee (Cain)
- Aug. 6 vs. Milwaukee (Bumgarner)
- Aug. 7 vs. Milwaukee (Lincecum)
That would mean that Zito’s next turn in the rotation would fall on August 8, at home vs. the Brewers. Vogelsong’s soft return date is Aug. 9. That means Vogelsong’s soft return date would plot him right between Zito and Gaudin in the rotation, meaning either could easily be bumped.
Or the Giants could even tinker with a six-man rotation, in which Zito gets skipped on the road.
The San Francisco Giants went into the All-Star break with a 43-51 record, their worst mark at the break in five years.
On Friday, the second half of the season begins with a key series against the first-place Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Diamondbacks went into the break with a 50-45 mark. If all of the NL West teams duplicate their first half performances, the Diamondbacks would win the division title with an 85-77 record.
But MoreSplashHits believes it will take at least 88 wins to take the division crown this year. That means the Giants would have to finish the season 45-23 over the final 68 games to reach that 88-win mark.
It’s a daunting task for a team eight games under .500. But not impossible.
It’s only four games better than how the Giants finished over their final 68 games in 2012, when they posted a 41-27 record.
But if the Giants hope to win 22 more games than they will lose over the last 2.5 months of the season, they need to start winning now.
Taking 3 of 4 from the Padres prior to the break is a start. It needs to keep going this weekend at home against the Diamondbacks. The Giants have won 6 of 9 vs. Arizona this year.
If the Giants take 2 of 3 from Arizona, they will be 5.5 games out of first place and still in the mix. If they lose 2 of 3, they will fall 7.5 games back and on the verge of being out of the mix.
If the Giants get swept by Arizona, they will fall 9.5 games and it might be time to start thinking about 2014.
However, if the Giants were to sweep Arizona, they’d be 3.5 games behind Arizona, and the race is on.
The Giants come out of the break with 10 consecutive games at AT&T Park (although they’ll be the “road” team in one of those games against the Reds as part of a makeup from a rained-out game in Cincinnati earlier this month).
Realistically, the Giants need to go at least 6-4 over those 10 games to stay viable in the NL West race. The goal should really be more like 7-3.
August’s schedule is brutal, with series against the Rays, Orioles, Red Sox, Nationals and Pirates. So the winning needs to start in July.
Following through on a pledge he made Friday, San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy selected closer Sergio Romo as an injury replacement to the National League All-Star roster on Sunday.
Pirates pitcher Jeff Locke and Nationals pitcher Jordan Zimmermann announced that they would not participate in Tuesday’s game in New York because of minor injuries.
Bochy replaced Locke and Zimmermann with Romo and Pirates reliever Mark Melancon.
That give the Giants four players on the All-Star roster with Romo joining reserves Buster Posey, Marco Scutaro and Madison Bumgarner.
Bochy will need to make at least two more replacement selections. Cardinals pitcher Adam Wainwright is scheduled to start Sunday night’s game against the Cubs, making him ineligible to play in the All-Star game. However, Bochy cannot announce a replacement for Wainwright until he actually throw a pitch in the game, which doesn’t start until 5 p.m. Pacific Time. I would expect Bochy to turn another Cardinal to replace Wainwright. That’s what he did with Locke.
Two possible Redbird options are starting pitcher Shelby Miller or reliever Edward Mujica.
Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman, who on Thursday won the All-Star Final Vote as the final addition to the roster, suffered a jammed thumb on Saturday and will not play Tuesday.
Freeman beat out the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig, Giants’ Hunter Pence, Nationals’ Ian Desmond and Dodgers’ Adrian Gonzalez in fan voting, in that order.
Considering Puig, the runner-up in fan voting, has been sidelined this weekend by a sore shoulder, Bochy may select Pence as a replacement for Freeman. Pence finished third in Final Vote voting.
However, San Jose Mercury’s Alex Pavlovic reported that Bochy is leaning to a third catcher to replace Freeman. If that’s the case, the Rockies’ Wilin Rosario would be at the top of the list.
Tim Lincecum has accomplished a lot in his seven-year career with the San Francisco Giants.
He’s a two-time Cy Young Award winner, a four-time All-Star. He was the NL All-Star starter in 2009. He was the Giants’ opening day starter 2009-2012. He started Game 1 of the 2010 NLDS, NLCS and World Series. He pitched the Giants to victory in the clinching game of the 2010 World Series. He’s a two-time World Champion.
But one thing he hadn’t accomplished was pitch a no-hitter.
So I understand how many Giants fans watching the last few innings of Saturday’s win over the Padres with nervous trepidation.
However, I wasn’t one of them. I wasn’t nervous because I just didn’t think he could throw a no-hitter.
Prior to Saturday, Lincecum had just five shutouts in his career and only eight complete games. None since 2011.
So as Lincecum piled up the strikeouts Saturday, his pitch count continue to rise to more than 100 by the end of the sixth inning. At the pace he was on, it would take 153 pitches to complete nine innings of work. And as he had never thrown more than 142 pitches in a game in his career, it seemed as if time was not on his side.
But he found a way. There’s something about July nights, the San Diego Padres, an unlikely pitcher that lead to no-hitters.
You’ll remember when Jonathan Sanchez threw his no-hitter in July of 2009, he had just returned from being demoted to the bullpen when he no-hit the Padres.
Lincecum got 13 of his 27 outs on Saturday by strikeout, most on swing-and-misses. Here are his blemishes on the night
- A two-out walk to Chase Headley in the first innning
- He hit Jed Gyroko with a pitch with one out in the second
- A one-out walk to Everth Cabrera in the sixth
- A two-out walk of Headley in the sixth
- A two-out walk to Cabrera in the eighth
Of balls put in play, there were three scary plays
With Cabrera and Headley on base with two out in the sixth, Carlos Quentin hit a hard liner right at shortstop Brandon Crawford
Jesus Guzman hit a bouncer behind the bag at third that Pablo Sandoval gloved and make a strong throw to first for the out to end the seventh.
Alexi Amarista hit a sinking liner to right that Hunter Pence made a diving, rolling grab to end the eighth.
The left the ninth, during which Lincecum struck out Headley and got Quentin and Yonder Alonso to fly out to Gregor Blanco to set off the celebration.
It was a stirring, 148-pitch gem from Lincecum during a time when the Giants needed a spark the most.
What other surprises does Lincecum have in store for Giants fans during the second half of 2013
The Giants were busy making moves on Saturday, activated reliever Santiago Casilla from the disabled list and promoting outfielder Jeff Franceour from Triple-A Fresno.
The Giants sent infielder Nick Noonan and reliever Jean Machi to Fresno to make room for Casilla and Francoeur.
But in order to activate Francoeur, the Giants needed to create room on their 40-man roster. They did that by designating pitcher Chris Heston for assignment.
The move was surprising because Heston came into spring training as the No. 1 option in the farm system should one of the Giants’ five starting pitchers get injured.
Heston was drafted in the 12th round by the Giants in the 2009 draft out of East Carolina University. This season was his fifth in the Giants’ organization, and he seemed to be getting better as he moved through the system.
- 2009, he was 1-5 with 4.11 and 1.143 WHIP for the Giants Arizona Rookie League team
- 2010, he was 5-13 with 3.75 ERA and 1.305 WHIP for Class A Augusta
- 2011, he was 12-4 with 3.16 ERA and 1.219 WHIP for Class A San Jose
- 2012, he was 7-6 with 2.24 ERA and 1.103 WHIP for Double-A Richmond.
He was a Giants organization All-Star in 2011 and 2012. He was the Eastern League pitcher of the year in 2012, beating out, among others, former Giants prospect Zach Wheeler.
Last November, he was added to the Giants’ 40-man roster to protected from the Rule 5 draft, along with Noonan, outfielder Juan Perez and pitchers Edwin Escobar and Jake Dunning.
But then things went poorly for Heston. He went 0-1 with 9.28 ERA and 1.69 WHIP in four outings during spring training. For Triple-A Fresno, he was 7-6 with 5.80 ERA and 1.610 WHIP.
Even though PCL hitters were hitting .301 against Heston, the decision to DFA him seemed odd for a team so lean on starting pitching in the system. Both CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly and The Chronicle Henry Schulman speculated the Giants may be looking to trade Heston. They have 10 days to trade, release or put Heston on waivers.
Here’s a breakdown on the other players on the Giants’ 40-man roster who have not appeared in a game with the Giants in 2013.
P Edwin Escobar – Signed as an international free agent from Venezuela at age 17, Escobar, 21, is in his fifth year in the organization. A reliever, Escobar is 3-4 with 2.89 ERA, 92 strikeouts, 17 walks, 1.138 WHIP in 74.2 innings for Class A San Jose.
P Dan Runzler – Runzler, 28, was a ninth-round draft pick in 2007 by the Giants. He made his big-league debut in 2009 and he’s believed to be the only player in Giants’ history to pitch for the big club after pitching for four different levels of the minor leagues. After going 3-0 with 3.03 ERA for the Giants in 2010, his career got derailed a bit by injuries. He worked himself by into shape and was thought to be a leading contender to make the club out of spring training this season, but was optioned instead to Triple-A Fresno, where his has gone 3-3 with 5.08 ERA in 39 innings. But he is left-handed.
P Hunter Strickland – A career minor leaguer, Strickland, 24, was claimed off waivers from the Pirates prior to the start of the 2013 season, added to the 40-man roster, and optioned to Class A San Jose. Strickland has never pitched above Double-A in six minor-league seasons. He’s been very good at San Jose this season, going 1-0 with nine saves, a 0.86 ERA and 0.714 WHIP in 21 innings.
P Eric Surkamp – The former sixth-round pick in 2008, Surkamp was the Giants’ top-rated pitcher in the system in 2011 after they dealt Zach Wheeler to the Mets. Surkamp was promoted from Double-A Richmond and went 2-2 with 5.74 ERA in six starts for the Giants at the tail end of the 2011 season. But he developed elbow problems and required Tommy John surgery last season. During his rehab this year, he made five starts for Class A San Jose, going 0-0 with a 2.93 ERA. After being optioned to Triple-A Fresno, he is 2-0 with 2.81 ERA in three starts. He could be an option to start for the Giants in August.
IF Ehire Adrianza – Adrianza has the reputation as having a great glove, but lacks offense. His best offensive season was 2011 when he hit .273 with .352 OBP between low-A Augusta and high-A San Jose. He hit .220 for Double-A Richmond in 2012 and was hitting .242 with .334 OBP for Richmond in 2013 before getting promoted to Triple-A Fresno last week.
OF Roger Kieschnick – The left-handed hitting Kieschnick looked to be headed to the big leagues last season when he hit .306 with 15 HRs and 40 RBI in 55 games for Triple-A Fresno. But he injured his shoulder running into the outfield wall, which effectively ended his season. In 2013, he hasn’t been the same, hitting .265 with 11 HR and 51 RBI in 90 games.
Bruce Bochy said that the the no-hit loss to Homer Bailey was rock bottom for the Giants.
Others may say it went a little farther down on Wednesday.
The Giants were shut down by an ex-prospect as Zach Wheeler limited his former team to one run on three hits over seven innings as the Mets completed a three-game sweep of the Giants with a 7-2 win.
Wheeler came into Wednesday’s game scuffling a bit, sporting a 4.29 ERA in his first four big-league starts. But that was no concern against the Giants. Why?
Because young pitchers have owned the Giants in 2013.
Wednesday’s game was the 13th time this season a young pitcher has started a game against the Giants for the first time in his career. In each of these games, the Giants had never faced this young pitcher (in a regular-season game). And we consider a “young pitcher” as entering the season with less than one full year of MLB service time.
Care to guess what the Giants’ win-loss record is in those 13 games? The Giants are 5-8 in those games.
Those games were started by the Dodgers’ Hyun-jin Kim and Matt Magill, Cardinals’ Shelby Miller and Tyler Lyons, Brewers’ Wily Peralta, Phillies’ Jonathan Pettibone, Bravers’ Julio Teheran, Athletics’ Dan Straily, Pirates’ Gerrit Cole, Marlins’ Tom Koehler and Jacob Turner, Reds’ Tony Cingrani and the Mets’ Wheeler.
In those 13 starts, the young pitchers facing the Giants for the first time are 6-2 with 3.55 ERA. If you remove two starts in which the Giants got to a young pitcher (vs. Peralta and Magill WAY back in April), those numbers drop to 6-2 with a 2.81 ERA.
Since beating Lyons in St. Louis on June 2, young pitchers facing the Giants for the first time have gone 3-0 with a 1.64 ERA over five starts.
So it begs the question: Do the Giants have scouts that they send out to get reports on these young pitchers?
If so, do the Giants share this information with their players?
If so, do the players read these reports and adjust accordingly?
And if not, why?
Just when you thought you’ve seen every possible way the Giants could shoot themselves in the foot, they managed to come up with something new on Saturday.
After Madison Bumgarner set the Dodgers down in order in the top of the first, Gregor Blanco opened the bottom of the frame with a double down the left-field line.
After Marco Scutaro bunted Blanco to third (we could have another blog post on WHY Scutaro feels he needs to bunt Blanco to third), Buster Posey spanked another double to score Blanco.
Then Dodgers manager Don Mattingly came out of the dugout with his lineup card in hand. Mattingly pointed out that Posey was not slotted to bat third; Pablo Sandoval was. Posey was slotted to bat fourth.
The umpires conferred and agreed. The Giants batted out of order. Posey’s double was negated, Blanco went back to third, Sandoval was ruled out, and Posey returned to bat again as the No. 4 batter. Posey then flied to right to end inning. The score was 0-0, instead of 1-0 Giants.
“I just at that point said “What else? What ELSE?” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said, expressing a sentiment most Giants fans would echo.
Bochy said the mix-up was a product of a “perfect storm” of circumstances.
Circumstance No. 1
Ever since Sandoval came off the disabled list June 24, Posey had batted in the No. 3 hole in every game — nine games — until Friday’s game, when Bochy put Sandoval at No. 3 and Posey at No. 4. We can only guess he did this in an effort to get Sandoval going. If Posey is batting behind Sandoval, perhaps Sandoval gets better pitches to hit.
Circumstance No. 2
When the Giants returned home from the road trip, the team had installed an electronic display where the lineup was posted in the clubhouse. On that electronic display, it listed Posey No. 3 and Sandoval No. 4.
Bochy said the lineup he wrote up on the actual lineup card that were exchanged at home plate said Sandoval No. 3, Posey No. 4.
Circumstance No. 3
Bochy was so busy trying to finalize the All-Star selections during the day that when Posey went up to bat in the first inning, he had a brain-lock. He said he began doubting which lineup he had submitted.
“When Buster was up, actually I was telling (coach Ron Wotus), ‘Actually, I wanted Buster hitting fourth.’ I didn’t think to look at my lineup card, I thought I wrote it down wrong, because I got a little tied up with the All-Star stuff.
“And when he was getting up there to hit, I realized, I looked, I said, ‘We just hit out of order, hoping they don’t notice it.’ But they picked it up.”
Bochy later said: “I looked up there and I thought I was losing it (when Posey went up to hit). I wanted to flip-flop those guys. At that point I should’ve looked at my card just to verify it, but I thought, well, inadvertently I went back to (Posey) in the 3-hole.”
Luckily, the lost run didn’t come back to haunt the Giants largely because of gifts they got from from the Dodgers in the second inning.
- Brandon Belt was hit by a pitch
- Andres Torres reached on an infield single when Hanley Ramirez took too much time to throw to first.
- Brandon Crawford reached on an error when Nick Punto’s throw to force Torres at second drew Ramirez off the bag.
- Madison Bumgarner walked to score the first run.
- Blanco got another infield single when Punto got to the ball, but tried to flip the ball to Ramirez at second toss the ball behind his back, and it went wrong. That scored the second run.
- Marco Scutaro’s sacrifice fly scored the third run.
That would be enough for Madison Bumgarner and the bullpen.
And now the Giants will try to steal Game 3 on Sunday against Clayton Kershaw. Let’s just hope they get the lineup right.
The San Francisco Giants went from four All-Star starters in 2012 to none in 2013.
But the Giants will be represented by three players in this year’s Midsummer’s Classic in New York as reserves — Buster Posey, Marco Scutaro and Madison Bumgarner.
Here are the NL starters for the July 16 game at Citi Field as voted upon by the fans.
- C – Yadier Molina, Cardinals
- 1B – Joey Votto, Reds
- 2B – Brandon Phillips, Reds
- SS – Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies
- 3B – David Wright, Mets
- OF – Carlos Beltran, Cardinals
- OF – Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies
- OF – Bryce Harper, Nationals
Thirteen pitchers were selected to the team, 8 by a players vote, five more by manager Bruce Bochy (although we don’t know which pitcher were picked by players, and which were picked by Bochy. Although we can tell you than the five pitchers Bochy selected were starting pitchers, as players were required to vote for three relievers and there are only three relievers on the roster)
- Matt Harvey, Mets
- Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
- Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks
- Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
- Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals
- Carlos Lee, Phillies
- Jose Fernandez, Marlins
- Travis Wood, Cubs
- Madison Bumgarner, Giants
- Jeff Locke, Pirates
- Craig Kimbrel, Braves
- Jason Grilli, Pirates
- Aroldis Chapman, Reds
That left 12 reserve position players, eight of which were voted on by the players, four were picked by Bochy, although again we don’t who picked whom. But we can assume that Bochy picked Goldschmidt or Craig (probably Craig), Scutaro or Carpenter (probably Scutaro), Segura or Cabreraj (probably Cabrera) and one of the four outfielders (probably Brown)
- 1B Paul Goldschimdt, Diamondbacks
- 1B Allen Craig, Cardinals
- 2B Marco Scutaro, Giants
- 2B Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
- SS Jean Segura, Brewers
- SS Evreth Cabrera, Padres
- 3B Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
- C Buster Posey, Giants
- OF Andrew McCutcheon
- OF Michael Cuddyer, Rockies
- OF Carlos Gomez, Brewers
- OF Domonic Brown, Phillies
OK, so how did MoreSplashHits did from our projections posted earlier this week.
Well, pretty darn good. Of the 33 players we projected to make the All-Star team, 29 actually made it.
One miss we had no control over, and that’s because of the fan vote. We had Justin Upton, because Upton was No. 3 in voting when we made our post. Harper passed Upton in the closing days of voting. We did say that neither player would make the team if he did not win the vote, and Upton did not make the team.
Our other misses were….
SP TRAVIS WOOD, CUBS: Wood is a solid pick to represent the Cubs with 5-6 record and a 2.69 ERA in 17 starts. We went with a reliever, Kevin Gregg, who is 2-1 with 1.59 ERA with 14 saves in 15 opportunities in 29 appearances.
SP MADISON BUMGARNER: Bumgarner has been the Giants’ best starting pitcher this year. He is 8-5 with 3.08 ERA in 17 starts. Bumgarner actually ranks 15th in the NL in ERA among starters. To put him on the team, Bochy had to leap from pitchers like Mike Leake (2.73), Shelby Miller (2.80), Hyun-Jin Ryu (2.82) and Mat Latos (3.03). We went with Sergio Romo as Bochy’s pitching pick from the Giants. At 3-3 with a 2.32 ERA and 19 saves, we felt that would be easier to defend than Bumgarner.
2B MATT CARPENTER: This was a logistics decision. We thought Bochy would go with a third catcher, so we had Wilin Rosario of the Rockies on the team. Going with two catchers means that Molina likely will catch five innings, then Posey will come in to catch the last four innings. But what happens if the game goes in extra innings. Bochy surely doesn’t want Posey catching more innings than necessary. Now, it is likely that Troy Tulowitzki won’t play because he’s still on the DL. With two reserve shortstops (Segura and Cabrera) on the roster, Bochy could choose to replace Tulowitzki with another Rockies player — Rosario — and then he’ll have three catchers. As it is now, Carpenter earned a spot on the team that Rosario did not. Actually, we don’t know if Carpenter earned a spot through the players vote and Bochy picked Scutaro, or the other way around.
The 2013 All-Star voting is boiling down to the final hours. Balloting is down to online voting from now until 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, the Fourth of July.
Last year, during this period, there was a flood on votes cast. For example, Yadier Molina was the leading NL vote-getter when the most recent results were released Tuesday with almost 5.1 million. By the time the final surge of votes are counted, he may need more than 7 million votes to keep the title of leading vote-getter.
So a lot can still change. The All-Star teams will be announced on Saturday.
Still, MoreSplashHits is taking our best guess as to what the NL All-Star team might look like.
We’ll start with an assumption (a very shaky assumption at that) that the vote leaders won’t change in the final days of voting. But that at least serves as a starting point.
The position leaders we feel most likely will hold onto their leads and be voted All-Star starters are SS Troy Tulowitzki (although he’s injured and likely will be replaced) and OF Carlos Beltran.
We’ve added an “IF” section for those positions where the vote is close.
We’ve included their July 2 vote total, and lead over No. 2 vote-getter at their position.
- 1B – Joey Votto, Reds (3.62 million, +587K over Paul Goldschmidt)
- 2B – Brandon Phillips, Reds (3.41 million, +225K over Matt Carpenter)
- SS – Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies (4.07 million, +1.7M over Brandon Crawford)
- 3B – David Wright, Mets (4.45 million, +842K over Pablo Sandoval)
- C – Yadier Molina, Cardinals (5.09 million, +419K over Buster Posey)
- OF – Carlos Beltran, Cardinals (5.01 million)
- OF – Carlos Gonzalez, Rockies (2.93 million)
- OF – Justin Upton, Braves (2.92 million, +15K over Bryce Harper)
PLAYERS VOTES (16 players)
The players vote on eight pitchers (five starters, three relievers) and the eight backups at each position. So this is a prediction on who those players would be based on the aforementioned projected starters.
- SP – Matt Harvey, Mets
- SP – Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
- SP – Patrick Corbin, Diamondbacks
- SP – Adam Wainwright, Cardinals
- SP – Jordan Zimmermann, Nationals
- RP – Craig Kimbrel, Braves
- RP – Jason Grilli, Pirates
- RP – Aroldis Chapman, Reds
- 1B – Paul Goldschmidt , Diamondbacks
- 2B – Marco Scutaro, Giants
- SS – Jean Segura, Brewers
- 3B – Pedro Alvarez, Pirates
- C – Buster Posey, Giants
- OF – Andrew McCutchen, Pirates
- OF – Michael Cuddyer , Rockies
- OF – Carlos Gomez , Brewers
When players vote, it’s often more about reputation than results. But I think the players will get this mostly right. The one reputation vote goes to Chapman. Results say better options could be Jonathan Papelbon of the Phillies, Edwin Mujica of the Cardinals or Rafael Soriano of the Nationals. But Chapman brings the heat. It’s not a bad pick. When Chapman is on, he’s filthy. The other tight vote goes to Scutaro. Results here say Matt Carpenter of the Cardinals is the better pick, if you base that off this year’s numbers. But if you go back to the second half of last year, then Scutaro is clearly deserving. When you add Scutaro’s postseason heroics and the fact he’s a 37-year-old veteran who has never made an All-Star team, Scutaro becomes a sentimental pick.
MANAGER PICKS (9 more)
This is where Bruce Bochy comes in. And it’s not just Bochy picking his nine favorite players. There are other factors, including making sure every team is represented and picking a third catcher.
- P – Cliff Lee, Phillies
- P – Jose Fernandez, Marlins (Marlins rep)
- P – Jeff Locke, Pirates
- P – Kevin Gregg, Cubs (Cubs rep)
- P – Sergio Romo, Giants
- BP – Wilin Rosario, Rockies
- BP – Everth Cabrera, Padres (Padres rep)
- BP – Dominic Brown, Phillies
- BP – Allen Craig, Cardinals
OK, first the team reps. For the Marlins, a month ago it may have been closer Steve Cichek. But his ERA is on the rise. And a nod to a 20-year-old rookie would be nice bonus for Marlins fans looking to the future. For the Cubs, the best position player candidate is OF Nate Schierholtz. No kidding! Schierholtz. But really it’s down to starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija and Gregg. Samardzija has a lot of K’s, but a losing record (5-7). Gregg has been great out of the pen. For the Padres, the two candidates are up the middle: Cabrera or rookie Jedd Gyroko. Both deserving to represent the Padres, but the Tulowitzki unlikely to play (opening a roster spot for the Nationals’ Ian Desmond), Cabrera seems like the smart choice. As for the rest, Lee and Locke are solid choices. Romo is the easiest Giants selection for Bochy to defend (and if you go back to second half of 2012 plus the postseason, it’s not a bad pick). Rosario would be the third catcher (always a must in an All-Star game), and sluggers Brown and Craig round out the team.
Bochy will get to select the five candidates for the fans to vote for the last roster spot. All of these five players are deserving. Carpenter could have been picked over Scutaro. Choo or Bruce over Brown. Freeman over Craig. Soriano over Chapman. I don’t see Bochy opening up a spot on this vote for Yasiel Puig (unless MLB makes him). Bochy loves veterans, and is unlikely to open a spot for a guy who has been up for four weeks. And frankly, we agree with that thinking.
- Matt Carpenter, Cardinals
- Shin-Soo Choo, Reds
- Freddie Freeman, Braves
- Jay Bruce, Reds
- Rafael Soriano, Nationals
NOW FOR THE IF’S
Votto, Wright and Phillips are good bets to hold onto their leads. But if by chance they end up losing the vote, they will win on the players vote. The same is true for Molina if Posey makes a late surge. If Carpenter pulls off the upset at second base, that could bump Scutaro into a manager’s pick, bumping either Brown or Craig off the team and onto the Final Five vote (bumping Soriano off Final Five). While Scutaro is battling back issues and mallet finger — meaning he could use the break — I think Bochy would select him anyway, then maybe just give him a pinch-hitting opportunity in the All-Star Game.
Upton holds a narrow lead over Bryce Harper for the final outfield spot. I don’t think either makes the team if they don’t win the voting. Upton got off to a torrid start, but has cooled WAY down since and is hitting below .250. Harper has just been activated after spening a month on the DL. Matt Holliday and McCutchen are within striking distance in the voting, and don’t count out Hunter Pence (in 7th in voting) if Giants fans get out the vote again.
The San Francisco Giants are 39-43. They are 10-18 since June 1. They’ve lost seven of their last eight games, nine of their last 11, 12 of their last 16.
Has the June swoon, which continued into July with an 8-1 rain-shortened loss to the Reds on Monday, cooled the fervor of Giants’ fans from getting out the vote for the NL All-Star game?
Last season, a late push of online votes propelled Buster Posey, Melky Cabrera and Pablo Sandoval into All-Star starters. Posey set an all-time record for all-star votes with more than 7 million votes.
In voting results released Tuesday, the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina continues to be the NL’s leading vote-getter with 5,093,645 votes. Posey is No. 2 at the catching position, more than 300,000 votes behind Molina. Posey is the No. 3 overall NL vote-getter — outfielder Carlos Beltran has 5.013 million votes.
All-Star voting ends on Thursday.
Again, no Giant leads his position in All-Star voting. David Wright of the Mets extended his lead over Pablo Sandoval at third base to 842,000 votes.
In fact, the Giants player who is closest to the top vote-getter at his position is Marco Scutaro, who trails the Reds’ Brandon Phillips by less than 300,000 votes. However, Scutaro is in third at second base, as the Cardinals’ Matt Carpenter is in second, 44,000 votes ahead of Scutaro.
Brandon Crawford continues to be No. 2 among shortstops, but trails leader Troy Tulowitzki of the Rockies by almost 1.7 million votes.
First baseman Brandon Belt is fourth at his position. Hunter Pence is 7th among outfielders, while Angel Pagan is 9th and Gregor Blanco is 13th.
The Giants snapped a six-game winning streak with a 5-2 victory over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday.
It also snapped a five-game losing streak at Coors Field.
The Giants finished the first half of the season a 39-42, their worst 81-game record since going 35-46 in 2008, the Giants’ last losing season.
Once again, Buster Posey made a key contribution. Playing his second consecutive game at first base, Posey homered in the third inning. It was the fourth time in the past five games that Posey has gone deep.
Posey was at the plate when the Giants scored again in the fifth, although he didn’t get credit for the RBI because the Giants scored with help from a Colorado error.
With runners on second and third, Posey grounded to second. After Posey was thrown out at first, Rockies first baseman Jordan Pacheco tried to throw out Tony Abreu, who had wandered too far away from second. But Pacheco’s throw went into left field, allowing Andres Torres to score.
It was the first time since June 15 the Giants scored an unearned run.
Hunter Pence followed with a two-run home run to right center. It was the first time in five games a player other than Buster Posey had driven in a run for the Giants.
The Giants caught another break in the seventh when Juan Perez scored all the way from first on a Texas Leaguer to shallow right-center by Guillermo Quiroz.
That was more than enough for Madison Bumgarner, who gave up a solo home run to Carlos Gonzalez in seven innings of work.
Sergio Romo worked around a two-out double by Todd Helton in the ninth for his first save in 11 games. He had not saved a game on the road since June 2 in St. Louis.
Now the road trip heads to Cincinnati for a four-game set against the Reds.
For what it’s worth, the Giants have won their last four games at Cincinnati, including all three there during the NLDS last fall.
The Giants’ June swoon continued Saturday as the Giants’ offensive woes continued in a 2-1 loss to the Rockies.
The loss was the Giants’ sixth in a row. It’s been a long time since Giants fans have witnessed certain things. Consider …
- Last time the Giants won a game in Colorado — May 16, an 8-6 win. Since then, the Giants have dropped their last five games at Coors. In their last four losses at Denver, the Giants have scored a total of four runs.
- Last RBI by anyone other than Buster Posey: Andres Torres’ RBI single in the 9th on Tuesday (since then all runs scored on two-run homer by Posey on Thursday, solo homer by Posey on Friday and RBI double by Posey on Saturday).
- Last time Giants had more than two runs on the board by the end of the sixth inning — Monday, June 17 vs. Padres (12 games ago)
- Last time a Giant came to the plate with the Giants holding the lead — Friday, June 21 (8 games ago) when Giants led 3-1 in the fifth during a 6-3 loss to Marlins (the Giants beat the Marlins 2-1 the next day, but that came on a walk-off hit to give Giants the lead for first time)
- Last time Giants enjoyed a three-run lead — Saturday, June 15 (14 games ago) when Giants led 5-2 in the sixth inning vs. the Braves, a game they would end up losing 6-5.
- Last time the Giants won a game on the raod — Friday, June 14, a 6-0 win over the Braves. The Giants have lost 7 straight on the road since.
- Last time Buster Posey did not start a game — Monday, June 17. He’s started 11 games since, including three at first base (June 21, June 26 and June 29). He may very well be at first base again Sunday against the left-hander Drew Pomeranz.
The last time the San Francisco Giants beat the Marlins in San Francisco, it took extra innings. And it took extra innings to end the streak on Saturday.
The 11th-inning run rally Saturday for the Giants in a 2-1 win over the Miami Marlins was truly the definition of a scratch-it-out win.
The Giants loaded the bases in the 11th inning without hitting the ball out of the infield. Then they won the game on a bloop single down the left-field line by a hitter batting under .200 — Hector Sanchez.
And so ends the Marlins’ nine-game winning streak at AT&T Park. Let’s relive it.
The last time the Giants beat the Marlins in San Francisco was on July 28, 2010 when Andres Torres singled home Aaron Rowand with the bases loaded and one out for a 10-9 victory. Clay Hensley was the losing pitcher. Chris Ray, acquired earlier that year in a trade with Texas for Bengie Molina, was the winning pitcher.
Since then it’s been all Marlins.
- July 29, 2010 — Marlins 5, Giants 0
- May 24, 2011 — Marlins 5, Giants 1
- May 25, 2011 — Marlins 7, Giants 6, 12 innings (the Buster Posey injury game)
- May 26, 2011 — Marlins 1, Giants 0
- May 1, 2012 — Marlins 2, Giants 1
- May 2, 2012 — Marlins 3, Giants 2, 10 innings
- May 3, 2012 — Marlins 3, Giants 2
- May 4, 2012 — Marlins 6, Giants 4
- June 20, 2013 — Marlins 2, Giants 1
- June 21, 2013 — Marlins 6, Giants 3
As you can see, the Giants just don’t score many runs when the Fish come to town.
The Giants could manage only one run for 10 innings Saturday. And the Giants were lucky to get that one run.
After the Marlins perfectly defended a safety squeeze — throwing out Juan Perez at the plate on a bunt by Barry Zito — Zito was allowed to score on a ground-rule double by Gregor Blanco.
Blanco drove the ball deep into triples alley and the ball bounced straight up the wall in right center and apparently was grabbed by a fan. The umpires ruled — with Zito running with two outs — that Zito would have scored on the play.
And they were right. Zito would have scored if the ball had remained in play, but it’s a call that home teams don’t often get when a ball is interfered with. Marlins manager Mike Redmond argued the call and was tossed.
After that ground-rule double by Blanco, the next 15 Giants were retired in order. No baserunners in the sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth innings. It wasn’t until Joaquin Arias got a two-out bloop single to right in the 10th that the string was broken.
Thanks to some good work by Zito and the bullpen, the Giants were allowed to stay alive into the 11th inning.
The Marlins were shut out for 10 consecutive innings after Ed Lucas’ first-inning home run.
So the Giants won a game the old Giants’ way. With good pitching and just enough offense.
In the 11th, Blanco led off by beating out in infield single. Marco Scutaro bunted him to second. The Marlins surprisingly pitched to Buster Posey, who bounced a ball up the middle that the second baseman was unable to field cleanly and Buster beat it out for another infield single.
After Hunter Pence was walked, Sanchez dropped a flare down the left-field line for the winner.
Whew. And Fish streak is over.
You remember back in the spring of 2011 when Tim Lincecum’s steady diet of double-doubles from In-N-Out was all anyone could talk about?
Well, The Freak has changed his ways and now eats a more healthy diet as he tries to recapture his former Cy Young form.
Lincecum appeared to be closer to his old form as he held the Marlins to one hit through five innings. But in the end, those old In-N-Out burgers came back to bit Timmy on Friday night.
Miami’s Marcell Ozuna delivered a game-tying infield single off Lincecum in the sixth and later drove home the go-ahead run with another hit in the eighth as the Marlins beat the Giants 6-3 on Friday.
The win was inexplicably the Marlins’ ninth in a row at AT&T Park.
Just as surprising was Ozuna’s pre-game meal.
Before batting practice the Marlins rookie downed three In-N-Out cheeseburger and three cookies, although some Miami teammates told a different story.
“My teammates say five (burgers),” Ozuna said. “Just three cheeseburgers and three cookies — 3 for 3. That’s a good deal.”
Ozuna, who delivered a clutch two-run pinch-hit single in Thursday’s win, also make a big defensive play when he threw out Andres Torres trying to stretch a double into a triple in the sixth inning.
Ozuna spoiled another solid start from Lincecum, who sports a June ERA of 2.92. Lincecum also recorded his second career triple two batters after Torres was thrown out at third base.
“It’s about spotting the ball,” he said. “That can be game to game, whether or not you feel you need to dig deeper. Today, pitches were coming out with that extra oomph.”
The San Francisco Giants took another injury hit on Tuesday when they placed third baseman Pablo Sandoval on the disabled list.
There was a little bit of confusion over the nature of the injury. Giants CEO Larry Baer said on Monday it was a hairline fracture in his foot. The Giants corrected that on Tuesday, saying that the MRI revealed a previous hairline fractured that had healed. The team says the nature of the injury is a strained tendon in his foot.
Sandoval hurt his foot back in late May and aggravated it on Friday. The Giants feel that two weeks off is the only way for Sandoval to heal and expect him back with the team on June 24 when his 15 days are up.
Because of the shortest possible DL stint, the Giants are going to fill Sandoval’s vacancy with a combination of Joaquin Arias taking over the starting role at third base and Tony Abreu and Nick Noonan as backups. Noonan was recalled from Triple-A Fresno after only playing one game for the Grizzlies after his recent demotion.
“With (Arias) and Noonan and Abreu, we can ham-and-egg this until we get Pablo back,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
When asked to comment, Sandoval said “Mmmmm, jamon y huevos.”
OK, OK, we like to have fun with the Sandoval’s weight, but the Giants say there is no way of telling if the Panda’s girth had anything to do with the injury.
But the Giants did want Sandoval to work on his conditioning during his DL stint. Why? Well, obviously Sandoval’s fitness has been a problem since spring training. Unlike previous offseasons, Sandoval didn’t spend time last winter trying to shed pounds.
Plus, he’s put on weight during his previous stints on the DL. He added pounds when he broke his hamate bone in one hand in 2011, when broke his OTHER hamate bone in 2012, when he pulled his hamstring in 2012.
In the meantime, the Giants will turn to Arias. Arias did a nice job filling in for Sandoval last season, which earned him a spot on the team all the way through the postseason.
He has not done much this season, hitting .220. But he also has been limited to 10 starts. He got off to a very cold start, but is hitting .276 over the past four weeks.
There has been some chatter about the Giants bringing up another third baseman to replace Sandoval’s bat, but there really aren’t any plausible options.
I saw someone mention Adam Duvall, who is playing third base at Double-A Richmond. But he’s only played 27 games above Class A, and those all came this year as Duvall missed time this season with an injury.
San Francisco Giants fans should be ashamed.
The first results of All-Star voting was released Tuesday and two Giants — catcher Buster Posey and third baseman Pablo Sandoval — lead their position in NL voting.
After last season, when the Giants had three players voted as NL All-Star starters and several other less-than-deserving players finish high at their position in the voting, the first release of numbers may be a surprise.
Only two Giants lead their positions? Well, actually, several Giants are faring well in early voting in 2013. Three players — Marco Scutaro, Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt — are second at their position. Hunter Pence is sixth among outfielders.
Buster Posey is the leading vote-getter among NL players, by almost 100,000 votes over Atlanta’s B.J. Upton.
Generally, the biggest movement in vote totals comes in the final week of ballotting. But so far in the early going, the Giants are in good position.
Here are the leaders at each position and where the Giants currently stand.
1. Buster Posey, Giants, 1,275,956
2. Yadier Molina, Cardinals 938,911
1. Joey Votto, Reds, 1, 044,742
2. Brandon Belt, Giants, 513,371
1. Brandon Phillips, Reds, 1,019,240
2. Marco Scutaro, Giants, 801,754
1. Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies, 1,025,844
2. Brandon Crawford, Giants, 668,140
1. Pablo Sandoval, Giants, 1,094,475
2. David Wright, Mets, 967,299
1. Justin Upton, Braves, 1,184,249
2. Bryce Harper, Nationals, 1,182,532
3. Ryan Braun, Brewers, 945,665
6, Hunter Pence, Giants, 624,972
8, Angel Pagan, Giants, 572,400
11. Gregor Blanco, Giants, 475,662
Last season, the Giants have five pitchers make 30 or more starts. No team has done that in back-to-back seasons in about 30 years.
And the Giants won’t be doing it again.
Ryan Vogelsong, in the midst of easily his best start of the season, broke two bones in the pinkie of his pitching hand when he was hit by a pitch while swinging at the ball.
Vogelsong will have surgery on his hand Tuesday and is expected to be out four to six weeks. That would put his return date in early July.
“It stinks,” Vogelsong said. ” Especially because it’s been so rough. To go out there and feel like my old self again … it stinks.”
Vogelsong pitched five shutout innings against the Nationals, giving up three hits with two strikeouts.
After Vogelsong’s last start in Toronto, there was talk about taking him out of the rotation. After five innings Monday, it appeared that Vogelsong had put to rest that discussion.
Now, the Giants must consider options. Here are a couple.
CHAD GAUDIN: Gaudin was signed last offseason to work as a long man out of the bullpen — something the Giants have gone without frequently in recent seasons — and a spot starter. Gaudin has been very good out of the pen, posting a 2.10 ERA in 25.2 innings. Gaudin has made 75 starts over his 11-year career, but none since 2009 with the Yankees. He also had a 72-pitch relief appearance in Vogelsong’s previous start in Toronto. Manager Bruce Bochy said Gaudin is a candidate, but added that he likes his value as a long reliever.
YUSMEIRO PETIT: Petit was considered a candidate for the rotation when Barry Zito struggled in spring training last season. And he was one of only two pitchers not named Cain, Bumgarner, Lincecum, Zito or Vogelsong to start a game for the Giants last season. But he is 2-3 with 6.69 ERA at Triple-A Fresno and has allowed nine home runs. But but he also has 46 strikeouts against just nine walks.
SHANE LOUX: Loux has been Fresno’s most consistent starter at 4-1 with a 3.68 ERA. But his stuff doesn’t really translate into big-league stuff. He made a brief stint with the Giants last season, posting a 4.97 ERA in 25.1 innings.
CHRIS HESTON: The Giants had hoped Heston, the 2012 Eastern League pitcher of the year, would be the next arm produced in the system. But his transition to Triple-A has been bumpy. He’s 5-2 with 5.33 ERA. He gave up three runs in 5.0 to 6.2 innings in six of his nine starts. He got tagged for 5 runs in 5 innings in one other start, and seven innings in 3 innings in another. But he had his best start in his most recent start, giving up 0 runs on 3 hits in 7 innings.
MIKE KICKHAM: The lefty had a rough spring, then got off to a slow start at Fresno. He’s 2-4 with a 4.72 ERA. But in his last four starts, he’s 2-1 with 1.80 ERA with 25 strikeouts against six walks.
WHAT MORESPLASHHITS THINKS: The Giants should start with Gaudin. Yeah, he’s been good out of the pen, but the Giants have a lot of good relievers down in Fresno: Dan Runzler, Steve Edlefsen, Ramon Ramirez, Sandy Rosario or Jake Dunning. They could even call up Loux to work as the new long man.
And please, Bochy, use the schedule in your favor. The Giants have four days off in June, including three in an eight-day stretch (June 3-10). Even if Bochy doesn’t take advantage of Thursday’s day off — which would only gain them a couple of days — Gaudin could start on Sunday and May 31, then he wouldn’t be needed again until June 15.
If Vogelsong returns quickly (four weeks), the Giants would only need three starts from Gaudin (or any fifth starter). If Vogey’s hiatus is on the longer side (six weeks), it would be five starts IF they use the days off to skip the No. 5 starter.
That’s the best plan.
There came a moment in Thursday’s game against the Rockies when I knew the Giants were going to win.
It came in the fourth inning when Matt Cain slapped a single to left to score the final run of a five-run inning, cutting the Rockies’ lead to 6-5.
To watch Cain’s knock, click here.
Right there, I knew it was in the bag.
Why? Well, it’s because, with that RBI and the subsequent 8-6 win, the Giants are now 23-0 since last May 9 when one of their pitchers records an RBI. And that includes the postseason.
Don’t believe me? Here’s the list:
- May 16, 2013 — Matt Cain, d. Rockies 8-6
- May 10, 2013 — Cain, d. Braves 8-2
- May 8, 2013 — Barry Zito, d. Phillies 4-3
- April 11, 2013 — Ryan Vogelsong, d. Cubs 7-6
- April 10, 2013 — Zito, d. Rockies 10-0
- April 3, 2013 — Tim Lincecum, d. Dodgers 5-3
- April 2, 2013 — Madison Bumgarner, d. Dodgers 3-0
- Oct. 24, 2012 — Zito, d. Tigers 8-3 (Game 1 of World Series)
- Oct. 22, 2012 — Cain, d. Cardinals 9-0 (Game 7 of NLCS)
- Oct. 21, 2012 — Vogelsong, d. Cardinals 6-1 (Game 6 of NLCS)
- Oct. 19, 2012 — Zito, d. Cardinals 5-0 (Game 5 of NLCS)
- Sept. 26, 2012 — Cain, d. Diamondbacks 6-0
- Sept. 22, 2012 — Bumgarner, d. Padres 8-4
- Sept. 14, 2012 — Santiago Casilla, d. Diamondbacks 6-2
- Sept. 11, 2012 — Bumgarner, d. Rockies 9-8
- Aug. 23, 2012 — Zito, d. Braves 5-2
- Aug. 17, 2012 — Cain, d. Padres 10-1
- Aug. 11, 2012 — Cain, d. Rockies 9-3
- Aug. 5, 2012 — Lincecum, d. Rockies 8-3
- July 21, 2012 — Cain, d. Phillies 6-5
- June 12, 2012 — Bumgarner, d. Astros 6-3
- May 18, 2012 — Zito, d. Athletics 8-6
- May 12, 2012 — Cain, d. Diamondbacks 5-2
The last time the Giants lost a game when one of their pitchers drove in a run came on May 9, 2012, when Lincecum got an RBI in a 6-2 loss to the Dodgers.
So who needs a DH?
Sorry, I haven’t blogged in a couple of days. Those two games in Toronto did not inspire me.
But the Giants left Canada with one burning question: What to do about Ryan Vogelsong?
I’ll admit that even as Vogey has struggled this season, I keep expecting that his next start will be the one in which he finds his groove again.
But then it just keeps getting worse. Since his April 22 start against the Diamondbacks, when his ERA sat at 5.68, it has steadily climbed over his last four starts to 6.23, 7.20, 7.78 and now 8.06.
And, heck, that doesn’t even include the five UNEARNED runs he allowed on Wednesday.
Manager Bruce Bochy said the two errors that contributed to a five-run first inning for the Blue Jays were the worst things that could have happened to Vogelsong, putting a struggling pitcher in a bad situation early.
“We’re trying all we can to get him in track,” Bochy said. “He’s trying his hardest. You work as hard as he did and you’ll lose a little command.”
Vogelsong wasn’t looking for excuses, saying that things aren’t always “sunshine and roses” and you have to be able to pitch through trouble.
Still Vogelsong continues to insist that he feels like he’s really close to where he needs to be.
“Things have got to turn around in my favor here eventually,” he said. “I shattered two bats (in the first inning) and sawed them off and they both go for hits. You’ve just got to ride it out.”
True, but between the broken bats and dropped outs, there were a lot of VERY hard hit balls, even many of the six outs recorded were on hard-hit balls.
Bochy would not say if Vogelsong will make his next start, which is set to come Monday at home against the Nationals, going with the same “we’ve got options and we’ll explore them” line he used after Vogey’s previous start.
Is it bad form to mention the last time Vogelsong faced the Nationals at AT&T Park he got lit up for eight runs on nine hits on 2.2 innings?
Prior to Wednesday’s start, that Aug. 13 start vs. the Nats last year was Vogelsong’s shortest in a Giants uniform.
If we had to guess, we’d say the Giants will give Vogelsong at least one more turn in the rotation to figure things out. A four-game series in Colorado often requires heavy use of the bullpen.
And if the Giants skip Vogey on Monday, that likely means Chad Gaudin would be the likely fill-in starter.
And if that’s the case, Gaudin doesn’t pitch this weekend in Colorado, and I doubt the Giants want Vogey coming out of the pen in Coors.
So who knows? Last year’s debacle against the Nationals started a seven-start stretch in which Vogey posted on ERA above 10. Maybe this year’s start vs. the Nats will be the one that gets him off this eight-start stretch with an ERA above eight.
Right now, it’s all we can hope for.
When the Giants re-signed Marco Scutaro to a three-year, it would have been a lot to expect the same Scutaro who produced during the last two months of 2012 and into the postseason.
But we’d be happy with something close to that.
As the season start, we saw a Scutaro who struggled. Then we learned he was still battling back issues that plagued him during spring training.
Then he got hot, and things were good. Then he started to scuffle again. And not only scuffle, but strike out, which is something he just didn’t do last year.
Well, those days are over as Scutaro is swinging the bat well, again.
Scutaro extended his hitting streak to 12 games on Sunday with another solid game that included his first home run of the season. He’s batting .479 (23-for-48) during that binge, indicating his relief from back pain.
Over the past week, Scutaro went 14 for 30 (.467) with four doubles, a triple, home run and no runs scored. He did not draw a walk but he also didn’t strike out.
And that make Scutaro MoreSplashHits’ player of the week for the Week of May 6-12. He’s now batting .305 for the season.
It was a busy weekend for MoreSplashHits. Hey, it was Mother’s Day weekend, so we weren’t blogging much.
But we were stilling watching the Giants, and Sunday’s game provided us with another Splash Hits.
It was Sandoval’s first Splash Hit since Aug. 31, 2011 and the seventh of his career. That ranks him second all-time behind …. some guy named …. Bonds, whoever that is.
Brandon Belt had delivered the last three Splash Hits. Belt also homered Sunday, but he hit his the other way to left field. Here’s a list of Splash Hit leaders.
- Barry Bonds 35
- Pablo Sandoval 7
- Brandon Belt 3
Sunday’s home runs helped cap a relaxing weekend for Giants fans. Prior to Friday, the Giants had only won two games without the need of a save or walk-off win.
None of the three wins against the Braves over the weekend required a save or walk-off win, with the Giants winning 8-2, 10-1 and 5-1. Before Friday, the Giants’ run differential was 0. Now, it’s +19.
A big sigh of relief was released by San Francisco Giants fans on Friday.
For the first time since April 21, they didn’t have to sweat out a victory as Matt Cain pitched eight solid innings and the Giants tallied a six-run fourth inning to beat Tim Hudson.
It was the second consecutive solid start from Cain, who looks more and more like he’s returning to his ace form. Here are a series of tidbits about Friday’s game.
- The Giants fans finally got a breather. It was only the third time the Giants have won a game that didn’t require a save or a walk-off win. The other two came in shutout wins in games started by Barry Zito.
- The lone two runs allowed by Cain came on a two-run home run in the fifth by Brian McCann. Sixteen of the last 20 runs Cain has allowed has come via the home run.
- McCann’s home run was the 26th time an opponent has hit a home run on the fly into San Francisco Bay. We don’t call it a Splash Hits, because those are just reserved for blasts of Giants’ bats.
- It was the first win by the Giants over Tim Hudson since April 8, 2006. Hudson had gone 6-0 with a 2.48 ERA against the Giants since then.
- Cain contributed to the six-run fourth with his first RBI of the season. Cain was the last of the five Giants starting pitchers to record an RBI.
- Including last season’s postseason, the Giants have won 22 consecutive games, dating back to May 9 of last year, in which a pitcher has recorded an RBI.
- Marco Scutaro had two hits in the fourth inning, extending his hitting streak to 10 games. He will likely get the day off on Saturday.
- The Giants improved to 4-0 at home on games played on Friday.
Ryan Vogelsong’s ERA started at 8.44 after giving up five runs in 5.1 against the Cardinals in his first start of the year.
Then Vogelsong started dropping his ERA over the next three starts to 7.15, 5.89 and 5.68. You would have expected that trend to continue this early in the season.
And yet, Vogey’s ERA has gone the other direction over his last three starts: 6.23 after 5 ER in 5 IP vs. the Padres, 7.20 after 7 ER in 4.2 IP vs. the Dodgers and 7.78 after 6 ER in 4.1 IP vs. the Braves on Thursday.
To his credit, Vogelsong says he expects to make his next start Wednesday in Toronto. “Why wouldn’t I?” he said. He says his health and stamina are fine, and he feels “he’s close” to being where he needs to be.
And, of course, he’s overcome his share of adversity in his career.
I came through it after 13 years,” Vogelsong said. “I came through it after August of 2011. I came through it after August and September of 2012 , and I’ll come through it again this year.”
OK, let’s examine that.
When Vogelsong mentioned August of 2011, my first reaction was “He was bad in August 2011? I don’t remember that.” And there was good reason for that: He wasn’t that bad.
After his first start in August of 2011, Vogelsong was 9-1 with 2.19 ERA. He then lost six of his next seven starts, but his ERA rose to just 2.66. He had one start in which he gave up five runs in five innings, but did not allow any more than three runs in any of those other starts. So the issue wasn’t Vogey; it was the Giants offense.
But August-September of 2012 was something completely different. In a seven-start stretch, he went 2-4 with a huge 10.31 ERA. Vogelsong responded by giving up just one earned run in his final three starts (17 innings) of the regular season. Then in the postseason, he was 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA in four starts.
The Giants didn’t skip Vogey during that ugly stretch, and the Giants were in the middle of a pennant chase. But manager Bruce Bochy said the Giants were considering all options when it come to Vogelsong.
That fifth inning has been ugly, no doubt. Hitters are batting .500 in the fifth. While home runs allowed have been balanced, opponents have six doubles and triples in the fifth to only two in innings 1-4.
Opponents hit Vogelsong better each time they face him: .271 first time through the lineup, .333 second time, .367 third time. And strikeouts have gone down: 20 first time, 11 second time, 6 third time.
There is one caveat to these numbers. Of the 12 fifth-inning runs allowed in the fifth inning, 10 have come in his last two starts (6 vs. Dodgers, 4 vs. Braves). Also four of those runs were scored after Vogelsong left the game because the reliever could not keep the inherited runners from scoring.
Still, the numbers are ugly, so it’s time to consider the options. So here they are:
BACK OFF BETWEEN STARTS: Vogelsong is a hard worker, a by-product of his path back to big leagues. He takes nothing for granted, and that’s why we love him. But that attitude could have a flip side. “If anything, he might work too hard at times,” Bochy said. So the Giants might monitor his throwing sessions between starts.
SKIP HIS NEXT START: The Giants have a off day on Monday, so they could skip Vogelsong’s turn in the rotation to give him time to work on things in the bullpen. But that would only move his next start from Wednesday in Toronto to Saturday (May 18) in Colorado. But how much good would three extra days rest do? Also, do you want to skip a start in Toronto to make one in Colorado? If he pitches on his normal turn, he would miss the four-game series at Coors.
SEND HIM TO THE PEN, FIND A REPLACEMENT: Vogelsong’s struggle set off calls to find someone in the minors to replace him. Well, this has been weakness of the Giants since spring training, and it hasn’t gotten much better. At Fresno, the starters include Chris Heston (3-2, 5.82 ERA), Mike Kickham (0-4, 5.65), Yusmeiro Petit (2-3, 6.69) and Boof Bonser (1-2, 5.45). The best option might be Shane Loux (3-1, 4.21), if that idea excites you. The numbers are better at Double-A where you have Justin Fitzgerald (3-0, 1.09) and Jack Snodgrass (3-0, 2.60). But the AA Atlantic League is a pitcher-friendly league, while the PCL is hitter-friendly. We’ve seen what making the jump from AA to AAA has done to the likes of Heston and Kickham. Making the jump all the way to bigs is a larger leap. Plus moving Vogelsong to the pen thins out an already overtaxed bullpen. Using long reliever Chad Gaudin as a spot starter is iffy. He’s only made one appearance of 3 innings, so stretching him out is no given. Plus, again, it thins out the pen.
KEEP HIM IN THE ROTATION AND LET HIM WORK IT OUT: These appears to be the most likely option, at least for now. While Bochy did talk about “options” he also said: “I do think the pitches caught up with him in the fifth,” Bochy said. “He worked pretty hard and he was up to 90 pitches in 4 1/3 innings. Up to that point, he was pretty good.” So while the Giants would love to get 6 or 7 solid innings from Vogey in Toronto, where the DH allows pitcher to go deeper into games, he may be on a very short leash, with Gaudin ready to pick up the innings on the back side.
Winning a game to stop a losing streak — even a modest two-game skid — is always a good thing.
But you might not realize how big Andres Torres’ game-winning single on Wednesday was.
I had been thinking that the Giants have been kind of streaky this year. But when I looked, I didn’t realize they were streaky in a funky way.
It started with ONE LOSS to the Chicago Cubs on April 12, which was followed by …
TWO CONSECUTIVE WINS, both over the Cubs on April 13-14, which was followed by …
THREE CONSECUTIVE LOSSES, in a sweep vs. the Brewers in April 16-18, which was followed by ….
FOUR CONSECUTIVE WINS, in a sweep of the Padres and a win over the Diamondbacks over April 19-22, which was followed by …..
FIVE CONSECUTIVE LOSSES, two losses to Diamondbacks and a sweep vs. the Padres after April 23-28, which was followed by …..
SIX CONSECUTIVE WINS, during consecutive sweeps of the Diamondbacks and Dodgers over April 30-May 5.
When the Giants dropped the first two games against the Phillies on Monday and Tuesday, I suddenly became worried that they might be on their way to a seven-game losing streak.
So thanks to Andres Torres for breaking the streak.
In the midst of a carbon-copy defeat to the Phillies on Tuesday, we thought you might need a pick-me-up.
I think it’s safe to say that Giants fans know how valuable Hunter Pence was to the Giants’ run to the World Series title last season, even if the numbers don’t say so.
Pence hit .219 with seven home runs, but 45 RBI in his 33 games after being acquired in a trade with the Phillies.
Those numbers make his stats with the Phillies preceding the trade look all-star quality: .271, 17 HR, 59 RBI in 101 games.
Yet, Pence told philly.com that he wasn’t upset with the Phillies for trading him away. He felt like he let the team down, leading to their sub-par 2012 season.
“To be honest with you, I felt really guilty,” Pence said. “I felt like I did something wrong. Obviously I shouldn’t have looked at it that way, it was the wrong way to look at it. But I was heavily invested in bringing the Phillies back, and it felt like . . . I felt guilty. I felt like it was my fault that it fell apart.”
“That’s 100 percent what I did,” Pence said. “And in this game, I say it a lot: You can’t try; you’ve got to trust. And I was trying to make it happen. But there was a great lesson for me in that experience, there was a letting go. There was a lot I had to learn.”
Perhaps, he didn’t learn that lesson right away, leading to down numbers during his two months with the Giants. Perhaps, he was trying to hard to prove his worth after being acquired by the Giants, and trying to replace Melky Cabrera, who was suspended shortly after Pence’s arrival.
The numbers masked his other contributions to the Giants: his clubhouse presence, his defense in right field, his pre-game speeches during the postseason. He batted .200 (4 for 20) in the NLDS vs. the Reds, but he had one of the bigger at-bats in the series. In Game 3, Pence battled a cramp in his calf and gutted out a big 10th-inning at-bat that produced a base hit that led to the Giants’ go-ahead run in a 2-1 victory that started a string of six consecutive wins in elimination games.
This offseason, he worked on his approach at the plate to eliminate chasing pitches out of the strike zone and making better contact — two important skills when you play your home games at AT&T Park.
It’s the kind of adjustment so many other ex-Giants failed to make when they moved from another home park to AT&T Park (Read: Aaron Rowand).
Now the numbers reflect those adjustments: 6 HR, 20 RBI, .288 AVG, .321 OBP, .500 SLUG in 33 games, very much mirroring his career averages of .285 AVG, .338 OBP, .475 SLUG. He’s also been 5 for 5 on stolen base attempts.
And who couldn’t like a guy who rides his scooter to the ballpark?
Hunter Pence must have been fired up to face his former teammates. The Giants outfielder went 3 for 3 with a double and home run against Cliff Lee on Monday.
Unfortunately, Pence was the only Giant who figured out Lee on Monday. Lee pitched eight solid innings Monday night to improve to 4-0 at AT&T Park — well, at least in the regular season.
And so ends the Giants’ six-game winning streak.
You know how 17 of the Giants’ 19 wins this season have required a save or a walk-off win? Well, the losses have come in similar fashion. Monday’s loss was only the fourth this season by the opposition that didn’t require a save or walk-off hit.
That means that 36 of the Giants’ 42 to games this season have been decided by three runs or fewer. Monday’s game almost became game No. 37, but the Phillies tacked on a run in the ninth.
Madison Bumgarner had his worst outing of the season. He danced through trouble in the first and second innings, which came back to bit him when Michael Young delivered a two-run double in the second. His two walks came in the first two innings, contributing to his troubles. He also had two wild pitches, one resulting in a run.
Bumgarner, who entered the game with 1.55 ERA, left it with a 2.31 ERA. However, that could change.
Interestingly, the Giants are appealing a ruling by the official scorer, seeking to change Eric Kratz’s infield single to error.
With a runner on first and no outs in the second, Kratz hit a bouncer up the middle that Marco Scutaro gloved behind second base. In his haste to try to turn two, he attempted to flip the ball to Brandon Crawford with his glove. The ball fell to the ground and both runners were safe.
The play was originally ruled an error, then later changed to an infield hit.
MoreSplashHits reviewed the play, and it was indeed an error. If Scutaro reaches into his glove and makes the feed to Crawford with his right hand, they get the force at second, but probably not the double play. Scutaro’s effort to make a quicker feed to keep the double play possible resulted in the errant feed. Error.
However, as CSN Bay Area’s Andrew Baggarly reported, the league rarely overturns the ruling of the official scorer, even if he’s wrong.
In another odd stat, the Giants did not leave a runner on base the entire game. It’s the first time they’ve done that since 2008. The Giants had five hits and no walks. Two of the hits led to runs (both by Pence). The other three were erased on double plays.
The Giants went 6-0 last week, leaving them 19-12 for the season, 1st in the NL West , 1 game behind of the Rockies.
- Monday: W, 6-4 vs. Diamondbacks; WP: Machi (1-0); HR: Belt (2).
- Tuesday: W, 2-1 vs. Diamondbacks; WP: Rosario (1-0); HR: Sandoval (4).
- Wednesday: W, 9-6 vs. Diamondbacks; WP: Kontos (2-1); HR: Pagan (1), Pence (5), Belt (3).
- Thursday: idle.
- Friday: W, 2-1 vs. Dodgers; WP: Romo (2-2); HR: Posey (4).
- Saturday: W 10-9, vs. Dodgers; WP: Casilla (3-2); HR: Torres (1), Quiroz (1)
- Sunday: W, 4-3 vs. Dodgers; WP: Cain (1-2).
Six wins, five come-from-behind wins and one hang-on-to-win. Lots of excitement (maybe too much). Brandon Belt’s two-run single in the eighth, Pablo Sandoval’s two-run homer in the ninth, Belt’s three-run homer in the eighth, Buster Posey’s walk-off homer in the ninth, Guillermo Quiroz’s walk-off homer in the 10th, Hunter Pence’s four-RBI game.
PHILLIES (14-18) AT GIANTS
- Monday: Phillies (Lee 2-2) at Giants (Bumgarner 3-0), 7:15 p.m.
- Tuesday: Phillies (Kendrick 3-1) at Giants (Lincecum 2-1), 7:15 p.m.
- Wednesday: Phillies (Pettibone 2-0) at Giants (Barry Zito 3-1), 12:45 p.m.
We can tell you this much about the opener to this series: expect a low-scoring game. Bumgarner has a 1.55 ERA, but he has no decision in his last three starts. Why? The Giants don’t like scoring runs for him. When he’s left his last three starts, the score has been 2-2, 1-1 and 1-1. The Giants have given him 2.83 runs of support. But the Phillies have give Cliff Lee 2.67 runs of support. Bumgarner is 1-1 with 2.57 ERA in two starts vs. the Phillies. However, Lee is 4-0 with 0.63 ERA in 5 starts vs. the Giants (that doesn’t include Game 1 of 2010 World Series). It does include his 10 shutout innings in a game at AT&T Park last year (that the Phillies eventually lost in 12). … The Giants went 4-2 against the Phillies last year, winning 2 of 3 at hom and 2 of 3 in Philly.
BRAVES (18-12) at GIANTS
- Thursday: Braves (Teheran 1-0) at Giants (Vogelsong 1-2), 7:15 p.m. MLB Network
- Friday: Braves (Hudson 4-1) at Giants (Cain 1-2), 7:15 p.m.
- Saturday: Braves (Maholm 3-3) at Giants (Bumgarner 3-0), 1:05 p.m., MLB Network
- Sunday: Braves (Medlen 1-4) at Giants (Lincecum 1-2), 1:05 p.m.
Giants won 4 of 7 games vs. the Braves last season, splitting a four-game set in San Francisco in August. … The Braves are second in the NL in home runs. They face Cain on Sunday, who has surrendered nine homers this season. … Catcher Brian McCann comes off the DL this week, but Justin Heyward remains on the DL. … The Braves opened the season 12-1, but have gone 6-11 since then. They’ve lost 7 of their last 10.
You go 6-0 during the week, and you’re going to have a ton of player-of-the-week candidates.
But all of those late-inning home runs and come-from-behind victories wouldn’t be possible unless you have a lock-down closer to complete the victory.
So that’s why we’re going with Sergio Romo as our San Francisco Giants’ player of the week for Week 5.
Romo made five appearance in the six games last week, earning four saves and a win. He did not allow a run in five innings of work, nor did he allow a walk. He gave up just three hits, while striking out five.
Romo has 12 saves on the season with a miniscule 0.83 WHIP to go with his 1.72 ERA.
The Giants completed a three-game sweep of the Dodgers on Sunday night with a 4-3 win. But what’s more important — alright, at least AS important — is that Matt Cain got his first win of the year.
Cain pitched 7.1 innings, giving up one run on 5 hits and 3 walks. He struck out 4. It was his walk to Matt Kemp in the eighth that led to his exit after 109 pitches. When three relievers could not prevent Kemp from eventually scoring, that’s when Cain picked up his lone earned run.
For only the third time in seven starts this season, Cain did not allow a home run. Not too surprising since eight of the nine homers Cain has allowed have come on the road.
But it’s also important to note because prior to Sunday’s start, 14 of the previous 17 runs Cain had allowed had scored via the home run. His ERA this season on balls that did not leave the yard: 2.57 — and that includes the disastrous nine-run inning against the Cardinals on April 7.
So the morale to the story is: If Cain can keep from giving up the long ball, he’s the Matt Cain we’ve all grown to know and love.
Or is it something else? Could it be, perhaps, the Dodgers?
Consider this: Cain’s ERA this season in two starts against Big Blue: 0.68 in 13.1 innings. Against everyone else: 7.85 in 28.2 innings.
We may get a better idea after his next start, which is slated for Friday at home against the Braves, who ranked second in the NL in home runs.
After that, his next start comes against the Rockies. Colorado leads the NL in home runs, and the game will be played in Coors Field.
Here’s a breakdown of Cain’s starts this season, courtesy of Baseball Reference
|1||237||1||Apr 1||SFG||@||LAD||L,0-4||GS-6||99||6.0||4||0||0||1||8||0||1||0.00||1b start tie||6b 3 out tie|
|2||238||6||Apr 7||SFG||STL||L,3-14||GS-4||L(0-1)||5||3.2||7||9||9||2||2||0||0||8.38||1t start tie||4t 1-3 2 out d5|
|3||239||11||Apr 12||SFG||@||CHC||L,3-4||GS-7||4||7.0||7||2||2||2||6||2||0||5.94||1b start tie||7b 3 out d2|
|4||240||16||Apr 18||SFG||@||MIL||L,2-7||GS-6||L(0-2)||5||6.0||7||7||7||0||4||3||1||7.15||1b start tie||6b 3 out d6|
|5||241||21||Apr 23||SFG||ARI||L,4-6||GS-6||4||6.0||5||4||3||1||6||1||0||6.59||1t start tie||6t 3 out d4|
|6||242||26||Apr 29||SFG||@||ARI||W,6-4||GS-6||5||6.0||5||4||4||4||6||3||0||6.49||1b start a 2||6b 3 out tie|
|7||243||31||May 5||SFG||LAD||W,4-3||GS-8||W(1-2)||5||7.1||5||1||1||3||4||0||0||5.57||1t start tie||8t 1– 1 out a4|
Really, we should be immune to the San Francisco Giants’ flair for the dramatic. But then they do something we just didn’t see coming.
Duane Kuiper said it best: “You think you know, but you just don’t know.”
After Hunter Pence struck out to open the bottom of the 10th inning, manager Bruce Bochy sent Guillermo Quiroz to the play to face Brandon League. Quiroz was the Giants’ last available position player on the bench.
After loading the bases with one out in the ninth and failing to score with their best hitter at the plate — Buster Posey grounded into a double play — it didn’t look promising in the 10th with one out and Quiroz at the plate.
Then the reserve catcher who only had eight plate appearances so far this season served a League pitch into the left-field bleachers for the second game-winning home run in as many nights.
It was only Quiroz’s third career home run in 110 big-league games spanning over nine seasons from 2004-2013. He hadn’t homered in a big-league game since 2008.
It was the Giants’ fifth consecutive victory — including the last four in which the Giants hit a go-ahead home run in the eighth inning or later:
- Tuesday, Pablo Sandoval, two-run HR, 9th inning vs. Arizona
- Wednesday, Belt, three-run HR, 8th inning vs. Arizona
- Friday, Buster Posey, solo HR, 9th inning vs. LA Dodgers
- Saturday, Guillermo Quiroz, solo HR, 10th inning vs. LA Dodgers
OTHER WILD NOTES FROM SATURDAY
- The Giants looked as if they were headed to an easy win as they took a 5-0 lead after three innings thanks to Ryan Vogelsong’s first start of the season in which he opened with three scoreless innings. After the Dodgers scored a run in the fourth, the Giants responded to take a 6-1. Then the Dodgers tallied for seven runs in the fifth.
- As bad a seven-run inning looks, Vogelsong did not get help from his defense. Shortstop Brandon Crawford double-clutched on a potential double-play ball, resulting in only one out. If the Giants turn two there, the Dodgers likely score only one run that inning.
- With the seven-run fifth on Saturday, it means the Giants have surrendered at five-run inning (Rockies), six-run inning (Padres), seven-run inning (Dodgers), eight-run inning (Brewers) and nine-run inning (Cardinals) this season.
Giants announcer Duane Kuiper said it best after Brandon Belt’s go-ahead three-run homer in a 9-6 win over the Diamondbacks on Wednesday.
“And the Giants have done it again.”
Some Giants fans have tried to attach the “torture” label on the 2013 Giants. But this team is much different from the 2010 team which inspired the label.
The 2010 team didn’t score a lot and pitched really well. That meant they played a lot of close games. But they were different than this year. The Giants had a narrow lead late, then would torture fans by barely holding onto those leads.
Even though the 2013 team has also played a ton of close games, because the team’s starting pitching has been so shaky, they find themselves having to rally late.
It’s torture when you’re team has a narrow lead and struggles to hang onto it. When your team is behind, there’s a feeling that they’ll probably lose. When they end up winning, it’s a bonus.
The Giants are becoming so proficient at these late-game comebacks, it’s almost becoming expected. Almost.
“We believe somebody’s going to do it,” Belt said, “and somebody does it. It’s amazing.”
Belt’s home run was the Giants’ ninth this season in the eighth or ninth innings. When you consider that the Giants have hit 21 total home runs, that’s an impressive percentage.
Even more impressive is that six of those nine home runs either tied the game or gave the Giants the lead. Five of those home runs have come against the Diamondbacks bullpen.
“These guys have been amazing,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “They’re not base hits. We need the long ball, and they’re coming through.”
It’s interesting to look at the numbers on the Giants’ late-game performances.
The Giants have hit 12 home runs in innings 1-7, and 9 in innings 8-9. The Giants homer once every 68 plate appearances in innings 1-7. They average a home run every 24 PAs in innings 8-9. In the ninth inning alone, the rate drops to one every 19.4 PAs.
Yet the Giants hit better earlier in the game — they hit .268 in innings 1-3, .266 in innings 4-6, but only .240 in innings 7-9.
However, they are more aggressive and efficient on the basepaths. They have seven steals in 10 attempts in innings 1-6, but 8 for 8 in innings 7-9.
They’ve also feasted on relievers. They have 11 home runs in 706 PAs against starting pitchers (1 every 64); 10 home runs in 358 PAs vs. relievers (1 every 36).
So are the Giants clutch or living dangerously?
Well, both. They’re living dangerously because their starting pitching has been putting them in bad situations, except when Madison Bumgarner starts. In those cases, they don’t score runs.
When MadBum starts, the Giants have scored 3, 4, 3, 3, 2 and 2. And not all of those runs were scored when MadBum was still in the game.
While it would be nice to win a game 6-1, that requires the starters — other than just MadBum — to keep the other team off the board.
But it’s nice to know that there is no quit in the 2013 Giants.