Giants fans around the world took a sign of relief. Matt Cain bounced back in his first in-game action in more than two weeks by throwing three scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out one. No walks.
The Brewers went on to beat the Giants 12-8.
Cain, who was sidelined with some elbow inflammation, was only slated to throw two innings. But he sailed through the first two innings in 18 pitches, so he went out again in the third. He finished with 43 pitches, 29 strikes.
“I looked like Matty didn’t miss a beat,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Now, the challenge is to get Cain back on course to be ready to start the season.
“I think I’ll be fine,” Cain told the San Jose Mercury News. “I’ve been able to do rotator cuff and (scapula) work even when I wasn’t throwing every four days, so I’ve been able to keep my arm strength there.”
Bochy said that Cain will probably get a 60-pitch count on his next outing, perhaps with an extra day of rest.
If he pitches on four-days rest now, he could get three more spring starts before opening the season on the fourth game of the season. If the Giants feel that he only needs two more spring starts, then he can open the season in the No. 3 spot of the rotation that he was projected in.
On the flip side, Jeff Suppan did not have a stellar outing. Suppan, facing the Brewers for the third time this spring, gave up six runs (five earned) on four hits and two walks in one inning of work. His spring ERA shot up to 6.30.
It’s the kind of outing that may take Suppan out of the running for the final spot in the bullpen. He’s currently battling Ryan Vogelsong, Guillermo Mota and Dan Runzler for that spot.
Here are the other highlights:
AUBREY HUFF: Huff-Daddy was 3 for 3 with two runs and three RBI, including a home run to raise his spring average to .333.
PABLO SANDOVAL: Hit his third home run of the spring. He went 1 for 3.
BUSTER POSEY: Had a double in 2 ABs. He’s hitting .458.
ANDRES TORRES: Tripled for the second time in as many days. He’s hitting .379 this spring.
The Giants continued their winning ways this spring, improving to 14-4 with wins over the Dodgers and the Rangers.
Against the Dodgers, the Giants got some extra base hits to spark an 8-7 win.
They had back-to-back triples by Andres Torres and Freddy Sanchez to open the game. Then, later, two-run home runs by Cody Ross and Pat Burrell.
Then in the ninth, Giants fans got a little glimpse of the future when three future Giants teamed up to tally two runs for the 8-7 win.
Thomas Neal and Francisco Peguero started the rally with back-to-back singles. After a double-play ball made it look like the rally would be killed, a wild pitch allowed Neal to score the tying run. After Brad Eldred got an infield single, Ehire Adrianza came in to pinch-run. He stole second and scored on Gary Brown’s RBI single.
On Sunday, the bats came out in an 11-8 win over the Texas Rangers.
All you need to know about Sunday’s game is this: Pablo Sandoval had a triple in the game AND a stolen base. AND it was his second stole base of the season. The Panda finished 2 for 3 with two runs and an RBI.
And there were some solid efforts from players battling for roster spots. Nate Schierholtz went 2 for 3 with two runs, two RBI, including his first spring home run. And pitcher Ryan Vogelsong gave up two runs in four innings.
Another spring day, another win for the Giants.
The Giants improved to 12-4 on the spring as Tim Lincecum gave up just one earned run in four innings of work.
Lincecum gave up three runs on four hits, but only one run was earned.
It’s a good news/bad news situation. The Giants committed four errors in the game with Pablo Sandoval getting charged for two.
However, one of those Panda errors was debatable. In the third, Sandoval made a double-saving stop of a liner to third. But his throw to first was in the dirt and Brandon Belt couldn’t dig it out. The Padres PR guy was the game’s official scorer, and he charge Sandoval with an error. As the Mercury-News’s Andrew Baggarly tweeted: “Someone is still bitter about 2010.”
If the play is ruled a hit, then Lincecum would have been charged with two earned runs.
So there’s good and bad.
One indisputable good thing out Friday’s game was that the Giants tagged Padres’ starter Mat Latos with four runs in the first inning. Any time you can shut up Latos — even in spring — it’s a good day.
AARON ROWAND: Batting leadoff again (UGH!), Rowand reached base all three times he came to the plate, going 2 for 2 with one HBP.
PABLO SANDOVAL: The Panda had a single, run and RBI in four ABs.
BRANDON BELT: Belt was 2 for 4 with a double, run and RBI.
It’s only March 10. It’s only March 10. It’s only March 10.
That’s what we keep telling ourselves.
But on March 10, Madison Bumgarner added another outstanding pitching performance to a spring that has been full of outstanding pitching for the Giants.
Bumgarner limited the Cincinnati Reds to one hit in four shutout innings, striking out six in a 7-0 win for the Giants.
“You can’t ask mcuh more than what we saw today,” manager Bruce Bochy told the San Jose Mercury News.
Thursday’s outing added to an impressive spring of pitching by the Giants.
The Giants’ team ERA of 2.80 is the lowest in the majors during spring training. So that’s impressive. But of the next 10 best team ERAs this spring are being thrown in Florida. The next best team ERA from a team training in Arizona, where the air is lighter and livelier, belongs to the Dodgers at 3.98.
And if you just look at the starting pitchers, it gets even better for the Giants. The ERA from the pitchers who started spring training games for the Giants is 1.79. If you take Tim Lincecum’s first start of the spring, in which he gave up three teams in 1 2/3 IP, the starters’ ERA is 1.24.
Add to that the news that Matt Cain reported no issues with his elbow while throwing three innings of simulated game Thursday.
Here are more Thursday highlights:
ANDRES TORRES: Torres went 1 for 3 with a two-ru home run in the third inning.
FREDDY SANCHEZ: Sanchez was 1 for 2 with a home run and a walk.
CODY ROSS: Ross was 1 for 3 and hit the third home run in the third inning for the Giants.
PABLO SANDOVAL: The Panda was 1 for 3 with a double.
PAT BURRELL: The Bat was 2 for 2 with a double and a walk. He’s hitting .250 now for the spring after a slow start.
SANTIAGO CASILLA and SERGIO ROMO: Both threw scoreless innings Thursday. Both have spring ERAs of 0.00.
The results are in, and we proudly announce that ….
MORESPLASHHITS has arrived.
(Or should it be ‘have arrived’?)
According to February Leaders on MLB blogs, MoreSplashHits made the Top 50 for traffic in February. And we ranked at No. 50!!! (How disappointing it would have been if we had come in at No. 51).
Well, it only took 17 months of blogging.
All of us here at MoreSplashHits would like to thank everyone who came to our page in February to put us in the Top 50. And we’re working on bigger and better posts in March in an effort to move up the Top 50. That is, if we can find time for more exciting posts that spring training updates. Our idea box is full. Our time to make them happen is kind of light. But we’ll get there, so stay tuned.
And MoreSplashHits analytic department came up with this interesting statistics.
MoreSplashHits began blogging about the Giants in October 2009, right after the 2009 season completed. So every season in which MoreSplashHits blogs about the Giants, the Giants win the World Series!
It’s true. You can look it up.
Fear not! MoreSplashHits doesn’t plan on stopping the blog posts in 2011.
So, it’s hard to say.
Did Bruce Jenkins’ column motivate Barry Zito?
Has Zito’s spring outings make Jenkins look foolish?
Or is neither above statement true?
Whatever the truth is, MoreSplashHits likes the results.
For a second straight spring outing since Jenkins wrote that Zito’s status with the Giants was on thin ice, the lefty has shined.
In the Giants’ 4-2 win over the White Sox on Wednesday, Zito pitched five scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and one walk. He struck out one. His spring ERA is 2.79.
“Fastball, change-up for the most part,” Zito told the AP of his outing. “I felt significantly better than I’ve felt on the mound during spring training. Things were just smooth. When things are quiet and moving slowly, that’s where success lies.”
Well, Barry, keep things quiet and slow!
Zito was so efficient Wednesday that he didn’t even hit his pitch limit. He came out after five innings because the Giants wanted to get other pitches work. Zito finished his day with 10 pitches in the bullpen.
But again, it’s only March 9. So none of this really matters.But we’re encouraged.
ANDRES TORRES: Torres was 1 for 3 with a double, run scored and RBI.
AUBREY HUFF: Huff-Daddy went 2 for 3 with a home run and two RBI.
BRIAN WILSON: The Beard produced another scoreless inning, although this one was a big dicey. After opening the inning with a strikeout, Wilson gave up back-to-back singles, the second coming on an infield single to SS by Juan Pierre. Buster Posey helped Wilson by throwing out Lastings Milledge trying to steal third. After a walk, Wilson struck out Adam Dunn to end the inning.
JEFF SUPPAN: Suppan pushed his spring scoreless inning streak to eight with two more scoreless innings. Then he gave up back-to-back solo home runs in the ninth before retiring the side.
BUSTER POSEY: Posey went 1 for 2 with a walk and an RBI. His spring average plummeted to .526.
Well, let’s hope we don’t see any of these once the season begins.
The Giants got great pitching, limiting the Mariners to one run on three hits. But they didn’t get much hitting, managing only four hits in a 1-0 loss on Tuesday.
It’s hard to find highlights when all the Giants managed is singles by Darren Ford, Aubrey Huff, Mike Fontenot and a double by Nate Schierholtz.
So highlights are few and far between. But here they are:
RYAN VOGELSONG: Trying to earn the long spot in the bullpen, Vogelsong gave up one run on two hits in 3 2/3 innings. He walked three, but struck out five. His spring ERA is 1.04.
DAN RUNZLER: Runzler, also in the mix as long man, pitched 2 1/3 hitless innings with one walk and one strikeout. His spring ERA is 1.69.
Five months have elapsed since last year’s Fall Classic. But little has changed.
The Texas Rangers still have trouble scoring more than one run off Giants pitcher.
Tommy Hunter still has trouble keeping the Giants off the bases and in the park.
The Giants are still scoring runs with two outs.
Cody Ross is getting clutch hits.
And Pat Burrell is raking.
Whoa! Wait a minute. That last one didn’t happen last fall.
Well, it did happen Monday during the Giants’ 4-1 win over the Rangers. And it’s a good sign that Pat the Bat is ready to get into the mix for the left-field job.
Burrell came into Monday’s game 2 for 17 (.118) in spring training. But he went 2 for 2 with a single and a two-run home run — both to right field.
“My first hits against Texas in two years,” Burrell told the San Jose Mercury News. “Too bad they don’t count.”
Here are more highlights from Monday:
JONATHAN SANCHEZ: Sanchez pitched four innings, giving up one run on two hits. He walked one and struck out five. “Felt pretty good,” he said. “I just worked on my splitter. I had it over the plate.”
CODY ROSS: Ross was 1 for 4 with a two-out, two-run single in the fifth inning. He’s hitting .375 this spring.
PABLO SANDOVAL: The Panda went 1 for 3, ran the bases well in scoring from second on Ross’s hit, and he had a walk.
ANDRES TORRES: Torres continues to work his way back from an oblique injury. He went 1 for 3 with a walk.
JEREMY AFFELDT: Affeldt threw two scoreless innings, with one hit and two strikeouts.
MoreSplashHits is getting caught up after a busy week. The Giants played four games over the weekend, winning three and improving to 8-3 on the spring.
The weekend included the spring debut of The Beard. MoreSplashHits always thought Brian Wilson was a member of the Beach Boys. But looking at The Beard, we’re thinking maybe it was ZZ Top.
Here are highlights from the weekend.
GIANTS 6, MARINERS 1
TIM LINCECUM: The Freak continues to get into regular-season form. He struck out seven in 3 2/3 IPs with no runs, 3 hits and 3 BBs.
BRIAN WILSON: The Beard made its spring debut, striking out two with no hits or walks in one 10-pitch inning.
BUSTER POSEY: Posey had a double, two RBI and a walk in two at-bats. He’s hitting .643 for the spring.
PABLO SANDOVAL: After back-to-back 0-fers, Sandoval went 1 for 3 with an RBI. He’s hitting .333.
TRAVIS ISHIKAWA: Ishikawa went 0 for 3 with three strikeouts. He’s hitting .250 for the spring, but not a good outing.
ATHLETICS 6, GIANTS 0
MADISON BUMGARNER: Bumgarner had a solid start, 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run Bumgarner was unearned as the Giants kicked the ball around, committing four errors on the day.
GIANTS (ss) 7, BREWERS 2
JEFF SUPPAN: Suppan had another outstanding outing, 3 IP, 1 HIT, 0 Ks, 0 BBs. He’s doing what he needs to earn a spot on the roster. One thing to consider: both spring starts came against the Brewers. Let’s see what he can do against another lineup.
BRANDON BELT: Belt went 2 for 4 with 2 RBI, including his first spring HR. The talk continues to be that he’ll open the season in Fresno. How long he remains there will be up to Belt and any need with the big club.
MARK DEROSA: DeRosa continues to have a solid spring, going 1 for 2 with a 2B and 2 RBI.
GIANTS (ss) 5, DODGERS 3
BUSTER POSEY: Posey belted his second spring HR, going 1 for 2.
BARRY ZITO: Just a couple of days after being mixed in controversy stirred by a Chronicle report that his status with the team was on thin ice, Zito had a solid second outing, 3 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 Ks.
Buster Posey is raking, Brian Wilson is dealing, and Matt Cain is chilling.
Those were the headlines out of Giants camp on Thursday as the Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 7-5.
Posey went 2 for 2 with 2 runs and 2 RBI, including a monster home run of the Rockies’ Jorge De La Rosa. The blast to center was said to have traveled at least 450 feet.
“That’s the longest home run I’ve ever given up,” De La Rosa said.
Added Rockies manager Jim Tracy: “It’s safe to say Buster Posey is a pretty good player.”
Thanks for the expert analysis, Jim.
Meanwhile, back at Giants camp, Wilson threw batting practice to Aubrey Huff, Freddy Sanchez, Mark DeRosa and Andres Torres, and handled them with ease.
Said Huff: “I’m starting to question whether he was really hurt.”
Wilson has been slowed by a sore back. Pitching coach Dave Righetti said that if Wilson’s body responds well, the Giants closer will make his spring debut on Sunday against the Mariners.
The next time we’ll see Cain on the mound in unclear. Cain skipped his scheduled start Thursday with elbow inflammation, and now his status for his next start Tuesday is in doubt as he hasn’t picked up a ball since Sunday.
“We’ll have to adjust when he throws next,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Cain seemed less concerned about the whole thing.
“It definitely feels better,” Cain said. “It just happens sometimes. You get a little irritation. I don’t think it has anything to do with last year or anything I changed this year.”
Here are some other highlights from Thursday.
DARREN FORD: Ford is an outfielder who the Giants hope can provide them with some needed speed in the future if he can show he can get on base. He went 2 for 4 with a solo home run in the leadoff spot Thursday.
EMMANUEL BURRISS: Starting at 2B, Burriss went 2 for 3 with a triple, run scored and two RBI. He left with a sore foot after fouling a ball of it. Luckily, it wasn’t the same foot he has twice suffered a fracture in.
RYAN VOGELSONG: Starting in place of Cain, Vogelsong threw three hitless innings with two strikeouts. Bochy sees Vogelsong as a candidate to be a long man in the Giants’ pen.