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
We’ve been busy here at MoreSplashHits over the past two weeks, so we haven’t been blogging much.
But the last time we posted on the blog we discussed options to replace Ryan Vogelsong in the rotation.
For those of you missed it, our conclusion was Chad Gaudin was the best option.
Bruce Bochy decided to go with Mike Kickham in his major league debut last Tuesday against the A’s.
And as you’ll recall, it didn’t go so well. And that shouldn’t be a big surprise. Making the adjustment from Triple-A to the big leagues is not easy for pitchers.
Mistakes become home runs in the big leagues. That isn’t always the case in the minors. In the minors, you’ll see more hitters who will help you out of a jam than in the bigs.
Those two lessons were taught to Kickham in his start on Tuesday, and they were the reasons he could not make it out of the third inning. After his one start, Kickham was sent back to Triple-A and he’ ll make a start for Fresno on Monday. It’s worth keeping an eye on him. We think he’ll be back with the big club soon as the need arises.
After Kickham exited on Tuesday, who came in to carry the pitching load? Chad Gaudin.
While Gaudin hadn’t started a game since 2008, his work in the bullpen this season in long relief made him seem like the best option. The Giants have a lot of good relievers in Fresno, and it seemed like the best move to start Gaudin and call up someone from Fresno to fill his void in the bullpen.
The Giants went with their Plan A (Kickham) and it didn’t work. They went with Plan B (Gaudin) on Sunday, and it did work.
No surprise to us.
Gaudin pitched six solid innings, giving up only a two-run home run to David Freese in the fourth inning, in a 4-2 win over the Cardinals.
Sunday’s performance earned Gauin another start on Sunday against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It’s a decision that’s a little odd, since the Giants have three days off over the next eight days, meaning the Giants don’t need a No. 5 starter until June 15.
By pitching him on Sunday, it seems that Bochy intends to throw Gaudin in the No. 5 spot all month. On June 11, the Giants begin a stretch in which they play 16 games in 16 days, a stretch in which Gaudin would make three starts.
So while we like the Giants’ decision to go with Gaudin in the rotation, we question the decision to not use the off days to skip his spot in the rotation.
Hopefully that decision won’t come back to bite Bochy, too.
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.