Results tagged ‘ Miami Marlins ’
Weekend review: Melkman delivers again, but does Melky Cabrera have a future with the San Francisco Giants?
MARLINS 5, GIANTS 2: BOX SCORE
GIANTS 3, MARLINS 2: BOX SCORE
The Giants’ offensive burst over the past couple of weeks slowed down over the weekend, but it still produced a split in Miami thanks to a nice outing by Matt Cain.
Between May 15-25, the Giants had scored four or more runs in 9 of 11 games. Even including this past weekend, the Giants have scored 3 or more runs in their last seven games and in 15 of their past 17 games, dating back to May 12.
So how much of this offensive explosion (if that’s what you want to call it) can be credited to the torrid May of Melky Cabrera.
We saw what an impact Cabrera can have on Sunday, when he went 4 for 4 and scored all three of the Giants’ runs. He had 4 of the Giants’ 7 runs. In fact, only Cabrera, Buster Posey (2 for 4) and Angel Pagan (1 for 2) collected hits. Everyone else pulled an 0-fer.
When he acquired Cabrera in the offseason, Giants GM Brian Sabean said Cabrera was the kind of player the Giants needed. He wasn’t the big power hitter everyone said the Giants needed. But he got hits, had speed and played good defense.
Now when asked what the chances of the Giants signing Cabrera to an extension before next season, Sabean said the “stars would have to align.”
Doesn’t sound too encouraging, does it?
Well, let’s help Sabes align some stars.
After this season, Aubrey Huff’s $10 million-a-season contract comes off the book, so does Freddy Sanchez’s $6 million deal. And let’s not forget the Giants are paying Aaron Rowand $12 million to make appearances on American Roadster. That also is off the ledger in 2013. The Giants were set to pay Brian Wilson $10-$11 million in arbitration next season. But with Wilson’s elbow injury, that won’t happen as the Giants are sure to non-tender The Beard in hopes of re-signing for much, much less.
Those contracts alone will save the Giants more than $34 million come next year (after you factor in buyouts). They’re looking at about six players who would be arbitration-eligible after this season.
They have cost-certainty with the recent extensions of Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner and Pablo Sandoval. Doing the same for BusterPosey may be the next order of business, although the Giants may endure a year of arbitration with their catcher to make sure there are no long-term after-effects from his ankle injury.
Barry Zito’s contract ends in 2013. So does Tim Lincecum’s.
A couple of months ago, the thought of letting Lincecum walk when free agency arrived would be unthinkable to most Giants fans.
It’s not that we don’t think Lincecum will eventually figure out his struggles. It’s just that he has been prone to this lapses over the past couple of years — August 2010, June 2011, NOW.
Then the question becomes whether you want to pay someone prone to these extended funks $25 million a season.
Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com mentioned that with Gary Brown’s struggles in Double-A this season that the Giants may consider extending Angel Pagan a higher priority.
But the Giants have Gregor Blanco … on the cheap. He may be arbitration eligible in 2013, or he might not.
Blanco is having the breakout year similar to Andres Torres in 2010. And Blanco’s pitch selection and ability to get on base lends itself to avoid the tail-off season the free-swinging Torres had in 2011.
So we believe Cabrera is the priority and Pagan the fallback.
While Adam Jones’ recent contract extension may complicate the Cabrera situation for the Giants. But there are other potential free agent outfielders — Michael Bourn, Andre Ethier, Josh Hamilton, Torii Hunter, Carlos Quentin, Ichiro Suzuki, B.J. Upton, Shane Victorino — that could soften the market.
Same story, different game.
Tim Lincecum looked good, very good at times against the Miami Marlins.
His fastball was topping out at 93 mph.
He held the Marlins to one run through five innings.
He successfully managed to work himself out of jams in the first and fifth innings.
But, oh, that blowup inning.
And what makes the blowup inning more frustrating is that is could have been avoided.
Let’s relive Lincecum’s disaster inning this time.
- Omar Infante doubles
- Hanley Ramirez strikes out looking.
- Giancarlo Stanton singles, scoring Infante (first sign of trouble)
- Logan Morrison walks (second sign of trouble)
- Bryan Peterson singles to right, but doesn’t tie game only because the Marlins held up Stanton at third (third sign of trouble)
- John Buck flies out to DEEP center. So deep that all three runnners tag up (fourth sign of trouble)
- Chris Coughlan homers. Marlins lead 6-3. Lincecum is removed from game (time to call the fire truck, even though the house has already burned to the ground).
When asked if he had any second thoughts about going to get Lincecum earlier, manager Bruce Bochy got grumpy.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Bochy said. “Who he’s facing? The bottom of the order? As much as we’ve used the pen? His pitch count was fine. I didn’t struggle at all. If I’ve got to take him out with who he’s facing, we’re hurting.”
Hey, Boch. You’re ace is who is making $21 million is 2-5 with a 6.41 ERA. We think you’re hurting.
To Bochy’s credit, Lincecum did only throw 97 pitches when he was lifted, 60 of them for strikes. And the bottom of the Marlins’ order is hardly tearing it up. But there were some tell-tale signs that Lincecum was heading down the worn-out road to destruction in the sixth.
The hits to Infante (hitting .340) and Stanton (hitting .289) are somewhat excusable. But when he walks Morrison (hitting .224), you have to start wondering.
When he gives up a hit to Peterson (hitting .188), red flags should start going off in your head.
The LOUD sacrifice fly to Buck (hitting .170)? Hello? Even with Lincecum facing Coughlan, hitting .106 at the time, it may have been time to get him.
But he didn’t.
It’s not about Lincecum’s arm right now. It’s as much about his psyche. Getting The Freak right does not involve a start when he’s second-guessing himself.
And that alone should have made Bochy second guess himself.
The Giants turn next to Madison Bumgarner to face Mark Buerhle at 1:10 p.m. Saturday. At least the offense is still producing.
You know that crazy sculpture beyond the center field wall at Marlins Park? Thursday’s game between the Giants and Marlins was kind of like that.
It’s hard to imagine, but at one point Giants fans were just hoping the Giants could push across one run to give Ryan Vogelsong a lead in a 1-1 game.
And that point came in the sixth inning.
With Gregor Blanco on third and one out, it looked like another Giants rally would be snuffed out when Melky Cabrera hit a comebacker to Anibal Sanchez that got Blanco hung out between home and third.
But Marlins catcher Brett Hayes held the ball too long while running Blanco back to third and the speedy outfielder dove back into the bag safe.
A walk to Buster Posey loaded the bases, then Angel Pagan smacked a two-run double. A wild pitch scored Posey and Brandon Belt’s bloop single made a 5-1 game.
But the Giants didn’t stop there. They would three more runs in the seventh, four more in the eighth and two more in the ninth for a 14-7 victory.
“You like to see your offense break out,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “That’s something we haven’t done, especially against this club.”
No doubt. The Giants managed just five runs when they were swept by the Marlins in San Francisco three weeks ago.
But something has happened of late to the Giants offense. Going back a week, the Giants have scored at least four runs in all but one of the last eight games. They’ve scored 7, 8, 4, 2, 4, 6, 5 and now 14 runs.
Just imagine what they can do when Pablo Sandoval gets back.
And, by the way, The Panda tweeted Friday that he hit 50 balls off a tee and took 25 grounders with no pain, a good sign that he may soon be back with the big club.
Well, let’s hope Tim Lincecum doesn’t think he can give up 7 runs in a game and win. The Freak returns to the mound to face Josh Johnson in a 4:10 p.m. game Friday.
Thursday was a dark day for the Giants.
They learned Pablo Sandoval would be on the DL for 4-to-6 weeks. Then followed up with another anemic offensive game, another tight loss to the Miami Marlins.
But rather than pile on what went wrong Thursday, we’ll instead try to shine some rays of hope, knowing that some of these may be stretches.
- Gregor Blanco had a nice game in the leadoff spot. With the Aubrey Huff on the DL and Nate Schierholtz mired in a slump, manager Bruce Bochy put Blanco in the leadoff spot Thursday and responded by going 3 for 3 with a double and walk. He scored both of the Giants’ runs. He also was thrown out stealing on a perfect throw from Brett Hayes.
- The Giants avoided a shutout. They have not been shutout all season and are one of four NL teams who have not been shutout (Reds, Cubs and Diamondbacks).
- The Giants avoided being shutout by Anibal Sanchez at AT&T Park. Sanchez threw shutouts in his only other two starts at AT&T.
- Angel Pagan extended his career-best hitting streak to 17 games.
- Ryan Vogelsong rebounded from a 33-pitch first inning to throw a quality start — 7 IP, 1 ER and 5 Ks. It was the Giants’ 15th quality start of the season.
- The Marlins leave town, having won their last seven games in San Francisco. The Brewers come town Friday. Reigning MVP Ryan Braun is questionable Friday with a sore Achilles.
Tim Lincecum returns to the mound to face Zach Greinke and the Brewers at 7:15 p.m.
On Saturday, Madison Bumgarner takes on Randy Wolf in a 1:05 p.m. FOX game of the week.
On Sunday, Matt Cain faces Shawn Marcum at 1:50 p.m.
Geez, I hate it when the Marlins come to town.
Last season, when the Fish were in town, the Giants lost Buster Posey to a season-ending injury.
On Wednesday, they lost Pablo Sandoval, for a little while at least, maybe longer.
Sandoval left Wednesday game after grounding out in the sixth inning and was said to be in “quite a bit of pain” in his left hand.
Manager Bruce Bochy didn’t say when Sandoval hurt himself. But after looking at Sandoval’s at-bats Wednesday (MLB.TV is cool), the Panda wasn’t showing any signs of discomfort until he swung at a low 89 mph pitch from Carlos Zambrano on a 1-0 count leading off the sixth.
Sandoval appeared to hit the ball of the end of his bat and rolled a grounder to second. Sandoval immediately dropped his head and jogged to first, grimacing as he reached the bag.
A couple of media reports said that Sandoval broke his hamate bone in his right hand swinging a bat on April 29 of last season. But as I recall, the Giants said back then that they didn’t know how or when the injury occurred, saying to could have happened on a slide into the bag.
That injury sidelined Sandoval for six weeks, after requiring surgery.
In this case, Sandoval’s left hand was the top hand on the bat as he batted left handed, so hitting a 89 mph pitch down on the end of the bat would hurt the top hand.
Bochy said he was concerned for Sandoval, who was seen leaving the park with a brace on his left hand.
“Oh, quite a bit, to be honest,” Bochy said of his concern for the Panda. “For him to come out of the game, his hand is pretty sore. There’s a lot of concern there. We know what this guy means to our club and our offense. You hope for the best, that’s all you can do. … We’re hoping we get some good news with this.”
Nothing further will be known until Thursday. If there’s a positive note, it came from CSNBayArea’s Andrew Baggarly, who reported that Sandoval was scene leaving the clubhouse in the direction away from the stadium’s X-ray machine.
If a DL stint is needed, left-handed hitting Conor Gillaspie would be the apparent replacement. Gillaspie is hitting .362 with three home runs and 13 RBI for Triple-A Fresno.
Ryan Vogelsong takes the mound against Anibal Sanchez at 12:45 p.m. Thursday as the Giants try to salvage the final game of the three-game series. I don’t want to be the bearer of bad vibes on this but …. last year on the day after Posey was injured (in an extra inning game, mind), the Giants played a day game against the Marlins and Anibal Sanchez threw a complete game shutout for a 1-0 victory to complete a three-game sweep. Who was the opposing pitcher for the Giants that day? Ryan Vogelsong.
San Francisco Giants were looking for someone to take the blame for Tuesday’s loss to the Marlins.
They looked at first-base umpire Jerry Meals. Meals called Ryan Theriot’s grounder down the first-base line foul when replays appeared to indicate that the ball bounced right over the first-base bag and down into the right-field corner.
But you can’t blame Meals when you can’t guarantee that Theriot would have eventually scored from second with two-out in the ninth.
Matt Cain tried to take the blame — as he often does.
“I made a couple more mistakes than (Ricky Nolasco) did,” Cain said.
No, you didn’t, Matty.
Cain gave up a laser of a home run to left to Giancarlo Stanton.
Nolasco gave up a laser of a home run to right to Pablo Sandoval.
The only difference is the Marlins were able to get a runner home from second with one out, and the Giants weren’t able to get a runner home from third with no outs.
So the question is: Does Bruce Bochy carry some of the blame for the loss?
We all know Bochy likes to play matchups, likes to play the numbers … with his lineups, with his pinch-hitting choice, his double switches.
But maybe he should have looked at the numbers before making decisions in the bottom of the eighth.
Now I know the book says when you have runners at first and third and no outs, with your Nos. 2, 3 and 4 hitters coming up, you let them swing away.
But the numbers says something else.
The Giants came into Tuesday’s game hitting .193 with runners in scoring position. And your No. 2 and No. 4 hitters were part of that problem.
Melky Cabrera (No. 2) is hitting .217 with RISP. Buster Posey (No. 4) is hitting .222. Only Sandoval (.292) has solid numbers in that situation this season. And as it turned out, he never got to hit.
So the question then becomes: Was a squeeze play in order with Cabrera at the plate?
Given the Giants’ troubles in this position, getting that runner home from third was paramount. And the situation was prime for it.
You had speed at third in Gregor Blanco, and a good bunter at the plate in Cabrera.
Cabrera has 35 sacrifice bunts in his career and a 78 percent bunt percentage.
If played right, the Giants could have a 2-2 game with one out, Angel Pagan at second and Sandoval and Posey still to bat.
This wasn’t the fifth inning. It was the bottom of the eighth. We weren’t lucking for a big inning. We were looking for a run, possible two to take the lead.
Instead, the Giants got nothing.
Cabrera bounced a slow chopper to first, with Blanco holding at third and Pagan taking second. One out.
That took the bat out of the hands of Sandoval, who was intentionally walked.
Posey then came up, got ahead of the count, but eventually bounced a custom-made 4-6-3 double play.
Barry Zito faces Carlos Zambrano in the second game of the series at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday. It led Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com to wonder how many times two pitchers with the last name that starts with a Z have faced each other. The answer is four times: Carlos Zambrano vs. Victor Zambrano in 2005, Zito vs. Carlos Zambrano in 2004 and Zito vs. Victor Zambrano in 2003. Also Paul Zahniser of the Red Sox faced Tom Zachary of the Senators in 1925. But there has never been a matchup of two Z’s who make a combined $37 million.