Results tagged ‘ San Francisco Giants ’

San Francisco Giants player of the week (Week 6): Marco Scutaro

San Francisco Giants' Marco Scutaro, left,  tags out Atlanta Braves' Jordan Schafer on a steal attempt during the third inning of a baseball game, Friday, May 10, 2013 in San Francisco.  (AP Photo/George Nikitin)

San Francisco Giants’ Marco Scutaro, left, tags out Atlanta Braves’ Jordan Schafer on a steal attempt during the third inning of a baseball game, Friday, May 10, 2013 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)

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.

Giants 5, Braves 1: Celebrating another Splash Hit

San Francisco Giants' Pablo Sandoval (48) hits a solo home run against Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kris Medlen (54) during the third inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Sunday, May 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

San Francisco Giants’ Pablo Sandoval (48) hits a solo home run against Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Kris Medlen (54) during the third inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Sunday, May 12, 2013. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

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.

Pablo Sandoval delivered the first Splash Hits of 2013 and the 63rd in the history of AT&T Park when he took Kris Medlen deep in the third inning. Watch here:

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.

  1. Barry Bonds 35
  2. Pablo Sandoval 7
  3. 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.

Giants 8, Braves 2: This time Giants get the big inning when Matt Cain pitches

San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain hits an RBI single against the  Atlanta Braves during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Friday, May 10, 2013 in San Francisco.  (AP Photo/George Nikitin)

San Francisco Giants pitcher Matt Cain hits an RBI single against the Atlanta Braves during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Friday, May 10, 2013 in San Francisco. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)

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.

San Francisco Giants Friday Farm Report: Justin Fitzgerald promoted to Fresno

Justin Fitzgerald

Justin Fitzgerald

For San Francisco Giants fans looking for some help in the form of starting pitching, the Giants on Friday moved up one of their better arms this season up the organizational chain on Friday.

Justin Fitzgerald was promoted from Double-A Richmond to Triple-A Fresno on Friday and will make his Triple-A debut on Friday night. Reliever Mitch Lively was placed on the disabled list.

Fitzgerald threw seven solid innings, giving up no earned runs or walks against Trenton on Sunday for the Flying Squirrels. He is 3-0 with a 1.09 ERA and 41 Ks and 8 BBs in 33 innings at Richmond.

Drafted in the 11th round of the 2008 draft out of UC Davis, Fitzgerald, 27, started his third season for Richmond this year. He went 9-9 with a 3.51 ERA in 2011 and 7-8 with 3.22 ERA in 2012.

It’s unclear if Fitzgerald will bump one of the Grizzlies’ starting pitchers from the rotation. Right now, the rotation consists of Chris Heston, Mike Kickham (both teammates of Fitzgerald at Richmond last season), Yusmeiro Petit, Boof Bonser and Shane Loux.

Or could it be that the Giants are considering giving one of the other Fresno starters a call-up in the wake of Ryan Vogelsong’s struggles?

Fresno (AAA)

  • 2B TONY ABREU: Abreu opened his rehab stint with the Grizzlies last Friday, but played just two games, and has not played since Sunday. So it appears his leg issues are not behind him.
  • C HECTOR SANCHEZ: Sanchez got sent down this week to find his swing. He hasn’t found it yet in his first three games. He’s 2 for 11.
  • OF GARY BROWN: Signs of life from the former first-rounder. Brown has collected a hit in 7 of his last 8 games, but he’s still striking out WAY to much — 15 Ks against 2 walks in his last 10 games.
  • RP HEATH HEMBREE: Hembree picked up two more saves this week. He’s 1-0 with 2.25 ERA with 9 saves. He has 16 K and 4 BB in 16 innings this season.

Richmond (AA)

  • C ANDREW SUSAC: The catcher continues to have a solid season, hitting .307 with a .408 OBP and 4 HRs, 15 RBI.
  • SS JOE PANIK: After a slow start, Panik continues to swing a solid bat, .307 AVG, .380 OBP with 16 BB to 12 K in 125 ABs.

San Jose (high A)

  • OF MAC WILLIAMSON: We haven’t seen the power from Williamson. It appears he’s focusing on making better contact. He’s hitting .368 with .415 OBP over the past 10 games, but only one home run.
  • RP JOSH OSICH and HUNTER STRICKLAND: San Jose has been using a two-man closing team, and it’s been working. Osich is 1-0 with 1.06 ERA and four saves. He has 21 K and 3 BB in 17 IP. Strickland is 1-0 with 1.29 ERA and four saves, with 11 Ks and 3 BB in 14 IP.
  • SP CHRIS MARLOWE: Marlowe had two solid outings in the past week, giving up two earned runs in 11 IP. He’s 2-0 with 1.69 ERA. He has 22 K and 14 BB in 32 IP, but he’s only walked four in his last four outings (23 IP).
  • SP TYLER BLACH: The fifth-round pick out of Creighton in the 2012 draft is off to a very nice start in San Jose. He’s 4-1 with 1.87 ERA, 24 K, 3 BB in 33.2 innings.
  • 2B RYAN CAVAN: Cavan is riding a 17-game hitting streak during which he is hitting .389 (28 for 72) with nine RBI. He leads the California League in hitting (.363), hits (49) and is tied for the lead in doubles (12). He has 17 multi-hit games this season, and he’s the toughest hitter in the league to strike out (one whiff every 12.3 at bats).

Augusta (low A)

  • SP CHRIS STRATTON: The 2012 first-round pick picked up his third win on Thursday, pitching 7 IP with 3 ER, 1 BB and 6 K. He’s 3-2 with a 3.03 ERA and 42 K against 12 BB in 35.2 IP.
  • SP MARTIN AGOTA: Agosta struck out 10 batters in 5.1 innings on Monday. He’s 4-1 with 2.01 ERA and 45 K and 13 BB in 31.1 innings.

Braves 6, Giants 3: Considering the options on Ryan Vogelsong

San Francisco Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong throws to the Atlanta Braves during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, May 9, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)

San Francisco Giants pitcher Ryan Vogelsong throws to the Atlanta Braves during the first inning of a baseball game, Thursday, May 9, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)

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.

Split IP ER ERA AB R H 2B 3B HR
1st inning 7.0 4 5.14 28 4 8 0 0 1
2nd inning 7.0 4 5.14 28 5 7 0 0 2
3rd inning 7.0 5 6.43 29 5 8 1 0 2
4th inning 7.0 3 3.86 27 3 7 1 0 2
5th inning 6.0 16 24.00 32 12 16 3 3 1
6th inning 3.1 2 5.40 14 2 5 0 0 1
7th inning 2.0 0 0.00 6 0 2 0 0 0
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/10/2013.

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.

Giants 4, Phillies 3, 10 inn.: Torres’ hit stops quirky streak of streaks

San Francisco Giants' Andres Torres drives in the winning run with a single against the Philadelphia Phillies in the 10th inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, May 8, 2013, in San Francisco. San Francisco won 4-3. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

San Francisco Giants’ Andres Torres drives in the winning run with a single against the Philadelphia Phillies in the 10th inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, May 8, 2013, in San Francisco. San Francisco won 4-3. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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.

Phillies 6, Giants 2: You gotta love Hunter Pence

Hunter Pence

Hunter Pence

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.”

Pence added that he may tried to hard to produce in the absense of injured stars like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Roy Halladay.

“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.

His high RBI numbers were more about opportunity as Giants ahead of him in the order, particularly Marco Scutaro and Buster Posey, provided him with RBI chances.

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?

Phillies 6, Giants 2: Cliff Lee stymies every Giant except Hunter Pence

Philadelphia Phillies' Cliff Lee, left, walks back to the mound after giving up a home run to San Francisco Giants' Hunter Pence, right, in the second inning of a baseball game Monday, May 6, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Philadelphia Phillies’ Cliff Lee, left, walks back to the mound after giving up a home run to San Francisco Giants’ Hunter Pence, right, in the second inning of a baseball game Monday, May 6, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

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.

San Francisco Giants Week 6 preview: vs. Phillies, vs. Braves

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 phillies2-2, 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.

bravesGiants 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.

Giants 4, Dodgers 3: Is Matt Cain back or do the Dodgers just stink that bad?

San Francisco Giants' Matt Cain tips his cap to fans as he leaves the baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the eighth inning, Sunday, May 5, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

San Francisco Giants’ Matt Cain tips his cap to fans as he leaves the baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the eighth inning, Sunday, May 5, 2013, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

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

Rk Gcar Gtm Date Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec DR IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA Entered Exited
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
May Tm Opp Rslt Inngs Dec DR IP H R ER BB SO HR HBP ERA Entered Exited
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
SFG 42.0 40 27 26 13 36 9 2 5.57
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/6/2013.
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