SF Giants Gone to Miami

blach 08.14

I thought the Nationals lineup was slugger-heavy. Turns out they have nothing on the Marlins. The Marlins have hitters up and down their lineup and a couple of sluggers sprinkled in between for good measure.

The Giants have the Giants. We haven’t shown much for the long ball and our hitting can be spotty. Add that to an unusually sub-par outing for our rookie, Ty Blach, and you have the perfect recipe for a Giants loss.

Giants fans know that recipe by heart.

The Marlins scored first Monday evening with a two-run homer from their All∗Star slugger, Giancarlo Stanton, in the bottom of the first. The Giants caught up when Pablo Sandoval led-off the third with a single, Kelby Tomlinson drew a walk and Ty Blach’s textbook sacrafice bunt moved both up a base. Pablo and Kelby scored on Denard Span‘s ground-rule double, tying the score.  Span scored on Hunter Pence‘s single, giving the Giants a one-run lead.

The Marlins continued to add on, but the Giants did not.

The final score was: Giants 3, Marlins 8

Hanging on to #28 by a thread. The White Sox are one thread fray away from overtaking us. And they play the Dodgers Tuesday.

SF Giants Blame it on the Rain

moonshot 08.13

Rain Delays, postponement, rain delays, three games in a day, an MVP jam, extra innings, a walk off grand slam. The Giants lived a lifetime in one weekend. Not even a weekend—a long 24 hours.

I didn’t think the Giants had a chance Saturday night–after waiting hours and hours for a baseball game. Twice.

The Nationals are a hitting bunch. Their lineup is slugger-heavy. Their biggest slugger’s name is mentioned in the same sentence as NL MVP. And then he went down in the first inning trying to leg out a grounder. Bryce Harper hyper-extended his knee. It didn’t look good. Update: word on the street is it’s not career-ending, probably not even season-ending. Good news.

I don’t know if that slowed the National’s progress, but Jeff Samardzija gave us a quality start and the outcome might have been the same without Harper’s injury. The Shark went six innings and gave up three runs, nine hits, one walk and struck out six.

Joe Panik hit a home run in the first for the Giants only run in the game.

Mark Melancon pitched a one-hit scoreless eighth in his first outing since June 27th.

The final score was: Giants 1, Nationals 3

Sunday was such a beautiful day, they said “let’s play two!” And they did.

Chris Stratton pitched Sunday’s first game and I’m not gonna lie to you—the kid was fantabulous. He threw 109 pitches in six and two-third innings of shutout ball. It was his first win as a starter. He allowed ZERO runs, five hits, one walk and he struck out ten. Great game for anyone, but especially a rookie.

Hunter Strickland pitched the eighth inning and when he walked on to the diamond, he was greeted with a sitting BOO-vation. They apparently do not like him in DC. And considering the painful injury Harper suffered Saturday, the Washington fans are probably a little protective of their superstar.  Anyway, Strickland gave up two runs, ruining the rookie’s shutout. I almost booed him myself.

The Giants scored three runs in the second inning–which made all the difference–and one in the eighth.

The final score was: Giants 4, Nationals 2

For the final game on Sunday, Matt Moore was on the mound and he gave us a great game. He kept the Giants in it seven innings, allowing two runs–both were home runs–seven hits, NO walks, while he struck out nine.

Denard Span scored in the fourth–tying the score–on Hunter Pence‘s RBI single. Joe Panik tried to score on it too, you could see it all over his face. Literally. In his attempt to reach home before the throw, he was hit by the ball while simultaneously being smacked in the face by the Nats catcher, who was trying to catch the ball. Off Panik’s face. Ouch.

Pablo Sandoval hit a monster solo home run in the seventh–tying the score again–that hit off the upper deck before dropping back on the field. It’s his first home run since returning to the Giants.

Hunter Strickland pitched the ninth and was greeted with another resounding round of boos. They really don’t like him in DC. At all. But he pitched a scoreless ninth, so we Giants fans think he’s ok.

The game stayed tied until the bottom of the 11th. After striking out the side in the 10th, Albert Suarez was on the mound again for the 11th. He loaded the bases with no outs, then served up a slider to the Nats hitter, who launched over the wall for a walk off grand slam.

The final score was: Giants 2, Nationals 6

I’m going to do my best impression of a soapbox speech, which is tough to do when it’s in writing. But hear me out. I didn’t want Pablo back. I was never a big fan in the first place. I won’t go into all the reasons, but suffice it to say when he left, I was glad to see him go. His bad attitude on the way out the door was like a scoop of yellow snow on a dirt pie. No thanks—not my idea of pie à la mode. So, when I heard he was coming back, my reaction was “no way, not nohow, not ever.”

I’m not gonna lie and say he’s suddenly my favorite player, but I think if he keeps going the way he’s going, he certainly deserves a spot. He’s apologized, he’s donating his salary to the SF Giants Community Fund and he seems to be acting as a mentor to some of the younger players. As my people would say: “he’s making a good act of contrition.”

You know the old saying “you can’t go home again?” There is also one that says, “Home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in.”

I think the Panda is home.

Still holding at #28.

 

SF Giants Win Again and Again

bum panda 08.09

I’m starting to feel about Ty Blach the way we used to feel about Madison Bumgarner. Remember those days? When Bumgarner was on the mound, the “W” was almost automatic. We would still feel that way about a Bumgarner start if the guys would give him some run support.

Blach not only enjoyed a great pitching outing—here’s what his line looked like Tuesday night: two runs, seven hits, one walk and three strike outs in seven innings pitched, but he got plenty of run support. One was self-propelled. That combined with Buster Posey‘s three-run homer in the first and a couple of insurance runs tacked on the back end made sure the Giants came away with the “W”.

And then Wednesday happened. I’m starting to feel about Madison Bumgarner the same way I feel about Ty Blach. We have back-to-back pitchers we can count on. Will they win every time? Probably not, but more often than most. Their combined efforts gave us a win in the series over the world champ Cubs. We’ll take it.

Wednesday’s game was a classic pitching duel. Madison Bumgarner clearly won the duel. He allowed one run–it was a home run, five hits, one walk and he struck out seven in seven innings pitched. There was fire on the mountain alright. He looked like our Ace out there.

The bats brought enough to get the job done, but I think Madison is probably going to take a little ribbing from the rookie, Ty Blach, because of Blach’s three-run homer last week. Bumgarner had an 0 for 2. Hunter Pence hit another long ball today. Maybe they’ll shake off the stink from last season’s last half and this season. As far as I’m concerned they already did. But then, they’ve always smelled like Giants to me–like the smell of an old leather glove and popcorn.

The final score Tuesday was: Giants 6, Cubs 3

The final score Wednesday was: Giants 3, Cubs 1

If you go back and look at the last ten games we won, you’ll see that the line up is generously sprinkled with rookies. I think they are providing the spark. But as for the pitchers,  Jeff Samardzija won three games, Madison Bumgarner won two, and Ty Blach is tied with Bumgarner. He’s the Baby Bum.

Still holding steady at #28.

Toni Cecchetti

9 August 2017

SF Giants less of Moore

ryder 08.07

I feel bad whenever Matt Moore pitches for the Giants lately. Not only for Moore–he can’t find his stuff and there are times when he is simply too painful to watch. But I also feel bad for the Giants fans–especially the ones who pay big buck$ to watch our team play. Although it’s always fun to be at the yard, even if we lose.

Mostly I feel bad because when it is Moore’s turn to pitch, I feel like we’ve lost before the game starts. I don’t like feeling that way, but I guess it’s safe to say I’m over Matt Moore. I would be thrilled to see him stage a come-back.

Moore looks lost. I lost track of the wild pitches he threw Monday night. By the third inning Moore looked so uncomfortable out there he made me wince. He gave up five runs, eight hits, one walk and the good news–seven strike outs. That’s something, isn’t it?

Matt Cain relieved Moore, and although Cain didn’t give up any runs, he made me as nervous as Moore made me. He got into too many jams. He managed to work his way out of them, but the bloom is off the rose on the whole Giants torture thing for me right now. Besides, the torture is ok when we win, because there is a release. But when we lose, it just feels like adding insult to injury.

The Giants bats didn’t join the game until the sixth. Before that, it was the Farmer in the Dell and Jarrett Parker was the cheese. But in the sixth inning it was all about our new (some would say old) rally spark–Pablo Sandoval. He hit a double and our rookie, Ryder Jones, got his first big league, big knock. Nothing better for a batting slump than a two-run homer..

In the seventh inning, Denard Span reached second on a Cubs’ fielding error and scored on Joe Panik‘s single. The Giants weren’t able to score again.

The final score was: Giants 3, Cubs 5

Holding at #28. With a bullet.

SF Giants win again!

parker 08.06

Another day, another win. The wins are coming a little more frequently, aren’t they? Maybe it’s just me. But if you look at our 1st half stats v. our 2nd half stats, there is a slight improvement. Our win percentage for the second half is .435, at the end of the first half it was .378. We are getting better.

Not only that, we split the series with Oakland, and we won the series against the DBacks. I like the way things are starting to look.

Sunday’s game was a great win for Jeff Samardzija. Our starting pitchers aren’t always rewarded for their efforts. It’s nice to see one get a W once in a while.

Samardzija pitched six and a third, allowed three runs, five hits, three walks and struck out three. Just like the old saying goes—”everything comes in threes.

The DBacks scored early, but not often and the Giants easily overtook them with two runs in the second–Jarrett Parker hit a home run with Miguel Gomez on board. Another two runs were scored in the third–Samardzija hit a double, that he clearly thought was a home run, making Ty Blach smirk a little, Gorkys Hernandez reached on an error, Kelby Tomlinson moved them over a base with a sac bunt, and Hunter Pence drove them both home.

The play of the game came in the fifth inning, though, when Gorkys hit a double, tried to stretch it out and got caught in a rundown, but he took a dive over the second baseman who dropped the ball and Gorkys landed safe on second. The DBacks walked Buster Posey and while Hunter was at the plate, Gorkys stole third and Buster stole second. Nick Hundley drove them both home with a ground ball single to our old friend Gregor Blanco in center field.

The final score was: Giants 6, DBacks 3

I think Gorkys new walk up song should be “I’ll Tumble 4 Ya” by Culture Club. Don’t you? Great play.

File this under more good news—Conor Gillaspie cleared waivers and has re-signed a contract for AAA Sacramento, so we’re not losing him after all.

We climbed out of the basement a couple of steps. It will be interesting to see where we ultimately land.

Toni Cecchetti

6 August 2017

SF Giants I’ve been on the DL

kontos 08.05I know Brandon Belt is on the 7-day concussion DL. I wish him a speedy, complete recovery. I’ve been on the DL too. I feel like I’ve been on the DL more than Angel Pagan on a bad year.

Other roster moves lately have me feeling a little melancholy—I’ve always liked George Kontos, but let’s face it, he hasn’t been at the top of his game lately. I still hate to see him go. I’m going to miss Conor Gillaspie, he’s been clutch for us when we needed him and I get that we have Pablo Sandoval back, but I think Conor earned his spot. I was sorry to see Rae-gyun Hwang go back to Sacramento, but he hasn’t come up with much lately either. Maybe another time.

Before Saturday’s game, the Giants celebrated the 1997 Giants team, who went from worst in 1996 to first in 1997. It can be done. Just keep the faith.

Saturday evening the Panda disproved the old “you can’t go home again” theory. He was welcomed with cheers, applause, and a modicum of boos, but he came through when we needed it the most.

Chris Stratton pitched for the Giants and he had a decent outing. He pitched five innings and allowed three runs–two earned–five hits, four walks and he struck out four. Not bad for a rookie, right?

The Giants spent six innings spinning their bats before getting them to count. In fact, in the third inning, the Giants had two runners in scoring position with ZERO outs, and couldn’t bring either one in. After six innings, the Giants were in a shutout, down four runs.

The seventh inning was a different story. The Panda led off the inning with a double and was followed by Jarrett Parker, who hit a double scoring Pablo. Hunter Pence was next up and he hit a home run scoring Jarrett too.

Kelby Tomlinson led off the eighth with a single, Brandon Crawford followed up with a single driving Kelby to third and Kelby scored when Buster Posey hit into a double play, tying the score.

You know what that means? Free baseball! Extra innings. But not too many. Denard Span led off the tenth with a double, Kelby drew a walk, BCraw hit into a double play advancing Denard to third and Parker hit a single for the walk off win. Easy peasy.

The final score was: Giants 5, DBacks 4

Going with the theme “everything old is new again” maybe we should give a shout out to Tim Lincecum, Jake Peavy, Angel Pagan, Joaquin Arias, and anyone else who isn’t playing right now. They can join their old pal, Pablo. Let’s get the band back together. You have to admit, they played pretty good music.

Toni Cecchetti

5 August 2017

SF Giants surprise!

hundley 08.01I can’t say it’s completely unbelievable, but when was the last time the Giants put up a five-run inning before Jeff Samardzija even threw the ball?

The Giants came out swinging, scoring five runs in the first inning. The first three runs were Giants-style, moving the line along. Gorkys Hernandez led-off with a double and Kelby Tomlinson followed with a single, scoring Gorkys. Brandon Belt reached on an error and Buster Posey hit a single scoring Kelby. Brandon Crawford reached on a fielder’s choice that knocked Buster out of the running, but scored Belt. That’s when Nick Hundley stepped up as DH and knocked one out of the park.

Belt doubled in the second inning and scored on Buster’s double. Belt added to the score again in the fourth with a solo home run. Kelby tripled to lead off the sixth, Buster drew a walk and Hunter Pence‘s round tripper scored them all.

It’s an embarrassment of riches and a nice surprise. Giants fans will gladly take it.

Jeff Samardzija did a good job taking the team all the way through the eighth. We need to count on our pitchers who can pitch. Giving manager Bruce Bochy the option to sit most of the bullpen.  Samardzija gave up four runs—one was a home run and three were earned runs, six hits, and two walks, but he struck out five. With the nice cushion provided by the offense, he never let the A’s get too close.

The final score was: Giants 10, Oakland 4

Helluva game. I’ve seen these guys before. They look familiar, but it’s been about a year, so I could be wrong.

The Phillies reclaimed the basement. And the White Sox are heading our way. For now.

Toni Cecchetti

1 August 2017