Wood Embattled Early; Manny Machado Goes Four for Four with Three Doubles and a Triple; Padres Pulverize and Sweep Giants at Oracle to Establish Superiority

The Padres looked a little better than the Giants in every aspect of the game and a lot better at batting. All weekend, their starting pitching was better, their batting was much better, their relievers were better, their fielding was better and their base-running was better.

The first two games were close,(Giants 7, Padres 8 and Giants 1, Padres 2) but the Padres never seemed threatened. Even when they blew the lead Friday night twice it didn’t feel like they couldn’t come back. They have a stacked, confident line-up that damaged Tyler Rodgers and Camilo Doval, among the best of our ‘pen, for two runs each, as required. The Padres bats started game three on Sunday smoking hot.

Alex Wood had six Padres in scoring position in the first two innings Sunday but limited the damage to two runs. Manny Machado doubled, scored and walked. Austin Nola doubled. Jake Cronenworth had a sac fly RBI. Padres 2, Giants 0.

Wood was uneven. The Pads jumped on his sinker and the slider, but he struck out three to keep his start in check. Alex remained uneven to start the third. Wood gave up a single to Eric Hosmer, but then struck out Will Myers. He then induced a pop-up foul out by Luke Voit and a fly out to center by Ha-Seong Kim to end the top of the inning

Meanwhile, MacKenzie Gore cruised through the first two innings, giving up just one hit that he erased with a double-play. He struck out Wilmer Flores in the first and Joey Bart and Luis Gonzalez to close out the third.

Alex Wood walked Nola and then gave up a single to Jose Azocar to start the fourth with two on and nobody out, again. sigh. He fell behind Cronenworth 2-0, but battled it back to a 2-2 count before giving up a massive splash hit foul ball, followed by a hard hit single to right that scored Nola and sent Azocar to third. Wood left in the fourth with nobody out, three earned runs in, and runners in the corners for whom he was responsible. Padres 3, Giants 0.

Manny Machado then doubled in Wood’s other two earned runs off John Brebbia, when Darin Ruf dived for his fast-sinking liner to left and missed. The ball trickled under his outstretched glove allowing Cronenworth to score from first as Manny took second with nobody out. Padres 5, Giants 0.

Brebbia got Jurickson Profar to ground out to third, but then a Hosmer grounder up the first base line was mishandled by Wilmer Flores, who just couldn’t get ahold of it securely as he stumbled down the line and past the bag. The error allowed Machado to take third. Will Myers than smashed a ground rule double that bounced over the cars to left to bring them in and give Brebbia two earned runs of his own.

Brebbia then walked Voit and had a mound visit from pitching coach Andrew Bailey which perhaps helped him pop-up Kim to the infield for the second out and struck out Nola to finally end the top of the fourth, an ugly experience. Padres 7, Giants 0.

Darin Ruf walked and Mike Yastrzemski doubled to give the Giants runners on second and third with no outs. They only managed to plate one run off a Wilmer Flores sacrifice fly. Padres 7, Giants 1.

Zach Littell came in to pitch the fifth and picked up two quick outs, but then Manny Machado hit a two-out triple to deep right-center and Profar doubled him home. Machado was three for three with two doubles and a triple, with two rbi and having scored three runs. Littell got Hosmer to ground out for the last out, Padres 8, Giants 1.

Thairo Estrada singled and got to second on a wild pitch to start the bottom of the fifth, but the Giants stranded him. MacKenzie Gore struck out Joc Pederson to end the inning. The Padres kept up the hit parade in the sixth. Myers singled, Voit singled on another ball that was tantilizingly close to Darin Ruf’s outstretched glove. Kim doubled to deep left scoring Myers. Azocar sacrificed Voit in on a grounder. Padres 10, Giants 1.

MacKenzie Gore threw a three-up, three-down sixth to end his day. Gore had six strikeouts and gave up just three hits and a run on 90 pitches through six. He was brilliant. Manny Machado doubled again in the seventh. He was four for four with three doubles and a triple. sick. He had an extra base hit off every pitcher in the game to that point. Mauricio Llovera managed to keep him from reaching home.

Craig Stammen threw a perfect scoreless seventh for the Padres on ten pitches. Then Luis Gonzalez pitched for the Giants again and he had a perfect, scoreless eighth on just five pitches, none of which exceeded 50 mph! Giants right fielder Luis Gonzalez has now pitched two and a third innings in relief and given up just one hit.

The last time Luis pitched he turned around and hit a homer (off Albert Pujols) in the next inning and today after pitching in the top half of the eighth, he had base hit to lead off the bottom of the frame. Luis likes batting after pitching. Drin Ruf drew another walk. Unfortunately the Giants stranded them both, as newest Giants catcher Mike Papierski struck out swinging to end the inning.

Luis Gonzalez went back out for the ninth, and again, throwing no pitches that exceeded 50mph, he got an out and gave up a deep double to Cronenwrth and induced two ground outs. Gonzalez went two innings and gave up just one hit. His fastest pitch was 50 mph. Both the games in which Luis Gonzalez pitched were laughers in which the Giants were down by nine runs. But it begs the question why are we in this situation?

Steven Wilson came in for the Padres and got the save three-up, three-down on eleven pitches.

Final: Padres 10, Giants 1

Swept by the Pads at home, this was an ugly series. We got beat in a gut-wrencher, in a pitching duel and finally in a blow-out. The San Diego Padres are better than the San Francisco Giants right now and it isn’t that close. It doesn’t get easier – the Mets come to town next. I will be there Wednesday for the day game.

Rest up Giants, lick your wounds and shake it off.

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Papierski Debuts Replacing Concussed Casali; Belt Scratched, Wade, Jr, Out; Giants Lose Two to Padres

Mike Papierski is the latest sudden inclusion in the ever-shifting personnel of the Kapler/Zaidi system. The 25-year-old catcher came over to the Giants a week ago in the trade with the Houston Astros for Mauricio Dubón. Curt Casali took a foul tip to the mask in Friday night’s game, Joey Bart had to suit up quickly and cold to replace him. Kapler and staff went with the rookie Papierski to start Saturday instead of Bart.

I like it. What’s the point of carrying three catchers if they don’t all get time during the regular season? And, as I have written here many times, I absolutely approve of carrying three catchers in the postseason. Papierski is 25 and has significant minor league experience, but it was yet another example of Kapler throwing newbs into the deep end. Kapler expects guys to perform, he doesn’t make excuses for the circumstance.

Papierski was good catching Carlos Rodón on Saturday and while it was John Shea who covered the Casali concussion, the newest Giants catcher brought a former Chron beat writer, Henry Schulman, out of the woodwork. Hank’s piece on Papierski’s debut is the best. You should definitely check it out. It includes this gem:

“A week earlier he was a Sugar Land Space Cowboy in the Pacific Coast League. Now he was squatting before tens of thousands of fans, getting an up-close view of the National League’s best hitter, Manny Machado, slamming a top-of-the-zone, 99 mph Rodón fastball 425 feet for his eighth home run, a solo in the third inning.”

Besides Casali being gone for 7-day concussion protocol, LaMonte Wade, Jr. was put on the ten day IL with ankle inflammation on Friday. Brandon Belt was scratched from Saturday’s start as well, which left the Giants without much power against Joe Musgrove, who mowed em down scoreless for seven innings. They fell Giants 1, Padres 2. The guys lost the opener of the series in a gut-wrencher Giants 7, Padres 8. The season series is now tied 3 – 3.

Luke Williams DFA’d

The Giants have a week to trade Luke Williams or waive him. He was designated for assignment to make room for Papierski. MLBTR says: “Acquired from the Phillies in March, Williams has played eight games and hit .250/.250/.333, 67 wRC+, though he’s hit much better in ten Triple-A games.” He has value. It could be that we see a Farhan Zaidi deal and another new Giant soon.

Lets go Giants! Beat the Pads!

Alex Wood (3-2, 3.93 ERA, 35 K) is on the mound for the Giants today. He goes against lefty MacKenzie Gore (2-1, 2.17 ERA, 32 K)

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Who is Jake Junis? They Call him June Bug, and We Need Him All of June

With Disco on the 60-day DL and not due back until late June, the Giants now turn to 29-year-old, former Kansas City Royal, Jakob Benjamin Lee Junis, born and raised in Illinois, where he played baseball and basketball very well. In high school, he committed to play college baseball at North Carolina State University as an infielder and a pitcher. His wiki states, “though he was rated as a fourth round pick he fell to the 29th round because of his scholarship to North Carolina State.” Instead of attending college, Jake signed with the Royals for a $675,000 signing bonus.

He joined the Royals organization in 2011, made his professional debut with their Burlington affiliate in 2012 and his major league debut in 2017. After five years of up-and-downing him between the minors and major league club, the Royals outrighted him in November of last year and Junis elected free agency. Farhan Zaidi picked him up for the Giants on a one year, $1.75m deal.

Six months later, his former KC Royals fanbase calls Jake Junis their best pitcher, except: “There’s just one problem with this. Jake Junis does not pitch for the Royals, who had the chance to keep him in the offseason for relative peanuts. Instead, they chose to release him. The San Francisco Giants are now reaping the benefits of Junis’ revitalization.” Here’s Jake’s baseball-ref page.

The Giants started the season using Junis as long-relief, a middle innings eater, in a bullpen game. It was the Saturday game of the series against the Nats in the District. Gabe Kapler opened the game with Sammy Long for two innings and he was sharp, holding the Nationals scoreless on two hits. Kap then turned it over to Jakob Junis, who went five scoreless wth four K’s, giving up only three hits. It was his first win as a Giant.

Junis then followed Sammy Long in a bullpen game again, this time against the Athletics, at our yard. Unfortunately, in the first, Long gave up what would prove to be the game’s only run, but Jakob Junis was very strong over four scoreless innings in relief, in the 0 -1 loss.

The Giants stats page says Jakob Junis’ nickname is “June Bug.” In his first start, at home against the Cardinals, June Bug did not disappoint:

PITCHERIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Junis5.032225179-521.20
source: ESPN

The Giants won and Jake got a no-decision, but a week later in St. Louis, Jake fell to the Cardinals and took his first loss of the season. He gave up six hits and just two earned runs, but the Giants were unable to support him and John Brebbia and the bullpen fell apart in the 0 – 4 loss. It wasn’t all Jake’s fault.

So Jake is (1-1) as a starter with a 1.74 ERA, and has seen significant action as a middle reliever in which he has performed very well. Here’s his fangraphs page for more stats. He will start today at the yard against the Padres for his first taste of NL West rivalry action. The Padres start Sean Manaea.

Let’s go Giants!

Roll the Friars!

Beat the Pads!

Start the sweep.

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GBC Reader 22-1: First Giants Baseball Corner Reader of 2022 Season

Greetings and welcome to GBC Reader number one for the season. The GBC Readers are this site’s compendium of contemporaneously relevant links by others covering the Giants at any given point in the season. The category “GBC Readers” includes them in reverse chrono so you can always search them easily this way.

The first GBC Reader of this season starts with that interesting piece by Mike Petriello a couple of weeks ago about Carlos Rodón’s four-seamer. It was a shame Rodón struggled on the ESPN Sunday night game, because this piece describes why his four-seam fastball is one of baseball’s most dominant pitches,

Staying with pitching, Nick San Miguel over at Around the Foghorn ruminates on whether or not Camilo Doval can fall into the role of closer. Personally, I’m not sure we have “a closer” anymore. I think our new scheme, which is based so heavily on in-game management, results in a platoon of closers. I don’t know if cultivating one guy to endure the pressure or a group of guys is better, but there it is. I’d love it if Camilo Doval could become our Mariano Rivera.

Oh Snap! That’s it – “in-game management” – is the term I have been looking for to describe the new scheme. The Kapler system is often hard to comprehend because it is designed for real-time, in-game management based on contemporaneous circumstances such as opponent and schedule. These are in-game management decisions that predicate having a bunch of lefties on the bench to face a bullpen or having guys who can move around the diamond during the game to take advantage of matchups.

I have been thunking about DeSclafani a lot. I was hard on him before his departure. I was already asking for Cobb to be moved up to third starter before Disco was sent to the IL with ankle inflammation. But I was reading about his move to the 60-day IL in the Injuries and Moves Report by Maria Guardado who reports:

“DeSclafani received an MRI and saw an ankle specialist, Dr. Robert Anderson, on April 25 in Green Bay. As suspected, he has some inflammation in his right ankle but no structural damage. The Giants transferred DeSclafani to the 60-day injured list on May 16, as they wanted to give the 32-year-old veteran a “long, slow ramp,” according to manager Gabe Kapler. DeSclafani, who signed a three-year, $36 million deal over the offseason, won’t be eligible to return until June 21 at the earliest.”

And I began to re-think my feelings about Disco. He’s a project, a piece in the larger scheme. My complaints about what he has failed to do as a starter against the Dodgers or Mets are immaterial if we don’t use him against the Dodgers or Mets. I realized that the three year investment represents a commitment to get Anthony DeSclafani healthy and in a position to be a winner. I wish him all the best during recovery and look forward to one of his solid starts as a Giant, hopefully right before the All-Star break.

Just as I struggle with how the new system seems to have no real rotation, I also struggle with the fact there is no consistent lineup. Added to covid-related and injury adjustments is the intense flexibility and multi-purpose thinking of the Zaidi/Kapler scheme. Lineups change nightly to fit the circumstance.

In the final link of the first GBC Reader of the season, Alex Pavlovic writes about the startling success of the bottom third of the Giants’ lineup in Colorado in the context of the ever-changing schemes.

All right that’s it for the first GBC Reader of the year. Happy off-day.

chill out.

rest up.

then let’s go beat the Pads!

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Giants Win Series 2 -1 in Colorado But Rare Implosion by Alvarez Costs Webb Victory and Giants Sweep

Jose Alvarez was very good last year and has been good this year as well. In his first ten appearances he gave up only one hit and one earned run – against the Padres. It was an insurance run added on to a 4 – 2 Pads victory. Then, back on May 5th against St. Louis, Alvarez got blown up by the Cardinals, who in a third of an inning had three hits and two earned runs off Jose in a 7 – 1 Cards win.

That was exactly his line last night in Colorado: 0.1 IP, 3 H, 2 ER in the eighth. Last night it was the most costly as Jose Alvarez took the loss. It was a tight game until then. Logan Webb went six strong innings and the Giants had given Webb “just enough runs” and held a 3 -2 lead. It was a rough night for Jose that cost us the game.

Rockies 5, Giants 3

Is there something the Rockies learned from the Cardinals about him? Someone should investigate the two games more closely for his appearances – May 5th and 18th – and see if they have something in common.

The Giants went 3 – 3 on the short road trip to St. Louis and Colorado and remain in third place in the NL West with an overall record of 22 – 15.

The Padres and Mets are coming to town, but today is an off day, so …

Rest up, Giants! Do your laundry, read a novel, hang out with the wife and kids.

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Stay Up, Swan, Mind Your Delivery and Work with Staff on Maintenance to Avoid Blisters and Muscle Pulls

Alex “Swan” Cobb is 34 years old and has been in the majors since 2011, when he started for the Tampa Bay Rays, who had drafted him five years earlier. However he missed all of the ’15, ’16 and most of the ’19 season. He did play the full 60-game Irregular Season of ’20. (Details of his career to date continue below).

Swan opened this season with an excellent start for the Giants then endured an adductor strain in New York against the Mets, that made him basically worthless against the Nats. I was worried that we had a 34-year-old, injury-prone guy that we’ve paid $20 million for two years. But he was good in that close loss against the Cardinals in St. Louis and he was very good right in front of my eyes against the Rockies.

What happened yesterday in Colorado to Alex Cobb was a shame, because despite being very good for five innings, the sixth at altitude ballooned his ERA. I found it cool that Gabe Kapler said promptly after the game that it was on him, that he “probably should have” pulled Swan a few batters sooner. I am glad Cobb got the win and that he acknowledged Kap being a player’s coach, and protecting his guys. Giants 10, Rockies 7.

At this point, I trust Alex Cobb about as much as I do Alex Wood – the Alexes are excellent twice through the order and can give you five, but the leash should be shorter starting with the third time through the order. Actually, that phrase “short leash,” doesn’t suffice in our system – the point is, like everything with Kapler/Zaidi-ball, if they can go six, or even seven because of match-up or skill set that day, cool, but we are prepared to use our greater flexibility with the bullpen earlier in starts by the Alexes.

The bigger concern is keeping Swan out there. Cobb has been beset by injuries, yet his strike rate, skill set and will to win remain intact. Here’s a summary of the path our newest starter has taken:

Early in the 2013 season, his best statistically, Alex Cobb was drilled in the head by a comeback line drive and taken off the field on a stretcher with a concussion. He not only returned to play in that same season, he went 8 – 3 over 15 starts and played in two postseason games. He earned a win for the Rays in the American League Wild Card game over the Cleveland Indians, and started game three of the American League Division Series against the Boston Red Sox.

He went a respectable 10 – 9 over 27 starts for Tampa Bay in 2014 with a 2.87 ERA, but when he was supposed to be the Opening Day pitcher for the Rays in 2015, he couldn’t because he had tendinitis. Then it was revealed he had a partial UCL tear, and finally that he would undergo Tommy John surgery – which effectively took him out of all of 2015 and most of the 2016 campaign.

In 2017 Alex Cobb carried his heaviest load, going 12 – 10 over 29 starts with a 3.66 ERA. He had changed his mechanics and appeared back from TJ, with a skill set intact. The Rays parted ways with Cobb as he signed a lucrative four-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles in 2018, but he went just 5 – 15 in 28 starts with a 4.90 ERA. I am wont to blame the Orioles organization, not Cobb. Late in September, he ended the season on the injured list with an aggravated blister.

In March, 2019, still with the Orioles, Cobb again missed what was to be his Opening Day start. A week later, he was placed on the 10-day disabled list with a right groin strain to start the season, then on the disabled list for a third time on April 28 with a lumbar strain. He was transferred to the 60-day disabled list in May, and in June, it was revealed Cobb needed to undergo hip surgery, and he was ruled out for the rest of the season. He did return for the Orioles in the Irregular Season (2020) making 10 starts in the 60-game, Covid-shortened tourney, and going 2 – 5, with a 4.30 ERA.

The 2021 season found Alex Cobb with the Los Angeles Angels seeking a new start on the west coast, after he was traded to the Angels for second baseman Jahmai Jones. (The Orioles also agreed to pay over half of the remaining $15 million on Cobb’s salary). Cobb had stints on the injured list for blisters and right wrist inflammation, but he went 8 – 3 over 18 starts, with a 3.76 ERA.

As a San Francisco Giant, Alex Cobb is currently 3 – 1 over six starts with a deceptively high 5.61 ERA. He has 32 strikeouts over 25.2 innings and a 1.519 WHIP.

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Giants Bounce Back at Altitude as Casali Homers Twice and Yaz Smashes Game Winner in Ninth; Doval Closes Out Rox for Sixth Save

This was a good game against an inferior team in which we stayed aggressive on the road. This was a bullpen game for the Rockies, and they used seven pitchers. If we had lost I’d have been enraged, because we were scoring runs and took the lead early in this one only to allow the Rockies back in it twice.

Alex Wood only went four and a third, and Dominic Leone and Tyler Rodgers were unable to hold the Rockies down, despite being handed the lead. The Giants led 4 – 1, allowed the Rox to tie it 4 -4, then the guys took the lead 6 – 4 and allowed them back in it to tie it 6 -6.

John Brebbia had a bounce back night, though. He struck out three and held the eighth. Camilo Doval touched 100mph three times as he closed it out. He shows greater command with each outing.

Tommy La Stella returned to the lineup as the DH for just one AB, but grounded out on a comebacker to the Rockies’ starter Antonio Senzatela. LaMonte Wade, Jr. was cold, but drew a leadoff walk. Yaz is starting to warm up, which is great, but the hero tonight was Casali.

Two homers by Curt Casali drove in four runs. Wilmer Flores had a pinch-hit sac fly that brought one in, the Giants took advantage of a Rockies error to get one home and, finally, a Mike Yastrzemski solo shot in the top of the ninth was the difference in the game.

Last season we were the only team to go up to Denver and sweep the Rockies at altitude. We swept them at home last week, and it seems we are the better team. I’d like to see another sweep this week.

Let’s go Giants! Pound the Rocks! Smash the Rocks!

Let’s sweep ’em again!

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Giants Lose Season Series to Cards 3 – 4; Logan Webb Rolls On, Jakob Junis Continues to Impress, and Carlos Rodón Lays an Egg on National TV

The Giants rolled into St. Louis hot, were chilled to zilch by a shutout and then lost a laugher, as they fell to the Cardinals two games to one and lost the season series.

It was announced Friday morning that the Giants dealt Mauricio Dubón to Houston for rookie catcher Mike Papierski. I like Dubón and wish him well, but he had a terrible start to this season and I hope the last few outings are more indicative of what he is capable of for the Astros. It is good to have Honduras represented in major league baseball.

After sweeping the Rockies, the vets beat up the Cards’ Jordan Hicks in support of Logan Webb in game one. Evan Longoria picked up his first two RBIs, Curt Casali homered in two more, Mike Yastrzemski added a couple and Brandon Crawford had an RBI single. Logan Webb went six solid and the ‘pen held. We got to see Donovan Walton in his first action as a Giant. He played 2B sufficiently and hit a double.

Giants 8, Cardinals 2

In game two, the Giants offense was silenced by the Cards’ Dakota Hudson – who held them scoreless for five – and an impenetrable Cardinal bullpen, that featured the triple-digit mph hurling Ryan Helsley. Jakob Junis was solid as a starter, giving up just two runs over five and two-thirds, but John Brebbia fell apart again, giving up two more. Doval was good in the eighth.

Cardinals 4, Giants 0

The final game was ludicrous. The rubber match and deciding game of the season series with the St. Louis Cardinals was the featured national game, on the ESPN Sunday night broadcast. We were bringing Cy Young candidate Carlos Rodón and his smoking hot four-seam fastball.

It just wasn’t Rodón’s night. It was a shame it had to happen with everybody watching and talking about him and his fastball. It is a different kind of pressure, the national broadcast. That said, the national attention brought an excellent piece about Rodón’s fastball on the Giants site. They call it the most dominating pitch in baseball. Hmmm maybe the Cardinals read it. Check it out here.

The Cards jumped on Carlos immediately – single and a homer to start the game. It got worse. As AP put it: “Rodón allowed eight runs and 10 hits over 3 2/3 innings. He had given up just seven earned runs over his previous six starts this season. Every St. Louis starter had a hit by the sixth inning. Pujols was 2 for 3 at the plate with a double. He scored twice and drove in a run.”

Yadier Molina, meanwhile, ended his regular season playing career against the San Francisco Giants by hammering a homer and driving in four runs, and by becoming, with Adam Wainwright, the winningest starting battery in baseball history. Again from AP:

“Wainwright and Molina broke the major league mark with their 203rd victory as a starting battery. They passed Warren Spahn and Del Crandall, who amassed 202 wins for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves from 1949-63.”

Down 15 – 2, the Giants did not want to use relievers in a pointless contest and handed the ball to rookie right fielder Luis Gonzalez to end the eighth and pitch the ninth. That was fun. Luis was throwing 43mph eephus loopers into the zone. Yet, Gonzalez was good – only gave up one hit. Then it got funner. The Cards sent out Albert Pujols to pitch the ninth!

The circus was full on. Pujols gave up a walk and three hits – home runs to Luis Gonzalez and Joey Bart for four earned runs. Albert Pujols now has a season ERA of 36.00.

Cardinals 15, Giants 6

totally ridiculous ending to a ludicrous game on national television.

It’s off to Colorado.

Let’s go Giants! Pound the Rox!

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The Circus Game in Saint Louie

Ridiculous.

This game was ridiculous. In only the way National League teams with history and culture can play – the others are jealous.

Carlos Rodón imploded and Kap made a joke out of it, leaving him out there to get ridden while eating innings. I get it. Then he went with rookie outfielder Luis Gonzales on the mound! The Cards countered with Albert Pujols!

Pujols pitched … and gave up two homers. Hahahahaaaa

tonight was fun, bit ridiculous.

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Giants Sweep Rockies, End Home Stand 5 – 2; Longo and Late Night Return

Giants won 7 – 1 on Wednesday to complete the home sweep and Alex Cobb gave us six strong innings for a quality start.

Evan Longoria and LaMonte Wade, Jr. returned to the line up from injured reserve.

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Giants Come Roaring Back Behind Logan Webb and Jakob Junis to Earn Draw with Cardinals 2 – 2; Flores Rolls, Dubón Turns Up, Yaz Smashes 93rd Splash Hit as Game-Winner

My concerns were for naught. I was being too negative. The Giants lined up behind Logan Webb and cranked three home runs (Wilmer Flores grand slam, Darin Ruf and Mauricio Dubón) in a nine-hit, 13-run performance in game three.

Giants 13, Cardinals 7

Mind you, they gave up 14 hits, but these were mostly with a comfortable lead. They played good defense and took advantage of three uncharacteristic Cardinals errors. Wilmer Flores had six RBI. He has found a groove. Mauricio Dubón, who has struggled this year at the plate, in the field and on the base paths, looked like he had shaken off the missing Spring training at last.

It was a day to honor Gerald Buster Posey III, and the crowd was thrilled the guys broke out of their hitting slump and exploded for runs.

Yaz Splash Hit Decider

The final game of the four game series was an excellent contest between two good National League teams. The Giants earned the win. They played good defense behind new starter Jakob Junis, who has been excellent in long relief in recent bullpen games. Junis was given a start and did not disappoint:

PITCHERIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Junis5.032225179-521.20
Source: ESPN

Heck of an afternoon for the young man.

It was a taut, defensive battle. The Giants preyed on the Cards’ one error. They led 3 – 2 until the sixth when St. Louis tied it up on a sacrifice grounder by Harrison Bader that scored Juan Yepez. It was Yepez’s second run of the night. In the first, the 24-year-old Cardinals left-fielder hit the first home run of his young career, a wind-assisted big-fly that just cleared the right field wall.

Then like magic, in the bottom half of the sixth, with the score tied 3 -3, Mike Yastrzesmski smashed the 93rd Splash Hit home run into McCovey Cove to give the Giants the lead they would not relinquish. McCovey Cove Dave was perfectly positioned and shwooped right in to pull the wet Yaz homer out with his bare left hand.

I was disappointed because in the twelve hours of the “sports news cycle” that splash hit occupied, ESPN had a headline that read “kayaker” gets splash hit, like he was just some guy. McCovey Cove Dave was an MLB Fan of the Year, he’s just too well known to be referred to as “kayaker” in my opinion. My interview with McCovey Cove Dave from 2014 starts at the one minute mark of this:

Dominic Leone, Zach Littell and John Brebbia each held the Cardinals scoreless for an inning, and Camilo Doval closed it out for his fifth save.

Giants 4, Cardinals 3

Good game. The Giants dug deep and played hard to prevent losing the home series to the Cards. I am proud of this team for the effort.

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Giants Lose Fifth Straight, Seven of Last Eight, as Bats Stay Silent and Bullpen Gives Up Winning RBI Single in Ninth

Cardinals 3, Giants 2

Alex Cobb was very good, giving up just one hit in the first four innings of this one, but he gave up a single and a homer to get chased in the fifth – not a quality start. The Giants bats were held in check again. The Giants have scored only five runs in the last four games while surrendering 22 runs to the Dodgers and Cards. Early in this season, they are not really competitive or on par with the best, having lost three of four to the Mets as well.

The identity of this team will change a great deal in the coming weeks, so we’ll see. I am going to write less, maybe just some features as and when I see something interesting develop.

I will be at the day game on Wednesday. Hopefully we can at least beat the Rox.

Go Giants

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Giants Lose Another Bullpen Game, Cardinals Pound Relievers in Support of Mikolas

Cardinals 7, Giants 1

The Giants are without key players so strategy in the losses this past week has been complicated by the very real fact of attrition. It is hard to assess a team filled with guys who are playing their first games in a Giants uniform.

We are getting LaMonte Wade Jr. back for Friday’s game, thankfully, and hopefully Evan Longoria and Tommy LaStella soon. Meanwhile, Covid-19 and injuries to the active roster have hampered our ability to compete. We really miss the Captain.

But the Giants have lost six of their last seven games and four at home during this stretch and two of the six losses were bullpen games, in which we are now 2 -2. Starting pitching is a serious issue independent of injuries and Covid.

We need another strong starting pitcher who can consistently go six innings.

I struggle with the logic of using nine relievers rather than a starter in game one of a four game series. I think I understand the philosophy – which is to win the series by countering who the opponent is putting out there. But this relies heavily on the starters being able to go deep the next three games, which I doubt will happen. And now nine relievers are on short rest.

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Llovera1.000001017-132.25
Littell2.021103136-261.13
Brebbia1.020000012-101.64
Alvarez0.13220009-53.86
Santos1.200001021-140.00
McGee0.233301018-158.64
Rogers0.121110014-82.70
Garcia1.000000012-60.00
Long1.000011015-83.48
TEAM9.01277271154-105
Source: ESPN

Earlier this season I wrote:

“The Giants are flush with cash and cap space. We have only the 13th highest payroll. The Mets and Phillies charged their way to the top five. Teams that committed 100m+ to one player and tried to outspend the Bums, the new Sith Lord, won’t be able to do as much at the trade deadline. So maybe Farhan Zaidi’s plan is: play Moneyball til the trade deadline, then buy the mercenaries to get the job done.

My concern now is waiting that long to resolve the starting pitching problem might be too late. The Dodgers are going to keep winning games. The Padres and Rockies got better and are playing like it. I fear we are losing the competitive edge with current philosophy.

Mr. Zaidi, please, go buy us a starter.

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Giants Drop Second Game at Chavez Ravine

Joc Pederson and Mike Yastrzemski were back in the lineup, and Alex Wood kept it close through five, but the Giants lost the bullpen battle in game two of the season series with the Dodgers. For the second night in a row, the Giants were able to keep it within striking distance through five. It was 2 -1 until the sixth.

The Giants ‘pen then gave up seven runs as the Dodgers ‘pen shutout our guys.

Dodgers 9, Giants 1

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Game One vs. The Nemesis at Chavez Ravine, Carlos Rodón Goes Six But Takes First Loss as Depleted Lineup Can’t Produce Run Support

I always say Win/Loss doesn’t mean much until mid-June, but when it’s against the Nemesis every game counts. That’s how we took the division from them last year: Gabe Kapler and the staff managed to consistently take series wins, from out of the gate down to the wire.

The Giants went down to L.A. for a brace to start the season series and in game one, despite being ravaged by injuries and Covid-protocol absences, they were in it. The winning run was at the plate in the top of the ninth. Newest Dodger reliever Craig Kimbrel shut down the threat. The Dodgers got Kimbrel from the White Sox in a trade for A.J. Pollock. He now has five saves.

The Giants found nothing against starter Julio Urias, who gave up four hits and held them scoreless for six innings. Urias was his usual, Giants-hating, mound-stalking dominator self. I love our battles with him. Carlos Rodón was good in his first Giants outing against Urias. He gave up just three hits, for two earned runs.

Rodón walked two and struck out three in 95 pitches over six innings – quality start. But he had Kevin Padlo, Luke Williams, rookie Luis Gonzalez and Jason Vosler in the starting lineup, not Brandon Belt or Mike Yastrzemski or Joc Pederson. Rodón got Cained in his fourth start and took his first loss of the season.

John Brebbia entered in relief and gave up a hit, but Kap was quick to replace him, then Jose Alvarez threw a rare wild pitch that allowed the earned run for Brebbia to score before getting out of the inning. The Giants only used two relievers in this one. This was a regular start for a regular starting pitcher.

We have so many “bullpen games,” I fear we forget what this is supposed to look like: starting pitcher goes at least five, hopefully six or seven, if the guys can’t get him the lead, he is to keep the score low and within reach, to allow a bullpen battle. That’s a Logan Webb start, a Carlos Rodón start. Last year that was a Kevin Gausman start.

In Alex Wood’s case, we hope for five solid innings, but it’s basically a regular start. Alex Cobb gave us one and looked good doing it, but then pulled up hurt in his second regular start and fully imploded in his third.

Since DeSclafani hasn’t been effective against the Nemesis or Mets and shows decline, we don’t have a third starting pitcher who can reliably give us a quality start. The Alexes, Wood and Cobb, are not consistently sufficient.

This is what brings us to long middle relief and “bullpen games” every fourth or fifth start. To their credit, Sam Long has been good at opening, Jakob Junis good at eating up innings, and the ‘pen has had some solid performers take innings in middle relief: Jose Alvarez, Zach Littell, Jarlin Garcia, Tyler Rogers, Camilo Doval and the new guy Mauricio Lloveras.

I appreciate that the Giants are successful with relievers, but I really wish we had another very good starter. The Dodgers have Urias, Walker Beuhler and Clayton Kershaw. They would have Trevor Bauer, too, if he wasn’t a sexually abusive jerk. Who is Farhan Zaidi looking for? How much is he willing to spend? We have the money … nothing says we have to wait until the trade deadline.

The Dodgers used four relievers because the Giants were finally able to touch 23-year-old Brusdar Graterol, the hard-throwing righty pitching in the high 90’s to low 100 mph range. Hot-hitting Wilmer Flores got to first on an infield single off Graterol, who then walked Brandon Crawford.

Kap and co, pulled Kevin Padlo for the rook, and the Giants avoided the shutout on a Luis Gonzalez sac fly in the seventh that brought home Flores. It genuinely felt like we were in this to the end. If we had some of our regular guys this one could have been ours. Alex Vesia got the Bums out of the jam. Daniel Hudson threw a scoreless eighth with two K’s and Kimbrel closed it.

Los Angeles 3, Giants 1

Not much to say, we are a depleted side, but still managed to stay in the game til the end. That’s how I look at it. Let’s take game two and split the series tomorrow.

Go Giants!

Beat LA!

#BeatLA

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The Legend of MadBum

I quit twitter in 2021 (@giantsbaseballc and @mtksf), but throughout my ten years on twitter I’d RT stories about Madison Bumgarner hashtag #TheLegendofMadBum. Scroll through those for some sweet memories – some of which aren’t included in this video I just came across, which is awesome and belongs in Giants Baseball Corner. Credit: the YT chan Baseball Does Not Exist

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Injury and Covid-plagued Giants Drop Home Series to Nationals 1 – 2; Alex Cobb Returns But Implodes in First

The Giants went out east and swept the Nationals in the District last week, which made this a little less painful, because the G-men won the season series against the Nats, four games to two. The team was dealing with numerous players out to Covid-positivity after the road trip. But Gabe Kapler and his staff have been facile and adept at moving players around the diamond and bringing up guys from the minors – not just to maintain team WAR, but also to continue the current tactical approach: see who can fit where and what they can do in specific situations.

Nationals 14, Giants 4

Alex Wood had a rough outing in this one and took the loss, he’s (2-1). Wood gave up a solo shot to Juan Soto in the first and five earned runs in total in his five innings. The Giants kept it close early, with a homer by Jason Vosler that brought home Austin Slater who had bunted to third to get on – small ball! But they couldn’t muster enough against the Nationals’ Aaron Sanchez, who got the win. Joey Bart hit another homer though, which was a bright spot.

Nats bats preyed on the Giants for 11 hits in 23 opportunities with runners in scoring position. They touched up Yunior Marte, Jarlin Garcia, Tyler Beede and Kervin Castro out of the ‘pen, but Mauricio Llovera, in his first action in relief, was good – gave up two hits, struck out two and held the Nats scoreless in an inning. Llovera, called up for the C-19 absence of Zach Littell and Dominic Leone, showed promise.

A Note about the Unwritten Rules stuff: The Nats may have run up the score because of their distaste for our performance in the District. But we made no big deal of it, which was perfect. It’s like we taught them to be more aggressive for one game and to erase the stupid unwritten rules. Instead of getting our hackles up, we just plodded on, took the L, shook hands and said, “Good game.” Love it. Rising above the pettiness is always cool in the GBC book.

Giants 9 Nationals 3

Logan Webb actually struggled a bit in this one, giving up three earned, but the Giants kept him in it. Thairo Estrada continued his hot-hitting ways with a two-RBI double. Mauricio Dubon got on the board with an RBI and then the guys had another one of their explosive innings scoring four in the sixth. Jason Vosler had a splash homer and the aforementioned Mauricio Llovera had a three-up, three-down ninth in a non-save situation. The call-ups were good.

Nationals 11, Giants 5

Alex Cobb came back from the strain he endured in New York, but maybe he shouldn’t have, because he couldn’t get out of the first. In just two-thirds of an inning, he gave up three walks and the Nats hammered him for five hits, scoring five. He couldn’t get out of the inning and it proved too deep a hole to climb out of. The Giants preyed on the Nats bullpen to try to keep it respectable, but Yunior Marte and Jake McGee had terrible outings for the G-men in relief and the Nationals pulled away.

Takeaways from the Nats Series

Ever since the Irregular Season, Kap and Co., have shown incredible resilience during trying off-field circumstances – from fires and bad air quality to injury and covid-plagued weeks. I am impressed by the new philosophy that keeps a flexible attitude about moving guys up and down from the minors and shifting players all around the diamond to improve their utility and keep us in it. It is hard to quantify, but if you watch the Giants every day, you can see it in the little things.

Alex Cobb may not be the guy we thought he was. He had a great first outing, but hasn’t been so hot since. Things were humming along and the Giants looked good in his second start, on the road in New York, when all of a sudden, with no real warning, Alex Cobb was injured. He pulled up unable to throw properly in the fifth. This was the first outing since the 34-year-old starter went on the 10-day injured list with that right adductor strain. It may be worth sending him down to get rest and reps against lesser competition for a while.

The Giants have hella relievers that can keep opponents scoreless and keep the guys in the game. Managing them is a complicated, seemingly irrational madhouse. But there is method to the madness that sometimes we cannot see as fans. This requires trusting Kap and Co. more than I am used to, but I have to say, I understand it.

Giants bats can explode an inning with the new philosophy of aggressiveness and they have consistently done so in this young season. Couple that with the philosophy of the ‘pen, and you realize this team is being built to believe they are always in any game, that they can win any game, score be damned. I like it.

Time to face the Bums.

Beat L.A.

Beat LA

#BeatLA

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Giants and A’s Split Bay Bridge Brace

Carlos Rodón continued to impress, surpassing Tim Lincecum’s record of 35 strikeouts in a pitcher’s first four starts by striking out nine, bringing his season total to 38.

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Rodón (W, 3-0)6.0311290104-741.17
Source: ESPN

as Wilmer Flores jumped on the A’s – two for four with a homer, a double and four RBI – and the guys won game one Giants, 8, Athletics, 2.

and lost game two Giants 0, Athletics 1, in a Sam Long start in which he went one inning and gave up the game’s only run. So, wait – was he an opener? Or was it his start? or was this a Bullpen Game? I’m puttng it down to a Bullpen Game, for which the record is now 2-1.

29-year-old Jakob Benjamin Lee Junis is proving to be a middle-inning-eating reliever who shows command. The ‘pen was impressive as all hell in this Bullpen Game – Junis went four, Jake McGee, Tyler Rogers and Camilo Doval all hurled scoreless innings to keep it a 1 – 0 game throughout.

Earlier I said we have no closer, rather a set of closers. I am starting to think we have no opener, either, but rather that Kap and Co., are trying to compose pitching staffs with highly improvisational contexts. “If this, then that,” or “Let him go as long as possible and then we switch based on lineup,” or “no starter, no single dominant pitcher.”

It’s all pretty wild to watch and perceive of as organized. But I see a logic behind it and the Win/Loss doesn’t lie.

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The Milwaukee Game

The Giants played a single game against the Brewers in Milwaukee as a one-off due to the lockout. It was tacked on to their first road trip. It was also the best example of how the Giants new process of a “bullpen game,” can be effective against high quality starting pitching, even on the road.

Also, as it seems I am the only one playing Devil’s Advocate, quite loudly since last year, against normalizing bullpen games, allow me to keep score: Bullpen Games in ’22, 2 – 0.

For this one gamer in Milwaukee, we drew last year’s National League Cy Young winner, Corbin Burnes. Yet, our pitching, in one of Gabe Kapler’s bullpen games, kept us in it by holding the Brewers scoreless for five innings, which let us prey on Burnes and their ‘pen late – just the way, I imagine, Kap and our guys dreamed it up. It was magical – and very much like our finest moments last year.

The G-men, behind 1-0 in the second against one of the best pitchers in the league, stayed patient, played sharp defense to hang around and then took the win in the late innings via two two-out homers – by Joc Pederson and a rook, Luis Gonzalez, who hit his first big fly in the majors.

The Giants used eight relievers against the Brewers who went with Burnes until his 106th pitch. He left after six and two-thirds innings with Milwaukee holding just that 1 – 0 lead. This is what Kap threw at them in the last game of an eleven day road trip:

Giants Pitching

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Long1.010001018-120.00
Leone1.021001021-141.42
Brebbia2.000012029-161.13
Littell1.010003013-120.00
Alvarez1.000001011-71.93
Marte1.00000008-51.80
McGee (W, 1-1)1.011100115-93.18
Doval (S, 4)1.000001015-93.24
TEAM9.0521191130-84
Source: ESPN

Lots to process there, but my biggest takeaway is the encouraging performance by Jon Brebbia, about whom I have had my doubts. He is performing better under pressure in this young season. Also gotta say, I love this kid Yunior Marte.

Having driven Burnes from the game, the Giants aggressively attacked their ‘pen, and scored twice – off Brewers’ relievers Trevor Gott and Jake Cousins.

Joc Pederson was harrassed by some fans during his two-out eighth inning AB. Some guys in the lower box kept peppering him with rude heckle with just a one-run lead. Joc powerfully had the last word as he smashed the two-run, lead-seizing homer, turned to the Brewers fans and beat his chest. I mean listen to these jergoffs:

It was choice. I could have done without callin ’em, “fuckin pussies!” as he was headed back to the dugout, but it’s cool. I understand. Fuck those guys!

Way to go, Joc! Great job on the road trip out east. We’ll need you to shake off fools just like that as we go up against teams with fans who are mad at you for damage you did to them as a Brave, as a Bum. You in San Fran, now, Joc. We got your back. We don’t tolerate shit like that.

Post-game Joc told reporters, “I heard them talking and I stepped out and then I heard them talking again – a lot of chitter chatter. It’s nice to help the team and do what you can to win a ballgame. That’s what makes it fun. The interaction with the fans and adding a little pressure, I enjoyed it.”

Then, despite that Jake McGee gave up a tying run in the bottom of that frame, young Luis Gonzalez, the rookie, won the game with his first ever two-run homer to take the lead for good in the ninth. Next. Man. Up.

Jake McGee gave up a hit and a run, but never relinquished the lead. Camilo Doval closed it out for his fourth save.

The 11th and final game of the Giants first road trip was a brilliantly managed and well-executed performance that took us to 8 – 3 for the journey. The guys swept the Guardians and Nats, took one of four from the Mets and snatched this one from the Brew Crew.

After the game, Kap said, “It’s a group that really stayed together through a long, arduous and challenging trip.” (AP)

The new system grows on me on nights like tonight.

sigh

Come back home, boys! Great job out there in the world! Get some rest in your own beds, eat some home-cooked meals. You’ve done well.

Bay Bridge Series time!

family affair

Let’s Go Giants!

Spank the A’s!

Posted in Commentary, full games, Post Game Blasts, Relief Pitching, Road Trips, Series Recaps | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment