Gauntlet II: Giants Hit the Road After Suffering Home Series Sweep by White Sox, Open in Arizona Against MadBum and Lose Big; Have Lost Five Straight and Eleven of Last Fourteen

It was just a terrible end to June, as the Giants finished it winning only two of the last eight games in the month. The Giants lost a three game series to the Reds at home and only split a brace with the Tigers here as well. They then got swept at home by the Chicago White Sox to lose the first three games of the gauntlet of the ’22 season: seventeen games in the first seventeen days of July. ugh.

Now they’ve lost the first four.

The Giants opened up the road trip in Arizona with Carlos Rodón facing our old friend Madison Bumgarner and the game was a wild one. MadBum got tagged early for a couple of runs and then Rodón had two cross the plate to tie it in the bottom half of the first. Giants 2, Diamondbacks 2.

Then the D-backs scored two more as a result of still more Giants errors. The infield without Brandon Crawford and Thairo Estrada was out of sorts. Rodón settled down, but never looked really comfortable. But this wasn’t his fault. Two errors in the first three innings of this one gave Arizona the early lead. Giants 2, Diamondbacks 4.

The Giants got a couple of singles from Evan Longoria and Yermin Mercedes in the fourth, which allowed our third back-up shortstop David Villar to knock in Longo and get the Giants within a run. The Giants are beat up. The guys on the field are thus out of sync and the errors are way up. (49 errors in 77 games) Giants 3, Diamondbacks 4.

Rodón and MadBum went at it, throwing 101 and 100 pitches, respectively, to finish their five innings. The game was turned over to the bullpen, where the Giants didn’t fare better. Then Tyler Rogers gave up three hits and two earned runs in the sixth, while the Diamondbacks Sean Poppen held the Giants scoreless for the sixth and Joe Mantiply struck out the side in the seventh. Giants 3, Diamondbacks 6.

To add injury to insult, Curt Casali had to leave the game with a strain. Sigh. This put our second-string catcher Austin Wynns behind the plate. To his credit, he drove a single up the middle facing a 3-2 count when he entered for Casali at the plate. But as bad as the Giants were on defense, the D-backs were good. They turned a ridiculous double play in the top of the sixth to retire Wynns and end the inning.

A bright spot in the Giants bullpen was Mauricio Llovera, who had a three-up, three-down seventh on sixteen pitches. Llovera looks good since his return from the 10-day injured reserve. Newest Giant Yermin Mercedes doubled with two outs in the eighth. But second-newest Giant David Villar struck out and couldn’t bring him in this time.

Gabe Kapler left Llovera out for the eighth inning. Hmmm. Here’s where the new mathemagical system seems suspect. The three-batter rule is one thing, but using a reliever for two innings after the fifth on Kap’s staff seems like a decision made on the fly because we don’t have enough consistent, quality relievers; not like a sabermetrics decision. And Kap does it a lot. That feels like a mix of math and guts, um so … wth are we doing?

Tonight Mauricio Llovera got stuck out there in a three-run game and Kapler and the staff just let him die. He popped up Buddy Kennedy, but then gave up a solidly hit single to Josh Rojas. Then an infield single to Carson Kelly on a high chopper that died on the grass near third. Daulton Varsho then ripped a single to right scoring Rojas and Kelly. sigh. Giants 3, Diamondbacks 8.

Arrrrgh. I am getting really tired of being told that decisions are being made on some kind of batter-by-batter, case-by-case, moneyball basis or sabermetric basis when it is painfully obvious it is because this team simply does not have the talent. We are thirteenth in payroll and do not have a consistent team. At all. I am severely disappointed.

The Giants have now lost five straight and eleven of their last fourteen. They have started the gauntlet of seventeen games in the first seventeen days of July by losing four straight. They are an inconsistent group, not only in performance but in terms of who is actually on the field. There is no consistent lineup. I doubt the way the coaching staff uses the 10-day and 60-day injured reserve and doubt the decision-making around the pitching staff.

Under. Whelmed.

Kapler and Co. are fading fast and proving that last year was an absolute fluke. Farhan Zaidi seems to have given up and is using the good will of last year’s record-breaking season to justify not spending any money. This team threatens no one.

Well, at least MadBum got a win.

Posted in Commentary, full games, GauntletII, NLWest, Post Game Blasts, Road Trips, SCRBRDWatch | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Gauntlet II: Giants Start Longest Consecutive Game Stretch of Season With Home Loss to Chicago White Sox

On Friday night, the Giants lost a heartbreaker. Their bats were silenced again by the opposing starter, in this case Lance Lynn of the Chicago White Sox, and though Giants starter Alex Cobb went five scoreless, the Giants once again lost the bullpen battle. This was a scoreless game for eight innings, lost in the top of the ninth, blown by Camilo Doval.

Giants 0, White Sox 1

bummer. I feel bad for the kid. Doval is an exciting hurler with a 100mph+ fastball, but his command in high-pressure situations is constantly being tested by the system being run by Gabe Kapler and the staff and lately it feels like every other night he gets a bad beat.

More importantly, the Giants have begun this season’s gauntlet: seventeen straight games from July 1st to July 17th, ending in the All-Star break – longest uninterrupted stretch of the season.

Last year it was sixteen games and I covered every game under the category Gauntlet. The Giants went (10 – 6) over that incredible stretch of games. It changed the whole season. They stayed ahead of the Dodgers, accomplished the first sweep of the Rockies in Colorado, and were first to 90 wins in the major leagues during the nightmarish run, when they faced the Mets (3-0) and Braves (1-2) on the road; the Brewers (1-3) and Dodgers (2-1) at home; and finally the Rockies (3-0), at altitude – all without a break.

The outcome of this year’s gauntlet stretch could easily define whether or not the Giants are buyers or sellers at the trade deadline and to what extent.

Trouble is, we don’t even know which 26 guys are going to be playing any given night. Add to that, the starting rotation is considerably weaker, the bullpen is not performing as well as last year, and the inconsistent Giants bats go dead for long stretches. Sigh. The system, which uses umpteen players and combinations and bullpen games, faces a legitimate test.

Over the next seventeen days, the Giants face:

Chicago White Sox – at home, July 1st – 3rd

Arizona Diamondbacks – in Arizona, July 4th – 6th

San Diego Padres – in San Diego, July 7th – 10th

Diamondbacks again – at home, July 11th – 13th

Milwaukee Brewers – at home, July 14th – 17th

So far, they are (0-1).

Curiously, the Giants are scheduled to face Madison Bumgarner twice, once on the 4th of July against Carlos Rodón, and then again on the 13th against … who knows? Because we don’t have a fifth starter.

whew. I feel we need to go at least 11 – 6 over this stretch to stay in the hunt, though key matchups against San Diego and Milwaukee lend us the opportunity to close the gap in the division and the wildcard race. I am pessimistic.

Let’s Go Giants! Beat the White Sox!

Crush Chicago and go on a run for seventeen games to define this season as contenders.

Posted in Commentary, GauntletII, Mid Series Reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giants Compete Against World Series Champs But End Road Trip 3 – 4, Foreshadowing Moneyball Results in DS

Every game in Atlanta was close. The Giants competed hard and had a chance to win all four games, not just the high-scoring one they took by two runs. It was a good series and I was proud of our guys, but I couldn’t help getting the feeling of déjà vu. I had seen us losing like this before, most recently in the NLDS last year against the Dodgers – which prompts me to feel concern for the system again.

The Atlanta Series Scores

Giants 1, Braves 2 – great pitchers duel between Max Fried and Logan Webb. Lost in ninth by our ‘pen

Giants 12, Braves 10 – We use seven pitchers and our bullpen holds. With Brandon Belt starting, the offense wakes up and we beat their ‘pen.

Giants 3, Braves 4 – a brilliant Carlos Rodón start is wasted, as Jake McGee gets jacked for three runs in the ninth to lose the game

Giants 6, Braves 7 – Alex Wood implodes in second inning. Mike Yasztremski goes 0-5, with four strikeouts in the leadoff spot. um. Kap? Why?

This could have easily gone the other way each night. But it didn’t. Atlanta had just enough more bullpen, just enough more batting and better starters. At $150 million for the 26 guys they have on the field, the Braves are eighth in active payroll and spend $33 million more than the Giants.

Is that $33 million the difference between us winning this series or losing it? I don’t know, but the historical results of moneyball beg the question.

Why it matters

The Dodgers and Padres are tearing it up. The chances of us winning the west dwindle each month. This means we are playing for a wildcard. This puts us in direct competition with the Braves for a better record. Losing the first series 1 – 3, adds pressure to the home series, which we now have to sweep.

Alex Wood got shellacked in the second, which effectively turned game four into a bullpen game. The Giants battled all the way back from a 1 – 6 deficit, but weren’t able to turn the corner. Their bullpen was just better than ours. Kenley Jansen was just a bit better than Camilo Doval. Their starter Max Fried in game one was just a bit better than our Logan Webb. It all felt so close – which is getting frustrating.

By contrast, Anthony DeSclafani only went three innings and we used seven pitchers in game two. We won the bullpen battle in that one. But it wasn’t a bullpen game. It was a poor Disco start. We need a definition for “bullpen game.” for the purposes of Giants Baseball Corner let’s say a bullpen game is any game where the scheduled starter goes less than three innings. GBC does not count Disco’s start as a bullpen game.

Bullpen Games Record

The Giants are 3 – 5 in bullpen games. Or maybe they are 4 – 4.

Excuses

Luis Gonzalez was out after game one and had to go to the ten-day injured reserve. He has been the Giants most consistent bat, and best for average some weeks. His absence hurt. But this guy is just a rookie. It feels wild that we depended on a rookie so much that his absence mattered against the champs.

It was Disco’s first start in a month. Um. ok.

2022 National League West Standings

TEAMWLPCTGBSTRK
Nemesis4325.6320W3
San Diego4428.6111L1
San Francisco3831.5515.5L2
Arizona3239.45112.5L3
Colorado3040.42914L3

The Braves are (41 – 30).

The Brewers are (40 – 32).

The Phillies are (37 – 34).

I keep thinking Farhan Zaidi must make some big movement at the trade deadline that will be meaningful. That would make everything make a lot more sense.

Giants are home again aginst the Reds and Tigers this week. We need to grab wins against the teams like these that are under .500. Sweeps aren’t imperative, but they are getting more necessary. Sweep the Reds!

C’mon guys!

Sweep the Reds!

Let’s Go!

Posted in Commentary, Road Trips, Series Recaps | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Disco’s Back – Giants Take Two in Pittsburgh Then Lose Two Walkoffs Back-to-Back On Road

The Giants took the road series in Pittsburgh two games to one. They won the first game Giants 2, Pirates 0, behind a dominant outing by Carlos Rodón. Brandon Crawford rallied the team to victory in game two Giants 7, Pirates 5.

The guys had an excellent chance at the sweep, when Thairo Estrada tied game three with a solo shot in the top of the ninth. Unfortunately, none of the pitching staff had an answer for Jack Suwinki, who hit three home runs in this one.

Suwinki hit a solo shot off Alex Cobb in the fourth, and off Sam Long in the sixth. In the bottom of the ninth, he blasted the game-winner off Tyler Rodgers. According to Elias Sports Bureau, Jack Suwinki is the first rookie to cap a three-homer game with a game-ending shot. Giants 3, Pirates 4.

The Giants then travelled to Atlanta, where the defending world series champions handed the Giants a rare loss in an excellent Logan Webb start. Webb was great, and pitched seven commanding innings of baseball. He had seven strikeouts and gave up six hits and just one run – a homer to Travis d’Arnaud. However the Braves starter Max Fried went toe-to-toe with Logan, with eight K’s, also holding the Giants to just one run over seven innings.

Tied 1 – 1, this became a tense bullpen battle after an amazing pitchers’ duel. Unfortunately, after Dominic Leone held the eighth, Camilo Doval couldn’t close out the ninth. He gave up a walk and two hits, including the walkoff single to Orlando Arcia. Giants 1, Braves 2.

Back-to-back walkoff losses in the middle of the road trip sting, but losing a Logan Webb start hurts more, because today, after a month long absence, Disco is back, and frankly I doubt he will have success against a team as strong as the Braves.

Anthony DeSclafani returns to the mound today to face Braves righty Spencer Strider (3-2, 2.45 ERA, 68 Ks). Disco’s numbers aren’t great (0-1, 6.08 ERA, 13 K), but he hasn’t pitched since April, when we put him on the 60-day IL and shut him down for recovery.

DeSclafani has not been good for the Giants against the Dodgers or the Mets, the two best teams in the league. I really hope he returns healed and can show us something today against a very good world series champion.

The Braves (39-29) have won two more games than the Giants (37-29), which means if we win the next two we will be running even with one of our strongest competitors for the wildcard slots in the NL – we’ve got to try to stay ahead of Atlanta and Philly.

Posted in Mid Series Reports, Road Trips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giants Handle Royals Series 2 – 1, End Home Stand 6 – 3 Including Sweep of Dodgers

The homestand had a rocky start as we fell to Colorado twice. The last game against the Rockies was atrocious, worst of the year so far for the Giants, who made four errors. Things looked bleak. Then the Giants swept the Bums, and took two from the visiting Kansas City Royals. It was the turnaround of the young season so far and shows the resilience and pride this team has under Kapler – they’ve got bounce-back.

The Giants executed a regular start to perfection behind Aex Wood in game one. Wood went six innings, gave up just four hits for two earned runs, and had five strikeouts. Solid quality start. Mauricio Llovera, Jake McGee and Camilo Doval each pitched a scoreless inning to end it. The Giants took advantage of poor pitching and mistakes by the Royals, scoring twice on bases loaded walks and once on a throwing error by Royals catcher MJ Melendez. Austin Wynns doubled and scored, Thairo Estrada had an RBI single and Brandon Crawford doubled in two more. Giants 6, Royals 2.

Logan Webb dominated the weaker Royals in game two. Webb hurled seven scoreless innings, with nine strikeouts. The Giants were held scoreless by Royals starter Kris Bubic for five and then did their damage to chase him in the bottom of the sixth. Luis Gonzalez doubled, Wilmer Flores singled to knock him in. Joc Pederson had an infield hit and moved Flores over. Darin Ruf singled, scoring Flores and sending Pederson to third and Tommy La Stella hit a sac-fly to score Pederson. Tyler Rogers had a tough time in the eighth and gave up a couple of runs, but La Stella hit his second sac-fly of the night to score Mike Yastrzemski in the bottom of the frame, and add an insurance run. Camilo Doval closed it out. Giants 4, Royals 2

The wind and weird pop flies that fell between three fielders were the order of the day in the series finale. It was crazy. Brandon Crawford had a rare fielding error that allowed two runs to score. It was a slow, roller, but the kind of grounder we are so used to B-Craw handling perfectly, it was shocking! He just couldn’t come up with it. and it swirled around him on the infield grass.

This was a “bullpen game,” and Sam Long came out shaky in the first. Merrifield led off the game with a perfectly placed bunt – nothing Sammy could do. Then he gave up a double to Bobby Witt Jr. and had RISP. The Crawford error brought them home.

Still the Giants were in it. To his credit, Sam Long settled down after that. He was good. He held the Royals scoreless in the second and third and showed command. Mauricio Llovera came in for the third and fourth and held, as the Giants put runs on the board with a Brandon Belt homer to center – it was fun to see in person – and a sac-fly by Curt Casali that brought home Thairo Estrada and tied the game at two.

Zach Littell managed the fifth and sixth and Tyler Rogers had a three-up, three-down seventh, which was great to see after his struggles the night before. Bounce-back. It was John Brebbia who gave up the game-losing run in the eighth. sigh. But in his defense it was facing the Royals best hitter, inserted into the lineup to try to get the win.

The Giants had successfully contained Andrew Benintendi all series. He was 0-for-4 in game one, and 1-for-3 in game two (though he did draw a walk and score a run). With the game tied in the top of the eighth, the Royals sent out Benintendi to face Brebbia as a pinch-hitter.

Because I realized that in all my years of watching baseball the Kansas City Royals were one team I have never seen live, I was excited to be at this one. I’ve been to maybe 50 or 60 games in stadia all over the country, and somehow I had never seen the Royals. I told my date I hoped to see Benintendi, whom I admire. The man delivered. Benintendi’s double to right was a thing of beauty – what a great swing. He slashed it. The Royals Nicky Lopez sacrificed him over and Whit Merrifield hit another sac-fly to score Benintendi, which stood as the winning run.

Dominic Leone pitched a scoreless ninth for the Giants and Scott Barlow got the save for the Royals with a three-up, three-down final frame. Giants 2, Royals 3.

Bullpen Game Record:

The Giants are 3 – 3 in bullpen games.

The wind or lack of it and the sun being directly overhead led to some crazy missed pop-ups in this one, twice by the Royals and once by the Giants. There was a sweet out at second when Witt, Jr. tried to stretch out a single and got tagged out after a dart thrown by Yaz.

It was a beautiful day at the yard. I would have liked to get the sweep, but it’s uncouth to be greedy. Rest-up boys, on the day off, settle in to your hotel rooms in Pittsburgh and lets go wreck the Pirates.

Rest up Giants!

Great homestand.

Posted in Series Recaps, SFG Off Day Posts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

La Barrida de la Nemesis, The Giants Sweep the Bums Outta Town in Impressive Fashion, Bullpen Shines

(slow clap)

I stand corrected. The Giants are super-crisp on defense and the bullpen is stellar. Or so it would seem.

The Giants just swept the Bums at Oracle to take the lead in the season series 3 – 2. The losses being from when the Nemesis “swept” the brace of games down at the ravine, back in May – if two games can be called a sweep.

This weekend we were dominant and took advantage of their mistakes – something we were very effective at last year. We were adept at frustrating the Bums and then taking advantage of their mistakes last year.

The Dodgers spend $117 million more than us for the 26 guys on the field. Their payroll is literally twice ours. So, they think they are way better than us. I love when we prey on that hubris. It all started last season.

We swung the momentum last year on that incredible catch by Mike Tauchman. It changed everything with the series. You may remember the Giants got swept at home by the Dodgers to start the season in ’21. Then they went down to Chavez Ravine and took three of four, in a complete turnaround. We were a point of conversation in their club house all year long after that, down to the moment we took the division from them on the last day of the regular season. I love it.

The Tauchman catch was the igniting moment. A brilliant play by a short-term-Giant, a role player, a substitute. It’s part of who we are until July nowadays. The philosophy of this staff is to use an unheard of number of different players, deep into the season.

The staff matches all these guys up against the regular multi-millionaires who fill every day slots on the other side. Max Muncy played 144 games last season, Chris Taylor, 148. Justin Turner played 151 games last year. By comparison, no Giant played 140 games.

This year, the Giants fell behind because the two losses in L.A. came early in a season that started late. It was an awkward brace stuck on the calendar at the end of a road trip to rectify the lockout delay. The Giants lost competitively. Carlos Rodon took a loss because our injury- and covid-depleted lineup couldn’t produce any runs. Game two was a close Alex Wood start.

The Giants completed the home sweep this weekend, behind a brilliant start by Carlos Rodón. They won the series showing every tactic Kap and Co. have displayed over the last two seasons:

  • Use a converted starter, pulled from the pool of relievers – in this case to cover for Disco, out on the 60-day – and manage the ‘pen to success. That was game one, Jake Junis’ fourth win
  • a full-on bullpen game, using Sam Long as an opener and seven pitchers in total, in game two
  • a traditional starting pitcher handing off to the ‘pen after six, Carlos Rodón, in game three

Offensively, the Giants bats were relatively quiet against Dodgers pitching. Darin Ruf had an emotional return and his big bat Friday night helped Jake Junis get another win, but other than that, the Giants did just enough to win. They were aided by a wild pitch.

It was interesting that Joc Pederson and Mike Yasztremski did not start game three. Heliot Ramos started at center field and Austin Slater in right to face the lefty Clayton Kershaw. When the Giants took the lead on the two solo shots and Kershaw did not return to the mound after the fourth, Yaz came in for Slater to lead off the fifth and Joc came in for Heliot Ramos, against the righty Yency Almonte.

Though neither got on, in the eighth, Pederson singled off Craig Kimbrel and fortuitously scored on a wild pitch two batters later. Kapler’s use of Slater and Ramos against the lefty ahead of Joc and Yaz was not costly, with Austin’s brilliant defense, it was of benefit. Austin Slater homered, too. For the third night in a row, the bullpen held. Giants 2, Dodgers 0.

There is much to ponder here. That was an exceptional display by our management and staff that showed off so many small details. We picked up Carlos Rodón this past winter and expected him to be a starter we could rely on, he is. The bullpen game worked again and the system is now 3 – 2 in bullpen games. Jake Junis has truly grown into a starter. Oh and …

WE JUST SWEPT THE BUMS AT HOME, CONVINCINGLY!

The Bums have excuses, as usual.

Immediately after his loss, Walker Buehler went on the six to eight week DL. He won’t be back until the stretch run. His elbow has been a mess for a long time and this work is overdue. He blamed it for his struggles immediately after the game and they shut him down. I am happy to take that win off the brother on his way to the hospital.

It was Clayton Kershaw’s first start in a month. But guess what? It was Austin Slater who homered off him. Lefty-facing-specialist-next man up was in full effect for the Giants.

The bullpen was amazing this weekend. They won a bullpen game against the Dodgers and shut them down in the later innings for Jake Junis and Carlos Rodón. It was an inspired performance by the ‘pen. It really flummoxes me, this ‘pen and this philosophy. I just still don’t understand how it works.

Everything had to go right at so many specific moments for us to sweep those guys this weekend. All of it did. Most of it was premeditated and prescribed by our system. But as I have said before, it feels like walking along the edge of a very tall building, going through games with these guys.

When they are precise, the mistake battle with even the best teams, becomes a war of attrition to see who blinks first. Taking the run off the wild pitch by Kimbrel, one of the best in the game, was the only real “lucky stroke.” But we created the conditions for it to cost them.

I am blown away by this weekend’s performance. Kudos to Kap and co. Well done, everybody.

Gotta wake up the bats against the Royals this week, though.

Let’s Go Giants!

Posted in NLWest, Post Game Blasts, SCRBRDWatch, Series Recaps | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giants Step Up and Beat Buehler and Kershaw; Ruf Returns From Bereavement with Big Night; Kapler Manages Giants Bullpen to Dominance Over Bums

Wow! What a bounce back performance by the Giants! After that four-error game against the Rockies Thursday, the week ended with crisp defense, and the bullpen dialed-in. Thairo Estrada, who had two of those four errors on Thursday, was particularly good, an encouraging sign that he just shook it off. Estrada made the game saving defensive play to end game two.

It gets a lot harder today against Julio Urias, but the Giants took advantage of Walker Buehler’s nagging injuries and Clayton Kershaw’s rust to seize the first two games and win the first home series of the year against the Nemesis. The bullpen was amazing against the best team in the National League West.

Giants’ outfielder Darin Ruf’s father, William L. “Bill” Ruf passed away May 30th at the age of 88, back in Darin’s birthplace of Omaha, Nebraska. Bill was born in Vermillion, South Dakota, and was, according to his obituary:

“the embodiment of enthusiasm for life. His passion, curiosity, and dedication to his family and interests were unparalleled. These traits defined his every experience ranging from coaching, to teaching, to his friends, and even to food. The list of people who’s lives he touched is exactly as long as the list of people who have a crazy story about Bill.”

Darin had been away from baseball and returned to the team this past week after the funeral. The Giants activated Ruf for Friday night’s game against Walker Buehler and the Nemesis, and he responded with three hits, including two home runs and a two-out RBI single. Ruf drove in four runs in the victory.

Darin had been struggling for several weeks at the plate and it was an emotional, breakout performance on return: “Obviously, it’s hard to put into words,’ Ruf said after the game. ”It’s been a tough week for me, my family. I’m thankful for the Giants and my teammates who have been so supportive.”

Way to go, Darin and I am sorry for your loss. I know what it feels like to lose your Dad. I am sure he was proud of you, and would have been thrilled with your performance Friday night. Take the time you need and keep him in your heart.

Jake Junis had another controlled, stable start. He went five innings, giving up five hits and two earned runs with five K’s. He had to leave the game with a strained hamstring, but the bullpen held. John Brebbia, Jake McGee, Dominic Leone and Camilo Doval each delivered one scoreless inning to secure the win – great outing against the division leaders by our bullpen in game one. Giants 7, Dodgers 2.

In game two, the Giants spoiled Clayton Kershaw’s return to the mound after a month long absence. Thairo Estrada homered and Luis Gonzalez added a two-out RBI single in the second to give the Giants a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. They added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when Joc Pederson scampered home from third on a Craig Kimbrel wild pitch. It ended up being necessary for the win.

Meanwhile, the Giants pitched another “bullpen game.” Sammy Long opened and held the Bums scoreless for three innings, giving up three hits and striking out Justin Taylor. Tyler Rodgers came in and went two innings. Dom Leone held the sixth. Zach Littell struggled in the seventh – giving up a walk and two hits in a third – but Jarlin Garcia came in and struck out Freddie Freeman and then induced an inning-ending double play from Trae Turner.

Garcia gave up a run on a Cody Bellinger ground rule double in the eighth, but Camilo Doval came in and, after walking Taylor to load the bases, struck out Gavin Lux and Mookie Betts swinging! Jose Alvarez gave up a solo shot to Freeman in the top of the ninth, but managed to prevent any more Dodgers from crossing the plate. Giants 3, Dodgers 2.

Bullpen Game Record:

The Giants are 3 – 2 in Bullpen Games

Way to go Giants! I am pleasantly surprised, but in reality you earned these wins playing the current scheme. You took advantage of injuries and mistakes by the Bums, played good defense, and the bullpen was excellent to win the first two. Let’s get the job done and

SWEEP L.A.

Sweep LA

#SweepLA

Posted in NLWest, pitchers, Post Game Blasts, Relief Pitching, SCRBRDWatch | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Giants Lose Home Series to Rockies, 1- 2; On Outside Looking In One-Third of Way Through Season as Dodgers Come to Town … Beat LA!

The National League West is absurdly stacked with expensive talent on two teams that play in southern California. The Dodgers have outspent every team in baseball the last three seasons. The Padres have climbed to fifth in payroll – $60 million more than San Francisco this season. The Giants are chasing these guys with low-rent ball.

The San Francisco Giants don’t have enough talent to threaten the best, and are supposed to have just enough talent to beat the rest. We are playing for a wild card. Losing two of three to the last place team in the NL Central, the Reds, and two of three to the last place team in the West, the Rockies, at home, is damaging to our chances.

The logic is that if we can get to the playoffs, we can compete with anyone. In the 2022 season there will be a twelve team playoff, which means six teams from the NL. It’s early, but I’d say the Giants are competing in the national league with the Dodgers, Mets, Brewers, Cardinals, Padres, Brewers, Braves and Phillies. At this point, the Giants are on the outside looking in. Our goal now has to be a better record than the Phillies, Braves and Cardinals.

In my opinion the goal of Gabe Kapler’s staff in early June is to get into the playoffs as a wildcard. There doesn’t feel like there is an urgency to create a team that can win it all, yet. Just like last year, the first three months of the season feel like an extension of Spring training, with dozens of guys being called up and sent down, and traded for and away.

But unlike last season, we’re winning less of the close ones. Unlike last year, our defense is not crisp. Unlike last year, our bullpen is wildly inconsistent. We miss Buster Posey a lot. The absence of his calming influence is one of the biggest differences in winning or losing the close ones. We miss Brandon Belt. The Captain’s absence is significant defensively as well as at the plate. But the point is we don’t have a big bat to back up our 34-year-old first baseman.

It just reveals how slim the margins for errors and injury are on a team playing with the 13th highest payroll going up against the highest.

Is it pointless to be a fan who wants to win it all most of all? Every season, I want to win it all. That is my goal. This year, I assume we are going to try to keep it close and then buy mercenaries – expensive talent – at the trade deadline, the way the Braves did last year. That makes sense. We have more money and room under salary tax to make bigger, splashier deals mid-season. I hope that’s the plan.

Because lately it feels pointless to be a fan of the San Francisco Giants. Nothing is consistent. We don’t have a starting rotation or lineup. We’re playing poor defense. It’s like watching Spring training. We are competitive every game and will be until the end of the season. And if by some chance we make the playoffs, we will be competitive for a series or two, but the odds don’t favor our math against their expensive talent over two or three playoff series. We’ve become the A’s.

Or the Rays – teams that did so much with so little, but never won it all with those teams.

It is easy to question whether we want to be managing this way or not. However the team that Farhan Zaidi built in Los Angeles, that won the division so many times, only won once, and in the shortened season at that. They have outspent everyone for three seasons now, and are legitimately threatened for the first time by the Padres.

Some of the youth of today or soccer moms or casual fans might say I’m too focused on winning it all. I know I’m more focused on winning it all than the homers at NBCSBayArea, who ruin watching baseball for me with their blindly patriotic support of everything Kapler and Zaidi do. The convivial, maudlin, love-of-the-game, feel-good coverage they produce is a travesty that demeans decades of baseball journalism.

The media monopoly run by Comcast/Xfinity (a Philadelphia-based company) and its subsidiary NBC Sports Bay Area have changed coverage of this team. They have withered professional journalism with homerism and cheerleading. They prioritize romanticizing our ballpark and city, and cheerleading the team, or showing fans in goofy-get-ups, to critiquing decisions made by Zaidi or Kapler or performances by a failing reliever.

It is a shame, in many ways representative of the situation in our society itself: image over substance.

What Farhan Zaidi and Gabe Kapler and the right-wing, conservative, Comcast Xfinity/NBCSBayArea producers want me to do, want all of us to do, is to be happy with the outcome, no matter what. Be blindly patriotic and watch each game as it happens with a simplicity and presence, like a child.

They don’t want us questioning why we are paying $70 – 250 for a decent seat to watch a product on the field they cannot explain, understand or justify.

To critique it would be doing way too much work, and in any case, it isn’t cheerleading the guys or selling tickets.

This is the world we live in.

It isn’t much fun for me to listen to a monopolistic, conservative media company deliver coverage like Big Brother about my favorite team.

Giants Baseball Corner has always hoped to provide an alternative. But it’s getting difficult. Most fans are as superficial as the coverage now. I’m the crank.

The Giants are (30 – 26) and one-third of the way through the season do not look like a championship-calibre or even a playoff-calibre team. They hardly look like a team of 26 guys at all. The 26 haven’t been the same enough to feel like a unit. Next up it’s The Nemesis. The Bums.

I am worried about this.

Let’s Go Giants!

Beat LA

#BeatLA

Let’s Go!

Beat LA.

Posted in Commentary, etiquette, NLWest | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giants Take Season Series from Marlins With Split in Miami, Go .500 on Road Trip

The Giants went five and five on the ten day road trip, losing two of three to the Reds, taking two of three from the Phillies, and finally, splitting the series 2 – 2 with the Marlins.

Miami’s Sandy Alcantara again mowed down the Giants in game one, allowing just three hits in seven innings. Alcantara walked two and struck out eight. He has completed at least seven innings in his last five starts allowing a total of just three earned runs. He lowered his ERA to 1.81 in the win. Alex Wood pitched well for the Giants, going five and a third with five K’s, but he took the loss. Giants 0, Marlins 3.

The Giants struck back in a big way in game two, smashing a season high five home runs off Marlins reliever-turned-starter Elieser Hernández and the Marlins staff. Brandon Crawford hit his fifth grand slam. Mike Yastrzemski doubled and homered. Joc Pederson, Thairo Estrada and Jason Vosler all hit big flies as well.

Alex Cobb was a late scratch with tightness in his back. I am worried about the 34-year-old Cobb. He isn’t durable. John Brebbia opened, then newest Giant reliever Sean Hjelle threw three strong innings and Zach Littell came in and took the fifth and sixth, striking out four and taking the win. Hjelle was good in his first action. Gabe Kapler used position player Donovan Walton to close the game and it resulted in runs in ‘garbage time’ for Miami. Giants 15, Marlins 6

The Giants lost a Logan Webb start in game three in a pitchers’ duel with Miami’s Pedro Lopez. The guys had a 4 – 0 lead on a Vosler solo shot and a Walton double that drove in three runs. But then Webb allowed a single, a double and a single to start the fifth. Marlins center felder Jesus Sanchez scored on a throwing error by Joey Bart. John Brebbia entered to relieve Webb and gave up a two-rbi single to Garrett Cooper, tying the score 4 – 4.

At the end of the road trip, having used a position player in relief the night before, Kap turned the ball over to Tyler Rodgers in the bottom of the ninth. Tyler had a terrible outing. He gave up an infeld single to Jesus Aguilar, then hit Avisail Garcia with a pitch that ran in, putting runners on first and second with nobody out. Then he got called for a balk, advancing the winning run to ninety feet away. Finally he gave up a deep sacrifice fly to Sanchez, giving the Marlins the walk-off. walk-oof, more like. Giants 4, Marlins 5

The Giants won the final game of the series behind Jake Junis, and took the season series from Miami four games to three, salvaging the road trip, on which they went .500. Junis was great, throwing six solid innings for a quality start: two hits, one earned run and eight strikeouts.

The Giants loaded up the bases for Walton in the top of the fourth and Donnie hit his first grand slam as a Giant! Dom Leone, Tyler Rodgers and Camilo Doval closed out the game. It was great to see Tyler get back out there after the rough start the night before and close out an inning without incident. Giants 5, Marlins 1.

The road trip started off bumpy, but Kapler and Co. pulled it out. The Giants are home again, facing the Rockies this week at Oracle. I will be at the day game on Thursday. Let’s go Giants! Pound the Rocks! Smash the Boulders!

Posted in Road Trips, Series Recaps, SFG Off Day Posts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

GBC Reader 22-2: The Fifty Game Report; Generation Gap as Giants Use 47 Players and Moneyball Management Continues; Bullpen ERA Balloons; LuGo and Jake Junis Emerge; Kapler Obsessed with PH

The Zaidi/Kapler Era of San Francisco Giants baseball embodies a contemporary generation gap.

There was a large, once-in-a-generation group of fans who joined us in support of the Giants during the San Francisco World Series Championships: The Bruce Bochy Era. But, because of the long gap between 1958, when the Giants moved to San Francisco, and 2010, when we finally won, it felt like a hand-off from grandfather to grandchild, not father to son.

Between the grandparents – some of whom moved from New York with the team – and the digital generation – who moved into town with Google, FB and Twitter – you have us, Generation X, ours was The Barry Bonds Era, which we carry quietly, firmly and in perpetuity – love you Barry Lamar, you’re the greatest I ever saw play.

Finally winning it in San Francisco after more than half a century, not just once but thrice, was powerful affirmation for long-enduring fans and ushered in the digital generation of fans through social media. The 2010 championship saved the Chron, ’12 and ’14 rode the birth of two new local businesses, Twitter and Insta.

The Zaidi/Kapler Era synthesizes the previous three decades into a new, fast-moving, ever-changing amalgam of players used in concert to generate wins from match-ups, from statistical tendencies, from specialists and single-use player moments. In short, we call it Moneyball. There is a digital generation vibe here.

For older fans, it can be difficult to appreciate. There is no established starting rotation. Pitchers aren’t expected to go seven innings. Bullpen games are a thing. Lineups change every night. Brady Klopfer mentions at McCovey Chronicles, to start the second GBC Reader of ’22, that we’ve used 47 players so far – far more than ever, or anyone else.

For the younger generation it fits right in. They are comfortable with it as an extension of a decade of playing Fantasy; pulling for individual players more than teams even. Moneyball folds right into their thinking: facile management, ever-shifting team, a rejection of firm, or locked-in positions and line-ups in favor of plasticity and utility from the squad that’s available. To its credit, the system produces.

Luis Gonzalez and Jake Junis

Of one of the best successes of the young season, Luis Gonzalez, Jeff Young at Around the Foghorn writes that the Giants capitalized on a move that didn’t make sense.

Another early season success by a guy just straight taken from another team who could have kept him is Jake Junis, whom we wrote about here a couple of weeks ago. Nick Pollack’s review a few of weeks ago said it well:

“Junis’ slider is as wicked as I’ve ever seen it and while I’m still holding out hope to see his crazy good changeup return for another start (just six thrown here for zero whiffs), I’m thrilled to see him steal strikes constantly with sinkers. This works.”

Joc Pederson

What a quietly effective pick-up Joc Pederson has become – more than a replacement for Kris Bryant’s bat. A month ago, Dylan Svoboda at MLB dot com called him an early gem in this excellent piece about Pederson joining the team. Unfortunately, Joc immediately went into a 4-for-27 slump. Then, on May 26th he had a conversation with Barry Lamar Bonds for a half an hour before a game and since, he has busted out in a huge way. The news is all filled with the Tommy Pham slap, but on the field and at the plate, I love Joc Pederson. Fantasy Pros’ Mario Mergola points out that Joc is currently, “posting career highs in batting average, slugging percentage, on-base percentage, and OPS.”

Bullpen Woes

Maria Guardado points out that ‘The Giants’ bullpen recorded a Major League-worst 6.26 ERA in May.” in her piece about the struggling ‘pen. The bullpen is a huge source of frustration to me. It’s used so much more now and in such different ways: from openers to middle-relievers, to set-up men and a platoon of closers. We use a ton of pitchers. I long for the days of a starting rotation that goes seven, a set up man, and a closer. But that just isn’t the game anymore according to the Zaidi/Kapler system.

DH Be Damned, Kapler and Co. Love Pinch Hitters

Continuing to analyze the shifting player management, Kathryn Xu of the Defector points out, ” As of June 1, Kapler is averaging 1.33 PH/G. Considering that the league average is .64 PH/G, his pinch hitter usage yields a PH/G+ of 208. That is over double league average” in this illuminating article about Kapler’s use of the bench.

Inside the Mind of Kap

ICYMI, there was a very interesting piece on Gabe Kapler, the man, by ESPN Senior Writer Tim Keown a few weeks back. As he develops into a personality as well as a manager amidst all this wild, moneyball decision-making, I find myself wanting to take the guy out to lunch and find out for myself what makes him tick.

That’s it for the second GBC of the season. Could be bad weather in Miami, where the Giants lost to Sandy Alcantara yesterday, Giants 0, Marlins 3.

Posted in bats, Commentary, GBC Readers, Relief Pitching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Giants Beat Phillies in Extras Twice, Win Series 2 -1; Nearly Take Final Match for Sweep, But Jarlin Garcia Implodes with Three Run Lead

The Giants followed their extra innings win in the opener with an eleven-inning win in Philly in game two. Jake Junis was excellent again, going four and a third, giving up just three hits and an earned run. Junis had three strikeouts. Luis Gonzalez stayed hot going four for five, with a two-run double. Joc Pederson hit another homer, this time to win it in the 11th.

Giants 7, Phillies 4/ 11 innings

The Giants could have won the final game as well. Carlos Rodon held the Phillies to one earned run over five innings on 98 pitches. He had six strikeouts and gave up six hits. An additional unearned run crossed the plate as the result of a throwing error by Wilmer Flores, but the Giants did their job, keeping it close until the sixth.

In the top of the sixth trailing 2 – 0, the Giants scored five runs to surge into the lead. Donavon Walton doubled to lead off. Jason Vosler doubled him in. Tommy La Stella singled Vosler in. Mike Yastrzemski got hit by a pitch advancing La Stella to second and Wilmer Flores drove them both in with a big fly to left. Giants 5, Phillies 2.

But there was a lot of baseball left to play and tonight wasn’t Jarlin Garcia’s night. Garcia gave up four runs and the lead in the bottom half of the frame. Zach Littell came in to close the inning, but the damage had been done. Brady Klopfer at McCovey Chronicles covered the Garcia implosion well.

The final score Giants 5, Phillies 6.

Off to Miami!

Posted in Relief Pitching, Road Trips, Series Recaps | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ninth Inning in Philly Was the Cruel Poetry of Baseball and the Power of Kyle from Waltham

Logan Webb, who had never before pitched a complete game, allowed a couple of solo shots early, but held Philadelphia scoreless after the fourth. He settled in and was cruising. Webb had a perfect eighth inning on just eight pitches. He had thrown 98 pitches through eight in a 2 – 2 tie, when from the dugout he watched veteran Evan Longoria smash his fifth home run in five games in the top of the ninth to take the lead. Giants 3, Phillies 2.

Webb urged the current National League Manager of the Year to let him go back out to close the game in the bottom of the ninth and get the win. Gabe Kapler let him. So Webb took a three-hitter into the ninth with 10 strikeouts and no walks and a one-run lead.

Webb’s 100th pitch, the second of the bottom of the ninth inning, was smoked to dead-center for a game-tying leadoff home run by Kyle Schwarber. “I wanted it and I was pretty comfortable out there,” Webb said. “I felt like it was my game.” Instead, it was the cruel poetry of baseball and the power of Kyle from Waltham.

Giants 3 – Phillies 3. Bottom ninth, nobody out.

Kap handed the ball over to Dominic Leone who pitched a nervy, scoreless ninth. He had to face Jean Segura, from whom he induced a grounder to third; Bryce Harper, whom he struck out; and then Nick Castellanos, who singled to right. It was a great job under pressure by Dom, but it was Curt Casali who took the game to extras and won it.

The Phillies pinch-ran Roman Quinn for Castellanos and, on a 1 -1 cutter, Quinn took off to steal second. Casali caught the strike, leapt up and gunned down Quinn to end the inning. Then Casali smashed a two-run homer in the extra top half and brought home the zombie runner to make it 5 – 3. Camilo Doval’s close-out bottom of the tenth was another solid effort in support of Logan Webb.

Giants 5, Phillies 4/ 10 innings

Eight of the nine runs scored were homers. This was a great road win, a team win by the Giants. Logan Webb didn’t get the win, but importantly he didn’t take a loss. poetry.

Posted in Post Game Blasts, Road Trips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Alex Cobb Throws Six Strong Innings; Longo, Brilliant on Defense, Goes Yard Again and Giants Avoid Sweep in Cincy with Explosive Eighth Inning; Lose First Road Series 1 – 2

The Giants have historically struggled in Cincinnatti, which is what made the 2012 NLDS wins there that much more special – down 0 – 2 the Giants came back and won three in a row in Cincy to win it on the way to their second SF World Series Championship. That said, the Reds started this season playing very poorly and, though they have played much better in recent weeks, when the Giants arrived in town Cincy was statistically the worst team in baseball (14-30).

The Giants lost the first two games of the series as their bats went silent again. They also seemed generally out of sorts from the top down. Both games seemed winnable. They were within reach, but the Giants couldn’t muster the big hit. They left more than a dozen stranded.

In Sunday’s game the trend continued, as Reds starter Tyler Mahle held the Giants hitless for six innings. But the Giants played much better defense today. Wilmer Flores had an unassisted double play at first. Longo made an incredible leap to stab a Tyler Stephenson line drive out of the air in the fifth. Alex Cobb was dealing. The guys looked crisp. In the top of the seventh, Thairo Estrada finally broke the seal with a double that sent Mahle off with a 2 – 0 lead. The game turned into a bullpen contest and the Giants got to see Hunter Strickland again, who closed out the top of the seventh with a K.

There were some lucky breaks and none was bigger than the reviewed play at the plate in the bottom of the seventh. Evan Longoria made his second great stab of the game, at a hard hit grounder that bounced high between second and third, but this time Kyle Farmer was at third and racing for home on contact.

Longoria brilliantly snatched the blazing one-hopper by Albert Almora, Jr. and reversed its trajectory in milliseconds. Longo fired the ball to Joey Bart, who caught it, but then lazily turned to the oncoming runner. It was bad. Bart showed no urgency or physical will to protect the plate. He merely collected the ball from Longo and turned to the third base line. It should have been an easy tag out, but it was questionable.

Farmer was called out and the Reds immediately reviewed. The replay looked to me and everybody in Cincy like he was clearly safe. Bart was way too nonchalant on the tag. It is super frustrating in super slo-mo. But somehow, the referees in New York decided it was inconclusive evidence and the Giants dodged a bullet. Kap needs to get on Bart for that one.

The Giants broke it open with some deft management and competent batting. They batted through the order in the eighth and scored six runs with two outs. Joc Pederson had a hit and an RBI. Evan Longoria blasted a three run homer. Luis Gonzalez had a two-run scoring double. It was yet another of the explosive innings the Giants have shown us this year. Those are exciting and within the game plan: hang around, keep it close and beat the opposing ‘pen.

Camilo Doval struggled to get the save – giving up a two-run homer to Almora, Jr. – but he settled down and got the job done. Giants 6, Reds 4.

whew. crazy weekend. It’s off to Philadelphia.

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

Giants Lose Two to Worst Team in Baseball as Kapler Skips Anthem in Cincinnati, Makes Major Lineup Card Error; Mark Hallberg Sends Bart From Second on Shallow Liner to Aquino, Thrown Out at Plate with Two Outs in Ninth

The Giants left on a ten day road trip that started in Cincinnati, where Gabe Kapler and his staff made two glaring coaching errors and the Giants lost the first two games to the worst team in baseball.

The Giants have lost seven of the last nine games, nine of the last thirteen. They are seven games out of first place behind two teams that are stacked with expensive talent, and they’re only three games over .500 after 45 games, more than a quarter of the season.

Game one was delayed for more than two hours by rain. Before the game even began with Gabe Kapler skipping the national anthem, Tommy Pham slapped Joc Pederson across the face over – not making this up – a perceived rule violation in a high-stakes Fantasy Football league they were both in last year, and a dispiriting .gif of the Padres that Pederson sent to the League’s groupchat. Pham was scratched from the start by the Reds, and suspended by MLB for three games the following day.

The Giants then lined up behind Carlos Rodón, who had another rocky start. Rodón went only five and a third innings on 99 pitches, walking three and giving up seven hits and three earned runs. The Giants bats were silenced by Reds rookie right-hander Graham Ashcraft, who held them scoreless through six and a third for his first win ever. The Giants picked up a run in the eighth as Joc Pederson was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. They then stranded the remaining baserunners.

It was 3 – 1 and the Giants hoped to hold it with Jake McGee, recently returned from the IL – a two-run deficit against the Reds seemed surmountable now that Ashcraft was off the mound. McGee jogged out and took warm-up pitches, only to discover that Kapler and the staff hadn’t put his name on the lineup card. Facepalm. It was a bad look. The Giants had to quckly go with Jose Alvarez, who gave up two more runs and put the game out of reach. Giants 1, Reds 5

Game two was an excellent Alex Wood start that was wasted by the Giants, who again couldn’t produce runs against a Reds starter. The Giants had 12 hits and left eleven on base. They were 3 for 16 with runners in scoring position. Still, thanks to Wood’s solid five and two thirds in which he K’d six and gave up just a three-run homer to Kyle Farmer, the Giants were in this one. They had runners on in the eighth and ninth.

But the game ended on a terrible send by 3B coach Mark Hallberg that resulted in pinch-running Joey Bart being thrown out by Aristedes Aquino at the plate by yards. Bart didn’t even bother sliding, he just pulled up and basically walked into the tag, feet from the plate. Aquino has great arm strength and is known for his accuracy. There was no good reason to send Bart with two outs. Giants 2 Reds 3.

The coaching staff has to be held accountable for their blunders. Kapler is a smooth talker and a generally good, likable guy – in fact I am proud of his wokeness – but these were two stupid baseball mistakes against the worst team in the league in games we need to win. We have to defeat the bad teams to stay even with the Dodgers and Padres.

I don’t believe we can win the NL West with the guys we have right now. I am not even sure who our guys are or will be in September. The new system is awkward and feels out of control a lot of the time. There’s constantly changing personnel. So what are we doing? We have no real starting pitching rotation. Belt and Pederson are our only power and the bullpen, which is really quite good, is overtaxed constantly and forced into pressure situations.

We all looked past the weird moments last year because we were winning. We won the west. I don’t see that happening. If I am not to blame management for our situation – 13th in payroll, and dropping in the standings without enough talent – who am I to blame?

Better win tomorrow, Kap. Need you to focus on your job.

Posted in Mid Series Reports, Road Trips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Giants Baseball Corner Fully Supports Gabe Kapler’s Decision to Protest, in Reaction to the Massacre in Uvalde, Texas, Through Absence During National Anthem

In the wake of the massacre of 19 children and two of their teachers in a school in Uvalde, Texas, two days ago, the manager of the San Francisco Giants, Gabe Kapler has issued a statement today, entitled, “Home of the Brave?” and embarked upon a protest of no longer appearing publicly for the national anthem at games.

Mr. Kapler posted the statement of his actions in a blog post today at his website called kaplifestyle. Giants Baseball Corner is proud to repost Mr. Kapler’s post in its entirety, here (ed. note: I and GBC, are in full support of Mr. Kapler – mtk):

Home of the Brave? May 27, 2022 by Gabe Kapler

“The day 19 children and 2 teachers were murdered, we held a moment of silence at sporting events around the country, then we played the national anthem, and we went on with our lives.

“Players, staff and fans stood for the moment of silence, grieving the lives lost, and then we (myself included) continued to stand, proudly proclaiming ourselves the land of the free and the home of the brave. We didn’t stop to reflect on whether we are actually free and brave after this horrific event, we just stood at attention.

“When I was the same age as the children in Uvalde, my father taught me to stand for the pledge of allegiance when I believed my country was representing its people well or to protest and stay seated when it wasn’t. I don’t believe it is representing us well right now.

“This particular time, an 18 year old walked into a store, bought multiple assault rifles and hundreds of rounds of ammunition, walked into a school with an armed resource officer and its own police district and was able to murder children for nearly an hour. Parents begged and pleaded with police officers to do something, police officers who had weapons and who receive nearly 40% of the city’s funding, as their children were being murdered.

“We elect our politicians to represent our interests. Immediately following this shooting, we were told we needed locked doors and armed teachers. We were given thoughts and prayers. We were told it could have been worse, and we just need love.

“But we weren’t given bravery, and we aren’t free. The police on the scene put a mother in handcuffs as she begged them to go in and save her children. They blocked parents trying to organize to charge in to stop the shooter, including a father who learned his daughter was murdered while he argued with the cops. We aren’t free when politicians decide that the lobbyist and gun industries are more important than our children’s freedom to go to school without needing bulletproof backpacks and active shooter drills.

“I’m often struck before our games by the lack of delivery of the promise of what our national anthem represents. We stand in honor of a country where we elect representatives to serve us, to thoughtfully consider and enact legislation that protects the interests of all the people in this country and to move this country forward towards the vision of the “shining city on the hill.” But instead, we thoughtlessly link our moment of silence and grief with the equally thoughtless display of celebration for a country that refuses to take up the concept of controlling the sale of weapons used nearly exclusively for the mass slaughter of human beings. We have our moment (over and over), and then we move on without demanding real change from the people we empower to make these changes. We stand, we bow our heads, and the people in power leave on recess, celebrating their own patriotism at every turn.

“Every time I place my hand over my heart and remove my hat, I’m participating in a self congratulatory glorification of the ONLY country where these mass shootings take place. On Wednesday, I walked out onto the field, I listened to the announcement as we honored the victims in Uvalde. I bowed my head. I stood for the national anthem. Metallica riffed on City Connect guitars.

“My brain said drop to a knee; my body didn’t listen. I wanted to walk back inside; instead I froze. I felt like a coward. I didn’t want to call attention to myself. I didn’t want to take away from the victims or their families. There was a baseball game, a rock band, the lights, the pageantry. I knew that thousands of people were using this game to escape the horrors of the world for just a little bit. I knew that thousands more wouldn’t understand the gesture and would take it as an offense to the military, to veterans, to themselves.

“But I am not okay with the state of this country. I wish I hadn’t let my discomfort compromise my integrity. I wish that I could have demonstrated what I learned from my dad, that when you’re dissatisfied with your country, you let it be known through protest. The home of the brave should encourage this.”

— Gabe Kapler, May 27, 2022

Posted in Commentary, etiquette, history, UnwrittenRulz | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Giants Take Mets Series 2 – 1, as Joc Pederson Smashes Four HRs and Ten RBI in Seven ABs After Meeting Barry Bonds

The Giants got swept by the Padres and were on a four game losing streak which stretched to five when they lost game one against the Mets, a blowout. It was an Alex Cobb start that went awry in the third when a home run by Pete Alonso and a double by Francisco Lindor scored five. Because the new system is so weird, we once again had insufficent relievers and Kapler left Cobb out there to go six.

Cobb gave up six earned. Then Kap went to a ‘pen which gave up seven more. Kap used outfielder Luis Gonzalez in relief again, in the top of the ninth of an 11 – 2 blowout loss. I hate that. It isn’t a good look. The Mets were laughing at us. Gonzalez, with his 45mph eephus, gave up two. It was U-G-L-Y, ugly. Giants 2 – Mets 13

That was what made game two all the more awesome. It had a storybook quality.

Enduring a five game losing streak, the Giants were up against the team with the best record in the National League. Before the game, Joc Pederson met with Barry Lamar Bonds. They had a scheduled chat for a half hour, but then Pederson and Bonds met again privately just before game time. “The next thing you know it was like 6:25 p.m. and I was like, `I gotta go,'” Pederson said. First pitch was 6:45.

Joc Pederson then went four-for-six, with three home runs and eight RBIs – including a game-tying single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. The eight RBIs are the most by a Giant in five decades. The Giants had an 8 – 2 lead, lost it and fell behind 11 -8, then tied it 11 – 11, lost it 12 – 11 and finally came back with two outs in the ninth to win it on a Brandon Crawford RBI single! Giants 13, Mets 12

It was the best game of the year so far for Joc Pederson who had been in a 4 for 46 slump in the month of May. AP reported that Giants starter Logan Webb said, of Pederson: “He was joking about it after his first one, about talking to Barry. Then he hit the second, then he hit the third and it was like, man, this guy is something else. You’re not going to cheat him with anything. He’s trying to do that every at-bat.”

Pederson said, “Just getting knowledge from such a good hitter and the way he thinks about baseball and hitting, it just helped to connect some dots to free my mind up at the plate. I’m not ever going to be Barry Bonds. He’s the best hitter to touch a bat. But it definitely helped free my mind up in the box.”

We all arrived at the rubber match day game on Wednesday excited to see Joc Pederson and he did not disappoint. He promptly hit his fourth home run in seven ABs to start game three. The Giants jumped on Mets rookie starter Thomas Szapucki pounding him for nine runs in the first two innings. Evan Longoria hit his first two homers of the year. Young Jake Junis got his fourth start and picked up his second win. He was very good for six, a quality start. Giants 9, Mets 3

Posted in Commentary, Post Game Blasts, Series Recaps | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Greatest Game of the Year to Date; Joc Pederson Hits Three Home Runs, Drives in Tying Run Bottom Ninth and Plates Eight; Forces Rubber Match v. Mets

This was the biggest game of the young season. And it was a wild one the Giants won on a walkoff. I don’t even know how to write this one up. The Giants jumped out to an 8 – 2 lead in support of Logan Webb and this one seemed in the bag.

But the Mets are legit. They fought all the way back and took the lead 10 – 8, much of it against Tyler Rodgers, whom they jacked for seven earned runs in a third of an inning! WTF? I gotta say, I am trying really hard to understand Kap and Co. They came back to win this one, but it was insane.

AP said: “Joc Pederson homered three times and drove in a career-high eight runs, including a tying single with two outs in the ninth inning, and the San Francisco Giants outslugged the New York Mets 13-12 on Tuesday night in one of the wildest games imaginable.”

“San Francisco squandered an 8-2 cushion by giving up seven runs in the eighth to fall behind 11-8. Pederson tied it with a three-run homer in the bottom half, but the Giants trailed 12-11 in the ninth before rallying with two outs and none on to stun New York and end their five-game losing streak.

“Brandon Crawford hit a game-winning single off closer Edwin Diaz and the Giants — after blowing a late six-run lead — somehow recovered to pull off two improbable comebacks of their own.

“Pederson’s eight RBI were tied for third-most by a Giants player in one game since RBI became an official statistic in 1920. The only players with more were Phil Weintraub with 11 in April 1944 and Irish Meusel with nine in September 1925.”

crazy game. see ya tomorrow!

Posted in Commentary, Post Game Blasts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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 strike 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 had 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. Darin 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 Cronenworth 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.

Posted in full games, NLWest, Post Game Blasts, Series Recaps | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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)

Posted in bats, Mid Series Reports, NLWest, TradeDeadline | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment