The Giants Run the Gauntlet (Game 7 of 16), Brewers Come to Town, Cueto Sick! Jose Alvarez Starts a “Bullpen Game”; Wood Tests Positive, Scratched

The Giants are playing sixteen games in sixteen days, without a break. They faced the Mets (3-0) and Braves (1-2) on the road, and are back at home to face the Brewers (Game 1 of 4 tonight) and Dodgers (3), and finally the Rocks (3), at altitude. This gauntlet of games will define the stretch so I’m live-blogging them and posting immediately afterward. This is Game 7 of 16.

Corbin Burnes (8-4, 2.30 ERA, 180 K), who four-hit the Giants over seven innings in Milwaukee, giving up just one run, on the way to a 2-1 win in extras, will start tonight against Jose Alvarez (4-1, 2.12 ERA, 34 K), which is a surprise.

Johnny Cueto suddenly felt sick and was showing flu-like symptoms. He tested negative for Covid, but wasn’t well enough to go. Meanwhile, Alex Wood tested positive so he has been scratched from tomorrow’s start as well. Donovan Solano is still in quarantine in New York after testing positive there. The attrition of Coronavirus Chaos has finally caught up to the Giants and it’s during the most grueling stretch of the season. great.

It’s the first start for Alvarez. But it’s not just “the opener,” a tactic we have seen Kapler employ with limited success, no, Kap told Jon this one is “a bullpen game,” before the game, and Krukow promptly parrotted it in the pregame in a folksy way, like it’s just a regular thing we do, “perfect time for a bullpen game,” he said, “dog days of summer …” what sycophantic nonsense.

This was a sudden, emergency situation, because of a pandemic of a brutal virus that just killed our longtime first baseman’s grandmother. Don’t normalize it. The fact is, this isn’t normal. “Bullpen Game” ? are you kidding me? Our starting pitching apparently, other than Webb, can’t make a quality start. Those are all bullpen games.

Jason Vosler and John Brebbia were called up and Vosler started! I don’t know, don’t ask me. I was really disappointed in Brebbia before … but the 28-man roster is DAY AFTER TOMORROW so maybe it’s genius.

Well so here we went.

MIL Lineup

  1. Kolten Wong (L) 2B
  2. Christian Yelich (L) LF
  3. Avisail Garcia (R) RF
  4. Omar Narvaez (L) C
  5. Rowdy Tellez (L) 1B
  6. Luis Urias (R) SS
  7. Jace Peterson (L) 3B
  8. Jackie Bradley Jr. (L) CF
  9. Corbin Burnes (R) P

Jose Alvarez got Kelton Wong to ground out to start the game, but then gave up a double on a change-up to Christian Yelich. Avisail Garcia grounded out advancing Yelich to third. Omar Narvaez singled on a 92mph, first-pitch sinker dropped in to center.

Alvarez walked Rowdy Tellez on four pitches and then Luis Urias lined a rocket to Bryant to end the inning. 1 run, 2-hit first inning on 14 pitches. Brewers 1, Giants 0.

SF Lineup

  1. LaMonte Wade Jr. (L) RF
  2. Buster Posey (R) C
  3. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
  4. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
  5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
  6. Mike Yastrzemski (L) CF
  7. Alex Dickerson (L) LF
  8. Jason Vosler (L) 2B
  9. Jose Alvarez (L) P

Corbin Burnes had a ten-pitch, three-up three-down first. LaMonte Wade, Jr., grounded out. Buster Posey flied out to second and Brandon Belt struck out swinging.

Second

Jose Alvarez gave up a lead off walk to Jace Peterson to start the second. sigh. Jackie Bradley, Jr., hit a comebacker that advanced Peterson to second, one down. The opposing pitcher Corbin Burnes singled an 84mph cutter to left, and scored Peterson.

Kelton Wong then singled and Peterson scored. Yelich grounded into a FC to Alvarez, who picked up Wong and advanced Burnes to third. Alvarez was done. Bullpen game? Wait. What? This is a lot like what you called “an opener.” Busted! You’re definitely making this up as you go along. 39 pitches for Alvarez.

Jay Jackson took the ball with two down and runners in the corners. Jackson relied heavily on the slider to get ahead 1-2, checked Yelich at first, and then struck out Garcia swinging on a 93mph four-seam fastball. nice. Milwaukee 2, Giants 0.

Corbin Burnes struck out Kris Bryant with a nasty slider. He was throwing 98mph heaters to Brandon Crawford, then he struck him out with a fastball that had sick cut. Jon called it a 96mph back door cutter that caught the edge. He noted that Burnes had all his stuff. Burnes got Yaz to ground out to second. boom. Three up, three down, 12 pitches, and the full complement was working for Burnes.

Third

Jarlin Garcia started the third. So Jay Jackson only faced one batter … in the second inning … What? Hey, It’s a bullpen game.

Garcia had the slider working and got Narvaez to ground out to Bryant. He got Tellez on two pitches and he struck out Urias looking. Eleven pitch third for Garcia. Well done. But who knew if we’d see him again? The pitcher’s spot was due up in the fourth. Bullpen game.

Alex Dickerson finally touched Burnes. He ripped a 94mph cutter to deep right for a leadoff double. Jason Vosler, brought up today and starting, got ahead of Burnes 2-0. But Burnes worked it back to a full count and got him on a 97mph cutter, a fastball that cut and ended at the knees. Strike three called. wow.

With one out, the Giants gave Jarlin Garcia his first appearance at the plate in a game this year. He attempted a bunt to no avail, strike two. He squared to bunt at strike three and missed as well. Two down, Dick on second for Wade.

Burnes got some high strike calls and got ahead, 1-2. Wade fought off a few in a good match up. Wade, Jr., with a runner on and Burnes trying to shut it down. Burnes throwing 97-99mph heat misses, 2-2. Wade fouls off another. Burnes misses low on a 98mph cutter to fill the count. on the 3-2 pitch, Wade smashed a 106mph liner right at Rowdy Tellez. Caught! Dick stranded.

Great AB by Wade, though. Inning over. At least we knew we’d see Jarlin Garca again. right?

Fourth

Jace Peterson hit a slow roller back to the pitcher and outran it for a lead off infield single. Garcia then committed a balk to advance him to second. sigh. Garcia rebounded well, throwing a fastball to Jackie Bradley Jr., for a strike, 1-2, and striking him out on the next heater.

Garcia ended the inning with a strike ’em out, throw em out double play, as Corbin Burnes went down on the third strike, and Posey caught Peterson stealing. Sweet. Eleven pitch fourth for Garcia.

Corbin Burnes fell behind Posey, 0-2, but he flied out to center. Belt, who homered against Burnes in Milwaukee amidst that shower of homers he had that weekend, fell behind 1-2 and fought off a few pitches, but Burnes was hurling 98mph stuff. Dave said, “Pretty good argument that he’s got the best stuff going in the national league.” Belt kept at it and wow, on the eighth pitch, he slapped a single off a 95mph cutter. Great AB.

Burnes struck out Bryant on an 88mph slider that was just wicked. It was slower and ends lower than the cutter, but how can you tell the difference? Good pitch. Crawford got a hold of one and sent it deep to center, but it stayed in the park. Belt stranded.

Fifth

Garcia had a ten-pitch fifth thanks in part to a first-pitch liner smashed to third by Yelich that was caught by Bryant. He struck out Wong and got Garcia to fly out to right.

Burnes matched him with a ten-pitch bottom half. He struck out Vosler. Got Dick to ground out to first and Yaz to fly out to right.

Sixth

Garcia was back for the sixth, much to Dave Flemming’s amazement. Narvaez hit a looping liner to left off him that was drifting away from Dickerson, but he tracked it down and reached out low to catch it with the tip of his glove. Rowdy Tellez flied out to Wade in right and that was the end of Garcia’s night. Dave hoped fans would applaud his effort, and they did. Jarlin Garcia was very good the night Johnny Cueto got sick, going 3.2

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Garcia3.210004040-272.48

Zach Littell then came in and gave up two-out singles to Urias and Peterson. Back to back singles on five pitches from Littell, two on. sigh. Bullpen game. Then Jackie Bradley, Jr. lined a 95mph fastball to center, and as he was coming up on it, Yaz slipped! But he gathered himself in time to make the catch to end the inning. Whew.

Corbin Burnes entered the sixth on 75 pitches, mowing em down, touching 98mph. He induced a ground out to third from Wilmer Flores to set up a rematch with The Man, Wade, Jr.

LaMonte looked at a first pitch strike and then suddenly swiveled to bunt the second pitch, but fouled it for strike two. He took a ball on a changeup low, but then foul tipped the next changeup into the catcher’s glove, two down.

Burnes then struck out Posey looking on a 97mph sinker that just caught the outside corner. Sick pitch. Six innings, under 90 pitches.

Seventh

Tony Watson, who has struggled to hold an inning of late, came in for the top of the seventh to face Corbin Burnes, who apparently would be continuing on the mound for the bottom of the frame. He popped up to Wilmer Flores on the infield grass.

Kolten Wong fell behind 0-2 quickly and Watson struck him out with a beautiful 83mph slider that Jon called, “perfectly thrown.” Watson grounded out Yelich to first to end the inning. 12-pitch seventh for Watson, three up, three down. A good hold.

Corbin Burnes walked out to the mound with a shutout and the lead after seven innings for the second time this season against the Giants. Brandon Belt smashed the first pitch, a changeup, to the archways for a double, his ninth of the year. Kris Bryant then hit a looping ball to left sending Belt to third.

With runners in the corners, nobody out, and the go-ahead run in the form of Crawford coming to the plate, that was the end of the night for Corbin Burnes.

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Burnes6.040009093-632.20
another good night for Corbin Burnes

The Brewers turned the ball over to Brad Boxberger who got ahead 0-1, but then Brandon Crawford drove a single to right through the hole between Tellez and Wong that drove in Belt. Brewers 2, Giants 1.

Yaz grounded into a FC, forcing Crawford out at second and putting runners in the corners. Dickerson popped out to short on one pitch. sigh. two down. Darin Ruf then sent a rocket liner to left, but not deep enough.

Another RBI for B-Craw, but just one run was a disappointing outcome after having two on and nobody out. Brewers 2, Giants 1 after seven.

Eighth

Dominic Leone issued a leadoff walk to Garcia to start the eighth. He picked him up on a FC grounder by Narvaez. But then he wasn’t sharp and struggled to find the zone. Dominic gave up an infield single to Tellez that got through, moving Narvaez to third. Then with one out, and runners in the corners, Leone fell apart.

Urias hit a deep sac fly to right that brought Narvaez home. Brewers 3, Giants 1. Then Peterson ripped a first pitch fastball deep to center right where it bounced over the wall for a ground rule double – that actually saved a run. Leone, to his credit, got JBJ to ground out to limit the damage and end the inning.

Brewers reliever Devin Willams entered the game having gone the last 21 innings with an ERA of 0.00. Wilmer Flores grounded out to third. Wade drew a walk. Williams threw a two-seam, 97mph fastball with wicked action that struck out Posey. It came back and caught the outside edge, legit. Posey caught looking. Brandon Belt ripped a liner to right that was caught by Wong on his shoe top to end the inning. oof.

Ninth

John Brebbia was good. Pinch hitter Lorenzo Cain grounded out to first and Brebbia struck out Wong and Yelich to end the top of the ninth. Way to go, John! You looked way better than when we sent you down.

Brewers closer Josh Hader, the hard-throwing lefty, had only allowed 21 hits over the previous 46 2/3 innings. He had 81 Ks in that time. Kris Bryant stepped into the box and crushed a 97mph fastball right over the middle for his 25th double of the year to lead off the bottom of the ninth.

Hader was throwing 99mph heat to Crawford. But he was missing and B-Craw was patient, getting ahead 3-1. Then Craw popped out to shallow center. Yaz came up to face Hader with one out and Bryant on second. He hit an infield grounder to Urias and got thrown out, but advanced Bryant to third.

Alex Dickerson flied out to right to end the game.

Giants lose.

Milwaukee 3, Giants 1

bummer.

But we were in it until the end and showed great resiliency and adaptability to keep it close.

Damn this virus, this foul, murderous thing.

and finally, to add insult to injury, the Dodgers beat the Braves and are now only one and a half games back. Losing the lead in the National League West has never seemed nearer to happening than during this stretch.

2021 NL West Standings

TEAMWLPCTGBSTRK
San Francisco8447.641L2
LA Dodgers8349.6291.5W1
San Diego7062.53014.5W1
Colorado6071.45824L1
Arizona4489.33141L4
Source: ESPN

whew.

time for every one to dig deep for grit.

champions blood.

no excuses, but ..

your health and the health of your loved ones comes first.

Let’s not lose our heads amidst this pandemic folks, millions are dead. Baseball’s a game. Best of health to Johnny Cueto, Alex Wood, Donovan Solano and their families.

Stay Well, all.

love,

Karthik

About mtk

I'm the artist and author, MTK
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