Giants Sweep Cubs and Rox on the Road

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

first to 90 wins.

The San Francisco Giants were the only opposing team to sweep the Rockies in Colorado, and in doing so became the first to 90 wins. This means the Giants were the first to 40, 50, 60, 70, 80 and 90 wins in the 2021 season.

The Giants also completed the longest consecutive games stretch of their season in Denver, a gauntlet of sixteen games in sixteen days, in which they swept the Mets and Rockies on the road, took two of three – and critically the season series – from the Dodgers, and lost three of four to the Brewers at home and two of three to the Braves in Atlanta.

They went (10 – 6) in this set of games, which means this was the stretch of games during which the Giants went from 80 to 90 wins. During it, they lost the lead in the NL West and the overall lead in the majors for the briefest time, a half a day.

They lead the majors in record (90-50), and home runs, and have for months.

When they were most expected to fade from contention, the Giants picked up the ten games between first to 80 and first to 90 wins on a grueling stretch.

I covered this tough gauntlet of games here as

giantsbaseballcorner.com/category/Gauntlet

whew.

Let’s Rest Giants!

Finally, a day off.

Posted in Commentary, Gauntlet, NLWest | 2 Comments

The Giants Ran the Gauntlet (Game 16 of 16) and Came Out Winners; Only Opposing Team to Sweep Rockies in Denver; First to 90 Wins

The Giants played 16 games in 16 days, and today was the last game of the stretch of sixteen, without an off day – the longest consecutive games stretch of the Giants’ season.

On the line was: staying ahead of the Dodgers, the first sweep of the Rockies in Colorado, being first to 90 wins in the major leagues, and a (10-6) record during this 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, without a break.

This gauntlet of games defined the stretch, and no matter what happens, the work that Gabe Kapler did to navigate this hellscape of games was amazing. Kap has earned my respect this year. Unbelievable in-game calls and an over-arching scheme of management of the team across this stretch made it possible for us to come out with a winning record and stay atop the NL West.

The Giants sent Anthony DeSclafani (11-6, 3.24 ERA, 132 K) out for the final game against Rockies’ righty Jon Gray (7-10, 4.13 ERA, 125 K).

First Pitch was at 1:11, 84 degrees F, with a very dry 20% humidity, and an air-quality alert for multiple pollutants that began at 4pm yesterday.

SF Lineup

  1. Tommy La Stella (L) 2B
  2. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
  3. LaMonte Wade Jr. (L) LF
  4. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
  5. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
  6. Mike Yastrzemski (L) RF
  7. Steven Duggar (L) CF
  8. Curt Casali (R) C
  9. Anthony DeSclafani (R) P

Tommy La Stella led off for the Giants again, and grounded out to Trevor Story. Jon Gray fired four-seam fastballs at 95 and 96mph at Brandon Belt and struck him out on four pitches with good command.

LaMonte Wade, Jr., filled the count on a bunt foul and drew a walk. Gray then missed way inside on a wild pitch, advancing Wade to second. Gray came at Brandon Crawford with a fastball and a couple of killer slider, to go ahead, 1-2. Then two 97mph fastballs up and a curve low and in filled the count. A perfectly thrown back door slider got Crawford swinging.

COL Lineup

  1. Raimel Tapia (L) LF
  2. Brendan Rodgers (R) 2B
  3. Charlie Blackmon (L) RF
  4. Trevor Story (R) SS
  5. C.J. Cron (R) 1B
  6. Ryan McMahon (L) 3B
  7. Elias Diaz (R) C
  8. Garrett Hampson (R) CF
  9. Jon Gray (R) P

Anthony DeSclafani stalked out to the mound with confidence and dealt a fastball right down the middle to Raimel Tapia for a strike. Tapia then hit a comebacker DeSclafani snagged as it broke away toward from the mound toward first, and flipped to Belt for the out on two pitches.

He missed on the first two pitches to Brendan Rodgers, then pitched a good slider to get the swinging strike, 2-1. DeSclafani dealt a two-seamer at the knees on the inside for the second strike. Rodgers fouled one off and DeSclafani missed on the slider to fill the count. Then he got him with the slider for his first strikeout.

Charlie Blackmon stepped in and DeSclafani missed on three straight pitches, 3-0. He got him with a two-seamer for a called strike, then with the 94mph fastball to fill the count. He struck him out with a belt-high slider that Jon called, “Nasty!” – but he’s prone to exaggeration lately. ūüėČ – fifteen pitch first inning for DeSclafani.

Second

Kris Bryant, back in the starting lineup, began his battle with Jon Gray 2-2, and looked upset, not beaten, when he struck out on the next pitch low and inside. But it was what Jon called a perfect pitch. The strike zone looked huge early as Gray then struck out Mike Yastrzemski on three pitches, slider, changeup, 95mph fastball.

The red hot Steven Duggar stepped up to prevent Gray from settling in by roping a first-pitch slider to left for a single. But Casali fell behind 0-2 very quickly on two of Gray’s sliders. Gray checked Duggar on a quick throw to first. Then struck out Casali swinging on “the perfect breaking ball” – that same slider, that broke out of the zone.

DeSclafani faced Trevor Story next, a change from last night when Charlie Blackmon and C.J. Cron went back to back, hitting in two innings in a row against Webb, the first four hits he gave up in that game. He got Story to swing and miss on a slider, then to drive a fastball to right, directly to Yaz for the out.

The very hot C. J. Cron was next and DeSclafani got ahead 1-2. He threw the slider again and Cron popped up to foul territory where Belt made the catch for the out. On one pitch DeSclafani got Ryan McMahon to hit a routine grounder to second, but it got delayed on the shift to LaStella, his throw to first took Belt off the bag, and McMahon took first.

DeSclafani got ahead of Elias Diaz, 1-2. He made a couple of tight throws to first to keep an eye on McMahon and then missed with the slider, 1-2. He got Diaz to pop up the next fastball foul and Yaz ran for it, and managed to careen to the ball and make the catch against the netting to end the inning. Thirteen pitches for DeSclafani and one hit.

Third

Surprisingly, DeSclafani worked a full count before becoming Jon Gray’s sixth strikeout victim. Gray got LaStella to ground out again, two down. Then Brandon Belt’s bat snapped in two on a 95mph fastball, but he managed to muscle a bloop single out of it. Wade popped out to second on the second pitch he faced, another quick inning for Jon Gray.

Garrett Hampson stepped in against DeSclafani and looked at a strike, but then lined a changeup to left for a leadoff single. DeSclafani checked him at first and then the pitcher, Gray, attempted to bunt to move Hampson over, but failed and struck out, DeSclafani’s third.

Raimell Tapia stepped in with Hampson looking to steal with one out. He took off and Curt Casali leaped up after the pitch and gunned down Hampson to Crawford who tagged him at second, two down. Unfortunately the pitch missed and DeSclafani missed again to walk Tapia, replacing the runner thrown out at first.

The speedy Tapia, running with the pitch, took third as Brendan Rodgers lined a single to center. This brought up two out, runners in the corners for Blackmon. DeSclafani threw a low changeup and a high fastball in sequence and Blackmon swung and missed on both to fall behind, 0-2. Blackmon lined the third pitch, a fastball, to La Stella for the final out.

Fourth

Brandon Crawford swung on the first pitch fastball from Gray and fouled it off, strike one. He hit a weak grounder to second on the next pitch, for out number one. Bryant then swung on the first pitch and popped out to second. Yastrzemski got hit by a pitch to go to first for Duggar.

Steven Duggar fell behind 1-2 quickly and Gray checked Yaz on very quick throws to first, twice. Duggar gave the next pitch a good ride to the opposite field, but came up short as it was caught on the warning track by Tapia.

Jon Gray looked very good, aided by the huge strike zone of Nick Meyer, the home plate umpire, and this game turned into a pitcher’s duel.

DeSclafani got Trevor Story to pop up into foul territory floating toward the Rockies dugout. Brandon Belt tracked it the whole way and made a great catch despite being slammed in the gut by the dugout railing, one down. DeSclafani then struck out C.J. Cron swinging! nice.

Ryan McMahon fell behind 0-2 quickly on the sinker and slider then DeSclafani missed with the four seamer and changeup, 2-2. McMahon worked a full count and then hit a high fly ball to deep right field, caught at the track by Yaz. 16-pitch fourth for DeSclafani that featured the Cron strikeout.

Fifth

Casali led off against Gray in the fifth and managed to work a full count, but then struck out, on a fastball inside, Gray’s seventh K. DeSclafani, who was one for 45 as a hitter, then took three quick strikes for his eighth. Tommy La Stella grounded out for the third time in the game against Gray, to end the top of the frame. Giants bats gone silent again.

DeSclafani gave up a first-pitch deep fly ball to Elias Diaz, way down the left field line that landed on the line to stay fair and carrommed off the wall in the corner. Diaz took second easily. Then, after DeSclafani got a strike on Hampson, he threw another strike that Casali couldn’t handle and on the passed ball, advanced Diaz to third.

DeSclafani struck out Hampson looking on a good fastball. The pitcher, Gray then helped his own cause and drove an RBI single past Bryant at third and into left field. Rockies 1, Giants 0.

DeSclafani got ahead of Tapia 0-2, then on a 1-2 pitch Tapia pulled it on the ground past the range of a stumbling La Stella and into right field – two on and one out. Mound visit for a chat.

DeSclafani fell behind Brendan Rodgers, 3-0, then managed to fill it with a fastball and a changeup. Then he gave up a single to Rodgers to right to load the bases and he was done. Kapler came out and took the ball. It was DeSclafani’s fourth hit given up in the inning.

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
DeSclafani4.171115079-513.21
He’s good … until he isn’t

Jarlin Garcia came in, and on the first pitch Blackmon smashed a grounder to La Stella, who fielded it with a knee down, somewhat clumsily. He got it to Crawford for the out at second, but they couldn’t get Blackmon at first and the run scored. Rockies 2, Giants 0.

Trevor Story stepped in with two out, and two on, in the corners. Story pulled one down the left feld line, deep to left, past the outstretched hand of Wade. It may have hit the heel of his glove. Tapia scored, Blackmon went to third on the double by Story. Garcia managed to strike out McMahon on three pitches to stop the bleeding. Rockies 3, Giants 0.

Sixth

Brandon Belt came in trying to get something going against Jon Gray, third time through the order. He battled to a 2-2 count and drove a 95mph Gray four-seamer to left for a single. LaMonte Wade Jr., The Man, then came up to do his best against Gray’s efficient arm. He got ahead 2-1, but swung on a four-seamer away, 2-2. Wade then hit one inside-out to left, beating the shift. Two on nobody out for Crawford.

Crawford hit a fly ball on the first pitch all the way to the wall and GONE! A three-run home run to the opposite field! Crawford’s 20th homer of the year, “That was ‘a Coor’s Field Special,” as per Dave. Just 376 feet to left and the game is tied. Giants 3, Rockies 3.

Then Kris Bryant stepped up and singled to right on a 95mph four-seamer that was right over the plate. Four straight hits by the Giants to start the sixth and Jon Gray was done.

Tyler Kinley came in for the Rockies to face Yaz with nobody out and a runner at first. He kept an eye on Bryant, trowing to first on the 1-2. He then got Yaz swinging on a slider right down the middle, one down. Not a good at-bat from Yaz.

Steven Duggar came up and laid off two sliders to go ahead 2-0. He took a 97mph strike on the outside corner and Kinley missed with another slider, 3-1. Duggar fouled one off his foot to fill the count. Duggar then swung on a nasty slider to strike out, two outs – Dave called it “the hammer slider.”

Curt Casali then blooped a soft liner that landed on the grass in left center, for a base hit, and Kris Bryant darted to third. Darin Ruf was called upon to pinch hit with runners in the corners. Kinley then went ahead 0-2 on two sliders that never broke that Ruf laid off of. But he got him to chase a ball for a swinging strike to end the top of the inning.

Zach Littell entered the game for the Giants to start the sixth. He got ahead of Elias Diaz, 1-2, but Diaz worked it full. He then gave up a deep home run on the next pitch, a high slider. Rockies 4, Giants 3.

Hampson attempted to bunt his way on, but Littell outsprinted him to first and Belt gathered the dribbler and flipped to Littell, covering, just in time to get Hampson, one down.

Littell got Ruiz to hit a weak grounder to Belt for the second out. He fell behind Tapia 3-1, but filled it by finally hitting the top of the zone. Tapia fouled off two 96mph heaters. Then Littell missed badly outside and walked him on a slider that missed by a foot. Littell tightened up, got ahead of Rodgers 0-2, and struck him out with the fastball.

Seventh

rally visor time. Lucas Gilbreath entered the game pitching for the Rockies. He faced Thairo Estrada who came into the game for Tommy La Stella, who had struggled at the plate and in the field. Estrada grounded out to short. Belt and Gilbreath battled to a 2-2 count. Gilbreath struck him out looking with a slider on the outside. LaMonte Wade, Jr., worked a 3-1 count, but nded up hitting a little tapper back to GilbreathThree up, three down

Tony Watson, the hold specialist, came out for the bottom of the seventh, not in a hold situation, but trying to keep the Giants just one run down. Estrada took over at second for La Stella. Watson got ahead of Blackmon 1-2, and then struck him out with the high strike on the outside edge, one down.

Trevor Story fouled off the first pitch for a strike. Then he popped up a soaring fly ball to left, caught by Wade. Two down. C.J. Cron, held quiet so far, took a strike on a fastball. He then swung and hit a high drive to right and Yaz caught it a few feet in front of the wall. Three up, three down for Watson on eight pitches. wow.

Eighth

Gilbreath fell behind Crawford immediately 2-0, and Crawford got him to 3-1 and drew the leadoff walk. That was the end of Gilbreath’s night. Time for Jeulys Chacin.

Jeulys Chacin, throwing nothing but curves and sliders, struck out Bryant, and walked Yazstremski, before getting to a full count with Steven Duggar. He got Duggar with a slider on the outside. Two walks and two Ks in the inning for Gilbreath and Chacin. Casali worked a full count, but grounded out to end the top of the frame.

Kapler gave the ball to Tyler Rogers for the bottom of the eighth. McMahon grounded out to third on his second pitch. But then Elias Diaz hit a ball deep enough to center to stretch, racing for a double. Diaz was three for four with two doubles and a homer.

Hampson flied out to shallow center on one pitch, two down. Pinch hitter Colton Welker, brought up from the minors today, then came up for the Rockies. Welker blasted one to very deep right center field, but it stayed in the yard. whew.

Ninth

Last chance for the Giants.

[STOPED LIVE BLOGGING HERE TO WATCH THE NINTH]

wow. what a ninth. I was busy watching it with the stylish on in rally cap formation and so I didn’t live blog it, but wow! what a comeback. First sweep in Colorado by an opposing team this year! We did it!

GiantsGiants – Top 9th

  • ALMONTE PITCHING FOR COL
  • Duggar struck out swinging to end the top of the ninth inning
  • EST√ČVEZ PITCHING FOR COL
  • Longoria doubled to deep center, Belt scored and Wade Jr. scored. Giants 7, Rox 4
  • Bryant struck out swinging
  • Wade Jr. to second on wild pitch by Est√©vez, Belt to third on wild pitch by Est√©vez
  • Crawford struck out swinging
  • Wade Jr. singled to right center, Dub√≥n scored and Estrada scored, Belt to second
  • Giants 5, Rox 4
  • Belt reached on infield single to first, Estrada to second, Dub√≥n to third
  • Estrada singled to left, Dub√≥n to second
  • Dub√≥n ran for Posey
  • Posey walked
  • Posey hit for Rogers

Jake McGee had a three up, three down, ten-pitch ninth for the save.

Giants win!

Giants 7, Rockies 4

The Giants went (10-6) on the Gauntlet of 16 Games and are first to 90 wins in all of baseball.

This concludes, “The Giants Run the Gauntlet,” summer of 2021, on Giants Baseball Corner.

Thanks for joining me

Karthik

giantsbaseballcorner.com/category/Gauntlet

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

The Giants Run the Gauntlet (Game 15 of 16), SF Giants Start with Three Doubles for First Time, Score Eleven in Support of Webb; Rookie Castro Debuts

The Giants are playing sixteen games in sixteen days, without a break. Been live-blogging them here under the category /Gauntlet. Tonight’s the penultimate game, 15 of the 16, still at altitude, in Denver.

The Giants came into this one (8-6) so far in the first fourteen of these sixteen games in a row. Going for win number nine.

Injury update: Kris Bryant available day-to-day, might come off the bench today. Posey will start behind the plate.

A night after the first-half-ace Kevin Gausman gave the Giants seven strong innings, the Giants sent second-half-ace Logan Webb (8-3, 2.56 ERA, 121 K) to face Rockies’ righty Chi Chi Gonzalez (3-6, 6.13 ERA, 55 K).

Tommy La Stella was moved back to leadoff and LaMonte Wade, Jr., batted cleanup. I love all these various lineups, but I need to sit down and crunch some numbers about what works. Maybe the new game is too fast-moving and mutable and there is no steady-state, as it were, but I need data.

Me? You can tell what kind of journalist and fan I am by floating around here in my giants baseball corner. It’s a mix of the mathematical and the spiritual and superstition and statistics.

First pitch was 6:44, and 64 degrees F was the gametime temperature in Denver.

SF Lineup

  1. Tommy La Stella (L) 2B
  2. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
  3. Buster Posey (R) C
  4. LaMonte Wade Jr. (L) LF
  5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
  6. Evan Longoria (R) 3B
  7. Mike Yastrzemski (L) RF
  8. Steven Duggar (L) CF
  9. Logan Webb (R) P

Tommy La Stella was his usual patient self in the box, looking at a fastball and then fouling one off, then drawing three balls to fill the count. On the sixth pitch of the night from Chi Chi Gonzalez, a low slider, La Stella went down to grab it and doubled to shallow left, Silk.

Brandon Belt then pulled a changeup, yanking it to deep center: back-to-back doubles, La Stella scored, Giants 1, Rockies 0. Buster Posey worked a full count, then smashed the third double in a row of the game, this time to left center, scoring Belt, Giants 2, Rockies 0.

All three doubles were on two-strike pitches. Dave told us it was the very first time in San Francisco Giants history that we started a game with three straight doubles.

LaMonte Wade, Jr., hit a slow roller to first, Gonzalez covered and they got him, but advanced Posey to third, with one out and two in. Brandon Crawford then came up to face Gonzalez, who got ahead, again, 1-2. Crawford fouled off a few and drew another ball. Bcraw fouled off another then pulled it into right field, a low liner for the RBI single, scoring Posey.

32 pitches for Gonzalez – one out, three earned runs and a runner on for Evan Longoria. Longo grounded into the double play to end it. Giants 3, Rockies 0.

COL Lineup

  1. Raimel Tapia (L) LF
  2. Brendan Rodgers (R) SS
  3. Charlie Blackmon (L) RF
  4. C.J. Cron (R) 1B
  5. Ryan McMahon (L) 3B
  6. Garrett Hampson (R) 2B
  7. Sam Hilliard (L) CF
  8. Dom Nunez (L) C
  9. Chi Chi Gonzalez (R) P

Logan Webb retired Raimel Tapia on a third pitch grounder hit into the defense. He got ahead of Brendan Rodgers, 1-2, and struck him out with the slider, the fifth pitch of the at-bat.

Webb then gave up a low liner to Charlie Blackmon, who hit it out of Belt’s reach, and a back-to-back, two-out single to C.J. Cron – who hit the first pitch right back up the middle of the defense and through, to put two on.

He struck out Ryan McMahon on three pitches, the last a 95mph sinker that got him looking, a great pitch. Good inning for Webb, despite the back-to-back singles and meaningless traffic, sixteen pitches.

Second

Mike Yasztrzemski gave a first pitch curve a long ride, but it stayed in the park, caught by Blackmon in deep right. Steven Duggar drilled a ball deep into the ranging Rockies yard and hustled for a triple. Logan Webb then smashed a first-pitch, stand-up double to drive him in. Giants 4, Rockies 0.

La Stella then had a basehit to right – Silk is so good – and Webb scored. “The Giant are teeing off on Chi Chi Gonzalez and Bud Black is on the phone,” Dave remarked. Belt then came up and hit a single, moving La Stella over and chasing Gonzalez from the game.

Eleven hitters had eight hits against Gonzalez. The Giants were up five to nothing.

The Rockies brought Goudeau to face Buster with Belt and La Stella on. Posey hit a smash liner to short that Rodgers managed to wrist-glove so it bounced up in the air, then quickly got the ball over to second and the Rockies turned it. Giants 5, Rockies 0.

Logan Webb threw a first pitch fastball for a strike to Hampson to start the bottom of the frame. He induced a foul on another and was quickly up 0-2. Hampson worked it back to 2-2. But Webb finished him off with the slider for his third strikeout.

He got ahead of Hilliard 0-2, again, and induced a weak grounder to La Stella. Silk charged it to ensure he made the throw in time. Webb got ahead of Dom Nunez, 0-2, just firing strikes, and he got him to chase the slider to strike him out, as well. Three up, three down on a dozen pitches.

Third

LaMonte Wade, Jr., started the third against Goudeau and lined out to Hampson. Crawford had a fascinating at-bat. He got ahead 3-0, then fouled off a fastball and swung on a changeup to fill the count. Then he fouled off another. He then roped a slow (77mph) curve to deep right and raced for second, sliding head-first as he has been doing lately, hair flying, for a double.

Longo and Yaz flied out to end the inning, stranding Craw.

Logan Webb struck out Goudeau on three quick pitches. He got ahead of Raimel Tapia, 0-2, and got him to pop out, again on three pitches. He then got Brendan Rodgers to ground out, on four. Webb had a ten-pitch third and had retired seven in a row. he was mowing em down.

Fourth

Duggar faced Goudeau and worked a full count before ripping a fastball for a double to put himself on the Cycle Watch, with a single and a homer to go. Logan Webb tried the crazy show-bunt-pull-back-and-swing-away that Gausman just nailed to perfection last night, but failed to get it done, then bunted foul on strike three. Brandon Belt, with Duggar on second, grounded into a double play – the Giants third inning-ending GIDP of this game.

Logan Webb faced Charlie Blackmon, who had the first hit off him earlier in the game, to start the bottom of the fourth. The Giants had the overshift on for Blackmon and he hit a two-seam fastball for a line drive right over Crawford’s head into left field. Blackmon was two for two.

Cron came up next having singled off Webb previously as well. He hooked a ball just a few feet foul that was threatening. Then he, too, ripped a line drive for a base hit to center field. His second hit was an RBI, driving in Blackmon with a double. These two guys had all of the Rockies hits.

McMahon moved Cron over to third on a grounder, but was thrown out at first for the first out of the inning. Logan Webb had one in, just one down, and one ninety feet away, facing Garrett Hampson. He once again got ahead 1-2, setting him up beautifully with sinkers, and struck him out with a perfectly thrown slider. Webb then got Sam Hilliard on one pitch, a sharp comebacker that Webb threw to Belt for the last out. Cron was stranded. Giants 5, Rockies 1.

Fifth

There was a lot of first-pitch swinging in this one. Buster Posey grounded weakly to first to start the fifth on one pitch but then The Man, Wade, Jr., ripped one up the right field line for a stand-up double. The Giants had seven doubles in the game already.

Crawford popped out to second for the second out. Longoria drew a walk to put two on with two out for Yaz. Buddy Black pulled Goudeau on a double switch. Rio Ruiz was brought in to play third. McMahon moved to second, Hampson to center and Hilliard left the game.

He brought in Robert Stephenson who has been very good against the Giants, including last night. Stephenson, a tall righty from Martinez, California, got Posey, Longoria and Crawford on just six pitches yesterday: groundout, flyout, groundout.

But Stephenson fell behind 3-1 to Yaz and walked him to load the bases on a fastball that just missed.

Steven Duggar, on Cycle Watch, came up with the bases loaded, but fell behind 1-2. Stephenson’s next pitch, a curve whose bottom just fell out, started in the zone and dropped like a stone, good pitch. Duggar did well and checked, 2-2. It was well thrown. Duggar then lined the very next pitch, another curve, into left center field and cleared the bases with another triple. wow.

Seven doubles and three triples in the game for the Giants in the first five innings. For Duggar, his third triple in three games!

Logan Webb hit a deep fly ball to center that was caught to end the Giants’ fifth. Giants 8, Rockies 1.

Webb picked up where he left off. Nunez grounded out to first on three pitches. But then Logan missed on two balls to the new guy, Rio Ruiz. Ruiz hit the next pitch hard to third, and it stayed fair long enough to hit the edge of the bag, take a crazy bounce into foul territory, yet be ruled fair by virtue of hitting third. Ruiz ran it out and got the base hit.

Webb then got Tapia to ground to Belt who gunned down Ruiz at second, to Crawford, who turned it around and slung it back to Webb, covering, to get Tapia at first: inning-ending double play.

Sixth

Stephenson got La Stella to ground out to start the sixth. He got ahead of Belt 1-2, but Brandon stayed alive, fouling off one and eyeing a ball, 2-2. Stephenson struck him out with the curve, same deal, “headed toward the middle and then dropped almost straight downward,” said Jon. Posey bounced a griounder past the mound to McMahon at second who threw him out. Three up, three down for Stephenson.

Logan Webb came to the mound for the sixth with a seven run lead and a great line:

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
L. Webb5.051106060-452.53
economical 60-pitch five innings

Webb got a comeback liner right back at him from Rodgers and he snagged it in the air, one down. He faced Blackmon who had two previous hits, and retired him on a routine grounder to La Stella. Cron, who had the other two hits, was retired on a popped up foul ball.

Logan Webb had a three-up, three down sixth inning on seven pitches. Wow. Jon said, “It’s as if Logan Webb is getting better.”

Seventh

Julian Fernandez, a very-hard throwing righty, entered the game for the Rockies to face LaMonte Wade, Jr. In a game recently, Fernandez threw eleven pitches that were 100mph or faster, and threw one at 102.4mph. The fourth-fastest pitcher in all of baseball, this guy. But the command wasn’t great, and we are patient, so The Man walked.

Crawford then smoked a first pitch fastball to center sending Wade to third – runners in the corners, nobody out. Fernandez fell behind Longo 0-2 and then Longo was able to stay out of the double play on a grounder that picked up Crawford at second, scoring Wade. Giants 9, Rockies 1.

Yaz then just obliterated his 22nd home run of the year – a career high – off Fernandez’s 98mph fastball that was left right out over the plate. 433 feet. Giants 11, Rockies 1, on the first Giants home run of the night.

Fernandez struck out Duggar and Logan Webb stepped back into the box, with no intention of facing Fernandez’s heat, but obviously fully planning to go back out for the eighth. Webb grounded out to third to end the top half of the frame.

Webb’s 68th pitch was a changeup Ryan McMahon fouled off for strike one. He got ahead 1-2. Then Webb missed, 2-2. McMahon lined one to deep right that stayed fair for a leadoff double. Hampson reached on an infield single to third. Joshua Fuentes hit for the pitcher Fernandez, and he singled to left, scoring McMahon. Webb then gave up a single to Ruiz, scoring Hampson. Giants 11, Rockies 3

Webb went seven innings, but it cost him two earned runs. Four of his nine hits were in the seventh, when he threw seventeen pitches.

Eighth

The Giants went quietly in the eighth, three up, three down against the Rockies’ Jordan Sheffield. He retired the side on four pitches.

Kapler and the staff decided to give the ball to a 22-year-old rookie from Venezuela, Kervin Castro, for his debut opportunity in the majors. Back in June, they asked Camilo Doval to debut here as well. I wonder if there is something about the constraints of Coors Field for pitchers that makes it good for testing our rookies. Maybe it was just the eight-run lead making it possible to experiment.

Kervin Castro popped out Charlie Blackmon to third to score his first out in the majors on three pitches.

He gave up a double to C.J. Cron on a two-strike, hanging curve ball, a mistake pitch. But Castro then struck out McMahon to register his first K and got Hampson to ground out to second on one pitch to end the inning.

His four-seam fastball hit 97mph. He threw five in his eight pitch inning: 97, 96, 95, 95 and 94mph. Excellent outing, rook. Welcome to the big leagues.

Ninth

The Rockies brought the long-time-away, comeback-story, 36-year-old Daniel Bard to finish the game and he was nutty. La Monte Wade, Jr. got hit by a pitch to lead off the ninth. On a grounder, Crawford stayed out of the double play, but Wade was forced out. Longo walked.

Then Bard threw a wild pitch that bounced way back out of play. The Man scored, of course, Giants 12, Rockies 3. But Crawford was thrown out trying to stretch for third on the play. Finally, Bard gave up a single to Yaz and struck out the red-hot Steven Duggar. Bard’s line is ridonk: a HBP, a BB, a run-scoring WP, a single, and a K. hahahahaa!

Kervin Castro came back for the bottom of the ninth. The rookie threw a 96mph four-seamer that missed and then quickly got ahead 1-2. Fast-working pitcher, the kid almost only threw the heater in the ninth. The next pitch was tapped in front of the plate and Castro was able to pick it up and throw out Fuentes.

Castro gave up a base hit to Nunez, but Nunez was forced out on a first-pitch grounder by Hampson, whom Thairo Estrada, freshly put into the game, couldn’t manage to throw out at first for the inning-ending double play.

Castro got ahead of Elias Diaz 1-2, but he worked it full against the young Venezuelan. On the next pitch, a fastball, Diaz flied out to Duggar in center to end it. Two scoreless innings, didn’t walk anyone. Way to go Kervin Castro!

Giants win! If we win tomorrow we’ll be first to 90 wins!

Giants 12, Rockies 3/F

The Giants won the 15th game of the 16 game Gauntlet and have now gone 9-6, during this epic stretch. Just one game left. I will live blog tomorrow’s day game and then I am done.

With a sweep of the Rockies tomorrow, we can go (10-6) on the stretch from hell, the Gauntlet of 16 Games in 16 Days. We can also be first to 90 wins.

Pound the Rocks!

Posted in full games, Gauntlet, Post Game Blasts, Relief Pitching, Road Trips, SCRBRDWatch | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Giants Run the Gauntlet (Game 14 of 16) No Time to Celebrate It’s Off to Altitude, Estrada Smashes Two HRs in First Ever Game at Colorado

The Giants are playing sixteen games in sixteen days, without a break. I’ve been live-blogging them here under the category/Gauntlet. This was Game 14 of the 16, the first of the final series, but at altitude now, in Denver.

Sixteen games in a row and it ends at altitude in the Rockies, where Colorado has been excellent, winning 45 games. whew. The Gauntlet is not forgiving.

The Giants at least had their first-half ace in rotation for game one. Kevin Gausman (12-5, 2.52 ERA, 183 K) faced the Rockies lefty Kyle Freeland (5-6, 4.22 ERA, 81 K).

SF Lineup

  1. Darin Ruf (R) 1B
  2. Kris Bryant (R) RF
  3. Buster Posey (R) C
  4. Evan Longoria (R) 3B
  5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
  6. Thairo Estrada (R) 2B
  7. Mauricio Dubon (R) CF
  8. Steven Duggar (L) LF
  9. Kevin Gausman (L) P

Kap moved Darin Ruf to leadoff and he started this one by parking a 79mph Kyle Freeland curve for a home run, Giants 1, Rockies 0. Freeland came back and struck out Kris Bryant, but then Buster Posey hammered a 90mph sinker for another homer! Longoria flied out to center. Crawford fouled out. Giants 2, Rockies 0.

Rockies Lineup

  1. Raimel Tapia (L) LF
  2. Brendan Rodgers (R) 2B
  3. Charlie Blackmon (L) RF
  4. Trevor Story (R) SS
  5. Ryan McMahon (L) 3B
  6. Elias Diaz (R) C
  7. Joshua Fuentes (R) 1B
  8. Garrett Hampson (R) CF
  9. Kyle Freeland (L) P

Kevin Gausman came to the mound with a two-run lead, not that it means much at altitude, but a lead’s a lead. He hit 95mph on fastballs that Raimel Tapia fouled off then struck him out with the splitter. He tried the same basic approach with Brendan Rogers, three fastballs for strikes then the splitter, but the splitter hung and Rogers ripped it for a double.

Blackmon grounded out to third on one pitch, an 82mph changeup, that advanced Rodgers to third. He started with four straight fastballs to Trevor Story, missing twice, 2-2. Then he struck him out swinging with an even higher fastball, getting Story to chase.

Second

Thairo Estrada grounded out on the second pitch. Mauricio Dubon took two strikes, looking and then had a great at-bat: he fought off two curves and a slider and, on a 2-2 count, doubled to center. Steven Duggar then hit a ball hard and deep right into the gap, to the right of center, but Blackmon was positioned well to track it down and catch it. Freeland struck out Gausman to end the top of the inning.

Ryan McMahon led off for the Rockies and drove a first pitch fastball right over the 400 foot marker to the opposite field. Jon mentioned it was hot, 93 degrees, and that the ball was definitely flying today. Giants 2, Rox 1.

Gausman got Elias Diaz to ground out to Crawford and got ahead of Josh Fuentes, quickly 0-2. But Gausman missed with the splitter and changeup, 2-2. Fuentes fouled off a fastball, but then grounded another roller right to Crawford, who scooped it and threw him out. Garrett Hampson looked at a atsrike then fouled off consecutive 95mph fastballs. Gausman missed with the splitter in the dirt, then struck him out swinging at the same splitter, properly located, on the next pitch.

Third

Darin Ruf looked at a couple of balls as Freeland missed with the changeup and curve. He fouled off a pitch and successfully checked a swing to get ahead 3-1. Freeland missed with the slider giving up a leadoff walk.

He missed way outside to Bryant on the first pitch, then Bryant muscled a 90mph sinker inside out to right, advancing Ruf to second. Freeland got ahead of Posey 0-2 with the changeup and curve and struck him out with a high fastball with “a little cut to it,” as per Jon. Freeland fell behind Evan Longoria on several bad pitches that missed badly, 3-1, and then walked him with a changeup to load the bases for Brandon Crawford.

Jon noted that Crawford has struggled against Freeland throughout their matchups in the past. This was to be no different. He hit it right up the middle to Story, who stepped on second and threw him out for the double-play. Giants stranded three.

Freeland struck out swinging. Raimel Tapia fell behind 0-2, but then grounded a hard hit ball to Longo who couldn’t field it cleanly and failed to throw out the speedy Tapia, the Rockies leading base-stealer. Rodgers flied out to right. The Gasman blew two fastballs by Blackmon, 0-2, and with two down and the runner going, struck him out with the splitter. sweet.

Fourth

Estrada opened the fourth by absolutely ripping a changeup 413 feet down the left field line for a solo shot. Giants 3, Rockies 1. Dubon then blooped a single to center field for a single to make him two for two. Then Steven Duggar hit a liner to left for a single, to make him also two for two.

Gausman tried to get a bunt down to advance the runners, but fouled the first pitch past the third base line. He squared around again and took a ball. Then he showed bunt, McMahon came charging in from third, and Gausman pulled back and slapped a liner up the left field line right past him. McMahon was too close to make the play. Dubon raced home. Giants 4, Rockies 1.

Kevin Gausman’s ninth hit and third RBI of the season was a perfectly executed fake bunt, pulled back and swung away.

Ruf flied out to right, advancing Duggar to third. Kris Bryant worked a full count, but struck out on a pitch that was right down the middle. Two out with runners in the corners for Posey, who got ahead, 2-0, then fouled off a slider. Buster took another ball 3-1, then fouled off another to fill it. Freeland struck him out with the curve, impressively limiting the damage: Ruf flied out and he struck out Bryant and Posey to close the top of the frame. The Giants were then 1 for 8 with RISP. sigh.

Fresh off his RBI-single, Gausman got ahead of Story, 0-2, then grounded him out to Estrada, who was perfectly positioned to field it and throw him out. Gausman fell behind McMahon 2-0, but filled the count. He tried to strike him out with the fastball but McMahion fouled it off. Then he missed with the changeup and walked him, but a Diaz GIDP on one pitch ended the inning.

Fifth

Freeland hit Evan Longoria on the toe with the “back-foot curve ball,” to give the Giants another leadoff baserunner. But Brandon Crawford’s struggles against Freeland continued and he struck out swinging on three pitches. Thairo Estrada worked a 2-2 count and Freeland was really struggling with him. Estrada then smashed his second home run of the game, 405 feet to left on a curve Flemm said he was looking for. Giants 6, Rockies 1.

Freeland walked Dubon and peppered first with pickoff throws to kill time until they came to get him. His Labor Day was done, having given up nine hits and six earned runs.

The Rox brought in Ben Bowden to face Steven Duggar. Duggar ripped a liner to shallow right advancing Dubon to second. Lotsa traffic for the Giants today. Gausman then bunted well up the third base line. Bowden grabbed it and threw to third to get the lead runner, Dubon, but they couldn’t get Gausman at first for the double play.

Darin Ruf then smashed a deep shot to dead center field where it whistled over Hampson’s head and hit the wall for a two-run triple! Giants 8, Rockies 1. The Giants had been one for nine with RISP before that triple, Dave informed us.

Kris Bryant, who struggled at the plate against Freeland all day, had no better luck against Bowden. Bryant hit a liner deep to third, but McMahon made a great play to dig it out and throw Bryant out at first to end the top of the fifth. Damage done: Freeland chased and four more runs.

Joshua Fuentes struck out on a Gausman fastball to start the bottom with The Gasman’s sixth K. Gausman quickly got ahead of Hampson, 0-2. Hampson then hit a line drive right back to Gausman who reacted quick-twitch and snagged it. Two down. he popped up Hilliard the infield left of the mound and everybody broke for it. Crawford who gut run in front of just before he was going to squeeze it, by Darin Ruf, who made the play. Eleven pitch fifth for Gausman, who was cruising.

Sixth

Buster Posey slashed a first pitch from Yancy Almonte to deep right field for a stand up double – another leadoff baserunner for San Francisco. Longo went oppo and singled Buster over to third. “Brandon Crawford, happy to see anyone but Kyle Freeland into the game,” was up next Dave remarked.

Almonte walked Crawford to load the bases for Thairo Estrada playing in his first game at Coors Field having already hit two home runs. Almonte fell behind 3-0. Estrada took a strike, then flied out to right on the next pitch.

Almonte fell behind Mauricio Dubon looking at bases loaded and one out, 2-0. Then Dubon grounded it through the hole to right. Three-for-three, Mauricio Dubon doubled in Posey and Longoria. Giants 10, Rockies 1. Steven Duggar GIDP to end the Giants half of the sixth.

Kevin Gausman came back out for the sixth with a 10 – 1 lead. wow. After five innings on 71 pitches and giving up only two hits, Gausman gave up a single to Tapia to start the sixth. When Bryant threw the ball back into the infield, Crawford couldn’t get a hold of Bryant’s somewhat errant throw and Tapia took second on the error.

Gausman got his seventh strikeout, Brendan Rodgers, with his 77th pitch, then gave up an RBI triple to Charlie Blackmon, who turned on a first pitch fastball. Giants 10, Rox 2.

Gausman struck out Trevor Story for the second time with Blackmon 90 feet away from the plate. Dave called it macho. 8 Ks for Gausman. He then worked the split-fingered pitch into the McMahon at-bat, and induced a weak grounder to second, ending the inning with Blackmon stranded.

Seventh

Gausman batted for himself in the seventh, so we knew he was coming back. He got ahead of the count 2-0. Then Almonte got him to swing and foul to make it 2-2. Then he struck out swinging. Ruf flied out to center. LaMonte Wade, Jr., pinch-hit for Bryant and struck out swinging.

With LaMonte Wade, Jr., now playing right, Gausman did indeed return to the mound for the seventh and he got Diaz on an infield fly to second. Then he popped up Fuentes and Posey caught it, but not without more drama from Ruf, who came barreling towards him and then slid into Buster and knocked him down. WTF is Ruf doing on these pop-ups?

Garrett Hampson then jumped on a two-out, first pitch fastball and ripped it for a home run. Giants 10, Rockies 3. The Rockies sent in Rio Ruiz as a pinch hitter. Gausman managed to strike him out on three pitches. Ninth K for Kevin Gausman on seven strong innings and 98 pitches.

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Gausman7.053319298-752.58
TEAM7.053319298-75
Gausman’s Strong Seven Que Macho

Eighth

The Giants went quietly, three up, three down in the eighth. Robert Stephenson, a tall righty from Martinez, California, got Posey, Longoria and Crawford on just six pitches. Groundout, flyout, groundout.

Caleb Baragar got the call in the bottom of the eighth and got Tapia to ground out but then gave up a double to Brendan Rodgers to deep right center. Charlie Blackmon grounded out to third. Rodgers couldn’t advance, but it didn’t matter because Baragar threw one right down the middle to Trevor Story who crushed it for a two-run homer. Giants 10, Rockies, 5.

Baragar then hit McMahon with a pitch. Yikes. I got that sinking feeling when Kapler took the ball and turned it over to one of my least favorite relievers this year, John Brebbia, who recently had proven me wrong and performed very well against the Dodgers. A nine run lead had been cut to five by massive homers at altitude, and there were still four outs to get.

Elias Diaz faced Brebbia. They wrestled to a 2-2 count and Diaz fouled off the challenge fastball. and another. and another. and another. The eight pitch at-bat turned nine with a slider that missed to fill the count. He missed with the slider again on the tenth pitch and walked him. “The one thing he couldn’t do was walk anybody and he walked Diaz who almost never walks,” said Jon.

With runners on first and second, Brebbia then gave up a deep foul ball to Fuentes that was nearly a home run. But finally Fuentes grounded into the force out of Diaz at second and the inning was over.

Ninth

The Rockies brought Lucas Gilbreath for the ninth. Thairo Estrada went inside out for the third hit of his debut game at Coors Field, a single to right. Brendan Rodgers made a nice, diving grab of a Dubon liner for the first out. Steven Duggar grounded to first and the Rockies got Estrada at second, but couldn’t turn the double of the racing Duggar at first. Tommy La Stella came into the game as a pinch hitter, but struck out, a rarity for him.

Dominic Leone, just one of the bullpen heroes of the last game against the Dodgers, was brought in to try to close out the Rockies. Garrett Hampson hit a first pitch liner right to Brandon Crawford, one away. C. J. Cron then came in to hit for Gilbreath and he grounded out to third on the second pitch, and Tapia dribbled a little comebacker Leone corralled and flipped to first and the ball game was over. Just five pitches by Leone to end it.

Giants 10, Rockies 5

Way to go Giants!

What pros!

The 15th game of the gauntlet is tomorrow, just need one more in Colorado to win the series and end the 16 Game Gauntlet over .500.

Posted in full games, Gauntlet, NLWest, Post Game Blasts | Leave a comment

The Giants Run the Gauntlet (Game 13 of 16); Giants Win Season Series Against Dodgers Ten Games to Nine

“It’s just no flinch, up and down the lineup, the bullpen – just go about our preparation and every guy pulls their weight. It’s just a lot of fun, it’s a lot of fun to come to the field, strap it on and go play.” – Steven Duggar

wow, what a game.

It all came down to this and these San Francisco Giants didn’t disappoint. There’s much to be said about the game itself, but we should begin with management of the Dodgers series all year long, which has been tactical, adaptive and smart.

The Bums swept us at home to start this series, and we took two of the last three at home to win it. In between, Gabe Kapler and the staff put together winning efforts from a number of guys. They used in-game management and a flexible strategy and role player after role player stepped up.

Mike Tauchman’s incredible catch in game four was when it started. Tauchman remarkably reached over the left-field wall to rob Albert Pujols of a walk-off home run in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Giants broke through in the 10th. Our first win against the Dodgers was at Chavez Ravine. Then we reeled off two more there. We believed.

We surged into the lead in the NL West and stayed ahead for three months, but back and forth we went with the nemesis to a nine games to nine games tie. From AP: “here’s how close these clubs played in 2021: The Dodgers outscored the Giants head-to-head 80-78.”

The last game between these two teams was yet another David vs. Goliath story, as the Sith Lord that spends $60million dollars more for the 28 guys on the field than we do sent Walker Beuhler (13-3, 2.31 ERA, 184 K) to mow us down. The SF Giants announced no starter and declared the plan was a bullpen game, to be started by Dominic Leone (3-3, 1.59 ERA, 38 K)

LAD Lineup

  1. Trea Turner (R) 2B
  2. Max Muncy (L) 1B
  3. Mookie Betts (R) RF
  4. Justin Turner (R) 3B
  5. Corey Seager (L) SS
  6. Will Smith (R) C
  7. Chris Taylor (R) LF
  8. Cody Bellinger (L) CF
  9. Walker Buehler (R) P

SF Lineup

  1. Tommy La Stella (L) 2B
  2. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
  3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
  4. LaMonte Wade Jr. (L) LF
  5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
  6. Mike Yastrzemski (L) RF
  7. Curt Casali (R) C
  8. Steven Duggar (L) CF
  9. Dominic Leone (R) P

With Brandon Belt’s first inning homer off Walker Beuhler and Steven Duggar’s triple in the second, the Giants showed up early and made the statement clearly: We’re not just giving you the division. Darin Ruf singled, scoring Duggar, while Brandon Crawford and Curt Casali had RBIs in the third to end the scoring for the orange-and-black.

Beuhler called it, “The worst I’ve thrown in a long time.” The Giants touched-up Buehler for a season-high six runs on seven hits over those three innings. The bullpen took it from there

Dominic Leone pitched a perfect inning in the first start of his career. It was the second straight “bullpen game,” and staked with a lead, the guys got it done against one of the best lineups in all of baseball – certainly the most expensive.

Jose Alvarez struggled, but Kap had a short leash. Jay Jackson and Zach Littell worked hard to keep the Dodgers at bay. The rookie, Camilo Doval, was impressive in an intense, high-pressure situation. Jose Quintana, the new guy, managed his innings but had to hand it over to the kid, what a call. The kid went an inning and a third, and made Kapler look like a genius, setting up Tony Watson, Tyler Rogers and Jake McGee to finish the job.

GiantsGiants Pitching

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Leone1.000000013-81.59
Alvarez0.021110011-52.50
Littell
(W, 2-0)
1.000002013-82.66
Jackson0.210010019-94.58
Quintana2.011133041-216.22
Doval1.100012027-175.79
Watson1.000001010-83.99
Rogers1.000000010-61.75
McGee1.022101123-152.81
TEAM9.0643691167-97
a winning bullpen

Watson and Rogers each pitched a ten pitch inning. But McGee again had a hard time closing it in the ninth. After giving up Albert Pujols’ 678th home run which cut the margin in half, he gave up a single to Max Muncy. Then he hunkered down, and after a seven-pitch battle, McGee struck out Mookie Betts. He got Justin Turner to foul out to end the game and the place exploded in joy. Zach Littell got the win, his second.

San Francisco now owns any tiebreaker ‚ÄĒ such as home-field advantage if there’s a one-game playoff for finishing with the same record ‚ÄĒ against the Dodgers.

I am so proud of our boys.

Giants 6, Dodgers 4

On to Colorado for our 14th game in 14 days, the next three with less oxygen, as we climb to altitude. Let’s Go Giants! Pound the Rocks! You’ve nearly run the gauntlet, just three games to go.

Posted in full games, Gauntlet, NLWest, Post Game Blasts, Relief Pitching, SCRBRDWatch, Series Recaps | 1 Comment

The Giants Run the Gauntlet (Game 12 of 16), Giants and Dodgers Go At It Again

The Giants are playing sixteen games in sixteen days, without a break. I’ve been live-blogging them here under the category/Gauntlet. This was Game 12 of the 16, the penultimate game against the Nemesis.

The attrition of illness and coronavirus the Giants have avoided all year has hit us hard during the Gauntlet of sixteen straight games. It’s all available hands on deck now which manifests tonight in a remarkable outcome: Jay Jackson (2-0, 3.24 ERA, 25 K), will get the start. I love this guy. He has had his ups and downs, but the way he stepped up on arrival and his veteran command are worth giving a nod for a start.

It won’t be easy because the Bums counter with Julio Urias (15-3, 3.17 ERA, 160 K), who has ownage in our yard and against our staff. He truly loves beating us. The feeling’s mutual. Can we tame that lineup for a second night and win the season series?

I am rockin the stylish, first pitch was 6:04pm and game time temperature was a cool, breezy 64 degrees F.

LAD Lineup

  1. Trea Turner (R) 2B
  2. Max Muncy (L) 1B
  3. Mookie Betts (R) RF
  4. Justin Turner (R) 3B
  5. Corey Seager (L) SS
  6. AJ Pollock (R) LF
  7. Chris Taylor (R) CF
  8. Will Smith (R) C
  9. Julio Urias (L) P

Jay Jackson and Trea Turner started the game right where we left off last night, deadlocked in struggle. Jackson threw five straight sliders, all around 85mph. On a 2-2 count, though, he hung one right over the plate, and Turner ripped it juuuust over the center field wall (400ft) for a leadoff home run. Dodgers 1, Giants 0.

Jackson continued the heavy diet of sliders, peppered with an occasional fastball, to Max Muncy, and got him swinging. He then walked Betts, who took off on the first pitch and stole second, his eighth steal of the year. sigh. Wow, Giants-Dodgers just never even gives you a minute to breathe.

But it didn’t matter, because he walked Justin Turner and he was done. One homer, One K and two walks. Sorry, Jay, we’re going to have to keep you in the middle relief, pal.

Kapler came out and turned the ball over to Jarlin Garcia, the hero of last night’s eleventh, indeed the winner of last night’s game.

Garcia came in to face Corey Seager with one down and Betts and Turner on. He got ahead 0-1 and the Dodgers immediately executed a double-steal! Wow!

MTK

Both runners advanced to scoring position as Posey’s throw to second was not in time. Garcia then fell behind 3-1. The next pitch was a well-hit sacrifice fly to the edge of the line of the sunshine in deep center field. Tough catch, well-made, but deep enough Betts scored easily – Dodgers 2, Giants 0.

Garcia quickly got ahead of AJ Pollock, 0-2. But then he threw a slow, fat, hanging slider right over the heart of the plate and Pollock ripped a double deep to center, knocking in Turner. Dodgers 3, Giants 0.

Garcia then picked off Pollock, catching him attempting to take third. Pollock got kicked in the head sliding into third and had to leave the game, first casualty of the night between the old foes. (Update: Pollock will be out two to three weeks).

Giants Lineup

  1. Darin Ruf (R) LF
  2. Kris Bryant (R) RF
  3. Austin Slater (R) CF
  4. Evan Longoria (R) 3B
  5. Buster Posey (R) C
  6. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
  7. Thairo Estrada (R) 2B
  8. Mauricio Dubon (R) SS
  9. Jay Jackson (R) P

Julio Urias stalked out to the mound in complete control and threw a fastball and a curve for strikes to start the bottom of the first and then got Darin Ruf to chase, striking him out on three pitches. His fourth straight strike came in to Kris Bryant at the knees. Bryant grounded the next pitch, a 92mph fastball, deep to third, and Justin Turner handled it, but wasn’t able to throw out the speedy Bryant – one out, one on, for Austin Slater.

Urias fell behind Slater 3-1, and looked angry at himself. He filled it up with a fastball. Then got him looking with the sick curve, two down. Slater never swung the bat. Urias has command.

Evan Longoria swung on the first pitch, another slow (80mph) curve, and stroked a single to right center, advancing Bryant to third. It’s so nice to have Longo back! With two out and runners in the corners, Urias threw two straight changeups to Buster Posey and then a curve for a ball. Then on the 2-1 count, Buster Posey got the changeup and managed to hit it hard inside-out to deep right, doubling in Bryant and moving Longoria to third.

With two out and runners in scoring position, Urias got Belt swinging at the changeup to end the inning. Dodgers 3, Giants 1

Second

Garcia came back for the second and gave up a hard hit liner to Taylor on a fastball that was right over the plate, but Slater ran in, tracked it and caught it on the run at thigh-high level.

Jon pointed out that the Dodgers did not look like they were falling for whatever deception Garcia was attempting. He noted several hard hit balls. Garcia then walked Will Smith, and Urias sacrificed him over to second on a good bunt back to the mound, no play at second.

Jon again remarked that Garcia didn’t look sharp, but he got Trea Turner to hit a hard grounder to short for Dubon, who played it cleanly for the third out in the top of the second.

Urias went right back to work with the curve for a strike to Thairo Estrada, followed by the fastball Estrada fouled off, to fall behind 0-2. Urias missed with the curve low. Estrada fouled off the next pitch again and Urias missed again low, 2-2. Estrada grounded the next pitch to third, where Taylor crisply made the play and throw for the out.

Mauricio Dubon had a little better luck, falling behind 1-2, then laying off and working the count full. But Dubon popped up the next pitch to shallow center and Trea Turner back-pedaled and made a good catch. Jarlin Garcia batted for himself with two outs and nobody on, but Kapler did briefly show Tommy La Stella on deck, while Dubon was up. Garcia struck out to end the inning.

Third

Garcia and Muncy battled. Garcia missed and Muncy took. Then Muncy ripped a ball that was barely foul for a strike, then Garcia got ahead with a fastball. Garcia missed low with the changeup. Then he struck him out swinging with the same pitch. Good pitch to get Muncy.

Mookie Betts smoked a line-drive grounder in front of Dubon that kicked up and past his glove for a base hit. Garcia and Justin Turner went at it and Jarlin fell behind 3-1. He filled the count with a changeup, called strike. Betts took off, but Turner fouled the 3-2 four-seam fastball back.

Garcia seemed bothered by Betts – if anything it contributed to the feeling he wasn’t sharp. He made a throw to first but Betts got back. Then on the next pitch, Betts took off, Garcia threw the changeup and got Turner swinging and Buster gunned down Betts at second for the Strike-em-out-Throw-em-out Double Play to end the top of the frame! Was awesome.

Top of the order against Urias, Darin Ruf, who struck out on three pitches to start the game, fell behind 1-2 on a foul ball to the upper deck. He struck out swinging against Urias’ slow, sinking curve. Urias looked frustrated as he missed the zone to Bryant, who worked the count by swinging against the off-speed pitches, but then he struck out on a check swing, trying to do just that.

Austin Slater roped a liner deep to left for a double on the first pitch he saw, the curve. But then Urias got Longoria to pop up to foul territory by first and Max Muncy tracked it and made a good, over the shoulder basket catch of the fast-descending, high pop-up, to end the inning. Dodgers defense is legit.

Fourth

Jose Alvarez came in to face Corey Seager and retired him on one pitch, that he grounded meekly to first. He then got Cody Bellinger to hit a high pop up, which Estrada back-pedaled on and caught for out number two. He then got Taylor to pop up as well, and Estrada caught that one, too. Three up, three down for Alvarez on five pitches. wow.

Buster Posey led off for the Giants in the bottom of the fourth. Again, Urias couldn’t contain him as he hit the ball hard right up the middle of the defense for his second hit of the game. Brandon Belt then hit a high drive to right, but it fell shy of the wall for the long out. Thairo Estrada saw a ball and popped a foul for a strike, 1-1. Urias missed again, 2-1, but Estrada lined out to center.

Mauricio Dubon then ripped a grounder up the third base line past the diving Turner to left and advanced Posey to third with a two-out double. The patient Tommy La Stella came up to bat for the first time, and Urias fell behind 2-0, before getting La Stella to swing and miss at the 94mph four seamer right down the middle of the plate.

La Stella went on a check swing, 2-2. He fouled off another. Urias missed with the fast ball to fill the count. He was now at 62 pitches. But La Stella popped out to Seager to end the inning. The Giants stranded two RISP, again.

Fifth

Having used La Stella in the pitcher’s spot, the Giants brought Zach Littell to the mound to face Will Smith, and Smith worked a full count. He fouled off a couple of pitches and then Littell bounced the ball in the dirt so far in front of the plate it kicked up over Posey to the backstop and Smith took first on the wild pitch.

Urias again dropped a perfect bunt on one pitch to advance Smith to scoring position with one out for Trea Turner and the top of the order.

Littell had a brief mound meeting with the pitching coach and came back to strike out Turner on three pitches. He then threw two more strikes to Muncy. Littell missed with the slider, but went right back to it and got Muncy to strike out swinging at the same 87mph slider. What a mound visit. Back to back strikeouts after it.

Darin Ruf, whom Urias had struck out twice in this game, worked a full count and fouled off Urias’ 70th pitch on an emergency swing of a 3-2 curve, but he struck out for the third straight time on a high, hard 97mph fastball that might have been outside the zone. Hat trick of K’s, Ruf’s staring at the sombrero.

Urias and Kris Bryant went at it again and Bryant was able to smash a hard hit one-hopper to third that, finally, Turner couldn’t turn. Justin Turner had been vaccuming up balls hit in his direction, twisting in the dirt and gunning down Giants for inning after inning. It skipped off his glove into left for a single for Bryant.

Austin Slater hit a slow dribbler to second and was thrown out, just barely, but advanced Bryant to scoring position. Longo hit an easy grounder to short and that was the end of the inning – another RISP stranded.

Sixth

Mookie Betts swung at the first pitch from Littell and flied out to deep left center. Littel then got Justin Turner to hit a grounder to the hole. Dubon got it, but he blew the throw to first. Belt had no chance and the ball flew out of play, advancing Turner to second on the ground rule. Ruled a single and an error. That was it for Littell. The Giants turned the ball over to Jose Quintana to face Corey Seager.

Quintana struggled to find the zone and fell behind 2-0, but then he got a strike on a ball in the dirt that got away and allowed Turner to advance to third. Quintana was then charged with a balk that brought him home. Dodgers 4, Giants 1.

Replays showed it to be a questionable call made by a hopped -up ump who was behind him. Quintana clearly set before the wind-up and the guy didn’t see it and went ballistic. Kapler argued, though you are not allowed to argue balks. lame.

Quintana got Seager to ground out to Belt and covered for out number two. He struck out Bellinger swinging on a great curve. Terribly unfair he was charged with that run.

Buster came up in the bottom of the sixth and roped his third hit of the game, a single, this time off of an Urias fastball. Buster had hits off the curve, the changeup and the fastball tonight. wow. Brandon Belt then worked a full count, but struck out on a 95mph Urias fastball, his eighth K of the night.

Thairo Estrada fell behind 1-2, but then hit a hard liner down the left field line that went foul. He advanced Posey to second on a little comebacker that died in front of the plate, and was scooped by the catcher, Smith, who threw out Estrada. With two out and Posey on second Dodgers manager Dave Roberts took the ball from Urias.

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
J. Urias5.281108096-643.11
Urias was good

The Dodgers brought on Alex Vesia to face Mauricio Dubon with two out and Posey in scoring position. Dubon fell behind 0-2, then looked at a changeup low. He swung at a very high fastball and struck out to end the sixth.

Seventh

The Giants brought on John Brebbia for the seventh. Oh no! I really don’t think Brebbia is good enough to face the Dodgers. But he faced Chris Taylor first, and struck him out looking at three pitches. Brebbia gave up a single to Will Smith on a hanging slider, but then struck out pinch-hitting Billy McKinney on four pitches and got Trae Turner to fly out to center on one. Well done, John Brebbia!

The Giants came up against Phil Bickford and Kap brought in LaMonte Wade, Jr. to hit for Brebbia. Bickford hit him and put Wade on to lead off the seventh. Ruf lined out to right. Bryant flied out to center and the chess continued. The Dodgers pulled Bickford after three batters and brought in the frustratingly good Blake Treinen with Mike Yastrzemski coming to the plate.

Yaz fell behind 0-2 quickly but took high and outside for a ball when The Man, Wade, stole second without a throw. His sixth steal in as many attempts. Love that guy. Sadly, Yaz struck out looking stranding him, again. The Giants were 1 for 8 with RISP at that point.

Eighth

The Giants brought out Caleb Barager for the eighth, hmmm. He got Muncy to fly out on one pitch, then got ahead of Mookie Betts and got him to ground out to Longoria who gunned him down. Barager was working fast. He looked good. Then Justin Turner hit a tall fly to the deep part of the yard in right … but Wade, The Man, tracked it down and made the catch for the final out. Way to go Caleb! That was a three-up, three-down, nine pitch inning for Barager.

Blake Treinen was back for the bottom of the eighth and he struck out Longoria. Buster Posey, who was three for three, hit another hard ball to right, but Mookie Betts made a brilliant catch for the out. Brandon Belt faced Treinen and grounded out to first, weakly. The Giants went quietly in the eighth.

Ninth

The Giants gave the rookie Sammy Long the ball in the ninth. What? I thought Barager was great – and he only threw nine pitches.

Sammy Long gave up a leadoff homer to Corey Seager to dead center. He then walked Bellinger. and fell behind Chris Taylor 3-0. sigh. Taylor hit a grounder to third and it went off the glove of Longo, an error. Two on, nobody out and a run in, 5-1 Dodgers. ugh.

Smith grounded to short, and the Giants got the force at second, but not the double play. Albert Pujols then hit a pinch-hit sacrifice to deep right and scored Bellinger.

Long, who was supposed to get the first two lefties, failed completely to possess the inning. But Kap didn’t want to use anyone else, so … what a dumb situation. Long had a two-strike count to Trae Turner and hit him to put him on. Facepalm.

With two out, runners at first and second, and a full count to Muncy, Sammy Long gave up a high foul ball that Ruf couldn’t get to. Max fought off three more. Long walked him to load the bases. sigh. He got Betts to fly out to right to end the nightmare.

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Long1.012120139-235.72
ugh. almost 40 pitches

The Dodgers brought on Brusdar Graterol to finish off the Giants. The hard-throwing righty who touches 100mph and above, retired Dubon and Estrada. LaMonte Wade, Jr, crushed one to center that bounced over the wall for a ground rule double. Ruf grounded out to second to end the game.

Dodgers 6, Giants 1

The Giants and Dodgers are tied for the lead in the NL West (86-50), going into the rubber game of the series tomorrow. The season series is tied 9 – 9.

It’s for all the marbles tomorrow, and the Dodgers have their Cy Young candidate, Walker Buehler, on the mound. The Giants, by contrast, will be cobbling together a staff for a “bullpen game.”

It’s Moneyball vs. the Sith Lord that outspends us – by 60 million dolllars! – for the 28 guys on the field. ‚§ĶÔłŹ

undecided

2021 NL West Standings

TEAMWLPCTGBSTRK
LA Dodgers8650.632W1
San Francisco8650.632L1
San Diego7264.52914W1
Colorado6373.46323W2
Arizona4592.32841.5L2
a dead heat on September 4th

Bummer.

Well …

Let’s Go Giants!!!

Beat LA! Beat LA! Beat LA

#BeatLA

Come on!

Let’s Gooooooooooooo!

Posted in Covid, full games, Gauntlet, Post Game Blasts, SCRBRDWatch | Leave a comment

The Giants Run the Gauntlet (Game 11 of 16), Dodgers and Giants Flash Brilliant Defenses in an Instant Classic That Goes to Eleven

The Giants are playing sixteen games in sixteen days, without a break. This was Game 11 of the 16, the first game of the last weekend series against the Dodgers.

The oldest rivalry in baseball culminates this season in a meeting of two teams tied for first in the NL West, with the best record in all of baseball (85 – 49), meeting for their final three games, with the season series tied 8-8. epic.

In San Francisco, the Dodgers and Giants wrestled for four and a half hours of pitching, defense and chess-like management of players, to a tie through ten and a half innings and two outs in game one.

It was a brilliant match-up that ended on an error of the finest of margins – a game of inches – and became an instant classic … that went to eleven.

San Francisco sent Anthony DeSclafani (11-6, 3.24 ERA, 132 K) to face a starter whom the Dodgers announced in advance was an opener, Corey Knebel (3-0, 3.12 ERA, 19 K).

LAD Lineup

  1. Trea Turner (R) 2B
  2. Max Muncy (L) 1B
  3. Mookie Betts (R) RF
  4. Justin Turner (R) 3B
  5. Corey Seager (L) SS
  6. Will Smith (R) C
  7. Chris Taylor (R) LF
  8. Cody Bellinger (L) CF
  9. Corey Knebel (R) P

DeSclafani was good to start this one, but against a team like the Dodgers, they still got traffic. He gave up a leadoff single to Trea Turner, one of the best hitters in the game, but then picked him up on a FC that put Muncy in his place on first. DeSclafani got Mookie Betts to foul out, but then walked Justin Turner, putting two on with two out for Corey Seager. After falling behind 0-2, Desclafani struck out Seager swinging against three pitches: slider, changeup, slider, all at around 88mph.

SF Lineup

  1. Darin Ruf (R) LF
  2. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
  3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
  4. LaMonte Wade Jr. (L) RF
  5. Buster Posey (R) C
  6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
  7. Thairo Estrada (R) 2B
  8. Mike Yastrzemski (L) CF
  9. Anthony DeSclafani (R) P

Darin Ruf singled to deep right field to start the game for the Giants, but it was to no avail, as Belt struck out, Bryant fouled out and LaMonte Wade, Jr., grounded out to first.

DeSclafani had a three-up, three-down second. Knebel sat down Buster Posey on a weak fly-out to center. Then he allowed a single to Crawford that led to nothing, as he followed it up by picking up Thairo Estrada with a K, and getting Mike Yastrzemski to fly out to center as well.

This game was a tense, taut battle of changing pitchers with corresponding moves by the managers at the plate throughout. Roberts and Kapler were moving, countermoving, not sending guys out on-deck. Avoiding tipping moves.

Roberts sent out guys to pitch nobody had ever heard of before. Kap fought back lefty/righty. A great national league game. Knebel was done after two, so McKinstry hit for him to start the third, and DeSclafani struck him out on four pitches.

Trae Turner walked to get on leading off again. Muncy grounded out moving Turner to second, and he took third on a wild pitch by DeSclafani. But Desclafani got Mookie Betts to fly out to center on three pitches to end the inning. DeSclafani was working, having thrown 54 pitches through three innings.

The Dodgers brought in Paul Bickford and he was an immediate mess. He walked DeSclafani, walked Darin Ruf and then gave up a single to Brandon Belt. The Giants had bases loaded with nobody out in the bottom of the third and Bickford was done.

But Alex Vesia came in for the Dodgers and he got out of the jam! He gave up only one run – on an Austin Slater single that scored DeSclafani. Giants 1, Dodgers 0. Posey grounded out and Crawford lined out to end a very frustrating inning of failing to bring home RISP that would become a theme of the game. The Dodgers defense is legit.

The Giants went 3 for 22 with runners in scoring position. It was unreal how often they were foiled by the Dodgers defense.

Justin Turner spinning in the dirt and coming up throwing. Treimen just forcing guys to pop up to shallow center. Betts and Bellinger making shoetop grabs.

But our defense is legit, too, and the Dodgers went 2 for 11 with RISP. This game was a dead heat. Great game.

The Dodgers used ELEVEN pitchers in this one.

The Giants had DeSclafani go six scoreless followed by Tony Watson and Tyler Rogers who held.

There were many times the Giants could have won this one and a crazy one occurred in the top of the ninth. With a 1-0 lead, Jake McGee came in and got Mookie Betts to ground out to third, one down. But then Justin Turner singled to left and Corey Seager came up and doubled to deep left, moving Turner to third.

Will Smith then hit a grounder to second and, to prevent the run, they fired the ball back in to Posey, who came running up the third base line to tag Turner. But he got back and Posey ended up tagging Seager! Leaving Turner on third. The lead man is safe.

The game would have been over on the double play! It was total craziness at third base as Buster stood there tagging guys and complaining as the ump indicated who was actually out.

Justin Turner then singled a 94mph fastball from McGee to center to bring in the tying run, Dodgers 1, Giants 1. Unbelievable. The Giants led this game 1-0 until the last out in the top of the ninth.

Pujols came in to hit for Bellinger. Could’ve been a career-capper type moment for Fat Albert, and to his credit, Jake McGee got him to ground out to first to end the top of the frame tied.

Kenley Jansen almost blew it again, but the Giants just couldn’t score with RISP in the bottom of the ninth.

Dominic Leone gave up just one run in the tenth – allowing the Manfred Man on second to cross. The Giants were able to keep it level on a Brandon Crawford RBI.

Marc wrote: “Crawford had an MVP statement game on the big stage. Miller said he was driving the ball to left center in BP, then he hit one that was 3 feet away from clearing loaded bases in the 3rd and the next he hit three feet further and got a double.

His ground ball single was perfectly placed between an armada of Dodgers to tie it in extras. And his defense is just extraordinary.”

Jarlin Garcia closed out the meat of the Dodgers in the top of the eleventh. Badass.

In the bottom of the eleventh, the Dodgers turned the ball over to a 26yo righty, Evan Phillips. Who? Exactly.

Ruf struck out and the Dodgers intentionally walked Belt. Then Bryant drew a walk, moving the Manfred Man, Yaz, to third and putting Belt on second. Bases loaded for Dickerson with one out.

Dick grounded to short and the Dodgers went home to force out Yaz and prevent the run, leaving the bases loaded for Buster Posey with two down.

Posey hit a grounder to Trae Turner. The Trae Turner error on a two-out throw to first that pulled Will Smith off the bag by inches, allowing our 34-year-old catcher Buster Posey to leg it out and reach first safely, scoring Belt from third, decided the game.

A walkoff that couldn’t be celebrated until replay review decided what actually happened at first finally came to conclusion with Buster declared safe.

we have the mojo now.

Giants 3, Dodgers 2

whew. Instant Dodgers-Giants Classic.

2021 NL West Standings

TEAMWLPCTGBSTRK
San Francisco8649.637W2
LA Dodgers8550.6301L1
San Diego7164.52615L2
Colorado6273.45924W1
Arizona4591.33141.5L1
Giants retake the NL West

Posted in full games, Gauntlet, Mid Series Reports, NLWest, Post Game Blasts, Relief Pitching, SCRBRDWatch | Leave a comment

The Giants Run the Gauntlet (Game 10 of 16) Giants Beat Brewers Behind Webb, 5-1

Thanks, Marc

Whew. Huge win. tense, taut, one run game – because Austin Slater hit home run number 200 for the Giants in the first. It was also Slater’s tenth big fly, giving the Giants ten players with 10+ homers. That has never happened in a season before.

Brew crew tied it 1-1 in the 4th and it stayed that way until the 8th.

Logan Webb was brilliant for seven. As was Eric Lauer for the Brewers. This was a pitching duel and their bullpen blinked.

Kris Bryant replay review was big. Thairo Estrada, embodying the season-long philosophy of next-man-up, hit a three-run homer to add insurance. No. 201.

Giants 5, Brewers 1

Giants 85 – 49

Dodgers 85 – 49

Season series tied 8-8.

Three games left to play, this weekend in San Francisco.

Has there been a more significant regular season Dodgers-Giants series since 1993?

No.

Beat LA

#BeatLA

Let’s Go Giants!

Posted in Gauntlet, Post Game Blasts, SCRBRDWatch | Leave a comment

The Giants Run the Gauntlet (Game 9 of 16), Giants Lose NL West Division Lead After SF-Era-Best 108 Days, Brewers Beat Gausman and Giants, 5 – 2

The Giants are playing sixteen games in sixteen days, without a break. Last night was Game 9 of 16. Game three of four with the Brewers. This gauntlet of 16 games will define the stretch so I was live-blogging them and posting immediately afterward. But last night’s loss to Milwaukee depressed me, so I stopped.

When you hit a losing streak, you should change things up. I am taking off the lucky nail polish today and growing out my beard again, too, ending the Maystache that carried us through an incredible season.

bye-bye to the NL West lead nail polish

What a run. The Giants were in first place on the last day of April, May, June, July and August. They led the nation to 40, 50, 60, 70 and 80 wins and lead the major leagues in win-loss and home runs for most of it. It has been a spectacular season of Moneyball tactics during which we never had a starting rotation.

Hit by Covid and illness this week, the Giants got hung up and stay there. I predicted we would win 85 games this season and curiously, we hit 84 and stalled out. The Giants didn’t hit a home run last night either, which meant they are also hung up on 199 big flies for the season. They still lead the majors, but I really want that ticker to roll over to 200. We’ve only hit eight homers in the last eight games.

We never had a starting rotation in ’21.

The Giants used 32 pitchers during the run (including Darin Ruf and Austin Slater, momentarily). We never really had the starters healthy in an ensemble and never found a fifth starter. We lost a lot of games up front with the bullpen, but then experimented agressively to find bullpen combinations that worked. Incredible bullpen highs and lows this year culminated in the loss last night, charged to Dominic Leone. But Brebbia was bad again, too.

2021 National League West Standings

TEAMWLPCTGBSTRK
Los Angeles8549.6340W3
San Francisco8449.6320.5L4
San Diego7163.53014L1
Colorado6172.45923.5W1
Arizona4590.33340.5W1
After Three and a Half Months, Giants Fall From First

The Giants play Milwaukee in a day game today. Marc will be there. I expect him to bring home the win. No matter what happens from here on out, that was a GREAT summer by the Giants and I’m proud of them.

Let’s Go Giants! Hit, Run, Catch, Fight Win!

Posted in Gauntlet, Mid Series Reports, NLWest, SCRBRDWatch | Leave a comment

The Giants Run the Gauntlet (Game 8 of 16) the Halfway Point, Cueto Back from Illness; Brewers’ Woodruff Manhandles Giants; Jose Quintana Debuts Well

The Giants are playing sixteen games in sixteen days, without a break. This is Game 8 of 16. Game two of four with the Brewers. This gauntlet of 16 games will define the stretch so I‚Äôm live-blogging them and posting immediately afterward. Last night’s loss to Milwaukee paired with a Dodgers win put the Giants just one and a half games ahead in the NL West before this one.

With coronavirus and illness creating chaos to starting pitching, Johnny Cueto (7-6, 3.73 ERA, 94 K) said he felt well enough to pitch against Brandon Woodruff (8-7, 2.38 ERA, 177 K). First pitch was 6:45, and it was 62 degrees F in San Francisco.

MIL Lineup

  1. Kolten Wong (L) 2B
  2. Willy Adames (R) SS
  3. Christian Yelich (L) LF
  4. Omar Narvaez (L) C
  5. Avisail Garcia (R) RF
  6. Rowdy Tellez (L) 1B
  7. Jace Peterson (L) 3B
  8. Lorenzo Cain (R) CF
  9. Brandon Woodruff (L) P

Johnny Cueto coming off illness started the game getting Kelton Wong to fly out on three pitches, but then immediately ran into trouble. He gave up a bloop single to left to Willy Adames and a swinging bunt infield grounder to Christian Yelich.

Omar Narvaez then singled to center, scoring Adames and putting Yelich at third. With runners in the corners, Avisail Garcia grounded out to third, but the ball rolled slow enough that Yelich scored and Narvaez advanced to second. Milwaukee 2 – 0.

Cueto didn’t want to give Rowdy Tellez anything to hit and walked him on four pitches. He then got Jace Peterson to ground out to first to end the inning.

SF Lineup

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

LaMonte Wade Jr., cracked a 96mph four-seam fastball deep to right for a leadoff double. Brandon Belt then popped up and fouled out on one pitch. Buster Posey struck out swinging against Woodruff’s 98mph fastball that was moving into his hands – good pitch. Brandon Crawford rolled a grounder to second for the last out. Wade stranded.

Second

Johnny Cueto got jacked by Lorenzo Cain for a 399 foot home run on the second pitch he faced to start the third. He then gave up a base hit to the pitcher, Woodruff. Cueto settled down. He induced a double-play ball from Kolten Wong to erase the base runners. Adames flied out to center to end the top of the frame. Brewers 3, Giants 0.

Kris Bryant drew a walk on four pitches, but then Woodruff got Mike Yastrzemski on three: sinker, sinker, four-seam fastball, 94, 94 and 95mph. He got Wilmer Flores to GIDP to end the inning, a ten pitch easy second for Woodruff.

Third

Cueto got Yelich to ground out on two pitches. Narvaez popped up and was caught in foul territory by Bryant, also on the second pitch. Cueto had the shimmy working, which generally means he’s at ease. But Garcia hung in and filled the count, to which Flem remarked that Cueto was doing all the shimmies but it seemed to be interfering with his command. As if on cue, Cueto hit Garcia to put him on, HBP.

Rowdy Tellez hit a fly ball to left center that carried over Yastrzemski’s head and carromed off the wall behind Yaz at a crazy angle. By the time Alex Dickerson got it and threw it back in, it was a run-scoring triple. Milwaukee 4-0. Rowdy Tellez is a big boy.

Cueto then walked Jace Peterson on four pitches, earning a mound visit with two out, and runners in the corners. Cueto tried to settle down, stalked the mound, grabbed the rosin bag … to no avail. He gave up an RBI single to Cain. Lorenzo Cain had a homer and an RBI single in his first two at-bats. 5-0 Brewers. Cueto managed to strike out Woodruff looking, for the third out, at last.

In the bottom half, Alex Dickerson gave a ball a ride way out to center, but it was tracked down by Cain, one down. Woodruff fanned Cueto swinging, but Johnny fought off a lot of pitches for fouls and took a ball in the AB. Wade struck out as well, and that was it for the Giants.

Fourth

Cueto got Wong again, but this time it took nine pitches to get a line out to center. He got Adames to ground out to third, but only after eight pitches. Jon noted that the Brewers were fouling off a lot of his pitches. Yelich hit a two-out single to center on an 86mph slider.

Then things got ugly. A lazy pop up by Narvaez to shallow left was so high Dickerson couldn’t see it. When he finally saw it, it was too late and it dropped despite his sliding effort. Then he hopped up and tried to throw the ball in and there was an overthrow that scored Yelich. Then Cueto, who was covering, tried to throw out the runner at first and overthrew Belt. Total chaos. Narvaez to second. Cueto then gave up an infield single to Garcia to end his night.

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Cueto3.2106621184-574.09
ugly.

Jose Quintana debuted with two out and runners in the corners and promptly threw a wild pitch, clumsy, that advanced Garcia to second, ugh. But he got Rowdy Tellez to ground out to Bryant who threw him out cleanly to end the inning. Brewers 6, Giants 0.

Brandon Woodruff is 6’4″ tall and was dominating. He had given up just one hit, to LaMonte Wade, the first at-bat of the game. Brandon Belt failed to get a bunt down and struck out on a foul bunted on strike three. Woodruff struck out Posey swinging again, this time on an 87mph changeup.

B-Craw battled Woodruff to a full count with two down and Woodruff missed high on a changeup, walking Crawford. But then he blazed a 96 mph fastball for a strike to Bryant and got him to meekly hit a grounder to third off a 96mph slider. Dominant.

Fifth

Quintana gave up a leadoff walk to Peterson, struck out Cain and Woodruff, and got Wong to ground out to second. Good inning. 16 pitches.

Woodruff was cruising in this one. To start the fifth, he struck out Yaz on three pitches, blowing a 97mph four-seamer by his swinging bat.

Flores had a battle with Woodruff and filled it up. He fought off two 97mph fastballs, one really deep and foul. Woodruff missed on the next 97mph fastball and walked him. Well done by Wilmer. Woodruff hammered the four seamer at 96mph to Dickerson, who fell behind 0-2. Woodruff threw two balls and Dick fought of a third. But ultimately, he hit a high fly out to Yelich in left.

Jose Quintana then came up for his first at-bat as a Giant and, shocking everyone, got the second hit of the game: a single to shallow right that brought up Wade, Jr., with two on and two out. Wade and Woodruff went at it:

PITCHTYPEMPH
4 Strike LookingChangeup87
3 Strike SwingingFour-seam FB96
2 Strike LookingSinker95
1 BallSinker95
Woodruff to Wade in the fifth

Sixth

Quintana gave up a long liner to Adames that hit the bricks on the angled wall between the archways, but Wade played the carrom well and then gunned the ball back to Crawford, holding Adames to a single. Quintana struck out Yelich on three pitches. He got ahead of all three batters in the inning 0-2, and got Narvaez to fly out to Yaz.

Quintana missed badly with an 80mph curve in the dirt to Avisail Garcia, but Posey stopped and scooped it. Then Quintana collected himself and got two swinging strikes from Garcia. He missed high with a 92mph fastball, but just barely. Quintana went right back to the four-seamer at 90 and got the K. Good inning. Quintana shows promise.

Woodruff went to the mound in the sixth with a shutout on 77 pitches, throwing eight strikeouts. Brandon Belt came up, swung and missed at a 95mph fastball from Woodruff, then fouled off a 95mph fastball and then hammered a 95mph fastball and ripped Woodruff’s 80th pitch 405 feet to center. Giants on the board Brewers 6, Giants 1.

Posey and Crawford grounded out to the infield. Kris Bryant then singled a 97mph fastball oppo. Then Yaz singled on a change-up away, hooking it up the right field line. Two out, runners in the corners for Wilmer Flores brought a mound visit. But Woodruff stepped up and blew a fastball right by Flores for strike one. Flores smashed the next one down the left field line foul, strike two and fouled the next one out of play. Flores hit a bouncer to short, played easily by Adames, side retired, two stranded.

Woodruff went six innings on 92 pitches, giving up five hits and an earned run. He walked three and struck out eight.

Seventh

Quintana returned to the mound, probably knowing it would be his final inning as he was due up in the bottom half. He struck out Rowdy Tellez in a battle that relied on the curve:

PITCHTYPEMPH
7 Strike SwingingFour-seam FB91
6 Foul BallCurve78
5 Foul BallCurve78
4 Strike SwingingCurve80
3 BallCurve80
2 Strike LookingFour-seam FB91
1 BallCurve80
Quintana vs. Tellez in the seventh

He then picked up his sixth strikeout, Peterson, on five pitches, and got Lorenzo Cain to ground out. Jose Quintana’s debut was an unequivocal success: six strikeouts over three and a third innings, one hit, one walk and no runs. Way to go Jose and welcome to the Giants!

Jake Cousins came in to pitch for the Brewers and got Dickerson to chase and strike out. Austin Slater pinch hit for Quintana and fell behind 0-2 to Cousins, but drew a walk. Then LaMonte Wade, Jr., filled the count and drew a walk, too, bringing Brandon Belt to the plate with two on and one out.

Cousins and Belt wrestled to a 2-2 count. Belt fouled back a fastball, then took a slider down and in, full count. Dave said, “Okay here we go: for the Giants this is the biggest pitch of the game.” They made a mound visit and Belt struck out swinging at a slider.

The Brewers made another mound visit after Belt and before Posey which meant they were now out of mound visits for the rest of the game. MVR counter was at zero. Dave remarked he had never seen that before, and I realized that in the young history of the MVR, I hadn’t either. Dave reminded us it meant if the Brewers made a trip to the mound from here out, they had to take the pitcher out.

Posey took a couple of bad swings and fell behind 0-2. He fouled off a fastball and then took a ball. Posey then struck out for the third time in this game. Cousins registered three Ks in the inning.

Eighth

Zach Littell started the eighth for the Giants. Jackie Bradley Jr., pinch hit for Cousins. Littell outran JBJ on a grounder to first to cover and get the out. He then struck out Wong and Adames. Good inning for Littell, just eleven pitches. Kelton Wong was 0 for 5 tonight against Giants pitching.

Brent Suter entered the game and struck out Crawford to start the bottom of the eighth. Bryant hit a first pitch fastball deep to center but it stayed in the yard, two down. Suter struck out Yaz, who flailed wildly at 86mph fastballs. Suter has command and the Giants went quickly and quietly.

Ninth

Littell stayed in for the ninth. Yelich grounded out. Narvaez fouled out to left. Avisail Garcia rolled a broken bat ball to third on the first pitch and Bryant threw him out.

Wilmer Flores hammered a homer off Suter to lead off the ninth. It was major league-leading home run number 199 for the Giants this season – Wilmer’s 17th to go with Belt’s career-season-highest 20th, earlier in the game.

Ruf struck out swinging. LaMonte Wade, Jr. singled. Then there was a balk call and he advanced to second. Belt worked a full count. Wade took third on indifference. Belt drilled one deep to center field, but just missed the homer.

Giants lose. Bummer.

Milwaukee 6, Giants 2

The Giants are now 4-4 in the first eight games of the Sixteen Game Gauntlet.

The Dodgers beat Atlanta and are now only a half a game back. sigh.

2021 National League West Standings

TEAMWLPCTGBSTRK
San Francisco8448.6360L3
Los Angeles8449.6320.5W2
San Diego7162.53413.5W2
Colorado6072.45524L2
Arizona4490.32841L5
Lead shrinks to half a game

Go Giants

Posted in Gauntlet, Mid Series Reports, Post Game Blasts, SCRBRDWatch | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Gauntlet, Post Game Blasts, Relief Pitching | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Giants Run the Gauntlet (Game 6 of 16), Rubber Match in ATL; DeSclafani Good for Three, Falls Apart, So Does Sammy ‘Forced to Go’ Long; Giants Go 4-2 on Road Trip

The Giants are playing sixteen games in sixteen days straight. They’re in Atlanta, where Friday night they lost the first of a three-gamer. Saturday, they won in a shutout. Sunday, the rubber match, is Game Six of the Gauntlet of 16.

This was to be Anthony Desclafani’s return to the rotation from the IL, with Sammy Long prepared to go if DeSclafani couldn’t. Like the Cueto return, or Longoria’s, management’s approach with veterans is methodological and cautious.

Belt back. With Kris Bryant still out, Brandon’s big bat is welcomed – rest in peace, Margaret Peterson, may neither your death, nor the deaths of millions of beloved others from this terrible virus, be forgotten. Your influence on your grandson is apparent and we, his Giants family, are inestimably proud of him.

DeSclafani (11-5, 3.26 ERA, 123 K) faced Ian Anderson (5-5, 3.56 ERA, 98 K), a 23yo, hard-throwing righty, also just off the injured list, who had emerged as a young star for the Braves before he went down back on July 11th.

SF Lineup

  1. LaMonte Wade Jr. (L) RF
  2. Tommy La Stella (L) 2B
  3. Darin Ruf (R) LF
  4. Brandon Belt (L) 1B
  5. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
  6. Wilmer Flores (R) 3B
  7. Mike Yastrzemski (L) CF
  8. Curt Casali (R) C
  9. Anthony DeSclafani (R) P

Top of the First

With Ian Anderson being a young player, and this being the first time the two sides have faced each other, many Giants had never faced him. Wade popped up on one pitch, La Stella grounded out on three. But Ruf managed a two-out single to get aboard for Belt.

I felt anticipation to see what Brandon would do returned from the bereavement for the woman he dedicated the season to. Patient, smart, unfazed, he drew a walk on seven pitches. Brandon Crawford worked a full count as well, but flied out to center-right. I love back-to-back Brandons with rings and Championship Blood, btw.

ATL Lineup

Ozzie Albies (S), 2B Jorge Soler (R), RF Freddie Freeman (L), 1B Austin Riley (R), 3B Joc Pederson (L), CF Dansby Swanson (R), SS Eddie Rosario (L), LF Stephen Vogt (L) C, Ian Anderson (R) P

DeSclafani did indeed start the game. He got Albies to ground-out right into the shift. His 94mph sinker induced a ground out to third from Jorge Soler. Freddie Freeman, whom the Giants have silenced to the tune of 3 for 16 in the series, worked a full count. But DeSclafani got him to ground out to Belt at first – three up, three down, 15 pitches.

Second

Wilmer Flores smacked a change-up to left for a lead off single, but was forced out at second on a hard infield hit by Mike Yastrzemski. Curt Casali smashed a shot to short, but so fast it was an easy GIDP to end the inning.

DeSclafani looked steady and workmanlike, unhampered, as he threw two quick strikes to the young stud Austin Riley. He struck him out on the third pitch, a 94mph heater. Sinker, change-up, 4-seam FB and the kid was walking back, sheepishly.

Joc Pederson worked a full count, but flew out to right on a DeSclafani four-seamer that hit 95mph. Dansby Swanson popped out to shallow center. Three up, three down, 14 pitches.

Third

DeSclafani lined out to Peterson. With one out and nobody on, The Man, Wade, Jr., bunted and raced to first for a speedy, gorgeous infield hit. He then stole second. Wow. LaMonte, YOU ARE THE MAN! (the throw was way offline, but he would’ve made it, even if it had been dead-on).

The Man is a perfect five for five on steals.

With Wade in scoring position, and one down, the patient, capable hitter Tommy La Stella came to the plate. I love these guys as our one-two. La Stella grounded out to first, but moved Wade over to third. Anderson tightened up and found his location against Ruf, who hit a screaming liner right back at him that hit Anderson’s jersey and knocked his glove off. The ball went on to Albies who threw out Ruf for the last out.

Eddie Rosario fouled off DeSclafani’s FB and then looped his knuckle curve to center left for a lead off single. He bolted for second and easily stole it, with a good jump and a terrible throw from Casali. Tit for tat baserunning by the Braves, matching Wade.

DeSclafani struck out former Giant Stephen Vogt and pitcher Anderson, back-to-back from the stretch. He was slow, determined and deliberate. Then, on a 2-2 count, he struck out Albies to end the inning. One hit, three Ks, sixteen pitches. Anthony DeSclafani looked like his best self after three.

Fourth

Belt hit a grounder to third that was hard enough to be trouble and legged it out for a leadoff single. B-Craw grounded into the shift but managed to beat out the throw – Belt down on the force, Craw on for Flores, who popped out to second when Anderson jammed him. Anderson then got Yaz to ground out on a slow roller to first on the next pitch. Kid looked good under duress. Funny how similar the innings were for each side – measuring each other in a rubber match with two pitchers fresh off the IL.

Jorge Soler hammered a DeSclafani 87mph slider that was right over the plate, to the third row of the Hank Aaron terrace for a lead off big fly against DeSclafani. Freeman then rapped a single to shallow right and raced to an infield hit.

DeSclafani’s measured pace was shattered. He responded with two quick strikes to Riley. But Freeman stole second on the next pitch, a four-seam fastball that missed. Two steals behind DeSclafani. Throws weren’t close from Casali. He was havin it.

With a runner in scoring position, DeSclafani missed again … and this time to the kid. Riley ripped a 423-foot, two-run homer off an 88mph slider that was way too high. Braves 3, Giants 0. With nobody out. Worse, DeSclafani then half-heartedly ran to the bag in the heat on an infield hit by Pederson to first. Belt got the ball, and seeing DeSclafani wasn’t going to make it, tried to get there, but Pederson reached.

The wheels looked like they were falling off when DeSclafani threw a wild pitch that allowed Pederson to advance to second. He then gave up an infield single to Swanson. This brought out the trainer and Kap to see whether DeSclafani could even go on. The ankle injury was a liability, but he’d just given up five consecutive hits! DeSclafani was done.

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
DeSclafani3.063304264-443.38
rough line for DeSclafani in return

Sammy Long entered with Pederson on second, Swanson on first and nobody out. He got Rosario to line out to first on three pitches and got ahead of Vogt 0-2. Long just missed on that high curve a couple of times, but then he K’d Vogt with a smart 79mph changeup. He’s got a good curve ball. The set up to the change-up showed good command by the young man, who got the opposing pitcher Anderson to ground out to end the inning. Still, the damage had been done and DeSclafani’s exit was worrisome. Cueto, Wood and DeSclafani have struggled all year with going deep in games, and Gausman seems to be joining them. Braves 3, Giants 0.

Fifth

Anderson settled in with the three run lead, looking for a win upon return. The Giants went quietly in the fifth, three up, three down. But Sammy Long responded with a 14-pitch three up, three down inning of his own. Way to go, rook! Not easy to pick off Albies, Soler and Freeman, the top of the Braves’ potent order.

Sixth

La Stella grounded out on a comebacker. Ruf walked and Belt flied out to center. But then a wild pitch allowed Ruf to take second and that was the end of the line for young Ian Anderson, who threw a very good 5 and 2/3rd innings of four-hit shutout baseball, coming back from injury.

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Anderson5.240020086-493.36
23yo Ian Anderson is a talent

The Bullpen Match-Up

With two outs, opponents are 1 for 23 against Tyler Matzek, who came in to clean up the sixth for Anderson. Crawford was patient and drew a walk, bringing up Flores, a righty. But righties were 1 for 54 against Matzek coming into this one and Flores went down on three pitches, ending in a check swing strikeout.

Sammy Long got Austin Riley to fly out to right, a solid out. But then he walked Pederson and threw three straight balls to Dansby Swanson. He had thrown seven straight balls when he got a strike looking on a fastball, but then he missed again and walked Swanson. Back-to-back walks with one out in the sixth brought a mound visit but nobody got up to warm up and Kap left Long out there.

Long left the next pitch, a 73mph curve, hanging, and Rosario ripped the ball to deep center where it briefly lodged under the wall. But there was no ground rule, and Wade didn’t throw his hands up. He grabbed the ball and threw it back in, giving Rosario a two-run triple, scoring Pederson and Swanson. To his credit Long struck out Vogt and got the Braves’ pinch-hitting home run leader Adam Duvall to line out to second. Braves 5, Giants 0.

Seventh

Richard Rodriguez popped out Yaz and Casali and coaxed a weak grounder to first from Long. Braves ‘pen looks good with a lead.

Sammy Long exploded. Braves destroyed.

Braves – Bottom 7th

  • Albies doubled to left
  • Soler reached on infield single to shortstop, Albies to third
  • Freeman singled to shallow right center, Albies scored, Soler to second
  • Riley grounded into fielder’s choice to second, Freeman out at second, Soler to third
  • Pederson hit sacrifice fly to left, Soler scored
  • Swanson struck out swinging
  • 2 RUNS, 3 HITS, 0 ERRORS

Braves 7, Giants 0

Giants bats went totally quiet against the Braves’ ‘pen. Matzek, Rodriguez, Minter and Toussaint gave up just one hit over four innings.

Sammy Long was burnt. Albies smashed a two-run homer off him. Kapler didn’t want to exhaust the bullpen in advance of the Brewers series, so Austin Slater pitched! He popped up Freddie Freeman, lol.

Atlanta 9, Giants 0.

Braves get their 15th shutout to tie the Giants for the lead in that category.

Giants end road trip 4-2.

sad day. Giants lose.

Posted in full games, Gauntlet, Post Game Blasts, Road Trips, SCRBRDWatch | Leave a comment

The Giants Run the Gauntlet (Game 5 of 16); Logan Webb Ascends to Ace of Staff, Silences Braves Bats to Lead Giants to Major-League Leading 15th Shutout

The Giants are playing sixteen games in sixteen days straight. They’re in Atlanta, where Friday night they lost the first of a three-gamer. Saturday was game two – Game Five of the Gauntlet of 16. The Giants sent Logan Webb (7-3, 2.67 ERA, 111 K) to the mound against the Braves’ Huascar Ynoa (4-3, 2.90 ERA, 66 K).

SF Lineup

  1. LaMonte Wade Jr. (L) RF
  2. Tommy La Stella (L) 2B
  3. Buster Posey (R) C
  4. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
  5. Wilmer Flores (R) 3B
  6. Alex Dickerson (L) LF
  7. Darin Ruf (R) 1B
  8. Mike Yastrzemski (L) CF
  9. Logan Webb (R) P

For the fourth time in five games, the Giants jumped out to a lead in the top of the first inning on the road – tonight it was a solo shot by Tommy La Stella in Atlanta.

It was funny because Silk hit the last ball of the game last night that went all the way to the center field wall, only to be barely caught by a jumping, stumbling Joc Pederson with the tip of his glove, the last out of the ninth. It felt like Tommy went to bed back at the hotel in Atlanta thinking that should have been a dinger. I picture him scribbling on the hotel notepad next to the bed, ‘hit home run’ on his list of things to do, first thing.

LaMonte Wade, Jr. flied out to start the game. Crawford grounded out and Posey flew out on either side of the homer. Giants 1, Braves 0.

ATL Lineup

  1. Ozzie Albies (S) 2B
  2. Jorge Soler (R) RF
  3. Freddie Freeman (L) 1B
  4. Austin Riley (R) 3B
  5. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
  6. Travis d’Arnaud (R) C
  7. Adam Duvall (R) LF
  8. Joc Pederson (L) CF
  9. Huascar Ynoa (R) P

Ozzie Albies singled and stole second, just beating the throw from Posey to La Stella to lead off the Braves’ first. Webb then struck out Jorge Soler and Freddie Freeman before giving up an infield single to the impressive young talent Austin Riley to short that advanced Albies to third. With runners in the corners, Webb got Dansby Swanson to ground to short and the Giants picked up Swanson on the fielder’s choice.

Ynoa had a three up, three down second on sixteen pitches retiring Flores (K), Dickerson (flied out) and Ruf (grounded out to third). In the bottom half, Webb walked Pederson but retired Ynoa, Duvall and D’arnaud without incident.

Middle Innings

Yaz struck out, but then Logan Webb doubled on a well-hit liner to left. Wade singled to advance Webb to third, and with runners in the corners, LaStella tallied his second RBI of the night with a sac fly to bring home Webb. The Giants looked for more. Wade stole second and Posey walked. But then Crawford popped out to second for the last out. Giants 2, Mets 0.

Webb struck out Albies and Soler but then gave up consecutive singles to Freeman and Riley before getting Swanson to fly out to center to end the inning.

Both pitchers cruised through the fourth and fifth allowing no hits and no runs. (neither hits nor runs). Darin Ruf walked, but Ynoa retired the side around him in the fourth. He had a ten-pitch three-up, three-down fifth.

In the fourth Webb hit d’Arnaud, but the Giants neutralized it with a double-play. Because the HBP was on the first pitch to d’Arnaud, and the DP grounder came on a first pitch to Duvall, when Webb got Joc Pederson to fly out on one pitch – he’d done something that had only occurred 109 times before in all of baseball history – he’d pitched an inning on three pitches.

Logan Webb finished the fourth on three pitches, an HBP, a DP grounder and a pop up. But the sixth was what defined his night.

Sixth

Huascar Ynoa cruised through the top of the sixth. He got Posey to ground out to short. Crawford walked, but the Braves picked him up on an FC off a Flores grounder. Dickerson struck out to end the top half of the frame. Ynoa ended on 96 pitches through six, giving up two runs on three hits, with two walks and three Ks.

The bottom of the sixth inning was the latest test Logan Webb passed indicating that, in the second half of the Giants’ remarkable season, he is now the ace of the staff. He has looked great these last few weeks, and tonight he was impervious under duress.

Freddie Freeman led off with a single to second. Austin Riley hit a roller to third that should have been a routine double play. Wilmer Flores scooped it all right, but when he fired the ball to second, it flew wide before the bag, sort of between second and first. The overthrow allowed Freeman to advance to third. In a two-run game, Logan Webb’s 82nd pitch came with runners in the corners and nobody out.

Webb was good. He popped out Dansby Swanson on three pitches and induced the inning-ending double-play from Travis d’Arnaud on two. The 91mph sinker finished them both. Webb punched his glove and stalked off the mound with confidence. Logan Webb has been exceptional since his return from the IL. The Giants would end tonight 12-1 in his last 13 starts.

Yaz added a big fly in the seventh off Braves reliever Richard Rodriguez, who also gave up a walk to Wade later in the inning, but managed to get out of it with no more runs crossing the plate. Giants 3, Braves 0.

Logan Webb returned for the seventh and sat down Duvall, Pederson and pinch hitter Eddie Rosario. He was in command. At the end of his night, Webb scattered five hits across seven shutout innings, hurling five strikeouts and giving up just one walk.

The Giants tacked on in the eighth, with situational hitting and small ball: move ’em along. Buster led off with a first-pitch single swatted to right. Craw struck out but Wilmer Flores continued hitting, driving a ball hard to third and legging it out, advancing Posey. Then Alex Dickerson sacrificed Posey to third with a just-deep-enough fly to right. The struggling Darin Ruf got an RBI, as he singled, scoring Posey and moving Wilmer to second. Then Yaz stepped up and doubled in Flores. Giants 5, Braves 0.

Rogers started the eighth giving up leadoff infield singles to Albies and Soler. The place was rocking. Facing Freddie Freeman and loud Braves fans, unified in their ugly, racist, asinine “chop,” Rogers stiffened, tightened up and struck him out on three pitches. It was great. Utterly deflated the building.

Rogers battled Austin Riley and got him to line out to third. Flores snagged the rocket cleanly. Swanson grounded out to second to end the inning and I was amazed to see Jesse Chavez making his way to the mound. The last time I saw the 37-year-old from San Gabriel was in Kelly green with the A’s, nearly a decade ago. He struck out Wade and La Stella and got Posey to line out to center. wow. 15 pitches, two K’s for the veteran from So Cal.

Jay Jackson struck out the side to end the game! He got d’Arnaud looking and Duvall and Pederson swinging. It was a much-needed show of command from our returning 33yo vet.

Giants 5, Mets 0

Way to go Giants! Great bounceback win!

And for those keeping track at home, yes, the stylish grey cap is now 13-2:

five down, twelve to go in the Gauntlet.

Let’s get the series Sunday and fly home winners.

Let’s Go Giants!

(btw, this is the 60th GBC post of the 2021 season, thanks to all readers. Love, Karthik)

Posted in full games, Gauntlet, Mid Series Reports, Road Trips, SCRBRDWatch | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Giants Run The Gauntlet (Game 4 of 16) Atlanta, Game One Ends on an Epic Catch at the Wall; Giants ‘Pen Blinks First, Watson Fails to Hold Again

The Giants are playing sixteen games in sixteen days. Tonight they are in Atlanta to face the Braves. Game 4/16 of the Gauntlet. I‚Äôm writing these during these sixteen games and posting immediately after, so it‚Äôs fresh.

After the sweep in New York, the Giants flew down to Atlanta. In game one it was Kevin Gausman (12-5, 2.47 ERA, 174 K) up against Braves’ lefty Max Fried (11-7, 3.49 ERA, 117 K).

SF Lineup

  1. Austin Slater (R) CF
  2. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
  3. Darin Ruf (R) LF
  4. Buster Posey (R) C
  5. Wilmer Flores (R) 1B
  6. Mike Yastrzemski (L) RF
  7. Thairo Estrada (R) SS
  8. Tommy La Stella (L) 2B
  9. Kevin Gausman (L) P

Top First

In the unusual scheduling world of post-Covid MLB, this is the first time the Giants and Braves have seen each other. It was evident immediately as Max Fried hit Austin Slater to put him on. He then got Kris Bryant to line out to right and fanned Darin Ruf. Then Buster Posey smashed a homer to drive in Slater, giving the Giants the early 2-0 lead. Wilmer Flores grounded out to end the inning.

ATL Lineup

  1. Ozzie Albies (S) 2B
  2. Jorge Soler (R) RF
  3. Freddie Freeman (L) 1B
  4. Austin Riley (R) 3B
  5. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
  6. Travis d’Arnaud (R) C
  7. Adam Duvall (R) LF
  8. Joc Pederson (L) CF
  9. Max Fried (L) P

Bottom First

Kevin Gausman looked shaky, unable even to take advantage of being bailed out by the weather, as the inning went into rain delay. Gausman induced a ground out from Albies to start the game but then gave up singles to Jorge Soler and Austin Riley around a Freddie Freeman line-out.

With two out and two on, and Gausman in a 2-2 count to Dansby Swanson, rain suddenly fell and play was stopped for 35 minutes. When action resumed Swanson singled, loading the bases, but Gausman got Travis d’Arnaud to ground out to end the inning.

Second

After Buster’s homer in the first, the Giants offense awoke, with back-to-back singles by Mike Yasztremski and Thairo Estrada to lead off the second. Fried popped up La Stella for the first out of the inning. With one out, Gausman came up and dropped a perfect bunt. Braves catcher d’Arnaud picked up the slow, dribbling ball and tried to throw out the lead runner, but overthrew Riley at third. The E2 scored Yasztremski, moved Estrada to third and gave Gausman first base on the FC. Slater ended the inning GIDP. Giants 3-0.

Gausman and Adam Duvall faced off to start the bottom of the second and wrestled to a full count through eight pitches before Duvall tattooed a 95mph fastball to dead center for a 413-foot homer, his 28th. NOTE: Adam Duvall now has two hits against Kevin Gausman, both of them homers.

Joc Pederson came up and hit a rocket on a rope to center, but Slater ran it down for the first out. Fried struck out. And on his 40th pitch, Gausman got Albies to hit a roller to Darin Ruf to end the inning. Mets 1, Giants 3.

Third

When LaMonte Wade, Jr struck out swinging on a breaking ball to lead off the third for the Giants, he looked like a guy who really doesn’t like facing good lefties. But Fried then went back-to-back Ks taking out righty Ruf swinging with his crazy, sinking 72mph curve ball.

He ended this pearl of an inning getting Buster to swing and miss on a 77mph curve. Fried struck out the side in the third, all swinging wildly at his slow, sinking curve.

Soler hit a high chopper to second and outraced Kevin Gausman to first, but on the throw to first, Gausman stretched to keep a foot on the bag as he made the catch and ended up doing the splits. He came up grimacing, but continued with one on.

Gausman looked worse. He spiked a ball in front of the plate that allowed Soler to take second without a throw as Posey tracked down the ball. Freddie Freeman hit a sac-grounder to second, advancing Soler to third.

Austin Riley, an MVP-candidate, looked at a 97mph Gausman fastball for a strike and then calmly drilled a 96mph fastball to right to knock in Soler. Made it look easy – one to measure one to hit. That kid is good. Swanson and d’Arnaud flied out to right to end the inning. Mets 2, Giants 3.

Fourth

Wilmer Flores worked Fried full and touched him for a leadoff infield single. Yaz struck out swinging on a check-swing call. Then Silk! Tommy LaStella roped a double to right, driving in Flores from first. But La Stella got caught between second and third trying to stretch for a triple. Run still counts. Giants 4, Mets 2. Gausman induced deep fly outs from Duvall and Pederson, and got Fried to ground out on a comebacker to end the inning.

Fifth and Sixth

Max Fried was three-up, three-down in the fifth, on eleven pitches, as Gausman, Slater and Wade all went quetly on infield grounders.

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Fried5.054305181-573.57

Gausman responded by going three-up three-down on seven.

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Gausman5.062202180-552.50

Fried then went out and had a three-up, three-down sixth on twelve pitches, sitting down Ruf, Posey and Flores. Gausman responded by retiring Riley, Swanson and d’Arnaud on ten.

Leaving, Gausman retired eleven in a row, Fried retired six in a row, and the difference in the game was the E2 and the sweet La Stella RBI-double. (or you could say the Posey homer). Both starters made few mistakes and good effort against good batters on both sides.

Neither pitcher issued a walk.

Bullpen Innings

A.J. Minter started the relief for Atlanta. Yaz roped a liner caught by Albies. Estrada popped out to first on one pitch. La Stella singled to shallow right for his second hit of the game. Silk peppers the opposing staff, he don’t care who you send out there.

Dickerson stepped in and went down 0-2 but fought his way back to fill the count and go nine pitches against Minter in drawing the first walk of the game. Two on, two out. But Slater grounded out to end the top of the seventh.

Tony Watson, who failed to hold last time out, against the Mets, came in to face Duvall in the bottom of the seventh and struck him out. Then he walked the pinch-hitting Joc Pederson. There was a brief conversation, before Guillermo Herredia came out for the Braves. Herredia suddenly hit a ground ball single on the first pitch, putting runners in the corners for Ozzie Albies.

Albies smoked a fastball down the middle for a double to deep left-center driving in Pederson and putting Herredia and Albies in scoring position. That was it for Watson. K, BB, single, double. ugh. NOT a hold. Braves 3, Giants 4.

Zach Littell came in with two on and one down to face Soler. Jorge Soler blasted the first pitch, a middle-up fastball that missed, for a three-run homer. Braves 6, Giants 4.

The Giants ‘pen broke first. Walk, single, double, homer. oof. This was the second game in a row that Watson failed to prevent a run from scoring in his inning. The MLB leader in “holds” hasn’t held.

Freeman grounded out to third and Riley popped out to first to end the inning. Littell was solid.

8th Inning

Soler sat after his homer as Herredia, who hit the single, stayed in to play center, with Pederson in right. The Braves’ Luke Jackson came in to face LaMonte Wade, Jr., who grounded out to first on the second pitch.

Then Darin Ruf worked a full count, but struck out. Ruf was 0 for 4 with three strikeouts tonight. Buster Posey poked at a ball out of the zone and popped out to shallow right to end the inning.

Littell stayed in for the bottom of the eighth. I like that call. He got burned by Soler, but he still had his stuff and finished the 7th well. He had a three-up, three-down eighth on ten pitches and got the side to fly out.

ninth inning rally visor

Boom! immediately after rally visor, Wilmer Flores blasts a Will Smith 93mph, four-seam fastball for a home run! Giants 5, Braves 6.

Yaz grounded out to first on a pitch that Smith ran in on his hands, jammed into the out. Smith struck out Thairo Estrada next. Then up came Tommy La Stella.

Ohhhhhhhhhhh! LaStella hits one HIGH!

He hits it DEEP

it’s WAAY BACK THERE! and

NO! It was caught at the wall by Joc Pederson!

What a way to end the game.

Braves 6, Giants 5

epic catch. tough loss.

get some rest Giants

Posted in Gauntlet, Post Game Blasts, Road Trips, SCRBRDWatch | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pre-Series vs. Braves with Kapler 08/27/21

Posted in Commentary, PreGame GBCs, Road Trips | Leave a comment

The Giants Run the Gauntlet (Game 3 of 16); Carrasco Outduels Wood, Who Again Gets Tagged Third Time Through Order; Giants Win Battle of ‘Pens, Sweep Mets

The Giants are playing sixteen games in sixteen days. Tonight they went for the sweep against the Mets in Queens. Game 3/16 of the Gauntlet. I’m writing these during these sixteen games and posting immediately after, so it‚Äôs fresh.

Alex Wood (10-4, 4.11 ERA, 130 K) started against righty Carlos Carrasco (0-2, 8.82 ERA, 18 K), first pitch was 7:11pm ET, and climate was a muggy and humid, 85 degrees F.

SF Lineup

  1. LaMonte Wade Jr. (L) RF
  2. Tommy La Stella (L) 2B
  3. Kris Bryant (R) 3B
  4. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
  5. Wilmer Flores (R) 1B
  6. Alex Dickerson (L) LF
  7. Mike Yastrzemski (L) CF
  8. Curt Casali (R) C
  9. Alex Wood (R) P

Top of the First

Carlos Carrasco gave up a single to LaMonte Wade, Jr. and then a massive home run to Kris Bryant and the Giants jumped out to a 2 – 0 lead in the first. I love Wade in the leadoff. Not sure why Kap bounced Tommy LaStella down to the eight slot for two games, but back up to the two, he flied out between the two hits. Wilmer Flores grounded out for the last out.

NYM Lineup

  1. Brandon Nimmo (L) CF
  2. Francisco Lindor (S) SS
  3. Javier Baez (R) 2B
  4. Pete Alonso (R) 1B
  5. Dominic Smith (L) LF
  6. Jonathan Villar (S) 3B
  7. Kevin Pillar (R) RF
  8. Patrick Mazeika (L) C
  9. Carlos Carrasco (R) P

Bottom of the First

Alex Wood gave up a single on a 92mph sinker to Brandon Nimmo to start the bottom of the 1st. But almost ironically, he got Francisco Lindor to lineout on the next pitch, and it was that exact same pitch. Baez grounded into a force out that picked up Nimmo and Wood struck out Pete Alonso to shut it down.

Second

Carrasco rebounded to have a 12-pitch, three-up, three-down second. He popped up Dickerson, struck out Mike Yastzremski and got Curt Casali to line out to right. Wood came out and issued a leadoff walk to Dominic Smith. Villar popped out to La Stella behind second and then Wood suddenly hit Pillar on the knee, two on, one out. Jon pointed out in the at-bat that the fastball wasn’t going where Wood wanted it to go, while the slider was in the pocket.

Mazeika grounded out to short, but advanced the runners because Crawford didn’t think he could make a throw to second, based on a judgement that LaStella wasn’t there in time. Wood struck out Carrasco to end the inning with two stranded RISP.

Third

Wood grounded out to start the third. He was followed by Wade who did the same, ripping one right to Alonso on one pitch. La Stella ended any notion of being uncomfortable back in the two slot, and barrelled a deep double to right at 103mph, which Jon noted was the same off-the-bat speed as Bryant’s homer. But no magic for Sparkles this time, Bryant struck out to end the inning.

Nimmo went down as Wood’s third K of the game. Lindor grounded a dribbler to Bryant, who tried to make a bare-handed pickup and throw, but couldn’t get the speedy Lindor. It didn’t matter though, because Wood got Baez to GIDP to end the inning – three innings in under 50 minutes, both pitchers working quick.

Fourth

Carrasco, settling in, had a nine-pitch fourth. Crawford was easily run out on a broken bat grounder to first. Wilmer Flores grounded out to third and Dickerson hit a weak dribbler to Alonso who flipped to Carrasco covering for the easy out. Quiet Giants bats except for Kris Bryant, two nights in a row.

In the bottom of the fourth, Alonso poked a change-up away inside-out and singled, the third leadoff single given up by Wood. But he promptly got Smith to hit into another dp, erasing the baserunner. Wood had an 0-2 count on Villar and walked him. But then he got Pillar to fly out on one pitch, that same low-90’s sinker.

Fifth

Carrasco got Yaz to fly out on two pitches to start the fifth. He was cruising. He got Casali to hit a high, deep fly to left that just stayed in the yard and was caught by Dom Smith. Wood flied out to right to end the inning. After a nine-pitch fourth, Carrasco threw eight pitches in the fifth. The Giants bats were silenced again.

In the bottom of the frame, Mazeika flied out to left. Carrasco struck out and Nimmo lined a shot to left and hustled to leg out a double. Unfortunately when he slid in, he popped up off the base and the replay showed his body was momentarily up in the air above the base while La Stella had the tag still on him. He was declared out by the challenge and replay.

Through five, Wood was at 69 pitches, and Carrasco at just 52. After La Stella’s double in the third, Carrasco retired eight in a row. This pitchers’ duel reminded me how similar we are to the Mets, two good pitching teams with good defenses and low Runs Against in the Differential column. Good game. Wonder what it’ll be like tomorrow night against the first place Braves in Atlanta.

Sixth

Carrasco struck out Wade, Jr on four pitches to start the sixth and then he and La Stella had a spirited contest that led to a full count before sharp contact … that led to a running catch by Pillar of Tommy’s ball lined to right. Carrasco struck out Kris Bryant to end the inning. A little more stress, but basically straight handled by Carrasco, a 16-pitch sixth, to make it eleven Giants retired in a row.

Watching Alex Wood in the sixth felt like waiting for this pitching contest to go sour. Kap had Zach Littell and Jarlin Garcia warm up. Sure enough Javy Baez led off with a sharp hit ball to center field that he aggressively hustled and slid into a double. <— I WROTE ALL THAT LIVE DURING THE GAME BEFORE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT.

Pete Alonso took Alex Wood yard for a two-run homer to tie the game.

Dave: “I am sure Gabe Kapler is thinking, ‘did I wait too long?’ … and he did. [in Alex Wood’s case], third time through he’s gonna get hit, it happens over and over again and it happened here, again.”

The Alonso homer was on an 81mph slider. Wood’s pace had dropped considerably before leaving the game. Mets 2, Giants 2. Jarlin Garcia came in for Wood and he got Dominic Smith to ground out. But then with two outs he gave up a double to Villar. He managed to pop up Pillar to end the inning tied 2-2.

Seventh

Carrasco had a ten-pitch, three-up, three-down seventh inning. He was totally in the zone. Crawford, Flores and Dickerson managed just three weak grounders. Carlos Carrasco went seven innings on 78 pitches, giving up only three hits and two-runs (on the Bryant homer). He peppered in five strikeouts. It must have been his best outing. He was methodological and dominant.

Garcia got Mazeika to ground out and struck out Mets PH Brandon Drury in the bottom of the seventh, but then gave up a single to Brandon Nimmo. Garcia struck out Lindor swinging on a slider he’d just used the pitch before. I think Francisco needs some time off.

Eighth

Yaz singled off Seth Lugo to lead off the eighth.  Then Lugo hit Casali on the right forearm and just like that, with Carrasco gone, the Giants had two men on and nobody out for pinch-hitting Darin Ruf, who has struggled as a PH.

Ruf muscled a ball inside-out to right for a single! Yaz, waved in by Wotus, scored, and the long throw to home was airmailed over everybody’s head! Ruf and Casali advanced to scoring position. But Casali got hurt somehow, so the Giants brought in the Aruban Stallion, Chadwick Tromp, to replace him at third and behind the plate for the ninth. Lugo was done. Giants 3, Mets 2.

The Mets turned the ball over to their lefty specialist Aaron Loup. Austin Slater, with two on and nobody out, worked a full count against Loup and drew the walk to load the bases. Kap replaced La Stella with the righty Thairo Estrada and Loup got him to drop a dribbler in front of the plate that Villar was able to scoop to home to get the force out of Tromp.

Loup versus Kris Bryant with the bases loaded was an epic battle that went to a full count and Bryant fighting off pitches. It ended in Bryant’s third strikeout on a 94mph Loup fastball. Crawford with the bases loaded versus Loup was immediately like last night. Huge tension. Three men on, two men out, Crawford and Loup staring each other down. Loup got Crawford to pop up.

The Giants had bases loaded with nobody out and Loup got out of it.

Dominic Leone allowed the Giants fourth leadoff runner of this game in the eighth, Javy Baez, who singled, bringing up Pete Alonso. Leone got Alonso to fly out, no damage, then got Dom Smith to fly out to center to Slater. With two-outs and the speedy Baez being pesky at first, Leone walked Villar. Two -out, two on for Leone facing PH Michael Conforto and he did it again to load the bases.

With a one-run lead, Kap had seen enough and he turned the ball over to Jose Alvarez. The Mets countered with Jeff McNeil as a pinch hitter and the moment was crazy deja-vu – Jose Alvarez with the bases loaded facing Jeff McNeill was ended by Alvarez on one pitch last night to get the Giants out of the sixth.

Tonight, in the eighth, it took three pitches, but he did it again! McNeil grounded out to short. Jon pointed out that Alvarez is turning into a specialist for situations when there’s RISP or, as he put it, “a lot of traffic on the bases.”

Ninth

In the top of the ninth, Dick and Flores struck out, but the Giants had one hit, by Yaz, who was left on when  Tromp flied out to center. The Giants took a one run lead into the bottom of the ninth for Tyler Rogers to save.

Rogers got J.D. Davis to fly out to Slater in center, Nimmo to fly out to Yaz in right, on one pitch, and Lindor to fly out to Yaz to end the game! Jon noted that when Tyler Rogers is working right he induces grounders, but that he got this save with three fly balls. I wonder if that is because Tromp was catching?

Kudos, btw, to The Aruban Stallion, Chad Tromp, for coming in on short notice in a tension filled road game and not making any errors. That was well-handled. This is because Posey is IL Day-to-Day, but I again reiterate that I REALLY like having three catchers on the roster. (See the GBC post from the last game of the Irregular Season).

Garcia got the win and Rogers the save. Giants Sweep the Mets!

Giants 3, Mets 2

The first series and the first three games of the 16 Game Gauntlet ended in victory for the Giants! Amazing performances in New York. It’s on to Atlanta tomorrow, same bat station same bat time.

Let’s Go Giants!

Run The Gauntlet!

3 down, 13 to go!

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

LaMonte Wade, Jr, The Man, Interviewed

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Giants Run The Gauntlet (Game 2 of 16); Cueto Back From IL, Shaky, But Defense Backs Him Up; Mets Waste Great Outing by Walker, Pulled by Rojas

The Giants are playing sixteen games in sixteen days. Tonight was game two of three against the Mets in Queens. Game 2/16 of the Gauntlet. I am writing these during the games and posting immediately after, so it’s fresh.

Top First

Johnny Cueto returned to his spot in the rotation in New York tonight, facing Taijuan Walker for the Mets. Cueto looked good in the first, loose. He gave up a single to Pete Alonso which amounted to nothing and he had a strikeout. But then he gave up back-to-back singles to Javy Baez and Dominic Smith with nobody out to start the second.

Cueto was ahead in the count to Jonathon Villar, but looked out of it on balls that were well out of the zone, filling it up. Then he got Villar to hit a line drive to right that Mike Yasztremski ran up on, caught and fired to second where they doubled up Baez, who had erroneously taken off for third at the crack of the bat. Cueto struck out Mazeika to end the inning.

The Giants meanwhile, fell quietly to Walker the first time through the rotation, nine up, nine down. Walker was efficient, finishing three innings on just 28 pitches, barely more than nine pitches an inning. He was cruising and the Giants bats had nothing on him.

Third

Cueto started the third giving up yet another single, this time to the Mets pitcher, Walker, who drilled a line drive hard, right back at Cueto and past him into center field. Walker is a right-handed pitcher who bats left-handed and he looked like a hitter. Cueto got Nimmo to pop up. Then he induced a grounder from Alonso on the next pitch, that doubled up Walker. Cueto had a six-pitch third. This game moved fast.

Fourth

Wade popped up to start the Giants fourth. Then Javy Baez made a great, running, sliding catch of a would-be bloop single by Belt. Defense was going the Mets’ way. Walker was just mowing down Giants, eleven hitless, until … on an 0-2 count, he left a ball right out over the middle of the plate and Kris Bryant boomed a massive home run off the fascia of the second deck! Giants 1-0. Walker struck out Crawford to end the inning (remember that, it’ll be important later).

In the fourth, Cueto got Jeff McNeil to fly out, but then walked Michael Conforto. Baez smashed a ball up the third base line, straight to Bryant, one former Cub to the other. Bryant caught the rocket back-handed, zipped it over to first, and doubled off Conforto, who was off the bag. For the third inning in a row, the Giants turned a double play. They would end with five double-plays in this one.

This was a pitching duel with good defense for five innings. Walker was three-up, three-down, with a K again in the fifth – angry about his one mistake that was now the difference in the game, he tightened down the screws. The Kahuna pointed out the Giants had a lot of lefties in the lineup tonight, though Walker’s splits are good against lefties. (remember that, it’ll be important later)

Cueto retired Smith, walked Villar, and popped up Mets rookie catcher Patrick Mazeika, bringing up the pitcher, Walker, again. With two-out in the fifth, Walker got on again and moved Villar to scoring position. Before this game, Taijuan Walker was 1 for 39 at the plate and tonight he stepped up and got two hits against Johnny Cueto. smh. Then Cueto, who was ahead in the count 0-2, walked Nimmo and loaded the bases. The Mets had base-runners in every inning against Cueto in this one.

Kapler went out to take the ball from Cueto who had walked two to load em up, but who was also at 64 pitches, a limit that Kap had discussed with Jon before the game. They had a brief intense discussion, but Kap left Cueto in to try to get Pete Alonso and have a possibility at the win.

Citi Field crowd was into it, was a tense moment in this one. Cueto and Alonso fought to a full count – bases loaded, two-out, full count, one run-game, Cueto’s 70th pitch … Alonso fouled it off, Cueto grabbed the rosin bag.

And on Cueto’s 71st pitch, Pete Alonso hit a routine grounder to third for what should have been a routine out to end the inning. But, reminiscent of his first game in a Giants uniform – when he said he was “giddy,” to be a Giant – Kris Bryant airmailed the throw to first! It wasn’t close. Villar scored. Game tied 1-1. Yo, Sparkles, that’s two – tighten it up.

Kapler relieved Cueto and hailed Jose Alvarez to face the lefty McNeil. Alvarez popped him up on one pitch to end the inning. With the bases loaded. It was ice. Jon pointed out that, “Alvarez has been pretty good in situations where there’s a lot of traffic on the bases.” The one run was unearned and charged to Bryant on the error.

Sixth

Walker sat down Flores, Wade and Belt on ten pitches in the sixth. This kid was dealing. Six innings on 68 pitches and just the one mistake to Bryant. And he got two hits! His hit advanced Nimmo to scoring position, who eventually scored to tie the game on Bryant’s error.

Two mistakes, one by Walker and one by Bryant, were the scores in this 1-1 game through six innings. Good defenses here, Mets and Giants both, until Bryant winged it.

Seventh

In the top of the seventh, the Mets tagged the veteran Tony Watson, a rare blown “hold,” for the game’s all-time leader in that statistic. Conforto singled and was advanced to scoring position by Baez, who hit a dribbler up the first base line. Belt kept him in front of him but then ran to the bag and Jon noted that Belt, like all of us, had seen Baez’s shenanigans at avoiding tags. Smith doubled to deep left, scoring Conforto. Mets 2, Giants 1.

Villar reached on an infield single to Crawford. But then, the Giants defense did it again. Belt scooped up a Mazeika grounder to first, fired it to Crawford at second, who turned it to Watson, covering first, for the 3-6-1, inning-ending double play.

It was the Mets defense’s turn to crack, and Villar obliged – with an error on a grounder to third he booted to put Bryant on. But that was followed by a bloop pop up by Dickerson that should have been caught and was instead totally misplayed by the infielders and Conforto, who went flying and missed it.

Taijuan Walker had been throwing a gem, six innings, just 74 pitches, and he had the lead, 2-1. The Giants had two-on and nobody out in the eighth but neither were Walker’s fault – both were defensive failures. Insanely, the Mets manager Luis Rojas pulled Walker!

The logic was that he wanted Loup to face the lefty, Brandon Crawford, and maintain the lead. It didn’t matter that he had struck Crawford out once already, had good splits against lefties or that he had been mowing down Giants all day. Rojas took the ball. Walker was livid, storming off the mound and throwing stuff around in the dugout.

What’s the opposite of Moneyball? Is it how we all used to do things? Cause it sure looks dumb now.

Dave kept saying he was stunned by the move. The crowd was in shock, booing. So Aaron Loup came in to face Brandon Crawford … and it totally backfired! B-Craw hit the first double by a lefty against Loup this entire year! on the first pitch! to drive in the go-ahead runs: Giants 3, Mets 2. Hahahahaaaa I was howling! B-Craw is such a pro. What a badass.

(By the way, in the postgame show, Jon pointed out that Crawford has only faced Loup once before, and said, “now his record against Loup is 2 for 2 with two doubles.” Rojas took out Walker to put in a guy who had doubled off Loup in the only other at-bat he’d ever had against him).

“First extra base hit by a lefty against Loup all year … makes the Mets manager look real bad,” said Flem.

ooohhh. That place exploded. Walker, whose brilliant outing was utterly shot, was raging in the dugout. The Mets fans booed Rojas vociferously. Loup then beaned Slater! and now the Giants had two runners on and the lead.

The Giants were looking for more but B-Craw got picked off at second (again!?!) and Casali struck out. Loup got La Stella to pop up to end the inning. But the damage had been done, and a great performance by poor Taijuan Walker was wasted. Mets manager Luis Rojas will be facing a phalanx of angry mics over that one.

Dominic Leone managed Lindor, Nimmo and Alonso in the seventh. But the Giants had another base-running error in the eighth. Ruf doubled and then got caught off the bag on a flared pop-up. Javy Baez made the over-the-shoulder catch and spun around and fired the ball over to second. Good play, but why was Ruf off?

Eighth

Tyler Rogers had two strikeouts to start the bottom of the eighth, then popped up Baez, three-up, three-down. He got Baez to chase, which was cool. The Giants went quietly in the ninth. Jake McGee came in to face Smith, Villar and Mazeika, with a one-run lead on the road.

He struck out Smith. Then the defense fell apart. A rare drop of a catchable ball in foul territory by Belt allowed Villar to stay at the plate and he singled. Then a routine fly to center and Dickerson and Slater ran into each other and missed the catch. Total Keystone Cops, only thing missing was the yakkity sax. The error was Dickerson’s, as Slater was calling him off.

One down and two on in the bottom of the ninth with Lindor at the plate, and McGee popped him up, caught cleanly at last. Lindor got booed. With two out and two on, McGee got two strikes on Nimmo, who then worked a full count. McGee walked him to load the bases to have to face Pete Alonso, the best home run hitter for the Mets.

Bases loaded. Two outs. Bottom ninth, Giants 3, Mets 2 – Jake McGee vs. Pete Alonso.

First pitch is a cross-up! Ball one. Casali and McGee reset. Second pitch, a fastball, hit foul. It’s one and one. Third pitch is a high fastball swung on and missed! Mets down to their final strike again. Fourth pitch popped up foul. Fifth pitch fastball up popped up foul and out of play. And the next pitch was flied out to shallow center and caught by Tommy La Stella!

Woooohoooooo! What a finish by Jake McGee! The guys were like, “he got five outs!”

Tony Watson gets the win, Taijuan Walker the loss, and Jake McGee his 29th Save!

whew!

Giants 3, Mets 2

Way to go Giants!

Two down fourteen to go!

Let’s Gooooooo Giants!

Posted in Commentary, full games, Gauntlet, Mid Series Reports, Post Game Blasts, Road Trips, SCRBRDWatch | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment