Category: Uncategorized

Six positive points to be drawn out of dark road trip of San Francisco Giants

San Francisco Giants' Mac Williamson connects for an RBI-base hit against the New York Yankees during the twelfth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, July 23, 2016, in New York. Giants' Trevor Brown scored on the play. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

San Francisco Giants’ Mac Williamson connects for an RBI-base hit against the New York Yankees during the twelfth inning of a baseball game, Saturday, July 23, 2016, in New York. Giants’ Trevor Brown scored on the play. (AP Photo/Julie Jacobson)

Ugh. That was a miserable roadtrip.

The Giants went 1-7 on their return to play from the All-Star break.

There was plenty of blame to go around, even though Brandon Belt was falling on the sword for his teammates.

Belt went 2 for 33 with 17 strikeouts – 17 STRIKEOUTS – during the road trip. After Sunday’s game, Belt said: “I can attribute a lot of these losses we had … to me. I’ve had plenty of chances to drive in runs and didn’t get the job done.”

While that’s true, we can look elsewhere. Brandon Crawford, the team’s RBI leader, didn’t drive in a run on the road trip. As a team, the Giants hit .125 in 72 at-bats with runners in scoring position.

And, of course, the Giants were hoping to get players back from the DL on the road trip. And the only player they actually got back was Matt Cain, and that didn’t go well.

But rather than curse the darkness, I’d rather cast some light in a dark time.

So here are six bright spots we can draw from a dark road trip.

THE GIANTS ARE STILL THREE GAMES UP: Despite a 1-7 road trip, the Giants still lead the Dodgers by three games. And it’s better to be up three than down three. But it’s been almost three weeks since the Giants padded their lead with a win – that came on July 6 when a win over the Rockies pushed their lead from 5 to 6 games. That needs to happen again.

CLAYTON KERSHAW: Kershaw has been out a month with a bad back. He looked like he was ready to return last week. But after his final rehab session, he complained off back pain again. Now he is out indefinitely and surgery may be necessary. At the very least, he’ll be out a little bit longer, and that’s good news for the Giants.

MAC WILLIAMSON: The rookie outfielder may be the only Giants hitter who saw his batting average go up during the road trip. At the All-Star break, Williamson was hitting .209. Williamson reached base in all eight games of the road trip. Williamson was 8 for 18 (.444) with three home runs and seven RBI. His OBP was .500. He’s now hitting .259 for the season. It’s pretty clear when Hunter Pence comes back, Williamson will remain as the coveted right-handed power bench Bruce Bochy so desires on his bench.

HOME FINALY HOME: The Giants are home, where they are 29-17 this season. They start a seven-game homestand with three vs. the Reds and then four vs. Nationals. The Giants have a current four-game win streak at home and have won five of their last six at home and 12 of their last 16.

THE BULLPEN: While the Giants went into the break with the bullpen being the prime area needing improvement. And while Aroldis Chapman ended up going to the Cubs, it’s worth noting the bullpen was actually pretty good on the trip. As a whole, the Giants bullpen was 1-2 with nine walks, 19 strikeouts and a 3.46 ERA over 26 innings on the roadtrip. But remove Albert Suarez’s outing in Boston, and the pen’s ERA drops to 1.96. Remove Santiago Casilla’s balk-off outing in San Diego, and it drops to 1.17. Here is how each reliever breaks down since the break.


HELP IS ON THE WAY: We’ve been saying this for a while, but help is on the way in the form of rehabbing players. It was hoped Joe Panik would be back last Friday. But then he didn’t feel well after playing Tuesday and Wednesday. Panik got cleared again on concussion protocol and is expected resume his rehab stint later this week. Hunter Pence is 5 for 11 with one home runs and two RBI in four rehab games with the Sacramento RiverCats. He’ll get a day off Monday and resume his rehab stint Tuesday. He could get called up this weekend, or when the Giants head out on the road next week. Ehire Adrianza is hitting .378 (14 for 37) with six home runs and 12 RBI in his rehab stint. Matt Duffy could start a rehab stint later this week. Reliever Cory Gearrin threw a bullpen session in Arizona last week, but has yet to start his rehab stint.

San Francisco Giants’ second-half schedule gets tougher, but help is on the way

Hunter Pence

San Francisco Giants’ Hunter Pence hits a grand slam home run off Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Pedro Baez in the eighth inning of their baseball game Thursday, April 7, 2016, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

The San Francisco Giants come out of the All-Star Break with the best record in all of baseball at 57-33.

That’s the good news.

And the Giants have done that without Hunter Pence since June 2, without Kelby Tomlinson since June 10, without Matt Duffy since June 21, without Joe Panik since June 29, largely without Matt Cain since May 28 and they just recently got Sergio Romo back after being out since mid-April.

That’s also the good news.

But on the flip side, the Giants have built their fine record on the backs of weak teams.

They have not played a team with a winning record since June 12 — a stretch of 26 games. They have gone 19-7 in those games.

That stretch will continue after the All-Star Break with three games against the Padres — a team the Giants have gone 9-0 against this season.

Then things get a bit tougher.

After the series in San Diego, the Giants will finish the season with 39 games against teams currently above .500, three games against a team currently at .500 (Yankees) and 27 games against sub-.500 teams (the bulk of those coming within the division).

The most challenging stretch of games in the second have is a 19-game stretch beginning Aug. 5 all against teams with winning records. It starts with three in Washington, three in Miami, continues with a 10-game homestand against the Orioles, Pirates and Mets and concludes with a three-game set at Chavez Ravine.

The good news is that the Giants are getting healthy again.

JOE PANIK: Out with concussion symptoms, Panik resumed baseball activities and is expected to begin a rehab assignment this weekend. He could rejoin the Giants next week during their trip to Boston and New York.

KELBY TOMLINSON: The infielder is actually back. But the Giants sent him to Triple-A to find his stroke after being out a month with a thumb injury. Also he had options and the Giants didn’t want to expose their current infielders to waivers. Maintaining depth is important.

HUNTER PENCE: The outfielder is progressing well, and manager Bruce Bochy says he could be back when the Giants play their first post-All-Star Break home game on July 25.

MATT CAIN: Cain made a solid rehab start with Triple-A Sacramento last Friday. And he could make another before rejoining the Giants next week.

CORY GEARRIN: The righty went on the DL July 6 with shoulder fatigue. He should be ready to return when his 15 days are up, which could mean rejoining the Giants during the Yankees series.

MATT DUFFY: Duffy’s timetable is a little less certain. The third baseman experienced soreness in his Achilles, which Bochy termed a “mild setback.” He could resume running on Monday, which may give a better indication of when he might return. It would be surprising if he’s back before August.

The average final record of Giants when one of their pitchers starts All-Star Game: 94-68

Johnny Cueto

San Fransisco Giants’ Johnny Cueto pitches to a Milwaukee Brewers batter during the first inning of a baseball game Tuesday, April 5, 2016, in Milwaukee. (AP Photo/Tom Lynn)

Johnny Cueto has picked to star the All-Star Game on Tuesday, and that’s a good harbinger for the San Francisco Giants.

Cueto became the eighth different Giants pitcher to be selected to start the All-Star Game. Juan Marichal started two All-Star Games.

In the previous eight seasons when a Giants pitcher started on the mound in the midsummer classic, the Giants have finished the season with an average record of 94-68.

In three of the last four times a Giants pitcher started the All-Star Game, the Giants went on to win the NL West (1989, 2003, 2012).

The results from Giants starters in All-Star games have ranged from really, really good (from Carl Hubbell’s fanning of five Hall-of-Famers in 1934 to Marichal’s MVP performance in 1965) to not so hot (see Rick Reuschel 1989).

But overall, the results have been good. Giants pitchers starting the All-Star Game have given up six earned runs in 19 inning for a 2.84 ERA.

Here are the individual outings.


1934 – Carl Hubbell

At Polo Grounds, New York

3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 6 K

Hubbell struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmie Foxx, Al Simmons and Joe Cronin in succession. The AL All-Stars rallied to win 9-7. The Giants were in first place in the National League by two games. The Giants finished 93-60, two games behind the Cardinals for the pennant.


1965 – Juan Marichal

At Metropolitan Stadium, Minneapolis

3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB 0 K

Marichal left the game with 5-0 lead, helped in part to a leadoff home run from Willie Mays. Jim Maloney of the Reds gave the lead back, but the NL ended up winning 6-5. Marichal was selected the MVP. The Giants were 3.5 off the NL lead at the break. They finished 95-67 in second place.

1967 – Juan Marichal

At Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim

3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 BB

The game ended up going 15 innings before Tony Perez’s home run lift the NL to a 2-1 win. The Giants five games out of first place at the break. They would finish in second place at 91-71.


1978 – Vida Blue

San Diego Stadium, San Diego

3 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 2 K

Blue spotted the AL a 3-0 lead, but the NL tied it in the bottom of the third. A four-run bottom of the eighth gave the NL a 7-3 win. The Giants held a two-game lead in the NL West at the break. They would finish in third place at 89-73.

1989 – Rick Reuschel

At Anaheim Stadium, Anaheim

1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K

After being spotted a 2-0 lead, Reuschel gave up back-to-back home runs to Bo Jackson and Wade Boggs to open the game. Jackson’s home run landed in San Dimas. The AL won the game 5-3. The Giants were leading the NL West by two games at the break. They would finish 92-70, win the NL West and eventually the NL pennant.


2003 – Jason Schmidt

At U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago

2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K

The NL looked to be on its way to victory until the Dodgers’ Eric Gagne gave up three runs in the bottom of the eighth. The AL won 7-6. Friggin Dodger. The Giants held a five-game lead at the break. They would finish 100-61 and win the NL West.


2009 – Tim Lincecum

At Busch Stadium, St. Louis

2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K

Lincecum opened the game by giving up a single to Ichiro and hitting Derek Jeter. Two runs would score on an error and a groundout. The NL would tie the game, but the AL sealed the 4-3 win with one run in the eighth. The Giants were seven games out of first at the break. They would finish 88-74 and in third place in the NL West.


2012 – Matt Cain

Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City

2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 B, 1 K

The NL All-Stars spotted Cain a 5-0 lead, thanks in large part to a three-run triple by Pablo Sandoval. Melky Cabrera would win MVP honors in an 8-0 NL win. The Giants were a half-game out of first at the break. They would finish 94-68 to win the NL West and eventually the World Series.

On a crazy day, San Francisco Giants’ bullpen strangely restores order

Saturday’s 4-2 victory for the San Francisco Giants over the Arizona Diamondbacks was filled with oddities.

It started in the first inning when Arizona’s Paul Goldschmidt hit a foul ball in the stands and a woman tried to catch it with her lunch tray.

As you can assume, it didn’t end well (see above video).

Then in the top of the fourth, Jake Peavy got Jake Lamb to check swing on a pitch. On the appeal, third-base umpire Quinn Wolcott ruled no swing. Peavy was barking at Wolcott when Buster Posey returned the throw to Peavy.

Peavy was not even looking at the throw, which hit the pitcher on the shoulder and dropped right into his glove (see above video).

Posey’s reaction to the play: “It doesn’t look real. It just doesn’t look real.”

He added: “I laughed. It was hard not to.”

Peavy said of Buster: “I’m still waiting for him to do something wrong. It’s been two years now.”

In the bottom of the fourth, Brandon Crawford led off the inning with a pop-up to Lamb, who lost the ball in the sun and it hit him in HIS shoulder and landed for a single (see above video).

Two outs later, Grant Green hit his first home run as a Giant, and the Giants took a 3-2 lead.

In the fifth, Javier Lopez left the dugout to head to the dugout. But he tripped on the top step and fell to the track. Lying on his back for a moment, he got up and acknowledged the crowd of 41,000 (see above video).

When asked if known-clutz Jeremy Affeldt contact Lopez, Lopez said: “Of course I did. He sent me the video. I told him at least I didn’t get hurt.”

Touche, Javy.

Also, in the third inning, Angel Pagan got hit in the head by the throw when he tried to steal second. He was OK.

Manager Bruce Bochy said of Pagan: “He said he’s done some boxing in his days, so he can take a shot.”


San Francisco Giants’ Angel Pagan is struck by the relay throw intended for Arizona Diamondbacks’ Nick Ahmed as Pagan steals second base during the third inning of baseball game on Saturday, July 9, 2016, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/D. Ross Cameron)

Arizona right fielder Brandon Drury did a faceplant into the bullpen mound in the sixth (see above video).

But then the strangest thing of all happened.

The Giants bullpen saved the day.

Javier Lopez, George Kontos, Albert Suarez, Josh Osich, Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla combined on 4 2/3 innings of shutout relief, allowing only one hit to seal the victory.

So go figure.

Regardless of outcome, supporting Brandon Belt’s #VoteBelt campaign on Twitter was fun

Brandon Belt, Joe Panik

San Francisco Giants’ Brandon Belt, right, celebrates with Joe Panik (12) after hitting a two run home run off Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Julio Urias in the sixth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, June 12, 2016, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

First, Brandon Belt took the lead in the Final Vote for the All-Star Game. Then Starling Marte took the lead. Then Belt took it back. Then Marte took it back.

Finally, at the last update, Belt was in the lead most of the day Friday. And we can thank an aggressive effort on Twitter by San Francisco Giants fan.

The final results have yet to be announced. But regardless of the final outcome, it sure was fun supporting Brandon Belt’s #VoteBelt campaign on Twitter.

Here are some of my favorite tweets of my effort to support the campaign.











Brandon Crawford won’t be added to All-Star roster to replace Matt Carpenter


San Francisco Giants fans have been up in arms since Tuesday when shortstop Brandon Crawford was not added to the All-Star team.

Fans voted the underwhelming Addison Russell of the Cubs to be the starter at shortstop for the National League in next Tuesday’s All-Star Game in San Diego.

The players then voted the Dodgers’ Corey Seager in as a reserve at shortstop.

Now you could argue that Crawford was more deserving of that honor than Seager — and Giants fans have done that.

According to ESPN, Seager has the eighth-best WAR in the National League at 3.43; Crawford is 12th at 3.24. Seager holds a big edge offensively (3.49-1.38), while Crawford holds the edge with the glove (2.27-0.37).

According to Baseball Reference, Seager is 10th in the NL in WAR (3.4), with Crawford just behind (3.2). Seager is second in offensive WAR (3.5), while Crawford leads the NL in defensive WAR (2.3) and it’s not even close (next is 1.6).

And FanGraphs says Seager is No. 2 in the NL in WAR at 3.9, and Crawford is eighth (3.3), with similar offensive/defensive splits.

The problem I have with WAR as a stat is two-fold: 1) I have no freakin’ idea how it is computed; and 2) people can’t seem to agree on how it is computed because different sites come up with different computations on it.

Anyway, I believe both Seager and Crawford are deserving of All-Star selections. If Seager were the starter and Crawford the backup, I’m cool with that. If Crawford started and Seager backed up, that’s cool, too.

But the fans piggie-backed Russell to be a starter along with four other Cubs, so it is what it is.

Some Giants fans felt Crawford should have been on the ballot for the Final Five. But MLB didn’t want two teams on that ballot, so the honor went to Brandon Belt.

Then fans were hoping Crawford could make the team as a replacement. So when Matt Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals left Wednesday’s game with an oblique strain, there was hope.

Then Carpenter was placed on the DL Thursday morning. More hope.

And …. and…. and……

MLB announced the Cardinals shortsotp Adelmys Diaz would replace Carpenter on the All-Star roster.

Now, Diaz is having a solid rookie season for St. Louis. But this isn’t about comparing Diaz’s credentials with those of Crawford.

This had more to do with Carpenter was the lone Cardinal representative on the All-Star team. So the Cardinals lobbied hard that another Cardinal replace him on the All-Star roster.

And MLB acquiesed to the Cardinals’ request.

So now it looks more and more likely that Crawford will spend the All-Star break resting at home.

And given the fact he will likely enter the break having played 700 innings at shortstop this season, maybe a break isn’t the worst thing in the world.

The Giants’ Buster Posey hit a home run Wednesday, and there was something familiar about it


Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants hit a big home run to left Wednesday in the Giants’ 5-1 win over the Colorado Rockies.

Here is what it looked like (click on link to watch video)


When you watch the video, take a look at Rockies catcher Tony Wolters.

His reaction to Posey’s deep drive to left reminded me of something very familiar.

But what was it?

Let me think…..

Oh yes. Here it is!