There was a lot to be happy about after Tuesday’s exhibition at the Oakland Coliseum, so we’ll leave the downer news for later in this post.
But first, happy thoughts.
The Giants won, taking their second straight against the cross-bay rivals, so that’s good.
Matt Cain had a solid outing in his first outing since agreeing to a five-year contract extension on Monday.
“Yeah, it’s a relief,” Cain told the Associated Press. “I definitely have a lot more time here, and that’s awesome. I’m looking forward to it. I think we have that energy. All the guys are feeling good and excited. It was a really cool to see how much (of a reaction) it got from fans and from my teammates. They’re so excited, and it pumps you up. And it makes you ready for the season.”
Cain appeared ready for the season, limiting the A’s to two runs on five hits and one walk over five innings. He struck out six.
Cain was also helped out by a nice throw from center fielder Angel Pagan, who threw out Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes trying to score from second.
And Cain capped his night with a nifty, yet somewhat unnerving, throw out of Coco Crisp.
Crisp squibbed a Cain pitch to the right of the mound. Cain charged to field it, but slipped on the grass. Still, he was able to throw Crisp out at first with a throw from the seat of his pants.
After Cain left, the bullpen again kept Oakland bats quiet with four hitless innings from Clay Hensley, Jeremy Affeldt, Guillermo Mota and Sergio Romo.
All happy, happy times.
OK, now the downer stuff.
For the second night in a row, the Giants still struggled to mount much offense against a pitcher who is battling to be Oakland’s No. 5 starter.
It was nice to see the Giants use a little small ball to score in the first inning. Gregor Blanco led off the game with a single, stole second and scored on Pablo Sandoval’s one-out single.
Yet, after the Giants took a 3-2 lead in the fifth, they had the bases loaded and one out but failed to score when Emmanuel Burriss and Eli Whiteside both failed to put the ball in play.
Oh well. It is still preseason, so even if they pounded the ball all over the year, it wouldn’t mean anything.
- In an interview with CSN’s Amy Gutierrez, Aubrey Huff quipped that “now that I’m an outfielder” he could give tips to the other outfielders. It was just a bit of Huff-like whimsy, but it seemed to indicate that Brandon Belt has made the club. Manager Bruce Bochy said all roster decisions have been reached, but he would not announce them until Wednesday morning prior to the Giants final preseason game.
- Bochy said he got good reports from Barry Zito’s bullpen session Monday in Arizona (he didn’t give up any runs; of course, he didn’t face any batters either). Zito will pitch a minor-league game Wednesday before joining the team in Phoenix for Friday’s opener. Sigh, I guess that means they are going to stick with him to pitch Monday in Colorado.
- Freddy Sanchez played four inning of a minor-league game in Arizona Tuesday. Bochy said while Sanchez showed signs of improvement that he’s still “a couple weeks away.”
- Bochy also said that Hector Sanchez has done enough to make the squad, but whether he does or not depends on how many catchers the Giants keep. “It’s a matter of two or three,” Bochy said. Gee, thanks for clearing that up, Boch. We were thinking it could be one or four.
Yusmeiro Petit will get the start as the Giants face the A’s at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday at AT&T Park.
Hooray! The Giants won another game that doesn’t count.
But a look inside reveals the Giants continued their troubling trend of struggling to mount offense early in the game.
If some Giants are unfamiliar with Godfrey, we’ve included a picture of him here.
But the game wasn’t all bad. The Giants rallied for four runs off the Oakland bullpen, while the Giants bullpen threw five perfect innings.
Melky Cabrera, who went 3 for 4, homered in the sixth. Then the Giants learned they don’t always need to get hits to mount a rally.
In the seventh, Ryan Theriot walked and Nate Schierholtz was hit by a pitch. Emmanuel Burriss dropped a sacrifice bunt attempt to third base, then used his speed to force the Oakland third baseman into an error that scored Theriot.
Angel Pagan grounded into a forceout to score Schierholtz. Just like that the Giants had two runs on zero hits.
After Pagan stole second, Cabrera then got the first hit of the inning, a single to score Pagan.
Patience and speed to score runs? A revelation.
- As we mentioned, the bullpen was lights out, including 1-2-3 innings by Santiago Casilla and Javier Lopez — two pitchers who have had their bumps in Arizona.
- Brian Wilson, who was a regular in minor-league games in Arizona, struck out the side for the save in the ninth. Very encouraging.
- 1B Brandon Belt went 2 for 3 with a double, raising his spring average to .391. Just imagine how much higher it would have been if he didn’t have that hole in his swing that has led the Giants to consider sending him back to Fresno to open the season.
- Manager Bruce Bochy said Monday’s lineup could be very similar to his lineup to open the season on Friday: CF Pagan, RF Cabrera, 3B Pablo Sandoval, C Buster Posey, LF Aubrey Huff, 1B Belt, 2B Theriot, SS Brandon Crawford. We’d be happy with that lineup on Friday, except for the Theriot thing. We’d prefer Burriss.
- Buster Posey received a standing ovation when he was introduced to the AT&T Park at the start of the game. “It was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in baseball. I feel luck to play in San Francisco.” Can we put that quote engraved onto a plaque and put it over Posey’s locker after the 2016 season, when he will be first eligible for free agency.
The Giants’ new money man, Matt Cain, takes the mound as the Giants play the A’s in Oakland at 7 p.m.
The Giants returned home Friday from a seven-game road trip that became a six-game road trip with a rainout in Chicago.
With back-to-back wins in Los Angeles (always a good thing), the Giants finished the trip 3-3.
And if you go by the old adage of “win series at home, play .500 ball on the road” that would make the trip a successful one.
With a 10-5 home mark and a 14-14 road mark, the Giants remain right on course for a 95-win season.
The road trip saw the Giants score more than four runs in a game — Wedneday’s 8-5 win over the Dodgers — for the first time since May 3. That was a 12-game streak of four runs or fewer, a stretch in which the Giants went 8-4.
While some will say there’s no way the Giants can expect to keep winning games like that, MoreSplashHits takes the approach that the offense cannot continue to struggle like that.
But, of course, we’re still waiting for the offense to come around. And Giants fans are still waiting on a nice relaxing, blowout win.
Here’s another stat from the road trip. Wednesday’s 8-5 win over the Dodgers was the first since April 28 — a stretch of 17 games — in which the Giants did not win by either one-run or by shutout. And although it was a three-run win, it was a win in which the Giants took the lead in their final at-bat.
Then on Thursday, it looked as if the Giants would win by another shutout; it would have been their sixth shutout win. But with two out in the ninth, Madison Bumgarner gave up a bloop single, and then a double off the wall to make a 3-1.
And then we got another severe case of the “Willies” as Brian Wilson walked the bases loaded before giving up a sinking line drive by Jamey Carroll. Fortunately, Nate Schierholtz made a diving grab to save the game.
You know, we’ve been saying this for a couples of weeks now, but enough with the torture already. Giants fans need a relaxing victory.
The Giants have not won a game by more than three runs since April 18. That’s more than a month ago.
Now comes interleague play and a weekend series at home against the Oakland A’s. And it would be wishful thinking to hope that the offense can have a big game with the arms the A’s will throw out: Trevor Cahill (6-1, 1.82 ERA), Brett Anderson (2-3, 3.30) and Gio Gonzalez (5-2, 2.31).
But, then again, the Giants scored eight runs in a game started by Clayton Kershaw, who had a streak of 25 consecutive scoreless innings against the Giants. So, who knows?