Tagged: Diamondbacks

Spring training: Diamondbacks 9, Giants 6

Tim Lincecum said the juices were flowing in his first spring start as the right-hander worked two solid innings in a 9-6 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Lincecum struck out the first batter — Ryan Roberts — on three pitches. He ended up giving up one run on three hits.
 “I kinda surprised myself that first batter,” Lincecum said. “The first game, against an NL West rival, the adrenaline was flowing. I almost jumped into the grass cutout. But I told myself to calm down and the second inning was a whole lot better.”
Lincecum was only slated to pitch one inning Saturday, but worked efficiently enough to get through two, throwing 21 of his 33 pitches for strikes.
 “Yesterday it was one inning,” Lincecum said. “Today it was 40 pitches and we’ll see what happens. I’m fine with that. You want to get as much work in as you can.”
Other highlights and lowlights
  • Angel Pagan overran a single off the bat of Justin Upton on his first chance as a Giant. Pagan committed a whopping 10 errors — more than half his career total — last season with the Mets.
  • Left fielder Melky Cabrera threw out Upton trying to score from second base on a single. He also doubled home a run.
  • Brandon Belt, playing DH, made a strong opening statement, going 3 for 4 with a home run and two runs scored.
Up next
The Giants will play split-squad games at the Brewers and Diamondbacks on Sunday. Both games begin at 12:05 p.m. PST

So are the Giants good … or just lucky?

Well, the Giants are 21-16, exactly where they should be at this point in the season, according to MoreSplashHits theory of winning series at home and playing .500 on the road.

After Thursday’s win over Arizona, the Giants have played five home series. If they won 2 of 3 in each of those series, they would have a home record of 10-5 right now.

They have a record of 10-5 right now, thanks to a 6-0 homestand that included sweeps over the Rockies and Diamondbacks.

And they are 11-11 on the road — exactly .500.

But that’s where the expected stats stop. How the Giants got to their 21-16 record is pretty strange.

The Giants have amassed a 21-16 record while scoring 128 runs and giving up 126. If not for the Giants’ 10-0 win over the Dodgers in the third game of the season, the Giants actually would have been outscored by their opponents.

According to Bill James’ Pythagorean W-L record, the Giants should be 19-18. This stat helps measure a team’s luck. If their record is better than their Pythagorean record, their a little lucky.

OK, we’ll give James that.

But when you look at the Giants home games, the numbers get even stranger.

The Giants are 10-5 and have been outscored at home by seven runs.

That’s because nine of the Giants’ 10 wins have been one-run victories, including five walk-off victories.

The Giants are a major-league best 12-3 in one-run games. They are 9-0 in one-run games at home.

The bottom line is this: The Giants are 21-16 and in first place in the NL West despite hitting .236 as a team (ranked 12th in the NL), scoring 128 runs (15th in the NL) and have a team OBP of .305 (also 15th in the NL).

Some might say the Giants are lucky to be 21-16 right now, and that they’re more lucky than good.

But we these offensive numbers HAVE TO get better. And the schedule gets a bit more favorable in June, when the Giants have a 10-game homestand, and again in July, when they have stretch in which they play 13 of 17 games at home.

And they should have Pablo Sandoval back in the mix in June.

So if luck has played a role in their 21-16 start, we’ll take it. I don’t know if it’s better to be lucky than good, but it’s certainly better to be 21-16 than 16-21.

Ho-hum, just another thrilling home win

If there were a sobering part of the Giants’ recent string of wins, it’s that they entered Tuesday night’s game against the Diamondbacks having won five of their last six games by either scoring the go-ahead run in their last at-bat or by shutout.

So how did they open against the Snakes? By taking the lead in their final at-bat AND by shutout.

Is it selfish to ask the Giants for a boring 7-2 victory?

Maybe, but we’ll take the 1-0 victory over the Giants.

With his eight scoreless innings Tuesday, Tim Lincecum now has not allowed a run in his past 17 innings of work.

Before the game, the Giants got some good news for their scuffling offense when outfielder Andres Torres and infielder Mark DeRosa came off the disabled list.

The surprising news came on which two players the Giants sent down to make room for Torres and DeRosa: infielders Ryan Rohlinger and Emmanuel Burriss.

We knew Rohlinger was going. He had hardly played since getting called up when Pablo Sandoval went on the shelf. But the decision to keep outfielder Darren Ford.

It leaves the Giants very thin on infielders on the bench. With Torres and DeRosa in the lineup Tuesday, it left the Giants with a bench that consisted of catcher Eli Whiteside, infielder Miguel Tejada and outfielders Pat Burrell, Darren Ford and Nate Schierholtz.

While admitting that keeping three reserve outfielders is unusual, manager Bruce Bochy said he kept Ford because he brings a dynamic that the Giants are sorely missing: Speed.

At least on Tuesday, Bochy was right.

In the bottom of the ninth after Buster Posey led off with a walk, Bochy had Ford run for Posey.

Ford stole second base without a throw. Then one out later, Ford scored on a double down the left field line by Cody Ross. If Bochy had stayed with Posey, it would have been runners on second and third with one out — instead of a 1-0 victory.

The win was Giants’ fourth in a row, and sixth in their last seven. It improved the Giants’ home record to 8-5 on the season. Of those eight home wins, seven are one-run wins, including five walk-off wins. Sunday’s 3-0 win over the Rockies was the lone “yawner” at home.

So, really, Giants. Could we please get a 7-2 victory?

Giants rally for another win over Arizona

Madison Bumgarner bounced back after giving up two first-inning home runs, and Aubrey Huff continued to swing a hot bat as the Giants rallied for a 5-4 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday night.

“He looked like he was just overthrowing there early, but he got back in sync and started locating better,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Bumgarner. “He just got the ball up there early in the game and paid for it.”

Bumgarner gave up a lead-off home run to Chris Young, then gave up another solo shot to Justin Upton two batters later.

But he bounced back to post three scoreless innnings after that. He finished giving up two runs on four hits and two walks in four innings. He struck out six.

Bumgarner might have returned for the fifth inning. But after collecting a single in the top of the fifth, he was replaced by pinch-runner Darren Ford.

Andres Torres followed with an RBI groundout, and then Huff belted a two-run homer to complete a three-run fifth for San Francisco. Huff finished 2 for 4 with two RBI and a run. He’s hitting .351 this spring.

Other highlights:

FREDDY SANCHEZ: The second baseman continues to show good pop this spring, going 2 for 4 with his second spring home run.

MIGUEL TEJADA: Tejada went 2 for 4 to lift his spring average to .257.

TRAVIS ISHIKAWA: Ishikawa came off the bench to play left field. He doubled home Emmanuel Burriss ,running for Tejada, with the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth.

SERGIO ROMO: The reliever gave up his first spring run when he gave up a game-tying solo home run to Geraldo Parra in the bottom of the eighth.

Coming Wednesday

Tim Lincecum is on the mound as the Giants face the White Sox at 1:05 p.m. Wednesday. The game will be broadcast on MLB Network.
 

Giants win, but Cain feels pain

The Giants beat the Arizona Diamondbacks 4-2 on Wednesday, but the big news of the day was the Matt Cain was scratched from his scheduled start on Thursday.

An MRI revealed inflammation in his elbow with no structural damage. Cain will skip his Thursday start, and the Giants hope he only misses one start.

“Obviously we hope it doesn’t have to take missing more than one start,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “We’ll see where he’s at in a couple of days. Now’s the time to back off and calm this down a little bit.”

That next start will be on Tuesday, so we’ll see. It wouldn’t surprise us to see him throw a minor-league game or simulated game next week.

After that, we’ll start  to breathe again

In other injury news, Brian Wilson is set to throw live batting practice Thursday, then the Giants hope to get him into games this weekend. Wilson has been slowed with back problems this spring.

Other highlights from Wednesday’s game vs. Arizona:

JONATHAN SANCHEZ: Sanchez gave up two runs (one earned) on four hits in three innings pitched. He struck out three and walked one. “My slider was nasty,” Sanchez said. “I was in the zone with all my pithces.”

JEREMY AFFELDT: Making his first appearance of the spring, Affledt threw one hitless inning.

AARON ROWAND: Whoops, we spoke too soon. We thought when Freddy Sanchez hit in the leadoff spot Tuesday that Bruce Bochy had come to senses. We were wrong. Rowand was back in the leadoff spot Wednesday. He went 0 for 2 with a sacrifice fly.

FREDDY SANCHEZ: Speaking of Freddy, hitting in the No. 2 spot, Sanchez got his first hits of the spring, going 2 for 3.

PABLO SANDOVAL: The Panda continues to hit, going 1 for 2 with a run scored.

More Panda power

Well, you can’t win them all. And in the spring, I’m not even sure you want to.

But the Giants were looking like they were headed to a 3-0 spring start when they were leading 3-0 over the Diamondbacks Sunday. But Arizona tallied four runs in the eighth of relievers Jose Casilla and Alex Hinshaw to post a 4-3 lead.

Again, we saw more encouraging signs from the desert:

MORE PANDA POWER: Pablo Sandoval continues his hot start to the spring, belting his second home run in as many days.

Sandoval belted an 0-2 pitch from Daniel Hudson deep over the fence in right in the fourth inning.

Sandoval also struck out twice, each after Pat Burrell walked. But at least he didn’t ground into a double play, right?

The strikeouts will come this spring for the Panda, as he works on getting taking more pitches and working deeper into the count.

That’s a challenge for Sandoval because, in the spring, pitchers focus on throwing strikes. So if Sandoval is taking, he’s falling behind. Even his home run came on an 0-2 pitch.

MORE HITTERS: Buster Posey continued to swing the bat well, hitting a single and double in three at-bats. Outfielder Cody Ross had two doubles in three at-bats.

CAIN BEING CAIN: Matt Cain continues to throw scoreless innings, even in the spring. Cain tossed 21 scoreless innings in the postseason last fall. On Sunday, he threw two more scoreless innings, giving up three hits and striking out one.

Torture is back … and it’s wonderful

The San Francisco Giants began the 2011 Spring Training schedule the way they ended many of their games from the 2010 championship season — with some drama.

The Arizona Diamondbacks scored two runs in the top of the ninth and had the tying run on second base when non-roster invitee Casey Daigle struck out the final batter to preserve a 7-6 win for the Giants in their spring opener Friday.

As the Giants left the field, one fan at Scottsdale Stadium shouted “Awww, the torture’s back already? Couldn’t you break us in?” the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Is torture possible on Feb. 25? Not really.

Tim Lincecum gave up three runs on five hits in his 1 2/3 innings of work. He gave up four consecutive singles to open the game, leading to the three-run first. But the Mercury News reported he was throwing 93 mph while focusing on his fastball and slider. He did not throw his change-up.

Here are some other highlights from Friday’s game.

  • Madison Bumgarner had a solid outing, other than hanging a change-up that Xavier Nady hit out of the park. MadBum was throwing 91-92 mph, which is much better than the upper-80s he had last spring.
  • Leadoff hitter Andres Torres drew two walks in three plate appearances and scored both times.
  • Buster Posey went 2 for 3, including a two-run double.
  • Pablo Sandoval showed some plate discipline, refusing to swing at a pitch in the dirt during an at-bat that ended with a sacrifice fly. He later didn’t offer on a high pitch on a 3-2 count and drew a walk. Encouraging.