Two weeks ago, Matt Cain set Giants franchise history by throwing the first perfect game in team history.
Not to be outdone, the other four pitchers on the staff have teamed up to match Cain’s accomplishment in one.
Led by outstanding starting performances by Barry Zito, Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Linecum and Madison Bumgarner, the Giants have posted four consecutive shutouts for the first time in franchise history.
It’s the first since the 1995 Orioles that a team has posted four consecutive shutouts.
On Monday, it was Zito, George Kontos and Shane Loux shutting out the Dodgers 8-0.
On Tuesday, it was Vogelsong, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla shutting out the Dodgers 2-0
On Wednesday, it was Lincecum, Javier Lopez and Sergio Romo shutting out the Dodgers 3-0.
On Thursday, it was all Bumgarner in a 5-0 win over the Reds.
Bumgarner took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and finished with a one-hitter with two walks and eight strikeouts.
The streak of 36 consecutive shutout innings set a San Francisco Giants record of 35 set back in 1960.
It’s the third one-hitter or better the Giants pitchers have thrown this season.
They have 10 shutouts on the season — the last four and five of the last six home games.
- April 9 — 7-0 at Colorado (Zito CG)
- April 15 — 5-0 vs. Pittsburgh (Cain CG)
- April 18 — 1-0 (11) vs. Philadelphia (Cain start)
- May 19 — 4-0 vs. Oakland (Vogelsong start)
- June 3 — 2-0 vs. Chicago Cubs (Zito start)
- June 13 — 10-0 vs. Houston (Cain CG)
- June 25 — 8-0 vs. L.A. Dodgers (Zito start)
- June 26 — 2-0 vs. L.A. Dodgers (Vogelsong start)
- June 27 — 3-0 vs. L.A. Dodgers (Lincecum start)
- June 28 — 5-0 vs. Cincinnati (Bumgarner CG)
The 10 shutouts tie the Giants with the Angels for the most in the majors this season. The Giants lead the National League by a significant margin. The Mets have eight, then the Diamondbacks have five. Eight other teams have four.
And let’s not forget about the offense. All nine Giants who played Thursday reached safely as the Giants drew six walks and had nine hits. Even Bumgarner collected a hit. Melky Cabrera went 2 for 2 with two walks.
Oh, and Thursday’s win put the Giants all alone in first place in the NL West for the first time all season.
Good times, Giants fans, good times.
Cain takes the hill against Mike Leake as the Giants and Reds meet at 7:15 p.m. Friday.
The Giants’ 16-game homeless streak at home ended Tuesday with the most unlikely of sluggers.
Madison Bumgarner belted his first career big-league home run in the third inning to snap the string.
It was his first home run since going deep on April 25, 2010 while playing for the Fresno Grizzlies at Portland’s PGE Park.
It was so long ago that PGE Park is no longer PGE Park, and the Portland Beavers are no longer the Portland Beavers.
Then in the eighth, Brandon Belt gave the Giants some breathing room by hitting his first home run of the season, a two-run shot that one-hopped off the arcade and into the bay (technically not a SplashHit; Belt has the last splash hit on Sept. 27 of last season).
So the last three home runs hit at AT&T Park by a Giants was that player’s first home run of the season: MadBum, Belt and Gregor Blanco. Um, not exactly Mays, McCovey and Cepeda.
But the real story Tuesday was another dandy from Bumgarner, who fanned 12 Astros before starting to wane in the eighth and getting pulled.
He finished with 2 runs (one earned) on six hits and no walks in 7 2/3 innings. He threw 98 pitches.
He’ll pitch next Sunday in Seattle against Felix Hernandez.
Matt Cain takes the mound against J.A. Happ at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday. It’s the first of three lefties the Giants will face over the next three days.
In almost a blink of an eye, Friday’s Giants-Cubs game went from a being a 4-0 snoozer win for the Giants to a one-run nail-biter with the Cubs putting the go-ahead in scoring position.
So how did that happen?
Well, let’s take a look at Madison Bumgarner’s night.
At the start, four of the first five balls the Cubs put into play went for singles. But Cubs didn’t do any damage with that because MadBum recorded five of his first seven outs by strikeout. The other two outs came on the the only other ball the Cubs put in play, a double-play grounder by Steve Clevenger.
From there, Bumgarner set down 15 of the next 17 batters, including one double play.
So when he went out for the ninth inning, having thrown 97 pitches, it looked like Bumgarner was headed for his first career shutout.
But after falling behind his first two batters in the ninth — and giving up back-to-back singles — MadBum got the hook from Bruce Bochy.
Normally, I feel Bochy tends to let his starters linger too long. But in this case, with MadBum at 102 pitches, I would have liked to see him face another batter.
But Bochy called on closer Santiago Casilla in what was now a save opportunity. Casilla gave up a three-run homer to Alfonso Soriano, one thing that MadBum is particularly good at avoiding.
Now, a one-run game, Casilla got Reed Johnson for the first outing before giving up a double to Bryan Lahair. Darwin Barney reached on a swinging bunt. Casilla hurt his knee on the play and came out of the game (although Bumgarner indicated later he didn’t think the injury was serious).
Javier Lopez came in and got Clevenger to ground out to first, advancing the runners to second and third. Lopez then got David DeJesus to fly to center to end the game.
- OF Angel Pagan went 1 for 4 to extend his hitting streak at home to 25 games, the best by any player in franchise history.
- Maybe that stint on the DL is just what 2B Ryan Theriot needed. He went 3 for 3 with a double and walk on Friday. He’s 8 for 21 since coming off the DL is now hitting .234 for the season. He was hitting .179 when he went on the DL.
Matt Cain faces Matt Garza in game 2 of the series at 4:15 p.m. Fox game on Saturday. That means if you’re local Fox affiliate chooses not to carry the Giants vs. Cubs (like the Portland affiliate which thinks we care about the Damn Yankees vs. the Tigers) it means the game won’t be available on MLB.TV. Why does Fox think by blacking out a game on MLB.TV it means we’ll have no choice but to watch the Yankees-Tigers? I’ll be listening on KNBR.
After giving up three runs in the fifth, Madison Bumgarner was steaming mad. But it wasn’t clear if MadBum was upset with the umpire or his defense. Or both.
But manager Bruce Bochy said the source of the Giants’ problems on Friday wasn’t the umpire or defense. It was the offense.
And you know what? He has a point.
The defense had its issues … again. Brandon Crawford committed another error that led to an unearned run. There was another Arizona hit that Crawford should have snared, and Miguel Montero had a double that should have been caught by Brett Pill in left for the third out of what became a three-run inning.
Despite all that, the Giants can’t expect to come to Arizona, score one run and hope to win a game.
“This offense has got to get going,” Bochy said. “We just didn’t have very good at-bats today. Defense, sure there were a couple of mistakes. I just think that you are going to break out at some point. We scored five runs in the series in L.A. and then come in here and score one. That is not going to work.”
And it wasn’t that the Giants only scored one run. It’s that they didn’t come CLOSE to scoring another.
Melky Cabrera got the Giants on the board with a home run in the first inning. After that, the Giants only got one runner as far a second base the rest of the game, and that came in the seventh when Justin Upton dropped a fly to right off the bat of Buster Posey for a two-run error.
That’s as close to a rally that they got.
The Giants’ other hits: a one-out single by Hector Sanchez in the second, and two-out single by Angel Pagan in the sixth, a two-out single by Aubrey Huff in the eighth and a one-out single by Cabrera in the ninth.
Oh, and the number of times the Giants walked on Friday: ZERO.
Matt Cain takes on Trevor Cahill at 5:10 p.m. Saturday. The Giants didn’t face Cahill in their season-opening series. The last time the Giants saw Cahill, he was pitching for the Athletics. He limited the Giants to two runs on six hits in 14 innings against them in 2011. The results of those two games were a 2-1 win for the Giants on May 20 and a 2-1 win for the A’s on June 19. Oh, and who did Cahill face on the June 19th win? Matt Cain. Yeah, it’s going to be one of THOSE days.
We heard rumblings that Huff may get his first start Saturday since coming off the DL. If that’s true, here’s our best guess at Saturday’s lineup.
- CF Angel Pagan
- 3B Conor Gillaspie
- RF Melky Cabrera
- C Buster Posey
- 1B Brandon Belt
- LF Aubrey Huff
- 2B Joaquin Arias
- SS Brandon Crawford
- P Matt Cain
Remember those days when if the Giants hit a skid, you would look to Tim Lincecum to put a stop to it?
And then if the Freak was in a funk, you’d look to Matt Cain?
But now, it has to be Madison Bumgarner.
Not the Cain is a slouch. He’s lost his last two starts because the Giants didn’t want to score runs for him.
Well, then, maybe Cain should do what MadBum did Saturday.
With the Giants floundering with runners in scoring position and Hector Sanchez on second with one out in the sixth, Bumgarner raked a double to left, tying the score 1-1.
Since getting tagged for eight runs in 1/3 of an inning last June 21 vs. the Twins, MadBum is 11-1 at home. The Giants have won 11 of his past 13 starts dating back to last year. And he’s 5-0 with a 1.54 ERA since his sub-par season-opening start in Arizona.
In short, he’s money.
- Angel Pagan went 1 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to 19 games. He’s hitting .306 over the course of the streak. His season average sits at .259 because he was hitting .111 when the streak started.
- C Hector Sanchez, who was hitless in his previous 11 at-bats entering Friday’s game, went 2 for 4 with doubles (one from each side of the plate) to raise his season average to .255.
- RP Santiago Casilla allowed only a bloop single in the ninth in recording his fifth save in five tries since taking over the role from injured Brian Wilson.
Let’s get Matt Cain some runs as he takes on Shaun Marcum at 1:05 p.m. Sunday. We correctly predicted which eight players would start Saturday, so let’s take a crack at it again.
- RF Gregor Blanco
- 3B Connor Gillaspie (take a freakin’ strike Connor, please!)
- LF Melky Cabrera
- C Buster Posey
- CF Angel Pagan
- 1B Brandon Belt
- 2B Joaquin Arias
- SS Brandon Crawford
- P Matt Cain
The San Francisco Giants are blogger’s dream. They never leave you short on things to blog about. Let’s see what we’ve had in the last couple of weeks.
- Matt Cain signed a monster deal.
- Buster Posey got the shingles.
- Tim Lincecum cut his hair.
- Brian Wilson blew out his elbow.
There’s barely enough time to blog about the games. In the midst of trying to get caught up came another bombshell on Monday.
The Giants agreed to a five-year, $35 million deal with 22-year-old Madison Bumgarner.
With Bumgarner have less than two years of MLB experience, we just didn’t think this deal would be anywhere in the works. We weren’t even thinking about it.
But the Giants were, and good for them.
But it’s a good deal for MadBum and Giants.
Bumgarner was set to make $575,000 this season. Now he’ll average $7 million a season in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. There are vesting club options in 2018 and 2019, but the terms were not available.
There was a chance that MadBum could have been eligible for arbitration after this season as a Super-2 player, if he had been in the top 17 percent of his service class. Bumgarner was considered to be on the line on whether he would or would not be a Super-2 player.
If he were a Super-2 player, the Giants would have four years of arbitration with Bumgarner before the 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 seasons. Bumgarner would have been eligilbe for free agency in 2017.
Now, the Giants don’t have to worry about any of that.
“Preserving our core pitching for the long term remains a top priority for the Giants and today’s extension certainly helps further that goal,” general manager Brian Sabean said. “Madison has already proven that he is one of the best left-handed pitcher in the game today and we are confident that he will continue to succeed for many years to come.”
For those who think this is too much, too soon for MadBum, consider this:
- This deal is $1 million less than what the Giants paid Aaron Rowand in 2010, 2011 and 2012 combined.
- It is $3 million less than what they’ll pay Barry Zito this season and next season, and that’s not including the $7 million buyout in 2014.
If Bumgarner is not Super-2 eligible at the end of the season, the deal is a score for him. He’ll go from making about $700,000 in 2013 to $7 million.
If he is a Super-2, he could have easily been looking at making $5 million in 2013, so the deal is good for the Giants, even when making a Super-2 will give MadBum an additional $5 million for the length of the deal (or $8 million average).
Some may say this deal signals a direction for the Giants away from signing Tim Lincecum to a long-term deal in the next year or two.
We say “nonsense.”
What this deal does is give the Giants some salary certainty that gives them the ability to budget a long-term deal for Lincecum.
The Giants are heading home with a win, and a severe case of the Willies.
After Madison Bumgarner pitched 7 1/3 stellar innings, Brian Wilson recorded his first save of the year with a heavy dose of drama.
“It’s not like I want to pitch in that situation,” Wilson said. “But when I do, I feel like I’ve been more successful than not.”
I guess that’s true. But we’d gladly take a 1-2-3 inning.
Wilson’s ninth-inning adventure began with a double by Troy Tulowitzki followed by an infield single by Michael Cuddyer when Brandon Crawford smothered the ball but could not throw out Cuddyer.
Wilson threw a 94-mph fastball past Wilin Rosario for strike three and the first out.
Jason Giambi singled to right to load the bases, then Todd Helton smoked a liner right at Emmaunel Burriss for the second out.
Then on a 1-0 pitch to Tyler Colvin, Wilson turned his ankle. Trainer Dave Groeschner came out and Wilson threw a warmup pitch before declaring that he was fine.
“No big deal,” Wilson said. “It’s really nothing, just one of those things they have to check in — a non-issue.”
But radar gun said something different, as Wilson strained to get his fastball to reach 90 mph the rest of the inning.
He walked Colvin to make it 4-2. Marco Scutaro worked the count to 2-2 before flying out to Nate Schierholtz in right to end the game.
“It’s Willy’s way,” manager Bruce Bochy said.
Bochy added that, with Wilson throwing back-to-back days and laboring through a 32-pitch inning, that The Beard would likely not be used in Friday’s home opener against the Pirates.
In the end, the late drama almost overshadowed an outstanding effort from Bumgarner, who bounced back nicely from a rough opener last week in Arizona.
He gave up one run on four hits and two walks.
Even though the Giants score four runs for the sixth time in six games this season, it was pitching that supplied their two wins — first from Zito and Bumgarner.
“It’s our game,” Bochy said. “It’s what we count on. It means you have a chance to win the game.”
And the pitching as a whole should be better at home, as the Giants open a six-game homestead Friday.
“We’ve been on the road so much,” Bochy said. “The guys have dealt with it great. But it’s time to go home and get settled in our ballpark.”
- Melky Cabrera went 2 for 4 with a double and two RBI as he continues to swing a hot bat, hitting .385.
- After a slow start, Brandon Crawford is heating up. He went 2 for 4 with a double and run scored and now is hitting .261.
- Two players who are not heating up: Angel Pagan (.130) and Ryan Theriot (.125). They may both be sitting on Friday (we can only hope).
Matt Cain gets the call for the home opener against James McDonald and the Pirates at 1:30 p.m. Friday at AT&T Park. That is, if the game is played. Thunder storms rolled through the Bay Area Thursday night and Friday’s forecast calls for more and a 100 percent chance of rain.
We came pretty close on a predicted lineup Thursday, so we’ll take another shot at it for Friday. Our lone doubt is the leadoff spot and whether or not Bochy has the stones (or brains) to sit Pagan on the home opener.
CF Gregor Blanco
RF Melky Cabrera
3B Pablo Sandoval
C Buster Posey
LF Aubrey Huff
1B Brandon Belt
SS Brandon Crawford
2B Emmanuel Burriss
P Matt Cain
The rest of the series goes:
Pirates (TBA) vs. Giants (Zito), 6:05 p.m. Saturday
Pirates (Correia) vs. Giants (Vogelsong), 1:05 p.m. Sunday