There’s nothing good to blog about after the Giants got swept by the Brewers in a series in which Buster Posey continues to struggle, Barry Zito got lit up for the first time in a long time , and Matt Cain got lit up AGAIN.
So there was only thing that Giants fans could smile about from the three-game in Milwaukee and it came compliments of Jean Machi.
During Tuesday’s CSN Bay Area broadcast, announcers Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow were talking about a Giants transaction that day which brought reliever Jean Machi from Triple-A Fresno to fill the roster spot of Jeremy Affeldt, who went on the DL.
So the camera naturally cut to Machi in the bullpen, sitting next to Jose Mijares. And we got this:
And lingered into Wednesday.
So when Machi actually got into the game Wednesday, it set off a wildfire of flatulence tweets on Twitter.
And MoreSplashHits will admit that we got into the act.
Here are our Machi tweets @Moresplashhits on Wednesday
“#SFGiants call on Jean Machi, because they seek some relief.”
“In case you were wondering, Machi wasn’t praying behind the mound there.” (Machi squatted down behind the mound after making his warm-up pitches)
“When the catcher visits mound to talk to Jean Machi, the catcher covers his face with his glove.”
“Krukow after that last pitch from Machi ‘That was nasty’ and he wasn’t talking about the pitch.”
“When Jean Machi is pitching, #SFGiants infielders refuse to play in.”
“Giants lose to Brewers. Didn’t matter. With Jean Machi now on team, it wasn’t going to be a happy flight anyway.”
Barry Zito said Tuesday: “Baseball’s kind of a strange game.”
Yeah, Barry, we got that.
Zito came into Tuesday’s game against the Brewers have thrown 14 scoreless innings. He left Tuesday’s game with a 4.86 ERA.
The Brewers tagged Zito for nine earned runs in less than three innings of work, including eight runs in third inning alone.
Despite his now-inflated ERA, Zito still has the second-best ERA among Giants starters:
- Madison Bumgarner 1.77
- Barry Zito 4.86
- Tim Lincecum 5.63
- Matt Cain 5.94
- Ryan Vogelsong 7.15
Yikes! And the Giants are 9-5?
The Giants had won 16 consecutive games, including postseason, and 13 in a row in just regular-season games when Zito had started dating back to last August. But that streak is over.
Now the longest streak for Giants wins in games started by a particular pitcher during regular-season games belongs to Tim Lincecum, with four.
Zito said that he actually felt better Tuesday than he had in his previous two starts. And even after he got himself into trouble in the third, you thought it was possible that he might get himself out of the mess.
It all started with a single to the opposing pitcher, Wily Peralta. Then Zito hit Norichika Aoki — on a 1-2 pitch. Jean Segura hit a ball that Brandon Crawford was able to get to, but not able to corral. It went for an infield single and the bases were loaded.
Then Zito struck out Ryan Braun. After falling behind 2-0 to Rickie Weeks, Zito evened the count to 2-2. But Weeks worked the count full, then hooked a pitch right on the left-field line for a two-run double. Jonathan Lucroy’s single made to 5-3.
OK, no problem. The Giants have rallied before. They could do it again.
But Lucroy’s single was followed by one from Alex Gonzalez, and another from Carlos Gomez to load the bases again. Then came the big blow: a grand slam from Yuniesky Betancourt.
The Giants go to Milwaukee and get beat by Yuniesky Betancourt.
Suddenly, it was 9-3 Brewers in the third.
And yet, the Giants weren’t out of it. So much so, that they would actually wind up regretting some missed opportunities.
Brandon Crawford’s home run in the fourth made it 9-4.
A Pablo Sandoval single in the fifth made it 9-5. The Giants loaded the bases with no outs, but could only add one more run on Brandon Belt’s sacrifice fly, even though it looked for a moment that the ball might sail over Braun’s head for a bases-clearing double. Instead, it was just 9-6 Brewers.
The Giants loaded the bases again in the sixth, this time with one out. But again, only got one run on a Sandoval sacrifice fly, cutting the deficit to 9-7.
That’s the closest the Giants could get.
Now they find themselves 9-5 overall, and a half-game behind the Colorado Rockies in the NL West.
The Rockies are now 10-4: 0-3 vs. the Giants and 10-1 against anyone but the Giants (actually it’s just the Pirates, Padres and Mets).
Yeah, it’s a strange game.
The Giants went 6-1 last week, leaving them 9-4 for the season, 1st in the NL West , 0.5 games ahead of the Diamondbacks and Rockies.
- Monday: W 4-2 vs. Rockies. WP: Bumgarner (2-0). HR: Pence (3).
- Tuesday: W 9-6 vs. Rockies. WP: Casilla (1-0). HR: Crawford (1).
- Wednesday: W 10-0 vs. Rockies. WP: Zito (2-0).
- Thursday: W 7-6 vs. Cubs. WP: Vogelsong (1-1).
- Friday: L 4-3 vs. Cubs. LP: Romo (0-1)
- Saturday: W 3-2 vs. Cubs. WP: Bumgarner (3-0).
- Sunday: W 10-7 (10) vs. Cubs: WP: Kontos (1-1).
The Giants continue to get fat against the Rockies and Cubs. If not for a couple of wind-blow balls on Friday, leading to Sergio Romo’s first blown save of the season, the Giants might have had a perfect week. On the other hand, the Giants also had wins when they rallied from being down 6-2, 5-0 and 4-1. Giants are still waiting for Buster Posey and Brandon Belt to start hitting, and the starting rotation has had some mixed results. So room for improvement. In Week 3, the Giants face two teams they had success against in 2012 and that are struggling early in 2013.
GIANTS AT BREWERS (3-8)
- Tuesday: Giants (Barry Zito 2-0) at Brewers (Peralta 0-1), 5:10 p.m.
- Wednesday: Giants (Ryan Vogelsong 1-1) at Brewers (Lohse 0-1), 5:10 p.m.
- Thursday: Giants (Matt Cain 0-1) at Brewers (Gallardo 0-0), 10:10 a.m. MLB Network
The Giants went 4-2 against the Brewers in 2012. … The Brewers are struggling to score runs, and the issue is hitting in the clutch. The Brewers rank 10th in the NL in team hitting (.252) but 14th in runs scored (36). … Miller Park is the perfect setting for Posey to get rolling. He loves, loves, loves to hit in Milwaukee. He is a career .500 hitter (12 for 24) with 6 HRs and 15 RBI in seven games there. … There are three starting pitchers in the NL who have yet to allow an earned run — Atlanta’s Paul Maholm (20.1 IP), Jake Westbrook (15.2 IP) and Barry Zito (14.0 IP). … But Miller Park has not been kind to Zito. He is 0-4 there with an ERA of 7.67. But those starts came before Zito’s renasance that started last August, during which the Giants have won 16 consecutive Zito starts.
PADRES (3-10) at GIANTS
- Friday: Padres (Volquez 0-3) at Giants (Madison Bumgarner 3-0), 7:15 p.m.
- Saturday: Padres (Richard 0-1) at Giants (Barry Zito 2-0), 6:05 p.m.
- Sunday: Padres (Stults 2-1) at Giants (Ryan Vogelsong 1-1), 1:05 p.m.
The Padres have always been a team that tends to give the Giants fits in recent seasons. But the Giants went 12-6 against the Friars in 2012. … The Giants will not see Carlos Quentin in this series. The Padres outfielder dropped his appeal of an eight-game suspension for charging the Dodgers’ Zach Greinke last week. Good news for the Giants; Quentin has 5 HRs and 12 RBI in 34 games against the Giants. … But the Padres should get 3B Chase Headley back after missing the first couple of weeks of the season with a broken finger sustained during spring training. … Padres’ Volquez has an 11.68 ERA in three starts this season. … The Padres’ team average of .238 is fourth-worst in the NL.
So far this season, part of the Giants pitching has been backwards.
Barry Zito has pitched like Tim Lincecum, and Tim Lincecum has pitched like Barry Zito.
However, on Wednesday in Milwaukee, the Zito of old returned.
Zito got tagged for eight runs in the first two innings by the Brewers, although only four of them were earned.
While defensive issues did not help, Zito certainly put tons of kindling on the pile before it exploded on him.
He walked Corey Hart to open the game, then committed an error when Norichika Aoki attempted to bunt Hart to second. Then he walked Ryan Braun to load the bases. Aramis Ramirez then spanked the first pitch he saw from Zito into left center for a three-run double.
A hot shot off the bat on Jonathan Lucroy bounced off Brandon Crawford for another error on the Giants shortstop, although Crawford claimed the shadows caused by how the roof at Miller Park was left opened caused him to not see the ball properly (a legitimate claim).
After another walk to Rickie Weeks, Zito got the first out of the inning on a strikeout of Carlos Gomez. But a groundout by Cesar Izturis plated another run. Then pitcher Marco Estrada doubled home two more runs on a ball that should have been caught by third baseman Joaquin Arias, but that Arias said he never saw (again, the shadows).
The Giants were hurt in the first inning by the shadows. The rest of the game they were hurt by the shadowy figures in blue — the umpires.
In the second, the Brewers made it 8-0 on a two-run homer by Lucroy. But that blast was preceded by an infield single by Aoki in which replays indicated that Zito beat Aoki to the bag while covering first, yet Aoki was called safe. If the umpire Eric Cooper gets the call right, Lucroy does not bat in the inning.
Cooper later hurt the Giants again when replays show that Brandon Belt beat the pitcher covering on an infield grounder, yet Cooper called him out.
Even so, the Giants kept the game entertaining because the bullpen trio of Shane Loux, Steve Edlefsen and Clay Hensley pitched five shutout innings of relief. The Giants bullpen was outstanding in the series in Milwaukee.
The Giants got closer in the third on a three-run double by Hector Sanchez (which was aided by the way by another blown call by the umps). On a side note: commissioner Bud Selig again reiterated that he has no plans of expanding instant replay. Hey Bud! Maybe you should spend more time in your home park.
They got two more in the fourth on an RBI single by Brandon Crawford and RBI double by Melky Cabrera.
But that’s where the scoring stopped, hindered by a season-high 15 strikeouts by the Giants. Seven of those strikeouts were called strike threes, as home plate umpire Jeff Kellogg was calling strikes on pitches so low they would have been too low if thrown to Eddie Gaedel.
Of course, all of these issues would have been minimized if Zito hadn’t started that fire in the first inning.
So if Zito is going to pitch like Zito, is it too much to ask for Lincecum to pitch like Lincecum?
The Giants open a four-game set in Miami on Thursday with Ryan Vogelsong facing Anibal Sanchez at 4 p.m. Thursday.
For a guy who is supposed to be “tired” or “worn out” Buster Posey sure looks frisky these days.
Two weeks ago, CSNBayArea’s Andrew Baggarly posted a story in which he quotes an unnamed scout who said he thought Buster Posey looked “worn out” adding that Posey’s at-bats got worse late in games.
At the time, Posey was hitting .361 with five strikeouts in 36 at-bats in innings 1-3.
But he was hitting .250 with 20 strikeouts in 64 at-bats in innings 4-9. In innings 7-9, he had 13 strikeouts in 30 at-bats with only one walk.
Baggarly did say that part of Posey’s struggles could be attributed to him trying to do too much in the wake of Pablo Sandoval’s absence from the lineup. But he also said fatigue could be a factor.
At the time, MoreSplashHits believed Posey’s struggles had everything to do with Posey trying to do too much.
While Posey’s strikeouts went up in late innings, so did his home runs. On May 10, two of his four home runs came in late innings.
Clearly, with the Giants always involved in tight games, Posey was trying to deliver a big hit that would get the Giants back into a game, give them the lead or help extend a lead.
And that got him into habits that took him away from the talents that made his such a valuable bat in the Giants lineup.
Once Posey realized that, he went about fixing it with the help of batting coach Hensley Meulens.
“Basically it’s just trying to keep my front side down,” Posey said. “I give ‘Bam Bam’ a lot of credit for recognizing the problem. We went down just a couple of days ago and hit some off the tee. It’s just a matter of keeping that front side closed and he has a couple of drills to help that.”
Since the start of the Giants’ last homestead, Posey is hitting .367 with 2 home runs and 11 RBI. What’s more, in the late innings, he has struck out twice and walked twice since that May 10 Baggarly post.
Posey had been hitting with power of late as well, even though AT&T Park robbed him of a couple of home runs over the weekend.
Miller Park is a different matter.
Posey belted a three-run shot in the first inning on Monday. On Tuesday, he belted a two-run blast that hit the center-field scoreboard, a shot that was estimated at 438 (even though Posey thinks it would have gone farther).
“I would like to think that one would go out at AT&T, too,” he said. “I think it was a little further (than 438 feet). What do you guys think?”
We think Brewers pitchers would be happy to see Posey sit out the series finale on Wednesday. Posey 12 for 24 with six home runs and 15 RBI in Miller Park (although the Giants’ visit to Milwaukee last season came right after Posey’s season-ending injury).
And the Brewers likely will get their wish. With Barry Zito on the mound (Hector Sanchez has been Zito’s personal catcher) and with a day game after a night game, manager Bruce Bochy said Posey will get a day off.
Barry Zito faces Marco Estrada in 10:10 a.m. game Wednesday. Estrada is 0-3 with 4.63 ERA. He’s allowed at least four earned runs in three of his last four starts.
I’ll admit it. I didn’t see much of Monday’s win over the Brewers. But apparently, I saw enough.
I watched the first inning, when Buster Posey blasted a thee-run home run. But then I had an evening meeting. When I got back, the game was still going on, in the 14th inning.
My first thought was: How many pitchers are left in the bullpen? How many position players are left on the bench, given Bruce Bochy’s penchant for double switches and pinch-hitting for position players.
The answer to the first question was two: recent Triple-A callups Steve Edlefsen and Shane Loux. The answer to the second question was none.
- Brandon Belt entered the game in a double-switch in the eighth.
- Emmanuel Burriss entered the game in a double-switch in the ninth
- Aubrey Huff pinch-hit for Jeremy Affeldt in the 11th.
- Angel Pagan was not available because of the stomach flu.
- In the 12th, Bochy replaced Posey with Hector Sanchez in a double switch.
But Sanchez made the move pay off with a lead-off home run in the 14th.
“You don’t see that too often, a double-switch and your backup hits one out,” Bochy said.
It’s a rare sight indeed. Also rare is a game in which all of the Giants’ runs game via the home run — and each of those homers came from a Giants catcher.
You wouldn’t expect to see that with Eli Whiteside or Chris Stewart on the roster.
Matt Cain takes the mound against Shaun Marcum at 5:10 p.m. Cain has a road ERA of 4.42, but that is misleading. Cain has only had three road starts this season, and that includes his first start of the season, in which he gave up five runs in six innings in Arizona. His most recent road start also came in Arizona on May 12, in which he gave up one run on three hits in six innings.
The Giants escaped with a needed win Sunday to salvage a 4-5 homestand before opening a six-game road trip to Los Angeles and Arizona.
What they couldn’t do was get Matt Cain a win.
Cain did his part, limiting the Brewers to two runs on six hits and a walk in seven solid innings of work. He left with a 3-2 lead, but the bullpen and more precisely the defense let him down in the ninth.
Santiago Casilla was charged with his first blown save of the season, although it should have been charged to the defense as the lone run Casilla allowed was unearned.
It all started with an error by third baseman Conor Gillaspie on a ball hit by Corey Hart to open the inning. Casilla got the next batters out before Travis Ishikawa tied the game with a run-scoring double.
Well, that’s how it read in the scoreboard. In real life, Angel Pagan took a bad line to the fly ball to left center and could not catch up with a ball slicing away from him. Then Melky Cabrera did not get over in time to cut off the ball for a single and keep Hart from scoring.
But the Giants earned the win in the 11th after Buster Posey led off with a single and went to second on Pagan’s sacrifice. Brandon Belt was intentionally walked, then Ryan Theriot was unintentionally walked to load the bases.
Then with the Brewers using a five-infielder, two-outfielder set with the speedy Emmanuel Burriss, now pinch running for Posey, at third, Hector Sanchez slapped a 3-2 pitch into left for the game winner.
For Cain, that is five consecutive quality starts after the season-opening hiccup in Arizona. Yet he has a 1-2 mark over those five starts, despite a 1.61 ERA.
Par for the course for Cain.
- Angel Pagan went 2 for 4 to extend his hitting streak to 20 games.
- For the second consecutive game, the Giants went 3 for 10 with runners in scoring position.
- SS Brandon Crawford return to the lineup after two games off to clear his head. He went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts, but he DID NOT commit an error.
The Giants and Dodgers tangle for the first time this season when Barry Zito faces Ted Lilly at 7:10 p.m. Monday in Los Angeles.
On Tuesday, it’s Ryan Vogelsong vs. Clayton Kershaw, 7:10 p.m. on MLB Network
On Wednesday, it’s Tim Lincecum vs. Chad Billingsley, 7:10 p.m.
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
It was another episode of Dr. Lincecum and Mr. Freak. We’ll let you decide who’s the genius and who’s the monster.
The Giants suffered their fourth straight loss after what started as a mind-numbing start by Tim Lincecum but then finished strong.
Lincecum started by throwing 11 of his first 13 pitches for balls. One of the strikes was a swinging strike at pitch out of the strike zone. The other strike resulted in Corey Hart graciously hitting into a force play.
The Brewers score their first run without a hit — on hit batter, two walks and a wild pitch. Jonathan Lucroy had the only hit in the inning, a two-run single for a 3-0 lead. Lincecum threw 24 pitches in the inning with only 10 strikes.
The second inning also another disaster, 26 pitches, two more walks before Lincecum escaped a bases-loaded jam without allowing a run.
Then he flipped the switch, retiring the last 10 batters he faced.
“To see myself, a guy who’s been able to do things my way and get away with it, it’s a little different to have to grind through things when you never really had to,” Lincecum said. “I’m getting in modes where I’m overthinking things too much instead of just going out there and trusting. That’s the biggest thing, go out there and have confidence in what you’ve got that day.”
BOCHY BUNGLES AGAIN
On Thursday, with runners on second and third and out, Giants manager Bruce Bochy pinch-hit for the left-handed Brandon Crawford with the left-handed hitting Nate Schierholtz, who had been mired in a 1-for-22 slump. Schierholtz hacked at the first pitch he saw and fouled out. The Giants did not score in that inning.
Flash forward to Friday night. The Giants loaded the bases with one out and Lincecum due up in the fifth. Even though Lincecum had only thrown 84 pitchers — 34 his last three innings after 50 in his first two — Bochy decided to hit for his pitcher in an effort to get more runs. So who does he send into bat? Schierholtz, who struck out swinging. The Giants wouldn’t score any more runs that inning. Travis Blackley came into the game to pitch in the sixth and the Brewers scored their fourth run of the game on a SUICIDE SQUEEZE PLAY!!!
ODDS AND ENDS
- The way things are going for the Giants, little things because huge things. In the Giants 3-run sixth that tied the game at 4-4, umpire Ed Rapuano’s blown call turned out to be a huge play. The Giants had just scored two runs in the inning and had Buster Posey on first with nobody out. Angel Pagan appeared to beat out an infield single, but Rapuano called him out. But if Rapuano makes the right call, Posey is on second and Pagan on first with no one out. A passed ball with Brandon Belt hitting moves the runners to second and third. Then when Belt shoots the ball past Rickie Weeks for an error, that play scores two runs, instead of one, and the Giants take a 5-4 lead. Rapuano’s makeup call on an infield squibber by Emmanuel Burriss a few plays later did not help the Giants recoup that lost run.
- Sergio Romo goofed by pitching to Aramis Ramirez with runners on second and third and two out in the seventh. If he pitched to Ramirez, it should have out of the strike zone to get him to chase and strikeout. With the open base, it would have better to go after Alex Gonzalez. Instead, Romo came into A-Ram and he smacked it into left for a two-run single, the difference in the game.
- Angel Pagan extended his hitting streak to 18 games.
Madison Bumgarner goes for his fifth win when he faces lefty Randy Wolf in a 1:05 p.m. FOX game. Wouldn’t be surprised to see this lineup:
CF Angel Pagan
SS Joaquin Arias
RF Melky Cabrera
1B Buster Posey
C Hector Sanchez
LF Brett Pill
3B Connor Gillaspie
2B Ryan Theriot