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Showing posts from May, 2012

Giants Get Much Needed Day Off

For the first time in three weeks, the Giants received a much needed off-day Thursday after taking two of three from the Diamondbacks at AT&T Park. Needless to say, some of the players were running on fumes and looked it lately, so this day off couldn't have come at a better time. Cabrera up to .373 The Giants got off to a good start in their series with Arizona, taking the first two games and holding the D-Backs offense to just 2 runs in 2 games. Then the much anticipated match-up of Tim Lincecum vs. Ian Kennedy came around Wednesday, and the Giants bats were nowhere to be found. For the first time in almost a month, Lincecum pitched solidly, allowing just one earned run over 7 innings of work, but he did walk 5 batters and couldn't quite match the D-Backs ace. All the Giants hits came out of the top-5 slots in their lineup, and their problems with the bottom half of the lineup continue to bite them in the worst possible situations. Luckily for them, they may have f

Giants Return Home With Win Over AZ

After a tough battle in Miami in which the Giants salvaged the series and ended up splitting with the Marlins in a close game Sunday, San Francisco returned to AT&T Park Monday to play host to the D-Backs for 3 games. Belt Goes 2-4 Monday Game one went a lot like Game four went in Miami, a pretty low scoring affair in which the Giants jumped out early and their strong pitching made the lead stick. Barry Zito continued his home dominance, improving his record to 4-2 and ERA to 3.33 after a 7-inning, 2-run outing in Monday's game. It was largely the same recipe for success that the team has been having lately, as once again their outfield helped carry the offensive weight for the team. Melky Cabrera (.368) and Angel Pagan (.309) each went 1-3, and Gregor Blanco (.290) had a 2-4 day at the dish, but perhaps the guy that needed a big day with the bat the most, finally had one. We all know how second base has been a black hole for this team ever since Freddy went down last Jun

Lincecum, Bumgarner Roughed Up By Marlins

Well, just when it appeared the Giants were starting to put together a nice string of ballgames, they again witnessed their ace get knocked around Friday night, then saw the same happen with Madison Bumgarner Saturday. Lincecum's ERA: 6.46 After Thursday's blowout win, and the team taking an early lead in Friday's game, it went all down hill. Lincecum started out the game pretty nicely, going into the 6th with a 3-1 lead, just what he needed to take some pressure off. However, like he has so often the last month, he came unraveled in the 6th inning, surrendering 5 earned runs, never to make it out of that horrendous 6th. It seems like it keeps on being one huge inning in which Timmy just loses everything, command to the zone and perhaps most importantly, confidence. You can read it in his body language that the dude is just not in sync out there right now. I mean, he was like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Friday, looking brilliant through 5 innings, then out of nowhere just

Outfield Play Defining Giants

The Giants put out their best offensive performance of 2012 Thursday in Miami, as they backed Ryan Vogelsong's strong outing with a 14 run, 15-hit parade in their series open win vs. the Marlins. Giants Beat Miami The Giants made their first appearance in the new Marlins park, which has been one of the most pitching friendly confines in the Major Leagues early on in the season, but you wouldn't have known that by watching the Giants hit Thursday. The Giants beat Miami with a football score, 14-7, and the big reason behind their offensive surge was the play of their 3 outfielders. Blanco, Cabrera and Pagan combined for 7 hits, 7 runs and 8 RBI in Thursday's win, accounting for half the team's hits and over half the team's runs scored. The 3 outfielders have continued their steady play throughout May and have really given this team an offensive identity in absence of Pablo Sandoval and while Buster Posey was getting going. Now, Posey's heating up, and Panda&

Crawford's Error Costly, But Giants Still Hang On

Madison Bumgarner provided one of his better starts of the season, but it still took the Giants 14 innings to take game one of their series in Milwaukee thanks to a tough defensive mistake. The normally sure-handed Brandon Crawford committed his 9th error on the season in the 8th inning, leading to a big blow that cost Bumgarner the win and a shot at a complete game. Bumgarner and Buster Brandon Crawford and Joaquin Arias each came up with crucial errors late in the game to help allow Milwaukee climb back from a 3-1 deficit. The Giants got on the board early with a big swing of the bat by Buster Posey, as their star backstop connected for his 5th home run of the season in the top of the first inning, giving MadBum some breathing room right off the bat. Bumgarner hasn't won since May 5th, but the left-hander went 7 2/3 strong, allowing 1 earned run on 5 hits while striking out 10. Unfortunately, Bumgarner was also charged with 2 unearned runs, which cost him a shot at his 6th

Giants Take First Interleague Series of 2012

The Giants had their first interleague series of the 2012 season this weekend as they played host to their cross bay rival Oakland Athletics. Unfortunately, they couldn't manage to pull out a victory in Sunday's game to sweep the A's, but they did take 2 of 3 from Oakland and have beaten the A's 11 out of the last 12 times they've played at AT&T Park. Lincecum's ERA Raised to 6.04 It wasn't all a cake walk though, as the Giants ace was once again knocked around in Sunday's start, and it cost the Giants a chance at a sweep. Tim Lincecum had perhaps his most frustrating start of this season Sunday, lasting just 4 innings while giving up 4 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks. He also got his clock cleaned at the plate by Colin Cowgill while covering on a past ball, which had everyone holding their breath for a moment there. He appears to be fine physically, but his effectiveness is not there right now. His last good start and victory was over San Diego on

Giants Rebound Thursday After Tough Loss

The Giants offense once again hid under a shell for Madison Bumgarner in Wednesday night's mini 2-game series opener vs. the Cardinals. However, they rebounded just in time in Thursday afternoon's match-up to avoid being swept by the reigning World Champs. Crawford's 2-Run Single Matt Cain did not provide one of his better starts of the 2012 campaign, but the Giants offense showed up in bunches throughout Thursday's game in order to overcome an early deficit and take the game over in the late innings. They took big advantage of some defensive mistakes by St. Louis, and it was finally good to see the opposing team struggle in the field for a change. The Cards put up two early runs against Cain in the first, but as he does so often, he got stronger as the game wore on. He left after 6 innings, allowing 4 runs on 8 hits with 6 K's, but the Giants did manage to score enough for him to provide him the victory. The two Brandon's each really stood out in this bal

With Kemp Out, Window Opens for Giants

The Giants caught a lucky break this week, after losing their best hitter and starting 3rd basemen a few weeks ago, the division leading Dodgers suffered their first big blow of 2012, as Matt Kemp is expected to miss two week with a hamstring pull, opening a window of opportunity for the Giants to move up from 6 games back in standings. Blanco Striving in Leadoff Spot Now, the Giants have looked like a completely new team the last few games, and have won 3 straight with outstanding pitching and timely hitting. Their offense isn't performing nearly as badly as I was expecting without Sandoval, as others have stepped up, and if they continue to do so, they're just going to keep climbing in the standings. Losing Kemp, even for a couple of weeks, is a huge blow to LA, as he was by far the early season MVP in the NL and hitting a ridiculous rate. The dude had 12 HR and 28 RBI with a .359 average through mid-May. In comparison, despite being out most of May, Pablo Sandoval stil

Giants Beat AZ to Move Back to .500

After a couple of tough losses to the Dodgers, followed up with a loss in Friday night's series opener vs. Arizona, it looked like the Giants were about to hit a bit of a wall. They weren't scoring and their bullpen and defense have been suspect all year, however, they righted the ship in time to take the series in Arizona which has been Giants kryptonite over the last 2 seasons. Melky Goes 4-5 Sunday Madison Bumgarner got knocked around a bit in Friday's opener, after Lincecum lost yet again in the finale vs. LA, but Matt Cain and Barry Zito got the team back on track Saturday and Sunday. Cain did it with both his arm and his bat Saturday night, throwing 6 innings of 2 hit ball, allowing 1 run with 8 K's to beat Trevor Cahill. He also had a 2-3 night with the stick, knocking in two runs with a big double off his counterpart. The Giants also got 3-hit days out of Melky Cabrera and Angel Pagan to help the team to 5 runs and a 5-1 victory. On Sunday, it was much of

Giants Do Just Enough to Beat Kershaw

With the way the Giants have been swinging, and their lack of right-handed bats, I was thinking Clayton Kershaw would mow down this lineup Tuesday night, but the Giants got to him early and Ryan Vogelsong delivered and made 2 runs hold up vs. the reigning Cy Young winner. Sanchez Making Progress The big blast came off the bat of Brett Pill, a guy I've been campaigning for getting some regular at-bats over at third in Panda's absence. Pill's obviously shown a knack for coming up with the big hit when his team needs it. He only has 37 at-bats on the year, but has 2 HR, 6 RBI and an .855 OPS. That's production the Giants could use on an everyday basis, the only question would be where to stick him. I don't mind giving him some looks at third, as I said, but one of the teams downfalls early on has been their defense, so Bochy is caught in somewhat of a rock between a hard place with Pill. Whether it's 2nd base, 3rd base or left field, I think this guy's pr

Brandon Belt Hitting, But Not for Power

When I was scrolling down the Giants roster today to see where each player stood heading into play Sunday, I couldn't help but notice Brandon Belt's .295 average. By looking at that number, you'd think he'd be putting up some numbers, but as of May 6th, he's yet to go deep in a game and has just 5 RBI and 5 extra-base hits on the season. Belt's April: .295, 0 HR, 5 RBI In fact, 2 of those 5 doubles were defensive misplays, which if you take away, drastically lowers his OPS and slugging percentage. The one bright spot is that he is carrying a very respectable .379 OBP, but the Giants aren't counting on Belt to be a table setter and get on base, they're counting on him to be the one to clear the bases and knock guys in. He's been hitting in the 5th or 6th spot in the lineup every time he plays, so it's hard to imagine that he hasn't come up with 5 RBI yet. Even 8th place, .208 hitting Brandon Crawford has knocked one out and has 8 RBI. I

Down on the Farm: Giants Minor League Report

Well, with the big club struggling, injuries and anxiety moving through the clubhouse and even the un-beatable Tim Lincecum looking like a mere mortal, I figured we'd switch gears today and talk a little minor league baseball. The Giants are struggling and we all know why that is, you can just scroll down to our last few posts and find everything we would have just repeated had we continued to discuss their struggles. Gary Brown Struggling Down in A-Ball is where most of the Giants top prospects are currently residing, whether it's low-A Salem or high-A San Jose, but nobody has really stuck out this first month at the lower levels, including 2011 first round pick Joe Panik. The Giants hopeful future shortstop has really started slowly after having a strong 2011 campaign, hitting just .240 with no home runs through 27 games. Outfielder Jarret Parker, taken after Gary Brown in 2010, has 4 HR and 4 SB through the first month, but is hitting a Brandon Crawford-like .172. Some

Pablo Sandoval Could Miss Up to 2 Months

Well, just about the worst news a team still trying to find their offensive identity could get came through the Giants clubhouse Thursday morning. If you watched the game last night, you know that star 3rd basemen Pablo Sandoval left the game after grounding out in the 6th and all we could do at that point was hope it wasn't too serious. Pablo Hits DL Unfortunately it is. It's the same injury that sidelined Sandoval for almost 2 months last season and caused him to miss over 40 games, this time injuring his left wrist instead of his right. It's the same hamate bone injury, just in the left wrist instead of his right wrist this time, and it's almost exactly a year ago to date when he injured himself the first time. I know the term gets used loosely, but he really was the one guy, along with Buster, that they couldn't afford to lose for any length of time and it's happened. Panda and Posey were really carrying this teams offense all through the first month,

2011 Offense Rears Its Ugly Head

Well, the exact problem that haunted this team for much of 2011 came back to rear it's ugly head Tuesday night at AT&T Park, as Matt Cain's 8-inning gem went to no avail and the Giants couldn't score 2 runs against the Ricky Nolasco and the Miami bullpen. Cain Goes 8 Strong, Gets L Even though he got the win, Nolasco didn't pitch as well as Cain, giving up 7 hits over 7 2/3 innings compared to Cain's 8-inning, 4-hit outing. Problem is, the Marlins came up with the hit with RISP (Hanley Ramirez) and used Mike Stanton's big fly as just enough amo to beat a Giants offense that has started slumping back to it's 2011 ways. Now, that sentiment doesn't hold true for everyone in the lineup, as Sandoval continues to rake, hitting his 5th jack of the year and driving in his 15th run as the Giants only score Thursday. However, everyone else in this lineup besides Angel Pagan, has seen their batting average take a nose-dive over the last week or so. Melky