Saturday, May 31, 2014

Game Wrap 5/31/2014: Cardinals 2 Giants 0

Yusmeiro Petit was a Gamer subbing in for Matt Cain's scheduled start, but the Giants offense looked flat and never got anything going against Michael Wacha and the Cardinals' bullpen.  2 separate rain delays did nothing to help the Giants build momentum.  In the end, it was a throwaway game they probably did not expect to win, but it's a shame Petit's fine effort went for naught.  Key Lines:

Yusmeiro Petit- 6 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA=4.60.  Petit gave up fewer hits than Wacha and the same number of base runners.  It's just that one of those hits was Oscar Taveras' first MLB HR just as the first rainstorm was closing in.  There was talk that it is tough to face a batter you don't have a "book" on yet, but Petit clearly made a location mistake with a breaking ball and paid the price.  It's always been his Achlles Heel.

Michael Wacha(Cardinals)- 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 2.65.  Wacha works at almost a frenetic pace.  Giants needed to get him out of that pace.  Step out of the box, foul off more pitches.  None of that happened and Wacha made it look easy.

Trevor Rosenthal- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, Save(16).  ERA= 4.10.  Rosenthal struck out Pence, Sandoval and Morse, all on FB's greater than 95 MPH.  Anyone still want to make a case that he and the Cardinals bullpen problems are due to anything more than sample size?

The Dodgers are blowing out the Pirates in LA so the Giants lead in the NL West will likely shrink to 6.5 games over the Dodgers who will take sole possession of 2'nd place.  The Rockies lost again to Cleveland to remain 7.5 games back in 3'rd place.  The Padres and D'Backs remain mired in 4'th and 5'th place.

Tim Hudson tries for a 3-1 series win tomorrow facing right-hander Lance Lynn.

Scouting the Draft: Dr B's First and Only Mock Draft for 2014

The top of the 2014 draft is in flux as I write this.  There is no consensus #1 or even top 3 or 5 at this point.  Teams with big first round slot money are looking to make deals and spread the wealth around.  In this type of environment, mock drafts tend to be a futile exercise.  I have tried to look at a combination of talent, organizational needs and organizational histories and fit the puzzle pieces together.  I do not have any inside information on any organization.  I have done some reading of draft oriented websites to try to learn as much as I can.  As with my to 50 prospect lists, the main purpose of the exercise is to learn more about individual prospects and get an idea of who and what might be available when the Giants pick as well as who might be taken before they pick as well as after rather than any serious effort to accurately predict the exact order of picks.  But of course, that is the fun part!  I will limit this to the top 27 picks which is the number of picks in the regular phase of the first round as 3 teams lost picks by signing free agents with QO's.

1.  Houston Astros- Nick Gordon, SS, HS:  The Astros need talent.  They have organizational needs at any and all positions, so are in position to take the BPA.  They are thrilled with the way their 2012 draft turned out when they struck a deal with Carlos Correa and then took some higher priced talent that dropped into the supplemental and second rounds.  They are not happy with paying full price for Mark Appel last year.  They want to draft a hitter and are looking to strike a deal.  The rumors that have them in on Nick Gordon just make too much sense and fit with the available information.

2.  Miami Marlins- Carlos Rodon, LHP, NC State:  The Marlins need more hitters in the organization, but have had success with pitching in recent drafts with local hard thrower Jose Fernandez and polished  college LHP Andrew Heaney.  The best comp for Fernandez in the draft is Touki Toussaint and the best for Heaney is Kyle Freeland.  When Rodon falls out of the #1, he will be too tempting to pass up and is not totally out of line with their recent successes.

3.  Chicago White Sox- Brady Aiken, LHP, HS:  The ChiSox need pitching and need it yesterday.  They are hoping Rodon falls to them but he probably won't.  Freeland is a local talent who would be a nice fit, but they will take the higher upside of Aiken.  Of course, they have a history of going way off the board for fast twitch athletes, so don't be shocked if they pull the trigger on Jacob Gatewood here.

4.  Chicago Cubs- Tyler Beede, RHP, Vanderbilt:  The Cubs have an immediate need to bolster their organizational pitching talent and have a front office connection to Beede whose stock dropped due to command issues in the middle of the college season.  Beede answered those concerns resoundingly with 8 shutout innings with 14 K's in the first game of the college playoffs last night.

5.  Minnesota Twins- Kyle Freeland, LHP, Evansville:  The Astros blow up the Twins plans to draft Gordon.  They need more pitching in the organization and Freeland fits the profile of the type of pitcher the Twins prefer.  Aaron Nola is a possibility too.

6.  Seattle Mariners- Alex Jackson, C/OF, HS:  The Mariners are obsessed with hitting and don't seem to care about athleticism, though they should in their ballpark.  Jackson is available and fits their tendencies.  Derek Hill or Monte Harrison would be better picks.

7.  Philadelphia Phillies- Monte Harrison, OF, HS:  The Phils love athleticism and are not afraid to reach for it.  They feel their slot money is enough to pry Harrison away from his college football commitment.

8.  Colorado Rockies- Tyler Kolek, RHP, HS:  The Rockies have finally become convinced that velocity is the key to pitching better in Coors Field.  Kolek is a TJ surgery waiting to happen and his stock has dropped because of it, but the Rockies are willing to take the risk here.  Touki Toussaint or Grant Holmes would fit what they are looking for too and might have less risk.

9.  Toronto Blue Jays- Derek Hill, OF, HS:  Alex A loves speed and Hill gives him that along with 4 other excellent tools.  They'll take Hill here and a pitcher at #11.

10.  New York Mets- Michael Conforto, OF, Oregon St:  The Mets need hitting and more hitting.  Conforto might be the best hitter in the draft. Sandy Alderson will worry about where he plays later.  Alderson might prefer Brad Zimmer's athleticism, but I think he will go with the Conforto's bat.  Kyle Schwarber would be a fit too.

11.  Toronto Blue Jays- Aaron Nola, RHP, LSU:  Nola is probably the closest to the majors of any pitcher in the draft except possibly Rodon.  Nice bookend pick to go with Hill at #9.  They could also fall in love with Touki Toussaint's upside and French name.

12.  Milwaukee Brewers- Kyle Schwarber, C/1B, Indiana:  The Brewers love to draft corner bats.  They seem to have figured out how to build a pitching staff out of undervalued free agents, so Schwarber is a perfect fit.  Best college power bat in the draft, by far!

13.  San Diego Padres- Touki Toussaint, RHP, HS:  The Padres have run into some bad luck with pitching injuries.  They like Keyvious Sampson who is already in their organization and Toussaint fits a similar profile.  They'll take Nola if the Jays take Touki at #11.

14.  San Francisco Giants- Bradley Zimmer, OF, USF:  The conventional wisdom is the Giants will take a HS pitcher here, but I think they are looking at hitters and think pitching is deep enough to last into rounds 2 and 3.  Max Pentecost and Michael Chavis fit the profile of several recent high draft picks, but don't forget the Giants have had success with tall, athletic college hitters Brandon Belt and Mac Williamson.  They have also scouted Derek Hill, but I think Hill will be gone.  Zimmer could be too which could throw the Giants draft plans akilter.  If both Zim and Hill are gone, they could go with Pentecost or Chavis or go HS pitcher such as Grant Holmes or Sean Reid-Foley.

15.  Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim- Michael Chavis, SS/3B, HS:  The Angels love their HS bats and are ecstatic when Chavis gets past the Giants.  They should take a college pitcher such as Brandon Finnegan or Luke Weaver, but won't.

16.  Arizona Diamondbacks- Trea Turner, SS, NC State:  Turner falls due to ordinary junior season numbers and a perception that his speed has slipped.  Has a scrappiness that Kirk Gibson would love, but will the D'Backs philosophy change dramatically with Tony La Russa calling the shots now?

17.  Kansas City Royals- Brandon Finnegan, LHP, TCU:  The Royals like to draft college pitchers and Finnegan is the best available that has not undergone TJ yet.

18.  Washington Nationals- Jacob Gatewood, SS/3B, HS:  The Nationals love to swing for the fences and Gatewood has enormous upside.  Worth the risk in the second half of the first round.

19.  Cincinnati Reds- Luke Weaver, RHP, Florida:  The Reds love to take polished college RHP's and Weaver is the perfect fit.

20.  Tampa Bay Rays- Max Pentecost, C, Kennesaw St:  The Rays need to shake up their drafting philosophy.  Pentecost is the perfect player to do just that and make it work.

21.  Cleveland Indians- Grant Holmes, RHP, HS:  Cleveland has their choice of several HS arms. Holmes doesn't have much upside but is already a beast and should be the fastest mover.

22.  Los Angeles Dodgers- Sean Reid-Foley, RHP, HS:  Again, there are several HS arms available and the Dodgers love their HS arms.  They recently hired a hitting scout to assist Logan White, so that could change.

23.  Detroit Tigers- Jeff Hoffman, RHP, East Carolina:  Hoffman was a consensus top 5 pick before undergoing TJ surgery.  The Tigers can afford to be patient and take the risk here.

24.  Pittsburgh Pirates- Marcus Wilson, OF, HS:  The Pirates have 5 tool OF's coming out their ears, but can't resist grabbing another.  Again, one of several HS arms could be the choice here.

25.  Oakland Athletics- Ti'Quan Forbes, SS, HS:  Holy 5-tools!  Are 5-tool HS kids the new undervalued commodity?  Billy Beane certainly seems to think so!  The A's are all over Forbes and making no secret of it, or is it a smoke screen?  

26.  Boston Red Sox- Braxton Davidson, 1B, HS:  Red Sox are another organization that is not afraid to draft corner power bats.  They could also use more pitching in the organization and would have their choice of several solid HS arms.

27.  St. Louis Cardinals- Michael Kopech, RHP, HS:  I think Kopech just might be the best pitcher in the draft.  Leave it to the Cardinals to have him fall into their laps and jump on him this late.

Down on the Farm: 5/30/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies mauled he Reno Aces 10-4:

Gary Brown(CF)- 2 for 5.  BA= .263.
Joe Panik(2B)- 2 for 4, 3B, BB.  BA= .329.
Mark Minicozzi(LF)- 2 for 4, HR(2), BB, Assist(home)- BA= .432.
Chris Dominguez(3B)- 2 for 5, 2 HR(7).  BA= .289.
Mike Kickham(LHP)- 5 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= .289.
Brett Bochy(RHP)- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.70.
Heath Hembree(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 4.34.

Panik is hitting .436 over his last 10 games and .358 for the month of May.  Dominguez is hitting .341 over his last 10 games and slashing .315/.350/.568 for May. Bochy has a 2.12 ERA over his last 10 appearances.  His season line is 2-2, 2.70, 26.2 IP, 11 H, 27 K.  Very good numbers considering the environment.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels defeated the Bowie Baysox 6-2:

Matt Duffy- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .318.
Jarrett Parker(RF)- 2 for 4, HR(5), BB.  BA= .256.
Ricky Oropesa(1B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .230
Jack Snodgrass(LHP)- 5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 3 K.  BA= 1.93.
Edwin Quirarte(RHP)- 2.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.36.
Cody Hall(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 4.37.

Matt Duffy is hitting .367 for the month of May.  Ricky gets a start at 1B after hitting the walk-off dinger and makes the most of the opportunity.

High A  San Jose Giants edged the Inland Empire 66'ers 2-1:

Jesus Galindo(CF)- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .303.
Antonio Robles(SS)- 3 for 4, 2B, HR(1).  BA= .176.
Joe Kurrasch(LHP)- 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.22.
Steven Okert(LHP)- 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save(15).  ERA= 1.26.

Low A  Lexington Legends beat the Augusta Greenjackets 8-3:

Rando Moreno(SS)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .220.
Ryder Jones(3B)- 2 for 5.  BA= .267.
Rafael Rodriguez(LF)- 2 for 4.  BA= .270.

A very rare RafRod sighting!

2014 DSL season starts today.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Game Wrap 5/30/2014: Giants 9 Cardinals 4

The Giants turned a much anticipated pitching duel into a route in a game that was not as close as the final score would indicate.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .324.  Pagan continued to pepper the field with basehits in all directions.  His leadoff double down the LF line really set the tone for the game.

Hunter Pence- 2 for 5, HR(7).  BA= .287.  Pence's 3 run HR broke open the game in the second inning, a blast that reached the 3'rd deck of Busch Stadium, a truly prodigious shot that brought back memories of Mark McGwire.

Michael Morse- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .296.  Morse continued his all-purpose hitting.

Gregor Blanco- 2 for 5.  BA= .233.  The Giants were patiently aggressive at the plate as exemplified by Blanco's 8 pitch AB that helped run up Wainwright's pitch count and appeared to wear him down.

Brandon Hicks- 0 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .185.  Hicks' line may not look impressive, but he started the second inning 4-run rally with a 10 pitch PA that ended in a walk.  Bumgarner followed with a single, Pagan singled and Pence ended the scoring outburst with his 3 run dinger.  A huge PA for Hicks!

Madison Bumgarner- 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K's  ERA= 2.85.  It was a laugher, but Bumgarner was ready to hold his own and more if Waino had been dominant too.

Juan Gutierrez- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.24.  Things started to get a bit uneasy in the Giants dugout after Huff gave up 3 runs after 2 quick outs.  Gutierrez gave up a double down the RF line to Craig to drive in the 4'th run but then settled down to get the next 4 outs in dominant fashion to close out the game.

With the Win, the NL West leading Giants improved their record to 36-19.  They have won 8 of their last 10 and 7 out of their last 8.  They lead the second place Dodgers by 7 games pending the outcome of the Dodgers-Pirates game which the Pirates currently lead 2-1 in the 8'th inning.  The Rockies lost to the Cleveland Indians 5-2 to drop 7.5 games behind the Giants.  The Padres defeated the White Sox 4-1 to remain 11 games behind in 4'th place while the D'Backs lost to the Reds 6-4 to fall 14 games off the pace.

Matt Cain's hammy is not quite ready and the Giants are in a position to be cautious.  Yusmeiro Petit will take the mound tomorrow facing Michael Wacha in a day game.

And the train kept a rolllin'!

PS:  Jason Grilli closed it out for the Pirates so the Giants lead in the NL West is now 7.5 games over the Dodgers and Rockies.

The Cardinals announced that they are calling up uber-prospect Oscar Tavares and he will be in the lineup for tomorrow's game.

Down on the Farm: 5/29/2014

AAA  Reno Aces defeated the Fresno Grizzlies 5-2:

Joe Panik(2B)- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .325.
Nick Noonan(SS)- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .271.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels topped the Altoona Curve 5-4(completion of previously suspended game):

Matt Duffy(SS)- 2 for 4.  BA= .303.
Devin Harris(RF)- 2 for 3, HR(3).  BA= .265.
Kelvin Marte(LHP)- 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 5.60.
Hunter Strickland(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.

Strickland gets the callup and has a successful AA debut.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels beat the Altoona Curve 6-3(regularly scheduled 7 inning game that went 8 innings):

Matt Duffy(SS)- 3 for 3, 3B, BB.  BA= .314.
Jarrett Parker(RF-CF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .250.
Ricky Oropesa(PH)- 1 for 1, HR(2).  BA= .219.
Ty Blach(LHP)- 4 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 2.77.
Derek Law(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.09.

Ricky's HR as a walk-off 3 run blast.  He got a Gatorade shower for his effort.  Matt Duffy!!

High A  Stockton Ports hammered the San Jose Giants 8-1:

Jesus Galindo(CF)- 1 for 2, 3 BB, SB(13).  BA= .302.
Kendry Flores(RHP)- 4 IP, 7 H, 7 R, 3 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 5.94.
Stephen Johnson(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.91.

I think it's safe to say the young starters at SJ this year are struggling.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets brought down the Lexington Legends 6-4:

Ryder Jones(3B)- 1 for 5, HR(5).  BA= .263.
Jeremy Sy(DH)- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(2).  BA= .254.
Rando Moreno(SS)- 1 for 2, 2B, BB, SB(3).  BA= .194
Keury Mella(RHP)- 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 6 K.  ERA= 4.10.
Ray Black(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.24.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Game Wrap 5/29/2014: Giants 6 Cardinals 5

There was more than just a hint of playoff atmosphere in the air tonight in St Louis, and the Giants and Cardinals played a game that would have lived up to any playoff hype.  The Giants came out on top of a tense see-saw affair including a heart stopping bottom of the 9'th inning.  Key Lines:

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 3, HR(8), BB.  BA= .247.  Pablo's BA keeps inching up and he continues to play a major role in Giants victories.  He's also apparently closing in on some sort of record for consecutive games with at least 1 RBI, kind of a silly record, but a neat one, nonetheless.

Michael Morse- 2 for 4, 2B(14), HR(11).  BA= .290.  Oh, this is good!  The Cardinals intentionally  walked Pablo Sandoval with Blanco on 3B representing the go-ahead run.  Michael Morse didn't just make them pay.  He drove in Sandoval with what ended up being the winning run all the way from 1B when he scorched a line drive up the R-CF alley that tailed away from Bourjos like crazy and went all the way to the wall.  I cannot even imagine the fan reaction if that happened in SF.  Oh my!  Morse is on a pace to hit 42 doubles and 33 HR.

Gregor Blanco- 3 for 4, SB(6).  BA= .221.  Blanco started the winning rally with a single.   He then stole 2B enabling him to take 3B on Pagan's single up the middle.  He then scampered home when Carlos Martinez was out of position in front of the mound and blocked Molina's vision on the throw causing an overthrow to the backstop.  Oh, and Blanco is hitting .348 over his last 10 games.

Ryan Vogelsong- 6.1 IP,  7 H 4 R, 3 BB, 5 K.  ERA= 3.45.  You could almost see Ryan Vogelsong's demons come and perch on his shoulder.  He would fight them off only to have them return and alight on his other shoulder.  Vogey oscillated between painting the corners with perfect pitches and not being able to hit the broadside of a barn.  Ultimately, he took the game into the 7'th inning and left his team with a chance to win.  It wasn't a QS and it wasn't pretty, but it was just good enough.

Javier Lopez- 0.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA=   .  Lopez came on in the 7'th to get two big outs and take the game into the 8'th.

Jean Machi- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.33.  Machi, Machi, Machi man did his thing including pouncing on a chopper to the left side with lightning reflexes and easily throwing out the runner.  Kruk and Kuip called it "cat like quickness."

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 1 K, Save(17).  ERA= 3.52.  Romo struggled with command of his slider again and darn near coughed this one up.  He finally got Shane Robinson to pop out to Arias who was playing 3B as a defensive replacement to end the game with the winning run on base.  On the single by John Jay that brought the Cards within 1, Romo threw a 3-2 slider on the outside corner that Jay looked like he was expecting.  It got up just a hair and Jay smacked it into RF.  Romo could have thrown the slider down and in, but then Jay may have taken the pitch for a walk or else he might have just dropped the bathead on it and taken it deep.  Not a lot of great options at that point and that is where Romo sometimes comes up short as a closer.

The Win gave the Giants a chance to extend their lead in the NL West over the Dodgers who are sitting  6 games back and trailing the Pirates 6-3 at the time of this post.  The Rockies were idle to slip 6.5 games behind in 3'rd place.  The Padres were also idle falling 11 games back in 4'th place.  The last place D'Backs shut out the Reds 4-0 behind Jesse Collmenter to remain 13 games off the pace.

Madison Bumgarner and Adam Wainwright square of tomorrow evening in a battle of aces.

Down on the Farm: 5/28/2014

AAA  Reno Aces outhit the Fresno Grizzlies 9-8 in 10 innings:

Andrew Susac(Catcher)- 2 for 2.  BA= .296.
Chris Dominguez(3B)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .285.
Edwin Escobar(LHP)- 6.2 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 5.25.

Susac was lifted for a PH after going 2 for 2.  Have to suspect he was hurting.  Not sure what to make of Escobar's line with the game in Reno and all.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels vs Altoona Curve suspended after 5 innings with the score 1-1:

Devin Harris(RF)- 2 for 2, HR(3).  BA= .268.
Kelvin Marte(LHP)- 5 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 5 K, GO/AO= 9/0.  ERA= 5.60.

High A  Stockton Ports clubbed the San Jose Giants 10-2:

Brian Ragira(1B)- 2 for 4, HR(5).  BA= .214.
Chris Stratton(RHP)- 4.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 4 BB, 3 K, 3 HR.  ERA= 5.09.
Bryce Bandilla(LHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 0.00.

Extremely disappointing start for Stratton coming off his best of the season in his last one.  Bandilla gets demoted(rehab assignment?) and pitches well.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets vs Savannah Sand Gnats (DH)


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Game Wrap 5/28/2014: Giants 5 Cubs 0

Tim Lincecum pitched 5 hitless innings but was lifted for a PH due to a high pitch count.  The Giants broke through with 5 runs in the 6'th and 7'th innings while the bullpen gave up the no-no, but finished the shutout.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 2 for 3, 2B, Sac, PO.  BA= .324.  Pagan continues to lead the way and generally be the MVP of the team.

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 3, BB.   BA= .246.  Sandoval stays hot.

Hector Sanchez- 1 for 4, 2B.  BA= .247.  Sanchez continues to get the most out of his hits driving in 2 runs in the 3-run 7'th for the coup d'grace on the Cubs.

Tim Lincecum- 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 4 BB, 5 K's, GO/AO= 7/2.  ERA= 4.18.  What in interesting line!  Again it was a ragged performance by Timmy, but talk about being effectively wild!  I'm sure there is much discussion about taking Timmy out after just 96 pitches when he threw 149 or something like that in his no-hitter last year.  I think Bochy was probably remember the start that followed the no-hitter and decided to pull the plug before it got into the late innings and would become even harder to pull him with the no-no still intact.  I agree with the decision.  The Dodgers pitching is coming around big time and with the way Colorado is playing, the Giants are going to need all hands healthy and on-deck during the dog days of late July and August if they want to hang onto this race.  The goal here is to win a third championship in 5 years, not get one of the starters a no-hitter just for the sake of it.

George Kontos- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Kontos kept the no-hitter going into the 7'th inning.  He's already been a big shot in the arm for the bullpen.

Juan Gutierrez- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA=  3.42.  Affeldt relieved Kontos and didn't get anyone out.  I did not see the game so don't know if Affeldt barked at Bochy again for taking him out.  I've been a bit down on Gutierrez but he got out 4 big outs after Machi got out of Affeldt's jam.

With the Win, the Giants are sitting 5 games up on the second place Dodgers in the NL West pending the outcome of the Dodgers game with Cincy.  The Reds are currently leading 2-1 in the 6'th inning.  The Rockies lost to the Phillies 6-3 to fall to fall 6 games off the pace in 3'rd place.  The 4'th place Padres are playing the last place D'Backs under the lights.

The Giants now embark on a 7 game road trip to St. Louis and Cincinnati with Ryan Vogelsong trying to get things off to a great start against the Cardinals and Jaime Garcia tomorrow evening.

Down on the Farm: 5/27/2014

AAA  Reno Aces annihilated the Fresno Grizzlies 13-0:


AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels defeated the Altoona Curve 7-5:

Kelby Tomlinson(2B)- 3 for 5, 3B, SB(19).  BA= .228.
Matt Duffy(SS)- 1 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .299.
Devin Harris(LF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .250.
Adalberto Mejia(LHP)- 6 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 6.15.
Cody Hall(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save(3).  ERA= 3.48.

High A  San Jose Giants edged out the Stockton Ports 2-1 in 10 innings:

Elliott Blair(DH)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .313.
Mitch Delfino(3B)- 2 for 5, 2B, SB(2).  BA= .303.
Joe Biagini(RHP)- 8 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.33.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets vs Savannah Sand Gnats


Game Wrap 5/27/2014: Giants 4 Cubs 0

Get 'em on, get 'em over, get 'em in.  The Giants used fundamentals and speed to produce 2 2-run rallies along with lockdown pitching for an easy wire-to-wire win over the Cubbies.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 2 for 4, SB(11).  BA= .319.  The first-inning rally was a thing of beauty as Pagan singled up the middle, went to 3'rd on a picture perfect hit-and-run single by Hunter Pence through the hole created when the 2B moved to cover.  Pence stole second uncontested due to Pagan's speed at 3B.  Posey then hit the first of his SF's to bring in Pagan with Pence taking 3'rd.  Morse then cashed in Pence with a 2-out single.  He was in the middle of the 5'th inning rally too as he reached base on an IF single with Adrianza on 2B.  Pagan then stole 2B, again uncontested due to Adrianza's speed at 3B.  Posey then hit his second SF and Sandoval hit a bloop to drive in Pagan.

Hunter Pence- 2 for 3, BB, SB(7).  BA= .294.  Pagan and Pence have formed a dynamic duo at the top of the order.  They reached base 5 out of 8 times in this game.

Buster Posey- 0 for 2, 2 SF.  BA= .261.  At least Posey was able to make contact and get the ball out of the IF tonight.  His SF's along with the on-base skills and speed of Pagan and Pence were what won this game for the Giants.

Michael Morse-  2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .285.  Man does the crowd ever love this guy?  You could hear the entire stadium singing along to his walkup music in his last AB.  The 2-out RBI single in the first drew another ovation from Giants fans who know all too well just how tough those 2-out ribeyes are.

Ehire Adrianza- 1 for 3, SB(1).  Adrianza started the second rally by beating out an IF hit then stealing 2B.  He hit the ball hard in his other 2 AB's too.  Maybe the skipper noticed and will give him more chances?  He got the start at 2B to give the slumping Brandon Hicks a breather.

Tim Hudson- 7 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's, GO/AO= 10/2.   ERA= 1.92.  Huddy showed no ill-effects from his hip strain as the Cubs did not so much as sniff a rally.  Stay healthy, Huddy!

Jeremy Affeldt- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.56.
Jean Machi- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 0.36.  2 easy 1,2,3 innings for the bullpen.  Petit and Huff looked a bit ragged yesterday, but the rest of the bullpen is looking very strong and Casilla is ahead of schedule in his recovery from the hammy strain.

The Win kept the Giants lead in the NL West at 4.5 games over the Dodgers who beat Cincy 6-3.  The Rockies also won to remain 5 games back in 3'rd place.  The Padres stayed 9.5 back with a 4-3 win over the last place D'Backs who slipped to 13 games off the pace.

Tim Lincecum tries for a series Win facing Edwin Jackson in an afternoon start today.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Down on the Farm: 5/26/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies outhit the Salt Lake City Bees 10-6:

Joe Panik(2B)- 2 for 5.  BA= .318.
Mark Minicozzi(1B)- 4 for 4, 2B, HBP.  BA= .571.
Travis Ishikawa(DH)- 2 for 3, HR(2), BB, HBP.  BA= .375.
Chris Dominguez(3B)- 2 for 5, HR(5).  BA= .285.
Mason Tobin(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.77.
Dan Runzler(LHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.84.

AA  Trenton Thunder outscored the Richmond Flying Squirrels 13-9:

Tyler Graham(CF)- 3 for 5, SB(21).  BA= .319.
Ryan Lollis(LF)- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .247.
Mario Lisson(3B)- 3 for 4, BB.  BA= .271.
Jarrett Parker(RF)- 1 for 3, HR(4), BB, SB(3).  BA= .244.
Kyle Crick(RHP)- 4 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 4 BB, 4 K's.  ERA=  4.08.

Parker's dinger was a grand slam.  Not sure what to make of Crick's numbers here as the entire Richmond bullpen including Cody Hall and Derek Law got torched even worse.  Maybe the ball was just carrying well in a day game?

High A  Visalia Rawhide whipped the San Jose Giants 10-2:

Hunter Strickland(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.00.
Mason McVay(LHP)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.34.

Speaking of TJ and hard throwers….Strickland continues to dominate.  I would think he should be called up to at least AA any day.

Low A  Savannah Sand Gnats blanked the Augusta Greenjackets 2-0 in a game called in the top of the 8'th inning:

Luis Ysla(LHP)- 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.36.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Game Wrap 5/26/2014: Cubs 8 Giants 4

If you score 4 runs agains the Cubs on a day Jeff Samardijza pitches, you have to figure on a great chance to come away with a Win.  Not so today as the Cubs peppered the OF with base hit after base hit in the middle innings off starter Yusmeiro Petit and his replacement, David Huff.  Key Lines:

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 4, HR(7).  BA= .239.  Sandoval did not seem to have any problem handling Samardijza's stuff.  I don't think Pablo would have much trouble with anybody's stuff right now.  He is practically carrying the team as he drove in both runs on Saturday and 3 of the 4 today.

Yusmeiro Petit- 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 5 K'S.  ERA= 5.08.  Petit pitched really well for 4 innings, then ran into trouble in the 5'th as the first two batters of the inning reached on what could be described as BABIP balls.  Then the wheels fell off as he gave up a sac fly then a double to Samardijza and a triple to Bonifacio.  It looked like Petit was tiring, but things really started to go south after Hector Sanchez had his bell rung by a foul tip off the bat of Nate Schierholtz.  Sanchez conintued to look a bit dazed through the rest of the inning while Petit was getting pummeled.  I just wonder if maybe he was having trouble remembering pitch sequences, signs and framing, little mental things that catchers have to be able to do to make pitchers effective.  Don't know, but I wonder.

David Huff- 1.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.40.  Huff made some good pitches, but also some pretty bad ones.  He certainly gave up a lot of hits.  Again, don't know if Sanchez' fogginess had anything to do with it.  You had to have in inkling that Bochy had thrown in the towel when Huff came up as a pinch hitter for Petit in the bottom of the 5'th with the Giants trailing just 4-3.

Juan Gutierrez- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 3.63.  Is it just me or is Juan eating real well these days?  Man, that guy is BIG!  I would estimate a full 30 lbs or more than what I recall in spring training and early in the season.

Bruce Bochy- I don't criticize Boch much, but I did not like him sending Huff up to pinch hit for Petit in the bottom of the 5'th with 1 out and the top of the order coming up.  He could have used either Colvin or Blanco and still had the other one available for later in the game.  Samardijza was good, but he wasn't unbeatable today and you never know when a rally might get started.  I told myself that Bochy was throwing in the towel right there and I think it was too early for that.

The rest of the NL West is playing later.  As it stands at this moment, the Giants lead the second place Rockies by 4.5 games.

Tim Hudson tests his hip strain tomorrow night facing Jake Arrieta.

Scouting the Draft: The Tyranny of the Bonus Pool and the Ghost of Frank Jobe

I promise to give you all a Mock Draft before June 5, but first I would like to offer some thoughts that may impact how I put that together.  The Astros are sitting on the first overall pick for the 3'rd year in a row.  Those 3 years also happen to be the first 3 years of the new Bonus Pool system which hardens the cap on how much teams can spend on draft prospect bonuses.  I have noted a few consequences to this system, some undoubtedly intended and some possibly unintended.

While the system does appear to effectively put a damper and a ceiling on the bonus demands of a  consensus best player in the draft, such as a Bryce Harper, it also puts tremendous pressure on the team holding the first 3 or 4 picks to overpay when there is not consensus #1 and the first round talent is roughly equal deep into the round.  For instance, Houston's slot bonus for the first pick is $7.9 M.  The slot money then drops of rather steeply to $6.8 M for the Marlins at #2, $5.7 M for the ChiSox at #3 and $4.6 M to the Cubs at #4.  The Twins have 3.8 M at #5 while the Giants at #15 are still over $2 M, so the dropoff becomes much less steep from #5 on.  The thing is, the Twins will have a shot at a large choice of players who are just as likely be be great picks as the #1, except they have to pay a lot less for it.  There are two ways for teams to deal with this scenario:  1.  Find a player you can strike an under-slot deal with and use the money saved to sweeten the pot on later picks.  2.  Go ahead and take the the guy who seems to be the Best Player Available, even if it is by a small margin and pay him the slot bonus.

The Astros have tried it both ways taking Carlos Correa who was rated as a mid-first rounder on most draft boards in 2012, signing him for a couple of $ M below slot then taking some kids who were thought to be tough signs later in the draft.  So far, the 'Stros are happy with Correa who is becoming one of the top prospects in baseball, but the players they went over slot for later have been a bit underwhelming.  Last year, they took the opposite tack and drafted Mark Appel, warts and all, at #1 and used up their entire #1 slot money on him.  Just a guess, but the Astros are probably less than thrilled with how THAT is turning out so far!

Carlos Rodon is this year's Mark Appel.  He's been the consensus #1 draft prospect all along until very recently when Brady Aiken's name has edged him out in a few mocks.  If you look at Rodon's junior season numbers, you'd say this is just pre-draft jitters and possibly gamesmanship.  On the other hand, do you really want to spend all $8 M of your bonus pool slot money on a college pitcher who is already leaning on his slider way too much?  The Astros are going to try to strike a deal with someone!  Will Aiken be willing to sign for $5 M or $ 6 M?  If not, look for the 'Stros to surprise on draft day.

The problem for the 'Stros then becomes, who do you spend the extra money on later?  Teams learned quite quickly that most HS players are not as intent on going to college as was previously believed so they just go ahead and draft the BPA regardless of "signability".  Most of the time, the player signs.  Prospects who drop in the draft due to "signability" are now few and far between and most of them who do are set on going to college no matter what bonus is offered.  This means that a team holding a dubious #1 overall pick has a choice between overspending at he top of the draft or overspending later on.

The other big wrench that has been thrown into this draft, is the Ghost of Frank Jobe.  The surgery he invented has become necessary for a frighteningly growing list of pitchers.  It's become a lot more than just losing a year of development, which for some of these kids is almost trivial, as you don't need a whole lot of development time if you throw 100 MPH.  It's that there has also been a huge spike in Tommy John redo surgeries, sometimes within 2 years of the original surgery!  I guarantee you that teams are frantically looking at TJ risk factors as I write this, and it is going to be a factor in the draft.

Two consensus first round pitchers have already gone under the knife, Jeff Hoffman and Erick Fedde.  Will teams look at the relatively high success rate of initial TJ surgery and take them in the first round anyway, or will they look at the spike in TJ redos and be scared off?  Since throwing a lot of sliders, especially early in a career, is widely believed to be a TJ risk factor, that may impact thinking on Rodon.  The other huge risk factor to emerge in the last 2-3 years is triple digit velocity.  Tyler Kolek, a consensus top 3 selection, is the hardest throwing HS draft prospect in the history of the draft, but he is also a TJ surgery waiting to happen!  I believe his stock is going to drop on draft day for that reason alone.

Down on the Farm: 5/25/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies tore up the Salt Lake City Bees 10-2:

Gary Brown(CF)- 2 for 6, 2B.  BA= .265.
Joe Panik(2B)- 3 for 6.  BA= .316.
Chris Dominguez(3B)- 1 for 4, 2B, BB, SB(12).  BA= .281.
Mike Kickham(LHP)- 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 4.35.

It will be interesting to see when and how the Giants decide Panik is ready for the majors.  As long as Hicks keeps playing stellar D and popping an occasional dinger, there is no pressure, which is a good thing, for now.  Kind of a ragged 6 inning no-no for Kickham.  Kid has good looking stuff, but will he ever learn to command it?

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels soared over the Trenton Thunder 9-1:

Matt Duffy(SS)- 2 for 5, SB(11).   BA= .305.
Angel Villalona(1B)- 2 for 4, HR(5).  BA= .273.
Myles Schroder(3B)- 2 for 3, 2 2B, HBP.  BA= .252.

This was Villalona's second dinger in 2 games.  He's hitting .359/.375/.615 over his last 10 games.  More importantly, he's struck out just 5 times in his last 40 AB's and has his overall K rate on the season down below 25%.  The kid is coming along!

High A  San Jose Giants edged the Visalia Rawhide 3-2:

Elliott Blair(RF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .309.
Blake Miller(2B)- 2 for 4, HR(6).  BA= .326.

Blake Miller can hit!  Can he find a position to field and can he get over the EL hump?

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets defeated the Greenville Drive 7-5:

Ryder Jones(3B)- 3 for 5, 2 2B, 3B.  BA= .269.
Tyler Horan(RF)- 3 for 5, 2B, HR(5), SB(4).  BA= .292.
Chase Johnson(RHP)- 0.1 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.79.
Carlos Alvarado(RHP)- 4.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.97.

Horan had been in a bit of a slump.  Ryder Jones has really impressed and seems to be getting stronger. He's hitting .286 over his last 10 games, which is slightly higher than his season average, but he's slugging .667 in that span with 9 of his 12 hits going for extra bases, including 3 of his 4 HR's on the season.   Chase Johnson really seems to run hot and cold and maybe not have a lot of stamina.  Maybe his college coach at Cal Poly knew something?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Game Wrap 5/25/2014: Giants 8 Twins 1

The Giants pummeled the hapless Twins in a runaway win and a sweep of the 3 game weekend interleague series.  Key Lines:

Gregor Blanco- 3 for 4.  BA= .183.  Blanco is hitting .313 over his last 10 games.  He filled in for Angel Pagan who was getting a routine rest day and did not miss a beat in the leadoff role.

Hunter Pence- 3 for 4, HR(6).  BA= .294.  Pence continues his red-hot pace and is closing in on a .300 BA.

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 4.  BA= .233.  In addition to being hot at the plate, Pablo continues to sparkle on defense at 3B.  I'm pretty sure he would have had Morse's bases-loaded double down the line had he been playing 3B for the Twins.

Michael Morse- 3 for 4, 3 2B, SF.  BA= .279.  Morse got a well deserved standing O after his 3'rd double cleared the bases and turned the game into a route.  Someone tried to troll me the other day about Jose Abreu and whether I still thought the Giants should not have signed him.  First of all, I never said I didn't think Abreu would be good, I just didn't think the Giants needed to pay that kind of a contract.  Then,  I would point to Michael Morse and say the Giants got a better player for about $83 M less.  How's THAT?

Madison Bumgarner- 7 IP, 3 H,  1 R, 0 BB, 10 K.  ERA= 3.15.  The 3 hits were all BABIP jobbies.  A medium-hard grounder through the hole to LF, a dunker over 2B and a comebacker that Bummy could not get a handle on.  The Twins do not have a good team.  I mean, a lineup with Trevor Plouffe hitting 3'rd and Kurt Suzuki hitting cleanup is pretty pathetic, but you have to dominate those kinds of teams and Bummy certainly did that today!

George Kontos- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Kontos' FB was sitting at 93-94 MPH with good movement.  Makes the slider all that more dangerous.

The Win enabled the Giants to increase their lead in the NL West to 5 games over the Rockies who got shut out by the Braves 7-0.  The Dodgers stayed 5.5 games back by defeating the Phillies 6-0 behind a no-hitter by Josh Beckett.  The Padres beat the Cubs 4-3 to remain 9.5 games back in 4'th place.  The D'Backs split a twinbill with the Mets to fall 13 games off the pace in last place.

Matt Cain's hammy is not quite there yet, so Yusmeiro Petit gets the substitute start against Jeff Samardijza and the Cubs in a Memorial Day afternoon game tomorrow.

Down on the Farm: 5/24/2014

AAA  Salt Lake City Bees outscored the Fresno Grizzlies 10-6:

Joe Panik(2B)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .311.
Chris Dominguez(3B)- 2 for 4, 3B.  BA= .282.
Erik Cordier(RHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 4.95.

AA  Trenton Thunder topped the Richmond Flying Squirrels 4-2:

Angel Villalona(1B)- 1 for 4, HR(4), BB.  BA= .268.
Jack Snodgrass(LHP)- 6.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.74.

High A  San Jose Giants defeated the Visalia Rawhide 3-1:

Joe Kurrasch(LHP)- 6 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 3 K.  ERA= 2.82.
Hunter Strickland(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.50.
Steven Okert(LHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save(12).  ERA= 1.40.

Strickland was reportedly sitting 95-96 MPH.

Low A Augusta Greenjackets pounded the Greenville Drive 14-0:

Ryder Jones(3B)- 1 for 4, HR(4), BB, SB(2).  BA= .259.
Tyler Horan(RF)- 2 for 4, 3B, HR(4), HBP.   BA= .282.
Ty Ross(Catcher)- 3 for 5, 2B, HR(1).  BA= .220.
John Polonius(SS)- 1 for 4, HR(1), BB.  BA= .188.
Christian Jones(LHP)- 4 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.58.
Donald Snelton(LHP)- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.77.

No word on why Jones left the game after 4 innings.  Pitch count?

Game Wrap 5/24/2014: Giants 2 Twins 1

Pablo Sandoval provided all the offense Ryan Vogelsong and the bullpen needed with a solo HR and SF as the Giants came out on the best end of a pitching duel with the Twins.  Key Lines:

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 3, SF.   BA= .227.  Pablo hit his 4'th HR in 6 games and his second first-inning HR in as many games to give Ryan Vogelsong a 1-0 lead he never relinquished.  Sandoval is carrying the team offensively right now.

Ryan Vogelsong- 6.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.20.  As you might guess from the K and BB numbers, Vogey had pinpoint control of good stuff all night commanding 4 pitches, really 5 if you count a 4 seam and 2 seam FB as 2 different pitches.  His composite line for his last 6 starts:  3-1, 1.35, 40 IP, 11 BB, 35 K.

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(16). ERA= 3.27.  Romo gave up a leadoff HR to Josmil Pinto on an inside FB after shaking off Buster Posey who wanted a slider.  Romo's previous slider had backed up on him, fortunately out of the strike zone.  Buster apparently felt that Romo had lost faith in his slider and came out for a heart-to-heart.  Back behind the plate, Buster called for another slider and Romo again shook him off.  Buster called for the slider again, insisting that he throw it.  This one bit and from then on Romo seemed to have his mojo back retiring then next 3 batters easily.  At least that is the narrative Kruk gave on TV as the 9'th unfolded.

The Win maintained the Giants lead over the Rockies in the NL West at 4 games as the Rocks defeated ATL 3-1.  The 3'rd place Dodgers slipped to 5.5 games behind with a 5-3 loss to the Phillies.  The 4'th place Padres fell 9.5 games off the pace with a 3-2 loss to the Cubs.  The last place D'Backs stayed at 12.5 games back with a 3-2 win over the Mets.

Madison Bumgarner goes  for the series sweep today facing long time Giants nemesis Ricky Nolasco from his Marlins days.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Down on the Farm: 5/23/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies defeated the Salt Lake City Bees 7-3:

Joe Panik(2B)- 2 for 4, HBP.  BA= .308.
Juan Perez(RF)- 3 for 5, SB(4).  BA= .389.
Andrew Susac(Catcher)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .277.
Darren Ford(CF)- 1 for 5, HR(1).  BA= .288.
Edwin Escobar(LHP)- 6.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 5.05.
Dan Runzler(LHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 0.89.
Heath Hembree(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.65.

Susac had been in a small slump.  Strong start for Escobar in a really tough place to pitch.  Hembree has 13 K's against just 2 BB's over 7.2 IP, in his last 10 appearances.

AA Trenton Thunder rolled over the Richmond Flying Squirrels 6-1:

Tyler Graham(CF)- 1 for 3, 2 BB, 2 SB(20).  BA= .310.
Angel Villalona(1B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .268.
Ty Blach(LHP)- 6 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K's, GO/AO= 8/2.  ERA= 2.44.

Strong start for Blach.  He's pitched well this season as his ERA shows, but this one was a bit more dominant by peripheral numbers.

High A  San Jose Giants beat the Visalia Rawhide 6-2:

Chuckie Jones(RF)- 2 for 5, Assist(home).  BA= .224.
Brett Krill(LF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .200.
Mitch Delfino(3B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .306.
Kendry Flores(RHP)- 6.1 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 5.09.

Nice bounceback start for Flores after a disaster start on 5/17.

Low A  Greenville Drive blanked the Augusta Greenjackets 2-0:

Matt Lujan(LHP)- 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 1.44.

All 4 minor league starters had strong outings yesterday.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Game Wrap 5/23/2014: Giants 6 Twins 2

Pablo Sandoval hit a 3 run dinger in the first inning and the Giants cruised to an easy win despite a ragged performance from Tim Lincecum.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 2 for 4, 2B, 3B.  BA= .318.  Pagan was peppering the LF corner for a couple of XBH's. I'm not sure he would have had a hit on the triple with a better LF than Jason Kubel out there.

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 4, HR(5).  BA= .225.  Sandoval stays hot and makes the most of his RBI opportunity in the first inning to get the Giants and Tim Lincecum off to a nice 3 run lead.  He made some nice plays over at 3B too.

Brandon Hicks- 1 for 2, HR(8), SF.  BA= .200.  Hicks had been slumping a bit, although he was hitting the ball hard, but right at people.  Big time contribution with the bat tonight and more stellar IF play at 2B.  Hicks is on a pace for a 3+ fWAR season and I don't see anything he can't sustain so far, well maybe the 32 dinger pace, but yeah, he's been solid!

Tim Lincecum- 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 6 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 4.55.  Technically, it was a QS, but Timmy struggled with his command all night.  He allowed at least 2 runners to reach base every inning except the 6'th, his only clean inning.  At least he hung tough and worked his way out of the jams.  It helped that he had the lead at all times after the first inning.

Jeremy Affeldt- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.72.  Affeldt looked sharp and seems to be fully back on track after his mini-hiccup against the Marlins.

Jean Machi- 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.37.  Javier Lopez left Machi with a tight situation in the 8'th with runners at first and 3'rd and just 1 out.  The Machi Man got a quick DP groundball to get out of it, then pitched a shut down 9'th.  He's been a huge part of the Giants success so far and will be even more important until Casilla gets back.

The Win increased the Giants lead in the NL West to 4 games over the Rockies who lost to the Braves 3-2.  The Dodgers blanked the Phillies 2-0 behind Clayton Kershaw to remain 4.5 games out in 3'rd place.  The Padres pounded the Cubs 11-1 to remain 8.5 games back in 4'th place while the cellar dwelling D'Backs game with the Mets was rained out dropping the snakes to 12.5 games off the pace.

Ryan Vogelsong tries to clinch a series win tomorrow facing Sam Deduno.

Scouting the Draft: Derek Hill

I'm not sure if I've profiled Derek Hill already.  I don't think so, but if so, consider this an update.  Hill is a true 5-tool HS OF from the Sacramento area.  He's 6'2", 190 lbs.  Runs a 6.4 60 and has been clocked at 92 MPH on throws from the OF.  He is the son of a Dodger area scout.  An article in the Sacramento Bee dated 5/7/2014 places Giants GM Brian Sabean as scouting one of Derek's HS games.

Here are his HS batting stats, for what they are worth:  .517/.598/.793, 10 2B, 7 3B, 0 HR, 18 SB, 3 CS, 16 BB, 15 K's in 107 PA.

On Video, he has a very simple swing with very little, if any load.  He has a 4-6 inch slide step with his front foot, no leg kick.  His swing plane is flat to slightly uppercut.

Hill reportedly has serious pre-draft helium and is now projected to go in the middle rounds.

Physically, he reminds me of an Adam Jones or Austin Jackson.

Hey, if the Giants are at all interested in taking a risk on a 5-tooler, there's more risky ones out there.

Down on the Farm 5/22/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies defeated the Las Vegas 51's 6-3:

Gary Brown(CF)- 1 for 4, SB(7).  BA= .265.
Joe Panik(2B)- 1 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .304.
Chris Dominguez(LF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .279.
Jose DePaula(LHP)- 4.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.32.
Heath Hembree(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save(10).  ERA= 2.81.

DePaula gave up some hits but had dominant K and BB numbers.  Nice clean Save by Hembree.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels vs New Britain Rock Cats Suspended after 1.5 innings with no score.

High A  San Jose Giants beat the Stockton Ports 5-1 in 11 innings on Blake Miller's walk-off grand slam HR:

Blake Miller(2B)- 1 for 4, HR(5), BB.  BA= .321.
Chris Stratton(RHP)- 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 6 K's, GO/AO= 9/1.  ERA= 4.44.
Steven Okert(LHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 1.46.

Strong start by Stratton.  Hopefully this is the start of a run of starts like this.  Miller seems be be back to playing wherever there is an opening.  The bat looks good, though.

Low A  Greenville Drive pounded the Augusta Greenjackets 7-2:

Rafael Rodriguez(LF)- 2 for 4, SB(1).  BA= .261.

A rare RafRod sighting.

Game Wrap 5/22/2014: Giants 2 Rockies 2(Suspended)

The Giants pretty much hit for the cycle this series when it came to strange things happening in a diabolical ballpark.  This time, the game was suspended after 6 innings with the score tied 2-2 due to severe weather and wet grounds.  Key Lines(so far):

Hunter Pence- 1 for 2, HR(4), BB.  BA= .289.  Pence is streaky and he's in an up phase right now.

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 2, 2B.  BA= .225.  Right now, Pence and Sandoval are the 2 most reliable members of the starting lineup which was not true 3 weeks ago.  Pablo hit a long foul ball down the LF line that was initially called a HR, but replays clearly showed it was foul by about 18 inches and the initial call was overturned.

Tim Hudson- 3 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, HBP, 1 K.  ERA= 2.13.  Huddy was in trouble the whole time allowing 8 baserunners in the 3 innings he pitched.  We knew Huddy was a battler when he signed, but his ability to work his way out of an inning is remarkable to watch.

David Huff- 2.2 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 3.52.  Huff has apparently been taking lessons from Huddy on how to work out of trouble.

The game will resume in September, when these two teams meet again in Colorado.  It will be completed before one of the regularly scheduled games.

With the game suspended, the Giants lead over the second place Rockies in the NL West remained at 3 games.  The Dodgers lost to the Mets 5-3 to fall 4.5 games off the lead.  The 4'th place Padres lost to the Cubs 5-1 to slip 8.5 games back while the straggling D'Backs lost to the Cardinals to fall 12 games off the pace.

The Giants return home for a 3 game interleague series against the Twins with Tim Lincecum facing Kyle Gibson in Game 1 tonight.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Down on the Farm: 5/21/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies out-homered the Las Vegas 51's 5-4:

Gary Brown(CF)- 1 for 2, HR(3), 2 BB.  BA= .265.
Joe Panik(2B)- 1 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .303.
Adam Duvall(1B)- 3 for 4.  BA= .293.
Travis Ishikawa(1B)- 1 for 3, HR(1), BB.  BA= .342.
Chris Heston(RHP)- 6 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.59.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels defeated the New Britain Rock Cats 7-5:

Tyler Graham(CF)- 3 for 4, BB, SB(18).  BA= .309
Mario Lisson(DH)- 2 for 5, 2 2B.  BA= .266.
Angel Villalona(1B)- 3 for 5, 2B.  BA= .262.
Devin Harris(RF)- 2 for 4, 2 HR(2).  BA= .258.
Kelvin Marte(LHP)- 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 6.23.
Cody Hall(RHP)- 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.12.

Hall has not allowed a run in his last 7 appearances.

High A  Stockton Ports topped the San Jose Giants 2-1:

Shawn Payne(DH)- 2 for 5, HR(4).  BA= .319.
Blake Miller(3B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .323.
Joe Biagini(RHP)- 6.1 IP, 10 H, 2 R, 0 BB,  3 K's.  ERA= 3.74.
Mason McVay(LHP)- 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.78.

Mason McVay has not allowed an ER in his last 14 IP, spanning 7 appearances.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets were idle.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Game Wrap 5/21/2014: Giants 5 Rockies 1

The Giants came away with a nice Win in Coors Field, but paid a high price as Matt Cain and Santiago Casilla both exited the game with strained hammys.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence- 1 for 3, HR(4), BB.  BA= .286.  Pence seems to have really hit his stride at the plate.

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 4, HR(4).  BA= .222.  Sandoval seems to have hit his stride too, and none too soon.

Brandon Crawford- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(6).  BA= .248.  What a game for Craword!  In addition to the obvious terrific night at the plate, he made a sensational play in the 8'th inning to start a DP.  The hitter was Cuddyer and the bases were loaded with no outs.  Cuddyer hit is solidly up the middle.  Crawford snagged it on a dead run, shoveled the ball to Hicks from his glove.  Hicks took the shovel barehanded and relayed it to first in one motion beating Cuddyer by several steps.  A run scored but the threat of a huge inning was erased just like that.  I wonder how many fWAR points THAT is worth?!

Matt Cain- 3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.66.  Cainer looked terrific through the 3 innings with his FB sitting 92-93 MPH with good location.  Unfortunately in the 3'rd inning, he tried to field a comebacker and his right foot slipped down the mound straining his right hammy.  He finished the inning while continuing to show the strong velocity, but on the final pitch of the inning, he grabbed at his right hammy, grimaced and strode off the mound with a pained expression on his face.  He marched directly to trainer Dave Groeschner and escorted him down to the clubhouse.  Cain did not come out for the 4'th inning and word came that he had a hammy strain.  The encouraging part is he was walking around with a normal gait, so hopefully it's mild.

Yusmeiro Petit- 3 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.76.  Coors Field would seem to be Petit's worst nightmare as his achilles heel has always been giving up dingers.  He was terrific in this appearance getting the game to the 7'th inning with no runs allowed.  He would be the man to take Cainer's spot in the rotation if a DL stint is needed.

Santiago Casilla- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 2.25.  Casilla got the Giants out of a bases-loaded jam with a lot of help from Crawford and Hicks on the aforementioned DP ball, but some silliness at the plate and on the basepaths came back to bite and HARD!  With the 5-1 lead and a non-Save situation coming up in the 9'th, Bochy let Casilla hit for himself, which is entertaining to say the least.  Casilla went through all his usual body contortions and comical swings with his teammates guffawing in the dugout.  He worked the count to 3-2, then hit a chopper up the middle.  Casilla tried to pull a Jean Machi(he even wore Machi's batting helmet) down the first base line, but pulled up 2 steps short of the bag then went sprawling face first into the dirt beyond the bag in obvious pain.  Unlike Cain, who strode off the field under his own steam, Casilla had to be helped off the field while bearing no weight on his right let.  It looked BAD!  Wouldn't shock me if we read tomorrow morning the muscle or tendon is torn which would be a 3 month DL stint at least.  Remember Armando Benitez?

Jeremy Affeldt- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.64.  Here is Bochy's vote of confidence in Affeldt, giving him something to build on.

With the Win, the Giants move back to a 3 game lead on the Rockies in the NL West.  The Dodgers edged the Mets to remain 4 games behind in 3'rd place.  The Padres and D'Backs both lost to fall 8 and 11.5 games off the pace respectively.

Tim Hudson tries for his first career win in Coors Field and for a series win for the Giants tomorrow afternoon facing Jorge De La Rosa who always seems to be tough on the Giants.

The one thing the Giants did not want to do is get swept in this series, which they avoided with the win tonight.

There will almost certainly be a pitcher callup tomorrow, with Casilla hitting the DL.  Most likely George Kontos, but possibly Jake Dunning.  It will really get interesting if Cainer has to go on the DL too.

Down on the Farm: 5/20/2014

AAA  Las Vegas 51's edged the Fresno Grizzlies 3-2:

Juan Perez(RF)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .282.
Travis Ishikawa(1B)- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .343.
Mike Kickham(LHP)- 6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 4.93.
George Kontos(RHP)- 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.80.

A QS for Kickham.  Baby steps!

AA  New Britain Rock Cats pounded the Richmond Flying Squirrels 7-2:

Adalberto Mejia(LHP)- 4 IP, 8 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 5.95.
Austin Fleet(RHP)- 4 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.79.

More struggles for Mejia.

High A  Stockton Ports defeated the San Jose Giants 5-3:

Mark Minicozzi(DH)- 2 for 4, HR(2).  BA= .444.
Brian Ragira(1B)- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .224.
Pat Young(RHP)- 5 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 4 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.26.
Hunter Strickland(RHP)- 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 9.00.
Joan Gregorio(RHP)- 0.2 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 6.75.

Hunter Strickland's first appearance post-TJ.  Gregorio comes off the DL.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets beat the Greensboro Grasshoppers 6-5:

Ryder Jones(SS)- 1 for 5, HR(3).  BA= .268.
Ryan Tuntland(1B)- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .200.
Cristian Paulino(CF)- 3 for 5.  BA= .260.
Keury Mella(RHP)- 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.95.
Chase Johnson(RHP)- 2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 4.86.
Dan Slania(RHP)- 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.93.
Donald Snelton(LHP)- 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.04.

Chase Johnson pitches out of the bullpen and not particularly well.  Jones shows some power.

Game Wrap 5/20/2014: Rockies 5 Giants 4

The Giants lost a Coors Field Special last night on a walk-off 2 run HR by Nolan Arenado in the bottom of the 9'th inning after taking a 1 run lead in the top of the 9'th.  Key Lines:

Gregor Blanco- 1 for 4, 3B.  BA= .148.  I'm pretty sure Blanco's 2-run triple would have been a relatively easy catch in SF, but in Coors Field, it just kept going and going.

Hunter Pence- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .286.  Pence did his part by getting on base from the 2-hole, but then Sandoval, Morse and Sanchez all followed with 0 for 4's.  You are not going to score many runs when the heart of your lineup goes a combined 0 for 12.

Tyler Colvin- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .385.  Colvin was peppering the LF corner including one that kicked up a little paint on the foul line.  That one was originally called foul by the 3B ump, but overturned on replay, I am sure on the strength of the paint evidence, because otherwise it was inconclusive.  In the end, it did not matter that the lead runner was not awarded home plate because Blanco cleared the bases with his triple after which he came in to score too!

Madison Bumgarner- 6 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 3.38.  Nice game for Bummy ruined by Rosario's dinger.  I'm not so sure Bumgarner didn't hit Tulo on purpose.  Tulo had swung pretty hard on a previous double and seems to enjoy beating the Giants just a little too much.  The first thought that popped into my head when I saw where it hit him square on the calf was the old story from Bumgarner's minor league days when he hit a batter because "he swung too hard."  Bummy later got winged himself and jawed at the Rockies bench a bit on the way down to 1B.  Probably better for him to not get caught up in the distraction like that.

Sergio Romo- 0.2 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 3.00.  Romo is better against LH batters than he used to be, but he still has issues with them.  As for the HR pitch to Arenado, it was the third hanging slider in a row.  Earlier in the inning, Romo was breaking off some good looking sliders, but suddenly could not make them break to save his life by the time Arenado came up.  I have two theories, neither of which are probably correct:

1.  He was getting fatigued and as the inning wore on and lost the leverage and/or grip on the slider.

2.  He got down to some balls that had been out of the humidor sitting at the bottom of the ump's pockets for too long and had dried out making them dryer and lighter.

Anyway, I don't know what Romo's record in Coors Field is, but any pitcher that depends on a lot of ball movement is going to have it rough there.

The Loss compressed the Giants lead in the NL West to 2 games over the Rockies.  The Dodgers topped the Mets 9-4 and are 4 games back.  The Padres and D'Backs both lost and remained 7 and 10.5 games out respectively.

Matt Cain faces Jhoulys Chacin in Game 2 tonight.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Down on the Farm: 5/19/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies defeated the Las Vegas 51's 7-5:

Juan Perez(RF)- 2 for 4, SB(3).  BA= .417.
Travis Ishikawa(1B)- 1 for 2, 2B, 2 BB.  BA= .313.
Chris Dominguez(LF)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .280.
Jason Berken(RHP)- 5 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 3.33.
Mason Tobin(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 2.04.
Dan Runzler(LHP)- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K, Save(1).  ERA= 1.00.

AA  New Britain Rock Cats outslugged the Richmond Flying Squirrels 10-6:

Ryan Lollis(RF)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .329.
Matt Duffy(SS)- 2 for 5.  BA= .316.
Jarrett Parker(CF)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .252.
Mario Lisson(DH)- 3 for 4, HR(6).  BA= .258.
Clayton Blackburn(RHP)- 4 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 2 BB, 3 K's, 2 HBP, GO/AO= 10/1.  ERA= 3. 40.

Matt Duffy!

High A  San Jose Giants pounded the Visalia Rawhide 12-8:

Jesus Galindo(CF)- 3 for 5, 3B.  BA= .317.
Shawn Payne(DH)- 3 for 5, 2 2B, 3B.  BA= .313.
Mark Minicozzi(1B)- 3 for 5, 2B, HR(1).  BA= .429.
Blake Miller(SS)- 4 for 5, 2B, HR(4).  BA= .320.
Elliott Blair(RF)- 2 for 5, 2B, HR(4). BA= .301.
Martin Agosta(RHP)- 1.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 10.55.

This is an aggressive assignment for Blake Miller, a guy drafted out of a small college program just last summer.  He continues to rake at the plate while holding down a SS position  after it looked like he would be moved to a corner IF position in the spring.   Second disastrous start for Agosta in a row.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets edged the Greensboro Grasshoppers 3-2:

Ryder Jones(3B)- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .271.
John Polonius(2B)- 2 for 3.  BA= .192.
Luis Ysla(LHP)- 7 IP,  5 H, l R, 2 BB, 4 K, GO/AO= 7/2.  ERA= 2.50.

Rando Moreno played SS while Jones moved back to 3B.  Ysla continues to impress.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Down on the Farm: 5/18/2014

AAA  Albuquerque Isotopes lit up the Fresno Grizzlies 8-2:

Tony Abreu(3B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .304.
Travis Ishikawa(1B)- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .300.
Edwin Escobar(LHP)- 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 3 BBB, 6 K's.  ERA= 5.60.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels downed the Altoona Curve 8-2:

Matt Duffy(SS)-2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .313.
Mario Lisson(3B)- 4 for 5, 2B.  BA= .241.
Angel Villalona(1B)- 2 for 5.  BA= .255.
Devin Harris, Kelby Tomlinson- 2 hits each.
Jack Snodgrass(LHP)- 5 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 1.54.

High A  Visalia Rawhide whipped the San Jose Giants 11-3:

Blake Miller(SS)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .303.
Mason McVay(LHP)- 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 5.11.

Low A  Greensboro Grasshoppers blanked the Augusta Greenjackets on 2 hits, 2-0:

NTSH= Nothing To See Here.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Game Wrap 5/18/2014: Giants 4 Marlins 1

The Giants struck for 3 runs in the first inning off Marlins starter Jacob Turner and Ryan Vogelsong and the Giants bullpen never relinquished the lead to salvage a 4 game series split.  Key Lines:

Gregor Blanco- 0 for 2, BB, HBP, SB(8).  BA= .140.  Blanco has reached base in 7 of his last 14 PA's over his last 5 appearances.  His BA has risen from .100 to .140 in that time.  He got the start today in CF due to Pagan's sore shoulder from his tumbling catch attempt last night.  The Giants are hopeful Pagan will be ready to go by their next game Tuesday against the Rockies.

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .220.  Pablo is hitting .359 over his last 10 games.

Ryan Vogelsong- 7 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K's, GO/AO= 10/1.  ERA= 3.62.  Since his disastrous 1.1 IP start against the Rockies on 4/21, Vogie has pitched 5 consecutive QS's.  In that stretch, he is 2-1, 33.1 IP, 10 BB, 28 K.  He actually pitched a QS in the start before 4/21, so he has 6 QS's out if his last 7 starts.

Santiago Casilla- 0.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 1.48.  Casilla only faced 3 batters, but it was a gutsy performance as Affeldt had allowed a run in and left a runner on 2B with 1 out.  When Hecheverria reached base on an IF single putting runners at 1'st and 3'rd, it wasn't looking good.  Casilla finally won a long battle with Garret Jones, striking him out.   That brought up Giancarlo as a PH.  Casilla calmly got him on a flyball to Pence in RF.

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(15).  ERA= 2.21.  Romo's salary drive continues!

The Win keeps the NL West leading Giants 3 games up on the Rockies who outlasted the Padres 8-6 in 10 innings in Coors Field.  The Dodgers lost again to the D'Backs 5-3 to fall 5 games back in 3'rd place.  The Padres are in 4'th place 7 back and the D'Backs remain 10.5 games out in last place.

The Giants get a much needed day off tomorrow(the only one of the month of May other than May 1).  They then play a 3 game series in Colorado with Madison Bumgarner facing fellow LHP Franklin Morales in Game 1.

Speaking of the D'Backs, they have hired Tony LaRussa as Head of Baseball Operations with GM Kevin Towers reporting to him.  Interesting situation to keep an eye on in Arizona.

Down on the Farm: 5/17/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies defeated the Albuqueruque Isotopes 4-1:

Joe Panik(2B)- 3 for 4.  BA= .317.
Juan Perez(RF)- 1 for 2, 2B, 2 BB.  BA= .429.
Travis Ishikawa(1B)- 2 for 4.  BA= .269.
Jose DePaula(LHP)- 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 2.60.

DePaula may be putting himself in the mix for a callup if a need arises.

AA  Altoona Curve blanked the Richmond Flying Squirrels 3-0:

Angel Villalona(1B)- 1 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .250.
Ryan Lollis(LF)- 3 for 4.  BA= .228.
Ty Blach(LHP)- 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 0 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.57.
Bryce Bandilla(LHP)- 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 5.68.

High A  San Jose Giants came from behind to nip the Visalia Rawhide 7-6 in 11 innings:

Jesus Galindo(CF)- 3 for 6, SB(11).  BA= .308.
Blake Miller(SS)- 2 for 5, BB.  BA= .300.
Brian Ragira(1B)- 2 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .215.
Trevor Brown(Catcher)- 2 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .213.
Kendry Flores(RHP)- 1.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 1 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 5.45.
Jeff Soptic(RHP)- 3.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.91.
Stephen Johnson(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 5.21.
Tyler Rogers(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.19.
Steven Okert(LHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K, Save(11).  ERA= 1.66.

Very rough start for Flores.  A couple of hard throwing reliever pitched well, Soptic and Johnson.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets edged the Greensboro Grasshoppers 4-3 in 11 innings:

Rando Moreno(2B)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .400.
Christian Jones(LHP)- 6.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.88.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Game Wrap 5/17/2014: Marlins 5 Giants 0

This game may have hinged on a replay call that went against the Giants in the second inning.  From that point on, they did not appear to be in the game.  Key Lines:

Hector Sanchez- 3 for 3, BB.  BA=  .288.  Sanchez is red hot, hitting .419 over his last 10 games.  His BA stood at .179 on May 2.  Expect to see Bruce Bochy find more creative ways to get him in the lineup.

Brandon Hicks- 0 for 4.  BA= .193.  Hicks has a right to feel snakebit after this one.  With the Giants trailing 1-0, Hector Sanchez on first base and one out, Hicks hit one down the RF line for what looked like it might be an opposite-field HR.  The ball hit about a foot down on the brick wall and Hicks had to settle for a double with Sanchez advancing to 3B.  But wait a minute!  The Marlins appealed the play claiming Hicks missed first base and were denied by the first base ump.  Mike Redmond then asked for a replay.  The replay umps ruled that he had missed the bag, so instead of runners at first and second with 1 out, the Giants were left with a runner at 3B and 2 outs.  On all the replays I saw on TV, I honestly think it was inconclusive and the ump's call should have been upheld.  If he did miss the bag, it was by a millimeter or less.  At that moment, you could really sense the wind go out of the Giants sails.  At no subsequent point did they appear to have any chance of winning this one.  We see one more way instant replay is going to change the game.  Runners are going to have to make darn sure they hit that bag on every turn because if they don't, it will get replayed and they will be out!  Hicks later had a hard hit ball that found a glove.  Just a tough night for Hicks at the plate.

Tim Lincecum- 6 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 BB, 6 K's.  ERA= 4.74.  A QS, but he got no run support, and nothing that even came close after the replay call went against Hicks.  Timmy pitched well, but was not quite as sharp as in his last start.

The Giants remain 3 games ahead of the Rockies and 4 ahead of the Dodgers as the Rockies lost to the Padres 8-5 and the D'Backs pounded Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers 18-7.  I would say that Kershaw is probably not completely healthy.  The Padres and D'Backs are 6 and 10.5 games back respectively.

Ryan Vogelsong tries to salvage a series split tomorrow afternoon against Jacob Turner.

Down on the Farm: 5/16/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies edged the Albuquerque Isotopes 5-4:

Gary Brown(CF)- 2 for 4, 3B, CS(5).  BA= .272.
Adam Duvall(3B)- 1 for 4, HR(15).  BA= .280.
Chris Dominguez(LF)- 2 for 3, 2B.  BA= .274.
Travis Ishikawa(1B)- 2 for 3.  BA= .227.
Chris Heston(RHP)- 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 6 K's, GO/AO= 9/1.  ERA= 3.28.

Duvall is on a pace for what, 35 HR's this year?  Brown is hitting again, but still having trouble stealing a base.  A very Heston-like performance.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels defeated the Altoona Curve 2-1:

Tyler Graham(CF)- 3 for 5, SB(16).  BA= .315.
Kelby Tomlinson(SS)- 0 for 2, 2 BB, 2 SB(15).  BA= .208.
Kyle Crick(RHP)- 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K's. ERA= 3.28.
Cody Hall(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K.  ERA= 3.68.
Derek Law(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 0 K, Save(10).  ERA= 2.60.

Best outing by Crick this year!

High A  Visalia Rawhide stopped the San Jose Giants 5-1:

Chris Stratton(RHP)- 6 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 6 K's, GO/AO= 10/4.  ERA= 4.97.

A QS start for Stratton.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets beat the West Virginia Power 2-1:

Ryan Tuntland(1B)- 2 for 3, 2 2B.  BA= .187.
Matt Lujan(LHP)- 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 1.43.
Ray Black(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 5.06.
Dan Slania(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(2).  ERA= 3.24.

Again, be sure to read the Fangraphs article entitled Prospect Watch:  Milb's Hardest Thrower? and other stories.  It's all about Ray Black and his 100 MPH FB.  The key line in the story is the author witnessed what…."might be the the most electrifying inning of pitching I've ever witnessed."  The article has several videos of Black facing several batters.  Great stuff!

Game Wrap 5/16/2014: Marlins 7 Giants 5

The Giants finally got outhit by the Marlins in a hard fought game that saw the Giants once again come back from a 4-1 deficit, but the Marlins bullpen was better this time.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .329.  Typical Pagan game, which is really good.  He went a long way to catch a drive against the left-centerfield wall late in the game.  He initially took the wrong route, but was able to adjust in time.

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  Sandoval hit the ball with the most authority we've seen from him for a long time going to LF and left-center from the left side of the plate.

Michael Morse- 2 for 4.  BA= .277.  Morse continues to show he is not just a HR hitter.

Yusmeiro Petit- 5 IP, 7 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 0 BB, 5 K's, 2 HR's.   ERA= 5.23.  Petit has always had pretty good peripheral numbers, but dingers have always been his downfall.  No exception tonight.  He's got good stuff, but he has to always put it in the right place and he doesn't always do that.  The ump was a problem for him tonight, IMO.

Mark Ripperger- That was one of the worst ball-strike umpiring I've seen in awhile!  Definitely the worst this season.  It wasn't that he was squeezing or expanding the zone.  It's that it was completely inconsistent!  Both pitchers had to deal with the same inconsistency, but Alvarez used a 96 MPH sinker to pitch to contact whereas Petit has to work on the edges of the zone, so the situation favored Alvarez' style. It was also a very low zone, which also favored Alvarez.

The loss dropped the Giants lead in the NL West to 3 games over the Rockies who defeated the Padres 3-1 with Jorge De La Rosa taking a no-no deep into the game.  The Dodgers crushed the D'Backs 7-0 behind Zach Greinke and are now 4 games back in 3'rd place.  The Padres and D'Backs remain 7 and 11.5 games back respectively.

Tim Lincecum tries to get the Giants back on the winning track today facing RHP Tom Koehler.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Down on the Farm: 5/15/2014

AAA  Albuquerque Isotopes lit up the Fresno Grizzlies 14-8:

Gary Brown(CF)- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .267.
Juan Perez(RF)- 3 for 4, 2B, BB.  BA= .478.
Adam Duvall(3B)- 3 for 4, 2B, HR(14), BB.  BA= .280.
Nick Noonan(SS)- 2 for 5.  BA= .329.
Mike Kickham(LHP)- 2 IP, 11 H, 9 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, 3 HR.  ERA= 5.08
Brett Bochy(RHP)- 3 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 2.70.
Erik Cordier(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 5.40.

Maybe a day off to reflect helped Gary Brown get re-focused?  Duvall is a monster right now.  He's slugging .611 on the season with a slash line of .339/.413/.911 for the month of May and .359/.419/.1000 over his last 10 games.  An ugly line for Kickham.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels vs Bowie Baysox rained out.

High A  San Jose Giants defeated the Stockton Ports 6-4:

Mitch Delfino(3B)- 1 for 5, HR(8).  BA= .331.
Brett Krill(LF)- 3 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .400.
Brian Ragira(1B)- 2 for 3, 2B, BB, SB(2).  BA= .213.
Chuckie Jones(RF)- 0 for 1, 2 BB, SF.  BA= .230.
Joe Biagini(RHP)- 5 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 3.89.
Tyler Rogers(RHP)- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 2.61.

I'm very impressed by Delfino!  Interesting line for Chuckie.

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets edged the West Virginia Power 2-1:

Carlos Diaz(LHP)- 7 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 3 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.03.
Donald Snelton(LHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.00.
Luis Castillo(RHP)- 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(3).  ERA= 2.65.

Be sure to check out a story on Fangraphs, linked to the left, entitled Prospect Watch:  Milb's Hardest Thrower? and other stories.  It's about Augusta reliever Ray Black.  Here's the key line in the article:  (the inning the author watched)…."might be the most electrifying inning of pitching I've ever witnessed."  Check it out!

Game Wrap 5/15/2014: Giants 6 Marlins 4

The Gianst took advantage of a terrible, non-reviewable umpiring mistake and Matt Cain recovered from a rocky start to notch his first Win of the season in a come-from-behind Giants victory.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 2 for 4, BB, SB(9).  BA= .327.  Pagan's 10 pitch AB which ended in a walk to lead off  the 6'th inning started the Giants winning rally.

Hunter Pence= 3 for 5, 2B.  BA= .283.  Pence continued his hot hitting, but one of his hits was tainted by a bad umpiring call that went his way.  After Pagan walked to lead off the 6'th inning, Pence hit a dribbler up the 1B line that clearly hit his left foot in fair territory about a fourth of the way up the line, and it caromed into foul territory.  The ump ruled it a foul ball.  Marlins Manager Mike Redmond came out and asked for a review but was told that foul balls inside the bases are not reviewable.  The umps did huddle but nobody overturned the call.  On the next pitch, Pence lined a single to RF sending Pagan to 3B.  Buster Posey followed with a drive to the deepest part of Triples Alley to easily drive in both Pagan and Pence.  Posey eventually came around to score too and that was the winning rally.

Buster Posey- 1 for 5, 2B.  BA= .292.  Not much of a line by Buster's standards, but the double was absolutely crushed to the deepest part of Triples Alley and drove in the tying and go-ahead runs.

Michael Morse- 3 for 4, HR(10).  BA= .270.  The HR was to RF, which is widely considered to be almost impossible for RH hitters.  Morse says it's no problem for him, and apparently it isn't.  This one did not even look like he got all of it as it looked more like a popup off the bat.  Morse is now tied for 6'th in MLB in HR's, 8'th in RBI's and 14'th in wRC+, yet he is ranked just 114 in fWAR.  OK, he has missed a couple in LF that Gregor Blanco probably would have had, he has been way more valuable to the Giants than a 0.4 fWAR!  It would appear to me that this is one case where fWAR gives too much weight to defense and too much negative weight to the LF position.  BTW, Morse is on a pace to hit 40 HR's and he just might if he stays healthy all year.

Tyler Colvin- 2 for 4, 2 2B.  BA= .462.  Talk about catching lightning in a bottle!  Colvin now has 4 doubles, a triple and a HR in just 3 starts since getting called up. Remember he is a former first round draft pick and at one point in his career not that long ago looked poised for a big breakout.

Matt Cain- 7.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.33.  No Caining in this one.  Cain allowed 4 runs in the first 3 innings and things weren't looking good when the score was 3-0 and 4-1 and Eovaldi was throwing Beebees.  Cainer settled down and pitched shutout ball for the next 4.2 IP and the Giants offense picked him up, with a little help from the umpires.

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(14).  ERA= 2.33.  Romo was looking a bit tired at the end of the road trip, but he looked strong tonight.  The no-dot slider was crackling through the strike zone and he was leaning on it a bit more than he did on the road trip.  The salary drive rolls on.  Romo is gonna get paid!

Carter Capps(Rockies)- 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 1.00.  This is the second time we've seen a hard throwing RP take skip steps off the rubber before delivering his pitches in the last 2 weeks.  The other is Jordan Walden of the Braves who does it more obviously.  I know there has been some debate about whether Timmy's long stride where he back foot drags forward by almost a foot from the rubber is a legal pitch or not, but Timmy never plants the back foot again.  Capps and Walden hop off the rubber and their foot comes back down on the dirt in front of the rubber before they even start to bring their arm forward.  Kruk and Kuip did not mention it last night, but in Walden's case Kruk said he definitely thought it was in illegal delivery.  Not sure why it's not being discussed more.

The Win extended the Giants lead in the NL West to 4 full games over the Rockies who were idle and to 5 games over the third place Dodgers who were also idle.  The 4'th place Padres beat Cincinnati 6-1 to remain 7 games off the pace.  The last place D'Backs were idle to fall 11.5 games back.

Tim Hudson will miss tonight's start due to a left hip strain.  Yusmeiro Petit gets the ball facing RHP Henderson Alvarez.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Down on the Farm: 5/14/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies were idle.

AA Game 1  Bowie Baysox defeated the Richmond Flying Squirrels 5-3:

Ricky Oropesa(DH)- 2 for 3.  BA= .236.
Ryan Lollis(LF)- 2 for 3, 3B.  BA= .200.
Adalberto Mejia(LHP)- 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 5.35.

Not much to comment on here.

AA  Game 2  Bowie Baysox beat the Richmond Flying Squirrels 7-4:

Mario Lisson(DH)- 1 for 2, HR(5), BB.  BA=  .213.

High A  San Jose Giants topped the Stockton Ports 7-5:

Shawn Payne(DH)- 3 for 6, 2 HR(3).  BA= .302.
Mitch Delfino(3B)- 3 for 6.  BA= .335.
Rando Moreno(2B)- 2 for 3, 2 BB, SB(10).  .218.
Pat Young(RHP)- 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 2 BB, 4 K's.  ERA= 4.36.

Mitch Delfino is a hitting machine!

Low A  West Virginia Power edged the Augusta Greenjackets 5-4 in 10 innings:

Chris Lofton(CF)- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .400.
Rafael Rodriguez(LF)- 2 for 4.  BA= .500.
Keury Mella(RHP)- 6.1 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 4 K's, GO/AO= 13/0!.  BA= 3.75.

The Mayor of Augusta(RafRod) makes an appearance!  Mella was killing worms, but extreme GB pitchers are going to give up hits that find holes in the IF.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Game Wrap 5/14/2014: Giants 10 Braves 4

Madison Bumgarner pitched a very similar game to Vogey's yesterday.  The difference was the Giants scored 10 runs in this game and 0 in Vogey's.  And the beat goes on!  Key Lines:

Gregor Blanco- 1 for 3, 2 BB, 3 SB(4).  BA= .136.  That was about as good a lead off job as you can ask for.  Blanco states his case for more PT.  Apparently 3 SB's and 3 Runs in one game is a pretty rare double-triple in MLB.  As you might expect, Rickey Henderson has the most of all time.

Hunter Pence- 4 for 5, HR(3).  BA= .273.  Pence has been showing signs of heating up.  He's officially hot now!  That should be a pretty big boost to the offense.

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 3.  BA= .203.  Pablo has been showing signs of coming out of it too.  He left this game early with a sore great toe.  I wonder if it is a gout attack?  Just a thought.

Michael Morse- 1 for 4, HR(9), BB.  BA= .256.  Morse had been in a slump.

Tyler Colvin- 2 for 4, 2B.  BA= .444. Colvin has now hit for the cycle in his 2 starts since his callup.  At one point a couple of years ago, Colvin looked poised for a big breakout.  If this is it, that would be huge!

Brandon Crawford- 3 for 5, 2B, HR(5).  BA= .258.  Crawford had been in a slump over his last 10 games or so.  Nice breakout here.  Can't wait to look up his updated WAR score tomorrow!

Madison Bumgarner- 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.15.  Bummy sometimes pitches with too much command and gets BABIP'd.  This time, the offense picked him up, and how!

Jean Machi- 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 0.44.  Another multi-inning shutdown for the Machi-Machi-Machi man.

Juan Gutierrez, Javier Lopez- 1 IP, 0 R each.  Again, the bullpen shut it down for 4 innings.  Romo has gotten to rest the last 2 games.

The Win boosted the Giants NL West lead to 3.5 games over the Rockies who lost to the Royals 3-2.  The Dodgers are getting pounded by the Marlins 13-3 in the 9'th inning so will likely drop to 4.5 games out in 3'rd place.  The 4'th place Padres got rained out in Cincinnati which drops them to 7 games off the pace.  The last place D'Backs lose to the Nationals 5-1 and are 11 games off the pace.

The Giants now start a 4 game series with the Miami Marlins who always seem to give the Giants fits.  Matt Cain pitches Game 1 facing Nate Eovaldi.

Down on the Farm: 5/13/2014

AAA  Fresno Grizzlies defeated the Reno Aces 7-4:

Gary Brown(CF)- 0 for 5.  BA= .261.
Joe Panik(2B)- 2 for 5, HR(2).  BA= .318.
Adam Duvall(1B)- 3 for 5, 2B, 3B, HR(13).  BA= .268.
Andrew Susac(Catcher)- 2 for 3, 2 HR(6), BB.  BA= .329.
Jason Berken(RHP)- 7 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 2.94.
Heath Hembree(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 2.57.

Gary Brown is hitting .200 over his last 10 games and is 0 for 9 since Tyler Colvin got called up.  He has 8 K's and 0 BB in the 10 game span.  Gotta love what Panik, Duvall and Susac are doing.   I think at least those 3 and Hembree are future MLB'ers from this lineup.  Not so sure about Brown. Apparently Sabes said Duvall isn't ready.  That may be true, but he's doing everything he can to state his case.  Susac has hit 5 dingers in his last 10 games.

AA  Bowie Baysox beat the Richmond Flying Squirrels 5-1:

Clayton Blackburn(RHP)- 6 IP, 10 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 3.05.

Blackburn may need a little more swing and miss in there.

High A  Stockton Ports pounded the San Jose Giants 10-5:

Chuckie Jones(RF-CF)- 3 for 4, HR(3).  BA= .238.
Martin Agosta(RHP)- 2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 3 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 9.15.
Jeff Soptic(RHP)- 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.50.

Big game for Chuckie.  This is his second HR in 3 games.  He's hitting .314/.368/.514 over his last 10 games.  The wheels are off Agosta's wagon.  Either he's hiding an injury or he needs to spend some time in camp and work out what's wrong.  This is bad!

Low A  Augusta Greenjackets swarmed the Hickory Crawdads 11-1:

Ryder Jones(SS)- 2 for 5, HR(2).  BA- .267.
Tyler Horan(RF)- 2 for 4, 2 2B, BB.  BA= .331.
Leonardo Rojas(Catcher)- 2 for 4, HR(1).  BA= .250.
John Polonius(3B)- 2 for 4, HR(1).  BA= .169.
Luis Ysla(LHP)- 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 2.79.
Ray Black(RHP)- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA- 6.23.

Christian Arroyo is on the DL retroactive to May 11.  Not sure what the problem is.  I would say the retroactive part means it is less serious than more.  Horan keeps raking.  Needs to be at a higher level before the season is out.  Dominant start for Ysla.

Game Wrap 5/13/2014: Braves 5 Giants 0

On Monday night, the Giants were still pumped from the wildly successful road trip and the thrill of returning to their home ballpark.  Last night, the letdown hit with full force.  That, and the BABIP gods made sure the Giants got no chance to get off the mat.  The result was a game nobody wanted to hang around to see the end of.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence- 2 for 4, 2 2b.  BA= .256.  Pence's swing looked better tonight and he hit the ball with authority twice.

Ryan Vogelsong- 6 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 1 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 4.22.  This was BABIP, pure and simple.  The Braves had just one really hard hit ball off Vogey, Gattis' drive up Triples Alley.  BTW, Gattis has one of the most amazing swings ever, short and quick to the ball.  Kind of the polar opposite of Brandon Belt's swing.  Anyway, you can tell from the K's and BB that Vogey had great stuff tonight.  He was BABIP'd, pure and simple.  The other side of that coin is the Giants had several hard hit balls that went into gloves and the hits were not bunched to produce runs.

Buster Posey- 0 for 4.  BA= .297.  Most postgame talk centered on a play at the plate where Jason Heyward scored the second run of the game and the first of 3 in the 6'th inning.  After watching the videos of the play several times, I am not convinced that Buster did not graze Heywards shirt with the back of his glove.   The call at the plate was Safe and the replay was inconclusive, so fair enough.  He was Safe.  Could Buster have been a bit more animated on the tag?  Maybe, but he would have had to move his feet or dive at Heyward and I'm not sure he had time for either.  Heyward went way out of the base path, which I guess is legal if he stays outside the foul line, but he was almost coming at home plate at the same angle as if he was running up from the on-deck circle!  Just have to go back to the video room and draw up new strategies for combatting slides that come from extreme angles like that.

The Loss kept the NL West leading Giants 2.5 games ahead of the Rockies who lost to the Royals 5-1. The third place Dodgers gained a game to 3.5 behind with a 7-1 win over the Marlins who must be reeling from the news that Jose Fernandez probably needs TJ surgery.  The Padres edged the Reds 2-1 to gain a game and are 6 behind in 4'th place.  The last place D'Backs topped the Nationals 3-1 and are 10 games back.

Madison Bumgarner tries for a series win this afternoon facing Julio Teheran, ace vs ace!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Down on the Farm: 5/12/2014

AAA  Reno Aces topped the Fresno Grizzlies 7-2:

Tony Abreu(3B)- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(4).  BA= .299.
Edwin Escobar(LHP)- 5 IP, 11 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 5.18.
George Kontos(RHP)- 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 4.43.

Escobar had a couple of impressive games after tweaking his mechanics, but has not been impressive in his last several starts.

AA  Richmond Flying Squirrels were idle.

High A  San Jose Giants were idle.

Low A  Hickory Crawdads pounded the Augusta Greenjackets 12-7:

Cristian Paulino(CF)- 1 for 5, HR(1).  BA= .263.
Jeremy Sy(2B)- 3 for 4, HR(1).  BA= .247.
Tyler Horan(RF)- 2 for 4, 2B, 3B.  BA= .325.
Eugene Escalante(LF)- 2 for 3, 2B, 3 E.  BA= .184.

Escalante is obviously a work in progress in LF.  3 E!  Ouch!  Greenjackets made a total of 5 OF errors.  I'm pretty sure some entire teams do not make 5 OF errors in a full season!

Monday, May 12, 2014

Game Wrap 5/12/2014: Giants 4 Braves 2

Tim Lincecum woke up the echoes, or whatever it is they do in the Notre Dame fight song, but yeah, that was vintage Big Time Timmy Jim out there tonight, even if the style and stuff was a bit different.  Tyler Colvin had a big night in his debut in the Giants starting lineup driving in 3 runs as the Giants reeled off their 25'th Win on the season against just 14 losses.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 3 for 4, 2 SB(8).  BA= .326.  Pagan did not figure in the scoring, but he did his job as the leadoff batter once again.

Hector Sanchez- 2 for 4.  BA= .254.  Hector started the winning rally with a single up the middle.  His other single probably would have been a double in any other stadium as he bounced it off the padding between two archways right into Heyward's glove.  With the short RF and Heyward's arm, Hector wisely held up with a single.  In addition to all that, Hector took charge of Tim Lincecum's game as Timmy broke out a devastating curveball that we have not seen much of for a long time.  Hector rode that curve all night long and mixed it in with just enough FB's and change ups to keep the Braves' hitters guessing, well, except for BJ Upton who had the only two hits Timmy gave up all night, one a HR.  I don't know when I've seen a catcher have so much fun calling a game as Hector did tonight.

Tyler Colvin- 2 for 3, 3B, HR(1).   BA= .500.  Colvin's bat had heated up of late down in Fresno and he just kept it going tonight.  He came up in the bottom of the 2'nd inning looking to do immediate damage.  He took one mighty hack at the first pitch then got on up in the wheelhouse and jumped all over it for a legitimate splash hit.  Nothin' but water!  Later in the 7'th, with runners on first and second, he scorched one down the RF line into the corner.  Heyward was shading toward Triples Alley and had to come a long way to dig it out which allowed both runners to score and Colvin to reach 3B where he later scored an add-on run.  Another savvy offseason pickup by Sabes and nice patience on the part of both the Giants and Colvin to get him to the right place at the right time.

Tim Lincecum- 7.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 4 BB, 11 K's.  ERA= 4.78.  As mentioned before, Timmy reached way back into his repertoire and broke out a devastating curveball that Hector Sanchez jumped all over and rode for the night.  Hector may have taken over the game, but it was Big Time Timmy Jim throwing the pitches and man, did he ever throw them!  Took me all the way back to A ball when I saw Timmy pitch in San Bernardino.  He had trouble commanding the FB that night, so went to the curveball as his primary pitch and dominated the game with it.

With the Win, the Giants won for the 14'th time in 18 games since April 22 after dropping the first 2 games of a series against the Rockies.  The Rockies were idle so the Giants extended their lead in the NL West to 2.5 games.  The Dodgers held on to beat the Marlins 6-5 to remain 4.5 games behind in 3'rd place.  The 4'th place Padres were idle to fall 7 games off the pace and the hapless D'Backs lost to the Nationals 6-5 to fall 11 back in last place.

Ryan Vogelsong takes the mound tomorrow night facing lefty Mike Minor in game 2 of the series.