Saturday, May 2, 2015

Game Wrap 5/1/2015: Giants 3 Angels 2

The Giants and Angels always seem to make for an interesting matchup and this game lived up to the expectation.  Joe Panik delivered a 2 out, pinch-hit, walk-off single in the bottom of the 9'th inning to cash in another terrific start for Chris Heston and get the Giants off to a winning start in the month of May.  Key Lines:

Norichika Aoki- 1 for 4, 2B.  BA= .301.  Aoki led of the Giants half of the first inning with a double, advanced to 3B on a groundout and scored on Pagan's SF.

Angel Pagan- 2 for 4, SF.  BA= .352.  Pagan had another terrific day at the plate, driving in 1 run and scoring another.  He might have cost the Giants a run on defense when he triple clutched in a shallow Sac Fly by David Freese to allow the Angels 2'nd run to score tying the game in the 8'th inning.

Andrew Susac- 1 for 3, BB.  BA= .286.  Susac drove in the Giants second run on a 2 out single up the middle to drive in Pagan from 2B.

Joe Panik- 1 for 1.  BA= .289.  Matt Duffy got the start at 2B against the LHP, but with 2 outs and runners at the corners in the bottom of the 9'th and a sidearming RHP on the mound in Joe Smith, Bochy sent Panik up to PH for him.   It worked out perfectly as Panik stroked a line drive up the middle to drive in the walk-off winner.

Chris Heston- 6.1 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K's, GO/AO= 11/0.  ERA= 2.51.  Heston again had 4 pitches working with both command and lots of movement, not an easy combination to pull off.  His FB ranged from 88-91 and he was able to use it to pound the lower bottom of the zone, but also to elevate it on occasion.

Comparing Heston's MLB record with his minor league record, a couple of things stand out.  The K rate is right about the same at 6.9/9, but his BB/9 is significantly lower than anything he did in the minors, so he is dialed in on the command right now.  The other factor is his groundball rate.  He has always been a GB pitcher, but his MLB GO/AO of 2.25 is elite and considerably higher than anything he has done since the low minors.  Digging a bit deeper, in 3 games at AT&T Park, his GB% has been 65, 63.6 and 73.7 last night.  In 2 away games, his GB% was 56.3 in Arizona an just 40.9 in Coors Field.  It would appear that the conditions at AT&T Park, which favor ball movement and sink, are tailor made for his repertoire.  Most MLB ballparks are close to sea level, so he should be OK on the road in places besides Arizona and Coors Field.  This would also help explain why his AAA numbers were not as good as in the lower minors as the PCL has so many parks with similar conditions to Coors and Arizona.

Santiago Casilla- 1.2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K, BS(2), W(3-0).  ERA= 2.38.  The Blown Save is a bit misleading as it came on a short flyball to CF that Pagan probably should have had a play at the plate on, but Pagan appeared to not anticipate Aybar coming home from 3B, triple clutched in the throw and got off a weak one.  Casilla then go out of the 8'th inning and breezed through the top of the 9'th with just a harmless IF single allowed.

The Win improved the Giants record to 10-13.  They remain in last place, 4.5 games behind the NL West leading Dodgers and 0.5 games behind the 4'th place D'Backs who lost to the Dodgers 8-0.  The Padres blew out the Rockies 14-3 and those two teams are tied for 2'nd place, 3 games off the Dodgers pace.

Tim Hudson takes the mound this afternoon on Metallica Day for game 2 of the interleague series against the Angels facing another LHP in Hector Santiago.


  1. Really good seeing Susac in there and contributing, He's a starter on any club, without a doubt. And Pagan, welcome back- the bat's on fire. Btw, Panik came in to hit in the pitcher's spot, not Duffy's. Duffy stroked a hard liner just off the glove of 2B Giavotella for a hit in his last AB.

  2. While many things are on fire right now, Belt is an ongoing concern.

    PH is not easy. But his AB against Smith was poor. Smith put two fastballs right in the zone that Belt swung through. He set himself up for the back-door wrap-around slider that he K'ed looking on. (Really outstanding pitch by Smith)

    1st and 3rd, 1 out, only two OFers, and he can't cash in. The guy just will not step up.

    I just always get the feeling the guy is looking to walk first, hit last.

    1. Right now, Belt is late on hard stuff on the outer have which given his length and leverage, he should be hammering to the opposite field. It's just really frustrating to watch pitch after pitch that should be in his wheelhouse get fouled off the the left or swung through completely.

    2. I mean, I can understand sacrificing the inside corner in return for outer half coverage, but then by golly, hit the crap out of the outer half stuff!

  3. Watching Heston reminded me of another good sinker ball pitcher from the past: Bill Swift. It sure looked like replay failed which saved McGehee an error. Calhoun looked clearly save at 2nd báse. The Halos didn't have a lefty reliever to pitch to Panic which surprised me.


  4. I am hoping that Maxwell can hang on a little while longer and doesn't turn into this year Hicks where he contributes early on and then falls off the ledge.Not expecting to hit .300 but I am hoping he can be suitable right handed option off the bench. Still way early on Duffy I know but I am starting to get a Kevin Frandsen vibe on him a bit. Good story (both from Cal States), versatile but not spectacular, maybe a little more speed and potential in the bat but more of a utility guy. Not giving up on him but that is where I am starting to see him.

    Good win though and Heston is looking like a keeper.Need to find a couple more of him down in the minors and we might be able to begin to turn this around.

    Billy Baseball

    1. I'll take the other side of very early take on Duffy: I'd like to see him play every day (here or in Sac).

      He basically started every day April 8th-16th. He was hitting .300 on the 16th.

      Then he began pinch-hitting and spot-starting, and has seen his average drop to .240. Tough to find a rhythm.

      Last time he played regularly, he was hitting .340 in the Eastern. That's not nothing. Does it translate in the bigs? Maybe, maybe not. But I'd like to see what he does with 25 PAs a week.

    2. Agree with Anon, and good observation. This game is all about rhythm. It's an amazingly tough task for even the most seasoned utility guys to establish and keep it, let alone for a young, regular starter straight out of AA ball who has been asked to suddenly play off the bench, and at the very highest level. Not to mention, playing from multiple angles on the infield.

      Duffman has adapted well to the challenge, but I have a strong hunch that given a month of regular starts, he'd be proving himself an every day mlb player. Quite a challenge for him that his current opportunity is based on spot playing though. I discovered him through this blog, which has tracked him since Augusta. He's done nothing but tear it up the entire way, including claiming a roster spot this spring against all odds, when no one even imagined he could. Not a fragile fan here- I'm a believer.

    3. Well, if anybody is a Matt Duffy fan, it's me. Matt Duffy! The other side of the argument is once opposing teams see enough AB's from him, they tend to start exploiting weaknesses that did not get noticed at the minor league level, so more playing time can work the other way too.

    4. Ah, but the that's true for all players. I would argue that the pitching isn't all that different from AA to the top, and Duffy has shown that he can make the adjustments to keep hitting. The key for Duffy is regular play time, both to get rhythm and to slow the game back down for himself again. Won't be easy, given the roster situation. He'll have to virtually explode to claim a spot.

      I read Giants Extra this morning- Duffy is dropping the '0' on his jersey and will now be number 5. And could get a start today. The in and out thing, with the pressure to immediately perform well enough to stay, must be overwhelming.

    5. But you can also make the claim that all prospects who performed well in the minors would succeed in the majors if the mean manager would just give them the playing time they deserve. Frandsen, Belt, Nate, we've been through the same arguments with all of them. Look, I like Duffy too, a lot! I just don't want this to degenerate into another version of the Belt Wars, the Duffy Wars, if you will where the narrative becomes overrated HOF manager intentionally ruins the career of the prospect who otherwise would be the savior of a team that has never won anything and never will as long as said HOF manager is still in charge. Wait…….what?

      BTW, not saying that's what you are doing here, but to me the argument that so and so player would do a lot better if the manager would just play them more has never really been shown to be valid.

  5. Light in the tunnel, hope it's not a freight train: since the 8-game losing streak, the Giants are 7-4 (6-4 in last 10). If Lincecum and Hudson can continue on at their current pace and and we can get a few decent starts out of Vogey, we might be within a reasonable striking distance of the Dodgers by the end of May. And then we should have Peavy, Pence and (possibly) Cain back.

    I mention Peavy because -- he had a successful bullpen throwing session this AM. He'll have another on Tuesday. And if that goes well, he could be slated for a rehap assignment and be back as early as mid-May. Ishikawa is also back on track after having a set-back in his rehab. No update on Cain.