Friday, May 29, 2015

Game Wrap 5/28/2015: Giants 7 Braves 0

This game was a lot  closer than the final score would indicate.  Brandon Belt broke up a scoreless pitching duel between Atlanta starter Shelby Miller and Chris Heston with a 7'th inning HR.  The Giants added on a 6 run rally in the 8'th for the final runaway win.  Key Lines:

Norichika Aoki- 2 for 4.  BA= .326.  It seems like you can pencil in 2 hits for Aoki every game.   I think he now has 11 hits in his last 17 AB over 4 games.  He helped fuel the 6 run rally with a perfectly placed bunt down the 3B line with runners on first and second that forced a rushed throw that pulled the 1B off the bag for a bunt hit.

Joe Panik- 1 for 4, 2B.  BA= Panik followed Aoki's bunt single with a  bases loaded double that drove in 2 runs.

Hunter Pence- 1 for 4, 3B.  BA= .294.  Pence followed Panik's double with a triple that drove in 2 more runs and the route was on.

Brandon Belt- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(6).  BA= .305.  This is a sustained hot streak for Belt who is hitting .330 over his last 30 games.  He started out hitting for average but has now turned on the HR power with all 6 of his blasts coming in his last 15 games.  His dinger tonight broke a scoreless tie in the 7'th inning and came off one of the hottest pitchers in baseball, Shelby Miller.

Brandon Crawford- 2 for 4.  BA= .296.  Crawford's excellent season marches on.

Matt Duffy- 0 for 3, BB.  BA= .293.  OK, this is the guy I really want to talk about here.  It doesn't look like much of a line, but Duffy led off the 8'th inning against reliever Brandon Cunniff, who has an above average fastball and a nasty looking slider.  Cunniff made a huge mistake by starting Duffy off with his strikeout/wipeout slider which Duffy swung at and missed by about a foot.  He showed Duffy his best pitch right out of the gate, and Duffy, was we all know, is a fast learner.  Duffy swung and missed at another wicked slider for a 1-2 count.  He then spit on 3 straight sliders that were not easy takes and drew the leadoff walk that started the 6 run rally.  Now, how great is THAT?  Matt Duffy!!

Chris Heston- 7.1 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K's, GO/AO= 12/2.  ERA= 3.82.  This is what makes watching baseball such a joy.  On paper, Heston and the Giants had no chance in this one, but there is a reason why they play the games.  It's not like we didn't know Heston was capable of a game like this.  It's just that we've seen a lot of rookie pitchers have a few good games then a couple of bad ones then it snowballs and the next thing you know they are back in the minors.  On the other side of the field was Shelby Miller who might be the hottest pitcher in baseball right now.  Heston matched him pitch for pitch, and it was Miller who finally cracked first.  Just a tremendously inspiring performance from Hesto Presto on a night where it would have been reasonable to mentally check the game off as a loss and hope to win the next two.

And how inspiring is it to watch a couple of young players like Matt Duffy and Chris Heston, who we've all followed through their drafts and the minor league portion of their careers, see them improve with experience and then watch them perform on a night like this?  Add Joe Panik and Brandon Belt into that group too.

The Win improved the Giants record to 29-20. They are now 25-10 since hitting their nadir at 4-10 on April 19.  The Giants are now just 0.5 games behind the NL West leading Dodgers and are 1.5 games ahead in the race for the first Wild Card playoff berth.

This was also the Giants 9'th shutout of the season and 4'th home shutout in a row.  Can we say the pitchers are stepping up?

Tim Hudson tries to keep it going against the fireballing Mike Foltynowicz tonight.


  1. This team is a legitimate contender when the band is healthy and playing together. We just caught some tough breaks in odd years when Posey got injured in 2011 and the whole team just fades in the end in 2013. I am hoping the core group of guys don't falter to the end of the season and we'll take the Wild Card spot most probably again and we'll let Bochy do the rest. And look at them players coming out of our "barren" farm system contributing to the big leagues this year like Duffman and Hesto Presto and Panik that are not supposed to be playing like this while those with great farm systems never tasted the rings yet which is pretty mind-bogling considering the consensus are making them the next best teams in baseball. Go Giants!


    1. The Giants are only a game out of first place in the NL West now. On paper the Dodgers had the West from the start, but at this point we can hope for more than just the Wild Card. Let's watch the Giants clinch the West and then Kershaw drop the Wild Card Game.

      Obviously, still a lot of season left to play, and just one bad series from one team and a good series for the other and suddenly there is a 3 game gap again between 1st and 2nd. But while we're hoping.... let's dream bigger than the Wild Card !

    2. The Dodgers are also benefiting from not playing that many road games up to now, they have fattened up on a home-heavy start of the season, plus they have been almost unstoppable at home. They have had 28 home games, 21-7! And only 18 road games, 7-11. Of course, the Giants are the main cause of that, otherwise, they have been 7-5, so we'll have to see how they handle other clubs on the road. And they were actually better on the road than at home last season, so perhaps they could improve there as well. But road is tough, generally, and they are way over pythag at home, about 2 games, so they should be 19-9 instead.

      And yeah, we should be focused on the division title, this is way too early to be wild card watching. I would wait until we don't have much of a chance of winning the division title before I would then look at the wild card. I like Dusty's rule of thumb, a team should be able to gain one game per week in the standings, so if there is 8 more weeks left, then you are still in contention even if you are 8 games back, while if there is only 4 weeks left, then 4 games back is still doable.

  2. And I know you meant to add him too: BCraw! He also started hitting, and big, like Belt, about 30 games ago and the two of them has been the constant TOP offensive forces driving the 25-10 record.

    It has been a great tag team effort so far! Pitchers stepping up at home, hitters on the road. Together, they have been almost unbeatable.

    Lastly, great observation about Duffmans AB. Reminds me of Draymond Grren interview after Dubs won, about how he looked to contribute, no matter how badly he might br doing in one area of the game, just contribute. Duffman walking was a baseball equivalent. Plus, by the time he was done, he allowed his teammates to view the slider many times, enough to learn it themselves. This aligns with your observation a few days ago about how Duffy observed a SP and used that to hit his homer, actually, was that just the last game...

    Hudson could be pitching for his rotation spot starting today, with both Peavy and Cain nearing return, barring setbacks like Peavy AAA.

    1. huh? hudson will not lose his spot in the rotation. peavy is nowhere near ready, despite bochy saying that he will be after 2 more starts and cain is at least a month and a half away from returning


    2. I'm not so sure. I have less confidence in Peavy than Hudson.

      Hudson's current BABIP is .291 which is the average of his prior two seasons. Which avearage out to a 3.7ish ERA. I think the real issue is he's just made some mistakes, and had some bad luck, that has just killed him. His FB HR% is pushing 20%. And that's just killing him.

      Peavy, OTOH, has had a pretty shabby track record the past five years. Not entirely horrible as he had two healthy, good years in there. But he also had three seasons with injuries which lead to 4.0+ ERAs in those seasons. So I'm thinking the injured-season track record is against him. And, BTW, that's not including this year's 9.39 ERA over his two games pitched before he got shut down with injuries.

    3. What I was trying to say, bacci, (this is why I end up writing novels, because I don't always convey my meaning in short statements) is that Hudson is starting to pitch for his rotation spot, one start is not going to do him in, but these upcoming starts (around 5-6 in total) leading to when Peavy or Cain is ready to come back into the rotation, seems like ASG period is about right, he will need to start showing that he can still strike guys out, as well as do all the other things he's been doing to not have disaster starts, if he is not going to lose his rotation spot to one of them. He hasn't had one DOM start all season yet, the only reason his ERA isn't sky high is because he's pitched well enough to avoid DIS starts as well, I've never seen a pitcher go through so much of the season with no DOM nor DIS starts.

      And Heston isn't going down and Vogelsong looks Vogelstrong right now, so either the Giants break precedence and go with a 6-man rotation when one of Peavy or Cain returns by ASB, or they will need to remove a starter, and the only starter who isn't doing that well, peripheral-wise, is Hudson.

      I agree Peavy has issues, MosesZD, and a horrible injury history. He also has a pretty good history once he is healthy and working with catchers that he likes, as he does here in SF. He was very good for us last season, and if he can get healthy enough, I think he can be that good for us again. But I agree, big if, that is why I noted Hudson vs. Peavy/Cain.

      Krukow noted this morning that Peavy is good for about 3 innings, then his back gets balky, so he could return and take over Vogelsong's long relief role for the rest of the season (but that would probably cost us a reliever, because 25-man spots are tight, and we would need to DFA Machi, who has not been doing well). Also, given that the medical reports are that he'll never get to 100%, at least for this season, with the pitching going so well right now, they might just decide to keep Peavy down all season, blaming his back, let him rest up for 2016 instead.

      Has anyone ever heard of this back problem for Peavy before? I assume this is relatively new, or the Giants would not have signed him to the contract. I recall his prior injury DL's being arm and shoulder related. Anyone recall when this back issue popped up? When moving his Cable Car onto his property?

    4. "When moving his Cable Car onto his property?" LOL. That's a good one, ogc! Moving a cable car onto your property and turning it into a bar is such a bro thing to do!

  3. When I see the Giants homegrown infield it takes me back to the day when the Dodgers had Cey-Russell-Lopes-Garvey. While its not likely in today's world of free agency, our guys are all young enough where they could be together AND productive for awhile like that Dodger infield was. On top of that we have depth in the minors at every position. We have come a LONG way in terms of our homegrown players when we used to discuss Tony Torcato or Dan Ortmeier.

    Billy Baseball

    1. Always brutal to recall the next pick after Tony T. in '98 was CC Sabathia.

  4. CC was a local kid too...big whiff there!

    1. I would remind you, that was a loooong time ago!