Thursday, July 30, 2015

Welcome to the Orange and Black, Mike Leake

The Giants have a 2-month rental on Mike Leake, trading away a top prospect with past injury problems (Kerry Mella) and a slugger who can't seem to his MLB pitching (Adam Duvall).

Duvall went 14-for-73 last season in the bigs.

Leake has a 7.7 WAR in 6 seasons, with 3.0 of that in a 2013 season where he went 14-7.

Here's the story --

ARLINGTON -- Bent on improving their starting rotation, the Giants obtained right-hander Mike Leake from the Cincinnati Reds late Thursday night for two Minor Leaguers, right-hander Keury Mella and infielder Adam Duvall.
Giants general manager Bobby Evans tried fruitlessly to acquire Cole Hamels from Philadelphia or David Price from Detroit, All-Star left-handers who were considered the two premier starters among the pitchers considered available before Friday's 1 p.m. PT non-waiver Trade Deadline. Evans said that Hamels waived his no-trade clause to make a deal involving San Francisco possible, but the Phillies reached a tentative agreement with Texas instead. The Giants lacked the Major League-ready starters Detroit wanted in exchange for Price, who went to Toronto for three Minor League left-handers.
But the Giants found their fit with Leake, who's 9-5 with a 3.56 ERA in 21 starts.
"I feel like we've got more depth that will give us a good chance to win, day in and day out," Evans said.
Skeptics might claim that Leake, 27, isn't a significant upgrade over most Giants starters, such as Matt Cain, Tim Hudson and Jake Peavy. San Francisco's starters are 10-2 with a 3.35 ERA in the team's last 15 games but have averaged approximately six innings per outing.
By contrast, Leake worked eight innings in three of his last four starts, winning all of them and recording an 0.60 ERA in that span.
"We've been in touch with Cincinnati about Leake since Day One," Evans said.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

26-8 with Pence

and 30-37 without him.

That's what the Sacramento Bee reported after today's glorious 5-0 vic over Milwaukee

Actually, much of the story had to do with Jake Peavy ....

While the Giants were leaving open the possibility Wednesday of still making a splash – perhaps even a large one – before the non-waiver trade deadline, their current 25-man complement remained one of the hottest teams in baseball thanks in part to their two biggest deadline acquisitions of the past three years.
Jake Peavy pitched six scoreless innings and Hunter Pence had two key defensive plays and the tiebreaking hit in the Giants’ 5-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. The Giants finished their six-game homestand with a 5-1 record, and have won 13 of their past 15 games, with Wednesday’s win moving them into a temporary tie for first place in the National League West with the Dodgers, who had a night game against the A’s.
Amid speculation that the Giants could try to add another front-line starter such as the Phillies’ Cole Hamels or the Tigers’ David Price, the veteran Peavy had arguably his best outing since coming off the disabled list at the beginning of July, scattering four hits over his first scoreless outing of the season.
Since returning from the DL, Peavy has a 2.84 ERA and has completed at least six innings in all five starts with the Giants winning his past three. Wednesday’s game was scoreless in the sixth when the Brewers singled twice with two outs to bring up Ryan Braun. Peavy got ahead of Braun and, on his 91st pitch, threw a hard cutter for a swinging third strike.
“I think today was my best day as far as stamina goes,” Peavy said. “I felt like I was at the same place in the sixth as I was in the first. … It’s nice to be able to reach back and have a swing-and-miss pitch there when you really need it against an elite player in the league.”
Peavy said he and Braun have “had our share of battles” through the years, but Peavy has won most of them. The sixth-inning strikeout made Braun 2 for 17 lifetime against the Giants’ right-hander.
“I wanted to get him out there in a bad way,” Peavy said, grinning. “I’ll tell you that.”

Read more here:

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Blanco, Pence and Gray

What ????

Those were the three players of the game named by Jon Miller, Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper tonight after a dispiriting 5-2 loss to the Brew Crew. Matt Cain wasn't very good though Kruk thought he got better in the 5th and 6th.

Anyhow, Miller listed Blanco for getting two hits in two at bats. Krukow listed Pence for getting a double off the RF wall that led to the one rally of the night in the 7th and Kuiper listed Sonny Grey for shutting out the Dodgers.

Here's MC O'Conner from Raising Matt Cain--

 Matt Cain encountered a determined foe tonight as it looked like the Brewers had a plan against the big righty. He gave up eight hits and four runs in his six innings of work, and they were all kinds of hits: opposite-field doubles, grounders through the hole, blasts off the wall, etc. Milwaukee was led by that paragon of peskines Gerardo Parra, and got a big start from the flamethrowing Wily Peralta. It wasn't the Giants night and their sparkling six-game win streak comes to an end. The final was 5-2 but it never felt that close. The Brewers get their first win against the Giants this season. The Dodgers lead stays at a half game as they were shut out at home 2-0 by Sonny Gray and the Athletics.
Jake Peavy tomorrow afternoon. Go Giants!

Chris Heston wins his 11th

This guy ought to be getting some serious Rookie of the Year consideration. 

Raising Matt Cain has a nice recap -- 

Chris Heston put his infield to work tonight and they delivered of course, turning three double plays. Brandon Crawford put the hurt into one for the game-breaking bomb, and the 'pen did the rest for another Giants win. They gained a half game on the idle Dodgers with the 4-2 victory. Hest-o was neat-o again, and just like our man carmot said he is up there with the league's elites. What a treat to watch--did you see those two strikeouts in the 7th? BCraw also walked later and scored on a clutch pinch-double by Gregor Blanco to earn hitter's honors for the evening. Blanco was batting for Heston. Hunter Strickland looked deadly in the 8th, and Sergio Romo took the 9th, giving the regular man a break.

Matt Cain tomorrow. Go Giants!


This from the site --

"He's just been unbelievable to watch this year," third baseman Matt Duffy said of Heston. "[He's been] huge for us [after] not making the club Opening Day and thrust into a start right away. He's been good by anybody's standards, I think, let alone the situation that he started out with."

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Thanks, Jake Smolinski!

This games shows why front offices are reluctant to put rookies in games.

The Giants swept Oakland today, 4-3, with a nice 2-run HR by Duffy in the first and stout work by the pen in relieving Tim Hudson. 

But the strangest play of all came in the top of the 9th. 

Jake Smolinski, who's been on the Oakland roster for a few games, pinch hit for Ike Davis and got a walk. Casilla was not looking sharp. Lawrie singled and Phegley struck out as Casilla finally started to get command.

This guy has less than 200 ABs in the bigs and exactly one stolen base.

Then Smolinski took off for third on the first pitch and Posey gunned him down. Lawrie stayed at first -- because he obviously didn't know that Smolinski was going.

Then Casilla struck out Semien to give the good guys a sweep.

What a bonehead play. This is why I don't like the stolen base as a strategy. When it doesn't work, it's deadly.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Bumgarner's 9th

He hit the 9th homer of his career today in a glorious 2-1 vic over Oakland.

If he hits another 30, he'll break Wes Ferrell's career record....

Here's part of the story --

SAN FRANCISCO -- Madison Bumgarner recognized a fastball from Chris Bassitt, kept his hands inside the baseball and let the bat do the work.
The ball sailed over the head of A's left fielder Mark Canha and into the outfield bleachers to give the Giants their first run in a 2-1 win over the A's on Saturday afternoon at AT&T Park.
Bumgarner worked the count to 3-2 before sending the seventh pitch of the at-bat into the left-field seats.
"I fouled the previous pitch off my knee," Bumgarner said. "So I just tried to stay inside [the next one] a little more and was able to make the adjustment and hit it pretty good."
The home run was Bumgarner's third of the season and the ninth of his career. No other pitcher in baseball has more than one home run this year.
The left-hander became the first opposing pitcher to go deep against the Athletics since the Orioles' Dave McNally homered off Ken Holtzman in 1972, one year before the American League adopted the designated hitter position.

Matt Duffy outperforms the Panda

 He has a 2.9 WAR so far this year. Sandoval is -0.4 according to Baseball Rerfernce though he was 3.4 last year

The Giants 3B has been a better player than anyone expected, according to Owen Watson at Just a Bit Outside.

The stories behind Crawford and Panik’s breakouts have already been chronicled: through a few swing changes and pulling more fly balls, both Giants middle infielders have increased their power production by leaps and bounds this season. However, it's not terribly surprising these two are putting it together, as one (Panik) was a highly-regarded prospect, and the other (Crawford) was a very good college player.
The same cannot be said of Matt Duffy. An 18th-round pick in the 2012 draft out of Long Beach State, Duffy tallied a total of 501 college at-bats, but never hitting a homer. Over parts of three years in the minors between 2012-14, Duffy hit 13 homers in 1,087 plate appearances: that's a minor-league home run rate of one every 84 plate appearances. Houston's Jose Altuve hit a home run, on average, every 77 plate appearances between the 2013 and 2014 seasons, so Duffy homered in the minors at a rate just below what Jose Altuve has for the past two seasons. Duffy was productive in other ways, however, showing doubles power and a nice balance of patience and limited strikeouts.
Then 2015 rolled around, and the 24-year-old forced himself into an everyday role over Casey McGehee by hitting everything in sight. Duffy had eight homers in the first half of the season, performing 27 percent better than the average major-league hitter (while also barely showing his stolen-base ability). His average fly ball and home run distance currently sits at 297 feet, ranking 34th in the majors -- just behind Andrew McCutchen. That power explosion, coupled with Duffy's above average defensive work (something he was known for dating back to his college days), have put him in very good company among rookies in 2015.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Justice Dept. finally ends hopeless pursuit of Barry Bonds

That's the headline in a blog called Above the Law: Redline

That was our tax dollars at work. My reaction is the same way I feel when I see cops ticketing people for jaywalking. As in "Don't you have better things to do?" The answer is "no -- I have the power  to do whatever I feel like."

Here's part --

After more than a decade of wasted tax dollars in the name of “justice” the government has officially dropped its case against the embattled slugger. Yesterday, the federal government informed the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that it would not ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a ruling that reversed Bonds’ obstruction of justice conviction.
As Kevin Draper aptly summarized earlier this year:

Twelve years after his testimony in the BALCO case, eight years after he was indicted by a grand jury for perjury and obstruction of justice for that testimony, and four years after he was convicted of a single obstruction of justice charge, the federal government’s case against Barry Bonds has been revealed to be the farce we knew it was all along. . .
The case against Bonds was flimsy, stupid, and a massive waste of millions of taxpayer dollars from the beginning. The federal government tried to charge Bonds with as many as 15 counts, had that reduced to four, and won conviction on a single obstruction of justice charge. He was convicted, essentially, of giving a rambling answer to that grand jury back in December 2003.

The Old Reliable may be back

Matt Cain went 6 today and struck out 6 in a glorious 7-1 vic in San Diego. 

Here's MC O'Connor's recap at Raising Matt Cain -

 Matt Cain made a 3-2 mistake in the 2nd to Jed Gyorko and he jerked it out for a 1-0 lead. Padres starter James Shields looked like he might make that stand up for an old-fahioned Caining but the boys wore him down and he was pulled after five. Perhaps manager Pat Murphy didn't like the 96-pitch total, or had more faith in his 'pen, but it seemed weird since Shields had only allowed three hits, three walks and no runs. Regardless, it worked out well for the Giants as reliever Marcos Mateo gave up a solo shot to Brandon Belt in the 6th that tied up the game. Belt looked like he'd taken call strike three the pitch before, and Mateo had turned toward the home dugout, but the umpire said "ball three" and he had to throw another one. This one Belt belted to end his homer drought. In the 7th the Giants benefited from another friendly call that saved Matt Duffy from his fourth strikeout and he walked to set it up for Buster Posey who, naturally, delivered the game-breaking double. The margins between defeat and victory are small.

The Giants padded things with three more in the 8th off Dale Thayer to make it 7-1 and that's how it finished. Cain went six, with five hits and one walk allowed, and six strikeouts, a strong effort overall especially in a rubber match against a pesky division foe. The Giants now have a winning record against the Padres and a winning record for the month of July. They won five of six on the road trip and open a six-game homestand Friday with the first of three against Oakland.

Everyone in the lineup today had at least one hit, except Cain, and Justin Maxwell added a pinch-hit from the pitcher's spot in the 8th inning. Six different guys scored a run. Jeremy Affeldt is back, he looked a little ragged, but it's good to see him out there. Nori Aoki joins the team in San Francisco. Let's get the whole band back together for the stretch run, eh?


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Heston's 10th win

He's the first Giants rookie to get 10 wins since Matt Cain in 2006, per the SF Chronicle.

Heston is a big reason why the Giants are contending. They are now at 50-44. Here's part of Henry Schulman's coverage --

For five innings, rookie Chris Heston propagated his bid to throw a second no-hitter. He pitched into the eighth and allowed his lone hit to Melvin Upton Jr. leading off the sixth, a broken-bat single.
Heston became the first Giants rookie to reach double-digit wins since Matt Cain in 2006 and provided that elusive and much-needed extended outing to save the bullpen.
Unlike his no-hitter in New York on June 9, Heston’s pitch count would have been a factor had he continued his bid late into the game.
Manager Bruce Bochy said the Upton hit spared him a tough decision. However, pressed on whether he would have pulled Heston on pitch count with a no-no intact, Bochy harked back to Tim Lincecum’s big night at Petco Park two seasons ago and said, “I let Timmy throw 148 pitches here. What do you think I would have done?”
No Giant has thrown two no-hitters in one season, and Heston would have been lying had he denied thinking about it.
“It creeps in your mind,” he said, “but I was trying to focus on executing and getting outs. The more you don’t think about those things, the more chance you have of something like that happening.”
Just as special for the Giants was their power show.
The Giants clubbed three home runs, which they had done only five times in their first 107 games at Petco Park. Just as significant, the Giants finally solved Odrisamer Despaigne, a pitcher who had owned them.