Brandon Crawford Passes Travis Stonewall Jackson as Longest Tenured Giants Shortstop, Has Magical Night in Giants Win in Texas

No one has ever started more games at shortstop for the Giants than Brandon Crawford.

In the 139-season history of the team, on either coast, Crawford stands alone at short having passed Travis Jackson, a Hall-of-Famer who joined the New York Giants when he was 18 years old, played for fifteen years in the 1920’s and 30’s, and won four World Series.

Jackson was known as “Stonewall,” because nothing got past him. Crawford, well-known as the team dj, we call “B-Craw” and “DJ B-C-Raw.” Maybe he needs a new nickname for his endurance and steady, consistent brilliance at short.

It isn’t the first time Crawford has made history since his MLB debut in 2011. As per his wiki, he was the sixth player in MLB history to hit a grand slam in his first major-league game, and is also the first shortstop to hit a grand slam in a postseason game. He gave MadBum the lead with that salami, in the opening win of the elimination game on the road, in Pittsburgh! That was the incredible World Series run of ’14, the game when Bumgarner, on the way to the mound in the first, told the staff of relievers standing by the railing of the dugout, “we’re not gonna need you today.” Crawford scored the winning runs.

In 2016, Crawford did something no Giant had ever done, recording seven hits, tying a National League record for hits in a game, in a 14-inning win at Marlins Park. Patrick Pinak for MLB wrote at the time:

“To put the feat in perspective, only five players since 1913 have managed to reach the seven-hit mark. The last to do so was Pittsburgh’s Rennie Stennett in a nine-inning game against the Cubs in 1975.

“Before Crawford and Stennett, the other three players to have at least seven hits since 1913 were Detroit’s Cesar Gutierrez in 1970, Detroit’s Rocky Colavito in 1962 and Cleveland’s Johnny Burnett, who logged nine hits, in 1932. The NL record Crawford tied included Stennett and Baltimore’s Wilbert Robinson, who notched seven hits in 1892.”

Brandon Crawford is a Bay Area product who has loved the Giants since he was a child and has always been familiar with the team’s long history. At the time of the seven-hit accomplishment he said,

“It’s crazy to me. The history of the Giants with all the great players that have come through here you would think that someone would push across seven hits in one day. That’s pretty crazy to be in that small company.”

Now Crawford is in smaller company still. He has played the most games at shortstop for the Giants in franchise history, is the only Giant with a seven-hit game, and has only one less World Series win than the previous longest tenured shortstop, a Hall of Famer.

The night that Crawford passed Travis Jackson, on the road at the new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, the Rangers arranged in advance to let him run on the field alone, ahead of the other Giants, as the stadium announcer told the Texas crowd of his accomplishment for the team. It was a respectful moment by the Rangers.

Crawford thanked them by putting on a show: he hit two home runs, drove in three and flashed his glove with brilliance before the Rangers fans in a road win for the Giants.

It was a game the Giants won in the 8th and 9th innings. Down 4-2 in the 8th, Mike Tauchman hit his first career grand slam to break the game open and put the Giants on top 6-4. Crawford’s homers were the cream on top.

To their credit, the bullpen held. Garcia and Wisler were shaky, but Alvarez got the win while McGee and Leone pitched hitless, scoreless. Giants 9, Rangers 4

The day game was another experiment as Kapler used Zach Littell as an opener for two innings and then brought in Sam Long for his much anticipated major league debut.

A Sacramento kid, Long had struggled to make it in the majors after being selected by the Rays. He was out of baseball for a full year in 2018 before being picked up by the Chicago White Sox in ’19. He played single-A and was released by the Sox and had just about given up on baseball. Then came the Covid year.

Sammy Long was at home studying to be an EMT, which he assumed would be his job after baseball life, when, in November of 2020, the Giants came a calling. He had an incredible Cactus League, blew through the minors and was elevated to the big league mound for the first time at Arlington on Tuesday.

The second or perhaps third time (if you count the Kazmir start in Logan Webb’s place a few weeks ago) that Kapler has used the opener, resulted in a loss, but it wasn’t the fault of the starting pitching.

Littell went the first and second scoreless and handed the ball over. Sam Long’s debut was exciting. He threw seven Ks and allowed one hit and no runs over three and half innings. Jason Vosler and Chadwick Tromp hit back-to-back solo homers and Long left the game with the lead, though Dominic Leone came in and allowed one of his runners to cross, so Long officially has an ERA.

The Rangers, resisting the season series sweep at home, fought the game to extras against Tyler Rogers in the bottom of the 9th. The teams each scored in the 10th to keep it level. Jake McGee couldn’t keep them from crossing the plate and the Giants lost in extras on the road, again exposing the ‘pen as a weakness. Littell’s two opening innings, Long’s three and a half and two in midrelief by Conor Menez were bright spots. Menez allowed only one hit and struck out three in two innings of relief. Giants 3, Rangers 4 (11 innings)

On to the Nationals, game one was rained out, it’ll be played today: DeSclafani vs Max Scherzer.

Let’s Go Giants!

Win the road series in DC!

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Giants Handle Cubs 3-1 but Sustain Injuries; Longo Out at least a Month; PLUS Sabermetrics/Injury/Trade Report

In the ninth inning of the last game of a series we had already won, in a collision between two excellent veteran infielders going hard for a ball that was of indefinable responsibility (probably because of all the shifting), we lost Evan Longoria for four to six weeks. Super bummer – he was leading the team in average and playing brilliantly in the field and at the plate lately.

It was scary. But it was also awesome to see Crawford and Longo, like two highly tuned machines, go for that ball to the point of collision … until it wasn’t. Giants lost game four behind Johnny Cueto Cubs 4, Giants 3, but won the series with total command, scoring seven in game one, Cubs 2, Giants 7, eight in the next, Cubs 6, Giants 8, and eking out the win, Cubs, 3, Giants 4, in game three.

Interestingly, both times the Giants lost in the last eight games, the Padres and Bums lost on the same night! The super-secret plan to let them beat each other up while we steal the division is helped along considerably when that happens.

It was a good series for the Giants at home that featured:

  • commanding performances by Gausman and DeSclafani
  • home runs galore
  • a win despite use of an unusual ‘opener’ – the 37-year-old Scott Kazmir

Regards that final point, the Giants, a year ahead of schedule in the win column, are turning into a landing spot for misfit toys and experiments. It is amazing that they’re winning, and the more they do, the better it is for being able to use the lead to find out who works and who doesn’t – a decision that doesn’t have to be final.

The Giants designated Scott Kazmir for assignment and brought young rookie Camilo Doval back up. Doval started the season really well for a rookie but then got rocked in Colorado in a high pressure situation (all puns intended) and confronted by the realities of playing in the bigs. We were able to send him down to shake it off because we tried out a Bay Area former All-Star who wants a chance back at the big leagues.

The motion up and down between Majors and Minors is becoming more fluid. Early last year I said we’d have to get used to the Cactus League mentality lasting deeper into the season because we are amidst a rebuild. Now that’s happening not only because we are rebuilding but because injuries are forcing our hand to be more flexible. Zaidi and Kapler are turning that into opportunities to experiment. I love it.

The Bruce Bochy Era is Over

The experimenting isn’t limited to the up-and-downing to/from the Minors (we need a name for this). It is also apparent in the short leash Kapler is employing. That is a HUGE change from Boch, and for me, it is most welcomed. Kap getting comfortable with making changes, being aware of the three-batter rule, lefty/righty, all the decison-making holistically, is very exciting to watch happen in front of our eyes. He is methodological.

There have been several moves made on pitch count alone or the comfort of the starter to go on – with an eye on endurance for the season. I heard the Pirates announcers go nuts watching Kap take the ball from DeSclafani when he was rolling on the road. I like this.

The idea of a starter or a closer or a middle reliever and how many and which innings they pitch is becoming more fluid, too. Scary, sure, but how else do you learn how to make these calls in an informed way in October if you don’t try em out during the 162? Trusting Kap has been like riding a skateboard, but I am starting to really enjoy it in the early part of the season while we’re winning!

Bunts and Basepaths

The basepaths are another place to see Sabermetrics at work. The Giants are running – like … all the time. Sometimes when they shouldn’t! Alex Dickerson got picked off at first by Contreras when he was the trailing runner! lol. Posey was on second. He got picked taking a lead with Posey on second. facepalm.

Tauchman went on a ridiculous pitch and was caught. Dubon. But there have been a few SBs, with Austin Slater leading the way. More importantly: they are training them to run by giving them hella green lights. It’s pretty hilarious sometimes, but on the whole, it’s great for the evolution of the team.

Aggressiveness on the base paths is leading to more runs and turning our home run parade into multi-run homers, not the solo shots that sometimes curse the Bums and Braves.

The Giants are also walking more and bunting more and more effectively – up and down the lineup, not just pitchers. There is an infectious interest in getting on, taking second and bringing em in. I love it.

Home Run Parade

The San Francisco Giants are crushing the ball, led by Brandon Crawford (12) who, like Posey and Longo, is having a rejuvenated year at the plate. Ron Wotus told Marty Lurie over the weekend that B-Craw had been working on moving his hands up the bat and swing form over the Winter and Spring. Wow, is it paying off! He also leads the team in RBIs (thanks in part to all that aggressive on-base activity) with 37.

As a sidenote: Jon Miller and Dave Flemming have repeatedly made note of Longoria’s bat change, which has the 35-year-old leading the team in average. Mark Sanchez at KNBR reports that after batting with the same length and weight of bat for Longo’s entire career:

“He downsized half an inch and half an ounce, switching to a 33-inch, 31-ounce bat regularly for the first time in his career. He had toyed with it last year but never committed, then watched as his new bat sizzled during spring training.

“Just being able to put good swings on the ball, find the barrel and create some bat speed and not feel like I have to really generate a lot extra with having a lighter, smaller bat,” said Longoria.”

As a team the Giants have hit 85 home runs! Led by the veterans: Posey (10), Longo (9) and Belt (8) while young Slater (7), Ruf, Dickerson and Yaz (6), have all gotten in on the action.

Injuries and Trade Report

Belt, Longo, Yaz, Ruf and Curt Casali are out. LaStella still hasn’t played significant innings. Ugh. Logan Webb is down and Reyes Moronta is still down. It has been rough. But an excellent opportunity for other guys to show their stuff:

LaMonte Wade, Jr. is finally getting playing time – and Sunday he hit his first leadoff homer! Love that guy. Mauricio Dubon has had some incredible games lately. Duggar is still making great contact.

I was glad to see Chadwick Tromp got the call up I asked for the last few weeks. In my opinion, the Aruban Stallion needs reps so we can carry three catchers as soon as possible, but Farhan Zaidi went further and picked up yet another misfit toy in former Bay Area product Bruce Maxwell (c), former Athletic, who has been acquired from the Mets for cash.

The veteran was known for having taken a knee long before it became policy. Bruce Maxwell was the first major leaguer to take a knee during the national anthem. A perfect fit on the Giants, the first team in MLB history with “pride” colors on their uniforms: colors of inclusion.

NL West Standings

Giants (37-22)

Padres (36-25)

Dodgers (34-25)

The Giants remain in first place in the NL West, now by two games over the Pads, and still, remarkably, have the best record in all of baseball.

We go down to Texas for a two-fer, night game Tuesday, day game Wednesday afternoon. But the day game in Arlington will no longer be hellish, because they have a roof! and Air-conditioning! for the first time at Arlington! Woo Hoo. Let’s get em both.

Let’s Go Giants!

Rough up the Rangers!

Trash the Texans!

two-fer!

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Giants Split Brace at the Yard with Disney Company Angels, Still in First Place in NL West, Prepare for Quietly Climbing Baby Bears

The Giants lost big yesterday, but it fit just fine into our hopes for walking between the rain drops in the NL West because the Bums and Padres both lost, too, which keeps us in first place.

Amazingly, predicted by almost no one, and pointed out by Friend of GBC, Marc: the Giants ended the month of April in first and now have ended the month of May in first, as well. If June Swoon is due, the way to come into it is in first, and wrestling to stay there. Check.

Game one against the Angels was Johnny Cueto’s real return from the IR. The shimmying, fast-moving Cueto allowed five hits, just one run, struck out five and walked no one. He was good under pressure and looked like his old self cruising to victory. Cueto is now (4-1).

The Giants backed him with homers and big hits. Longoria, LeMonte Wade, Jr., and Mauricio Dubon all went yard. The Giants are raining long balls. According to STATS, it’s the first time they have hit 78 home runs and had six straight games with multiple homers since July 24-29, 2001 – peak Bonds.

Giants 6, Disney Angels 1

Game two by contrast was a Rendon coming out party and the first blowout of Alex Wood in what has been a troubling slide in an otherwise brilliant start to the season. Wood gave up seven runs on four hits with four walks in just 3 2/3 innings and lost his third straight start to move to (5-3).

Donovan Solano had an RBI single, but that was it for the offense which had been blasting so many homers in recent days. Anthony Rendon drove in five runs and Max Stassi returned from a concussion and hit an RBI double for the Angels.

Giants 1, Angels 8

The Giants now welcome one of our oldest rivals, the Chicago Cubs, to town for four games. One of my all time favorite games at the new park was the Turn-Back-the-Century Game in 2012 against the Cubbies, when we both wore jerseys from 1912 and had announcements made by megaphone. Epic throwback day.

The Cubs just did damage to the red hot San Diego Padres, winning the first two games of a three-game set at Wrigley, and helping us stay in first place. The third game is today, an off-day for the G-men, and if the Pads avoid the sweep, they’ll be tied with the Giants for first. So Go Cubs! (for just one game).

I will post an off-day post with some summary and conjecture and commentary tomorrow.

Let’s Rest Giants!

Chill Out, Giants!

Relajate!

NL West Standings

Giants (34 – 21)

Padres (34 – 22)

Bums (32 – 23)

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In Complete Turnaround, Giants Erase Home Sweep and Take Series in Chavez Ravine 3-1

This was like a train, the momentum of this thing since Tauchman’s catch.

I’d be remiss not to mention though that Albert Pujols hit his 669th and 670th home runs in the last couple of days, toh to Phat Albert. Good career – probably used performance enhancing drugs during it, maybe even banned ones, but hey, to the game.

Gausman mowed em down and the Giants lit up Kershaw! The first five innings of this thing, the battle between ace starters, was won by Kevin Gausman, who went six innings giving up only two hits, striking out seven. The Giants meanwhile, tagged Kershaw for seven hits and five earned runs. Dubon and Slater homered off him.

The trouble started in the 8th and 9th, when Zach Littell and Jake McGee again gave up two runs each to put the Dodgers within one with runners on in the bottom of the ninth.

It’s like the 2021 Giants are playing two different games: One is the starters innings, often as many as six, and often exciting and successful. The other is the late innings, a careening mess, with no clear or consistent leader and an early season littered with blown saves and nearly blown games.

Giants 5 Dodgers 4

I can’t believe it. and I am thrilled.

The Giants (33-20) got swept at home in a three game series at Oracle by these Dodgers last weekend, and they went down to Chavez Ravine and won three, erasing the sweep. It was great hitting that drove this team and it was sparked by Tauchman’s catch-of-the-year-so-far.

The Padres (34-20) got beat in Houston and now are only a half game ahead of the Giants in the standings, while the Dodgers (31-22) fall to a full two games behind the boys in orange and black.

Slater was hot, Dubon, Solano. Whole team is hitting well now. Patient at-bats. LeMonte Wade Jr. had another hit.

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Giants Stake Logan Webb Seven Runs in Four Innings; Webb K’s Seven, Walks None, Allows One Hit Over Five for Win

This one was nutty. Justin Turner doubled in Lux to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead in the first. The Giants then delivered a hit parade against Urias to take the lead on a two-run Dubon single in the second.

But horrifyingly, Donavon Solano had back-to-back errors at second base in the bottom of the second allowing Urias to drive in another run. It was ugly. Urias, who drove in three runs up at Oracle in a dominating performance last week, now has four RBIs against the Giants.

That’s a pitcher, folks, a Dodger pitcher, who came into our house, kicked our ass from the mound and drove in three runs himself as he cruised. (#FuckTheDH). There was shared beef among the Giants over that drubbing and now Solano’s errors allowed Urias another RBI?!?

The guys had a meeting on the mound after Donnie Barrels’ errors to encourage Solano to shake it off – and, did he! Solano ripped a two-run homer in the bottom of the second to erase the run his errors allowed and add to the Giants lead. The Giants then went on a three inning tear against Urias, driving in three more runs and chasing him from his worst start of the season: 7-2 Giants after five.

Webb was crisp over five and retired the last eleven batters he faced. But Gabe Kapler said in advance of the game that Webb, coming back from injury, would be on a 65-70 pitch limit. It was frustrating to watch as he sent in Scott Kazmir for the sixth when Webb had been so hot.

Kazmir is a 37-year-old former all-star trying to make his second comeback, who hadn’t made a major league start in five years until his start for the Giants against the Dodgers just last week. He gave up a homer to Max Muncy that chased him from that game.

With Webb on a pitch count limit, Gabe Kapler gave the ball to Scott Kazmir. Who would the first batter he faced be today, his next outing? Max Muncy. Very interesting managerial decision, albeit with a five run lead: threw him out at his demon immediately, on purpose.

They practically “called it on Baseball Night in America” and he homered again. Max Muncy has our number, and he has ownage of Kazmir. Kazmir ended up giving up two runs as did Alvarez who followed him. The Dodgers were within striking distance twice. Ugh, our ‘pen.

I think I get it: Kapler is trying as hard as he can to get these relievers tense opportunities so they can get better as the season goes on. With a big lead, he risked giving these guys a shot.

But that’s also because this is still a competition for jobs … in late May.

Moneyball morphs Spring Training into a pool of players moving up-and-down, possibly ’til mid-June. Maybe, kinda, all year.

I do expect a short leash from Zaidi upstairs for consistent failures, otherwise what’s the point of risking these leads? But I understand that more people get chances to compete for jobs under moneyball. It’s just hard as a fan, still, for me to get used to.

Powerfully, the Giants bats earned the breathing room to mitigate bullpen failures, scoring eleven runs before it was all said and done, and consistently protecting the lead.

Longo, Yaz and Duggar remain hot. Matt Wisler, who has struggled mightily in relief, came in and shut down the Bums with four Ks over the last 1.2 in a non-save situation. That was GREAT to see.

Giants 11, Dodgers 6

Webb got the win (4-3), Urias took the L (7-2) and all of a sudden the Giants have back-to-back wins at Chavez Ravine going into today’s match up between our ace Kevin Gausman and Clayton Kershaw. Wow. I had hoped for a split in L.A. and we have a shot at a series win!

Let’s Go Giants!

Beat LA!

Beat LA!

Beat LA!

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Tauchman Etches Name in Giants-Dodgers Rivalry Lore, Robs Pujols of Walkoff; Giants Get First Win Over Bums in Extras

This was a Giants-Dodgers classic with a stunning catch to prevent what would have been Albert Pujols’ 669th home run and his first walkoff at Chavez Ravine. But for the guy Farhan Zaidi traded for in the last week of April, who became a Giant for life:

and the score remained 5-5 and we went to the first Giants-Dodgers extra innings game with a free man on second.

AP reported that Tauchman called it one of his top two catches in the majors:

“I robbed another homer in Baltimore. I got up pretty good,” Tauchman said. “It’s probably the most fun play you can make. You can practice over your chain-link fence in the backyard. The opportunities are so few and far between, so it’s pretty cool.

“You can never really tell, but I think any time you’re going back, or after anything, you want to go hard at first to keep yourself from drifting. I got to the spot to time my jump,” Tauchman said. “Sometimes the ball goes in and sometimes it doesn’t. I happened to make a play for the boys.”

The Giants traded Wandy Peralta to the Yankees for Mike Tauchman in the last week of April. Zaidi said he had his eye on him for a long time. Tauchman was immediately effective for the Giants and instantly became a regular part of the lineup that was, within days, in first place in the division. Another sneaky great Farhan Zaidi pick up.

Add to that, as Greg Papa pointed out in his interview with Zaidi Thursday, that the very first player signed by Farhan Zaidi to be a Giant, Jason Vosler, hit the go-ahead home run off the bench in the late innings in Arizona. Throw in Alex Wood’s fantastic start, Yasztremski and DeSclafani’s success … and the Farhan Zaidi Era of moneyball in SF looks more impressive each day of this young season. And we haven’t even really seen Tommy LaStella, the longest term/highest paid player among the Zaidi contracts.

The Tauchman catch took it to extras and I have complained loudly and often here that Gabe Kapler has yet to show me he can win these. I said he has looked like a guy who arrives at extras and realizes he doesn’t have what he needs. Tonight he proved me wrong.

LeMonte Wade, Jr. who has been somewhat short-changed for playing time, made huge use of the chance he was given at leadoff. He drew two walks and showed his worth in the clutch driving in the go-ahead free man on second in the 10th. Longo doubled in Wade and Yasztremski to give the Giants the 8 – 5 lead and Jarlin Garcia closed out the bottom of the inning.

Giants 8, Dodgers 5

Buster had a three-run go-ahead homer in this one and Steven Duggar had a solo home run off Buehler in the fifth. Duggar is 10 for 24 with three homers in his last 13 games. Great Giants Win!

We remain tied for second at (31-20), but the Padres pounded the Astros on the road 10-3 to stay up by a game and a half. Damn, the Padres are good right now. They ripped off nine wins in a row and have won 12 of their last 14.

DeSclafani had a bounce-back start, but again left early. He was chased in the fourth having given up two runs, five hits and four walks. He threw 90 pitches of which 51 were strikes and he had three Ks. I’m okay with this. He needed a decent outing and not to get beat up by the Bums again.

I see now that using the bullpen early, even if it has been costly, gives us flexibility in the middle innings when the starter struggles. It’s part of the savvy of an opener attitude. Tonight the ‘pen was excellent in LA. Baragar, Littell and McGee held the vaunted Dodger lineup scoreless through the seventh.

Barnes tagged Tyler Rogers for a three run dinger that tied the game in the eighth. I think teams are starting to read his submarine delivery better now, but anyway, that has been the Dodgers m.o. – blasting late innings homers for wins. Yet, Tauchman’s catch and the Giants offense gave Tyler Rogers the win despite giving up the three runs. Garcia was solid to get the save.

Today Logan Webb, back from injury, will go up against the smoking hot Julio Urias, who destroyed us at Oracle last week. We used a lot of guys out of the ‘pen in game two. I don’t expect the Giants to win today, but hey, after that super-inspiring catch by Tauchman, I have sweet hope that math just keeps working.

I wanted to leave LA with a split and we have Gausman on the mound Sunday. I could see it happening. In a way, Logan Webb can be allowed to fail early in his return-from-injury start. It’s the same thing we achieved with Johnny Cueto’s return: make it as negligible a loss as possible. I like this kind of thinking. It shows real vision for the forest and the trees, the series’ and the season.

Let’s Go Giants!

Beat LA!

Beat LA!

Beat LA

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Giants Wrangle Snakes in the Desert, Head to Chavez Ravine Tied for Second with the Bums, Game and a Half Back of Pads

The two game “series” is total bullshit. We need better terminology. It’s not a series of two. The British use “brace,” we use “couple,” or “pair,” but we need some better name for these two-game encounters in MLB. Further we need to “sweep” (for lack of yet another term) both of these against the D-Backs and other subpar teams … and we did! Barely.

Giants 8, Diamondbacks 0

The Giants rebounded from the home sweep in a big way behind our ace Kevin Gausman. Evan Longoria exploded for three hits, including a three-run homer, and drove in four runs. The dirtbag has ownage of the stadium in Arizona: Longoria is hitting .391 with six homers and 20 RBI in 18 games at Chase Field since joining the Giants in 2018, says ESPN), to whom Longo replied:

“I love hitting here. It’s reminiscent of my days in Tampa. I love the dome atmosphere, As a hitter, when the conditions are static, when you don’t have to worry about wind or sun, it makes it one less thing you have to worry about.

“Obviously the ball flies well. The gaps are big. There are a lot of ways to get hits in this ballpark, not just hitting ir over the fence. It is pretty comforting for the hitters to have that in back of their minds.” Note to Staff: Longo plays in Arizona and the Texas two-fer on the 8th and 9th of June.

Giants 5, Diamondbacks 4

What a game! In this one, Johnny Cueto fell behind early. He gave up eight hits and four earned runs over five and left down 0 – 4.

The Giants offense could do nothing until the top of the eighth, but to their credit, the much maligned Caleb Baragar and the unknown quotient Nick Tropeano, held. Then in the top of the eighth, Wow! Back to Back homers from Austin Slater and Jason Vosler put the Giants ahead 5-4! It was Vosler’s first major league big fly!

McGee and Rogers closed out but not without drama – the end was precarious. The Snakes had bases loaded when we got the final out – again. Still, the bullpen pitched four shutout innings in relief of Johnny Cueto, and that was great!

I am proud of the guys for bouncing back after the sound defeat at home to the Bums last week. Better still it means we go into the four game series with the Nemesis this weekend at Chavez Ravine tied in the division!

That’s right, the NL team in LA and the Giants are both (30-19) and a game and a half back of the Padres in the NL West going into a four game series starting tonight. I’d love it if we could split in L.A. Let’s just aim to take two.

Alex Wood (5-1, 1.93ERA, 42 Ks) goes for the Giants, looking to avenge the loss he took at Oracle last week facing Trevor Bauer. We don’t yet know whom the Giants lineup will be facing.

Let’s Go Giants!

Beat LA!!!!!!

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Back to Earth. Zaidi and Kapler Experiment, Giants Lose Home Sweep to Bums, Padres Seize First in NL West

It was a rough weekend, but one we should have seen coming. The Nemesis came into Oracle and took all three games, behind new Bum Trevor Bauer and Walker Beuhler and Julio Urias, to make it seven straight. The Padres are on a tear as well – they’ve won nine in a row! After three weeks in first place, the Giants have dropped to third in the division where everybody expected us to be.

I thought we were going into the weekend with the top of the rotation, but the front office continues to experiment early in the season, which has been its m.o. all three years of the Farhan Zaidi administration. It can be disconcerting not to have a set lineup until July, but that’s how this comes together with the moneyball system – lots of moving parts, little patience for slumps, shuffle guys til you find the right ones.

I jumped the gun to claim a starting rotation. We haven’t had a fifth starter yet, and the front office and Kap are right: there’s simply no good reason to go to a four-man rotation or overwork Gausman, Cueto, Wood and DeSclafani in games in April and May and early June.

That said, the fifth starter, like the bullpen, remains an issue. Management decided this weekend to give a veteran guy trying to make a comeback a shot – a former Bay Area star – and it was the right move. In fact that guy wasn’t the problem.

Our bats fell silent and our defense fell off. We have been playing outstanding defense to start the season. It has been crisp, a joy to watch. But over 162 that tends to even out. This weekend it may have started to do just that. I hope we can shake off the losses and get back to form and it isn’t at trend.

Giants 1, Dodgers 2

Game one was a hard fought defensive battle and the Giants showed real promise, keeping it tight for nine. Trevor Bauer was incredibly good. In fact, the only run the Giants scored was on an error by Bauer. Alex Wood was good against his old team, but not quite good enough – which is our story against this team right now: they’re better than us.

Giants 3, Dodgers 6

Game two was evidence the front office intends to use the early months of the season to try guys out, to experiment and combinate. Kapler started Scott Kazmir in the fifth starter position. The 37-year-old was good. He allowed only one run and two hits in four innings. The three-time All-Star struck out two, walked none and threw 55 pitches. But the Giants couldn’t contain the opposition. A Muncy splash homer and a Barnes homer; a Pujols RBI, some guy named Beaty driving in runs. ugh.

Giants 5, Dodgers 11

Sunday was ugly. DeSclafani was jacked early and often including for a grand slam by Lux. He gave up 10 earned runs! There’s no coming back from that. To their credit, the ‘pen held, which is nice. But this was an ugly day at the yard.

Welp. Being in first for 21 days was fun while it lasted!

shake it off and move on!

let’s go Giants!!

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Leading National League West by One Over Pads, Two Over Bums, SF Giants Welcome Weekend Challenge by Nemesis; Giants. Dodgers. Game One.

Giants. Dodgers.

Regarded as one of the most competitive and longest-standing rivalries in American baseball, with some observers considering it the greatest sports rivalry of all time, says wiki.

Fans of both sides, each and all, have memories of great contests from our eras – for the generation before mine it’s the ’51 pennant race and the shot heard round the world – for many my age, one of the worst was the gutpunch loss to end ’93. One of the greatest, the two-game sweep in ’97. We remember the games we attend aganst our nemesis with historical reverence for thousands of contests between our organizations and the remarkably level running totals.

The Dodgers and Giants played each other for the first time on April 18, 1884, in an exhibition game won by the Giants, 8-0. The first meaningful game between them was October 18, 1889 at the Polo Grounds in Manhattan; that’s from a whole site dedicated just to the rivalry. I encourage all fans of both teams and all baseball fans to check it out.

But this season we have yet to play! It took a month and a half for our first match up, this weekend at Oracle. Then we play them nine times over the next two weeks.

This is the Giants first test as NL West Division leaders. In the parlance of drag racing we put the hole shot on the division and now we see whether we can legitimately compete and be a season-long threat to take first. The Giants are perfectly positioned to win this series and with determination and effort could sweep.

Our starting pitchers are exactly in the order we want them: Alex Wood, Kevin Gausman, Anthony DeSclafani. The storyline tonight is Wood versus his old team (they’ll be giving him his Irregular Season Champonship ring when we go down to SoCal next week) and versus Trevor Bauer, the high-ticket offseason acquisition and social media lightning rod.

Several key bats are back from IR: Mike Yasztremski, Alex Dickerson, Donovan Solano and we are coming off a four game road sweep of the Reds that ended in an explosion of 19 runs. Brandon Crawford is hot. Brandon Belt is rested. Buster is popping. Ruf looks good, Slater and Duggar are hitting.

The Bums are without Cody Bellinger and Clayton Kershaw is out of sequence, but they are coming off a home sweep of Arizona and they open the series at Oracle behind Trevor Bauer followed by Walker Beuhler and Julio Urias. They are still the Irregular Season champs, and are loaded for bear as the highest payroll in the majors by more than 20%. They outspend us by $66 million dollars.

Let’s Go Giants!

Sweep L.A.

Beat L.A.

smack the Bums around!

bust out the brooms

Sweep L.A.!

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After 23 Run Outburst Last Year, Giants Rack up 19 Runs in Shellacking of Reds to Complete Road Sweep 4-0, End Road Trip 6-2

Last year, what we call the Irregular Season, the Giants had a game – granted it was in Colorado with altitude – when we scored 23 runs. Today’s performance of 19 runs in more down to earth Cincinnati was another high-water mark for The Farhan Zaidi Era: these Giants can score.

A four game sweep to end a road trip 6-2 is right in the wheelhouse of our expectations.

Our plan is to beat the teams we should beat – like the Pirates, Reds, D’Backs and Rox and so on – and to take as many games as we can from the high-rolling HUGE spenders in our division. Let them beat each other up, we’re the tortoise. We’re the moneyball playin’ tortoise.

These four games in Cincinnati were almost perfect.

Logan Webb pitched six shutout innings in game one! Flores, Yaz and Dubon homered and we managed not to blow the ninth, barely. Giants 6, Reds 3.

DeSclafani was razor-sharp in game two against his old squad, giving up just the leadoff home run – to league-leading batter Jesse Winkler – over seven innings. B-Craw’s sustained leadership, this time from his team-leading 10th home run, gave the Giants the lead. Zach Littel gave up a homer in the 8th, but Jake McGee picked up his 11th save. Giants 4, Reds 2.

This was the night, as per ESPN/STATS that: “The Giants have been in first place in the NL West for 22 straight days, that’s their longest run of consecutive days at the top of the division since a 93-day streak in 2016. San Francisco spent only three days in first place from 2017-2020”

Kevin Gausman was sparklingly brilliant through six in game three. Gerald Dempsey “Buster” Posey’s three run-double in the ninth was CRITICAL insurance. The Giants led 1-0 til then on a Tauchman RBI single in the fifth. The Reds were all over the bags in the ninth for Tyler Rogers who got out of the jam to save the shutout. Giants 4, Reds 0.

Today’s final game of the series versus Mahle was the one I was most worried about. This kid had been on fire in recent outings. Ha! The Giants, on YouTube to a global audience of arguably BILLIONS, exploded in the third inning and destroyed Mahle and Reds’ pitching for 9 runs. It was 10 to 1 after three. Johnny Cueto got his comeback win and had plenty of innings to work out kinks from his recent time on the injured list. This was GREAT. Giants 19, Reds 4.

We are perfectly positioned to face the Bums this weekend: Wood, Gausman and DeSclafani. The Padres and Bums have been winning and are within reach. We need to maintain our home dominance.

SWEEP LA!

I said it …

let’s SWEEP LA!

Let’s Go Giants!!!

beat the bums.

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