Giants rained out in Denver, DH scheduled for Tuesday

By Morris Phillips

Cold temperatures and rain kept the Giants and Rockies from play in the opener of their three-game series in Denver on Monday.

The clubs–and their pitching staffs–get a soft landing with a doubleheader scheduled for Tuesday with both games shortened to seven innings.

Alex Wood is the scheduled starter for the opener at 2:40pm, and Aaron Sanchez, Monday’s scheduled starter, will pitch the nightcap.

The postponement is welcome news for Trevor Story, Brandon Crawford and others on both teams who are nicked up and could use an extra day to heal.

The Dodgers were postponed in Chicago, and the Padres won at home over the Pirates, a combination that keeps the Giants in first place in the NL West at 17-11.

Casali, Giants dial up another shutout, Giants open homestand with a 3-0 win over the Marlins

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Deceptive advertising, that’s what it is.

The Giants tout a cerebral hitting approach, a lineup of dangerous sluggers, and explosive offense delivered late in games, but when you get to the park they give you pitching, more pitching and shutouts.

Not that there have been complaints…

Curt Casali, the Giants previously unknown backup catcher signed as a free agent in January, grabbed a slice of big league history Thursday by being the starting catcher in a fifth, consecutive Giants’ shutout, 3-0 over the Marlins. The feat hadn’t been accomplished by any big league catcher since Francisco Cervelli did it in 2015, and it brings Casali within one of Ed Phelps’ (Pirates) major league record of catching six, consecutive shutouts. Only five catchers–including Casali–have achieved the feat since 1901.

But what sets Casali apart from the other notable catchers, says it all about the 2021 Giants: five different starting pitchers have participated in the streak, a first. And nine different relievers have participated in the streak, no record, but impressive nonetheless.

Simply, the Giants have quality pitching and a couple of capable engineers running the show behind the plate.

“Me and Buster have worked really, really hard behind the scenes,” Casali said. “It feels like, finally, it comes to the forefront. I’m pretty proud. Obviously l’m not the one throwing the pitches.”

The advertised offense simply needed a cameo appearance versus the Marlins, providing three runs in the first. All three runs came after the first two hitters were retired on a single, two doubles with a walk of Evan Longoria mixed in.

Donovan Solano was placed on the injured list before the game with a calf injury. Longoria departed Thursday’s game after one at-bat, due to tightness in his hamstring. And Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford are dealing with various physical issues that kept both out of the starting lineup.

That’s the entire, Opening Day infield lineup out, and everything else the Giants had to offer in, yet they still made it work. Anemic batting averages, lessened defense at the corners, a travel-weary bunch returning from Philadelphia, but fortified with a bunch of quality pitches. That was the formula Thursday and Aaron Sanchez set the tone.

Sanchez allowed two hits, no walks in five innings, and did so with the speed on his fastball noticeably lacking. It mattered little as he induced ground-based and weak contact during his stint while lowering his ERA across four starts and nearly 20 innings to 1.83.

“My velo is down, but it’s been down,” Sanchez said. “It’s about getting outs, so I don’t really (reflect on) how hard I’m throwing.”

Gregory Santos followed Sanchez with his Major League debut and 98 mph fastballs mixed with 90 mph sliders made the occasion special. Santos struck out pinch-hitter Magneuris Sierra and leadoff man Jazz Chisolm, Jr. before inducing a ground out from Miguel Rojas on a 2-2 pitch.

With Santos and Camilo Duval, who debuted last week, the Giants bullpen has two, dynamic new arms. The catch? Both are extremely inexperienced, but talented, a gap that isn’t always bridged. But in these cases, the team’s willing to try.

The Giants’ 12-7 record is second only to the Dodgers among the 30 ballclubs. Achieving that mark with only seven home dates thus far is impressive, given the Giants have only lost once at Oracle Park.

On Friday night, Alex Wood faces Miami’s Sandy Alcantara at 6:45pm.

Smash and Splash: Hard-hitting Reds make themselves at home in Oracle Park, win 3-0

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–The Massive Reds Hit Parade–2021’s answer to the Big Red Machine of the mid 70’s–had been rolling along for nearly two weeks, too short of a period to earn a snappier nickname, but long enough to insert sluggers Joey Votto and Jesse Winker into its powerful turbine engines.

But with worldly forces like COVID-19 and the common flu rearing themselves, Votto and Winker found themselves as passengers, not drivers of the formidable offense that leads MLB in batting average, runs scored, slugging percentage and RBI, while merely being tied for the lead in home runs with the Astros at 16.

That pecking order within the Reds machinery changed Monday night at Oracle Park as Winker and Votto hit their initial homers of the season in a 3-0 Cincinnati win. The surprising Reds have nine sluggers with at least one home run, and a total of 18 again only matched the Astros, who also connected twice on Monday.

When asked about the successful adjustments he’s made in his swing, Votto was nonplussed, while expressing disappointment to his season’s start, saying “the ball needs to go over the fence, the ball needs to go in the gap.”

Or into the Cove. Votto’s 400-foot drive off reliever Jarlin Garcia not only increased the Reds’ lead in the sixth, it allowed Votto to become the first Cincinnati slugger to take a ball into McCovey Cove, after 21 seasons of falling short.

Winker struck in the third, taking a slider over the center field wall, as Giants’ pitcher Aaron Sanchez in his Oracle Park debut, declined to turn and watch the ball’s flight.

Sanchez, who was facing the Reds for the first time in his career, didn’t let the Reds’ robust .279 batting average as a team increase, allowing just three hits, but he referenced falling behind in the count, just enough sin to get him beat when facing a dangerous lineup.

“I’ve got to, in a sense, go to them and give them something to hit,” Sanchez said of his encounter with Winker. “That’s what you saw, just a 3-1 pitch over the middle. Off the bat, I didn’t think it was a homer, and it ended up being a homer. It is what it is. It’s the big leagues. You’ve got to stay ahead and get ahead.”

Winker missed much of the Reds’ six-game win streak that ended on Saturday because of a bout with the flu. Votto missed two weeks this spring due to complications with a positive test for COVID. With both healthy, the Reds could continue to pressure the Cubs and Cardinals in the NL Central.

Meanwhile, the Giants continue in the search for a winning formula, after managing just two hits on the evening. Through 10 games, the Giants have pitched and defended at a high level, as well as hit home runs with 14 so far from seven power sources. But the team’s collective batting average of .192–which ranks 29th in MLB–won’t cut it.

“I think we’re the type of offense that sees a lot of pitches, gets pitchers on the ropes, gets big hits and produces big innings,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “We haven’t seen that consistently from our offense this year, but I believe that’s in there with this group.”

The lack of offense Monday fueled veteran pitcher Wade Miley, who worked fast, experienced little resistance, and picked up the win. The 34-year old needed just 73 pitches to complete five innings, as he admitted his cut fastball was below average and vulnerable, but more than made up for it with changeups that induced seven swings and misses.

Tejay Antone followed with 3 2/3 innings of hitless relief in which he refused to give Giants hitters anything they could elevate. Antone appears poised to backup his 2020 rookie season in which he was among the rookie leaders in strikeouts and innings pitched.

The Giants have little time to regroup with Kevin Gausman set to face Cincinnati’s Luis Castillo on Tuesday.

Oakland A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg: After 10 days on the road, A’s host Astros on Thursday night

Photo credit:

On the A’s podcast with Jerry Feitelberg:

#1 Stephen Piscotty has been out with the flu and had an injury earlier this season. How important is it to have him back in right field and back in the lineup?

#2 A’s second baseman Jurickson Profar continues to struggle with the glove and the A’s have called up minor leaguer Corban Joseph. Joseph was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas. Joseph hit .371, an OPS of 1.006, 13 homers, 73 RBIs, 63 runs in 381 at-bats.

#3 The A’s started Chad Pinder at second on Tuesday night against the Giants’ Pinder, whose been clutch in late innings, and wasn’t able to help the A’s overcome a one-run deficit. He struck out four times and was 0-4 against the Giants at the plate.

#4 A’s pitcher Sean Manaea is a work in progress, going 5 2/3 innings against in rehab at Triple-A Las Vegas in the game. He gave up a run and had 10 strikeouts and A’s manager Bob Melvin is anxious to get him back.

#5 The A’s host the Houston Astros on Thursday night. It’s the A’s first time back home after a 10-day road trip. The Astros, who lead the AL West will start Aaron Sanchez (5-14, 5.60 ERA) and for the A’s Mike Fiers (11-3, 3.30 ERA).

Join Jerry for the A’s podcast each Thursday at

The A’s want out of Canada as the Blue Jays win again on Saturday 7-1

Tor 4-27
Graphic: @BlueJays

by Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics have played five games against the Toronto Blue Jays over the past nine days. The Blue Jays have defeated the A’s in all five of those games. They did it again on Saturday afternoon in Toronto by downing Oakland 7-1.

This is just the complete flipside of what happened between the teams in 2018. Last season the A’s won all seven games they played with the Blue Jays.

One of the biggest problems for the A’s on Saturday was Blue Jays starting pitcher Aaron Sanchez who is a right-hander. The Oakland lineup is loaded with right-handed batters, and they have struggled versus right-handed pitching. The Athletics are 6-12 versus right-handed starting pitchers so far this season. They are 8-3 when facing left-handed starters.

Tor Sanchez TSN
Aaron Sanchez Photo: @TSN

Aaron Sanchez made the start for Toronto and worked 5.0 innings in recording his third win of the year. He gave up one run (unearned) on just two hits. Sanchez walked four and struck out four. With his strong performance against the A’s, Sanchez lowered his ERA to 2.32.

Toronto Focus

  • Former Oakland Athletic Eric Sogard scored the first run of the game after he doubled to lead off the game. Sogard has hit safely in all nine of the games he has played for the Blue Jays this season. He is currently batting .400 with three doubles, two home runs, and eight RBI.
  • Brandon Drury went 3-for-3 on Saturday just as he did last Saturday in Oakland. He hit two singles, a double, walked, and scored a run.
  • Randal Grichuk hit two singles, doubled, and drove in two runs as he went 3-for-5 on Saturday afternoon.
  • Catcher Danny Jansen doubled and added an RBI on a Sacrifice Fly.

Athletics Spotlight

Tor Anderson
Brett Anderson Photo: @Athletics

  • Starting pitcher Brett Anderson allowed six runs (all earned) on 10 hits in his 4.1 innings of work. He walked two and struck out two Blue Jays.
  • Ramon Laureano had his sixth multi-hit game of the season. He singled and doubled against Toronto on Saturday.
  • Matt Chapman hit a double in the eighth inning of the game. Chapman entered the game tied for 10th in the American League with 13 extra-base hits.

Up Next

The Oakland A’s will try to keep the Blue Jays from completing the season sweep on Sunday by sending RHP Chris Bassitt (1-0, 0.00) to the mound to face RHP Trent Thornton (0-3, 5.79). First pitch is scheduled for 10:07 PDT.

Oakland A’s podcast with Joey Friedman: A’s looking at getting swept by Jays, having lost four of last five

Photo credit: @NBCSAthletics

On the A’s podcast with Joey:

#1 It was Oakland A’s Matt Chapman bobblehead day alright, and the A’s did just that on Saturday, bobbled the game away to the Toronto Blue Jays 10-1 in a no mercy rule game.

#2 The Jays’ first baseman Rowdy Tellez hit for his fourth homer and got a double as part of the Jays offense was hitting .191.

#3 The Jays’ Brandon Drury hitting .147 went 3-4 and hit for two RBIs and two runs scored.

#4 The A’s rough day continued after using six relievers they called on their first baseman Kendrys Morales as a closer in the ninth inning.

#5 The A’s and Jays conclude the series today at the Coliseum with the Jays Aaron Sanchez (2-1, 2.86 ERA) and the A’s Brett Anderson (3-0, 2.63 ERA).

Joey does the A’s podcasts each Sunday at