San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris Phillips: Bochy says it’s the worst season he’s seen in awhile

@BruceBochy file photo: San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy says this has been the worst season in awhile for the struggling Giants, who are on a five-game losing streak.

On the San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris Phillips:

#1 Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong for the San Francisco Giants. The basics: no hitting and no pitching. Manager Bruce Bochy says its the worst season he’s seen in awhile.

#2 Up and down the lineup, they’re just not getting the hitting or run support from Joe Panik .245, Steve Duggar .242, Buster Posey .252,Brandon Belt .229, Evan Longoria .225, and Brandon Crawford .200.

#3 The Giants have also been lacking in their pitching help. For example, starters Drew Pomeranz, Andrew Suarez, and Shaun Anderson have pitched 11 2/3 innings and allowed 20 runs

#4 One item that has been discussed is local businesses have struggled near the ballpark. Merchants have said business has been down by half or worse and some say no one is coming into their business.

#5 Giants have a much-needed day off before heading to Florida. Starting for SF, Jeff Samardzija (2-3, 3.27 ERA) vs. the Marlins Trevor Richards (1-5, 4.14 ERA).

Morris does the Giants podcasts each Monday at

Youth Is Served: Acuna and Soroka lead the way in Braves’ 4-1 win over the Giants

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — Gotta start somewhere, right?

Ok, the first inning: the Giants have failed to start ballgames with any force, now a season-long theme. And the Braves’ Ronald Acuna is fast becoming a leadoff hitting, first inning sensation.

Both trends were at work on Monday with the Braves powering past the Giants 4-1 at Oracle Park in the opener of a four-game series.

Acuna greeted Andrew Suarez in his season debut with a leadoff homer–the first of two on the evening for the Braves’ young star–and Mike Soroka mowed down Giants’ hitters for eight innings in the visitors’ eighth win in their last 10 games.

The Giants first of two hits on the evening didn’t transpire until the sixth, when Brandon Crawford homered off Soroka. They’ve been outscored 47-7 in the first inning in 2019, and Giants’ opponents are hitting a robust .304 in the frame.

Acuna doesn’t need a particular spot in the batting order to be productive. The 21-year old Venezuelan has his career on a superstar track with 37 home runs and 95 RBI in his first 168 games. But he prefers leadoff, and it shows. He’s hit .400 batting leadoff in the 10 games of the Braves’ current streak, and he’s started each of the last two with homers.

“It changes the way you play for the rest of the game,” Acuna said, sounding poetic through the translation of Franco Garcia. “Because the adrenaline kicks in.”

“He’s a different guy there. We tried (having Acuna bat cleanup), and I think it probably would’ve worked, but there’s just something about that spot that he comes alive,” said Braves’ manager Brian Snitker.

Acuna doubled down in the seventh with a solo shot off Nick Vincent. 22-year old Austin Riley homered in the sixth off Suarez, the third home run in Riley’s first six games as a major leaguer.

Suarez pitched well, allowing three runs in six innings, striking out five and walking four. But as manager Bruce Bochy noted, the home runs were the difference in winning or losing.

“He lost Markakis and then had the next hitter (Riley) 0-2 and just hung a breaking ball. He gave us a chance to win the game, but offensively, we just got completely shut down,” Bochy said.

Soroka cruised, retiring the first 15 batters he faced. The 21-year old Alabaman is 5-1 in seven starts after striking out seven, walking none in eight innings of work. He covered the stint in 94 pitches, starting 18 of 26 batters he faced with strikes.

Soroka’s yet to allow more than a run in any of his seven starts. Crawford’s home run cost him statistically: he saw his ERA soar to 1.01.

“He’s one of those guys, you don’t know if he’s five up, five down or what the score is,” Snitker said. “He just keeps pitching and making pitches.”

Shaun Anderson makes his second start on Tuesday. He’ll be opposed by Atlanta’s Julio Teheran in the 6:45 pm start.

San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris Phillips: Panda takes D-Backs deep in 10th inning for gamer 3-2

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On the San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris Phillips:

#1 San Francisco Giants third baseman Pablo Sandoval can do it all, play all positions on the diamond, including pitch, but on Sunday at Chase Field in Phoenix Sandoval was clutch and got a game-winning 10th inning homer for the Giants in their 3-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

#2  Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford contributed with a game saving defensive stop in the ninth inning. The D-Backs Adam Jones hit a ball to Crawford’s right who dove to stop and get up and fire the ball to first base to retire Jones and strand a runner at third.

#3 On Sandoval, he has had a great series against the D-Backs. He hit an eighth inning home run on Saturday to help the Giants in their 8-5 win. Sandoval hit one against the D-Backs pitcher Yoshihisa Hirano to left field for his 40th home run at Chase the most of any opposing hitter to visit that park.

#4 Giants reliever Will Smith is coming along. He picked up his 11th save in 11 outings certainly the go-to to close games for manager Bruce Bochy.

#5 Giants are back at Oracle Park on Monday night to face a very tough Atlanta Braves club. The Braves will start Mike Soroka (4-1, 0.98 ERA) the Giants will start Andrew Suarez (0-0, 0.00 ERA).

Morris Phillips does the Giants podcasts each Monday at

Crawford breaks out, Giants put the squeeze on the Padres in 4-2 win

By Morris Phillips

The Giants aren’t dead yet. That’s the proper diagnosis after the club won three of four contests following a first ever in San Francisco 11-game losing streak. And they’ve been down right stingy in the process.

Andrew Suarez pitched into the eighth inning–the longest outing of his career–allowing two runs and the Giants won the series opener in San Diego, 4-2. The Giants followed consecutive shutouts over the weekend by allowing three runs on Sunday, and just two runs on Monday. Suarez embodied the team’s renewed enthusiasm by storming off the mound when pulled by manager Bruce Bochy four outs prior to the job’s completion.

“I thought I showed him up,” Suarez said of Bochy’s appearance. “He said it was fine. He liked that I was being competitive.”

Suarez allowed four hits and three walks, two runs and did so in an economical 87 pitches. A trio of relievers finished the job with Will Smith earning his 13th save.

Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria hit home runs to help the Giants overcome an early 1-0 deficit. Chris Shaw had three his and Aramis Garcia singled home a run in his first start at first base.

The Padres lost for the 91st time this season, matching their 2017 loss total with 11 games remaining. The Padres have four 90-loss seasons in their last eight. The Giants continue to harbor slim hopes that they can avoid a losing season by winning out.



Pirates provide the pop, Giants’ offense shows up late in 10-5 home loss

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — All the warts associated with the Giants’ offense were there to see on Thursday night.

No offense early? With Pirates’ starter Ivan Nova’s fastball darting around the strike zone, the Giants’ bats were over a hour late arriving at the ballpark. Their first hit didn’t materialize until the fifth inning. Clutch hits with runners aboard? Forget about it. Power game with home run pop? In the dense air and damp weather, San Francisco hitters would have been fortunate to sniff the warning track let alone clear the outfield wall.

But the Pirates’ hitters did. Three times. And Josh Bell, Elias Diaz and David Freese aren’t guys you normally associate with home runs. On Thursday, the Pittsburgh trio surprised themselves.

“I haven’t pulled a ball like that virtually all year,” Bell said of his solo shot, one of two back-to-back homers in the second inning that put Giants’ starter Andrew Suarez in an early hole. “It’s definitely a good sign I’m heading in the right direction.”

When early became not early in the fifth, the Giants finally got cooking. Austin Slater picked up the Giants’ first hit, then Alan Hanson tripled home Slater. Later in the inning Steven Duggar singled in Hanson.

But as quickly as the offense commenced it concluded. Gorkys Hernandez and Andrew McCutchen failed in opportunities to tie the game ending the fifth. And Nova finished his evening by stopping the Giants in the sixth.

We digress here: the Giants had dropped seven of eight at home coming in, then, we pause, they went the first eight innings Thursday trying to subsist on three hits.

That was a recipe for disaster before Mark Melancon’s seventh inning relief stint was marred by Joe Panik’s exchange error and Evan Longoria’s throwing error on consecutive plays. Run scoring hits of Melancon preceded a three-run homer by David Freese off Derek Law, and the Pirates extended their one-run lead to 8-2.

Freese’s home run was the 100th of his career, and the only space vessel to leave the yard after the second inning. No small feat given the air grew heavier as the evening wore on, and Freese doesn’t resonate as a power source.

“It’s a good feeling, I won’t lie. … For a guy that pounds the ball on the ground, not too bad,” Freese said of the home run and the milestone.

The Giants have scored 22 runs in their last eight home games, which qualifies Thursday’s ninth inning as a breakout. Panik doubled home a pair of runs, and Steven Duggar doubled home Panik. But the game ended with Hunter Pence’s groundout.

Derek Holland will get the start Friday when they attempt to break the 0-3 streak on the homestand.

Playoff Atmosphere: Giants show well in 2-1, extra innings win over the Cubs

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — Monday night’s tense, playoff-like meeting of the Cubs and Giants needed a hero. In the 11th inning, Pablo Sandoval emerged as that guy.

One day after Sandoval came up with five RBIs in the Giants’ 13-8 win over the Cardinals, the Panda delivered the game-winning hit against the Cubs. Never an insignificant feat, Sandoval gained difficulty points by delivering against a five-man infield while facing formidable reliever Pedro Strop.

“You can’t let that affect your at-bat, and I don’t think it affected Pablo at all,” said manager Bruce Bochy of the crowded infield and Sandoval’s cold-blooded approach.

When Sandoval delivered the two teams had been locked into a 1-1 duel for nearly six innings. While the Giants realized more run scoring opportunities, the Cubs and manager Joe Maddon had answers with starter Kyle Hendricks, who pitched into the ninth, and relievers Randy Rosario and Steve Cishek.

In the tenth inning, Cishek extricated the Cubs from a one-out, runner at third situation by striking out inexperienced hitters Chase d’Arnaud and Steven Duggar. That stranded would-be hero Hunter Pence, who tripled to put the Giants in position, prompting Maddon to move versatile outfielder Ben Zobrist to the infield the first time.

One inning later, the Giants were in the advantageous spot with Strop summoned to face the more dangerous Sandoval, after the Cubs elected to walk All-Star Brandon Crawford ahead of him.

“He’s our best hitter right now,” Sandoval said of Crawford. “I just dropped everything from my mind. I got the opportunity and I took advantage of it.”

Starter Andrew Suarez impressed again by allowing one run on three hits in six innings of work. Suarez struggled with his command, walking four, but got big outs when needed.

Five Giants relievers would follow Suarez, each pitching an inning without falling into stressful situations. Of the five, only closer Will Smith allowed a hit, Zobrist’s two-out double in the ninth. Smith recovered by retiring David Bote to end the inning.

The Giants improved to 3-2 on their lengthy, 10-game homestand, and moved within three games of the idle, first-place Arizona.

What’s New? Giants experience another long, frustrating evening at Coors Field

By Morris Phillips

For the second time in 12 days, the Giants are digesting a bitter, extra-inning loss to the Rockies.

Chris Iannetta’s base hit off Hunter Strickland in the bottom of the 10th scored Nolan Arenado to win it, but a whole bunch transpired in this one across the 314 pitches before Iannetta’s walk off single.

The Giants had an opportunity to win it in the top of the 10th when Evan Longoria and Brandon Crawford delivered back-to-back base hits. But closer Bryan Shaw steadied, retiring Austin Jackson, Kelby Tomlinson and Gregor Blanco on ground balls to end the threat.  The Giants had plenty of other opportunities as they stranded 10 of the 12 baserunners they placed in scoring position.

Ultimately, the Giants blew a 2-0, first inning lead, and a 5-4 lead they carried into the eighth inning. That second lead was the first the Giants have blown after the seventh inning all season, as they fell to 21-1 when leading that late in a ballgame.

And the Giants failed to win when scoring four runs or more as well, falling to 23-5 in those situations.

“We did what we were hoping to do (which is) create those situations you like,” said manager Bruce Bochy.

Just five games into a 19-game oddysey with the rival Rockies, the Giants can’t afford to concede much more the first place Rockies, who remain a 1 1/2 games ahead of the faltering Diamondbacks, and increased their lead to four games over the Giants. The NL West has been a haven for struggling clubs over the last month with Arizona coming back to the pack, but that appears to be changing with the fourth place Dodgers playing well, and the Rockies stringing together a pair of important wins.

“This is an opponent that we respect,” Rockies manager Bud Black said of the Giants. “This is a team in our division that is made up of a lot of veteran players.  It’s a good team. It’s well run. And they’re hard fought games.”

Rookie Andrew Suarez started his first ever game at Coors Field, which afterwards he likened to a Pacific Coast League venue with its prodigious dimensions and propensity for offensive mayhem. But Suarez acquitted himself quite well outside of a hanging breaking ball served up to Trevor Story, who deposited into the left field bleachers for a three-run shot that wiped out the Giants 2-0 lead in the first inning.

But from that point, Suarez steadied, pitching five innings, allowing four runs (three earned) while striking out seven.

The game was delayed by rain for 55 minutes. When it started, both pitchers had early struggles, but Colorado’s Chad Bettis found his way out a situation that could have landed the Rockies in a huge, early hole.

Remember that Mike Leake-Adam Duvall trade from 2015? Oh, yeah.

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–The Cincinnati Reds’ best West Coast roadtrip in seven years came steeped in subtlety, a lot like the Reds’ season to date.

It surely didn’t get its crescendo on Wednesday at AT&T Park. The Reds did just enough good, delivering the game’s biggest hit–former Giant Adam Duvall’s three-run homer in the first inning–then basically starving out the home team from there in 6-3 victory that, yes, capped their road trip, and helped them avoid yet another three-game sweep. But it wasn’t the cathartic release the Cincinnati players enjoyed by sweeping the Dodgers four straight over the weekend.

After a dreadful 8-26 start to the season that dropped the Reds 13 games behind the NL Central-leading Brewers on May 7, they’ve won six of nine.

Matt Harvey, currently the Dark Knight of Southern Ohio, didn’t resurrect his career on Wednesday, but he certainly looked like he’s working on it. The sensation of a few seasons back struck out five of the final six batters he faced, but was lifted after a generally, rough four innings in which gave up seven hits and three runs.  Even Harvey admitted afterwards, following Brandon Belt’s home run that trimmed the Reds’ lead to 4-3, he needed to figure something out to get as far as he did.

“I was telling (his batterymate, Tucker Barnhart) after the game that after the home run to Belt, I threw a pitch to Sandoval or whoever followed him, I kind of felt it click. I realized was flying open and wasn’t really getting out front and executing pitches the way I wanted to,” he said.

Harvey followed that realization by striking out Pablo Sandoval, Double A-Richmond callup Miguel Gomez, Kelby Tomlinson, Andrew Suarez and Gregor Blanco in a six-batter sequence.  It wasn’t his finest moment, but it did find the Giants’ weakness. San Francisco’s lineup without Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford was exposed as an easier touch. The Giants squandered too many run scoring opportunities, and struck out 10 times, the 15th time they fanned that frequently in 44 games thus far.

The Giants went the final six innings scoreless, while the Reds added on. Three, pretty good Cincinnati relievers–Jared Hughes, workhorse Wandy Peralta and closer Raisel Iglesias shut the door on the Giants despite allowing a collective, five hits and some hair-raising–and controversial (see Ben Leonard’s story)–moments.

The Giants fell back to .500 (22-22) with the loss, somehow getting the least out of eight base hits, three doubles, Belt’s homer and a pair of walks.  Pinch-hitter Austin Jackson struck out with a runner at third, and one out, in the sixth. Sandoval hit into an inning-ending double play in the seventh. And Belt, who hit his team-leading ninth homer in the third, struck out with a runner aboard to end the game.

The game’s hero, Duvall was considered the 25th best prospect in the Giants’ system when they dealt him in July 2015 to get Mike Leake from the Reds to bolster their rotation for that season’s stretch drive. Since then, the former University of Louisville first baseman has hit 77 homers and 78 doubles for the Reds while the Giants passed on resigning Leake for the 2016 season. Duvall homered twice in the concluded series, and also came up with a terrific catch, robbing Sandoval of extra bases in the first inning.

“They made a couple of plays there that saved them,” manager Bruce Bochy conceded.

Goldschmidt hot, Dyson not as the Diamondbacks capture the series with the Giants


By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–The Giants’ future appears bright. Now, they could use some tightening up on their present.

For only the second time in the history of the franchise in San Francisco, the Giants started rookies making their major league debut in consecutive games, and the reviews for both guys were overwhelmingly positive.

Andrew Suarez got the call on Wednesday afternoon in place of Johnny Cueto, who landed on the disabled list with a sprained ankle, and he was a roaring success out the gate, retiring the first ten batters he faced.

Lengthy home runs allowed to Paul Goldschmidt and backup catcher John Ryan Murphy eventually would spoil Suarez’s bid for a victory, with the D’Backs expanding on an initial 3-0 lead and winning 7-3.

Suarez allowed just four hits, no walks, and struck out seven. In comparison to Tyler Beede, Suarez was probably more composed andcin control, just done in by a couple of unfortunate pitches.

“I didn’t walk anyone,” the 2015 second round selection said. “I felt good.”

Trailing 3-0, the Giants rallied to tie the game in the sixth. Andrew McCutchen got an RBI groundout, then Buster Posey hit a two-run shot. But that was it for an offense that’s scored the fewest runs in the National League through the first 11 games.