San Francisco Giants podcast with Daniel Dullum: Giants couldn’t convert 107 win 2021 season to a playoff team this year

Daniel Dullum takes a look San Francisco Giant catcher Joey Bart and other Giants as to their progress and their season. Here Bart slugs a two run home run at Wrigley Field in Chicago in the top of the second inning against the Chicago Cubs on Sat Sep 10, 2022 (AP News photo)

On SF Giants podcast with Daniel Dullum:

#1 Daniel, just to review a bit as the season winds down the Giants Joey Bart hit .217, 31 runs, 53 hits, and 11 home runs and 23 RBIs. He did get sent down during the season to fix his hitting and also got a concussion when he was hit by a foul tip. How did you see his performance this season?

#2 How much did Brandon Belt’s absence impact the Giants. Belt had knee surgery that forced him out for the rest of season. How much was he missed from the line up?

#3 Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford is really impressed by the job that Thairo Estrada did at second base.

#4 Crawford himself had a nice season on defense making barehanded plays on choppers, making a diving back hand play and throwing off his right knee to get the force play to mention a few of his fine defensive highlights.

#5 Daniel, taking a look at tonight’s starting pitchers for the Rockies righthander Ryan Feltner (3-8, 5.91) and starting for the Giants Carlos Rodon (13-8, 2.98) a 6:45pm PDT first pitch.

Join Daniel for the Giants podcasts each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

The Low Point: Coming up short, injuries, Craw’s ejection symbolize the Giants’ squandered season in 5-4 loss to San Diego

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Well, we now know when the next meaningful Giants-Padres game will be.

April 29 at Estadio Alfredo Harp Helú Béisbol in Mexico City. The remaining meetings between the clubs this season will be of diminished importance.

Adios Pelota.

The Giants suffered a third straight one-run loss to the Padres, 5-4 on Wednesday afternoon at a sparsely-populated Oracle Park. And if that weren’t burdensome enough, their season is unofficially done with a seventh straight loss to end August and a fall to fourth place in the NL West.

“Admirable effort, no quit,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “A lot of grind at the end no matter the situation. But the only thing that matters in this league is wins and losses and we weren’t able to get it done.”

That’s kind of the beginning of what’s wrong. The rest?

Have a seat.

Brandon Belt delayed his decision to opt for knee surgery until Thursday. The first baseman got a second opinion on his troublesome knee from Stanford Medicine that recommends surgery. The opinion alone likely ends his season, and starts speculation that his career with the Giants will end at the conclusion of the season. The 34-year old will be a free agent and he plans to speak to his agent regarding his options before deciding on the recommended surgery.

Austin Slater has a dislocated finger suffered in Tuesday’s loss. He couldn’t hit, but was available to pinch run, which he did, scoring a run in the eighth inning. Slater’s been a top performer offensively through the Giants’ last two months of losing, but it’s unlikely he plays much going forward or at all with the team wanting to audition other players in September.

Evan Longoria started Wednesday despite his sore hamstring. Joc Pederson and Brandon Crawford jawed with the umpires, who appeared to contribute to the Giants’ 14 strikeouts with questionable calls. Crawford was ejected after gesturing for calm and turning away from third base umpire Ryan Blakney and his emphatic heave-ho.

“You play below-par baseball for a really long period of time, tempers are going to flare,” Kapler said. “People are going to be pissed off. Stress levels are going to be high. Patience is going to be low.”

Then to conclude their afternoon, the hosts’ rally from a five-run deficit ended with an uneventful ninth inning while facing disposed closer Josh Hader. The former Brewers’ All-Star hasn’t tipped the scales with a 19.06 ERA in eight appearances since his trade. But he mowed down the Giants in the ninth, retiring Tommy La Stella, Luis Gonzalez and Austin Wynns after Thairo Estrada’s leadoff base hit to end it.

“Whether it was with Milwaukee or it was here, at the end of the day, it was something mechanically that I was going through. It was a little bump in the road that, ultimately, is making me into a better player, said Hader, who finally realized an opportunity to positively spin his struggles.

“We’ve got to get him going,” said Padres manager Bob Melvin. “This is a guy that we brought in for a reason.”

Untangling A Webb: Tigers chase Giants’ ace in decisive fifth inning, and win 6-1

By Morris Phillips

On the day of MLB’s 2023 interleague-heavy schedule release, the Giants ironically found themselves in a strange ballpark. Like a scary movie, things seemed normal at first, then veered wildly toward strange.

Logan Webb cruised into the fifth inning with a no-hitter, and retired 13 of the first 15 batters he faced, with the exception of two walks he issued. Then the downtown Detroit skyline became eerie, and figuratively, the roof caved in.

Jeimer Candelario broke up the no-no with a one out single, and Tucker Barnhart, hitting .208, followed with a double to put two runners in scoring position. Akil Baddoo, hitting ninth with a .190 batting average, drew a walk to load the bases. Then Brandon Crawford misjudged Riley Greene’s hard-hit ground ball up the middle against a shift. Crawford was in position, but watched the ball kick up and over his glove on its way to center field. That gave the Tigers a 2-0 lead, and we segue for some analysis from manager Gabe Kapler.

I think when Logan is ahead in the count he’s getting more swings and misses,” Kapler said. “So there was some contact in that inning. Some of it was unfortunate, some of it was hard. I think if Logan could have that inning back, he’d probably get ahead of the bottom of the lineup.”

Webb started the next two batters–Kody Clemens (Roger Clemens’ son) and Harold Castro–with strikes, but it mattered little. Both produced RBI singles. Down 4-0 with a pair of runners aboard, Webb’s afternoon was finished.

 “I can’t really explain it,” Webb said. It just wasn’t very good.”

Thomas Szapucki was Kapler’s choice to end the Tigers’ rally, but Willi Castro sent his fifth pitch into the left field gap, scoring two more runs. Szapucki, acquired from the Mets in the Darin Ruf-J.D. Davis swap, tried to retire Castro with a low-80’s curve ball, but he had seen it three times in the four previous pitches, and he was ready for it.

Down 6-0, the Giants’ attempts to rally didn’t amount to much. Mike Yastrzemski, Joey Bart and Tommy LaStella strung together two out hits in the seventh to get the Giants on the board, but Lamonte Wade Jr. struck out to end that inning. The Giants realized baserunners in the eighth and ninth, but couldn’t bring them around in either frame.

The Giants finished 1 for 13 with runners in scoring position.

Along with Webb, Wade’s afternoon was especially rocky. He finished 0 for 4 with a strikeout, and saw his smash to centerfield go 415 feet only to be caught by Greene, who provided an impressive jump to settle underneath the fly out in front of the 420 foot sign. Wade won’t cherish this August; he’s hitting .175 with just seven hits, none of them singles (two doubles, five home runs). He’s 0 for his last 13 across the most recent five games.

The other piece of adversity for the Giants surrounds Brandon Belt, who was put on the 10-day list with chronic knee issues. Speculation is that this injury could short circuit the remainder of Belt’s career, but the 35-year old said he chooses not to ponder that conclusion at this juncture.

The Giants won’t have a winning record to take to Minneapolis, falling to 61-62, but they will encounter a struggling Twins team without the injured Byron Buxton. The Twins have lost nine of 14 and are losing tonight in Houston at press time, 5-1.

The Giants will have Alex Wood on the mound Friday night in their first visit to Target Field. The Twins have not announced a starter.

More irony: the schedule reveal for next season has the Giants revisiting Detroit and Minnesota and opening the season in the Bronx against the Yankees, as all major league teams will see their interleague schedule go from 20 to 46 games, and see them play one three-game series against all 15 American League clubs with the only home-and-home against the A’s (two games at home, two games in Oakland).

San Francisco Giants podast with Marko Ukaloic: Giants need to shore up defense and bullpen needs to shut it down in second half

Brandon Belt San Francisco Giants first baseman is expected to help lead the way for the second half of the season (mercurynews.com file photo)

On the Giaints podcast with Marko:

#1 Going into the second half of the season how important is accomplished players like Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford.

#2 Also taking a look at the second half with infielders Marco Luciano and Thairo Estrada they’ve been a big help and manager Gabe Kapler can insert them in the line up at anytime.

#3 Evan Longoria has entertained the possibility of retiring at the end of this season playing away from his family who live in Arizona could this be his last season?

#4 Carlos Rodon who starts tonight for the Giants at Dodgers Stadium after resting in LA during the All Star Game had a great first half and is looking forward to the second half.

#5 Marko for the second half the Giants have some talent in their bullpen but can they keep it together in the middle and late innings with pitchers like Dom Leone, John Brebbia, Jarlin Garcia, Tyler Rogers, Camilo Doval and Trevor Rosenthal.

Marko filled in for Daniel Dullum for the Giants podcast at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Snatched By Snakes: Giants can’t rally late, lose to the D’Backs 4-3

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–When the losses pile up, they fall into categories. For the stumbling Giants, home losses by two runs or less are starting to multiply.

Monday’s opener with the Diamondbacks went to the snakes as they established an early 3-0 lead, and led 4-1 when they held the Giants off in the eighth and ninth, winning 4-3. In the process, Brandon Crawford failed to come up clutch, and Lamonte (Wade Jr.) didn’t do anything spine tingling in the late night. The Giants were 2 of 8 with runners in scoring position and left eight men on base.

The Giants have lost nine of 13, and they failed to win a third, consecutive game for the first time since June 14. And six of their last eight losses at home have been by two runs or less.

Alex Cobb had an uneven performance, pitching six innings, allowing three runs while walking four. Daulton Varsho’s hard hit single off the low wall in right field knocked in two runs in the third, and registered as the big blow against Cobb. The Giants off-season acquisition hasn’t won any of his last five starts, dating back to May 17.

Mauricio Llovera walked two batters in the eighth, and that set up Sergio Alcantara’s pinch-hit, RBI single that put the D’Backs up 4-0.

The Giants struck back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth, but blew a big occasion when Brandon Crawford grounded into a double play with the bases loaded to end the inning. Wade got his opportunity with one out in the ninth and Thairo Estrada on first base, but the slugger fouled out near the third base bag.

The Giants (43-42) will have their 275-game streak of maintaining an above .500 record on the line on Tuesday. Logan Webb will face Arizona’s Dallas Kuechel in that one.

Bumgarner-like Relief: Kansas City bullpen shuts down the Giants in 3-2 win to avoid a sweep

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–In 2014, Madison Bumgarner threw five innings of scoreless relief to propel the Giants to a victory in Kansas City in Game 7 of the World Series. You may have heard about it.

On Wednesday, the Royals provided their answer–on a much, smaller stage–with five innings of scoreless relief from four relievers to lead Kansas City past the Giants, 3-2. The win snapped the Giants five-game win streak, and sends the host club on the road to Pittsburgh in hopes of continuing their improved play.

“One of the things we know leads to big things for us (is) a couple of walks, a double, a base hit, and all of a sudden we’ve scored three runs in an inning,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I think that’s been one of our calling cards over the course of the last few years. It’s not always going to be in the cards.”

With the Giants attempting to go 10 games over .500 for the first time in 2022–and the struggling Royals trying to avoid a 13th loss in their last 17 games–things appeared to be going to form as early as the fourth inning when Brandon Belt homered, and Curt Casali added a run-scoring sacrifice fly to tie the game at two. That brought the game to a stage where four relievers for the Royals, and five for the Giants would attempt to avoid a decisive mistake in a game that saw just one more run scored.

Royals manager Mike Matheny liked his chances after the fifth when Amir Garrett successfully relieved starter Jonathan Heasley, who was taxed, throwing 92 pitches in just the first four innings.

“Amir coming in and kind of forcing their hand in those situations, what are they going to do,” Matheny said. “The (Giants have) shown early that they’re going to go to their bench. We need him to come in and throw strikes, pound the zone, get his lefties out. He ended up getting us through that inning.”

Taylor Clarke followed, getting four outs and avoiding trouble by stranding a pair of Giants. Then Jose Cuas came on in the seventh and got three outs that would eventually translate to his first major league win after toiling in the minor leagues for six seasons. Neither Clarke or Cuas were likely to shut down a hot club given their track records, but they got it done. For Cuas, the experience was unforgettable.

“It’s more than I’ve ever dreamed of,” Cuas said. “I can’t really tell you I’ve dreamed of this moment because I didn’t get this far in my dream. It’s amazing. I’m soaking every second of it I can and every day for me is just a dream come true.”

The reward for Cuas: a dousing of ketchup, shaving cream and other substances in the visiting clubhouse by teammates enthused by the rookie’s first mark in the big leagues. Cuas didn’t mention that aspect in recounting his dream.

Cuas’ outing turned victorious in the eighth when the Royals broke through against John Brebbia with a run-scoring, sacrifice fly from Whit Merrifield. The go-ahead run was set up by Andrew Benintendi’s pinch-hit double to start the inning.

For the Giants, the good news was limited to Belt’s return after missing 30 games with injury and a bout with COVID. The bad news started with Brandon Crawford’s first inning fielding error that opened the door for two Royals’ runs to start the game. Crawford was playing in his 1,500 game with the Giants.

“We depend on Craw for his ability on defense and expect it every time out,” Kapler said of the botched play. “I think that ball just kind of jumped up on him a little bit. It’s part of the game. it happens.”

After a 6-3 home stand the Giants travel to Pittsburgh where they will see Pirates’ starter Zach Thompson on Friday night. The Giants have not announced a starter for that game as of yet.

Mets Wallop Giants: Losing skid grows to five games in 13-3 loss

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Gabe Kapler chose to remain positive in the face of the Giants’ four-game losing skid and mounting personnel issues.

But then the Giants did little to change the narrative Monday night, falling to the visiting Mets 13-3.

What’s clear? The Giants are further off their desired A game than anyone indicated, and given their difficult schedule a quick turnaround might not be possible. Their immediate goal may not be desirable, but avoiding an 0-6 homestand is foremost right now. That, and staying positive.

Starter Alex Cobb kept it positive, which wasn’t easy after he got burned for six runs and ten hits, some of which were downright frustrating in that they came on softly hit balls that could have easily been outs. Still Cobb departed after six innings trailing 6-2.

“All we really have to focus on is executing pitches, and then the results happen,” Cobb said. “I felt like I was executing some pitches tonight, and the results weren’t quite there.”

Cobb couldn’t quibble over Pete Alonso’s two-out, three-run homer in the third that put the Mets in the driver’s seat up 5-2. But other than that his pitches were fairly effective.

The Giants did strike first when Brandon Crawford homered in the second with Evan Longoria aboard. But they wouldn’t score again until the ninth on Tommy La Stella’s RBI single. In between those two occasions, the Giants went 0 for 6 with runners in scoring position spoiling any push for a comeback.

The Giants have been outscored 33-12 in their last four games illustrating how little has gone right. But a deeper disappointment maybe their overall performance against winning clubs. The team has dropped 14 of 21 to teams with winning records.

“There are some challenges right now. We’re not making as many plays as we can,” manager Gabe Kapler said.

On Tuesday, former Athletic Chris Bassitt pitches for the Mets in a match-up with San Francisco ace Logan Webb, seeking his sixth win of the season.

Rockies Roughed Up… Again: Giants complete sweep with 7-1 win over Colorado

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–For the Giants, beating the Colorado Rockies isn’t routine, but there is a routine to it.

A tenth consecutive win over their division rivals featured ten hits for the Giants, extending an incredible streak to–you can’t make this up–ten games of ten hits or more. Not only did the Giants sweep the three-game set, winning 7-1 on Wednesday afternoon, they slugged their way throughout leaving themselves elated and the visitors dejected.

“When we’re together and we’re near healthy, and with new contributions, we’re a deep offensive club,” manager Gabe Kapler said.

“We all knew this is us, but it’s nice to have confirmation that this is the way we should be playing,” said starting pitcher Alex Cobb, who pitched into the sixth inning and allowed just three hits.

The win allowed the hosts to complete the rarity of five, consecutive losses followed by five, straight victories. The streak coincides with the returns of Brandon Belt, LaMonte Wade Jr., and on Wednesday, the season debut of Evan Longoria. The streak also timed up with the appearance of the Rockies, who are having a rough time achieving anything positive these days. Colorado won just one time on their completed road swing to Phoenix and San Francisco, scoring 13 runs total and failing to hit a home run.

“We got outpitched, we got outhit,” manager Bud Black said. “We’ve got to clean up a couple of things defensively.

“But we’ll bounce back, we’ve got a good group. The guys are frustrated, but you know, it’s part of the long season.”

The Giants took advantage of pitcher Chad Kuhl the second time through the batting order with three runs in the fourth, and two more in the fifth. Joey Bart abandoned his struggles with the bat, contributing an RBI single in the fourth. And a suddenly quiet Brandon Crawford hit loudly in the fifth with a two-run shot.

Kuhl hurt himself by issuing a walk to Mike Yastrzemski, then throwing the ball away on a pick off attempt. Crawford’s run-scoring, ground ball out followed. After Bart knocked in Thairo Estrada, Belt capped the scoring with a sacrifice fly plating Crawford.

Longoria’s debut wasn’t pretty, he struck out three times and went hitless in five at-bats. But Rockies’ third baseman Ryan McMahon inadvertently included Longoria in the parade, by booting his ground ball in the eighth, which keyed a two-run rally that put the Giants comfortably ahead.

A day off for travel precedes the Giants’ series opener in St. Louis on Friday night. Logan Webb gets the start in a match-up with the Cardinal’s Steven Matz.

Hitting Woes Persist: Cardinals shutdown Giants 7-1 in series opener

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Since Gabe Kapler assumed the manager’s position, the Giants haven’t lost five, consecutive games.

That streak is jeopardy.

After a third straight game of scoring just one run, and losing 7-1, the Giants have lost four in a row, and six of seven. Their absence-laden lineup hasn’t cut it, forcing the pitching staff into a do-or-die situation in regards to surrendering one or two runs. Right now, the doomsdayers are circling, leaving the team to beg for patience.

“We hit some balls hard right at people,” Mike Yastrzemski said. “We’ve had some unlucky breaks, and we’re still in a mode where we’re waiting for some people to get back. It’s too early for there to be anything to worry about.”

The visiting Cardinals scored one in the third inning–on Yadier Molina’s home run–two in the fifth, and for in the seventh.

Miles Mikolas, a 33-year old starter with an unusual career arc, pitched into the sixth inning to gain the win. Mikolas has been a major leaguer since 2012 but he’s thrown more than 931 pitches in just two of those 11 seasons, winning 18 games in 2018, only to lose 14 games in 2019. Mikolas didn’t pitch at the big league level at all in 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2020. Since signing a four-year, $68 million dollar deal prior to 2019, he’s won just 11 games, but one of those 11 came Thursday.

Mikolas scattered seven hits and three walks across his 6 1/3 innings, which energized the Giants’ crowd at points only to see them leave 10 runners stranded over the length of the ballgame.

“We’re getting guys on, now we’ve got to find a way to get ’em in,” Brandon Crawford said.

The Giants rolled out nine arms to handle a ballgame in the absence of a traditional starter but saw Jose Alvarez and Jake McGee struggle as the pair allowed five of St. Louis’ seven runs. The Giants bullpen remains a bright spot in the early season with a gaggle of low ERA’s and quality relief efforts, but that doesn’t include McGee, who has allowed eight runs in 8 1/3 innings work.

Molina is in his 19th and presumed, final season and he’s still injecting the occasional, long ball. The iconic catcher has hit 20 home runs just twice in his career, but his 171 homers show he’s capable.

“I feel back to normal,” Molina said. “I started seeing the ball pretty good, I started making better at-bats. That’s what I can do. Hopefully I can keep doing what I’m doing right now, just having great at-bats and the results will come.”

The Giants turn to Alex Cobb in game two on Friday night. Jordan Hicks gets the start for the Cardinals.

Dodgers Swat the Giants: 9-1 win part of LA’s emphatic early-season statement

By Morris Phillips

The Giants were in a competitive ballgame Wednesday night, and then they were not. Simple as that.

In consecutive innings the Dodgers got a Mookie Betts home run, a two-run triple from Freddie Freeman, and another homer from Max Muncy and the Giants were trounced 9-1 at Dodger Stadium. In the brief, two-game set, the Giants scored just two runs, a continuation of their rough times that started on their previous, home stand.

Alex Wood breezed through the Dodgers lineup the first time through, but by the end of his stint in the sixth inning, his former club figured him out, scoring three times on four hits to lead 3-1.

Freeman’s breathless run around the bases was the centerpiece to Los Angeles’ four-run seventh that turned the game into a rout. Muncy’s home run with Will Smith aboard capped the Dodgers’ outburst in the eighth.

“I think collectively it was the best game we’ve played,” manager Dave Roberts said. “Just a well-played offensive game.”

The Giants have dropped five of six, and are finally showing the stress of all their personnel issues, although they did see Mike Yastrzemski return to the lineup on Wednesday. Evan Longoria, Tommy La Stella and Lamonte Wade Jr. are all expected to return within the next seven days.

“When we get leadoff runners on consistently, we’re going to score runs,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Obviously didn’t happen in this game. They beat us throughout the night.”

The Giants return home for Thursday’s opener against the Cardinals, a four-game set that will take them through the weekend.