Not Mailing It In: Giants top the Rockies 6-3 to avoid post-season elimination

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–The streaking Giants aren’t just winning games, they’re also setting the table for 2023.

When the off-season’s as anticipated as the Giants, consider it a win-win.

Four different Giants, including rookie Ford Proctor, had run-scoring hits in a 6-3 win over the Rockies on Wednesday night. The Giants have won 8 of 9 and still have (slim) post-season possibilities with seven games remaining in the season.

The Giants trail the sixth-seeded Phillies by 6 1/2 games, and would have to leapfrog the Brewers as well in an almost impossible finish, but the door’s open as is the possibility they could finish .500 or better with their record at 77-78.

It’s been more than a month since the Giants have held a non-losing record with that being on August 23, after they beat the Tigers in Detroit to get to 61-61.

The Giants fashioned a bullpen game gem, starting with John Brebbia pitching a scoreless first inning for the ninth, straight time in his sometimes role as the opener. Sean Hjelle followed with four innings of two-hit ball after being recalled earlier in the day from Triple-A Sacramento as the corresponding move to Jarlin Garcia being placed on the paternity list.

That performance earned Hjelle his first Major League win and a sticky, concoction celebration from his teammates.

“I think there was one beer mixed in there, too,” Hjelle said of what substances where poured on his head in the clubhouse. “It was great. I’m gonna feel gross for a couple of days.”

The 31-year old Shelby Miller was the other Giant to throw multiple innings, pitching the sixth and seventh. He was sharp, starting all six batters he faced with a strike and fanning five.

“He’s getting opposing hitters comfortable looking for a slider and then delivering a really quality strike with his fastball,” manager Gabe Kapler said of Miller.

Tyler Rogers and Yunior Marte also pitched an inning as the Giants held the Rockies to just four hits. The evening served as another hint that the answers to the team’s bullpen woes could be already in the clubhouse. In the last three weeks, Scott Alexander, Alex Young and Miller have been impressive while Brebbia and Camilo Doval have continued their outstanding seasons.

The Giants scored three runs in the first off Colorado’s Jose Urena, who gave up four hits, four walks and took the loss. The Rockies narrowed the deficit to 3-2 on Alan Trejo’s solo shot in the fifth. But the Giants responded, scoring three times in the sixth. Proctor’s first big league RBI came on a sacrifice fly scoring David Villar. Joc Pederson’s two-run triple later in the inning finished the scoring for the Giants.

Lights Out: Giants suffer 5th consecutive loss, 6-5 to the Padres, further damaging their playoff hopes

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–The Giants needed working lights, of course. But at this critical juncture of the season, their wish list is lengthier than a functional ballpark.

An unusual night at Oracle Park unearthed few answers as the Giants suffered a frustrating loss to the Padres, 6-5.

Their fifth straight defeat was again littered with sporadic offense that didn’t take hold until the eighth inning, when they pushed across three runs, and disappeared as quickly as it materialized in the ninth.

Ironically, LaMonte Wade Jr. batted in the ninth, more than four hours after first pitch in a game extended by a pair of in-game delays, and struck out after looking at all three strikes.

So much for “Late Night” and so much for the Giants.

“I thought it was a better offensive performance, but there’s no question the main issue for us is we haven’t been as good in the (hitting) zone,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “I think earlier in the season, we were much better at driving balls in the zone.”

Carlos Rodon left the Giants in an early hole, allowing three runs in the first, capped by Brandon Drury’s two-run shot. Rodon, who was fantastic in his previous start at Detroit, was baffling on Monday. He needed 28 pitches to survive the first inning, and his fastball to Drury–pitch number 24–left the slugger little choice but to deposit it into the bleachers.

Rodon never got untracked, and after a 40-minute delay to fire up the stadium lights preceded by a 10-minute delay when home plate umpire Marvin Hudson twisted his knee trying to track a foul pop, he was left to be philosophical.

“It was odd, right? Poor guy behind home plate tonight, who knows what he did to his knee, but hopefully he’s all right. Then the light thing. It was kind of an odd game today, right? A little different,” Rodon said.

Rodon went just four innings, and departed with the Giants down, 5-0.

The Giants’ comeback that fell a run short started in the fourth with Joc Pederson’s homer that trimmed the deficit to 5-2. In the eighth, Austin Slater knocked in two runs with a base hit, and J.D. Davis followed with an RBI single that scored Thairo Estrada.

Padres’ closer Nick Martinez was summoned to get a four-out save and allowed both run-scoring hits. But he recovered, retiring Austin Wynns to end the eighth, and Tommy La Stella, Wade and Wilmer Flores consecutively in the ninth.

“All of a sudden, the eighth inning feels like the ninth inning and to have to come out and recreate that adrenaline again in the ninth is just another something that really he hasn’t been through,” manager Bob Melvin said of Martinez, who has supplanted the struggling Josh Hader in the San Diego bullpen.

The Giants are 10-14 in August, and a season-worst four games below .500. But here’s what’s even more disheartening: the Padres, one of two teams the Giants need to catch, are 13-13, and would be feeling the heat given all their splashy, in-season additions if the Giants were applying pressure.

On Tuesday, Logan Webb is matched against the Padres’ Blake Snell in the middle-game of the three-game set.

Headline Sports podcast with Bruce MacGowan: A’s after a fire sale could even dive further into obscurity; A look at Giants All Stars Pederson and Rodon and A’s Blackburn; plus much more

Oakland A’s pitcher Paul Blackburn says he looking forward to meeting his American League teammates and Los Angeles Angels superstar Shohei Ohtani at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles for the All Star Game on Tue Jul 19, 2022 (AP News file photo)

On Headline Sports podcast with Bruce MacGowan:

Bruce touches upon the subject that the Oakland A’s are deliberately going into the tank to turn off fans to show the City of Oakland, fans, media and fans why they it won’t work at the Oakland Coliseum and are an organization that won’t go anywhere as long as they have to play in a undesirable location.

Bruce takes a look at the San Francisco Giants All Star players pitcher Carlos Rodon 8-5 ERA 2.66 and Joc Pederson .252 with 35 runs, 17 home runs, and 42 RBIs both who will represent the Giants at the All Star Game.

Also a look at the lone Oakland A’s selection Paul Blackburn who started out the season at 6-2 but absorbed some tough loses due to a lack of run support and finished the first half at 6-5 ERA 3.62.

Bruce MacGowan was a former talk show host on San Francisco radio stations KNBR 680, KGO 810 and KCBS 740 and appears as a guest on Headline Sports podcasts.

San Francisco Giants podcast with Michael Duca: Will Reds Pham be red hot over T Shirts poking fun over Fantasy Football IR players?

One of the T shirts that San Francisco Giants Joc Pederson wanted pulled and thrown away saying “Stashing players on the IR isn’t cheating” that has set off Cincinnati Reds outfielder Tommy Pham who said he was ready to pimp slap Pederson (image from

On the Giants podcast with Miguel:

#1 Michael, the San Francisco Giants players thought the better of having the “Stashing players on the IR isn’t cheating” T shirts and had them thrown out after a pretty sensitive Cincinnati Reds Tommy Pham took exception to them. With the Reds coming to San Francisco on Fri Jun 24th was that the wise choice made on the Giants part?

#2 Get ready for the pimp slap: Pham was angry about Giants Joc Pederson’s setting injured players on the Injured List and saying it wasn’t cheating. Pham slapped Pederson in the face during batting practice on May 27th do you believe this is over or there’s plenty more of that coming next weekend?

#3 Pederson said that it was wise not to escalate the situation with the T shirts and Pham said all he had to do was release the IR rules and “text how I told Joc I was going to pimp slap him for cheating” which Pham did.

#4 Pederson was also not happy that his autograph was facsimiled on the T shirts as he did not approve the signature on the shirt and wants to prevent another brouhaha with Pham again. Giants pitcher Alex Cobb saw humor in them and was blown away about how Pederson could be so calm about the whole situation.

#5 The Giants open a three game series in Pittsburgh on Friday night at PNC Park. Starting Friday for the Giants Carlos Rodon (5-4, 3.18) and for the Pirates Zach Thompson (3-4, 3.50) a 4:05 pm PDT first pitch.

Join Michael for the Giants podcasts each Thursday at

Is This The Road Trip That Propels The Giants?: The Reds, Marlins and Phillies may not be so accommodating

By Morris Phillips

With the home fans fed up with a leaky bullpen, and voicing that displeasure, the Giants are hitting the road. This could be good: none of the three teams–Reds, Phillies and Marlins–that the Giants are visiting have winning records at home.

Just what the Giants need to break out, and regain their 2021 form? Well, not so fast. Their opponents are all playing better baseball, and the Giants need to lift their game too. They’ve dropped 14 of their last 25 ballgames bringing into question whether they’re positioned to take advantage of a break in their schedule.

The rollercoaster Reds are the best example: after a horrendous 3-22 start to the season, they’ve been pretty good. On Thursday, the Reds wiped out the Cubs 20-5, their 11th win in their last 19 games.

“Splitting the series, especially against the Cubs in your division, gives the guys in the clubhouse some confidence,” said Cincinnati’s Kyle Farmer, who hit two home runs in the blowout. “Our lineup, we hit the ball really well today. We’ve got to keep carrying it on.”

“We haven’t had too many of those, and they don’t come around too often,” Reds manager David Bell said. “For us, those games can carry over.”

Entering Great American Ballpark less than 24 hours after the Reds drop a 20-spot can be intimidating. But thankfully, the Reds are a rebuilding club that scoring fewer than four runs per game on average and have hit just 37 home runs which ranks them in baseball’s bottom third. And no one’s seen this: the last time the Reds scored 20 runs was September 1999 when they were still in old Riverfront Stadium (Cinergy Field).

These Reds have a not-so-youthful core trying to establish themselves, along with veterans Joey Votto (.156 batting average) and Tommy Pham (.233) trying to regain their strokes. Infielder Jonathan India may be their most promising position player, but he’s appeared in only 11 games due to injury.

What the Giants are sure to notice is the Reds’ porous pitching staff which is allowing 5.71 runs per game and has already gifted their opposition with 56 home runs. Given that, the Giants should be well positioned, but there is the issue of the Reds playing better baseball of late.

The Phillies loosely constructed collection of veteran sluggers has held up defensively, but that hasn’t boosted their pitching staff, which is allowing more than four runs a game. Bryce Harper is injured and unable to throw and play defense, but he’s settled into his DH role for the next six weeks until his elbow heals up. J.T. Realmuto is another bright spot who routinely cuts down opponents’ running games. But overall, the Phillies have been in and lost too many high scoring games.

The Marlins look to be better, and they’ve been much more competitive, but at 18-24 few will notice the difference. What stands out is the team’s promising starting pitchers, and the pitching staff’s impressive 3.38 ERA. What ails them is their propensity to lose close ballgames, which explains why they’ve scored more than they’ve given up but have a losing record.

Former Athletic Jesus Luzardo is dealing with a forearm strain so that means a new face could emerge in the final game of the road trip. The Marlins are pondering bringing up their fourth-ranked prospect Edward Cabrera, who struck out 11 in six innings in his most recent minor league start. Prior to that, the Giants will have their hands full with Miami starters Elise Hernandez and Pablo Lopez.

Start Fast, Make It Last: Two innings of fireworks carry the Giants past the Mets, 9-3

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–This Giant lead didn’t precede one of the most confounding, wildest finishes a baseball imagination could conjure up. This giant lead–9-0 Giants after two innings–led seamlessly to a satisfying end to the home stand for a team trying to navigate successfully despite numerous personnel issues.

Mets rookie Thomas Szapucki was the undisputed victim in seeing four of his 49 pitches leave the park, all with 100 mph plus velocities. Evan Longoria was the biggest beneficiary with his first two homers of the season. The Giants survived on Tuesday, winning 12-11 to end a five-game skid. On Wednesday, they built a win streak powered by their early, rapid-fire home runs.

“I knew it was going to take a little bit of time to settle in,” Longoria said. “I was hoping it would happen sooner and quicker, but it’s a long season. I’ve been making some hard contact that hasn’t landed, so just trying to build off those at-bats and keep moving forward.”

Longoria’s three-run blast in the first comfortably cleared the center field wall, and was followed in short order by Joc Pederson’s two-run shot that was his fourth big blast in less than 24 hours.

The second inning went straight to fireworks with Wilmer Flores’ RBI double followed by back-to-back shots by Yastrzemski and Longoria. Longoria’s ended Szapucki’s afternoon, and peculiarly ended the Giants’ offense for the day.

Jakob Junis pitched six innings for the Giants, allowing three hits and single runs in the second and sixth. Junis, thought to be a stop gap has instead been a rock, throwing at least five innings in all six of his starts.

“If he does nothing else, he’s already helped us win several baseball games,” manager Gabe Kapler said of Junis. “I think we envisioned that he would come up and make very important starts for us. So he’s doing what we expected him to do, but he’s done it in a more sustained fashion.”

The Giants played without Brandon Crawford, who got a much-deserved day of rest. They are still without Brandon Belt, LaMonte Wade Jr., Austin Slater, Curt Casali and Steven Duggar making the win and the salvaged home stand that much sweeter.

“It’s huge,” Pederson said. “We built on the momentum from last night. That’s a World Series-caliber team.”

The Giants open a nine-game trip in Cincinnati on Friday night with first pitch 3:40 pm PDT. Carlos Rodon (4-3, 3.43) will pitch in that one while Cincinnati hasn’t yet announced a starter.