That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Dusty’s Dream Astros Win World Series

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker after managing his third World Series wins his first World Series as the Astros defeated the Philadelphia Phillies in game 6 at Minute Maid Field on Sat Nov 5, 2022 (AP News photo)

Dusty’s Dream: Astros Win World Series

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

Manager Dusty Baker has done it! His Houston Astros have won the 2022 World Series beating the Philadelphia Phillies 4-1 in 6 games. This title, his first as a manager, should cinch his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, among managers, adding to the over 2,000 wins.

This was his ultimate dream since he became a manager, a very good player as we remember, for 19 years who also won a ring in 1981 as a member of the World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

A career that began with the Atlanta Braves, where he was a teammate of the real home run holder Hank Aaron. Dusty had a front row at history, in Atlanta, Dusty was in the on-deck circle when Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run, passing Babe Ruth.

Winning a World Series as a player is one thing, but as a manager is totally different. A manager carries the frustration of his team. As a manager, Dusty’s frustrations were as recently as 2020 when he was coaching for the Astros he lost to the Tampa Bay Rays and was eliminated in game 7 during the American League Championship Series.

In 2021 his second season with the Astros, right after taking the helm from manager A.J Hinch and the much-publicized cheating scandal. He took that Astros team to the World Series only to lose to the Atlanta Braves in six games. At 73 years old, Dusty is now the oldest manager ever to win a World Series.

Before Dusty, it was Jack McKeon who managed the Marlins of 2003 and won the World Series at the age of 72. The Houston players are grateful and happy for Dusty Baker. He took them into a new era of Houston Astros baseball. José Altuve who was basically booed by fans all over the country, every time he came to the plate, for the cheating scandal that began in 2017.

There is the one player that was with the Astros during their bad years and then MLB conducted an investigation in 2019 after two Astros players claimed they were stealing signs. The Astros players and organization feel today like Dusty Baker was exactly the type of man they need at the helm to bring them to the ‘promised land’ and he did.

José Altuve currently has the longest tenure wearing an Astros uniform, he was with the team in 2012 when the team was in the National League Central division and they ended with a 55-107 record and the next season 2013 (the first year the Astros moved from the NL to the American League) as they ended with a dreadful record of 51-111.

After Dusty Baker, nobody enjoys this World Series Championship more than the veteran José Altuve, who called this title “a dream come true”. Altuve is the only player that was with the Astros during those very bad seasons in two different leagues. He was celebrating and happy for Dusty Baker who said “Houston is my town”.

Like many managers, Dusty had to endure all the criticism for his decisions. Dusty who was an excellent player in the majors for 19 seasons, was facing a different type of criticism as a manager. Some were brutal commentaries by prominent baseball writers of national acclaim, especially during the 2002 World Series, where Dusty’s Giants lost to the Anaheim Angels. I remember reading one; “Dusty cannot manage a bullpen”.

Today Johnnie B. “Dusty” Baker, who was born in 1949 and in 1967 was selected in the 26th round of the MLB Draft. He has been involved in baseball for the majority of his 73 years on this planet, as a player and as a manager, and is rejoicing with his players and having all the fun in the world.

Sometimes we sarcastically say “this could not have happened to a better person”, but in Dusty Baker’s case, it is true “this could not have happened to a better person”. I have been privileged to cover his career as a player and a manager. One word comes to mind that best describes the essence of this man….honesty. No wonder every player wants to play for Dusty.

Bravo Dusty!

Amaury Pi Gonzalez does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Headline Sports podcast with Jessica Kwong: Astros Alvarez beats M’s with one swing of the bat in walk homer; Yanks Cole and Rizzo provide help in 4-1 win over Cleveland; plus more

The Houston Astros Yordan Alvarez watches flight of his home run in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Field in Houston on Tue Oct 11, 2022 (AP News photo)

On Headline Sports podcast with Jessica:

#1 Jessica lets look at the MLB playoffs from Tuesday night. The Houston Astros took the first game of the ALDS getting by the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Field in Houston 7-5. The Astros Yordan Alvarez crushed a three run walk off homer in the bottom of the ninth for the win.

#2 The New York Yankees got a 4-1 win past the Cleveland Guardians at Yankee Stadium. Yankees pitcher Gerrit Cole pitched 6.1 innings, four hits, one earned run, one walk, and eight strikeouts for the win. Anthony Rizzo hit a home run and had two RBIs in the win.

#3 The Philadelphia Phillies just got by the Atlanta Braves 7-6 at Truist Park in Cobb County. The Phils held onto to the win despite the Braves scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning in a last attempt to come back.

#4 The Los Angles Dodgers drew first blood in game one of the NLDS defeating the San Diego Padres 5-3 at Dodgers Stadium. The Dodgers scored early with two runs in the bottom of the first inning and three runs in the bottom of third inning.

#5 Lastly Jessica the Guardians pitcher Nick Sandlin will miss the rest of the 2022 post season after going through an MRI that showed he has a major muscle injury in the right shoulder. How will Sandlin’s absence impact the Guardians pitching in the post season?

Join Jessica Kwong for Headline Sports Wednesday night at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

The Way-Too-Early 2023 NL West Power Rankings: The Giants need to retool

By Morris Phillips

At 27-40 with all nine remaining games to be played, the Giants’ answer to the question, “How the West was lost?” lies squarely with divisional play.

The first-place Dodgers lit up the Giants, winning 15 of 19, the first time LA has beaten the Giants as many as 15 times in a season. The second-place Padres have won 11 of 16, with a couple of the losses delivered in excruciating fashion. And Arizona leads the season series between the clubs 9-7 with three games remaining.

Only the Rockies have felt the Giants impose their will, dropping 11 of 16 to San Francisco with three games left to play. The .402 winning percentage in divisional play, if it stands, will be one of its worst since divisional play commenced in 1969.

So what does this mean for next season, one in which divisional play will be reduced by 24 games, and interleague play expanded?

Who knows? But we’ll pretend to know anyways with our Way-To-Early 2023 NL West power rankings.

1) Los Angeles Dodgers: Count on it, the Dodgers unprecedented divisional dominance will extend into a second decade as they again finish first in the NL West in 2023. Start with the imposing top of the lineup trio of Trea Turner, Mookie Betts and Freddie Freeman and go from there. The Dodgers undoubtedly will open the bank account for Turner, the 29-year old free agent to be, who will be their foremost, off-season priority. Max Muncy will also likely return on the team’s option to retain him. That leaves Justin Turner as the guy who status is up in the air.

Add in the youthful crew of Gavin Lux, Trayce Thompson, James Outman along with pitchers Walker Buehler, Julio Urias and Dustin May and just know the Dodgers have an embarrassment of riches.

2) San Diego Padres: San Diego’s biggest nightmare–the PED suspension of Fernando Tatis Jr.–will negatively impact next season as well, with the ban stretching across the first 30 games of 2023.

Along with that, the Padres have played losing baseball since June 23 (34-39) dating well before the trade deadline acquisition of Juan Soto and Tatis’ suspension. The Dodgers have had their way with their Southern California rivals, beating them 12 times, nine of those by five runs or more.

The Padres look set for the 2022 playoffs barring a collapse, but they could face the Braves in the opening round without the benefit of a home game to energize their fans, who have filled Petco Park this season in record numbers.

So what’s next?

The Padres don’t seem likely to unleash another round of spending heading into next season, but they will face tough decisions in regards to how to improve a rotation that has seen Mike Clevinger and Blake Snell regress. Also their bullpen with Josh Hader’s arrival hasn’t been as good as they were in 2021. Still, the Padres should be a second place, playoff contender in 2023.

3) San Francisco Giants: The Giants will undoubtedly make the most personnel decisions among NL West teams in the off-season. Will they also make the biggest decisions?

The Giants are one of the teams that will be involved in the Aaron Judge sweepstakes, a big money game if there ever was one. Can they win it? The odds have to be as little as 20 percent that they can, but if so, they’ll lean heavily on Judge’s ties to Northern California and his opportunity to play in low scoring, competitive games where home runs are essential.

Regardless of Judge’s decision the Giants must first decide on Carlos Rodon’s future and the wisdom of handing the strikeout king a four-year extension that would bring the total of his deal near $100 million. If so, the Giants would be set in their rotation with a 1-2 punch of Rodon and Logan Webb.

Beyond that the team has intriguing decisions regarding Evan Longoria, Brandon Belt (UFA), Mike Yastrzemski and Lamonte Wade Jr. But the biggest choices will be to improve the bullpen that fell dramatically from the top of the 2021 NL rankings.

Whatever transpires, the goal is getting the Giants back into the postseason mix.

4) Arizona Diamondbacks: The D’Backs keep spending money, the D’Backs keep adding pieces, and they have stability in manager Torey Luvullo.

When will it add up?

Arizona’s last playoff appearance was in 2017. The last time they won a playoff game was in 2011. Since winning the World Series in 2001, they’ve won two playoff games while cycling through five, different managers. What they have done in the last 20 years is make a number of splashy free agent signings (Shelby Miller, Madison Bumgarner, Justin Upton) and not seen much in terms of results.

Ok, what’s next?

Stay the course. Christian Walker’s elevated his game, becoming one of the NL’s premiere sluggers in 2022 with 36 homers thus far, Daulton Varsho’s come up with 50 extra-base hits this season, and Ketel Marte (56 extra-base hits) was good, and could easily regain the form of his previous, two seasons. Stone Garrett, a promising prospect that got stuck in the minors, could be ready to become an every day outfielder. They have a core offensively.

Merrill Kelly and Zac Gallen–a pair of starting pitchers that the Giants know all too well–are frontline starters and the centerpieces of a plus, starting rotation. Both Kelly and Gallen are signed through the next, couple of seasons.

The Diamondbacks have to get younger, and better in their bullpen and make a tough decision regarding the future of 32-year old Nick Ahmed.

Do they go out and spend a pricey addition again? Maybe not, and if not, that’s the good news.

5) Colorado Rockies: Will the Rox say adieu to manager Bud Black? Will they realize the production they sought by signing free agent slugger Kris Bryant? Can heralded starter German Marquez regain his form, and get his ERA under five?

That’s a lot of questions, and there are more in Denver. Until some or all are answered, the Rockies will carry up the rear in a very, demanding division.

Dodgers score twice in 10th and hold on to win4-3

The San Francisco Giants JD Davis connects for RBI double against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Sun Sep 18, 2022 (AP News photo)

Los Angeles (101-44). 4. 6. 1

San Francisco (69-77). 3. 6. 0. 10 innings

Sunday, September 18, 2022

By Lewis Rubman

SAN FRANCISCO–Nothing in the record of Andrew Heaney, who started for Los Angeles in this afternoon’s heart breaking 4-3 Giants loss to the Dodgers in the NL West champions’ warm up for the postseason suggests that he is a Giant killer.

The southpaw, whose overall record for the year was 3-2, 2.84. was 1-3, 6.92 lifetime against San Francisco. He’s faced them twice this year, pitching decently here on August 1 but lasting only four innings, in which he yielded a run on four hits. In his other, most recent start, the Giants got to him for six runs, all earned, on six hits in six innings, handing him his second loss of the season

This afternoon, however, the nine year veteran southpaw turned in an outstanding performance, although as he had in August, Heaney went a mere four innings into the game. He shut the Giants out on two hits and a walk, striking out eight. He threw 65 pitches, of which 44 were strikes. He left with a. 1-0 lead without having lasted long enough to get a decision but did bring his ERA down to 2.66.

On the bump for the slumping hosts was 6-6, 3.48 Alex Cobb. When the Dodgers had gotten through dealing with their hosts, those numbers were unchanged. Cobb, as the Giants game notes never fail to tell us, has expected earned run and fielding independent pitching averages well below his real ones; 3.09 vs. 3.48 and 2.83 vs. 2.88, respectively.

I recognize the importance of statistical analysis, but I put at least as much emphasis on the noun as on the adjective. A statistician is, as the old quip has it, someone who drowns crossing a river that has an average depth of three feet.

Cobb’s performance today was what you’d expect from his real, not expected ERA. The 6’1″,207 lb. righty went 5-1/3 innings, in which he allowed two runs, both earned, which left his ERA where it was when he began, 3.48. He yielded four hits and three walks, throwing 95 pitches, 60 for strikes. He wasn’t involved in the decision, the loss being charged to John Brebbia in relief. He’s now 6-2, 2.90.

From the start, the strong winds off the bay were a frequent problem for whichever team was in the field; Mookie Betts’ game opening windblown fly was Los Angeles’ only hit until the top of the fourth.

Heliot Ramos’s racing catch of Trea Turner’s wind aided fly to deep right in the third and a brief spell of sunshine drew more applause than anything else until Justin Turner’s line drive just over the glove of a leaping Evan Longoria with Freddie Freeman on first and nobody out landed in in left field for an RBI double that put LA ahead 1-0.

A portion of the crowd, which was fairly evenly divided between Dodger and Giant fans, roared its approval. One out later, Ramos made another spectacular catch, this time of Tayce Thompson’s drive to deep right center caused an uproar from the other portion. Then, with Chris Taylor at bat, the clouds burst, the field was inundated, and the game was suspended at 5:15.

Play resumed some 20 minutes later, with Cobb striking Taylor out looking.

Thairo Estrada, leading off for the Giants immediately after the strikeout, stroked the orange and gold’s first safety of the day, a single to right center. David Villar took a called third strike. Then Wilmer Flores smacked an automatic double that would have scored Estrada had it not hopped over the left center field fence at the Konica Minolta advertisement.

A walk to JD Davis loaded the bases with one down.. But Heaney stopped the Giants’ in their tracks, fanning Longoria and Bart on fastballs in the mid 90s.

Fellow portsider Caleb Ferguson relieved Heaney to start the home fifth and yielded a full count leadoff double by Lewis Brinson that flew over the glove of the leaping Max Muncy at third into left field.

Brinson moved up to third with a head first slide on Luis González’s fly out to center and held his base when Heliot Ramos grounded out to third. Estrada then sent a grounder to short on which Trea Turner made a nice play, but his throw to first was high and drew Freeman off the bag, allowing Brinson to score the unearned run that tied the game.

Los Angeles came roaring back in the top of the sixth with a leadoff double to right center by that selfsame Turner. Brinson, whose slide into third had resembled a stumble, seemed to slip in his attempt to get to ball.

Freeman then drove that Turner home with a single to right that put LA back head, 2-1 and brought the other Turner, Justin, to the plate. He hit a hard liner to left that González caught for the first one. But that was enough to end Cobb’s outing. Lefty Scott Alexander took his place on the mound and shut the Dodgers down without further damage in spite of a single by Muncy.

Ferguson gave way to righty Phil Bickford, who disposed of the Giants in the bottom without allowing a base runner.

Alexander pitched to one batter in the seventh, retiring Cody Bellinger on a line drive to Davis at first. Submariner Tyler Rogers put his particular spin on things, retiring Austin Barnes and Mookie Betts out on nine pitches and retiring the side in order in the eighth.

Evan Phillips pitched the home seventh for the visitors. He allowed a single to LaMonte Wade, Jr., hitting for Bart, but struck out his other three adversaries, including Yastrzemski, who hit for Brinson.

Alex Vesia’s first acts on assuming mound duties for Los Angeles in the bottom of the eighth was to walk number nine hitter Ramos and number one hitter Estrada. Pederson made an ill-advised attempt to bunt with two strikes and struck out.

Flores sent Bellinger to the Konica-Minolta sign, where he made a leaping catch of the Giants’ second sacker’s drive for the second out, Ramos taking third on the play. Then Davis tied the game with an automatic double over the right center field fence that brought in Ramos.

After an intentional pass to Longoria that loaded the bases, the rally ended with Wade going down swinging.

Camilo Doval tried to preserve the tie in the top of the ninth. He started off inauspiciously with a four pitch walk to Muncy but recovered to whiff Thompson and Taylor and get Bellinger to fly out to Ramos in right.

Now Craig Kimbrel had to keep the Giants off the board to keep the Dodgers in the game. Yaz popped out to third. Austin Wynns, now the catcher, grounded out to short. Ramos was fooled on an 0-2 knuckle curve and went down swinging for the third out. Kimbrel was the eventual winning pitcher and now. is 5-6, 3.96.

John Brebbia, who started yesterday’s bullpen game, came in to pitch the 10th inning in tonight’s extra inning thriller. Austin Barnes sacrificed zombie runner Bellinger to third, and Betts drove him in by lacing in a double to left.

Trea Turner smacked deep right, on which Ramos made a beautiful catch and a strong throw, but Betts reached third safely. Brebbia granted an intentional walk to Freeman, stole second, and an unintentional. one to Justin Turner to clog the basepaths.

Thomas Szapucki to the rescue! Vain hope! Szapucki walked Muncy, with his BA of .201, to force in the second Dodger tally of the frame and reload the bases. Szkapucki whiffed Thompson to allow San Francisco a reasonable chance of turning things around against Andre Jackson, who had pitched two big league innings so far this season.

Ramos was, of course, the placed baserunner. Jackson walked Estrada. Pederson almost gave the Giants the win with a drive to the portals in right that moved Ramos to third. Flores dropped a single to right that brought in Ramos.

Estrada stopped at second, in scoring position with one down. After an eight pitch at bat, Davis went down swinging for the second out. It now was a battle between Jackson and Longoria. The count went to 3-2 before the Giants’ third baseman walked to load the bases.

Now it was Justin Bruihl the lefty who got the final out in last night’s Dodger win, pitching for them against LaWade, Jr. He drove a 2-2 pitch into McCovey Cove … just a few feet to the right of the foul pole. Then, on a full count, Wade grounded out, first Freeman to Bruihl, who gained his first major league save.

The players of the game today were the grounds crew, who kept the field in playing condition in spite of the repeated soakings it endured.

The Giants move on to Denver tomorrow, where Jakob Junis (4-6, 4.15) will face the Blake Street Bombers, who will counter with Chad Kuhl (6-9, 5.33). Game time is 5:40 pm, Pacific time.

Dodgers open flood gates score four in third for whopping 7-2 win over Giants at Oracle Park

San Francisco Giants pitcher Sean Hjelle (64) is relieved by San Francisco Giants manager Gabe Kapler (19) in the third inning at Oracle Park in San Francisco, on Sunday, Sept. 17, 2022. (photo by Bay Area News Group)

Los Angeles (100-44). 7. 13 . 1

San Francisco (69-76). 2. 5. 1

Saturday, September 17, 2022

By Lewis Rubman

SAN FRANCISCO–The Los Angeles Dodgers came to work this evening looking for their 100th victory of the season. They got it.

The San Francisco Giants came to pay tribute to Hunter Pence, remember the glory days of the 2010s, and just maybe take a small step towards a .500 season. The Dodgers sent left hander Julio Urías (16-7, 2.30) to the mound.

The Giants played a bullpen game, starting with John Brebbia (6-1, 2.83), followed by Sean Hjelle, Alex Young, Jarlín García, Yunior Marte, and Cole Waite. The result was a dismal 7-2 loss for the Giants in a contest that was decided by the end of the third frame.

Urías threw six effective innings for the Dodgers before giving way to Tommy Kalhe. The southpaw from Culiacán held San Francisco to two runs, only one of which was earned, on five hits, one of which was a home run, and a base on balls, notching eight strikeouts in the process.

He threw 98 pitches, 65 of which qualified as strikes. He earned his 17th win against seven defeats and shrank his ERA to 2.27.

Before the ceremony honoring the adding of Pence’s plaque to the Giants Wall of Fame, the team recalled right handed pitcher Sean Hjelle and the promising outfielder Heliot Ramos from Sacramento and optioned outfielder Willie Calhoun and righty reliever Luis Ortiz to the River Cats.

Hjelle pitched the second frame of tonight’s contest after Brebbia pute down the visitors on one hit in the first. Ramos played in right field and batted in the ninth position and went hitless in four at bats.

When the Giants jumped out to a one run lead in the bottom of that inning you would have thought that they were the division winners going for the third digit in the win column and the Dodgers, the ex champs struggling for a shred of respectability.

San Francisco combined an infield hit, an error by shortstop Trea Turner, a stolen base by Thairo Estrada, and a botched double play attempt to achieve the tally and make Urías throw 22 pitches in the process.

The Dodgers corrected that misconception in their next turn at bat. Estrada had to race to the warning track to snag Max Muncy´s leadoff liner to left. Justin Turner smacked a single to right, and Trayce Thompson’s 11th home run of the year cleared the Bank of America advertisement in left center, a 421 foot blast of a 95mph sinker.

The Dodgers continued their relentless attack in the third. Treat Turner hit a solid single to right and, before Hjelle’s first delivery to Fredie Freeman, went to second on the rookie’s errant pickoff throw. With Freeman still at the plate, Turner took third on a passed ball.

He scored on Freeman’s single off the right field wall. More Dodgers crossed the plate on Will Smith’s grounder to third that laid down and died before Longoria could make a play on it, Muncy’s single to right, and Justin Turner’s single to center.

Add to that a walk to Trayce Thompson, and you get the end of Hjelle’s wobbly performance. Young entered the game with Los Angeles ahead 5-1 with the bases loaded, no one out, and Joey Gallo at the plate. He hit a grounder to Crawford, playing in the shift, that should have resulted in a double play.

But Crawford bobbled the ball, and all the Giants got was a force out at second. Since scorers aren’t allowed to anticipate a double play in that situation, Crawford wasn’t charged with an error.

Turner scored the visitor’s fourth run of the inning and sixth of the game. Hjelle had thrown 50 pitches in his 1+ innings long appearance, in which he surrendered six runs, all earned, on eight hits, and a walk. He got the loss, giving him a record of 0-2, 9.75.

After LA had batted around, the Giants hit the rusty Urías hard in the bottom of the third. David Villar showed warning track power in his fly to. left, and Wilmer Flores sent his 19th round tripper of 2022 over the Game Up sign in left center, 384 feet into the bleachers to give San Francisco its second run.

The Dodgers answered that in the fourth with an RBI single by Justin Turner that drove in Trea Turner. I guess Turner round’s fair play.

It was Jarlín García’s turn to try his turn on the mound in the fifth. His performance was the first successful one of the game for San Francisco. He held Los Angeles in check, allowing only a hit and a walk in his three inning stint on the mound.

Urías’s replacement, Kahle, fanned his first two batters in the seventh but then hit Estrada with a pitch and walked Villar. This brought Chris Martin, who closed the inning by getting Flores to pop out to Freeman, who made a nifty back to the plate grab of the ball.

Yunior Marte took over for García in the visitors half of the eighth and got them out in order. Martin stuck around to do the same to the Giants in the bottom of the inning.

Cole Waites held LA scoreless in the ninth with a little help from a pitcher’s best friend.

Justin Brihl closed out the game for Los Angeleswith a perfect ninth inning.

The Giants and Dodgers are scheduled to battle the elements and each other at 4:08 tomorrow afternoon in a nationally televised match up between LA’s leftly Andrew Heaney (3-2, 2.84) and SF’s righty Alex Cobb (6-6, 3.48)

Dodgers May and relievers shutout Giants 5-0 at Oracle

Los Angeles Dodgers starter Dustin May delivers a pitch to the San Francisco Giants line up in the bottom of the first inning at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Fri Sep 16, 2022 (AP News photo)

Los Angeles (99-44). 5. 9. 0

San Francisco (69-75). 0. 2. 1

Friday, September 16, 2022

By Lewis Rubman

SAN FRANCISCO–The Los Angeles Dodgers rode into town as the 2022 National League Western Division champions, winningest team in major league baseball at 98-44. You’d think they wouldn’t sweat the details, like a three game series against the 69-74 Giants.

You’d be partially right, but remember that the 2021 Giants, with 107 wins, NL West champions and the winningest team in all of MLB, were stopped in their tracks by the wild card Dodgers. The fugitives from Brooklyn still need to secure the home team advantage in the subsequent rounds of baseball’s bizantine postseason playoff tournament. They arrived in San Francisco with a magic number of 10 to achieve that goal in the NL playoffs.

When the dust had settled. the Dodgers had validated their championship qualities, using four pitchers to shut the Giants out on two hits, solidly defeating the home team 5-0. For their starter in tonight’s opening game of the series, the Dodgers chose right hander Dustin May, who has pitched in five postseason games, two as a starter, for a total of 14 innings two of his relief appearances were in the 2020 World Series.

His postseason record of 1-0, 3.86 isn’t particularly impressive, but his having one at all offsets his poor 2022 numbers of 1-2, 4.29. In any case, those figures are deceptive. The 24 year old May didn’t throw a pitch in the big leagues this year until August 20; he’d been on the IL for about a year and had just recovered from Tommy John surgery.

Even if his teammates were catching their breath while trying to stay sharp and position themselves for the playoff push, he’s effectively just gotten past spring training. Mid September is late March or early April for May.

He exceeded everyone’s expectations. throwing five innings of near perfect baseball. He faced the minimum number of batters possible over that span and allowed only one base runner, Brandon Crawford, who walked in the second frame and quickly was eliminated in an around the horn double play. May threw 69 pitches, 40 for strikes and struck out four. The well deserved win evened Mays’ won-lost record at 2-2 and reduced his earned run average to 3.46.

The Giants, trying to finish the year above .500 and maybe act as spoilers in the Dodgers’ hopes to advance deep into the postseason, sent Logan Webb, who might be their best young pitcher, to the mound, toting a 13-8, 2.88 record for the season and numbers of 3-1, 2.64 record in his eight starts against the Dodgers, with him.

Those last figures include his playoff performances. When he left after four innings of hard labor, the Giants were behind, 4-0. Webb had thrown 90 pitches, 33 of them balls. The Dodgers had gotten seven hits off him, and all four of their tallies were earned. He issued two free passes and unleashed one wild pitch. He was charged with the loss after a lackluster performance that left him with 13-9 while his ERA rose to 3.02.

The Dodgers jumped in front early on a leadoff double by Max Muncy in the top of the second. He went to third on Justin Turner’s productive ground out to second and scored on a fielder’s choice when All or Nothing At All Joey Gallo hit a grounder to Wilmer Flores at first and Joey Bart couldn’t handle the throw home.

One more costly hidden error by the Giants’ defence. The scorer’s decision was correct, but Flores’s footwork here and on an earlier play in the first frame was awkward when cleaner execution might have resulted in an out.

Los Angeles overcame the Curse of the Leadoff Double again in the fourth when Justin Turner whacked his 34th two bagger of the year into left field. Turner moved up a base on Gallo’s grounder to first and trotted home on Taylor’s RBI single to center.

Taylor, in turn, moved up 90 feet on a wild pitch to Bellinger, whose single to center brought Taylor home with LA’s third tally. Bellinger stole second with Trea Turner at bat. That plate appearance culminated in an RBI single to center that increased the Dodger’s margin to 4-0.

It also gave Turner the chase to steal his 25th base of the season, and he took advantage of the opportunity. That was LA’s fourth stolen base in four innings of play. When Will Smith grounded into a 5-4 force out of Freeman, it spelled the end of Logan’s mound tenure.

Portslideer Thomas Szapucki replaced him in the top of the fifth and held the visitors to Justin Turner’s 35th double of the season. Szapucki stuck around to pitch a perfect sixth and retire the first batter he faced in the top of the seventh before passing the torch to Luis Ortiz.

Alex Vesia relieved May after the Dodgers’ starter had hurled five innings of no-hit ball. The left handed reliever allowed the Giants their first safety, a weak etwo out grounder to second that allowed Joey Bart to reach first.

Ortiz retired the Dodgers to a conga beat (1,2,3, kick) in the top of both the seventh and eighth frames.

Caleb Ferguson faced the Giants in their half of the seventh. He gave up San Francisco’s first hit worthy of the name, a two out line drive single to center by David Villar. Crawford made things interesting by sending Bellinger to the wall to corral the fly he almost hit into the Giants’ bullpen. Phil Bickford set the Giants down in order in the bottom of the eighth.

Cole Waites tried to keep the hosts within striking distance of their guests in the top of the ninth. He almost pulled it off, in spite of a leadoff walk to Bellinger, who also stole second. Waites retired Betts and Trea Turner while Bellinger stayed put at second.

But Freeman singled him home. LA slugging first baseman was thrown out trying to stretch his hit into a double, González to Flores (now playing second), but Los Angeles and Bickford went into the bottom of the ninth leading 5-0.

The Giants went gently into the good night, going down in order.

Tomorrow’s game is scheduled to start at 6:05. Before the game, Hunter Pence’s plaque will become the 55th Giant on the team’s Wall of Fame. After that, it’ll be southpaw Julio Urías (16-7, 2.30) will try to give LA its 100th win of the season. His opposite number has not yet been announced.

San Francisco Giants podcast with Daniel Dullum: Giants prepare to face LA Friday night; Rodon most likely to go free agency after season over

San Francisco Giants Mike Yastrzemski lunges for a fly ball hit by the Atlanta Braves Vaughn Grissom in the top of fifth for an out at Oracle Park in San Francisco on Thu Sep 15, 2022. The Giants prepare to open a three game series in Los Angeles Friday night (AP News photo)

On the SF Giants podcast:

#1 San Francisco Giants ace Carlos Rodon is most likely to leave as a free agent after having an impressive season for the Giants.

#2 Rodon has 200 strikeouts second in Major League Baseball behind the New York Yankees Gerrit Cole who leads with 228 strikeouts.

#3 Left handed pitcher Alex Wood has is completely out for impingement a decision on whether he’ll pitch again Thursday will be decided this weekend.

#4 Wood did say if the Giants were in the hunt for post season he would be back out on the mound.

#5 Giants had Thursday off and open a three game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers Friday night with the Giants out of contention and the Dodgers in the drivers seat can the Giants try and add more wins against Los Angeles.

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

Giants to host Dodgers for weekend series at Oracle Park: Belt joins Kruk and Kuip for TV broadcast analysis during knee rehab

San Francisco Giants Brandon Belt who rehabbing from knee surgery has joined Giants broadcasters Mike Krukow and Duane Kuiper in the TV broadcast booth for color and analysis while on the IL during the current homestand (San Francisco Chronicle file photo)

By Daniel Dullum

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Following a win on Wednesday over the Atlanta Braves, the San Francisco Giants have Thursday off before embarking on a weekend series against the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers at Oracle Park, renewing a rivalry that goes back to 1883.

In Friday night’s contest, Justin May (1-2, 4.29) starts for Los Angeles, facing the Giants’ Logan Webb (13-8, 2.88). The Giants’ probable starters for Saturday and Sunday, respectively, are Alex Young (0-1, 2.87) and Alex Cobb (6-6, 3.48). The Dodgers will counter with Julio Urias (16-7, 2.30) and Andrew Heaney (3-2, 2.84).

The Dodgers hold a 20-game lead over second-place San Diego, and lead the Giants by 29 ½ games in the NL West. Los Angeles will likely clinch the home field advantage for the National League postseason.

RODON ROLLS ON

Carlos Rodon struck out eight in five strong innings in Wednesday’s win over Atlanta before leaving the game with a blister. Rodon is in the hunt for the NL Cy Young Award, sporting numbers that include 13 wins, a 2.84 ERA, 220 strikeouts, a WHIP of 1.04 and an opponents’ batting average of .204.

BELT GIVES KUIP & KRUK A SHOUTOUT

No one is sure what the future holds for Giants first baseman Brandon Belt, who is out for the season after season-ending knee surgery. The 34-year-old Belt becomes a free agent at the end of the current season, and took some time to visit the NBC Sports Bay Area booth to chat with Duane Kuiper and Mike Krukow.

“I told y’all before we got on the air that you are the best in the business, and I really mean that,” Belt said on the broadcast. “So if I don’t get a chance to play in front of y’all again, it’s been an honor.

“I’ve really enjoyed it,” Belt continued. “Y’all have the best calls in the game. I’ve heard everybody; y’all are awesome and y’all do it the best. So I know you all know this, but I wanted to get that out there.”

Kuiper responded, “I think Mike and I always appreciate it a little more when it comes from a guy who played. So we appreciate it.”

Krukow then returned the compliment to Belt, pointing out, “We have something to tell you too – thank you for helping put two (championship) rings on our fingers!”

Belt: “It was my pleasure. I’d like to get another one!”

Belt has said he would like to return to the Giants, but the combination of coming off a sub-par 2022 season and undergoing knee surgery at age 35 may be factors in the Giants’ decision-making for 2023. If the Giants decide not to bring Belt back, there’s a good chance the veteran first baseman could land with another club.

Belt recently told NBC Sports Bay Area that it’s too soon to make a decision on playing next season, explaining, “It’s just going to depend. I’m going to play next year if I can get my knee healthy and strong again. … If I can get it strong like I did (after surgery in 2015) then I’ll play, but if not, then I’m not going to go out there and be substandard all the time. We’ll just have to see.”

San Francisco Giants podcast with Michael Duca: Did Littell blow up fire up Giants?; SF takes series with 4-1 win over Braves

San Francisco Giants starter Carlos Rodon delivers against the Atlanta Braves at Oracle Park in the top of the first inning on Wed Sep 14, 2022 (AP News photo)

On the Giants podcast with Michael:

#1 San Francisco Giants (69-74) reliever Zack Littell who was demoted to triple A Sacramento on Monday night after he exchanged words with manager Gabe Kapler during a pitching change seemed to have fired up the team with the Giants winning on Monday and Wednesday to take the series from the Atlanta Braves (88-55).

#2 The win on Wednesday had Giants starter Carlos Rodon dominate over the Braves line up with five innings of work giving up two hits and striking out eight in one of the toughest line ups that Rodon has to face.

#3 Rodon got a blister after leaving the game. Rodon said in the post game scrum that he’s been dealing with the blister all year long.

#4 Rodon has been pitching well all year long also on Wednesday he allowed only one unearned run, two hit and walk and second in baseball with strikeouts 220 to the New York Yankees Gerrit Cole who had 228.

#5 The Giants have Thursday off and host the Los Angeles Dodgers on Friday at Oracle Park for a 7:15 pm PDT. The Dodgers will go with starter Dustin May (1-2, 4.29) he’ll be opposed by the Giants Logan Webb (13-8, 2.88).

Join Michael for the Giants podcasts Thursdays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Francisco Giants podcast with Michael Duca: Giants in Milwaukee just for today’s doubleheader

San Francisco Giants David Villar has been having success at the plate hit a two run homer in the top of the fifth inning and gets the high five from teammates against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on Wed Sep 7, 2022 (AP News photo)

On the SF Giants podcast with Michael:

#1 Michael, the San Francisco Giants just couldn’t hold the 2-0 lead and the Los Angeles Dodgers Max Muncy who bunted to the opposite side of the field of the Giants shift got on board and set up the home run hit by Justin Turner to take a 3-2 lead.

#2 Trea Turner doubled home Barnes to make it 4-3, then Muncy blew it open after a Freddie Freeman walk after eight innings the Dodgers had a four run 7-3 lead.

#3 The Giants got two runs in the top of the fifth inning and another run in the top of the seventh but just couldn’t manufacture more runs to get back in the ball game.

#4 The Giants play a doubleheader today in Milwaukee will Gabe Kapler use the call ups and rookies to see what he has on had in preparation for next season.

#5 In today’s front game the Giants will start Scott Alexander (0.00, 1.69) and for the Brewers Corbin Burnes (9-6, 3.02) a 1:10pm PDT first pitch. In the nightcap Giants manager Gabe Kapler has not announced a starter and for the Brewers Freddy Peralta (4-3, 3.56)

Join Michael for the Giants podcasts Thursdays at http://www.sportsradioservice.com