Michael Duca on A’s and Giants

by Michael Duca

OAKLAND–When it comes to Josh Donaldson he’s probably the best player the American League left off the All-Star roster and there’s little doubt that Donaldson has been pretty consistent and is number two in the A.L. in WAR which is one of those stats when you go to replace a player all year and that’s probably the best one or actually judging a player. He’s just about the best in the A.L. at providing victories for a team both offensively and defensively.
Donaldson has played an outstanding third base he would probably be the leading candidate for the gold glove if it weren’t for Mario Marchado in Baltimore and he is amongst the best offensive third baseman in the A.L. if it weren’t for the Miguel Cabrera guy in Detroit. He’s sort of the avis of third basemen in the A.L. second best defensively, second best offensively, probably best all around.
Donaldson in the playoffs:  To know how Josh Donaldson is going to do in the playoffs is something you can’t ask before the playoffs. How big of a role was the Giants Marco Scutaro last year? Nobody was expecting that, how big of a role was the former Giant Cody Ross in 2010? Nobody was expecting that. What happens in the playoffs was because teams have been scouted for weeks, weeks, and more weeks the key players tend to get shut down and the role players tend to play the biggest roles for the winning teams because if the role players who come and provide the offense allow a game to go far in the playoffs it’s the unexpected it’s the team tendators who show up out of nowhere.
Angel Pagan is carrying the Giants offense: People in the pressbox laugh when I say the Giants Angel Pagan has proved he’s the Most Valuable Player in the National League. By a real definition the term MVP he’s clearly the most valuable player to his team because they were in first place when he got hurt. Then the Giants played 20 games below .500 while he was gone and since his return they’ve climbed from the cellar back to third place.
There isn’t any question how important he is to the team, the best way to explain him is he gives the maximum effort and demands maximum effort and produces a higher level of energy within the clubhouse and on the field amongst their teammates. Who could ever forget last year watching the fast clap, the sunflower seed throwing, all of that stuff that outsiders think of is silly and a little boyish is really good how seriously good athletes manage to alleviate the pressure of playoffs.
It’s to revert to being little boyish, it’s to revert to going out and having fun when you perform and you relax and you let your talent to take over and that’s what Pagan did for the Giants last year and that’s what Hunter Pence did for them last year much like Juan Uribe did for them in 2010.
The way the Giants have played winning seven out of their last nine is their late September test against really good competition unless they had something to lose and I think the Giants will do really well to finish up the season. The Giants will be able to demonstrate a little bit more long ball power in the upcoming series at Yankee Stadium and the Giants pitching staff will probably do a good job in that ball park also because they throw a lot of ground balls.
The most important thing that’s going to come out of that series is the Giants are going to carry away with them forever the memory of being there for Yankees pitcher Mariano Rivera’s last regular season home game and to see what the Yankees have planned for the future Hall of Famer.
Michael Duca does commentary each week for the Giants and A’s for Sportstalk

Lincecum defangs Diamondbacks

By Jeremy Kahn

August 30, 2013

PHOENIX-Tim Lincecum is a free agent at the end of the 2013 season, but if he pitches the rest of the way like his two last starts, he should be wearing Orange and Black next season.

Lincecum went seven innings, allowing zero runs on six hits, while walking two and striking out two on his way to his second consecutive win and the San Francisco Giants defeated the Arizona Diamondbacks 1-0 before a crowd of 24,380 at Chase Field.

“Best I have had felt out there in a while,” said Lincecum, who threw 99 pitches on the evening.

The win was also special for Giants centerfielder Angel Pagan, who made his return to a major league diamond for the first time since May 25, when hit a walk-off two-run inside-the-park home run at AT&T Park against the Colorado Rockies.

In his first major league at-bat in 82 games, Pagan hit a double off of Diamondbacks starter Randall Delgado and then scored the only Giants run that they would need, as Brandon Belt hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield that scored Pagan from third base in the top of the first inning.

“I was going, I was going to challenge (A.J. Pollock),” said Pagan.

Despite taking the loss, Delgado pitched an admirable game, as he went seven innings, allowing one runs on just three hits, walking two and striking out three; however he saw his record fall to 4-5 on the season.

Paul Goldschmidt, who entered the game with a .529 clip in his career versus Lincecum was retired in his first at-bats, but finally got to Lincecum, as he hit a single in the bottom of the sixth inning.

Following the Goldschmidt single, Martin Prado hit a single that sent Goldschmidt and immediately following the Prado single, Aaron Hill walked to load the bases.

After going 1-for-3 on the night, Goldschmidt is still hitting at .an .500 clip, as he is now 10-for-20 in his career versus the two-time Cy Young Award Winner.

Lincecum then struck out Miguel Montero on three consecutive pitches, and Pablo Sandoval saved the shutout, as he dove for an A.J. Pollock hit down the left field line, got up and threw to Belt for the final out of the inning.

“Ball down the line, looking at a crooked number,” said Bruce Bochy, “that was how we won the game.”

Marco Scutaro made an amazing play at second base, as Goldschmidt was running on the pitch, Scutaro was covering second and a ball hit by Prado was snared by Scutaro, who tagged second and threw to first to complete the double play.

Sandoval was forced to leave the game after being hit on the knee by a Brad Ziegler pitch in the top of the ninth inning and was replaced by Joaquin Arias at third base.

Sergio Romo came on in the bottom of the ninth inning, and shut the Diamondbacks down to pickup his 33rd save of the season.

Romo extends two different streaks at Chase Field, as he now completes 20.0-consecutive scoreless innings, tied for the second longest streak all-time by a visiting pitcher in the history of the ballpark (according to Stats LLC).

Also, Romo completed his 23rd consecutive inning of scoreless appearances at Chase Field, the longest such by any visiting pitcher at any ballpark since 1921 (according to Stats LLC).

NOTES: Ryan Vogelsong will take the ball in the second game of the three-game series on Saturday afternoon, while former Oakland A’s starter Trevor Cahill will toe the rubber for Kirk Gibson’s Diamondbacks.

Former Diamondbacks pitcher Yusmeiro Petit will face his former team on Sunday, while 13-game winner Patrick Corbin will head to the mound for the Diamondbacks.

To make room for Pagan, Francisco Peguero was optioned to Fresno and Andres Torres was transferred from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list after having surgery on his left Achilles.

With the victory, the Giants are now 5-10 following an off day this season, their first win after an off day since Chad Gaudin defeated the Diamondbacks on July 19 at AT&T Park.

The Giants have raised their record versus the National League West to 31-24, the best out of any team in the division.

When the game began at 6:40 (local time) it was a balmy 91 degrees outside of the ballpark, but a cool 78 degrees inside.

Scutaro with the literal walk off

By Jeremy Kahn

August 20, 2013

PhotoSAN FRANCISCO-Marco Scutaro was given the nickname “Blockbuster” when he was acquired by the San Francisco Giants.

Scutaro walked on four straight pitches with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning against Brayan Villareal, as the Giants came back to defeat the Boston Red Sox 3-2 before a sellout crowd of 41,551 at AT&T Park.

Shane Victorino maybe in the American League, but he is still tormenting the Giants.

Victorino hit a solo home run in the top of the third inning off of Ryan Vogelsong that gave the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.

Besides the Victorino home run in the third, Vogelsong gave up a run in the top of the first inning, when Mike Carp drove in Jacoby Ellsbury with a sacrifice fly to right field.

In all, Vogelsong went seven innings, allowing two runs on six hits, walking one and striking out five.

Joaquin Arias drove in the Giants only run of the game in the bottom of the fifth inning, as he tripled to score Roger Kieschnick, who singled to leadoff the frame.

Jake Peavy went 5.2 innings, allowing one run on five hits, while walking one and striking out four, but did not fare in the decision.

Buster Posey tied up the game in the bottom of the eighth inning, as he hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score Scutaro.

SF Giants split series, defeat Brewers 4-1

By Jerry Feitelberg

August 8, 2013

0808131The Giants were looking to even the four game series with the Milwaukee Brewers Thursday afternoon at AT&T park. The Giants sent Tim Lincecum to the hill. Lincecum entered the game with a 5-11 record for the season but he looked like the Timmy of old as he picked up the win going eight innings allowing no runs and just ONE hit as the Giants won the game 4-1. Marco Scutaro and Brandon Crawford were terrific at the top of the lineup as they both had three hits each in the game. They had back to back hits in the first, second and sixth inning. The big blow of the game came in the first inning went Brandon Belt hit a three run homer. The game summary follows.

The Giants jumped out to 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Marco Scutaro led of with a single to left. Shortstop Brandon Crawford followed with a double to left center field to put men on at second and third with no out. With one out, first baseman Brandon belt launched a home run to deep right field to score Scutaro and Crawfor ahead of him. Giants lead 3-0 after one inning of play.

The Giants added a run in the bottom of the second. With two out, Marco Scutaro doubled down the left field line. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and then scored on a single off the bat of Brandon Crawford. Giants lead 4-0 after two.

The Brewers got on the board in the top of the ninth. Khris Davis, pinch hitting for the pitcher, doubled to start the frame. Davis scored when Jean Segura singled with one out. Sergio Romo nailed nail the win getting the last two outs of the game. Giants win 4-1. Lincecum gets the win and he is now 6-11 for the season and Donovan Hand took the loss . Hand’s record is now 0-4.

Notes: The Giants entered the game homer less in eleven straight home games. The last home run at home was on July 20th.The Giants are now 8-12 since the All-Star break. The Giants recalled Hector Sanchez from Fresno and he caught the game for the Giants. Catcher Guillermo Quiroz was designated for assignment. With the win, the Giants are now 12 games under .500 and their home record improves to 30-29. The Giants play an inter-league series with the Baltimore Orioles Friday night at AT&T park at 7:15 pm.

Attendance was 41,219. It was the 233rd consecutive sellout for San Francisco.