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

Photo credit: nbcbayarea.com

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 http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Panda’s 10th inning blast lifts Giants over D-Backs 3-2

Photo credit: @sfgiants_fanly

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Sunday, May 19, 2019

PHOENIX — The Panda strikes again.

For the second time in two games, Pablo Sandoval came off the San Francisco bench and delivered a pinch-hit home run. His homer on Sunday came in the top of the 10th inning, giving the Giants a 3-2 win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Sandoval, pinch-hitting for reliever Sam Dyson, drove a Yoshihisa Hirano fastball into the left field seats just above the 388-foot marker, breaking a 2-2 deadlock.

“You’ve got to be prepared, and be ready to hit in any situation,” Sandoval said. “Then, take advantage of the situation. (Hirano) was doing a good job with his sequence of pitches. He threw a fastball away, and I was thinking fastball.”

Giants Manager Bruce Bochy said, “It’s amazing what he’s been doing, and with two strikes. It happened for him again!

“It’s incredible what Pablo’s done for us off the bench, and he sure delivered again in a big way.”

Will Smith came on with one out in the bottom of the 10th to record his 12th save, striking out Eduardo Escobar and David Peralta.

Before any of that could happen, the Diamondbacks had an opportunity to win the game in the ninth when Nick Ahmed led off with a walk and was sacrificed to second and moved to third when Blake Swihart was ruled out at first after a replay review of his grounder to short.

On Adam Jones’ sharp grounder just to the left of second base, shortstop Brandon Crawford’s throw to Brandon Belt just beat Jones at first, forcing extra innings.

“That was an unbelievable play,” Sandoval said. “If we don’t make that play, they win.”

The Giants took two out of the three weekend games at Chase Field, which had the roof open all three days.

San Francisco took a 2-0 lead in the third inning off Diamondbacks starter Robbie Ray. Joe Panik and Donovan Solano hit back-to-back singles, followed by a walk to Tyler Austin to load the bases. Evan Longoria drew an RBI walk and Kevin Pillar followed with an RBI groundout to first.

The Diamondbacks tied the game at 2-2 in the fourth. Peralta reached on an infield single, followed by a walk to Christian Walker. Nick Ahmed’s ground rule double down the right field line drove in Peralta.

A wild pitch during John Ryan Murphy’s at-bat allowed Walker to score and Ahmed to advance to third.

Drew Pomerantz started for San Francisco, going 4 2/3 innings, giving up both Arizona runs, striking out two and issuing five walks. Dyson (2-0) threw a scoreless ninth to get the win; the Giants bullpen held the D-Backs scoreless over the final 5 1/3 innings.

Hirano (1-2) was the sixth Diamondback pitcher in the game.

The Giants improved to 19-25 and return home to start a four-game series against Atlanta. Monday’s starter has yet to be announced, but San Francisco’s probables for the other three games are Shaun Anderson (0-0) on Tuesday, Jeff Samardzija (2-2) on Wednesday and Madison Bumgarner (3-4) on Thursday.

GIANT JOTTINGS: Sandoval’s pinch-homer was the third of his career. The first one came last season in Philadelphia. … The replay review time in the ninth inning of Blake Swihart’s ground out was 1:21. … D-Backs OF Wilmer Flores left the game with a right foot contusion. … Attendance was 24,061.

Giants use 11-hit attack to hold off Snakes

Photo credit: @SFGiants

By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Saturday, May 18, 2019

PHOENIX — In 24 hours, things changed for the better offensively for the San Francisco Giants.

On Friday, the Giants couldn’t get a key hit when needed. On Saturday, it was key hits to spare.

San Francisco’s 11-hit attack was backed a strong start from Madison Bumgarner, as the Giants defeated Arizona 8-5.

Seven different Giants drove in runs, led by Brandon Crawford with two. Steven Duggar, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Evan Longoria, Mac Williamson and Pablo Sandoval each knocked in a run.

“You could really see the difference tonight,” Giants Manager Bruce Bochy said. “The hitters were doing a nice job of getting on base. We had a lot of big hits, extra-base hits, and we did the little things well.”

Bumgarner (3-4) worked 61/3 innings, giving up three runs on five hits. He struck out six and walked three.

“I thought he threw real good,” Bochy said. “His stuff was good. And with that lineup in this ballpark, a really nice job. And he had good command of his pitches all night.

Longoria’s two-out hit in the first inning drove in Joe Panik, who led off the game with an infield single. The Giants rallied for three runs in the third, with Duggar’s RBI triple, Posey’s run-scoring single and a sacrifice fly to center by Crawford the key blows giving San Francisco a 4-0 lead.

Eduardo Escobar’s 10th home run of the season into the left field seats put the Diamondbacks on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Arizona cut the Giants’ lead to 4-2 in the fifth when Adam Jones singled in Blake Swihart, who led off the inning with a walk.

San Francisco pushed two more runs across in the sixth on an RBI triple by Crawford, who scored two batters later on a single by Williamson.

The Diamondbacks chased Bumgarner in the bottom of the seventh after Nick Ahmed walked and scored from second on pinch-hitter John Ryan Murphy’s double down the left field line.

Adam Jones drove in Carson Kelly (who walked) with a ground out off San Francisco reliever Sam Dyson, pulling Arizona to within 6-4. But with two out in the San Francisco eighth, Sandoval — pinch-hitting for Dyson — hit a solo home run, giving the Giants a 7-4 lead.

“How about Pablo, huh?” Bochy said. “It’s nice to start him, and it’s nice to bring him off the bench to pinch-hit. He’s been the silver lining through our struggles.”

San Francisco extended its lead in the ninth to 8-4 when Brandon Belt’s seventh home run of the season reached the swimming pool in right-center.

Arizona closed its deficit to three when Carson Kelly hit a solo home run in the ninth, but closer Will Smith struck out Alex Avila, Adam Jones and Ketel Marte in what became a non-save situation.

In Sunday afternoon’s series finale, Robbie Ray (3-1, 3.14) starts for the Diamondbacks. San Francisco has yet to announce its starter.

GIANT JOTTINGS: Sandoval’s pinch home run in the eighth inning was the second of his career. The first came on May 8, 2018, at Philadelphia. … Gi Belt’s ninth-inning homer into the Chase Field swimming pool was the second overall of the season. Ex-Giant Hunter Pence hit one earlier this season for Texas. … D-Backs OF Adam Jones has hit safely in his last seven games. … Giants 2B Joe Panik has a streak of reaching base safely in 16 straight games, by hit or walk. … The attendance at Chase Field on Saturday was 25,014; Friday’s attendance was 26,806.

TAGS: San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, Madison Bumgarner, Pablo Sandoval, Brandon Belt, Steven Duggar, Sports Radio Service

San Francisco Giants podcast with Michael Duca: Belt, Posey expected back in the lineup tonight in Arizona

Photo credit: @mercnews

On the Giants podcast with Michael:

#1 Giants manager Bruce Bochy said he kept first baseman Brandon Belt out of the lineup due to his inflamed knee Bochy says Belt is listed as day-to-day.

#2 Belt has had two knee surgeries. He went 0-3 with a walk on Tuesday night against the Toronto Blue Jays. Did his 0-for-3 have something to do with his knee being inflamed?

#3 The bobblehead for Pablo Sandoval reads “Let Pablo pitch” but someday the bobblehead for Giants pitcher Shaun Anderson will read “Let Shaun hit” because two hits in his first MLB game and some solid hitting would make only teammate Madison Bumgarner proud.

#4 Buster Posey is expected to be in the lineup on Friday night to open up the series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He was out with a concussion for seven days. How cautious will the Giants and Posey be about his return?

#5 Giants pitcher Johnny Cueto is doing a 40-pitch bullpen session as he catches up with the team in Arizona. Bochy said he’s not sure if Cueto will be back this season after having Tommy John surgery, but he wants to see how and where Cueto is at in these bullpen sessions.

Join Miguel for the Giants podcasts each Friday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Guerrero Jr. homers twice in Blue Jays’ 7-3 win over Giants

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO-In his first ever appearance as a major leaguer at Oracle Park, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., did not disappoint the allegiance of Toronto Blue Jays fans in the crowd.

Guerrero Jr. launched a solo home run deep over the center field wall, helping the Blue Jays to a 7-3 victory over the San Francisco Giants before a crowd of 31,230 at Oracle Park.

Once again, the first inning was a troublesome inning for the Giants, as with the three runs that the Blue Jays scored in the first inning, the Giants have been outscored 45-5 in the opening frame.

In his next at-bat, Guerrero Jr. singled and then walked in his third at-bat, as the rookie is proving to everyone why he was the number one minor league prospect coming into the 2019 season.

Nick Vincent was the opener for the Giants, and pitched the first inning, allowing three runs on four hits and threw 31 pitches in that opening frame.

This was the second start of Vincents career, as he started a game on August 21, 2018, while pitching for the Seattle Mariners against the Houston Astros at Safeco Field. In that game, Vincent threw two perfect innings.

Vincent gave way to Tyler Beede, who pitched 2.1 innings, striking out five, including the side in the top of the third inning.

Trent Thornton went the first 5.2 innings for the Blue Jays, as he allowed two runs on three hits, walking five and striking out seven, as he won his first major league game.

Thornton also picked up his first major league hit, as he singled in the top of the fourth inning off of Beede. He liked hitting so much that he added a single in the top of the sixth inning off of Reyes Moronta.

Guerrero Jr. added a second home run in the top of the sixth inning, as on the first pitch he saw from Moronta, it landed about one-quarter up into the left-center field bleachers.

The home run was measured at 451 feet, a three-run shot that scored Thornton and former Oakland As second baseman Eric Sogard, who was hit by a pitch just prior to the Guerrero Jr. home run.

Pablo Sandoval gave Giants fans their only bit of excitement in the bottom of the third inning, as he hit his fifth home run of the season that scored Joe Panik, who led off the inning with a single.

Sandoval walked in the fifth and seventh innings, and it marked the two walks of the season for him.

NOTES: With those four hits in the first inning, opponents are now 55-for-172 in the first inning, a batting average of .320. On the other side of things, the Giants are now 23-for-135, a .167 clip in the first inning.

Aaron Altherr was added to the 25-man roster, while to make room for Altherr, the Giants designated Catcher Erik Kratz for assignment.

UP NEXT: Shaun Anderson will make his major-league debut for the Giants in the series and home stand finale on Wednesday afternoon.

This season for the Sacramento Rivercats, Anderson was 2-1 with a 4.11 earned run average, as he walked 11 and struck out 37 in 35 innings.

Edwin Jackson will make his season debut for the Blue Jays on Wednesday afternoon, and will make major-league history in the process.

The Blue Jays are the 14th major league team of Jacksons career, breaking a tie he currently shares with Octavio Dotel.

In his career, Jackson has worn the uniforms of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa (Devil) Rays, Detroit Tigers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Washington Nationals, Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins, San Diego Padres, Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals, and Oakland Athletics, prior to signing with the Blue Jays.

Reds Smash Giants, 12-4 and Other Odd Occurences at the Great American Ballpark

By Morris Phillips

Hard to believe, but when the Giants-Reds series commenced on Friday, it was billed as a meeting of similarly struggling offenses.

Four days later, no one would tab that description.

The Reds capped four games of record-setting offense with three home runs in the first two innings off Drew Pomeranz on Monday, a small slice of a 12-4 win that earned Cincinnati a series split.

Led by rookie Nick Senzel’s sizzling debut weekend in which he homered three times in his first four big league games, the Reds smashed 15 home runs in the series, tying a franchise record set in 1999.

Oddly, the Reds’ home run deluge ended after the second inning, just part of an unique afternoon at Great American Ballpark in which a whole lot transpired before and after the Reds chased Pomeranz after essentially putting the game to rest with a 7-1 lead.

“A lot of runs scored this whole series, a lot of balls flying out, a lot of balls dropping in,” said Pomeranz.

Senzel was promoted to inject life into an offense that had scored two runs or fewer 11 times in Cincinnati’s first 31 ballgames. The organization’s top-rated prospect didn’t disappoint, homering Friday before adding a pair of solo shots off Pomeranz. Senzel’s home run barrage could have totaled four had he not been famously robbed by Kevin Pillar in Friday’s game. Senzel had opportunities to increase his total, but he struck out three times an hit into a double play in his final, four at-bats. That finish led to the rookie’s unimpressed assessment of the afternoon.

“I was pretty happy, but I wasn’t too happy with my last couple of ABs,” Senzel said. “I’m just glad we won.”

The game was delayed 18 minutes as groundskeepers coaxed a swarm of bees gathered at the backstop netting to leave. The bee swarm reportedly was a first at Great American Ballpark, but had happened twice at the team’s old home, Riverfront Stadium.

That oddity didn’t inspire the Giants. Once again, they were beaten to the punch by their opponent, and trailed by at least four runs at some point in each game of the series. Their sixth inning rally (a three-run homer by Pablo Sandoval) briefly hatched thoughts of another big comeback, but that unraveled in the bottom of the inning when the Reds put it away with five runs of their own.

So to recap thus far: Senzel produced the most powerful debut in franchise history (first Reds player to home three times in their first four major league games), and the Cincinnati run total for the series (37) matched a team record established 21 seasons ago.

But the records didn’t stop there. In the Reds’ sixth inning rally that put the game away, four batters were hit by pitches, which tied a Major League record that had stood since 1893. Five Reds’ batters were plunked in all which also set a Reds’ franchise record, and tied a National League record that was first established in 1900.

And the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval made sure history was on the Giants’ side as well by homering, stealing a base and pitching a scoreless inning in the same game. The Jack-of-all-trades compiled a stat line that had been established just once before at the big league level (Christy Mathewson, 1905).

“You know Pablo, he gets excited about stuff like that,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “He had one of the easiest innings we had, similar to the last time he pitched.”

San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris Phillips: Panda’s days as a Giant could be numbered; Around the horn with the infield; plus more

Photo credit: @honkbalopzolder

On the SF Giants podcast with Morris:

#1  The San Francisco Giants have the most potent infield in baseball. Let’s start with Brandon Belt, who last year hit .253 last season and is one of the most established gloves at first base.

#2 Giants second baseman Joe Panik has been brilliant with his fielding at second and hit .254 last season.

#3 Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford is no stranger to All-Star selections and had an incredible offensive season last year hitting .254.

#4 At third base is Evan Longoria, Longoria was a key hitter in the Tampa Bay Rays lineup once upon a time and last year hit .244 for the Giants last season.

#5 San Francisco Giant third baseman Pablo Sandoval is on the bubble and could very well be cut from the team by the end of the current Bay Bridge Series. If so, he would play his last game as a Giant on Tuesday night against the Oakland A’s. The other scenario is the Giants could hold onto him instead of infielder Alen Hansen, who is out of minor league options. Could Panda be gone at the end of spring training?

Headline Sports with Tony Renteria: Will Murray stay with the A’s and baseball?; New name for Giants park; All of sudden, fans love Levi’s Stadium; plus more

Photo credit: @NBCSAthletics

On Headline Sports with Tony:

#1 The Oklahoma Sooners’ Kyler Murray signed a MLB contract with the Oakland A’s for $4.66 million. Murray is expected to stay with baseball, but could very well end up a number one NFL Draft pick. Will Murray leave baseball for the NFL or keep his commitment with the A’s?

#2 Pac Bell Park, SBC Park, AT&T Park, and now Oracle Park. AT&T and the Giants split and the higher bidder, Oracle, will have naming rights.

#3 At one time, people used to criticize Levi’s Stadium that it was too hot in August through October to sit in the stands. Now after the college playoffs, it’s the toast of the town with its VIP lounges, nice carpeted turf, and nuances. Why the fans’ change of heart?

Tony does the Headline Sports podcast each Thursday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Fishy Circumstances: Once again, Giants allow last-place Marlins to look better than they actually are

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — Hunter Strickland: Close or not to close? That is the question.

For eight innings on Monday, numerous storylines swirled around the windy ballpark by the Bay, most of them surrounding a redemptive win for the Giants over the Miami Marlins, their lowly, youthful nemesis from the National League East.

But all those storylines were flushed when Strickland entered, and walked two of the first three batters he faced, on his way to turning a 4-2 lead into a bitterly, disappointing 5-4 loss.

Quite naturally, manager Bruce Bochy emerged for his post-game presser and the questions surfaced: What’s going on with Strickland? Should he be the closer if Mark Melancon’s healthy? How can he can be the guy if only his fastball is thrown with confidence and proficiency?

“There’s no reason to have a leash on him,” Bochy calmly reasoned.  “He’s pitched well.”

And so continues Bochy’s belief in the hard-throwing right hander, a belief that began with the 2014 World Series, even as Strickland allowed home run after home run.

And the truth is, over the years, Strickland’s got better and better, in concert with Bochy’s steady belief… for the most part.

Monday just wasn’t Strickland’s night, not by any stretch. Nor the Giants, who have suddenly lost seven of 11, and are on mid-season, life support, even in the forgiving NL West.

“For eight innings, we played great baseball,” Bochy said.  “Couldn’t add on…”

Great baseball, then pfffft? Yes.

Andrew Suarez–in his second, consecutive start against the team he grew up watching–had the type of start he wanted in Miami. Suarez pitched into the seventh inning, striking out seven, walking one, before departing with a two-run lead. Making his 11th big league start, the former Miami Hurricane looked like he deserves to make another 100 starts: he was efficient, threw strikes and quietly set the tone for what the Giants hope is a bounce back homestand.

Sam Dyson followed, retiring all five batters he faced. Pablo Sandoval supplied the big blow, a two-run shot in the Giants’ three-run second. Buster Posey, limited in the Dodgers series, started behind the plate, and doubled leading off that inning, setting the table for Joe Panik as well as Sandoval.

Kelby Tomlinson started in place of Brandon Crawford (off to celebrate the birth of his child) and made it happen at short with a pair of Crawford-like fielding plays.

Bochy’s claim of beautiful baseball prior to the ninth? Not far from fact. Not adding on? The Giants went scoreless over the final, six innings of the ballgame. The Giants’ first three hitters in Monday’s lineup–Gorkys Hernandez, Brandon Belt and Andrew McCutchen combined for just one hit (1 for 12, one run scored).

That bring us back to Strickland, who entered Monday’s game having converted 11 of his previous 12 save opportunities, and hadn’t allowed an earned run since May 28 at Colorado. But while facing the bottom half of the Marlins’ lineup, Strickland couldn’t settle in, walking Brian Anderson before allowing J.T. Realmuto’s RBI double. Strickland then walked Justin Bour, a guy who had two hits in his previous 15 at-bats.

One out later, Lewis Brinson, hitting .179, singled home Realmuto, tying the game, 5-5. The next hitter, Miguel Rojas delivered the go- ahead run with a single to right.

“Nothing seemed to be right and working for me,” Strickland admitted.

In his previous 33 appearances in 2018, Strickland walked just 11 batters, and had walked more than one batter just twice. The multiple home runs Strickland allowed in the 2014 postseason aren’t issues any longer. In 2018, Strickland’s allowed a home run to Eric Hosmer and one other to Paul Goldschmidt.

So all numbers point to an off night, and Melancon’s likely to be Strickland’s richly-paid understudy for the forseeable future.

The Giants have now dropped four of five to the Marlins, and are 2-9 against the fish over the last two seasons.

Dereck Rodriguez gets the start Tuesday in a matchup against Miami’s Dan Straily, the former Oakland Athletic.

 

 

Giants look the part, hitting four homers in rout of the Mariners

Photo credit:

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — Like a latenight infomercial, the Giants looked like the newest tonic for a more youthful, vibrant lifestyle on Wednesday.

In a 10-1 rout of the Mariners, the Giants hit, pitched, and played defense like it was… well, like it was 2012.

Johnny Cueto was exceptional, going six innings to pick up the win. Cueto won 19 games for the 2012 Reds, his breakthrough campaign, and after two starts this season, he again looks capable, allowing just one run in 13 innings of work. Cueto slipped and tweaked his ankle in his final inning pitched on Wednesday, but afterwards declared himself healthy and humorous.

“I struck him out everytime,” Cueto answered when asked if teammate Pablo Sandoval once again looked like a nightmare of an opponent after launching a three-run, splash-hit home run off Felix Hernandez. The Panda may not have impressed Cueto, but he’s impressed thus far, adjusting to a role as a reserve, and looking svelte as well. His home run off King Felix was smoked, the highlight of the Giants’ five-run fifth, and the end of the evening for the Mariners’ ace.

“He called it. He said he was going to hit a homer today,” Andrew McCutchen said of Sandoval.

Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford also homered in the fifth, and both left the yard as authoritatively as did Sandoval. Of course, both Crawford and Belt first assumed starting roles in 2012, and with both coming off a subpar 2017, the two infielders need bounce back campaigns. Belt’s been the more impressive so far, hitting .353 after a 3 for 4 day.

Contrary to baseball’s ever-changing wisdom, the Giants brought back numerous pieces from last year’s 98-loss disaster, stubbornly maintaining that the group could rebound offensively. The opening weekend in Los Angeles wasn’t close, as the offense produced just two runs–only one earned–the worst opening to a season offensively by any club in 30 years.

But with 14 runs scored in a two-game split with the Mariners, the questions have subsided. And the work put in by the returners in the off-season has started to draw attention.

Sandoval is tremendous shape, following a fitness regimen that challenges him daily, the perfect counter to his reduced playing time. Gorkys Hernandez, who started in center field and homered in the third, is 10 pounds heavier after an off-season, weight lifting program. Belt has shortened his swing, emphasizing a more direct path to the baseball. Hunter Pence, who was scratched due to a hand injury, pinch hit in the eighth. Pence also has assumed a fitness, lifestyle program to keep himself healthier.

The Giants open a three-game set with the Dodgers on Friday night with Derek Holland facing Kenta Maeda in the opener.