San Francisco Giants report: 100-loss mark is still reachable for Giants

Photo credit: San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants)

By Jeremy Harness

 SAN FRANCISCO–The Giants can make some history this weekend, but it’s surely not the kind they were looking for.

 See, they currently sport a 62-97 record, which is at press time the worst record in the entire major leagues, and they have a three-game series against the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park this weekend to close out the series.

 If you do the math, the Giants have a chance to lose 100 games in a season for the first time in quite some time. The Giants have lost 100 games or more only once in franchise history, as the 1985 team went 62-100.

 It was the year that Jim Davenport was fired in midseason and replaced by Roger Craig and finished sixth in the National League West, back when there were only two divisions in each league.

 If history is any indicator, things could quickly be looking up for the Giants. With Craig no longer the interim manager, the Giants quickly righted the ship the next season, finishing 83-79 and a third-place finish in the division before winning the NL West in 1987.

 In the meantime, however, it is not looking good at all, and the Giants do not want it to be historically bad when Sunday comes to a close.

 What is also coming to a close along with the season on Sunday as Matt Cain’s career. The veteran righty has said that he will retire at year’s end, forgoing free agency as this is the final year of his contract. He will take the ball Saturday afternoon opposite Padres right-hander Jhoulys Chacin (13-10, 3.98 ERA).

 Chacin has won his previous two decisions, including an outing last Saturday that saw him shut out the Rockies over six innings and give up only one hit in the process, walking three and striking out six.

 Cain, meanwhile, will just hope to end his career on a high note before his home fans. He has suffered through a 3-11 campaign with a 5.66 ERA. On May 15, he beat the Dodgers by surrendering only a run on five hits, walking three and striking out five to improve his record to 3-1.

 He has not gotten a victory since. And he may need to pull out some of the old magic to keep his team from going to a historic low.

 

A’s Make More Changes Via Trades

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Photo Credit: Getty Images

By Charlie O. Mallonee

The Oakland Athletics are being very active in the “hot stove” market. Not all the names involved are household names, but they are the pieces that Billy Beane and staff are putting together to make up the 2014 version of the Oakland A’s.

On Tuesday, the A’s announced a trade that brings right-handed relief pitcher Luke Gregerson from the San Diego Padres to Oakland. In exchange, the A’s sent outfielder Seth Smith to the Padres.

Gregerson was 6-8 with four saves and a 2.71 ERA in 73 relief appearances for the Padres in 2013. He held opposing hitters to a .203 batting average and right-hand hitters to just a .192 mark.

Gregerson made his Major League debut with San Diego in 2009 and has appeared in at least 60 games in each of his five seasons with the Padres. He has a career 2.88 ERA in 363 relief appearances.

Gregerson is the second major change to the relief staff that A’s have made over the last two days. Oakland also traded for  Orioles closer Jim Johnson.

Seth Smith batted .253 with eight home runs and 40 RBI in 117 games for Oakland in 2013. The left-handed hitter made 84 of his 97 starts versus right-handed pitching. Smith is a .265 career hitter.

Also on Tuesday, the A’s  acquired outfielder Craig Gentry and right-handed pitcher Josh Lindblom from the Texas Rangers in exchange for outfielder Michael Choice and minor league infielder Chris Bostick.

Gentry hit .280 with two home runs and 22 RBI in 106 games for the Rangers last season. He was 24 for 27 (88.9%) in stolen bases which was the third best percentage in the American League. The right-handed hitting Gentry started 49 games in center field and 20 games in left field for Texas in 2013.

Lindblom was 1-3 with a 5.46 ERA in eight games (five starts) in three call ups to the Rangers last season. He also went 8-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 20 games (18 starts) with Triple-A Round Rock.

Choice made his Major League debut with the A’s in the September call-up last year. He hit .278 with a double and a walk in nine games. Choice was the A’s first round draft pick in 2010.

Bostick spent the entire 2013 season with Single-A Beloit. He batted .282 with 14 home runs and 89 RBI in 129 games.

Three home runs powers Giants past Padres, 7-3

By Gabe Schapiro

On Friday night, a sellout crowd of 41,103, the 244th consecutive sellout at AT&T Park, went home happy. Thanks to an unusual display of power in a park where it’s hard to come by, the San Francisco Giants (75-85), came away with a 7-3 victory over the San Diego Padres (75-85). Ryan Vogelsong, making his final start of 2013, wasn’t at his best, but he battled all night and limited the damage. With the win, and a Colorado Rockies loss, the Giants are guaranteed to finish in no worse than fourth place in the NL West.

In what proved to be a good omen, prior to the game the Willie Mac Award, named after the great Willie McCovey and annually given to the Giant who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership that Big Mac played with, was deservedly awarded to Hunter Pence. Thankfully San Francisco didn’t spoil what from the get-go was a positive environment.

Following the ceremony and a slightly delayed start, it took some time for Vogelsong to settle in. Right out of the gate the Padres were making hard contact, and in the first inning they got on the board with a solid single to left field by Tommy Medica that brought home Chris Denorfia, who had singled earlier in the inning.

In the second inning San Francisco made some noise of their own. Pablo Sandoval took a rare walk, and then two batters later rookie Juan Perez got a hold of one and sent a 1-1 pitch just over the left field wall for his first career home run. The homer gave the Giants a 2-1 lead.

After the game Bochy complimented how well Perez has adjusted to life in the major leagues following his first big league long ball. “He’s really turned it up a notch here, he’s played great on both sides of the ball. He looks a lot more comfortable at the plate, he’s quieter up there…the ball jumps off his bat. I’m glad to see him get that sense of belonging up here.”

San Diego wasted little time in responding. Denorfia walked to lead off the next half inning, and as walks so often do, it came back to hurt Vogelsong. Up next was Jedd Gyorko, who sent a towering fly ball towards triples alley that smacked off of the right field wall. Gyorko was thrown out trying to turn it into a triple, but Denorfia easily scored from first to tie the game at 2-2.

In the top of the third it only took the Giants three pitches to punch right back. Abreu singled to lead off the inning, and Brandon Belt followed with his 17th home run of the season, a no-doubter into the porch in right field. Two batters later Pence got in on the slugfest, and to celebrate his Willie Mac Award in style hit his 26th homer of the season, extending the lead to 5-2.

After the third, for the most part both starters settled down, until the sixth.

In the top of the sixth Vogelsong ran into some control problems, walking two, but managed to gut his way through the inning unscathed. With that his night was over having scattered five hits, two runs, four walks, and three strikeouts in his six innings. He threw 91 pitches.

On Vogelsong Bochy kept it simple, saying that after the game ““I just told him great job, great start. Good for him how he finished….I was happy for Vogey bouncing back from a rough start like that.”

By the ninth the Giants had added two more runs to their lead, making it 7-2. In the ninth the Padres tried making it interesting when Logan Forsythe led off with a long home run to dead center, bringing them to within four, but that’s where the comeback attempt ended.

This series against the Padres, the last of the season, continues tomorrow at 1:05 PM.

Game Notes: Following the three home runs hit by the Giants tonight, they have 105 on the season, two more than they did during their World Series run in 2012….Gregor Blanco almost hit for an usual kind of cycle, getting himself thrown out at first, second, and home plate during the game. Bochy announced that Cain would not make his last scheduled start, making his 2013 season over as well.

Giants pounce on the Padres

By Jeremy Harness

The last time Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs in a game, he was leading the Giants past the Detroit Tigers in Game 1 of last year’s World Series.

Lest to say that we are far removed from those days, even though it was only less than 11 months ago. Nonetheless, every win should be taken as a positive, no matter how meaningless it is now, and Sandoval’s three-bomb outing Wednesday night helped the Giants breeze past the San Diego Padres, 13-5, at PETCO Park.

In hitting the trio of homers, Sandoval drove in a total of six runs, giving the Giants all the runs they would need to pull out the victory.

Well, this game did have some meaning, in the fact the Giants are no longer in the cellar of the National League West. Now they have company, as they dropped the Padres into a tie with them for last place with matching 62-77 records.

Tim Lincecum didn’t pitch great – he gave up five earned runs on seven hits, walking four and striking out five – put he held on long enough to pick up only his ninth victory of the season against 13 defeats.

He was helped out by a bullpen that combined to allow only two hits the rest of the way.

Aside from Sandoval, Hunter Pence had a rather-solid game at the plate for the Giants. He knocked in three runs, including a two-run homer in the fourth inning off Padres starter Eric Stults.