Behind the Dodgers and Giants joint decision to cancel Wednesday’s game

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–The momentum moving through the sports world Wednesday was swift and wide-ranging. In Lake Buena Vista, Florida, the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to take the floor for Game 5 of their NBA Playoff versus Orlando. The other four NBA teams on the schedule soon followed suit. Then the WNBA, MLS, tennis champion Naomi Osaka, the Milwaukee Brewers and three other MLB teams cancelled their scheduled games and events.

At Oracle Park, the conversations started with Mookie Betts texting family members who informed Betts that several teams and players were not playing in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Dodgers superstar was preparing to play in Wednesday night’s Dodgers-Giants game. After the texting, he changed his mind, informing his teammates and manager that he would be sitting out.

“I can’t play,” Betts said.

Clayton Kershaw, the team’s senior member and a vocal critic of inequality and police brutality, questioned whether the rest of the team should play without Betts. Kershaw, the scheduled starting pitcher Wednesday was soon in agreement with manager Dave Roberts, reliever Kenley Jansen and Betts: the Dodgers were not going to play.

“We made a collective group decision to not play tonight, to let our voices be heard for standing up for what we believe is right,” Kershaw said. “That’s what it comes down to.”

The Dodgers never took the field for batting practice. The Giants did, but the conversations were taking place, most importantly between team president Farhan Zaidi and manager Gabe Kapler. Last month, Kapler made headlines by being the first MLB manager to kneel during the playing of the national anthem.

Soon those talks included GM Scott Harris and team player rep Tony Watson. Other Giants warming up spoke in small groups. Batting practice was cut short and the team retreated to their clubhouse.

Shortly after 6pm an announcement was made: the Giants were in agreement. They also would not play Wednesday night.

“Some things I think are just bigger than sports, and I don’t think it should require athletes needing to boycott playoff games to remind us Black lives matter and that police brutality is unacceptable and that systemic racism needs to be eliminated,” Kapler said. “What I believe in most is speaking out and taking strong action based on your beliefs. I’m aware that the Bucks and now some other NBA teams are doing that, and I have the utmost respect for the players who are refusing to be silent about issues that are bigger than sports.”

Shortly before the scheduled first pitch at 6:45pm, the teams released a joint statement:

“Throughout our country’s history, sport has been a powerful vehicle towards change. The Dodgers and Giants proudly join our players in the shared goal for a more equitable and just society.”

Roberts, the first African-American manager in the history of the Dodgers also spoke about the postponement.

“Black athletes right now to make a stand and choose not to play tonight is one thing,” Roberts said. “But Black people been fighting this fight for centuries. And for the white brothers to come in and support the Black men in this game, it’s much more powerful.”

Betts is the only African-American player currently on either teams’ rosters, reinforcing the universal condemnation of the events in Wisconsin, and police brutality in its total scope, including the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor.

In all, only the NHL completed its full schedule on Wednesday. Several MLB games went off as scheduled, but games involving the Reds and Brewers, and the Mariners and Padres were called off. Also several black players pulled out of games that were played. That list included the Cubs’ Jason Heyward, the Cardinals’ Dexter Fowler and the Rockies’ Matt Kemp.

The teams have announced they will make up the game on Thursday, as part of a doubleheader that starts at 1:05pm. Both games of the twin bill are scheduled for seven innings.

 

Pillar wins it late to give Giants the series; SF defeats Phillies 9-6

photo from sfgate.com:  San Francisco Giants’ Kevin Pillar swings for an RBI triple off Philadelphia Phillies’ Nick Pivetta in the eighth inning of a baseball game Sunday, Aug. 11, 2019, in San Francisco.

By Jeremy Kahn

SAN FRANCISCO — When the San Francisco Giants they knew that were getting a hitter with power and potential, and this season, Kevin Pillar has done just that.

Pillar went 2-for-4, including the go-ahead triple in the bottom of the eighth inning and the Giants defeated the Philadelphia Phillies 9-6 before a crowd of 36,637 at Oracle Park.

The win by the Giants gave them the series, their first series win since winning two out of three against the San Diego Padres at Petco Park.

Evan Longoria led off the inning with a single, and then after both Stephen Vogt and Scooter Gennett were retired by Jose Alvarez, Nick Pivetta came on to face Pillar and he put into the right-center field alley that easily scored Longoria from first base.

Brandon Crawford was then intentionally walked, so that Pivetta could face Will Smith, who was making his first ever plate appearance. With Smith at the plate, Crawford stole second and then Smith shocked everyone, as he lashed an opposite field single that scored both Pillar and Crawford; however, Bryce Harper nearly ruined it, as his throw just missed getting Smith at first base.

Joey Rickard then doubled Smith to third base, where he shared a laugh with Ron Wotus and after a Brandon Belt walk, Pivetta finally got out of the inning, as he got Mike Yastrzemski to ground out to end the inning.

This was a wild game that saw everything, as the Giants took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning, as Belt led off the inning with a walk, Yastrzemski then doubled off the left field wall and then Longoria gave the Giants the lead, when he singled up the middle off of Phillies starter Jake Arrieta.

Vogt then singled off of Arrieta that sent Longoria to third base; however, Arrieta regrouped to get Gennett to strike out and then Pillar grounded into a double play that ended the inning.

That 2-0 lead by the Giants was gone by the top of the second inning, as the Phillies erupted for three runs and that was end of the night for Giants starter Conner Menez.

J.T. Realmuto and Scott Kingery each walked, and after Sean Rodriguez struck out, Cesar Hernandez singled to load the bases. Arrieta then struck out for the second out of the inning, but the Phillies got on the board, when Roman Quinn walked and then Harper hit a two-run single that gave the Phillies the lead and that was it for Menez.

Jandel Gustave ended the inning, as he got Rhys Hoskins to fly out to Austin Slater and stop any further damage.

In all, Menez lasted just 1.2 innings, allowing three runs on just two hits, walking three and striking out four.

The Phillies attacked the Giants again in the top of the third inning, as Hernandez hit a two-run single off of the Giants third pitcher of the game and second reliever, Andrew Suarez, who came on to replace Gustave, when Corey Dickerson came on to pinch hit for Rodriguez.

Unfortunately for the Phillies that was the score for just one-half inning, as the Giants came all the way back to tie up the game, as Yastrzemski hit his 12th home run of the season. Longoria then picked up his second hit in as many at-bats, and after a Vogt fly out, Gennett doubled in Longoria to cut the Phillies lead down to one. Pillar then singled in Gennett to tie up the game.

Menez, who went from being on the hook for the loss, ended up getting a no-decision and Arrieta also did not fare in the decision, as he went three innings, allowing five runs on seven hits, walking just one and striking out five.

Gennett gave the Giants once again in the bottom of the sixth inning, as he hit his second home run of the season and first at home. His home run landed in McCovey Cove, the 80th Splash Hit by a Giants batter since the ballpark opened on April 11, 2000.

Dickerson tied up the game in the top of the eighth inning, as his sacrifice fly that took Yastrzemski to the wall easily scored Realmuto from third base. Realmuto led off the inning with a single, then went to third on a Kingery double.

Smith, who came on to replace Tony Watson prior to the Dickerson sacrifice fly then walked Hernandez intentionally and Brad Miller flew out to Yastrzemski to end the inning.

In all, the Giants pitched the final 7.1 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits, walking eight and striking out six.

Smith, who was unable to save the game for just the third time this season ended up with the victory, as he went the final 1.2 innings, allowing just two walks and a strikeout to improve his record to 4-0 on the season.

As a staff, the Giants walked 11 batters and this was the first time since September 20,2006 against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field where they won a game like that. It was the 11th time since moving to San Francisco in 1958 that the Giants (2019 J.G. Spink Award Jayson Stark gets credit for that stat).

NOTES: Gustave, Trevor Gott and Smith each made their first ever plate appearances during the game, and this was the first time since September 21, 1934 that three pitchers made their first ever appearances at the plate in the same game. Sherman Edwards, Whitey Wistert and Lee Grissom each went to the plate for the first time for the Cincinnati Reds in a 16-3 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field. That is the only other time since 1913 that this occurred in a game, according to STATS, INC.

The 11 walks by the Phillies are a season high, and the first time they turned the trick since April 26, 2009 against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium in a 13-2 Phillies victory.

Prior to the game, the Giants honored their 1989 National League Championship team, as Will Clark, Don Robinson, Bill Bathe, Chris Speier, Ernie Camacho, Brett Butler, Terry Kennedy, Craig Lefferts, Ernest Riles, Donell Nixon, Atlee Hammaker, Dave Dravecky, Greg Litton, Kelly Downs, Robby Thompson and Mike Krukow were joined on the field by coaches Bill Fahey, Dusty Baker, Norm Sherry and manager Roger Craig.

They also memorialized Jose Uribe, Wendell Kim, Hank Greenwald and General Manager Al Rosen.

Giants President then announced the surprise of the night, The Thrill of the Night, as the Number 22, worn by Will Clark will be retired during the 2020 season.

Clark will join Bill Terry, Mel Ott, Carl Hubbell, Monte Irvin, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Gaylord Perry and Willie McCovey in that elusive club.

Christy Mathewson and John McGraw are honored by the team with the letters NY, as they never wore numbers for the Giants.

Jackie Robinsons number 42 is retired throughout Major League Baseball and is also on the façade on the Club Level at Oracle Park.

Ford Frick Award Winners Jon Miller, Lon Simmons and Russ Hodges are honored on the Club Level.

UP NEXT: Madison Bumgarner takes on the mound on Tuesday evening, as the Oakland As make their only trip to San Francisco this season. The As return to the Bay Area after splitting six games in Chicago will send Brett Anderson to the mound in the opener.

Giants Yastrzemski wins it 3-2 with a walk off in 12 innings

photo from sfgate.com: San Francisco Giants’ Mike Yastrzemski hits a solo home run against the New York Mets during the 12th inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Sunday, July 21, 2019.

SAN FRANCISCO-Mike Yastrzemski ended the weekend series with one swing of the bat for the San Francisco Giants.

Yastrzemski hit a changeup off of Robert Gsellman on a 3-2 pitch in the bottom of the 12th that landed in the left field bleachers giving the Giants a dramatic 3-2 victory over the New York Mets before a crowd of 35,406 at Oracle Park.

It was the first career walk-off home run for Yastrzemski and his 9th home run of the season for the rookie.

The Yastrzemski walk-off gave the Giants three wins in four games over the Mets, and they have won eight out of their last nine, 11 out of 13 and 15 out of 18.

This was also the fifth consecutive series win for the Giants since splitting the four-game series against the Arizona Diamondbacks from June 27-30.

Despite not faring in the decision, Connor Menes went five innings, allowing two runs on three hits, walking three and striking out six in his major-league debut.

Menes got into trouble in the first inning, when J.D. Davis doubled with one out in the inning; however, Kevin Pillars defense came up huge again.

Pillar made a great running catch off a Pete Alonso hit ball, and was able to regroup to throw out Davis at third base to end the inning.

It was the team-leading sixth outfield assist for Pillar, and the MLB leading 25th outfield assists for the Giants as a team this season.

Steven Matz went six innings, allowing two runs on six hits, walking just one and striking out six and like Menes, he did not fare in the decision.

Zach Green like Menes, made a great first impression for his new teammates, as he picked up two hits in his first two at-bats in the major leagues.

It was Greens double in the bottom of the fourth inning that scored Buster Posey tied up game, and that was the score until Yastrzemski’s home run in the bottom of the 12th inning.

Michael Conforto got the Mets on the board in the top of the second inning, as he hit his 18th home run of the season that landed in McCovey Cove and it was the 125th Splash Hit since the Park opened in 2000 and the 47th by an opponent.

Two batters later, Michael Conforto gave the Mets a 2-0 lead, as he hit his 11th home run of the season.

After the Rosario home run in the top of the second inning, the next Mets hit did not come until there was one out in the top of the 11th inning, when Davis singled off of Mark Melancon.

Trevor Gott pitched the 12th inning to pick-up the victory, as he raises his record to 6-0 on the season.

In all, the bullpen of Reyes Moronta, Tony Watson, Sam Dyson, Will Smith, Melancon and Gott went a combined seven innings, allowing zero runs on two hits, walking two and striking out eight.

NOTES: To make room for Menes and Green on the roster, Ty Blach was optioned to Sacramento and Derek Holland and Ryder Jones were both Designated for release or assignment.

Pillar was ejected by home plate umpire Mark Rippenger in the bottom of the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes. This was Pillars first ejection as a Giant, and the second of his career.

UP NEXT: Shaun Anderson will take to the Oracle Park mound on Monday night, as the Chicago Cubs invade the Bay Area for their only trip this season. Alec Mills will take the mound for the Cbs]