Giants’ Bullpen Blues: SF collapses in the ninth again, lose 7-6 to the Angels

San Francisco Giants left fielder Alex Dickerson, bottom, dives for a ball hit by Los Angeles Angels’ Tommy La Stella as third baseman Evan Longoria jumps out of the way during the fifth inning of a baseball game in Anaheim, Calif., Monday, Aug. 17, 2020 (AP News photo)

By Morris Phillips

After the seventh inning, the perfect ending had to have crossed manager Gabe Kapler’s mind.

Six consecutive outs and the Giants could end their four-game losing skid with Mike Trout standing in the on-deck circle unable to lift his Angels.

If only Kapler had the horses..

Instead Trevor Gott surrendered a game-ending, two-run homer to Tommy La Stella in a 7-6 Giants’ loss, their third via a ninth inning collapse in four games.

For Gott, his season has gone from delight to disaster: the reliever elevated to closer has allowed six, ninth inning home runs while his ERA has ballooned to 14.73.

“We’ll look for a softer landing spot for him. I think we’re going to need to figure out how to get his confidence back,” Kapler said of Gott.

For La Stella and the Angels, the win was the perfect tonic for ending a four-game skid in which they were overpowered by the A’s before getting swept by the Dodgers over the weekend. The win marked the first time in 11 games they had won after trailing initially. And yes, the game did end with Trout due up next, but the prospect of the Giants getting what they wanted, fueled La Stella.

“I just wanted to make sure I didn’t swing out of the zone, especially with Mike coming up next,” La Stella said.

Trout did his damage earlier with a solo shot in the third that tied the game, 2-2. The Angels’ superstar became the first slugger to reach 10 home runs this season, only to see San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. homer twice in their game against Texas to take the Major League lead with 11.

For the Giants, Trout’s homer off starter Tyler Anderson marked an ominous milestone, the 20th consecutive game the team’s pitching staff has allowed at least one home run, an ongoing franchise record.

The Giants led 2-0 after Brandon Belt’s homer in the first, then after they trailed 5-3, a three-run rally in the sixth gave them the lead again. Mike Yastrzemski’s two-run double scored Brandon Crawford and Mauricio Dubon to make it 6-5 Giants in the sixth.

Relievers Jarlin Garcia, Tyler Rogers and Tony Watson each pitched scoreless innings to get the Giants to the ninth with the lead. But Gott couldn’t hold it, striking out Brian Goodwin on three pitches, and allowing David Fletcher a bloop single before La Stella ended it.

Dylan Bundy, in search of his fourth win, will start for the Angels on Tuesday, opposed by Trevor Cahill for the Giants. Cahill served as a starter and reliever in 2019, his one and only season as a member of the Angels.









Gott is Hot: Giants reliever trending with the fantasy baseball crowd

By Morris Phillips

During six minor league seasons, the Giants’ Trevor Gott criss-crossed the U.S. similar to a well-known Johnny Cash song.

I’ve been to Louisville, Nashville, Knoxville, Ombabika
Schefferville, Jacksonville, Waterville, Costa Rica
Pittsfield, Springfield, Bakersfield, Shreveport
Hackensack, Cadillac, Fond du Lac, Davenport
Idaho, Jellico, Argentina, Diamantina
Pasadena, Catalina, see what I mean’a
I’ve been everywhere, man

Gott left the University of Kentucky after three seasons when he was selected in the sixth round of 2013 Major League Baseball Draft. That started a nomadic existence in which he pitched for nine minor league teams, including three stints in Syracuse and two with Arkansas. Each of Gott’s assignments to Syracuse followed a demotion from the Washington Nationals, one of his three major league stops that began with the Angels in 2015, then onto D.C. and the Giants in 2019. Groomed as a closer initially, the 5’10” Gott settled into a role as a setup man before his first big league promotion by Los Angeles.

With an effective fastball, but no established secondary pitch, Gott never stuck in one place or with one organization. But the Giants kept him on the big league roster for the entire season in 2019, and he rewarded them with 57 strikeouts over 52 innings in 50 appearances and 7-0 record.

Gott figured to earn some, not a bunch, of high leverage assignments in Gabe Kapler’s unheralded bullpen this season, but twice over the weekend, Kapler bypassed Tony Watson, and brought in Gott, who surprised with back-to-back saves against the powerful Dodgers.

Will Smith led off the ninth with a home run off Gott on Saturday to bring the Dodgers within one run, but the 27-year old rebounded, retiring Max Muncy, Mookie Betts and Clay Bellinger in a row for his second, big league save.

“I thought our bullpen did a nice job of holding it together under some tough conditions. In particular, Gotter did a nice job,” Kapler said of the season’s first victory.

Gott came right back Sunday night and finished off the Dodgers again, this time in a 3-1 win, and as the final piece of 5 2/3 innings of scoreless relief by the Giants’ pen. Six relievers had a piece in it, but only Gott retired Smith, Betts and Muncy consecutively after he allowed a leadoff double to A.J. Pollock.

The saves caught the attention of the fantasy baseball crowd, who were more than eager to add a pitcher racking up the saves who was on only 10 percent of fantasy rosters coming into the weekend.

For Gott, he’s just taking it in stride, given all the stops and starts in his career, and Kapler’s refusal to define roles at this early juncture of the season.

“I’m really, really happy I got the opportunity, but we’ve got a lot of good, young arms down there,” Gott said. “I think these past two games you all have seen that. That’s a good lineup over there, and I think the past two games we showed that we have arms that are going to be able to compete.”

Gott’s storyline is pretty defined: his fastball that’s electric and darts away from lefties is his only dependable pitch. His curveball has always been below major league standards so much so that he’s scrapped it at times for a changeup that wasn’t more than 8 mph slower than his mid-90’s heater. But this season, he’s been a problem by reinventing the curveball, and getting it across the plate at 80 to 83 mph, which is the desirable 10 mph slower than his fastball.

So far hitters can’t sit on his fastball when the curve is putting them behind in the count. Now the question is, can he keep it up?

NOTES: Jeff Samardzija has been named the starter for Tuesday’s home opener against the Padres, with Johnny Cueto to follow Wednesday.  This halts Kapler’s pattern of not unveiling his starting pitcher until just before game time after just four games. While the strategy likely kept the Dodgers off balance, it could also be disconcerting to the Giants’ staff, who are conditioned to preparing days in advance.





Beede, Giants can’t avoid getting bit by the Snakes, Arizona takes series opener 6-4

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — Three thousand at-bats into a now, surprisingly, lengthy big league career–and in the midst of a breakout season–Edwin Escobar wasn’t about to overlook the opportunity afforded him in the seventh inning on Monday.

Giants’ Trevor Gott was suddenly lifted by manager Bruce Bochy after it became apparent the pitcher was experiencing discomfort in his arm. That left rookie Shaun Anderson to pitch to Escobar with a 2-1 count that swung the proceedings wildly in the hitters’ favor.

Two pitches later, Anderson challenged Escobar with a fastball up and in, and he responded with a two-run single up the middle, the key hit in Arizona’s 6-4 win.

The Giants and Diamondbacks–both with the slightest of postseason hopes–conclude their season series Tuesday with a tie-breaking 19th contest and just a half-game separating the teams in the standings.

Escobar may have been the most prominent hitter in either lineup on Monday, a dramatic change in stature for the infielder who has bounced from the Twins to the White Sox and now the Diamondbacks in a 10-year career. But Escobar has seen his RBI totals increase in every season but one, to 103 this season after he delivered on Monday.

Besides Escobar, players on both sides did more taking away than delivering in a game that was greatly decided by mistakes. Tyler Beede pitched well in trying to end his month long streak without a win. The youthful starter mixed his pitches and hit his spots, but couldn’t close the door in the pivotal sixth inning. Beede’s wild pitch allowed Escobar to score from third, breaking a 1-1 tie.

“I thought he had all-around better stuff, command, and I thought he looked better out there tonight,” manager Bruce Bochy said of Beede.

Abiatal Avelino was the surprise starter in left field for the Giants, ahead of Alex Dickerson, and he delivered a run scoring hit that sliced Arizona’s lead to 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth. But Avelino ran through third base coach Ron Wotus’ stop sign after Brandon Crawford singled, and was thrown out at the plate by a wide margin, preventing the Giants from adding on in the inning.

“He’s playing hard, and he didn’t see the stop sign,” Bochy said. “He just kept running, and ran us out of a chance at a big inning.”

The Diamondbacks landed on .500 for a remarkable 30th time this season with the win. The Giants fell below .500 after an encouraging weekend in Oakland brought them closer to the wild card leaders.

The teams conclude their brief, two-game series on Tuesday with veteran pitchers Mike Leake and Jeff Samardzija facing off.

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

photo from 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]