New Gen Giants load up on the Rockies, win 8-3 in series finale

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO–Anyway you dissect it, this is a week of permanent transition for the Giants with the retirement of manager Bruce Bochy looming on Sunday.

But that’s not all the change. The Giants offered an interesting lineup on Thursday for the finale of the series with the Rockies without Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, Buster Posey or Pablo Sandoval and Joe Panik for that matter.⁹⁷

With the exception of Evan Longoria, Bochy went with the new and the young to tangle with Colorado’s Kyle Freeland and the five relievers that followed him. And that group acquitted themselves quite well, racking up 12 hits (at least one hit against each of the six pitchers they saw) and eight runs in a 8-3 win that was a close game into the eighth inning.

Mike Yasztremski homered in the fourth–his 21st–and Mauricio Dubon in the seventh to support Tyler Beede and a host of relievers. Beede was dominant into the fourth inning where he left abruptly with an oblique injury while facing Ryan McMahon, the first batter of the inning.

At that point, Beede had struck out seven, while allowing no hits or walks. Afterwards, Bochy tried to make light of what was shaping up to be the best start of the rookie righthander’s season.

“I was kidding him, it probably wasn’t good timing, ‘But you know you’ve got a no-hitter going here, you want me to take you out?'” Bochy recounted.

Butch Smith followed Beede out of the bullpen and got through the fourth, but allowed the Rockies a game-tying run in the fifth.

Giants get first hand lesson in St. Louis on how to grind, Cardinals win 3-1

By Morris Phillips

The Giants proved to be battlers again Monday in St. Louis, but the Cardinals handed them a first hand lesson on how the art form works.

By winning 3-1, the Cardinals improved to a National League-best 33-16 since the All-Star break, and this one came under difficult circumstances, their fifth game in a little more than 48 hours.

Somehow the Cardinals captured four of five in the stretch, without looking like baseball wizards, but by simply maintaining focus, according to manager Mike Shildt.

“Guys were grinding every single pitch, all five games and they were rewarded for it,” said Shildt.

Adam Wainwright projected to be a centerpiece in the process of wearing down the Giants, and he was, tossing seven, scoreless innings and successfully giving the St. Louis bullpen a break.

The 38-year old did so in 90 degree heat, and preparation was the key, in his estimation.

“That attacking mentality that I used to have,” Wainwright said.  “I’ve sort of gotten away from that the last couple starts.”

The veteran started for the 311th time in his career, winning 158 of those. Seemingly, he’s always been good, but rarely great, winning at least 10 games in ten, different seasons, but only as many as 20 wins twice.

“He’s always got the gas pedal down,” Shildt said. “He’s got a ferocious mindset.”

The Giants weren’t much off what the Cardinals produced offensively, but thanks to Wainwright, they had to wait until the eighth inning to cross the plate. Mauricio Dubon came up with his first career home run off Giovanny Gallegos to break up the shutout. Dubon doubled earlier in the game, producing two of the Giants five hits.

The Cardinals have won 10 of 12, and maintained their three-game cushion over the Cubs in the NL Central. The Giants have lost six of seven, virtually falling out of the wild card chase in the process.

Tyler Beede pitched four innings, taking the loss and falling to 3-9 on the season. Kolten Wong’s run-scoring triple was the big blow off Beede, who hasn’t won a game in nearly six weeks.

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.

Spinning Their Wheels: Giants fail to seize momentum in 9-5 loss to Oakland

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — Whatever momentum the Giants were attempting to seize Wednesday flew over the centerfield wall on the 14th pitch of the ballgame.

Matt Chapman homered off Tyler Beede–the first of his two home runs on the day–and the A’s were off to the races in their 9-5 win that gained them a split of the brief, two-game Bay Bridge Series.

The A’s scored in six of the nine innings, establishing a 7-0 lead in the eight before the Giants rallied with five runs to temporarily make things interesting. Beede surrendered the first eight of Oakland’s 15 hits in a performance that proved there’s currently an imbalance in the abilities of the two Bay Area clubs.

Beede’s struggles put the microscope on the Giants’ rotation that has youthful inexperience in three of the five spots at this critical juncture of the season. Beede is last of the three to win a start, and that was back on July 14. Since then, Beede lost four of his six starts, allowing at least eight hits four times. Manager Bruce Bochy conceded the performances of Shaun Anderson, Connor Menez and Beede are a concern.

“It’s up to me to try to get this figured out,” Bochy said. “You know when you bring up young pitchers you’re going to have some growing pains, and that’s the case.”

Beede’s inability to get ahead in counts played right into the hands of the patient A’s lineup. Matt Olson singled, doubled and was hit by a pitch with Beede in the game, and A’s starting pitcher Homer Bailey fouled off a couple of offerings, then got lucky with a dribbler that turned into an RBI single that made it 2-0. Olson’s double scored two more runs, and Beede was done, one batter into the fifth inning.

“He’s really good at times and then it gets away from him a little bit,” Bochy said of Beede.

Travis Bergen, one of the relievers getting an extended look after the Giants reconfigured their bullpen at the trade deadline, allowed a two-run shot to Robbie Grossman in the sixth to make it 6-0.

Down 7-0, the Giants rallied for five runs in the eighth with Mike Yasztremski’s three-run shot the centerpiece. But Chapman’s second home run in the ninth restored the A’s cushion to three runs.

Alex Dickerson was activated from the injured list but was not in the Giants’ starting lineup. The valuable outfielder pinch hit in the eighth, his ground ball out allowed Evan Longoria to score from third.

The Giants fell below .500 with the loss, which took on more significance when combined with the results on the out-of-town scoreboard. The Phillies, Brewers and Nationals all won, leaving the Giants four games behind the pace of the Cardinals, the current holder of the second wild card spot.

The Giants start another big series in Phoenix on Thursday, the first of four games against the team immediately above in the playoff hunt. Dereck Rodriguez appears to be the likely starter in that one, opposed by Arizona’s Alex Young.

Flawed NL Wild Card hopefuls make for an intriguing, hard-to-predict stretch run

By Morris Phillips

The Giants can’t seem to keep up, but the foes they’re chasing can’t seem run away.

As the weeks dwindle in the 2019 season, that reality may be the flawed Giants biggest asset. Within the crowded field of NL Wild Card hopefuls, no team can seem to separate themselves from the pack.

And no team’s stretch run to postseason immortality seems more unlikely than the Giants, but in a race this unpredictable, maybe a fit exists.

Among the top seven teams–all within 3 1/2 games of each other–at least five are fooling themselves. The Giants are thinking they can overcome a losing record at home. The Phillies think they can overcome a losing record over the last two-and-a-half months. And the Nationals are attempting to overcome a 19-31 start to their season.

The Mets were 40-51 on July 12th. The Brewers can’t trust their starting rotation. The Cardinals keep seizing and fumbling momentum. And the Diamondbacks traded Zach Greinke.

Those aren’t strategies to to gain momentum. But for two of those clubs, a playoff berth is in the offing. But which two?

The Mets are the hottest in the pack, having won 15 of 16 prior to Sunday. But they have the most difficult schedule over the season’s final 44 games: nine games against the Braves, and series against the division-leading Dodgers and Indians.

The Brewers’ schedule is loaded with tough matchups: nine games with the Cardinals, seven with the Cubs and two-game sets with the first-place Astros and Twins. Their schedule eases considerably in the season’s final two weeks, but can they last that long? ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian suggested an overhaul of Milwaukee’s rotation and their bullpen might be needed to get this club to surge.

The Nationals are on the verge of getting injured Max Scherzer back into their rotation. But their schedule won’t wait for the occasion, they have seven games with the Braves, five with the Phillies and series against the Mets, Indians, Twins, Cubs and Brewers. They have the best opportunity statistically with their narrow lead on all six competitors, but Juan Soto’s ankle injury could change things in a hurry.

The Cardinals lost eight of 10 to playoff contenders, but rebounded nicely with a sweep of the Pirates over the weekend. They got Matt Carpenter and Marcel Ozuna back from injuries this week as well. But nothing about this club says extended win streak and that may be their biggest issue.

The Diamondbacks won Monday, beating the Rockies 8-6 in Denver. That means they’re likely to lose on Tuesday, bringing them back to .500 for the eighth time since July 21. No team is more closely aligned with mediocrity and their rotation is unquestionably thin without Greinke.

The Phillies have dropped six of eight, and they spent their off-day Monday pondering whether to place Jake Arrieta on the injured list. Whether they do or don’t, injuries have defined their season. Personnel issues that severe aren’t usually the precursor to a playoff worthy run.

And the Giants? Something must be resolved with their starting rotation, currently populated with rookies every three out of five days. Connor Menez, Shaun Anderson or Tyler Beede haven’t won a start since July 12.

At Home in Hotels: 2019 Giants hang their hats on road performances

By Morris Phillips

Winning road games is hard work, airports, ignoring witty fans yelling from half empty concourse sections, and maintaining focus in late inning situations while outdueling baserunners, sluggers, aggressive coaches and managers.

It’s all that. 81 games a year. And apparently, the 2019 Giants are pretty good at it.

It didn’t happen right away. The Giants opened the season on the road, and got fleeced in Petco Park and Dodger Stadium, then underperformed on their second trip starting in Washington and Pittsburgh. But on getaway Sunday at PNC Park, Buster Posey broke his homerless streak of over 70 games, Dereck Rodriguez limited the Pirates to two runs, and three relievers closed the door with no margin for error. The defense was flawless.

That was April 21. The Giants took that next day off and went on to win both games in Toronto for a three-game win streak. Since that still early April date in Pittsburgh, the Giants are 26-15 away from home.

They’ve won games, series, and they’ve piled up the runs as of late. And they appear to be getting better at it.

With the season on the line, they’ll need to keep up the room service routine in Philadelphia starting Tuesday when Tyler Beede faces the Phillies’ Drew Smyly at 4:05pm. The Phillies (55-50) lead the Giants (54-52) by 1 1/2 games in a crowded field of NL Wild Card hopefuls.

Not surprisingly, most of the metrics favor the Giants. Over their last 16 road contests, the Giants have piled up offensive numbers well above their season as whole. While winning 13 of 16, the Giants have 50 doubles (six on Sunday versus the Padres), 22 homers, and 122 runs.

Those numbers aren’t good, they’re gaudy. Better than seven runs a game, and when dramatics have been needed, the Giants have summoned them. They’re 7-0 in extra innings games since the All-Star break, three of those wins on the road.

That’s in 16 games. The Giants have scored just 178 runs in their 53 home games.

Meanwhile the Phillies are leaning on a pair of starters with obvious warts on their 2019 records. Smyly is making his second start for the Phillies after he was acquired from Texas, where he went 1-5 with an 8.42 ERA over nine starts and four relief appearances.

Vince Velasquez, who starts Wednesday, started the season in the Phillies rotation, then pitched out the bullpen for much of May and June.  He’s back in the rotation now, going 1-2 in his most recent six starts. But what sticks out are his incendiary numbers at Citizens Bank Park where he’s made seven appearances (four starts) and allowed 19 hits and seven home runs.

On Thursday, the Phillies list their starter as Jake Arrieta. The 33-year old has spent 2019 trying to stay relevant, allowing 57 hits and 29 walks in his 60 innings pitched at Citizens Bank Park. His inability to get deep into games has the Phillies considering a long reliever to piggyback his starts, maybe Zach Elfin, who for now is the listed starter on Friday.

Ironically, the Phillies acquired Jason Vargas from the Mets on Monday, but he won’t pitch until Saturday at the earliest, well after the Giants leave town, and after the trade deadline.

MONDAY’S RESULTS: The Giants didn’t hit the diamond on Monday, getting a travel day while crossing the country from San Diego to Philadelphia. But what transpired was of great importance in their absence. After all, trying to qualify for the playoffs with 88 or so wins while surpassing four of the five teams in front of them in the standings entering Monday is a delicate task with lots of moving parts.

MARLINS 11, DIAMONDBACKS 6 — Arizona fell for the third time in the last four days to the NL’s worst team. The D’Backs are below .500 for the first time since July 5, making them an obvious choice to sell at the upcoming trade deadline. For the Giants, the losses, as well as Arizona’s rugged upcoming schedule against the Yankees, Dodgers, Nationals and Phillies make it more likely they will remain behind the Giants in the standings for the foreseeable future.

Beyond winning games, the Giants’ biggest goals surround staying in front of as many wild card hopefuls in the standings as they can. Not having to worry about Arizona is big.

NATIONALS 6, BRAVES 3 — Anthony Rendon broke open a 2-2 game with a sixth inning grand slam, and the Nats closed ground on Atlanta in the NL East. Washington moved eight games above .500 for the second time in 2019, and they have the clearest track to hosting the NL Wild Card game with a half-game lead on the Cubs and Cardinals, and 1 1/2 games on the Phillies and Brewers.

The Giants would prefer the pack of five in front of them stay as densely packed in terms of wins and losses as possible. The Nats have gone 38-18 after a really poor 19-31 start to their season. They’re the team the Giants are least likely to catch, if so, that makes it imperative they catch the Cubs, Phillies, Brewers and Cardinals, despite having games remaining against only two of those four. That could be tricky.

San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris Phillips: Yaz goes 4-5 with two doubles; Bum gets win in narrow 7-6 final; plus more photo: San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner pitches to the San Diego Padres in the first innings in Petco Park on Sunday

On the San Francisco Giants podcast with Morris:

#1 You just never know whose going to contribute to the San Francisco Giants winning causes Mike Yastrzemski went 4-5 with two singles and two doubles in the Giants 7-6 win.

#2 Morris talks about the rookie Yastrzemski whose having a great year for San Francisco .275, 33 runs, 31 RBIs, 9 home runs.

#3 Giants starter Madison Bumgarner had everything working for him except for giving up a three run home run in the bottom of the third inning to Hunter Renfroe that put the San Diego Padres on top 4-2.

#4 Bumgarner pitched seven innings, four hits, striking out six and walking two batters.

#5 The Giants have the day off on Monday and open up a three game series on Tuesday in Philadelphia at Citizens Bank starting for the Giants Tyler Beede (4-5 ERA 4.85) for the Phillies Drew Smyly (1-5 7.69)

Morris does the Giants podcasts each Monday at

Yastrzemski goes 4-for-5 in Giants win 7-6; Final game at Petco for Bochy photo: San Francisco Giants outfielder Mike Yastrzemski scores on a Solano Donavon single the top of the fourth at Petco Park in San Diego on Sunday

By Jeremy Kahn

In what was Bruce Bochy’s final game at Petco Park, the San Francisco Giants gave their manager a nice going away present.

Mike Yastrzemski picked up his second four-hit game of the season, while Madison Bumgarner went seven innings and the Giants hung on to defeat the San Diego Padres 7-6 at Petco Park.

Yastrzemski singled twice and doubled twice, as the Giants improved to 13-4 since the All-Star break.

Bumgarner scattered four hits in seven innings, and his only mistake was a three-run home run to Hunter Renfroe in the bottom of the third inning that gave the Padres a 4-2 lead.

He also struck out six and walked two in his final start before the July 31 trade deadline.

On the afternoon, the Giants picked up 16 hits against Padres pitching, as they won their seventh game in the past eight against the Padres, five of those seven wins came at Petco Park. The Giants swept the Padres in a three-game series from July 1-3.

Renfroe, who hit the three-run home run that gave the Padres a two-run lead in the bottom of the third inning, drove in four runs; however, it was not enough, as the Padres are now 4-11 since the All-Star break and have fallen into fourth place in the National League West.

It was the second four hit of Yastrzemskis career and his second in the last 13 days, as he picked up four hits against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field on July 25.

Buster Posey picked up three hits on the afternoon, which included an RBI double in the top of the ninth inning.

The Giants tied up the game in the top of the fourth inning, as Poway native Alex Dickerson singled to right field to score Donovan Solano, who cut the Padres lead down to 4-3 two batters before Dickerson tied it up. Solanos single scored Yastrzemski, who doubled to left-center field with one out in the inning.

Will Smith gave up a two-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to Wil Myers in the bottom of the ninth inning, but Luis Urias to end the game and pick up his 26th save of the season.

NOTES: With this being Bochy’s last game at Petco Park, the manager stayed at the team hotel on Saturday night instead of his Poway home.

“A lot of people were going to ask me, what’s it going to be like coming to the ballpark, going down memory lane, whatever,” Bochy said. “That’s the first time I’ve walked from the Marriott, so it was not like I went down memory lane on that one.”

Nick Vincent was reinstated from his rehab assignment, also reinstated from the 60-day disabled list and then designated for assignment.

UP NEXT: After an off-day on Monday, the Giants begin a three-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park and Tyler Beede will take the mound in the opener.

Heavy Trumps Hot: Streaking Giants cooled by the Cubs’ home run bats, 4-1

By Morris Phillips

SAN FRANCISCO — Now that the Giants have achieved some level of competency by surpassing the .500 mark in 2019, know that these two statistical numbers weigh heavily on the mind of GM Farhan Zaidi as the July 31 trade deadline fast approaches.

The Giants have hit 108 home runs this season, 30 fewer than the Major League average, 65 fewer than the Dodgers, and 83 fewer than the Twins, who are threatening to smash the major league record for home runs in a season and become the first team to hit 300.

Entering play Wednesday afternoon, the Giants had won 17 of 20, becoming only the second team to win so frequently over a 20-game stretch in 2019 (Dodgers). And what has that hot stretch earned the scrappy, upwardly-mobile Giants?

According to, the Giants have just a 13 percent chance to qualify for the playoffs, despite passing six NL clubs during their hot streak.

Disbelieving of what you just read? Believe this: the Giants winning ways were interrupted Wednesday in a 4-1 loss to the Cubs, as Chicago sluggers went deep three times off San Francisco starter Tyler Beede in the first four innings.

And the Giants’ offense? You had to ask.

Leadoff batter Brandon Belt, who’s not really a leadoff batter, went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts. Tuesday night’s hero, Pablo Sandoval was 0 for 3 with a walk, and the Giants managed just five hits, no home runs and one run against fill-in starter Tyler Chatwood and a pair of Cubs relievers. Alex Dickerson, the Giants’ preferred cleanup hitter was out of the starting lineup for the second time in three games, dealing with back issues.

“They’ve got to be running on fumes,” said manager Bruce Bochy, referencing his Giants’ grueling schedule that saw them conclude a stretch of 14 games in 13 days on Wednesday. “They were doing all they could to get this one. We just came up short but the fight was there.”

Throw all that information into your baseball diamond-calibrated computer, and what spits out?

Buy or sell?

Sell is the smart move.

Of course, it’s buy.

In reality, it’s complicated like a personal profile on Facebook. The Giants are red-hot, but it might not much matter if they don’t tear it up in San Diego over the weekend, then fill up on the Phillies next week in Philadelphia.

Simply, it’s an four-game schedule, and the 2019 Giants will be defined by what they do in the first half of the upcoming road swing. Lose, three of four, fall below .500 and it would be prudent for the club to sell. Win three of four, and the front office and the team put all their focus on catching the Cardinals, Brewers and Phillies.

“Everyone wants to win, whether it’s players, coaches or the front office,” said Stephen Vogt. “I think everybody in this building wants to win, and we’re going to do everything it takes.”

One last statistical snap shot of the completed home stand: the Giants won 5 of 7, but were outscored 27-22.

On Friday, Jeff Samardzija takes the hill for the Giants at Petco Park. At presstime, the Padres had not named a starter for any of the three games in the series.

San Francisco Giants podcast with Michael Duca: Giants’ climb to get out of the cellar a long way off

Photo credit:

On the Giants podcast with Michael:

#1 The San Francisco Giants’ loss last night represented their fifth loss in six games and they have not been out of the NL West cellar since May.

#2 They faced some solid pitching from the Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Alex Young (1-0, 1.80 ERA) who pitched five innings against the Giants for three hits and five strikeouts holding the Giants to just one run.

#3 Michael talks about putting on a finger on what’s wrong with the Giants hitters. Everyone in the lineup on Thursday night are hitting below .300.

#4 The Giants starter Tyler Beede pitched 5 1/3 for four hits, two earned runs and three strikeouts — a good outing, but the relievers gave up three more runs in the 5-1 loss.

#5 Starting pitchers for Friday night at Oracle Park. For the Diamondbacks, Merrill Kelly (7-7, 3.93 ERA), and for the San Francisco Giants, Shaun Anderson (2-2, 3.94 ERA).

Catch Michael for the Giants podcasts each Friday at