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San Francisco Giants Execute Comeback, Beat LA Dodgers 5-4

Down 4-0 by the fifth inning, the Giants did not throw in the towels. Not one bit.

Matt Cain settled down and threw shutout innings in the fifth, sixth, and seventh for a final line of 7 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 1 BB, 6 K.

The Giants offense put together a noble (and successful) comeback effort. In the seventh inning, Posey cut the deficit to three with a solo home run. In the eighth, Renteria and Burrell cut the lead to one with back-to-back solo home runs. Finally, in the ninth, after a Cody Ross single (which he just barely beat out), Juan Uribe crushed a two-run homer to left-center field off of Dodgers closer Jonathan Broxton.

Brian Wilson came in, and after Dodgers had runners on the corners and just one out, he was able to settle down and shut the Dodgers down, securing the Giants win.

The Giants, now that the Padres have lost a staggering nine games in a row, are now just two games back in the NL West. 

Now, here are some notes:

Each day brings more evidence that Jose Guillen should not be a starting outfielder. Pat Burrell hit a home run, Andres Torres is, well, Andres Torres, and Cody Ross scored the game-tying run. Oh, yeah and Jose Guillen had a golden sombrero (four strikeouts in a game, for those of you that aren’t well-versed in baseball terminology).

Although not completely relevant to the Giants, it’s quite interesting to note that the Dodgers have not caught a runner stealing since July 23. Darren Ford stole second in the eighth inning with two outs and the Giants down 4-3.

The Giants have now executed three comebacks of four runs or more: June 4 against the PiratesJuly 20 against the Dodgers (you might remember that as the game in which Bruce Bochy got Broxton taken out of the game because Mattingly stepped on the mound twice); and of course, Saturday, September 4 against the Dodgers. 

Props to Pat Burrell: he was able to come off the bench and battle for an eight-pitch at-bat, culminating in his solo home run off of Octavio Dotel. 

The Giants had four home runs. Quite satisfying.

Saturday’s game was symbolically a juxtaposition of the Dodgers’ and Giants’ relative seasons. At home, the Dodgers blew a game they should have won thanks to yet another poor performance by Broxton, who has brought the Dodgers down with him during his second-half downfall.

The Giants, in contrast, executed a beautiful comeback, and Brian Wilson was able to settle down and shut down the Dodgers to win the game, as he has done for most of 2010. 

Uribe had a WPA of .622 on Saturday: he raised the Giants’ chances of winning the game by 62.2 percent with his offensive performance. 

Tomorrow: Hiroki Kuroda will face Jonathan Sanchez. They are both coming off of dazzling performances, in which they went seven-plus innings and gave up one earned run or fewer. The Giants bat a collective .153 against Kuroda in 72 career at bats, which is just…miserable.

Watch out for Matt Kemp—9 for 20 in his career against Sanchez. If the Giants can secure the series win on Sunday night, it will go a long way toward building momentum as they get ready to face a hot Diamondbacks team and then the division-leading Padres.   

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San Francisco Giants: Why Cody Ross Should Start Instead of Jose Guillen

A few weeks ago, the Giants acquired Jose Guillen in order to give them an extra bat to push them into the playoffs. About a week later, the Giants were awarded Cody Ross off waivers.

Since then, Jose Guillen has been the starting right fielder, with Cody Ross getting occasional playing time. This is a poor decision for several reasons…

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Tim Lincecum, Welcome Back: Things Are Starting To Get Rolling

The Giants won 2-1 on Wednesday and after a disastrous month of August, Tim Lincecum has rebounded. It took several starts to rediscover his rhythm, but he did his job on Wednesday night. His line: 8.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 H, 1 BB, 9 K. The nine strikeouts are certainly a promising sign, as well as the one walk. The lone run came on an opposite-field solo shot by Carlos Gonzalez. With a Cy Young Lincecum on the mound, the Giants are a force to be reckoned with. Their offense hasn’t been scoring a lot of runs lately (just 2 on Wednesday), but they did face Ubaldo Jimenez. Mike Fontenot knocked in a run with a 5th inning RBI single, and were able to score another run off of a combination of luck and small-ball: in the 8th inning, Mike Fontenot drew a walk. September call-up Darren Ford pinch ran for him, and Lincecum laid down a bunt to get him over to second. Ford attempted to steal third on a wild pitch, and the throw to third was high and flew into left field, giving Ford ample time to score. Darren Ford is going to be an asset to the Giants: previously, the best speed on their bench was Nate Schierholtz. Ford is quite a bit faster.

Meanwhile, the Giants’ foes are falling rapidly. The Padres have lost seven in a row now, and they haven’t been cheap losses. Five of the seven games they’ve lost have been by three runs or more. The Cardinals, too, are struggling, having lost 13 of their last 17. The Giants are just three games back in the NL West. They still have seven games left against the Padres, so an NL West division title is not out of the question.


  • The Giants’ starting pitching is back to doing what it does best: win games. The Giants’ starters have had four consecutive quality starts, giving up just 6 ER in 28.1 IP (ERA: 1.92); Tomorrow Barry Zito will try to continue the quality start streak. 
  • Freddy Sanchez refuses to cool down: he was 2 for 4, and is now riding a nine game hit streak. During that span, he’s 20 for his last 36 (.555 average). 

Tomorrow: Giants get to rest. And maybe enjoy a Phillies loss (Joe Blanton pitching at Coors Field).

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San Francisco Giants Torture Fans With Painful Loss To Colorado Rockies

For the past few weeks or so, the Giants starting pitching has been the subject of much criticism. The blame for the Giants’ dismal 12-15 August record has been placed upon this quintet.

The hitting was doing fine: Sanchez, Sandoval, and Torres were heating up, and Guillen, Burrell, Huff, and Uribe were providing jolts of offense here and there. But on Monday, the hitting fell silent. The Giants managed to get just four hits, and nine different Giants struck out at least once.

Jonathan Sanchez pitched the Giants’ second quality start in a row, going eight innings and giving up just one earned run, while striking out six. His control was spectacular (two walks). He came out to pitch the ninth, with a 1-0 lead, and promptly walked Dexter Fowler.

Bruce Bochy then put Wilson in the game. Carlos Gonzalez hit a fly ball that appeared to be playable by Cody Ross, but he took a quick first step, and failed to recover from it as the ball sailed over his head.

Fowler rounded the bases scoring easily, and Gonzalez dug for three. Ross relayed the ball to Freddy Sanchez, who threw a two-hopper to Pablo Sandoval. As Carlos Gonzalez was sliding into third, he slid into the ball, causing it to roll into the stands, and giving him a free pass home.

The Giants would not recover  from the 2-1 deficit, although Posey smoked a ball back at the pitcher, and Huff hit a deep fly ball to the warning track in the bottom of the ninth.

The Giants just can’t seem to get things going at the same time: when their pitching is great, their hitting fails to support it; and vice versa.

It’s going to take a decent hot streak to get this Giants team back in the playoff race.

Tomorrow: Bumgarner will get the start. He should do fine. They’ll face Esmil Rogers, whose ERA is 5.66; if the Giants lose this game…it’s totally over. But they can’t lose that game. There’s no way they are that bad.

The big question is what Tim Lincecum does in his start against the Rockies. If Lincecum can’t prove that he’s capable of performing for this Giants’ team, the Giants are skating on thin ice.

The facts are, though, that the Giants remain just 1.5 games back in the NL Wild Card. It’s a completely manageable deficit. The Padres have lost five in a row, so now’s where the Giants need to take advantage. They have all of the tools to succeed, they just need to get them all working at the same time.

There is still hope; but the Giants need to play like they did in July; not like they have played in August.

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San Francisco Giants Snap Losing Streak Behind Matt Cain

Matt Cain is the 2010 stopper. Lincecum was the go-to guy last year; whenever the Giants had a losing streak, he would stop it; which is actually not surprising at all, considering that he pitched behind Joe Martinez and Randy Johnson for a good part of the season, and he was a Cy Young winner.

This season, Matt Cain is becoming that guy. With consecutive bad performances from Sanchez, Bumgarner, Lincecum, and Zito, Cain stopped the bleeding. It wasn’t a brilliant outing: 6.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 K; but it got the job done nevertheless. The relief was terrible, except Brian Wilson, of course. Casilla, Affeldt, and Lopez combined for four earned runs and five hits in one inning pitched. But Wilson came in and shut the door for 1.2 innings.

Five Giants had multi-hit games: 

Freddy Sanchez – 3 for 5, 2 RBI
Andres Torres – 2 for 4, 2 RBI
Matt Cain – 2 for 3, 1 R
Eli Whiteside – 2 for 4, 2 R
Pablo Sandoval – 2 for 4, 2 R

It’s nice to be seeing Freddy Sanchez and Pablo Sandoval on this list on a daily basis. It legitimizes their “return to form.”

It’s nice to see Cody Ross in the lineup. He didn’t have a hit, but did get a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning. And he’s an obvious defensive upgrade over Burrell. 

Props to Jose Guillen: he had a clutch hit in the seventh that ultimately was the difference in the game. With runners on second and third, he singled to center to make the score 7-6. Finally, his offense comes at a timely manner.

It will be interesting to see if Posey catches tomorrow. He’s probably recovered by now from his left-forearm strain, but typically Whiteside catches Jonathan Sanchez, because of their rapport since he caught his no-hitter. I’d bet Posey’s playing if he’s fine. 

Freddy Sanchez: 15 for his last 24 (.625 avg); He had a nice two-strike, opposite-field double to give the Giants an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. 

Tomorrow: Jonathan Sanchez will pitch against the Rockies’ Jorge De La Rosa, who has a 4.54 ERA. The Giants should be able to win this game: the Rockies are 25-40 at home, and some Giants (Sanchez, Ross, Uribe) have good numbers against him. Sanchez is 6 for 14 against him in his career with one home run.

Jonathan Sanchez, meanwhile, has good numbers against Colorado. They bat a collective .243 against him in their careers with just one home run in 107 at-bats. Watch out for Troy Tulowitzki though: 7 for 17 lifetime with a home run vs. Sanchez. 

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SF Giants: Five September Call-ups Who Could Impact Their Playoff Run

The San Francisco Giants appear to be making a serious run at the playoffs, especially in the NL Wild Card race.

With Sept. 1 just a few days away, here are five September call-ups who could push the Giants over the edge, securing them a spot in the postseason.  

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San Francisco Giants Fail To Sweep, Lose To Reds 12-11 in 12 Innings

Wednesday’s game got off to a lousy start, as Bumgarner served up three home runs. His final line was: 2.2 IP, 7 ER, 3 HR.

The Giants were at one point facing a 10-1 deficit against the Cincinnati Reds; but they rallied back. They rallied and rallied and rallied, scoring 10 runs in their third consecutive game.

With an 11-10 lead, the Giants couldn’t hold on, and would end up losing 12-11 in 12 innings, thanks in part to a throwing error by Pablo Sandoval, who really should be moved to first base ASAP.

In what’s become sort of a tradition, here are the multi-hitters from Wednesday:


  • Pablo Sandoval, 4 for 6
  • Mike Fontenot, 2 for 4, 2 R
  • Andres Torres, 2 for 7, 2 RBI
  • Jose Guillen, 2 for 5, 2 R
  • Juan Uribe, 3 for 6, 1 HR, 3 RBI
The Giants have now scored 38 runs in their past three games. To put that in perspective, in the 11 games before this homestand, the Giants had scored 37 runs. 
The Giants rallied back to overcome an enormous deficit, and just barely lost the game. Some people say that this was a crushing blow (which it was), and that because of that, it would have been better for the Giants not to even have a shot at winning in the first place.
I wholeheartedly disagree, however. This Giants not only proved that they have the ability to maintain focus and effort despite a seemingly insurmountable deficit, but they also validated and confirmed the performance of their offense from the previous two games.
The fact that they were able to explode offensively in three consecutive games confirms this teams potential to produce runs…
Now, if only the Giants could get their pitching together…Tim Lincecum, although it’s impossible to determine, seems to be getting on the right track.
He has had flashes of brilliance in the past two games, but has not been able to maintain the old Lincecum prowess throughout these entire starts. Hopefully he’s got everything figured out: the Giants can’t afford to keep losing his starts. 
Philadelphia and St. Louis have suffered defeats at the hands of Houston and Pittsburgh; the Giants need to take advantage of these crumbling teams, and they need to do it with pitching.
That’s been their team the past couple of years, a team built on pitching. Now that they have the offense, they need the pitching to do its job. 
  • The pitchers shouldn’t receive all of the blame. As I’ve said numerous times, the defense playing behind them is mediocre. Rowand can’t cover half the range that Torres covers (that is when Rowand actually plays). Burrell, Guillen, and Sandoval are slow and cover minimal range at their respective positions. And Uribe has had hamstring problems, which have sapped his speed (not that he was ever too fast to begin with…). 
  • Pablo Sandoval remains on fire. The old Pablo is back. Not officially. But it appears so. Nothing is official until all of the games are over. But when the season’s done, I think we’ll be looking back at a great September Pablo Sandoval. 
  • Nate Schierholtz had yet another pinch hit. Guillen was playing right in the 12th inning in a close game. That should have been Nate out there. Defense is important in close games. Bochy doesn’t seem to appreciate the value of a good defense.
Off-day tomorrow. Then Arizona. Here’s where the Giants need to feast on inferior teams. 


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San Francisco Giants Obliterate Cincinnati Reds, 16-5

I truly thought it was gonna be hard for the Giants to best Monday’s performance. I was wrong….they are now tied for first in the NL Wild Card.

Players who had a multi-hit game on Tuesday:

Pablo Sandoval: 3 for 5, 1 HR, 4 RBI
Cody Ross: 2 for 5, 2 R
Andres Torres: 3 for 5, 4 RBI
Freddy Sanchez: 4 for 4, 1 HR, 4 R
Juan Uribe: 2 for 4, 1 HR, 2 RBI
Aubrey Huff: 2 for 4, 1 RBI
Honorable Mention – Buster Posey: 1 for 5, HR, 3 RBI

This Giants team is as hot as it gets. The performance by Jonathan Sanchez was dreadful: 4.1 IP, 5 ER, 3 HR; The Giants offense picked up the slack, though.

The amazing thing about this is that the Giants have done this against a contending team, Cincinatti, not against the Pirates or Cubs. This is a legitimate performance. They’ve also faced respectable starters in Volquez and Wood, the latter coming into the game with a 2.51 ERA. 

The Giants’ slumping hitters were the ones getting the hits: Pablo Sandoval, Juan Uribe, Freddy Sanchez. This is a team with so much potential, and they are finally living up to it. An occasional rough performance by Jonathan Sanchez should be expected, but now the Giants are picking up the slack. 
Some notes: 
Cincy and the Giants combined to tie an AT&T Park record for most home runs in a game (seven).

The scoring did not come in just one inning of offensive outburst: the Giants kept scoring in several innings. They had four innings in which they scored at least three runs. 

Seven of Buster Posey’s last nine games have been multi-hit games. 

Freddy Sanchez has had eight hits in his last nine games. He is absolutely on fire. He’s raised his average from .261 to .278 in the past two games. 

Welcome to the Cody Ross era: the Giants are averaging 13.5 runs per game since his arrival. He did get the scoring going by driving in the first run of Tuesday’s game.
Duane Kuiper fills in runs with red ink on his scorecard—he said his scorecard looked like it was bleeding, and well, it did. 

The Giants have scored 10-plus runs in back to back home games for the first time since 1973. 

Duane Kuiper on Andres Torres: “He just kind of does good things all the time.” So, so true. 

Uribe hit his first home run in a month. He was leading the Giants in RBI in the earlier part of the year, and he’s now not a consistent contributor. It just goes to show how deep this offense can be…that is, if everybody hits like they can.

Mike Leake was the subject of rookie of the year talks for a good part of the year. He’s been dreadful of late, though. Buster Posey continues to be a strong rookie of the year candidate. This has to be a metaphor for rookie of the year voting: Buster Posey absolutely obliterated a Mike Leake pitch, hitting it into right center field for a three-run homer.

It’s important to remember, as fun as these last two games have been, that they only count as two wins in the record book. The Giants need to continue playing good baseball as they make a run at the playoffs. 

Tomorrow: The Giants will send Bumgarner to try to get the sweep. He’s won seven of his last nine starts. The Giants will face Homer Bailey, who is not really a good pitcher—definitely worse than Travis Wood. Hopefully, they can score enough runs to support Madison. 

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Can San Francisco Giants Get on a Roll?

Yes, this is an incredibly bold conclusion. Actually, I haven’t concluded anything, I’ve just posed a question.

The fact of the matter is, the Giants have an incredibly fickle nature. Remember in July, when they won 20 games in a month for the first time since September of 2000? Well, right before that month, they had a seven-game losing streak. Are they going to once again bounce back?

This is a team that can get on a roll, and dominate. They have all of the tools necessary to win a game. Their rotation is as good as any in the majors. They have a solid group of hitters—Torres, Huff, Posey, Burrell, Uribe, Guillen, Sandoval, Sanchez—the problem is, they aren’t always consistent.

Sandoval has struggled all year, but now he is starting to return to his 2009 form, or so it appears. He has four home runs in his last eight games, including his first home run of 2010 from the right side of the plate. These are promising signs. 

Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres have carried this team the entire year, amassing a combined 10-plus Wins Above Replacement by doing everything—they have versatility on the field. Torres can run, they can both hit home runs, Torres is among the top hitters in the National League in doubles, and so on…

Posey hit .440 for the month of July, and when he is hot, he rarely goes without a hit. He’s heating up again, currently riding a seven-game hitting streak during which he’s batted over .400. 

And, all the other guys—Burrell, Uribe, Guillen, Sanchez, etc.—have the tools to provide clutch hits here and there. Burrell, Uribe, and Guillen are all legitimate power threats, and Sanchez is the only Giant who can really play small ball—he always gets the bunt down when he needs to. 

Beyond Lincecum’s struggles, the rotation has really been solid. Even Lincecum has. The only problem is consistency, but after going 14 games without a win from a Giants starter, Sanchez and Bumgarner have now won back-to-back games. Lincecum, as the ace, has to be compelled to step up his game now, right? 

The Giants have a tough road ahead of them, facing St. Louis and Cincinnati, both playoff contenders. They are an inconsistent team, but they possess the tools to beat any other team in the National League—well, maybe not the Padres just yet.

The Wild Card is still within their reach, though, and if they get all the right gears clicking, they can go far. Consistency is the key though, and for such a fickle-natured team, it is impossible to say whether they will get all the right gears clicking. 

Their defense is average at best, with Guillen, Burrell, and Sandoval having minimal range. If they can manage to keep runs to a minimum, though, score some runs with their starting lineup in the earlier innings, then put in defensive replacements, the Giants could very well succeed. 

Potential is a word often thrown around, but it’s true—this Giants team has great potential. Will it be fulfilled?

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MLB’s Top Five Strikeout Relievers

Relievers are often called upon when a strikeout is necessary to prevent the other team from scoring. Here are the five relievers that are best at striking hitters out, based on their K/9 rate. 

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