Sunday, May 14, 2017

Giants Win Series From Cincinnati

The San Francisco Giants no longer have the worst record in baseball after the recent four game series with the Cincinnati Reds this past weekend.

After losing another one run game last Thursday night, San Francisco began their longest winning streak in typical Giants Torture fashion winning a marathon, 17 inning game on Friday.  Buster Posey's fourth home run in five games gave the club, a 3-2 win.

With the bullpen tired on Saturday, Matt Moore pitched well into the eighth inning and the Giants won their second game in a row.  It was the second time that the Giants had a two game winning streak in 2017.

On Sunday, the Giants did something rare and that was score more than four runs.  Jeff Samardzija won for the first time this season.  The Giants now have a three game winning streak and their record is 15-24, one game ahead of the fifth place, San Diego Padres in the N.L. West.

The Los Angeles Dodgers now come in for a three game series that begins on Monday night at AT&T Park.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Sey Hey Kid

Last Saturday, the greatest player I've ever seen in Willie Mays, celebrated his 86th birthday.  When becoming a baseball fan in 1962, this baseball blogger, growing up in the San Francisco Bay Area saw and heard the greatness in this athlete.

Back at the time, there was very little televised games involving the Giants.  Local station, KTVU Channel 2, showed nine games a year and they were all from Los Angeles.  The first time I recall a home game being televised was the first playoff game between the Giants and Dodgers.  The Giants tied the Dodgers on the final day of the regular season and the first playoff game happened the very next day.  After winning the playoff, two games to one, the local viewers had a chance to watch four more home games, which happened to be the 1962 World Series against the New York Yankees.

I listened to a lot of Giants games on KSFO Radio 560.  Thanks to the voices of Hall Of Famers, Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons, baseball fans would visually have an idea of how Mays and many other Giants such as McCovey, Marichal, Cepeda and Perry performed.

My first chance of watching number 24 was on Saturday, August 4, 1962.  Before about 30,000 fans on a partly cloudy day at Candlestick Park, San Francisco edged the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-5.

Mays didn't homer in the game but he did something that I hadn't seen before and have seen rarely seen since.

With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Mays singled to center field.  Orlando Cepeda, the next hitter hit a grounder to the left of second baseman, Bill Mazeroski.  Mazeroski threw out Cepeda with Mays rounding second and sliding safely into third base beating the throw from the first baseman.

With Felipe Alou hitting, Pirates pitcher, Harvey Haddix threw a short wild pitch allowing Mays to score from third base.  Amazing how a run can be manufactured!

Mays went on that year hitting over .300 with 49 home runs and, I believe, 141 runs batted in.  It was hard to believe but he didn't win the National League Most Valuable Player Award that year.  It went to the Dodgers' Maury Wills, whose 104 stolen bases broke Ty Cobb's regular season record.

However, it was the Giants, and not the rival Dodgers who went to the 1962 World Series.  

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Kid Does It Again!

For several years, San Francisco Giants' fans were wondering when Christian Arroyo would make the 25 man roster and would see his first Opening Day.

I thought that, after a great spring in Arizona, he would be there.  However, Giant brass thought that he would be best starting the season at Triple A - Sacramento.  In 16 games there, Arroyo was hitting .446.  That raised a lot of eyebrows in the organization.  Because of numerous injuries with the big club, Arroyo was brought up, and hopefully to stay.

On Wednesday afternoon in Queens, New York, Arroyo provided the biggest moment of his big league career.  Batting against the New York Mets, and their closer, Jeurys Familia, his three run double with two outs gave the Giants, a come from behind, 6-5 win.  It ended a five game losing streak and sent the team home on a happier flight.

The ninth inning rally began with one out when Joe Panik walked.  Eduardo Nunez grounded to third baseman, Wilmar Flores.  He bobbled it and then threw wide and high to second base.  Panik sliding in to second avoided the tag.

Hunter Pence, hitless in this game, singled to left driving in Panik to tie the game at 3-3.  Buster Posey, who had homered in each of the games in the series, walked to load the bases.

Up came Arroyo looking for a pitch to hit.  The pitch he got looked good as he drove it to left center field and clearing the bases making it a 6-3 lead.

Despite that, the Giants and the 2017 version of Giants Torture nearly gave it back in the bottom of the ninth.  However, Derek Law, closing for the injured Mark Melancon, gave up a five foot dribbler in which Buster Posey threw out the runner at first for the final out.  It had been exactly two years to the day since the last time the Giants won a game after trailing after eight innings.

Thursday night, the Giants will be looking for their first two game winning streak when they take on the Cincinnati Reds in the first of a four game home series.  This is the same Reds team that swept the Giants last weekend!


The 1985 Giants

On October 6, 1985, the New York/San Francisco Giants franchise became the last of the original 16 franchises since 1903 to lose 100 games in a season.  It was a season that Giants' fans who were fans back then, won't soon forget.

A former player from the 1962 National League Pennant winning team became Manager of the team in Jim Davenport.  Tom Haller, another former player from the 1962 started his fourth full, and final year as the club's General Manager.

Neither Davenport nor Haller would finish the year as both would be fired with 18 games remaining in the season.  Roger Craig (Manager) and Al Rosen (General Manager) would take over and there would be better days for the team and their fans.

When one looks at the statistics, the 1985 team looks a lot like the current 2017 bunch, and in some cases even better.  Bob Brenly (19 home runs), Jeffrey Leonard (62 runs batted in), Chris Brown (.271 batting average) and Chili Davis (40 extra base hits) led the team in batting.  As a team, they were 12th in the 12 team league with a .233 average.

The pitching wasn't much better.  Though the team ERA was 3.61, sixth in the 12 team league, no starter (Mike Krukow and Vida Blue) had more than eight wins on the season.  Of the 10 starting pitchers the Giants used in 1985, seven of them finished with an earned run average under four which is respectible.

The Giants used nearly 40 players (36) in 1985.  Fielding wise, they were ninth in fielding and committed 134 errors.

In 1985, the Giants had a four game winning steak and a 10 game losing streak.  They were shutout 14 times but won 15 times in their last at bat.  Speaking of winning streaks, the Giants have yet to win two straight in 2017!     

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Mets Win Series

Well, this post didn't take very long.

The New York Mets, like nearly every MLB team, got well in a hurry when playing the San Francisco Giants.  Despite the fact that half of their starters are either on the disabled list or breaking curfew at home, they've managed to win the first two games of a three game series.  Perhaps the Giants should have saved air fare and headed home from Los Angeles after winning the first series of the nine game, three city road trip.

After being outscored 31-5 in Cincinnati, they've been outscored in Queens, 10-4.  Buster Posey seems to be the only Giant right now that has figured things out offensively.  Unfortunately, his two home runs in two days have been with the bases empty.  Other than that, most everything has stunk.  After Tuesday's 6-1 loss, the Giants with an 11-23 record is the WORST in baseball!  They are on a pace to lose 108 games.  In 135 seasons, they've only lost 100 games in a season one other time, in 1985.  That team looked just as bad as this current bunch.

If things weren't bad enough, it was announced before the start of Tuesday's game that Giants' closer, Mark Melancon went on the 10 day disabled list with a sore forearm.  That means for the next few days, a closer by committee role.  The bullpen hasn't been much better in 2017 as it was last year.

But neither has the hitting. The Giants went into this series hitting only .230 and have had only seven hits combined in the current series.  The pitching ERA was over five.  Right now, Dave Righetti (pitching coach) and Bam Bam Meulens (hitting coach) might want to update their resumes.  The base coaches from one year ago weren't retained so it would be no surprise if heads will roll soon!  That could go as high as General Manager, Bobby Evans and Manager, Bruce Bochy.  I don't think we would hear stuff like this two years ago.