Giants Season Off To Abysmal Start

By Chandler Guadagnin

Although it is early, there is no getting around it: the Giants are off to an abysmal start in 2018. Even with the win tonight, San Francisco is three games under .500 (7-10). Analysts and fans, alike, are beginning to wonder if this season is just a revamped repeat of 2017. In the first 17 games of 2017, San Francisco was 6 and 11; one game worse than the current pace.  The primary concern for the Giants heading into the season was the age of the roster.

Before the season even began, analysts, statisticians and talk show hosts weren’t talking about the new talent on the roster, but instead were preoccupied with the several elder statesman of the club. While it is true that age is directly connected to a decline in production and the Giants are the oldest club in the Major Leagues (29.9); I did some digging and here is what I found: the second oldest club in Major League Baseball is the Washington Nationals. The average age of there roster is 29.3, just 0.6 years younger than the Giants. Yet somehow, by most estimates, Washington is projected to win the National League East by a hefty margin this season. So what is the difference? Likely it is that the Nats have made the postseason two straight years, and four times since 2012. San Francisco has made the postseason four times in 8 years. The speculation is also a result of the Giants’ horrific 2017 campaign; still fresh in the minds of so many. The main point of this one paragraph monologue, is that, though San Francisco is currently struggling, the Giants can indeed compete, even with an aging roster. That is the positive note. Here is what they need to improve to accomplish the feat.

Offensive production has been the main stumbling block of the Giants. Through 17 contests, San Francisco is hitting .234 as a team (9th in the National League). However, batting average is not the root of the issue. The true struggle, has been coming up with hits with runners in scoring position. The Orange and Black are a bulimic 19 for 120 with runners in scoring position (.158).  An illustration of this dismal scoring slump is that the Giants have been shutout 3 times in the early going. As is often the case, however, the lack of offense is not the sole reason for the Giants early dive.

The bullpen has had its part to play. Over 55.2 total innings pitched, the Giants bullpen has accumulated a 2.91 ERA. In these 53 total appearances, the Giants have surrendered 44 hits (6 for home runs), dished out 60 strikeouts and issued 25 walks as a unit. Like batting average, the ERA does not tell the whole story. What does is that most of the hits and walks are coming in the crucial moments of games. The ‘pen’s struggles coupled with the absence of timely hits has resulted in a minus 9 run differential; as the Giants have been outscored 59 to 50. What they have failed to do at the plate, they have made up for with the glove.

In 1,386 defensive innings, San Francisco has made only 9 errors, for a fielding percentage of .986, ranking them  10th in Major League Baseball. While it is nearly impossible to quantify Gold Glove caliber plays, it is safe to say that numerous sterling plays from the Giants five Gold Glove defenders, have played a starring role in the club’s defensive success.

If only the Giants could combine their Gold Glove defense with offense, it could change the tempo of the season. With 145 games remaining on the regular season resumé, there is still plenty of time to improve. However, two things are for certain: the Giants must improve, if they have any desire to compete for a playoff spot and, I will be more than happy if, 145 games from now, I can look back on this article and realize what an overreaction it was.

Statistics courtesy of www.mlb.com and www.baseball-reference.com

Well Done Schedule Makers

By. Michael Vislosky

Being a schedule maker for sports has to be a somewhat difficult job. With at least 30 teams in the 4 major sports, figuring out when a team is going to be home, back to backs, trying to not have a team play a game on the east coast, then have to go to the west coast and everything else that goes along with it, you can’t always make everyone happy. On rare occasions though it’s almost like the schedule makers can see the future.

The end of the regular seasons in the NBA and NHL just took place. Most teams had clinched their playoff berths well before the last days of the seasons, but in the western conference in both the NBA and NHL, the last playoff spots were up for grabs going into the final day. Only two teams in each league had a chance at those spots, and wouldn’t you know, they played each other! In the NHL the Blues took on the Avalanche, and in the NBA the Nuggets played the Timberwolves. Both turned out to be great games with the Avalanche and Timberwolves clinching playoff berths.

Situations like that don’t happen that often in the NBA or NHL. There have been many NFL seasons that have had win and your in games played but the NFL plays 16 games not 82. One could say that the schedule makers looked at what the teams were expected to do in the season and thought that could happen, but still any sports fan knows the game isn’t played on paper.

With the playoffs starting in the NBA and NHL, I say well done schedule makers on making the last day of those sports regular seasons must watch tv.

Wildcats get big series win; Giants come up short versus Diamondbacks

It had been 11 games since Chico’s best run producer had driven in a run. Alex DeVito was sitting on a 9-for-45 stretch, but his team needed him with two on and one out in the bottom of the 4th inning in the biggest game of the year. DeVito made sure he would drive in more than a run with a colossal blast over the left field wall off of UC San Diego right-hander Jonah DiPoto giving the Wildcats a 3-to-1 lead.

Chico would lean on first time starter Christian Stiegele who pitched brilliantly thru four allowing three hits and one run. Bullpen stand-out Anthony Baleto was fantastic navigating the dangerous top of the Triton line-up twice and only allowing a two-out solo home run in the 7th. Jae Wagner would come in to quell a rally in the 9th inducing a critical double play on his first pitch.

The Wildcats won a series for the first time since March 5th when they swept San Francisco State. Since that series the Wildcats had lost 10 of 16 and needed a signature series win to get them back in the CCAA race. They got it.

Chico travels to Cal State San Marcos this weekend for a four game series. You can hear the series right here on KpaySports dot-com and the KpaySports app. Friday’s pregame comes your way at 2:35pm

 

(AP) — Zack Godley is off to a great start, and so are the Arizona Diamondbacks.Godley pitched seven scoreless innings, Paul Goldschmidt had an RBI triple and the Diamondbacks beat the San Francisco Giants 2-1 on Monday night.

The Diamondbacks won for the sixth time in seven games and matched the best start in franchise history through 10 games. They’re 8-2 for the first time since 2008.

Godley (2-0) struck out nine and allowed four hits and no walks. He’s allowed just one run in 14 innings this season.

“It’s been really good so far just being able to execute pitches,” Godley said. “The biggest thing is our defense has been awesome.”

Godley was pretty good, too, attacking with a biting curveball that had the Giants batters off-balance all night.

“They were just aggressive,” Godley said. “Their aggressiveness played right into what we wanted to do going into the game.”

Goldschmidt tripled to right-center off Giants starter Derek Holland (0-2), highlighting a two-run first inning. A.J. Pollock’s sacrifice fly scored Goldschmidt.

Holland allowed two runs, struck out eight and walked one in six innings of two-hit ball in his second start with his new team.

After giving up the triple to Goldschmidt, the 31-year-old left-hander retired 17 of his final 18 batters.

The Giants’ best scoring chance off Godley came in the fifth, when Buster Posey reached on a fielder’s choice and went to third on Brandon Crawford’s one-out single. But Godley got Hunter Pence to pop out to first and Gregor Blanco on a grounder to second.

“He did everything we needed him to do on a night when we might’ve been a little short in the bullpen,” Diamondbacks manager Torey Lovullo said.

“The big double plays, making pitches when his back was against the wall and not giving in and making quality pitches all night long, that was what he did.”

The Giants scored their only run in the eighth when Crawford doubled leading off the inning and scored on Blanco’s infield grounder.

Archie Bradley pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for his first save.

The Giants were 0 for 4 with runners in scoring position. They’re .125 average (3 for 24) batting with runners in scoring position is the worst in the majors.

“Our guys were battling,” Holland said. “It was a pitcher’s duel going in and he lasted longer than I did. Just processing this game, they were hitting the ball. They made contact, found some holes, hit mistakes.”

BEEDE TIME

The Giants activated RHP Tyler Beede, and the 24-year-old right-hander will start Tuesday’s game for his major league debut. Beede, a 2014 first-round pick, will pitch in place of RHP Johnny Cueto, whose start was pushed back to Wednesday. In a corresponding move, the Giants optioned RHP Roberto Gomez to Triple-A Sacramento.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Diamondbacks: OF Steven Souza Jr., on the DL with a right pectoral strain, complained of discomfort Sunday after playing in a simulated game in which he homered twice in seven at-bats and threw from over 100 feet. An MRI showed fluid in the area of the injury. “This is part of the process,” Lovullo said. “I do not consider this a setback whatsoever.” … 3B Jake Lamb (left shoulder AC joint sprain) took dry swings and did some running and throwing Monday. He’ll ramp up baseball activities Tuesday.

Giants: RHP Jeff Samardzija (right pectoral strain) pitched three innings in a simulated game and is expected to throw make a rehab start later this week. He could be activated next week.

UP NEXT

LHP Patrick Corbin (2-0, 1.38 ERA) will pitch Tuesday’s game for Arizona against Beede.

McCutchen Hero as Giants Walk-Off Dodgers

By Chandler Guadagnin

Whatever rest the Giants may have accrued during their two days off came in handy Saturday afternoon.

A day after, rain shortened a series between the Giants and Dodgers, the Giants took the field for Game one of the two game series. The Giants sent Chris Stratton to the mound. He was opposed by Dodger lefty Rich Hill.

To say that this game was interesting would be an understatement. San Francisco would score first on a 1st inning RBI Double by Andrew McCutchen. That would be the only scoring until Chris Taylor singled in the first Dodger run in the 3rd. The bottom of the fifth saw two runs score for the Giants on a Buster Posey home run- his first of the year. The Dodgers would tie it an inning later via a passed and RBI groundout. The Giants answered immediately, with an RBI double from Brandon Belt in the 7th. That lead would last just 4 pitches, as on the fifth pitch of the at-bat in the bottom of the 7th, Chase Utley would take a 2-2 pitch over the right field wall to tie the game at four a piece.

Neither the Giants nor the Dodgers would score for 7 more innings. The first run of extra innings came when, with runners on first and third and nobody out-in the 14th inning, Logan Foresythe would single to put the Dodgers on top 5-4. San Francisco would tightrope out of further danger and come up to the plate in a win or go home scenario.

The last remaining pitcher from the LA bullpen was, rookie, Wilmer Font. Font would not record an out in this appearance, as he gave up back to back singles to Tomlinson and Panik. That brought up a red hot Andrew McCutchen. With nobody out and runners on first and third, Cutch got a pitch to his liking and sent it over the wall, sending the Giants faithful into a frenzy and giving the Giants their third win of the season against the Dodgers.

After his walk-off, McCutchen finished the game 6 for 7, tallying four RBIs and scoring twice.

All told, in this fourteen inning marathon, which lasted five hours and 16 minutes, there were a total of 45 players who saw action, five lead changes, 3 ties, 29 hits,  and 19 pitchers used. The two teams were a combined 4 for 30 with runners in scoring position, including a total of 26 men left on base.

With the victory, San Francisco rises to 4 and 3 and the Dodgers descend to 2-6 with the loss. The Giants will turn around and finish this short 2 game fling with the Dodgers tomorrow afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05PM PT. Ty Blach will toe the rubber for the Giants, while Clayton Kershaw will pitch for Los Angeles. You can catch the series finale on CSN Bay Area or listen in on KNBR 680 AM.

Statistics courtesy of www.mlb.com

A’s win series opener versus Texas….

(AP) — The Oakland Athletics got more than they expected in Andrew Triggs’ first start since suffering a season-ending hip injury last June. The bullpen was pretty good, too.Triggs pitched five effective innings, Jed Lowrie hit a tiebreaking two-run double in the seventh, and the A’s beat Texas 3-1 on Monday night, spoiling the Rangers debut of Bartolo Colon.

“At some point in time it’s going to be tough to keep covering four innings of a game,” Oakland manager Bob Melvin said. “I’m glad we have an eight-man bullpen because there are a couple guys not available every day, as there will be tomorrow.”

Triggs allowed four hits — including Joey Gallo’s RBI single in the fifth — struck out seven and walked two.

Ryan Buchter followed Triggs with 1 2/3 innings, and Chris Hatcher (2-0) retired two batters for the win. Blake Treinen got five outs for his first save despite allowing the first two batters to reach in the ninth.

“Our team is built to finish games and we’ve got a lot of good arms in the bullpen that can go multiple innings,” Treinen said. “It’s a nice luxury to have. You win a game 3-1 against an offense that you see all the time, you tip your cap to Triggs, the bullpen doing the work and the offense coming in with some big hits in the seventh.”

Matt Chapman homered for the second time in two days, and Matt Olson and Jonathan Lucroy had two hits apiece for Oakland. The A’s had lost three straight since beating the Angels on opening day.

The Rangers have dropped six consecutive road openers and nine consecutive games at the Coliseum.

“If our guys continue to take the approaches that they’re taking, get on base, continue to swing the bat and find the barrel, some of those hard-hit balls are going to find the grass and we’ll get rolling,” Texas manager Jeff Banister said.

Called up from the minors before the game, Colon allowed seven hits in six innings. The A’s only run off the portly right-hander came on Chapman’s homer leading off the third.

At 44 years, 313 days old, Colon became the oldest player in the majors this season, slipping past Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki, who is four months younger. Last season Suzuki said he wanted to play until he’s 50.

Colon might not stick around that long, but he pitched well enough in his first start of the season.

“Mentally and physically I think have a lot to give,” Colon said. “I felt great throwing strikes. That’s what I do.”

The A’s went ahead to stay in the seventh. Lucroy hit a one-out double off Kevin Jepsen (0-1). Marcus Semien, who struck out twice against Colon, walked with two down and Lowrie greeted Jake Diekman with a towering double off the wall in right field.

Chapman homered off Colon on an 0-2 pitch. Chapman also connected against Japanese two-way star Shohei Ohtani on Sunday.

GIANTS HOME OPENER….

The San Francisco Giants have their home opener this afternoon against the Seattle Mariners. Giants will send opening day starter Ty Blach to the mound. Blach was dominant in his opening day start shutting down the Dodgers in a game the Giants eventually won by a score of 1-0.

Early season anxiety for the Giants as they scored only two runs in four games against the Dodgers, with those runs coming on solo home runs by Joe Panik that led to a pair of 1-0 wins.

WARRIORS IN OKC….

The Golden State Warriors continue to try and heal all while playing out the string of the NBA season. The Warriors still have Steph Curry on the shelf after a knee sprain last week and he is expected to miss the first round of the playoffs. Recently, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson returned from injury and back-up guard Patrick McCaw is still recovering from a nasty fall suffered against the Sacramento Kings over the weekend.

The Warriors are locked into the number two seed in the Western Conference playoffs.

CHICO STATE TRACK & FIELD AND BASEBALL HOME THIS WEEKEND….

The nationally-ranked Chico State men’s and women’s Track & Field teams are hosting the Chico Distance Carnival and Twilight Invitational this weekend. Its the final tune-up before the CCAA Championship. The two-day event  begins on April 6th

The Wildcat baseball team will be home for four games this weekend. The Cats host rival UC San Diego. Rain is expected this weekend, but the series is slated to start on Friday with a 6pm game, our pre-game begins at 5:35pm

Giants Shutout Dodgers on Opening Day

By Chandler Guadagnin

Game one of the season is in the books for both the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers. In an unanticipated Opening Day matchup, Dodgers’ ace, Clayton Kershaw, took on Giants’ youngster, Ty Blach.

Ty Blach got the call on Opening Day, after Madison Bumgarner sustained a broken left pinkie, after being hit by a liner in his last Spring start. Clayton Kershaw, on the other hand, was tabbed for his eighth Opening Day start.

Reminiscent of 2010 contests, this one was a nail biter. Early on for the Giants, it was a story of runners left on base. Through five innings, Kershaw pitched in and out of trouble; stranding a total of six Giants on base; four of which were in scoring position. Ty Blach also struggled with baserunners, stranding six in five frames.

Nevertheless, each team posted goose eggs on the scoreboard over four innings. The Giants would score first, when in the fifth inning on a 2-2 pitch from Kershaw, Joe Panik, smashed the ball, just fair, down the right field line. Kershaw was able to escape the inning without any further damage, but only lasted one more inning. In all, the Dodgers’ ace went 6 innings, surrendering 8 hits, 1 run, two walks and striking out 7.

Ty Blach lasted 5 shutout innings, giving up just 3 hits, while walking 3 and striking out 3.

The Giants’ bullpen, which was a bug-a-boo of the team in 2017, was outstanding. In the remaining four innings of the ballgame, the pen combined for four innings of shutout relief; scattering 3 hits, issuing 2 walks and striking out 7.

In the end, one run was enough for the Giants, who shutout the Dodgers, moving their opening Day record to 6-4, over the last 10 seasons.

The Giants will look for back to back wins tomorrow when they send Johnny Cueto to face off against Alex Wood of the Dodgers. First pitch is scheduled for 7:10PM PT from Dodgers Stadium at Chavez Ravine. You can view the game via CSN Bay Area, or listen on KNBR 680.

Statistics courtesy of www.baseball-reference.com and www.mlb.com

Summing Up Spring Training

By Chandler Guadagnin

Spring Training has come to an end and the Regular Season is right around the corner. So, just how did the Giants do this Spring?

Hitting

As a whole, San Francisco finished the preseason with a record of 15-16-2. On the Spring, the Orange and Black, hit for an average of .296, slugged .496, posted a .360 on-base percentage, smashed 49 home runs, tallied 194 RBIs and stole 30 bases.

In all seven statistical categories mentioned, the Giants ranked 6th or higher in each one. Overall, the Giants ranked first in all of Major League Baseball, at the plate during Spring.

Pitching

On the pitching side of the ball, San Francisco posted a 4.91 ERA, allowing 190 runs, issuing 112 walks, surrendering 41 home runs and amassing 285 strikeouts over 293 innings pitched.

On the mound overall, the Giants ranked 13th out of 30 Big League clubs.

25-Man Roster

Following the Giants 3-0 shutout of the Athletics to close out the spring, The Giants shaved their roster down to 25 in preparation for tomorrow’s season opener against the Dodgers.

The Giants will carry a total of 12 pitchers, 2 catchers, 6 infielders and 5 outfielders. The active roster does not include the four pitchers who are currently on the disabled list. Here is a complete breakdown of the roster:

Pitchers (12):
SP Ty Blach (50)
SP Johnny Cueto (47)
SP Derek Holland (45)
SP Chris Stratton (34)
RP Pierce Johnson (58)
RP Roberto Gomez (67)
RP Sam Dyson (49)
RP Cory Gearrin (26)
RP Josh Osich (61)
RP Hunter Strickland (60)
RP Tony Watson (56)
CP Mark Melancon (41)

Infielders (8)
C Buster Posey (28)
C Nick Hundley (5)
1B Brandon Belt (9)
2B Joe Panik (12)
3B Evan Longoria (10)
SS Brandon Crawford (35)
INF Kelby Tomlinson (37)
INF Pablo Sandoval (48)

Outfielders (5)
LF Hunter Pence (8)
RF Andrew McCutchen (22)
CF Austin Jackson (16)
OF Gregor Blanco (1)
OF Georkys Hernandez (7)

 

Disabled List

There are currently four Giants on the Disabled List, and a fifth that may join them. Coincidentally, the four players on the DL are all pitchers: Madison Bumgarner, Jeff Samardzija, Julian Fernandez and Will Smith.

The possibility of Mark Melancon joining the Disabled List came about after a report that Giants manager, Bruce Bochy, was not willing to commit to the closer’s health status.

Madison Bumgarner was placed on the Disabled List after he sustained a broken left pinkie after being hit by a liner on his pitching hand. He is expected to miss 6-8 weeks.

Jeff Samardzija found his way onto the DL a day prior to Bumgarner, after he strained his right pectoral muscle in a minor league outing. He was reportedly scheduled to play catch on Wednesday.

Julian Fernandez is on the DL because he is a Rule 5 Draftee from the Cubs organization and must stay on the 25-man roster; otherwise, he would have to be offered back to Chicago, per draft rules.

Will Smith was on the DL for the entirety of the 2017 season, as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. He is expected to miss the first month or so of the season as he rehabs.

Catch the Giants first game of the 2018 season on ESPN or listen on KNBR 680, when they visit the Dodgers at 4:08PM PT.  Ty Blach will take the mound for San Francisco. He will be opposed by Los Angeles’ ace, Clayton Kershaw. Log onto kpaysports.com, following the contest, for postgame analysis.

Statistics courtesy of www.foxsports.com and www.mlb.com

Bumgarner Lands on DL with Broken Pinkie

By Chandler Guadagnin

Thursday was dooms day for the Giants. It was a pure Spring Training nightmare. In Friday’s 9-6 loss to the Royals, a sunny Arizona afternoon, became dark.

Not only did the Giants lose their final game in Arizona, the Giants lost their Opening Day starter to boot. On the first pitch of the third inning, a Whit Merrifield liner caught Madison Bumgarner flush on the left hand, causing a deep silence to fall over the ballpark. Not long after the end of the play, Bumgarner marched off of the mound with head trainer, Dave Groeschner. From that point on, the game broadcast was filled with speculation and nervous anticipation.

After the conclusion of the game, San Francisco released the results of the X-Ray, announcing that Bumgarner, does indeed have a broken pinkie.

This Spring Training, Mad Bum tallied a record of 1-2. In 6 Spring games, Bumgarner posted an ERA of 3.43, striking out 30 and surrendering 18 hits over 21 innings pitched.

Bumgarner is expected to miss the first 6 to 8  weeks of the year.  This news will indeed have a trickle down effect on the Giants season.

Derek Holland, who was battling for a spot in the Giants rotation, now finds himself in the middle of it. In addition, Johnny Cueto will likely start on Opening Day against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers.

On top of that news, the Giants announced the time table for Jeff Samardzija’s return from injury. Samardzija, who sustained a right pectoral muscle strain, in a Wednesday minor league start, will miss up to one month of the season.

The Giants find themselves in an uncertain situation, to say the least. However, one thing is for sure, San Francisco’s offseason additions will need to  step up more than expected.

Statistics courtesy of www.mlb.com

Samardzija To Begin Season on DL

By Chandler Guadagnin

Following a Wednesday Minor League start, Giants’ right-handed pitcher Jeff Samardzija, reported shoulder discomfort. Samardzija, who is San Francisco’s projected number three starter, underwent an MRI on Thursday.

The MRI revealed a strained right pectoral muscle. As a result, Samardzija will begin the regular season on the disabled list. The results of the test also shed light on the reason for Samardzija struggles this Spring.

Overall this Spring, Samardzija has appeared in four games. He has tossed eleven innings posting a 10.64 ERA, striking out 7, surrendering 6 home runs and 7 walks.

In his Wednesday start against the Cubs’ minor leaguers, Samardzija went 3 and a third innings. Over the first two innings, Samardzija was great, but collapsed in the last inning and a third. He surrendered two home runs and seven hits.

It is not yet known when he will return to the mound; however, the injury is not as severe as it could have been.

Statistics courtesy of www.mlb.com

Why Spring Training Standings Don’t Matter For Giants

By Chandler Guadagnin

Many people look at Spring Training as a foreboding to the regular season. However, past seasons have proven that it is not always the case. Take for instance the Spring Camps of the San Francisco Giants.

Beginning in 2010, it has been the opposite for San Francisco.

From 2010-2014, the Giants finished above .500 during Spring Training all 5 years. Of those seasons, San Francisco finished the regular season in first place just two out of the five seasons, or 40% of the time. Furthermore, in each of the Giants’ 3 World Championship runs, the Orange and Black compiled a 23-12 record in 2010. They finished in second place behind Cleveland in the Cactus League. In 2012, San Francisco posted a record of 18-15; slotting them into fifth place behind the Athletics, Mariners, Angels and Padres, respectively. Two years later, the Giants finished at 17-12 and in 4th place in back of Cleveland, the Angels and the Mariners, in order. We all know how each one of those seasons ended.

As an added bonus, were a combined 30-26 (.867), against the Dodgers in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

With Thursday night’s loss to the Padres, the Giants dropped to 10 and 10 on the Spring. That record is currently 10th best in the Cactus League.

So, perhaps, I am hopeful that the Giants will not conclude the Spring in first. Because, as recent history shows, Spring Training mediocrity has, for the Giants, led to regular and postseason superiority.

Statistics courtesy of www.mlb.com and www.baseball-reference.com