All posts by Mike Baca

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

Wildcats respond after 15 inning loss……

 

Some regular season wins are bigger than others and Saturday’s rain-soaked win over Monterey Bay in Seaside would qualify.

One day after losing a gut-wrenching 15 inning nearly five hour game to the Otters in excruciating fashion, the Wildcats responded with an efficient 8-3 win to even the four game set at a game apiece.

Chico banged out 19 hits and blew the game open with a 5-run 4th inning. Chico State starter Hilario Tovar battled his way through 5 innings holding the potent Otters line-up to 2 earned runs and the Chico bullpen continued their stellar weekend on the coast as Dan Beavers   (3 innings) and Anthony Baleto (one inning) combined for four innings of scoreless relief.

The Chico bullpen has now pitched 15.1 innings in the series and has given up only two earned runs.

Designated hitter Alex DeVito went 5-for-5 and drove in three runs for the Cats who have now banged out 36 hits in the two games of the series.

We learned a lot about the mental toughness of the Wildcats on Saturday. The 15-inning loss could send some teams into a tail-spin, instead the Cats played Saturday’s game in stormy weather with great energy and applied pressure throughout the game.

Chico has held reigning CCAA Player of the Week Jacob Tonascia to a 1-for-10 in the series while Myles Hager is only 1-for-13.  The two teams will play a double-header on Sunday to wrap up what has been a tremendously entertaining series. Game time on Sunday is at 12 noon with the Wildcat pre-game at 11:35am

photo courtesy of http://www.chicowildcats.com

Offseason In Review: San Francisco Giants

By Chandler Guadagnin

With Spring Training underway and pitchers and catchers officially in camp, it’s time to take a look back and analyze the 2017-2018 offseason of the San Francisco Giants. It has been well documented that San Francisco finished 2017 with a record of 64-98. As such, the Giants front office was aggressive. With such a dismal season they had to be. San Francisco began the season in need of a new outfielder, bullpen help, an everyday third baseman and a starting pitcher or two. With so many moves made, it may be hard to keep up, so lets take a look at the Giants offseason in tabular form:

The Giants started the offseason by creating a vacancy in their starting rotation when, on December 16, San Francisco traded Matt Moore to the Texas Rangers for pitchers Sam Wolff and Israel Cruz.

On December 19, the Giants signed back catcher, Nick Hundley on a one year, $2.5M deal.

A day later on December 20, the Giants pulled off their first major trade of the offseason. San Francisco traded Christian Arroyo, Denard Span, Stephen Woods and Matt Krook to the Tampa Bay Rays for the services of 3B Evan Longoria.

The next big acquisition of the winter came on January 15, when the orange and black engineered a trade with the black and gold which sent Kyle Crick and Bryan Reynolds to the Pirates for outfielder Andrew McCutchen.

And just yesterday, the Giants added another former Pirate; signing relief pitcher Tony Watson to a two year contract with a player option for 2020. The deal is reported to be valued between $7-$9 million dollars. This allows the Giants to remain under the Competitive Balance Tax threshold for the upcoming year.

In addition to adding proven Major Leaguers, others remained on board for the upcoming year. These include: right handed starting pitcher Johnny Cueto, staff ace Madison Bumgarner and third baseman Pablo Sandoval. Both Cueto and Sandoval exercised their player options. Bumgarner was brought back via a team option.

In all, the Giants enter camp with four new major league players and seven new minor league contracts signed. However, with so many free agents yet to be signed, the Giants’ pocket book remains open.

Article Sources: www.mlb.com and www.baseballprospectus.com

Giants Sign Former Dodger Tony Watson

By Chandler Guadagnin

The Giants have officially added to their bullpen. San Francisco has added former Pirates and Dodgers relief pitcher Tony Watson on a multiyear deal to sure up the back end of their bullpen.

San Francisco has agreed with the lefty on a 2 year contract, worth $7-$9 million. The pact includes a player option for the 2020 campaign. This is big for the Giants, as it allows them to stay beneath the Luxury Tax threshold and avoid penalties for a third straight year.

Here are Watson’s statistics for the 2017 season, which he split between Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.

Watson is entering his age 33 season.

Statistics courtesy of www.baseball-reference.com

Sobering reality as Wildcat men face final two week sprint……

For some Chico State men’s basketball fans participation in the Division II NCAA men’s basketball tournament is the program’s birthright, but with last Thursday’s loss versus Stanislaus the Wildcats tournament hopes could rest on their final four games.

This week the first of three regional rankings will be released. The rankings determine the teams that will comprise the 64-team field and the NCAA Tournament. For the past six seasons, the unveiling of the rankings were a culmination of three months of stellar play and only reinforced the Wildcats deserved recognition as one of the best basketball teams in the West.

Wednesday will be different…..

When the rankings are unveiled the Wildcats will most likely not see their name in the top-8 meaning they have some work to do to make a 7th straight trip to the NCAA’s. The Wildcats have a very difficult schedule down the stretch, and it couldn’t come at a better time. Chico NEEDS quality on their schedule and with this quality they need wins. The criteria to get into the NCAA Tournament are pretty clear. There are actually sophisticated formulas based on wins, wins against good and bad teams, and your strength of schedule. For the purpose of this column, let’s just simplify it, because int Chico’s case it is simple.

  1. Beat the teams on your schedule
  2. Beat as many good teams as possibly, preferably on the road
  3. Don’t lose to teams under .500
  4. Win games head-to-head against NCAA Tourney teams

While the Wildcats have compiled a 16-6 record, only 15 of those wins actually count when determining post-season consideration. Chico’s win over Simpson College doesn’t count since Simpson is an NAIA school. Of the Wildcats 15 wins only THREE have come against D-II teams with better than .500 records. Chico has lost 5 games to teams that are .500 or better and one to a sub .500 Dominguez Hills team. They don’t have any road wins against teams over .500. San Bernardino is 12-11 and Chico beat them on the road. But, one of their wins is against Vanguard University, which means they are 11-11 in the eyes of the committee. Chico could certainly use the Coyotes finishing over .500.

Yes, the situation for Chico State is serious.

With San Diego and San Marcos coming to town this week its the perfect opportunity for the Wildcats to strengthen a resume that needs some polishing. Next week the Wildcats will play road games against San Francisco State and Sonoma. The Gators are over .500 and  are always tough in The Swamp. Pat Fuscaldo always has his Sonoma club ready for Chico and is a tough get in Rohnert Park. This four-game gauntlet is not Chico’s only chance to jump into the top-8. They still have a life-line in the CCAA Tournament. If Chico were to win the post-season conference tournament they would get the automatic qualifier to the NCAA’s. But, a strong showing over the next two weeks could mean winning the CCAA Tourney isn’t their only hope.

Fans might be asking why is this year different than others ? The Wildcats are tied with San Diego and San Marcos in the CCAA standings, why are those teams in better shape ? Well, San Marcos beat Chico earlier this year by 18 and the Tritons beat Chico by 23 a few nights later. That is why this week’s games are VITAL.

Also, Chico isn’t only competing for NCAA spots with teams from the CCAA but also the Great Northwest Conference (GNAC) and the Pacific West Conference (Pac-West)

In many cases there are teams with similar records but much stronger resume’s and better wins than Chico State. For example St. Martin’s from the GNAC is 16-6 against D-II opponents and has a couple of losses against sub .500 teams but they also have 4 ROAD wins (@CalBaptist, @CWashington, @SPU, @WWU) against teams over .500 three of these will probably be ranked in the first regional ranking. In this case, similar record, but St. Martin’s, at least now, a much stronger resume than Chico State.

The good news for the Wildcat faithful is they have their playoff destiny in their own hands. They can surge into the discussion in a big way with wins this weekend. They can put an end the question with wins over the next two weeks and a run in the CCAA Tournament.

The other bit of good news. This great group has been through the battles. I simply don’t see seniors Jalen McFerren, Isaiah Ellis and Corey Silverstrom, possibly the greatest triumvirate of Wildcats ever assembled at the same time, going out with a whimper. I’ve seen this group win CCAA Titles, a West Regional and dazzle us with some of the most electrifying basketball venerable ole Acker Gym has ever seen.

I expect this Chico State team to play the next four games like their NCAA Tournament lives depend on it, because it does.

 

PHOTO COURTESY of Chico State Athletics http://www.chicowildcats.com

 

Big weekend for Basketball, Baseball and Softball for Chico State

As the Chico State basketball teams enter the home stretch, the Wildcat baseball and softball teams open their 2018 seasons this weekend.

The Chico State Softball team was picked to finish 2nd by the conferences coaches. The Cats are coming off of an impressive 39-18 season where they advanced to their third straight NCAA Championship Tournament. The Wildcats will be trying to do something they have never done and that is advance to four straight NCAA Championships. The season opens in Las Vegas where the Wildcats will play five games in three days.

Feb 2 vs Eastern New Mexico & Academy of Art

Feb 3 vs Azusa Pacific & Western Washington

Feb 4 vs Concordia

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The Chico State Baseball team opens their 2018 season with a three game home series against the Fresno Pacific Sunbirds. Chico is coming off of a record-setting regular season in going a CCAA record 34-4. They captured the regular season and post-season conference tournament titles, only to fall in the West Regional. The Cats were picked by the conference coaches to win their third straight CCAA title.

To do it the Cats will have to replace a ton of offense which made the Wildcat lineup as potent as we’ve seen in years. Chico does return the CCAA Player of the Year Cameron Santos and a stable of power arms that should ease the transition. Head coach Dave Taylor is excited by several of the new faces that will dot the Wildcat lineup that should have the Cats in the mix again.

Chico opens with a double-header on Friday at 12 noon and a single game at 12 noon on Saturday. You can hear the Friday games on the KpaySports app and right here

http://radio.securenetsystems.net/v5/KPAY

at 11:40am on Friday. We are on the app, website and on AM-1290 KPAY on Saturday at 11:40am as well.

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The Chico State Basketball teams are in action this week as well.

The Chico women 10-9 overall and (8-7) in CCAA play look to break a three game losing streak. Whitney Branham is averaging better than 18 points a game and hopes to lead the Cats to more home success on Thursday night against Monterey Bay. Women will tip at 5:30pm with our pre-game at 5:06pm on AM-1290 KPAY. The women host Cal State East Bay on Saturday at 5:30pm

The Chico State men are rolling. After losing three straight games over an eight day stretch from Dec 31-Jan 6th the Cats have won five in a row, including a double-header sweep of  Dominguez Hills and Cal State Los Angeles on the road last weekend.

Chico is 14-5 overall and 11-4 in the CCAA. They host Monterey Bay at 7:30pm on Thursday and East Bay on Saturday