Johnny Black

How sweep it is indeed!

I am just so giddy after the Giants three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Dodgers that I don’t know where to begin. What a historic weekend it was. I picked the right time to get back to the Weekend Wraps after a week of business-related travels that kept me away from my computer and Giants games.

In his series preview on Friday, GG wrote some interesting factoids that alluded to some weaknesses in the Dodger team:

“Injuries have been their (Dodgers) bugaboo this year and they have pitching issues. But they are the Dodgers so they just continue to churn out star flamethrowers. The latest rookie phenom is Bobby Miller. At 3-0 with an ERA of .78, he is having a better Major League debut than even Fernando Valenzuela had, so far. He is scheduled to be the starter on Saturday night.”

Where do I start? How about with the numbers!

(Sorry Lefty, yes, that’s bad punctuation but I’m just sooooooo excited…..!!!!)

  • The Giants three-game sweep of the Dodgers in Los Angeles was their first since August 20-22 of 2012
  • The Giants scored 7 runs off Tony Gonsolin, a career-high for him
  • Entering the game Gonsolin had a league-leading ERA of 1.98
  • The Giants out-scored the Dodgers 29-8 in the series
  • Saturday’s 15-0 win was the biggest margin for a shutout win for the Giants ever against the Dodgers
  • That same 15-0 win was the worst shutout loss ever suffered by the Bums in FRANCHISE HISTORY
  • The Giants passed the Dodgers in the standings and are in second place, 3.5 games behind the Diamondbacks
  • The Giants have won 7 games in a row
  • The 6-0 road trip was only the fifth such result in franchise history
  • Since May 15, the Giants have won 22 of 31 games (.710), the best winning percentage in the Majors in that span

Yesterday’s Game

Yesterday’s 7-3 win was a fascinating game for me. I always love watching Logan Webb pitch and by the second or third batter I could tell he was not at his best. My hunches were proven right as the game wore on. Webb would hit a batter, allow eight hits and two walks in seven innings while giving up three runs. He was pitching in traffic from the get-go. But here’s the key, like a solid ace, he was able to get out of jams unharmed or minimize the damage. This was the case in the first inning when after two outs the Dodgers loaded the bases. It was white knuckle time as I was dreaming of that glorious sweep of them bums… but up came James Outman, a dangerous hitter and down he went, on strikes! Disaster averted. My dreams and yours, of a sweep still alive.

Webb favored his slider all game and used his sinker to great effect as well. It seems he did not trust or have a feel for his fastball. By my count, out of his 103 pitches and seven innings of work, no more than 6-7 were fastballs. I think at times Webb was getting predictable with his location (always down and away to righties) but the results were good enough and the Giant ace was able to hold Freddie Freeman and Mookie Betts to a combined 1-10. That may have been the key to the game, from the pitching perspective. That gritty effort and many others in other innings meant Webb would get his sixth win of the season and approach 100 innings pitch.

For the runs, well, The Giants were able scratch and claw their way to gritty leads, first 2-0 then after the Dodgers scored a run in the bottom of the fourth, a 4-1 lead, and then finally a 7-2 lead after the Dodgers answered two giants runs with another run in the bottom of the fifth.

GRITTy! That’s the way I define this win for our favorite ballclub!

For my money the big hit was Luis Matos’s two-run double, the first extra base hit and RBIs of his career. It took place in the top of the sixth inning in a 3-2 game. It came on a 3-2 count and an at bat in which Matos showed superlative patience and maturity. The key pitch from Gonsolin was a curveball that Matos waited on just enough and smashed just inside the left field line.

The Giants got on the board first with a manufactured run without a hit. In the top of the fourth inning LaMonte Wade Jr. worked a walk and then advanced when Joc Pederson was hit by a pitch. Thairo Estrada then flied out to deep right allowing Wade to advance to third. He scored when Michael Conforto hit a fly ball in foul territory just inside the wall down the left field line. Dodger left fielder David Peralta made a nice running catch. But Wade was able to tag and score on the play. Just like that 1-0 Giants without even a hit. On the play Joc Pederson advanced to second base. That was a key bit of base running…

At the time of Conforto’s sac fly the count was 0-2 and I wondered if Tony Gonsolin would have preferred that Peralta let the ball go so he could try to strike out Conforto. We will never know.

The Giants then added on with their first hit of the game: a line drive single to right by Yaz that scored Joc from second on a very close play at the plate from the throw by Jasen Heyward. If Will Smith fields the ball cleanly he tags Pederson out. He did not and the Giants led 2-0.

The Giants added a run on a Wade ground out to make the game 3-1 in the fifth. In the top of the sixth the Giants put the game away with four runs, two from the Matos double, one from a Sabol single and one from a Wade single.

Luke Jackson pitched a scoreless eight inning. Scott Alexander allowed on run in his one third of inning of work. He left the game because he aggravated his bad hamstring covering first base on a play.

The game was not decided until Camilo Doval retired J. D. Martinez with the bases loaded on a fly to right. We all breathed a sigh of relief and that blue blood Dodger stadium fans went home quietly and in shock, I am sure.

Sweep complete!

Saturday’s Game

The Giants won 15-0 on Saturday night! That’s all you need to know!!! Alex Wood came back from the IL and out-dueled Bobby Miller to get the win in his five shutout innings of work. The Dodger rookie phenom who was pretty much un-hittable and un-scoreable in his young MLB career until this game.

J. D. Davis hit a grand slam!

Tristan Beck earned a rare four inning save. Yes, they are rare but with Wood pitching Gabe Kapler played it safe and smart. Beck has some serious tools. He looks like a keeper. In pitching four innings it meant the Giants bullpen got another breather.

The Injuries Mount

The Giants are suffering injuries. It’s the downside to this weekend. Yesterday Scott Alexander was removed from the game, as I mentioned. I did not previously mention that Casey Schmitt was hammered with an errant fastball on the inside of his right forearm in an at bat. He was in tremendous pain and removed from the game. Thankfully X-Rays were negative and he is day to day. The Giants place Alex Cobb on the 10-day IL with an oblique strain. That’s not good but Gabe Kapler said Cobb may only miss two starts. J. D. Davis is still very gimpy with his ankle. Wilmer Flores went on the IL after that mean foul ball off his foot (on the next pitch he hit a home run). Finally, John Brebbia went on the iL with a Lat strain which sounds suspiciously like a phantom injury to give him rest and call up a fresh reliever, which the Giants did in Keaton Winn. Welcome back Keaton!

The Wrap

I don’t recall a happier Weekend Wrap, to be honest. Sweeps of the Dodgers in their park are rare for any team, let alone the Giants. The seven game winning streak is nice. So is the movement up the standings. If I have one quibble it’s the use of relievers for starting 40% of the games in the rotation. Even though I don’t like them the Giants have won more of those than they lost. It’s working for now as a stop-gap measure so I won’t make a big deal out of it and I will trust that Kapler and Zaidi know how to rest their relievers and rotate them to keep them fresh, avoid the un-necessary warm-ups during games in which they do not make an appearance, and keep a mix of young and veteran arms going between SF and Sacto. See Keaton Winn/John Brebbia above.

Go Giants!

Johnny Black out!