Greek Giant

The Lumber Comes Alive

Ahhh Spring time in the Arizona desert where the wild flowers and cacti bloom rich and lurid colors and Wilmer Flores (aka Wilmer “Flower Power”) goes BOOOM! Wilmer Flores hit a grand slam in the top of the third inning during a six-run frame for the Giants as the San Franciscans ended their six-game losing streak in grand fashion with a 9-3 victory in Phoenix over the DBacks. Flores would drive in five runs on the night and see his RBI total increase by 25% in one game (from 14-19). It has not been a good year for Wilmer with LaMonte Wade’s emergence as a more-or-less everyday first baseman and the arrival of Matt Chapman. Flores has seen much less playing time and fewer at bats than in years past and it has affected his production noticeably.

This was a strange game with an absurd amount of baserunners for both teams. The score could easily have been 18-6. There were 39 baserunners for both sides combined a nine inning game. There were 28 runners left on base for the game, combined. That’s crazy! The Giants recorded 14 hits and broke out of their team slump that saw them score a measly 18 runs in that six-game losing streak.

“The entire game felt like it was frustrating for both sides. We did some good things offensively, made some good defensive plays and the bullpen did a great job.”

Bob Melvin

Heliot Ramos started the Giants scoring with a booooooming two-run home run over the center field wall in the top of third. That gave the Giants a 2-1 lead after the DBacks scored in the bottom of the first.  Ramos went 2-2 with four walks and is playing stellar defense in left field where he made a beautiful running catch on a slicing liner by Corbin Carrol. Don’t look now but Ramos is the Giants’ best player and is hopefully hear to stay. He is a very bright spot in a very up and down, so-so season full of disappointing play by the big free agents and veterans. In fact Ramos reached base six times in a nine-inning game for only the 13th time in Giants’s history. LaMonte Wade Jr. Did it once last season. It’s quite a feat!

Speaking of struggling free agents, Jordan Montgomery has been practically perfectly awful for the Diamondbacks after signing a big contract this year. Last night he was the starter and gave up six runs in less than three innngs of work and the Arizona announcers were not very nice in their appraisal of his performance. Neither were the hometown face. So it turns out the Giants are not the only team with big-time disappoints in their free agent acquisitions at this point of the year. It seems to be a pattern, particularly with pitchers; Big free agents struggle in their first years with new teams. Maybe it’s psychological? Maybe it’s the clubhouse food?

Speaking of disappointing free agent signings and veterans  for the Giants Jorge Soler hit a long solo homer in the top of the eighth inning to extend the Giants lead a bit more. It has become clear that Soler is who we thought he was: an all-or-nothing type of hitter with tremendous power but whose downfall seems to be his strikeouts and his penchant for leaving runners on base. In other words, even by that profile he is struggling this season and hopefully that homer will be the sign of good things to come.

Thairo Estrada had a big game as well going 3-6 and driving in a run. He just missed a homer with a double off the top of the wall in left center in the top of the ninth inning that scored a run.

Evidently Bob Melvin blew his cool and laid into the team after Tuesday night’s horrible game. Maybe it worked?

Jordan Hicks Loses a Win

Jordan Hicks started and seemed destined for a sure win but ran into trouble and out of gas in the bottom of the fourth inning with two outs and the bases loaded. Bob Melvin wisely chose to yank him in favor of Sean Hjelle who pitched out of the inning after the Arizona team had scored a run to make it a 6-2 game. It’s a shame about Hicks. At that point, in only 3 2/3 innings he already thrown 92 pitches. That’s also an absurd amount. There appears to be a troubling trend among Giants starters: They are incredibly inefficient, throwing far too many pitches per inning. The staff needs to examine what in the name of Tim Lincecum is going on. It’s simply crazy to see pitchers struggle with their command, unable to retire hitters when they are ahead in the count and walk so many batters. Last night Hicks walked four DBacks and allowed six hits in his 3 2/3 innings of work. Were it not for the seven strikeouts this would have been a very different game.

The Bullpen Saves the Day

A game ball needs to go to the bullpen for this win. After Hicks’s abbreviated start, the law firm of Hjelle, Miller, Walker, Tyler Rogers and Rodriguez secured the win and allowed only one run in 6 1/3 innings. It was a team win from the pitching point of view.

The Pederson K and HBP

If you want to laugh, like I mean, really laugh as I did, then watch Joc Pederson’s at bat in the bottom of the ninth inning when he strikes out on a slider that ends up hitting him in the thigh. I have never seen that before but the sight of Joc striking out is a familiar one. That he also was nailed by the pitch is downright comical. Talk about insult to injury!

The Highlights

Soler’s Blast:

Flores’s Grand Slam:

Ramos Goes Deep!:

Matos Sent Down to Sacramento

Austin Slater returned to the line up after a stint on the IL. To make room for his roster spot the Giants sent Luis Matos down to Sacramento. Matos was the Giants player of the Week on May 19 so this is a bit of a heartbreaker for the young player. In fact, I have already done some online research about this roster move and I can tell you that at least 80% of the commentary I read thinks it’s a mistake and that Slater is expendable. I agree and we shall see what the future holds for Matos. At this point in Slater’s career we know what his ceiling is as a player. It’s much lower than Matos’s. It may be time for the Giants to commit to the youth movement and deal or DFA Austin in favor of Luis. It’s what I would do.