Johnny Black

GG better watch out! I’m getting better with the headlines.

What to make of this team?  The Giants lost three of four to the Arizona Diamondbacks to drop their record to 17-23, 8.5 games behind the streaking and surging Dodgers, who just swept the under-achieving Padres. How silly of me! I just wrote that above sentence as if the Giants were realistically in a division race. They are not. They are not even close. There was pretty much nothing but bad news about this weekend in the desert against the Diamondbacks. Every time we think this Giants club is making progress they drop three or four in a row. Chalk it up to major problems with the four (No Alex Wood), Five (Sean Manaea), and now three (Desclafani and his toe) spots in the rotation.

It was not a good Mother’s Day.

Those white caps????!!!! OUCH!


Yesterday’s Game: Giants Limited to Three Hits

Yesterday the Giants lost a pitcher’s duel, 2-1 in a game in which the Diamondbacks starting pitcher, Brandon Pfaddt (yes, that’s his name) was making his third Major League start. He pitched five innings and shut down the Giants, allowing only Michael Conforto’s solo home run in the top of the fourth inning.

The Giants have a history of losing to pitchers just getting to the Big Leagues or hurlers sporting ERAs over 6. It’s just part of their DNA or some kind of curse for the Brian Reynolds trade.

The Giants ended up with three hits in the game. Maybe they ate a few too many burritos or whatever it is they eat in Phoenix, the night before?

After yesterday’s performance Pfaadt lowered his earned run average to 8.59.

You can’t make this stuff up, if you are a Giant fan.

The one bright spot in the whole game was Logan Webb, who is back to his old-self. He pitched beautifully, allowing only one run on three hits and three walks in seven innings. He was able to locate his fastball at various spots in the zone, particularly against left-handed batters. His splitter was very effective and had so much movement that Joey Bart more or less had an easy day behind the plate. Webb worked in his usual quick pace and was in full control. After seven innings he had thrown 98 pitches and Gabe Kapler decided that was enough for Logan, bringing in Tyler Rogers to pitch the bottom of the eighth inning.

It did not go well. Rogers started by walking Christian Walker. Lourdes Gurriel Jr, then followed with a double down the line at third. Blake Sabol, the left fielder at that fateful moment, was shading Gurriel towards left center field, as directed by the Giants coaching staff. It’s what the spray charts said and it’s where he was supposed to be. The problem for the Giants was that Gurriel hooked his double on a belt-high breaking ball just where it needed to be to score the run. Sabol had to run a mile and a quarter just to corral the baseball. Walker, no speedster, scored from first. Sabol made a valiant effort to get to the ball and make a long throw to the third baseman who was the second cut off man, but it was too late.

Ball Game.

Earlier in the game Sabol made a nice running catch:

Saturday’s Game: Piano Man

Where do I begin with this game? It involves piano benches and toes, both of which belong to Anthony Desclafani. Yes, Anthony Desclafani, after pitching five excellent innings and running into trouble in the sixth where he gave up three runs and ruined his shutout, admitted to dealing with an injury:

“I was playing piano with my kid and I was trying to help him off the bench and the thing squared my toe up several weeks ago. The toenail finally just died and it just started affecting me today.”

Shades of Madison Bumgarner’s dirt bike accident

Desclafani would allow only five hits and two walks but those three runs, please the tack-on runs scored off the Giants bullpen corps of Alexander (one run) and Beck (three runs) would put the game away. The Giants recorded seven hits against the nine knocks of the Snakes. But oh, what a different series of hits and pitches they were.

That’s because Arizona starter Zac Gallen, who is putting together a Cy Young season, pitches seven innings and allowed two runs on five hits. He was a bit better than Desclafani and he was able to pitch deeper in the game, presumably because he is a good pitcher and the fact (I am guessing) that he does not play piano. Add those two factors up and you have the difference in the game.

For the Giants, Conforto and Schmitt each had two hits. Flores and Davis each drove in a run.

The Black Monday © Wrap: With One Quarter of the Season Finished, Where Do the Giants Go From Here?

I want to begin my wrap going back to Desclafani’s toe. It’s the kind of injury that could take many weeks, a few months to heal. For a pitcher, there is always the risk of over-compensating and then suffering an arm or shoulder injury in the process. It’s a potential big deal and for the Giants, a season-killer. Hopefully it will be nothing more than a minor nagging injury. At press time it was not clear so we will leave it to the baseball gods.

But this Giants team, as Dr. Lefty mentioned in her Out of Left Field post on Saturday, has many issues. For me, the biggest problem is the lack of depth in the starting rotation. Remember when, at the beginning of the season we all thought that would be a strength for our San Francisco pitchers? I know I did. Well, that was before Manaea and Stripling actually had to pitch in a Giants uniform. Right now their performances are about what I would all a worst case scenario, just pitiful.

Maybe Kyle Harrison will save the day with his inevitable Major League debut. Maybe he won’t.

The Giants have major problems in the outfield too. Blake Sabol is not someone who should be getting more than 200 at bats in a season, if that. He just is not. Nor is he someone who should be learning how to play an outfield position and the catching position IN MAJOR LEAGUE ACTION FOR THE GIANTS!

Casey Schmitt has made a sensational debut and the early returns look like he is the real deal. The problem, again is how the Giants intend to use him. This Zaidi-Kapler regime prioritizes offense over every other aspect of the game and has already made waves suggesting Schmitt might play second base, which means he has to learn, on the fly, as a Major Leaguer! This is just ridiculous. His best spot is at third. With Davis holding that position now, let Schmitt lay at short and give Brandon Crawford time off. Next year, maybe, a trade is made and Davis is gone, opening the way for Schmitt to anchor down the hot corner a la Matt Williams.

There are many deficiencies on this Giants squad. I did not even address the very weak performances of the middle relievers. It’s Monday. You don’t need any more negativity.

If you are the Giants President of everything baseball Giant what do you do? Do you set the team up for selling at the trade deadline and try to haul young prospects? Well, that’s not really an option right now since the Giants, in. my scenario, will not deal their best assets (Webb, Cobb and Estrada) to get a top level Minor League talent. They may, but I doubt it. Anyway, today, young prospects are simply over-valued. The best way to build a team is through drafting and development. There is some optimism for the Giants on that front with their Minor League teams having good season. The question is, how long will it take for those players to bear fruit at the Big League level? What happens to Logan Webb’s and Thairo Estrada’s prime years in the process?