Giants 2019: This Week In Giants 4/28

When the Giants squared off at Pittsburgh back on 4/21, rookie Steven Duggar held down the leadoff spot. He entered the game with a .242 average...at least 15 points higher than everybody else in the lineup. (SF somehow won that day, 3-2, but still.)


Entering this week—brace yourself—San Francisco had accumulated all of 67 runs in 23 games. For the arithmetic-challenged, that's under three runs per night. Kevin Pillar joined the team and about 24 hours later was its RBI leader (that's only a mild exaggeration). Leadoff doubles often serve no purpose other than cardio for the double producer.


Per KNBR, Pablo Sandoval's three-hit game 4/24 was the team's first of 2019, which for the Giants was 24 games old at the time.


THAT is why it felt like San Francisco's bats really busted out this week, scoring 23 runs in five games (with the help of a DH in two of them). That futility is why an average of 4.6 runs—4.57 is the league average—felt like six or seven.
It's the V8 argument; V8 is generally gross, but if you've spent the past month on a diet of expired milk, V8 suddenly isn't so bad, right? Same with the Giants offense—it's been so futile, so porous, that a week of average production feels like a week of All-Star production.


(As tough as it's been for the Giants to score this year, it's been considerably tougher for one team: the Marlins are averaging 2.79 runs per game! What did they do, trade away their top five offensive players in a 16-month stretch or something?)

Thanks to the DH in Toronto, Bruce Bochy was able to (figuratively) milk the hot Sandoval, who hit his first two homers of '19. But there's still been too many poor, unproductive at-bats from the Panda this year; desperate for offense as he may be, Bochy would do wise to resist overexposing him. Sandoval's righty swing, however, is now competent enough to fill in for 1B Brandon Belt against tough lefties without inspiring groans.

Drew Pomeranz' last scoreless start of 6+ IP? September 19, 2017.

  • Though the attempt failed, how fun was it watching Gerardo Parra attempt to steal home on 4/23? Almost as much fun as it was watching him erase the obviously uninformed Teoscar Hernandez trying to stretch a single the next day. Teoscar, you've been in the league over a year now; that's long enough to know you do not run on Gerardo Parra.

  • Let the records show that Derek Holland hit TWO Yankees with pitches on 4/27, but only one, Luke Voit, got a base. Brett Gardner was clipped on the hand with a tight fastball, but the ump ruled it a foul tip strike three. Hey, not complaining, just clarifying. 

  • Drew Pomeranz looked good against the Jays 4/24, especially when he dug deep to record his 18th and final out of the night in the sixth as Toronto made a mild threat. Conversely, Madison Bumgarner's 11 hits allowed vs. the Yankees 4/26 tied a career worst and raised some concern, since most of New York's starting lineup is on the IL.

  • TWO grand slams vs. the Giants in one week? Toronto's Rowdy Tellez smashed one off Tony Watson (which fortunately proved only cosmetic) 4/23, then Gary Sanchez really smashed one off Holland (who'd struck him out the previous two at-bats) 4/27.

  • Hopefully, not many were seeing the Giants for the first time in their finale with the Yankees 4/28, lest anyone think it normal for Dereck Rodriguez and Will Smith to get battered as they did. Or that Brandon Crawford defensive mistakes aren't so uncommon. Or that the Yankees come to Oracle Park often.

  • I should inform you that Hunter Pence had a monster game 4/28 and is now slashing .321/.351/.547 with three HR and 13 RBI in 16 games for Texas.

  • SF enjoyed two off days this week, so obviously there was less action to cover. But I can't leave without officially declaring the first-inning blues OVER! Yes, that's right, Posey's sac fly against the Yankees 4/26 brought the dubious scoreless streak to a close.

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MLB PITCH (Predictions, Info, Transactions, Commentary, Highlights)

 

  • Toronto's Eric Sogard snapped a 313-AB homerless streak by taking Jeff Samardzija—of my GIANTS—deep 4/23. This is akin to your hard-luck buddy losing his virginity to your crush.

  • Your Major League home run leader is, of course, Milwaukee's Christian Yelich, proving last year's breakout to be anything but flukish. His 14 bombs (all but one at home) have tied the record for most entering May...with two more days to go.

  • Ladies and gents, your American League home run leader is...Eddie Rosario? The Twins OF has skillz, but enough to do THIS? He's on pace to wallop around 65 homers, which would break his career high of 27 by a handful.

  • Speaking of prodigous Twins power displays, Minnesota ripped five home runs on successive days at Baltimore 4/26-27. (Nelson Cruz twice, Max Kepler, Rosario and CJ Cron went yard on the 26th, while Kepler twice, Cron, Marwin Gonzalez and Jason Castro flexed the next day—three of them off O's reliever Jimmy Yacabonis in the 8th inning.)
    Note: Baltimore "held" Minnesota to two homers in their 4/28 matchup, which the O's still lost.

  • So beleaguered is the Orioles pitching corps, they've already used three position players to pitch (C Jesus Sucre, 1B Chris Davis, and IF Hanser Alberto). 

In peril here, Rhys Hoskins got the last laugh vs. the Mets.

  • Get in your fighting stances! Sean Rodriguez is back in the league, offering depth to Philadelphia with Jean Segura's recent health issues (Segura was beaned for the third time on 4/27, this time by Trevor Williams. The veteran IF, who was also beaned in 2015 and 2016, was fresh off the IL that very day.)

  • With Philadelphia's Zach Eflin going the distance vs. the Marlins 4/28, there have now been five total CG in MLB this year: Colorado Rockie German Marquez's shutout of my Giants, Texas Ranger Mike Minor's shutout of the Angels, and a rain-shortened dual CG from Holland and Pittsburgh's Jameson Taillon.

  • The Yankees, despite missing most of their starting lineup, have won 10 of their past 12 nonetheless; their arms are keeping them afloat (3.86 ERA, 5th-best in the AL). Domingo German has excelled, already boasting five wins, and DJ Lemahieu—after beginning the week 0-for-9—went on a 9-for-19 tear before knee inflammation struck.

  • Bryce Harper, no longer ripping the cover off the ball for Philly, was thrown out of yet another game (sticking up for a teammate this time, but still). Since Harper entered MLB in 2012, only one other player has been tossed more (Cincinnati's Matt Kemp).

  • From MLB.com: the Mets are the first team since at least 1908 to have three pitchers homer in the first 25 games of the season (Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Wheeler, whose 4/23 bomb off Eflin was his first career.)

  • That trio's longtime batterymate Travis d'Arnaud was designated for assignment by the Mets as this article was about to post; the seven-year veteran was batting .087 in his comeback from UCL surgery.

  • Young Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. finally debuted for Toronto, going 3-for-12 in their weekend series with Oakland and generally behaving like a 10-year veteran. Which I don't mean as a compliment.

  • You may have spotted the headline "Pirates Pitcher Collapses To Ground WIth Heartbreaking Injury" on about 50 different websites 4/22. Just know that Nick Burdi's injury turned out to be a strained biceps tendon—noteworthy, yes, but not career-threatening as Burdi so obviously feared.

  • The term "plagued by injuries" doesn't apply to too many guys more than Toronto's Matt Shoemaker. Let go over the winter by the Angels in the wake of numerous injury problems, Shoemaker joined Toronto and began 2019 on fire (1.57 ERA). But on 4/21, he got involved in a rundown vs. Oakland, and managed to tear his ACL. Now THAT'S a heartbreaking injury.

  • Go, Giants, f--- the Dodgers.

Sources: MLB Network, ESPN, NBC Sports, MLB.com, several television/radio broadcasts and my own personal research