Giants 2019: This Week In Giants 5/19
Monday, 5/13 - idle
Tuesday, 5/14 - 7-3 loss vs. Toronto
Wednesday, 5/15 - 4-3 win vs. Toronto
Thursday, 5/16 - idle
Friday, 5/17 - 7-0 loss at Arizona
Saturday, 5/18 - 8-5 win at Arizona
Sunday, 5/19 - 3-2 win at Arizona (10 innings)
San Francisco Giants: Week 9 opened poorly..literally.
Desperate for anybody to back up Madison Bumgarner in the starting rotation, the Giants demoted two members (Derek Holland to the bullpen, Dereck Rodriguez to AAA) over the weekend, and placed another, Drew Pomeranz, on the IL. Personally, I'd have given Holland one more start since he'd missed time and his loss to Colorado could have been exacerbated by rust. But—are you sitting down?—I have next-to-no power in the Giants organization.
That left three rotation holes, and on Tuesday RP Nick Vincent filled one as an opener. You know, the dumb start-a-reliever trend that won't go away since it worked well for the 2018 Tampa Bay Rays and somewhat well for the 2018 Oakland A's. Vincent had opened at least one other game in his career, in 2018, but two innings hardly equals familiar and what better time to take a guy out of his long-established comfort zone than against a major league lineup with minimal notice.
Toronto held a 3-0 lead before an inning was complete, 3B Vlad Guerrero Jr. bashed his first two MLB home runs off two other Giants pitchers, and the Jays cruised to a 7-3 win behind Trent Thornton. Pablo Sandoval accounted for two of the runs by going yard for the third time in his past seven games. I cannot PROVE flames emitted from his lumber, but it's hard to argue otherwise the way the man's been hitting—he added taters on Saturday and Sunday at Arizona (the latter a PH game-winner in extras).
For the first time in 214 lifetime starts, Giants SP Jeff Samardzija did not record a strikeout in his May 17 start at Arizona. He still pitched well.
P Tyler Beede was one of 17 relievers used behind Vincent, and once again his stuff crackled (5 K in 2.1 IP). Yet, he put seven dudes on base in those 2.1 innings, so there's still work to be done putting hitters away. But another rook with good stuff, Shaun Anderson, actually got outs and battled through five innings in his 5/15 MLB debut going up against record-setting Blue Jay Edwin Jackson (14th team pitched for).
On Friday, SP Jeff Samardzija threw better than his final line might indicate, but he got Farhaned and was pulled with only 68 pitches thrown in the 6th inning—just in time for Holland to absorb a beating en route to a one-sided loss. (Speaking of Farhan, who caught 2B Joe Panik playing as the fourth outfielder this past week?)
Is the catching situation finally settled? Last week, Stephen Vogt was called up as a third catcher, shortly before Buster Posey was concussed and IL'd. Come this week, Erik Kratz was quickly cut, and last year's pleasant surprise Aramis Garcia rejoined the roster (and homered again).
Now Posey's back off the IL (swinging a hot bat) and Garcia's back in AAA; if Vogt continues to produce as he has—and gets enough run—he'll be in the Comeback Player Of The Year conversation.
OF Mac Williamson isn't looking too good at-bat. Some of the pitches he's chasing, he almost resembles a pitcher at the dish. He cannot afford to stay cold long—Farhan has already established a very quick hook on struggling outfielders, and Williamson has already been D4A'd once this year. You'll remember Mac was on the rise before the bullpen crash of 2018, and it'd be a shame if he couldn't rediscover that groove.
SS Brandon Crawford is finally busting his slump, presumably without the help of an unattractive groupie. Cold all year, the veteran has been driving balls to LF and LCF with little luck, except for a game-deciding home run vs. Toronto Wednesday. He also tripled home a run on Saturday in support of Bumgarner, whose fine outing at Arizona produced his third win of 2019, and literally saved a game by diving to rob Arizona's Adam Jones of a walk-off single Sunday.
San Francisco has already used 38 players in 2019, including 11 outfielders (not counting Panik).
MLB PITCH (PREDICTIONS, INFO, TRANSACTIONS, COMMENTARY, HIGHLIGHTS)
⦁ Guerrero didn't leave his power in San Francisco, closing the week with four total home runs.
⦁ Phillies SP Zach Eflin entered the week fresh off shutting out the Royals—his unicorn-esque second CG in three starts—but Milwaukee quickly extinguished any hopes for a repeat in their blowout win Thursday.
⦁ Good Philly news: OF Bryce Harper bashed a 466-foot HR out of Citizens Bank Park on 5/18, while Angels OF Mike Trout ripped one 473 feet that same day, #250 of his great career.
⦁ Dodgers (boo) OF Cody Bellinger continues to top the NL in just about everything except home runs, which Milwaukee's Christian Yelich holds claim to (narrowly). Since he's a Dodger and sucks deep down, expect Bellinger to taper off any day now.
⦁ Dodgers (boo) SP Hyun-Jin Ryu entered the week on a 24-inning shutout streak, having nearly no-hit the Nationals the previous weekend. He closed it on a 31-inning shutout streak, having blanked the Reds for seven innings Sunday. Though Ryu lowered his league-best ERA to 1.52, he's still a Dodger, meaning it's all a fluke.
In nine games this season, Jonny Venters has a 17.36 ERA and 3.64 WHIP.
⦁ You probably heard Ryu's sometimes-rotation mate Julio Urias (the one with the silly goggles) landed in hot water from MLB for alleged DV. As much as I hate the Dodgers, this isn't a headline I enjoyed reading.
⦁ A's SP Mike Fiers backed up his no-hit, 134-pitch start with a five-inning, 85-pitch no-decision in an eventual loss to Seattle.
⦁ Houston's Justin Verlander continues to sparkle, ending the week 7-1, 2.38 in 10 GS. Did we mention the man is 36?
⦁ Atlanta cut Jonny Venters, who'd starred for them in the early '10's and won the Comeback Player Of The Year Award just last season. Strangely, they replaced him with Jerry Blevins, who they'd also cut the previous week! Look for Venters back on the Braves roster by June, or whenever Blevins hiccups.
⦁ Ouch! Some key players to visit the IL this week: Miguel Andujar of the Yankees (his troublesome rotator cuff needs season-ending surgery) Carlos Rodon and Nate Jones of the White Sox (UCL surgery and flexor surgery, respectively—neither will return in 2019) and Michael Conforto of the Mets (accidentally cracked in the head by teammate Robinson Cano—who had his own troubles during the week—pursuing a popup).
⦁ Seattle's Felix Hernandez (who is still inexplicably referred to as King Felix even as his game continues to erode) will miss up to six weeks with a lat strain, which is the best way he can help his club in the year 2019.
⦁ On Tuesday, Boston's Chris Sale whiffed 17 Rockies in seven innings...only to be pulled. Sale is on a short list of active dudes I feel capable of matching Roger Clemens' 20-K record, but he'll have to settle for setting a seven-inning K record. (BTW, despite striking out 24 total times, Colorado won in 11 innings.)
⦁ Complete Game Watch: add Toronto SP Ryan Feierabend to the list with his four-inning, rain-shortened effort at the White Sox over the weekend. Additionally, Miami's Sandy Alcantara went the distance in beating the beleaguered Mets, while Cleveland's Shane Bieber shut out Baltimore on five hits.
That adds up to 15 total CG in MLB this year, although four have been five or fewer innings. (Cubs SP Kyle Hendricks, who owns one of the "true" 11 CG, also pitched into the 9th at Cincinnati Tuesday before being pulled.)
Sources: MLB Network, ESPN, NBC Sports, MLB.com, several television/radio broadcasts and my own personal research