Giants 2020: This Week In Giants 8/30
TUESDAY: 10-8 W vs. LAD (11)
THURSDAY: 7-0 L vs. LAD (7)
THURSDAY: 2-0 L vs. LAD (7)
FRIDAY: 7-4 L at ARI
SATURDAY: 5-2 W at ARI
SUNDAY: 4-1 W at ARI
SEASON RECORD (thru Sunday): 17-19, 4th NLW, 9 GB
The Giants, who entered the week fresh off releasing veteran OF Hunter Pence, let go of P Dereck Rodriguez as well. Rodriguez looked promising as a 2018 rookie but regressed, and had struggled to get any outs at all in limited 2020 action. And as Angels manager Joe Maddon angrily recommended earlier this month, RP Shaun Anderson was demoted to the alternate training site.
Despite the changes—or perhaps because of them—San Francisco ran its winning streak to seven games on Tuesday 8/25 vs. the Dodgers, winning a game it had no business winning. SP Johnny Cueto was visibly struggling to get on track with young C Joey Bart and wound up allowing six runs to LA. But a scorching-hot Brandon Belt kept them in the game with five RBI, and Donovan Solano won it in the 11th with a two-run bomb.
Brandon Belt's last game with five or more RBI: August 17, 2019 at Arizona.
The combination of coming back four times in Tuesday's game and sitting out Wednesday in joint protest with the Dodgers over the Jacob Blake shooting wrecked San Francisco's momentum, and they were shut out in a Thursday 8/27 doubleheader with the Dodgers. Clayton Kershaw threw six exquisite innings in the first game, while seven relievers held the Giants to two hits—both by Belt—in the second game. Note: Per MLB.com, the Giants had not been shut out in a doubleheader since 1943.
SF had Tyler Anderson going at Arizona Friday, the same Tyler Anderson who three-hit the Diamondbacks just last week. This time around, however, the D'Backs adjusted to Anderson's tough changeup and battered him for seven runs in five innings.
If you didn't know before, you found out Friday that Anderson is emotional out there—microphones clearly caught at least two "God DAMNIT"s from the veteran, who also came thisclose to slamming his glove after one lucky D-Backs knock.
The Giants bounced back with consecutive wins over Arizona to finish the week 3-3. They did so despite a troubling six strikeouts from OF Mike Yastrzemski, who was in MVP conversation entering the week but went just 3-for-22 with nine K against LA and 'Zona. Additionally, after doubling in each of his first three games, C Joey Bart has gone ice-cold, as he's faced a steady diet of inside heaters and breaking balls in the dirt. Bart was 1-for-19 with 11 K this week.
On Saturday, 8/29, SP Trevor Cahill was dealing against his old Arizona club when his hip acted up, forcing a 4th-inning removal. It didn't seem terribly serious, according to reports. As mentioned, his team still sealed the win behind two hits each from the Brandons Belt and Crawford; the latter has also been hot (8-for-20 with a homer and excellent D this week).
Cueto was back to form on Sunday 8/30, firing six shutout innings at Arizona before 3B Eduardo Escobar whacked a changeup for a game-tying home run. Cueto wound up going 6.2 innings and receiving no decision, but the Giants broke the tie with a three-run 8th inning capped by 3B Evan Longoria's two-run single. The rally also clinched San Francisco's first road series win of 2020.
Tomorrow marks the 2020 Trade Deadline; we now wait to see if Cueto, SP Kevin Gausman, RP Tony Watson or even Yastrzemski are moved, or if San Francisco turns out to be buyers for a late-season playoff push. Go, Giants!
MLB PITCH (PREDICTIONS, INFO, TRANSACTIONS, COMMENTARY, HIGHLIGHTS)
Indians MGR Terry Francona remains out indefinitely in the wake of health issues.
On 8/24, Angels 1B/DH Albert Pujols passed Alex Rodriguez for third all-time in RBI (we at TSR recognize Babe Ruth's second-place total; a percentage of his 2,214 were obtained before RBI was an official stat.).
On 8/25, SP Lucas Giolito of the White Sox fired a 101-pitch, nine-inning no-hitter at the Pirates. Which, given the 2020 Pirates' talent level, probably shouldn't count. But will.
Due to Blake protests, Tropical Storm Laura and bad general weather, more than a dozen games were postponed this week.
Even with postponements and social unease, MLB still celebrated Jackie Robinson Weekend. In an odd coincidence, actor Chadwick Boseman, who played Robinson in 2013's 42, died of cancer 8/28.
As the aforementioned Trade Deadline approached, several notable players were moved, including IF Tommy LaStella (Angels to Athletics) 1B Mitch Moreland (Red Sox to Padres) and DH/1B Jose Martinez (Rays to Cubs).
On 8/29, after a couple of high-and-tight pitches, the Cubs and Reds had a (relatively) mild on-field disagreement. The benches did empty, in time for much-maligned umpire Angel Hernandez to start throwing out people for no real reason. Hernandez trended (negatively) on Twitter all night...and deservedly so; the guy blows.
Lucas Giolito's no-hitter marked his fourth career complete game, and third shutout.
Earlier that day, Cubs SP Yu Darvish accidentally knocked off his own mitt while throwing a splitter, which was fouled for a strike! If Darvish wasn't already rich, I'd suggest a Lotto purchase.
Also, on 8/29, newly-returned Braves OF Ronald Acuna robbed Phillies OF Bryce Harper twice with great catches, driving the frustrated Harper to slam his helmet down after the second robbery. (I know, I know, how unusual to see Bryce Harper mad.)
Yankees 1B Luke Voit ran his streak of games with a homer to five on 8/26, before it snapped in the nightcap of the day's doubleheader. He would go deep again 8/29 and is in a four-way tie for second in the AL with 12 this season.
The Dodgers (ew) hit 57 home runs in August to set a new major league single-month record. That is all I'm saying about it.
In two cool twists, Cardinals SP Adam Wainwright fired a CG win on his 39th birthday 8/30—which was caught by Yadier Molina, playing his 2,000th career game!
Sources: MLB Network, ESPN, NBC Sports, MLB.com, several television/radio broadcasts and my own personal research