Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 4, Mets 1


Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 4, Mets 1


SAN FRANCISCO While Hunter Pence viewed America from 35,000 feet, the Giants two most important players got good and grounded with each other once more.

No matter what Giants did at the trade deadline, Tim Lincecum and Buster Posey would remain their essence. Their two franchise stars formed a battery once more and it held plenty of charge, as Lincecum pitched the Giants to a 4-1 victory over the New York Mets on Tuesday night.

Jeremy Affeldt gave the Giants struggling right-handers a rest in the bullpen, throwing two solid innings to pick up the save and ensure the Giants would break their losing streak at five games.

The Giants didnt exactly take advantage of their two bases-loaded, no-out situations in the second and sixth innings; they scored two runs when the Mets botched a double-play grounder and added another when Marco Scutaro bounced into two.

Starting pitching report

Theres no such thing as an all better now start for Lincecum at this stage of the season, but he turned in his third strong outing over a span of four assignments.

Lincecum (5-11) survived some hard contact early to hold the Mets to a run on six hits. He issued just one walk and struck out seven.

More impressive than his linescore was the way he achieved it. Lincecum didnt back down and kept pumping strikes, and he appeared to have much more Timmy-like finish on his pitches. When he wanted to bury a curveball, he did. When he wanted to throw it to the bottom of the zone for strikes, he did. When he wanted to get a ground ball, he got the Mets to swing over the top of his fading change-up.

The Mets scored a run in the second inning when Scott Hairston singled and Justin Turner roped a two-out double. But Lincecum retired 10 of the next 11 hitters and managed to avoid that early pitfall inning that causes his pitch count to runneth over and saps him for the remainder of the game.

His challenge came late this time. Hairston -- of course -- hit a one-out single and Lincecum missed high while walking Mike Baxter. Turner loaded the bases when his chopper barely stayed fair and third baseman Marco Scutaro, perhaps stunned when it wasnt called foul, couldnt beat Hairston to the bag.

Lincecum got a jam-shot liner from Josh Thole that was an eyelash away from turning into a double play. Second baseman Ryan Theriot flipped to shortstop Brandon Crawford, who stepped on the bag at almost the exact instant Baxter slid back to it.

Lincecum reacted with obvious disappointment, but he did not break focus. With the sellout crowd on its feet, the two-time Cy Young Award winner met the moment. First, he executed to get ahead of pinch hitter David Wright, the most threatening presence in a Mets uniform. Wright didnt bite on Lincecums 1-2 change-up, which splashed in the dirt. But Posey kept the pitch in front of him and Lincecums next one was a thing of beauty a humpback curve that appeared to get sucked into Poseys glove as Wright took it for a called third strike.

Lincecum completed seven innings for the third time in four starts. Before that, hed lasted seven innings in just four of his first 18 starts.

Bullpen report

Sergio Romo, who allowed damaging home runs in each of his last two outings, warmed up in the ninth but Bochy didnt go to him. Affeldt retired all six hitters he faced and struck out three of them to continue a sparkling second half.
At the plate

The Giants knew they would have a tough time against right-hander Matt Harvey, who struck out 11 in 5 13 innings while making his major league debut at Arizona last Thursday.

They didnt exactly seize on a scoring opportunity in the second inning, when they loaded the bases with no outs on Poseys single, Marco Scutaros double and a walk to Brandon Belt. Justin Christian, playing because Angel Pagans hand remained too sore, tapped to the mound for a forceout at the plate and Crawford followed with a shrink-wrapped double-play grounder. But Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada threw wildly to first base, allowing the inning to continue as two runs scored.

The Giants had a 2-1 lead gift-wrapped for them, but had trouble adding on.

The double-play grounder was their weapon of choice again in the sixth, after Theriot doubled and Melky Cabrera executed a perfect bunt single that rolled up the third-base line. After Posey walked to load the bases with no outs, a run scored on Scutaros double-play grounder.

The Giants added another run in the eighth in Scutaros two-out single.
Scutaro's turn as the No. 5 hitter was a one-shot deal. Pence arrived at the ballpark in the eighth inning and is expected to make his Giants debut on Wednesday.
In field

Posey took his lumps behind the plate, fouling a ball off his right foot and blocking another with his manly parts. Thats one of the reasons he hadnt caught any of Lincecums previous seven starts.

But the two stars formed a solid pair all night.

The Giants announced 41,774 paid. Those who arrived early had a chance to purchase the rare and limited Hunter Pence No. 2 jersey sure to be worth more someday than a stamp with an upside-down airplane on it. (A special reference for all you philatelists out there.)
Up next

The Giants continue their four-game series with the Mets with a Wednesday night game. Right-hander Matt Cain (10-3, 2.80) opposes left-hander Jonathon Niese (2-5, 4.58.) In case you were curious, Hunter Pence is 3-for-21 (.143) with no extra-base hits in his career against Niese.

Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park


Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have made a habit in recent winters of “kicking the tires,” so to speak, on as many free agents as possible. General manager Bobby Evans is committed to being thorough, but at times there is probably no need. 

Hitters have made no secret of the fact that they prefer friendlier confines, and if you’re a power hitter, you’re going to ask Evans for a significantly larger check to play 81 of your games at the harshest power park in the majors. That’s what makes Giancarlo Stanton, readily available via trade, so intriguing. But would Stanton be fully immune to the realities of AT&T Park?

The numbers, at least in a small sample, suggest he would. Stanton has played 27 games in San Francisco and taken 108 at-bats. He has nine homers, 11 doubles and a triple. His .676 slugging percentage at AT&T Park isn’t far off his mark at Coors Field (.714), and his 1.048 OPS is higher than his OPS during the 2017 season, when he hit 59 homers. 

The damage has been done in limited time, but the Giants clearly believe it’s fully sustainable, and a recent study done by ESPN’s Dan Szymborski backs that up. Szymborski ran his ZiPS projection system to estimate Stanton’s stats over the next 10 years for a variety of suitors. The numbers in orange and black are overwhelming. 

The projections have Stanton at 46.2 WAR over the next 10 seasons, including 7.1 in 2018 and 6.8 in 2019, the two seasons the organization should be focused on given Madison Bumgarner’s contract situation. ZiPS projects Stanton at 46 homers next season if he plays for the Giants, followed by 43, 42, 39, 35 over the following four years. For comparison’s sake, Brandon Belt led the Giants in homers each of the last two seasons and he has 35 total during that span. 

Any sort of projection system needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt, especially with a player who has had injury issues in the past. But ZiPS believes Stanton -- who plays in a huge park already -- is a rarity, the kind of power hitter who can keep crushing well into his 30’s and put up huge numbers even if he is limited by the realities of getting older and getting hurt. Szymborski’s projections have Stanton playing just 102 games in 2025, but he’s still projected to hit 23 homers, 20 doubles and post an OPS+ of 121. Even in the 10th year of the projections, ZiPS has Stanton down for 16 homers. 

There are no sure things in this game, but as Evans continues to chase a blockbuster deal, he can be confident that Stanton is one player who should be able to provide power for years to come, no matter what AT&T Park does to hold hitters down. 

Former A's slugger Gomes offers Ohtani scouting report: 'Big fan of the dude'


Former A's slugger Gomes offers Ohtani scouting report: 'Big fan of the dude'

Former A's left fielder/DH and Bay Area native, Jonny Gomes, last played Major League Baseball in 2015. The next year, Gomes looked to continue his career in Japan with the Rakuten Golden Eagles. 

Gomes struggled in Japan, batting just .169 in 18 games. While in Japan though, Gomes saw firsthand the two-way talent of Shohei Ohtani. 

"The dude throws 100 miles per hour consistently," Gomes said Tuesday to MLB Network Radio. "That plays."

With MLB, the Players Association, and the Nippon Professional Baseball Organization agreeing to a new posting system, Ohtani should soon be available as a free agent to MLB teams. Gomes was adamant that Ohtani will live up to the hype. 

"If you have the arm speed to throw 100 miles per hour, guess what your slider's gonna do -- yikes. And he also has a split, which is yikes with that arm speed. And he also has a changeup, and he also has a curveball. You're talking about five plus, plus, plus pitches.

"If he was in the draft, I think it would be a no-brainer right now that he'd be No. 1 overall," Gomes said. 

Since turning pro as an 18-year-old, Ohtani has been a dominant force on the mound. The 6-foot-3 right-hander owns a 42-15 career record with a 2.52 ERA and 1.076 WHIP. 

What makes Ohtani, 23, so intriguing is that he's not only the best pitcher in Japan, he may be the best hitter too. In 2017, Ohtani hit .332 with eight home runs in 65 games. The left fielder/DH owns a .286/.358/.500 career slash line with 48 home runs. 

"Now hitting wise, is it gonna transfer, is it not? I've seen the dude hit a fly ball that hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome," Gomes remembers. "So, what does that tell you? That bat speed's there, that power's there, that he's generating a lot out front.

"To be able to hit the roof of the Tokyo Dome is way more impressive than hitting any other roof in the states. It would be like hitting the roof in Seattle when it was closed, it's way up there."

Everyone knows about Ohtani off-the-charts talent. The stats are there. What we don't know as much about is his personality. Gomes does and he believes his leadership will make him be a star in the states. 

"I'm a big fan of the dude," Gomes says. "I saw his work ethic, I saw how players treated him, I saw how respectful he was. Over there it's all about seniority. Granted he was the biggest star on the field at any given moment, but still gave the utmost respect to seniority guys on his ball club."