Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 5, Angels 3


Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 5, Angels 3

ANAHEIM Matt Cain was far from perfect Monday night.He allowed the leadoff batter to reach base in each of his five innings. He struggled to locate while lobbing 100 pitches. If he forgot how to work out of the stretch after going 27 up and 27 down in his history-making outing last Wednesday, the Los Angeles Angels gave him plenty of practice.But Cain found a way to make pitches amid a freeway interchange of traffic while surviving just long enough to earn the decision. He became the first Giant since Rick Reuschel in 1989 to win eight consecutive starts as the Giants held on for a 5-3 victory at Angel Stadium.Cain wasnt perfect, but the Giants bullpen was. Shane Loux, Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla combined to retire all 12 batters they faced.Former Giant Jerome Williams, who was chased in the fourth inning, was taken to a hospital during the game because of breathing problems, Angels officials confirmed. His condition wasnt immediately known, but the hospitalization was believed to be a precaution.Starting pitching reportFor the first time all season, Cain (9-2) didnt complete six innings. But he certainly put in a full days labor while stranding seven baserunners.Any thoughts of another no-hitter vanished with the first batter, as ultra-talented rookie Mike Trout whistled a single to end Cains streak at 32 consecutive batters retired. Cain never got close to matching the NL record of 41, set by the Giants Jim Barr in 1972.Trout stole second base, advanced on a deep fly out and scored when right fielder Gregor Blanco made an impressive, running grab of Albert Pujols sacrifice fly.Cain served up a solo homer to Mike Trumbo leading off the second inning but pitched out of a one-out, runners-at-the-corners jam when he got Bobby Wilson to ground sharply into a double play to shortstop Brandon Crawford.Cain faced the same situation in the third after hitting Pujols on the hand with a first-pitch fastball, but he struck out Kendry Morales and got Trumbo to fly out. He couldnt pitch his way completely out of the fourth inning, after the Angels loaded the bases with no outs on a single, a walk and a masterful bunt by Manny Aybar. Wilsons sacrifice fly to the warning track got the Angels within 4-3.But Cain did not surrender the lead. He blocked Trouts hard comebacker with his midsection and recovered to throw to the plate, where Posey made a swipe tag on Maicer Izturis. A walk to Torii Hunter loaded the bases for Pujols, who entered 8 for 14 with two homers against Cain.It was the confrontation of the game. The right-hander missed with two slow, outside sliders, but threw a tighter version of the pitch on the hands and Pujols fouled it into the Angels dugout. Then Cain came back with another drop-in curveball and Pujols grounded into a fielders choice to end the inning.The question was no longer when Cain would give up a hit but whether he would last long enough to win. He issued a leadoff walk in the fifth as Loux warmed up behind him in the bullpen. Then the longest-tenured Giant dug deep, as he usually does. He retired the next three hitters, two on strikeouts, to get his team back in the dugout and qualify for the victory.Bullpen reportLoux worked the Giants first perfect inning of the game, retiring all three hitters in the sixth inning. Romo did the same in the seventh, getting Pujols to ground out while going through the middle of the Angels lineup.After Romo retired Trumbo on a pop fly to start the eighth, Affeldt took care of the next two hitters and Casilla recorded his 19th save in 20 opportunities.At the plateWilliams had good stuff but couldnt always harness it, and the Giants put up a series of smart at-bats to drive him from the game in the fourth inning.Crawfords two-run triple followed walks to Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt in the second inning. After Trumbos solo shot off Cain tied the score, the Giants moved back in front in the third on consecutive singles by Melky Cabrera, Buster Posey and Angel Pagan. Cabrera raced home on an aggressive send by third-base coach Tim Flannery, aware that center fielder Torii Hunters arm isnt what it used to be.The Giants manufactured a run in the fourth when Joaquin Arias singled, stole a base, moved up on Gregor Blancos ground out and scored on Ryan Theriots single.Theriot added another RBI hit in the sixth after Arias doubled and advanced on Blancos sacrifice (which replays showed he beat out).Cabrera ended up with his ninth three-hit game of the season to give him a major league high 98 hits; Theriot also finished with three singles. Belt reached base four times on a double, a hard single and two walks. His on-base percentage is up to .379.In fieldBlancos grab on Pujols in the first inning set the tone for the night. Belt made two nice stabs at first base and Arias played flawlessly while handling several between-hops chances at third.Pujols made the play of the night, when he stretched to snag Blancos liner in the eighth.AttendanceThe Angels announced 41,234 paid. Although the Giants were well represented, stuffed monkeys outnumbered pandas and giraffes by at least a 6-to-1 margin.Up nextThe Giants continue their series at Angel Stadium Tuesday night with a battle of offbeat left-handers. Barry Zito (5-4, 3.61) will face the Angels C.J. Wilson (7-4, 2.30).

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."