Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 5, Pirates 0


Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 5, Pirates 0


SAN FRANCISCO The way Matt Cain dominated in the Giants 5-0 home-opening victory Friday, you could say he was worth his weight in gold.

But youd be underselling him. Gold is valued at 1,650 an ounce and Cain is a country-strong 230 pounds. Thats only a shade over 6 million in bullion.

The Giants gave him roughly 18 times that amount when they locked up Cain t a five-year, 112.5 million extension. And there was no buyers remorse on what turned into a splendid, celebratory afternoon of baseball on the shores of McCovey Cove.

Cain threw a one-hitter for his fifth career shutout, he struck out 11 and was one ground-ball squeaker from accomplishing so much more.

Cain retired the first 17 Pittsburgh Pirates in order before pitcher James McDonald broke up his perfect game with two outs in the sixth inning. After McDonalds single snuck through the left side, Cain went right back to work from the stretch, retiring the next 10 hitters.

Buster Posey hit an RBI double off the wall in his first at-bat at AT&T Park since the terrible home-plate collision on May 25, and with Cain as unyielding as ever, the Giants fashioned their first winning streak of the season.

The Giants have two shutouts from their rotation in just seven games. No other major league team has so much as one.

Starting pitching report
Cain spotted his darting fastball for plenty of swings and misses but it was his changeup that had the Pirates really flailing in the box. In the first six innings, Cain generated a staggering 17 swing-throughs: on eight fastballs, eight changeups and one slider.

He started to mix his curveball the third time through the order, keeping the Pirates off balance.

He stayed sharp to the end -- unlike his season debut at Arizona, when Cain gave back five runs of a 6-0 lead in an eventual loss to the Diamondbacks. The 85th consecutive sellout crowd at AT&T Park came to its feet even before Cains third-strike slider froze Pedro Alvarez to end the eighth inning. The fans gave him a rousing cheer as he walked off the mound.

He threw 73 of 106 pitches for strikes and needed just 10 to retire the Pirates on a fly out and two grounders in the ninth. Alex Presley hit a roller to shortstop Brandon Crawford to end it.

Bullpen report
Guillermo Mota put on a uniform and everything, too.

At the plate
Posey was the star once again with his double, which followed an emotional, standing ovation as he dug into the box. But he wasnt the Giants only spear carrier.

Melky Cabrera has hit safely in all seven games as a Giant, and has multiple hits in five of them; he singled twice and scored from first base on Poseys double. Aubrey Huff followed with a single as Posey scored from second base on an aggressive send from coach Tim Flannery.

The Giants made it 3-0 when Pablo Sandoval doubled and scored on Nate Schierholtzs lawn-dart single in the sixth. Then in the eighth, Huff was able to loft a ball into the breeze, which was carrying out to right field for a change. His two-run shot scored Cabrera, who had singled in front of him.

The Giants are simply a better fastball-hitting team than a year ago, when they fielded a lineup of plodding, ground-ball machines. In the first four innings against McDonald, they made 10 outs in the air some on deep drives and none on the ground.
In the field
Shortstop Brandon Crawford momentarily protected Cains perfect game when he made a barehanded scoop and throw on Andrew McCutchens dribbler in the fourth. McCutchen is not slow, by the way.

The Giants announced 41,138. A sellout, and a happy bunch. Except for those 17 Pirates fans.

Up next
The Giants continue their series against Pittsburgh by sending Barry Zito (1-0, 0.00) to the mound. The left-hander is coming off a four-hit shutout at Colorado his first shutout since April 18, 2003 as a member of the Oakland As. The Pirates plan to activate right-hander Charlie Morton from the disabled list to oppose Zito. Morton had been sidelined because of offseason hip surgery.

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

MiLB/Sacramento River Cats

Good news, bad news for Chris Shaw's first week in the Arizona Fall League

Every time the Journey song “Lights” plays throughout AT&T Park, the lyrics When the lights go down in the City ring too true for the Giants’ offense. There’s a power outage in San Francisco. 

The savior to this issue can soon be prospect Chris Shaw, who turns 24 years old on Oct. 20. Shaw, along with five other Giants prospects, is continuing his 2017 season among a multitude of baseball’s best young up-and-comers in the Arizona Fall League. As he takes the field for the Scottsdale Scorpions, Shaw’s bat is far from the top focus for the Giants. 

After playing right and left field at Boston College, the Giants turned Shaw into a first baseman once they selected the 6-foot-4, 235-pound lefty in 2015. This year, the Giants’ front office decided to make a change. As the big league team continued to look for their own answers, Shaw saw himself in left field in 94 of the 125 games he played between Double-A and Triple-A this season. 

“I saw improvements through the course of the year,” Brian Sabean said about Shaw’s outfield defense on The Giants Insider Podcast. “The problem is playing left field in our left field isn’t necessarily the easiest thing to do.” 

The AFL is all about reps in left field for Shaw as the Giants have already said he will get a long look in spring training. He earned that right after a breakout year at the plate.

One week into the AFL though, Shaw’s bat is way behind. Through four games, Shaw is batting a pedestrian .133 (2-for-15), both hits being singles. But even in such a slow start there are positives. 

Shaw has walked three times to only two strikeouts. His only downfall at the plate once he reached Triple-A Sacramento was his on-base percentage fell from .390 in Double-A to .328 at the higher level. With the River Cats, Shaw struck out 106 times, leading the team, while taking his base 20 times.

One week in the desert, Shaw is showing more patience and putting the ball into play more often. The ball simply isn’t finding grass.

In the outfield, every ball Shaw sees -- practice or game -- during the AFL is a step in the right direction for he and the Giants. He is yet to make an error in his short time at the AFL. The big lefty will never be a guy to make the spectacular play, but if he improves his instincts with the glove and improves his eye at the plate, the Giants can finally have their left fielder of the future. 

Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster


Former Giants infielder replaces Dodgers' star shortstop on NLCS roster

LOS ANGELES — Shortstop Corey Seager has been left off the Los Angeles Dodgers' roster for the NL Championship Series against the Chicago Cubs.

The Dodgers announced Seager's surprise omission due to a back injury on Saturday, several hours before Game 1 at Dodger Stadium.

Los Angeles also dropped reliever Pedro Baez from its roster. Infielder Charlie Culberson and outfielder Joc Pederson were added.

Chicago made only one change from the last playoff round, adding reliever Hector Rondon and removing reliever Justin Wilson.

Seager complained of back soreness during the Dodgers' NL Division Series clincher in Arizona on Monday, and 2016 NL Rookie of the Year didn't participate in team workouts this week. Still, manager Dave Roberts said Friday that he was very optimistic that Seager would play in the NLCS.

Seager was an All-Star selection this season while batting .295 with 22 homers and 77 RBIs as a key part of the top of the Dodgers' lineup.

Kike Hernandez, Chris Taylor and Culberson all worked out at shortstop Friday for the Dodgers. The versatile Taylor was the Dodgers' center fielder during the NLDS, but he made 96 appearances in the outfield this season and 44 in the infield, including 14 games at shortstop.

Pederson is batting .071 with no homers since July, but the Dodgers could need him in center field if Taylor plays shortstop.

Culberson famously homered to clinch the Dodgers' NL West title in announcer Vin Scully's final home game last season, but the infielder spent most of this season at Triple-A, appearing in only 14 games for the Dodgers.

Rondon was the Cubs' closer in 2014 and 2015, but moved to a setup role last season after Aroldis Chapman's arrival. He appeared in 61 regular-season games this year, going 4-1 with a 4.24 ERA in an up-and-down campaign.

Chicago acquired Wilson in a trade with Detroit on July 31, adding a veteran left-handed reliever who had 13 saves for the Tigers this season. The Southern California native wasn't great in his two months with the Cubs, posting a 5.09 ERA with 19 walks in 23 appearances.

Manager Joe Maddon chose Wilson for the NLDS over Rondon, only to switch it up against the Dodgers.