Giants

Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 8, Dodgers 4

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Giants 8, Dodgers 4

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LOS ANGELES The Giants jetted away on their road trip to Petco Park and Dodger Stadium still in shock over the season-long suspension of Melky Cabrera. They responded by winning both series.But they had to muddle through Wednesday night without Buster Posey, too.No matter. The Giants finished a statement trip with the appropriate punctuation in their archrivals den, as Angel Pagan, Marco Scutaro and Joaquin Arias went from supplemental to starring roles in an 8-4 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.The Giants entered Chavez Ravine on Friday as a second-place club in the NL West. They departed in first place, with a 2 -game lead over their archrivals.BAGGS' INSTANT REPLAY: Game 1 Game 2
Matt Cain picked up the baton and fired seven strong innings to finish the Giants first three-game sweep at Dodger Stadium since April 24-26, 2007.How long ago was that? Well, Matt Morris, Noah Lowry and Kevin Correia were the winning pitchers in that series. Barry Bonds hit his 741st career home run to get within 14 of matching Hank Aarons all-time record. And heavens strike me if I lie, Armando Benitez saved all three games.Cain is the only current Giant who was on the roster for that sweep six years ago. Hes a keeper, all right.The Giants rotation flat-out dominated in this series while going 3-0 with an 0.95 ERA.With Posey scratched because of a tight right hamstring, Pagan and Scutaro combined to kickstart another productive first inning, and Arias did the rest. He hit a two-run home run, added a pair of doubles and set a career high with five RBIs.It was the third consecutive series between the clubs that ended in a sweep.Starting pitching reportThe Giants went 5-1 on their road trip and Cain set the tone last Friday when he fired eight shutout innings at San Diego.Cain (13-5) finished the trip the way he started it. He kept the ball off the barrel, executed pitches with runners on base and involved his defense to remain unbeaten in his last seven starts against the Dodgers.Cains best pitch in seven innings might have been the 2-2 piece of straight filth that he threw to Shane Victorino a slider at the ankles that the Flyin Hawaiian waved through to strand runners at second and third in the sixth.Cain held the Dodgers to seven hits and one run, which came in the sixth only because Hunter Pence failed to haul in a catchable ball in right field that was scored a double.Cain lowered his ERA to 2.83, tied with Madison Bumgarner for sixth in the NL (and barely ahead of Ryan Vogelsong, at 2.85). Cain threw 65 of 101 pitches for strikes, he struck out five and did not walk a batter.BAGGARLY: Bumgarner gives Giants a performance for the ages
In fact, Giants starters issued just one walk to the Dodgers in 22 innings over the series. Cain, Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum combined for 19 strikeouts and just two earned runs allowed.Bullpen reportClay Hensley and Jeremy Affeldt combined to retire just one of five batters, leading to a three-run eighth inning. Santiago Casilla didnt earn a save, but it felt like he deserved one after recording the final five outs to stave any memories of Wayne Franklin.At the plateThis series was won in the first inning. The Giants scored in the first inning of all three games, going 7 for 12 and scoring six runs. The Dodgers, meanwhile, were 0 for 9.It started yet again with Pagan and Scutaro, who went double-single to start the game against Dodgers left-hander Chris Capuano. Pablo Sandoval hit a sacrifice fly to open the scoring and Arias hit his third career home run, two of which have come on this road trip.Pagan hit .481 (13 for 27) with eight runs scored over the six-game trip, ending it with a sharp lineout. He collected leadoff hits and scored in the first inning of all three games at Dodger Stadium.Scutaro had a hand in that. He hit .385 on the trip (10 for 26) and collected two hits on all three nights at Dodger Stadium as the Giants improved to 48-16 when they score the first run of a game.And Arias was a wrecking crew on the trip while making four starts against left-handed pitchers, going 9 for 16 overall in those games. Notably, both his doubles on Wednesday came off right-handed relievers.Capuano had allowed 19 earned runs all season at home before giving up six. Pagan, Scutaro and Sandoval went single-double-single to chase him in the sixth.In fieldIs it possible Arias has played a better major league game? In addition to his contributions at the plate, the shortstop ranged deep to his right to glove Victorinos grounder in the third, then heaved an off-balance throw that barely beat the speedy runner.The Dodgers would have had runners at the corners with two outs in the third. Instead, Cain and the Giants jogged to the dugout.Hunter Pence was the bizarro Arias. He looked totally out of sorts while striking out twice and popping up. And he got turned around in right field by Andre Ethiers catchable drive in the sixth, which was scored a ground-rule double.That mistake led to the only run against Cain. But the right-hander benefited from some spectacular outfield defense, too.Left fielder Justin Christian made one of the greatest catches by a Giant all season. He sprinted and laid out while making an improbable catch of Juan Riveras drive in the left field corner in the seventh. Christian rolled hard in the dirt and didnt stop until he crashed into the wall, but appeared OK after a few minutes to get his bearings.It was a huge contribution for Christian, who drew a bases-loaded walk but otherwise is hitless in his last 18 at-bats over 11 games.AttendanceThe Dodgers announced 40,173 paid As owner Lew Wolff among them.No, Lew. The As cant move here, either.Up nextThe Giants return to AT&T Park for a brief, four-game homestand against the Atlanta Braves in what will be Chipper Jones final regular-season series in San Francisco. Barry Zito (9-8, 4.42) will pitch Thursday nights opener against right-hander Tommy Hanson (12-5, 4.27). Ryan Vogelsong (10-7, 2.85) starts Friday against right-hander Ben Sheets (4-3. 3.07). Itll be Madison Bumgarner (14-7, 2.83) on Saturday against left-hander Mike Minor (6-10, 4.74). Then Tim Lincecum draws Sundays finale against right-hander Tim Hudson (12-4. 3.69).

Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park

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AP

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'

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AP

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."