Giants

Baggs' Instant Replay: Padres 6, Giants 3

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Padres 6, Giants 3

BOX SCORE
SAN FRANCISCO Just when you thought Tim Lincecum was generating some honest to goodness momentum It was not a happy Timmy day for Lincecum at AT&T Park Wednesday afternoon. He was all over the map as well as the strike zone while giving up two homers and five runs before getting the hook in the fifth inning. The Giants offense, despite some late life, was dead for too much of the afternoon in a necrotic, 6-3 loss to the San Diego Padres.Lincecum stopped more than his personal momentum that hed gathered with quality starts against the Astros and Phillies. He also snapped the Giants six-game home winning streak.For the third consecutive series, the Giants won the first two games but failed to polish off the sweep.The Giants are 6-15 in Lincecums starts.Starting pitching reportLincecums woes were familiar enough: He threw too many pitches in the early innings, he got tagged while going through the lineup for a second time, his velocity slipped like a bad transmission and he left fastballs in the crush-me zone.Lincecum (4-11) was electric enough at the outset. He struck out five of the first nine batters he faced, but even then he struggled to put the ball where he wanted it. He hit a batter, walked another and served up a solo home run to Chase Headley.Lincecum couldnt maintain a tie in the fourth, when the Padres loaded the bases on two dinky singles and a walk. Will Venable cashed in two with a two-out double that fell just beyond the reach of Angel Pagan in center field.But if Lincecum was a tad unlucky in the fourth, he was just plain bad in the fifth. His offspeed pitches were easy takes in the dirt and he continued to miss with his fastball. Carlos Quentin singled and Lincecum threw a 3-1 fastball that Guzman punished for a two-run home run. It was just an 89 mph, do-nothing pitch straight down the middle. Guzman wouldve been fined for not hitting it 350-plus feet.Lincecum then walked John Baker on six pitches, ending his afternoon. He has failed to complete five innings in three of his last five starts.The right-hander gave up five runs (all earned) on seven hits and three walks while striking out eight. He threw two wild pitches, gave up two home runs and threw a whopping 102 pitches. At least he didnt balk.Lincecum now sports a 5.88 ERA.Bullpen reportJeremy Affeldt, Brad Penny and George Kontos combined to allow just one run Guzmans homer off Penny in the eighth in 4 13 innings.At the plateThe Giants wouldve made Henry Ford proud of their run manufacturing skills in the first inning. Gregor Blanco laced a single, stole second base, took third on Ryan Theriots sacrifice bunt and scored the tying run on Melky Cabreras sacrifice fly to left field.But the Giants didnt get another hit until Angel Pagan hit a two-out double in the seventh. In fact, embarrassingly enough, they didnt hit a ball OUT OF THE INFIELD between Cabreras sacrifice fly in the first and Pagans double in the seventh.Jason Marquis used his sinker to keep them grounded the rest of the time. But the Giants made some noise in the eighth after Brandon Belt reached on shortstop Everth Cabreras sloppy throwing error. Joaquin Arias hit an infield single and took second on Marquis wild pitch, which also scored Belt. But Arias was thrown out at third base on Eli Whitesides ground ball when Cabrera made an athletic stop in the hole and threw to third base.The baserunning mistake minimized what could have been a huge inning. Nate Schierholtz hit a pinch single off lefty Joe Thatcher and Ryan Theriot collected an RBI single off another specialist, right-hander Luke Gregerson. But Cabrera got too greedy while taking huge hacks at Huston Streets offerings. Cabrera, unable to tie the game with one swing, struck out.In fieldA day after making one of the greatest catches of the season to start a double play, Pagan came up jut short on a play that would have saved Lincecum two runs in the fourth inning.The Giants defense was an asset otherwise, especially as Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford combined for a 3-6-3 double play in the seventh. Jeremy Affeldt also picked a runner off first base.AttendanceThe Giants announced 41,871 paid for a not-so-happy Timmy Day.Up nextThe Giants take a day off Thursday before beginning a three-game showdown series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Itll be Matt Cain (10-3, 2.75) against a pitcher to be determined, followed on Saturday by Barry Zito (8-6, 3.75) vs. right-hander Chad Billingsley (5-9. 4.15). Ryan Vogelsong (8-4, 2.26) matches up with left-hander Clayton Kershaw (7-6. 3.14) in Sundays series finale.

What the Giants' 2018 Opening Day lineup could look like

What the Giants' 2018 Opening Day lineup could look like

SAN FRANCISCO — The excitement could be heard in Bruce Bochy’s voice as he spoke on a conference call Tuesday afternoon, which was understandable. Bochy used 136 different lineups last season, largely because the Giants never found permanent solutions in the outfield or at third base. 

Since the final game of a 98-loss season, the front office has handed Bochy an everyday third baseman in Evan Longoria, a star in right field in Andrew McCutchen, and a versatile outfield option in Austin Jackson. With every new addition, Bochy has tinkered with the lineup bouncing around his head. He isn’t ready to reveal anything publicly, but he said the new-look staff is already discussing lineup options. 

“It’s going to be probably toward the end of spring training until we have this lineup down,” Bochy said. “It’s a different lineup, as you know. I’ll see or we will see what makes the most sense.”

In McCutchen and Longoria, the Giants added two guys used to hitting right in the heart of the order. After the Longoria deal, Bochy did say he would like to hit Longoria in front of Buster Posey and Brandon Belt. Since then, McCutchen has given him another option, and a lot more could still change. 

Brian Sabean and Bobby Evans would like to add one more center fielder, and it’s possible that player can lead off. Steven Duggar could win the job in camp, and with his speed and strong eye at the plate, he would be an ideal leadoff option. That is, however, a lot of pressure for a rookie, and Bochy mentioned McCutchen and Jackson as options atop the lineup. Both hit there quite a bit earlier in their careers, but McCutchen hasn’t been a leadoff hitter since 2011 and Jackson has just 56 starts there the last three years. Joe Panik and Hunter Pence also have experience leading off for Bochy, and it’s possible the top of the lineup could change depending on the opposing pitcher.  

“I’ve always liked to have the versatility or flexibility to mix it a little bit,” Bochy said. “Maybe it’s a matchup thing or lefty-righty.”

It will be a lefty, Clayton Kershaw, staring in at the Giants on opening day. So for now, here’s a guess at the group Bochy will send out there at Dodger Stadium … 

1. Andrew McCutchen RF
2. Joe Panik 2B
3. Evan Longoria 3B
4. Buster Posey C
5. Brandon Belt 1B
6. Hunter Pence LF
7. Brandon Crawford SS
8. Austin Jackson CF
9. Madison Bumgarner LHP

Jackson not necessarily Giants' everyday center fielder

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USATSI

Jackson not necessarily Giants' everyday center fielder

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants had a glaring hole in center field after the acquisition of Andrew McCutchen and his subsequent move to right field, so it stood out when a press release to announce the signing of Austin Jackson included the words “depth at all three outfield positions.”

A day later, team officials made it clear that Jackson is not necessarily the final piece of the puzzle, or even the solution in center field. After mentioning several times that it was a strategic signing, vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean gave a blunt answer when asked about Jackson’s role. 

“Did we get him to be our everyday center fielder? Probably not,” Sabean said. “I don’t know that in his recent history he’s been able to go out there in that fashion.”

Jackson played just 54 games in 2016 and 85 last season for the Indians. The Giants see him as a complementary piece, someone who can handle plenty of time in center, spell McCutchen and Hunter Pence in the corners, and give them a dangerous bat against left-handed pitchers. 

It seemed that was a role that would mostly go to Austin Slater, but the Giants gave Jackson a two-year deal for $6 million, basically wiping out the rest of their room under the tax line. They will not be significantly involved in free agency from this point on, which leaves two options for one more outfield addition. 

Steven Duggar was mentioned over and over again on Tuesday’s conference call, and the Giants will give the prospect a chance to win a significant role this spring. It’s possible that Duggar and Jackson could form a platoon, but before committing to that, the front office will look to add a third offseason addition via trade. 

“There are still some fronts that we are pursuing with minimum-service type of players, which are low in salary,” Sabean said. “We’ll flush out other possibilities.”

Evans has spent months laying the groundwork for multiple deals, and the front office remains confident that one more outfielder can be added via trade. The player would have to be young and pre-arbitration to line up financially with the rest of the offseason work.

If that doesn’t end up happening, Bruce Bochy won’t be too upset. Bochy said he couldn’t be happier with the work Sabean and Evans have done to overhaul an outfield that was unfathomably bad on both sides of the ball last season. If Jackson is the final piece, Bochy is ready to make it work. 

“Right now, as we start the season, I think you’ll see Austin out in center field as much as anything,” he said. “We’ll see where we’re at when we break camp, but that’s a need for us out there in center. As we break camp, we’ll know where we’re at with other options, Gorkys (Hernandez) or Duggar. But center field is where (Jackson) will spend most of his time this spring.”