Cain perfect when it mattered most against Angels


Cain perfect when it mattered most against Angels


ANAHEIM Turns out Matt Cain wasnt so perfect last weekafter all.

He took a shot to the left wrist while gutting out a win inthe Giants 5-3 victory over the Los Angeles Angels on Monday, and whenreporters asked where the ball struck him, he pointed just below an ugly redwelt.

No, not that, Cain said. Thats a waffle burn.

A what?

Buster saw it and was, Jeez! Cain continued. I said no,thats a waffle burn. I was reaching for something else. I found out the waffleiron was on and its hot.

OK, fine. Cain can get a bit Affeldtian in the kitchen. Don't trust him to prepare your yolks just so on your Eggs Benedict.

But on the mound? Even on a night when he was far fromperfect, he still found a way to elevate his game at precisely the rightmoments.

Cain walked four and allowed six hits in five innings, yethe held a havoc-wreaking lineup to three runs. To accomplish that, he needed toexecute a pitch against career nemesis Albert Pujols with the bases loaded inthe fourth inning. He needed to make a play on a one-hop piece of shrapnel hitback to the mound. And he needed to fight to his very last pitch to coax hisway through the fifth.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy could tell from the outset thatCain didnt have it. Theright-hander had thrown 125 high-stress pitches in Wednesdays historic perfectgame the most ever thrown in a perfecto and he was giving it everything hehad in the ninth while hitting 94 mph on the last pitch.

Im sure he was feeling the residuals from his last start.He had to, Bochy said. Every pitch, its all on the line. I was justsurprised in this game, the gutty effort he gave us.

Oh, I knew early. He was missing spots. But he competes sowell.

Cain didnt cop to a perfect-game hangover or fatigue asmuch as a residual buzz from what hed accomplished.

I was probably a little amped up from it, maybe try to keepit going in a way, said Cain, who threw 100 pitches in five innings. I was alittle energized in general. The whole time I was pitching perhaps higher up ingeneral.

It was definitely a grind-it-out day. A lot of theirswitch-hitter guys were finding holes. I was working on keeping those guyssemi-close at first base. You just try to keep it all in order.

He did, barely. With the Giants clinging to a 4-3 lead,Shane Loux began warming up before Cain issued a leadoff walk to Kendry Moralesin the fifth. Then Cain went 3-0 to Mark Trumbo, who had hit a solo homerearlier in the game.

Hes a pitch away from coming out there, Bochy said. Ifhed have walked him, I wouldve gotten him.

But Cain darted two fastballs for a called strike and afoul. Then he froze Trumbo with a curveball. He retired the next two hitters toget the Giants back in the dugout.

Just like that, Cain qualified for the victory. The Giantsbullpen made sure he got it, too, by taking their own perfect turn. Loux,Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt and Santiago Casilla went 12 up, 12 down.

Just like that, Cain became the first Giant to win eightconsecutive starts since Rick Big Daddy Reuschel in 1989.

Reuschel started the NL All-Star game that year. Cain is makinga case to draw the assignment for the NL this season, although the Mets R.A.Dickey has the league all aflutter with his knuckleball.

Cain wouldnt have won without winning a bases-loaded confrontationwith Pujols, who entered the game with serious career ownage against theright-hander. His first two curveballs missed, but he put a slider on Pujolshands for a foul ball. Then he might have gotten away with a 2-1 curve that gotmore of the plate than Cain wanted. Pujols grounded into a fielders choice.

He has that ability to make a pitch and not give in, Bochysaid. Hes got four pitches and hell throw any pitch at any time. The gameson the line there and he showed great poise. He got it done.

He also showed poise in the fourth after Angels rookiephenom Mike Trout hit his bullet back to the mound. Cain deflected it with hisglove hand, picked it up without hesitation and threw a firm one to BusterPosey for a tag play at the plate.

After the game, Cain dutifully took every question from thenational media about everything from his perfect game to his new Samurai swordto what on Gods sweet earth was going through his mind when he let Affeldthold it.

It might not surprise you, but he was most effusive whenasked about the bullpen.

I was pumped by those guys, coming in and finishing off thegame for me, Cain said. They got 1-2-3 innings when I wasnt able to do that.Its very helpful down the road. Its never good when you start a series andyour starter comes out after five innings.

Five imperfect innings. With the same, winning result.

Report: Giants make trade offer for Giancarlo Stanton


Report: Giants make trade offer for Giancarlo Stanton

The hot stove is heating up. 

Giancarlo Stanton is the biggest name swirling in trade rumors and the Giants are reportedly pushing forward in their attempt to acquire the slugger. San Francisco's front office has proposed a trade to Miami for Stanton, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic

Details of what the Giants offered have not been reported yet. 

Stanton, who recently turned 28, is guaranteed $295 million over the next 10 seasons. His contract includes a full no-trade clause and an opt-out after 2020. 

On Thursday, Stanton was named the National League MVP after hitting .281 with a league-leading 59 home runs and 132 RBI. The last MVP to be traded in the offseason after winning the award was Alex Rodriguez from the Rangers to the Yankees before the 2004 season. 

How seven Giants prospects performed in the 2017 Arizona Fall League


How seven Giants prospects performed in the 2017 Arizona Fall League

The Arizona Fall League came to an end for seven Giants prospects on Thursday as the Scottsdale Scorpions (12-17-1) came up short from playing in Saturday's championship game. 

Let's take a look at how these seven names fared against some of the top young talent in all of baseball. 

The Hitters

As the Giants are linked to trade targets in center field like Billy Hamilton and Jackie Bradley Jr., a young in-house option only helped his case in the desert.

Steven Duggar likely would have seen the AT&T outfield this season, but his season was hindered by injuries, keeping him to only 44 games between three levels. With the Scorpions, Duggar took advantage of his opportunity with more at-bats. 

Duggar left Arizona with a .263/.367/.421 slash line over 20 games. The speedy lefty also stole nine bases and hit three home runs. Even if the Giants go for an experienced glove in center field this offseason and keep Duggar, the 24-year-old has also played 135 games in right field during his minor league career. 

For the second straight year, the Giants sent catcher Aramis Garcia to the AFL. And he's sure to be coming home much happier this go around with an up-and-down campaign.

Splitting time behind the plate with three other catchers, Garcia appeared in 13 games and slashed .259/.293/.333 and hit one home run. Garcia struggled to get one base with only one walk to 10 strikeouts, but showed his natural ability to drive runs in with 10 RBI. 

Rounding out the Giants' trio of bats they sent to Arizona is arguably their top prospect, but his time in the AFL was cut short. Chris Shaw only played in five games and hit .158. He dealt with a sore shoulder.

The Pitchers

The Giants sent two starting pitchers (Tyler Beede and Joan Gregorio) and two relievers (Tyler Cyr and D.J. Snelten) to the AFL. 

Pitching for the first time in nearly three months, Beede showed exactly why he's the Giants' top pitching prospect. Beede went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in four starts, but his final three show the potential he's full of -- 14 innings pitched, three earned runs, a 1.93 ERA, 10 strikeouts and only one walk. 

Gregorio, who was suspended this season for Performance Enhancing Drugs, pitched in eight games (three starts) for Scottsdale. He left with a 1-0 record and 5.87 ERA. In Triple-A, Gregorio went 4-4 with a 3.04 ERA this year over 13 starts. The 25-year-old presents an interesting arm that can help sooner than later in the bullpen. 

Cyr's stats don't look pretty (0-1, 5.63 ERA, 8 IP), but he's catching some attention. The right-hander was named to the Fall Stars Game and is most likely to start 2018 in Triple-A after converting 18 saves at Double-A in 2017. 

Snelten, a 6-foot-7 lefty, impressed in eight appearances out of the bullpen. He didn't allow an earned run until his final outing of the fall, bringing his ERA from a perfect 0.00 to 2.25 in 12 innings pitched.

After combining for a 2.20 ERA to go with an 8-1 record between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017, Snelten is a name to know as the Giants look to find more lefties for their bullpen.