Giants

EXTRA BAGGS: Belt gets beer shower in losing effort, etc.

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EXTRA BAGGS: Belt gets beer shower in losing effort, etc.

SAN FRANCISCO The Giants 5-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds, for all its hard and empty contact and Latos intolerance, was frustratingenough for the home side.

Now imagine having to spend the entire evening stinking likeyou just got blasted with beer in a clinching clubhouse party.

Brandon Belt only smelled like victory.

I landed right on a full cup of beer, said the Giantsfirst baseman, who flipped over the rail and into a field-level suite whilemaking a spectacular catch of a foul pop in the first inning Saturday night.

I was wearing a beer-soaked uniform the rest of the game.

You didnt have a chance to go into the clubhouse and changebetween innings?

Naw, I just went with it, he told me.

The Giants are a long way from any series-clinchingcelebrations. After losing their first Game 1 in their last nine tries datingback to 2000, the best they can hope to do is win behind Madison Bumgarner on Sundayand then take two of three in Cincinnati.

BAGGARLY: It's all about the rebound after Giants drop Game 1 to Reds

Thats a less daunting thought for the Giants than it mightbe for most teams. They had a 10-1-1 series record on the road after theAll-Star break, after all.

And if youre a Giants fan desperate for more puppies and rainbows, justtake a gander at what Belt, the Baby Giraffe managed to do in his firstpostseason game:

After squashing the butterflies in a tumble of beer andcheers on that first-inning catch, Belt showed patience while drawing a pair ofwalks. He squared up a pitch from emergency long reliever Mat Latos, whicheasily couldve been a double instead of a double play into the glove of firstbaseman Joey Votto.

He didnt allow the game to get too fast, or his eyes to gettoo wide.

I felt pretty good, for the most part, Belt told me. Threeof my four (plate appearances), I was very happy with. Its all part of what Iwas trying to do: Breathe, slow the game down and be in the moment. Let thegame come to you.

As for that hard-luck liner? What went through his mind atthat instant?

Well, it happens, but you keep doing the right things,itll fall in the next time, Belt said. It seemed it was that way all nightlong, though.

As it turned out, the high point of the Giants evening cameon the games second batter.

That play, I got under it and I didnt think Id have to gothat far, to be honest, Belt said. I kept drifting and tried to keep my eyeon it as long as I could. I hit the rail and I couldnt keep myself from goingover.

Was he surprised that no fans were there to catch him?

Oh, no, they were getting out of the way, he said. Theysaw those size 15s coming at their heads. Im sure they were moving quick.

Just not quick enough to save their liquid investments.

But maybe Belt is on the verge of a postseason worthy of a toast.

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Matt Cain did not look pleased when Bruce Bochy told him hewould exit for a pinch hitter in the fifth inning. After the game, Cain wasasked about his reaction, and backed up his manager.

Well, yeah, as a starter you dont want to come out of thegame, Cain said. Hes got to do that. Were down and hes got to get a guy onbase. Thats what he has to do . (Aubrey) Huff had a good at-bat. It justdidnt work out.

Taking out Cain at that juncture also held his pitch countat 75, allowing him to come back and pitch on short rest in Game 4 should theGiants face elimination.

Thatll be the case unless the Giants sweep the next threegames.

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I am told the Game 2 ceremonial first pitch will be thrownby someone with Giants baseball ties. Im going to put money on Barry LamarBonds.

What the Giants’ farm system lost in trade for Andrew McCutchen

What the Giants’ farm system lost in trade for Andrew McCutchen

San Francisco’s second splash of its offseason reloading plan came to life Monday with the acquisition of outfielder Andrew McCutchen in a trade with the Pirates.

In trading for the five-time All-Star, the Giants held on to top prospects Heliot Ramos, Chris Shaw and Tyler Beede. The win-now move bolstered the Giants’ outfield — one that needed the most help in all of baseball — while the Pirates again have a potential big piece in their outfield with Bryan Reynolds headed to Pittsburgh. 

While the farm system took a win in keeping its biggest names, let’s look at what the Giants’ future lost with the addition of McCutchen. 

Bryan Reynolds, 22, OF
The Giants clearly have their own prospect rankings. Baseball America (5) and MLB Pipeline (4) ranked Reynolds ahead of Steven Duggar, who is the Giants’ No. 8 prospect by Baseball America and No. 6 by MLB Pipeline, after the 2017 season. Duggar is expected to compete for the Giants’ starting job in center field unless they make another big move like signing Lorenzo Cain. 

There’s a reason Reynolds is ranked so high though. The Giants’ top pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, is a switch-hitter who is primarily a center fielder, but like Duggar, he played all three outfield positions in 2017. 

"I think it's too early to dictate if he'll be in a corner or center," Nestor Rojas, Reynolds’ manager for the San Jose Giants, said to me in July. "He's really good and he has the tools to play center field. He's got speed and he's got range. He can do really well in all three." 

Reynolds slashed .312/.364/.462 with 10 home runs at Advanced Single-A this past season. He was the Giants' lone representative at the Futures Game and named San Jose Giants MVP. Even if he never unlocks his power, Reynolds is expected to be a solid big leaguer one day with well-rounded overall tools. 

[READ: How Reynolds went from undrafted to Giants' top 2016 pick]

Kyle Crick, 25, RHP
Crick was expected to be a future ace when the Giants took him No. 49 overall as a high school pitcher back in 2011. Control issues hampered him mightily. 

Down in the minors, Crick flashed dominance on the hill at times with a fastball that reaches the upper 90s. Still, command won the battle and the Giants turned Crick into a reliever. The move may have saved his career. 

As the Sacramento River Cats’ closer in Triple-A last season, Crick recorded six saves with a 2.76 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 29.1 innings pitched. Crick earned his call-up to San Francisco and was solid for the Giants. He put together a 3.06 ERA in 30 games out of the bullpen, giving a glimpse of what he can be in the future. 

Crick has always been full of potential. Now as a reliever, he’s starting to turn it into results at the highest level. The Pirates may have a future shut-down arm in the ‘pen, but in the Giants’ reload, there are plenty of in-house options that can do the job he was expected to do in 2018.

What they're saying: McCutchen, Giants and Pirates react to trade

What they're saying: McCutchen, Giants and Pirates react to trade

For nine seasons, Andrew McCutchen was the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates. But now, he's headed to a star-studded Giants roster.

Here's how McCutchen, his former Pirates teammates and his new Giants teammates reacted to news of the big trade on Monday.

https://twitter.com/fran_cervelli/status/953049574993747969