Giants get blown out, but young right-hander makes a statement vs D'backs

Giants get blown out, but young right-hander makes a statement vs D'backs

PHOENIX — Matt Moore got ambushed so early and so thoroughly that both teams might as well have gone home after two innings. Luckily for Reyes Moronta, that’s not how this works.

The rookie took advantage of mop-up duty and got the Diamondbacks before they — like the Giants — replaced all their best players. Moronta struck out Paul Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez in his one inning of work, and after a seeing-eye single, he whiffed Brandon Drury, too. Goldschmidt, a perennial MVP candidate, watched a 96 mph fastball dot the outside corner. Martinez, the hottest right-handed bat in the league, swung through a slider. 

In an 11-4 loss to the Diamondbacks, that was the bright spot. It was also potentially a sign of things to come from the young right-hander. 

“He’s trying to make a statement, isn’t he?” manager Bruce Bochy said. “This kid is locating with great stuff. He’s got no fear, either. He doesn’t care who is up there — he works it to both sides of the plate.”

The 24-year-old has nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 September innings, with one run allowed. Earlier this week, Bochy and staff members met with him to give him a plan for the offseason. The Giants have made it clear they would like Moronta to tighten up a bit, and if he does work on his conditioning, he’ll probably be fighting for an opening day job next spring when the Giants return here to the Phoenix area. 

Moronta represented the good on this night. For Moore, it was all bad. He gave up eight runs in 1 1/3 innings, with J.D. Martinez chasing him with a second-inning slam. Moore said he was too amped up for that early in the game, and he was missing his spots badly. 

Moore had thrown better in recent weeks, and because of that, Bochy hopes to get him back on the mound in a relief role this weekend. He doesn’t want one of next year’s starters to go into the offseason with such a bad taste in his mouth. 

“I hadn’t had a chance to talk to him yet, but that’s kind of taking the words out of my mouth,” Moore said. “Obviously the last start of the season, this is not what I want to sit on heading into the break.”

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

Durable Longoria ready for additional boost from ballpark, Giants fans

SAN FRANCISCO — The field at AT&T Park is covered with patches and small piles of dirt right now, showing the signs of a winter hosting holiday parties and concerts, and a week with plenty of rain. 

For Evan Longoria, though, that grass was a beautiful sight.

A month after a trade that had him switching coasts, Longoria was introduced at a press conference at AT&T Park and ran the usual gauntlet with team employees and season-ticket holders. He spent some time this week looking for housing in the Bay Area, but soon he’ll be back in Scottsdale, getting to know new teammates and preparing his body for the 2018 season. 

Longoria said his workouts have been a bit different with a new staff, but the goal remains the same. He is a player who prides himself on taking the field every day, and that’s one of the traits that drew the Giants to Longoria. He has played at least 156 games in five consecutive seasons, and 160 in four of those seasons. 

It’s no accident that Bruce Bochy has mentioned durability during every media session this season. Andrew McCutchen has a similar track record, and the Giants lineup certainly could use some stability, especially at third base, where seven different players made double-digit starts last season. Longoria will change that. 

“I have a desire to play every day, and I think that that is infectious,” he said. “Players that may feel the grind of a long season or might be in a little bit of a funk offensively or defensively or with pitching, something like that can give you a boost when you have guys around that you know come to play and compete on a daily basis, no matter what the circumstance is.”

[RELATED: Just a number? Longoria says slow down with concerns of Giants' aging roster]

For Longoria, who turned 32 early in the offseason, the circumstance has changed for the better. After years on the unforgiving turf at The Trop, he comes to a park and division featuring nothing but natural grass. 

“I hope it helps,” he said. “Going on the road (with the Rays), my body definitely felt better when I played on grass. I’m sure that it will help. It’s definitely not going to be a negative. Not playing on the turf anymore is something that crossed my mind as soon as the trade happened.”

Longoria expects to benefit from another aspect of AT&T Park, too. The Rays finished dead last in the majors last year with an average of 15,670 fans per game. Even though their sellout streak ended, the Giants still had an average of more than 40,000 per night. Asked about playing outdoors, Longoria smiled and added, “in front of fans.”

“The environment here is obviously much different, so it’s going to be nice to step into that on a daily basis and play in front of a fan base that’s obviously very storied,” he said. “It helps with energy. It helps with motivation.”

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

McCutchen ready for more conversations with 'Steve the Seagull' at AT&T Park

Andrew McCutchen has been one of the best players in the National League for years now. The 31-year-old is a five-time All-Star and was named the 2013 NL MVP. 

Not only do his stats stand out, McCutchen is also one of the most entertaining players in baseball. And that's clearly going to continue in San Francisco. 

On Thursday, McCutchen was asked about the famous seagulls of San Francisco flying around the outfield at AT&T Park. 

"I definitely made a few friends out there over the years. Steve the Seagull out there, I know him," McCutchen said on KNBR. "He comes in every now and then. We have a little pow-wow when I come to San Francisco. Yeah, we get along well, me and the guys, me and the birds. They know when to come in that's for sure." 

Denard Span, who the Giants traded to acquire Evan Longoria, had a much different relationship with the seagulls. 

McCutchen is clearly the opposite of Span in this regard though. He seems about as calm as can be when it comes to the birds paying him a visit. 

"They chill, we have some conversations. It's all good," says McCutchen. 

One other aspect McCutchen can't wait for in the outfield at AT&T Park, is getting to know all the fans. Specifically, not being a part of a special chant Giants fans have for opposing outfielders. 

"I'm lookin' forward to fans not callin' me bums anymore," McCutchen said with a laugh. "I'm glad I'm on the winning side. I'm glad I'm on the San Francisco Giants side. I can't wait to meet all the fans."