Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from second straight loss to Twins

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from second straight loss to Twins


SAN FRANCISCO — Bruce Bochy raved about young Jose Berrios before Saturday’s game, and the right-hander’s repertoire certainly was as advertised. But truth be told, it doesn’t take a 95 mph fastball and wipeout slurve to hold down the Giants at AT&T Park. Berrios simply became the latest to do it. 

The Giants wasted plenty of opportunities to tack on against Berrios and the Twins responded with two homers off Jeff Samardzija, who as always, deserved better. The 3-2 loss guaranteed a series loss. 

Here are five things to know from a day where there was a shock in right field ... 

—- Brandon Belt smoked a fastball into the cove in the first for the 73rd career Splash Hit. It was Belt’s seventh, tying him with Pablo Sandoval for second all-time. Belt needs just 28 more Splash Hits to tie Barry Bonds’ record. 

—- Kenny Vargas hit an absolute bomb to right-center in the fourth inning. The homer came off the bat at 116 mph and traveled 471 feet, according to Statcast. Brian Dozier also took Samardzija deep. 

—- A walk of Robbie Grossman in the fifth was just the second issued by Jeff Samardzija since the start of May. Still, he didn’t do much to harm his incredible run. Over his past eight starts, Samardzija now has 65 strikeouts and two walks. 

—- Hunter Pence went socks-down for the first time in a long time. It did not work. He struck out three times against Berrios and grounded out to second in his last at-bat. 

—- Ehire Adrianza turned a slick double play in the sixth and then robbed Eduardo Nuñez on what looked to be an infield single in the seventh. The Giants kept him around so long because of that glove at short, and it appears he’s found a home in Minnesota. 

Bumgarner leaves start after line drive hits pitching hand


Bumgarner leaves start after line drive hits pitching hand

A day after the Giants got good news about their No. 3 starter, their No. 1 left the game with an injury. 

Madison Bumgarner left Friday's spring training game against the Kansas City Royals in the third inning after a Whit Merrifield line drive hit his pitching hand. Bumgarner, who's scheduled to start Opening Day against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Mar. 29, was making his final start before the regular season.

He was off to a strong start this spring. In five appearances, Bumgarner posted a 2.84 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 19.0 innings pitched. 

The 28-year-old missed nearly three months last season after injuring his left shoulder in a dirtbike accident.

This story is being updated. 

Jeff Samardzija to miss start of season after MRI reveals strained pectoral muscle


Jeff Samardzija to miss start of season after MRI reveals strained pectoral muscle

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants nearly left Scottsdale unscathed. Instead they'll leave with an injured No. 3 starter, but the news on Jeff Samardzija late Thursday night was good news. 

Manager Bruce Bochy told reporters that Samardzija has a strained pectoral muscle that will sideline him for the start of the season. But given that Samardzija, who has had a rough spring, went for an MRI on his shoulder a week before the season opener, team officials have to be breathing a sigh of relief. 

"He'll go a week without throwing the ball and then crank it back up," Bochy told reporters, including Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News. "It should't take long to get him back on the mound so it's good news."

Samardzija was supposed to take the ball next Saturday at Dodger Stadium. Instead, the Giants will rely on two young pitchers and a non-roster invitee at the back end of their rotation. The injury ends a three-way race for the final two spots between Chris Stratton, Ty Blach and Derek Holland. The Giants could use all three in the rotation until Samardzija is healthy, or they could skip their No. 5 starter and move one of the pitchers into the bullpen. 

Because the Giants have two off days before their seventh game, Madison Bumgarner can line up to pitch three of the first nine games. The Giants have been considering that all spring, although they have yet to publicly announce a decision one way or the other. Bumgarner said early in camp that he would be up to the challenge, and given how sharp he was all spring, that might be the best way to tread water until Samardzija is cleared to return to the rotation.