Instant Replay: Giants fall short in series-opening loss to Rockies

Instant Replay: Giants fall short in series-opening loss to Rockies


SAN FRANCISCO — The Colorado Rockies entered the season as a dark horse to contend for the National League West title. They made a bit of a statement on their first night at AT&T Park. 

Playing without their ace for most of the night, the Rockies held on for a 3-1 win on a night Madison Bumgarner made his home debut. The Giants have made a habit of nearly coming back, and they loaded the bases with one out in the ninth. Eduardo Nunez hit into a double-play. 

A battle of Opening Day starters didn’t last long, but not because of what hitters were doing. Jon Gray had his usual good stuff and he allowed just one hit through three, but he was pulled one batter into the fourth with a left big toe injury. Gray came out of a spring training start against the Giants with the same injury. 

Gray left with a two-run lead thanks to Trevor Story. The shortstop hit 27 homers as a rookie and he got his first of 2017 when Bumgarner grooved a fastball in the top of the fourth. Bumgarner wormed his way through traffic all night, and the Rockies scraped across another run in the sixth on three singles. With two on, Bumgarner ended his night on the mound by striking out Story and getting Stephen Cardullo to fly out.

The Giants did practically nothing to take advantage of Gray’s sudden absence. In 3 1/3 innings,  lefty reliever Chris Rusin allowed just two hits and one run. 

The Giants fell to 4-7. 

Starting pitching report: Bumgarner took the mound to “No Leaf Clover” by Metallica and the SF Symphony. You will be missed, “Fire On The Mountain.”

Bullpen report: Bruce Bochy had been looking for an opportunity to push Ty Blach a bit. The young lefty pitched Tuesday and warmed up Wednesday, and he came in for the top of the ninth Thursday. Blach continues to pass every test; he pitched a perfect frame.

At the plate: Belt snapped a line-drive-filled 0-for-18 when he hit a liner in the seventh that ticked off Story’s glove. 

In the field: Belt made the same difficult play twice in the top of the seventh. Both times, he traveled deep into foul territory to snag a pop-up. Check that UZR in the morning. 

Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,915 human beings who gave Brandon Crawford a very warm ovation when he pinch-hit in the eighth. 

Up next: Johnny Cueto makes his first home start of the season, which is always a good time. He’ll face lefty Tyler Anderson. 

Giants starter Jeff Samardzija to get MRI on right shoulder


Giants starter Jeff Samardzija to get MRI on right shoulder

The Giants almost made it through spring training with no serious injuries.

But as they get set to leave Arizona for the Bay Area, Jeff Samardzija is dealing with a shoulder issue.

On Wednesday, Samardzija pitched in a minor league game. He gave up two homers, hit a batter in the fourth inning and was pulled from the game.

A day later, the Giants announced that Samardzija will undergo an MRI on his right shoulder. According to The San Francisco Chronicle, results of the MRI will be known later Thursday evening.

Samardzija's numbers in official spring training games this year are ugly. In 11 innings, he's 17 hits, 13 earned runs and six home runs.

No. 79? No. 53? Before they were stars, Giants wore random numbers


No. 79? No. 53? Before they were stars, Giants wore random numbers

SCOTTSDALE — A couple of veterans walked past a clubhouse TV earlier in camp and saw that the Giants and Padres were tied heading into the bottom of the 10th of an exhibition game. The Padres infielders were just standing around, and there was not yet a new pitcher on the mound. 

“It’s that time when No. 99 comes in to pitch,” one of the players joked as he headed home for the day.

A few seconds later, a big left-hander took the mound. He was, in fact, wearing No. 99, and in his inning on the mound he would face a No. 74 (Aramis Garcia) and No. 78 (Steven Duggar). This is the norm for spring training, when dozens of players — including teenagers and journeymen still hanging around the low minors — get into every game. That leads to action between numbers you would never see in a normal game. The Giants had 60 players in camp, plus 10 coaches and staff members with numbers. Throw in their 10 retired numbers and the unofficially retired ones (25, 55, etc.) and, well, there aren’t a whole lot of choices left. 

If Duggar makes the Opening Day roster, he’ll get an upgrade from his lineman’s number. Ditto for Garcia, who could be Buster Posey’s backup as soon as next season. Still, a taste of big league action doesn’t guarantee a normal number in camp, when young players regularly find themselves back at the end of the line. 

Ryder Jones wore 83 in camp last year and 63 in the big leagues. When he showed up this year, with 150 big league at-bats under his belt, he was told that he would have to wait until the end of the spring to upgrade. Players with more service time (think No. 2 Chase d’Arnaud or No. 19 Josh Rutledge) get priority, at least until all the cuts are made. Jones said he has a few numbers in mind for his next stint in the big leagues, but he won’t be picky. 

“Anything under 40 works,” he said, smiling. 

The steady climb toward single digits happens to just about everybody. Long before Brandon Crawford’s became @bcraw35, he wore 79 in his first camp. He moved up to 53 after that and Mike Murphy flipped that to 35 when Crawford became the big league shortstop. Hunter Pence doesn’t remember his first spring training number with the Astros, but he knows it was in the low eighties. Joe Panik wore 66 the first time he spent a spring at Scottsdale Stadium. “I was an offensive lineman,” he joked. Tyler Beede, now on the cusp of his big league debut, got promoted from 63 to 32 when he arrived last spring, only to swap to 38 this year because of some in-season shifting. When Pablo Sandoval arrived last summer, Steven Okert switched from 48 to 32.

Then there are those who have only known one jersey. Posey was a can’t-miss prospect when he arrived and doesn’t remember wearing anything other than 28. Brandon Belt was a top-25 prospect when he came to camp for the first time, and he’s been 9 since that day. Madison Bumgarner wore 40 in his first big league camp because he had already made his big league debut, but somewhere in the team archives, there are probably a few photos of a 19-year-old Bumgarner wearing something else. 

“The previous spring I came up to pitch a few times,” Bumgarner said. “I’m pretty sure I had a different number every time I came over and I’m pretty sure it was always in the eighties.”

There were seven Giants in the eighties this spring. Duggar was one of two top prospects — Chris Shaw inherited Crawford’s old 79 — to come close, and he didn’t mind one bit. He’s not thinking too far ahead, even though he could be a big leaguer in eight days. 

“I’ll take anything if I’m in the big leagues,” he said. “I’ll take No. 112 if that’s what they give me.”