Giants

Offense awakens, Giants avoid sweep with 8-1 win

536782.jpg

Offense awakens, Giants avoid sweep with 8-1 win

Sept. 11, 2011BOX SCORE GIANTS VIDEOMLB PAGE MLB SCOREBOARD
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Madison Bumgarner didn't have much problem handling the Los Angeles Dodgers while stopping another losing streak for the Giants.Convincing manager Bruce Bochy to let him finish out the season may be a bit more difficult.San Francisco's most reliable starter over the last three weeks, Bumgarner has already logged more than 186 innings on the mound this season. With their postseason hopes dimming almost every day, the Giants plan to take a cautious approach the rest of the way with their young left-hander."We had a little concern, not much, with how much he pitched the year before," Bochy said after Bumgarner allowed three hits over five innings in San Francisco's 7-1 win Sunday. "I just like where he's at right now. He worked hard today but made some great pitches."Bumgarner won his fourth straight start, Pablo Sandoval doubled home the go-ahead run in the fifth inning and the Giants beat the Dodgers to avoid a three-game sweep.Bumgarner (11-12) struck out eight and walked three, matching the longest winning streak of his career and improving to 8-3 with a 2.73 ERA since June 26."I'm just making better pitches and having a little better luck at the same time," Bumgarner said while insisting his arm strength is fine despite closing in on the 200-inning mark."I don't know if I've gotten stronger. I still feel good. I'm not worried about wins and losses for me. The biggest thing is innings. You want to stay out there and pitch late. That's probably the most important thing."Six of Bumgarner's victories, including each of the last four, have came after Giants losses.It's probably too little too late for the defending World Series champions, who snapped a three-game losing streak and trail NL West-leading Arizona by 8 12 games. When San Francisco scored two runs in the fifth and five in the sixth, it marked the first time since July 3 that the Giants scored multiple runs in consecutive innings.Slumping Aubrey Huff had two hits and a bases-loaded walk in his first start since Monday. Sandoval finished with a career-high three doubles, tying a Giants regular-season record at AT&T Park."It seems to be starting a little late," Huff said. "You could tell when we got a three-run lead, everyone relaxed and we started scoring more."Tony Gwynn Jr. doubled in the Dodgers' run but struck out with the potential tying run at second base in the sixth. Los Angeles lost for only the third time in 13 games.San Francisco had gone 18 consecutive scoreless innings until breaking through against starter Hiroki Kuroda, who had not lost in four previous appearances at the Giants.Sandoval drove in Jeff Keppinger for a 2-1 lead in the fifth and Huff followed with an RBI single on an 0-2 pitch. In a 5-for-36 (.139) slump coming in, Huff also walked with the bases loaded against Scott Elbert during a five-run sixth.In the second, Huff doubled leading off after initially thinking he had a home run. The ball hit the top of the fence and bounced back onto the field, but second base umpire John Hirschbeck ruled the ball was still in play. Umpires upheld the call following a video review.It was reminiscent of San Francisco's win over Texas in Game 2 of the World Series last year when the Rangers' Ian Kinsler hit a ball to almost the same spot as Huff did. Kinsler was also given a double on the play.Three batters later, Eli Whiteside singled in Huff with San Francisco's first run."I was touching first and everybody thought it was a homer," Huff said. "I'm like, 'Homer? I hit it high enough to get out?' I scored, so it's kind of a moot point."Kuroda (11-16) allowed three runs and eight hits in 4 2-3 innings, his shortest outing since getting only 12 outs against San Diego on Aug. 2 last year."For the most part it looks like he isn't able to locate like he usually does," Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. "Everybody is entitled to this kind of stretch. He's not going to cave in. It's not like he's missing with everything."Cody Ross hit a bases-loaded double and pinch-hitter Mark De Rosa added a two-run single in the sixth.Los Angeles scored its lone run in the second and had a chance for more with the bases loaded before Bumgarner worked his way out of it. He got Kuroda to ground into a force play at home then retired Dee Gordon on a comebacker.The Dodgers managed only four runners the rest of the way and ended their trip 7-3.NOTES: A moment of silence was held before the game to commemorate the victims of 911. There was no ceremonial first pitch; instead, Bochy walked out to the field alone and left a ball on the pitching mound. ... The previous San Francisco player to have three doubles in one home game was Nate Schierholtz on Sept. 24, 2008. ... The Giants activated LHP Barry Zito from the 15-day DL. Bochy plans to use Zito as a spot starter and out of the bullpen. ... Eric Surkamp (1-0) pitches for San Francisco in the series opener against San Diego on Monday. The rookie lefty beat the Padres on Sept. 6 for his only career win in the majors. ... Dodgers LHP Ted Lilly (9-13), who tied his season high of nine strikeouts in his previous start, will pitch for Los Angeles in the opener of a three-game set with Arizona.

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

gillaspie-moncrief-usatsi.jpg
USATSI

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

With free agency set to begin five days after the World Series ends, two hitters that played for the Giants during the 2017 season have put their names on the open market.

Veteran third baseman Conor Gillaspie and longtime minor league outfielder Carlos Moncrief have both elected for free agency, according to Baseball America.

The 30-year-old Gillaspie appeared in 44 games for the Giants this past season. He hit just .168/.218/.288 with four doubles, two home runs and eight RBI. He was designated for assignment on August 3 and outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento on August 5. With the River Cats, Gillaspie hit .375 with four doubles in 15 games in August.

Prior to the 2017 season, Gillaspie signed a one-year, $1.4 million deal with the Giants.

As for Moncrief, the soon-to-be 29-year-old finally got his first call-up the majors this past season after eight and a half seasons in the minors. He debuted for the Giants on July 29. In 28 games, he hit .211/.256/.237 with one double and five RBI. While he didn't do much with the bat, Moncrief showed off a cannon for an arm when he patrolled right field.

Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches

righetti-dugout-usatsi.jpg
USATSI

Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches

SAN FRANCISCO — Late in a 98-loss season, general manager Bobby Evans met with members of the coaching staff to discuss new roles. The shakeup of the staff ended up being a stunning one. 

Pitching coach Dave Righetti was one of three coaches to be reassigned Saturday morning. After 18 seasons as pitching coach, Righetti will now serve as special assistant to the general manager. Bullpen coach Mark Gardner was given a “special assignment role to assist in pitching evaluations.” Assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will be a special assistant for baseball operations. 

The moves cap a 13-month run in which the coaching staff has taken much of the blame for a $200 million roster that was poorly constructed in places and played embarrassing baseball for long stretches of the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Third base coach Roberto Kelly was let go after the 2016 season and first base coach Billy Hayes was reassigned. More changes appear on the way. 

“It does raise the level of attention to change when you struggle as much as we have, but you’re always contemplating making changes to try to help keep pushing your guys and make sure you continue to have different perspectives and new voices and reflections on how to get the most out of them,” Evans said on a conference call. 

Throughout September, multiple coaches expressed concern about their future roles, but the Giants held off several weeks before announcing changes. At least two members of the staff were involved in managerial searches elsewhere, and third base coach Phil Nevin is reportedly still a candidate for the open job in Philadelphia. 

Evans confirmed that he has interviewed outside candidates for a hitting coach role, but he would not go so far as to say Hensley Meulens will be reassigned as well. He also would not speak to the future of Ron Wotus, although the longtime bench coach is expected to be mixed up in future changes as well. Evans indicated he would announce further moves after all the open managerial vacancies are filled.

For now, the Giants are in the process of trying to find a new pitching coach. They are focused on experienced outside candidates, and they have plenty of options, as several other teams have made changes this month. Evans hinted that he wants the next pitching coach to have a more analytical approach. 

Righetti's replacement will have massive shoes to fill. His run was the longest for a pitching coach in franchise history. The Giants, usually so reliant on pitching, finished 16th in the Majors with a 4.50 ERA, but it’s hard to see how Righetti takes the blame for that. Madison Bumgarner missed a chunk of the season after a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto had a brutal injury-plagued year, Matt Moore battled himself and had the worst ERA in the National League, and the bullpen struggled, with closer Mark Melancon pitching through an injury that required season-ending surgery. 

Righetti was credited with helping to develop a rotation and bullpen that won three titles, and the bond he shared with pitchers was on display during the final weekend of the year, when Matt Cain talked repeatedly about their close relationship and went straight for Righetti after he came off the field for the final time. While it’s often hard to figure out where to give credit, even in a down year for the staff, Righetti played a role in Sam Dyson’s resurgence, and he helped Ty Blach and Chris Stratton break in as big league regulars. 

“Ultimately a change for us in the clubhouse is really an opportunity just to put a new voice with our pitching staff and try to keep pushing to the heights that we aspire as an organization and a club,” Evans said. “Changes sometimes are needed as much for the sake of that new voice as anything, and I think that was really the priority here.”

Righetti will help Evans in a front office role. Evans admitted that Righetti’s “heartbeat is in uniform as a coach,” but said he was willing to take on a new role for an organization he loves. 

Gardner, a former Giants pitcher, had been on staff since 2003. He will now help to evaluate pitchers inside and outside the organization, and Evans said Gardner could serve an important role in evaluating trade options. Decker joined the big league staff in 2015 after a long run working in the minor leagues. The 2017 season was his 23rd with the organization. He will have a “blank canvas,” Evans said, working in different roles inside the organization. Decker will also help with draft preparation.