Pagan, Vogelsong steer Giants to fifth consecutive win


Pagan, Vogelsong steer Giants to fifth consecutive win

SAN FRANCISCO Ryan Vogelsongs rut lasted two starts.Angel Pagan skidded on the shoulder for the better part of July.

They both had different triggers for setting themselvesright again. And without those course corrections, the Giants wouldve stood littlechance against the Atlanta Braves Friday night.

For Pagan, it was the move to the leadoff spot on Aug. 3.Since then, hes batting .391 and has scored 27 runs in 21 games. He had fourmore hits and crossed the plate three times to help the streaking Giantsovercome an early deficit in a 5-3 victory at AT&T Park.

For Vogelsong, it was a trip to the video room and a sessionwith pitching coach Dave Righetti following two rough outings in which he mighthave been giving away his pitches. Vogelsong had dismissed his eight-run,2.2-inning start against Washington as a fluke. But then after the Padresharassed him in three innings

With all those foul balls, I knew something had to be goingon, Vogelsong said. Something needed to be adjusted. My direction towardthe plate needed to get better. I was swinging off the ball, maybe showing theball too early.

Sure, Vogelsong allowed three home runs, which matched hiscareer high set April 20, 2004 at Pittsburgh. That day, the Cubs Alex Gonzalezgot him twice and Todd Walker also took him deep. (That was another life,Vogelsong said.)

This time, it was Jason Heyward in the first, FreddieFreeman in the second and Freeman again on the last pitch he threw in theseventh.

But in between, Vogelsong had life on his cutter andtwo-seamer again. He only allowed one other hit while leading the Giants totheir season high-tying fifth consecutive victory.

And the starters won all five, right? Vogelsong said.

And the starters won all five. Exactly right.

You wouldnt think that to be a rare feat, especially for apitching-rich organization like this one. But the Giants hadnt accomplishedthat since April 20-25, 2007. Back then, it was Russ Ortiz, Barry Zito, MattCain, Matt Morris and Noah Lowry.

April of 2007 might sound strangely familiar to you, and forgood reason. When the Giants finished their sweep in LA on Wednesday, it markedtheir first at Dodger Stadium since April 24-26, 2007. As it happened, Morrisand Lowry won the first two games of that series.

The lesson: It always begins with starting pitching. Always.

Vogelsong wasnt aware how rare it was for the starters towin five in a row. He was just glad to keep the streak alive.

Here lately, Im the only one not holding up my end of thebargain, he said. I just wanted a piece of the action.

Its all action all the time with Pagan, who said getting back to aleadoff mentality is what allowed him to keep a better approach. He's hittimg .514 with a .552 on-base percentage over an eight-game hitting streak, while scoring 28 runs in 21 games since moving back to the leadoff spot.

When youre a leadoff hitter, youre not there to hit ahome run, he said. Youre there to get a hit and get on base.

Heres how dedicated he is to that proposition: When heneeded a home run for the cycle, he didnt even try for it. He singled up themiddle, instead.

Well I hit a ball pretty good and it didnt go, saidPagan, of his triple off the bricks in the fourth. So why would I want to gofor that? I wanted to get on base again.

And again, and again, and again

This is the best Ive felt and I think its at the righttime, when the team needs it the most, Pagan said. When you know you can givethe pitcher two strikes and still be confident, thats where you want to be.

First place is a good place to be, too.

Right now were playing the best weve played all season, andwe have to keep it up, Pagan said. What other teams do, thats theirbusiness. Were in first place and weve got to protect that.

Report: Giants make trade offer for Giancarlo Stanton


Report: Giants make trade offer for Giancarlo Stanton

The hot stove is heating up. 

Giancarlo Stanton is the biggest name swirling in trade rumors and the Giants are reportedly pushing forward in their attempt to acquire the slugger. San Francisco's front office has proposed a trade to Miami for Stanton, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic

Details of what the Giants offered have not been reported yet. 

Stanton, who recently turned 28, is guaranteed $295 million over the next 10 seasons. His contract includes a full no-trade clause and an opt-out after 2020. 

On Thursday, Stanton was named the National League MVP after hitting .281 with a league-leading 59 home runs and 132 RBI. The last MVP to be traded in the offseason after winning the award was Alex Rodriguez from the Rangers to the Yankees before the 2004 season. 

How seven Giants prospects performed in the 2017 Arizona Fall League


How seven Giants prospects performed in the 2017 Arizona Fall League

The Arizona Fall League came to an end for seven Giants prospects on Thursday as the Scottsdale Scorpions (12-17-1) came up short from playing in Saturday's championship game. 

Let's take a look at how these seven names fared against some of the top young talent in all of baseball. 

The Hitters

As the Giants are linked to trade targets in center field like Billy Hamilton and Jackie Bradley Jr., a young in-house option only helped his case in the desert.

Steven Duggar likely would have seen the AT&T outfield this season, but his season was hindered by injuries, keeping him to only 44 games between three levels. With the Scorpions, Duggar took advantage of his opportunity with more at-bats. 

Duggar left Arizona with a .263/.367/.421 slash line over 20 games. The speedy lefty also stole nine bases and hit three home runs. Even if the Giants go for an experienced glove in center field this offseason and keep Duggar, the 24-year-old has also played 135 games in right field during his minor league career. 

For the second straight year, the Giants sent catcher Aramis Garcia to the AFL. And he's sure to be coming home much happier this go around with an up-and-down campaign.

Splitting time behind the plate with three other catchers, Garcia appeared in 13 games and slashed .259/.293/.333 and hit one home run. Garcia struggled to get one base with only one walk to 10 strikeouts, but showed his natural ability to drive runs in with 10 RBI. 

Rounding out the Giants' trio of bats they sent to Arizona is arguably their top prospect, but his time in the AFL was cut short. Chris Shaw only played in five games and hit .158. He dealt with a sore shoulder.

The Pitchers

The Giants sent two starting pitchers (Tyler Beede and Joan Gregorio) and two relievers (Tyler Cyr and D.J. Snelten) to the AFL. 

Pitching for the first time in nearly three months, Beede showed exactly why he's the Giants' top pitching prospect. Beede went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in four starts, but his final three show the potential he's full of -- 14 innings pitched, three earned runs, a 1.93 ERA, 10 strikeouts and only one walk. 

Gregorio, who was suspended this season for Performance Enhancing Drugs, pitched in eight games (three starts) for Scottsdale. He left with a 1-0 record and 5.87 ERA. In Triple-A, Gregorio went 4-4 with a 3.04 ERA this year over 13 starts. The 25-year-old presents an interesting arm that can help sooner than later in the bullpen. 

Cyr's stats don't look pretty (0-1, 5.63 ERA, 8 IP), but he's catching some attention. The right-hander was named to the Fall Stars Game and is most likely to start 2018 in Triple-A after converting 18 saves at Double-A in 2017. 

Snelten, a 6-foot-7 lefty, impressed in eight appearances out of the bullpen. He didn't allow an earned run until his final outing of the fall, bringing his ERA from a perfect 0.00 to 2.25 in 12 innings pitched.

After combining for a 2.20 ERA to go with an 8-1 record between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017, Snelten is a name to know as the Giants look to find more lefties for their bullpen.