Worst first half in Giants history is complete; What comes next?

Worst first half in Giants history is complete; What comes next?

SAN FRANCISCO — We’ve been talking about this being two different teams for a full year now, but still, it’s remarkable. 

The Giants were 57-33 at the All-Star break in 2016. They are 34-56 after getting swept by the Marlins to close out the odd-year first half. With essentially the same roster, they have played 23 games worse. 

Hunter Pence, how is that explained?

“Baseball is crazy year to year,” he said, shaking his head. “A lot of things change. A lot of players that had good years last year have had tough years.”

That actually pretty much sums it up. Almost across the board, the Giants have been worse over the past calendar year than they were in the first three months of 2016, when they looked headed for another even-year parade. 

“It’s been a tough half,” manager Bruce Bochy said. “There’s no getting around it.”

It ended appropriately. The Giants rallied to tie Sunday’s game but couldn’t get the go-ahead hit. In the 11th, Brandon Crawford’s error set up a two-run homer by A.J. Ellis. Giancarlo Stanton followed with another homer in a weekend of destruction.

The sweep was Miami’s first here in five years, continuing a theme of the first half. Others come in and get healthy. The Giants never do. Their 56 losses before the break are a franchise record, topping the 55 losses by a 2008 squad that played five additional games. This goes much deeper, too. The Giants are 64-98 since the break last year. In their franchise’s long history, they have just two regular seasons of 98 losses. 

“You try to fix the hole in the dam and put your finger in it,” Bochy said, “And another one opens.”

What comes next? A four-day break and then the Giants will return to San Diego, where it all started going downhill last July. At the time, it looked like a blip for a contender. It now is clear that last year’s sweep at Petco was the beginning of something much bigger. 

As players rushed off to flights, a couple said they will try to loosen up and have more fun in the second half. Even that isn’t as easy as it sounds. 

“What comes first, the chicken or the egg?” Pence said, noting that you have much more fun when you’re winning. 

Pence, eternally the optimist, did find a silver lining. 

“The good news is it’s behind us,” he said of the first half. 

Dodgers lose Justin Turner to broken wrist after getting hit by pitch vs A's


Dodgers lose Justin Turner to broken wrist after getting hit by pitch vs A's

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles third baseman Justin Turner's broken left wrist is expected to heal without surgery, according to Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts.

Turner was hurt Monday when hit by a pitch from Oakland's Kendall Graveman.

Turner arrived at the Dodgers spring training facility with a cast over his wrist Tuesday morning and was scheduled to see a hand specialist for an estimate of the time he could miss.

"We know that it's not a surgery thing, it's just essentially time," Roberts said. "That's the initial thought. That could change but that's what I've heard."

Turner hit .322 with 21 homers and 71 RBIs last year and was a first-time All-Star. He had 14 RBIs against the Chicago Cubs in the NL Championship Series and was voted MVP.

The Dodgers appear poised to move Logan Forsythe from second base to third in Turner's absence and have Enrique Hernandez and Chase Utley share time at second.

"It obviously makes a lot of sense to have Logan over there a lot more at third, and to kind of put together some guys at second base, and leave Chris (Taylor) in center field," Roberts said.

Backup catcher Austin Barnes also could see time at second base.

Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts


Giants' outfield picture becoming clearer after latest round of roster cuts

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants moved closer to setting their opening day roster on Monday when they made a significant round of cuts to their spring training roster. 

A total of 15 players were reassigned or optioned, bringing the total to 31 players remaining in camp. Many of the players cut Monday entered the spring competing for jobs. 

In the outfield, Mac Williamson and Austin Slater were optioned to Triple-A and Chris Shaw was reassigned to minor league camp. Williamson had a huge spring and was the likeliest of the trio to push for an opening day spot, but he'll start his year in the minors. Steven Duggar was not among the cuts, and he remains an option to make the team, with the Giants also looking at Gregor Blanco, Gorkys Hernandez and Jarrett Parker for backup spots. Hernandez and Parker are out of minor league options. 

Tyler Beede was optioned and Andrew Suarez was reassigned to minor league camp, leaving three players vying for the final two rotation spots. Ty Blach and Chris Stratton have been the favorites all along, although both struggled the last time out and Derek Holland has had a strong spring. 

Both backup catchers -- Trevor Brown and Hector Sanchez -- were reassigned, along with Orlando Calixte, who saw time in the big leagues last year. Joan Gregorio, Jose Valdez, Justin O'Conner and Kyle Jensen were also reassigned. Chase d'Arnaud, who appeared to be making a strong push, was on the list, too, leaving Josh Rutledge as the only competition for Kelby Tomlinson for the final infield spot. 

Finally, Derek Law and Roberto Gomez were optioned to Triple-A. Josh Osich remains and appears the frontrunner for a bullpen job. Julian Fernandez, the Rule 5 pick, also remains in camp. 

The Giants break camp on Friday.