Giants

Down on the Farm: Joey Bart goes deep, Giants prospect Rincones wins All-Star Game MVP

Down on the Farm: Joey Bart goes deep, Giants prospect Rincones wins All-Star Game MVP

The Joey Bart Show continues, with each episode more exciting than the last. 

For his fantastic July, the Giants' top prospect was named Northwest League Player of the Month on Monday. One day later, he was just showing off. 

Bart started behind the dish and batted third Tuesday night in the Northwest League-Pioneer League All-Star Game. In his first at-bat, Bart showed off his power stroke that has caught everyone's attention. 

After fouling off three pitches, Bart dug out a 2-2 offering and hammered a three-run blast just to the right of dead-center field. The knock gave the Northwest League a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. 

That was just the beginning of a big game for Bart. His next at-bat, Bart just missed going yard for the second time on the night. Bart hit a rocket of a line drive off the top of the right field wall, resulting in a single. 

On the day, Bart went 2-for-3 with the home run and single, three RBI and one run scored. 

Bart dominated his first month in the minors to earn top honors with a .333 batting average, 1.126 OPS and nine home runs. Somehow, he's been even hotter to start August. In his first four games this month, Bart is batting .412 with two doubles and two triples. If you include the All-Star Game, he is 9-for-20 this month. 

While Bart had yet another big night at the plate, it was actually his Salem-Keizer teammte who stole the show for the Northwest League in a 13-10 loss to the Pioneer League. 

Diego Rincones, batting fifth and playing left field, won Northwest League MVP. The 19-year-old went 4-for-5 with two doubles and two runs scored. He also nailed a runner out at the plate with Bart making the tag. 

"I felt really good having [Bart] there behind the plate and just wanted to make a really good throw," Rincones said to MiLB.com. "I feel really happy about [the MVP award] because I can play here. I felt really good about the game and was trying to do 100 percent."

Rincones is batting .357 with four home runs, 10 doubles and an .876 OPS this season for the Volcanoes. 

Giants pitchers dig too deep a hole for hitters in loss to Nationals

Giants pitchers dig too deep a hole for hitters in loss to Nationals

WASHINGTON D.C. -- The Giants trailed by seven runs at the beginning of the ninth inning Wednesday night. About 15 minutes later, Sean Doolittle was on the mound and Reyes Moronta was hurrying to get hot in the visiting bullpen.

A spirited comeback fell short when Evan Longoria popped up with two on, capping a 9-6 loss. Those kinds of rallies leave you feeling better about your night. They also leave you with plenty of regrets. The main ones on Wednesday: Jeff Samardzija gave up two homers in the first and Travis Bergen allowed two more in the seventh.

"We just dug ourselves too big a hole," manager Bruce Bochy said. 

Samardzija had not allowed a homer in his six previous starts, including three strong ones to start this season. That was a big deal for a pitcher who once led the league in homers allowed and gave up 30 bombs in another season. But on this night, the Nationals jumped on two bad two-seamers in the first. 

Juan Soto got one that leaked up and in and crushed a no-doubter to right, giving the Nationals an early 2-0 lead. Two batters later, Howie Kendrick did similar damage to a two-seamer that again was in the happy zone. Samardzija said he'll go back to the drawing board, noting he felt too quick with his delivery. 

"It was a battle out there," he said. "Especially early."

The Giants lost for the 11th time in their first 19 games, and while this one was unfamiliar in terms of power on both sides -- they hit two homers in the ninth -- the comeback was something they've become used to. The lineup makes a habit of coming through late, and on most nights the regret is that there wasn't enough production early. This time the hole was too deep because of the pitching, but Samardzija hoped that ninth inning would help out in the series finale. The Nationals ended up using three relievers in the inning, including their closer. 

[RELATED: Braves lose their closer; Could Giants be trade partner?]

"It's not surprising," Samardzija said. "It was great to see. You get into the bullpen and even in a loss you make them get a few guys up, a few more than they wanted to. Those things carry over."

Could Giants trade bullpen arm to Braves after Arodys Vizcaino injury?

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AP

Could Giants trade bullpen arm to Braves after Arodys Vizcaino injury?

The Giants don't have a bonafide closer. They do, however, have several quasi-closers who have filled that role in the past, or possibly could do so in the future.

Will Smith, Mark Melancon, Sam Dyson, Tony Watson and Reyes Moronta have combined to post a 1.82 ERA and 1.03 WHIP in 39 2/3 innings, giving San Francisco what ranks as one of the best bullpens in all of baseball. The Giants' relievers rank first overall in WAR (plus-1.6), according to FanGraphs.

With the emergence of Trevor Gott (plus-0.3) and Travis Bergen (plus-0.2), the Giants suddenly have an abundance of good-but-not-great options from both sides of the mound in the later innings.

The Atlanta Braves, however, suddenly have one fewer option, and it's a big loss. The team announced Wednesday that closer Arodys Vizcaino had season-ending shoulder surgery.

Of the Giants and Braves, one team seems significantly more likely to make a run at the postseason than the other, and it's not the one that has scored the third-fewest runs in all of baseball.

San Francisco could certainly use an influx of youth and talent into all levels of the organization. Although a potential trade for one of the Giants' aforementioned quasi-closers wouldn't net a ton in return, the Braves entered the season with the third-best farm system in the majors, according to MLB.com.

[RELATED: Why Giants envision 'great comeback' from injury for Bart]

The Giants' bullpen has surpassed expectations and been a pleasant surprise, and yet, San Francisco has been below .500 since Opening Day. They're not going to contend this season, and if they're going to a year or two from now, a call to the Braves is the kind the Giants should be making.