Giants bullpen blows late 1-0 lead vs Astros for second straight game

Giants bullpen blows late 1-0 lead vs Astros for second straight game


SAN FRANCISCO — Twice in less than 24 hours, the Giants took a 1-0 lead into the late innings against the Houston Astros. Twice, they managed to lose.

A few hours after Will Smith gave up a three-run homer in the ninth, Ray Black was hit with a two-run shot by Tyler White in the eighth. The Giants lost 2-1 to the Astros, getting swept in a two-game series in which their starting pitchers threw 14 scoreless innings. That's hard to do. Here's what you need to know ... 

—- Black was given a high-leverage outing and made a mess of it. His streak of 10 1/3 hitless innings ended when Marwin Gonzalez smoked a leadoff double. Two batters later, Black threw 100 mph and 101 mph fastballs past White to get to 0-2. He elevated a 99 mph fastball and White hit a moonshot. 

—- Bumgarner matched Dereck Rodriguez with seven shutout innings. The Astros made Bumgarner work out of trouble, but he always had an answer. His final pitch may have been his best. With two outs and a runner on in the seventh, Bumgarner threw a filthy two-strike curveball that Alex Bregman couldn’t hold up on. 

—- After a slow July, Brandon Crawford has found something at the plate in recent days. His homer provided the only run Monday, and his double got the Giants going in the second inning a few hours later. Crawford raced home on Chase d’Arnaud’s single. 

—- D’Arnaud fouled a ball off his left knee in the fourth inning and crumpled in the batter’s box. He tried to run a bit and stay in the game, but he couldn’t do it. Alen Hanson replaced d’Arnaud and finished the at-bat, striking out. By the rules of the game, that strikeout counts against d’Arnaud. 

—- The Astros had two runners thrown out at the plate in the sixth inning. White hit a one-out triple and inexplicably tried to take home on a hard grounder to first. Buster Posey’s throw to the plate beat White by a mile. With two outs, Josh Reddick stole his way 90 feet from a run, but he tried to score on a wild pitch that didn’t get far from the plate. Bumgarner planted his knee in the dirt and took Nick Hundley’s throw, ending the inning.

Sources: Giants working to hire Justin Viele for Gabe Kapler's staff

Sources: Giants working to hire Justin Viele for Gabe Kapler's staff

SAN FRANCISCO -- For more than a decade, the staff in the Giants' dugout was as traditional as it gets, with longtime big league coaches serving under Bruce Bochy, who managed for 25 consecutive seasons. It appears the next staff will be the complete opposite.

The Giants have gone young and are working to bring in former Dodgers minor league hitting coach Justin Viele as one of their major league hitting coaches, multiple sources told NBC Sports Bay Area. Viele, 29, is expected to work with 33-year-old Donnie Ecker. While it's unclear what the hierarchy would be, the Giants have internally discussed the possibility of getting rid of traditional roles, and it's possible Ecker and Viele will work as a team instead of having one hitting coach and one assistant hitting coach. 

Viele served as hitting coach for the Low-A Great Lakes Loons in 2019 and the year before that was the hitting coach for the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes, where he worked with top prospect Gavin Lux. Viele is from Southern California but has Bay Area ties, having played at Santa Clara University. He later worked on his alma mater's coaching staff before joining the Dodgers, where he worked with Farhan Zaidi and Gabe Kapler. 

Like Ecker, who is coming over from the Reds, Viele has limited professional playing experience. He was drafted as a middle infielder and played 126 minor league games for the Orioles, a stint that made him a teammate of current Giants standout Mike Yastrzemski.

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It appears Viele will now serve as one of Yastrzemski's hitting coaches, continuing a trend for the Giants, who are trying to bring in younger coaches well-versed in analytics, biomechanics and player development. The Giants are expected to announce their staff early this week at the annual Winter Meetings, with Viele possibly joining Ecker and Brian Bannister, the 38-year-old Director of Pitching. Ron Wotus is the lone member of Bochy's staff who will work on Gabe Kapler's staff. 

MLB rumors: Yankees offer Gerrit Cole record seven-year, $245M contract

MLB rumors: Yankees offer Gerrit Cole record seven-year, $245M contract

Gerrit Cole is going to get paid. Everyone knew that headed into this offseason, but now we know the benchmark for his payday. 

The New York Times' Bob Klapisch reported Sunday that the Yankees offered the superstar pitcher a record-breaking, seven-year, $245 million contract. Those figures would surpass David Price's $217 million deal, and Zack Greinke's average annual value of $34.4 million per year. 

While Giants fans surely would love to see Cole pitching in San Francisco, it should be seen as a win if he does wind up in pinstripes. Cole, a Southern California native who just happens to be Brandon Crawford's brother-in-law, reportedly is being courted by the Dodgers and Angels as well. 

The Giants last faced Cole on May 22, 2018. The right-hander struck out eight batters over six innings in an 11-2 Astros win in Houston. In seven starts, Cole is 5-1 with a 3.15 ERA against the Giants. 

It's safe to say, the last thing San Francisco's front office wants to see is the 29-year-old returning to the NL to be a Dodger. The fewer times you face Cole in a season, the better. 

Cole taking his talents to the Bronx certainly would be a welcome sight for the A's, too. Sure, he still would be in the AL, but it definitely beats having him in the same division. 

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Oakland faced Cole twice last season, and he was brilliant in both starts, allowing only three earned runs over 13 innings to go with 15 strikeouts. He is 4-1 with a 3.08 ERA and 65 strikeouts over 50 2/3 innings in eight career starts against the A's. 

As Shohei Ohtani returns to the mound in 2020, the A's will have their hands full when they face the Angels. Adding Cole could be a disgusting cherry on top.