Giants

Giants get blown out, but young right-hander makes a statement vs D'backs

Giants get blown out, but young right-hander makes a statement vs D'backs

PHOENIX — Matt Moore got ambushed so early and so thoroughly that both teams might as well have gone home after two innings. Luckily for Reyes Moronta, that’s not how this works.

The rookie took advantage of mop-up duty and got the Diamondbacks before they — like the Giants — replaced all their best players. Moronta struck out Paul Goldschmidt and J.D. Martinez in his one inning of work, and after a seeing-eye single, he whiffed Brandon Drury, too. Goldschmidt, a perennial MVP candidate, watched a 96 mph fastball dot the outside corner. Martinez, the hottest right-handed bat in the league, swung through a slider. 

In an 11-4 loss to the Diamondbacks, that was the bright spot. It was also potentially a sign of things to come from the young right-hander. 

“He’s trying to make a statement, isn’t he?” manager Bruce Bochy said. “This kid is locating with great stuff. He’s got no fear, either. He doesn’t care who is up there — he works it to both sides of the plate.”

The 24-year-old has nine strikeouts in 5 2/3 September innings, with one run allowed. Earlier this week, Bochy and staff members met with him to give him a plan for the offseason. The Giants have made it clear they would like Moronta to tighten up a bit, and if he does work on his conditioning, he’ll probably be fighting for an opening day job next spring when the Giants return here to the Phoenix area. 

Moronta represented the good on this night. For Moore, it was all bad. He gave up eight runs in 1 1/3 innings, with J.D. Martinez chasing him with a second-inning slam. Moore said he was too amped up for that early in the game, and he was missing his spots badly. 

Moore had thrown better in recent weeks, and because of that, Bochy hopes to get him back on the mound in a relief role this weekend. He doesn’t want one of next year’s starters to go into the offseason with such a bad taste in his mouth. 

“I hadn’t had a chance to talk to him yet, but that’s kind of taking the words out of my mouth,” Moore said. “Obviously the last start of the season, this is not what I want to sit on heading into the break.”

Giants walked off by Reds in 11th for second straight loss

Giants walked off by Reds in 11th for second straight loss

CINCINNATI — The first night at the Great American Ball Park wasn’t what you would expect. The Giants and Reds took a 1-1 tie deep into the night in one of the league’s best hitters parks before Phillip Ervin took Ray Black deep in the 11th.

The Giants lost their second straight after a hot start to this trip. They are 2-2 on what they felt would be a trip that could get them back into the NL West race. Here’s what else you need to know from a disappointing night... 

—- The lineup did absolutely nothing against Anthony DeSclafini, who entered with a 4.46 ERA. He was finally knocked out in the eighth when the Giants put two on with two outs, but Buster Posey tapped out to short. 

—- The Giants couldn’t have asked for much more from Casey Kelly, an emergency starter after Dereck Rodriguez strained his hamstring. Two days after pitching the 12th in Los Angeles, Kelly gave up one run over 4 1/3 innings. He allowed nine hits — eight singles — but repeatedly wiggled out of trouble. It helped that he picked Billy Hamilton off.

—- Kelly shared a cool moment with his dad, Pat, the bench coach for the Reds. The two made eye contact before the first pitch and saluted each other. 

Why Dereck Rodriguez's injury hits outside-looking-in Giants at worst time

Why Dereck Rodriguez's injury hits outside-looking-in Giants at worst time

SAN FRANCISCO — Your view of which side was to blame Tuesday night depends almost entirely on which side of the Giants-Dodgers rivalry you grew up on. That much was made clear over the past three days, both in the aftermath of the mini-brawl and when the punishments were handed down Thursday. 

At this point, it doesn’t really matter how much blame to place with either party. The only thing that matters for the Giants is that for the second consecutive year, they found themselves mixed up in a silly skirmish that cost them a player. This time around, the price is steeper for the team, both because of the player involved and the circumstances of the season. 

A year ago, Michael Morse’s career ended with a concussion suffered when Jeff Samardzija crashed into him seconds after Hunter Strickland threw at Bryce Harper. Morse was put on the DL and soon found himself retired, but with a .194 average on a terrible team, he wasn’t going to stick around much longer anyway. Morse admitted to USA Today earlier this year that he looks back on that stretch as “playing with house money.”

This season’s injury will have a far greater impact, even though the hamstring strain Dereck Rodriguez suffered was announced as just a Grade 1. The timing couldn’t be worse for the Giants, who are on the fringes of the playoff race, sure, but are far from the 98-loss pace they were on when Morse went down last season. They still have hopes of making a run. 

The staff got together in Los Angeles and went away from manager Bruce Bochy’s tradition, using the off day to skip the fifth starter spot. That had Rodriguez lined up to face the Reds on Friday night, with the hope that the Giants could build off the momentum from the Dodgers series. He was going to face the lowly Mets next week, too. Those were two very good opportunities for road wins. 

Instead, it’ll be Casey Kelly on Friday, and the Giants will piece it together from there. The rotation is weakened with the loss of a dominant rookie who was soaking up innings like an ace, and the repercussions surely will be felt in the bullpen at some point on this important road trip.

The Giants have no margin for error this season, and they already have found themselves reeling from things like Madison Bumgarner being hit by a liner, Brandon Belt’s appendix acting up, Evan Longoria getting drilled by a pitch, Joe Panik spraining his thumb on a tag, and Mac Williamson suffering a concussion when he ran over a bullpen mound. 

There was blame to be placed Tuesday, but this also is another bad break. Rodriguez was the first from the dugout to reach the scrum, doing what players do dozens of times a year without injury, and he appeared fine as he hopped around the outside of the altercation. Two days later, the Giants admitted their latest beef with Yasiel Puig had come at a costly price.

The Giants will hope Rodriguez can return on the next homestand, but this is a blow to his Rookie of the Year campaign and a big shot to a roster that now has just three healthy starters and really could have used two more Rodriguez starts over the next week. Chris Stratton is an option to return, and Ty Blach is available for spot-start duty. Tyler Beede is on the minor league DL, so you can cross him off. Perhaps Shaun Anderson is thrown into a playoff push. Management surely spent the flight to Cincinnati trying to figure all that out instead of enjoying a successful and dramatic series at Dodger Stadium that was highlighted by Tuesday's shoving match. 

An hour after the shoving had ended, catcher Nick Hundley said he hoped the incident would bring the team closer together. 

“This is a tight-knit group,” he said. “We’ll feed off that. What a great win.”

The next night, the Giants lost in extra innings. They now have lost at least two starts from a player who was the best part of a season forever stuck around the .500 mark.

It doesn’t really matter who is to blame at this point. The simple truth is that the Giants have been involved in several of these incidents the last five years, and they finally paid a steep on-field price.