Giants make trade to help bullpen, but there's no fix for slumping lineup

Giants make trade to help bullpen, but there's no fix for slumping lineup

MILWAUKEE — The Giants can dream about what their new right-hander might become. Sam Dyson is a former closer, a right-hander with 99 mph in his arm, and a proven track record in the majors. If he gets back to form, the Giants will have a setup man for Mark Melancon, and they’ll have acquired him virtually for free. 

It’s not hard to picture a reliever with a 10.80 ERA turning it around. It happens all the time. It’s much harder to hit that kind of jackpot with position players, so there’s no help coming for this lineup that continues to need it. 

The Giants nearly got shut out Tuesday, settling for a 5-2 loss thanks to a ninth-inning rally that was cut short just as quickly as it started. There are problems every night, some the same and some different. On Tuesday, it was the double plays. The Giants hit into three of them in the first seven innings against Chase Anderson. In another inning, Eduardo Nuñez was caught stealing on a strikeout pitch to Brandon Belt. 

“Even when we ran a guy to stay out of (the double play) that was a double play,” Bochy said. “Those are rally-killers.”

There were not many rally-starters. The Brewers had their share, though, getting 10 hits off Matt Cain, who has an ERA north of eight on the road. Asked if there’s any rhyme or reason why he is so dominant at home and so hittable on the road, Cain was brief. 

“No,” he said, the answer lingering until the interview finished. 

Cain suffered from some hard luck when Eric Sogard’s two-out flare dropped for a two-run double. But he had already allowed a run to that point and he would allow two more. With the way Corey Knebel got out of the ninth-inning jam, it probably didn’t matter either way. 

Dyson has that kind of power stuff, but his strikeout rate is way down and his walk and home run rates have skyrocketed. Bochy said he had to check with general manager Bobby Evans to get specifics on Dyson’s arrival, but he’ll be part of the bullpen soon, and the Giants will try to work some magic. 

They have not hit with reclamation projects on the offensive side recently. Perhaps they can still bring the best out of a power pitcher. 

“Here’s a guy who has a lot of experience pitching late in ballgames,” Bochy said. “It’s a good arm. He’s gotten off to a rough start there in Texas and we’re hoping a change of scenery serves him well.”

Jeff Samardzija has shoulder injection at start of third DL stint


Jeff Samardzija has shoulder injection at start of third DL stint

OAKLAND — Asked Friday afternoon to describe his latest symptoms, Jeff Samardzija smiled.

“It’s a little bit of dead arm, like if your older brother cold-cocked you in the arm,” he said. 

Childhood disagreements don’t generally come with a big needle, though. Samardzija had a PRP injection over the break as the Giants continue to try and find a solution to shoulder problems that have put him on the disabled list for a third time. The Giants are listing their No. 5 starter as “TBA” for now, and manager Bruce Bochy said he hasn’t ruled Samardzija out, but the right-hander won’t throw a bullpen session until Sunday at the earliest, so it seems overly optimistic that he'll start next Wednesday. 

Samardzija himself was optimistic while describing an ailment that once again flared up during his second start back from the DL. He said he is spending time with pitching coach Curt Young and the training staff and trying to find out what specific activities are leading to issues. He already has changed his work in the weight room and may adjust his throwing and batting practice routines. 

“The silver lining is that it’s nothing new,” he said. “We’re dealing with the same thing as before and trying to avoid those flareups.”

Samardzija has a 6.25 ERA in 10 starts this season and the Giants don’t have many more to throw at him as they try to get him right. They're trying to stay in the race, after all. If that doesn’t happen this season, Samardzija said he’ll overhaul his offseason routine to try and avoid another year like this. Doctors have not recommended surgery to this point. 

--- A day before Samardzija had an injection, Buster Posey had cortisone shot into his hip. Posey was in the lineup Friday as the catcher and said he felt good. He cautioned, though, that he won’t know if the injection worked until he gets out there for a few games. Posey played through hip discomfort for most of the first half and hit just five homers. 

--- Evan Longoria started a rehab assignment with Triple-A Sacramento and could be activated as soon as Tuesday in Seattle. The Giants will face James Paxton that night, and could certainly use Longoria’s right-handed bat. Joe Panik (groin strain) could start his rehab assignment next week. He took batting practice on Friday. 

--- Brandon Belt was placed on the paternity list and Ryder Jones was brought down from Sacramento for a spot start against righty Edwin Jackson. The Belts are expecting their second child this weekend. Bochy said Belt will be back and in the lineup on Saturday night.  

--- Here are our latest Power Rankings, with updates on former Giants Cory Gearrin, George Kontos, Matt Duffy, Christian Arroyo and others. 

Down on the Farm: Giants rising prospect Shaun Anderson makes Triple-A debut


Down on the Farm: Giants rising prospect Shaun Anderson makes Triple-A debut

In the land of I Want It Now, for some godforsaken reason we’re born to grade things the moment they happen. For sports, this is especially true with trades.

Nearly one year ago on July 26, 2017, the Giants received right-handed pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos from the Red Sox in exchange for infielder Eduardo Nunez. And on Thursday night, Anderson made his Triple-A debut for the Sacramento River Cats. 

Anderson tossed five innings for the River Cats in Fresno in what would be an 8-7 loss in 10 innings to the Grizzlies. The 23-year-old allowed two runs — both on a two-run home run in his final inning of work — four hits, three walks, and impressively struck out six batters. 

Throughout his first outing in Triple-A, Anderson never ran into trouble. Only one batter reached second base, besides the home run, and that was due to a walk in the bottom of the first inning. A walk hurt him again in the fifth inning as he let the leadoff batter reach base on four balls before Antonio Nunez, the No. 9 hitter, followed with his two-run shot.

On the year, Anderson now has 99 strikeouts to 25 walks in 99 innings between Double-A and Triple-A. His 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings are up from 7.8 last season and his 2.3 walks per nine innings are slightly down from 2.4 in 2017. The long ball has hurt Anderson this season as he has already allowed 10 home runs this season to nine all of last year. 

Following Anderson in the River Cats’ loss were four pitchers who have all found time with the Giants this season. They didn’t fare as well as the prospect. 

Former top pick Tyler Beede relieved Anderson in the sixth inning, but his control issues hurt him again with two walks and only one out recorded. Pierce Johnson followed Beede and walked two without allowing a run. He also struck out five batters in 1 2/3 innings. The night to forget came for lefty Josh Osich. Up 6-3, Osich blew allowed four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning and now has a 5.40 ERA. Derek Law took the loss, going 1 2/3 innings before Fresno walked it off in extra innings.

In 11 days, Anderson went from pitching in Richmond for the Flying Squirrels, to Washington D.C. for the USA All-Stars in the All-Star Futures Game, to Fresno for the River Cats. Keep your grades and enjoy the summer. What matters is Anderson’s weaving road of six different teams in two years, including representing the USA, has him right on track for San Francisco.