Giants notes: Free agents Derek Holland, Nick Hundley hope to return


Giants notes: Free agents Derek Holland, Nick Hundley hope to return

SAN FRANCISCO — Hunter Pence got to give a speech and ride off on a scooter. For other Giants, the end might have come without anyone knowing it, but two key veterans hope that’s not the case.

Pitcher Derek Holland reiterated before the game that he wants to return to San Francisco next season. Afterward, catcher Nick Hundley said the same. 

“This is an amazing place, a one-of-a-kind organization,” Hundley said. “Obviously we didn’t win a whole lot of games this month, but we were right in the thick of it up until the end of August. If we’re healthy, this team is capable of winning a World Series. If I’m able to add to that, I would definitely take the opportunity.”

The Giants do need to shake things up, but these are two decisions that could be easy. Hundley had a one-year, $2.5 million deal and something similar should be in the works. The staff is excited about Aramis Garcia and believes he could handle backup duty, but with Buster Posey rehabbing from major surgery, the preference is to have a veteran in-house, too. Holland made $2 million and gave the Giants a 3.57 ERA in 171 1/3 innings. He’s due a raise, and could be in line for a multi-year deal, but a reunion makes sense. 

--- The Giants finished 73-89 a year after losing 98 games. They’ll pick 10th in the draft. That’s a slot where they previously picked up Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum. This wasn’t how they wanted to end it, though. This was embarrassing. They gave up 14 runs in the first five innings. 

“No question, that’s the last way we wanted this thing to go out,” manager Bruce Bochy said. 

--- Hunter Strickland replaced Andrew Suarez in the third and continued the fireworks, giving up three earned in 1/3 of an inning. Strickland started this season as the closer and did a pretty decent job before punching a door and putting himself on the DL for two months. He finished it with diminished velocity and a 3.97 ERA. Strickland made $1.55 million in arbitration this season and is due a small raise for next year. Will the Giants want to pay a couple million for a right-hander who was stuck in mop-up duty down the stretch? 

Earlier in the day, Brian Sabean spoke with reporters and did not seem to indicate that the Giants plan to non-tender anyone notable, but the new VP/GM will get to make that decision. This will be an interesting one. 

“He never really got in sync when he came back,” Bochy said. “I mean, we’re talking about our closer and he just wasn’t quite right. It just looks like he needs a winter off to get completely healed up.”

--- The main story today was Hunter Pence. The funny story today was Brandon Crawford once again changing his teammates’ walk-up songs. 

Giants digging hole with first-inning woes, and they might not have solution

Giants digging hole with first-inning woes, and they might not have solution

PITTSBURGH -- Madison Bumgarner was mad at himself for digging too big a hole Friday night, and he certainly did just that. But as the Giants move past the 20-game mark, it's clear that it's another part of the team mostly digging the holes. 

The Giants are the only team in the Majors without a run in the first inning and they have scored first just six times in 21 games. When Bumgarner gave up four in the bottom of the first Friday, that was all it took. The Giants had not, of course, done any damage in the top of the inning. They would lose 4-1 on their first night with the Pirates. 

The first-inning woes have been there since the first at-bats of the season. The Giants are 6-for-66 in the first inning, and all six of the hits have been singles. They have just two walks in 21 first innings and have struck out 21 times. 

"Not scoring early again, that's making every game an uphill climb for us," manager Bruce Bochy said. 

Friday's script was familiar. After an 85-minute rain delay, Steven Duggar opened the night by striking out. He is 3-for-17 while leading off games, with seven strikeouts. Joe Panik, who is batting .193, also struck out and Buster Posey, batting .217, grounded out to second.  

Bochy said the staff is talking about changes that can be made, but they are limited by their personnel. Kevin Pillar also brings speed, but he's batting just .167. Gerardo Parra is at .224. Up and down the lineup, there is nobody hitting, or reaching base at a rate that screams "put me up near the top of the lineup!"

"There's not a lot that you can do at this point," Bochy said. "These are our guys and you can move them a spot or two. But wherever you hit in the order, those guys have to come through. You look at the back end of (Pittsburgh's) order and they did a pretty good job in the first inning."

Bumgarner retired the first two batters he faced before walking third baseman Jung Ho Kang, who entered batting just .130. Josh Bell singled and Francisco Cervelli hit a two-run double. The exit velocity barrage continued a bit longer, and singles by Pablo Reyes and JB Shuck made it 4-0 before the rain drops on the dugout seats had even had time to dry. Bumgarner threw 38 pitches in the inning. 

"They weren't all bad pitches but a lot of them were," he said. "You've got to give those guys credit. With two outs and nobody on, to score four, that's hard to do even in batting practice."

[RELATED: Marte, Gonzalez collide violently]

The first-inning blip was the only one for Bumgarner, who has always had a good time in this park. In his next five innings he allowed just two singles and struck out six. 

But the damage had been done. It was an uphill climb, and as they've done for most of a month now, the Giants didn't approach the summit.

Watch Pirates' Starling Marte, Erik Gonzalez collide violently vs. Giants

Watch Pirates' Starling Marte, Erik Gonzalez collide violently vs. Giants

There was a really scary moment in the top of the eighth inning between the Giants and Pirates on Friday night.

Giants infielder Yangeris Solarte popped a ball up between second base. Pirates center fielder Starling Marte and shortstop Erik Gonzalez converged on the ball and collided violently in center field.

Both players stayed down for several minutes. The Pirates' trainer raced out to check on both players and had to keep switching between Marte and Gonzalez since both were in considerable pain.

[RELATED: Duggar robs Musgrove of extra bases]

Gonzalez was able to walk off on his own power, but a cart was brought out to take Marte to the clubhouse.

The Pirates have yet to release an injury update on the players, but let's hope both players didn't suffer any type of serious injury.