Giants

Giants projected to have top-10 defense in 2019 MLB season by this stat

Giants projected to have top-10 defense in 2019 MLB season by this stat

Offense is still a question mark with Opening Day two weeks away.

No, scratch that. Offense is still a concern with Opening Day two weeks away. But the Giants' defense can be one of the best in baseball in the 2019 season. 

By projected fielding runs, a stat created by FanGraphs, the Giants are projected to have the eighth-best defense in Major League Baseball. 

The Giants ranked 12th in MLB by defensive runs saved (DRS) with 32 last season. But by defensive runs above average (DEF), which measures a player's value relative to league average, San Francisco slid all the way down to 24th with -19.1 DEF. 

It all starts in the infield for the Giants. Buster Posey's health behind the plate will be a big factor in the team's defense. He's expected to be ready to catch on Opening Day, and still had 10 DRS behind the plate in 2018 while being limited to 105 games played.

Up the middle, the combination of Joe Panik at second base and Brandon Crawford at shortstop are back for another year. Crawford's run of three straight Gold Glove awards came to an end last season, while Panik last won the award in 2016.

When healthy, they still form one of the best defensive duos in baseball. 

And then there are the corners. In his first year with the Giants, three-time Gold Glove winner Evan Longoria recorded a career-high 15 errors, but he did have 7 DRS. At first base, Brandon Belt could have been in line for his first Gold Glove if it wasn't for injuries. He had a career-high 13 DRS in 2018. 

The biggest difference in the Giants' defense this season could be their outfield. Having a full season with Steven Duggar in center field should play dividends for San Francisco. He was worth 4 DRS in only 41 games. 

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Plus, the signings of Cameron Maybin, Gerardo Parra and Drew Ferguson should secure solid defense as well. 

Once again, the Giants will likely struggle to put a crooked number on the scoreboard. But their defense can play a large role in them winning extra games.

Bruce Bochy reacts to quirk at Oracle Park he had never seen before

Bruce Bochy reacts to quirk at Oracle Park he had never seen before

Bruce Bochy has seen just about everything since he started managing in 1995.

But in the Giants' 5-3 loss to the Brewers on Sunday, Bochy witness something he had never seen before.

"First time I've seen it," Bochy said. "First time."

In the second inning, reigning National League MVP Christian Yelich roped a Jeff Samardzija pitch to right field. The ball skipped to the wall and then it disappeared.

Right fielder Kevin Pillar threw up his arms, the universal signal to the umpires that the ball has gone out of play.

But a ground rule double in right field at Oracle Park? That seems hard considering the height of the wall.

In this case, the ball bounced perfectly between the archway gates and into the standing-room only section under the out-of-town scoreboard where a fan picked up the ball.

First base umpire John Libka ran out to see what happened and once Pillar explained the situation, Yelich was awarded two bases. Ben Gamel, who was on first base, was awarded third base.

"I was a little concerned," Bochy said. "But Kevin, with his experience, he did the right thing instead of trying to dig it out."

Samardzija was able to strike out Ryan Braun to strand Gamel and Yelich.

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Oracle Park is in its 20th year of existence. Bochy is in his 13th and final year as Giants manager. Somehow, after all of Bochy's games in the ballpark on the shores of McCovey Cove, he saw something new.

"I've never seen that," Bochy said. "I didn't know what happened until the replay you could see it, where it went through the cushion."

Giants feeling good about themselves, love how they played on homestand

Giants feeling good about themselves, love how they played on homestand

For the Giants, this season isn't about contending for a playoff spot. It's about doing the small things right and building towards future success.

One thing manager Bruce Bochy wants his team to work on is playing better at Oracle Park.

Prior to the just-completed eight-game homestand, the Giants were 10-18 at home. But against the Dodgers, Padres and Brewers -- three quality clubs -- the Giants took five of the eight games.

"I think you look at it as a pretty good homestand," Bochy told reporters after the game. "We would have loved to have finished it off today ... and we could have, we had our chances. But we took two series against two good teams, so good bounce back off a tough series."

The Giants lost two of three to the Dodgers last weekend, but swept a two-game series with the Padres earlier this week. Then, this weekend, they had a chance to sweep the NL Central-leading Brewers before losing 5-3 on Sunday.

"So, better at home, that's what we've been looking for," Bochy said. "Hopefully when we get back it's the same thing, but now we got to hit the road here against some good teams. I like the way we're pitching, keeping it close and we are creating those chances and that's what you need to do. You do enough of it, as I said, odds are somebody's going to come through for you."

Jeff Samardzija started against Milwaukee Sunday and was tagged with four earned runs in five innings.

Despite taking the loss, Samardzija echoed Bochy's feeling that the team is on the right track.

"We're playing good ball right now," Samardzija told reporters. "I think we even showed it today. There were a couple situations there that definitely on my end, if we get out of there with a zero, it's probably a little bit different of a game and we had our opportunities."

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The Giants head down to LA to begin a four-game series with the rival Dodgers on Monday. After that, they head to Arizona for a three-game series before returning home next week to take on the Rockies.

"I love the way we're playing," Samardzija said. "We'll learn a lot about ourselves here in this next week."