Giants prospect Ryan Halstead keeps arm ready thanks to sister Paige

Giants prospect Ryan Halstead keeps arm ready thanks to sister Paige

Gabe Kapler leaned on positivity in his first camp as manager of the Giants, and while talking a few weeks ago about this hiatus, he said it's been encouraging to see how players are using family members to get creative and stay in shape. He'll surely get a kick out of what one of the organization's prospects is doing to keep his arm ready. 

Ryan Halstead, a pitcher in the upper minors, went somewhat viral this week when he posted a video of a game of catch. The right-hander is firing rockets across a residential street and they're easily being snagged by his sister, Paige.

She was the starting catcher at UCLA, where she won the 2019 NCAA softball championship. Paige also spent three summers playing for Team USA. 

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Ryan, 27, spent most of last season pitching for Double-A Richmond, and he had a good season while primarily serving as a reliever. He had a 3.53 ERA in 63 2/3 innings.

The 2015 draft pick has a 3.22 ERA overall in the minors with nearly a strikeout per inning, and he should have a good shot at reaching Triple-A whenever this season resumes. It's clear his arm will be ready to go. 

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Giants takeaways: What you might have missed in 6-2 loss vs. Dodgers


Giants takeaways: What you might have missed in 6-2 loss vs. Dodgers


Kevin Gausman had the best start of the year by a Giant, and one of the most dominant we've seen from any starter early on this season. But it wasn't enough for the Giants, who dropped a heartbreaker in the late innings and lost a series at Dodger Stadium.

Gausman was sitting in the upper 90s all afternoon but was pulled after just 80 pitches. He watched as Tyler Rogers gave up a three-run homer to A.J. Pollock and the Los Angeles Dodgers got another blast later from Mookie Betts, walking away with a 6-2 win. 

The Giants fell to 2-5 on this road trip with three games coming up against the Astros. Here are three things to know from one that truly hurt ... 

Made of Quality

The bar to clear for a quality start -- six innings, three earned runs -- is not a high one, but the Giants had not had one through 16 games, which is pretty remarkable. Gausman sailed past that mark in his fourth appearance as a Giant, but took a brutal no-decision. The right-hander left with a 2-0 lead and a runner on first in the seventh. A few minutes later, the Giants trailed. 

What was so notable about Gausman is how he did it. He was throwing gas, hitting 99 mph three times -- including 99.3 on his final pitch -- and averaging 97 with his four-seamer. That was his best average fastball since 2016. The final pitch was his hardest since June 9, 2018.

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Maybe Pump the Brakes a Little?

Rogers had a huge spring and was just as sharp in the second camp, but manager Gabe Kapler might be playing that card a bit too often. To be fair, Kapler doesn't have a lot of great bullpen options, but Rogers' appearance Sunday was his fifth against the Dodgers in 17 days, and even pitching two innings in Saturday's win.

At some point, that submarine delivery isn't as much of a surprise, and Pollock swung the score with a three-run shot on a hanging curveball. One pitch earlier, Pollock had walked a few steps toward first, thinking he had walked on an inside pitch. 

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Not Slowing Down

Mike Yastrzemski provided the offense, driving a two-run single into center off former Vanderbilt teammate Walker Buehler. Yastrzemski is eighth in the NL with 12 RBI, and one of the players he trails is a teammate, Donovan Solano (14).

Solano extended his hitting streak with a two-out single in the eighth inning. This was not a barrel for Donnie Barrels. He hit a slow roller to third with a launch angle of negative 46 degrees, exit velocity of 55 mph and hit probability of 17 percent, but it died on the grass and Solano easily beat Justin Turner's throw to first. 

The 14-game hitting streak is the longest by a Giant since Angel Pagan went 19 games in 2016. 

Those were the only two hits of the day for the Giants. 

Madison Bumgarner struggles again as Kevin Gausman shines for Giants

Madison Bumgarner struggles again as Kevin Gausman shines for Giants

The Arizona Diamondbacks signed Madison Bumgarner to a five-year, $85 million contract in December. Less than a week before Bumgarner agreed to continue his career in the desert, the Giants signed Kevin Gausman to a one-year, $9 million contract.

The two pitchers had much different results Sunday, with the one making $76 million less having a lot better day.

Bumgarner continued a troubling trend when he toed the rubber at PetCo Park. The longtime Giants ace got absolutely shelled by the San Diego Padres, allowing six earned runs and recording just six outs. With his fastball never coming close to 90 mph, Bumgarner allowed four home runs in two innings.

Through four starts in his D-backs career, there is something seriously off with Bumgarner.

Bumgarner topped out at 87.7 mph with his four-seam fastball against the Padres. Last season with the Giants, his average fastball speed was 91.4 mph. That big of a dip might be more than just mechanics for the veteran left-hander.

Whether it be health or pure wear-and-tear from years as the Giants' workhorse, the D-backs have to hope Bumgarner figures this out soon. At the same time, the Giants have to be happy with Gausman's game against the Dodgers.

Gausman, 29, allowed just one earned run on three hits over 6 1/3 innings. He became the first Giants pitcher to throw a quality start this season, and had six strikeouts on the day. While Bumgarner was getting crushed, Gausman was firing 99-mph pitches like: 

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Twice on the day, Gausman's fastball was registered at over 99 mph. He averaged 97 on his fastball, and his slowest one was 94.9 mph, according to Baseball Savant.

The Gausman contract continues to look like a steal for the Giants, while Bumgarner was on the wrong side of personal history in yet another rough outing early in his D-backs career.

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