Giants

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 4-1 loss to Cubs

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants' 4-1 loss to Cubs

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — The rain stayed away Tuesday after an initial delay of just over an hour. Once the first pitch was thrown, the Giants you watched over the previous week pulled a similar disappearing act. 

The lineup had no answer for Jon Lester, who threw a 99-pitch complete game and led the Cubs to a 4-1 win in two hours and five minutes. On the other side, the Cubs bashed three homers off Johnny Cueto, who still hasn’t found that 2016 groove. 

Here are five things to know from Wrigley, where tarp management is no longer a problem … 

--- Cueto gave up three homers for the first time since joining the Giants. It started with Kyle Schwarber’s 470-foot blast onto Sheffield that the Cubs said was the first to reach the street since 2014. The pitches Schwarber, Jason Heyward and Anthony Rizzo crushed had one thing in common: All were left right over the heart of the plate. 

--- Cueto became just the fourth Giants pitcher in the last 15 years to strike out at least eight but also give up three homers. Jeff Samardzija did it earlier this season against the Diamondbacks.

--- Addison Russell started a double play on Brandon Crawford in the second inning that gave Crawford a taste of what it’s like to hit a ball up the middle against the Giants. A year ago, Russell led NL shortstops in the SABR Defensive Index, which is a chunk of Gold Glove voting. This year, he leads the NL with nine Defensive Runs Saved; Crawford is at four. Personally I think Cincinnati’s Zack Cozart is the second best defensive shortstop in the NL, but Russell is certainly the guy who is the biggest threat to Crawford winning a third straight Gold Glove. 

--- The Lester Yips thing gets talked about quite a bit … but it should probably be talked about more. It’s simply incredible that one of the best pitchers in the world refuses to throw to first. Lester didn’t even move off the mound when Buster Posey hit a slow roller in the second, forcing his catcher to make a much tougher play. In the seventh Posey hit a similar ball and this time Lester had no choice; he fielded the ball and threw underhanded to first.

--- Josh Osich did not shave his mustache, he simply grew the rest out until he had a beard. It’s the smarter way to go. This way Osich still has the stache in his back pocket if the team needs some luck. He pitched a scoreless eighth, striking Schwarber out with a nasty slider.

 

POLL: Giants memorable moments -- Ishikawa's HR wins '14 Pennant vs. Winning '12 World Series

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AP

POLL: Giants memorable moments -- Ishikawa's HR wins '14 Pennant vs. Winning '12 World Series

NBC Sports Bay Area is looking back at the Giants' 60 Memorable Moments since the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco. Tune into Giants Pregame Live at 6 p.m. to see the next two moments you can vote on! Then, after the Giants and Rockies conclude on Saturday, tune into Postgame Live to see which moment will move on.

1. Travis Ishikawa's walk-off homer wins 2014 NL Pennant (Eight-time winner -- Defeated Tim Lincecum strikes out 10 in 2010 World Series clincher)

(From former Giants third base coach and current NBC Sports Bay Area analyst Tim Flannery)

After winning a one-game Wild Card showdown in Pittsburgh and then dramatically defeating the heavily favored Washington Nationals 3 games to 1, we found ourselves one series away from another trip to the World Series. After four tough fought games against the St. Louis Cardinals, we were leading the NLCS 3 games to 1 and back in San Francisco with our ace Madison Bumgarner on the mound with a chance to make history once again.

Bum would be facing the Cards veteran ace Adam Wainwright, who was very familiar pitching win-or-go-home games. The Cards struck first,  scoring one in the 3rd inning, but Joe Panik hit a two-run homer to take the lead and get the packed house in China Basin on their feet and going wild. The Cards came right back to quiet the crowd and steal back the momentum with two homers of their own and take back the lead 3- 2. Bumgarner and Wainwright both went into shut down mode retiring the rest of the hitters they saw. With the Cardinals leading by one, relief specialist Pat Neshek took over in the 8th only to surrender a huge pinch-hit homer to Michael Morse who went down and hooked a slider up and out to left field to tie the game.

Santiago Casilla took over in the 9th and after loading the bases, Jeremy Affeldt came in once again and shut down the Cardinals and keep the game tied into the bottom of the 9th. 

With Michael Wacha taking the mound for the Cardinals, the crowd at AT&T came to their feet knowing one run would send us to our 3rd World Series in the last five years. Pablo Sandoval singled to start the inning and with one out, Brandon Belt walked. Joaquin Arias pinch ran for Sandoval. Travis Ishikawa came to the plate to hit and with the count 2-0, he went down and crushed a low, sinking fastball to right field hitting a line drive that looked like it had a chance to get over the head of the right fielder. As the third base coach, I immediately checked my runner at second base, and Árias did the correct thing, going half way on the ball in the air. When I looked back to find the ball, everything went into slow motion and deftly quiet, at least in my head. Then I realized the ball was over the outfielder and we were going to win the Pennant.

At that moment, the quiet in my head erupted into total chaos as the ball continued into the seats for a walk-off, Pennant winning moment that would be part of history forever. Bedlam broke out with Ishikawa running around the bases with his teammates running down the line with him jumping and screaming. Jake Peavy sprinted by me and ran on the field to jump on Travis at second base thinking he hit a double, not a homer to win it. Waiting at home plate, the rest of the team was delirious waiting on Ishikawa to run through the obstacles of people, flying helmets and tears until he touched home plate and sent the Giants to the World Series and his legacy into the history books forever right next to the Bobby Thompson’s “Shot Heard ‘round the World” as the “Giants win the Pennant, the Giants win the Pennant, the Giants win the Pennant.” 

Fans, friends and family danced and partied on the field and then into the Clubhouse to celebrate all night, still not believing what had just taken place. A very surreal moment that will never be forgotten.

VS.

2. Giants sweep Detroit to win 2012 World Series thanks to Marco Scutaro's game-winning hit

(From Alex Pavlovic)

The Giants fought so hard to stay alive early on in the 2012 postseason, but the final steps to a second title in three years ended up being relatively painless. 

After overcoming a 3-1 deficit in the NLCS, the Giants swept the powerful Detroit Tigers, clinching the Series with a 4-3 extra-innings win in Detroit. The Game 4 victory was the seventh straight for the Giants, who outscored the Cardinals and Tigers 38-7 during that stretch. 

"I'm just glad the whole world got to see what this team is about," Ryan Vogelsong said after the World Series. "Starting with Game 5 of the NLDS, we played our best baseball of the season. I always knew we were capable of this."

Appropriately, the final victory came with a comeback. The Giants trailed early after Miguel Cabrera's two-run homer, but grabbed a Game 4 lead when Buster Posey took Max Scherzer deep in the sixth. The Tigers came right back to tie it, setting the stage for one last Marco Scutaro moment. The postseason star drove Ryan Theriot in with a single in the top of the 10th, and Sergio Romo took over from there. 

Romo got Austin Jackson and Don Kelly swinging before freezing Cabrera with one of the most memorable pitches in franchise history, a 2-2 fastball right down the middle. On a cold night in Detroit, the Giants poured out of their dugout to celebrate for the second time. 

"We bought into something you don't see very often," Hunter Pence said. "We bought into playing for each other and loving each other."

VOTE HERE

Giants rookie Andrew Suarez shows competitiveness when Bruce Bochy pulls him

Giants rookie Andrew Suarez shows competitiveness when Bruce Bochy pulls him

SAN DIEGO — The two rookie pitchers who have helped solidify Giants manager Bruce Bochy’s rotation go about their business in different ways. You can see the fire in Dereck Rodriguez’s eyes as he stands on the mound, and there seems to be a certain intensity with everything he does on the field. Andrew Suarez, on the other hand, often seems to be playing a stress-free game of catch. 

But on Monday, Suarez showed what you knew was there. You don’t get to this level without being ultra-competitive, and the rookie let his guard down for a split-second when Bochy came out with the hook after just 87 pitches en route to a 4-2 win over the Padres. Suarez briefly threw his hands up, and the disappointment was clear on his face as he walked off the field. A few moments later, he found his manager in the dugout. 

“I just apologized to him. I thought I showed him up,” Suarez said. “That’s the last thing I’m trying to do.”

Bochy didn’t mind one bit. 

“I don’t want them to (want to) come out,” he said. “He’s a competitor. We had our guys fresh, [the relievers] have been throwing the ball well.”

Ultimately, Tony Watson got out of the eighth and Will Smith closed out the win. Suarez got the victory, his seventh, and showed a little fire in the process. The Giants knew it was there. It just took a tough decision for it to be made public. 

“My pitch count was low for being that deep in the game,” Suarez said. “I thought I would finish it. I was surprised, but you have to go to the bullpen. We have a good bullpen.”

Suarez said he hoped to match Chris Stratton’s complete game from Friday night, but the Giants are handling Suarez and Rodriguez a bit differently down the stretch, trying to keep some innings off their arms even as they go all the way through the end of September. Bochy liked Mark Melancon against the Padres coming up, regardless of how many pitches Suarez had thrown. 

In the end, it was the best of both worlds for the Giants. They got out of the inning and got the win, and they learned a bit more about a rookie who has been one of the biggest bright spots of a down year. 

“He said it was ok,” Suarez said of his conversation with Bochy. “He liked that I was competitive.”