Giants

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

Instant Analysis: Giants' rally falls short in 5-4 loss to Cubs

BOX SCORE

CHICAGO — The Giants will need a win on getaway day to clinch their first winning road trip.

Wednesday's comeback attempt fell just short, as the Giants scored two in the ninth but lost to the Cubs 5-4. Since taking the first two games in St. Louis, they have dropped three of four, falling 11 games back of the Rockies in the division.

Here are five things to know from the coldest Giants game of the year … 

— Mac Williamson fouled off eight pitches before going the opposite way against Wade Davis, who entered with a 0.00 ERA in 19 appearances. The two-run homer ended a run of 19 consecutive solo shots by the Giants, two short of their own MLB record. It was the first homer off Davis in two years. 

— The sixth inning was one of the stranger escapes we’ve seen from a pitcher this season. With two on and one out, Jason Heyward blasted a Matt Moore pitch right down the line and it looked like it would give the Cubs a 6-2 lead. The wind blew the ball a couple of feet foul. Heyward then topped one down the line and Moore’s throw bounced away from first, allowing a run to score. But the umpires called — correctly — Heyward out for running inside the line. It’s a call you rarely see. Moore then struck out Addison Russell to keep what could have easily been a 6-2 or 4-2 game at 3-2. 

— Before the first game of this series, a Giant asked in the dugout, “I wonder what some of the Cubs’ numbers would look like at our place?” Anthony Rizzo is a .159 hitter with no homers in 18 career games at AT&T Park, but he had no issues on a night when conditions were worse than they are most nights in San Francisco. Rizzo homered off Moore in his first two at-bats. 

— Rizzo will occasionally put a bunt down to beat the shift — he had an accidental bunt in his third at-bat — which the Giants have long wanted Brandon Belt to do. Belt pushed one away from the shift in the sixth, and even though it was too close to pitcher Kyle Hendricks, the throw was off and Belt reached second. One of those a week would open up a few more holes. 

— This lineup has made a habit of making mediocre and downright bad pitchers look good, and the actual good ones are taking advantage, too. A night after Jon Lester recorded his first complete game of the year, Hendricks threw seven innings for the first time. 

Acquiring Drew Pomeranz checks off many boxes for Farhan Zaidi, Giants

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USATSI

Acquiring Drew Pomeranz checks off many boxes for Farhan Zaidi, Giants

SAN FRANCISCO — When asked Wednesday afternoon about some of the bigger names that remain on the free agent market, Farhan Zaidi said he won’t talk about specific players.

But the new president of baseball operations at Oracle Park has been open about some traits he specifically is looking for in free agents, and in that respect, Drew Pomeranz checks off a lot of boxes. 

Pomeranz, a 30-year-old left-hander, was signed to a one-year, $1.5 million deal Wednesday that could guarantee him as much as $5 million if he hits incentives, according to The Athletic. He will be plugged into the rotation, and the Giants feel they have found their 2019 version of Derek Holland, a veteran lefty who rebounded last year in a new environment. 

Holland returned last week on a one-year deal that similarly fit what the Giants are looking for as they take a step back in the roster-building process. Here’s how Pomeranz fit that mold, too:

--- Look at the track record: When discussing guys like Mike Gerber and his Rule 5 picks, Zaidi has talked about the importance of going a few years back in a prospect’s profile. The same holds true for Pomeranz. He had a 6.08 ERA in 2018, but a year earlier he posted a 3.32 ERA while making 32 starts for an American League East club. He had a 3.32 ERA in 2016, too, and it was 2.47 for the Padres before he was traded to Boston. 

Pomeranz’s 3.32 ERA in 63 games across those two years ranks sixth among left-handed starters, behind Clayton Kershaw, Rich Hill, Madison Bumgarner, Alex Wood, and Chris Sale. Zaidi worked with three of those pitchers in Los Angeles and now has two in San Francisco, and given that Pomeranz is just 30 years old, it’s not unrealistic to picture him getting back to that production. 

“You go back to 2016 and 17, he’s one of best left-handed starters in baseball,” Zaidi said. 

Zaidi later went way further back than 2016, repeatedly mentioning Pomeranz’s pedigree. 

“Drew’s got a pedigree dating back to his college days,” Zaidi said. “Team USA, and being a top-five pick in the draft.”

--- Take advantage of the ballpark: Pomeranz’s wife is from the Bay Area and the former Athletic met her here. He mentioned repeatedly that he likes San Francisco, and threw in how the ballpark can help starting pitchers. 

“The big thing for me was opportunity,” Pomeranz said. “My big thing for me was getting back on track and doing what I can do and just being myself again.”

Zaidi has made no secret of the fact that he’s using Oracle Park as a selling point for pitchers in need of a bounce-back, and he’s even open about how helpful it may be for them financially. He said Pomeranz’s side pushed for a one-year deal.

“It was important to get a one-year deal and reposition himself in free agency,” Zaidi said. “We’re certainly hoping we can give him that kind of platform to have him have a really strong year and re-enter the market or stay in San Francisco if it works for both sides.”

It’s a win-win. Pomeranz gets a shot to rebuild some value and cash in next winter, and if he does pitch well at Oracle Park, the Giants get a good starter … and a good trade chip. 

[RELATED: Will moves be made closer around Spring Training?]

--- Short-term deals: Zaidi inherited the worst future payroll situation in the league, and it has become clear that the Giants do not want to further dig that hole before a season in which they are not expected to contend, even though Zaidi said there’s no mandate for short-term deals. All three additions thus far — Pomeranz, Derek Holland, and Pat Venditte — have come on one-year deals, and the Giants have not been seriously in on any of the big names in the market. 

--- Versatility: Pomeranz has made 74 relief appearances in his career and allowed just a 3.00 ERA when coming out of the bullpen. He was signed to be a starter, but like Holland, he should be able to seamlessly move into the bullpen if needed at some point. 

“We value guys who have that flexibility, but where we are as a staff, with our depth in the bullpen and need for innings and more of a veteran presence on the rotation side, our plan is for him to be in the rotation,” Zaidi said.

Giants part ways with first player Farhan Zaidi added to roster

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AP

Giants part ways with first player Farhan Zaidi added to roster

SAN FRANCISCO — The first player Farhan Zaidi ever added to the Giants roster is no longer on the roster. 

To clear a spot on their 40-man roster for Drew Pomeranz, the Giants on Wednesday designated Mike Gerber for assignment. Gerber, a 26-year-old outfielder, was claimed from the Detroit Tigers on the first day of the Winter Meetings in December.

Pomeranz signed a one-year deal on Wednesday. 

Gerber looked headed for plenty of spring training time in an outfield that is lacking big-league talent. When the Giants picked him up, they talked up his minor league track record and the fact that Gerber can play all three outfield spots. 

The move leaves the Giants with just five outfielders on their 40-man roster, including one — Rule 5 pick Drew Ferguson — who was added three days after Gerber and outlasted him. None of them have been regular starters in the big leagues, although Steven Duggar is expected to be that guy in center field this season.

Currently, Austin Slater leads Giants outfielders in career plate appearances, and he’s at just 352. 

Zaidi has said repeatedly that he expects to add at least two outfielders to the mix before the season, perhaps guys who fit the short-term mold displayed by the Pomeranz signing.