Instant Replay: Giants shut down by Ray, come up short vs D'backs

Instant Replay: Giants shut down by Ray, come up short vs D'backs


SAN FRANCISCO — Jeff Samardzija and Robbie Ray both had filthy stuff Tuesday night, one from the right side and one from the left. They each recorded 20 outs with similar lines, but there was one big difference. Ray caught the break he needed, Samardzija did not. 

In the end, Samardzija and the Giants were left with a 4-3 loss on a wet night at AT&T Park. Playing without Buster Posey for the first time, the lineup didn't get going until the ninth, when Nick Hundley and Eduardo Nuñez got the Giants within one. Brandon Crawford struck out with the tying run on second. 

The game turned on a couple of plays at the track involving Gorkys Hernandez. Starting in place of Denard Span against the lefty, Hernandez came up with the bases loaded and two outs in the second. His deep fly to left was caught a few feet in front of the wall. 

The Diamondbacks came right back and loaded the bases in the top of the third, starting with a single by Ray. Jake Lamb crushed a fastball to left-center and Hernandez seemed to have it in his sights. As he approached the wall, he stumbled a bit, and his reach came up a few inches short. The triple made it 3-0 Diamondbacks.

That was the only damage against Samardzija, who put plenty of traffic on the bases but limited the damage. Samardjiza allowed five hits and walked four in 6 2/3 innings, striking out seven. Ray gave up four hits, walked five and struck out eight. 

Starting pitching report: On the day Posey went on the concussion DL, Samardzija drilled Paul Goldschmidt, Arizona’s best player. It didn’t seem to be an accident. The pitch was a 96 mph fastball that struck him on the backside, the desired spot for retaliatory throws. Goldschmidt walked to first without incident. 

Bullpen report: Ty Blach was in full LOOGY mode. He came on in the seventh with a runner on and Lamb up, getting a liner to right that ended the inning.

At the plate: Hundley will get most of the starts over the next week. He had a single and two doubles in five at-bats. 

In the field: Nuñez made his first start of the year at shortstop. He didn’t get a chance until the seventh, and he handled it easily. He’ll be Crawford’s backup this year. 

Attendance: The Giants announced a crowd of 41,562 human beings. One of them wore an Aaron Roward jersey. Apparently on purpose. 

Up next: Matt Cain makes his second start of the year. Given the fact that the Giants can skip their No. 5 starter next week, it’s a big one for Cain.


Giants acquire Connor Joe, who has shot at making Opening Day roster

Giants acquire Connor Joe, who has shot at making Opening Day roster

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants swapped out a Rule 5 pick who wasn't going to make the team for one who now very well might. 

Drew Ferguson, an outfielder picked up from the Houston Astros in the Rule 5 Draft, was designated for assignment Thursday to clear a roster spot for Connor Joe, a utility man who was acquired from the Cincinnati Reds. Joe is under the same restrictions, and given that the Giants picked him up one week from Opening Day, there seems a good chance that Farhan Zaidi will try to tuck the former Dodgers prospect onto the roster. 

Joe, 26, has moved all over throughout his minor league career, primarily playing first base, third and the outfield. As a right-handed bat with a .363 career OBP in the minors, he fits a lot of what the Giants are looking for on their bench. That also could lead to some interesting decisions next week. 

The Giants already were trying to decide how to squeeze Yangervis Solarte, Alen Hanson and Pablo Sandoval on the roster, with the latter two looking like tough calls. They also could try to put Joe in the outfield mix, perhaps at the expense of a player like Mac Williamson or Cameron Maybin. 
Joe had a .935 OPS with 17 homers in Double-A and Triple-A for the Dodgers organization last season. He was the sixth player selected in the Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings, and hit .275 this spring for the Reds. 

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The Giants had hoped Ferguson would fill these holes, but he had a poor spring and was not in position to make the club. The Giants would have had to offer him back to the Astros next week, with very little hope of keeping him in their system. 

To acquire Joe, the Giants traded minor league right-hander Jordan Johnson and cash considerations to the Reds. Johnson had a 4.37 ERA in 86 minor league appearances for the Giants. 

Brandon Belt putting up exceptional numbers for Giants at plate in spring

Brandon Belt putting up exceptional numbers for Giants at plate in spring

Before I start this post ...

I know ... "spring training stats don't matter." But Brandon Belt is hitting the you-know-what out of the ball right now in the Cactus League, and going 9-for-9 isn't something that should be ignored -- even during games that don't count.

Now that we got that out of the way ... 

Baseball Reference is one of the few sites that has spring training stats, so shout out to them. And this is what Belt is working with as we head into Opening Day.

A .485/.553/.818 line with three home runs and six RBI in 13 games. 

Not bad ... not bad at all.

And he seems to be having fun despite a small mishap cutting half of his eyebrow off prior to Photo Day, but who hasn't done that?