Giants

Nick Vincent, the opener, doesn't solve Giants' first-inning struggles

Nick Vincent, the opener, doesn't solve Giants' first-inning struggles

SAN FRANCISCO -- Well ... that wasn't any better.

The Giants' first experiment with the opener blew up in their faces Tuesday night when reliever Nick Vincent continued the season-long theme of falling behind early. Making the second start of his career, Vincent became the first reliever to kick off a game for the Giants since openers became popular last season, but he allowed three runs and didn't make it back out for the second. 

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. got it going with a rocket to dead center, his first career homer. Freddy Galvis and Billy McKinney added RBI doubles in the 31-pitch inning. 

Vincent gave up four hits, with no walks or strikeouts mixed in during an inning that was so long that fellow reliever Trevor Gott started warming up. Vincent had not allowed more than two runs in an appearance all season. The outing was the continuation of a theme for the Giants, who have been outscored 45-5 in the first inning this year. 

"I think it's pretty obvious we've had our struggles here early in games," manager Bruce Bochy said before the game. "So you break it up a little bit."

[RELATED: Giants top pitching prospect Anderson to start Wednesday]

Tyler Beede, originally scheduled to start Tuesday, took over in the top of the second, although that wasn't much smoother. He loaded the bases before getting out of the jam with a pop-up. 

Giants to pay more funds to event-based workers in coronavirus hiatus

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USATSI

Giants to pay more funds to event-based workers in coronavirus hiatus

It's unclear when games will return to Oracle Park, but the Giants announced a program Wednesday that will help keep stadium employees afloat while the sport is shut down by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

The program, announced by president and CEO Larry Baer and vice president and general counsel Jack Bair, has two tiers and will cover about 2,600 employees who work at Oracle Park during games and events. Baer additionally said all full-time Giants employees will remain employed and have been working from home. 

Major League Baseball had previously announced that all teams would pay $1 million each to help pay ballpark employees, and the Giants' ownership group and executives are chipping in an additional $700,000. It will be distributed in two ways.

The first part of the program covers event-based employees who technically work for a third party, such as the 900 Bon Appetit workers who handle food and catering at Oracle Park. Those employees will get a one-time grant of $500. The Giants expect about 2,000 workers to request this grant. 

The second part covers event-based staffers and will provide an additional $100 to $250 per month depending on length of employment and how many hours were worked during the 2019 season. This primarily benefits people like ushers, security guards and maintenance workers, along with game-day workers like the scoreboard operators and the group that tosses t-shirts into the stands. 

"They are in many ways, in our view, really the backbone of what we're doing," Baer said of the collective group. "They're the people that work hard, work diligently and serve our fans, which is the lifeblood of our sport and our business. Without games, obviously many of them will encounter hardship."

The majority of event-based employees had a second job elsewhere, though many work at places like Chase Center, which also has been shut down. The Giants have encouraged everyone covered by their program to also apply for unemployment benefits. They have confirmed with local and federal government officials that these supplemental payments won't impact unemployment eligibility. 

"The benefits that we're offering, in addition to unemployment, should roughly equate to what people would have made if games were played, and in some cases it could be more," Bair said. 

None of the newly announced funds came from players, but Baer said some have expressed an interest in working on their own programs and he intends to reach out to them. When the players do return to Oracle Park, it should look different. 

Some work continues on the Mission Rock development since it has been included in the "essential work" description given by the city because some of the project is dedicated to affordable housing. Workers in what used to be Lot A are practicing social distancing and wiping down equipment as they work. 

[RELATED: Kruk and Kuip recall legendary Kershaw-Bumgarner battles]

Baer also said construction on the bullpens and outfield walls has been stopped but will restart when the Giants are given the all-clear by the city. 

"We have timelines available and when we have a game at Oracle Park, we would have enough lead time to perform that work," Baer said. "Much of that work had been done already."

Giants broadcasters recall Madison Bumgarner-Clayton Kershaw battles

Giants broadcasters recall Madison Bumgarner-Clayton Kershaw battles

When Madison Bumgarner is on the mound, he’s unstoppable. Things don’t change when he approaches the plate, either.

“When Madison Bumgarner took the mound at Dodger Stadium, or at Oracle Park, and he’s facing the Dodgers, and it usually was [Clayton] Kershaw, it was always an event,” Duane Kuiper told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Amy Gutierrez. “And you knew it was probably going to be a one-run, two-run, low-scoring game until the eighth or ninth inning.”

On Wednesday night, the re-air of MadBum’s first home run off of Kershaw will be broadcasted on NBC Sports Bay Area. It’s a matchup and a battle that has commenced for more than a decade. 

Kuiper compared what Bum could on both sides of the ball to that of 15-year veteran Donnie Robinson, who was a former teammate of Mike Krukow’s.

“Yeah, Donnie Robinson, ‘The Caveman,’ was a great hitter,” Kuiper said. “And he was a great pitcher.” 

Still, Bumgarner was a different breed. He was intimidating, just as Kershaw was. When the hitter would face him, he would feel the presence of the three-time World Series champion, as would everyone in attendance and watching from home. 

[RELATED: Looking back at the 19 homers Giants have hit off Kershaw]

Imagine having that reflected on both sides with Kershaw and Bum going up against one another. The two had that demeanor about one another that would create something dynamic out on the field. 
A head-to-head you wouldn’t want to miss.