Phillies tee off on Samardzija, put an end to Giants' winning streak

Phillies tee off on Samardzija, put an end to Giants' winning streak


PHILADELPHIA — The Giants knew this road trip would be tougher than it looked when the schedule came out. The young Braves did not live up to the hype, but the young Phillies certainly did. 

The first night of a week in Pennsylvania was a disaster, an 11-0 loss that was ugly in all respects. Jeff Samardzija got shelled and had another concerning outing, the bullpen turned the game into a boat race, the lineup couldn’t touch Zach Eflin, and the defense was once again shaky. 

The loss snapped a four-game winning streak. Here are the particulars … 

--- Samardzija has always had an issue with the long ball, and the Phillies got a couple of looooooong homers in his four innings. In the first, Odubel Herrera followed a couple of walks with a home run that landed in the visiting bullpen in center field. Cesar Hernandez went upper tank in right for a two-run shot in the fourth. Samardzija was charged with five earned on four hits and three walks. 

--- There was a bit of good news, though. Samardzija has been sitting 90-92 in the first inning of previous starts but he was up to 96 in the long first inning Monday. He topped out at 97.3 mph with a pitch to Herrera in the third that was easily his fastest of the year. The velocity is back, so he appears to be healthy. Now he just needs to figure out the command. 

--- D.J. Snelten, The Big Snelt, had to wear it after Samardzija finished up. Snelten threw 56 pitches out of the bullpen and gave up five runs on a pair of homers. The first was a shot to center by Carlos Santana that landed in Gorkys Hernandez’s glove and then popped out and over as he slammed into the padded wall. 

--- The Giants made three errors on the night, one each by Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria and Hernandez. They have 19 errors in their past 15 games. That's not what this team was supposed to be about.

Sonny Gray traded to Reds in three-team deal after A's, Giants interest


Sonny Gray traded to Reds in three-team deal after A's, Giants interest

Both the Giants and the A's reportedly had interest in acquiring Yankees starting pitcher Sonny Gray this offseason, but he won't return to the Bay Area. He will be heading to the Cincinnati Reds as part of a three-way trade.

Gray signed a three-year. $32-million extension as part of the deal, plus a club option . The Yankees originally received second baseman Shed Long and a 2019 competitive balance pick from the Reds for Gray and left-handed pitcher Reiver Sanmartin. 

But Jerry Dipoto wanted to be a part of it. The Mariners also traded Josh Stowers to the Yankees for Long.

Everyone caught up? 

Gray would have made sense for both Bay Area teams, as the Giants and the A's could use an influx of quality starting pitching. Gray went 11-9 with a 4.90 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 130.1 innings for New York last season, but he was far better on the road than he was at home. 

Considering Oakland Coliseum and Oracle Park are far more pitcher-friendly than Yankee Stadium, a bounceback season in the Bay Area certainly could have been possible. Alas, it appears Gray could be making his home starts at Great American Ball Park, which just might be the most hitter-friendly park in the entire league.

Why Josh Harrison would fit Giants but isn't perfect platoon partner


Why Josh Harrison would fit Giants but isn't perfect platoon partner

With Farhan Zaidi now at the head of decision-making, the Giants want a more versatile roster. One player who fits the mold and has been linked to the Giants in recent months is Josh Harrison.

FanCred's Jon Heyman resurfaced the report Sunday, listing the Giants, Dodgers, Angels, Phillies and Rays as teams interested in the former Pirates second baseman. 

Giants manager Bruce Bochy has said he will embrace platooning players, and second baseman Joe Panik consistently has been talked about as a player the front office will look at as a left-handed hitter in need of a right-handed partner. 

So, could Harrison be the answer? Yes and no. 

Harrison, 31, certainly is the kind of multi-positional player Zaidi covets. While he spent 87 of the 89 games he saw in the field at second base, compared to just two at third base in 2018, he has played five positions -- second, third, right field, left field and shortstop -- over his eight-year career. 

The Giants could use Harrison all over the field, but is he the right platoon partner at the plate with Panik? Not exactly. 

Panik hit just .191 against left-handed pitching last season, compared to .282 facing right-handers. But Harrison, a right-handed hitter, also struggled mightily against left-handed pitching. He had reverse splits, hitting .262 against right-handers and just .219 against left-handers in 2018. 

Harrison's splits very well could be an outlier, though, making him more intriguing to the Giants. He hit .286 against left-handers in 2017, and is a .279 career hitter against southpaws. 

They'll have to hope his 2018 season isn't a sign for things to come, but Harrison makes plenty of sense for the Giants to at least entertain adding the utility man.