Sandoval capitalizes on Giants' dominant pitching, walks off Cubs

Sandoval capitalizes on Giants' dominant pitching, walks off Cubs

SAN FRANCISCO — After a series of moves, the Cubs chose not to face All-Star starter Brandon Crawford in the bottom of the 11th inning on Monday night. Pablo Sandoval made them pay. 

Sandoval lined a single to left with the bases loaded, clinching a 2-1 win over the Cubs on an exciting first night of a three-game series. The walk-off win was the seventh of the season for the Giants, who had one of their best all-around pitching nights of the season.  

Andrew Suarez was sharp and Kyle Hendricks threw it back to his Cy Young push, but this one would be decided by the bullpens. The Giants looked to be in control when Hunter Pence hit a one-out triple in the bottom of the 10th, but Chase d’Arnaud and Steven Duggar struck out. An inning later, Andrew McCutchen and Brandon Belt got the lineup in gear, and Sandoval won it after an intentional walk of Crawford. 

Here’s what else you need to know… 

—- Alen Hanson scored from first on a wild pickoff throw. Yes, that sentence is correct. Hendricks’ throw to first in the fifth inning went down past the visiting bullpens and Hanson cruised into third base. He hesitated as he passed the bag and Javier Baez, perhaps the game’s most exciting runner, paused for a second. That was all it took. Hanson broke for home and just barely beat the throw, diving in with a headfirst slide. 

—- Suarez was without his normal command, but allowed just one run over six innings. He has a 2.00 ERA over his last six starts and hasn’t allowed more than one run since June 18.

—- Suarez was hitless in 26 big league at-bats before bouncing a single up the middle in the third inning. Hendricks left a 1-0 slider across the plate and Suarez hit it into center as his fellow pitchers, lined up on the dugout rail, went nuts. Suarez appeared to possibly maybe crack the slightest hint of a smile. 

—- Duggar had a sprint speed of 30.2 feet/second on a fielder’s choice. That’s the ninth-fastest recorded time by a Giant this season. 

MLB free agency debate: Where will Patrick Corbin sign this offseason?

MLB free agency debate: Where will Patrick Corbin sign this offseason?

Editor's note: Each day this week, Giants insider Alex Pavlovic and A's reporter Ben Ross will debate where one of the top five free agents might land this offseason. Friday's free agent to discuss is Patrick Corbin, a former Diamondbacks left-hander who had a career year at the perfect time and could be looking at the biggest deal for any pitcher this offseason.

ALEX: At some point, Patrick Corbin is going to sign a $100 million deal somewhere. When he does, he should send a nice catered meal -- or at least a couple dozen bags of Chick-fil-A -- to the Giants spring clubhouse. They did more than anyone to help him get to this point. Corbin faced the Giants six times last year, posting a 2.27 ERA and holding their hitters to a .176 average. Nearly 20 percent of his innings in his huge walk year were thrown against a bad Giants lineup, and he took full advantage. If you throw those Giants starts out, he had a 3.37 ERA. Good, but not elite.

But good for him. They were on the schedule and he dominated. Here's the question: Do you really think he's the top guy on the market, or would you prefer a Keuchel or Eovaldi? 

BEN: I have to admit I hadn’t thought of it that way before! Maybe the Giants should sign him just to make sure they don’t have to face him again. I still think Corbin is the top pitcher on the market. 246 strikeouts in 200 innings is impressive, to say the least. It seems like the Yankees are the favorite to land him. Where else might he end up?

ALEX: The Yankees are the favorite, for sure. It sounds like the Phillies are going to spend a ton of money this winter, and maybe they'll turn to pitching if they strike out on Harper and Machado. In your division, I think the Angels have to be in on all the pitchers, just to make sure they give Mike Trout a real shot at the postseason before his contract expires. And I wonder if the Astros will go big to make up for Keuchel and Morton being free agents and McCullers having Tommy John. The Braves could use an ace, too, which is why they're a popular Bumgarner destination. Corbin will have a robust market. Am I missing anyone? 

BEN: I think those are all realistic options. I think the Nationals will have some interest as well. Is there any chance he returns to Arizona? What about the Giants? Or are they done giving big money to free agent pitchers?

ALEX: They should be after giving out $220 million to two guys who are currently injured. Plus, the Friedman-Zaidi Dodgers tended to go for three-year deals for veteran pitchers, and Corbin is going to try to get twice that. I don't see him back in Arizona given all the talk there about trading Greinke and possibly Goldschmidt -- it sounds like they're taking a real step back. I'm going to go with everyone else and predict he ends up with the Yankees. Let's say, five years and $110 million. 

BEN: I'm picking the Yankees, too. He's used to pitching in a hitter's park, although Chase Field isn't quite Yankee Stadium. But he's a strikeout pitcher, so the ballpark shouldn't matter a ton. The Yankees need starting pitching and they have plenty of money to spend. I'll say he gets 5 years, $105 million.

Editor's note: This week across the NBC Sports Regional Networks, we'll be taking an in-depth look at some of the top free agents in baseball. Friday is dedicated to free agent pitcher Patrick Corbin.




Giants shut out of awards, go home empty-handed for second-straight year


Giants shut out of awards, go home empty-handed for second-straight year

SAN FRANCISCO — For four-straight days this week, MLB Network ran hour-long specials to reveal the 2018 award winners. After each winner was announced, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America released full ballots on its website. 

Nobody connected to the Giants had any reason to really pay attention to any of this. 

The Giants did not, of course, have a winner or anyone that even came particularly close. But for a second-straight year, they also did not have a single player -- or their manager -- receive a single vote for any of the four major awards. 

The MVP ballot has 10 slots and 19 different players received at least one vote, but you couldn’t make the case for a Giant to even finish 10th. There was no Cy Young candidate and Bruce Bochy was out of the Manager of the Year race in the middle of the summer. The organization’s best shot at some consideration was in the Rookie of the Year balloting, but Dereck Rodriguez fell off a bit in September, and that was enough to keep him out of consideration for the third slot on ballots. Right-hander Walker Buehler of the Dodgers received 20 of the 30 third-place votes. 

This has happened two consecutive years, and as our Ahmed Fareed pointed out, the Giants joined the Padres and Pirates as the only NL teams to not have a single MVP vote the past two seasons. It goes deeper, though. 

Last year, the Giants at least had a Gold Glove winner in Brandon Crawford. Buster Posey won the Silver Slugger Award at catcher last season, too. But in 2018, the Giants were shut out of those announcements as well.

Crawford failed to win a Gold Glove for the first time since 2014. Posey was shut down in August, ending any shot at awards. Madison Bumgarner is normally a threat for the Silver Slugger (which he's won twice), but he batted just .159. 

The end result was that the Giants did not receive a single vote for any of the four major awards and also did not pick up a Gold Glove or Silver Slugger. There will be no pregame ceremonies of any kind next April, and that’s rare. 

You have to go all the way back to 2007 to find a Giants team that didn’t get any recognition at all during awards season. Hunter Pence finished third in the Rookie of the Year balloting that year -- for the Astros, who were still in the National League. 

So, yeah, it’s been a long time since this has happened.