Giants

Shaun Anderson's first-inning problems are a head-scratcher for Giants

Shaun Anderson's first-inning problems are a head-scratcher for Giants

LOS ANGELES -- Giants rookie right-hander Shaun Anderson has a problem, but it isn't what you would expect. 

Anderson is a young starter who was a closer in college, so it wouldn't be a surprise or at all concerning if he had issues getting deep into games. The head-scratcher thus far, though, has been that Anderson is struggling mightily with the first inning. After that, he tends to cruise. 

Joc Pederson hit a leadoff homer on Tuesday night and the Dodgers followed with two more hits and another run, kicking off what would become a 9-0 win behind Clayton Kershaw. 

The homer was the second leadoff blast Anderson has allowed in seven starts and the fourth he has allowed in the first inning. Opponents are hitting .438 off him in the first with four homers, four doubles and seven runs. In all of his other innings, Anderson has allowed just one homer and posted a 2.56 ERA. 

"I do need to bear down a little in those first innings," Anderson said. "This isn't the first time it has happened. I'll look into it."

Anderson said it was simply a lack of execution to start, and manager Bruce Bochy wasn't all that concerned. There's a trend, and he said the Giants will discuss potential changes to Anderson's pre-start routine, but they won't make too big a deal of it. 

"You know what, the kid is throwing well," Bochy said. "So it's not like we want to do a lot."

Anderson is not alone in this issue. The Giants as a team have had serious first-inning woes all season long, but Anderson has shown an ability to get past any early wobbles. He pitched into the sixth Tuesday, allowing just one more run. 

The problem was that the Giants had no margin for error. Kershaw did what he always does to them, and while Anderson kept it close for a while, this one turned into a blowout in the seventh. Enrique Hernandez's grand slam off Trevor Gott capped a six-run inning. 

[RELATED: What can Giants get in MadBum trade? Kurkjian answers]

With the blowout, the Giants have now been outscored by 90 runs this season, the third-worst differential in the Majors and worst in the National League. Anderson might be having an issue with the first inning, but for the team, the problems go much deeper. 

MLB rumors: Giants interested in Royals' Mike Matheny for manager job

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MLB rumors: Giants interested in Royals' Mike Matheny for manager job

The carousel continues to turn.

Former Giants catcher Mike Matheny has drawn interest for the Giants managerial position, MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports.

Matheny played his final two MLB seasons with the Giants, and retired from baseball in 2007. The four-time Gold Glove winner managed the Cardinals from 2012-18, finishing with 591 wins and 474 losses, good for a .555 winning percentage.

He has spent the past two seasons with the Kansas City Royals as a special advisor for player development. 

[RELATED: Source: Giants interested in Cubs' Venable for manager job]

It is important to note that the Giants have not been reported to have reached out to Matheny or brought him in for an interview.

As the process continues, Matheny's is not likely to be the last name we hear associated with interviewing to take over for Bruce Bochy in San Francisco.

Astros know Gerrit Cole wants to be 'West Coast guy' in MLB free agency

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Astros know Gerrit Cole wants to be 'West Coast guy' in MLB free agency

The Astros are trying to soak in every start Gerrit Cole makes for them. As Houston sits two wins from reaching the World Series, they know their staff ace likely will be pitching for a different team next season. 

Cole is expected to possibly sign a record-breaking contract as a free agent this upcoming offseason. His teammates have an idea of which part of the country he will be packing his bags for, too. 

"We know he wants to be a West Coast guy," Astros outfielder Josh Reddick told Bleacher Report's Scott Miller

Cole, 29, grew up in Southern California and attended UCLA before the Pirates took him with the No. 1 pick in the 2011 MLB Draft. Could his future be in Northern California, though? 

Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford and Cole are brothers-in-law. ESPN's Jeff Passan also listed San Francisco in late August as one of nine destinations that are "positioned and motivated to explore adding Cole."

The three-time All-Star also told Miller that he has been to six or seven Giants postseason games in the past, including taking his grandfather to two World Series games in 2012.

Giants president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi has some big decisions to make regarding the roster this offseason. Longtime ace Madison Bumgarner will be a free agent, but Cole certainly would be an upgrade. The right-hander is a front-runner to win the AL Cy Young award this year after going 20-5 with a 2.50 ERA and 326 strikeouts over 212 1/3 innings. 

But Cole could be in line to sign a contract worth well over $200 million this winter. 

[RELATED: Maddon agrees to three-year contract to be Angels' next manager]

The Giants rode star pitchers like Bumgarner, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain to three championships this decade. Adding Cole to start off the next decade could be the perfect addition. A healthy Johnny Cueto is returning to San Francisco's rotation next season, along with Jeff Samardzija -- whose 3.52 ERA this year was his lowest since 2014. 

San Francisco will have plenty of competition if they do pursue Cole, especially from Southern California teams in the Angels and Dodgers. He certainly will be sought after from the Bay Area to Los Angeles and beyond.