As teams keep emotions in check, Giants again outclassed by Nats

As teams keep emotions in check, Giants again outclassed by Nats

SAN FRANCISCO — There were no warnings issued before Tuesday’s game, and the Nationals never even seemed to think of retaliation. They went about their business a smarter way, getting 14 hits and beating the Giants 6-3. 

After the loss, manager Bruce Bochy praised Dusty Baker’s side for letting the past be the past. 

“They’re a classy team,” Bochy said. “It’s not who we are (to throw at people) and they’re trying to win a ballgame just like us. It was a clean game and they beat us. It’s a credit to them and the class they have.”

The Nationals have more than class. They have a lineup stacked with All-Star-caliber hitters, and they made life miserable for Jeff Samardzija. He walked away with just three earned runs on his record, but the Nationals saw 100 pitches in four innings, forcing a pitching change. 

“They made me work out there,” Samardzija said. “They took a great approach at the plate and you tip your hat to their hitters.”

It could have been much worse for Samardzija, but he trailed just 3-2 when he left. It was soon 6-2, and when Orlando Calixte was rung up on a close pitch, the Giants lost their best chance to tie it up. 

Calixte was a rare bright spot in an otherwise brutal 48 hours for the Giants. He had hits in his first two at-bats, including a two-run double. The single was the first hit of his big league career and he was given the ball after the game. With a wide smile on his face, he said he would send it to his mom. Calixte played all three outfield positions, becoming the first Giant to do that since Randy Winn in 2009. He looks like he might potentially be a nice find for the bench. 

“The kid did a good job,” Bochy said. 

If Calixte gets another start Wednesday, he’s in for a tough test. All the Giants are. They’ve lost both games of this series, falling 11 1/2 back of the Dodgers, who are now in first place. And now they get Max Scherzer.


Giants Review: Tominson's season is busy in wrong kind of way


Giants Review: Tominson's season is busy in wrong kind of way

SAN FRANCISCO — At some point during spring training, Bruce Bochy responded to a question about Kelby Tomlinson by excitedly shouting: “Tommy Ball!” It was a nickname that stuck. Unfortunately for Tomlinson, he could not find a way to stick in the majors. 

Tomlinson is the latest to be profiled in this series of recaps — if you missed it, here are Joe Panik and Ray Black from yesterday — but his season is best described in an odd way. The most memorable part of 2018 for Tomlinson was just how often he was called up and sent back down. Tomlinson was on the Opening Day roster, which stood as the first of six different stints in the big leagues. Here’s the rundown: 

  • Opening Day to June 1
  • June 18-21
  • July 4-5
  • July 15-26
  • July 30-August 4
  • September 2 through the end 


Hopefully they let him keep the miles. 

What Went Right: There are not a lot of splits that stand out from a year during which Tomlinson batted just .207, but he did get off to a hot start, posting a .714 OPS in April. And he did do some damage against the rival Dodgers, picking up six hits in 19 at-bats and driving in three runs. Tomlinson’s .316 average against the Dodgers was second on the team to Gregor Blanco (.455). 

Tomlinson played 35 games at second base, 13 at shortstop and three at third base. It’s a small sample size, but he appeared to be more comfortable on the left side of the infield than in past seasons. 

What Went Wrong: Tomlinson’s short swing made him a valuable pinch-hitter in past seasons, but he was just 2-for-19 as a pinch-hitter in 2018 with one extra-base hit. His OPS against left-handed pitchers dipped to .523, keeping him from being a platoon option. It was a particularly rough ride down the stretch; Tomlinson was 1-for-16 in September. 

The constant travel roster moves are interesting if you’re an observer, but it’s not something Tomlinson or any player would want. He could never quite replicate what kept him in the big leagues in the past. In addition to the issues against lefties and pinch-hitting, Tomlinson failed to steal a base for the first time in four big league seasons. After going 9-for-10 in 2017, Tomlinson was caught in both attempts in 2018. 

Contract Status: Tomlinson had a salary of $560,000 when in the big leagues. He used his third and final option. 

The Future: You never quite know what’s going on with a player off the field, and when discussing Tomlinson’s 2018 season, it must be noted that he came into camp trying to deal with a tremendous tragedy. In the span of three days over the offseason, Tomlinson lost his grandfather and his brother-in-law. He missed FanFest to be with his family, and he never seemed to catch up. Tomlinson never made any excuses, but it’s impossible to know just how much of an impact that situation had on his season. It’s also hard to know where the Giants go from here with Tomlinson, who has been a regular on the bench in recent years. He’s out of options and Alen Hanson and Abiatal Avelino are vying for those infield at-bats, so Tomlinson is in a tough spot. The Giants would surely like to keep him around as depth, but Tomlinson’s spot on the 40-man roster will be in danger this offseason. 

Giants Review: A healthy Ray Black finally got to show off his big fastball


Giants Review: A healthy Ray Black finally got to show off his big fastball

SAN FRANCISCO — For years, Ray Black seemed like an urban legend. You would see his outrageous strikeout totals in the minors, then notice that he was pitching just every third day to limit the injury risk. You would hear his fastball exploding in the bullpen at Scottsdale Stadium, then see him walking through the clubhouse the next day encased in ice. 

Black’s name came with a caveat: “If he could only stay healthy …”

In 2018, Black got healthy and stayed healthy. He made his MLB debut and had some pretty high highs, along with some rough moments. Here’s a rundown of the long-awaited arrival of Ray Black and his 100 mph fastball … 

What Went Right:

First of all, Black stayed healthy. That’s the most important thing that happened to him in 2018. Black looked headed for life on his family farm, but he picked up a ball last offseason and found he was pain-free, and when he arrived in Double-A, he struck out 20 in 10 innings. He was similarly dominant in Triple-A, earning a big league promotion July 8. 

After giving up a three-run homer that day, Black threw 10 1/3 consecutive hitless innings. His relief no-hitter lasted nearly a month, and in the midst of that streak, he had an absolutely dominant inning against the heart of the Arizona Diamondbacks lineup.

Black led the Giants with an average of 12.79 strikeouts per nine innings, and his walk rate of 3.86 was down from some minor league stops. While his ERA was 6.17, perhaps he got spectacularly unlucky; his FIP was 3.98 and his xFIP was 3.45. 

Black was one of 10 big leaguers to throw double-digit pitches 100+ mph, maxing out at 100.9 mph, according to Statcast. His average fastball was over 98 mph. 

What Went Wrong:

When it went bad for Black, it REALLY went bad. He gave up runs in seven of his 26 appearances, but six of those instances included multiple runs. When he returned in September, for example, Black allowed runs in just two of his 10 appearances, but in those two he was charged with six earned. The end result was that 6.17 ERA. 

Black allowed a three-run homer to Matt Carpenter in his big league debut and that problem followed him a bit throughout the rest of the season. He allowed four homers in 23 1/3 innings and nine of the 17 hits he allowed went for extra bases. 

Contract Status:

Black made the MLB minimum in 2018. 

The Future:

Black showed some important traits as a rookie. He was able to pitch back-to-back days and go multiple innings, and while the Giants sent him down to Triple-A at one point, in part to watch his innings, he didn’t have any health issues down the stretch. If he’s still rolling next spring, Black should be in the opening day bullpen. This is not a bullpen built on strikeouts, but Black, at his best, is a player Bruce Bochy can call on in the sixth or seventh when he absolutely needs a strikeout. This late in his career, there should be no restrictions, and while the Giants still have some concerns given his lengthy injury history, they’re going to ride this as long as they can. Perhaps over time Black will develop into a setup man or even a closer, but for now, all sides are happy with one of the best developments of 2018: Ray Black was healthy.