Giants

Three Giants win Gold Glove for first time since 1994

Three Giants win Gold Glove for first time since 1994

PHOENIX — Brandon Crawford’s reign as the National League’s best defensive shortstop will continue, but his run as the clubhouse’s only Gold Glove Award winner is over. 

Crawford won his second Gold Glove Award on Tuesday and was joined by first-time winners Buster Posey and Joe Panik, giving the Giants three Gold Glove defenders for the first time since 1994, when Barry Bonds, Darren Lewis and Matt Williams won. Posey ended Yadier Molina’s eight-year run as the National League’s catcher and Panik beat out Jean Segura and 2014 winner DJ LeMahieu.

Posey is the first Giants catcher since Mike Matheny in 2005 to win a Gold Glove, while Panik joined Robby Thompson as the only Giants second basemen to win. The Panik selection came as a bit of a surprise, but only because a concussion limited him to 127 games. He said he was confident once he saw his name as a finalist, and called the selection the culmination of a lifelong dream.

“As a kid, when I would go to the park with my brother and my dad and my mom, my dad would always hits us ground balls first,” Panik said. “He said you work on your defense first and then you can hit. Ever since I was a kid, I made defense a priority. Knowing that I’m in that elite group of fielders to have won a Gold Glove — it’s very few throughout history — it’s something special.”

Posey felt the same way, saying he was hopeful throughout the process that he would finally break through.

“As a kid, I paid attention to the Gold Glove Award probably as much as any,” he said. “It’s a pretty cool deal for me.”

It’s also about time. The Giants have felt for a couple of years that Posey is the best defensive catcher in the National League, and there was disappointment among teammates and coaches last November when he finished second. Unseating an incumbent is difficult in Gold Glove voting, but Posey took another step up defensively and put up numbers that couldn't be denied. He led all catchers with 12 Defensive Runs Saved and was a runaway winner in the SABR Defensive Index, which makes up about a quarter of the vote. Posey finished with 15.2 SDI, far ahead of second-ranked Yasmani Grandal (5.9) and Molina (0.7). 

While Panik dug into the numbers, Posey said he doesn’t pay much attention to advanced defensive metrics. They have treated him well, however, with pitch-framing metrics showing him to be the best in the game at stealing strikes. Posey credited college coach Mike Martin Jr. and former first-base coach and catching instructor Billy Hayes with helping him improve in that area.

Panik has been an eager student of bench coach and infield instructor Ron Wotus, and as a converted shortstop, he has always had the range, arm and creativity to win a Gold Glove. Injuries kept him from having a real shot in 2015, but he did more than enough with his time on the field in 2016. Like Posey, Panik got a boost from SDI, finishing at 8.5, two points ahead of the next best second baseman.

“With the concussion, I didn’t play 160 games or whatnot, but I knew my stats were strong fielding-wise and sabermetric-wise,” he said. “When I knew I was a finalist, I knew I had a chance because of the numbers.”

Panik and Crawford formed the National League’s first Gold Glove middle-infield combo in 14 years. Posey said there are times when he runs down the line to back up a throw to first and ends up shaking his head at a play made by Crawford or Panik, or sometimes both. 

All three mix steadiness with bursts of the spectacular, with Crawford threatening to fill highlight packages on a nightly basis. A year ago, Crawford unseated back-to-back winner Andrelton Simmons. This season he had to hold off Cubs rookie Addison Russell, who tied Crawford with 19 Defensive Runs Saved and led in SDI. Crawford had the support of opposing coaches and managers who have spent years watching him pull outs from thin air. 

“He makes the game look easy,” Panik said. “He definitely elevates my game, too.”

Together, the three elevated the Giants’ defense, which was the one constant in a roller-coaster season. The organization finished as the only one with three Gold Glove winners. 

The award is the first major one for Panik and gave Crawford two to go along with his 2015 Silver Slugger Award. Crawford said he was happy to hear Posey added another item to an overflowing trophy case. 

“I think it was the one award that he hadn’t won,” he said. 

Through eight big league seasons, Posey has an MVP, three Silver Slugger Awards and a Rookie of the Year Award. Like Panik, he finally has that coveted Gold Glove, too. 

Brandon Crawford breaks down what happened on A's walk-off single

Brandon Crawford breaks down what happened on A's walk-off single

Giants shortstop Brandon Crawford made highlight play after highlight play during the last three games of the Bay Bridge Series. In the aftermath of Sunday's extra innings loss to the Oakland A's, the All-Star was asked about one he didn't.

A's third baseman Matt Chapman chopped a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning to give Oakland possession of "The Bridge." The ball bounced helplessly off of Crawford's foot and into center field, handing the Giants a second straight loss.

Crawford told reporters after the loss that he charged at the ball because he thought Chapman would beat the throw to first if he didn't. 

"it was a high enough hop that I thought I could get it on that first big hop," Crawford told reporters from the visiting clubhouse at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. "But it came down a lot steeper than I thought it was going to. I think that's what caused me to miss it.”

Crawford entered Sunday 10th among MLB shortstops in fielding percentage (.981), as well as second in putouts per nine innings (1.59) and assists per nine innings (3.07). 

The three-time Gold Glove winner made a pair of impressive catches against the A's on Saturday. He covered the vast foul territory at the Coliseum to make a sprinting catch in one instance, and snagging a ball over his shoulder in shallow center field in another.

A's manager Bob Melvin felt Crawford was in a tough spot on Chapman's chopper on Sunday, and had to react quickly on a "tough play" in order to get Chapman out.  

"But man, how many runs did he save for them in this series," Melvin continued. "He's as good as [shortstops] get. And not only is he a perennial [Gold Glove winner], he's a tough at-bat for them... [He's] a great player. That's not an easy play."

Giants can't complete comeback vs A's in Bay Bridge Series finale

Giants can't complete comeback vs A's in Bay Bridge Series finale

BOX SCORE

OAKLAND — Jeurys Familia got the win in his Oakland debut, Marcus Semien scored from second base on Matt Chapman’s infield chopper in the 10th inning, and the Athletics beat the San Francisco Giants 6-5 on Sunday.

Familia was acquired in a trade with the New York Mets on Saturday for two minor leaguers and $1 million in international signing bonus pool allotment. The right-hander, who had 17 saves with New York, arrived in Oakland about an hour before the game, but managed to pitch two scoreless innings.

Khris Davis and Matt Olson each homered twice to help the A’s win the inaugural Bay Bridge series trophy before a third consecutive sellout crowd at the Coliseum.

Semien drew a leadoff walk against Ty Blach (6-6) in the 10th and advanced to second on Stephen Piscotty’s deep flyout to center. After Davis was intentionally walked and Olson flew out, Chapman drove in Semien with an infield single that bounced just past All-Star shortstop Brandon Crawford into left field.

Familia (5-4) allowed a leadoff single to Austin Slater in the ninth, and then retired his next five batters. Alen Hanson bounced into an inning-ending double play in the ninth.

Andrew McCutchen homered for San Francisco. Austin Slater collected three hits, Pablo Sandoval had a pinch-hit, two-run single and Nick Hundley added two hits and scored twice.

San Francisco didn’t have a baserunner until the fifth inning and trailed 4-1 before scoring three in the seventh and one in the eighth.

McCutchen homered on a 3-2 pitch from former San Francisco reliever Yusmeiro Petit in the eighth.

TRAINER’S ROOM

Giants: 2B Joe Panik (groin) ran before the game.

Athletics: All-Star 2B Jed Lowrie was given the day off after getting hit by a pitch and fouling a ball off his body near the same area Saturday. ... OF Chad Pinder is nursing a sore wrist and thumb after stumbling over the leg of Giants infielder Hanson and falling hard to the turf a day earlier. Mark Canha (hamstring) was also rested.

UP NEXT

Giants: Head to Seattle for a two-game series beginning Tuesday. LHP Andrew Suarez (3-6, 3.94 ERA) starts for San Francisco and is winless since June 29.

Athletics: LHP Brett Anderson (1-2, 6.08 ERA) pitches in Texas on Monday in his first start against the Rangers since 2015.