Ty Blach is here to stay, but Giants can't bail him out on rare off night

Ty Blach is here to stay, but Giants can't bail him out on rare off night

MILWAUKEE — Even with the Giants 13 games under .500 and 14 out in the division, Madison Bumgarner is working hard to make it back on schedule. Before Wednesday’s game, Bumgarner said he feels better every day, and he noted that it’s a bit easier to rehab given what another lefty is doing. 

Asked about Ty Blach, who had won four straight coming into the day, Bumgarner said it’s “been really fun to watch.”

“He took (the job) and ran with it,” Bumgarner said. 

It’s now clear that the two will soon be running side by side. Whenever Bumgarner returns, Blach will have nothing else to prove. Even after his worst outing in a month, manager Bruce Bochy heaped praise, noting that Blach showed good stuff into the sixth inning of a 6-3 loss and pitched better than his final numbers. 

When a reporter asked if Blach has shown he’s a big league starter and worthy of staying in the rotation when Bumgarner returns in late July or early August, Bochy had a quick answer.

“Oh I think so,” Bochy said. “You have to look at the job he’s done. He didn’t walk a guy (tonight), he has good command and his stuff is good, too. That doesn’t get talked about but he’s got good velocity and movement on his changeup. The thing I like about him is he doesn’t get rattled. They throw a ball at his head and the next pitch he gets right in there and lays down a perfect bunt. This is who this kid is.

“He’s a major league starter.”

Blach gave up five earned in six innings, but he didn’t get much help from his outfield defense, and he wasn’t bailed out by a lineup that doesn’t take advantage of hitter’s parks. The Giants had all three of their runs in one inning, two coming on a deep Buster Posey homer. 

The rest of the night was a familiar story, and Blach paid for two misplays in left by Orlando Calixte, part of the newest wave to get a shot out there. With the Giants up 3-1, Jesus Aguilar hit a single to left-center that Calixte overran. Aguilar scored from second on Travis Shaw’s single. Shaw went to third when Calixte appeared to misjudge Hernan Perez’s liner to left that dropped for a double, and he scored on a sacrifice fly. 

Bochy said he would have to go back and look at the Perez ball. He doesn’t need a second look to know left field remains a huge issue. Calixte was 0 for 3, dropping his average to .167, and he hit into a double play. Bochy said he’s not sure who will start in left on Thursday, as Austin Slater has also struggled with the promotion. 

“We’ve got to get these guys to relax,” Bochy said. “Trust me, they’re good players. I don’t know why they’re pressing. We’ve got to get these guys to settle down. We need some help there. We need one of those kids to come up and get hot. It’s just been a black hole for us. We’ve got to get somebody to step up and take that job.” 

Giants see plenty of positives from two rookies against rebuilding Padres

Giants see plenty of positives from two rookies against rebuilding Padres

SAN DIEGO — Petco Park has been a house of horrors during much of the last two seasons, but for two Giants rookies, the first visit here was a positive one. 

Left fielder Chris Shaw reached base seven times in the three-game series, continuing a mini surge. First baseman Aramis Garcia hit a solo homer in Wednesday’s 8-4 loss to the Padres, his third in 30 big league at-bats. Those would have been positive developments at any time of the year, but against the rebuilding Padres, they perhaps gave the Giants a bit more hope going forward. 

For two consecutive seasons, they have finished behind the Dodgers, Rockies and Diamondbacks. The Dodgers look poised for a sixth consecutive NL West crown and have the farm system and financial power to keep a contender on the field for years to come, but the other two will face difficult decisions in future winters as Paul Goldschmidt, Nolan Arenado and other contributors hit free agency. The general consensus around the game, though, is that the NL West won’t necessarily get weaker. The Padres are viewed as having the best farm system in baseball, and they could become interesting as soon as next season. 

The Giants got their first look at the latest star Padres prospect, catcher Francisco Mejia. The 22-year-old didn’t do much damage against Giants pitching, but he has three homers in his first month in the big leagues and is touted as a future star. Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego’s top prospect, is injured but should be up early next season. Luis Urias, also listed on the top 30 on many prospect lists, came up this month but was injured and didn’t face the Giants. Those are three of nine Padres prospects listed on many top 100 charts. 

This is a group that appears at least a year away, mostly because the pitching depth the Padres have is at the lower levels of the minors. But at some point, likely 2020, the Giants will have another significant road bump in the division, and they’ll need their own youth to compete. 

Joey Bart, Heliot Ramos and others should be here or getting close in a couple of years, but the class that went through Triple-A this season is the first line of defense. 

The Giants would have loved to watch Steven Duggar patrol the massive center field here for three days, but Shaw and Garcia did just fine with their own defensive challenges. If a fan had not interfered Tuesday, Shaw likely would have robbed Franmil Reyes, another young Padre, of a two-run shot. Garcia saved Evan Longoria from an error Wednesday with a nifty scoop. 

“He did a nice job, didn’t he?” manager Bruce Bochy said of his catcher-turned-first baseman. “To go oppo here, that’s impressive off a tough pitcher. He did a nice job for someone who doesn’t have a lot of experience at first base. He threw out pretty good at-bats, too. He looks comfortable.”

Both Shaw and Garcia do at the moment, and while they’re almost certainly ticketed for Triple-A at the start of next season, they’re showing that they’re capable of contributing at this level, a nice boost late in a lost year. The Padres are coming, and the Giants will need their own young standouts to avoid getting passed.

Giants fail to sweep Padres after Chris Stratton's strange second inning

Giants fail to sweep Padres after Chris Stratton's strange second inning


SAN DIEGO — This was not your normal Giants-Padres game. It wasn't a good night for the visiting team, either. 

The Giants gave up a pair of big homers and lost 8-4 at Petco Park. Giants starting pitcher Chris Stratton allowed five early runs and the Padres put it away when Freddy Galvis crushed a Ray Black fastball for a three-run homer in the eighth. 

The Giants failed to get a sweep after two good performances here the first two nights. Before they head to St. Louis, here’s what else you need to know about the last night in the Gaslamp District … 

— The second inning was a strange one for Stratton. He picked up his first career extra-base hit in the top of the inning, lining a double over right fielder Franmil Reyes to clear the loaded bases. But in the bottom of the inning, the wheels came off. Stratton allowed five hits, with much of the damage coming on a homer by Wil Myers. Gorkys Hernandez got him out of the inning with a leaping catch at the wall.

— Giants rookie catcher Aramis Garcia went the opposite way in the eighth and dropped a fly ball right on the padding of the fence for his third homer. Garcia has been a bit of a standout defensively, too. He impressed while catching, and he had a nice scoop at first Wednesday to keep an error off Evan Longoria’s line. With Brandon Belt out for the year, Garcia should see daily at-bats the rest of the way. 

— Chris Shaw, Giants rookie left fielder, continued his breakthrough at the plate. He drew a walk in his second plate appearance against lefty starter Robbie Erlin and then pulled a single to right on a 98.7 mph from right-handed reliever Robert Stock. Shaw reached base multiple times in every game this series. 

— Giants rookie infielder Abiatal Avelino got his third big league at-bat. He grounded out to short as a pinch-hitter in the fourth inning.