Giants Insider notes: Walks haunt


Giants Insider notes: Walks haunt

May 5, 2011

Our MLB Insider takes a look at the Giants' 5-2 loss to the host Mets on Thursday at Citi Field in New York.Wild thing: In his first start since walking four batters in the first inning and issuing a total of eight free passes -- six walks, two hit batters -- over five innings last Friday in Washington, D.C., Giants lefty Jonathan Sanchez looked like the exact same pitcher who struggled against the Nationals. He was again his own worst enemy, walking six and allowing five hits on the way to surrendering five earned runs over five innings -- he was lifted with a pitch count of 93 -- in the final game of San Francisco's 10-game road trip. Cliche, it's not: "Walks will come back to haunt you." You hear it all the time, and it's not hollow chatter. Sanchez issues consecutive walks to New York's eighth- and ninth-place hitters with two out in the second inning, and Jose Reyes promptly cashed them in with a triple to center field that capped a three-run rally.RECAP: Sanchez loses control; Giants fail to sweep Mets
Small man, big fly: Diminutive Mike Fontenot, who served as the Giants' No. 3 hitter in all three games of the Mets series, doesn't look like much of a power hitter, but looks are deceiving. Make a point to get out to AT&T Park a little early next time you take in a game and watch him take batting practice. More than likely, you'll see him launch a few bombs similar to the upper-tank shot he slammed off Mets starter Mike Pelfrey on Thursday to get the visitors on the board for the first time.Regulars resting: Buster Posey, Freddy Sanchez and Pat Burrell all were left out of the starting lineup for the day game after a night game, but two of the regulars who look like they need a blow as much as anybody -- Cody Ross and Miguel Tejada -- were run back out there and continued to struggle. Combined they went 1-for-8 and are still stuck with batting averages below .200.Mota mows: Veteran righty reliever Guillermo Mota, a non-roster invitee to spring training who had to battle for a spot on the opening day roster, has been extremely consistent for the Giants all season, and he put together one of his best outings of the season in working two perfect innings to give the Giants a chance at mounting a late comeback. Mota's ERA fell to 2.08 for the year.Mission accomplished: The goal for every team at the start of every season and every road trip is to do no worse than play .500 ball away from home. This was an ugly trip for the Giants in many respects, but the bottom line is that they won two of three series and packed up for their return to the Bay Area with a 5-5 roadie record.

Giants continue embarrassing stretch against rebuilding Padres

Giants continue embarrassing stretch against rebuilding Padres

SAN FRANCISCO — Three years ago, the Giants and Padres were the two teams in it until the very end for Pablo Sandoval’s services. He ended up in Boston, and when he became available again over the past week, the Padres politely backed away. 

They prefer youth and Rule 5 Draft picks. They came into this season knowing they might lose 100 games, and they didn’t mind. If anything, they welcomed the increased shot at the top pick in the 2018 draft. They’re here to tank, but the Giants (who expect to welcome Sandoval back on a minor league deal as soon as Friday) just won’t let them. 

Thursday’s 5-2 loss to San Diego was like so many others over the past calendar year. The Giants didn’t hit, they didn’t come through in the clutch, they did not support their starting pitcher, and they did not guarantee a handshake line. 

The Giants have lost 15 of 20 to the Padres since last year’s All-Star break, including three straight last July to kickstart a tailspin that has lasted over a year now. They have dropped four of five meetings in this second half, which was supposed to prove that a Padre-like rebuild is not needed up here in the Bay Area. They are five games behind the Padres in the race to finish a distant fourth in the National League, and in a season full of disappointment, that stands as one of the more embarrassing facts. 

Not even Madison Bumgarner’s return to AT&T Park could turn the tide. The lefty looked good most of the night, but two homers left him with a rougher-than-hoped line. Bumgarner gave up four earned on two homers. He has allowed multiple homers in back-to-back games for the first time in his career. Both starts have come against the Padres. 

“I’ve got to stop giving up homers,” Bumgarner said of his start. “That’s not going to work.”

Bumgarner said he felt fine physically, and his curveball — the pitch that has backfired on him most often since his return — feels right mechanically. He was facing his last batter in the seventh as George Kontos warmed up with a runner on. Corey Spangenberg hit a two-run shot to the deepest part of the yard to make it 4-2. 

Buster Posey flied out with the bases loaded in the eighth. The Giants brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth but couldn’t score, which has been the norm against the Padres. The Giants are averaging just 3.2 runs per game during this 20-game stretch of futility against a team they once dominated. 

“We need to win ballgames right now,” Bumgarner said. “We’ve got to start doing that. There’s no magic solution. We’ve got to start playing better, all of us.”

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as homers hurt Bumgarner vs Padres

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways as homers hurt Bumgarner vs Padres


SAN FRANCISCO — A day after he did his press conference from a “Game of Thrones” throne, manager Bruce Bochy said he was happy the Giants won their series finale against the Indians and kept that plan in play. In that respect, he’s lucky his team wasn’t facing the Padres on Wednesday. 

The Giants were on Thursday, however, and they continued their baffling stretch of ineptitude against what is supposed to be the worst team in the National League West. The 5-2 loss to San Diego was the 15th in the last 20 meetings between the two teams, one of which has a $200 million payroll and the other of which is actively tanking. 

The Giants had a shot at a comeback in the eighth, but Buster Posey flied out to right with two outs and the bases loaded. Here are five things to know, if you are the curious type: 

—- Madison Bumgarner has faced the Padres twice since returning. In 13 1/3 innings, he has allowed 10 hits and seven earned runs. He is getting hurt by a familiar problem for the 2017 Giants: The Padres have four homers off Bumgarner in those two starts. Hunter Renfroe and Cory Spangenberg took him deep Thursday, with Spangenberg hitting one out to the deepest part of the yard on Bumgarner’s final pitch. 

—- This is the first time in Bumgarner’s career that he has allowed multiple homers in back-to-back starts. 

—- Kyle Crick showed good stuff — sitting 96-97 — while stranding a runner on second in the eighth. He followed that with a scoreless ninth. The Giants should make it a priority to throw him into some deeper water over the next two months. 

—- There’s an epidemic these days of outfielders making foolish throws to the plate. We see it just about every night, and it cost the Padres in the sixth. Gorkys Hernandez was on second and he took off right away on Denard Span’s single to right. Renfroe had no play at the plate but he threw it anyway and Span took second. He scored when Eduardo Nuñez singled to left. 

—- The Giants announced their second consecutive sellout. That’s a streak. Maybe?