Baggs' Instant Replay: Padres 6, Giants 3

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Baggs' Instant Replay: Padres 6, Giants 3

BOX SCORE
SAN FRANCISCO Just when you thought Tim Lincecum was generating some honest to goodness momentum It was not a happy Timmy day for Lincecum at AT&T Park Wednesday afternoon. He was all over the map as well as the strike zone while giving up two homers and five runs before getting the hook in the fifth inning. The Giants offense, despite some late life, was dead for too much of the afternoon in a necrotic, 6-3 loss to the San Diego Padres.Lincecum stopped more than his personal momentum that hed gathered with quality starts against the Astros and Phillies. He also snapped the Giants six-game home winning streak.For the third consecutive series, the Giants won the first two games but failed to polish off the sweep.The Giants are 6-15 in Lincecums starts.Starting pitching reportLincecums woes were familiar enough: He threw too many pitches in the early innings, he got tagged while going through the lineup for a second time, his velocity slipped like a bad transmission and he left fastballs in the crush-me zone.Lincecum (4-11) was electric enough at the outset. He struck out five of the first nine batters he faced, but even then he struggled to put the ball where he wanted it. He hit a batter, walked another and served up a solo home run to Chase Headley.Lincecum couldnt maintain a tie in the fourth, when the Padres loaded the bases on two dinky singles and a walk. Will Venable cashed in two with a two-out double that fell just beyond the reach of Angel Pagan in center field.But if Lincecum was a tad unlucky in the fourth, he was just plain bad in the fifth. His offspeed pitches were easy takes in the dirt and he continued to miss with his fastball. Carlos Quentin singled and Lincecum threw a 3-1 fastball that Guzman punished for a two-run home run. It was just an 89 mph, do-nothing pitch straight down the middle. Guzman wouldve been fined for not hitting it 350-plus feet.Lincecum then walked John Baker on six pitches, ending his afternoon. He has failed to complete five innings in three of his last five starts.The right-hander gave up five runs (all earned) on seven hits and three walks while striking out eight. He threw two wild pitches, gave up two home runs and threw a whopping 102 pitches. At least he didnt balk.Lincecum now sports a 5.88 ERA.Bullpen reportJeremy Affeldt, Brad Penny and George Kontos combined to allow just one run Guzmans homer off Penny in the eighth in 4 13 innings.At the plateThe Giants wouldve made Henry Ford proud of their run manufacturing skills in the first inning. Gregor Blanco laced a single, stole second base, took third on Ryan Theriots sacrifice bunt and scored the tying run on Melky Cabreras sacrifice fly to left field.But the Giants didnt get another hit until Angel Pagan hit a two-out double in the seventh. In fact, embarrassingly enough, they didnt hit a ball OUT OF THE INFIELD between Cabreras sacrifice fly in the first and Pagans double in the seventh.Jason Marquis used his sinker to keep them grounded the rest of the time. But the Giants made some noise in the eighth after Brandon Belt reached on shortstop Everth Cabreras sloppy throwing error. Joaquin Arias hit an infield single and took second on Marquis wild pitch, which also scored Belt. But Arias was thrown out at third base on Eli Whitesides ground ball when Cabrera made an athletic stop in the hole and threw to third base.The baserunning mistake minimized what could have been a huge inning. Nate Schierholtz hit a pinch single off lefty Joe Thatcher and Ryan Theriot collected an RBI single off another specialist, right-hander Luke Gregerson. But Cabrera got too greedy while taking huge hacks at Huston Streets offerings. Cabrera, unable to tie the game with one swing, struck out.In fieldA day after making one of the greatest catches of the season to start a double play, Pagan came up jut short on a play that would have saved Lincecum two runs in the fourth inning.The Giants defense was an asset otherwise, especially as Brandon Belt and Brandon Crawford combined for a 3-6-3 double play in the seventh. Jeremy Affeldt also picked a runner off first base.AttendanceThe Giants announced 41,871 paid for a not-so-happy Timmy Day.Up nextThe Giants take a day off Thursday before beginning a three-game showdown series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Itll be Matt Cain (10-3, 2.75) against a pitcher to be determined, followed on Saturday by Barry Zito (8-6, 3.75) vs. right-hander Chad Billingsley (5-9. 4.15). Ryan Vogelsong (8-4, 2.26) matches up with left-hander Clayton Kershaw (7-6. 3.14) in Sundays series finale.

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants dropping series vs Braves

Instant Analysis: Five takeaways from Giants dropping series vs Braves

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO — The kid who raced The Freeze on Thursday night blew a tire as he hit center field, hobbled for about 50 feet, and then went down for good. He still had a better night than the Giants. 

They blew all four tires in the fifth, giving up eight runs in a nightmare frame that turned a two-run lead into a 12-11 loss. The Giants finished 1-7 on the swing through Denver and Atlanta, and they have lost 18 of their last 23 games. 

But, let’s face it, you’re here already. So here are five more things to know from the night … 

—- Matt Cain was hanging in there until the fifth, and then … disaster. The inning started with Brandon Phillips’ solo shot that cut the lead to one. Then it went single, single before Cain was relieved by Bryan Morris. After that, it was single, single, single, sacrifice fly, homer, flyout, walk, single, pitching change, single. 

—- Morris had to wear it in the fifth because the bullpen is short, and boy, did he wear it. Morris gave up five runs on five hits and a walk. His ERA jumped two full points in two-thirds of an inning. 

—- Kyle Crick made his MLB debut in that horrendous bottom of the fifth. The Giants surely did not want to bring him in with runners on, but Bruce Bochy had no choice when Morris blew up. Crick’s first pitch was a 95 mph heater. After giving up a hit in that inning, he pitched a perfect sixth and perfect seventh. Crick topped out at 97 mph. Pretty, pretty good stuff there. He needs to get a long look the rest of this year. 

—- In the second, Buster Posey hit a ball that went 311 feet and had a hit probability of just six percent. Cain hit a ball 357 feet. Posey got a homer that bounced off the top of the wall; Cain just got a double. Baseball is such an odd game.  

—- On a positive note, Javi Lopez, who calls Brandon Belt “Sparky,” repeatedly referred to Posey as Gerald. He’s going to be good at this job. 

Why you shouldn't freak out in June about Cueto's opt-out

Why you shouldn't freak out in June about Cueto's opt-out

SAN FRANCISCO — There’s a very important fact you need to keep in mind when talk of Johnny Cueto’s opt-out comes up, as it so often will over the next six weeks: The Giants always expected him to opt-out after this season, from the moment the ink was dry on the six-year, $130-million contract. 

When you sign at the top of your game and have a chance to hit the market at 31 years old and cash out a second time, you take it. Those are just the rules of professional sports. On the day Cueto was introduced, his agent, Bryce Dixon, said the two-year opt-out was important because they felt Cueto didn’t get a totally fair shot at free agency. 

“Johnny, a little bit unfairly, had a lot of questions about his arm,” Dixon said in December of 2015. “I felt we could reestablish his actual value … He knows he’s as good as (David) Price and (Zack) Greinke, but his situation was a little different.”

The Giants were fine with this, too. The flip side of the opt-out is that if you have the chance to pay a dominant right-hander $46 million over two years, and then escape his mid- to late-thirties, you do it. Every time. You don’t even blink. 

So, here we are, in June of the second year of that deal, with reports that Cueto will opt out. You should take a deep breath because you should have already expected this. But if you didn’t, take comfort in this: By all indications, Cueto has not made a decision, even with the Giants having an unimaginably poor season. 

First of all, Cueto can't make a decision in June. What if the blisters return and he repeats his April ERA a couple more times? What if his elbow starts barking? There are no guarantees with pitchers, and until Cueto gets through the second season, there will be no finality with his decision. 

Aside from the fact that he really can’t make that decision, though, sources insist Cueto hasn’t made up his mind or even thought much about it. People familiar with his thinking continue to say the focus has been baseball all season long, from spring training through his last start. 

Cueto is said to be happy in San Francisco and he enjoys pitching in front of the crowd at AT&T Park. His biggest concern has been wins and losses, and in that respect, this has been a disappointing year for all involved. 

That record has brought the Giants to a crossroads, and this is where it gets interesting. The easy solution is to trade Cueto next month, avoid the opt-out situation entirely, and add prospects to a system lacking them. But, it’s complicated. The Giants do not intend a full teardown, and if they’re going for it again in 2018 — with their core of Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Madison Bumgarner, etc. locked in, that’s the plan — they’ll want that second ace at the top of the rotation. And if Bumgarner doesn’t return to form after an injury, they’ll need Cueto’s presence. 

The Giants have until July 31 to decide what to do with Cueto. He has until three days after the World Series ends to decide what to do with his contract. Here in June, by all indications, those decisions haven’t been made.