Baggs' Instant Replay: Padres 7, Giants 1


Baggs' Instant Replay: Padres 7, Giants 1


SAN DIEGO Beanballs were exchanged. Dugouts were warned. Padres third baseman Chase Headley was ejected.

But cmon. This is San Diego on a resplendent Sunday afternoon. How worked up can you get, really?

Despite some of the particulars, the Giants 7-1 loss to the Padres didnt have as much edge or anger. Just a lot of quick outs from the visiting side, and a whole lot of Everth Cabrera that is likely to bleed into Ryan Vogelsongs nightmares.

Cabrera led off the game with a 13-pitch at-bat to set a tone for Vogelsong, who was unable to record an out in the fourth inning. Clayton Richard found a less turbulent route while holding the Giants to an unearned run in eight innings.

The Giants were unable to complete a three-game sweep and they dropped back into second place in the NL West, a half-game behind the Los Angeles Dodgers whom theyll play the following three days at Chavez Ravine.

Starting pitching report
In his first 19 starts, Vogelsong never allowed more than two runs in a single inning. But hes given up three crooked numbers four, seven and three -- over his last four outings.

Vogelsong (10-7) threw 96 pitches without recording an out in the fourth inning, and 30 of them were to Everth Cabrera. The Padres pesky leadoff man worked Vogelsong for a 13-pitch at-bat to start the game all fastballs, the last one finally finding its way past Cabreras swing.

Perhaps that battle took something out of Vogelsong from the very start. He allowed four hits in the first inning, with Carlos Quentin pounding an RBI single and Cameron Maybin lining a hanging, first-pitch slider for a two-run single as the Padres took a 3-0 lead.

Entering the game, Vogelsong had allowed just two runs in the first inning all season.

The Padres stole three bases as part of the rally, too. Catcher Buster Posey threw too high to second base and third base.

It never got much easier for Vogelsong. He hit Quentin to load the bases in the second inning before escaping on Yonder Alonsos ground out. And after Cabrera singled on the 10th pitch of his at-bat to start the fourth inning, Giants manager Bruce Bochy was not eager to see a replay of the first. He pulled Vogelsong and hoped the bullpen could keep the score at 3-1.

After completing six innings in each of his first 21 starts, Vogelsong has been knocked out early twice (2 23 innings vs. Washington on Monday, too).

Bullpen report
The bullpen could not keep it close. The Padres went triple-double-single-strikeout-double against left-hander Jose Mijares in the fifth, with Cabrera providing the two-RBI punch at the end. At least Cabrera was kind enough to double on the first pitch.

At the plate
Clayton Richard found his old spellbook for the Giants. He had been 0-3 with a 7.64 ERA in three starts against them this year, ending a career trend. Prior to this season, he was 5-2 with a 3.09 ERA in eight starts against them and frustrated the Giants to no end as these two teams battled to the 162nd game in 2010.

Richard was on his game again. He held the Giants to an unearned run on five hits in eight innings while improving to 10-12 this season.

The Giants scored their only run in the second inning, when right fielder Will Venable clanked Buster Poseys fly ball. Posey advanced on a wild pitch and scored on Hunter Pences sacrifice fly.

Justin Christian stopped that rally when he hit a foul pop to third base. Christian was removed as part of a double-switch in the fourth; you have to believe the Giants will consider other left field options as they face left-handers Clayton Kershaw and Chris Capuano on Monday and Wednesday at Dodger Stadium.

Brandon Belt was plunked by Richard in the fourth inning, and plate umpire Brian ONora warned both dugouts. ONora also showed a quick thumb when Headley argued the strike zone in the third inning; ONora ejected him on the spot.

In field
Pablo Sandoval made his second diving stop in as many games. He left his feet to grab Alonsos hot grounder in the fourth and Brandon Belt made a nice scoop at first base to end the inning.

Padres second baseman Alexi Amarista was the games defensive star, diving to stop a hot shot that Richard deflected to retire Posey in the third. Then Amarista nearly crashed into the Giants busy bullpen while ranging far to catch Angel Pagans foul pop in the seventh.

The Padres announced 28,605 paid. The crowd gave a standing ovation to Marines from Delta Company 1st recruit training battalion. Its one of the best Sunday traditions in baseball. Ill take that over a badly sung God Bless America any day.

Up next
The Giants bus to Chavez Ravine for a showdown series with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Madison Bumgarner (13-7, 2.97) will oppose left-hander Clayton Kershaw (11-6, 2.90) on Monday. Tim Lincecum (6-12, 5.45) will be under the microscope Tuesday against right-hander Joe Blanton (8-11, 4.96). Matt Cain gets the ball in Wednesdays series finale against left-hander Chris Capuano (11-8, 3.14).

Giants spring training Day 9: Bumgarner, Melancon face hitters

Giants spring training Day 9: Bumgarner, Melancon face hitters

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Madison Bumgarner aims to get all 27 outs every time he takes the mound, but on Tuesday the coaching staff gave the ace a nice view of the man who will help out if his nights are cut short. 

Bumgarner threw his first live batting practice session of the spring on the main field at Scottsdale Stadium. Mark Melancon, the new closer, followed him. Both players said they felt good. Both also found things to work on in advance of opening day. 

“Strength-wise I felt pretty good, really good, actually,” Bumgarner said. “My command up in the zone was right where I want it. I’m pretty happy with that. My cutter was pretty straight, but that usually comes around pretty quick.”

Melancon didn’t even throw his go-to cutter, saying he usually pockets it until later in camp. He’s getting the feel for his curveball back because he doesn’t throw it until he reports. Like Bumgarner, Melancon said he’s where he needs to be physically.

“I feel really good,” he said. “In years past there has been some slowness but I don’t feel that this year. I’m right where I want to be.”

The Giants have not finalized a Cactus League rotation, but Bumgarner will likely throw an inning in Friday’s opener. Melancon could follow him, as he’ll throw in the early innings until late March. He said he’ll talk to pitching coach Dave Righetti about closing a game or two over the final days of camp so he can start locking his routine down. It’s probably a lock that he’ll close out that first Bay Bridge Series game back at AT&T Park. 

ICYMI: Here’s actual (shaky) footage of Bumgarner throwing today. At one point, he gave Denard Span a hard time for missing a slider that he was told was coming. Span had a good reason. “I didn't understand him when he said it because of his accent,” he said. 

ICYMI, PART II: The latest podcast is a couple of interviews with Derek Law and Josh Osich. Law explained how he ordered 800 chicken nuggets for his wedding. 

CUETO UPDATE: The Giants now expect Johnny Cueto to join camp this weekend. His status for the WBC is up in the air. Speaking of the WBC, trainer Dave Groeschner will be leaving camp on Feb. 27 to work with manager Hensley Meulens and the Netherlands. Bullpen catcher Taira Uematsu is also working with the team, which opens play in Seoul. Anthony Reyes will be head trainer while Groeschner is gone.

PROSPECT WATCH: Bruce Bochy said right-hander Ray Black was a standout during early live BP sessions. “He had a hell of an outing yesterday,” Bochy said. “They said he was really good.”   Black, 26, still throws 100-plus. He still has command issues, though, with 32 walks in 31 1/3 innings last year. If he can get over that hump and stay healthy, he might rocket to the big leagues.

QUOTABLE: After just about every start last season — most of which were dominant — Bumgarner said he wasn’t happy with his mechanics. He said Tuesday that he’s still searching for the perfect feeling. “I was being a perfectionist,” he said. “If you’re being a perfectionist, I really haven’t had (my mechanics) where I wanted the last couple of years. It’s not like it’s too far off, obviously.”

Johnny Cueto hopes to join Giants camp this weekend

Johnny Cueto hopes to join Giants camp this weekend

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Giants have been watching high-quality clips of Johnny Cueto all spring, even though the co-ace has remained in the Dominican Republic. On Monday, manager Bruce Bochy finally managed to get face-to-face with Cueto. Kind of. 

Cueto spoke to Bochy, trainer Dave Groeschner and others via FaceTime, and all involved finally managed to hammer out a schedule for Cueto’s arrival. Cueto has been in the Dominican Republic tending to his ill father, Domingo, but he is expected to arrive in Scottsdale this weekend. Cueto is working to secure a visa for his father, who will travel with him.

Bochy wanted to have a long discussion with Cueto to get a sense of how ready he’ll be for the World Baseball Classic. Cueto’s participation is still up in the air, and not just because he has missed the first week of camp. There is a chance, Bochy said, that Cueto will choose to stay in Scottsdale to continue taking care of his father. The Dominican Republic opens play in Miami on March 9.

“He said he knows he’s got to make a decision real soon regarding what he does,” Bochy said. “Pitching or not pitching, he’s got to let them know as soon as possible.”

Cueto has been throwing to hitters at a facility in Boca Chica. He threw a 45-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday.