Urban: Guillen is Here. What Does that Mean?


Urban: Guillen is Here. What Does that Mean?

Aug. 13, 2010


Mychael Urban

The conversation about Jose Guillen coming to the Giants started in earnest Tuesday, and a spirited conversation its been. Now the subject shifts, from, Should they get him ? to, Now that they have him, what does it mean?

One part of the former discussion -- hes a bad clubhouse guy should now be addressed in the latter. What does Guillens reputation as a frequent malcontent mean? In this case, absolutely nothing.This was a baseball decision, pure and simple. Guillen has some history of bad behavior, no doubt about it, but consider the following while wondering if hes going to be a wave maker on the shores of McCovey Cove:- Hes going from a miserable team to a legitimate World Series contender. That in itself should keep him happy for his short stay in San Francisco.- Hes playing for a 2011 contract. His three-year, 36 million deal with the Royals expires at the end of the season, and theres only one way to capitalize on free agency: Light it up on a big stage before you hit the open market. If he goes the bad-boy route here at all, hes going to cost himself a ton of glue. Wont happen. Theyre going to give him regular run in right field, moving Aubrey Huff to first base -- a source close to Guillen told CSNBayArea.com that the Giants told their newcomer that he'll start at least four games per week for now. That means he's got a real shot to prove hes got more left in the tank than most people believe.- Hes coming to a team with an impressive, high-integrity collection of clubhouse characters. This is a biggie, the reason it was a baseball-only decision to add Guillen. So strong is the cohesion on the club that the Giants brass is convinced it would mitigate any unpleasantness brought in from the outside.- Part of the great clubhouse vibe stems from the high-character Latin players on the team. Juan Uribe, Edgar Renteria, Andres Torres, Guillermo Mota step out of line while representing the fraternal Latin brand and youll get pulled aside in a heartbeat.- And finally, theres precedent for good behavior from Guillen in this situation. I covered the As team that acquired him in midstream in 2003, and he was a pleasure to cover. A bit off-center, to be sure, but not in the scary Milton Bradley sense. In 45 games he hit eight homers and drove in 23 runs to help Oakland get to the playoffs, and he was their best hitter in the teams loss to Boston in the ALDS, hitting .455 with a .571 on-base percentage -- while playing with a broken bone in his hand!
If Guillen is going to be a problem here, it wont be based on his ability to play nice with his teammates. Itll be a matter of production. Hes been a roller coaster all year, batting .304, .202, .340 and .207 in the first four months of the season, respectively, before the Royals dumped him after an 0-for-15 start to August.Is he the big bat many fans think the team needs? That, of course, will be determined over time. But as weve seen with Pat Burrell, a happy player is often a very good player, and Guillen has many, many reasons to be happy with the Giants.

Bullpen implodes after Cain goes five solid, Giants crushed by Padres

Bullpen implodes after Cain goes five solid, Giants crushed by Padres


SAN FRANCISCO -- Wil Myers hit a three-run homer to cap San Diego's eight-run sixth inning and the Padres rallied to beat the San Francisco Giants 12-4 on Saturday night.

Myers also singled off Chris Stratton (1-0) to start the big inning and had three hits for the game. San Diego scored 11 runs against the Giants' bullpen following five effective innings from starter Matt Cain.

Allen Cordoba added a three-run homer off Neil Ramirez in the seventh.

The Padres combined for six hits and two walks off Stratton and Ramirez in the sixth. It took the duo 46 pitches to end the inning.

Jhoulys Chacin (3-3) struck out six and gave up three runs, five hits and two walks in five innings.

Triggs rebounds as A's halt 10-game losing streak to Astros

Triggs rebounds as A's halt 10-game losing streak to Astros

HOUSTON — Andrew Triggs keeps checking off all the right boxes in his first season as a major league starting pitcher.

Coming into the year, manager Bob Melvin said the right-hander’s biggest challenge would be retiring lefty hitters. He’s done that splendidly.

On Saturday, the A’s needed to see if Triggs could bounce back after his first rough outing of 2017. He responded with the best of his 11 career starts, holding a potent Astros lineup off the scoreboard for seven innings as the A’s registered a 2-1 victory that snapped their five-game losing streak.

The effective cutter that eluded Triggs when he lost to the Mariners last Sunday was back. Houston’s hitters waved helplessly at the pitch and began their walk back to the dugout all in the same motion, as Triggs rang up a career-high nine strikeouts. His seven innings also were a career high for the 28-year-old.

“We’re not really swinging the bats right now,” Melvin said. “We score two runs and we’re facing a lineup that you expect to score a bunch of runs. So to pitch as well as he did and go through the lineup three times, give us seven innings of work, is pretty good.

“He had the one off-outing, and every outing (besides that) has been pretty spotless.”

Triggs, whose 1.84 ERA ranks seventh in the American League, doesn’t blow people away with his fastball. He throws from a three-quarters arm slot that suggests it might be easy for left-handed hitters to pick up the ball out of his hand. Last season, the batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage were all roughly 40 to 50 points higher for lefties than for righties off Triggs.

All he’s done coming out of the gate this season is hold lefties to an .087 batting average (4-for-46). Another revealing stat: Opposing cleanup hitters are 0-for-14 off him.

Triggs credited catchers Stephen Vogt, Josh Phegley and, when he’s been up with the big club, Bruce Maxwell for their expertise in calling pitches against lefties.

“They’ve done such a good job keeping the sequences unpredictable,” he said. “You command pitches, you’re gonna get guys out. I know the stereotype is when you throw from the angle that I do, you’re gonna struggle with lefties. I’ve been aware, at least of that profile, for a while. I’ve worked on it quite a bit.”

Triggs had his entire repertoire working Saturday, according to Vogt.

“He was keeping them off-balance. Even when it seemed they were starting to sit on his slider, he starts sneaking some heaters by them. He was outstanding.”

But he had help. First baseman Yonder Alonso made a terrific leaping grab of Josh Reddick’s liner in the fifth that might have gone for extra bases. An inning before that, Jaff Decker made an on-the-money throw to third from deep right field to nail Carlos Beltran tagging up on a fly ball.

“He’s got a good arm so don’t sleep on him at all,” Triggs said.

Given how their month has gone, it’s no surprise the A’s got both their runs on homers. They’ve gone deep 31 times in April, their most homers in the month since they clubbed 34 in 2006. Lowrie, who’s spent two stints with the Astros and owns an offseason home in Houston, went deep to right to give the A’s a 1-0 lead. Khris Davis mashed his 10th homer in the eighth for what wound up being an important insurance run when Jose Altuve followed with a homer off Sean Doolittle.

Davis’ teammates by now are accustomed to seeing the left fielder flaunt his opposite-field power. He’s hit three homers this series, all to straightaway right or right-center.

Said Lowrie: “I think at this point it’s fair to call it special.”