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San Francisco Giants: Another week of ups and downs

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 28: Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the top of the ninth inning during game one of a doubleheader at AT&T Park on April 28, 2018 in San Francisco, California. Sandoval got the Dodgers out 1-2-3 in the inning. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - APRIL 28: Pablo Sandoval #48 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the Los Angeles Dodgers in the top of the ninth inning during game one of a doubleheader at AT&T Park on April 28, 2018 in San Francisco, California. Sandoval got the Dodgers out 1-2-3 in the inning. (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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Another week of ups and downs. Perhaps that should be the new motto for the 2019 San Francisco Giants.

Two weeks ago, the San Francisco Giants put together a fun week of baseball and a nice 4-2 record. I was so very happy I even wrote a piece about the slight possibility that they could be contenders.

And then, last week happened.

While the Giants produced an energizing week of baseball to watch—sans two ugly losses on Monday and Friday—and battled back with big rallies time and again, they finished with a disappointing 2-4 record.

Last week, I mentioned a starting pitching staff that could be a source of hope. Then the staff’s ERA rose from 4.03 to 4.83 in the space of a week. They allowed a total of 28 runs (including five unearned) over 18 innings, which adds up to an 11.50 ERA. Rough.

If you haven’t already, give Joel Reuter’s piece on the team’s struggles to produce quality starts a read.

For now, let’s go game-by-game through last week’s action:

Monday: Cincinnati Reds 12, San Francisco Giants 4

WP: Anthony DeSclafani, LP: Drew Pomeranz.

The story of this game was told after one inning, with the Giants already trailing 5-0 heading into the second frame.

But more importantly: Pablo Sandoval stole a base, hit a three-run home run and pitched a scoreless inning. I vote Pablo pitches anytime the Giants are officially out of the game.

Tuesday: San Francisco Giants 14, Colorado Rockies 4

WP: Madison Bumgarner, LP: Antonio Senzatela

Charlie Blackmon put the Rockies on the board in the first with a leadoff homer, continuing Madison Bumgarner’s first-inning woes. But then the offense woke up and lived the Coors Field lifestyle.

Evan Longoria hit a solo shot to tie the game. Mac Williamson and Kevin Pillar each hit two-run bombs in the fourth inning. Brandon Crawford, Steven Duggar and Tyler Austin each had two RBI.

The big storyline of the day was Williamson’s return to the majors and the immediate energy he brought to the game.

Wednesday: Postponed due to rain.

Good news for yours truly, dad duty had me pretty wiped out.

Thursday: Colorado Rockies 12, San Francisco Giants 11

WP: Bryan Shaw, LP: Tyler Beede, SV: Wade Davis.

In a game that started in snow, the lineups for both teams were ablaze.

Derek Holland got off to a rough start, allowing three runs in the first, followed by four in the second. However, the offense fought back to tie the game in the top of the sixth, thanks in large part to a pair of three-run home runs from Tyler Austin.

In the bottom of the sixth, Tyler Beede allowed a leadoff double to Raimel Tapel and was then replaced by Mark Melancon. Melancon subsequently allowed a two-run double and an RBI single to put the Rockies back on top 11-8.

The offense had to battle again in the ninth, creating a two-run rally and putting the tying run on second base before Stephen Vogt went down swinging.

It may not have been the ideal outcome. It had some frustrating moments. But, it was fun to watch the Giants lineup score 11 runs. A couple of long balls, a batch of doubles, some clutch base hits—refreshing.

Friday: Cincinnati Reds 7, San Francisco Giants 0

WP: Luis Castillo, LP: Dereck Rodriguez.

A simple look at the stat lines for both team’s starters tells the story of this one pretty well:

  • Luis Castillo: 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 5 BB, 11 K
  • Dereck Rodriguez: 5 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 4 BB, 2 K

Rodriguez’s runs were unearned due to a Tyler Austin error, but were also highly preventable. With two on and two out, the Reds went single, triple, walk, double.

Rodriguez has shown flashes of his rookie season, but he has also displayed a few too many blowout innings. After the start, he was sent down to AAA to sort things out.

On the other hand, Luis Castillo baffled Giants hitters all game. A harsh reminder he was once in the Giants system before being traded away for Casey McGehee.

Saturday: Cincinnati Reds 5, San Francisco Giants 4

WP: Amir Garrett, LP: Reyes Moronta, SV: Raisel Iglesias.

Another example of the offense rallying from behind only to be let down by the bullpen.

Trailing 3-1 after the first inning, the Giants responded with a three-run fourth inning, led by a two-run triple from Steven Duggar.

However, that lead quickly disappeared when Eugenio Suarez hit a towering game-tying home run off reliever Trevor Gott in the top of the fifth, and the Reds went up for good in the seventh when bee specialist Derek Dietrich plated the go-ahead run with a bloop base hit.

After losing the lead, the Giants offense went 0-for-9 over the final three innings.

Sunday: San Francisco Giants 6, Cincinnati Reds 4

WP: Tony Watson, LP: David Hernandez, SV: Will Smith

Madison Bumgarner produced another quality start in this one, allowing three earned runs over six innings with seven strikeouts. The numbers were not outstanding for this start or his Tuesday start, but the fastball is showing life and the hitters are looking confused.

Pablo Sandoval hit a game-tying two-run home run in the bottom of the first and Brandon Belt knotted things up again with a pinch-hit two-run home run in the seventh.

From there, the eighth inning was a display of small-ball at its finest. The Giants went single, double, RBI groundout, RBI single, and voila, two runs on the board.

Sweep avoided. Week of almost-wins complete.

Two weeks ago, the Giants were outscored 36-28 and they finished with a 4-2 record. Last week, the Giants were outscored 46-39 and they finished 2-4. Ah, baseball.

Next. Luis Castillo and the ones that got away

Who knows what excitement this week will bring. Let’s just keep watching.

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