From:Friday May 15, 2015
The Giants have had an up and down season so far in 2015. They started slow, got hot for a little bit, and have been treading water for the last week or so. Friday night's win over the Reds was their fourth win in the last seven games.
On Saturday, the Giants will make a big upgrade to their roster. Hunter Pence, who suffered a broken forearm when he was hit by a pitch in spring training, is set to be activated off the DL to give the offense a shot in the arm. Justin Maxwell has been adequate as the right field fill-in, but he's no Pence, who will add some pop and righty balance to the lineup.
Now, as good as Pence is, he doesn't really improve San Francisco's most significant areas of weakness, specifically third base and the rotation. Casey McGehee's been a total disaster at the hot corner -- he's hitting .191/.248/.287 and is on pace to ground into 50 (50!) double plays. He's been dreadful.
Madison Bumgarner fired seven innings of two-run ball on Friday to lower his ERA to 3.20 after a slow start in April. The rest of the rotation though? Not very good.
Jake Peavy: 41 ERA+ in two starts before landing on the DL
Ryan Vogelsong: 66 ERA+
Tim Hudson: 82 ERA+
Tim Lincecum: 113 ERA+
Chris Heston: 128 ERA+
Heston's been excellent, and while Lincecum's ERA is shiny, his recent run of success probably isn't sustainable. My colleague Dayn Perry broke that down recently. Matt Cain is working his way back from an elbow injury and is not particularly close to returning. There's definitely room for improvement in that rotation.
I'm not sure many came into the season thinking the Giants had a chance to win the NL West. The Dodgers are just too good. The Giants are good enough for a wild-card spot though, and, as they showed last season, get into the post-season as the wild-card and anything can happen.
Pence's return will help the Giants in that race for a wild-card spot. But to really make some noise, they'll need to find an upgrade over McGehee at third and improve their rotation somewhow. They'll be a better team Saturday than they were Friday thanks to Pence. There is still lots of room for improvement though.
The Giants won Friday and are getting Hunter Pence back Saturday. (USATSI)
Anyway, welcome to The Eye. As is the normal drill, you'll find recaps, milestones, highlights, injuries, news and rumors throughout the day here. Stick around and keep refreshing or check back later -- maybe even Saturday morning, when you'll find the completed effort.
Friday's MLB action (all times ET) (Full scoreboard)
Cubs 11, Pirates 10 in 12 innings (Box score): This was a classic. The Cubs jumped out to a 7-1 lead, the Pirates battled back to make it 7-5, the Cubs extended the lead to 10-5, then the Pirates rallied to tie it up 10-10 in the top of the ninth. Chicago walked off with the win when Gregory Polanco tripped on Matt Szczur's routine pop-up with the bases loaded. Seriously. The Cubbies have won five straight games.
Angels 3, Orioles 1 (Box score): The 526th home run of Albert Pujols' career gave the Halos a quick 1-0 first inning lead. Jered Weaver and his mid-80s fastball carved the O's up for 7 1/3 innings, allowing just one run on three hits and a walk. Wei-Yin Chen wasn't bad either (7 IP, 2 R), but it wasn't good enough. The Angels have won four straight.
Phillies 4, Diamondbacks 3 (Box score): Jeff Francoeur's pinch-hit single gave the Phillies the lead in the seventh inning after the D'Backs scored three in the top of the inning. Chad Billinsgley's comeback from Tommy John surgery and subsequent complications continued with six innings of two-run ball. Break up the Phillies, they've won three straight.
Giants 10, Reds 2 (Box score): Brandon Belt hit a theree-run home run in the first inning and the Giants never looked back. Buster Posey's two-run homer in the third really put the game out of reach. Madison Bumgarner allowed two runs in seven innings while Gregor Blanco, Joe Panik, Brandon Crawford and Belt all had multiple hits for San Francisco.
Brewers 8, Mets 0 (Box score): Two home runs by Ryan Braun, including one into the Citi Field second deck, paced the Milwaukee offense. Gerardo Parra also went deep and had three hits overall. Kyle Lohse turned in his best start of the season, allowing just two hits in eight scoreless innings. The Mets have dropped five straight and have been outscored 25-10 in the five games.
Braves 5, Marlins 3 (Box score): Two home runs by Giancarlo Stanton weren't enough for the Marlins. The Braves got run-scoring base hits from Cameron Maybin, Todd Cunningham and pitcher Julio Teheran, who allowed two runs in five innings. David Phelps struck out eight and surrendered just one earned run in six innings. Miami has lost four of their last five games.
Indians 8, Rangers 3 (Box score): Four hits by Jason Kipnis and three by Michael Brantley were enough to overcome Bruce Chen, who was allowed three runs on seven hits in only 2 1/3 innings. Wandy Rodriguez surrendered five runs in 4 2/3 innings. Prince Fielder and Adrian Beltre hit back-to-back homers for Texas. Beltre's was the 400th of this career.
Royals 12, Yankees 1 (Box score): This one was a close game until the sixth inning, when the Royals unloaded on the New York bullpen. They scored seven runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Yankees' relief crew. Mike Moustakas had four hits and was a home run shy of the cycle. Lorenzo Cain drove in a career-high five runs. The Yankees have lost four straight.
Twins 3, Rays 2 (Box score): The Rays nursed a two-run lead into the seventh inning, when Danny Santana tripled and Brian Dozier hit a sacrifice fly to turn the 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead for the Twins. Phil Hughes was very good, allowing just two runs in seven innings.
Astros 8, Blue Jays 4 (Box score): The Astros just kept scoring and scoring and scoring. Chris Carter (sac fly), Marwin Gonzalez (single) and Jake Marisnick (single) all drove in runs in the second. George Springer (solo), Jose Altuve (three-run) and Luis Valbuena (solo) hit homers in the third, fourth, and seventh, respectively. That was enough for Dallas Keuchel, who was just decent (6 IP, 4 R). R.A. Dickey allowed seven runs in five innings to fall to 1-5 with a 5.76 ERA on the year.
Tigers 10, Cardinals 4 (Box score): The Tigers were up 2-0 until the seventh inning, then all the scoring happened. Detroit scored three in the seventh, one in the eighth, then four in the ninth. The Cardinals scored two in the seventh and another two in the eighth. Miguel Cabrera's 399th career homer headlined the game. Yoenis Cespedes, J.D. Martinez, Jhonny Peralta and Jason Heyward all went deep as well.
Mariners 2, Red Sox 1 (Box score): Clay Buchholz's masterpiece (8 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 11 K) was wasted, though J.A. Happ (7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K) pitched pretty well himself. Seth Smith homered for Seattle, then Nelson Cruz walked it off in the ninth with a booming single. The Red Sox have now scored two runs or less 10 times in 14 games in May.
Nationals 10, Padres 0 (Box score): The Nats scored four runs in the first and three more in the third to end Odrisamer Despaigne's night. He allowed seven runs on 10 hits in three innings. Bryce Harper went deep for the eighth time in his last nine games while Denard Span, Yunel Escobar, Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa had two hits each. The Nats have won 13 of their last 17 games.
Dodgers 6, Rockies 4 (Box score): Four hits by Jimmy Rollins, including a solo homer, led the Los Angeles offense. Clayton Kershaw struck out 10 and was charged with three runs in 6 2/3 innings to bring his season ERA to 4.24. Dodgers pitchers struck out 18 Rockies as Kershaw picked up his 100th career win.
White Sox 7, Athletics 6 (Box score): Another one-run loss for the A's -- they're now 1-12 in one-run games in 2015 -- and this one might be the worst of all. They were up 6-2 at one point, then, in the ninth inning, Stephen Vogt got caught in a rundown between third and home on Coco Crisp's double for the final out of the game. Brutal. Oakland now has baseball's worst record at 13-24.