Talking Giants Baseball: A San Francisco Giants/Baseball Blog: San Francisco Giants: Clayton Kershaw, errors too much in opener at L.A.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

San Francisco Giants: Clayton Kershaw, errors too much in opener at L.A.

The Giants did not expect to start their trek to a repeat title like this.

The Giants hit a road block on Thursday's opening day at Dodger Stadium, kicking the ball around in the sixth inning.

Miguel Tejada botched a throw to second with a runner at first with one out, followed by a rare Posey throwing error with the bases loaded. Just nanoseconds before, Posey made a great save on a pitch by Lincecum in the dirt.

The Dodgers drew first blood in the game on the error.

As Posey threw the ball, the runner at third, Matt Kemp, appeared to already be back on the base.

"I thought he was off the base," Posey said after the game. "I would not have thrown it if I thought he wasn't."

To complicate matters further for the Giants, Clayton Kershaw was dominant for the Dodgers. In seven shutout innings of work, Kershaw held the Giants to four hits and one walk, including nine strikeouts.

Cleanup hitter Buster Posey was one of the few to get something going against Kershaw, finishing the night one for four, but with two strikeouts.

"He did a good job of moving the ball around and mixing up some off speed pitches," Posey said of Kershaw.

The Giants seemed to struggle in all facets of the game in their three error debacle -- except for pitching. Tim Lincecum was nearly as fantastic as Kershaw, but earned a tough loss, pitching seven strong innings of unearned one-run ball.

The Dodgers tacked on another run in the eighth inning on a James Loney RBI double.

The Giants avoided embarrassment by scoring in the ninth off Jonathan Broxton. Burrell lined a screamer over the left-field wall, reminiscent to his game-winning home run off Jonathan Broxton last July.

Brandon Belt had a game to remember. In his first at bat, he accomplished an important milestone -- his first major league hit, an infield hit.

Belt had impressive at bats throughout his one-for-three night, including a walk off Clayton Kershaw.
Although he made the last out of the game on a soft line drive to Uribe, Belt battled Broxton till the end.

Starter Tim Lincecum shrugged the loss off as best he could.

"Games like this are going to happen," Lincecum said. "Hopefully, we'll get them tomorrow."

One noticeable improvement was the defensive play of Pablo Sandoval. During the sloppy sixth inning, Sandoval shined, as he saved two runs with a diving play on a line drive to his left. Runners were on second and third at the time.

The good news for the Giants? Tomorrow is a new month.

WP: Clayton Kershaw (1-0), LP: Tim Lincecum (0-1), Broxton (S, 1)

HR: Pat Burrell (1, 9th inning off Broxton)


Aside from the errors in the sixth inning, the Giants cannot expect to win many games by scoring two runs. Clayton Kershaw is a great pitcher, but some questionable at bats hindered their chance at mounting a rally.

An at bat of note was Andres Torres' eighth inning plate appearance. Hong-Chih Kuo threw six straight balls to start the eighth inning, but Torres swung at what appeared to be ball three.

Torres would go on to have a good, long at bat and line out to Andre Ethier in right field, but Torres probably should have taken a strike there. If he takes the 2-0 pitch, the count might be 3-0 and who knows what happens?

Although Belt did not get the ball out of the infield, his approach was good. In the fifth inning, Belt somehow laid off Kershaw's two-strike off-speed pitches and worked out a walk. Even his last at bat off Broxton was a two-strike battle, although it was a line drive out to third base.

A questionable defensive miscue came from Buster Posey in the defensive nightmare sixth inning.

After Posey made an amazing block to keep the runner at third, there was no reason to throw the ball. Matt Kemp, the baserunner, was standing on the base, as Posey fired an errant throw to third.

The bottom line is the Giants did not get it done offensively -- or defensively. Scoring one run will not win many ball games.

Regardless of the errors, the Giants gave up few enough runs to win. Every team makes mistakes, but the good teams make up for those errors and pick up their teammates who caused the blunders.

The Giants have to do what they did last year to win. That is to catch the balls they could get to, get timely hits, and have fun.

One more thing. Here is some baseball 101 from Eric James Byrnes of Sportsphone 680:

"When a pitcher takes more than 1.3 seconds to deliver the ball to the catcer, it's a good time for a decent base stealer to go."

"Generally, switch hitters are better left-handed than right-handed. 

Other than that, tonight's game was really fun to watch. If there are more games like this throughout the season, fans are in for an exciting season.

This is unconfirmed, but I wanted to pass this along. Pablo Sandoval may have tipped Posey to throw to third by flashing his glove at Posey. This does not excuse Posey's throwing error, but it could have been a contributing factor to the errant throw.

Still, there is no reason to fire a throw to third when the runner is already standing on the base.


The Giants will try to rebound tomorrow against the Dodgers at 7:10 p.m. from Dodger Stadium. Jonathan Sanchez will make his 2011 debut against Chad Billingsley.

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