AP Photo/Eric Risberg

Jeff Samardzija says he was tipping pitches in 2015

17 Comments

Despite starter Jeff Samardzija‘s immense struggles with the White Sox this past season, the Giants still elected to sign the right-hander to a five-year, $90 million contract earlier this week. They’re betting on the veteran hurler benefiting from a change in parks and defenses, but they’re also hoping Samardzija can figure out what went wrong and make adjustments.

It sounds like Samardzija has a diagnosis: tipped pitches, according to CSN Bay Area’s Alex Pavlovic.

“When you’re tipping your pitches it’s hard to have a ton of success out there,” Samardzija said in an introductory press conference at AT&T Park. “Everyone has got a ton of film on you. Hours and hours and years and years, and you need to stay ahead of that. If anything it just made me realize that you do always have to stay on top of little things like that, how long you’re holding the ball when you’re set, how long you’re holding it when you’re throwing a slider, when you’re throwing a splitter.

“Where are you looking when there’s a runner on first? Are you checking on him or going home? That’s the aspect of this game that’s so great, is you can always get better. What’s pushing you is the competition, and there’s always someone watching you to try and find that hole that you have.”

Samardzija, who turns 31 years old in January, finished this past season with a 4.96 ERA and a 163/49 K/BB ratio in 214 innings. He led baseball in hits allowed (228) and earned runs (118) while leading the American League in home runs allowed (29). His strikeout rate, 17.9 percent, was his lowest since becoming a starter in 2012.

Giants beat Mariners again in road game playing at home

Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports Images
Leave a comment

SAN FRANCISCO — The nomadic Mariners are taking their bats from the Bay Area to Southern California for three more “home games” on the road.

Wilmer Flores hit a go-ahead, two-run triple in the seventh inning of the Giants’ 6-4 win Thursday that sent Seattle to a second home defeat played in San Francisco’s ballpark because of dangerous air quality in Western Washington.

The series was moved because of smoke from all the West Coast wildfires. Now, the Mariners are altering their air travel reservations once more and headed to San Diego for a weekend series at Petco Park.

“It’s disappointing, but its the world we’re living in in 2020,” Mariners starter Nick Margevicius said. “There’s a lot of things we can’t control, a lot of things in the season, a lot of things in the world right now.”

Darin Ruf homered in the second inning to back Giants starter Tyler Anderson, who hurt his own cause when he was ejected in the bottom of the third by plate umpire Edwin Moscoso for emphatically expressing his displeasure with a walk to Kyle Lewis.

“Tyler knows that that just can’t happen,” mangaer Gabe Kapler said. “It puts us in a really tough spot.”

Wandy Peralta followed Anderson and threw 49 pitches over a career-high three innings, and Rico Garcia (1-1) worked one inning for his first major league win. Sam Selman finished for his first career save, stranding two runners when Lewis lined out and Kyle Seager flied out.

“Peralta came up huge for us,” Kapler said. “As tough as that was it was equally rewarding and in some ways inspiring to see him come out and give us the length that he did and battle. It gave us a chance to climb back into the game. I thought our guys continued to be resilient.”

JP Crawford hit a two-run single in the second following RBI singles by Tim Lopes and Phillip Ervin, but Seattle’s bullpen couldn’t hold a three-run lead.

Margevicius was staked to an early lead but Kendall Graveman (0-3) couldn’t hold it. The Mariners capitalized in the second after Anderson hit Seager in the backside.

Seattle has fared better against San Diego this season after losing all four to San Francisco. Manager Scott Servais had prepared himself for the possibility his club might have to stay on the road a little longer.

“I think with our players and everybody else it was going to be a two-day trip. That’s what we were led to believe that everything was going to clear up in Seattle,” Servais said. “We can’t control the weather it’s bigger than all of us and with what’s going on there with the smoke. Certainly understand why we have to go but I don’t think anybody was really prepared for it.”

Brandon Crawford contributed a sacrifice fly and Evan Longoria and Alex Dickerson RBI singles for the Giants.

Austin Slater returned at designated hitter for San Francisco and went 0 for 2 with a walk as he works back from a painful right elbow. Luis Basabe singled in the sixth for his first career hit and also stole his first base.

“I didn’t think about it,” said Basabe, who will gift the special souvenir ball to his mother. “I was just happy to get the opportunity.”

Justin Smoak made his Giants home debut as a pinch hitter in the sixth facing his former club after he signed a minor league deal earlier this month following his release by the Brewers.

Anderson, who was trying to win consecutive starts for the first time this season, received his second career ejection. The other was Aug. 13, 2016, while with Colorado.