San Francisco Giants Morning Minute: Tomlinson Steals the Show, Peavy Improves

Apr 14, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson (37) in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 14, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; San Francisco Giants second baseman Kelby Tomlinson (37) in the fifth inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

On this edition of the San Francisco Giants Morning Minute, we discuss Tomlinson stealing the show, and Peavy showing much-needed improvement against a bad team.

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Good morning, San Francisco Giants’ fans, and welcome to another edition of the Giants Morning Minute. On Wednesday, the Giants completed another three-game sweep of the San Diego Padres, already their third sweep of San Diego this year. They needed 10 innings, but walked off with a 4-3 on Brandon Crawford‘s game-ending hit. George Kontos was the winning pitcher, his first win of the season, while Brad Hand was the losing pitcher for the second time this series.

The Giants are 30-19 on the season, becoming the second team in baseball to reach 30 wins this year. They still sit rather comfortably in first place in the National League West, as the Los Angeles Dodgers are 4.5 games behind in the division.

Here’s what went on Wednesday.

1 – Kelby Tomlinson Steals the Show

More outfield injuries forced the Giants and manager Bruce Bochy to employ another unusual defensive set-up in the outfield. Denard Span didn’t start, getting a day off before the team’s scheduled day off, and Hunter Pence was out of the starting lineup for the fifth straight day as he dealt with a cranky hamstring. That put Gregor Blanco in center field, Jarrett Parker in right field, and Kelby Tomlinson in left field. Tomlinson had himself a fantastic day, both in the field and at the plate.

In the second inning of his second career start in left field, Tomlinson was tested. Melvin Upton, Jr. laced a single through the hole towards Tomlinson, and Yangervis Solarte attempted to score from second. Tomlinson was having none of that, as he charged the ball and came up throwing. He used his shortstop’s arm to unleash a beautiful throw, reaching catcher Trevor Brown on the fly. The 96-mile-per-hour throw traveled 236 feet to Brown’s glove, and all the catcher had to do was drop his glove and tag Solarte out.

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In the top of the inning, Tomlinson took a run off the board. In the bottom half, he put a run on the board. After a great heads-up baserunning play by Brandon Crawford, during which he took third on what should have been a routine groundout, Tomlinson blooped a single into shallow right-center field, putting the Giants ahead 1-0.

He wasn’t done yet. In the sixth inning, Tomlinson’s defensive prowess was put to the test again when Matt Kemp lined a ball into fairly shallow left field. Tomlinson initially broke straight to his left, but recovered and made a hard charge on the ball. He went into an awkward slide, but got his glove on the ball and took a hit away from the former MVP runner-up.

Just for good measure, Tomlinson added a leadoff double in the ninth inning, but he was stranded at third when the final out was made.

There isn’t a place for Tomlinson in the everyday lineup when everyone is healthy. But he’s having a tremendous season thus far, and he’s making a push to get more regular at-bats. With Pagan on the disabled list for the foreseeable future, and other guys (Hunter Pence, Brandon Belt) dealing with injuries of their own, Tomlinson could be the main beneficiary.

2 – Jake Peavy Improved Against a Bad Team

Peavy’s nine starts this season before Wednesday were mostly very bad, with glimmers of hope sprinkled in here and there. The series finale against San Diego was another glimmer of hope.

In 6.2 innings, Peavy allowed six hits and just one walk, striking out four Padres’ hitters in the process. He didn’t allow a run until the final batter he faced, when Alexi Amarista lined a single with a runner on second. He was also economical as heck with his pitches, throwing just 82 against an aggressive Padres’ lineup.

His ERA dropped from 8.21 to 7.29, while his WHIP dropped from 1.896 to 1.779 in 6.2 innings. None of those numbers will strike fear in opposing hitters, but he has to start somewhere.

Say what you will about the competition that Peavy faced on Wednesday. It’s not a great team that he was opposing, but these are the type of starts that a struggling pitcher like Peavy can use to build confidence as he tries to turn his season around. His next start comes against the Atlanta Braves, the team that owns the worst winning percentage in the National League. That can be another one of those confidence-building starts.

Next: Giants Morning Minute: Sleepy Offense Wakes Up

And that will do it for another edition of the Giants Morning Minute. Up next, the Giants have a day off on Thursday, before beginning a three-game weekend series in *gulp* Coors Field. Matt Cain takes the ball on Friday, while the Colorado Rockies send Tyler Chatwood to the mound.