This was a noisy Sunday in the field as the Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) were out screeching away trying to teach their young to fly and to walk across the street. Incredibly funny to me the way they act.
This was a really tough second half to endure – an exhausting grind.
I’m really proud of the Giants despite the epic collapse of the second half because they gutted it out. I’m proud they kept their eyes on the prize and just enough distance between us and the rest to do what we expected and make the playoffs.
Of course, I dreamed of winning the division, especially after our first half of the season, but I expected us to at least claim a wildcard, and it turned out to be a tough slog just to pull that off.
Kudos to Bobby Evans and co., for pulling the trigger on the Matt Duffy trade, without which I am unsure we would have done it. And for picking up Nunez, too.
Well on to the Reader:
Steve Berman sighting! The Bay Area Sports Guy found some pretty sweet stats
“I saw this on CSN and thought it was a small sample worth noting:
— in four starts at Citi Field, Madison Bumgarner is 4-0 with an 0.62 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 29 innings.
— Noah Syndergaard against the Giants: three starts, 3.66 ERA, 1-2 record, 14 strikeouts in 19.2 innings.”
and has some nice quotes and other data here.
Here is Brisbee’s piece on clinching.
And AlPav has his wrap of the season with CSNBA footage galore of the celebrations.
I don’t have much more except to say this will be the last of the GBC Readers because now I know we will all be reading everything out there together – making this compendium of links obsolete.
Let’s Go Giants!
Win It ALL!
come on Baby!
And so it comes to this.
The best first half in the majors and the second-worst second half in the majors sums to the most important home stand of the year with twenty games to play.
Seven games: three against the Padres and four against the Cardinals who are outside looking in and trying, with the Mets, to pry us from atop the National League Wild Card standings.
The difference between eking out the Wild Card and seizing the division from the nemesis lies in these next seven games. We have to take five.
We were happy in June. This team looked built to make the run. The pieces all made sense and our record was the result of beautiful play. We were happy because we won without Pence, Panik, Duffy and Romo. If anything we were enthused because we knew we’d have them all back healthy for the stretch run. The pain of last year when all the injuries hit in August was fresh in our minds. (To be honest we’ve been pretty lucky in that regard).
Johnny Cueto tore it up and started the All-Star Game. We voted Belt into the summer classic with vigor. Cain and Peavy were mostly bad, but it didn’t seem to matter. Until he went down Romo was a great set-up man for Casilla who collected the majority of his 31 saves and looked like he could be the closer. (That team still exists).
Then this epic collapse of hitting and failures in the bullpen in the second half necessitated re-engineering the rotation, forced us to deal beloved Duffy.
I for one fully support what I think was swift and bold decision-making by Bobby Evans, Brian Sabean, Larry Baer, Bruce Bochy and staff. We had to do something quick and if we didn’t pick up Matt Moore, I am not sure we would even have a chance right now. Add to that the success Eduardo Núñez has had at third and at the plate, and I’m more than pleased we made the deal.
If we have to play the Mets or Nats in the play-in game I am confident we can send out MadBum and have a great chance to win. But thanks to the trade, I now also feel, with Cueto starting against the Cubs, then Samardzija/Moore and back to Bumgarner, we actually have a shot to beat the league leaders, to win the NLCS.
and today, David Schoenfeld, the SweetSpot Blogger on ESPN says,
Which brings us to the biggest home stand of the year.
Our biggest concern is a big one: the bullpen is a mess. Our second biggest concern is an ongoing lack of timely hitting, a situational slump at the plate particularly with runners in scoring position that has made #RISPsigh a thing now.
But on the positive side we got what we asked for, all the pieces we need and we are healthy. Hunter Pence just decided to turn it up several notches. Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey know the stretch.
Panik has to follow Núñez who has also been making it happen. Span and Pagan gotta get hot at the same time and Belt … I need you Brandon, I need some power from you. More aggressiveness at the plate. I love the walks and the on-base percentage, but take a chance and rock that thing.
The sharpness is returning to the starters. I like that. And the bullpen? Well I know this, they can’t do it without our support. I can’t be there, but the yard better be rocking.
Let’s Go Giants! Take ’em one day at a time and win ’em all.
25 Guys One Common Goal
The Trade Deadline is 11 days away and it is clear the Giants, like many other teams, need a consistent reliever who can close. But I think we also need another bat even though Panik, Pence and Duffy are coming back. I would love to pick up a DH-style bench bat that can produce runs. If it’s an outfielder, even better.
Who will these players be?
Well, the Marco Scutaro or Cody Ross or Jake Peavy of 2016 will likely NOT be Aroldis Chapman as it looks like the efforts of the Cubs or Nationals are more intensely focused than ours to get him.
Evans was on Buster Olney’s podcast and said they’re actively scouting in Philadelphia and New York and elsewhere looking for the reliever, but that most of baseball is doing the same. He also said the Giants would have to find someone better than what we currently have for us to make a move. This is going to take some effort to pull off.
Grant Brisbee listed whom he thought qualified as better than what we have over at McCovey Chronicles on Monday:
“Maybe add in Huston Street and/or Joe Smith if you’re still a believer, but you get the point. Some of those up there are stretches. Some of them, like Dull and Betances, probably aren’t even available because they’re young and cheap. And because I’m a moron, I’ve almost certainly missed a couple. Still, that’s close to the full list of pitchers I might trust more than Hunter Strickland, Derek Law, and Sergio Romo in the eighth inning. That’s 18 teams looking for impact relief help and maybe — maaaaaaybe — 11 relievers who qualify. – GB”
He goes on to argue that Giants don’t seem to have enough to deal to beat out some of the other teams that are looking for relievers as well.
It is a conundrum.
The New York Metropolitans play in Flushing Meadows, which is kinda … Queens, a borough of New York. There are 5 boroughs. So our history is related to all this:
OK. so. Shea stadium was in Flushing. It neighbored Citi Field.
The Giants played at the Polo Grounds, which was in upper Manhattan – which is what made them NEW YORK.
Brooklyn, which is just south of Queens, is where the Dodgers played.
BOTH teams, the Giants and the Dodgers moved to the West Coast in the same year.
In 1958, the Giants moved from Manhattan to San Francisco, and the Dodgers moved from Brooklyn to Los Angeles.
… which is why we believe we have a 132-year rivalry.
Now, the Mets, the Metropolitans, are a new New Queens, I mean Flushing, entity … which is another borough than Manhattan … so …
any baseball Giant fan, like Jaromir Jagr, who wishes the Giants still play in New York when we visit the Mets, when they play in Queens … is kind of a false-nostalgia person.
This is the whole point of the Manhattan being in SF and the Brooklyn being in LA.
In case you haven’t been paying attention to baseball yet because you’re wrapped up in Warriors or Sharks or The Masters coverage, our San Francisco Giants are looking really good at the plate. Yes, that’s right, THE GIANTS ARE HITTING!
We had 36 hits over the series and with 14 home runs we stand second behind the altitude-assisted Colorado Rockies (17) in homers.
With 64 hits, we stand second behind the Nemesis (76) in hits (they had a breakout opening weekend at the plate).
Those stats are for the MAJORS, both leagues – we are second in hits and homers in all of baseball.
But first things first, from Opening Day at AT&T park here’s GBC’s footage of Your 2016 San Francisco Giants lineup.
The home opening weekend series against the Nemesis was just about perfect (except for George Kontos and a few other reasons we couldn’t hold on to Game 3 to sweep – Brisbee has those here).
While pitching is taking a little while to get on track, our lineup is covering for the starters. The three wins were all come-from-behind victories and once the hits and runs start, with these guys, they seem to pour out.
It’s infectious, situational contact hitting – bunts, singles, doubles, sacs and homers on the regs from Span, Duffy, Panik, BCraw, Pence and Posey surrounded Trevor Brown’s first major-league homer over the weekend. Move ’em along and hit ’em out seems to be the philosophy of this group and it is pretty thrilling stuff.
Many have remarked – and it doesn’t take long to notice if you watch the Giants – that there’s really no weakness in the lineup – everybody is a threat to do something with the bat. We are bunting and moving ’em over and sacrificing and getting ’em over and hitting balls out of the park with startling regularity.
Most importantly, the hitting has been timely.
and of course, at last, we are batting the pitcher in the 8-spot AND IT IS WORKING.
Angel Pagan seems to be healthy at last and looks way better than last year. Pagan is showing the form he had in the Championship seasons. With pitchers who rake, like MadBum and Peavy, and with Pagan in the 9 and Span at the top of the order, the Giants are turning what used to be dead innings into run-producing opportunities.
A sweep would have been truly perfect, but Madison Bumgarner’s second homer off Kershaw in the lone loss made it palatable, and honestly, with the Division lead and the way we are hitting, I couldn’t be happier.
Blissed-out is how to describe us here at Giants Baseball Corner.
The Opening Day game in Milwaukee was a perfect display of what our new lineup is capable of in terms of hitting – and came with the surprise of power! We kept moving ’em along and driving ’em out. 4 Home Runs, 12 runs on 15 hits!
Denard Span came out of the gate hitting with purpose. He is fascinating to watch at the plate: so precise. His stance is crazyfoot, his approach insanely deliberate, his sudden crouch during wind-up reminds me of a tennis star poising for a return.
Denard Span had 5 RBIs on Opening Day – which hadn’t been done since Barry Bonds more than a decade ago.
AND NO GIANT IN THE HISTORY OF RBI RECORDS HAS EVER HAD 5 RBIs IN HIS DEBUT!
The HRs by Duffy, Span, Panik and Posey were awesome. You must have seen by now that the last three were back-to-back-to-back.
Madbum looked like he was working things out, gave up 5 walks and even walked in a run, but in the end had 6Ks and got the win because of the massive power of the offense.
Game 2 was a defensive display, a 2-1, hard fought battle behind the debut of Johnny Cueto – who was very good. He was precise, workmanlike, fast and unpredictable, yet totally in control.
Some excellent defense from Panik, Crawford and Duffy was backed up by Bcraw’s first homer and double of the season. Everybody is hitting, folks!
AND WE BATTED THE STARTING PITCHER IN THE 8-spot in BOTH GAMES AND IT HAS ALREADY PAID OFF!
Cannot wait to see you all at the park on Thursday, this season is starting off just about perfect.
Hey everyone, excited for the season and I’m going to try a new type of post this year that I’m calling The GBC Reader, which I hope will serve as a link archive of current stories and topics of interest, because I feel like there’s a TON of coverage already of our Giants that’s a little redundant.
So instead of just repeating what Marty or Hank or Haft or Brisbee or AlPav or Baggs or KNBR or CSNBayArea has already, I’m going to drop these every three or four days or every week or ten days …let’s just say “as necessary,” to collect interesting pieces in one place – hence, a reader … like these:
All righty, that’s GBC Reader No. 1, for ya then … don’t all rush to read it at once.
Madison Bumgarner’s first start was apparently similar to years past: gave up a dinger and then settled into his usual self, striking out the side to end his outing. Chris Heston then came in and handled the Reds for two scoreless innings. Ehire Adrianza drove in two and the Giants won 4-3.
Today there is a full slate of action with two separate Giants squads taking on Texas and Cleveland. Cueto has been scratched so we will see Romero.
Cactus League! Baseball! Woo Hoo!
Jake Peavy went on twitter with the Giants and answered a bunch of fans questions in real-time this morning and it was really cool.
He said Matt Duffy was his favorite Giant. He talked about how Huddy was his buddy but now that he’s gone he would probably hang around more with the young guys like Osich and Hesto. He said Heston was most likely to succeed.
Then he went out and got beat around like a pinata by the youts of the Brew Crew in Cactus League.
The ever-vigilant Grant Brisbee had this to say on the matter of Giants pitchers who suck in a Cactus League outing.
We are back on the air! … and yes, Mr. Baer, Giants Baseball Corner is ready to get even.
It’s Fanfest today and of course we never get to go to fanfest because we have to hold down the corner … but it’s a great day to clean up around here, dust things off and establish some of our plans and thoughts for the new year. First …
REFUSE TO ALLOW IDIOTS TO FORCE THE DH ON THE NL #NoDH
Giants Baseball Corner is placed firmly in the backstop of a National League Rules ONLY park and it will remain so until the end of time.
The most recent, absurdly loud off-season calls for the DH to be forced upon the NL have included many who declare it a foregone conclusion. NO. NO. NO. NO. NO.
The NL game is the beautiful game of baseball, a complicated managerial puzzle of strategy, a chess match. Please don’t force the DH on us
Resists the cattle call that claims the DH inevitable for the NL. Recently, I tweeted to a small, group of press asking their courageous support to defend National League baseball and I was really happy that Tim Flannery is on board.
We looked for a good hashtag for this and finally just settled on #NoDH which is concise and precise. But of course, many of us are cool with #FuckTheDH and #OurPitchersRake and others.
We want to build a coalition of friends, fans and press who will help us prevent the destruction of our beautiful game – feel free to refer anyone to @giantsbaseballc orner if they want to strategize further #NoDH.
I am really excited to have Denard Span in center field and leading off. Do welcome him by using his twitter account @thisisdspan. I’ve been reading about him and learned from this 2010 blog interview that he abandoned using his first name when he was a little kid:
DZ: Denard is actually your middle name. What is the story behind that?
SPAN: Yeah, it’s my middle name. Growing up in elementary school – you know on the first day of school the teaches go down the roster – the roll call or whatever – every time she’d come to my name, she’d fumble with my first name. It’s Keiunta (key-on-tay) and the way it’s spelled, it’s tough to pronounce. I think (when) I got to the second or third grade, I got tired of teachers butchering my name. I knew that they would get to the guy right before me – Smith or something like that – I knew I’d be coming up next and I could tell – they’d look at the roll call and their face would get puzzled…as soon as they would even try to say Keiunta – I would say “Just call me Denard”. It just kind of stuck from there.
DZ: Does your mom call you Denard?
SPAN: Yeah, everybody does. Nobody calls me by my first name – a couple of friends would do it as a joke. A couple of female friends in high school.
which led me to our title for the first blog post 2016 at Giants Baseball Corner
Calling D-Span Key-on-tay’s tantamount to calling Sting Gordon
Welcome back, everybody!
Go out and have fun.
It’s a shame the season turned out like it did, but not really.
After a weird-bad opening we OWNED May, June swooned, badassed July, and had the bottom fall out in August – injuries.
But there are so many reasons to be proud.
Welcome Back to Giants Baseball Corner, I’m MTK. In case you don’t know us, here‘s the way you might, mine’s the first voice you hear in that episode.
Another roller-coaster first half but this year ending with a sweet streak that runs well into July. Buster being Buster leads the G-men in HRs, RBIs and average. But the thrilling surprise is the sustained excellent play of Matt Duffy, Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford – particularly at the plate in light of the loss of Aoki and Pence for weeks.
Our starting five pitchers, with Cain and Peavy back, show intense potential – only Hudson’s wear-and-tear cause concern. Chris Heston just keeps rolling. The rookie no-no hasn’t been seen for the Giants since way back in the last century and he shows consistent command. The idea of Petit, Vogey and Lincecum as long relief is just laughably great.
The bullpen was rocky but we discovered Josh Osich amidst that, too – a big lefty who is cool under pressure, his debut start – first batter! – was Bryce Harper with runners on in the 8th inning and he and Susac popped him up. (Go Beavers!)
I HAVE A DREAM
I HAVE SEVERAL DREAMS
My first dream is
That the bats and defense just mentally decide that they are going to win all the rest of Madison Bumgarner’s starts, helping him to go 21-5.
Then we would demand they give him the NL Cy Young because he is the most feared pitcher in all of baseball and it’s the only award he doesn’t have yet.
My second dream is
That the San Francisco Giants end the season with FIVE guys hitting over .300
At the moment Aoki, Posey, Panik, Pence, Crawford and Pagan are in the mix.
My third dream is
We Seize The Division from the nemesis and avoid the play-in game.
I figure if we go 44-20 from here out and especially sweep the brew crew this week, we can get ahold of first in the NL West and never let go.
You may say I’m a dreamer … but I’m not the only one.
Let’s Go Giants
#SweepTheBrewCrew #MopUpTheBeer #SeizeTheDivision #BeatLA
I haven’t written on the blog since we won the World Series, but right now, I gotta give massive praise to Ryan Vogelsong.
You had the best month of May in the majors. #Vogelstrong
and, you have signed with us as a free agent over and over again throughout all this madness; always fighting; integral to the 2nd and 3rd Championships.
I love the tough, persistent focus; used to call you Mr. Quality Control – Mr. QC – back in ’12 because of that amazing run of 16 consecutive quality starts.
Thank you, my man.
Folks, what Vogey has done in the last few weeks has been very much like back in ’12. This year’s start and last year, given that he is agreeing to play because he is “part of the thing,” deserves SPECIAL COMMENDATION. I am sure he could have gone elsewhere. It’s like a noble secret.
Ryan, you have been killing it for us since 2011. For us to be successful, we need to compete against the Dodgers’ salary with sensible players willing to be a part of the team. No one on this team exemplifies this more than you.
and right now, wow! Ryan Vogelsong! Thank you! Thank you so much! I stand and applaud, man. You are a GREAT Giant!
#RallyVogey #rallyenchiladas #rallyspaghetti
Oh yeah, and I caught this nice smile back in the 2012 parade
That’s only his second hit all year, he’s 1 for 25 (heh,heh,heh) – Joe Buck
and I am posting this just to mark the moment.
(a few days later …)
Wow. Using nine different guys in the 9-spot, Bruce Bochy evoked a flurry of hits; singles and doubles and not a single home run, to score 9 unanswered runs and cruise to an 11-4 victory in game 5.
Madison Bumgarner gave up only 4 hits and was stellar. His 0.29 ERA over three World Series’ is the best ever in World Series play. Shutdown performances. His name is now in the ranks of WS pitching alongside Koufax and Gibson.
The team has flown back to KC for the daunting task of playing games 6 and 7 on the Royals’ field with their insanely inspired and loud fans in attendance.
I fear we’d lose Game 7 there and hope we finish it in Game 6, which of course, is what I predicted when this all began: Giants in SIX.
The anticipation is massive.
Alex Pavlovic recently had the temerity to create a Giants World Series Dictionary. Picking up on his work, I thought I would add these notes on Giants Culture:
The following #hashtags have been submitted by Candlestick Will
#TogetherWeAreBrandon – this amalgam of the Together meme and the Brandons took full force when we fielded three Brandons in the infield Crawford, Hicks and Belt
#ChampionsBlood- in a speech Bochy gave to this team, he told them they have Champions Blood from being tested in the playoffs for several years now and coming out on top.
#RallyIshi self explanatory
#RallySnotRockets Madison Bumgarner fires snot rockets. It’s just a thing he does.
#RallyPeavy #RallyHuddy #VogelStrong #FreeTimmy #JavyStrut are for some of our hurlers
#RallyScud when some of those same pitchers decide the game ought to be played more like cricket they fire scuds.
#RallyBalls #HunterPenceSigns #MagicWondoo #AirPence #ShutdownInning #BambinoTimeare I will let @CandlestickWill explain.
It would all be in good fun if it didn’t mean so much to us.
Having been nine and a half up six weeks ago and now down a half a game and knowing the Dodgers are down by a sh*t-ton to the Tigers in Detroit right now, it’s motivating. (Man, I hate interleague). If we can get the win tonight we can erase that nagging half game.
Mr. Quality Control is back.
Vogelsong was truly #Vogelstrong, throwing just over 100 pitches, easing his way out of jams and holding the Dodgers to a single run. He out-dueled one of the Dodgers’ high value starters, Josh Beckett, went seven and an out, and looked controlled doing it.
When we won the World Series in 2012, Ryan Vogelsong was absurdly consistent. He had a quality start run of sixteen consecutive games in which he went at least six innings. And in that run, he allowed less than three runs a game, a machine.
Then last year Vogey had a rocky start. I think he liked being third in the order in 2012, and perhaps changing the order in 2013 and moving him down to fifth contributed to his struggles at the beginning of the season. His rhythm may have been disturbed by it, because he struggled with command and confidence, looked shaken and was getting shelled. He was asked if he was worried he might lose his place in the rotation. He responded with a glare, “Why would I?”
Then he had a decent game. It seemed like he might have turned the corner. So Vogey was just starting to find his groove when he had the bad luck to be hit on the hand while batting. Some bones in his hand were broken and he had to sit for weeks. It destroyed his rhythm and he never came back like the dominant pitcher he had been. (still, fuck the DH, that’s just NL ball).
In the off-season, all of this affected contract negotiations. But Ryan was happy to re-sign and get back to doing what he likes to do – pitch. And now we know some things about what he needs to do the job well.
Ryan Vogelsong seeks order. He eats the same thing before every game: #RallyEnchiladas. Vogey needs to find a season-long groove. He likes consistency so he can be consistent. He has great command when he is comfortable and he showed it off against the Dodgers in Chavez Ravine last night.
The Giants executed the game plan to perfection last night in L.A. Vogey handed the ball off to Affeldt for a single batter, then Yasel Puig stepped up to the plate with one out and a runner on in a tied game. Puig is hitting .357 against lefties right now and in the low .290’s against righties. Bochy went to Santiago Casilla, #TheWorkhorse, who mowed him down in a dominating strikeout at-bat.
Casilla took care of business and worked the Dodgers into extra innings and in the tenth, the Giants drew a series of walks off Dodger reliever Jamey Wright and got RBI’s from Brandon Belt and Hector Sanchez: clutch hitting with Runners in Scoring Position.
A note must be made of the ridiculously crisp defense backing up pitching staff. The Three Brandons – Crawford, Hicks and Belt – are having fun and making great plays. It’s a joy to watch. (#TripleBrandonDP is a thing now).
Romo came in to seal it and acquire his eleventh save and The Workhorse, Santiago Casilla got the win, his first of the season.
I have come to the conclusion there are three horses on this team in the Year of the Horse: #TheBigHorse, Matt Cain; #CrazyHorse Angel Pagan; and #TheWorkhorse Santiago Casilla.
Last night’s win and Colorado’s loss put just a little distance between the Giants and the rest of the division. The Giants are in first by a game over the Rockies and by three and a half over the Dodggers.
Game Two today features Madison Bumgarner (3-3; 3.18) versus Paul Maholm (1-2; 4.70), a match-up that, at least on paper, favors the Giants but it depends on which Bumgarner shows up. I think he gets motivated following a performance like last night’s by Vogelsong.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. Go Giants!
The Kingfish Pub and Cafe hosts an annual team shuffleboard competition just before Thanksgiving in which the winners receive a turkey and the runners-up, a case of beer.
Known as the Turkey Shoot, it’s gone on more than 30 years, perhaps as many as 40, no one’s sure. This year’s contest was held Sunday, November 24th.
If you’d like to watch the videos as they happened in this year’s tournament, here’s the playlist in chronological order
– M.T. Karthik, Oakland
I wrote a piece about the Kingfish seeking Oakland Historic Landmark status in February of 2012