The Giants are having an historically terrible year. So it seems a good time to end this project and call it an archive.
Thank you for reading Giants Baseball Corner and engaging with me these seven years from August 2010 to August 2017. It has been a lot of fun.
This site‘s now my archive of the San Francisco Giants during their historic run to three World Series Championships in five years. It was an incredible time to be a Giant fan – filled with relief and joyous wonderment.
Every word, image or thought herein was produced by M.T. Karthik, your MC and host.
SFGiants (25-37), 4th in NL West
14 games back of Colorado, 3-7 in last ten games, road trip ended in Milwaukee with an extra innings win last night and home stand starts today against the surprising Minnesota Twins.
Since we last left you dear reader, Hunter Strickland decided to unilaterally employ the unwritten rules – on a two and a half year old personal grudge – and hit Bryce Harper square in the hip with a 98mph fastball in a two-run game we could have won.
A lot was written and said about it, but this piece by Jamal Collier at MLB is pretty succinct and without bias.
I was disappointed in Hunter, but since it happened I’ve cooled off. Maybe it was done at the exact right time – a ‘meaningless’ game in June with exacting precision to the hip – even Harper called the right way to do it.
I find the unwritten rules cool only when the whole team seems into it. I was with Buster on this one and I cannot believe the people who suggested he should have intervened. The guy just came back from a heater to the head!
But then last night, in a game that really felt like a turnaround game, Strickland came in for the first time since the incident and was scary and dominant. Made me wonder if maybe we need a guy like that.
- The Giants picked up Sam Dyson from the Rangers, and while Brisbee’s not crazy about him, he details the thinking behind picking him up.
- Austin Slater got the call up and crushed a massive homer.
- MadBum is scheduled to resume throwing today!
- Ty Blach is preparing to enter the starting lineup full time and Carson Mason writes that Skip has long-term confidence in the young man.
There are a few pieces on how Samardzija is having an epic year but getting Cained hard. It’s a bummer.
Love ya fam
The last ten days have been promising for the G-men. We took 3 of 4 from the Nemesis at the Yard! It was great. Kershaw beat us and Cueto got a little hot under the collar, resulting in a bench-clearing kerfuffle, but it was great to #BeatLA again.
We had a 17-inning game that ended on a Buster Posey walkoff HR! Around the Foghorn’s Vince Cestone ruminates it could be the game that turns things around.
Barry Bonds is Finally Getting a Plaque on the Giants Wall of Fame
Brisbee’s take has a complete list of those honored and this gem: “If you’re agitated by the Belt Wars, you have no idea what it was like to live through the Great Snow Conflicts.”
While Haft has some nice, clean history and stats of the greatest power hitter to ever play the game (the GPHOAT) up on the Giants site.
Pence went on the DL and the Giants called Mac Williamson up. But he hasn’t done much yet. Christian Arroyo has been the star of May thus far. The rookie was called up and immediately brought fireworks and a clutch bat that seemed to juice the team. He needs a nickname and I prefer Spanky, case he looks like Spanky from Our Gang, but I am old, so it looks like the memory-less Millennials are gonna settle on The Kid or Boss Baby.
Opening day in Phoenix was a massive, thick-beamed wood rollercoaster ride built by Madison Bumgarner that went off the rails in such a familiar manner it felt sickening – or for the less dramatic and more experienced fans, like typical Giants baseball.
During the frustration, I got into a Twitter discussion over the use of the word ‘torture’ to describe Giants baseball.
We all fell in love with Mike Krukow’s term in 2010 because it felt like a pure assessment of the near-misses that made it up: the earthquake, the 100 win season fail, the Angels in ’02, Pudge in front of the plate.
But personally, the torture I felt for 30 years was washed away by the immense wave of relief I felt on November 1, 2010 when we finally won it all for the first time in SF.
Giants fan Ted G, 57, disagrees. For him, SF Giants baseball is uniquely agonizing across decades win or lose. He thinks Krukow’s phrase, “Giants Baseball … Torture,” is emblematic of our pathos as an organization and the struggles we eternally endure.
“The term torture has nothing to do with not winning. Totally about how they go about creating situations that are torture.” – Ted G, @TedSFGman
I can see that, but whatever remnants of the feeling of torture that may have remained for me were certainly washed away by winning the way we did in 2012 – my favorite of the championships. We had to retire Melky Cabrera. Pablo hit 3Hrs – two off Verlander – and Romo dared and won with an incredible fastball to end it with Miggy looking.
Madison going out there in 2014 and ripping it away from the Royals cemented my feeling that we have earned well-deserved titles, establishing a kind of dynasty in an era when the back-to-back World Series championship has disappeared.
There hasn’t been a back-to-back World Series Champion in the 21st century. So for me, this ain’t torture any more, it’s working the details.
But enough about torture, lets get to
The first GBC Reader of the year:
It was a rough game because of the blown saves, but being opening day on the road, it really shouldn’t matter that much in the face of what Madison Bumgarner accomplished: the first pitcher in the 140 years of this game to hit two home runs on opening day put himself in position to win twice before the bullpen’s struggles came to bear. It was epic and #TheLegendofMadBum continues to grow.
Ashley Verala, the West Coast Fan Girl @wcoastfangirl has a sweet piece she calls Last True Renaissance Man of Major League Baseball about our Mad Bum.
Brisbee noted that Bumgarner was also the first Giant to hit two dingers on Opening Day since Barry Lamar. And Grant’s coverage of the debacle it became is actually considerably temperate – I think fatherhood is mellowing him out.
Hank is back in his seat for another long season and here’s his takeaways.
MLB dot com Columnist Joe Posnanski has some really excellent things to say about Madison’s performance, really putting the scale of MadBum’s audacity in nice perspective. He includes Statcast data regarding the speed of these HRs that if you haven’t checked out yet, you gotta see.
Haft chose to focus on MadBum’s dominance on the mound. Man, did he look good.
I like AlPav’s headline for his pretty close-up view of the guts of this one. Ruthian Game For the Ages from Bumgarner pretty much sums it up.
Baggs however seems to have felt more like I did. His piece drips with the wretched agony of cheating MadBum of the win.
But Mark Simon and Sarah Langs at ESPN were enthralled by our heroic pitcher.
I didn’t really have time to make this great, but hey, it’s the first one of the year. I’ll add some links later if I find more content.
I also apologized on Twitter for rage tweeting the value of Mark Melancon’s contract excessively yesterday. I am sorry. It was petty lashing out at the collapse and an irrelevant memory of last year that fueled my rage.
Which brings us to Jake Mastroianni’s piece about everyone who overreacted to the opening day loss.
Happy New Year everyone.
The second half has been very much like a root canal but at last, the playoffs are around the corner and the Giants have just a little more work to do to ensure we’re once again in the postseason in an even year this decade.
All Giants fans are of course confident that if we just get in we can go on an epic tear with our postseason roster, as we have done in each of the last even years this decade.
That confidence resides within all of us but was best phrased in all caps by Grant Brisbee in 2012 before the World Series vs. the Tigers. (You can’t spell Brisbee without S-E-E-R).
But today and this weekend the pathway is clear:
Beat LA and Seize The Division.
It is a pleasure to beat the nemesis, but certainly it means the most when there’s the postseason on the line and we handle business. I really hope we show some force this weekend and seize the wild card – a sweep would be sweet.
I still believe we can do this despite not having a closer, or even a bullpen I trust. Because I believe we do have Champions Blood. When the chips are down, we got as good a chance as anyone.
If we end up playing the Mets, as I think is likely now, I am starting to wonder whether we should start Cueto rather than Bumgarner … which seems crazy to type, but there it is.
Samardzija out of the ‘pen might be a thing we see this weekend and in the postseason, which also seems crazy.
But we gotta win one at a time, so for right tonight, I am dressed. Let’s get it on!
Seize The Division
Let’s Go Giants!
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,
- The Giants are due to play better. Maybe they weren’t actually the best team in baseball when they ended the first half with a better record than the Chicago Cubs, but clearly they’re not the second-worst team in baseball.
- Baseball teams are streaky. While the Giants’ extreme splits are abnormal, a bad stretch doesn’t necessarily predict more losing. They’re just as likely to go on a nice winning streak now. That’s baseball.
- The Dodgers play 13 of their remaining 20 games on the road, and they’re 47-27 at home and just 33-35 on the road.
- The teams have six games remaining against each other, including the season-ending series in San Francisco.
- Hunter Pence is hot, with eight hits in the Arizona series. Buster Posey is due to get hot as well, right?
- Strickland, if he does win the closer’s role on a regular basis, will be fine. He has a 2.41 ERA in his major league career and has held opponents to a .202 average (.213 this season). He has been the Giants’ best reliever over the past two seasons. So why has Bruce Bochy been so hesitant to name him the closer? It probably goes back to the 2014 postseason, when Strickland, with just seven innings of big league time, allowed six home runs in eight appearances. It’s tough to trust a guy in close games after seeing that, but Strickland is a solid reliever and has earned the opportunity. (As a bonus, rookie Derek Law, with a 1.94 ERA and excellent peripherals, is due to come off the DL this week.)”
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
September is a funny time for baseball fans whose teams are in the running. My nails are all chewed down to the cuticle. My hair gets a little greyer each year in September. There is agony and joy wrapped up in this beautiful game that confounds and delights us.
I can remember my son’s first SF Giants game like it was yesterday. It was a September 17th game against the division-leading Rockies. This was 2009 and my kid was seven years old. It was Randy Johnson Poster night and he still has his orange My First Ballgame certificate from the Giants and his poster celebrating The Big Unit’s 300th Win, which came that year with Johnson in a Giants uniform.
The Giants trailed the Rox by just two games and Matt Cain was on the mound facing Jorge de la Rosa. We had watched and listened to the Giants all summer and I bought tickets to that game because I figured it might be the one that either got us into a playoff chase or ended our run at the Rockies.
In the ninth, down 4-3, the Giants had runners on 2nd and 3rd with two outs, and we were standing and yelling our guts out when Edgar Renteria grounded out to end the game. The Rockies took a three-game lead with them out of town and we never got closer to the playoffs that year.
The following September of course was our epic run-down of the Snakes that culminated in us stealing the division on the last day and eventually the 2010 World Series Championship And since then, like clockwork, we’ve had a good September every other year and taken it all the way to the World Series, winning twice more. Amazing.
Our runs and collapses in perfect order these last six years have added a powerful, albeit false, pressure to this year.
We ought to be realistic about the incredible run we have just made and see it as unprecedented in quality. We ought to acknowledge we may be fading now not because we cannot do it, not because we don’t have the talent, but rather because we may just finally be out of steam from what has been an exceptional amount of success.
Changes to the team are at the heart of this: the loss of pitchers Petit, Vogelsong and Hudson and the fading of Lincecum and Cain have weakened our formidable staff. Even Javier Lopez doesn’t look as dominant as he has these past few years (not to mention he can’t be spelled by Affeldt anymore either).
Our attempts to just plug in Cueto and Samardzija and Matt Moore and a slew of relievers cannot be expected to align with our every-other-year success. It’s a different team.
In terms of hitting, we lost Pablo and I know how much you all love Matt Duffy (I do, too), but the Panda was a special part of our Championship years. We’ve had four third basemen since Sandoval left … just two years ago. We squeezed out much of the last talent from other hitters: Pat Burrell, Aubrey Huff (THE BUNT ON NOVEMBER 1ST!), Cody Ross, Marco Scutaro, Ryan Theriot, a doping Melky Cabrera. And despite Posey, Pence, Panik, Pagan and Crawford hitting well, hitting remains a problem whether we win or not, which is why winning the World Series the way we have has been even more amazing.
Point is, I don’t want to get all wound up and agonized if we don’t manage to find success all the way to the World Series again. I think the expectation we should is inflated, unrealistic and for some solely predicated on the fact it’s an even year – which is meaningless.
This September may be the end of an amazing dream. If so, I would rather celebrate how successful these last six years have been and lose with the grace of a winner.
I am not giving up. I am in this fight daily and rooting for our boys to do it again. It would be unreal if they did it again. I mean, what a dream – a dream that just keeps not ending? Wow. I want it. I believe we can do it … because we have.
But to expect it isn’t cool.
So let’s turn that even year expectation down a bit, yeah?
We have endured the East Coast and LA bias from national networks for so long they’re irrelevant to us. In fact sometimes it feels better to ride the role of underdog, knowing we have the most experienced, smartest and most tightly knit coaching staff in all the majors.
The mainstream sports media and the hulking brutes of NYC and Chicago always count us out. They have no comprehension of the nuances of the game or teamwork.
They counted us out when we were chasing the D-Backs in ’10 and again vs. the then-Champion Phillies and again in the World Series – even after seeing what MadBum, Timmy and the Beard could do. Not to mention the quietly peerless Buster Posey.
They counted us out when Melky went down for PED use, and we all agreed WE wouldn’t allow him back for the playoffs – though we could have – but rather try to soldier on. This one is always my favorite of the three, because of Pablo’s 3HR, with two off Verlander (him saying “wow,” watching the second one go out – best bad ball hitter ever: Pablo Sandoval). How Romo dismissed Cabrera is maybe my favorite SFGiants WS moment ever.
Then in 2014, they counted us out as a wild card has-been! and we just Madbummed the shit out of them. They counted us out against the Darlings of the Nation and we sent MadBum out to finish them off in their house.
So we are USED to being the ones counted OUT.
But what we know is different. We know we have Rags, Skip, Bam-Bam and Wotus in place. We know that losing Flan for the more conservative Kelly is really just an adjustment, not a loss. We have a Hall of Fame manager who has been through it all.
We know these guys know how to win with their backs against the wall. We know if we just get in to the playoffs, we have as a good a chance as any and a better chance than most because we have CHAMPIONS BLOOD.
I for one, believe that the moves we made are good moves. It hurts so much to have lost Vogey and Petit and Duffy. It hurts a LOT.
But I understand what Evans and Sabean are trying to do and I approve. These are aggressive and expensive moves – Samardzija and Cueto were $90million! We’ve never paid that kinda money for two players before. Duffy was just awesome in Panda’s place for a critical WS series year and more. But I get the trade. Getting the right puzzle pieces is hella expensive.
Here’s what I know: they can’t win if we don’t believe.
and I do.
I believe in this team of managers, coaches and players. I think the new guys need to tune in to a culture of winning and realize that petty losses should be dumped immediately. This is a tightrope walk, not whack-a-mole.
I know Posey, Pence, Bcraw, Belt, Panik, Pagan, D-Span, Nunez and our pitchers that rake can get out of this slump and start producing like the machine they were earlier in the season. It’s all about getting hot at the right time and we have the machine that can do that.
We dispensed with injuries to Pence and Panik and Pagan early so they are ready and playing well.
We dealt for better – read more experienced – pitching help for the bullpen and starters. We’re doing all the right things.
(EXCEPT I STILL REALLY THINK WE OUGHTA BAT THE SP IN THE 8 SPOT AND LET PAGAN AND D-SPAN BECOME BACK-TO-BACK LEADOFF HITTERS).
Anyway, all that is left is:
for us to believe and
for the guys to never quit.
so, guys? …. Never Quit.
With 48 games left to play, the San Francisco Giants hold a one game lead over the nemesis in the NL West and have returned home to the confines of AT&T nee´ Pac-Bell Park for a much needed ten game home stand.
Hunter Pence came home with a black eye. Buster Posey’s face was all busted up. We lost a 1-0 CG by Bumgarner and we pounced on and beat Strasbourg. Brandon Crawford had a seven-hit game! We won a 1-0 game for Samardzija. It was a crazy trip.
But now we are home and we’re up a game and there are four dozen left to play. Here at Giants Baseball Corner we changed the avatar of the Twitter account to the one we have used for the stretch run since 2012, our photo of the dugout sign that was featured in the Emmy-award winning Episode 7 of SFG Productions Orange October.
I only have one wish left and that’s to see Bruce Bochy vs. Joe Maddon in the NLCS.
But I must be patient, be filled with fear and hope. I must focus on today. Win today.
ON TO THE GBC READER NUMBER 12:
Brisbee posted a really nice analysis of the way we swing the bat. What we hit, what we miss and how. I encourage you to read it ’cause there are silver linings galore.
Brandon Crawford had SEVEN HITS in a game! It was insane. He went 7 for 8! His batting average increased by 13 points in one night. It was boss. Doing what they do best, which is archiving, CSNBA and AlPav did a really cool bit covering two men to have seven hits in a game. While in Miami, they found the previous and they got them together. Was awesome.
Berman even wrote about Crawford’s wonder.
Baggs has a nice piece on a turning point for the bullpen. Stricky looking better, with more pitches and some command. Casilla coming back with a vengeance from the humiliation of the balk. Derek Law putting up numbers.
48 to play. Let’s get this done.
Welcome gentle reader to The Giants Baseball Corner Reader, Issue 11, a compendium of links to stories and stuff about the Giants since the last GBC Reader.
BTW, You can always read all the Readers as a summation of the season to this point by clicking on the GBC Reader Category link to the right, and they all come up.
Steve Berman, Bay Area Sports Guy, hasn’t been writing much about the G-men this season, but the trade deadline brought this very nice analysis of what he figures the Giants did and why. Good piece.
AlPav has a nice get-to-know-ya with Will Smith, the Giants’ newest left-handed reliever. I am already on the record that anyone who makes an OBVIOUS pun about his name and the Hollywood actor who shares it, is boring me.
Brisbee still isn’t over the loss of Matt Duffy, which is kinda good because it inspired him to do one of his cool retro-looks at awesome Matt Duffy plays from his tenure with los Gigantes.
and the Rays decided to move Duffy to SS when he comes back up and their current SS was none to pleased to hear that news according to Baggs.
Oh! and in a crazy move in Philly, Balkin’ Bob Davidson threw out a drunk fan for yelling at him from behind the backstop. weirdness.
Let’s Go Giants!
bust the slump.
3B, baseball, baseman, best, Bochy, Bruce, cain, Casey, coach, coaching, Cody, deadline, duffy, Francisco, giants, Hudson, hunter, Jake, marco, matt, McGehee, mlb, Moore, Pabl, Peavy, pence, pitchers, Romo, Ross, Ryan, San, Sandoval, scutaro, Sergio, sf, smith, staff, theriot, third, Tim, trade, Will
A lot of fans were emotional yesterday upon hearing the news the SF Giants had traded Matt Duffy, but I was surprised long-time fan Grant Brisbee was among them – he practically wept. I figured old guys like us were used to the business of baseball and would leap to the evaluation of the statistics of the swap – which he did of course, through his tears.
Me, I found the trade an excellent use of a system we’ve developed with great effort and the right balance of stats and human evaluation in the near-decade since Barry Lamar stalked off into the sunset of post-Giants life.
Sure, I’ll miss Matt Duffy, but he only played for us for two years. It was an intense and impressive couple of years because he had to step into Pablo Sandoval’s big shoes, but I don’t grow that attached to players that fast no matter who they are. It takes me a while to want to make someone “untouchable,” as Posey and Bumgarner are.
Actually, I can remember when fans – terrified about the absence of Panda and failure of McGehee – wanted to trade Matt Duffy for a “real third baseman,” in his rookie year.
And speaking of Panda – a home grown third baseman who was with us through three World Series wins and instrumental in at least one – I do and will miss the Pablo we all loved: an incredible Giant, with huge personality, beloved for his simple, crazy humanity.
Besides, I know Matt Duffy has a long career ahead of him and will excel wherever he plays. I will be watching this guy for a few years to come and heck, he could end up back with us with the way the business of baseball works.
We have done what we set out to do. We have grown our talent at home and added missing pieces to create championship teams, not once, but thrice in the last six years. It has been a stunning achievement, and I think a lot of fans have taken the subtle moves for granted.
It was inevitable that at least one or two or even some of all this home grown talent would have to be used as chips to gain the missing pieces needed. In this case we gave up a lot to get the specific missing elements of our pitching staff, and I for one, am glad we had the guts and aggressiveness to go all-in.
I do not know if Matt Moore and Will Smith are the answer, but I DO know that once they get in Buster Posey’s capable hands for the month of August they’re likely to be much better prepared for a championship run than they have ever been in their lives.
What the Giants have done these last six years is almost unheard of in the modern era. We have kept our coaching staff intact, core players aboard in Posey, Bumgarner, Cain, Lopez and Romo. Turned homegrown talent such as The Brandons, Crawford and Belt, into All-Stars and snagged and locked-up Hunter Pence.
We managed Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco in balance with rotating OFs. We squeezed the last bits of greatness from Cody Ross, Marco Scutaro, Ryan Theriot, Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson.
We’ve had great coaching at farm club levels resulting in consistently good play from rookies and newcomers to the team. Bruce Bochy is a first-ballot Hall of Fame Manager at this point, and his staff, again mostly intact (MISS YOU, FLAN!) are an amazing group.
If we had rested on our laurels and not made a trade for the essential relief and starting pitching support we needed, I’m not sure we could beat this year’s Cubs. Now I feel we have a legitimate shot not only to achieve that in Bochy vs. Maddon I, but go on to win it all.
Matt, you were a great Giant and that is what made you valuable and in-demand. We will miss you and I wish you all the best in Tampa. I am confident you will excel. I hear you are returning to SS and it must be cool to be with your Dirtbag mentor, Evan Longoria. Enjoy yourself and knock ’em dead.
Meanwhile, turning back to August …
Welcome aboard Matt Moore and Will Smith. Get your gear from Murph, perk up and pay attention. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND LISTENING TO BUSTER POSEY.
Let’s all pull it together and go out there and Even-Year-the-Shit-Outta-This-Thing.
We’re playing in New York City against the Yankees this week, and immediately my thoughts turn to Willie McCovey whose line drive that could have won the first World Series in San Francisco was caught by Bobby Richardson in Game 7, beginning a 27-year World Series appearance drought for the G-men.
Hence my two new hashtags:
Many long time fans associate the Game Seven loss with intense feelings not only because of the drought that followed, but because the drought implied we couldn’t win it all in San Francisco. The implication that we were somehow cursed not to win in SF grew for another 26 years and it’s the basis for the intense feeling of relief we all felt when at last we won in 2010.
The history of the ’62 Series fascinates decades later because of the incredible talent on both sides, but among fans I have interviewed about it, there lingers a feeling that the Giants let this one get away. So many of us ache for Willie McCovey.
Rather than share my interest in it, which would just be more historical slather, here are links to three from the net that might interest you:
- A nostalgic take by Baseball Almanac
- A statistical take from Baseball Reference
- A pseudo-authoritative take from Wikipedia
“This World Series, which was closely matched in every game, is remembered for its then-record length of 13 days, caused by rain in both cities, and its appropriately dramatic conclusion. The Yankees took the Series in seven games for the 20th championship in team history. The Yankees had won their first World Series in 1923; of the 40 Series played between 1923 and 1962, the Yankees won half.
The Giants had a higher cumulative batting average and lower earned-run average, hit more home runs, triples, and doubles, yet lost the Series.”
And here is the MLB’s one-hour World Series Film about the entire 1962 World Series
So the second half begins with the G-men in first place in the NL West holding the best record in baseball, which is why we lost last night naturally to the Padres for the first time this year and once again because we couldn’t provide enough run support for MadBum.
(I rewrote Take Me Out To The Ballgame last week so now I sing, “If They Don’t Win We Got Cained” instead of “If they don’t win it’s a shame”).
That said, the next few weeks should see the return of Hunter Pence, Matt Duffy and Joe Panik to our depleted lineup, so hopefully the hits start cranking up again.
It has been great to see Sergio Romo back and really taking care of business, but personally, I want to add Aroldis Chapman to this lineup. Not so much because I distrust Casilla, but because I think a combo pack of Casilla and Chapman could be really devastating.
Once again, I didn’t watch the All-Star Game or the Home Run Derby. I really have ZERO INTEREST in the whole affair. I think my favorite part of the All Star Game was that Brandon Crawford got well-deserved rest despite being the best short stop in the National League.
OK on to The Reader:
Here is Brisbee on the Giants’ schedule in the second half, but he tempers optimism by noting how easy the Nemesis has it during this ride.
Before we leave the first half behind we HAVE to talk about that incredible outing by MadBum that ended our first half. He was utterly dominant in that start and the 14Ks were just … wow. I like Baggs on MadBum’s badass outing.
Steve Berman sighting! He weighed in on the Giants first half success.
Well that’s all I got this week. Let’s Go Giants!
First off, Madison Bumgarner was the first pitcher in 40 years to intentionally bat in an American League park as future HoF manager Bruce Bochy elected to refuse the DH in Oakland versus the A’s. It was rad … and it continues #TheLegendofMadBum
Here’s Brisbee’s tempered opinion on that game.
And here’s Andy Baggs waxing prosaic.
While AlPav’s take includes legends Kruk and Kuip chatting the coolness.
Obviously the injuries to arguably better, or at least day-to-day bats like Pence and Panik and Tomlinson made this decision possible and for me it is an excellent compromise to the insane lunatics who were asking MadBum to hit in the Home Run Derby – which I hope never happens.
Berman dropped in to write about the G-men during the hot streak. And indeed it felt to a lot of us like June Swoon was out of the picture until those pesky Swingin’ A’s came to town.
I haven’t been writing much but I did go on radio to talk Giants with Adam the Bull.
I also went to an American League game for the first time since 2012 (A’s vs. Mariners then) and got to see Big Papi’s likely last hit in Texas as the Red Sox came to Dallas.
The Rangers beat the Crimson Hose in both games I went to, and they looked really good doing it. Shin-Soo Choo was very impressive. And a lot of the Rangers can hit. I saw Prince rip one down the line for a homer that was an awesome display of power.
all right more when I get a chance.
Wrote this ten days ago but didn’t have internet access to upload it.
June 1st, 2016
Giants Baseball Corner
I owe Jake Peavy an apology.
Jake, on your 35th birthday you were a badass.
I don’t know anyone who can say they dominated a Major League Baseball team from the mound and, being that it’s the NL, scored the winning run on their 35th birthday. That was awesome.
An aside: on my 35th birthday, my girl was three months pregnant with our son. I was shuttling back and forth between SF and LA working on projects. My girl was working for a major magazine down in LA. We were Giants fans in LA the year we we’d go to the WS and lose to the Angels. T’was rough.
As a former BoSox pitcher you must have seen the type of fan I am before … pining for years for victory, way too focused on irrelevant details. Quick to anger and panicky. Man, I am dumb.
That now 13-year-old boy and I got to see you pitch live for the first time this year, on Opening Day at the Yard. It was a rough start for you and in the subsequent weeks, I was critical of your performance and said some things I shouldn’t have. I apologize.
Sometimes, I’m the worst kind of fan – the one who vests too much into things that don’t matter, driven by my anxety and love for the team’s success.
Your game yesterday and the start before it put me in my place. I appreciate what all you have done for this team. The great starts are great and I will try harder to understand how difficult the game must be during the poor ones.
Well done, Jake, Happy Birthday.
Thanks for your efforts and let’s get Johnny a second ring!
It’s been an up and down couple of weeks for the Giants – with Bumgarner, Cueto and Samardzija providing the ups and Peavy, Cain and the batting lineup bringing us down.
And of course last Friday brought the highly anticipated Tim Lincecum Showcase, made glaringly significant by the failure of Cain and Peavy. I watched the Lincecum showcase on the ‘net and my opinion is:
1. CSNBayArea still sucks. Their cameraman was an idiot who set himself up in the wrong position (directly behind the plate) and kept fiddling with the zoom button – making it practically impossible to fairly judge what Timmy was doing. And they had no gun.
So basically, CSNBayArea capitalized on the interest to make us all watch it on their site and, typically, gave us a crap product to watch. CSNBayArea remains so transparently interested in their own bottom line and drawing in non-baseball fans – being the soccer mom’s channel for watching baseball. When it comes to anything that matters, they can’t even film it right.
2. I’m glad John Shea (@SheaHeyKid) was there because he is reasonable and sound of judgement, but also because he provided some of his own footage from an angle that made it easier to see what was happening.
3. That said, to me, Timmy looked a little off-balance at first, most likely a bit of nerves, and then settled down by using a really good-looking breaking ball, which seems to have impressed everyone else, too. He also worked location on the fastball, which was average. If, as everyone says, he touched 92 and averaged 90-91mph, then the location on those fastballs was not bad. I think against a real batter, and with a real ump it would be much easier to judge.
4. And so in conclusion, 41 pitches, facing no batter in front of a handful of scouts is no way to judge if Tim Lincecum is ready to be a starting pitcher in the major leagues again.
However, Jake-Ed and Matty are pitching really, really, poorly right now. Nobody is afraid to just jack them, seemingly at will. They have cost us every single week and are hampering the starting three SPs and the rhythm of the team.
I could easily see offering Tim Lincecum a deal where he gets to work himself up to being a starter and gets his shot, as long as he is willing to return to the ‘pen as long relief if it goes poorly. I would be content with that. Tim Lincecum is beloved in the Bay Area. I would be proud to have him back.
We can’t deal Matt Cain because we owe him too much money, but we could deal Jake-Ed, who has two rings with two teams in the last three years and thus has trade value as a veteran with experience.
Conclusion: Promote Heston and sign Timmy. Keep looking for an SP before trade deadline, when we rid ourselves of Peavy.
It’s absurdly early in the season, so there’s no reason to panic – because the Giants have shown us what they’re capable of in flashes of brilliance with the lineup we’re currently fielding: we had come-from-behind wins and a home run parade to start the season.
Still, other than Johnny Cueto’s start, the last week has been a bummer. Infield errors lost us a MadBum start in Chavez Ravine and we eventually lost that series to the Nemesis, three games to one.
The last one was one that got away. Jeff Samardzija (the #Smarj) was looking great, but one mistake to the phenom Joc Pederson was all it took for the Nemesis to pull out the win. Our bats went silent against new Japanese Nemesis Maeda.
Then last night in Arizona we had the lead three times and couldn’t hold on, with Santiago Casilla failing to close – his second blown save in five chances – and the snakes winning in extras.
Injuries, especially to the relievers, are playing a role in this. Romo and Kontos are now down for 15-day DLs, and the one game we lost BCraw turned into error-filled madness in the infield that cost Bumgarner a win. But I would much rather be injured now than in August – last year was a drag.
So the silver lining is that it’s early. Rather it might be good to take a look now down the road. Steve Berman’s got a piece on 10 Important Questions for the Giants season.
And at least Matt Duffy’s slump may not be as bad as you imagine, according to Brisbee.
Enjoy the Reader!
It is easy to forget the lone victory in our three games in Colorado, but it is important not to do so. Jeff Samardzija looked as good as he has yet looked in a Giants uniform and the Giants took Game One of this series 7-2, behind a stellar performance by The Shark.
Samardzija went seven strong innings, gave up just two runs and six hits, striking out four. He had two walks, but managed the game well and was in control of a tough Rockies lineup throughout.
The Giants continued their Home Run hit streak throughout the series and rookie C Trevor Brown had two in that first game, bringing his total to three for the year – his first three hits in the majors are all home runs! Hunter Pence added another two-out, two-run homer in support and the Giants were looking good.
Then the wheels fell off …
Jake Peavy is going to be a problem unless he can right himself quickly. His opening day start at the yard in which he put us in a 0-5 hole in the first four innings, was calamitous and in Colorado his second start was worse. He was shellacked by the Rockies early and often.
Jake Peavy gave up a NY/SF Giants franchise-high 10 Extra Base Hits in this one – the most allowed by a pitcher since Curt Schilling gave up 10 for Boston on Aug. 10, 2006, against Kansas City. It was seriously ugly.
Arenado homered twice, Peavy was a total meltdown. The Rockies ended the day with 12 XBH and a blowout, defeating the Giants 10-6. Brandon Belt did homer in this one to keep the Giants Home Run streak alive at nine games.
Matt Cain came into the rubber match as a question mark, as usual. Which Matt Cain would we see? Well, for four innings the answer was AWESOME MATT CAIN.
Cain was precise, throwing 92- and 93-mph fast balls to great success. It was a thing of beauty long-forgotten since we hadn’t seen him this sharp in a while. It was pretty exciting for a few innings there.
Then all of a sudden in the fifth, Cain gave up a dinger, then a double and then found himself in a chippy battle with Craig Wolters, who finally just barely got the best of Matty with a bloop flare over the head of Matt Duffy. That was the beginning of a collapse that ended in embarrassment as the Giants gave up 9 runs in the 5th inning.
In this one, Matty had struck out Arenado twice and was to face him in the fifth with the bases loaded, but Boch decided Matt was done after a 35+pitch inning that had him on the hook for those three base-runners. He brought in Chris Heston who was pitching on consecutive days for the first time in his young career. Hesto gave up a double to Arenado and the run-parade began.
Meanwhile, Jorge de La Rosa pitched a great game and managed the Giants bats well. This was a tough loss. Belt managed to homer again though – a bright spot is our ten game homer streak.
But at the end of the day, the Giants gave up 31 hits in the last two games to these Rockies at altitude, prompting a lot of fans on twitter to express their hatred for Coors Field once again.
Some injury news, Romo is out temporarily with an elbow thing. Brandon Crawford had to leave with a flexor flare, and Posey who was held out a couple of games to help heal his toe, came back and caught well for Cain during his comeback 4 innings.
Glad to be out of Colorado and on to face the Nemesis in Chavez Ravine with MadBum v. Kershaw II tonight at 7:10pm.
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.
Welcome to the Giants Baseball Corner link archive, a reader of contemporary SF Giants stories of interest to us:
Andrew Baggarly has a nice longform piece here wherein he talks closely with Posey about his relationship with the new pitchers and with Samrdzija about his approach. Posey is such a valuable member of the San Francisco Giants – here Baggs has him actually sitting down and watching film with Cueto and Samardzija, functioning like an on-field player-coach. We are so blessed to have MVPosey.
Cool thing is, it may well have worked already, ’cause Samardzija had his best outing yet as we beat the Cubs 5-2. Duffy homered and drive in two – here’s AlPav and CSNBA on that game
Chris Haft has an up-to-date piece on who might make the Giants bench and remarks that versatility is going to be in high demand.
Brisbee on the value of the SF Giants being Two and a Quarter Billion Dollars.
BASEBALL SEASON IS JUST A WEEK AWAY!!!!!!!!!
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:
- Johnny Cueto on the first pitch of a night game against Oakland, got drilled in the forehead, which was pretty scary, but he got up and was all right. He stayed in the game and was diagnosed with a contusion, but not a concussion … here is a comprehensive piece by Haft on the matter.
- Here’s Steve Berman’s current projection of the Opening Day Lineup, which speaks to the strength of play by Gorkys Hernandez this Spring and other interesting tidbits.
- Brisbee, predicting a lot of playing time for Chris Heston has some in-depth on the young hurler who became the first Giant rookie to throw a no-hitter (vs. the Mets last year).
- At age 51 and as batting coach for Miami, Barry Bonds aka The Greatest Power Hitter to Ever Swing a Baseball Bat, defeated a bunch of Marlins – including Giancarlo Stanton – in a HR hitting contest. Brisbee, of course, gushed, but I really like the video clip at the top of this piece on CSNBayArea in which Barry speaks frankly about how he knows he is a Hall of Famer and the fraternity of people, like me and everyone here at GBC, who know it, too. Love you, Barry Lamar.
All righty, that’s GBC Reader No. 1, for ya then … don’t all rush to read it at once.
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.
Cubs fans, I like your team and your young talent Kris Bryant. I’ve admired your new manager for many years. In fact, I’m excited for your run. But there’s one award you guys don’t get this season, and that’s National League Rookie of the Year.
Before we even begin discussing statistics, I want to be clear why Matt Duffy is the NL ROY.
Simply put, he is the Rookie of the Year because among all rookies Matt Duffy has the most command of baseball’s five tools:
1) Hitting for Power
2) Hitting for Average
3) Fielding Ability
4) Throwing Ability
Hitting for power among national league rookies belongs to Kris Bryant. It’s undeniable.
And if you can’t think deeper than that one aspect of the game, I can see why you might think Bryant should be the ROY. Bryant has more HRs, more RUNS, RBI and a better OPS, SLG (slugging percentage) and fWAR.
But back on August 20th, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Corcoran in a piece called Awards Watch had more to say about measuring the two players with adjusted stats.
“Based on the raw stats … you might think Duffy should rank behind Kris Bryant … but Duffy’s stats are depressed because he plays in an extreme pitchers’ park.
“Looking at park-adjusted OPS+, the two are in a virtual tie in terms of production (Duffy is at 125 to Bryant’s 128, with 100 being league average).
After power-hitting, it looks considerably less convincing for Kris Bryant as a candidate for NL rookie of the year.
Hitting for average belongs to Matt Duffy. He has more doubles, more triples, more hits, and a better average by almost 40 points than Bryant. But it’s Duffy’s average with RISP that should surprise and enlighten Cubs fans.
Avg. with RISP Matt Duffy .378
Avg. with RISP Kris Bryant .311
It shows Duffy to have been as clutch as Bryant. In fact, despite lagging in RBI, perhaps more so.
In terms of base running, Duffy has shown an awareness rarely seen by rookies. Recently scoring from first with heads-up alertness on a deep single, The Duffman consistently shows a keen knowledge of base running and how to use his speed. Duffy has never been caught stealing.
To his credit Kris Bryant has stolen four more bases, but he has been caught stealing four times and, like all power hitters, is much more susceptible to striking out.
Duffy’s better efficiency at the plate is clear in a comparison of the two young men’s walk-to-strikeout ratio.
While displaying massive power and great clutch-hitting skills, Kris Bryant is not performing defensively like Duffy, and what the Duffman has done is what puts him over the top.
Bryant has played outfield in 26 games, preventing him from having to play position defense. But as a result Bryant and Duffy have each played 123 games in the infield allowing a fair comparison … and statistics are clear.
When playing 3rd base, Bryant has committed 17 errors – seven more than Duffy at that position, and five more than Duffy overall. Bryant’s fielding percentage is 20 points lower than Duffy’s. Duffy’s dWAR exceeds Bryant’s significantly.
Corcoran agreed, back on August 20th:
“Beyond that, Duffy is a better fielder at the same position and has arguably contributed more with his legs (he has taken the extra base 12 times to Bryant’s nine, reached on an error eight times to Bryant’s four and is five-for-five in stolen base attempts, while Bryant is 12-for-15).”
Both these young men have been great rookies this year. Their clutch performances, poise and consistency over the course of the season have been a blast to watch and root for.
But since a decision has to be made, and towering home runs aren’t a single reason to award the Rookie of the Year in the National League, it should be awarded to Matt Duffy for his fullness as a player and for his impressive command of the five tools of baseball.
In a way we can say we’ve been playing these guys, in this League, for 131 years.
Last night’s was a trench battle.
Games like that reveal what kind of fans we are and today, as we all wake up – some of us to read what happened, others to bemoan having stayed up – it’s also a gut-check.
My first reaction is often lunging for reasons we lost that are our own responsibility and I landed upon Bruce Bochy – who let Jake Peavy stay in after Jimmy Rollins singled to lead off the bottom of the sixth.
I have pent-up frustrations from years of having a shorter leash than Bochy, and it makes me, ultimately, irrational, sometimes. So I contain myself and stare at the situation I questioned for minutes after a loss.
Waking up this morning it remains the problem. Leaving Peavy in to allow the homer that tied it 3-3 was frustrating … but then still leaving him in to face the hottest-hitting player in the League? That was just enraging. Too much trust, man.
When Ethier homered to give them the lead, this game felt doomed.
Berman defends Bochy of course; in ways not even Marty Lurie would.
Me? I realize Bochy’s the guy in the chair. Skip has won us three world series, not me or Marty or Grant Brisbee, but I still have so many issues with his crazy decision-making.
So I disagree with him, but what do I know? There have to be hundreds of more reasons than I can possibly fathom for putting in Broadway instead of Petit last night.
But a second point sticks with me about that fateful bottom of the sixth: blatantly and in extreme close-up and high-definition, Jake Peavy shook off Buster Posey on the pitch he delivered to Ethier. What did Posey call? What did Peavy throw?
(Jenkins informs me later: “It was a curve, and not a good one.”)
If Bochy left him in because he still had enough in the tank, did he also approve him blowing off whatever Buster Posey put up against the hottest-hitting batter in the league?
Bruce Jenkins, Alex Pavlovic, anyone ask that? Probably not much time or desire for such a question after a gut-wrenching loss.
Imagine asking the guys that. It would be hard to do. It takes being a kind of a dick as a reporter. But it ought to be done. In New York they do it.
But we’re nicer guys than that. So much so, the guys kicked Baggs out for asking too many such questions. Which in my opinion was bad-form, whether we won the World Series or not. I do not like the way Comcast has us going – toward rah-rah coverage and TV-series spoof videos.
I’m the kind of fan who misses the days of reporters being in charge and being able to ask tough questions. I despair over the bimbo cheerleaders on TV asking catch-phrase rhetoricals. I honestly don’t think CSN Bay Area is good for the SF Giants.
Comcast turns coverage of local teams into collegial homerism. I find it clownish, actually, and the focus of the sportstainment-driven Comcast is way too far off-the-field. I rarely say any of this, of course, because it’s bad social-media form. When I do mention it, I immediately lose followers, so, enough of my media criticism.
We fought back after what I consider Bochy’s managerial mistake. I am proud of this. I love our never-say-die attitude. Bochy himself has it and he admires his guys for it. We don’t quit. It’s team-wide and seems infectious … every new guy gets on board.
In this regard, Marlon Byrd has stepped right in for Hunter Pence. It has taken exceptional effort by this crafty, very professional veteran to keep us in this race. I really love his hustle, heart, smarts – just the way he plays the game. Thank you, Marlon, you are a good Giant.
When my new favorite Giant, Josh Osich – the big lefty rookie – came in last night, he looked shaky, so it was George Kontos’ turn in a tough situation at Chavez Ravine. Yikes.
I have been harsh on Kontos in the past and also tried to praise him when he does well. He muted me a few weeks ago for being critical. I don’t feel bad about being critical. I do think the guys ought to take it.
In Los Angeles late yesterday George Kontos was excellent in relief in a place where he must have been haunted a bit. He dealt with it and hopefully even put it behind him with his performance. Forced to enter because Affeldt was unavailable, Kontos rose to the challenge. Way to Go, George!
One issue however was at the plate, where Kontos, like Adrianza earlier, botched a bunt to advance runners, dropping three straight fouls wide of the first base line and showing little control.
“So the inability of Kontos to bunt took all the pressure off the Dodgers. Here they come, bottom of the 13th, four to four!” -Vin Scully, midway through the 13th last night.
Kontos, Adrianza, and, I surmise, half the team should be practicing bunts every single day until the end of the season. Do they not know about Aubrey Huff’s critical bunt – the only bunt ever in the month of November – that helped us win our first World Series? and Bochy telling him to take bunt practice in September? uh, Hello?
Still, it was a great game. Both defenses were crisp, base running was excellent. Pitchers were good just up until the moment they weren’t, which means it was taut.
Duffy continues to impress to the point that he should be gaining ground in the race toward his ROY award for the National League.
The Dodgers let us hoist ourselves on our own petard – which in this case was injury-depletion – and they closed it out.
It hurts to lose one of those like a kick in the gut, but to be frank, I love baseball and that was a gritty 14-innings.
Waking up today, perspective is important. We’re the champs and still mathematically in this. But if we go down, let us do so with grace.
I believe we can do it: win back-to-back, especially since we have those four games against the nemesis at home to end the season and our schedule in September is much better than August was and we are finally getting back Joe Panik …
I still believe.