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Don’t. Press. It.

…don’t press it…don’t press it…don’t press it….

 

Still above .500. Only 1 1/2 games back. No need to worry, right?

Big picture, who knows?

But, if recent history becomes a long summer of a trend, we’re in for a repeat of the 2013 season of mediocrity.

It’s only been a week since the precipitous fall from grace the Giants’ bats have taken, in fact, I think I saw several players actually chucking their bats off the Rocky Mountains after these last two miserable games.

SF has lost 5 of 6, and aside from Vogelsong’s start in Colorado, the pitching has been excellent and not to blame. You can put that squarely on the shoulders of the lineup, and aside from Belt and Pagan (but even Pagan has been quiet lately), everyone has shut down. Once the Giants were second in the NL in batting average and runs scored. Oh, so as the memories of when you got to second base with that blonde you were after in high school, so are the days of the Giants EVEN GETTING TO THE REAL ACTUAL SECOND BASE!

Let’s take a look at the big picture, stat-wise. The Giants have now fallen to second to last in the NL in batting average to almost my weight: .228. Only the Mets are worse at .224. We thought the Giants had scoring problems last year, but they still hit a relatively robust .260! Usually the runs are plentiful on both sides in Colorado, a veritable buffet where only the mightiest of the champion food eaters will come out on top, while the other, although defeated, still gets his full of extra base hits. True to the park, the giants have had 19 at bats with runners in scoring position in the first 2 games. That’s a crap-metric-ton of at bats! They’ve put runners on base! How many hits in those 19 ABs? Exactly 1: by Hunter Pence: AND IT DIDN’T EVEN SCORE A RUN! I might be able to get more than 1 hit in 19 at bats by just poking out the bat every pitch.

The runs have dried up, the hitting has dried up, my drink has dried up while I write this. Alas, the pitching is still in tact, despite some bumps in the road, and those bumps tend to be Giants fans running over Vogelsong with their metaphorical buses filled with toxic angst, rage, and maybe an occasional enchilada. There have been many questions about Vogey coming in. Some have predicted that he may not make it to June as a starter. I’m pulling for the guy, he’s a great story, and an inspirational one at that. A blue-collar type you want to see succeed, but his location has been off so far this year, the same affliction he suffered last year. With Petit shaking off the rust and pitching well, we may see a change in a month if Ryan continues to go south. Cain and Hudson have been great, and Bumgarner won an entire game himself with 5 RBI, but he has been hit HARD. Today he pitched a complete game (8 IP) and only allowed 2 solo jacks for runs, but still got tagged with the loss. The league is now hitting .314 off Madison, who happens to be tied with Lincecum for the 5th worst batting average against in the NL. This, this is not a good sign, despite his 3.14 ERA. He’s playing with fire by allowing all of those baserunners (Bum owns a 1.64 WHIP, 55th out of 58 qualifying pitchers).

Seriously, 3 runs for the Giants in 2 games in Denver. They’re passing runs out in the stands. Last night was “free runs” night. I think I even saw an elderly man score with that young blonde I was after in high school. What kind of offense is this team going to bring back to the thick air by the Bay on Friday versus Cleveland?!

By the way, Willie and Chad will be in the press box on Friday versus Cleveland to keep both an eye out for that blonde, Kuiper bobbleheads, and for any runs that may or may not score in the home half.

Chad

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Vogelstrong

The boys had their first 2014 trip to the press box. It was Candlestick night, and although the boys didn’t realize the celebration they were about to walk into, I (Chad) stumbled onto the field for BP and after an hour, I was able to talk to Roger Craig (the Giant), Dave Dravecky, Brent Jones, and Matt Cain demanded his Aquarium photos.

Serendipitously, or actually because we are in San Francisco, the night was shrouded in fog, much like my childhood memories at Candlestick. No, I didn’t drink as a child.

After the pomp and circumstance, the game started with a swift 1-2-3 inning for Vogelsong, but that cadence would quickly change to a laborious outing for the veteran right-hander. He quickly fell into trouble in the second; after a lead-off ground out, he promptly grazed Montero’s jersey, walked Prado, and allowed a single to Parra to load the bases. Cliff Pennington, the number 8 hitter, delivered his first 2 RBI of the season with a solid single to left. The inning could have been worse if Parra wasn’t caught off of third on an attempted sac bunt by the pitcher Delgado.

The Giants quickly struck back when Brandon Hicks delivered yet another 2-out RBI hit to halve the lead, but that was short-lived. The D’bags pounced on Vogelsong with a 1-out double by Goldschmidt (pause here: this man is STRONG and should play in a level for Marvel characters), a single by Prado, and Montero promptly plated both of his teammates with a double into triples alley. No, he didn’t get a triple.

The third looked promising for the Giants after Pagan fouled off all of the balls until he drove a single into right and Belt followed with a walk. However, the cold, cold Panda hit into a 4-6-3 double play to extinguish any assemblance of a rally. Then, Buster Posey pulled out a card no one in Candlestick AT&T Park was expecting….a bunt down the third base line. And…it was kind of a good one. And the Giants kinda scored a run on that bunt single; by the catcher; who has one leg.

CUE MAJOR LEAGUE THE MOVIE

I don’t have YouTube rights to this.

After the Giants cut the lead to 4-2, Vogelsong settled down in the fourth with a 1-2-3 and 2 strikeouts.

Michael Morse’s beard implored him to make it to second after he hit one into the gap, and Brandon Crawford’s lucious locks wanted to mate with Morse’s beard by duplicating the aforementioned double to close the gap to 4-3. After a Hick’s walk, the Giants looked like they were looking for blood, but the pitcher Delgado pounced on a bunt by Vogelsong to narrowly force Crawford out at third. Give an assist to Kirk Gibson, as his decision to replace Delgado with Perez paid off when the turned-around Pagan grounded into an inning-ending double play from the right side. But, the Giants apparently only like to score with 2 outs, so….

Vogey continued to settle down into the fifth by striking out Goldshit, and inducing a 4-6-3 double play after hitting Prado.

The sticks kept digging Vogelsong out of his own hole, when Michael Morse doubled again off the bricks in deep right center, with 2 outs, to drive in Sandoval and Posey to take the lead at 5-4. The Giants have just been fantastic with 2 out hits this year, and we like to give a shot out to our friend Eric @2outhits.

No matter how much Vogelsong wanted to continue, Bochy had to pull him after he allowed a leadoff double to Trumbo to lead off the 6th inning, giving way to David Huff with the tying run on second.

Machi entered in the 7th and was greeted rudely by consecutive hits by Campana and Hill to put both runners in scoring position with Goldshmidt up. After he fell behind the lumberjack, the Giants opted to finish the intentional walk to load the bases with no outs. Martin Prado followed with a much-needed ground ball back to the mound to start a 1-2-3 double play to quickly bring the threat level down from red to a mild yellow-green. Bochy went to Javy Lopez to neutralize Montero with the strikeout. We all love the homerun, but I love getting out of a bases-loaded, no out jam even more so.

Casilla tried to set it up in the 8th, but after he got pinch-hitter Eric Chavez to fly out to Perez in left, Campana hit a soft grounder to Panda at third. Without a chance to throw out the speedy lefty, he launched an off-balanced throw over Belt’s head and into the AT&T Park stands to allow the tying run to score. This is when we would love access to the clubhouse to ask him, “WHY DID YOU THROW THE ROCK?!?” I just like saying that phrase, actually, it makes me feel like a man as I sip my coffee in the protected press box.

Brandon Crawford led off the bottom of the 8th with a shot into the centerfield night that apparently got lost in the Flock of Seagulls, as Campana erroneously ran straight back towards the fence, only to turn around to watch the ball fall harmlessly 10 feet in front of him for a “Ghost of Candlestick” double. Hicks walked , Perez sacrificed the runners over, and the pitcher Thatcher intentionally walked Pagan to bring up Belt with the bases loaded and one out. Belt couldn’t muster more than a shallow fly ball to left, and Panda, with 2 strikes, struck a decent poke to right, but Parra tracked it down on the warning track to end the threat.

Sergio Romo, who hadn’t pitched in 8 days, came into the game in the 9th to retire the side, but what’s concerning is that he departed in pain. We’ll be sure to talk more about that.

Unfortunately, Petit couldn’t hold the game in the 10th, but it took a great AB by Campana, who fouled off a series of 2 strike pitches before he floated a single just over the outstretched glove of Hicks.

Reed, the Arizona closer, made quick work of the Giants to drop San Francisco to 6-4.

 

 

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Series Review: SF @ Arizona

I command the power of the giraffe!!

Here at TortureCast, we’re going to try something new that will probably abjectly fail during the season: a review at the conclusion of every series.

Expect mistakes.

Expect missed series.

Expect that we will quit this if the Giants suck.

Expect that we will review every series if Timmy keeps that mustache.

Ok, onto our first review.

Giants at Arizona

Record: 3-1 (3-1, 0.5 GB of LA)

Batting Average: .246

HR: 6

Runs: 23

Runs allowed: 18

Batting Average Against: .279

ERA: 3.34

MVP: Brandon Belt, who hit .333 with 3 homeruns and 5 RBI

Notables: Tim Hudson and Madison Bumgarner combined for 11.2 IP, 0 runs and only 2 walks with 10 strikeouts. Romo had 2 saves and could have had 3, but Bochy wanted to save him for LA. Pagan was 8-19 with 6 RBI and had the game winning hit in game 4. Posey was 5-12 and had the game-winning HR in game 1. Not a single ball was hit to Michael Morse until the moment he left the game.

Worries: The bees at Chase Field, Hunter Pence’s 1-16 (0.063) start, and Timmy gave up 2 longballs to strong men, umpires can get away with 2 wrong calls in the same inning even WITH the new replay system

Special Moments: The Giants came back late in 2 games, including a 5 run eighth in the series finale when down 5-3, capped off by a Pagan 3-run bomb. Brandon Hicks first HR with the Giants.

Up Next: 3 game series in LA

Synopsis: Hey, I don’t care that Arizona basically out-hit the Giants. The Giants won 3 out of 4 thanks to bees, timely hitting, Pat Burrell hitting a HR in khakis, and, ok, some late-game heroics. This could have easily been 3 losses. The Giants only outscored the D’bags 23-18. Let’s hope for a strong season opener from Vogelsong in LA tomorrow. He needs to throw a few more cereal bowls against the backsplash tomorrow morning before the rotation resets with Bumgarner and Cain. Speaking of Bumgarner, he wasn’t spectacular in the opener, but the Giants defense miscues led to a high pitch count and an early exit for him. He’s mad and a bum and wants to paint his face with Dodger blue blood.

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Episode 58: 2014 Season Preview Bonanza

photo

Photo from last night’s season preview recording at the Public House at AT&T Park. A big mixer and expensive microphones make us look semi-legit, while that is contrasted by the assortment of alcohol. From right to left: Ben, Chelena, Willie and Jen. Holding the camera: Chad

Click the arrow below to stream our season preview podcast! Or you can download it here.


Happy Opening Day, Giants fans!

Join us on this inebriated special episode of the TortureCast!

Willie, Chad and Ben welcome @JenCosgriff (BaySportsNet.com) and @ChelenaGoldman (SFBay.ca) to our season preview podcast bonanza, recorded (we did it LIVE) at the Public House at AT&T Park. They probably wished they hadn’t agreed to come. And we saw Brian Wilson give up all the runs against the Padres as we recorded. And Willie is okay at pool.

The five of us predict how many games the Giants will win this year (Chad: 88, Jen: 90, Chelena: 90, Ben: 89, Willie: 89; note: Chad predicted 93 in 2012 when we recorded with GiantsPod.net…they won 94 and the World Series…just sayin’), our concerns about Scutaro, and we argue about why we should or shouldn’t overpay to resign Panda.

If you’re new to our site, stick around, we promise to be entertaining, at least we’re delusional enough to believe it. We’ll be attending quite a few games as members of the press, so heads-up for blurry photos of batting practice, tweets full of consternation and frustration that we cannot cheer or boo in the press box, and silence when we attend Bochy’s pre- and post-game press conferences.

Giants fans, let’s rejoice and exit the cold corners of shame that we allow hockey and basketball to satisfy our sports addiction, and enjoy this long and beautiful ride of another season of San Francisco Giants baseball!

Chad

 

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Interview with George Kontos

Both the video (above) and audio (below) interview of George Kontos are the same. Pick your poison!


Chad and Ben interview Giants reliever George Kontos at Media Day at AT&T Park. Not only does George own every episode of “Friends,” but he’s been working on a new pitch for 2014.

Be sure to listen to our other interviews from Media Day including Matt Cain, Sergio Romo, Tim Lincecum, Michael Morse and others.

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Interview with Sergio Romo

The same interview with Sergio Romo is available on YouTube above or you can just listen to the audio by clicking the arrow below.


Chad and Ben sat down with Giants closer Sergio Romo at Media Day at AT&T Park before the start of spring training. We talk about his takeover of the Warriors’ Twitter account, what he would have like to have played professionally if it weren’t for baseball, and he hates that inherited runners that score count as an earned run.

Be sure to check out our other interviews with Matt Cain, Michael Morse, Javier Lopez and others!

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Episode 55: The Tim Lincecum

We break out 2014 with Episode #55. It’s been 3 months, so the rust is there; consider this spring training for podcasters. (image: AP)


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Ben and Chad kick off TortureCast’s first podcast of 2014 by reviewing all of the transactions for the offseason, and talk about what is left on the Giants’ shopping list before spring training starts in a month. We also fear Tanaka’s arrival in LA while we powerwash our brain stems to shake off the ‘ole cobwebs from baseball hibernation.

Also, remember that Giants FanFest is a mere two weeks away, February 1 at AT&T Park. Let us know if you’re planning to attend; perhaps we’ll have an impromptu get together.

 

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Episode 54: The Sergio Romo

It’s only fitting that the Giants’ closer titles our 2013 season-in-review


Click the player above to listen to the Episode!

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Hey, it’s not a Bonussode! (which are totally great, btw, you should probably listen to them).

Willie, Ben and Chad wrap up the disappointing 2013 season to talk about why they “didn’t win it all,” what they need to do in the post season, and our playoff predictions.

Don’t worry, we’ll have occasional podcasts and blog posts during the off-season, especially has the hot stove gets a bit warmer. The Giants brass has a lot of work ahead of them to fill the rotation, address bullpen depth, and get a solid left fielder, and we’ll be here to talk about it.

Chad

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The Last #RallyZito

Zito has way more than 75 million reasons to smile

Originally, we thought we’d witness Lincecum’s possible final start in the orange and black, but Bumgarner has been shut down for the year, and Timmy’s start was pushed back. Instead, we’ll be witnessing Zito’s final curveballs tossed in a Giants uni.

His contract was highly criticized, even back in 2007, but more so in the latter years. Sure, he didn’t live up to the Scrooge McDuck-sized pile of money, but he had key starts down the stretch in 2010 that helped them secure the West on the final day of the season, and of course, his proverbial highlight as a Giant is NLCS game 5 in St. Louis. As Giants fans, I think we can all agree that it’s certainly probable that the Giants wouldn’t have two titles, and possible they wouldn’t even have one if it weren’t for Zito. That is worth $126 million to any Giants’ fan.

Ben, Willie, and myself will be up in the press box tonight and Ben and Willie will return to the box again this Saturday against the Padres. Tweet us a line @TortureCast.

See ya at the yard!

Chad

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Kale Power

Pence should try and squeeze every dime he can out of the Giants, wouldn’t you?

We all know Hunter Pence is ridiculously hot. Well, the ladies may also think he’s “hot,” but of course I’m referring to his unbelievable production at the plate in the second half, specifically over the last two weeks. He absolutely crushed the Dodgers, hitting 5 home runs in the 4 game series. He’s also hit 6 in his last 6 games and 7 in his last 10, in which he’s also hitting .450 with 20 RBI…and that includes two games where he went 0-4! About the only thing he hasn’t done is somehow gain the ability of flight to catch that Chavez sinking liner that would have preserved Petit’s perfect game.

He’s hitting .421/9/25 for September, and .352/11/44 after the All-Star break, lifting his average to in impressive .295/25/92. Just a few weeks ago it seemed impossible that Pence could reach .300/25/100, but it’s absolutely within his grasp now (heck even 30 HRs), and although it’s been great for the Giants on the field, I wonder how it will affect their pocketbook.

It’s widely reported that Pence loves SF and wants to re-sign, but an extension wasn’t in the works before the trading deadline, and there was speculation that he might be traded. After his elation as the deadline passed, Giants fans took to Twitter to push for such a deal.

A few days ago, Pence himself confirmed that he’s talking with the Giants, telling Hank Schulman that there have been “conversations.” While this is encouraging, what does his recent hot streak do to his market value? No doubt it’s gone up, and if he hits those magical numbers in his slash line, Pence may cost quite a bit more than his assumed $13-14 million per year. He’d be an idiot, though, to NOT test the market, no matter how much I personally want him to resign. Why wouldn’t you? You don’t know what you’re worth until you have offers, and I assume that’s what his agent is pressing him to do. Other than the rare outlier who takes a hometown discount (Jared Weaver), most players want validation, if not the money. Even if his ultimate goal is to stay in SF, he can use other offers as leverage to force Sabean and co. to throw a few more simoleons, if not years into the deal.

Sabean and Baer have repeatedly acknowledged that they need a left fielder with a stick, but they would suddenly need two such outfielders should they let the market consume Pence. If these conversations progress, the Giants will have until five days after the conclusion of the World Series to lock him up, otherwise, he’ll find out what he’s truly worth.

Chad

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