Episode 110: Giants are the Worst

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Download the episode here, or stream it below!

After a failed recording (no, seriously, we did a WHOLE podcast and forgot to hit the record button last week!), and serious schedule challenges, we finally got 3 out of 4 of us to record episode 110 of the TortureCast! Of course, we last recorded when the Giants were up by 6.5, but now they are trailing by a full game to the Dodgers.

We talk at length about what went wrong, how bad every facet of the game has been, but also about how unlucky it has been to lose as many games as they have due to poorly timed hitting, pitching and blown saves.

Matt Moore for Duffy and Will Smith. Are these trades worth it? Is this Carlos Beltran or Jeff Kent? Truth is, we won’t know for a while, but there is plenty of the season left for these trades to pan out in a favorable way.

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Is It Time To Panic?

Belt

 

That road trip sucked. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. The San Francisco Giants went 1-7 and generally looked flat, and out of sync. They come home only three games ahead of the Dodgers for the NL West lead.

THREE

That number can be made up during one series of baseball. The cushion that once was, is gone.

So is it time to panic? I guess that depends on how you look at it. There’s a precedent for this kind of thing. On June 8th of 2014, the Giants were a season high 22 games over .500 and had a 10 game lead in the NL West. When it was over they finished 6 games behind the Dodgers and had to play the Wild Card game. Then the Giants won the title.

Sure. That’s a different team. I agree. This 2016 squad is probably the most talented bunch Bruce Bochy has managed in a Giants uniform and a free fall like 2014 shouldn’t be in the cards. I mean, it can’t be? Can it?

On June 24 this season, the Giants held their largest lead over LA at 8 games. On July 10th, they reached a season high 24 games over .500 with a record of 57-33. That was the record the Giants held going in to the all star break. It was a 6.5 game lead over the Dodgers.

It’s not really fair to compare this year’s team against 2014, but we can’t help it because it literally just happened. It’s easy to draw comparisons.

That doesn’t mean the same thing has to happen, and I’m betting it won’t. Hunter Pence, Joe Panik, and Matt Duffy should all be returning to the lineup over the next month. The whole of the offense won’t have to rest on the shoulders of Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, and Brandon Crawford.

The lineup isn’t as deep as it once was. But, fingers crossed, it should be there again. On this 1-7 road trip the Giants held the opponent to 5 runs or less in 6 of the 8 games. The problem is they scored 23 runs total in the 8 games, less than 3 a game. Take out the 7 runs in the Wednesday loss to Boston ad it’s barely over 2 runs per game.

The Giants aren’t hitting. That makes the errors and subpar pitching performances stand out. Jeff Samardzija got rocked in the 6th inning at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, but in a live yard all the Giants could manage was 2 runs on a defensive swing base-hit. It’s hard to win when the middle of the order combines for 4 total runs in 8 games.

A lot of the chatter after the final game in New York from the Giants clubhouse was about getting back in a routine. This weird road trip with multiple days off was not normal. Playing the next 7 games at home will surely be a welcome thing for a club that really hasn’t been home since July 10th.

The Cincinnati Reds are coming to town for 3 games and overall they have not played well this season. At 38-60 they are tied for the 3rd worst record in baseball with the Tampa Bay rays. The Reds just wrapped a 9-game homestand to start the second half. They wen 6-3 against Milwaukee, Atlanta, and Arizona. Back in May the Giants took 2 of 3 from the Reds in Ohio and averaged just over 5 runs a game.

There’s that 5-run mark again. It jumps out because the Giants are 36-9 when they score 5 or more runs in a game. The offense is what really makes this team hum and it just wasn’t there for this trip.

Like I asked earlier, is it time to panic? I don’t think it is. Clayton Kershaw may miss the season and require surgery. The Dodgers are winning games now, but their own injuries will catch them. Much like what has happened to the Giants recently.

There’s also the idea that Bobby Evans is looking for bullpen help. Aroldis Chapman is out as closer option. He got traded to the Cubs, and I’ll be honest, I’m glad we don’t have to tiptoe around his recent domestic violence incident. I would have a hard time rooting for him.

Other than a reliever, the Giants could shore up any part of the team. With the emergence of Mac Williamson lately, the Giants probably feel better about the OF depth. The rotation may need some help, and the next week will clear that up. Jake Peavy and Matt Cain each start twice this week and we’ll all know if there’s a need.

Don’t panic. The Giants are still one of the best team in baseball and have reinforcements coming. After this week at home they take their last trip to the east to start August. The farthest they fly after they return home then is Chicago. The Giants thrive in their comfort zone and we shouldn’t expect any less down the stretch. It’s just another extension of Bochy’s “keep the line moving” mentality.

Or, I could be totally wrong and this season is about to fall off a cliff.

-Eric

@2outhits

 

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The Friday Five: Let’s play ball! Again.

 

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Johnny Cueto and Buster Posey of the San Francisco Giants / Getty Images

The second half of the baseball season gets underway tonight for the San Francisco Giants. The break is over and it’s time for nothing but baseball over the next three and a half months. This could be another year of putting football on hold until November. That may be a good thing, if  you’re a Niners fan.

I’m sorry, where were we? Oh yeah, the Giants get the advantage of having the best in record in baseball at 57-33, and hold a 6.5 game lead in the NL West over the Dodgers. At Baseball Prospectus their odds to make the playoffs is 95.3% and to win the division it’s 70.6%. The Giants are projected to win about 94 games.

So, how did they get here? Will the Giants keep the run going in an even year? No matter what happens I am sure we’re in for some great baseball and memories this summer. Let’s take an in-depth look at how they achieved the best record in baseball and also explore what the Giants need to do in the second half to win the division and get a shot at another even year crown. The Friday Five is back for every week the rest of the way, let’s enjoy this wild ride that is Giants baseball. Continue reading

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Episode #109: Giants are the Best

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Johnny Cueto is now 13-1 with a 2.47 ERA with 4 CGs. The Giants are 16-2 in his starts, and he just may start the All Star Game.

Download the episode here, or stream it below!

For at least 24 hours, the San Francisco Giants have the best record in all of baseball at 54-33, yes, even better than the Chicago Cubs that are starting their entire infield in the All Star game, plus Dexter Fowler (which is a complete joke).

We focus on what the keys have been to their success, and what keys lie forward in the second half to ensure that they win the NL West. The All Star snub of Brandon Crawford, Belt in the final five, and the grease fire that is the Giants’ bullpen round out this fine baseball conversation with Chad, Eric and Ben.

 

 

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The Friday Five: Road Warriors Return Home

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AP Photo

The San Francisco Giants are heading home after a 6-1 road trip. They are 47-27, and 6 games up on the Dodgers. The Giants’ 47 wins are tied for the most in baseball with the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers. It’s the third best 74 game start for the Giants in the San Francisco era behind 1993 (50-24! grrr) and 1971 (48-26). That 1971 team had 4 Hall of Famers, including an aging, but effective, Willie Mays.

I can’t stop looking at all these winning numbers. On April 21st, the D-Backs beat the Giants to complete a 4-game sweep and send the Giants 4.5 games behind first place LA. The Giants were 7-10, the low water mark of the season. Since then they have gone 39-17 (.629), the best record in MLB, and gained 10.5 games on the Dodgers. That’s a span of 9 weeks, an average of more than one game gained per week.

The Giants have won 11 of 12 heading in to the weekend. After the great road trip, the Giants are now 25-14 (.641) away from home, the 2nd best win percentage and most wins in baseball. They’re not too shabby at AT&T Park either, sporting a 22-13 (.628) record, which is second in the NL behind the Cubs.

Between today, and the All-Star Break, the Giants only travel once, to Arizona for 3 games next weekend. They don’t play a club that currently has a winning record until July 19th in Boston. There’s a chance for the Giants to keep streaking and try to distance themselves from the rest of the NL West. So let’s look ahead to the weekend and enjoy that 6-1 road trip one more time in this week’s Friday Five. Continue reading

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Episode 107: Keep Those Winning Streaks Coming!

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MadBum has allowed 2 ER or fewer in his last one million starts (photo courtesey of fxtribune.com)

Download the episode here!

Or, play it on Podomatic here! Or stream it below!

Chad and Eric talk about the Giants’ second 8 game winning streak of the season, the incredible pitching they have been benefiting from, All-Star voting, Duffy’s injury, who’s hot, and Timmy’s great performance in his first start with the Angels. And, if you’re not a Warriors fan, don’t listen to the first part of the podcast as Chad laments on what could have been the completion to a historic season.

Damn Warriors.

Chad

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The Friday Five: Giants keep winning games

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Photo/Eric Nathanson

We’re half way through the month of June and the San Francisco Giants have a 6.5 game lead over the rival Dodgers. So far this month the Giants are 8-5 and have won their last 5 games. Friday night’s game in St Pete against the Rays starts a stretch of 20 straight days of baseball for the Giants.

I want to mention the horrible tragedy that took place in Orlando last weekend. As some of you may know I live in Kissimmee, which is right next to Orlando. Our communtiy has been rocked but has responded with nothing but love and kindness. My heart goes out to the victim’s families, and to all of the survivors. Continue reading

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Episode 106: LA Beaten

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Buster Posey has magical powers

Click here to visit episode 106 on Podomatic

Click here to download the episode, or stream it below.

Chad and Eric discuss the weekend series against the Dodgers, which saw the Giants take 2 out of 3 very close, fun and competitive games. Other topics include splash hit #69, Belt’s offensive surge, Posey’s recent struggles, Timmy’s AAA starts for the Angels, MadBum wanting to participate in the homerun derby, and the Giants’ interest in a trade for Ryan Braun now that Pence is on the shelf until August.

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The Friday Five: Life after Hunter

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Getty Images

It’s been a rough week despite the San Francisco Giants going 4-3 over their first 7 games of this 10-game road trip. During Wednesday night’s game in Atlanta, Hunter Pence left the game with what is being called a “severly strained” hamstring. In typical Pence fashion, he smelled an infied hit as he sent a slow roller towards 3rd base and burst out of the box, but it didn’t end with a hit. Hunter pulled up, grabbed his right hamstring, and stopped.

He’s on the 15-day DL, and will probably be out for a while. Update: Pence is having surgery and will miss 2 months. Jarrett Parker got the start yesterday  and will probably split time with Mac Williamson, who was recalled from Sacramento. With Angel Pagan still on the shelf that makes the Giants play with a regular outfield of Gregor Blanco, Denard Span, and the Parker/Williamson combo. Just like we all were dreaming of back in March.

Anyway, losing Pence sucks, but gaining ground on the Dodgers doesn’t. The Giants are now 5.5 games ahead of their rival in LA. Yesterday was the first time in 12 days the Giants were able to expand their lead. During the previous 11 days the Giants and Dodgers had the exact same result, every day. So let’s poke around with this week’s, Friday Five.  Continue reading

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The Friday Five: Let’s go streaking!

Matt Cain poses for the Jr Giants handbook on Tuesday, February 19, 2013.

Matt Cain poses for the Jr Giants handbook on Tuesday, February 19, 2013.

The San Francisco Giants just keep winning. Since losing to Jake Arrieta and the Cubs last Friday night, they’ve gone on another winning streak. After the 8-game streak was snapped the Giants have put together 5 more in a row. That’s a win in 13 of their last 14 games.

On May 15 the Giants woke up tied for 1st place in the NL West with the rival Dodgers. This morning they are 4.5 games ahead of LA, and 6.5 ahead of the Rockies. That’s 11 days worth of baseball. This has been an amazing stretch by the Giants, so let’s take a look to see if it continues if it continues in this week’s Friday Five.

1) Believe it or not, the Giants have three separate road trips this season that bring them to 3 different cities. Amazingly, unlike years past, this time the team gets a day off right before the trip starts, and right after it ends. Tonight starts a 3-game series in the house of horrors known as Coors Field. After that it’s 4 in Atlanta, where the Braves are 2-17 this season, seriously. The trip wraps up with 3 in St Louis next weekend. But we’ll get to that next week.  Continue reading

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