Monthly Archives: July 2014

Bonusode 66.1 – “FU#& IT!”

@Veronica and @WillieDills gazing upon Hunter Pence after an epic gaming conversation with him.

@Veronica and @WillieDills gazing upon Hunter Pence after an epic gaming conversation with him.

Download the Bonusode here, or

Press play below to stream it:

[audio http://torturecast.podomatic.com/enclosure/2014-07-27T23_11_17-07_00.mp3]

Willie and I were joined by the wonderfully talented internet entrepreneur and Giants fan, Veronica Belmont in the press box for Game 2 against the Dodgers on 7/26/14. Unfortunately for her, she agreed ahead of time to be a guest on our traditional “bonusode” at Zeke’s after the game. Our regular favorite, Jen Cosgriff from Bay Sports Net joined us later in the episode as well.

We talk about the game, where the Giants are, our Hearthstone conversation with Hunter Pence during BP, the back-up, back-up, back-up, back-up, back-up second baseman.

Come travel down the path of despair, elation, drink orders, and “FU*& ITs!”

Also be sure to check out the post-game wrap here.

Chad

 

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Dodgers vs. Giants 7/26/14 Post-game wrap

Hunter tawwwk!

Hunter tawwwk!

We were hoping Veronica Belmont would be our lucky charm tonight to break the TortureCast’s losing streak when covering Giants games. Tonight would be a tough task against the MLB leader in ERA and wonky deliveriness, Clayton Kershaw.

Veronica, Willie and I decided to make a day of it with a pre-game beverage at Mo-Mo’s to discuss the Peavy trade, when you were conceived, and the bad bar service we were facing. After we picked up our passes, we headed straight for the “in-progress” unusual pre-game presser in the interview room, avec Sabean. Of course, the Giants had finalized a trade for Jake Peavy earlier in the day, so the purpose of this unusual format was primarily to discuss this trade. I’ll sum it up with the last question that Alex Pavlovic asked, “Is Cain going to pitch again this year.” Sabean responded, “I’m not a doctor.”

Ugg.

Speaking of egad.

Speaking of Ugg.

The figurative salve on that open wound was in the form of talking to Hunter Pence on the field during BP. Willie is a huge Hearthstone player (it’s a game, Google it), and so is Hunter. In fact, Hunter has been streaming his Hearthstone matches on Twitch.tv, and they are terribly entertaining. Hunter usually eschews conversation during BP, but his ears perked up when Willie started talking to him about it. He even came back TWICE after BP rounds to discuss deck strategy. Veronica, the internet behemoth that she is (1.7 million Twitter followers, folks) has a bit of a crush on Hunter…and plays Hearthstone, so yeah, she was also a kid in a candy store.

After a quick sandwich, we mingled through the center-field garden in all of its kale-glory with beers in hand. Not a bad place to hang out before a game. Now, considering you can’t really WATCH the game from the garden (yes, on TV), not so sure if I’d hang out in a chaise lounge.

Vogelson started out as strong as any Giants fan could hope for, retiring the first 11 Dodgers. However, with two outs in the fourth, Adrian Gonzalez hit a ball right at Hunter Pence, and with the early 6pm start time, Hunter, who had made two fantastic running grabs in the game thus far, completely lost it in the sun just above the stadium rim shadow for a gift double. Vogey pounded Hanley Ramirez hard, but he managed to flare off a two-strike pitch down the left field line for a run-scoring double. From our vantage point, Morse appeared to jog after the play as though he thought it would drop foul.

That seemed to set an ominous tone for the Giants.

The Dodgers opened up the fifth with back-to-back-to-back singles to open up a 2-0 lead, and if it weren’t for Pence’s third great running catch, it would have been 4-0. Of course, he did lose one in the sun.

Guess you can’t catch ’em all, eh?

Well, about that 4-0 advantage. It apparated in the very next inning through a combination of dinks, blown throws to home by players named Uggla, 2-out hits, and some pixie dust. Vogelsong was done after 6 IP with two earned runs, for a non-quality-start-feeling quality start (Uggla!).

Let’s face it, the Giants have beaten Kershaw before, but it wasn’t to be tonight. Whether the Dodgers scored just one run, or their eventual five, it was all the run support he needed.

Your move, Peavy. (sorry about the run support)

Chad

P.S. – We recorded our traditional “bonusode” after the game at Zeke’s. If you click the link here, you can actually hear the confidence fade from our voices.

 

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Episode 66: Doug Mirabelli

That jean shirt is sweet

Download the episode here, or

Click the play button below to stream Episode 66

[audio http://torturecast.podomatic.com/enclosure/2014-07-21T23_32_58-07_00.mp3]

We’re running out of jersey numbers, so “Doug Mirabelli” it is!

In episode #66, Chad and Ben are joined by Eric Nathanson of 2outhits to discuss the flurry of activity surround the San Francisco Giants including Belt and Cain to the DL, Scutaro’s return, Hicks DFA, signing Dan Uggla to a minor league deal, and Ben’s trip to Minnesota for the All Star Game.

 

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Timmy 2.0

Timmy 2.0 dominated for his fourth-straight start. (Eric Risberg/AP)

We’ve all been hoping for his emergence, or better yet, his re-emergence as the dominant starter he once was. Even if he retired today, he would be one of the most popular Giants of all time with 2 rings, 2 Cy Youngs, 2 no-hitters, and a splash of playoff heroics. Yet, he just turned 30 last month, and that turn of the decade seemed to ring in a new Timmy, version 2.0. I just turned 40, but the only resurgence I’ve seen is the fat in my man-boobs.

We’ve seen flashes of brilliance in his last two dismal seasons, but nothing that was sustained, until now. Over his last four starts, he’s allowed only one run over a span of 30 1/3 innings. He had a scoreless streak of 23 innings that was snapped by a solo homerun, and he hadn’t had a streak like that since 2009, which was in between his two Cy Young seasons.

So why the change? We know his fastball velocity is the lowest it’s ever been, and will continue to drop with age. Perhaps he’s finally matured to the point where he trusts location more than “stuff.” He’s said as much in interviews, but the proof didn’t exist. Is that mentality finally translating to the field? To my un-professional eye (but I did just ‘retire’ after playing 20 years of amateur baseball, so at least I’ve seen a loooot of pitching), he is certainly more consistent, and he’s been pitching backwards as of late, with the curveball or change-up first, setting up fastballs low and on the corners, followed by either a change or another curve to keep hitters off-balance.

And to think that if Timmy was up to his old antics, the Giants would have even had a WORSE month of June? Is that possible? Let’s look at the starting rotation for the last 30 days:

Name W L ERA IP HR BB AVG WHIP BABIP
Tim Lincecum 4 1 1.49 42.1 1 12 0.140 0.76 0.171
Tim Hudson 1 4 4.91 36.2 3 8 0.297 1.42 0.336
Ryan Vogelsong 1 3 4.13 28.1 0 7 0.259 1.24 0.333
Matt Cain 1 3 4.83 31.2 4 9 0.282 1.39 0.323
Madison Bumgarner 1 3 5.18 33 2 13 0.260 1.39 0.320

 

Each starter only has one win in the last month, yet Timmy has four. But look at that sexy WHIP and BABIP. I know numbers turn our readers on, but you should probably go ahead and lather those up with oil, because they’re not getting any better than that. What’s remarkable is that Timmy’s walk percentage, although down slightly, is comparable with the other starters, and his strikeout percentage is actually second-lowest in the last month. It’s the quality of the pitches he’s making. His BABIP is a measly .171, which means players are making very weak contact, also translating into the .140 average against.

Now, let’s eliminate that one loss and look at his last four starts as a whole: his ERA, BA against and BABIP are 0.30, 0.101, and 0.120, respectively. Are you kidding me?!

The analysts all talk about his pitch selection. Let’s see how that stacks up in his last four starts vs his career:

Year FA% FT% SL% CU% CH%
Last 4 starts 24.8% 18.3% 27.2% 7.4% 22.3%
2014 30.5% 15.6% 27.6% 10.4% 15.8%
2013 37.2% 12.4% 21.2% 10.7% 17.6%
2012 39.3% 12.3% 21.3% 10.7% 16.0%
2011 42.1% 12.6% 24.1% 6.4% 14.4%
2010 37.9% 15.2% 7.2% 16.4% 21.3%
2009 55.1% 0.7% 7.1% 18.2% 18.8%
2008 65.5% 9.4% 9.8% 15.3%

 

I’ve heard a lot about his curveball lately, and it does LOOK GOOD, but he’s only thrown it 7.4% of the time in his last four starts, which is much lower than his career average. What’s notable to me is how his changeup (CH%) has replaced many fastballs (FA%), having thrown almost as many changeups as heaters. I think this is one key to his recent success, aside from location being number one. Delving further into his fastball selection, although that percentage is way down, he’s relying on the two-seamer (FT%) more than he ever has, comprising roughly 2 out of 3 fastballs over his last four starts. Historically, he’s used that pitch for less than half of his fastballs, going with the four-seamer the majority of the time, which is a higher-velocity pitch. The two-seamer has more movement than the four-seamer, indicating that he’s sacrificing a bit of velocity for movement, which is only adding to the reduction in BABIP. The variance of his pitch selection is also the lowest its ever been, by far, and this may keep the batters guessing a little bit more with a more even distribution of pitches.

One caveat that must be pointed out. Three of these four starts were against the Padres and D’backs, both woefully underperforming offensively this year. He did have a commanding start against St. Louis, but this is a small, yet promising sample size.

Maybe Timmy finally has reinvented himself, or version 2.0 will need to be returned before the warranty expires.

Chad

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Episode 65: Steve Edlefsen

Name that recent Giant. Oh, we put his name in the title…nevermind.

Download the podcast here:

Or stream it here:

[audio http://torturecast.podomatic.com/enclosure/2014-07-01T00_03_54-07_00.mp3]

Remember Steve Edlefsen? We barely do, and we also barely remember the Giants being in first place, which they are not, officially, anymore. They’ve lost 10 games to the Dodgers in 22 days, and Ben and Chad replay what the hell has gone wrong with our boys in Black and Orange. Romo is no longer the closer, the team can’t hit, and half the lineup is Fresno Grizzlies. Take a sip, it’s that bad.

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