Category Archives: Reviews

Paper Trails: San Francisco at Los Angeles

What an end to the road trip!  It took me an extra day just to watch the last game of this series and yet another day to get this written up — I think no one (by which I mean everyone) remembered to warn me that having to take up to three hours out of the day to watch and score a baseball game kind of eats up what little free time is left in your day.  But watch I did, and I was rewarded with more than a few interesting things – let’s dig into a few!

  • Go For The Throat: Starting with a painful one, in Sunday’s contest the Dodgers left only one man on base the entire game, and that was Zack Greinke, stranded by a Carl Crawford groundout after a booming ground rule double.  Now, if they had barely hit, that would be one concern; however, they scored six on seven hits, and left only one man on base.  All game.
  • Late Night Web Gems: Does anybody get to watch these? Is there any way that Angel Pagan isn’t on there regularly?  When he’s healthy — and hopefully, staying that way — he is the combination of spark plug and leather-flasher that we desperately need at the top of the lineup and the center of the outfield.  Other than Shulman and Kruk — more on that later — saying it was good to have a ‘real center fielder’ again (I’m sorry, have you not SEEN Gregor Blanco play? Oh, right, you haven’t!) it’s easy to see that Pagan not only upholds stringent standards of center field defense for the Giants, but has been incredibly valuable in that leadoff spot as well, going 5-for-12 this series with two walks.  Besides that, Pence is no slouch, showing off a massive outfield assist on Saturday, and Pablo Sandoval has reminded a few people why we don’t usually worry too much about him out there at third base with some diving stops and leaps to knock down grounders.
  • In The Air Like You Just Don’t Care: Three games at Dodger Stadium.  Of seventeen runs scored by the Giants, seven came on home runs.  Of twelve runs scored by the Bums, seven came on home runs.  Was the ball jumping? A bit — it has been this whole trip — but this is a kind of Giants baseball we’ve only just started to get familiar with after years of low-power baseball and elite pitching, we find ourselves with inconsistently brilliant pitching but power developing to complement it.
  • Nattering Nabobs: I’ll say this about John Kruk: He’s honest.  I don’t think he tells it like it is; I think he tells it like he sees it from the mysterious Kruk-land that his brain lives in.  He has some solid stories, as any good national-level color analyst should, but he is not a good national-level color analyst.  When the best methods of dialogue you have are to shut down your partner (“Nope, I don’t think so”) and to provide commentary that just feels completely out of sync with what you see on the broadcast…but, hey, when you’ve got a color analyst like Mike Krukow around, I guess you get a little spoiled.
  • Gold Glove Offense: We frequently talk about the joke that you have to “hit well enough for a Gold Glove”, a joking reference to the idea that without offense, the coaches and others that vote on the Gold Glove awards won’t notice you for your defense.  Things like Web Gems, the Top 10, and increased access and attention to clips online have increased teams’ ability to be aware of these things, and some change is happening — but it doesn’t change the fact that this year, Crawford and Belt are starting to do it. Crawford, especially, is a wizard at shortstop and will likely be trading with Andrelton Simmons for the Gold Glove at the position, but in this series Crawford posted an 0-for-6 with two walks, all four outs on Sunday being strikeouts.  Belt, on the other hand, went 4-for-13 with three singles and a home run.  If the defense is there, and Belt is at least an above-average defender, some strong play, athletic ability, and difficult picks at first could well put Belt into the discussion.
  • The Only Good Bum is a Mad Bum: Madison Bumgarner cemented his role as the team’s ace with a sterling performance on Saturday against a strong, if inconsistent, Dodgers lineup.  In 6.1 innings, Bumgarner put together ten strikeouts, five of them coming against the heart of the order (Ramirez, Gonzalez, and Kemp) and only allowed two earned runs.  It seems like a safe bet that we still haven’t quite seen everything Madison Bumgarner has in the tank, and that he’s still getting warmed up; other than a clean fifth inning, Bumgarner allowed at least one hit every other inning.  He only issued one walk, and the limited number of runners and nature of spreading out the hits helped keep Bumgarner in control of the game — but the pitch count ran up, and once again, Bumgarner was gone by the middle of the 7th inning.  I’d like to see that dominant attitude translate into a complete game sometime soon, but you know what?  It’s damned fun to watch in the meantime.
  • Close to the Chest: Matt Kemp got in on a pitch on Sunday (one of many, it seemed like) that was in on his hands, and watching the slow-mo replay really can teach you a lot about how his swing can tighten in and shorten up without losing any momentum or power.  Hitters have wheelhouses, sure, but the kind of inside coverage that swing will get you is what keeps the “strictly a power hitter” label away for a long time.  Kemp’s a Dodger, but I respect what he can do (and, let’s face it, I like him better than Puig.)

Plenty of fantastic baseball this weekend, and if you’re going to end a road trip with a pretty crushing loss to your most bitter rivals…it doesn’t hurt to do it with a 5-2 record, plenty of home runs, and your first baseman right in the middle of a hot streak, does it?

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Paper Trails: San Francisco at Arizona


I’ve mentioned it on the podcast before, but I’m pretty sure I’m certifiably nuts.  While I’ve mentioned it in general, in this case I’m specifically talking about my goal to try and score every single game the Giants play this year.  Am I going to succeed? Who knows — I may give up and decide I prefer sleeping at some point (I closed at work today, and it’s nearly 3 AM now that I’m finishing this), but in the meantime, I’m learning a lot about the sweet art that is scoring and how being engaged in a game changes the way that I consume and follow it.  And along the way, you always come up with a few interesting tidbits, so at the conclusion of the series, in parallel to our new series reviews, here’s a few things that I couldn’t help noticing over the course of our opening series at Chase Field!

Disclaimer: All observations are based on my own scorecards and note-taking. There will be errors. Feel free to point them out in the comments and I’ll swing back around to correct stats and things in the future if I can.

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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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