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Episode #123: Are We There Yet?

arewethereyet

“Sorry, son, you better piss in a bottle, cuz we have a long way to go”

You can download the episode here, or stream it below!

Nope. Not yet. The Giants are making great strides, winning 3 series in a row, and opening with a win in their 4 game series with Chicago. However, they still find themselves 9 games back of Colorado and in a precarious hole. That said, if they had been .500 or worse, their season really would’ve been over by now, or close to it.

There is life. Not much, but it’s something to build upon.

Chad and Eric talk about where the Giants are more than a quarter of the way through the season, and what it’ll take to erase the Rockies’ lead, week by week. We revisit Eric’s excellent article on the history of playoff berths with a record similar to the Giants’, and although far from a lock, it’s encouraging to see that it’s been done multiple times.

Join us for episode 123 of the TortureCast!

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Episode #115: Football is Over!

gorkys

Gorkys is our savior

Download the episode or stream it below!

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/torturecast/episodes/2017-02-06T23_08_10-08_00

The TortureCast has awakened from its long winter slumber to bring you thoughts on the Super Bowl and the Giants’ offseason. We say goodbye to Romo (Dodgers), Lopez (FA), Peavy (FA), Pagan (FA), Blanco (D’backs), Casilla (A’s), and welcome Melancon, Morse, Rollins, Hundley, and a lot of familiar faces. The starting rotation is almost set, but there are questions in the outfield, except for Gorkys!

 

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Even Year Magic Goes Code BLUE, then Sucks us Back in

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This is like the fourth image for this article tonight. So many possibilities. It was the missed call on Gillaspie, then the triple by Gillaspie, then the Chevron HR by Bryant, and now finally, the game-winning double by Panik. That’s 10 consecutive elimination game victories for the Giants, a record that may never be broken. (Photo: John Hefti, USA TODAY Sports)

Holy crap. It’s midnight.

Well, Giants fans. Even-Year Magic has a trick or two up its sleeve, as it turns out.

It seemed alive and well in the first half, then experienced a near-death crisis after a 2 1/2 month-long bout with some rare disease, before rising from the ashes with a sweep of LA to close out the season. It even squeezed out another magical toot when Conor Gillaspie sent a ball soaring into the New York night to win the Wild Card and send them up against the best team in baseball, the Chicago Cubs, who have experienced the opposite of “even-year bullshit.”

Most of us had high hopes, even a little swagger and confidence, much like Johnny Cueto’s shimmy in game 1 of the NLDS that would have won 9 of 10 such contests. But, that lingering cough that Even-Year Magic had came back, allowing a late inning homerun by Baez that sealed a 1-0 victory for the cubbies. Or, was Even-Year Magic (bullshit) just getting warmed up?

Then, game 2. Many fans thought that Matt Moore deserved the start after his last two performances down the stretch. However, Bruce Bochy, the god of postseason decisions, decided to go with Jeff Samardzija, because he “earned” it. That blew up in his face, as the Shark gave up 4 runs in the first 2 innings, a deficit that the Giants would never overcome.

Even-Year Magic is now in prime post-season form, ready to pounce, right?

Game 3. Elimination game. Madison Bumgarner, postseason wizard. Of course, the Giants would win this game and send us hopefuls to the wishing well and wearing all manner of good-luck-superstitious attire to somehow pull out the last two games of the series, duplicating the magic of 2012 when the Giants won three consecutive elimination games TWICE, against Cincinnati and St. Louis.

But, after 24 consecutive scoreless inning in elimination games, Bumgarner did something a bit uncharacteristic. He missed Posey’s target. Against a pitcher. With 2 outs. And 2 strikes.

Jake Arrieta, a good hitting pitcher (.262 w/2 HR), promptly launched a three-run homer to the only Cubs’ fan sitting in a section just beyond the left field fence.

Now, Even-Year Magic was on life support, or planning the best bullshit party we’ve ever seen. Not just that, but Cubs’ magic (or impending doom) was materializing. It wasn’t Kris Bryant, or Rizzo, or Fowler, or any of the usual suspects.

The Goddam pitcher. Against the best postseason pitcher in history.

Then, Even-Year Magic gets a 2nd, or 32nd breath, as the Giants rallied in the 8th, putting two runners on, forcing Joe Maddon to put in Chapman for a six-out save. After striking out Hunter Pence, wild card hero Conor Gillaspie sent a ball just over the outstretched glove of the right fielder for a 2 run triple, giving the Giants their first lead of the night. Crawford followed with an RBI single, and moved to third with one out. This is where things started to swing back in the Cubs’ direction, because, of course it would.

The Giants couldn’t plate Crawford, which proved to be a huge run, should they have gotten it. But, two weak groundouts prevented that from happening, and Romo took the ball into the 9th. We all knew what could happen; feared it; lamented it’s coming, but maybe with Even-Year Magic present, it couldn’t possibly, right?

Leadoff walk.

F that.

Then Kris Bryant did what good hitters do, hit a mistake, a hanging slider right down the middle into the night. But, that wasn’t enough. No. It had to scrape the top of the Chevron car and bounce into the stands for a 2 run game-tying homer. Looking at the angle, because it was hit so high, it appears that if the car wasn’t there, it would have been a double off of the wall. No matter, Romo retired the next three in order.

Yeah, another blown save. 30 in the regular season, including 9 losses when the Giants led going into the 9th. Surely this would prove to be the 10th.

The Giants had a shot at a walk-off. After a one-out walk by Belt, Posey, who was 3-3 on the night, laced a laser into deep right field, but Almora Jr., made an incredible game-saving catch as he sprawled out on the warning track to snare the line drive. Belt gambled, and was running on the play, so he was doubled off, which means, if that hit got down and by Almaro, Belt scores easily, and the Giants win. But no. Of course not. That drive couldn’t have been one foot to the right. One foot back. One foot short. Almaro couldn’t have been playing one foot deeper or to his right. It was as close as close could be.

Romo retired the side in order in the 10th, with a little bravado vs. Baez, which, honestly, was stupid. Dude, you gave up the tying homerun that led to the end of the season (a lot of people thought). Now you’re showboating?

Will Smith entered the 11th and retired the side in order. The Cubs were down to their last relief pitcher, although they had an assortment of starters. Panik led off the home half with a single, was sacrificed to second by Blanco, but neither Trevor Brown nor Denard Span could knock him in, sending it to the 12th.

Ty Blach, who looked so good in the regular season, and in his brief outing earlier in the NLDS, retired the Cubs in order in the 12th. After the Giants yet again, could not muster a run, Blach entered the 13th into a maelstrom that he worked hard to escape. After Black got Russell out, singles by Baez (only the second hit since the 4th inning, the other hit was the one that TIED the game in the 9th), put pressure on the rook. However, pinch-hitter David Ross grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.

 

Then, just when you thought that old crafty lefty, Even-Year Magic had its last moment of glory, it decided to make it’s presence known once again. Brandon Crawford delivered a two-strike double just prior to Joe Panik driving a double to the deepest part of the yard, easily delivering the win to the Giants dugout in a raucous celebration amongst fans and players alike.

The Giants live for at least another day. It’s their 10th consecutive elimination game win. Guys, that is an insane number. Even if they lose tomorrow.

Yes, this magic could run out tomorrow, but boy, we’ve witnessed its glory over two memorable games and four memorable post seasons. Go get ’em, Matt Moore, you even-year-grinning assassin. God damn, my liver can’t take this. And it’s my wedding anniversary tomorrow.

Chad

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Casilla Blows Another Save. Everything is OK.

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The Giants blew another 9th inning lead tonight. In fact, it was their 8th loss after leading in the ninth. Never mind the 28 blown saves that lead the NL. At least they won some of those games. But, 8 losses after leading after 9 (2 of them came after leading by 3 in the 9th, btw) is SOUL-CRUSHING. Let’s look at the what ifs:

  1. If they won tonight (blowing only 7 9th inning leads), they’d trail the NL West by 4 and lead the Mets by 1 and Cardinals by 4 in the wild card.
  2. If they had only blown 6 ninth inning leads, they would trail LA by 3 and lead the Mets by 2 and Cards by 5.
  3. If they had only blown 5 ninth inning leads, they would trail LA by 2 and lead the Mets by 3 and Cards by 6.
  4. If they had only blown 4 ninth inning leads, they would trail LA by 1 and lead the Mets by 4 and Cards by 7.
  5. If they had only blown 3 ninth inning leads, they would be TIED WITH LA and lead the Mets by 5 and Cards by 8.
  6. If they had only blown 2 ninth inning leads, they would LEAD LA by 1 and lead the Mets by 6 and Cards by 9.
  7. Ok, so most teams don’t blow more than a few leads in the ninth, so I’ll stop here. Most teams blow a lead or two or three, but not EIGHT!!

Point being, the Giants are still in this race, but the NL West is most likely out, unless they go 6-0 against the Dodgers.

Let’s hope they win tomorrow, because if they don’t, the Giants may miss out on the playoffs by 1 or 2 games, and it will all come down to the bullpen in the 9th.

Did anyone think that Casilla would be called upon again? I’m shocked that he’s still in the “rotation,” but I don’t think we see him again in the regular season in a save situation after the boos that rained down on him and Bochy tonight.

Chad

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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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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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Episode 104: Warriors are Better than Everyone Else

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You can download the episode here, or stream it below:

Or, play it directly from Podomatic

Eric and Chad record episode 104 to discuss the recent series split against Colorado, and the first loss of the 3 game series against Toronto. The fact that we’re HAPPY that Peavy ONLY gave up 3 runs in 5 innings tonight is a bit sad. The back end of the rotation is now 1-8, while the first three are 12-5. Timmy isn’t necessarily the answer, but we’re not sure the Giants have many other options.

Oh, and Steph Curry is a god.

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Episode 103: They’re in First?

peavy

Download the episode here, or stream it below

Play it on Podomatic

Chad goes solo in this short 103rd episode to talk about the latest homestand and road trip, who’s hot, and who’s not (*cough* Jake Peavy *cough*), and what to do about the struggles from the back end of the rotation.

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Episode 102: “The Bristol Curse”

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Download episode 102 here or stream it below!

In our 102nd podcast, Eric and Chad break down the second week of the 2016 season that saw the Giants go 2-4 while our livers broke down even more. Our G-men dropped 2 of 3 in each city of Denver and LA, but not all is lost as we look at the positives of Samardzija’s and Cueto’s starts. Posey snapped his 18 AB hitless streak, Romo and Adrianza went on the DL, Duffy’s slump, Derek Law made his dad very happy, we share our concerns about Peavy and Lopez, how Samardzija met his wife, and Vin Scully’s dulcet tones as he recounts how MadBum and his wife saved a rabbit from a rattlesnake’s belly. Don’t forget to follow us @TortureCast on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and check out our articles, including Eric’s “Friday Five” at TortureCast.com!

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Episode 101: First Week of 2016

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Download the episode here, or stream it below:

The Giants started the season 5-2, taking 2 of 3 in Milwaukee and 3 of 4 from LA. All 5 wins were from the comeback variety. The Giants also hit 14 homeruns and for the first time since 2003, hit homeruns in their first 7 games. Chad and Eric discuss the details of the week in episode 101 of the TortureCast!

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