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Episode #171: Giants are Heating up!

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Giants’ Evan Longoria (10) watches his 12th homerun of the season sail into the left field stands in the 7th inning against the St. Louis Cardinals at Oracle Park on July 7, 2019. The homerun broke up a no-hitter and a scoreless tie and the game eventually ended with a 1-0 Giants’ win. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

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

The Giants have won 6 of 7 and head into the All Star break just 5 1/2 games out of the second wild card spot. The problem is that they have seven teams in front of them, and that is why the oddsmakers give the Giants only a 0.7% chance of making the playoffs. That said, we can still enjoy some good baseball as of late with a tremendous week by Evan Longoria, who hit 5 homeruns, including 4 in San Diego, the Shark is pitching very well, Dickerson continues to swing a hot bat, and Will Smith heads into the break converting 23 of 23 save opportunities and dipping his ERA under 2.

Chad and Eric talk about the last two weeks of Giants’ baseball, Chad’s experience covering the Diamondbacks game last Sunday, they give their All Star game and HR derby predictions, and look forward to baseball before the trading deadline to see if GM Zaidi will pull the trigger on any trades to help the farm system for future Giants’ teams.

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Episode #170: We Want More Dick

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Alex Dickerson, acquired by trade from the Padres just last week, produced immediately for the Giants, knocking in 9 runs in his first two games in Giants’ uniform, breaking a franchise record. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

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

The title was just too sophomoric to pass up…sorry about that. But, we do want more production from Alex Dickerson, who knocked in 9 runs in the first two games in Arizona, including a grand slam, two doubles, and a triple. This performance prompted the chant, “Dick! Dick! Dick!” from the Giants’ dugout. Truly an awesome sight and sound.

We had a small break because of Chad’s vacation, but it was a fairly successful period for the Giants, as they went 7-5 during the two week break, but still find themselves in the cellar of the NL West. Eric and Chad review the last two weeks, the latest trade rumors about Will Smith and Madison Bumgarner, compare Mike Yaztremski’s stats through 92 plate appearances with that of his grandfather’s start, this week in Giants’ history, who’s hot and not and more!

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Episode #169: MadBum vs. MadMax

 

MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants

Madison Bumgarner barks at Max Muncy shortly after Muncy deposited a 92 MPH fastball into McCovey Cove. Bum didn’t like the brief admiring pause that Muncy gave at the plate, but honestly, we didn’t think there was much to be upset about. Photo by CBS Sports.

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

The Giants just can’t seem to push through in any particular week, and last week was no exception. Although they did win the first game of each series against the Mets and Dodgers, they proceeded to lose the next two games and each series. They also mustered a horrendous 2 for 24 with runners in scoring position against the Dodgers, glaringly one time unable to score with the bases loaded and no outs and again with runners on the corners with no outs in their 1-0 loss on Sunday. Speaking of Sunday, anyone see that Muncy splash hit and the subsequent reaction by MadBum? Yeah, Eric and Chad have thoughts on that.

We also review the draft, this week in Giants history, and who’s hot and who’s not. We’ll be back in two weeks for episode 170.

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Episode #166: Pinch hit Wonder

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Madison Bumgarner propels the Giants to a win in Arizona on May 18. Photo by NBC Sports.

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The Giants went 3-1 after our last podcast, and have exceeded expectations (sadly) with a 17-17 record over their last 34 games. They took 2 or 3 from Arizona and their regulars have been performing well. Crawford won 2 games by himself with a game-saving play and a homerun. Panda hit 2 pinch hit HRs and won a game. Zaidi keeps the roster rotating with some shrewd trades and moves. Listen to this and more in episode 166 of the TortureCast, the podcast by and for fans of the San Francisco Giants!

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Episode #163: The Giants Aren’t Good

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

The Giants started off this week with a 2-game sweep in Toronto and finished a 4-4 road trip before heading back to San Francisco to face a depleted New York Yankees team that had 15 players on the injured list. That didn’t matter, as the Yanks swept the Giants at Oracle thanks to bad starting pitching, poor defense, and getting behind early.

Despite going 2-3 this week, the Giants sit at 11-17, last in the NL West and only surpassing the Marlins in overall record in the NL. Bum, Holland and D-Rod all did poorly against the Yanks, and Gary Sanchez hit the ball out of the yard twice, one time at 467 feet.

We talk about the week, the last visit to SF by the Yankees (Chad was there for Bonds v Clemens in 2007), who’s hot and not, should Mac be called up, should the pens be moved along with the elimination of Triples Alley and more.

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Episode #161: Pillar Power

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Kevin Pillar hits a grand slam against the San Diego Padres. The Giants’ centerfielder hit 4 homeruns this week, propelling them to a 4-3 record. (Photo: SF Examiner)

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

Where would the Giants be without Kevin Pillar? He dominated the week, hitting 4 homeruns with 12 RBI. In fact, no other Giant had more than 1 RBI for the week! The Giants sit at 7-10, 4 games back of the Padres, but it would be much worse without Pillar’s contribution. That said, he’s only hitting .155 on the season, so he’s getting timely hits. How long will this last?

We talk about Pillar and the week in review on episode #161, including the insane 18 inning win against the Rockies, surprising pitching from the Shark, and how the bullpen leads all of baseball with a 1.77 ERA. However, they also are at the bottom of the NL with a .199 batting average, and have mustered only 10 homeruns, which is the same as Kris Davis! Eric also introduced a new segment called “Guess that Giant,” which Chad performed poorly in. Let us know in the comments if you guessed this Giant faster than Chad did (we’re sure you did). This was a fun podcast to talk about a winning week. The Giants go on a long east coast trip, so their hitting has to come around at some point.

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Episode #159: 2019 (late) Season Preview

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Brandon Crawford #35 of the San Francisco Giants scores ahead of the tag of Austin Hedges #18 of the San Diego Padres during the fifth inning of a baseball game at Petco Park March 31, 2019 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images)

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

Chad and Eric host our annual season preview episode a little bit late…well, after 4 games into the season, but there is a good reason for that. Chad had the flu one week, then was traveling for work, then last week was having the experience of a lifetime, diving 2 miles under the ocean in the historic Alvin submarine, exploring a recently discovered “octopus garden” near an extinct underwater volcano while the BBC broadcast all this live back to the UK for their “Blue Planet Live” show. So, yeah, good reasons.

The Giants started off the season with a whimper, losing 3 of 4 in San Diego, while mustering only 5 runs in the process. They are hitting an NL-worst .177, but at least their pitching is 2nd! By the way, who expected Michael Reed and Connor Joe to be on the roster? We review this series, and preview the season, reading off all of YOUR predictions for total wins this year. Spoiler alert…most of you don’t think they’re going to win that many game. We also give our playoff, statistics, trade, and milestone predictions.

Spring has sprung, and baseball is back, baby! Can’t be sad about that.

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Episode #155: Coming Down the Stretch

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Hunter Pence watches a mammoth homerun sail to the warehouse at Petco Park. It may have been his last in a Giants uniform, but he certainly played his last road game with the Giants in St. Louis over the weekend. Photo by Denis Poroy/Getty Images

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

The Giants finished their abysmal road record at 31-50 after losing their final four roadies (1 in SD, 3 in StL). It marks only the 6th time the Giants have lost 50 or more games on the road and the first time they’ve done that in consecutive seasons since 1984-85. At least they’re guaranteed of a winning home record (they are standing at 41 wins).

Eric and Chad review the week on the road, a monumental bomb off the bat of Hunter Pence, the possibility that GM Bobby Evans might be replaced and what a new GM might do (trade Bumgarner?), Melancon’s struggles, our picks for the Willie Mac award, review the current playoff situation and pray and hope that the Giants can knock LA out of the playoffs this coming weekend as both teams close out the regular season.

We’ll be back next week to wrap up the season and preview the playoffs. Until then, be sure to like us on Facebook and follow us @TortureCast.

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Episode #154: 11 is Enough

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I spoke with Chris Berman for a bit about his Giants’ fandom and what they should do going forward prior to the game against the Rockies on Saturday.

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

The Giants lost 11 in a row for the first time since 1951. They have now established a SF record for consecutive losses, beating 1985 and 1996 (10 games). At least the 1902 and 1944 NY Giants can rest assured that their losing streak records are intact.

The Giants ended up beating the Rockies 2 out of 3 games and honestly, could have swept. Dereck Rodriguez had hist 10th game giving up 2 or fewer runs ending in a loss or no decision.

Chad and Eric talk about the last week, the losing streak, the MLB playoff picture, and more in episode 154 of the TortureCast, the podcast by and for fans of the SF Giants!

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Reflections of a True Giant

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Matt Cain holding the World Series trophy after their 2010 victory.

A man was called up with the Giants two years before the first iPhone, when the Space Shuttle was still flying, when Bush II still had three years to go in his Presidency, six weeks before my first kid was born, and when this song was #1 on the Billboard charts:

So, we’ve come a long way, and yet not so much in many ways.

The longest-tenured Giant announced his retirement yesterday, a mild surprise to many, although it’s obvious he wouldn’t be with the Giants next year. Rather, the Giants will not opt for the 21 million dollar extension, favoring the paltry 7 million dollar buyout. Cain knew his days as a Giant were over long before this season started, and apparently he looked inward on his life and realized that he wanted to spend more time with his family, but also respected this organization so much that he couldn’t imagine donning another jersey.

Matt Cain will spend all 13 years with the Giants. No other team will grace his chest. He officially will have the longest tenure with the team without being with any other team since the Giants moved west. He also ranks 3rd all time in San Francisco history for WAR, 5th for strikeouts per 9, and 3rd in strikeouts (only 14 behind Lincecum). Of course, he also has the franchise’s only perfect game from that magical night in 2012 (thanks, Blanco, btw!), and three World Series Championships to go with some gritty performances that enabled the Giants to secure at least two of those trophies.

He started the 2012 All Star Game and made three All Star Games in total. Although he’ll finish with an ERA around 3.69, much of that has been inflated in recent years. He posted a career-best ERA of 2.79 in 2012, 2.88 in 2011, and 2.89 in 2009. He was fifth in Rookie-of-the-Year voting in 2006 and sixth in the Cy Young vote in 2012.

But, despite all of the incredible statistics that Cain has assembled throughout the years, there is one that haunts Giants fans.

Wins.

Getting “Cained” was a phrase that was coined sometime in the 2007 season, and continued thereon. For some magically insane and sadistic reason, the baseball gods seemed to thwart any offensive production during Cain’s starts. Cain often lost games 2-1, 3-2, 1-0. Games he pitched very well in, but was not backed up by offense. It was a far cry from American League pitchers and many National League hurlers that gave up 4, 5, 6 runs, but still got the win. Despite his 3.69 career ERA, Matt Cain will finish with no more than 105 wins, and no less than 118 losses.

Put that into perspective with other pitchers around that ERA for that duration:

Bronson Arroyo has played admittingly longer (16 years) than Matt Cain, but his career ERA is 4.28, a full 0.59 higher, yet he has a winning record at 148-137. Bortolo Colon (20 years) has a career ERA of 4.05, but is well above .500 at 239-176.

To cut out some of the chaff, I looked at pitchers that had more than 1,500 innings pitched and less than 2,500 innings. Matt Cain is under 2100. The results are somewhat expected. Out of the 463 pitchers that qualify in that range (includes starters and relievers), only THREE pitchers have a better career ERA and worse winning percentage than Matt Cain.

Out of 463!

Oh, and when did those three play?

Bob Groom: Played 1909-1918. 2336.1 IP 119-150 (.442) 3.10 ERA

Bob Rush: Played 1948-1960. 2410.2 IP 127-152 (.455) 3.65 ERA

Denny Lemaster: Played 1962-1972. 1787.2 IP 90-105 (.462) 3.58 ERA

Matt Cain: Played 2005-2017. 2080.2+ IP 104-118? (.468?) 3.69? ERA

Let’s take it from a different angle. Only 547 pitchers have won 100 games or more. Out of that group, Matt Cain has the second-worst winning percentage (.468) ahead of Bob Friend (.461) who played from 1951-1966. By the way, out of those 547, Clayton Kershaw is number one (.692). I know, I know. It’s tough to swallow.

Point being, despite this adversity, Matt Cain never complained. Never got too frustrated from being “Cained.” Always made time for the media.

Our fledgling site got our credentials in 2011 and we started covering games. During media day in 2014, after interviewing Matt Cain, he asked what I did in my full time job, because apparently, he realized that I wasn’t a professional journalist.

My colleague Ben, replied, “he’s a marine biologist and dives at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.” Cain looked up at me and suggested that I train him to SCUBA dive. Aside from the obvious contractual prohibitions in such an activity, I did set up a tour of the Monterey Bay Aquarium for him through Giants’ PR. A few weeks later, I gave Matt Cain and his family a three hour tour of the aquarium, and even suited up and did a feeding show in the kelp forest tank. After the feeding show is when he recorded our pre-show bumper, and I gifted many of my underwater photographs to his daughter and wife.

 

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Matt Cain is second from left, I’m next to him on the right

 

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Matt Cain and his family look on as a Monterey Bay Aquarium diving safety officer helps me get my full face diving mask off after my kelp forest feeding show.

After that, I covered him at games and the AT&T Pro-Am tournament, where he always refers to me as “aquarium guy!”

I’ll be covering the game on Saturday when he makes his last and final Major League Start, and his last in a Giants uniform. In a park that witnessed the beginning of his career, and some of his major contributions to this franchise’s three world championships.

So, although I have a personal connection to Matt Cain, I will always think of him from a fan’s perspective first.

A gentle Giant. A proud Giant. A Giant forever.

Chad King

Here are our interviews with Matt Cain over the years:

2015:

 

2014:

 

 

 

 

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