The Giants went 5-9 since we recorded two weeks ago, just when we thought they were turning the corner. Those 9 losses included 3 in which they led going into the 9th, including vs. STL and LA. Not gonna lie. Those losses hurt, A LOT. And now, they’re having a direct impact on the Giants’ chances of making the playoffs, but here they sit, 1/2 game back of NY and 1 game up on STL.
Eric and Chad talk about the final six games of the year, and the keys to securing a wild card spot, now that LA has clinched the NL West.
Please enjoy, what will most likely be our last regular season podcast of 2016. Hopefully, we’ll have a playoff edition for episode 113. Disregard that 13 part of the number.
Buster Posey congratulates Madison Bumgarner after another magical performance: a complete game shutout in a 5-0 victory over the KC Royals that have put the Giants up 3-2 in the World Series and on the precipice of a dynasty. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
And the San Francisco Giants will be World Champions for the third time in five seasons.
We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to talk about our favorite team, potentially on the eve of the clincher as the Giants head back to Kansas City up three games to two. If not tomorrow, then perhaps game 7. Even if they don’t win it all, this has been a hell of a ride.
Listen to episode 76 as Willie, Ben, Chad, and lucky charm guest Eric break down the first five games of the World Series and look forward to a hopeful clincher in either game 6 or 7.
These moments, right now, are why we do this show.
The TortureCast, the podcast by and for fans of the San Francisco Giants.
Eric Nathanson (@2outhits) pinch hit to join Chad on Episode 69, which was streamed live on YouTube. We talked about the Giants’ 6-1 homestand, the continuation of the May 22 game in Colorado, which the Giants won 4-2 (and that did NOT extend the winning streak, by the way), and the heartbreaking way (6 times this year, in fact) the Rockies exhumed the souls of the Giants once again. Seriously, if the Giants had only won three out of the six games in which they were leading the Rockies, they’d have a one game lead in the NL West right now.
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!”
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.
I flew solo for TortureCast in the press box tonight, trying to bring some good luck to the men in black and orange as they began the day with a dismal 4-13 in their last 17, watching the Dodgers trim 7 1/2 games off their lead in a mere 2 1/2 weeks. Unfortunately, the Giants threw the first pitch tonight already knowing that the Dodgers crushed the Cardinals, trying to come within one game of the NL West lead.
Matt Cain was on the bump tonight, having a dismal year with only one win and an ERA near 5, the highest of all five starters. It’s hard to say that any game in June is a “must win,” but as a fan, I felt like tonight was just that. I think the psychological effect of their plummet back to the Dodgers has already played with their minds, but actually falling into second place may do more damage than the players and coaches would be willing to admit. They needed a boost, a vote of confidence, something, even if someone found an extra 20 dollar bill in their left pants pocket, that might turn an at bat around.
Cain was on the precipice of disaster early and often, but kept pulling out the Houdini card, with the Reds going 0-6 with runners in scoring position through the first five innings. He scattered 6 hits and a walk through 5 innings before he had his first 1-2-3 inning in the sixth (after an overturned call on a 6-3 put out on Bruce).
With run support for Cain again near the bottom of the league (10th worst entering tonight), we all feared that he’d get “Cained” again. After the first run of the game was driven in by the ever-exciting ground out, Cain seemed to feed off of that sole bread crumb to make it work in his favor. He shut down the Reds fairly well after that, leaving with an emphatic fist pump and yell that was audible from the press box after a strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play to end the seventh. Although Cain toed the rubber in the 8th, he was pulled after a pinch hitter was announced. Affeldt and Casilla quickly took care of all three Reds in the 8th.
The sputtering offense cried for help as Panik deposited his first hit into the confines of AT&T Park, but any hope of a rally was doused when Tyler Colvin grounded into a deftly-turned 4-6-3 double play. Blanco followed with a hit, but was caught stealing to end the inning in a play that was challenge and upheld on the field.
Last time we attended a game, Romo entered to a jubilant AT&T crowd in the first game of three against the Rockies. We all know how that AND the next game went in the ninth. With Jay Bruce looming third in the order, the press box was buzzing about the impending rematch of their epic 10 pitch at bat in Game 5 of 2012 NLDS. With his recent shaky track record, this time, the crowd was moderately gyrating their hips to “El Mechon” as Romo warmed up.
I tweeted this before Romo threw his first pitch:
My ‘spidey senses’ aren’t feeling it this inning. Please prove me wrong, Romo. Two power lefties up this inning.
After the dreaded leadoff walk to Votto, Romo threw two fantastic frisbee sliders to Phillips before getting the count to 2-2. Then, Romo completely lost control, flipping a slider over the dead heart of the plate where, on “All Brandon Weekend,” the wrong Brandon took Romo deep to suddenly crush the crowd’s spirit as the Reds all of a sudden took a 2-1 lead. It’s the 5th blown save for Romo. He’s on pace for 10, as we’re at the halfway mark. I have always agreed to let Romo work out his kinks, but I think I’ve jumped the fence and just may want Casilla out there. In fact, both Mesoraco and Ludwick took consecutive balls to the wall with missed location. A few extra feet, and the game would have been 4-1 at that point.
Chapman, having just received his flame-throwing super power serum, came in to slam the door on the proverbial fingers of the orange-clad crowd. The Giants showed spunk with a leadoff single by Pence, followed by a truly “earned” walk in an epic 11-pitch at bat. Buster Posey, after donning his cape, came off the bench to deliver a crowd-pleasing double to the left field wall, tying the score at 2 and bringing the crowd to their feet and the Reds infield in for Hector Sanchez, who untimely hit a weak grounder to short for the out. Arias pinch hit for Crawford and duplicated Sanchez grounder to short for the second out. Duvall completed the heart-crushing end to the inning by striking out on Chapman’s 30th pitch of the inning, which registered 100 mph.
Nothing gets my goat more than not being able to score a runner from third with no outs. It’s simply abhorrent. What’s even more puzzling is Bochy’s decision to pinch hit Arias for Crawford. Sure, there’s the traditional righty vs lefty argument, but the stats are firmly against any of this normally sound baseball strategy. Crawford was hitting .338 against lefties this year, slugging over .600, while Arias came in hitting .176 against EVERYONE and hasn’t had an extra-base hit in over 100 at bats.
Nonetheless, we moved onto free baseball, where Gutierrez got through a slightly shaky tenth. Jonathan Broxton come in to pitch the home-half, and Panik squeaked a hit off of Phillip’s glove up the middle and was moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Brandon Hicks. Blanco flied out to third on the first pitch, leaving it up to Pence to revive the Giants’ early-season amazing ability to drive in runners in scoring position with two outs, but Pence couldn’t muster up Posey’s heroics, striking out weakly.
Javier Lopez entered the 11th and quickly gave up an opposite-field double to Joey Votto, setting up the intentional walk to Phillips to set up the force. Bruce attempted a sacrifice bunt, and when Lopez fielded it, he had a clear shot at third, yet whipped around and threw to first after a quick glance. Panda’s body language said it all as he bent over at the waist for at least 10 seconds, showing a bit of frustration with another missed opportunity. Mesoraco was issued another intentional pass, and Machi came in to face Ramon Santiago, pinch hitting for Ludwick with one out and the bases juiced. The Giants tried to turn the Reds trick of getting out of a tough jam, and it looked promising after Machi struck out Santiago. Unfortunately, the magical bullpen faltered and allowed the .230 hitting Cozart to drive in two runs with a single to center and double up on the Giants 4-2. Not like it mattered, but the nail in the coffin was delivered in the form of a 2-run triple by Chris Heisey and an RBI double by Hamilton, pushing the lead to the eventual final score of 7-2.
And to think it was a 1-0 game in the bottom of the ninth.
With the Dodgers destroying the Cardinals earlier in the day, the Giants once lofty 9 1/2 game lead is down to a single game. All of this in less than three weeks. The brief euphoria of Lincecum’s no-hitter is not just gone, it’s left the.
The wheels have fallen off of not just a car, but a black and orange 18-wheeler.
In the first solo TortureCast, Chad attempts to substitute rum and coke and brevity for the lack of conversation. Hey, the Giants have the BEST RECORD IN ALL OF BASEBALL, and we, er, Chad, needs to talk about it, as it may go south at any time. Also, Panda’s hot, Posey’s not, and MLB.com gives the Giants an 88.6% chance of making the postseason.
I was in the press box for game 1 against Cleveland. I live in Gilroy. It was raining very hard in the early afternoon. I wasn’t sure if I should go. Well, I put my stock into weather.com and made the drive up north through pouring rain. It let up near the park, and as of the 2nd inning, it hasn’t rained since 4pm. Maybe I do have to buy stock in weather.com.
Due to the rain, there was no batting practice, and my credentials don’t allow clubhouse access, so no questions fired at Bochy before the game. Apparently I’m scum when it comes to the 2 levels of press access. But, I ain’t hatin’.
The Giants came into today not having a single non-homerun-driven-in-run in 6 days. That was quickly alleviated when Hunter Pence drove in Angel Pagan with his first triple of the year before an out was recorded in the bottom of the first. Pagan had led off the game with a single. Morse followed two batters later by knocking in Pence with a sacrifice fly to deep right to make it 2-0.
Another first was a walk by Tim Hudson. After 30 2/3 inning to start the season without a walk, he gave up his first free pass of the year to Carlos Santana with 2 outs in the first.
The Indians finally got on the board in the third when Michael Bourn sent one high off the bricks in right. Pence appeared to mishandle the carom, which allowed Bourn to take third, but it was officially scored a triple. Nick Swisher followed with a clean line drive single to right center to halve the lead at 2-1.
Pagan and Pence kept their night perfect when Pagan, with extreme bat control, poked a single to left and promptly swiped second. Pence raised his average to .256 with a single to right to drive in the Giants’ centerfielder to make it a 3-1 game.
Michael “BEAST” Morse (he wore a BEAST orange t-shirt before the game to continue his moniker from Washington) tattooed a ball to right center field, well up into the seats to lead off the fourth and extend San Francisco’s lead to 4-1. This is Bonds’ territory, and he’s a RIGHT hander. He may just be the first right hander to get a Splash Hit.
Tim Hudson really settled into a groove, and at one point, had retired 9 batters in a row until Kipnis singled with one out in the sixth. After his second walk of the game and of the season, Hudson struck out Brantley, which was followed by a line drive smash by Cabrera which was snagged by Belt lunging to his right to end the inning, preserving the lead.
Carrasco settled down after the Morse homerun, though, retiring 9 consecutive Giants to close out the 6th. Brandon Belt struck out for the third time in as many at bats, but his defense at that point, had made up for the lack of contact.
After Affeldt was not needed in the 6th after warming up, Tim Hudson pitched into the seventh, easily retiring the side in order on 8 pitches.
Pablo Sandoval led off the seventh and switched around to the right side with “I think it’s 1982 and I’ll wear my high white socks and stirrups” Josh Outman facing him. Pablo, who’s 0-41 this season with 2 strikes, took the first pitch off of arcade #2 in right field for a rare Panda triple. Crawford smoked a single to right field to drive him in. Crawford is not 10-22 off of left handers, and that be a sign of plate maturity for the young shortstop. Hudson was lifted for a pinch hitter (Blanco) in the bottom of the seventh, concluding Huddy’s night at 7 IP, 1 ER, 4 H, and 2 walks
Jeremy Affeldt had a rocky start to the top of the 8th, though, allowing a leadoff walk, and after a bizarre delay of game for a repair job that he requested to the pitcher’s landing spot, Kipnis laced a single to center. Affeldt summoned the powers of his not-yet-cut-while-making-hamburgers left hand to retire the next 3 hitters, the last 2 on strikeouts.
The ninth inning wasn’t a clean one for the Giants, as it included an error by Hunter Pence and a botched double play on a combacker to Javier Lopez, but alas, the 4-run cushion was more than ample to prevent any serious torture as he closed out a 5-1 win, pushing Hudson’s record to 3-1.
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Wille, Ben and Chad record the first 2014 regular season episode of TortureCast, reviewing the Giants’ fantastic 5-2 start, Belt’s 4 HRs, the Giants lead MLB in HR, taking 2 of 3 from the Dodgers, MadBum, Cain, Hudson’s first start, and who we hate this week (insert Puig).
And, did anyone notice that this new Buster Posey commercial shows an infielder, who receives the throw from Posey, THAT IS WEARING BILL TERRY’S RETIRED NUMBER 3?! C’mon man! Under Armour, do your research! Oh, and Buster is totally throwing out a Barry Larkin look-alike.
All three of us will be at AT&T on Thursday when the Giants host the D’backs. Tweet us, come by, and say hi! We’ll also be recording our traditional “Bonusode” after the game at Zeke’s if you want to hang out.
Horrible pun to start off an article, I know. Maybe it’s the three cups of coffee I’ve had this morning, or perhaps the ringing in my ears from all of the contact in Arizona off of Ryan Vogelsong is distracting.
Pablo Sandoval will be a free agent after this season. He’s lost weight and appears to be in the best shape of his MLB career. He wants to get paid at least what Hunter Pence is getting ($90 million for 5 years, that’s a lot of fast food).
Is he worth it?
To fully answer that question, you have to take into account many variables, which I’ve illustrated in a professional Venn diagram below:
I have know idea where everything meets. Now I’m even more confused.
Clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I’m sure I’ve hit on a few salient points. For one, we have no idea what kind of production he will have this year, and if the Giants don’t sign him to an extension before the season, his value may only skyrocket. In fact, it’s already high when you look at the pool of free agents in the coming off-season. Pablo, even with a mediocre, injury-filled season, will look like Kate Upton in zero gravity while the rest of the lot may look like an overweight plumber with pants that don’t quite fit. Sexist analogy aside, take a look at the upcoming free agent third basemen (current age in parentheses):
Yuniesky Betancourt (33)
Wilson Betemit (33)
Alberto Callaspo (32)
Eric Chavez (37)
Jack Hannahan (35) – $4MM club option with a $2MM buyout
Chase Headley (31)
Casey McGehee (32)
Donnie Murphy (32)
Nick Punto (37) – $2.75MM club/vesting option with a $250k buyout
Aramis Ramirez (37) – mutual option
Hanley Ramirez (31)
Pablo Sandoval (28)
Ty Wigginton (37)
Kevin Youkilis (36)
Yep, I think the Giants could save a ton of dough and plug in an Eric Chavez or Nick Punto for a steal. Can’t wait for those Punto chants at AT&T! I also don’t believe that Chase Headley and certainly not Hanley Ramirez, will go for anything less than what Pablo is demanding, anyway. With the lack of options, Giants will probably have to overpay him a bit, but even then, I think Pence’s contract is close to his market value, regardless. The Giants know how to over-pay, anyway (see: Tim Lincecum), but I don’t think a contract will blow up in their faces like a Zito turd.
Then, there’s the matter of length. I would feel more comfortable with a 3 year contract, but he wants 5. Understandable, of course. However, what if he locks in a guaranteed contract and gets comfortable again and slacks off the exercise and diet regimen. It’s happened before. Most likely he shaped up this year because it’s a walk year. Do you think he will be this skinny next year, regardless for whom he plays for? Probably not. What about three years from now? Will he exceed Prince Fielder-like proportions?
I’m skipping a few points here to get to the final one. The Dodgers could add by subtraction…oh, and just plain add, too. If they sign Pablo, they replace a crappy former Giant with better former Giant, continuing the trend of Ned Coletti’s ex-Giants reclamation project. They would further improve their corner defense and offensive production at the same time the Giants decline. And then, suddenly, we’d see blue panda hats everywhere.
People, I just realized that we can’t have that.
BTW, the TortureCast crew and special guests will be recording a special season preview at the Public House at AT&T Park on Sunday, March 30 at 6pm. Come by and say hi!