Tag Archives: playoffs

162

162b

Marty Lurie always cites that the baseball season is a “mosaic of 162 games.” Welp, we’re down to game number 162, and things still need to be settled with the Cardinals trailing the Giants by a game, anything could happen tomorrow.

Here are the two possible scenarios:

1. Giants win or Cardinals lose: the Giants clinch the second wild card berth and will head to New York to play the Mets on Wednesday.

2. Giants lose AND Cardinals win: Giants will have to travel to St. Louis for game #163 (still considered part of the regular season) to earn the right to play the Mets in New York on Wednesday. The Cards hold the tiebreaker on the Giants (4 games to 3 in their regular season series).

What I can’t help imagine is all of the blown saves this year, including the 9 games lost when heading into the 9th with the lead. Additionally, the Giants never won a single game this year when trailing heading into the 9th. It’s some weird voodoo baseball god magic that has turned the balance on the law of averages for the sole purpose of blessing Giants fans with that dreadful feeling of “torture.”

Of course, the biggest blown save right now is the won they blew a few weeks ago to the Cards (I’M LOOKING AT YOU BOCHY FOR PUTTING CASILLA BACK IN AFTER YOU SAID YOU WOULDN’T). That represents a two-game swing, meaning the Giants would’ve clinched the wild card after Friday night’s win, and these last two games would have been torture-free.

It’s quite something, however, to see all three teams, the Mets, Cards, and Giants, who had been playing mediocre ball, at best, over the last few weeks, suddenly respond and turn it on. All three teams have won three in a row.

On our last podcast, both Eric and I agreed that over their last six games, the Giants would have to win at least four to get the playoff spot. Well, they’ve already won four with one to go. Apparently all that four wins guaranteed is an extra game in St. Louis.

Let’s just thank those same odds-busting baseball gods that a rookie earned his first major league win by shutting out the Dodgers over eight incredible innings and beat, you know, CLAYTON F’N KERSHAW! I honestly chalked this one up as a loss before the game.

Both the Cards and Giants start their games at the exact same time tomorrow, so it’s going to be simultaneous torture.

Baseball is weird. Let’s not get too weird tomorrow.

Oh wait, yes it can. Ryan Vogelsong is pitching for Pittsburgh against the Cardinals.

EAT YOUR #RALLYENCHILADAS!

 

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Episode #111: The Turnaround?

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The majestic Pence beard has awoken from its slumber. (photo: Darin Wallentine/Getty Images)

Download the episode here, or stream it below!

Hey, the Giants have won 4 out of their last 5 and turned a 1-4 roadtrip into a 5-5 with great starting pitching and Hunter Pence playing like frickin’ Hunter Pence, wildly flailing appendages, hair and all!

The Giants still have a slim shot at the division and hold a lead on a wild card spot. Chad and Eric talk about their chances, Santiago Casilla, and if Bochy has developed dementia all in episode 111.

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Episode 98: That’s All She Wrote

That’ll do season, that’ll do.

Download the episode here, or stream it below:

[audio http://torturecast.podomatic.com/enclosure/2015-10-05T23_22_27-07_00.mp3]

Since 2011 we’ve brought (almost) weekly podcasts to chronicle the San Francisco Giants’ season with cheer, torture, profanity and hope. We’ve been fortunate enough to cover two World Series championships, but this year was not meant to be. The Giants finished 84-78; in second place in the NL West. To be honest, given the injuries, this was not a horrible record, but surely far short of where the Giants and their fans wanted to be.

Willie, Chad and Ben get together to wrap up the season in Episode 98 of the TortureCast. We offer up what went wrong and right for the Giants, and what their offseason priorities should be. Chad also has correctly predicted the last two season win totals at 88 in 2014 and 84 this year. Vegas had them at 84.5 wins for the over/under. No money changed hands.

We offer our postseason winner predictions and who we want to win. All three of us settled on Cubs (want) and Cards (should). Besides, the Giants and Cards have alternated the NL pennant the last 5 years. Why should that change? It would only give credence to the even year magic that they will surely experience next year as they pass around their fourth commissioner’s trophy.

Chad

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Mr. Bumgarner Goes to Washington

Brandon Crawford watches his grand slam sail over the right field fence in the 4th inning of the Giants’ 8-0 rout of the Pirates in the NL Wild Card game. (via Justin K. Aller of Getty Images)

The thing about parenthood and modern technology, is that we now have an obligation to put our children first before a Giants playoff game. Clearly parents didn’t do so before the age of the DVR. If I transport myself back to 1989 as a parent, I’m sure I could tell my wife that I couldn’t take our daughter to play rehearsal and our son to the park for some quality outside time because the Giants are playing the Cubs in the NLCS. When she responds, “just record it on the VCR,” I’d cooly respond with, “we only have our wedding tape here…no blanks!” Problem solved.

Well, not so much tonight. Despite the pit of despair that was wallowing in my soul at work as first pitch drew near, I did have fatherly duties to attend to, and my sidekick DVR could just suck up all the inning into its digital innards for viewing later. Of course, this meant that I had to cut myself off from the digital world and disable my MLB At Bat notifications as I ventured out into the natural environment and avoid eye contact from any other parent who might tell me the score.

Mission: success!

So, I finally tuned into the game 90 minutes after first pitch, and although I didn’t get to enjoy Crawford’s grand slam live, it was live to me. Plus, I got to skip any annoying Viagra and insurance commercials to boot. Oh, and I also muted the TV because I couldn’t stand the Kruk (Jon, that is) and company. I watched baseball alone and in complete silence. Wait, is that a scene from “The Fan?”

Alas, I was overjoyed with the progress of the game, and eventually caught up to live when it was 7-0. I listened to Posey’s RBI single in the car as I picked up my daughter, and we both enjoyed a live viewing of the final 3 outs at home before putting the kids to bed.

The moral of the story: have your wife’s homemade shredded chicken tacos before you watch a DVR’d Giants game.

Oh, I forgot to mention that. They were epic, and may now become my rally enchiladas. With Cholula and crema, of course.

As far as the baseball game was concerned, Bumgarner was incredible. Willie, Ben and myself all predicted Giants wins, but with different shades of orange. I predicted a tight 4-3 nailbiter, Ben an extra-inning win, and Willie just about Nostradamus’d it: a 3-hit shout out by Bum. Well, it was a 4-hit shutout.

Aside from Bum’s dominant performance, and maybe it wouldn’t have mattered IF the Giants had faced Cole, but I think that was the key to the Pirates’ chances in this game. I can’t (can) blame Hurdle for using Cole on Sunday, with a chance to win the NL Central, but the Cards had Wainright going later against lowly Arizona, a low probability of the Cards losing that game.

Giants benefited from the NL Central race, IMHO. If the Giants had the same chance to with the West, we might have seen Bum go on Sunday instead of tonight.

And perhaps the result would have been different in that alternate universe.

That’s 8 consecutive playoff victories and 7 consecutive elimination game victories for the Giants. At some point those streaks have to end…

…right?

Or, just perhaps, this even-year-thing has some teeth.

Let’s hope they can earn a split in Washington and close it out at AT&T Park on Tuesday, but that’ll be a tall order against the best starting rotation in the bigs.

Oh, is Hunter Pence the man?

YES! YES! YES!

Chad

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Episode 71: PLAYOFFS!

We want to see many more of these images in the playoffs.

Download Episode 71 here, or:

Press play below to stream Episode 71!

[audio http://torturecast.podomatic.com/enclosure/2014-09-29T22_56_41-07_00.mp3]

What does 2014 have in common with 2010 and 2012? The San Francisco Giants are in the playoffs, of course! Let’s hope the pattern extends itself to a third title. The boys break down the Giants’ wild card chances against the Pittsburgh Pirates for an hour, which is about the same amount of time you’ll be either watching commercials and relieving your bladder during wild card game on Wednesday.

We gloat over our expert prognostication of Giants wins back in March (we picked 89, 89, 88, and the Giants had 88), pick our team MVPs, and give our cliche “3 keys” for a Giants victory against the Buccos. Let’s hope this is the start of a new chapter in Giants’ lore. Who will deliver the next triple-double, stand in the rain, bust out a thong, deliver the clutch HR, or throw a strike that freezes a dominant hitter to clinch a series? We’ll find out if that road indeed lies ahead, Giants fans. Buckle up!

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Who Should Start the Wild Card Game?

Do the Giants start Bumgarner or Peavy in the wild card game? Does it matter if they are at home or in Pittsburgh? (photo: AP)

Now, before you yell at us, “BUMGARNER, YOU DIPSHIT!!” Just take a moment to ponder this:

It may sound crazy, and I’m not actually a proponent of this strategy, but I can see the logic in it…a little bit.

If the point of making the playoffs is to win the World Series, then you need to give your team the best chance to win each series. And, this is where it gets fuzzy. Some argue that Bochy should save Bumgarner for two starts in an NLDS by NOT starting him in the wild card one-game playoff. Insanity?

Well, if you throw Bum for the wild card game, and you win, you will only have Bum for one game on the NLDS. Does the thought of having Peavy throw 2 games in the NLDS sound ok? Maybe. By the same token, if you throw Peavy in the wild card game, and you win, Bum would start games 1 and 5.

Although this sounds like a plausible strategy, and Peavy has been incredibly hot down the stretch, being one of the best trades at the deadline, he has given up 24 earned runs in 23 career playoff innings, including a disastrous 2013 postseason with the Red Sox, despite the fact they won it all.

To further complicate this question, the Giants may be faced with the prospect of playing in Pittsburgh, where the Pirates are a striking 51-30, and under .500 on the road. However, to combat that, Bumgarner is 11-4 with a 2.22 ERA on the road this year (7-6, 4.03 ERA at home). So perhaps if he starts, those forces cancel each other out?

So, Giants fans, do you push in all your chips in the wild card game, or do you gamble by saving him for a potential 2-start NLDS? List your comments below!

Let’s hope the Giants can stave off Kershaw and the Doyers from clinching tonight, but to be honest, it looks bleak. However, it doesn’t mean the Giants can’t back into the playoffs and make it all the way. The beginning of the playoff journey is just getting there, and as we all know, the Giants had their back against the wall for 6 elimination games in 2012 and won every single one of them en route to their second trophy in three years.

Anything is possible, keep the faith.

Chad

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MLB Expanded Playoffs: A “Historical” Perspective

I don’t consider myself a purist, I can handle change in this timeless game of baseball. At least they still wood bats (*cough* DH *cough*). I am a proponent of the current wild card system, even if it did come a year too late for the Giants.

For those of you that may have missed the news, MLB is on the precipice of approving the expansion of the playoffs this year. Each league would add one wild card team, meaning 10 out of the 30 teams would make the playoffs. Okay, that’s still the smallest percentage making the playoffs of any of the 4 major sports, doesn’t sound ground breaking yet. Here’s the catch: each pair of wild card teams in each league would have a one game playoff. One game? Seriously? After 162? If they are tied, fine, go at it. We’ve seen one game playoffs to determine division champs and wildcards before.

To look at the potential variability and inequity of a one game playoff, I looked at the past 17 seasons in which we have had the wild card playoff system (implemented in 1994, but that season was canceled). I added the hypothetical team that would have qualified for the second wild card in each league. I then determined the number of games back the second wild card team would have been that year:

============================================

How the Playoffs Might Have Been – Hypothetical Wild Card Matchup History

2011 Rays v Red Sox(1 GB), Cards* v Braves (1GB)
2010 Yankees v Boston (6 GB), Braves v Padres (1GB)
2009 Red Sox v Rangers (8 GB), Rockies v Giants (4 GB)
2008 Red Sox v Yankees (6 GB), Brewers v Mets (1 GB)
2007 Yankees v Tigers/Mariners (6 GB), Rockies v Padres (tied)
2006 Tigers v Angels (6 GB), Dodgers v Phillies (3 GB)
2005 Red Sox v Indians (2 GB), Astros v Phillies (1 GB)
2004 Red Sox* v A’s (7 GB), Astros v Giants (1 GB)
2003 Red Sox v Mariners (2 GB), Marlins* v Astros (4 GB)
2002 Angels* v Red Sox/Mariners (6 GB), Giants v Dodgers (3 GB)
2001 A’s v Twins (17 GB!!), Cards v Giants (3 GB)
2000 Mariners v Indians (1 GB), Mets v Dodgers (8 GB)
1999 Red Sox v A’s (7 GB), Mets v Reds (1 GB)
1998 Red Sox v Angels (7 GB), Cubs v Giants (tied – actual one game playoff)
1997 Yankees v Angels (12 GB), Marlins* v Mets/Dodgers (2 GB)
1996 Orioles v Red Sox/White Sox/Mariners (3 GB), Dodgers v Expos (2 GB)
1995 Yankees v Angels (1 GB), Rockies v Astros (1 GB) shortened season!

“higher” wild card seed listed first

* denotes WS Champ

============================================

Some very interesting things come out in the wash, but frankly, that’s some dirty water coming out, tinged with the joyous tears of Bud Selig at the thought of raking in a few extra bucks for additional playoff stretch drives and the 2 additional do-or-die games. Although the majority of the additional wild card teams were within 3 games of the “first” wild card team (3.9 games back average over both leagues), there are extreme examples of a vast chasm between the two. Let’s start with 2001. The Seattle Mariners tore up the league that year with an MLB -best 116 wins, the most since the 162 game schedule expansion and the best winning percentage by any team since 1954. The A’s fell 14 games short of that mark with a still impressive 102 wins and filled in as the wild card. If this new system was in place then, the A’s would have hosted the Twins in a one game playoff. The Twins had 85 wins…17 GAMES behind the A’s! Do you think the average baseball fan would have bought a Twins victory in that hypothetical situation as dogma that the Twins deserved to go over the A’s after 162? Of course not. This system enables this possibility, and it will happen at some point. This example is the fodder against those who claim they like this system, and if you want to avoid a one game playoff, just “win your division” and stop whining. Clearly division series can match up teams with large gaps in their regular season records, but at least they have 5 games to settle it, not one.

There are more examples of historically large record differences since 1995. The Yanks would have played the Angels in 1997 (12 game difference), 8 games would have separated the Mets and Dodgers in 2000 and the Red Sox and Rangers in 2009. A 7 game differential would have occurred 3 times, 6 games 5 times.

The funny thing is, as a Giants fan, the team would have historically benefited from this new system. Yes, their 2002 NL Championship may have never have happened after facing the Dodgers in a one game playoff, but the Giants would have gained a one game playoff 3 additional times since 2001 (‘01 v Cards, ‘04 v Astros, ‘09 v Rockies; They did play an actual one game playoff for the wildcard vs the Cubs in 1998 after finishing in a tie…I needed quite a few beers after Gaetti’s HR). On paper I would have taken that deal.

Five World Champs have been wild cards, including the 2004 Red Sox. Could you imagine if the Curse was never nixed if they had lost to the A’s in a one game playoff that year (even though they were 7 games better)? The Cardinals may have never won last year, perhaps the Angels in 2002 (actually, that’s fine by me), the Marlins in ‘03 (thanks Pudge) and ‘97.

I’m also not sure why Selig and Co. are pushing to get this in this year, when the end of the regular season and playoff schedules are set, and the leagues are still unbalanced. Why not just wait until 2013 when the Astros move to the AL West and the schedule can accommodate the extra playoff game? I am unequivocally against this new system. Rather, I’m for the extension of the division series to 7 games instead, much like the NBA converted to a while back.

Then again, maybe the Giants will be that lucky second wild card this year?

– Chad

 

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