Today we were able to snag interviews with eight Giants at Media Day at AT&T Park, including Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Matt Cain, Brandon Crawford, Travis Ishikawa, Joe Panik and Casey McGehee. Some of the players we had exclusive time with, others we shared questions with other reporters.
We’ll also be covering the Giants vs. 49ers charity shootout at Pebble Beach on Tuesday, 2/10!
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.
Ben and Chad round up the last week that saw Buster Posey win the NL player of the week (.565!!) and Madison Bumgarner earned NL pitcher of the month for August, yet his monthly ERA (1.97) was actually higher than Kershaw’s ERA for the year. Yeah, we know who’s winning the Cy Young, and maybe even MVP. The Giants had a rough few days in Colorado, but bounced back nicely in Detroit, but because the Dodgers aren’t cooling off, they find themselves 3.5 games back after pulling to within 1.5 earlier in the week.
The good news is that the Giants have a 3.5 game lead in the wild card, they still have 6 games yet to play against the Dodgers, and Buster Posey found his spinach. We also talk Belt’s possible return, Morse’s injury, and how Panik and Susac are exceeding all expectations so far.
Join us for the recorded stream, a stream while we recorded on the internetz. Don’t forget, we now stream all of our podcasts LIVE on YouTube around 9:30 pm PDT every Monday. We will also have clubhouse access this Wednesday and Saturday, so we’ll be sure to take our anti-anxiety medication before we ask Hunter Pence how fluffy his shower towel is.
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!”
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.
The boys had their first 2014 trip to the press box. It was Candlestick night, and although the boys didn’t realize the celebration they were about to walk into, I (Chad) stumbled onto the field for BP and after an hour, I was able to talk to Roger Craig (the Giant), Dave Dravecky, Brent Jones, and Matt Cain demanded his Aquarium photos.
Serendipitously, or actually because we are in San Francisco, the night was shrouded in fog, much like my childhood memories at Candlestick. No, I didn’t drink as a child.
After the pomp and circumstance, the game started with a swift 1-2-3 inning for Vogelsong, but that cadence would quickly change to a laborious outing for the veteran right-hander. He quickly fell into trouble in the second; after a lead-off ground out, he promptly grazed Montero’s jersey, walked Prado, and allowed a single to Parra to load the bases. Cliff Pennington, the number 8 hitter, delivered his first 2 RBI of the season with a solid single to left. The inning could have been worse if Parra wasn’t caught off of third on an attempted sac bunt by the pitcher Delgado.
The Giants quickly struck back when Brandon Hicks delivered yet another 2-out RBI hit to halve the lead, but that was short-lived. The D’bags pounced on Vogelsong with a 1-out double by Goldschmidt (pause here: this man is STRONG and should play in a level for Marvel characters), a single by Prado, and Montero promptly plated both of his teammates with a double into triples alley. No, he didn’t get a triple.
The third looked promising for the Giants after Pagan fouled off all of the balls until he drove a single into right and Belt followed with a walk. However, the cold, cold Panda hit into a 4-6-3 double play to extinguish any assemblance of a rally. Then, Buster Posey pulled out a card no one in Candlestick AT&T Park was expecting….a bunt down the third base line. And…it was kind of a good one. And the Giants kinda scored a run on that bunt single; by the catcher; who has one leg.
CUE MAJOR LEAGUE THE MOVIE
I don’t have YouTube rights to this.
After the Giants cut the lead to 4-2, Vogelsong settled down in the fourth with a 1-2-3 and 2 strikeouts.
Michael Morse’s beard implored him to make it to second after he hit one into the gap, and Brandon Crawford’s lucious locks wanted to mate with Morse’s beard by duplicating the aforementioned double to close the gap to 4-3. After a Hick’s walk, the Giants looked like they were looking for blood, but the pitcher Delgado pounced on a bunt by Vogelsong to narrowly force Crawford out at third. Give an assist to Kirk Gibson, as his decision to replace Delgado with Perez paid off when the turned-around Pagan grounded into an inning-ending double play from the right side. But, the Giants apparently only like to score with 2 outs, so….
Vogey continued to settle down into the fifth by striking out Goldshit, and inducing a 4-6-3 double play after hitting Prado.
The sticks kept digging Vogelsong out of his own hole, when Michael Morse doubled again off the bricks in deep right center, with 2 outs, to drive in Sandoval and Posey to take the lead at 5-4. The Giants have just been fantastic with 2 out hits this year, and we like to give a shot out to our friend Eric @2outhits.
No matter how much Vogelsong wanted to continue, Bochy had to pull him after he allowed a leadoff double to Trumbo to lead off the 6th inning, giving way to David Huff with the tying run on second.
Machi entered in the 7th and was greeted rudely by consecutive hits by Campana and Hill to put both runners in scoring position with Goldshmidt up. After he fell behind the lumberjack, the Giants opted to finish the intentional walk to load the bases with no outs. Martin Prado followed with a much-needed ground ball back to the mound to start a 1-2-3 double play to quickly bring the threat level down from red to a mild yellow-green. Bochy went to Javy Lopez to neutralize Montero with the strikeout. We all love the homerun, but I love getting out of a bases-loaded, no out jam even more so.
Casilla tried to set it up in the 8th, but after he got pinch-hitter Eric Chavez to fly out to Perez in left, Campana hit a soft grounder to Panda at third. Without a chance to throw out the speedy lefty, he launched an off-balanced throw over Belt’s head and into the AT&T Park stands to allow the tying run to score. This is when we would love access to the clubhouse to ask him, “WHY DID YOU THROW THE ROCK?!?” I just like saying that phrase, actually, it makes me feel like a man as I sip my coffee in the protected press box.
Brandon Crawford led off the bottom of the 8th with a shot into the centerfield night that apparently got lost in the Flock of Seagulls, as Campana erroneously ran straight back towards the fence, only to turn around to watch the ball fall harmlessly 10 feet in front of him for a “Ghost of Candlestick” double. Hicks walked , Perez sacrificed the runners over, and the pitcher Thatcher intentionally walked Pagan to bring up Belt with the bases loaded and one out. Belt couldn’t muster more than a shallow fly ball to left, and Panda, with 2 strikes, struck a decent poke to right, but Parra tracked it down on the warning track to end the threat.
Sergio Romo, who hadn’t pitched in 8 days, came into the game in the 9th to retire the side, but what’s concerning is that he departed in pain. We’ll be sure to talk more about that.
Unfortunately, Petit couldn’t hold the game in the 10th, but it took a great AB by Campana, who fouled off a series of 2 strike pitches before he floated a single just over the outstretched glove of Hicks.
Reed, the Arizona closer, made quick work of the Giants to drop San Francisco to 6-4.
The weather in San Francisco was gorgeous today. A Giant win would have just capped this day off kindly. Not that it actually matters at this point, but losing to the Rockies always feels like losing HORSE to that younger, smaller, less-talented kid down the street. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth.
Lincecum didn’t pitch poorly, nor did he pitch superbly. Somewhere in the middle. Two earned runs in 8 innings ain’t bad, but when you forget to cover home plate on a 2-3 putout with a runner on second, well, that’ll cost you a run. And tonight, it cost the Giants the game. Yet, it doesn’t go as an error, but rather, an earned run. I really do think MLB should introduce a new stat category for brain farts…except they should be more politically correct in that classification; perhaps ME for mental errors? Maybe a middle ground between earned and unearned runs, like SER (sort-of-earned runs)?
Regardless, the Giants offense continued to be perplexed by Chacin. Granted, he’s putting up the Rockies’ second-best ERA in the club’s 20 year history, but he feasts particularly on the Giants. Then again, the league feasts particularly on the Giants, who are we kidding. The Giants only had two real threats. The first was in the 6th with runners and first and second and Panda at the plate. Unfortunately, he flied out routinely to center field after making Pagan and Posey run twice on a 3-2 count with 2 outs. With Belisle in relief of Chacin with one out in the eighth, Pagan dribbled one to third, and Arenado barehanded it nicely but threw wide of first, allowing Pagan to advance to second. After Scutaro grounded out to second, most of the 30,000+ (it was a sellout, but the stadium was certainly not at capacity), Belt came through with a double down the right field line to tie the game at 2. Posey worked a full count, but uncharacteristically waved at a slider outside to end the inning.
Romo relieved Lincecum in the 9th (to a much more subdued “El Mechon” crowd) and promptly retired the side in order. Lopez was the beneficiary of a blown call at first; after a single, pinch hitter Herrera attempted a sacrifice bunt that went about 2 feet, where Posey pounced on it and threw to Crawford at second, and then relayed it to Scutaro at first, where Herrera beat it out by a step. Alas, a double play was called.
The bottom of the 10th began with a Pagan single that just made it through the right side after an Arias strikeout. Scutaro finally got of the shnide with a single to left center, sending Pagan to third. That brought up Belt, already with heroics in the game with his game-tying single. After going down 0-2, he went with an outside pitch and drove it into the left center field gap past a drawn-in outfield to secure the walk-off win for the Giants on the same night they were eliminated from the NL West just moments earlier with the Dodgers win.
Not much else to break down. But, the baby giraffe hat manufacturer might want to increase their production.