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.
The Giants are in first. There were also in first when we recorded this special bonusode with Ally and Jen almost a week ago after they lost the first of 3 in horrible fashion to those purple-clad lucky SOBs. The Giants are still in first place. Why do we all feel so bad? Because we’re Giants fans!!
…the Giants are still in first place, the Giants are still in first place, the Giants are still in first place……
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.
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.
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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.
Willie couldn’t make it tonight, so we brought in Jen Cosgriff to talk about her 6 days in Arizona for spring training. We talk about the 27 inning scoreless streak by Giants starters, then freak out about the pummeling of Sergio Romo and aforementioned starters. We can’t wait until the Dodgers melt down from their Australia series!
Hey, it’s not a Bonussode! (which are totally great, btw, you should probably listen to them).
Willie, Ben and Chad wrap up the disappointing 2013 season to talk about why they “didn’t win it all,” what they need to do in the post season, and our playoff predictions.
Don’t worry, we’ll have occasional podcasts and blog posts during the off-season, especially has the hot stove gets a bit warmer. The Giants brass has a lot of work ahead of them to fill the rotation, address bullpen depth, and get a solid left fielder, and we’ll be here to talk about it.
Zito has way more than 75 million reasons to smile
Originally, we thought we’d witness Lincecum’s possible final start in the orange and black, but Bumgarner has been shut down for the year, and Timmy’s start was pushed back. Instead, we’ll be witnessing Zito’s final curveballs tossed in a Giants uni.
His contract was highly criticized, even back in 2007, but more so in the latter years. Sure, he didn’t live up to the Scrooge McDuck-sized pile of money, but he had key starts down the stretch in 2010 that helped them secure the West on the final day of the season, and of course, his proverbial highlight as a Giant is NLCS game 5 in St. Louis. As Giants fans, I think we can all agree that it’s certainly probable that the Giants wouldn’t have two titles, and possible they wouldn’t even have one if it weren’t for Zito. That is worth $126 million to any Giants’ fan.
Ben, Willie, and myself will be up in the press box tonight and Ben and Willie will return to the box again this Saturday against the Padres. Tweet us a line @TortureCast.
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.