Tag Archives: San Francisco Giants

Even Year Magic Goes Code BLUE, then Sucks us Back in


This is like the fourth image for this article tonight. So many possibilities. It was the missed call on Gillaspie, then the triple by Gillaspie, then the Chevron HR by Bryant, and now finally, the game-winning double by Panik. That’s 10 consecutive elimination game victories for the Giants, a record that may never be broken. (Photo: John Hefti, USA TODAY Sports)

Holy crap. It’s midnight.

Well, Giants fans. Even-Year Magic has a trick or two up its sleeve, as it turns out.

It seemed alive and well in the first half, then experienced a near-death crisis after a 2 1/2 month-long bout with some rare disease, before rising from the ashes with a sweep of LA to close out the season. It even squeezed out another magical toot when Conor Gillaspie sent a ball soaring into the New York night to win the Wild Card and send them up against the best team in baseball, the Chicago Cubs, who have experienced the opposite of “even-year bullshit.”

Most of us had high hopes, even a little swagger and confidence, much like Johnny Cueto’s shimmy in game 1 of the NLDS that would have won 9 of 10 such contests. But, that lingering cough that Even-Year Magic had came back, allowing a late inning homerun by Baez that sealed a 1-0 victory for the cubbies. Or, was Even-Year Magic (bullshit) just getting warmed up?

Then, game 2. Many fans thought that Matt Moore deserved the start after his last two performances down the stretch. However, Bruce Bochy, the god of postseason decisions, decided to go with Jeff Samardzija, because he “earned” it. That blew up in his face, as the Shark gave up 4 runs in the first 2 innings, a deficit that the Giants would never overcome.

Even-Year Magic is now in prime post-season form, ready to pounce, right?

Game 3. Elimination game. Madison Bumgarner, postseason wizard. Of course, the Giants would win this game and send us hopefuls to the wishing well and wearing all manner of good-luck-superstitious attire to somehow pull out the last two games of the series, duplicating the magic of 2012 when the Giants won three consecutive elimination games TWICE, against Cincinnati and St. Louis.

But, after 24 consecutive scoreless inning in elimination games, Bumgarner did something a bit uncharacteristic. He missed Posey’s target. Against a pitcher. With 2 outs. And 2 strikes.

Jake Arrieta, a good hitting pitcher (.262 w/2 HR), promptly launched a three-run homer to the only Cubs’ fan sitting in a section just beyond the left field fence.

Now, Even-Year Magic was on life support, or planning the best bullshit party we’ve ever seen. Not just that, but Cubs’ magic (or impending doom) was materializing. It wasn’t Kris Bryant, or Rizzo, or Fowler, or any of the usual suspects.

The Goddam pitcher. Against the best postseason pitcher in history.

Then, Even-Year Magic gets a 2nd, or 32nd breath, as the Giants rallied in the 8th, putting two runners on, forcing Joe Maddon to put in Chapman for a six-out save. After striking out Hunter Pence, wild card hero Conor Gillaspie sent a ball just over the outstretched glove of the right fielder for a 2 run triple, giving the Giants their first lead of the night. Crawford followed with an RBI single, and moved to third with one out. This is where things started to swing back in the Cubs’ direction, because, of course it would.

The Giants couldn’t plate Crawford, which proved to be a huge run, should they have gotten it. But, two weak groundouts prevented that from happening, and Romo took the ball into the 9th. We all knew what could happen; feared it; lamented it’s coming, but maybe with Even-Year Magic present, it couldn’t possibly, right?

Leadoff walk.

F that.

Then Kris Bryant did what good hitters do, hit a mistake, a hanging slider right down the middle into the night. But, that wasn’t enough. No. It had to scrape the top of the Chevron car and bounce into the stands for a 2 run game-tying homer. Looking at the angle, because it was hit so high, it appears that if the car wasn’t there, it would have been a double off of the wall. No matter, Romo retired the next three in order.

Yeah, another blown save. 30 in the regular season, including 9 losses when the Giants led going into the 9th. Surely this would prove to be the 10th.

The Giants had a shot at a walk-off. After a one-out walk by Belt, Posey, who was 3-3 on the night, laced a laser into deep right field, but Almora Jr., made an incredible game-saving catch as he sprawled out on the warning track to snare the line drive. Belt gambled, and was running on the play, so he was doubled off, which means, if that hit got down and by Almaro, Belt scores easily, and the Giants win. But no. Of course not. That drive couldn’t have been one foot to the right. One foot back. One foot short. Almaro couldn’t have been playing one foot deeper or to his right. It was as close as close could be.

Romo retired the side in order in the 10th, with a little bravado vs. Baez, which, honestly, was stupid. Dude, you gave up the tying homerun that led to the end of the season (a lot of people thought). Now you’re showboating?

Will Smith entered the 11th and retired the side in order. The Cubs were down to their last relief pitcher, although they had an assortment of starters. Panik led off the home half with a single, was sacrificed to second by Blanco, but neither Trevor Brown nor Denard Span could knock him in, sending it to the 12th.

Ty Blach, who looked so good in the regular season, and in his brief outing earlier in the NLDS, retired the Cubs in order in the 12th. After the Giants yet again, could not muster a run, Blach entered the 13th into a maelstrom that he worked hard to escape. After Black got Russell out, singles by Baez (only the second hit since the 4th inning, the other hit was the one that TIED the game in the 9th), put pressure on the rook. However, pinch-hitter David Ross grounded into a 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.


Then, just when you thought that old crafty lefty, Even-Year Magic had its last moment of glory, it decided to make it’s presence known once again. Brandon Crawford delivered a two-strike double just prior to Joe Panik driving a double to the deepest part of the yard, easily delivering the win to the Giants dugout in a raucous celebration amongst fans and players alike.

The Giants live for at least another day. It’s their 10th consecutive elimination game win. Guys, that is an insane number. Even if they lose tomorrow.

Yes, this magic could run out tomorrow, but boy, we’ve witnessed its glory over two memorable games and four memorable post seasons. Go get ’em, Matt Moore, you even-year-grinning assassin. God damn, my liver can’t take this. And it’s my wedding anniversary tomorrow.


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The Next Three Games are Elimination Games


Travis Wood became just the second relief pitcher ever to hit a postseason home run. (Photo: Dennis Wierzbicki, USA TODAY Sports)

Ok, the title of this article is a little prophetic, I admit.

After the Giants fell to the Cubs 5-2 tonight, they find themselves in a 0-2 hole in the best of five NLDS, a situation in which they need to win three straight games, which they did twice in 2012 against the Reds and then the Cardinals (being down 3-1 in a best of seven). So, they’ve done it before, but against this Cubs club? They are clearly the better team, but that doesn’t always guarantee a ring, obviously.

If a comeback is to materialize, it begins on Monday with Bumgarner, Mr. October 2, toeing the rubber against Jake Arrieta. Bumgarner has 23 consecutive scoreless innings, and the Giants have won nine consecutive elimination games. Sounds good, but even if they extend that streak to 10, they’ll need Moore to pitch well in game 4 and of course, Cueto back in Chicago for game 5. Possible, but not likely.

It was crucial for the Giants to split in Chicago, and the key was definitely game 1. That is a game that could have gone the other way, but the Giants made crucial base-running mistakes, and never got a hit with a runner in scoring position. Tonight, Cubs pitchers knocked in three runs, one more than the Giants have in two games.

Samardzija “earned” this start, according to Bruce Bochy, but his poor stats at Wrigley, and against teams he used to play for (9+ ERA), confirmed the foreshadow. He struggled with pitch count and location, and allowed a crucial two-run single to starting pitcher Kyle Hendricks, which extended the inning for the next ensuing RBI hit, putting the Cubs up 4-0. George Kontos had an excellent third inning, but after Travis Wood relieved Kyle Hendricks after he exited the game after being hit on the arm by a Pagan line drive, Kontos promptly gave up only the second homerun hit by a relief pitcher in postseason history, in the fourth, to finalize the score at 5-2. That energized the crowd at Wrigley shortly after Giants fans and the media were wondering if the Billy Goat curse manifested itself in the injury to Hendricks.

Apparently not.

We’ll never know if Moore would have performed better, but many Giants fans preferred the latter option, given his last two starts that helped the Giants seal the second wild card. Besides, it’s hard to win a game at Wrigley with just two runs. We may get a chance to see Moore on Tuesday, should the Giants take game 3.

On the positive side, the Giants bullpen threw six innings, only giving up one run (that rogue relief pitcher HR by Wood), and Ty Blach looked good, setting down the 3-6 hitters in order. He looks to be a valuable asset and possible starter in 2017.

After their horrid second half, the Giants are fortunate to be in the NLDS, erasing that memory, but their performance in these first two games is a reminder of the offensive struggles that permeated the summer months. Of course, facing the #1, 2, and 3 leaders in ERA in the NL in their first three games didn’t help that. Jake Arrieta struggled at times this year, but has a swagger that almost matches Bumgarner, and is a Cy Young winner, so I don’t think Monday will be a cakewalk, especially if the Giants don’t score more than a few runs.

We’ll have to wait and see, one game at a time, if the even-year magic has run its course or not.



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Episode #114: Heading to Chicago! NLDS Preview


MadBum continued his legendary postseason performance with a 3-0 complete game shutout victory over the Mets in the NL Wild Card game. (photo: AP)

Download the podcast here, or stream it below!

Willie, Chad and Eric soak in the post-wild card game glory of another legendary performance by Madison Bumgarner and another unlikely postseason hero as Conor Gillaspie hits a 3-run homer in the 9th to defeat the Mets 3-0 and move on to face the best team in the majors, the Chicago Cubs.

The Giants have now won 11 consecutive postseason series, tying the Yankees, and Bum has 23 scoreless innings in elimination games in the postseason, and lowers his road postseason ERA to a microscopic 0.50, easily the best in the history of baseball.

We revel in the stats, the momentum and talk about how the pressure now is really on the Cubs.

Join us for episode 114, it’s a good time!

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Episode #113: We’re In!


Wildcard game to take it all. Bum vs. Thor. Courtesy of “The City Graphics”

Download the episode here, or click the stream below!

Somehow, some way, the Giants figured out how to win five of their last six games, including a sweep of the Dodgers at AT&T Park to stave off the also-surging Cardinals by one game.

Their reward? At least one postseason game. But, what a game this will be with postseason hero Madison Bumgarner dueling Thor himself, Noah Syndergard at Citi Field on Wednesday night.

The whole crew (Chad, Eric, Willie and Ben) talk about this magical one game of barf-baggedness. Will the Giants keep their undefeated postseason streak under Bochy alive? (They’ve won all 10 under him). Or, will an unfortunate error, or mistake by Bum produce a heart-breaker for us Giants’ fans?

All I know is that I’m going to have an industrial-sized barf bucket nearby.


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Episode #112: The Final Stretch


Remember when the Giants backed into a wild card spot in 2014? What happened next? Just sayin’

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

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.

RIP Jose Fernandez

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Giants Lose to Cardinals. Matt Cain Explains.


You can download the interview with Matt Cain here, or stream it below!

Ok, Matt Cain doesn’t explain why they lost, but he has a message for Giants fans: they signed up for criticism, and they do deserve some right now, but they are in control of their own destiny.

I talked with Matt Cain after the Giants lost 3-0 to the Cardinals. The Giants now trail the Mets by 1 game and lead the Cardinals by only 1 game. He did mention Rally Cupcakes. So, Giants fans, eat those cupcakes, their playoff hopes hang in the balance.


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Casilla Blows Another Save. Everything is OK.


The Giants blew another 9th inning lead tonight. In fact, it was their 8th loss after leading in the ninth. Never mind the 28 blown saves that lead the NL. At least they won some of those games. But, 8 losses after leading after 9 (2 of them came after leading by 3 in the 9th, btw) is SOUL-CRUSHING. Let’s look at the what ifs:

  1. If they won tonight (blowing only 7 9th inning leads), they’d trail the NL West by 4 and lead the Mets by 1 and Cardinals by 4 in the wild card.
  2. If they had only blown 6 ninth inning leads, they would trail LA by 3 and lead the Mets by 2 and Cards by 5.
  3. If they had only blown 5 ninth inning leads, they would trail LA by 2 and lead the Mets by 3 and Cards by 6.
  4. If they had only blown 4 ninth inning leads, they would trail LA by 1 and lead the Mets by 4 and Cards by 7.
  5. If they had only blown 3 ninth inning leads, they would be TIED WITH LA and lead the Mets by 5 and Cards by 8.
  6. If they had only blown 2 ninth inning leads, they would LEAD LA by 1 and lead the Mets by 6 and Cards by 9.
  7. Ok, so most teams don’t blow more than a few leads in the ninth, so I’ll stop here. Most teams blow a lead or two or three, but not EIGHT!!

Point being, the Giants are still in this race, but the NL West is most likely out, unless they go 6-0 against the Dodgers.

Let’s hope they win tomorrow, because if they don’t, the Giants may miss out on the playoffs by 1 or 2 games, and it will all come down to the bullpen in the 9th.

Did anyone think that Casilla would be called upon again? I’m shocked that he’s still in the “rotation,” but I don’t think we see him again in the regular season in a save situation after the boos that rained down on him and Bochy tonight.


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Episode #111: The Turnaround?


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 110: Giants are the Worst


Download the episode here, or stream it below!

After a failed recording (no, seriously, we did a WHOLE podcast and forgot to hit the record button last week!), and serious schedule challenges, we finally got 3 out of 4 of us to record episode 110 of the TortureCast! Of course, we last recorded when the Giants were up by 6.5, but now they are trailing by a full game to the Dodgers.

We talk at length about what went wrong, how bad every facet of the game has been, but also about how unlucky it has been to lose as many games as they have due to poorly timed hitting, pitching and blown saves.

Matt Moore for Duffy and Will Smith. Are these trades worth it? Is this Carlos Beltran or Jeff Kent? Truth is, we won’t know for a while, but there is plenty of the season left for these trades to pan out in a favorable way.

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Is It Time To Panic?



That road trip sucked. There’s no way to sugarcoat it. The San Francisco Giants went 1-7 and generally looked flat, and out of sync. They come home only three games ahead of the Dodgers for the NL West lead.


That number can be made up during one series of baseball. The cushion that once was, is gone.

So is it time to panic? I guess that depends on how you look at it. There’s a precedent for this kind of thing. On June 8th of 2014, the Giants were a season high 22 games over .500 and had a 10 game lead in the NL West. When it was over they finished 6 games behind the Dodgers and had to play the Wild Card game. Then the Giants won the title.

Sure. That’s a different team. I agree. This 2016 squad is probably the most talented bunch Bruce Bochy has managed in a Giants uniform and a free fall like 2014 shouldn’t be in the cards. I mean, it can’t be? Can it?

On June 24 this season, the Giants held their largest lead over LA at 8 games. On July 10th, they reached a season high 24 games over .500 with a record of 57-33. That was the record the Giants held going in to the all star break. It was a 6.5 game lead over the Dodgers.

It’s not really fair to compare this year’s team against 2014, but we can’t help it because it literally just happened. It’s easy to draw comparisons.

That doesn’t mean the same thing has to happen, and I’m betting it won’t. Hunter Pence, Joe Panik, and Matt Duffy should all be returning to the lineup over the next month. The whole of the offense won’t have to rest on the shoulders of Brandon Belt, Buster Posey, and Brandon Crawford.

The lineup isn’t as deep as it once was. But, fingers crossed, it should be there again. On this 1-7 road trip the Giants held the opponent to 5 runs or less in 6 of the 8 games. The problem is they scored 23 runs total in the 8 games, less than 3 a game. Take out the 7 runs in the Wednesday loss to Boston ad it’s barely over 2 runs per game.

The Giants aren’t hitting. That makes the errors and subpar pitching performances stand out. Jeff Samardzija got rocked in the 6th inning at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, but in a live yard all the Giants could manage was 2 runs on a defensive swing base-hit. It’s hard to win when the middle of the order combines for 4 total runs in 8 games.

A lot of the chatter after the final game in New York from the Giants clubhouse was about getting back in a routine. This weird road trip with multiple days off was not normal. Playing the next 7 games at home will surely be a welcome thing for a club that really hasn’t been home since July 10th.

The Cincinnati Reds are coming to town for 3 games and overall they have not played well this season. At 38-60 they are tied for the 3rd worst record in baseball with the Tampa Bay rays. The Reds just wrapped a 9-game homestand to start the second half. They wen 6-3 against Milwaukee, Atlanta, and Arizona. Back in May the Giants took 2 of 3 from the Reds in Ohio and averaged just over 5 runs a game.

There’s that 5-run mark again. It jumps out because the Giants are 36-9 when they score 5 or more runs in a game. The offense is what really makes this team hum and it just wasn’t there for this trip.

Like I asked earlier, is it time to panic? I don’t think it is. Clayton Kershaw may miss the season and require surgery. The Dodgers are winning games now, but their own injuries will catch them. Much like what has happened to the Giants recently.

There’s also the idea that Bobby Evans is looking for bullpen help. Aroldis Chapman is out as closer option. He got traded to the Cubs, and I’ll be honest, I’m glad we don’t have to tiptoe around his recent domestic violence incident. I would have a hard time rooting for him.

Other than a reliever, the Giants could shore up any part of the team. With the emergence of Mac Williamson lately, the Giants probably feel better about the OF depth. The rotation may need some help, and the next week will clear that up. Jake Peavy and Matt Cain each start twice this week and we’ll all know if there’s a need.

Don’t panic. The Giants are still one of the best team in baseball and have reinforcements coming. After this week at home they take their last trip to the east to start August. The farthest they fly after they return home then is Chicago. The Giants thrive in their comfort zone and we shouldn’t expect any less down the stretch. It’s just another extension of Bochy’s “keep the line moving” mentality.

Or, I could be totally wrong and this season is about to fall off a cliff.




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