Tag Archives: San Francisco Giants

What’s good with the Giants?

We here at TortureCast often talk about breaking down the Giants season into smaller segments. At the start of play today, the San Francisco Nine have played 16 games, 1/10th of their season total. So I decided now is a good time to check in and see how things are going.

The Giants are 6-10 after splitting two games during their Kansas City memories tour. All alone in last place, one measly half game behind the San Diego Padres. This weekend, the Giants will try to get out of the cellar in the house of horrors known as Coors Field with three games against the Rockies.

Every couple of weeks or so I’ll be back to check in after each tenth of the season. I figure that’s long enough to space them out so I can make sure I’ll stay on it. If I could write every day, believe me, I would. So, riffing off my old “3 up, 3 down” format, here’s some observations about the 2017 San Francisco Giants. Continue reading

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Episode #118: It Could Be Worse

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We all held our collective breath when Buster got hit by a 94 MPH fastball in today’s home opener. (photo: Eric Risberg, AP)

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

3-5 is better than 1-5, 6, or 7, right?

That’s the barrel the Giants were looking down two days ago when they were 1-5 before winning the last two to make the internet of Giants fans a little less dreary.

Eric and Chad open up our first regular season podcast of 2017 by discussing what went wrong (LF, bullpen), and what went right (Bum, Cueto, Moore, Panik, Crawford) over the first week of the season. Basically, the Giants have the worst left field offensive numbers by far, and their bullpen and pitching stats with a lead are cringe-worthy. Also, we hope Buster will be ok after getting drilled in the noggin.’ And that little league bases-clearing double by Moore is a sight to behold.

Maybe next week will be better?

@chadk21

@torturecast

facebook.com/torturecast

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Episode #117: 2017 Season Preview

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Bumgarner became the first pitcher in MLB history to hit two homeruns on opening day. (Photo: USA Today)

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

Besides the post-World Series victory podcasts, season previews are our favorite to record every year. Spring has sprung. Hope is effervescent. The Giants bullpen is…different.

Chad, Ben and Eric talk about that catastrophic meltdown by Melancon in the 9th in their opening day loss to the Diamondbacks, but also reason why there is hope.

Many of you responded to our query about how many games the Giants will win this year. Let’s just say that many are out of the stratosphere, but would more than be appreciated. We also offer up our own predictions and break down what are crucial spots that may pivot the season in one direction or the other.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @torturecast or like us on Facebook!

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Episode #116: Spring has Sprung

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Where hath thou hair gone?

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

Ben, Eric and Chad get together to talk about the first couple of weeks of spring training, including the record number of players in camp, the competition for scarce infield and outfield positions, the fifth starter, the new closer, and of course, Hunter Pence’s freshly shorn face.

 

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Audio Interviews from Media Day (Posey, Crawford, Samardzija, Melancon, Moore, Bochy)

Check out our audio interviews with seven Giants from this weekend (ok, Bochy is just video). The consistent theme is that there is hope emanating from the back of the pen, namely the new closer, Mark Melancon. He was so chill, I thought perhaps he was on performance depressants.

You can catch almost all of these interviews in their video format (plus or minus a few minutes) here.

 

Buster Posey

Brandon Crawford

Jeff Samardzija

Hunter Pence

Mark Melancon

Matt Moore

Bruce Bochy

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Exclusive Player Interviews…and some not so exclusive interviews…

 

Yesterday was a very productive day at AT&T Park, as I grabbed quick group interviews with Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford, Hunter Pence, Matt Moore, Bruce Bochy, Jeff Samardzija and the new closer, Mark Melancon. All but Samardzija (audio only) are in the YouTube playlist above.

Now that FanFest is over, and spring training is about to start, just sit back, relax, and see what your some of your favorite Giants have to say about the upcoming season.

Chad

 

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Episode #115: Football is Over!

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Gorkys is our savior

Download the episode or stream it below!

https://www.podomatic.com/podcasts/torturecast/episodes/2017-02-06T23_08_10-08_00

The TortureCast has awakened from its long winter slumber to bring you thoughts on the Super Bowl and the Giants’ offseason. We say goodbye to Romo (Dodgers), Lopez (FA), Peavy (FA), Pagan (FA), Blanco (D’backs), Casilla (A’s), and welcome Melancon, Morse, Rollins, Hundley, and a lot of familiar faces. The starting rotation is almost set, but there are questions in the outfield, except for Gorkys!

 

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

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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.

Chad

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The Next Three Games are Elimination Games

traviswood

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.

Chad

 

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Episode #114: Heading to Chicago! NLDS Preview

bumgarner1

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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