Tag Archives: Spring Training

Even Years may be Odd

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San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner is helped off the field after getting hit by a batted ball during the third inning of the team’s spring training baseball game against the Kansas City Royals in Scottsdale, Ariz., Friday, March 23, 2018. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

The second half of 2016 was horrid, but the Giants limped into the playoffs, and were one bullpen collapse in the 9th inning short of forcing a game 5 in the NLDS.

2017 was an odd year, so nothing was expected, except the unexpected happened. The Giants lost 98 games after losing Madison Bumgarner to a freak, yet, completely preventable motorbike accident on an off day in Colorado. Match that with under-performing players, other injuries, and a bullpen that couldn’t plug any dyke in the world, and you come up with the second worst season in SF history. But, I think I speak for all of us when MadBum went down…there was a collective “oh shit,” and I’m sure the team felt it, too. I’m sure there was an emotional tsunami that cost the team a few games.

But…this offseason the Giants addressed many issues, including third base (Evan Longoria), outfield (Andrew McCutchen and Austin Jackson), bullpen (Tony Watson, Will Smith coming back from TJ), and with promising performances from young bullpen guys and Chris Stratton this spring, and with the prospect of MadBum having a full healthy season, things were positive, dare I say…confident. Yes, this team exuded confidence, in defiance to last year’s supposed outlier.

Then, two days ago, Jeff Samardzija was shut down. Yesterday we learned that he has a right pectoral muscle strain, and will be out 4-6 weeks. Although bad news, at least it wasn’t a shoulder injury, and maybe this injury could explain his drop in velocity this spring, along with the neck-jerking frequency of homeruns he was giving up.

Then…today.

It’s not an off day in Colorado, but it WAS the LAST start of the spring for Madison Bumgarner.

THE LAST START OF THE SPRING.

HIS NEXT START WOULD BE IN LA ON OPENING DAY.

Ah…the cruel baseball gods dipped Whit Merrifield into the cauldron of odd-year-bullshit, and firmly placed him in the 2018 batter’s box to deliver a line drive up the middle that impacted the FUCKING PITCHING HAND of the Giants’ best player.

Fracture.

Surgery.

with pins.

MadBum won’t even get the pins out for 4-6 weeks before he can start rehab and throwing. Most sources indicate that he may not even pitch before the ALL STAR BREAK. He’s out at least 6-8 weeks.

Are you fucking kidding me?!

After all of the re-tooling, pressing up against the luxury tax, and thankfully, having a relatively injury-free spring, this happens?!

Oh yeah, the Giants and Dodgers play 10 times in the first 33 days (29 games) of the season. None of those games will feature the Shark or MadBum. Any, and I mean ANY hopes of the Giants beating the Dodgers this year are gone. I mean, Chris Stratton as their #2?!

Las Vegas had the over/under for wins at 81.5. I think Giants fans were hoping for 86+ for a wild card. I think that number just dropped by 10 wins.

So, unless even magic will rear a unicorn ass and pull something out of it that we just cannot imagine, I think the even-year magic is over. Perhaps Sabean sold their collective soul to the devil to win three championships (which, btw, I’m cool with). Maybe this is their penance for coming back from 2-0 and 3-1 deficits in the NLDC and NLCS. Maybe this is karmic payback for Pence’s triple-hit, or Blanco’s bunt that didn’t go foul, or maybe even MadBum’s god-like performance in game 7 in 2014.

These aren’t even age-related issues for Bumgarner. Or over-use. Motorbike accident. Freak line-drive. Both will cost him about a full season of pitching combined.

And two seasons of frustration for Giants fans.

-Chad

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Episode #135: Cuts So Deep

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Derek Law was one of many sent to Triple A Sacramento today. (photo: USA Today)

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

Spring training has merely a week left, and Chad and Eric talk about the second round of cut the Giants made, and how the Giants are near the top of every offensive category! (but, maybe not so much on pitching).

MadBum is raking, AT&T Park is rated #1 by Forbes, and the season starts in LA in 10 DAYS! Join us for a fun episode…spring is almost over!

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Episode #134: Spring has Sprung!

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Andrew McCutchen had some great stories at Media Day, including how he met his wife and how he got his number, 22. Photo: SFGate

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

We last left you before Media Day, before pitchers and catchers reported, before Tony Watson and Derek Holland were signed. And man, does everything seem positive right now!

There was a profound sense of positivity at Media Day, where I got interviews with Evan Longoria, Brandon Belt, and Brandon Crawford, along with group interviews with Andrew McCutchen and Bruce Bochy. But…I buy into it. This isn’t your typical response from a team that lost 98 games last year. They truly think that was an anomaly, and with the improvements to the club, these guys think the postseason is certainly possible. I think I’m buying into it.

Eric and I talk about this and the first six games of spring training, which included three bombs from Kyle Jensen?! Ok, so although he’s not making the team, we still talk about him and other solid performances over the first week down in Arizona.

Timmy signs with Texas?! At least he’s not a Dodger.

Derek Holland is a damn good Harry Caray and Schwarzenegger impressionist!

Also, check out Eric’s great writing on our site, he’s gonna manage a team website at some point, or get caught in a sex scandal when he’s made it. Either way, that’s more than I can say.

-@chadk21

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Episode #133: Pitchers and Catchers are Reporting…Soon!

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Photo via @SFGiants Twitter account.

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

It’s true, the Giants’ pitchers and catchers are reporting in less in a week. A few mere days until we can claim that we smell the fresh cut grass and hear the crack of the bat echo through our collective skulls.

Until then, Eric and Chad talk about Barry Bonds’ #25 being retired in August, despite not being the Hall of Fame (a Giant requisite for a retired number), the clash between the MLB players’ association and MLB about the lack of free agent signings, Chad will be covering the Giants at Media Day on Friday, and Eric has been writing a metric ton on torturecast.com. Seriously. Go there. Read it. It’s good stuff!

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Giants roster is set, let’s play ball!

 

MLB: Arizona Diamondbacks at San Francisco Giants

We’re a week away from baseball games that count and it looks like the San Francisco Giants have set their 25-man roster for the trip north to Milwaukee. Yesterday, the Giants announced among nine cuts, Mac Williamson, Jarrett Parker, and Mike Broadway were optioned to Sacramento as a few other players were reassigned to the minor league camp.

This leaves 26 players for 25 spots but Andrew Susac has been slowed by injuries this spring and he’ll likely start the season on the DL. That gives Trevor Brown the backup catching spot which isn’t too bad. He’s batting .324 this spring and pitchers don’t seem to have a problem working with him.

Here’s how the roster breaks down, the Giants will carry 13 pitchers:

IF

Brandon Belt 1B, Joe Panik 2B, Brandon Crawford SS, Matt Duffy 3B, Kelby Tolinson INF, Ehire Adrianza INF

OF

Hunter Pence RF, Denard Span CF, Angel Pagan LF, Gregor Blanco OF

C

Buster Posey, Trevor Brown

SP

Madison Bumgarner LHP, Johnny Cueto RHP, Jeff Samardzija RHP, Jake Peavy RHP, Matt Cain RHP

RP

Chris Heston RHP, Georger Kontos RHP, Cory Gearrin RHP, Hunter Strickland RHP, Josh Osich LHP, Javier Lopez LHP, Sergio Romo RHP, Santiago Casilla RHP

I know, try to contain your excitement about that powerhouse bench. All we ever ask for is depth. It seems like every podcast we’re talking about a lack of depth and how it would be so nice to feel like the Giants have a strong bench. By deciding to carry 13 pitchers Bruce Bochy is left with a bench of Blanco, Tomlinson, and Adrianza. We’ll probably keep talking about depth on the next show.

All three of those guys have shown versatility and apparently Adrianza is stronger this season. I don’t know, I didn’t make it to Arizona this year, but how many times are we supposed to get excited about him? Let’s just hope that changes this year. Show us something Ehire!

It’s a little strange not to see Jeremy Affeldt’s name on the roster. It’s time for Osich to carry the load of the other lefty in the bullpen. I have to admit, I don’t know much about Cory Gearrin. I guess he seemed fine towards the end of last season. Let’s hope it’s not an issue but at least Brodway can be summoned from Sacramento.

The question of the spring has been the starting pitchers. Since Chad addressed that issue there have been good outings by Cueto and Shark and it seems that Matt Cain will indeed be the 5th starter. I suspect the Giants will break up Cueto and Samardzija in the rotaion once the season gets going. It may be taxing on the bullpen to have Peavy and Cain on consecutive days.

Overall health seems to be good for the Giants, although I will keep my fingers crossed until next Monday just in case. Make sure to follow us all season as we have new shows, articles and videos coming to the site.

Follow us on Twitter or Facebook. You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel or just make sure you’re subscribed to the podcast on Stitcher or iTunes. There’s all sorts of interviews there if you’re waiting for the season to start.

Our season preview show will be coming up soon for look out for that. It’s almost time for another even year to begin.

-Eric

@2outhits

 

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Are you Concerned About the Pitching?

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Let’s take a quick glimpse into the Giants spring training stats as of today. Ok, we all know that some players just “tinker” in the spring and settle down once the regular season starts, and this IS a small sample size, but it’s worth noting that the Giants have some new players that may be giving Giants fans a little indigestion.

 1. Jeff Samardzija

8.31 ERA in 13 IP, .382 BAA, 1.92 WHIP, 3 HR, 21 H

Maybe he took a little of the American League with him in his luggage. Hey, and I spelled his name correctly!

2. Jake Peavy

8.53 ERA in 12.2 IP, .450 BAA, 2.37 WHIP, 4 HR, 27 H

He always starts slow?

3. Madison Bumgarner

10.57 ERA in 7.2 IP, .371 BAA, 1.70 WHIP, 13 H 

Ok, we’re not really concerned, right? (about his sore foot, obliques, maybe his shaven beard that supplied him strength?)

4. Johnny Cueto

16.62 ERA in 4.1 IP, .409 BAA, 2.54 WHIP, 9 H

So, he used the word “testiculos” yesterday. So, there’s that.

5. Matt Cain

10.12 ERA in 2.2 IP, .538 BAA, 3.75 WHIP, 7 H

I want this guy to do well this year….so badly. Really. He’s such a nice guy.

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

Honestly, he and Samardzija give me the most concern. Jeff is a horse like Matt used to be, but Cain is just an injury factory at this point, and his career is definitely on the downward trend.

I listed all five of these pitchers, despite their low inning totals, because, well, THEY’RE THE STARTING FIVE! Combined they are:

9.82 ERA in 40.1 IP, 13 HR, 77 H

I’m pretty sure I could’ve pitched to 3 batters without significantly raising these numbers much. Thirteen! homeruns in 40.1 innings? 77 hits?! Egad, it’s batting practice, or they are helping some minor leaguers out.

Now, this could be just a bad week for starters in the regular season, and certainly they won’t have this line during the year, but does it give you cause for concern?

 

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Episode 81: Can’t Have Sissy Hands

Stream this podcast below:

[audio http://torturecast.podomatic.com/enclosure/2015-03-24T00_10_18-07_00.mp3]

or, download it here

Spring Training has not been kind to the Giants. They own the worst record, by far, in all of MLB. Hunter Pence got broke, and Bochy is actually worried about his team’s performance.

Chad, Ben and Eric try and talk each other down from the ledge, and bring some levity to the foreboding results from the Giants’ practice games thus far.

Hey, it’s an odd year, afterall.

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A “Black” Day for Giants Fans

Hunter Pence says he can’t come his hair now that his arm is in a cast. I don’t think we’ll notice. Photo: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Cubs’ minor league pitcher, Corey Black, feels absolutely sick about hitting Hunter Pence in yesterday’s Cactus League action in Scottsdale. In a tweet he sent out yesterday, Black said, “Lost for words. Hope you heal fast. Hitting someone is never a good feeling. Hurting someone is even worse.” Classy move. Even more classy was Hunter’s response, “It happens my friends. Thanks for the concern, it’s part of the game we love. No slowing down!” There’s been a lot of love and support from Giants fans thrown Hunter’s way, but apparently there have been a few Giants fans that aren’t too happy with Black.

I get it, knee jerk reaction. I for one, was pretty upset when I heard the news, as Hunter will most likely miss opening day and is expected to be out 6-8 weeks with a “non-displaced fracture of the left ulna bone.” In an interview today, Pence was pretty upbeat and even mentioned that the timing is right for this injury. He’s right from the perspective of “better now than in July.” He also said that he’s a “very fast healer,” and is hoping to be back before that 6 week timeline.

At least Hunter’s positive about the situation, and it’s not his throwing arm that’s injured.

Interesting note: Both Black and Pence share the same agent, but they’ve never met.

So, the Giants will have to rely more upon Blanco to fill in until Pence is one hunter percent. 🙂

Hunter has proven himself as the Giants’ “Iron Man,” but every superhero has his weakness.

Oh, and I’m a scientist by day, and don’t believe in this even/odd year thing. This may have finally made me a believer. I just realized that the guy who took Pence out is named “Black.” The guy replacing Pence is named “Blanco.” Maybe this shit is real, bro.

#oddyearconspiracy

Get well, Hunter!

– Chad @chadk21

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Episode 80: Jerry Rice

You can download this episode here, or

Stream it below:

[audio http://torturecast.podomatic.com/enclosure/2015-02-23T23_03_20-08_00.mp3]

Yes, Jerry is a 49er, but we covered him at the AT&T Pro-Am at Pebble Beach this month, so it sort of, by proxy, regionally counts to fit our jersey-number-title-thing that is dying. So, here’s a video of Jerry leading the group “Buster Hug” that we caught on film earlier this month.

The boys are back in Arizona! Timmy reunites with his dad, Pablo is still fat, Cain is throwing wild and free, Ben and Chad review their experience and interviews at Media Day, Bochy’s heart had a scare, Sheilds rejected a larger offer from the Giants, Moncada signed with Boston, and the first radio broadcast of a spring training game is next week, March 3.

Can’t you just smell the fresh cut grass through your media player of choice?

You can follow us on Twitter @TortureCast and like us on Facebook! All of our podcasts and video and audio San Francisco Giants player interviews can be found here or YouTube.com/TortureCast.

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Episode 58: 2014 Season Preview Bonanza

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Photo from last night’s season preview recording at the Public House at AT&T Park. A big mixer and expensive microphones make us look semi-legit, while that is contrasted by the assortment of alcohol. From right to left: Ben, Chelena, Willie and Jen. Holding the camera: Chad

Click the arrow below to stream our season preview podcast! Or you can download it here.

[audio http://torturecast.podomatic.com/enclosure/2014-03-31T01_29_28-07_00.mp3]

Happy Opening Day, Giants fans!

Join us on this inebriated special episode of the TortureCast!

Willie, Chad and Ben welcome @JenCosgriff (BaySportsNet.com) and @ChelenaGoldman (SFBay.ca) to our season preview podcast bonanza, recorded (we did it LIVE) at the Public House at AT&T Park. They probably wished they hadn’t agreed to come. And we saw Brian Wilson give up all the runs against the Padres as we recorded. And Willie is okay at pool.

The five of us predict how many games the Giants will win this year (Chad: 88, Jen: 90, Chelena: 90, Ben: 89, Willie: 89; note: Chad predicted 93 in 2012 when we recorded with GiantsPod.net…they won 94 and the World Series…just sayin’), our concerns about Scutaro, and we argue about why we should or shouldn’t overpay to resign Panda.

If you’re new to our site, stick around, we promise to be entertaining, at least we’re delusional enough to believe it. We’ll be attending quite a few games as members of the press, so heads-up for blurry photos of batting practice, tweets full of consternation and frustration that we cannot cheer or boo in the press box, and silence when we attend Bochy’s pre- and post-game press conferences.

Giants fans, let’s rejoice and exit the cold corners of shame that we allow hockey and basketball to satisfy our sports addiction, and enjoy this long and beautiful ride of another season of San Francisco Giants baseball!

Chad

 

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