The GBC Reader, Issue Thirteen: Headed to the Ravine to Seize Back the Division, Beat LA

I was all excited to start the 13th Reader with a link to David Laurila’s excellent interview with Dave Righetti for Fan Graphs – a rare opportunity to hear Rags speak about pitching. It’s fascinating – particularly the comments concerning speed control and its importance to command.

I read it right when it came out and it was just so cool. I learned so much from just those few questions and answers. I was going to write about it, but then found Brisbee had already gushed, and since we agree materially that you should immediately go check it out, I didn’t.

Anyway I was all excited to get up and put it into this issue of the reader … but then this morning I had to endure Ken Rosenthal on Rich Eisen’s show talking about the gritty team in Los Angeles and how tough Chase Utley and Justin Turner and – “even the young guys”- Corey Seager are … gimme a break …

Then I had to watch them score 18 runs in Cincy in the day game that puts them a full game ahead of the Giants as we head into this week’s three game series down at Chavez Ravine – and now this reader is headed toward what’s wrong with us.

I am convinced we are the better, more stable and more experienced team. We’ve been on a streaky collapse, a downtrending rollercoaster, but it isn’t from injuries or bad play as much as difficulty getting things to gel.

We’ve been inconsistent in many aspects of the game at different times and we have a hard time getting it all to come together at once. But when it does, anyone can see we’re built to win.

We’re struggling to get long missing pieces to fit back together. Panik returned and took a while to warm up, and right when Pence got back he got a black eye. Here’s Brisbee on Hunter Pence‘s struggles since returning from the DL.

We’re working to bring on new guys – Eduardo Nunez and Matty Moore and Will Smith and others – Joe Nathan, possibly. Some of these are having moments of brilliance, but it isn’t easy to make it all work together right out of the box and there has been disarray.  Here’s Baggs on the Newest Giants and their struggles.

Make no mistake, we are going down there this week to Beat LA and seize back the division for good for the rest of the season. However, since we’ve fallen so mightily, there’s no shortage of “What’s Wrong With The Giants?” pieces.

John Shea did a genuine and honest inside-the-clubhouse piece about what the Giants themselves think is wrong with the energy or vibe of the team.

Around the Foghorn’s Laith Agha focuses on the hitting woes of the G-men and intends to address pitching as well, next.

Somebody called Mike Schwarz writing for something called isportsweb led with “The San Francisco Giants have been the worst team since the All-Star break.” – in this analysis of our woes.

On a lighter note, Speaking of Hunter Pence, ESPN Sr. Writer Eddie Matz did a nice little Burning Questions segment with the lanky, right fielder – such a personable and likable guy.

And Gregor Blanco’s White Shark Blog this week is a really heart-warming post about the guys on the bench – Conor Gillaspie, Ehire Adrianza, Trevor Brown and himself.

It was a well fought game that almost was a no-no for Samardzija: CSNBA posted the AP piece on Yespedes busting up Samardzija’s no-hitter.

Phil Rogers of MLB.com says the nemesis is better than us and will win the division.

But I believe in our team. Man, I hope we go down there and sweep the nemesis.

Beat LA.

 

 

 

 

Love,

MTK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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We Believe In Our Champions Blood

We have endured the East Coast and LA bias from national networks for so long they’re irrelevant to us. In fact sometimes it feels better to ride the role of underdog, knowing we have the most experienced, smartest and most tightly knit coaching staff in all the majors.

The mainstream sports media and the hulking brutes of NYC and Chicago always count us out. They have no comprehension of the nuances of the game or teamwork.

They counted us out when we were chasing the D-Backs in ’10 and again vs. the then-Champion Phillies and again in the World Series – even after seeing what MadBum, Timmy and the Beard could do. Not to mention the quietly peerless Buster Posey.

They counted us out when Melky went down for PED use, and we all agreed WE wouldn’t allow him back for the playoffs – though we could have – but rather try to soldier on. This one is always my favorite of the three, because of Pablo’s 3HR, with two off Verlander (him saying “wow,” watching the second one go out – best bad ball hitter ever: Pablo Sandoval). How Romo dismissed Cabrera is maybe my favorite SFGiants WS moment ever.

Then in 2014, they counted us out as a wild card has-been! and we just Madbummed the shit out of them. They counted us out against the Darlings of the Nation and we sent MadBum out to finish them off in their house.

So we are USED to being the ones counted OUT.

But what we know is different. We know we have Rags, Skip, Bam-Bam and Wotus in place. We know that losing Flan for the more conservative Kelly is really just an adjustment, not a loss. We have a Hall of Fame manager who has been through it all.

We know these guys know how to win with their backs against the wall. We know if we just get in to the playoffs, we have as a good a chance as any and a better chance than most because we have CHAMPIONS BLOOD.

I for one, believe that the moves we made are good moves. It hurts so much to have lost Vogey and Petit and Duffy. It hurts a LOT.

But I understand what Evans and Sabean are trying to do and I approve. These are aggressive and expensive moves – Samardzija and Cueto were $90million! We’ve never paid that kinda money for two players before. Duffy was just awesome in Panda’s place for a critical WS series year and more. But I get the trade. Getting the right puzzle pieces is hella expensive.

Here’s what I know: they can’t win if we don’t believe.

and I do.

I believe in this team of managers, coaches and players. I think the new guys need to tune in to a culture of winning and realize that petty losses should be dumped immediately. This is a tightrope walk, not whack-a-mole.

I know Posey, Pence, Bcraw, Belt, Panik, Pagan, D-Span, Nunez and our pitchers that rake can get out of this slump and start producing like the machine they were earlier in the season. It’s all about getting hot at the right time and we have the machine that can do that.

We dispensed with injuries to Pence and Panik and Pagan early so they are ready and playing well.

We dealt for better – read more experienced – pitching help for the bullpen and starters. We’re doing all the right things.

(EXCEPT I STILL REALLY THINK WE OUGHTA BAT THE SP IN THE 8 SPOT AND LET PAGAN AND D-SPAN BECOME BACK-TO-BACK LEADOFF HITTERS).

Anyway, all that is left is:

for us to believe and

for the guys to never quit.

 

We believe.

 

so, guys? …. Never Quit.

 

Love,

 

MTK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The GBC Reader, Issue Twelve, As In a Dozen – with Four Dozen Games Left to Play, BCraw’s 7 Hit Game

With 48 games left to play, the San Francisco Giants hold a one game lead over the nemesis in the NL West and have returned home to the confines of AT&T nee´ Pac-Bell Park for a much needed ten game home stand.

Hunter Pence came home with a black eye. Buster Posey’s face was all busted up. We lost a 1-0 CG by Bumgarner and we pounced on and beat Strasbourg. Brandon Crawford had a seven-hit game! We won a 1-0 game for Samardzija. It was a crazy trip.

But now we are home and we’re up a game and there are four dozen left to play. Here at Giants Baseball Corner we changed the avatar of the Twitter account to the one we have used for the stretch run since 2012, our photo of the dugout sign that was featured in the Emmy-award winning Episode 7 of SFG Productions Orange October.

25guys

I only have one wish left and that’s to see Bruce Bochy vs. Joe Maddon in the NLCS.

But I must be patient, be filled with fear and hope. I must focus on today. Win today.

ON TO THE GBC READER NUMBER 12:

Brisbee posted a really nice analysis of the way we swing the bat. What we hit, what we miss and how. I encourage you to read it ’cause there are silver linings galore.

Brandon Crawford had SEVEN HITS in a game! It was insane. He went 7 for 8! His batting average increased by 13 points in one night. It was boss. Doing what they do best, which is archiving, CSNBA and AlPav did a really cool bit covering two men to have seven hits in a game. While in Miami, they found the previous and they got them together. Was awesome.

Berman even wrote about Crawford’s wonder.

Baggs has a nice piece on a turning point for the bullpen. Stricky looking better, with more pitches and some command. Casilla coming back with a vengeance from the humiliation of the balk. Derek Law putting up numbers.

48 to play. Let’s get this done.

Win Today.

Have fun.

 

love,

MTK

 

 

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The GBC Reader, Issue Eleven: Post-Trade Deadline Talk, Saying Hello to Will Smith and Bye to Duffman

Welcome gentle reader to The Giants Baseball Corner Reader, Issue 11, a compendium of links to stories and stuff about the Giants since the last GBC Reader.

BTW, You can always read all the Readers as a summation of the season to this point by clicking on the GBC Reader Category link to the right, and they all come up.

Steve Berman, Bay Area Sports Guy, hasn’t been writing much about the G-men this season, but the trade deadline brought this very nice analysis of what he figures the Giants did and why. Good piece.

AlPav has a nice get-to-know-ya with Will Smith, the Giants’ newest left-handed reliever. I am already on the record that anyone who makes an OBVIOUS pun about his name and the Hollywood actor who shares it, is boring me.

Brisbee still isn’t over the loss of Matt Duffy, which is kinda good because it inspired him to do one of his cool retro-looks at awesome Matt Duffy plays from his tenure with los Gigantes.

and the Rays decided to move Duffy to SS when he comes back up and their current SS was none to pleased to hear that news according to Baggs.

Oh! and in a crazy move in Philly, Balkin’ Bob Davidson threw out a drunk fan for yelling at him from behind the backstop. weirdness.

wild.

 

 

Let’s Go Giants!

bust the slump.

love,

MTK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Trade Deadline Was Smart and Effective Use of The SF Giants System Under Sabean, Boch, and Evans

A lot of fans were emotional yesterday upon hearing the news the SF Giants had traded Matt Duffy, but I was surprised long-time fan Grant Brisbee was among them – he practically wept. I figured old guys like us were used to the business of baseball and would leap to the evaluation of the statistics of the swap – which he did of course, through his tears.

Me, I found the trade an excellent use of a system we’ve developed with great effort and the right balance of stats and human evaluation in the near-decade since Barry Lamar stalked off into the sunset of post-Giants life.

Sure, I’ll miss Matt Duffy, but he only played for us for two years. It was an intense and impressive couple of years because he had to step into Pablo Sandoval’s big shoes, but I don’t grow that attached to players that fast no matter who they are. It takes me a while to want to make someone “untouchable,” as Posey and Bumgarner are.

Actually, I can remember when fans – terrified about the absence of Panda and failure of McGehee – wanted to trade Matt Duffy for a “real third baseman,” in his rookie year.

And speaking of Panda – a home grown third baseman who was with us through three World Series wins and instrumental in at least one – I do and will miss the Pablo we all loved: an incredible Giant, with huge personality, beloved for his simple, crazy humanity.

Besides, I know Matt Duffy has a long career ahead of him and will excel wherever he plays. I will be watching this guy for a few years to come and heck, he could end up back with us with the way the business of baseball works.

We have done what we set out to do. We have grown our talent at home and added missing pieces to create championship teams, not once, but thrice in the last six years. It has been a stunning achievement, and I think a lot of fans have taken the subtle moves for granted.

It was inevitable that at least one or two or even some of all this home grown talent would have to be used as chips to gain the missing pieces needed. In this case we gave up a lot to get the specific missing elements of our pitching staff, and I for one, am glad we had the guts and aggressiveness to go all-in.

I do not know if Matt Moore and Will Smith are the answer, but I DO know that once they get in Buster Posey’s capable hands for the month of August they’re likely to be much better prepared for a championship run than they have ever been in their lives.

What the Giants have done these last six years is almost unheard of in the modern era. We have kept our coaching staff intact, core players aboard in Posey, Bumgarner, Cain, Lopez and Romo. Turned homegrown talent such as The Brandons, Crawford and Belt, into All-Stars and snagged and locked-up Hunter Pence.

We managed Angel Pagan and Gregor Blanco in balance with rotating OFs. We squeezed the last bits of greatness from Cody Ross, Marco Scutaro, Ryan Theriot, Jake Peavy and Tim Hudson.

We’ve had great coaching at farm club levels resulting in consistently good play from rookies and newcomers to the team. Bruce Bochy is a first-ballot Hall of Fame Manager at this point, and his staff, again mostly intact (MISS YOU, FLAN!) are an amazing group.

If we had rested on our laurels and not made a trade for the essential relief and starting pitching support we needed, I’m not sure we could beat this year’s Cubs. Now I feel we have a legitimate shot not only to achieve that in Bochy vs. Maddon I, but go on to win it all.

Matt, you were a great Giant and that is what made you valuable and in-demand. We will miss you and I wish you all the best in Tampa. I am confident you will excel. I hear you are returning to SS and it must be cool to be with your Dirtbag mentor, Evan Longoria. Enjoy yourself and knock ’em dead.

Meanwhile, turning back to August …

Welcome aboard Matt Moore and Will Smith. Get your gear from Murph, perk up and pay attention. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND LISTENING TO BUSTER POSEY.

Let’s all pull it together and go out there and Even-Year-the-Shit-Outta-This-Thing.

Go Giants,

Love,

MTK

 

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The GBC Reader, Issue Ten: Season on the Blade’s Edge

Well Dear Reader, the G-men have plummeted back down to earth in the second half. Though we are 58-41 and in first place in the NL West, that lead has shrunk from six and a half to just two and a half games after the 1-8 stretch since the All-Star Break.

Optimism is hard to find, but I have faith in Bochy and the staff because I know we  faced weird difficulties each of the previous times we won it:

  • Chase the D-Backs all year and take it from them the last weekend in 2010
  • Lose our best bat Melky Cabrera, one of the best hitters in baseball, in 2012
  • Forced into a committee of closers, having to send MadBum on short rest out to finish the job against the darlings of the nation at Kauffman in 2014

Maybe it’s par for the course. There has to be struggle for the championship to mean something. Maybe there aren’t going to be 100-game winners that often anymore. Maybe there is just so much parity in the long season of baseball, so much Law of Averages, that from now on there will never be a consecutive World Series Champion or end-to-end first place finishers.

I don’t know, but here’s GBC Reader Issue Ten, filled with doom and gloom.

  • Hank Schulman wrote an excellent break down of the pursuit for a reliever
  • AlPav talked to Skip about WTH happened on the road trip.
  • Baggs turned his blog over to Carl Steward, a joyful fellow who titled his piece cheerfully: “The Skid Continues, the Postseason Could be in Jeopardy, and the Trade Options Look Sketchy at Best.”
  • Brisbee is depressed, and not nearly as fun, but he humanizes when he is depressed which is nice.
  • And just so we end on a positive note, Berman showed up again to write about how cool Mac Williamson is.

And speaking of Mac Williamson, for me the biggest excuse is we’ve had three of our major bats out: Pence, Panik and Duffy – lotsa situational hitting, power, RBI’s, average on the DL there.

To their credit the rookies have worked hard and done pretty well filling in. One can’t expect them to produce like those three guys. I am glad they got experience here in July and it isn’t like last year when all the injuries hit us during the stretch.

 

 

I Still Believe.

 

Let’s Go Giants!

 

Love,

MTK

 

 

 

 

 

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Remembering and Forgetting the 1-7 Road Trip to Fenway and Yankee Stadium

ugh.

I hate Inter-League.

I’ve NEVER liked it.

have been forced to tolerate it by idiots who spend absurd amounts of their energy trying to destroy the beautiful chess match that is the National League game. These loud, brutish and impatient fans are incapable of enjoying the game of baseball at its own pace.

So they’ve shoved Inter-League down our throats, as they do with the incessant and obnoxious demands we add Designated Hitters and limit the number of pitchers we can use.

I hate you people. Why can’t you just leave us alone?

You go watch AL ball and leave us alone to happily watch NL ball. I honestly think it would be way better for the game to go back to NO Inter-League games in the regular season and have the AL and NL meet only twice: in the ASG and the WS.

The AL fans can make all the changes they want to the game and they can let us real fans of baseball have our chess match. You go watch your blunt instrument version of the game and we will enjoy our defensive battles and five-tool play.

We’re not going to see the Yankees again for a while, since they aren’t in smelling distance of a wild card. It was fun to wax nostalgic about 1921 and 1962 and all the years between, but I really could not care less about these games.

I guess I’m not really too mad we went 1-7 and had such horrible outings offensively. We were playing three rookies every game. And in fact, we got some great plays out of them. It was good to give them experience. I am proud that our record is so strong we can withstand six losses and still lead the NL West and have the second best record in the majors.

Well, whatever … so glad we’re back home.

Let’s Go Giants, CRUSH the Reds.

 

Love,

MTK

 

 

 

 

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