The GBC Reader, Issue 14: Final GBC Reader of the Year

This was a really tough second half to endure – an exhausting grind.

I’m really proud of the Giants despite the epic collapse of the second half because they gutted it out. I’m proud they kept their eyes on the prize and just enough distance between us and the rest to do what we expected and make the playoffs.

Of course, I dreamed of winning the division, especially after our first half of the season, but I expected us to at least claim a wildcard, and it turned out to be a tough slog just to pull that off.

Kudos to Bobby Evans and co., for pulling the trigger on the Matt Duffy trade, without which I am unsure we would have done it. And for picking up Nunez, too.

Well on to the Reader:

Steve Berman sighting! The Bay Area Sports Guy found some pretty sweet stats

“I saw this on CSN and thought it was a small sample worth noting:

— in four starts at Citi Field, Madison Bumgarner is 4-0 with an 0.62 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 29 innings.

— Noah Syndergaard against the Giants: three starts, 3.66 ERA, 1-2 record, 14 strikeouts in 19.2 innings.”

and has some nice quotes and other data here.

Here is Brisbee’s piece on clinching.

And AlPav has his wrap of the season with CSNBA footage galore of the celebrations.

I don’t have much more except to say this will be the last of the GBC Readers because now I know we will all be reading everything out there together – making this compendium of links obsolete.


Let’s Go Giants!



Win It ALL!




come on Baby!







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Beat LA and Seize The Division

The second half has been very much like a root canal but at last, the playoffs are around the corner and the Giants have just a little more work to do to ensure we’re once again in the postseason in an even year this decade.

All Giants fans are of course confident that if we just get in we can go on an epic tear with our postseason roster, as we have done in each of the last even years this decade.

That confidence resides within all of us but was best phrased in all caps by Grant Brisbee in 2012 before the World Series vs. the Tigers. (You can’t spell Brisbee without S-E-E-R).

But today and this weekend the pathway is clear:

Beat LA and Seize The Division.

It is a pleasure to beat the nemesis, but certainly it means the most when there’s the postseason on the line and we handle business. I really hope we show some force this weekend and seize the wild card – a sweep would be sweet.

I still believe we can do this despite not having a closer, or even a bullpen I trust. Because I believe we do have Champions Blood. When the chips are down, we got as good a chance as anyone.

If we end up playing the Mets, as I think is likely now, I am starting to wonder whether we should start Cueto rather than Bumgarner … which seems crazy to type, but there it is.

Samardzija out of the ‘pen might be a thing we see this weekend and in the postseason, which also seems crazy.

But we gotta win one at a time, so for right tonight, I am dressed. Let’s get it on!



Beat LA

Seize The Division

Let’s Go Giants!






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The Giants Biggest Home Stand of the Year

And so it comes to this.

The best first half in the majors and the second-worst second half in the majors sums to the most important home stand of the year with twenty games to play.

Seven games: three against the Padres and four against the Cardinals who are outside looking in and trying, with the Mets, to pry us from atop the National League Wild Card standings.

The difference between eking out the Wild Card and seizing the division from the nemesis lies in these next seven games. We have to take five.

We were happy in June. This team looked built to make the run. The pieces all made sense and our record was the result of beautiful play. We were happy because we won without Pence, Panik, Duffy and Romo. If anything we were enthused because we knew we’d have them all back healthy for the stretch run. The pain of last year when all the injuries hit in August was fresh in our minds. (To be honest we’ve been pretty lucky in that regard).

Johnny Cueto tore it up and started the All-Star Game. We voted Belt into the summer classic with vigor. Cain and Peavy were mostly bad, but it didn’t seem to matter. Until he went down Romo was a great set-up man for Casilla who collected the majority of his 31 saves and looked like he could be the closer. (That team still exists).

Then this epic collapse of hitting and failures in the bullpen in the second half necessitated re-engineering the rotation, forced us to deal beloved Duffy.

I for one fully support what I think was swift and bold decision-making by Bobby Evans, Brian Sabean, Larry Baer, Bruce Bochy and staff. We had to do something quick and if we didn’t pick up Matt Moore, I am not sure we would even have a chance right now. Add to that the success Eduardo Núñez has had at third and at the plate, and I’m more than pleased we made the deal.

If we have to play the Mets or Nats in the play-in game I am confident we can send out MadBum and have a great chance to win. But thanks to the trade, I now also feel, with Cueto starting against the Cubs, then Samardzija/Moore and back to Bumgarner, we actually have a shot to beat the league leaders, to win the NLCS.

and today, David Schoenfeld, the SweetSpot Blogger on ESPN says,


  • The Giants are due to play better. Maybe they weren’t actually the best team in baseball when they ended the first half with a better record than the Chicago Cubs, but clearly they’re not the second-worst team in baseball.
  • Baseball teams are streaky. While the Giants’ extreme splits are abnormal, a bad stretch doesn’t necessarily predict more losing. They’re just as likely to go on a nice winning streak now. That’s baseball.
  • The Dodgers play 13 of their remaining 20 games on the road, and they’re 47-27 at home and just 33-35 on the road.
  • The teams have six games remaining against each other, including the season-ending series in San Francisco.
  • Hunter Pence is hot, with eight hits in the Arizona series. Buster Posey is due to get hot as well, right?
  • Strickland, if he does win the closer’s role on a regular basis, will be fine. He has a 2.41 ERA in his major league career and has held opponents to a .202 average (.213 this season). He has been the Giants’ best reliever over the past two seasons. So why has Bruce Bochy been so hesitant to name him the closer? It probably goes back to the 2014 postseason, when Strickland, with just seven innings of big league time, allowed six home runs in eight appearances. It’s tough to trust a guy in close games after seeing that, but Strickland is a solid reliever and has earned the opportunity. (As a bonus, rookie Derek Law, with a 1.94 ERA and excellent peripherals, is due to come off the DL this week.)”

Which brings us to the biggest home stand of the year.

Our biggest concern is a big one: the bullpen is a mess. Our second biggest concern is an ongoing lack of timely hitting, a situational slump at the plate particularly with runners in scoring position that has made #RISPsigh a thing now.

But on the positive side we got what we asked for, all the pieces we need and we are healthy. Hunter Pence just decided to turn it up several notches. Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey know the stretch.

Panik has to follow Núñez who has also been making it happen. Span and Pagan gotta get hot at the same time and Belt … I need you Brandon, I need some power from you. More aggressiveness at the plate. I love the walks and the on-base percentage, but take a chance and rock that thing.

The sharpness is returning to the starters. I like that. And the bullpen? Well I know this, they can’t do it without our support. I can’t be there, but the yard better be rocking.

Let’s Go Giants! Take ’em one day at a time and win ’em all.

25 Guys One Common Goal

Win Today!!!










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September Baseball

September is a funny time for baseball fans whose teams are in the running. My nails are all chewed down to the cuticle. My hair gets a little greyer each year in September. There is agony and joy wrapped up in this beautiful game that confounds and delights us.

I can remember my son’s first SF Giants game like it was yesterday. It was a September 17th game against the division-leading Rockies. This was 2009 and my kid was seven years old. It was Randy Johnson Poster night and he still has his orange My First Ballgame certificate from the Giants and his poster celebrating The Big Unit’s 300th Win, which came that year with Johnson in a Giants uniform.

The Giants trailed the Rox by just two games and Matt Cain was on the mound facing Jorge de la Rosa. We had watched and listened to the Giants all summer and I bought tickets to that game because I figured it might be the one that either got us into a playoff chase or ended our run at the Rockies.

In the ninth, down 4-3, the Giants had runners on 2nd and 3rd with two outs, and we were standing and yelling our guts out when Edgar Renteria grounded out to end the game. The Rockies took a three-game lead with them out of town and we never got closer to the playoffs that year.

The following September of course was our epic run-down of the Snakes that culminated in us stealing the division on the last day and eventually the 2010 World Series Championship And since then, like clockwork, we’ve had a good September every other year and taken it all the way to the World Series, winning twice more. Amazing.

Our runs and collapses in perfect order these last six years have added a powerful, albeit false, pressure to this year.

We ought to be realistic about the incredible run we have just made and see it as unprecedented in quality. We ought to acknowledge we may be fading now not because we cannot do it, not because we don’t have the talent, but rather because we may just finally be out of steam from what has been an exceptional amount of success.

Changes to the team are at the heart of this: the loss of pitchers Petit, Vogelsong and Hudson and the fading of Lincecum and Cain have weakened our formidable staff. Even Javier Lopez doesn’t look as dominant as he has these past few years (not to mention he can’t be spelled by Affeldt anymore either).

Our attempts to just plug in Cueto and Samardzija and Matt Moore and a slew of relievers cannot be expected to align with our every-other-year success. It’s a different team.

In terms of hitting, we lost Pablo and I know how much you all love Matt Duffy (I do, too), but the Panda was a special part of our Championship years. We’ve had four third basemen since Sandoval left … just two years ago. We squeezed out much of the last talent from other hitters: Pat Burrell, Aubrey Huff (THE BUNT ON NOVEMBER 1ST!), Cody Ross, Marco Scutaro, Ryan Theriot, a doping Melky Cabrera. And despite Posey, Pence, Panik, Pagan and Crawford hitting well, hitting remains a problem whether we win or not, which is why winning the World Series the way we have has been even more amazing.

Point is, I don’t want to get all wound up and agonized if we don’t manage to find success all the way to the World Series again. I think the expectation we should is inflated, unrealistic and for some solely predicated on the fact it’s an even year – which is meaningless.

This September may be the end of an amazing dream. If so, I would rather celebrate how successful these last six years have been and lose with the grace of a winner.

I am not giving up. I am in this fight daily and rooting for our boys to do it again. It would be unreal if they did it again. I mean, what a dream – a dream that just keeps not ending? Wow. I want it. I believe we can do it … because we have.

But to expect it isn’t cool.

So let’s turn that even year expectation down a bit, yeah?










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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 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.















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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.


Anyway, all that is left is:

for us to believe and

for the guys to never quit.


We believe.


so, guys? …. Never Quit.













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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.


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.


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.






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