Tag Archives: San Francisco Giants

World Series Game Seven: Fantasy Meets Reality In One At-Bat

The brave, injured warrior steps into the field of battle with everything on the line, and comes through and either secures the victory or sets things in motion for the victory.

This is one of the most beloved storylines in every sport, including baseball. Kirk Gibson, the bloody sock, etc. You know why it’s so beloved? BECAUSE IT’S SO UNFREAKIN’ LIKELY TO HAPPEN!

So when Ned Yost sent his injured catcher Salvador Perez, a guy who swings at pitches five feet outside of the plate when he’s healthy, to the plate with the game on the line, I pretty much knew the game was over.

The perfect narrative, which happens a microscopic amount of the time, met reality in the form of Madison Bumgarner and the game was over.

Now, I’m not trying to take anything away from the Giants, they played a great game, but Ned Yost, given an unexpected chance to tie things up when Alex Gordon got to third on a single and an error, gift wrapped the game to the Giants by sending Perez up to bat. Perez acquiesced by fouling out, and the Giants had their third championship in five years. yay.

I know the Royals backup catcher hadn’t played in eons and that would have been something to watch if the game went to extra innings, but you have to get there first!

In any other situation, Perez likely would have been replaced far earlier. Plus it’s not like he was setting the world on fire as he was 0 for 2 up to that point.

No, I don’t know which pinch hitter to use, I just know that Perez shouldn’t have been batting.

Ned Yost actually managed this series pretty decently, better than anyone expected. In this case however, Royals fans got Yosted.

As always, thanks for reading.

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World Series Thoughts…

Just a few random thoughts as I watch this years World Series…

1) Which is better, quality or quantity?

Five of the six WS games played so far have been won by five or more runs, killing quite a bit of the drama. In some cases, I kept watching, like last night, but that was because I enjoy watching Ventura pitch. I stopped watching after he left. Plus, I didn’t really watch the Royals bat after Posey hit into his bases loaded double play. I knew the Giants were going to lose after that. If Ventura wasn’t pitching, I’d have switched over to Netflix or something else. I would’ve much rather had a four game sweep where the score in each game was 1 to 0 as that would’ve kept me glued to my seat each game.

2) If he stays on his career path, the Royals should keep Yordano Ventura.

The Royals once had a young ace (Zack Greinke)  who they traded rather than eventually pay his eventual ginormous salary. They netted two key peices of this years team in that trade in Lorenzo Cain and Alcides Escobar, so when Ventura gets near free agency, I’m afraid Dayton Moore will develop an itchy trigger finger. If Ventura stays on his current path, doesn’t need five million Tommy John Surgeries (the dude is 5 ft 10 and skinny as a pole, yet his reaches 100 MPH every start. that’s gotta create quite a bit of stress on that arm) and one of my revolutions listed below doesn’t come to pass and teams still use standard starting pitchers, Ventura will be an ace. KC fans already love this kid, and if Dayton is smart, he’ll talk the owner into signing him for life when the time comes. Ventura could be a franchise icon if things break right. He’s certainly off to a good start.

3) Let the Two Renaissances Begin!

This years’ WS may inspire two movements, both directly inspired by the Royals.

Renaissance Number One: Walks are overrated.

I personally disagree with this one, but KC’s contact heavy approach got them to the WS, and many executives. may point to the Royals when they’re asked why they signed a contact heavy hitter who swings at pitches within a foot of the strike zone (Hello Salvador Perez!). Walks *are* valuable, in my opinion, because good pitchers can often take advantage of hitters’ aggresiveness. The Royals just got lucky and only really faced two true aces this entire post-season. One was cruising until he got tired in the seventh (Jon Lester, who had also lost his catcher who was good against the run in Geovany Soto) and the other, Madison Bumgarner, has absolutely owned the Royals in the World Series.

Rennaisance Number Two: The Second Inning Closer.

The Royals basically have three closers, one for each of the last three innings. Well, all it takes is one GM to take that innovation one step further, sign a bunch of power arms or pitchers with one clear wipeout pitch, and assign each one to an inning. Basically your pitching staff would consist of 12 relievers. Not only could it work, it would save your team some money. No more Kershaw/Zito type contracts. Plus, if one of your relievers gets greedy, it’s easier to find a guy who can pitch one inning than a guy who can pitch five to nine. You may laugh, but I think this could actually work. There’s plenty of failed starters like Wade Davis out there who can crank things up kowing they only have to pitch an inning.

Just some food for thought. Al always, thanks for reading.

Pilfering World Series Players Part One

Today’s Question: If I could steal one offensive player from each team, who would it be and why?

I’m going to try and look at this realistically, What do we need, and who do the other teams have that fill that need? For example, since we have Yadi, we don’t really need Buster Posey.

One rule, I can’t steal the same position from each team, Matt Adams can only have one platoon partner, after all….

And that leads perfectly into who I’d steal from the Giants: Brandon Belt.

Year Batting Average On Base Percentage Slugging Percentage
2011 .225 .306 .412
2012 .275 .360 .421
2013 .289 .360 .481
2014 .243 .306 .449

In addition to being a decent bat, Belt holds his own at 1B and against lefties, Matt Adams big weakness. Even this year, in a down year where he missed a decent chunk of time due to injuries, he had a reverse split and hit better against lefties with about a .260 average, which was quit a bit higher than Adams, who hit .190 against lefties.

He has exceeded his rookie contract and was in his first year of arbitration this year, making 2.9 million. Still, even with a raise, the combo of him and Adams at first would be worth the money in my mind. And given that he had a down a year, even if it was due to injuries, a big raise is not guaranteed.

So that’s who I’d steal from the Giants.

As always, thanks for reading.

Hey Matheny! Look Up The Word Flexibility!

Last night’s loss, ultimately can be laid at Randy Choate’s feet, or so one would think. In all actuality, the blame lies at the feet of Mike Matheny, due to his bullpen management.

The Cards tied the game in the top of the seventh inning thanks to a Grichuk homer, before any relievers had been used. You’d think, with the score tied, Matheny would manage to the tie, not to the win, because the Cards (and baseball teams in general) never know when or if they’re going to score another run, so it pays to used relievers they can stretch out for more than one inning. Hey, here comes Marco Gonzales! He’s been a swing man this year, so Mike can easily get more than one inning out of him. Marco even set the side down in order, so he’s on form, and you didn’t need to pinch hit for him, so onto the eighth with him right, especially since we’re still tied?

Nope.

The eighth inning is Neshek time, and he admittedly did a good job. In fact, Pat set down the side in order as well. The Cards didn’t score again, and since Neshek’s spot in the order didn’t come up, Mike could have kept Pat in to pitch the ninth right?

Nope.

In comes Maness, and he, too, sets the side down in order. Now in the bottom of the inning, Matheny *does* pinch hit for Maness, sending in Bourjos. (Bourjos? Really? What happened to that Taveras guy, you know, the one who has already hit a pinch hit home run in this series?) And Bourjos goes meekly. Jon Jay does single, but nothing comes of it.

So who do we bring in? The LOOGY! Randy Choate comes in, promptly walks the first guy he faces (Brandon Crawford) and stays in. Then he allows a single to Juan Perez….and stays in! Never mind that I wouldn’t have started the inning with him, either extending Maness or bringing in Carlos Martinez, surely you pull Choate now right? Nope. He gets left in, and disaster ensues.

Now it should be noted that Matheny’s counterpart, Bruce Bochy, managed pretty conservatively himself, using a reliever an inning until the final inning, when Jon Jay singled. Then he pulled Javier Lopez and put in Sergio Romo, a risky move as Romo had struggled previously in the series. In this case though, I agree with the move, as action is better than inaction. Plus the move worked, as Romo retired Matt Holliday.

Heck even Ned Yost managed his bullpen better than Matheny did yesterday. In the sixth inning of KC’s game against Baltimore, the inning Yost usually struggles with, he played it smartly, bringing in Jason Frasor, who set down the side in order. Then he turned things over to his Bullpen Cerberus, each of whom also set down the side in order, finishing up the victory.

So when even Ned Yost outmanages you, you know you screwed up.

As always, thanks for reading.

Five Things To Watch For The NLCS

I did the ALCS yesterday, so it’s time for the NLCS and find out what to watch for in the NLCS.

1) Pitching Duels

We were promised these in the NLDS, but we didn’t get as many as we thought we would, especially in the STL/LA series. Well, depending on whether Madison Bumgarner starts game one or not, and whether Jake Peavy’s resurgence is for real, we might get them here. Adam Wainwright’s health is an issue, but we have three other steady options in Lance Lynn, Shelby Miller and John Lackey.

2) Battle Of The Franchise Catchers

Neither team would be where they are right now without their catcher. Yadier Molina is known more for his defense while Buster Posey is known more for his offense, but the truth is both have all-around games. Posey is an excellent pitch framer, while Yadi’s BA was .282, solid, but also his lowest since 2011, indicating it has a good chance to rebound next year, particularly due to the fact he was injured part of the year.

3) Cluster Bombing

Our top three hitters in our projected lineup (Matt Carpenter, Jon Jay, and Matt Holliday) all have OBP’s of .370 or higher, giving them a good chance to get on base together and create some havoc, especially if the hitters behind them like Matt Adams and Jhonny Peralta are having good days. In contrast, the Giants only have one projected starter with an OBP over 360 and that’s Posey.

4) The Defenses

Both teams have solid defenses, but it’ll be how they use them that matters. For example, the Giants starting the recently returned Michael Morse in LF and absorbing his atrocious glove, or keeping him on the bench as a valuable bench bat. Chances are he’ll be a late inning sub for his bat. The same is true for the Jon Jay / Peter Bourjos, only in reverse as Bourjos would come in for his glove.

5) Bullpen Management

Both teams have versatile bullpens, but while Matheny is pretty rigid in his usage, Bochy is flexible, and as I’ve written before, that could be the key to the series.

So who wins? I like our lineup better, especially our top three, and I think we’ll get on base and score more, and be backed up by our solid pitching staff.

As always, thanks for reading.

The Chess Master Versus another Checkers Player

I’ve called Bruce Bochy a chess master in the past, and it still stands. Well, now we get to face him in the NLCS. Frankly, from a managerial standpoint, I’d much rather have faced Matt Williams. The Nationals were the more talented team, but Bochy managed his team better. I wouldn’t necessarily say the same thing about our series with the Dodgers. With that series, Mike Matheny simply screwed up less than Mattingly, there’s a big difference.

Lineup Management

Things have gotten better lately (although Pete Kozma starting in place of Kolten Wong in a NLDS game nearly set Twitter on fire) but throughout most of the season, Matheny was lambasted for starting “his guys” IE veterans who’d been around a while, guys like Allen Craig and Mark Ellis, who struggle, while the young talent in need of at-bats to develop (Oscar Taveras and Kolten Wong come to mind) rode the bench. Matheny’s hand was forced a little when Craig was traded and Ellis was injured, but he still made some questionable lineup decisions.

Bochy, on the other hand, kept his team afloat despite injuries to key position players. Such as Michael Morse and Angel Pagan. He’s got a relatively deep lineup, but he’s filled his holes well when they’ve popped up. Particularly helpful has been the emergence of Joe Panik at second base, filling a position that was a black hole for the team.
Bullpen Management

Matheny has a stubborn streak when it comes to his bullpen. When Trevor Rosenthal was struggling, he stuck with him, when many people (myself included) believed Mike should’ve given somebody else a shot. Rosie has stabilized a bit, but it’s worth noting that in his last two games against the Dodgers, he allowed runners to get into scoring position both times before pulling an escape act. One wonders if his Houdini act will finally fail against the Giants.

In contrast, when Bochy, had a struggling closer in Sergio Romo, he replaced him with Santiago Casilla, who did a much better job. Sounds simple right? Apparently not. Sure, it helps that Casilla had prior experience as a closer in 2012, but even if we didn’t have a former closer on our staff, we had options, like Carlos Martinez or Pat Neshek, to name two.

In short, Bochy manages his team better, while Mike does ok, but is often carried by the talent of his team. We’ll see if that continues in the LCS.

As always, thanks for reading.

Rooting for the Pirates…

Wow, last night was crazy was it? My AL World Series pick (Oakland) didn’t even make it out of the Wild Card. That’s the way it goes sometimes. I’ll go into the ramifications for Oakland later (I already have a ton of blog ideas on that subject) but for right now, let’s focus on tonight.

I may be in the minority here, but I’m actually rooting for the Pirates to beat the Giants tonight. Here’s why:

I respect Andrew McCutchen. He’s a great player and is enjoyable to watch, under the right circumstances ie when he’s not playing us.
I think an LCS between the Cards and Pirates would be awesome. It’d be more dramatic than a series vs. The Nats or the Giants as the Pirates are our divisional rival and have been dueling with us for the NL Central title the past two years. The tension in such a series will be very high.
Then there’s the logical side. Pittsburgh, while its staff is solid, doesn’t have any Clayton Kershaws’ or Madison Bumgarners’ to deal with. The best ERA amongst the starters is 2.85 that belongs to Vance Worley, but he did that in only 110 innings. Their ace is probably Edison Volquez, who has a solid 3.04 ERA and 1.230 WHIP. Good, but he’s not as scary as some of the starters the Nationals could throw at us. They do have a good bullpen, but so do the Nationals. Both teams have good offenses as well, with the Nationals having seven players with 10 or more homeruns and the Pirates having nine. Washington’s rotation makes it the better team, so the Pirates would probably the better matchup.

Even if Pittsburgh were clearly the better team though, I’d still rather face them. The tension, as I said, would make it worth it. Plus there’s a small (ok medium sized) part of me that wants to crush our divisional rivals, shutting them and their fans up for a bit, the same part of me that wants to crush Clayton Kershaw during the divisional series and shut the “Clayton Kershaw is awesome!!!!” narrative for five seconds. (Yes, he’s awesome, so stop telling it to me five million times a day like I’m mentally retarded.)

That’s my two cents, who do you want to win tonight?

And as always, thanks for reading.