Thursday, October 30, 2014

Giants win in typical Giant style!!!

Let the debates begin!! The Giants confound the experts again, as all the Fox pre-game talking heads picked the Royals to win, and yet the Giants win instead. They announcer didn't notice the Giants had a chance to win until about the seventh or eighth inning and never gave them their props. And friggin' Buck whines and jokes about why he's despised as an announcer. He's a horses ass every step of the way.

Aside from Bumgarner's performance for the ages, the Giants amazingly close this one out without a HR in the series, with an 0-12 performance from their 1-2-3 hitters tonight and without much of an offensive contribution from their top offensive player.

The debate today seemed to center on whether or not this third title in five years stamps the Giants as a "dynasty". In modern day terms, I think they qualify. Chicago columnist Phil Rogers was on Sirius/XM saying that the Atlanta Braves were more a dynasty  since they won /dominated more consistently over a longer period of time in spite of not winning more than one World Series title. Leaving out the irony of a Cubbies sportswriter commenting on "what makes a dynasty", does he really think that Braves fans wouldn't trade an occasional flop for more World Series success? This USA Today graphic doesn't even list the Bravos.

This was Panda, as cool, calm and collected as Bumgarner would be later. And he backed it up with his own signature performance, both in this game and this series. Pay the man, just pay the man!!

If the Giants could find money under the seat cushions to pay Hunter Pence after he came over and sparked the team. If the Giants feel they could find enough money in the budget to make a competitive run at Jake Peavy, who openly flirts and makes googly eyes at both the Cardinals and the Cubs while the Giants are competing for this, Pablo's third Giants title, while Peavy by comparison pisses down his leg with his performance in the World Series and spends his free time polishing his future free-agent bona-fides, then you guys better damn well sign Pablo Sandoval first. He means more to the franchise and more to Giants fans than Jake Peavy ever while, so put that in your calculations and smoke it.

from CSN Bay
Pablo’s at the top of that list. We all know it. Every negotiation is different. Every intention on the part of the player is different. I know we love Pablo and he loves the Giants and we’ll see what happens.
— Giants GM Brian Sabean

And how about Jeremy Affeldt. Under-rated, under-appreciated Jeremy Affeldt. Turning in another spit and bailing wire performance that gets the ball to Bumgarner with the outcome still intact after it looked like Hudson had tilted momentum the Royals way. Affeldt righted the ship and I suppose for that gets awarded the victory. More folks than the official scorer should appreciate what Affeldt did getting the Win in this game.

from CSN Bay

I couldn’t be more honored that I was a part of this. I can’t wait to see the people in San Francisco. We pitched, and pitching wins championships.
 — Giants reliever Jeremy Affeldt

And how about Joe Cool, Joe Fundamentals or whatever nickname eventually sticks doing it with his glove rather than his bat. Where would we be without him righting the ship at 2B this year? And thank God for replay, right? Poetic justice. 

Watch Panik and Crawford Turn Amazing DP

Way to go, Joe!!! Hanging around Brandon Crawford is beginning to rub off on your glove. Hopefully, your bat rubs off on his a little bit more down the road.

It looks like any game that ends in a Buster hug is good for Giants baseball history. If it's not Wilson, Romo and now Bumgarner, to say nothing of Cainer and Timmy for their no-no's and perfectos, these man hugs never get old.

And last but not least, Bumgarner clearly makes the grade among scouts and old-school pitching aficionados.

View image on Twitter

I guess the amazing, unbelievable, unassuming way the Giants won this year and in some of the same ways, the other two years, makes it somewhat easy to dismiss them an under-rated, lucky and undeserving of matching up with other juggernaut teams from the past and present. I can tell you as a close observer of this team, luck has nothing to do with it.  Pluck and perseverance and stick-to-it-iveness and stick-togetherness DOES. certainly. The essence of the word TEAM. 

Three titles in five years and we could be celebrating and debating about four titles in five years if they don't lose Posey to Cousin's cheap shot heard 'round the Bay Area.  That's not luck chumps. And what some of these guys would know about championship mettle is beyond me. What a brain-dead Chicago columnist would know about what constitutes championship mettle after watching a team that hasn't displayed it in over a century and whose last feeble attempt at same resulted in "Curses Bartman" to say nothing about blaming your failures on a Curse of the Billy Goat is kind of like, well, a Chicago football columnist opining about good, solid QB play. 

Celebrate Giants and Giants fans, You've earned it. Let some of there other guys piss and moan on each other while you're having another parade. 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Pitch Counts according to Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner has a 0.29 career ERA in the World Series. (USA Today)
Madison Bumgarner has a 0.29 career ERA in the World Series. (USA Today)

He will be a hero to the old-school pitching coaches who do not buy into the pitch count revolution and believe that it, and not the lowering of the mound, has led to the disappearance of the dominant starting pitcher from the World Series scene. If they need him, he throws. He will have a lot of rest before his next pitch thrown in anger after tonight, so he gives them what he's got when he's asked.

from Yahoo Sports:
Giants' Game 7 hopes rest with Tim Hudson, and if not him, then Madison Bumgarner - Yahoo Sports:
Four outs from Peavy and 20 from the bullpen Tuesday night netted the Giants a 10-0 shellacking and an invitation to Game 7. Bumgarner threw 117 pitches just Sunday night, and he'd have two – really, by game time, nearly all of three – days off. Asked how many pitches he believed he could throw if called upon, Bumgarner half-smiled and said, "Maybe 200, I don't know. As long as you're getting outs. Pitch counts are overrated." Especially, presumably, on Oct. 29. "I think it's overrated all the time," he said.
'via Blog this'

Regardless of what happens tonight, Bumgarner has posted a stat line for the ages in this World Series and will leave Giants fans wishing that Bochy had been able to line him up for Games 1, 4 and 7 right from the get-go. Which is how it SHOULD have been done. This type of adjustment on the fly is awkward and clunky and has the whiff of a desperation move. ADVANTAGE ROYALS.  that we're even talking in terms of how quickly we can throw Hudson from the train and climb aboard the Bummer Express.

If the Royals see Bumgarner get the call from the bullpen, they get the chance to at best dirty up the pretty little stat line and at worst virtually erase it from the narrative of history. All it takes is a well-placed, well-timed bloop or a bomb. It would be hard to envision a scenario where Bummer gets the call without the Giants being behind in the score. At that point, the onus would be on Bumgarner to hold the Royals in place while the Giants bi-polar offense gets to work. Less a savior or a Superman coming out of a phone booth ( speaking of which, where's Posey been? ) and more of a place-holder.

This game will be very quickly move from "momentum is your next days' starting pitcher, more "2 out RBI's get you to heaven". It will be what heroes and goats are made of in the post-mortem.

Game 7 of the World Series: It doesn't get any better than that

Because all the pre-game speculation, all the "Royals will win because home teams have won XX% of Game 7's" or the "Giants can bring back Madison Bumgarner and he's invincible" melts away into history and then is argued about for eternity based on your perspective.

I read this clip about the 1985 World Series from Wikipedia about Bill James perspective as a Royals fan on the 1985 World Series -- a touchy subject for Cardinals fans -- and it dawned on me that while KC can take the Jamesian perspective that the Denkinger bad call had no material effect on the outcome of that Series, "the Cardinals just needed to get the next out" or "just keep your poise, don't meltdown, win the next day", etc. All valid points, there is another perspective. You could just as easily take the St. Louis cardinals fans perspective that perhaps the Kansas City Royals are Instant Replay away from being the baseball version of the Buffalo Bills with the cardinals having another World Series title on their resume.

Kansas City Royals - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
The baseball statistical analyst Bill James wrote a chapter in the 1986 edition of his Baseball Abstract titled "A History of being a Kansas City Royals Baseball Fan." In the style of an opinion piece as a longtime Royals fan, rather than in his usual analytical tone, James commented that "The truth is, the Royals kicked the holy crap out of the Cardinals" in the 1985 Series. The chapter asserts that it was the Cardinals' overconfidence and the Royals' ability to engage the Cardinals in "a conservative game of baseball chess," not simply Denkinger's controversial call, that led to the Cardinals' collapse, "leaving any other arguments...cutting little or no ice."
Following James's comments in the book, the Royals failed to make a single post-season appearance until earning a spot in the 2014 American League Wild Card Game. Many reasons besides one fan's hubris and a Cubs-style billy-goat curse exist for the Royals' 29-year long playoff drought, including their status as a "small-market team" without the budget or broadcast revenue to attract and keep playing talent. The timing of James's comments in the 1986 Abstract, juxtaposed with the beginning of the Royals' postseason drought, however, remains clear.
'via Blog this'

Anyway, the 2014 season ends tonight one way or the other and the results will be the retained for posterity.

But that's where the real fun of baseball actually begins: the post results debate over what should have happened, what could have happened versus what actually happened. And that, my friends will always clouded by your individual perspective. And that is what makes history and debates. The Game will be over soon enough, the rest of the stuff is virtually endless.

Game 7 of the World Series - Bring it On!!!!

Bumgarner no longer upset over Gammons' tweet - San Jose Mercury News

 San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) waves to the crowd as he leaves the field following their 5-0 win for Game 5 of
San Francisco Giants starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) waves to the crowd as he leaves the field following their 5-0 win for Game 5 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals at AT&T Park in San Francisco, Calif., on Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. (Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group) (Nhat V. Meyer)

This should put the issue to bed, but as ususal the erroneous report is trumpeted one page one, the retraction is buried. Bummer is being generous to Gammons. He didn't misinterpret the words as much as he embellished them for greater effect. There's a big difference. 

When the effect of that tweet is possibly to make Bumgarner seem like an arrogant jerk in the locker room -- ie: only I can be trusted to win games here -- when everything seems to point to exactly the opposite, there should be at least an apology. I guess Bummer should be happy with that, but I was hoping there would be a butt whuppin'. Even verbal dressing down would have been OK, but Gammons seems to know he screwed up here.  Move along. 

World Series sights and sounds: Bumgarner no longer upset over Gammons' tweet - San Jose Mercury News:
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- MadBum isn't mad anymore.

The Giants pitcher was steamed over the weekend when veteran baseball writer Peter Gammons posted on Twitter that Madison Bumgarner had demanded that he start Game 4 instead of Ryan Vogelsong. 
Gammons' exact tweet read, "Before the game, Bumgarner told teammates, `My pitching tomorrow is not an issue. I am. I will not take no for an answer.' 
Bumgarner vehemently denied ever saying that, and initially didn't know it came from the esteemed Gammons, a C. Taylor Spink Award winner. But just before the Giants took batting practice for Game 6, Gammons approached Bumgarner and apologized. 
"He just told me it got turned around a little bit and that he misinterpreted some of my words," Bumgarner said. "I told him I ain't worried about it. It's unfortunate that it came out that way, but there were no hard feelings from me. It's over with now.""
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Peavy's wanderlust makes me queasy tonight

Instead of putting Peavy on a short leash, perhaps a muzzle would have been more in order for Bruce Bochy. I don't know how you justify this, but I'm sure some are going to try. These guys better know what they're doing tonight. You would think he could have waited at least until after the Series was over one way or the other before evaluating his future options. Good luck, Jake.

from Chicago Sun-Times:
Jake Peavy, Jon Lester have eye on Cubs as package deal - Chicago Sun-Times:
Peavy caught himself daydreaming about Chicago while he stood on a World Series stage in San Francisco and quickly took a step back.

“It’s hard to have this conversation,” he said. “That being said, obviously Chicago has got a lot of good pieces in place. They’re going to have money to spend. Who doesn’t want to play in the city of Chicago?

“When the Cubs do finally win, they may rename the lake.”
'via Blog this'

Bochy likely one win away from a ticket to Cooperstown | New York Post

Bochy likely one win away from a ticket to Cooperstown
Giants manager Bruce Bochy has had a lot to smile about.
Photo: Getty Images
.....and Giants fans will have an awful lot to smile about as well if he is able to seal the deal. Two shots and veterans like Peavy and Hudson taking them with Bumgarner in emergency reserve. I will say this, if Peavy can't win in his second shot against Ventura......I don't know what to say except maybe he's not destined to get a ring. Hudson could follow up the next night and save his butt, but I wouldn't want to cede momentum back to the Royals at home forcing a Game 7. It is really a must-win for both clubs, which could make for another nail-biter. With the Giants, they all seem to be nail-biters. 

from the New York Post:
Bochy likely one win away from a ticket to Cooperstown | New York Post:
Bochy led the Giants to World Series titles in 2010 and 2012. Now the Giants are nine innings shy of a third title that would make him a lock for the Hall of Fame.
Of the four managers — Sparky Anderson, Miller Huggins, John McGraw and Tony La Russa — with exactly three World Series victories, all are in the Hall of Fame. A victory in Game 6 or 7 would reserve a spot in Cooperstown for the former catcher who played nine years in the big leagues and is a lot better manager than he was a player.
'via Blog this'

The Hollywood story-book ending would be for Peavy and Bochy, who go way back with the Padres to complete each other's careers and ride off into the sunset as the dramatic background music plays. 

The Royals are making weird "still just happy to be here" type comments, even Yost, which would be a bit disturbing to me as a fan, so maybe they come back to earth after bludgeoning led by Bumgarner. My feeling is when the other team scores 15 consecutive runs on you, some sort of response is in order and we'll see if an aging Peavy can deliver the knockout blow, even though it appears as if he has lost the knockout punch of his youth. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Bumgarner nails it, as usual

San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner winds up to pitch during the second inning of Game 5 of baseball's World Series against the Kansas City Royals Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Madison Bumgarner is showing the baseball nation what Giants fans have known about him for many years. He is tough as nails. As we later found out, sadly he may have been the second toughest Giants on the field last night behind Juan Perez. 

from Yahoo Sports:
Bumgarner, Giants blank Royals for 3-2 Series lead - Yahoo Sports:
Hardly menacing on the mound, Bumgarner was simply untouchable — again. As "MVP! MVP!" chants broke out from each packed corner of AT&T Park, Bumgarner finished off the first World Series shutout in 11 years.
"You know what? For some reason, I keep getting really lucky this time of year, so I'll take it," Bumgarner said.

'via Blog this'

Lorenzo Cain could only watch Juan Perez's double hit off the wall. (USA Today)
Lorenzo Cain could only watch Juan Perez's double hit off the wall. (USA Today)

from Yahoo Sports:

SAN FRANCISCO – Juan Perez didn't believe it, didn't believe his friend was dead, so he ran back to the San Francisco Giants clubhouse and swiped his phone on. He saw the text messages, at least 20, more coming in, all with the horrible news that Oscar Taveras, fellow ballplayer, fellow Dominican, was gone. Then he saw a text with the picture that confirmed it: Taveras at the morgue, on a table, blood everywhere, a horrible image Perez couldn't shake.
He started to cry. Giants closer Santiago Casilla told Perez to shut his phone off, to stop looking at the photo. And Joaquin Arias implored him: "Stay strong. Stay strong." The Giants might need him. And Gregor Blanco said: "I know it's not easy. Let's just try to do it."
For Juan Perez, a 27-year-old utilityman playing in his first World Series, there was no time to grieve Sunday. This is an awful burden, inconceivable, the consequence of a show-must-go-on mentality pervasive in sports. Taveras, the 22-year-old St. Louis Cardinals outfielder, and his 18-year-old girlfriend died in a horrific car crash Sunday. Now one of his best friends saw the grisly result and was expected not just to ignore it but erase from his head the image, from his bones the emotions, from his soul the anguish and play baseball.
"I don't know how he played," Casilla said.

Giants Game 5 win comes with heavy heart, especially for Juan Perez -

Rest in peace, Oscar Taveras.
Rest in peace, Oscar Taveras. (USATSI)

Sad news. This kid had all the makings of a future super-star. Hearts and prayers go out to the taveras famil and the Cardinals family and fans. 

Giants Game 5 win comes with heavy heart, especially for Juan Perez -
"It just breaks your heart," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. "It's a shame that this has happened. The kid had a bright future ahead of him. He hit a big home run against us. It's a loss for his family, the Cardinals and baseball because this kid was a special talent. I know Juan Perez was good friends with him and I guess he heard during the game."
 This is true. A former winter ball teammate of Taveras, Juan Perez -- who has been friends with Taveras since 2009 -- learned of the news in the dugout during the game and began to cry. In fact, some Giants coaches said they found Perez in the clubhouse during the game in tears. He later entered the game and ended up with a two-RBI double late, giving the Giants what was an insurmountable 4-0 lead with the way Madison Bumgarner was dealing.
 After the game, Perez kept his composure when discussing the passing of his friend, though the sadness was evident.
 "It was tough," Perez said. "We were very close friends. My heart goes out to his family and to the Cardinals organization. I had a few innings to try and get over it and focus and do my job. I just had to try and put everything away and concentrate on the game."
And he did so with a little help from fellow Dominican (as was Taveras) Joaquin Arias.
"During the game, when I found out, at first I think I was thinking too much about it," recounted Perez. "Arias came over and said ‘stay strong, keep your mind strong and we can win this game.' "
'via Blog this'

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Royals put the crown on a little early, pay the price

(USA Today)
(USA Today)

Vargas thinks he took ball four

 10/25/14 | 00:36

10/25/14: Pitcher Jason Vargas thinks he took ball four and makes his way toward first base as his teammates share a laugh

To me, this was the turning point of the game. They Royals start clowning, vision of sugar plums dancing in their heads. The sugar plum being a 3-1 World Series lead, which means we're playing with house money against Bumgarner and go back home no worse than up 3-2 with two games at home to close it out. The Giants are imploding, Vogelsong knocked out, Machi looking knocked up. Why not? 

Only problem is, it's only the third inning and your playing against a former champ. Vargas goes out to the mound all loosey-gooey'd up and begins puking it up, slowly but surely. When you're in a tug of war against an equal opponent and you let up on the pull for even an instant, you can get pulled over the line yourself. IMO, that's what happened to the Royals. They lost the focus that got them in front and it cost them, big time. You can't start your touchdown dance on the 5-yard line and that's what they did. 

Leon Lett Super Bowl XXVII

Of course, Dallas still went on to win 52-17, but Leon Lett still looked like a horse's ass. Speaking of which, it reminded me of another similar moment, that being one Dusty Baker handing the World Series trophy ball to Russ Ortiz, right before the Angels rallied right to the 2002 World Series championship, blowing the doors off the Giants. 

This game was a microcosm of the Giants roller coaster season, within a two or three inning span. They started out looking like a 100-win team, they were on that pace, then the injuries and they begin looking like a 100-loss team and they played at that pace and worse. Within this game, the Giants started out looking like a playoff team, by the fourth inning they had morphed into a 100-loss plus team on the verge of imploding, and then right before our eyes went back to looking like world-beaters. 

I can't recall seeing anything quite like it. The closest parallels I could come with was ironically, the Cardinals sudden implosion against the Royals in their last World Series trip in 1985 and perhaps the 1969 Amazing Mets, in that people perceived them to still be a 100-loss team while they had morphed into a no nonsense 100-win team that just crushed their so-called "better" competitors throughout the playoffs. 

I have to admit, I was having 1985 Cardinals flash-back memories the way the Giants looked in the third inning. Fortunate they turned things around, and hopefully the hitting not only continues, but adds a heaping helping of Buster Posey. I'm sorry, his bat replaces Hunter Pence's on the milk carton. He is not hitting where he is is to turn in productive OUTS!! He is there to provide productive, RBI-filled AB's. Period!! Time to step up. 

It was good to see Hunter Strickland get back on the horse and show not just a 95+ MPH fastball, but the slider, a splitter and a change-up. Where have those pitches been hiding?

And where would this team be without Yusmeiro Petit? Sitting home watching, probably. 

The speed at which Vogelsong lost command and control of the game worries me and he was perhaps pitching for his life in SF which is too bad. I worry the same, unfortunately about Jake Peavy and to a lesser extent Tim Hudson. Adrenaline only takes you so far, usually an inning or two, than ability takes over. That leaves 3-4 inning of trouble to get to our own, over-shadowed shut down bullpen. Could see more of Petit and perhaps Timmy Lincecum. 

It's where we like the ball to be, Madison Bumgarner's hands. I don't want to under estimate the odds of Big Game James Shields pitching two sub-par games in a row, so this could be a battle of the bullpens again, perhaps going into extra frames. As is often the case in World Series games, a player you least expect to have an impact has to step forward. Where have you gone Al Weis? Or Denny Doyle. 

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Giants stick with Ryan Vogelsong | ESPN and Peter Gammons need to explain themselves

Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports
It's up to Ryan Vogelsong to silence any controversy over the Game 4 starting nod

Why on earth is it up to Ryan Voglesong to silence any controversy over the Game 4 starting nod and not up to ESPN Hall of Famer Peter Gammons to explain his appalling lack of journalism ethics in making up quotes out of whole cloth?

Shouldn't Gammons and ESPN have to explain where he got his erroneous, so-called insider information from?  Which by the way ESPN charges people for access to said insider information. Shouldn't they have to explain their employees lack of ethics? Why are they charging people for fiction under the guise of fact?

Keep the lawyers out of it, I'd settle for letting Bumgarner kick his wrinkled ass.  ESPN is a garbage organization.

from ESPN:
MLB - Giants stick with Ryan Vogelsong - ESPN:
That quote came as a surprise to Bumgarner, who emerged from the shower after the San Francisco clubhouse had cleared and told and several Giants beat reporters that he never lobbied Bochy to start Saturday on short rest. He also distanced himself from any of the comments in question. 
"I didn't tell anybody that," Bumgarner said. "Nobody. I didn't say anything even remotely close to that. I want it to be straightened up, because I don't know where that came from.

"I've been here with [Vogelsong] since 2011, and obviously we've seen what he can do. There's nobody I'd rather have out there more than him."
'via Blog this'

But the idea of a flip-flop in the order and a quick turnaround for Bumgarner gained currency when Peter Gammons shared the following item on his Twitter account early in Game 3:
Favorite Tweet?
 @pgammo Before the game, Bumgarner told teammates, "my pitching tomorrow is not an issue. I am. I will not take no for an answer."
19h ago

Giants lose Game 3: Bochy waves white flag for rest of Series

Dear Future HOF Bruce Bochy and Staff:

I'm not sure what you guys are thinking after watching the Giants perform in Game 3 in SF. I hear you guys have, rather hastily I might add,  put the kibosh on starting Madison Bumgarner in Game 4. Here are my thoughts after a good night's sleep. Please consider them in the spirit in which they are presented, they are meant to be constructive in nature and in no way meant to harm anyone or hurt anyone's feelings and/or Hall of Fame chances.

Obviously, our only chance to win this thing is to go to Plan B, which consists of the following.

  • pitch Madison Bumgarner in Game 4 on short rest
  • bat Madison Bumgarner in the clean-up slot since Pence and Posey are obviously weak sticks
  • bring Madison Bumgarner back on even shorter rest for Game 5 and
  • if necessary be prepared to bring Madison Bumgarner back on even shorter rest for Game 6 in KC, and let him continue to hit clean-up, DH for Posey.
  • although it shouldn't be necessary, have Madison Bumgarner ready to pitch a Game 7, consider allowing a well-rested Posey to hit for himself, DH for Pence. Zig when the Royals expect you to zag. Know what I mean, jelly bean?
BTW: I employed a similar strategy to win a Little League tournament years back, so it's a proven strategy. I'm not particularly proud of it, but hey when you're backed into a corner, you have to fight back, do some unconventional things (like Yost, who is getting lauded for same in case you didn't have time to read the papers or various blogs). Plus, you guys are getting paid, so you don't have to deal with "ruining a youngsters future" charges. Plus, the kid wants to pitch.....

Ignore those who want to push the Vogeslong is a gamer meme. It's a a trap planted by those who want the Royals to win for some misguided reason, maybe to get Ned Yost in the Hall of Fame before you, did you ever think of that? Anyway, don't fall it, Bummer is your man. FREE MADISON BUMGARNER!!!  ;)

Vogelsong is the only pitcher to yield no more than one run in his first five postseason starts. That run ended in the NL Championship Series when Vogelsong allowed four runs in three innings of a no-decision against St. Louis.
This meme is total BS as we have seen with Peavy and more recently Hudson. I know you guys are into that "Southern Rock" meme at the moment, but need I remind you, The South lost and last time I checked, they haven't "done it again" (whatever "it" is) despite various threats to do same over the years. These guys are all talk, no action. These guys were all also sub .500 pitchers all year and you can't just push a "It's the playoffs, look at me, I'm a gamer" button and expect it to work. Other guys have been busting their asses all year while you guys were on cruise control, it's an insult to therm and the baseball gods to expect that strategy to work, so cut the shit and get real. FREE MADISON BUMGARNER!!!  ;)

This stat would be irrelevant if you didn't continue to give away AB's to guys who can't hit for shit right now, while leaving guys like Morse and Bumgarner wasting good swings in the batting cage behind the clubhouse.

Uh Boch, has anyone on the staff noticed this stat or brought it to your attention?
In the two Giants losses, San Francisco is 1-for-24 with nine strikeouts against Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, Greg Holland and late entry Brandon Finnegan.
Release Morse, Bumgarner, Susac and Duffy and bench Juan Perez, Gregor Blanco, Travis Ishikawa (when starting, he's OK, off the bench not so much) and maybe even Posey and Pence for now. FREE MADISON BUMGARNER!!!  ;)

I get the part about Blanco and Perez being in there for defense, but you're not scoring very many runs. In fact, you're not even coming close to scoring runs lately. Having guys in for defense merely exacerbates the problem. I'd much rather get beat 10-2 than this 3-2 shit anyway. If you guys are going to suck, take your ass-whipping like a man and get beat 10-2, guys get over those kind of losses a lot easier than these 3-2 games. It's like a death by a thousand cuts or torture and that is sooooooo..... 2010-2012 Giants. You have a new identity now, embrace it.

Again, I don't want this critique in any way to harm your Hall of Fame chances, I still support the movement provided of course you sit out the mandatory five year waiting period. And of course, after the many more deserving candidates like Jim Leyland, Pete Rose, Don Mattingly (the player, not the manager NO, NO NO), Ned Yost (after he beats you), Joe Maddon (who is technically probably a better manager after adjusting for payroll), Billy Beane (the God of Baseball, saved baseball after the steroids debacle IMO), Brad Pitt (marvelous rendition of Billy Beane, I cried) and Barry Bonds get in before you. Oh, and don't forget Shoeless Joe Jackson and Heinie Manush (never mind, inducted by Veterans Committee).

Thanks for listening Boch, I feel much better about our chances now..


P.S. - You're going to have to go to Bummer and hand him the ball. He's kind of goofy shy like that. He won't ask for / demand the ball like he should. Some macho, locker room mentality BS about not crapping all over a teammate. We don't have time for that shit right now, you dig? We're down 2-1, with the next two games being "must" win games for you guys. And this isn't like when people refer to a late-August game as a "must" win. This is a really, really, really "must" win scenario. See how the script flips on you in the post-season? You guys might have been distracted with designing Hall of Fame busts and junk, so I thought I would step in.

OK, now I really feel better.  Still your best-est fan. Don't listen to anything Mrs. TheSlav says. That "Mr. Negative" moniker has been a nickname she gave me that stuck many, many years ago, like when we first met. It has absolutely no relevance to today's memo.

Respectfully Submitted,

~;::::::;( )">  ¯\_( )_/¯

TheSlav and Associates

Friday, October 24, 2014

Cubs Must Hire Maddon

Joe Maddon.
Former Rays manager Joe Maddon. (Joy R. Absalon, USA Today Sports)

That was fast. Tell me they didn't have advance knowledge of Maddon leaving Tampa Bay.

from Bleacher Report:
Cubs Must Hire Maddon:
Rays manager Joe Maddon opted out of his contract, effective immediately.
The Cubs need to hire Maddon, effective immediately.
He’s the right guy. The best manager in the game. The best manager for what the Cubs are building because that’s what Maddon masterfully managed in Tampa.
The Rays were a drafting and development machine the way Theo Epstein said the Cubs would become. The Rays were smart, flexible and good the way Epstein is fashioning the Cubs. The Rays competed almost every season the way Epstein intends. Maddon embraces metrics the way Epstein insists.
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US Misery Index - Index by President

If this metric demonstrates anything, it shows how much things changed economically during each Presidents term, given that in some cases Presidents are limited by what they are able to change. It seems unfair in the instances of Eisenhower, who had nowhere to go but down and Ford, who had almost nowhere to go but up, given the mess he inherited. Ford is a small sample size casualty as well.

We do seem to be more miserable as a nation lately, that's for sure.

US Misery Index - Index by President:
Misery Index (7.8) equals Unemployment rate (6.1) plus Inflation rate (1.7)
PresidentTime PeriodStartEndChangeAverage
Richard M Nixon1969-01 - 1974-077.8017.019.2110.57
James E Carter, Jr.1977-01 - 1980-1212.7219.727.0016.26
Dwight D Eisenhower1953-01 - 1960-123.287.964.686.26
Lyndon B Johnson1963-11 - 1968-
George H.W. Bush1989-01 - 1992-1210.0710.300.2310.68
Barack H Obama2009-01 - 2014-087.837.80-0.0310.01
George W Bush2001-01 - 2008-127.937.39-0.548.11
John F Kennedy1961-01 - 1963-108.316.82-1.497.14
William J Clinton1993-01 - 2000-1210.567.29-3.277.80
Gerald R Ford1974-08 - 1976-1216.3612.66-3.7016.00
Ronald W Reagan1981-01 - 1988-1219.339.72-9.6112.19
Harry S Truman1948-01 - 1952-1213.633.45-10.187.88
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Joe Maddon Leaving Tampa Bay Rays | Bleacher Report

Joe Maddon Leaving Tampa Bay Rays: Latest Details, Reaction and Analysis

It will be different to watch the Rays and not see Maddon in the dugout, almost an iconic figure in the franchise's history. I hope he does not end up a Dodger since I like him too much, but it makes the most sense. This can't be good news for Mattingly.

from Bleacher Report:
Joe Maddon Leaving Tampa Bay Rays: Latest Details, Reaction and Analysis | Bleacher Report:
Although it remains to be seen if Maddon intends to go elsewhere, there is bound to be talk regarding the Los Angeles Dodgers due to the fact that former Rays vice president Andrew Friedman was recently hired by L.A. 
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P.S. - The grapevine ( and Ken Rosenthal ) says that the Cubs are a leading contender for Maddon. They have a Moneyball guy here as the GM, check and a big  budget that Maddon wouldn't mind underwirting his contract and that of his players, check. Put me down as preferring Wrigley as Maddon's destination. Right in time for bushel basket full of Cubs premium prospects to come to fruition. Plus, the Cubs need some good PR for next season. Maddon has them looking like contenders in no time, he's very good with young players.

Giants cover themselves if (when?) Panda flies the coop

Pablo Sandoval could be a hot commodity after helping the Giants return to the World Series. (USATSI)
Pablo Sandoval could be a hot commodity after helping the Giants return to the World Series. (USATSI)

This covers the team by potentially bringing in a high draft pick as compensation and minimizes a potential backlash from fans of The Panda. However, it likely marks the end of the Panda's walk with the Giants unless he sprouts wings and lifts the Giants to victory as a World Series MVP. It would be hard to let him slip by SF after that.

No talks since spring but Giants will extend qualifying offer to Sandoval -
KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Giants and third baseman Pablo Sandoval haven't had contract talks since spring training and that won't change until after the World Series ends, but the Giants will extend the $15.3 million qualifying offer to Sandoval, according to people familair with their thinking.

The Giants and Sandoval weren't on the same page in spring, with the team said to be most interested in a three-year deal at the time, and Sandoval looking for something in the nine-figure range, as was reported here early in the season.

While the Giants have been too busy to rekindle the talks, some people with the team weren't necessarily thrilled to see reports of interest from the Red Sox leak into the Boston papers at this juncture. Teams technically aren't supposed to discuss players on other teams who interest them, but it is common practice, and not enforceable in cases where no attribution is cited.

Several other teams are expected to be interested, not just Boston, following Sandoval's fine finish and third productive postseason appaerance (he is a .333 career hitter in the postseason, with a .932 OPS). The Marlins have been rumored as a possible suitor and it will be interesting to see what the Yankees do at third base with Alex Rodriguez likely to be more of a DH type. Other teams could try for Sandoval after he finished at .279 with 16 home runs following an awful start. He was hitting .171 as late as May 9.
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No, Ned Yost didn’t “out-manage” Bruce Bochy. His players played better | HardballTalk

Bruce Bochy and Ned Yost

So now we're grading these guys game to game. Maybe I should be the first to toss my "Ned Yost Hall of Fame Manager" nomination into the ring. Good Grief, this is what happens with the 24/7, all news, all the time media circus that rules these events.

Lets' employ the KISS principle and Keep It Simple Stupid, OK? One game is the ultimate small sample size from which you cannot draw any real meaningful conclusions. And yet that's what we do. We've been around the block a couple of times with this in regards to Bochy out-managing (??) Mike Matheny and Matt Williams. I guess it can't just come down to the fact that his guys just made plays and the other team's manager's guys didn't make plays. Even though Matt Holliday broke down the Cards - Giants series in just this manner on the Doug Gottlieb Show.

from Hardball Talk:
No, Ned Yost didn’t “out-manage” Bruce Bochy. His players played better | HardballTalk:
It seems to me that, rather than focus on the managers like everyone seems so intent on doing, maybe we can just say that the Giants’ pitchers didn’t make good pitches when they needed to and the Royals handled everything that came their way in that sixth inning. I suppose it’s harder to get 800-1,000 words out of “the Royals hit the ball well and the Giants didn’t pitch too good” than it is to go on about managerial genius or the lack thereof, but the fact is that most games are decided by the players playing, not the chess moves the managers make. Last night was one of those games.
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This gets you to the Hall of Fame as a manager. Make a 26 game difference over the course of about 20 years. That is an almost imperceptible difference over a LONG period of time. But that doesn't fit well into the current news cycle nor the average baseball fans attention span. But that's baseball.

Is Bruce Bochy One of the Best Managers in Baseball History? (Yes. Here’s Why.) «:

Beating the Odds

Another way to measure a manager’s effectiveness is to compare his team’s win-loss record with its expected win-loss record. In Bochy’s case, we can see a clear pattern of his teams outperforming what you’d expect based on those run totals.
Bochy with the Padres
YearWin-LossExpected Win-LossDifference
Bochy With the Giants
YearWin-LossExpected Win-LossDifference
That’s a total of 26 extra wins over the course of his career.
Of course, one of the surest ways to outperform your expected record is to have a stacked bullpen. The closer for Bochy’s entire stay in San Diego was Trevor Hoffman, one of the best ever, so that certainly helped. In his eight years with the Giants, though, Bochy has cycled through multiple closers and many bullpen configurations, handing ninth-inning duties to everyone from Casilla and Sergio Romo to Wilson, and the immortal one-two punch of Old Armando Benitez and someone named Brad Hennessey. At a certain point, after 20 years of managing, with two teams and all kinds of rosters, you have to acknowledge the common denominator.
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This is why I cannot get on the "trash Mike Matheny" bandwagon. He went with the formula that got his team to the post-season, which BTW was further down the road than most of the so-called experts and prognosticators saw his team advancing to. So he should at least get some credit after the fact for getting there.

Mike Matheny: One-plan man - Viva El Birdos:
In Will Leitch's column over at Sports on Earth yesterday, he dissected Matheny's postseason managing prowess ad nauseum but this chunk really hit home:
Matheny formulated a plan --Gonzales throws two innings -- and maneuvered everything to rigidly follow that plan. When the plan fell into trouble, he had no backup plan, and he was doomed. The regular season requires only one plan; the postseason requires many. Matheny is a one-plan man.
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The fact that in putting all his decisions under the microscope after the fact may demonstrate some that were questionable is, as always just plain silly. I'm sure Mike Matheny and Matt Williams are smart enough to make intelligent decision with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. They don't have that luxury however. That's why they get the big bucks.

These same guys who criticize Matheny for being a one-plan man likely also had an article written for the "Matheny screwed up by panicking and deviating from the formula that got his team to the dance" if that scenario had played out.

It's brings to mind the classic Teddy Roosevelt quote about the critic:

THE MAN IN THE ARENA                                          Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic"                                          delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 
It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. 

Giants Top Minor League Prospects

  • 1. Kyle Crick 6-4,220 RHP Power pitcher in the Matt Cain mold. High K-rate comes with High BB-rate. Low 90's FB with sink. Can be a top of the rotation starter once command/control issues ironed out. Mechanics are sound.
  • 2. Tyler Beede 6-4, 215 RHP from Vanderbilt projects as top of the rotation starter
  • 3. Clayton Blackburn 6-3, 220 RHP Good low 90's FB with sink, excellent command of stuff, good secondary pitches. His 8.64 K/BB ratio is off the charts efficient.
  • 4. Ty Blach 6-1, 210 LHP Glavine comps will give him a chance to rise fast.
  • 5. Daniel Carbonell 6-2, 215 Cuban signee, speedy, switch-hitting CF with power potential. Could be a five-tool player if he hits.
  • 6. Chris Stratton 6-3, 185 RHP Mississippi State Decent four-pitch mix, solid pitching frame. Can run FB to 94 MPH with movement. Throws SL/CB, with the slider the better of the two.
  • 7. Mac Williamson 6-4, 240 OF Wake Forest grad with five-tool potential if he hits advanced pitching.
  • 8. Derek Law 6-2, 210 RHP power arm with some deceptiveness in his delivery, copuld be a dark horse to contribute in 2014
  • 9. Adalberto Mejia 6-3,195 LHP Throws strikes and mixes pitches well. Good secondary stuff, projects as middle rotation guy. Keeps ball down and gets outs.
  • _10. Kendry Flores 6-2, 175 RHP very efficient pitcher, could also move fast
  • _11. Matt Duffy 6-2, 170 SS from Long Beach State is turning heads with quick bat, good command of strike zone, gap power hitter at best, good base runner with average speed.
  • _12. Steven Okert 6-3, 210 LHP Oklahoma product, another power lefty prospect.
  • _13. Keury Mella 6-2, 200 RHP Dominican signee is really opening eyes with a nice power arm
  • _14. Joan Gregorio 6-7, 180 RHP potential closer material
  • _15. Aramis Garcia 6-2, 220 C from Florida INTL projects as a good bat behind the dish with enough defensive skill to play there long-term
  • _16. Luis Ysla 6-1, 185 LHP from Venezeula cruises at 92-94MPH snd touches 97 on occasion, max effort delivery concerns, iffy slider, projects as reliever.
  • _17. Gustavo Cabrera 6-0, 190 OF INTL signee, 16 year-old compared to Justin Upton. Injuries slowed his progress in 2014
  • _18. Martin Agosta 6-1, 180 RHP FB up to 94 mph with some sink. Plus secondary stuff, shows ability to mix pitches.
  • _19. Christian Arroyo 6-1, 180 SS very efficient with the bat, good hitting approach, test will be how he handles advanced pitching
  • _20 Ryder Jones 6-2, 200 3B polished bat with some pop. Good athleticism for the corner IF

2014 Top MLB College Draft Prospects

  • 1. Michael Matuella 6-6, 225 RHP Duke Nice four pitch mix, mid 90's FB and 12-6 CB. Potential top of first rounder.
  • 2. Nathan Kirby 6-2, 185 LHP Virginia Dominant starter, 92-93 MPH FB and power curve ball. Added an effective change-up.
  • 3. Carson Fullmer 6-0 RHP Vanderbilt Mid 90's FB compliments effective breaking ball and change-up for effective three pitch mix.
  • 4. Riley Ferrell 6-1, 200 RHP TCU closer for TCU upper 90's FB touches 98-99. Nasty high 80's slider makes him virtually unhittable as closer, can transition to starter
  • 5. Alex Bregman 5-11, 180 2B/SS LSU BS Freshman of Year in 2013 has all the tools, instinctive player.
  • 6. Kyle Funkhouser 6-3, 205 RHP Louisville FB cruises at 92-94 and touches 97.
  • 7. Walker Buehler 6-1, 170 RHP Vanderbilt Low 90's FB and competitive streak, will compliment Fullmer at top of rotation for defending champs.
  • 8. Kyle Cody 6-7, 245 RHP Kentucky Fastball sits at 93-96, 3:1 K/BB ratio in Cape Cod League, secondary stuff needs work
  • 9. Cody Pence 6-6, 240 RHP Cal Poly Pomona Nice four pitch mix, 95-96 MPH FB, plus cutter and curve
  • _10. Ian Happ 5-11, 190 OF Cincinnati Switch hitter with compact, line drive stroke, hard-nosed, high energy player
  • _11. Gio Brusa 6-3, 190 OF Pacific Switch hitter with above average power
  • _12. Phil Bickford 6-4, 200 RHP Cal State Fullerton (??) Good FB, power curve ball mix.
  • _13. Marc Brakeman 6-1 180 RHP Stanford 90-95 MPH FBm 47:7 K/BB ration in Cape Cod League, good swing and miss change and slider
  • _14. Richie Martin 5-10, 170 SS Florida Athletic ING with good speed and arm strength
  • _15. C.J. Hinojosa 5-11, 180 SS Texas Good instincts, confident player. Good arm, fringy power bat
  • _16. Kevin Newman 6-1, 180 SS Arizona Back to back Cape batting titles. Average arm, speed, controls strike zone well
  • _17. Alex Young 6-3, 200 LHP TCU Low 90's FB and slider, two pitch mix, projects as a starter
  • _18. Steven Duggar 6-2, 190 OF Clemson Good speed 6.3 60yd, good bat speed from left side. Potential five-tool guy
  • _19. Kyle Twoney 6-3, 170 LHP USC Easy delivery, good FB command 94 MPH FB
  • _20. Kevin Duchene 6-2, 205 LHP Illinois High 80's FB with nice change, strike thrower, repeatable delivery, good mound presence

2014 MLB Draft - Top National HS Players

  • 1. Justin Hooper 6-7, 230 LHP De La Salle HS (CA) 6-6 athletic lefty with mid-90's FB.
  • 2. Kolby Allard 6-2, 175 LHP San Clements HS (CA) easy mid 90's FB tops at 95MPH, good command with plus breaking ball and change
  • 3. Mike Nikoriak 6-4, 205 RHP Stroudsburg HS (PA) FB sits at 94-96 with sionk. CB is inconsistent. QB prospect with Alabama commit.
  • 4. Ashe Russell 6-4, 200 RHP Cathedral Catholis HS (IN) FB that sits at 92-94 and tops at 95 with average potential breaking ball. Could rise fast.
  • 5. Beau Burrows 6-1, 200 Weatherford HS (TX) RHP FB workable breaking ball and change. FB sits at 94, tops at 96 with tilt. Texas A&M commit.
  • 6. Brendan Rogers 6-0, 195 SS Lake Mary HS (FL) Good spped and power, amooth, athletic IF. Florida State commit.
  • 7. Daz Cameron 6-1, 185 OF Eagles Landing HS (GA) Athletic and toolsy player with power and speed. Son of Mike Cameron.
  • 8. Kyle Tucker 6-3,190 OF Plant HS (FL) Solid CF who can hit. Florida commit.
  • 9. Nick Plummer 5-10, 200 OF Bloomington Brother Rice (MI) Physical, athletic lefty hitter with good bat speed.
  • Austin Riley 6-3, 220 RHP/INF DeSoto Central HS (MS) Two-way player and FB prospect as QB, FB touches 92-94 has power potential with bat from right side.
  • Chandler Day 6-4, 162 RHP Watkins Memorial HS (OH) solid 93 MPH FB
  • Chris Betts 6-2, 220 C Wilson HS (CA) Plus pure arm strength, arm stroke gets long for a catcher. needs work receiving, above average raw power from left side. Tennessee commit.
  • Cole McKay 6-5, 215 RHP Smithson Valley HS (TX) Strong frame, power pitcher with some feel for pitching. 92-94 FB with late stuff. Curve and change are both above-average with sink to the change. Louisiana State commit.
  • Corey Zangari 6-4, 230 RHP Carl Albert HS (OK) Also a catcher, his FB cruise at mid 90's and tops at 97. Breaking ball has potential but lacks consistency. Oklahoma State commit.
  • Devin Davis 6-2, 210 1B/OF Valencia HS (CA) Two-way player who leads with the power bat. Hitting ability is advanced with natural power leverage in his stroke. Loyola Marymount commit.
  • Hunter Bowling 6-7, 215 LHP American Heritage HS (FL) Great pitcher's build, projectible body. FB touches 93 MPH wit downward tilt. Slider is average, Florida commit.
  • Luken Baker 6-4, 245 RHP/OF Oak Ridge HS (TX) Big, strong, physical two-way player. 94 MPH FB with extreme power bat. TCU commit.
  • Ryan Johnson 6-3, 200 OF College Station HS (TX) Good bat speed and power bat. TCU commit.
  • Sati Santa Cruz 6-3, 230 RHP Sahaurita HS (AZ) Physical, power pitcher challenges hitters with a heavy FB that sits low 90's and touches 95. Secondary stuff needs work. Arizona commit.
  • Thomas Szapucki 6-2,185 LHP Dwyer HS (FL) Three pitch arsenal with deceptive delivery. FB is low 90's with 93 top. Slider can show above average, with a workable change.
  • Wyatt Cross 6-3, 190 C Legacy HS (CO) One of the stronger arms behind the plate, plus pop time. Good strength and athleticism. North Carolina commit.
  • _10. Donny Everett 6-2, 220 RHP Clarksville HS (TN) Power pitcher tops at 96 MH FB

2015 Top Tampa Bay Area High School Baseball Players

  • Jake Woodford RHP Plant HS Florida commit.
  • Kyke Tucker 6-3, 175 OF Plant HS Good pure hitter and defensive OF. Solid skills across the board. Florida commit.

2015 Top MLB HS Draft Prospects (NW Suburban Chicago Area)

  • Bradley Parchute RHP Marengo HS
  • Brandon Krennrich C Johnsburg HS Kentucky commit.
  • Jake Esp RHP Marmion Academy