Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Giants Take Crown From Royals!

Madison Bumgarner and the Giants win Game Seven in Kansas City to claim the World Series title! Obviously the hero is the superstar lefty, but you have to acknowledge the incredible play by Joe Panik to start a crucial double play and back up the good effort from Jeremy Affeldt. Pablo Sandoval had four hits, he and Pence would have been co-MVPs if not for the big fella from Hickory. And Mike Morse, much-maligned as a brain-dead slugger and then out of action for much of the stretch run, delivered two huge RBIs to give the Giants and Bumgarner just enough. It was an incredible display of baseball by the orange and black. In the 9th we all had a terrifying moment when Gregor Blanco let a ball get past him and put a runner on third base, but MadBum overpowered Salvador Perez to end it.



It's On!!

After 4 it is 3-2 Giants.
Panik's DP is the play of the game so far.
Two great PAs from DH Morse as well.
Affeldt got the outs he needed to get in relief of Huddy.
Bottom of the 5th and in comes Madison Bumgarner.
Perez (and Wotus) save a run!
Blown chance for Giants.
Big hitters for KC in the 6th.
Wow, another great display from MadBum.
Six innings down, three to go, Giants clinging to a one-run lead.
Davis puts up a zero.
MadBum back out for the bottom of the 7th.
Another zero with help from the Panda!
Giants can't solve Davis and MadBum is back out for the 8th.
He does it again and it's on to the 9th!
Holland gets it done for KC.
Boch is going for all the marbles with MadBum!


Jake Peavy, Severe Buzz Kill - Prelude to Game 7 Giants Win

My World Series Game 6 day got off to a crappy start yesterday, when I read this on MLBTradeRumors:

  • Jake Peavy told reporters, including Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago-Sun Times, that he will be interested to see where his close friend Jon Lester signs this offseason. Peavy had no qualms in stating that he’d like to once again be teammates with his friend: “I’ve certainly talked to Jon Lester because we’re buddies,” said Peavy. “So I have a feel for what he does. And I certainly know that Chicago would interest him and interest me.” Peavy clarified that he’s not suggesting a package deal for the Cubs, but rather, “There’s a package deal out there for any team.” Wittenmyer spoke to a few people close to Peavy who believe the Cubs would be high on his offseason wishlist, however, having spent several years there with the White Sox.

This is what the guy is worried out about just prior to the biggest start of his career???  Well, I hope that he & Jon Lester have great late careers, losing games for the Cubs.

What a crappy event that was last night.  The Posey AB in the 3rd inning was the only moment of hope, but that ended poorly on the first pitch.  Oh well ... better to lose 10-0, than 1-0.

We are now faced with having to become the first road Team to win a Game 7 since the 1979 Pirates of 'We Are Family' fame.  A little Pence speech, a solid start by Hudson, who I do not think is going to pull a Peavy on us, & some crafty Bochy bullpen management, & we could be in a position to do so.  Of course, there is the little matter of having to score a run or two, too.  If anyone is due for a big extra-base knock or two or three, it is our Leader, Buster.  So, bring it, Buster - it's not too late.  Table-setters, get on for him, & let's party like it's 2010 & 2012.

Go Giants!!!!!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Maddy, Maddy, Maddy and Juan

RIP Oscar Tavaras.  The young Cardinal outfielder apparently died today in a car accident in the DR.  He as a rising star who had only a short season with the Cardinals.

Madison Bumgarner was spectacular.  He threw the first shutout in a World Series game since Josh Beckett in 2003 for the Marlins.  He earned his fourth career World Series victory.  In 31 innings of World Series ball, he has given up a total of 1 run.  Tonight, he threw 117 pitches, 84 of them were strikes.  He allowed 4 hits and struck out 8.  He allowed 1 runner to reach 2nd base.  He did not walk anyone.  When the game started, before Maddy settled down, I thought he looked tired.  Not from watching him pitch, but just from the look on his face, as though he had a touch of the Giants flu.  Shows how well I can read the taciturn lefty, as he gave up a single to Salvador Perez to start the 2nd inning and promptly retired the side on strikeouts.  Madison Bumgarner is 25 years old.

The Giants scratched and clawed for their first 2 runs.  The first came in the 2nd on a Pence single, a Belt bunt for a base hit (his first in his major league career), an Ishikawa sac fly and a Crawford ground out.  The second came in the 4th, also on a Crawford single to score Pablo from 2nd base with 2 outs.  Brandon Crawford also collected the final rbi in the 8th, scoring Juan Perez from 3rd.

The 8th inning was amazing.  Pablo and Pence started off with singles off of the allegedly unhittable Kelvin Herrera, the first of the three-headed monster that the Royals use for the last three innings, usually when they are ahead.  Then the Royals brought in Wade Davis, head #2.  After Brandon Belt struck out, Juan Perez put a pitch withing inches of the top of the wall in center for a 2 run double, taking 3rd on the throw.  Final score, 5 to 0.  Hits up and down the lineup, only Gregor Blanco and Madison Bumgarner did not get a hit.

I like the look of things from here.  True, we are going back to Kansas City.  However, obviously, we are 1 game up.  Second, we get to put Morse back in the lineup.  Third, we have the following pitchers to use for multiple innings: Jake Peavy, Tim Hudson, Ryan Vogelsong, Yusmeiro Petit, and Tim Lincecum; the Royals can't match that.  Fourth, the bubble of the three-headed monster has been pierced, and the Royals have to be soured on their other relievers.  Finally, if you believe in momentum, we got it.
Go Giants!

Saturday, October 25, 2014


The Giants kicked some serious ass tonight. I've had too many jars at the bar to give you a proper accounting of things, but that is why god invented ESPN. Go there, fer chrissakes, and read the damn summary and look at the beautiful fookin' box score. Despair was the story after last night's frustrating loss, but tonight the Giants rallied and served notice that they are a force to be reckoned with. Ryan Vogelsong looked like an absolute beast in the first two innings, but it all fell apart in the 3rd after a blown play at first base. Hey, give the Royals credit. They are a great club and if you give them a millimeter they will drive a damn Mack truck through that opening. Sound familiar? It should--the Giants worked that same magic on the Nats and the Cards. So, me buckos, if you aren't prepared for a 15-round heavyweight donnybrook then go the fuck home and drink some fecking herbal tea. This is the goddamn Series, it's serious business, and we have to be prepared for some hardcore counter-punching.

We arrived in Chi-town after 50 hours on the Amtrak and the goddamn Best Western--which advertised a bar and restaurant--feebed out big time and offered a pissant goddamn snack bar instead. Well, fuck those corporate penny-pinching arseholes! We wandered the 'hood an stumbled into Kitty O'Shea's, an Irish pub, just around the corner. Being a second-generation American of full-blooded Hibernian ancestry I knew it was home away from home. Irony of ironies, it was part of the damn Hilton. Maybe I should stop cheaping out and go for the four-star and higher when on the road. Ah well, that's another story for another time. We had some fun with the staff and drank pints of local brews and some superb Irish whiskey. We gabbed with a Royals fan, too. His mother was from KC and that meant a lot to me as my own mother is responsible for my love of baseball. Listen up: baseball fans are beautiful people. I would rather knock back brews with a proper Dodgers fan than some gobshite from San Francisco who'd rather watch football. Trust me on this. Cultivate a love of the game, man.

The Giants will travel to Kansas City for Game Six. This team is marvelous. They have been up and they have been down but one thing they have is heart. They battle until the end and fight with all their might. After the agonizing, schizophrenic 2014 season, I had no idea what to expect for the post-season. When they blasted the Pirates in Pittsburgh in the Wild Card game I told my truelove that everything else was a bonus. Then they blew through the playoffs and found themselves in the Series for the third time in five seasons. Did we ever expect a Giants team to have that kind of run in our lifetimes?

I'm greedy. I want to balance the cosmic ledger (three wins versus three losses for the SF club in the finals). I want Bochy to join the pantheon (only nine managers in the history of the game have three rings). But it's not going to be easy. It's going to be the toughest challenge yet. So gird those loins, lads.

Madison Bumgarner tomorrow night.



Friday, October 24, 2014

Game 3 : KC Bullpen Lives up to the Hype

"Hola pal looks like no tv or wifi on the train so i hope you can send me text updates!! I obviously wont be able to post so maybe you can do that? Regardless Go Giants!! Kick some KC ass! We are arriving Albuquerque right now."

So that is why I got stuck writing about this kinda close, kinda depressing World Series loss, 3-2, in Game 3 at AT&T Park.  I had the dubious honor of texting almost every detail of the bloody thang and I sure don't want to do that again. Unless it is a game we win, of course. Like tomorrow.

Anyway.  Tonight will be called close and I suppose that can't be denied. Yet, I never really felt much of a glimmer of impending magic. Quite the opposite. We got KC'ed. They got an early lead and did their bullpen from heaven thing. And, yes, their bullpen does look very strong, especially Wade and Holland, who made our best hitters look very bad. Of course, so did Joe Mediocre Guthrie, their starter. In fact, our top four hitters went 0-15 with 1 walk and 1 lame RBI.  So it was hard to tell if they pitch well or we just suck at the plate. Both, I suppose.

Anyway.  Can Ryan Vogelsong recapture the magic? Will Buster ever hit an extra base hit again?  Will we get the thrill/terror of a Tim Lincecum performance?  Can I watch our offense without getting nauseous?  These questions and more will be answered tomorrow. Or not.

San Francisco Is Ready

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bullpen Collapse Sinks Giants

You could sense that the 6th inning was going to be the critical point in the game. Tied 2-2, the Giants chased Yordano Ventura but could not push across the go-ahead run. Jake Peavy, who'd breezed through the previous nine outs, put the first two men on in the bottom of the inning. Boch immediately summoned Jean Machi who unfortunately could not get the forkball down and a single from Billy Butler plated the go-ahead run. Javier Lopez came in and got the lefty Alex Gordon but then Boch went with rookie Hunter Strickland for Salvador Perez. The youngster gave up a double that scored two and then a homer to Omar Infante to pile on the misery. Seems like the well is tapped on number 60. The bright side of that debacle was that Timmy got to pitch and he looked good. I reckon the bullpen depth chart will get a re-working. He left after five outs with what looked like a muscle tweak on a bad landing--we can only hope the injury is minor and he'll be healthy and still available for the weekend.

A win by the Giants would likely have been the death blow. The Royals were in a must-win situation and they came up with the big hits when they had to have them. I thought Peavy looked really good after a rocky beginning and it was a real bummer when he put those guys on to start the 6th, you knew Boch would have the quick hook there, I can't argue with that. The guys didn't execute and that was the game. Another positive for the Giants is they got a look at the three-headed bullpen monster (Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis, and Greg Holland) that the Royals depend on to close out games. They are obviously impressive, but the Giants have already beaten two good teams and I expect they can beat another one. It's all set up for a sweep at home--wouldn't that be something?

Tim Hudson gets the ball in San Francisco on Friday night.



Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Giants Win Game 1 of the 2014 World Series

I could have gone with a different title, like "Madison Bumgarner's World Series ERA Soars!"  But that would have been deceptive.  Not that I am above that sort of thing, but it feels so good to type that the Giants have won game 1.  First, I am still on a cloud that they are even in the 2014 World Series, and then I am coming to the realization that they look pretty good in this contest.

With our ace on the mound, the Giants brought some bats and did not hesitate to use them.  Blanco led off the game with a single, moved to 2nd on Panik's long out, to 3rd on Buster's single, and scored when Pablo Sandoval doubled to the wall in right.  Posey was thrown out trying to score from 1st, but it took an excellent throw to get him.   With 1 run and 2 outs, Hunter Pence promptly homered to center field to make it 3 - 0 before Kansas City could hit.

The only baserunner for Kansas City was Lorenzo Cain in the 1st, hit on the back ankle by a pitch as Madison Bumgarner was still trying to get all his "stuff" working.  The Giants held, and with the help of a double play, kept Kansas City from scoring in the second.   In the 3rd, it looked like Kansas City was ready to tighten up the game.  Omar Infante went to 1st on Brandon Crawford's inability to field a ground ball cleanly, and to 3rd on Mike Moustakas' double.  Madison toughened up and struck out the next 2 batters before walking Cain.  An Eric Hosmer ground out ended that threat, and Kansas City never really threatened again.  Madison went 7 strong, allowing only 3 hits and striking out 5 in 106 pitches.  He gave up his first run in his World Series history (21 innings!) in the 7th to Pablo's friend Salvador Perez.  That makes Madison's World Series ERA 0.43, which is still pretty good.

When the Giants came to bat in the 4th, Hunter Pence doubled and went to 3rd on a wild pitch.  Brandon Belt walked, and Michael Morse's single chased James Shields from the game.  Danny Duffy lasted 3 innings and gave up 2 runs, but after 59 pitches (71 for Shields), he will probably not available tomorrow as a long reliever.  The final was 7-1.  Joe Panik got into the act with an rbi triple in the 7th, Gregor Blanco was on base 3 times and was credited with an rbi for a walk when the bases were loaded, and Pablo Sandoval picked up a second rbi to score Panik.  The Giants had 10 hits on the night.

You have to love it when the Giants show up with bats.  Pence hit a home run and a double, looking like a stud.  Morse hit.  Blanco looked good at the plate and in the field.  Everyone in the line up hit except Travis Ishikawa and his replacement, Juan Perez.  Strickland (pitching the 9th) looked good.  Madison snared two line drives and started a double play.  This team has every reason to be confident.  Winning game 1 in Kansas City is huge.