Last GBC Reader of 2021: If Moneyball Mostly Dies in the DS, and Has Never Won it All, Do We Really Want to Commit?

This season was mathemagical and lucky. The Dodgers were the better team, that a few times only lost because of an error by one guy (Bellinger, Jansen, Turner). To their credit, our Giants seized the mistakes.

The Giants played unbelievably well. They were managed brilliantly and straight beat the Bums in some games. I was at that 5 – 0 shutout in late July. Then the clutch win to take the season series proved we were the better team when it mattered more than them, all season long.

We earned the division.

But it ended like it did not because of a bullshit check-swing call, but because this is how monied ball works: they spent $60m more than us for the guys on the field. As I pointed out back in April, they are the new Sith Lord – they outspent every other team in the majors by at least 20%

Their expensive guys were better, and frankly Dave Roberts stole one of our moves, by using an opener, to help their expensive guys out – an interesting moment mix-and-matching the moneyball game and the monied one.

Also, losing a big bat was far more costly for us, the moneyball team, than for the monied one: the Giants without Belt couldn’t outhit or outscore the Nemesis without Muncy.

Ultimately we contributed to the demise of the nemesis, exhausting the Bums, which allowed the Braves to deny them the pennant and the real trophy, the regular, 162-game season trophy:

still no repeat world series champion in the 21st century

Moneyball almost always runs out in the DS, as I restated immediately after the last game:

“all along I said we’d probably lose the DS, because that’s what happens to moneyball teams – since the Oakland Athletics invented it. The greatest moneyball team ever is the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, a team that achieved that level of success again in The Irregular Season (2020). And in the end, even they fell short.”

Which for me begs the question, then, is it worth it? We won more games than ever, had an incredible season, beat the Nemesis in the season series and for the division, and still weren’t favored to win the DS. Ask yourself why? I pose this because one of my jobs here at GBC is to ask stuff others won’t in the hopes of opening discourse toward a better team.

This season marks the true beginning of the Giants version of the moneyball philosophy. And it overperformed spectacularly. But a LOT of that was some crazy luck. So will we spend on several guys who sabermetrically fit the team, so we can try to make a run like that happen again? or spend bigger to add a premiere starter or premiere OF/utility power hitter? Will we ever have a starting rotation, like the old days? Are ‘bullpen games’ now just a part of our strategy? These are some of the questions emerging from this philosophical and financial change of process.

A good place to follow these discussions is at Around the Foghorn, which has been in the blogroll here since they started. I often link to their stuff in the corner.

Jeff Young and Mark DeLucchi and others there provide good sports journalism about all levels of the organization. Young’s stuff this week about where the Giants are headed prompted me to think about it, and off-the-cuff, I even replied in the comments over there:

“I say lock up Belt (QO) and Posey (contract). Pay Wilmer Flores and Jose Alvarez. Negotiate hard for Kris Bryant, Kevin Gausman, Donavon Solano, Alex Wood. But be flexible with Dominic Leone and Tony Watson and even DeSclafani, Johnny Cueto, Scott Kazmir and John Brebbia. The combination of luck and old guys’ last drops of magic were awesome, but we need to turn to a new round of misfit toys. All these guys are more valuable than they’ll ever be again. I want a legit, mid-career, big bat for the outfield, Kyle Schwarber or Starling Marte – Nick Castellanos could be affordable – and to go after a starting pitcher like Ray or Syndegaard.”

You should go over to Around the Foghorn and join the discussion.

Important Moments in 2021 w Links to GBC coverage

  • Dick Tidrow, Architect of Our Three-WS Winning Pitching Staff, Passed Away
  • Giants Were First to 40-, 50-, 60-, 70-, 80-, 90-, and 100-wins

Many season records fell as well: most wins, home runs, guys with ten home runs, pinch-hit home runs, and pitchers used are the ones I can remember right now. Safe to say our Sabermetrics Year, our Moneyball Year was without a doubt the best statistically in our history by a long shot.

I was going to link to some pieces I liked after the season, but you all probably read the same ones I did in the vacuum of the gut-punch that ended our magical ride. What a shitty way for the season to end – so anti-climactic, so vacuous.

It hurt to lose like that. In some ways it is comparable to the 1993 season. I remember it well. Those of you who do can share your unique stories comparing then and now in the comments if you like. For me, 1993 was WAY worse, because we lost so big and we had the better record by far and the team was in danger of leaving, and perhaps most importantly, we hadn’t won the world series yet.

Winning it all changed everything – losing hurts less. This one hurt badly. But there were silver linings all over it. We felt ahead of schedule … except we don’t really have a team and have to rebuild it again – ay! Moneyball!

Here’s the 2021 season GBC Glossary with some fun notes on superstitions and rally capping and finally, I did some new things here at GBC as well:

  • I finally paid for ‘giantsbaseballcorner dot com’ and removed the ads
  • created an Insta for GBC (hardly used it – looking for someone Insta-savvy to take it over)
  • posted to reddit a few times … mostly during …
  • live-blogging The Gauntlet – the longest uninterrupted stretch of games (16)

Thank you for joining Giants Baseball Corner this season. It felt good to have readers. Best wishes for good health to you all in my Giants family.

Let’s Go Giants!

love,

mtk

Posted in Commentary, Final Post, GBC Readers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Still No Back-to-Back World Series Champions in the 21st Century

No team has won the World Series back-to-back in the 21st century.

The Yankees ended the previous century with the repeat, but since, no one has won the ultimate series twice in a row. With the elimination of the Dodgers in the National League Championship Series, it is assured not to happen again.

The Dodgers, Phillies, Rangers and Royals all went twice in a row, but none achieved it. The elimination of the Red Sox in the American League Championship Series gives the Giants championships more significance. We won every other year for three championships, ’10, ’12 and ’14. The Boston Red Sox, after finally breaking the curse, have won four: ’04, ’07, ’13 and ’18.

The Braves have not won yet this century. The Astros won their first four years ago, ’17.

World Series 2021: Astros v. Braves

I don’t admire Dusty Baker. There, I said it. The nation fawns and I call bullshit.

But beyond that, I always root for the NL in the World Series because we are the far superior league. I’d like to see Atlanta take one in this century.

The Astros quit the NL. smh. Can’t pull for them.

sigh. okay so …

Let’s Go Braves

love,

mtk

Posted in Post Game Blasts, SFG Off Day Posts, World Series | Leave a comment

The Greatest Giants Season Ever Ends Sabermetrically as Moneyball Again Doesn’t Get Past the DS

Let me start by saying Doug Eddings was excellent behind the plate. His strike zone was tight, crisp and fair all night. Despite my concerns, at least the zone was good and the ump behind the plate was fair.

Secondly, I must say I’m not surprised by the outcome. We overperformed this year and it was a blast, but all along I said we’d probably lose the DS, because that’s what happens to moneyball teams – since the Oakland Athletics invented it.

The greatest moneyball team ever is the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays, a team that achieved that level of success again in the Irregular Season (2020). And in the end, even they fell short.

Third, congratulations to the Nemesis. Well played. It was a great summer. You pushed us all year and taking the best record and winning the NL West was a blast!

I’ll write up a season ending summary next week, but finally, thanks to all readers who dropped in to Giants Baseball Corner this year. Check back in February for pitchers and catchers!

love,

mtk

Posted in NLDS, NLWest, Post Game Blasts | 1 Comment

NLDS Game Five, Dodgers at Giants 10/14/2021, Two of the Five WORST Umpires in MLB are Calling This One

Dodgers at Giants Game Five. Julio Urias vs. Logan Webb for all the marbles. Historic, epic game.

But let’s talk about the umpires. Because two of the five worst umpires in the game today are on the crew for tonight’s epic, historic, critical, season-deciding game five between two teams with the oldest rivalry in all of baseball.

Ted Barrett crew chiefs alongside Doug Eddings, Angel Hernandez, Pat Hoberg, Gabe Morales and Carlos Torres. We don’t know who will be behind the plate because MLB refuses to tell us until the very last second before first pitch. But Barrett was terrible behind the plate on Tuesday night. He was really, really bad.

NBSCBAYAREA powered by fuckfinity wrote, “If it wasn’t for the wind, Ted Barrett’s horrific Game 3 would have been the story of San Francisco’s 1-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Division Series.” in this very illuminating piece.

USA Today called it “absolutely atrocious.” Andrew Joseph goes on: “the home plate umpire had one of the worst nights you’ll ever see in a postseason game.”

According to fansided, who consider him the fourth worst of the five worst umpires in the game today, Ted Barrett “was actually the worst umpire in MLB in 2018, getting over 11.5% of his calls wrong. He is hardly someone who inspires anything close to confidence when he is behind the plate.”

Which brings us to wonder who they considered the worst? You guessed it. Angel Hernandez .. and he is on this crew, too.

“You know you are terrible at your job when that is determined in the legal system. Such is the case with Angel Hernandez. … There are far too many instances to recount all of them. He is horrendous in every aspect behind the plate. A prime example of his inability to call a game correctly came in Game Three of the 2018 ALDS, where four of his calls were challenged in the first four innings, with three being overturned. How he is still allowed on the diamond is a mystery to everyone involved. Angel Hernandez is widely panned as the worst MLB umpire.”

Well, you think, maybe he knows he is under scrutiny now and is better? Well here’s what the Sporting News said about the game he called from behind the plate in this series. “Hernandez was again frustrating fans, players and managers during Game 2 of the NLDS between the Giants and Dodgers on Saturday. He started early by calling a pitch outside the zone a strike on a 2-2 count to Giants left fielder Darin Ruf that set him down.” There’s video of the pitch.

Fansided in a piece entitled, “Angel Hernandez Should Not Be Anywhere Near These Playoffs,” are unequivocal, “Let us not forget what happened when Hernandez finally got his chance at the playoffs. He blew three calls at first in the span of four innings, with a fourth call being challenged but upheld. When one has to wonder what game the umpire is watching, that is not a good sign regarding the competence of the person calling the game.”

sigh.

so here we go. It’s business as usual Giants fans: the nation hates us, the broadcasters/advertisers want L.A. to win and MLB has saddled us with two of the five worst umpires in the nation.

Let’s Go Giants!

Beat LA!

#BeatLA

beat LA

and beat those other guys in blue, too.

Posted in NLDS, NLWest, PreGame GBCs, SCRBRDWatch | 1 Comment

NLDS Game Four, Giants at Dodgers 10/12/2021

I knew we weren’t going to win it down there. I mean of course I would have taken it, but these Dodgers, with this salary and their backs against the wall, putting Walker Buehler on the mound on short rest, weren’t going to lose at home. My concern is that we used a lot of relievers, just to lose one I figured we would.

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
DeSclafani (L, 0-1)1.252202028-2010.80
J. Alvarez0.10000003-20.00
K. Castro0.100020012-40.00
J. Garcia1.012110127-166.75
D. Leone1.021111022-1316.20
T. Rogers0.20001007-30.00
Z. Littell2.020004035-2310.13
J. McGee1.02220019-86.75
TEAM8.01276572143-89
rough night

Anthony DeSclafani has been inconsistent all season. He was rocked early in several games, but then he’d turn around and have a commanding start against a strong team. Just not against the Dodgers, who have totally had his number.

Giants beat writer Maria Guardado points out, “DeSclafani faced 10 batters and gave up five hits in his first start since Oct. 1, departing with the Giants trailing, 2-0, in the bottom of the second inning. He fell to 0-4 with a 7.53 ERA over seven starts against Los Angeles this year, compared to 13-4 with a 2.37 ERA against everyone else.”

I noticed earlier in the season he was particularly effective when paired with his former catcher, Curt Casali. They played together for the Reds. We got away from that as we eased Buster into his role as full time catcher. Last night, with Buster Posey behind the plate, DeSclafani wasn’t good. The Bums were amped. It was a tough start, but not unexpected.

The fact that we are playing Game Five at home to decide the NLDS was the result of superhuman effort as the Dodgers were lock-step with us all season long. Both teams at this point have 109 wins. This, I think, is the only way this could have ended – a deciding game five for all the marbles.

More from Guardado, whose piece is first and best this morning:

“Thursday will mark only the third winner-take-all game in the history of the Giants-Dodgers rivalry. Before relocating to the West Coast, the storied franchises met in a three-game tiebreaker in 1951, when the New York Giants defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers on Bobby Thomson’s “Shot Heard ’Round the World” to clinch the NL pennant in the decisive Game 3 at the Polo Grounds.

The Giants also prevailed in their three-game tiebreaker against the Dodgers in 1962, scoring four runs in the ninth inning of the decisive Game 3 at Dodger Stadium to punch their ticket to the World Series. Given the circumstances, the looming confrontation feels ripe for more October theater.”

whew.

Us (109 – 58) vs. Them (109 – 58)

epic.

Beat L.A.

#BeatLA

beat LA.

Posted in NLDS, NLWest, Post Game Blasts, SCRBRDWatch | Leave a comment

One for the Ages

Yesterday I said Evan Longoria wasn’t scared of Max Scherzer.

and that is all it took.

This was one for the ages – a National League pitchers duel between the two best teams in the country, played with crisp, stunning, league-leading defense, decided by a solo shot by the greatest Dirtbag to ever play the game.

Giants 1, Dodgers 0.

123456789RHE
000010000130
000000000050
October 11th, 2021 at Chavez Ravine, Los Angeles

WIN T. Rogers 1.2 IP, 0 ER, 0 K, 0 BB

LOSS M. Scherzer 7.0 IP, 1 ER, 10 K, 1 BB

SAVE C. Doval 2.0 IP, 0 ER, 1 K, 0 BB

one for the ages.

Posted in NLDS, NLWest, Post Game Blasts, Road Trips, SCRBRDWatch | Leave a comment

NLDS Game Three, Giants at Dodgers 10/11/21

Alex Wood named to start

When the Giants signed Alex Wood, one of the most commonly heard praises was that, as a former standout starter for the Dodgers, he’d step up and perform for us against them with an intimate, insider’s knowledge of their lineup. There has never been a more important time than now for him to show it.

Alex Wood’s history, as a Giant and as a “champion,” depends on this performance. After all, he only won the little trophy with the Bums last year, the one for the Irregular Season of 60 games – you know, the one that was one third the size of the real trophy.

unknown author

At this point, either Alex or his former teammates have a chance to advance to win the real one, they can’t both do so.

“A quick glance at Wood’s numbers against the Dodgers this season might give pause: A 4.76 ERA in three starts against his old team with a 1.353 WHIP and five home runs allowed. But two of those starts came back-to-back in May, the third in July,” writes Shayna Rubin for Bay Area wire services. Here it is at the Chico Enterprise-Record in an excellent piece out this morning about Wood and his former teammates.

Not Scared of Scherzer

We beat Max Scherzer in the World Series in 2012 when he was a dominant pitcher for the Tigers and I’m sure somewhere within him, he has a grudge about that. Jorge Castillo at the LA Times described that team.

I am not afraid of Max Scherzer and I don’t think the Giants are either. This is one of those games where veterans will make a difference. I feel strongly that Evan Longoria doesn’t fear the 37-year-old righty. I know Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey don’t. I wish we had Brandon Belt, I’d feel a lot more confident. But really, my point here is Max Scherzer, terrifying mutant that he is, instills less fear in our lineup than most.

Bats Need to Wake Up and We Need Base Runners

Around the Foghorn’s Jeff Young’s assessment of Game Two is accurate. When we lose to Urias, we are losing at the plate. We must generate more runs. The epic, historic, league-leading season of home runs has been awesome, but we need to use the basepaths and generate runs through sacrifice, bunts and base stealing. Kapler said we would all be bunting and stealing – I know because KNBR plays a clip of him saying so ad nauseum. But I haven’t seen it in a while. We need that small ball mentality back.

Seize Dodgers Mistakes

It’s Playoff baseball. Details matter now. We have to play tight, crisp baseball and when the Dodgers make a mistake we need to seize that mistake and turn it to our advantage. We did this to win that game where Bellinger winged a ball on the last play of the eighth to allow us to score the go-ahead run. When we are running smoothly, this happens, and when the Dodgers get rattled they fall apart easily. We must be alert to their mistakes and how to take advantage.

Let’s Go Giants!

Beat LA!

#BeatLA

Beat LA!

Let’s Goooooooooooooooo!

Posted in NLDS, NLWest, PreGame GBCs, Road Trips, SCRBRDWatch | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

NLDS Game Two: Dodgers at Giants 10/09/2021

The coverage of Urias I refer to is below the video.

Julio Urias went for the Dodgers. He had an epic night at Oracle Park back in late May. Not only did he silence the lineup with 10 strikeouts allowing only three hits:

PITCHERIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Urias (W, 7-1)6.0322010189-603.03
May 23rd, 2021 at Oracle Park, SF

but he had two hits himself and a three RBI night on the way to an 11 – 5 Dodgers victory in SF. Then, just a week later, the Giants returned the favor and beat up on Urias in LA:

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Urias (L, 7-2)5.0117625182-593.61
May 29, 2021 at Chavez Ravine, LA

The Giants took that one 11 – 6. A month later, the Giants stole one from Urias, after he three-hit us again, going seven and striking out five:

PITCHERSIPHERBBKPC-STERA
Urias7.0311596-693.63
July 22nd at Chavez Ravine, LA

but by beating Kenley Jansen late in the game, the Giants took away the win 4 – 2.

Urias took one more from us at Oracle, his 16th win, and he was dominant again:

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Urias (W, 16-3)5.281108096-643.11
September 24th, 2021 at Oracle Park, SF

Tonight the LAD lineup behind Urias looks like this

  1. Mookie Betts (R) RF
  2. Corey Seager (L) SS
  3. Trea Turner (R) 2B
  4. Justin Turner (R) 3B
  5. Will Smith (R) C
  6. Chris Taylor (R) CF
  7. Cody Bellinger (L) 1B
  8. AJ Pollock (R) LF
  9. Julio Urias (L) P

Kevin Gausman, who looked better in his last start than he has in many of the second half, will pitch for the Giants. The story here is that Kapler sent Webb against Buehler last night, leaving Gausman to face Urias tonight. Kapler’s lineup, with Tommy La Stella and LaMonte Wade, Jr. coming off-the-bench late night to face relievers, reflects facing the lefty:

  1. Darin Ruf (R) LF
  2. Kris Bryant (R) CF
  3. Austin Slater (R) RF
  4. Buster Posey (R) C
  5. Wilmer Flores (R) 1B
  6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
  7. Evan Longoria (R) 3B
  8. Donovan Solano (R) 2B
  9. Kevin Gausman (L) P

Let’s Go Giants!

Beat LA

#BeatLA

Let’s get the job done and win at home!

Let’s Go Giants!

Posted in NLDS, NLWest, PreGame GBCs | Leave a comment

NLDS Game One, Dodgers at Giants 10/08/2021

First

Walker Buehler started for the second place team in the NL West, who lined up like this:

  1. Mookie Betts (R) RF
  2. Corey Seager (L) SS
  3. Trea Turner (R) 2B
  4. Justin Turner (R) 3B
  5. Will Smith (R) C
  6. Matt Beaty (L) 1B
  7. Cody Bellinger (L) CF
  8. AJ Pollock (R) LF
  9. Walker Buehler (R) P

The Giants lined up behind Logan Webb like this:

  1. Tommy La Stella (L) 2B
  2. Wilmer Flores (R) 1B
  3. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
  4. Buster Posey (R) C
  5. LaMonte Wade Jr. (L) RF
  6. Kris Bryant (R) LF
  7. Mike Yastrzemski (L) CF
  8. Evan Longoria (R) 3B
  9. Logan Webb (R) P

Posted in NLDS, PreGame GBCs | 1 Comment

NLDS Game One and As Usual No One Believes in the Giants, Despite Having the Best Record All Season; I Take Us in Five

Five days after his dominant seven innings against the powerful Padres (8Ks, no runs) to clinch the National League West on the last day of the 2021 season, our San Francisco Giants turn the ball over once again to the vastly improved Logan Webb. There were times last year when this guy couldn’t throw a strike. September 20th of last year I wrote:

“It’s clear Logan Webb and Sam Coonrod should NOT be Giants next year. They have failed to perform in critical circumstances. I love how little tolerance Farhan Zaidi has for consistent failure.”

Hahahahaaa! Thankfully Farhan is more tolerant and sensible than me!

It reminds me of watching Madison Bumgarner come up in our system way back in ’10. In the first game I covered on this site, rookie Madison Bumgarner threw a wild pitch on an intentional walk. hahahaaaa. I was at that game. It was totally ridiculous … such a dumb moment … and certainly no indication of the (yes, I’ll say it,) HoF pitcher MadBum became.

Webb is one of the brightest success stories of our very successful season and no matter what happens tonight, I applaud young Logan on an incredible turnaround. He exhibits command now and even dominance against very tough hitters with his slider/fastball mix. He is consistently smart with use of pitches and placement.

It won’t be easy, as the Giants will be facing Walker Buehler, whom the Giants beat in the critical last game of the season series at Oracle. There were Dodgers fans all over the yard. They marched up the Third Street Bridge in a shitty-Haka-like show of strength, then we went out and beat their best pitcher.

Beuhler called it, “The worst I’ve thrown in a long time.” The Giants touched-up Buehler for a season-high six runs on seven hits over three innings. So I guarantee you Walker Buehler is motivated to beat us tonight in pursuit of redemption, and to prove what he and all the Bums believe: that they are just better than us and we’ve only been getting lucky all year. sigh. How can the Nemesis and their fans continue to disrespect us? Oh yeah, they’re Bums.

The extent to which the nation doesn’t believe in us is also clear now, thanks to Doug Kezirian at ESPN, who points out that multiple sportsbooks thought so little of us they stand to lose millions if we win the World Series:

“Although the Giants never faded as they rolled to a 107-55 mark during the regular season, bookmakers still only gradually lowered their odds throughout the season. Bettors could have grabbed them at 10-1 in late July.

“We didn’t think they had a real chance to do this,” SuperBook executive director John Murray told ESPN, adding that they expected the Arizona Diamondbacks (52-110) to finish higher. “We consider the Dodgers to be the best team in baseball. We’ve thought that the whole season and thought it was just inevitable they would pass the Giants.”

This is familiar territory to Giants fans, so we’re used to it. I don’t get mad or bothered anymore; not since the greatest example of a Giants baseball writer exploding in exhasperation against the blatant bias against us: Grant Brisbee’s famous prediction from October 24, 2012, that crystallized our frustration in advance of the 2012 World Series, when he was the ONLY baseball writer to pick the Giants and, with a flourish, called the SWEEP:

Grant Brisbee

Y’ALL A BUNCH OF HATERS. BUT I AIN’T LETTING YOU FILL MY GOBLET WITH HATERADE. THE GIANTS HAVE HAD THEIR BACKS AGAINST THE WALL IN TWO DIFFERENT SERIES. THEY’RE IN THE WORLD SERIES BECAUSE OF HISTORIC COMEBACKS IN THE LAST TWO ROUNDS. THEY’RE DEFTLY MANAGED BY POSTSEASON WIZARD BRUCE BOCHY, AND THEY HAVE THE EXPERIENCE. THE TIGERS HAD AN EXTENDED LAYOFF, WHICH PROBABLY MEANS THEY SAT AROUND AND ATE HAMBURGERS AND DRANK A LOT SO THEY’RE PROBABLY TIRED AND LAZY.

SERIOUSLY, DON’T COME CRYING TO ME WHEN YOUR PREDICTIONS ARE SHOT TO HELL BECAUSE MARCO SCUTARO HITS .600 AND BARRY ZITO SPINS 18 INNINGS OF SHUTOUT BALL, POSSIBLY IN GAME 1 ALONE.

I’VE GOT THE GIANTS IN FOUR GAMES, WITH JUSTIN VERLANDER GETTING KNOCKED OUT IN THE THIRD INNING OF GAME 1.”

Epic.

No one will ever top that. But importantly, it’s no longer necessary to do so. We’re champions now and have been to the WS four times, while winning three in five years, in this young century. Earler this year I wrote that “we have the mojo now.” I stand by that.

GBC’s Prediction

I am taking the Giants in five, NLDS 2021: Giants 3, Dodgers 2

Let’s go Giants

get that bread!

Beat LA

#BeatLA

Posted in NLDS, PreGame GBCs | Leave a comment

300th Post

Eleven years ago, I came home from a Giants game and wrote up a description of it, and Giants Baseball Corner was born. The Giants had not yet won a World Series in San Francisco. This is my 300th post.

In my lifetime we had been to the world series twice, and lost – swept by the A’s in 1989 – then the horrific fiasco of the Angels Rally Monkey in 2002, and Dusty Baker letting kids run around home plate during the game and then taking the ball from, and giving the ball back to, Russ Ortiz. The one that should’ve been Barry’s.

I’ve been a devoted fan since 1993, when I moved to the city, and the guys played at Candlestick. I’d seen more games there than at the new yard, but that early-August day in 2010 was an incredible battle against the Reds at AT&T Park. The Giants were down 10 to 1 in the fifth inning and came all the way back to take an 11-10 lead in the eighth. No spoilers, go check it out.

84 days later the Giants won the World Series for the first time in San Francisco. For the first time ever, the Mayor (Newsom), and the Board of Supervisors, approved a large screen to be placed in front of City Hall and fans were invited to watch from the plaza. It was an amazing, glorious, exceptional night.

We won the world series twice more of course, all covered here.

I started GBC up again last year after my Dad died and amidst the pandemic because I think I needed it. I needed baseball. I covered the Irregular Season (2020) and The Epic Season (2021) with great joy. The Farhan Zaidi Era has launched now with a year that gives me a feeling that our version of Moneyball not only works, but is working toward sustainable excellence. Gabe Kapler and Scott Harris and the staff of coaches are operating in a more fluid, sabermetric way.

The Barry Bonds Era was my first with the team. The Bruce Bochy Era was next and most successful. Now we have entered The Farhan Zaidi Era. As a South Asian American, I’m very proud of what is happening with his teams. The organizational decisions have been brilliant.

I may quit writing here after this season – I’m too old and I only have a handful of readers. I mean what’s the point? But I wanted to say thank you to anyone who visited this site and read any of my 300 posts about the San Francisco Giants from 2010 – 2021.

Let’s Go Giants!

Love,

mtk

Posted in Commentary, Final Post, GBC Readers, history, NLWest | Leave a comment

107 Wins and 55 Losses, the Greatest Season in Giants History Comes to a Close; Giants Win NL West by One Game

wow.

The Giants came out for this must-win 162nd game with their best foot forward: Logan Webb on the mound. He didn’t disappoint. Rather, he delivered an unflappable, dominant performance – eight K’s over seven innings – and at the plate, where Webb hit his first home run, scoring two. Giants bats that had been quiet yesterday, exploded to life to provide fans with a resounding smackdown of the Padres to win the National League West. Giants 11, Padres 4.

The Dodgers easily handled the Brewers and were ahead early, keeping the pressure on the Giants, who left Webb out there until the eighth and ran into trouble, but ultimately, it didn’t matter. The Giants were in command of this game and the 2021 season throughout. We led for most of the year, had the best record in all of baseball for most of the year, and led the league in home runs for most of the year.

(107 -55)

It’s staggering and hard to believe. Many Giants records fell: most wins, most home runs, most guys with a home run, most guys with ten home runs, and most pitchers used, were just a few I can think of off-hand. It was the greatest season of Giants baseball I have ever witnessed.

The stylish, this cap I bought back in July, at my first game back after coronavirus restrictions were lifted, brought home yet another win to go (21 – 6) on the year.

Yesssss! 2021 NL West Champions!

This cap will forever be associated with the 2021 season. I bought it at the yard after a win against the Nats the last weekend of the first half of the season. It was my rally cap during five LaMonte Wade, Jr., game-winners.

Let’s Go Giants!

Eleven More Wins!

Let’s win it all!

2021 NL West Final Standings

TEAMWLPCTGBSTRK
San Francisco10755.660W1
LA Dodgers10656.6521W6
San Diego7983.48828L1
Colorado7486.46332L1
Arizona51110.31755.5W1
Wooohooooooo!

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Game 162 – Pre Game with Marty Lurie and Ron Wotus

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Giants Lose to Pads, Dodgers Win. All the Drama as Season Comes Down to Last Day with Tie and 163rd Game Possible

Padres 3, Giants 2

Everything below is from AP:

SAN FRANCISCO — — The San Francisco Giants missed a chance to clinch the NL West on their own field, falling to the San Diego Padres 3-2 when Jake Cronenworth hit an RBI double in the 10th inning Saturday.

A sellout crowd of 40,760 was ready to celebrate San Francisco’s first division crown since 2012, but the Padres spoiled the party, sending the raucous group to the exits in a state of disbelief.

“Obviously, we wanted to win the game and not have to rely on somebody else,” Giants third baseman Evan Longoria said. “I think right now, the focus turns to tomorrow and just doing what we’ve done the whole year, trying to erase the day before and go out there and win the next game.”

The Giants’ seven-game winning streak ended, but they still had an opportunity to win the West hours later — a loss by the second-place Los Angeles Dodgers to Milwaukee would give San Francisco the crown.

If the Dodgers win, it would keep the Giants’ magic number at one and force the race to the final day of the regular season. San Francisco started Saturday with a two-game lead over Los Angeles.

“We’re expecting to play a meaningful game tomorrow,” manager Gabe Kapler said. “Obviously, we’ll pay attention to the Milwaukee-Los Angeles game, but we’re expecting that tomorrow’s game is going to be the one that we need to win.”

With runners on the corners and two outs in the top of the 10th, Cronenworth lined a double to right off Jarlin García to give San Diego its first lead of the game.

Mark Melancon retired the Giants in order in the bottom half to earn his major league-leading 39th save of the season. Tim Hill (6-6) got the win.

Manny Machado drove in two runs for the Padres, who snapped a seven-game losing streak amid rumors that manager Jayce Tingler might be managing his final games with the franchise.

“Look, I hear the same things you hear, but at the same time, trying to be present, trying to manage,” Tingler said. “I feel bad for the noise for the guys but really proud of the way that they’ve been busting it. They deserved the win today. They went out and played well.

“(General manager) A. J. (Preller) and I have been talking, we’ll talk postgame, we’ll talk tomorrow morning. Look, I don’t have social media, I do have a phone and I get a lot of texts, so look, I get it. At the same time, I try to live what I practice, preach, with the guys, trying to eliminate noise,” he said.

Kris Bryant singled home Brandon Crawford in the second inning to give San Francisco an early 1-0 lead.

The Padres tied it at 1 in the sixth on an RBI single by Machado, but the Giants immediately regained the lead in the bottom half on Austin Slater’s 12th home run, a pinch-hit blast.

San Diego tied it at 2 in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Machado.

Kervin Castro (1-1) was charged with the loss for San Francisco.

PINCH-HIT RECORD

Slater’s drive marked the Giants’ 18th pinch-hit homer of the season, setting an MLB record. It was Slater’s fourth pinch-hit home run of the year, tying the franchise record.

FOR STARTERS

Giants starter Kevin Gausman fanned five in seven stellar innings, allowing just one run on six hits. San Diego’s Joe Musgrove gave up one run on three hits in five innings, striking out four.

“Obviously, we would’ve liked to punch our ticket today and kind of do it ourselves,” Gausman said. “It’s unfortunate we lost today but, you know, we’ll win tomorrow.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Giants: Closer Jake McGee (right oblique strain) was reinstated from the 10-day IL. The left-hander has recorded 31 saves in 36 opportunities this season.

ROSTER MOVES

Giants: Optioned INF Thairo Estrada to Triple-A Sacramento.

UP NEXT

Giants RHP Logan Webb (10-3, 2.93 ERA) looks for his 10th straight win in Sunday’s regular-season finale. The Padres will counter with RHP Reiss Knehr (1-1, 4.85).

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The Greatest Giants Team Anyone Has Ever Seen Sweep Snakes on a Walkoff and Achieve 105 Wins; Lead NL West by Two with Three Left to Play

It’s official. This is the best Giants team I have ever seen.

Having surpassed the 103-win team of the year I moved to the city, the San Francisco Giants have now done something no one alive can say they’ve ever witnessed, 105 wins. As a fan who saw the 103-win team and the current team, I feel tremendous pride in our organization for what we have achieved. This has been a mathemagical ride led by smart, quick and adaptive decision-making by Kapler and his cadre of coaches.

Tonight’s game was emblematic of the season.

We gave a 37-year-old, comeback-story pitcher, whose career was lying on the dustheap of baseball history, a chance to start during the critical last week of the season – against Madison Bumgarner and the D’Backs. Scott Kazmir was beyond awful. We watched in horror as he confirmed for himself over 23 pitches that it’s time to retire. Your career’s over, son. Put the ball down and slowly back away.

To end his outing, Kazmir tried to outrun a batter racing for first in order to step on the bag, when he had the ball already in his glove and was right next to him running up the baseline. All he had to to was touch him with his glove. Brain fart. Runner was safe and Kazmir twisted his ankle. Facepalm. He had gotten one out and given up three runs. It was a good run, Scott, you were a great Oakland Athletic.

But it’s crazy to think that in a down-to-the-wire, 105-win stretch run against the Dodgers – who are STACKED with expensive players – we turned the ball over to Kazmir to start the game. It speaks to how the season has been orchestrated.

Kapler and company have never had a starting rotation. They blew past the concept of an “opener” straight to the idea of planned “bullpen games,” which is mindblowing to anyone who saw the 103-win team in 1993. After Kazmir’s collapse, this one was much like the other bullpen games:

PITCHERSIPHRERBBKHRPC-STERA
Kazmir0.133320023-116.35
Castro1.220012026-150.00
Cueto2.131113048-344.08
Littell1.210004029-182.80
Leone0.210011016-91.57
Alvarez0.10000105-32.42
Rogers (W, 7-1)2.020001026-182.25
TEAM9.012445120173-108
a team effort

The Giants used ther bats to chip and claw their way back, as they have all year long. Then Brandon Crawford hit a home run off Madison Bumgarner to tie it, 4 – 4. It was sweet and filled with poetry. And finally, Late Night LaMonte hit a walkoff infield single to win it, which had its own poetry.

The Giants just accomplished back-to-back sweeps of the Rockies in Denver and the Snakes at home. This is the greatest season in San Francisco Giants history and now equals the win-total of the best season from the time when the Giants were in New York (105 wins in 1905).

The Dodgers swept the Padres, meanwhile, and amazingly, could still yet win the division. The Giants magic number shrinks to two. We’ve just gotta take two from the Pads this weekend at home. It’d be great if the Brewers could take one from LA and help us out by cutting that to one. It has been an incredible year for the Dodgers and Giants, and the rivalry comes down to maintaining excellence in the last weekend of the season – perfect.

2021 NL West Standings

TEAMWLPCTGBSTRK
San Francisco10554.660W6
LA Dodgers10356.6482W4
San Diego7881.49127L6
Colorado7385.46231.5W2
Arizona50109.31455L4
best in the country, down to the wire

Let’s Go Giants!

Take Two from the Pads!

Let’s get the division!

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Giants Sweep Rockies on the Road Again; Stay Two Games Up in Division with Six Left to Play at the Yard

Beat reporters Maria Guardado (SF) and Juan Toribio (LA) collaborated to say it best in, One Week to Win the West, posted tonight to answer FAQs about the Giants-Dodgers rivalry and the last week of the season. Everything is up in the air, but the Giants are up two and our magic number is 5.

Speaking of being up in the air, no other team in the majors went up to Coors Field and swept the Rockies at altitude. The Giants ended the season series with Colorado by doing it twice. The Giants also set a high-water mark for wins in a season against the Rockies, going (15-4) with the sweep.

Kevin Gausman looked focused and very sharp in the final game of the Giants’ last road trip of the season. Though he didn’t get the win because he left with the game tied. Gabe Kapler expertly used lefty/righty bench bats to win the game. An RBI single by Tommy La Stella in the ninth gave the Giants the 3-2 lead. Brandon Crawford tacked on a three-run homer for insurance. The 2021 Giants have hit more home runs than any team in Giants history and lead the National League with 237.

Brandon Belt took a hard pitch to his thumb and hand, which was worrisome. Camilo Doval was on the mound when Silk broke the 2-2 tie, so the rookie got the win. Then 22-year-old rookie from Venezuela, Kervin Castro, who got the 100th win two days earlier, held the Rox scoreless in the bottom of the ninth in a non-save situation, to complete the sweep. Giants 6, Rockies 2.

The Giants have our last off day, Monday. Belt will go for an X-ray after the MRI on his hand was non-conclusive. Gabe Kapler will be composing a team to face the Diamondbacks without exhausting guys for the crucial final series against the Padres. This means if the Giants can get ahead by enough runs we may still see players we haven’t seen this season yet, which is crazy to me.

The Giants have used 34 pitchers this year (if you include the one out Austin Slater pitched). That’s the most we’ve ever used in a season, I believe, but haven’t confirmed it yet. It certainly is more than any season in the last decade and a half.

There really was no rotation to speak of this year and we are still unsure who will be pitching in the post-season, which is also kind of crazy to me. What a ride! The Farhan Zaidi Era is like nothing I have ever experienced in 40 years as a baseball fan.

from the FAQs:

What happens if there’s a tie?
If the Giants and Dodgers are tied atop the NL West after 162 games, they would play a one-game tiebreaker on Monday, Oct. 4, to determine the winner of the division.

Home-field advantage would go to San Francisco, by virtue of the Giants’ 10-9 record in the head-to-head season series. (emph. mine)

The winner of Game 163 would advance to the NLDS, while the loser would host the NL Wild Card Game.

The last time the NL West was decided by a tiebreaker was in 2018, when the Dodgers beat the Rockies, 5-2, in Game 163 at Dodger Stadium.”

But that game eliminated the Rockies from postseason play, whereas in this instance the loser goes on to play red-hot St. Louis in the Wild Card game. The Cardinals have won 16 straight and they have Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado and a secret Giant killer in Kyung Hyun Kim, whom they call, “K-K.” Kim beat the Giants at home and on the road and three-hit our lineup in both games.

In fact, St. Louis will have a decided advantage over whomever they play. The Dodgers and Giants will be struggling daily until the last game to avoid being in the Wild Card, while the Cards can afford to rest whomever they want, or lose as many games as they want, in order to have the strongest possible lineup for the Wild Card play-in. They can bring Kim in long relief if they want.

2021 NL West Standings

TEAMWLPCTGBSTRK
San Francisco10254.654W3
LA Dodgers10056.6412W1
San Diego7878.50024L3
Colorado7184.45830.5L4
Arizona50106.32152L1
Though eliminated, the Padres can spoil it for us or the Dodgers

whew. Get rest, Giants fans. It’s going to be a wild week.

do laundry, watch the Bums and yell #BeatLA! BeatLA! Beat LA!

Let’s rest Giants, get better Brandon.

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first to 100 wins

Credit: unknown, meme sent to me

Mike Yastrzemski hit a three-run homer, one of four homers by our guys, and the Giants beat the Colorado Rockies 7-2 Friday night to become the season’s first team with 100 wins.

Rookie Kervin Castro (1-0) opened and went two innings for his first major league victory. The Giants reached 100 wins for the first time since going 100-62 in 2003.

Tommy La Stella, Crawford and Brandon Belt had solo home runs to give San Francisco a 3-2 lead after six. La Stella and Crawford had three hits each and Belt finished with two.

In the seventh, Yastrzemski followed singles by Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria with his 25th homer. San Francisco blew it open in the seventh as they added another run on a Buster Posey RBI single.

The Giants now have 234 home runs, one fewer than the club record set in 2001 when Barry Bonds hit 73. The Giants lead the NL in homers and are second in the majors to Toronto’s 241.

In 2021, the San Francisco Giants were the first to 40, 50 and 60 wins

first to 70 wins

first to 80 wins

first to 90 wins

and are first to 100 wins.

WOW! What a year!

2021 NL West Standings

TEAMWLPCTGBSTRK
San Francisco10054.649W1
LA Dodgers9855.6411.5W1
San Diego7875.51021.5W1
Colorado7182.46428.5L2
Arizona49104.32050.5W1

Let’s Go Giants!

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Giants Take Thriller in San Diego on 3-6-1 DP in Bottom of the Ninth, and The Man Gets a Nickname: “Late Night LaMonte”

Wow! What a game.

This one was a hard-fought road win with LaMonte Wade, Jr, getting it done in the clutch once again.

“Late Night LaMonte, that’s what everybody’s been calling him,” said starter Kevin Gausman, “It seems like he always comes up in a big situation and has a good-quality at-bat and puts the ball in play and has been a huge part of what we’ve done this year. You can’t speak enough about how well he’s been able to play this year in so many different spots.” – Associated Press

  • AP also noted it was the fifth time since the All-Star break that Wade delivered a tying or go-ahead hit in the ninth.

This pitched battle started with a Tommy La Stella homer in the first at-bat of the game, matched by a Manny Machado homer in the bottom of the first to tie it, 1-1. The Padres went after Kevin Gausman with vigor. In the second, Fernando Tatis drove in a run with an RBI single, with two on. Gausman did well to avoid allowing any other runners across the plate. Then Machado homered off Gausman again in the third and was joined by Tommy Pham who hit a solo shot as well. Padres 4, Giants 1.

But the Giants were patient and crept back into it with good defense, and by scoring two runs in the fifth and in the sixth, even taking the lead briefly 5 – 4.

Aaron Nola homered off Zach Littell to tie it in the bottom of the sixth and it stayed tied, 5 – 5, until the ninth, because of brilliant defense by both sides, including a great catch by Will Myers that robbed Steven Duggar of a homer.

Late Night LaMonte’s clutch RBI gave the Giants the lead, but it was by no means secure. The place was rocking and fans, desperate for a Padres win, went nuts when Crawford, of all people, finally made a mistake against the lead off hitter in the bottom of the ninth.

Tyler Rogers was asked to save this and might have started off on the right foot, if not for the rarest of events, a fielding error by Brandon Crawford (that’s not a typo, the ball just rolled under his glove as he charged and misjudged it), putting Will Myers on first with nobody out and Tatis, Jake Cronenworth and Machado due up. High pressure situation.

Tyler Rogers fell behind Tatis, 3-1. With thousands of screaming Padres fans awaiting the walk-off hit. He then struck him out looking with two, perfectly placed, four-seam fastballs. wicked.

But with one down it wasn’t over.

Cronenworth hit a high, slow chopper for an infield hit, putting two on for Manny Machado, who had already homered twice in this game.

Machado fouled off the first pitch. He hit the second sharply to Brandon Belt who scooped it and fired it to Crawford, who made a deft, right-foot tag of second base to get the force out of Cronenworth, and then fired the ball back to Rogers, covering first, to just barely get Machado! wow! Bang! Bang! 3-6-1 game-ending double play! Giants win!

Tony Watson, who pitched a critical, scoreless bottom of the eighth, got the win. Tyler Rogers who battled back under duress aided by that incredible double-play, got the save.

Great win. Hard fought. Came back and won it and held off the Padres on the road. The Dodgers had won at Colorado on extras, earlier in the day, and this win kept us a game ahead in the standings. Huge win. Excellent performance.

Giants 6, Padres 5

By the way, The Stylish was on my head in rallycap position during Late Night’s winning RBI. The Stylish is now 17-5, and amazingly was involved in FOUR of Wade’s five clutch ninth inning performances!

This unbelievable season of dominance by the Giants and Dodgers, racing ahead of the pack, continues. Who will be first to 100 wins? I don’t know but if both teams achieve the century mark it will be the first time that has happened in the “NL West” since 1993, before the new divisions, when it was of course, the Giants and Braves.

2021 National League West Standings

TEAMWLPCTGBSTRK
San Francisco9853.6490W1
Los Angeles9754.6421W3
San Diego7674.50721.5L4
Colorado7080.46727.5L2
Arizona48103.31850L3
who’ll be first to a 100 wins?
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Giants Home Stand: Split with Padres, 2-2, Take Two of Three from Braves

The Giants managed to take two of four from the Padres upon returning to Oracle Park.

Giants 9, Padres 1 – The Giants added to their list of firsts in 2021 by being the first to clinch a postseason playoff spot with this win in which they hammered four homers (La Stella, Longoria, Yastrzemski, Belt) off Yu Darvish. This was a dominating performance when it mattered (again), as we continue to stave off Los Angeles. Evan Longoria told AP: “It took us maybe half the season to get the recognition nationally, but now we understand we have a target on our back. It doesn’t get any easier from here.”

Giants 6, Padres 1 – The Gasman allowed just three hits and struck out seven in six solid innings before the bullpen held the Padres scoreless for three innings. This was the season-high ninth win in a row for the G-men. Buster Posey hit his 18th homer in the first inning, then beat out an infield single and scored the go-ahead run on an error in the third. Buster told AP: “I feel good, I feel like my legs are underneath me. I’ve been trying to implement that at the plate.”

Then lost two

Giants 6, Padres 9 – This game was a slog. A four-hour wrestling match with the Friars at the new yard started with Joe Musgrove bouncing back from a loss to the Dodgers his last time out, allowing three runs on five hits over six innings. The Giants hit four solo homers: pinch-hitter Thairo Estrada in the third, Kris Bryant in the sixth, then late lineup addition Steven Duggar and Brandon Belt each connected in the seventh. Duggar struck out against Emilio Pagán to end the eighth with two runners aboard and the Giants trailing 7-5. Evan Longoria had an RBI in the ninth, so the Giants scored at least six runs in ten straight games — most in our San Francisco history dating to 1958 and trailing only a stretch of 15 such games accomplished in 1929, which marks the longest run in baseball history since at least 1909.

Giants 4, Padres 7 – but they didn’t manage six in this one to get to eleven such games. Fernando Tatis hit his National League leading 39th home run off Gausman. Here’s the ESPN recap of this one. This was Gausman’s sixth loss (14-6), but first since July 30th. Gausman gave up four earned runs on eight hits over five.

The Braves came to town and the Giants stepped up their game behind Logan Webb, though he gave up two quick runs before they even came to the plate. The Braves went up 2-0 in the top of the first, and Brandon Belt erased that with one swing of the bat in the bottom half, a home run that scored Ruf, who had walked, 2-2. The Giants took the lead 3-2 in the third, and led this one most of the way, but, ahead 4-2, a collapse by Tyler Rogers in the top of the ninth gave up the lead 4-5. Then Donavon Solano, fresh off the Covid-19 injury list, stepped up and tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with a two-out solo shot! The Giants played a great defensive pair of extras to win. Kevin Gausman hit a sacrifice fly just deep enough to allow the walkoff! Here’s the write up of this crazy one. Giants 6, Braves 5/11

Alex Wood and the platoon of relievers leading to Jose Alvarez who saved this one, managed to hold the Braves scoreless. Curt Casali – next man up style – had a two-run scoring single that made the difference. Great defensive performance. Giants 2, Braves 0

Let’s Go Giants! Sweep the Chop!

Braves send lefty Max Fried (11-7, 3.47 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 143 K) today

  1. Joc Pederson (L) RF
  2. Ozzie Albies (S) 2B
  3. Freddie Freeman (L) 1B
  4. Austin Riley (R) 3B
  5. Adam Duvall (R) CF
  6. Eddie Rosario (L) LF
  7. Travis d’Arnaud (R) C
  8. Dansby Swanson (R) SS
  9. Max Fried (L) P

against Anthony DeSclafani (12-6, 3.24 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 140 K) for the Giants

  1. Darin Ruf (R) LF
  2. Austin Slater (R) CF
  3. Kris Bryant (R) RF
  4. Evan Longoria (R) 3B
  5. Buster Posey (R) C
  6. Brandon Crawford (L) SS
  7. Wilmer Flores (R) 1B
  8. Donovan Solano (R) 2B
  9. Anthony DeSclafani (R) P

Tommy La Stella and Brandon Belt got a day off and this was a defensive battle won by a very good Braves team who shut the GIants out at home. Braves 3, Giants 0.

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