The Giants defeated Milwaukee Saturday night by standing still while they flinched.
It would be easy to say the Giants had no business winning this one – I’m sure that’s what the east coast media thinks – but that viewpoint is a shallow one. It misses the point of the entire scheme that got us to a 1 – 1 tied ballgame with bases-loaded in the eighth, despite numerous defensive failures and two scored errors. Here’s the AP recap over on ESPN.
It was the sixteenth consecutive game for the Giants, who have played every single day this month thus far. Here at GBC we call it The Gauntlet II: seventeen games in seventeen days, the longest stretch of the year, that ends today, with Logan Webb on the mound and the Giants (7-9) for the month.
Since we have won the season series, and we are exhausted from a gauntlet of games, and beaten up with injuries all over the field, throughout the staff, it doesn’t matter if we win or lose today. I’d like to see a dominant Webb start, and some pride in the boys, but a last loss in the first half doesn’t kill us.
When I saw this seventeen game stretch on the calendar I was relieved. MLB gave us our longest gauntlet of games in the first half and it ends going right into the all-star break. I couldn’t really ask for more if we have to play seventeen in a row. Meanwhile the Padres and Dodgers still have long consecutive game stretches ahead – and a limited number of expensive players that absolutely have to play them. Our system hopes to win that war of attrition.
Giants Lead Milwaukee Season Series 3 -1
The Giants won a one-off game against Milwaukee at the end of their first road trip back in April – placed there by scheduling adjustments of the lockout. It was a bullpen game in which they beat Corbin Burnes. It was the game where Milwaukee fans heckled Joc Pederson loudly and rudely when he was at the plate and Joc responded by smashing the go-ahead, two-run, game-winning homer for the Giants. It was awesome.
Last night the Giants beat the Brewers in a toe-to-toe old school starting pitchers’ duel. Alex Cobb turned in his best performance of the season. It gave Henry Shillman new belief in the starting rotation.
(ed. note – Henry Schulman, who for decades was the beat writer for the SF Chron – where he was a reporter, you know? a journalist hired to ask pointed questions – has now been hired by mlb dot com slash sf giants. Hank hired by the Giants. sigh. I will be referring to Hank’s columns if I link to them as those of Henry “Shillman” to separate the adcopy he writes for mlb from the journalism he did for the paper- mtk).
It is cool that we’ve now beaten the Brew Crew with both systems. It gives me greater confidence as well. By taking two of three at home this weekend, the Giants have already secured a season series win over the Brewers. Today staff ace Logan Webb takes the mound to see if we can end the Gauntlet II with a respectable (8 – 9) record.
I had hoped for over .500. We ought to have beaten the White Sox at home at least once. We ought not to have lost three out of six during this stretch to the D-Backs. But it is only the first half of the season. We are playing in one of the toughest divisions in all of baseball.
We’ve Successfully Played to the Middle
In the first half, the Giants have successfully organized, managed and played themselves to the middle. They are 13th in salary, using dozens of guys. They maintain a loose grip on the very last playoff position available despite a rocky, up-and-down first half, filled with streaky, inconsistent play and constantly shifting personnel.
Some positives have emerged and the system seems uniquely capable of absorbing injuries and missing players. The new system uses the IL as a means to introduce a phalanx of available new players, in a rapid-fire way. Most of these guys are utility players, who can fit more than one role.
These are all positives of the system that remain generally unreported. There are a lot of these and I think the reason why is because you cannot report them without weakening management’s position and shills can’t do that. Oh, but I can. Let’s talk about Disco … oh no wait, let’s not. It might make him less valuable. sigh.
When all this started I wrote that the only plan I can see that makes sense is to stay in it with the Padres and Bums until the All-Star break and then make key, critical, expensive moves at the trade deadline to hire whom we need to win. Hiring mercenaries at the trade deadline is the new way it gets done – the Braves did it last year. There is NO team better situated to pull that off than the San Francisco Giants.
We have more available salary to spend and have tried more players than anyone in putting together the group of guys any trade target will be joining. Gabe Kapler is reigning manager of the year and shows he has integrity and love for players. We are a destination team. If we are buyers, how much is Farhan Zaidi willing to spend? $400 million, multi-year for 23-year-old Juan Soto?
A Quick Look Back at Last year’s Trade Deadline
Farhan Zaidi was surgical and precise last year and waited til the very last second to secure his deals. He let Max Scherzer and Trae Turner make deals to go to the Bums, and Javy Baez go to the Mets. As I wrote at the time, “Then, like an elegant surgeon showing up to wrap up a job he has done a dozen times, Mr. Zaidi picked up Kris Bryant and Tony Watson. It was smooth.”
But it was also not expensive. He let Bryant, who is 30 years old, go get a triple-digit, multi-year contract with Colorado when the season ended. Tony Watson retired. Mr. Zaidi picked up Joc Pederson just before the season started to help with the production lost with Bryant leaving and Buster Posey’s retirement. It isn’t enough.
Is Mr. Zaidi willing to drop the big bucks for a young, important solution to our 15-year run production problem? Or is this going to be another surgical, fill-the-gaps trade deadline?
Whom Should We Go After
Jeff Young over at Around the Foghorn says there is interest in Brandon Drury, which would be more of a fill-the-gaps guy. Another Around the Foghorn guy, Nick San Miguel, pointed toward Josh Bell back in June – similar deal.
But four days ago, Farhan Zaidi said, “…I think until we get into the last week of July, it’s a little bit of wheel spinning because so much of it is the context and the situation at that point.” He also emphasized that if the Giants are either in possession of a playoff spot or in their current position just outside a potential Wild Card berth, the team is “definitely going to look to improve.” – That’s according to MLBTR
Mr. Zaidi also said the Giants, “probably won’t make any large trade-related decisions until closer to the Aug. 2 deadline itself.” So get ready for that wild ride again.
Target San Diego
The Nemesis is running away with the division. The Friars won’t catch them, nor will we. This season is now a battle for second in the NL West – a battle we have won before, most successfully on the last day of the season in 2010, as we launched ourselves to the first World Series Championship in San Francisco. That was so great! Beating Mat Latos hahahahaa.
Our target for the rest of this season has to be beating the San Diego Padres to second place in the division and attempting to avoid the play-in game. In fact, beating Milwaukee in taut, tense games is very similar to what we face against the Padres. Their records are very similar. Milwaukee today is a good test.
We need to situate ourselves to beat out the Padres. If a bear is chasing us, I don’t have to outrun the bear, I just need to outrun you. The Bums are the bear. Let ’em eat the Fathers, I say.
Who Are We?
In years past we would talk about the team as forming by now. We would know who we are at the All-Star break. This is changing. The system uses the first half as a sort of extended Spring Training – especially this year when the lockout forced us to skip weeks of the actual Cactus League. Also, we are done with the World Series Championship Era. Buster is gone. The Brandons are signed through next year and probably gone after that.
So who are we? Who is Mr. Zaidi willing to trade? Anyone?
Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Evan Longoria, Joc Pederson, Tommy La Stella, La Monte Wade, Jr., Thairo Estrada, Wilmer Flores, Mike Yastrzemski, Luis Gonzalez, Curt Casali, Joey Bart, Austin Wynns, Darin Ruf, Austin Slater, David Villar, Yermin Mercedes, Carlos Rodon, Logan Webb, Alex Cobb, Jake Junis, Alex Wood, Camilo Doval, John Brebbia, Dominic Leone, Tyler Rogers, Mauricio Llovera, Jarlin Garcia, Yunior Marte
Is EVERYBODY trade-able? Yaz has struggled and his last name alone would put butts in seats in Boston. Is he a trade chip to get someone from the Red Sox? We have brought up a lot of guys nobody has heard of who are legitimate talents now.
How gutsy are you willing to be Mr. Zaidi? You hold the keys to everything. You were extremely sensitive to the fans here in protecting beloved players and we appreciated it. But it is time to go out and get us a Championship.
You have everything you need: money, luxury tax space, trade chips, a manager willing to play the plan and fan support. Here, at GBC, I have your back.
Engage, number one. Engage.
If you do nothing after all this, it makes no sense.