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The Giants Baseball Blog- A San Francisco Giants Blog and Fan Website





Updated: 2017-09-19T01:52:41.756-07:00

 



Nunez dealt as trade deadline nears

2017-07-27T00:36:19.169-07:00

Breaking News: Eduardo Nunez was traded to Boston for a couple lower level RHP prospects Tuesday. Starter Ryan Anderson (20 years old) and reliever Gergory Santos (17 YO) will each be headed San Francisco's way. The deal, which was reported earlier Tuesday afternoon became official before the end of the day. I know absolutely nothing about the guys the Giants got in return so can't tell you much outside their numbers. I really had hoped Nunez could have netted another squads top-10 prospect (probably wishful thinking on my end) although Anderson ended up being the cornerstone of the deal at #18 in the BoSox system. Over the better part of the last decade, as mid-late July arrives, Giants fans have usually been busy speculating on which player(s) this ball club could add and acquire as they make their stretch run and attempt at another World Series tittle. Instead, the 2017 trade deadline will pose a much different goal for Bobby Evans, Brian Sabean and the Giants brass and we saw it in action Tuesday.With the Giants well out of it, they certainly won't be trading away any prospects this summer, but instead, they may try and re-stock their farm system with some other teams bring young players as they enter the trade season as firm sellers. The Giants are in rebuild mode right now and with the deadline approaching quickly (only a week out), we're entering crunch time. We talked here before about some of the targets on the Giants roster that other teams may have interest in and, indeed, most of the guys you'd imagine as being targets for other teams are indeed that. At the top of seemingly everyone's list though is someone who the Giants may have the most difficult decision on, and that's Jeff Samardzija. With MadBum missing most of the year so far and just now returning, Samardzija has easily been the Giants best, most consistent starter during the 2017 season. His record certainly doesn't reflect that but his low WHIP, high strikeout rate and low walk rate have contenders believing he could be a legit 2 or 3 on a team that will give him some run support and actually close down his wins.The conundrum the Giants are in with Samardzija is whether or not they think they'll be competing in the next year or two. If they think this is going to be a 2+ year rebuild then they should definitely be open to dealing "Shark". His contract isn't outrageous and he's locked up for 3 more years after this one so that makes him more than just a rental and increases his appeal to potential suitors. Because he's not just a 2-month rental and isn't making crazy money in this climate, the Giants should be able to obtain a nice little haul in return should they so choose to deal him. I'm sure they're taking calls with that in mind and if they get offered what they're looking for, then Samardzija could be on his way out.The other two Giants that seem most likely to be dealt are infielder Eduardo Nunez and set-up man Hunter Strickland. Relief pitching is at a premium this summer, so I would be surprised if the Giants can't find a nice little package for Strick. I mean, David Phelps, who is nowhere near the caliber reliever Strick is, just brought in a haul for the Marlins on his own. For a slightly above average mid-relief guy the Marlins received two prospects within the Mariners top-10, including their #2 in 19 year-old outfielder Brayan Hernandez. That kind of tells you what relief pitchers can get in this market and Strickland is one of the best late-relievers out there on the market. He should yield a nice little return should the Giants choose to part ways. Even George Kontos and Corey Gearin may get some inquiries but neither of those guys are going to bring in anything to write home about. But it seems that just about every arm in that Giants' pen could be had.Now, again, the issue with dealing a Samardzija, Strickland or possibly even Matt Moore is that it would signify the Giants entering a long-term rebuilding stage. I mean, I know this team is within distance of losing 100 game this year, but they're 1 season out of the playoffs a[...]



The return of Pablo

2017-07-22T19:36:18.504-07:00

Well Giants fans, it's time to pull those Panda hats out of storage and dust them off, because the former fan favorite and club cornerstone is returning to the organization.In a season where the Giants may very well lose 100 games after entering the year with legit playoff aspirations, you can bet that with the trade deadline just about a week out that changes should be on the horizon. On Saturday, the Giants made a move, but instead of dealing away one of their veterans, as many expect them to do, they brought back one of their former ones, finalizing a one-year deal with Pablo Sandoval on Saturday.It's been a strange year for the San Francisco Giants, to say the least. They've fallen so far out of contention so early on in the season that it's now leaving them with months to experiment and try different things out for next year and beyond. Over the last few days, the bay area has been buzzing about the possible return of a former Giants' staple, Pablo Sandoval, who flamed out in Boston and was released by the Red Sox earlier in the week. With that being said, one may wonder how in the heck bringing back Pablo Sandoval fits any of that "rebuilding" philosophy, and that's a justified concern. However, if you take a look up and down this roster and see who the Giants are currently trotting out there on a daily basis, there aren't a whole bunch of prospects with potential big league futures being trotted out there, simply because most of them are banged up. Ideally, the Giants would like to give Ryder Jones and Christian Arroyo third base to fight over for these last 10+ weeks of the season, but neither players is healthy. In those guys' absence, and Eduardo Nunez being moved around the diamond, Connor Gillaspie has sort of taken over third for the time being and he certainly isn't a guy who the Giants are looking at long term there.That doesn't mean that the Giants are banking on Pablo regaining his San Francisco magic and working his way back to big league club by August and solidifying his spot in the lineup again, but stranger things have happened, and in a lost season, why in the hell not roll the dice on a guy who's still just 30 years old and wanted to come back here? There has been a lot said about some of the harsh things Pablo had to say about some of his fellow teammates after he left the Giants for the Red Sox, but he didn't disrespect anybody and if Pablo comes back and hits .300 with power (I know, a huge, unlikely if), those hard feelings should disappear pretty quickly.All in all, I don't expect anything to materialize from this deal. I think Pablo will eventually return to the big league club, whether in August or September, and be given a few shots to see if he sticks and could be in the plans for 2018, but I think Pablo's best days are long behind him. It's a good, fun story in a season that's been void of positives, so all will be watching, but I definitely would not bet for him to be part of the Giants future plans. But, again, numbers cannot be denied and if he earns himself another shot and cashes in, he very well could factor back into the teams outline for the future, especially if Arroyo and Jones cannot get on the field to make their case down the stretch. Sandoval won't be blocking any younger player from getting major league playing time (because there all hurt right now) and worst case scenario is he flames out and moves on by the end of year. And again, who knows, maybe they catch lightening in a bottle and Pablo's career rebounds after a return home?I just see the "potential" positive outweighing the negatives with this signing and would like to see Pablo back on the roster sooner than later. Eduardo Nunez is likely going to be dealt in the next few days (hopefully) and that will open yet another spot on the Giants roster in which Pablo could be ticketed for. However, once Jones and/or Arroyo are ready to roll, Pablo's gotta take a back seat. The only way this works is if he's not taking at-bats away from younger, potential future players. [...]



Time for Giants to shift gears

2017-06-25T00:13:22.700-07:00

After getting swept by the Royals, the lowly Atlanta Braves and now losing the first two games to the Mets (in their own yard), the Giants are on an 0-7 run and now find themselves over 20 games below .500 as the mid-way point quickly approaches. I think it's quite clear at this point that, even with a miracle of a second half turnaround, Madison Bumgarner coming back and Hunter Pence getting healthy, this team's playoff aspirations have long past and we're not even to July yet. I know, what a sad fall from a team that's been a perennial contender for the last 7 years and who brought home 3 championships during that span. However, at this point, the team has to start looking at 2018 and beyond, because whether we like to believe it or not, this isn't going to be an easy fix by any means. The second half is going to be a huge showcase for two Giants' veterans that likely don't have a trade market and the team will be returning to starting positions again in 2018 and those two guys are Denard Span and Hunter Pence. Both have vastly underachieved this season and neither stood out in '16 either as both seem to spend as much time on the field than off. Since they aren't going anywhere until after next season, the Giants have to find a way to ensure these guys stay healthy entering next season. Whether that's start cutting down on both players playing time, something I've seen Boch do with Pence a lot more this season (I'm sure his hamstring has a lot to do with that though).As for the pitchers, the only guys outside of MadBum you plan on having around next season are Matt Moore and Jeff Samrdzija, the ladder of which has been considered by many the Giants best pitcher in MadBum's absence, despite is abysmal W/L record. In the bullpen, it's Mark Melancon and Hunter Strickland guaranteed to return. Cody Gearin is finally putting together a nice season, and could be a potential long-relief candidate next year and Josh Osich seems to get opportunity after opportunity so he may be in the mix too. Possibly Derrick Law if he gets his stuff together in AAA and returns back in his '16 form. But outside of Law, Melancon and George Kontos, I don't see anyone really guaranteed a spot in the Giants '18 bullpen as that's an are they failed to fully address over the winter and they better make sure not to repeat the mistake.So, there you have the key players who we know will likely be around for next year, aside from the group listed above though, the Giants should start shopping every single player they can get a return for. I'd even add Span into that mix. I still am holding out hope that Pence will get healthy and come back big in second half and go strong into his contract year next season. He's the type I'd hardly expect to retire after next season and will work his tail off to make it as good a season as possible so I definitely don't wanna write him off just yet. As far as Johnny Cueto, Eduardo Nunez, Aaron Hill, Matt Cain (though highly doubt anyone would bite on him), even Law, Kontos and Moore, I would be seeing what you could possibly get in return for these guys. I mean, I know guys like Hill, Cain and Kontos wouldn't garner any notable package, the Giants have no need for them at this point. Nunez, Cueto and if they decieded to let him go, Matt Moore, would be the big fish in the Giants' trade pool. More so, your looking at teams that would look to land Nunez, and certainly Cueto.Both make since for a lot of reason for a contending team. Both's deals are done after the season (well, Cueto has an opt-out that Jon Heyman now expects he'll exercise), and both can be impact type players for a team needing a shot in the arm. Nunez has shown the ability to be a prolific base stealing artist who also hits for decent pop and a nice average. Not  to mention, the guy can play all over the infield, as well as left field, and I'd imagine right field, in a pinch. He's the definition of a super utility guy, but can give a contender in a need a starting caliber player at all the afor[...]



SF in unfamiliar spot, but not surprisingly

2017-06-19T23:48:25.767-07:00

We've officially hit June, which means that the "it's still early" talk and optimism that most Giants fans and players are still holding out for this 2017 season, are waning, and doing so quickly.In fact, there have been recent articles in bay area newspapers, as well as plenty of banter on the "sports talk" airways both in the Bay Area and throughout the league have begun discussing what the Giants plan of attack will be as we inch closer to July and the trade deadline at the end of that month. It's the first time since 2009 that the Giants are approaching mid-season with the thought of being "sellers" looking more and more likely. Now, nobody has come out and said this of course, and we're still just 1/3 of the way through the season but with the way the rest of the teams in the NL West are playing (minus the Padres), and the Giants already sitting 12 games back of the next closest team in their division, saying they have an uphill journey ahead is an understatement. As a matter of fact, as epic as their collapse was in the second half of 2016, they're going to need a second half streak and some other teams to really go into slides themselves. So, as the calendar has officially flipped to June, the Giants certainly are far from technically being out of it, but if they're still sitting in the cellar of the division and 10+ games out of any potential playoff spot then one would only draw the conclusion that this could be the year the Giants finally do some selling of their own at or before the trade deadline.Now, of course I hope on wrong, the team goes on a 10-game win streak this month and gets right back into the mix, but with the AAA-level lineups they've been trotting out there lately, that appears like wishful thinking at this point. This holds especially true in the outfield where we here at the Giants Baseball Blog pleaded for Evans to solidify the outfield by getting a legit left fielder in the offseason but of course that didn't happen so I think we could all see this coming, I know I could, I just hoped for full health. I mean, the Tuesday night outfield of Orlando Calixte, Gorkys Hernandez and Justin Ruggiano was about as imposing as having three semi-skilled hitting pitchers (offensively) as your starting outfield. The team's outfield combined WAR is the worst in baseball, and again, this should be no surprise. The Giants outfield depth was thin last year, this winter and into spring, to say the least. They had no proven left fielder, and they had two guys coming off injury-ridden years on two 30-something outfielders who seems to really have hit a wall, health wise, the last couple of seasons.I guess they expected one of Chris Marrero, Mac Williamson or Jarrett Parker to really step up and take the reigns but I never liked that plan. There was nothing in their past that showed they were ready to be handed important big league roles. Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Joey Panik and Brandon Crawford all forced their way onto the roster and into regular jobs. Mac and Parker (who's now on the 60-day DL), while showing signs at times of being capable, have not come close to proving they're ready to handle playing everyday and were chosen not because the Giants had the utmost confidence in one taking the reigns, but because they had no other options and were hoping one of these guys would become the Adam Duvall who they gave up on and who's now become an all-star and a legit 30+ HR/year guy in Cinci. Even still, to this day, I don't know why the Giants didn't go get a decent plan B for left field. Rajai Davis would have been a perfect fit. Coming off postseason experience, well versed at all 3 OF positions and coming off nice year with the bat. But no, Giants were content with what they had and it's biting them now.  You don't wind up 15-20 games below .500 at this point in the year because of one faulty aspect of your team though. Although plenty of the blame can be placed on the outfield's lack of both offense and defensive consist[...]



Giants look bad, but is there hope?

2017-05-13T01:11:02.800-07:00

Last week, the Giants took two out of three from the LA Dodgers and looked like they were primed to start shaking off the rust that caused them to fall 9-10 games below .500 in the matter of a month. However, they hit the road, leaving California and head to the mid-west where they endured one of the toughest to watch 4-game series' I've seen in recent memory.They looked solid in LA, taking 2 of 3 from the Dodgers and the starting pitching was on point. The bright spot, in my opinion, was Jeff Samardzija's brilliant outing, his best since he's dawned a Giants uniform here early on in year number two of his five-year deal (unfortunately he got rocked in his follow up outing). What was disturbing though about that Dodgers series is that the Dodgers outscored them 17-13 in the three game (despite the Giants winning two of three). The reason I mention that is because it carried over into what I think was the worst series so far on the young '17 season for the Giants in Cincinnati. After regaining some momentum heading into the series, the Giants were absolutely hammered by Cinci at Great American Ballpark. Matt Cain got raked in game one, Ty Blach essentially mirrored Cain's abysmal outing in game two, then Johnny Cueto gave the team a chance with a solid 7 inning, 2 ER, 10 K performance on getaway day but of course the Giants didn't even supply a single run of support for the magnificent outing by Cueto.It's a tad disturbing when your team rolls into one of the most offensively live ballparks in all of baseball and gets outscored to the tune of 31-5 in a three game set. Now I know that Denard Span and Brandon Crawford, two of the teams most important bats, where still on the shelf for this series, but the lack of run scoring seems to be getting even worse. I mean, they got shut out by Scott Feldman, a 35 year-old righty who's, at best, a 5-starter at this point of his career.Things didn't get much better in New York either as the Giants lost 2 of 3 in this set. However, they played a little bit better baseball and each of these games were actual ballgames whereas the contests in Cinci were just laughable really. They lost two games by a run and each of those games could have gone in the Giants favor with a lucky break here or there but New York got all the home field advantage and had the luck on their side as well.So, now we find ourselves in a sort of "early season panic mode" as a Giants fans. As I type this the Giants and Reds are in extra innings in game two of their set at AT&T Park (^15th to be exact). Of course, the Giants could not complete their comeback at the end of game one, continuing their bad luck against the Reds in 2017, but they have a chance to comeback in tonight's ballgame, then take the next two to take the series . They're in the midst of perhaps one of the tougher part of their schedules right now dealing with the highly improved Reds, then hosting the Dodgers before heading to the mid-west to play the Cardinals and Cubbies then returning home to play the best team in the league, Washington Nationals. They do have a three-game set with Atlanta sprinkled in there somewhere but I think this is going to be the stretch that determines what the Giants' strategy in terms of mid-season trading.This stretch of games will take them into June and that's about the time when you have a pretty good grip on your squad's weaknesses and needs, and most importantly, are there enough attainable upgrades out there that can legitimately help this team. If they go through that stretch and find themselves in the same situations they currently are in, over 10 games below .500, then it could be the first time since before 2010 that the Giants won't be looking for deals to upgrade in July. I'm still holding out hope that they won't let things get too far out of hand. The scary part about this team though and the thing that makes me worry about their chances to rebound from this abysmal stretch of play to start t[...]



Should SF be agressive or wait things out?

2017-05-04T20:23:57.526-07:00

Needless to say, the San Francisco Giants have gotten off to a pretty bad start. Especially coming off a year where they were a few breaks away from making another NLCS appearance then who knows what would have happened.However, they failed to make it out of that divisional round because of multiple reasons, the most important being that bullpen, but we all know that story and I'm not here to re-hash the same old stuff. My question for Bobby Evans, Brian Sabean and Co. at this point would be are you guys seriously planning on turning this ship around or you more in a "hey we made the playoffs last year, the fans won't go too crazy if we miss it this time around". Of which, I'm sure they're more on the side of the former, and if that's the case, this team is going to have to act sooner than later. They may not be able to wait until mid-summer to pull the trigger on an upgrade(s) to this roster. I'd say give this unit maybe until mid-May and if this still haven't climbed back up around .500 then I don't really see things getting much better.The rotation has been on point, as the only guy in the rotation who isn't pulling his weight, and sure a lot of it has to do with "bad luck" is Jeff Samrdziaja. "The Shark" sports an 0-4 record and a 6.32 ERA but he's also struck out 32 in 31 IP so the stuff is there and hopefully the results start showing up in May. Everyone else has been pretty nails, although Matty Moore's outing Tuesday night in LA was his worst as a Giant (I believe). They're even getting strong starts out of Matt Cain and Ty Blach, in replacement of Madison Bumgarner until at least mid-season, has thrown well himself a couple of gems his first two starts of the season. The thing is, the movement from Blach from the Giants bullpen into the rotation has prompted Stephen Okert into the primary left-handed reliever out of the pen. Okert has the stuff and has had a little bit of success in his brief amount of big league time, and although he's thrown a lot better than his 5.14 ERA shows, he does have a 0.857 WHIP. He also doesn't give up the long ball or walk guys (two great traits for RP's). Speaking of that bullpen, as a hole they seem to slowly be getting things together. They still have those games where if one gets roped then it's typically gonna cause a domino effect. I still would consider the bullpen a work in progress, but at least roles seem to be getting a little more defined. The one dagger the other afternoon was Mark Melancon blowing that 2-0 lead in Blach's start, which ended up costing the Giants the game, series, Blach a W and Melancon his 2nd BS in 7 opportunities. Now I'm hardly worried about the new closer, but it's just an example of what's happening that's causing the team to consistently be 5-8 games below .500.So why is the team 8 game below .500 at the time of this post? Well, the defense has left a lot to be desired, no doubt on that, as they've cost the team a handful of games. The main reason why the Giants enter play on Wednesday night with a troubling 10-18 record, as we all know,  is largely in-part to the lack of offense this team is getting and the inability to put runs on the board. I know, surprise, surprise. right? Now Boch has tried just about everything. They've called up guys left and right, they've completely overhauled the batting and aside from Denard Span's shoulder, the starting lineup is pretty darn healthy. Unfortunately there is no clear timetable for Span's return after he sprained his right shoulder slamming into the wall in Colorado April 22nd. He was expected to be ready to rock when first eligible to come off the 10-day DL, but suffered a set-back last Thursday. So while Bochy is hoping he could be ready to go in the next week or so, it's Span we're talking about so even if he does return in a week, who knows how long it will be before he strains his hammy next or has the recurring hip problem pop back up?With all this going [...]



Is Christian Arroyo Buster Posey 2.0?

2017-04-27T01:54:45.041-07:00

The Giants brought up top prospect Christian Arroyo this week, as they needed a spark in their lineup, and so far the kid has looked mighty impressive. In fact, after seeing his output Wednesday night vs. the Dodgers, not only him as a player, but the situation he's being brought into really reminds me of the situation Buster Posey was thrust into back in 2010.Let's just look at it for a second here. The Giants had some talent on their 2010 roster, especially that strong rotation with Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum in their primes while Jonathan Sanchez (remember him?) had himself a career year and it was Ryan Vogelsong's reclamation year. However, they ran into early offensive problems and their answer wasn't to go out and swing a deal to bring in a hitter, but rather thrust one of their own highly touted prospects into the fire and see how things went. That prospect was a 23 year-old Buster Posey and all the Giants have done since making that decision including winning 3 tittles in 7 years and become one of the better teams and top MLB dynasty's of the new millennium (all thanks in large part to Buster).Fast forward 7 years later, and the Giants find themselves in somewhat similar circumstances. Expectations are higher than ever, they have a lot of money tied up into this roster but things just haven't come together or even shown signs of coming together for most of April. So what do the Bruce Bochy, Bobby Evans and Brian Sabean do? They made that similar call-up to the one that turned their season around 7 years ago and ultimately led them to a ring, this time bringing up top prospect Christian Arroyo, who was tearing the cover off the ball in AAA Sacramento and certainly appeared ready. Couple that with the fact the Giants have gotten zero production from left field and have the option of moving Eduardo Nunez out there to open up third base for the 21 year-old phenom. Nunez is well versed enough to take on left field regularly and be more than serviceable out there. He's got great speed and good instincts but sometimes takes risks that can come back and bite him. Still, he's good enough in left to warrant playing him there most nights to allow Arroyo into the linuep. The kid just has "it:" and I think he's going to be the real deal. Maybe not quite a perennial all-star like Posey, but definitely as good as Belt and Crawford, if not better.So, how will that leave the rest of the Giants lineup moving forward (especially when Span gets back next week like expected and another roster move will be preceding that) you ask? Well, I certainly have my ideas and guys I would like to see stick around. First off, Drew Stubbs should absolutely stick on this team over Gorkys Hernandez, at least in my opinion. Stubbs has had multiple successful seasons at the big league level and has gained a certain baseball IQ in the process. Gorkys hasn't spent near the time Stubbs has in the bigs and has never made much of an impact. Hernandez is younger though and may have a step on Stubbs right now, but Stubbs is a former 40-SB guy and stole 20 as recent as 2014, the last year he received over 400 plate appearances. Not to mention Stubbs is a more than capable center fielder and I know Gorkys has a reputation for being a defensive stud, I've see him both multiple balls already this year which have resulted in runs. Now, in no way and I saying Drew Stubbs is the next coming and is going to be a starting outfielder for the Giants moving forward, hit 20 jacks and steal 20 bases. He does, however, have experience that Hernandez doesn't have and can do pretty much everything Gorkys can do, better in many cases.All in all, I'm very excited to see the Giants being proactive in their attempt to turn things around sooner rather than later. Why wait until June when your seeing the same things hurt your team over and over in April? Aside from their bringing up of Arroyo and Stubbs, the Giants act[...]



Minus their ace, SF has plenty of issues

2017-04-25T01:48:26.002-07:00

It started on opening day when the Giants lost game they had in their grasps in the 9th to the D0Backs with their new ace closer on the hill, and ever since then, things just keep popping up that don't seem to go the Giants way.The most pressing and more recent bit of bad news to hit the Giants was ace Madison Bumgarner's left shoulder injury sustained doing non-baseball activities (riding dirt bikes in the Colorado mountains to be exact) and expected to keep him out until roughly the all-star break. I've heard time-table ranges from 8-10 weeks in the very best case scenario, up to 16-24 weeks. The rough part is that it's his pitching shoulder so my guess would be something closer to the ladder. Essentially, there's a 50/50 chance we may not see MadBum take the hill again in '17 but I'm gonna hold out hope. This, aside from maybe losing Posey for an extended period of time, was the very last guy the Giants wanted to see hit the DL, and the scary thing is, the injury involves his left shoulder. I'm not trying to be a downer or look at the glass half-empty, but I don't think the Giants can really count on much from their left moving forward, at least for the foreseeable future. He's gonna miss at least a month before he can start even tossing a ball again (if things go well), then will have to build up his strength, then face hitters, then go on an assignment in the minors until he's finally ready to rejoin the staff. I'd be very happy if he came back strong and ready to go, even if we have to wait until after the all-star break.The Giants are not winning any tittles without MadBum (unless they strike lightening in a bottle with Ty Blach or make some miraculous trade for another ace which just doesn't seem likely), so if they need to sacrifice 12-15 weeks in order to get him back to 100% and on the field for the stretch run then so be it.Aside from the horrible Madison Bumgarner news we received just a couple days ago, the happenings on the field aren't making that pill any easier to swallow. The team has now sunk to 6-13 and aside from MadBum's rough situation, the second most pressing issue is the left field play. I know, surprise, surprise. right. We here at this site mentioned this multiple times in the winter how there were options out there in the Giants price range who would have been upgrades to guys like Parker, Marrero, Hernandez etc... but I don't want to beat a dead horse. I was hoping Melvin Upton would come in and provide depth or at least a spark but he went down with a torn ligament in his hand this week, likely ending his brief stay in the Giants organization. The other name down in the minors who is making his way back and probably would have won a job out of spring had he not gotten hurt is big Mikey Morse. Now back and supposedly healthy, he's in Sacramento and a good week could put himself up on the big club getting regular looks in left. In fact, if he hits two big flies in a game down up in Sac, it would'nt surprise me to see him swap places with Chris Marrero the next day. That's how bad the Giants need offense.I just don't think the Giants are ready to make a deal of any kind quite yet, whether it be another starter or someone to solidify left. I mean, if MadBum needs to end up missing 4 months, they could use this year as more of a "see what you got" season and assess some of their younger guys. It's really hard to mail in a season like that with a payroll the Giants have and the expectations the fans have grown to demand, so I don't think we'd get there unless they really run into some bad luck.Are the Giants as bad as they've shown to start the year (6-13)? No, I don't think they are. However, I also don't think they're much better than a .500 team with the roster they have. Without MadBum, the rotation is still decent enough to win, but far from the strength they were, leaving the lineup needing to pick up[...]



MadBum still winless, SF finalizes Upton deal

2017-04-14T01:27:13.047-07:00

If you didn't think you'd ever be saying that Matt Cain would be leading Madison Bumgarner in wins again, well you'd have been wrong. The Giants enigmatic fifth starter got in the win column with a strong outing Wednesday night, but the team fell to 0-3 when their ace takes the hill as Madison Bumgarner and the Giants lost the opener vs. Colorado on Thursday.Madison Bumgarner has gotten some pretty bad luck, as the team just isn't scoring for him when he's out there. Thursday marked the big left-hander's third start of the season, and unfortunately he fell to 0-2 after surrendering 3 runs over 6 innings to the Rockies. He definitely didn't have his type-A stuff, but pitched well enough to win most nights, but the Giants just couldn't muster anything offensively. Granted, they were without two of their better hitters, as Buster Posey is still on the 7-day concussion DL and Brandon Crawford was out of the lineup dealing with a family tragedy. Without their 4-5 hitters the Giants just couldn't sustain any sort of rally and nobody really stepped up with that big hit the team really needed. Usually MadBum helps himself out in games like these, but even he had trouble against Jon Gray and the Rockies bullpen. It really is a shame too as the Giants were primed to keep their winning ways going after Matt Cain broke through with a victory on Wednesday night, a start that probably earned Cainer another few starts in the rotation.Speaking of Cain, he looked about as good as you'll see him these days on Wednesday and that is significant. He's been around so long that we forget he's only 32 years old, although he's pitched more like a 39 year-old the last couple seasons. That's not young in baseball terms, but 32 is certainly not ancient, and still within a players "prime years" (age 27-32). Plus with someone like Cain's track record, you have to give him a shot because you never know if and when he'll re-discover himself. Hopefully Wednesday was the start of that process, but I'm hardly ready to determine Cain as "back" like many people were anxious to do after his most recent start. It was a nice showing, yes, but he still showed is inability to get deep into a ballgame and appears to have about a 5 or 6 innin limit right now before he really loses it. That's not necessarily a bad thing though for the Giants, especially from the fifth starter and someone who's limiting the damage like Cain did Wednesday. What really reminded me of vintage Cain though was not just his outing on the mound, but his big double at the plate as well. During his best years, he was much like MadBum in the sense he could hurt you on both sides, and we saw that for the first time in recent memory Wednesday.Giants finalize Upton signing: Speaking of offense, I have to say, I'm pretty stoked about the Giants most recent signing. On Wednesday, the Giants finalized their low-risk, potentially rewarding minor league agreement with Melvin Upton and the outfielder has reported to extended spring training in Arizona. The timing really couldn't be better for the Giants, as they've struggled to get production out of their outfield as a whole to start the year, but especially left and center field, two areas where Upton can definitely help out. The plan for the 32 year-old outfielder is to have him get some reps at extended spring training, then report to AAA Sacramento, but it wouldn't surprise me if his stay in Sac is short lived. Heck, if he tears it up in extended spring and the Giants feel like he can offer and upgrade in left then they may just bring him directly up from Arizona sometime next week.Upton is coming off a somewhat down year at the plate last season (.238/20/61/.693 with 27 steals) but he will bring in a few things this team is in desperate need of; power, speed and defense. He won't hit for an average much higher than .250, but he's s[...]



Giants trending up but Posey hits DL

2017-04-11T17:18:56.002-07:00

The Giants have looked much more like the team we expected coming in over the last two days. They salvaged the series in San Diego with a win behind Johnny Cueto then opened up their season at home with a win over the D-Backs behind a gem from Matt Moore.The victories over the last two days have moved the team back within a couple of games of .500 at 3-5 but now they'll face a new challenge, at least for the next week or so. If you watched the home opener Monday, then you saw that pitch that hit Posey square in the helmet in his first at-bat and you probably thought like I did immediately; please don't be one of those concussions that cause nasty recurring symptoms that impact his 2017 season. Well, we won't know it's impact on Posey for at least a week, as the Giants placed him on the 7-day DL with concussion symptoms, although they are saying he's fine and it's just a precaution. The Giants have become all too familiar with concussions in recent seasons after it ended Brandon Belt's 2015 season and then hampered Joe Panik's '16 season after causing him to miss a month of play. Needless to say, the Giants have had some bad luck with concussions over the last couple of seasons and now it's struck a player that they can least afford to lose. Also, because Posey catches everyday, it puts him at further risk to where a foul tip off the mask could cause his symptoms to return. I wouldn't be surprised to see him get a couple starts at first base when he is activated for that very reason.It really does come at a bad time for the Giants too. They seem to be getting their 2017 legs underneath them the past couple of games and look primed to take off from here. The starting pitching has been pretty solid from the get go, although a few mistakes were really magnified in Arizona, but Matt Cain looked very bad in his first start on Friday and as we talked about in our season preview, I doubt he's going to have the leash he's had the last couple seasons. He's in the final year of his deal and each time he takes the mound from here on out could be his last attempt to get right, at least here in San Francisco. In fact, I'd give him till the end of April, and if the Giants aren't seeing any positives or any sign of him turning things around, it wouldn't surprise me to see them make a move. Everyone else has been pretty solid though. Jeff Samardzija will start Tuesday night, coming off an outing which didn't look all that great in the box score, but if you saw him throw, you saw the stuff was definitely there. He got burned by a couple location mistakes and the light Arizona air, but I expect him to keep the ball in the yard at AT&T. Cueto and Bum have looked pretty solid, and Matt Moore just threw a gem on opening day Monday, so the rotation is definitely picking up steam in week two of the season.So, the Giants have started to claw back from their 1-5 start. Brandon Crawford likes primed for a career year and I'm getting good vibes from Eduardo Nunez, but the big questions coming into the year have yet to be answered. Besides Matt Cain's instability in the fifth spot, the play in left field as well as performance from their middle relievers are still very much in question. I believe Giants left fielders went 1-15 to start the season, with a bunch of strikeouts, and the bullpen has already cost them at least one ballgame (although Mark Melancon was largely at fault in that one as well). Also, another spot to watch is center field and Denard Span. The leadoff hitter missed most of the first week of the season after his hip flared up on Opening Day. It's the same hip that caused his 2015 season to get cut way short and he got operated on the winter before last season. It's also what many believe to be the cause of Span's down '16 season as he wasn't really moving like he did in years previousl[...]



Interview with Razzball

2017-04-04T12:59:42.629-07:00

We've done a few pre-season interviews with the fantasy website Razzball.com. I know the season has technically started for most teams including the Giants, we were a little late on this one and I wanted to share it with you guys anyway.They did a hole write-up on the Giants and their fantasy prospects over at their site and I'll post a link below with the full article. I'm gonna post a couple Q and A's from out part of the article. Definitely check them out if your a fantasy baseball gamer!M@: The Giants lineup is filled with reliability. Well, in years past it’s been that way. Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford, Denard Span…they’re mainstays. One name missing? Hunter Pence. In standard 5×5 leagues I’ve always been a Pence fan as he brings a high floor and a medum ceiling, perfect for drafting right outside the top 50. However, 2016 wasn’t as kind to Pence and that reliability as he tried to recover from injury. What should we expect from Pence in 2017, a rebound to his old form or another step down into his twilight? Trevor Cole:  If there’s ever a guy to bet on continuing to produce well into his thirties it’s Hunter Pence. This guy keeps himself in top shape and adheres to a strict diet in order to continue being successful late in his career. Yes ’15 (freak injury getting hit by pitch and breaking his arm) and ’16 were injury-ridden for him and he hasn’t torn it up this spring like I’m sure the Giants were hoping, but entering his age-34 season, I think he still does have plenty left in the tank. As long as he avoids a freak injury, I’d guess around a .280/20/80/15 slash line with an OPS up around or above .800 would be his ceiling. Again, if he has a DL stint or two those numbers will drop but if he gets his 600 at-bats, the numbers will be there.M@: The name not mentioned above that might carry the highest ceiling, somehow, is the trade deadline addition last year, Eduardo Nunez. Out of nowhere, at age 29, he posted a .288/73/16/67/40 slash line. The average seems repeatable based on his history, but the outburst of power/speed is less consistent. At the end of 2017 is Nunez above or below the line of .270/75/12/60/35? Trevor Cole: Nunez had a great, out of nowhere first half with the Twins, however, once he arrived in San Francisco, it took him a good while to get going. When he did towards the end of the year in September, he hurt his hamstring and was out of the lineup a lot and missed most of the postseason as well. He’s a guy many are predicting to build off last season but I’m not so sure. I do think he’ll hit for a decent average (above .275) and he’ll steal his bases, but I don’t think the power will be there like it was in the first half of 2016. He only hit 4 long balls after joining SF in July, but as I said he finished strong with a .313/2/10/8 slash line in September despite missing over a weeks worth of games. Depending on where Bochy hits him in the lineup (and that could change daily) will determine his RBI/run opportunities but I expect his average to be around .300 with 10-15 big fly’s and 30 stolen bases come the end of the year.I'm not going to re-post the whole thing, so for the rest of the article and Q and A session click the link here!Now hopefully the Giants and Johnny Cueto can get right vs. the D-Backs and put that disappointing opening day loss behind them![...]



2016 problems carry over in SF '17 opener

2017-04-02T22:26:14.137-07:00

Well guys, that was a big letdown to say the least. Opening day 2017 came and went for the Giants Sunday afternoon, and they let one getaway, much like they did to end the 2016 season in the playoffs.The Giants cruised through the first 5 innings, as it was the Madison Bumgarner show. He was striking out D-Back hitters with regularity and inducing weak contact to the tune of 5 perfect frames. Not to mention, he helped himself bit time at the plate by hitting 2 jacks in the game. However, with a 3-0 lead and perfect game in-tact heading to the bottom of the sixth, it was all downhill for the Giants. Madbum had a rough 6th inning as he got put into the stretch for the first time and left the ball up to a few hitters who did not miss. The D-Backs ended up tying the game in the 6th but MadBum gave the Giants the lead back in the 7th with his second home run and finished off his night with a strong 7th inning. Take away that rough sixth, and you couldn't have asked for a better outing from MadBum.However, the Giants bullpen, as I predicted over the winter, throughout spring and in our season previews, didn't do much to improve their mid-relief and set-up corps from last years squad. Yes they did get themselves what they hope will be an ace closer but it didn't even happen for Melancon on Sunday afternoon either. Derek Law surrendered the lead in the 8th, only for the Giants to reclaim it in the 9th, only for Melancon to cough it right back up in the bottom of the inning and ultimately blow the save. It was uncharacteristic to say the least for Melancon and certainly not what you hoped for out of the Giants bullpen as a whole to start the 2017 season. It was an eerily similar feel to the way things were going at the end of 2016 and all we can hope is that it was just opening day jitters. Yes, this pen is better than last year's bunch, just because they have that clear-cut ace closer, but nobodies invincible and Melancon is human (as Krukow eluded to in the postgame show). Still, it's the bunch between the starters and Melancon that still has me worried.There's not much else to say about the game, it was a disappointment. Besides Bumgarner being his typical awesome self, the Giants got nice outputs from Eduardo Nunez, Joe Panik and Brandon Crawford that helped them put together their runs aside from MadBum's jacks. They played good defense and scored enough runs to win most nights (5), so this one falls on the pen, which allowed 7 hits and 2 runs in 1 2/3 innings.Anyway, I don't wanna beat a dead horse, and I'm staying optimistic that things will improve as guys settle in. Melancon probably had the juices flowing at an extra-high level being it his first regular season appearance after signing the biggest contract of his life and joining a new team. Also, it was Derek Law's first opening day in the bigs so I'm sure his adrenaline was in overdrive as well and that should mellow out in the coming days. Hopefully things get better in the coming days as the adrenaline wears down but it also wouldn't completely surprise me to see inconsistency continue to haunt the middle relief and set-up corps in this bullpen.[...]



2017 San Francisco Giants Preview

2017-04-05T23:06:22.850-07:00

Well folks, that time has finally come, opening day is just a few short days away and the butterflies are already starting with me. While this team has plenty of question marks heading in, they still have their solid core that's been a main part of 2 out of their 3 championships and like they've shown so many times, you can just never count them out.Here's a look at the projected opening day roster as well as some rough estimate stats based on past performance, health and age. We'll also give our expectations for 2017 as far as where they'll end up, what/who they may end up needing to trade for and really what we expect to go down throughout the 2017 season. It's not an even year, which has worked out so well for the Giants 3 of the last 4 times, but this team should still be a contender nonetheless and may be a player or two away from really making a push for a fourth ring in 8 seasons.Projected lineup with projected slash line (all stat predictions are based on players playing a full season and not taking into account any injuries):1. CF Denard Span- .282/8/51/.741 21 SB (solid spring, hopefully rebounds from sub-par '16 season)2. 1B Brandon Belt- .276/22/68/.848 (primed for his first 20+ HR year & Giants need pop)3. RF Hunter Pence- .281/18/79/.818 (huge key, has to stay on the field for this lineup)4. C Buster Posey- .303/19/85/.840 (another guy needing to improve off mediocre '16)5. SS Brandon Crawford- .285/15/86/.779 (has gone from offensive liability to solid run-producer)6. 3B Eduardo Nunez- .278/16/65/.765 25 SB (hopefully builds off '16 breakout and stays on the field)7. LF Jarrett Parker- .255/12/48/.735 (will likely share LF but should get majority of ab's vs. RHP)8. 2B Joe Panik- .262/10/51/.715 (like Posey and Span, Giants hoping '16 was off-year)Again, these numbers are projecting everyone stays healthy for the season, which we know is highly unlikely, but it will be fun to look back at the end of the year and see how close we actually come. Parker is the one real wild card as he could end up getting a ton of at-bats and running away with the job, or he could find himself in an old fashioned time share with Chris Marrero or even Michael Morse down the road... I really want to see Panik's resurrection in 2017 as I think that would be a huge shot in the arm for the offense. They need his .300 bat back and not the .237 he hit in 2016... Bochy will likely use Nunez in the 2-slot vs. left-handed pitching but seems to be favoring Belt there vs. righties this spring, so I expect that to carry over into the season.Projected Rotation, set-up man and closer: 1. LHP Madison Bumgarner- 17 W, 3.02 ERA, 220 IP, 217 K's, 1.07 WHIP2. RHP Johnny Cueto- 16 W, 2.97 ERA, 210 IP, 189 K's, 1.10 WHIP3. LHP Matt Moore- 15 W, 3.55 ERA, 202 IP, 179 K's, 1.27 WHIP4. RHP Jeff Samardzija- 12 W, 4.04 ERA, 209 IP, 166 K's, 1.29 WHIP5. RHP Matt Cain- 5 W, 5.38 ERA, 105 IP, 74 K's, 1.45 WHIPRH- Derek Law- 80 G, 2.57 ERA, 72 IP, 70 K's, 1.02 WHIPCL-Mark Melancon- 76 G, 1.75 ERA, 46 S, 74 IP, 68 K's, 0.89 WHIPThe only uncertainty out of this bunch really is Matt Cain. The only reason he's being given a shot at retaining the 5th starter gig is because of his huge price tag in what is his final year of his contract. However, if he struggles out of the gate, I don't think the Giants are going to give him as much rope as they have the last two seasons. Ty Blach and Tyler Beede are waiting in the wings and many feel both are better options right now than Cain and it's hard to disagree with that. Hopefully Cainer bounces back but after a few seasons trending down and all the innings he's thrown the last decade-plus, it seems highly unlikely. As far as the pen, we've talked about how the roles are still undetermined, out[...]



Giants bullpen roles still undecided

2017-03-30T04:21:54.185-07:00

The Cactus League has officially come to an end as the Giants arrived back in the Bay Area Wednesday. They ended up going 16-16, which means absolutely nothing, but they had some guys really standout and present themselves as options, if not for the opening day roster, then certainly down the road.The three big things you really hope for each spring is that your squad gets their work in, shows at some point they're ready for games to start counting for real and most importantly, avoids any sort of injury, especially long-term. While the Giants didn't have anyone in their starting lineup or rotation hit the shelf, they did lose their left-handed set-up man for the year. Will Smith's injury was especially unfortunate for the Giants who are still trying to figure out in what order they're going to get the ball from their outstanding rotation into the hands of their new ace-closer on nights their starters only go 5-6 innings. We talked at length about the bench and how it really could shake out in a number of ways to open the year and the bullpen really is in the same boat. Obviously Melancon will be manning the 9th inning, but that's the only role with any certain clarity in the Giants bullpen right now. My guess is Derek Law will open as the primary set-up guy, maybe sharing with Hunter Strickland to see who emerges. Then come the question marks.Right-hander Neil Ramirez had somewhat of a standout spring with 16 K's in 9.2 innings of work while allowing just 10 base-runners and sporting a 3.72 ERA and I believe deserves a spot in middle relief. The former first rounder sported a 1.44 ERA through 50 games his rookie year with the Cubs in 2014, then ran into some injuries which have set him back the last couple of seasons. George Kontos will to be slotted into mid-relief as well and didn't have a bad spring himself, finishing with a 4.50 ERA, a solid 0.9 WHIP and 15 K's over 10 innings. In fact, if you take away the two long-balls he gave up (that probably wouldn't have been home runs in 90% of MLB ballparks), then his numbers would have looked as good as any reliever beside Melancon. Speaking of whom, the new closer showed he's ready for Opening Day by not allowing a run and only 7 base-runners in 9 innings.The best non-closer showing of any reliever, right or left-handed, in the hunt for a bullpen slot was Steven Okert. The big lefty pitched well in his brief stint in 2016 and looked un-hittable at times this March, finishing with 0.96 ERA and 7 base-runners allowed in his 9 innings of work. With Smith's injury, Okert has set himself up as the front-runner to take on the primary left-handed role in the bullpen, but Bochy could decide to go with the more seasoned Josh Osich. However, Osich was one of the hardest hit relievers this spring, giving up 13 hits and walking 9 batters in his 9 innings (2.36 WHIP). If Smith's injury happened a month prior than it did there would have been a few options out there on the market but at this point, unless you would like to see them lure Javy Lopez out of retirement and the NBC Bay Area booth for one more go round.One of my favorite young arms on the 40-man roster and a guy who finds himself in a conundrum these final days of exhibition baseball is Ty Blach. He's shown the ability to pitch well in relief, and pitch well as a starter. The Giants have a big decision on what they want to do with him. My guess is he makes the roster, just on the sheer amount of work that Boch and Rags had him do this month. He threw the third most innings of any Giants pitcher this spring, and for the most part was pretty impressive. I don't think they would have kept him out there so much if they weren't planning on him being a big part of their 2017 plans. [...]



Will depth be an issue?

2017-03-27T03:27:44.107-07:00

We've got a little over a week left in Arizona until the Giants break north for their three exhibition games on the doorstep of the 2017 MLB opener. Then it's right back to Arizona to open up vs. the D-Backs.... For real this time!As we enter the final stages of the Cactus League schedule, the Giants and Bruce Bochy have to be generally pleased with what they're seeing from their squad since early February. From what I've seen, this Giants squad seems a little hungrier to me. I mean, they have proven veterans like Gordon Beckam, Aaron Hill, Jimmy Rollins and Nick Hundley fighting for the minimal bench spots that currently exist and all seem to be portraying great attitudes in the process pf making their cases. I mean, J-Roll has been an All-Star starting SS in his career and has been in the MVP discussions multiple times and has plenty of experience deep in playoff baseball. Even though he's inching closer to 40 years of age, he still knows the game well enough to provide value so long as his body holds up and he can continue to contribute a few times a week. Hill, a notorious Giants' killer, has had a pretty nice spring and could provide legit backup support for the fragile Joe Panik at 2B as well as Eduardo Nunez at third (the Giants are also trying him out in left field as well). Then there are returnees Kelby Tomlinson, Mac Williamson and Gorkys Hernandez along with standout Chris Marerro (who's arguably had the best spring of any Giants' hitter).So, how are things going for the Giants as we've hit the home stretch of the Cactus League? I'd say all in all, pretty darn good. The one guy who's really stuck out this March and someone who looks like they're set to run away with that starters left field job is Jarrett Parker. Barring some major fall off or injury between now and April 2nd, Parker should be your starting left fielder vs. Zach Grienke and the D-Backs on the nationally televised opener. The major improvement I've seen and been reading about regarding his approach at the plate which results and waiting out better pitches to hit, which in result, gets him pitches he can put the bat head on the ball and drive it. It's been pretty evident for the 28 year-old slugger that he's determined this spring to make this roster out of spring and not only that but be a key cog in the lineup. As of March 17th, Parker has had 36 spring at-bats, resulting in 12 hits (.333 BA), 4 HR, 12 RBI a .455 OBP and a 1.15 OPS.Once I realized the Giants weren't going to be upgrading left field around mid-December, Parker immediately became my choice just because I remember how hot he can get when he filled in during those stints in both '15 and '16 (I think both times in which Pence was shelved). He showed he can hit balls out of the park with consistency and it's carried over to the spring. If you take what he'd done combined over the last two seasons at the big league level in limited duty, it doesn't look too shabby whatsoever. The left-handed slugger has collected 178 at-bats and has slashed .267/11/28/.371/.494 (.865 OPS), scored 33 runs and walked 24 times. The walks and ob-base percentage are really what really impresses me because most young players are over-anxious and want to swing at everything. He's not just up there hacking for McCovey Cove every time he steps into the box, I just really hope that holds up in a full-time gig come April. I don't know how it will wind up for Parker, but so far we have nothing but positive thoughts based on what we've seen. It wouldn't surprise me to see him become Fred Lewis-type talent, and it wouldn't surprise me to see him become a  Brandon Belt-type talent. I'm leaning more toward Belt though, just because I [...]



Pivotal spring lies ahead for Giants: Part 2

2017-03-31T13:43:35.791-07:00

As we talked about in our our previous post, "Part 1", we've been discussing what the Giants team is looking like as Spring Training is just underway and Cactus League play is less than a week away. And after missing their first even year World Series tittle since 2008, the Giants should be hungry to get back to the fall classic again in 2017, and that journey starts Friday afternoon!We mentioned the outfield and the inability to find an everyday, sure fire answer there. I knew getting a starting left fielder in the winter was going to be a long shot (their best bet, if they find they Mac/Parker aren't the answers would be an in-season trade), but really solidifying this bullpen from top to bottom was something I think could have been given more effort. Now, not saying the pen as is should be considered bad by any stretch and with a legit closer now, they're much better than they were a year ago on that fact alone. However, going back in line of what I was saying about left field; for a team with aspirations like the Giants should have, I feel like they could have added more than just their new closer. Where else do you see this team upgrading at from last year? They lost their ace RH set-up man Sergio Romo, ace LH set-up man Javier Lopez (although Romo had a nice drop-off in '16 and Lopez's career seems to have ran it's course). And let's not forgot how they never found a replacement for the ever important Jeremy Affeldt after 2015. That caused them to part with an arm and a leg to get mid left-handed reliever, Will Smith, who was no Affeldt in his two months here. He, however, should rebound and I do I have high expectations for Smith in 2017.Throughout the offseason, we discussed several guys that could have made a lot of sense as far as non-closing relievers. I mean, as of now it's Melancon at the helm, followed by the still green and injury prone, yet very nasty, Derrick Law, the enigmatic Hunter Strickland, Josh Osich who's had his brief moments but for the most part looks like a middle of the road LH reliever. Now, I really like Law taking over the Romo 8th inning role if he can just stay healthy, and he's gonna get that spot baring some injury or catastrophic spring. Same can be said for Strickland, although I like him more in the 7th inning than the 8th in close ballgames due to his proclivity to giving up the long ball in those situations. Then there's good 'ole George Kontos, the squads longest tenured reliever now with Romo, Casilla and Lopez gone. Kontos' numbers always look serviceable at the end of the year, but it seems like he can get hit and gives up his runs at times when it matters the most. He'd be the ideal guy to have in AAA as the primary call-up each time a reliever hits the shelf, or possibly even as a long man. So there are question marks as to what certain guys roles will be and who exactly will make the team out of spring as pretty much every role is up for grabs, sans the 9th inning gig.All in all, it was a very quiet winter on the Giants front aside from the much needed Melancon signing. They did complete a few, under-the-radar minor league signings/spring invitees, including some that may end up helping the big squad as they need it. My favorite of those was the addition of Nick Hundley for various reasons. I like Trevor Brown and he could end up being a major key in the future or a trade chip, but Hundley brings a veteran presence that should allow Bochy the freedom to move Posey out from behind the plate comfortably, on a more consistent basis. Buster's entering his age-30 season and although that's still pretty much right in his prime, he is a catcher and those guys [...]



Pivotal spring awaits for SF: Part 1

2017-02-21T04:05:17.950-08:00

With all the hoopla surrounding the Superbowl at the start of February as well as the NBA all-star game and March Madness right around the corner, the early part of spring training often gets overlooked. However, Major League Baseball's official work year is upon us and spring games will be getting underway this week.So, with that being said, we'll take the next two posts to sort of recap how things went for the Giants this winter, what the team is currently looking like and projected to be come opening day. I honestly don't see them as a serious World Series contender as currently assembled, but at the same time, their starting pitching is premiere and they really are a move or two away (or a huge breakout or two of their own farm players) from being right up their with the Cubs and The Giants held their first full-squad workout over the weekend in Scottsdale, marking the beginning of a long journey that they help ends up netting them their 4th world tittle since 2010. However, this team has a lot of work to do and after a relatively quiet offseason, they're going to be banking on a lot of their returnees to both stay on the field actually produce up to their career norm. The first name that comes to mind in terms of staying on the field is Hunter Pence. He's arguably their 2nd most important hitter and missed large chunks of time last year with DL stints and didn't really seem like himself for much of the second half. Hopefully those hamstring woes are behind him and he gets that production back along the lines of the ~.280/25/90/.800 line that's been his career norm. It's not only Pence though. The Giants need to really spend the spring figuring out what sort of lineup will be optimize ability to produce runs without having many home run hitters on the roster. They were unable to bring in that big thumper or proven bat for left field that would have been penciled into the middle of the order and instead will open the season with Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson (with Justin Ruggiano and Mikey Morse both in camp trying to earn a job).Speaking of healthy, another guy like Pence who missed ample time in '16 was Joe Panik and he'll be watched closely during spring to ensure he's 100% ready to go come April. In terms of production, I'm sure the Giants' brass would like to see more average and speed from center fielder Denard Span. Eduardo Nunez had some ups and downs after his trade over from the Twins and hopefully his further learning of NL pitching will result in better, more consistent production. When Nunez first came over, he was touted as an improving, explosive player with quick bat-speed, slightly above-average pop and great base-running abilities.Well, his power was almost non-existent after the trade and pretty much the only area in which he did live up to his reputation was his ability to run. Span, on the other hand, just never really got it going from the start. He had a few little bursts which helped make his season ending numbers bearable but he left a lot to be desired from Giants fans and I'm sure management after they just gave him a 3-year deal The pitching is by far the teams strength and is the unit that they're banking on helping them overcome the lack of power and speed in their lineup. The starting rotation, as long as Matt Cain can contribute at least at a fifth starter level, should be up there amongst the best rotations in the game. Matty Moore is fully healed and in his prime and some believe this guy could be in the Cy Young hunt one of these years and he certainly showed it down the stretch. This is a possible walk year for Cueto so I expect him to be on his game[...]



A closer look at Jae-gyun Hwang

2017-01-30T02:07:44.490-08:00

After about 6 weeks of silence on the player movement front, the Giants have gotten a little more active in the new year. None of their recent signings are anything earth-shattering, in fact only one of them is likely guaranteed a spot on the opening day roster, but there's one guy who could end up being a diamond in the rough.They made sort of an under-the-radar move this week, by coming to terms on a minor league deal with Korean star third basemen Jae-gyun Hwang, who was Jeff Passan's 25th ranked free agent on Yahoo's 2016-17 list this winter. The 29 year-old third basemen is coming off a career year in 2016 with a .335/26/104/.949 slash to go along with 24 swipes and I believe it was also Passan who compared to a Ben Zobrist-type. The Giants feel like he is a real "player" for one of the bench spots because he'd give Boch the flexibility move Eduardo Nunez around, possibly even into left field. Here's a 5 minute video on the newest Giant and his highlights from 2016. His plate approach reminds me very much of fellow countrymen Jung Ho Kong who had a nice rookie year in Pittsburgh and his glove, range and arm look like nobody the Giants have had on the hot corner in quite sometime. The million dollar question will be whether or not he can adapt to big league pitching. Either way, he'll be an exciting watch this spring. There area a lot of guys who will be vying for one starting outfield spot, two back-up outfield spots and a back-up infield spot, (assuming Tomlinson's spot is concrete), but Hwang seems to have upside and flexibility that some of the other competitors don't have.A few things I found out about the newest Giant that I really like his power and his defense/arm over at third base. Not only does he have big time power your, if you watch that video I posted in the previous paragraph, probably aware of his opposite field pop as well. That's a sign of truly a good hitter and makes me optimistic that he will figure it out over here in the states. Plus, if you see those jacks he's hitting, most of them aren't just skimming the top of the wall on their way out, those things are hit halfway up the bleachers or more, even into centerfield. As far as the defense, that's something that's going to translate anywhere, and by the limited looks I've seen of him he looks like a fine defensive third basemen with a very strong arm. He definitely comes in on the ball well and has good range. Although I haven't seen him play in a game yet, I'm fairly confident he's a better defender than Nunez which, again, would bode well for a possible Nunez move to left should Hwang show the ability to handle major league pitching this spring. The Giants also brought in a seasoned backup catcher in Nick Hundley which I think was a very smart move. Buster's turning 30 this season and he's going to start needing more and more time off behind the plate. Trevor Brown had a great April last year but really fell off offensively after that and for a team with Championship aspirations, I think they wanted a little more of a sure thing behind Buster. Hundley's a guy who's good enough to start on a number of teams and will be a nice safety blanket for Bochy and make him much more confident on days he has to rest Buster or move him over to first. Not saying Brown was bad, he did an admirable job, but a major issue on this Giants' team last year was lack of experience off the bench and bringing Hundley aboard helps that.So with the two newest signings, it certainly does change the makeup of what the Giants bench could look like come April. If I were to guess on what exactly it will lo[...]



Offseason Review: Roster decisions loom

2017-01-30T02:11:53.293-08:00

Its been a while and there's a few reasons for our lack of posting, but the main being there simply hasn't been anything in the much of way of big Giants news, really ever since they found their closer back in early December. Therefore, we're going to talk about how the offseason has transpired and how  roles will change come April. I get the feeling this team still has something up their sleeve in terms of left field or even third base (because Nunez is most versatile and can play LF), but anything like that probably isn't happening until games start counting for real.They've made a few under-the-radar, small minor league level signings by bringing in aging veterans Jimmy Rollins and Justin Ruggiano while reuniting with Michael Morse but none of those guys are sure bets to make the roster on opening day. The Giants front office and brass have been as quiet as a mouse really ever since that Melancon inking well over a month ago. With Spring Training kicking off in just a couple short weeks, it doesn't look like they're focused on bringing anyone else into the mix. That said, I really hope they aren't completely closing their mind all the way just yet because I still think this team can improve before the season.Obviously, the big move and number one priority this winter was getting themselves a reliable closer who won't make fans endure 9th inning panic attacks on a regular basis, especially down the stretch. They successfully filled that void, but now need their new $62M closer to do his part. Mark Melancon was surely needed and should come and fit right into the Giants clubhouse according to all the reports I've seen and the stuff he's talked about when being interviewed about the move. I was always pretty certain the Giants would find their ninth inning guy one way or another just because of how dreadful that second half was and the contribution that played in the NLDS loss to Chicago coupled with the amount of options that were out there this winter The 32-year old will feature a heater in the lower 90's with some big cut that occasionally gets up around 95. What makes him special though are his secondary pitches including his big 12/6 hook, that hard cutter and slider that really give him his tough-to-hit arsenal. However, despite covering their clear-cut number one need for a top-flight stopper, this team had other issues to deal with, including the outfield.Denard Span came over on a three-year deal prior to the seasons and left a lot to be desired after year one in the Orange and Black as he wasn't exactly terrible, but wasn't his explosive self we saw over in Washington years prior. Hunter Pence was fine, when he was out there, but hit the shelf a few times because of nagging injuries and was pretty much banged up all year in some form or another. Then there was left field, where Angel Pagan was actually one of the more steady Giants, especially early in the season, but he's on the wrong side of 35 and tailed off pretty well in the second half. It was pretty clear early on that he wouldn't be back and now here we are on the door-step of February Pagan is still searching for employment. The Giants have said they want to go younger and give Jarrett Parker and Mac Williamson a legitimate shot to take over that slot. But who knows, if they find someone on the real low via trade or somehow find themselves back with Pagan on some sort of agreement to let the young guys get a shot too, then maybe they still add to that spot, but it's not likely.In addition to Morse, the Giants brought in another veteran presence in Jimmy Rollins.[...]



Remaining FA's that could help SF

2016-12-17T22:55:37.520-08:00

Well, we're about halfway through the MLB offseason and what few big name free agents that were out there have started to find homes, leaving just a select few options remaining for teams looking for help, including the San Francisco Giants.The Giants completed their primary objective with the Melancon signing earlier this month, but have yet to address left field or add any other veteran arms into their bullpen mix. I recently scoured over the list of remaining free-agents and although there doesn't appear to be a left field answer waiting for them right now, there are still a couple of guys that I think can come in and compete for a roster spot and legitimate playing time if not a starting gig. I went ahead and composed a short list with a brief description on each player and how they may be able to fit in with the Giants.Jose Bautista OF: We'll start with the only remaining right-handed power bat capable of playing the outfield on a regular basis (sorry but Trumbo in left at AT&T would not be a good fit long term). If the Giants would be willing to sacrifice some defense for offense out there, then he could be their guy (if he's willing to take a one year deal). He's gonna hit for power wherever he goes, but the Giants big selling point to him should be to come over for a year and take a shot at winning a tittle. He could see them as more likely to reach World Series then his other suitors and may be willing to give the Giants a try for a year. A big year or a World Championship could put him in even better position next winter too. He wanted 5/$150M before the season, but now he'll be lucky to get half of that after a major, major drop-off in production from '15 to '16. Still the most exciting bat on market not named Trumbo and better defensive fit although neither would be great out there.Luis Valbuena, UT: The Giants have Connor Gillepsie under team control, but could view Valbuena as an upgrade. He's got more pop than Gillespie, although Connor's postseason heroics may have cemented his spot on the '17 roster. Still though, Valbuena is the type of bat any manager would love to have at his disposal as he's capable of lift-off every time he steps up. Sort of the left-handed version of Juan Uribe, and remember how big he was at times for this club for 2010's World Series run! Valbuena could really give Boch some flexability though. He could move Nunez into left field and play Valbuena at third if need be or even use Valbuena or Nunez over at 2nd should Panik's struggles/injuries return in '17. For a guy who won't break the bank and can do a number of things for you, Valbuena is certainly an intriguing player.Rajai Davis, OF: The Giants are losing Gregor Blanco, and Rajai Davis would be a fine choice and an upgrade in his vacated role. He can play all three outfield positions well, and while he doesn't usually hit for much power, he has a propensity for the big hit and still is one of the faster players in the game. He could find himself a starting job somewhere but if he wants to contend he may have to settle for a 4th outfield spot. He is going on 37 years of age but still plays like he's 28, leading the AL in steals in '16 and showing he still has plenty in the tank. I mean, right now, Gorky's Hernandez is lined up to take over Blanco's former role and this is the type of area the Giants usually overlook and it usually costs them. Say Denard Span, who's no spring chicken, goes down for two months with some bad hamstring tear or something? Nobody else on the current roster can play center on a daily bas[...]



Giants find their closer but work remains

2016-12-11T02:42:46.926-08:00

Pretty much ever since Brian Wilson went down with his shoulder injury at the start of 2012, the Giants have used a few different guys to close out games. Sergio Romo and Santiago Casilla, career set-up guys, basically shared the duties, with Casilla becoming Bochy's #1 choice the last couple seasons. But after that epic second half collapse, largely attributed to that bullpen, and the team getting knocked out in the NLDS because of the bullpen, the Giants made solidifying that 9th inning as their number one priority this winter.On Monday, the Giants finally found a guy they hope is their answer to their ninth inning woes that reared their ugly head in 2016, signing Mark Melancon to the richest contract in relief pitcher history (although both Kenly Jansen and Aroldis Chapman will most likely set new records after they sign). The Giants will pay the soon to be 32 year-old $62M over four years, which is right around what I thought he'd get. Chapman and Jansen are most likely looking at deals in the triple figures, so the $15.5M annually should be a bargain compared to the other two elite closing options. Not to mention, if you look at all three of their numbers over the last few seasons, aside from strikeout rate, Melancon has been neck-and-neck with those two. I would have loved to see the Giants pry Jansen away from LA, but I knew that would be a long-shot, so this move is the next best thing in my opinion. Chapman is flashy and hurls that 103-mph heater, but we saw him walk the tight-rope quite a bit in the postseason and blow a couple big saves, including one to the Giants in the NLDS that resulted in the Giants one and only win of the series.Now, Melancon's numbers over the last four seasons are what got him this very lucrative deal, as they have been about as good as any relief pitcher in the game during that span. His highest ERA posted since the 2012 season has been 2.23 (2015) and in the other three seasons he's gone 1.39, 1.90 and 1.64 last season between Pittsburgh and Washington. During that span, he also posted a sub-1 WHIP in each season as he doesn't walk hitters and very rarely gives up the big fly. Since becoming a full-time closer in 2014, he's posted save totals of 33, 51 and 47 while blowing just 10. I don't have the exact number that the Giants blew last season but I'm pretty sure they blew 9 or 10 in September alone. All these reasons, along with him being a fine clubhouse personality and he being a good bet to age well over the course of the deal because he doesn't rely on a 100 MPH heater, are why many baseball people felt like he was the ideal fit for the Giants. Instead of the high-90's fastball/cutter like with Jansen or a 100-MPH laser beam and hard slider Chapman throws at you, Melancon can get you out in a number of different ways. For the most part, we'll be seeing a hard cutter in the low-90's as well as a big sweeping curveball though. He's got a change and a 4-seemer as well.It's definitely a big sigh of relief for the Giants club and Giants fan alike. Their ninth inning problem is fixed and they did it without dueling out 100 million bucks or parting with half of their farm system. However, they still have question marks pertaining to that bullpen. I'd imagine that the plan is to roll with Derek Law as the primary set-up man with Hunter Strickland also getting an opportunity, but the Giants problem in the pen wasn't just with the closing situation. They struggled all over the place in the second half and although Melancon does change that landscape ma[...]



Giants exploring all closing options

2016-11-12T15:23:03.146-08:00

The World Series is over, with the Cubs ending their 108-year drought, and the 2016 awards are in the midst of being passed out which means that coming next is the kick off to free agency and it should be a busy one for the Giants. First off, after seeing the Cubs win it, I'm sure we all immediately wondered what would have happened had the Giants landed Andrew Miller or Mark Melancon at the deadline themselves. They likely aren't even facing the Cubs in round one but if they still did, they likely win game 4 and who knows what happens game 5 with Cueto in Chicago? Anyway, that's all done and over with and no use bantering on about the past and what could have been when such an important offseason awaits for the Giants. They wasted no time at all getting things going and kicking the tires on the free agents they intend on pursuing over the next 6+ weeks. They inquired with all three of the big closers (Melancon, Kenly Jansen and Aroldis Chapman) and apparently have even reached out to outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who opted out of his final 2 years and $50+ million from the Mets. And I'm pretty sure they came away with one general consensus, and that it won't be cheap at all to upgrade their current roster. There are whispers that Chapman is seeking something in the 5 year/$100M range, and with Kenley Jansen being not only younger but I'm sure most would agree, more effective than Chapman, you can only imagine what his asking price will be. I've heard 6 years/$140M wouldn't be too far fetched of an asking price for the 27 year-old which leaves Mark Melancon as the the cheapest and most attainable. That being said, hes 31 and doesn't necessarily posses that dominant stuff that Jansen does or the 103 MPH heater that Chapman does, but is pretty damn nasty in his own right. Melancon has posted sub-2 ERA's in 3 of the last 4 seasons and a 2.28 in the other, combining for a 0.90 WHIP. All he did in 2016, split between Pittsburgh and Washington was post 51 saves to go along with a 1.64 ERA, 0.89 WHIP and 65:12 K/BB ratio and only 3 long balls allowed in 77 innings of work. That last part would be such a re-assurance after Santiago Casilla seemed to be giving up a jack every other time out. That being said, he doesn't strike out a batter an inning, which is something you really want out of your closer- someone that can get an out when they really need it by throwing the ball by hitters. However, he posses a four-pitch repertoire which many closers do not, un-hittable at times bit curveball.So after preliminary talks with all three of the elite closing options, Melancon emerges as the most logical and plausible fit for the Giants, according to MLB's website. Unlike Jansen and Chapman, I haven't really heard a number that Melancon is supposedly reporting, but after seeing what the two under-30's are seeking, a 3/4 year deal at $15M may be what it's gonna take to get Melancon. I mean, after him we're talking a huge drop-off, down to Francisco Rodriguez and the Tommy John reconstructed Greg Holland. I mean, Holland could be good, but these Giants need a sure fire bet and aren't really in position to roll the dice on a Holland unless they're 110% sure he's not only physically sound, but also going to be as sharp as before the injury.As far as the outfielders, the only name so far to be mentioned, and likely the only free agent outfielder the Giants may seriously pursue this winter has been Cespedes. Mark Trumbo won't be coming here. Jose Bautista, unless for some reason se[...]



Giants' needs for 2017 quite apparent

2016-10-15T23:37:49.779-07:00

I didn't really have the heart (or the time) to muster up a reaction post to Tuesday's heartbreaking loss to the Cubs, but I'm sure we all had the same sort of reaction and thoughts. It was a sadly poetic ending to what was an epic second-half collapse by a team that, outside that starting pitching, had no business being in the postseason. Most importantly though, it leaves the Giants and Bobby Evans with a clear "to-do list" for the winter.A lot has been said about how Bruce Bochy handled that ninth inning Tuesday. Many people, including myself, would have liked to see Matty Moore go out there and at least start the ninth inning. I know the pitch count was way up, but he was pitching on 10 days rest and threw north of 130 pitches just 2 months prior while chasing a no-hitter with the Giants. Plus Moore mowed through the 8th inning and was looking as strong as he was all night. Once the move was made though, I wish he would have had the guts to go with one guy and ride him out. Whether it was Sergio Romo to start the ninth, Derick Law or Will Smith, I would have liked to see Boch go with a reliever and stick with him rather than go into that inning with the idea of playing the match-up game the whole time. In a sense, you can't really blame him, the Giants don't have a true closer, but I can't help but think that had he just left Law out there, maybe the next guy grounds into a double play. As soon as I saw the musical chairs being played with the bullpen I knew it was bad news, and that's all I can say about that game really. Now, the game is done, the series is over, we've had a few days to mourn and it's time to move on. First off, Matt Moore was awesome in that game. He looked like MadBum 2.0 and in my mind justified the Matt Duffy trade with that outing and showed us that the 2017 starting rotation is going to have an extremely strong front-3, probably as good as any team's in the game. My guess is the 2017 rotation is pretty much set in stone with MadBum your ace, Johnny Cueto the two, Moore the three, Jeff Samardzija the four and Ty Blach the five. Matt Cain is still under contract and may be given a shot at the fifth spot but Blach not only finished the season with some strong outings, he threw very well in two NLDS outings as well which should cement his 2017 status on the roster. So, unless the Giants find some amazing bargain and get a quality starter to take a discount to come pitch for a contender. Maybe they add a lower level third wheel to the fifth starter competition (C.J. Wilson or Jaime Garcia would be interesting on one-year type prove yourself deals) but my guess is they won't even look at the starting pitching market. It's a good thing too cause the only FA starter that's maybe better than current Giants' fourth starter Samardzija is Jeremy Hellickson.Instead, all of their attention will lay in the relief market as well as the outfield market. The Giants will be losing Santiago Casilla, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez and will need to replace those three with upgrades. They certainly need a closer and there are going to be some intriguing ones out there this winter. They also need to look at ways to upgrade their offense. Despite their starting rotation being a strong one, they can't bank on winning games 2-1 and 3-2 every night and they need to lengthen that lineup.Luckily for them, they have upwards of $50M coming off the books and probably won't be retaining any of their own free agents. I could possibly see R[...]



The Legend of Bumgarner grows in New York

2016-10-05T23:23:38.974-07:00

This isn't the first time we've seen Madison Bumgarner pull out all stops in an elimination game, and hopefully it won't be the last. The Giants rode a MadBum complete game shutout and a Connor Gillaspie 3-run jack in the top of the 9th inning to victory and an NLDS match-up with MLB's favorite to win it all this season, the Chicago Cubs.First off, let's talk about the game that transpired tonight. As I suspected, it was a well pitched game, but both pitchers lasted a little longer than I was expecting. I was hoping Bum would at least get through 7, but he went 9, and I was thinking the patient Giants' bats would have Sydergaard's pitch count up and out after the 6th, but he wound up carrying them through the 7th. Fortunately, the Giants didn't have to delve into their bullpen as MadBum was so economical with his pitches for the games first three innings (21 pitches total) and that, in the end, made all the difference in the World. Not that things would have been as tight for Sergio Romo had he went out in the 9th after they just took the three-run lead, but at least we didn't need to go there this time. MadBum did it all, including almost putting the Giants on the board in the 3rd with a jack himself, knocking it to the warning track in left center only to be ran down by Yeonis Cespedes. As far as his mound work though, he was his typical "Big Game" self, allowing just 6 base runners and using 119 pitches to send the Mets home for 2016!As amazing as he was, Bumgarner doesn't get all the spotlight for Wednesday's victory though, as perhaps the most unlikely guy in the Giants lineup came up with the biggest hit of their season. Connor Gillaspie's a guy who wasn't even on the big league roster for much of the 2016 season, but he took over for an injured Eduardo Nunez the last week of the regular season and ended up finishing the season strong at the plate and it carried over into this Wild Card game as he not only came up with the deciding big fly, but was the only Giant to collect multiple hits in Wednesday's showdown. Brandon Belt was robbed on a great play by Curtis Granderson on a ball that would have knocked in a run and put Belt in scoring position for Buster Posey and at that point I have to admit, I felt like the luck may be leaning toward the home team. Also that non-reverse on that steal by Denard Span in which it was clear he was safe and there was no hard evidence of him coming off the bag. So the Giants had to keep their heads up through a few tough breaks, but they stayed in it and Gillaspie made all the hard work pay off in the ninth. It was eerily similar to the Travis Ishikawa jack back in the 2014 postseason in the NLDS game clincher.So, before we talk about the Cubs and what great series' both NLDS match-ups have in store, the Giants will have a couple days to figure out how they want to configure their roster for said series. The big wild card will be Eduardo Nunez. He was not well enough to make this roster, and my guess is that not much will change over the next 48 hours with his hammy to the point where Bochy and co. feel comfortable trotting him back out there. So, it wouldn't surprise me to see Gillaspie as the third basemen for the upcoming NLDS as well and Nunez once again excluded from the roster. Gillaspie may get the starting nod there (at least vs. right-handers) anyway if Nunez does make the roster as I think he's playing better than Nunez right now and is certainly more hea[...]



NL Wild Card Game Preview

2016-10-05T03:12:39.236-07:00

Well, the day that most Giants fans have been anticipating since late August when we pretty much knew the NL West was out of the picture has arrived. And sure, it's a team sport and there will be numerous factors at play, it really all comes down to two people: Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard.First off, both pitchers going have had very strong seasons, as we know by watching MadBum all year what he's been up to, but young Noah Syndergaard has matched him nearly number for number despite the amount of innings pitched. Sydergaard strikes out a ton of batters, doesn't walk many and doesn't give up the long ball, mostly because he brings a nasty sinker that can hit the upper-90's when he's on along with an array of other above average pitches. The Giants, however, are no strangers to facing big pitchers in big games and certainly won't be intimidated by any stretch traveling into New York and what will be a rowdy Citi Field. In fact, I think the Giants thrive on these underdog type scenarios. Not saying they're the underdogs necessarily, most people over at Yahoo Sports have the Giants walking away from this one victorious but they're gonna have to figure out a way to get to the young Mets' righty early, or else their in for trouble.One area in which the Mets have the clear upper hand is in the bullpen. The Giants' pen have been dreadful in the second half and although multiple factors have been at play, the bullpen has been the epicenter of their second half meltdown. They just couldn't manage to keep leads after the 7th inning of ballgames or else we're not even talking about this game and talking about an upcoming NLDS vs. the Washington Nationals.For MadBum it's not going to be anything new, and we all know he thrives on the big stage like this, but Bumgarner hasn't quite been the dominant MadBum we're used to recently. Not that he's been bad but he's carried an ERA around 4 for the last two months of the regular season and gave up 8 runs over his two starts to end the season. Nevertheless, I expect Bum on his game tomorrow, and it wouldn't surprise me to see him help himself at the plate. In fact, I could see it being a 0-0 game into the middle innings and having an unlikely person from either side put the first run(s) on the board like a big hit from one of the starters or a big defensive mishap that opens the door for the opposing team. I can definitely see a game where runs are scored late in the game and that's when it could be decided, which would be bad news for the Giants. They're best case scenario is to have MadBum get it at least to the 8th inning with a lead, therefore Boch won't be forced to go to the pen often at all. If we're seeing the bullpen in the 6th inning (even if it's happening with the Mets as well), the odds sway heavily in New York's favor.The Giants have the experience and the big game pitcher, however their bullpen is a crap-shoot and they could be without their starting third basemen. The Mets have the home field advantage, which is big in a one-game playoff like this, and are coming in on a roll, having won four of their last five ballgames to close things out (and pitching terrifically in the process). Lets not forgot that this is pretty much the same team that represented the NL in the World Series last season too, so their bunch is far from timid in the October spotlight. One positive for MadBum and the Giants though is that most of the M[...]