Thursday, October 16, 2014

Game Wrap 2014 NLCS Game 5: Giants 6 Cardinals 3 The Giants Win the Pennant!

The Giants are a team that gives players a chance at redemption.  The list of those who have made the most of the opportunity is long, and it got longer tonight and in many ways.  The result was a come-from-behind win on a walk-off, pennant winning home run by a guy whose redemption story just got about as epic as any in Giants history, and that is saying something.  Key Lines:

Gregor Blanco- 2 for 4.  BA= .227.  Blanco seems to have gotten his mojo back at the plate.  He never lost it in the field and he made another running, diving catch on a short pop-up by Matt Holliday in the 5'th inning when Bumgarner needed a shutdown inning to keep the Cardinals' momentum in check.

Joe Panik- 1 for 4, HR(1).  BA= .182.  The BA for this series is anemic, but the kid hit the ball hard at least 3 times in Game 4, so you had to figure he was due.  He's a guy who uses all 90 degrees of the ball field.  He pulled this one down the line reminiscent of JT's dinger in 2000 except with a much better end result to the game and the series. Terrific matchup between him and Kolton Wong at 2B.  Wong had a much better series statistically, but Panik came through when the Giants needed it most.

Travis Ishikawa- 1 for 3, HR(1), BB,  BA= .385.  The latest in a long line of Giants redemption stories.  Travis was originally drafted by the Giants out of HS and worked his way up through the organization. He played on the 2010 championship team and drew a huge walk in the NLDS that year.  After that, he kind of kicked around with the Brewers and then with the Pirates.  He was released by the Pirates in April of this season.  He signed a minor league deal with the Giants and played the whole summer in AAA Fresno without much hope in site of ever making it back to the majors.  Realizing his probably did not have a path to the majors as a first baseman, he asked the coaches in Fresno to let him play in the OF, where he had played just a handful of innings previously in his career.  He saw his family for just 14 days from the start of spring training to the end of the minor league season at the end of August. He made up his mind to spend the offseason evaluating his options and his future.  He was pretty sure he would retire and get on with his life.  Tonight, he became the first player to hit a walk off HR to win the NLCS!  Or something like that.  How great is that?  And it is doubly sweet for those of us who watched him work his way through the minor leagues in the 2000's.  Bacci, did you see it?  Did. You.
See. It?  Oh! And he redeemed himself for the misjudged liner in the first inning that cost the first Cardinals run too!

Michael Morse- 1 for 1, HR(1), .500.  Speaking of redemption….This guy started off the season hot and led the Giants to the best record in MLB by the end of May, then it all came crashing down like a stock bubble.  He got nicked up by some nagging injuries, stopped hitting, blew some games with horrible plays in the OF and was on his way out of a starting job by the time he pulled an oblique in August.  He finally got healthy in time for the NLCS and Bochy put him on the roster as a bench bat with Travis Ishikawa starting in LF.  Travis Ishikawa!  Morse had gotten a look at Pat Neshek earlier in the series and Bochy gave him another shot tonight with the game slipping away.  The TV talking heads thought it strange the Bochy would send Morse up there to lead off an inning, but Morse is a pretty good on-base guy too.  On the other hand….lightning in a bottle!  Morse looked very comfortable up there against a guy who is very hard to time and when he got a hanger, he jumped all over it.  New ballgame with one swing of the bat!

Brandon Crawford- 0 for 3.  BA= .125.  Not much at the plate, but Crawford made a remarkable play on a ball that caromed off Pablo Sandoval in the critical top of the 9'th.  Crawford rushed over, fielded it and threw to 2B in one motion getting the lead runner making it first and third with 2 outs instead of bases loaded and 1 out.  You really have to see it to believe it.  I truly think only Crawford makes that play!  It probably saved the game!

Madison Bumgarner- 8 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  When Bummy gave up a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning on HR's by Matt Adams and Tony Cruz(Yes, Tony Cruz), it was looking like maybe it just wasn't Bummy's night.  He bore down, though, and shut the Cardinals down for the next 4 innings to keep the Giants in the ballgame.  The Giants got their big break when Mike Matheny took Adam Wainwright out of the ballgame after he struck out the side in the 6'th and retired the side in order in the 7'th on a K, a soft flyball and a soft groundout.  The rest is history!

Mike Matheny(Cardinals)-  We might never know the true condition of Adam Wainwright's arm and whether he could have gone another 10 or 20 pitches.  All I know is it was sure good to see him out of the game!  We also will never know just how tired the Cardinals bullpen was and why Matheny felt compelled to stick with Michael Wacha, a pitcher who had not been used since September 27, one batter too long.  Just gotta think Randy Choate was the guy who had to face Travis in that spot.  Just gotta!

Bruce Bochy- I don't agree with every move Bochy makes in every game, but my goodness, he was the maestro again tonight!  That was just about the most perfect managing job you will ever see!:  Sticking with Travis in LF for the game and through the game.  Bringing Morse up to leadoff the 8'th, and did Bochy really know Neshek was the guy Morse had faced before and would probably be more comfortable facing again?  Bringing in Affeldt to face Tavares with the bases loaded in the top of the 9'th replacing the closer?  A lot of managers would not dare to take their closer out, no matter how dire the situation.  "Hey!  He's the guy who got us here, we'll live and die with him!"  Leaving Bummy in there for the 8'th inning.  Just a terrific job of managing!

Brian Sabean- Helluva GM, but the guy will never be accused of being a smooth talker.  Cockroaches?  His players are like Cockroaches because you "have to kill them all"?  The worst part is the TV talking head picked it up and were already running with it.  Fortunately the Giants players weren't biting in the TV interviews.  Hope we don't have to hear THAT one all World Series long!

The Win gives the Giants their 3'rd NL Pennant in the last 5 years with a chance to win their 3'rd World Series in the same time span.  And to think just a few years ago, I was starting to wonder if I would live to see them win 1 World Series!  Enjoy it while it lasts, folks.  These ARE the Glory Days!

31 comments:

  1. Great post-game summaries Doc! Both teams entering the fall classic with a lot of momentum, looking forward to your post about the Giants and Royals match-ups

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  2. doc, you forgot panik, who spent hours watching tape of mueller hitting a dinger off of rivera to prepare himself to bat against wainright. to those who scoffed at picking this kid in the first round....ppppfffffft, to all of you

    how about morse getting tips from bonds before the game....giants have gotta have a sit down with barry during the post and look to expanding his role throughout the season....there is only one person alive who knows more about hitting then barry, and thats his godfather...and no way should that knowledge be wasted

    as for travis, outside of his family or teammates, there isnt anyone happier for him then me. been fighting off the naysayers since 05....guess that retirement gets put off for at least one season.

    quick aside to fox, how about making sure that your analysts in the booth do a bit of homework? morse did not lose his job to travis, more is coming off an injury and hasnt played in lf for a month....jeez....

    here is the miller call of the walkoff....he was more amazed than anyone in the viewing audience

    http://m.mlb.com/sf/video/topic/8878828/v36821545/nlcs-gm5-ishikawa-homers-giants-advance-to-ws/?c_id=sf

    and one made a comment that the giants players seemed too calm....uh, its that inner calm that allowed them to reach the ws.

    re sabean....he has used the cockroach line before. hes a guy from the streets and has never been known for subtlety. go back to the reality show where he was amazed that kroon could "talk japanese" or his wonderment at vogey's consistency, or his on air fights with barbieri. i give the guy a pass on that.

    but the mlb has gotta do a better job in pushing and preparing players to speak during national telecasts....gotta sell the product

    and what the heck are the posey's feeding the twins? those kids are 3? they are huge....i see more sports stars coming out of the posey brood

    lots of people are gonna be riding matheny for his wacha move. but none of them know the condition of the cards pen, who did put a lot of work in during the past two weeks. matheny has gotten them to 3 straight lcs. he is a good manager in a very good org and wong is a rising star.

    this was the closest and most bizarre 5 game series, i have ever seen

    cards, who didnt hit dingers during the reg, smacking them out like crazy

    giants, who dont hit a single dinger in the first 4 games, then hit 3, with a walkoff?

    every series in both the alcs and nlcs has been hard fought and nail biting...why cant the mlb market this?

    and if i hear one more talking head saying things like "mlb is regional" im gonna lose it....its regional cuz they treat it as such



    and now we are about to see a an irresistible object (kc) strike an immovable force (sf) on paper, this should be an epic series

    moose vs panda, white shark, baby giraffe and whatever crazy animal pence is

    bring it on

    bacci

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    1. Yeah, I did forget Panik. He's added in now. Both he and Wong certainly lived up to the matchup of 2 of two young 2B with bright futures in this one.

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    2. Joltin' Joe Panik. Power is going to come. Just a sweet fielding grinder with a head for the game and a quick bat. There's something just cool about having a Guy Named Joe. He's got the NYC thing, the St. John's thing, and the sweet name. That was a great hit, you see on the replay he was checking to see if it was fair - he missed one by inches in September that got wet.

      Ishikawa getting a 2nd chance is one of the coolest farm stories ever. Is there any team in the majors with not 1 but 2 farmhands who came home and won big ballgames? For that matter, is there a single MLB team with an entirely homegrown IF like the Giants have with Posey-Belt-Posey-Crawford-Sandoval?

      Michael Morse gets emotional, that was so much fun to see. Might have been the biggest home run in the parks history (before the bottom of the ninth) and that park has seen some big home runs.

      Cracks me up that LF and 2B are the constant talking points and...

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  3. one other thing.....peavy apparently had no clue what travis had done, he was all doped up from a dental appt. so when he hugs him before he hit 3rd bases, travis had to yell at him "get out of the way, i hit it out"

    most bizarre season ever

    bacci

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  4. Yes, GLORY DAYS indeed! Great game - I must have given up about 4 or a times, but the Giants always drag me back in!

    Great play by Crawford...Morse PH glory...Seattle boy finds redemption in a great way!

    And on the eve of the Loma Prieta earthquake anniversary....franchise redemption indeed.

    I always liked the Royals...just like my fondness for Nolan Ryan's Rangers back in 2010.

    I guess that a rep4ise of the '85 I-70 series will have to wait till next year.

    I like Bochy's Boys' chances next week.

    NWGiantsFan
    DtF!!!

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  5. here is sabey sabes a bit after the cockroach comment

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/giants/wild-card-giants-refuse-quit-until-job-complete

    much more composed

    bacci

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  6. couple more thoughts

    if the above doesnt have the sabey sabes vid, this one does

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/video_content_type/sabean-im-numb-right-now-tears-my-eyes

    i do believe that the cards choice not to carry another left hander out of the pen, did hurt them..

    i think aj's antics from last night got him benched

    i hope he gets another gig with espn as an analyst during the ws. want him to try that "once a giant, always a giant" line again, so we can all have a good laugh

    morse and others comments re the giants being like family brought a tear to my eye. i remember as a kid watching the bucs and the whole "we are family" thing and wishing the giants were more like that....and now they are

    hudson gets to pitch in his very first ws....how special is that?

    bacci


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  7. Not replacing Ishikawa, and pulling Casilla with the bases loaded in the 9th - two of the greatest decisions of the entire season. Bochy, again, managing like the season was on the line. How many managers (we've seen plenty this month already) DON'T manage like their season is on the line, even when it clearly is?!

    Congratulations everybody! What a ride this has been!

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    Replies
    1. Not every decision one makes will work out. The good ones got it right more often than not and the great ones, more so.

      I especially appreciate the Ishikawa decision - we tend to see the 'do' decision, but not the 'don't do decision.'

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  8. The Giants have invented a new stat, RdemWAR. Redemptive WAR. The released, the failed, the forsaken and now redeemed; Voggie, Ross, Burrell, Huff, Machi, Petit and Ishikawa. Their heart-wrenching baseball journeys and contributions should be placed on bronze plaques in the archways where the knothole fans stand. Outsiders who made it back.

    Thank you Sabes, Bochy and all the unnamed scouts who gave these guys a chance to shine again. And thank you to these players whose perseverance and triumph against the cruel odds of baseball gives us our best stories of the postseason.

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    1. With Blanco gliding all over the joint snagging balls. One thing that came to me in 2010... Juan Uribe took the plate, I could care less about his stat line, I wanted to see how he could swing. There are a lot of Giants that play above their stat lines. The plug in guys are so much fun to root for.

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    2. Stats are important, amazing and then they're not...

      The absurdity of the moments created by the Giants over the last three series is stunning, joyous and mind blowing. Who expects Ishikawa, and yet you do. You have to. You saw it with your own eyes. Didn't you.

      Maybe it comes back to cockroaches. Primordial survivors. Does Sabes consult them? Maybe they know the Giants secret. But don't expect them to give it up, they're having too much fun watching the game under the Cha-Cha Bowl stand.

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  9. 2016 will be Pill's year of redemption. ��

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    Replies
    1. Never say never.

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  10. The Giants are testing the limits of String Theory, Higgs-Bosen, Wave Particle Duality and every other law of physics known to man. Do 42,716 people create their own gravitational force? Is the moment created by a hurricane of orange towels and screaming voices, where one less equals a 401 foot out and one more equals an Ishi walk-off?

    Beyond the smile plastered on my face all day, what is being forged here? Another beer please.

    World Series here we come!!!

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    1. Meulens assumed Ishikawa didn’t need a take sign. It would be automatic.
      “How do you swing there, 2-0?” Meulens said. “I mean, how about that?”
      Said Ishikawa: “No, I was looking to swing from the first pitch on.”

      It was unbelievable. Unless you already believed.

      “I could, yeah, because I feel any guy on this roster can get it done,” catcher Buster Posey said. “I mean, you can’t dream up a moment much better than that.”

      How will they suspend belief now? How can they if it’s everlasting?

      (H/T to Baggs, Meulens, Ishi and Posey)

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  11. Giants have given up 12 HRs this post-season.

    Giants have hit 5 HRs this post-season.

    Giants have given up 12 runs off of HRs this post-season.

    Giants have gotten 11 runs off of HRs this post-season.

    Absolutely amazing stats.

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  12. giants just reported really sad news

    legendary scout stan saleski died while advance scouting the o's last saturday

    great loss for the giants family and baseball

    baccu

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  13. Been really busy and haven't been abkle to make it everyday, but congrats to everybody here and Giant fans everywhere. What a team! Filled with guts, heart, balls and TALENT. And so fum to watch..And guys you love to root for from 1 through 25...

    I haven't checked over to the Goants MLB message board but I'm sure Bochy and Sabean are somehow still getting insulted, called lucky, and how the Giants won despite Sabean.....

    Personally, I think it's great to have the best manager in baseball and, yes, the best GM in all of baseball...and what has to be the best and smartest organization (not most talent)....Success and results don't lie..From drafting to FA to Dumpster Dives to the never say die attitude and performance..

    On to KC....Sweep them in four because I leave the country Next Sunday!!!

    SteveVA

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  14. It is amazing how much the Giants have overcome to get here. Losing Cain and Pagan to injury, Morse and Crawford having huge slumps, Belt missing a ton of time, the worst June I have ever seen and Romo losing the closer gig.

    I think experience wins this. The Royals only have a few that have been to the playoffs before and the playoffs are a different monster. The majority of the Giants roster have World Series rings and are eager to get them for players like Morse and Hudson who have not been this far before.

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    1. I think it helps a little we have played them in August in their park, but they have not played in ours.

      It's true they won all 3 games, but it only means we have more lessons to learn from and I believe our team is pretty good at improving and adjusting.

      Coaching, advance scouting and managing will be critical. I was impressed to read about Morse practicing for a potential match up with Neshek with some of our BP guys imitating sidearm throwing.

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  15. forbes blaims giants for low ws ratings

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomvanriper/2014/10/16/boring-san-francisco-giants-threaten-world-series-ratings-again/

    bacci

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    1. Forbes might want to take a look at the offbeat channels that have carried the postseason games so far. A lot of people simply don't have access to those channels. If you then try to broadcast with WS on a mainstream channel that everybody gets, the people who weren't able to see the NLDS and NLCS leading in, will have lost interest and moved on to other things to watch.

      Sorry to say, but the broadcasters who are doing the games for Fox and TBS are terrible too. I'm not sure how much difference the PBP guys make, but the commentators could be upgraded IMO. I don't mind Harold Reynolds so much. At least he tries to inject some enthusiasm, but Verducci, Darling and Ripken are all terrible. I don't always agree with Gabe Kapler, but he brings a passion to his comments that would be a huge upgrade. Ken Rosenthal is at least as knowledgeable as Verducci and is much more interesting to listen to. Put him in the booth. Eric Karros is a bit of an odd duck, but he is more interesting than Verducci, Darling or Ripkin.

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    2. Oh, and the Networks need to look at Dave Flemming who runs circles around Joe Buck as a PBP guy.

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    3. I like Rosenthal as well. Karros seems to have toned down his "I'm a Doyer for life and thus must criticize the Giants at all turns".

      But no one comes close to the KNBR quartet of Flemming, Jon, Kruk & Kuip. Not even close.

      NWGiantsFan
      DtF!!!

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    4. Madison Bumgarner is apparently a "soft tossing lefty" -- so, yeah Forbes has done their due diligence on the article...

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    5. just like dave schoenfeld.....who shouldnt be writing for a major sports site

      http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/52750/welcome-to-the-worst-world-series-ever

      bacci

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    6. "Soft-tossing lefty," huh? This comment appeared almost at the same time as Jeff Sullivan's potent analysis in Fangraphs, Oct 17, that names Bungarner's fastball the most effective pitch in baseball. It averaged 93 in October, soft-toss.

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  16. Someone a while ago posted the question of why we should care about TV ratings. I guess I have a hard time answering that question myself, except by saying that we who love the game want to see others love it too. But some of the means used to get people enthused about the game repel me, frankly. I do not want to see baseballs juiced up again, and fences pulled in, so as to make for more surprising dingers (unless hit by Panik, Morse, and Ishikawa, but not by Wong, Cruz, and Adams). I do not want to see ballparks double as proxies for the county fair, with rides for the kiddies and televisable stunts. I do not want camera cutaways from the game so as to show cute babies, cute gamer babes, and munching fans with loads of subcutaneous fat. If all these diversions served a purpose other than to make more money, I could tolerate them better. But do they? Or are they means of insuring huge paydays for Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke, Yasmani Tomas, and Pablo Sandoval; and huger ones for Magic Johnson, Arte Moreno, and what's-his-face Luria on his Miami beach? It's not as though baseball teams are all slouching toward the poorhouse right now.

    So, why should we care, as Bacci for example appears to, about baseball PR? Why should we not fear that we will, with that good PR, end up with more and more nonsense that competes with and may mar the game of baseball?

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    1. For one thing, the lower the TV ratings, the more the games will get pushed to offbeat and Pay-Per-View type venues which decreases viewership further, which decreases interest among kids which ultimately saps talent as kids find other sports to be passionate about.

      Yes, increased TV ratings put more money in wallets that are already overflowing, but that also keeps talented kids wanting to play the game and get their chance to hit the jackpot.

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