Archive for the ‘Baseball’ Category

The definition of a true fan is actively supporting your team even in the worst of times.

For the San Francisco Giants, these are those times.  23.5 games back… as we used to say in the old days, truly a June Swoon.

So this is my time to help my team.

I had a great thought yesterday:  Last year the Giants were the best team before the All Star break… and the worst after.  It would be mathematical irony if that was switched this year.

Like a true fan, somehow that has given me extra incentive to root!

And, go figure, the Giants had a big win over the Rockies last night.  :)

On Friday, May 12th, the Giants were the worst team in the Major Leagues.

That all changed with their HUGE 17 inning win that night against the Cincinnati Reds.

I was there for all 17 innings.  In fact, in a rarity, I was at the game about an hour early… so that’s about 6.5 hours of baseball for me!

By the end of the game… which ended just before 1am… there were only a couple dozen of us left in the park… you can see my picture of Buster Posey being greeted by his teammates after his game-ending homerun in the bottom of the 17th on the jumbotron… not a single soul in the bleechers.

From worst to first.  You heard it here… first.

SF Giants 17 inning win!

I believe the Giants had a season-changing win last night.

A young (almost) rookie Ty Blach will pitch against Mr. Universe Clayton Kershaw tonight.  This will tell us if its season changing or not.

For those that follow this blog, I thought Giants Skipper Bruce Bochy really mismanaged (blew!) the last two months of the 2016 season, including the last playoff game that could have sent the Giants to the World Series…

… and there’s no way the Cleveland Indians were going to beat the Giants in the World Series… the “even year” mojo would have been ON… ’10, ’12, ’14, AND ’16.

One of the many solutions open to Bochy last year was to put Ty Blach in the bullpen.  He didn’t.  And the Giants lost.

Tonight’s game is a reasonable proxy to see how this strategy would have worked.

Please stay tuned.

UPDATE:  The strategy would have worked GREAT!  Ty gave up 1 hit in 3 innings!  THAT would have taken us to the World Series… and beyond.

That also shows something else:  That Bochy’s “platooning” strategy of mathematically matching pitcher to hitter has big flaws.  The axiom in sports has ALWAYS been:  If someone has a hot hand, don’t take them out… let them play.

It’s just flat out weird that someone as experienced as Bochy doesn’t get that.

For the game, the Giants lost 2-1 but Blach pitched admirably well.  He gave up 4 hits and 2 runs in 5 innings… biggest issue was he’s been training as a reliever, not a starter, so apparently Bochy was concerned about arm strength/stamina/injury.

Welcome to the starting rotation, Ty!

It’s hard to be a fan.  It’s a tremendous amount of time and emotional energy.

It’s particularly hard to be a fan — after spending a tremendous amount of time and emotional energy — having to watch a manager make the same mistakes over and over and over.

That happened tonight… my San Francisco Giants were eliminated from the baseball playoffs… because of INSANE bullpen management by Bruce Bochy…

… the same INSANE bullpen management style that made the Giants nearly the worst team in baseball after the all star break.

I’m tired of hearing how it’s the players fault… that we don’t have any closers.  We had lots ways to close a game… how about just keeping your starting pitcher in when he has a hot hand?  Bochy pulled Matt Moore after the 8th even though he was throwing a 2 hitter!

Or how about using one of your other starting pitchers?  It was, after all, an ELIMINATION GAME.  Any of your starters would have gladly taken the ball… how about Samardzija?  Or Blach?   Heck, even Madison Bumgarner, who only threw 5 innings last night, would have picked up the ball in an instant.

Or how about letting a fresh Will Smith throw to more than one batter?  It’s so painfully clear that Bochy’s platooning style simply wasn’t working.

How about doing ANYTHING other than doing the same ineffective stuff over and over and over?!

This is the second most crushing loss in my five decades or so of being a Giants fan.

And — even harder to swallower — this one was eminently avoidable.

My post below (“The Definition Of Insanity: Bruce Bochy Bullpen Management“) includes the following paragraphs:

Why he pulled Madison Bumgarner in the 7th — with 10 strike-outs, no walks, and a ONE HITTER going — is beyond all baseball reasoning.

The fact that he won’t share his reasons why he did this — he offered all of:  “I said we talked. I’ll leave it at that.” — is simply an irresponsible cop-out.

Sorry, after the September he’s managed, we fans deserve more than that.

I finally heard a reason that, while hard to swallow, does makes everything make sense… and if you’re a parent with a teenager, it makes doubly sense:  Bochy might have had some parenting to do.

I think Bochy told Bum something like, “you have a history with Puig but we need you on the mound tonight so don’t lose your head… because if you do, I won’t hesitate to pull you.”

Any good parent knows you have to set clear boundaries for your children… articulate clear consequences… and take immediate action if necessary.

I think that’s what happened.

That’s the only explanation that explains everything, including Bochy’s reluctance to discuss after the game… including former Giant and current Giant Broadcaster Duane Kuiper’s “frosty” demeanor on his usually even-keeled radio spot the next morning.  Sometimes family matters need to be kept within the family.

I still think the way Bochy is managing the bullpen is insane.

And, like all parents, Bochy is probably wishing he articulated some other consequence, especially in such a pivotal game.

But, I respect the hell out of him for sticking to his parenting guns if, indeed, that was the case.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different outcome.

I’d say FIVE blown leads in the 9th inning — using the same, completely ineffective bullpen management — qualifies.

I obviously — and painfully — misspoke in my “One Other Thing I Know” post below.  I want to say last night’s loss to the Dodgers — with the Giants winning by one run going into the bottom of the 9th — was a terrible, horrible gut punch…

… but, the truth is, it’s no worse than our other terrible, horrible, gut-punching 9th inning losses in September.

Giants Manager Bruce Bochy, sadly, is insane.

Why he pulled Madison Bumgarner in the 7th — with 10 strike-outs, no walks, and a ONE HITTER going — is beyond all baseball reasoning.

The fact that he won’t share his reasons why he did this — he offered all of:  “I said we talked. I’ll leave it at that.” — is simply an irresponsible cop-out.

Sorry, after the September he’s managed, we fans deserve more than that.

I’m only a fan.  But it seems pretty obvious to me that (1) the Giants don’t have a reliable bullpen, so (2) the Giants should have been playing September like we’re in sudden death — because WE ARE — so (3) they needed to use STARTERS to close games, and (4) Bochy needs to abandoned his ineffective bullpen platooning and if a reliever is getting the job done (like Smith was in the 8th inning), just let him keep throwing.  Duh!

Call a spade a spade:  Bochy may be a Hall of Fame manager, but he’s completely mismanaged the Giants down the stretch.

Boch, please get your stuff together before it’s too late!