Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas…and #SFGiants fans are getting the best presents under the MLB tree. It’s been a few weeks since you’ve heard from me, but with so many things happening, I decided it was time to put pen to paper. Ok, technically fingers to keypad.
First, the good news. Unless you’ve been living on Mars, or under a rock—which I’ve been known to do from time to time—you already know that the Giants signed a couple of starting pitchers.
Zack Greinke seemed to be at the top of everyone’s wish list but mine. I thought he was a bit too…oh, I don’t know…Hollywood, maybe? to be a Giant. It seemed to me he needed a spot where his star was the shiniest one on the string. The Giants are a team of working-class guys. Sure, they’re multi-million $$$ working-class guys, but the idea of a star, surrounded by a supporting cast isn’t how the Giants work.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Greinke would have been happy being one of twenty-five. But it really doesn’t matter, because he signed with Arizona, where he is definitely Number One with a bullet. Good for him.
Two of my favorite free agents—and mind you, I was hoping we could sign one of them—were Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. I like them. A lot. I couldn’t believe our luck when the Giants signed both. As far as I’m concerned, it’s Christmas come early. Next year is shaping up to be a great year.
Our starting rotation is no longer the lean, mean fighting machine of Madison Bumgarner and a few of his friends—it is a top-heavy rotation that has the fans singing “We Are the Champions” right along with Ashkon and Freddie Mercury. Again. The Las Vegas odds makers are so impressed they have us taking it all with six-to-one odds—the best odds of all the teams in the MLB, along with the Cubs, who are also favored to take it all with six-to-one odds.
It may sound weird to you, but I like it much better when the Giants don’t appear on anyone’s radar screen. I’m a superstitious nut job, I’ll grant you that, but I feel like we do better when we escape everyone’s notice, OR even better yet, when they say we don’t stand a chance.
How many times in 2012, when every postseason game–leading up to the World Series–was an elimination game, did we hear “Giants don’t stand a chance” or “no team has ever come back to win the NLDS or NLCS when they are down _______ (fill-in the blank)”. The talking heads that year had us in the losing column before the Giants even got on the plane to Cincinnati, because the Giants were going to have to win all three games against the Reds in their house. Nobody thought that would happen. Well, nobody but us Giants fans and the 25 guys who listened to Hunter Pence while performing the Dance of the Sunflower Seeds in the dugout.
Yeah, I like it much better when the experts say we don’t stand a chance. It just makes winning that much sweeter. Does that mean I think we’re going to lose? Hell NO! I never think we are going to lose—look at last year. I was almost standing by myself in the “I think we can still win this thing” line when everyone else said the handwriting is on the wall—in bold-face and all caps—saying, “the Giants are done.”
The sad news—and I know some of you don’t share my opinion, but you’re not writing this, so you don’t get a vote—Ryan Vogelsong inked a one year deal with the Pirates. I know he said good bye to us at the end of the season, but I really hoped the Giants would find a way to make him stay. Vogey was a good Giant. The best. BFF Vickie shares my opinion, so her vote counts.
Vogelsong is a “never say die” player. If he thinks he’s still got it, then I’m gonna believe there are plenty of winning pitches left in that arm, and one day he may wield them against the Giants. It will be a sad day.
In the meantime, enjoy your holidays—whatever you celebrate—and think about this: the next time we talk it will be just a few days left until pitchers and catchers report.
Looking forward to 2016. Our Giants will be healthy, strong, formidable. Not to mention it’s an even year…
Let’s tell the folks what we’ve won…A new car! Just kidding. What we’ve won is way better than a new car. Even better than a fully loaded, tricked out Mercedes. Even better than an orange and black Cadillac.
Because San Francisco Giants fans, we are getting a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger Award winning, All∗Star playing shortstop–the best in the bigs, ladies and gentlemen–with a full no-trade clause: we are getting Brandon Crawford. For the next six years.
I know he’s not new, it’s not like we’re just getting him–he’s been a Giant his whole career, and the news has been out for a whole day now, so I’m sure many of you have already heard. I couldn’t help myself though—it’s such good news, I had to write about it.
Let’s face it, one of the things that makes this signing so special: Crawford is a home grown Giant–he started his career in our minor league system before coming to the show in 2011. Even before that Crawford–just like most of us–started out as a life-long Giants fan. How cool is that? How many big-leaguers out there were drafted by their hometown team, made it to the bigs and ended up signing a long-term contract? I’m sure there’s a few, but it’s a rare, fair breeed. And how many have a picture like the one we have of Brandon Crawford taking on The Man when the front office proposed moving the team away from San Francisco?
Crawford was born January 21, 1987 in Mountain View and grew up in Pleasanton where he attended Foothills High. He went to UCLA where he played…what else? Baseball! He was named the Bruins MVP in 2006 and 2007 and made the All-Pac-10 conference team in 2007. He was drafted by the Giants in the 2008 MLB Draft in the 4th round (117th overall).
Crawford made his major league debut in Milwaukee against the Brewers on May 27, 2011. I will never forget that night. I was anxious to see what kind of stuff the new kid had. He was unimpressive in his first two at-bats: he lined out in the third and hit into a double play in the fifth. When he came up to bat in the seventh the score was Brewers 3, Giants 1. The bases were loaded: Aubrey Huff led-off with a double, Nate Schierholtz followed with a single and Miguel Tejada drew a walk. And the rookie let ‘er rip–and hit the big salami.
And that’s how Brandon Crawford introduced himself to Giants fans. Not a bad way to start a career, huh?
This past season, Crawford teamed up with rookie second baseman Joe Panik and together they’ve become the deadly, double-play dealing duo known as Crawnik. They took their show on the road when they went–both of them for the first time–to the All∗Star game this past summer. It was the first time the Giants have sent a double play combo to the Mid-Summer Classic since the days of Rich Aurilia and Jeff Kent in 2001.
Crawford has been steadily and consistently improving each season. Joseph Zucker reported in a post in The Bleacher Report that Crawford’s 2015 season was a career year–his batting average was .256, with 21 homeruns and 84 RBI. Zucker said according to FanGraphs Crawford’s WAR is 4.7–the third biggest on the Giants and number 1 for MLB shortstops. Yeah, he’s that good.
Giant congrats to a Giant-for-life, he’s one of us–always has been, always will be. After all…
I have been working on a post I tentatively titled “what’s cooking on the hot stove for the Giants?” but let’s face it–I don’t know from shinola who the Giants should pick up, if they should look for a free agent–there’s 139 out there to choose from–or see about a trade. What I do know is this: as far as trades are concerned, we don’t have much to work with–I can’t think of anyone I want the big shots to send packing. Call me sentimental, but I like the team we have so far, I just thing we need to add a couple of players here and there. There are a couple of other things I know, and they’re pretty basic and fairly general.
We need a utility. We got caught without one when they cut Joaquin Arias loose, and he would have provided some depth to our infield. After he left, Joe Panik’s back went out, Brandon Belt went on the concussion DL and Brandon Crawford landed on the DL after being hit by a pitch. All spots Arias has stepped up to cover in the past. I think they should bring him back. He’s a good Giant, and he’s helped us more than he’s hurt us. Not only that–he has Clayton Kershaw’s number. That’s a good thing.
We need another outfielder. The Giants declined the options for both Nori Aoki and Marlon Byrd. I would have liked to keep Aoki around–that guy made Martha Stewart look like a piker when it came to table setting. He’s good. Maybe the Giants want to keep him, just not for the $$$ amount on his option. We’ll see.
What we have ain’t bad, in fact, some are pretty good: Hunter Pence will hopefully be healthy and back on the roster; we still have Gregor Blanco–that’s a kid with a lot of heart; and Angel Pagan–if he can stay healthy–is a good center fielder. But according to a post in The McCovey Chronicles, Pagan came in number 1 on the list of Giants having their worst season ever based on WAR (number 1 is the absolute worst) for his 2015 season. The list included all Giants since, well…forever.
It should be noted that Number 2 (second worst) on the list was Edgar Renteria for his 2009 season. Anyone remember what he did in 2010? No? Well, I’ll tell you–all he did in 2010 was win the 2010 World Series MVP. I think it’s safe to say that players can have a bad year, or even a bad couple of years and still come back to make a great contribution. I think it’s safe to say I’m not quite ready to write Angel Pagan off. We still need some help in the outfield.
Having said that, there are a few outfield free agents that I wouldn’t mind seeing in orange and black: Chris Denorfia–he’s always been able to hit off our pitchers, so I’d rather have him with us than against us; Will Venable–his dad was a good Giant, he could be too–a legacy; Yoenis Cespedes–yeah, yeah, I know, he’s probably looking for a big chunk of change, but I think he’s worth it. He didn’t do so well in the WS, but I think maybe he liked it better here in sunny California. Maybe New York was too cold for him.
Pitchers–we need some. Badly. We need starters and relievers. How’s that for a firm grasp on the obvious? I don’t know from WHIP or WAR, but I know what we don’t need: a superstar. We need good solid, reliable pitchers–not prima donnas with astronomical price tags. I don’t feel qualified to speculate about who, what, where and why. I know when, though–now! We need to lock down someone ASAP, before all the good ones are taken.
Just my opinion, but we’ve got ourselves a pretty good group of guys, we’re just missing a couple of key players. I’ll keep you posted if I hear any other news.
Speaking of our pretty good group of guys–some of them are looking mighty precious: Brandon Crawford is worth his weight in gold and silver, he won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger Award for 2015. In addition, this year Buster Posey won another Silver Slugger Award as did his battery-mate, Madison Bumgarner. Matt Duffy is among the final three in contention for Rookie of the Year. Buster Posey received the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award for catcher–an award based solely on a specific SABR metric formula. The award is given to the “best of the best” for defensive play at their position.
Those are just the awards that have names, but as far as I’m concerned, all our guys are winners, and there is no doubt…
The game play is finished, and I wasn’t ready for it to be over. This season has come up short for me twice. The first time when the Giants were eliminated from the playoffs–I wasn’t ready for our season to end. But it did, and I resigned myself to writing about teams I wasn’t as passionate about. The second time was Sunday night when the Mets watched their World Series hopes circle the drain in extra innings, only to have have them sucked down when the Royals scored five runs in the 12th. It was heartbreaking. For real Mets fans I’m sure it was devastating.
But it’s time to dust ourselves off, quit the crying–you know, since there’s no crying in baseball–and take a look at what 2016 has in store for us.
MLB News and transactions in other clubhouses
The Dodgers are going to be shopping for a new manager now that Don Mattingly and the front office mutually agreed to part ways. Donnie Baseball has already been named the Marlins skipper. Sounds like a match made in heaven–the Marlins have just one superstar for Donnie to deal with–Giancarlo Stanton. The Marlins former manager–once removed–was Mike Redmond, a former big-league catcher who went to the World Series in 2003 with the Marlins as Pudge Rodgriguez’s back-up. He hired on as the Marlins skipper in 2012 with a three-year contract. His contract was extended to 2017 after the 2014 season, but he only made it half way through May 2015 before he was fired.
The Nationals search for a manager is over–after firing former Giants fan favorite, infielder Matt Williams (third base, short stop), they’ve hired former Giants manager Dusty Baker to take over the helm. I know they want to get to the post-season, but I’m not sure Dusty is the guy to take them there–maybe part way, just not all the way. I’ve got nothing but love for Dusty, but let’s face it, the only memorable thing to happen to Dusty as a post-season manager was the day he brought Darren to the ballpark.
Ok, then there’s also Game 6 of the 2002 World Series–he gave the game ball to Giants pitcher Russ Ortiz when he took him out of the game after six and a third innings of two-hit ball. The Giants were up five runs and they were on their way to shutting out the Angels and winning the series. The way I see it, the Baseball Gods frowned on Dusty’s presumptuous gesture–the Angels rallied, rang up six runs to win Game 6, won Game 7 and won took World Series trophy while they were at it. I know, I know, you think I’m crazy That may be, but I’m superstitious. Makes my chakras shake just thinking about it.
Stay tuned for my next post:
What’s cooking on the hot stove for the Giants?
It wasn’t a San Francisco Giants game, but before the first pitch was even thrown, it had the makings of a Giant show with Tony Bennett singing to kick off the festivities. Made me miss our Giants even more. But the resemblance to anything Giant ended there.
It was the Mets show and they were down to their last shot. Lose this game and it’s all over. Curtis Granderson got the ball rolling with a solo home run in the bottom of the first. They scored another run when Granderson drew a walk to lead-off the sixth inning, then came home on Lucas Duda’s sac fly.
Matt Harvey pitched for the Mets—he’s their ace, he pitched Game 1 of the series—and he gave the Mets an outstanding outing all the way through the eighth in Game 5. Going into the ninth inning it was Mets–2, Royals–a big fat zero. Mets manager Terry Collins told his pitching coach they would go with their closer to finish the game.
After the pitching coach delivered the news to Harvey, Harvey told Collins “no way” to coming out of the game. He was looking for a complete game win. Unfortunately, it turned into the beginning of the end.
I’m probably going to catch a lot of flak for this, but I’m going to come right out and say it—there’s no “team” in Matt Harvey. He had an outstanding outing–eight spectacular innings. He was almost untouchable. But when he insisted that he be the one to finish the game, he was not thinking of his team. He was thinking of himself. I can say that with complete confidence and sincerity because of his behavior this season.
And I can put my money where my mouth is.
Exhibit A—like I said, Matt Harvey is the Mets ace. But he went along with his agent, Scott Boras, who imposed an innings limit on the hurler. The agent said that it was the doctor’s recommendation. Harvey said he had to listen to the advice of his agent and his doctor. The Mets talked with the doctor and it turns out, the doctor denied putting an innings limit on Harvey. Funny thing, when the Mets made the post-season, the innings limit magically disappeared.
Exhibit B—Harvey skipped a mandatory workout. Oh sure, he apologized to his teammates, his manager and he got fined, but what kind of player misses a mandatory workout? He said he overslept, he got stuck in traffic and there were reports that he stayed out late partying the night before. That’s the trifecta of piss-poor excuses.
Matt Harvey wasn’t thinking about the Mets, he was thinking about Matt Harvey. There is no room for that kind of behavior or attitude in a team sport–that goes double when you’re in the hunt for the championship. He did the exact opposite of what the Giants do, and probably most other players—he was playing for the name on the back of the jersey, not the name on the front.
Like I said, Matt Harvey was brilliant through eight, but Collins felt that Familia was the guy to close it out and that’s what should have happened. I don’t care that Harvey argued with Collins—or pitched a fit, demanding to go back out. Collins should have stayed with his decision to turn the ball over to Familia.
Would the Mets have won the game if Jeurys Familia had started with a clean slate in the ninth? It’s possible—actually, I’m going to stick my neck out and say it’s probable. I realize that the Mets lost two other games that had nothing to do with Harvey. But Game 1, Harvey’s other start was eerily similar to Game 5. The Mets had a two-run lead, Harvey gave up a double, a couple of singles and a stolen base to tie the game in the sixth. It went on to extra innings, ending with a walk-off in the 14th.
The big differences in Game 5 were: Harvey pitched into the ninth instead of the sixth, the Royals drew a lead-off walk instead of hitting a single and the game only lasted 12 innings before the Royals took the lead. But the double, the stolen base and extra innings were there. Another difference: the Royals scored five runs in the 12th, but they weren’t at home like in Game 1, and a one-run walk-off wasn’t an option.
I know, last year our ace pitched in Game 1, Game 5, and also came in during Game 7 because he wanted the ball. He knew he could do it. Bochy knew it too. But let’s face this wasn’t the same because…
It was Madison Bumgarner! You thought I was gonna say #WeAreGiant, didn’t you? There’s a big difference between Madison Bumgarner and Matt Harvey–the biggest one is this: Harvey is known as the Dark Knight, but Madison Bumgarner is a knight in shining armor. He even delivered the World Series flag on his trusty steed.
It’s a shame, because the Mets had absolutely everything it takes to win the Fall Classic, but mistakes in fielding, mistakes in managing and mistakes in pitching did them in. Three of the four games they lost could have gone either way. This is the part where they say “there’s always next year” but I’m not going to say that. Because next year is 2016, and it belongs to the Giants.
The Mets were very close, but like Frank Robinson said: “Close don’t count in baseball. Close only counts in horseshoes and grenades.” The Mets were leading all the way up to the eighth inning. Thats when Mets reliever, Tyler Clippard gave up two walks and Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy, committed a fielding error allowing the tying run to score. After that, Kansas City scored two more runs, taking a two-run lead.
Kansas City made some mistakes that cost them too—big time. In the second inning, Alcides Escobar was on first and Ben Zobrist was at the plate. When Zobrist struck out, Escobar took off for second base. He had a good jump and had the base easily stolen except for one thing: Zobrist crossed the plate right in front of the catcher, interfering with the throw—causing Escobar to be out at first.
Another big mistake–this time in the bottom of the third. Remember Mets shortstop Wilmer Flores? The guy who broke the “no crying in baseball rule” ? It happened during a game in July when he found out that he was going to be traded to the Brewers. He’d signed with the Mets as a 16 year-old in Venezuela. I don’t blame him for crying, he had every right–after finding out he was leaving the only baseball home he’s ever known. His crying caused quite a stir, the Mets GM apologized to him and the trade deal disappeared.
Anyway, he hit a single in the bottom of the third, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then the Mets pitcher, Steve Matz, bunted him over to third. Curtis Granderson hit a sac fly, Flores tagged up—although Royals manager argued that Flores tagged up before the ball was caught, an argument he lost after the replay review—and beat the throw home.
Flores might not have beaten the throw however, if the Royals right fielder had thrown home right away. He took a couple of steps toward the dugout thinking it was the third out, and when he realized his mistake he threw home. Too late.
Before the wheels came off the Mets bus, it was their rookie, Michael Conforto’s night. The Mets picked him up in the 2014 draft (1st round, 10th pick) out of Oregon State University and he made his big league debut on July 24th. And now he’s playing in the World Series. He’s no rookie when it comes to big games, though, because this isn’t his first World Series. It’s his third. How is that possible? He played in the Little League World Series, the College World Series and now he’s playing in the big show.
The Mets rookies were the only Mets that scored in Game 4. Before Flores scored, Conforto got the party started with a solo home run in the bottom of the third, and added on to the Mets lead with another solo home run in the fifth. Two home runs in a single World Seies game is pretty rare, but for a rookie, it’s almost unheard of.
I thought the Mets had Game 4, but this is baseball, and like Bochy always says—anything can happen in baseball. The Mets need to remember that the Royals can be beat. After all, we beat them in 2014—sure, it took all seven games, even though…
Finally! After losing twice to Kansas City—the first game was a close one, but the second game was a total beat-down—the Mets played like the team that kicked the Cubs to the curb in just four games, taking the NL pennant with them. I was starting to worry we weren’t going to see those guys again. But they came out swinging in Game 3.
I’m happy because I’m rooting for the Mets, but mostly I’m happy for my cousin Brandon and my friend Doug–aka JD’s dad. As a Giants fan, I know what it feels like to be two games behind Kansas City in the Fall Classic. I didn’t want to see them go three games back. It gets exponentially harder to overcome.
Kansas City drew first blood with a single run in the top of the first. But the Mets weren’t having any of it. They sent Curtis Granderson–aka “The Grandy Man”–out to set the the table as the lead-off hitter in the bottom half of the inning. The Mets captain, David Wright followed up with a high fly home run to center field, giving the Mets a one-run lead. Kansas City turned right around in the top of the second and put two more runs on the board–giving them the one-run lead.
The Mets put up with that for about a New York minute–with a repeat of the two-run homer they scored with in the first, with a couple of minor differences. In the bottom of the third, the Mets pitcher, Noah Syndergaard–aka Thor–was the lead-off hitter with a single, and the Grandy Man hit the home run this time, giving the Mets the lead. Again.
The Mets scored another run in the fourth, widening the lead to two runs, but it was the sixth inning that put to rest any doubts about which team would get the “W” for this game. Former Giant Juan Uribe–one of the best clutch hitters to come through the Giants clubhouse–kicked off a sixth inning deluge with an RBI single. Three more runs scored after that. placing the game even further out of Kansas City’s reach. The final score was: Mets 9, Royals 3
The Mets have a win under their belt-they just need to finish it off with three more. I know they can do it, they’ve done it before. In 1986 the Mets went up against the Red Sox, losing the first two games–but they won the third. Sound familiar? It gets even weirder–the run differentials are exactly the same: the Mets lost Game 1 by one run, Game 2 by six runs and won Game 3 with a six-run lead. If history is going to repeat itself, tonight the Mets need to win by four runs. But I don’t care about that. Just a simple win…one run will do.
Last year, the Giants won Game 4 with a seven-run difference, Giants 11, Royals 4. I know, I know–that was then, this is now, not only that, but…
In 2014, just like Wednesday night, the opponents–not Kansas City–were the first to put a number up on the board. The biggest difference was last year Gregor Blanco led off in the first inning by knocking a line drive out of the park, giving the Giants a one-run lead. The Mets didn’t put a number on the board until the fourth, but their loss had nothing to do with how late in the game scored, it was all about how many runs they scored. Or rather, didn’t score.
The Giants had the same problem last year. As they say on the streets “we feel ya, Mets.” The Royals took Game 2 in 2014 with a score of 7-2, no doubt feeling the sting of the 7-1 trouncing they received from the Giants in Game 1. They were hyper-motivated.
The Royals were probably pretty motivated Wednesday night after the Mets had them on the ropes through most of Game 1, until the Royals demonstrated the real advantage of the home field advantage: last ups. They shut the Mets down after 14 innings of one-run leads and tied scores with a sac fly that scored the go-ahead, make that walk-off, run.
But that wasn’t necessary in Game 2. The Royals didn’t even have to take their at bats in the 9th—they were clearly the winners with a score of 7-1 after the Mets took their turn at the plate in the 9th.
After the Mets scored their one run in the fourth, the Royals put up four runs in the fifth and three in the eighth. Jacob deGrom was the starting pitcher for the Mets and he pitched five innings, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks. He struck out two. Reliever Jon Niese pitched the eighth inning and he gave up three runs on three hits and one walk. He struck out one hitter.
Johnny Cueto was on the mound for the Royals and he gave top-of-the-rotation caliber performance. He pitched all nine innings, allowing only one run on two hits and three walks while striking out four. The final score was: Royals 7, Mets 1
There was no game last night while the teams were winging their way to Queens, giving the Mets home field advantage at Citi Field for the next three games. That is, if they play three more games. The Mets need to win tonight or tomorrow if they want to play on Sunday.
In 2014 the teams left Kansas City with one win each. Kansas City won Game 3 in San Francisco, 3-2, but the Giants took Game 4 with a score of 11-4 and shut out the Royals in Game 5, 5-0. Kansas City returned home and returned the favor in Game 6, shutting out the Giants 10-0, forcing Game 7. Who could forget Game 7? Every Giants fan I know is still suffering post-game stress disorder from that one. Gregor Blanco probably still wakes up in a cold sweat with nightmares of what might have been.
But the best moment of the entire series came in Game 7–when those bullpen gates opened in the bottom of the fifth inning and Madison Bumgarner came striding out to the mound like he owned that piece of Kauffman Stadium. And you know what? That night he did. It gives me goosebumps just thinking about it.
The point is the Royals had home field advantage in 2014 and it still didn’t do them any good because we beat them anyway. Even after the Royals had three wins over our one win. And we won it in their yard. But then again…
As Yogi Berra would say “it’s like deja vu all over again.” Seems like just yesterday it was Game 1 of the World Series in Kansas City. Well, technically it was just yesterday. But it seems like it was just yesterday when San Francisco Giants fans had a horse in the race. And Kansas City was left wondering, “who is that guy?”
That guy was Madison Bumgarner, and they’d faced him before (in August, 2014-the Giants lost 4-2), but he was his fantastic Giants self in Game 1, holding the Royals scoreless while the Giants racked up seven runs–inclluding a home run by Hunter Pence in the top of the first. It also scored Pablo Sandoval, who hit a double scoring Gregor Blanco–giving the Giants a three-run lead to start the game. The Royals hit a solo home run in the seventh for their only score of the game.
The Royals–probably still a little sore about their Game 1 loss to the Giants a year ago–fought tooth and nail to keep history from repeating itself. If you didn’t catch the game, you missed out–it was a really good game. A hard fought pitching duel, lots of see-saw scoring, some pretty big at bats and free baseball; five extra innings. The game lasted a World Series Game 1 record-breaking 14 innings and went 5 hours, 9 minutes.
First things first, though. Edinson Volquez, the starting pitcher for the Royals, experienced what will probably be the single most bittersweet day of his entire life. Imagine the thrill, the excitement of being chosen to pitch the first game of the World Series, and only to come off the field to the news that your father passed away. I can’t even begin to imagine how tough that was for the kid. My heart and my sympathies go out to him.
Volquez did a great job for the Royals, he pitched six innings, allowed three runs (all earned, one home run) on six hits and a walk. He struck out three. He kept the Mets scoreless through three innings, then gave up one run in each of the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.
The Royals kicked off the scoring with an inside-the-park homer in the bottom of the first. It was hit by the first batter in the Royals lineup–their ALCS MVP, Alcides Escobar–off the first pitch offered by Mets pitcher, Matt Harvey. What a way to start the game.
Harvey, like Volquez, pitched six innings, allowed three runs (all earned, one home run) on five hits and two walks while striking out two. After giving up the inside-the-parker in the first, Harvey kept the Royals from scoring again until the sixth.
After playing their half of the sixth, the Mets had a two-run lead over the Royals. But not for long. The Royals hit a double, a couple of singles, a sac fly and stole a base to tie it up. But the Mets pulled ahead again with a one-run lead in the eighth. The Royals tied it up again with a solo home run off Mets closer, Jeurys Familia in the ninth.
In the bottom of the 14th, with the bases loaded, Eric Hosmer, the Royals first baseman hit a sac fly scoring Escobar–who scored the first run of the ball game–giving the Royals the lead, the win and Game 1 of the 2015 World Series. The final score was: Royals 5, Mets 4
I was rooting for the Mets, so of course I was disappointed. But, as Bochy would say–there’s plenty of baseball left–they have six more games!. Hopefully, the Mets will show the world why they are known as the aMazins. It’s not going to be easy to take the series from the Royals, but our guys did it. It took all seven games, but they did it. After all…
Even though the San Francisco Giants didn’t make it to the post-season in 2011 or 2013, it seems to hurt much worse this year than it did before. I’m not sure why.
Maybe it’s because we all had this feeling that this year we could break out of the even year mold we seem to be locked into with Giants fans getting on board the “Let’s Get Odd” campaign. Or it could be because whenever things went south for the Giants, they came back harder, faster, stronger. Or maybe we were inspired by some of the new players on our team–whether home-grown or newly acquired–who kept providing sparks of brilliance.
Or maybe it was this hard the other years, I’ve just blocked it from my memory. All I know is I miss Giants baseball.
When the season started, we had a new left fielder, Nori Aoki, who quickly found his way to the top of the lineup and started setting the table like he was the Martha Stewart of the baseball diamond—and he used the good china.
Joe Panik returned to second after establishing himself last season as the go-to infielder, with amazing fielding and great hitting. This season he turned himself into an All∗Star second baseman, and along with Brandon Crawford formed the deadly double play dealing duo known as “Crawnik”. Together, they took their show to the All∗Star game.
At the beginning of the season, Giants fans were heartbroken and dismayed when Pablo Sandoval, the Giants beloved “Kung Fu Panda” chose Boston over San Francisco. Most Giants fans figured we were doomed at third base without him. Enter Casey McGehee–a kid who literally grew up in the Giants backyard–Santa Cruz. It was exciting to see a local kid get a shot. But Casey didn’t work out and he turned the hot corner over to Matt Duffy.
The Duff Man, a nick-name he picked up in high school, didn’t take long to win the hearts of the Giants faithful. Fans thoroughly and quickly forgot about Sandoval, which was pretty easy when he made a snarky statement about his former team, and they rallied for Duffy to remain the every day third baseman. Duffy found his way to the short list for rookie of the year, and played in every game after the All∗Star break.
With the Giants roster alternating between the starting lineup, the concussion DL and the regular DL, nobody can fault them for coming in second. In fact, coming in second was a major accomplishment given all the curve balls the Giants took this season. They should all be proud–especially Bochy–of where they landed at the end of the season.
And even though we didn’t make the post-season, I’m still watching baseball–here’s what’s happening so far:
The National League pennant race ended very quickly. The Mets swept the Cubs, and just like that–Back to the Future II went back to being the second installment of a three movie franchise that isn’t as good as the original that started it all. It was on its way to being famous on its own as the movie that had the Cubs winning the Fall Classic in 2015.
As hot as the Cubbies were, the Mets were even hotter. And their second baseman, Daniel Murphy? He’s on fire. During the play-offs I suggested he was on his way to NLCS MVP–I love it when I’m right. Murphy looks like he might be the answer to the annual post-season question: who will emerge as this year’s post-season hero?
The American League finished their run for the pennant last week, with the Royals taking the honors for the second year in a row. The Royals quickly jumped to a two-game lead, but Toronto showed signs of life when they took Game 3. It was like a see-saw: Game 4 to the Royals, Game 5 to Toronto. The Royals shut it down in Game 6, taking the Fall Classic back to Kansas City. The only thing missing is the Giants.
World Series play begins Tuesday evening—5:00 PM Pacific. I’ll be cheering for the Mets–along with my cousin Brandon and my friend Doug. Go aMazins! I know it’s not the Giants, but they are our little half-brother, and…