Category Archives: San Francisco Giants

Bryce Harper’s last blast of 2014 was an epic, clutch, historic clout into McCovey Cove

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Game four of the NLDS, and Bryce Harper may have cemented his legend in baseball once and for all.

It was evident that Harper was still locked in from the early going, as he missed a home run to center in his first at bat by a narrow margin. In his second trip to the plate he doubled in the Nationals first run with a great at bat.

In his third at-bat, he took nasty Hunter Strickland into McCovey Cove to tie the game in epic fashion. It was a moment for the ages in postseason baseball.

Baseball can be beautiful, but sometimes it also has a way of showing us that the heroes die in the end. The Nationals would fall 3-2 to end their season.

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An Ode to the 2014 Washington Nationals

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Welp, that’s a wrap. For all intensive purposes, baseball season ended for us tonight a bit prematurely. In a matter of hours, two teams we love to watch completed the foursome of elimination in the League Division Series with the Cardinals getting past Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers and the Giants breaking the hearts of the Nationals out in the Bay Area.

I never dreamed when this postseason started that a World Series would exist without at least one of these two teams. It almost seems unfair – but it’s not. The Giants and Cardinals took the fight to these teams. They just went out and took it, with the help of a little more clutch hitting and better management.

I spent a TON of time watching Washington and Los Angeles this season. They were entertaining, yet flawed teams. Until the spring comes, I won’t see them again. If you want to see the remaining teams left in the playoffs, find and buy sports tickets to do so.

Bryce Harper nearly reaches McCovey Cove with second NLDS Moonshot

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After a hitless game in the 18-inning marathon on Saturday night, Bryce Harper woke up in San Francisco yesterday and decided he was coming to the park to send this to a game four.

Harper had an absolutely huge game, making two great defensive catches with the game on the line, drawing a walk that started the rally, and hitting of course his monstrous home run which was his third of his postseason.

To take a quote from Brandon Belt – that’s probably one of the hardest balls Harper has hit.

You have to love lowly Jean Machi pointing in the air for the ball to assist his outfielder as it heads toward McCovey Cove. Yeah, Jean. He’s got no chance for this.

So the Nationals live to fight at least one more day, 4-1. They survived Madison Bumgarner and one has to wonder if this series has swung and the Nationals have enough left in the tank to get it back to Washington. One thing is for sure – nothing gives the Nats a shot in the arm like a monster Harper bomb.

Bryce Harper hits the biggest, most titanic home run of his career

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[Box Score]

Bryce Harper possibly hit the premiere home run of the postseason this afternoon. And the Nationals lost a heartbreaker, giving those rotten Giants from the left coast their ninth straight playoff victory. But damn it, Bryce Harper put on his eye black and brought his game to the park today.

And the Nats seemed so lifeless for much of the day. I had the thought that if they could just get a Bryce Harper home run; it would be the one thing that could ignite the crowd and the rest of the Nationals enough to get them back into the game while trailing 3-0. It needed to be something big, and something epic.

And man, they don’t get any bigger or epic than this one. The only way it could have been more out of The Natural is if it was to win a game. It came off a guy in Hunter Strickland who is a relative newcomer to the Major League level, and his stuff is absolutely filthy. He’s never been touched up like this before:

Harper turned on a 97 MPH fastball, and nearly hit it out of the stadium.

The Nationals would add an Asdrubal Cabrera home run to cut the deficit to it’s final resting spot of 3 to 2, but the titanic home run wasn’t enough to dig them out of the hole that their slumber caused.

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Still, anyone who tuned in today expecting to see Harper and Stephen Strasburg play the roles of the two leading Knights in the baseball Camelot that is the Nation’s capital got half of it (Harper also broke up Jake Peavy’s no-hitter the second time through the lineup).

My friend vists Nats Park; Bryce Harper visits the Right Field Foul Pole

My buddy/former fraternity brothers Brent and Ryan from DC were present at the Nationals game yesterday to see the masterpiece of a game the Nats put together in slaughtering the San Francisco Giants 14-6 to take yet another series from a National League foe.

When they paid for their ticket and got to their seats, they had no idea that they were about to be at a Bryce Harper Home Run game. But it was exactly that. When Bryce Harper homered off the Giants J.C. Gutierrez, it was the 49th of his career; and his seventh of the season.

My friends also got to see Harper’s first home run that went off a foul pole in any park, and a Stephen Strasburg start (he got rocked).

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And if you haven’t read it yet – here’s a great read from the Washington Post by Adam Kilgore that details Bryce Harper’s bat usage. It is VERY interesting. If it ever seemed to you that Bryce Harper never uses the same bat twice, it’s because he really doesn’t.

Tim Lincecum No-Hitter (2.0)

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It wasn’t even one year ago when we stayed up late and watched Tim Lincecum no-hit the Padres out at Petco. Today, he treated his home crowd to the start they’ve been waiting his entire career for.

He also saved the Giants from getting swept by the dreadful Pads, winning 4-0. His first no-hitter took 148 pitches, this one only took 113 as he struck out six and walked one.

I was the lucky SOB who choose to add him in a fantasy league last night off the wire – because ‘the Giants aren’t getting swept by the Padres’ and that was the lone reason.

I came home from work in time to see the final three outs, to see history. I heard Krukow’s call of the final out and saw the joy on the catcher’s face as he ran to the mound and grabbed Timmy.

To think it was his 236th career start today, and this was probably his best start ever. And this is why baseball is both equal parts magical and random. Tim Lincecum just woke up, and it was his day. No one in the world would have planned on a no-hitter for him today but it took on a life of it’s own.

Yasiel Puig homers off Madison Bumgarner; says ‘Sorry I’m not Sorry’

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There were some late-night Friday firewords out at Chavez Ravine last evening, and I was lucky enough to catch it live. Yasiel Puig continues to be one of the most electrifying watches in the sport. And Madison Bumgarner is a chippy crybaby.

Puig is one of those talents that still manages to do something each night, even if an elite talent is on the mound and on top of their game (San Francisco won the game 3-1). He’s on the cusp of entering that next dimension in the sport right now – if you watch him night over night he’s really been on fire lately and having great at bats. I am glad I caught this part of the game:

I like what our friendly neighborhood Puig did here; notice that Bumgarner was quite the sportsman when he quick-pitched Puig to take an easy strike on his opponent. All is fair and well. When Puig steps back in the box and gets all of a Bumgarner fastball up in the zone and then flips his bat and puts his head down (it’s just his thing, relax) Bumgarner suddenly takes exception to another aspect that is simply part of the game.

If you need some GIFs of the event, head over here.

My best advice to Bumgarner would be if you don’t like that someone acknowledges that it feels good to hit one 430 feet off you, get him out next time around.

2014 San Francisco Giants Team Preview

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There’s now a shelf life to Fat Panda pictures on the internet.

The 2013 San Francisco Giants had a weird year coming off their World Championship which saw them go 76-86 and finish fourth in the NL West.

This season will be interesting for the Giants. They are a veteran team with much enough of the core remaining from the World Championship runs that if they were to make a run, it wouldn’t be completely shocking. At the same time, I look at this Giants roster and I just don’t get excited. That’s not different from how I felt writing the 2010 and 2012 season previews for the Giants.

Really, the Giants play a certain style of game out in that big park by the bay. It’s a slow paced game most nights. There are a lot of ugly wins. The Giants have built a quality organization of which the main cornerstones remain in-tact. They will be competitive, but they have a few blemishes we see that will keep them from making a serious run in 2014.

Major Off-season Moves:

  • Signed Tim Hudson to a 2-year, $23 million dollar contract
  • Signed Mike Morse to a 1-year, $6 million dollar contract
  • Signed Tyler Colvin
  • Signed Hunter Pence to a 5-year, $90 million dollar contract extension
  • Signed Tim Lincecum to a 2-year, $35 million dollar contract extension
  • Signed Javier Lopez to a 3-year, $13 million dollar extension

There’s nothing that overwhelms me here. I like Mike Morse more than a lot of the new-age sabermetrics crowd. But you have to wonder what kind of team the Giants were trying to scrape together here. Defense? Keep the core together? I look at the amount that Lincecum and Hudson signed for, and I say to myself the Giants could have landed a top-tier arm for this amount. At the end of the day, it’s kind of cool that Big-Time Timmy Jim is staying put in San Francisco. He’s an icon there, and the contract kind of signifies that the Giants got sentimental on us.

Click through the jump to learn the fates and facts of the 2014 Gigantes.

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Reds Split a Doubleheader in a long Night of Baseball

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[Box Score – Game One]
[Box Score – Game Two]

The Reds played 18 innings of baseball yesterday, and I made sure to see all of them. Nothing especially great happened in the second game after another big win in the first. The Reds left 12 men on base and squandered opportunities all (late) night long.

In the first game, the Reds rolled to another victory with Devin Mesoraco, Shin-soo Choo, and Zach Cozart all going yard. Cozart had four hits in the game and Tony Cingrani did his thing to improve to 4-1.

It would have been a huge boost to the Reds to win two games in one day yesterday, and again with every opportunity in the world to truly get on a roll, the 2013 Reds did what they have done so often this season. They teased and they teased and they teased some more.

When I returned home from my buddy’s house and pulled in my driveway it was almost 2:30 AM and the Reds had let me down. My wife had texted just minutes earlier that she was locking the door if I didn’t come home immediately. Times are good when it’s summer, and you’re 30, and there’s late-night baseball on.

How about a Twi-night Doubleheader in the Bay

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Yes, it’s Candlestick Park. We’re aware. #Retro #Classic

Baseball needs to bring back the scheduled doubleheader. It’s good for fans. All day, no matter what went wrong in my day; I knew I got to come home tonight to 18 innings of baseball between the Reds and Giants. That’s the kind of anticipation that breeds happy fans.

So baseball, here’s my pitch. Every team in baseball gets to host one scheduled doubleheader during the season. It doesn’t have to be with both games at night (it would be nearly impossible for a team in the Midwest or East to pull this off) but everyone has to play one. It’s like all NFL teams sharing the responsibility of playing overseas once every few seasons.

So everyone settle in for two games out in San Francisco between the Reds and the Giants (who dare we say, are starting a mini-rivalry). If you don’t have all Reds and Giants in your fantasy lineups this evening, shame on you. It’s like a lottery ticket and every guy has the chance to go off and have a big time day in the double-dip (Ben Zobrist drove in 10 a few seasons back in a doubleheader).

And now here’s your classic rock song of the day to set the mood. How about a little Sammy?

Game 99, 2013: Reds 11, Giants 0

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[Box Score]

I loved how the Reds treated that big pitcher’s park in San Francisco like it was a little league homer park last night. The Reds got home runs from Shin-soo Choo, Devin Mesoraco, and Jay Bruce to pad an 11-0 win over the Giants, sending Tim Lincecum to the showers after 3 and 2/3 innings and getting into the Giants bullpen early the day before a doubleheader. It’s keys like that which should win you a series in baseball; and winning a series to start a West Coast trip is no small order.

Shane Robinson added three hits, and Todd Frazier had two including a bases clearing double in the first inning that put the Reds up 3-0. Robinson also made a terrific catch.

The Reds again find themselves with a chance to get things rolling – they’ve won three of four games since play resumed after the All-Star Break and are within 4 and 1/2 games of the Cardinals in the NL Central. But the 2013 Reds MO has been one of teasing so far. They win one, and then they come out flat. They look like they’re really going to get rolling and then they fail to keep their fans excited and momentum rolling. They haven’t had a true run this season where you could say they’re completely ‘hot’ to this point.

It would be just like the Reds after a big win last night in which they were firing on all cylinders (Bronson Arroyo threw a complete game shutout, so the pitching staff is rested coming into today) to come out and either split today after blowing a lead or somehow lose both.

IF the Reds can manage two wins today in two ballgames, that’s a big deal. Some of the great Reds teams of the past (1999 Reds, 2010 Reds) went into San Francisco and made it a rallying point of their West Coast trip. Today is a huge day in the constant pendulum swing that is the 2013 Cincinnati Reds season.

 

 

Tim Lincecum Fires No-Hitter in San Diego

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For at least one night, The Freak was back.

Tim Lincecum completed a no-hitter just a few strokes after 1:00 AM in the Midwest, and it took 148 pitches. The final out recorded was a fly ball off the bat of Yonder Alonso to left fielder Gregor Blanco. Lincecum had a close call in the 8th inning when Alexi Amarista hit a line drive to right field, but Hunter Pence made an outstanding diving catch to keep the no-no in tact. Pence also added a solo home run to make it a 9-0 Giants lead.

The no-hitter couldn’t have came at a more unexpected time for “Big Time Timmy”. In his last 10 games, Lincecum was 1-7 with a 5.06 ERA.

You have to be happy for Linecum who despite his struggles is one of the true good guys in the game. It wast the 15th no-hitter in Giants history. The 148 pitches Linecum needed were the most since Edwin Jackson threw 149 to complete his own no-hitter back in 2010.

Homer Bailey throws his second career no-hitter

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[Box Score]

Homer Bailey has done it again, no-hitting the San Francisco Giants two nights ago for the second consecutive no-hitter in baseball, both belonging to Bailey.

I watched the entire game in the Planet Hollywood sports book. I saw from about the third inning on that Bailey had his no-hit type stuff, it was just a matter of the luck was on his side; the luck that is a necessary of any completed no-hitter.

I could care less about the F-bomb that Homer dropped on live television in his post game interview. It made the moment even more memorable.

What this moment and this game was all about was Homer Bailey delivering on all the potential so many people have waited on all along. Bailey became just the 31st player in big league history to throw multiple no-hitters. When a guy has came into the league and thrown multple no-no’s, he’s realized his potential. He’s accomplished greatness in the game. He’s joined elite company.

No one can ever call Homer Bailey a ‘bust’, not that they would have any way; but he’s now reached a territory where he’s respected among the elite.

That’s what I kept saying to myself as I watched Bailey overpower hitters in the ninth inning with a 97 MPH fastball – “what a bulldog” – that’s the only thing I could think about. Here’s a guy who has came up through the Reds system and weathered some tough times but has shown the entire organization and the baseball world that he’s something special.

If Bailey doesn’t do another thing in this game – if the ride ends here – he’s already delivered several times on the grandest of stages for the Cincinnati Reds and provided some memories that last forever amongst the immortals.

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And here’s Marty’s call of the historic moment:

And here’s the golden post-game interview: