If you are looking for a sign for the San Francisco Giants in Tuesday’s Game 4 of the NL Division Series against the Cubs, we’ve got one.
The San Francisco Giants have played eight best-of-5 playoff series, and each one has ended with one of two results.
Result No. 1 – The Giants are eliminated by losing three consecutive games.
Result No. 2 – The Giants win and advance.
Check is out.
THREE STRAIGHT LOSSES
1971 NL Championship Series
Giants win Game 1.
Pirates win Games 2, 3 and 4.
1997 NL Division Series
Marlins win Games 1, 2 and 3.
2000 NL Division Series
Giants win Game 1.
Mets win Games 2, 3 and 4.
2003 NL Division Series
Giants win Game 1.
Marlins win Games 2, 3 and 4.
GIANTS WIN AND ADVANCE
2002 NL Division Series
Giants beat the Braves in 5 games
2010 NL Division Series
Giants beat the Braves in 4 games
2012 NL Division Series
Giants beat the Reds in 5 games
2014 NL Division Series
Giants beat the Nationals in 4 games
Everyone wanted to talk about about Joe Maddon’s decision to bring Aroldis Chapman for a six-out save on Monday night.
It’s a decision that didn’t work out for the skipper as the Giants beat the Cubs 6-5 in 13 innings for the 10th consecutive elimination game win
But I want to talk about another decision Maddon made.
It’s the decision to pitch to Joe Panik in the 13th inning.
Brandon Crawford led off the bottom of the 13th by hammering a hanging curveball by Mike Montgomery into the right field corner for a leadoff double.
Then Panik came to the plate.
First base is open, and Panik’s run doesn’t mean a thing.
Walking Panik puts runners on first and second and no outs. It would set up a force play at third and second.
It would set up a possible double play.
But more importantly, it pushes the Giants deeper into their lineup.
It would have brought up Gregor Blanco, who was 0 for 4 with a sacrifice bunt.
Does Blanco bunt again with runners on first and second?
Normally, yes. But if he does that in this situation, next up is the pitcher’s spot – Ty Blach.
If Blanco’s bunt is successful, do you hit for Blach?
Again, normally, yes. But with Angel Pagan a late scratch, Giants manager Bruce Bochy presumably had no position players left to hit.
So if he hits for Blach, then it has to be one of the pitchers. And with Madison Bumgarner out of the game, that would be Jeff Samardzija. And if the move doesn’t work and the Giants don’t score, then Blach is out and George Kontos is in.
Or you let Blach hit for himself with a drawn-in infield. He did get two hits in his most recent start against the Dodgers.
If Blach doesn’t get the job done, then it falls on Denard Span to get a two-out hit.
And that’s all assuming that Blanco is bunting, and given who is coming up behind him, Blanco may have been swinging away.
But instead of setting all of that up, Maddon chose to have Montgomery pitch to Joe Panik, who was 2 for 3 and two walks coming into that last at-bat.
Panik hit the ball of the Willie Mays Wall for the game-winning hit for just the fifth walk-off postseason win in San Francisco Giants history.
POSTSEASON WALK-OFF WINS BY SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS
- Game 5 of 2002 NL Championship Series, 2-1 over St. Louis Cardinals, Kenny Lofton singles home David Bell.
- Game 4 of 2010 NL Championship Series, 6-5 over Philadelphia Phillies, Juan Uribe sacrifice fly drives home Aubrey Huff
- Game 3 of 2014 NL Championship Series, 5-4 over St. Louis Cardinals in 10 innings, Gregor Blanco reaches on error, scoring Brandon Crawford
- Game 5 of 2014 NL Championship Series, 6-3 over St. Louis Cardinals, Travis Ishikawa three-run home run.
- Game 3 of 2016 NL Division Series, 6-5 over Chicago Cubs, Joe Panik doubles home Brandon Crawford
In his post-game remarks, Mets manager Terry Collins pointed out how the Mets only had three players on the field for Wednesday’s NL wild-card game who played in the World Series last year.
“We overcame a lot of things,” Collins said of the Mets’ injury problems this season. “So to get here took a lot of character. … We’re disappointed, but we’ll go get healthy and we’ll be back.”
The irony of that remark was that the player who beat them on Wednesday started the season at Triple-A and was in the lineup Wednesday because of an injury.
Conor Gillaspie signed a minor-league deal with the Giants in the offseason. He opened the season in Sacramento and got the call-up on April 22.
In July and early August, when the Giants were having players coming off the DL and being acquired by trade, some Giants fans wondered if Gillaspie might be a candidate to be designated for assignment.
But the Giants knew his value.
Gillaspie has not been spectacular, but he’s been solid. And that’s what you want for a bench guy.
He had 6 home runs and 25 RBI in 205 plate appearances, hitting .262 with .307 OBP. Project that out over a full season with 600 PAs, that’s 18 HR and 75 RBI.
Gillaspie followed in the paths of Cody Ross, Marco Scutaro and Travis Ishikawa, as unlikely postseason hero when he delivered a three-run home run off Jeurys Familia.
Gillaspie was in the lineup because Eduardo Nunez was left of the roster for the wild-card game with a lingering hamstring injury. It is unclear if Nunez will be on the roster for the next round.
So Conor Gillaspie was one CG for the Giants.
The other belonged to Madison Bumgarner. CG as in complete game.
Bumgarner tossed his third postseason shutout to go with the 2014 wild-card win over the Pirates and Game 5 of the 2014 World Series vs. the Royals.
Combined with his five innings of relief in Game 7 of the World Series, Bumgarner has thrown 23 consecutive shutout innings in the postseason.
On the road in the postseason, Bumgarner has been historic.
His 0.50 ERA is the most in baseball history for a pitcher with 20 or more innings thrown. Next on the list?
Oh, just Bob Gibson (0.97), Mariano Rivera (1.02) and Sandy Freakin Koufax (1.04).
With a 3-0 lead and Sergio Romo in the bullpen, Bumgarner made quick work of the Mets in the ninth, retiring the side in order on 12 pitches.
And if not for one CG, we might have not seen the other CG.
If Gillaspie doesn’t come through in the ninth, it looked like Bruce Bochy was planning on hitting for Bumgarner with two on and two out.
Instead, we got CG and CG.
I watched the Giants clinch their fourth postseason berth in seven years on Sunday. But when I did, I was not watching the CSN Bay Area feed with Kruk and Kuip.
I watched the Dodgers feed to see Vin Scully’s final call.
Growing up a Giants fan in Dodger Country, I always appreciated Scully as a broadcaster. He was never a “homer” broadcaster. He remained fair to the game. If a big play was made by the opposition, he called it as a big play.
So I wanted to watch as he made his final sign-off.
Scully has made several goodbyes over his almost 70 years as a broadcaster. And when I thought about it, some of the most significant goodbyes — whether he knew it was a goodbye at the time or not — came in San Francisco with good results for the home team.
In addition to his 67 seasons as a Dodgers broadcaster, Scully has also had long stints calling games for a national TV audience.
From 1975 to 1982, he called golf and NFL games for CBS. The final NFL game he called was on Jan. 10, 1982 in San Francisco.
The 49ers beat the Cowboys and went on to win Super Bowl XVI, their first Super Bowl championship.
But after that game, Scully decided to move to NBC to call baseball games. He would call All-Star Games in 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1989, the World Series in 1984, 1986 and 1988 and the National League Championship Series in 1983, 1985, 1987 and 1989.
The final national TV broadcast of his career came on Oct. 9, 1989 in San Francisco.
The Giants would go on to beat the Cubs 3-2 to advance to the World Series for the first time in my lifetime.
After 1989, Scully returned largely to broadcasting just Dodgers games on TV.
And that long career came to an end on Oct. 2, 2016 in San Francisco, once again.
The Giants clinched the wild-card spot.
So thank you, Vin, for all you gave over the years.
And thanks for being part of some big moments in San Francisco sports history.
The San Francisco Giants proved once again that they have a lot “left” in October.
Rookie left-hander Ty Blach kept the Giants in the lead for the final NL wild-card berth with a masterful performance against the Dodgers.
Blach pitched eight innings, giving up no runs on three hits with one walk and six strikeouts as the Giants beat the Dodgers 3-0 to remain one game ahead of St. Louis with one game to play.
While a rookie out dueling Clayton Kershaw would come as a surprise to many, the very fact the Giants had a lefty on the mound in October should have made Giants fans very confident.
Over the last 10 starts in October by a left-handed pitchers, those pitchers are 8-1 with an 0.83 ERA and 65 strikeouts over 76 innings.
While the bulk of those starts have come from Madison Bumgarner, that list now includes Blach and Barry Zito.
Here is how the previous nine starts break down:
Madison Bumgarner, Oct. 26, 2014
Game 5 World Series vs. Royals
9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 8 K, WIN
Madison Bumgarner, Oct. 21, 2014
Game 1 World Series vs. Royals
7 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, WIN
Madison Bumgarner, Oct. 16, 2014
Game 5 NLCS vs. Cardinals
8 IP, 5 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, ND
Madison Bumgarner, Oct. 11, 2014
Game 1 NLCS vs. Cardinals
7.2 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 K, WIN
Madison Bumgarner, Oct. 6, 2014
Game 4 NLDS vs. Nationals
7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K, LOSS
Madison Bumgarner, Oct. 1, 2014
NL Wild Card Game vs. Pirates
9 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K, WIN
Madison Bumgarner, Oct. 25, 2012
Game 2 World Series vs. Tigers
7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K, WIN
Barry Zito, Oct. 24, 2012
Game 1 World Series vs. Tigers
5.2 IP, 6 H 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 K, WIN
Barry Zito, Oct. 19, 2012
Game 5 NLDS vs. Cardinals
7.2 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 6 K, WIN
On Sunday, the starting pitcher for the Giants will be Matt Moore, a left-hander.
And if the Giants win that game, their next game will be Wednesday in New York against the Mets. The starter that day? Bumgarner.
Brandon Crawford had a history-setting night on Monday in Miami.
But more importantly, the Giants won.
Crawford became the sixth player in major league history to collect seven hits in a game when he went 7 for 8 with a double, triple and five singles in an 8-7 win over the Marlins.
Crawford’s seventh hit of the game proved to be the game-winner. He singled home Brandon Belt from second with two out in the top of the 14th. George Kontos made the lead stand up.
Other major leaguers to get seven hits in a single game include:
- Johnny Burnett of the Cleveland Indians went 9 for 11 with two doubles and seven singles in an 18-inning game on July 10, 1932
- Wilbert Robinson of the Baltimore Orioles (NL-version) went 7 for 7 with a double and six singles in a nine-inning game on June 10, 1892
- Rennie Stennett of the Pittsburgh Pirates went 7 for 7 with a two doubles, a triple and four singles in a nine-inning game on Sept. 16, 1975
- Rocky Colavito of the Detroit Tigers went 7 for 10 with a triple and six singles in a 22-inning game on June 24, 1962
- Cesar Gutierrez of the Detroit Tigers went 7 for 7 with a double and six singles in a 12-inning game on June 21, 1970.
To put Crawford’s night into perspective, consider …
- Crawford had more hits by himself Monday than six teams managed.
- The Giants have played 35 games this season in which they failed to get seven hits as a team.
- Crawford started the game hitting .265 for the season. He finished the game hitting .278.
- For his career, Crawford raised his average for .249 to .251.
After driving in the go-ahead run in the 14th, Crawford alertly got thrown out trying to take second to save Hunter Pence from a five-strikeout game.
And because of that, Brandon Crawford — and the Giants — should send Marlins manager Don Mattingly a thank-you card.
In the top of the 14th inning, Angel Pagan hit into a hard-luck double play. Then Brandon Belt walked on four pitches by Dustin McGowan. Buster Posey followed by falling behind 0-2 then working a walk off a tiring McGowan.
That brought up Crawford with two on and two out. And Mattingly brought in Andrew Cashner.
The numbers say Cashner should have pitched around Crawford.
Brandon Crawford was 8 for 19 in his career against Cashner.
Left-handed hitters were batting .278 against Cashner this season, while righties are hitting .257.
Hunter Pence, the next batter, was 3 for 20 for his career off Cashner.
But more importantly was what happened Monday.
Crawford was 6 for 7 when he came to bat in the 14th. Pence was 1 for 7 with four strikeouts, and looked bad when doing it.
So Mattingly decided to have his right-handed pitcher pitch to a left-handed batter who was 6 for 7 and was hitting .421 for his career off that pitcher instead of pitching to a right-handed hitter who was 1 for 7 and hitting .150 for his career off that pitcher.
And Mattingly had seen Pence’s struggles an inning before.
In the 13th inning, Crawford hit a one-out triple. Pence came up, swung wildly and missed two pitches before making contact and grounding out to a pulled-in infield, forcing Crawford to stay at third. Mattingly then intentionally walked the next two batters to pitch to Madison Bumgarner, who came in as a pinch-hitter. Bumgarner struck out.
So thank you, Don Mattingly.
The San Francisco Giants made some big moves in the past few days, adding the likes of Eduardo Nunez, Will Smith and Matt Moore.
So are they deals good for the Giants?
Well, it depends on who you ask, and it also depends on how you rate trades.
If you look at the deals from the perspective of “Did the Giants make their 2016 roster better for the stretch run?” the consensus is these deals are good for the Giants.
Peter Gammons on MLB Network said the moves were “very good” for the Giants.
“Under the radar, I thought they were really good moves,” Gammons said. “First of all, I think Matt Moore (has been) throwing better and better as the season has gone on, coming off Tommy John surgery. … Pitching in that ballpark (AT&T Park), which is really important, having Buster Posey behind the plate, who builds relationships with pitchers as well as anybody in the game, and it’s a great park to give up fly balls in. So it should be great for him. After (Madison) Bumgarner and (Johnny) Cueto, their starting pitchers had an ERA of almost 5.00, so getting this extra starter, particularly one who can match up, is important.”
Gammons pointed out that Will Smith has not been great this season against left-handed hitters, but added that he’s “battle-worn.”
“I think what’s really important is he just gives Bruce Bochy another way to go in the sixth to the ninth inning,” Gammons said.
Critics also called the addition of Nunez a perfect fit for the Giants, adding some needed pop and speed.
So the players the Giants added make them better.
But if you look at the deals from the standpoint of what they gave up, then the analysis is not so favorable.
Guys who rate prospects didn’t think the Giants did so well.
Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline said for the Brewers to get Phil Bickford for Will Smith was a good trade for the Brewers. But to get Andrew Susac on top was a bonus.
Jim Callis of MLB Pipeline said the Brewers getting Bickford for Smith “boggles my mind.”
But anytime a team makes a trade, the team not only considers the value of the players they are giving up, but also whether the voids left by those players in the system can be filled.
Now if you looked at a consensus of a variety of prospect rankings, Bickford rated as the No. 2 propsect in the Giants’ system. But right with him, tied at No. 2, is Tyler Beede, and Beede is further along than Bickford, pitching in Double-A as opposed to just making the move to High-A ball. Infielder Lucius Fox was the No. 4 prospect. But their top prospect is also an infielder in Christian Arroyo.
Last week, Giants executive vice president Brian Sabean went to Richmond to look presumably at Arroyo and Beede, and many thought it was to decide if the Giants would deal those players.
Instead, it was to decide how close to ready Arroyo and Beede were, so the team could decide to deal other prospects.
With Joe Panik at second, Brandon Crawford at short and Nunez at third through 2017 – then Arroyo in the system to move in at 3B – the Giants felt they were covered well enough to deal Matt Duffy and Fox to Tampa for Moore.
With Beede in the system, as well as others, the Giants felt they could part with Bickford.
And here’s one thing to keep in mind. None of the trades the Giants made this past week will be able to be rated in the ways that the Carlos Beltran/Zack Wheeler deal was or the Mike Leake/Adam Duvall trade.
In both of those deals, the players the Giants got were two-month rentals and eligible for free agency at the end of the season in which they were acquired.
Nunez is under club control through 2017. Moore and Smith are both under club control through 2019.
So these deals not only were made for the stretch run of 2016, but into the future as well.
And that’s why the price for these players were as high as they were.