Baggs' Instant Replay: Nationals 14, Giants 2


Baggs' Instant Replay: Nationals 14, Giants 2


SAN FRANCISCO Well, thats the last time theyll hold Frank Sinatra Night at AT&T Park.

The Washington Nationals flew the Giants to the moon, all right. The Nats treated Giants infielders like pinball paddles while collecting a series of hard, seeing-eye hits that deflected off gloves. It was enough to tilt even an unshakeable presence like Ryan Vogelsong, who was ushered out in the third inning.

So too was Giants manager Bruce Bochy, who drew a quick ejection while arguing a call at first base. Bochy was luckier than the sellout crowd, which had to watch as the ERA-wrecking Nationals set an AT&T Park record with 21 hits while romping to a 14-2 victory Monday night.

You could say the Nats are under the Giants skin, officially. Their lineup has been unstoppable in four victories over the Giants this season while outscoring them 38-14.

That hurts worse than a five-martini lunch. But hey, thats life.

Starting pitching report
Vogelsongs streak of completing at least six innings, which stretched back to his final outing of last season, was halted after 22 starts. His eight earned runs allowed doubled his previous season high.

His ERA flipped from an NL-best 2.27 to 2.72.

Red-hot Ryan Zimmerman hit an RBI double, marking just the second run all season that Vogelsong had allowed in the first inning.

It got a lot worse in a seven-run third. Vogelsong (10-6) had his share of bad luck, though, after Adam LaRoche drew a bases-loaded, one-out walk. Michael Morse followed with an RBI single off third baseman Marco Scutaros backhanded attempt. Then Danny Espinosa drove in another run with a ground ball that second baseman Ryan Theriot kicked into right field.

Roger Bernadina followed with a chopper to third base and umpire Mike Estabrook ruled that he beat the bang-bang play. Replays appeared to show that Bernadina was out, but Bochy didnt need to see it. He double-timed it out of the dugout and mustve uttered his magic word right away to draw Estabrooks thumb.

Kurt Suzuki followed with a bases-clearing double to cap the scoring. Vogelsong struck out pitcher Gio Gonzalez for the second time in the inning and followed by giving up a hit to Steve Lombardozzi, ending his night.

Bullpen report
Custodial work did not suit Brad Penny. Danny Espinosa rocked him for a three-run home run as Penny allowed allowed six runs on seven hits in two innings.

Jose Mijares, Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla and George Kontos helped to advance the game to a merciful conclusion, though. And they ensured the Giants wouldnt take a beating for the ages.

The worst margin of defeat in the Giants San Francisco era is 16 runs, which has been accomplished three times most recently in 2005 during a 16-0 loss at Oakland.

At the plate
Brandon Crawford picked one heck of a time to hit his first home run of the season at AT&T Park. In his 162nd home at-bat of the season, he hit a pinch-hit shot that landed softly in the arcade to break up the Nationals shutout in the seventh inning.

Aside from that, Gonzalez was masterful.

Special demerit to Joaquin Arias for getting thrown out in a 14-0 game while trying to stretch a single just prior to Crawfords home run.

The few thousand remaining fans in the ninth inning cheered as Pablo Sandoval came off the bench as a pinch hitter his first appearance since coming off the disabled list. He fouled out to the third baseman.

In field
Scutaro had a tough night at third base, and many fans doubtless had to wonder why Sandoval didnt start on the day the Giants activated him from the DL.

But Scutaro was more victimized than anything as a series of grounders glanced off his glove or were just beyond his reach. The crowd offered mock applause when Scutaro made a nice play to his left in the seventh inning.

The Giants announced 42,050 paid. The fans had plenty of chances to practice their sarcastic standing ovation skills.

Up next
Bring your fire extinguishers. The Giants continue their three-game series with the Nationals at AT&T Park Tuesday night. Left-hander Madison Bumgarner (12-7, 3.08) will try to disarm a club that has destroyed Giants pitching all season. Hell be opposed by right-hander Jordan Zimmermann (9-6, 2.35), who became the NLs ERA leader after his teammates hummed My Way against Vogelsong.

Offseason can be tense on other side of Giancarlo Stanton rumors


Offseason can be tense on other side of Giancarlo Stanton rumors

SAN FRANCISCO — Just around dinner time on Monday, Tyler Beede got a call he had been waiting for. General manager Bobby Evans informed Beede, the Giants’ top pitching prospect, that he was being added to the 40-man roster, a significant step toward making his big league debut. Earlier that day, however, Beede’s phone brought him some unwanted news. 

Like most Giants fans, Beede woke up to a report out of South Florida that he was one of several names the Giants and Marlins had discussed in Giancarlo Stanton trade talks. For fans or team employees, it would be painful to give up a Beede or a Chris Shaw or a Joe Panik, but images of Stanton taking aim at the Coke bottle at AT&T Park would soon wash away most concerns. 

For players, the reality this time of year is much different. The Giants are the only organization that all of the rumored pieces have ever known. Panik is a New Yorker, but he and his wife have grown to love San Francisco. Beede and Shaw have spent years dreaming of debuting at AT&T Park and playing in front of sellout crowds. That makes the Hot Stove Season a particularly tense time of year. 

“I try to be a guy who doesn’t look those kinds of things up too frequently, but obviously I’m a normal guy, so I tend to dig into it a little bit more and see what’s going on and see what people are saying,” Beede said on this week’s Giants Insider Podcast. “It’s funny. I don't really know how to handle it. It’s my third year going through the trade deadline and trade talk. I’ve just go to keep telling myself it’s a realistic possibility and not to be shocked if anything were to come out or a trade were to be made.”

The rumor mill is nothing new for these players. Panik acknowledged several times during the season that he could be the odd man out. Shaw actually already once thought he got traded to Florida. For a few minutes at the 2016 deadline, Twitter had him as a key piece in the Matt Moore deal. The outfielder came out of a hotel bathroom right after the deadline to see two teammates staring at him in disbelief as Twitter rumors flew. 

Five minutes later, he got a call from Bobby Evans. “You’re still a Giant,” Evans told him. “Don’t take your jersey off.”

“It’s a little tense for sure,” Shaw said earlier this year. “It’s not something you can try to predict. You can have a feeling but that means nothing.”

Evans has always communicated to players and their agents that they can reach out any time they have a question or concern about what they might be hearing, but when it comes to getting on the phone himself, he treats the trade deadline and offseason differently. There’s more urgency to clear the air in July when players might have to take at-bats or throw pitches with rumors weighing on their minds. In the offseason, Evans will wait to reach out until deals are closer to being agreed upon. He tries not to worry as much about “hot stove banter,” he said. 

“In the offseason I think it’s a little less of an issue because a lot of things get thrown out there that don’t have validity,” he said. “We certainly don’t try to respond to every single rumor with an update because there are new rumors every hour, so it’s hard to keep up. A lot more names are mentioned this time of year.”

Players try to find different ways to get away from it all. Every year, several Giants prospects talk of playing golf during the trade deadline to stay away from MLB Network and their phones. For veterans, it’s often easiest to just take offseason vacations, and Panik planned to visit Europe with his wife. 

Beede has a somewhat unique distraction as rumors trickle out. He’s getting married on Saturday, which along with the holiday, has kept him busy all week. Still, he knows the rumors will be out there. 

“After a couple of days I start to just understand that (my) name is going to be in rumors or there may be things that people say or speculate,” he said. “(If) Bobby tells me something, or my agent says something, then I can start to maybe engage in it a little bit more. But as of right now, I’m just trying to go about my preparation and I’ll continue to enjoy being a San Francisco Giant.”

Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park


Projection system loves Giancarlo Stanton at AT&T Park

SAN FRANCISCO — The Giants have made a habit in recent winters of “kicking the tires,” so to speak, on as many free agents as possible. General manager Bobby Evans is committed to being thorough, but at times there is probably no need. 

Hitters have made no secret of the fact that they prefer friendlier confines, and if you’re a power hitter, you’re going to ask Evans for a significantly larger check to play 81 of your games at the harshest power park in the majors. That’s what makes Giancarlo Stanton, readily available via trade, so intriguing. But would Stanton be fully immune to the realities of AT&T Park?

The numbers, at least in a small sample, suggest he would. Stanton has played 27 games in San Francisco and taken 108 at-bats. He has nine homers, 11 doubles and a triple. His .676 slugging percentage at AT&T Park isn’t far off his mark at Coors Field (.714), and his 1.048 OPS is higher than his OPS during the 2017 season, when he hit 59 homers. 

The damage has been done in limited time, but the Giants clearly believe it’s fully sustainable, and a recent study done by ESPN’s Dan Szymborski backs that up. Szymborski ran his ZiPS projection system to estimate Stanton’s stats over the next 10 years for a variety of suitors. The numbers in orange and black are overwhelming. 

The projections have Stanton at 46.2 WAR over the next 10 seasons, including 7.1 in 2018 and 6.8 in 2019, the two seasons the organization should be focused on given Madison Bumgarner’s contract situation. ZiPS projects Stanton at 46 homers next season if he plays for the Giants, followed by 43, 42, 39, 35 over the following four years. For comparison’s sake, Brandon Belt led the Giants in homers each of the last two seasons and he has 35 total during that span. 

Any sort of projection system needs to be taken with a huge grain of salt, especially with a player who has had injury issues in the past. But ZiPS believes Stanton -- who plays in a huge park already -- is a rarity, the kind of power hitter who can keep crushing well into his 30’s and put up huge numbers even if he is limited by the realities of getting older and getting hurt. Szymborski’s projections have Stanton playing just 102 games in 2025, but he’s still projected to hit 23 homers, 20 doubles and post an OPS+ of 121. Even in the 10th year of the projections, ZiPS has Stanton down for 16 homers. 

There are no sure things in this game, but as Evans continues to chase a blockbuster deal, he can be confident that Stanton is one player who should be able to provide power for years to come, no matter what AT&T Park does to hold hitters down.