Giants

Don't get ahead of yourself, Giants fans

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Don't get ahead of yourself, Giants fans

DETROIT -- Now that youve all gotten ahead of yourselves -- and to be fair, why wouldnt you after that delicious two-day meal of Sandoval on a bed of Bumgarner -- heres something to remind you that few things are ever as they seem.

The Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals.

I grant you, this is not the way to bet. The Giants have their best pitchers of 2012 R. -- Andrew Vogelsong and M. Thomas Cain -- going in Game 3 and 4, which is one more way that Bruce Bochys way of thinking works in his favor even when it seems like it doesnt.

But as a big believer in the things are awfully quiet around here . . . a little TOO quiet theory of human dynamics, your faithful, charming and even adorable author is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now maybe it wont; it didnt for Texas two years ago.

But the Rangers also led the World Series 3-2 last year before losing the final two games in St. Louis, which is just one more example of how nothing is over until John Belushi in Animal House says its over. And even the stat that 14 of the last 15 teams to take a 2-0 lead in the Series have gone on to win it doesnt take into account the possibility that this is one of those years when a lead is really a cleverly disguised deficit.

See the Cardinals. See them golfing and hunting and lamenting their 3-1 lead over the Giants.

In other words, there are lots of ways this could get to be interesting -- so interesting that the ratings hammering the first two games took can be arrested and even perhaps reversed.

So, because a dose of reality never hurts anyone living in a state of unbridled euphoria, we present scenarios by which the Tigers could make this an event rather than a coronation. And dont think of this as buzzkill. Think of it as a map of a minefield -- where youd rather know what could go wrong than blithely stroll through and find out the hard way.

And remember, were always thinking of you.

1. Anibal Sanchez, Saturdays Tiger starter, does not treat the Giants well. In his last three years in Florida, he muzzled the Giants as well as nearly anyone, and in his two starts this year he was exemplary once and part of a 14-7 abomination the other time. In other words, he can claim to have their number.
2. The Tigers cant really be smothered thrice in their own park, can they? Comerica Park is a big place, but the Tigers are much better there than in an airport like San Francisco, where power hitters go to die and gap hitters thrive.
3. Delmon Young is better as a designated hitter than as a left fielder. The Tigers will use either Don Kelly or Quentin Berry in left in the three games here, which immediately improves Detroits greatest deficiency -- defense. It also exacerbates one of the Giants deficiencies -- no natural DH.
4. Having been fooled by the low end of Justin Verlanders skill set once this series, we can estimate that he will be better in Game 5. We do not do this with the same surety we had in Game 1 (and yes, we were in a group that comprised all other living humans interested in baseball on that one), but it is hard to fathom he will not learn from his mistakes in Game 1.
5. If you believe in rust (and again, we do not), the Tigers are no longer rusty. They were dusty in Games 1 and 2, but ought to be free of webs and insect nests by now.
6. There is no longer a question of where Jose Valverde fits into the Tigers bullpen. He doesnt. That logically diminishes the Giants chances.
7. The 2010 World Series ended too abruptly. Some drama would be nice.
8. The Giants have a knack for playing their backs against the wall. We are not entirely sure how they will do with the other guys back against the wall.
9. Seriously, another five-game series would be kind of a letdown, except maybe for Fox, which cant seem to get people to watch anything that isnt Yankees-vs.-Red Sox.
10. Smug does not become a Giants fan. Fret, worry lines, agony, and the fetish that watching a good baseball team over and over again is torture is what makes a Giants fan. So a struggle here could be therapeutic for you all, as it is what you seem to prefer.

And all that said, the Giants are still in a dramatically superior position here, and as long as they dont act like it, theyll be fine. Eventually. We think.

Ray Ratto is a columnist for CSNBayArea.com

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

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USATSI

Report: Two Giants hitters elect free agency

With free agency set to begin five days after the World Series ends, two hitters that played for the Giants during the 2017 season have put their names on the open market.

Veteran third baseman Conor Gillaspie and longtime minor league outfielder Carlos Moncrief have both elected for free agency, according to Baseball America.

The 30-year-old Gillaspie appeared in 44 games for the Giants this past season. He hit just .168/.218/.288 with four doubles, two home runs and eight RBI. He was designated for assignment on August 3 and outrighted to Triple-A Sacramento on August 5. With the River Cats, Gillaspie hit .375 with four doubles in 15 games in August.

Prior to the 2017 season, Gillaspie signed a one-year, $1.4 million deal with the Giants.

As for Moncrief, the soon-to-be 29-year-old finally got his first call-up the majors this past season after eight and a half seasons in the minors. He debuted for the Giants on July 29. In 28 games, he hit .211/.256/.237 with one double and five RBI. While he didn't do much with the bat, Moncrief showed off a cannon for an arm when he patrolled right field.

Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches

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Giants reassign pitching coach Dave Righetti, two other coaches

SAN FRANCISCO — Late in a 98-loss season, general manager Bobby Evans met with members of the coaching staff to discuss new roles. The shakeup of the staff ended up being a stunning one. 

Pitching coach Dave Righetti was one of three coaches to be reassigned Saturday morning. After 18 seasons as pitching coach, Righetti will now serve as special assistant to the general manager. Bullpen coach Mark Gardner was given a “special assignment role to assist in pitching evaluations.” Assistant hitting coach Steve Decker will be a special assistant for baseball operations. 

The moves cap a 13-month run in which the coaching staff has taken much of the blame for a $200 million roster that was poorly constructed in places and played embarrassing baseball for long stretches of the 2016 and 2017 seasons. Third base coach Roberto Kelly was let go after the 2016 season and first base coach Billy Hayes was reassigned. More changes appear on the way. 

“It does raise the level of attention to change when you struggle as much as we have, but you’re always contemplating making changes to try to help keep pushing your guys and make sure you continue to have different perspectives and new voices and reflections on how to get the most out of them,” Evans said on a conference call. 

Throughout September, multiple coaches expressed concern about their future roles, but the Giants held off several weeks before announcing changes. At least two members of the staff were involved in managerial searches elsewhere, and third base coach Phil Nevin is reportedly still a candidate for the open job in Philadelphia. 

Evans confirmed that he has interviewed outside candidates for a hitting coach role, but he would not go so far as to say Hensley Meulens will be reassigned as well. He also would not speak to the future of Ron Wotus, although the longtime bench coach is expected to be mixed up in future changes as well. Evans indicated he would announce further moves after all the open managerial vacancies are filled.

For now, the Giants are in the process of trying to find a new pitching coach. They are focused on experienced outside candidates, and they have plenty of options, as several other teams have made changes this month. Evans hinted that he wants the next pitching coach to have a more analytical approach. 

Righetti's replacement will have massive shoes to fill. His run was the longest for a pitching coach in franchise history. The Giants, usually so reliant on pitching, finished 16th in the Majors with a 4.50 ERA, but it’s hard to see how Righetti takes the blame for that. Madison Bumgarner missed a chunk of the season after a dirt bike accident, Johnny Cueto had a brutal injury-plagued year, Matt Moore battled himself and had the worst ERA in the National League, and the bullpen struggled, with closer Mark Melancon pitching through an injury that required season-ending surgery. 

Righetti was credited with helping to develop a rotation and bullpen that won three titles, and the bond he shared with pitchers was on display during the final weekend of the year, when Matt Cain talked repeatedly about their close relationship and went straight for Righetti after he came off the field for the final time. While it’s often hard to figure out where to give credit, even in a down year for the staff, Righetti played a role in Sam Dyson’s resurgence, and he helped Ty Blach and Chris Stratton break in as big league regulars. 

“Ultimately a change for us in the clubhouse is really an opportunity just to put a new voice with our pitching staff and try to keep pushing to the heights that we aspire as an organization and a club,” Evans said. “Changes sometimes are needed as much for the sake of that new voice as anything, and I think that was really the priority here.”

Righetti will help Evans in a front office role. Evans admitted that Righetti’s “heartbeat is in uniform as a coach,” but said he was willing to take on a new role for an organization he loves. 

Gardner, a former Giants pitcher, had been on staff since 2003. He will now help to evaluate pitchers inside and outside the organization, and Evans said Gardner could serve an important role in evaluating trade options. Decker joined the big league staff in 2015 after a long run working in the minor leagues. The 2017 season was his 23rd with the organization. He will have a “blank canvas,” Evans said, working in different roles inside the organization. Decker will also help with draft preparation.