Pence's passionate pregame speech inspires Giants


Pence's passionate pregame speech inspires Giants


CINCINNATI The Giants keep learning new things aboutHunter Pence.

They discovered this in the moments before taking the fieldto save their season Tuesday night:

When he gets to yelling, his Texas accent leaks out.

Does it? he said, smiling, after the Giants somehow stoodat the end of a 2-1, 10-inning victory over the Cincinnati Reds. I didntknow.

Pence made a diving catch in right field to help RyanVogelsong start a clean second inning. He pogo-hopped down the first base linewith a cramping calf after hitting a single in the 10th to help setup the winning run.

But he began making an impact before anyone emerged from thedugout for the first pitch. In a players-only meeting, Pence screamed at thetop of his lungs while delivering an impassioned speech that had his teammatesready to hurtle their bodies through fire.

Which is good, because thats exactly what they had to do.

After the game, Giants third base coach posted a summary of Pence's speech on his band's Facebook page:
"Get in here, everyone get in here. Look into each other eyes. Now! Look into each others eyes, I want one more day with you. It's the most fun, the best team I have ever been on and no matter what happens we must not give in. We owe it to each other. Play for each other. I need one more day with you guys, I need to see what Ryan Theriot will wear tomorrow, I want to play defense behind Ryan Vogelsong because he's never been to the playoffs. Play for each other not yourself. Win each moment. Win each inning. It's all we have left."It wasnt even so much what he said. It was the intensity,Vogelsong said. It was a great speech. Nothing off what youd think youdhear, but it was the way he said it. I cant speak for everyone else in theroom, but that hit home for me.

It was the emotion in it, the truth in it. It was a good,good speech.

Said center fielder Angel Pagan: We need people like thishere. Hunter is a very positive person. It doesnt matter if the game was 20-0.He believes we can win it. He gave us that energy, that fight.

Asked about his message, Pence twisted his mouth.

Were just getting ready for the game, he said. Just ... you know, getting ready for the game.

Pence must have listened to his own message. He threw himself into RyanHanigans foul fly to start the second inning, never slowing down as he nearedthe wall. It helped Vogelsong get a critical out. Thatwas a significant, since the right-hander needed 30 pitches in the first inningto limit the Reds to just one run after four of the first five batters reachedbase.

The way he threw his body with no regards to the wall, thatreally got me going, Vogelsong said. I said, 'You know what? If hes going todo that, go all-out like that, I have to do the same thing.'

Pence, like everyone else, had trouble catching up withanything out of Homer Baileys hand. Pence struck out twice and lined out toright field.

But after Buster Posey singled off Jonathan Broxton in the10th, Pence had another chance. He came up limping after reachingout and spoiling a tough pitch on the outer edge for a foul ball. Trainers cameonto the field along with manager Bruce Bochy as Pence tried to walk off acramp in his calf.

He had a similar calf cramp in his last at-bat Sunday, too.

He stayed in the game, slashed a single to right field andran one half of a three-legged race to first base.

At that point I thought I was going to have to take himout, said Bochy, who was down to Hector Sanchez on the bench. But hes awarrior. It subsides once he gives it time, but we were caught in a toughsituation.

Bochy said he would have brought in Sanchez to catch, movedPosey to first base and Brandon Belt to the outfield. And if he burned Sanchezon the bases, he wouldnt have had any threat left to pinch hit for relieverSergio Romo which meant No. 8 hitter Joaquin Arias wouldnt have gotten achance to hit his ground ball that gave the Giants their first lead of theseries.

Pence began chugging a sports beverage in the dugout frat-boystyle before heading to right field for the bottom of the ninth. Thankfully forthe Giants, the Reds didnt send anything his way.

Pence said he would be fine to start Game 4 on Wednesday and no, there probably wont be any more pregame rhetoric. Everyone knows whatis at stake, and what they must do.

Every day, they are fighting for their lives.

This was just a huge embodiment of 'team' today, Pencesaid. Everyone came together. We had inspiring performances on the mound. Wehad that mindset that were all in this together.

The dugout was solid. Everybody was, 'Keep pushing, keeppushing.' You could feel us coming together.

The story is yet to be written. Were still here.

What the Giants’ farm system lost in trade for Andrew McCutchen

What the Giants’ farm system lost in trade for Andrew McCutchen

San Francisco’s second splash of its offseason reloading plan came to life Monday with the acquisition of outfielder Andrew McCutchen in a trade with the Pirates.

In trading for the five-time All-Star, the Giants held on to top prospects Heliot Ramos, Chris Shaw and Tyler Beede. The win-now move bolstered the Giants’ outfield — one that needed the most help in all of baseball — while the Pirates again have a potential big piece in their outfield with Bryan Reynolds headed to Pittsburgh. 

While the farm system took a win in keeping its biggest names, let’s look at what the Giants’ future lost with the addition of McCutchen. 

Bryan Reynolds, 22, OF
The Giants clearly have their own prospect rankings. Baseball America (5) and MLB Pipeline (4) ranked Reynolds ahead of Steven Duggar, who is the Giants’ No. 8 prospect by Baseball America and No. 6 by MLB Pipeline, after the 2017 season. Duggar is expected to compete for the Giants’ starting job in center field unless they make another big move like signing Lorenzo Cain. 

There’s a reason Reynolds is ranked so high though. The Giants’ top pick in the 2016 MLB Draft, is a switch-hitter who is primarily a center fielder, but like Duggar, he played all three outfield positions in 2017. 

"I think it's too early to dictate if he'll be in a corner or center," Nestor Rojas, Reynolds’ manager for the San Jose Giants, said to me in July. "He's really good and he has the tools to play center field. He's got speed and he's got range. He can do really well in all three." 

Reynolds slashed .312/.364/.462 with 10 home runs at Advanced Single-A this past season. He was the Giants' lone representative at the Futures Game and named San Jose Giants MVP. Even if he never unlocks his power, Reynolds is expected to be a solid big leaguer one day with well-rounded overall tools. 

[READ: How Reynolds went from undrafted to Giants' top 2016 pick]

Kyle Crick, 25, RHP
Crick was expected to be a future ace when the Giants took him No. 49 overall as a high school pitcher back in 2011. Control issues hampered him mightily. 

Down in the minors, Crick flashed dominance on the hill at times with a fastball that reaches the upper 90s. Still, command won the battle and the Giants turned Crick into a reliever. The move may have saved his career. 

As the Sacramento River Cats’ closer in Triple-A last season, Crick recorded six saves with a 2.76 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 29.1 innings pitched. Crick earned his call-up to San Francisco and was solid for the Giants. He put together a 3.06 ERA in 30 games out of the bullpen, giving a glimpse of what he can be in the future. 

Crick has always been full of potential. Now as a reliever, he’s starting to turn it into results at the highest level. The Pirates may have a future shut-down arm in the ‘pen, but in the Giants’ reload, there are plenty of in-house options that can do the job he was expected to do in 2018.

What they're saying: McCutchen, Giants and Pirates react to trade

What they're saying: McCutchen, Giants and Pirates react to trade

For nine seasons, Andrew McCutchen was the face of the Pittsburgh Pirates. But now, he's headed to a star-studded Giants roster.

Here's how McCutchen, his former Pirates teammates and his new Giants teammates reacted to news of the big trade on Monday.