Giants

Verlander on ugly All-Star start: 'It wasn't for lack of effort'

907371.jpg

Verlander on ugly All-Star start: 'It wasn't for lack of effort'

SAN FRANCISCO Once upon a time, Justin Verlander allowed five runs in a single inning andlooked like a mere mortal.That time was the 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City, where a trio of Giants helped chase the Tigersace from the midsummer classic.With one out in the first, the since-suspended Melky Cabrera singled offVerlander and came around to score when Brewers slugger Ryan Braun doubled. AfterVerlander struck out Joey Votto looking, Buster Posey extended the inning witha walk and came around to score on PabloSandovals triple.Joe Nathan replaced Verlander to start the second and the National Leaguerolled to an 8-0 win that is the reason why the World Series is starting in San Francisco.On Tuesday, at World Series workout day at AT&T Park, Verlander re-examinedthat start, in which his postgame comments included the admission that he wastrying to throw as hard as possible.Yeah, I tried to throw the ball hard. I wasn't not tryingto get people out.There's a difference.You know, when I'm throwing100 in the 9th I'm trying to get people out, too, it just so happens I wantedto do it in the first and it didn't work out well. It wasn't for lack of effort.Verlander said the All-Star protocol, in which startingpitchers rarely work more than two or three innings, threw him off his game.Normally I'm not just pitching one inning, two innings atthe most. So it was a different opportunity for me.I treated it almostlike I was coming out of the bullpen, knowing I could go one or two innings. Itwas just a different scenario altogether.Do I wish it would have workedout a little bit better and we'd be at home right now?Absolutely, but itdidn't, and we're here.Tigers manager Jim Leyland decided against starting Verlander on short rest inGame 4 to set him up for a potential Game 7 start. Thats the luxury he haswith a talented playoff rotation that also includes Doug Fister, Anibal Sanchezand Max Scherzer.
RELATED: World Series rotations set
We think we have our pitching set up the way we want it, Leyland said.Some people have asked about shouldhe pitch in the fourth game, but because of his little bit of setbacksrecently, not too recently, but with the celebration and prior to that with alittle tired arm, we decided this was the best way to go. I feel comfortablewith all my pitchers.While Justin Verlander has been lights out this postseason, his previous WorldSeries experience ended with an 0-2 record and 5.73 ERA in the Tigers loss tothe Cardinals in 2006, Verlanders rookie year.It was my rookie year and everything was kind of awhirlwind, and I don't think I really appreciated the magnitude of how hard itis to get there, Verlander said. You know, I think I had a rude awakening inthe years after that, and I think it allows me to appreciate it all the morethat I'm here now and getting the opportunity to start Game 1 again.

Offseason can be tense on other side of Giancarlo Stanton rumors

beede-stanton-ap.jpg
USATI

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

stanton-ap.jpg
AP

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.