Giants

Former Giants 2B Kent makes Hall of Fame case for playing 'the right way'

Former Giants 2B Kent makes Hall of Fame case for playing 'the right way'

Jeff Kent is in his fourth year of eligibility for the Hall of Fame. In years past, Kent hasn't come close to the 75 percent of votes needed for enshrinement into Cooperstown.

After becoming eligible for the Hall in 2014, Kent received 15.2 percent of the vote. That number fell to 14 percent in 2015 before rising up to 16.6 in 2016. What makes Kent a Hall of Fame player for his 17-year career in his own eyes?

"I loved the game. I played the game the way it was supposed to be played. I played it with honor, respect and I played it the right way," Kent told MLB.com.

Over his big-league career, Kent hit .290/.356/.500 with 377 home runs -- the most ever by a second baseman. His best days came in San Francisco, in which he slashed .297/.368/.535 and bashed 175 home runs in six years. 

To his former manager in San Francisco, Dusty Baker, the numbers speak for themself. 

"It's what you see is what you get when you talk about Jeff Kent," said Baker, now manager for the Nationals. "There is nothing phony about him. I enjoyed having him on the team. He played hard for me. Jeff Kent, he is the man."

Kent is baffled by his lack of votes. As a baseball traditionalist, he looks away from the analytical numbers that new-aged voters are beginning to use for the Hall. 

"I don't know why [the vote total isn't higher]. I don't get it. They come up with these WAR numbers, which I don't understand and they never had before," said Kent. "It gets me to scratching my head. I don't know."

The WAR (Wins Above Replacement) that Kent speaks of places him 19th all-time in MLB history among second basemen at 55.2, according to Baseball Reference. Kent's WAR is above nine Hall of Fame second basemen and behind 12.

In San Francisco, Kent formed one of the best power-hitting duos in the game with Barry Bonds. The two played six seasons together for the Giants (1997-2002), combining for 454 home runs and three National League MVP awards. Kent took home the 2000 NL MVP, edging Bonds who finished in second place, after hitting .334/.424/.596 with 33 home runs and 125 RBI. 

If it's not his numbers that are leaving Kent out of Cooperstown, is it his rocky relationship he formed with the media?

"Yes, I was a [smart alec] now and then, but if you looked at a lot of media that talked to me, there are plenty of people who said if you wanted a good honest source, you go to Jeff Kent. If you wanted a [dishonest] answer, go to somebody else," Kent said. "But you better watch out for Jeff Kent though. If he is having a bad day, he may not want to talk to you, and that was right because I took the game seriously.

"I really love the game. I cared about the game. I kept the game close to me, and a lot of the media wanted to get close to me. I kind of pushed them away. I really didn't want to talk to the media sometimes. So did that build up to a frictional relationship? Probably."

The 2017 Hall of Fame class will be announced on January 18.

Johnny Cueto frustrated by wild performance in Giants' loss to Braves

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Johnny Cueto frustrated by wild performance in Giants' loss to Braves

ATLANTA -- Every part of Johnny Cueto's rehab from Tommy John surgery went according to plan. The first surprise came Saturday. 

Cueto walked five Braves in the Giants' 8-1 loss. For just the second time in his career, he walked at least five and failed to throw more than four innings. 

"I was a little surprised, to be honest," manager Bruce Bochy said. "He's been so good to this point."

Cueto also used the word "surprised" in discussing the loss. 

"I felt frustrated," he said through interpreter Erwin Higueros. "I felt really good and felt strong, but on occasion, I felt frustrated because every time I would throw the ball it tailed toward first base."

A little rust is not unusual after a year of rehab, but Cueto had thrown 10 shutout innings in his first two starts and had no issues with command. The Braves got him for four in the second inning, with three walks being issued. All three of those runners scored. 

"Johnny -- rarely, rarely does he beat himself," Bochy said. "It's fair to say he did that tonight."

This wasn't all on Cueto's loss of command. Not even close.

[RELATED: How Padres firing manager impacts Bochy, Giants]

The Giants were 0-for-SunTrust Park before scratching a lone run across in the seventh inning. They've looked completely overmatched in two games against the NL's second-best team, and they'll need to win out just to finish at .500. The odds are overwhelmingly strong that they end up with a third straight losing season. That can become official as soon as Sunday. 

"We were hoping for a winning season," Bochy said. "We were so close there, and I know we stumbled."

Giants vs. Braves lineups: Johnny Cueto hopes to continue dominance

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Giants vs. Braves lineups: Johnny Cueto hopes to continue dominance

After a night to forget, the Giants will once again take the field in Atlanta against the mighty Braves, who clinched the NL East division title in a 6-0 win over San Francisco on Friday night.

Bruce Bochy’s group got a front-row seat to the Ronald Acuna Jr. show, as the superstar 21-year-old reached base all four times he went to the plate, including a towering two-run homer off Tyler Beede.

The Giants will send Jonny Cueto to the mound, who continues to impress in his return from offseason Tommy John surgery. Cueto didn’t factor into the decision but tossed five scoreless innings with just three hits allowed in his last start at Oracle Park against the Marlins.

Opposite Cueto will be 25-year-old Max Fried, who has had a breakout season in 2019. Fried is second in the NL in wins with 16 on the year.

[RELATED: How Padres firing Andy Green could impact Bruce Bochy, Giants future]

Coverage begins at 3:00 PT with Giants Pregame Live on NBC Sports Bay Area and streaming in the MyTeams App.

Here are the lineups for Giants-Braves:
 
San Francisco Giants (74-80)
SS Mauricio Dubon
1B Austin Slater
C Buster Posey
3B Evan Longoria
CF Kevin Pillar
LF Joey Rickard
RF Jaylin Davis
2B Cristhian Adames
RHP Johnny Cueto (1-0, 0.00 ERA)
 
Atlanta Braves (95-60)
CF Ronald Acuna Jr.
2B Adeiny Hechavarria
3B Josh Donaldson
LF Adam Duvall
C Francisco Cervelli
1B Austin Riley
SS Dansby Swanson
CF Billy Hamilton
LHP Max Fried (16-6, 4.25 ERA)