Giants

POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Belt's 18th inning HR against Nats vs Winning West on final day of 2010 season

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POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Belt's 18th inning HR against Nats vs Winning West on final day of 2010 season

PROGRAMMING NOTE: NBC Sports Bay Area is looking back at the Giants' 60 Memorable Moments since the franchise moved from New York to San Francisco. Tune into  at 6pm to see the next two moments you can vote on! Then, after the Giants and Marlins conclude, tune into Postgame Live to see which moment will move on to the next round! Make your vote count!

1. Brandon Belt's 18th inning homer against the Nationals in 2014 NLDS (13-time winner -- Barry Bonds' two-home run, seven-RBI game in Giants' 102nd win of 1993 season)

(From Alex Pavlovic)
By the end of an 18-inning win over the Nationals in Game 2 of the 2014 NLDS, the Giants were drained in every way. It would be understandable if some of them have few solid memories of the six-hour, 23-minute marathon game, but Brandon Belt will never forget the details. His solo shot off Tanner Roark in the top of the 18th was the difference in a 2-1 win. Four years later, the moment is still fresh in his mind, from his preparation for the at-bat to the emphatic bat drop: 

(From Brandon Belt)
"I remember chugging a Red Bull. It was late into the night and that's tough, it's mentally draining and physically draining to be in a game like that, where you're giving everything you've got to win a baseball game. I was drained at that moment to say the least. I remember chugging a Red Bull and going out there and thinking, 'I'm just going to try and get on base and see what happens.' I remember just not trying to do too much and he gave me a pitch that I could handle, that was kind of in my happy zone. It felt like one of the first home runs I ever hit. It's like you're in Little League and you hit a home run and it's like you're in a dream and it's not real life -- it was kind of the same way. 

"We had just played so long and it was such a big moment in the game, and the fact that I was able to come through and help us win with such a big hit, it was surreal to me. I felt like I was floating around the bases. I think (the bat drop) was relief, more than anything. When I do that I don't really know I do it. It was really just relief. The way the game was going, we had to assume it was over after that. The bullpen had done so well and everyone was so tired. It was going to be tough for (the Nationals) to come back after that.

"We were just ready to go home. We had a long flight after that. We just put so much effort into it and all the guys did so great. Pablo came up with a big hit in the ninth inning and Petit throwing (six shutout) innings. For me, that was the pivotal game of that entire playoffs. We were playing the best team in the NL and to be able to come home up 2-0 was huge."

VS.

2. Giants overcome 7 1/2 game deficit, stun Padres on final day of 2010 season to win NL West)

(From Tim Flannery, Giants third base coach from 2007 to 2014 and current NBC Sports Bay Area analyst)

On July 29th 2010, we were in Los Angeles about to play a series against the Dodgers. Our team had been floundering somewhat that summer, and after the All-Star break with the Padres leading the West by 7 1/2 games, Bruce Bochy called a pregame meeting in the clubhouse.

He rolled out three TV monitors, had the team gather close and said “The team we are chasing is about to stumble, we need to take advantage of it…look around this room, together we have a chance to do something special, something that has never been done, something you will be remembered for.”

Boch then turned on the video. With the team wondering what the skipper was doing, the movie Braveheart came on the screens. Then the words came  “What you do in this life will ring on through eternity.”

In a few minutes, the team came roaring out of the clubhouse onto the field yelling “Freedom” and we were fired up. We won that night, we won lots of nights the rest of August and September.

In the meantime, the Padres, who we were chasing, lost 10 in a row and we were relentless in making the final push and overtook San Diego the last week of the season. With an entire season now riding on a three-game series against the Padres, we only needed one more win to win the West.

Three crazy sold out games at AT&T would decide history. We lost Friday and Saturday, and had to play for the division title on the last day of the season. Jonathan Sanchez would start the final game. Sanchez pitched great with 5 shutout innings, but it was his bat that he wasn’t known for that changed everything.

With one out in the 3rd inning, Jonathan came to the plate, he looked down at me in the 3rd base coach’s box, I relayed the sign I received from Boch, I gave him the take sign. Jonathan stepped in the batters box and on the first pitch from Mat Latos, Sanchez swings and hits a ball in Triples Alley. As he rounds second base headed my way, he roars in with a standup triple. The place went nuts. I said “You were supposed to have been taking, but you did great, way to go.”

Freddy Sanchez singles him home, then Aubrey Huff doubles Freddy home. We were ahead 2-0. Jonathan kept the momentum by pitching 5 shutout innings.

In the 6th, the great bullpen took over. Casilla, Ramirez, López and Romo pitch into the 8th. In the bottom of the 8th, Buster Posey hit a huge home run that would make it very difficult for the Padres to come back. Now up 3-0, Brian Wilson comes in and finishes off the Padres and the party began.

A remarkable run to win the division on the last day of the season didn’t end until we ran the board winning the first World Championship in San Francisco history. Since the meeting in LA, July 29th, 7 1/2 games back, we went 30-10 to win it all.

I still can hear the words “What you do in this life will echo through eternity.” History will prove that a bunch of misfits who couldn’t even get the “take” sign right, were a very special bunch that became one hell of a team.

VOTE HERE:

Manny Machado is a Dodger, so Giants must be better at being the Giants

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USATSI

Manny Machado is a Dodger, so Giants must be better at being the Giants

As Comrade Pavlovic explains here, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ acquisition of Manny Machado is a gaudy rental that only slightly narrows the San Francisco Giants’ path to a surprise postseason berth.
 
In short, the rich got richer, and the Giants continue to mind the tax line.
 
There is, of course, no fun in that position. The A’s aren’t selling for a change, which makes the Giants seem weirdly conservative in comparison to the noisy neighbors they never seem to notice. The Warriors, who move in down the street in a couple of years, are burning money like it’s a college football pregame bonfire, which also makes the Giants look uncharacteristically thrifty.
 
But Machado is the only real jewel in the trade deadline crown (the Mets have pitcher Jacob deGrom, but nobody expects the Mets to do anything other than standard Met-ism), and not only would he find a way to beg out of any trade to San Francisco on religious grounds (he does not worship in a power-restrictive park), the Giants already have a shortstop in which they are exceedingly proud.
 
In short, the Giants weren’t in the Machado race, and they don’t look like they will be in many others, either. This is their year of stasis, in which they will either win as they are or lose as they are.
 
Indeed, the Giants are operating outside their usual shopping norms. They would need to shave salary to acquire salary, which means there will be no 2010 Summer Of Love (Cody Ross, Pat Burrell, Javier Lopez, Jose Guillen). And their prospect bin is running pretty low, so they can’t toss young’uns into the wind to see what veteran difference-makers they can attract.
 
Thus, the Dodgers improving their lot is of little consequence to the Giants, save that corner of the fan base that believes the Dodgers always must be monitored. The Giants need to be more concerned about what the Diamondbacks and Rockies and Phillies and Nationals and Braves and Brewers and Cardinals do, which means there probably are too many teams to keep track of down the stretch.
 
Indeed, the simplicity of the task before the Giants is clear. Their path to salvation is through a rehabilitated Evan Longoria, and a revitalized Johnny Cueto, and a transformed Jeff Samardzija, and an offense that doesn’t regard seeing its own players on base as evidence of plague. The Giants have to be better at being the Giants, and there is no guarantee of that based on the evidence of not just the past 98 games but the 230-some-odd before that.
 
But if it helps, someone will enjoy the trade deadline. It just isn’t going to be the Giants. They are, for one of the rare times since they moved from Candlestick Park, a team likely to do almost nothing of consequence this July.
 
But maybe they can get DeMarcus Cousins to throw out the first pitch at one of the Pirates games in August. I mean, if you can’t be in the market, you might as well enjoy someone who is.

How Dodgers' trade for Manny Machado affects Giants' NL West chances

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How Dodgers' trade for Manny Machado affects Giants' NL West chances

SAN FRANCISCO — With every move they’ve made over the last nine months, the Giants have been careful to stay under the competitive balance tax, eager to jump headfirst into this offseason’s loaded free agent class. Unfortunately, they’ll now get an up-close look at the best all-around player scheduled to be available this winter. 

After weeks of rumors, and an awkward All-Star Game, shortstop Manny Machado finally was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers on Wednesday afternoon. The Dodgers sent five prospects to Baltimore, a package highlighted by Yusniel Diaz, an outfielder who was the Dodgers’ No. 4 prospect, per MLB Pipeline. The other four prospects are not considered top-20 guys. 

There’s no sugarcoating this. The Dodgers, despite an extremely slow start, finished the first half atop the National League West, half a game ahead of the Diamondbacks and four up on the Giants. An L.A. lineup that already has eight hitters with double-digit homers added a player with 24 homers, 65 RBI and a .963 OPS at the break. Machado was far and away the best player available at the trade deadline, and he now might give the Dodgers the best position player in the division. 

Shortstop wasn’t exactly a position of need for the Dodgers. Chris Taylor has done a nice job filling in, but he’s no Machado, and the 26-year-old provides a perfect second-half fill-in for Corey Seager, who was lost earlier this year to Tommy John surgery. 

The Dodgers beat out the Phillies, Diamondbacks, Yankees, Brewers and possibly a few others for Machado’s services. After hoarding top prospects for years, L.A. made its move, adding to a team that has a sense of urgency after falling in the World Series last year. Clayton Kershaw can opt out of his deal this offseason, too, and this move certainly shows the ace that there is a commitment to winning at all costs. 

Machado has just 48 at-bats against current Giants pitchers -- nearly half of those against Derek Holland, who spent his prior seasons in the American League. The Giants will get their first look at him in about a month, when they visit the Dodgers on Aug. 13. The Dodgers come back to AT&T Park for the final series of the regular season. 

Until that first meeting, where does this leave the Giants? 

Their road to a division title just got a bit steeper, and it’s unclear how they’ll counter. General manager Bobby Evans has said he’s not under orders to stay under the CBT line, but it’s not hard to read between the lines. The Giants just shipped a decent prospect to Texas to ditch Austin Jackson and Cory Gearrin’s contracts, a move that was made specifically to get further away from the tax line.

Before the Machado trade, it was hard to see the Giants going away from their plan and adding a significant piece. The same holds true today. Any countermove won’t exactly have the Dodgers shaking.

Some Giants fans might take solace in the fact that the Dodgers paid a decent price in prospects to acquire Machado. But Diaz plays a position where their organization is loaded, and the unfortunate truth is that the Dodgers’ system today still is better than most. 

The Giants still would like to bolster their lineup, with a glaring need against left-handed pitching. Another bullpen arm always is helpful, although Ray Black might fill that hole internally. If the Giants do want to add, they’ll need to find a way to dump a bit more salary, and perhaps they can get creative, as they did with the Rangers deal.

They will not however, be able to go move-for-move with the team atop the division. Machado was the best player out there, and he’s now a Dodger.