Giants

POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Belt's 18th inning HR against Nats vs Zito, Vogey save 2012 NLCS

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AP

POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Belt's 18th inning HR against Nats vs Zito, Vogey save 2012 NLCS

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 Giants Pregame Live at 6pm to see the next two moments you can vote on! Then, after the Giants and Reds 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 (Defeated Cody Ross' two home runs off Roy Halladay in Game 1 of the 2010 NLCS)

(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. Barry Zito and Ryan Vogelsong save 2012 NLCS with dominant outings in Game 5 & 6 against Cardinals

(From Ryan Vogelsong)

Game 5
Barry was always a focused guy on game day, but on this day I noticed Z had a very different look to him. He seemed to be locked in mentally from the moment he walked into the clubhouse. I knew after not pitching the way he wanted to in the Divison Series, he was looking forward to another chance. 

It was colder then normal that night in St. Louis. With it being an elimination game it was all hands on deck in the bullpen. Being in line to start Game 6,  I was going be a last resort guy, but I was in the bullpen ready to go if my number was called. Barry was in some jams early, but he kept grinding and making pitches. Some outstanding defensive plays and the energy they gave was starting to lay the ground work for Barry to get locked in. A huge double play and Barry’s famous bunt for a hit seemed to be the plays that got him right where he wanted to be. While hogging all the heat from the heater in the bullpen, I watched him throw one of the best games I had seen from him in a Giants uniform. And it was just what the doctor ordered. Another elimination win and back to San Francisco for Game 6.

Game 6
I was in a very good place mentally going into the game. The last four innings of Game 2 was the best I had ever thrown the ball in a major league game up to that point. And after one of the best side sessions of my life using the same thoughts, I felt like I was never more ready. The gameplan I used in Game 2 was the same for Game 6, it just came down to execution. 

As I was warming up in the bullpen, James Hetfield from Metallica, was doing the honors of announcing 'play ball' from behind home plate. Being a huge Metallica fan it was pretty special when we walked out on the field wearing his Vogelsong #32 jersey. What came next sent my adrenaline through the roof. James said some words that I will never forget. “LETS KICK SOME CARDINAL ASS!” Then added “lets play ball”! My thoughts after that were ‘That’s it, that’s all I need to hear. This game is over for them right now’.  My thoughts were right on. After striking out the side in the first inning, I knew I was locked in! It was one of those night were I felt like I could have closed my eyes and thrown the pitch were I wanted to. Some big offensive production took the edge off a little and allowed me to go to work. I didn’t give up my first hit until the 5th and had 9 strikeouts, a career high, all in the biggest game of my life. We won the game without a lot of tension and I happily passed the baton to Matt Cain for Game 7.

VOTE HERE:

Why Dodgers might pick A.J. Pollock over Bryce Harper in MLB free agency

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USATSI

Why Dodgers might pick A.J. Pollock over Bryce Harper in MLB free agency

When the Dodgers traded Yasiel Puig and Matt Kemp to the Reds last month, it sparked speculation that the team was clearing space in its outfield to sign Bryce Harper.

What if it was for A.J. Pollock instead, though?

The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reported Saturday that the Dodgers are interested in Pollock, who fits their player profile and needs in many ways.

Pollock has his issues -- he reportedly wants a five-year, $80 million contract, and he played more than 115 games just twice in seven seasons with the Diamondbacks. But, as Rosenthal noted, Pollock would provide the Dodgers with positional versatility and the right-handed bat they need. Harper, a lefty hitter who mostly plays right field, would do neither, and he’s rumored to be seeking a $300 million-plus deal.

While the Dodgers have big wallets, they could decide signing Pollock for about one-fifth the price of Harper is more prudent. That certainly would sit well with Giants fans, who don’t want to see their hated NL West rivals loading up for a run at a seventh consecutive division title.

And before you ask, no, Harper and/or Pollock aren’t options for the Giants, who also could use outfield help. It’s clear new president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi, who came from the Dodgers, values sense more than dollars as he tackles the huge task of making the Giants contenders again.

MLB Rumors: Giants, A's appear to be missing out on Yankees' Sonny Gray

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USATSI

MLB Rumors: Giants, A's appear to be missing out on Yankees' Sonny Gray

Both the Giants and the A's reportedly had interest in acquiring Yankees starting pitcher Sonny Gray this offseason, but it doesn't appear he'll make a return to the Bay Area.

Per Fancred's Jon Heyman, the Yankees and Reds are engaged in trade discussions that would send Gray to Cincinnati in exchange for infield prospect Shed Long and a draft pick.

Gray would have made sense for both Bay Area teams, as the Giants and the A's could use an influx of quality starting pitching. Gray went 11-9 with a 4.90 ERA and 123 strikeouts in 130.1 innings for New York last season, but he was far better on the road than he was at home. 

Considering Oakland Coliseum and Oracle Park are far more pitcher-friendly than Yankee Stadium, a bounceback season in the Bay Area certainly could have been possible. Alas, it appears Gray could be making his home starts at Great American Ball Park, which just might be the most hitter-friendly park in the entire league.