POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Ross' two HRs in Game 1 of 2010 NLCS vs Belt's 18th inning HR against Nats


POLL: Giants Memorable Moments -- Ross' two HRs in Game 1 of 2010 NLCS vs Belt's 18th inning HR against Nats

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 3pm to see the next two moments you can vote on! Then, after the Giants and Pirates conclude, tune into Postgame Live to see which moment will move on to the next round! Make your vote count!

1. Cody Ross' two home runs off Roy Halladay in Game 1 of the 2010 NLCS (Nine-time winner -- Defeated Willie McCovey's walk-off double against Dodgers in his last homestand at Candlestick in 1980)

(From Cody Ross)

'Best memory out of the 60 hands down'

In Game 1 of the NLCS we had the hardest matchup that we were going to face the entire playoffs. We were staring down the Late Roy Halladay, who in my opinion was the best pitcher I’ve ever faced. He threw a Perfect Game against me when I was on the Marlins earlier in the year and was coming off a no-hitter in the NLDS against the Reds in his previous start. Not to mention he’s a 2x Cy Young award winner and an 8x All-Star. 

As I walk to the plate in the 3rd inning of a 0-0 game I’m realizing Roy has not given up a hit yet again. He was one of those pitchers who had a chance to throw a no-hitter every time he took the mound. That’s how good he was. Up until this point, I had tried every approach with little-to-no success against him. I tried to work the counts and see pitches, stay inside the ball and hit it the other way, stay up the middle, etc etc... none of these seemed to get the job done. Finally that cold October night I said to myself, “Just try and hit a home run”... and all of a sudden on a 1-1 count I swung as hard as I could and “Bang! A HR!” The best contact I’d ever had against Roy and I was just as surprised as anybody in the ballpark or the millions watching on TV. I couldn’t feel my legs running around the bases and couldn’t believe what just happened. It was the first hit he had given up in the playoffs and it was a go-ahead home run to put us up 1-0 with Tim Lincecum also throwing a gem. 

As I stepped up to the plate in the top of the 5th the game was tied 1-1. At this point I had a ton of confidence and felt like nobody could get me out. I went with the same approach of trying to hit a home run and on a 2-0 pitch the unthinkable happened again! Hard contact and I see the ball flying over the left field fence. I took a peek at Roy and he was in disbelief just as I was. 

There are many memorable playoff HR stories but it’s hard to find one against one of the most dominating pitchers in this era. It will definitely go down as one of my greatest baseball memories. I hope all the Giants fans enjoyed it as much as I did.


2. Brandon Belt's 18th inning homer against the Nationals in 2014 NLDS

(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."


Giants Review: A healthy Ray Black finally got to show off his big fastball


Giants Review: A healthy Ray Black finally got to show off his big fastball

SAN FRANCISCO — For years, Ray Black seemed like an urban legend. You would see his outrageous strikeout totals in the minors, then notice that he was pitching just every third day to limit the injury risk. You would hear his fastball exploding in the bullpen at Scottsdale Stadium, then see him walking through the clubhouse the next day encased in ice. 

Black’s name came with a caveat: “If he could only stay healthy …”

In 2018, Black got healthy and stayed healthy. He made his MLB debut and had some pretty high highs, along with some rough moments. Here’s a rundown of the long-awaited arrival of Ray Black and his 100 mph fastball … 

What Went Right:

First of all, Black stayed healthy. That’s the most important thing that happened to him in 2018. Black looked headed for life on his family farm, but he picked up a ball last offseason and found he was pain-free, and when he arrived in Double-A, he struck out 20 in 10 innings. He was similarly dominant in Triple-A, earning a big league promotion July 8. 

After giving up a three-run homer that day, Black threw 10 1/3 consecutive hitless innings. His relief no-hitter lasted nearly a month, and in the midst of that streak, he had an absolutely dominant inning against the heart of the Arizona Diamondbacks lineup.

Black led the Giants with an average of 12.79 strikeouts per nine innings, and his walk rate of 3.86 was down from some minor league stops. While his ERA was 6.17, perhaps he got spectacularly unlucky; his FIP was 3.98 and his xFIP was 3.45. 

Black was one of 10 big leaguers to throw double-digit pitches 100+ mph, maxing out at 100.9 mph, according to Statcast. His average fastball was over 98 mph. 

What Went Wrong:

When it went bad for Black, it REALLY went bad. He gave up runs in seven of his 26 appearances, but six of those instances included multiple runs. When he returned in September, for example, Black allowed runs in just two of his 10 appearances, but in those two he was charged with six earned. The end result was that 6.17 ERA. 

Black allowed a three-run homer to Matt Carpenter in his big league debut and that problem followed him a bit throughout the rest of the season. He allowed four homers in 23 1/3 innings and nine of the 17 hits he allowed went for extra bases. 

Contract Status:

Black made the MLB minimum in 2018. 

The Future:

Black showed some important traits as a rookie. He was able to pitch back-to-back days and go multiple innings, and while the Giants sent him down to Triple-A at one point, in part to watch his innings, he didn’t have any health issues down the stretch. If he’s still rolling next spring, Black should be in the opening day bullpen. This is not a bullpen built on strikeouts, but Black, at his best, is a player Bruce Bochy can call on in the sixth or seventh when he absolutely needs a strikeout. This late in his career, there should be no restrictions, and while the Giants still have some concerns given his lengthy injury history, they’re going to ride this as long as they can. Perhaps over time Black will develop into a setup man or even a closer, but for now, all sides are happy with one of the best developments of 2018: Ray Black was healthy.

Report: Giants interviewed D'backs senior VP Amiel Sawdaye


Report: Giants interviewed D'backs senior VP Amiel Sawdaye

The Giants are casting a net near and far for their next head of baseball operations.

The latest candidate works in the NL West and resides in Scottsdale, the city the Giants call home during spring training.

Amiel Sawdaye, the senior vice president and assistant general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, interviewed with the Giants, according to USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

According to his bio on the D'backs website, the 41-year-old Sawdaye was in charge of Arizona's amateur and international scouting. Before joining the D'backs, Sawdaye spent 15 years with the Boston Red Sox.

Sawdaye is among the finalists for the Giants' open position, according to Nightengale.

Over the last week, it was reported that the Giants will interview MLB exec Kim Ng and that they were denied permission to speak with Brewers GM David Stearns.

The Giants are in need of a new head og baseball operations after they fired Bobby Evans as general manager a week before the end of the regular season. Executive vice president of baseball operations Brian Sabean is expected to take a step back once the Giants hire their new executive.