Tag: 2012 World Series

Giants CEO: Team Will Abide by the Hall of Fame Votes Before Honoring Bonds

In the coming weeks, one of the most impactful and controversial classes for the Hall of Fame will have judgment passed on them—at least for their first year of eligibility. One of those on the list is all-time home run leader Barry Bonds, whose career, despite being acquitted of any wrongdoing in a court of law, will forever be tied to the steroid era.

Bonds is certainly a huge part of the San Francisco Giants history and although not being part of the teams’ two recent (and only) World Series titles, his name and his actions still set off widespread debate amongst Bay Area faithful.

Should he get in, should he not.

An election to the Hall would also benefit the Giants’ brand, who could use that justification for even more business gains in an area where baseball is really rivaled only by the success of the 49ers in popularity. Will the Giants take a stand in the “should he or shouldn’t he go to the Hall” debate?

Team CEO Larry Baer talked about the possibility of Bonds getting into the Hall of Fame, as well as the benefits of the decline of the steroid era on Bloomberg Television’s “Money Moves” this weekend.

“We don’t have a vote; it’s the baseball writers who will make that call,” Baer said on the show. “You have to look at the accomplishments he had over the length of his career and then establish the criteria from the era which he played in. When that is set then we can make a fair judgment.”

Baer did go on to say that he thought MLB has done great work bringing the steroid era to an end and that the policies work, even though they did cost the team their star outfielder Melky Cabrera for the better part of the last two months of their surprising run to the 2012 title.

Will we see Barry Bonds Way adjacent to McCovey Cove any time soon? Apparently, the team will take a wait and see attitude with their star crossed home run king, and will let the writers make the decision for them in the coming months.

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San Francisco Giants’ 2nd World Series Ring in 3 Years Completes Surreal Journey

The San Francisco Giants‘ improbable run to, and sweep through, the 2012 World Series has already been chewed up, merchandised and spit out as the 24-hour news cycle continues to churn.

In certain circles, however, the memory of the organization’s seventh world championship and the road traveled to win it will linger for a bit longer. Understand that what looked surreal from the outside was downright unreal for those who’ve suffered with the team for years.

That’s because the San Francisco Giants haven’t been the apple of the baseball gods’ collective eye since before I was born. Probably since the franchise moved West.

Baseball lore is rife with stories of Willie McCovey’s World Series-ending line drive that was a breath away from winning the 1962 Fall Classic, which instead found Bobby Richardson’s leather to seal those Giants’ fate and crown the New York Yankees champion. Likewise, you can read all about the doldrums which followed between that hard-luck loss on baseball’s grandest stage and the next one, but it was the ’89 World Series that really started the misery in earnest.

The Bay Bridge Series gave the carnage of the Loma Prieta earthquake an immediate national stage.

Consequently—and justifiably—nobody talks about what happened on the diamond. Even San Francisco’s most faithful were too numb from the loss of life and shocking damage to care about the insult added to grievous injury.

But it was added nonetheless in the form of a sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics.

A sweep expedited by the fact that Oakland was able to pitch ace Dave Stewart and No. 2 Mike Moore a total of four times in four games. Those were the Bash Brother A’s, and they were the favorites anyway, but the Gents’ chances went from slim to none when the back ends of the rotation were removed from the equation.

Again, though, the real-life tragedy unfolding around the Series reduced the baseball to a mere footnote.

So how about the 1993 season.

That’s when the Giants, fueled by the offseason acquisition of an accomplished left fielder, blasted out to a commanding 10-game lead in the National League West. Then, the Atlanta Braves traded for Fred McGriff, Fulton County Stadium literally burst into flame, and the Braves came storming back.

Atlanta ultimately took the NL West pennant on the last day of the season, when the hated Los Angeles Dodgers destroyed both the Giants’ postseason hopes and the promising future of Salomon Torres (as a starter) in one fell, 12-run swoop.

In the so-called Last Pure Pennant Race, San Francisco was the bitterest of losers, and the trend was just getting started.

In 1997, the NL West-champion Giants were unceremoniously dumped from the postseason by the best team money could buy, and it wasn’t even the Yankees. The Florida Marlins were big spenders for the first and only time in their history and were dismantled and sold for spare parts immediately thereafter, but the spree lasted long enough to sweep away Los Gigantes and capture the ’97 World Series.

In 1998, the Giants lost a one-game playoff to Sammy Sosa and the Chicago Cubs. Granted, the franchise that enjoyed the fruits of Barry Bonds’ labor for so long can’t really throw any chemically-enhanced stones, so let’s move on.

In 2000, the Gents authored baseball’s best record in the inaugural season at AT&T Park (nee Pac Bell), took Game 1 of the NL Division Series, and came back to tie Game 2 on a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth by J.T. Snow. Of course, they would lose Game 2, and Games 3 and 4 as the New York Mets advanced.

Seriously. The Mets.

The 2002 World Series can be found in the well-read “Cruel and Unusual” chapter of Major League Baseball’s annals, so no need to revisit the Game 6 meltdown and Game 7 fait accompli.

It was those damn Marlins again in the 2003 NLDS, bouncing the good guys in four games despite Jason Schmidt tossing a complete game in the opener and the offense stoking Sidney freakinPonson to a three-run lead in Game 2. The Gents spent every single day of the ’03 season in first place, won 100 games and were done before the champagne from the regular-season celebration had gone flat.

Bonds started to deteriorate in 2004 and the fortunes of the club built around him followed suit. The Barry Zito contract was another massive step in the wrong direction, but then the narrative began to change.

Matt Cain turned into the horse everyone expected. Tim Lincecum didn’t break down as so many baseball insiders predicted but instead won two Cy Young Awards in his first two full seasons. The front office grabbed Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey in back-to-back drafts, and the planets aligned to deliver the 2010 World Series.

However, as tortuous as the ’10 season was at times, there was an inevitable air to the City’s first World Series title.

Those Giants weren’t expected to compete in that Fall Classic, much less win it, but the notion didn’t seem outrageous to those who had been following the team closely.

San Francisco had been rolling in September and the team’s most dominating asset, its pitching, was one that historically paid big postseason dividends. Sure enough, the pitchers led the charge, and, though the team got some help along the way—here’s to you, Brooks Conrad—the entire postseason seemed almost too easy.

The Giants grabbed the lead in each series by winning all three openers, didn’t face an elimination game and never even faced a series deficit (in terms of games). They lost four contests in the entire postseason, needing only four games to finish off the Braves, stopping the Philadelphia Phillies in six NL Championship Series games and polishing off the Texas Rangers in five for the Commissioner’s Trophy.

Given that historical context, you’ll have to forgive Giants fans if they’re still sleepwalking through a surreal fog.

Because the Giants are not the team that rides the improbable to glory.

They are not the team that gets a season-saving error from a Hall of Fame-caliber defender on arguably his signature play. Or that gets a thrice-hit, bend-it-like-Beckham double in the biggest game of the year. Or that gets a critical double courtesy of the third-base bag.

They are not the team that sees a hurler who wasn’t good enough to make its postseason roster two years ago save the season and outduel Justin Verlander. Or that sees its much-maligned third baseman join Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson and Albert Pujols as the only men to hit three home runs in a single World Series game (fun fact: that was only the second time in the history of AT&T Park that a single player had hit three taters in one game). Or that sees a journeyman retread morph into the most dominant pitcher of the postseason.

They are not the team that emerges from a winner-take-all Game 7 (that had never happened in the history of the Giants franchise). Or that rattles off six straight games facing elimination then sweeps its way through the team with the best pitcher and hitter on the planet.

Except, now the Giants are all of those things.

The Giants of my youth were swept out of the World Series on my birthday; these Giants did the World Series sweeping 23 years later to the day.

If that’s not the stuff of dreams, I don’t know what is.

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2012 World Series: Why the Detroit Tigers’ Starting Pitchers Can’t Be Blamed

For all intents and purposes, the World Series ended on Miguel Cabrera’s pop-up in the fifth inning of Game 3. It was the symbolic play of the 2012 Fall Classic: The Giants have maximized their opportunities, and the Tigers have not. More than any one play, that pop-up summed up why San Francisco has a 3-0 lead and could very well end the series Sunday night.

But Saturday night, Detroit lost a second straight 2-0 game and joined the 1966 Los Angeles Dodgers with the dubious distinction of being shut out in back-to-back World Series games. A pair of runs scored by the Giants in the second inning might as well have been 20, because the toothless Tigers simply could not generate offense against Ryan Vogelsong, Tim Lincecum and Sergio Romo.

The shame of it is that Anibal Sanchez pitched well tonight for the second time this postseason, only to lose. Like his first loss against the Oakland A’s, Sanchez was more than good enough to win. His final line was very good: Seven innings, six hits, two runs and eight strikeouts. But like that start in Oakland a couple weeks ago, there was no offense to be found.

Who would have thought that Justin Verlander would potentially have the worst start of the World Series for the Tigers? It is certainly starting to look that way as Doug Fister and Sanchez were largely brilliant. Over 13 innings, they allowed a mere 10 hits and three earned runs, but are 0-2 combined. Under most circumstances, a total ERA of 2.07 would be enough to win at least one game. 

Instead, the Tigers are staring at a history that now officially seems impossible: No team has ever overcome an 0-3 deficit to win the World Series. To make matters worse, no team has even won a game down 0-3 since the 1970 Cincinnati Reds. The only other team in history to do so was the 1937 Giants. The New York Giants.

So when it comes time to ask, “what went wrong,” there will be plenty of goats to choose from for Detroit. But there is no way you can point the finger at the starting pitching. Even as Verlander was getting hit in Game 1, the offense did not break through until the sixth inning, two innings after Verlander exited.

This three-game deficit is clearly about the punchless lineup Detroit has had. I targeted a trio of players that would be key to Game 3: Andy Dirks, Prince Fielder and Sanchez. Only the starting pitcher held up his end. Fielder, who is now 1-for-10 in the series (including 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position), continued to fail in big spots behind Miguel Cabrera. 

Dirks was 0-for-3 with a walk, but was largely part and parcel of the whole for Detroit’s inability to score. Too much red ink at the plate has the San Francisco Giants on the verge of ecstasy and the Tigers agonizing over another World Series meltdown offensively. In 2006, the Tigers hit .199 in the World Series. This year, they are hitting .165 overall.

Give some credit to the Giants and their tremendous pitching. But Detroit has had chances and had their big guns up. And like that Cabrera pop-up, they have often been meek and underwhelming in big spots. Now, it looks as if the Tigers’ arms will have to be perfect, or they’ll watch San Francisco celebrate a championship at their expense. 

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Detroit Tigers vs. San Francisco Giants: Team Grades from World Series Game 3

Three games into the 2012 World Series, it looks like barring a complete miracle, the Series is already over. The San Francisco Giants are one game away from winning it all after beating the Detroit Tigers, 2-0.

The game ended up being a pitcher’s duel, with Ryan Vogelsong and Anibal Sanchez controlling things. The Giants were able to get just enough successive hits to allow them to win.

The grades for each team’s hitting, pitching and fielding make the two teams seem somewhat evenly matched this game, even though that was not the case. All that mattered in the end was the win, which the Giants have.

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2012 World Series: Why Detroit Tigers Need to Start Justin Verlander in Game 4

The Tigers go into Sunday night with their season on the line and everyone knows who should be getting the ball for Detroit.

Justin Verlander.

Somewhere between tonight and tomorrow morning, Tigers’ manager Jim Leyland has to be thinking about making the switch.

It would be short rest for the Tigers ace right-handed pitcher, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Down 3 games to none after the 2-0 loss Saturday, Detroit is a team in desperate need of a spark, anything to hold on to.

Either Verlander pitches on three days rest or he pitches on 155 days rest on Opening Day next season.

This is nothing against the Tigers’ scheduled starter Max Scherzer. Scherzer is going to have to win a game for you in this series, but it shouldn’t be Game 4. This is simply looking at the series realistically.

Pitching hasn’t been the problem for the Tigers in the series. Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez have done their jobs against the Giants.

Now it is up to Verlander to extend the season for the Tigers.

The Tigers had their chances in Game 3 and continued to struggle with men on base. Prince Fielder came to the plate with two runners on and hit into a double play. Detroit had the bases loaded in the fifth inning and Quintin Berry struck out—then Miguel Cabrera popped out against Giants’ starter Ryan Vogelsong.

If Verlander takes the mound Sunday night, you can imagine the fans being excited knowing their ace is coming back on short rest to save the season. The combination of Verlander stepping up and the Detroit crowd facing elimination might be enough to bring some energy into the lifeless Tigers lineup.

Before this World Series started, everything looked to be set up in the Tigers’ favor.

The pitching matchups favored the Tigers in the first two games. Detroit was rested and ready. The Giants, coming off of an emotional comeback Monday night, were having to start the series less than 48 hours after advancing into the Series, scrambling to find a Game 2 starter.

Since Pablo Sandoval’s first-inning home run in Game 1 off of Verlander, the Tigers have seemed to play tentatively and the Giants have seemed to play with an air of confidence.

Can Detroit win four straight games? Certainly. If that means handing the ball to the best pitcher in baseball for Games 4 and 7, even better.

Justin Verlander has to save the Detroit Tigers’ season.

The question is, will Jim Leyland give him the chance?

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Giants vs. Tigers: Detroit’s Bats Will Finally Heat Up En Route to a Game 3 Win

The Detroit Tigers bats have been colder than a Russian winter thus far in the World Series, but you can expect them to heat up in Game 3 against the San Francisco Giants.

This is a must win game for the Tigers if there ever was one. Not a single team in major league history has come back from a three game deficit in the World Series, but there chances are a lot better in a 1-2 hole.

But, in order to change the direction of the series, the Tigers bats will finally have to attend the contest.

In Game 1, Detroit only managed one run through the first eight innings.

In Game 2, it only got worse. Detroit managed only two hits against the previously struggling Madison Bumgarner.

For the series the Tigers are only hitting .167 with 17 strikeouts in 65 plate appearances, resulting in only three runs.

These are shocking numbers for a team with a Triple Crown winner and a $100-million first baseman on the roster. But, at the moment, the Tigers hitters have less pop in their bats than Alex Rodriguez in October.

Expect that to change in Game 3.

The Tigers lineup will be facing Ryan Vogelsong, who has been absolutely brilliant in the playoffs with a 2-0 record and 1.42 ERA.

However, the former journeyman will not be able to contain a motivated and talented Detroit roster. The Tigers are a fastball-hitting team, with sluggers the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Delmon Young. And with Vogelsong‘s below-average fastball speed, expect the Tigers to feast.

Vogelsong relies on his ball control and large arsenal of off-speed pitches to get hitters out, but if the Tigers are patient at the plate and lay off of the off-speed stuff, they should get good pitches to hit.

Plus, the Tigers will finally be returning home to the friendly confines of Comerica Park, where each one of their Game 3 starters—except Austin Jackson—sported better OPS than they did on the road in the regular season.

It won’t be easy, Vogelsong is on a once-in-a-career roll, but the Tigers hitters will finally awaken in Game 3, leading the Tigers to a much needed victory.

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World Series 2012 Game 3: Live Score for San Francisco Giants vs. Detroit Tigers

The Detroit Tigers hope to make the World Series an actual series tonight when they play the San Francisco Giants at Comerica Park.

Anibal Sanchez hopes to keep the Tigers afloat while San Francisco counters with arguably their best postseason pitcher in Ryan Vogelsong.

With the Giants leading 2-0 in this best-of-seven, the first pitch is shortly after 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.


FINAL: Tigers 0 – 2 Giants

W: Vogelsong

L: Sanchez

S: Romo

Giants lead 3-0

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Is the Next Chapter to Ryan Vogelsong’s Incredible Tale World Series Dominance?

Based on what we’ve seen Ryan Vogelsong do so far in the 2012 playoffs, the answer to that question has to be yes, doesn’t it?

Without question, he’s been the most dominating starting pitcher in a rotation full of former Cy Young Award winners, ballyhooed youngsters and pitchers with multiple All-Star games on their résumés.

All the 35-year-old Vogelsong has done is toss 19 innings of three-run baseball, striking out 18 batters along the way. He’s taken the ball in pressure situations and flourished where others would wilt.

Oh, and he’s made a little history along the way.

But Ryan Vogelsong isn’t supposed to be here.

Drafted by the Giants in the fifth round of the 1998 draft, he found himself traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of the package that bought All-Star Jason Schmidt to the Giants’ rotation.

Vogelsong spent parts of five years with the Pirates, who cut ties with him following the 2006 season after watching him pitch to a 6.00 ERA during his time in Pittsburgh.

Nobody would give him another chance, so he left for Japan. Three years and a 4.17 ERA later, all Vogelsong could land would be a minor league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies…who released him midway through the 2010 season.

So he signed with the Angels, never pitching above Triple-A, and they let him go at the end of the season.

Believe it or not, there isn’t much of a market for a 33-year-old pitcher who has a losing record and ERA of 5.86 in just over 300 innings of major league work.

Yet the Giants bought him into camp in 2011 with nothing to lose, and they’ve gained everything—well, almost everything.

Vogelsong has seen it all. His career has hit the lowest of lows, and he’s now sitting on the cusp of enjoying the highest of highs.

While anyone who doesn’t have a rooting interest in the 2012 World Series will be cheering him on, whether he continues his remarkable run Saturday night in Game 3 of the 2012 World Series is largely irrelevant. 

For no matter what happens in the story from this point forward, Ryan Vogelsong has already won.

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3 Detroit Tigers Who Will Be Key to Game 3 World Series Win

After watching the San Francisco Giants do a little bit of everything and a lot well to take a 2-0 series lead, the Detroit Tigers take solace in returning to their home field. Though history suggests a comeback is not in the offing, the club remains confident. 

To win the vital Game 3 though, Detroit has to improve in a few vital areas. First and foremost, they aren’t hitting. Give the Giants credit, they have played brilliantly at times. But the vital organs of their potentially explosive offense have not been functioning. Hitting just .167 in the series so far, Detroit must start producing at the plate or the Major League Baseball season could be done before the weekend ends. 

But in all fairness, the problems have not just been limited to the Tigers’ woes at the plate. With an ERA of 5.63 thus far, the pitching hasn’t been playoff-caliber either. And for once, the blame can’t all be heaped on Jose Valverde. So here are my three key players that have to deliver for the Tigers to get back into this series.

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Giants vs. Tigers: 5 Biggest Matchups in World Series Game 3

With two games of the 2012 MLB World Series in the rear view mirror, just a pair of wins separate the San Francisco Giants from a championship title.

Strong pitching was the name of the game for the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS, but they’ve gotten a taste of their own medicine thus far in the Fall Classic, as the Giants rotation has been very impressive.

Here are some matchups to look for this Saturday as the Tigers attempt to get back on their feet at Comerica Park.

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