Once the Giants had disposed of the Nationals and were set as the other half on the NLCS, I reached out to Craig of THE San Francisco Giants Blog (fine title until you note the URL) to see if he’d answer a few questions for me. Not only was he up for that, but he sent some my way as well, which you can check out over here.
So think of this as a great bookend to the preseason Playing Pepper series. Let’s get to know these Giants!
C70: For those that haven’t followed the Giants this season, what’s been the overarching narrative for the team this year, in your opinion?
SFGB: It’s just been the weirdest year I can ever remember. We were never really as good as our 42-21 record to start the season. But we certainly weren’t as bad as the slop we had to watch for the following 2 months. Then Sept hit and they turned it on again. Going into the WC game vs Pittsburgh I don’t think any of us knew what we were going to see. But there has been a strange aura around this team since 2010. Once we get to the playoffs, good things start happening. And for all our glaring weaknesses (mostly, the offense) the 2014 playoffs have picked up right where 2012 left off…
C70: What do the Giants do really well and what is their biggest weakness?
SFGB: They compete. I know that sounds like a cliché but it’s true. And they do it with an attitude that you have to have in the playoffs. They don’t get too high or too low. When things go sour they don’t turn into a bunch of third graders and start yelling at the umpire and/or throwing their equipment around (see: 2014 Nats). This won’t be such an advantage vs a team like the Cards who have playoff experience and who are professional.
C70: How similar is this team to the 2012 squad that the Cardinals lost to?
SFGB: Not similar at all. As you know, they’re missing Pagan, Cain, Timmy, Scutaro, Romo (as a dominant closer) and a few other guys I can’t think of right now. In terms of general team comparison, I think the 2012 team had better pitching and significantly better hitters. And I don’t think getting Morse back will be that big of an upgrade but he’s certainly better than what they’ve been trotting out to LF in his absence.
C70: What’s likely to be the rotation for the series?
SFGB: I don’t think there will be any surprises—Bum, Peavy, Hudson and then either Voggy or back to Bum on short rest if need be. Bochy doesn’t really have too many options after Bum and Peavy (the only 2 SP’s I trust on this staff).
C70: If there’s one player beyond the obvious that you want up with the tying run on second and one out, who would it be?
SFGB: Tough one. Our hitters stink. But if I had to choose one, ignoring RISP averages, I’d go with Brandon Crawford vs a LH or a RH. He battles and he almost always gives you a good at bat.
C70: What, if anything, does Bruce Bochy do regularly that drives the fanbase crazy?
SFGB: Nothing. Bochy is widely acknowledged by smart Giants fans to be the best manager in the game. Don’t listen to any of that Yahoo noise you might read in the comment sections of those articles. Any mistakes he does make get lost in the many, many free passes he’s earned since 2010. And he saves his best stuff for the playoffs. Bochy walks on water in the eyes of true Giants fans who understand the game.
C70: What worries you about facing the Cardinals?
SFGB: The fact that they’re better than we are. But I thought the Pirates and Nats were better than us too, so I’m not really sweatin’ that ☺. Seriously, the Giants are on borrowed time this post season. This is easily the worst of our last 3 playoff teams. But we’re along for the ride for as long as Hunter and the boys have their foot pressed on the gas pedal.
C70: Given the recent history of the Giants, the fact that they tend to win it all if they make the playoffs, how would this year be considered if they were to end their season in the NLCS?
SFGB: As I responded above, I’m good with what they’ve accomplished so far this year. No more expectations. We have 2 World Series wins in the bank since 2010 so our fan base isn’t desperate for a WS win the way the Royals or the A’s or the freaking Dodgers are. I honor the heart and soul that this team has displayed to make it as far as they have this year. If they advance and/or win the WS they will have won it with their GIANT sized heart.
C70: How long do you expect this series to go? I know better to ask you who you think will win!
SFGB: I’ll say it goes 6 games and I’m not making a prediction on who will win or not. I could see either team winning.
C70: What was your favorite Hunter Pence sign? And bonus question, are we going to find out 20 years from now that he’s gone completely off the deep end?
SFGB: To a man, every fan I know thought the sign phenomenon was the dumbest thing ever. As soon as they got off that road trip the sign craze died immediately at AT&T. I know there were a few signs shown last night but those were just people trying to get on tv. Trust me, NOBODY has been doing the Hunter Pence sign game at AT&T since they came off that road trip in August (when it was going crazy on the road).
Hunter’s eyes may be crazy and his swing is a little cockeyed and he throws like I did in the 6th grade, but he’s as sane as they come. In 20 years he’ll probably own the team. Or he’ll be mayor of SF. Giants fans love him almost as much as they love Timmy (and yes, despite his disappearance this year, Timmy is a god to those at AT&T).
Appreciate Craig taking the time to answer these questions. It really seems that this series is going to be a tight, close matchup, great for the cardiologists who need a little extra cash. Should be fun!