Giants

Giants are the new platinum standard of modern baseball

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Giants are the new platinum standard of modern baseball

BOX SCORE

DETROIT -- Brian Sabean looked at the champagne-soaked players come and go behind him through the crowded hallway that connected the Giants clubhouse to the outside world, and he looked bemused.

He looked, frankly, like a guy, who had celebrated a great moment with one set of kids, and then celebrated the same moment two years later with another set. It was Groundhogs Day, with an unlimited amount of free beer.

And who doesnt think thats a good idea?

Im just sort of numb right now, he said, staring into space as though eye contact with the real world might somehow spoil the moment. Well take a step back, then well go to the parade and well be over the moon, and then . . . and then I guess well go back to work.

So it went, this second World Series championship. A more efficient, even bloodless victory than the one two years before, capped off by Sundays 4-3, 10-inning victory over the Detroit Tigers. And yet they were more exhausted than they were two years earlier, because this was not that year. There was less magic and more blow-trading more of what Tim Flannery, the third base coach, used to describe Sundays win.

These are our slingshots and rocks, he said. This is what we fight with.

Most Series sweeps lead to broad conclusions about a teams place in history, but to understand the Giants, it helps to understand one hard and cold truth.

This, their triumphant moment, was the worst game they played in the last seven. It was also the most dominant game they played when it mattered, in the final four innings, right after the Delmon Young home run that tied the game at three.

In other words, if youre keen on metaphors, this was it. Blow-trading.

And they became one of the genuinely special operations of the past 40 years. Only four franchises, Oakland, Cincinnati, New York (twice) and Toronto have won multiple World Series so close together, and if you want to quibble about the definition of dynasty, then by all means do.

But two in three means youre no longer lucky, and youre no longer merely grinders. Youre a team with a high profile, something that makes Sabeans teeth grind.

We do keep a low profile, and we just work together for the common goal, he said of his staff. But when someone asked him how he intended to keep that low profile with the wave of hyperbolic megapraise headed their way, he sounded less sure even when he said, We will.

Because he knows they wont. They cant. Other teams will start poaching their brightest minds. The changes that worked so well for them on the field (Buster Posey and an entirely new position group) will start to affect the front office, and who does what they have become so accustomed to doing as a unit.

You see, one championship is a party. Two in three years is a statement. In the new baseball, which looks more and more like hockey in this way, the real trick is not to dominate the regular season but to create some space by the start of September and then go foot-to-floor for as long as one can manage it.

This is the real Giants Way. The fundamental truth that stands the games principal dynamic on its head. Specifically, the postseason starts on August 1, and doesnt get serious until September 1. And it ends, or at least it could have ended, on November 1.

The Giants in 2010 and 2012 have won 61 of 90 games from September 1 forward. Thats how postseasons are owned.

And they got lucky, when Johnny Cueto lasted eight pitches in the National League Division Series. And when Lance Lynn threw a perfect strike right at the second base bag to trigger the rally in Game 5 of NL Championship Series that began the suffocating run that ensued.

And they overcame their own hitting struggles, working just enough good at-bats around the bad ones that were starting to worry Bochy as late as Game 4 of the World Series. They struck out a preposterous 40 times in their four games against Detroit, but trailed for only two of the 37 innings they played.

And they got very hard to deal with in the late innings. Never mind Tim Lincecum, of which much has, is, and will continue to be said. Taking out the one blowout game they lost, Game 4 of the LCS, their bullpen as a whole allowed seven HITS in 27 innings in the final 11 games.

And they took blows and gave one more every time, against every opponent. Anyone can dominate over a short piece of time, but to win a reputation for being a tough out is something that happens only with time.

They are a tough out now, these Giants. A piece of post-expansion history, with those As and those Reds and those Yankees and even those Blue Jays. They are the new platinum standard of modern baseball.

And yes, they have lost the low profile they so cherish. They will now learn what it is to be copied, and be chased, and be poached. Brian Sabean and the organization he assembled will now feel the slingshots and rocks, and he and they will have to become even more nimble and creative in not only ducking them, but building better slingshots and finding better rocks.

Giancarlo Stanton: Barry Bonds' 73 not the home run record

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AP

Giancarlo Stanton: Barry Bonds' 73 not the home run record

In 1961, Roger Maris hit a record 61 home runs.

In 1998, Mark McGwire broke the record when he hit 70.

In 2001, Barry Bonds crushed 73.

So who is the single-season home run king?

"It doesn’t matter,’’ Giancarlo Stanton told Dave Hyde of the Sun Sentinel. “The record is the record. But, personally, I do (think 61 is the record)."

Whoa.

With 43 games remaining, Stanton has hit 44 home runs. He's on pace to hit 60.

Does Stanton really believe 61 is the legitimate number?

As Hyde writes:

After saying he considered Maris’ record the real one, after saying 61 home runs always was the number he knew as a kid, he thought about it for a while in the Marlins’ clubhouse following their 8-1 win against San Francisco.

He wanted to clarify his thoughts some more. So he did something he rarely does. He walked back over to the group of reporters who left him 10 minutes earlier and took another stab at the question.

He admitted he’s “at a crossroads” in an internal debate over what to think about all this. If PED users like Bonds, McGwire and Sosa need an asterisk by their name, he said, so does Babe Ruth since he only faced white pitchers.

Bonds was Stanton's hitting coach in 2016...

Bobby Evans non-committal: 'Hard to make clear on who Matt Moore is'

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AP

Bobby Evans non-committal: 'Hard to make clear on who Matt Moore is'

It's been a disastrous 2017 season for Matt Moore.

He's 3-12 with a 5.71 ERA through 24 starts.

Is he a lock to be in the 2018 rotation?

"We've got time to figure that out," GM Bobby Evans said on KNBR 680. "We have a lot invested from a trade standpoint. But ultimately, we have options on him for the next two years.

"We'd like for him to be. That's why we traded for him. But it's hard to make clear on who Matt Moore is given his struggles."

On Aug. 1, 2016, the Giants traded Matt Duffy, Lucius Fox and Michael Santos for Moore.

In 12 regular season starts last season, he went 6-5 with a 4.08 ERA.

In Game 4 against the Cubs, he allowed two runs (one earned) on two hits and two walks over eight dominant innings, while striking out 10.

The Giants have a $9 million option ($1 million buyout) on Moore in 2018 and a $10 million option ($750,000 buyout) in 2019.

"We see different Matt Moore's different outings," Evans said, "It's really an approach that he has to come to grips with, in terms of getting more out of his ability. He's got the stuff, but again when you don't get the results, it's hard for a club."

What has plagued him?

"We don't see it as a mental issue. We do see some of it mechanical and some of it in approach, and pitch selection," Evans answered. "Really a combination of things, but not so much on the mental side at all.

"His stuff is so good, it just comes and goes."