Tag: Santiago Casilla

Tim Lincecum AP

Tim Lincecum being sent for MRI for back/side issue


According to CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman, Tim Lincecum is being sent for an MRI regarding the lower back/side issue which caused him to exit from Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday night.

Lincecum didn’t pitch in the NLDS or the NLCS, but he was finally pulled out of mothballs in Game 2 after the Royals grabbed a commanding lead. The two-time Cy Young Award winner retired all five batters he faced before stumbling on the mound for a couple of pitches. He then called for a team trainer before being replaced by Santiago Casilla.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy expressed optimism after the game that Lincecum was going to be fine. Assuming it’s not a big deal, he could move up in the pecking order in the bullpen given what we have seen from Hunter Strickland this postseason.

UPDATE: According to Andrew Baggarly of CSNBayArea.com, Lincecum said “everything felt normal” while throwing today. MRI results haven’t been made available, but it’s safe to assume that he would be allowed to throw if there were any major concerns.

Giants should give Yusmeiro Petit the Game 4 start

Yusmeiro Petit

You know, if they’re not going to use him in relief.

Yusmeiro Petit was the Giants’ second best reliever this year. In 49 innings out of the pen, he had a 1.84 ERA, a 0.86 WHIP and 59 strikeouts. He was almost a perfect match for Giants closer Santiago Casilla, except for how they were used (both had the same WHIP and .177 batting-averages against Casilla had a 1.70 ERA, but gave up two unearned runs compared to none for Petit).

Petit wasn’t quite as successful as a starter, mostly because of the home run ball. He gave up 11 in his 12 starts, which resulted in a 5.03 ERA even tough he had an exceptional 74/11 K/BB ratio and 1.13 WHIP in 68 innings. Still, most of those struggles were early on. After entering the rotation for good on Aug. 28, Petit had a 3.93 ERA in his final six starts.

Ryan Vogelsong was less good during that span; he had a 5.53 ERA in five during September. In the postseason, he’s had one fine outing against the Nationals (1 ER in 5 2/3 IP) and one lousy outing against the Cardinals (4 ER in 3 IP).

It’s not that Vogelsong is an awful choice to start Game 4 against the Royals. Petit is simply the better one. And if manager Bruce Bochy didn’t use Petit in Wednesday’s Game 2 loss to the Royals because he figures he might need him to go long in Vogelsong’s place on Saturday, then the obvious move is to simply go to Petit as the starter in the first place.

Petit has saved the Giants’ bacon twice so far in the postseason, pitching six innings in the marathon Game 2 against the Nationals and three innings in relief of Vogelsong in Game 4 of the NLCS. He allowed a total of two hits while not giving up any runs in those outings. He fanned 11. The Giants might not have won either game without him.

And facing the Royals in AT&T Park seems like a pretty ideal matchup for Petit. His issue is the home run ball. He’d be going against a team that doesn’t hit home runs in a ballpark that doesn’t give up many.

But it won’t happen. Petit seems to be the fallback. He’s getting saved for situations that might never materialize.

I don’t blame Bruce Bochy for eschewing Petit in Game 2. After Jake Peavy left a tie game in the sixth, Bochy thought he was going to get through the last four innings with his five cogs: Jean Machi, Javier Lopez, Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo and Casilla. That was never a situation for Petit in the regular season, nor was it a situation he’s been used in during the postseason. Apart from a poor first half from Romo, those five guys got the job done for the Giants all season long. They’re the close-game relievers. Petit is the break-glass-in-case-of-emergency guy.

But Petit is too good for that role. He’s allowed 99 hits, walked 26 (six intentionally) and struck out 144 in 126 innings this year. He can make a difference, if the Giants let him.

Your Official HardballTalk World Series Preview

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Just as we all predicted back in March, the Royals and the Giants will face off in the World Series. Or maybe some of us didn’t predict that. Heck, maybe some of us all but wrote off these teams in July. It’s been a crazy up and down season for both of them, and now here they are, back up again and ready to square off in the Fall Classic.

Try to remember how this all works next March when the experts are, once again, predicting things.

But just as no one can predict what’s going to happen before the season begins, no one can really predict what’s going to happen here. Basically every favorite in a postseason series has lost and neither the Giants nor the Royals have some monster, dominating player which makes them a clear-cut favorite here. Not that that matters either. Baseball’s best hitter, Mike Trout, and best pitcher, Clayton Kershaw are watching this on TV like you are. Because October refuses to follow scripts.

But we’re not flying totally blind here, obviously. And we can at least attempt to break this down somehow. If, for no other reason, than the games don’t start of nearly 11 hours.

The Matchups:

Game 1 Tonight in Kansas City: Madison Bumgarner vs. James Shields
Game 2 Wednesday in Kansas City: Jake Peavy vs. Yordano Ventura
Game 3 Friday in San Francisco: TBA vs. Tim Hudson
Game 4 Saturday in San Francisco: TBA vs. Ryan Vogelsong
Game 5 (if necessary) Sunday in San Francisco: TBA vs. TBA
Game 6 (if necessary) next Tuesday in Kansas City: TBA vs. TBA
Game 7 (if necessary) next Wednesday in Kansas City: TBA vs. TBA

“Big Game James” Shields has the better nickname, but he also has a career playoff ERA of 5.19 and hasn’t distinguished himself this October. Worth noting, though, that his best start of the season came in a four-hit shutout of the Giants back in August. Madison Bumgarner is clearly the best pitcher on either team. After that, a mixed bag for both teams. Jake Peavy has been a revelation since being traded to San Francisco from Boston and now stands to win a World Series with a second team in two seasons. Ryan Vogelsong has been a poor pitcher for a couple of years now but, somehow, has managed to turn it on in the postseason. Behind Shields the Royals have the hard-throwing Ventura and then a couple of guys in Jeremy Guthrie and Jason Vargas who are just as capable of putting up zeros each night as they are of getting shelled. It’s not a insanely large advantage, but as far as the rotation goes, San Francisco is better. ADVANTAGE GIANTS

The Lineups:

Again, the Giants have the best player on either team in Buster Posey, but see the stuff about Mike Trout above when it comes to weighing star power in October. Neither of these teams will hit you with an offensive blitzkrieg, but the Giants had, surprisingly, one of the better offenses in the National League this season and the Royals have been scoring runs in bunches this October. One factor to all of this is that both teams do a great job of putting the ball in play. We live in the age of the strikeout, so simply putting wood on the ball is a plus. As far as the head-to-head of it all, the Royals will miss Billy Butler in the games in San Francisco, but the same goes for every AL team in the World Series. Overall, I like what the Royals have been doing lately than what the Giants did all year, when a lot of the team’s big offensive numbers were posted early in the year. Yes, I know recency bias is a fallacy of some kind, but we are in seven-game crapshoot territory here. ADVANTAGE ROYALS

The Bullpens:

What the Royals have done with Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Greg Holland has been near-historic this season. Nothing is certain in life but death and taxes, but right after that comes “the 2014 will beat you if they have a lead by the seventh inning.” What’s more, Ned Yost seems to be willing to stretch Herrera and Davis more as the postseason wears on, so maybe we can adjust that to the sixth inning. The Giants’ pen is not bad at all, of course, with Jeremy Affeldt, Santiago Casilla, and Javier Lopez putting in outstanding performances this year, even if they don’t throw as hard as the Royals’ relievers. Plus: Affeldt and Lopez match up really well with the Royals’ lefty batters, and there is none better at playing the situational matchups than Bruce Bochy. ADVANTAGE ROYALS

The Managers:

Ned Yost was the butt of a lot of jokes in September and the early part of the playoffs due to his small ball tendencies and a lot of curious choices when it came to late inning matchups. But he has done quite well in the ALDS and ALCS, taking counsel from his coaches and, one may guess, listening to his critics. He’s still not John McGraw out there, but he has not screwed up massively in a few weeks right now, and that’s something. On the other side of the field, well, Bruce Bochy has been there, done that, won the trophy and is probably on his way to the Hall of Fame. If you can recall an instance when Bochy has made a tactical blunder, well, you’re a better man than I am. ADVANTAGE GIANTS

The Magic:

I don’t believe in voodoo, momentum or teams of destiny, but I know a lot of people do, so let’s talk about that. The Royals have not lost a playoff game yet, and haven’t lost any games since September 27. Everything is clicking for them, they’re a great story and they play in a city absolutely starving for a championship. The world is an absurd place, and my love of that absurdity can’t help but smile at the notion of Ned Yost, who was probably close to being fired back in May, hoisting a trophy. The Giants, meanwhile, have all of the playoff experience anyone could want and seem to excel at winning it all when everyone favors the other guys. Edgar Renteria hitting bombs in 2010? Beating the tar out of Justin Verlander in 2012? That stuff doesn’t happen unless you made a pact with some supernatural force in exchange for temporary, mortal greatness. It’s a hard call, but with the caveat that the universe is a random, uncaring place which has no time whatsoever for your mortal beliefs about fate, destiny and magic, let’s give the nod here to the better, more uplifting story. ADVANTAGE ROYALS

The Prediction:

This is a fun matchup but an even matchup and anyone telling you that they know what’s going to happen is selling you snake oil. So I’m jus going to give a guess, partially informed by my fascination with shut-down bullpens and partially based on my wishes and desires. ROYALS WIN IN SEVEN, in what I hope to be an exciting, seesaw battle.

Travis Ishikawa sends Giants to World Series on walk-off three-run homer

Giants World Series Getty

The Giants are headed to the World Series for the third time in the past five seasons.

Travis Ishikawa launched a walk-off three-run homer off Michael Wacha in the bottom of the ninth inning this evening to lead the Giants to a dramatic 6-3 win over the Cardinals in Game 5 of the NLCS. They will now move on to face the Royals in the World Series, which will begin Tuesday night in Kansas City.

The game-winning rally was set up in curious fashion, as Michael Wacha entered the game to make his first appearance since September 26. He quickly gave up a leadoff single to Pablo Sandoval before Hunter Pence flew out to right field. Wacha then walked Brandon Belt on four pitches before Ishikawa pulled a pitch over the right field fence to punch the Giants’ ticket to the World Series. Ishikawa misplayed a fly ball in the third inning to give the Cardinals an early 1-0 lead, but it’s safe to say that he redeemed himself with his Bobby Thomson moment.

The Cardinals actually had the lead in this game going into the bottom of the eighth inning, as Adam Wainwright gave up just two runs over seven innings in a gritty performance, but Michael Morse evened things up with a pinch-hit solo homer off Pat Neshek. The Cardinals loaded the bases against Santiago Casilla in the top of the ninth before Giants manager Bruce Bochy turned to Jeremy Affeldt to get Oscar Taveras to ground out to end the scoring threat.

The Giants didn’t have a home run over the first four games of the series, but the long ball accounted for all six of their runs tonight. This included a two-run blast from Joe Panik in the bottom of the third inning. Madison Bumgarner gave up three runs over eight innings of work and retired the final 13 batters he faced.

This is the first time since 2002 (Angels-Giants) that two Wild Card teams will meet in the World Series. And naturally, it’s the first time it has happened since the newest Wild Card format came into play. What a postseason. Here’s hoping it still has some magic left.

Michael Morse hits game-tying solo homer in eighth inning of NLCS Game 5

Michael Morse Getty

We have a brand new ballgame in San Francisco.

After Adam Wainwright proved his doubters wrong by holding the Giants to two runs over seven innings this evening, the Cardinals’ lead vanished as soon as he left the ballgame. Michael Morse came up as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning and slugged a leadoff solo homer against Pat Neshek to tie things up at 3-3. The blast sent AT&T Park into a frenzy. Morse gave a curtain call to the crowd after returning to the dugout.

Morse was left off the Giants’ roster during the NLDS due to an oblique injury and he has been limited to pinch-hitting duties during the NLCS. He hit 16 home runs during the regular season, though he hadn’t gone deep against a right-handed pitcher since way back on July 5. This was a good time to break that streak.

Following Madison Bumgarner, Santiago Casilla will try to keep the tie intact as he heads to the mound for the Giants for the top of the ninth inning.