Tagged: Hunter Pence

Is Bruce Bochy a Hall of Fame Manager?

The inevitable question arose as soon as the San Francisco Giants stormed Sergio Romo on the mound in Detroit after clinching their second World Series title in three years: Is Giants manager Bruce Bochy a Hall of Fame manager?

It’s a damn good question. Bochy is one of the quietest, most respected baseball men in the game right now and has proven himself over and over again to be a brilliant tactician from the dugout. He has an uncanny way of getting the most out of any roster and any player.

Take the Giants for example. In 2010, that might have been the weakest team (as far as star power goes) that has won the World Series in a very long time. But Bochy managed to squeeze every last ounce of talent out of guys like Pat Burrell, Andres Torres, and Jonathan Sanchez.

And in 2012, he moved two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum to the bullpen, started Barry Zito in Game 1, stuck with Hunter Pence amid postseason struggles, and gave a vote of confidence to struggling lefty Madison Bumgarner in an essential Game 2.

Every single move Bochy made in both World Series runs paid off in huge dividends – and after a while, you can’t truly believe they are all coincidences. Take it from a diehard Dodgers fan; Bruce Bochy is a Hall of Fame manager.

Let’s examine the case for Bochy based on comparison:

Manager A – .502 career win percentage in 18 years, 3 league pennants, 2 World Series titles

Manager B – .583 career win percentage in 17 years, 4 league pennants, 1 World Series title

Manager C – .526 career win percentage in 21 years, 4 league pennants, 2 World Series titles

As you can see, all three of the managers were at the job for about the same amount of time, and were within one of each other in pennants and World Series titles.

The difference is, Manager B and C are both retired and in the Hall of Fame. Manager A is Bochy, who has as many years as he wants left in San Francisco as a Major League Baseball manager. At age 57, it’s not out of the question to think Bochy will manage for at least another decade.

And the Giants are built to win – with that pitching staff, Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval anchoring the lineup, and a very good scouting department, you’d have to think it’ll be a little while before the Giants go back into re-building mode.

With that being said, Bochy’s record also has to take into account a couple of things. First, despite having the lowest winning percentage of the three managers above, he spent most of his career with a San Diego Padres team that was good for a few  seasons late in the 1990’s and…no, seriously. That’s it.

Manager B, Earl Weaver, was in charge of a loaded Baltimore Orioles team for 17 years, and had the benefit of a very talented roster. Manager C, Tommy Lasorda, also had a loaded Los Angeles Dodgers team during his career. Arguably, Lasorda’s worst playoff team was the 1988 title-winning club, but still very good overall.

I’m not trying to take anything away from Weaver or Lasorda, but the fact that Bochy has matched or exceeded them in number of pennants and World Series titles already is exceptionally impressive.

These days in Major League Baseball, fans are often too quick to jump onto the Hall of Fame bandwagon for players and coaches who were good for a number of years, great for a few years or just simply a fan favorite. I don’t think that is the case with Bochy though.

When all is said and done, I think Bruce Bochy will be enshrined as a Hall of Fame manager. Do you agree? Vote below!

If you like baseball, prove it! Follow @3u3d on Twitter and LIKE Three Up, Three Down on Facebook.

– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)

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Break it Down: Tigers vs. Giants, World Series Edition

After 2,430 regular season games and 31 postseason games, we’ve reached the World Series. The Tigers and Giants will do battle in the Fall Classic for the first time against each other. The Tigers are making their 1st appearance in the World Series since 2006 and are looking to bring Motown their first title since 1984. The Giants took home the Commissioner’s Trophy in 2010. Side note: can’t we get the World Series trophy a better name? There has to be someone in baseball history worthy of having the World Series trophy named after them, right? That’s a discussion for another time.

Here at 3U3D, one of us each predicted half of the World Series matchup, with Angelo correctly predicting his favorite team, the Tigers, making it. While I had the Giants losing to the Yankees in the Fall Classic, I’ll take half right.

Who will win the World Series though? Our full predictions are coming on Episode 33 of the podcast that will be up before game one, but I just can’t resist giving the full breakdown on the blog!

Starting Pitching

One of my main reasons for picking the Giants to go to the World Series in the preseason was their starting pitching depth. How can they match-up with the Tigers now though, with a rested Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister, and even Anibal Sanchez. The Giants have been pushed to the brink in each of their two series. This results in Barry Zito having to start game one against the defending AL MVP, that has a 0.74 ERA in 26.1 innings this postseason. Not good for San Francisco. Madison Bumgarner has been roughed up during this playoffs, but wasn’t used in the Giants NLCS comeback. Bruce Bochy’s decision to start Bumgarner, the 2010 World Series hero, or Tim Lincecum may swing the series. Matt Cain should be good to go for games 3 and 7. The depth, quality, and rest of the Detroit’s starting pitching gives them the edge here.

Wednesday Update: Here are the starting pitcher matchup that were announced. Game 1: Verlander vs. Zito Game 2: Fister vs. Bumgarner Game 3: Sanchez vs. Vogelsong Game 4: Scherzer vs. Cain I’m shocked that Bruce Bochy isn’t starting Cain in game 3. As I said on this week’s podcast, I think the theory is that Bochy wanted to have his two best pitchers face the Tigers when they are at full strength with the DH in Detroit. They believe to have figured out Bumgarner’s problems, it makes it looks a little better and Lincecum is suited for the bullpen. Anibal Sanchez is fantastic in his career against the Giants, 3-1 with a 1.98 ERA and a 0.88 WHIP in 36.1 innings. That game 3 is going to be huge.

Advantage: Detroit Tigers

Bullpen

Jose Valverde’s implosion turning into Phil Coke’s success has been a strage turn for the Detroit bullpen. Coke was great against his former team in the ALCS, but that might have just been a culmination of the Yankees completely falling apart. Joaquin Benoit is Detroit’s best reliever and Octavio Dotel has become this bullpen playofs mercenary that goes from team to team. I don’t think it’s enough to best the Giants bullpen. Sergio Romo is arguably the best relief pitcher in the game, with a devastating slider. Jeremy Affeldt and Javier Lopez haven’t given up a run in thirteen appearances this postseason. This is one of San Francisco’s biggest strengths and I have a feeling the Tigers bullpen has one blow up in them.

Wednesday Update: Tim Lincecum will be in the bullpen for the Giants. Making this an even bigger advantage for San Francisco.

Advantage: San Francisco Giants


Catcher

Another great strength for the Giants. Buster Posey scuffled offensively in the NLCS, but called three straight great games behind the plate in the Giants comeback. Alex Avila has been terrible in postseason play hitting .127 in 63 playoff at-bats, including .227 in 2012. Gerald Laird will get at least one start. They don’t match-up with the probable NL MVP though.

Advantage: San Francisco Giants

First Base

This is the biggest plus for the Tigers. Brandon Belt has gotten better, including a home run in game seven of the NLCS, but how can he match one of the top first baseman in the game? Prince Fielder is only hitting .200 in the playoffs, but provides such a threat that it makes pitchers throw to Miguel Cabrera. If you pitch around the Triple Crown winner, it makes Fielder that much better.

Advantage: Detroit Tigers

Second Base

Is there a hotter hitter coming into the World Series than NLCS MVP Marco Scutaro? Scutaro hit an insane .500 and had a record SIX multi-hit games in the NLCS. Omar Infante has been a solid pickup for the Tigers and has a hit in 7 of 9 postseason games in 2012. These have both been positions of strength for the World Series teams, but I’m going to have to ride the hotter hand.

Advantage: San Francisco Giants

Shortstop

I think Brandon Crawford is going to be solid player in the future, but I can’t see him being any more than a player the Giants hope doesn’t hurt them here. He’s been solid defensively, especially that catch off Kyle Lohse in game seven. However, I love the postseason experience of Jhonny Peralta, who’s hitting .343 in the 2012 playoffs and is a career .297 postseason hitter. It gives the Tigers another piece in the arsenal that the Giants don’t have offensively.

Advantage: Detroit Tigers

Third Base

Yes I know, this is a no doubt advantage for the Tigers. Miguel Cabrera, right now, is the best hitter in the game. Pablo Sandoval, in my opinion, is the biggest key for the Giants offense. No pun intended. Sandoval is hitting .326 this postseason and .378 since game five of the NLDS. He needs to stay hot in order for the the Giants to have a chance hang around. Cabrera can put an final stamp on an epic season. Frank Robinson in 1966 was the last player to win the Triple Crown and the World Series in the same year, he was also the World Series MVP. This is the national stage that Cabrera deserves to shine.

Advantage: Detroit Tigers

Outfield

I’m so glad to have a “fat” young sibling back in our lives. I’ve already started calling him “Fat Delmon” the way I called his brother “Fat Dmitri” for numerous seasons. Nicknames aside, Young has provided a spark for the Tigers lineup with a hit in 7 of his last 8 games. Speaking of sparks, no player has provided one off the field like Hunter Pence for the Giants. His pregame speeches have become must-see TV, however on the field Pence has been missing hitting .179 in the NLCS. Could his bases-clearing “triple hit” be the turning point for him at the plate? Austin Jackson and Angel Pagan seem to be mirror images of each other, but I give the edge to Jackson primarily for his defense. Which leaves the 3rd outfielder spot, Gregor Blanco in left for the Giants against the pupu platter of Andy Dirks, Quintin Berry, and Avisail Garcia. I think Berry will be used more defensively, but I can’t really see any of the three providing much here. Naturally, this means they will provide something. In the grand scheme, I can’t decide which is better. Which means it’s time for the first…

Advantage: Push

Manager

Two old-school guys with a World Series ring on their hand and now their 3rd pennant on the mantle. I can’t think of a match-up on this board that is more even. Should be great to see how these to mix and match their teams.

Advantage: Push

Final Mapes Prediction: In my matchups the Tigers take it 4-3-2. The Giants have this thing where they like to be down two games and come back. I’ll have the Tigers taking the first two on the road with Verlander and Fister. Cain rallies back in game three to beat Scherzer. The Giants then win a wild game four, where the Tigers bullpen comes into play. Tigers take game five on the arm of Verlander again setting the Giants up down 3-2 and heading back home again. They repeat what they did in the NLCS, but in a more competitive game seven, where both teams pull out every stop. It’s going to be a great match-up, but ironically it’s Melky Cabrera’s All-Star Game MVP that gives the Giants home-field advantage and the World Series. Giants in 7. Enjoy the Fall Classic, should be a great one.

Wednesday Update: I still think the Giants take it in seven as they put together nine innings from Vogelsong, Cain, and the bullpen while pulling out all the stops in the final game. They still will be down 2-0 going to Motown and Bochy ends up looking smart saving his two best pitchers for the road. Verlander takes game five and locks down the best postseason pitcher in the league award, that he probably already has anyway.

-Bryan Mapes (@IAmMapes)

Episode 23 – The Morning After…. The Trade Deadline

Trades! Trades! Trades! You’ll get all the MLB trade talk you want on this week’s podcast. We recap just about every trade that happened in the last week before the trade deadline.  Greinke? Dempster? Pence? We have them all. And to cap it all off, the gang gives you some bad injury news.  Hope you enjoy!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, and subscribe to the podcast!

or use this link to download on iTunes

http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewPodcast?id=508049520

Twitter: @3U3D
Facebook: Three Up, Three Down

Enjoy!

Grade That Trade! The Hunter (Pence) Becomes the Hunted Edition

Well the Dodgers went out and got Hanley Ramirez and Shane Victorino at the trading deadline, and Giants fans were noticeably frustrated on Twitter about their team’s lack of acquisition response to their bitter rivals. Then out of nowhere, the Giants pounced on an opportunity to grab Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence.

Suddenly, just when the NL West looked like it belonged to the boys in blue, San Francisco answered with a big bat of their own to add some big punch to the middle of a lineup that had been lacking in power all season.

With Pablo Sandoval on the DL and Angel Pagan struggling, the Giants had been counting on Melky Cabrera and Buster Posey to produce runs every single day. With Pence back there, a fearsome foursome of Cabrera, Posey, Pence and Sandoval will now make for an epic run to the finish in the West between two of the biggest rivals in sports history.

That was dramatic. I digress. But seriously, let’s break this thing down:

Giants Get:

OF – Hunter Pence

Phillies Get:

OF – Nate Schierholtz

C – Tommy Joseph (Double-A

SP – Seth Rosin (Single-A)

So obviously, the Giants wanted someone with an immediate impact bat in their lineup. The starting pitching is set and there are some studs in the bullpen, though the ‘pen as a whole could use a little re-tooling. Pair all this with the fact that Schierholtz felt entitled to requesting a trade recently, and the Giants really got an all-around win in this deal.

They get one of the most consistent, talented hitters in the league today and got rid of someone who didn’t want to be there. Losing a prospect like Joseph hurts, but it will be good for them in the long run. Besides, they seem pretty set at catcher for the foreseeable future!

In Philadelphia, they continue to stockpile really good young talent. After snatching a couple good pitchers from the Dodgers earlier in the day, they come back and get Joseph and Rosin from San Francisco. Rosin has some control issues, but has a pretty high ceiling and could project as a starter or reliever. I’m sure that flexibility is an added bonus for Philly.

The prized jewel of the group is Joseph, who is one of the better power-hitting catchers in all of the Minors. His average has not been as high as the Giants hoped, but they were able to look past that for the sheer power that the kid brought to the table. Plus, he’s a good defensive catcher. In High-A last season, Joseph hit .270 with 22 homers and 95 RBI, while maintaining a .991 fielding percentage.

That’s a high quality prospect. BUT, as for the two Major Leaguers who were swapped…it isn’t even close. Schierholtz has never bee anything more than a role player in San Francisco. Sure, he started for certain stretches when he was swinging the bat well over the past few years, but that’s because the Giants had no outfield depth.

Schierholtz plays hard and has a gun of an arm, so he’ll become a fan favorite out there for the Phillies, just as he did in San Francisco. But that doesn’t mean his overall talent is even comparable to Pence.

So, as has been a theme during this frenzied trade deadline, the seller gets young and talented, the buyer gets experienced and savvy. The Phils add to a suddenly very deep minor league system, but have thrown in the towel for 2012. The Giants answer the Dodgers’ moves by adding their own impact bat.

Who wins the trade? Vote in the polls below and let us know! Don’t forget to comment on these trades and our take on them.

Also, remember to follow @3u3d on Twitter and LIKE Three Up, Three Down on Facebook!

– Jeremy Dorn (@Jamblinman)