Friday, October 24, 2014

Your 2014 Giants: World Series Game 4: Must Win!

Oy! Giants lose 3-2, and is now down 1-2 in the World Series.  Worse, the bullpen gave up the winning run, with our LOOGY facing their top lefty, and allowing the inherited runner to score what proved to be the winning run.  Moreover, our hitters was unable to hit a hitter who couldn't throw a strike three past anyone.  He relied on his fielders and they did not let him down, catching all the batted balls the Giants hitters smashed.

ogc thoughts

Hudson was unable to get his nerves ready for the start of the game, and was immediately scored upon.  But he calmed down by the second inning and was OK until the 6th inning.  He pitched well enough but not dominantly.  He ended with a 3 DOM.  OK, but not good enough.

Guthrie wasn't better, he had a 2 DOM, so technically he pitched worse.  But that's the way the baseball bounces sometimes.  Then the new KC drug, HDH, shut down the Giants the rest of the way, though Herrera had a hiccup and like Lopez, gave up a run too, so they are not invulnerable.

Game 4 is a must win.  Vogelsong is scheduled and probable.  I wrote about him and Vargas in the first post for the World Series but I'm too depressed to go find it and paste it here.  Basically, Vogelsong has been good but not great in the playoffs, DOM-wise, but as noted in the media, he tied some sort of record by allowing 1 or less runs in his first five playoff starts, until his last start.  We need him to return to his prior goodness.

Especially since Vargas has been pitching like an ace, and throwing DOM at the opposing teams.

So Game 4 does not look good.  Of course, maybe I'm more nervous because this is the first since since 2002 where the Giants were behind in the World Series, first time ever with Bochy.  Hopefully Pence will have an inspiring speech to rally the troops again.

There is some talk about pitching Bumgarner on short rest but it's not happening unless the game is rained out and pushed to Sunday, I think.  We are in a tight spot, but no tighter than we were in 2012.  But we need some guys to step up.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

A Great Giants Dictionary

Pavlovic has a great post on Giants terms, explaining many terms and covering the origins.

That's it!  Read and enjoy!  Nice rundown of memes of this season and season's past that still works.  I'm glad that #FreeBelt was retired.

Go Giants!  #ChampionsBlood #ThreeIsAGoodNumber

Your 2014 Giants: World Series Game 3: Nobody More Ready

That's reassuring words to hear from our starting pitcher, Tim Hudson (tweet from Pavlovic):
What I've hoped and dreamed for my whole career is finally here. There's not going to be anybody on field more ready than I am."
Also, had to share this great picture of Buster, beautiful:

ogc thoughts

Not a lot of positives from the game.  Peavy had a DIS start, just could not throw strikes to save him life, but was able to limit the damage until that fateful inning.  Of course, he got help from Machi and Strickland to burn the rest of the structure.  The hitters was able to get a lot of hits, but never the one to open the game up for us.  Bochy again was sub-optimal in using the pen, taking a close game and blowing it apart with Machi and Strickland.  Even the one positive, Lincecum's outing, turned into a negative when he felt tightness in his back (reports today I see on twitter notes that he's OK and probable for tomorrow, pending MRI results).

But, as I noted in the Cards series, I'm sad we lost game 2, but I didn't think that they would go the whole series without a loss.  Lick our wounds, come back fighting in Game 3.

Pondering Peavy

And I was worried about that because Peavy has not been very dominating in the playoffs.  He can limit the damage for the most part, but then the manager saves him by taking him out early.  Frankly, I would have took out Peavy sooner, after he gave us 5 OK innings.  At that point, he had only given up 2 runs, but had walked two while only striking out one.  That's a 2 PQS, not good, not bad, though close to bad, and much like he had done previously.  Leaving him in dropped his PQS into disaster territory.

So first, I'm wondering, should the series go to 6 games, do we start Peavy?  I think if Petit hasn't pitched much up to that point, we might see him start game 6 over Peavy.  Bochy has skipped a pitcher before during the playoffs, like they did with Bumgarner in 2012, so it is not unprecedented.   And really, I would even go with Lincecum paired with Petit even if Petit had pitched and could only give a couple of innings relief.  Peavy has shown nothing in his playoff career, and now I'm seriously considering changing my mind about re-signing him for 2015, though we still need a starter for 2015 (though that could be Petit instead, with Bumgarner, Cain, Hudson, and Lincecum, who hopefully will be better after an off-season getting back his old mechanics by working with his dad).

Sticking With Strickland

It's not called learning pains for nothing.  Some people just have it immediately, like K-Rod did, but for whatever reasons, Strickland is struggling.  I wouldn't mind if Bochy uses him again, but obviously got to chose the spots.

I still believe in his talent.  He has only 12.1 IP in his MLB career, 5.1 IP of which were in the playoffs.  His baptism in fire.  But 9 K's in 7 IP with only 5 hits and zero walks in the regular season, 32.5 IP in AA, with only 25 hits and 4 (!) walks vs. 48 K's for a 12.00 K/BB ratio (remember 2 is good and you want at least 2.4 from your best pitchers;  so yeah, that's elite, that's like Bumgarner's ratio in high school, Madison's best as pro was in Augusta with a 7.81 K/BB).  That's a 12.1 K/9 and 1.0 BB/9 for Hunter in AA.

And his blow-up reminds me of another Giant:  Bumgarner.  I'll never forget about him flinging the ball out of the stadium in AAA early in the 2010 season when he got really angry, I think at an umpire's bad call.  Need that type of passion during the game, as well as "move on" attitude afterward, to be an effective closer, and he apparently has this quality.

No Mas Machi

I usually applaud Bochy for his moves, but I felt that he was late in his changes again.  As noted above, I would have took out Peavy after he got 5 good innings out of him, plus then this would have let Machi pitch with no runners on, especially since he has not really had a clean appearance so far this season except for his first one out relief appearance.  Since then it has been a hit parade, as well as run parade.

Instead, he faced two runners on with no outs and gave up another hit.  I think Bochy is better off using Machi in low pressure situations, he's obviously battling some sort of nerves, it happens to the best of us, same as Strickland.  But after this amount of time, I think you use him in garbage time and big leads, if he gets in trouble, stop him quick and bring in the Big Boys, Affeldt, Romo, Lopez, and Casilla.

Liking Lincecum

I'm not sure what the issue was with not using Lincecum, unless he was suffering from some sort of extreme fatigue or something, or working on mechanics (but then why carry him when Kontos could have contributed).  But I still believe in Timmy and he delivered almost two innings of dominance when his back stiffened, and he had to leave the game.

Report from Baggarly is that he has suffered issues like this since high school, when he had his growth spurts and they would come and go, but never linger.  His MRI, just for precaution, came out clean as well.  He threw a normal session today and said that he felt normal and declared himself ready for Game 3 use.  Remember his rubber arm, as I agree with Baggarly that he has moved ahead of Machi and Strickland on the bullpen totem pole, you might see Lincecum bridge the middle innings as necessary in the rest of the games, he says that he can go every day.  Good time to test this out given Machi, Strickland, and Peavy's problems getting hitters out.

In Bochy I Trust

I've been a bit concerned about Bochy's bullpen usage during these playoffs, and I don't think the leopard has changed his spots, so I have been thinking that Bochy needed to see how much he can depend on Machi and Strickland during the playoffs, and the only way to do that is to use them.  Same with Peavy.  They all let him down, and, thinking back, most players have delivered for the most part, and when not, apparently there was something to fix, and they bring him back fine, like Bumgarner in 2012.  Meanwhile, he didn't need to use Lincecum, so why tire him out when you can run other guys out there, but when he needed him to eat innings yesterday, he did.

So, if this theory is correct, we should see a drastic change in bullpen usage going forward.  Lincecum would be used like he was in 2012, every game if necessary.  Machi and Strickland will get to face 1-3 batters, see how it goes, start them in a clean inning.  Bochy has been the master of the bullpen for ages now, and still, most of the time this off-season, so my best guess is that he's testing to see who he can rely on.

Happy with Huddy

He has come through for us this post-season.  Two DOM starts, and I am encouraged by this because it was exactly what he did early in the season when he was healthy and well rested.  It's been what he's been doing for the last 13 seasons, methodically, professionally, La Machine.  3.57 ERA this season, 3.45 ERA for his career, 3.38 ERA since his TJS.  This is why I wanted the Giants to sign him, and he has delivered in spades.

Here is what I wrote in my other post:
Game 3 is also a bit of a toss-up, based on DOM, but I give the edge to the Giants.  Both pitchers have similar DOM% for the season, but while Hudson has two DOM starts so far in the post-season, Guthrie has none, not even getting a start in the ALDS, and throwing a 2 PQS in the ALCS, where he only had 2 K's in 5 IP but 2 BB's.   
But it is the World Series, the first for Hudson.  Of course, he beat the pressure in the NLCS and had a 4 PQS start there, winning his start.  And he was masterful, with 5 K's and 0 walks in 6.1 IP.  Again, could be a turning point for the Giants here, again, as Bochy understands must wins.
I still think we have the edge on paper, but as the saying goes, that's why we play these games.  Another positives are these (tweets from Baggarly):
Basically, Hudson was on a downward trend with his PQS after he skipped a start earlier this season, finally getting worse and worse until his last start of the season.  By that point, it was reported that he had been battling some sort of hip issue.  Without a skipped start, but with the medicine,  he has had three straight DOM starts.  And with 10 days of rest, he should be well rested again.

So it should be a good game on our side.  Not as sure a thing for Guthrie, but he's been good in the regular season, and perhaps his first playoff start was just a fluke and he delivers.  But I like our chances, it was Hudson who led us in the early going, not Bumgarner, who was struggling a bit with the heavy mental load of being the ace (he had been aces for a long time until then, a machine; he's been a machine since the beginning of May).

Plus, our hitters are pretty good at avoiding strikeouts and getting walks, and Guthrie is particularly susceptible to left-handed hitters, of which we have a lineup full of them, plus Posey and Pence who hit RHP and LHP almost equally well, and he already have trouble striking out hitters in general, so the Giants should be putting a lot of balls into play against him, much like KC against Peavy.

I feel pretty good about this game, Go Giants!


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