Monday, April 13, 2009

Offense After Two Series: Poor or Bad Timing?

I think the jury is still out on the offense. Obviously, the first game gave great hope, scoring 10 runs on opening day, but Suppan is really just an OK (and not opening day caliber) starter, so that was not a great indicator of how good the offense is. But the next two Brewers starters were pretty good, and they scored only 2 on Gallardo but 7 against Parra.

Then they went up against the Padres, but they weren't as bad as they appeared there. First, one needs to remember that Petco Park is one of the most extreme pitcher's park in the majors. So that is going to hurt your offense. Second, Jake Peavy and Chris Young are not chopped liver, together they are probably one of the best duo of starters in the majors on one team, up there with Webb/Haren and Lincecum/Cain. So you can expect to have a bad game against them and bad series overall having to face the two of them. Lastly, we had bad luck to end up against both of them, normally we should have been facing their #4 and #5 starter, along with their #1, but instead we got #5, #1, #2, because the Padres had a 4-gamer series to start.

Lastly, the game they should have made hay in, against Shawn Hill, was doubly against them. First, and most of all, they didn't have their heads in the game: their thoughts were really with Joey Martinez in the hospital. Second, they, for some reason, had a night game the day before (when it should have been a day game), which meant that they probably didn't get into the hotel until after midnight. The travel might have been short, but I would think that it is still tiring, and should have affected them some on top of everything.

And things probably won't get better in LA. Dodger Stadium is also one of the most extreme pitcher's parks in the majors, though not as bad as Petco. And they are facing Billingsley, Kershaw, and McDonald, three very good, if young, starters, probably their three best starters, now that Kuroda is injured.

They might get better at home against the D-backs, against Petit, Haren, and Davis (guess since the rotation is being adjusted now that Webb is on the DL), but Haren is very good and Davis is not bad himself. Petit, being the unproven starter, is the weak link there but has been good in stints before.

Then we are slated to face Peavy and Young again in the two game series against SD. Then Haren, Davis, Scherzer against the D-backs after that, which will be tough too. Then, finally, McDonald, Stults, Wolf for LA, which appears to be our best bet for winning a series this month; that's the last series of the month.

Looking at the numbers for strikeouts, albeit small samples, but it looks like nobody in particular is striking out outrageously. Sandoval is a bit over his career, but it could be small samples and perhaps he's struggling a little now too, as some commenters have said that he's swinging wildly the past few games. Still, not outrageously, well within bounds for such a small sample.

In addition, Baggerley noted in today's newpaper that Ishikawa "made several loud outs," which sounds about right, he's only struck out 4 times, which is pretty good for him, and one extra hit would put him at .263 and two extra hits would put him at .316. And it's funny how bad luck seems to follow Peavy and Young (and Petco Park).

Even Renteria, he has only struck out 4 times in 21 AB, with 2 walks, which are OK proportions. Same for Burriss, with 4 strikeouts in 18 AB and 3 walks.

But at some point they will have to produce, and produce better. They actually are OK overall, they are averaging 4.33 runs scored per game, but can't have so many high scoring games balanced with more low scoring games if we hope to have a good 2009 season, they will need to smooth out their scoring. And if our pitching had been as good as advertised, and forced the other team to pinch-hit for their great starters, perhaps our offense could have picked things up against the relievers and delivered a come from behind win. And one win is the difference between our 2-4 record and a .500 record of 3-3.

Thus, I would not worry much yet about the offense either right now. It has been a tough season so far in terms of starters we faced, and frankly it does not look to get much better the rest of the month. However, the good news is that none of the hitters appear to be overmatched by the opposing pitchers right now, except for maybe Peavy, and the balls should start falling in, therefore, for the guys who are scuffling right now: Sandoval, Ishikawa, Renteria, Burriss. I think patience is the key right now, to give us more time to properly evaluate all our young (and not so young) players.

6 comments:

  1. Thank you for your optimistic posts. Your positive outlook on the Giants rubs off on us easily frustrated fans. Now lets go out and get those Dodgers these next 2 games!

    ReplyDelete
  2. The thing is, I'm not trying to be optimistic or positive, I'm trying to understand what is going on based on what has been happening so far, albeit small samples.

    So far, as I noted, while things look bad, and seems to get worse each game, the good news was that the hitters were not striking out at a very high rate, it appears to be within the bounds of their normal good rate, and thus they are just in a bit of hard luck right now.

    The caveat there is that sometimes hitters have that one year where they strike out at their normal rate and still stink, particularly for young unproven prospects like Sandoval, Burriss, and Ishikawa. However, generally, when a hitter is capable enough to keep his strikeouts down, that generally means he will get a fair number of balls into play which become hits, the ratio of which depends on how many grounders vs. line drives vs. flyballs he hits.

    In addition, the starting pitching has been crap, when it is suppose to be our best strength. That will obviously have to turn around or we are screwed this season.

    But quality usually comes to the fore and thus that is a reason to stay positive.

    But even Jake Peavy had an off year a few years ago, so it is certainly possible that Lincecum and/or Johnson could be having one too. We can only wait and see.

    But for now, the sky is not falling, but the clouds are certainly omenous. I would certainly be more nervous if by the starter's third start things don't turn around, for both them and the hitters.

    ReplyDelete
  3. After witnessing that game last night ( wed. 4/15 ) I believe the sky is falling for SF. The Giants weren't totally outclassed, it just looked like they don't know how to win.

    Starting pitching was supposed to be a strong point. Cain pitched very well again, but Lincecum, Johnson, Zito are either too old, hurt, etc. I'm very concerned that Lincecum is 100%.

    The closer can't even throw strikes.

    With all that being said when do you begin to start thinking about next year ?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I can understand the despair, but the season is still young.

    Dusty Baker had a rule of thumb that as long as you are within the number of weeks left of the season, that you can win one extra game per week and still catch up. That's pretty good near the end of the season, maybe last 2-3 months, but not so good now.

    I think double digits behind is pretty bad and start me worrying, but I probably won't think about next year until the trade deadline is approaching and we have a better feel for where we are in the standings and how we are performing. Stuff happens sometimes, projections sometimes just don't work out, that, as the saying goes, why they play the games.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Man, Affeldt and Wilson screwed porr Timmy over. The offense is a joke. We should've gotten a bat in the offseason.

    ReplyDelete
  6. after yesterday, I think we really have to be concerned as to lincecum and cain even want to be on this team long term. These guys submit solid starts all the time and never have support. Cain especially, but seriously, they really might just bolt at the first chance they get considering we're ruining their career numbers with our impotent bats

    ReplyDelete

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