Thursday, May 14, 2009

2009 Giants are 18-15: Next Up Are The Metropolitans

The Giants and Mets play 4 this weekend, and we have a fair chance of winning the series, I think. The two pivotal games will be the first and third games of the series.

Game 1: Sanchez vs. John Maine

Sanchez has been his up and down self, but hopefully he'll soon settle down the way he did last season around this time, and start a long stretch of dominating starts. If he can do that, we could take the division lead. Maine has been about as good/lousy as Sanchez this season, despite the better record, which must be due to the Mets better offensive power. Their ERA's are about the same, but I've never been impressed by Maine, though I like him as a pitcher, he's a steady middle-of-rotation guy, someone most rotations could use. Still, he has had 3 nice starts in a row, while Sanchez has been struggling. It's all up to Sanchez, if he can dominate, we probably got the game, but how likely is that? Not much.

Game 2: Lincecum vs. Livan!

Nuff said! OK, little more: it should be a "HaHaHA Laugher" except that Livan seems to be able to turn it up a notch when he feels like it, and I'm sure he would like to give it to SF. Still, with a 5.08 ERA, his abilities to pitch well has be less than it has been when he was younger, but he's actually been decent in most games, just getting blown out in 2 out of his 6 starts. And though Lincecum has been pretty dominant for a while now, he has shown some cracks in recent games. Should still be one in the win column, though, unless Livan gets a big hit. Ideally, he should be facing the next starter, for us to win the series.

Game 3: Johnson vs. Johan!

Santana has a 0.78 ERA and yet is 4-2, so he has had horrible support. Johnson has been up and down, but if he's up, he can hold his own with Santana, and it'll be a low scoring game. But this game does not look good for winning. Hopefully Johnson can bring it up a notch since he knows he will need his A-game to beat Johan.

Game 4: Cain vs. Pelfrey

This one should be the surest bet in the series, Cain has been very dominating, except for one game and Pelfrey, with a 4.89 ERA, looks like he hasn't been dominating most of the time. However, one note of caution, with only 9 strikeouts in 35 IP, Pelfrey looks like that type of pitcher who gives Giants hitters fits, the ones who have no fastball. Also, he has put in two good outings in his last two starts.

Giants Thoughts

Disappointing we didn't sweep, made particularly so because Martis, a former farmhand, kept the Giants from doing much. Still, if he were still here, he'd be sitting in the minors, he would not be able to crack our pitching staff, his minor league stats suggest that what he is doing so far is mirrors and smoke, wait until the league catches up with him. Still, he's that type of pitcher the Giants seems to do poorly against, guys without overpowering stuff, plus his stuff is enough to limit hits, though not walks; he's like Cain in that he can be effectively wild. FYI, another farmhand, Matt Palmer, is doing well in the Angel's rotation, but he never did enough in the minors to suggest he can do that well in the majors.

I think we should be able to split the Mets series easily. Cain should be a win, Lincecum most probably a win, they have been our most consistently dominant pitchers (along with Zito). Sanchez is a coin flip, and Johnson, is a wild card, he's been very inconsistent thus far, and a disappointment in that he is not more consistently pitching, particularly given his mantra all spring training: "I'm not injured, I'm healthy and feeling good". Still, it appears aligned that we should at least split.

Winning the series is still a fair proposition too. Sanchez and Johnson have had their moments. If either have one this series, we most probably will win the series. If we facing Oliver Perez instead of one of these guys, we probably would win the series.

Losing the series does not seem to be likely, but it's still possible. Cain has never been able to sustain this high a production for long periods. Lincecum has shown some cracks in the armor lately. Either crack plus Sanchez and Johnson continuing to do poorly, and we lose the series.

Still, we have not lost a series since that horrible 0-6 road trip, and won the majority of them, leading to our lovely 18-15 record and .545 winning percentage, something most Giants fans did not see happening.

Our starting pitching has been doing it for us, as well as our defense and bullpen (yesterday, we were third lowest in unearned runs scored in the NL), particularly Barry Zito, who has been pitching the way we thought Randy Johnson would be pitching, and vice-versa. Still, the starting pitching, as good as it has been, is still underperforming, both Johnson and Sanchez are capable of pitching a lot better than this. Imagine where we would be now if they had been.

Sanchez has been a great disappointment. I think his decision to pitch in the WBC cost him the chance to start the season at a good point in preparing for the season. As much as I like his abilities to strike out batters easily, he's been a bit of a flake, and right now would be my main target for trading for a bat in the off-season, assuming he can turn the season around (it's still early) and end on a good note, assuming he built up his stamina over the off-season.

If it was just physical skills, as much as I love Cainer, strikeouts is the driver for doing well in the playoffs, and his strikeout rate has dropped year by year, even though his fastball is about the same as always (though it's been dropping too). Between his physical abilities and Sanchez, Sanchez has more abilities, per his high strikeout rate, but Cain gets a heck of a lot more out of his abilities than Sanchez, and hence why I would lean towards keeping him, particularly since we have Bumgarner coming up, who appears capable of striking out gobs of batters regularly.

The offense has been lagging, but with the offensive explosion against the Nats pitching, the Giants are now averaging 4.00 runs per game, slightly ahead of last year's scoring pace, though still below what this lineup theoretically should score, if the projections were correct. A number of hitters have let us down at critical times, and yet we are still 18-15.

We have been getting just enough runs scored to win more than we lose. Luckily, when one gets cold, another gets hot. With the Nats, Burriss cooled off, then Ishikawa heated up. Winn too, while Rowand continues to hit poorly after a very nice April. And Molina and Sandoval have continued to produce nicely. But to show how bad it has been, I'll bet no one can name the guy who is second on the team in RBI, behind, of course, Molina: Edgar Renteria.

2 comments:

  1. I haven't heard anything on Renteria yet, but if he needs any time on the DL, is Frandsen the first person up from the minors? Before the signing of Renteria I wanted to see Frandsen and Burris as our dp combo, maybe this grants us a chance to see it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Don't know, I would hope it would be Frandsen, but then the quandary is where to play them? I would rather Burriss at SS and Frandsen at 2B, but Burriss needs his time to learn 2B too.

    In addition, Baggarley thought that Uribe is probably the starter, and that makes sense, though I would think they would still bring up Frandsen and give him some AB's up here.

    He also speculated that perhaps Guzman might get the call up to be a potent bat off the bench.

    ReplyDelete

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