Tuesday, September 01, 2009

The 2009 Giants are 72-59: Pheeling the Phillies

With the Giants pulling off what we needed - a wondrous sweep of the wild card leading D-Rox - pulling even with them after falling 4 games behind in that awful series in Colorado, they have come up big in their biggest series and homestand (going 5-1) in years. With a new offensive hero almost every night, and clutch performances by players who have gotten the boobirds at home, such as Zito and Renteria, it is a whole new ballgame as the calendar turns to September. And all that without much contribution from the two big trade acquisitions - Sanchez and Garko - nor our usual cleanup hitter, Bengie Molina.

As I am sure they are learning, each series is taking on the title of "biggest series in years," each one more so than the last. That is glorious life you lead when you are battling for a playoff spot. And this is good experience for all our young players that should pay off for us in future years.

Heck, it is paying off for us now. How many of us weren't worried that the Giants might collapse last week after blowing those games in Colorado? And especially losing in the horrible fashion as they did. Only the most extreme Pollyanna-ish of us could ignore that. I know I waited with bated breath, I hoped that the strength they had shown during the season would continue, but those games in Colorado was a pretty good punch in the gut, hard to get up from those.

But not only did they not collapse, they took 2 of 3 from the Reds before sweeping the D-Rox (and could have swept the Reds). And the D-Rox should remember all this the next time they face the Giants again (in September) that if it were not for their big rallies, the Giants could ahve taken 6 of 7 instead of just 4 of the 7, they could be 4 games behind the Giants right now.

The Giants closed August 16-12 for the month, only the second month that they finished above 1 game over .500, with June being the other month. The Giants were around .500 in April, May, and July, but 7 games over in June and 4 games over in July. They are now 13 games over .500, the first time this season.

The Next Mountain

Now they are off on a 6 game road trip to Philly and Milwaukee. WIth Joe Martinez optioned to AAA, the Giants will need to add a 5th starter. Rumor is that the Giants are trying to pick up Brad Perry. I would be happy with calling up Pucetas and letting him start and get some experience in the majors, though I understsand why they might not, as that would be throwing him in to face the current World Series champs in a playoff pressured situation. But, we ARE still rebuilding this season, so it would be good to let young prospects get some experience now.

The matchups are lined up like this:
  • Sanchez vs. Cole Hamels

  • Fifth starter vs. JA Happ

  • Lincecum vs. Pedro Martinez
The Giants will have a hard time winning the series, though it is not impossible. As poorly (relatively) as he has pitched, particularly against SF in SF this season, it is still Cole Hamels, the Phillies ace lefty. With an overall 4.52 ERA, but a good 4.13 ERA at home, he is down from his prior performance levels, but he has a 3.83 ERA since the All-Star game, though only 4.91 ERA in August.

Still, Sanchez hasn't been that bad either, in fact, he has been pretty good, with a 4.27 ERA overall, 3.59 ERA since the All-Star game, though a much worse 4.81 ERA on the road overall, which I'm sure has been much better since the ASG.

Then Happ has been a revelation for the Phillies this season, so no matter who we throw up against him in the rotation, we are probably looking at a loss in that game.

Lastly, normally with Lincecum on the mound, you have to feel that our chances are pretty good, but Pedro Martinez has been pretty good overall thus far in his return to the majors, so that game is probably going to be tough too.

So this is going to be a tough series, and we most probably are going to lose, though I should note that the Phillies have been winning on the road, not at home (34-30 at home this season), but we have some pretty tough matchups. It is probably going to be a tough to win, but there are small silver linings that might help us pull out a series win, including momentum.

September Call-Ups

According to Chris Haft, the Giants probably wouldn't call up many people because of the large number of vets coming off the DL once the rosters expand in September. Freddy Sanchez, Rich Aurilia, and Andres Torres are expected back on the team soon.

Still, the Giants are probably doing to call up many of the prospects who came up this season to help out: John Bowker, Jesus Guzman, Kevin Frandsen, Ryan Sadowski, Waldis Joaquin, and Osirus Matos. Others who should get a call up include: Matt Downs, Conor Gillaspie, maybe Brian Bocock, and certainly Ryan Rohlinger (probably still high from his big time hit to drive in two runs yesterday in helping the Giants win 9-5.


  1. Pedro Martinez has actually not been real good at all. He has won a couple of games, but only because the Phillies gave him a lot of runs to work with. His fastball is down in velocity and is more hittable now than he ever was before.

  2. And Penny is already signed.

  3. Yes, Pedro's lines look a bit questionable to me too. I hope (for the Giant's sake) it's not rustiness. But it's a looong time since he's been a dominant pitcher.

    Hoping for 2 of 3, thinking 1 of 3 and get out of town is more likely. Sanchez beating Hamels would be the coolest.

  4. Thanks Boof. I was referring based on Pedro's numbers. 16.0 IP, 17 hits, 14 strikeouts, only 3 walks, but 3 HR, which is probably the cause of his high ERA. That's very good overall and the HR's should go down, though perhaps that is part of the ballpark effect, did not look that deeply into it. His fastball velocity might be down, but he's still good enough to strike out a lot while not walking many. And his BABIP is a bit elevated too.

    Thanks DProfessor. Hopefully you understood what I meant.

    Thanks Matt. Sorry, I actually wrote this first before Penny signed, took out the text on speculation later once it was announced he signed, but forgot to update with Penny info. My bad.

    Penny vs. Happ should be a good battle. But I still have to tip my cap to Happ who has pitched well this season, whereas Penny has something to prove. Hopefully, he will.

    Going to be a tough series, even with Penny in our rotation. Still, the Giants have pulled out some good games against tough competition.

    Some good factors that favor us. They are only 34-30 against good teams that are over .500 and 34-30 at home. So they are basically .500 in those situations. That evens the odds for us, though it should be noted that we have a poor road record, though better of late. And we are at .500 against good teams too, 33-30. Almost a coin flip which team will win the series.

    Ranking the teams by how well they do against good teams, the D-gers are first at 42-32, Phillies second at 34-30, Giants third at 33-30, Braves 4th at 34-33, Cards 5th at 24-24. The Cards have the least games against .500 teams in the NL, by a good margin, I think.

  5. Giants called up John Bowker, Jesus Guzman, and Waldis Joaquin, plus activated Andres Torres and Rich Aurilia.

    They also purchased the contract of Brad Penny and, to clear a spot for him, moved Burriss to the 60-day DL.

  6. I know the team wants to be safe on all these injuries but it's gotta be hard to win a game without the 2-3-4 of your lineup. They easily could have been the difference between a loss and a win tonight. They're in the thick of it. Maybe it's time to just let the guys nut up a little bit and play through some of these nagging injuries. Tonight was very winnable.

  7. Battle or the war?

    It is not a matter of being manly for most of these players.
    They put up with a lot of pain.

    They are trying to ensure that we have Sandoval for most of the games. Instead of just this one game.

    If they let Panda play - he wanted to play i read - and he became injured for the rest of the season, Bochy would catch hell from the fans.

  8. I was listening to the sports talk show for about 6/8th of a second, and the host was raving on and on about how the Giants should have gotten Jermaine Dye - ignoring, of course, the fact that perhaps they were asking too much for him, but he didn't care, Bumgarner, Posey, trade them all, because Dye is so important - when I realized that this is my problem with hosts like him: they nitpick and complain because otherwise nobody would pay much attention. Kind of like how news has to show a lot of bad news, because good news would not be interesting. So they pander to this.

    And with most teams losing at least 54 times in a season, if not 70 to 90, that gives the host a lot of opportunity to complain.

    Still, maybe instead of complaining about the offense, why not acknowledge that the opposing pitcher was just good tonight? Hamels was dealing.

    Plus, do you think the Phillies phans are calling into their late night show and saying we should replace all the hitters, how terrible are they when Jonathan Sanchez kept them to one run?

    This is the playoff push. This is no time for nervous nellies crying about the lack of offense. That's missing the point.

    The point is that we have been winning. And winning a lot, which a lot of people still do not get into their head. And how do you win? The way most people think is by scoring more runs than the other team. But they forget the flip side of that, which is keeping the other team from scoring as many runs as you do. And the Giants have been doing a good job of that.

    Some people just seem to like to complain. I can still remember the 2003 season when the Giants led from start to finish, and there were still people complaining about the team.

    Dye would be a nice addition. But at what cost? You want to trade the future away? Or do you want to pay a lot of money that then takes away from signing prospects or free agents next season? And if we get Dye, then what happens to Schierholtz getting to start in RF? Gone.

    But that's what a lot of people complain about, that the Giants aren't letting their young players start and play. Getting Dye would perpetuate that by pushing Schierholtz to the bench.

  9. Again, as I've been saying for a while now, they are forgetting that this is a rebuilding year. A year for development. We want players like Schierholtz, Bowker, Lewis, Ishikawa, Velez, plus all the young pitchers, get their chances to play in a super-charged environment like this so that NEXT year and the year after that, when they are battling again, the butterflies won't be fluttering around as much and they can deliver to a greater degree.

    And if it's not one thing, it's another thing, now it's the offense, then the team is too old, we need young players, but then we traded away the young pitching, so now we need pitching, and so on and so on.

    You can't fill every hole in the dam. At any point, to stop one, you have to let another hole leak out. Youth or vet? Present or future? Short term or long term? They are all choices.

    But long term is the best way. To have a vision and a strategy to execute that vision. That way you compete for the division every year and not just the one year you trade everything away in hopes of desperately winning something.

    And the thing is, most people if pushed realize that we don't have the offense to go deep into the playoffs. Even if we got Dye or whomever, we will still be lacking the offense and they will still be complaining.

    Just go with the guys we got, they have been the ones who have been delivering just enough to keep us in the wild card race. I like the improvement with Penny over Martinez/Sadowski, and if we could have gotten a hitter in a similar way, that would have been nice too, but there weren't any, at least not at the level of a Dye.

    Just accept the team and root for them. I've been enjoying this season all season long, and I am happy with the team. Life is not all about winning each and every season, this one was about rebuilding and development, and they have delivered in spades, putting us into the playoff race in September. Go Giants!

  10. Worth every Penny!

    This is what I'm talking about, wearing down the other team with our barrage of great pitching.

    With Penny dealing, we got a rotation full of ace-caliber starters.



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