Monday, April 05, 2010

Your 2010 Giants: April, Play Ball!

The goal, says Brian Sabean, is for the Giants to get off to a hot start. Or at least a hotter start than prior years, as each season started with a stumble, with a huge losing streak, losing roughly 6 games in the loss column. In prior years, Dave Roberts, as nice a guy as he is, killed the top of the lineup trying to play when he was clearly injured. Last season, no one to blame as specific as that, just a collective "ooops!". Sabean is looking for a winning record in April and May.

In April, there are 9 road games to start the season, out of the first 15, so there is the potential to stumble out the chute again. They are facing Houston, then later LA and SD on the road, while facing the Braves and Pirates at home. Yeah, they don't face NL West teams until their 10th game of the season. The Braves should be tough, and they bring along their wunderkind, Jason Heyward, but the Pirates, not so much.

But in the last week, roughly, the Giants play 7 games at home, giving them 13 home games and 9 road games out of 22 total games played in April. Thus to finish April with a winning record, they would need to go 12-10. However, those 7 home games (9 in total extending into May) will be tough games, facing the Cardinals, the Phillies, then the D-Rox.

It will be tough to even break even in April. To win 10 in April, the Giants would need to win one game in each series plus win at least two series plus the first one against Colorado, or win three series. Counting as series wins both Pittsburgh and San Diego, plus winning the first from Colorado, assuming that our rotation will face their counterpart in each series, that would mean:
  • @Houston 1-2: I don't like Houston, but they are probably tough at home, plus it's Lincecum vs. Oswalt, Zito vs. Wandy Rodriguez, and Cain vs. Brett Myers. It'll be tough to win 2 of 3, unless Myers' physical problems affect him, as they played well at home last season, despite ending up way below .500.
  • Braves 1-2: Tough team expected to do well in 2010 and maybe win the NL East. Sanchez vs. Hudson, Wellemeyer vs. Kenshin Kawakami, Lincecum vs. Derek Lowe (who got blasted today by Pirates). Hudson is tough, Kawakami was called "the best 5th starter" by one columnist (albeit Atlanta columnist), but Lincecum looks to beat Lowe. Had Hudson not been there, I think I would have given it to Sanchez, but he's going to have to do well to win this. The Braves overall rotation looks to be as good or better than the Giants, at least until Bumgarner joins the rotation.
  • Pirates 2-1: We got Zito vs. Ohlendorf, Cain vs. Maholm, and Sanchez vs. Morton, and it's the Pirates and we are home, so 2-1 seems very doable, and we could maybe sweep.
  • @LA 1-2: I think that they and Colorado will be our toughest competitors for the 2010 season. Wellemeyer, Lincecum, and Zito spells trouble for me.
  • @SD 2-1: They can have a tough lineup, depending on how the young guys do and whether they still have A-Gon around. Still, Cain vs. Correia, Sanchez vs. Richard, Wellemeyer vs. Latos, I have to like our chances to win the series.
  • Cards 1-2: Going to be tough, Lincecum vs. Carpenter, Zito vs. Wainwright, Cain vs. Penny, there is the significant possibility of getting swept.
  • Phillies 1-2: They are the World Champs and picked up Halladay, arguably one of the best pitchers of the 2000's. Sanchez vs. Happ, Wellemeyer vs. Moyer, Lincecum vs. Hallday, again there is the distinct possibility of being swept.
  • Colorado 1-0: Zito starting against Aaron Cook, so that is not necessarily good, but I'm giving this to the Giants, they are at home and the two of them are a push, talent-wise, I think. Given the negative tint to the last two series, I was going to switch this to a loss, but I think Zito should be able to take on Cook at home.
In total, that ends up being a 10-12 month, with a possibility of going worse. Not great start, but not something that would kill our chances. We could have been looking at a winning start if we didn't face both the Cards and Phillies at the end of the month, plus we are facing some tough clubs on the road, that perhaps we would win at home.

Of course, this is all very rough estimation, the Giants haven't played one inning yet, and at most one game for the other teams, so if the Giants can get off to a fast start, say if Myers problems flare up in the meantime or Cain takes him on and beats Myers, or better if Zito can man up and do well against Wandy - tall order though, Wandy was untouchable at home last season - then we could turn around the month early on. Plus, you never know when a tough team could suddenly be easy to take on if things don't work out for them early on.

But taking a view with a rough idea of how the pitchers we face might do, it looks to be another tough month for the Giants. However, it does not look like it should be a disastrous month, though we will have to watch at in the last week of the month. If Sanchez and Zito can continue what they did in the second half of 2009, the month will perk up, but I'm assuming something up and down like 2009 overall, which would mean a tough month for us. And if Wellemeyer can pitch like he did in 2008, that would swing things around for us in the back of the rotation, I used his 2009 to project how we might fare in April.

3 comments:

  1. What a game! What a start to the seaon! The Kid delivered where nerves got him last season (I worry that this will affect him in his first playoff start). Relievers were good except for Medders, but that's why you have a bullpen, to pick up for guys who don't have it that day.

    Offensively, Rowand disappointed with an Oh-fer-Five and 2 K's, but everyone else delivered at a key moment or got a hit. Even Lincecum had two sacrifices to help the offense.

    Renteria got on base 3 times in 4 PA. Huff scored a run. DeRosa figured in two scores, scoring one run when he walked, then homering, a key run that made the win that much farther away from Houston, at 5-0. Molina had 2 hits, one run and and RBI. Bowker drove in a run. And Uribe went 2 for 3, one run, one RBI.

    I guess the only other to count as a down was that Sandoval went 1 for 4 and left 2 men on base.

    But other than that and Rowand, it was a team effort for most of the runs necessary to beat the Astro's (DeRosa was just the cherry on top).

    Lincecum went 7 IP, 7 K's, no walks or runs, only 4 hits, in a relatively efficient 98 pitch outing.

    At least we got our one already, as Wandy looks likely to beat Zito (2.08 ERA last season at home vs. Zito's one start, 5.2 IP with 6 R/ER) and Myers had a 3.68 ERA in Houston when he was a Philly. Cain has had one start there, good outing overall, but gave up 2 HR and 4 R/ER in 8 IP, so his start could go either way.

    Hopefully Myers' struggles in spring are still with him. 5.68 ERA, 25.1 IP, 32 hits, 4 HR, 12 walks, 18 strikeouts. But, being a vet, he could have been working on things, so that's not always a clear picture of where he's really at.

    The good news is that they offense was able to take advantage of a top line pitcher like Oswalt. They will have to continue that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I should have noted, though I guess it goes without saying, The Kid threw a 5-PQS game, a DOM game.

    And to elaborate on my thought about big games, Lincecum has tended to get amped up for big games - first MLB game, first opening season start, first All-Star game, you name it, he ended up having a bad game. But that is not something to be ashamed of, just something to get out of the way, at least for him, as once he gets to that point, then he can pitch like he normally does, dominantly.

    That's why I was hoping to squeak into the playoffs last season, so that he could get that first playoff start out of the way, which can be so key in a five-game series.

    But still, he has matured a lot over the years so maybe when that time comes he won't be so amped up.

    Plus, perhaps pitching at the end of last year had some elements of a playoff situation because every game was crucial and they fell a few games short ultimately, so that could be a good enough substitute experience. And he should get a taste of it this season assuming the Giants do as well as I think, and be competing for the title up to the end, and hopefully win it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, Zito follows with another 5 PQS start, 6 IP, 3 hits, 1 walk, 5 strikeouts, 0 R/ER ego 0 HR. I don't think he had that many 5 PQS starts all last year, and probably none his first two seasons with us.

    His talk about being hungry and fighting to win now was true for at least one start, if he can do that this season, that would make reaching 90 wins much much easier, I was not counting on him doing more than last season.

    That's 2-0, hard to imagine heading into the series as both Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez are very good pitchers. Still, here we are, hoping to sweep, but still we are facing Brett Myers, who is a pretty darn good starter himself.

    But Cain is a pretty darn good starter himself and he had a great spring. Go Giants!

    ReplyDelete

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