Monday, June 07, 2010

Your 2010 Giants are 30-25: Hot Reds Up Next

Four game series against the Reds in their homer-happy home park.  Probably not good for the ERA of the Giants pitching staff, and yet got some good history on our side too.  We miss Bronson Arroyo, who has been among their best starters in recent years, but this year he's scuffling and Mike Leake has a best ERA on the staff and Johnny Cueto is second.  Harang has been scuffling too and LeCure, another young pitcher, is also pitching well so far, in terms of ERA, but - BOY - walks a lot, just two starts so far too.

Game 1:  Johnny Cueto vs. Zito

Cueto has been getting better every season, and he has been particularly good at home with a 3.19 ERA.  Zito has been beaten to a pulp in Cincinnati overall, but shut them down last season and just had a great start against the powerful Colorado lineup in his last start.  That after scuffling for most of May.  Should be a good even game, low scoring on both sides.

Game 2:  Sam LeCure vs. Cain

LeCure has a nice ERA but that's only two starts and he's been walking guys all over the place and not paying for it.  Part of it is only 1 HR in 11.1 IP (and it was at home).  Cain, meanwhile, has been dominant wherever he pitches, last season and this.  He has also been beaten by Cin overall, but dominated them in a start last season.  Should be a win for the Giants but if LeCure can keep the magic going, it's going to be close.

Game 3:  Aaron Harang vs. Sanchez

Harang had been the Reds best pitcher for the past few seasons, but one of their worse this season.  He has been better at home, but not dominating so.   He had a nice start in his last home game, but was bombed in his last start, which was on the road.

Sanchez has been having a breakout season, 2.90 ERA, been pretty consistently good except when he was reported to have a cold.  He has had a number of nice recent starts, even with the bouts of wildness, though not dominating like he can.  But his last start was a DOM start and he was one less walk or one more strikeout away from a DOM in his prior start.  He had a great start against them in Cincinnati but 4 years ago, when players like Votto and Phillips were not around.

I would call this game pretty even, but leaning towards the Giants.

Game 4:  Mike Leake vs. Todd Wellemeyer

As noted, Leake is their best pitcher this season, by far, and he has pitched well at home, so far, and Wellemeyer has been our worse starter on the road this season, by far. Looks like a recipe for a loss.

However, given how poorly he pitched again, I would have to think that Wellemeyer has pretty much used up all his rope.  It could mean the Madison Bumgarner era could be starting soon.  However, he has not been that dominating in AAA so far or recently, whereas Joe Martinez has been.  So Joe could get the call.

Still, Leake has been so good and our starter probably so not so good, so it looks like a win for the Reds here.

Giants Thoughts

Tough series against a team that has been on a massive hot streak.  Look likely to split the series with them, and yet it is not out of the realm of possibilities that we could sweep if the starters can continue their recent streak of good starts plus Bumgarner get the call in game 4 nor is it out of the realm to be swept either.

I would bet that Bumgarner not get the call, though.  Cincinnati would be a very nasty place to get your first start of the season in.  It is one of the most offensive oriented homes in the majors, up there with Colorado and Texas.  Then again, Bumgarner has been drawing a lot of ground balls this season.  However, if he cannot dominate AAA hitters, he's going to have a hard time striking out MLB hitters.

I think the Giants won't call him up into such a situation for his first start of the season.  They would want to give him some confidence, have him pitch at home against a lousy team, say, June 15th, Baltimore Orioles, then June 22nd against Houston Astros (though in Houston).  Two bad teams to prepare for the start against the Boston Red Sox then road games at two tough parks with two tough teams, Colorado and Milwaukee, before the All-Star break.   Not as great an intro as Stephen Strasburg is getting (apparently he'll face a bunch of weaker teams to start off his MLB career.

The offense seems to be working a little better now that Rowand has been moved down to 8th and Torres and Sanchez been leading off the games.  Sanchez has been getting on base in droves plus actually driving in runs too.  They have been great together up top.  Since May 25th, the offense has been averaging 4.6 runs per game.

Meanwhile, Sandoval has continued to heat up, .294/.324/.456/.780 since May 19th, .316/.317/.500/.817 since May 28th.  He is roughly about where he was last season at the end of May, nice hitting overall, little power.  But last season he suddenly picked it up big time in June.  We can certainly use a repeat performance, though it has not come so far this season.  Hopefully Cincinnati's great park for hitting homers will kick him off.

Also, Huff has been great since returning, for the most part, to hitting cleanup.  Starting May 18, he has hit .339/.465/.554/1.018, with 3 HR in 56 AB, which is as Bondsian as we have gotten in the cleanup spot since Bonds hit there for us.  He has been a great acquisition thus far and quite an asset to the offense, particularly since it forces Molina out of the cleanup spot.  Uribe has heated up a bit as well recently, hitting .333/.341/.619/.960 since May 26th, and Posey has been consistently hitting as well.

Unfortunately, both Molina and Rowand have been automatic outs, no matter where they hit in the lineup.  Both have been sinking slowly downward, after being unbelievably hot in April and early May.  Why can't the hitting coach diagnose what changes between then and now is contributing to the slide and fix this?

And how long before we see Posey starting at catching?  Molina has been cold for over a month now and Posey is clearly raking.  Maybe when (not if) Bumgarner is brought up, that could be Posey's pitching buddy in starts at catcher, much like Whiteside is Sanchez's catcher right now.  That would make a lot of sense as they have been a battery in Fresno this season and in San Jose last season.  Then sprinkle him in for the other starting pitchers so that he eventually work with every starter at least 2-3 times the rest of the season.

They have already made a slight move, sitting Rowand down, put Torres in CF, Huff in RF, and Burrell into LF in that other game against a LHP.  We could start to see a slight platoon with Burrell facing LHP and Rowand RHP, occassionally.  And perhaps Schierholtz facing a few RHP as well, to give Rowand more rest and time to work on his hitting with the hitting coach.  Supposedly he worked with Bam Bam this spring to shorten up his stroke, which worked like a charm at the start but he hasn't done much of anything since early May when he returned off the DL and was a hitting machine.  Hopefully the Reds hitter's haven will charge him up as well as Pablo.

6 comments:

  1. Whoa, went faster than I thought. Giants are tweeting the lineup and Burrell is playing LF, Huff 1B, Posey C and Molina is sitting. So Posey is catching Zito.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yo, nice post, however, I think JSanchez's ERA is like 2.64 now or something like that. I can't believe it. Posey catching today. I can't wait. Enjoy the game.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sorry I didn't get that right, thanks for posting: Sanchez has a 2.97 ERA on the road this season.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Wow, yesterday's and today's lineup has Pat Burrell starting in LF again, and it is not even a LHP.

    Today Posey is back at 1B, Huff "back" to RF, with Burrell in LF, Torres in CF, and Rowand on the bench (he went 1 for 4 yesterday).

    ReplyDelete
  5. Posey blasts a big homer to left-center for his first major league homerun. Two-run shot for a 2-1 lead for the Giants and Jonathan Sanchez.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Baggerly tweets that it was 439 feet and that the fan only wants a Buster Posey autographed ball in exchange for the homerun ball.

    If I recall right, Bowker lost his first homerun ball to a Nats fan who refused any deal.

    ReplyDelete

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