Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Your 2010 Giants are 61-45: Rocking D-Rox

Sorry, but work heavy, so this will be short (by my standards :^).

Wow!  Sweeping LA!  They have been showing this season that they have the will, beating pitchers like Oswalt, Halladay, Ubaldo, Josh Johnson, and now the D-gers two aces, Billingsley and Kershaw, and running their record in July to 20-8, the best month since 2000.  You don't really fluke into a month like that and this shows how good this team is compared to past Giants playoff bound teams in the early 2000's.

Now they need to take care of the avalanching D-Rox in this two game set on the road in Colorado.  The Giants have always had trouble there, because of the ballpark, and have our two least experienced starters going up against them in Sanchez and Bumgarner.  Can they win this series, meaning taking the two?

Game 1:  Aaron Cook vs. Sanchez

MLB Notes:
Giants:  In his last start, Sanchez pitched six solid innings before being unable to record an out in the seventh, coming out after giving up a pinch-hit, three-run homer. In six-plus innings, Sanchez allowed five runs on seven hits, striking out seven.
D-Rox:  Cook suffered his first home loss of the year on Wednesday against the Pirates, surrendering five earned runs and six hits in 2 1/3 innings. He's taken two losses in a row, allowing 10 combined earned runs.
Cook has had a horrible season, but mainly on the road, his ERA at home is 3.93.  He has also not done well against the Giants historically, 4.96 ERA.  Sanchez, however, has an even higher ERA at 6.75 against the D-Rox and 6.25 in Coors in 5 starts, 9 appearances.  However, he pitched decently last season, 4.50 ERA there is pretty decent, so he has been better in more recent games that reflect his current maturity and development as a player.  Have to call this game even, but lean towards Sanchez because he has generally pitched much better than Cook has all season plus was decent last season.  But the Coors X-factor comes into play here, so who knows if they are using humidor balls or switching in live balls.

Game 2: Ubaldo Jimenez vs. Bumgarner

MLB Notes:
Giants:  Bumgarner took the loss in his last outing against Florida, when the Giants were one-hit by Florida's Anibal Sanchez. Despite the loss, Bumgarner went six innings, giving up three runs on six hits, to earn his fifth quality start in seven outings.
D-Rox:  Jimenez appeared to regain his early season form on Thursday against the Pirates in a 9-3 win to help Colorado snap an eight-game losing streak. He allowed just one first-inning run, while striking out six and scattering four hits.
As much as I want to believe, I have to tip my hat to Ubaldo, who while he hasn't been the greatest lately plus the Giants took it to him, and at home, but Bumgarner has been good enough that I think the battle will be even with a lean towards Ubaldo.  Unfortunately, we still ended up facing him, else I would have thought the Giants had a chance of winning the short series, even though it is on the road.

Giants Thoughts

The Giants look to have a tough series, as usual, but especially so because they are facing Ubaldo.  But he's been faltering lately, though had a nice start in his last game.  Still, he was bombed in 5 of his 6 previous starts, including by SF in AT&T, and now they will be in Colorado, so that is in our favor.  Most probably split the series, but if the Giants could sweep it (And Giants lead league in sweeps with eight), they would almost push Colorado out of the playoff chase, as they would be 7.5 games behind the Giants for the wild card with 9 weeks left to play.  They could be selling players by the end of the week, I heard maybe Hawpe, among others.

With each new series come a new set of challenges and obstacles.  But the team has been playing pretty loose and successfully despite being in a playoff-type atmosphere for a while now, winning or sweeping tough series from LA, AZ, Wash, NYM, and MIL.  They are now 20-5 after the series loss in Colorado, winning 6 of 7 series and tying the 7th.  These are the new Giants, hopefully, and how they handle the D-Rox in this two game series should be a good indication, good or bad, of where they are today relative to that series.

Burrell and Renteria Imprint Names in Giants-D-gers Rivalry History

Have to give shout-outs to both for their clutch performances over the weekend.  Without them, it could have been a series loss instead of a sweep.  Both hits gave the Giants their winning margin.  Burrell hit his 2-run homer in the bottom of the 8th, with the Giants looking like they were headed for a potentially crushing 1-0 loss.  And he did it against the D-gers heralded closer, Broxton.  Burrell has been excited to be able to play for his boyhood team, and has been enjoying every second.

Renteria told Bochy and the public that he still had something left, and apparently that included ice in his veins and man-sized cajones because he took umbrage at the intentional walk given Rowand in front of him, saying, quote, "Don't wake the baby," and slashed a triple to left-center that drove in two runs.  It was the only runs scored in the game and helped Cain win his first ever against the D-ger blue.

I guess I could also include Cain to the list, getting a huge monkey off his back by notching his first win ever against the D-gers, though not for lack of trying, he had a low ERA if I recall right, but just bad luck in the opposing pitcher being just that much better than he on that day.  But he manned up and pitched a DOM game, 5 PQS, put his team in position to win it, which they did.  Still, not as dramatic as either hits, which is probably why pitchers are not regarded in the same light as hitters, even though they probably are the only player in baseball that singled-handedly control the results on the baseball field.

Posey Busted Out in the Month of July!

Buster Posey, what a month!  He should win the Rookie-of-the-month award as well as the regular Player-of-the-month award.   Posey had 43 hits in July, breaking the San Francisco Giants club record for hits in a month by a rookie, which was set by Jim Ray Hart in July 1964 with 42.  In 103 AB, he had 6 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home-runs, 20 runs scored, 24 RBI, 9 walks, only 13 strikeouts, both excellent low strikeout rate as well as a relatively high BB/K ratio for hitters.  He batted .417/.466/.699/1.165 in raising his batting line from a below average .289/.314/.381/.695 to a very robust .355/.394/.545/.939. Also, his seven homers were the most since Jack Clark's seven (1977), and his 24 RBIs were the most since Jim Ray Hart's 24 (1964), among Giants rookies.

Comparison:
  • Posey has 8 HR and 34 RBI in 203 AB, 55 games, .355/.394/.545/.939
  • Will had 11 HR and 41 RBI in 408 AB, 111 games, .287/.343/.444/.787
  • Jack had 13 HR and 51 RBI in 413 AB, 136 games, .252/.332/.407/.739
  • Jim Ray had 31 HR and 81 RBI in 566 AB, 153 games, .286/.342/.498/.840
  • McCovey had 13 HR and 38 RBI in 192 AB, 52 games, .354/.429/.656/1.085 (won ROY award)
Thus, despite not playing a full season, if he can continue hitting well, he can possibly pull of a ROY win despite not playing a full season.  He is headed towards 110 games approximately, and prior winners with that much or less games include Ryan Braun, .324/.370/.634/1.004 in 113 games, and Ryan Howard, .288/.356/.567/.923 in 88 games.  So it is not impossible, as long as he can continue hitting as well as he has overall.

Prior Giants Rookies-of-the-Years:
  • Orlando Cepeda, 1958
  • Willie McCovey, 1959
  • Gary Mathews, 1973
  • John the Count Montefusco, 1975
The oddity I would note here is that the Giants had a pair of winners whenever they won one, they won another one in a season or two.  If Posey is able to pull it off - doubtful unless he hits like this for rest of season and help Giants to pennant, as the Braves Jason Heyward is the odds on favorite and he's been in majors from the very start - the two who would seem like possible ROY winners to pair up would be Brandon Belt and Zach Wheeler.  I would add Gary Brown too, once he signs.

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