Monday, August 23, 2010

Your 2010 Giants are 69-56: Need to Get Red-Assed to Beat Reds

The Giants had a 2-4 trip and it could have ended even worse, though the result is not that surprising either, particularly once Garcia was moved up to face us (he probably took the lead for good in the NL Rookie of the Year voting with that performance, pushing Posey out of the way, unless he gets plastered in September, as this is his first full MLB season), plus the Phillies and Cards are two very good teams and we were playing them on the road.  That's why they call it the home team advantage, it is pretty tough to win on the road against good teams (hence why the Giants are 37-23 themselves at home).  

Now it's the Giants turn, they get to be home for 9 games, first against the Reds, then D-backs, and lastly against the fading D-Rox.  The Phillies are now our most immediate concern since they took the wild-card lead from us, and they get 4 at home against the suddenly competitive Astros, who are 6-4 in their last 10 games, before heading on the road for 7 games, including a makeup game in Colorado on September 2nd.  They will go almost a month without a day off, last one on August 16th, next one on September 9th, though luckily for them, they can bring up a lot of players on September 1st, to give some rest.

It should also be the Cards' turn to have a tough stretch, they have 17 games on the road over the next 20 games, though the teams will not be all tough, in fact, some easy teams:  Pirates, Nationals, Astros, then home against Reds, before road for Brewers and Braves.  The Cards have only been 26-31 on the road, so the Giants will need to get some separation from them during this stretch.

And the Giants will have a bit of a home advantage vs. our two most immediate rivals for the wild card over the rest of the season (games remaining at home and road):

Team - H - R
Giants - 21 - 16
Phillies - 17 -22
Cards - 17 -24

If the teams play according to their current winning percentages at home and road, the Phils will end up with 91 wins, the Giants 90 wins, and the Cards 89 wins.  I would note that this does not account for strength of schedule, but is probably close enough with so few games left.  So the Giants will need to step it up if they hope to make the playoffs via the Wild Card.

Game 1:  Edinson Volquez vs. Cain

MLB Notes:
Reds:  Volquez was hit hard in his last start, allowing six hits and five runs to the D-backs. The outing came on the heels of three consecutive one-run starts, during which Volquez looked like the dominant pitcher he was prior to his injury.
Giants:  Cain allowed five runs in six innings last Wednesday at Philadelphia, but second baseman Mike Fontenot's fielding error made three of those runs unearned. Cain has upheld his reputation as a workhorse by averaging a staff-high 107.6 pitches per game.
Volquez has faced the Giants once in SF before and shut them down pretty well; that was in 2008 season.  But that was before we had Torres, Huff, Posey, and probably Sandoval too.  Generally, he has done well on the road (4.16 ERA) but Cain has done even better at home (3.15 ERA) and that is also his ERA against the Reds in SF as well.  On top of that, Volquez's only really good game was his first start after getting off the DL, he might have had a nice streak of one-run starts, but his peripherals were pretty bad with a lot of walks.  He has had 2 DOM starts, 3 DIS starts, out of 7 starts.

Cainer has been generally good in the second half and tends to do better in second half, the Phils are just a good offensive team.   I would lean towards Cain for this game:  Volquez has been on and off all season, so it could be a tough game or it could be a short outing for Volquez, but either way, Cain should have a nice start, given his good history against the Reds and that he pitches better at home than on the road.


Game 2:  Travis Wood vs. Sanchez

Reds:  Wood returned from a brief stint in the Minors to post a solid start, throwing 6 1/3 innings of one-run ball in a win over Arizona. His previous outing, made with Triple-A Louisville, lasted two shutout innings, during which he allowed three hits.
Giants:  In one of the best starts of his career, Sanchez allowed only two hits, both by Shane Victorino, while pitching into the ninth at Philadelphia. His victory ended a streak of 14 consecutive outings without a win by Giants starters.
Hard to call this game, as Wood is a rookie, but has been very good thus far this season, and has pitched well against some good teams, with a good number of DOM starts.  But he is a LHP, and the Giants have a pretty good lineup against LHP now, particularly with Cody Ross to platoon with Torres in CF now, he has a career batting line of .289/.348/.597/.945 against LHP.  That plus Posey, Huff, Burrell, Guillen, and Uribe, plus a resurgent Sandoval, who hit his first homer vs. LHP the other day, should give us a good chance to win the game, particularly if Sanchez can deliver another good start.  I would lean towards Sanchez for this start

Game 3:  Homer Bailey vs. Bumgarner

Reds:  So far, so good for Bailey in his return from injury. In two starts, he's thrown 13 innings, allowing seven hits and one run. His most recent outing, a 3-1 win over the Dodgers, lasted seven innings, during which he allowed one run and fanned six.
Giants:  To be announced.
Homer was the Reds equivalent to Bumgarner, except that he's been more like a Mike Remlinger, Mark Grant, or Kurt Ainsworth, than a Bumgarner, for the Reds.  However, he's been very good in stretches - I thought 2010 might be his breakout season after he ended 2009 very well; so did Reds, he started out season with them before DL - and is in the middle of a very good stretch now, after coming off the DL, with two 5 PQS DOM starts.  But still, his ERA for the season is 4.52, and he was pretty bad to start the season before throwing two good starts before a DIS start that led to him being DLed.

Bumgarner (not sure why he hasn't been announced, he pitched a great game in his last start), meanwhile, has been everything as advertised, except for his hitting, and I expect that to resolve itself soon after he blasts his first homerun.  He has handled good teams well in his starts, but I'll give nod to Bailey for his good pitching since coming off the DL, and call it even with a lean towards Bumgarner.

Giants Thoughts

The Giants are still in a good position to make the playoffs.  Certainly nothing slam dunk, but they have a fighting chance, I think, for the wild card slot.  With our main competitors for the wild card on the road extensively for the rest of the season, relative to the Giants, that helps us a lot, I think.  

The division title, however, looks to be out of reach soon, even if the Giants do well on this homestand.  The 'Dres have played much better than I thought they would, and though their pitching is still suspect down the stretch because of IP issues for their three young starters (and no real prospects for replacements in the minors, meaning they would have to trade for replacements), they could be so far ahead, it would not matter, as they play Arizona 6 times in the next 9 games and at home for16 of the next 19 games, ending with 4 games against SF.  The other games are against Colorado and LA, and neither have been playing well recently either, and those games are in SD, plus they get three against Phillies at home (good time for Ryan Howard and Chase Utley to start slugging upon their return from DL)..  

While the pitching has given cause to worry, I think they have just been having a stretch of bad luck, Lincecum, in particular.  While not up to his prior high standards, Timmy has not pitched that particularly bad either, from a peripheral standpoint.  He was two outs or one less hit away from a DOM start in his last outing.  And his main problem the past few games has been that batted balls have been falling for hits, otherwise, he has not walked that many (that is, high K/BB ratio) and he has struck out a lot of batters still.  He should be fine as soon as the hits stop falling in on him.

The Reds look vulnerable against the Giants in this series.  We have good matchups though it won't be easy  as their starters have been pitching well recently and they could just as easily win this series as lose it.  Still, I like the Giants chances to win this series, even though the Reds are tough on the road, they actually have as good a record on the road as at home right now (36-26).  I just think the matchups work well, I have a lean towards the Giants in each game.

Go Giants!

2 comments:

  1. Lincecum's main problem is not that batted balls are falling for hits. Those batted balls are falling for hits because he has had major problems with his location. He has been consistently getting the ball up in the strike zone, and major league hitters will not miss those pitches more often than not. Lincecum's command had been bad and those balls will continue to fall for hits until he can get the down and pick up the velocity that he has lost.

    ReplyDelete
  2. OCGF,
    I have enjoyed reading your blog for a while now and I think you would really enjoy listening to this interview I heard yesterday on the Padres Radio Network. The interview is with Scott Boras regarding how he would change the MLB draft. It just seems like the type of material that you would base a blog post on.

    Hope you enjoy it,
    Clint

    http://www.xxsportsradio.com/common/global_audio/40/21222.mp3

    ReplyDelete

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