Friday, September 03, 2010

Your 2010 Giants are 74-60: Put D-gers Out of Their Misery

Ugly wins against Colorado, but the starting pitching came through and a horrible loss on Monday was matched with an inspiring win on Wednesday as payback, for a nice, hard-fought series win against Colorado.  Now they face LA for three in LA.

LA has had a weird season in that while they have beat up on their NL West competitors (30-18), they have sucked against the teams the NL West teams took care of (38-48).  But the Giants are even with them, 6-6, each 3-3 at home and on the road.  And the D-gers have been fading since the All-Star break, they have not won one series against a playoff contender (splitting only one of them), and having been hovering around .500 since their big losing streak late July and early August.

Time for the Giants to step up and push down the fading D-gers into the gutter.  However, they will face three great pitchers in this series, so the Giants will have to work hard in order to win the series.  Not an impossible task but not easy either.

Game 1:  Chad Billingsley vs. Zito

MLB Notes:
Giants:  Zito has worked a season-low 3 2/3 innings in his past two starts, allowing a combined 14 runs (12 earned) and 13 hits in those outings. Zito traditionally has thrived in September, posting a 25-14 record with a 3.71 ERA in that month.
D-gers:  Billingsley hasn't allowed more than three runs in a start since July 16, and he's gone fewer than six innings just once in the same span. In the start he didn't go six, he went 5 2/3. Billingsley had control issues last outing, when he walked five.
Unfortunately, it does not look good for the Giants because Zito has been crap in his last few starts.  Still, he has a 3.12 ERA in Dodger Stadium, and a 1.84 ERA against them in LA this season.  Billingsley, however, has been very good against the Giants, with a 3.32 ERA against them in LA (oddly enough, he has a better ERA in SF).

Given the history, have to call it even, but with a strong lean towards Billingsley because he has been pitching well and Zito has not.  Zito will have to come up big for us to win this game, hopefully the past few disaster starts was because he was trying too hard again and thinking too much.

Beat LA!

Game 2:  Ted Lilly vs. Cain

Giants:  Cain showed his characteristic toughness in his last start, against Arizona, working out of a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first without any runs scoring. He lasted 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs, and received a no-decision in a 9-7 win.
D-gers:  Lilly finally lost a start last time out, against Colorado, when he let up seven runs in four innings. He's 5-1 as a Dodger, but he hasn't pitched well against the Giants in five career starts: despite a 3-1 record, he has a 5.12 ERA and 1.48 WHIP.
Another tough matchup.  But Cain has had a history of pitching well against and in LA, although he only won his first game against then this season.  Lilly has pitched well in D-ger Blue, but the Giants have beat up on him before, though it is different now, this is in D-ger Stadium, one of the most extreme pitcher's park there is in the majors.  I will have to call it even, with a slight lean to Cain since the Giants have beat on Lilly before.

Beat LA!

Game 3:  Hiroki Kuroda vs. Sanchez

Giants:  Sanchez has pitched into the ninth in two of his past three starts, including last Monday vs. Colorado, when he had a shutout through eight before the Giants fell, 2-1. But Sanchez has continued to alternate a good start with a bad one.
D-gers:  Kuroda's gone at least seven innings in five straight starts but is just 2-1 in that span. He no-hit the Phillies for 7 1/3 innings in his last start, a seven-strikeout, 7 2/3-inning performance. He's been better at home (3.15 ERA) than away (3.69).
Doesn't look good for Giants.  Sanchez has never had a good game against LA in LA.  If he can do it this game, it would be the first time he had a good start there.  The only hope right now is that he has not pitched in LA this season, it was in prior seasons that he sucked there.  Given his outburst earlier about catching the 'Dres, hopefully he can deliver in this start against our arch-nemesis.

It won't be easy.  Kuroda has been pitching well, especially in his last start, no-hitting the Phillies potent lineup.  However, he has a 11.74 ERA against the Giants in LA, though that was in 2008, he was very good against them last season and hasn't faced them this season.  He is having another good season, even better than before.

I will have to call it even, since neither pitcher has appeared able to figure out the other team when facing them in LA, but lean towards Kuroda, who has generally been better than Sanchez.  Jonathan needs to step up in this game.

Beat LA!

Giants Thoughts

The Giants will have another tough series, another tough team to beat for a series win.  And overall, it looks like the D-gers will win the series.  But the Giants have done it this season, more often than not, so I would not count them out.

And the D-gers have negative momentum on their side.  They are losers of 4 of their last 5 games, and as I noted, losers against every playoff contender since the All-Star break.  And the Giants have won 5 of the last 6 games between the teams, as LA beat on us early in the season, but then the Giants returned the favor, so momentum is on our side now.  Our best chance will be if either Zito or Sanchez can step up and pitch a great game.  And we might win another game on Darren Ford's speed on the basepaths.

I think one advantage of the Giants versus the other playoff contenders is that they have 3 days off in September, whereas other teams had less, only 1 or 2 days.  For example, the Phillies and the D-Rox had to spend their off-day yesterday playing each other in Colorado, flying out of their way to get there.  It was actually in the middle of a road trip to SF then SD, which normally would be an easier trip, but now had to fly from SF for a game in Colorado then fly quickly out to SD.  Their next rest is on September 16, August 26 was their last rest, so they will have played 20 straight days/games between rests.

The Phillies did not suffer as much as they were headed home anyway, but still, one less day of rest, though they still have three days off still in September.  However, they get to play a double header on the 6th, which means that some of their regulars won't be in both games, plus they lost yesterday's rest, so they could be tired for the series against Milwaukee and Florida.  But they are hard to figure out, as they got swept by the Astros in 4 games at home, then went on the road and won 6 of 7 against SD, LA, and COL.  Hopefully the Brewers and Marlins can take it to them like the Astros did.

Krukow's Thoughts

Krukow said on the radio today that the chemistry in the clubhouse tells him the Giants will win the division by 4 games.  We all know he's a rah-rah homer, but I thought I would put this out there.  And that would be tough, they have 30 games left, and a .500 record would leave them at 91-71 and the Giants needing 95 wins and going 21-7.

Given how poorly they have played, if they played very poorly and, say, finished 10-20, they would be 86-76, and the Giants only have to go 16-12 to win by 4 games.  If they finished 13-17, they would be 89-73, and the Giants would need to go 19-9.

Winning by 4 does not seem doable, but winning the title seems doable if the 'Dres finish .500 or below for the month:  Giants need to go 18-10 if 'Dres finish .500, 13-15 if 10-20, 16-12 if 13-17.  But that is a big if, as they have not had one month this season under .500.

He also said that Lincecum is back, shedding the doubt of August.  As I noted in my PQS post, he has clearly been improving, start by start, culminating in his last start.  Kruk feels that once a pitcher gets the doubt out of your mind, then you can get on a good run.  That's great because we can use one from Lincecum, heck, all of our starters.

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