Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Offense is Hygiene, Defense is Core Competencies

I posted the below in response to a complaint about the Giants SS solutions since the Aurilia era.

Click on title of post to see the full post
(why does Blogger provide a jump break function but then does not let the reader know that they need to click something to see the full post, I wonder how many people thought I forgot to write my post. I'm almost at the point of stopping using this "feature")
That is the problem when you outsource for capabilities that your team has deemed to not be core competencies, you are at the mercy of the marketplace in terms of what you can reasonably pick up. It is not like you can pick up a young SS who is good without giving up something of value, and the Giants have, for the most part for years, not given up any prospect they consider of value. And time will tell on Wheeler.

People like to beat like a dead horse, to steal another overused cliche, that they have no offense, but the reality is that current saber research finds that teams gain competitive advantage in the playoffs by having great pitching, fielding, and closer. Offense provides zero competitive advantage. Both BP and THT came to the same conclusion, from different methodologies, that offense does not matter but pitching and fielding does, in doing deep into the playoffs.

Meanwhile, current management theory says that an organization should focus their finite resources on core competencies while outsourcing for the other skills (which Geoffrey Moore has termed "hygiene", competencies that you need to have to function, but not necessary for competitive advantage). Putting the two together, it means in best practice, teams should ideally focus on pitching and fielding with their finite player development resources, while outsourcing what they cannot fulfill internally, which is mostly offense.

The Giants and Sabean have done that. They have put together, mostly internally, the best rotation and closer combo in the majors, while outsourcing much of their offense and filling gaps, via free agency and judicious trades where they gave up on players they did not view as keepers. They have also tried to mix great defensive players with adequate defensive players on the field. Then finally an offense just good enough to win with the pitching and fielding.

As I’ve shown on my blog, in a business plan, when you have the best defense (pitching and fielding, but mostly pitching) in the majors, you can still win 90 games with a very sub-par offense. That is the beauty of the Giants strategy, when you have the best pitching around, you can mix and match spare offensive parts from all over to scratch out wins with just enough offense.

That they also look to have a good offense to go with the good pitching over the next 2-3 years, with Sandoval, Posey, and Belt in the middle of the lineup and hopefully Brown and Panik 1-2, they can afford to have Schierholtz in RF and Crawford at SS, plus someone in LF batting 6-7, is just the cherry on top. And maybe it’ll be Susac catching and Posey taking LF, should Susac sign and develop quickly.


Thought I would update my table on RA and RS, considering how defenses have improved so much and/or offense have decreased so much (mainly the latter, I believe, due to the MLB stopping using a juiced ball and not because of PEDs) since then:

The Giants had a 3.60 RA in 2010, which the 12th placed team could have won 90 games with.  The Giants were slightly below average, at 4.30 RS/game, 9th in the league.  As one can see, you could have one of the worse offenses in the league (12th in 2010) and still win 90 games with the Giants defense (pitching and fielding).

Huff Enough Already

We have all been waiting in vain for Aubrey Huff to return to his 2010 form.  Various ideas abound, including this great analysis that showed that the difference between 2010 Huff and 2011 Huff is that he's swinging at more pitches low in the zone, where he typically does nothing with, while still mashing the pitches high in the zone.

My theory is that when he's under pressure to be "the man" in the offense, he doesn't do that well, whereas when there are other big producers, he relaxes and let the pitches come to his upper zone, and mashes them.  Like this season, once Posey was put out and with Sandoval out first then Franchez next, Huff needed to step up and the pressure got to him, and he swung at too many pitches down, apparently, expanding his zone by chasing more pitches, apparently in desperation to become the man.  I looked at his offensive support over the years, and found that when he did well, he usually had other guys hitting really well too, whereas when there was no plus hitter in the lineup, he struggled to be average himself.

Could he be finally breaking out?  Now that he has two offensive studs in Sandoval and Beltran to take the offensive heat?  Who knows, but you have to start somewhere before you can break out, he now has two months, as he put it, to make us forget about the first four months.

So far, so good.  He has hit .308/.364/.462/.825 with 3 HR in 78 AB, 8 BB vs. 10 K (87% contact rate) since the All-Star Break, so he has been good overall for a while.  But in particular, since June 23, or roughly when Beltran was rumored to be traded for, he has hit .365/.426/.538/.965 with 2 HR in 52 AB, 7 BB vs. 5 K (90% contact rate, BB/K > 1.0), in 17 games, 15 starts, or roughly 2.5 weeks.

And from the moment the Giants traded for Beltran on July 27th, Huff has hit .341/.388/.545/.933 with 2 HR in 44 AB, 4 BB vs. 4 K (91% contact rate, BB/K = 1.0), in 14 games, 12 starts, roughly 2 weeks.

And per his statement of having a great 2 months to forget his prior 4 months:  in August so far, he has hit .367/.424/.600/1.024, with 2 HR in 30 AB, 3 BB vs. 3 K (90% contact rate, BB/K = 1.0) in 9 starts.  So far, so forgetting.

I would love for him to continue to do that, as would any Giants fan, but he has been so poor all season, up and down, that one has to take this streak with a boulder of salt.

The good news is that he has not really had a good stretch of plus plus hitting at this level at all this season until now.  He has been the "bad" Huff, as this recent Fangraph post noticed, most of this season, until this recent stretch of great hitting that started on July 23rd, rarely venturing, even for a two week period, into a very good offensive level, he was basically in the roughly 800 OPS or lower range that he has been during his career when things are not going well for him.   Those numbers above, since July 23rd, are heads and shoulders above offensively, which he has not shown at all this season, besides that one 3 homer game and 4 homers in two games.

In any case, this type of hitting is why I have preferred to go with Huff over Belt.  It is unrealistic to expect Belt to hit like this.  Particularly giving how badly he has been striking out in the minors and majors.  However, Huff not only has hit like this before but has done so a number of times in his career, including twice in the past three seasons.  People looked at this the wrong way, it is not that Belt couldn't hit any worse than Huff has been, but rather that Huff could hit much better than Belt could hope to, if he could just figure it out.

The quote in the San Jose Mercury suggests that he has:  "Just laying off bad pitches, getting myself in hitter's counts, and giving myself a chance.  In the struggles I've had, especially when we're not scoring any runs at all and our pitchers are going out there every night giving everything you got, you're going up there and just trying to do too much."  The first, laying off bad pitches, leads to the second, which leads to the third, as then the pitcher has to throw the ball up in the zone, where he hits the ball well, in order to avoid walking him. 

I find his quote to be funny ironic, in reverse, for Rowand.  His first couple of seasons with the Giants, he actually hit very well for around four months, I mean well enough to justify his salary, but his poor hitting in the last two months or so of those seasons made the fans forget about his offensive goodness during those first four months.

He hasn't done that much the last two seasons, unfortunately, and he acknowledged as much in a recent interview he had to do to clarify his statements in another interview which were interpreted as a knock against the Giants and their fans.  He basically said that he has sucked, and he understands why the fans have not supported him.  He wishes it has been different, but it is what it is.

Stewart Continues to Do Well

I've been a big supporter of Chris Stewart since he came up.  I love his stats in the minors, he knows how to avoid strikeouts, he just hadn't done much in the majors with his bat up to now.  And I've worried about losing him should the Giants do trade for a starting catcher, because he could blossom as a hitter at some point.

He has continued to do well.  He had his first major league homer yesterday.  Since June 26, after he got a stretch of games as the starting catcher (Whiteside must have been hurting badly, Stewart started 6 games in a row and 7 of 8 and 10 of 13), he has found a good stroke going:  in 25 games, 18 starts, he has hit .258/.333/.371/.704 with 1 HR in 62 AB, 7 BB vs. 4 K's (94% contact rate, BB/K > 1.0).  And since the ASB, he has hit .306/.342/.471/.759 with 1 HR in 36 AB, 2 BB vs. 3 K's (92% contact rate).


  1. Please stop abusing the BP and THT studies. They looked at teams in the postseason and concluded that in that environment excellent offense provides no edge, while excellent pitching does. Every time you bring this up you ignore the fact that almost all teams in the postseason have offenses that are near average or above -- including the Giants last year. Their offense was *above* average, especially with respect to HRs, in the second half of the season. They ended up a little below average for the season overall because they were nearly as futile as this year's version.

    Yes, the Giants have excellent pitching 1-3 and in the bullpen. So do Atlanta and Philadelphia. When that is true, where do you find the edge? Defense? SF has statues at SS, 2b, and 1b, and erratic dudes at C. Postseason rivals are better. All that's left is offense. Giants better find some that sticks around through October. What would be best: Power. That is what made the difference in 2010 -- leading the league in second half HRs, thereby being in the upper half of the league in RS. And you may have noticed the value of HRs and hitting with RSP in the postseason. Or maybe not. Wouldn't surprise me if you didn't.

  2. Oh -- and also? Your constant praise for Sabean's "strategy" is irksome. Yes, it is good that he has Dick Tidrow and thus can emphasize pitching effectively. But the idea that this justifies constantly fielding the weakest possible offense, therefore putting the entire burden of winning on pitching, and thereby minimizing the advantage excellent pitching provides, is insane. It's like saying a golfer is such an excellent putter that he can hit off the tee with a broom and still win.

    Sabean is a terrible judge of offense and defense. He has no Dick Tidrow in those areas (at least none that he listens to).

  3. YOU please stop abusing the BP and THT studies, particularly since you appear to have not understood or read both. You clearly didn't even read them the first few times you commented on them, as I corrected your misunderstandings over and over and over again.

    Here is the direct quote from BP's book that I quoted you the last few times we have gone at it, you seem to have selective loss of memory, plus I'll add something more, so show the entire context:

    "There is literally no relationship between regular-season offense and postseason success in our data set; the correlation is 0.0014 - in other words, it doesn't exist.

    As far as we're aware, this finding has never been reported before. What's strange is that it isn't that hard to detect, even without the sophisticated math:

    * Since 1972, there have been twenty-seven teams that made the postseason in spite of having below-average offense. Of these, seven won the World Series: the 1985 Royals, 1987 Twins, 1990 Reds, 1995 Braves, 1996 Yankees, 2000 Yankees, and 2005 White Sox. All of these teams, except the 1987 Twins, had excellent pitching staffs; it's hard to make the playoffs with a below-average offense unless you have an excellent pitching staff.

    * Conversely, twenty teams have made the post-season with below-average run prevention. None of them won the World Series, and only two (the 1982 Brewers and 1993 Phillies) even played for the championship. Sixteen of the twenty lost the first playoff series in which they played."

    So there it is, in black and white, below average offensive teams have made the playoffs before and not only that, roughly 25% of them won the World Series.

  4. Oh, should have added that this means that 15% of the teams that made the playoffs in the data set had below-average offense. With 8 playoff teams each year now, that roughly means one team each season, on average, had a below average offense.

  5. Only an idiot can not see the value of HR and hitting with RISP (not RSP). So I'm surprised that you can see it because you keep on wanting to get into a discussion and each time I have to correct your misunderstandings of what the studies said.

    Of course offense is better to have than to not have. Any baseball fan already knows that by the time they were playing their first season in baseball in school anywhere.

    There is nothing earthshaking about that. And you are an idiot for thinking I ever advocated for a below average offense.

    I think you are just too dense to get the main point.

    What I've been saying all along is that the Giants can make the playoffs with a below average offense.

    And that is a counter-intuitive truth, based on research which I did on my own, that has nothing to do with what I've been quoting BP and THT on, that's something you seem to have missed each and every time we have had this discussion, so I will make that plain to see this time, so maybe you will come back with an intelligent comment next time instead of rehashing your misinformed thoughts once again.

    I've never said that one should just aim to have a below average. I explained to Giants fans who would listen that all was not lost the past few seasons just because we had no offense, we could still make the playoffs and still make some noise there.

    And after all the losing seasons, that is the whole point to the season back then, making the playoffs, because even the best teams lose in the playoffs and don't make the World Series.

    Then I explained that not all is lost in the playoffs just because we have a below average offense. The BP study showed that they have often won when they got into the playoffs. And those odds are pretty close to the odds of winning the World Series for the best team of any playoff season.

    For example, in the BP book, they calculated the odds of the teams winning, based on their regular season stats, and found that in 2005, the 100-62 Cardinals had the best odds of winning the World Series, using their regular stats and using the Bill James log-5 method, which was 25.3%.

    As I noted above, 7 of 27 below-average teams won the World Series, which is 25.9%, which is higher.

  6. I responded to this fallacy a while ago. "Below average" is not the same as "worst in the league." For instance, the 2010 Giants had a "below average" full-season offense. But you and I know that in fact it was above average the last half of the year. I am not going to comb through the postseason records again, but the fact is that the 15% of teams you reference were marginally below average -- basically indistinguishable from average to marginally above average. (In one of my previous posts I laid this out for you.)

    There are only one or two postseason teams in the last 25 years with bottom of the league offenses. That's the point I made in the beginning and am making now: You are distorting the studies and arguing a strawman. Nearly every postseason matchup features teams that are near average on offense: In a short series, barring an immense gap in power, that means they are in effect evenly matched. *That* is what makes pitching (and defense) so disproportionately influential.

    This Giants team's offensive ineptitude (to date) is far outside the range of the sample in the studies because none of the teams in the studies were anywhere near as bad. You are twisting the argument to mean something it does not mean.

    You even abuse the evidence of last year: The Giants team that went to the postseason did not have a below average offense. It had an above average offense. The team that entered the postseason was the second half team, with Ross, Huff, and Burrell having career years.

    The fact that they were above average for the last three months of the year is the only way they managed to drag the team's full-season RPG almost to league average. During the first half, they were at the bottom of the pile, scoring fewer than four RPG (they were still not as wretched as this year's injury-ravaged team).

    The BP and THT studies simply do not say a single thing about how teams that score 3.6 RPG, hit .241/.304/.349 fare in the postseason. They aren't talking about that at all. You are, and you're wrong.

  7. In addition, I noted that teams who were among the best in the data set, not just in one season, but best in the data set, in the three metrics that BP said were critical to success in the playoffs, when a team had that set of characteristics, 9 of the top 10 made the World Series, the one that didn't make the World Series lost to another who did make the World Series.

    And 7 of the 9 won the World Series, with one of the two that lost, they lost to one of the 10.

    The Giants, as I noted before, appeared (BP did not provide the same stats publicly, but the numbers suggest they were high) to rank very highly across those metrics last season, I believe they would have made the top 10. And as noted such teams in the past not only usually made the World Series, but they won it too.

    But you ignored the value of this, which I've mentioned each time we have gotten into this discussion.

    And it doesn't surprise me that you didn't notice the value of having a great pitching staff and fielding that the Giants had last season. You and all the others who continue to bash Sabean et al severely underestimate the value of our pitching time and again.

    I made a very strong stand before the 2009 season that the Giants should be contending for the playoffs and maybe make it. You and your ilk were crying about the team all season and thought they were just a .500 team.

    I made a very strong stand before the 2010 season that the Giants not only should contend, I would be disappointed if they did not make the playoffs, and then go deep into the playoffs. You and your ilk were crying about the team all season and thought they were lucky in 2009 because they over performed their Pythagorean and the BP metric on team efficiency and that the team would be close to .500.

    Same for this season. All of you Sabean Naysayers severely underestimate the power of having a great pitching staff, a great defense (pitching and fielding).

    What you don't understand is what I plainly showed with my math in the business plan: each 0.1 reduction in runs allowed, resulted in the offense being that much more efficient in winning. So while an offense may be below average, because they are much more efficient because the defense keeps the scoring down, they win a lot more than one would think under normal scoring environments.

  8. And there you have the strategy of Sabean, a strategy that you clearly don't understand at all, and most important of all, it is not only a winning strategy during the regular season, it is a winning strategy in the playoffs as well.

    And it is not just pitching and fielding, Bochy, as I discovered recently, is a big part of that strategy.

    My research has found that over Bochy's career, he has had a large percentage of the seasons where a manager had one of the largest differences in wins and losses in one-run games. The rule of thumb is that any overage in 1-run wins balances over time, and if you just look at any old season, that is true, a manager does not run off a string of such seasons over his career.

    However, Bochy has done it often over his career, holding something like 40+% of the top 1-run win differentials over his managerial career.

    So yeah, it is irksome to people like you who don't understand and appear either incapable to understand or unwilling. Before, I was going with unwilling, but since you keep on making mistakes each and every time you try to get into a discussion with me on this, spouting off the same things each time, I'm beginning to think that you are just incapable.

    Again, I never said that pitching justifies fielding the weakest possible offense, you totally misunderstood what I said.

    All I've said all along very simply is that the Giants have a chance to win with the offense we got. And with the pitching we got, we can go deep into the playoffs, even with our bad offense. I've been very consistent on that.

    Of course I would love an offensive upgrade. If you as you can figure out how the Giants can trade for Pujols without giving up any of our top prospects, heck, top pitchers on our MLB roster, you should tell the Giants immediately.

    But I don't deal with fantasy trades like that. The reality is that the team will not get much of any offensive upgrade at any point without trading a top prospect. They did this year by trading Wheeler, but that is an outlier over Sabean's career, right now, though if Wheeler fizzles out like all the other prospects Sabean has traded away, or is a pain to manage, like Liriano, then he was correct once again.

    The key point to me, to pass to fellow Giants fans, is that the team can still win, even with a poor offense, and still win in the playoffs with a poor defense.

    Do I prefer that? Of course not. You are an idiot for thinking that.

  9. You say that Sabean is a horrible judge of defense, yet the Giants were among the leaders in one of the sabermetric measures of defense last season. And they always have had strong defensive players mixed in with the poor, but overall the team has usually been among the leaders in good defense, whether the least errors in the pre-saber metrics era, or today with the sabermeasures up the wazoo.

    You say he is a terrible judge of offense, yet we have a beautiful middle of lineup with Sandoval, Posey, Belt in the future, all good offensively and defensively, and it looks like Brown and Panik would be great 1-2, plus good defensively as well. He was also the one who selected Derek Jeter for the Yankees, as well as signing Jorge Posada.

    He's also the one who traded a fading Matt Williams for Jeff Kent, and traded Hamilton for Ellis Burks.

    As I've noted over and over, you can't rebuild both the offense and pitching at the same time, there are not enough good draft picks to do that effectively, the odds are very against any team from accomplishing that.

    So it is much better management to focus your scarce resources on pitching, because of the flexibility in their usage and ability to amass a lot of talent on the team quicker without overlapping skills that forces a trade, and therefore forces an extra degree of risk into the rebuilding process. Once that is done, then you can start spending your best draft bullets on hitters.

    I am sorry you appear incapable of understanding this, these are management principles that appear beyond your mental abilities, since I have had to explain this to you over and over and over again. As the saying goes, three strikes and you are out!

    You just say the same things over and over again, and I have to repeat myself over and over again.

    If I could ban just you, I would, as you have added ZERO to any discussion, in fact, I would rate you as a NEGATIVE because I have to correct all your mistakes each time, you would go on and on like you have something worthy of saying, and yet I correct you each and every time.

    I could just delete your posts, but I have always refrained from doing that except when there is foul language, as I want to keep my blog as open as possible, so that people can see the other side of the argument as presented by others. But you are trying my patience.

  10. You are again arguing a point not in dispute. I think it must be willful.

    Look at the facts I presented and speak to them. Handwaving about "below average" offense is utterly beside the point and has been from the beginning.

    The Giants to date, and in the first half of last year, do not have a "below average" offense. They have a "worst in league" offense.

    Yes, they still *could* make the postseason, but they clearly defy history if they do so without an offensive upgrade (i.e.: what happened last year). And they will be severely overmatched when they face teams whose pitching is on par with theirs but whose offenses are average-to-above average.

    Guess what? Yes, they could still win it all. And if they make the postseason and improbably prevail, you would probably believe this proves your point. No, just as the 1988 Dodgers don't prove it. Exceptions occur. But, then, you seem to believe that Sabean doing the same thing over and over and failing until finally catching that fabled "lightning in a bottle" means that what he has done over and over is good strategy.

    Also, you're dim if you think the Giants as deployed by Bochy's lineups have superior defense.

    As for your business plan, think trendlines, sweetie. The 0.1 RA formula only works in the real world within a range of offensive competency (which includes "below average" teams but not execrable ones). You cannot extend that trendline forever. It won't work.

    It's basic: You're using results derived exclusively from a range that extends upwards from slightly below average (nearly all postseason teams, including the 15% "below average," have had offenses in the top 3/5; above 40th percentile). You're applying these results to a range that is on the furthest extreme: A team on the very bottom, .77 RPG below MLB average, a full 75 runs behind the 15th best offense in MLB.

    The "below average" argument simply is not relevant to these circumstances -- just as it was not relevant to the 2010 Giants, whose offense as constituted when they entered the postseason, as I have noted again and again, was above average.

    It's like saying

  11. Oh, hilarie, hilarie, you just don't understand statistics or sabremetrics. You can't just make a boolean argument of "worst offense in the league" and have it mean anything. If the Padres end up at the bottom does that make the Giants better?

    I might suggest a better understanding of standard deviations and the differences thereof between batters and pitching staffs, and, more importantly, the use of a roster in the postseason. "Percentiles" mean nothing - if we can get away from the Sabean-bashing for just a moment, can you deny the impact that Cliff Lee had for the Rangers in the post-season last year? Mariano Rivera in his prime for the Yankees?

    It's absolutely established that regular season record has little correlation with post-season success (except, of course, with making the playoffs in the first place). I can't believe you deny this - you can't possibly guarantee that the Yankees, Sox or Phillies will even be in the World Series. What does make a difference is how a team is enhanced (or not) by how the makeup of the roster interacts with the peculiarities of the playoffs.

    There is nowhere near the deviation in offenses as there is in pitching. You equate the difference between, say, the Red Sox' offense and the Giants'; with the difference between Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito. That is absolutely the point of the BP study.

  12. I haven't done any studies except for watching a helluva lot of baseball over the last 45 years of my life. After watching about 10 baseball seasons and postseasons, I came to a conclusion that I still hold to be true: To win the World Series, a baseball team needs just 3 players, 2 dominant SP's and a dominant Closer. The other 22 players on the roster are all fungible assets.

  13. marc: You are rebutting arguments I never made. I never claimed regular season records correlate with postseason success. I never denied that pitching dominates in the postseason -- I expressly said it does.

    I said the BP and THT studies do not mean what is claimed here, especially with respect to the Giants, whose offense is not "below average," it is so bad that in the last 25 years only two teams with equivalent offense have ended up with winning records and none have made it to the postseason. There are no studies that speak to the Giants situation.

    In addition, I said that the 2010 WS win is also not comparable, and not particularly relevant to these two studies. The Giants had an above average offense in the last half of the season, and top-of-the league power. In no real sense did they arrive in the postseason with a "below average" offense.

    This year's main problem is *getting to the postseason* -- something offense does affect.

    But if this year's team makes it with an offense still capable of generating only 3.46 RPG with almost no power, the BP and THT studies will once again offer little of relevance. The best and worst offenses in almost every postseason are not very far apart.

    The Giants would be (the first team in a quarter century or more) trying to win 11 games against three teams who score 1.5 - 2.5 RPG more and whose pitching is just as good.

    BP and THT could not compile a meaningful sample to look at that scenario -- at least not using postseason performance -- because it has not occurred.

  14. Well, sure ya did, hilarie - or else what is the point of 90% of what you wrote? The word "postseason" appears many times (21, I just searched). If you're saying the "Giants aren't going to make the postseason" that's an entirely different issue.

    I have a hard time imagining they aren't - the only competition is Arizona, and they have to rely too much on Upton and the pitching staff pitching over their heads. I'd guess 85 wins is plenty to win the division.

    Except for the Giants part, I like that Arizona is doing so well, the underdog thing, emerging star, Kirk Gibson... but a successful season for them will be finishing at .500.

  15. Thanks Marc and DrB for your comments.

    Hilarie, OK, I will admit to some misunderstanding of your outrage, but honestly, it started the same way all the other ones started as, where you attack me regarding my usage of the BP and THT research.

    You are still wrong with most of that, I've been applying it just fine. I have discerning readers, and they have gotten into my face when I made mistakes, I think if my logic was off, I would have heard it already.

    OK, so I missed that, but you are really more steamed about the 2011 Giants. Let's tackle that.

    You note the 3.46 RS (actually 3.45 per BB-Reference). Well, the Giants have a 3.59 RA against teams over .500, and 3.43 RA against the Phillies in 7 games. That's basically even teams there.

    And their RS against teams over .500 is 3.73, which is good against 3.59 RA.

    So as far as I can see, the Giants will be up to the challenge of beating the other team, with their great pitching, their offense has been up to the task of beating another good team.

    If anything, they have been letting down against the lousier teams, with only a 40-37 record against below .500 teams and 24-17 record against .500+ teams.

    I would also note that you basically made my argument by noting that the 2010 Giants won because they were different by the end of the season than they were at the beginning.

    And the team is becoming different. First of all, the poor offense overall is driven first by their poor May (3.21) plus Aug (2.50), they averaged 3.56 in the other months.

    And really, August is an aberration, they have their highest OPS of the year on a monthly basis right now, but just not scoring right now. BABIP gods are angry right now. Mar/Apr .675 OPS; May .658 OPS; June .653 OPS; July .657 OPS; Aug .675 OPS. Assuming they continue to hit, RS should rise.

    August is also an aberration because there were 5 games (out of 10) where the Giants pitchers gave up 4 runs or more (actually all were 5 runs or more). So 50% of the time they did not do their job. During the season before, it was 43%. Switching that, they could have been 4-6, instead of 3-7, which would not be so big a deal then, plus they would still be in first place.

    And that is what you are missing, Hilarie, that the lineup is different now than before. For a long while, we had a 2B and SS who was not hitting for much at all. We now have Keppinger and Cabrera, both of whom, after a slow start with us, have been hitting better since, than what we got before.

    Also, Huff appears to be getting out of his hitting funk that he was in for most of the season. As I noted above, what he is doing now is nothing like what he had done earlier this season, which gives hope that he and Sandoval will shore up the middle of the lineup. Beltran, when he was in, was hitting well too, just not super hot as some of us hoped, but he still has time to do that, even if he DLs, we'll have him for September.

    Also, before we got Beltran, the Giants was actually averaging 3.91 RS in July, they were starting to heat up, then the player integration/adjustment took over.

  16. You claim to have laid out the data, but I don't recall any such stats, I've been the one giving stats and when you do give stats, I have to correct you each time.

    You are the one being willful, you sound just like bozos I've run into on the web, claim to have stats and numbers, but in the end, you have nothing but your lies and/or misunderstandings.

    Huff did not have a career year, 2010 was his third best OPS year, and there was another that was basically the same. Burrell had 5 other seasons equal to or better than his 2010 Giants stats. Ross' season was his worst in his career, and he was just right in range with his better years in his time with the Giants. He did get hot in the playoff though. There was nothing really extraordinary in their offense.

  17. Ah, finally, something that you say correctly: that BP's study does not cover the situation the Giants offense are in right now, being the worse in the league, worse in many years of playoffs. I will concede that.

    However, what you are missing is that the Giants pitching is also an outlier in how good they are this season.

  18. Holy cow, pal. That's what I've said in every single post, including the first one. That is the argument I have been making.

    Like marc, you seem so fixated on the supposedly "counter-intuitive" BP and THT studies that you imagine I am disputing them, even though I have said again and again that I do not. (The study outcomes are not counter-intuitive, by the way, or even particularly controversial: many, many baseball analysts and commentators have made the same point about pitching vs. hitting in the postseason or, more broadly, in short series.)

    What I have said from the beginning is that neither study pertains to the Giants situation this year, nor to their situation last year (when they had an above average offense throughout the last two months of the season).

    The Giants pitching is not an outlier compared to PHI, ATL, NYY, or LAA. It wasn't an outlier compared to PHI and ATL last year. All these teams have excellent, not average or below average, pitching. So the BP and THT studies are not particularly relevant to matchups where there's little difference in pitching talent.

  19. I would also agree that the Giants would have problems matching up with Atlanta and the Phillies. I've never ever, not once, said that they would beat either team in the playoffs.

    In fact, I posted early this season that the Giants most likely will not repeat as World Series champions. It was an article so good that Grant even posted it on his website for all to read, surprised you missed that one.

    See, knowing that they would have trouble would require nuanced thinking and you appear to be incapable of that. So I'll go through each step so you can follow.

    There are two things going on here: one is general strategy on how to economically creating a consistently playoff bound team that maximizes its chances to go deep into the playoffs, the other is the Giants situation here in 2011.

    The Giants are well situated strategically to compete long-term, get into the playoffs, and go deep into the playoffs.

    But I never said that they are well situated this season, I've only said that making the playoffs is pretty likely and that once you get into the playoffs, you never know what happens.

    Nuance (plus plenty of ogc reading!).

    I have not really addressed my feelings about the Giants in these playoffs, mainly because I try to avoid "what if" type of situations for the most part. I used to drive myself crazy doing stuff like that, I like to deal with the here and now.

    And really, as much as a slamdunk it appears that they will make playoffs, as a 40 year observant of the condition Gigantes, you just never know, there is still too much season to play yet, things can end horribly.

    Still, to your point, I agree that they will have trouble with Atlanta and the Phillies.

    But that is not really much different from last season, they can and did have trouble last season as well. They were lucky that Chipper Jones was out and not playing. That could have made a huge difference. And the Phillies had us to 6 games, that series was very even as well.

    Though was is different is that the Braves now have Uggla, who has struggled all season to get over being their "man" and the Phillies first picked up Cliff Lee, then now Hunter Pence (though I think his addition is not that significant than complementary, as he's more an average type player overall, he's have a monster BABIP season; should not be as good in 2012-13).

    Still, the Giants now have a resurgent Panda and hopefully Huff, the pitching rotation top three now looks even more solid, with Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner headlining, and Vogelsong looks like a more than capable 4th starter for us in the playoffs.

    Look, I assume you have seen enough baseball to know that in short series like the playoffs, players sometimes either rise to the occasion (like I think Reggie Jackson and Edgar Renteria did) or just happen to get really hot (like Cody Ross or even Gene Tenace long ago). When you have great pitching, they minimize the odds of that happening, whether great hitters or so-so hitters like Tenace.

    That gets you into 1-run games a lot, and series will turn on whether a team can get that one extra run to win the game.

  20. And that is one of my research discoveries this season, Bruce Bochy is the KING of 1-run wins, or at least has been for his career, including this season.

    I have found that Bochy has accounted for something like 40% of the best 1-run records in a season by win differential (i.e. wins over .500) during this career, when he accounted for around 7-8% of the seasons there were. The sabermetric rule is that everything evens out.

    I was going to write this up and post on Fangraphs, but I'll share now.

    I ran a null hypothesis with .500 as the expected mean and then comparing Bochy's career record in 1-run games and found that there is over a 99% likelihood that his skill in 1-run games is not .500 record. So the key question is how much above.

    At 99%, he is at .504, which is +6 games over almost 800 such games. At 95%, he is at +26 games or .516 winning percentage. At 90%, he is at +36 games or .523, which over roughly 50 such games per season is a 26-24 record, meaning that Bochy adds two games to the team through his managing at the 90% level.

    For his career, at the time I last updated my stats, he was 427-358, or 72 games above .500 for his career. Which is roughly 4 extra wins per season his teams have won, on average, over teams that average .500 in 1-run games.

    I never really understood why Sabean was in such a hurry to hire Bochy until then. The only other managers who had a lot of these types of seasons were Bobby Cox, Dusty Baker, and Bobby Valentine. And when you are talking the biggest outliers (having 8 or more wins than losses in 1-run games), it really is only Bochy first, then Cox (but he really tailed off at the end) and Valentine (who somehow has not been able to get another job in the majors).

  21. OK, I caught another thing you said that is inconsistent. You go back and forth about full season and partial seasons, to fit your needs, and I've been following along instead of stepping on the tail of the dog spinning around.

    BP studied full season stats. The Giants last season was below average, per their definition. Slightly below, but still within their definition. So NO, I did NOT get the 2010 Giants wrong. You did.

    However, I agree that the Giants in the playoffs was not the same as the Giants early in the season. I've been saying this or something like this for almost 10 years now across Giants threads all around. People fixated on seasonal stats and never really looked at what we got at the moment.

    Then you go ahead and fixate on the seasonal stats anyway, shooting the whole logical underpinnings of your argument to hell.

    The Giants right now is not the Giants of earlier in the season. It can't be, there is no Posey now, but then again, we now have Beltran, Cabrera, and Keppinger, three clear upgrades over what we had been fielding in the lineup earlier in the season, particularly Beltran. And if Huff is returning to 2010's form (and so far he is for the first time this season, as I noted in my post), that is another upgrade.

    That is why I don't worry too much about his stuff as long as we are winning and in the hunt for the playoffs. One can drive yourself in circles (like you Hiliarie, "sweetie"), because things can change, just like it did last season as Sabean added a number of pieces that helped the team.

    I'll worry about what the Giants can do in the playoff once 1) they make the playoffs, and 2) we reach the playoffs, that is when we can accurately gauge how the team might do there. Remember, Chipper or any of the old pitchers on the Phillies could suddenly leak oil just before the season ends, and that would make things better for the Giants.

  22. I haven't fixated on seasonal stats. As you observe, I rebutted them (that was one problem -- not huge -- I had with the studies).

    Part of what I was saying by differentiating between the team that started the year and the one that ended it, is the fact that BP defined "below average" in a way that fit the 2010 Giants (and other teams) makes they way they characterized their findings somewhat less accurate than one would hope. Their overall outcome is solid, but they overreached.

    I also continually employed the qualifiers "as constituted" and "if they don't improve" and similar regarding the Giants 2011 offense. Obviously, if they replicate 2010, they won't enter the postseason with the worst offense in baseball.

    I pointed out that the 2010 Giants were "below average" for four months and well above average for the rest of the year.

    You complain about my use of "career year" on Huff. Fine. One of his top four years. Point is, to date this year he has performed as he has every other year. If he approaches last year's productivity in the final two months and/or if Torres produces, and/or Beltran, and/or Ross, the conditions that exist now will not exist when the team starts the playoffs. The Giants will not have the same offense that we're talking about now. But we are talking now, and this is the one they have.

    As of this writing, there has been no turnaround. That's why my use of current season stats remains valid. The improvement you cite is incremental. There is still no power and they are still scoring a three-fourths of a run less per game than league average even in your "up" months.

    I tend to agree that Pence may regress and Beltran produce. Pence may have been expensive (depending on career arcs), Beltran may not have been. But these are speculations for which there isn't much supporting evidence. Pence could have two months like Cody Ross's postseason. Beltran could be unable to swing a bat with authority for the rest of the year.

    By the way, there is no evidence to support the notion that Cabrera is an upgrade. He's a statue and a non-hitter. If you think Pence will calm down, imagine how much more likely it is that Cabrera will trend back down to his season norm after this very modest and brief success at the plate. And he will muff plays in the field.

    I like Keppinger's bat, of course, but he's a statue, as is Huff. In close games, dependent on pitching, over time immobility and stone hands at these positions will lead to losses.

  23. No Hilarie, this is not exactly what you have been saying, you have been saying that I've been employing the BP and THT studies incorrectly and that is PATENTLY INCORRECT.

    Those studies are talking ideals and generalities regarding strategy to employ in general to maximize your teams chances of going deep into the playoffs. That is all that is meant by the studies.

    You are the one who has been applying it specifically to this year's playoffs.

    And I have been correcting all of your mistakes in all the comments that you have posted, without many counter-rebuttals to the vast majority of them (and whatever rebuttals you have had, I countered them with no rebuttal from you).

    Unfortunately, you don't understand what counter-intuitive means. I never said what you said above, which I have to say about something you claimed I said for the umpteenth time, because you just can't get it through your head.

    I said that it is counter-intuitive to hear that offense provides no competitive advantage during the playoffs, that no matter how good or bad a playoff teams offense has been, it has had no bearing on a team going deep into the playoffs.

    While I would agree with your point that no team has been as bad offensively as this year's Giants, neither has most teams been as good as these Giants either.

    And again, as I pointed out about the 2011 Giants stats, they have been battling the top teams well enough. I will take that in the playoffs, we have seen them be the top offensive team over and over again and end up with a bad taste in the mouth, and the sharp end of the stick in the eye (1997, 2000, 2003, 2004).

    Again, I have to correct you, about the stats you chose. And I do recognize when you change them. Before, you chose your wording to be second half of 2010, now you chose last two months. Enchhh! Wrong again!

    Last two months, the Giants scored 4.04 runs per game, which would have placed them 14th in NL last season, only behind Houston and Pittsburgh.

    You forget that I mentioned last time that the Giants only averaged 3.66 runs per game in Sept/Oct. Whole lot of bad offense that season, not much higher than what they are doing this season, in fact.

    They were super hot in June and July, that is when they were above average: 4.59 RS in April, 3.89 in May, 4.00 in June, 5.32 in July, 4.43 in August, 3.66 in September. If anything, our offense was coming to a halt, which is totally opposite of your theory that they were on a hot run to the end with their offense.

    Playoffs: 2.75 RS in Atlanta series, 3.17 RS in Phillies series, 5.80 RS in World Series, but in last three games, 3.00.

    I guess you are wrong again.

  24. Next one to knock down (I feel like I'm in a softball game!): not an outlier compared to Phillies and Atlanta.

    First of all, I thought you said that this don't apply to 2010 since the Giants in your eyes were supposedly not a below average team by the second half, which I just showed to be not true, in fact, surprising to me too, they were in severe decline and never really brought it up during the playoffs except for those two games against Texas.

    And in any case, I was talking about this season not last season, but as I mentioned above, you slip easily between one side or the other to make "your point" frequently, tying your logic all up in knots. Luckily, I love taking about knots.

    But since you brought it up, last season the Phillies had a RA of 3.95 and Atlanta had a RA of 3.88. The Giants had a RA of 3.60.

    To show what the difference that represents, assuming the Giants can score 3.95 on the Phillies while RA 3.60, and they played a full season's worth of games, the Giants would end up 87-75, roughly (87.4 wins). In a 7 game series, that's 3.78 wins for the Giants, 3.22 for the Phillies.

    For the Braves at 3.88, that works out to 86-76, and 3.72 wins for the Giants.

    Even allowing that the Giants offense should score less while the defense should give up more runs, that is a pretty hefty margin the Giants had in advantage over those two teams in terms of RA.

    Still think the Giants aren't an outlier relative to those two teams in 2010?

  25. OK, now for 2011.

    This season, the Phillies are even better than the Giants in terms of RA, they are the true outlier at 3.28, overall, but the Giants are out there as well, 3.56, just not as far, but relative to the league average, very much out there.

    Atlanta is out there too, at 3.65 and LAA has 3.71, so they are close too, but the Yankees are at 3.88, and that as I showed above is not that close.

    That is only a 83-79 season against the Braves, and 84-78 season against LAA.

    Luckily, the Giants only have to worry about the Angels only if they both make the World Series. But given that their 4th starter is Tyler Chatwood, 4.07 ERA, I would like the Giants chances in that series.

    Atlanta does have a formidable rotation in Hudson (imagine if Beane had signed him instead of Chavez, heck, imagine if he had gotten anything useful in the trade), Jurrjens, Hanson, Beachy. No doubt.

    Phillies even better, Halladay, Lee, Oswalt, and Hamels.

    But here is the RS/game and RA for each of these teams against opponents with .500 plus records:

    Braves 3.54 RS, 3.43 RA
    Phillies 3.61 RS, 3.30 RA
    Giants 3.73 RS, 3.59 RA

    The unvaunted Giants offense has actually scored more per game against the best teams in the league than the Braves or Phillies.

    Their pitching has not been the best, but once we get into the playoffs, its Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong. I'll take my chances.

  26. And AGAIN, the studies were not meant to be used to predict any particular series like this, so you pointing out that they are not relevant to the matchups is again on you for misusing the studies.

    It was meant as a general thing, it was never meant to guarantee a winning result in any particular playoff season, it is a strategy that you can employ to maximize (not pre-determine) your possibilities of success in the playoffs, over the long run.

    YOU are the one incorrectly applying the studies to this year's situation.

  27. That is the best rebuttal you can give to me after all the mistakes I have point out: "You are ignoring DH."

    I think the bigger point is: "You are ignoring Tyler Chatwood, 4.07 ERA vs. Ryan Vogelsong"

    Or how about this:

    LAA, 3.81 RS, 3.79 RA vs. .500+ teams

    That accounts for DH both ways, they are barely .500 against the best teams.

  28. The problem is that you don't know what to fixate on, you are all over the place, one moment it's seasonal stats, next moment it's partial season stats.

    And you know why? Because you don't research before you write down your points, and you have no logic driving your theories, unlike me.

    Again, you are stretching even your meager logic way past the breaking point by saying that 4.04 over the last two months of the 2010 season is considered "well above average".

    Thanks Kevin!

  29. This seems to have devolved into an argument about whether the Giants are going to repeat as champions THIS YEAR. In that regard, Hilarie has built up a bit of a straw man. I don't believe OGC nor I nor any other "Sabean apologist" has ever said the Giants are going to repeat. They have a good CHANCE of repeating, and if they do make the playoffs they have a great chance of repeating for the same reason they won last year: They have great pitching! Even if the opposing team also has great pitching, the the Giants are able to counter that and largely neutralize any offensive advantage the opposing team may have. It now becomes a battle of close, low scoring games where Bochy's savvy and the bullpen become decisive.

    The much bigger issue that Hilarie is completely missing is that Sabean's blueprint of building pitching first is paying off big time. Not only did the Giants win it all last year, they are in the thick if the Pennant race again this year too.

    As for having the worst offense in baseball, yeah, right now they do have the worst offense in baseball, but a lot of that is not Sabean's fault. You have to remember the little detail of the Giants losing their two best hitters to injury and multiple other position players have missed significant time to the DL which has disrupted their timing or whatever it takes to be a good hitter in MLB. Tell me this team wouldn't be a whole lot better offensively with Posey and Freddy in the lineup every day! How are their injuries Sabean's fault?

    Lastly, the Giants continue to have a strong farm system despite the deadline trades and are well stocked with promising young hitters coming along. The pitching is a bit thinner, but as long as they don't have to spend money re-stocking the lineup, they can afford to hang onto the core of the pitching staff for years to come.

    The Giants future is bright and Brian Sabean is a big reason for it.

  30. I like that a guy who builds his argument entirely on strawmen and then accuses the opposing side of doing so. That's the kind of guy who would make a life's work out of constructing bogus "business plans" and selling a few basic templates over and over again to distressed businesses. The Music Man.

    I am not arguing about whether the Giants will make the playoffs or repeat this year. I am arguing that your claim that the BP and THT studies have anything to say about their chances of doing so is unsupported by any evidence.

    To evaluate your understanding of rules of evidence, let's look at one of your critiques: You accuse me of inconsistency, using, then abandoning, then re-adopting full season stats on offense.

    You wouldn't survive a second in my business environment with that kind of handwaving.

    Here's why: 2010 is over, 2011 is not.

    Despite your cite of incrementally improved production *so far* in later months this season -- raising the Giants to 3/4 RPG below average -- there is no evidence of a significant upward trend. The fact is, the RPG rate for July-August (vs April-June) projected over the season so far would add about 13 runs total, leaving the Giants exactly where they are now, ahead of only Seattle and still behind the Dodgers. And the chances that the increase is random are very high.

    That is exactly why using whole 2011 season stats is valid: The slight upward tick between months, or pairs of months, is statistically random and, even more important, in reality inconsequential. It is connected to nothing observable. No hitter on this team did anything to suggest there would be a sustainable increase in offense.

    Meanwhile, dividing the 2010 season into two parts (not into months) is objectively defensible. Over the last 1/3 of the season the team improved in one significant area: runs.

    I don't know why you think monthly RPG matters, exactly -- there are no months in baseball -- but the fact is they scored 318 runs April-June and 381 July-Sept. That is a 1/2 RPG difference. And -- reminder, here -- in both cases the team was scoring more than four runs per game. Which the current team fails to do by a half run.

    Also, another note: I qualified my statements about 2011 offense with "as presently constituted" or "if they don't improve" or similar. That is, or would be to a non-ideological reader, a clear statement that if offense improves substantially over an extended period late in the season, all conclusions must be re-evaluated.

    As things stand now, there is no objective reason not to use full season offense stats for 2011 when appraising the teams chances if they happen to make the playoffs. Equally, there is no objective reason not to appraise the 2010 offense as it was constituted upon entering the postseason.

    One season is over. One is not.

  31. I want to comment on obsessive's unexplained and weird commitment to Brian Sabean.

    It's obvious that obvious is angling for a job or, at least, an arrangement. One he'll never get or if he does I hope it's with Ned Coletti. Possibly after a bidding war with Sabean. "I guess I need to catch lightning in a bottle on the metrics front." In a rich consultancy market he's obviously not an attractive hire -- unless the employer is one who only values assertions that confirm his bias. And hey! that's who hires expensive consultants.

  32. Oy, this is getting boring.

    Hilarie, I'm real excited you don't like Brian Sabean. You make my glaze over with your fervor. The frothing at the mouth is distracting, though.

    Hey, I'm trying to get a job with everyone I approve of, it keeps me busy - I have great plans for Kate Hudson, but that "getting paid" part just isn't working out. Guess it must be because I think she's cute. Go figure. Was I wrong about her?

  33. Hilarie,

    And what about your weird and unexplained obsession with OGC and what he says on his blog? You certainly have expended a tremendous aping of time arguing with him over stuff he's never said.

    Had the Giants simply gotten career average seasons from the players they started the season with, we wouldn't be talking about the worst offense in baseball and they would have locked up the NL West a long time ago.

    You cant't blame Sabean and Bochy for an insane run of devastating injuries. Without them, this team would be doing just fine. There is still a long way to go. They might continue there free fall, or they might recover in time and make another run. None of that has anything to do with how the team was constructed, or with its long term health.

  34. Yes. If one doesn't want to use career averages for some of the aging Giants, then use ZIPS or Pecota. By any rational predictive standard the Giants, as Dr. B says, "would have locked up the NL West a long time ago."

  35. Interesting, from THT, via Tom Tango (sorry OGC if links are a bad thing)

  36. Marc, no worries, I am all about a free market of ideas, though unfortunately that means tolerating comments from people like Hilarie. Doesn't mean I like it nor does it mean it will continue, depends on how much abuse he/she does.

  37. Duh, Hilarie, which Giants fan wouldn't love to be employed by their team?

    However, I learned a while back that consultants don't get paid that much and job security is pretty much nil there unless you are in back office operations. And as a research person, I would be gone once Sabean is fired, at the latest, earlier if I don't deliver results quickly, and I don't see innovation in stats being that rapid, plus just look at how the Red Sox chewed up and spat out Voros (though probably his bi-polar condition probably did that).

    And, honestly, only someone severely disconnected with reality would think that someone could get a job with their favorite team writing a blog. That would be up there with hoping to marry a prince/princess, winning the lottery, and getting to perform with the remaining Beatles in a concert.

    I write because I have a passion for research and a passion for the Giants. I hope to find insights that the Giants might use, but is under no illusion that it would gain me a job. I would like to make a discovery that would gain me fame with the saber-set - nerdvana - I mean, anyone with a modicum of ambition and ability will want recognition, but if it don't happen, I won't cry crocodile tears over it.

  38. Mainly, I hope to bring insights to Giants fan so that they can set their expectations on what to expect from the Giants, whether it be the good years or the bad years. Because that is how I want to enjoy the Giants.

    I think it is juvenile to just care whether the Giants win or lose. I think it just sets up a negative view of life, it is also short-sighted and there are things in life worth waiting out to develop. There are lifecycles to organizations, short-sighted thinking leads to wasted long-term opportunities and wild ups and downs in your organization, like with the Brewers.

    You lose appreciation for the growth of the organization as the players mature and advance in the organization and their careers. It is worthwhile to spend time watching things progress as time goes, and not just want a championship each and every year.

    Because that is not reality, it is not going to happen every year, but I believe if you build the team right, you can at least have good hopes of doing that each season for a long time before needing to tear down the team and rebuild again.

  39. I was going to write about this as a post, but I think the Media contributes strongly to this short-term view with their slanted writing. All I see in recent articles are very negative about the Giants.

    Hello?!? The Giants are trying to overcome the lost of two of their best hitters (actually four if you include Torres and Huff's MIA this season). Despite that, they have battled their way to leading the division most of the season, and are still only a couple of games out. Most teams' fans would kill to be in our position right now.

    That shows how well Sabean has built this team and how well Bochy has managed.

    Yet the media (OK, one writer specifically for his article today, but I see generally such an attitude) encourages the idea that Sabean's moves can be questioned if the Giants don't get into the playoffs.

    I don't see how it is Sabean's fault that two of his best hitters are injured and out for the entire season on fluke plays. Most teams don't recover from that, look at Marlins with Hanley out. Look at Colorado with Ubaldo failing. Yet the Giants are in the thick of things.

    I consider this pennant race to be found money and I will ride it out with the joy that the Giants are in the hunt for the playoffs, then for the World Series championship if they make the playoffs.

    If you would rather sulk and complain about Sabean, that's your decision - a mistake in my opinion - and something you will have to live with.

  40. As I have been rubbing in the Naysayers faces, I have enjoyed the past seasons, 2008-2011, as the Giants matured and became a perennial playoff contending team. Why not, sometimes people just need the slap of cold hard reality to see that they are making a mistake.

    I have been odd since I was young, I worry about other people, obsessively so sometimes. And I feel sorry for the Naysayers, there is no need for all the angst and disgust with the Giants, I've been telling them that things will be better and my reasons why and there has been no reason for me to change my tune, I have generally been right about the overall direction of the Giants.

    When my theories aren't working anymore, I will shut up, though I won't give up. I will try to figure out what makes a team successful in the playoffs, linking various research together, and that will be my guide to whether I am complaining about the Giants or praising the Giants.

    I claim no genius in what I write. My views have evolved over time based on piecing one bit of info with another, mostly with regards to my analysis of the Giants. Like an anthropologist, I try to study what they do as a clue to what their overall strategy might be.

    What I have found is, and to my astonishment, as I was in the Naysayers camp long ago, that the Giants actions fits into current theories of sustainable success in the playoffs, and for sustainable success in making the playoffs.

    I find that an accomplishment to praise, any fan would hope to find that their team has done that.

    So I hope to find converts and hopefully my discussion here will show the pigheadedness of the Naysayers, and the brilliance of the Giants and Sabaan's plans and execution of that plan.

    The Naysayers just don't understand the power of the pitching that Sabean has put together. That should win converts each year as the Giants continue, like the bumble bee, confound the fans who think that it just will not fly.

    And, something I have not written about yet, but I think such a strategy also works well with extending your stretch of domination, assuming you are willing to pony up the money to keep your best pitchers for their career, as such dominant pitching allows you greater odds of finding enough offense, even with a poor back of first round draft pick, to support your pitching.

    But that's for another day.

  41. Not going off into that tangent, but, yeah, Voros is certainly a case study. The guy's a legend, surely the Sox could have accommodated him. But that isn't how it goes.

    I am always a bit confused when fans seem bitter - a bit of pollyanna or civic pride is part of being a fan. And loving baseball is loving baseball, I don't see how things can always be such a crisis with some people. Imagine being a fan in most other cities - we got it good right now.

  42. Hillarie, I am shocked that I have to explain this simple thing, but given YOUR weird and incomprehensible defense of your position.

    I find it pretty simple.

    The reason I went to the monthly data is that it was your assertion that the Giants won in the second half because of their much improved offense in the second half, where it was very close to average.

    As I illustrated clearly, the Giants won the pennant in September scoring a very sub-par 3.66 RS/game.

    I included the other months to show that the offense was very subpar for most of the season.

    And looking deeper into the numbers, if you subtract the 3 game series in late August, the Giants only averaged 3.40 RS/game. So from Aug 1 to the end of the season, the Giants averaged 3.54 RS/game when you take out the three game series in Cincy where they scored 39 runs in 3 games.

    Clearly, the Giants offense was subpar for the vast majority of the second half.

  43. Hilarie, I'm sorry you don't understand the business plan. I know it is not for everyone, and if you don't like it, you don't have to try to implement it. Thank goodness you are not the Giants owner.

    You accuse me of hand waving, yet I go through point by point where you got things wrong and you don't defend yourself even once, which would be easy to do if I'm just hand waving. You are the one hand waving away everything.

    You remind me a lot of someone who did this all the time, he would cry about how I got it wrong, cite stats that I show to be wrong, never could argue against my points, but would hand wave like you and blanket refute my points. Sure your name isn't Kevin?

  44. OK, looking at your final argument, you are basically saying that the offense "as presently constituted" don't score more runs, they will lose and if they score more than they would win.

    That has nothing to do with ideology, that is something a 6 year old first learning about baseball can tell you: if you don't score many runs, they will lose, but if they score more, they will win more.

    Then, after you talk about how you qualified your 2011 statement by saying if they score more then your conclusion must be re-evaluated, you then say that there is no objective reason not to use the full season offense stats.

    Plus, you say that 2010 has nothing to do with 2011, yet you then talk about what they did in 2010 and then compared what they are doing in 2011 with 2010.

    Do you read any of this when you are done?

  45. I think I am seeing where you are confused.

    I use the BP and THT studies to show that offense don't matter and defense does. And you confuse their methodology with my explanation about how the Giants does in the playoffs, judging by your rambling rant, second to last before this.

    Here is how I view how any team does in the playoffs: I look at the players they have in the playoffs. If there are any substantial amount of injuries during the season, the seasonal stats are skewed negatively by that normally, unless the team somehow obtains a better player, which does not normally happen

    Giants fans have been screwed up by this fact for a long time, I was explaining this to people all the way back to Schmidt missing the first month or so.

    It makes no sense to include the stats where Posey or Franchez was here nor when Sandoval was not when evaluating how they might do in the playoffs. Also, if Huff and Tejada do appear to be finally out of their early season slumps and they continue to hit into the playoffs, it makes no sense to evaluate the offense based on what they did earlier as well.

    Most importantly of all, if Beltran do become a core part of the offense, as we all hoped, in September, it really makes ZERO sense to use any of the offense stats earlier because most of that had no Beltran in the lineup.

    Yet, you say that "there is no objective reason not to use full season offense stats for 2011 when appraising the teams chances if they happen to make the playoffs.

    Same for 2010, makes no sense to include stats where Molina was the starting catcher, or when Rowand was the starting CF, or Bowker was the starting RF, same for Nate, or before Burrell joined the team.

    I agree that it makes more sense starting once Posey was the starting catcher, but as I showed above, the offense was just hot in July, something random, it was mostly like this season in August and September, roughly a three and a half run offense. And they won with that in 2010, so it is an example of how you can win in 2011 with such a poor offense.

    And, you neglected to note that the defense in 2011 is even better than it was in 2010, hence they don't need as much offense as they had in 2010 to win in 2011 (I am sure I mentioned this numerous times already).



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