Friday, September 14, 2012

Your 2012 Giants are 81-62: Drowning the D-backs

The D-backs are 10 games behind but have 6 games left with the Giants.  If they can win all 6 games, they would only be 4 games back, still far back with only 13 other games to make up those four games, but close enough to sniff the division title.  And what alternative do they have other than to win and try to be an obstacle in the Giants path to the division title?  Meanwhile, they are getting close to the second wild-card slot as well right now, and sweeping the Giants would put them that much closer to that second slot.  So they should be highly motivated to try to sweep the Giants.

They just had a mano-a-mano series against LA, who also needed to win, and they won both games in the series, beating Kershaw, the Giants Killer.  Still, after a nice win streak when they won five games in a row back at the beginning of June, ending June 10th, they have only been 41-42 since, so they clearly have not done well for a long time, win a few, lose a few, never getting too far from .500 since then.  They need to have an extended period of good play to get into the playoffs but they are only 9-11 in their last 20 (19 games left) and 14-16 in their last 30.  So it has been more that LA was falling back to them than them rising to LA.  And San Diego is only 2.5 games behind them now, but has been playing well for over two months now.  SD might pass up both AZ and LA if those teams don't watch out.

Game 1:  Cain vs. Skaggs
Matt Cain: An errant changeup led to a wild pitch that cost Cain and the Giants a big run in his last start, when he allowed two runs in seven innings against the Dodgers. Cain is 12-0 this season when the Giants provide three or more runs in support. 
Tyler Skaggs: Skaggs will be making his fifth Major League start against the Giants. He allowed five runs over in three innings at San Diego his last time out after working at least five innings in his first three starts.
Cain has a 4.25 ERA in 15 starts in Chase Field.  And that has roughly where he has been, generally, each season of his career, some up, some down.  However, in recent seasons, he has been putting up DOM starts there.  Still, some hitters have done well against him:  Upton, Montero (2 HR in 40 AB), Hill (4 XBH in 15 AB), Bloomquist, Nieves.  He has been close to DOM starts in this last few starts, just needing one IP or one less walk or one more strikeout, so he appears to be doing OK.  It would be nice if he can continue doing well, which would signify that he's over the issues he had pitching after his perfect game.

Skaggs is one of their young wunderkinds, only 20 YO, with only 4 starts under his belt.  He was close to a DOM start in his first career start, but nerves got to him and he walked 5 in that game (home game).  Since, he has only walked 1-2, so had he done that in that first game, he would have had a 4 PQS DOM start instead of a 3 PQS.   He then had two DOM starts (one home, one road) before having a DIS start in his last game against SD in SD.   But that was a BABIP game, 5 hits in 3.0 IP but only 1 walk and 5 K's (and a HR).  He is the first of three lefties AZ is throwing at the Giants, and the Giants are 30-15 this season against LHP.  He has no career numbers against the Giants, first appearance and start ever.  He has done well at home 2.92 ERA but poorly on the road 6.75 ERA (but only 2 starts each).  And so far he has dominated left-handed hitters but been beaten like a drum by right-handed hitters.

Have to favor the Giants in this start slightly because of Cain, but only slightly because they are playing in AZ and Skaggs has done well there so far and done well mostly, though his last start was a DIS start, plus the Giants seem to get flummoxed by pitchers they have not seen before.  But AZ is only 43-47 against RHP.  However, AZ has been on a bit of a hot streak lately, not hitting all that well, .268/.341/.396/.737, but averaging 4.7 runs scored per game over the last 7 games, for a 5-2 record.  But that was mostly on the road and prior to that, they were 2-8 on their last home stand, losing six straight to SD and Reds.  But they started this homestand nicely with 2 wins over LA for a series sweep and beat the Giants 2 of 3 in SF just last week.

Game 2:  Zito vs. Miley. 
Barry Zito: In one of his biggest wins as a Giant, Zito pitched 6 1/3 innings last time out in a 4-0 victory against the Dodgers and a three-game series win. The Giants have now won seven straight Zito starts even with his 4.53 ERA in those games. 
Wade Miley: Miley has pitched his way into contention for NL Rookie of the Year honors. He got the win last time out against the Padres despite allowing five runs over 5 1/3 innings. His lone appearance vs. Giants this year was a four-inning relief stint.

Zito has a 5.86 ERA in 11 appearances and 10 starts in Arizona.  But he had an OK start earlier this season, a 4 DOM PQS start, as well as a nice one in 2010 (I discount his 2011 performances, as he was probably affected by the horrific car accident that he was involved in just before the season.  Young, Bloomquist, Upton, Montero, Kubel, Goldschmidt, Johnson, Parra have all hit well against him.  Keys are probably Uupton and Bloomquist for power, Young for walks, and Kubel in general.

The 25 YO LHP Miley is a rookie-of-the-year candidate for the D-backs with a 3.07 ERA.  It will be scary if all their young starters ever start to figure it out (including Skaggs and Bauer).  He has faced the Giants only once, one relief appearance 0 ER, 4.0 IP, no hits and 2 walks, plus 1 strikeout.  So obviously, nobody has done well against him on the Giants.  But the Giants have a good record against LHP this season.  He has done well at home, 2.87 ERA but also have done well on the road, 3.27 ERA.

Miley has done well this season in PQS:  after 3 relief appearances, he has started 25 games, 60% DOM and only 12% DIS, great numbers.  After seeing this, I have to think the Giants will be hard pressed to win this game.  Zito did have a nice start in his last one, saving us, but now he would have to do two in a row in a venue where he has not done well before, which is unlikely for him.  He's basically pitching for a spot not only in the rotation but probably also the roster, because I don't see any way right now he makes it in as a reliever (see below).

Game 3:  Vogelsong vs. Corbin
Ryan Vogelsong: Vogelsong is mired in a six-game stretch that has seen him post 9.56 ERA. On Monday, he missed locations on his arm side, after struggling glove-side in his previous start. He finished strong, though, retiring eight of his last 10 batters faced.
Patrick Corbin: Corbin allowed three runs over 5 1/3 innings in his last start against the Padres. He took the loss and has dropped his last three decisions. In two starts against the Giants, Corbin is 1-0 with a 3.75 ERA.

Vogelsong has only 2 starts, one in his new era, but both times he did well,  In last year's start, he had a 5 DOM PQS start, so that was very good.  However, Upton, Young, Hill, Parra, Ransom, and Eaton all have nice numbers against him, albeit, mostly just 1-3 games played against (includes SF starts).  So while he has done well in AZ, they have beat him like a drum in SF.  Talk about dichotomy.

He has not done well lately though, after 2 DOM starts, he has followed with two poor DIS starts.  I'm willing to forgive one because it is a Colorado start and the other because he was BABIPed.  So I'm not going to worry unless he has another bad start here in Arizona, which is an extreme hitter's park, but if he don't turn it around, it will be hard to not think his playoff spot is in jeopardy.  .

Corbin is only 22 YO with a 4.19 ERA.  The Giants battered him around in SF, but in AZ, he gave up only 1 ER in 7.0 IP, shutting them down.  But that battering was just on Sept. 3rd and his good start was way back on May 11 when he was shiny and new.  Small samples, but players have mostly sucked against him, Hanchez, Pence, and Sandoval have gone well against the youngster, who was not ranked in BA's rankings at all for the 2012 season.   But he is doing very nicely, and probably is suffering some bad luck on the ERA, as he has an excellent 3.2 K/BB ratio plus both good BB/9 and K/9.  And he does better at home than on road, 3.38 ERA vs. 4.81.

Hard to call this game.  Vogelsong may just had some bad luck and therefore will continue his prior good spell, or he's actually going through another bad spell.  In any case, he's pitching for a spot on the playoff rotation against Zito and both have been good and bad in recent starts.  They will need to make a good showing in this series.

Have to think that if the Giants battered Corbin in SF and just recently, he was just lucky in his start against the Giants in AZ.  His pattern this season is he comes in on a groove of sorts, pitch well for a while, then starts to peter out with DIS starts (he has 2 out of his last 4 starts).  Though he was unlucky in SF in terms of hits, as he had 0 walks and 6 K's in 5.0 IP, no HR, so he could have made that a DOM start with one more inning.  So he's a good pitcher (roughly 50% DOM), but very inconsistent (30% DIS).  Anything could happen in this game, so I would call it a toss-up, but right now Corbin is on a definite downtrend, he could be tiring as it is his first MLB season, first pitching into September.

Amazing that they have a barely .500 record with these three good pitchers going for them, though not all season, admittedly.  Series could go either way, but seems like the D-backs have the slight advantage right now, since they are 35-34 at home for the season (but 31-26 prior to last two homestands).  And they need to sweep if they want to have a chance to get the last wild card spot, as well as a chance to win the division (as slim as it is now, it is pretty much gone if they lose any games to the Giants).  The Giants, like the D-gers series, just need to win at least one game, and of course it would be nice to win the series too, to keep the heat on LA.

ogc Thoughts

Wow, 7 games up with only 19 games to play.  The Giants would have to collapse in a huge (perhaps historically painful) way in order to lose that lead.   Kind of like how LA has gone 7-13 over their last 20 games while the Giants went 13-7.  Even the D-gers going on a huge winning streak to the end of the season would not really threaten that lead, the Giants would still have to play losing ball over these last games in order to lose the division title right now.  Just like how they need to keep the runners moving to score in a game, the Giants need to just keep the wins coming to win the division title.

But I've seen wackier things happen in the history of baseball, so I probably would not feel good about making the playoffs until we get the magic number down to one hand.  Still, as that Dusty metric shows - if you can gain one game a week, you reduce the enormity of the task of regaining the division lead to an easier goal - the task for the D-gers is hard.  The D-gers only got maybe 3 weeks left, so they really need to gain 2 games a week, plus 3 games one of those weeks, just to catch up.

Right now, Bumgarner is scheduled to start the last game of the year.  Assuming we do eventually win the division title, I have to think that the Giants will fit in Yusmeiro Petit into the rotation at some point to both eat up innings as well as give our starters an extra day blow and to set up the rotation to Bumgarner, Lincecum, Cain, Vogelsong in the playoffs, currently.  I can see the Giants wanting to go with that, unless Zito really pitches well and Vogelsong doesn't for the rest of the season.  The best date for this appears to be September 28th game in San Diego, that gives an extra day rest before the last start of the regular season for all our regular starters, plus it is just SD, who we are currently not worried about (but now they are only 2.5 games behind Arizona).   The main benefit here though is taking away one start away from Bumgarner so that he is fresher for the playoffs and less wear and tear on his valuable arm.

In addition, given Zito's recent comments regarding the possibility of making the playoff roster - where he said it was tough but made him stronger - I have to think that not making roster again might make him useless to us next season (kind of like Rowand in 2011), as he would no longer be motivated to play for Bochy, and we would have to eat the rest of his contract.   However, if he pitches horribly, like he did in September 2010, then I don't see him making the roster.

And if he made the roster as a reliever, then who gets left off?  Right now the team has a good thing going with Romo, Lopez, Affeldt, Casilla, Kontos, Hensley, Mijares, Mota.  Zito could relieve, but who would he kicked out among those eight?  I don't see it.  And the bench isn't any easier.  Right now, the bench looks like it would be Hanchez, Theriot, Arias, Blanco (assuming Nady is the starting LF, but Gregor is going good now, so they could platoon), Huff.  I don't see any of these players being left off the roster right now, though Huff could implode at any point, for all we know.  But in any case, I don't see how Bochy would want to go lower than a 5 man bench.

Same if Vogelsong ends up left out of the rotation.  Don't know who would be removed to allow Vogelsong a roster spot, but given his prior successes, I can see Bochy making the tough choice to keep him and, say, leave Mota, who was gone for much of the season, off.  I don't see the same thing happening if Zito were the one left off the rotation.

Best of Times

I was commenting on DrB's site when I realized that these are the best of times for the Giants, in terms of personnel for my lifetime as a staunch Giants fan (since 1971).  Obviously, with Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, we clearly have the best rotation in San Francisco history, and up there with Christy Mathewson and Joe Iron-man McGinnity for the New York Giants (relatively speaking, different eras of expectations regarding pitchers).

Regarding position players, I've already touched here on my blog about Buster Posey as the best catcher ever that the San Francisco Giants have had.  Before, for my fan period, Dick Dietz and Bob Brenly are probably the best during that span, and Tom Haller was well liked by fans of that era.  But in writing my comment, I also realized that Pablo Sandoval is probably also the best 3B (though as someone reminded me on DrB, Matt Williams was a pretty good player too, and he was, I still think he could have reached 61 homers in that strike year; so how about among the top two?).

In addition, we have other young players who show the potential to be arguably the best ever on the San Francisco Giants.   This might be blasphemous to Thrill fans (and I count myself as one), but Brandon Belt, if he reaches his potential, could hit for more power, do everything Will could do, plus could steal bases.  Brandon Crawford (he's the reason I came to this thought on DrB), I've been impressed with his ability to make contact (high contact rate), get walks (higher BB/K ratio), plus has power.  For the past month, he's been hitting .808 OPS, 10 BB/14 K over 84 AB (83% contact rate) and if he can continue that, he could be the best hitting shortstop the Giants have had while also providing gold-glove level defense.  Remember, the best hitters keep their contact rate above 85% (he's close) and have a high BB/K ratio, and when they do that, they hit over .300 more often twice as often as they hit under .250, in the study Shandler's group did.  Also, I've been very positive about Gary Brown's potential to be an all-around player for us:  average, OBP, power, speed, plus gold-glove level defense.  And if he can reach that, I've never see anyone like that (I started following the Giants at the very end of Mays' Giants era) playing CF for the Giants, most at best had defense plus speed/BA, but no power at all.

All this just makes me more and more confident about my projection/prediction in the late 2000's when I said that if the Giants play their cards right, they could be the Team of the 2010 Decade.  Back then, it was more an inkling that it was coming, with the pairing of Lincecum and Cain, plus Bumgarner rising fast in the farm system and Dirty showing flashes of his potential, along with the development of Sandoval and Posey.   But I was serious, as the potential for all these players suggested that with good health, enough money, and the will to use this money, these players could be with us throughout most of this decade, and lead the team to multiple World Series runs and wins.  I see no reason to change my opinion, other than I'm more and more confident about this with each season so far.


  1. Sandoval has a long way to go before he passes Williams & Davenport at 3B, who would be #1 & #2 on my list for all-time Giants.

    1. Davenport was before my era of Giants fandom. I agree that Sandoval has a long way to pass Williams, and his body type may push him away from 3B, much like Mitchell, I didn't account for that.

      But Matty's first season over 900 OPS wasn't until he was 28 and he struck out a lot while not getting many walks, plus mostly never hit for a high average.

      Sandoval had his first season over 900 OPS at age 22, Matty wasn't even a regular yet at that age. He hit for average as well as power, and as much as people want to rag on Pablo for not taking walks, Matty got even less, and he struck out a lot more than Pablo did. And they were both excellent defensive 3B. So he's got a good start at beating Matty.

    2. I believe Davenport was a great fielder at 3B, but not much of a hitter. He did seem to always get big hits against the Dodgers, though.

    3. Davvy had the sweetest pair of hands that you would ever want to see on a 3Bman. True that he was not a great hitter, but he was one of the best clutch hitters around. Didn;t hit much for average or power, but got the key hit when you needed it.

    4. I always knew that fans loved Davenport, but to put him among the best ever in SF history? I had to look at his numbers and I couldn't believe what I saw.

      He only had 4 seasons above 500 PA, just two over 140 games played, he played often but was never the full time starter, his highest was 147 games played, only had one season above 800 OPS, only three other above 700 OPS. Even in that offense-challenged era, his poor batting lines were rarely over 90 OPS+ at what is considered an offensive position.

      His defense would have had to have been off the charts to make up for the lack of playing time and of offense, a West Coast Brooks Robinson, but's methodology rates him merely as slightly above average for most of his career. Based on their calculations he saved roughly a run for each season he played. That's roughly a tenth of a win per season.

      However, to Boof's point, he hit .285/.357/.404/.760 with RISP, only .239/.295/.353/.648 with the bases empty. He also hit better with a runner at 1B. Unfortunately, about 60% of his AB's came with the bases empty. He did hit many more HR on the road, but overall had a higher OPS at home. Still, he might have hit better, but he was no superstar hitting with RISP.

  2. Nice summary as usual OGC. A couple of thoughts:
    1. I think you cherry picked Zito stats by dismissing his 2011 due to a "horrific" car crash. It wasn't horrific and you can't hang his 2011 on that, IMO. He was simply Barry being Barry: sometimes good, sometimes awful, mostly just OK.
    2. Leaving Zito off the post season roster won't lose him for the 2013 season. He'll still be Barry being Barry -- sometimes good, sometimes bad, mostly mediocre. The 2012 playoffs won't affect that.
    3. I agree re: the pitching matchups. We don't do well against new pitchers (game 1), Zeets isn't consisent (game 2), and Tron has been pretty awful lately (game 3). The key will be tonight's game -- if we win that could deflate the Snakes and they might throw in the towel on the year. Realistically, they need to sweep us to stay relevent and we can preclude that tonight. MN is 12.

    1. I don't think I cherry picked Zito's stats. I think the facts are pretty clear.

      Zito has been a healthy pitcher, never missed a start for the DL his whole career. Just days before his first start of the 2011 season, he was in a horrific - I don't know how you can not describe that as horrific, because the car was totally mangled and if he didn't accelerate at the last second to make the collision a side blow, he said that it would have been head-on at highway speeds, he said that he was lucky to be alive.

      I don't know why the doctors allowed him to start but he did and did well, but soon after his body failed him - yet he persisted to pitch - until they finally DLed him. Hence my gimme on those bad starts.

      When he "recovered" he pitched well for a start or two, then poorly as he insisted on pitching before he finally got DLed again. Then he was basically DLed for the rest of the season. That this second injury came so soon after he returned, I think that it was related to his first, which I believe is related to the horrific car accident.

      I don't know how many times I've seen pitchers pitch poorly for a while and then they finally admit that the pain in their body isn't going away and they get DLed. Saw that over and over again with Dirty. Unfortunately saw it with Foppert.

      I've been in car accidents before where my car got totalled and so I think that while Zito was perhaps ready to commence regular life activities, he was not ready for professional level athletics. But there are little if any medical study on this, I would bet, so the doctor has to rely on the word of athletes who are used to enduring a lot of pain before deciding that, yeah, I am probably really injured.

      Hence my conclusion that it was his horrific car accident that sideswiped his 2011 season.

  3. How great is it that the Giants added Crawford and Belt to their homegrown core of starting position players in 1 year while Hector looks like he can be at the very least a solid backup catcher who allows Buster to move over to 1B at times?

    On top of that, BA just released their minor league classification all-stars. Chris Heston was AA Pitcher of the Year and Clayton Blackburn was Low A Pitcher of the Year.

    Great, great time to be a Giants fan!

  4. Giants win 6-2 to drop their magic number to 11. D-gers won to keep pace.

    D-backs with the loss, is pretty much dead in the water for the division title at 11 games back with 18 to play. It would take both a huge surge on their part plus a huge fail on the Giants part, PLUS a fail on the D-gers part, for the D-backs to win the division now. They really needed to win to get back in the race and sweep. Now their goal is both to catch the D-gers as well as fend off the 'Dres, who also lost, but are still only 2.5 games back.

    It's a two team race now, but the D-gers are 7.5 games back and have only 17 games to play. They need to gear up as well as the Giants gear down, for them to win the division.

    Cain only pitched 5.0 innings, but had 105 pitches, so that was no rest for him. He walked 5 while only striking out 2, he was lucky it was not a disaster start, with a 2 PQS.

    Hitting stars were Pence with his grand slam, Pablo with his 3 hits, Scutaro with another 2 hits, and Santiago Casilla hitting a single to drive in a run (which if you had seen his one AB previously where it looked like he was terribly afraid of getting hit, you will understand how amazing this was). Posey didn't get a hit, but scored 2 runs. Amazingly too, Cain was the only batter to get a walk. Also amazing that there was only 3 strikeouts the whole game, Pagan, Belt, Cain.

    We got the game we needed this series - again with the first game. Now go and win the series and drown the D-backs.

    Go Giants!

  5. EPIC!

    But it's Posey's second half, as his legs have gotten stronger and his team has put away the NL West, that makes him the MVP candidate to beat. These are his insane numbers since the All-Star break: .393 AVG/.470 OBP/.658 SLG, 11 homers, 46 RBIs.

    Want to look that stat line over one more time? It's not one you've seen a whole lot in your lifetime, no matter how many years your lifetime has lasted.

    Over the last half-century, only three other hitters have emerged from the All-Star break to hit over .390 in the second half, with an on-base percentage and slugging percentage that high, and with double-digit home runs. Here they come:

    Barry Bonds, 2002: .404/.608/.825, 19 homers.
    Larry Walker, 1998: .402/.480/.699, 14 homers.
    George Brett, 1980: .421/.482/.696, 16 homers.

    Pretty high-profile group. Walker had Coors Field's lack of gravity going for him. Bonds had, uhhhh, flax seed going for him. Brett had the most picturesque swing of modern times going for him.

    But none of them was coming off a devastating knee injury. And none of them had to scrunch into a squat 125 times every night and bear the responsibility of catching one of the best pitching staffs in baseball.

  6. Giants win fourth in a row! Zito has a 4 PQS DOM start, giving up only one run. With two straight good starts, he's putting himself into good position for one of the four starting pitcher spots in the playoffs, which as Schulman noted in his blog, seems to appear inevitable (but I won't really relax until we actually clinch, I recall the, what, 1967 Phillies with Gene Mauch, . But the magic number is now 10 with that win (LA won again, beating the Cards, apparently they want it more than the Cards).

    Also, EPIC, Pagan set the SF Giants franchise record with his 13th triple (Cabrera was the one likely to break that before he was suspended...).

    And there was a Buster 2-run homer to provide the winning margin.

    And this Shulman blog notes that it was the contributions of the many that led to this win and to the 19-9 record since Melky was suspended: (read game account too).

    More Zito (from Schulman). First time to 12 wins with the Giants. The Giants are 8-0 in his last 8 starts, though I should note that he had a 4.06 ERA during that stretch, so the record is more the result of the offense than his pitching, though he has pitched well enough to get credit too.

    And as I've been writing about, it has mostly been the offense winning these games for the Giants, while the starting pitching has been searching for their mojo. Lincecum has had it more than the others, but Zito is starting to show it too. We need the others to get back into gear, just in time to win the division title (can't rely on this offense forever, at least not yet) and be in good shape for the playoffs.

    Sandoval did not get any hits, disappointingly, I was hoping the 3-hit game yesterday would get his going, but there is still tomorrow. Pagan and Scutaro had 2 hits each, Posey 3, and that was basically enough (Arias had a single, Pence a walk). Miley had a good game (one less hit and he would have had a 4 PQS game, a DOM start), but Zito was better today. Romo had a 1.1 IP save, his 11th of the season, he has gone 1.0+ IP in about half his appearances, which is more than I would have thought.

    If the Giants can win tomorrow, the Giants would move to an 8-7 record against the D-backs for the season. Cain noted after yesterday's game that the team has been thinking about them celebrating in front of them last season and that beating them in the season series is a goal for them. There is a 3 game series in SF left, in a little more than a week from now, the last home series of the season. Would it not be cool if the team could clinch in front of them in SF in that series?

    There are 8 more games before then, unless LA goes on an extended losing streak and/or Giants on an extended winning streak, which would win it for us even earlier, it looks very possible to win during that D-back series. We could definitely be sniffing it if the team can continue winning, say 5-3, which would drop the magic number to 5, and LA losing 3 to 4 games in that stretch too, then the magic number is 1 or 2.

  7. One of the beat writers talked about how the Giants seem to have a let down on the last day of a road trip, but I feel that is quibbling: the Giants lost the first and last game of the trip (in fact, got walloped yesterday, 10-2), winning the rest, going 4-2 against two divisional rivals, and more importantly, winning a road series against one of the last remaining contenders for the NL West Division title, the D-backs.

    With that series win, the Giants magic number vis-a-vis the D-backs is 6, while it is now 9 for the D-gers, who also lost yesterday. The Giants come home for their last home stand of the season, a nice 10 game set against Colorado (4), San Diego (3), and Arizona (3), before going on the road for San Diego (3) and the season ender in LA (3). If everyone plays .500 during the Giants homestand, the Giants should clinch in front of the D-backs in their last home series. Of course, I would not mind if they do it before then, but given that they got to celebrate in front of the Giants last season, they might enjoy the symmetry of that.

    That beat writer also mentioned that the Giants have not been doing as well at home, especially since ASB, possibly because the pitching has not been as great whereas the pitcher's park has been holding down our offense. I think that issue falls down if you look at each home series.

    First, we beat SD, but got swept by LA (contender, so you expect tough series), then lost 3-1 to Mets. Then we beat COL but lost to the Nats (Melky suspension knocked the life out of the third game plus they are a contender too). We split with Atlanta (another contender) 2-2. Finally, we lost a series to AZ, but beat LA in the last series.

    So one could say that the Giants seem to have trouble beating the good teams at home, but I think a more accurate view is that the imbalance in the first part of the season, where they won a lot at home but not that much on the road, got balanced out in the second half. Particularly when you consider that the Giants while doing poorly at home, then went on the road and took it to the other teams, both non and contenders.

    But part of that writer's point is that the pitching is a source of this issue, and for that I agree, but that applies both home and road, if our pitching does not firm up by the time the season ends, our playoff chances will not be that great. Particularly since, in this one time set up for this season (for some reason; things will be back to normal going forward), the Giants most likely will be the lower team in the bracketing, and thus would open at home for 2 and then go on the road for 3, in the Division Championship Series.

    That normally would be an advantage for the Giants if they were winning big time at home, but they haven't lately, to the writer's point. I don't know what else to do but have faith that our starters will deliver when it comes time for the playoffs and that the home issues are an anomaly (which they are).

    More importantly right now is that first Blanco was taken out of the lineup due to a shoulder issue that suddenly cropped up that he had no idea how it happened, then Pagan was taken out during the game for back problems that apparently is recurring but that is not expected to affect him in today's game. I know how bad backs can get, hopefully the Giants will just rest him today, just in case, and go with Christian in CF, Pence in RF, and just throw someone out in LF, like Peguero, since he is here anyway.

  8. Another EPIC! event this season:

    Barring a fairly seismic collapse and/or an unanticipated power surge, the Giants are on the verge of accomplishing something unprecedented in the live-ball era.

    They would become just the fifth team in the last 78 years to reach the postseason despite hitting the fewest home runs in the major leagues.

    The 1987 St. Louis Cardinals were the last team to do it. Whitey Herzog’s ’82 Cardinals, too. Then you have the 1965 Los Angeles Dodgers and the 1959 White Sox.

    And that’s it. After the “Go-Go” Sox, you have to go back to the 1924 Washington Senators -- and that’s when the ball was deader than dead.

    So what makes these Giants unprecedented, you say? Well, those other four teams led their league in stolen bases. By a wide margin, too. The current Giants, by comparison, have stolen just six bases above the NL average.



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