Monday, September 17, 2012

Your 2012 Giants Magic Number is 9 With a Four Gamer Against Colorado

Wow, could not be better set up:  the Giants want to reduce their magic number by a lot and we get to face the Rockies for four games, against their 4-man rotation with 75 pitch limit experiment going on.  It does not appear to be working, if you look at the probable pitching matchups, their pitchers description notes how their pitchers are giving up at least 4 runs in their outings, this in spite of their limit on pitches, which generally has meant that they only pitch around 4-5 innings (4 or less when not doing well).

That's why I'm taking it easy with this series preview.  Please go to the link above for the text I've been copying into my blog post, and you'll see the sad parade of Rockies starting pitchers, in fact, we get to see their whole rotation, versus our top four starters right now, Bumgarner, Lincecum, Cain, and the amazing Zito, who is pitching his way in (and Vogelsong pitching his way out) of the playoff roster.   If we don't win this series, then we got problems bigger than figuring out the playoff rotation.

The Rockies are 5-10 in September and sinking like a rock, though I would note that they actually had a winning month in August, so that is a surprise (16-13) but an anomaly, as they were 10-18 in May, 9-18 in June, 7-17 in July.   In fact, it was their only winning month of the season, so the rotation was working for that month before letting down in September.  They also dealt the remaining division title contenders a blow at home, winning three straight series against LA, SD, and SF in August.  However, that was after a post-ASB malaise, losing series against Phillies, Pirates, Reds, Cards, Giants, before straightening out in the next homestand, winning 5 of 7.  Their winning month was built on sweeping the Brewers and Mets, basically, plus winning a series in LA.

And they have helped greatly in getting the Giants into the position where they are now:  they are 5-6 against AZ, 8-7 against LA, but 4-10 against SF.   They are responsible for 2.5 games of our lead over AZ and 3.5 games of our lead over LA.   And with these four games, perhaps more.

I'll cover the Giants pitching since that is our rooting interest.

Madison Bumgarner has a 1.04 ERA against Colorado in 4 starts at home.  22 K, 6 BB, in 26.0 IP, excellent ratios there, so that dominance was earned.  But wow, lots of them have hit Madison well (in Colorado clearly), Car-Gon (1.213 OPS in 25 PA), Pacheco (.357/.357/.429/.786 in 14 PA), Rosario (.300/.364/.500/.864 in 11 PA), Nelson (.556/.556/.556/1.111 in 9 PA), Colvin (2 for 6 with triple), Rutledge (.833 OPS in 6 PA due to HR), McBride (2 for 4).  The question seems more like who HASN'T hit him well in his career.  Yet his sterling record against them at home, clearly not against this bunch of Rockies, they battered Bumgarner in Coors, clearly.

Tim Lincecum has a 3.16 ERA against the Rockies in 9 starts in SF.  Of course, history does not mean as much since Timmy is different this season than prior seasons, though better now than earlier in the season.  Car-Gon (1.027 OPS in 44 PA), Rosario (.667/.778/.1.500/2.278; wow, 4 for 6, two doubles, HR, 3 walks, only one K, he has owned Big Time Jimmy Tim), Nelso (2 for 3 with 2 walks), else he has done OK but not shutdown with others.

Matt Cain has a 3.24 ERA in 16 starts against the Rockies at home.  He has walked a lot of Rockies, so his good ERA looks overstated as to his dominance, but after 16 starts, that pretty much means that what you see is what you get, he just dominates them in SF.  And he owns Car-Gon (.133/.250/.133/.383 in 36 PA) and most of their lineup.  Francis, who is a pitcher, is the only hitter with more than 4 PA to have a good OPS against him.  But LeMahieu was 2 for 3 with a HR for a great batting line (probably in Colorado, though).

Barry Zito brings up the rear, literally and figuratively, but not against the Rockies, he has a 2.05 ERA in 9 starts and 1 relief appearance against the Rockies in SF.   He has 55 strikeouts and only 19 walks for a stellar 2.9 K/BB ratio, in 65.2 IP.  And he just owns them, he has a 2.59 ERA in Colorado, probably one of the few pitchers in history to do that, and he has had 8 starts and 1 relief appearance there, so it is no fluke, there will always be a pitcher who seems to own a team and they appear to be his bitch.   Still, he does have trouble with certain hitters:  Car-Gon (surprise, surprise: .308/.333/.500/.833 in 27 PA), Giambi (old teammate has owned him, .235/.480/.647/1.127 in 25 PA), Hernandez (another old teammate, .333/.455/.444/.899), plus Colvin (2 for 4 with HR), Pacheco (2 for 4), Rutledge (1 for 3, double), and LeMahieu (1 for 1, with walk).

And this will be a test of Bochy's theory, in an interview yesterday, that home has hurt the Giants offense more than the opposition.  The lineup appears to be pretty steady now, set mostly in stone from up top, barring injuries, so it should be a fair enough test (though obviously small samples).  Can they continue that well-oiled offensive weapon that they exhibited on the road?  I think if Sandoval and Pence can start hitting, everything will be fine, the offense would continue to carry the team during this homestand.  When you got a hit parade going, it could be like that conga-line scoring scene in the classic Bugs Bunny baseball short.

ogc Thoughts

I actually like the Rockies' pitching rotation idea.  Pitchers usually kill in their first couple of times though the rotation, it is usually after that gets to some, as they begin to tire, as well as get familiar to the hitters.  Also, by limiting the pitches, you free the pitcher for two positives, one is that he does not have to save as much for later, so presumably you can hump it up like a reliever and get more strikeouts, and the other is that you forcefully change the pitcher's thinking to focus on not getting the strikeout, but being more efficient in getting out of innings, as the less pitches you throw in an innings, the deeper into the game the starting pitcher could go.  On top of that, relievers tend to be better than starters (due to the lack of need to save it for later), so if you put that together, that theoretically should yield better games pitched.

However, it has not worked out in execution for them.  I think that this scheme might take a while to get used to, which takes them out of their routine, causing poorer results early on, then as to their recent problems, well, it can only work so well against better, more talented playoff contending teams.  Plus, they have been losing for a long time, even before this scheme, meaning they aren't all that good, though I would note that they did have their only winning month of the season, August (16-13), using this rotation.  I'm not sure when it started, but it would be interesting to track the Rockies record since it started.  Oh, and I just noticed, they went to a five man rotation when Chacin rejoined the rotation on August 21st.

Looking at their games rest stats in baseball-reference.com's game log for pitchers, it appears that they first started up the 4 man rotation scheme on June 23rd.  Assuming that was the beginning of their journey, they were 36-59 at that point, .379 winning percentage, but have been 22-28 since, .440 winning percentage.  That was a 61 game seasonal win rate before, versus a 71 game seasonal win rate after.  They actually reached 18-18 on September 2nd with their win over San Diego, but then lost series to the Braves (3 of 4), Phillies (swept in 3), Giants and SD.   And they benefited by sweeping the Brewers and Mets in August (3 and 4 games, respectively).

Either way, I see this as a win for them (much like I was advocating for lesser prospects like Ortmeier to get starts back a few years ago, which MCC-ites didn't understand).   If it works out, you have another weapon you can use, another tactic.  If it don't work out, you lose a lot of games, which sets you up nicely for good draft position in the following draft.  That is how teams should approach rebuilding, people think that prospects like Ortmeier are not worth the try but at that point of the rebuilding, you find out for sure that he's not really all that, give him a shot, and you win either way.

They currently have the third worse record in the majors, and 6 games "ahead" of Miami, who holds the 6th draft pick right now, so they are pretty much assured of getting a Top 5 pick in the draft, which should be the goal of any team suffering from a losing season.  Once you know you are out of it, you should tank the season as best as you can without losing the ticket buying public, so that you can get into a Top 5 draft pick slot, where the odds are best for finding a good player, from my study of the draft.

Magic Nine

The Giants magic number is 9 and could be chopped at least almost in half with a win in the series (which means at least 3 wins plus assuming LA lose at least one game against the Nats in DC, where they have a stellar 44-27 record).  Even if the Giants split (drop 2 off the magic number), given how poorly LA has played A.M. (After Melky) and how well the Nats have played, they look likely to lose two in D.C., which would also give us a drop of 4 off the magic number after this series, reducing us to a magic number of 5 after this series.  So I would be disappointed if the magic number did not drop to at least 6, and I think we have reasonable expectations that 5 is relatively easily attainable too.  And that should just about eliminate the D-backs in this series.

Right now, if the playoff rotation was to be selected now, I can see the Giants bringing along all five starters, but that the playoff rotation will only have the first three starters written in stone, Bumgarner, Lincecum, Cain.     If game 4 was a potential loser for us, I can see Bochy pushing Bumgarner to start with less rest between starts; else, I would see Zito starting, with Bumgarner in the deciding 5th game.

However, I expect Bochy to fiddle around with the rotation when it comes time for the playoffs, should we make it in.  Particularly since the rest for the division winners get in order to allow the wild card teams to play for a playoff spot.   If we go by seasonal ERA, it would be Cain, Bumgarner, Vogelsong, Zito.  But if you go by ERA after the ASB, it would be Lincecum, Bumgarner, Cain, Zito.   I have to think Bochy will go with his 2010 rotation of Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner to start, then Zito or Vogelsong or Lincecum for the 4th game, depending on the situation and how his gut feels (and he has a good gut, one of the few managers in major league history to be statistically significantly above .500 in 1-run games, from my estimation).

Rosterbation

One of the beat writers note that Bochy will have a hard job winnowing down the current 37 man roster to the 25-man playoff roster, but I think most of the spots are already taken.

For the pitching, it is really easy, I think these pitchers already have spots:  Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, Romo, Lopez, Affeldt, Casilla, Kontos, Mota, Mijares, and Hensley should get one if he pitches effectively in the rest of the season, as he was very good until he went bad.  That's 11 spots right there.

Among the position players, the lineup is assured:  Pagan, Scutaro, Sandoval, Posey, Pence, Belt, plus Crawford and Arias at SS, and Blanco and Nady in LF.  That's 10.  Then the bench of Sanchez and Theriot, and Huff also looks like he has earned a spot with his great hitting off the bench.  That's 13 spots for the position players.  And barring injury (and that is a potential question, as Blanco has a bad shoulder, Pagan a bad back, Sandoval has had hamstring problems, Nady too, plus Huff is a big question mark period), I don't see who else might get a spot, maybe Pill, but at this moment, nobody else has really shown enough to warrant a deep look, these are the 13, unless the Giants want to carry more pitchers, but even there, there is not that many borderline choices.

That leaves one spot that is in question, and it is most likely a pitcher.

So I don't think that it is all that hard a task to reduce the roster down, for the majority of the players in the mix are not really contenders for a spot.  I would say that it will come down to Zito vs. Vogelsong for the last spot, with Vogelsong getting the nod for general excellence and experience relieving, but that if he can't get back to a semblance of good pitching in his final starts of the season, Zito probably wins that spot, as he has spot relieved before, and, in fact, volunteered for one with the Giants.

And if both are pitching well by the time the playoffs come, I can possibly see Hensley being pushed out of a playoff roster spot to accommodate both of them on the roster.   As nicely as Hensley has done, even when he was performing well, his walk rate was sky high.

27 comments:

  1. The Giants magic number is now 8 as they beat the Rockies, 2-1, despite knocking 9 hits and Bumgarner issuing 5 walks. Belt and Nady left 3 on base each.

    The bullpen shut down the Rockies after the offense did the conga line for one inning, as Sandoval singled, then Posey singled, then Pence singled in the game winning run, driving in Sandoval to give Bumgarner the lead, and thus he earned his 15th win, which is the most wins by a Giants LHP since Shawn Estes did it in 2000. Romo delivered his 12th save, striking out PH Giambi with a strike out. Casilla got 5 outs, but all the other relievers only got one out each, and the relievers only gave up one walk, no hits.

    Crawford was the other hitting hero with 2 XBH, double and triple, scoring the Giants first run on a passed ball after the triple. Posey and Scutaro also got 2 hits too. And, as noted, Pence had the game-winning hit.

    Despite all the walks, Bumgarner had a 4 PQS start, a DOM start, as he didn't allow many hits (and no homer) plus struck out 6.

    This was an off day for many teams, so the Giant gained half a game on LA and AZ, and now leads LA by 8 games, AZ by 11.5 games. As noted, the Giants magic number to clinch the NL West division title is 8 now. The magic number to eliminate AZ is down to 5.

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    1. Oh, and apparently those 5 walks was a career high in a start for Bumgarner.

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  2. I'd have to think the Giants would leave Hensley off and replace him with whichever starter loses out on the last rotation spot. That would give Bochy flexibility in one more bench player (perhaps Whiteside so he doesn't have to worry about pinch hitting Sanchez?).

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    1. Part of me leans that way too, I would vote Hensley off the island (bullpen) first because he does not strike out that many, while walking a heck of a lot.

      But that only opens up two spots, and you just filled them with both remaining starters, there are no spots then for another bench player.

      I was wondering about that, PHing Hanchez, too. I think the odds are pretty low of needing a catcher after Posey, the only way he's not starting and catching is carrying him out, I think. And at that point, I think Sandoval will just have to suck it up and catch the rest of the game, if necessary, as he has been anointed the back-up catcher a while back.

      Thinking about that, I was at first worried about that, about the injury factor, but now I think that might be a great way to keep Sandoval focused on keeping his weight down. If he has to squat every so often to keep his catching skills up, he'll see pretty quickly whether he got too fat to catch or not (and so would the Giants).

      Anyway, I think a pitcher would be much more useful to the team's chances than adding Whiteside to the roster, you just have to roll the dice, but the odds are slim that should happen, and honestly, if we were to lose Posey in that way, our chances of winning are pretty shot anyway, Whiteside or not.

      And I can see Bochy doing it. I don't recall the exact game, but he blew out the bullpen, had only one guy left that I can remember, trying to shut it down in the 9th (it worked). The media pressed him on what he would have done if the game had gone into extra innings and he admitted that he went for the win, and was hoping not to have to deal with the consequences in extra innings. So he will do things to win a game, that might have negative consequences down the line in the game if things don't work out. He's been good at making such choices, from what I've seen once the Giants are in must-win situation at the end of the season and in the 2010 playoffs.

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  3. Something I posted on Giants Extra:

    And he [Bochy] has been doing it again this season, with yesterday's 1-run win, the Giants are now +10 over .500 in 1-run games, 29-19. If they did not have Bochy, their record should be 78-68, just 2.5 games ahead of the Dodgers, with the division title still in doubt and ripe for the taking in the last series of the season, instead of being 8 games ahead, virtually assured of the division title with only 15 games to play, for if we end the season basically at .500, 8-7, the Dodgers could win the rest of their games and it won't matter, the Giants are the Division winner.

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    1. The naysayers certainly can't attribute Bochy's success in 1 run games this year on having a dominant closer.

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  4. Giants win again, and they are now 21-10 A.M. as the magic number drops to 7 now.

    Lincecum pitched a great 5 PQS start, a DOM start, getting into the 7th inning. If he can maintain this level of performance, he's ready for the playoffs, should be we get in. He got his 10th win, and now have double digit wins for five straight seasons, one of the few SF Giants to do so. Cain is at 4 seasons, next year would be his 5th. This is Bumgarner's 2nd.

    Schulman noted that Lincecum's ERA has been over 5.00 all season until the end of this game, because he gave up runs early in his first start of the season.

    I like how aggressive Bochy has been in his desire to win the division decisively, his massive usage of the relievers has been impressive. For all the commentary about how Melky helped, the Giants has gone 21-10 since, a way better record than we had with him, to put an exclamation point on the point that the team is very capable of winning on their own without him.

    And getting in is now in the Giants hands, as I noted above, the Giants only need to win 7 more games, with 14 games to go, to eliminate the D-gers, who was rained out in D.C. That is, they only need to play .500 ball the rest of the way to clinch for sure, even if the D-gers win the rest of their games.

    The bullpen had a letdown, giving up 3 runs in 2.2 IP, but with a 4 run lead twice, this was the one game they could do that without consequence. But most importantly, Affeldt got Lincecum out of a huge jam in the 7th, saving him from having runs scored on him.

    Again, many hitting heroes when you score 6 runs, though it was still 2-0 heading into the bottom of the 6th and 3-0 heading into the bottom of the 7th. Pagan was headed for an oh-fer-4 when he tripled in his last AB, driving in a run, then scoring, as he extended his SF Giants triples seasonal record to 14 (6 more to tie the record in the live ball era, set by Willie Mays and Bill Terry). Scutaro had 3 hits, AGAIN, 2 runs, 1 RBI. Panda had 2 hits, with a double to keep the line moving. Posey walked twice, the second time intentionally. Pence had no hits but drove in a run as well as scored one, as he got a walk. Hector had 2 hits, one run. Nady had 2 hits, 2 RBIs, one for each hit. Crawford had a single. Everybody except for our #4 and #5 hitters had hits, and those two still were on base 3 times and drove in a run.

    The Giants has now clinched at least a tie in this home series and can win the series with at least one win in the next two games. Now Cain up tomorrow, which means we have a good chance.

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  5. Interesting stat I got from MLB.com:

    Monday's RBI marked his [Pence's] 27th go-ahead RBI this season, tied for third in the NL, as well as his 15th game-winning RBI.

    As I've been covering here on my blog as well elsewhere, Pence has been GREAT hitting in RISP situations, he's only been bad hitting with the bases empty or a runner on first. These stats helps supports that he comes up big in key situations of the game.

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  6. Some data bits from Extra Baggs:

    Lincecum won his 10th game, becoming the fifth and final member of the Giants rotation to record double-digit victories.

    The last time the Giants had five 10-game winners on staff was in 2002, when they came within six outs of a World Series championship.

    ...

    It was Lincecum’s first home victory since July 31.

    “It just felt good being home,” he said. “Obviously, this park helps, and having that crowd behind you, it gets you in your element. It definitely helps you rise to the occasion in the big innings.”

    It’s getting darker earlier and there’s a familiar chill in the air at China Basin. Postseason baseball is coming, to borrow a phrase from Ned Stark, and for all his problems with midterms, Lincecum always has aced the final.

    The Giants will begin to order their postseason rotation soon, and don’t be surprised if Lincecum draws the No. 3 slot behind Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner. The Giants are likely to open as the No. 3 seed against Cincinnati or Washington and play the first two at home before going on the road. It’s worth pointing out that Lincecum has won his last five road starts.

    ...

    A final thought, Bruce Bochy?

    “You know, Timmy’s tough when he’s on his game. And he’s on it now,” the manager said. “It’s good for all of us, believe me, to see him pitch like this.”

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/baseball-san-francisco-giants/giants-talk/Lincecum-edging-closer-to-October-readin?blockID=775623&feedID=2796

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  7. Magic number down to 5 as the Giants win, 7-1 behind Cain's mostly commanding start, a 5PQS DOM start. Lots of hitting heroes again, will note Sandovals 3-run homer in the first inning, letting Cain have a lot go breathing room. LA lost one then won the second game of their double header to make up the rainout.

    Giants go for the sweep tomorrow behind Zito. If he can throw another good game, he probably cements a roster spot.

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    1. Also Pablo got three hits, with homer he could have finally incorporated Bochys tip, and ready to be an offensive force, finally.

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  8. Baggarly has a nice article on Sandoval and Cain, and he makes very good points about making Cain the first starter: http://www.csnbayarea.com/baseball-san-francisco-giants/giants-talk/Giants-can-count-magic-number-on-one-han?blockID=776235&feedID=10850

    It’s all coming together for the Giants, who suddenly hold a nine-game advantage over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Could they hope to play any better?

    “You’d always like to think there’s another level for any team,” Cain said. “It depends on how much you want to put into it. We’ll keep that in mind and not just settle.”

    Cain is not settling for a career-best 15th victory. He’s expected to get two more starts, and without any adjustments, he’d be lined up to pitch Game 1 of the NLDS with one extra day of rest.

    ...

    Cain never shies away from a full workload. He exceeded 200 innings for the sixth consecutive season.

    Only Juan Marichal (11) and Gaylord Perry (7) have more 200-inning seasons in the Giants’ San Francisco era. And both of those guys are in the Hall of Fame.

    “I don’t want to go into who’s the ace or whatever, but he’s a horse,” Bochy said. “He can handle the innings. He always has. We’re fortunate to have a rotation that’s been healthy all year and making their starts. That’s so important.”

    Soon Bochy will have to choose a Game 1 starter from among them. Cain would appear the obvious choice.

    Here’s one more reason: He has a 2.17 ERA in 14 starts at AT&T Park -- the third best home ERA among NL starters. And since the Giants are likely to open as the No. 3 seed, they would play their first two games at home.

    They could follow Cain with Bumgarner and hold Tim Lincecum in Game 3 on the road, where he has won five consecutive starts.

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    1. I still like my idea of having Petit take one start to take away one start from Bumgarner, saving it for the playoffs.

      However, Baggarly makes excellent points, so I'll adjust my stance to having Cain and Bumgarner start the first two home playoff games, then Lincecum the first road game. Then, if need be, Cain could pitch the fourth game if we are one game away from elimination, else we have our 4th starter take that game and have Cain pitch the 5th game.

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  9. I was updating my Giants 2012 Performance box and realized that the Giants have had a pretty good stretch of good defense to go with the good hitting over their last 12 games, as the starting pitching and bullpen started to solidify. They had 9 games where the runs allowed were 3 runs or less, and only 3 games above. Not quite like that great 20 game stretch in 2010, but close enough.

    Prior to that, for a 23 game stretch from August 12 to September 5th, in 23 games, they allowed 3 runs or less in only 8 of those 23 games. Huge difference. Also, much like 2010 when we had a horrible August. Only in 2012, we had a great offense that picked it up for the pitching and we still went 15-8 in that stretch, instead of losing a bunch of games like we did in 2010.

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  10. Carl Steward had a nice quote from Cain: http://blogs.mercurynews.com/giants/2012/09/20/postgame-notes-pablo-crushes-a-googly-washington-or-cincy-and-taking-this-groove-up-a-notch/

    I asked Matt Cain after the game if the Giants have another higher gear from the one they’re riding right now. And he came in on the black with a real thoughtful answer:

    “You’d always think there is another level for this team, but I think that just depends on how much we want to keep putting into it. The way that everybody’s going right now, I think we can keep it going, but we need to keep that in mind, and not just settle for anything.”

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    1. That's great to hear that the Giants are of the mind that they still can improve, still can get better. We don't want them thinking that they reached as far as they can go and settle. As that is when reality for sure slaps you in the face.

      Not that doing all that don't get you that slap anyway, but it is like that old saying, if you don't ask for it, you almost surely will not get it.

      The Giants want it, and they realize that while they are good, they should not settle for whatever they are doing now, they need to get better. And, basically peak during the playoffs.

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  11. I guess it is as Bochy said, once he gets the one yesterday, it frees up his mind: he has two homers already in today's game, Giants lead 7-2.


    Oops, make that 8-2 as Posey blasts a homer, back-to-back.

    Go Giants! :^)

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    1. Should note that while this is not his first ever 2-homer game, this is the first time Panda has a homer from each side of the plate. First of many, I'm sure.

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  12. Giants sweep the Rockies in grand form, as they scored more runs in each game of the series, culminating in 9 runs in the series sweeper. Zito pitched well for the most part, getting BABIPed, but otherwise pitching well. 3 PQS but with one more out, he would have had a DOM start. But he had men on first and third, plus was at 99 pitches, so I understand, sort of, still, with an 8-1 lead, even if he gave up a homer, we would still lead 8-4. I would have just let him tackle that last batter and see what happens.

    In any case, Giants are now 9-0 in Zito's last 9 starts. He has an overall 3.96 ERA over that stretch. And those 9 wins represent a third of the team's wins (28) since August 7th. In other words, while the team has gone 9-0 with him during that stretch, the team was 19-13 with the rest of the starters. He has clearly been an integral part of the Giants success over that stretch.

    Lots of hitting heroes once again, all but Pence had at least a hit, but have to note Panda's 2 homers, with 4 RBIs, Scutaro's 2 hits and 2 RBIs, Hanchez's 3 hits, and Posey's 23rd homerun of the season plus a single.

    Magic number is down to 4 with 12 games left to play, meaning that the Giants have to simply go 4-8 in their remaining games, even if LA won the rest of their games, in order to win. Ergo, it would take a tremendous collapse and fold on the part of the Giants to not make the playoffs. Their lead is currently 9.5 games ahead.

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    1. D-gers lost so we are down to 3 for the Magic Number. I was thinking that maybe we could clinch in the D-back series, but now it seems pretty likely that we clinch in the 'Dres series.

      Down to three, it seems likely to me that either the Giants win the series or D-gers lose the series to the Reds, and assuming nobody gets swept the wrong way for the magic number. And I can see a sweep happening for either series, except maybe the D-gers. The Giants, 'Dres and Reds are going strong right now, a sweep don't seem likely. Reds at home against D-gers, and they are peaking too, so LA has a huge tough task in front of them, as they are still fighting for a wild card spot. That plus the Giants winning one game equals clinch.

      Actually, it might be easier to describe how we DO NOT clinch. Only way not to clinch is if the Giants get swept and the D-gers do not get swept, the Giants lose the series 1-2 and the D-gers win their series, or if the Giants win the series 2-1 and the D-gers sweep.

      Go Giants!

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    2. Just realized that the magic number dropped 6 in this series. Of course, sweeping a four game series takes 4 of that off, but LA complied also by losing 2 games themselves to the Nats.

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  13. Giants should clinch Saturday, or Sunday when I'll be in Minneapolis to see the Niners handle the Viqueens. In any event, here's how I see the playoff roster:
    C- MVP
    1B - Pick Machine
    2B - Moped
    SS - Fish
    3B - Panda
    LF - X
    CF - Oxy
    RF - Herk
    SP - Horse, Bum, Freak, Z
    Bench - Chez3, Huffer, Riot, Arias, Shark
    Bullpen - Romo, Affeldt, KCya, LOOGY, Kontos, Mijares, Tron

    25th spot comes down to Hensley or Christian or Frankie Peggs.

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    1. We basically see things the same, I think. (Mota is Tron, right?)

      I just don't see Christian or Peggs getting the call, because neither one has done that well nor been used all that much. Peggs is acting as Huff's legs when he gets a hit, but Blanco, Arias, and Riot could do that, as Huff would not be batting unless it is crucial to get a run, I would think. They could also use a starting pitcher as a pinch-runner as necessary.

      I go back and forth on Vogelsong. He deserves to go based on his first 2/3rds of the season, but the way he has been lately, wouldn't be that useful except in blowout games, but the way Bochy manages, he wouldn't let the game get too far out of control most times.

      But Hensley was also very effective except when injured. If you take out the three poor outings just before his DL, he has a 3.33 ERA outside of those very poor outings.

      So I view the 25th spot to be a tough call. Lots of people have done well for us this season, and given Bochy's preference for relief, Hensley seems like the right call, especially if he continues to be effective in the closing days.

      Vogie will have to pitch well generally in the last three games to get consideration for a roster spot, else he could get the 2010 Zito treatment (some people forget that Zito actually started out the 2010 season very well, he had a 2.15 ERA after 8 starts and was not over 4.00 ERA until his last start in August, but that start began a string of 7 bad starts, 4 DIS starts, 2 DOM, and 1 in the middle; still he had a 4.15 ERA at the end, which is good).

      Delete
    2. Average starter in 2010 had a 4.05 ERA, Zito was just barely behind at 4.15. He had the 34th best ERA among qualifiers for the ERA crown, which places him around a middle rotation starter in the NL, if you allocate these pitchers one to a team, as there is value in being able to throw a full season's slate of games.

      If we allow down to 17 starts, that would add 8 more starters ahead of Zito, making it 41 pitchers better, making him 42nd best starting pitcher in the NL. That again makes him a middle rotation (#3-ish) starter, based on innings and ERA.

      Of course, not what we are paying for, not by a long shot now.

      However, that is still a lot of value he is providing, mid-rotation performance at the back of the Giants rotation. If we didn't have Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner, yeah, he won't be as valuable for us, but in our rotation, he has a lot of value because he's better than most other team's #4 or #5 starters.

      Delete
    3. However, and this marks one of the mistakes of Sabean as GM: a pitcher with a better ERA and K/BB than Zito, and is younger and much less expensive, is a pitcher Sabean let go for nothing, Kevin Correia.

      I really liked Correia and what he has done since leaving us is what I thought he could have done for us, and on the relative cheap too. He don't strike out much, but that's fine at the back of the rotation. And for, like, $15M less in salary.

      Delete
  14. I commented about Melky being disqualified from batting title consideration at Ray Ratto's rant about why that is dishonest.

    To be honest, I never read his article, so bad on me, I am mainly reacting to his rants on the radio on KNBR on the Ray-Ray show (with Ray Woodson: we are going to Buckhorn Grill for tri-tip sandwich, yum, we went there by chance a couple of weekends ago, and ended up going there 3 times in a week; Ray-Ray in for Mr. T, Tolbert).

    http://www.csnbayarea.com/baseball-san-francisco-giants/giants-talk/Decision-on-Melky-is-dishonest?blockID=777069&feedID=2796

    Basically, I disagreed and put my War and Peace comment there. I have no problem with this elegant, simple, and, more importantly, CORRECT change to the rules for this honor.

    ReplyDelete

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