Monday, October 15, 2012

Your 2012 Giants: Game 2 of the NLCS

Wow, couldn't call it any better than that:  both teams were mostly shut down offensively, but when the runs came, they poured, as the Cards had uprisings of 2 runs and 4 runs, then the Giants matched the 4 runs, but never could get across another run, losing game 1 to the Cards, 6-4.  My only question was why wasn't Bumgarner taken out earlier, that was ultimately the difference there.  I don't have my dauber down, based on what I saw with their pitching, it just looked like a tough series. But as Vogie noted, they don't want to be coming back from down 0-2 all the time, as that is a tough row to hoe.

Game 2:  Carpenter vs. Vogelsong
Chris Carpenter: Making just his fourth start of the year, Carpenter pitched 5 2/3 shutout innings in the Cardinals' Game 3 win in the NLDS. Carpenter's command and arm strength have improved each time out, meaning that durability is no longer a concern.
Ryan Vogelsong:  Vogelsong no-hit Cincinnati in the final four innings of his NLDS Game 3 start, which happened to be his first postseason appearance. Opponents hit .426 off him with runners in scoring position in his last nine regular-season outings.
Carpenter is amazing, coming back from missing all that time with his injury, then after mid-season surgery.  And all at 37 YO.  He worked his way up too.  He had a 3 PQS but probably could have had a 4 if he could have went one more inning, he appeared to have been capped as to pitch count.  Then he had two DOM starts to end the season.  He had a 1 PQS disaster start in the playoffs, but was able to stop the damage and ended up with a shutout in 5.2 IP against the Nationals, and one more out would have made it a 2 PQS start.  And he has been great in his career, so he looks to be a tough pitcher to hit against.

He has two starts, but long ago, 2004 and 2009, against the Giants.  But Pence has faced him a lot with the Astros.  Huff and Theriot too, but only Theriot has any success (a lot of success at that, .467/.500/.667/1.167), Pence and Huff were pretty much shut down (under .600 OPS).  Sandoval has done OK, in multiple games, .730 OPS.  The rest are just one game, presumably in St. Louis.  Posey, Belt, and Crawford did well.

He hasn't been as good in recent years as he was before, but he generally has shut down RHB and been hit OK (.272/.332/.426/.758) by LHB, and as noted before, we have a number of LHB in our lineup.  He has also done a little worse on the road than at home.  But he has been in a good groove since recovering from his surgery, and presumably his poor results were related to the physical problem that was fixed by the surgery.

Vogelsong had a good year, again, 65% DOM, only 13% DIS, so it should be a good battle in this game.   He has a bad history against the Cards, but more importantly for us, in the last two years, he has pretty much shut them down, 1 run in 5.0 IP in 2011, 0 run in 7.0 IP in 2012 (2 PQS and 3 PQS), shutting down the other team when he wasn't at his best.  He has done very well against RHP in the past two seasons, pretty good against LHP (low 700 OPS).  However, Beltran is a new guy and has done very well against Vogie, 1.319 OPS (including HR), also Jon Jay and Matt Carpenter had good success in limited exposure.  But he has mostly shut down the team, as his results the past two years show.

ogc thoughts

Looks like it will be another tough game.  Carpenter has been a crafty guy, but so has Vogelsong.  Carpenter has not been totally dominant in his starts but he has been pretty good still.  Same with Vogelsong.  But Carpenter's weakness is LHB and we have a number of them.  We have a slight edge given that we are playing at home, and they have not played well on the road, yet they are 4-1 on the road now during the playoffs.  I wonder if Beltran will prove to be Vogie's undoing in this game.

Many series seem to swing depending on who happens to be hot during that playoff series.  Clearly in 2010, it was Ross and Renteria.  Who needs to be in this series?  Pagan has been sputtering but him getting hot, I think would help Scutaro, then on down the lineup.  Sandoval being hot would help both ahead of him and afterward.  And I think Pence needs to be more than inspirational and more offensive, hitting for a better batting line.  But it may end up being one of the guys at the bottom - Belt, Blanco, Crawford - who might become our differentiator, they got that 4-run rally going with all their hits.  But we need somebody to step up, if we are to have any hope, because the Cards have a great pitching staff.

I was thinking while listening to Game 1 that there is an added level of difficulty in facing the Cardinals.  Their manager, Matheny, not only is a former Giant, but he was our starting catcher too.  He should be very familiar with everything that Rags and Gardy do for us in handling the pitchers, tricks of the trade.  He never played until Bochy, as Bruce took over as manager the season after Matheny's last game for us, but we did have Matheny under contract for another two seasons, so he could have been around, soaking in what Bochy says and does, though perhaps not in this case as Matheny had a bad concussion that kept him at home and unable to travel.  Maybe he got to see things in spring training?  In any case, he knows things about the Giants that other teams don't.

At least we have Theriot on our side, he should have some ideas what is going on in the Cards dugout, though he is not as involved as a catcher would be, and thus have less knowledge that way.


  1. Cards have a tough lineup for any pitcher, but righthanders have a fighting chance due to their strongly righty leaning power guys. Beltran is a switch-hitter who seems to have more power from the right side so making him turn around is a positive too. As long as Vogie is on his game tonight, I am much more optimistic than I was for Game 1.

    1. I echo your sentiment on that DrB. And good point about Beltran, I should have checked on that, great to know that.

      Right now, I view Vogelsong as our #2 starter after Cain, though Lincecum could jump ahead with a strong start.

      Bumgarner just don't have it right now, don't know why his stamina was so bad that he couldn't last this season, though perhaps a telling comment in, I think, Baggs blog, is that Bumgarner might have throw a lot of extra in between starts in order to work out his mechanics, which he said he was fixing. That has been a problem of his, that he throws a lot more than normal pitchers in between starts and if he was obsessive about getting his mechanics right, he could have overdid things in-between starts.

      Right now, I think we need to swap roles between Lincecum and Bumgarner, give him some rest, perhaps then, if we are fortunate enough to make it to the World Series, they could start him in game 4, so that he has a lot of rest and can last longer.

    2. I know I'm beating this to death, but I regardless of Bummy's health or stamina, I think you have to minimize the use of LHP's against this Cardinal team, so yeah, I'd go with Timmy too. I'm not convinced Timmy would be as good starting as relieving but in this situation, I think you have to take that chance.

    3. No, it is a strong and important point to make regarding the Cards vulnerability.

      I think Timmy will be OK. To the point you have been making about Tim's lack of fitness entering this season, due to his yo-yo-ing weight, I think that he is capable of coming in short periods and dominating, and with the rest he's been getting, might be ready to stretch it up for a full start.

      Hopefully Bumgarner can do the same now for us, with some rest. Heck, the way he throws so much between starts, may as well utilize that in a bullpen role where we can use him for 2-3 innings every couple of days.

  2. Until Cain can show it, I think Vogelsong is our ace in the post season as of now. Lets hope Timmy and Matt can surpass his efforts with some shutout, shutdown baseball.

    1. I'm not as rigid as that, Cain has put in two OK games and has a history of doing well. I put that above Vogelsong, though I would add that what he has done has been amazing and certainly saved our playoffs for us.

      Though if Cain has another struggling start (relatively for him, he was not that far from a DOM start in his last start), I might be inclined to then agree with you on Vogie.

  3. I think we have to face the reality that all the starters are just not pitching at 2010 levels right now. Bochy needs to mix and match, and hope our pen can hold.

    Personally I would not start Timmy, he has been thriving from the pen and I like reinforcing success. Don't mess with something that has been working quite well. Timmy coming in was one of the highlights of game 1 - crowd went bizerk when they realized he was coming in, and really kept the Gints in the game.

    Vogelsong was incredible last night. I feel very privileged to see it live. He gets stronger later, and definitely started going after hitters more. He can really rack up an early pitch count, that Ryan Vogelsong. I thought there was a chance of him getting yanked in the 5th for a PH, but Boch didn't have to make the call as Craw was robbed of a hit.

    Bumgarner looked awesome that first inning, then really fell off. I think he might have a bit of a dead arm. Long rest might be the right call.

    Looks like Boch is committed to Cain tomorrow, but reserving the right to throw Timmy in there. If that happens, its Zito time on Thursday most likely. Like I said though, this team just doesn't have its pitchers in sync the way we did in 2010. Different team, different looks. The trio of Blanco, Belt and Crawford have been doing quite well in the back end of the order, on the basepaths and defensively. If Pence, Pablo or Posey decide to dust it off and get in the game large...

    1. Oh, I think the reality was pretty clear in the Reds series. The pen is our strength right now.

      Also, all the theories people were putting out about how to win the wild card game using a bullpen game basically involved what Bochy is doing right now, but you don't see any of the major sites talking about that.

      Tim was successful starting during the second half but I think he was just petering out physically because of his stamina. I think he's been able to do well with rest. Given his success, I think that we need to give him a start and roll our dice that way, rather than keeping him in the reliever role.

      Particularly since I think the same thing is happening to Bumgarner, and now he might benefit from limited innings every few days. If we didn't have Bumgarner to swap over, I might be inclined to agree with you Shankbone. Plus, on top of that, as DrB has noted, they seem to kill lefties. But Bumgarner isn't any old regular lefty when he is on and capable, and he did shut them down over one time through the lineup.

      FYI, Vogelsong noted that he was mechanically off early on, but once he found the right groove, he stuck to it for the rest of the game, exhibiting what you called getting stronger.

      Excellent point about the back of the lineup contributions, and we saw yesterday what happened when Pagan and Scutaro was getting hits up top, to go with that. Yes, if our middle lineup kicks in - and I'll let Sandoval go for now, he hit well in the NLDS - we should have another kick butt game like yesterday. That is what I'm hoping for with Cain facing Lohse.

    2. I think Boch wants to start Timmy, but he has to reserve the right to throw him in from the pen. We'll see how game 3 goes. I'm just adopting a trust Raggs and Boch on the starting scene. Although Boch needed to have a quicker hook on MadBum. Most of the time they do OK with all this.

  4. I posted this on CSN regarding Holliday's slide, thought I would share with those not following me on Twitter:

    I'm all for hard slides into second but Holliday started sliding after the bag, basically, as he barely touched second base, then threw his body across the infielder like he was a football player trying to make a tackle, only except, THIS IS BASEBALL!

    I'm tired of baseball allowing ballplayers to do bush moves like this, and like plays at homeplate where they just blast the catcher, like last year with Posey. There should be rules governing this type of bad behavior where you put the fielder in danger like that. Even football realizes that there are certain situations where there is great possibility of great harm to the fielder, and penalizes players for such behavior, not applaud it when you are on the team doing it while decrying it when it happens to your team.

    One way of discouraging this is to place the player causing the injury on the DL also on the DL until the injured player returns to the field or one year, which ever comes first. This way, there is no assignment of fault, but instead of just one team suffering the consequences of the other team's bad behavior, both teams will suffer from the unfortunate accident, whether intentional or not. Thus Cousins would have been DLed until Posey returned this season, thus Holliday would be DLed until Scutaro returns. This will make players think twice before putting other players in danger before doing stupid moves like Cousins and Holliday made.

    1. Follow-up thoughts.

      One clarification is that this DL move is only if the fielder is injured on the bases. I'm willing to allow injuries caused by the catcher at home plate to affect him as well, because injuries do happen with runners coming into home plate, catchers do behave badly sometimes.

      I would also add that all I'm asking for regarding home plate plays is that the MLB institutes the rules that all other baseball organizations follow for amateur rules regarding plays at the plate. I don't know all the details, but I recall from the discussions that erupted from Posey's injury that there are rules in amateur sports that protect the catcher better. I know baseball cannot be made safe, but they can at least do things to minimize them within reason.

      I'm tired of seeing star players, whether on the Giants or other teams (I felt really bad when a Giants hurt Rennie Stennett, basically ruining a future All-Star career, though I felt that there was some karmic payback that the Giants gave him a huge contract that he never really delivered on. Ray Fosse was the one that got me feeling this way) get injured and baseball just moves on like they were nothing. I like a hard game as much as anyone, but I want our best players playing, not having careers ruined over one slide into a base.



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