Sunday, October 28, 2012

Your 2012 Giants: Game 4 of the World Series

Wow, again, the epicness continues.  Ryan Vogelsong with his shutout performance continued some epic threads which I'll include in the comments when I have more time.  Suffice to say that Vogelsong, Lincecum, Romo's shutout of the Tigers was another Epic occurrence in these playoffs, this season.  Tim Lincecum has been totally dominant as a reliever in these playoffs, shutting down the other team when they might rise up, bridging the starter and the closer, getting the Giants that much closer.

And that is what has been missing from the media:  pitching wins in the playoffs.  The talk was all about the Tiger's mighty hitters, but nothing about the Giants shutdown pitchers.  As my research has shown, when pitchers dominate, that team normally wins.  Ironically, Anibal had a 5 PQS DOM start and Vogelsong didn't, only a 2 PQS, would have been 3 if he pitched one more out, so the Tigers actually had a better pitched game, but sometimes pitchers can will themselves to a win.  Vogie certainly did in this game.

3-0.  No team has ever come back from that, most end in 4 games, a handful to 5 games, but pretty much done.  Psychologically, that makes sense, but then again the Giants beat that TWICE already in the playoffs, first against the Reds, then the Cards, so the question is:  Do the Tigers have a Hunter amongst them who can rise them up and do the improbable?  From the media, I don't see anyone talking brave like the Giants did in the face of the impossible.  So I would say no, but you never no.  But I don't have anybody else I would want starting this game but Cainer.

Game 4:  Cain vs. Scherzer
Matt Cain: The Giants ace pitched like one in Game 7 of the NLCS, tossing 5 2/3 shutout innings. After not allowing an earned run in the 2010 postseason, Game 7 was Cain's first scoreless appearance this year. He has a career 1.83 ERA in the playoffs.
Max Scherzer: The Tigers have scheduled Scherzer this postseason with at least a little caution for his right arm; he is working his way back from a deltoid strain. His 10 K's over 5 2/3 innings in Game 4 of the ALCS suggests he's well on his way to full strength.
Cain has never faced Detroit ever, either at home or on the road.  For his career, he has been a bit worse on the road in his career, 3.61 ERA vs. 2.98,  but he has been much better the past 4 seasons, as he has methodically gotten better over time in one area or another, and had a 3.24 ERA on the road in the last four seasons.  He has been almost equally good against hitters:  .222/.286/.360/.646 vs. RHB; .231/.304/.363/.667 vs. LHB.

He has faced a number of hitters before, since they came from NL teams or another AL team he has faced.  Fielder has done well against Cain for his career, though poor by Fielder standards:  .278/.364/.389/.753 with no homers in 22 PA.  Infante is the only other to have extensive PAs:  .333/.364/.333/.697 with no extra-base hits in 22 PA, only 2 K's.  Cabrera is 1 for 6 but that one is a homer, plus 2 K's.  Peralta was 1 for 3 (double) with 2 K's.

Overall, Detroit RHB hit RHP .274/.322/.441/.763 and RHB hit RHP .275/.354/.427/.780.  So they hit RHP pretty well, which is why they have such a good record against RHP, 62-49.  Plus they have played well at home, 50-31, averaging 4.85 runs per game there.   So Cain could have a tough time in Detroit, despite it being considered a pitcher's park, as apparently their offense is built to succeed there.

Cain has had a tough time with Brian O'Nora behind the plate, but that appears to randomness there, as while he has a 4.50 ERA in 4 starts, in 26.0 IP, he has given up only 23 hits and 5 walks, while striking out 24.  His only real blemish is the 3 homers, which is a lot for him in that many innings, about double, maybe triple what he normally does.  And I would guess that they had men on base in each case.

Scherzer had a breakout year this season, pushing his K/BB from 3-ish to 3.85 and his K/9 from 9-ish (and dropping each year) to a league leading 11.1 K/9.  Somehow he put it all together this season.

He has faced the Giants 4 times, one in SF, the other three at home, two in AZ, one in Detroit.  He has a career 5.12 ERA in 4 starts, but had 20 K's to 10 BB's for a good 2.0 K/BB, only 17 hits (but high walks) but the key there is the 3 homers given up.  In 2011, in Detroit, in only 2.0 IP, he gave up 6 hits and 3 walks, with only 2 strikeouts, for 9 runs, 6 earned, with 2 homers.  Truly horrible start.  So the career numbers will be skewed unfairly by this.

But not all are from his Giants past.  He has faced Scutaro the most and Marco has hit him well in 10 PA:  .444/.444/.444/.889, 4 for 9, 1 K.  Sandoval was only 2 for 8 with 4 K's but 1 homer.  Blanco 3 for 5, double.  Theriot 1 for 2 with HBP.  Crawford 1 for 1, homer plus walk.  Huff 1 for 2, double.  Pence 1 for 6, double, 4 K's.  Pagan 0 for 3, SF, 2 K's.  So some success, some dominated by Max.

Probably best to look at his career stats, as expecting to blow him out in Detroit is not realistic.  He has done better at home than on the road:  3.62 ERA at home, 4.15 ERA on the road.  He likes Detroit even more:  he has a 3.45 ERA in Comerica Park, with a 3.46 K/BB and 9.0 K/9.

Here is his weakness.  He has dominated RHB, but his weakness is LHB (so perhaps that is how SF clobbered him):  232/.288/.382/.670 vs. RHB but .273/.346/.440/.786 vs. LHB.  As I've been discussing throughout this World Series, the Giants have a lot of lefty hitters plus two RH hitters, Posey and Pence, who hit RHP relatively well.  He has never had Brian O'Nora behind the plate.

ogc thoughts

Hard to call the game.  Some suggest tight, close game, some suggest someone is going to get blown up.  Generally, though, Scherzer has a much harder time against LHB, suggesting that the Giants should be able to score on him in this game.  The question then becomes, does Cain give up more?

Cain during this career has done very well, in almost any circumstances.  Now he is pitching in what is considered a pitcher's park.  One should expect him to do well here.  But Detroit eats up RHP, and especially in Comerica Park, it seems.  This is the hard rock against an incredible force, and something will have to give.

But given how the Giants pitchers have been able to shut down Detroit's hitters and how the two parks play a lot like each other, including inducing a lot more triples and less homers by LHB, I have to think that Cain will be able to do enough in this game to win it, even though Detroit has home advantage and has killed RHP this season, plus has done well against winning teams, 40-34.

Have to give the edge to the Giants.  Scherzer just cannot shut down LHB, and we have a lot of them.  Why other teams don't overload on LHB when he's pitching is beyond me, but that's the key to beating him, I think.  And we got them:  Pagan, Sandoval, Belt, Blanco, Crawfard, plus Sanchez (assuming he DH's again).

And with a 3-0 lead, they have to be tight, making it that much easier for the loose Giants to win.  I think we'll sweep.

Go Giants!  


  1. I understand what you're trying to say, but the Giants were never down 3 to 0.

    1. I'm sorry I confused you but I assumed everyone knew that the Tigers were down 3-0.

      I was trying to make the point that no team has ever come back against 3-0, but as the Giants showed in their Reds and Cards series, they did nothing that was done before too, so you never know, maybe the Tigers might do the impossible. I was trying to extend that much caution about assuming the Giants had won it all, they could still lose.

    2. You said that "the Giants beat that TWICE" - referring to being down 3 to 0, when in reality they were down 2 to 1 and 3 to 1, not 3 to 0.

      They were never down 3 games, they were never on the verge of being swept.

      But as I noted, I understood what you intended to say.

    3. Again, I assumed that everyone understood that the Giants were on the verge of elimination TWICE, just like the Tigers were, needing to win every game left to play in the series. I thought that was a connection that my readers could make. I was apparently wrong.

      So you were right, I was not clear enough, my assumption was not right. I will be sure to spell things out more clearly in the future.

  2. Now THAT was a run. The Giants. 2012 World Series Champions. Feels good.

    Take a bow, OGC, take a bow.

    1. No bow for me, I will stand with you, clapping for the 2012 World Champions Giants.

      Go Giants!

  3. What a great team and great season. Posey's MVP year, Cain's perfect game, Pence's genuine enthusiasm, Scutaro's rock-solid professionalism, Romo's genuineness and untouchable cutter. You could go up and down the lineup listing the contributions. That's a team. That's our team.

    I loved our teams when I was kid from Mays, McCovey, Bonds, Tito Fuentes and Chris Speier, to Chili Davis, Will the Thrill, all the way to Barry Bonds, and this year's team has been as exciting and fun to me as all those team's during my youth.

    Congratulations Giants! Congratulations Giants fans!

    OGC, thank you for adding to this year's fun.

    1. Thanks for your comment, glad you enjoyed my writing.

      Great comments, there was so much to comment regarding the Giants this season, no one post, no one comment could capture all of the glory that was the 2012 World Championship season.

      That's roughly my fan-span, I started with Speier, and all the players you noted, I would throw out there The Count, Jack The Ripper, and Matty Williams (just realized that there are so many Matty's in Giants history, Mathewson, Williams, and now Cain), heck, I'll even throw in King Kong Kingman, my first rookie phenom.

      As much as I've loved all those players, nothing, for me, has been as exciting and fun as the 2010 and 2012 teams. And I would dare to say that this season was as close to amazing as 2010's which, again for me, was the best since it was the first, with the shock and awe and realization that finally we got there, but still, this season has been almost equally amazing due to all the obstacles they had to surpass, just in the playoffs, first with the Reds, needing to win 3 on the road, then with the Cards, needing to win 3 again, then sweeping the mighty Tigers, who really did have a team that is normally good enough to win the World Series, and yet these Giants swept them. I look forward to further amazing feats from this Posey-led team.

      Posey is the Will the Thrill of this generation, except that he is not as bombastic and excitable. He is the quiet leader who says "Why not us? Why not now?"

      And I get the irony that a man eligible for AARP is in total awe of a 25 year old, but I don't really care, he is just amazing and we are so, so, so lucky that none of the teams ahead of us selected Posey instead of the players that they got instead. I'm still amazed that Tampa didn't pick him, and I'm still thankful. Like the Giants brain trust - John Barr was interviewed recently and noted again that Posey was who they wanted - I wanted Posey, not that I knew he would do all this, but still, he was who I wanted.

      Many Naysayers just attribute that to luck and don't give Sabean and his team the proper and due respect for being able to see that Posey was the right player to select. He was not the no-brainer: the Giants could have decided that he wanted too much. Plus, many of the Naysayers felt that the better player to select was Smoak. Thank GOD they weren't the GM!



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