Friday, October 12, 2012

Your 2012 Giants: NLCS Rosterbation

I might be jumping the gun here, since we don't even know who the Giants opponent is yet, but I thought I would run by some thoughts on the possible roster for the NLCS.  At minimum, I wanted to show off this picture that the Giants are putting on-line at their Facebook page.  Nice, huh?
ogc thoughts

Though maybe there is no need, it probably will be the same roster as the NLDS.  Good or bad, we did not have a lot of significant contributors to the team beyond the 25 men we had for the NLDS.  There were maybe 11-12 core position players and 13 core pitchers, over the season.  So we can start with the NLDS roster and add/subtract from that.

On offense, the only possibilities to add are Burriss, Pill, Christian, and Peguero, though I suppose Whiteside too.  Frankly, none of them hit better than any of the Giants currently on the playoff roster, other than Huff being edged by Pill.  As afraid I am of Huff imploding on us, Pill has never experienced a full season in the majors yet, how can we expect him to handle the experience of MLB playoffs?  Playing Pill would be like Dusty starting Torres in the most important game of 1993 or putting Feliz in as our DH in the 2002 World Series:  not really good ideas.  I would be OK with Peguero as our pinch-runner extraordinaire, but Theriot and Arias are already pretty good speed options on the bench, and Blanco is too if Nady is starting.  I think we should just carry the same 13.

On pitching, again, there were not many players who played better.  I would argue that Hensley is the one pitcher who probably deserved to go to the NLDS, but given how he was used down the stretch, I have to wonder how healed up he was after his DL.  Still, I wanted to give him props for having a low 3 ERA for us until his injury, he definitely should be on the roster over Mota if he is healthy and ready, but his work in the last month of the season suggests otherwise.  

Other choices, but unlikely are Otero and Runzler.  And not that I think he could make the roster, but Otero did a nice job for us in the last month - 5 appearances, 4.0 IP, giving up 5 hits and zero walks, striking out 4, though .357 BABIP - and so I wanted to mention him.  He could make the roster again in 2013 but stick this time, as it appears that he might have been too dazzled his first time up to pitch like he can.  Lastly, I wanted to point out Runzler.  He does have some experience and had a nice, if wild, September call-up:  3.2 IP, giving up 1 hit but 3 walks (oy!), striking out 5.  

Still, I would be OK with the 12 we carried, but wouldn't mind swapping in Hensley for Mota.  But given that Mota does strike out a lot more than Hensley, and striking out batters is what correlated to going deep into the playoffs, I guess I'm being silly, Mota is the better choice because he strikes out a lot more guys.

Starting Rotation

About the starting rotation, that's more interesting.  Have to think that Lincecum is back in the rotation and Zito is the long man.  That's especially because Zito has a 8.20 ERA in 4 starts in St. Louis and a 5.40 ERA in 1 start in DC.  Still, he has had 6 starts against the Nats in SF and compiled an OK 4.17 ERA and 5 starts against the Cards in SF and a stellar 2.90 ERA.  But he's not going to be the game 1 or 2 starter in the Cards series.  

His rotation turn would end up in SF if we play the Nats, in St. Louis if we play the Cards.  Since it was a great weapon having Lincecum lying in wait to pounce on the other team, potentially as a closer, maybe the Giants decide to roll the dice with Zito knowing that he could be pulled before we get too far behind and replaced by Lincecum, and if he pitches well, then Lincecum could be deployed for other needs.  

Assuming Lincecum starts, Cain cannot pitch Game 1, but everyone else could, though Lincecum would have a shorter 4 day rest.  That would suggest Bumgarner in Game 1, Lincecum Game 2, Cain Game 3, Vogelsong Game 4, then Bumgarner, Lincecum, Cain again.  If Zito starts, he's the 4th game starter, getting only one start, either at home against the Nats (4.17 ERA in 6 starts) or on the road against the Cards (8.20 ERA in 4 starts).  Not great options, he probaby definitely don't start in St. Louis, maybe if we play the Nats.

I forgot who, but one reporter suggested Vogelsong for Game 1.  I don't really see that happening, but he would be rested enough for that start.  Also, he has had two good starts against the Cards in St. Louis on the road, which is where he would pitch if he were handling Game 4 (assuming Lincecum starts) or Game 3 (assuming Zito starts) then Game 7 at home (he's never started against them at home).  He has had only one start against the Nats, and they bombed him in SF, for 8 runs in 2.2 IP.  So if the Nats are the opponent, I would still want Vogelsong - I doubt he'll be that bad again - but not for Game 1, rather as the Game 4 start, getting only one start.  

The Cards team is filled with homerun hitters above 20 HR (5 over 20, 1 over 30; total 159):  good thing the Giants staff is known to suppress homeruns.  But oy, they have 5 hitters with OPS at or above .839, plus another at .773 OPS, and a bench player with .828 OPS and a SS at .952 in Kozma, OK, he's the starter now, so 6 hitters above .839 OPS, though Kozma is the only one above .900 OPS.  So only Descalso is their poor hitter.  Most are RHB, with Descalso and Jay LHB and Beltran SH.  Their four starters in the NLDS are Wainwright (3.94), Garcia (3.92), Carpenter (3.71), and Lohse (2.86), in that order.  Wow, they are a very balanced team, with many good players, but not great.  I wonder how Pujols is feeling about all this?

The Nats have a lot of power too (4 over 20, 2 of them over 30, 2 high teens, and the catcher would have been in range if he played all season; total 194, 2nd in NL).  Lots of good hitters too, 5 guys who are pretty good, above .800 OPS but not over .853, one who just missed (.791 OPS) and two in the low 700 OPS range.  Most are RHB, LaRoche and Harper are LHB, Espinosa SH (he's their worse hitter in the lineup).    Their four starters in the NLDS are Gonzalez (2.89), Zimmerman (2.94), Jackson (4.03), Detwiler (3.40), in that order.  They are also a very balanced team, with many good players, and while not great, Gonzalez and Zimmerman had great seasons, under 3 ERAs.

Based on that, I think I would rather face the Cards.  Their pitching is not as good as the Nats (is not even close and it would have been worse if Strasburg was pitching).  Their offense seems better, but as my research showed, pitching can shut down good offenses.  Neither team has key lefty hitters, so perhaps the Giants might go with Hensley over Mijares in this series.  The Nats have more LHP, so RH hitters more of a premium against them, the Cards are mostly RHP (only Garcia, SP, and Rzepczynski, RP, are lefties), so LH hitters are preferred.

I'll try to get into more details once the opponent and rotations are set.  I would expect the Giants to do the same again, announcing starters on an as needed basis, adjusting according to the circumstances.

Playoff Rooting

Just in terms of who to root for, I realize I'm so late it don't matter, what I will just throw it out there.  This is an exercise I usually do when the Giants are not in the playoffs, just in terms of who we hate less than the other team, and general overall MLB hate.  I think the rooting order would be this:

  • Giants:  Naturally. Naturally.
  • Orioles:  It would be kind of cool for two orange and black teams to face off in World Series on Halloween.  
  • Tigers:  never did anything against the Giants that I can recall
  • Nats:  never did anything yet against the Giants, unless you want to reach back into their Expos years, when I felt ripped off by the Speier for Foli trade.  Plus Felipe would love to give them a noogie for how they treated him when he was manager there (though the people who did that are now with Marlins).
  • Cards:  I'm still mad at them for 1987 and some older fans remember the lopsided (for them) trade of Cepeda for Sadecki.
  • A's:  embarrassed the Giants in 1989, stupid marketing campaigns putting salt in Giants fans wounds, dumb and mean fans.
  • Yankees:  just bad for baseball, money, money, money, and more money
  • Reds:  Naturally, if they win, we lose (but we didn't!)


  1. I think the choice is Peggs or Whiteside - they sent Burriss, Pill and Christian home already. On the pitching front Machi, Hensley are the guys with the team. Pretty sure Runzler is out of the question being in AZ, and haven't heard about Otero for a while.

    If it was me, its bye to Mota and hello Frankie Peggs. I think the 5th OF with the way Bochy is subbing in Nady for Blanco would be a welcome addition. Plus then you have a pinch runner for Huff if he does connect or walk. Which I think he will at some point.

    There was a good fanpost on MCC about the rotation. I'll trust Bochy. TO me, its tempting to keep using Timmy in the pen, because you have a serious weapon you can drop in for multiple innings according to need or better yet when you choose to, keeping the opposing manager guessing. I never trust Barry Zito, but he has followed up his bad games with good games this year, so its not like I have no hope. I trust in Bochy's quick hook, that's what I trust in.

    1. Thanks for the reminder Shankbone, totally forgot that many of the players were sent off. Been totally busy with work lately and just had a brain fart on that one.

      Oh, definitely, I put my trust in Bochy, I'm just trying to guess ahead what they might do, and in what order.

      I know, right? Very tempting to keep him there, available to shut down the other team as needed. The other day as long-relief, but I can see him coming in a tie game late, 9 or later, to shut down the other team.

      But if he can pitch like that in most games, probably better to start him over Zito.

      But to your point again, I trust Bochy to make the most cogent move, based on the information he has at hand.

      And I trust Zito to be just as likely to throw a good game as a bad one, and if he can come in and give us 5-6 good innings, that is a win right there, he is pretty good at eating up innings for a team, and get us closer to the goal, and that saves Lincecum for a surprise at any point in any game.

  2. Cards it is. That team is pretty gritty and amazing. Just a crazy game tonight. Should be a great matchup.

    1. Yeah, when I was going through the stats and looking at the team's lineup, heck, they are pretty good up and down the lineup, that's very scary.

      That's partly why I'm leaning towards Lincecum starting in the rotation, we need guys to just shut them down and not let them up. Zito, I'm not so sure about. Plus, as I noted above, pretty bad ERA in 4 starts there so far. Will have to check another day who exactly killed him before, maybe it was just Pujols.

    2. Wow, Cards home is actually a pitcher's park, and really beats on RHB, which should be good for a LHP. Maybe he was just unlucky to pitch there in 2011 and 2008, when he was pretty bad, or just happen to be there during a downswing that occurs for him every season.

      For some reason, walks and errors are above average there, two of Zito's bete noire, when those happen, it just causes a spiral for him.

      Maybe he'll get left off the roster again for Hensley, since the Giants don't need another lefty in the bullpen.

  3. Wow, that's pretty bad, maybe not as bad as the Reds losing three at home, but pretty bad: Nats lead 6-0, at home even, after three innings, and slowly loses their lead, until they gave up 4 in the 9th, to lose 9-7 to the Cards.

    So the Giants are in the air now, headed home, for the first game of the NLCS, to be played in SF on Sunday at 5PM PDT/8PM EDT.

    The Nats had a pretty good bullpen too, lots of guys in the 2 ERA range, but obviously when the pressure was on, they bent until they broke.

    Again, that's where the Sabean Naysayers just don't get it about signing Affeldt and Lopez to their deals. Signing a free agent might be more economical in terms of performance you get from him during the season for the most part, but you don't really know how good he is under pressure unless you are in the dugout with him and living it with him there.

    To Shankbone's question in the other post, I correct myself: whatever the equivalent pitcher that people thought they could get instead of Affeldt and Lopez, that is what the two earned during the season. Let's call it $3M just for example, and that both are $2M more (I know they are not, but I don't want to get the exact numbers and don't need them to make my point).

    That extra $2M premium that we paid for them is being earned now in the post-season. If you don't believe that, look at what happened to the Nats today, they STILL led 7-5 after 8 innings, at home, and gave up 4 runs in the 9th.

    The Giants bullpen has proven itself not only this season, but for the past three seasons, to be able to take the pressure and spit upon it.

    The Naysayers just don't understand that baseball cannot be done strictly as if you are dealing baseball cards or Strato-matic cards (I was a Coleco All-Star spinner gamer myself), that there is value to knowing how a player acts in certain situations, particularly pressure filled situations.

  4. Wow, Bumgarner to pitch game one, Vogie to pitch game two. You have to presume Cain for game three, leaving game four either Zito or Lincecum.

    I sure got game two wrong!

    I have to think this means that Bochy likes having Tim as relief option, and will go to him if necessary, but if not, then decide Zito vs Tim after game three.

    1. Yup, keep the options open. MadBum for game 1 is going to be nerve wracking. Gints fans all want the real Bummy and Cain to show up. So far they have not brought their A game.



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