This is the Quality Start with a sabermetric DIPS twist, and it gets really easy to calculate once you get used to it. I don't think it's the end all or be all, but then nothing really is that. It is, as I like to say, another piece of the puzzle. A dominating start is scored a 4 or 5 and a disaster start is scored a 0 or 1. DOM% is the percentage of starts that are dominating, DIS% is the percentage of starts that are disasters (any start under 5.0 IP is automatically a 0, or disaster).
What's Good and What's Not
From my observations, a DOM at or above the 40% mark is indicative of good pitching; above 50% is great; above 70% is elite. A low DIS is also indicative of good pitching, just look at the table in the link above showing DOM% and DIS% on the axes.
Madison Bumgarner- (88% DOM, 6% DIS; 15:1/17): 5, 3, 5, 5, 5, 4; 4, 5, 0, 5, 4; 5, 4, 5, 4, 5, 4;
Matt Cain- (53% DOM, 6% DIS; 9:1/17): 5, 0, 4, 3, 5, 3; 3, 5, 3, 5, 3; 4, 3, 3, 4, 5, 4;
Chad Gaudin - (50% DOM, 50% DIS; 2:2/4): ;; 5, 5, 0, 0;
Mike Kickham - (0% DOM, 50% DIS; 0:1/2): 0; 2;
Tim "The Kid" Lincecum - (50% DOM, 13% DIS; 8:2/16): 3, 4, 2, 5, 5; 3, 4, 5, 3, 5, 0; 5, 0, 3, 5, 3;
Ryan Vogelsong - (22% DOM, 33% DIS; 2:3/9): 3, 4, 5, 3, 2; 0, 0, 0, 3;;
Barry Zito - (31% DOM, 38% DIS; 5:6/16): 3, 4, 0, 4, 0; 1, 4, 1, 3, 3, 4; 3, 0, 3, 5, 0;
Giants season overall - 51% DOM, 20% DIS out of 27 games counted (41:16/81)
Giants Month of April - 56% DOM, 11% DIS out of 27 games counted (15:3/27)
Giants Month of May - 41% DOM, 30% DIS out of 27 games counted (11:8/27)
Giants Month of June - 56% DOM, 19% DIS out of 27 games counted (15:5/27)
The Giants rotation improved greatly in June, but the team's offense was not up to the task and the team ended the month with a losing record, another in the history of June Swoons that dot Giants history in SF. The DOM was high once more, and the DIS starts went down a lot as well, almost by half.
The 56% DOM for the rotation is good for a pitcher, great for a rotation. Though most of that was due to Bumgarner, who is now the ace of the rotation and had 6 DOM starts (out of 6), and Cain, who had 4 DOM starts himself. Neither one had a DIS start. Contrast that with Gaudin, Lincecum, and Zito, who each had 1-2 DOM and 1-2 DIS starts.
The pitchers were in more control. Cain led with 6.50 K/BB (8.6 K/9 too), and Bumgarner had a great 3.45 K/BB. Gaudin had 3.25, Lincecum had a still good 2.50, but Zito brought up the rear at 1.82. Kickham had zero walks to go with 5 K's. (2.2 is good; 2.4 is very good; want at least 2.0)
ERAs were much better too. Bumgarner had 3.00 ERA, Cain 3.10. Lincecum was also good there, with a 3.60 ERA. Gaudin had a nice 3.38 ERA in 4 starts. Zito had a poor 5.97 ERA, this is just his down period of the season, after starting out good. Kickham had a 8.44 ERA as he gave up 8 hits in his 5.1 IP, in spite of his good peripherals (0 BB/5 K).
June 2013 Comments
Well, the starting pitching returned to normal, but the offense was MIA this month. That led to a 10-17 month, but because no other NL West team could muster up enough momentum, the Giants are still only 3 games out, despite ending the month at 39-42. The offense that had average 4.74 runs previously could only come up with 3.33 runs per game in June. And Bochy fell back this month, the team was only 3-4 this month in one-run games.
The good news for the offense is that Sandoval returned to the lineup after finally getting DLed for his injury. As usual, he comes back cold and with little power. He usually heats up in two weeks, so hopefully he'll start hitting, and for power, this coming weekend in LA. It would also help if Scutaro can heal up his back (I thought they figured out his back problems by fitting him with special shoes that make up for the uneven legs he has they thought causes his back problems), but if Pablo is back, we have a solid middle lineup that can generate runs, with Blanco getting on base up top and Belt and Crawford driving in the middle lineup guys from the back.
The bullpen has also been suffering, but Casilla is looking good to return soon plus Vogelsong has started throwing already, seemingly ahead of schedule. Once Vogie returns, Gaudin could return to being a great long/middle reliever, plus I think he has earned some set-up action as well.
July Should Be Better Period
The above, plus Buster Posey starting his second half Superman routine - in 2010 and 2012, he got white hot right around the start of July and he started early this season, getting hot on June 24th and hitting .440/.500/1.040/1.540 since with 4 HR in 25 AB, only 3 K's but also 3 BB and 3 doubles - should led to a good month in July.
Potentially contributing to a good month is also 15 home games out of 25 (i.e. 10 road games). The commentary has been about the team playing better on the road, but as I noted somewhere, they were 8-8 on the road to start the season, it was just that the team hit a bad bump in the road with injuries while they were on the road a lot during the past month. If they can get to .500 on the road plus play .600 ball at home (they have been .615 for the season), they can go 14-11 for the month and get back to .500 overall. Add in a Bochy one-run win extra and that gives us a 15-10 month.
However, they are in the middle of a bad 17 straight days of games leading up to the ASB, which could tire them out greatly before the break. I wonder if the Giants will need to throw in Kickham to be the 6th starter, say in SF against the Mets (he's been on the road against A's, Dodgers, and Reds now), to give the starters an extra day of rest before the break.
That would also skip a Cain start, allowing him over a week's rest before he starts us off in the second half, giving his body additional rest that can only do him good, as his DOM starts have trickled to merely good levels since his Perfect Game. Though he's having a nice stretch right now, 3 straight DOM starts, something he has not done this season, and only his second stretch like that since last season (Cain's line used to look like what Bumgarner has this season). I would note that his no-hitter was on June 13, 2012, and his stretch of good starts this season started on June 18th, probably coincidence but wanted to point out how long it has been since he has been elite.
And August Looks Tough, So July Comeback is Key
And they will need to make hay in July, as August will be a gauntlet. They start with the Phillies on the road, a road series that is the start of 13 straight days of games, plus they get to face the Rays on the road too. Then they face Brewers and Orioles (very tough now) at home, bringing them to one off day on 12th. Then it is another 16 straight days of games, first road with Nats and Marlins, then home against Red Sox and Pirates, who reached 50 wins first in NL this season, then road games against Rockies and D-backs. Total of 29 games, 14 home games, 15 road games, only 2 off days the whole month. August always seems like it is a back breaker for the Giants in terms of number of games with few off days. And out pitching seems to hit a nadir in the month as well in the past.
Better Times Should be Ahead
As noted, the pitching looks like it is turning the corner and getting better down the stretch. Bumgarner is a machine and hopefully Cain will return soon to being similar. Having two pitchers regularly tossing 80%+ DOM is a great thing to have, and Cain with his string of DOM's might have turned the corner from his mere goodness since his Perfect Game. And Lincecum got better last year as well in the second half, and if he does, we should be good to go, starting rotation-wise, down the stretch.
Offensively, we need some more hitters stepping up, starting foremost with Sandoval. In June, Buster led with a Bondsian batting line: .374/.426/.636/1.062. However, nobody else were very good like that. Belt (.289/.344/.458/.802) and Blanco (.311/.354/.444/.799) were good, but Pence was only subpar, .264/.313/.443/.756, which with Sandoval out, was killer for the middle of the lineup and thus killer for our offense. Scutaro didn't help either, the 2nd batter is a key fulcrum of the offense, many studies have shown the importance of having a good hitter bat second, and Marco only hit .289/.349/.382/.731. Hopefully he gets over his bad back soon. Sandoval returning to his normal 900-ish OPS would do a lot to help the offense.
So we really only had three hitters doing well in June, whereas in May, we had two guys in the 1.000 OPS range (Scutaro and Pence), Posey, Belt, and Torres in mid-to-high 800's, and Crawford and Pagan, slightly under 750's. That's the whole lineup, almost, only Blanco and Sandoval didn't hit all that well, and still Blanco was basically 700 OPS and Pablo was at 664 OPS. That was a lot of firepower we had in May.
And that was it, the rest of the hitters were subpar and worse, all under .700, particularly starters Torres and Crawford. BCraw only hit .238/.286/.262/.548, but his 79% contact rate in June is close to his 82% he did in April/May when he hit .283/.349/.449/.798. So he was possibly BABIPed in June plus he's probably still having problems with the fingers he jammed into secondbase. He had a .320 BABIP prior to June, only .290 BABIP since versus the .307 BABIP he had last season, but if you cut out his early part when he was struggling to find the right batting mechanics, had a .325 BABIP after he got over his early struggles, from May 8 to Oct 3, a full 5 months of action.
There also was not even one standout on the bench, Perez started hot but is now south of .600 OPS, Arias was a singles machine with no walks, Hanchez was similarly muted and even worse of a hitter, Quiroz could not buy many hits, neither could Noonan. Usually, you can count on one or two contributors from the bench, but there was no one in June, unfortunately.
As we enter July, health should be returning to the team. Sandoval should be hopefully be back to MLB hitting shape relatively soon, that is how he's been when he's come back from injuries, it takes a while to get back into MLB hitting shape for him. Crawford's finger should hopefully be healed enough soon as well, as his batting eye still seems to be in good form. I would consider platooning him with Arias, both to give Arias more looks to keep his bat going as well as to rest Crawford's fingers with this long stretch of games with no rest. Plus, it is not like he's hitting LHP all that well this season anyway. Scutaro's back as well should get better at some point. He has been hitting barely OK (.273/.325/.364/.689 since June started) so I would give him one game rest per series, starting Abreu who has been hitting, to give his back the rest needed to get better. They, along with Posey, Pence, Belt, and Blanco should bring the offense back to fighting shape, considering that the pitching should be improved as well, and they should meet in the middle for some needed wins.
City of San Jose Lawsuit Against MLB
On top of all that, the City of San Jose sued the MLB to allow the A's to move down to their city. I guess they were hoping that this would force the MLB to do something, anything, regarding the proposed move down to San Jose. Generally, however, organizations being sued are not very inclined to comply with the wishes of the suing party, it only makes them more resolved not to act in your favor. Given the MLB's antitrust exemption, my guess is that the city has very little chance of getting satisfaction in the courts and the MLB will only drag their heels even more.
I guess San Jose just wants a decision - either way - so that they can move on and use that property for other purposes that would generate needed tax dollars to support city services, which has been hurt by the Great Recession. Meanwhile, Oakland is still trying to find a way to build something that would keep the A's around, coming up with another proposal around the same time as the lawsuit, while the owner Wolff continues to insist that he's moving to San Jose.
The Giants Were Here First
Again, most media coverage still seems slanted towards the A's side of the story, particularly the Haas "giving" SF the rights to the South Bay. I think it is pretty clear what the true story is, and it has nothing to do with my being a Giants fan. History and logic tells you who owns what.
The Giants were here first, as in 1958. The whole Bay Area should have been their territory, even if it was never codified or recognized in any charter or constitution then. The A's moved into their territory in 1968, like carpetbaggers, and made themselves at home, homesteading without paying the Giants anything for invading their area.
The Giants may have asked the A's for the rights, but that was a formality, in my opinion, to clarify the rights of the teams. I think the Giants could have done that move anyway, given that they were the FIRST TEAM in the region. And thus should have first rights to everything as well. If the A's don't like that, then they can move to a territory of their own where they can have all the rights around there, like Portland, Sacramento, or Las Vegas.
One of the City of San Jose's major points in the lawsuit is that they are one of the largest cities in the country and thus deserves to have its own baseball team. No city, no matter what size, "deserves" to have its own sports team. Just look at LA and how long it has gone without an NFL football team. If there is any "deserve", that would be it first.
And maybe they should just concentrate on fixing up the city first. Downtown redevelopment has gone on forever, with one failure after another, wasting money hand over fist. The VTA was foisted upon the populace by the south bay governments, but it is just one big money drain, from what I understand, when they could have invested instead in bringing BART to San Jose, which would have really alleviated traffic conditions, unlike VTA which only affects local residents, not all the people clogging the freeways coming down into the south bay. The city budget is so bad that there was some fear that the city might go bankrupt.
A's Should Pay Giants
Or Wolff might do the right thing and pay the Giants for the rights to go south bay. When the Nats moved into the Orioles territory, they paid a lot money for that right. Just to buy into the regional sports network, the MLB paid the Orioles $75M for 10% ownership of their regional sports network. At the 10% inflation rate that the MLB has experienced with regards to salary, the $75M then paid would be $177M in today's baseball dollars.
And funny enough, Wolff has been generating $20M or so annually in EBIDTA (or basically free cash flow), according to Forbes' annual baseball research, and should have pocketed around $180M counting up to this season, his 9th as owner of the A's. And maybe he can guarantee that attendance under the magic 3 million breakeven point of the Giants would be covered by the A's for a period of, say, 10 years, and for every season that the Giants don't reach 3 million, the period extends for another year.
Personally, I think that Wolff asked Selig to stall on the decision so that less of the loan payments will be left to be paid and use that as a reason to cheap out on the negotiations. That would have been the wrong approach, rights are rights, no matter what financing situation might exist for the organization. We have a precedence with the Nats-O's payment (plus, I'm not even counting the money that the Orioles have been deriving from the fact that they own 90% of the network as well as pay the Nats sub-standard fees annually, though if the A's want to do that, I would be good with that too).
Giants Were Here First
The Giants were here first, plain and simple, and most people who live in the Bay Area consider it a single region, surrounded by the mountains. They should have had the rights since they got here first and never were properly compensated when they were wronged by the A's coming into the territory, killing their attendance for years afterward. They would most probably never felt the need to move in the first place had the A's not leeched onto the territory by moving in and taking away almost half of the main population, a fact A's fans don't realize when they note that the Giants could have moved away.
And while Haas might have been magnanimous, the fans have been anything but, they would have been happy to see the Giants move away. Whereas I'm OK with them staying in Oakland - where there is a new proposal - and if they want to move south bay, show the Giants the money, Wolff has had $180M in free cash flow since becoming the A's owner, he can easily pay the Giants the money they are rightfully owed. The Giants own the South Bay territory, they were here first, they were awarded it in the constitution.