Saturday, July 19, 2014

I Screwed Up: Rotation Order Second Half

I screwed up the games and thus the final ending of the order. For some reason when I printed out the schedule from BB-Ref, it separated out the first three games with a lot of spacing, and I missed it. I wish I could blame it on my lack of good sleep for a while due to my shoulder and arm pain, but I've been dealing with it for a while now and should have been double checking my work, as I've done in work. My apologies and my updated analysis follows below (amazingly, there was not a lot changed, the main change is how the order ends up and thus the meaning for us fans in terms of who is pitching in each scenario).

Rotation Order Second Half

Bochy announced that the rotation would be Bumgarner, Hudson, Lincecum, Vogelsong, Cain, barring any unexpected usage of Hudson in the All Star game, but since he sat, this is the order.  Some were surprised by Cain's placement and signaled concerns over that.

I went through the schedule and counted up the starts.  Bumgarner gets 14 starts and the rest get 13 starts each.  I would note that Hudson, while older, got some rest earlier with his skipped start and he has two less starts than Bumgarner, though because he went deeper, only 8 less IP and more than anyone but Madison in IP.  But because he's so efficient, he has less pitches thrown other than Cain, who missed even more games.  Which some have suggested is why it is odd that he's 5th in the rotation, is there some health issue we are not aware about.

And in the news for the first game of the second half, apparently Cain has been suffering from some arm issues, wearing a sleeve.  When asked how he felt, he said, cryptically, "I'm feeling what I'm feeling."

Going through the assigned starts, here are the breakdowns for each home and away:

Bumgarner:  6 home, 8 away
Hudson:  4 home, 9 away
Lincecum:  7 home, 6 away
Vogelsong:  5 home, 8 away
Cain:  6 home, 7 away

Bumgarner has been the worse at home, but stellar away, plus he's the ace of the staff, it would be a rebuke to his ace status to replace him up top.  So this is for the best, only

Hudson has been good on the road, but also good at home, so that works for him being second.  And a 2.52 ERA on the road don't hurt.  Plus, moreover, he has earned that status.  So this works for him and reduces the overall number of pitches the rotation throws as a whole.

Lincecum has been better at home (2.54 ERA at home), and not as bad as Cain on the road, so he is fine in the third slot but could have been in the last spot as well, and probably better suited based strictly on these numbers.  With his rubber arm, though, and Cain having bone chips in his elbow, it makes sense to ride Lincecum a bit harder than Cain, in terms of starts.

Vogelsong has been better at home than Cain, so he is another who might be better placed in the 5th spot, as he's better at home and worse away relative to Cain and in general.  This is probably the biggest if in the group, the way I see it.

Cain has been good at home and on the road, so this is fine.  And despite not starting as many games because of his injuries, I'm sure he could always use extra rest, as the beats suggest.  Particularly if it helps him be fresher in the playoffs, should we make it.  But given that he has been having some sort of issues with his arm, this is clearly the best thing to do, let him pitch less games.  However, he could still pitch in the #2 spot and pitch the same number of games, so the key benefit of putting him fifth is to give him a max number of days of rest between starts.

One reason to "demote" him, as the way it has been described in the media, is right now, the Giants are in a dog fight for the division title, as well as for a wild card spot (FYI, they would be tied for the second wild card spot right now), and thus you never know if the Giants need to play an extra game or two just to make the main portion of the playoffs (there are some who do not consider the wildcard games as the playoffs, but to me, if you are playing an extra series (even if only one game) to determine who gets to move on in the playoffs, it is a playoff game.

Placing Cain at the end of the second half rotation basically means that he gets to start the next to last game of the season.  Which could be important if we are battling for the division title or a wild card spot at the end of the season.  Out of Lincecum, Vogelsong, and Cain, right now, I would still want to go with Cainer in any sudden-death wildcard game.

And when you come down to it, the top two starters were considered Bumgarner and Cain by Bochy at the beginning of the season.  Who are the starters of the last two games of the season?  Cain followed by Bumgarner.

Then, should the Giants get into the wild card game, Bochy could start Hudson for the win it all game, then probably go with Lincecum/Vogelsong, Cain, Bumgarner, Hudson.   And if the Giants win the Division Title, then we can go with Hudson, Cain, Bumgarner, Lincecum/Vogelsong.  In addition, if we win the division before the end of the season, Bochy can have Petit and (if possible) then probably someone called up (Kickham?  Escobar?) take spot starts, saving Cain and Bumgarner for the first starts of the playoffs:  Bumgarner, Cain, Hudson, Lincecum.

In addition, comparing who each would face, that is also a clue as to why Vogelsong #4.  Each of the other starters get two starts each against LAD, only Vogelsong faces the Dodgers once in the second half with this rotation order.  Only Lincecum gets two starts at home against them, the others gets one at home and one on the road.

So Cain pitching last in the rotation does help his arm since he's having some sort of issue this season.  But it also means that he and Bumgarner get the last starts of the season, that Hudson is the starter if there is a wild card game, and if they win the division before the last games, Cain and Bumgarner's starts can be skipped and start the playoffs at the start.

2 comments:

  1. Cain will have to get his elbow bone spurs removed this off season.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, he can't hold off this anymore, it has bothered him since spring according to Bochy.

      Seems to me that it has been Cain wanting to hold off on getting the surgery done, which I don't blame him, surgery has gone wrong before (see Bonds with his complications), but this clearly is a huge issue, affecting him since spring and finally putting him on the DL.

      Delete

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