Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Your 2014 Giants: 32nd Rotational Turn

The Giants 32nd Rotation PQS analysis.

ogc thoughts

The rotation turned things up a notch this turn, with 4 DOM starts out of 5 (80% is elite).  Bumgarner, Peavy, and Petit delivered the DOM last rotation turn, and this time Vogie also had a DOM.  However, the Giants only won 2 of the 4.  At this time of year, you gotta win all your DOM starts; the Giants have been poor at doing that this season, not boding well for the playoffs.

In addition, there was a DIS start from Hudson again, as well as loss.  Reportedly, he is over his hip issues but unfortunately, his performance again was not up to snuff.  I was really hoping the Giants would push back his turn and swap with Petit in order to line up Petit with Kershaw on Wednesday.  Now, at best, with no off day, we could see Lincecum take Hudson's spot, as I doubt Bochy would pitch Petit on one less day of rest, particularly in this part of the season.

Hudson in his last 12 starts have not had consecutive DOM starts, and only 3 DOM in total.  Meanwhile, he had 4  DIS starts for a 25% DOM/33% DIS, which is horrible to get from any starter, let along the putative #2 starter spot he got in the second half.  He has been no better than any team's #5 starter for us in the second half, though with the team going 5-7 in those starts, that's not too bad considering.

Pair of Aces

Luckily, there have been some good countering Hudson's bad.  Bumgarner has been the ace, however, with 11 DOM in 13 starts, plus 2 DIS, or 85% DOM/15% DIS.   The Giants were 10-3 in those starts, and won his last 6 consecutive starts.  Way to keep us in the race!

Peavy has been the real #2, or even co-ace, with 8 DOM in 11 starts, plus 1 DIS, or 73% DOM/9% DIS, that's ace level production.  The Giants were 7-4 in his starts, 7-1 in his last 8 starts, and won his last 5 starts, he also kept us in the race.

Steady Hands on Deck

And Petit and Vogie have been steady starters for us, good enough to support our aces.  Petit, since taking over for Lincecum in the rotation, has 4 DOMs in 5 starts, plus 1 DIS for 80% DOM/20% DIS, which basically is ace-level, but only if sustained over a longer period.  Still, better than the reverse.  The Giants were only 3-2 in those starts, even winning the DIS start, but losing two consecutive DOM starts.

Vogie, after some sparkling performances to the ASB and beyond, in his last 9 starts, have not been able to throw consecutive DOM starts.   His drop in strikeouts reflects his stamina problem that he has had since he rejoined the Giants (or something), as he has had a lapse of some sort, much like Lincecum does, late in the season.  However, in the past, he usually gets through it and gets back on the DOM road.

Overall, after a poor start, he had a stretch of 18 starts where he had 13 DOM and only 1 DIS, for ace-level 72% DOM/6% DIS.  But since, in 9 starts (one that normally would be designated a DIS start, I did not count because rain ended his start, which was 1 IP away from being a DOM start), he only had 3 DOM, though to his credit, still no DIS, for a 38% DOM/0% DIS, which is basically what a good pitcher would do.

Good Starting and Yet...

So the rotation has actually been pretty good since Petit joined the rotation, and yet the rotation has struggled to get even 3 DOM starts in a turn, with that level reached 3 of 5 turns so far with Petit in.  Better than the 5 straight turns below 3 and 7 of 8 turns below, before Petit joined, but before Lincecum's lost mechanics and Hudson's lost second half, the rotation was churning out 4+ DOM starts in 5 of 7 turns, plus a 3 DOM turn, and only 1 turn below 3 DOM.

With only 6 games left - and while tied with the Pirates for the Wild Card, they own the home position right now because they won our face-to-face series this season - the Giants just need to focus on winning each game, and worry about tomorrow tomorrow.  As one late night show's song states, tomorrow is just a future yesterday.  And Bochy, as noted by a couple of our beat writers, treated yesterday's game as a must win, pulling out stops that Mattingly did not (or could not, I'm still not sure about him as a manager), and pulled out a win in extra innings.

Those extra innings could loom large in this series, even though Greinke and Kershaw typically pitch late into games.  If the Giants could focus some on taking more pitches, and working the count against both of them, while they probably dominate us again, we could get them out of the game early and get into their bullpen, where guys are tired and plenty of weak links (like Wilson and Correia, among others) upon which our lineup could feast on, potentially.

And Greinke has three straight starts with 6 IP or less, he's been getting tired sooner, as Mattingly has been taking him out more often in the second half before reaching 100 pitches (while before Aug 1st, he reached or surpassed 100 in all but a handful of starts, 16 of 18), yet, inexplicably, in his last start, as he was being battered by the Cubs, of all teams, he let him reach 112 pitches, which he has not reached in two months.  And, since the middle part of the season, when he gets to 110 pitches and beyond, he has usually had a bad start in his following start.  Hopefully that pattern will continue today, plus against Bumgarner, who has hoisted the team on his strong back, even a crack in Greinke's armor could be enough for Madison to cruise home a winner.

Then in the finale, I have to think that Hudson is not starting, that he'll be skipped, replaced by Lincecum in what could be a bullpen game, depending on which Timmy we see.  Whatever we see, it could not be much worse than what Hudson has been dealing lately.  Hopefully a skipped start is all the rest Huddy needs to return to his early season dominance.   Though that point could be moot, with Bumgarner and Peavy dealing, Petit too, plus Vogie as a steady Eddie, that's our playoff rotation pretty much, if we can get past the Wild Card game, which I think we can if Bumgarner is starting.

But the tricky part is that Bumgarner is slated to pitch the last game of the season.   So some rotation shuffling needs to happen to get him into the wild card game, as we are pretty much a lock now, 4.5 games up on Brewers with only 6 games left (they need us or the Pirates to crash and burn while they dominate in order to make the playoffs now) but 3.5 games back of the Dodgers with 6 left for us to play.  Even a sweep, unthinkable with Kershaw starting in the third game, would still leave the Giants out 1.5 games with 4 left to play, we likewise need to dominate while Dodgers crash and burn, to win the division.

So the shuffling could begin with the third game against Kershaw.  We could skip Hudson and start Lincecum.  If it's a bullpen game, it's probably Kontos for 2-3 innings, and that would bridge us into the middle innings where we can tap Machi for one (he did pitch 2 yesterday), Affeldt for 1-2, Romo for one, and then we got Casilla and Strickland to close things up, and I think Cordier is starting to earn spots in key times too, he's been good in limited usage so far.  Bochy does know how to handle and develop a bullpen, probably the key to his probable Hall of Fame career as a manager.

Then continue the rotation:  Petit, Vogie, but then maybe Hudson in the third game of the Padres series, and end with Peavy in the last game (it would depend on how necessary it is to win out, which depends on how the Pirates and Giants do in remaining games, and who had the Wild Card home spot).  If it matters, Hudson gets third, Peavy gets fourth, but it don't matter, then Peavy goes third (extra rest in case we win the Wild Card game and he will be our first starter in playoffs) and Hudson, or even Kickham, could pitch the finale.

And it would be best to win home field advantage (of course, it would be best not to get swept by the Padres, but that ship has sailed), as the Pirates have done well at home, plus has beat up on LHP, while they are not that good on the road.  Which works for us as they finish the season on the road, against the Braves and Reds.  Both are not good at home, but at least .500, whereas the Pirates are bad on the road, 34-41.

However, they are great against losing teams, 52-32  (but bad against winning teams, 33-39, which bodes well for us should we meet in the playoffs).  And both the Braves and Reds are crashing and burning to end the season, 1-9 and 3-7 respectively, 5-15 and 7-13 respectively.   We need to hope that some pride kicks in and they battle the Pirates in the remaining games.

For us, the Padres are horrible on the road (while actually very good at home, so the sweep, while not likely, wasn't out of the word either) and we have generally been good at home (though poor in the middle), so hopefully we can return the favor to them.  We'll need to if we hope to catch up with either the Pirates or Dodgers or both.   And this is not 2012, we don't quite have our backs to the wall, we are most probably in the Wildcard, so there is likely to be a tomorrow.   Looks like we'll be going down to the wire this year.

But clearly I was wrong thinking the Giants could do really well this season, like in 2003.  I was right that they had the ability to do it, they were doing it to June, but then injuries and poor performances did the team in for a couple of months, before they recovered enough in August, but they have been flat again in September.  Hopefully they can pull it all together in the coming weeks.

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