Saturday, September 27, 2014

Your 2014 Giants: Playoffs Edition

The Giants made the playoffs!  The Giants made the playoffs!  The Giants made the playoffs!

ogc thoughts

Now that's the first thing I'll tackle.  Some people view the wildcard as not being part of the playoffs.  They seem to place it into the same void as when teams play an extra series to determine who wins a division.  That I can understand, it is deciding something within the regular season, the divisional winner.

I can also understand calling it part of the playoffs too.  The season's over, and now you are playing games to decide who gets to move onto the next phase of the playoffs.

But in this case, I don't see why people can't see it as part of the playoffs:  it is part of the playoff rules now, and therefore part of the playoffs.  Only two teams in each league are playing, again part of the playoffs.  Football has done this for years, consider it a bye for the division winners, it's part of the playoffs.

Three Playoffs in Five Years, Three Eras

I just realized this huge oddity about this Giants era of playoffs:  we have had three different aces of the staff in the three playoffs.  Lincecum in 2010, Cain in 2012, and Bumgarner in 2014.

It speaks partly to the TINSTAAP aspect of pitchers, but just think of how blessed we are to have had three DIFFERENT ace level pitchers on our staff over this short time period.  I know Lincecum is not part of the rotation now, but he was for most of the season.  And of course, Cain was out for most of the season.

Teams can point to aces in a generational sense of the word, like Drysdale, Koufax, Fernando, Hershiser, Kershaw for the Dodgers, they have been very blessed.  But they rarely overlap these eras, and extremely rarely, have three of them on the staff, with each of the three taking turns as the ace of the staff in each playoff run.  Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner.

Oh, there was the Braves with Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz.  But the Giants developed all of their pitchers, and Maddux was a signed free agent, lucky for them that he wanted to pitch there (and not for us when he signed back up with Chicago).  The A's had Hudson, Mulder, Zito, as well.  Though, aside from maybe one or three good seasons up front, Zito was never much of an ace, Mulder neither, while Lincecum, Cain, and Bumgarner had extended and/or better periods of ace performances.  I'm sure there were others (Baltimore's four 20-game winners come to mind now), but the point is how rare it is, and even rarer that each of the aces rise to the fore, in rapid succession, replacing each other.  Who will be the next, Crick, Blackburn, Beede, another draft pick?

Playoff Roster

They are not announcing the roster until the morning of the game, plus they can make different choices in each phase of the playoffs.  However, the Giants roster has been so decimated by injuries or lack of performance that the hitters and starting pitchers are pretty much locks, with the bullpen being mostly locks.

Position Players:

  1. Blanco CF
  2. Panik 2B
  3. Posey C
  4. Sandoval 3B
  5. Pence RF
  6. Belt 1B
  7. Crawford SS
  8. Ishikawa LF
  9. Susac C
  10. Arias 3B/SS/2B/1B/LF?
  11. Perez LF/CF/RF
  12. Duffy 2B/SS/3B/LF?
Only other choices are Quiroz, Duvall, Dominguez, and Brown.   Nobody's performance screams must be on the playoff roster.  Even Perez wasn't that good, but the Giants need an actual OF to take over for Ishikawa in the Wild Card mid-way in game if leading or tied.  The Giants could have really used a better OF on the bench.  Too bad Schierholtz was not available (or if he was, that they didn't pick him up), he would have been good to have.   As much as I liked Morse's addition, I think we originally was trying to get Omar Infante but he signed with someone else.


Starting Pitchers:

  1. Bumgarner
  2. Peavy
  3. Petit
  4. Hudson (maybe Vogelsong)
The first three are obvious based on performance.  Hudson probably earned the starting job with his great last start.  Have to think Bochy will reward Huddy with a start for great season overall and great last start, plus it is not like Vogie has been on fire lately either, yesterday's start was not that great, which would be a reason for Bochy to chose him.  Both have been meh lately - or worse in Hudson's case, if he didn't have that great last start, Vogie probably would have gotten the starting job, by default.  Hence why I say maybe.  But Vogie has a lot of experience relieving while Hudson doesn't, so that probably will factor into the decision some as well.




Relievers:

  1. Casilla
  2. Romo
  3. Affeldt
  4. Lopez
  5. Machi
  6. Kontos
  7. Strickland
  8. Lincecum

Despite being on the roster all season, Gutierrez is probably not going to be on any playoff roster.  Definitely not on the roster for the Wild Card.  Both Kontos and Strickland have been too good.   And Lincecum is too much of a wild card not to include, I think.

But there is one spot left in the above roster configuration.  They could go for Duvall or Dominguez for power.  Brown hasn't been used much, so I doubt he'll make the roster, even with his two hits today.  He's probably only here to absorb the environment and give his career a kick in the butt to get him going faster, incent him.  They could add Gutierrez to reward him for the season, as well, since there is a spot.   There is also Cordier, and while good so far, extremely wild, with walks and HBP galore, so probably too wild a card to play.

Thus, for the last spot, for the Wild Card, I doubt they go for another pitcher, not with so many choices, right now I have to think the extra spot will go to a position player, and since Dominguez has been used lately but not Duvall, have to give nod to him.  Especially since he only has 1 K in 12 AB, that's great in limited opportunities, but he needs to be able to hit as well as control his bat if he wants to stay up here.

However, for the rest of the playoffs, I can see the Giants giving the spot to the starting pitcher who is not starting, whether Hudson or Vogelsong, to reward all the starting pitchers.  And again, it is not like Gutierrez has been that great, both starters have better ERA and FIP than JC, else the story would be way different.  Plus, clearly, Bochy likes to go to the bullpen early and often in the playoffs, he's the new Captain Hook, just look at what he's done in the past, going to starters, with an "All In" attitude to win it now and worry about later, later.

Evaluation

When you are missing two big cogs of the offense in Pagan and Morse, of course the team is hampered.  It would have been nice to carry an extra OF, but few good players sign to be a bench guy all season, so that has to be taken care of mid-season and Sabean was not able to do that.  A Schierholtz type, who plays great defense and can hit some, would have been ideal.  Probably should have made a deal back then, but at that point, who would have thought both Pagan and Morse would be lost to us.

Still, if Belt can get back his swing - and he appears to be doing it in recent days - having Panik, Posey, Belt, Pence, Sandoval 2 to 6 would be a good enough offense, I think, for our pitching.

But it won't be like 2010 or 2012, we will have to battle to get to the promise land.  But I don't think it's out of the question either, we have a strong enough rotation, we just need some hitters to carry us.

9 comments:

  1. Pagan and Morse: Blanco is hitting .295 the second half of 2014, which isn't that far off from Pagan. As to Morse, worth only 1 WAR this season, he'd contribute most reliably as a pinch hitter, since putting him in the field gives away most of what his bat produces; and were we to get to the WS where we could use Morse as a DH, we would have a good chance of finding him healthy enough to serve that purpose. In the meantime, the team seems to be doing well with Ishikawa and Duffy as pinch hitters, thus minimizing such damage as may be done by Morse's absence.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Blanco hit what I would call a soft .295: he hits great when in the bottom of the lineup, where there is no pressure on him, poorly up top when leading off. Where will he bat with Pagan out in the playoffs? Well, Bochy could change things up in the playoffs (I hope so for our sake), but lately he's been leading off with Blanco.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, Moore is a liability in the field. My point is that without him the offense was hurt, in combination with not having Pagan as well. If Pagan was around, we probably don't need Morse in the offense, Blanco would be fine batting in Morse's place.

      I agree that his defense is much less. I think that is mitigated with the pitchers we have, which are more groundball oriented pitchers.

      And yeah, I agree that Ishi and Duff makes the bench much stronger.

      Delete
  2. I hear some talk (Marty Lurie, Pavlovic) about putting Brown on the roster over one of the starting pitchers, and that's a great idea I wish I had had. Especially for Peavy, who just pitched today and would need to get ready for the first round, should we win the wildcard game. Probably Vogelsong too, he just pitched the day before. That would let another hitter be on the roster.

    Also, hopefully this is a break, but both the Cards and Pirates are still fighting for the NL Central title, so both probably will put their best pitcher up tomorrow, and should they end tied up, send probably their second best pitcher Monday for the division tie-breaker, meaning if things really break out way, we could be getting a team's 3rd best starter next Weds.

    Of course, as we found out in 2000, sometimes that's enough.

    But our guys are getting some rest, we get to send up our best starter on Wednesday, we probably get to face someone who is not their best, maybe even middle starting, and that is about as good as it can get right now. We need all the help we can get given we have to play on the road. Even better, Bumgarner is excellent on the road.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm forever scarred by JT Snow. I want speed, and lots of it, on the bench!

      Delete
  3. Baggarly noted that the Giants probably will not carry two starting pitchers, but will carry Peavy, just in case they need him to win this game, as without a win, you do not move forward. Just reminds me all over again how much I love having Bochy as our manager.

    Also noted that Quiroz might make the team so that Susac can be used as a PH. Makes sense, with one game got plenty of pitchers, may as well free Susac to be PH in key situations. But of course, in the regular playoffs, sometimes you roll the dice, even if you might end up with Arias or Duffy as C in the worse case scenario, because most of the time, you do not have worse case and Posey continues to catch.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I know this is late - Giants advance winning 8-0 behind Bumgarner's complete game shutout gem and Crawford's Giant Slam - but for the record here is the roster for this one game playoff, the Giants decide to go with 10 pitchers since most starters were not needed:

    Bumgarner
    Peavy
    Petit (in case of extra innings for both, or need to come in early)
    Lincecum (multi-purpose, including the above)
    Casilla
    Affeldt
    Lopez
    Romo
    Machi
    Strickland (after his Sept performance, of course)

    Blanco
    Panik
    Posey
    Sandoval
    Pence
    Belt
    Crawford
    Ishikawa (starting LF!)

    Susac
    Quoroz
    Duvall (his last homer probably earned him this spot over Dominguez)
    Duffy
    Arias
    Brown
    Perez

    Things will be different in next round of playoffs, Gutierrez and Kontos probably get spots. Duvall and Brown probably get taken off, though Brown with his hits in his start probably got him that roster spot, so who knows, Perez has not been hitting that well lately either.

    Hudson has been announced at the Game 2 starter, so probably Quoroz is next, though with that move, we are up to 13 pitchers and only 12 position players.

    The Giants could do that, but I have to think that they would want 5 position players on the bench, so Gutierrez might not make the playoff roster, nor Vogelsong.

    But leaving Vogie off the roster would seem out of character too, to perhaps they go with 13 pitchers (keeping Vogie but leaving Gutierrez) and only 4 on the bench: Susac, Arias, Duffy, and Perez/Brown.

    Anyone has better ideas?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, there was talk of perhaps Morse getting on the roster for the WC game, so he might get placed on the roster for the Nats series, but I don't think the Giants would want to remove Perez/Brown, so that could mean either Gutierrez or Vogie being left off.

      Delete
  5. Pavlovic had some interesting facts: http://blogs.mercurynews.com/giants/2014/10/01/postgame-notes-belt-never-game-october-hes-taking-advantage-chance-bumgarner-life-party-mound/

    Panik became the youngest second baseman to ever start a postseason game for the Giants. The 23-year-old bested Frankie Frisch, who was 25 when he started in the 1922 World Series. Panik had three hits.

    Also, from various sources:

    Crawford had the first grand slam in playoff history by a shortstop.

    Bumgarner was one of a handful of pitchers to pitch a shutout with at least 10 strikeouts and one or less walks, including Koufax, of course.

    ReplyDelete

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