Monday, October 13, 2014

Your 2014 Giants: NLCS Game 2: You Gotta Like These Kids, But Just Remember the Growing Pains

My thoughts about game 2 of the NLCS.

ogc thoughts

To quote myself, I twittered:  "Sad we lost, but don't expect to win them all. Booing of closer could bear dividends later for us. Love the kids, also later factors too!"

You Gotta Like These Kids

The Kids executed the rally and make it all happen in the 9th.  Andrew Susac shows a veteran steeliness in coming into his first NLCS AB and knocking a single up the middle, getting a single with one out by a veteran, Crawford.  Matt Duffy pinch runs for him and advances to second when Juan Perez also singles.  Blanco lines out to SS, almost into a double play, but Duffy had the presence of mind to stay his motion, see the catch, and get back to second, safe, avoiding the double-play.  He noted in an interview that he had noted the SS's height earlier, and that thought came to him as he accelerated upon contact, which then stopped him in his tracks.  The TV announcers loved that!  Then Panik shows a veteran steeliness in working out a walk, after falling behind 0-2, and taking a very close pitch for a ball, before earning his walk.

That's when things got crazy fast.  Ball Four was about as wild a pitch as you'll ever see, especially from a closer like Rosenthal (though, wow, his stats were a lot worse as a closer in 2014 than as a set-up guy in 2013, though still very good;  but, for example, K/BB went from 5.40 to 2.07, where normally you want at least 2.4 from your closers and set-up men.  Duffy had a great jump off of second, and accelerated past third when he got the signal from the third base coach, Flannery.  He scored easily.  There is a great video of his running at this MLB website called Statcast:  Duffy Scoring on Wild Pitch (and watch the other videos, this is just amazing to see the data visually represented, and to learn how fast the players are running at).

Then Posey walked (the only vet to add anything to the rally) before Sandoval ended the rally by grounding out.

Uneasy Lies the Head That Wears the Closer's Crown:   MLB "Best" Fans Boo CLoser

I've heard a number of times how the Cards fans are among, if not the best, baseball fans around, but that don't jibe with them booing their closer in the middle of a tense, taunt game.  Rosenthal obviously didn't do well.  He was acting like a rookie, walking a guy he was up 0-2 on and wild pitching in the tying run.

But I just found out that he IS a rookie.  A rookie closer that is.  This is only his second full season of playing, and first as a closer, having been a reliever the previous season, pitching mostly 7th and 8th inning, except at the end when he got to save a bunch of games, it appears that they made him the closer near the end of the season.  Then they kept him as the closer in the 2013 playoffs, where he very well, not giving up one run at all.  He has given up 2 runs in 3.2 IP, for a 4.91 ERA, and it could be even worse as he has given up 7 hits and 3 walks, though striking out 5.  Last year:   11.2 IP, but only 4 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 18.

I wonder if that will pay dividends for the Giants later in the series.  He looked a bit unnerved yesterday.  It can't help that he was booed by the Card fans.  Last year, he went in with little expectations and was able to shut down everyone almost.  This season, his FIP went from a dominant 1.99 to an ordinary 2.99 (ERA from 2.63 to 3.24), while his K/BB fell from a superb 5.40 to an OK 2.07.

Sure, relievers suffer a lot from SSS because of the few innings they pitch, but pitching peripherals don't usually gyrate so much, especially from one extra to another.  He got wilder as a closer (5.4 BB/9) than as a key set-up man (2.4 BB/9), though he was able to keep his K/9  high still:  only fell from 12.9 K/9 to 11.1 K/9.  However, to his credit, the number of wild pitches fell from 6 to 4 in roughly the same number of IP.

Though, wow, his career BABIP is .320 and .334 during this two full seasons.  That would explain some of the hits he has given up so far, he appears to be more hittable than average pitchers, only his high velocity instead results in a lot of strikeouts and walks.  Again, I take this as a sign that he's not really as good as feared looking at his career numbers.

Oddly enough, he's much better against LHH than RHH in his short career so far.  Relieving makes it even more subject to SSS, so his RHH is much more believable, and given the above stats, leads me to believe that he'll regress to the mean at some point against LHH.

Peavy Fails Again To Get a DOM Playoff Start

As I've been saying, he has not ever had a DOM start in the playoffs.  In fact, he has had a number of disaster starts, and yesterday's was another one, though had he pitched one more IP, he would have had a 2 PQS and not a DIS start.  But I was not feeling too good about Bochy keeping him in there against the LHH Carpenter, who has shown a lot of power in the playoffs so far, especially with the bases loaded.  The game would have been out of reach if he hit anything for power.

I loved Peavy's performances for us in the season, but if this is how he performs in the playoffs, one, he should really be our 3rd or 4th starter (or even reliever, and start Petit instead).  And his performances so far is changing my mind about resigning him, especially for the big money contract that he probably wants.  I would rather have Vogie instead, any day, Vogie has been great in the playoffs.

In addition, Peavy was talking nicely about the Cards in an interview leading up to his start, about almost signing with them, and how good they are, and how he could end up with them as a free agent.  Really?  Just before we take them on?  I'm OK with fraternization but he could have demurred and say that he's concentrating on beating them right now.  So if they want him, as apparently they did previously, great, maybe we can give him a QO and get a draft pick out of him, as well as cost the Cards a first round pick.

Bullpen Usage

I am not sure why Affeldt was used so early in the game.  Does that mean Lincecum can't be trusted with pitching then?  And why not use Petit?  Are they saving him for one of the older pitchers?  Not sure why that was done.  Something to monitor going forward, as an oddity.

I still love Strickland.  This is hopefully just learning pains.  I really love everything he did in the minors.  Such high K/9 and K/BB are good indicators of a good major league pitcher.  But for now, I would lay off running him up against LHH with power.

I Was Off About a Seven Game Series Must Wins

I saw on twitter a good point:  this is now a five game series and the Giants play three at home.  Win two at home and one on the road, and we are in the World Series again.  So I guess I'll have to alter the conditions for a seven game series to not a must win for a team that wins Game 1 on the road, they don't have to win Game 2, they are still nicely set up for the rest of the series.

Games 3, 4, 5

So it's Hudson vs. Lackey in game 3, Vogelsong vs. Miller in game 4, and then a rematch in game 5, Bumgarner vs. Wainwright.

I view game 3 as the toughest of the three.  Hudson looks like he's OK now with rest and recuperation from whatever was ailing his body at the end of the season, as he was great against the Nats.  However, he is going up against Lackey, who has been good in the playoffs during his career.  A plus for Hudson is that this is his first NLCS game, so maybe he'll get an extra shot of adrenaline (but not too much) and have another great start.   It could go either way.

Game 4 is hopefully the easiest of the three.  Vogie was great after benefiting from rest, after ending the season on the downside.  As I noted in the other post, he has a lot of rest again for this start as well.  On top of that Miller has not been very good in the playoffs thus far, though doable in his last start (3 PQS).   He is vulnerable to LHH, and has pitched much worse on the road during his career, though OK in his only start in AT&T.

Wainwright says that he is OK for Game 5, which, if he's as good as he was in Game 1, Bumgarner might have an easy night, as well as the Giants.  But never bet against aces, maybe he really is feeling better.  But with two potentially tough games, we should win one of those games, and one that is hopefully easier to win, that would give us two of three at home, only needing to win one in St. Louis.

2 comments:

  1. I'm going to guess that Bochy was saving Petit for long relief of Hudson or Vogey, or for long extra innings after, he hoped, Romo pitched a successful 9th against the bottom of the order, and Casilla dealt with the meat of the order in the 10th. The game might ten have dragged on as a tie in which Petit would have to pitch several innings. (For ten, read then in the previous sentence.) Petit is invaluable to have in store, since there's no other long man save for the untrustworthy Lincecum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good point about Petit being saved for extra innings. And yes, after what he did against the Nats, he is totally invaluable.

      I trusted Lincecum coming into the post-season, but after Bochy has seemed to totally ignore and avoid him, I have to wonder what's up, is Lincecum that unusable? And if so, was he placed on the roster just to keep his ego intact?

      Delete

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