Thursday, October 23, 2014

Your 2014 Giants: World Series Game 3: Nobody More Ready

That's reassuring words to hear from our starting pitcher, Tim Hudson (tweet from Pavlovic):
What I've hoped and dreamed for my whole career is finally here. There's not going to be anybody on field more ready than I am."
Also, had to share this great picture of Buster, beautiful:

ogc thoughts

Not a lot of positives from the game.  Peavy had a DIS start, just could not throw strikes to save him life, but was able to limit the damage until that fateful inning.  Of course, he got help from Machi and Strickland to burn the rest of the structure.  The hitters was able to get a lot of hits, but never the one to open the game up for us.  Bochy again was sub-optimal in using the pen, taking a close game and blowing it apart with Machi and Strickland.  Even the one positive, Lincecum's outing, turned into a negative when he felt tightness in his back (reports today I see on twitter notes that he's OK and probable for tomorrow, pending MRI results).

But, as I noted in the Cards series, I'm sad we lost game 2, but I didn't think that they would go the whole series without a loss.  Lick our wounds, come back fighting in Game 3.

Pondering Peavy

And I was worried about that because Peavy has not been very dominating in the playoffs.  He can limit the damage for the most part, but then the manager saves him by taking him out early.  Frankly, I would have took out Peavy sooner, after he gave us 5 OK innings.  At that point, he had only given up 2 runs, but had walked two while only striking out one.  That's a 2 PQS, not good, not bad, though close to bad, and much like he had done previously.  Leaving him in dropped his PQS into disaster territory.

So first, I'm wondering, should the series go to 6 games, do we start Peavy?  I think if Petit hasn't pitched much up to that point, we might see him start game 6 over Peavy.  Bochy has skipped a pitcher before during the playoffs, like they did with Bumgarner in 2012, so it is not unprecedented.   And really, I would even go with Lincecum paired with Petit even if Petit had pitched and could only give a couple of innings relief.  Peavy has shown nothing in his playoff career, and now I'm seriously considering changing my mind about re-signing him for 2015, though we still need a starter for 2015 (though that could be Petit instead, with Bumgarner, Cain, Hudson, and Lincecum, who hopefully will be better after an off-season getting back his old mechanics by working with his dad).

Sticking With Strickland

It's not called learning pains for nothing.  Some people just have it immediately, like K-Rod did, but for whatever reasons, Strickland is struggling.  I wouldn't mind if Bochy uses him again, but obviously got to chose the spots.

I still believe in his talent.  He has only 12.1 IP in his MLB career, 5.1 IP of which were in the playoffs.  His baptism in fire.  But 9 K's in 7 IP with only 5 hits and zero walks in the regular season, 32.5 IP in AA, with only 25 hits and 4 (!) walks vs. 48 K's for a 12.00 K/BB ratio (remember 2 is good and you want at least 2.4 from your best pitchers;  so yeah, that's elite, that's like Bumgarner's ratio in high school, Madison's best as pro was in Augusta with a 7.81 K/BB).  That's a 12.1 K/9 and 1.0 BB/9 for Hunter in AA.

And his blow-up reminds me of another Giant:  Bumgarner.  I'll never forget about him flinging the ball out of the stadium in AAA early in the 2010 season when he got really angry, I think at an umpire's bad call.  Need that type of passion during the game, as well as "move on" attitude afterward, to be an effective closer, and he apparently has this quality.

No Mas Machi

I usually applaud Bochy for his moves, but I felt that he was late in his changes again.  As noted above, I would have took out Peavy after he got 5 good innings out of him, plus then this would have let Machi pitch with no runners on, especially since he has not really had a clean appearance so far this season except for his first one out relief appearance.  Since then it has been a hit parade, as well as run parade.

Instead, he faced two runners on with no outs and gave up another hit.  I think Bochy is better off using Machi in low pressure situations, he's obviously battling some sort of nerves, it happens to the best of us, same as Strickland.  But after this amount of time, I think you use him in garbage time and big leads, if he gets in trouble, stop him quick and bring in the Big Boys, Affeldt, Romo, Lopez, and Casilla.

Liking Lincecum

I'm not sure what the issue was with not using Lincecum, unless he was suffering from some sort of extreme fatigue or something, or working on mechanics (but then why carry him when Kontos could have contributed).  But I still believe in Timmy and he delivered almost two innings of dominance when his back stiffened, and he had to leave the game.

Report from Baggarly is that he has suffered issues like this since high school, when he had his growth spurts and they would come and go, but never linger.  His MRI, just for precaution, came out clean as well.  He threw a normal session today and said that he felt normal and declared himself ready for Game 3 use.  Remember his rubber arm, as I agree with Baggarly that he has moved ahead of Machi and Strickland on the bullpen totem pole, you might see Lincecum bridge the middle innings as necessary in the rest of the games, he says that he can go every day.  Good time to test this out given Machi, Strickland, and Peavy's problems getting hitters out.

In Bochy I Trust

I've been a bit concerned about Bochy's bullpen usage during these playoffs, and I don't think the leopard has changed his spots, so I have been thinking that Bochy needed to see how much he can depend on Machi and Strickland during the playoffs, and the only way to do that is to use them.  Same with Peavy.  They all let him down, and, thinking back, most players have delivered for the most part, and when not, apparently there was something to fix, and they bring him back fine, like Bumgarner in 2012.  Meanwhile, he didn't need to use Lincecum, so why tire him out when you can run other guys out there, but when he needed him to eat innings yesterday, he did.

So, if this theory is correct, we should see a drastic change in bullpen usage going forward.  Lincecum would be used like he was in 2012, every game if necessary.  Machi and Strickland will get to face 1-3 batters, see how it goes, start them in a clean inning.  Bochy has been the master of the bullpen for ages now, and still, most of the time this off-season, so my best guess is that he's testing to see who he can rely on.

Happy with Huddy

He has come through for us this post-season.  Two DOM starts, and I am encouraged by this because it was exactly what he did early in the season when he was healthy and well rested.  It's been what he's been doing for the last 13 seasons, methodically, professionally, La Machine.  3.57 ERA this season, 3.45 ERA for his career, 3.38 ERA since his TJS.  This is why I wanted the Giants to sign him, and he has delivered in spades.

Here is what I wrote in my other post:
Game 3 is also a bit of a toss-up, based on DOM, but I give the edge to the Giants.  Both pitchers have similar DOM% for the season, but while Hudson has two DOM starts so far in the post-season, Guthrie has none, not even getting a start in the ALDS, and throwing a 2 PQS in the ALCS, where he only had 2 K's in 5 IP but 2 BB's.   
But it is the World Series, the first for Hudson.  Of course, he beat the pressure in the NLCS and had a 4 PQS start there, winning his start.  And he was masterful, with 5 K's and 0 walks in 6.1 IP.  Again, could be a turning point for the Giants here, again, as Bochy understands must wins.
I still think we have the edge on paper, but as the saying goes, that's why we play these games.  Another positives are these (tweets from Baggarly):
Basically, Hudson was on a downward trend with his PQS after he skipped a start earlier this season, finally getting worse and worse until his last start of the season.  By that point, it was reported that he had been battling some sort of hip issue.  Without a skipped start, but with the medicine,  he has had three straight DOM starts.  And with 10 days of rest, he should be well rested again.

So it should be a good game on our side.  Not as sure a thing for Guthrie, but he's been good in the regular season, and perhaps his first playoff start was just a fluke and he delivers.  But I like our chances, it was Hudson who led us in the early going, not Bumgarner, who was struggling a bit with the heavy mental load of being the ace (he had been aces for a long time until then, a machine; he's been a machine since the beginning of May).

Plus, our hitters are pretty good at avoiding strikeouts and getting walks, and Guthrie is particularly susceptible to left-handed hitters, of which we have a lineup full of them, plus Posey and Pence who hit RHP and LHP almost equally well, and he already have trouble striking out hitters in general, so the Giants should be putting a lot of balls into play against him, much like KC against Peavy.

I feel pretty good about this game, Go Giants!


  1. Shame on me, forgot to go over Hudson's career in the playoffs. He actually wasn't that good for most of his career. Not that bad, like only one DIS but only one DOM too. In 10 starts, he has had 5 DOM and 1 DIS for a very good 50% DOM and 10% DIS. Even more importantly, he figured things out lately, his last four starts are DOM starts.

    Maybe the pressure of being the ace affected him? Three of his last playoff games had him as the #3 starter. Then again, in 2005, he had a 2 PQS in Game 1, then a 5 PQS DOM start in Game 4 (both losses). And he did have that one DOM early on as well.

    So, at minimum, he's on a bit of a roll, with four straight DOM starts, will have plenty of rest with 10 days between starts, and the knowledge that this could be his one and only chance to pitch in the World Series.

    Honestly, does not seem like the type of guy to shrink in the enormity of the moment. So we'll see, game needs to be played, and all that, but I'm feeling pretty good with Huddy starting for us, and we'll see which Guthrie shows up in Game 3, the good DOM starter in the regular season or the wild guy who couldn't throw strikes that the Orioles saw in the ALCS, he was just lucky his fielders were catching what was hit in to the field, the BABIP gods helped him.

  2. I was just looking at Panik's playoff performance, and while the batting line is meh (.236/.263/.364/.627), in 55 AB, out of 13 hits, he has 2 triples and a HR, plus only, ONLY, 2 strikeouts, along with 2 walks to boot (while not a great walk rate, anytime a hitter has as many walks as strikeouts, that is a sign of a very good batch of batting. He's been BABIPed so far. And wow, 128 ISO so far, only 63 ISO during the season.

  3. I heard rumors on KNBR that maybe the Giants pitch Bumgarner in games 4 and 7. Given how many innings he has thrown already this season, and the Giants reticence to push young arms, I kind of doubt that, but it got me thinking: Game 4 is on Saturday and the forecast is for rain. Should the game gets rained out, then Bumgarner could pitch Game 4 on Sunday on regular rest. Something to keep in mind.

    1. Reports all around:

      Looks like just ol' Giants thoroughness: Bochy and gang have discussed the option of using Bumgarner in Game 4, in the case of a Game 3 loss, but decided on Vogelsong.

      The beat writers agreed and made good points that this is unlikely but, as I noted above, should the game get rained out, then that's totally possible. Both noted also that Bumgarner has never started on short rest ever, which is a key data point that he won't be pitching on short rest. In addition, the record of pitchers pitching on short rest is not good at all.

      Here is key quote of Bochy: “I mean, we discuss everything, our options,” Bochy said.

      So it appears to be news that is no news, once again.

  4. Royals went with Dyson over Aoki in Game 3 lineup. Looking over the stats, Dyson probably should have started over Aoki during the whole playoffs, as Aoki is barely an upgrade offensively, but he was negative defensively while Dyson was way above average.

    This could backfire on them. Dyson had all of 9 PA during the playoffs, and made outs in all but one, gaining one walk for a .125 OBP/OPS. Of course, Aoki wasn't doing anything either, did OK in ALDS and ALCS, and has been oh-for-World Series.

    Still, just on defense, Dyson could be such a huge upgrade that it is worth taking the lesser offense in order to get the great defense, he adds 2-3 wins just from defense alone.

    And that's on top of the fact that Dyson will play CF while Cain moves to RF, which adds more than a win in defense there too.

    I guess the Royals have noticed that the Giants put the ball in play a lot, and thus OF defense would need to be boosted up in RF. Perhaps they noticed that the Giants play their defensive liabilities in LF, but make sure to have good fielder in RF.



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