This post has the Giants Pure Quality Start scores for the month of June 2015, PQS as defined in Ron Shandler's Baseball Forecaster annual book and they published the details here (unfortunately, they removed the article; this link gets you at least to the PQS definition, read down to middle for details). I wrote on this first in 2006 (wow, 10th year of this!) and have compiled their stats on a regular basis, so I'm continuing it this season for continuity and historical comparison (there is the "PQS" label that you can click to see the old posts on this). Regular readers can skip to the next section.
This is the Quality Start with a sabermetric DIPS twist, and it gets really easy to calculate once you get used to it. I don't think it's the end all or be all, but then nothing really is that. It is, as I like to say, another piece of the puzzle. A dominating start is scored a 4 or 5 and a disaster start is scored a 0 or 1. DOM% is the percentage of starts that are dominating, DIS% is the percentage of starts that are disasters (any start under 5.0 IP is automatically a 0, or disaster).
What's Good and What's Not
From my observations, a DOM at or above the 40% mark is indicative of good pitching; above 50% is great; above 70% is elite. A low DIS is also indicative of good pitching, just look at the table in the link above showing DOM% and DIS% on the axes.
Madison Bumgarner- (75% DOM, 7% DIS; 12:1/16): 4, 0, 3, 5, 5/5, 4, 2, 4, 3, 5/4, 4, 5, 5, 5/
Matt Cain- (0% DOM, 0% DIS; 0:0/0): DL//
Chris Heston - (53% DOM, 20% DIS; 8:3/15): 5, 5, 5, 3/5, 2, 5, 0, 1, 5/0, 5, 2, 2, 5/
Tim Hudson - (20% DOM, 13% DIS; 3:2/15): 3, 3, 3, 2/2, 3, 2, 3, 0, 4/5, 1, 3, 2, 4/
Tim Lincecum - (40% DOM, 33% DIS; 6:5/15): 4, 3, 4, 2/4, 5, 0, 4, 2, 0/4, 0, 2, 0, 0/
Jake Peavy - (0% DOM, 100% DIS; 0:2/2): 0, 0//
Yusmeiro Petit - (0% DOM, 0% DIS; 0:0/1): /3/
Ryan Vogelsong - (64% DOM, 29% DIS; 9:4/14): 0, 4, 0/4, 5, 1, 4, 5/5, 4, 0, 5, 5, 2/
Giants Season overall - 49% DOM, 22% DIS out of 78 games counted (38:17/78)
Giants Month of April - 41% DOM, 23% DIS out of 22 games counted (9:5/22)
Giants Month of May - 50% DOM, 20% DIS out of 30 games counted (15:6/30)
Giants Month of June - 54% DOM, 23% DIS out of 26 games counted (14:6/26)
The month of June for PQS was still worse than we have been used to from our starting pitchers for a long time now, but at least is trending upward. This continues a string of poor months since September last season.
Bumgarner led the staff again with 5 DOM starts, while Vogie was next with 4 DOM starts. However, the rest of the rotation had a poor month, thus it cost us, as Heston and Hudson each had 2 DOM and Lincecum only the 1 DOM.
Hudson has continued to round into shape, as he had 2 DOM vs. the 1 DOM he had last month and 0 DOM in April. He had gone 9 starts without a DOM (nor DIS!) start to start his season. He had been near a DOM start in many starts already, just missing out by a hit or a clean inning, so maybe what the beat said about him going through spring training now might be true, or maybe it is his age catching up. But he's been dragging the rotation stats down by not getting many DOM starts. And that is probably why the Giants were very close to putting him on the DL in order to bring back Cain and Peavy, until Lincecum's injury and subsequent DL changing the scenario.
With Cain and Peavy returning soon, things were going to change a lot, with two starters needing to move out of the rotation. It was possible they could go with a 6-man rotation for 2-4 weeks or even indefinitely, to give their arms more rest. I have noted for a while the benefits to the team in doing that in August, when there is only two days of rest in the month (and they could skip the 6th starter's spot when there is an off day in that rotation cycle, to keep everyone on schedule). There is also the old saying in baseball that these things tend to resolve themselves, and they could do the 6-man until a pitcher needs to be removed for whatever reason. And Lincecum's injury/DL helps with that, as he probably would have been removed anyway, so now Hudson might stick around as the reliever or maybe the Giants might DL him as planned.
Leaders in DIS starts was Lincecum with 3 DIS starts. Heston, Hudson and Vogelsong had one each. Bumgarner did not have one in June.
After the poor start to the season, the Giants turned it on in late April and continued that into May, but they have sputtered in June. They were only 12-14 in June, after going 21-9 in May. The starting pitching boosting DOM to 54% for the month did not help at all, as the team went 7-7 in DOM starts (offense let us down, we should win at least 10-11 of those 14 DOM starts). The Giants have been 27-11 in DOM starts this season.
DOM improvement did not lead to better performances again in June, BABIP luck strikes again. Bumgarner led the way with only 2.77 ERA but 11.3 K/9 and 7.00 K/BB. Giants were only 2-3 in his starts, despite 5 DOM in 5 starts. Heston had a 3.56 ERA with 8.9 K/9 and 3.75 K/BB, and that included his no-hitter too, so he was pretty bad in other starts. Giants were 3-2, which is par for the course, he had 2 DOM and 1 DIS in 5 starts.
Then performances diverge. Vogie actually had the second best month per PQS with 4 DOM and 1 DIS in 6 starts, but he had a 4.11 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and only 1.56 K/BB. Sometimes the BABIP eats your lunch and you have horrible numbers. The team went 2-4 in these starts, losing two of his DOM starts. Hudson continued his up and down season. He actually had better numbers earlier by not having any disaster starts, and so even though he had two DOM starts, the DIS start pushed his ERA up, and he had a 4.80 ERA for the month with 2 DOM and 1 DIS, 5.7 K/9 (much better than earlier) and good 2.71 K/BB. The Giants were 2-3 in his starts, oddly enough, losing both of his DOM starts.
Lastly, Lincecum lost it at an inopportune time. 5 starts, only 1 DOM with 3 DIS, for a horrid 7.45 ERA, which was the worse on the staff in June, still OK 7.0 K/9 but very poor 1.25 K/BB, as the walks just starting coming. Weirdly enough, the Giants were 3-2 in his starts. That's baseball!
June 2015 Comments
The Giants finished the month 12-14 in spite of the uptick in DOM starts. The offense averaged 4.54 runs scored per game, so they were doing their job, on average. They were in fact good. Unfortunately, the pitching didn't do enough, allowing 4.15 runs per game.
The starting pitching overall had a 4.22 ERA for the month. The relievers had a 3.69 ERA for the month. Both were worse than the average for the NL in 2015 (Starters average 3.99 ERA, relievers 3.47 ERA). Cain and Peavy were taken off the DL in early July to boost the rotation
Cain and Peavy in, Lincecum and Hudson out
The hope is that adding Cain and Peavy to the starting pitching will lead to helping the relievers, as well as improving the rotation. Hudson and Lincecum were the low guys in terms of IP among the starters, and both were placed on the DL to bring back Cain and Peavy in the start of July.
Lincecum was injured by that batted ball, and they will probably slow play him, as he struggled with stamina and his mechanics (not sure what will happen with him, but when he returns, he is probably in the bullpen since stamina has been his problem).
Hudson had been dealing with a lot of physical problems (hips, ankle) just to pitch, plus probably was worried about a personal family issue (Hudson's mom has been needing a liver transplant, and just got one, so he's out caring for his mom, as well as resting his old - his words - and aching body; might get him back in August).
Relief Needs Relief
The relief corps did pretty poorly except for a few. Mostly probably, that is because the starters were not even averaging 6 IP per game, putting a huge strain on the bullpen, wearing them down one by one. And it continued into July already, with Casilla being useless in a save, blowing a two-run lead by walking two and then giving up a walk-off 3-run homer. This resulted in Bochy saying that he's backing off Casilla and giving him some rest, as he had nothing in that appearance, with Romo and Lopez picking up some of the work, perhaps others (hopefully Strickland or Kontos).
But in June, Casilla was one of the bright spots, in 9 appearances he had a 0.00 ERA in 7.1 IP. Kontos has been a workhorse for the bullpen, and he put in 12 appearances for 11.2 IP, 0.77 ERA, continuing his streak of not allowing any inherited runner to score (he's up to 20 now; he's saving the starter's asses and ERAs with this great work). Lopez had a 2.00 ERA in 15 appearances (but only 9.0 IP, as he's been mostly used as a Loogy. Machi returned and did OK, 3.00 ERA in 4 appearances, but just 1 K in 3.0 IP.
Then the others were not as good. Newcomer Mike Broadway had great numbers in AAA, earning his first MLB callup, but in 5 appearances, 4.28 ERA and only 5.7 K/9, 1.33 K/BB. Strickland gave up his first MLB regular season runs, had a 5.00 ERA in 10 appearances, but great 11.0 K/9 and 3.67 K/BB, so that was an anomaly most likely, as those are great peripherals. Petit had a 5.06 ERA in 6 appearances, and has still been struggling to strike out guys this season, 5.1 K/9, but still great 4.50 K/BB. Romo had a 5.87 ERA in 11 appearances, only 7.2 IP, but 12.9 K/9 and 5.50 K/BB, both still great, just BABIPed. Affeldt brought up the rear, 6.75 ERA in 10 appearances, 8.0 IP, but he got better with a 9.0 K/9 and 2.67 K/BB.
However, his shoulder gave out in his last appearance, and the Giants brought up Broadway again. Now, in July, Josh Osich was brought up to replace Broadway in order to allow Bochy to use Lopez as he usually does, and to give him more flexibility. To open a spot up for Osich, Brett Bochy was DFAed. Osich got the call up over Okert because Okert has not done very well so far this season in AAA, whereas Osich was killing it in AA as the closer.
I suspect that he could be here a while if he does well, the Giants appear to be willing to do more extreme things (like DFAing McGehee) in order to make the playoffs this season, and hopefully repeat. And I think he's capable of doing well, though I do worry about his health, he's never been able to get through seasons without a DL trip of some sort. But he has the talents to do well, and take the Affeldt type of role, which I had envisioned coming from Okert, as Osich has been injured so much that it was hard to include him in future plans. But he certain has had the skills to do this type of role, not sure of his velocity now, but he was throwing 95 MPH coming out of college and before the injury that dropped him to us in the 6th round.
Adrianza and Lollis Up, McGehee and Ishi DFA
Change in the position players were happening too, mainly because the team has had to carry 13 pitchers due to all the problems the starting pitching has had going long in starts.
McGehee, despite hitting well (well, except for still hitting into DP), and probably because his agent was making a big fuss about getting Casey to a team who will use him as a starter, was DFAed, and will probably turn into a free agent by refusing the assignment, assuming nobody picks him up on waivers. Ehire Adrianza was brought up to be a credible SS to start in place of Crawford, as Bochy wants to rest him more. He would also see time at 2B too, and 3B.
Ishikawa was DFAed for the second time this season, after only 5 PA (but 3 K's), in order for the Giants to bring up Ryan Lollis for the first time. With Pence and Aoki most likely out until after the All Star game, and Pagan having recently crashed into the fence trying to catch a ball (Bonds wouldn't have done that, he realized his importance) and hurting both of his knees, Bochy didn't want to have two 1B starting in the corner OF (Belt and Ishi), so they called up Lollis, a long-time organizational player who was finally starting to figure some things out and had been moving up the system this season. A nice reward for good playing and loyalty all these years.
Ishi, meanwhile, will be in limbo again. I assume he will pass through waivers again and end up with AAA Sacramento again. Else he would lose his salary, like he could have last time (as he reported). I wonder if McGehee is under the same rules and would lose his salary as well, or if he has enough service time to avoid that, I had never heard of a player losing his MLB salary like that before.
The bench is now Adrianza, Lollis, Maxwell, Arias, Pagan, with Blanco starting in CF and Belt in LF, and Lollis and Maxwell platooning in RF in Pagan's recovery from his injury. Ehire is the emergency C, plus Hector Sanchez just got hit by a foul ball again, and is iffy again, so he's not coming up.
Young Core Offense in June
The leaders in offense in June were the young core plus MVPosey: Susac, Duffy, Posey, Panik. Susac led the way, hitting .342/.375/.579/.954. He scored 7 runs and drive in 5, in 10 starts (12 games). Duffy hit .313/.359/.594/.953, just missing tying Susac, but he did his in 25 starts (26 games), scoring 19 runs, which led the team, and driving in 15, while hitting 5 homers (team lead) in 96 AB (19 AB/HR; a 30 HR seasonal pace).
And Buster was just behind him, hitting .316/.394/.537/.931 in 25 starts (26 games), scoring 18 runs and driving in 27 runs, the most he has ever driven in a month, with 4 HRs. Panik started all 26 games and hit .333/.393/.476/.869, scoring 15 runs and driving in 9 runs. He only had 2 HR, and is now behind on the "tortoise" race that he and Duffy had been competing in, 6 HR to Duffy's 8 HR overall. And he's just behind Belt's 9 HR. Posey leads the team with 13 HR and Crawford has 11 so far, which sets a career record for him, and the season is just roughly half over.
The offense did well but imagine how well if the other hitters were contributing more. Though I would add that without many of them leading the way offensively while others were finding their way, we would have not have had the great month of May that we did have, winning 21 games and only losing 9.
Not all struggled, there were some OK performances. Blanco and Aoki did well in getting on base in June. Blanco had a .340/.407/.362/.768 batting line, Aoki had a .338/.384/.353/.737 batting line. Neither one hit for much power, but got on base a lot, Aoki scored 11 runs before getting injured by that HBP.
Crawford and Belt cooled down a lot, but had carried the team in April and May, which some complainers seem to have forgotten. Crawford was not that bad, hitting .217/.308/.402/.710 with 3 HR in 92 AB, but he still scored 11 runs and drove in 12, good for third on the team.
Belt, however, was really struggling, which part of the blame could be put on him learning how to play LF full-time, after the Giants installed Susac as the starting C, Posey the starting 1B, and Belt the starting LF, soon after Aoki was DLed. He only hit .189/.253/.333/.586, which you can't get out of someone you expect to be a key offensive contributor. He did drive in 11 runs, but only had 2 HR in 90 AB. He really needs to turn it up a lot in July, as we can't expect all those guys to hit over .900 OPS every month.
But he was not alone is putting the brakes on the offense, Pagan was an even bigger offender. He hit .181/.248/.202/.450 for the month, which really hurt the offense, as he batted either leadoff or third, much of the time. Though hard to chose which was worse, him doing that or Belt slugging .333 out of the fifth position. Still, him batting that poorly, even in the 3rd spot, puts a real hole into our offense. It is even worse now that he's the leadoff guy with Aoki out.
Benching the Bench
In addition, the bench did not add much. Though McGehee batted .294/.400/.412/.812 for the month (but he got DFAed anyway) and Susac probably hit well before starting, Maxwell only hit .150/.190/.317/.507 in 60 AB/63 PA, getting extended play because of all the injuries in the OF. If he don't start bringing it soon (he seems to be this year's Hicks), Mac Williamson could be the next call-up, and Maxwell the next DFA.
The rest of the bench did not see much play (Arias tops with 13 PA/AB), but all hit poorly, so that could be it too. Arias only hit .154/.154/.231/.385, Ishikawa hit .000/.250/.000/.250 (4 PA), and Parker hit .111/.111/.111/.222 (9 PA/AB). This might be it for Parker unless he takes his hitting up another notch in AAA, because the Giants said that he was not "MLB ready", when discussing the moves that could be made in the wake of Aoki's injury and DL. And Ishi probably ends up in AAA and could see the team again in September, depending on how things go with the OF.
I don't see how Arias can last much longer either. Never a defensive asset, he was up here for his bat, but he hasn't really hit for much for three seasons now. I was surprised that he wasn't the one gone instead of McGehee until I read that Casey's agent put some pressure on the Giants regarding moving him on - while the Giants will not just give away players just because the agent wants them to, the Giants will accommodate player's wishes when both sides is OK with a release, like what happened with Kevin Correia the first time they released him. I think that Kevin Frandsen could be the next call-up and Arias the next DFA, neck and neck with Williamson/Maxwell.
Not Too Worried
Lots of angst in GiantsLand, but this team has been up and down with streaks all season long. I just keep in mind that we got Aoki and Pence on the DL and Pagan on the mend, meaning that we have lost our leadoff hitter or 5th place hitter, lost a key reliever in Affeldt, seen burnout happen to Romo and Casilla, and which was soon coming to Lopez until Osich was brought up, as well as limping along with Hudson and Lincecum until Cain and Peavy returned. Only Kontos has kept on bringing it without much problems.
We just need to limp along and tread water until the ASB. After that, our tired and achy guys will get some rest during the ASB, and more importantly, Aoki and Pence will return, and our offensive engine would be running on all 8 cyclinders. Also, hopefully Cain and Peavy will both be contributing what we hope to get from them, which would give us a strong starting five of Bumgarner, Vogelsong, Heston, Cain, Peavy, as well as giving our bullpen some extra rest as well.
I think as much as Bochy likes continuity, he likes winning more, so we will see a lot of mixing and matching until he finds a combination that makes him happy. Pagan has been leading off, but how much more can Bochy stand of .257/.316/.286/.602 up top? Meanwhile, Blanco has been hitting well while leading off, perhaps he's ready for his close-up. Susac probably will take over 5th while Belt is still struggling, so after leadoff it's probably Panik, Duffman, Posey, Susac, Belt, Crawford, with Pagan spliting Belt and Crawford if he's down below and not leading off. And it sounds like Lollis will get a number of starts, so he's probably batting 8th in games he starts.
And it's not like the Bridegrooms are running away with the division. They only lead by 3, and like the Giants, have been having good and bad streaks. That's actually been the pattern for many years now, each year, an NL West team would take hold of the division lead, then another team would make a run at it, there is a lot of ups and downs for the NL West leaders. There is rarely any season where the team takes the lead and holds it easily. So there is still a lot of time, the season is only half over, and the Giants are not behind by much. They just need to get healthy, I think, and the offense and pitching will get rolling again.
Records Keep on Coming
Bumgarner just keeps on doing great stuff. At 25 years and 331 days old, Bumgarner became the third-youngest Giants pitcher to strike out 1,000 batters behind Amos Rusie (21 years old in 1893) and Christy Mathewson (25 years, 12 days old in 1905). That's something when you do something that hasn't been done in over 110 years. And he's the youngest for the San Francisco franchise, which is 57 years, which is pretty long time and includes Marichal, Perry, Montefusco, Cain. (I know, pretty sad in-between Montefusco and Cain).