Sunday, September 27, 2009

MacDaddy puts up some zeroes!

8 3 0 0 2 8
Game Score 82


In his final home start, Matt Cain threw 8 shutout innings, facing only 5 batters over the minimum (3 hits, 2 walks), and racking up 8 strikeouts. Big Sugar finally got his career-high 14th win, pitching his best game since the first week of September (a 7 IP, 2 ER win in Milwaukee). In between he'd logged three ugly losses, allowing 15 ER in 14-1/3 IP. The 2009 Willie Mac Award winner ended his day with a flourish, whiffing the pesky Kosuke Fukudome (his second K of the day) on three pitches with two men on. The Tennessee Stud has been criticized for his failure to win the big matchups with LA and Colorado earlier in the month, and for the late-season drop-off in performance, so it was nice to see no. 18 put together an impressive performance for the Fan Appreciation Day crowd. Singling out one player for scapegoating in a TEAM sport is illogical, indefensible, and mean-spirited, but that's an argument for another day. Today the Giants got a satisfying win after an agonizing stretch of poor play, and that ought to be worth enjoying--at least until the next game.

12 comments:

Bob said...

Why single out one scapegoat when there have been so many? Rowand, Zito, Renteria, Winn, et al.
Cain is our poster boy, so when he falters it is more glaring.
A good win indeed, to avoid being swept by a mediocre team.

Ron said...

Matt Cain is one of our greatest pitchers. We have not had a 1-2 pitching combination this good since the days of Swift & Burkett (16 years ago). And, this 1-2 combination is much better - especially for the long haul. In fact, we have never had a 1-2-3-4 combination this good since the awesome Marichal-Perry-McCormick-Sadecki combo in 1967 - 42 years ago. But, I'd like to see Matt win big games against big teams.

So, who is to blame for us not making the playoffs - a disappointing end to a year we really didn't expect to amount to much? Well, really it starts at the top - especially the propensity for long-term contracts (or trades) for old has-beens. The one that always gets me more than any other is the Dave Roberts deal. That single move alone had minimal upside under the best of conditions & tied our hands with respect to other reasonable moves - it still is tieing our hands.

You can start listing individual under-achieving players, but the real shift needs to be in organizational mentality. So, stop signing old guys to long-term deals, incorporate youth appropriately, & emphasize plate patience. With our pitching staff, the rest will fall into place. Especially stop signing old guys with no plate patience. Spend some money on one or two heavy hitters: OF, 2B, or 1B. Don't trade any starting pitching.

A few comments regarding individuals who will be free agents:

Molina - No, doesn't satisfy any of our organizational needs now

Uribe - Probably, 1-yr deal only

F. Sanchez - Probably, 2-yr deal max, but only if efforts fail to sign someone with more pop at 2B

Winn (is he a free agent? I think so) - only re-sign to reasonable 1-yr contract if willing to be a bench player & spot-starter

Garko - No

With our micro-offense, we still nearly managed to get into the post-season. We are close. And, we have some good youth in the organization (Posey, Gillaspie, Guzman, & others).

M.C. O'Connor said...

I agree that all fingers should be pointed at management for assembling this criminally inept offense.

I'm a big believer in one-year deals.

My mutual fund statements always say "past performance is no inidcation of future results." Funny, it makes me think of Freddy Sanchez. I would be scared to offer him a multi-year deal: too many injuries, peak season too long ago, not much power, average OBA. Like Rowand, he's being paid for VSC and marketing, not run production.

I could live with Garko--he never got a chance, really. He's young, probably cheap, could be useful. We can't seem to find a real 1B anywhere, so . . . it's him or Ishikawa. Garko lifetime is .279/.351/.442, not much, but who else?

Please God, NO RANDY WINN. We have Velez and Lewis and and Torres and Schierholtz (and maybe Bowker and Guzman) to be role players. Maybe Nate could blossom into a starter. I see no spot for Winn.

Ron said...

I am counting on Nate as a starter - it's his time to turn it on, & I think that he will. Therefore, the OF is:

- New Studly Free Agent LF Guy
- Rowand (we're pretty much stuck with him)
- Nate

As far as Velez & Bowker go, I'm not convinced. Winn & Torres would be decent 4th & 5th OF's. If you'd prefer it to be Velez & Torres, I suppose.

Garko is a difficult one. He certainly SHOULD be able to hit in the major leagues. He seems to be a bit of a clutz in the field & on the basepaths. When you get down to it, Ishikawa was more productive (which isn't saying much), but he never was given the chance to hit lefties. Therefore, 1B is a big unknown. Lots of questions. Who are the free agent 1B's?

M.C. O'Connor said...

Free agents:

http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2001/05/2010-free-agents.html

M.C. O'Connor said...

Winn career:

.286/.344/.418

2009 (age 35):

.260/.317/.350

He was a good player. He makes $8.25M. He's a free agent. I think we'd be better off with young guys under our control like Lewis, Velez, Torres, etc. They make about $400K apiece. They are limited, role/platoon guys, they can do what we'd ask Winn to do, so there's no reason to ask Winn to do it.

Zo said...

As much as I disagree with all the blogospheric negativism directed at Randy Winn, I have to side with MOC on this. Winn is coming off a bad season and may improve, but is towards the end of his career. We could reasonably expect that one of the youngsters would have a comparable improvement. From the tone of the radio and tv broadcasters, who are talking about how Randy Winn has been a good Giant, I would not expect a contract to be offered to him. Another note: There has been talk of a Rowand for Milton Bradley swap. Very comparable salaries, each with question marks.

JC Parsons said...

I am not sold on Nate. At this point, I think I prefer Fred. We MUST get walks. Simple. If we fix that one problem, we are half way there. I fail to see why Lewis is so often written off when he is the only one of the youngsters ( save Buster?) that takes pitches. Are we really that in love with Velez and Torres? How could Fred have fallen so much that he is perceived to worth less than those guys?

M.C. O'Connor said...

Fred got a raw deal. I was guilty myself of buying into the Giants attempt to make him a "no. 3 hitter." Last year .282/.351/.440 in 521 PA with 45 XBH. This year .263/.355/.398 in only 330 PA with 28 XBH. So he had a big drop-off and the Giants gave up on him. It is hard to sit a guy who gets on base better than anyone on the team except Pablo, but they did. Fred may not be what they wanted, but he has some skills and is a useful player. He should be part of the equation. Velez might be more versatile, but he doesn't hit all that well. Torres is a superb defender with some pop, but not a regular (31 years old, career .226 hitter). Schierholtz has great speed, glove, arm, and looks like he has some power, too. But he is a hacker in the Bengie tradition. He'll never be a regular if he can't improve on a .304 OBP. I hope he can do that.

JCP has a good point. Look at LA--they don't have much in the way of power (455 XBH, compared to our 423), but they have 587 walks (we are last at 375). It's not the only thing they do better than us, but we are SO BAD (last in the league at .309) at getting on base that it is almost comical. We need some patient hitters who work counts and keep rallies going. Fred is one of our very few guys who can do that.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Here's a piece from ShysterBall guy Craig Calcaterra about Juan Uribe (and Brian Sabean).

Uribe has been a huge contributor this year, and rescuing him off the scrap heap has been a coup for the brain trust. But Mr. C has a point. Let's not get too excited. I'd like to keep Uribe around for his versatility and pop, but we'll have to keep our expectations in check. I could see a 1-year deal in the Howry mold.

Ron said...

Fred Lewis is the type of player who I normally like a lot. Lanky, but with some power & some speed. And, yes, he does work the count & that is good - we all agree - we need a lot more walks, plus the side benefit, longer plate appearances which tire out the opposing team's pitchers.

So, what's the problem with Fred? Well, we all know what the problems are:

- 25-30% of his AB's, he doesn't even put the ball into play. You need to do some serious bopping in your other at-bats for that stat to be overlooked.

- He doesn't do the serious bopping. Despite his ability to accumulate some extra-base hits, he doesn't drive in any runs. Like unreal, horrible totals in that department.

Boy, Mark, that Free Agent list is pretty sucky, especially at 1B & 2B.

M.C. O'Connor said...

If Fred Lewis had batted 4th all year long (like Bengie) or been given almost 600 PAs (like Winn) he would have accumulated RBIs. Counting stats don't impress me as much as rate stats. Fred hit poorly early on, failed in some opportunities, then got benched and tagged "not an RBI-man" by the brain trust. Yet Randy Winn kept playing and Bengie Molina kept making outs. Go figure.