Saturday, September 12, 2009


The Giants played .500 ball in April. In May, they went 14-14, to leave their record at... .500. June was a good month, when they started to gel. They went 17-10 much to everyone's surprise and began to be treated with some seriousness. The Giants reached 10 games over .500 on July 11, just before the last game before the All Star break (which they lost). That was a goal that many a good blogger thought they would not achieve in 2009. Today, the Giants face blue goo at 11 games over .500, meaning that they have progressed only one game in two months.

July was, overall, barely a net positive, the Giants winning 7 of 12 before the All Star break and another 7 of 15 after. August was a good month, 16-12, although that hardly represents a move up in the standings (in fact, it was a move down, thanks to the Rockies). Of course, we are only 4 and 6 for September, and I fear that 10 games over .500 might be the best we can end the season with at this point, and even that will take work. Progress? I think not.

Here are a few other numbers to chew on: In June, the Giants scored 4.37 runs per game. Rowand hit .320 and Schierholtz, .375. The Giants allowed 3.29 runs per game. In August, they allowed 4.17 runs per game, although they were still able to score 4.39. In September, so far, only 2.9 runs scored per game while opponents scored 31 in 10 games. A fancy way of saying that our hitting sucks? Not entirely, as our pitching has been great, but not as great as it was earlier in the season. More: 5-8 against LA with 5 to play, 6-9 against SD with 3 to play, 8-7 against the Rockies with 5 to play. Thank god for the Dbacks. We are 8-4 against them with 6 to play (which may save our season). If you want to win, you have to be able to beat the teams in your own division. The Giants have not been able to satisfactorily do that. They can start in one-half hour to change that.


M.C. O'Connor said...

Another argument for a balanced approach! The baseball season is a long, hard grind. It is war of attrition. Good teams will have bad months and bad teams will have good months. You have to have a variety of weapons to wear down the opposition. You have to have depth of talent so that when one guy goes down another picks up the slack.

The Giants were an illusion. They had strong pitching and a heap of good luck and managed a couple of good months. The rest of the time they were a .500 club, the best most of us hoped for at the start of the season. Eventually, the lack of talent caught up with them. Over 162 games, the weaker teams will fade and the deeper, stronger teams will survive. The Dodgers and the Rockies really just had to wait us out, our own weaknesses would eventually end our season.

Our hitting has been a joke all year: it was a joke before the season started, and it will be a joke next year barring a major change. I'm happy we've had some great Giants baseball this year, but the harsh, cruel reality is that we have Lincecum, Cain, JSanchez, Wilson and Sandoval. That's our bona fide major-league talent. The rest the pack is pretty damn marginal, maybe we'll get a starter (Schierholtz?) or two, and there are some potential arms in the 'pen (Romo?) that could emerge.

Unless Buster Posey is Rookie of the Year, I expect 2010 will look a lot like 2009, especially since we'll still have Rowand, Renteria, and Zito and their overwhelming mediocrity (well, a mediocre Renteria would be an upgrade). Winn will be gone, and I hope Molina as well, but you never know in a Sabean universe. Freddy Sanchez will probalby get a 3-year deal and we'll have to keep Juan Uribe just to back him up when he's on the DL. God help us if the unthinkable happens--one of the Big 5 gets hurt. And what if any of them regress a bit? It happens, you know. The front office will sell a heap of tickets based on the mirage of 2009, and either waste money on some huge free agent we don't need or who isn't that good anyway, or trade away more valuable prospects for more middling, over-hyped veterans.

Ugh. I'd like to see us play the kids the rest of the way out, but Bochy will not do that until we are mathematically eliminated.

JC Parsons said...

The Giants are no more an illusion (by your standard) than the doggers. After all, LA is about .500 over that time as well. Illusions are in the eye of the beholder. We have been in third for a long time...the doggers were better right from the you show, we have a chance to play .500 or better EVERY month this year (which is amazingly consistent in context of the last few years)...I guess I just don't quite get the illusion part; haven't we been the same flawed, yet better than average team since spring training? Sure these last couple losses are brutal, but it doesn't change the character of the season...unless we don't win again.

Zo said...

Our hitting has not been a total joke all year, in June it was good enough, scoring about one run per game more than the opposition was allowed. Of course, when that 4+ runs per game deteriorated to 3-something, it made it much tougher.

Breaking things up by calendar months is sort of an artificial construct, it would be nice to be able to get some information that I don't know how to access without a lot of work - pitches thrown by the Giants and pitches thrown by opponents, for example. I would also like to graph win percentages, and then use a 10 day moving average to smooth out the curve. It might be more instructive, or maybe just make a nice graph.

M.C. O'Connor said...

The league average is 4.44 runs scored per game. We score 3.94 runs per game, 2nd to last in the league. (link)

That's not good. That's bad. Our offense stinks. It stunk when we broke camp and it stinks now. I don't see how that can be debated.

We've exceeded our "expected" or "Pythagorean" wins all season long, in fact, we are +2 right now. That's a function of luck, i.e. random chance and normal variation. That's why I say we are an "illusion." The pitching--run prevention--is great. But the other half is wretched, truly wretched. We all know you can't WIN BIG without scoring A LOT more runs than you allow. Look at LA: +154; Colorado: +97; St. Louis: +85; Philly +94. We are at +24 which is better than average but no help unless you are in a very weak division, which we are not.

It's been a great season. I've had a lot of fun. The deep flaw in our squad took a long time to be fully exposed. We can call that veteran savvy clutchness, or grit and gamerosity, or pluck and manliness, or "I'm in" or "You Gotta Like These Kids" or whatever the hell else we want to call it.

I call it luck. I see nothing wrong with that!