Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Going, going, gone

Three times tonight in his five innings of work, Giants starter Todd Wellemeyer turned around and watched balls leave the yard. Adam LaRoche in the 2nd, Justin Upton in the 4th, and Stephen Drew in the 5th with a man on did the damage. Denny Bautista got in on it too, giving up a two-run blast to Chris Snyder to make an already out-of-reach 5-1 game into a 7-1 thumping. It got worse from there with Brandon Medders joining the gopher ball parade, serving up one to Kelly Johnson and one to Adam LaRoche in the 8th. The 13-1 whuppin' was the most lopsided defeat of the season.

They say Arizona has "power up and down the lineup" and they certainly flexed their bat muscles tonight. Then again, they did not see our best arms--we'll see if they can bring the lumber against Tim Lincecum tomorrow. They also say Arizona has one of the worst bullpens in the game. Good thing their starter threw eight innings of three-hit baseball, otherwise our veteran savvy lineup would have exploited that team weakness and made it a real contest. Three hits is damn discouraging. I realize that the thirteen runs allowed is a bit more significant this evening than the one freakin' run scored, but our feebleness at the plate is mind-numbing. We need to get some hits! I was happy to see the Panda find his stroke.

Ian Kennedy (the winning pitcher) came over to the D-Backs from the Yankees in that weird three-way trade with Detroit involving Curtis Granderson. He was the Yanks 1st-round pick (#21) in the 2006 draft. Tim Lincecum was the 10th pick, and Max Scherzer (who went from AZ to Detroit in the same trade) was the 11th. He's 25 and had ridiculous numbers in the minors. Tonight was only his 21st ML start.


update Mon 0705: Paul DePodesta's blog ("It Might Be Dangerous") is often interesting reading. Take a look at his season-so-far review of the Padres. Can you imagine our GM being this forthright and open with the lowly fans? Mr. DePodesta talked about one-run games and games decided by 5 or more runs. B-R has that data--the Giants are 6-8 in 1-run games and 6-2 in "blowouts" (5+ run difference). They were 21-22 and 21-18 last year. Also, John Perricone at OBM has a thought-provoking piece about good teams vs. pretenders, and contends that good teams dominate. Close games can go either way too easily, so the best teams can "pile on" and win comfortably. He quotes Bill James as well. Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk quotes Joe Maddon who describes his team's style as "the liberal arts form of playing baseball," that is, the Rays do all facets of the game well. I like a balanced squad myself--the Giants have great pitching and fielding but the hitting is just not up to snuff.

Good stuff, check it out.


Anonymous said...

The Yankees are dumb.

Zo said...

One thing about baseball is that there is no more detriment to a 13-1 loss than to a 2-1 loss. Maybe the 2-1 loss is harder on the fans, maybe the 13-1 loss is discouraging to the team, but it is still only one loss. Hard to tell that from the panic in the Chronic this morning, "....time to bring up Bumgarner...???" sounds, almost.....internet blog-like. Frightening. Wellmeyer pitched quite well last time out, are we ready to throw him out after one poor game? A note on the Pads. Just as we were facing the dbacks for the first time, we are almost half way through our meetings with the Pads. The results have inflated their stats and arguably, deflated ours. We managed to beat the Phils, Cards, Atlanta and Colorado, Florida and stomp Houston. If we played San Diego about even, we would be well in first place, and they wouldn't. I realize that in the long baseball season it is important to lend a sense of urgency to every damn thing, but it is not really so. We do not need to make panic moves. Smart moves, yes. Not panic moves.

M.C. O'Connor said...

When you play a lot of close games, you tend to lose a fair number of them, if only because close games are decided, often, by breaks, luck, and happenstance. Or they are decided by one key play or sequence. When you have a fat lead, bad things can happen and your likelihood of winning is still high. That's why you need hitting. You can't win EVERY 3-2 game, and this season's series vs. the Pads illustrated that. You are far more likely to win games with 3-, 4- and 5-run leads than games with only 1- and 2-run leads.

The Giants are doing well, but I don't believe we have the bats to compete with Colorado and LA. We have to find a way to improve the offense. Buster will be on the big club at some point, and I expect that will help. But I think we need another real bat to complement Sandoval. And I don't think Freddy Sanchez is that bat.

JC Parsons said...

First of all, when you play a lot of GAMES, close or otherwise, you lose a fair number of them. Good teams will win a higher percentage of close games because they control "breaks, luck and happenstance". One key I always look for is records in one run games. I bet the team in our division with the best record in close games is the champ.
I also disagree - even without another bat we will contend (like we did last year). If you want a reminder of why just tune in tonight for a dose of TIMMEH !!!

M.C. O'Connor said...

Good teams typically have LOWER win pcts in 1-run games than their overall record. Don't believe me? Fine. Go to B-R and check "schedule and results" for last season's NL playoff teams. Check the WS winners for the last few years (the '07 Red Sox had a losing record in 1-run games). It seems perfectly reasonable to me that it is harder for ANY team to win 1-run games because the result can be easily changed by 1 play or 1 sequence (whether luck or skill or both). Winning by a lot of runs gives you room for error--close games do not. In any sport, you want to win by a lot because a big lead protects you, gives you a higher probability of getting the win, even if some crazy shit happens. Isn't that obvious? Why don't we WANT a team that can win big? Don't we want to win?

M.C. O'Connor said...

"If the Royals play the Yankees and the score of the game is 12 to 1, it is extremely likely that the Yankees won. If the score is 4 to 3, it’s pretty much a tossup. The reasons why this is true will be intuitively obvious to those of you who work with statistics for a living. It is the non-competitive games—the blowouts—that play the largest role in determining what kind of season a team has. Misinformation about baseball continues to propagate, and will continue to propagate forever more, without regard to the fact that there is now a community of researchers that studies these things."

--Bill James (lifted from OBM)
emphasis mine

I'm going out on a limb: Bill James knows more about baseball than I do. Even if he's full of shit, though, it's an easy question to research. Records in 1-run games are not THAT significant! I don't believe they are indicative of some special property of the team ("they know how to win the close ones"). That's great stuff for fans and sportswriters, but it ain't a repeatable, verifiable FACT.