Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Torture Chronicles

Paraguay and Slovenia opened up the 2010 World Cup with a riveting defensive struggle that was decided by penalty kicks after a fruitless overtime. Oh, wait, that was a Giants baseball game last night. Sorry. All that noodling around and failing to convert scoring opportunities had me confused. And all that emphasis on preventing the other team from scoring, I mean, it's just so soccer, you can forgive my lapse, can't you?

Another fine outing by Barry Zito, and another fine start wasted. I can't tell you what Zito is doing right, his curveball doesn't look any curvier, but he seems to get big strikes with it more often than not. His fastball seems to have a tad more zip, hitting the vaunted 88-mph mark more often than not, but mostly he seems to be pitching better. You know, mixing it up, keeping guys guessing, that sort of pitching. His head's in the game and he's battling, grinding out every pitch and every AB, and you know something? It's working. He's the very embodiment of Veteran Savvy Clutchness at this point in the season, and you have to be encouraged by that. The guy that had swollen-contract-that-messed-with-his-head disease is no more, and in his place is a guy with the 18th best FIP (3.56) among NL starters. Now if he could only score goals, we'd be in great shape.

"Expected W-L" tells us the Giants are underperforming by three games, that we ought to be 30-22 and not 27-24. You plug runs scored (211, 14th worst) and runs allowed (117, 2nd best) into the formula* and that's what you get. Are we just unlucky? Will these 1-2 losses be 2-1 wins in September? Is it bad managing? Lousy game tactics? Or are the players just not nutting up and "doing what it takes to win"? I'm pretty sure that Bengie Molina and Aaron Rowand are trying hard, as hard as they can, to get hits and make plays. In fact, they were both involved in some fine fielding plays that kept it close last night. I don't think the squad lacks grit, fire, or gamerissitude. They just have a hard time scoring runs, and I don't see that changing unless Buster Posey turns into Joe Mauer Justin Morneau.

Matt Cain, possessor of the 9th best FIP (3.25) among NL starters, will get the start tonight. If he shows up in a goalkeeper's kit and shin pads, cut him some slack and hope the rest of the lads can find the oppositon's net score some runs.




Zo said...

Ward, I'm worried about the Panda.

Yesterday, 7 outs in 5 at bats, couldn't take a pitch to save his life and struck out when Colorado tried really hard to walk him. Last night he was a real detriment after getting some good swings in against Jimenez.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Now you know, June, boys will be boys.

Yes, the Panda looked bad last night. Guys like him, you live and die with BABIP. He's a free swinger and his average is going to fluctuate a lot. You're right, though, he needs some strike zone discipline in certain situations.