Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stickin' with the formula

Madison Bumgarner pitched the best game of the weekend and his mates played some sterling ball behind him in the field and that was enough to subdue the difficult Brewers. He also doubled and scored the first run (on an RBI hit by Jeff Keppinger), demonstrating once again that he is a beast. Giants fans have come to expect good ABs from the young lefty, and he continues to dazzle on the mound despite the wretched run support. A nice sequence in the 4th--infield single, fielder's choice, single, sac fly--scored the go-ahead run and that was it. The bullpen got the final four outs without a fuss and the Giants take the rubber from a good team. Using home field advantage (and stickin' with the formula) to take a series was item number one on the checklist for post-ASB tasks. Next order of business? Beat a great team in their yard. The Freak gets the ball Tuesday in Philadelphia for the start of a massive three-game set, a warm-up for the four in San Francisco the following week. The 2010 NLCS re-match and possible 2011 playoff preview will be some pulse-pounding baseball. GO GIANTS!


p.s. MLBTR passes along the talk that Francisco Peguero was "discussed" in the latest episode of Bring Me the Bat of Carlos Beltrán. Remember, it's a rumor site--that's gossip, loose lips, bluffs, and bullshit. (Sort of like TV news programs.)


Zo said...

A win for Madison! (Even though he had to score the first run himself.) Here is an interesting stat: the Giants have scored 19 runs more than their opposition. The Giants are 16 games over .500. If the Giants lost games by about the same margin as they have won them, then they have won 16 games with 19 more runs than their opponents, suggesting that they win games, on average, by a 1.1875 run margin. By my count, the Giants have won 26 games out of 59 by a one-run margin. Hmmmm. This is not to suggest that a winning record with a marginal rs>ra is unsustainable, at this point in the season, that claim is getting harder to make. So what does it suggest? Perhaps just the obvious - that our bullpen is fantastic, allowing the Giants to actually compile a winning record in the late innings. Our starters (all six of them) are 37 and 31 and our relievers are 22 and 12.

So there you have it - Giants are 10 games over .500 with their relief corps on the mound, and 6 games over .500 with the starters on the mound. (Starters have averaged 6.12 innings/start). Reinforcing this is something I heard on the radio, that our relievers have allowed one (1) run since the All-Star break. It would be nice, of course, if they could score more runs earlier in the game and give those relievers a bunch of holds rather than wins, but wins are wins however you get them. What this tells me is that our current tortuous season and method of winning is sustainable. yes is is dependent on great pitching, but then, you knew that anyway, right?

Ron said...

Madison Bumgarner was amazing yesterday, with swing-through strikes continuing clear through the very end of his performance. The bullpen is in an incredible run of form right now.

However, before we get too carried away here, we were able to score 50% of our meager allotment of runs in that game because Milwaukee's 3B forgot to wear his sunglasses. Unfortunately, MLB Extra Innings carried the Milwaukee broadcast. They were (rightfully) beside themselves about that, showing each of the other infielders wearing flip-down sunglasses & showing 3B Josh Wilson wearing them in the following inning.

We have also now scored runs in each of the last 2 games because Ryan Braun apparently doesn't understand the concept of catching or picking up balls with his momentum directed toward home plate. In either case, with proper fundamentals, he would have easily thrown out Rowand & Bumgarner.

In other words, we are still a weak-hitting mess & need to change our ways. One of these days, the stress on our Pitchers will show. We need to relieve some of that stress. I'm just about to the point of recommending a trade for Miguel Olivo - I never thought that I'd get there. Francisco Peguero for Beltran is almost in the realm of reality. A few other options could present themselves, & we have less than a week to decide. We must do something - nothing drastic or stupid - but, something.

M.C. O'Connor said...

In April when they had all those lucky wins I said "that won't last." Then they had all those lucky wins again in May and I said it again. Then they had all those lucky wins again in June and I said it again.

Now it's happening in July and I'm not saying it. The Giants play this weird brand of baseball, something out of the Dead Ball Era. They just put up zeros and wait for the other team to blink. It's like a game of chicken. Every team the Giants have played has provided a Ryan Braun or Josh Wilson moment. The Giants make big plays in the field and don't give away outs on the bases. And the great bullpen gives them matchup advantages in almost every game in the late innings.

It's like running a con or playing a bluff hand in poker--you have to believe it to make it work. The Giants believe that all they have to do is "keep it close" and they will be at their best. Orel Hershiser made a comment on one of the ESPN telecasts about playing in a lot of close games giving you "scar tissue against pressure." Kruk and Kuip always remark about how well the Giants do when the games are tight. I think it bodes well for the end of the season.

I think the Giants expect upticks from Huff and Torres to inch ever closer to the Valhalla of League Average. I think they would swap a package for Beltran, but I don't think they would part with any of the big guys like Wheeler or Brown so the Mets won't bite. Keppinger is a solid pickup if you aren't counting on FSanchez to return. And there's still a chance that Belt could have a great month and really help the club. I think Boch and Sabes like what they see. Sure, they'd like to see some thump--the 3-run homer is still the weapon of choice. Earl Weaver knew what he was talking about, and the Giants have his 1 and 2 down, but they are a little weak on the last one. Last year they hit HRs. This year they don't.

Alas, I think the Giants are what they are. They are going to beat you 3-2 in a fast game that seems to take forever. They are going to grind it out. If the pitchers stay healthy, they'll be OK. Seven games against Philly in the next two weeks, that ought to give us a feeling for how good they really are.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Giants at White House

Anonymous said...

Is Peguero and Runzler too much
for Beltran? Will another team offer better than that for Beltran?

JC Parsons said...

WELL SAID, MARK!!! Finally another convert to OUR TYPE OF BASEBALL. And kudos for Zo on forwarding the idea that we can keep this going. Good to see my bhoys getting wiser.

However...No offense Ron, but my cell phone cut off your message right after "we need to change our ways..." I groaned and REFUSE to read the rest. (BTW I apology if you suggested getting MORE pitching.) What does this team need to do to get the RESPECT it COMMANDS. Even the greatest fan in the world seems apologetic for the way our team WINS. And that is what we do...MONTH AFTER MONTH, INJURY AFTER INJURY. The Chris Haft piece SICKENED me with his absolute acceptance that the Phils are VASTLY superior ( "Don't think for a minute that the Phils face a disadvantage because Halliday and Lee don't pitch in the series. " SAY WHAT?? How is that NOT a disadvantage??? ) Is our 4 game lead over Arizona REALLY that much more tenuous than the Phils 6 game lead over the dangerous Braves?? He sure implied it.

I'm not just picking on Ron obviously. This is a global problem. People deny climate change, too. My dream is that little kids growing up are going to truly believe that 3 innings of scoreless relief is way cooler than a 3 run homer.

Phew, I feel better. Thanks.

Ron said...

Jon ... seriously. And, if you had kept reading, you would have realized that I am advocating tweaks, not a change in overall strategy. As I thought that you were well aware, I have been a fan of pitching & 1-0 & 2-1 games well before it became 'mainstream'. I share your dream - 3 innings of scoreless relief pitching is VERY cool.

That being said, a little bit of an injection of something resembling hitting wouldn't hurt. Several weeks ago, I said that expecting Huff to have back-to-back excellent seasons was ignoring his long-standing career pattern. I'm expecting an awesome Aubrey in 2012 - this year, not so much. Torres is more worrisome, but he has shown some signs of life. Luckily, he continues to dazzle with the mitt.

I would be quite happy with a couple of Javier Lopez/Ramon Ramirez-like position player acquisitions. I would be also be OK with trading for Beltran, if we don't have to give up Sanchez, Bumgarner, Wheeler, or Brown. At this moment, that seems like a possibility - Peguero & Runzler? Really ... are you kidding me? That would be a trade worth making.

Ron said...

Among the many surreal sidelights of the Giants' winning the World Series was the site of them at the White House yesterday - and, being hosted by a Democratic African-American President, no less - awesome!!!