I made a graph of the Giants team ERA+ and ERA- for the seasons 2009-2012. I treated the interim numbers for 2012 the same as the full-season numbers, just to get a quick snapshot of how the current guys compare. Madison Bumgarner actually made his debut in 2009, throwing ten innings over four games (one start). Tim Lincecum was the star of that squad, and both Matt Cain and Barry Zito had 33 starts apiece. Brian Wilson, Sergio Romo, Jeremy Affeldt, and Brad Penny were also on that staff. In 2010, The Bumbino had 18 starts and supplanted Barry-Z on the post-season roster. Santiago Casilla, Guillermo Mota, and Javier Lopez joined the fun. Last year Ryan Vogelsong emerged and Jonathan Sanchez pitched his last game as a Giant. Take a look:
As a team, the Giants ERA+ for 2009-20012 goes 120, 117, 110, and 97. That's 1st, 1st, 3rd, and 10th in the NL. Their ERA- goes 86, 85, 86, and 93, good for 2nd, 1st, 2nd, and 5th. I don't know why B-R rates the Giants so poorly compared to FanGraphs, but I suspect it has to do with the mysterious "park factors." Regardless, it is clear the staff is not as elite as it once was. We all know the culprit, of course, but Tim Lincecum gets some help from his bullpen, too. The loss of both Willie and WillyMo certainly hurt. The Giants are blessed with excellent starters and a talented relief corps. But team-wide they are much more prone to giving up runs than in the previous three seasons. Another way to look at this is to just take raw "runs allowed" numbers and compare them to the league average "runs allowed." The RA/lgRA ratio should be 1.00 for a "league average" team, eh?
2009: 611 RA, NL average 727; RA/lgRA 0.84
2010: 583 RA, NL average 705; RA/lgRA 0.83
2011: 578 RA, NL average 673; RA/lgRA 0.86
2012: 346 RA, NL average 368; RA/lgRA 0.94
No surprises, really. We know the staff is giving up more runs this year. The question is, will this trend toward average-ness continue? And will that hurt the team's chances? If the answer to the second question is "yes" (and I think it is) then we have to hope the answer to the first question is "no" (and I think it is). The Giants will find a fresh arm or two for the 'pen, and the laggards and slackers will pick it up. This I believe. Random events (injuries, for example) can derail the best-laid plans, so we'll just ignore them, OK?
The Second Half is upon us! I feared the Baseball Gods would punish Giants fans for stuffing the ASG ballot box, instead they blessed us for it. Let us hope they continue to bless the rest of the season. Perform your ablutions and make your sacrifices, my friends, the dark forces must be propitiated!