Tuesday, November 13, 2012

25 for 16: The LOOGYS

Jose Mijares had his two big LOOGY moments in two big 8-3 wins. The first was Game Four of the LDS in Cincinnati. The Giants were clinging to a 3-2 lead in the 4th with George Kontos pitching in relief of an ineffective Barry Zito. There were two on with one out and Joey Votto coming to the plate. It was the perfect situation for the burly southpaw and he struck out the number three hitter on five pitches. Tim Lincecum came in after that, the Giants broke the game open, and the rest is history. Mijares got another chance to shine in Game One of the World Series when he was summoned to face Prince Fielder leading off the 9th. The Giants were thumping the Tigers 8-1 at that point, so it lacked the urgency of the previous appearance, but it was still the goddamn World Series and, as we've learned, every out counts. Mijares got the big slugger to hit two foul balls and then ground out weakly to third. Mijares also pitched in all three losses in the LCS.

Javier Lopez got his chance in the crucial Game Three of the LDS. The Giants were locked in a 1-1 elimination game duel in the bottom of the 8th after five strong innings from Ryan Vogelsong and two from Jeremy Affeldt. Santiago Casilla put a man on but got two outs. Jay Bruce strode to the plate and in came the slender sidearm-slinger who coaxed a pop fly on one pitch. He got Bruce again, this time in the clincher, Game Five. The Giants used five guys in relief of Matt Cain and kept the Reds at bay for the final 3-1/3 to advance. It took four pitches the second time and the result was a comebacker. Lopez had three appearances in the LCS but did not pitch at all in the Series. He was on the mound in the 9th inning of Game Seven against the Cardinals but could not quite finish the inning and thus missed his chance to be at the bottom of the dog pile. Sergio Romo got the call and induced the memorable last-out pop fly from Matt Holliday that landed, appropriately, in Marco Scutaro's glove.

The Giants believe in bullpen depth. They had three nasty lefties to get big outs and used them all effectively. They are willing to spend money on them, too--Jeremy Affeldt reportedly just signed a three-year deal worth $18M. Lopez is signed for 2013 as well ($4.25M). Mid-season pickup Mijares is arb-eligible for the first time. I expect he'll be back.



Ron said...

While your insights are solid, Mark, I disagree with the characterization of Affeldt as a LOOGY. He has pitched multiple innings on various occasions &, when he is on (which is about 80% of the time over the course of a full season), he is effective against both lefties & righties.

We have a very nice bullpen which could get even better, once some of our minor league talent arrives. The 'Closer' role is still undefined, but that can wait. As you pointed out early last season, Romo is not physically put together to be the Closer over the long haul. He was a fantastic stop-gap Closer for September & October, but there are 2 big problems with him being in that role for 7 months:

- He is slight-of-build & cannot pitch as many innings as is required of a Closer on a good team.

- He throws a predictable stream of pitches to both lefties & righties. He can probably survive off of his slider to righties for the rest of his career, because it is so good. But, he will not get lefties out with spotted 88 mph fastballs over a long season. ML hitters are too good for that. It works for short stretches, but not for the long haul.

If Brian Wilson is not ready or not a Giant next year, I would expect that Casilla emerges as the early season Closer again. That is an OK option, although I'd prefer an effective Wilson.

M.C. O'Connor said...


Affeldt is not a LOOGY, but he is a lefty. See above.

Ron said...

It's hard to be too picky after you just watched your team win the Championship, but, for me, the Giants' top priorities are:

- Signing Angel Pagan - if not Pagan, an equally awesome CF would do (& there are a few this year). I don't subscribe to the theory that Gregor Blanco is the replacement, if we lose Pagan. Gregor Blanco struggled at the plate for long periods of the season (& in past seasons). And, if we were to use Blanco in CF, then we have a hole in LF or RF (depending upon where Pence winds up).

- Signing an ML-ready 2B, hopefully Marco Scutaro.

- After those 2 needs, our biggest deficit is a lack of reliable hitters coming off of the bench or filling in for minor injuries. We got production in the post-season from Theriot. We have a good player in Arias who can help in a lot of ways. But, we had roster spots occupied by people like Huff, Pill, Nady, Burriss, Christian - those types of people, who really weren't contributing much of anything. A couple of solid veterans (Scott Hairston is available again & comes with the added bonus of 'if he's on the Giants, he can't hit against the Giants') would be desirable. Is there also a left-handed Scott Hairston? Is Todd Helton getting to the point in his career when he can accept a role as a PH on a great team? When our most fearsome PH is our only back-up Catcher, we have to shake things up a bit. Raul Ibanez could fit into a spiffy & versatile OF group.

Zo said...

Helton is not going anywhere. He will retire before playing in ATT on a regular basis. I would urge caution on old people. We have paid enough to over-the-hill types. SVC is all well and good, but let's be cautious about that. Sabean has done well cruising the bargain bins in the past - no doubt he can do so in the future.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Good article from Dave Cameron at FanGraphs about the Affeldt deal.

The commenters are nuts, frankly, other than OGC. Affeldt is a beast. He is worth every penny. The guy could close if he had to. Giants are smart, know what they want, and are willing to spend for it.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Ron, you gotta let the ink dry on the championship banners before you start worrying over next year. The Giants have shown that they can find the right guys and mix and match with what they have to get the job done. All teams have Hills, Huffs and Nadys. The Giants won the World Series! Todd Helton? C'mon. Really? Scott Hairston? Fuck that. The Giants got the job done with Gregor Blanco! Ask yourself "who was Gregor Blanco?" before this season. NO ONE, that's who. Have some faith. Sabes will find the guys he needs. No sense getting involved chasing after has-beens that other teams still covet. Raul Ibanez? Are you mad? Do you really want that guy running down balls in our OF or trying to hit HRs in our park? Not a chance. He would be cruelly exposed by our park, our division, and our system that relies on athleticism, speed, defense, etc. etc. etc. OFers are a goddamn dime-a-dozen. Crazy to chase after "names" because they are "names."

nomisnala said...

We all loved Melky until we didn't. Couldn't Melky and the giants apologize to each other and move on, sans testosterone. He could be just what the Dr. ordered. Posey needs to forgive him, because if Melky did not opt out of the batting title, it would be his not Posey's. Sabes and the players need to get over their grudge, put something in the contract about Melky and PED's and sign the Melkman.