Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sweet Sweep

The Giants like to throw shutouts, it seems. That's their fifth. One in LA, one against the Cardinals, one against the Rockies, and yesterday and today against the Padres. Nice of the division foes to oblige. Of those five games, Barry Zito has been the starter in three of them. I seek not to explain, merely to enjoy. Way to go, Zeets! A fine win today that featured Buster Posey hitting a home run. His first of the season, by the way. I note that Tim Lincecum threw to Buster yesterday, not Hector Sanchez. In Japan, I have heard, it is not unusual for a manager to change catchers during a game when a pitcher is struggling, rather than remove the pitcher. Who knows? Maybe they are on to something. Regardless, Zito racked up seven scoreless and Buster hit a homer. That sort of thing works directly on the pleasure centers, doesn't it? I liked seeing Andres Torres contribute. That platoon with Gregor Blanco might just work out. I like having three centerfielders: the Giants catch everything, that's a big part of their success. Speaking of catching everything, how about the start to the season for Brandon Crawford? He's a .300/.400/.500 hitter!

Arizona comes to town for three, it's Ryan Vogelsong tomorrow night.



p.s. Saturday was the 1st inning of the season, the first 18-game stretch, and the Giants were 11-7. Last year they 9-9.


nomisnala said...

In three of Zito's four starts he tossed nothing but goose eggs, yet his WAR is in the negatives? Maybe WAR is not all it is cracked up to be!

M.C. O'Connor said...

FanGraphs says +0.2 WAR. I guess giving up 8 runs in start, no matter how you slice it, is bad! :-)

Zo said...

All these stats have their flaws, even the noveau stats. Nomis, you put your finger on one.

nomisnala said...

It would seem to me that if you pitch 3 shutout quality starts in 4 outings, and you get bombed in one start, you are still worth a certain amount of wins above replacement, even if Bochy left him in during that bad game to give up 20 runs. The calculation is missing something, and that is the "REALITY" context. If those 8 runs were dispersed throughout his starts, it would seem to have a different win value than having had just one sucky start. Maybe over an entire season it evens out. But lets say he does the same thing in his next 4 starts, then one would see the WAR stat totally exposed.

M.C. O'Connor said...

<a href=">WAR calculation</a> for FanGraphs. This is not for the faint of heart!

I think Zito gets "penalized" for pitching in AT&T, since the Park suppresses run-scoring. And he's not a strikeout guy, so that hurts him, too. He's given up a hit per IP, on average, this season, and his ERA is just about league average if you adjust for the Park. For me, WAR is a lot more interesting in terms of seasonal comparisons (when everyone has made 30+ starts!) and over the course of a career. I almost never look at WAR in mid-season.

And, like Zo said, nothing is the "end-all-be-all" stat. I'm curious, for example, why Zito's 2010 was rated at 1.7 WAR and his 2012 at 0.9! Obviously he was more "valuable" to the Giants in 2012, but his stats don't look any better. He struck out more guys in 2010 and pitched more innings! Maybe he was the beneficiary of better defense. Certainly he had better run support in 2012(4.76 rpg compared to 3.61). In fact, he had more "quality starts" in 2010 than 2012!

Explaining Barry Zito is like explaining why something is funny. Some things just may not be amenable to analysis.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Whoops. Here's the link:

FanGraphs WAR for pitchers