Sunday, April 20, 2014

First Inning: 10-8

Tim Hudson took out a page from the Big Book of Cain yesterday as the Giants failed to support his fine effort. (That's four starts, 112 batters faced, 53 ground balls, and no walks.) The Padres are playing their game in their yard and the Giants are obliging nicely. Yesterday they managed only a feeble four hits. Brandon Belt and Michael Morse have wOBAs over .400 (they are 13th and 16th on the NL leaderboard) and Angel Pagan is just behind at .387 (23rd). Brandon Crawford is holding his own at .360, but Buster Posey (.313) is well below expectations, and Hunter Pence (.265) and Pablo Sandoval (.250) are off the map. The team has scored just 13 runs in the last seven games and two of those went into extras.

The baseball season is 162 games long and is composed of nine 18-game stretches that I like to call "seasonal innings" (18 x 9 = 162). The Giants have finished their first inning and stand at 10-8, one game behind the 11-7 Dodgers. You play nine 10-8 innings and you finish at 90-72, which might net you a playoff spot. You go 11-7 nine times and you finish 99-63 which will likely net you the best record in the league. The Giants were 10-5 after beating the Dodgers on Wednesday, but followed that with three straight losses. The Brewers (13), the Braves (12), and the Cardinals/Dodgers (11) are the league leaders in wins, with the Nationals (10), Giants (10) and Rockies (10) just behind.

The Giants are 8th in the NL in scoring at 74 runs or 4.11 per game, just a hair below the league average (4.14). They are 7th in run prevention having yielded 66 runs or 3.67 per game, just ahead of the league average (4.06). Since interleague play has not yet started for San Francisco (next weekend the Cleveland Indians come to town) I am sticking with NL-only stats. I'll do 30-team comparisons next time.

The Giants rate a 101 OPS+, good for fourth best, and a 108 ERA+, tied for seventh best (B-R). FanGraphs is not as kind, saying the Giants 97 wRC+ is only seventh best and their .308 wOBA is ninth in the league. By team FIP however, the Giants rate fourth best and their 3.28 xFIP is the best.

If you prefer more traditional metrics, the Giants are batting .237/.310/.387 with 19 HR (4th in the league) against an NL average line of .249/.313/.391. The Giants have the fifth best team ERA (3.15) with 143 strikeouts (7th best), 34 walks (fewest), 16 HR (7th fewest), and 158 hits (11th fewest, or fourth worst).

Today Tim Lincecum tries to prevent a sweep in San Diego. Tim's only thrown 15 innings in three starts and he's allowed 20 hits and 12 runs. But he has only walked one and struck out 17, so there are some good signs. The bullpen has been terrific (57-1/3 IP, 47 H, 48 K, 13 W, 14 R) but could use some more long outings by the starters so let's hope Timmy can churn up some innings and lead the way to a victory.




Zo said...

I don't think 90 wins is good enough for the playoffs this year. The Giants seem to be playing up to the good teams and down to the bad teams. We took 2/3 from LA - when we were functionally at full strength and they weren't. But we dropped one to Colorado and one to Arizona that were avoidable, and now two to San Diego. I fear that LA will crush the lousy teams and that will slowly build up a lead - 1 game now, 9 by year's end if this continues. You win divisions by avoiding losing streaks. We have dropped 3 in which we have scored a total of 3 runs. Buster has dropped 100 points off of his average, 1 hit in his last 26 PA. Sandoval's and Pence's struggles are well documented, even if Pence seems to be turning it around.

There is better news on our pitching. Each starter has 3 starts (4 for Madbum, Matt and Huddy). And our relief is, according to Baseball Reference, the best in the majors right now.

Madbum is looking fairly solid. He has thrown 20.2 innings, given up 29 hits, struck out 26 and 12 runs (8 earned).
Matt looks to be improving. He has thrown 25 innings, 7 the last two times out. He has given up 21 hits, 10 runs (8 earned) and struck out 21. In the last two 7 inning starts, he has given up only 4 hits each game, 1 run and struck out 8.
Tim Hudson has been better than solid. He, who has yet to walk a batter, has thrown 30 innings, given up 23 hits, 9 runs (8 earned) and K'ed 20.
Tim Lincecum, who pitches in his fourth start in a few minutes, is up and down. He gave us 6 innings, 8 hits and 4 runs his first time out, then got knocked around for 7 runs on 7 hits in only 4 innings against Arizona at home. Last time, against LA, he gave up only 1 run on 5 hits in 5 innings. He has struck out 17 on the year.
Finally, Ryan Vogelsong has given us 15 innings of work in 3 starts, allowing 9 runs (all earned) and struck out 11.

The problem is, of course, scoring runs. As good as the Giants looked early, they have looked like crap lately, and really need to do better. We cannot compete with 1 run a game, no matter how good our pitchers are. I'm not suggesting it is easy - had I an answer I am sure I would be very highly paid by the Giants or some other professional club. But it has to happen. Today would be a good starting point.

nomisnala said...

Bumgarner's strike zone his last outing was so unreasonably small, that it affected his game, and the giants. I would like to see the umps have the cajones to give that strike zone to Kershaw. I like to contrast the non-existent strike in Madison's last outing, to the strike zone Tom Glavine enjoyed for most of his career. One hopes that the professional pitcher making multi-millions of dollars per year is not affected by this but he clearly was. Two key AB's by Van Slyke were clearly umpire aided, and they absolutely changed the game. Just like today the reversal of a bad call at home plate, helped assure that the giants win today behind Tim Lincecum. It clearly shows the non-believers that one call here and perhaps a second call there, can alter the outcome of a game, especially when there is significant league parity. Replay has been helpful in many games this year, but they have to find a way to make the strike zone, and the checked swings as called by the umpires more consistent.

Zo said...

Today's 4-3 victory was good (can you imagine getting swept by San Diego?) but after the outburst, innings of NO HIT by the Giants. I don't think the problem is solved. Tim pitched pretty well, though.