Friday, October 3, 2014

Game One

Jake Peavy, god bless him, is the excitable type. Pitching in DC against the number one seed would get anyone psyched up, but The Peave is a special case. I don't know how the guy gets his shoes tied let alone gets his uniform on when he's in the midst of his pre-game amp-a-thon. Maybe he gets suited up a day in advance and sleeps fully garbed. He's pitched really well since coming to save us from the Cainocalypse, and I really hope the Giants sign him for next season. Today, though, I think we might need to see a little calm from the big righty. A little deep breathing. Jake should channel Madison Bumgarner, not Joaquin Andujar. With MadBum on the shelf until Game Three the Giants need their two veteran starters to have steady hands on the tiller.

On the hitting side I think the Giants match up with the Nationals. The Giants scored 665 runs, the Nats 686. Washington hit more homers (152 to 132), got on base at a better clip (.321 to .311), and had a better running game (101 SB, 23 CS to 56 SB, 27 CS). The Giants were a tick better in wRC+ (101 to 99) and OPS+ (99 to 96), most likely due to park effects as AT&T is known to suppress offense. But the differences aren't that great, especially in a short series.

On the pitching side it is easy to see why Washington is the favorite. They've allowed only 555 runs, finishing second to Seattle (554) in the majors. The Giants have allowed 614. The Nats have 106 Quality Starts, the Giants 86. The Nats walked fewer batters (352 to 389) and struck out more (1317 to 1211). They've a better FIP (3.18 to 3.58) and hugely better ERA+ (124 to 100). They've also allowed fewer homers (110 to 133). You could argue the Nats have the best pitching in the tournament.

Stephen Strasburg led the majors in strikeouts with 242 but also coughed up a few long balls (23). He's a 4-WAR pitcher and former number one draft pick who was famously left off the 2012 playoff roster as he was on a strict innings limit coming back from surgery the previous year. This is his first post-season start. Jake Peavy was Cy Young Award winner with the Padres in 2007 and a World Series champion with the Boston Red Sox last year. He has five mostly forgettable playoff starts on his résumé. This is the year to turn that around, eh?

The Giants need a win in Washington. They come home for Game Three on Monday the 6th and it would be nice to have a Game Four on Tuesday. On paper, the match-ups favor the home team today and tomorrow (Jordan Zimmerman goes against Tim Hudson in Game Two). But the Giants have grit, moxie, and veteran savvy clutchness aplenty. And "they've been there before" and "know what it takes to win." They are a little short-handed with Cain, Pagan, and Morse out of action, and Washington looks absolutely loaded with talent (and have 96 wins to prove it), so it will be a tough task for the local lads. Not to mention the Nats smoked the Giants 5-2 during the regular season and outscored them 41 to 30. Nonetheless the Giants are coming off an ass-kicking win in Pittsburgh and are clearly a confident bunch. If they play good ball and don't make errors and keep it close in the early innings they have a legit shot to win.




Ron said...

One of your least insightful posts ever, Mark.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Hey I calls 'em like I sees 'em.

Ron said...

I was responding to the initial upload, when there was no post whatsoever ... not even a title - don't know why it appeared that way for awhile. The actual post is chockful of wisdom.

Go Giants!!!!!

Ron said...

While I don't purport to have confidence about today's game - I like our chances, though. However, the game that I am most concerned about is Game #2. Hudson has been a shadow of his earlier self since developing this 'hip thing'. If we win today, winning Game #2 would be awesome. If we lose today, winning Game #2 would be almost mandatory. So, I am really hoping that Hudson is ready to be the Pitcher he was for most of his career, including the first 2/3 of this year.