Friday, May 1, 2015

Joe Cool Delivers

Pinch-hitting Joe Panik lined a single up the middle to score Gregor Blanco and win the game in the 9th. Giants have found the formula: play an LA-based team and conjure up 3-2 walk-offs. Chris Heston pitched another great game and that gave the home squad a chance and they found a way. That's the real formula: pitch well. Who figured Buster Posey would start the game-winning rally by beating out an infield hit?




Brother Bob said...

"WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. - A last-minute rally in the bottom of the 13th wasn't enough for the River Cats as they fell 7-6 to the El Paso Chihuahuas Friday night at Raley Field. Kevin Correia made his 2015 Triple-A debut and Adam Duvall hit his third home run in three nights in the loss."
Correia pitched 6 innings and gave up 2 ER. LP was Hunter Strickland who gave up 3 runs on four hits in the 13th. The "good" news is that none of those hits was a homer.

JC Parsons said...

May is off to a fine start! I know in this modern world of stats one is not really allowed to discuss whether a player is "clutch" or not. However, it is sure safe to say that Joe Panik has a wonderful, repeatable, level swing. He was also the perfect guy against a sidewinding rightie, so good job Bochy and excellent execution Joe. Keep doing that and we can have a big ol' arguement about your "clutchness."

How come every manager we face ends up doing some weird, or just poor, managing??? We are really spoiled around here. For example, wasn't it a little odd to face Belt with the wnining run at third, and then intentionally walk Crawford to set up the Panik matchup, which I already mentioned was exactly what Bochy wanted? I guess it worked, sorta, Belt did strikeout...

/pause to watch osprey carry a fish by my window, no lie.

Speaking of Belt... I admit that I am starting to fear that my expectations for him are too high. I thought that I had outgrown my Belt angst, but it flares up so fast!! Maybe it is because I so much want Posey to be the full-time first baseman (face it folks, it will extend Buster's career at least 5 years, or more because he could get knocked out of the game FOREVER on almost any given day). Besides Susac looks like he may be a better hitter than Belt . Brandon needs to brush up on his OF skills or get his bat going in a big way. First basemen really must be big offense players since their defensive liabilities can sort of be hidden there. Not like a catcher... Man, Buster is a great catcher! But he can also be a great first baseman.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Belt is a good offensive 1B, even in his early struggling seasons, as long as he is healthy.

And that be the rub, he has not been healthy much lately. But look at the start of last season, and his fine hitting during the playoffs, that is what he will be once he gets back into baseball shape, which he has been working up to for us.

But I agree that first appears to be Busters long term spot, though I still like third, but first works well if he and Susac share starting catcher and first duties, pushing Belt to LF. And I like Aoki, so maybe he can be backup next season, Pagans last year on contract then take over CF in 2017.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Boch talked about Panik's "short swing" and "not trying to do too much" and Panik himself talked about "get the barrel on the ball" and "taking what the pitcher is giving." In that situation the pitcher obviously has to throw a strike and the batter has to know that and be ready. I'm impressed by Panik's maturity and confidence. He seems like a cagey vet already. You have to love him contributing as a starter and a bench player.

You wouldn't think Sciosia would get out-foxed--I have a lot of respect for him as a manager. Boch, though, has that poker player's mentality and seems always a step ahead.

Maybe the issue with Belt is the uncertainty. Is he or is he not a left fielder? Perhaps it's time to say "yes, be ready to play OF" and embrace it as a team. Which of course means more Posey at 1B and more Susac behind the plate. Otherwise it's only May and the SSS demons are messing with us.

Zo said...

"The Giants rotation ERA is 4.50 – better than only the Phillies (8-14), Brewers (5-17) and Rockies (who play on the moon).

“Actually, they’ve been OK,” said Giants manager Bruce Bochy, an assessment that might shed light on just how low expectations had fallen."

This quote from Andrew Baggarly, referenced in the previous post "The Giants Could Use a Good Month" has been kind of sticking in my craw. The Giants have three guys who's era is greater than 4: Petit (who has not been a starter), Peavy and Vogie. Peavy has thrown 7.2 innings in 2 starts and Vogie has thrown 19.1 innings, which includes 3 starts (and 2 relief appearances). Among the remaining 4 pitchers, we have 18 starts, 111 innings and an era of 3.32. That includes Madison's three inning start and Timmy's recent start that caused Jon so much grief. One of Vogie's starts wasn't so bad, either (6 IP, 2 runs vs LA at home). So I stand by my earlier comments that pitching has been pretty good, and don't think it is because, as Mr. Baggarly states, it is, "because expectations have fallen so low." There have been some bad hiccups, and you can't change the record, but then, this early in the season, era tends to be very volatile because it is averaged over 9 innings. This season, Madison Bumgarner's era has fluctuated by over 4 runs. All of which makes a point about the limiations of era, but less a point about the pitching.

Another thing, to lay to rest a popular media meme: The Giant's rotation is not old. Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum are not OLD. They are in the prime of their careers. It may well be that Tim's best days are behind him, but it is not because he is old. Chris Heston did not pitch as well as in his first opportunities when he was at Colorado, but he looked damn good last night. To me, he is looking more and more like a steady piece in our rotation. He currently has the best era of our starters. He is not old. Yes, Tim Hudson is old (40 this year) and Ryan Vogelsong is old (38 this year). Jack Peavy will only be 34 later this month. Even that is stretching it so say that he is old.

So the Giants need to get going and a home stand would be just the place to start. But we do not need a panic trade, as Comcast seems to be asking this morning (as though, there were someone wonderful available for little expenditure, which seems never to be in the equation for this sort of stupidity). The Giants need a bit better health, they need to keep grinding, and they need a few breaks. This from a guy who is naturally pessimistic.

nomisnala said...

Both the giants and the dodgers win on Saturday with the last play of the game having the opposition hit a ground ball into the baserunner yielding the final out. I thought the umpire started the Angels rally in the ninth because I thought the 3-2 pitch by Hudson was a strike and it was called a ball. How do you do this to a 39 year old veteran with over 200 wins.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

The rotation is getting on that edge of oldness. As much as there are pitchers who can pitch effectively into their late 30's, the 30's are generally the downside of players, not just pitchers, careers.

And 34 is old, that's the age barrier where the low end of the talent pool gets weeded out, leaving only the old guys who are still performing well.

That said, I think you swung me over to your side. The way Heston is pitching, I don't see how they can take him out when pitchers return. Him and Bumgarner made a nice pair of young pitchers (still amazing to me that Bumgarner is the wily vet comparatively and yet still younger than Heston; I still can't believe that Sabean and Tidrow, literally minutes after drafting Bumgarner said that he's making the majors in two year, TWO years, they never put that pressure on any prospect, yet they knew with him). Add in Cain and Lincecum, not really that old yet, and that is 4/5ths of a rotation that is not really old.

The question then is what happens with Hudson and Peavy? Huddy has not been as good as last season in terms of dominance, but he has been very effective keeping runs from scoring. Peavy hopefully will be good to go, but as Baggarly noted, he won't be 100% when he's ready to go.

Maybe finally the six man rotation I've been hoping for? Gives guys more rest between starts, and rest relative to 2014 when had to go through playoffs.

But if Heston stays in the rotation, that probably means Vogie or one of Machi/Kontos goes. As many managers and GMs have said before, you hope that the players make the decisions hard, and this season, they are.