Saturday, July 18, 2015

5th inning: 9-9

The Giants played game number 90 last night and that marathon win marked the end of the fifth seasonal inning. Here's the season so far:

1st inning: 7-11
2nd inning: 11-7
3rd inning: 12-6
4th inning: 8-10
5th inning: 9-9

That brings the club to 47-43 (.522) with 72 games to play. If they maintain that pace they'll finish with 85 wins which probably won't get them a playoff spot. To get to 90 wins they'll have to go 43-29 which is .597 ball. So they have to be, within a game or two, a .600 team the rest of the way. Can they win 3 of every 5 games they play from here on out?

Last night Matt Cain got battered in his five innings of work and NINE relievers did the rest, allowing only one run in the final seven frames. The Giants had 16 hits but were only 2-19 with runners in scoring position. They stranded 15 guys! Cain looked like he couldn't hit his spots but he didn't walk a man. They had better luck hacking away--he gave up eight hits, five for extra bases, but did strike out five. The Giants will go as far as Matty goes, that is, if he can return to form and be the starter we know he can be then the team will have a strong second half. I don't think, short of some miraculous pitching acquisition for the stretch run, the team can make a go of it without a big contribution from Cain. Think about what Jake Peavy (who goes today) did in his twelve starts (78-2/3 IP, 3.03 FIP, 2.1 WAR) last year. That's the kind of thing the team will need--will Matty be that guy?

Giants have only won four of their eleven games against the Diamondbacks. They've got two more in Arizona this weekend and another three-game series there in September with three more to follow at home before the last road trip. That's what I call "opportunity for payback."

Andrew Baggarly brought up what is becoming an increasing concern: Angel Pagan's play in center. At least two of those deep flies last night would have been caught by Gregor Blanco. Sure, they were bombs, but that's what The White Shark does--turns hits into outs. Pagan's isn't hitting well, either, and perhaps a little outfield shake-up will be necessary when Nori Aoki returns.




Zo said...

Matt Cain had nothing in the 1st, then looked sharp in the 2nd. Then in the 3rd and 4th, he again got shelled. It was luck that prevented the Giants from being behind by about 7 runs by then. I think there were 4 hit balls that were described as "over Angel Pagan's head." How many RISP were stranded? I think 15. 15! Amazingly, they won.

A comment about the remaining schedule is that any analysis about the Giants need to play .xxx ball while LA only has to play .yyy ball is flawed, because some of the time, those teams play each other. So that will always move the runs behind a full game in one direction or the other. Already the announcers were talking about wild card position (I think the Giants are just behind the Cubs), but this is defeatist to me. Let's just grow some cajones against the snakes and rox and continue to beat up the smog-suckers and take the division, shall we? Fuck the wild card.

Brother Bob said...

As of this morning we have a 5 game winning streak. Peavy was good enough and got the W. The big story is the endless barrage of singles. These Giants put the ball in play. Posey is the maestro at this and Panik, Duffy et al are emulating him, using all fields and "moving the line."
Yes, JC, pitching ultimately matters the most, but it's relatively boring to discuss.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I pointed out what it would take for the Giants to win 90 games, not what it would take for them to win the division or claim a wild card. I did not mention LA.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Well, they needed your comment and are now 6-7 against the D-backs!

I see no problem when there are 72 games left to see what it would take for the Giants to reach a certain win-mark that would put them into playoff contention, whether divisional or wild card, and what LA would need to do to enable that. Sure, they play each other a good number of games still, but with so many other games left to play, then it just means that something else needs to happen in the other games to reach a number of wins.

Even when they are less games to play, say a month, you can still look at the percentages, depending on the number of games left to play each other, particularly LA.

I also see no problem looking at where you are relative to the wild card. Of course we should always look for the division title, and the goal is always that until you can't, but it does not hurt to look at where you are relative to the wild card as well. But I agree that it should not be the focus, the division title should get most of the focus, but noting where we are does not hurt.

I see no reason to be too worried about Cain or Peavy. Cain is a vet and a little rusty. He has had some bad luck with hits, probably rustiness, but his K/9 and K/BB is looking good. Peavy has been pretty good his first three starts, they call can't be quality dominating starts. Yes, they need to prove themselves by continuing.

What I like is that most of the lineup is good at making contact with the ball and getting good results with it, showing good batting averages. Walks are important, but not to the point where you just ignore what a player does when he hits the ball, walks mainly add to OBP, hits boost both OBP and SLG (though good BB/K ratio is the territory of good hitters). You are going to have days where you get mostly singles and days where you don't hit well with RISP: these are MLB pitchers they are going up against, you need to expect failure a lot of the time, that's baseball, in a good season, your offense is going to have a lot of hiccups like this.

The more salient point is whether they are hiccuping so much that they fail the pitching or if they are doing enough to win when the lineup is mostly together. It has mostly been together when Pence has been in the starting lineup, when we have our middle of the lineup hitters, Posey, Pence, Belt (and now Duffy in the mix). He has been in the starting lineup in 24 games and the Giants have been 18-6 in those games. Sometimes the engine is sputtering, but as long as they can push across those runs and wins, I would not worry too much over one game here and there.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Ooops, "heeded" your comment, not needed (or maybe they did :^).