Thursday, August 13, 2015

Giants Pitchers Get It Done

Ryan Vogelsong struck out eight batters in his five innings of work. Hunter Strickland got the next two frames and went six-up six-down with three strikeouts. Sergio Romo added two more in the 8th and Santiago Casilla tacked on one in the 9th for a team total of 14 whiffs. Vogie had to work hard, issuing four walks and throwing 94 pitches, but he brought some serious heat and went after the Nationals with élan. He kept attacking the zone, getting 13 foul ball strikes to go with his 17 called strikes and 12 swinging strikes, and the Washington lineup never got it going against him. Strickland followed him with overpowering stuff--both he and Romo made them look silly. Casilla, thankfully, got the save without too much trouble. Let's hope his struggles are behind him. It was a dominating performance by the staff and it nailed down a big win.

Gregor Blanco sparked two rallies that led to two runs. Blanco is often overlooked and I think he's a key contributor. In much the same way Vogie is under-appreciated and I love it when those guys show their mettle. The Giants scored two in the bottom of the first after Yunel Escobar led off the game with a homer. It stayed 2-1 until the 7th when the Giants added an insurance run. The 3-1 final got sweetened a bit with the Dodgers losing at home to the Reds to cut the deficit to 2-1/2 games.

Matt Cain matches up with über-ace Max Scherzer tomorrow night.




carmot said...

Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo! Oh yeah, very fine performances by our pitching staff. That looked nice. I still love watching Romo when he's on. El Mechon gets AT&T fired up, even just hearing it through the broadcast is cool. Blanco is like our mid-season OF acquisition each year. lol. Dude *always* ends up a starter and he's the one bench player- for depth- we have that is ELITE. Is there a better 4th OF in MLB? Props to our Shark. IMHO, I'd give an assist to Bumgarner, FTW. VogelSTRONG came through big. Giant.

Tough match-up tomorrow. I'm having a hard time figuring out Cain. 0.75 ERA in his two wins. 8.40 ERA in his 3 losses and 7.20 ERA in 2 no-decisions. Give us our horse back! That would be a real gift... You know the Nats have recently been getting booed in their home ballpark? Yeah, crush their spirits. In a game I'm sure they figure they "should" take. Anyways, great Giants win!

JC Parsons said...

Romo is looking good recently, however I still think lefties are having very little trouble taking good swings. They have used him well lately, ie almost always against righties. Yesterday, they were ready to put Lopez against Harper ( the only LH he faced ) and would have if we didn't have an insurance run. Harper singled. I love Sergio deeply but I still don't think he is our closer. The man that will probably have that job in September is Strickland. What more can he do? He has the best fastball on the team and now a ++ slider. Tons of physical ability, just got to get the mental part down.

Back on the Cain roller coaster again. I almost don't care about the W today. Almost. What we really need to see is a strong Cain. That may not be enuf to beat Scherzer but it is the key to the rest of the season. Along with all the other keys....

JC Parsons said...

I try not to think about the top prospect we gave up so that Ryan Vogelsong would not have to start. He is 1-1 since then, pretty much what Leake would have done. Sometimes no move is the best move. We sure proved last year that INTERNAL solutions are often the best. So I join with the others that say, "Play the hand we have!"

JC Parsons said...

Too bad Kelby is not quite ready for the defense at this level. He completely botched a perfect DP that Crawford started. I think he was shocked that BCraw got to it and then delivered it to him SO quickly. Brandon is the best baseball flipper I have ever seen, his underhand tosses are like lasers! He is having the best SS season in SF since '71 and my all time favorite, Chris Speier.

Zo said...

Can't say enough about the VSC guttiness from Vogelsong. 8 K's in 5 innings. It sure looked like a 3 inning performance after the first - 29 pitches and 1 run. Strickland got through 2 innings on only 18 quality pitches. The use of his slider made it - Nats could not sit on his fastball. My friend in DC is critical of Williams, as many Nats fans are. Scherzer is beatable - not easily, but let's just hope Cain doesn't implode and can give us 5 or 6. Isn't it amazing how Buster's BA just keeps drifting up? I think he is #2 in the NL this morning. Also, the smog-suckers lost.

M.C. O'Connor said...

You can't look back on trades. The Giants needed another arm as Cain has been a source of uncertainty and Hudson and Lincecum are out. The Leake trade was right at the time, him getting hurt is just bad luck. I think the team will take a run at him for 2016 and beyond, apparently they have always liked him. The fact that Vogie is still around and able to contribute just shows the team's depth which is what it takes to play 6 months or more of baseball. I note that Billy Beane often trades guys on his 25-man roster, Sabes and Evans don't seem to do that. They'd rather part with prospects and not mess with the team on the field. I like that. Why have a guy out there that you don't want? Prospects are just that, prospective major-leaguers. Most minor-leaguers won't make it to the bigs or if they do they won't stick. We've been spoiled by a run of youngsters who had success right away. That's damn rare--most guys have to log a lot of reps before they become regulars. I trust the Giants to keep the talent pipeline flowing so I try not to worry about which A/AA/AAA guys they decide to part with. I'm as excited about 2016 as I am about this season. The future's so bright I gotta wear shades, man!

BCraw is the best shortstop I've ever seen. The truly great players make it look effortless--that's what he does. The range, the strong and accurate arm, the acrobatic catches, the soft hands, the instincts and game presence, the grace and preternatural balance; it's an unreal combination. And now he hits booming drives all over the field! Just an exceptional player and immensely valuable to the club. I can forgive Tomlinson for being a little over-matched. He looks pretty good otherwise so I expect all he needs is some seasoning, some more time on the field working with his teammates. He looks like Duffy at the plate, same kind of approach and swing mechanics. What a thing for the team if he can emerge as more than just a stopgap player. Hard to tell after only 26-2/3 innings!

And then there is Matty. Finally healthy in body, he just needs to find that new place mentally that will allow him to be a star again. I imagine he is, in many ways, learning to throw all over again, so the command issues are not surprising.

Oh, and did we really have to send Buster just so Harper could show off his arm? (Boy, what a player that guy is!) I thought Flannery retired and his automatic windmill went with him. Note to Roberto Kelly: he's Buster Posey not Gregor Blanco. Put on the stop sign! I don't ever want to see Posey thrown out on the bases again.

Zo said...

Matt needs more than a mental adjustment. He needs to find consistent control. Hopefully, he can find some of that tonight. Good point about the baserunning. They should have held Buster and send Tomlinson. I am reading that the Giants made an offer for Utley, but no clues as to what the offer was. No idea if other teams made offers or what they were and how to resolve Utley's issue with wanting a guaranteed number of starts.

JC Parsons said...

The more I think about Kelly sending Buster, the madder I get. A brief history of Buster sent to the plate on a close play is an exercise in horror. Kelly should be forced to watch it on a continuing loop, as in Clockwork Orange. Buster is always out or, I don't even want to mention the other outcome. The greatest Giant of this age and we do nothing to protect him or extend his career. We can make light of it now since we won, but I think it is way past time that we treat Buster like the precious commodity that he is. As I have said before, he needs to take over first ASAP. Maybe when Susac returns, after all with Belt in LF, that gives us another quality bat in the lineup. I know it is not a popular idea around here, and it would be a sad thing for sure.

Every minute without Utley news seems to make it less likely. I would rather have good Panik news. Anyone know anything? Is it hard not to...get really scared

Ron said...

I agree that, the longer things drag on, the less likely it is that we will be getting Utley. The Phillies are obviously trying to shop for the best deal, & enough other Teams are now interested, complicating things. I hate when shit like this happens - if we really wanted the guy, we should have been motivated to get him as soon as possible (like, when we're playing a strong Eastern Division opponent). If we end up getting him, we may have to give up less substantial prospects, but, in the end, only get 5 weeks out of him, instead of 6 or 7. Which is a better deal for a Rental?: a 'B' level prospect package for 5 weeks of Utley, or a 'B+' level prospect package for 6 or 7 weeks. I have mentally moved on - I now don't think that we're going to acquire him.

Jon, I am on-board with the Posey to 1B, Belt to LF idea - I always have been. In a potentially unpopular statement, I will say that I appear to be in a minority around here in my opinion of Aoki. For one thing, he is not a very good LF (based upon his KC & SF careers - not a lot of mistakes, but limited range). Sure, it sucks that he is hurt - I just don't think that it makes nearly the difference that everyone else thinks. (Plus, he was an asshole, when I tried several times to get him to toss a warm-up ball into the crowd from close range in Seattle.) So, I am fine with letting Belt play LF often - it is not a big defensive downgrade. Posey is a very fine 1B, too.

It is amazing to me that Brandon Crawford is such a poor SS based upon a variety of metrics (why hardly anyone nationally carries on about him), but that we all know that he is a truly awesome SS based upon what we see on a regular basis. He is also one of those guys who is at his best, when the importance of the situation is at its peak.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I'm with MC, you can't really look back at trades. In addition, Leake is someone they are looking to keep long term, and this gives them the inside track to doing that. And if we can resign Leake, that gives us a pretty good 2016 rotation: Bumgarner, Peavy, Leake, Cain, Heston. Mella, IF he continues to develop, won't join the rotation until 2017-18, at best.

I love Vogie, but he's been up and down the past three seasons, I've noticed that he seems to run out of steam late in the season, the past three seasons. Age is getting to him, lucky for him the Giants can rest him periodically, this spot starter role is probably his best role now.

Furthermore, the Giants history of trading is that they rarely give up anybody good. Sabean's "Do Not Trade" has worked pretty well. As much as fans have loved one prospect or another, who has really came back and bit the Giants in the behind?

I can name three good ones off the top of my mind with the A's: Ethier, CarGon, and Russell, and they delivered the first season away from the A's. The Giants top unproven prospect losses in trades include Foulke, Howry, Villanueva, Liriano, and Wheeler. No great loss in the bunch for the Sabean Giants, he kept the guys who were key in some ways to our three championships: Cain, Lincecum, Sanchez, Wilson, Sandoval, Romo, Posey, Bumgarner, Belt, Crawford, Panik, Susac, Duffy, Heston (I'm including him since he's doing very well so far this season).

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Crawford's advanced metrics, from what I remembered, wasn't so good early in his career but has been better in recent years, at least on BB-Ref. I think the problem for him had been that while he shined in making the dazzling impossible play, he sometimes would flub an easy play, and any fielding measurement system is going to penalize strongly when that happens because it costs your team an out while also giving the other team a baserunner.

I've been excited at the thought of Utley, but it's been pretty clear from the start that we weren't going to get him, as Evans noted early on that we were looking for a part-time player and the Phillies were selling a starting 2B. I've felt that the Phillies were using us to pump up Utley's value to other teams, and recent injuries have made other teams eagar to pick him up. I would be surprised if the Angels let him get away, and he's actually from SoCal area, I think (originally drafted by Dodgers out of HS, but he went to UCLA).

I've been hoping that Ehire or Kelby would seize the brass ring, like Duffy did when he got his chance. Adrianza has been doing OK (low 700 OPS so far as starting 2B) and so has Tomlinson, so right now Adrianza's probably got the lead because of his defensive abilities (negative this year, but generally stellar before and stellar scouting reports), though Tomlinson is no piker either, won vote for best defensive player for a league recently. Adrianza has been doing well, 5 walks and 4 K's in 35 AB, which only the best hitters can do, so hopefully he can keep it up while Panik is out. Kelby has 4 K's in 15 AB with no walks, which is fine for power hitters...

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I've been for moving Posey off of C for a while, and since last year when the beat reporters noted that if he goes anywhere, it's 1B, I've been talking about the need to prepare for C Susac, 1B Posey, and LF Belt. So I totally agree with you all.

I've even got a solution for the Posey wanting to catch issue, he can be the back-up C, and slowly ease off C for the next few years until he's full-time at 1B. Maybe ease down to just being Bumgarner's personal catcher? I know he's still in danger but I prefer this alternative to him staying full-time C until who knows when.

Because he IS the franchise player, and we need to protect him, whether it be his starting position or how he is handled when he is running the bases, there should be zero risk of him colliding at homeplate when he is scoring, it is not just catchers getting hurt, runners also get hurt too. Hopefully Kelly gets this soon.

But I'm conflicted because I love having Aoki leadoff for us. Pagan was OK in getting on-base but Aoki is an elite at getting on-base. Too bad he can't play CF better, else I would make him starting CF with Belt in LF, and Pagan could be traded or accept a bench role. The solution is above my pay grade.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Matt was actually doing OK until he had to pitch in two hot hellholes, after faltering in his first start back (which I was OK with, he's human), 4 starts, 3.54 ERA, 2 DOM starts out of 4 starts, pretty good Matt Cain-like performance: 23.0 IP, 23 hits, 3 walks, 21 strikeouts, really good peripherals.

So that is what I'm hoping to see out of him in this start, especially with the extra day of rest on Monday.

Go Matty! Go Giants!

M.C. O'Connor said...

Yeah, Aoki is clearly better at leadoff than Pagan. We've seen the best from Angel, I think his physical issues will relegate him to a part-time role in the future. Blanco is so much better with the glove anyway.

JC Parsons said...

I can not believe what I just saw. I had just finished saying that we obviously had to intentionally walk Harper, he is after all the league MVP, the one guy on that team you can't let beat you. Before I had a second to worry about the next guy, Matt throws a piece of shit and gives up a three run homer. It was the stupidest and poorest pitch I can ever remember seeing him throw. It made a great night evaporate in a blink. Unbelievable. I guess I blame Cain but Bochy and Righetti needed to take charge there. It was a no brainer. If we end up losing this game, it is the mistake of the year.

nomisnala said...

Thankfully we won, but teams would have walked Bonds there, so a Harper
walk was a definite option. Then Cain grooves one, as if he were on the
Nationals payroll. They have to straighten Cain out. In the first inning
he gave up a run without a hit. Later in the game, despite 3 errors, and
two in one inning putting Washington in a position to tie up the game, we
still won.I have to think that Matt William's job may be on the line.

nomisnala said...

Posey pulled an 0-4 tonight, and he had several chances to really put this game out of reach,
and had a bad offensive game.

nomisnala said...

So far I like Aoki. I think he give the pitcher fits, and often goes into an extended at bat. I think there is significant value in that. He is an average fielder, has decent speed, and makes contact, and when he isn't trying to pull everything he generally allows later hitters to see what the pitcher is offering. 3 tough at bats to start the game, with Aoki, Panik, and Duffy has value. Part of today's modern game is getting pitches out of the oppositions starting pitcher, unless they are a guy that gets ahead and has a great strike out pitch. Otherwise forcing many pitches is a good thing.