Tuesday, August 18, 2015


Ryan Vogelsong was Veteran Savvy Clutchness personified tonight in St. Louis. Struggling from the opening bell with a 30-pitch first inning torture-fest he dug deep into his reservoir of grit and got through it unscathed. He then added five scoreless frames after that and finished with an impressive 6  2  0  0  1  5 line (Game Score 72) to stymie the best team in baseball. Josh Osich and Sergio Romo were perfect in the 7th and 8th, Romo whiffing all three he faced. Javier Lopez' walk of Matt Carpenter to open the bottom of the 9th broke a streak of 15 consecutive batters retired by Giants pitchers. Beleaguered closer Santiago Casilla got the three outs he needed, two via the strikeout, to secure the save. He needed a strong outing and we fans certainly needed to see one from him. The Giants turned the tables on the Cardinals after a tough loss last night. It sets up an interesting rubber match tomorrow as the struggling Matt Cain is the listed starter.

With Hunter Pence ailing rookie Ryan Lollis got the start in left field and he delivered a two-out hit in the 8th--his very first--after a hit by fellow newbie Kelby Tomlinson. Only six hits on the night for the Giants, so way to go, FNGs! Long road to the bigs for Lollis. He's 28 and was a 37th-round pick in 2009. Cardinals starter Lance Lynn had some gnarly-looking stuff but was ultimately undone by his wildness. He walked six in 6-2/3 and three of those walks kept rallies going. With two on in the 5th Buster Posey walked and Brandon Crawford drove in the first run with a squibber that wasn't hit hard enough for a double play. In the 7th Madison Bumgarner pinch-hit for Vogie and naturally roped a single to left. What can't that man do? Gregor Blanco and Matt Duffy walked and Brandon Belt was hit by a pitch to score Bum and make it 2-0 and that's how it finished. It was a small-ball night!

That was the team's 16th shutout. They bump their August record to 9-8, their road record to 30-30, and are 19-11 (.633) since the Break.




Zo said...

Ryan Vogelsong has cajones the size of South Carolina.

Ron said...

We're in deep shit - our whole OF is on the DL, our 2B is on the DL, & several of our Pitchers are on the DL. It would be something to 'ride out', if we had a Divisional lead. But, we're the ones chasing. Texas, of all stupid Teams, just picked up Will Venable, a guy we could have always used, especially now. We need a comparable move of our own.

Bumgarner to play OF on his non-pitch days? Bumgarner to DH in Inter-League games?

M.C. O'Connor said...

I like Venable, he's a good ballplayer, although he had a rough 2014. Did you know he went to Princeton? But I think the Giants will be OK--they just beat the best team in baseball and picked up a game in the standings. I suppose it really depends on how long Pence is out for. Do you think they can get .258/.318/.378 out of Lollis? That's Venable's line for 2015. Speaking of the Dodgers, how does anyone justify Jimmy Rollins leading off? He's the worst hitter on their team! By far! Thank you, Don Mattingly, for doing what you can to reduce your team's offense. Their 'pen bitched up a good start from Kershaw. Here's a stat for you: Pedro Baez gave up three hits and three runs in 1/3 of an inning and got a "Hold." They charged the next guy with the "Blown Save." Really? This is the best we can do? Anyway, I think Aoki will be back soon, his seven days are up tomorrow or the next day. And no, Bum isn't getting any OF starts or DHing, only three more against the A's at the end of September. Smart to use him as a pinch-hitter, though, what with the thin bench. I have faith in the Giants. They are the champs and the rest of the wannabes will have to take the trophy from their cold, dead hands.

JC Parsons said...

MadBum pinch hitting is more about our weak bench than his batting talent. He's damn good for a pitcher but that is a big qualifier. He admits himself that he can only hit fastballs, anything else and he is dead meat. Of course, that could be some country bull stuff. His single was sweet but the next two walks were the killing "blows". It was very much like playoff baseball: super pitching, small ball, low scoring tension. EXCEPT the managers sure didn't act like it: superstar day off, leave starter in to get W, use a folk legend as a pinch hitter. Wonderful exciting baseball from two of the best teams, actually best franchises, in the game today.

So now it is time to put Belt in LF and Buster at first? Call Hector back up, give Susac almost all the C time and Belt most of the LF time. Maxwell, although a weak hitter, is damn good on defense, which is a must, especially at home, so he has RF. Isn't Susac's bat better than Lollis or Perez? Is Belt's defense that costly?

JC Parsons said...

Yes, I'm using another chance to promote the "crazy" idea of moving Buster. Did anyone see that vicious foul off his forearm? He was in pain. There is no way you tell me that did not effect the rest of his game. And, gee, that happens pretty much every game.

Although my rain delay prediction that Buster would do something huge was wrong, I sure as shit got Vogie right! He was the absolute grinder poster boy yesterday. After the horrible first inning, it was easy to fear the worst but Ryan had none of that. He blew them away! The dude has set the bar high for Cain today. How can we sit Vogie after that monster effort? If Matt struggles again does that put him on the bubble?

M.C. O'Connor said...

I suspect they are worried about Belt's D. Lollis looked good making a tough play last night, channeling Blanco. You know how the Giants like good fielding. If Pence is indeed out for a while, they may have to do as you say and go with BB out there, though, just to keep his bat in the lineup and Buster fresh. Maxwell made another excellent play last night, very Pence-like, chasing down that foul ball. He's certainly added value to the team despite the poor hitting numbers.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Pence on the DL is a huge shock, but I'm still hopeful. But we need some players (mainly pitchers) to step up now.

Pence in the lineup was the tipping point for supercharging the offense, hence our great record with him in the lineup, but even before his most recent return, we were averaging 4.2 runs per game, which is good enough to win with if we get good pitching and fielding.

Bumgarner and Peavy has been mostly on for a long while now. Vogelsong has been pretty good in Leake's absence, so I would be loathe to remove him from the rotation if I were in charge. Add in a healthy and still dominating Leake (big if), and we can get off a nice run of winning, even with Cain still struggling (we can win with an up and down 5th starter if the others are doing well). And if Cain is as close to being good as the Giants have been intimating to the beat writers, all the better.

I know I left out Heston. He's been the Cinderella story all season long, but it might have struck midnight a few starts ago for him. After starting the season with only 3 disaster starts in 20 starts, he has 3 in his last 4 starts. He's pitched this many innings before but he also hit a rough patch during this same period last season in AAA. So he might need a breather.

I am hoping that the Giants are thinking about Cain vs. Heston. Of course, if Cain continues to struggle, they might just pull the plug on him instead, as the beat writers have been intimating (and the Giants actually listed his start as TBA until Leake was declared out for his start).

But optioning Heston to AAA would allow the Giants to bring back Leake without sending Osich back to AAA, as well as giving Heston some rest that he might be needing. Once September roster expansion happens, he can come back and either re-join the rotation if anyone is faltering, or maybe the Giants finally go with a 6-man rotation, or just be a great arm from the bullpen, long relief, heck, I would be OK with him taking set-up role too.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Plus, it is not just us getting hit with problems. If you look at the headlines on the Dodgers' team news feed, their star OF, Puig, is dealing with an injury too, could be out like Pence, plus they are taking Latos out of the rotation, to work with him, while stating that they are maximizing Kershaw and Greinke starts.

If I understand right, that drops them from 4 days of rest to 3 days of rest. Generally, pitchers do worse with less rest. Of course, these are not general pitchers.

Kershaw has actually pitched better with 4 days than 5 days of rest. But he's never had to start with 3 days of rest (he had one appearance with 3 days, no ER but WHIP of 3.000 shows that he was lucky there too).

Greinke has the more classic profile: 2.58 ERA with 6+ days rest, 3.16 ERA with 5 days rest, 3.66 ERA with normal, 5-man rotation 4 days rest. He has had two starts with 3 days (2.00 ERA) and even one with 0 day (3 IP, 9.00 ERA). If that continues, 3 days rest should be around 4.16 ERA. Of course, he's not his career, and he's been amazing this season, 1.00 ERA in starts with 4 days rest, so 3 days rest extrapolation would yield 1.50 ERA, which is way better than any 5th starter LA can trot out.

However, neither pitcher have had to deal with 3 days rest regularly before. In addition, games have been much hotter than usual, suggesting that they should need more rest than normal. And we are humans, we don't know when things go bad really quick, so they are playing with some fire here.

Still, they might still be OK. They have a couple of days off this week. Latos could return in a week and the big two won't be affected much, if at all.

But after that, they got 16 straight days of games, if he's out for that stretch too, to September 10th, that's 4 starts for the Big 2 vs. 3 starts, might not seem like much, but again, we do know that most pitchers do worse with less rest (few have done 3 days rest in 2015 NL, but 5 days to 4 days added 0.54 to ERA, from 4 to 3 - only 11 starts though - added 0.42 to ERA). So the Dodgers are playing with fire.

JC Parsons said...

Lollis did look very good on that play, I remember. Maybe I should keep in mind how many of our internal call ups have worked out. I'm like you about Maxwell, it really is hard to get too mad at him when he consistently makes plays in the field. Any offense is gravy and he does have a little pop. Boy, some people on the web hate the guy. Go figure.

Josh Osich looks like the real deal. A big time fastball for a leftie, but his change up seems to be the prime weapon. Brutal! He looks like the perfect counter piece to Strickland. The breakout of our Core Four is a big reason for our current dynasty. (yes that is the correct word.) These two guys appear to be ready for the next few chapters.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I think Bochy will go with Belt in LF and Susac at C when the opposing team don't have good pitching. Cards have great pitching, so defense is more of a premium, I think, so I don't think Bochy will go with this lineup here. Pirates too, though they lost Burnett themselves, so they are hurting.

But the whole reason of bringing Susac back is that this allows Bochy to start him at C more often, so we might see Belt sit against some LHP, as Susac has killed, KILLED, LHP (.951 OPS) so the offense could actually be improved with a switch like this.

And Maxwell as a starter has actually been Blanco like previously in his career (2012-2013), mid-700 OPS, which with good defense is pretty good as a replacement starter. That's probably part of the reason why the Giants picked him up, so if he can pick it up, he could keep the offense going some still. Earlier this season, when he got to start regularly, he hit .247/.295/.420/.715 in a 21 start period in April/May.

Bumgarner PH was more about our short bench - only Susac, Adrianza, Perez - with Pence out. But still, gotta give the Big Man his due as well, he has a .770 OPS (roughly, eyeballing) over 2014-15, which is better than a lot of starting position players in the NL, let alone Giants starters. He has really been like a DH for us the past two seasons. And that is a huge advantage when he's facing the other team's ace, as then it'll be a low scoring game, but then he's in the lineup.

M.C. O'Connor said...

@ JC: When I hear "dynasty" I think of the Stuarts, or the Julio-Claudians, or the Ming. Or maybe the TV show. I just can't get behind its usage as a sports term. But that's me. Sports talk is too hyberbolic in general, but as a fan and a blogger I suppose I'm just as guilty as those babbling morons on television. Regardless, Osich is damn exciting. I'm glad he's getting a chance to shine.

@ OGC: And the Dodgers have Mattingly, who even pisses of Dodgers fans. That guy was a great ballplayer but I don't think he's got the stuff to be a manager. I think he just might find more ways to help club do worse than they should!

JC Parsons said...

I don't see Heston losing his spot too soon. Maybe, I guess. He sure does seem to not have a clue where it is going sometimes. He really is a pitcher that I would not want to dig in against. Effectively wild? Is there such a thing? Three HBP in a no hitter is strong evidence that there may be. But I love watching him work, all that sinking shit, so I hope they just let him work through this spell. The bullpen might feel differently although he sure gives them plenty of work lately.

I still get sad thinking about Tim sometimes. Remember him? They don't even worry about many updates. After all, even if he is healthy, a HUGE IF, there is no role for him on the team. Even when the rosters expand it would be a stretch. I suppose the end of last year and the post season was all a preparation for this swan song, yet it still quietly sucks.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Giants: Team of the 2010's!

Yeah, forgot about their deuce in the hole, Mattingly, great point! He'll figure out a way to blow it! As you noted, who would start Rollins at leadoff today? I was surprised he survived the new GM last year, and I would be even more surprised this off-season if he makes it to 2016.

I'm not saying Heston should lose his spot, I'm saying a rest could do him some good, while getting us out of the 25-man roster crunch. I would prefer him just returning to the rotation afterward, but if all five guys are going well, unfortunately the Giants have not been all that interested in going with a 6-man rotation, even though the evidence is that the extra day of rest results in up to half a run reduction in ERA. So sure, you lose a start from Bumgarner, but maybe you make all the other starters in Bumgarner-like starters because they got that extra day of rest.

So I'm with you there, but he had similar problems pitching last season past July, so I don't know if it's the heat or just the number of games or coincidence, but a skipped start that allows us to hold onto Osich in the bullpen and Vogelsong in the rotation, while giving him some rest in a season that will be the most innings he's ever pitched before. And he's skinnier than Vogelsong, who has, at least to my memory, hit bad patches late in the season with us, but the rest he got this season seemed to have rejuvenated him lately. So it can't hurt, and he'll miss maybe one start if you time it right, two if not.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I will always remember Timmy. As much as I love Cainer, for me Timmy is the face and touchstone for the Giants revival from 2009 to 2015. He, amazingly and shockingly, has not been a good pitcher for most of that time now, but he led the way for us in 2010 and saved the day for us often in 2012.

And people forget that he was actually one of our best pitchers on the staff, if not the best, up to around Mid-May. Then he lost it.

As impacted our bullpen is and as many great relievers we have pushing to join the Giants in the majors, part of me still hopes that the Giants can sign him to a $3M deal to pitch out of our bullpen, spot starter, long reliever, but mostly super-utility reliever, but he's able to keep things going for a while, great, but then appears to just tire out. If he's a reliever, he'll get a lot more rest, and hopefully can do well all season again, who knows, maybe become a closer at some point, like Eckersley did late in his career. I'm hoping he could take the spot that Vogelsong held this season, or they could trade Petit to an AL team (don't want to have to face him regularly or have him hurt our chances of getting to WS) to open up that spot. I believe in him that much still, but I know I'm a dying breed.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Yeah, Osich is turning out to what I was hoping for when we drafted him. A lefty with mid-90's heat in the bullpen is a rare gem to behold. And yes, he pairs up great with Strickland, much in the way I was imagining Law and Okert pairing up in the bullpen at some point. If they can continue developing, that's our future Core Four (health permitting): Strickland, Osich, Law, Okert. And we have plenty more rising in Broadway, Black, Johnson, Diaz, Slania, Cory Taylor, others.

But he's had a horrible history of health issues (Liriano-like) so my attitude is to enjoy him while he lasts, and pray for his long-term health.

JC Parsons said...

@MOC If, after the last 5 years, you actually still hear the word "dynasty" and think of a terrible TV show; you have my deepest sympathies. It is a beautiful word that has been used in the world of sports, especially baseball, since long before we were born. It is a word that must be earned and it is not easily awarded. There is no other word that a franchise wants associated with it, is there? Oh well, your loss.

I predict a great job by Matt Cain today. I thought he looked pretty good last time. The killing blow was that ridiculous pitch to Harper, which was as much a mental mistake as a physical one. If he pitches around Harper, that entire outcome and how we feel about Matt right now is completely different. I don't have any logical reason to expect it but I bet The old Matt is back today. His "new" arm is about to pay dividends.

JC Parsons said...

So the doggers are on the verge of picking up Utley now? And we are looking for an outfielder...Dexter Fowler cleared waivers. Woohoo.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Wellllll, I gotta lotta quirks when it comes to sports usage and abusage of the Mother Tongue. Why the hell d'ya think I started my own damn blog? So I could do it MY WAY!! Case in point: differential, as in run differential. I think it is a difference but broadcasters like the other one. When I hear differential I think of Professor Wu's impossible accent in calculus class. Or when I'm turning the steering wheel I think of the nameless engineer who invented that thingie with gears that keeps my wheels a-spinnin' properly. And singular team names. Like he was a good Giant. Is someone a good Red Sock? Ugh. I think team names are permanently plural. As in, he was a Giants player, or he's an OK guy despite being a Dodgers fan. But that's me. I got my own hangups. I realize they fly in the face of tradition and long-established practice. Again, this is one of the myriad of reasons why I tune out the nattering nabobs of the networks and do my own thing. Just be thankful I don't edit your posts and send 'em back for rewrites!! :-)

Ron said...

This bis the Team that won a World Series playing Ishikawa in LF - Belt out there most of the time doesn't scare me one bit!

JC Parsons said...

Report in that doggers got Utley for two minor leaguers.

M.C. O'Connor said...

It's on, it's off, he's staying, he's going, he'll cost a lot, he'll be cheap, he wants to start, he'll play part-time, Jesus Fucking Christ! I'm done with all the trade rumors. I can't believe I let myself get all caught up in that jibber-jabber. I need some damn self-discipline. Note to self: ignore everything people say, pay attention only to what ACTUALLY HAPPENS.

OK, I feel better now.

JC Parsons said...

Pretty sure it actually happened. Sounds like you need a drink.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Fuckin' A!

Ah well, I like Utley a lot and think he's a great player. Too bad he went to LA. Maybe he'll tank and all will be OK with the world. Any report on the players the Dodgers gave up?

Right now I'm commenting from my rescued-from-the-dead 10-year old Dell Win XP desktop. I installed Ubuntu (a GNU/Linux distro) and it works beautifully. I haven't done any miraculous or high-skill computer jive, just stuck a DVD in the slot and hit "install" when prompted! Well, I did have to dink around with the BIOS for bit, but that's pretty simple. Otherwise I am now even geekier than before. Nerd power, baby!

carmot said...

@M.C.: Ha ha, you're funny. So you pay attention to word usage and diction? "Dream Giants" would kinda lose the pun, would it not? Okay, maybe not. I'm probably setting myself up to get trashed here... But what about some of the announcers' "calls?" Especially Jon and Dave. "A line drive down the left field line..." Or calling "a base hit into the gap" when it is clearly an EXTRA base hit. Words are their craft, descriptors, I wish they paid closer attention to these details. Oh well. Hey, maybe somebody actually started coaching Amy G. I recently saw two consecutive appearances where she didn't immediately go to touch her hair when on-air. LOL.

How about the difference between using "aggressiveness" and "aggression" to describe athletes? That's a quirky one. I tend to think of the plate/strike zone as having "edge," but they're commonly called "corners." Oh, and one term I created for my own amusement: D'edFA instead of DFA'ed.

Feel free... Edit my posts! Make them like Mad Libs! That would be a hoot. Send it back! Send it back! Cheers.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Indeed, "Dream Big Dream Giants" wouldn't quite fly. Then again, maybe . . .

Oh man, the garbage that broadcasters spew astonishes me! Did these people go to school? Read a book? I just don't understand how supposedly professional communicators can mangle the language so much. Actually it's more that they don't seem to give a shit and just talk without thinking or planning. It's just mindless word formation, no effort to be clear, concise, vivid, descriptive, interesting, helpful, informative, you name it. I don't think I'm a pedant--I have no problem with slang, dialect, creative grammar, etc. Writing is different, naturally, than speaking. But I do care about precision and careful description. And I get really tired of stock phrases. I like to grow and learn and not just see things the same way over and over again. But, as I said, that's me.

And I'm kidding about the editing, of course. I like all you guys just the way you are: honest, passionate, and unfiltered!

Brother Bob said...

Instead of RBIs they should be RsBI?