Tuesday, September 1, 2015


Tense game, many moments of hope and dashed hopes.  Giants needed a win and did not get one.  Madison Bumgarner pitched well, Zack Greinke pitched better.  Madison's line: 7 IP, 108 pitches, 2 runs, earned, 8 scattered hits, 1 BB, 1 hr.  Greinke: 7 1/3 IP, 114 pitches, 1 run, earned, only 5 hits, 1 BB.  2 -1 was the final score.

Giants hits went to Pagan, who looked pretty good at the plate; Duffy, who netted the lone rbi; Belt; Posey and Blanco in a pinch hitting role.  Gonzalez collected the first rbi and Pederson hit a solo shot in the 7th.  Giants have 30 games left to play, and are now beyond the point where they can control their fate - they have to get some help from other teams. I knew that we had picked up De Aza, and knew he was in the game, but on the radio, I kept hearing "Piazza" which is about right for how the game went.  He did not do us much good, although De Aza got burned on a bad strike call, and Bochy got tossed as a result.  The pitch was clearly well outside.

Tomorrow is scheduled to be tough, Leake against Kershaw, and then on to Colorado.  At least they have some extra people. 


M.C. O'Connor said...

Well, that sucked. Really thought they would tie in when Byrd came up with Posey and Belt on in the 7th. Then when Duffy got the RBI and Belt was up with two on in the 8th. I really thought both times they'd get the big hit.

They need a 10-game winning streak right about now.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I totally agree with M.C. I thought I was going to hear the big hit. Even Tomlinson, as he's been delivering big hits in his short time up with us, too.

A 10-game winning streak would be great right now. Heck, I'll take a 5-game winning streak. If Pence was returning soon, I would feel better about that happening. Also if we weren't facing Kershaw today and playing 4 games in COL afterward.

Byrd has been amazing since joining us, Kelby too, but we have not been able to build any winning momentum during his time with us, we are 4-7 with him in our lineup. Should have been 6-5, should have won the last Cards and first Dodger games with his big hits.

We need a signature game from Leake today, he needs to somehow will us to victory (take Kershaw deep?), and put down Kershaw and LA, that would give us some momentum going into COL. A sweep would make things funereal, as we'll be 6.5 games back, and only 29 games and 4 weeks left.

Wow, looking at the Dodger's games, the Reds did us no favors, they lost 6 straight games to the Dodgers in the past 3 weeks. Cubs too, lost 2 of 3, as Lester came up small against LAD, been coming up small for a lot of the season for the Cubs, his ERA was still over 4 at the end of July, then he did have a nice 6 week run that helped them rise up and grab the WC2 spot, but two horrible bombs of a start in 2 of last 3 starts, including one against LAD.

Well, LA is going on a long road trip after today: Padres, Angels, D-backs. Padres still trying to put up some fight, but D-backs starting to fade (and they just traded away their closer). Angels have been in a slide, but are killer at home (SD and AZ both only .500 at home). We need to make some substantial catchup during their 10-game roadtrip, else the task will look impossible.

The only silver lining I got is that the Dodgers have been up and down for most of the season, they only lead because of their hot start in April/May, and until recently, been playing at .500 for the most part. They were 12 games above .500 on May 12th and that's where they were on August 25th. However, they are 6-1 since. Still, they were on a hot roll just before this latest hot streak when they lost 5 in a row to Oakland and Houston. Looking back, they have been like the Giants earlier this season, win a lot in a row then loses a lot in a row, roller coastering. Hopefully they are headed into a down spell soon.

Russian River said...

What's the word I'm looking for - Deflating. That's it. I think we all had high hopes before this series started, but those hopes, at least for me, have deflated. If this were July or August, the optimist in me would still be hopeful. Unfortunately, Labor Day is coming right up and time is running short.

Speaking of time - The timely hits that you could count on like summer thunderstorms in the Sierras, have dried up like the drought. UGH! Let's get hot again boys - PLEASE!?!

On top of that - When reading the results of another debilitating loss in the morning paper, there appears to be a reoccurring theme - Another key player is injured, placed on the DL or may be out the rest of the year. What's up with that? Are the baseball gods conspiring against us and the Giants? "Oh No you won't! It's an even year so we will do everything in our power to keep you from post season play." (Including atrocious calls by Umpires)

My only wish at this point, is that the lads find a bit of the magic that appeared several times this year and give the Fodgers a run for the division. After all, are we not the reigning World Series Champions? Are we not GIANT? Let's go Giants!

Russian River said...

I meant to say odd year. Losing to the Smog Sucking Fodgers has me befuddled.

Ron said...

I guess that getting De Aza virtually for free is a good thing, but what has Gregor Blanco done to deserve losing playing time? He's hitting almost .300, including being hot lately, plays great defense at all positions, & doesn't complain. He filled in for us in LF in the 2012 Post-Season & was awesome. He filled in for us in CF in the 2014 Post-Season & was very good. As if to underline the unfairness of it all, De Aza took an 0-fer (although, he did get robbed by the Ump in his last AB), & Blanco lined a pinch-hit off of Greinke & scored our only run.

I also don't approve of our weirdly-timed DFA'ing of Maxwell. Overall, his numbers weren't great, but he had some timely contributions. He's speedy & could at least have been kept around to pinch run. I know that we had a momentary shortage of middle infielders, but was that the only way to solve that on September 1?

Speaking of middle infielders, Adrianza is really, really bad. Adrianza facing some of the best Pitchers in MLB is scary.

Aside from batting Bumgarner ahead of Adrianza, this whole Pitchers batting 8th craze is stupid - always has been - makes zero logical sense. If I recall, Tony LaRussa started it a few years ago, & now it is in vogue again. Weird.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Supposedly Tom Tango analyzed the pitcher batting 8th question and determined it could have a net positive effect, up to the equivalent of one win per season. And the pitcher batting 7th is break-even! I know, counter-intuitive, eh? Yeah, it was TLR's baby, and it seems trendy, but it MAY have validity. I have not read the analysis. Joe Maddon loves it, apparently. And clearly Bum can hit, and probably better than Adrianza! I think Ehire can hit better, it's just not happening. He had good numbers at AAA this season.

You'll never hear a peep from me about Blanco. The guy is very under-appreciated in my book. But he has always performed best as a role player/spot starter, for whatever reason. Maxwell did fine in his time as a 5th OF, but life's a bitch in the bigs and .616 OPS won't cut it. Juan Perez is still under team control and can do everything Maxwell can do so it makes more sense to keep him.

Ron said...

I've seen the rationale & the studies. For God's sake, if the idea is to have more people on base for your #3 & #4 hitters, why not just bat the #3 & #4 hitters at #4 & #5? Meanwhile, over the long haul, you are bringing the #8 hitter (the Pitcher) to the plate more often. This strategy should only work in a highly particular lineup, such as one in which Madison Bumgarner is your Pitcher, & Ehire Adrianza is your weakest-hitting position player.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I suppose it is predicated on the idea that the average #8 hitter is pretty damn poor. Lineup analysis is a big saber-thing, you know, optimum construction. The one I linked to uses OPS I think, others use weighted OBAs and whatnot. The margins seem pretty small, even by baseball standards.

But if guys who are smart and have seen thousands of games try it because they think it helps, I'm all for it. Like I said before, Boch is my Baseball Jesus. He speaketh, I followeth.

I usually think highly of managers at first, then grow to hate them. With Boch, it was the opposite--I thought "why do we want San Diego's reject?". Good thing they were wrong about him, just like I was.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

First off, Blanco is hurting. Bochy probably had double purpose in starting De Aza, both to see him plus to give Blanco a rest. Plus De Aza is a lot better against RHP, whereas Blanco not as big a difference.

I agree that Maxwell drop was weird. They could have dropped him instead of Lollis before the deadline, then Lollis now. But with Pagan back and De Aza around, you got Aoki, Blanco, Byrd, plus Pagan and De Aza as R/L OF off the bench, plus Perez, so Maxwell wouldn't be seeing much duty anyway, so I can see why the Giants dropped him, just could have been done a little better.

But only a little, as it's laughable that he thought he would catch on with a playoff team. He's been under .600 OPS for the most part since April (from Apr 25 to now: .190/.248/.301/.549; that was worse than McGehee). He batted under .500 OPS in August, when we could have used some offense. I guess he either don't want to be back or feels he won't be back, burning the bridge there.

Use Baseball Musing's Lineup Calculator/optimizer (link above) and the vast majority of optimized lineups will have the pitcher batting 8th. It's science. (it uses OBP and SLG and is derived from linear regression done by author for Beyond the Box Score, about 10 years ago; still seems to work, I plug in average NL lineup positions each year and it still is pretty close.)

Also, Maddon claims that he's doing it because he/they believes that it is tough batting 8th ahead of the pitcher, even more so for a rookie, but they wanted to start Russell anyway, so now he's acting as the second leadoff hitter ahead of the heart of their lineup, instead of batting 8th and getting abused ahead of the pitcher.

And the change really only affects the lineup the first time around, most teams do not get 16 men on base (the point at which the 8th place would hit again, for a 5th AB for the 8th place hitter) during a 9 inning game, so the 8th hitter will rarely get more AB than the 9th place hitter. The pitcher bats early the first time around but the 9th hitter will get on base for the top of the lineup more often than a pitcher would (which are the team's best hitters and why pitchers batting 8th improves offense, at least the way I understand it). And in the NL, most pitchers get PH by the time their 4th AB comes, anyway.

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I have had the same experience with managers too! Loved Dusty and Felipe when we got them, but was ready to move on at the end. Craig I wasn't happy he was gone, but it was definitely downhill after that early pop. Frank Robinson, definitely love then not so much. Hard to remember the guys before that, though, wow, my memory's going!

And Bochy, I was never against him, but I was ambivalent until he sat Rowand down and started Torres in 2010, and I totally believed in him once Zito was left off the playoff roster, then with each one he was left off of.

And research since has only strengthened my belief. His incredible record with one-run games (though 2014-2015 looking like maybe the beginning of a downturn), adding 4 wins above .500 to his teams (basically turning 2 losses into wins). How hitters improved 1 WAR on average joining Bochy teams (assume this is cumulative across all new hitters for any one season). And a lot of saber rules, Bochy seems to apply them - few sacrifices, few SB, using your best pitchers when they are needed, not just in the 9th because he's the closer, giving your pitchers the extra rest when off days instead of skipping someone in order to give your best pitchers more starts.

I'm sure there are more, they just pop up here and there, where you realize it and they are just moments, but you add up all the moments, and it has resulted in 3 World Championships.

Ron said...

So, now the #7 hitter gets abused batting ahead of the Pitcher? Or, is the optimized lineup to bat the Pitcher clean-up, because your #3 hitter is usually your most talented hitter, so he can handle the abuse better? You can get any computer model to come out how you want it to, if you tweak the right variables. Having your weakest hitter bat the least number of times still seems to be logical. Do AL Teams bat their worst hitter #8 or #9? Not from my experience. Anyway, I hope to see Leake batting #9 tonight & winning!