Thursday, September 17, 2015


That's the Giants Elimination Number for the NL West race. It also happens to be the Elimination Number for the NL Wild Card. The Giants are behind the Dodgers by 7-1/2 games and they are behind the Cubs by 7-1/2 games. San Francisco, at 77-69, has 16 games left on the schedule. Los Angeles and Chicago have identical 84-61 records and thus both have 17 games remaining. The Cubs still have a shot to overtake the 87-58 Pittsburgh Pirates for the top Wild Card spot but the situation for the Giants stays the same. Any combination of wins by the leading club and losses by the Giants that equals ten means the 2015 season is over.

The math, gloomy as it is, still represents a chance albeit a vanishingly small one. The MLB Postseason Probability tracker currently rates the Giants at 0.9% for the division title. Not much of a bet, eh? RMC's official position is "it ain't over 'til it's over" but that's the only position any self-respecting Giants fan can take, am I right?

Last night's exhilarating and agonizing win over the Reds got me thinking. Is Jake Peavy finally healthy enough to be a reliable starter? That home run was a nice bonus and a clutch hit to boot. The Giants are paying Peavy $15M to be a part of the 2016 rotation and his 2015 performance has not been encouraging. He'll be 35 in May and has 2200+ innings on his once-formidable arm. What can we expect next season? I'd like to pencil him in for 30 starts and 180+ IP, but is that realistic? If not, who takes his spot? I don't have the answers, but I like to think if he can stay healthy he can still be a productive player.

I'm also thinking about Santiago Casilla. It seems all of his saves lately have been both tortuous and torturous. He'll be 36 in July and I believe the club can buy him out for a million bucks this off-season and make him a free agent. Should they? Is it time to move one of the young bucks like Hunter Strickland into the closer role? I'm leaning that way, I admit. The Core Four is getting old and the remarkable run of consistency and high-level performance we've seen from these relievers is contrary to our usual experience. Most bullpen arms just don't last this long. Strikeouts are up this year with Casilla but walks and hits are as well. What's he got left? It's worth noting that 36-year old Jeremy Affeldt is a free agent next season after a injury-marred below-par campaign. Can you envision the Giants without the goofy lefty? Both of course are in the pantheon of all-time great Giants and I will never speak ill of them and always wish them the best in their careers. Speaking of one of my most beloved players, did you see AmyG talk to Andres Torres on the telecast last night? That 2010 year was so special and he was such a massive part of it I get teary-eyed whenever he shows up.

On the horizon for the home squad are three games with the Diamondbacks this weekend. Madison Bumgarner goes Friday night. Then it is six road games with San Diego and Oakland after an off-day Monday. The boys return home on the 28th with four against the Dodgers and finish the season with three against the Rockies. Nine games before LA comes to town--will they clinch before then? They have ten games to play in that stretch including three against the Pirates this weekend. If the Giants go 6-3 they'd have to go 7-3 to do just that. Is it just me or is it looking increasingly likely they will have to win in San Francisco to take the West? Could make for some great games, but could also be a hideous run-from-the-room and shield-the-eyes-of-the-innocent moment. I guess we'll have to wait and see.




obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

If Peavy would have been smart, or the Giants/Bochy been more conservative, he really should not have pitched those two games at the start of the season. If we look only at his stats since he returned, he has a 3.60 ERA, which with our offense, we should win a lot of games with. But his problem in recent years is staying healthy for a full season. But with Blackburn waiting in the minors, I can live with that possibility, as it would open a spot up for Clayton.

Casilla's option will vest with just about a handful or two of appearances, so unless the Giants totally tank, he should vest and he's signed for 2016.

I don't see how the Giants sign Affeldt, especially after this down season, and especially with all the relievers we have in the minors looking for opportunity. Thanks for putting on your rings one finger at a time.

Yeah, good analysis, looks like they will be trying to win it on our home turf. Hope we can avoid that!

Zo said...

All good questions. Peavy is part of our rotation next year, at least until he is terrible (which, hopefully, will be not at all). We are paying him, so playing him. We have 3 other starting rotation spots to think about before we worry about his. That includes Matt Cain's. I think he will be a good pitcher for the Giants next year, I am also hoping that is the case. But because I haven't seen it yet, I put him as slightly less certain than the Peav. Same with Heston, I don't know if his first half was an aberration, or if he just wore out a bit, although I hope the latter is the case.

The problem with slating Strickland to be the new closer is that he is not nearly the pitcher that Casilla is, at least not yet. Strickland has about 2 and a half pitches. He has sort of learned some off speed, but really, needs to develop more pitches before he can be relied on. Maybe it will come in the off season and spring training, but I think it would not be wise to give up on a healthy closer in the hopes that this young stud will become better.

I'm still thinking about Tuesday's game. An opportunity wasted. An emotional rollercoaster. A thoroughly entertaining game, if the remaining chances to actually do something positive weren't dwindling so quickly. Scratching out 3 runs against Chapman! Posey, 4 rbi including a 3 run hr! Madbum drawing a BB against Chapman! Romo has been so good lately - but gave up the final blow from which the Giants could not recover.

So, hoping against long odds.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Nice bit from Baggs with Affeldt.

Yeah, I know Strickland is still a work in progress, but I'm worried that the wear-and-tear on Casilla is starting to show. And Romo has had so much trouble with lefties lately. I will say I'm bewildered about the right way to go.

So OGC, you think Blackburn is the most likely guy in the system to crack the rotation? He's the same age as Beede, isn't he? I don't have a clue, really, about the starters in the minors. What happened to Chris Stratton?

M.C. O'Connor said...

And carmot, you need to chime in as well, you seem to have a good head for the youngsters in the system. What say you about our potential future starters?

And did you guys hear the news about Jung Ho Kang? Out for the season. Real shame--the Pirates are going to miss him in the post-season.

carmot said...

Hey all, somebody called? M.C.? : )

I've gotta say I've long appreciated the tone of RMC, even before I started commenting here. Like, it's okay to temper the idea of being a Giants fan with a sense of reason. Keep things real. Yeah, playoff hopes are slimming towards none. But that doesn't diminish our love for the Orange & Black. Good stuff. Thanks for doing what y'all do.

Yes, I'm bummed about Kang. He's been so good, and I've been happy to watch his ascension. I honestly don't think we'll see another KBO player have immediate success like him- none that might get posted this winter or next anyways. And I'm certain that KBO fans overseas have been avidly following. Tough human element- having a chance to go to the playoffs and missing out due to a late injury. Shame, indeed. I didn't like Coughlan's slide AT ALL. I've said all along he would fit best at 3B, but PIT needed a SS...

IMO, Blackburn sure seems like the next one in line. But, we all know it depends on performance as well. He's got the toolset, perhaps I'd dare say it's even better than Heston's.

However... We need a co-ace, IMO. If it's Leake, Peavy, Cain & Heston/Blackburn after Bum, I really don't think that bodes well. Maybe Peavy would be an awesome long relief guy- going only 75 pitches? Nah, Bochy wouldn't do that to "his guy." But I'm not sure Petit is kept at arb-3 salary. And then, we'd basically be needing TWO rotation arms.

Maybe by July or August we'll have some other candidates for the rotation, but likely only in case of emergency. I think Beede and Stratton- like some others- need to show more consistency and polish before they're even considered. I'd bet we'd go outside for a vet pick-up (like we've used Moscoso, Penny, and Gaudin- or - Leake and Peavy) before we'd try either of them next season. If we were desperate. By 2017 we *might* have some high-quality rotation prospects ready. If we don't trade them all. lol. I'd guesstimate maybe 5-8 have a legit shot by then, so at least two are likely to be strong performers.

I've DRASTICALLY changed my stance for my hopes this offseason. I don't think it's an arm like Salazar we most need to add along with David Price. I think Evans has to find a way to land Jackie Bradley Jr. Why does BOS need four CF's? They don't. Anyways, this comment is super long already. I'll be writing up a piece about the club/vesting options to Byrd, Casilla, and Aoki soon-ish, if any care to drop by. I also very much agree w/ Zo, that Strickland hasn't proven (to me) that he can be our primary closer.

Tuesday's game was still a helluva lot of fun. For me, anyways. Cheers.

M.C. O'Connor said...

T'anks, mate. Fellow bloggers, always feel free to add links to your own posts in the comments so we can see what you are up to!

nomisnala said...

Romo, post all star game, prior to Tuesday had been good vs righties and lefties. Prior to the all star game I don't think he was that good against either. He finally had some nice control, until he grooved a batting practice pitch to lose the game on Tuesday. Heston and Osich raw talents, need to get even more consistent. Affeldt, seems to me an expensive piece we don't need, whereas Lopez, if he can continue the game he has in 2015 next year, will continue to be of significant value. I would like 3 solid lefties in the pen. Casilla has struggled more against lefties this year and seems to need more rest between appearances. Looks as if we have plenty of good relief arms in the mix. Stratton as a starter has been a bit of an enigma. In some starts for Sacramento, he looks like a top notch prospect, and then he will go out and look terrible. Needs more consistency at the minor league levels. Peavy has also been good post all star break, but he seems to top out at 90 pitches. A year of Leake would be decent. Cain becomes the big questionmark. I am not sure of Petit's or Vogie's status for next year. If healthy the giants are set up for a bounce back year.