Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Shark Bites

3-1 win in Cincy
Kelby Tomlinson, pressed in to service for the ailing Joe Panik, delivered two infield hits, one of them driving in the go-ahead run in the 8th, and played flawlessly in the field behind Jeff Samardzija. Gregor Blanco, filling in for the ailing Angel Pagan, had a clutch RBI hit right after Tomlinson to give the Giants a two-run edge. That was enough. The team had ten hits total, and five walks, but was 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position. The game was closer than it ought to have been. Lefty John Lamb kept throwing his goofy slowballs and they seemed to work as the Giants could not capitalize on their many opportunities. The first run scored in the 1st and was a Buster Posey-Hunter Pence double duet. Buster would hit two more two-baggers; looks like he's finding his stroke. Baserunning blunders from Denard Span and Brandon Belt derailed rallies as well, and when former Giants prospect Adam Duvall hit a solo shot in the 5th it was a nail-biter all the way.

But the night belonged to starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija who was up to the challenge and mowed down the Reds over eight strong. He's an up-and-down character: his Game Scores for his six starts are 43, 65, 48, 68, 44, and 79. But tonight he was in command the whole way using his big heat to pop 96 mph on the gun and a gnarly 92-93 cutter that bedeviled lefties and righties alike. He even got some sinkerball action going and the Reds made 11 ground ball outs. The Giants flashed their usual stellar leather, but even so Samardzija was getting a lot of weak contact. His final line was 3 hits, 2 walks, with 9 strikeouts (115 pitches, 29 TBF). Home plate umpire Chad Fairchild liked what he saw from The Shark as there were 26 called strikes. Santiago Casilla finished up for the third straight game.

Tomorrow morning (9:35 Pacific) is the getaway game and then Giants will come home to face the Rockies for four starting on Thursday. Jake Peavy takes the hill in Cincy--let's hope he can pitch a little better than last time.




nomisnala said...

Lets hope that Peavy pitches a lot better. The guy gives maximum effort on both sides of the plate. I am glad Posey is starting to drive the ball. The dude is hitting 315, with 4 homers, bats in the middle of the lineup. and yet has only 8 RBI. Hopefully in May he can have his RBI stats average out, or else he will have a new skill called minimalist RBI production. I am hoping that May will be a 20 plus RBI month for Buster.

M.C. O'Connor said...

RBIs are kind flukey, especially in small samples. I don't take RBI numbers very seriously. As long as a guy is hitting like he ought to and, consequently, the team is scoring, it matters little who "gets the credit." I note that both Belt and Pence have accumulated a lot of RBI early. It's likely that some of those will get "picked up" by Posey as the year goes on. Posey is very close to them in total bases, runs scored, wOBA, ISO, etc. He started more slowly but is pretty close to his career norms now.

With Peavy getting hammered again, this story takes on some new significance:


obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

The good news on Posey is that his dip in offensive production appears related totally to his bruised foot from Utley foul ball. I looked into it, he was bad coming back, then ok but no power, and now he's Buster again, which he was to start the season.

RBI is bad for all the reasons people give, but instill see value in them. Like, for example, Hanchez was often among leaders on team in RBI despite not being a regular, he would deliver big in PH situations.

I hopeGiants move Peavy out of rotation, either DL or long relief, and sign Tim to be starter. If he is good, great! If he can pitch well but then third time lineup gets to him, move relief as super reliever. I can't see him being bad if the Giants sign him, but if they were wrong, just DFA him, he'll understand.

nomisnala said...

Rbi can be over rated, but Buster has had many RBI opportunities with runners in scoring postion with less than 2 outs and has just not cashed in, time and time again. This probably due to statistical anomaly cannot continue. He has been hitting fine with no men on, but in RBI ops, he has been more than bad so far. It has been going on for a month so it starts to get alarming. Because he is, and has been a 300 hitter it seems unlikely to continue, but RBI when you are batting cleanup most of the time, and third sometimes, and there have been many men on in front of him, the low level of RBI takes on more importance than just a statistical blip. When a lead off guy like Span, who has one dinger, and is hitting around 250 has 15 RBI, it has to be a reason for concern.

M.C. O'Connor said...

According to B-R's excellent 'situational hitting' charts, Buster has had 69 baserunners on when he has been up to bat, 8 have scored (not necessarily by his RBI), which is 12%. His lifetime mark is 17%, the MLB average is 14%. So, he's under-producing a bit. Hunter Pence, team RBI leader, has had 92 baserunners, 18 have scored, that's 20%, his lifetime mark is 16%, so he is over-producing a bit.

I've thought for a long time that RBIs are unfairly distributed. My favorite example is a guy gets a hit to lead off an inning, the next guy gets a hit and sends the runner to third who then scores on an out. The out-maker gets credit for an RBI but the guy who got the hit and put the runner at third gets no credit for that crucial event that led to the run-scoring chance. And I have my suspicions about RISP as well--a two-run HR with a guy on first is not a RISP event but it's still two runs!! Teams score runs, usually, other than solo homers (fairly frequent) or the Dee Gordon/Billy Hamilton scheme (walk, steal, steal, passed ball/WP, run) which is memorable but certainly rather rare.

If guys have good PAs, put good swings on the pitches they should swing at, hit the ball hard, good things will happen. Who gets the "credit" doesn't hold much interest for me as long the the team is creating chances and scoring runs. Kind of like pitcher-wins: I don't care who gets the vaunted "W" as long as the guy pitches well and keeps the team close and the team wins, or at least has a genuine chance to win.