Friday, May 13, 2016

Three in a Row

3-1 win in AZ
The Giants hit into FIVE double plays tonight but it turned out not to matter. After all double plays are a residue of lots of men on base, right? Giants put a lot of guys on and put a lot of balls in play. So what's a few dozen double plays? As long as someone in a double play spot cranks the occasional three-run homer it's all good! Assuming of course the pitchers hold the line and tonight Jeff Samardzija delivered his third straight strong start to lead the way. Final line 8 IP, 8 H, 1 R, ZERO WALKS, 3 K. That's Game Scores of 79. 63, and 65 for The Shark's last three outings, 23-2/3 and only four runs allowed.

Joe Panik was our three-run homer hero--I must say I like it when the Giants hit homers. Seems like they win when they do that. And when they pitch well, and a big part of pitching well is the team making the plays behind the pitcher. The Giants are playing much better baseball in the field and it is paying off, snuffing rallies and saving runs. Matt Duffy, in particular, flashed the leather tonight. There's a synergy, we all know it and feel it, when the pitchers and fielders are in sync, the one boosting the others game, and we got to see that in these last two wins. That's the formula, right? Though I have to say a few more runs to pad the lead a bit would be nice. Those nail-biters in the desert give me the heebee-geebees. They give me the creeps in Colorado, for that matter, and LA too, now that you mention it. Are a few 7-1 thumpings too much to ask?

Jake Lamb led off the 9th for the Diamondbacks and Boch called on Josh Osich to get him, and he did, thanks to a great play by Duffy. Then Santiago Casilla was summoned for the last two outs, and he responded with two strikeouts. Lamb was the man coming to bat last night when Boch pulled Casilla and used Javier Lopez instead, leading to a testy tête à tête. Seems all's patched up.

Goofy time tomorrow--5:10 Pacific.




Zo said...

The Giants lead the National League in grounding into double plays, and, after last night, it's not close. They have done so 39 times, the next team, the mighty Braves, have done so 32 times. As you implied, the Giants put the bat on the ball and that is a good part of it. They are last in the National League in strikeouts, and 4th in OBP. So there are a lot of guys on base. The Giants are second in runners left on base. In home runs and doubles, the Giants are below NL average. (They are second in triples, but then, triples are comparatively rare.) So, not many strikeouts, lots of ground balls hit lead to a lot of double plays. Had the Giants lost last night though, the story would have been "Giants GI5DP, lose." A little more savvy clutchness, please.

campanari said...

When F Alou managed the Giants, he claimed that there are ways for batters to avoid hitting into DPs--this when Pedro Feliz et al. were making me wonder why Alou didn't teach them how if he knew how. Plainly Bochy and Meulens don't know. There's one consolation in principle, I guess: not only do the Giants put the bat on the ball, but in addition they put the bat on the ball hard, since weak squibbles get at most one man, not two.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I don't think "avoiding double plays" is a batting skill, that is, if you are swinging for a hit. Obviously you can walk or bunt or strike out and avoid the DP, but if you are putting the ball in play you take the chance of the DP. As you point out the hard-hit balls are the culprit, and I'd rather the team hit the ball hard. I think if you keep getting good pitches to hit (that's certainly a batting skill) and hit them square (another skill) then the "luck" over time will go your way, too. Some of those hard-hit balls will turn into ground ball singles and some will be line drives and fly balls to the outfield and those extra-base hits will start coming. If the batters are selective and make solid contact (things they can control) then the outcomes (which they can't control) will work out over the long haul.

Giants have a good lineup, it will be hard for them not to produce lots of chances. I'd like to see the Giants up their SLG (.406 is middle of the pack) and ISO (.143 is bottom third) numbers. There's obviously plenty of power in the group, time to see those doubles and homers with guys on. Joe Panik obviously got the memo!

M.C. O'Connor said...

FanGraphs has a new stat, wGDP, which is explained here:

Rated as a team the Giants are middle of the pack. So that means, as far as I can tell, that the frequency with which they hit into DPs is not too far from the league average. Obviously they have a high number of DPs due to the increased opportunities. It's a new stat, as I said, so it's hard to say if it's worth anything. But it passes my preliminary smell test. As frustrating as DPs are to watch, it does seem to me that the team totals are a reflection of the high number of chances rather than any defect in the hitters.

If you sort the team stats by wGDP Panik is the best at avoiding DPs and Duffy is the worst.

Zo said...

If their slugging increases, it will be because of hitting more doubles and home runs. Which, when runners are on base, will help to avoid GIDP.

nomisnala said...

Hitting the ball where the fielders are not is a skill. A lot of players have that skill, but the faster the pace of the game, and also the more deceptive sink movement on a pitchers pitch, that skill tends to be less available to most hitters at the Major league level. Some guys who have that skill right up to triple A, do not have it at the MLB level. There are of course some guys who have the skill to a significant degree, among those that come to mind quickly are Tony Gwynn and Pete Rose. During his short time with the giants scutaro seemed to have that skill.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Seems reasonable that guys like Rose and Gwynn had that skill. I think of them as outliers--a few standard deviations from the norm, if you will. Got me thinking about it some more, that's for sure. Then of course I had to go to B-R and look it up:

Great fun perusing the list!

campanari said...

One thinks of the Wee Willie Keeler recipe, "Hit it where they ain't." The less an infield can rely on shifts for a given batter, I suppose, the more available space he realistically has to hit it where they ain't, so nomisnala must be right, that there's a batting skill involved as well as a batting deficiency (weak contact) and fleetness of foot. There's also the player's role on the team: Scutaro, hitting second, hit to the opposite field so as to move a runner along, whereas Barry Bonds's role, say, wouldn't have let him exercise similar skills anywhere nearly so much. When I lived in Boston in my youth, I had the pleasure of watching Ted Williams, whose defined role on the team as well as his own rise-to-the-challenge cussedness made him hit right into a drastic shift. Since by that time in his career, he was slow, and he hit the ball very hard do much of the time, his wGDP must have been abysmal, because he killed a lot of incipient rallies. (Of course he was also thrilling to watch, even for the rockets he fouled down the RF line with such frequency.)

I'm unsure what Fangraphs intends doing with wGDP. Simply list it as an independent statistic, relevant to BsR and WAR, or fold it in somehow to wRC+? Some DP propensity should fold into wRC+, but the scale of their wGDP, ca. -2.5 to +2, doesn't lend itself to that.

campanari said...

Actually, I see from the B-R list to which MCO'C kindly provided the link, that Williams was very far from the top. Either my memory from sixty years ago is playing me false or Williams's foot speed decreased and the overshift increased prett drastically as he approached 40.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I'll bet he hit too many balls in the air. Darrell Evans was like that. By the way, my mom is from Boston--Mission Hill--and spent her youth following Teddy Ballgame and the Sawx.