Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Collapse

6-5 loss in Coors
It was Marx who said that when history repeats itself it would be "the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." Things are so bad I'm quoting a goddamn commie. The Giants are fatally crippled in the bullpen and they blow late leads with regularity. So regularly do they blow leads that a promising season is slipping away. In fact, that may be it. The Giants fall to five back in the West and cling to a mere half-game lead in the Wild Card. And trending downward, unfortunately, with 23 games yet to play.

Santiago Casilla got pulled after the homer, the strikeout, and the hit and does not get assigned either a 'loss' or a 'blown save'. In fact he gets credit for a 'hold'. But his three-batter outing set the stage for the collapse, Osich and Nathan were merely stand-ins for the final blows. Maybe Boch should flip everything over and have Casilla be the first guy out of the 'pen and Okert and Strickland finish. Can't get any worse.

--M.C.

15 comments:

Russian River said...

It has come to the point where I have almost lost all "faith" in my favorite team since child hood. I cannot continue to watch games where they find ways to grasp a loss from the hands of victory. It hurts too much. Part of it is that I'm spoiled. Three World Series Championships in five years was an impossible dream come true, but the dream may have ended (and is becoming a nightmare). Without something miraculous happening, AND SOON, this season is gong down in flames. Let's Go NI-NERS!

david sanchez said...

Giants are going to have to do it the hard way.Play in game is tough.If they can get in.They will be tough.Casilla,and management have killed this team this tear.Lesser teams would have been done.These guys have been down 3-1 in the NLCS.They can bounce back.Mangement needs to give them a shot.Lost in Casilla's shit play.Line up has been givin a spark by Hernandez,Tomlinson,Nunez.Proving they should have been getting most of the playing time.Instead of Parker,Pena,Gillespie,and Green.

For the record.I can't stand Decker and Wotus.It's obvious they root against guys like Hernandez,Tomlinson,Adrianza.The guys they favored,Gillespie,Pena,Williamson,Parker,Green.Couldn't get it done at the MLB level.Guys like Adrianza,Tomlinson,and Hernandez.Are not only better players.They are better fits.Moving forward,offense will be fine.As long as it stays the same as the as the last couple of days.

Casilla has never closed out a World Series for Giants.Why he is given this kind of respect,and Pagan who's a vital part of the team.Dissrespected everyday.Is beyond comprehension.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Despite the shock of a Bochy-led team collapsing it is neither unprecedented (see 2013) nor fatal. No way the Giants EVER contemplate dumping the skipper. They would not only be fools, they'd be the laughingstock of the league.

Shit happens. Players have to play to the expectations set for them. This year's team has not. Swapping out one set of part-time players for another set of part-time players has not and will not make the difference. The Giants had the talent and roster depth and were able to make it work through all the injuries early in the year but the long attritional grind of the season exposed the weaknesses and now we are seeing the result. Next year's team will have the same veteran core (Posey, Belt, Panik, Craw, Pence, Span, Nunez, MadBum, Cueto, Samardzija, Moore, Cain) and the same pool of youngsters (Osich, Okert, Strickland, Law, Kontos, Gearrin, Tomlinson, Brown, Parker, Williamson, Hernandez, etc.) but all the rest is up for grabs.

Casilla has been an excellent pitcher for the bulk of his career with SF, but like Romo and Lopez age has not been kind and none of them can now pitch like they did. That's probably the biggest single thing that hurt the team, those three guys. In fact it would not surprise me if they are all gone next season. Pagan's fielding skills have seriously eroded, and he is nowhere near the player he once was, not to mention all the injury-time, it's hard for me to see any disrespect. They've given him every chance to contribute. They could have stuck Hernandez or Parker or Williamson out there any time but did not. Like the others he's on that decline phase--he is an old man (35) in baseball terms. So is Pence, by the way. Panik has not been anywhere close to what we'd hoped, but he's young and can bounce back. Span has been a disappointment, I'm not sure three more years of him is a good thing. Cain is probably done as a major-leaguer, except as a reliever. Peavy as well. Blanco has his best year last season, this one is his worst. Lots of pieces didn't come together.

Brother Bob said...

What an awful loss. Krukow was begging Casilla to keep his pitches down, begging him. And he just couldn't keep them down. Then Nathan came in and I thought, "Wouldn't it be a great story if Nathan could be at least a minor hero for a while for his old team?" But no, fuck that faint hope.
I agree with most of the personnel assessments above. I especially like Adrianza and Gorkys (I hearby declare him a First Name Only guy, because Hernandez is such a boring name)

Zo said...

This was not all Casilla's fault, it was an equal opportunity fuck up. Osich could have saved this game, he failed, and Nathan could have saved this game and he failed. They all failed. This is not management's fault. The team has (I believe) more blown saves and been shut out more often than any team, at least in the NL. Adrianza is a part time player not because the Giants mismanagement disrespects him, or because he hasn't been given a chance, but because he is no better than a part time player.

Just to illustrate how dire the situation is, the Giants have 23 games left, as does LA. 6 of those games are against each other. Let's say the Giants win 4 of the 6. If they win 4 of the 6, they pick up 2 games. There are 17 other games in the season. If the doggers win 10 of those games (.588, they have played .586 ball since the ASB), the Giants have to win 13 (.765). Does anyone think the Giants can play .765 ball all of a sudden?

M.C. O'Connor said...

And Adrianza, just when it seemed like he was ready to finally put it all together and be a major league regular, got hurt. I feel for the guy. He's got skills, and he has matured, finally, but the injury derailed whatever promise he may have had. And I believe he is out of options so if he is on the 40-man next season the Giants would have to keep him on the big club, trade him, or cut him loose. Can't stash him in the minors anymore. He's been in the organization for 10 years, since he was 16!! But infield is not the Giants weakness. Pitching, particularly relief, and power hitting, that's what needs improving. Time for the young arms to step up. Would love to see Blach be the 5th starter.

I've been expecting that "turnaround" for weeks now, it hasn't happened, and as you say the numbers just get worse. Having to win 3 of every 4 or 4 of every 5 games remaining is just not probable. They'll be lucky to hold on to their WC chance.

I told myself I would not publicly throw in the towel but after the blown leads in Chicago and the two stupid losses in Colorado I just can't keep the faith. This team fell apart despite the leadership, experience, and championship DNA they have in spades. Sometimes the cookie crumbles, man, and it can't always be explained away.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Did you see that Baggs tweet in the sidebar? Giants 0-55 when trailing after 8, 60-6 when leading. NO 9th inning comebacks this season but SIX losses when leading. Nutty, man. Just a nutty season overall. And to top it off, the best player on the team (Buster) is having his worst season. Now a great defensive catcher who hits .289/.365/.440 is a dream player. Truly. Every team wants one. But his OPS is 50 points below his career mark! Is it just an anomaly? I like to think so, but he will be 30 next season. Is he mortal, too?

obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Adrianza has been without options for a few seasons now, even was DFAed and made it through. Maybe now will get a chance to win 3B against Nunez next year, but the number of injuries just killed his chances, basically he could have won a spot at each injury, as he was hitting well plus fielding well as usual. I'm rooting for him but the Giants could be getting tired of this.

I think Suarez has been nice as the fifth starter. Still, would give Matty the spot next year if healthy.

I'm not sweating the losses. They are still in thick of the race. They got games against LA. They just need guys to start stepping up. But time is running low.

Buster has petered out late season before. I blame the fact that they don't have a legit defensive backup catcher, Brown has been horrible with Casilla pitching so I imagine it is bad with others, so Posey is playing more than his body can handle. I would have to check, but I think his best late seasons have been when Belt is injured and he can play a lot of 1B. And 30 is when the wear and tear starts to hit catchers who start out young in majors, and his broken ankle got to affect him negatively.

Ron said...

It's hard to say that Buster has petered out, when he never 'petered in' this Season. He never had one or two really hot weeks or months, as he usually does. One of those, & we'd still be close to first place still.

My patience is wearing out on Belt. A large-sized 1B who has only 14 HR's & has disappeared for 2 months now is really hurting us. I don't care where he plays his home games - 14 HR's is pathetic for a guy like him in an HR-happy year like 2016. He is blocking our true future 1B - Posey. I like Belt for a lot of reasons, but we've waited a long time for big-time production, & it isn't happening.

Posey needs to mostly play 1B - Jon & I have been advocating that for a couple of years. Because they are both Catchers, he & Bochy are so ingrained with the idea that he has to catch. But, it is now to the detriment of the success of the Team.

Shockingly, maybe, our off-season priority should be to find a real everyday Catcher. That could mean Belt moving out to LF (where there may be a vacancy) or mostly out to LF. Or, it may mean using Belt in a trade.

As far as the rest of the Core 4 is concernced, I expect Casilla to be gone, Lopez to retire, & Romo to be back. It was an amazing run, while it lasted - very rare for a Team to get so many consecutive productive years from that many Relief Pitchers.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Finding a "real everyday catcher" is what every team wants. They are few and far between--the pot o'gold at the end of the rainbow. I think most GMs in baseball would prefer to have Buster "hurting" their team. And they just signed Belt through 2021 (just like BCraw and Posey), I'm thinking that a trade is not in the picture. Neither Posey (who says he prefers to catch) nor Bochy strike me as stubborn or un-thinking. Just the opposite, both strike me as intelligent and open-minded. I've no doubt they've discussed the future. The dilemma is of course the elite defense. Is it worth giving that up for the better hitting as a first baseman? Probably not, in my mind. Over time, I expect we'll see more of that, but I imagine the Brain Trust thinks Buster's handling of the pitching staff is worth more than what he can do at first. But we'll see. They don't seem to want to play Belt in left, it's not like they haven't had chances to do that. But this off-season may generate a lot more change than we've been used to. They kept the band together for another run and it's not working out too well. (I must say I'm happy to hear OGC's optimism. We need a good dose of that.)

M.C. O'Connor said...

I do believe both Jonathan Lucroy and Wilson Ramos are free agents next year, FWIW.

Ron said...

Playing Buster every day at Catcher means that we will have maybe 3 or 4 more really productive years from him. Giving his legs a rest would probably double that number.

Belt is a great 1B, but Buster has looked very good at 1B.

Here's another idea: give him a few games at 3B, too. This guy was an excellent SS. He can handle 3B - Johnny Bench did for a while. Nunez needs rest, too. Or, he can slide over to give Panik some rest.

Just share the days off for all of them, but keep Buster in the lineup with less physical stress & less long-term wearing out.

Jon Parsons said...

The Posey problem is going to be a major issue this off season, as Ron and I have said many times, it SHOULD have been an issue already. We have ZERO impact offensive players now that Buster is fading. Could it be an "off" season? Sure, you can believe that but 30 year old catchers have about the steepest drop off of any athlete in sports. Especially since Belt has pretty much played himself off the squad, we NEED a big bat at first base. Also, sure all teams are looking for a good catcher but I do not believe teams are going to let their best prospects become catchers. The investment is too risky. Buster will probably be the test case for this new perspective. If his career doesn't regroup to previous excellent levels or (Willie forbid) his career is abruptly ended (remember that could happen TONIGHT), I bet that NO TEAM will ever use anything but a defensive specialist behind the plate. Superstar catchers, already a rarity, will be a once in a lifetime phenomenon.

I think this year shows that the "elite defense" and "handles the staff" arguments are kinda weak. I think it is very safe to say that Buster's lame offense is having a much bigger effect on our win loss record than his lovely catching skills. He simply must play(hit) everyday. I predict an off season move that makes that happen.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I've been thinking about that, too. Will catchers go back to being defensive specialists, no offense expected? I don't know. Maybe. Certainly the lifespan of a catcher will be lower than for a DH, but I imagine there will always be ballplayers who will relish the challenge of the position. It's hard to tell a guy like Buster he can't do something that he does as well as anyone in the world. He was on a yearly decline in his workload at catcher (1031 innings in 2013, 929 in 2014, 901 last year) until this season. I expect they'll want to go back to that. I don't think they are fools and I do think they have talked endlessly about the best way to "manage" Buster. If WE are thinking about it you can bet THEY are.

And perhaps we are over-reacting about his drop-off as he's never come close to his peak MVP season--his SLG dropped 100 points in 2013, for example. Maybe 2016 (.344 wOBA) is as anomalous as 2012 (.406 wOBA) was, and he's more likely to bounce back to closer to his career averages in 2017 (.366 wOBA). It's worth thinking about. Maybe this is just the kind of season that will motivate him to prove himself all over again next year. Elite athletes are often like that, and they are usually their own harshest critics and taskmasters.

It's been a team-wide hitting collapse. If Pence and Panik and Span and the rest were delivering closer to their expected levels it would cover the gap. If Belt has "played his way off the squad" as you say, and he's the team's best hitter (by a lot) this season, what does that say about the rest? Imagine if they'd been doing THEIR jobs!

Surely the bullpen failures (not just Casilla, the blown leads happen equally in the 6th, 7th, and 8th innings) are far more catastrophic than any other factor this season. A stouter 'pen would have changed more outcomes, even with the weak hitting.

nomisnala said...

remember in the first half, it was a new and different player delivering a win, in some awkward way, game after game. Since the all star break, it is a different player, delivering a new and unique way, of delivering a loss. Sometimes it is an offensive or defensive play that is totally uncharacteristic of the play. When the giants continue to put man on base, and do not come through, it has to energize the opposition. With all the men this team puts on base, this team lacks a big home run threat.