Monday, January 31, 2011

18 games in September: XI

Jonathan Sanchez started things off with a win on the 5th of September and had a hard-luck ND five days later. In neither start did he give up a run. On the 16th of September, he gave up two runs (one earned) to the Dodgers in 7 innings, but he also overwhelmed them with 12 strikeouts (and no walks). The Giants exploded for 10 runs and won easily. It was quite a night as the Padres got shut out in St. Louis. Suddenly the Giants had gained two games in the loss column and found themselves a half-game up! The disappointing Brewers, 10 games under .500, would come to town for a 3-game set, and the TortureMeter™ would be cranked to 11, but The Streak would continue.


Pitching                     IP H R ER BB SO HR  ERA BF Pit Str
Jonathan  Sanchez W (11-8)    7 4 2  1  0 12  1 3.21 26  90  67
Santiago  Casilla             1 0 0  0  0  1  0 2.15  3  18  12
Chris  Ray                    1 0 0  0  0  1  0 3.81  3  10   9
Team Totals                   9 4 2  1  0 14  1 1.00 32 118  88

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/30/2011.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

18 games in September: X

Matt Cain started the second half of The Streak by shutting down the Dodgers. The Giants took a 1-0 lead in the 7th when Travis Ishikawa doubled with one out. Chad Billingsley wild-pitched pinch-runner Emmanuel Burris to third, and he scored on a two-out Mike Fontenot single. A wild pitch by reliever Kenley Jansen in the 8th moved Aubrey Huff (who doubled off George Sherrill to start the inning) to third and he scored on a Pablo Sandoval grounder. That was enough. Brian Wilson surrendered a two-out 9th inning solo shot to Andre Ethier for the only blemish. Clayton Richard got thumped in Colorado and the Giants crept back to within 1/2 game of San Diego. The Giants only managed to go 6-3 in the first half of The Streak despite giving up a paltry 13 runs. They lost two 1-0 games and a 3-1 game! More importantly, though, they gained 1-1/2 games in the standings. The 82-64 Giants had just 16 games left to make their move!

Pitching               IP H R ER BB SO HR  ERA BF Pit Str
Matt  Cain W (12-10)    7 3 0  0  0  5  0 3.08 24  91  61
Sergio  Romo H (17)     1 0 0  0  0  0  0 2.37  3   6   6
Brian  Wilson S (43)    1 1 1  1  0  2  1 1.90  4  16   9
Team Totals             9 4 1  1  0  7  1 1.00 31 113  76

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/30/2011.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

18 games in September: IX

The Giants had an off-day after the Showdown in San Diego and came home to face the fading Dodgers on Tuesday the 14th of September. Clayton Kershaw was the story, dominating the home team with a 4-hit shutout. Barry Zito was the hard-luck "loser", giving up one unearned run. The Dodgers only got ONE HIT! The run scored on the old HBP-bunt-walk-walk-error play, a tactic employed at all levels in the Dodger organization and only used against the Giants. It was a hair-pulling, agony-inducing loss, but the Giants obviously subscribed to the "if it don't kill ya, it'll make ya tougher" school of thought and soldiered on without complaint. The 82-62 Padres won two in Colorado to take a 1-1/2 game lead over the 82-64 Giants. I remember being really bothered by the fact that the Giants were two back in the loss column. Such silly things I fretted about! Check out the Middle Four Death Squad of Santiago Casilla, Ramon Ramirez, Javier Lopez, and Sergio Romo doing their thing again. Those guys were a huge part of the championship run.


p.s. Scott at Crazy Crabbers gave RMC and our take on The Streak a nod in his link round-up. T'anks, lad! If you haven't checked out the excellent work being done over there, take the time to do so now.

Pitching                IP H R ER BB SO HR  ERA BF Pit Str
Barry  Zito L (8-13)   5.2 1 1  0  3  5  0 4.02 21  82  49
Santiago  Casilla      0.1 0 0  0  0  1  0 2.20  1   5   3
Ramon  Ramirez           2 0 0  0  0  1  0 3.23  6  19  13
Javier  Lopez          0.1 0 0  0  0  1  0 2.28  1   3   3
Sergio  Romo           0.2 0 0  0  0  1  0 2.41  2   9   7
Team Totals              9 1 1  0  3  9  0 0.00 31 118  75

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/29/2011.

Friday, January 28, 2011

18 games in September: VIII

Buster Posey ripped a 2-run homer in the first inning off Mat Latos and that set the tone for an impressive getaway win. The Showdown in San Diego was all Giants--a 3-1 series victory guaranteed they would keep a share of first place. More than anything, the Bay City Boys had to prove they could beat the Padres. With two good teams in the West and the Braves playing well in the East, the only certain playoff spot was a division title. But that was a long way off. Giants pitchers were just getting into a groove! They would rip off another 10 in The Streak before coming down to earth. And they didn't stay grounded for long. They put on a historic display of power pitching in the post-season that won 11 of 15 games and stunned the baseball world. It was quite a stretch of baseball!

Tim Lincecum returned to Cy Young form and that, more than anything else, was the catalyst for the epic run. I would like to hear an argument for someone else as MVP. Anyone. And I don't mean NL MVP, I mean MLB MVP. Tim Lincecum is the most valuable player in the game. Seriously: if you were building a team right now from all the best players, who would you pick over Tim Lincecum? I'd like to know. From where I sit, having the best pitcher on the best team is pretty fucking awesome.


Pitching                  IP H R ER BB SO HR  ERA BF Pit Str
Tim  Lincecum W (14-9)     7 7 1  1  1  9  0 3.60 29 109  78
Sergio  Romo               1 0 0  0  0  1  0 2.44  3   8   6
Jeremy  Affeldt          0.2 2 0  0  0  0  0 4.27  4  11   8
Brian  Wilson            0.1 0 0  0  0  1  0 1.79  1   6   3
Team Totals                9 9 1  1  1 11  0 1.00 37 134  95

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/28/2011.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

18 games in September: VII

Some wag once opined that "turnabout is fair play." Uh, yeah, whatever. That must have been what Bud Black scrawled on the message board in the locker room before the third game of the Showdown in San Diego. After the Giants out-Padre'd the Padres on Friday, the Padres returned the favor on Saturday. Madison Bumgarner got the "loss" in the 1-0 affair, getting Cained by part-time starter Tim Stauffer and a Yorvit Torrealba homer. Evil Bullpen Triumvirate Luke Gregerson, Mike Adams, and Heath Bell threw three hitless innings with five strikeouts to seal the victory. Giants ace Tim Lincecum would take the hill on Sunday to close out the series against Padres ace Mat Latos. The young righty beat Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers on the 7th of September with a dazzling, 4-hit, 10-strikeout performance. The big fella would throw 113 pitches in his 7 innings of work, his highest total for the season and the most of his career (41 starts). The 2010 Padres were a lot like the 2009 Giants--they relied too much on their staff and that eventually cost them down the stretch. The 2010 Giants, after a lot of re-arranging, finally put together a league-average offense that could complement the outstanding pitching, and that was a big reason why they went all the way.
Pitching                     IP H R ER BB SO HR  ERA BF Pit Str
Madison  Bumgarner L (5-5)    7 3 1  1  0  4  1 3.28 23  79  55
Ramon  Ramirez                1 2 0  0  0  0  0 3.34  5  21  15
Team Totals                   8 5 1  1  0  4  1 1.12 28 100  70

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/27/2011.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

18 games in September: VI

The Padres ran the old "pitch-like-hell-and-pray-for-a-run" con on the NL West for 139 games. It was good enough for a one game lead in the division with 23 to play. Then the Giants came to town and showed they could do it, too. It was the 142nd game for the visitors, who would move into a virtual tie (80-62 to 79-61) with the leaders after a shutout win. To really run the "pitch-like-hell" game, you have to throw a shutout. And it's best when it is a nail-biting, agonizing, torturous 1-0 shutout. Which is exactly what happened. Jonathan Sanchez walked 7 guys in 5 innings but only gave up 1 hit. He would do something much like that in Game 162 against this same team!

The Giants used six pitchers, including what would soon become known throughout the league as The Middle Four Death Squad. Santiago Casilla threw 55-1/3 innings for the Giants in 2010, giving up only 40 hits and striking out 56. Sergio Romo threw 62 innings, gave up 46 hits and struck out 70. Ramon Ramirez joined the club at the end of July, and chipped in 27 innings with 13 hits and 15 strikeouts, allowing only 3 runs. Javier Lopez, acquired at the same time, added 19 innings, 11 hits, 16 strikeouts, and only 3 runs. These guys really got a lot of big outs for the club--let's hope the 2011 'pen can do as well.

The go-ahead and ultimately game-winning run was scored in the top of the 7th and set up with an impossible play. Aubrey Huff had been hit by a pitch and stole second. That's not the part I meant. He then took third on a grounder to the shortstop. The Thonged One was on a mission! He scored on an out. That was Padres Giants baseball! Here's what I wrote then.
Pitching                     IP H R ER BB SO HR  ERA BF Pit Str
Jonathan  Sanchez             5 1 0  0  7  4  0 3.29 22  88  44
Santiago  Casilla W (7-2)   1.1 1 0  0  0  1  0 2.22  5  28  18
Ramon  Ramirez H (5)        0.2 0 0  0  0  0  0 3.39  2   8   5
Sergio  Romo H (16)         0.1 0 0  0  0  1  0 2.48  1   5   4
Javier  Lopez                 0 1 0  0  0  0  0 2.29  1   3   1
Brian  Wilson S (42)        1.2 0 0  0  1  2  0 1.80  5  25  14
Team Totals                   9 3 0  0  8  8  0 0.00 36 157  86
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/26/2011.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

18 games in September: V

The Showdown in San Diego featured a big start by Matt Cain who notched his first win of 2010 against the Padres. In three previous starts, he'd thrown 18 innings and given up 9 runs (6&2, 6&5, 6&2), earning two losses and a no-decision. The Giants had been swept at Petco in April and swept at home in May by this upstart club. They split a two-game set on the road later in the month--that victory took 12 innings and big contributions from the likes of Matt Downs and Eugenio Velez. The Giants then managed to win only one of the three played at AT&T in August. That was another torturous, extra-inning affair that ended 3-2 on an RBI hit by Juan Uribe that scored Buster Posey. The 2-9 Giants had to topple a first-place club that seemingly had their number. San Diego was up by two games with 24 to play, including a season-ending three-game set in San Francisco. All the pieces were in place for a dramatic confrontation and a scorching division race. Giants pitchers had just started their remarkable run of dominance, one that would lead them to World Series glory. Matt Cain pitched into the 9th and Aubrey Huff, Buster Posey, Pat Burrell, and Juan Uribe all hit home runs. Freddy Sanchez, emerging from his August slump, had three hits. The train left the station that day and didn't stop until Arlington!
Pitching                IP H R ER BB SO HR  ERA BF Pit Str
Matt  Cain W (11-10)     8 5 3  3  1  8  2 3.19 30 117  77
Javier  Lopez          0.1 0 0  0  0  0  0 2.29  1   2   2
Ramon  Ramirez         0.2 0 0  0  0  0  0 3.43  2  14  10
Team Totals              9 5 3  3  1  8  2 3.00 33 133  89

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/25/2011.


Monday, January 24, 2011

18 games in September: IV

The Giants tortured us all year with agonizingly close wins and infuriatingly close losses. Barry Zito kept The Streak alive but ultimately got no help from the bats as the Giants lost to 23-year old Daniel Hudson and the Diamondbacks 3-1 to fall two back of the Padres. Of course, no one was talking about The Streak on September 8th--the NL West race was far too exciting to think about anything else but wins and losses. The Padres had survived their 10-game losing streak and rebounded nicely by sweeping the hapless Dodgers in San Diego. They would host the Giants the next four nights.

Pitching               IP H R ER BB SO HR  ERA BF Pit Str
Barry  Zito L (8-12)    6 4 2  2  3  7  0 4.14 24  95  55
Jeremy  Affeldt         1 1 1  1  1  0  0 4.34  5  20  10
Dan  Runzler            0 1 0  0  0  0  0 3.30  1   4   3
Santiago  Casilla       1 0 0  0  1  0  0 2.28  3  10   5
Team Totals             8 6 3  3  5  7  0 3.38 33 129  73

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/24/2011.


Sunday, January 23, 2011

18 Days in September: III

In the third game of this spectacular streak, Tim Lincecum took the mound (Sept. 7, Chase Field, Phoenix). Normally this would be a reason for great confidence, but, remember this is early September, just his second start after an hellacious August. Of course, any "freak doubters" were quickly silenced as Tim ripped off six nearly unhittable innings. That put the impressive scoreless streak at 31 innings...then the wheels came off: a homer, 2 triples and a single...3 runs sandwiched around a couple strikeouts. He had a six run lead at the time (Huff, Burrell and Sanchez all homered) so the outburst did not affect the result, but it did give Javier Lopez a chance to shine. Four outs on ten pitches...that was the day I fell in love with him.

Interesting note about Tim: Right about this time is when Tim apparently starts using a slider, sometimes in big situations. Take a look for yourself, can you see any sliders yet?
 Pitching                 IP H R ER BB SO HR  ERA BF Pit Str
Tim Lincecum W (13-9) 6.2 5 3 3 0 11 1 3.69 25 94 68
Javier Lopez H (8) 1.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.30 4 10 7
Sergio Romo H (15) 0.1 1 0 0 0 1 0 2.50 2 9 6
Jeremy Affeldt S (4) 0.2 0 0 0 0 0 0 4.23 1 2 1
Team Totals 9 6 3 3 0 12 1 3.00 32 115 82

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/23/2011.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

18 games in September: II

Pitching                    IP H R ER BB SO HR  ERA BF Pit Str
Madison  Bumgarner          7.1 5 0  0  1  7  0 3.44 28  98  63
Sergio  Romo                  0 0 0  0  1  0  0 2.52  1   4   0
Javier  Lopez               0.1 0 0  0  0  1  0 2.36  1   4   3
Ramon  Ramirez              0.1 0 0  0  0  0  0 3.47  1   6   5
Jeremy  Affeldt               1 0 0  0  0  2  0 4.30  3  13   9
Santiago  Casilla W (6-2)     1 0 0  0  1  3  0 2.34  4  20  13
Brian  Wilson S (41)          1 0 0  0  1  1  0 1.85  4  16   9
Team Totals                 11 5 0  0  4 14  0 0.00 42 161 102

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/22/2011.

It's always nice to be able to throw zeros with seven different guys. Makes a manager look like a genius. I was getting excited about zeros then, too, as the Giants had just reeled of 25 straight scoreless innings! Nate Schierholtz was the hero with a two-run triple in the 11th to give the Giants the edge. Brian Wilson struck out Miguel Montero swinging to end it.


Friday, January 21, 2011

18 games in September: I

On September 5th, the 2010 Giants began a streak of 18 games in which opponents were held to three or fewer runs. That sustained run of pitching excellence set a modern baseball record and "served notice" to the rest of the league that the Giants had a formidable staff worth paying serious attention to. Of course, everyone still thought that the Phillies would win the pennant.
Pitching                    IP H R ER BB SO HR BF Pit Str GSc
Jonathan Sanchez W (10-8)    7 3 0  0  1  9  0 25 112  75  79
Sergio Romo H (14)           1 0 0  0  0  2  0  3  10       9
Brian Wilson S (40)          1 0 0  0  0  2  0  3  10       8

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/21/2011.

Here's what I wrote then.

The Giants beat the Dodgers the day before with an incredible four-homer barrage after falling behind 4-0. It was one of the most dramatic wins of the season and brought the team within two games of the reeling San Diego Padres. Matt Cain gave up all four runs in the 4th inning but threw six scoreless otherwise. For the next three weeks no one would score four runs in a game, let alone an inning, against the Giants.

The Giants would go 12-6 in that 18 game stretch, giving up only 25 runs. While 12-6 is good, it should have been better! In the post-season, the Giants went 11-4 in their 15 games while giving up 41 runs.

We'll visit Game II of The Streak tomorrow.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Richer and famous-er

That's your 2011 Giants--getting pay raises and starring in a new TV show. Being World Series winners has its perks, wouldn't you say? It's an adjustment, I'll admit, rooting for the defending champions. My many years of fandom have not quite prepared me for it, but I'm a pro, I'll adjust. What's funny is that the ballclub will be mostly the same. Juan Uribe and Edgar Renteria left, and über-prospect Brandon Belt will likely get a spot on the roster, but otherwise the MMXI Giants look a lot like the MMX Giants. I didn't think it was possible to keep a team together in the rough-and-tumble world of 21st century baseball, but the Giants made sport of many of my cherished notions last season, so why shouldn't they keep doing it? Barring a serious injury or two, the Giants should be favored to win the West again. They won't get to play the plucky underdog card that worked so well for them last season. They are no longer overlooked and under-appreciated. They'll be the guys with the targets on their backs, and that's a new role. I'm excited to see how they'll respond to that.

I'm still waiting for the Giants to announce when the Trophy will be in Medford. I'm getting anxious--the website still says TBA and TBD. My friends, have you written to the Giants like I asked you to? Don't delay. Help a brother out, OK?


Monday, January 17, 2011

This is a good thing, right?

Isn't it grand? The Giants are going to be the subject of a new TV show. That's right, along with already being a TV show at least 162 times in a six-month stretch, the 2011 Giants are going to be the subject of a season-long Showtime series. The gushing from all the right orifices was on-message:

"This new series is one I've wanted to do for as long as I can remember," said David Nevins, President of Entertainment, Showtime Networks. "Having produced Friday Night Lights, I've received numerous pitches over the years for scripted shows about the world of professional sports, but nothing can capture the drama and intensity of the real thing. We are both honored and excited to have the 2010 World Series Champion San Francisco Giants grant this extraordinary access. The diversity, passion, and larger-than-life personalities of the players, their manager Bruce Bochy, and front office, led by Managing General Partner and CEO Bill Neukom, General Manager Brian Sabean and President Larry Baer, came together to achieve the club's historic World Series win. I'm confident that this group of personalities will make for a provocative and groundbreaking television series that will appeal beyond the hardcore baseball fan to all viewers who appreciate great drama."
Thanks, David. That's quite a mouthful. Rock on.

"We're constantly seeking new programming platforms to bring our fans closer to the game, and this new series will do exactly that in a very exciting fashion, thanks in large part to the tremendous group of personalities that make up the 2010 World Champion San Francisco Giants" said Chris Tully, Major League Baseball Senior Vice President, Broadcasting. "We're excited to work with Showtime on this project and are grateful to the Giants organization and its players for embracing the goal of giving fans a look inside their world."
 MLB has to chime in, of course. Cha-ching, cha-ching, cha-ching.
"The Giants are delighted to work with Showtime and Major League Baseball Productions on this exciting new project," said Giants President and Chief Operating Officer Larry Baer. "Showtime and MLB Productions' reputations for producing high quality, compelling content speak for themselves. I have no doubt that this series will break new ground and will enable our team to forge an even closer connection with our fans and the public at large."
The Giants Front Office is the most progressive, forward-looking, and accomplished of all sports franchises anywhere. Duh.

So, I leave it to you my loyal and faithful fans, friends, followers, readers, hecklers, critics, and lurkers: is this a good thing? Are the 2011 Giants--the defending champs--closer to defending their 2010 World Series Championship by being on Showtime? Or would they be better off without it? Or am I worrying too much? It's a brave new world this here 21st century! What's a few more megabits added to the massive media stream we all swim in? Tweet, twerp, twat, who cares? It's all on-line all the time! It's instant! It's everywhere! It makes us all better! It makes everything better! Go Giants! Win the World Series again!


p.s. all quotes from here

Bring Me the Trophy of Allan H. Selig

The Trophy Tour is of utmost importance to me. I longingly wish--or is it wish longingly?--to gaze upon the Commissioner's Trophy and bask in its shininess and awesome glory. Medford, Oregon, is the closest it will come to my hometown. Alas, the web page teases me with TBD and TBA, refusing to publish the actual date, time, and place of the Trophy's visit! I cannot stand the torment any longer. I must know. I must be able to plan the event! I've sent the Giants mail pleading for commitment and clarification, but to no avail. I feel abandoned in my hour of need.

Friends of RMC, I beseech you. Send to the Giants your concerns about me and my local fellows. Tell them about how remote and underprivileged we are here in the State of Jefferson. Flood them with requests to bring the Trophy to us. I know, I know, they already brought it to Redding and Chico, but that was only after a last-minute alteration of the schedule! It was on, then off, then on again! Curses! And Redding is 50 miles further away than Medford!



p.s. The Magic Inside is fun. It's an hour-long review of the entire 2010 season narrated by Duane Kuiper. Lots of great clips and interview snippets. (Is there a Giant more charming and likeable than Andres Torres?)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Barry W. Zito

The "W." is for "William." First, there was this Barry William Zito:
Year          GS     IP    H  ER  HR  BB   SO ERA+
2000          14   92.2   64  28   6  45   78  173
2001          35  214.1  184  83  18  80  205  125
2002          35  229.1  182  70  24  78  182  158
2003          35  231.2  186  85  19  88  146  135
2004          34  213.0  216 106  28  81  163  102
2005          35  228.1  185  98  26  89  171  113
2006          34  221.0  211  94  27  99  151  116
AL (7 yrs)   222 1430.1 1228 564 148 560 1096  125

Then, there was this Barry William Zito:
2007          33 196.2 182  99 24  83 131   99
2008          32 180.0 186 103 16 102 120   86
2009          33 192.0 179  86 21  81 154  106
2010          33 199.1 184  92 20  84 150   98
NL (4 yrs)   131 768.0 731 380 81 350 555   97

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/16/2011.

The NL West is a tough place on pitchers, obviously. The guy was an All-Star and Cy Young winner over in the wimpy-ass American League. He comes to the NL and ka-boom! No more Mr. Big Shot. Now just another journeyman innings-eater.

ZiPS says 176 IP, 168 H, 82 ER, 18 HR, 78 BB, 133 K, 100 ERA+ in 30 starts. Bill James says he's good for a 4.46 FIP (lifetime it's 4.29) in 32 starts, 183 IP. FanGraphs had Zito as 5.1 WAR pitcher in 2001, a 4.3 WAR pitcher in 2003, and a 3.0 WAR pitcher in 2005. His four seasons as a Giant rate 1.7, 1.4, 2.2, and 2.1 WAR. Cot's says he'll get $18.5 M in 2011. Once again, more proof that burdening your team payroll with long-term contracts for aging, league-average veterans is the key to World Series success. I think we know what we are going to get with Barry Zito this season. If the rest of the Starting Four stay healthy, we'll have the best no. 5 guy in the game.


Timothy L. Lincecum

Of all the Giants starters, The Freak may be the hardest to predict what 2011 will bring.
This last year was far from a failure for Timmeh, as his stellar postseason will attest,
but some undeniable chinks in the armor did show up. The projection pundits are kind to 
Tim, as you can see: 
ZiPS says:       213.3 IP, 172 H,  66 ER,  14 HR  71 BB, 246 K, 150 ERA+

Those are quite nice; not as good as the Cy Young years, but better than "ohten."  Seems 
rather crudely mathematical. My prediction is based on more of a projected career path, 
if you will. Without using the link, anyone recognize where I got my Tim projection?
W    L  ERA HR BB  SO ERA+  WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB       Awards
25   5 1.88 18 58 306  159 0.875 6.2  0.5  1.7  8.9  5.28      ASCYA-1MVP-1

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/16/2011.
Here's some of Tim's numbers.  Use them (or not) to make your Tim prediction.

Year             W  L  ERA   G    IP   H  ER HR  BB  SO ERA+  WHIP BB/9 SO/9

2007             7  5 4.00  24 146.1 122  65 12  65 150  112 1.278  4.0  9.2
2008            18  5 2.62  34 227.0 182  66 11  84 265  169 1.172  3.3 10.5
2009            15  7 2.48  32 225.1 168  62 10  68 261  173 1.047  2.7 10.4
2010            16 10 3.43  33 212.1 194  81 18  76 231  119 1.272  3.2  9.8
4 Seasons       56 27 3.04 123 811.0 666 274 51 293 907  142 1.182  3.3 10.1
162 Game Avg.   16  7 3.04  34   225 185  76 14  81 252  142 1.182  3.3 10.1
Provided by View Original TableGenerated 1/15/2011.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Madison K. Bumgarner

It was great to have a young lefty with a funky delivery who no one had seen at the end of the season. He blew everyone away! His World Series Game 4 start was epic. What a sensational addition to the club!

But that was last year. This year--2011--is, as they say, a "whole new ballgame." Will MadBum experience the dreaded Sophomore Slump? Or will he continue to shine as one of the game's bright young stars?

ZiPS says: 165 IP, 167 H, 72 ER, 16 HR, 51 BB, 107 SO, 106 ERA+ in 29 starts.
Year            GS    IP   H ER HR BB  SO ERA+
2009             1  10.0   8  2  2  3  10  246
2010            18 111.0 119 37 11 26  86  136
2 Seasons       19 121.0 127 39 13 29  96  142
162 Game Avg.   32   201 211 65 22 48 159  142

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/15/2011.

So maybe a 130-140 ERA+ is a little hopeful, and we should be grateful for anything over 100, eh? ZiPS is certainly not unkind to young "K." (What a great middle initial!) It is nearly impossible to project someone without a major-league track record. Bill James is bullish on the Bum-ster, saying he will give the team 31 starts, 188 innings, and a 3.57 FIP. THAT would be awesome. I'm neither pundit nor prognosticator--just a guy with computer. I say the kid is good and we are going to see a season full of good starts. Sure, he might have a Cain Demotion Moment, or a Lincecum August, all pitchers go through that. But he won't be sitting on the bench if the Giants make the post-season, that's for sure. One of the "comps" in ZiPS is Mark Mulder. I'll take it.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Matthew T. Cain

Is there an easier guy to project in all of baseball? Take a look:
Year             W  L  ERA   G     IP   H   R  BB  SO BK   BF ERA+  WHIP
2005             2  1 2.33   7   46.1  24  12  19  30  0  181  185 0.928
2006            13 12 4.15  32  190.2 157  93  87 179  2  818  108 1.280
2007             7 16 3.65  32  200.0 173  84  79 163  0  832  123 1.260
2008             8 14 3.76  34  217.2 206  95  91 186  2  933  118 1.364
2009            14  8 2.89  33  217.2 184  73  73 171  0  886  148 1.181
2010            13 11 3.14  33  223.1 181  84  61 177  0  896  130 1.084
6 Seasons       57 62 3.45 171 1095.2 925 441 410 906  4 4546  126 1.218
162 Game Avg.   11 12 3.45  34    218 184  88  82 181  1  907  126 1.218

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/14/2011.

M.C. is "Mr. Consistency." You know what you are going to get with the big right-hander: lots and lots of quality innings. I am one of those folks who thinks assigning "wins" and "losses" to any one player in a team game is idiotic. Cain is my argument. Ignore the "wins" and "losses" and look at the heaping pile of damn good starts.

ZiPS says Cain will go 15-8 (wow, that Giants offense is something!) in 33 starts. That's 219 IP, 189 H, 79 ER, 70 BB, 186 SO, and a 129 ERA+. Compare that to his 162-game average line above. Rocket science, eh?

The "T." is for "Thomas." I don't know what the "O." in Jonathan O. Sánchez stands for. Can anyone help me out?


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Jonathan O. Sánchez

This guy has gotten better every single year he's been a starter. Check out the ERA+ improvement--wow! He ran out of gas in the post-season after that tremendous start against Atlanta. He was over 200 IP at that point--well past his career high--so it is not unreasonable to assume he was fatigued and thus not performing at his best. As maddening as he can be to watch (the walks! the walks! oh, the walks!), it is obvious we have a very talented pitcher, and one who delivered in the biggest game of the season. So how do you project the 28-year old lefty for 2011? Here's what ZiPS says:
30 starts,  172.3 IP,   141 H,    70 R,    18 HR,    87 BB,   183 SO,   114 ERA+
Here's another take on our boy (from Joe Pawlikowski at FanGraphs):
The reasons for my bearish view on Sanchez’s 2011 don’t center on BABIP, though his .262 mark from 2010 certainly won’t hold up. That will affect his ERA right away. He’ll also probably have worse infield defense behind him, as he’s going from Juan Uribe to Miguel Tejada at shortstop. What really worries me about Sanchez is his high walk rate combined with average-ish home run rate. His HR/FB ratio was right around the 10 percent rate we use for xFIP, and has been around that mark for his career. Those two factors then further combine with his high strand rate — 79.5 percent, well above his 72.2 percent career rate and fourth highest in the league in 2010 — to create a situation that he probably won’t sustain. If his LOB% falls to his career level next year, those walks are going to hurt more. The home runs will hurt more. I’d expect his ERA to climb into the 3.90 to 4.20 range next year. While that’s not bad by any stretch, it’s considerably worse than his 2010 performance.
Yeah, I know, it's a bit saber-y, but you are all big kids and I think you can handle it. So--what do you think about the 2011 version of Jonathan O. Sánchez? What are your projections?


p.s. I had a table with B-R stats but it caused a hell of a lot of formatting problems so I deleted it. Here's the link to JS's stats.

p.p.s. Here's the table, finally:
Year             W  L  ERA   G    IP   H   R  BB  SO   BF ERA+  WHIP
2006             3  1 4.95  27  40.0  39  26  23  33  185   92 1.550
2007             1  5 5.88  33  52.0  57  34  28  62  238   77 1.635
2008             9 12 5.01  29 158.0 154  90  75 157  695   88 1.449
2009             8 12 4.24  32 163.1 135  82  88 177  710  101 1.365
2010            13  9 3.07  34 193.1 142  74  96 205  812  133 1.231
5 Seasons       34 39 4.26 155 606.2 527 306 310 634 2640  101 1.380
162 Game Avg.    9 10 4.26  41   162 141  82  83 170  707  101 1.380

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 1/13/2011.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Enshrining the Giants

Nope, this post has nothing to do with the frigging Hall of Fame. It is much more personal than that. For most of my considerable Giants fandom, I have maintained a special or sacred place; filled with relics and objects dedicated to that obsession. In other words, a Giants shrine. Some years it is small and understated. That, of course, would be completely inappropriate in the case of this glorious year. This year's version includes a collector's set of four 2010 pins (on the scarf in the photo), a madri-gras necklace, 2 WS Championship stickers, a circular 2010 NL Championship pennant, and a 2010 World Series Championship pennant . Oh yeah, attached to the scarf are about 5 official holograms peeled from various other items o' swag (you can see one clearly at the top center).

Please tell me I'm not THAT weird. I mean, you guys have shrines in your house too? Right?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Alomar, Blyleven elected to the BBWAA Hall of Fame

There is just not much about the Giants off-season to get incensed about. Sure, you can quibble about Huff's salary, or mildly lament the overabundance of outfielders, or speculate on what might happen in Spring Training, but really, it's pretty quiet. I mean, no real nasty arguments, no WTF moments from Brian Sabean, no angst turning to dread turning to fear as the season approaches.

So let's start bitching about the Hall of Fame selections!!!!

Bert Blyleven and Roberto Alomar were the only players elected to the BBWAA Hall of Fame. I have no problem with either of these selections, although I wonder why Blyleven's election took so long. Also, a lot of players were NOT selected. Most notable among them, in my opinion, is Mark McGwire. With less than 20% of the vote, this was clearly an anti-character vote, which is so, so important (apparently) to just ever so many of the writers. Some other guys not elected: Barry Larkin, Larry Walker, Jeff Bagwell, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Jack Morris, Tim Raines, Dave Parker, Edgar Martinez. I'm not saying that all these guys should have been elected, but some of them give me pause; Tim Raines and Barry Larkin. Probably Jeff Bagwell. Definitely Big Mac.

But here is why this is worth getting excited about. The balloting brings out the baseball writers' explanations of how and why they voted. And these logically twisted, bizarre rationales can only be responded to in two ways, by anger and by laughter. Here are a couple of examples. And can you believe that BJ Surhoff got two votes? BJ Surhoff! Barry Stanton, ESPN, cast one. Here is's take. Not enough to get you mad yet? How about this guy who is apparently without sin, so able to cast stones. But my favorite has to be our own Bruce Jenkins. Not so much for his selections, or his support for them, but for this sentence alone: "They'd be serving lemonade at the superstar's banquet while the above mentioned guys posed for oil paintings." (They are Jim Thome and Rafael Palmeiro. The above mentioned guys are Don Mattingly, Will Clark and Keith Hernandez.) I just love this sentence, my mind reels with the thought of what FireJoeMorgan could do with it. (Sorry, it is not on the innertube yet, check back.) Bruce, you've made my day.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2011: defending a title

Two months ago today the San Francisco Giants won the 2010 World Series and were crowned as champions. For 2011 they will find themselves in a new role--that of defending champions. How have the World Series Champions fared in that task this past decade? Let's take a look:

2001: The three-time (1998, 1999, 2000) defending champion New York Yankees lost in the World Series to Randy Johnson and the Arizona Diamondbacks. It should be noted that the Yanks had the lead in the 9th inning of the 7th game with Mariano Rivera on the mound and yet the Bob Brenly-led Snakes won.

2002: The defending champion Diamondbacks won the NL West but lost in the LDS . The Anaheim Angels won--it had something to do with a blown lead, too.

2003: The defending champion Angels finished 77-85, 19 back of Oakland. Josh Beckett and the Florida Marlins beat the Yankees in the Series.

2004: The defending champion Marlins finished 83-79, 13 back of Atlanta. The Boston Red Sox ended their long drought by sweeping the Cardinals in the Series. It was a great moment for Sahx fans and was made particularly sweet by beating the Yanks in the ALCS after being down three games to none. I mention only because my mom was born and raised in Boston and saw Ted Williams, Johnny Pesky, Bobby Doerr, and Vincent and Dominic DiMaggio play at Fenway Park. She taught me how to be a fan. My earliest baseball memories are the 1967 "Impossible Dream" AL-pennant winners with Carl Yazstremski, Rico Petrocelli, and Jim Lonborg, as well as following the Giants with Russ Hodges, Lon Simmons, and Bill Thompson on KSFO-560 AM radio. Thanks, mom. Happy New Year!

2005: The defending champion Red Sox lost in the LDS to the eventual champion Chicago White Sox, another team with a monkey-on-the-back legacy. President Barack Obama is a fan of the South-siders. The White Sox swept the Astros in the Series. Each of their four starters (Jose Contreras, Mark Buerhle, Jon Garland, Freddy Garica) went at least 7 innings and gave up 4 or fewer runs per start (9 total in 28-1/3 IP). They beat a club with a rotation of Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Roy Oswalt!

2006: The defending champion White Sox finished 90-72, 6 back of Minnesota. The 83-78 St. Louis Cardinals avenged 1968 and beat the Tigers 4-1 in the Series.

2007: The defending champion Cardinals finished 78-84, 7 back of Chicago. The Red Sox swept the Colorado Rockies in the Series.

2008: The defending champion Red Sox lost to the Tampa Bay Rays in the LCS. The Philadelphia Phillies rode Cole Hamels' arm to a 4-2 Series win over the AL upstarts.

2009: The defending champion Phillies lost in the World Series to the New York Yankees despite getting two wins from Cliff Lee.

2010: The defending champion Yankees lost to the Texas Rangers in the ALCS. The San Francisco Giants won the World Series, thumping the Rangers 4-1!

The aughts were a tough decade for defending champs. Many of the clubs returned to the post-season but none of them could hang on to the Commissioner's Trophy. The Giants have a formidable task. Recent history is not on their side. What will it take for the Giants to defend their title in 2011?