Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Hunter Pence had EIGHT trips to the plate last night. Now that's entertainment! What a slog, man, but what a great win, too. Fantastic effort from the 'pen. And having rubber-armed Tim Lincecum sitting around doing nothing is quite a luxury. First career save--cool, eh? Just another wonderful tidbit on his remarkable resume. I'm really happy to see George Kontos making a contribution. With things the way they are, every arm counts. And Hector Sanchez caught all fourteen fookin' innings! That's huge. You think the Giants want Buster squatting for almost six hours? No way. You'd think he'd rake four hits if he did? Maybe, but his bat is much too valuable for him to take the daily beating behind the plate. No, Hanchez is the sacrificial lamb. Yes, his hitting has been woeful, but he's chewing up innings so Buster can be fresher when it's his turn. And he did get two hits and a walk last night, so maybe things are trending upward*.

Speaking of sacrificing your body for the team, it's time for the Giants and Matt Cain to come clean. He's apparently been pitching with "loose bodies" in his elbow for four years. He pulled off a perfect game, an All-Star win, and a World Series title with those floaters, but you can only dance naked in the cactus garden for so long before you get needles in your pecker. Lots of athletes play through pain and injuries--I get it. I'm sure Cain and the team think that with a little R & R he can grit his way through another dozen starts and deliver something like the latter half of last season. At some point he's going to need surgery. It's not ligament damage. We aren't talking Tommy John, most likely just arthroscopy meaning a faster recovery. As I said before I'm surprised he didn't get that done this past off-season. But we don't really know the whole story and Matty channels Gary Cooper when it comes to self-analysis so it's up to the Giants to deliver some straight talk. The bottom line is that we could be looking at a Cain-less stretch run, or a stretch run with a guy with no. 18 on his back who looks like Cain but can't get the big outs. Baggs runs down some of the starting pitchers that the Giants might take a look at. Bartolo Colon's name has come up as well. Imagine if he did this in orange-and-black.

Madison Bumgarner today, 4:05 Pacific.



*"That's one thing the kid can do is hit, but we've got to get that back," Bochy said. "He's just coming off the ball." (via Baggs)


M.C. O'Connor said...

Posey's game-tying home run was the first hit off Papelbon this season. It was also Buster's first game-tying HR in the 9th or later in his career. Call me silly, but I like homers.

Giants are 16th in runs scored, 21st in batting average, 25th in on-base percentage, 14th in slugging and 11th in HR. Interestingly, they rate much better in offensive WAR (7th overall, 3rd NL) than those numbers suggest. They are 11th in wRC+ (4th in the NL) and 12th in OPS+ (5th in the NL). Park effects are pretty significant for the Giants, obviously. And the traditional metrics just don't do as good a job, it seems, of accounting for offensive production. After all, the Giants are in first place and are tied for the 3rd-most wins overall.

The traditional stats like the Giants pitching (6th in ERA, 12th in QS, 3rd in WHIP, 8th in BAA) and the saber-stats rate them 4th in FIP and 5th in xFIP but lousy (15th and 23rd) in FIP- and xFIP- and 12th in ERA+. These rate the raw stats against league average and adjust for the parks. Again, park effects are huge.

My takeaway? Sequencing is everything. It doesn't matter so much how many hits you get or give up, but how you bunch them or spread them out. Giants seem pretty mediocre on the one hand but manage to win on the other. Luck? Design? I don't know. Maybe it's all about VSC, baby!

M.C. O'Connor said...

Giants are 25th in pitching WAR. Take a look at the breakdown:

Lots of negatives. Felix Hernandez has over 5 WAR himself! Maybe WAR is more useful for looking at lineups and not pitching staffs. I don't know. The Giants are one confounding club!

They've won 10 games in July--they won 10 total in June.

Ron said...

I was half-expecting Jon to write this post & call it 'Tim, Our Savior'. I saw the last several innings - I worried a lot, when Kontos looked so crappy in the 12th, but then he came back with an awesome inning. Crawford's hit looked like a lazy fly ball off of the bat, but, man, did it keep on carrying!

M.C. O'Connor said...

Not good news. Concussions are scary.

nomisnala said...

Hopefully Belts head will clear soon, otherwise we have Duvall and in a pinch Ishikawa.

JC Parsons said...

@Ron You didn't see my comment on yesterday's game. Shame,shame. I was too tired after being out with MOC and his lovely wife in Ashland. I really did want to post (Savior Tim) but couldn't. It was another great moment for Tim in this crazy season. When we pull this out, it will be clear that Tim is what held us together. That being said, Tim could still implode and lead our descent. That is life with the Freak in 2014.