Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Whooooooooooooooooooa Baby!

Seeing Brandon Crawford hit that grand slam sure was fun, wasn't it?

Madison Bumgarner was dominant.

So what would be better would be one of those Gothic, heavily serifed fonts, but they don't seem to have that, so italics and bold underlines it is.

Madison:  9 IP, 109 pitches, 79 strikes, 10 strike outs, 4 hits, 1 walk.  0 runs, 0 runs, 0 runs.  I am surprised that he pitched the 8th, and really surprised that he pitched the 9th.  Not that he was tired, he threw 8 pitches in the first inning, and 8 pitches in the ninth inning.  But still, he has to pitch again and the Giants had an 8 run lead.

Brandon Belt looks good, Pablo looks good and patient, Crawford has put up incredible numbers coming down the stretch and looks great.  Panik: 3 for 5; Posey: 2 for 5, rbi; Panda: 2 for 4, 2 runs; Belt: 2 for 3, 3 rbi; and of course, Brandon Crawford: 1 hit, 4 rbi.

The ESPN telecast was terrible.  Hunter Pence walked, wild pitch put him on second and NO camera was on the runner.  Instead they showed the ball bouncing ever so nicely into the stands, and bouncing around and bouncing around, until some nice people finally caught it.  That was the egregious example, but other times they lovingly let their cameras rest on someone's face (like Clint Hurdle's) for-EVER.  ESPN ceased to be a sports network so long ago, they were only interested in getting to their next LeBron special.

I would have put Strickland in to pitch the ninth.  But I am not a World Series winning manager.  Unlike Bruce Bochy, I'm very excitable.


M.C. O'Connor said...

109 pitches. No stress. You have to let him go there. Think Tim Lincecum in 2010. Yeah I know that was 1-0, but this was an elimination game. He was totally on. You aren't "saving" him for anything--he'll pitch Game 3 on normal rest. Right move all the way.

What a great performance by the team. Pablo Sandoval had an amazing game.

ogc obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

I totally agree that you have to let him go there. You have to go for the jugular, this is not Dusty in 2002, taking out Oritz to go with the bullpen. This is Bumgarner, a higher level pitcher, one used to pitching in such pressure and has the body to handle it. You ride your hoss until you need to bring in someone else.

Plus, Bumgarner has earned the right to stay in if he wants to. 109 is not a lot of pitches. And with days off, he can start on regular rest, as you astutely point out.

Ron said...

It's not too bad to have Bjorn Borg pitching in the Wild Card Game, then bringing in John McEnroe to pitch Game #1 of the NLDS.

MadBum had the full repertoire going last night, including the occasional snotrocket walking off the field at the end of yet another dominant inning. On the other hand, his total unflappability pitching is countered by his over-the-top self-condemnation, when he makes an out - especially when it came to whiffing against some guy who recently pitched in an Independent League. If he was a position player, I'd be worried about prolonged slumps. Luckily, that's not his #1 job.

On the offense side, it was good to Belt, Sandoval, & even Pence get some good at-bats. Panik is awesome to watch, because he just flicks the ball where it needs to go - he seems very much like a Rod Carew / Ichiro type of hitter & that suits us just fine for now. Posey got in on the act, too. We didn't get much from Blanco last night, but I'm sure that that will turn around. Ishikawa looked over-matched - we need help there.

I wish to point out that Brandon Crawford now has the same number of RBI's this season (Regular + Post-Season) as Sandoval & one RBI less that Pence. And, last night wasn't the first time that this guy has come up with a big hit in a post-season game. He is very reliable with men on base, & I am confident when he comes up in those situations.

The ESPN broadcasts are terrible, but let's start with the fact that they are lead by Dan 'I Love LA' Shulman, one of the lamest Canadians in the rich history of that proud Nation. Kruk has the predictable deep insights of a guy who pretty much played the game 100% on feel & instinct, so he adds no value either. Yes, the long shots, dwelling on nonsense, are irritating, too.

Brother Bob said...

That was a lot of fun, wasn't it? The result of the game was almost exactly what I expected. I have complete confidence in Bumgarner.
What surprised me was the poise of Sandoval. It was like he was channeling Buster Posey- be patient and don't try to mash everything out of he park.
I'd love to see Blanco do the same, or better yet channel Panik's approach. Blanco should never hit a fly ball ever again.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Derek Jeter: 734 post-season plate appearances, ZERO grand slams.

Just sayin'.

M.C. O'Connor said...

What's interesting about BCraw is that he came up with 361 runners on base. That's more than Pence (356). Nice to hit lower in the lineup when the best hitters are in front of you. That being said, BCraw wins the race if you look at RBI PCT which is calculated 100*(RBI-HR)/Runners On (this is from Baseball Musings Day-to-day Database). BCraw rates 16.34% and Pence 15.17%. Sandoval fares the worst with 403 runners on and 14.11%, seeming to match the "eye-test."

Here's the link.

Even more interesting, on September 19th Dave Cameron wrote a piece for FanGraphs arguing that Hunter Pence deserved some MVP consideration for his clutch hitting. Here's a paragraph:

Well, as you might have guessed, Pence is one of the poster boys for adding value by hitting exceptionally well with men on base this year. With the bases empty, he’s hit .269/.324/.465, good for a 127 wRC+. With men on base, the numbers are a little better; .324/.376/.458 with a 139 wRC+. But with runners in scoring in position, Pence has hit a ridiculous .377/.457/.547, which translates to a 184 wRC+, third best mark in the National League. Pence’s overall batting line isn’t that great, but when he’s presented with opportunities to drive in runs, he’s come through at a exceptionally high rate.

Obviously Pence hit the skids right about that time and the final numbers took a hit, but that's still pretty cool.

Here's the link.

We all saw Sandoval struggle with the bat for long stretches of the season, but last night he looked like a different guy. John Kruk was beside himself watching Panda watch pitches and showing good discipline. I actually think Kruk has a lot of smart things to say he just doesn't say them very articulately and he gets into Krukow-like babbling fits. He was a hitter who walked a lot and didn't strike out much so I'm not sure I agree with you on your assessment of "feel and instinct." Maybe he was a good observer of pitchers and smart about the strike zone. Lifetime .397 OBP puts him in some elite company. I always thought Bobby Abreu was one of the smartest hitters and Kruk is sort of Abreu-lite.

Ron said...

Reading your post, I realized that Krukow & Kruk have names beginning with the same 4 letters - odd.

Unlike some of you, I still find Krukow insightful & occasionally funny. That said, I also think that he says some stupid things & gets way too carried away with commentary about the crowd, etc..

Kruk was a selective & good hitter, but I am still not impressed by much of what he says. Their other normal partner, Schilling, wasn't there last night & is very annoying. TBS now has Darling, Smoltz, & Ernie Johnson. Ernie Johnson is another Marv Albert sound-alike, but with nothing to say. Darling & Smoltz are OK, but, since both are former Pitchers, the commentary is heavily Pitcher-centric. Of course, soon, we get the Fox numbskulls.

Blanco has those 'Dan Gladden-disease' periods. He seems to get them more, when playing CF than when playing LF - the spirit of Dan Gladden must be lurking out there. Maybe Bochy can write that position next to his name on the dugout scorecard to trick him into returning to his slap-hitting line drive ways. Or, they can have Renel intentionally make the error of saying 'Now batting ... Left Fielder ... Gregor Blanco' every time he comes to the plate.

M.C. O'Connor said...

Krukow is a lot like Kruk. He knows a lot about the game and can deliver quality insights. He's also a would-class babbler who'll make you go nuts when he goes off-topic or hauls out some tired old thing he's used a million times. I have Kruk fatigue, for sure. Too many broadcasts. Actually I have broadcast fatigue. Listened to these yahoos waaaaaayyyyy too much in my life. It's my problem, I know, but it's my blog so I get to whine about what I want.

Shankbone said...

MC - thanks for the link on the RBI%, I enjoyed your analysis.

Kruk appears to me as still bitter the Phils got taken down by Los Gigantes back in 2010. We aren't going to have many friendly announcers, nor informed ones. I'd love for them to give Vin Scully the reins actually, he would run circles around most the guys.

Actually I don't mind Ron Darling, he has some insight. Cal Ripken grates though.

JC Parsons said...

I also agree that it was MadBum's game to finish. One reason that hasn't been mentioned: nobody on the bench hits better than him! Really, the only thing that could have improved last night would have been a MadBum dinger.
My other comments were totally grabbed by my Bro. Seriousy, like word for word. Kinda spooky.

ogc obsessivegiantscompulsive said...

Ron, what you notice is, to me, actually related to his batting position, which is tied to his fielding position, which you noticed.

What I've noticed is that Blanco comes up small in big situations, while he hits better when the pressure is not so much on him. When he is playing LF, that means Pagan is healthy and playing CF (though really he should be playing LF when Blanco is in the lineup) and hitting leadoff, while Blanco is safely ensconced in the bottom of the order. But when Pagan is injured, Blanco is made to leadoff, and that's when he is playing a different type of ball and ends up changing for the worse.

I think this is related to his dichotomy: in Venzuela, he's a middle lineup order type of guy, but in America, he's OK when he plays within his abilities, and not so good when he's trying to be something that he's not. When he bats lower, I think he just tries to stay within what he can do, which is get on base a lot and sometimes get some power. But when forced to bat leadoff, he's trying to hit for more power, which causes the rest of his offensive game to go to pot.

That's my theory at least.

If true, then no matter what, he should bat 6th or 7th, depending on how deep the lineup is, and instead Bochy should bite the bullet and bat Pence leadoff (or even Sandoval, if you don't have a traditional leadoff guy, then put a guy up there who will get on base a lot, and frankly, Pence has better power than Sandoval this season).

I wouldn't even mind Panik up there, he's proven that nothing fazes him, so maybe he can leadoff, Pence, Posey, Sandoval, Belt, Blanco, Crawford, Ishikawa. He don't steal bases, but with Pence, Posey, Sandvoal, Belt following, he just needs to be the good baserunner that he is to bring value to the leadoff position.