Monday, May 22, 2017

Blach in the Win Column

The Giants opened a 4 game series in Chicago this evening and came out looking good, winning the opener, 6 - 4.

Joe Panik batting in the #1 hole, led off with a home run off of old Giants nemesis John Lackey.  Giants kept the pressure on, scoring 2 more in the 3rd (again, Joe Panik, doubling in Gorkys Hernandez and then scoring on a Brandon Belt single); 1 in the 4th (Justin Ruggiano doubling in Edward Nunez); 1 on a Belt home run in the 5th; and 1 in the 8th on a Ruggiano home run.  So it was 6 - 0 going into the bottom of the 8th inning.  Ty Blach was on the mound, with only 90-some odd pitches through the 7th and no runs with the help of some great defense.  In particular, in the 3rd, Buster Posey gunned down the speedy Javier Baez with a throw as perfect as you will ever see.  Too bad it is not on the highlight reel on or espn.  It really was the highlight.  Helpful, too, considering that Ben Zobrist, up next, tripled.  However, at that point there were 2 outs and the next batter grounded out.

Blach pitched great.  At the end of 7, he had struck out 3 and walked none.  He came out to pitch the 8th, though, and got into trouble.  A Jason Heward single followed by a Baez home run and an Ian Happ triple brought Derek Law into the game, who gave up a home run to Zobrist to make it 6 - 4.  Fortunately, with the help of Okert and Strickland, the Giants went into the 9th with a 6 - 4 lead, and Melancon got the save.  Whew!  So Blach picked up 3 earned runs and the Giants pick up a win (but did not gain on the Crockies).  Joe Panik was 3 for 4.  How many consecutive solo home runs is that now?  16?  How is that not a record?  Also, this seems like an oddity: the Giants batting order had (except for the pitcher) the outfielders batting last.  Keep winning!


M.C. O'Connor said...

Homers are good no matter what kind. Put some more guys on base and the elusive three-run bomb (none this season for the Giants) will happen.

Nice to see Blach pitch well. He ran out of gas in the 8th and they tagged him but he had the cushion to survive it. Great outing for the rookie!

Ron said...

From McCovey Chronicles:

'The Giants hit three home runs in a game for the first time this season. All three home runs were solo home runs. Of course they were. That means we’re up to 18 consecutive solo home runs, which is just three behind the major league record, owned by the 2011 Giants.'

Brother Bob said...

I'm back from Europe. Had a great time. I was vaguely aware that the Giants were winning while I was gone and was worried that my return would cause them to go back to losing. It was a relief that they beat the Cubs despite my presence.

nomisnala said...

Crawford easily turned the DP on the DP ball in the 8th. If he had done that in the playoffs the giants may have gone on to take another world series. It seemed last year everytime Crawford made a rare error, the team would fall apart. I wonder if there is any truth in the idea that when a fielding stud, makes a rare error, that it effects the team more? With all the data that is kept these days, I wonder if some statistics ultra-nerd might have some data just on this point. Being this is a 4 game series if the giants take the series that means 3 wins, at least. After the last road trip the giants need to take this series or sweep it. Cueto needs to be super sharp tonight, and the giants need to not be flummoxed by Lester. The Cubs first baseman sure knows how to work the homeplate ump for calling balls and strikes. Some batters just seem to have their own zone. Is it because he stands so close to the plate? It would be nice to know how the visual field of the strike zone is affected by the batters position. It should not have an effect, but we seem to know that it does.

M.C. O'Connor said...

I wonder if maybe there's some confirmation bias, too, as we expect the studs to make the plays and when they don't it's more memorable and thus we magnify the effects. If I recall it was Cody Ransom failing to handle a ball in the 9th that helped LA beat the Giants on the last game of the 2004 season, denying the Giants the wildcard. It was a bullpen meltdown combined with the missed opportunity in the field, much like last season's collapse in the playoffs. Ransom played a long time in the bigs but was never at the level of someone like Crawford.

FanGraphs posts charts of the pitches and outcomes next to their box scores for every game. You can run your mouse over the pitch indicator and get info on who the batter was, pitch type, etc. They pitched Rizzo inside quite a bit and Blach even got a strike call on one outside the zone. That's according to the graphic anyway, it's hard to know how accurate these tracking schemes are. But I would imagine that batter position can influence the ump, much like catcher framing. Makes me think of Rickey Henderson and his goofy hunched-over stance. He sure got a lot of calls to go his way!

nomisnala said...

Not just one pitch but from watching Rizzo all season. Chase Uttley also seems to get an unduly number of good pitches called balls. Ransom made quite a few errors. Seemed he initially had range and was considered a decent fielder, but he seemed to make more than his share of error. What I seem to see with Crawford is a rare late inning error, but I remember one last year costing Casilla a save, as the team seemed to implode after the error. Maybe it happens a lot, but if not it just seems to happen in a high percentage of the guy who makes a low percentage of errors. Would be interesting to see data on Ozzie Smith, and Omar Visquel, Cal Ripkin, Derek Jeter, among some other shortstops.