Sunday, September 30, 2018

9th inning: 5-13

1st inning: 7-11
2nd inning: 12-6
3rd inning: 6-12
4th inning: 10-8
5th inning: 11-7
6th inning: 8-10
7th inning: 8-10
8th inning: 6-12
9th inning: 5-13

Today was a sad day to be a Giants fan. Some team in Giants uniforms showed up to play, but they delivered a listless, desultory performance that had some in attendance--with good reason--streaming for the exits in the early innings despite Fan Appreciation Day giveaways. If Dodgers fans won most of the prizes, good on them. Today was an embarrassment and it capped a month of the worst baseball we've seen in a long time, perhaps ever. The Giants go 6-21 5-21 for September: a .222  .192 win percentage. I don't want to know where that rates in the History of the Franchise, but I'm sure someone will tweet it before the end of the day.

Should be interesting this November!


Saturday, September 29, 2018

Madison Bumgarner's 2018 Numbers, or Bum's Nums

In 2018, Madison Bumgarner started the season with a broken hand, suffered at the end of spring training.  Madison's record this year is 6 wins against 7 losses.  That was after a 2017 that featured his dirt biking accident that kept him sidelined for about half a season.  Neither season was notable, except for how poorly the Giants did in 2017, and they will finish as a sub-.500 club in 2018 as well.  Their improvement is only notable because it came from such a low baseline.  Madison Bumgarner is the ace of our staff, without question.  There is more energy when he is on the mound, although he usually (not always, though) is fairly non-emotive as he pitches.  Here is a comparison of the last couple of years:

2014   217 IP,  9.07 K/9,  0.87 HR/9,  1.09 WHIP,  21 HR,  8.04 H/9,  3.36 R/9
2015   218 IP,  9.65 K/9,  0.87 HR/9,  1.01 WHIP,  21 HR,  7.46 H/9,  3.01 R/9
2016   226 IP,  9.97 K/9,  1.03 HR/9,  1.02 WHIP,  26 HR,  7.07 H/9,  3.14 R/9
2017   110 IP,  8.19 K/9,  1.38 HR/9,  1.09 WHIP,  17 HR,  8.19 H/9,  3.36 R/9
2018   130 IP,  7.57 K/9,  0.97 HR/9,  1.24 WHIP,  14 HR,  7.46 H/9,  3.54 R/9*

* Innings pitched, Strikeouts per 9 innings, Home Runs per 9, Walks + Hits per Inning Pitched, Home Runs, and Runs per 9.

So, without applying statistical analysis to any of these figures (most of which I have forgotten anyway), I would say that Madison's WHIP and runs/9 innings have gone up a little bit.  If his WHIP is up, it has to be because his walks are up, because his hits/9 is actually down from last year, and more consistent with his best years of 2014 - 2016.  In fact, the number of walks he issued matches the number in 2014 (43) in nearly 100 fewer innings.  In comparison, in 2017, he issued only 20 walks.   Why is that?   Have right-handed batters learned to lay off those pitches that tail away from the strike zone?  Also, in spite of the fact that the number of hits he has given up has fallen to a number consistent with his 2014 - 2016 totals, the runs he has given up has increased.  I don't know if the difference is significant, but it is interesting to me to see these numbers all in the 3's.  That means you need 4 runs to win, which at least right now, seems a stretch for the Giants.  Here is how it breaks out in terms of runs allowed per game:

2014 - 2.45; 2015 - 2.28; 2016 - 2.32; 2017 - 2.41; 2018 - 2.71

I'm just going to say that I think 2.71 is significant.  It means more than 5 runs in 2 games whereas in his prior years, he allowed less than 5 runs in 2.  That means something on a team that struggles to score any.

John Shea wrote a column the other day that stated that the new GM, whomever he or she may be, could trade Madbum.  Of course, that is predicated on the fact that he, unlike Buster Posey or Brandon Crawford, does not have a no-trade clause.  It's also a recognition of the potential value to a trade partner.  Those clauses can always be broken, though with the player's consent.  But he's really not saying anything.  The same is true for any player without a no-trade clause and is equally true for Bobby Evans as it is for a new face.  Bruce Jenkins, taking a brief pause from his "you kids and your statistics get off my lawn" rants, opines that the Giants should keep Madbum because the rest of the pitchers are too young and inexperienced.  Personally, I want to see him stick around.  I love hearing his thick drawl on the commercials, and I want him on my team should the Giants get back to playoff baseball.  He has more than earned it.  And I am not convinced that he can't get back on track, should he be able to remain injury-free.  A broken hand seems to be a tough thing to come back from.  I don't think his skill set is deteriorating, he's only 29.   The way he is built, he has the potential to be pitching when he is 40.  That's potentially a lot of valuable left handed starts from someone who has 3 World Series rings and has been instrumental in winning all of them.  I'll say this, though.  If Madbum is to be traded, it better damn well be for a monster.  No middle infielders with "potential", we've got those guys up the ass.  Aaron Judge.  Ronald Acuna.  A real force.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Madbum's Last of 2018 is a Turgid Affair

This was supposed to be a story about Madison Bumgarner, ideally one in which he would dominate the doggers and the Giants would put a dent in the playoff and division championship hopes of LA.  Instead, it was a just OK Madbum and too, too much of the same old, same old 2018.  Too little offense.  LA 3, Giants 1 in our park.

Madbum threw 6 innings, he had to pitch around an error and a hit in the 1st, but held LA scoreless.  By the end of the 2nd, he was already at 40 some-odd pitches, and had given up another hit.  LA scored in the 3rd, and then Justin Turner hit a 2-run shot in the 5th.  Madison was done after 6, with 6 strikeouts, 1 walk, 7 hits, 3 earned runs and 112 pitches.  Duane Kuiper reported that he had asked Madbum when during the year his mechanics felt best, and Madbum said it was at the end of spring training.  That was right before he got his hand broken.

Todd Hundley launched a home run over the Chevron car in left in the bottom of the 2nd.  Of course, no one was on base.  The Giants loaded the bases with 1 out in the 4th, but grounded into a double play.  The Giants grounded into 5 double plays on the night, including in the 8th and 9th inning.  So that effectively erased all their hits except the Hundley home run (although the Giants actually were the beneficiaries of 3 walks and 1 error).  No matter, it was a punk effort that came up short.  It is going to take better than pretty good pitching to win with this offense.

I was going to post some numbers and thoughts about Madbum, but it's late, and I'll get to that later.

Three to go

The Giants have three games left in their disappointing season and they take on the LA Dodgers who are fighting for a playoff spot. The boys in blue are one game back of the Colorado Rockies for the NL West top spot and a game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for the second Wild Card berth (the Milwaukee Brewers* have clinched the other). The urgency for the Dodgers should add some frisson to the matchups, with nothing left for the Giants but bumping their rivals we could see some good games. Madison Bumgarner gets the call tonight against Hyun-Jin Ryu. Rookie Dereck Rodriguez faces Clayton Kershaw tomorrow, and rookie Andrew Suarez takes on rookie Walker Buehler on Sunday. The Giants, I suppose, are itching to play spoiler. I sure hope so--it's not much but it beats finishing in fourth place. If the Rockies and Dodgers tie, they will play a tiebreaker Monday in LA. If the Cardinals catch up and force a three-way tie, the winner of Monday's game will play in St. Louis on Tuesday to determine the Wild Card, and that game (vs. Cubs or Brewers) would be on Wednesday.



*The Brewers are a game back of the Chicago Cubs and could still win the NL Central. If they tie, they play a tiebreaker Monday in Wrigley.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Walk-off Win!

SF 5  SD 4 (12)
Madison Bumgarner's pinch-hit in the 12th wins it for the Giants, driving in Gorkys Hernandez who had tripled. It was a long and painful game but it was a win, and all wins are to be celebrated especially after four losses in a row. Chris Stratton had an inning from hell in the 3rd and was done by the 5th, and Will Smith blew a save in the 9th, but it all worked out. Gregor Blanco had a clutch pinch-hit to give the Giants a late lead, and Hunter Pence hit a homer. The Giants have 11 wins in 18 games against the Padres, but it doesn't seem like it.

Casey Kelley gets the start tomorrow night. Go Giants!


Monday, September 24, 2018

Takin' one for the Team

SD 5  SF 0
That's Bobby Evans, former minor league administrative assistant and now former General Manager. It was quite a ride and it came to an end after twenty-four years. This is the Giants which means they will keep him around--assuming he wants to stay--and find another job for him. But a new GM is on the agenda for Larry Baer and Brian Sabean. Sabes wants to stay upstairs, his late night poker games are a thing of the past. BobbyE was supposed to do that part of the job but it didn't work out. Brian's a family man, and made the mistake of hiring another like himself. The Giants probably need an outsider who will clash with senior management and ownership now and again just to keep the water in the hot tub fresh. We'll see if they can pull it off. I don't expect anything splashy, like luring Kim Ng away from the Commisioner's Office, but some new blood seems likely.

In the meantime the Giants got shut out by the Padres, at home no less. On the bright side that's only the eighth time they've failed to score at least a run this season. They drop to 4-17 for September, a brisk .190 clip.

Chris Stratton tomorrow night.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Midwest Madbum Matchup

The St. Louis Cardinals came into tonight's game as the 2nd wild card team.  They're in decent shape to end the season in that position, but it's far from certain as the Story-less Rockies, coming off the losing end of a sweep by the doggers (damn it) are not far behind.  The Cardinals played like a team that has designs on playing in the post season.   And the Giants......gave it a pretty good effort themselves.  This was no give-away by the orange and black, but they came out on the losing end by a score of 5 - 3.

Madison Bumgarner on the mound.  He threw 98 pitches to get through 6 innings, and gave up 3 runs on 8 hits and 1 walk.  He struck out 5.  It seems to me like Madison is striking out fewer people per start this year, I'll check at the end of the season to see if that is true.  He still has the smooth, deceptive, sweeping lefty-handed delivery that we're used to, but maybe the league has caught on to him a bit.  At the end of 6, the Giants were behind, 3 - 1.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals' starter, John Gant, couldn't finish the 3rd inning, but they brought in Tyson Ross to get through the 5th.  The Cardinals used a total of 6 pitchers on the night, compared to the Giants' 5 (Okert and Moronta in the 7th, Melancon and Watson in the 8th).  The Giants scored 2 more in the 7th on a Blanco single and a Longoria ground-out to tie the score at 3 all, but Melancon gave up the game in the 8th on a 2-run double to Matt Adams.

The Giants struck out 16 times in this game.  Think about that.  16 times.  That's like coming to the plate with 2 outs per inning in every inning except 1.  Although the Cardinals struck out 8 times, so, like giving away 1 out in every inning except 1.   The announcers were saying something about how the Giants have a hard time hitting fastballs, Buster Posey and Alen Hanson excepted.  That doesn't make sense to me.  I always thought the one criteria for being in the major leagues was that you could hit a fastball, therefore pitchers always needed other pitches.  Is that not true for the Giants?  Evan Longoria had a good game, he is hot at the end of the season, so maybe his broken hand bothered him for a bit longer than his stint on the disabled list would indicate.  No one else had a notable offensive night.  And with this loss, the Giants cannot finish at .500.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Giants Score Five Runs!

SF 5  SD 4
And they needed them all. It tool pluck and luck for the Giants to prevail but prevail they did. The Giants scored eight runs in a loss in Colorado on September 3rd and then scored 2, 3, 2, 3, 3, 1, 1, 1, 2, 3, 2 before Monday's four and last night's five. In the two games before that 8-run outburst the Giants scored a run apiece. So it's pretty exciting to see a five-spot on the board. Derek Holland allowed four runs in his five frames but the relief corps held the line. The Padres missed a game-tying homer in the 9th by mere feet but them's the breaks. Hunter Pence blasted a two-run homer--he's likely in his last days in a Giants uniform, as we know, so appreciate him while you can.

If the Giants run the table they'll finish 82-80. If they win 9 of 10 they'll have a .500 season. Hey, why not? As our friend nomisnala pointed out it was pretty long odds they'd LOSE eleven straight! Improbability is not impossibility.

Chris Stratton starts tonight at 6:10 Pacific. GO GIANTS!


Monday, September 17, 2018

A Win in a Lost Season

SF 4  SD 2
The Giants scored four runs tonight and snapped their streak of eleven consecutive games scoring three or fewer. That, and they were officially eliminated. It should not be overlooked that rookie lefty Andrew Suarez pitched a fine game (7-2/3, 4 H, 2 R). Homers by Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria provided the offense. Rookies Chris Shaw (3 hits), Austin Slater (a superb 9-6 outfield assist), and Aramis Garcia (RBI single) also contributed. At 71-80 the team could win all their remaining games and finish above .500! Even if you think they are a .500 club the probability of winning eleven coin flips is 1/2048 or less than 0.05%. So we won't worry about that.

Derek Holland tomorrow night. GO GIANTS!


Saturday, September 15, 2018

A Twinge of Regret

The Giants won their second consecutive shut out of the Colorado Rockies by a score of 3 - 0,  Madison Bumgarner at 5 - 6 coming into the game against Rockie German Marquez, with a 12 - 9 record.  Marquez has been a mainstay for the Rockies this year, already with 177 IP and a 3.96 era.

The Giants were able to score early, in the 2nd and then again in the 3rd.  A Crawford single and a Hundley double led to the first run on a Slater ground out and the 2nd on a Pence single.  In the 3rd, Madison Bumgarner led of the inning with a double.  Blanco singled, then after a Panik ground out, Longoria was hit by a pitch to load the bases.  A very wild pitch scored Bumgarner, but the Giants left the other runners on base.  That was it for scoring.

Meanwhile, Madison scattered 5 hits, 1 walk and 1 hit batsman nicely over 6 innings.  He threw 64 pitches, striking out 2.  Watson, Melancon and Smith pitched scoreless innings for the win.  And speaking of twinges, Madison Bumgarner left the game after 6 with a twinge in his side.  It was reported that Bruce Bochy "thought he would be ready for his next start."  Let's hope so.

The net result is that LA, after pounding St. Louis by a score of 17 - 4, is now in 1st place.  Fucking great.  The Giants couldn't win when it would do them some good, now they win, only to help the smogsuckers.  The Rockies have yet to go to LA, so they just might have to do things themselves.  The dbacks lost.  There's still a wild card race and St. Louis is not a lock.  In fact, no one is.  Milwaukee lost.  Washington (who beat the Braves) might even have a late season shot.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Stopper Stratton

SF 2  COL 0
I've always hated the idea of a 'stopper' in baseball, it's such a negative thing. Instead of a guy who helps you win you have a guy that stops you from losing. Terrible. But baseball is as much about losing as it is about winning. Kind of like what one guy--I can't remember who--said about writing, that it was really about managing writer's block. I can relate to that. So tonight we got a guy who stopped the losing, and far from a negative thing it was an enormous positive event. I know "enormous" is hyperbolic, by my goodness an eleven-game losing streak is a string of events that even hyperbole can't encompass.

Chris Stratton breathed life into the gasping near-corpse that is the 2018 Giants with a scintillating shutout of the first-place Colorado Rockies. It was his first MLB complete game and the first by a Giants pitcher this season. The 27-year old from Tupelo allowed only two hits and two walks and kept the Rockies from making solid contact all night long with a dazzling array of curveballs and superb command of the fastball and cutter. Despite leading the club in pitcher-wins (10) it has been a hard slog for the former first-rounder. Only half (12 of 25) of his starts have been of the QS variety (min 6 IP, max 3 RA). Eleven times he's lasted five or fewer frames. Eight of those he's allowed four or more runs. But at the end of August he threw eight scoreless against the D-Backs at home and followed that with a solid effort against the Mets. He got rocked in Milwaukee, but responded with his best-ever effort tonight to play the stopper.

The Giants ended their eleven-game slide, the worst in the sixty-year history of the San Francisco franchise. Like I said, baseball is as much about losing as it is about winning. How you manage your losing streaks--and they will come to all ballclubs--says much about you. Just like how players manage those inevitable slumps. They will happen to every one in uniform, no exceptions. The Giants have played themselves into a gaping organizational cavern, and how they'll find their way out is anyone's guess. But at least we can get excited about a terrific performance by a player that will probably be an important piece of next year's team. For tonight, that's all right. Nice work, Strat. Keep it up!


Monday, September 10, 2018

8th inning: 6-12

1st inning: 7-11
2nd inning: 12-6
3rd inning: 6-12
4th inning: 10-8
5th inning: 11-7
6th inning: 8-10
7th inning: 8-10
8th inning: 6-12

That brings the team to 68-76 (.472), fourth place in the NL West, 11 games off the pace. The Giants are winless (0-8) in the month of September. They had already taken themselves out of the race and now they've fallen off a cliff. Starting tonight there is one seasonal inning--18 games--remaining in 2018: six three game sets; four at home (39-30, .565) and two on the road (29-46, .387). The Braves are in San Francisco this week and the Rockies visit this weekend. The Giants then go to San Diego and St. Louis, and finish the season at home with the Padres and Dodgers. There are three Thursdays left in September, all are off-days. The one tiny flickering hope is that LA will need to win those final three games (Sep 29-30) and the Giants can somehow prevent that. But that's a small consolation in a frustrating and ultimately disappointing season.

The team's 557 runs scored (3.87 rpg) is the 5th-worst in MLB and their 613 runs allowed (4.26 rpg) puts them right in the middle of the pack. One of the few bright spots of the season, rookie right-hander Dereck Rodriguez (1.8 fWAR in 97 IP), gets the ball tonight at 7:15 Pacific.

Go Giants!


Sunday, September 9, 2018

Yeah, They Lost Again

It's been almost a week since anybody put out a new post, but the story is the same. An ugly losing streak. The silver lining is some interesting FNGs, I suppose.
Shit, I'm not ready to start caring about the 49ers.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Lefties Labor in Loss

COL 9  SF 8
Madison Bumgarner did not have the good stuff today in Denver. The Giants ace southpaw gave up three homers in his five innings of work, leaving with the Rockies ahead 7-2. Lefty reliever Steven Okert, bucking the day's theme, had an efficient, scoreless 6th. Righty reliever Pierce Johnson kept things quiet in the 7th. The Giants, meanwhile, made an explosive comeback, surging ahead 8-7 with a run in the 6th, two in the 7th, and three in the 8th. Chris Shaw's first major league hit was a spectacular two-run bomb pinch-hitting for Johnson. Alas, Tony Watson gave it back in the bottom of the 8th and the Rockies reclaimed the lead with two runs off the normally stalwart lefty. The Giants score EIGHT runs in one game but still lose. There's the season in a nutshell!