Thursday, September 11, 2014

Gints Sweep Up The Snakes - Onto the Main Event - Series Rundown #46

Murph Finally Gave Out 22 To A Playah Photo: SF Gate

The Giants took care of business behind some stellar, stellar starting pitching.  Of course it was the lowly Diamondbacks, but they still needed to get these wins.  Great job.

How clutch has Jake Peavy been?  2.99 ERA, 7.8 H/9, 3.25 K/BB and 2 HRs allowed over 8 starts.  6 of 8 Quality Starts, the Giants are finally taking advantage, they are 4-4 in his starts.  Yet another lucky trade by a bumbling crew of Vet Lovers.  TM

A note on the sweep: you don't want to be that idiot at the park with a broom.  Bad juju.

And a note on the kids: you don't want to be that idiot calling the farm system a "nuclear wasteland" when a strong candidate for rookie of the year gets called up the next day.  Bad juju.

September 9 Giants 5, D-backs 1
September 10 Giants 5, D-backs 0
September 11 Giants 6, D-backs 2

Keys to the series: Play to win Bochy!  Any flagging needs pen replacement before it gets out of hand.  Giants are 8-5 against the D-backs, they play six of the next 9 against them.  6-6 against the Padres, they get them for 7 more.  And 7-6 against the Bums, six more.  Goldschmidt won't be around to haunt Timmy, and the D-backs look pretty punchless.  Score runs, hold leads, win these games.  Don't look forward to the Dodgers series for the weekend.

There was no flagging.   The Starters were horses.  The Giants are now 11-5 against the D-backs, and need to pour it on next time.  Now its time to go looking for the Dodgers.

Good hitting: Matt Duffy with a beautiful pinch hit double to break open the 2nd game.  Gregor Blanco has come alive.  Don't look at his WAR score now!  Joe Panik with a 5 for 5 in the opener, shut out the next two - but missed a splash hit by inches.  Andrew Susac didn't get much play but showed some maturity.

Bad hitting: I'm still not sold on backing up the Brink's Truck on Pablito.  He did have a nice RBI hit late, but his impatience and desire to be the hero just doesn't produce enough runs via the old Ribeye.

Good pitching: Petit was awesome.  Vogey was shaky, yet awesome.  Peavy is a red ass competitor who is really young still.  Re-sign him with a quickness!

Bad pitching: Nope.

And now... its the season, coming at ya harder than you think:
Bumgarner/Ryu
Hudson/Greinke
Petit/Kershaw

Keys to the series: Score first.  Keep the good juju in the park going.  No let down from the Ace, that beautiful lefty from North Carolina who is STILL younger than a lot of the best prospects in baseball.  Buster Posey needs to find his chance and strike.  New hero every night?  2 down with 16 to play!  This is all out excitement, if you're not in now you don't have a pulse.

Almost like playoff baseball.  Every pitch counts, play is racheted down, runs count more than ever.  Gotta keep Puig cold and Donnie Baseball hot.  The Giants have a couple of big advantages in Bochy and their superior defense.  Gotta take advantage, and not have Hanley Ramirez go on a rampage.  On that note, its awesome Blanco is playing well, his defense is incredible, its much better to have Morse coming off the bench in a series like this (50-50 chance apparently).

This is what it's all about.  The chance to play meaningful baseball in September.  Viva Los Gigantes!  I love, love, love this team.  I like the personalities, I like the makeup, and who can argue with the results?  You're in the golden age of Giants baseball.  Enjoy the hell out of it!

Its not how you start, its how you finish!

Series Rundown Recap:
Giants have 27 series wins on the year, 17 losses, 2 splits.  6 series wins have been sweeps, 5 series losses have been sweeps

Playoff Watch: 2.0 back of the Dodgers in the NL West with 19 to play; Giants in the lead for the first wild card.  Pittsburgh 2nd WC, 4 back of Gigantes, followed by Brew-Crew 5.5 and Bravos 6.0.

16 to play, magic numbers start coming out soon.
 
Giants won their 81st game, they keep playing like this they have a good shot at 90 wins.  We'll see where they end up, but this is a veteran, dangerous team that nobody wants to play in the playoffs.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Tank Tank Tank

So while the wild card and divisions come into focus (KC/Detroit and LA/SF the only real division races at this point, maybe the NL Central with the Cards up 4.5 at the moment)...

The losing teams get to start looking at harvesting draft picks.  The usual suspects are front and center of course: Cubs, Astros with their smartest guy in the room GMs tanking for effect, booooey!

Most losses in MLB:
Texas Rangers 89
Arizona D-backs 84
Colorado Rockies 84
Minnesota Twins 82
Houston Astros 80
Boston Red Sox 80
Chicago Cubs 79
Chicago White Sox 79
SD/Philly/Cincy 76
Tampa/NY Mets 75
The Marlins are the only other team with 70 or more losses, 72 currently.

Can I just point out there are a whole lot of "Smartest guy in the room types" who are highly (over)rated as GMs in this group?  Sheparding yet another year of losing along.  There are also a couple of grossly incompetencies, most notably in the NL West. 

I remember a couple years ago, there was a lot of angst about the D-backs high draft picks and big time pitching prospects.  Funny how it works out sometimes eh? 

I'd propose a lottery style top ten to discourage tanking to some degree, something along the lines of the NBA (where tanking is even more blatant despite).  While the 2nd wild card has discouraged the trade deadline and made more teams try to stick it out, there is also a whole lot of intentional tanking.  If I was a fan of any of these top ten teams (with the exception of the Rangers and Red Sox) I would be completely sick of the losing ways.  And as we look at the NL West, the Dodgers are lined up against a lot more tanking than your hometown heroes.

How long should it take to build a competitive team?  Here's some of the postseason droughts in MLB right now:
Royals 28
Blue Jays 20
Mariners 12
Marlins 10
Astros 8
Padres/Mets 7
White Sox/Cubs 5

The Royals have a shot at it!  This is awesome.  The Jays are fading and I'll tell you why - their GM doesn't understand how to build a pitching staff.  The Mariners and their Wizard of Oz GM who collects DH types is on the fringe of the playoffs, it'd be sweet to see King Felix get to the postseason, anything can happen.  The Marlins are a miserable excuse for a franchise with their 2 rings through Los Gigantes and I hate them with a passion.  And then some lesser droughts. 

What about World Series droughts?
Cubs 105
Indians 65 (Shoulda traded for Javy Lopez last year guys, you never know when you're getting back)
Rangers 53 *Never won
Astros 52 *Never won
Brewers 45 *Never won
Padres 45 *Never won
Nationals/Expos 45 *Never won
Mariners 37 *Never won
Pirates 34 - busted up their postseason missing streak last year and are in the thick of the WC
Orioles 30 - basically almost clinched in the AL East
Tigers 29 - holding on to WC and Division Title ambitions
Royals 28 - won the World Series, haven't been back to the playoffs since
Mets 27 - Two incredible championships but young Mets fans are among the bitterist in B-ball
Dodgers 25 - you knew I was going to put it down.
A's 24 - from best in baseball to holding onto the Wild Card.

That's half of baseball, waiting over a generation for some real fun.  Giants fans are spoiled rotten right now.  And these Tank teams with their awesome farm systems... have no guarantee of future success.  Enjoy the here and now, the race for the division is where its at.  But getting in to the dance any way any how is pretty sweet as well.

2 outta 3 In The Streets Of Detroit - Series Rundown #45

Seems like a let down to lose on Sunday Night Baseball (Giants never seem to play well on ESPN), but that's what happened.  I tuned in for the Giants big chance: Pagan and Panik with 1st and 3rd one out, both .300 hitters popped up.  Timmy Hudson seems to never pitch to a lead, lets in a couple runs that he can't recover.  Still, big series win against a good team.

September 5 Giants 8, Tigers 2
September 6 Giants 5, Tigers 4
September 7 Tigers 6, Giants 1

Good Hitting: Buster Posey is unworldly right now.  13 for 23 in the past 7.

Bad Hitting: Pablo Sandoval is cold as ice aside from a dinger and 4 singles in the past 7. 

Good Pitching: Jake Peavy has been a season saving pickup.

Bad Pitching: Bumgarner and Hudson need some better performances in the next 3 weeks if the Giants want to do this thing.

Shank's Keys to the series: don't let up with the hitting.  Get the starter mojo back.  Use the extended roster to hustle ineffective pitching out the door.  Hit some bombs.  Don't get clocked by David Price - Giants have not been great versus lefties this year.

Well, the Gigantes handled Price in the 1st inning, and it held up.  They got stuffed by lefties the rest of the way though.  

What were the Dodgers doing?  Kicking down the D-backs door and pee-ing in their pool.  They go 15-4 against those gritty grit dogs.  Why Gibson has a job still is beyond me.  So now can the Giants do the same, at home, where they have struggled?

Petit/Miley
Vogelsong/Collmenter
Peavy/Delgado

Keys to the series: Play to win Bochy!  Any flagging needs pen replacement before it gets out of hand.  Giants are 8-5 against the D-backs, they play six of the next 9 against them.  6-6 against the Padres, they get them for 7 more.  And 7-6 against the Bums, six more.  Goldschmidt won't be around to haunt Timmy, and the D-backs look pretty punchless.  Score runs, hold leads, win these games.  Don't look forward to the Dodgers series for the weekend.

Series Rundown Recap:
Giants have 26 series wins on the year, 17 losses, 2 splits.  5 series wins have been sweeps, 5 series losses have been sweeps

Playoff Watch: 3.0 back of the Dodgers in the NL West with 19 to play; Giants in the lead for the first wild card.  Pittsburgh 2nd WC, 3.5 back of Gigantes, followed by Braves/Brew Crew 4.0 back of Gigantes.

With 19 to play, the Giants can still collapse and miss the postseason.  Have to win every series to keep up. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

We got half a tank of gas...

22 games to go.  Six head to head, mano a mano.  Here's how it shakes out for the two rivals:

Dodgers: 3 at home V Arizona, 3 at home V San Diego, 3 on the road V Los Gigantes
Then 3 on the road V Colorado, Then 4 on the road V the hapless draft pick boottop lickin' Cubbies. 
3 at home V Los Gigantes, and close at home with 3 V the Rockies.

Advantage: Trolly Dodgers.

Giants: 3 on the road V Detroit, 3 at home V Arizona, 3 at home V Los Doyers
Then 3 on the road V Arizona, 3 on the road V San Diego, then 3 on the road V Los Doyers.
Closing at home V San Diego.

Dodgers get the Cubs and Rockies.  Giants get the Tigers.  The Dodgers have rolled Gritty Gibson's D-backs something fierce.  How the Giants handle them will be the 2nd best story next to... Mano a Mano.

I want to see what Joe Panik does versus what Joc Pederson does.  Lots of hype about that guy. 

Giants are 2 out of a tie, 2 up on the first wild card.  Not a bad position.  Its the Dodgers lead to blow.  And head to head can really help.  But the Giants can't afford to let up against the weaker teams. 

Like Flounder, I'm rubbing my hands...  This is gonna be great!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Giants Get Coors'd - Series Rundown #44

Lost the season series to these mooks.  Boo
The Giants came in streaking, had themselves a hickup.  Won a delayed game, lost a game they had in hand, won a game they didn't have in hand, then gave up a ton of gopher balls..  So it goes...

Shank's Keys to the Series: Do what you just did!  Pitchers pitch well, defenders defend and the batters go apeshit.  Pablo Sandoval, you're in a contract year!  Posey, you've had some doubters!  Pence, your stat line needs some padding!  You rookies, its time to put up some positive babip.  And no bullpen meltdowns.

Pablo Sandoval got cold.  Posey got MVP hot.  Pence is the 6th most valuable hitter in MLB right now, according to the WARs.  Posey coming on fast.

There was some bullpen silliness, and the starters didn't hold leads.  Its Coors Field, enough.

September 1 Rockies 10, Giants 9
September 2 Giants 12, Rockies 7
September 3 Rockies 9, Giants 2

Good hitters: Posey has some competition with Andrew Susac - dude can hit for power.  Joe Panik continues to get hits.

Bad hitters: Pagan's back had better be OK.  Pablo's excuse?  Crawford is on the verge of getting out of this category.

Good pitchers: George Kontos!  The 100 MPH cheddar guys Cordier and Strickland.  The Gigantes have the lowest velocity pen in the majors.

Bad pitchers: Vogey put up bad juju.  The pen was pretty weak.

Onto Detroit for 3, with a day off.
Peavy/Porcello
Bumgarner/Price
Hudson/Lobstein (8PM EST - ESPN)

Keys to the series: don't let up with the hitting.  Get the starter mojo back.  Use the extended roster to hustle ineffective pitching out the door.  Hit some bombs.  Don't get clocked by David Price - Giants have not been great versus lefties this year.

Series Rundown Recap:
Giants have 25 series wins on the year, 17 losses, 2 splits.  5 series wins have been sweeps, 5 series losses have been sweeps

Note: the May 25 series is now concluded, its a W for the good guys.  They pick up a win, a loss and lose a split.

Playoff Watch: 2.0 back of the Dodgers in the NL West - that's a race for the ages about to happen; Giants in the lead for the first wild card.  Brew Crew holding 2nd, 2.5 back.  Cards .5 back of them, Pittsburgh 2 back.  Keep on the Doyers boys, the Bums Lost today.  Giants lose 2 of 3 but gain a 1/2 game because of the continuation win.
 

Score Board Time

Baggs gets The Ninja to throw out a quote.

“I’ll keep saying it: It’s not that bad a farm system,” said Tidrow, the organization’s longtime pitching and development guru. “We always have what we need.
“Half the players on this team were traded for players in our farm system,” Tidrow said. “The other players who are here came through our farm system. Is it great they’re doing something for us instead of being traded to get something else? Of course. That’s always the goal. But the point is, (the system) has contributed what we’ve needed over the years.”

The Giants get hammered for their farm, for some reason.  To me, its pretty silly, once you get deep into the draft and the minors.  I've done the comp analysis, and I stick with what I've said all along: they have an excellent sleeper system.

Joe Panik.

Andrew Susac.

Matt Duffy.

Adam Duvall.

By the way, that article hints at Susac being asked about constantly. He was the one guy I really, really didn't want the Giants to give up, and I'm pretty sure they're pretty happy with that decision.  Sometimes its hard to make a trade when the main guy getting asked for (cough: Matt Cain) is somebody you just don't want to trade.

Love all this hitting.  There was a fiction that got started right around the Moneyball hype and Barry Bonds riding into the sunset.  It was this: the Giants don't understand hitting, can't develop it or get a league average offense.  Its a hilariously bad analysis.  I remember one blogger claiming that all the good hitters were Dusty Baker's doing.  That was hilariously bad analysis. 

The early Sabean years were awesome.  You think he was lucky with Jeff Kent - a trade that got him two middle infielders and a couple pen arms mind you - then go explain JT Snow.  He brought in an entirely new infield and the Giants suddenly started winning.  That offense was gigantic. 

Sabean recognized early that the next era of baseball was going to be pitching dominated.  He's said it again and again in his typical gruff manner.  Well, the Giants are actually behind on their pitcher whisperer rep right now and way ahead on the hitting front.  Topsy turvey world we live in.

Onto the SCORE BOARD, version 2, electric bugaloo:
With a month to go...

Hunter Pence, 6th overall in F/G WAR score in the majors.  5.4 WARs.  How you like that contract now?  Shall I go try and find Ellsbury and Choo?  Ellsbury is 36th, with 3.9 WARs.  Choo is 132nd with 0.2 WARs.  Ouch.  Hey, I've been saying John Daniels is overrated for the past two years as he goes from oh so close to some serious bungling decision making. 

The Pence contract is looking like the best deal of last (almost) offseason.  The Giants stepped up and got their guy, he's the cheapest of the big name OFs, and he's performed the best.  Plus the intangibles.  Like playing every inning, hustling every ground ball. 


Way to go Greybeards.

Another Round of Call Ups

Downtown Gary Brown, come on down.

The enigma wrapped up in a mystery that is the former first round pick gets to the show.  Plus defense in CF, a checkered baserunning history and a stubborn batting stance.  I'm psyched to see what he can do.

Brett Bochy.

Lots of ink on Melonhead Jr.  Control artist, it'll be interesting to see if he can stick with non-plus velocity (which seems to be the norm these days in MLB pens).

Adam Duvall.

Welcome back again big guy.  Big RBI guy.  I'll say it one more time - Duvall comes through the Cards system its "where do they GET all these guys?!".  Giants are for whatever reason not as hyped up.  They've got players fo sho.

Chris Heston - soft-tossing righty has put in a ton of work.  Didn't fare well in his first time on the 40, now he gets another shot. 

Erik Cordier - former top prospect, throws gas big time.  Has some, er... problems with control.  Well you sometimes get one or the other, you get both and you have some dy-no-mite on your hands.

The interesting promotion for me is the Richmond one from SJ: first up, here's Rizzo's excellent review of the year.  Daniel Carbonell and Tyler Horan are rostered for the Eastern League playoffs, which begin today at 3PM pacific.  Mitch Delfino and Tyler Rogers go as well.  Delfino has been a great sleeper.  Horan has mashed everywhere he's gone.  And Brian Ragira had a scorching 2nd half at SJ.

Carbonell might just be the most important position player prospect for Los Gigantes though.  If he does well in a couple games at Richmond, do they bump him up to the show?  He's already on the 40.

As a long time fan of Gary Brown, I"m psyched for him to get the shot.  Making the show is hard as hell.  Grinding through the minors is hard as hell.  With the expectations of 1st round picking, it can add a layer.  I remember the first time I saw him play he walked off on the Dodgers in a late ST game.  That always helps with the fondness.  Go get em Downtown!