Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Is Torres broken?

Well...I don't think so. But it's a sign of how poor he's been that I have any doubts at all.

I keep expecting Andres Torres to turn it around, but his June was brutal to the tune of a .567 OPS and a decided lack of pop when he did get a hit. What's a bit odd is that he struck out a ton in May and still had a decent month -- he cut down on the strikeouts quite a bit in June, and his numbers plunged.

What I'm worried most about are three things:
  1. His BABIP, which at .281 is going to be somewhere in the vicinity of league average, but for Torres to be the Torres we all know and love it's quite low. In 2010, his batting average on balls in play was .331 and in 2009, it was .347.
  2. His LD% is 13.6, which is low no matter how you cut it, league average usually being somewhere in the vicinity of 18%. This number being low would also explain...
  3. His very low (for Torres, anyway) IsoP of .134 -- Andres just isn't the extra-base hit machine he's been for almost two seasons worth of plate appearances.

Most everything else is in line for Torres -- he's seeing about the same number of pitches per plate appearance, his strikeout rate isn't particularly high, his walk rate is still very good, and his ground ball/fly ball ratio is around the same rate it was the last two seasons.

Those stats still being in the neighborhood of where we've grown accustomed to them being with Torres makes me believe he's just going through a horrendous slump, and he'll break back out at some point...which I dearly hope is very soon. The Giants don't really have a better option in CF, although I'm sure they'll continue to run Aaron Rowand out there like he's some sort of solution -- and Rowand will continue his feast-or-famine (mostly famine) ways at the plate. Torres will always be, of course, a better option defensively.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Double headed

It is so, so difficult to know what to expect from the Giants.

If you look at simple things, you might think that this would be a great opportunity for the Giants to sweep their double-header against the Chicago Cubs today and run their winning streak to seven in a row, gaining at least another 1/2 game on the Arizona Diamondbacks, possibly 1.5 games.

The Cubs aren't very good -- their offense is competent, but their pitching is horrible. Their best starter, Carlos Zambrano, isn't making an appearance today...however, two poor starting pitchers are.

And well, that's the issue with thinking too positively. When the Giants face a team with horrible pitching, rather than the Giants licking their chops, it's the opposing pitchers thinking, "Well, if I can shut down anybody, it ought to be these guys."

But if for no other reason, it's a chance to see Ryan Vogelsong try to extend his dominant streak, and Barry Zito trying to establish himself in his first major league start after coming off the DL.

And, who knows? Maybe the Giants will mess around and score.


UPDATE: It's pretty hilarious that I wrote the above, forgot to publish it, and then peeked at the boxscore and saw the Giants have scored 11 runs in 5 innings.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


First of all, Matt Cain's pitching has been a thing of beauty in June.

(yes, I'm ignoring the June 14th game at Arizona, mostly because I feel like it)

Second of all, good God is it hard to watch this team hit. Or, I should say, watch their plate appearances, since "hit" is a term loosely used with this club.

I retain the impression that certain players are very, very due to heat up -- whether it's Pablo Sandoval settling in after coming back from injury, Andres Torres going on one of his extra-base hit binges, or Aubrey Huff simply being competent for a stretch -- but mostly it's because this is by far the worst hitting team I've ever watched.

The worst team OPS by a Giants team in the last 10 years is .699, and the 2011 Giants are at .658. I guess it's of small consolation that there are several teams that are in that vicinity in the NL, but of those, only the Pittsburgh Pirates are in contention.

(did I just say that? Pirates in contention?)

So, if for no other reason, I'm thinking the Giants are going to score more consistently soon, basically because it's actually pretty difficult to be this horrible at the plate over an entire season.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Remember what I said? Hahaha....I was joking.

I said some several days ago that it was possible that Ryan Vogelsong could be the Giants biggest trading chip, depending on which team came a-calling -- especially teams looking to make a World Series run in 2011. I also said other stuff.

Well, I'm changing one thing and saying something else: 1) there is no doubt he's the biggest trading chip to teams looking to make a World Series run in 2011, and 2) I don't think the Giants can afford to trade him.

The rotation this year has been good, but it's been a bit of a mixed bag -- Tim Lincecum's recent struggles are well-documented, Matt Cain's had a couple of stinkers, Madison Bumgarner has had his stinkers, too (and...well, a stinkBOMB the other day), and Jonathan Sanchez has been trying to redefine the term "powerwalking".

But Vogelsong? Inconsistency? Apparently that's not in his lexicon, unless you're silly enough to look at the rest of his career stats in misguided confusion when comparing it to his 2011 stats.

He's also the reason the Giants are only 1/2 a game out of first.

I was quite unconvinced he would continue to be this good until his recent game vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks. Now, he took a no-decision in that game and the Giants lost, but that's not the point -- he pitched against a good offensive team in a hitter's ballpark, and he held them to two runs over six innings.

At that point, I became convinced. I'm not sure what's changed for him, exactly, but it's quite easy to see that he passes the "eye" test. His games are inarguably well-pitched. He strikes out a decent amount of hitters, and walks very few. Opposing hitters do not square him up often whatsoever, and are running a paltry .571 OPS against.

If he qualified to be counted in league-leading stats (which he should with his next start), he'd instantly lead the NL in ERA, be tied for 6th in WHIP, and tied for 3rd in OPS against.

It's easy to say he won't keep this up, because really, each season there's only a few pitchers that put up those kinds of numbers, period, and he would stand a better chance at it if he was more of a strikeout pitcher. However, that being said, we're at a point now with it where I believe it's time to set aside things like Law of Averages, historical precedents, and other, unimportant things that are usually important, and just...

...enjoy the ride.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It doesn't get any simpler than this

My favorite teams are: 1a) the Kansas City Royals, and 1b) the San Francisco Giants.

Today, a series starts between the Royals, last place in the AL Central, and the Arizona Diamondbacks, 2nd place in the NL West.

Another series starts between the Giants, 1st place in the NL West, and the Minnesota Twins, 4th place in the AL Central.

I'd like the Royals to not be in last place. I'd like the Giants to remain in 1st place.

Okay boys, just head out there and sweep 'em. G'head. You can do it. Never mind that the Diamondbacks look genuinely decent, and thus are better than the Royals. Never mind that the Twins are red-hot, and have been playing much better than the Giants lately.

Do it for me, but mostly, do it for yoursel...ah, screw it. Do it for me, damnit.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

No good reason to feel this way, but..

It almost feels like the rest of the Giants' hitting incompetence so far this season is an anchor, dragging down Pablo Sandoval's OPS lower, and lower...

"C'mon, Pablo! Join the rest of us in sub .800 OPS land! Look! The Oakland A's are there, too!"

Thursday, June 16, 2011

What to do?

Ryan Vogelsong will take the hill tonight vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks. To me, this is an interesting start for "Voggy", as he's called, moreso than his other starts because this will be against a high-scoring team in a hitter's friendly ballpark.

If he manages to throw another gem, the Giants are really going to start to be in a bind with him. A good bind to be in, but a bind nonetheless. For the very short term, the Giants have made the decision that he's simply pitching too well to replace in the rotation with Barry Zito when Zito returns.

For the longer term -- longer as in the next month and change -- what are the Giants to do with him? Teams that want starting pitching for a run at the postseason this year are going to really want Vogelsong -- contracts don't get any friendlier than "minimum", and Vogelsong hasn't been just good, he's been very good.

Furthermore, while at this point the Giants might be more amenable to unloading Jonathan Sanchez, I'm thinking most teams would rather have Vogelsong if they're trying to address their needs for just 2011. I'm sure Sanchez will draw some interest, but 50 walks in 80 innings are going to scare off most teams, I think.

I'm imagining it will come down to what the Giants might be able to get -- they'd be looking for offensive help, of course, but it's difficult to figure out what position any bat would occupy. Short-term help at catcher would be a definite...not sure how often Pablo Sandoval really would catch, but I'm thinking the Giants would want someone they could slot there permanently for 2011 so Panda can slot permanently back at 3rd base.

Shortstop? Well, yes -- but I'm imagining that the New York Mets will be looking for multiple players in return for someone like Jose Reyes, and multiple young players, at that. I'd love a Sanchez and Brandon Crawford for Reyes deal, but I'm just doubtful the Mets would go for something like that.

Beyond that, things are either crowded or muddled by injuries. If the Giants have a chance to get a good-hitting corner outfielder they need to go for it, but that would necessitate some hard decisions -- they've hung onto just about everyone they could from last year's World Series run, but it's a simple fact the outfield is too crowded with guys who just aren't everyday players.

Beyond Andres Torres and Cody Ross, the other three should be viewed as expendable -- again, only if the Giants have a chance at a legitimately good-hitting corner outfielder. Otherwise, they may as well continue to play musical outfield chairs.

Rambling aside, I'm thinking it will really come down to what the Giants can get for Vogelsong, because if he continues to pitch this well, the best move may very well be to not make a move at all -- crowded starting rotation be damned.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Brian Wilson, purveyor of fine pitching

On April 25th, Brian Wilson had a 9.82 ERA -- the result of a few poor early-season outings, a bit of which could have been the result of him shaking off the last vestiges of the oblique injury he returned from on April 6th.

Since that time, he's given up one earned run in 22 appearances.

His WHIP isn't impressive at all at 1.37, and his strikeout rate is down. He's given up quite a few walks, too, which adds up to him having a k/bb ratio of 1.94, which again, isn't impressive.

So how is he doing it to this point? Well, the Beard might walk you, and you might even get a hit off of him. But you know what you're not doing? Getting an extra-base hit. Of the 127 plate apperances against Wilson, hitters have went 25-for-111 with...

Two doubles, zero triples, and zero home runs. Two doubles. I mean, heck, Jonathan Sanchez has four doubles this year by himself in 27 plate appearances.

He's not having as dominant a season as 2010, but he's still finding a way to get it done. This particular way won't last -- bad luck and law of averages will see to it somebody eventually touches him up for a few more doubles and a couple of home runs -- but B-Dub is still shutting them down.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

It's pretty close

Close to gouge-my-eyes-out-in-frustration-with-the-offense, that is.

While the Giants have had some unfortunate injury situations, the way things are shaping up, this will be a very simple period leading up to the trading deadline for Brian Sabean.

Get bats, Brian.

And here's the deal -- should things stay about as they are, he will also need to consider getting bats at the expense of just about everyone on the roster.

Yes, there are untouchables, but if a team comes knocking on Sabes door desperate for starting pitching and wants to talk Jonathan Sanchez or Ryan Vogelsong, he needs to listen. The bullpen should be just about totally expendable, with the exception of Brian Wilson and...possibly...Sergio Romo (Romo, I'm sure, will have a few teams thinking he could close for them, and that could lead to a decent haul in return).

As far as position players, well, many of them are currently the problem, of course, so I'm not sure how much the SF GM could do in trade with them, if anything.

Regardless, while it's great the Giants have managed to put themselves in 1st place, we have to realize that repeating as World Series Champs in the same fashion as last year is unlikely -- they need offense, and they'll have to give up some pitching to get it. Their lead in the NL West is tenuous, if for no other reason than that they're always going to be a batch of bad luck away from a losing streak, and just won't be able to separate from the other teams in the division with how they're currently comprised.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Stupidly Obvious

I will say this...when a team is willing to intentionally walk Aaron Rowand to get to someone, and that someone isn't a pitcher...well, that says quite a bit about that someone's inability to hit.

Hello, Chris Stewart.

At times like this, though, I remind myself that as horrid a hitter as Stewart is, he's still got more hitting talent in the last joint of his pinkie finger than I could dream of having in 6 lifetimes.

Still, though...ugh.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Okay, I'm back now

After spending a couple of weeks in Oregon for work, my inner outdoorsman is now satisfied, and I should have time to write again.

It would also seem I'm way overdue to say Miguel Tejada is done, and get rid of him as soon as possible -- say, when Pablo Sandoval comes back.

I don't really know what Brian Sabean will do, of course, and that's not good -- I think this is just about as simple of a decision as things get in baseball. Tejada is horrible, he's only on a one-year contract, and at this point it's essentially a sunk cost.

Mike Fontenot won't be far behind Panda, so it'll really come down to three players: Tejada, Manny Burriss, and Brandon Crawford.

Crawford is busy making sure it won't be him who will be off the roster -- some timely hitting, some pop in his bat, drawing walks, and playing good defense at shortstop is making sure of that. In other words, things Tejada hasn't done all season. Burriss can play all of the defensive positions Tejada can, can play them a bit better, has even played a game in the outfield, and is more valuable on the bases with his speed.

No brainer, Brian.

Pat Burrell is also done. Not done in a done-with-baseball kind of sense, but being the Pat Burrell he used to be isn't going to happen. He's basically become a Matt Stairs/Jason Giambi kind of player. Pinch-hit him late in games, let him swing for the fences or draw a walk...if he gets on, pinch-run for him.

Coming up soon as well will be the Barry Zito/Ryan Vogelsong decision -- again, I don't know what will be done, here, but in terms of the Giants trying to stay on top in the NL West, it's also a no-brainer. Vogelsong hasn't just been good, he's been very, very good, and even before Zito had his odd injury, Zito wasn't very good in his limited time in 2011.

So...within these next couple of weeks, a few "tough" decisions that really shouldn't be tough at all, including what they'll do with Brandon Belt and Darren Ford when they come off the DL.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Looketh not, if thou art faint of heart

Miguel Tejada went 2-4 in last night's game, which puts him at 7-16 in his last four games. This is good, especially considering how horrible he had been in May prior to this little stretch. But while it's wonderful to see him above the Mendoza line again, the composition of his hits aren't exactly impressive: 1 double, 6 singles.

If you're looking for a sign that Miggy is breaking out of his slump, I don't think you've seen it quite yet. He's been due a little good BABIP luck for a while (his recent streak has brought him to a .235 BABIP), and this recent collection of hits could be his bad luck evening out a bit.

But any real signs that he's turning it around would be in the following categories:
  • More walks. Miggy has never been an on-base machine or anything, but 6 walks in 155 plate appearances is throw-up-in-my-mouth-a-little territory. The only time in his career he was this bad at drawing a walk was in Houston (2008 & 2009), but there he was hitting for decent-to-good average, so at least his on-base % was over .300. But this will only get better if Miggy sees...
  • More pitches. The last time Miggy was this impatient at the plate was...well, just last year during his time with Baltimore, which saw him perform poorly enough to be traded for a AA pitcher. Seeing only 3.3 pitches per plate appearance isn't giving yourself much chance to draw a walk or see a pitch in your hitting zone.
  • More power. Miggy has had essentially no power this year. He's hit just one HR and 7 doubles, and correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think those doubles have been anything other than line shots...so, none of them have been the result of balls hit into the gaps. His IsoP, at just .067, is easily the worst of his career.
  • More fly balls. Miggy's g/f ratio is 1.18, which isn't a huge deal in and of itself, but it is his highest ratio of ground balls to fly balls hit in his career -- for most of his career he's been under 1.00.
Any of those could be signs of a declining, aging player, but all four at once is a sign of a player that is pretty much finished. His line drive % is 12.8, which is absolutely horrible, and really takes away much of the bad luck BABIP excuse -- if he isn't hitting many line drives, we can't really expect much progression to the mean for his BABIP.

I'll continue to have my fingers crossed, but I'm just wondering what contingency plan Brian Sabean has if Tejada keeps this up well into June...and around the time Pablo Sandoval might return.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Was that...offense?

*rubs eyes*

Alright, so here's the deal...I'm just going to call last night pivotal. Not for any reason to do with the standings, although the Giants did regain first place with their win.

I'm going to call it pivotal because of injuries -- two of them, Mark DeRosa and Aaron Rowand, will be especially interesting. I would much rather they not be injured seriously, but if indeed they are injured enough to miss time or even hit the DL, what the Giants do after that will be the interesting part.

First off, DeRosa is done. Time and time again last season, I heard many different things about how DeRosa was helping to provide clubhouse leadership and keep things loose, and considering the Giants won the World Series, that can't be disregarded. I also have heard the same things about him this year, too.

But while you can't put a price tag on such things, I'm going to go out on a limb and say those things aren't worth $12 million over two years. Nor is a sub .200 batting average w/ no power while mostly playing 3rd base -- a position which traditionally should provide some pop.

(and as I'm typing this, they just announced DeRosa will indeed hit the DL)

So, as tough as it is, the business side of baseball needs to kick in, here, and DeRosa needs to be waived. I tend to think that his wrist affected him even while he was playing, and the Giants just can't count on it letting him use his full ability at any point this season. This should mean more starts for Mike Fontenot -- still struggling some with the batting average, but he's still contributing plenty via walks and by hitting for extra bases when he does get a hit. I'm also more confident with Fontenot at SS rather than Miguel Tejada right now.

As far as Rowand...well, I've said enough negative things about him. Suffice it to say, though, that if he hits the DL, it'll should mean more playing time for Pat Burrell and, hopefully, Nate Schierholtz.

While injuries are the last thing I wish upon any player, the fact is that Schierholtz, Burrell, and Fontenot have more to contribute overall than DeRosa and Rowand, and this should help the team's chances for success going forward.

Other tings, mon:
  • Cody Ross looks comfortable at the plate, now, whereas in April he looked like he was pressing to help the team right away. His May slashline: .306/.405/.528
  • Hey, another two hit-day for Miggy -- three cheers for muscle memory
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go back to counting the days until Pablo Sandoval's return.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fun while it lasted, huh?

Aaron Rowand in the month of May: 18 k's in 46 pa's, which means he's striking out once every 2.6 plate apperances.

(UPDATE: With his silver sombrero today, it's 21 k's in 50 pa's, so now it's a strikeout every 2.4 plate appearances in May, or 42% of the time. C'mon, Bruce Bochy, sit this guy.)

That, ladies and gents, is smelly. The only issue in replacing him? Pat Burrell isn't exactly lighting it up offensively, although he's found ways to contribute via the longball and walks...and then, of course, there's his water-buffalo-ness in left field to worry about.

There is, however, one option the Giants have -- one only spoken of in dark whispers in dark alleys on the darkest of nights when the city lights are dark and everyone is in the dark eating dark chocolate and looking at Alvin Dark's stats...

Bring back Brandon Belt. It's not only a cool idea, it's alliterative, too.

This is why they're having him play the outfield in Fresno, right? Brian Sabean made a smart move -- he's seen Aubrey Huff play the outfield like Mike Tyson plays the role of Bobby Brown (badly, in case you're too scared to click that link...and I wouldn't blame you, either). He knows Rowand would be a very good choice in LF if only the NL would hurry up and create the Designated Fielder position. He wouldn't mind Burrell if it weren't for him being so likely to whiff on both breaking balls and line drives hit to either side of him...

Hence, Sabean's clever move in grooming Belt to play a corner outfield position of some sort so that he can come back and immediately have a spot to play every day. At least, that's what I assume the plan was. But when would that happen?

Belt's slashline in Fresno is currently .388/.533./.567 -- maybe Sabean isn't impressed and wants Belt to duplicate Eric Hosmer's .439/.525/.583 before recalling him? C'mon, Brandon...just a few more singles, you slacker.

One would also wonder what the subsequent move would be in regards to the outfielders currently on the big league roster -- Rowand would be a candidate to be waived, although there'd be the small matter of the Giants eating $20+ million in salary. Nate Schierholtz is always brought up in trade discussions, but although he's having a very good year in limited duty, there would be the obstacle of him not being worth much in a trade.

And then there's Darren Ford -- as great of a story as he is, to me this seems like the move the Giants would make. It would allow them to disillusion themselves into thinking that Rowand can still contribute (although sadly, Rowand can still easily outhit Ford), and to keep Schierholtz, even though it would mean that his appearances would mostly be limited to left-handed pinch-hitting duty and late-inning defensive replacements in RF...again.

And while we're lamenting over Rowand's contract, we may as well lament some more over Miguel Tejada's and...Mark DeRosa's.

We are still basking in the 2010 World Series victory, sure, and a ton of that credit goes to Sabean for the roster moves/tweaks he made last season, but that doesn't mean we have to ignore the fact that he's paying about $44 million to those three and Barry Zito in 2011 -- or roughly around 36% of the team's total payroll.


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Were you nervous? Yeah, me neither

I'm laughing quite a bit at the similarities between my two favorite teams, the Kansas City Royals and the San Francisco Giants, who both won 4-3 games last night.

The results speak for themselves. Observe:
  • One-run games: Royals - 15 total, 10-5 record, Giants - 14 total, 11-3 record
  • Overall record: Royals - 19-17, Giants - 20-16
  • Big-time 1B prospects who hit their 1st major league HR against teams I hate:Royals - Eric Hosmer (vs. Yankees), Giants - Brandon Belt (vs. Dodgers)
  • Stupidly fast pinch-running, base-stealing, all-defense, close game-changing CF: Royals - Jerrod Dyson, Giants - Darren Ford
  • Home runs that can get wet: Royals - Water Spectacular, Giants - McCovey Cove
  • Two-letter city nicknames, six-letter team nicknames: KC Royals, SF Giants
  • ...
  • Alright, now I'm just kind of reaching.
How each team got to those results, of course, was very different.

It is stupidly nice to have Andres Torres back -- without him, the Giants are a significantly less potent offensive team.

Also, I propose a rule for Bruce Bochy: to play regularly, your OPS must be higher than Jonathan Sanchez's, currently at .624.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ah, nothing like the smell of doubt and despair...

At least, when it's coming from the Colorado Rockies.

Although the Giants weren't the first to put a hitch in the Rockies' get-along, they certainly made it into a full-blown limp.

Not a pimp limp, either.

But if we look closer at the Rockies recent schedule, they really haven't been right since the Giants Tonya Harding'd them back in mid-April. Since the time the Giants rolled into Denver and took 2 of 3, the Rockies record is a rather pedestrian and unimpressive 6-11. Since they took the rubber match game of that Giants series 10-2, they've only managed to score more than 5 runs one time...and they scored 6 runs in that game.

Sometimes the Rockies' losing ways confound me more than their win streaks.

Now the Giants play the Arizona Diamonbacks, who have remained competitive to this point and haven't yet gone gentle into that good night.

Regardless of the issues the Giants have had with injury and uneven performances from most of their roster, I think we have to be happy that they've managed to negotiate it and still have a winning record*.

*essentially this means I just don't have anything new to complain about

Thursday, May 5, 2011

One competitor fading early, with little hope on the horizon ...

I haven't really reported from the enemy front, but it's not looking like 2011 is going to be the year of the Dodgers. Anyone surprised, raise your hand.

(that's a cricket)

Consider:Long story short ... as players are hitting the DL, the horses aren't there to back them up. With several positions making Hardball Talk's list of worst offensive production by position (and we can't blame injuries for deficient performances from 1B, catcher ... really, the Dodgers have four positions producing less of an OPS than the Astros' pitchers?!?). Start thinking about 2012 and how much that group led by Magic Johnson, Steve Garvey or Mark Cuban will want to spend on a key free agent.

Recipe for disaster

Miguel Tejada
You will need:
  • 1 video clip of Tejada hitting (2011) -- Doesn't matter when -- even when he gets a hit, it tends to look bad.
  • 2 video clips of Tejada fielding (2011) -- The first is usually enough, but you will probably need the 2nd one to prove to yourself that he really looks that immobile and slow
  • 1 Tejada double -- He will do that silly "spotlight" gesture and annoy you
  • 3 Tejada post-non-productive out -- he'll toss his helmet, slam his bat into the turf, smack the rail on the way into the dugout...he'll let you know, in some way, that making an out wasn't what he intended to do, in case you weren't sure. And he'll do it almost every time. And annoy you.
  • Medium Saucepan
You may be able to get all of the ingredients for this recipe in one game...and before you ask, yes, there are medium saucepans available at the game. You may have to break into a few tailgate-equipped SUV's to get one, but they can be had.

Once you have what you need, just mix everything together in the saucepan under low heat. Caution: never use high heat, because any recipe with Tejada can't handle the high heat.

Simmer for about 3 hours, since that's about how long you have to simmer while watching a Giants game with Tejada in it. While simmering, add in expletives to taste.

When it's finished...and by the way, anything made with Tejada in 2011 is finished, trust me...then put it on a paper plate, and stick a fork in it!
Warning: putting anything made with Tejada in 2011 on something that isn't disposable is...well, a waste. Sure, sure, you paid a price for it that dictates the finest of China, but no matter how you prepare the Tejada, it always comes out overcooked. You shouldn't have bought it in the first place.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Command & Conquer

I was looking at Jonathan Sanchez's game log, because it just seemed to me that each time he went out to pitch, there was a sameness to his starts:








Easy enough to see...his starts have all finished more or less within an inning of each other. At either the start of the 6th or 7th inning, he's done. He uses so many pitches either striking people out or walking them, it's hard to let him continue out of fear that he's gassed, or fear that he'll somehow figure out to issue four walks in only two plate appearances*.

This is hardly anything new -- these starts best represent who Sanchez is as a pitcher. Still though, it starts to get odd after a while that he doesn't have a more extreme start in there yet; one where he puts it all together and takes past the 7th inning, or one where he completely unravels and and gets pulled after 3 or 4 innings.

It's still early, of course, but Sanchez's numbers are either impressive or alarming, depending on where one's eyes wander on his stat page:
  • K/9 - 10.91, highest strikeout rate of his career
  • BB/9 - 5.45, highest walk rate of his career
  • HR/9 - 0.27, lowest HR rate of his career
  • OPS Against - .607, lowest of his career
  • OBP - .091, lowest of his career**
Six starts aren't anything to base many conclusions on, if any, but one of two things is bound to happen soon: 1) either all those walks are going to catch up with him and he's going to put out a stinker, or 2) he's going to get it under control and he's going to throw a gem.

*don't put it past him...the man's a world champion, you know
**alright, so that isn't alarming at all, but I needed something else for shock value, and besides, you should've seen the looks on your faces as you tried to figure out how I was going to make Sanchez's hitting stats relevant

Monday, May 2, 2011

A sign of Desperation

I can't watch today's game, so I went to take a peek at the boxscore. Unsurprisingly, it was a 0-0 tie. Besides noticing that the Giants only had one hit when I looked (and Aaron Rowand got his 2nd one as I'm typing this), I noticed a curious thing below that said:

S: F Sanchez

I'm going to have to verify this, but I'm going to go with what I think I'm seeing here -- Rowand led off the game with a double, and while still in the first inning, he was sacrificed to 3rd by Freddy Sanchez?

Is that what things have come to already, that Bruce Bochy feels he should essentially sabotage his team's chances at a big inning and go for a single run at the beginning of a game?

Let's see what we have here:
  1. Giants having a ton of difficulty scoring
  2. Bruce Bochy not having much confidence that his team can put up a crooked number
#1 is obviously true, and if #2 is, also -- Bochy thinking really is the team doesn't have much chance to score in bunches right now -- I don't blame him.

But here's the deal...if you don't think the team can get the hits necessary to put up a big inning, what faith do you have that the single run you're going for in the first inning is going to hold up? It usually takes more than one run to win a ballgame the vast majority of the time, which is precisely why you this shouldn't be done in the 1st inning of a ballgame...while the entire game is an unknown, the objective to be to score as much as possible, and giving away outs in the first inning is in direct contrast to that.

Plus, there's never a guarantee the sacrifice will work, and of course no guarantee you'll score that one run anway...which is exactly what ended up happening.

Hey, it's not to say a team has never put up a crooked number when sacrificing in the same inning, either, but it's just a lot less likely when you give up outs. The Giants are making enough outs on their own without Bochy making more for them.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

When the going gets tough...

Sometimes, it just gets a lot tougher.

So, after just wondering earlier today about some underperforming players on an underperforming offense, in comes the news that one of the very few (read: two) bright spots for the Giants offense this season, Pablo Sandoval, is going to miss 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his wrist*.

The Giants recalled Ryan Rohlinger to replace him on the roster, but there just isn't replacing Panda at the plate. This makes the Mark DeRosa injury more prevalent, too -- not much good going on nowadays with the Giants, their third basemen, and their wrists.

For that matter, the injury situation for the Giants so far this entire season has been pretty bad, hasn't it? Although there's no one on the DL for "gettin' old", this is one of the perils of carrying an older roster -- there's bound to be an extra injury or two here and there.

*varying reports on whether it's technically his hand or wrist, as first reported by that infallible source of sports news, ESPN.com. Duane Kuiper says hand, so I'm going with hand.