Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Matt Duffy????

I saw him smash a pitch up the middle at the August 16 game and thought "this kid can hit!" 

Fast forward a month and a day to Phoenix. It was Duffy's 12th hit in the bigs in his 51st AB. His 5th and 6th RBIs.

 This is what good teams do -- score late and hold down the other team. Here's mlb.com's recap of the 9th inning --

The Giants' ninth-inning uprising against D-backs reliever Addison Reed (1-6) began with Pablo Sandoval's leadoff walk and continued with a single by Brandon Crawford, who went 4-for-4. Pinch-hitter Brandon Belt, ending a prolonged absence caused by concussion symptoms, walked on a 3-2 pitch to load the bases.
Up came Duffy, who rapped a 3-2 pitch to center field, delivering Sandoval and Crawford.
Sergio Romo (6-4) pitched a scoreless eighth to earn the win. Santiago Casilla recorded his 17th save and second in two days.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

6-1, 1.13 ERA

That's Jake Peavy's record over his last seven starts.

Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle makes the point that he's now the No. 2 starter on the staff of a team that's heading for the postseason (as long as there aren't any more losing streaks longer than one game!)

Here's the first half of the game story. Boldface is mine. 

 
PHOENIX — Buster Posey was just commenting on how Jake Peavy always tries to think one step ahead when Peavy revealed he already is contemplating the series opener in Los Angeles on Monday night, which he will start.
“I'm not going to lie to you,” Peavy said. “I was just in the shower thinking about Dee Gordon. Isn't that crazy? I was in the shower thinking about how I'm going to get Dee Gordon out.”
Is that any crazier than the numbers Peavy has been posting? He is 6-1 with a 1.13 ERA in his past seven starts, including a 2-1 victory against the Diamondbacks on Tuesday night that moved the Giants three games behind the Dodgers for first place in the National League West.
“Tonight was big,” Peavy said. “We had to have it the way we lost he last three. I feel very blessed to feel healthy and be a contributing factor for a team fighting for our lives every day.”
Peavy is contributing more than the Giants could have hoped when they acquired him from the Red Sox for two waning pitching prospects, Edwin Escobar and Heath Hembree.
Peavy gave Boston the same lift after a midseason trade with the White Sox last year and said, “I do have experience being thrust into that situation.”
If Madison Bumgarner is the clear No. 1 — he goes for his 19th win in the series finale Wednesday — Peavy is the equally clear No. 2, which will be reflected in any postseason rotation.
On Tuesday, Peavy made Buster Posey's 21st homer and a Brandon Crawford sacrifice fly stand for the Giants' 83rd win. He allowed one run in 72/3 innings, matching his longest start with San Francisco.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Yusmaddux Petit?

Grant Bisbee at McCovey Chronicles proposed that as a nickname for Yusmeiro -- who pitched very well today in a 4-2 loss to the dodgers and was done in by crappy fielding.

It's an amusing aspect to what was otherwise a lousy day which I won't dwell on ....

I  know what you're thinking. Hold on. There are times when Petit reminds you of Greg Maddux, even if in an abstract way. Petit threw 62 strikes and 20 balls on Sunday. That's kind of like Maddux, right? He mixed and matched, hit his spots, and at his best, completely confused hitters. His masterpiece last week was almost as good as Maddux's best game. Hey, he's a control maven who can miss bats. If we can compare every skinny Dominican pitcher with a changeup to Pedro Martinez -- "You traded Felix Diaz for Kenny Lofton? But he's the next ..." -- we can compare Petit to Maddux.
So, Yusmaddux Petit.
You hate it because Petit was a minor league free agent who may or may not be a worthwhile rotation experiment on a contending team. Greg Maddux was one of the best pitchers in baseball history.
Except you're missing the beauty. When he hangs a slider and gives up a 400-foot dinger, you can turn to the person sitting next to you and dismissively say, "Yeah, Mike Maddux."
He is both. He is a master of command. He can be hard to hit. He can be easy to hit. He can strike batters out. He can give up long home runs. He is a blessing and a curse, but mostly a blessing. He is the Maddux brothers in one package, kind of like the Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt split cartridge, except your cousin dropped your light gun in the toilet last year, so you can't even play the other game. Yusmaddux Petit.
Okay, maybe not.
Sorry.
More like Mike Maddux. Who was actually pretty okay, looking back.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Back to April 4

Dodgers are up just 1 game now.

The Giants lit up Hyun-Jim Ryu at the dodgers home opener five months ago and clobbered him tonight in SF.

He only lasted one inning and gave up 4 runs; it was a great way for me to come home after a tough workweek. So now we've avoided the worst case scenario of a dodger sweep, like they got in late July in SF.

Here's part of the LA Times coverage --


Replacing Ryu in the second inning with Chris Perez wasn't what the Dodgers had in mind when they realigned their rotation so that their three best starters could pitch in this series. Zack Greinke will pitch Saturday and Clayton Kershaw on Sunday.
Something was clearly wrong with Ryu, as the majority of his fastballs were clocked at under 90 mph.
"I kind of felt it a little bit during the warmup session before the game," Ryu said. "It's something that I normally feel, but in the inning, it got very uncomfortable and I wasn't able to execute the pitches I normally execute. The results showed."
Indeed, Ryu was uncharacteristically hittable. He gave up successive one-out doubles to Joe Panik and Buster Posey, resulting in the Giants' first run.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Peavy Power

What's not to like? What a turnaround this guy has made since being traded from Boston, per John Shea in the SF Chron -- 

The Giants are in the position they’re in — two games behind the first-place Dodgers — in large part because of Peavy, who’s 5-1 with a 1.12 ERA in his past six starts. In that stretch, the Giants are 18-8.
Peavy’s impact hasn’t gone unnoticed by teammates.
“He brings a lot of intensity, he brings a lot of energy, he brings a lot of veteran leadership, he brings a lot of guts,” Hunter Pence said. “He’s been a big charge to this run we’ve made. That energy is exciting to be around. It’s a different dugout when he’s in it.”
Said Buster Posey, “He’s a vocal guy. We don’t have a ton of vocal guys on the team. When he gets to saying things, people will listen.”
Sometimes the wrong people. On Aug. 24, both Peavy and fellow starter Tim Hudson, neither of whom pitched that day, were ejected by third-base umpire Paul Emmel, who tossed Hudson for arguing that the Nationals’ Stephen Strasburg wasn't coming to a proper stop from the stretch.
Emmel tossed Peavy for supporting Hudson.
“Sometimes that’s part of being a good teammate, trying to keep umpires accountable,” Peavy said. “But you try to stay in the game.”
Peavy struck out eight batters Thursday, five in the first two innings, and walked none. He gave up six hits and one run, coming in the sixth on Cliff Pennington’s triple and Mark Trumbo’s double.

Lincecum off the playoff roster?

Steve Berman of CSNBay Area speculates that the Giants -- who are leading the NL Wild Card race by 5 games -- will leave Tim Lincecum off the 25-man postseason roster. 

The story was posted before the Giants won 5-0 over the Dbacks on 2 hits. Tim warmed up in the second inning but did not get into the game. Here's most of the Berman story --

Lincecum has looked shaky in his new role. He gave up three runs (two earned) at the end of a 15-5 win over Milwaukee. He pitched a clean ninth inning in the Giants' 8-2 victory on Saturday in Detroit, but nearly gave up an opposite-field home run to Nick Castellanos in the process.
Enter Hunter Strickland. He has three relief appearances in September compared to just one for Lincecum, and his numbers are impressive – both on the radar gun and in the boxscore (three innings, no runs, three strikeouts).
"We've got to keep (Strickland) sharp. We can't keep them all sharp, but he's one of those guys that I, Rags, Gardy, we all feel comfortable with him in a setup type role," Bochy said.
Bochy isn't just comfortable using Strickland in higher leverage situations than Lincecum, that's exactly what he's done since the day he was called up. His first big league outing was in the eighth inning at Coors Field, in a game where the Giants were only down by two runs.
With only 18 games left and a five-game lead over the third place team in the wild card race, Bochy certainly has put some thought into who'd make the postseason roster. Lincecum thrived as a "super sub" type reliever in 2012, but the current roles don't lie. One of the five current starters – Petit, in all probability -- would be the long reliever, and clearly Bochy trusts Strickland more than Lincecum in the later innings right now.
Things could change, but Lincecum has only pitched twice in the last 15 games. The Giants are known for being loyal to their veterans with track records, but Bochy has left a struggling former Cy Young winner off his postseason roster before. Just ask Barry Zito.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Bumgarner's 17th

Madison Bumgarner is the first Giants pitcher to win 17 games since Tim Lincecum in 2008. The stat is overemphasized -- since teams like the Giants rely so heavily on their pens -- but I'm seriously impressed. 

Zo at Raising (Matt) Cain has a solid post -- 

When Madison Bumgarner pitches, you think of these kind of descriptors:  dominant, efficient, damn near unhittable.  He was none of those things.  Here is a comparison with his last couple of performances:
Today vs. Detroit              6 IP,  10 hits,  3 runs,  2 home runs,  0 BB,  0 K,  100 pitches, 66 strikes
Aug. 31 vs. Milwaukee     6 IP,    5 hits,  1 run,   0 home runs,   1 BB, 7 K,   96 pitches, 63 strikes
Aug. 26 vs. Colorado        9 IP,    1 hit,    0 runs, 0 home runs,   0 BB,  13 K,  103 pitches,  80 strikes

I'm not suggesting that something is wrong with Madison, today though, he struggled.  Detroit hit the ball hard, and even the fouls were loud.  However, he picked up his 17th win.  It is popular these days to poo-poo wins for pitchers, but the Giants did not have any pitcher to achieved 17 wins in 2013.  Also in 2012, no pitcher achieved 17 wins.  That was true for 2011 and also for 2010.  The last pitcher to get 17 wins on the Giants was Tim Lincecum in 2008 (who, by the way, had an excellent inning last night).

Buster Posey is now 33 for his last 65 at bats dating back to August 21.  If you throw in the May 22 make-up game finished on Monday, September 1, he is 34 for 66.  Today, a single, a double and a home run.  Including today, 7 home runs since August 21.  Rbis for Joaquin Arias, Pablo Sandoval, and 2 for Andrew Susac, whose first inning double drove in Hunter and Pablo for the 3rd and 4th runs.  Tomorrow, Tim Hudson against newbie Kyle Lobstein. 

Cabrera wins the battle, Giants win the war

Miguel Cabrera dissipated a little bit of the memory of him taking a strike 3 called from Sergio Romo to end the 2012 World Series today. Hit a homer off Romo today to cut the lead from 5-3 to 5-4 in the 8th.

The Giants still won and are now 14 over .500.

The Fox guys were far less obnoxious than normal. One of them pointed out the 2012 team went 19-8 in September and the 2010 team was 18-8. These guys are 9-2 over the last 11 games.

Here's part of the recap from Henry Schulman of the SF Chron --

Detroit – On the final pitch of the 2012 World Series, Miguel Cabrera expected a slider. Sergio Romo threw a fastball. History was made.
On the first pitch of the eighth inning Saturday it was Romo vs. Cabrera again. Cabrera got his slider, a hanger, and he did not miss it, slamming his second homer of the game over the left-field fence.
The personal battle ended differently, but the game outcome was the same. Despite Cabrera’s second homer of the game, the Giants held on to beat the Tigers 5-4.
Romo had inherited a 5-3 lead from Jean Machi when Cabrera took him deep. The reliever recovered to retire the next three hitters and walked off the mound after freezing a different hitter with a strike-three fastball, Nick Castellanos.
Santiago Casilla saved it.
The Giants won for the ninth time in 11 games and clinched the series ahead of Sunday night’s ESPN game.
They also won their first series in an American League park since taking two of three in Oakland in 2012.



Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Panik, Susac, Duvall

Joe Panik and Andrew Susac have come up big for the good guys. Adam Duvall had a key hit in tonight's glorious 12-7 comeback win in Denver. Of course, it is Denver so who knows how they'll do when a breakingball actually breaks.... Andrew Baggarly of CSNBay Area explains -

Rookie Andrew Susac provided the lift coefficient as the Giants began to rally from a six-run deficit in the sixth inning. He hit a two-run home run and added an RBI double, rookie Joe Panik had another productive game in the No.2 hole and the prize melon of the patch, Buster Posey, collected four RBIs on three extra-base hits as the Giants took a 12-7 victory over the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field.

The Giants are getting such steady production from Susac – a trio of three-RBI games in 12 career starts – that manager Bruce Bochy acknowledged he might look to play the young catcher more often and put Posey at first base, especially while Michael Morse and Brandon Belt remain out of action.
Susac is producing. Panik reached base three times ahead of Posey, he has a .314 average and is doing a fair impression of Marco Scutaro, circa 2012. Adam Duvall stung a pinch RBI single to account for the Giants’ first run. Matt Duffy has pitched in here and there. Hunter Strickland hit 100 mph in his major league debut Monday.