This week begins with the Giants a half-game out of first-place in the NL West but a half-game up for the first wild card spot, though it is only July 7th. By now, Jeff Samardzija‘s arrival to the Oakland A’s rotation has been well documented, and since he pitched yesterday for the A’s against the Toronto Blue Jays, there’s no reason why he should be starting any of the next four games against the Giants in this July Bay Bridge Series. These two teams were once the top two teams in the league, but now it’s only the Athletics at the top among the Bay Area teams. Since the two will be squaring off in Oakland, it will give the Giants a chance to DH someone the next two games and really show off their bats on the bench. Or something.
Tonight’s #sfgiants lineup: Pence RF Panik 2B Belt 1B Posey C Morse DH Colvin LF Blanco CF Arias 3B Crawford SS Vogelsong RHP
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) July 7, 2014
The Athletics have a catcher in the #2 spot in John Jaso and he actually has a .352 OBP on the year. Huh.
I know very little… ok, I know nothing about Jesse Chavez, so I needed to do some digging on him, and thank goodness Brooks Baseball can help me out a little bit:
Nothing overwhelming, but four pitches he can use to keep the hitters off-balance, although he has suffered a .303 BABIP against in 103.0 IP this year. His ERA and FIP in the low-mid 3’s suggest a solid starter here for the A’s. Here’s a look at how hitters have fared off of his pitches this year, including nine home runs allowed (just to prove he’s not untouchable):
The cutter, as you see in the chart, is his most used pitch and on his pitch usage page, it’s shown he will lean on it in any situation. Speaking of pitch usage, here’s what Ryan Vogelsong‘s looks like for the 2014 season:
Since there’s so much relatively even distribution between Vogey’s pitches, it’s not the worst thing in the world if let’s say, the cutter doesn’t show up, but he also doesn’t necessarily have the type of over-powering stuff to give you the reassurance that he might be able to handle that missing command. To continue my back-and-forth with myself, Vogelsong does have fifteen strikeouts in his last two starts over thirteen innings, so perhaps something is clicking and those NL Central teams he faced were matchups to further gather confidence for Vogey.
Other news from other places:
Arizona SP Bronson Arroyo is going to be done for the year and probably the first-half of 2015 as he bows out for Tommy John surgery. As if the Diamondbacks didn’t need more reason to go into sell mode, here we are.
Bronson Arroyo made his last 3-5 starts on basically a fully torn UCL. Crazy thing is he did really well in that stretch. — Tyler Lockman (@TylerLockman) July 7, 2014
Also, how crazy is it a guy who had NEVER been on the DL in 15 seasons goes on once and needs TJ? Tough break for Arroyo. — Tyler Lockman (@TylerLockman) July 7, 2014
Arroyo says he’s not done pitching. Confident he can come back post Tommy John and win even with slower stuff. — Tyler Lockman (@TylerLockman) July 7, 2014
Tim Kawakami posted the script from his conversation with Giants GM Brian Sabean, where Sabean notes the Giants tried calling on Samardzija, but talks never progressed as the Cubs didn’t see the Giants as a match. He also says other clubs have been told since before the month started that there are no untouchables in the organization, and that speaks to the lack of elite talent in the Giants system. A mid-season State of the Giants conversation that I recommend all Giants fans take a look at.
Speaking of prospects, I recapped the publishing of two mid-season Top 50 lists from Baseball America and Baseball Prospectus. Give it a look, won’tcha.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05PM PST at O.co Coliseum, where the A’s will probably be playing for at least ten more years.