The Giants go from facing the best in the West in the Oakland Athletics to possibly the worst team in the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Diamondbacks have boosted their muscle a little bit with the activation of Mark Trumbo and the optioning of former Giant Roger Kieschnick to Triple-A Reno. As Tim Lincecum takes the mound for the Giants, everybody knows about the unreal numbers Paul Goldschmidt has against Timmy. Even this year, Goldschmidt continues to essentially ask Lincecum, “Why are you even pitching to me?”
Being outdone by just a little bit this year is Aaron Hill, who will be batting leadoff tonight for the Diamondbacks. Even though he doesn’t have the grossly high extra-base hit numbers, he still has found a way to get on base against Timmy.
Keys to the game for Timmy is always locating that fastball, and some suggest keeping runners off base (may seem like an obvious key to the game). Eleven out of fifteen on stolen base attempts, as well as sixteen extra-base hits:
Lincecum also has a pretty big home/road ERA split:
You can check out his game logs here. Ok, enough spreadsheets, let’s go to the lineups, starting with the Diamondbacks:
7/11 @Dbacks lineup vs. SF Hill 2B Peralta CF Goldscmidt 1B Montero C Trumbo LF Prado 3B Parra RF Gregorius SS Bolsinger P
— MLBLineups (@mlblineups) July 11, 2014
Now for the Giants, who have no Marco Scutaro, no Buster Posey (not Lincecum’s personal catcher, and should get a day off anyway), and Tyler Colvin starting in CF in the bigs for the first time since July 8th of last year with the Rockies.
Notes on Marco Scutaro, and other items of business not Cleveland-related:
I thought that Buster Posey would be the logical choice to replace Yadier Molina on the All Star roster, but Miguel Montero is the choice, and the stats suggest they are not far from each other in terms of performance this year. The bright side is Buster Posey gets to rest for the second half of the season.
— Steve Berthiaume (@BertDbacks) July 11, 2014
Lastly, the Giants have signed first-round pick Tyler Beede out of Vanderbilt to a deal worth $2.613MM. The rest of the unsigned draft picks that were waiting on Beede to sign should start inking their deals soon.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:15PM PST. In case you missed last night’s Dodger game, the Giants are now in second, a full game back.
Idea: Rank the best individual seasons of the 2012 MLB regular season (Spring Training, Minor Leagues, and Postseason are not included), while considering offensive and defensive facets of the game.
Consider: Using the individual metrics to measure individual performance; full avoidance of projecting results for shortened seasons, and past years performance to justify or dictate standings.
This is not: “Most Valuable” anything. Rather, this is “best,” like Baseball America does, so there is no confusion as to what I am ranking. It is also not a “this is a ranking of who I want in 2013, or wanted in any other year.”
This is: My opinion, and will be disagreed with by many.
20. R.A. Dickey (233.2 IP, 8.86 K/9, 3.39 tERA, 4.6 fWAR, 5.6 rWAR) – Had I considered age in this ranking, maybe Dickey would have been higher, but I’ll let someone else do that ranking. I think it’s still cool that we could have some more years to experience his dominance over hitters though.
19. David Price (211.0 IP, 8.74 K/9, 3.23 tERA, 5.1 fWAR, 6.4 rWAR) – Really had trouble ranking 19-21 with the three pitchers, but in the end, I just liked Price’s numbers the best
18. Aaron Hill (26 HR, 14 SB, .375 wOBA, 6.2 fWAR, 4.6 rWAR) – What a change of scenery can do for you, Aaron Hill looks like he’s found his comfort zone in Phoenix after being traded from Toronto.
17. Cliff Lee (211.0 IP, 1.19 BB/9, 3.21 tERA, 4.9 fWAR, 4.2 rWAR) – Poor Clifton didn’t get a lot of love because of the W-L record he sported, but it’s not his fault his team didn’t score runs for him, even if he was on for most of the season.
16. Michael Bourn (26 2B, 42 SB, .326 wOBA, 6.4 fWAR, 6.0 rWAR) – The speedy center fielder does his job tearing up the basepaths and covering his part out in CF. Jim Bowman suggested the Giants could be a fit, I think not. ($)
15. Felix Hernandez (232.0 IP, 8.65 K/9, 3.21 tERA, 6.1 fWAR, 4.6 rWAR) – The King may be the only true royalty in Seattle now, but he should have an army of arms coming to help out soon.
14. Aramis Ramirez (27 HR, 50 2B, .384 wOBA, 6.5 fWAR, 5.4 rWAR) – May be the most underappreciated season of the guys listed in this top percentage, but the BBWAA recognized it, and he finished 9th in NL MVP voting.
13. Yadier Molina (22 HR, 12 SB, .375 wOBA, 6.5 fWAR, 6.7 rWAR) – I know what you’re thinking: A Molina that steals bases, not just prevents SB? Yea, he does that, too.
12. Adrian Beltre (36 HR, 33 2B, .388 wOBA, 6.5 fWAR, 6.7 rWAR) – I felt Heyward edged the 3B of Texas in the way he manned his position, and in the way he contributed on the bases, but still a great year for the guy that loves the headrubs.
11. Jason Heyward (27 HR, 21 SB, .351 wOBA, 6.6 fWAR, 5.5 rWAR) – Should Heyward be able to step up his game to another level in his age 23 season, he could get real scary.
10. Clayton Kershaw (227.2 IP, 9.05 K/9, 2.95 tERA, 5.5 fWAR, 6.2 rWAR) – I also struggled between JV vs. CK, but in the end, felt other peripherals not listed evened things out, giving the edge to Justin over Clayton with IP being the tiebreaker.
9. Justin Verlander (238.1 IP, 9.03 K/9, 3.43 tERA, 6.8 fWAR, 7.5 rWAR) – I really struggled where to start to include the pitchers, but here seemed like a good spot. Verlander is still good.
8. Chase Headley (31 HR, 17 SB, .378 wOBA, 7.5 fWAR, 6.0 rWAR) – If this were a “best second half of 2012” post, Headley might be #1.
7. David Wright (21 HR, 15 SB, .376 wOBA, 7.8 fWAR, 6.7 rWAR) – If this were a “best first half of 2012” post, Wright might be #1.
6. Miguel Cabrera (44 HR, 40 2B, .417 wOBA, 7.1 fWAR, 6.9 rWAR) – The dude’s just oozing power, and while the change of positions is a great story, the playing of the position itself must be considered in this ranking.
5. Andrew McCutchen (31 HR, 20 SB, .403 wOBA, 7.4 fWAR, 7.0 rWAR) – Worthy of being on the cover of a video game, I’m just glad Pittsburgh has had someone to cheer about.
3. Ryan Braun (41 HR, 30 SB, .413 wOBA, 7.9 fWAR, 6.8 rWAR) – Probably got a lot of flack for the PED-related stuff at the end of the season in 2011, but a 40-30 season will never stop being impressive.
2. Buster Posey (24 HR, .406 wOBA, 8.0 fWAR, 7.2 rWAR) – It’s no secret that the catcher position is an incredibly important one, and when your backstop is producing at the levels Posey is, well that warrants some respect. Bias possible.
1. Mike Trout (30 HR, 49 SB, .409 wOBA, 10.0 fWAR, 10.7 rWAR) – If 21 year olds are just getting started, in the Majors, it’s difficult to fathom where he goes from here.
The fourth through sixth games of the month (out of nine) of September between these two clubs brings the Giants to Chase Field for the last time of the regular season, and the black + orange hope they can do better than the last series, where they were outscored 22-17, and lost two out of three from the Snakes. The Diamondbacks will be either 3.5 or 4.5 back of the Wild Card leaders tomorrow depending on how the Cardinals and Dodgers fare tonight, and are currently 10 back of the Giants for the West. For the Giants, the Diamondbacks are that annoying team that never seems to stop bothering you, and will throw three lefties at the Giants this weekend. The DBacks lead the season series 7-5, and with six to go, it actually would not surprise me if the Giants did not win the season series with Arizona.
Friday, September 14th: RHP Matt Cain vs. LHP Tyler Skaggs
One sentence summary: Tyler Skaggs’ starts have gotten shorter as his debut season has progressed — 6.2 IP, 5.2, 5.0, 3.2; Matt Cain has gone at least 7.0 IP in 5 of his last 6 starts.
Saturday, September 15th: LHP Barry Zito vs. LHP Wade Miley
One sentence summary: Miley has allowed 11 baserunners in his past two games, giving both teams a chance to win, while Zito hopes to strike out the Snakes like he did last time (6), but with better results for the team.
Sunday, September 16th: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. LHP Patrick Corbin
One sentence summary: Corbin hasn’t allowed less than 3 ER in a game since a little over a month ago; while Vogelsong still struggles to find what made him a 2011 sensation after only going 8.1 IP in his last two starts combined.
The Bats are Hot… But That’s the Phoenix Heat’s Fault
I mean, have you ever been to Phoenix in the summer months? It’s death outside. I realize it’s September, but that’s still a summer month for Arizona, as are seven to nine other months there. For a team that’s been slithering closer to playoff contention, they don’t have any super-stand-out-crazy-hot batters doing the work for them. Sure, Miguel Montero has been hitting (.404 wOBA L7, .362 wOBA overall), Jason Kubel has been mashing a little bit (.395 wOBA L7, 2 HR L7; .358 wOBA overall, 29 HR overall), but it’s also a point that outside of John McDonald (.063 wOBA L7, -80 wRC+ L7; . 275 wOBA overall, 63 wRC+ overall), nobody is particularly cold over the past week. Kubel (29) and Hill (22) are still the only 2 DBacks with 20+ HR, but Goldschmidt (18), Montero (15), Johnson (14), Young (14), Upton (13) are all legitimate power sources. Chris Young hasn’t appeared in a game since September 7th, as he’s healing from a quad strain. The primary base-stealers on the club are Goldschmidt (16), Hill (14), Upton (15), and Parra (13).
By averaging 6 runs/game in the last six game, you’d figure there might be some guys doing work, and there are. One of those guys leading the charge might have a new nickname of “MVP” when the regular season ends: Buster Posey (.588 wOBA L7, 2 HR L7; .402 wOBA overall, 21 HR overall) has been fantastic in the second half for the Giants. Not to be ignored, Gregor Blanco (.450 wOBA L7, 2 SB L7; .312 wOBA overall, 22 SB overall), and Angel Pagan (.443 wOBA L7, 2 SB L7; .337 wOBA, 25 SB overall) have been working to set the table up for Giants rallies. Marco Scutaro has also been a more than decent contributor to the offense (.385 wOBA L7, .316 wOBA overall) of late. It’s not lost on anybody who is ice cold: that of the Panda, Kung Fu (.098 wOBA L7, -50 wRC+; .319 wOBA overall, 101 wRC+ overall), who may be hurting more than we comprehend at the moment, or could just be tired because he’s so…. exhausted after playing a lot of games in a baseball season (I already wrote an article on fat, I don’t need to go back to it here).
How wild will it get in Arizona this weekend? Can the Giants finally put Arizona away for now so that they can focus on clinching the West? Arizona is the one team in the West that worries me the most, especially as the Dodgers continue to be of the LOLs Angeles variety.
Friday: Giants win (Skaggs tires, Cain rises)
Saturday: Giants win (Zito throws a gem because I’m not watching this game due to being at a separate baseball event)
Sunday: DBacks win (It’s not that Vogelsong will stink it up, it’s that the DBacks will do just enough)
Hopefully the Giants can come home with a single-digit magic number, giving them a chance to do some celebrating at AT&T like they did in 2010, but without the last game dramatics.
Since August 14th, the Diamondbacks have had trouble reversing trends right away, as they’ve been winning/losing in consecutive games. The results: lose 2, win 4, lose 2, win 2 (more impressively it was a double-header), lose 6, win 2, lose 2. That’s an 8-12 stretch, so it’s understandable that they’ve lost ground against the Giants, who’ve gone 13-5 over that same set of dates. Interesting that on August 14th, we go back to the days of the Giants being tied for 1st place in the NL West with the Dodgers. Even though the Diamondbacks are 10.5 back, they still have 9 games left against the Giants, and while it’s extremely unlikely the DBacks make up 9 games, they can still play spoiler. The Giants return from a roadtrip that featured some NL Central cupcakes and now the San Francisco Orange & Black begin the final stretch of the season against only NL West opponents.
Monday, September 3rd: LHP Patrick Corbin vs. LHP Barry Zito
One sentence summary: The Giants’ fourth consecutive day game features Corbin, who’s given up 5 HR in his last 3 starts, and Zito, who had his shortest outing of the season against Houston, possibly playing through some upper back pain.
Tuesday, September 4th: RHP Ian Kennedy vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
One sentence summary: August wasn’t the friendliest of months to either of these two starters as Kennedy saw his second worst ERA month of the season (4.54), while Vogelsong had by far his worst month of the year (6.32), as both look to change things up with the coming of September.
Wednesday, September 5th: RHP Trevor Cahill vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner
One sentence summary: Cahill also had a heightened ERA in August (5.08) but wasn’t necessarily getting dominated like Vogelsong was; meanwhile, after Madison had his worst outing of the year since the first series of the year, he faces the team that gave him that first bad outing in the Diamondbacks.
And Now, the Bats
Hard to imagine that guys like Paul Goldscmidt ever go cold, but he’s not his normal self in the past week (.223 wOBA, .368 wOBA overall — best on the team), and said unhotness also applies to names like Justin Upton (.268 wOBA L7, .327 wOBA overall), Chris Young (.232, .321), and Jason Kubel (.263, .356), despite 3 HR between Upton and Kubel in the past week, including a couple bombs against the Dodgers. Mostly-utility-infielder John McDonald (.450, .297) has been the biggest contributor recently although in only 15 PA, with Miguel Montero being the biggest regular contributor of late (.321, .362). The Diamondbacks have a total of eight guys with double-digit dingerz on their squad, led by Jason Kubel (27), and Aaron Hill (20). Three guys have 13 SB on their squad led by Lincecum-killer Paul Goldschmidt, Justin Upton, and Gerardo Parra.
The Cubs series wasn’t the sweep many fans had hoped it would be, but some guys added on to what they’d be doing in Houston. Guys like Angel Pagan (.457 wOBA L7, .340 wOBA overall), and Hunter Pence (.405, .326). Gregor Blanco (.143, .308) may see his playing time reduced as Bochy rides the X-line straight to Veteranville, and Brandon Crawford (.162, .272) may be in the midst of regressing, but I imagine he starts taking the field back over Arias since Joaquin can’t keep his August pace up forever. On a team starved for the big flies, Buster is one HR away from 20 (as is Hunter), and we’re still waiting for round-trippers from Panda and Belt. Pagan (23) and Blanco (20) both have a high number of SB, and I’m sure it’ll be watched to see if either of these rabbits can rack up 30 for the year.
Get familiar with these boys, because you’re going to see a lot of them in September, and you just hope you’re playing them at the right streaky time.
Monday: Giants win (Giants ride homer — like an actual home run — to victory)
Tuesday: DBacks win (Ian Kennedy out-pitched Kershaw, will out-pitch Vogelsong)
Wednesday: Giants win (Madison takes his revenge out on Arizona)
Thursday is a day off before the Giants and Dodgers get going for their second to last series of the year, and the last one at AT&T.
Discussion and disagreement are part of sports life, and after reading a post from @BayCityBall (http://www.baycityball.com/2011/10/02/my-postseason-rooting-order/) I thought this would be a good post for today. The idea is of course, there are eight teams in the postseason and if we had to rank who you would root for, what would that order be? Everyone’s list will be different and who can blame them? There’s some attractive talent (both on the field and in the dugout) for us to be amazed and stupefied at.
1. Tampa Bay Rays – expansion team, lost to the Phillies in 2008, came from a huge deficit to defeat one of the more despised franchises in baseball. They have lovable characters like Evan Longoria, One-A-Day 50+ sponsor Joe Maddon, Madison Bumgarner pitch-a-like Matt Moore (alike in that the Rangers couldn’t touch either of them). Shoot, their version of Eli Whiteside even hit two HRs against CJ Wilson. Awesome
2. Texas Rangers – When the Giants and the Rangers met up last year in 2010, you had a ratings nightmare: no Yankees? no Red Sox? no Phillies? We’ll just have Joe Buck and Tim McCarver do this one. Nobody’s watching, anyway. You also had two franchises starved for a World Series trophy. The Giants got their portion in 2010, but the Rangers were left hanging and from what I heard, the Rangers were very classy in defeat. Their exciting players are mostly hold bats and hit HRs for a living, their staff has the experience of winning so the jitters should be mostly out of the way.
3. Detroit Tigers – The playoff team I probably know the least about. I guess they’re like the Tampa Bay Rays or a Texas Rangers-lite on offense and some other team with their pitching. Justin Verlander? Hot. Jose Valverde? He should make a dance instruction DVD. As for everyone else? Whatever, just beat the Yankees.
4. St. Louis Cardinals – Just beat the Phillies, Tony La Russa. Use your craftiness when you get back home to even the series at 2 or something. Sprinklers, stadium lights, rain dance, Buffalo Wild Wings commercials, whatever. I laugh a little that Rafael Furcal is on this team.
5. Arizona Diamondbacks – They’re not far down on the list because I despise their team; really, I’m OK with them. Justin Upton, Chris Young, Aaron Hill, Kirk Gibson. I think he’s done a great job with the team and GM Kevin Towers a wonderful job rebuilding the bullpen. I don’t want them winning the World Series because I don’t know why, but I don’t. I may have this fear that winning the WS would convince idiots to vote Ian Kennedy for Cy Young even though it’s just a regular season award. Edit: Forgot that ballots are submitted before the post-season. Therefore, Kennedy performance in post-season will not change likelihood of getting Cy. Their twitter account is annoying as babies on a plane, by the way.
6. Milwaukee Brewers – I am very not fond of a certain player on their team that claims to have an alter-ego that rhymes with “Phony-Flush.” I do not want to see him happy. Does that make me a bad person? Probably, but no one’s perfect. I’m not too fond of Prince Fielder, either, but TofuMan doesn’t both me as much as the current CF. I like Ryan Braun. I like John Axford.
In between 6 and 7, please note that there’s a gap larger than the 6 hour drive from Long Beach to San Jose I have to endure at least twice a year.
7. Philadelphia Phillies – I have a strong dislike for the Phillies. They have become the Yankees of the NL. I will laugh at them in 2015 when they are still paying Ryan Howard $25MM to strike out with a sandwich in his mouth.
8. New York Yankees – Look, they have exciting players. They’re the freaking Yankees. But the only time you want a team like that to win is when: a) it’s your team or b) you’re playing a video game and you’ve constructed a super team that isn’t possible in real life and you don’t have to worry about hurting other people’s feelings.
In 2012, the list will be different. Buster ain’t havin’ it.