Cliff Lee has been a stellar pitcher for many years, and he was the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae that was the “Those pitchers the Giants will face aren’t going to lose to them,” and we all remember what went down. Or do we?
Yes, yes we do. That run really was something else. Lee certainly is more than the 2010 World Series though, and he’ll look to remind the Champs tonight at AT&T.
Anywho, the lineups for today’s Phils-Giants game. Remember when they had those “Four Aces” and people wanted to tab that rotation as something unstoppable? Times sure have changed for the Fightins. The visitors will bring this out:
Lineup phils vs giants twitter.com/JSalisburyCSN/…
— Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN) May 6, 2013
Delmon Young is playing Right Field tonight, which kind of reminds me of a certain play by him in LF in a certain postseason series…
The Champs, winners of six a row, bring out an Angel Pagan-less lineup:
Tonight’s lineup against Cliff Lee: Torres CF, Scutaro 2B, Sandoval 3B, Posey C, Pence RF, Peguero LF, Crawford SS, Belt 1B, Bumgarner LHP
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) May 6, 2013
I’m really not a big fan of the “you’re fast, so you lead off” thing that managers fall in love with, especially for a guy in Andres Torres, whom only has a better OBP than Brandon Belt right now (.306-.283). Not saying you should bat team leader Buster Posey first, but you do have other guys on the roster I’d be better with and have Torres at 7th or 8th in the lineup.
Here’s what Cliff Lee’s pitch usage looks like for the 2013 season:
Fastball-slider-curve to LHH, and then adds the change for the RHH, with a lot of confidence in each of his pitches in nearly any situation but that curveball in batter ahead scenarios. Clifton Phifer Lee has gone at least six innings in all but one of his starts this year, although the offense has already given him two starts of zero run support.
Meanwhile, at the farm:
Madison Bumgarner really likes to establish his dominance with that two-seamer, and hitters have to be ready for the curveball, cutter, or even the change in addition to that fastball when Bumgarner gets ahead. Like Clifton, Madison K. has gone at least six innings in all but one start, but the run support has always been between 2-4 runs for him.
Game time is at 7:15PM PST as the Giants begin their homestand against the Phils, then the Braves of the NL East.
Baseball has started early as teams get ready for losing some of their system to the World Baseball Classic. All the seats may not be filled at the stadium, but some of the action is still worthy of many eyes being on it. Only some of the games right now are being televised, so there is a limit to what can be GIF’d at the moment. With that, here’s some of today’s good stuff:
Cliff Lee‘s cutter is working
Can’t wait to see the Giants face him, should greeeeeat
Catcher wanted low, ends up being up and away
Miguel Cabrera turns on a mistake from Pap
Catcher wanted it low, pitch thrown up and in, estimated distance was 440-450 feet.
Orioles turn a double play!*
*shouldn’t have been a double play
Juan Uribe shows you what a real double play looks like
Uribe just helping the slow Spring Training games move along a little faster
Marlon Byrd with the bat flip of the day
Love how you can see the bat flip when the camera from behind the plate goes on
Ross Ohlendorf with a sweet barehanded play
I’m just mad he did this after I posted the original article. Way to consider others, Ross.
One of three quotes of the day, this one from Zack Greinke:
— DKnobler (@DKnobler) February 25, 2013
The other ones from the Giants starting pitchers Matt Cain on how his knee is feeling:
Cain: “It feels like a knee.”
— Henry Schulman (@hankschulman) February 25, 2013
…and Madison Bumgarner on his pitching motion:
Bumgarner said he found himself turning too much in delivery last year. “Before I knew it, I was spinning around like Nomo.”
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) February 25, 2013
Cue that “I think I’m turning Japanese” song our parents grew up on.
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.
I remember it like it was recent: we were excited, everyone was picking the Rangers, because “great pitching beat great hitting… but I like Texas’ chances!” was the mantra of the national media. It was cute in retrospect, but we know what happened from there. Game 1 happened. I was monitoring it on GameDay and monitoring the Mercury News chat that was always overloaded with people with good commentary and whiners whose comment didn’t get chosen since they lacked the capacity that they weren’t the only ones in the chatroom. I also hadn’t thought of underground feeds because I just didn’t. Those were such silly times.
They were also great times. A World Series? Putting Ashkon’s song on repeat? Walking around, chest out, chin up and black and orange bright walking around Southern California? Awesome. 2010 will always have a close place in my heart, as it should. I remember the pitching matchup we were promised: Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum. Holy crap. Nothing compared to CJ Wilson vs. Chris Carpenter, mostly due to CJ Wilson (even though that game turned out alright). The duel was nothing that we thought it’d end up being. 11-8, the ultimate “first game jitters” type of game that San Francisco ended up being on the right side of.
That game was October 27th, 2010. Today is Game 6 of the 2011 World Series with the Rangers up 3-2. Today could be the day for Nolan Ryan, George W. Bush (I mean, he’s only won a national title once, right? zing.), Ron Washington and Mini-Wash. October 27th could finally have positive meaning for Texas. Or it could be the end of everything, again. Texas could lose 2 straight in St. Louis simply because their SP and offense decide to be all non-Texas-y again. It’s not out of the question. The only question though is, what will October 27th mean for the Rangers come Sunday? It’s too bad Game 7 can’t be on November 1st because it’d be funny to watch them lose again in November. Well, I’d find it funny.
Do you remember who was supposed to play in the 2010 World Series? Of course you do: Yankees and Phillies. Who else would it be? Instead, two boring mystery teams that most people have never seen win a World Series in the Giants, and play with Nolan Ryan in the stands in the Texas Rangers, came together to fight it out in 5 games ultimately with the good guys winning. No hand gestures necessary.
Then came the 2011 Free Agency period. Cliff Lee was going to the Yankees. No, the Rangers. No, the Yankees. Oh wait there’s a mystery team?!?!? Who could it be? Giants? No, they need a bat. Dodgers? Ha, that’s funny. The Dodgers don’t care about baseball! Silly. Ok, the whole “mystery” thing was made up, everyone get back to work. Yankees, Rangers, rinse and repeat. Cliff Lee signs with the Phillies. In February when camp was about to break, the Phillies had won Free Agency 2011.
Who was picked to go to the 2011 World Series? You probably remember. Fried chicken and beer vs. Subway. The ultimate American showdown of American eating versus Americans thinking they’re eating healthy. It would’ve brought crazy ratings. Basketball fans nationwide might have cared about baseball instead of whining about their lame, boring 82 game sport. Real athletes play 162 games of 9 innings or something like that. Back to the point, we have the Rangers and the Cardinals now. The Rangers don’t surprise anyone, but the Cardinals are a shocker. Mystery team! I know I didn’t pick them for any postseason spot and any postseason series. Can you imagine if they pitched the NLDS like they did the NLCS? It’d be Phillies-Red Sox by some miracle of osmosis (why do people always go to osmosis?).
The real reason I wrote this was to talk about Free Agency 2012. We have many big names like CC Sabathia (who is big), CJ Wilson (half big), Albert Pujols (machine big) and Prince Fielder (tofu big). How many of these guys will get lasso’d in by a “mystery team” this winter? My guess: two. Here’s who I think gets who:
CC Sabathia – Chicago Cubs (CC goes to CC. It was meant to be.)
CJ Wilson – Yankees (Who else would overpay for him?)
Albert Pujols – Cardinals (What, you expect Lance Berkman to play first?)
Prince Fielder — San Franci… not. Baltimore Orioles. (Unless you think they want to have more years of sub-par Derrek Lee-ness. How will they compete for 4th without Prince?)
I’ll be wrong with about… four of these predictions. Don’t worry. Can’t wait for the Free Agency period to begin though.
I will predict things, and I will be wrong. It’s just fun to guess.
(2) Rangers vs. (4) Rays, 2:07 PM PST, Ballpark at Arlington
The world was expecting Red Sox Nation to show up, but the great Baseball Deities decided to give us one of the best nights of baseball ever that resulted in a little something Long Beach State likes to call “Evan Longoria.” True, there was Dan Johnson who kept them from Game 163, and Joe Maddon is a genius.
Game 1: Christopher John (CJ) Wilson (16-7, 2.94 ERA, 1.187 WHIP, 223.1 IP) vs. Matt Moore (1-0, 2.89 ERA, 14.49 K/9, 9.1 IP, 1 GS)
While the world is pondering why Kyle Lohse is a Game One starter, Joe Maddon tried to one-up Tony La Russa and say, “How about I throw out our Minor League Stud-Muffin out there?” It’s true, GM’s and scouts alike have dreams of Matt Moore and the future looks bright for the kid born in 1989 (really). As with any other postseason series, it’s going to come down to pitching, and both staffs are well equipped to go toe-to-toe (and that Texas bullpen? What the heck is that all about?)
What we have come to love about both of these teams though, are their bats. Who doesn’t love themselves some Longo, Zoborist, Upton (the tradeable one), Hamilton, Cruz, Beltre and hitting catching in Napoli? Oh and Kinsler had a 32 HR season, big whoop. I do that in video games all the time.
I respect Ron Washington and Joe Maddon a lot, but Joe Maddon has some crazy smart tactics he gets from those One-A-Day 50+ multivitamins which may hold the key to jumping over the 2010 AL Champions who do not have Cliff Lee to beat them twice again this year. But then again, Texas does have Tommy Hunter anymore to underhand pitches to batters so the Rays will have to counter that with something.
The Rangers have a scary good offense. Can the Rays young pitching hold them down? I say no. Texas takes care of business in game one, 5-1.
(1) Yankees vs. (3) Tigers, 5:37 PM PST, Yankee Stadium
Game 1: CC Sabathia (19-8, 3.00 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 237.1 IP) vs. Justin Verlander (24-5, 2.40 ERA, 0.920 WHIP, 251.0 IP)
Sure there are hitters involved, but as a Giants fan I know they don’t do anything. The game is in the starting pitching, and boy you bet America is excited for this.
The uneducated baseball fan will look at this matchup and say to themselves “holy crap, 43 combined wins between two aces! i love baseball for now until sunday!” They will feel like it gives them a clue as to the magic that could be awaiting them, what with Verlander’s two no-hitters he has under his belt, one coming this year in Toronto. There will be magic, but not because they have 43 wins between each other.
The scouting reports these guys get are processed and and executed to an “ace” level — these two having 480 K’s between them, the two of them averaging 4 K’s/BB. Sure, the ratio isn’t Sergio Romo-esque, but there’s only one person who pitches like Sergio Romo and that’s Sergio MF Romo. There might not be a repeat of Roy Halladay stature, but anytime these guys get on the mound you know you could be bearing witness to something special.
Weather reports are telling us we don’t even know what time this game will officially get started, but hopefully it’s just a bunch of clouds passing through. Wouldn’t want to watch the “Double-R” series and then have to wait hours to see Game One of this ALDS. That would be cruel.
When you watch these two, hopefully you think about two things: teaching your kid to either throw left-handed, or teaching your kid how to throw triple-digits with great control.
So who will it be for Game One? Both of these teams haven’t been in “playoff mode” for a while, but it doesn’t mean they haven’t worked. I like Verlander and Co. to take Game 1 and Valverde to do a little dance at the end. Tigers get first blood, 6-4.