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.
A new heart of the lineup comes into San Francisco this weekend wearing Dodger blue, so if this series doesn’t go as perfectly as the last one did, don’t be surprised. Their starting lineup isn’t the laughing stock it used to be, injuries are relatively healed, and although confidence may not be pouring from their pores, both teams know this series now has two lineups with a respectable set of beasts to deal with.
Friday, July 27th: RHP Stephen Fife vs. RHP Matt Cain
One sentence summary: Should be an interesting game for both teams, as an unfamiliar foe faces one whom has established his dominance as one of the better pitchers in baseball.
Saturday, July 28th: RHP Chad Billingsley vs. LHP Barry Zito
One sentence summary: Barry Zito facing RHH will be what to watch as those guys have a .338 wOBA against him as opposed to the .249 wOBA LHH have against him in 2012.
Sunday, July 29th: LHP Clayton Kershaw vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
One sentence summary: If it seems like Clayton Kershaw only gives up a couple of runs to the Giants, it’s because that’s what it is: the vast majority of Clayton Kershaw’s starts versus the good guys have seen him allow 0-2 runs, only once more with 4 ER (5/18/2011).
Neither of these offenses are really built to blow you away any day of the week, but each team has their guys that’s been doing their best to carry their offensive lineups. The Dodgers recently — and here you see the dangers of small sample size — have seen hotness from guys like Juan Uribe (.505 wOBA last 7, .243 wOBA overall), Adam Kennedy (.417, .292), and new guy Hanley Ramirez hasn’t been there long, but has had time to put up numbers in the past week as well (.522, .335). The boppers consist of the 3-4-5 guys in Matt Kemp (14 HR), Andre Ethier (11), and Hanley (14); the speed guys are Tony Gwynn (13 SB), and HanRam (15). Dee Gordon has 30, but he’s out right now.
In the four Game 3’s of their respective series after the AS Break, the Giants are 1-3, and those 3 losses are the only losses after the Kansas City festivities, so since they’re 9-3 in their last 12, you’d expect some of the guys to be doing quite well. Buster Posey’s been reminding everyone what a healthy Posey can do for you (.452 wOBA & 2 HR L7, .376 wOBA & 13 HR overall), Ryan Theriot has been showing you what he does (.444 & 2 SB, .295 & 11 SB), and Nate has been showing you he can be great (.434 & 2 HR, .319 wOBA overall). Melky (10 HR) has finally joined Buster in the double digit HR club, but with Pablo probably out for the weekend (and maybe more?), we might not see another member of the 10+ dong club ’til August. The four guys lighting some fire on the basepaths are Blanco and Pagan (both with 17 SBs), along with Melky and Theriot (11 SBs). Apparently Ryan has stolen 20+ in 4 different seasons, and right now is on pace for 18, so he’s someone to keep an eye on, especially if he stays in that #2 slot.
This series should provide for a lot more drama than the last one, and it’s a wonder if you might even see a whole new set of guys on Sunday in Dodger blue since we’re hearing the Dodgers are trying to land another bat AND another starter. Stay tuned on that one.
Friday: Giants win (Matt Cain doesn’t care about your new lineup)
Saturday: Giants win (Both offenses do unusual things like score many runs)
Sunday: Dodgers win (Clayton gets his as Giants can’t sweep another one)
Remember: No matter how this series goes, the Giants and Dodgers will still have 9 games left against each other, with 6 of them being in Los Angeles.
When 2012 started, the Dodgers were supposed to be a middle of the pack type of team. Maybe if Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw could carry their team, they could be a dark horse. Instead, they’re going all 2010 San Diego Padres, 2010 San Francisco Giants, 2011 Arizona Diamondbacks on the NL West. They’re 13 games over .500 and 3 games better than the good guys. The Giants can make up all that ground over the course of a series, but with Zeeters and an inconsistent Timmy going, they’re just as likely to go backwards as they are forwards.
Monday, June 24th: RHP Nathan Eovaldi vs. LHP Barry Zito
One question summary: Can you believe Barry Zito went 6 against Texas after that horrific outing against LAA?
Tuesday, June 25th: LHP Clayton Kershaw vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
One sentence summary: After outdueling Kershaw in May, TV viewers will get to hear non-stop questions about whether Vogey can do it again (and if the offense can blah blah blah).
Wednesday, June 25th: RHP Chad Billingsley vs. RHP Tim Lincecum
One sentence summary: You know Timmy’s story, but Billingsley just got roughed up in Anaheim to a lesser extent than Zito did (10 H, 6 ER in 5 IP), and is hoping he can go more than 4 this time around against the orange and black.
Small Sample Sizes (Last 7 Days) and Overall Numbers
Lineup rant: Pablo needs to stop swinging out of his shoes and Belt’s gotta bat higher in the order. One of the points in baseball is to get on base, right? So why do you have the guy who’s tied for the top OBP batting 6th or 7th? Makes no sense to me. I’d love to see him 1st and Melky 2nd, but that’s another story for another day.
For everyone wondering, Matt Kemp was put on the 15-day DL May 31st, and he has been taking BP, but I haven’t heard a timetable for his return. Looking from a SSS perspective, Juan Rivera (.425 wOBA, .279 overall) is the only Doyer that’s really been looking good lately, but have 6 guys with a batting average under .155 (Abreu, Gordon, Herrera, Uribe, AJ Ellis, Loney) and 4 at/under .100 (EH, JU, AJ, JL) with 3 of them having a wOBA under .100 (JU, AJ, JL). Since all of them don’t normally bat that poorly, it’s only a matter of time before they jump out of their slump, especially Abreu and AJ.
Speaking of guys not hitting well, Nate, Angel, Gregor, and Crawford all have wOBA under .200 and batting averages under .155 themselves, and you may have noticed, but Melky has been cooling down as well, to the tune of a .259 wOBA (.388 overall). As cold as the first four have been, Brandon Belt has been hot: .555 wOBA (helped by a .500 BABIP, and now a .362 wOBA, and .388 OBP… .gif courtesy of David Tiao), and he continues to slowly raise that walk rate and lower that K rate. Joaquin Arias has a .492 wOBA going with a .556 BABIP, but that’s all in 12 PA, so that’s almost a SSSS (super small sample size). Hail to the Buster with his 2 HR in the last 2 games has a .235 BABIP, but a .400 wOBA (.361 wOBA overall, 3rd to Melky, then Belt).
If the Giants can steal one on Monday, fans will dream of a sweep since Vogey’s beaten Kershaw before. The bats need to light up Eovaldi more than rely on Zito to hold down an MLB/AAAA/AAA/AA/A+/A lineup.
Monday: Dodgers win (Zito)
Tuesday: Giants win (Kershaw gets Cain’d)
Wednesday: Giants win (Timmy restores faith in the hearts of millions, Giants go all BilLOLingsley on Chad)