I was away from a computer for the vast majority of Thursday through Sunday, and watched about zero Giants baseball in that time. That means I missed news on Marco Scutaro and Hector Sanchez going to the DL with Andrew Susac getting the call, Tony Abreu coming back, Dan Uggla getting called up, Jake Peavy being a Giant and Edwin Escobar plus Heath Hembree changing socks colors. That’s a lot happening for a couple weeks, much less a few days. The Dodgers have a day off today before opening an eight-game homestand and a ten day LA stay. The Giants are a half-game ahead of the Cardinals for the second wild card spot and are one-and-a-half games ahead of their next series opponent, the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Bucs won a series against the Dodgers while the Giants were beating up on the Phillies but then turned around and lost a series to the Rockies with a pair of 8-1 losses. They begin their series with the Giants with the contact-able Vance Worley. Take a look at the StS, the swinging strikes that Worley gets — even if he gets hitters off-balance, he still gets his pitches hit for the most part. With a 2014 BABIP of .287 and a career average of .321, forgive that I am waiting for the Giants to get on Worley like the Cardinals did. However, his walks are down to a very acceptable level at a 4.2% ratio.
Here are the boys that will be backing him tonight:
7/28 @Pirates lineup vs. SF Harrison LF Mercer SS McCutchen CF Sanchez 1B Walker 2B Martin C Polanco RF Morel 3B Worley P
— MLBLineups (@mlblineups) July 28, 2014
Here’s what Madison Bumgarner‘s splits look like, as Madison Bumgarner looks to go against eight right-handed hitters in tonight’s Pirates lineup:
Similar batting averages, but definitely not similar strikeout-to-walk ratios. Neil Walker the only LHH in the lineup for the Pirates tonight. Polanco is a switch-hitter.
Pagan to do full pregame work in AZ and is getting closer to clearing himself to go to minors, Bochy said. — Andrew Baggarly (@CSNBaggs) July 28, 2014
Next, Brandon Belt appears to be getting better, which of course, is a good sign.
Belt passed concussion test, said he feels good. Hoping to do some baseball work today or very soon.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) July 28, 2014
No specific timetable for Belt’s return but he expects to fly to New York with team. If all goes well, could return during road trip.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) July 28, 2014
Other news out of the catching department, as Andrew Susac knows he’ll get a start soon. Hector Sanchez reportedly failed his concussion test.
Bochy said Andrew Susac will likely start Wednesday. Sanchez is a few days away, and Giants will be extra-cautious because he’s a catcher. — Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) July 28, 2014
For those interested:
Breaking news for the jersey number crowd: Colvin switched to 21, Abreu got his old No. 10 back.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) July 28, 2014
First pitch is scheduled for 7:15PM PST. Go Giants.
The Giants won their game on Sunday over the Diamondbacks 8-4, finishing the “first half” at 52-43, one game back and two wins less than the Dodgers. Sunday was not without it’s “wow” moments, as you always hope to see something you’ve never seen before in a baseball game you’re watching, be it a defensive play, a perfect game, perhaps, or a day at the plate to remember forever. For Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey, they didn’t make history individually, but through both of their grand slams off of Diamondback fastballs, they combined for history.
Per @EliasSports, this is the first time in MLB history a pitcher and his catcher hit a grand slam in the same game.
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) July 13, 2014
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 14, 2014
The video with the call by Dave Flemming for your viewing pleasure can be seen here. Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner both have two career grand slams, as Flemming notes in the video. Once I see the video is embeddable I will take the link off and embed it here.
There is technically currently a three-way tie for the first and second wild card spots in the National League between the Nationals, Braves, and Giants. The Nationals and Braves are tied for first in the NL East.
The Giants missed a chance to go up more than a game on the surging Los Angeles Dodgers, so they are happily sitting in first, but only by half of a game coming into Thursday’s game. The Dodgers open up a series with Colorado tonight in Denver, the place where a Dodger always seems to get injured. Back to the Gigantes, it’s Madison Bumgarner facing off against a fireballer (which the Cardinals seem to have a million of) in Carlos Martinez. Both catchers get to catch a day game after a night game, so fans still get treated to watching potential 2014 All Stars Buster Posey and Yadier Molina do some work behind the plate.
The Cardinals line up this way:
Lineup at San Francisco (7/3): Carpenter 3B Holliday LF Adams 1B Peralta SS Molina C Taveras RF Ellis 2B Jay CF Martinez RHP
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) July 3, 2014
The Giants have Hunter Pence batting leading off, something he did once last season in Milwaukee when Bumgarner was on the bump. Joe Panik, the second-newest Giant, bats second, and hopefully that works today:
Michael Morse is also getting the day off, he of one hit (a double) in his last six games played.
As for the young Carlos Martinez, you think he likes utilizing his high-velocity fastball when he’s behind and his slider when he’s ahead? (screenshots courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net)
Especially likes to use that slider to right-handed hitters. If the Giants can’t keep up with the heat Martinez throws for strikes, today probably will not end up being too fun for the orange and black, even with their #1 in the rotation on the mound. This will be Martinez’s fourth start this year, throwing eighty-two pitches as a season-high, that coming in his last start against the Dodgers when he went 4.1 innings. Despite his high velocity, he has averaged about a strikeout an inning in his starts (I’d expect a higher average, but it’s still early in his starting career).
Here’s how Bumgarner distributes his pitches, you’ll notice he stays pretty consistent across the board:
Bumgarner uses three pitches for the most part against the lefties, and four against the right-handed hitters. For the season, LHH have a .257 wOBA and OBP against MadBum with 1 HR against while RHH have a .301 wOBA and .305 OBP with 7 HRA. Bumgarner has faced more than three times the number of RHH as LHH for the season.
This just got tweeted out, about the Oakland Athletics stadium deal, not long after A’s owner Lew Wolff apparently said he got the OK from Bud Selig to get the heck out of there. Congratulations on being in Oakland for ten more years, Athletics. I’m sure it’ll be great.
These are my picks for the AL and NL All Star Game. Voting ends at 8:59 PM PST, and there is a link to the voting page in the article, or you can go to MLB.com but I’d appreciate the read *big sad eyes while smiling*.
First pitch of this last game between the Cardinals and Giants in the 2014 regular season is scheduled to be thrown at 12:45 PM PST.
The Giants have won four in a row, a lot of it thanks to the power of solo home runs, and the Braves have Barved all over the place, losing five straight. MLB Network has the game airing at 10:30 a.m. PST, so if you have that channel and you’re outside of both of those locales, you won’t have to resort to MLB.tv today if you don’t want to. The Giants are throwing out the regulars today being Madison Bumgarner:
Today’s #sfgiants lineup: Pagan CF Pence RF Posey C Morse LF Belt 1B Sandoval 3B Hicks 2B Crawford SS Bumgarner LHP
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) May 4, 2014
When I questioned if Brandon Belt was being platooned, social media was there for me to point out that manager Bruce Bochy said that he was not platooning Belt, that he would be in the lineup Sunday against Braves LHP Alex Wood. Sure enough, there Belt is, batting fifth behind Michael Morse. Morse is seriously a strong dude, still can’t believe that Friday night fly ball for a home run to right field.
The Atlanta lineup, that hopes to salvage a game from the NL West leaders:
Simmons is out of today’s lineup because of an undisclosed personal issue. He is here and available to play if needed. — Mark Bowman (@mlbbowman) May 4, 2014
Peculiar situation with Andrelton Simmons, but, I hope his issue gets resolved.
Moving on to Madison Bumgarner’s game logs, the last two games, his ground ball rate sure has gone up:
Half of his starts he has been able to go six innings, and in three of the four games he has walked two or more hitters, he has not gone at least six, so perhaps that is something to look out for today as Madison pitches closer to his North Carolina home. You’ll notice last game Bumgarner had only four swing-and-miss pitches (StS), much lower than this previous four starts. Bumgarner has seen three long balls get hit against him in his last two starts, two of them at Coors Field.
As for Alex Wood’s game logs, he tends to complete at least seven innings quite often, and has always gone at least five in 2014:
Like Bumgarner, Wood had only three swing-and-miss pitches in his last start as the Braves when they got swept against the Marlins before starting their losing against the Giants. Hopefully, the Giants will be able to put together the same game plan the Marlins did against Wood and execute it to at least seven-earned-run levels. Not going to expect it, though. This could end up being another very low-scoring game like the previous two.
Friend of the blog Anna gave me a stat showing the Giants don’t win series in Atlanta that often:
— Anna (@SFBleacherGirl) May 4, 2014
An idea for how well the Giants are doing, W-L-wise:
Guess who’s only a game back of the Giants:
The Rockies have a better record than the Braves. — Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) May 4, 2014
At 19-13, the Rockies have played two more games than the Giants, but they have also lost two more games than the Giants. Charlie Culberson helped the Rockies walk it off against the Mets last night. Former Giant, good for him, but only hit home runs in losing efforts, won’t ya, Culberson?
Madison Bumgarner was named the Opening Day starter for the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday, making it the first time since 2008 that a left-hander was tabbed to be the Opening Day starter for the Giants. For a quick refresher of Opening Day Starting Pitcher History, let’s go back to the last time there was a southpaw on the mound:
2013: Matt Cain
2012: Tim Lincecum
2011: Tim Lincecum
2010: Tim Lincecum
2009: Tim Lincecum
2008: Barry Zito
Not that you forgot who could have possibly been the last LHP, but it is amazing the number of consecutive Opening Day starts we got from Timmy and how different he was from then to now. Anyway, this story is about Bumgarner. Born in August of 1989, Madison will be entering his age twenty-four season. That’s right, he won’t even be twenty-five until August. Want to know the names of some guys that are already twenty-five? How about first baseman Brandon Belt, corner infielder prospect Adam Duvall, and once top-prospect Gary Brown. It’s easy to forget how young Bumgarner is since he’s compiled these figures at the MLB level already:
- 200+ innings pitched in three consecutive seasons, his 614.1 total IP in those seasons ranks him at 15th overall in the MLB
- An 11.4 fWAR from 2011-2013, fourteenth overall in MLB
- 3.12 ERA is 10th overall in those years, his FIP was 3.08, which is 8th overall
Statistically speaking, Bumgarner may have had his best season in 2011, but he still posted these in 2013:
- 3.05 FIP, 11th overall
- 3.7 fWAR, 26th overall
- .251 BABIP against, T-4th lowest overall
- 24.8% K%, 13th overall
- 3.00 tERA, 5th overall
- 11.1% Swinging strike %, T-7th with Tim Lincecum
It’s not easy to be the best in the MLB, but to be Top 15 in most of these categories should certainly make you eligible to start an Opening Day on most teams. Bumgarner’s 2013 has forced the issue since no one else was really able to step up for the full course of a season. This is not to say that every ballclub should make the OD decision based on 2013, but Bumgarner has long had the projected talent to be in this spot, and has the numbers over more than just one season to back up Bruce Bochy‘s decision to put him as the #1. According to beat writer Chris Haft’s article, it looks like Matt Cain will be the #2, with Tim Hudson and Tim Lincecum next, and Ryan Vogelsong rounding out the starting five.
Congrats to Bumgarner, and we, the fans, are excited for him to show us his fffffffffffff face to start the season.
The series between two teams with twenty-one wins continues today at 1PM PST as Paul Maholm and Madison Bumgarner hope to break the series tie with their team taking the win this afternoon. Outside of Maholm’s start against Detroit, he has been pretty good this year, while Bumgarner would like to forget his last start against Philadelphia. Consider this game logs from the year:
Not bad, right? Both of these guys making very decent All Star Game campaigns for themselves thus far.
The lineups for today’s game for the two squads look like this:
Today’s lineup at SF (4:05, FSS/MLBN/680AM/BRN): Simmons 6 Uggla 4 JUpton 9 Freeman 3 Gattis 7 CJohnson 5 BUpton 8 Laird 2 Maholm 1
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) May 11, 2013
and for the Champs:
Today’s (5/11) #SFGiants lineup – Pagan CF, Scutaro 2B, Sandoval 3B, Posey 1B, Pence RF, Peguero LF, Quiroz C, Crawford SS and Bumgarner LHP
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) May 11, 2013
Beat writer Andrew Baggarly saying that Maholm’s been pretty tough on the LHH this year so that’s why you see Brandon Belt getting a day off today.
And you thought Yu Darvish threw a lot of pitches. Maholm does have the kitchen sink to throw at you, and will do it, while relying on his two-seamer, four-seamer, slider, curve, and changeup the most. You can imagine, if he has most of those pitches working, it’s going to be pretty tough to prepare for an at bat against him.
We’re used to seeing this out of Bumgarner, the fastball-slider combo, with a touch of the curve, and the changeup also being brought out to RHH. It’s brought him much success before, and look for him to continue doing that today.
Enjoy your Saturday, everybody.
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.