I’m not doing these things in a loss unless the Giants get extremely unlucky and there’s stuff to calm myself down over. This was not one of those nights. The Giants did not lead until the game was over, and despite a pretty wide strike zone, they managed to be down by two or tied the whole way. Ryan Vogelsong was good enough to get through seven innings tonight, and Wade Miley nearly matched him in innings pitched. Here are some of Vogelsong’s strikeouts against Didi Gregorious, Cliff Pennington, and Miguel Montero.
Cody Ross made his return to AT&T Park, and there were reports that he was being booed? For shame, Giants fans. For shame. How have you forgotten the title he hath broughteth in 2010?
Vogelsong also played the part of a kick-save goalie tonight, proving baseball players can play any sport.
After pitcher Wade Miley and old man Eric Chavez homered (I know), it was time for the 2012 MVP to get to work.
A 2-R HR to straightaway CF to tie the game. Your thoughts, Buster Posey?
That hit went softly into LCF and Gerardo Parra knew he had no shot to get Andres Torres and there was much celebration.
Just the way we like it.
In what might have been the longest off-season for Arizona Diamondback fans, Justin Upton, Chris Young, Trevor Bauer, and Chris Johnson were shipped out, and Martin Prado, Didi Gregorius (awesome name, by the way), Cody Ross, Cliff Pennington, and Heath Bell were brought in. Somewhere along the way, it got out that the Diamondbacks wanted players that were “gritty,” “gamers,” “played the game the right way,” yada yada yada. Intangibles are fine when it comes to leadership, whether verbal or through their actions, but even with the moves that were made, it’s hard to see how the team got better. Nevertheless, here they are, their first series against the Giants and at AT&T this year. You’ll remember the first time these two squared up in 2012 in Phoenix, the DBacks swept the Giants and nothing good ever happened again for the Giants. Just awful.
For the snakes:
Dbacks lineup vs. Giants (RHP Vogelsong): Parra, Prado, Goldschmidt, Montero, Ross, Chavez, Gregorius, Pennington, Miley.
— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) April 22, 2013
For the Champs:
Tonight’s (4/22) #SFGiants lineup: Pagan CF, Scutaro 2B, Sandoval 3B, Posey c, Pence RF, Arias 1B, Torres LF, Crawford SS and Vogelsong RHP
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) April 22, 2013
Brandon Belt turning into the platoon partner with Joaquin Arias until he can get his swing in order, apparently. Once he does find the swing that made him successful, I’d imagine he’s back to getting the playing time we’re used to seeing from Bochy.
#SFGiants have not allowed a run in their last 21.0 innings, their longest scoreless streak since June 25-29, 2012 (36.0-scoreless frames).
— #SFGStats (@SFG_Stats) April 23, 2013
Can the Giants beat that streak? The smart money says “no,” because a lot really needs to go right, and the Diamondbacks still have a pretty decent lineup. However, the Giants did pull that off in a three-game streak against a depleted Dodgers squad, and in one game against the Reds. That was a pretty fun stretch of games.
Wade Miley seems to primarily be a three-pitch pitcher to lefties, loving that four- and two-seam combo with the slider being the finisher. With RHH, he’ll include that changeup, and try to surprise you with it from time to time when he falls behind into a traditional fastball count. Spreads it out pretty well when he gets ahead of you or in two strike situations versus a RHH.
Vogey shares the wealth to everybody, but using his five pitches even more against lefties. Apparently, he is using his curveball-for-a-first-pitch-strike move nearly a third of the time against LHH. Sooner or later, I worry that that’s going to catch on and hitters really start looking for that. I take him to be a pretty smart and seasoned guy, so he should be able to adjust when necessary.
Game time is at 7:15PM PST tonight. I’ll try to hear what’s being said as my wife blasts tonight’s “The Voice.”
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.
60. Matt Cain (219.1 IP, 7.92 K/9, 3.60 tERA, 3.8 fWAR, 3.5 rWAR) – In the battle of Cain v. Kuroda, if you really value WAR, you’ll take Kuroda, but the FIP and tERA speak to me more, as does Cain doing the work in one less start than Kuroda.
59. Elvis Andrus (31 2B, 21 SB, .322 wOBA, 4.2 fWAR, 3.5 rWAR) – Imagine if this kid can get the bat going more, and he will be a talent that not just demands, but deserves the 9-figure deal.
58. Jose Reyes (37 2B, 40 SB, .335 wOBA, 4.5 fWAR, 2.8 rWAR) – I almost had a pretty neat string of 2013 Toronto Blue Jays going, but I think Jose will have a great time frolicking with an organization that isn’t made of pure Snakeinthegrass.
57. James Shields (227.2 IP, 8.82 K/9, 3.52 tERA, 4.3 fWAR, 2.2 rWAR) – Though he may be one of the better pitchers in the game, I think it is reasonable to worry about whether he will be what the Royals traded him for (their ace).
55. Josh Hamilton (43 HR, 31 2B, .387 wOBA, 4.4 fWAR, 3.4 rWAR) – Forever will be remembered by me as “the guy that didn’t hit enough HR” in 2012, or for his 2011 Game 6 HR that really should have given Texas a Title.
54. Melky Cabrera (25 2B, 10 3B, .387 wOBA, 4.6 fWAR, 4.7 rWAR) – Like Chooch, not sure how much the PED helped Melky, but Toronto is certainly willing to find out.
53. Edwin Encarnacion (42 HR, 13 SB, .396 wOBA, 4.4 fWAR, 4.6 rWAR) – Maybe everybody’s hitters should take some time in Toronto over the off-season to get coached to find a new timing mechanism to get them the power. We’ll get to see if this was a fluke year, or if him and Joey Bats are just getting started.
52. Dustin Pedroia (39 2B, 20 SB, .344 wOBA, 4.5 fWAR, 4.4 rWAR) – His glove is what gets him here, along with his low K numbers, power, and speed at a position not known for such attributes.
51. Ryan Zimmerman (25 HR, 36 2B, .352 wOBA, 4.5 fWAR, 3.8 rWAR) – Like Peavy, it was good to see Zimm healthy for most of the season, and reminded the people that he can be an integral part of a championship-level team.
50. Jake Peavy (219.0 IP, 7.97 K/9, 3.99 tERA, 4.4 fWAR, 5.0 rWAR) – Maybe he’s returning to his San Diego performance days, and I know the White Sox are certainly hoping so as well.
49. Adam Wainwright (198.2 IP, 8.34 K/9, 3.72 tERA, 4.4 fWAR, 5.9 rWAR) – Had he a better defense, and better run support, he probably would have been a bigger competitor in any award he was eligible for. Nearly a 0.80 difference between his ERA and FIP.
48. Adam Jones (32 HR, 16 SB, .361 wOBA, 4.6 fWAR, 3.4 rWAR) – Speaking of walks, Adam Jones does not, but he provides the boom as a replacement. May be a problem as he gets older, but he just completed his age 26 season.
47. Wade Miley (194.2 IP, 6.66 K/9, 4.11 tERA, 4.8 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – Just a rookie, Miley did a great job keeping the walks down, as it’s hard to find many of the top starters on this list that had lower than a 2.00 BB/9.
46. Angel Pagan (15 3B, 29 SB, .334 wOBA, 4.8 fWAR, 4.0 rWAR) – Giants fans are just glad he got out of his slump in the leadoff spot well in time for the later months and postseason run.
45. CC Sabathia (200.0 IP, 8.87 K/9, 3.87 tERA, 4.8 fWAR, 3.3 rWAR) – And all that was done in 28 starts, too, which is the same amount of starts Strasburg had.
44. Johnny Cueto (217.0 IP, 7.05 K/9, 3.91 tERA, 4.8 fWAR, 5.8 rWAR) – Had Cueto kept up his first half dominance, he probably would have run away with the Cy Young Award.
43. Josh Reddick (32 HR, 11 SB, .326 wOBA, 4.8 fWAR, 4.5 rWAR) – Shocked that he was healthy a whole year, Reddick proved to be a fantastic surprise of healthiness for the surprise AL West Champs.
42. Max Scherzer (187.2 IP, 11.08 K/9, 3.71 tERA, 4.6 fWAR, 4.0 rWAR) – I was debating how he and Cueto should match up, and a lot of people might sight his ERA, but I’m not sure why the awful defense behind him should give the edge to the NLDS Game 1 SP from Cincy.
41. Cole Hamels (215.1 IP, 9.03 K/9, 2.75 tERA, 4.5 fWAR, 4.2 rWAR) – Every time I see “Cole Hamels” all I think is “Coal Hammels,” and I have even once typed in “Hammels” on accident.
The Diamondbacks have an elimination number of four, and there’s nine games left for them to pull of an unlikely miracle. They need a lot of help, but also need to do a lot themselves, beginning with sweeping the Giants, who while they have clinched, still are acting like they have a fire of intention in their bellies. Interesting bit of recent trivia, the last time the Snakes have lost a series, it was against the Giants in Arizona, and the last time the Giants lost a series it was against the DBacks in San Francisco. It is also the only series the Giants have lost in September. The Giants will miss Tyler Skaggs, who was scratched to take the rest of the season off. Josh Collmenter and all of his tomahawks will take his place tonight.
Tuesday, September 25th: RHP Josh Collmenter vs. RHP Tim Lincecum
One sentence summary: Collmenter’s last start was July 27th against the Mets (6 IP, 5 ER), and Lincecum has had the lowest wOBA against of .302 in September of every month this season.
Wednesday, September 26th: LHP Wade Miley vs. RHP Matt Cain
One sentence summary: RHH (.312) have about a full tenth higher of a wOBA against Miley than LHH (.214), while Cain’s last two outings against the DBacks have seen 11 IP, 7 H, 7 BB, 10 K, 2 ER.
Thursday, September 27th: LHP Patrick Corbin vs. LHP Barry Zito
One sentence summary: Corbin’s last outing against the Giants of 8 IP was a season-high, while Zito’s .318 wOBA against in September means he’s probably pretty lucky to be sporting a 2.66 ERA in the same month.
Panda vs. Snake
Impressive when a guy has over a 200 wRC+ in the last week like the Diamondbacks have in Chris Johnson (221), but more impressive that the Giants have four guys. I’ll get to that in the next paragraph. Justin Upton is also contributing, but without the long ball (.467 wOBA L7, .338 wOBA overall). Aaron Hill (2 HR L7, 24 HR overall), Miguel Montero (.442 wOBA L7, .369 wOBA overall), and the notorious Paul Goldschmidt (.412 wOBA L7, .368 wOBA overall) have been enjoying their time against San Diego and Colorado. Gerardo Parra — though only 11 PA — is the only one really struggling of late (.201 wOBA L7, .309 wOBA overall).
Those four guys with over a 200 wRC+ in the past week? I’m sure you got Pablo (362!), then Hector (222 in 11 PA), Scutaro (203), and Belt (202 in 15 PA). Pablo’s .703 wOBA in the past week is outstanding and I’m going to venture a guess that it doesn’t stay that hot for the remainder of the season. In addition to the four guys I mentioned, Angel Pagan has also been leading the lineup off right (.443 wOBA L7, .344 wOBA overall). Guys that have been slowing down a bit include the awkward Hunter Pence (.191 wOBA L7, ) and the blue-eyed Brandon Crawford (.207, .281). Angel Pagan is two SB away from 30, and two HR away from 10.
It should be interesting to watch how Bochy plays the field here (I giggled when I typed that), but by scratching Skaggs, I’m not sure the DBacks have concerns about winning right now.
Tuesday: Diamondbacks win (Goldschmidt)
Wednesday: Giants win (Matt Cain)
Thursday: Giants win (Because I said so)
What I’ve Been Reading (that I believe are important)
Alex Pavlovic’s Postgame Notes from Sunday
Grant Brisbee’s little Barry Zito piece
Bill Baer’s response to a Philly media member and only using the eyes to scout
The broadcaster bias work on WSJ
Wendy Thurm’s Melky article on Fangraphs
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.