Wednesday, June 26, 2013
The Giants are 3-1/2 games from first place and 3-1/2 games from last place. The defending champs are fighting it out with the most expensive team in baseball history for the bottom of the division. Raise your hand if you saw that coming.
Friday, June 22, 2012
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Cain's 15th start of the 2010 season was one to forget, but his first 14 starts were pretty damn good. In 100 IP only 26 runs were allowed, which is an average of 7.1 innings and 1.85 runs per outing. I know an "average" doesn't mean much--especially without a standard deviation--but it gives us a thumbnail sketch of his season so far. It's also close to what we've all felt intuitively, namely that Matt Cain is Mr. Consistency, and gives the team a boatload of quality starts. According to Fan Graphs, Matt entered today 11th among NL starters in FIP (3.38). ZiPS projects 3.51 for the season, which is still very good (top one-third of ML starters). We can only hope his 16th start is much better.
I'm disappointed, and not just because I watched my favorite Giant perform as poorly as he ever has. No, I'm a Team Man all the way, I wanted the Giants to beat the lowly Astros and come home with their 40th win. Alas, they'll have to do that this weekend against a tough club. The Red Sox have the highest team wOBA in the game (.359) and have scored nearly 400 runs. They give up about a run more per game than the Giants, though, so it should be an interesting match-up. The Sox pounded Ubaldo Jimenez last night (it was his season-worst start as well), only to watch closer Jonathan Papelbon blow the win in the 9th.
Tomorrow's game is also the 72nd of the year, which is the 4th-inning of a 162-game season (18 x 4 = 72, 18 x 9 = 162). The halfway point (game 81) is the Fourth of July, the final game of a four-game set in Colorado. That trip--11 games--is the longest of the season, with four games in Milwaukee and three in Washington right before the All-Star Break (88th game). With the Dodgers coming to town after the Red Sox series, it should be a drama-laden three weeks, and we'll know quite a bit more about our team. Last season the Giants were 49-39 at the Break (.557). Can we do better than 10-7 in the next 17 games?
**Cain's Game Score, 12, was his 2nd-lowest ever (the 11-1 loss in St. Louis was a 10).
Monday, April 13, 2009
For better or worse, the first six games have shown us that this season looks to be completely different from last season. Now that is probably a really good thing....I mean, we lost a lot, didn't we? And I love the young guys....Pablo and Travis are kind of the Obama versions of Will and Robby. What's not to love with that? This year's bullpen looks good as well as promising, last year's was just plain SCARY. So, ok, I am definitely in favor of a fresh start. HOWEVER....
....CAN I KEEP LAST YEAR"S TIM?
All those Easter jokes are going to waste. Tim did not rise, he continued his poor start to the '09 campaign with a 5.1 inning, 4 run, 10 hit, 3 walk performance. This came at the hands of a team that Tim obliterated last year. Likewise, the fact that the puds swept the series by smacking Lincecum around is disheartening. What happened to "Stopper Tim?" Two low quality starts in a row? Have all of last year's footholds crumbled?
I know it is too soon to really worry. And I am not, especially not about The Franchise. He will be fine, I'm sure of it. But my mind is boggled by all the uncertainties. This year's journey looks to be a wild one. I am searching for some bearing and the usual rocks are slippery. What do we know to be TRUTHS for the '09 Giants? Is there anything FOR SURE?
Can I at least count on Barry Zito to suck?
(Recognize the image? you should! I found it when I googled "uncertainity" Check this out!)
Saturday, March 7, 2009
Fan Graphs recently added updated Bill James projections. (This is another one of those sites that makes ESPN, SF Gate and just about every other "mainstream" source pointless. Between Fan Graphs, Baseball-Reference, The Baseball Analysts--just to name a few--and the many excellent Giants blogs, the old sources of information are just there for nostalgia purposes.)
Here's his take on the 2009 Matt Cain model:
32 GS 213 IP 185 H 92 BB 192 SO
13-11 W-L 3.55 ERA
I've touched on FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) before. Think of it as a more accurate way to express ERA. Last year, you-know-who was the ML leader in FIP, at 2.62. Among those with 150 or more IP, Dan Haren was 4th (3.01), Brandon Webb was 8th (3.28), Johan Santana was 16th (3.51), Jake Peavy 21st (3.60), Cole Hamels 25th (3.72), Jonathan Sanchez 35th (3.85), and Matt Cain 39th (3.91).
Sorting just for the NL, Matt comes in at number twenty-one. There are 30 ML teams, 16 in the NL. That should give you some idea of the relative value of a fellow like young Mr. Cain. Baseball-Reference uses ERA+, the pitching equivalent of OPS+, one of the stats I throw around all the time. These are more like the traditional stats but weighted against the league average and adjusted for park effects. A score of "100" is "league average."
Matt had an ERA+ of 116 last year, basically saying he was 16% better than average. The Franchise led the league of course, with an eye-popping 167. Check out the career leaders (min 1000 IP and 100 decisions) for a sense of perspective on this metric. For the record, the last not-named-Barry Giants hitter to be at least 16% better than average for a full season was the 2006 Ray Durham (127 OPS+). The last full-time starters to give us over 116 ERA+ were the 2007 Cain (122) and the 2006 Jason Schmidt (125).
Matt pitched well today. For the season, I'd like to see him face fewer batters and throw fewer pitches. Five guys (in the NL) faced over 900 batters in 2008: Santana/964, Webb/944, Cain/933, Lincecum/928, Hamels/914. ALL of them pitched more innings than Matt (217-2/3): Santana (234-1/3), Hamels (227-1/3), Lincecum (227), Webb (226-2/3). Cain, Santana, and Webb tied for 8th in the league in hits allowed, 206, but Matt had far more walks, 91, than all but Tim, 84 (Webb-65, Santana-63, Hamels-53). Dan Haren, to throw in another NL ace, had only 40 walks to go along with 206 Ks. I think this is why Matt has not quite broken through the upper echelon. He's young, tough, big, strong, athletic, healthy, and talented. But he puts a few too many guys on base and and doesn't quite get as many outs as the rest of the bunch. Only 13 guys threw over 3300 pitches in the NL last year, and Tim and Matt were 1-2 with 3682 and 3606. Santana was 3rd/3598, Hamels 5th/3427, Webb 8th/3358, and Haren 11th/3339.
I'm not concerned about fatigue or over-use. I think it is a mental thing, and I expect him to mature and improve. I'd like to see him attack more hitters and make them put the ball in play rather than nibble and give up walks. I'd like to see him get guys out earlier in the count, but still have the strikeout weapon. Maybe he needs another pitch, a good sinker/split-finger to induce more ground balls. With increased confidence, better coaching (yikes!), and veteran-star-mentoring (Unit?), the sky's the limit for our 2002 1st-Round draft pick.
What he really needs, of course, is RUN SUPPORT.
Fielding Independent Pitching, a measure of all those things for which a pitcher is specifically responsible. The formula is (HR*13+(BB+HBP-IBB)*3-K*2)/IP, plus a league-specific factor (usually around 3.2) to round out the number to an equivalent ERA number. FIP helps you understand how well a pitcher pitched, regardless of how well his fielders fielded. FIP was invented by Tangotiger.
Matt Cain B-R page.
Matt Cain FanGraphs page.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
JCP said it earlier, and I have to agree. Tim's 2008 campaign was the best season of pitching I have ever seen.
I'm glad other folks noticed.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
WHIP is an easy one. "Walks plus hits per innings pitched." Cain is 39th at 1.35 We know why. He's 10th in baseball (all pitchers) in BBs with 83. Zito, at 98, is "number one."
VORP is one of those things only a statgeek can love. "Value Over Replacement Player" borders on the psychedelic. (q.v. BP's Glossary) A team of "replacements" would only win about 20-25 games--think marginal big-leaguer, not an average one. If you sort for 180 IP, Matt Cain comes in at 26th, just behind Carlos Zambrano. The numbers are 37.7 and 36.8, higher is better. (Cliff Lee is the leader at 75.2, The Link second at 72.2.) MC drops to 35th if you include all 700 possible guys. (Luis Mendoza of the Rangers is last with a -31.6.) Barry Zito (-3.1) and Jeff Suppan (+1.3) are performing at about the level of a "replacement" starter, just to give you some idea. They are approaching "zero" value above any promotable AAA+ warm body. Jonathan Sanchez is at 15.8, besting the likes of Greg Maddux at 14.4.
I'll let you chew on that stuff. This is great fodder for off-season rants and 2009 planning! Meanwhile, Ivan Ochoa hits second today. He has a .546 OPS. Good choice to hit 2nd, Bonehead.
Let's hope Matt brings the gas today, and you can expect my usual "line post" after the game.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Yes, Manny was the Human Highlight Film last night, despite another great game by Freddie. Ho-hum, Fred. You have to like this kid--DC boy, after all. And a Kent State Golden Flash as well (q.v. my 3 June post). He just turned 23, and has only 204 games in the minors, doing his best work .324/.374/.381 at Class A last year. If that .381 SLG scares you, that's good. Mr. B hit ONE homer in the minors and only 25 doubles (922 PA). Don't ask about his career OPS, OK?
So . . . where does that leave us? If Burriss expects to make it in the bigs he'll have to learn to get on base. He'll have to become a patient, selective, all-fields hitter. We know he has speed, but he'll have to show range and good glove work to stick as a middle infielder. I'm glad he's getting a look, and I really really really want to see him do well. Maybe he can conjure up the ghost of his fine senior year (.923 OPS) in 2006.
Friday, August 1, 2008
6 starts, 43 IP, 32 hits, only 9 ER, 14 BB and 41 K.
I like the 1.88 ERA and the 48-49 split in outs between GB and FB. The 2-3 record is a shame, MC pitched very well--he had only one bad start in the bunch. As Martin points out on OGC today, MC's last two starts "made history." Matt walked ZERO guys! We've been saying all along that Cain had two things to work on, consistency and control. This July we've seen the pitcher we all want him to be.
The Giants are on the cusp of the 2/3 mark in the season (this is game 108 tonight). I figure MC, if he pitches Monday, will get 11 more starts. Let's hope they are more like the last 6 than the first 17.
Young Mr. Lincecum's ERA is at its highest point this season while Young Mr. Cain's has reached its lowest. (Tim's is a full run lower than Matt's.) I feel like a troglodyte talking about ERA in the Sabermetric Era, but a start in San Diego ought to be just the thing to begin a downward trend, don't you think? This series is shaping up to be a Tidy Bowl of Excitement: SFG's have a .692 OPS and 419 RS, SDP's have a .701 OPS and 414 RS. San Diego has achieved the vaunted sub-.400 win percentage that is just eluding us, that ought to give us some motivation.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Have you ever been to a Russian wedding? I had not. Let me tell you, those folks know how to have a good time. We also got to spend some time in the Russian River area (Guerneville and Monte Rio), which is quite beautiful. I had not been there since I was a wee lad. The Sonoma Coast is spectacular. We drove north on Highway 1 from Tomales--the mouth of the Russian is just south of Jenner. The beaches and coastal access points north of Bodega Bay are wonderful. I love living here in the State of Jefferson, but I do miss the ocean, so it was great to get a dose. Nothing like one of those cold onshore winds blowing in your face as the breakers crash and the pelicans dive into the surf.
1. BroB, Zo, way to "post up."
2. Lewis rocks. But we knew that.
3. Lincecum now feels Cain's pain.
4. Matt Cain rocks. But we knew that.
5. We stink. Most putrid-ly. But we knew that.
6. When are we shipping out Roberts, Winn, Aurilia and Molina?
7. Now that we aided and abetted AZ's quest for the NL West title, will that continue vs. LA?
43-61, .413 after 104 games. That projects to 67-95. We are still better than my 100-loss prediction, but I think we will be working hard to fulfill the prophecy in these next two months. After all, if we have any brains, we will throw every youngster we got out there while the rest of the league chases a pennant. OK, maybe not San Diego or Washington, but most of the rest.
Happy to home, me bhoyos, looking forward to seeing more Matt, Tim, and Fred. Let's beat the fookin' smogsuckers while we are at it, eh?
Thursday, July 24, 2008
After this, I promise never to miss another start. Matt Cain goes today. I hope he can stay sharp, not walk guys, and get outs efficiently.
I hope the Giants can score runs. Mostly, I hope we trade more old guys for more young guys.
¡Hasta la vista!
Friday, July 18, 2008
The Brewers are fighting for their lives in the NL Central. The Giants? We are struggling with "dilemmas" like what to do about Dave Roberts. Gimme a break. Ship 'em all!!! We are stuck with Rowand and Zito, the rest are expendable. Hell, it is only money.
Regardless, it is a great match-up tonight of big guys, hard throwers, "old school" smoke-meisters! Go, Matt! Kick some ass!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Baseball is great, as we know. Our southern neighbors love it as well, and it has been a dream of mine to watch a ballgame in Latin America. (They call their outfielders jardineros, which also means "gardeners." Jardinero Derecho, J. Centro, J. Izquierdo, R to L.) We saw two, and got rained out of a third. It is the wet season in Oaxaca, and we enjoyed a long rain delay in one game as well. The fans get a kick out of watching the theatrical but efficient tarp crew. Coronas, poured and delivered, were 15 pesos ($1.50 US), and home-made empeñadas, stout enough for dinner, were 25 pesos. We sat in the second-best seats, the centro, and they set us back a whole five bucks American (50 pesos). Apiece. Of course, every night is Ladies Nite in Oaxaca--damas are charged half-price. My lovely bride and I sat behind home plate, under cover, for seven and a half dollars total. I love the Minor Leagues! The game was loud and crazy, with typically nutty minor-league promotions, as well as cheerleaders, the Guerreritas. It was festive and fun--they blast music videos and rock riffs for the local guys, and taunt the opposition with insults and foul language. Sporting events are a great way to meet locals and experience the spirit of a place. (We've seen hurling in Ireland and cricket in England!) Our first night, the beer vendor adopted us right away, made sure we knew where to sit, kept the cervezas coming, and chatted with us during the delay. We felt right at home.
Meanwhile, I'm very excited about the MC-CC matchup (can't we all just drop those pesky periods?) on Friday. Let me clarify: I'm NOT at all excited about our weak offense trying to hit off Sabathia. I AM excited about a chance for Cain to go toe-to-toe with one of the best.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Clint Hurdle says our young stud might not pitch. How 'bout that, kid? You make the cover of SI but won't throw in Yankee Fookin' Stadium with everyone watching? Memo to Marketing: Send Clint the Marketing Memo.
I missed the Fourth of July. So how about a little Lady Liberty Love in Orange & Black, eh?
Saturday, July 12, 2008
TODOS SOMOS GUERREROS.
In Oaxaca, we are all Guerreros (warriors).
Don't you like that?
Yes, I'm back from my three-week holiday, which involved two weeks in México, one of those in Oaxaca de Juárez. I'll put together some posts on béisbol soon, with photos (I hope).
Meanwhile, I'm adopting the slogan:
We are all Giants.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
1st: 7-11, .389
2nd: 7-11, .389, 14-22 overall
3rd: 9-9, .500, 23-31 overall (.426)
4th: 8-10, .444, 31-41 overall (.431)
Today was game 73. We lost, our record is now 31-42 (.425). That projects to 69 wins, 7 more than I figured. Who is willing to bet we will have an "inning" over .500 this season? Anyone?
And speaking of that, I'm outta here. Friday, the Summer Solstice, we take off for points south. Our ultimate destination is Mexico. Zo, we rendezvous in Oaxaca on the 1st! Ron, we celebrate the 4th watching béisbol together (oh yeah, and your wedding a few days later). Yes, the Oaxaca Guerreros are in town and we are going to be there for as much La Liga action as we can stand! Los Guerreros are currently in the cellar. At least Los Gigantes are still ahead of the Crox and Puds.
I am not "blogging" for the duration. That's right, three weeks, no M.C. Speaking of which, Matt Cain pitches Friday. I will be on the road. One of the lads (JC? BroBob?) will have to step up and post while I'm gone.
So, hasta la vista, mis amigos. I will be back in mid-July.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Speaking of 7, Chris at Bay City Ball convincingly demonstrates that Fred Lewis is AT LEAST the 7th best LF in the NL. Throw in his improving baserunning and fielding and he's pushing past sluggers like Carlos Lee. Fred has more hits and more runs scored than Alfonso Soriano! Soriano has 26 XBH (15 HR, 11 2B). Fred has 26 as well (5 HR, 14 2B, 6 3B). Scott Hairston and Juan Pierre are the bottom feeders in the NL LF list, and the expected names like Pat Burrell, Matt Holliday and Ryan Braun take up the top spots. Adam Dunn and Jason Bay are delivering the goods, but they cost a hell of a lot more than our boy, and have far greater MLB experience. Be sure to read "Right Said Fred" on BCB. Chris does the heavy lifting for us with some in-depth analysis and throws around saber-stats like xBABIP with aplomb.
Two things I want to see: (1) a trade with Dave Roberts, acknowledging FLew is our guy, and (2) Nate Schierholz getting a call-up. Youth, damnit, youth!
Since the good doctor, JCP, is on holiday, we had no Link post after Wednesday's game. My bad. I should have stepped in to fill the void. Big D at Giants Win provided the necessary Link-love, though, with a link to this cool site.
Happy Friday the 13th to all the G-fans out there!
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
"Unbelievable, extraordinary ... it's an out-of-body experience and I'm really enjoying it," said Horwitz, who obtained his home run ball from the fan who caught it by giving him an autographed bat. (Chris Haft article)
The 24-year old seems to have been pegged as a career minor-leaguer, a familiar refrain in our organization, mostly due to a lack of power. He's a .400 OBA kind of guy--check him out at The Baseball Cube. The real reason we are excited about this fella here at RMC is that he is a GRADUATE of the University of California! He's a goddamn GOLDEN BEAR, my friends! Let's hear it:
We already got to know our 49er, John "Dirtbag" Bowker. And our Golden Eagle, Steve "Backup Catcher" Holm. Add to the list future shortstop Emmanuel Burriss. Why? Because he's a GOLDEN FLASH! Emmanuel is a Kent State University product. They are The Golden Flashes. Don't you love college nicknames?