The Giants were knocked out of the wild card lead last night, as virtually everything that could go wrong did. Florida pounded the crap out of them, winning 9-1, the Cubs, Padres and Dodgers won, and presto; a two-game deficit in the all-important loss column to Chicago. Wayne Franklin had a first inning he’d like to forget, allowing 7 runs in 2/3 of an inning. “Maybe I tried too hard for us to jump up in this race and really get us going for September. Maybe I was a little overzealous, a little too geared up. It’s like I was pitching for just one inning, like I do out of the bullpen. I had a hard time finding my command.” Or maybe the SF Giants pitching staff stinks.
Yeah, that’s the ticket. The Giants pitching stinks.
Or, to put it another way, without Jason Schmidt, the Giants may have the worst pitching staff in the NL. According to ESPN, the Giants have the 12th worst overall ERA in the NL. Their staff allows 1.43 baserunners per inning (WHIP), also the 12th worst mark in the league. Their OPS against is 11th, their batting average against is 14th. The Giants pitching staff has struck out the fewest batters in the National League, perhaps the most telling indicator of all.
Jason Schmidt, on the other hand, is number one in just about every category used to measure pitching performance. OK, that’s an exagerration, but not much. He’s first in wins and ERA, second in WHIP (1.02), first in quality start percentage (79% of his starts are quality starts), first in average game score (65.0). He has 193 strikeouts in 174.2 inning pitched, the rest of the Giants have 476 in 972 innings. Quick comparison:
Schmidt 9.9 K/9IP
Giants 4.4 K/9IP
Any winning streaks they have put together this season have almost exclusively been the result of offensive spikes. The six-gamer they just had? 7, 16, 7, 3, 8, 5 runs scored, almost 8 per game. The pitching has been as inconsistent as it gets. Here’s August’s runs allowed, going backwards from yesterday; 9, 1, 11, 3, 4, 6, 4, 5, 1, 6, 6, 0, 8, 8, 3, 8, 2, 12, 8, 0, 6. How is a team that allows that many runs supposed to make a push for the post-season? Seven games (out of 21) allowing 8 runs or more. 11 games allowing 6 runs or more, in the first 21 games of the month!
Schmidt is 15-4, 11 games over .500. The Giants are 69-58, 11 games over .500. In other words, Brian Sabean and his crack team of baseball men are counting on Jason Schmidt’s winning the wild card for them. So, you see, if Schmidt cannot carry the team the rest of the way, THEY HAVE NO CHANCE AT ALL OF MAKING THE PLAYOFFS!!!
That’s the reason building a team with one star on offense and one star pitcher is almost always doomed to failure. While other baseball websites are analyzing how amazing the St. Louis Cardinals quartet of superstar hitters are, the Giants are praying that neither Bonds nor Schmidt suffers even a minor injury, because, *poof* there goes $100 million dollar investment, (I figure it takes about that much to put together a team, and run them throough 162 games).
That’s management’s fault, that’s poor planning, that’s what we got.
Editor’s note: Oh, and speaking of baseball websites, according to Google’s rankings, if you type baseball and SF Giants into a Google search, the top 4 returns would be the SF Giants homepage 3 times, and Only Baseball Matters fourth. That means that OBM is the number one, non-MLB affiliated Giants website in the world!! That’s pretty damn awesome, and I am proud as hell. Thanks to all of my readers who have been coming here for the last two and a half seasons. You keep coming, and I’ll keep ranting and raving.