Archive for August, 2009
After last night, in which Tim Lincecum threw 8 shutout innings against the best offense in the league, leading the Giants to a taut, 2-0 win; the time has come to talk Cy.
The 2009 National League Cy Young race is looking like a two horse race between Tim Lincecum, and Matt Cain, who are thisclose in a heated battle of can you top this. Both are tied for the league lead with twelve wins, both are in the top three in ERA. Lincecum is leading the league in innings pitched (158), Cain ranks 9th, (140). Lincecum is leading all of baseball in strikeouts, with 191, (33 more than the number two man in the NL, Javier Vazquez) Cain is way back with only 112. Lincecum leads the league in complete games (4) and shutouts (2), and he really could have at least two more. Lincecum has allowed only 6 home runs in 156 innings(!), Cain has allowed 12. Only Dan Haren can match Lincecum’s stinginess regards opponents batting, and his 10-6 record is not really going to catch the eye of the voters.
On ESPN’s Cy Young Prediction machine, Lincecum leads Cain by 5 points. Also putting up Cy Young type seasons are Dan Haren and Jonathan Broxton, but in my humble opinion, the award will be won or lost by one of the two young San Francisco stars. Broxton’s numbers are startling, but with two starters on the same team throwing up such powerhouse numbers, the only way reliever wins this ward is if Cain and Lincecum pull votes away from each other.
My money is on Lincecum. As the reigning Cy Young Award winner, he has followed up last year by having the best season of any pitcher in baseball, and his strikeout numbers make a compelling case to overrule all of the other similarities with Cain, Haren or, for instance, Chris Carpenter.
Matt Cain’s only chance would seem to be by compiling at least two or three more wins. Barring that, the Freak’s dominance will land him his second coveted piece of hardware.
UPDATE: WIth this afternoon’s 7-3 win, the Giants take three of four from the NL East leaders, finish a 6-1 homestand, and hold on to a tie for the Wild Card lead with the Rockies, who beat the Reds 6-4.
Or is it?
After yesterday’s flurry of deals, something occurred to me. No one seems to have traded their best prospects. The Phillies kept Drabek and Taylor, and still got the reigning Cy Young winner from the AL. The Giants arguably traded the best prospect of anyone, Tim Alderson. They traded two of their top four or five prospects. Did they get anything remotely close to the best player, or one of the top six players acquired?
Not in any world that includes brains, they didn’t.
And as for all of the questions about whether Bochy should bat Molina cleanup, we’re really looking at a moot point, aren’t we? If not Molina, then who? The Panda needs to bat third, he is clearly our best hitter. It hardly matters where anyone else hits, they’re all essentially the same player. Molina probably does have the most power, outside of Sandoval. But, really, what does it matter? A perfectly maximized lineup would score about .1 runs more than a lineup made up by throwing darts. Here’s the on base percentages of the ten players who have had the most at bats this season: .320 .335 .373 .335 .307 .270 .325 .322 .309 .337. The Panda is the .373. Obviously, the only slot that matters is putting him third. Sanchez, by the way, has posted a .334 OBP this season, so, he’ll fit right in.
It’s so depressing, looking at this offense. The Giants team OBP is .307, which is, of course, dead last in all of baseball. They have 66 home runs, which is second to last. Their slugging percentage, .381, is second to last as well. Their OPS, .681, is second to last. They’ve scored the second to last number of total runs, 407.
We needed home runs and walks. More than any contender, we needed home runs and walks. We should have done nothing rather than trade Alderson and Barnes for two guys we pretty much already had.