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Archive for August, 2011


…. Bold?

The Giants finally made a couple of moves that made sense, cutting Miguel Tejada and Aaron Rowand. The local media hounds would like you to believe these represent bold and risky moves. They are not. They are a last ditch effort to salvage this once promising season. These moves are, in effect, far too little, too late. On July 28th, the Giants finished off a series win in Philadelphia behind Tim Lincecum. They were 17 games over .500, 4 games up in the division, and seemingly on their way to defending their title.

At that moment in time, almost exactly one month ago, the season was lost. At that moment, Brian Sabean should have been looking at his team, his roster, and he should have been telling himself what was obvious; that the Giants weren’t remotely as good as their record. They were a mere +18 in runs scored, which means they should have been maybe three or four games over .500, not 17. He should have looked at his roster and said to himself, there is no way we can sustain this kind of winning unless I can provide us with a major upgrade us at at least two positions, in particular, shortstop and first base.

He was unable to do so. Perhaps there just wasn’t any way to make it happen. Or maybe he was unwilling to make the moves that could have saved the season. The move he did make, the big one, has been an unmitigated disaster. Since being acquired by the Phillies, Hunter Pence has reached base 46 times, scored 18 runs, driven in 16 and hit 6 home runs. For Atlanta, Michael Bourn has reached base 39 times, scored 15 runs and driven in 11. Carlos Beltran has reached base 22 times, scored 5 runs and driven in 4. We gave up, by far, the best prospect for, by far, the least valuable acquisition.

Nevertheless, the last month of losing only represents the team coming back to their real level. All of the good luck that carried the team so far above where they should have been has transformed into the exact opposite, bad luck, bad breaks, pitches that were caught at the warning track going out, blown leads….

Simply put, no team can win 2 out of every three games with four regular players batting .230, including two full-time players below .200. No pitching staff can overcome the relentless string of zeroes this offense has put up.

Tejada was a disaster. The difference between him and 2010 Juan Uribe had to be worth ten wins. Rowand has been a disaster since he was signed to that bloated, undeserved contract. Cutting ties with him is an admission of failure. At this point, the team should seriously consider cutting ties with Zito, contract be damned. He cannot contribute anything if he continues pitching, so what’s the point of keeping him around? Either way, getting rid of Rowand and Tejada is worthless at this point; they’ve already made 600 outs between them, 600 outs that cannot be gotten back.

Keep it going. Don’t tell me there’s a reason to keep Gary Brown in the minors. Don’t

give me that bullshit. Bench Huff and Torres (completely lost seasons by both players), bring up Brown, play Pill, play Belt, get some youth, get some fire on the field. 2011 is all but over. Let’s get on with 2012.



…. Wheels? Off.

Tim Lincecum finally succumbed to the pressure of having to shut out your opponent every time out, falling to the hapless Chicago Cubs 7-0 tonight. Wow. After stifling one more team inning after inning, it finally dawned on Timmy what we’ve been talking about for most of the last two months…. That this Giants offense has fallen to the depths of Hades. Watching journeyman Randy Wells throw a two-hit shutout against him, Lincecum surely had to wonder about the no-hitters he would have on his resume if only he got to pitch against the orange and black.

Carlos Beltran has to rank

as one of the biggest trade deadline busts of all time, with his fucking completely worthless 1 home run and 4 runs batted in in 70 at bats. Way to go, striking out your first two times up with a man on base. Awesome.

Pray to God Zack Wheeler doesn’t turn out to be a star, because it already feels like another Double Play moment.



…. Hit ‘em where they ain’t.

It appears that Hensley Meulens’ job isn’t on the line, at least publicly, but it should be. The Giants are scoring 2.9 runs a game since the All Star break. They have the fewest runs scored, fewest hits, fewest home runs, fewest walks, fewest total bases, the worst batting average (.229), the worst on-base percentage (.282), the worst slugging percentage (.343), and the worst OPS (.625). Taking into account that they have had, by far, the fewest baserunners, their 5th worst GIDP total of 33 is staggering.

They are the only team in baseball with an OBP below .300. Considering that the league average is around .330, the Giants are a full 15% worse than average, and 20% worst than the Rockies, who are leading the league with a .348. Consider this: a .333 OBP means that a team creates exactly one baserunner per inning, that is, a team spends three outs for each baserunner. The Giants are using four outs to create each baserunner. That’s why it feels like they make huge numbers of outs with men on base. They actually do. Whenever the Giants get a couple of guys on base, they’ve already defied the odds. Trying to drive them in feels so difficult, because it is. Two men on, that’s already three innings worth of hits. For them to be able to bunch four hits in an inning runs counter to the odds they have established.

The odds are that the Giants cannot get two men on base in one inning. Hence the solo home run streak. Hence the way torture has turned into an ordeal.

There is only one hitter on the team that’s been with Meulens all season who is hitting, Pablo Sandoval. And he’s been away from Meulens for weeks at a time.

Every hitter on the team who has been with Meulens from day one is performing below their established abilities.

Time for a change. Meulens shouldn’t have lasted this

long, but there is no way he’s back again next year.

UPDATE: Unbearable loss today. Bochy failed. Cain shouldn’t have pitched the eighth, and even after he made a lousy 2-2 pitch with a man on second and two outs, and then gave up the lead, the team had so many chances to win, it makes my teeth hurt.

Fuck me, what an absolutely horrible offensive team this is.



…. Respect

Not to be a dick, but a Wall of Fame that honors Willie McCovey and Marvin Benard is pretty much just a wall of guys that played here. Nothing against Marvin Benard, but he was a pretty mediocre ballplayer. Jason Schmidt was 79-37 for the Giants. Benard was one and a half years worth of major leaguer.

Somebody’s gotta draw a line somewhere. Benard had one really good season, one pretty good season, and huge number of fly balls caught at the track.

I mean, if we’re writing about having a ceremony honoring Barry Bonds by putting his plaque on the same wall that we’ve just put one for Marvin Benard…. well, if, I’m Bonds, I just might be staying home for that one.

Really, we need to be talking about a statue for Bonds.

If you can’t see that, then you don’t know what you’re talking about. Just like Yankee Stadium was the house that Ruth built, PacBell is the house that Bonds built. You don’t give Bonds a plaque on a wall. You give him a statue, just like his Godfather.



…. Really?

We’re gonna lose to Astros again? Really?



…. Awful

I was at last night’s game. Jesus, did Cain let the team down.

What a drag. By the time the crowd settled in, the game was over. Bummer.

I don’t know how this team can turn it around. From where we were sitting, (front row, right behind Bochy) it was painful watching Fontenot, Rowand, Ross and Huff, who all look completely lost at the plate nine swings out of ten.

Got to shake hands with Larry Baer and Bill Neukom, they were super cool and nice.

Seats were great, game was awful except for the rally, which wasn’t enough.

Ugh.



…. Really?

We’re gonna lose 6-0

to a 40-win team? Really?



…. Freefall

As we’ve watched the 2011 season collapse around the Giants during these last two weeks, (or more to the point, as the Giants regress to their true performance level) a friend of mine mentioned that he thought that Tim Lincecum would have a better career record if he’d been pitching for the Yankees the last four years. I agreed, but said that I thought Matt Cain has really been the guy who’s lost a lot of career traction. Here’s a quick and dirty look at both pitchers possible career outcomes if they’d been in pinstripes instead of taking the mound for the worst offense in baseball for most of their careers.

The Yankees have averaged 5.44 runs per game over the last five seasons

Tim Lincecum:
147 starts 975 innings 348 runs allowed 3.22 runs allowed per 9 innings 67-36 record

Timmy got a decision in 70% of his starts, behind a more powerful offense, I’ll bump him up to 75%. The Pythagorean method of establishing winning percentage suggests that Lincecum’s career record could be something like 80-30 had he pitched behind the best offense in baseball instead of the worst. That’s a big improvement, one that would have Timmy looking at an even more impressive start to his career.

The Yankees averaged 5.48 runs per game since Matt made the bigs.

Matt Cain:
195 starts 1260 innings 502 runs allowed 3.58 runs allowed per 9 innings 66-71 record

Matt also got a decision in 70% of his starts, I’ll make the same adjustment for him, which shows that his record using this method would be something like 105-42, a massive difference.

This is a just quick and dirty attempt. I didn’t do anything more than use averages. Nevertheless, both of these pitchers would be looking at having among the best records of any active pitchers at this stage of their careers, so maybe a more detailed, game by game approach would make their lines look a bit more realistic. Be that as it may, it is revealing to see just how damaging the Giants anemic offense has been to these pitchers long-term career results. Cain would certainly be

looked at as a young pitcher who might have a shot at 300 wins. With just 66 wins at this stage of his career, his chances of even getting to 200 seem remote.

Although, they did win a World Series title, many pitchers would love to be able to say that.

UPDATE: The Giants have averaged 4.1 runs per game since Matt Cain joined the team.



…. Awful

Talk about letting your team down…. What a fail by Brian Wilson.

Clearly one of the worst losses of the year, simply because the

Giants were a struggling team, trying to win their third in a row, on the road, against a quality team, that now leads them by 6 full games in the wild-card chase.

They scored runs, their starter pitched great, and Wilson absolutely sucked balls.

Awful.

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…. Hammer time

It’s time for some of the players on the Giants to hit or get off the pot.

Aubrey Huff
Season .249/.304/.381 .685 OPS
August .353/.405/.588 .994 OPS

Cody Ross
Season .246/.335/.391 .726 OPS
August .222/.276/.370 .646 OPS

Andres Torres
Season .231/.317/.346 .663 OPS
August .208/.296/.208 .505 OPS

These three guys are the key to the team’s chances. Only Huff is showing any signs of breaking out of his season-long misery. Torres clearly should be benched, his season is completely lost at this point. In fact, he’s playing his way into the broadcast booth. If Beltran gets his wrist healed up, both Ross and Torres should see the bench virtually full-time.

There’s no reason not to use Belt and/or DeRosa. They couldn’t be worse than Ross and Torres right now, (no one could, really) and you might just catch lightning in a bottle.

It’s time for Bochy to throw in his lot with Scheirholz, Beltran, DeRosa and Belt, and have the three hitless wonders backing up, pinch-hitting (ouch), and pinch-running.

Of course, this depends on Beltran getting healthy, and for him to start raking as well. Right now, Huff and Sandoval are the only hitters, and we’re not gonna see anything significant from

catcher, or short. Keppinger failed miserably in that last game against the Pirates, but he’s been pretty good so far.

It’s time.



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