Archive for September, 2012
I don’t see this move as making
…. Manager Bruce Bochy said Cabrera would not be added to the postseason rost
er. The suspended outfielder was eligible to rejoin the club after the fifth postseason game if the Giants get that far.
“We’ve moved on and so we’re going to move forward without Melky,” Bochy said. “Melky understands.”
What?! How is Mota welcomed back after failing not one, but two drug tests, while Melky is being banished from the team? Melky is the better player, and the league has a simple and well-run system for dealing with players who fail drug tests. If they really didn’t consult with him at all, I’d say he’s got a real good chance to file a successful grievance. The Giants have already accepted Mota back into the fold two times. They have no grounds to suggest that Melky is any different from Mota, just another player who failed a drug test and paid his punishment.
Not to mention, this not only seems excessive; but it is certainly detrimental to the team’s chances at a title. Cabrera absolutely makes them a better team, regardless of all the bullshit hurt feelings. He was a legitimate MVP candidate at the moment he failed that test. Now, they’re telling the guy who was their first half MVP, the All Star game MVP…. really, the best hitter in the NL that they don’t care for his services?!
This is the classic example of biting your nose off to spite your face.
The SF Giants clinched
the NL West last night, winning their sixth straight behind Madison Bumgarner’s team-leading 16th win, some more offense,
and a terrific bullpen. Congratulations to the Giants, Brian Sabean and Bruce Bochy, Dave Righetti and,
of course, the players.
…. Larry Granillo, over at Baseball Prospectus agrees with me:
…. Ryan Braun is not going to win the MVP award this year. Even with the Brewers surging in
to the playoffs thanks to an unprecedented triple swoon by the other National League Wild Card contenders, there are, ahem, reasons that Braun won’t walk away with the trophy. One of those reasons plays catcher for the San Francisco Giants.
…. In 50 fewer plate appearances, Posey has only eight fewer hits than Braun. That’s enough to help put Posey’s .333 batting average at third in the league. He also has six more doubles than Braun despite the fewer at-bats and a respectable-unto-itself 22 home runs. Posey’s .409 on-base percentage is also 20 points higher than Braun’s .389, while his 73 runs scored and 93 RBIs complete the all-around great season Posey has put together.
Braun’s numbers seem to be the easy winner at first-glance. However, the run-scoring environments between the two players’ home parks are very different, making a straight comparison a bit more complicated. Looking at True Average, which takes these factors into account, the picture changes. Posey’s .348 TAv is a clear leader over the .334 from Braun. Both are excellent, but Posey’s numbers playing for the Giants are the superior set. (Other
whole-value batting metrics you may
see around the web have similar findings.) When you couple this with the fact that Posey plays the large majority of his games as a catcher—a position still starved for offensive talent—while Braun plays the offense-heavy left field, it makes perfect sense that Braun won’t be repeating as the league’s Most Valuable Player.
Over at the Sporting News, David Whitley is talking Ryan Braun up as :
…. His stats after Sunday: 40 homers, 103 RBI, a .312 batting average and a couple million skeptics. There’s still suspicion, so much that last year’s MVP might not even finish in the top five this season. But at this point, what more can Braun do? He was cleared by the system. The whole thing was supposed to be confidential to begin with, but Braun’s name was leaked.
That was the first step in a good name going bad. The only way to get it back was to play like the Braun of old. Players may lie, but numbers don’t. Braun not only sounds like an innocent man, he’s hitting like one.
First of all, I’m just wondering when somebody’s gonna start talking about Buster Posey’s MVP claim. You know what, I’ll get back to that in a minute. With all due respect to Braun’s productivity, how in God’s name can any sportswriter sit there and champion a man who just failed a drug test with what was characterized as an “insane high” level of testosterone; after all of the sanctimonious posturing and protecting the children these writers have been guilty of these last ten years, after all the negative, smear campaigns against these guys? Now they’re gonna just
forget about it because he’s a nice guy? Are they kidding somebody?
They drummed Barry Bonds (only one of the five best baseball players of all time) out of baseball because he failed a PED test and the results were leaked… how is this any different? Why, because Bonds was a dick? Bullshit. If they give Braun the award, their hypocrisy will have reached a new low. For crying out loud, there was even talk about taking away Braun’s MVP award at one point. Now, because he’s hit 40 home runs for a team that has the seventh best record in the NL (74-72), he’s gonna win it again? And you know what, forget about the writers. They’ve already revealed themselves as the pandering, march in lock step, keepers of the flame over this last, disgraceful decade. No, it’s the editors, the television producers, and, of course, the members of baseball’s management and ownership that have really shamed themselves. After cowardly allowing players like Bonds, McGwire, Palmiero and Sosa to be blackballed, smeared, shamed and painted as villians for so long, they have set themselves up to face this kind of controversy, and controversial it will be if Braun wins it again.
I don’t give a rat’s ass if he won his appeal. If you run Bonds out of town on a rail, if you talk about erasing him from the record books; you simply cannot vote for Ryan Braun for MVP ever again. I’m sorry, but you can’t have it both ways. And anyway, look, if he was such an obvious choice, a no questions asked, you can’t deny it superstar, like Bonds was those last four seasons, fine. What are you gonna do, ignore reality?
But the Giants are sitting here with an everyday catcher who’s gonna finish with 25 home runs, 100 RBI, a .300/.400/.500 .900+ OPS, who’s probably gonna lead the league in wins above replacement, and has just come back from a career-ending injury last season AND has led his team to the brink of a runaway NL West title (84-63, 8.5 game lead with 16 game left). I mean, come on?
It’s no contest. McCutcheon and Braun and Posey all have about six and half WAR, all three have great numbers; but Posey’s been doing it the whole second half, runnning out a staggering .392/.466/.656 1.121 OPS since the All Star break, while averaging an RBI per game as a catcher. That 1.121 post All Star OPS in .147 points better than the number two guy, and did I mention that he’s a catcher? He’s the one that supposed to be breaking down. Instead, he’s surging, carrying his team leading the NL in hits (what?!?) Apparently, after the season-ending suspension of Melky Cabrera –only the league leader in hits and multi hit games– Posey decided that he would lead the league in hits in the second half.
No, I’m sorry, but Ryan Braun is not the MVP. Buster Posey has been the most valuable player in the NL this season, period.
UPDATE: Well, yeah, I am bitter. I’m bitter about the treatment of Bonds, I’m bitter about the hypocrisy that’s ruining our country over the “War on Drugs” and I’m bitter about the SF Giants being virtually ignored by the MSM.
That said, I wrote about Melky’s sad and stupid positive test before, and I guess I left it out of this piece because it has nothing to do with it.
Braun’s numbers are inflated by his home park, and Posey’s are deflated by his.
Here are their road numbers side by side:
Braun .313/.381/.556 .937 OPS 15 2B 16 HR 45 RBI
Posey .323/.394/.569 .963 OPS 18 2B 16 HR 59 RBI
Again, Posey is the best hitter in the league since the All Star break, and it’s not even close:
Braun .323/.385/.604 .990 OPS 16 2B 16 HR 43 RBI
Posey .388/.466/.650 1.116 OPS 20 2B 12 HR 50 RBI
Sure. Braun’s gonna hit 40 home runs. 24 of them came at Miller Park, a great place to hit. Posey’s got 6 home runs at AT&T Park, an absolute graveyard for home runs. Side by side, Posey’s had a better year away from home, a more accurate representation of his true abilities, and he’s had a better second half, pretty much carrying his team to the brink of an NL West title.
That was one
of the most tedious and boring games I think I’ve ever watched. The amount of time between pitches, the constant men on base, the nu
mber of pitching changes, the hits, errors, lack of sharpness and clean play…. Jeez Louise, that was just brutal. Thank God they won, but man, what an ordeal that was to watch.
UPDATE: The Giants are currently the highest scoring road team in the NL. They are 21-8 on the road since the All Star game, including 10 of their last 12 road games. Ummm… I’m starting to think this team has a chance to contend for a title this year.
Oh, and by the way, Buster Posey has absolutely pushed his way into the lead for the MVP. Its time we started talking about it. We’re talking about a catcher, third overall in WAR, on his way to a
25 home run, 100 RBI season, for a team that is gonna finish with the second or third best record in the NL. All he’s done since the All Star Break is hit 11 home runs, drive in 46 men, and run out a .393/.471/.660 1.131 OPS line. That’s your fucking MVP.
There’s no justification for not pinch-hitting for Zito in the bottom of the sixth, and absolutely no justification for having him start the fucking seventh. Are we expecting his
83 MPH fastball to throw a complete game here? Really bad de
cision by Bochy here, regardless of whether they give up runs here or not.
You get a 4-0 lead into the sixth with Zito, you have to treat that like you just won the lottery. Get him out of there, try and extend
your lead, and give the game to your bullpen. Letting him hit with two men on and two outs is just trying to win brownie points, and it’s total bullshit.
UPDATE: Nice win, even though it was close.
Lincecum was wildly effective, the bats were big, late, and the Giants nailed a crucial first win in the first of two three game sets with the Dodge
rs. A six game lead in the all important loss column means the team won’t have less than a four game
bulge when the series is over.
Meanwhile, they keep winning these games in a “how did they do that?” fashion, getting lucky dribblers, missed pitches missed, and key hits just when it seems like they can’t get it done.
UPDATE: Oh well. Great game today, well-pitched by both sides, but the Dodgers eke out a ninth-inning win after coming back against Matt Cain. Jeremy Affeldt gave up a ninth-inning, lead-off triple to Adrian Gonzalez, and one pitch later, Hanley Ramirez hit another game winner against the Giants.
Tomorrow, the Giants try to solve Kershaw for the series win.
UPDATE: I was in a hurry, so I didn’t write about it yesterday, but I’m really worried about the way the Giants pitchers have been flailing the last month or so. I know every player gets in and out of his groove, but right now, you can’t watch any of their pitchers, starters or reliever, and not see him miss by a foot about once every three or four pitches. Whether they are fatigued or whatever, but this is a much different looking staff to the one that steamrolled through September 2 years ago. Somebody better get it figured out, because whether we make the postseason or not, we have one reliable starter right now.
The Giants are surging towards the NL West title, and for a team built around pitching, they have been winning games in some strange ways. As in, they’ve been scoring a ton of runs. They lead the NL in post All Star runs scored, with 252 runs in
games, a scorching 5.14 runs per games. They also lead the NL in doubles and triples in that span,
more than making up for their last in the league 30 home runs.
Just to prove this isn’t a fluke, the Giants also lead the league in road runs scored, 357 in 69 games, an almost identical 5.17 runs per. I’ve often said that the team that scores the most runs on the road is the best offense, and the Giants have scored almost 30 more runs than the second-best road offense, the Mets?! They have 61 home runs on the road, and only 20(!) at home. They’ve also only scored 233 runs at home (and allowed 225), which is a huge spilt.
Strangely enough, the Giants have allowed 322 runs in their road games, which means that when they play at home, the average score of the game is 3.5 to 3.2, and on the road the score is 5.14 to 4.7. Seems really odd to me, but the team is 18 games over .500, and they seem to be doing just enough to win. They’re runs differential is far from the best in the league, but if Lincecum was having a normal year, they’d be looking at a much more dominant differential. He’s allowed something like 40 more runs than he’s averaged by this point of the season (94 runs allowed in 157 IP).
If he gets it fixed, the Giants look likely to not only make the postseason, but with a big three of Cain, Bumgarner and Lincecum, they should be able to compete with anyone.