Archive for the 'Pablo Sandoval' Category
The Giants picked up Jose Guillen, a couple of days after landing Mike Fontenot. Both moves strengthen the team as they head into the stretch run. Guillen adds some pop, and Fontenot will allow Bochy to rest/sit/bury Freddie Sanchez. Kudos to Sabean, who makes a couple of smart-looking moves.
Back to Freddie Sanchez, who has been everything I expected, a solid defensive player with almost no offense whatsoever. As close to a pure singles hitter there is in baseball –outside of Ichiro– if Sanchez isn’t getting a couple of hits per game, he’s worthless. Having him demolish the top of the order every game is testament to Bochy’s inability to get with the times, as well as his preference to play veterans at all costs. At this point, Fontenot’s (.730 OPS in limited duty) represents an upgrade over Sanchez, who’s posting an anemic .651 OPS.
I’d love to see a lineup that looks something like this;
Torres CF .375 OBP
Sandoval 3B .328 OBP (.393 over his last seven games)
Posey C .383 OBP
Huff 1B .394 OBP
Uribe SS .321 OBP
Guillen RF .330 OBP
Burrell LF .388 OBP
Sanchez 2B .324
You could swap Sandoval and Uribe if you’d like, but I think a switch to the top of the order might be just the kind of thing that re-aligns Sandoval’s approach.
You’d be starting the game out right-handed, switch, right-handed, left-handed, right-handed, which is nice. There’s a decent amount of power all the way into the seventh slot, and Sanchez’s famous bat-control would be put to the test batting in front of the pitcher, which is exactly where he should be. Using David Pinto’s Lineup Analysis tool, that lineup should produce 5.1 runs per game. That ought to be enough to push the team to the postseason.
It’s gonna be playoff intensity tonight. First-place showdown. I’m looking forward to it. It’s been a while.
Joe Mauer is having a pretty down season after last year’s MVP campaign, and there’s a reason why:
…. the reigning American League MVP looks little like his 2009 self, even after gorging the last two days on Kansas City pitching. His power output is unplugged, with only six home runs after mashing 28 last season. His on-base percentage is the lowest since his rookie season. He’s catching a quarter of opposing basestealers, far below his career average. And at 27, Mauer is feeling the sort of wear that builds in men who spent half their professional lives squatting in cumbersome gear and taking ball after inadvertent ball off all 206 of their bones.
Mauer’s left heel nags him. His right shoulder aches. Two other injuries – his back and his hip, for which the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported he receives treatment – are something neither he nor the organization will address publicly. Because while the heel and shoulder are more pesky, anything having to do with a back or hip, let alone both, inspires a great deal of fear.
It should inspire fear, because catchers simply do not have the same career longevity and health that, say, a first basemen does. In fact, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that a team loses at least 25% of a catchers hitting production over his career if they leave him behind the plate. This should be common knowledge, but it isn’t. Many players have played at least 1500 games. Quite a few have played 2000 games. But now too many catchers have. In fact, in the list of career games played, the top fifty is bereft of even one catcher. Carlton Fisk is at 52, with 2499 games played.
When a team has a catcher who can post an All Star caliber line of .300/.400/.500, there is no question that that player should be moved out from behind the plate. None. A player of Posey’s hitting ability comes along once in a generation. If you look at a great catchers career stats, you will see MVP-caliber years followed by one, or even two years of missed games, huge swings in production, and overall, a much shorter career than that player would’ve had otherwise. And that’s in the case of a great catcher. A catcher who can play 135 or 140 games a year, year after year, is rare, regardless of his production.
I’d also mention that, in the case of this Giants team, we don’t even have a real, full-time first basemen to displace. Sabean should let him finish the year behind the dish, and then in the off-season, go get him a first baseman’s glove.
Otherwise, this is your future, Buster. You can be the best catcher in the world. You will be hurt all the time, and you will never reach your potential as a hitter.
As you all know, Buster Posey now has a 20-game hitting streak, so I looked up the rookie hitting streak record. It belongs to –surprise– a catcher, Benito Santiago, who raked for 34 games in 1987. He finished that season with a nice .290/.308/.468 line. He played in 146 games that season. He ended up playing in over 1900 games, which is a lot for catcher. But his career games played list looks exactly like I’m talking about. He played in 17, 146, 139, 129, 100, 152, 106, 139, 101, 81, 136, 97, 15, 109, 89, 133, 126, 108, 49, 6 games.
Look at the kind of hitter Posey is. Is that the kind of career you want to see for him? Is that the kind of career he wants? If you are running a team, and you invest as much in Posey as the Giants have, and will have to if he remains a Giant, isn’t it imperative that you avoid that result? It is to me.
As a sidenote:
Does anyone know why Sandoval isn’t playing? I haven’t heard an announcer mention a reason these last two games. Anybody?
Hat tip to David Pinto.
Haven’t written much. Busiest time of the year, for me, and with the sun finally arriving, lots of catching up to do.
Nonetheless, something’s wrong with Lincecum. It could be the way he’s being handled, it could be that he hasn’t seen his Dad in too long, he’s sick, he’s hiding an injury, whatever. He’s lost, going through a month and a half long stretch of full counts, not missing bats, and struggling to get deep into games. Somebody needs to do something.
As for the Giants, they’ve been a .500 baseball team since their 6-1 start, and watching them get smoked by Jon Lester yesterday, (well, not exactly watching, but seeing highlights), they look like it’s already August. Huff and Uribe have been carrying the offense with virtually no help, while Sandoval (.226/.298/.345 .643 OPS in June) looks like maybe the league is a step ahead of him right now.
All in all, the Giants look more like pretenders than contenders right now, and without Lincecum dominating, it would appear their chances of improving without help would be quite slim.
UPDATE: And now they’re in last place, after a lost week of bad baseball, in which they lost two of three to the hapless Astros, two of three to the surging Red Sox, and the first two against the hated Dodgers, scoring less than three runs per game.
UPDATE, Part II: Oops. Forgot about the awful D’backs. Still, swept by the Dodgers, and well on our way to another dismal offensive performance.
Seven games, seven losses. All of them due to the offense, which could hardly look more anemic, more futile, more lost.
Pablo Sandoval is on a 10 for 62 skid. Matt Downs –5 for his last 30– has begun to show his true colors, (minor league Brown). Matt Cain failed to earn a win in a game in which he gave up two runs or less for the 37th time in his young career.
–Side note: If you are his agent, how can you not get him out of San Francisco? How can you, in good faith, allow him to re-sign with a team that hits like this one?–
Freddie Sanchez insists he needs more confidence-building at-bats against Triple-A bullshit pitching….
DeRosa’s gone on the DL, essentially ending his season.
Game after game, I run my calculator through the Giants runs scored and total games played, and I watch the numbers go lower and lower. After the first eleven games (April 17th), the Giants were scoring 6.18 runs per game. At the end of April, that number had already fallen to 4.59. As of today, the number is 4.29. Last season, the team averaged 4.05 runs per game. Is there any doubt, any doubt whatsoever, that we are looking at an offense that has not improved one single bit?
All of the stats are trending towards the bottom of the league. The team OBP, once aas high as .373, now stands at .331. The OPS (.699 last season) is at .731, almost exactly league average.
For the fifteen games in May, the Giants are scoring 3.68 runs per game, and running out a team-wide line of .235/.309/.367 .676 OPS. In other words, since the start of May, the Giants hitters of this year haven’t even been as good as the Giants hitters of last.
I’ve said it before, and I’m gonna say it again….
This team is wasting a championship pitching staff, thanks to the massive front office failure.
Zito had his worst game of the year, pretty much at the worst possible time, in a first-place showdown with the surprising San Diego’s. Struggling to find his rhythm the whole game, Zito was embarrassed by his buffoon of a manager, who tried to take him out during the fifth inning after he had gone to 2-0 on Oscar Salazar, with the first ball a wild pitch. Of course, Righetti had just visited the mound prior to the at-bat, so Zito had to finish the hitter. It was a pretty ridiculous sight, really. Out pops Bochy, practically running to the mound, only to be sent back to the dugout by the second base umpire.
Of course, the Chronicle manages to make Bochy’s gaffe seem like it was planned:
…. Zito said his “timing was off tonight. I didn’t have any command of anything.”
That was particularly evident during Oscar Salazar’s fifth-inning at-bat. Zito air-mailed his first pitch to the screen, allowing Yorvit Torrealba to waltz to second. The next pitch was extremely high and outside.
After that pitch, Bochy headed to the mound to check on Zito, but because pitching coach Dave Righetti had conferred with Zito just before Salazar came to the plate, Bochy could not speak with the left-hander. Bochy had to return to the dugout.
“When he threw those two pitches, I was concerned about him,” Bochy said.
Yeah, right. Everyone in the ballpark saw Bochy signal for a relief pitcher. Then again, why not lie to cover up your embarrassing mistake? The GM gets away with it constantly, and the local sports reporters only seem to insist on the truth when they’re harassing the greatest player in baseball history:
…. “The surgery I had was a failure.”
In October, DeRosa had an operation to repair a torn tendon sheath in his left wrist, an injury he sustained soon after joining St. Louis in a trade from Cleveland on July 1.
On Tuesday, DeRosa was examined by Giants doctor Gordon Brody and had an MRI exam. The diagnosis, according to DeRosa: “It’s completely ruptured again.”
The article goes on to mention that the Giants are, laughably, hoping that rest will make it all better. Of course, nowhere in the piece is any mention of the criminally bad contract that Sabean so generously gave to the known to be injured DeRosa. Now the team has two $12 million dollar players who cannot play, and a GM who simply does not know what he’s doing:
…. Hot-hitting prospect Buster Posey remains at Triple-A Fresno because Giants officials are not convinced he is ready to catch in the major leagues yet, GM Brian Sabean said.
The longtime GM also stressed that the decision to promote Posey has nothing to do with service-time concerns, nor will it.
“Let me dispel all that, all right?” Sabean said. “When we think Posey’s ready, just like when we thought (Tim) Lincecum was ready, and this starts from ownership, he’ll be in the big leagues. I’ll speak to the Lincecum thing. If we don’t bring up Lincecum, how do you know he’s on his way to winning the two Cy Youngs or more so helping us win 88 games last year? Now, in other places where you don’t have a deeper or more consistent budget, I can buy the strict clock. But we can’t be on a strict clock. Shoot, we’re trying to get back to winning ways and get to the playoffs, and everybody understands it.”
…. Sabean said the 23-year-old is “still learning how to catch. Some of that is game calling. Some of that is the consistency that he’ll need as, we hope, an offensive catcher.”
Besides, Sabean said he doesn’t put much stock into Triple-A statistics.
“Triple-A baseball isn’t very good,” Sabean said. “I’m going to tell you that right now. Especially from a pitching standpoint. Anybody who can pitch is in the big leagues.”
How many ways is this man ridiculous? Posey needs to be more consistent as a hitter? This, from a man who re-signed a catcher who made 450 outs last year. No pitching in Triple-A? Triple-A stats aren’t worth much? Lincecum won two Cy Young Awards because Sabean waited as long as he did to bring him up?
Whatever. Once again, we have a bottom feeder offense, 142 runs scored, and only the dismal performance of the two worst teams in baseball –the barely better than Triple-A Astros and Pirates– keep the Giants from having the worst offense in the game once again.
So, when you hear Sabean talking about anything at all, remember that it’s all bullshit. He’s got one of the wort hitters in all of baseball at just about every position on the diamond, and we’re supposed to listen to him tell us that a guy throwing up a .343/.436/.525 line isn’t hitting enough. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about. He doesn’t have the slightest idea how to evaluate hitters. He has been selling Giants fans the same bullshit bill of goods for going on fifteen year now. I wrote this eight years ago:
…. Over the last 30 days the Giants offense is DEAD LAST in the National League, meaning it is dead last in all of baseball. This, while Barry Bonds is posting a .565 obp and a .900 slg. Do you have any idea what that means? That means the Giants are even worse than their stats.
I heard the Brian Sabean show yesterday, and he said that he intends to show patience and trust that his hitters are going to start hitting. You know what Ray, that’s the single stupidest thing I have ever heard Brian say. You’ve got Marvin Benard taking swings in the last of the 8th in a one run game, and you’re telling me that I am supposed to trust that he’s gonna come around? Shawon Dunston has a spot on our bench? Damon Minor? Reggie Sanders? Sanders’ lifetime BA is .263, last year he was about 30% more productive than in ANY YEAR OF HIS LIFE.
…. which is more than you could say about JT Snow. There is nothing masking the fact that he is one of the most unproductive major leaguers drawing a salary. He is an out-maker, simple as that, and he gives nothing back for all of the outs he eats. Don’t talk to me about how many games he saves with his glove, that’s pure hyperbole. Bill James and a whole slew of baseball analysts have done reams of research into run prevention, and JT’s defense is worth maybe five runs a year, let alone five wins.
Eight years later, and the Giants are still comprised of one good hitter and bunch of out-makers. They’re still old. They are still slow. They are still injury-prone. The GM has signed more ancient mariners to more bad contracts, and the team is still just as boring and still barely competitive.
That’s the title of Grant’s latest post, over at McCovey’s Chronicles. First, let me say that I am a huge fan of Grant’s work. His site is simply terrific, and his writing is first rate. That said, he’s wrong here. It’s a reasonable position, but it is clearly wrong:
…. When Shane Victorino walked in the ninth inning, the Giants still had a 96.8% chance of winning the game. That’s assuming average players across the board of course – there’s no way to tweak the formula to account for Tim Lincecum or the ridiculous heart of the Phillies order. But even factoring those things in wouldn’t make a big difference. When a team has a three-run lead with one out in the ninth inning, that team wins about 95 times out of 100, whether it’s a tired starting pitcher, an All-Star closer, or a tub of slurry trying to close out the game.
…. when Lincecum got under four straight fastballs and walked a weenie he’d effortlessly dispatched all day, I wasn’t really worried about the game yet. I wanted him out of the game because he’s still a young pitcher. There’s no need to push him in that situation if you think he’s fatigued in any way. You don’t want a tired Tim Lincecum struggling through a 12-pitch at bat to Chase Utley in a game that’s almost impossible to lose.
That’s Grant’s argument. Bochy made the right move, because there wasn’t a wrong move. Protect the lead, protect the pitcher. The chances of losing are so slim, it doesn’t matter what you do.
That’s not correct. In fact, that’s not even relevant.
What matters here is the indecisive, unclear, thoughtless, “everybody does it this way,” stupidity involved in how our manager handled the closing innings of yesterday’s horrible loss.
Up to the bottom of the eighth inning, the Giants had completely outplayed the Phillies in every way. We’d banged their ace around, won with our worst starting pitcher, out-hit them, out-pitched them, out-hustled them…. in every way possible, the Giants had opened up a can of whoop-ass on the two-time, defending National League Champions. How badly had we outplayed them? Glad you asked. At the end of the eighth inning on Wednesday, the Giants and the Phillies had played 26 innings. Here’s what the important stats looked like at that point:
Giants hitters 15 Runs Scored 35 hits 21 SO
Phillies hitters 4 Runs Scored 13 hits 29 SO
Are you looking at that? Three times as many hits, more than three times as any runs scored…. I mean, we were kicking their ass.
So, at the start of the bottom of the eighth inning, if you are the manager of the Giants, you have to ask yourself, how do I handle the end of the game? How do I handle the last three outs for each team? Lincecum is gonna be up second. If somebody gets on, you either pinch hit, or have Lincecum bunt. If you pinch hit, you have already made the choice. If you let him sacrifice, you leave your options open. Seems like an easy choice, once the leadoff man gets on, right? Leave your options open. Right?
Wrong. Let’s take it a step further. The whole reason you’re facing a tough decision is because you want to protect your ace as well as protect the lead. So, what happens after Lincecum sacrifices? What happens if the Giants put together a couple of decent at-bats, and end up adding a run or two? Pitching changes, hits, walks, runs scoring…. these things take time. It is this element of the analysis that is being conveniently forgotten in the rush to defend Bochy for this supposed once in a season type of loss.
If Lincecum and the Giants are successful during that eighth inning, then using Lincecum is a mistake, NO MATTER HOW TIRED HE MAY OR MAY NOT BE. If the question is whether to use a possibly tired young pitcher, then you absolutely have to ask yourself what happens if you are successful, and what happens if you are not. If you use a possibly tired Lincecum and nobody gets on, and the Giants don’t score, you’ve wasted an out in a critical late inning. If you use him, and the Giants do score, it’s gonna take some time, and you’re not gonna be able to send him out for the ninth anyway.
Why bring Lincecum out for the ninth if you’re not gonna let him go for at least a run allowed? Four pitch walk? Whatever. Who cares. These are questions you ask after you lose. Why have Wilson start the inning from the stretch? WHO CARES!?!
This series was shaping up to be a season starter, an inspirational, team-rallying, “WE JUST BEAT THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF THE TWO-TIME DEFENDING NATIONAL LEAGUE CHAMPS!!!” kind of series. And our manager sleepwalked through “the book,” and did what he was supposed to do, *yawn* just like all baseball lifers are supposed to do.
That was his mistake. That’s why he was wrong to handle it the way he did. He acted like it was just any old win, “Sure, Lincecum could move into the front-runner’s spot for the Cy Young Award again,” “Sure we could sweep the best team in the NL two years running, but remember, it’s a long season,” blah blah blah.
WRONG. WRONG. WRONG.
After four seasons of worthless, third and fourth place, worst offense in the league, almost no reason to care at all baseball, this team –and it’s fans, by the way– have been waiting for a season-defining moment, dreaming for a chance to show the league that they don’t just have enough pitching, that they’re coming at you game after game, with everything they have, all season long. You know, like the fucking gamers we’re endlessly told the Giants are.
Instead, their manager handled this game like he handles every game. Like he was in a coma. No urgency, no imagination, no cutting edge approach, no nothing. Because he’s asleep at the wheel, just like the GM, just like the owners. The Giants win in spite of the leadership, or lack, thereof, demonstrated by these men. And fans are subjected to more excuses, lies, and bullshit.
Tim Lincecum takes his final turn in April, trying to both sustain the Giants recent run of success, and cement his status as the best pitcher in the NL. Multiple pitchers are looking super so far this season, including Ubaldo Jimenez, Roy Halladay, Livan Hernandez(!), Mike Pelfrey, and of course, Lincecum.
Jimenez won his fifth last night, and combined with his earlier no-hitter, hasn’t allowed a run in 22.3 innings. Pelfrey hasn’t allowed a run in 24 straight innings. Due to his loss to the Giants, Halladay is out of the running, and so is Livan, mostly due to his low strikeout totals. No, the battle for pitcher of the month is between these two and Timmy, so a strong showing tonight could/should be the difference. As of (Thursday) morning, here’s a quick comp:
Jimenez 34 IP 22 H 3 ER 31 SO 14 BB 0.79 ERA 1.05 WHIP
Pelfrey 26 IP 18 H 2 ER 19 SO 13 BB 0.69 ERA 1.19 WHIP
Timmy 35 IP 22 H 5 ER 43 SO 7 BB 1.27 ERA 0.82 WHIP
I think 7 innings, 8 strikeouts, and no earned runs will lock it up for the Savior.
As for the Giants, lots of hitting the last two games makes everyone happy, but there’s no getting around the fact that this level of inconsistency is here to stay. We still need power and walks. Still.
UPDATE: 8.3 innings, 2 earned runs, 11 strikeouts, no decision. I updated the above comparison. We’ll see.
UPDATE, Part II: I think Bochy should’ve started the ninth with Wilson, should’ve pinch-hit for Lincecum in the 8th, and avoided, not only the loss, but all of this bullshit.
“We felt like (Lincecum) was close (to being tired), and, once he walked (Shane) Victorino on four pitches, I went to one of the best closers in the game,” Bochy said.
Yeah, well, if you thought he was tired, then you should’ve told him to stay in the dugout for the ninth. Either that, or let him finish the game. Why bother having him go out there at all, if you’re not gonna let him finish the game. Oh, he walked a guy? Please. That kind of indecisive bullshit is infuriating. And it’s just one more example of how poorly this team is run.
I’d like to point out that the Giants have the best runs scored differential in the NL (+33 runs), and the second best in baseball. Accordingly, they should be more like 15-6, instead of 12-9. Not a huge difference, but something to keep an eye on. The reason for the difference is pretty obvious. The 1-0 loss when Sanchez gave up the one hit, last night’s blown 3-run lead, and Manny’s home run game. It’s also worth mentioning that that makes three excruciating losses in the first month of the season.
10 runs in their last six games ain’t gonna cut it, even when your pitchers allow only 12. That’s where the Giants live, a land in which every run is twice as valuable as it should be, a land where a three run lead is as rare as a white rhino.
In the NL, over the last seven days, there are 5 teams that posted an ERA under 3.00 ERA. Every one of those teams had a winning record except for the Giants, who went 1-5 while posting a staggering 2.08 ERA. That’s hard to do, but, then again, so is losing a game in which you allow only one hit.
Sabean should be fired today. Now. He went out and spent money, again, he went out and built this team of bench players, has-beens and never was players. Millions upon millions of dollars.
As I said six months ago, the Giants could have re-signed Uribe, brought up Posey, and landed Matt Holliday for the same money –without trading a top prospect, I might add– they threw on the ground to bring Aubrey Huff, Mark DeRosa, and Freddie Sanchez to the Bay Area. Anyone think this lineup is better than that one might have been?
Our entire pitching staff has been a Cy Young candidate so far this season, and we’re two games over .500. You know who has allowed the fewest runs in all of baseball? The Giants. They’ve allowed 53 runs. They have the fourth best record in the NL, and the eighth best record in baseball. The Tampa Bay Rays have allowed the fewest runs in the AL, 63. And they are 14-5, best in the land.
Gee, I wonder why?
That was some three game series down there at Petco. A losing streak at four games, and an offense gasping for breath. First place sure seems far away already.
The Chronicle writers noted that the last time the Giants gave up a single hit and lost was 1917. They also noted how bad our hitters have been lately:
….The Giants are 1-for-30 with runners in scoring position during their four-game skid.
Two games, 18 innings, five runs allowed, 3 runs scored, two losses.
This is what I thought we’d see lots of this season, not the offensive juggernaut of the first ten games. Lots of second and third with one out situations where we can’t even hit the ball out of the infield, lots of hittable pitches being swung through, lots of great pitching performances being wasted, lots of zero-margin-for-error innings by our pitchers.
After yesterday’s loss, the Giants are facing the reality that they will need to get their groove back if they are really gonna compete for the NL West crown this season. Sure, Sandoval just missed a home run in the sixth. Sure, Velez isn’t supposed to the everyday left-fielder. Sure, the last two lefty’s they faced were dealing.
At the same time, the number of clear mistake pitches that the Giants hitters simply missed yesterday was staggering. Again and again, Richard missed his target high, and again and again a Giants hitter fouled it off, or often, simply couldn’t get wood on it at all. DeRosa’s pinch-hit strikeout was especially disappointing, given that he never saw a strike at all.
Torres and Velez misplayed a potential throw out at the plate, after Velez misplayed a double into a triple….. These things don’t matter when you score four or five runs per game. When you are in a nail-biter, one run situation that lasts 18 consecutive innings, the pressure starts to mount.
And, the pressure is starting to mount for the Giants. It’s nice to start hot, and it stinks to start flat; but it’s worse to start hot and then fall flat on your face.