2013 Giants ZiPS Projections – Pitchers


A week ago, I tackled the hitters. Now it’s the pitchers’ turn. For the pitching staff I’ll be guessing whether they’ll be UNDER or OVER their projected ERA+.

Matt Cain: 125 ERA+ in 2012, projected 121 ERA+ in 2013. What is there to say about Matt Cain? He’s the rock of the staff, the unquestioned team ace. He’s the Opening Day starter. He’s gotten better each of the last three seasons, and in 2012 posted a career high in strikeouts and a career low in walks. He’s never made fewer than 31 starts in any full season, or thrown less than 190 innings. I’ll confidently predict the OVER on his projection. Continue reading


A Look At The Giants Roster: The Pitchers

I’ve taken a look at the position players, now it’s time to take a look at the pitchers.

Starting Pitchers: Tim Lincecum (probably), Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Ryan Vogelsong, Barry Zito


About a week ago, Buster Olney created a bit of a hubbub amongst Giants fandom when he ranked the Giants’ rotation only the ninth-best in baseball. Here’s the thing – I’m not sure I disagree with him. Continue reading

World Series Recap: Pablo! Pablo! Barry! Barry!

Pablo Sandoval’s all like “SORRY ‘BOUT IT.” (Jen Mac Ramos)

And so the narrative went: Barry Zito going up against Justin Verlander? None chance. No way would the Giants win here.

But Pablo Sandoval happened. Along with the rest of the Giants offense. They chased Verlander out of the game after four innings and 98 pitches.

Zito, though? He went five and two-thirds, giving up only a run. One walk, three strikeouts.

And that was the new narrative they were building for themselves. Continue reading

The Giants Are Going To The ‘Ship

Game six, last of the ninth — AT&T Park showing some of that electric feel in the crowd. (Jen Mac Ramos)

Down three games to one. Your team’s got Barry Zito going for them on the mound in an elimination game.

That’s the end of that, right? No hope, no positive thoughts, no nothing.

Then something happened. You could say it’s because the Giants had luck on their side. Maybe #RallyZito had some magic in it. The fans were actually loud enough. Who knows? But the Giants had it these last three games. Continue reading

NLCS Game Recap: A Speculative Narrative On Barry Zito

Barry Zito does his best Powder imitation. (Photo by Sara Showalter)

A thoroughly hypothetical work, with apologies to Mr. Zito for the undoubted inaccuracies. I freely admit to being one of the many doubters mentioned a couple times in this piece, and to that, I can only say “Way to shut me the hell up.”


So you’re a big-league baseball player – already an achievement, at any level. You’re one of the elite, one of the best few hundred people on the planet at doing what you do. And then to be a starting pitcher? That’s practically mythological. The few, the proud, standing on center stage, every move dissected. In the parlance of baseball, you win and lose the game.

And as it turns out, even among the best of the best, you are on another level. You’re part of one of the game’s great rotations, contending year in and year out, and in one glorious year, you are awarded the title of Best Pitcher In Your League. Hundreds of people pitched thousands of baseball games that year. According to the professionals of the sport, you were better than any of them; maybe just as good as one other guy. What a rush that must be for you. What a mountain you’ve climbed. And of course, that comes with other rewards. Continue reading

NLCS Series Preview: BRB Hiding


I don’t know about you, but I’m scared of the Cardinals. After Friday night’s game where they came back and beat the Nationals? Eeeeesh.

The Giants have faced teams that seemed to overmatch them. Same can be said about a lot of other teams. It’s also just … very nerve wracking.

Madison Bumgarner’s set to start game one. Ryan Vogelsong’s on the mound for game two. Solid, decent, what more can you ask for when Matt Cain can’t be the game one starter? Tim Lincecum and Barry Zito are reportedly available out of the bullpen for games one and two.

As far as pitching goes, it seems to be pretty decent. A couple of reliever changes are possible, but I wouldn’t expect for Sergio Romo, George Kontos, Jeremy Affeldt, and Javier Lopez to be off the roster. Continue reading

NLDS Game Recap: Cool Story Bro

We all know that feel, Madison. (Flickr/bsv1990)

The Giants were being perfect game’d for almost five innings by the winner of the future Bronson Arroyo award for best pitcher/musican combo, Bronson Arroyo (who will narrowly beat out Barry Zito for the obscure and inconsequential award).

Let that sink in.

No, really.

Bronson Arroyo.

Thank Brandon Belt for ending that $%!#.

When the highest point of the game is the prospect of an Aubrey Huff home run, there’s really nothing to say.

It’s easy to say that the Giants are done this postseason. Being down 0-2 and heading to the bandbox that is Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, there’s just very little hope for the team.

Simply, the Giants were awful. They made Bronson Arroyo look like the best pitcher in MLB. Where are they supposed to go from there?

Oh, hey, yeah, make the run deficit even worse by just going through the revolving door of relievers and give up runs and runs and runs.

That’ll totally make things better.

It doesn’t look like the Giants can be a team where things can only go up. They look beaten down and out of it. They’re on the brink of elimination and they seem to have accepted that.

Can they go up? Can they stage a comeback big enough to make it to the NLCS?

Meh. Being realistic seems much more reasonable than optimistic at this point. It would be great for them to come back, but.

Man, tonight was just awful.

NLDS Game One Preview: In Matt Cain We Trust

The Matt Cain. (Flickr/rocor)

The former THIRD STARTER — AT BEST! takes the mound tonight in game one of the NLDS.

It’s the year of the Matt Cain, it seems. From emerging as more than the shadow of the middle of the rotation guy he was for the past few years to a bonafide front end of the rotation guy, the 2012 Giants have had a remarkable season with Cain being one of the dominant figures in their oft-madness ensuing narrative.

Matt Cain has been a decent pitcher. He may not have gotten off to the start Tim Lincecum had, but my goodness, he was good. FIP hated him, but fans surely didn’t.

Now, it’s October again and the Giants are back in the playoffs. It’s not Lincecum starting the series off — it’s Matt Cain.

If someone had said that this would be the way the playoffs begin back in the offseason, it would’ve been laughed at. Matt Cain? Starting over Tim Lincecum? Aha. Ahahaha! But now, it’s just the most logical decision.

From escaping the shadows and lurking behind reporters, Matt Cain has come into his own. Striking out batter after batter, throwing a perfect game, being reliable, and also transforming and becoming a horse, it seemed like Cain was unstoppable this season.

To those new to the Giants or the national attention to Cain, this might seem like it’s surprising. To those who’ve been around for a while, you could say it’s a long time coming.

Cain began the season with signing a contract extension — $127.5 million until 2017 with an option for 2018. Big contracts like those can always seem risky, especially after Barry Zito. But with Cain, not so much.

Here is a guy who could give you a solid amount of innings without giving up a lot of runs. The defense and the offense sometimes (or mostly) failed him, but he was solid. It led to the term “Caining” or “being Cained.” Some didn’t think he was that great because the Giants used to lose a lot of his starts, even though he likely pitched a gem.

So when the season started and Matt Cain nearly threw a perfect game at the Giants’ home opener, it was a sign of great things to come. Never mind his off-start to begin the season, Cain was bringing it.

And he did — it was one great start after another and then the perfect game midway through June, followed up with the All-Star Game and some more solid starts.

After all of that, it’s no surprise that Cain is starting game one. He rightfully earned the role and everyone recognizes it. And if they don’t, they should.

In the adrenaline rush of “Oh my goodness, it’s the playoffs — THE PLAYOFFS!” and whatever the narrative decides to be today, it’s a calming reminder for fans that Matt Cain exists.