About That Bullpen

You were probably watching the game. On Monday night, Madison Bumgarner threw a gem: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 5 K. The only real mistake he made was giving up a home run to world-beater Yasiel Puig in the first inning. He had thrown 107 pitches. Despite 8 hits and 4 walks off the Dodgers’ starter, Hyun-jin Ryu, the Giants had only managed to score one run, and so the game was tied at one apiece. In the top of the eighth, the Giants went down in order, and the game proceeded to the bottom of the eighth.

And Madison Bumgarner came out to pitch in the bottom of the eighth.

Why? Why would Bruce Bochy do this? Bringing in a reliever to start the eighth, rather than waiting to see if/when MadBum got in trouble, was the obvious move even as it was happening. While 107 pitches isn’t an extraordinary amount, it’s not like Bumgarner had been truly cruising. In the bottom of the seventh The Dodgers coming up to bat were Nick Punto (switch-hitter), Mark Ellis (righty), and Yasiel Puig (righty). Bringing in George Kontos to start the innings seems like it would have been a much better decision than waiting to bring him in until there were runners on first and third with none out, as would eventually be the case. Continue reading

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Catching Up With The Minors – The Halfway Point

Full-season minor league teams play about 140 games each season, and the teams just passed the halfway point – 70 games – last week, so I thought it’d be good to check in with each team and see how the season is going, both in terms of wins and losses and player development. We’re only talking full-season affiliates here, so short season Salem-Keizer and rookie-level Arizona won’t be discussed.

All stats and records through Sunday, June 24th. Continue reading

2013 Giants ZiPS Projections – Pitchers

(Flickr/sjsharktank)

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

WARNING: CONTROVERSIAL AND POSSIBLY UNPOPULAR OPINIONS AHEAD

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

Giants Recap: Bullpen Bails Out Zito

Kontos holds it down. (photo: flickr/SD Dirk)

The Giants played the Astros today. There’s probably one guy you’ve heard of who was in today’s lineup. Literally one. He’s the one who has become a unit of measurement. Yeah, that one.

Given that, it’s kind of hard to muster much to say about a game against the Astros, where they sent out arguably their worst starter and the Giants sent out Barry Zito. There was a game. Of baseball. It took nine innings. The Giants won. Yup.

But alright, anyone who follows me on Twitter or has talked to me recently knows of my seat at the front of the George Kontos bandwagon, and today was everything I could have hoped for. 2.2 innings of relief, including getting out of Zito’s jam after he got pulled early, eight up, eight down, and a totally respectable at-bat, all adding up to his first big league win.

Other things of note:

  • Hunter Pence hit a three-run home run, just his second as a Giant
  • Guillermo Mota is back in action after serving his suspension
  • Santiago Casilla looked pretty good
  • lol Zito
  • lol Astros

Giants attempt to avoid avoiding the sweep tomorrow evening with Ryan Vogelsong vs. Jordan Lyles.

Giants Recap: Busch Stadium Security State Giants Main Suspects in Assault on Cardinals’ Run Differential

(Photo: rocor/flickr)

The first five innings of this game were really all about Ryan Vogelsong. Facing the National League’s most potent offense, he was very very good Ryan Vogelsong, as opposed to just good Ryan Vogelsong, shutting the Cardinals offense down with the help of solid defense behind him. The Giants offense scored a few runs, seemed like if the bullpen didn’t cough one up, the Giants would manage to get a win out of it, you know, the usual.

Then things got wacky.

The ghost of 2010 Brooks Conrad haunted the Cards’ infield defense, the Giants just would not stop hitting, and next thing you know, George Kontos is (INEXPLICABLY*) pitching with an eleven run lead in the eighth. But nope, to tie a bow in the clownshoes, Marco Scutaro had to hit a grand slam off of Mitchell Boggs, who was only pitching to get some work in anyway. Continue reading

Giants Recap: Nothin’ Brings ‘Em Out Like a Three-Run Dong Every Once In Awhile!

Anywhere in the vicinity of the plate is where we want this guy. (photo: Adam Jackson/flickr)

You know, easy wins give me relatively little in the way of copy. So you get bullet points! It was either that or I babble about my love affair with Buster Posey’s swing and his pitch framing while drinking three more beers and eating a box of Ding Dongs, and I respect you all and myself too much for that.

  •  #SFGiants’ @BusterPosey’s HR to RF was just the 14th time a right-handed Giant has hit an opposite field HR at AT&T Park. It was Posey’s 2nd.
    @SFG_Stats

    Let that sink in for a minute. In almost twelve seasons, a right-handed Giant has only hit a shot like that fourteen times, and in barely more than a full season played, two of them were Buster Posey. There is never enough gratitude to heap on the universe for the fact that we have him back, whole and healthy and productive.
  • Ryan Vogelsong, speaking of things we should be thanking whatever deity you deem appropriate for, had another solid outing. Even when he doesn’t seem like he has his best stuff to start out, he guts through it in a way that you just don’t always see. Long may the Vogeltron reign.
  • The second stage act for the actual baseball game tonight was the umpiring. First a catch/trap call gets over turned, resulting in one more run and an RBI for Brandon Crawford, and then Crawford has a double overturned because he “didn’t touch” first base. The resulting ejection was pretty classic, if only because it’s nice to see that fire.
  • George Kontos’ no-dot slider is on its way to Romo status if he keeps it up. This is a thing I like.
  • Pablo Sandoval played first base tonight. Messages are mixed on how often that might happen. Welp.

 

Giants Recap: Zito Incredibly Lucky, Also Cain’d

The strike zone is too mainstream.

When the first run on of the game scores on the third consecutive walk issued by Barry Zito, it sets a tone that’s typically not going to work in the Giants’ favor.

Zito and the strike zone were not friends today, but he managed to get incredibly lucky and work out of a few jams and only give up one run. George Kontos gave up another one, and that was all she wrote.

Whoever the baseball gods were who decided that Zito vs. Latos was a remotely fair matchup is officially on my list, I’ll just say that. A lackluster recap for a lackluster game.

Giants attempt to right the ship and even the series tomorrow, as we all sob over beloved former Giants at the anniversary ceremony, with Vogelsong vs. Arroyo.

Giants Recap: That Was Just Sad

We all know that feel, sadcat with an orange soccer ball.

Tim Lincecum struck out two in the first inning. Sounds like good ol’ Timmy, sure. But he also gave up two home runs in that inning.

Then he had some decent innings.

Then the wheels fell off completely.

And then the Giants lost.

Good grief, that is basically the whole game in a nutshell.

Now the overanalysis of what-is-wrong-with-Timmy-itis is happening. I hear Greg Papa talking and it sounds like the adults in the Peanuts cartoons talking. That’s a perfectly acceptable analogy for Greg Papa’s analysis.

I don’t know about you, but when Jonathan Sanchez was traded away, I would’ve expected only Barry Zito to throw below average or have frustrating starts. Continue reading