April Numbers and You: Care and Feeding of Early Season Statistics

Okay you shouldn't feel bad, but you should reevaluate methods and reassess your conclusions probably.

Okay you shouldn’t feel bad, but you should reevaluate methods and reassess your conclusions probably.

If you’re an analytically inclined baseball fan, April truly is the cruelest month. Okay so yeah, I admit that T.S. Eliot wasn’t actually talking about the month (or more) long battle of wills between people quoting month (sometimes only weeks) long data samples as if they mean something and the people screaming “small sample size!” into the yawning void. That said, it can be difficult to know when the “roots that clutch” are solid enough to start to trust what the statistics are telling you, but we (and some much smarter people from other parts of the internets), are here to help.

There are a few key things to understand about advanced metrics, especially early in the year. Continue reading

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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

In The Land Of Hope And Dreams: Giants Are World Series Champions Once Again

A Civic Center Plaza kind of crowd. (Jen Mac Ramos)

Take a time machine to 10 years ago. Find your 10-years-ago self and tell them that the World Series that year was awful, you know it, but in 10 years, everything will be okay.

“NO. STUPID RALLY MONKEY,” your old self might say. “SCREW THE ANGELS.”

You’ll calm your old self down — or try to at least — and say, “In 10 years, the Giants will have won the World Series twice in three years.”

Your old self won’t believe it, continuing the curse everything about the Angels.

Say that to your 2007 self, too. And maybe even your 2010 self.

It still feels improbable.

The Giants won the World Series twice in three years? No way. Not possible. Come on.

That’s just crazytalk.

There’s just absolutely no way that’ll ever happen.

Right? Continue reading

World Series Recap: Win Sings A Vogelsong

Vogelsong is of the opinion that screw you. (Jen Mac Ramos)

I.

Three games down, three wins.

That’s where the Giants currently sit going into Sunday.

It’s remarkable, isn’t it? Here they are, up three games to none in the World Series.

What do you do with that? Hope and wish, I guess. Game four on Sunday afternoon, fading through the dusk. Say you’re not nervous at all, you’re a liar. Continue reading

NLCS Series Preview: BRB Hiding

(Flickr/cseeman)

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: Expletives And Crying

Giants, left, is defeated by baseball, right. (Illustration by Mac)

That sucked.

A lot of things went wrong for the Giants, and Matt Cain, as decent as he was, threw some bad pitches at the worst possible time, and there you have it. Oh, and Bruce Bochy is most definitely to blame for awful bullpen management. See: Santiago Casilla. Man, that inning was just awful.

But the offense wasn’t as bad as one would think. They were BABIP’d and BABIP’d hard. Hell, with the bases loaded, Cain hit one hard, but it was caught. Luck just wasn’t on their side.

Johnny Cueto was taken out of the game after 1/3 of an inning. Back spasms, poor guy. But the Giants — and everyone — didn’t expect that. And then they were Mat Latos’d.

Out of all the people available.

But, Mat Latos was pitching on short rest, so who knows if he’ll be able to pitch when he was scheduled to. On the KNBR Postgame Wrap, it was noted that Cueto could pitch again in this series, so who knows.

The Giants aren’t done yet. It’s only game one in a five game series. Madison Bumgarner pitches tomorrow, Buster Posey be beastin’, and the rest of the offense seemed to be adequate. All hope is not lost.

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.

Matt Cain To Appear On Mythbusters

Matt Cain with the Mythbusters gang (from Tory Belleci’s twitter)

So, in perhaps what may be the greatest news I have personally heard all day, Mythbuster Tory Belleci tweeted out some photos of the Giants’ own MATT. CAIN. on the Mythbusters set.

Mythbusters, for those who are unaware and my goodness, by the power vested in Willie Mays, may Matt Cain force you to watch this show, is a show that utilizes science and blowing s&#! up to prove whether or not myths can be achieved or if it’s just a myth.

Here are Tory’s tweets.

 

I mean, the look on MATT CAIN’s face is the look of a man who is MATT CAIN and also happy to be there.

Mythbuster’s Kari Byron also tweeted photos out.

 

Careful, Kari, please don’t break Matt Cain’s face.

Now, the only questions are: when will this episode air and where can I get a Mythbusters jersey/baseball cap?