Monday, October 29, 2012

Game Wrap 2012 World Series Game 4: Giants 4 Tigers 3

Game 4 of the 2012 World Series was a hard fought, tense see-saw battle that went to extra innings in some of the worst weather I've ever seen baseball played in.  In the end, the Giants prevailed with their tried and true formula of great pitching and defense with just enough timely hitting and a whole lot of torture for the fans thrown in.  Key Lines:

Marco Scutaro- 2 for 4, BB.  BA= .250.  Scooter was on base for Posey's HR that temporarily gave the Giants a 3-2 lead, and he drove in the winning run with Riot scoring from 2B in the top of the 10'th inning.

Buster Posey- 1 for 4, HR.  BA= .267.  Buster had looked pretty bad in previous AB's. He just looked exhausted and worn down.  Great players rise to the occasion and overcome those things when the chips are down and did Buster ever?  2 run dinger in the bottom of the 6'th was what allowed this game to get to extra innings.  Buster, as always, was very aware of the importance of closing the World Series out with this game mentioning that if the Giants lost, Verlander would be coming after them in Game 5 and who knows what might happen after that?

Hunter Pence- 1 for 4, 2B. BA= .286. Pence started the scoring for the Giants by doubling off the left-CF wall in the top of the 2'nd, then coming home on Belt's triple.  Pence looked much more comfortable at the plate in the last couple of games of the series with a little less shoulder flying.

Brandon Belt- 1 for 3, 3B, BB.  BA= .077.  Belt was having an embarrassing series but came out swinging with authority in this one.  He took the first pitch he saw from Mad Max Scherzer and lined down the RF line off the wall for an RBI triple.  In a later AB facing one of the Tigers LHP's out of the bullpen, he struck out but took 3 very authoritative swings at the ball in the process.  Good signs.

Ryan Theriot- 1 for 4.  BA= .200.  MCC had a freakout when Theriot was announced as the DH, but even they admitted that there were no other options that an overwhelming argument could be made for.  Bochy wanted a guy who could make contact and some veteran savvy.  It looked like a bad call until the 10'th inning when he led off with a bloop single to right-CF and eventually scored on Scutaro's game winner.

Brandon Crawford- 1 for 3, Sac.  BA= .250.  More scintillating defense from the young SS. After Cabrera's wind blown HR, Fielder hit a ball up the middle that literally knocked Crawford off his feet.  He stayed with it, got up and gunned down the slow-footed one to restore order and keep the game from getting out of hand.  There were other excellent plays to numerous to recall all of them.  Arias had gotten a bat in the dugout to face the LHP until Theriot got on.  Crawford was sent out to bunt and laid down a perfecto that set up the game winning hit from Scooter.

Matt Cain- 7 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  ERA= 3.86.  Matt Cain gave up 3 runs on 2 HR balls.  Both HR's had a howling tailwind out to RF.  Fangraphs quoted a study that had the cold weather shortening the distance by 8 feet on Cabrera's dinger but the tailwind adding a whopping 40 feet.  In normal conditions, there is no park it would have gotten out of.  No word on Delmon Young's HR but it didn't look like it was hit as hard as Cabrera's.  So, take away those two extremely wind-aided HR's, Matt Cain would have pitched a line of 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K's.  Matt Cain is still THE MAN.  Not nearly enough credit for a QS in extreme conditions.

Jeremy Affledt- 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K's.  Affledt's cumulative postseason line:  0-0, 0.00, 10.1 IP, 5 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 10 K's.  Credit to Bochy for using him in exactly the right situations and to Affeldt for executing almost perfectly.

Santiago Casilla- 0.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  Casilla broke Omar Infante's hand with a heat seeker before getting Laird on a fielder's choice grounder to Pablo.  Casilla was certainly not trying to hit Infante but man, the Fox slo mo's and freeze frames were brutal. Man, that looked painful! Not sure the high def pics are such a good thing in that situation.  Anyway, here's Casilla's cumulative line for the postseason:  1-0, 1.29, 7 IP, 8 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 8 K's.  Casilla can be frustrating to watch at times but arms like his don't grow in trees.  Hope he's back next year.

Sergio Romo- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K's, Save(3).  ERA= 0.00.  As Sergio Romo dominated the Tigers in the 10'th, my daughter who is a huge Brian Wilson fan turned to me and said, "you know, I don't think the Giants need to bring Brian Wilson back because Romo has proven he can be the closer."  I agree.  Only concern would be stamina over a full season of closing.  Here's Romo's cumulative line for the postseason:  1-0, 0.84, 10.2 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 9 K's, 4 Saves.  I don't think we need to get into Romo's sensational gutsy third strike to Cabrera.  It's been discussed ad nauseum(deservedly so, BTW) around the internet today.  Fangraphs has a whole article devoted to it.  Summary:  Romo has not just one, but two very nasty pitches to work with.  Batters sit on the slider at their own peril.

The Win gives the Giants a sweep of the 2012 World Series.  They have now won the World Series 2 of the last 3 seasons.  The last NL team to do that was the Big Red Machine of the 1970's.  Think about that!  I could be wrong but I do think the Big Red Machine won back-to-back Championships at some point.

Parade on Halloween.  Next game is Opening Day 2013!

Thanks to everybody for following the blog through another long, but wonderful season.  Check back during the offseason. I will be posting often, but possibly not daily.  Depends on if I have something to say.

Right now, I'm just trying to wrap my head around what we've all just witnessed and have been witnessing for the last 3+ years.


  1. Isn't it great DrB?!?

    Best time to be a Giants fan, too bad there are so many people who are Naysayers, but I know I'm truly enjoying it, whereas they are still clinging to their story of luck and serendipity. Whatever...

    Go Giants!!!

    Can't wait to hear what Posey says next!

  2. DocB, the beauty of writing about baseball is that the story of a season, especially finishing off with a WS win, writes itself each day. Not much to add or embellish. Just make sure and enjoy the ride, bumps and all. 2012 was both legendary, joyous and humbling as this Band of Brothers team of ours won it all.

    Been watching the Giants close to 50 years...and to now have a team, a stadium, fans and management all coming together to create a dynasty. Wow. This is a hell of a good feeling.

    I expect it will take the Giants to win another WS near term to gain the begrudging respect that D and pitching (run prevention) can win ballgames, especially in the playoffs. Let someone else pay Miggy, Fielder, Josh Hamilton, Joey Votto, etc. the BIG BUCKS. Don't need 'em, don't want 'em. Just gimme some Scoots, Panda, Cradaddy, Blanco, Pagan, Belt, Pence, Arias, The Riot with an MVP Posey and I am happy watching this crew work their offensive magic. Really amazing to watch the 2010 vets turn into 2012 youth being served up for years to come.

    Going to the parade mania -- who needs a costume on this Halloween Night? And then stepping away from the keyboard for a few days.

    Thanks again DocB, we had right where we wanted them all year long.

  3. There is nothing as addicting as playoff baseball, and watching your team run the table is the ultimate high. This team would not quit. Now that we've won, I have to say - I had a calm confidence about this team, I just had a feeling they would go all the way. Even when we were down 2-0 to Cincy, I just felt we needed one break. That break got provided, and they were off to the races. This was a good team, nay, a great team, my favorite in my 35 odd years of watching (and listening on the radio with my grandpa) as a wee lad.

    Since the end of 2008 I just changed my view about the Giants. I really view 2009, with all of its torture or failure, as the start of this run. We didn't give up on games, and our pitching was shining through. These last 4 years of Giants baseball has been the most enjoyable of my life. Things don't always go your way, but you adjust, and you fight through it. That is what I've seen from the Giants, including our Greybeard GM and his squad. I'm very proud of all of them, they do things a bit differently. The Giants have one of the most tenured baseball staffs, and front offices. While I still get a bit hinky about ownership motivation, they have had the wisdom to leave that baseball staff alone. Great job by all. Its a great time to be a Giants fan. I feel like this is karmic payback for all those bitter days at the Stick.

    Thanks for providing great content, great analysis and a great environment to talk baseball DrB. I really enjoy your writing, and I really enjoy the posters on this blog.

  4. Nice article with a title you won't see on FOX or Fangraphs.

    The Giants Win! How Team Chemistry Trumped Statistics

    1. Nice link, thanks. There is definitely something to be said for chemistry and hard to measure intangibles over high octane star power salaries.

      As fun as it is to dream of a Josh Hamilton, that really isn't the answer to off season improvements. The Giants have proved that quite well in 2 of the past 3 years.

    2. OMG! I certainly hope we don't have to go through an offseason with people feverishly calculating payrolls to prove that Josh Hamilton is affordable. Been there, done that with Vlad and CC and even ARod.

      Signing Josh Hamilton to a long term 9 figure contract is a bad, bad idea. That dude's career could end any day for any number of reasons that have nothing to do with his talent on the field.

    3. Josh Hamilton is a high risk big ticket that should be avoided. But there ain't no way to avoid feverish calculation of payrolls - rosterbation is the lifeblood of the winter!

      If Pagan gets big crazy money from somewhere... Torii Hunter might be a great low profile one year signing to throw into LF.

    4. One more thing, about that high profile slugger signing. We made short work of both Hamilton and Prince Fielder in the World Series. I think that needs to get looked at pretty hard, and not just scoffed at as a small sample size.

      Also, I keep on thinking about Pagan, and what made him so effective this year. Here is one factor I think gets little consideration - whenever he was on 2B for a base hit or on third for a sac fly, he scored. I'll go back and look up how many times he got gunned at the plate, but I don't think it was many. Having a player who is almost an automatic (85-90% chance of scoring or better? Spitballing) chance to score on a hit is a pretty big weapon. Speed is always thought of in terms of SBs, but here again, Pagan does something sneaky - very good ratios. Sometimes the threat of the SB is better than the actual SB.

      I think you should always strive for the 5 tool player. Maybe you fall short, but the defensive and speed have been undervalued a bit in favor of dingerz. Which everybody loves, but sure is expensive.

    5. Sabean has been talking about team speed for a long time and he finally was able to get it together on this team. Some blame him for that, but in baseball, it is first things first, and he took care of the pitching first before moving on to the offense. As much as people complain about Pablo's size, I feel those people never saw him score avoiding the tag - TWICE! - in the 2009 season. He's very athletic, considering his size. And I kept on hearing about Crawford's speed when I was watching some of the games. And Belt, as we know, is a very good baserunner and stealer. Plus Blanco and I hear Pence is good on the bases too. That's a lot of team speed.

      And that is the one offensive metric that was close to being considered significant in going deep into the playoffs in BP's study of playoff success. The one metric that was close (their study found that offense did not really matter in the playoffs: good, bad, homerun hitting, didn't matter, was not linked to going deep into the playoffs) was stolen bases attempts. Not stolen bases, but attempts, and BP noted that they think that the relationship there is related to team speed and the ability to take extra bases when a runner and the ability to get to balls that other fielders can't, as well as stealing bases.

      I think it also relates to team philosophy from the manager and as executed by the third base coach, about being aggressive on the bases. Did you know that one year both Ishikawa and Schierhtolz were among the team leaders in extra-bases taken (Bill James stat) one year, even though they were not full-time starters? I think that comes from a team philosophy, tied with the ability of the players who could execute that.

      Same with having hitters who make good contact, those types of players are hard to get, but the Giants finally put together a team with a number of hitters who could avoid the strikeouts regularly. That helped us in the playoffs as it forced the action and the other team often faltered, giving us key runners, key runs.

    6. Speaking of free agent hitters and playoff success, given that offense is not that important to going deep into the playoffs, I'm against the Giants chasing after any of the big ticket hitters like Hamilton, for the team. They should focus on keeping our pitching around - at least the ones we want around - and if there is money, keep the hitters too, like Scutaro and Pence. Since they made the space for them, I'm fine with spending on hitters, but the Giants need to take care of their own and their pitching first and foremost.

      Most teams got it all wrong. Great pitchers make it easier to win, see Steve Carlton's great 27-win season for a great example of how that happens. When you have a pitching staff full of great pitchers, as the Giants do, then you can compile a cheaper offense, with upgrades where money is available, and still win a lot of games. On top of that, they make it easy to win in the playoffs, as my study showed, quality starts leads to a large percentage of wins. And pitchers are repeatable in throwing quality starts, so if you can build a rotation that throws a lot more quality starts than the other team, you will generally win more often than not. You can build the offense on the cheap.

      But if you get sluggers, you still need average starting pitchers and they still cost around $10M each per season, a big chunk of change. Whereas if you have great pitching, you can pick up guys like Huff, Torres, Blanco, off the free agent pile and do wonders with them.

    7. Its also NL baseball. We don't need to keep up with the sluggers. We play in big parks for the most part. Especially the NL West, where even CO and AZ have spacious outfields to go with their jetstreams.

      We had a very good team this year. A team that took advantage of any mistakes teams made. That is a mark of a good team. We also beat the hell out of the NL West (Finally!) 14-4 against the Rockies, 12-6 against the Padres, 10-8 against the Doyers and 9-9 against the D-backs (aided by the season opening series sweep). Good teams beat up on weak teams. That is something the Giants did well this year.

      Well, we have a 69MM pitching staff now, so some of the offense will be on the cheap, cuz Sabean is going to spend at least 20MM on his pen!

    8. The rising cost of some of the homegrown heroes could become a sticky issue over the next few years. Zito's expiring contract will help, but that still leaves you with a starting point of a $50 M rotation as a starting point and Pablo, Buster and Bumgarner are going to be up in the $20 M salary range before we know it. That's why it's essential to keep the supply of talent from the draft and international signings flowing as well as beating the bushes for cheap talent in the dumpster like Vogey, Blanco and Arias.

  5. Here is an article by Bruce Jenkins about the GiantsBall, to be made into a movie about the genius disguised as the Giants GM - just kidding, Sabean credits the ORGANIZATION and there is no book nor movie being talked about yet.

    In a scene from the film "Moneyball," a half-dozen A's scouts sit around a table, tossing out opinions. With their haggard faces and old-school lingo, they are made to look like fools, a bunch of washed-up alcoholics whose time has passed.

    What a dreadfully wrong number. In real life, those guys are baseball's lifeblood.

    The Giants' world championship is a victory for John Barr, Dick Tidrow, Bobby Evans, a cadre of sharp-eyed scouts and especially general manager Brian Sabean, who learned his trade in the Yankees' system and surrounds himself with people who don't merely know baseball, but feel it, deep inside. They all played the game, somewhere along the line, and if you throw a binder full of numbers on their desk, they don't quite get the point.

    The beauty of baseball is that it can be dissected in a thousand ways, each an engaging enterprise in its own way. The stat-crazed sabermetricians, as they are called, invent specific methods of evaluation without needing to witness the action in person. Numbers, they believe, tell the entire story - and their approach is worshiped by thousands of fans and bloggers who wouldn't last five minutes in a ball-talk conversation with Tim Flannery, Mark Gardner or Ron Wotus.

    The modern-day general manager bears no significant resemblance to Sabean, rather an especially sharp accountant who can draw up contracts, analyze a salary structure and study esoteric numbers with the best of them. It's a new breed of geeks, in essence. Privately, they scoff at the likes of Sabean - although, as far as we can tell, the Giants take home the rings.

    The San Francisco model is based on visual evidence, not statistics, and it clearly works - but it will fail, miserably, in the hands of organizations cutting their scouting staffs and stocking computers. Those people wouldn't understand what the Giants saw in Gregor Blanco, a longtime disappointment, as he tore up the Venezuelan winter league. They wouldn't necessarily spot the massive heart inside Sergio Romo, or what Hunter Pence's relentless energy brings to a contending team. The Giants look at the face, the demeanor, the background, the ability to play one's best under suffocating pressure - all the components "Moneyball" lamely holds up to ridicule.

    If you try calling Sabean a genius, he'll laugh in your face. Baseball is an enterprise of failure, both on and off the field, and it's a game of humility. He doesn't pretend to know everything, he'll gladly recount his misfired decisions over the years, and he knows these prideful days could unravel into a third-place finish next year. But he won't stop trusting his eyes. He'll finance the plane flights, rental cars, motel rooms and other staples of a scout's lonely existence. The Giants trade the numbers for humanity, as the howls of skepticism tone down to a whisper.

    Read more:

    1. 'He will laugh in your face.'

      'He doesn't pretend to know everything.'

      A few miles due east, you will hear a loud scream 'I KNOW EVERYTHING!'

    2. Well, I don't necessarily see it as either/or. Just because he doesn't advertise it doesn't mean Sabean ignores statistics. He has this guy with a funny, geeky sounding name in the back that hardlly anyone knows about, Yeshaya Goldfarb who, for all we know, is the most genius of the statistical geniuses in any team's front office. At the same time, Billy Beane has started giving some credit to his scouts for acquisitions like Yoenis Cespedes and Chris Young.

      I do think it is high time for people in some corners of the internet to admit they were wrong about Brian Sabean who has been unfairly criticized, even ridiculed as one of the worst GM's in baseball for a long time. Worst GM's do not rebuild a team after losing a superstar that the team was previously built around and end up with a product that wins 2 World Series in 3 years. The results speak for themselves. The critics need to finally admit that either Sabean is not as saber unsavvy as they thought or else they are wrong about what they believe is the way to build baseball teams.

    3. I hope Beane says it more often and gives credit to more people, like their manager Melvin, perhaps his pitching coach and scouts.

      Right or wrong, people associate him with the stats-ueber-alles Weltanschauung. Giving credit is one thing. Coming out and admitting past shallow thinking, like managers don't matter (so let me give it to my friend Macha), is another.

      One last thing - there is nothing inherent about stats vs scouts. When everyone relies on scouts, stats based approach represents a chance at contrarian bargains. And when everyoe is gung-ho on stats, reliance on scouts is the the preferred contrarian play.

    4. Great point. I think the ability to adapt is what is important. High OBP guys are valuable, go get contact hitters who hit for average but don't necessarily walk. (Hackers!) Home runs too expensive, go get speedy gap hitters who can play defense. That is the story of whats going on with the giants I think. And being unafraid to stand alone and do something different is important, being contrarian is sometimes lonely, and sometimes hugely rewarding.

    5. Everything in baseball, like life, goes in cycles. If every hitter in your lineup goes up there taking the first pitch to try to get ahead in the count or work a walk, then the opposing pitcher is going to figure out that he can just fire it down the middle of the plate for an easy strike one. On the other hand, if you go up there hunting first pitch fastball every AB, the pitcher is going to adjust by throwing something offspeed and out on the edges of the zone.

      Like has been pointed out, if everybody wants high OBP guys, then they are going to get expensive and you may get more bang for your buck by signing a hacker with a high BA and sticking him down in the 6 or 7 hole in the lineup.

    6. Just want to say, there was a snotty "apology" to Brian Sabean on MCC today(not written by Grant) which was not actually an apology at all. It was really a snarky, rehash of all the stupid, terrible things he has done or not done as GM disguised as an apology. Of course when he was rehashing all that ancient history, he conveniently failed to mention player acquisitions like Jeff Kent, JT Snow, Robb Nen, Kirk Reuter and Jason Schmidt. It was just kind of "Yeah Brian, you did all those stupid things but now that you've won I have to apologize so I'll do it by reminding you of all those stupid things you did." Without, of course, mentioning any of the smart things he did.

    7. I expended my energy dealing with Dave Cameron, I can't deal with that dude on MCC. He has always been very whiny, and I do not enjoy his writing. I usually avoid his posts altogether. I did tell him he owed Brandon Crawford an apology, because he was one of the more vocal leaders of that movement. And I did put this down: Funny guys trying to re-up the Vlad quote with the Beltran brew up were definitely wrong. But I don't have the need to get into that mosh pit to set anything straight. Besides, its descended into a foam at the mouth at Orlando Cabrera, and then onto more exciting topics like SAT scores. MCC, folks! There are good days and bad.

      I will say there is a crew of folks who post here and MCC, and other blogs, so its not a good idea to lump completely. I try to keep my sense of humor going, but right now, a couple days after an awesome run, I find that kind of thing pretty tiring, and pretty petty, a mock apology. Lets get the Sabean "apology" done so we can get back to bagging. Not too cool in my opinion, but its not my job to make things right on that front. When its annoying, its not fun, and its time to walk away.

      Taking care of the bullpen is the right strategy. In successive years. That will be mocked again I am sure. Defense - you can't really talk about it with any measure of confidence the way you can OBP, or wOBA, or RBIs for that matter. Defense was huge. Speed was huge. Contact hitting was huge. And having built up a ton of equity in yelling about the need for more OBP - the first thing you learn when you get your junior saber badge - a certain segment of the interwebz ain't giving that up. So you can bang your head, or move somewhere else.

      Just know this - Sabean has built a good enough team with enough hometown heroes there are very few players to rag on. I guess Dave Cameron is right, the Giants have some depth. The thing that makes me laugh is the tired old argument (that that poster on MCC loved to champion, and other places that hate Sabean) of "where is our offense, its sucked for X # of years" is dead in the water. Its very obvious our offense from 2010 was just fine in 2011 until the Posey injury, and the others, and our offense was just fine again this year. Sorry haters, Sabean & co can build an offense. It may not be as pretty as you like, but its there.

    8. Well put, Shankbone. Couldn't have said it better myself.

  6. Susan Slussher, the A's regular beat writer at SFGATE, is kind enough to inform us that the 2012 World Series between the Detroit Tigers and San Francisco Giants set a record low for TV ratings.

    I fee like everyone of those who watched has earned a Croix de Candlestick pin, Susan.