Friday, October 19, 2012

Game Wrap NLCS Game 4: Cardinals 8 Giants 3

The Cardinals dominated this one in all phases of the game as Tim Lincecum struggled in his return to a starting assignment.  Key Lines:

Marco Scutaro(.471) and Angel Pagan(.333)- 4 for 8, 2B, 3B.  Once again the top of the lineup came through.  The rest of the lineup had just two hits, although they were both dingers.

Pablo Sandoval- 1 for 4, HR.  BA= .235.

Hector Sanchez- 0 for 4, 3 K's.  I like Hector Sanchez, but even I would not put him in the 5 hole in a playoff game although I undertand Bochy's frustration with Pence in that slot and the Giants don't have a lot of other options.

Hunter Pence- 1 for 4, HR.  BA= .133.  The .133 tells the sad story of this series for the Giants offense.

Tim Lincecum- 4.2 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 3 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 5.40.  Timmy was out of sync in his first 15 pitches and probably does not have the stamina to go more than 3 or 4 innings right now.  Could he be next year's closer?  That would be one expensive closer!

The loss put the Giants backs back up against the wall as they now have to win 3 do or die games in a row.  Yeah, I know.  Anyway, Barry Zito gets the first chance tonight.  Zito is not a guy who inspires a ton of confidence and this Cardinals team is death to LHP's, but then again, Zito has pitched some big games for the Giants this year and done well in them.  Not expecting much but as always, there is a reason why the play the games.

Go Giants!!

The Detroit Tigers finished off a sweep of the Yankees and whoever faces them in the World Series has a heckuva mountain to climb.  For starters, Justin Verlander is the best pitcher on the planet right now and it isn't close.  That means the opposing team has to win 4 of the other 5 games in the series and it's not like Verlander is the Tigers only good pitcher.


  1. Everybody hides after a bad loss. The Series is over when its over. Barry Zito. Stopper.

    Bochy needs to be extremely aggressive with his pitching changes. That shouldn't be a problem, unlike last night when Timmy didn't have it or the MadBum games. So I'm hopeful the Giants will fight it out. And the much mocked 12 game winning streak... Baseball players eat that up. Take that SABRs!

    I was pretty bummed that Hector dropped an easy play at the plate. I wouldn't have put him in the 5 spot either. He was trying to be patient, but that Wainwright curve was death last night.

    Glad to see Pagan really come to play. Helluva defensive effort from him. I hope the Giants re-sign him, he brings energy, leadership and flexibility to the lineup and the defense.

    Its pretty tough when our stars - and our starting pitching is the bulk of our stars - don't show up to play. This team has battled a bunch, been a good team all year. I hope they rattle the Cardinals tonight, and I hope they get the series back to San Francisco. Go Giants!

  2. Its not looking good, but if they can somehow pull this game out, the next 2 games are at AT&T.. I've learned my lesson from the NLDS not to count this team out. teams have come back from being down 2 games to 3 winning the last 2 at home. The Halos won the 2002 WS and the Cards won the 87 NLCS winning the last 2 at home.. Go GIANTS!


  3. The optimist sees it as putting the Cards where we want them.

    When they pull if off, it would be one heck of a comeback.

  4. I think Timmeh-as-closer is a near worst-case-scenario, but I have been mulling that option myself the last few weeks. Problem is that we would need to then get a new #5 (Surkamp, Heston, Kickham?) and our SP depth takes yet another hit.

    Not only does Detroit have the best pitcher on the planet right now, they have arguably the best hitter on the planet as well. They will face an 8-day layoff, though, and they faced a cream puff in the ALCS, so they may be less-than-crisp come the World Series.

  5. Go Giants!

    I feel pretty good about their chances tonight. Not because of Zito but because of Lynn. Then again, maybe he comes out and Bobby Jones us (or Kyle Lohse us for a more recent example).

    Just need more from every aspect of the team over what happened last night.

    Timmy as closer could work if the Giants sign a free agent pitcher to fill the rotation, but not sure if that works. Surkamp I would be worried about injury, Kickham needs to prove it at AAA. How about Petit as placeholder in 2013? By mid-season, we'll have a better idea on our young guys flying up, as well as the high level guys you listed, and could always pick up an OK starter mid-season for a prospect with potential, like Gillaspie.

    Yeah, Tigers are going to be TUFF!

    1. Actually Gillaspie will have to be on the 25 or exposed. I bet he's gone before mid-season.

  6. Last night I watched the game with a friend and before it started I said to him that Timmy needs to get through the 1st and then right around the 5th is where he usually hits another speed bump.

    The throw by Crawford on the play at the plate was a good example of one of the reasons I have ragged on him all year, his arm is just average.

    The lineup changes last night were a little surprising and obviously didn't work out. I think it speaks to us not having an ideal lineup with a few weak links like Blanco, Crawford, and Belt. All 3 are decent players and Belt and Craw have nice future potential but for right now they are a little above their heads.

    OGC, regarding your comments on the last post: I didn't respond directly because it is hard to respond to every question and have a dialogue through posts. Belt would have enough pop for a middle infielder but for a 1B he is not cutting the mustard. I will point at his HR totals and his RBI totals (2 stats that are meaningless to you probably) but in general he hasn't been a run producer like you need at 1B. I would love to discuss the other points with you but not through a blog, if you figure out a better way then lets do it!

    1. Crawford has a terrific arm. He bounced that throw on purpose. Said afterward he regretted it and wished he had hit him in the chest with it.

      Belt has power potential but right now is still too wrapped up in trying to figure out his strike zone and swing mechanics to take advantage of it.

    2. I will apologize now in case you take this the wrong way Doc but that is the most insanely idiotic thing I have ever heard. A shortstop with a "strong arm" according to you, bouncing a ball to home plate on purpose!!!!! Doc, did you just read what you wrote? I have never had a coach or heard of anyone anywhere using the "bounce the throw home" approach. You may bounce a throw if you can't throw it the whole way in the air with enough on it but a SS should have no problem throwing the ball from 2B position to home on a clothesline.

      It makes me wonder why more people don't see this flaw in Crawford. He routinely bounces balls to 1B. In the first half he must have bounced at least 2 a game. He may not have a horrible arm but it is far from terrific. Arias on the other hand has a gun.

      For me Belt could be the bigger problem. I think Crawford will eventually be a really good SS but I am not convinced about Belt. Not quite sure why he has so many supporters to be honest. Everyone would love for him to do good being that he is homegrown and looked like a rising star while coming through the minors but he hasn't shown enough for me. He is at a disadvantage with his height and gawkiness as it is and his swing is anything but natural. What is it other then hope that keeps Belt fans supporting him???

    3. Crawford does routinely bounce balls to 1st. Makes no sense to me. But he does.

      Belt has lot more to figure out than strike zone and swing mechanics. I did like him. In between small runs of solid ABs, are long, long dry stretches where he looks lost.

      The sabermetric crew may love him. But watch him. He instills almost no confidence. Even when he is going well, he is incapable of just slashing and making consistent, solid contact.

      Go Giants!

    4. True to form Belt is over his head yet again. Good thing the rest of the Giants are picking up the slack. Big time hit by Crawford to drive in 2 with 2 out. Lets bring this back to SF and show the Woodpeckers how much heart we got!

    5. OK, that we can debate. You claim he's OK pop for MI but not for 1B. Belt's career power stats vs. 2012 NL 1B:

      Belt: .259/.349/.418/.762, 36% XBH, 169 ISO, 37.5 AB/HR (16 HR in 600 AB)
      NL1B: .266/.336/.442/.778, 38% XBH, 176 ISO, 28.0 AB/HR (21 HR in 600 AB)

      He's not at the level of the average 1B, but he's so close that I have no problem calling him an average firstbasemen. Average ballplayers are very valuable players, as the bar is set high in the majors. Hopefully you can understand that.

      HR and RBI are not meaningless to me. I feel I straddle the "old world" and the "saberworld". I believe in clutch players/hitters and that's one reason I like Pence and Hanchez, and now Crawford, I see "clutchiness" in their hitting, something sabers mostly abhor.

      What also has meaning to me, which I find few people take into account, is performance relative to what we are asking of the player. Just because Belt is, in your words, not like other 1B with the "pop"-iness that you desire, I feel that as long as you have hitters who can fit the role of each lineup spot, that's the true and proper performance level goal that one should really be looking at, not some old, arbitrary standard that all 1B who can't hit homeruns are of no value and thus are not good.

      He's been mostly asked to fulfill the #6 batting lineup spot, here is his 2012 stats vs. #6:

      Belt: .275/.360/.421/.781, 58.7 AB/HR, 35% XBH, 146 ISO
      Sixth: .262/.327/.421/.748, 31.8 AB/HR, 35% XBH, 159 ISO

      To your point, he don't have the homers, but to my point, his XBH% is right there, his ISO pretty much so, and his SLG is the same as the average 6th hitter.

      But an important point to note here is that Belt's batting line would be great at any spot in the lineup except for 3rd and 4th. That means that he's a very valuable hitter and when you put on top of that he's great defensively, he puts together a great package of baseball value for very little cost.

      Which brings us to another point that you never seem to get: OK, if you think Belt is so bad, what is your solution for it? I don't think anyone wants to see Huff or Nady playing defense at 1B, so the only real alternative is to start Sanchez at C and Posey at 1B, but then that just puts a lower power bat in the lineup, as Sanchez has less power than Belt, less HR power than Belt.

      Complaining without a viable solution is just crankiness to me, complaining just to complain, unless you can provide a good solution.

      Now, you might say that we should have took cared of this during the season. I say the payroll was already full and thus the only similar cost solution to Belt would have been over the hill 1B, who most probably either don't have much power either (else why so cheap, even Huff got $3M) or plays horrible defense at 1B, which is not so good for our infielders or pitchers.

    6. Just a few more stats on Belt:

      I looked up the stats for all MLB first basemen with at least 450 PA's this season(Belt had 472).

      He ranked 18 in total WAR. Since WAR is a counting stat, I normalized it for 600 PA's and he moves up to #13. In RC27+, a purely offensive rate stat, he ranks #14.

      There is ample evidence that Brandon Belt is at least a league average first baseman both offensively and in total performance.

      When you factor in his experience level and the fact he is obviously still learning the game and making rapid adjustments at the plate and the future is bright.

  7. Would Seattle part with some of their top pitching prospects for Lincecum? Say Danny Hultzen, James Paxton, and Chone Figgins for Tim Lincecum and Conor Gillespie? I just think Giants need to make room for Buster Posey's long term contract and may be this is the way to do it.

    1. First of all, Seattle would not want any part of paying Tim Lincecum $20 M next year. Secondly, the 1 year still on Timmy's contract will not be a barrier to signing Buster long term. I know this will not be a popular opinion, but I would still be very leery of a long term 9 figure contract for Buster with the ankle.

  8. Anybody predicted big time Barry zito is lying. Thank you Barry zito for to tonight. I love this team.

    1. Okay, I won't lie to you. First time I have really been proud to call Zito a Giant. Pitched a gutty damn fine game when the Giants had to have it. He earned his $126MM right there.

    2. Can't say I predicted it, but I did mention that Zito has pitched some big games for the Giants this year in the above Game Wrap.

    3. I didn't predict Big Time Barry, but I wasn't down on him either. He is what he is, it could be a poor game, but it could be a good game, and as I noted with my PQS data, he's good more times than not, but still, disasters come too regularly to rely on him in big games. But at least there is hope that he can deliver, it is not the end of the world, and paired against Lynn, the Giants had a good chance of winning.

      To your point, there is NOBODY who would have predicted over 5 innings of shutout ball (let alone the 7.2 IP that he did do), not even one of Barry's relatives or buddies. He even had a 5 PQS start, which he did not have many this season, he only had two this season, his 4th start and his last start of the season, and now in the playoffs.

    4. There is a difference between unexpected and surprising. While nobody could rightfully expect Zito to pitch the way he did in NLCS Game 5, his performance should not have taken anybody by surprise. Zito had 5 starts this season where he went 6 or more innings while allowing 0 ER so there was precedent in his record for what he accomplished.