Thursday, October 18, 2012

NLCS Game 3 Game Wrap: Cardinals 3 Giants 1

Matt Cain pitched a Quality start, but the offense failed to drive in all but one of the Giants 14 baserunners and the Giants fell behind the Cardinals 2-1 in their best of 7 series.  Key Lines:

Marco Scutaro- 2 for 5, 2B.  BA= .462.  Scutaro has more than done his part this series.  His 2B was the only XBH of the game for the Giants.

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 5.  BA= .231.  Sandoval drove in the lone run which gave the Giants a short-lived lead in the top of the 3'rd inning.

Buster Posey- 1 for 2, 2 BB.  BA= .200.  The top 4 batters in the lineup reached base 7 times with only 1 run to show for it.

Hunter Pence- 0 for 4.  BA= .091.  Pence left a total of 5 runners stranded. If you are looking for a goat in this one, I hear a bleating noised coming from Pence's locker.

Brandon Crawford- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .273.  The bottom 3 hitters in the lineup have played a huge role in the Giants offense.  Belt, Blanco and Crawford reached base a total of 5 times in this one.  Again, Hunter Pence's line is the big donut hole in the boxscore separating the top from the bottom of the order.  Pagan, at the top of the order, went just 1 for 5 and left 4 runners stranded, so he would be #2 in the goat line, but at least he's hitting .286 for the series so far.

Matt Cain- 6.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.  A Quality Start, but not what you want to see from your ace in a critical postseason game.  I was following it on Gameday and did not see what kind of pitch Carpenter hit the bomb on, but as Cain has relied more on breaking balls, which have helped to get batters out and hold his pitch counts down, he still hangs a few and they tend to get hammered, so his HR rate has risen accordingly.  Could be a temporary blip in his trends or it could be something to watch for in the future.

All in all, a very frustrating game to watch and a frustrating boxscore to read.  The loss puts the Giants down 2 games to 1 in this 7 games series.  This was not the must-win for the Giants that Game 2 was, but any game that swings the advantage in a 7 game series is big.  Now the Cardinals just have to split the next 4 games and they advance, while the Giants must win 3 of 4.  Big difference, though not impossible.

Tim Lincecum gets the start for Game 4 facing Adam Wainwright with the Giants obviously hoping the success Timmy found in the bullpen will carry over into his start.  Also, the Giants need to stick with RHP's as much as possible against this RH leaning ballclub.

Go Giants!!

PS:  I have always been a big fan of Hunter Pence mainly because his stat line from year to year has been so amazingly consistent.  He is obviously having a down year despite his gaudy RBI numbers and right now he just looks terrible at the plate:  Arms, legs and sundry other body parts all flying in different directions at once.  And he looks like he's mainlining caffeine.  For a start, I would recommend he limit himself to 2 cups of coffee in the morning only and lay off the energy drinks(I don't know that he is quaffing energy drinks but he sure looks like it!)  LOL!


  1. I feel really good about Timmy going against Wainwright tonight. Wainwright has been getting hit hard and Timmy has looked good so I think we can look forward to evening up the series.

    Pence looks bad but you gotta stick with him. He is the type of hitter much like Pablo that can change a game with one swing and his chances have to be improving with each at bat he fails in! This is also the reason why a month and a half ago I brought up the point of putting as many bats in between Panda and Pence to seperate the free swingers. I had suggested batting Panda 3rd and Melky 5th with Pence behind him which would put 2 good contact hitters in between the 2 free swingers. Like most of my comments I don't believe it was well received.

    Belt on the other hand is extremely frustrating for me to watch. I am convinced that Belt is looking for a walk every time he is at the plate which I believe Dr. B wrote an article about recently arguing why he would prefer a more agressive hitter then the passive mentality that Belt has. I guess it wouldn't be as big of an issue if it weren't for the fact that Belt doesn't hit a lot of balls hard and he fouls off more fastballs down the middle of the plate then I think I have ever seen.

    Belt is a 1B with no pop and is afraid to swing at a questionable pitch (maybe because he realizes he can't do anything with it). Since fastballs down the middle seem to elude him maybe he just realizes that he can't hit the corner pitches either so why bother swinging! I hope Hector is in the lineup today and Belt is on the bench, at least Hector looks comfortable in run producing opportunities where as Belt would probably be just as happy getting a walk with runners at 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs. Not the mentality I want in a 1B.

    1. The reason your comments are not well received is because they are often just wrong. Belt has a lot of pop, he's just not showing it right now.

      Looking at his playoff stats, it appears that he was tight and overly conscious in the first series against the Reds, lots of strikeouts, no hitting, but in this series, he had hits in his first two games and only 2 K's in 11 AB, so I think he's doing much better. He appears to have calmed down and hitting regularly. He has gotten on base 4 times in this series, only Scutaro, Posey, and Pagan has more. And he is one of the few Giants to have an extra-base hit, with his double. He's not the problem.

      Pence is the problem right now, as he is not hitting at all, and I like the suggestion on the radio, which is to swap Sandoval and Pence, batting Pence third. There should be more fastballs coming to him with Posey behind him, and the other team will be less inclined to walk Posey if Sandoval is hitting behind him.

      I could even go with moving Belt to batting 3rd, Sandoval 5th, Pence 6th, though I don't know if that would help him. I like him batting 3rd and hopefully the fastballs will increase, but at worse, Posey will get pitched to more with Pablo behind him.

      Also wanted to comment on KNBR's Mr. T and Eric Brynes. Obviously not sabers to a large degree because yesterday they kept on talking about wanting your best hitter batting 3rd. Actually, the latest saber theories on that is you want your fifth best hitter batting 3rd because there are much less opportunities there to create runs, mainly because a large percentage of the time, he comes up in the first inning with nobody on base and two outs.

      That would fit in with moving Pence or Belt to the third spot, and putting Pablo into a more productive spot like fifth.

    2. i agree with pato. belt does try to milk walks when he doesnt feel comfortable at the plate. and the umps arent gonna give it to him just because he whines. he isnt pat or bonds.

      very unfair to attack pato

    3. Belt definitely has to protect the plate when the game is on the line, letting a marginal pitch go by is a recipe to get rung up. But he has been hitting and playing with confidence. He is still only at 1500 Professional PAs. Contrast that with Scutaro, who knows how to reach out on an outside pitch and put it down the line for a double. That will come with experience for young Brandon.

    4. Thanks Bacci, nice that someone has my back! I don't hate the Brandons or wish they were traded or anything like that but I do have high expectations for them. Crawford has impressed me in the last few months and Belt is on his way to being a big leaguer but he isn't hitting like one right now. I worry that he can't expand the zone and if he continues with this approach he will never be a middle of the lineup bat.

      OGC, can I get you to admit that some of your responses towards my comments are influenced by the fact that I rub you the wrong way? Even Bacci has agreed with me on some issues and we haven't exactly gotten along famously! It is extremely closed minded in any situation to completely discredit everything someone says. It makes you look bad OGC for one because it shows that you are influenced by things like who is making the comments instead of focusing on the comments themselves. How can your opinions be taken seriously if we know that they are at least somewhat based or influenced by who made them?

    5. Pato seemed to me to be confused about why his comments are not well received. I just thought I would explain why.

      What rubs me wrong is not just when people are wrong most of the time, but also when they don't seem to learn anything when the correct answers are given to them. I also don't care to be attacked either, on points that I did not discuss.

      Case in point, I explained exactly why I disagree with his specific statement "Belt has no pop". Yet there was no dialog on why my statement is wrong or that I got you to understand that you were wrong and maybe gave you an aha moment. Instead, I get accused of being attacked by another commenter - on a point that I did not discuss at all, I agree that he does milk the walks, but that has been something I felt established here already as something we all know - and then you concur with that commenter, make some more points that I agree with - I have stated that I agree with you sometimes - then say that I look bad.

      I'm very rarely influenced by things like who make the comments, all I've really cared about - and I make this point every time I get in a dust-up like this - is knowing the truth of the matter.

      Like Belt. I feel that he is a key piece of the puzzle of the Giants dominating the rest of this decade. I agree that he milks things passively sometimes and that drives me crazy. His power - and he does have power - comes from being more aggressive, but that got him a lot of strikeouts last season; this season he's gone to the other end. I'm hoping that next season is when he can meld the lessons learned this season, with the power he showed last season, and we get a Joey Votto type player for the rest of this decade.

    6. I will admit that there is one person in the Giants boards where I'm influenced by the fact that he rubbed me the wrong way.

      It started with him stealing my idea and publishing a similar article at this website that we were working on with the lead person, then him going on that board and recommending his article using his on-line moniker and not noting that he was the author as well, and at that point, I should have left that website, but I didn't want to leave the site owner in the lurch, and I'll admit that the allure of having my articles show up on Yahoo was there as well. It was fine for the most part until the incident.

      It was all pretty minor, just a debate about Travis Ishikawa as a prospect (it was that long ago), but then he said one thing, then I said another, and it escalated. It didn't help that he made up research to "prove" me wrong, stating that player who repeat A-ball like Travis did never made the majors (what he didn't realize is that I work in research, I know such a statement is virtually impossible to disprove as it would require deep research to find the example; yet I did research and found an example right away, Moises Alou, that proved that he was lying), and instead he recommended two other prospects as better, Brad Vericker and Jason Columbus (if I recall their names right).

      To try to repair the working relationship, as an olive branch, I shared some personal details with him and explained some things about myself (I know I walk to the beat of a different drum). Instead, he used that information as a way to insult me and put down my answers, by making reference to my deceased father in putting me down (I recall him saying that I had "Daddy issues" as way of belittling my answers).

      I'll admit that at that point, I exploded. And any time he posted anything that I could attack as wrong or incorrect, I felt free to do that. And if I saw his on-line name again, I would do it again, that's part of the reason I don't go to MCC, he's a prospect "expert" there (not Steve, he's a good person nor FLA, he's a knowledgeable person, not that Steve's not knowledgeable). Luckily I don't know how he looks like, I'm not sure what I would do.

    7. (cut off...) For context, here are some truths I feel are true in the world. I think everyone deserves to live a happy life. Thus, I generally feel love for most people, most of the time (though I may hate their actions at one time or another). Or maybe love is too strong, caring. I wish no ill to anyone, or most anyone.

      But there are some people that I do reserve the right to hate. Hitler, he's an obvious one. Any genocidal maniac from the past or present. Anyone with the KKK. A guy from my old neighborhood, who I realized was just plain mean. A guy from school who threatened to egg my house if I don't share my homework with him and then did it anyway, eventually. Another guy who kept on kicking me in class even though I asked him nicely many times not to do it, and when I told the teacher about it, she moved ME across the room, instead of reprimanding him in any way. Whoever it was that threw a large bolt across the room in my science class - luckily it happened to strike the middle of my eyeglass frame and fell into the sink. A little more in any other direction, I would have either lost an eye, suffered a severe injury to my forehead or to my nose or teeth (it was pretty large bolt). And this guy.

      As Rodney King once sagely noted, "why can't we all get along?"

      I honestly feel that it is better to know the truth and not be blinded by one thing or another. That's my compulsion in answering other comments, getting to the truth, I don't care about my being personally right with my initial thoughts or comments, I only care that I know the truth at the end of the process. (But if I feel I have a point, I'm going to defend it.)

      Hence why when one of the few Giants fans in my neighborhood said that he thought the Giants were going to be good, I told him no, they were going to be mediocre, again (it was the 70's). I could have let his comment go, but then he would have ended the season disappointed. I wanted to free him from that. We talked it out and he agreed.

      As bad as the 70's were, I enjoyed a lot of good baseball then. I enjoyed the seasons where they overachieved, and I still enjoyed the seasons where they were mediocre, because I set my expectations right. I enjoyed 2005-2008 because by then I knew that each team has a cycle of re-building, and no matter how bad a team is, there is always something to enjoy, whether a nice rookie, an overachiever having a nice year, or just somebody doing well.

      And not that everything was rosy, but life is too good to not enjoy it, I feel. I wish that for everyone, ok, almost everyone.

      Sorry DrB, but since they brought it up, I felt compelled to explain.

  2. The one-two gut punch of Pence flailing at hanging sliders and then Belt doing his patented "that wudn't a strike ump" was pretty good in the 7th. I missed the rest, but the Gints were the soggy bottom boys last night. Hey Belt, you may have a better eye for the strike zone than 3/4 of the umps in the league. Guess what? That will not get you anywhere. Especially being basically a rookie. You have to protect the plate with two strikes.

    Posey will not see another pitch as long as Pence is flailing. I really don't like lineup scenarios, but Boch might want to shake it up.

    Frustrating game because Lohse was allowing baserunners everywhere. The 4th and the 7th were where the game got sealed. Optimistic view though? MadBum and Cain have back about 4 pitches and we are up 3-0. Baseball! The Cards are tough, they will jump on their chances. The Giants need to make their own luck. Plus get some help from the Baseball Gods.

    Play hard tonight. We need Big Time Timmy Jim to show up.

  3. In this postseason of comebacks in the NL, being behind in a series or a game is not the worst thing.

    Still, the team and the players must execute.

    1. Ha, very good points.

      I didn't get you at first, but you are growing on me, thanks for your insights.

  4. the best baseball story of 2012 that wasnt reported by a single beat writer

    yesterday was october you remember where you were in 89?

    having a very hard time understanding why this team cant hit the fast ball...its a pen filled with f-rauds

    1. Some Giants were close on some of those fastballs...Hopefully, after three games, they have the timing down now...I wouldn't be surprised.......Pence is another story...He indeed just needs to relax and stop chasing..easier said than done but maybe moving him down the order might help, but lord knows who bats 5th?

      Any talk of Sanchez catching Lince with Posey at first..maybe then Sanchez hits 5th?


    2. Wow, great story Bacci. Romo to me seems like a new breed of modern athlete. It seemed like from stories I have heard back 50 years ago ballplayers were more interactive with fans and ever since I can remember they all seem to try their hardest to ignore the fans even when they are cheering for them. If I were a pro ballplayer I would have a blast interacting with fans and it is great to see guys like Romo and Francoeur who aren't afraid to break the mold and positively affect peoples lives when it really isn't that hard to do!!

    3. Yes, that is a great story, thanks for sharing.

      Yes, I do remember: upper deck, with my brother, the brother who showed no interest in sports growing up, but I offered the ticket to you out of loyalty and brotherly love first, and he accepted, noting that a Bay Area World Series is a once in a lifetime event. Little did he know...

      I still blame him for causing the earthquake! :^D

      Steve, you hit the nails on the head!

      I love Romo, since I saw him in an interview soon after he was promoted. Such an honest and likeable fellow, I've rooted for him since. I don't know if it is a new breed, because I assume that a lot of this happens behind the scenes, mainly because at some point, the player does not have enough time in the day to fulfill every request. It is kind of like how on the Simpsons, Ringo finally got to Marge's letter 30 years later. I think they have a blast too, but at some point they run out of free time to help out like this. Also, it was simpler times back then, the majors was probably similar to what we experience regarding the minor leagues nowadays, where you can have Mays playing stickball with kids as a beautiful thing, whereas today there would be bodyguards, entourages, and publicists coming along with the paparazzi and a schedule to stick to.

      And, again, nothing against Romo, but I would note that he's one of the few who could find it easy as a Giants to do something for a Dodger fan. He grew up a Dodger fan and he comes from a family of Dodger fans (not sure at which point allegience to Sergio supercedes their being Dodger fans) but obviously he's a Giant now. Not that I don't think that he's a great human - that really shined through in that interview - but this is also true that he grew up a Dodger's fan.

  5. I realize I am nothing more than a coat hanger scout. I read and read, and then I try to decipher as much as I can. Then I watch the player on TV (if possible) and then decide which scouting is more right in my mind. Inside fastball at the knees is an obituary for Belt. I have yet to see the power, but I sure as heck see the passiveness of his ABs, especially when Belt has 2 strikes. Here is to hoping that the prospectors are correct...

  6. Hey, thanks for the great comments and discussion everybody!

    Let me be clear about my position on the Belt vs Hector thing: I like BOTH Brandon Belt and Hector Sanchez! They have both made significant contributions to this team and there is a place for both of them in lineups and on the roster. My issue is with the hyperventilators over on MCC and some other sites who think that when Belt sits so that Posey can play 1B when it's Hector's turn to catch, it's an unimaginable catastrophe! Yes, I understand the value of OBP and the concept of Runs Created. There are factors that can be demonstrated mathematically that mitigate their concerns which have been demonstrated by the Giants offensive production with the two lineups.

  7. Thought I would mention this need product I recently found on SF Giants website store.

    it is called e-graphs:

    I thought of it when Pato mentioned players being interactive, can't be more interactive than this! You write the player a message, the player responds with personal (supposedly, but I assume some help from e-graph staff writers) message that they write electronically hand-written on a photo plus records the message so that the customer can push a button on the frame and replay that message over and over again. What brought this to mind is David Price's example on the above link, it shows the joys of fan interaction, I think. If you go into each player's photo, if there was a recent purchase, you can view the message as well as play the voice message as well. I listened to all of Pablo's messages, there is also Vogelsong, Pagan, Romo, and Kruk and Kuip, photos. Lots of other players too, but few big stars, it seemed, scanning.