Sunday, June 16, 2013

Game Wrap 6/16/2013: Braves 3 Giants 0

tTim Lincecum had a Quality Start, sort of, but Julio Teheran and 3 Braves relievers dominated the Giants offense for the shutout loss.  Key Lines:

Buster Posey(.316) and Brandon Belt(.251) had 2 hits each.  The Giants had no XBH's and just 1 BB.

Tim Lincecum-  6 IP, 6 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 5 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 4.57.  Technically a QS, but that is not a good line.  I watched the first part of the game on Gameday and sometimes you see things there you don't pick up otherwise.  I'm going to pick on the pitch selection to Freddie Freeman in the first inning that led to the first RBI.  He started out with a nice split-change for strike one.  Pitch 2 was a two seam fastball at the knees on the outside corner for called strike 2.  OK, Timmy is in the driver's seat here.  He has several good options.  Go back to the change.  Come up and in with hard stuff on the hands.  Slider at the back foot making sure to get it inside.  Instead, the 3'rd pitch was a back-door slider that came back to the outer half of the plate and Freeman said, "thank you very much" and stroked it up the middle for the RBI single.  I don't know who called for that pitch of if he just missed his location badly, but it was about the worse choice he could have picked in that situation.

Jake Dunning- 1 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K.  ERA= 0.00.  First MLB appearance for Dunning and he pitched a scoreless inning!

With the Win, the Giants finish what might be their toughest road trip of the season 4-5 which is a whole lot better than it could have been.  The NL West leading D'backs lost again to the Pesky Padres 4-1, while the Rockies beat the Phillies 5-2.  The Rockies now have sole possession of 2'nd place 0.5 games behind the D'Backs.  The Giants are in 3'rd place, 1.5 games behind while the Pesky Ones are now just 2 games out in 4'th place.  The Dodgers lost to the Pirates 6-3 to remain 7.5 games behind in last place.

The Giants now return home to face the Pesky Padres to start a 3 game series and a 7 game homestand.  Barry Zito faces Edinson Volquez at 7:15 PDT.  Go Giants!


  1. Timmy struggled with his control, but did a good job battling thru it keeping the game close. Too bad the offense couldn't score a couple of runs.

    Belt had 2 hits tonight, but he stuck out in a key at bat with 2 runners on base and no outs. I'm beginning to wonder if Belt will ever hit enough to be a regular MLB 1st baseman.

    I like Andres Torres, so it was painful to watch him play LF tonight especially the ball he let get by him for an error.. Braves played a better game defensively, the main reason why they won.

    The Padres are playing well, the series will be a dogfight.


    1. If the Giants are serious about making a run for this thing, I would not be unhappy if they went out and acquired a masher like Josh Willingham to play LF moving Torres/Blanco to reserve roles.

      Not quite ready to throw in the towel on Belt, but I agree it sure would be nice if he chipped in with a 2 or 3 run dinger once in awhile.

  2. belt may be a really nice guy and a very good defensive first baseman...but he cant hit like one

    i declare the experiment to be a failure

    convert fat boy to a first baseman and be done with it

    timmy is still a mess....

    craw's future bro in law is now 2-0. the crack bums broadcasting duo of tweedledum and tweedledumbass, spent half the game trying to figure out why cole doesnt strike out more guys...there was a time that i thought steiner was a very good broadcaster...seems monday's idiocy is catching.

    i had to work today and thought for sure the game was gonna be on the radio...of course, the basketball game was way more important

    giants gotta figure out a way to break this 2 wins, 2 losses thing
    giants gotta figure out a way to play at least 500 ball on the road
    giants gotta find a way to keep guys healthy
    giants are very lucky that no one is good enough to run away with this thing


    1. Steiner may be knowledgeable, but he's always put me to sleep with his droning style.

      I think 4-5 on this road trip is just fine. They easily could have come out of it buried. Of course some of their good positioning is due to the poor play by the rest of the teams in the division.

    2. Yes, someone hitting over 800 OPS for two months now is a failed experiment (not!).

      Giants are playing on the road more than at home, plus with the top half of their lineup MIA, I'm more than happy with 2 wins, 2 losses, we need to survive this rough stretch and lick our wounds, so that we can take charge once everyone is back and healthy.

      And the other teams are lucky the Giants didn't run away with this thing too, because they are good enough to do that, but injuries have depleted them, as well as poor performances like that by Timmy and Vogie. The offense has been as advertised and shown for display last season, until injuries depleted the top of the lineup. Once the pitching and fielding straightens out (no guarantee it will, but they should), we should run away with the division, much like we did last season, being tied with LA the day of Melky-geddon and then winning the division by a landslide.

  3. Have to agree with both of you guys, Belt until now has been really frustrating to watch. Starting to think he's no more than a fringy 1B, not in one single category does he stand out. If you dont hit for average at least for power but Belt has neither to go along with a very low OBP (.322).

    1. Belt's isolated walk rate is not bad, so I wouldn't pick on his OBP. He needs to hit better.

    2. I guess my thinking with Belt is this:

      Obvious signs of potential. A few weaknesses that lead to prolonged stretches of limited offense. Streaky. Frustrating to watch. Young, and still figuring things out. Not the strongest mental approach...could use a little more confidence.

      I feel like some of these things can be corrected with more experience and success. As of now, I think it's too early to write him off. The fact that he's shown the ability to get on base, has already equaled last year's HR total, has the occasional hot flash, and has top-notch defense, gives him the right to show he can progress as the season goes on. It wasn't until July last year that he got hot. If he's still hovering around .250 by season's end, then maybe we can talk about giving up.


    3. Agree with Lucky on this one.

    4. People rag on Belt, but since his early struggles in the first two weeks of April, he has been a good hitting 1B (not great, but good): From April 14 to June 16, .275/.354/.462/.816, in 171 AB with 7 HR and 40 K's (still striking out a bit too much but at least he's hitting for power, 25 AB/HR or roughly 25 HR full season with 187 ISO).

      People just focus too much on the player's overall batting line early in the season, especially younger players who are still figuring things out. Belt, after struggling early, has done very well for us, I wish people would stop getting on his back about his poorer overall numbers, when he has been hitting very well for us for two months now. Sure, he gets hot and cold - who but the best doesn't?

      And the average 1B in the NL is hitting .261/.330/.417/.747, not far from his current .251/.322/.417/.739 overall batting (remember, average is still very good in the majors) and his hitting since mid-April has been superlative compared to the average. And the average 1B is averaging 31.5 AB/HR, Belt is currently at 30.1 AB/HR. People forget that it is a whole new world for what constitutes a good or average hitting firstbaseman, and Belt has been good last year and roughly average or slightly above average this season, on an overall basis.

      He would have to suck big time in 2014 for me to give up on him, he's still showing progress and good production this season, he would have to fall into a hole offensively for me to give up on him this season and I would still wait until 2014 to make such a drastic move.

  4. As some of you may know I posted some reasons for Belt's problems on McCovey Chronicles last year. I still have serious issues with his top hand grip but that pales in comparison to his biggest problem now.

    Watching this video: will explain it all. (FYI ignore the commentary because he misses the bigger issues by a country mile) Brandon Belt's upper body drifts forward so far it's a joke. He has absolutely no leverage to hit the ball hard. And your head can't move that much without hurting hand eye coordination. But alas, this is how he hits EVERYTHING now. He simply can't stay back. And it's pretty obvious now that he can't put the fat part of the bat on the ball with any regularity or authority. It's unbelievable but true...Belt's mechanics have gotten progressively worse.

    As a result, the hot streaks will be fewer and the slumps deeper.

    1. I remember those posts. I'm not enough of a hitting expert to have an opinion of whether you are right or wrong, but you certainly did not deserve the response you got on MCC.

      I'll just say what I see from my own inexpert perspective. Belt, to me, looks like he truncates his swings in a misguided effort to "shorten" his stroke. The problem is that it doesn't matter what you do AFTER you make contact with the ball, it's what you do BEFORE that determines how quickly the bat gets to the hitting zone. Although I have seen him hit some HR's with the truncated swing, it just seems intuitive that he's also truncating his power by abrubtly stopping his follow through. I could be wrong, but why is he the only hitter we see doing that.

    2. The truncated swing is caused by his overly strong top hand grip and horrible overall mechanics. When your upper torso and head drift that far forward it spells big trouble. Belt's mechanics somehow come together for short periods of time but aren't sustainable. When you're that fundamentally flawed it's impossible.

    3. I'm not quite as ready to write him off as you, but I appreciate the input on his mechanics and I agree he does have a very funky looking swing.

    4. SpeierFuentes,

      I'm curious, but do you see many of these same problems in this video:

      That footage is from the 2010 Arizona Fall League where Belt had mechanics that impressed Keith Law. Now, I don't necessarily think Law is the supreme authority on mechanics, but I do know a lot of Beltists agree with his thoughts--that the Giants MLB coaches (perhaps Bam Bam) messed up his mechanics that gave him success in 2010-2011. I'd be curious if anyone has found scouting reports on Belt's swing from 2010-2011 to see what scouts (besides Keith Law) thought.

      I do think its interesting that Belt's HR's in 2011 (in MLB) averaged 10 more feet and 1 more mph than in 2012-2013 (per ESPN's homerun tracker). And, when I watch video from 2011 his swing does look more natural and powerful.

      All I know, is I think most Giants fans are rooting for Belt to develop and are simply frustrated at his lack of progress this year.

    5. Again, Belt has made good progress this season. He has added the power that was missing in 2012, with the better discipline that he worked on in 2012, and that would create an elite starting firstbaseman if he can continue that.

      Again, after a two week cold period, he has hit very well for two months now. That's a lot of progress, it took him deep into the season in 2012 to figure out how to have better discipline at the plate and to hit well. Even with that, his overall numbers in 2012 was actually good (that is, average) for firstbasemen, and when you tie that to good defense, you have a very capable player, even as he is frustrating those who expect him to be like Joey Votto from the get-go.

      People forgot that Matty took a number of seasons to figure it out too, yet I didn't get the sense that people were ready to get rid of him so easily as people seem to be with Belt. In fact, Matty hit even worse than Belt has. But for some reason, Belt has been put so high on a pedestal that anything short of that is considered frustrating and lack of progress.

    6. To Dr B,

      I'm not ready to give up on him but I am concerned at the lack of progress or corrections. They've worked with him on staying back for a long time now and it's just not happening very often.

      From what I've seen, Belt's mechanics have always been a problem. That said, he obviously has some natural ability. When he stays back, AT ALL, as a big man he can hit the ball a long way...But, even in those 2010 highlights big problems. His grip just does not allow him to swing the bat as freely as he should. The swing plane is also a problem caused by his grip.

  5. I would also add.

    I like to think of hitters in terms of swing and talent. Two very different things.

    Now there are hitters with what many would consider flawed swings or approach but have great ability. They can hit regardless of certain fundamentals..see Pablo. He has extraordinary hand eye coordination and nimble hands. He can hit out off his tippy toes.

    There are great hitters with great swings, which is gold...see Posey, Will Clark, ARod in his prime etc.. Then there are hitters with great swings but couldn't hit water if they fell out of a boat. No talent. Seen plenty of them of the years.

    Belt surely has talent. Just not enough to overcome the fundamental problems at this time.

    As some have pointed out there are those that have used a strong top hand grip with success. People like Ryan Braun. But he's got off the chart ability. Bryce Harper same thing..both have a strong top hand grip but are just blessed with more ability than almost everyone playing the game. Barry Bonds had a strong top hand as well but my god the stroke was genius...short and straight through the zone quickly. The best ever seen.