Saturday, July 27, 2013

Game Wrap 7/26/2013: Cubs 3 Giants 2

Brandon Belt Bill Bucknered a ground ball that should have been the final out of a 2-1 win turning it into a 2 base, 2 run error as the Giants re-discovered long lost ways to lose a ballgame.  Key Lines:

Pablo Sandoval- 2 for 3, 2B, BB.  BA= .272.  Sandoval has three 2-hit games in a row and is hitting .351 over his last 10.

Brandon Belt- 0 for 3, BB.  BA= .260.  In addition to the butchered groundball, Belt also was indecisive on the basepaths and got himself out in a rundown between 3'rd and home at the end of the play that drove in the Giants 2 runs.  Bad mental game for Belt and you have to start to wonder if this kid is ever going to have the mental toughness to get to the next level in this league.

Jeff Francoeur- 2 for 4.  BA= .214.  Not a bad looking line for Frenchy, especially with the 2 RBI's in it, but one hit was a squibbed popup that never left the infield and the other was a blooper to RF with the bases loaded and drove in the 2 runs.

Matt Cain- 7 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 4.79.  The real Matt Cain was back tonight with a strong game.  Wouldn't you know it?  He got Cained!

Sergio Romo- 0.1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K.  ERA= 2.79.  Romo is clearly not completely comfortable pitching to LH batters and he's in a lot of trouble if he gets into a situation where he has to throw a strike, but he did pitch out of this one until Belt did the Bill Buckner thing.  Romo appeared to show his frustrations with the kid as he came off the mound but said his peace into his glove.

Nate Schierholtz(Cubs)- 1 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .281.  Gotta be happy for what's happening to Nate this season.  A lot of us have a strong emotional investment in him from watching him work his way up the Giants minor league system.  This season is ensuring that he's going to have a nice long MLB career and take some financial security away from the game when he's done.  It would have been great if he could have spent his entire career with the Giants, but that rarely happens with any player anymore.  Best wishes for continued success, Nate!

With the Loss, the 4'th place Giants fell 8 games behind the NL West leading Dodgers who edged the Reds 2-1 behind Clayton Kershaw.  The 2'nd place D'Backs crushed the Padres 10-0 to remain hot on the Dodgers' trail at 0.5 games back.  The Rockies topped the BrewCrew 8-3 to remain 5 games behind the leaders in 3'rd place.  The Last Place Padres are 9 games behind.

I have said my over/under for the Giants dropping out of the race at this stage is an 8 game deficit.  Well, we're there!  There are exactly 60 games left in the season.  With an 8 game deficit, 10 games under .500, one of the tougher stretches of the season looming and the Dodgers and D'Backs showing no signs of crumbling, I think it's time to put a fork in the Giants this year. They are done!  On the bright side, if the season ended today, they would hold the 7'th overall draft pick in a strong draft.

Madison Bumgarner takes the mound this evening facing lefty Chris Rusin.  What are your odds that Brandon Belt is in the lineup?


  1. Bacci wuz right!

    The Giants lead the league in errors. Its been as bad a fielding team as they've ever fielded. And that has a lot to do with the balls they don't get to as well that go for "singles"

    The pitching is the worst in the league in ERA. That's a new one as well.

    Cannot win when you have fundamental breakdowns of the strength of what your team is built around.

    Interesting to see Sabean admit they were worried about depth to start the year. Also interesting to see him throw Surkamp under the bus. Hey Brian, your training staff actually got Surkamp through the TJ early, not late.

    Time to re-tool. There is a ton of talent on this team, they have to juggle it, not create more holes while filling in.

    I defend Belt regularly, this one was pretty tough to take. But he's just part of the crew of empty suits the past 2 months. Pence, Panda and Belt have really underperformed. Something has to give in that equation.

    1. I've defended Belt all along too. Not like the Belt Fanatics who think he's the best player on the team, but yeah, I've defended him and the way the Giants have handled him. After this game, you gotta wonder if there is something in him that makes him freeze up in the clutch. Yeah, I know there is no clutch, but it does seem like there is something in Belt that keeps him from making the big hit or the key catch. I don't know. Right now, I don't see a lot of other great options for 1B so the best thing to do is keep running him out there, although with the Giants eliminated from the race for all practical purposes, I'd like to see Buster play a lot more at 1B. No sense in getting beat up behind the plate in meaningless games.

    2. Pablo Sandoval has a miserable .932 fielding percentage. He's only turned 9 double plays all year. Pablo has somehow got his OPS+ up to 109, hitting some gap doubles I guess. Belt may have these wacky moments but he's at 121 OPS+ and is cheap. He needs to get trotted out every day. Sandoval? Needs to get shipped. Buster may not be able to handle the hot corner, but it would behoove the Gigantes to see about it. Hell, why not think outside the box a little and kick tires on McCann? Posey playing catcher is sort of a blessing and a curse, being one of the very best in all of baseball.

    3. Also, I think we have to be patient with Belt, think Matt Williams. He's still crazy young, and he has talent. Bacci can come on and rip him, but I say that Doug Mapson discovered Belt, he gets the credit, not the interwebz fans with the junior saber badges. Its just a bad reflection on a bad season. The Giants are working with him on getting that bat to do damage, and that is a work in progress. In the meantime, the 121 OPS+ is quite nice, especially when you look across baseball and consider he's at the minimum.

    4. "but it does seem like there is something in Belt that keeps him from making the big hit or the key catch."

      What do you have to back up that statement apart from perception? The guy has a .863 OPS with runners in scoring position, so I don't necessarily see how he can't "get the big hit." Also, apart from this one game, how many times has Belt not made the "key catch?" I'm more likely to believe the "clutch" assertion than I am the "Belt can't handle the pressure and makes bad plays in key moments" idea.

      I do believe Belt is underperforming, considering his minor league track record. I just don't necessarily think it is due to a lack of mental toughness. I think more likely it is due to bad hitting mechanics, which pretty much everyone from the Giants coaches to saber nerds like Keith Law agree upon.

      From what I have seen of Belt, it seems like he fouls off a lot of pitches he should be putting in play. Sure, he's gotten better at fouling off pitches as opposed to swinging through them, but I think his inability to put balls in play increases his chances of striking out. In essence, he doesn't make good contact on a consistent basis. I mean, the guy swings at 79% of pitches in the strike zone and makes contact 89% of the time when he does. Those numbers are all higher than league average. Interestingly, he has increased the number of pitches he swings at outside of the strike zone since 2011.

      It also seems that Belt more often than not is pulling the balls these days as opposed to going the other way, which used to be a strength of his. I just am not sure if his swing is built to allow him to really drive the ball the other way, something that is a great strength of Posey's.

      I'm not ready to give up on him, because he is definitely not the weakest part about the lineup and there is nobody better to replace him with. Now, if Susac continues to develop well and shows promise, than I could see Posey supplanting Belt at 1B and Susac taking over at catcher, but I think that probably wouldn't happen until the middle of next year at the earliest.

    5. think matt williams?


      matty had problems with the breaking ball...but he was a very good defensive 3rd baseman and therefore had worth above what he could do at the plate

      where the hell were you guys when nate was getting benched for weeks at a time for having one off week....BELT HAS HAD AN OFF SEASON

      trade him to the philis for a case of cheese steaks


    6. TK,

      It's a bit of a mixed bag on Belt and clutch. True about his overall OPS with RISP, but I looked up his "Clutch" numbers on Baseball Reference.

      2 outs with RISP- .786. Not bad, but not better than his overall average.
      Late and Close- .796. Also not bad.
      Tie Game- .520. Terrible!
      Within 1 run- .625. Bad!
      Within 2 runs- .723.
      Within 3 runs- .720.
      Within 4 runs- .716.
      Margin>4 runs- 1.026!!

      Some of those numbers seem a bit contradictory and may be impacted by small sample size, but it does appear that Belt's overall numbers are helped tremendously by his performance when the margin is >4 runs.

    7. Yup, think Matt Williams for sure. Belt isn't getting shuffled like Matty, but he was rushed up, and has had to adjust with mixed results on the fly. He has enough talent to be JT Snow on steroids. But mainly he's been productive compared to league average and he's cheap. We'd all like Paul Goldschmidt results, no doubt. Get what you get, don't get upset. But I sure do like them cheese steaks... The RDF wouldn't share though.

    8. I don't think the comparisons to Matt Williams work at all. Williams came up and struggled in his first partial season, but you could tell that he had a fire inside him that was driving him. That fire burned and he became a clutch performer. When the Giants were in the field in the ninth, you wanted a smash on one hop to third base. When the game was tied in the bottom of the ninth, you wanted Matty to come to the plate. There was excitement and anticipation when he came up in clutch situations.

      Belt has no fire. He isn't nearly as talented, but more importantly, he isn't driven to become a clutch player. No one gets excited when he comes up in the ninth inning of a close game, no matter what his OPS is. When he came up in the ninth inning after blowing that groundball and he hit a ball squarely, I didn't think, "gone" like I would have with Matty, I thought, "warning track," which was exactly what happened. Comparing Belt to Matt Williams is an insult to Matt Williams.

    9. The similarity is they both had struggles getting started in the majors. I don't know if I buy this fire in the belly thing. Sometimes our recollections of things can be colored by the final outcome, which in Matt Williams' case was some pretty fantastic seasons.

      I do think Belt has the talent some very big seasons, but I'm starting to doubt that he is ever going to achieve them.

  2. DrB, this team is done for this year and if there are not new signings or trades this team will revert to its 2004-2009 form. How can you win with a guy like Blanco leading off. The roster is full of scrubs. Players like Blanco, Torres, Francoeur, Quiroz and a first baseman like Belt with an OPS of 750 would not be starting on most Major League teams. Injuries did play a role and that is why some of these players are starting but is not like Sandoval, Pence and Crawford are lighting it up.

    The Giants has 3 pitchers that are over the hill washed up overpaid veterans like Lincecum, Vogelsong and Zito. Vogelsong is injured but before that the guy had an era of over 7 and looked like the journeyman that he was before in the majors. He is also 36 now, will not get better only worst.

    1. did you just start following the team from june 1?

      who was the starting cf at the start of the season?

      who was platooning in lf?

      what team has a great backup catcher?

      and only i can bash on belt, cuz ive been doing it since day one

      crawford? seriously?

      bashing on vogey?

      who the hell are you?

      and its this post got


    2. I'll disagree on the Belt not starting on most MLB teams. 1B is really thin across MLB right now, for some reason. Belt is actually right about middle of the pack.

      I don't think Blanco is terrible as a CF/leadoff guy. It's just that the team does not have a LF so Blanco plays LF too much. Also, Blanco tends to fall in love with his power at times. He has the power to keep pitchers and defenses honest. He should not be exclusively a slap and dash guy but he also should be doing more bunting and slapping instead of trying to pull everything and rolling it to 2B.

      Other than those two points I agree with your comment.

    3. I could ask you the same question Who the hell are you bacci. Your boy Vogelsong is washed up. While you continue to bash Belt who at least is an average player you defend Vogelsong who had an era of over 7 when he got injured. And both Torres and Blanco are useless too. At best they are fifth outfielders.

    4. Anon,

      I think you are being a bit harsh on Vogie. Gotta admire the guy for playing in the WBC after his season was extended by a month which also gave him a month less to rest up, but I think it cost him and the Giants at the beginning of the season.

      I would agree that neither Blanco nor Torres should be starters for a team trying to defend a Championship, but they both have played a lot more than intended after Pagan went down.

    5. Who the hell is bacci? A F'in Veteran, that's who. He's finishing his coffee. I don't always agree but I look forward to reading what he puts down. Anon - get a handle and then I'll give it a look. Vogelsong isn't washed up. Everybody is entitled to a whipping boy and Belt isn't perfect. Bacci has been consistent in his critique of Belt (which I disagree with for the most part).

      Torres/Blanco were a fine placeholder. First off, Peggs got hurt (again, yet again), Kieschnick and Brown haven't busted out. That's what the Giants were doing. Yes, they have a plan. Sometimes it doesn't work out right away. And the FA market was miserable.

      Belt has an OPS of 769 right now, that is good for 121 OPS+. 1B production is waaaay down this year. (As is LF for that matter)

      The Giants should be able to steer the big moneys paid to Timmy/Zito towards greener pastures. Going to be interesting if they can hedge them back, and if they want to take the chance, versus some other plan.

  3. Tough loss last night. Belt had a tough night. The base running blunder and fielding error were upsetting.. The base running blunder bothers me more because that showed poor judgement. We' will see if Belt can put the game behind him.

    I thought the Gullermo Moscoso trade was a good move, but too little too late. This is the kind of move they should have made before the season to address their lack of depth in starting pitchers. At least they can use an experienced pitcher like him to spot start later in the season in case they want to shut down either Cain or Madbum early.


    1. I am intrigued by what the Giants see in Moscoso and what they think they can do with him.

  4. Season is done time to retool for next year. Speaking of next years draft anyone you would hope the Giants draft if he is still there?

    1. I'm starting to think about doing some Scouting the Draft pieces, but off the top of my head, maybe Michael Conforto of Oregon St, or is it Oregon?

    2. When the Giants have drafting top 10, they ave been hitting HRs (Timmeh, Posey, Bum, Wheeler), so this season, as painful as it is right now, could be a true blessing. We are stacked at SJ and lower, so in a couple years we will have a HUGE influx of new, cheap studs to compliment Posey and Cain and Bum and Craw.

      It may be raining today, but the lawn will look GREAT tomorrow.

    3. There are a lot of very nice pitchers in the 2014 draft. A big group that pushes the 95 MPH envelope. There are also some very interesting African-American players that I hope the Giants take a look at. Strength might be HS pitching. Lots of fun stuff: Jacob Gatewood, Touki Toussaint, Brandon Finnegan, Aaron Nola...

    4. Gatewood, in particular, looks like a future monster!

    5. The name Gatewood is a monster in itself love the name.

  5. Are the giants going to be shopping players like Lincecum and Lopez in August because this season is done and i don't understand why they won't shop players now. We have the same record as the cubs... The giants need to start selling players not adding. This season could be a blessing down the road. Get a high draft pick to get a upside bat plus prospects from any deals and Pence and possibly Lincecum's QO would help us replenish a weak system of hitters. If we load up on hitters with the pitchers we already have in San Jose the future would look much better.

    1. I am sure the Giants will listen to offers for both Timmy and Pence. Bochy dropped a big hint when he said he told to players not to think about the possibility of being traded, but then hedged by saying you have to try to improve the club if you have a chance.

      The thing about trading Pence and Lincecum is that you have to get something better than what you would get from a supplemental round pick, because that's what you get if you hang onto them until the offseason and make a Qualifying Offer. The other thing they do with the Qualifying offer is make them less appealing as FA's and possibly in a better position to retain them at the Giants price.

      Apparently there's some noise about Detroit wanting Scutaro. Yeah, I'd do that in a second because I am not thrilled about the next 2 years of Scooter's contract. There are also rumors of both Texas and Pittsburgh being interested in Pence. They both have strong farm systems so if the Giants could get a first round of draft talent that is closer to the major leagues, then I think you have to pull the trigger on something like that.

      Sabes has mentioned the Qualifying Offers and the "gamesmanship" possiblities they offer so you have to think he's intrigued by going that route though.

    2. I also think Romo should be on the market at the moment, because his value is likely never to be higher than it is now and he's also the most easily replaceable of all the Giants trade chips. Both Detroit and Boston are in serious need of late inning bullpen help and they both have the kind of young talent that the Giants need. If I were Sabean, I would be trying to play those two off on each other and get the best deal possible. You'd still have Casilla who could take over the closer role, or maybe even Hembree or Cody Hall. And no, I'm not saying to give him away for nothing but if there's a deal out there that will make this team better in the long run, then it would be a huge mistake not to pull the trigger. And that goes for pretty much anyone on the roster at the moment.

    3. If the Giants could get Bruce Rondon from Detroit for Romo, they absolutely should pull the trigger on the trade.