Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Game Wrap 7/21/2014: Giants 7 Phillies 4

Ryan Vogelsong lasted just 3 innings while battling both a respiratory infection and the Phillies lineup, but the Giants hitters got to an obviously not quite right Cliff Lee and the bullpen shut it down for 6 innings for the Win.  Key Lines:

Hunter Pence- 3 for 5, 3B, SB(9).  BA= .303.  Pence has been terrific in the leadoff role.  Tonight was no exception.

Ehire Adrianza- 1 for 1, BB.  BA= .233.  Adrianza replaced Scutaro whose back tightened up.  Can we please see more of this kid?

Michael Morse- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .277.  Morse was the trailing runner after Sandoval scored on a Gregor Blanco single in the 2'nd inning.  The ball arrived before Morse who tried to hurdle Carlos Ruiz.  The problem is he hurdled the plate too.  Ruiz came back and tagged him out.  The Giants appealed, claiming Ruiz illegally blocked the plate, but the new rules only apply if the catcher does not have the ball and the ball clearly arrived well before Morse did.  On the other hand, it was questionable whether Ruiz had control of the ball and he turned his back on Morse, clearly not attempting to tag him.    In any event, the out call by the ump was upheld on replay.  I would like to see the whole explanation on that one just for educational purposes, not that I necessarily think the call was wrong.

Adam Duvall- 2 for 5, HR(2).  BA= .217.  Duvall homered in his first game after his first callup too.  Maybe they should send him down and call him up every other game!  I don't think that's allowed.  Anyway, I hope they keep running Duvall out there and see what happens.  He's hit dingers at every level so far.

Gregor Blanco- 2 for 3, BB.  BA= .233.  Blanco also made a great catch in CF.  He's hitting .281 over his last 10 games and is 9 for 25 over his last 8.

Ryan Vogelsong- 3 IP, 11 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 3 K's.  ERA= 3.99.  Vogey was battling a cold and the BABIP gods.  He lasted just 3 innings after throwing 82 pitches.  Fortunately, Cliff Lee was worse in his first game back from an extended DL stay.

Bullpen- 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 5 K's.   George Kontos was key with 2 shutout innings and 3 K's.  Casilla got his 6'th Save.

The Win kept the Giants in first place in the NL West by a percentage point over the Dodgers who defeated the Pirates 5-2.

Yusmeiro Petit stands in the gap again for Matt Cain in game 2 facing Roberto Hernandez previously known as Fausto Carmona.


  1. You win with your 40-man roster, not just those on the 25. They are your bench. Good jobs by Duvall and Kontos. You gotta have a Sadowski...though Duvall and those to come hopefully will have better careers.

    I think the team has responded well since Sabean's challenge (something to the effect, if this team can't do better than what it has shown, even with injuries - Belt, Pagan, Scutaro at that time - we are not trading for help...not his exact words, of course), more injuries notwithstanding (Cain, and possibly Hector)...certainly has come out of the Post-All-Star chute with good energy.

    Still have holes here and there.

    We will see if our 6th starter Petit does a better job replacing Cain than the Beckett's understudy.

    Will we see a small pick up or two, a la Scutaro, Ramirez, Burrell or Ross? Can Sabean catch lightening in a bottle again with Uggla (what is the secret to success here)? Is he working on a more visible trade like acquiring Zobrist or, really visible, Price? Who else from the current (or revised) 40 man roster will step forward?

  2. I hope it's OK to interject that Cameron Rupp, not Carlos Ruiz, was the catcher last night over whom Morse practiced the high hurdles. The call on the field seemed right to me, for what that is worth. One is going to get into very difficult territory if to have the ball means to be in full control of it before the plate can be blocked. If the catcher drops the throw, expecting to catch it as he does virtually all the time, and has moved to block the plate in that expectation, is he in violation of the rule?

  3. I'm completely against allowing any catcher to block the plate - to me, that makes no more sense than allowing the thirdbaseman to block third base. And then when you add in the potential for injury to either player...

    1. Third basemen do stand in front of third base, if they have the ball, don't they? If one of them misses the ball, it's obstruction if they don't get out of the way. But if the fielder has the ball at any base, I believe he can't be guilty of obstruction.

  4. I must admit that I believe you and many others have an off-understanding of what BABIP is all about. When a guy like Vogelsong gets lit for 11 hits in THREE innings, that's not "the BABIP Gods", that's being hittable.

    When a pitcher is throwing better stuff, mixing better, and hitting locations - he's going to have a lower BABIP because the swings hitters are putting the ball in play with are not as sound. We know it as "breaking a hitter down," or equally "keeping a hitter off balance." A guy like Vogelsong, on his bad days, does not keep hitters off balance, and they'll eventually put a very good swing on a predictable pitch, leading to a MUCH higher probability of getting a hit rather than grounding into an infield out.

    So, I believe over time we'll see the BABIP trends show good pitchers to have sub-.300 scores over the long haul, while poor pitchers always end up higher than average. It's a product of how good the pitcher is, not just "luck of the draw" for where the ball falls. Well, not entirely, anyways.

    1. You believe, Rainball, on what basis? Here is Fangraphs' comment:

      "The average BABIP for pitchers is around .290 to .300, and pitchers have much less control over their BABIP than batters. To what degree pitchers can influence their BABIPs is still up for debate, but it has been proven that pitchers with high strikeout rates tend to generate weaker contact and, therefore, allow fewer hits on balls in play. The same is generally true of relievers, as they can dial up the intensity over shorter outings. Even then, though, high strikeout pitchers still have career BABIPs just slightly lower than the typical .290 to .300 range. Think Justin Verlander (.285 career BABIP) or Clayton Kershaw (.279 career BABIP)."

      The difference seems to be largely between high-strikeout and low-strikeout pitchers, which have some, but not overwhelming overlap with "good" and "poor." The generalization "over time" in your post, furthermore, has no relevance to a single game, does it? DrB meant that an inordinate number of BIP against Vogelsong last night were of the sort that might lead to infield hits, bloop hits, and seeing-eye grounders. Your post seems to take issue with what he wrote, but in fact doesn't actually address it.

    2. First you make observations and have data points.

      Then, you come up with an explanation.

      Why should BABIP for all pitchers be around .290ish?

      Here, we see some pitchers can avoid balls in play (i.e. strikeouts), better, or for a few, much better, than others.

      But, somehow, they, more or less, succeed in inducing 'weak contact' or 'not-solid contact' at pretty much the same rate (.290ish).

      Are we failing to comprehend the game sufficiently, in a similar way people used to think gods of Nature (what we understand as forces of Nature) as all equally unpredictable and observed them to be so, until we made the jump to separate our observations into different categories?

      For one, you would like ball parks would make a difference.

      Or if you have or lack fleet footed outfielders.

      Could it be that the batting average itself lacks sufficient significant digits (I wrote about this before)...perhaps it should be, for example, .2 and not .249 or .3 and not .279??? The reason, as previously mentioned here in this blog, is that the measurements are taking under vastly different conditions, unlike those from a controlled scientific experiment with the same, repeatable condition for each data point collected.

    3. Excuse me, but it will read better this way:

      But, somehow, they, more or less, succeed in inducing 'weak contact' or 'not-solid contact' equally to arrive at pretty much the same BABIP rate (.290ish).

    4. After a little research, it seems I'll have to just eat my crow. Both Randy Johnson &Cliff Lee in their best vs worst years had basically steady babip. So strange!

      On the other hand, however, Ryan Vogelsong had a babip of .280 and .284 in his good years of 2011/2012, respectively. However, the last two years have seen his babip baloon to .320/.327 respectively. This leads to my conclusion: Good pitchers maintain average babip while also limiting walks, and pitching well in the clutch (men on base). When looking up Ryan V, Sidney Ponson, Luke Hochevar and other pitchers who have had up-and-down careers, their worst years GENERALLY coincide with a higher babip - near or above .320. I think there is a clear correlation to a pitcher who's stuff is not cutting it, and won't unless something drastic changes, and a HIGH babip - But, not necessarily to a low babip for good pitchers. (For the interesting case of Tim Lincecum, note that his babip has remained good/average during bad years, and he's now clearly shown that he has the stuff to still be very, very good. Vogelsong....probably does not.)

    5. I agree that BABIP is not the be all, end all stat. It's an extremely small sample size, and Vogey probably did not have his best stuff last night, but when you see a line with 0 BB's and at least 1 K for every IP, but with 11 basehits in 3 IP, it is almost certain that BABIP luck was involved to some extent.

    6. Just went through the the Play-by-Play of Vogelsong's 3 innings last night. Of the 11 hits he gave up, 6 were GB's, 2 were soft flyballs and 3 were LD's. I think it is fair to say that luck of location was a significant factor in at least 8 of those 11 hits.d In addition, an error was committed behind him.

    7. I did watch Ryan Howard's check-swing blooper to LF, so there was certainly an element of luck involved last night. However, that's the case every night for every pitcher. I think it's also important to recognize that, sans Howard-type check-swing hits, MLB players are good enough to bloop balls into the outfield right where the fielders aren't (see Scutaro, Marco). It's most prevalent when they can take a balanced hack, and are seeing the ball well.

      I also noticed the 1K/IP and 0BBs, but this also ain't Voggie's first trip to the BABIP purgatory - When Voggie isn't just right, good teams do this to him regularly.

    8. "….However, that's the case every night for every pitcher…." That is a true statement as the difference between pitchers depends almost entirely on their abilities to 1. Get K's. 2. Limit BB's and 3. Prevent HR's which usually is determined by their ability to induce groundballs. Vogie did all three of those successfully. He got BABIP'd, plain and simple.

    9. Vogey's BABIP has steadily increased over the last 4 seasons: .280, .284, .320, .327. This probably reflects a diminution in his stuff as it has been a trend over 4 seasons. On the other hand, he had an ERA of 5.73 last year with a BABIP of .320 and he's dropped that to 3.99 this year with a BABIP of .327. The difference? He's upped his K/9 from 5.82 to 7.75 and dropped his BB/9 from 3.30 to 2.56.

      It should also be noted that His HR/FB, which is also largely a function of luck, has been .082, .082, .134, .064. Part of his high ERA last year was due to a spike in HR/FB which was likely due to bad luck. Part of his success this year is due to a dramatic drop in his HR/FB which is likely due to good luck.

  5. It's impossible to talk over at the SFGiants Forrum where the heads of Sabea, Bochy and almost every Giant player has been called for..Pretty amazing for a 1st place team.

    Anyway, just looking at the Giant or smaller holes and, boy, is Sabean going to earn (or not earn!) his money over the next 10 days...So many injuries that may or may not get better, so many area where the Giants can improve (just like most teams in baseball this year!), so many decisions to make on what kids to trade or bring up.....

    C - Did somebody say Sanchez is hurt? I don't think SUssac is ready yet, do the Giants make a modest deal for a C?

    1B - Belt. Concussions are always tricky. It could be done I n7 days or he could be out for the year. Duvall, Morse or Posey can play first so doubtthere will be a deal for a 1B but it could inteact with the C spot if Sanchez is hurt and the Giants pick up something more then just a replacement catcher

    2B - Can Scuts hack it? Who knows? If not, can he at least platoon a bit with Panik and Adrianza? Can Uggla find lightning in a bottle? Maybe even The DUFFINATOR can be a consideration? .I think this is one position where the Giants should just go with whatever internal options work best and waste no trade chips..

    CF - This is the big one. Without Pagan or a similar starting OF type, I don't think this team has a chance,.Do the Giants have a clue if he will be back? Hopefully they do by JUly 31...My gut tells me Pagan will not be of much help the rest of the year and this is where the Giants trade some piching chips

    SP - If Cain is bothered by the bone fragments the rest of the year, can the Giants stay with Petit and Vogey at 4-5? If not, should they give KICKHAM a shot..or do they jut go a nd deal for a 4th-5th starter...

    RP - Hopefully Kontos has found whatever he's lost. and Machi goes back to being close to what he was earlier in the season. Then, you still have a pretty good BP with Kontos, Machi, Lopez, AFFELDT (been great) and CASILLA. of course, the big q1uestion is ROMO..Is he a lost cause for this year? will he climb back? I don't know....Looks like the Giants need at least one reliever...would Hembree or STRICKLAND (my choice) or FLeet be an answer? DO they make a small deal here?

    Plain and simple, I would not want to be Brian Sabean right now..so many uncertainties, questions, injuries and decisions. Let's pray we get a few like Burrel, Lopez, Ross, Ramierez, Scuts, Pence and Mujares....

    Only time will tell