Thursday, April 23, 2015

Game Wrap 4/23/2015: Giants 3 Dodgers 2

The amazing Dodgers bullpen, brilliantly constructed by their new new genius GM stifled the Giants hitters to preserve a 2-1 lead for the second game in a row......wait, what?  Oh, that's the Fangraphs version of the last two games because you know, actual runs scored and allowed don't count.  You have to look at what what happened after you corrected for ballpark factors and normalized HR/FB ratios and BABIP's.  OK, enough of that.  I think you get the picture.  After no fewer than 4 separate Fangraphs articles in 2 days extolling the wonders of the Dodgers  bullpen, the Giants went out and won 2 ballgames for no other reason than their bullpen outpitched the Dodgers bullpen.  Simple as that!  Key Lines:

Joe Panik- 2 for 4, BB. BA= .295.  After a rough first week or so, Panik has really turned it on and picked up where he left off last year.

Brandon Belt- 1 for 3, 2 BB.  BA= .179.  Belt got a clutch basehit to drive in the Giants first run.

Justin Maxwell- 2 for 5.  BA= .300.  Maxwell was definitely the hitting hero of this series driving in or scoring key runs in all 3 games.  Not sure what's going to happen when Pence comes back, but Maxwell should be out there everyday at least until then.

Brandon Crawford- 1 for 3, 3B(1), BB.  BA= .222.  Crawford drove in the tying run with a huge triple to the wall in right-CF with nobody out.  Unfortunately he got stranded there.

Ryan Vogelsong- 6 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 1 BB, 5 K's, GO/AO= 8/1.  ERA= 7.71.  I think if you had polled most of us who come to this site, we would have chosen Yusmeiro Petit to start this game.  Bochy stuck with Vogey and Vogey dug down about as deep as I've ever seen him, and that's saying a lot!  After giving up 2 solo HR's in the first 3 innings, he clamped down and retired the final 10 batters he faced.

Giants Bullpen- 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K's.

Dodgers Bullpen- 3.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 K's.   Read it and weep, Fangraphs!

With the Win, the Giants sweep the first place Dodgers and their deficit in the NL West shrinks to 3 games behind the Dodgers and Padres who both lost.  The Rockies topped the Padres 2-1 and trail by 0.5 games.  The D'Backs beat the Texas Rangers 8-5 and trail by 1 game.  The Giants remain in last place, but are just 3 games behind as opposed to 6 when this series started.

The Giants now travel to Colorado where Chris Heston will start the first game of the series facing Eddie Butler.


  1. Arguing with robots is not very emotionally satisfying.

    They can just keep going on and on, citing equations, formulas and stats.

    Everything works just like on paper. The theory is the reality. The world must fit.

    I don't really know why we won...I mean the intricacies (beyond the final score, that's why we won). But I will take it, a victory...the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat (hopefully that not often).

  2. Perhaps noteworthy only in the way a maraschino cherry is on a sundae, decoratively, P. Sandoval has so far been worth 0.1 fWAR to the Bosox; Justin Maxwell, in 35 PAs, has been worth 0.3 fWAR to the Giants; and Nori Aoki, 0.6 fWAR. I haven't dared look up McGehee, but Matt Duffy in 42 PAs has been worth 0.2, outdoing P.S. too.

    1. Uh, McGehee's been negative (-0.1). In his defense, he's been playing hurt all season. And I don't mean just what happened with the Padres which re-aggrivated/added-to his knee injury. He'd hurt his knee toward the end of Spring Training and it's been pretty obvious it's hurting his range and mobility.

      But since we have a tiny bench, with just Arias and Duffy to spell IF starters and Belt was hurt and Ishikawa is hurt... It's kind of tough to give him the week off he needs while resting other players who are hurt (Belt) or need to be kept fresh because they truly drive the team's fortunes (Posey) in significant ways..

      So many of the fans rage and belittle Sabean because McGehee 'sucks' and we didn't resign Sandoval who was never, ever, ever, ever going to resign with the Giants since they dared to expect him to be in shape so he could play to his (IMO) HOF abilities. (And I really do believe if Sandoval stayed in the best shape he could, he could be a HOF 3B man. But I don't see it happening.)

      Anyway, I'm sure McGehee is not the second coming of Matt Williams or George Brett. But I think/suspect he's better than he's been playing.

    2. The execrations of fans over Sandoval, along with his rudeness about the Giants, are what led me to point out that he's lagging Aoki, Maxwell, and Duffy. The tandem of the hurt McGehee and Duffy are giving us as much, in fWAR, as Sandoval is giving Boston. McGehee's BABIP of .200 or thereabouts makes me agree with you that he's better at the plate than he's been; in addition he hit well in ST before hurting his knee.

  3. Regarding Fangraphs: I left one of them a little comment about 41 innings being a bit early to make these kind of assertions and perhaps the sample was too small...

    Regarding Sweeping the Dodgers: #%@*! Yeah! Not only did they break their losing streak, but doing by sweeping the Dodgers... Christmas in April, man. Christmas in April.

    Petit over Vogelson -- Not me. Vogelsong may be on the obvious downside of his career and a fringe 5-starter, but the numbers (as a starting pitcher) are a full-ERA better. And while I appreciate that Petit went out there and had some decent starts,he also had a lot of trouble too (to the tune of a 5.03 ERA as spot-starter) and people seem to forget that. My vote is to keep him where he's effective (long-relief) and away from starting where he was only effective compared to Lincecum's 7.0+ Late-July-and-on ERA-Meltdown.

    Maxwell -- I still have a hard time believing. Was it really so simple as he changed his swing every year and, therefore, was wildly inconsisten? Seems almost too good to be true to get a RH power gem because nobody bothered to coach him up.

    Belt -- Is it just me having wishful thinking, just a small sample, or is he starting to hit against the shift?

    Mattingly -- Quit your whinging. The coach has to actually ASSIST the player. Not have the player run into him then turn around and go back to the base unassisted.

    1. In Petit's defense, I would note the following things.

      First off, if you separate Petit's starts between spot starts and when he actually got placed into the rotation, worlds apart. In 2013 he replaced Zito, in 2014, Lincecum, and in those two stints, had (memory) like 3.50-ish and 3.80-ish ERA. He's been pretty bad in spot starts where he's suddenly the starter, and that mars his career start numbers with us.

      But then again, so has Vogelsong, he was horrible this year in his one spot start. And if you look at starts over the past two seasons, when Vogelsong has been a different pitcher than he was in 2011-2012, I would bet that Petit has been better, when comparing when each was the anointed starter.

      However, I would agree that Vogelsong appears to be the choice over Petit. It is not just a matter of who is the better starter, but who is the better reliever. The choice is not whether Vogie or Petit is the starter, but is Vogie starting and Petit relieving better than Petit starting and Vogie relieving. I think Petit can be very good starting. But he's worlds ahead of Vogie in terms of relieving. And thus why I was for Vogie starting over Petit here, and keeping my fingers crossed that being in the rotation will be enough to get him back on track.

      I also have a worry, and perhaps someone can confirm or put it down as silly. Petit is an anomaly: most things I read says he has no stuff, no outstanding pitch (certainly nothing like Romo's slider), and yet he strikes out so many guys. An analysis on Fangraphs showed that he has this ball deception in his pitching motion, hiding behind himself until the last moment, which hitters can't figure out. At least so far, and that is my worry, that such a movement, if he were a starter, would give our opponents enough familiarity that they will figure out his motion and be able to hit it. However, as a reliever who they see only in key situations far removed from each appearance, they might never figure it out, or the process is at least stretched out. Hence why the Giants have been not only steadfast in keeping him in relief, but after naming Vogie the starter, stated that Petit has earned set-up opportunities, not just long relief duties.

    2. Maxwell's swing change may be because of the bad injuries he has experienced.

    3. Yes Moses, it's really true that Maxwell's unexpected hitting can be explained by something as simple as an evolution in his mechanics. I can say from experience that the smallest of changes to a swing can have dramatic results. This explains why hitters spend so much time analyzing videos of their ABs, looking for ways their swings might be changing unknowingly, or other tiny flaws they hadn't yet noticed, etc. They also look at older video from when they might've been on an offensive tear, to look for clues to why they're suddenly not hitting.

      Another aspect of it is that coaches all have different beliefs when it comes to coaching hitting, where just one coach in a new organization might have the magic key to unlocking a hitter's abilities, where a previous organization failed. It's a totally tricky and mental task, with much of its success being tightly connected to a player's state of mind. Just a change in environment can make a player feel good when he's in the box, boosting the confidence and enhancing his ability to see the ball big.

      And let's face it, we all know that SF is the place to be. ;)

    4. I charted Petit's career after the end of last year (throwing out 2006 his first year in the majors for the benefit of the doubt). He's good, and about as good as it gets really, for 30 pitches a game. At 1-15 the BA against is .201. At 16-30 the BA against is .202. Those are good numbers, in fact, are better than Bumgarners. At 31-45 the BA against is .261 which is generally ok, but not stellar.

      But then it falls apart and at 46+ the BA against is .351 which is a problem. And these numbers have been fairly consistent over his career. For example, last year the BA against his .46-60 was .414. Though he did fairly well in the .31-45 split @ .239. But the year before he was .320 BA against in the 31-45 split and .324 in the 46-60 split.

      Now, all this (at least to me) makes sense if you envision Petit as a soft-tossing tweener with exceptional command & control coupled with deception in his pitching motion. Those factors will tend to frustrate batters at first because they can't pick him up soon enough so his 87MPH fastball can get on top of them quicker than they expect. However, once they've seen him and gotten used to his pitching style, his lack of + pitches and velocity comes into factor and he gets shelled and shelled hard.

      Therefore, I don't think he's well suited to being a spot starter unless injuries or a pitching melt-down makes the Giants desperate because even a spot starter needs to be good for 60+ pitches on a consistent basis and Petit has not demonstrated that at any point in his career. Even though, at times, he's tossed some good games as a spot starter.

      OTOH, as you can see his first 30 pitches are rock-solid MLB results and his next 15 he does ok.. Which profiles him as a very good long-reliever.

    5. OK, this is the last time I am going to publish this analysis as it is getting repetitive. There are other ways to look at Petit. If you throw out his disaster starts, and we all know he has them, he actually gets fairly deep into games and is occasionally dominant. Most SP's numbers tend to deteriorate with 2'nd and 3'rd looks from a lineup. Bummy is an exception in that regard.

  4. not sure what fangraphs is looking at, but until jansen returns, the bu,ms pen is average at best

    ya, they went out and got some hard throwers in the attempt to model themselves after the cards...but it doesnt seem to be working

    good game for vogey

    i still think casey is playing hurt

    casilla looked gassed in the 10th....dont think he will be used in game one

    happy for maxwell....hope he keeps this up as he may be the lightning in a bottle player for this season

    donnie didnt win one challenge during the stand....i think he needs a new vid review team

    giants needed this sweep, especially since they are heading into roxville...where wacky stuff happens...and i think petit was held back because bochy is sure he will be needed in a game there

    looks like i get to see heston throw on the 29th...looking forward to it

    in other news....very happy that mets fans have something to cheer about again


    1. Donnie Two Times didn't win a challenge, he grandstanded, and if you think about all the noise they made on the Blanco play, somebody should tell McCarthy or Anderson to quit whining because... If you watch the replay Blanco is clearly breaking late on a play in shallow left field, he wasn't going anywhere, and there was no Dodger near 3B to make a play anyways. Bush league of Donnie to keep mouthing off about it, and for hoping to get a call on that play. His managing style is ponderous.

  5. Life is good. And this season will be a seesaw....

    ...And next season will see a lot of turnover. Until then, these guys are the dudes who get their kicks from digging in, when things get gnarly.

    Sweep. Heston. Life is good.

  6. Loved the intro, Doc. Well played!

    It will be very interesting when Pence returns to active duty. Who knows, maybe Pagan will be injured by then. Or maybe Maxwell cools off. Whatever happens, it sure is nice to have his bat in this lineup right now.