Sunday, July 12, 2015

Game Wrap 7/12/2015: Giants 4 Phillies 2

Andrew Susac capped a 4 run rally with a 2-out 3-run HR to dead CF to support another excellent start by Chris Heston to complete a sweep of the Phillies to end the official first half of the season.  Key Lines:

Angel Pagan- 3 for 4.  BA= .271.  If you are looking for omens for the second half, look no further than Angel Pagan.  Since Bruce Bochy publicly wondered if he should be playing hurt, Pagan had an excellent series going 7 for 15.  He's hitting an even .300 over his last 10 games.  With a 4 day rest coming up, he should be good for a strong second half and we all know what he can do for this team when he is fully healthy and productive.

Buster Posey- 3 for 4.  BA= .314.  Buster had 3 hard hit singles contrasting with the squibbers and bleeders that got him 3 hits in the previous game.  He still did not look like he felt good running the bases.  I haven't heard anything about him sitting out the All-Star Game, but hopefully he only plays a token inning or two and gets the heck back on the bench.  The 4 days rest for his legs should help him get read for a big second half.

Brandon Crawford- 1 for 3.  BA= .266.  Chad Billingsly had been frustrating the Giants until Crawford smoked a single back up the middle which drove in a run with 2-outs in the 4'th inning which also set up Susac's crusher.

Andrew Susac- 1 for 3, HR(3).  BA= .236.  Susac had the big hit in this game sending a ball just over the CF fence at the 399 ft mark.  Susac has had his struggles but seems to be settling into a backup C role both at the plate and behind it.  He handled the pitching staff with aplomb today.

Chris Heston- 6.2 IP, 7 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 7 K's.  ERA= 3.39.  Heston was masterful through 6.2 IP and should have been out of the 7'th inning but both Blanco and Pagan went to sleep on a towering popup by Ryan Howard into short CF which left Duffy trying to catch it with his back to the plate.  Since there were 2 outs, the runner at first was going all the way and came around to score the Phillies first run.  Howard inexplicably only made it to first base.

Heston has added a nice cutter to his repertoire since the start of the season and has really perfected a very nasty changeup that he uses effectively against LH batters.  He still has razor sharp command of a running two seamer what runs back over the plate when he throws it to his glove side.  Do you know who else did that?  Greg Maddux!  I think it's pretty clear that when Huddy and Timmy come off the DL, it ain't gonna be Hesto Presto going out of the rotation.

Josh Osich- 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 0.00.  Osich is another guy who isn't going anywhere when Jeremy Affeldt comes off the DL.  At least I would hope not!  Osich faced 4 RH batters in this one and absolutely abused them with high heat at 95-96 MPH along with a devastating breaking ball at the back foot and a deadly changeup on the outside corner.  Gotta think it's bye-bye Machi when Affeldt comes back.

Santiago Casilla- 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, 2 K's, Save(23).  ERA= 3.34.  If the Giants have just one trade to make for the stretch run, I'm going to say they need a shutdown closer with big game experience.  I just don't think Casilla is that guy and I don't see him on the current roster.  Strickland has the talent to be that guy someday, maybe as soon as next season, but I don't think you can depend on him for this season.

Chad Billingsly- 5 IP, 10 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 2 K's.  ERA= 6.75.  Billz didn't pitch badly until the pivotal 4'th inning.  The reason why I list him here is his rather odd shape.  He's always had a very heavy bottom half, but in the 2 years since he last pitched, he looks like he might have died and been reincarnated as Ron Cey.  Yeah, he looked downright Penguinesque on the mound today and maybe now we know why he always wore baggy pants when he was a Dodger!  LOL!

The Win kept the Giants 4.5 games behind the Dodgers who came from behind to top the BrewCrew 4-3.  The Giants also stay 2 games behind the Cubs in the race for the final Wild Card Playoff spot.

The Giants now get a 4 day break for the All-Star Game.  Madison Bumgarner, Buster Posey, Brandon Crawford and Joe Panik will be participating in the festivities in Cincinnati.  The Giants will start the official second half against the D'Backs in Arizona.  I assume Matt Cain will start the first game of that series.

The Giants got more good news from Nori Aoki who was bouncing around like a young colt before the game.  His timetable is getting shorter by the day and I would not be shocked if he was in the starting lineup Friday in Arizona.  More likely it a full 7-10 days away.  The Giants have to be feeling very bullish about the second half with Pence already looking healthy and Aoki due back very soon.  Cainer and Peavy stay healthy and they are in good, good shape to make a big run in the second half.  Of course you know the Dodgers are going to make a big trade for a frontline starter or two, but %$#& the Dodgers!


  1. Yes! Duck the Fodgers!!!!

    Good catch on the Madduxian repertoire of Hesto Presto!

    Go NL!!!


  2. There's a good blog post on FanGraphs about Heston. I thought it was an interesting read.

    As far as the relievers... Osich, Strickland, Kontos and Lopez are all pitching well. But after that... I'll just leave it at it's not a pretty sight. And I think you're right in that the Giants, if they make a trade, should/will upgrade their closer.

    1. Saw the article about Heston. Yes, it was a good read. I think I made a couple of comments.

  3. Upgrade the closer: I'm also edgy every time Bochy summons Casilla, but as Casilla and Romo before him suggest, consistently reliable closers are tough to find. Kimbrel has been much more hittable as a Padre in 2015 than he was as a Brave; Frankie Rodriguez has been worth 0.7 fWAR as a Brewer this year, but had a minus fWAR last year; and so on. High leverage situations are ipso facto so potentially damaging to one's stats, especially when one pitches a small number of innings, that It's hard to make judgments from those stats.

    I'm unsure too why pitchers used to high-leverage situations in the minors, such as Strickland (whose fWAR this year is the same as F. Rodriguez's), can't move into the same roles in the majors, once they establish that they're reliable major-league relievers. In short, the special role of the closer as gran torero--as opposed to one's best relief pitchers in high-leverage situations in the seventh and eighth innings--leaves me puzzled. Is the closer, perhaps, more part of the drama of baseball than of optimal baseball strategy?

    1. My only problem with this analysis is that I question whether Strickland has established that he is reliable MLB reliever yet.

  4. Again, this is not to deny that Casilla ranks low among all closers this year in blown saves, K/9, K/BB, WHIP, and BAA--every one of those categories, despite his being in a medium-high group in number of saves, with 23. He adds to the drama of baseball, as Brian Wilson often did, in a fashion quite different from Aroldis Chapman, say, or Mark Melancon.