Sunday, April 10, 2016

Game Wrap 4/10/2016: Giants 9 Dodgers 6

The Dodgers jumped on Johnny Cueto and jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first inning, but the Giants offense was there to pick Cueto up and he settled down to pitch 6 more excellent innings and the Giants ended up winning going away.  Key Lines:

Denard Span- 2 for 5.  BA= .214.  Span had been scuffling and started this game 0 for 3, but finished with 2 hits including one in the middle of the winning rally in the 6'th inning.

Joe Panik- 1 for 5, 2B.  BA= .269.  Panik was also 0 for his first 3 AB, but then was the centerpiece of the winning 3-run rally with a long double to the left-CF corner that drove in 2 runs. He later scored on Pence's Sac Fly.

Buster Posey- 2 for 5, HR(2).  BA= .391.  Posey hasn't made a lot of noise so far, but he's off to a terrific start.  The BA speaks for itself and since the Giants have now played 1/23 of their games, he's on trace to hit 46 HR's.

Hunter Pence- 1 for 2, BB, SF.  BA= .250.  Pence helps the Giants win in so many ways.  This line doesn't look like much, but he scored 2 runs and drove in 1.

Brandon Belt- 2 for 3, HR(1), BB.  BA= .292.  Belt has a terrible history facing Clayton Kershaw, but does just fine against other LHP's.  He took Kazmir deep to straightaway CF in this one.

Matt Duffy- 2 for 3, 2B, HBP.  BA= .241.  Duffy has been scuffling, but this was a good game to get your BA well in.

Angel Pagan- 2 for 4, 2B, HR(1).  BA= .320.  Pagan is on fire.  The whole batting 9'th thing seems to be to his liking.  I have a question though.  If the whole idea of this is to have Pagan to get on base and start rallies in front of Span, why wouldn't you want him to do it in the first inning too?

Johnny Cueto- 7 IP, 10 H, 6 R, 2 BB, 8 K's.  ERA= 4.50.  Cueto gave up 5 of his 10 hits in the first inning.  At least 3 of those could be considered bad BABIP luck as their was a soft line drive, a seeing-eye groundball by Trayce Thompson that apparently beat some sort of shift, or maybe it was because Belt was holding a runner at first?  There was also a bunt RBI single by Austin Barnes.  After that, Cueto settled down and allows just 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB over the next 6 innings with 8 K's. All in all, he threw 104 pitches in his 7 innings which is just 2 more than Bumgarner threw in 5 innings yesterday.  So, I'm just going to chalk up the first inning to BABIP luck and the typical Giants-Dodgers craziness.

Santiago Casilla- 1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, Save(2).  ERA= 2.70.  A little better than yesterday's appearance, but a 3 run lead will generally allow him to pitch with more confidence.


So, the Giants win the 4 game barnburner of a series 3-1.  They came from behind in all 4 games except the Dodgers came back themselves in game 3.  The Giants come out of their first series with the Dodgers leading them and the NL West by 1 game with a 5-2 record(BTW, by the same math the projects 46 HR's for Buster Posey, the Giants are on a pace to win 115 games).  The Dodgers are in second place with a 4-3 record.  The Rockies topped the Padres 6-3 to even their record at 3-3 in 3'rd place, 1.5 games behind the Giants.  The Padres are 2-4, 2.5 games back in 4'th place while the D'Backs lost again to the Cubbies 7-3 and bring up the rear at 2-5, 3 games behind the Giants pace.

The Giants are off tomorrow before starting a series against the Rockies in Coors Field where they will try to cool off Trevor Story.  Jeff Samardzija gets the first start of the series on Tuesday evening.


Nomar Mazara got called up by the Rangers a bit earlier than expected when Shin-Soo Choo went on the DL with an oblique strain.  In his first MLB game, he went 3 for 4 with a HR, the 3 hits coming in his first 3 PA's.  With another hit, he would have joined Willie McCovey and Derrick Gibson as the only MLB players to get 4 hits in 4 PA's in their MLB debut.  I picked him up for my Savvy Vets fantasy team and dropped Billy Burns who seems to have lost his starting CF gig in Oakland to Coco Crisp.


  1. Not impressed with the Dodgers starting rotation or this depth that everybody keeps raving about. Please leave Scott Kazmir in the rotation. Please keep Joe Blanton in the pen. The Giants will take the West down. But for one bad inning from Casilla and a bobbled double play ball its a sweep. Nice start to the season.

    1. There were some things that got exposed here and two of them were the Dodgers rotation after Kershaw and their non-closer bullpen pitchers.

  2. If you're not resting any players, and you want to lead-off with Pagan in front of Span do you bump Panik? I wouldn't.

    Diamondbacks -- Not running away with the Division.

    Greinke -- Greinke has a 9.90 ERA and a 48 ERA+ and there is not a lot of 'bad luck' in that, as all his peripherals are off-the-chart bad. If he continues this way, I'm going to be thinking -- dodged a major bulle. And in Trivia that May Only Interest Me: After his first Cy Young, his follow-up season ERA+ was 100 -- dead average. It's like all the good luck, focus, or whatever that produced those incredible seasons was stolen from the following year...

    1. No, you don't bump Panik. You just move everybody else down 1 notch in the lineup. Think of the lineup as a circle rather than a line segment. It's the exact same lineup after the first inning except now you get the benefit of Pagan hitting in front of Span one extra inning.

    2. I think there's a mentally powerful effect with Pagan hitting 9th. He's playing the roll of a leadoff hitter, he's basically playing with a WHOLE LOT to prove, he's not an "occasional-RBI" 8th spot hitter, and he's in a lower pressure roll where any misfires are easily forgotten.

      I hear what you're saying Doc, but the math tells the Giants that they want Posey hitting third and Panik hitting 2nd. If anything Span should simply be bumped down the lineup based on present stats and peripherals. However, since that's definitely not going to happen unless the sub-Mendoza stays constant for another month, I think we'll continue to see Pagan in the 9-spot, and I for one am VERY much in favor. This Lineup is a beast.

      (PS - Lastly, after thinking about it, the "two leadoff hitters" mantra was really just a way to justify placing Pagan at the very end of the batting order, considering last years struggles. That mantra isn't important enough to actually move him into the leadoff position.)

    3. Rainball,

      But it would be a beast with Pagan hitting leadoff too.

  3. Thanks, Dr. B for the write-ups.

    I thought the purpose of having Pagan bat ninth was to shift the order such that Posey is guaranteed a first inning at bat.

    I also have wondered (purely without knowing of any empirical evidence one way or the other) if having the pitcher bat eighth and moving from what is, effectively, a one lead-off hitter lineup in the first inning to a two lead-off hitter lineup in subsequent innings might have a psychological impact on the opposing battery. Common sense would say it does not as these are professionals, but still I wonder.

    1. One reason to put a batter and not a pitcher 9th, is then you get the worst offense (the pitcher) farther away from your best offense (2-4). A lot of weirdness has to happen for Posey to be at-bat with the pitcher aboard or on-base with the pitcher up.

      So the psychological impact is higher stress innings. The opposing team is more likely to face Span, Panik and Posey without the "free-out" of the pitcher ninth. For those inning in which Pagan leads off from the 9th spot, the odds that you face Panik or Posey with a shot at a "productive out" or RISP are significantly higher, than if you start the inning versus a pitcher with .088AVG and .100 OBP.

    2. Roger: I can do the math if you want to see it, but I can prove that the cleanup hitter is more likely to bat with at least 1 runner on base in the first inning than the #3 hitter.

      Kennv- I don't know. Unless there is some reason why you don't want Pagan hitting in the first inning, you accomplish the exact same thing with him in the 1 hole with the pitcher hitting 9'th as with him in the 9-hole and the pitcher hitting 8'th.

  4. It is a given that each batting position from 1 to 9 will have fewer AB's overall in 162 games as the order number is increased. That's just a fact. A higher (absolute) number in the order can't have more at bats than a lower number.
    If you win it doesn't matter.
    If you are blown out by mid game, it doesn't matter, mostly.
    If you're behind (or tied), #9 (and #8 sometimes) gets a pinch hitter, so you don't have a likely .150 out in that slot.
    IMO, it's best to have your better hitters bat the most, so, IF it's good to have 2 leadoff batters in a row, it's just as important in the first as any other inning.
    If there is a difference, it probably doesn't account for more than a couple games a year, but 2 could be important.
    So which is it?
    2 leadoffs later in the game or your best hitters getting the most AB's?
    I'd opt for the pitcher hitting 9th.
    AND if you put 2 leadoff guys up in the first, you have a greater likelihood that Posey will have a fast runner on base than if a DP guy bats 3rd.