October 2011

Season in Review: LHP Jeremy Affeldt

Talking Jeremy

This may have been the most important thing the lefty did all year

2011 Stats: 3-2, 2.63 ERA, 67 G, 61.2 IP, 3 SV, 54 K, 24 BB, 3.69 FIP, 7.88 K/9, 5 HR allowed

While the world tries to make out the logic that is Brian Sabean signing two lefty relievers in 2 days for about $9.25MM, let’s take a look at one of the two he signed! Already talked about how good the other one was, and because he got signed for $4.25MM, it was only logical that since Affeldt has some better stats here and there he should be paid more than Lopez, right guys? Right!

http://mlb.mlb.com/shared/flash/video/share/ObjectEmbedFrame.swf?content_id=17409177&topic_id=&width=400&height=254&property=mlb

Jeremy Affeldt is a pretty good reliever, and even if he hit the market he would’ve been paid like one. Consider that he had a .144 BAA against LHH. Good, right? Hellz yea! That equated to 13 hits in 90 AB, but he did allow 7 BBs (grrrrrr…). What’s interesting is he saw more ABs against RHH mainly because he’s better than Lopez at getting them out. With a .248 BAA against RHH you’re just using him because you know you’re going to see 1 or 2 LHH in the inning, or because is sweeping curve and changeup is just flat out MONEY that night. We’ve seen and remember those nights.

http://mlb.mlb.com/shared/flash/video/share/ObjectEmbedFrame.swf?content_id=16458579&topic_id=&width=400&height=254&property=mlb

Fun with choosing your stats: Jeremy Affeldt in his 25 AB’s with a full count held hitters to a .080 BAA. Nice! In 11 ABs with the bases loaded he held hitters to a .091 BAA! Sweet! However, his BAA was at its peak when the game was within 1 R at .277 (not nice :( ) Affeldt saw the bulk of his work in the 7th and 8th innings at 24.1 IP and 21.1 IP in 32 and 31 games, respectively and he’ll hold that role as long as there’s a power righty in the bullpen or someone with a no-dot slider in the bullpen. This was only his 2nd season with an ERA under 3 (the other in 2009 with a ridiculous 1.73 ERA in 74 G) so we’ll see if he bounces back up above it in 2012. If it does, I’d expect that to be the end of Jeremy in the Bay. I’m expecting it to hover around 2.90-3.00 this year.

2012 Status: 7th/8th inning reliever/set-up man. Not just a LHH specialist, but can be.

2012 Projected Salary: $5MM in his final year.

Season in Review: LHP Javier Lopez

Arm Slot Master

One of the heroes in 2010, Javy was solid in 2011 and was rewarded with a 2 year deal

2011 Season Stats: 5-2, 1 SV, 70 G, 53.0 IP, 6.79 K/9, 4.4 BB/9, 2.72 ERA, 3.16 FIP

162 Games and Javy Lopez showed up in 70 of them. Granted as those 53.0 IP show you, he wasn’t called on to do a full inning’s work in all of those. If he seemed a little off from 2010, it’s because he was downright insane during his time after the trade from the Pirates to the 2010 Champs. Seriously, he posted a 1.42 ERA in 19.0 IP and 27 G with the Giants in the regular season in 2010. But then again, that 1.42 ERA kinda summed up all of the Giants pitching in late 2010.

http://mlb.mlb.com/shared/flash/video/share/ObjectEmbedFrame.swf?content_id=14743835&topic_id=&width=400&height=254&property=mlb

He made about $2.3MM in 2011 and now there’s news that the Giants have extended his services to an almost doubled $4.25MM a year for 2 years. Will he be worth it? Probably, but I don’t know I would’ve gone higher than $3.5MM for a middle-reliever that also acts and performs as a set-up man (sorry, Rafael Soriano). He’s great against LHH (.163 BAA, 1 XBH allowed in 104 PA in 2010), but for not being the primary guy to set things up for B-Ri, I’m not sure how big of a fan I am of the size of the contract.

http://mlb.mlb.com/shared/flash/video/share/ObjectEmbedFrame.swf?content_id=17002137&topic_id=&width=400&height=254&property=mlb

Safe to guess Javy will perform though. It’s pretty hard to not allow ANY HRs in a season and just 1 XBH. That XBH was in a game that had more of a 4-run differential, too. The homie had a 1.05 ERA in the 8th inning showing up in 40 G and 25.2 IP. 3 ER total. That’s amazing. In 2011 though, and I know it’s a small sample size in 9, and 7 G, respectively, Javy had a 5.06 ERA against both the D-Backs and the Padres. He did though, have a 0.00 ERA in 8 G against the Dodgers. With the NL West having the potential to be extremely much more dangerous in 2012, he will have to be better next year, but there is something to be said for the difficulty of consistently performing against the same opponent.

2012 Status: LHH Specialist to be used the 7th/8th inning

2012 projected salary: $4.25MM

The 2010 and 2011 World Series: Not even close

Icey Freese

This man helped make this series one the best I've ever watched for a Fall Classic

As a Giants fan, the 2010 World Series was amazing. It was the best thing that could’ve happened to me and this will sound very fair weather but my appreciation and my commitment to watching all of this year’s postseason for baseball wouldn’t have spiked had it not been for 2010. Something about winning a World Series gets you to be apart of a club and with so many fans and athletes at different ages, not everyone is in that club. I have a lot of respect for those people. Ultimate dedication. I’ve loved baseball and my Giants for a long time, but 2010. Oh, 2010.

As I was watching the 2010 World Series Blu-Ray last night I thought about the differences between last year’s and this year’s and realized that compared to the 2011 World Series, it wasn’t nearly as exciting for baseball fans. Now if you take away Game 6 from the 2011 WS then it’s a different story and really because of Game 6, the 2011 World Series will be talked about for a long time and Game 6 will be talked about for even longer.

2010’s appeal were the not-overly-Taco-Bell’d celebrities the Giants had. No one really knew much about them. When a Texas ace or bullpen guy was up, you didn’t necessarily have a “dream match-up.” At the time Cody Ross vs. Cliff Lee to us sounded intriguing but it just doesn’t roll off the tongue. Neftali Feliz vs. Albert Pujols? Chris Carpenter vs. Josh Hamilton? Both teams had matchups you wanted to see. Everybody knew the Giants had stellar pitching, but as a baseball fan you also kind of get excited for big matchups on both sides. That was the knock against the 2010 WS before it even happened. The games went 11-8, 9-0, 2-4,  4-0, 3-1. Five game World Series, and really all the games were within save situations late but hardly ever the 1 run differential or tie game that makes it really exciting. 2010’s best game was probably Game 5 when Timmy and Lee showed up to play, and it was a good game. The biggest appeal outside the two Tim Lincecum-Cliff Lee matchups might have been the fact we knew someone different was going to host that trophy when all was said and done.

2011 had much more appeal. Maybe it was because there were so many non-Taco-Bell’d celebs on each side, or that we knew Texas so well from 2010 and the Cardinals from their improbable run. 2011’s WS was set up by an amazing postseason already. 2010’s was good, but 2011 seemed to outperform it thanks to teams like the Red Sox and the Braves and the 3 Division Series that went to Game 5. Sure, the Padres collapse in 2010 was pretty big, but the Red Sox and the Braves will tell you they did it better (woot woot). This series really had the element of “anything can happen,” what with the inconsistent pitching staffs and the powerful hitting. And so it happened with the inconsistencies. The scores of the games were 3-2, 1-2, 16-7, 0-4, 2-4, 10-9, 6-2. This series really had more games that seemed out of reach for one team than in 2010, but the fact that Game 6 happened, 7 games happened, and everyone and their mother homered made this one of the more beautiful World Series we have seen in some time as baseball fans.

Texas fans might be hating 2011 even more than 2010 right now. This one was probably more painful. They were 1 strike away twice from winning it all. They were never even close to that in 2010. Now they’ve joined the Yankees, Dodgers and Braves of teams that have lost back-to-back World Series. The way they are constructed, they may even be a team that could lose it three times in a row. And I’m here to say it wouldn’t surprise me that in 2012 you could possibly see a rematch of 2010. If you think I’m nuts, well then how about this: The Cardinals, who lost Adam Wainwright before the season even started, were 10.5 GB of the Wild Card, 3 back with 5 to go, got in on Game 162 (2nd year in a row the team that’s won the trophy has won by clinching in Game 162 by the way), beat the Phillies of all teams in a best-of-five in Philly, beat the more heavily favored Brewers, and then rose when their number was called in this most recent World Series.

This was a great World Series and I hope you got to watch it. 2010 wasn’t as good, but that doesn’t mean it never happened.

Giants

I probably won't watch DVD's from 2011 Games 1-5, 7. But I'll watch this one over and over again. Will always be my favorite (until they win another one).

The Greatest Non-Giants Game I Ever Watched Just Happened

It started out ugly. Real ugly. Matt Holliday. David Freese. Some guy named Salas. Michael Young 1,000 times it seemed made me actually “laugh out loud.” Not PHing for Colby Lewis in the 5th with the bases loaded. This game was a mess. This was before the baseball gods decided, “You know what? This offseason might suck a little, just because.” (I don’t actually believe that as a baseball fan.)

Joe Buck said the game could be on the line in the 6th. I mocked him. I shouldn’t have: everything made this game what it was. 4-4, Texas then tacks 3 on the board. 7-4. If it weren’t for 2002 I’d have thought the game was over. So you know, Neftali Feliz is on the mound, doo-do-doo, couple runners get on, dee-de-dee, then David Freese goes all DAVID FREESE!!!!! OMGGGG HOLY CRAPP  WHAT WAS THAT?!?!?! And that was basically how we felt in a nutshell. RBI Triple over Nelson Cruz’s inability to play in a stadium he hadn’t played in since… last week.

So we go to the Top of the 10th. 1 out, Elvis Andrus singles up the middle. Better watch that runn–JOSH HAMILTON I’M A MAN, I’M 40! And then it’s 9-7. Wow, Cardinals can’t get this one. They tried. Oh ok, 1st and 2nd with 0 outs? Oh man, what’s happening now. RBI groundout then LANCE BERKMAN MY BEARD IS SPOTTED AND YOU WILL LIKE IT! Allen Craig grounds out because well, he can’t do it every time.

Then the top of the 11th happens. I think it did, but I can’t remember because the bottom of 11th went all BOOM because DAVID FREESE IS AMAZING. Walk off HR to CF. I can’t believe it. You can’t believe it. My cats can’t believe it.

I can believe baseball is the greatest sport ever. I can believe this was the greatest non-Giants game I’ve ever watched. I have a hard time believing I will see a game better than this. This is a game you tell your kids and grandkids about.

One Year Ago to the Day

WS G1

I'd love to watch these guys pitch any day

I remember it like it was recent: we were excited, everyone was picking the Rangers, because “great pitching beat great hitting… but I like Texas’ chances!” was the mantra of the national media. It was cute in retrospect, but we know what happened from there. Game 1 happened. I was monitoring it on GameDay and monitoring the Mercury News chat that was always overloaded with people with good commentary and whiners whose comment didn’t get chosen since they lacked the capacity that they weren’t the only ones in the chatroom. I also hadn’t thought of underground feeds because I just didn’t. Those were such silly times.

They were also great times. A World Series? Putting Ashkon’s song on repeat? Walking around, chest out, chin up and black and orange bright walking around Southern California? Awesome. 2010 will always have a close place in my heart, as it should. I remember the pitching matchup we were promised: Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum. Holy crap. Nothing compared to CJ Wilson vs. Chris Carpenter, mostly due to CJ Wilson (even though that game turned out alright). The duel was nothing that we thought it’d end up being. 11-8, the ultimate “first game jitters” type of game that San Francisco ended up being on the right side of.

That game was October 27th, 2010. Today is Game 6 of the 2011 World Series with the Rangers up 3-2. Today could be the day for Nolan Ryan, George W. Bush (I mean, he’s only won a national title once, right? zing.), Ron Washington and Mini-Wash. October 27th could finally have positive meaning for Texas. Or it could be the end of everything, again. Texas could lose 2 straight in St. Louis simply because their SP and offense decide to be all non-Texas-y again. It’s not out of the question. The only question though is, what will October 27th mean for the Rangers come Sunday? It’s too bad Game 7 can’t be on November 1st because it’d be funny to watch them lose again in November. Well, I’d find it funny.

Games 1 and 2 Thoughts: I only saw the highlights

So Game 1 was 3-2, Cardinals. Game 2 was 2-1, Rangers. This obviously sets up a 1-0 Cardinals game. Kyle Lohse vs. Matt Harrison in Texas? Yea, I know. Crazier things have happened. Like the first two games having a combined 8 runs. Both games being one run games isn’t a horribly big surprise, I just thought at least one of the teams would have scored 8 runs in one of the games. I’m sure there will be at least one of those games that one team wins like say… 16-4, or 11-8, or 9-0. You know, something like that.

From what I’ve heard, the managers have overmanaged both games in some way: Ron Washington in Game 1 using German in a PH role, Tony La Russa pulling Motte in the 9th. Do I agree with both of those decisions? No. But I understand La Russa’s more than Washington’s. However, Washington has led his team to back-to-back World Series and TLR has been in quite a few and won some himself. I stop short of saying things like “these guys obviously don’t know what they’re doing.” They obviously do.

Some guy with two first names was the hero in Game 1 while small ball and a cutter from the CF that Albert missed in the 9th in Game 2 has the world talking. Should it be an error? Debatable. All that matters is that Elvis Andrus was on 2nd and the Texas Rangers took advantage of pitches in bad spots (up to Hamilton; away in the zone to Young where he can extend his arms).

MLB Network is doing a great Diamond Demo on Rafael Furcal’s positioning on tagging Ian Kinsler in that Raffy should’ve straddled the bag and maybe the outcome would’ve been different. Didn’t think anyone would get a SB on Yadier in this series. I have a lot of respect for that arm. Credit Kinsler for a ballsy and successful SB. Also, how about Elvis tonight? Nice. No question in my mind when Neftali came in.

By the way, I’m sure if you’re at least… 10 years old and are a rabid sports fan, you’ll notice the conversation about the series always stays the same no matter what.

Team A up 1-0: “Team that wins the first game more likely to win the series! This could be the year!”

Team A and B tied: “Team B has the momentum now… can Team A fight it?!?! I think Team B will win!”

Whoever goes up 2-1: “I team (winning team)’s chances to win. 2 wins away, they have their ace going in Game 5 and their Game 6 starter is next in line in case things get a little crazy. That team is my favorite to win now!”

The only annoying part about the playoffs. Outside of the obvious sports people and football music network that broadcast the World Series.

Ready for the Call: Yu Darvish

Yu Darvish

Sure, he's dominated in Japan, but will he flop like some of the others?

I’ve never seen this guy pitch, although I’m sure I could access some YouTube clip or something, but no thanks, typing’s hard. So is reading, math and writing. No wonder this country is in the crapper. Thank goodness for baseball. Anyway, Mr. Yu Darvish (father is Iranian and mother is Japanese) has been tearing up the Japanese League for a few years now with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (don’t ask about the name, I don’t get it either). In between 2007-2010, the dude has started from 23-26 Games and has put up 200+ IP in 3 of those. Outside of his 2009 poop season where he “only” went 182.0 IP with 167 K’s and a 0.4 HR/9, he’s had 200+ K’s, above a 4:1 K:BB ratio, and has a 1.44 ERA to go alongside his 18 wins (who needs run support with an ERA like that?). Let me give you his IP, K’s and ERA for the years I can find:

2007 (age 20): 207.2, 210, 1.82

2008 (21): 200.2, 208, 1.88

2009 (22): 182.0, 167, 1.73

2010 (23): 202.0, 222, 1.78

2011 (24/25): 1.44 ERA, 18 Wins

I think it’s fair to say he’s ready to be called up to the big leagues (“Dai liigu” as they call it in Japan). But it won’t be without a suggested $15-$40MM posting fee from a baseball club rumored to have names like the Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees and Texas Rangers (no, Giants fans, don’t even think about it). After the posting fee, the club still has to settle a contract with Mr. Darvish. Last time I heard, business in the Japanese Baseball Department was not all that great. They do need the money.

Darvish reportedly has seven pitches he can use and I’ve heard about a scout saying he needs to cut it down to fit in with everyone here. If he uses 7 pitches to get under a 2 ERA, I say you let him use 7 pitches. Dude’s born in August so by the time he makes his way over to some team not on the West Coast (no, Mariners, you have met your quota for superstar Japanese players). Hopefully this guy’s more exciting than that “Dice” guy. I just hope he ends up in the American League somewhere on a team that has its payroll below $90MM right now (that would exclude the Rangers, Red Sox, Yankees). Mystery teams, I beg of you: please apply.

Baseball: All Hail the “Mystery Team”

Do you remember who was supposed to play in the 2010 World Series? Of course you do: Yankees and Phillies. Who else would it be? Instead, two boring mystery teams that most people have never seen win a World Series in the Giants, and play with Nolan Ryan in the stands in the Texas Rangers, came together to fight it out in 5 games ultimately with the good guys winning. No hand gestures necessary.

Then came the 2011 Free Agency period. Cliff Lee was going to the Yankees. No, the Rangers. No, the Yankees. Oh wait there’s a mystery team?!?!? Who could it be? Giants? No, they need a bat. Dodgers? Ha, that’s funny. The Dodgers don’t care about baseball! Silly. Ok, the whole “mystery” thing was made up, everyone get back to work. Yankees, Rangers, rinse and repeat. Cliff Lee signs with the Phillies. In February when camp was about to break, the Phillies had won Free Agency 2011.

Mystery Team

America was fascinated with the "Mysteries" but not many were happy with the result

Who was picked to go to the 2011 World Series? You probably remember. Fried chicken and beer vs. Subway. The ultimate American showdown of American eating versus Americans thinking they’re eating healthy. It would’ve brought crazy ratings. Basketball fans nationwide might have cared about baseball instead of whining about their lame, boring 82 game sport. Real athletes play 162 games of 9 innings or something like that. Back to the point, we have the Rangers and the Cardinals now. The Rangers don’t surprise anyone, but the Cardinals are a shocker. Mystery team! I know I didn’t pick them for any postseason spot and any postseason series. Can you imagine if they pitched the NLDS like they did the NLCS? It’d be Phillies-Red Sox by some miracle of osmosis (why do people always go to osmosis?).

The real reason I wrote this was to talk about Free Agency 2012. We have many big names like CC Sabathia (who is big), CJ Wilson (half big), Albert Pujols (machine big) and Prince Fielder (tofu big). How many of these guys will get lasso’d in by a “mystery team” this winter? My guess: two. Here’s who I think gets who:

CC Sabathia – Chicago Cubs (CC goes to CC. It was meant to be.)

CJ Wilson – Yankees (Who else would overpay for him?)

Albert Pujols – Cardinals (What, you expect Lance Berkman to play first?)

Prince Fielder — San Franci… not. Baltimore Orioles. (Unless you think they want to have more years of sub-par Derrek Lee-ness. How will they compete for 4th without Prince?)

I’ll be wrong with about… four of these predictions. Don’t worry. Can’t wait for the Free Agency period to begin though.

The Machine

I don't see this image changing

Thoughts on the #Rangers Repeating

I turned on my phone last night while I was enjoying the public transportation in Long Beach as prior engagements would make it so I would be missing all of the ALCS Game 6. Shocked, but not shocked to see pitching staffs continued to not show up. Chicks dig the long ball, but I love quality pitching, and I think I’ve accepted that I might not see it throughout the rest of this postseason from at least the AL side. CJ Wilson? Despite this horrible postseason he’ll still be overpaid by someone. Derek Holland? Gross facial hair, just as bad performances. Matt Harrison’s been decent enough to pitch in the postseason and I’m having a hard time believing Colby Lewis with his 35 HR allowed this season in 200.1 regular season IP hasn’t imploded yet. This World Series is going to be the ultimate manager’s game is the Cardinals win. I can see it now: Rangers and Cardinals: The Battle of the Bullpens. What happen to the days when a starter could go 7 and we just used 5 relievers in the last 2 innings?

This postseason will feed the minds that “great hitting has beaten great pitching,” which is going to drive me nuts every time I hear some second-rate analyst say it. To be fair, Nelson Cruz is a monster. He’s going to get himself a pinstriped uniform and a 9 digit contract someday, replacing a old and grizzled overpaid veteran. The question is not about Texas’ hitting, though. It’s about their pitching. Specifically their Starting Pitching. Enough about that nonsense for now, though.

Seriously, back-to-back AL Championships? I did think a rematch of 2010 was possible but after the Giants decided to go all “me first” and “runs?” I realized that was probably a longshot. But that’s pretty darned good in these days — repeating. You have to go through some pretty good ballclubs to get there. Sure, they’re in a four-team division but it wasn’t so long ago a monkeyed-color team was the king of the West in the AL. Other clubs have had their chances and the team that’s on top right now has gotten there with some excellent behind the scenes work. They deserve all the congratulations in the world. Cliff Lee somewhere is smiling for them and probably rooting for them (what, you expect him to root for the Cardinals?). To me, there is no standout staff in the NLCS. A couple pitchers, maybe, but not staffs. This is the Rangers’ to lose, and I bet they know it.

Jimmy Rollins (@JimmyRollins11): How it will go down (a.k.a. How Brian Sabean will sign J-Roll)

Jimmy Rollins reiterated that he wants his 5 years. He’s earned them, gosh darnit! He’s the best shortstop on the market, too! Here’s a general summary of what will happen, by use of pictures and not-so-comical dialogue:

Jimmy

Man. Jimmy loooooves bein' Jimmy. I'm gonna get myself some five years and some cash money! Who gon' give it to Jimmy?

GM

Hey Jimmy this is B Sizzle. We'll give you 3/$36MM! How about that?

RAJ

Hey Jimmy, this is your GM of a million years, Ruben Amaro, Jr. We'll give you 3 years, $24MM with a player option then a team option for the fifth year whatcha think?

FW

HEY GUYZ! ATLANTA GM FRANK WREN HURRRR I'M JUST HERE TO DRIVE UP THE PRICE ON THIS BIZNESS! HEY JIMMY 4/$40 WITH A TEAM OPTION FOR 5/$45MM WHATCHA SAY LOLCATZ

KT

Hey Jimmy, DBacks GM Kevin Towers here and we'd love to have you in our not-so-filled to capacity stadium and we're happy to submit and offer you a 5 year/$15MM contract! 5 years like you wanted! We're low payroll though :(

ITF

FACEPALM. Jimmy hates these offers! Jimmy thinkin' about taking his talents to Atlant--

BS

Wait Jimmy! 5 years, $50MM! 5 years!! Just what you wanted!! We're totally committed to winning and bringing you here to San Francisco!

Rollins

Jimmy's coming home!

That's all

The end

Giants win the pennant

Giants win the 2012 World Series

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