Results tagged ‘ Chicago Cubs ’

Monday’s Pre-Gamer: #Cubs Come to Town with Their #1 to Face Yusmeiro Petit and Company

Wrote this morningabout what the NL West standings look like coming into today and which pitchers Giants fans should look forward to see in the coming week. The Chicago Cubs (18-30, 8-17 away) have alternated winning and losing games since last Tuesday, and are on pace for a win with Jeff Samardzija on the hill today. The Cubs, in the middle of a ten-game road trip, had four against the Padres, have this series against the Giants, and then will go to Milwaukee before a day off brings them back home. Some things to know about the sub-.500 Cubbies before the Giants engage in a three-gamer with them:

  • The speed: Emilio Bonifacio, Spring Training pickup, has eleven stolen bases
  • The Cubs have a 3.38 FIP as a pitching staff, fourth-best in the MLB. Their 71.7% LOB% is not as good, ranking at twenty-third.
  • The Cubs have a .295 wOBA, and a .299 OBP, fourth-worst in the MLB. Their 80 wRC+ is second-worst. They and the Giants both have a .286 BABIP, T-24th highest.
  • Set-up man Neil Ramirez in 10.2 IP: 45.0% K%
  • Cubs have 38 shutdowns, T-sixth fewest, also have 29 meltdowns, which are second-most in the majors. I wonder how much this comes into play with the Cubs having the sixth-fewest runs scored in the bigs.

How I’d translate this: bad hitting overall, pretty decent pitching from the rotation. I think Giants fans can relate to that.

      Remember, when Matt Cain had his bullpen session, they cut it short and a day later announced Cain would not start. Yusmeiro Petit starts in his place and must keep the Cubs quiet since his competition in Jeff Samardzija is pretty good.

As for the performance against the pitches of the Shark:

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LHH are doing a lot better against the sinker and cutter, and I count four players in the lineup that can bat left-handed in the Giants lineup. Get better soon, Brandon Belt.

On the flip side, here’s how Petit has fared this year, both screen shots courtesy of Brooks Baseball:

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In past broadcasts, it’s been discussed that Hector Sanchez will lose strikes for his pitchers with the way his receives the ball. If there is (relatively) a lot of that combined with one of Petit’s pitches — especially between the fastball and curve — not showing up, that should easily put the Giants behind, even against a weaker hitting squad.

First pitch on this holiday Monday is scheduled for 1:05 PM PST.

Lineups Posted: Maybe someone will issue a walk today

The series finale in Chicago happens today as the Cubs look to split the series with the Champs and the Giants look forward to a day off tomorrow after playing ten straight games. It’s early in the season, so I’m sure the players are looking forward to it.

After three straight games with a total of no hits, a couple walks, and a HBP, Buster Posey gets a day off today on a Tim Lincecum start.

Lincecum has walked 20.8% of the batters he’s faced so far, so every fifth guy in the order here in the Cubs lineup will probably be looking forward to a walk:

Of course, Edwin Jackson (12% BB%) is also known for his ability to walk players, and although his percentage isn’t the one-in-five Lincecum’s is, it’s still higher than the single digit percentage he’s put out over his career, and single digits is what you’d like to hit anyway. Lincecum’s career walk rate is 9.4%, so he’s way above that right now.

A lot of the talk that comes with Tim Lincecum goes to why can’t Posey catch him and Hector Sanchez always being his unsaid “personal catcher?” It looks like this is just the way it’s going to be, and we have to hope Sanchez is always improving with his ability to receive pitches and keep himself disciplined at the plate. Looking at the pitch log from Lincecum’s two starts (where Hector also caught), maybe there’s reason for hope in a small sample size:

vs. Dodgers

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Look at all the balls called well inside the strike zone. While the umpire needs to recognize the strike zone, the catcher needs to help his pitcher out as well in receiving and framing, even if Lincecum has the off-the-wall command he does. Sanchez said he reviewed some tape and changed his footing so that he may better receive the pitches from Timmy before his second start. The pitches from the last game against Colorado:

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Lincecum really misses high and inside a lot to RHH (these are from the umpire’s point of view), which is kind of scary. But in this plot, there are four balls just inside the zone that were missed, and one touching the zone that was called a ball. That could be a little Hector and a little umpire, but it is progress in the right direction for Timmy not suffering as much in missing strikes. The anti-personal catcher crowd tends to put Hector under a microscope, so look for how Hector catches and tries to frame pitches today. For me, that’s the most important thing. I expect a couple of strikeouts on pitches out of the zone, and maybe a base hit if he’s in the lineup. We’ll see how it goes today… but I advise you not to take a drink today every time a batter is walked by the starting pitcher. This would not be a good day to do it.

Game time is 11:20PM PST.

Lineups for Darwin Barney Gold Glove Day; another Cubs closer goes down

Following a pretty good comeback yesterday afternoon by both squads, the Giants and Cubs meet up again for their third game of their four-game series on national television on FOX. All the regulars are in the lineup, and since today’s starter Jeff Samardzija throws with his right hand, Blanco’s in.

Just kidding, Angel Pagan (sore wrist) got scratched. Says he’s fine, but a new lineup gets posted:

Well, at least Blanco has a career .350 OBP. Could be a lot worse, I guess.

Bench players Dave Sappelt, Alberto Gonzalez, get a start while Scott Hairston gets the platoon start while Schierholtz sits today. At least the Cubs will have a couple decent options off their bench for a pinch hitting role. Not sure I’d put a guy like Sappelt who pretty much as a career .300 OBP as your leadoff guy though. Thank you, Dale Sveum.

Also, some injury news for the Cubs:

Carlos Marmol ousted, now Kyuji Fujikawa on the DL. Shawn Camp and James Russell now get closer duties, but that bullpen is losing more effectiveness by the day.

In looking at the different ways you can quickly scout pitchers using Brooks Baseball, I’ve found this way is my favorite. Madison Bumgarner‘s ratios for pitch utilization:

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For both sides, he really liked that fastball-slider combination, with the curveball an option except when the batter’s ahead and the changeup sparingly used. Looks like that when the batter gets ahead into fastball counts, it’ll be a coin flip between the fastball and the slider.

And Samardzija’s:

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Talk about a “kitchen sink” type of guy, he really likes to use the split-finger fastball for his strikeout pitch, and will look to start the AB usually with either the four-, or two-seamer. There are a lot of patterns to keep in mind here, but these ratios really force hitters to stay honest about being able to recognize the pitch, see if it’s going to be in the strike zone, and then go at it. All in less than a second. And with the average velocity ranging from 83-96, you can see why that could pose a problem for Giants hitters.

Early start, the game is at 10:05AM PST on FOX.

Lineups Posted: Noonan’s first start comes at Wrigley

It’s raining lightly at Wrigley Field now. We’ll keep you posted if today’s game time is affected by the weather.

— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) April 11, 2013

Well, the weather hasn’t been California-style in Chicago, especially since yesterday when their final game against Milwaukee had to be postponed due to rain. As I look at, the zip code doesn’t say anything about heavy rains, although there is a chance of precipitation. Screen shot 2013-04-11 at 8.48.45 AMMeanwhile, at the ballyard, we have lineups posted. For the visiting Giants, you’ll notice Nick Noonan is getting his first MLB start, and that Brandon Crawford is batting second. Marco Scutaro is getting the day off, but that doesn’t mean a middle infielder needs to bat second. I’m not going to get into a full-rage rant over this since this is one game, and it could even work out (see Ryan Theriot DH-ing in Game 4). For the Giants:

Nate Schierholtz gets a start against his old mates, and he’s getting his share of starts, too, which is what he wanted during his prime years. Nate should be getting his ring some time this year but…

I would expect he gets it in late July at the very latest when the Cubs come to town, where I’d expect him to receive a lukewarm reception.

As you may have heard, Carlos Marmol is not the closer in Chicago anymore, a role now occupied by Kyuji Fujikawa.

Looking at today’s starter, going to take a look at how each pitchers pitches fared in 2012. First for the visitors, Ryan Vogelsong:

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Vogey has done a pretty good job of not letting everybody take advantage of his off-speed stuff, although perhaps his defense helped him out as you look at that BABIP. The Great Equalizer of the four-seam variety fared pretty well last year also.

And next, for the home team, Scott Feldman:

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Not much use of the four-seamer, and more so of the sinker-cutter for balls in play or on a pitch that ended a plate appearance. Plenty of homers off of the cutter and the changeup, especially for the ratio of AB to HR for the changeup.

The game is scheduled to begin at 11:20PM PST, unless we hear about some postponements or anything.

NL Central Division Preview: Red, Yellow, Blue

The regular season begins this Sunday at 5:05PM PST when the Texas Rangers play the Houston Astros in that famous AL West rivalry, which means this week is all about previews, bold predictions, and message board put downs. I will say I am not good at predicting things, so let’s get that straight. Like everybody else though, I have an opinion on the matter of how events will play out. As I preview these divisions, I’ll tell you a little of what sport betting sites see, what computer simulations see, and what I see. The teams will be previewed in the reverse order I expect them to finish. Let us preview the NL Central where if you’re predicting a team to win the Central wearing some shade of red, you’re bound to get a lot of approval from the national scene. The Houston Astros aren’t available to kick around on a 12-18 game basis anymore, so they’re just going to have to find someone else to beat up on. Hello,

5. Chicago Cubs

Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 20/1, 40/1, 75/1

PECOTA’s projected three highest Wins Above Replacement Player for 2013: Starlin Castro (3.1), Matt Garza (2.9), Scott Baker (2.3)

Stuart sees: A team that finishes third at best, but lacks the on-paper sexy to get me to consider they’ll finish better than last in their division. The lineup in its top four spots is good enough for me, especially if Castro, Alfonso Soriano, and Anthony Rizzo are swinging the bat, but after that, you’re just hoping they’ll do well. The starting rotation doesn’t even get to start off with Garza, who will probably be back in May, but if Jeff Samardzija is solid and Edwin Jackson keeps his walks down, they could form a legitimate 1-2-3 core that people will not be excited to go up against. People are waiting for Carlos Marmol to kick himself out of the 9th inning role, and we’ll see what Kyuji Fujikawa has to offer. Just like the starting rotation though, after the names, you’re left with hoping that work can get done.

4. Milwaukee Brewers

Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 13/2, 22/1, 50/1

PECOTA’s projected three highest Wins Above Replacement Player for 2013: Ryan Braun (5.8), Yovani Gallardo (3.1), Norichika Aoki (2.6)

Stuart sees: himself getting a lot of screaming for putting them below the third place team, but this 3-4 order is my bold prediction for this division, and maybe even the whole league. Braun is subject to a witch hunt by MLB that he’ll be in the middle of for what I’ll guess is the majority of the season. Will they be able to suspend him though? Who knows. Their lineup is ehhhhh and it would help matters if Corey Hart‘s knee would heal quicker so they’re not playing Alex Gonzalez at 1B. Jean Segura could have a pretty interesting year. I could see this team hitting their way to second place in the division, but their starting pitching is what they’ll need to hold themselves together, yes, even with Kyle Lohse now on the squad. He, Mike Fiers, and Gallardo can’t do all the work themselves. I’m actually not that confident in Lohse to begin with, so, that’s not helping their predicted finish. I am not bullish on that bullpen doing a lot to help Milwaukee. This offense will have to score a lot of runs, a lot of the time if it wants to see the playoffs return to Miller Park.

3. Pittsburgh Pirates

Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 10/1, 33/1, 66/1

PECOTA’s projected three highest Wins Above Replacement Player for 2013: Andrew McCutchen (4.7), Wandy Rodriguez (2.2), Neil Walker (2.1)

Stuart sees: a team that will surprise people and possibly hit .500 for the first time in the 21st century. Sometimes, baseball does things we can’t explain, and the Pirates are my team for that happening, and with the calling up of Gerrit Cole happening in June (hopefully, please), they can kick out an underperforming pitcher in their rotation. What if Spring Training invitee Jonathan Sanchez does well this season? No? Yea, I don’t believe that either. The rotation does seem a little underwhelming a la Milwaukee minus one really good pitcher, but it’s a little different in that this lineup looks made to mash (although the amount of mashing is what is in question). Garrett Jones, Russell Martin, and then this guy Pedro Alvarez had 30 homers last year (yea, I know, I missed that, too). Just a slew of low batting average, higher homer count dudes. Like most of the other NL Central teams I’ve talked about, their bullpen also needs a little work.

2. St. Louis Cardinals

Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 9/4, 10/1, 20/1

PECOTA’s projected three highest Wins Above Replacement Player for 2013: Matt Holliday (3.6), Adam Wainwright (3.4), Carlos Beltran (2.8)

Stuart sees: a solid team that just needs a rotation to not be dragging it down. Most of the guys that brought this team to the NLCS are still there, and they’ve officially added top prospect Shelby Miller to the rotation mix, but how healthy can their roster stay? Rafael Furcal (Tommy John surgery), and Chris Carpenter (nerve problem) are already done for the season, with other role players like David Freese, and Jason Motte doubtful to start the season healthy. Should one of their elder outfielders go down (looking at you, Beltran), another top prospect in Oscar Taveras can swoop in to save the day. This club has enough to replenish its major league roster, although some of its pieces may be more important than others (e.g., Yadier Molina). The best this team could do, I believe, is have the second best record in the National League, but I don’t think they’ll hit that ceiling.

1. Cincinnati Reds

Bovada’s odds to win the division, pennant, and World Series: 5/7, 6/1, 12/1

PECOTA’s projected three highest Wins Above Replacement Player for 2013: Joey Votto (6.0), Mat Latos (4.3), Shin-Soo Choo (4.0)

Stuart sees: a team that had an eventful offseason to cement their spot as a favorite to reach the NLCS. Having Johnny Cueto and Mat Latos lead your team is a pretty solid 1-2 punch, with 3-5 being decent, and their bullpen from the 7th inning on in a lead situation will be tough to break with Sean Marshall, Jonathan Broxton, and Aroldis Chapman standing in your way. The Reds traded for six-games-of-experience-in-center-field Choo, and counting on him to make up for his defense with his bat and his legs. The lineup is good to go, and if Votto’s back to full strength, his power will be a welcome boost to what was missing in the last month of 2012. This team can make a deep run, it’s just a matter of what kind of luck they run into in a short series. Any time this squad goes up against the Washington Nationals (and maybe even the Dodgers), you need to drop whatever you’re doing and change the channel.

Are my predictions like yours for this division? Tell me in the comments section (politely) why you agree or disagree!

Dave Sappelt (@SappySappelt6), the poor @Cubs OF that Twitter is harassing

It’s a pretty slow day in the baseball off-season, but every now and then someone says something and doesn’t realize what they say. It involves Cubs OF Dave Sappelt and his comments about women which weren’t really supposed to be about women.

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Yea, this is a pretty dangerous statement to make on a social media site that reaches out to millions upon millions of people, especially a pretty good chunk of people that care about the perceptions of different populations of human beings.

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This certainly is not helping things, further providing evidence for people thinking he has a set view towards women and what “they do.”

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This is just an epic tweet because he doesn’t know which “they’re” to use, and how to spell “sexist,” but instead uses favorite adjective of mine in “sexiest.” In his defense, I’m sure his mentions have been blowing up of late.

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People are better off not trying to advocate for the image of other people! Long live the stereotypes!

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He would provide some context to his “woman driver” tweet that he was making a reference to his girlfriend, although never apologized, or wrote about any regrets to the wording of his tweet.

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It’s an excellent question asked by Matt Lindner. Dave Sappelt must realize he’s done something wrong, hopefully it’s just a matter of time before he apologizes.

Sappelt has blocked those critical of him, so if you plan on presenting your opinion to him, get it all in one tweet. Until then, we wait on the Chicago Cubs or his agency to let Mr. Sappelt know he will be required to issue a statement of apology or something along those lines, even if his views on what he said never change.

A Yesterday/Today Post: Two Major Blocks Off the FA Market

I had this article sitting on ice yesterday. Was just waiting for a certain pitcher to get off the market, but didn’t happen until this morning.

Announced around noon PST yesterday, news out of Anaheim (not Los Angeles) shocked just about everyone when they signed Josh Hamilton to a 5/$125MM deal and right now you can see him slotted in between Albert Pujols and Kendrys Morales here. We’ve heard Torii Hunter may be a little unhappy with that organization, and while the Angels may have gone two more years further than anyone else for Josh, there’s no doubt that in 2013 at least their lineup is pretty formidable. Now they just need to strengthen that starting rotation. My feelings about the contract are that this could be good for about two to three years, and then a whole lotta blah. Good for the Angels for going for it, though. This is also great for non-LA/OC area fans because now everyone will be rooting against any team with the name “Los Angeles” in them, and that’s never a bad thing, although this probably makes both LA/OC teams their respective division favorites on paper. Word has also been spreading that the Angels will face the Reds and Rangers first, two of Hamilton’s former teams.

Underrated Free Agent Anibal Sanchez is finally off the market, after the Detroit Tigers matched the Cubs’ offer in years and then added a few more dollars to give him a 5/$80MM contract. Sanchez and his agent gave the Tigers one last shot to match the 5-year deal from the Cubs, as Bob Nightengale reportes that Detroit initially offered him a team friendly 4/$48MM deal, and then raised it to an about market value deal that was reached by both sides. In the end, it appears Anibal Sanchez really wanted to be with an organization that had the image of being in the contenders role for more of the five years in his deal, and I know a lot of people see a lot of logic in that, myself included. Writing yesterday about the 5/$77MM the Cubs offered, I said that the Cubs should get most of the value of Anibal from that deal, and so the same goes with a 5/$80 with the Tigers. In the playoffs, Anibal Sanchez was the #3 pitcher behind Doug Fister and Max Scherzer.

As for major free agents still left? We’re still waiting on Michael Bourn to find a home, and teams that could employ him are looking for cheaper options, like that of Peter Bourjos and Dexter Fowler.

Series Preview: #SFGiants (74-57) vs. #Cubs (50-80)

As the Giants are 3-0 since their last off day, and the Dodgers are 1-3 in their last 4, fans of both franchises have seen a separation starting to form with 30-31 games left to go. Nothing is done by any means, but the Giants now square off in a weekend series against the Cubbies who are 4-10 since their last off day, but had a nice comeback win over the Brewers in yesterday’s game, with the final score of 12-11. These are still games the Giants need to win, but beat writer Alex Pavlovic was noting on Twitter (above), the team is tired, since they got to their hotel rooms around 3:15 AM, I’m guessing local time, and they’re already in the locker room. Travel is a part of professional sports and it wouldn’t be the first time a team’s played lower on energy. They should still be able to get the job done against a rebuilding Chicago squad.

Friday, August 31st: LHP Madison Bumgarner vs. RHP Chris Volstad

One sentence summary: Volstad’s last start was his first of the year where he allowed less than 4 hits, and had no ER attached to his line, and MadBum would like to put his last start behind him, but he has allowed 15/19 of his HRA on the road this year.

Saturday, September 1st: RHP Tim Lincecum vs. RHP Justin Germano

One sentence summary: Germano hasn’t had many starts with the Cubs, but he has allowed a HR in four straight starts while never walking more than two in 2012; Lincecum hasn’t struck out more than 5 since July, but has also been able to keep the walks relatively down (6 in 4 starts).

Sunday, September 2nd: RHP Matt Cain vs. LHP Travis Wood

One sentence summary: Wood’s gone 7 IP in three of his last four starts, along with only two walks allowed in the last four; Matt Cain has done what’s expected against his last four opponents of HOU, LA, SD, and COL, so look for that to continue against the ChiCubs.

The Bats

Another series preview, another one where Joaquin Arias has barely over 10 PA and leads the last seven for the team in wOBA (.623, .315 wOBA overall). There’s no one contributing to that level on the Giants, but after a series in Houston, you will have some guys that have inflated numbers like Pence (.437 wOBA L7, .327 overall), Pagan (.420, .338), and Belt (.406, .337), and will have a chance to improve upon those numbers against a group of pitchers that are a couple notches below the quality of pitchers more competitive teams might throw out there. Brandon Crawford (.117, .270), and Pablo Sandoval (.195, .335) have not really had their bats heard from in the past week, although Pablo did contribute to the win last night.

Former Top 100 prospect Brett Jackson (.603 wOBA L7, .346 wOBA overall) is lighting the way for the Cubs of late, with 3 HR in the past week, and having 4 in his 88 PA overall, but I believe the book on him was about him hitting enough, as the power and speed will be there. No one else on the squad is quite as hot right now, but Starlin Castro (.366 wOBA L7, .313 wOBA overall), and Luis Valbuena (.352, .303) have been healthy contributors of late as well. The slack has come from guys like Josh Vitters (.098, .139), and Darwin Barney (.133, .289), but at least with Barney, you don’t expect that to keep happening. Guys with more than 20 SB are Starlin Castro and Tony Campana, while you can look from their power to come from guys like Alfonso Soriano (23 HR), Starlin Castro (12), and Anthony Rizzo (9 in 236 PA).

Series Prediction

Gotta say, I’m feeling pretty good about these Giants, so that probably means these predictions will be not be 100% correct.

Friday: Giants win (Chris Volstad, pretty much)

Saturday: Giants win (The bats relieve Tim Lincecum)

Sunday: Giants win (Matt Cain toys with the lesser competition)

#Cubs and #SFGiants 6/1-6/4 Series Preview

We got ourselves a 4-gamer, wrap-a-round series with those loveable Cubbies who we used to share this adorable World Series Champions drought with. I’m glad we don’t share that anymore. I think the games to watch here are Saturday’s and Monday’s as I look at the pitcher matchups. Saturday’s 1912 promotion should be pretty cool anyway:

Friday, June 1st

LHP Paul Maholm (50.2 IP, 4.62/5.55/4.67 line with a 5.53 tERA. 5.15 K/9, 3.02 BB/9, including a .239 BABIP, and 9 HRA. Has thrown 43.4% FB, 30.6% SL, 15.4% CB, and 10.7% CH, making it more difficult to sit on one pitch)


LHP Madison Bumgarner (66.0 IP, 3.14/.366/3.72 and a 3.42 tERA. 6.41 K/9, and a nice 1.91 BB/9, plus a .237 BABIP, 7 HRA. 41.9% FB, 38.1% SL, 11.7% CB, and 8.4% CH. Couple of fastball-slider guys match up, eh?)

Saturday, June 2nd (Turn Back the Clock Day)

RHP Matt Garza (53.1 IP, 4.22/4.32/3.70 line with a 4.91 tERA. A 8.27 K/9, and 3.21 BB/9, plus a .252 BABIP, 8 HRA. 57.1% FB (avg. velo at 93.3 MPH), 26% SL, 9.4% CB, 7.5% CH.)


RHP Matt Cain (71.0 IP, 2.79/2.94/3.58, and a 3.13 tERA, with a 8.37 K/9, and a nicer 1.65 BB/9, and 6 HRA. 51.1% B, 19% SL, 18.5% CH, and 11.4% CB.)

Sunday, June 3rd

LHP Travis Wood (In 16.2 IP, 5.94/7.82/4.51 and a 9.86 tERA. Sports a 5.94 K/9, and a 4.32 BB/9 with a .133 BABIP, and 6 HRA, which certainly is a lot in that period. 61.7% FB, 13.8% Cutter, 13.5% CH, 8.2% SL, 2.8% CB)


LHP Barry Zito (58.0 IP, 3.41/4.59/5.20 line and a 4.30 tERA, showing off a 5.28 K/9, and a 4.03 BB/9. A .243 BABIP and 6 HRA, same as his opposite for 6/3. 38% SL, 31.4% FB (avg. velo at 83.6MPH), 17.7% CB, 13% CH)

Monday, June 4th

RHP Jeff Samardzjia (64.0 IP, has a 3.09/2.99/3.15 line with a 3.79 tERA and a 9.14 K/9 in contrast with a 2.67 BB/9. A BABIP of .304 with 5 HRA. 54.2% FB (avg. velo at 94.9MPH), 18% Splitter, 14.6% SL, 13.2% CT)


RHP Ryan Vogelsong (61.0 IP, 2.36/3.74/4.47 and a 3.64 tERA, plus a 6.79 K/9 and a 3.84 BB/9. Has a BABIP of .256 and leads the starters with 4 HRA. 55% FB, 17.5% CB, 14.5% Cutter, 12.8% CH)

Hitters in the Last 7 Days

Darwin Barney (1.268), Alfonso Soriano (1.226), Starlin Castro (1.024), and David DeJesus (1.033) all with OPS over 1.000 and a series with the Padres I believe helped out a little bit. If you take out DeJesus and add in Ian Stewart, those 4 have hit a combined 8 HR in the last 7 days. Melky Cabrera has hit 2 HR for the Giants in the last 7 days, and he’s the only one that’s big flyed for the SFGs in that timespan. The Giants by the way have three guys with an OPS over 1.000. Can you guess them? That’s right: Melky (1.328), Blanco (1.214), and Pagan (1.098).

Four hitters have K% over 27%: Brandon Belt (27.8%), Brandon Crawford (28%), Alfonso Soriano (29.2%), and Ian Stewart (30.8%).

Three hitters have a Line Drive % at 40.0% or better: Reed Johnson (40.0), Ryan Theriot (41.2), Melky (41.7).


Brandon Belt will likely only get two starts at the most, and I know the fanbase is getting impatient. He has to get things going, and soon.

Starlin Castro is not being shopped around, per Theo Epstein.

The Cubs swept the Padres after going on a pretty dam long losing streak.


Friday: Giants win

Saturday: Giants win

Sunday: Cubs win

Monday: Cubs win

Hope it doesn’t make me a bad person that I think the series will be split. Just feel like Zito will be old Zito and Vogey will get Cain’d.

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

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