Results tagged ‘ Joaquin Arias ’
Lineups have been posted for tonight’s Giants-Dodgers game, and Brandon Belt is still a little sick, so…
No Belt, maybe still sick … Pagan CF, Scutaro 2B, Sandoval 3B, Posey C, Pence RF, Arias 1B, Torres LF, Crawford SS, Bumgarner LHP
— Alex Pavlovic (@AlexPavlovic) April 2, 2013
That’s right, Joaquin Arias is really playing first base tonight — for the first time since July 9th, 2010 when he was with the Rangers!… and with LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu toeing the mound tonight, Andres Torres will continue to be that platoon guy in LF. The Dodgers roll out their vs. LHP lineup
— Dylan Hernandez (@dylanohernandez) April 2, 2013
Speculation is that Carl Crawford’s out since there is a LHP on the mound, yet Andre Ethier is still out there… but you wouldn’t want to bench two guys right off the bat like that, even against a lefty… I mean, are the options on the bench really that much better than Ethier?
This will be Ryu’s first career MLB regular season start, and the Giants did not face him during Spring Training, but I’m pretty sure they have video on him. Here’s a snapshot of what Baseball Prospectus’ scouting staff thought of him:
The Tools section say “5″ which equals a MLB average pitch, while a “6+” suggests a better than MLB average pitch, and you’ll notice it’s that changeup, so keep an eye out for that tonight as we all collectively scout him. My plea to you is that if Ryu struggles, don’t seriously consider him “done” or “overrated” or whatever falls into line with that. It’s one start, and first game jitters could very well hit him, and maybe even Madison Bumgarner.
For those that have been off social media or the San Francisco Giants home website, the Giants, along with a slew of other teams, have avoided salary arbitration with some of their players, all of them one-year deals announced today, for SF at least. Every year, fans go through a period of confusion as to what all this salary arbitration means. Plenty assume that avoiding salary arbitration means that a team has kept a player from signing with another team. However, avoiding salary arbitration is not the same thing as free agency. For more extensive reading on it, I’ll direct you here. If you follow Henry Schulman on Twitter, you’ve seen he’s been pretty good about being civil in educating them on the process. What you need to know is this: the players listed are due raises from what their 2012 salary was, and guys with names like Pence and Posey are probably going to see bigger raises than Mijares and Blanco, in terms of the dollars. Also consider that since Pence has been around longer as a bigger name, his salary will be more substantial. To put it in Hank’s words, with my own added emphasis: “Player$ love thi$ proce$$.” I’ll list the players, their service time, their 2012 salary, then their 2013 salary for you.
Hunter Pence — 5.156 years, $10.4MM in ’12, $13.8MM in ’13
Buster Posey — 2.161 years, $615K in ’12, $8MM in ’13
Jose Mijares — 4.024 years, $925K in ’12, $1.8MM in ’13
Gregor Blanco — 2.164 years, $516K in ’12, $1.35MM in ’13
The remaining Giants left to deal with are:
Sergio Romo — 4.097 years, $1.575MM ’12
Update: Romo and the Giants have exchanged numbers for the other side to look at. Romo’s side has filed $4.5MM, and the Giants have filed $2.675MM.
Joaquin Arias — 3.071, ?? in ’12
This has predictably opened up a conversation about a long-term contract with Buster Posey, and there are plenty of options: year-to-year, buy out the rest of his arbitration years (through 2016), super long-term deal that buys out some of his free agent years at a high price. The Giants and Posey’s camp have expressed interest in a long-term deal, but it remains to be seen if something gets done.
As this Alden Gonzalez article mentions, the Giants and Romo+Arias have until February to get something worked out, and both sides would really rather not go to arbitration court since some not nice things can be said and feelings could get hurt. Sometimes, sides can agree on something at the last minute, like when the Giants and Tim Lincecum did right before a hearing once upon a time.
My numbers might be different than other people’s, but I have the Giants 2013 payroll commitments at $133,149,999.66 between 17 players, 16 of them active for the Giants (Huff being the odd man out). Larry Baer has said they’re looking to be closer to $140MM, and they’re on track for that.
To celebrate the seventh World Series title by the Giants — five happening in New York and two now in The City by the Bay — I thought we’d look at the best seven moves before and within the 2012 baseball season. You’ll probably have your own list, the rankings being a little different than mine, perhaps. I’ll start backwards from the honorable mentions, then from number seven and move on to what I see as move number one.
Honorable Mention (in no particular order)
Skipping Madison Bumgarner’s NLCS start
Jose Mijares pickup
Finally giving Belt a chance
“Closer by committee”
Extending control of Matt Cain
#7 — The Spring Training Invites
Namely, that of Gregor Blanco and Joaquin Arias, two guys that were merely names on a roster for those of us looking at the invitees, and admittedly, not taking them very seriously. This team would not have been the same though without these guys in 2012. Gregor Blanco replacing Melky Cabrera, Joaquin Arias being a decent replacement for when Pablo was out and Crawford was struggling. Both of these guys also have highlights where they have been immortalized into Matt Cain’s perfect game: Gregor Blanco’s diving catch which not many other people make, and Joaquin Arias fielding the final out with that shuffle to his right and then gunning it over to Belt for the end of that wonderful game.
#6 — Jonathan Sanchez for Melky Cabrera
So Melky Cabrera wasn’t a part of the last third of the baseball season, but maybe more importantly Jonathan Sanchez was not a part of the Giants rotation this season. How long would the Giants have put up with Dirty in the rotation or in the bullpen before possibly dumping him for nothing? Jonathan Sanchez became the problem of the Royals, then the Rockies. It wouldn’t be fair to say Dirty’s horrible performances for both squads would have been exactly the same for the Giants, but some had a feeling the intangibles would start to catch up with him. He will always have his part in 2010 lore, but like our next subject was for his old team, it was time for Jonathan Sanchez to go.
Angel Pagan had worn out his welcome in New York, and to give them two 2010 heroes for someone they wanted out seemed like a fair deal for both squads. Angel Pagan with his sometimes odd routes to the ball, had his contract year, and Andres Torres played like 2011 Andres with Ramon Ramirez being much less effective than during his time with his previous three clubs. Sometimes a change of scenery can do good for a player, and for Angel Pagan, I think it’s fair to say it worked out here.
#4 — Setting of the 25-man roster at the beginning, and the end of the regular season
People worried at both the beginning and end of the season that the rosters would not utilize all the talent an MLB roster had to offer, and the Giants much to the relief of bloggers, felt the same way we did in who was the best 25. There was a feeling that the best 25 were on the roster when all was said and done at both the beginning and end of the season, with the only question mark being Melky Cabrera. If we had it my way (boy that sounds snobby), Melky would’ve been on the bench at the very least, but I’m not going to go on a criticizing spree since everything worked out.
#3 — Signing Ryan Vogelsong to an affordable 2-year contract with a 3rd year option
Two years and eight million, with a $6.5MM option for a third year to the deal or a $300K buyout for Vogey. Taking a gamble on the Rally Enchiladas has been good since 2011, and if he keeps this up, he will be an even bigger steal of a pitcher. Here are some names that had worse ERA and FIP than Ryan Vogelsong in 2012: Tim Hudson, C.J. Wilson, Yovani Gallardo, and Edwin Jackson to name a few. All four are names you’d rather not go up against, and all four are getting Paid. I guarantee Ryan Vogelsong would cost more than $5MM for 2013 if the Giants had only gone one year on him going into 2012.
#2 — Putting Tim Lincecum in the bullpen
This could be a potentially ground-breaking move for the Giants, since Timmy could not really find his stuff in 2012 but in the Postseason all of a sudden the Cy came back. The Giants unfortunately really don’t have a candidate in-house to take Timmy’s spot in the rotation right away and $22.25MM is a lot to pay for a super-reliever, but if that’s what it takes to get him back, I believe he can still have incredible value easily leading the league in games appeared.
Sure Jonathan Mayo loves Culberson, but most people don’t love him enough to say he will definitely be the everyday infielder for the Giants, and thus, Sabean and co. made what ended up being the trade of 2012. Dodger fans mocked the deal, thinking that Sabean reacted to the Dodgers making a blockbuster trade of their own. You don’t just do trades to do them, the Giants clearly had a hole at 2B, and Scutaro was one of those “lightning in a bottle” candidates for the Giants. For now, the crow on the plates of Dodger fans in their mouths is hot and fresh, and “Blockbuster” helped carry the Giants to their second title in three years.
Sorry I couldn’t put this in slideshow format if that’s your thing. Feel free to put your top 7 in the comments or tell me on the twitter or FB or whatever!
Since August 14th, the Diamondbacks have had trouble reversing trends right away, as they’ve been winning/losing in consecutive games. The results: lose 2, win 4, lose 2, win 2 (more impressively it was a double-header), lose 6, win 2, lose 2. That’s an 8-12 stretch, so it’s understandable that they’ve lost ground against the Giants, who’ve gone 13-5 over that same set of dates. Interesting that on August 14th, we go back to the days of the Giants being tied for 1st place in the NL West with the Dodgers. Even though the Diamondbacks are 10.5 back, they still have 9 games left against the Giants, and while it’s extremely unlikely the DBacks make up 9 games, they can still play spoiler. The Giants return from a roadtrip that featured some NL Central cupcakes and now the San Francisco Orange & Black begin the final stretch of the season against only NL West opponents.
Monday, September 3rd: LHP Patrick Corbin vs. LHP Barry Zito
One sentence summary: The Giants’ fourth consecutive day game features Corbin, who’s given up 5 HR in his last 3 starts, and Zito, who had his shortest outing of the season against Houston, possibly playing through some upper back pain.
Tuesday, September 4th: RHP Ian Kennedy vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
One sentence summary: August wasn’t the friendliest of months to either of these two starters as Kennedy saw his second worst ERA month of the season (4.54), while Vogelsong had by far his worst month of the year (6.32), as both look to change things up with the coming of September.
Wednesday, September 5th: RHP Trevor Cahill vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner
One sentence summary: Cahill also had a heightened ERA in August (5.08) but wasn’t necessarily getting dominated like Vogelsong was; meanwhile, after Madison had his worst outing of the year since the first series of the year, he faces the team that gave him that first bad outing in the Diamondbacks.
And Now, the Bats
Hard to imagine that guys like Paul Goldscmidt ever go cold, but he’s not his normal self in the past week (.223 wOBA, .368 wOBA overall — best on the team), and said unhotness also applies to names like Justin Upton (.268 wOBA L7, .327 wOBA overall), Chris Young (.232, .321), and Jason Kubel (.263, .356), despite 3 HR between Upton and Kubel in the past week, including a couple bombs against the Dodgers. Mostly-utility-infielder John McDonald (.450, .297) has been the biggest contributor recently although in only 15 PA, with Miguel Montero being the biggest regular contributor of late (.321, .362). The Diamondbacks have a total of eight guys with double-digit dingerz on their squad, led by Jason Kubel (27), and Aaron Hill (20). Three guys have 13 SB on their squad led by Lincecum-killer Paul Goldschmidt, Justin Upton, and Gerardo Parra.
The Cubs series wasn’t the sweep many fans had hoped it would be, but some guys added on to what they’d be doing in Houston. Guys like Angel Pagan (.457 wOBA L7, .340 wOBA overall), and Hunter Pence (.405, .326). Gregor Blanco (.143, .308) may see his playing time reduced as Bochy rides the X-line straight to Veteranville, and Brandon Crawford (.162, .272) may be in the midst of regressing, but I imagine he starts taking the field back over Arias since Joaquin can’t keep his August pace up forever. On a team starved for the big flies, Buster is one HR away from 20 (as is Hunter), and we’re still waiting for round-trippers from Panda and Belt. Pagan (23) and Blanco (20) both have a high number of SB, and I’m sure it’ll be watched to see if either of these rabbits can rack up 30 for the year.
Get familiar with these boys, because you’re going to see a lot of them in September, and you just hope you’re playing them at the right streaky time.
Monday: Giants win (Giants ride homer — like an actual home run — to victory)
Tuesday: DBacks win (Ian Kennedy out-pitched Kershaw, will out-pitch Vogelsong)
Wednesday: Giants win (Madison takes his revenge out on Arizona)
Thursday is a day off before the Giants and Dodgers get going for their second to last series of the year, and the last one at AT&T.
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.
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).
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)
Not a typo. That does say 88 losses. You may have heard the Astros are bad, but may not have heard that they’ve been this bad in 2012. It’s true — the Astros are 5-17 in August, and were 3-24 in July. That’s 8-41 in those two months and all sorts of bad. For the record, the Giants went 12-12 in July and are 15-9 in August. This series also begins a run for the Giants against two notoriously bad teams in the Astros and the Cubs. The Giants must win the games they’re supposed to, since they shouldn’t expect the Dodgers to wilt against the rest of the NL West. The Giants are 5-1 against the Astros this season thus far.
Tuesday, August 28th: RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Bud Norris
One sentence summary: Incredibly odd, but Bud Norris has a 2.18 ERA at home, and a 7.27 ERA away, and normally I don’t bust out ERA for talking points, but I guess his pitch execution and defense are that much better at MMP.
Wednesday, August 29th: LHP Barry Zito vs. LHP Dallas Keuchel
One sentence summary: Progress for Keuchel as he hasn’t allowed more than two walks in a game since the end of July while Barry Zito hopes he doesn’t get blown up by Houston in their park for the 3rd time in 4 career starts at Minute Maid.
Thursday, August 30th: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. RHP Jordan Lyles
One sentence summary: 12/19 of Lyles’ starts he’s given up 2 or 3 BB so there’s that, and Vogelsong hopes to see fewer than 3 men cross the plate for the first time since his outing in St. Louis.
When Joaquin Arias is still your hottest hitter in the last week by the numbers (.607 wOBA L7, .303 wOBA overall) I’m pretty sure that’s “LOL” quality, but if you’ve watched him, he is making it look pretty easy out there. Angel Pagan’s return to the role of leadoff has been well spoken about and the numbers back it up as well (.463 wOBA L7, .334 wOBA overall). While you will take baserunners at any time, it is nice to start the game off putting pressure on your opponent, as we saw in the most recent LA series. Gregor Blanco, while maybe not what you’d classify as “hot,” is contributing again (.360 wOBA L7, .314 wOBA overall), which if you’re going to be a starter, is obviously pretty important. Power bats that really need to step up are Hunter Pence (.224 wOBA L7), and Pablo Sandoval (.220 wOBA L7), as it would undoubtedly be great to get some confidence in before they head back West from this Houston and Chicago excursion.
Chris Snyder has had 10 PA in the past week. He also sports a Joaquin Arias-like .624 wOBA in his past week (.287 wOBA overall), so I can’t wait to see how that continues. Jason Castro is also contributing a little bit recently (.351 wOBA in 12 PA, .305 wOBA overall), but from there it’s all below average production, which isn’t the biggest surprise for a 40-88 team, and a team that’s gone 5-17 in August. Scott Moore might embody the Astros’ season in his past week: 22 PA, .069 wOBA, -70 wRC+. Ugh. I’d guess Houston fans might be thinking some these guys can only improve… but if they can, let’s hope they wait until after the Giants leave town.
Hunter Pence’s homecoming should be a good one for the most part for the Giants, although I’m not convinced they’ll sweep. It’s baseball, ya’ll, and the Dodgers just got beat 10-0 by the Rockies of all people.
Tuesday: Giants win (Matt Cain doesn’t need to be his best)
Wednesday: Giants win (I can’t believe there’s someone that much worse than Zito statistically)
Thursday: Astros win (I think the Astros win one, just couldn’t figure out which one it’d be)
After a huge sweep of the formerly-first place Los Angeles Dodgers in their own park happened, the Giants rode a happy flight home to being a series today and square off against a team that finally savaged a win against their biggest division rival in the Washington Nationals. A big series for both teams, Fred Owens from Tomahawk Take at Fansided reached out to me and asked about doing a collaboration preview. An awesome request and a great chance to work with other writers, we set out to do work. You can check out my contribution to his article here, and I’ll put his thoughts in quotes on this site because who’s going to know the Braves better: me, or a guy that blogs about them? Yea, I’d say the latter as well.
“Braves coming into the series:
After Tuesday’s meeting with the Nationals the Braves have lost four in a row and six of their last ten. Our lineup has essentially been the first five hitters, three pitching level hitters and Paul Janish who has hit really well filling in for Andrelton Simmons since his arrival. Our starting pitching has been sold and dependable with the exception of the enigmatic Tommy Hanson and our bullpen solid as a rock. The return of Jonny Venters to near last year’s form mean that a lead after six is probably a win as Eric O’Flaherty and Chad Durbin have filled the eighth inning role well and Craig Kimbrel is – with apologies to the young man in Cincinnati – the best closer in the game right now. Kimbrel has unfortunately not had many chances to save games of late but even when getting his work in he’s been virtually unhittable.”
Thursday, August 23rd: RHP Tommy Hanson vs. LHP Barry Zito
One sentence summary: Ben Sheets hasn’t allowed less than 3 ER to a team not named “Miami” since mid-June, while Zito has to hope his offense offsets the amount of runs he’ll give up if his recent 4 streak continues.
Friday, August 24th: RHP Ben Sheets vs. RHP Ryan Vogelsong
One sentence summary: The fairy tale of a great comeback may be ending for Sheets with 10 ER & 5 HR allowed in his last two starts, and interesting to note RHH are hitting far better against him at the moment; Vogelsong looks to go beyond the 4th inning for the first time in 3 starts.
Saturday, August 25th: LHP Mike Minor vs. LHP Madison Bumgarner
One sentence summary: Minor’s home/away splits aren’t as drastic as Lincecum’s, but they’re noticeable as he does far better at home, which may spell danger for the Braves against a Cy Young-candidate in the fabulous Bumgarner.
Sunday, August 26th: RHP Tim Hudson vs. RHP Tim Lincecum
One sentence summary: In 41.1 IP at AT&T Park, Tim Hudson has allowed 1 HR in his career, but it’s not like the Giants hit those anyway; Timmy looks to use that anti-Dodger adrenaline in another start — especially to keep the four-ball counts away.
Offenses Bound for the Playoffs?
“Who’s hot: Jason Heyward is having the year everyone expected him to have last year when injury interrupted his rising star and the Braves post season chances along with it. In the last seven days Heyward’s line of .375/.483/.833 with 2 homers, 3 doubles a triple and 7 RBI has been the hottest spot in the lineup. Paul Janish with a .304/.385/.348 line including a double and 3 RBI hitting out of the eighth spot in the lineup [and his] RBI have been key factors in our rallies and his defense is up there with the best I’ve seen lately. Chipper Jones [who will be honored in a pre-game ceremony today by the Giants to celebrate his career] may be 40 years old but Battle Axe is having a himself a superb farewell tour. His line for the last week of .294/.400/. 882 with 3 homers, a double and 4 RBI. Few make the play coming in on a bunt as well as the 40 year old future Hall of Famer.
Who’s not: This list is far too long and begins with our most expensive liability, Dan Uggla.
Not to put too fine a point on it, Uggla stinks. His .143/.308/.381 line for the last week is the one of the worst on the team. All season long I’ve waited for him to find a groove and start making opposing pitchers fear his bat again. Right now the only reason to fear the bat is if it slips out of his hand and flies towards your seat in the stands. Brian McCann is hurt. His right shoulder has a cyst and a “frayed labrum.” His line of .154/.353/.154 consists of 2 hits. Because he can’t follow through; he tries to start the bat early and is often fooled by pitches with late movement. Two weeks ago Freddie Freeman was scalding hot, since then he’s cooled considerably mostly due I think to facing a seemingly unending string of lefties followed by Jordan Zimmerman and Stephen Strasburg. He has not fared well against Barry Zito (0-6) so his cold snap is likely to continue until at least Friday. The series of lefties and the high velocity offerings of Strasburg have cooled Michael Bourn off as well. Though his line of .240/.367/.727 isn’t awful it’s not great for a leadoff man and down considerably from the .375/.474/.594 of the prior seven game stretch. He too has had no luck against Zito. He may well run out and hug Volgesong just for being right handed and not throwing 99 on the outside corner at the knees.”
No more mystery who the hottest Giant is right now after his massacre-ing of the Dodgers last night: Joaquin Arias has hit 2 of his season’s 3 HR in the past week and is hitting an unconscious .646 wOBA in the L7 (.302 wOBA overall), so you can bet you’ll see Bochy try to fit him in the lineup somewhere. Welcome back, Angel Pagan, and your… .502 wOBA in the last week? Yea, that’s right. That’s also pretty unconscious. As good as they’ve been for Arias and Pagan, they have been bad for Justin Christian (.063 wOBA L7 in 11 PA) despite his great catch last night and Hector Sanchez (.000 wOBA in 10 PA) recently. Brandon Belt also seems to be off his hot streak (.202 wOBA L7, .331 wOBA overall — same as Pagan) so with a trio of RHP this weekend, we’ll see how the baby giraffe holds up and how he looks as well.
I won’t spoil Fred’s series prediction here, as he put his in his article on Fansided, but here’s mine with a little more detail than what I contributed to Tomahawk Take:
Thursday: Braves win (I’m not betting on Zito putting it together against the Braves)
Friday: Giants win (Ryan Vogelsong may not be back, but Ben Sheets isn’t the Sheets of old)
Saturday: Giants win (The legend of Bumgarner continues even as Posey takes a breather)
Sunday: Braves win (Velocity back to normal, Lincecum unable to blow by Braves bats)
Big thanks to Fred again for reaching out and allowing me to help out, as well as for him helping me out in giving the readers a better look at the Braves!
OK, today hasn’t been the best when we talk about the Giants lineup. Let’s make this quick because we have a sweep to prepare for.
Buster got scratched due to a tight hamstring. Coincidentally, he played 1B that day.
Lots of people like to get mad at Bochy for this. He’s a convenient scapegoat, I get it, but if you’re going to get mad at him, get mad at him for not resting Posey, if anything. Bochy wants Posey’s bat in the lineup, and who wouldn’t want it in there? Posey’s come out and said he know 1B isn’t a “day off” but a point was raised last night that Timmy throws so many bouncers it can indeed beat up on a catcher, so maybe it’s better Posey doesn’t take it right now.
The same people are mad at Bochy for playing Pablo at 1B. Would his injury had happened had he been playing at his natural position of 3B? Likely not, since that stretch was very 1B-y. However, I’m pretty sure that was also a time when Brandon Belt was not in the best of streaks, and the game is both scouting and numbers, not one nor the other. When your squad is struggling, you will look to move pieces in hopes of sparking something. We’ve seen the lineup change so much we know this team is not one to simply wait things out for an extended period of time (and by “extended period” I mean a full season).
Joaquin Arias is batting 5th? TF?!??! He’s only been hot in the last x days!
Yea, I know, and I’ve covered that in the past few series previews I’ve done. Some people are peppering beat writer Hank with SSS questions and for those that have done the reading, you know a SSS by the research is around 1500 PA, if I remember correctly. You can ride the wave, and OK, I get that, too. Just don’t be shocked when the wave comes down and don’t be stubborn with the crash when it happens.
It is odd that Arias, as friend of many bloggers Dan Szymborski noted, got to be in the 6th spot based off of a “hot bat” so much quicker than Brandon Belt. But you know, this is a Bochy double-whammy: hot bat, and platoon. Also, I guarantee you this wouldn’t happen if Melky and Posey were in the lineup.
OK, that’s that. Now let’s watch Matt Cain do his thing, and hope Buster’s feeling 100% tomorrow.
Here we go again. The Dodgers lead the season series 5-4 over their cross-state rivals and there’s nine more games between these two love birds set to happen, alternating venues per each three game series. You probably know by now the 162-game season will very likely end with the Giants visiting the Dodgers in early October (as opposed to making up a rained-out game or something). If there’s any team that’s confident right now, it’s the Dodgers. They just went to Pittsburgh and Atlanta and won a 5 of 7 from those playoff contenders, while the Giants lost a series to the Nationals (really no shame in that) and couldn’t sweep against the Padres (I blame you, Everth Cabrera), so it’s no wonder these two teams are still within a game of the top. The Dodgers know they swept the Giants back into contention with their full squad and now the Giants are missing Melky due to his suspension which really has been getting stupider by the day. Nevertheless, both teams know it’s time to put their full focus on each other in a series that is sweepable for both teams, but at the same time, if you called each game a “pick ‘em,” I wouldn’t blame you.
Monday, August 20th: LHP Madison Bumgarner vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw
One sentence summary: ESPN has the pleasure of picking this game up, and there is probably no better way to start it off as both of these lefties are straight up dominant at what they do, especially Bumgarner in “high leverage” situations.
Tuesday, August 21st: RHP Tim Lincecum vs. RHP Joe Blanton
One sentence summary: As much of a low-scoring game as the first game could be, this one has the potential to be the exact opposite as Timmy still looks for his groove while Blanton has allowed 26 HR this year.
Wednesday, August 22nd: RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Chris Capuano
One sentence summary: Don’t let Capuano’s name fool you as he’s pitched to a level any team would want to feature in a division series, while Matty Cain hopes for the same kind of run support he got in San Diego.
Your Bats May Not Do Much This Series, But Bring ‘Em Anyway
File this under the “things you never thought you’d hear” article for 2012, but the two “hottest” guys in the past week have been that infield duo of Joaquin Arias (.475 wOBA, .290 wOBA overall) and Brandon Crawford (.441 wOBA, .277 wOBA overall). Hunter Pence has turned it up lately since his slow start (.420 wOBA L7, .328 wOBA overall). What isn’t necessarily surprising is that there have only been three HR in the last seven days by the Giants (Arias, Crawford, Scutaro), and there has only been one stolen base (Scutaro). Chances are if the Giants want to score more and increase that chance of winning, both those numbers will need to get turned up a notch. Notably cold is Ryan Theriot (.176 wOBA L7, .281 wOBA overall), but I’ve talked about it on Twitter before, he and Scutaro are better bench players than regulars, so to rely on them for consistent production is — while understandable — a little silly.
How time flies, as Hanley Ramirez already has 100 PA with his new team, and it looks like he’s settling in just fine (.489 wOBA L7, 3 HR L7, .339 wOBA overall). The guy who’s lighting it up is Luis Cruz, who after plenty of Minor League action did not even have a ML HR before having 4 this year (.557 wOBA L7, 2 HR L7, .344 wOBA overall), so we’ll see if/when he regresses or he’s just doing the 2010 Andres Torres thing. James Loney is another name that has been the focal point of a lot of Dodger frustration, but every dog has their day (.399 wOBA L7, 2 HR L7, .274 wOBA overall) for a guy contributing less than Ryan Theriot is for the Giants. Someone who’s been surprisingly cold but you wouldn’t expect it to last much longer is Matt Kemp (.233 wOBA L7, .421 wOBA overall) because he just has too much talent to stay sleeping, but you know not many people outside of the Dodger organization would mind if he took a rest-of-the-season break.
I’m predicting it won’t be a sweep, and the Giants come out a 0.5 game ahead of the Think Blue crowd.
Monday: Dodgers win (MadBum gets Cain’d)
Tuesday: Giants win (Timmy finds a way to do less worse than Blanton)
Wednesday: Giants win (Matt Cain because he’s Matt Cain)
It’s easy to forget sometimes that there are other teams in the NL West besides the Dodgers, Giants, and Diamondbacks, but just because they’re at the bottom doesn’t mean they can’t derail your postseason plans. The Padres had an 8-2 stretch from Aug 3-13 before losing 3 to the Braves in Atlanta, so it’s not like they’re just lying down waiting for you to beat them. We all know the Giants will be missing their #3 hitter that’s played in 113 G this season, but with the Giants playing the Padres and the Dodgers traveling to Atlanta to play a good Braves team, there has to be a feeling that the Giants and Dodgers could still be within a game of one another when they meet up on Monday.
Friday, August 17th: RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Ross Ohlendorf
One sentence summary: Four straight starts have seen Matt Cain watch at least seven hits get put on his record while Ohlendorf has seen 6 ER boost his ERA in two of his last three starts.
Saturday, August 18th: LHP Barry Zito vs. LHP Eric Stults
One sentence summary: Barry Zito hasn’t faced the Padres in 2012 and hasn’t had a streak of 0 HR games since May (0 HR in last start); Stults has been solid in his last two outings since being tabbed a SP again going 13 IP, 10 H, 1 ER, 2 BB and 8 K.
Sunday, August 19th: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. LHP Clayton Richard
One sentence summary: The big story last start was how Ryan Vogelsong stopped being new Ryan Vogelsong while Clayton Richard hopes to improve from his last start against the Giants when he got lit up at AT&T nearly a month ago.
Offense in the Pet Box
Buster Posey is having a great 2nd half to which you have been made aware on every night Buster Posey is in the batter’s box (.403 wOBA, 19 HR overall). Brandon Belt has been hot recently (.362 OBP, .339 wOBA overall). *By the way, a friendly reminder that if you are a Giants fan and actively root against Brandon Belt or Brett Pill, you need to re-evaluate yourself as a fan of the team.* Brandon Crawford with his PH-2-R bomb and getting on base hasn’t been too bad himself (.276 wOBA, 71 wRC+ overall). However, in the smallest of sample sizes at 13 PA in the last 7, Joaquin Arias has also been productive (.431 wOBA L7, .279 wOBA overall). If Angel Pagan (.247 wOBA L7) is going to be at the top, Hunter Pence in the thick of things in the lineup (.252 wOBA L7) and want to give the boys a chance to get over the Melky hangover, they’re going to need to turn up the production.
I look at the Padres and I feel kind of bad for how many people I’m seeing on their DL list. Guys that can do damage against opposing teams like Yasmani Grandal who’s on rehab, Huston Street, who can still put down batters, and other starting pitchers that have been shelved. As for the guys who are playing, Logan Forsythe (.524 wOBA L7, .323 wOBA overall) has been doing well at the top of the order lately, what we thought was an obvious trade chip in Chase Headley (.406 wOBA L7, .360 wOBA overall) has 4 HR in his last 7 (and 19 for the season), and more importantly is still with the Padres. Those two guys are really the only ones putting up big numbers within the past week, but remember this team has Carlos Quentin (12 HR), who has hits in 4 of the 5 games he’s played against the Giants, including his unforgettable 2-HR game. Their catchers Nick Hundley and John Baker have been ice cold and rather unproductive for the Padres in Grandal’s absence, with neither having a positive wRC+.
I’m going to go predictable here only because it just seems too obvious to me. This means my predictions should be wrong.
Friday: Giants win (Cain > Ohlendorf; Giants hitters rejoice)
Saturday: Padres win (Stults > Zito; Padres hitters rejoice)
Sunday: Giants win (Vogey shows it was just a blip)
All the while only gaining one full game on the Dodgers. Should be a decent weekend.