Results tagged ‘ Matt Kemp ’

Saturday News Out of #Dodgers Camp: Billingsley, AJ Ellis, Maholm, Kemp, Australia Starters

There isn’t much happening in the Giants world and I’m not sure I’ve blogged this month, so let’s talk about the NL West favorite Los Angeles Dodgers, whom have reported for camp duties. You’ll remember that the Dodgers and Diamondbacks have a two-game series in Australia that will take place on Saturday, March 22nd, United States time. As the Dodgers get ready, here’s what we’re being told over social media:

On Chad Billingsley, forgotten pitcher by most other NL West fans:

Good news for the Dodgers as they increase their rotation depth, and it looks to be of a higher quality than in 2013. Add another left-handed pitcher to the mix in…

…Mr. Paul Maholm, whose stats really aren’t too awful for a Major League deal, it’s a wonder how he got scooped up by the Dodgers on a Minor League deal. Had other teams known that’s how they could have had Maholm, surely other teams (e.g., Giants) would have been in on that. Manager Don Mattingly isn’t commenting on the Maholm deal, but doesn’t anticipate changes in the 40-man roster, per beat reporters.

A.J. Ellis, clubhouse comedian, and also possibly in the Best Shape of His Life:

For those unaware, Dylan Hernandez and one of the beat writers of the Giants, Hank Schulman, normally take jabs at each other over weight issues. All in good fun.

On the starting pitchers in Australia:

Barring any injury, I think it’s pretty safe to assume Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke, and having Hyun-jin Ryu and Dan Haren ready in your bullpen isn’t too bad for a two-game series.

As for Matt Kemp, coming off of ankle surgery:

A healthy Matt Kemp is great for baseball, but bad for opponents of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

That’s all the updates that came in recently. Now we await the complaints of everybody for the regular season to begin.

Booing other team’s players? I get it. Booing your own based on performance? I don’t.

Matt Kemp is having a rough season, and even if you haven’t watched him this season you might be able to see it on the spreadsheets. -1.0 fWAR is 3rd worst of all 171 qualified hitters, his wRC+ (77) is tied with Yunel Escobar and just below Yuniesky Betancourt (who has come back down to the earth his abilities live on). His .277 wOBA is 151st. To give you an idea of what he did in his should’ve-been-MVP season in 2010, he had an 8.4 fWAR, 168 wRC+, and a .413 wOBA. That’s the Matt Kemp we’ve come to expect, but a crash in Colorado last year has changed things and Kemp’s shoulder flexibility has become limited. Dodger fans have turned on their star and are making it rain with the boos, and Kemp has made it known that he’s not all that thrilled with it:

“It felt like I was in AT&T Park…I’m taking a beating from the fans…It’s disappointing to get booed by our own fans, even shocking.”

Chad Moriyama has been the leader of the charge against booing Kemp/their own players, and his timeline has basically been that recently since there’s been so much booing lately. I applaud his efforts, because as you judged by the article title, I agree with his stance on the matter. I will echo what he has said before in this sentence: fans have the right to do and say what they want, but booing your own player is stupid. I don’t understand why those booing expect an under-performer to either all of a sudden recover their past abilities or inspire them to work harder for their team. Kemp has a huge contract, for sure, and he is expected to be a star, but what will booing accomplish, besides letting out your frustrations? (Clearly, I also care not for those frustrations being exhibited in a “boo.”)

Nobody should be kidding themselves that this is a new thing only happening between the Dodgers and Kemp, I mean, you could tune to the ALCS last year for games at Yankee Stadium and tell me what you hear.

Booing your own player for their not performing to your expectations is ridiculous. It’s a tradition that will live on, I know. There are other ways to express frustration, though the message will be slower to reach those that make the decisions, although its not like the journalists that cover baseball are blind to things like that. It wouldn’t hurt the fans to think about the reason for a player’s lack of success and start calling for change. Until then, those fans just look like people that will say whatever comes to their minds first, not thinking about the consequences or rationale of whatever it is they say and/or are about to say. Who really listens to the opinions of those people anyway?

The Numbers of April: Surprise!

Hot starts don’t necessarily dictate the results of May through October, because that’s only one month of baseball done, and even one month’s worth of goodies is a small sample size of information. Still, it’s not like it’s not fun to look at some of the numbers that were a little unexpected.

Win and Losses Division

The AL East really was, and still is anybody’s division to win, and so maybe Boston’s 18-8 record — and the best in baseball — shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. What is the bigger surprise can be found at the bottom of the division where the Toronto Blue Jays reside at 10-17. There are three teams with a worse record than that, two won’t surprise you, one may: Astros, Marlins, Angels.

Another unexpected positive performance has come from the NL West leading Colorado Rockies, and second place Kansas City are only a half game back of the 2012 AL Champs. Different league, but still the Central, the top four teams in the NLC are all within one game of each other.

Position Players Division

Surprising that Justin Upton has 12 homers? Probably not. Surprising that New York Mets catcher John Buck is tied for second with 9? Very! We always knew Chris Davis had power, just wondered if his contact rate would get in the way. You expected him to have more of a slash line like Anthony Rizzo than one like Bryce Harper.

This may not surprise you, but I did not think Carl Crawford would have as solid of an April as he’s had. 1.3 fWAR with a .390 wOBA, including 4 HR and SB. You do that every month and that gets you MVP votes.

Players in the bottom 15 of fWAR include players like Melky Cabrera (0 HR), Matt Kemp (84 wRC+), and Josh Hamilton (51 wRC+). I’m sure Melky’s place there doesn’t surprise the PED skeptics, but bottom 15 bad?

Starting Pitchers Division

Continuing with the bottom, it surprises me that two of the bottom seven fWAR performances belong to starters on the Giants staff, and neither of them are Barry Zito (Matt Cain, and Ryan Vogelsong). Brandon McCarthy may sport a horrible 7.48 ERA, but his 3.67 FIP is better than league average, and that 3.82 residual is pretty astounding for anybody.

Your leader in complete games with two is Jordan Zimmermann. He and seven others, including Bartolo Colon, have a complete game shutout to their name in the 2013 season.

The 4th highest K% at 32.9% is A.J. Burnett. The 8th highest at 30.3% is Hyun-jin Ryu, higher than teammate Clayton Kershaw.

In a shocking development, Stephen Strasburg and Jeff Samardzija‘s 1-4 W-L record may not tell you that they’ve actually done quite alright for their team, it’s just, you know, that whole run support thing.

Two Cardinals starters have not allowed a homer this year: Adam Wainwright and Jake Westbrook. Wainwright allowed 15, and Westbrook allowed 12 in 2012.

Relievers Division

Sergio Romo, Jason Grilli, Mariano Rivera, and Jim Johnson may have ten saves, but your leader for relievers in fWAR is James Russell of the Cubs and Craig Kimbrel, Matt Belisle, and four others at 0.6.

Speaking of Sergio, no “closer” has been brought into more games than him. 15. Brad Ziegler leads in appearances with 17. That’s a pretty healthy dose of usage early on.

I know John Axford was on the decline, but that 8 ERA and 7 FIP are more of a fall from grace than just a “decline.”

Carlos Marmol does not have the highest walk rate amongst all relievers. Henry Rodriguez (Nationals) and Nick Hagadone (Indians) beat Marmol out this month.

If you added Brandon League and Huston Street‘s K% (I know it doesn’t work like that, but work with me here), it would be 20.0%. Aroldis Chapman, Andrew Bailey, and Greg Holland would still have more than double that K%.

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So there are some of your surprises from this month, definitely varying on the spectrum of surprisability, but those are some of the things that got my attention. What surprised you this month?

Adding another opinion to last night’s mess

I made a GIF post of the fight last night, but I’m not going to pretend that watching the whole video of it wouldn’t be better, so

You know the story about Zack Greinke and Carlos Quentin, and now there’s an added bit to hearing Matt Kemp and Quentin met in the hallways towards the player parking lot on their way out and got face to face. @ProductiveOuts was able to make some pretty funny commentary out of peacemaker Clayton Richard and Matt Kemp getting up in one another’s space

Then, before everybody went to sleep, and actually before the hallway meeting, the Dodgers official account tweeted this

Were there San Diego fans, and maybe a player or two backing Quentin last night? Absolutely. Quentin does say Greinke says something to him, so until we know what that is, it’s hard to deliver a clear judgment on the rush that led to Greinke’s broken collarbone. However, my opinion is that the Dodgers account stepped over the line in not helping relations with San Diego. Do they care? Probably not. Should they care? Absolutely. I’m not saying they should have said, “Good game, Padres, see you next time! xoxo” but giving just the official recap and notes from the press conference would have been enough. I’m not sure why it was necessary to create more bad blood between teams and fanbases, because you know San Diego fans probably didn’t enjoy seeing that.

To make my stance clear, I agree with Don Mattingly that Quentin shouldn’t play before Greinke does, but I realize that’s probably not going to happen. This is MLB’s chance to take a stand on the matter, but I don’t expect them to start now. The MLB might also want to have anger management classes for all of its athletes before the season, because maybe it might prevent another broken collarbone, or any other injury. All in all, this is not a good thing for baseball, and I’m just hoping Quentin gets his suspension, Greinke recovers quickly, and the fans from different teams don’t start hurting each other.

The season series resumes on Monday at Dodger Stadium.

GIFs of the Shove and Shout-Fest in San Diego

Maybe it didn’t all start with a Jason Marquis pitch to Matt Kemp in the first inning. Maybe this goes further back. There was a game recap from 2009 (credit to Bill Shaikin for reminding the people) where Carlos Quentin and Zack Greinke met when they were with the Chicago White Sox and Kansas City Royals, respectively:

An instance between Carlos Quentin and Greinke with one out in the fourth stood out as the game’s only real fireworks, and even this uprising didn’t amount to much. Quentin was hit squarely in the back by a Greinke pitch and immediately took a couple of steps toward the mound.

Home-plate umpire Bill Hohn stepped in front of Quentin and catcher Miguel Olivo quickly restrained the slugger. Television broadcasts showed Quentin telling Olivo that he was all right, and Quentin moved down to first base.

By Greinke’s estimation, it was a first-inning pitch that got away and almost hit Quentin in the head causing the residual anger three innings later.

“He had a reason for [being upset],” said Greinke of Quentin. “Any time you throw it that high, it’s justified. You’ve got to be better than that and not pitch like that. You’re going to make mistakes, but the last thing you want to do is hit someone where it could seriously hurt them. As soon as I let go of it, I was scared for him.”

So there is history that goes back as far as that. On to the GIFs:

The delivery from Greinke

You’ll notice AJ Ellis yelling “HEY” to Quentin because really, nobody wants to risk injury or suspension of anybody else

Another view, complete with Greinke glove drop and taking the hit

The pile that ensued

From the home plate camera now

The bullpen getting their exercise

Matt Kemp was very angry, and was protected by multiple Dodgers to not get any further involved. As of this moment, it’s unclear if by this point he was already ejected.

Then Jerry Hairston runs to the Padres dugout, a la Jorge Soler minus a bat, and gets another scrum started

The bullpen comes back out to get their jogging in

Greinke would leave with the team trainer, and his departure was called an injury, but we will not know the extent of it until after the game.

Matt Kemp, what do you think of this whole thing?

It’s “mother father bull kit?” I’m not sure I understand. It’s ok, no need to clarify.

Suspensions are likely for Kemp (allegedly for touching an umpire), Hairston, and Quentin. Not sure about Greinke, but that’s also possible. This could be trouble for the Dodgers if Greinke’s actually hurt, but we’ll wait to talk about all that until news is released post-game.

GIFPost: Pitching and Defense from Game 3 of Giants-Dodgers

The game ended 5-3, but the Giants had plenty of moments where their pitchers and their defense came through for them. Tim Lincecum had a stretch where he looked stellar, and then other moments where nobody knew where his fastball was going. After Jose Mijares loaded the bases off of a weak hit, a line drive, and a curveball for a HBP on Mark Ellis, George Kontos came in to save the day on what was deemed the biggest hit in win probability added for the Dodgers on this Matt Kemp double play:

Could Pablo Sandoval thrown home or to second and got the second out? Debatable. He did do the smart thing by getting two sure outs: one at third, and one at first as the Dodgers would score what would be their last run of the night.

Javier Lopez came in next to face Adrian Gonzalez and thought Buster Posey had received this well enough to get that 2-2 call. Ump didn’t though.

So he decided to throw his 3-2 pitch and strut off.

“Dah! Dah! Dah! Dah! Dah! Dah! Dah! Dah!”

Matt Kemp went 0-for-the-series and Chad Gaudin was more than happy to be a contributor to the cause, and also had pretty good control in Wednesday’s outing.

Next we turn to the defensive baseball porn. You could get lost in this play. Carl Crawford chops the baseball to maybe-brother-maybe-relative Brandon Crawford and the rest is just Golden

I mean, look at that handsome defense

Even from that angle I get lost in his beautiful eyes

And one more angle for good measure

Solid.

Sergio Romo got to face two Team Mexico teammates in Adrian Gonzalez and Luis Cruz. The first two guys made their outs, and it was time to make the new Dodger shortstop silly.

Good game, Luis Cruz, but not even close.

The Giants have an off-day today, then engage with the St. Louis Cardinals on Friday at 1:35PM PST at home in front of what I’m guessing will be three straight sell-out crowds.

The Best Individual Seasons of 2012: 81st through 100th

Idea: Rank the best individual seasons of the 2012 MLB regular season (Spring Training, Minor Leagues, and Postseason are not included), while considering offensive and defensive facets of the game.

Consider: Using the individual metrics to measure individual performance; full avoidance of projecting results for shortened seasons, and past years performance to justify or dictate standings.

This is not: “Most Valuable” anything. Rather, this is “best,” like Baseball America does, so there is no confusion as to what I am ranking. It is also not a “this is a ranking of who I want in 2013, or wanted in any other year.”

This is: My opinion, and will be disagreed with by many.

Intro

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100. Lance Lynn (176.0 IP, 9.20 K/9, 4.11 tERA, 2.9 fWAR, 2.0 rWAR) – Beginning the season as a reliever, Lynn did pretty well as a starter, and I don’t think the Cardinals have any plans of moving him back to the bullpen anytime soon.

99. Jose Bautista (27 HR, 14 2B, .378 wOBA, 3.2 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – This work by Joey Bats was done in 92 games, which I find to be pretty incredible. Although his defense wasn’t the greatest in the ASG, I have heard to be that bad all the time.

98. B.J. Upton (28 HR, 31 SB, .323 wOBA, 3.3 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – The newest Brave entering his age 28 season should be a welcome addition to a team that lost a pretty good CF already.

97. Jered Weaver (188.2 IP, 6.77 K/9, 3.99 tERA, 3.0 fWAR, 3.7 rWAR) – I’m surprised he was this far down the list, but here he is. I expect him to see many pitcher wins for him in the next couple of years. That stat though won’t get him up this list if I do it again.

96. Dan Uggla (19 HR, 29 2B, .325 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.7 rWAR) – Nobody wants his contract, but Uggla is at the very least producing some of the power that is expected of him. Not that it makes his current deal worth it, though.

95. Aroldis Chapman (71.2 IP, 15.32 K/9, 1.66 tERA, 3.3 fWAR, 3.6 rWAR) – The Cuban Missile’s time as a reliever may be done, and if that’s true, can’t wait to see how he does as a starter. It’s been well documented that he’s been lights out as a reliever.

94. Mat Latos (209.1 IP, 7.95 K/9, 4.09 tERA, 3.1 fWAR, 4.2 rWAR) – While I might remember him from his Padres days as being a little evil, but he is still very good at what he does – pitch, that is.

93. Jeff Samardzija (174.2 IP, 9.27 K/9, 4.27 tERA, 3.3 fWAR, 1.6 rWAR) – Perhaps the second-most misspelled name in the majors, Samardzija is making the public know that he is a name worth getting to know.

92. A.J. Pierzynski (27 HR, 18 2B, .351 wOBA, 3.4 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – Perhaps he’s becoming one-dimensional, but he should still be able to provide the power Texas is used to out of their catchers.

91. Mike Moustakas (20 HR, 34 2B, .305 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.9 rWAR) – A well-rated defensive 3B that can also hit for power? Yes, please! Good thing they have another powerful bat coming to their lineu—hhh wait. Sorry, too soon?

90. Desmond Jennings (13 HR, 31 SB, .309 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 3.0 rWAR) – The world is waiting for the 26-year old to explode on to the scene, and while what he’s done with the bat hasn’t been all that noteworthy, the game he’s carried with the help of his legs will keep him useful at the very least.

89. Trevor Cahill (200.0 IP, 7.02 K/9, 4.13 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 2.5 rWAR) – Hard to say he was worth what Arizona gave up for him, but that’s hardly his fault their GM loves giving up pitching prospects. Like one of the guys he was traded to in Parker, Cahill must bring down those walks.

88. Matt Kemp (23 HR, 22 2B, .383 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.3 rWAR) – Beastmode took a back seat to injuries in 2012, and his crashing into the wall in Coors has some wondering how close to 100% he’ll be in 2013 and beyond.

87. Kyle Seager (20 HR, 13 SB, .321 wOBA, 3.6 fWAR, 2.6 rWAR) – Not a bad line for a kid we didn’t hear too much about this year. I gave Seager the nod over Kemp mainly due to Seager being healthy, and his better defense. The Dodgers also drafted Kyle’s kid brother this year.

86. A.J. Burnett (202.1 IP, 8.01 K/9, 3.71 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 1.9 rWAR) – Often the butt of jokes the last couple years, AJ was able to silence the critics a bit this year in Pittsburgh, despite a line drive to the face early on this past baseball season.

85. Jordan Zimmerman (195.2 IP, 7.04 K/9, 4.21 tERA, 3.5 fWAR, 4.4 rWAR) – When you see the top three SP on a “Best of” list (any, not just this very raw one), you get the feeling that team has the potential to be good. Luckily for Washington, they also have a bunch of bats.

84. Carlos Gomez (19 HR, 37 SB, .329 wOBA, 3.5 fWAR, 2.3 rWAR) – Talk about an underrated season, I was shocked looking at these numbers from Gomez, but I do remember and love his “all-or-nothing” swing that he exhibits.

83. Craig Kimbrel (62.2 IP, 16.66 K/9, 0.96 tERA, 3.6 fWAR, 3.2 rWAR) – I struggled with where to start including the high leverage pitchers, or “closers” as they’re often used, but Kimbrel produced elite numbers when he was brought in and couldn’t be put off to the side any longer. As closers are used in roughly a third to a quarter of the innings a SP would put out, I probably give those pitchers that level of respect when it comes to building this list. Would I love a Craig Kimbrel on my team? Absolutely.

82. Danny Espinosa (17 HR, 20 SB, .313 wOBA, 3.8 fWAR, 2.4 rWAR) – The former Long Beach State Dirtbag is an interesting case, what with his very high strikeout numbers, but good pop, speed, and D from a position more known for its defense.

81. Madison Bumgarner (208.1 IP, 8.25 K/9, 3.55 tERA, 3.4 fWAR, 1.8 rWAR) – An early Cy Young candidate, MadBum’s flaw in his pitching motion that was corrected in the postseason very well could have been the result of fatigue, as he struggled at the end of the regular season.

Final Regular Season Series Preview: #SFGiants (93-66) vs. #Dodgers (84-75)

While the Giants have been trying to figure out their roster for the postseason, the Dodgers have reeled off five straight victories to keep themselves in the hunt for the second wild card. With their elimination number being two, the Dodgers can only afford to lose one game of this series at the very most, and that assumes that the Cardinals woud lose all three games of their series with Cincinnati. If the Cardinals lose two against the Reds this week, the Dodgers must sweep to force a tiebreaker. Then there’s the number one crazy scenario that if the Dodgers sweep the Giants and the Reds sweep the Cardinals the Dodgers would make the playoffs while St. Louis would be left scratching their heads, making it the second year in a row the World Series champion from the season prior did not make the playoffs. Should the Giants eliminate the Dodgers/Dodgers get eliminated before Wednesday, I do not expect Clayton Kershaw to make the Wednesday start.

Monday, October 1st: RHP Matt Cain vs. RHP Aaron Harang

One sentence summary: In his three starts against LA, Cain has allowed 2 BB in 21.1 IP and 0 HR, while this will be Harang’s first look at the Giants, and he has allowed multiple walks in his last five starts, plus he’s also not been able to get to the sixth inning since mid-August.

Tuesday, October 2nd: LHP Barry Zito vs. LHP Chris Capuano

One sentence summary: In five starts against the Dodgers, the defense has backed Zito has he’s allowed 7 ER in that time, while in Capuano’s two starts against the Giants, he’s seen 8 ER attached to his record.

Wednesday, October 3rd: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. LHP Clayton Kershaw

One sentence summary: Ryan Vogelsong may have better results in the HRA department vs. his opponent than Kershaw does in this matchup (0 to 2) when SF-LA meet up, but it’ll be up to Vogelsong to show he can pitch well against someone other than the Padres.

Superstar Bats Are Prevailing

Matt Kemp may not be leading the team in HR (23), but the loved-by-LA Bison has roped 4 HR in the past week while sporting a crazy .650 wOBA in the past week (.390 wOBA overall). The previously cold Shane Victorino (.468 wOBA Last 7, .316 wOBA overall) and AJ Ellis (.460 wOBA L7, .337 wOBA overall) have even contributed a dinger to the cause. Adrian Gonzalez (.430, .345) may not have HR’d in the past week, but his .524 BABIP has led him to be a team player as well. Let us not forget this team just played the Padres and the Rockies. Mark Ellis (.247 wOBA L7, .316 wOBA overall) and Andre Ethier (.240, .343) have the lone scuffling numbers within the past week for LA.

So there’s this guy that’s making an MVP run and his name is Buster Posey and despite two GIDP’s lately to bring his total up to 19, he has been the Giants hottest bat of late (.519 wOBA L7, .404 wOBA overall). Next in line are three guys that weren’t starters at the beginning of the year: Hector Sanchez (.479 wOBA in 12 PA, .293 wOBA overall), Marco Scutaro and his sickness (.423 wOBA L7, .327 wOBA overall), and Xavier Nady and his X-ness (.421 wOBA in 14 PA, .260 wOBA overall). Just to humor you, Aubrey Huff (.268) has a higher wOBA than Nady. Maybe that didn’t make you laugh. Whatever. You should know though that they’re going to need one guy to get warmer and that is Angel Pagan who sits at the top of their lineup doing a bit not well of late (.171 wOBA L7, .338 wOBA overall). Milestone updates: Angel Pagan is 2 HR away from 10, and 1 SB away from 30; Gregor Blanco is 4 SB away from 30; Brandon Belt and Marco Scutaro are 3 HR away from 10. If Marco Scutaro gets 14 hits this series, he’ll get 200 hits for the season. 14 hits in a series would also likely be some sort of record.

Series Prediction: Good Night, LA

Although I never predict the Giants to lose a series (because baseball), I think they’ll close out the season with a series win and actually feeling decently confident as they go home to start a playoff series on Saturday.

Monday: Giants win (Matt Cain > Aaron Harang)

Tuesday: Dodgers win, yet get eliminated

Wednesday: Giants win thanks to Kershaw’s replacement

Saturday Scribbles on #Dodgers and #SFGiants

The separation is 7.5 games, the magic number at 11, the Giants have 18 games left to play, and the Dodgers have 17. The focus for the Dodgers is really on winning the wild card, while the Giants are looking to just build a lead while LA scrambles to figure out what’s going on. This could be one problem:

 

That wall hit was on Tuesday, August 28th, and it’s mid-September now. Many people on twitter have a cult-like following to ESPN Insider Keith Law, and he was at the Dodgers-Cardinals game the other night:

 

Heyward, as you might know, is doing just fine this year after his shoulder was bothering him last year, so this might be a need for rest, and I know I’ve heard at least one Dodger fan call for Kemp to be shut down if the Dodgers hopes for the playoffs become out of reach. One other person they might need to shut down:

 

After a long season, everyone’s playing hurt, and that includes Clayton Kershaw, who is dealing with maybe a little more hurt than most ML pitchers. This hip pain is not going away, and it’ll be interesting to see what’s done about him to close out the season. It’s not that the Dodgers playoff hopes would go to zero if Clayton’s out, but if you take away an All-Star and one of the game’s best, it’s going to at least mess with your confidence. Speaking of All-Stars being left out:

 

If Melky had addressed the team before he bolted, I wonder how that would’ve changed things. Would the Giants even be playing the same way? (There’s been so much talk about the Giants being “angry,” and if they have been playing that way, it’s interesting to think about how would’ve played less angry). A lot of people are mad at Melky, and I can get that, but the people who are mad at him for PED use are not mad at Guillermo Mota, so I know there’s some double standard stuff going on here. My stance on all this: if the players and the team wants him back, let him back in. If they’re done with him, then OK. I don’t really care about fan opinion on this one, the “we don’t need him” blabber, because we sure don’t need someone that can hit consistently and has a rocket arm in LF. Nope.

This was a fun stat from yesterday before the Dodgers erupted for 8 runs on the Cardinals:

 

Now they’re third-to-last in MLB for runs in September (33), just ahead of the Reds (32), and the Mariners (30). The Giants are 6th with 68.

Giants matchup with the DBacks at 5:10PM PST today, while the Cards and Dodgers get going an hour later. I’ll be at the latter of those two games today, and hopefully I’ll have a write-up on it by the time you wake up on Sunday.

Series Preview: #SFGiants (66-55) vs. #Dodgers (67-55)

Sure, you can talk about Kemp, Ethier, and Ramirez, but Luis Cruz is the most surprising thing going on in LA.

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.

Series Prediction

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)

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