Results tagged ‘ Pittsburgh Pirates ’
Gerrit Cole took the mound for the Pirates on Tuesday night, and that’s a call-up of a projected future number one pitcher in the rotation. Three very good pitches, with some high-end velocity on ‘em that few starters can match. A quick scouting report on the kid out of UCLA looks like this from Baseball Prospectus before the season started:
Elite fastball, great slider, above average changeup, that sounds like fun for the home team. Now for the GIFs of what this guy did over the course of the game:
The Cole fastball (95-99):
Was still throwing high-90s in the 7th. Unfair.
The slider (83-87):
Cole was getting the low strike a lot tonight, and that definitely helped in his ability to get into the 7th inning and toss only 81 pitches. He’ll have an ERA, but when you look at tonight as a Pirates fan, hopefully you’re looking into the future. Wandy Rodriguez is out now, and Cole has made an early case for his keeping himself on the 25-man roster now and forever.
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
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
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
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
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
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!
Sunday morning in Long Beach is a cool 70 degrees, and I can finally have the windows open before the heat of the sun evaporates the clouds to prepare for a day in the high-80′s. It could be worse.
I have no idea where my thoughts for this post came from, but I wanted to look at the average home attendance of teams we’re used to seeing lose, and Tampa Bay. I don’t know why I included them, but it’s probably because when I think of places that don’t fill seats very well, I think of the State of Florida. I guess I just put their data in to pick on them. I’m such a Florida bully.
Keep in mind the season’s not done, so the averages can still be changed a little bit, but nothing drastic like a 5,000-10,000 average attendance.
You’ll notice it goes from 2012 on the left to 2008 on the right. Am really not sure why Oakland was drawing what it was in 2008. They had Jack Cust hitting 30+ bombs, and that was the A’s. But, I think their fans understood that because attendance just dips then slowly goes back up to this year (with a healthy spike from ’11), with a real possibility to passing up 2008′s average home attendance. They’re going to have to get over things like drawing 20,342 on a Saturday night (yesterday), and a really pathetic 11,688 (Tues, Sept 4th vs. LAA) in the middle of a playoff chase to beat ’08′s numbers. Really, it is good to see teams like Pittsburgh and Baltimore start to fill their seats, but even the Pirates have had 19 home games under 20,000. For anyone that’s read up on Tampa, you know their stadium is horrible and is in a bad location to be accessed, so even when they win, they can’t get people out to their ballpark. I’m not making excuses for them, but they are contributing factors.
The next graph shows you how far ahead/back of a playoff spot the teams were as of September 1st of that year. I chose that date because by then, most fans have a pretty good idea of whether they should stay emotionally invested in the team, or start preparing for the NFL/NBA/NHL/NCAA season(s). True, they’ll have a better idea by a day like September 16th, but I imagine more can happen with attendance numbers in terms of averages if people know/feel their team is in it in that final stretch that is September/October.
What’s cool about this graph is that you look at 2008-2011, and see the majority of these teams (besides Tampa twice), and how they were pretty much out of it at the time (until the Boston collapse brings that Tampa team to the playoffs last year), and now all four of these low-drawing teams are very much in the race for a spot. That is exciting stuff as a baseball fan. In four years, maybe we’re mentioning the Astros, the Cubs (although they don’t draw all that poorly), the Royals, and the Padres like we are with these teams four-five years from now.
All four of these teams are seeing a spike in their attendance this year from last year, and I’m not going to say winning is the sole cause of it, but I’d bet it’s a pretty big reason. One cannot forget what the marketing and advertising teams do to bring fans in with promotions and such, but it’ll be interesting to see how much more of a spike in attendance these teams experience for the rest of the season, and even in 2013 if these teams can continue to be successful and fill the seats in the stands.
Let’s go baseball. *clap, clap, clap-clap-clap*
Good Morning! Why did you go to sleep?
Last night may have been the most eventful night in some time in terms of baseball transactions, with Wandy Rodriguez being traded to the Pirates, Cole Hamels being signed to an incredible 6-year/$144MM extension, and then the cherry on top of Hanley Ramirez being shipped to the Dodgers. There are more pieces to the Pirates and the Dodgers deals, but I’m going to stick with the headliners because I don’t doubt you might have woken up today, and especially if you’re a Dodger/Giant fan you went “UUUWHHHHHHHATTTTTTTT???” which is pretty much the sound I made.
Which Hanley are the Dodgers getting?
The Hanley Ramirez the public will think of when we think of what he can do is the 2007-2010 Hanley Ramirez. In those years he put up 29, 33, 24, 21 HR; 51, 35, 27, 32 SB, an OBP of .386, .400, .410, .378; a wOBA of .411, .405, .410, .373; and an fWAR of 5.7, 7.5, 7.4, 4.6 if you’re into any of those stats.
In 2011 and 2012, we’ve seen somebody different, and granted he only played 92 G in 2011 so perhaps he should get cut some slack. The HR aren’t too bad with 10, 14; 20, 14 SB so he’s a little behind the normal pace this year; an OBP of .333, .322, which is a little concerning; wOBA of .317, .329 which repeats that concern; and an fWAR of 1.3, 1.4 which further drives home the point that he hasn’t been able to put forth what’s been expected of him.
Even if he magically bounces back to 2007-2010 Hanley due to meshing with the Dodgers clubhouse, he’s got 64 games in the regular season left with them, and you may see 10-12 more HR, and SB, maybe gets on base at a .370 clip, and gives the Dodgers maybe two or three extra wins in total (remember, 64 games left, not a larger number) than they would’ve had without him. Something of a close comparison may be the 2010 Matt Kemp that put up 28 HR, 19 SB, but a .310 OBP and a .323 wOBA — he’ll get big hits, but you can see there’s something more there and it will kill you that he’s not reaching that potential.
The consensus fear is that the Hanley of 2007-2010 shows up for the Dodgers. I believe the realistic expectation to kind of echo Wendy Thurm is 2011-2012 Hanley shows up this year, then wait and see what happens in 2013-2014, where he could return to form. He will still be good though, I’m not saying he will do nothing.
So how do we react?
Well, we take it in, and just go, “OK. The Dodgers have Hanley now.” This really shouldn’t change things for the front office because we’ve known all along the Dodgers would try to go big this season, and they might not be done in trying to get Ryan Dempster, and/or Shane Victorino, or maybe there’s other stuff out there we don’t know about (very real possibility). Therefore, the Giants knew before the Hanley deal they needed bullpen help, knew they’re trying to land someone that will help the team in 1B/RF. The only thing that changed because of last night’s Panda stretch is possibly the need for a 3B, especially if the position remains a black hole of hitting production. This deal doesn’t mean, “OHMYGAHH THE GIANTS NEED TO TRADE FOR ZACK GRINKY OR WHATEVR THAT GUYZ NAME IS… OR WHADDABOUT ELVIS ANDRUS FOR NATE SCHIERHOLTZ/?!!?” because really, with the Giants farm system (and wallet) being what it is, it’s not gonna happen.
So the Dodgers have Hanley and the Giants haven’t traded for anyone, OK. 6 days left in the non-waiver trade deadline and I’m sure you know we’ve acquired guys in August in the past as well, so getting an impact arm or bat isn’t out of the question. Relax, have fun speculating what it’ll mean, and enjoy these next couple of days from a trade deadline perspective. Just don’t panic, because if the front office isn’t panicking over that Hanley deal, why should you?
Right? If you write about baseball, or you think you can right about baseballs (lulz), chances are you can make predictions or give a take on the second half of the season that has/hasn’t been said before, or provide first-half analysis, but do it in a different way from other people.
I use Excel spreadsheets:
Boom. How you like these apples? You may have seen something like this in a Fansided post I did last month, and now it’s updated. Spent all night updating it, so I hope you appreciate the work. If you don’t, well take in the numbers that are important here: the Giants are 20-20 against teams with a .500 record or better (despite their most recent 9-10 stretch versus winning teams) and have 30/76 (~40%) of their remaining games against those teams including 12 against the Dodgers, who may or may not look the same the next time we see them. I have a hard time seeing top Dodger prospect Zach Lee making it through this season without being traded. As long as the Dodgers don’t win it all, this could be a season we look back on and kind of point and laugh at them much in the same way people do at the Giants for that deal last year involving a different Zack. In both scenarios though, the deal needs/needed to be done to acquire an impact player, and I don’t know how impact of a guy they can get in this market. The most important number may be that they have 13 games against the Rockies, who are hopelessly lost right now. The next most outside of the NL West are the 7 against the Braves, and the 6 against the Jose Altuves.
Despite being one game under .500, the DBacks are 4 back of the Dodgers, and 3.5 behind the Giants, so for now we will consider them being in the hunt and not giving up on Justin Upton, which is another issue in of itself. The Dodgers, though they have swept the Cardinals, have 8 left against them, and still have to finish their season series with the Nationals, Pirates, Reds, Braves, and the Mets (Giants are done with two of those guys, DBacks, are done with the Braves). The Dodgers, despite starting very well against winning competition, have regressed to one game over, but have one win up on the Giants at the moment. The Diamondbacks in terms of their schedule have more games against over .500 teams to finish the season largely in part to the Giants, Dodgers, and Reds, but have struggled overall against such foes going 19-26, which hopefully is a number that only gets worse (for them).
Unimportant observation: Did you notice the summed up records of opponents that are below .500 for the Giants and Dodgers were exactly the same? How ’bout that.
Key part of the schedule: Friday, September 7th through Monday, September 24th. Here’s why:
Giants face: vs. Dodgers (3), @Rockies (3), @DBacks (3), vs. Rockies (4), vs. Padres (3)
Dodgers face: @Giants (3), @DBacks (2), vs. Cardinals (4), @Nationals (3), @Cincinnati (3)
DBacks face: @Padres (3), vs. Dodgers (2), vs. Giants (3), vs. Padres (3), vs. Rockies (4)
Notice a difference in the degree of difficulty the Giants and DBacks face versus what the Dodgers have to go through? Shoot, the DBacks barely have to travel during that stretch, and the Giants go as far as Colorado while the Dodgers get to go to the other side of the States. This could make the end of the season an interesting one for the NL West.
And now, for the part that anyone can do (and will probably be wrong): The prediction.
Thursday, July 12th
Dodgers 47-40 –
Giants 46-40 0.5
Dbacks 42-43 4.0
Thursday, October 4th
Giants 90-72 –
Dodgers 88-74 2.0
DBacks 87-75 3.0
This means the Giants have to win 58% of the games left. Should be doable, especially if the starters (I’m thinking of specifically two of them) can give the team a chance to win. It’s a long season, and I may be a bit optimistic, but we’ll hope for the best (for us and only us).
Another day, another series against a division-leading opponent. Although the Giants play in a division that’s sub-par, these are the games you want to play if you’re anything like Ryan Vogelsong to prove you’re worth taking seriously. The Giants have the bats to win games, and they certainly have the pitching, and the bullpen, it’s just a matter of execution, which over the past 6 games, the Giants have had trouble doing. Things won’t get easier against Pittsburgh whose pitchers do oddly well at home, a trend that hopefully take a turn towards regression while the boys are in town.
Friday, June 6th: LHP Barry Zito vs. LHP Erik Bedard
One sentence summary: This will probably be labeled as a “must win” game for the Giants, but keep in mind there will be 78 games after this one.
Saturday, June 7th: RHP Ryan Vogelsong vs. RHP James McDonald
One sentence summary: This should be an intriguing one to watch as McDonald, like the other Pirates, does very well at home, and Vogey always seems to do more to impress.
Sunday, June 8th: RHP Tim Lincecum vs. RHP A.J.Burnett
One question summary: Lincecum faced a very good lineup in the Nats and didn’t fare well, but how will he do against one that’s not as strong… but still kinda hot?
Small Sample Sizes (Last 7 Days) and Overall Numbers
You may find it no surprise that Andrew McCutchen has been lighting the ball on fire with his bat lately (.646 wOBA, 2 HR), but Garrett Jones (.548 wOBA, 3 HR) has also been making some loud contact (the two have 16, and 12 HR, .428 and .348 wOBA overall, respectively). Drew Sutton has been enjoying his time thus far with his .434 wOBA overall but that’s just in 37 PA, and with a .522 BABIP, I think it’s fair to say this honeymoon won’t last forever. Remember when the Giants went into the Nationals series and most of their lineup was hot? Same thing with the Pirates: Alex Presley (.484 wOBA L7, .290 wOBA overall), Neil Walker (.467, .322), Pedro Alvarez (.456, .332), and Casey McGehee (.414, .315), and all of those guys but McGehee has HR’d in the L7.
Meanwhile, the Giants have only had 2 guys with wOBA over .340 in the last 7 and kudos if you can name them: Pablo Sandoval (.509 with 2 HR, .372 overall), and Brandon Crawford (.405, .271). That’s it. However, unlike going into the Dodgers series, no one is hitting below .200 wOBA in their L7 — progress and consistency! If you feel like Belt has been striking out a lot lately, he has done it 5X is his last 20 PA. Belt also has the night off tonight, punishment for not being named Hector Sanchez, personal catcher to Barry Zito. This though, may not continue in the second half, as Bochy has implied, but I don’t see it happening right away as they continue to monitor and be careful with Buster Posey, All-Star actor.
This is the last series before the All Star Break (some of them need it more than others, for sure), and I don’t care where the Giants are in relation to whom, all I care is that they win the series in Pittsburgh.
Friday: Giants win (Erik Bedard and Barry Zito will battle for who walks more people tonight, don’t worry, should be fun)
Saturday: Pirates win (James McDonald gets his revenge and shows his All Star case)
Sunday: Giants win (Giants confuse this day for last day of the season and explode for runs)
I know we’d all love a sweep, but I’m pretty sure anybody would take 2 out of 3 from a division leader.
That picture used from the San Francisco Giants blog, showing some of the happy times of the trip. One of the perks of operating on multiple blogs is when I feel like writing something about the Giants, I’ll always have a space for it, whether it’s on this space, or on the FanSided space. Since one of my other teammates is working on a game recap there, and it could double as a trip recap, I decided I’d do mine here.
What probably matters most: Won 2, lost 4. Swept in Arizona, won 2 of 3 in Colorado.
Most Pleasant Surprises:
1. Barry Zito, who was the highlight of the trip. Not often you see a complete game shutout, and especially from Zeets.
2. Melky Cabrera, an unknown on this trip who’s pulling off a small sample size .385/.429/.615 right now with 1 HR, 3 2B and 10 H. His defense hasn’t really had the chance to show itself yet. Did he miss that liner today in the 6th? Yea, but I say that’s a pretty tough play for most LFers.
3. Brandon Crawford, who is not batting below .100 like some of us (me) thought he might be doing. He has actually made some legitimately solid contact, including his HR last night. You don’t expect his .261/.320/.522 to hold, but we’ll see how it goes. We said before the season we’d take .225, we will most certainly take that line if it stays around there.
1. Tim Lincecum, who has struck out 10 and walked 3, has seen 14 baserunners arrive safely via the hit, and has allowed two HRs. There have been some concerns that since he’s scrapped his slider to protect his elbow that it might be time to panic over him. It’s difficult not to be concerned about him, but he’s had funks before, and we just hope the one he’s in right now isn’t a prelude to a trip to take care of something of the Tommy John variety.
2. Angel Pagan, with .130/.200/.217, and maybe most importantly, 0 SB. Emmanuel Burriss has the only SB thus far, and Pagan is batting worse than leadoff men of the past (2011) did. Bochy may give Pagan tomorrow to try and make it up to the fans, but my guess is if he doesn’t perform, Blanco gets his shot. As for those clamoring for Gary Brown, just stop, because it’ll get you nowhere.
3. Bruce Bochy — I know, this may seem like classic fan banter, but now it’s come to a point where we begin to question his word, which as a human being is worst possible thing. That stuff’s for politicians, not for managers and their respective fanbases. If Brandon Belt struggles all year, fine, you gave him his chance. If you say he’s your guy and you don’t start him, we’re going to have a problem. The fact that Belt also got benched twice in Wednesday’s game was also a pretty strong slap to the face.
6 game homestand, with 3 against the Pirates, and then 3 against the Phillies. Vogey comes back for Sunday’s game, while Zito will hear his loudest applause when lineups get intro’d at home.
What I Expect:
The Giants to take 4 of 6. I don’t care how they do it, but that’s the least I expect. This leaves room for Timmy to continue to struggle, and Vogey to get his bearings. You never know though what’ll happen because after all, it’s baseball.