Friday, May 21, 2010
I remember the days of yesteryear... and by yesteryear, I mean like three weeks ago. Ah yes, three weeks ago, when our bullpen was still reliable, Mark DeRosa was just in a slump, and we had the great Freddy Sanchez's return to look forward to.
Now look at us. One night we give up 13 runs and score 1. The next, our ace gives up 5, is bailed out by a highly improbable offensive explosion, and our bullpen promptly gives it up again.
There were a handful of things that we as Giants fans could rely on: Solid to elite starting pitching from 4 out of 5 guys, a strong bullpen that wouldn't hurt us and certainly wouldn't lose games, and an predictably frustrating, yet scrappy offense.
It's true, we still don't score too many runs on a day to day basis, and it's an ongoing problem, but we used to be sure that if we were blessed with more runs than the other team in any given 7th inning, that we'd probably win that game. It was just that way.
Now. I don't know. I've quickly lost confidence in a once Ironman suit-solid bullpen. Every time a starter comes out of the game, and I see one of these guys coming trotting in from the outfield, I feel the same progressive emotions: distrust, disgust, anger, and nausea.
Sure it could be just a run of bad luck for these guys, but it seems to have been going on for a fair amount of time. Sergio Romo and Dan Runzler are especially upsetting. I'd generally keep Billy Mota's name out of it, because he only seems to give up runs when the other guys are giving up runs. Otherwise he doesn't, and he's been an incredible Sabean gem in general. Obviously he's easily influenced by the actions around him. Mix in Affeldt's string of bad performances (until a week ago), Brandon Medders's 7.20 ERA, and a few Brian Wilson "heart attack saves" and we've got a fine mess on our hands.
It certainly isn't as bad overall as I'm making it seem, as Billy Mota, Wilson, and Affeldt have been good, and I'm usually the biggest optimist out of the 13,319 Giants blogs on the internet, but in this case, I have to skewer Romo and Runzler for a little while. It's like therapy.
Runzler, perhaps due to a lack of minor league seasoning, does not do well in high leverage situations-- or seemingly any situations lately. His biggest issue is walking guys and an overall lack of command.
You need not look any further into stats than his WHIP, which is 1.59. Yes, for those of you not used to looking at WHIPs, that is waaaaay too high for either a fantasy pitcher or a real one. Yep, a 7.16 BB/9 rate will do that to you. Also interesting is that of the 288 pitches he's thrown this year, 122 were balls. Yeah, that's almost half. Not cool Runz.
The guy hasn't given up a ton of big hits, but his specialty seems to be adding guys to the basepaths and making a hasty exit. Still, his 4.96 ERA is not pretty.
Romo is the perfect complement to Runzler. I believe after the Mets series, I called these two the "anti-win squad". Runzler comes in, walks guys on base and Romo let's them score. It's sick. What is this? Co-Dependency? No? Well, it's gotta be something.
Romo's troubles stem from a flat breaking ball and a severe loss of all confidence. Many have speculated that his arm angle makes it easier for batters to see the ball coming out of his hand. I believe that his best pitch, his slider, just grooves in way too easily into a lefty's wheelhouse. It's really hard to say based on stats alone, because Romo's ineffectiveness cannot be found in his numbers.
This is the craziest set of stats I've ever seen... bear with me.
3.50 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, 9.00 K/9, .194 batting avg. against
Wait, what? Are you kidding me? That can't be right.
But it is! It's insane! Here's a guy that I wanted to send to AAA last night, and look at those stats. They're... good.
You've got to dig a little deeper. He's got 3 blown saves, has allowed countless inherited runners to score, and has given up 3 huge dongs in only 18 innings. As I recall, each of those dongs were huge. These innuendos doing anything for you?
I'm trying to find some sort of statistical tidbit to explain why we've lost confidence in Romo and why we can't stand him, and I just can't. I mean, he walks lefties at a way higher rate, after 15 pitches his ERA skyrockets to 12.00 (meaning he's not working his way out of jams), and his road stats are markedly awful.
Romo's away numbers: 7.2 IP, 6 ER, 7.04 ERA, 1.57 WHIP
Look, that's all I've got. My advice to Bochy: Do not pitch Romo on the road against a lefty-heavy lineup with any inherited runners. Good? Good.
I keep harping on this article I wrote prior to the season about Romo & Runzler being keys to the bullpen's success. I do so because that gives me some sort of W-list Giants celebrity credit, but because these two guys are basically failing on a regular basis, and the entire team is suffering.
They are both talented dudes fully capable of great things. We've seen it, we know it's there. We just need to see it more often.
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
In our lives, we've all come to know just how a nemesis works. A nemesis, a thorn in the side, a pain in the ass, a bully, an a-hole, someone that always beats you in whatever you do-- this is what we're looking at with the San Diego Padres.
The Padres are two the Giants what Newman was to Jerry.
Sometimes it goes deeper than a jerk pantsing you every chance he gets (like Randy Fulcher did to Peter Griffin). The hold that the Padres have over the Giants has now entered mythical proportions. I really wish I was joking about all this, but we've seen it. We're now 0-7 against San Diego, which you know, but it really seems like they've cast some sort of spell on us. It's as if a bunch of wickens or dungeons and dragons nerds got together behind the Captain Video, pooled all their nerdy power together, burned some magic cards, some pokemons, some old lady's heart medication, and prayed to the baseball gods and Joe Biden that the Giants would never beat the Padres again.
Maybe it's Santeria or Voodoo. Maybe Sammy Gervacio and Sarah Jessica Parker are involved. I just don't know.
Inevitably, some interesting facts arise when one team owns another team.
- Pablo Sandoval and Aubrey Huff are both hitting .290+ against the Madres in '10
- The Giants are 21-16. That means that if you take away the 7 losses to San Dimas (I call SD San Dimas sometimes. It amuses me), we'd have a 21-9 record. As Hank Schulman Twittered yesterday, we'd be on pace for 110 wins. So basically, that means that the Gyros play .700 ball against everyone else, a group that includes Philly, LA, and Atlanta, and we play .000 ball against the frickin Padres.
- In 5.1 innings, Dan Runzler has allowed 4 earned runs and 4 walks to the Padres
- The Giants have scored 9 runs in 7 games versus San Diego
- During that time, we have been shut out twice, and only allowed 21 runs. We've basically lost 7 games by the score of 3-1.
It just goes beyond all logic and reason that the Giants, a team that even with the 7 games against San Dimas factored in, still have an offense ranked sixth in the NL in batting average, second to last in strikeouts, and uh, well everything else isn't great, but dammit, we're getting some hits sometimes!
And this whole drumbeat for Buster Posey just doesn't make any sense to me. Would I love to see him up here raking in the cleanup spot? Yes. I would like that very much. But where does he play?
So we're going to call him up to take at bats away from Molina, who is hitting .330 with a .407 on base percentage? Is he going to take away AB's from Huff, who's hitting .280 with an .800 OPS and 18 RBI?
Look, it just doesn't make sense. None of it does. That's what makes this so damn frustrating.
The Giants performance against the Madres has been horrific, but we don't play them every day, and we're still 5 games above .500. We've already banged out a good portion of our games against these scrappy base thieves, and the rest of our season can play out normally... at a .700 clip.
The point is, just because this one team is killing us with the help of some evil Star Wars character or Ozzy Osbourne biting the head off a Pablo Sandoval bobblehead doll, doesn't mean it's time to freak the eff out and start blowing up the team.
We just need to take a deep breath, step away from the ledge, and realize that we are 21-16, we sweep people all the time, and that as long as we're not playing San Diego, we find a way to win more often than not.
Anyone feel any better? No? Sorry guys, I tried. Go Sharks.