Monday, April 29, 2013

Giants dying to put it together

It's pretty clear to this guy that the 2013 Giants are another crazy squad full of comebacks and torture. There's just something in the water over at the Cove that makes this team simultaneously maddening and magical.

We're still in April, so that's why no one should be freaking out. We've seen this team go through pretty bad stretches of baseball en route to World Series Championships, and this is certainly close to being one of them.

Is it a frustrating stretch? Oh yeah. Blowing leads, coming back, and blowing them again really grinds everyones' gears. WTF is up with the bullpen? The Giants could and should be another 4 or 5 games up in the win column by my count, but you just have to remember that they have another 5 months to make the playoffs and get their shit together.

What I've learned after years of baseball is that you want your team to peak at the right time, because it means everything. I look at a team like the Atlanta Braves right now, who look pretty good... but it's April 29th, and we've won two championships peaking in late October. That's what it's about.

Cainer and Vogey. What's up?

Bafflingly bad performances by guys like Cain and Vogelsong are starting to concern a lot of people. I don't think it's time to freak out on Cain... I'm resisting the urge.

He's got an ERA damn near 7.00, but a truly respectable WHIP at 1.26, he's striking out guys at a higher rate than ever, and he's got the lowest BB/9 rate going of his career in the early going. So what's the problem?

Well, you know already... it's the longball.

Cain has already given up 6 HR this season (Vogelsong 7), and you've gotta hope that this trend slows down, or it's going to be a tough season.

While Vogelsong looks like he's in deeper mechanical trouble than Cain, he only gave up 17 roundtrippers in 2012, while Cain gave up 21. Disturbing about that 21 is that it was an increase of 12 (!!!) over 2011 when Cain only allowed 9 longballs.

Cain's fastball velocity isn't down, and the only real variance between '13 and '12 is that he's relying on his fastball a little bit more than his change and curve. 

The big numbers that jump out at you are Cain's HR/flyball ratio, which is double the 2012 value at 16.2%. It's a scary number, but it's probably something that he can correct as the season moves along. His velocity and overall pitching approach haven't changed, he's just thrown some lousy pitches up there that have gotten crushed. Correct that somehow, and he's back to the good Cain. Easier said that done.

Vogey on the other hand, is a bit more concerning. He'll look great for stretches of games, and then he just gets bombed a couple times. Unlike Cain, Vogey has seen an average drop of about one mile/hr on his fastball and slider.

His K/9 BB/9 and K/BB ratios are all in line with his career averages, but just like Cainer, that HR/Flyball ratio is absolutely brutal at 19.4% (+11% over '12).

Gentlemen? Keep the ball down.

Crawdaddy the All-Star?    

It could happen.

Remember the crazy all-star balloting last year when Giants fans went nuts (within the rules!) and nearly voted in the entire starting lineup? Well as I recall, Brandon Crawford came in 2nd or 3rd in the balloting. Obviously nuts, and anyone that considers themselves a true baseball fan shouldn't have voted for him once last season. He should've gotten 2 votes: one from his mother, and one from his wife. His own dad probably wouldn't have voted for him.

This year however, he's absolutely tearing it up. 

Along with gold glove caliber defense, we're getting an unreal slash line of .291/.361/.547 (OPS .907). Just so you can see how awesome that is, let me show you some other guys' OPS numbers:

Miguel Cabrera      .992
Paul Goldschmidt   .922 
Brandon Crawford .907 
Matt Kemp            .668 (ahahahhahahahahah)

So look, he's not just off to a good start, he's off to an amazing start. For a guy we begged to hit better than his weight for an average (.215+), he's showing us all that he is capable of great things.

Will he continue this tear? Unlikely. But he is clearly developing the elusive power stroke that we've seen random flashes of. He's maturing and becoming more disciplined. He's walking more, swinging at balls outside the strike zone less, and when he does swing at strikes, he's crushing them.

He has basically been the 2nd/3rd best NL shortstop thus far (behind Tulowitzki and Jean Segura... matter of opinion), and if he keeps this up, our crazy fan voters won't be wrong if he wins.

Marco! Marco??? Hey, why isn't he saying Scutaro??? 

Some people just get off to lousy starts, and I'm inclined to believe that this is the case with ol' Scoots. He's too good a hitter to scrap for that much longer.

You had to know you weren't getting the .362 hitter we saw last year after the trade. You tell yourself that and try not to get excited, but hey, we expected .300 or something, right?

There's rumblings that his back is bothering him, but we haven't really gotten a good answer. He's been a little dinged up since Spring, but we were led to believe he's healthy.

Whether he's in a funk or he's hurt, it's time for him to A) Get days off and let Nick Noonan play or B) Switch with Brandon Crawford in the order, so we can have a productive bat hitting in the no. 2 hole. This whole hitting .215 thing isn't going to fly.    


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