Thursday, April 26, 2007

Daniel, meet Crow. Crow, Daniel.

I hear Crow tastes ever so slightly better when it's lightly fried in olive oil with some garlic, green onions and mushrooms.

Ah, nevermind -- Crow tastes like chicken anyway.

After reeling off seven straight wins and vaulting themselves right back into the NL West chase on the strength of Barry Bonds Bombs and some superb starting pitching, it's pretty easy to just slap the fat and ride the wave in...

...hm, let me opt for a more PC analogy.

It's easy to get caught up in the wins, and easy to think that the starters are indeed this good and Bonds can indeed keep this pace up to an NL West title after that many wins in a row. But more the fools us, if we believe it will keep up like this.

Not that the Giants can't make a run at the title -- when a team wins seven in a row with pitching like this, they're capable of making a run here and there, and I'm still not convinced there is a good team in the NL West. But the offense is still a problem, a problem that, for now, Barry is hiding behind his bat.

The Giants have outscored their opponents during this run 30-17, which calculates out to 4.3-2.4 in terms of runs scored/game vs. runs against/game.

The cold, hard truths are these -- no team in this era will win with any consistency at 4.3 runs per game. Period. And no team in this era will go through a season allowing anywhere near as low as 2.4 runs per game.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays scored the fewest runs in all of baseball last year at a 4.25 runs/game clip, and had MLB's worst record. The Padres had the worst runs per game average of any winning team last season at 4.5/game. The Astros also had a winning record with a 4.53/game average...but they were all of two games over .500.

Let's look at the Padres pitching -- at only 4.2 runs per game allowed, they were by far the least amount of runs allowed per game, the next closest being the Astros at 4.44/game.

Can we just agree that the Padres are an anomaly mostly because of their ballpark?

Meanwhile, the Giants last year scored 'em at 4.6/game, and allowed them at 4.87/game. This year overall that ratio is 3.63/3.58.

Does that make any sense, really? That the Giants can do better than last season while taking a one run per game hit from their offense because, coincidentally, their pitching staff happens to allow 1.3 less runs per game? A pitching staff that, I'll remind you, has added Barry Zito and Russ Ortiz, and that's pretty much it.

Nah, it doesn't compute -- the Giants are running a sample-size run right now, because their offense is still poor but their pitching has been spectacular. We'll all obviously enjoy the run for as long as it lasts (especially when beating the Dodgers is any part of it), but expecting it to last...well, you'd be giving your money right back to the casino.

The offense (or, more aptly, Bonds) still needs significant help if this team expects to stay in contention, because the pitching staff cannot keep this up. Sooner or later they'll drop just a bit...let's say, at least to the 4.2 runs allowed/game mark, at which point scoring 3.63 runs a game will see the Giants lose quite a few games. Well, being honest, we have to swing things the other way a bit, and assume the Giants will score more than 3.63 runs/game eventually...oh, wait, they're doing that right now, at that scintillating 4.3 runs/game clip.

Is that where you'd want your team to be at? Trying to win every day with an offense that scores it at 4.3/game with a pitching staff that allows 4.2/game? That sounds a lot like asking for a .500 record to me, and I think we can all agree that despite my thoughts that the NL West still isn't any good, the team that wins the division will have better than a .500 record. So, again, the offense still needs significant help.

But for now, for my predictions of Doom and Gloom being so poorly timed, I shall sit down and have myself a nice helping of Crow. Shaken, not stirred.

8 comments:

sebastian landini said...

wah wah wah. whining whining whining. it is not enough that we complained all year last year about the Giants' inability to put together win streaks, but now that we do everyone has to find some sort of negative in it. We walk too many batters or we dont score enough runs or we can't pitch like this all year. guess what, we do have a great staff and we will not have our #1 and #2 hitters batting .230 and .203 respectively all year. the offense will improve and we will acquire another bat. that is a given. If we do get a bat it will be at the expense of a starter and he will be replaced by Lincecum. If anything, our starting pitching will stand to improve. In addition, all this talk about our bullpen being so terrible has really been the funniest part of the doom and gloomers. We have a surplus of very young quality arms in the pen. Taschner is a dirty lefty, as is Sanchez. Chulk has very, very good stuff. Hennessey is a guy who can get a K with his slider. Kline is veteren who may be expendable and Benitez looked pretty damn solid last night. All told, we may yet have one of the best bullpens in the division. too bad all giants fans, inclduing yourself, tend to try and find negativity in everything. Its a 7 game winning streak manifested by dominant starting pitching, solid bullpen work and clutch hitting. Complain about that? makes you souund like a whiney bitch.

Anonymous said...

Anyway...

2 wins and 7 losses, plus 7 wins and 2 losses, equals .500. Dodgers sweep Giants + Giants sweep Dodgers= .500.

I don't see the starters all pitching this well all year long. Of course, I don't see Winn hitting below the LeMaster line all year, either, so hopefully the run production will come around a bit and keep us...

at .500.

I didn't panic at the beginning, but I'm also not crowing now. There's a lot of comeuppance to go around at Mays Field yet this year. That said, I'd like to see the Fodgers get creamed tonight.

And one game of Benitez does not a season make. Someone else will be closing by the end of the year one way or another.

BB

Daniel said...

Thanks, BB...commentary without name-calling is always welcome here.

I admit to being panicky at the beginning, though, because I've been worried about this years offense since about July of last season.

As for Sebastian, you're a little too ready to jump -- I not only said I can see the Giants making a run at the NL West title, but the whole post started and finished with me talking about eating crow for writing the team off...

...what more, exactly, are you looking for me to say? I'm not into burning myself in effigy, especially when the jury is still very much out.

Just relax, man.

sebastian landini said...

daniel,
i apologize. I guess I kept perusing Giants blogs and instead of reading enthusiastic commentaries, i read nothing but tempered praise that all came off as cynical. I should not have written that last sentence and I apologize. totally uncalled for. I appreciate your thoughts and respect your commitment to writing and to the giants.
with that said, I just cannot see why everyone still uses the same borrowed crticisms of the giants. They are not "old". the pitching staff is actually young. to say our farm system is so inferior is another statement I cannot stand. Look at our bullpen. We have 3 of 5 starters that were developed here, and 4 of our bullpen arms the same. how many teams in baseball can say that? The dodgers? nope. Dbacks? nope. As well, everyone complains about our lack of production. If our solid pitching can't last according to most, then our poor offensive performance cannot last either. The question will be how far each of those components will swing in the other direction. the point i am trying to make is not that you have to be ready to claim this team as world beaters, but that maybe all of the people who said this is a .500 team at best were wrong. Maybe Bochy makes a bigger difference than originally thought. Maybe cain is this dominant all year. Maybe Morris does bounce back well. maybe our outfield defense is not as bad as everyone assumed. Maybe our bullpen was misused in years past. It looks to me like cases can be made for a lot of these things. Last night's win, for example, may not make the people fixated on peripherals feel real good. On the other hand, anybody who knows winning baseball knows that the giants pretty much exhibited all it takes to win in one game last night. I like this team's chances not only in our division but in baseball period. go ahead and temper your enthusiasm daniel, but I will continue to be optimistic about the chances of bringing home the hardware this year. why not? is the dodgers rotation really that good? Is arizona even really a threat? are the Padres going to score a ton of runs? I dont think so. I think the giants may have the most balanced team in the division. period. as for the rest of the NL good pitching can beat a good lineup which means I am not all that worried about the Mets in the long run. The astros cardinals brewers and the rest of the sludge in the central is nothing to fear.if we get through the NL, anything can happen.
Once again I apologize for my immature statement yesterday. totally unforgiveable.

Daniel said...

There's obviously some good team here, Sebastian, and they're very capable of taking any series with the type of pitching that they can bring to bear.

You're right about the way things can go...if things click. While I don't doubt that these players have the capability of performing well, I do wonder about their ability to do it over 162 games. Yes, if they all play to their ability the Giants will have something here -- but a few are years removed from their last good season (Ruus Ortiz, Ryan Klesko are prime examples), and most others are 35 or older -- and you just cannot totally count on tip-top performance from guys that age.

We'll see, of course, but the most important person in this is Bruce Bochy, and how he manages everyone's playing time. If he can keep everyone fresh, it obviously has a much better chance to succeed, but I still think this team will need a significant offensive upgrade at some point.

Thanks for stopping by.

Anonymous said...

Hey Daniel,

I'm a total tool for doing this, but I couldn't find your email address. Anyways, i started a new website called sfgiantwire.com and I wanted to make sure it was okay I syndicate your excerpts and headlines (I link back to your website, of course). If you have any questions, email me at norcalsportswire@gmail.com

Thanks Again man.

Anonymous said...

bonus


It's easy to get caught up in the wins, and easy to think that the starters are indeed this good and Bonds can indeed keep this pace up to an NL West title after that many wins in a row. But more the fools us, if we believe it will keep up like this.

Alina said...

Thank You very much!!

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