Posts Tagged ‘johnny cueto’

The San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs have split the first two games of their May series, with the rubber match set for Sunday at AT&T Park. Madison Bumgarner will oppose Kyle Hendricks for the series win and bragging rights for the next three months, until the two teams meet again the first three days of September.

The series thus far represents the best argument that the National League can present for avoiding the designated hitter. Not only did Jake Arrieta single in the first run of the Cubs’ 8-1 win on Friday night, Matt Cain doubled in the first two runs on Saturday night, en route to a 5-3 Giants win.
Cain’s hit was the first for him in 46 plate appearances, but Giants pitchers overall have thirteen runs batted in, leading the Cubs in this department by four runs. In comparison the last-place Atlanta Braves have had two RBIs contributed by pitchers.

That helps explain why both the Cubs and Giants occupy first place in their respective divisions, and is not so much a diss on Atlanta. The reality is that pitchers are not traditionally expected to do anything beyond pitch; some managers will not even allow their pitchers to either swing a bat, or run out a ground ball.

In assessing the upcoming series Friday afternoon, prior to the start of the first game, I pointed out to Big Jack on SportsTimeRadio that the pitching matchups that were in place would never be duplicated during a playoff run. Jake Peavy versus Jake Arrieta? I don’t think so.
Matt Cain versus Jon Lester? This is not much better but the Giants were able to rise to the occasion and get to Lester early. These lopsided pairings do provide some entertaining outcomes, but there is simply too much on the table during the playoffs to allow them.

To a certain extent, Kyle Hendricks opposing Madison Bumgarner is a similar David/Goliath confrontation, with MadBum having won his last four starts, while Hendricks is 1-3 in his last six. To his credit Hendricks has a 2.74 ERA during the stretch and has allowed only two home runs all season.
Because I have been promoting the notion that the Cubs and Giants are destined to meet in October, I am more apt to think in terms of the big picture. Realistically, Arrieta is on another plane, with his string of 22 consecutive [regular season] starts, allowing three runs or less.

The run is impressive from so many different perspectives, it boggles the mind. That being said, it must also be pointed out that the playoffs cannot be compared to the regular season, because Jake the Great will not face Jake the Terrible, as he did Friday night.

No, Jake the Great will oppose MadBum, if there is any possible way that Bruce Bochy can make it happen. Johnny Cueto will face Jon Lester and oh yeah, there’s that Jeff Samardzija guy probably going up against Jason Hammel. That way, with the pitching more equitable, other components of the game will have to determine the outcome.

Both Chicago and San Francisco have impressive defensive numbers, with the Giants having committed a total of 19 errors for the season, while the Cubs have racked up 23. Neither team has been assessed an error during the current series.

Everything being magnified during October, it could be a Brandon Crawford/Addison Russell gem, or a player-yet-to-be-determined’s error that hands the victory to Arrieta or Bumgarner.

There is no way to quantify experience, except to count the number of championship rings that the individual players wear. Those who have spent more time under the magnifying glass that is October, will be better prepared to handle the pressure.
I am not one to make bold predictions; I told Dan that I did not see a sweep in store for the current series but that on paper the Cubs were clear favorites. They have an astonishing road record of 15-6.

I said that if the Giants could bag one of the first two games, by any means possible, they would stand a good chance of being able to take the series. I would not have thought that Lester would prove to be the weak link, but it is immaterial. It only takes one.  Jake Peavy is the Giants’ weak link.

Sunday night, once more on national television, we will get to see the finale. I might be inclined to give the nod to San Francisco but recent history suggests I not.

Kyle Hendricks is said to have gathered up a whole slew of stones to go with his sling, so maybe I’ll just hold off on the prediction and say,
…nothing.

@bellspringsmark

Advertisements

If you are a San Francisco Giants fan, you will remember the off-season comments being tossed around concerning the acquisition of Jeff Samardzija, also known as The Shark.

“His 4.96 ERA last season [2015] was the worst of his career.”
“Look at that 6.86 K/9 ratio; what’s up with that besides walks?”

“He reached career highs in hits allowed (228), earned runs (118) and home runs (29), while posting an 11-13 record in 32 starts.”

“He plunked a dozen batters in 2015…” 

Samardzija himself said, “I was tipping my pitches.”

During one fatal stretch leading up to his two final starts of the 2015 season, he went 1-8 with a 9.24 ERA, giving up a career-high ten earned runs to Oakland on September 15th, in a 17-6 loss.

To many fans it seemed as though the Giants were somewhat bottom-fishing, especially after losing the prize, Zack Greinke, who signed with Arizona. Granted, Johnny Cueto is a star[fish], which is why The Shark’s signing paled in comparison.
On this date in 2015, Samardzija was 2-2, with a 4.88 ERA, almost exactly what it would turn out to be for the season (4.96). Today, he is 5-2 and his ERA is a svelte 2.88, while his WHIP is a minuscule 1.12.
Whereas we are only approaching the one-quarter mark, Samardzija seems to get better each time he takes the mound. Friday night’s eight-inning effort saw him yield six singles, a Jake Lamb double, and the first career triple by starting pitcher Shelby Miller.
In all Friday, at Chase Field in Arizona, he surrendered one earned run, walked none and struck out three. Earlier in the season he pitched eight full innings of two-run ball in Colorado. Those who said he “would have to post decent numbers, pitching in AT&T Park,” are correct to a certain extent. 
They just ought not to have shortchanged him. 

So why the difference and more importantly, how were the Giants able to figure out-over the winter-that they could expect this kind of production from The Shark in 2016?
According to Nick Doran, who wrote a piece over the offseason for the Dynasty Guru, it includes several small negatives, which combined to create the bigger discrepancies. Doran listed the move from the National League to the American League as one reason, because Samardzija had to face a designated hitter each game, instead of the pitcher a couple of times per game.
Next Doran mentioned the shift from Wrigley Field to U.S. Cellular, which he called “a tougher place for pitchers.” He then went on to talk about the White Sox having the 28th Defensive Efficiency Ratio, which when compared to the defense of San Francisco, cannot be glossed over.

Doran elected to disregard the speculation about pitch-tipping, because he felt that it was impossible for all of the other clubs to be aware of it, without the Sox also having that information. It’s just too hard to keep something like that under a team’s radar because bad news travels faster than an Aroldis Chapman fastball.

What he thought more likely to have contributed to 2015’s shaky season, was the fact that Samardzija doubled the use of his cutter, while simultaneously reducing the number of times he used his sinker. The results played havoc with his career stats and the Giants were astute enough to be able to make that observation and draw their own conclusions.

With one of the best pitching coaches in baseball, in Dave Righetti, the Giants felt certain that they could get Samardzija back on the winning track. One-fourth of the season does not a full year make, but at least the issues that plagued The Shark last season, have not reared their ugly heads so far and bitten him in the backside.

In fact the combined stellar starts of all three of the rotation’s top pitchers, including Madison Bumgarner (4-2, 2.72 ERA) and Johnny Cueto (5-1, 2.97 ERA) have given manager Bruce Bochy a little more rope, when it comes to not hanging himself on the decision to stick with Jake Peavy and Matt Cain.

Both pitchers are gaining confidence and throwing better than they have at any time so far this season. Peavy’s effort Saturday night in Arizona, was his best start of the season, and that followed Cain’s last start against the Toronto Blue Jays, also his best effort, even if it was in a losing effort.
Better to encounter technical difficulties early in the season, while there is still plenty of time to correct them, than to find out too late that the ship has sprung a leak.

By then it may turn out necessary to spend so much time bailing out water, that it results in abandoning ship, which means missing the playoffs.

The Giants cannot afford to do that because they have an engagement with the Chicago Cubs, one which will determine the National League Pennant winner.

As it is, Peavy and Cain will get the opportunity to face the Cubs in the upcoming series beginning this coming Friday, at AT&T Park. I like the fact that San Francisco will first confront the Cubs with the fourth and fifth members of their rotation, because if they can succeed with the lower end, imagine how well they could be expected to do with the upper end.

And if the Giants cannot compete, then they can consider going back to the drawing board.
Until then, keep that drawing board locked up and throw away the key, because the key is pitching and both Cain and Peavy have been infused with a coating of graphite.
Hopefully, they’ll use it to unlock the mysteries of how to stop the Cubs’ offense.
@bellspringsmark

20130706-192028.jpg

If you’ve listened to Sports Time Radio you know that we’re not a huge fan of the way the major league baseball All Star teams are selected. So I tried to have us put together our own All Star team. Dan the Man, Mr. Fantasy, Schaumburg Stu and I all made list of our All Stars. Here’s how we went about it. Each person ranked the top 3 players at 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, Shortstop and Catcher. We ranked 9 outfielders, 6 starting pitchers and 4 relievers. A player got 10 points for a 1st place vote. 8 points for a 2nd place vote. 6 points for a 3rd place vote and then 5 points, 4 points, 3 points, 2 points, 1 point and a half of a point for positions 4th through 9th. Here how are voting came out. The player’s point total is in parenthesis. Others getting votes will be listed.

National League

Catcher: Yader Molina (38)

Buster Posey (34) Wilin Rosario (12) Evan Gattis (12)

1st Baseman: Joey Votto (34) Paul Goldschimdt (34) Tie!

Adrian Gonzalez (16) Freddie Freeman (12)

2nd Baseman: Brandon Phillips (34) Matt Carpenter (34) Tie!

Marco Scutaro (16) Daniel Murphy (6) Jedd Gyroko (6)

Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki (36)

Jean Segura (34) Everth Cabrera (26)

3rd Baseman: David Wright (36)

Pablo Sandoval (26) Michael Young (16) Ryan Zimmerman (12) Pedro Alvarez (6)

Outfield: Carlos Gonzalez (28), Carlos Beltran (18) Andrew McCutchen (15)

Dominic Brown (14) Carlos Gomez (14) Dexter Fowler (13) Hunter Pence (11) Michael Cuddyer (11) Bryce Harper (8) Justin Upton (7) Shin Shoo Choo (6) Ryan Braun (5) Gerardo Parra (5) Jay Bruce (4) Norichika Aoki (2) Starling Marte (1) Matt Holiday (1/2) Alfonso Soriano (1/2)

Starting Pitcher: Patrick Corbin (30)

Adam Wainwright (27) Jordan Zimmerman (23) Matt Harvey (22) Clayton Kershaw (13) Shelby Miller (11) Mike Minor (6) Cliff Lee (5) Jeff Locke (4) Travis Wood (3)

Relievers: Jason Grilli (40)

Edwin Mujica (22) Craig Kimbel (14) Rafael Sorinao (10) Aroldis Chapman (8) Sergio Romo (6) Mark Melancon (6)

American League

Catcher: Joe Mauer (40)

Carlos Santana (28) Jarrod Saltalamacchia (8) Matt Wieters (6) Salvador Perez (6)

1st Baseman: Chris Davis (40)

Prince Fielder (28) James Loney (14) Edwin Encarnacion (8) Adam Lind (6)

2nd Baseman: Dustin Pedroia (32)

Robinson Cano (28) Jose Altuve (16) Howie Kendrick (12) Jason Kipnis (8)

Shortstop: Jhonny Peralta (38)

J.J Hardy (32) Alexei Ramirez (8) Elvis Andrus (6) Jed Lowrie (6) Ben Zobrist (6)

3rd Baseman: Miguel Cabrera (40)

Adrian Beltre (16) Manny Machado (14) Josh Donaldson (14) Evan Longoria (12)

Outfielders: Mike Trout (33) Adam Jones (30) Tori Hunter (18)

Alex Rios (15) Coco Crisp (12) Jose Bautista (12) Nate McLouth (9 1/2) Alex Gordon (7) Brett Gardner (6 1/2) Jacoby Ellsbruy (6) Curtis Granderson (4) Nick Markakis (2) Melky Cabrera (1) Nelson Cruz (1) Mark Trumbo (1)

Starting Pitcher: Clay Buchholz (30)

Max Scherzer (27) Yu Darvish (23) Hisashi Iwakuma (16) Bartolo Colon (14) Justin Masterson (10) Justin Verlander (8) Felix Hernandez (7) Matt Moore (6) Chris Sale (3)

Relievers: Mariano Rivera (40)

Joe Nathan (24) Addison Reed (11) Aaron Crow (8) Tony Sipp (6) Jim Johnson (6) Andrew Bailey (6) Jessie Crain (5) Glen Perkins (5)

20120911-180536.jpg

I think the Cy Young races in both leagues are very close and this could change at any time, but right now if I had a vote I think I’d go this way.

It’s a tough choice to put one pitcher at #1, but I’d vote for David Price as the American League Cy Young award winner. 17-5 right now with an E.R.A. of 2.54 and 175 strikeouts. He’s the shut down guy ever staff needs and he’s kept Tampa Bay in the race all year. Jered Weaver slots in at second on my ballot. Injuries have cost him some starts this season and maybe the Cy Young. He has 16 wins in the starts he’s made, but he was skipped his last start because of a shoulder injury and will see if this lingers the rest of the season. Third and fourth could be flipped flopped for me, but right now I’m putting Chris Sale 3rd and Justin Verlander 4th. Both pitchers are the ace’s of their staffs and are battling to win the American League Central. Sale has a few more wins and a little better E.R.A. Verlander has a big lead in strikeouts and has pitched more innings. The 5th spot on my ballot goes to Matt Harrison of the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are the best team in the American League and Harrison has been the best pitcher on their staff. I could’ve dropped Felix Hernandez in the fifth spot, but I believe Harrison deserves a mention as he gets the fifth spot on my ballot.

The National League award will be very interesting to see how it goes. There are quite a few pitchers who could walk away with the award, but this is who I got.

Johnny Cueto wins the National League Cy Young for me. He’s the reason the Cincinnati reds have the big division lead they have right now and should win the National League Central. Cueto has 17 wins right now and should pick up a couple more before the seasons ends. Second on my ballot would be Gio Gonzalez. Yes; a Washington Nationals pitcher that’s not Steven Strasburg. Gonzalez has 18 wins, 185 strikeouts and doesn’t have to worry about being shutdown. Craig Kimbrel gets the third spot on my ballot. I know there are people out their who say relievers shouldn’t win the Cy Young award, but why not? They’re pitchers right; Kimbrel’s E.R.A. is 1.18 right now. He’s converted 35 of 38 save chances and has help keep Atlanta in the lead for the wild card in the National League. If you didn’t like my third pick you won’t like my fourth pick either. Aroldis Chapman is my fourth place pitcher; yes another reliever. 118 strikeouts as a closer; he did make a few starts early for the Reds, but he’s been lights out since moving to the bullpen. I don’t think you can fill out a Cy Young ballot and not include R.A. Dickey. Dickey is tied for the National League lead in wins at 18 with Gonzalez. He has 195 strikeouts and has only walked 45 batters; which for a knuckleballer is fantastic.

With a few starts left for each of these pitchers this could all change as close as these races are, but right now this is Who I got.

You can follow me on twitter @BurkeTime

Price Picture

20120911-180536.jpg

I think the Cy Young races in both leagues are very close and this could change at any time, but right now if I had a vote I think I’d go this way.

It’s a tough choice to put one pitcher at #1, but I’d vote for David Price as the American League Cy Young award winner. 17-5 right now with an E.R.A. of 2.54 and 175 strikeouts. He’s the shut down guy ever staff needs and he’s kept Tampa Bay in the race all year. Jered Weaver slots in at second on my ballot. Injuries have cost him some starts this season and maybe the Cy Young. He has 16 wins in the starts he’s made, but he was skipped his last start because of a shoulder injury and will see if this lingers the rest of the season. Third and fourth could be flipped flopped for me, but right now I’m putting Chris Sale 3rd and Justin Verlander 4th. Both pitchers are the ace’s of their staffs and are battling to win the American League Central. Sale has a few more wins and a little better E.R.A. Verlander has a big lead in strikeouts and has pitched more innings. The 5th spot on my ballot goes to Matt Harrison of the Texas Rangers. The Rangers are the best team in the American League and Harrison has been the best pitcher on their staff. I could’ve dropped Felix Hernandez in the fifth spot, but I believe Harrison deserves a mention as he gets the fifth spot on my ballot.

The National League award will be very interesting to see how it goes. There are quite a few pitchers who could walk away with the award, but this is who I got.

Johnny Cueto wins the National League Cy Young for me. He’s the reason the Cincinnati reds have the big division lead they have right now and should win the National League Central. Cueto has 17 wins right now and should pick up a couple more before the seasons ends. Second on my ballot would be Gio Gonzalez. Yes; a Washington Nationals pitcher that’s not Steven Strasburg. Gonzalez has 18 wins, 185 strikeouts and doesn’t have to worry about being shutdown. Craig Kimbrel gets the third spot on my ballot. I know there are people out their who say relievers shouldn’t win the Cy Young award, but why not? They’re pitchers right; Kimbrel’s E.R.A. is 1.18 right now. He’s converted 35 of 38 save chances and has help keep Atlanta in the lead for the wild card in the National League. If you didn’t like my third pick you won’t like my fourth pick either. Aroldis Chapman is my fourth place pitcher; yes another reliever. 118 strikeouts as a closer; he did make a few starts early for the Reds, but he’s been lights out since moving to the bullpen. I don’t think you can fill out a Cy Young ballot and not include R.A. Dickey. Dickey is tied for the National League lead in wins at 18 with Gonzalez. He has 195 strikeouts and has only walked 45 batters; which for a knuckleballer is fantastic.

With a few starts left for each of these pitchers this could all change as close as these races are, but right now this is Who I got.

You can follow me on twitter @BurkeTime

Price Picture