Tag Archives: Lincecum

Episode 66: Doug Mirabelli

That jean shirt is sweet

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We’re running out of jersey numbers, so “Doug Mirabelli” it is!

In episode #66, Chad and Ben are joined by Eric Nathanson of 2outhits to discuss the flurry of activity surround the San Francisco Giants including Belt and Cain to the DL, Scutaro’s return, Hicks DFA, signing Dan Uggla to a minor league deal, and Ben’s trip to Minnesota for the All Star Game.

 

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Timmy 2.0

Timmy 2.0 dominated for his fourth-straight start. (Eric Risberg/AP)

We’ve all been hoping for his emergence, or better yet, his re-emergence as the dominant starter he once was. Even if he retired today, he would be one of the most popular Giants of all time with 2 rings, 2 Cy Youngs, 2 no-hitters, and a splash of playoff heroics. Yet, he just turned 30 last month, and that turn of the decade seemed to ring in a new Timmy, version 2.0. I just turned 40, but the only resurgence I’ve seen is the fat in my man-boobs.

We’ve seen flashes of brilliance in his last two dismal seasons, but nothing that was sustained, until now. Over his last four starts, he’s allowed only one run over a span of 30 1/3 innings. He had a scoreless streak of 23 innings that was snapped by a solo homerun, and he hadn’t had a streak like that since 2009, which was in between his two Cy Young seasons.

So why the change? We know his fastball velocity is the lowest it’s ever been, and will continue to drop with age. Perhaps he’s finally matured to the point where he trusts location more than “stuff.” He’s said as much in interviews, but the proof didn’t exist. Is that mentality finally translating to the field? To my un-professional eye (but I did just ‘retire’ after playing 20 years of amateur baseball, so at least I’ve seen a loooot of pitching), he is certainly more consistent, and he’s been pitching backwards as of late, with the curveball or change-up first, setting up fastballs low and on the corners, followed by either a change or another curve to keep hitters off-balance.

And to think that if Timmy was up to his old antics, the Giants would have even had a WORSE month of June? Is that possible? Let’s look at the starting rotation for the last 30 days:

Name W L ERA IP HR BB AVG WHIP BABIP
Tim Lincecum 4 1 1.49 42.1 1 12 0.140 0.76 0.171
Tim Hudson 1 4 4.91 36.2 3 8 0.297 1.42 0.336
Ryan Vogelsong 1 3 4.13 28.1 0 7 0.259 1.24 0.333
Matt Cain 1 3 4.83 31.2 4 9 0.282 1.39 0.323
Madison Bumgarner 1 3 5.18 33 2 13 0.260 1.39 0.320

 

Each starter only has one win in the last month, yet Timmy has four. But look at that sexy WHIP and BABIP. I know numbers turn our readers on, but you should probably go ahead and lather those up with oil, because they’re not getting any better than that. What’s remarkable is that Timmy’s walk percentage, although down slightly, is comparable with the other starters, and his strikeout percentage is actually second-lowest in the last month. It’s the quality of the pitches he’s making. His BABIP is a measly .171, which means players are making very weak contact, also translating into the .140 average against.

Now, let’s eliminate that one loss and look at his last four starts as a whole: his ERA, BA against and BABIP are 0.30, 0.101, and 0.120, respectively. Are you kidding me?!

The analysts all talk about his pitch selection. Let’s see how that stacks up in his last four starts vs his career:

Year FA% FT% SL% CU% CH%
Last 4 starts 24.8% 18.3% 27.2% 7.4% 22.3%
2014 30.5% 15.6% 27.6% 10.4% 15.8%
2013 37.2% 12.4% 21.2% 10.7% 17.6%
2012 39.3% 12.3% 21.3% 10.7% 16.0%
2011 42.1% 12.6% 24.1% 6.4% 14.4%
2010 37.9% 15.2% 7.2% 16.4% 21.3%
2009 55.1% 0.7% 7.1% 18.2% 18.8%
2008 65.5% 9.4% 9.8% 15.3%

 

I’ve heard a lot about his curveball lately, and it does LOOK GOOD, but he’s only thrown it 7.4% of the time in his last four starts, which is much lower than his career average. What’s notable to me is how his changeup (CH%) has replaced many fastballs (FA%), having thrown almost as many changeups as heaters. I think this is one key to his recent success, aside from location being number one. Delving further into his fastball selection, although that percentage is way down, he’s relying on the two-seamer (FT%) more than he ever has, comprising roughly 2 out of 3 fastballs over his last four starts. Historically, he’s used that pitch for less than half of his fastballs, going with the four-seamer the majority of the time, which is a higher-velocity pitch. The two-seamer has more movement than the four-seamer, indicating that he’s sacrificing a bit of velocity for movement, which is only adding to the reduction in BABIP. The variance of his pitch selection is also the lowest its ever been, by far, and this may keep the batters guessing a little bit more with a more even distribution of pitches.

One caveat that must be pointed out. Three of these four starts were against the Padres and D’backs, both woefully underperforming offensively this year. He did have a commanding start against St. Louis, but this is a small, yet promising sample size.

Maybe Timmy finally has reinvented himself, or version 2.0 will need to be returned before the warranty expires.

Chad

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Episode 65: Steve Edlefsen

Name that recent Giant. Oh, we put his name in the title…nevermind.

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Remember Steve Edlefsen? We barely do, and we also barely remember the Giants being in first place, which they are not, officially, anymore. They’ve lost 10 games to the Dodgers in 22 days, and Ben and Chad replay what the hell has gone wrong with our boys in Black and Orange. Romo is no longer the closer, the team can’t hit, and half the lineup is Fresno Grizzlies. Take a sip, it’s that bad.

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Episode 64: Joe Martinez

No one would have remembered this guy if it weren’t for the line drive off his head. But, we’re running out of jersey numbers…

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Joe Martinez. He pitched in a total of 21 games over 4 season, some of which were with the Giants. Yes, lament as we run out of jersey numbers but celebrate as we talk about the team with the BEST RECORD IN BASEBALL. That’s right, the Giants haven’t started off this good since 1962, before all of us were born.

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Don’t. Press. It.

…don’t press it…don’t press it…don’t press it….

 

Still above .500. Only 1 1/2 games back. No need to worry, right?

Big picture, who knows?

But, if recent history becomes a long summer of a trend, we’re in for a repeat of the 2013 season of mediocrity.

It’s only been a week since the precipitous fall from grace the Giants’ bats have taken, in fact, I think I saw several players actually chucking their bats off the Rocky Mountains after these last two miserable games.

SF has lost 5 of 6, and aside from Vogelsong’s start in Colorado, the pitching has been excellent and not to blame. You can put that squarely on the shoulders of the lineup, and aside from Belt and Pagan (but even Pagan has been quiet lately), everyone has shut down. Once the Giants were second in the NL in batting average and runs scored. Oh, so as the memories of when you got to second base with that blonde you were after in high school, so are the days of the Giants EVEN GETTING TO THE REAL ACTUAL SECOND BASE!

Let’s take a look at the big picture, stat-wise. The Giants have now fallen to second to last in the NL in batting average to almost my weight: .228. Only the Mets are worse at .224. We thought the Giants had scoring problems last year, but they still hit a relatively robust .260! Usually the runs are plentiful on both sides in Colorado, a veritable buffet where only the mightiest of the champion food eaters will come out on top, while the other, although defeated, still gets his full of extra base hits. True to the park, the giants have had 19 at bats with runners in scoring position in the first 2 games. That’s a crap-metric-ton of at bats! They’ve put runners on base! How many hits in those 19 ABs? Exactly 1: by Hunter Pence: AND IT DIDN’T EVEN SCORE A RUN! I might be able to get more than 1 hit in 19 at bats by just poking out the bat every pitch.

The runs have dried up, the hitting has dried up, my drink has dried up while I write this. Alas, the pitching is still in tact, despite some bumps in the road, and those bumps tend to be Giants fans running over Vogelsong with their metaphorical buses filled with toxic angst, rage, and maybe an occasional enchilada. There have been many questions about Vogey coming in. Some have predicted that he may not make it to June as a starter. I’m pulling for the guy, he’s a great story, and an inspirational one at that. A blue-collar type you want to see succeed, but his location has been off so far this year, the same affliction he suffered last year. With Petit shaking off the rust and pitching well, we may see a change in a month if Ryan continues to go south. Cain and Hudson have been great, and Bumgarner won an entire game himself with 5 RBI, but he has been hit HARD. Today he pitched a complete game (8 IP) and only allowed 2 solo jacks for runs, but still got tagged with the loss. The league is now hitting .314 off Madison, who happens to be tied with Lincecum for the 5th worst batting average against in the NL. This, this is not a good sign, despite his 3.14 ERA. He’s playing with fire by allowing all of those baserunners (Bum owns a 1.64 WHIP, 55th out of 58 qualifying pitchers).

Seriously, 3 runs for the Giants in 2 games in Denver. They’re passing runs out in the stands. Last night was “free runs” night. I think I even saw an elderly man score with that young blonde I was after in high school. What kind of offense is this team going to bring back to the thick air by the Bay on Friday versus Cleveland?!

By the way, Willie and Chad will be in the press box on Friday versus Cleveland to keep both an eye out for that blonde, Kuiper bobbleheads, and for any runs that may or may not score in the home half.

Chad

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Episode 59: Guillermo Mota

Yep, this ex-Dodger held this trophy. We’re running out of numbers.

Click the arrow above to stream the podcast, or download it here. You can also find it on iTunes and Stitcher.

Wille, Ben and Chad record the first 2014 regular season episode of TortureCast, reviewing the Giants’ fantastic 5-2 start, Belt’s 4 HRs, the Giants lead MLB in HR, taking 2 of 3 from the Dodgers, MadBum, Cain, Hudson’s first start, and who we hate this week (insert Puig).

And, did anyone notice that this new Buster Posey commercial shows an infielder, who receives the throw from Posey, THAT IS WEARING BILL TERRY’S RETIRED NUMBER 3?! C’mon man! Under Armour, do your research! Oh, and Buster is totally throwing out a Barry Larkin look-alike.

All three of us will be at AT&T on Thursday when the Giants host the D’backs. Tweet us, come by, and say hi! We’ll also be recording our traditional “Bonusode” after the game at Zeke’s if you want to hang out.

 

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Series Review: SF @ Arizona

I command the power of the giraffe!!

Here at TortureCast, we’re going to try something new that will probably abjectly fail during the season: a review at the conclusion of every series.

Expect mistakes.

Expect missed series.

Expect that we will quit this if the Giants suck.

Expect that we will review every series if Timmy keeps that mustache.

Ok, onto our first review.

Giants at Arizona

Record: 3-1 (3-1, 0.5 GB of LA)

Batting Average: .246

HR: 6

Runs: 23

Runs allowed: 18

Batting Average Against: .279

ERA: 3.34

MVP: Brandon Belt, who hit .333 with 3 homeruns and 5 RBI

Notables: Tim Hudson and Madison Bumgarner combined for 11.2 IP, 0 runs and only 2 walks with 10 strikeouts. Romo had 2 saves and could have had 3, but Bochy wanted to save him for LA. Pagan was 8-19 with 6 RBI and had the game winning hit in game 4. Posey was 5-12 and had the game-winning HR in game 1. Not a single ball was hit to Michael Morse until the moment he left the game.

Worries: The bees at Chase Field, Hunter Pence’s 1-16 (0.063) start, and Timmy gave up 2 longballs to strong men, umpires can get away with 2 wrong calls in the same inning even WITH the new replay system

Special Moments: The Giants came back late in 2 games, including a 5 run eighth in the series finale when down 5-3, capped off by a Pagan 3-run bomb. Brandon Hicks first HR with the Giants.

Up Next: 3 game series in LA

Synopsis: Hey, I don’t care that Arizona basically out-hit the Giants. The Giants won 3 out of 4 thanks to bees, timely hitting, Pat Burrell hitting a HR in khakis, and, ok, some late-game heroics. This could have easily been 3 losses. The Giants only outscored the D’bags 23-18. Let’s hope for a strong season opener from Vogelsong in LA tomorrow. He needs to throw a few more cereal bowls against the backsplash tomorrow morning before the rotation resets with Bumgarner and Cain. Speaking of Bumgarner, he wasn’t spectacular in the opener, but the Giants defense miscues led to a high pitch count and an early exit for him. He’s mad and a bum and wants to paint his face with Dodger blue blood.

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Episode 58: 2014 Season Preview Bonanza

photo

Photo from last night’s season preview recording at the Public House at AT&T Park. A big mixer and expensive microphones make us look semi-legit, while that is contrasted by the assortment of alcohol. From right to left: Ben, Chelena, Willie and Jen. Holding the camera: Chad

Click the arrow below to stream our season preview podcast! Or you can download it here.

Happy Opening Day, Giants fans!

Join us on this inebriated special episode of the TortureCast!

Willie, Chad and Ben welcome @JenCosgriff (BaySportsNet.com) and @ChelenaGoldman (SFBay.ca) to our season preview podcast bonanza, recorded (we did it LIVE) at the Public House at AT&T Park. They probably wished they hadn’t agreed to come. And we saw Brian Wilson give up all the runs against the Padres as we recorded. And Willie is okay at pool.

The five of us predict how many games the Giants will win this year (Chad: 88, Jen: 90, Chelena: 90, Ben: 89, Willie: 89; note: Chad predicted 93 in 2012 when we recorded with GiantsPod.net…they won 94 and the World Series…just sayin’), our concerns about Scutaro, and we argue about why we should or shouldn’t overpay to resign Panda.

If you’re new to our site, stick around, we promise to be entertaining, at least we’re delusional enough to believe it. We’ll be attending quite a few games as members of the press, so heads-up for blurry photos of batting practice, tweets full of consternation and frustration that we cannot cheer or boo in the press box, and silence when we attend Bochy’s pre- and post-game press conferences.

Giants fans, let’s rejoice and exit the cold corners of shame that we allow hockey and basketball to satisfy our sports addiction, and enjoy this long and beautiful ride of another season of San Francisco Giants baseball!

Chad

 

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Pab-lo or Pab-high?

Will we be seeing these made next year?

Will we be seeing these next year?

March 25, 2014 – Chad King

Horrible pun to start off an article, I know. Maybe it’s the three cups of coffee I’ve had this morning, or perhaps the ringing in my ears from all of the contact in Arizona off of Ryan Vogelsong is distracting.

Pablo Sandoval will be a free agent after this season. He’s lost weight and appears to be in the best shape of his MLB career. He wants to get paid at least what Hunter Pence is getting ($90 million for 5 years, that’s a lot of fast food).

Is he worth it?

To fully answer that question, you have to take into account many variables, which I’ve illustrated in a professional Venn diagram below:

 

I have know idea where everything meets. Now I'm even more confused.

I have know idea where everything meets. Now I’m even more confused.

Clearly I don’t know what I’m talking about, but I’m sure I’ve hit on a few salient points. For one, we have no idea what kind of production he will have this year, and if the Giants don’t sign him to an extension before the season, his value may only skyrocket. In fact, it’s already high when you look at the pool of free agents in the coming off-season. Pablo, even with a mediocre, injury-filled season, will look like Kate Upton in zero gravity while the rest of the lot may look like an overweight plumber with pants that don’t quite fit. Sexist analogy aside, take a look at the upcoming free agent third basemen (current age in parentheses):

  • Yuniesky Betancourt (33)
  • Wilson Betemit (33)
  • Alberto Callaspo (32)
  • Eric Chavez (37)
  • Jack Hannahan (35) – $4MM club option with a $2MM buyout
  • Chase Headley (31)
  • Casey McGehee (32)
  • Donnie Murphy (32)
  • Nick Punto (37) – $2.75MM club/vesting option with a $250k buyout
  • Aramis Ramirez (37) – mutual option
  • Hanley Ramirez (31)
  • Pablo Sandoval (28)
  • Ty Wigginton (37)
  • Kevin Youkilis (36)

Yep, I think the Giants could save a ton of dough and plug in an Eric Chavez or Nick Punto for a steal. Can’t wait for those Punto chants at AT&T! I also don’t believe that Chase Headley and certainly not Hanley Ramirez, will go for anything less than what Pablo is demanding, anyway. With the lack of options, Giants will probably have to overpay him a bit, but even then, I think Pence’s contract is close to his market value, regardless. The Giants know how to over-pay, anyway (see: Tim Lincecum), but I don’t think a contract will blow up in their faces like a Zito turd.

Then, there’s the matter of length. I would feel more comfortable with a 3 year contract, but he wants 5. Understandable, of course. However, what if he locks in a guaranteed contract and gets comfortable again and slacks off the exercise and diet regimen. It’s happened before. Most likely he shaped up this year because it’s a walk year. Do you think he will be this skinny next year, regardless for whom he plays for? Probably not. What about three years from now? Will he exceed Prince Fielder-like proportions?

I’m skipping a few points here to get to the final one. The Dodgers could add by subtraction…oh, and just plain add, too. If they sign Pablo, they replace a crappy former Giant with better former Giant, continuing the trend of Ned Coletti’s ex-Giants reclamation project. They would further improve their corner defense and offensive production at the same time the Giants decline. And then, suddenly, we’d see blue panda hats everywhere.

People, I just realized that we can’t have that.

RE-SIGN PABLO!!

 

BTW, the TortureCast crew and special guests will be recording a special season preview at the Public House at AT&T Park on Sunday, March 30 at 6pm. Come by and say hi!

 

 

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Episode 57 – Jonathan Sanchez

Did this guy really throw a no-hitter for the Giants?!

 

Willie couldn’t make it tonight, so we brought in Jen Cosgriff to talk about her 6 days in Arizona for spring training. We talk about the 27 inning scoreless streak by Giants starters, then freak out about the pummeling of Sergio Romo and aforementioned starters. We can’t wait until the Dodgers melt down from their Australia series!

 

 

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by | March 18, 2014 · 12:34 AM