Tag Archives: MLB Playoffs

The Vogelsong Enigma

Vogelsong is struggling to return to 2011-2012 form. And he hates cereal bowls a lot. (photo: dailyrepublic.com)

We love the game face. We love the bull-dog determination. We love the playoff performances last year that helped them win it all.

But everything has gone south for Ryan Vogelsong so far this year. The question is, why?

I’m not going to pretend that I know, and I’m going to guess he would just called it an unlucky slump, and there is certainly some truth to that. I’m not trying to single Vogey out in this article, as Cain is worth of one as well (so that may be coming soon). However, Vogelsong is that guy we all pull for, the underdog, and I want to at least consider why this may be happening.

In a stunning turn of events for the first 25 games of the season, the Giants are second to LAST in starting staff ERA at 4.27 and only ahead of the team that just swept them (SD at 5.33). This is abhorrent, Twilight zonish, perplexing. This staff is supposed to be part of the NL-elite, not within the neighborhood of the Padres or Rockies. Of course Cain and Vogey are the two main culprits, with ERAs of 6.59 and 6.23, respectively. Only Bumgarner is keeping the Giants from the cellar of this statistic, with a sparkling 1.87 ERA.

Back to Mr. Game Face’s statistical breakdown:

Vogelsong has a .303 batting average against and has allowed 10 BB and 7 HR in 30.1 IP, while his WHIP is almost as high as my cholesterol at 1.55.  He gave up 17 HR ALL SEASON last year in 189.2 IP and only 8 HR by the all star break when he had 110.2 IP.

Why so many big flys?

Clearly when batters start hitting the ball out of the park with more frequency than a Kardashian getting fat, they are not being fooled. Hitters are making contact more often with pitches in the strike zone, and more alarming, is the BABIP has skyrocketed into 2012 Timmy territory from .284 to .330. Homeruns per nine IP is a video-game like 2.08, almost triple what he allowed last year, and approximately 1 out of 5 fly balls have traveled over the fence, just a bewildering statistic. Most of the other metrics (K%, BB% and pitch selection) have not changed dramatically, and the problem seems to be isolated in not being able to fool opposing hitters as often with balls in the strike zone. This may be correlated with a drop in the timing differential between his fastball and changeup, two pitches that make up 60% of his pitches delivered. His fastball is 1.4 MPH slower this year (89.4 vs 90.8),  and the change up, ironically, is slightly faster by 0.4 MPH, which makes the timing differential an average 1.8 MPH smaller, which is a sizeable 23% difference. The lowered chance of throwing opposing hitters’ timing off will only serve to hurt Vogelsong in the long run.

I’m not hitting the panic button yet, and neither should Giants fans; it’s only 5 starts, for crying out loud. He did tail off for the last 2 months of the regular season last year, but we can’t say it’s the start of his decline connected to this year, as he had a stellar playoff run. If tossing bowls of cereal across his kitchen gets him motivated, then lets all hope he has stock in Crate and Barrel and a good maid service.

- Chad

Stats that will alleviate your panic:

  • Giants are only 2 games back of AZ/COL
  • After 25 games last year, the Giants were 2 games worse at 12-13 and 5 GB of LAD.
  • The Giants have lost all 5 of Cain’s starts; surely that will turnaround (right?)
  • Giants are second in batting average in the NL at .267
  • Giants are second in batting average in the NL with runners in scoring position
  • Torres won’t EVER do that again
  • Scutaro won’t EVER do that again
  • Ok, those last 2 aren’t stats

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Episode 39: The Roberto Kelly Playoff Special

Didn’t think this would be happening. Courtesy of The City Graphics.

The three of us finally get together since they clinched the NL West, and it appeared that this would be a post-mortem episode they way the Cincinnatti series started. Alas, the black and orange comeback kids have extended their season against another magical comeback team, the St. Louis Cardinals.

Willie, Chad and Ben review the NLDS, criticize Dusty Baker for his managerial moves or non-moves in Game 5, and discuss how the Giants won the series, despite getting out-hit and out-pitched.

All 3 of us predict the Giants will beat the Cardinals in 6, but Chad thinks the series may go 9 games due to the nature of both teams’ inability to quit.

With magic on both sides, it may be Harry Potter vs. Voldemort.

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Spoiled Melk

This news doesn’t taste good (from gotbrainy.com)

The Melk has spoiled.

In a magical season for Melky Cabrera, a career year, All Star game MVP, the adoration of Melkmen and Melkmaids, and one that has helped propel the Giants to the top of the division, the team and the public were notified today that he tested positive for testosterone, a banned substance.

Not that it matters much, but Melky immediately admitted he took a substance “he knew he shouldn’t have,” and apologized to the team and the fans. It’s certainly better than other players that have denied use of PEDs, attributing their positive test to a supplement, or even worse, a delayed FedEx delivery (looking at you, Braun). Personally, it’s not much of a reprieve of the blow the Giants will take, and their chances of pushing towards the playoffs. Fifty games is fifty games, no matter if you deny it or accept responsibility. There is no additional punishment for denial.

The Commissioner’s office has also confirmed that he will be eligible after 4 games into the postseason, should the Giants make it. So, if they do make the divisional round, he could see action in games 6 & 7 and afterwards, or potentially 5-7 if they have a one game wild card playoff.

Although this news cracked the wires less than an hour ago, there’s already twitter chatter about how this will affect his contract next year. Many stating that obviously he made a mistake not negotiating a contract with the Giants earlier in the year, which is predicated upon the fact that his monster year will garner up to or over $15 million per year on the open market. Sorry to say, Melky, that number was at least cut in half, in my opinion. It’s not only because of your new record of testing positive, but now there will obviously be questions about how the testosterone improved your performance. Assuming he’s off of it next year, how will his numbers change? Will he be a .350 hitter with 15 bombs? Since this is a career year for him, and it happens to be during a time he was taking PEDs, I would say, probably not.

That doubt will now linger in the minds of the Giants front office, the other 29 clubs, and especially Giants fans, much like when you gamble with a carton of milk that’s a few days past its expiration date with the “sniff” test.

Chad King

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Episode 22: “The One-Game Postseason”

A little late posting due to technical difficulties, so it’ll be a double TortureCast weekend.  More torture for everyone!

This week (or rather last week) Chad and Ben get together and discuss the hurriedly revamped MLB Wild Card structure and its implications for teams that make it as the Wild Card.  They also discuss alcohol in the Red Sox clubhouse, Sergio Romo (because he’s Sergio Romo), the first week of Spring Training games, astronomy, and Pilates.

SFG article on Bryan Stow’s moving to new rehab facility

San Jose Inside article on Giants-A’s territorial rights battle

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