Archive for the ‘San Francisco Giants’ Category

San Francisco Giants v Cincinnati Reds - Game Four

Barry Zito took the mound for the San Francisco Giants Tuesday night with a winning streak on the line. Dating back August 7,  2012, the Giants had won 13 consecutive regular-season games started by Zito.  When you add in the 2012 postseason, the streak stretched to 16. Impressive, but still a ways off the franchise record, held by Carl Hubbell, who pitched the New York Giants to 22 consecutive regular-season victories between July 1936 and May 1937.

Zito’s streak ended in flames at Miller Park. He pitched only 2 2/3 innings and gave up nine earned runs. The Giants clawed back from a 9-3 early deficit, but fell short. The Brewers won the game by the score of 10-8.

Still, the Giants’ winning streak with Zito on the hill was notable because, well, it was Barry Zito — the $126 million starter who’d failed to live up to his contract since joining the Giants in 2007. Heading into the 2012 season, the Giants were 65-76 in games started by Zito. He’d pitched so poorly in 2010 that Giants manager Bruce Bochy left him off the postseason roster, as the team romped to their first World Series victory since moving to San Francisco.

But something changed in 2012, particularly in the second half. Zito’s strikeouts-per-nine rose from 5.02 in the first half to 6.20 after the All-Star break. His walks-per-nine dropped in half, leading to a second-half 2.68 K/BB. That also dropped his WHIP. On the other hand, batters hit .272 off Zito from mid-July through the end of the season, compared to .244 early on. His BABIP was higher and his left-on-base percentage was lower. And his velocity? The highs and lows varied from game to game, but Zito experienced no discernible increase in velocity as the season wore on, as shown on the velocity charts on FanGraphs.

So how did he do it? How did Zito propel the Giants to 11 consecutive victories to end the 2012 season?

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San Francisco Giants Victory Parade

The San Francisco Giants will receive their 2012 World Series rings today before the game against the St. Louis Cardinals, but what’s even better, the fans will receive a replica version as well.

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San Francisco Giants v St Louis Cardinals - Game Three

2012 Record: 94-68, 1st NL West
2012 Pythagorean Record: 88-74
Impact Player: C Buster Posey
Impact Pitcher: LHP Madison Bumgarner
Top Prospect: RHP Kyle Crick

Significant Acquisitions: RHP Ramon Ramirez, OF Andres Torres, IF Tony Abreu, RHP Chad Gaudin, IF Wilson Valdez

Significant Departures: LF Melky Cabrera, IF Ryan Theriot, 1B Aubrey Huff, RHP Clay Hensley, RHP Brad Penny

Remember when we used to make fun of San Francisco Giants’ General Manager Brian Sabean? We used to deride him as hapless and veteran obsessed — and with reason — but then he made the Giants into the closest thing to a dynasty since the late 90s Yankees. The first time around, in 2010, San Francisco relied on the strength of their unrivalled pitching staff which carried one of the worst offenses in baseball to a World Title. In 2012, the Giants relied on a much more balanced attack with a good, but not great pitching staff and an equally impressive lineup.

The Giants have developed an impressive crop of homegrown superstars and Sabean has done a nice job filling in the rest of the roster with quality role players. Despite his seemingly old-school ways, the Giants GM seems to have a method to his madness and the Giants currently find themselves in their San Fran glory days because of it.

Over the winter, the Giants set their focus on bring back almost the exact same team for 2013, re-signing center fielder Angel Pagan and second baseman Marco Scutaro instead of letting them walk as free agents. Sabean and his brass are hoping that the same group gets it done again and the core he has assembled should keep the team competitive for a while.

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St Louis Cardinals v San Francisco Giants - Game Seven

The San Francisco Giants quest for back-to-back National West Division crowns will be no easy task this year with the Dodgers fielding a lineup with five potential All-Stars and a re-vamped D’Backs lineup that will look to continue their offensive success of last season without outfielder Justin Upton. The Rockies don’t have the pitching, but may still be able to win some ball games with a lineup featuring a healthy Troy Tulowitzki, while the Padres may be in for a long season, especially if they deal Chase Headley.

Over the next week, we will take a look at how each team’s lineups looked to start the season in 2012 compared to the projected look for 2013 (all ZiPS projections courtesy of Fangraphs.)

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World Series - San Francisco Giants v Detroit Tigers - Game Three

Bruce Bochy escaped the weekend without undertaking the responsibility of explaining that the reigning World Series MVP would be benched due to an issue with his weight. Pablo Sandoval was asked to check-in at a specific weight before the Giants’ Cactus League opener on Saturday, or he would be benched. Sandoval tipped the scale in his favour, apparently, as he was the only Giants player to start their first two games in the field.

According to a report from CSN’s Andrew Baggarly, Bochy was somewhat caught off guard by his third baseman’s ability to shed pounds.

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Aww, look how cute! Giants reliever Sergio Romo making the day of fans you and old at their recent FanFest, posing for pictures like a good citizen.

Except that isn’t Sergio Romo at all, that is a somebody who looks enough like Romo to dupe dozens of people. The actual Romo re-posted this fan collage on his instragram feed featuring a Sergio lookalike taking pictures with numerous people, all of whom were led to believe they just met the diminutive Giants closer.

Which, it turns out, it was not.

Im very sorry for all my REAL fans that were misled by this impostor saying he was me at fanfest!! My apologies for not being able to meet all u at fanfest! It was def an awesome day and im beyond grateful for the reception i got yesterday!! Just dont want any of my fans misled by someone who gets a kick out of lying to u all!

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It’s all right there, really. The beautiful locale, what with the Bay Bridge and the palm trees the water and all that good stuff. Brian Wilson, divisive as ever. The fact that, rather than just giving away bobbleheads like everybody else, they made a GARDEN GNOME collectable and gave it away at AT&T Park.

The San Francisco Giants, on top of their two World Series titles in three years, do whatever they can to maintain the championship good will by treating their fanbase right.

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