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Entries in giants (10)


What Went Wrong For Verlander in Game 1?

Justin Verlander was Bob Gibson-esque during his first three starts of the 2012 postseason, surrendering only two runs and posting a 25-to-5 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 24.1 innings pitched. Last night, however, the Giants jumped the 2011 AL Cy Young and MVP for five runs and chased him after just four frames. What went wrong for the best pitcher on the planet in Game 1 of the World Series? Here's a quick rundown:

  • Verlander fell behind hitters often, throwing a first-pitch strike to nine of the 19 batters that he faced (47.4%). During the regular season, Verlander's 61.1% first-pitch strike rate was comfortably above the 59.8% average for American League starting pitchers.
  • He also caught too much of the plate. Verlander threw 29 of his 98 pitches (29.6%) to the horizontal middle of the strike zone, well north of his 19.9% average during the regular season.

Verlander's pitch location from Game 1 of the World Series

  • San Francisco went 4-for-4 when Verlander left a pitch over the middle of the plate, with Pablo Sandoval, Marco Scutaro, Buster Posey and Barry Zito (!) recording hits. Verlander's two-strike offering to Zito, a career .097 hitter, must have had Jim Leyland reaching for his Marlboros:

Where not to throw a two-strike pitch to Barry Zito


High-Ball Slugging Puts Posey, Molina in MVP Conversation

Buster Posey and Yadier Molina are both having historically awesome seasons, raking at the plate (Posey has a league-best 172 OPS+, Molina checks in at 141) and vaporizing base runners behind it (Molina has thrown out 47% of would-be thieves, and Posey has erased 30%). That blend of offensive and defensive prowess at a premium position has made both serious NL MVP Award contenders, with Molina tied for second in Baseball-Reference Wins Above Replacement and Posey placing fifth.

Posey or Molina could beat out the likes of Andrew McCutchen, Ryan Braun and David Wright for that hardware thanks in part to the backstops crushing pitches thrown high in the strike zone. Check out Posey and Molina's slugging percentage by pitch location this season:





Posey and Molina rank second and third, respectively, in slugging on pitches thrown high in the zone:

Highest slugging percentage on high pitches among qualified hitters

BatterSlugging Pct.
Carlos Beltran .725
Buster Posey .702
Yadier Molina .694
Ryan Braun .664
Adam LaRoche .643
Mark Teixeira .636
Aaron Hill .610
Paul Goldschmidt .608
Billy Butler .608
Aramis Ramirez .600
MLB Avg. .387


Pitchers try not to challenge these two with high stuff, throwing Posey and Molina an elevated pitch about 22% of the time (26% MLB average). That's smart, considering any hurler who misses high over the next few days risks getting a shout-out in a Posey or Molina acceptance speech.


World Series Picks

We've been asking around for World Series Picks... Here are some of the highlights:

Jonathan Scippa (

World Series Champion: Texas Rangers
Games: 5
World Series MVP: Cliff Lee

The Texas Rangers offense will be too much for the San Francisco Giants as Nolan Ryan's team looks to earn it's first World Series title in franchise history.  As good as the pitching has been for the Giants, especially the bullpen, Josh Hamilton and co. will be even better.  But the surprising effectiveness of the Rangers' starters behind Cliff Lee will be the story of the Series.  Proving they can shut down arguably the most potent offense in the league in the New York Yankees, the Rangers' starters will quiet the Giants' bats, winning the World Series in 5 games.

David Pinto (

World Series Champion: San Francisco Giants
Games: 6
World Series MVP: Tim Lincecum

I will revise if the Rangers decide to use Cliff Lee three times

Bill Baer (

World Series Champion: Texas Rangers
Games: 5
World Series MVP: Cliff Lee 

While the Giants were busy taking advantage of a dormant Phillies offense, the Rangers' offense was clicking on all cylinders, averaging more than six runs per game in the ALCS against the Yankees. The Giants' starting rotation certainly has a tough task ahead of them with the likes of Josh Hamilton, Vladimir Guerrero, Nelson Cruz, and Michael Young. Meanwhile, the Rangers also have a formidable starting rotation led by Cliff Lee, who has a 34-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in the 2010 post-season. Although the playoffs are a crap shoot, I don't see the Giants putting up a fight against the Rangers, who may have flown under the radar as the most well-rounded team in the playoffs.

World Series Champion: San Francisco Giants
Games: 7
World Series MVP: Tim Lincecum

I like the Giants in seven games, but not because of anything tangible. Sure, their pitching staff is excellent, and their offense is (on paper) still a bit underwhelming, but after watching how they played in that excellent six-game series against the Phillies, I can't help but buy into the Giant bandwagon. The whole concept of "just enough" applies with these Giants, because, for whatever reason, this offense of scrap-heap plucks and a pitching staff of one superstar and a bunch of roleplayers has made it this far, and I can't help but think it's for a reason.