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Entries in San Francisco Giants (49)

Tuesday
Oct302012

Sergio Romo had the Tigers Slip Slidering away, until...

I'm really still in awe of Sergio Romo's virtuoso performance in the 2012 World Series. Romo faced nine Tigers, struck out five of them, allowed four balls in the air, and earned three saves. Most recently, in 2007, Jonathan Papelbon had three saves in the Red Sox four-game sweep of the Rockies. Mariano Rivera had three saves in the 1998 Yankee sweep of the Padres. And in 1996, John Wetteland had four saves in the Yankee Series victory over the Braves, but that was a six-gamer. 

Romo needed a tidy 43 pitches to retire the nine Tigers.

In Romo's first appearance in Game 2

Quentin Berry led off

  • 0-0 - Strike Looking on a 87 MPH Four Seamer - Outside
  • 0-1 - Fly Ball Out on a 88 MPH Four Seamer - Over the Plate

Austin Jackson was up next

  • 0-0 - Strike Looking on a 78 MPH Slider - Over the Plate
  • 0-1 - Strike Swinging on a 79 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 0-2 - Ball on a 80 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 1-2 - Strike Out on a 79 MPH Slider - Outside

Omar Infante ended the game

  • 0-0 - Ball on a 77 MPH Slider - Inside
  • 1-0 - Ball on a 88 MPH Sinker - Outside
  • 2-0 - Strike Looking on a 87 MPH Four Seamer - Over the Plate
  • 2-1 - Strike Looking on a 78 MPH Slider - Over the Plate
  • 2-2 - Pop Up Out on a 79 MPH Slider - Over the Plate

Romo in Game 3

Jhonny Peralta led off the 9th for the Tigers

  • 0-0 - Ball on a 80 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 1-0 - Strike Swinging on a 80 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 1-1 - Strike Looking on a 80 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 1-2 - Ball on a 81 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 2-2 - Foul on a 79 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 2-2 - Foul on a 78 MPH Slider - Low
  • 2-2 - Fly Ball Out on a 89 MPH Four Seamer - Over the Plate

Alex Avila was up next

  • 0-0 - Ball on a 88 MPH Sinker - Low
  • 1-0 - Strike Looking on a 89 MPH Four Seamer - Over the Plate
  • 1-1 - Ball on a 87 MPH Sinker - Low
  • 2-1 - Fly Ball Out on a 88 MPH Sinker - Over the Plate

Omar Infante was the final batter

  • 0-0 - Strike Looking on a 88 MPH Four Seamer - Over the Plate
  • 0-1 - Strike Swinging on a 80 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 0-2 - Ball on a 80 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 1-2 - Foul on a 79 MPH Slider - Over the Plate
  • 1-2 - Foul on a 79 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 1-2 - Strike Out on a 77 MPH Slider - Outside

Romo finished off the Tigers in Game 4

Austin Jackson didn't have a prayer

  • 0-0 - Strike Looking on a 79 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 0-1 - Ball on a 78 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 1-1 - Foul on a 79 MPH Slider - Over the Plate
  • 1-2 - Strike Out swinging on a 79 MPH Slider - Outside

Either did Don Kelly

  • 0-0 - Strike Swinging on a 88 MPH Four Seamer - Low
  • 0-1 - Ball on a 87 MPH Four Seamer - Low
  • 1-1 - Ball on a 87 MPH Sinker - Low
  • 2-1 - Strike Swinging on a 87 MPH Sinker - Over the Plate
  • 2-2 - Strike Out on a 86 MPH Sinker - Outside

Miguel Cabrera was stunned

  • 0-0 - Strike Looking on a 78 MPH Slider - Over the Plate
  • 0-1 - Ball on a 80 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 1-1 - Strike Swinging on a 80 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 1-2 - Ball on a 79 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 2-2 - Foul on a 79 MPH Slider - Outside
  • 2-2 - Strike Out looking on a 89 MPH Four Seamer - Over the Plate

After five sliders, there was absolutely no reason that Miguel Cabrera could ever expected the four-seamer and he watched that pitch, absolutely stunned as he knew a strike had been thrown.

Romo had thrown 27 sliders, nine fastballs and seven sinkers in this Series. He got three strikeouts on the slider but the slider was the set-up pitch that crippled Cabrera on that fastball.

The last time a World Series ended with a whiff was in 2010 when Texas' Nelson Cruz went swinging at pitch from Brian Wilson of the Giants. Cruz is one of at least 15 batters who went swinging at strike three to end a World Series (Honus Wagner may have. We do know that he whiffed to end the inaugural 1903 World Series we just don't know if he swung or watched).

Cabrera does join Goose Goslin as the only other player we know for sure who watched a pitch go by to end a Series. Goslin was a 1925 Washington Senator who took a pitch from the Pirates' Red Oldham. 

Here are the Series ending whiffers prior to Cabrera 

Cr# Date Gm# Batter Tm Opp Pitcher Score Inn RoB
1 1903-10-13 8 Honus Wagner PIT @BOS Bill Dinneen down 3-0 t9 ---
2 1925-10-15 7 Goose Goslin WSH @PIT Red Oldham down 9-7 t9 ---
3 1933-10-07 5 Joe Kuhel WSH NYG Dolf Luque down 4-3 b10 12-
4 1944-10-09 6 Mike Chartak SLB @STL Ted Wilks down 3-1 t9 ---
5 1949-10-09 5 Gil Hodges BRO NYY Joe Page down 10-6 b9 12-
6 1950-10-07 4 Stan Lopata PHI @NYY Allie Reynolds down 5-2 t9 12-
7 1956-10-10 7 Jackie Robinson BRO NYY Johnny Kucks down 9-0 b9 1--
8 1965-10-14 7 Bob Allison MIN LAD Sandy Koufax down 2-0 b9 1--
9 1967-10-12 7 George Scott BOS STL Bob Gibson down 7-2 b9 ---
10 1980-10-21 6 Willie Wilson KCR @PHI Tug McGraw down 4-1 t9 123
11 1982-10-20 7 Gorman Thomas MIL @STL Bruce Sutter down 6-3 t9 ---
12 1986-10-27 7 Marty Barrett BOS @NYM Jesse Orosco down 8-5 t9 ---
13 1988-10-20 5 Tony Phillips OAK LAD Orel Hershiser down 5-2 b9 --3
14 2006-10-27 5 Brandon Inge DET @STL Adam Wainwright down 4-2 t9 1-3
15 2007-10-28 4 Seth Smith COL BOS Jonathan Papelbon down 4-3 b9 ---
16 2008-10-27 5 Eric Hinske TBR @PHI Brad Lidge down 4-3 t9 -2-
17 2010-11-01 5 Nelson Cruz TEX SFG Brian Wilson down 3-1 b9 ---
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/30/2012.
Sunday
Oct282012

Prince Fielder's Tough World Series

When Alex Rodriguez struggled during his Yankee postseason, the baseball world responded with an A-Rod doomsday scenario. But what we can see as Buster Posey, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder have struggled to varying degrees, one of things we all correctly acknowledge is that pitchers clearly bear down on a team's top hitters.

In the first three games of this World Series, looking at the 3-4 batters for each of these teams, Pablo Sandoval has been the outlier. Sandoval is 7-for-11 (.636) with three homers and four RBI. He has more hits, homers and RBI than the other three batters combined: Posey is 3-for-11 with one RBI, Cabrera is 2-for-9 with one RBI, and Fielder is 1-for-10 with no RBI.

One set of Giants who I don't believe has gotten enough credit are the Giants' advance scouting group. Not only have they done an outstanding job in helping their pitchers point out weaknesses of the Tigers batters, but they must be commended in guiding the San Francisco defense in positioning them for the hard hit balls that the Tigers batters have hit.

Let's look at how the Giants have pitched to Fielder.

The first thing you can see is that the Giants have worked Fielder from the middle of the plate outward.

Of the 30 pitches Fielder has seen, only six have been on the inner-half of the plate. Fielder has swung at three of those pitches and missed on two of them. During the regular season, on pitches on the inner-half of the plate, Fielder his .276 with 12 homers and had an OPS .908

This is not to say, that Fielder wasn't dangerous on pitches on the outer-half of the plate during the regular season when he hit .330 with 18 homers and an OPS of .952.

He's hit .111 on those outer-half pitches in the World Series going 1-9 with a single and two whiffs. 

So what's the difference?

Fielder has clearly been anxious (understandably) this Series and he's chasing, and to their credit the Giants pitchers are feeding into it.

Fielder has seen 20 pitches out of the strike zone. He has swung at nine of them and he is 0-7 chasing those pitches, striking out twice. In the Series, Fielder has seen only one pitch in the black and none in the corner.

This continues Fielder's regular season tendency of swinging at pitches low and away out of the zone

Just to make Fielder's batting life more of a living hell, of the 30 pitches Fielder has seen: 

  • 14 have been fastballs
  • 5 sliders
  • 4 Cutters
  • 4 Change-ups
  • 3 Curves

So, my bottom line is: be impressed with the Giants scouts, but be even more impressed with the Giants pitchers for executing a very effective game plan.

Wednesday
Oct242012

Cain is Able: Gets it done on the Hill and at the Dish

The San Fransisco Giants completed a three game run against the defending champion St. Louis Cardinals to punch their ticket to the World Series, and they did it on the back of their pitching staff. Zito and Vogelsong spun two gems to force a game seven, and Matt Cain took over the rest. 

Let's do an inning by inning breakdown of how Cain stiffled the Cards.

 

1st INNING

Cain struck out Jon Jay swinging with a nasty 2-seamer at the letters. He gave up a bloop single to Beltran, but managed to strand him in scoring position with two weak fly balls.

 

2nd INNING

The second was a little shakier for Cain, as he allowed runners to get to second and third with two outs before getting Lohse to lineout on a great leaping catch by Brandon Crawford. Cain also showed off his skill at the plate in the bottom half, as he knocked a hanging slider back up the middle for an RBI single to put the Giants up 2-0.

 

3rd INNING

After allowing a leadoff single to Jay, Cain settled in and got three straight outs to retire the side. To this point in the game, Cain had  only struck out two batters, inducing five fly balls and only two ground balls while walking one. Let's take a look at his pitch location through the first three innings.

Cain's Pitch Locations through 3 innings of NCLS Game 7

Coupling this with the contact rate of hitters, it is easy to see that his command of his pitches was excellent.

 

Contact rate versus Cain through 3 innings of NLCS game 7As you can see, the spots that Cain was hitting most frequently were a virtual dead zone for Cardinals hitters through the first half of his outing. Even though Cain wasn't striking out hitters at a high rate, he maintained good control of all of his pitches and continued to induce outs.

 

4th INNING

Cain gave up a leadoff single before retiring three straight via fly out, strikeout, and ground out respectively. At this point, the game had gotten completely out of hand, with the Giants leading 7-0, it was Cain's job to get outs. When this happens, a pitcher can begin to focus on pounding the strikezone, attacking hitters, and pitching to contact. 

 

5th INNING

Cain retired the side in order, forcing a ground out, a lineout, and a fly out. One important thing to notice during this outing is the amount of line drive outs to this point in the game: three; any one of those could have landed for a hit early and completely changed the dynamic of the game, but every pitcher knows how to appreciate a hard hit ball right at a fielder.

 

6th INNING

After hitting the first batter and allowing yet another line drive out at the second baseman, Cain gave up a seeing-eye single through the left side of the infield. He settled down to punch out David Freese for his last batter of the day.

Cain's pitch location from the 4th to the 6th inning

As you can see, Cain's location shifted more towards the middle of the plate. Usually this is asking for trouble for a pitcher, but as mentioned previously, Cain had been given a big lead, and his excellent compliment of pitches led to a very successful outing and a trip to the World Series. This will be the Giants' second trip in the past three years, and they will ride the success of their starting pitchers as far as it will take them.

 

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