Thursday, July 15, 2010
5 Reasons the Giants Will Make the Playoffs
The Giants are in the hunt to play October baseball. They have a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2003 when they went wire to wire. I give you 5 reasons to be optimistic about their chances.
1) The Pitching
They are 3rd in ERA, 6th in FIP (fielding independent pitching), 1st in K/9, 2nd in HR/9, and 2nd in batting average against.
The thing that seems to be holding the pitching staff back has been the walk. They are currently last in the NL in BB/9, if they are able to cut down on the free passes even if just a little bit this pitching staff could become truly dominate and carry the team.
2) The Defense
According to the UZR numbers as a team they rank second behind only the Padres. Their current number is 24.4 which means as a team their defense has been worth roughly 2.5 wins. The thing that makes this even more amazing is that Bruce Bochy has been trotting out a lineup for most of the season that had many players out of position.
Now with Buster Posey behind the plate instead of at 1st base that allows for a better rated defender like Travis Ishikawa to come in more or even just replacing Bengie Molina would be an improvement as he rated poorly at throwing out runners and stopping passed balls.
This defense in addition to the pitching makes this a potent combination in run prevention which is an important half of winning games.
3) Favorable Schedule
The road ahead for the team is going to be tough but the schedule the rest of the way does break toward the Giants advantage. They have more home games remaining then road games while their division rivals all spend more time on the road. In addition they have a lot of games left to play against the teams directly in front of them in the division race allowing them to take their destiny into their own hands.
A big plus on the schedule for them is that the opponent that they play the most is the last place Diamondbacks. If they can take care of business against the bottom feeder things could fall into place for them.
4) Pablo Sandoval
I am optimistic that what is affecting Pablo is something that he can and will work his way out of. His peripheral numbers this season very closely resemble last season so there is no obvious explanation to why he isn't performing up to explanations. I am going to take that as it is just a rough patch and some bad luck. His true skill level is much closer to what he has shown in the past and he will return to that level in the second half.
The return of Pandamonium to the ball park will propel the Giants to the playoffs.
5) Buster Posey
With the departure of Molina, Posey is the guy behind the plate and has stepped into the role beautifully. He is no longer in limbo about his role on the team and has done better then words can explain.
I am not expecting miracles from the kid but he has been a sight for sore eyes and gives the team hope for ending the 7 season playoff drought.