So, the Giants did it again yesterday – an unlikely inside the park homer by Pagan in the bottom of the tenth. We’ve sort of gone into this before in a recent blog but here’s a little more detail why the Giants are able
to come back so much – and hit so well for a team with previously weak-hitting players.
First off, you’ll note, the Giants only struck out three times during the game, and walked six times. The Rockies, in contrast , struck out six times and walked only once. This is key and it’s been a pattern this year and in recent years. Note also that the Giants were , last we checked, in the Top Three for teams with fewest stikeouts.. They’ve also improved their walks. Sandoval, who used to lead the team in strikeouts, has ‘magically’ cut his strikeouts in half, as has Scutaro, since coming to the Giants from Colorado last year. (Even more ‘magically’ they’ve both improved their averages, significantly and even more amazing is that Sandoval has improved his homeruns. Similar patterns have taken place with other players on the team. One could accept Sandoval’s achievement a littlel more if it weren’t for the sudden display in homers going back to last month of last season when he hit seven and this year when he already has eight. So, it’s not just a question of cutting down on the swing, going for average.
Something else is giving these Giants a boost. Scutaro never hit over .300 in his career, and , now at age 38, he’s been hitting well over .300 since coming to the Giants last year.It’s simple. When that ‘something else’ improves one’s vision and hand-eye coordination, as well as bat speed and power, he’s going to not strike out as much and get more hits, in our view. And, in the bottom of the ninth – or tenth- when the pressure’s on and a player is working extra hard and concentrating. he’s going to work the pitcher. Normally you’d see some strikeouts against a good reliever like Bettencourt, but many of the Giants, with their magic powers, just don’t strike out anymore- or very rarely now. The improved eyesight will also help draw walks, as Crawford did to lead off the tenth. Then Pagan will work the pitcherto get in a hitters count, if necessary, after the pitcher is already concerned with a runner on base.And Pagan hits a long ball – he’s hit more homers on the Giants in the bigger park – than in past years – to win the game.
The pattern has happened time and again and people just assume the Giants are great. It’s that ‘something else’ we’ve talked about that the Giants have been using, off and on, since Bonds and Balco over a decade ago, in our opinion. And, amazingly, they’re still getting away with it. Of the current Giant crop of players who played for other teams before the Giants, they had a combined average of around .250 before coming to the Giants. The Giants now , inexplicably, lead the league in hitting, at .271 as of 5/24, in what’s considered a pitcher’s ballpark.
It is our believe that Giants management continues to load up on the type of players who will play into this ‘system,’ if you know what me mean. (Eg a journeyman catcher, Quinonez (sp) ,of Venezuela (like Sandoval, Scutaro, the late Melky Cabrera, Blano, etc ) who had only one homer in his career, was another one of those late inning heroes with an unlikely homerun after being called up). It’s pretty incredible that a virtually different lineup won the 2012 series as compared to 2010. Who thought the Giants could do it without Brian Wilson, Ross, Huff of 2010, etc. Only the names change, the results are the same. And don’t be surprised to see the Giants win another series if they make it to the playoffs. If they weren’t paying their st struggling, starting pitchers so much you ‘d likely see some changes for the similar type of ‘system’ pitchers like Mijares, Jean Meache(sp) , but don’t be surprised to see Lincecum and co. magically transform themselves.
(The new designer ‘something else’ is largely undetectable today with current ‘testing,’ which is done as little as once during a season, according to the new testing rules).
PS We’ve been getting great interest from these pages and the big site that was recently taken down, inexplicably. We have our feelings who was behind it- and it wasn’t MLB. Our previous website was recently taken down as ‘spam’ if you can believe that, and this one may too… Looks like we may be victims of that whole government-related conspiracy against the media, sadly, performing a ‘watchdog’ service that people appreciate (we’ve had more readership than on all our other non-sports website.