Sunday, August 26, 2012

Dodger's Trade: Season-Ender for Giants?

After the Dodgers completed their blockbuster trade with the Red Sox yesterday, acquiring Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford, and Nick Punto, many have immediately stated the Dodgers would win the West. I'm here to say, hold your horses folks.

Yes, the Dodgers got three star players and Nick Punto, and yes, Adrian Gonzalez did make an immediate impact with his 3-run homer in his first Dodger at-bat, but the Dodgers are by no means suddenly guaranteed to win the West. Things don't happen like that in baseball, where a single player is not that much better than those around him.

Remember that, according to the statistic WAR, Wins Above Replacement, even star players are likely only worth about 4 wins per season above a replacement player. And since the Dodgers have acquired Gonzalez, Beckett, and Crawford well after the halfway point of the season, they can't be worth much more than 1 extra win each. In fact, based on my calculations, since Gonzalez has averaged a WAR of 4.7 over the last two seasons and Crawford has averaged a WAR of 0.3 according to FanGraphs, and since the Dodgers have 34 games left to play this season, which constitutes about 20% of their season remaining, these two players combined will provide a boost of....wait for it...wait for it...1.05 wins. Hooray!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Sweeping the Dodgers

If (when?) the Giants win the NL West at the end of this season, I will look back at the three game sweep of the Dodgers that took place Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of this week as the turning point of their season. The Giants just won what probably have been the most important games they've played this season up to this point. I say this for two reasons: 1) it happened against the Dodgers, which increased their lead to 2.5 games in the NL West, and 2) they did it after the suspension of star player Melky Cabrera, when many had written off the Giants for good.

The sweep couldn't have come at a better time. After losing their best player all season and reeling for a couple games afterwards, which cost them the division lead by 1/2 a game, the Giants beat up the Dodgers like a team with something to prove. Backed by three consecutive dominant outings, by Bumgarner, Lincecum, and Cain, and a stellar series by the top of the order (Pagan, Scutaro [who's been a terrific acquisition], and Sandoval [who's stepped in to replace Melky in the #3 spot]), the Giants came in to the Dodger's house and shut them down, allowing only 6 runs in total over the course of three games while scoring 14.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Don't Cry Over Spilled Melk

I'm pretty sure every fan went through the five stages of grief when they heard of Melky Cabrera's suspension.
  1. Denial - "NO WAY!! Melky could not have taken PEDs."
  2. Anger - "C'mon, Melky! Get your head in the game."
  3. Bargaining - "Say it ain't so, Melky."; Appeal the suspension please!!"
  4. Depression - "The Giants are screwed."; "There goes our season."
  5. Acceptance - "Well, we can't cry over spilled Melk. The Giants will just have to take care of this without him."
And that 5th stage is where most Giants fans are at right now. The simple fact of the matter is that the Giants are gonna have to move on without Melky. The pressing question is, how on earth will they be able to do it?

Priority #1: Make sure the pitching doesn't falter. Literally, there is no room for error. Every single starter has to be rock solid. For Lincecum, that means continuing his ascent back to the typical Timmy. For Bumgarner, that means remaining as one of the top lefties in the league. For Cain, that means returning to his pre All-Star Game form after a couple shaky outings. For Vogelsong, that means keeping hishead up after the Nationals game and going out there with a vengeance. For Zito, that means trying to keep up with the rest of the rotation and maybe, just maybe, finding that bit of magic that he had in his first start of the season against the Rockies.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dear Melky Cabrera,

You let us down. Big time. You were the heart and soul of this team for literally every game this season.

You captured the hearts of Giants fans everywhere. We changed your first name into all sorts of nicknames in your praise. We dressed up as Melk Men in honor of you. We cheered you on for every game, every at-bat, every moment. We repeatedly checked the stats to make sure your batting average and hits total were still among the league leaders.

We watched as you created many memories for us this season. Most hits in the month of May for a San Francisco Giant. The homer in the All-Star Game that gave you the All-Star Game MVP and capped a historic San Francisco Giant All-Star performance. The numerous multi-hit games that you gave us, day in and day out.

You were the MVP of our team for 117 games. And now, we will miss you for the remaining 45.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Other Sports

The Oympics is unique in that it is the only sporting event in which Americans will ever get the chance to watch sports on TV other than baseball, basketball, football, ice hockey, and soccer. So, I've really embraced this chance to get to watch the other sports, the sports we never get to watch other than during the Olympics. And below, I've compiled a list of some of my favorite (and least favorite sports) that have come up in the Olympics that I'd never previously seen. Hopefully you get a chance to watch some of my favorites. Seize this chance during the Olympics, because you will never get a chance to see these sports until Rio 2016.

Favorite: HANDBALL
I've already expressed my love for this sport in another earlier post, but it's time to praise it once more. The game is absolutely enthralling, yet it seems as if anyone could play it. The objective is simple, throw a ball in a goal, but from what I've deduced, players cannot hold the ball for longer than 2 or 3 seconds and can't enter a 2 meter radius crease in front of the goal, so the game features fast-paced movement and throws from players who are airborne with wildly contorted bodies. While watching it, I can't help but think that if the US played this sport, we would completely dominate. If only it was popular in this country. But it's not, so the Olympics are your only chance to get a glimpse of this sport on TV. Seize it.