FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. Thanks, Jeff, for a truly fantastic series preview. I really appreciate the avoidance of “storylines,” and the breakdown of what we know, what we don’t know, and what we can’t know. Great work!

    Comment by Graham — October 6, 2012 @ 12:44 pm

  2. 100% agree. Best preview I’ve read. Good info, no unnecessary predictions.

    Comment by Aaron Lehr — October 6, 2012 @ 1:04 pm

  3. Will Votto get his power stroke back? Will Aroldis Chapman be available and effective? Will the Reds start to hit again? Who will start games 3 & 4 for the Giants?

    …are these not story lines?

    Comment by Jeff — October 6, 2012 @ 1:11 pm

  4. Yea, With the SF media would shut up about how great the pitching staff is. Amazing that a team in one of the best pitchers parks gives up more runs than a team one of the best hitters parks and everyone is talking about how great the giants pitching and how great the reds offense is.

    I would start vogelsong and Zito..

    Comment by Herbalist — October 6, 2012 @ 1:23 pm

  5. Reds leadoff hitters had a .581 OPS this year. The 2nd-place hitters had a .700 OPS

    The 6th and 7th hitters had a .796 and .748 OPS, respectively.

    Dusty Baker is the worst. Keep batting Wilson Valdez, the worst hitter in baseball, in front of Joey Votto. Yeah, that makes sense.

    Comment by Ugueth — October 6, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

  6. Exactly how a preview should go for two mostly evenly matched teams, with a bunch of question marks, in a short series. With the teams this close and in seeing the horrible call last night in the NL wild card, I do wonder if close teams plus short series equals vulnerability to more circus afro behavior from the umpires.

    Comment by Chris from Bothell — October 6, 2012 @ 1:39 pm

  7. I feel the Giants’ offense is often subdued in discussion because Marco Scutaro/Angel Pagan are believed to be playing unsustainable baseball above their true talent level, Hunter Pence is playing AT his true talent level, Brandon Belt is streaky/unrealiable and Pablo Sandoval is having a down, injury plagued year.

    Buster Posey is the only real, consistent slugger in the group. When he and Cabrera were together, it was a frightening 3-4 punch, but 2012 Sandoval isn’t half as dangerous as Cabrera was. But there isn’t any doubt as to the true talent of the Reds, and while they have been “slumping” lately that could immediately change.

    The Reds’ bullpen dominance is also heavily inflated by Chapman, in the same vein that the Giants’ bullpen was sabotaged by all those AAA pitchers they used throughout the year.

    I think, barring the fall from the heavens Tim Lincecum has gone through, the narratives are still pretty firm, but with a few twists here and there.

    Comment by Petruchio — October 6, 2012 @ 2:02 pm

  8. Not in the traditional sense. Read some of the series previews on other sites, and you’ll find they’re dominated by, say, a description of Johnny Cueto’s journey to big league success, or Dusty Baker’s return to the playoffs and San Francisco. You get much less analysis of on field performance in those kinds of stories because they’re focused on the narrative instead.

    Comment by Craftcj — October 6, 2012 @ 2:58 pm

  9. Those Votto stats are crazy. Bat him leadoff until his power returns!

    Comment by PXF — October 6, 2012 @ 3:09 pm

  10. “Giants hitters had the platoon advantage 68 percent of the time, which was the second-highest rate in baseball. Reds hitters had the platoon advantage 38 percent of the time, which was the lowest rate in baseball.”

    Holy moley! I didn’t think such a gap was even possible. Is it just because the Reds’ lineup is so right-handed, and the Giants have so many lefties/switch-hitters/platoons?

    Comment by AustinRHL — October 6, 2012 @ 3:51 pm

  11. Presumably, yeah. Melky Cabrera’s a switch-hitter, too.

    Comment by Jeff Sullivan — October 6, 2012 @ 4:11 pm

  12. Valdez does not play regularly. I believe Stubbs probably had the most at bats in the #2 hole, by a lot.

    Comment by big red machine — October 6, 2012 @ 4:23 pm

  13. Stubbs has been pretty terrible too though… sporting the .213/.277/.333 (30% K%)

    Comment by big red machine — October 6, 2012 @ 4:26 pm

  14. Also, do right handers ever face Votto and Bruce in the late innings?

    That has to play a fair part in it as well. I’d wager that the Reds have a more normal platoon advantage in the first ~6 innings, but the last 3 it is in the single digits.

    Comment by Voxx — October 6, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

  15. really good series preview! thanks.

    Comment by katiemac23 — October 7, 2012 @ 11:58 am

  16. Those aren’t storylines, they’re simply questions. And the only “story” that they can evoke is the one that plays out on the field in the game. They’re not only unanswerable until then, there’s not even anything very interesting you can say about them right now beyond “nobody knows” (which of course won’t stop others from spinning those questions into hundreds or thousands of words amounting to nothing more than that)

    Comment by joser — October 7, 2012 @ 12:34 pm

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