You want to know why the San Francisco Giants are in first place in the NL West right now? Their team ERA in September is 1.47.
That is not a typo. One point four seven. They have allowed 33 runs in 20 games. The Angels, who have the second fewest runs allowed this month, have given up 59. The Brewers, in third place, have given up 66. The Giants have allowed half as many runs this month as the team that has given up the third fewest in baseball.
Their pitching has been ridiculous. Here are their performances and ranks in the core pitching stats for September.
BB/9: 2.12 (1st)
K/9: 8.44 (3rd)
GB%: 47.9% (5th)
Their staff has essentially pitched like a collective of Adam Wainwrights. Even when you regress their HR/FB and BABIP rates (both unsustainably low, as you would suspect of any team with a 1.47 ERA), you’re still looking at a team xFIP of 3.34 this month, which is the equivalent of Mat Latos‘ season.
It has been a total team effort, with essentially the entire pitching staff throwing lights out every night. Matt Cain has the lowest strikeout rate of any of the starters, but he’s made up for it with a ridiculous 0.96 BB/9. Barry Zito hasn’t had good command, but he’s upped his K/9 to 8.31 this month. Tim Lincecum, Jonathan Sanchez, and Madison Bumgarner have done both, avoiding walks and racking up strikeouts in bunches.
And then there’s the bullpen. In 50 innings pitched, they’ve allowed three runs. Seven of the nine relievers that have pitched for San Francisco this month have an ERA of 0.00. Brian Wilson (1.00) and Jeremy Affeldt (1.50) are the slackers who have dared to allow a run. Their .163 BABIP obviously won’t continue, but they have a bullpen full of groundballers who are pounding the strike zone, and that’s a pretty good combination.
The Giants face the suddenly slumping Rockies for three this weekend, and if they keep preventing runs at the rate they have been in September, they’ll put nails into Colorado’s coffin. The Rockies are going to have to figure out how to hit this pitching staff, which no one else has been able to do this month.
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