How one major move might set up the defending world champions to win even more rings.
My first act as the Giants' general manager for a day is to thank a higher power that I have Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez, and Madison Bumgarner in my starting rotation. With those four pitchers in tow, anything is possible, even a World Series championship with an otherwise ordinary roster, as the underdog Giants proved in beating the Braves, Phillies, and Rangers in the recently-completed postseason.
Our revamped FRAA looks at the top defensive players of 2010.
Today and tomorrow, the much-maligned Gold Glove awards are due to be announced. As you may have gathered from my article on Jeter earlier today, I’ve finished running the new Fielding Runs Above Average for 2010. What light can they shed on who the best fielders of the season were?
I introduced the metric here and here, but a quick referesher: the main goal in constructing the metric was to avoid biases that we see in other fielding metrics. A single season’s worth of numbers are not especially reliable, especially compared to offensive statistics. So take everything that follows with a rather large grain of salt.
Wrapping up the Fall Classic with some quick hits about the Giants and Rangers.
The 2010 World Series is in the books with the Giants having won their first world championship since 1954, back when they called Upper Manhattan's Polo Grounds home and no major-league team played ball west of the Mississippi River or south of the Ohio River. While the series certainly provided a handful of memorable moments that shone the spotlight on deserving superstars, unlikely heroes, and freaks with ill-considered beards, this fall classic didn't exactly fall into the “classic” category. For the sixth time in the past seven years and the ninth time in a baker's dozen, the series was over before a Game Six could be played. The team that scored first won every game after Game One, and in fact not a single lead changed hands after the fifth inning in any game. While the match-up may have meant the world to the long-suffering fans of both the Giants and the Rangers (who'd never even won a playoff series before this fall), to those of us without a dog in the hunt, it was notable mostly as the last oasis of baseball for the next three-and-a-half months.
Pitching has helped to carry the Giants to the brink of their first world championship since moving west.
In yesterday's space, I speculated about Game Four being more of a pitcher's duel than people anticipated. The Rangers certainly gave it a solid shot at making it so. If you had suggested beforehand that they would allow just two runs through the first six innings, we'd probably figure things had gone about as well as they possibly might in a Tommy Hunter start. Even down 2-0 doesn't sound so bad in the abstract.
Rookie Madison Bumgarner pitches the Giants to the brink of a world championship.
ARLINGTON—Madison Bumgarner has just turned in the kind of performance that very few pitchers who have ever put on a major-league uniform have matched. Yet at game's end, it was hard to tell he had even been the winning pitcher.
Jesse Behr looks at how the position players for the Giants came together.
Call him a genius. Call him just lucky. One way or another, GM Brian Sabean put together a very unique team in San Francisco. A National League championship team that does not include Barry Bonds, but rather nine draft selections raised through the farm system, five journeymen plucked up from the depths of minor-league free agency, and one playoff hero stolen off waivers.
Okay, since Sabean had around $98 million to work with in 2010 (more like $58 million when you consider all the money guaranteed to Zito, Rowand, and Renteria), the Giants aren’t quite the storybook team. Nevertheless, it’s impressive to see a “team of scrubs” match-up against a bankrupt ballclub from Texas in the World Series. Let’s breakdown how this Gyros squad came together:
The Rangers' work on the basepaths, led by leadoff hitter Elvis Andrus, has been a big reason for their post-season success.
If you've been watching this year's post-season games, you're no doubt aware of the role that the Rangers' aggressive baserunning played in their reaching the World Series. They've stolen 15 bases in 17 attempts thus far in the playoffs, and their so-called "antler plays"—in which their runners take an extra base on a hit, an out, or a ball skipping away from the catcher—were a key reason why they got past both the Rays and the Yankees. Particularly so in the final game of the Division Series, where their first three runs against the Rays owed to such baserunning, as Elvis Andrus scored from second on a ground out, Nelson Cruz scored on a throwing error after stealing third (admittedly, after initially dogging it to second base on a hit he thought was a homer), and Vlad Guerrero scored from second on a force out.