The Giants finally score some runs, and even the series against the Reds.
There was a pretty good chance the Giants were going to lose on Tuesday. As you’ll recall, they had one hit through nine innings; they drew one walk; they scored because of a passed ball and an error; etc. They could have very, very easily lost on Tuesday. And if they had, Tim Lincecum’s season highlights would have looked like this:
Hustle is usually a subjective term, but it doesn't have to be. Here's how we can decide who really runs hard.
First, an exercise. Get a piece of paper and a pen, or a pencil, or if you can’t find a pencil prick your finger and write with your blood. Or just type it somewhere, but don't get blood all over. Rank the following 10 players by how much you think they hustle:
If you're unlucky enough to have a player injured, why should the pain by compounded by inflexible rosters?
Fair warning: this article is motivated entirely by self-pity. Lucky for you, I’ve decided to keep the crying to a minimum and try to provide as much useful perspective as possible. In the FSIC NL-only expert league that I’m partnered with Michael Street for this year, our team has taken quite the beating from the ol’ injury stick. At present, our roster contains seven players on the disabled list: Jayson Werth, Pablo Sandoval, Chipper Jones, Geovany Soto, Ted Lilly, Marco Estrada, and Jorge de la Rosa. The problem? The league calls for zero DL-specific spots and just five bench spots. One… two… Put your fingers down, you counted right the first time. Yes, we’re presently forced to play two injured players in active roster spots.
This begs the question of how to best structure the rosters in a fantasy league. Should a league have spots reserved for players on the DL and, if so, how many? There’s no standard in the fantasy community and not nearly as much agreement even over the principle of DL spots as you might expect. The default in Yahoo! leagues is two DL spots. LABR and Tout Wars allow unlimited DL spots. Others, like the FSIC, don’t call for any.
Events that have happened already this season after not happening for all of 2011 help explain why we're still hooked on baseball.
There were 2429 major-league games played last season.* Most of the things that can happen in a baseball game happened in one of those. With a few exceptions, teams and players will do all of the same things in 2012 that they did in 2011—they’ll just do them in a difference sequence and more, or less, frequently than they did before. When and how often they do those nearly identical things will determine which teams win divisions and which players win awards. We’re suckers for those things, so another season of the same, reshuffled, is enough to suck us in. But we're not completely content with repetition. We also watch in hopes of seeing something we didn’t see the season before.
*There would have been 2430, but no one felt like seeing another Dodgers-Nationals game in September. That missed game may have deprived us of history: Matt Kemp finished the season one home run away from 40 home runs, and Dee Gordon finished the season one home run away from one home run. For the alternate-history buffs: the man who would have started that game against the Dodgers, had it been played, was Tom Milone. Milone had the fifth-lowest home run rate among Triple-A starters last season, so that extra game might not have made Matt Kemp baseball’s fifth 40-40 man. Then again, that home run rate might not have meant much, since there weren’t many Matt Kemps in the International League. More on Milone a little later.
You never know what you'll see next in the minor leagues, the punk rock version of baseball.
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Given their overturned offense, will the 2012 Giants be able to improve their won-loss record from 2011?
Not long ago, while discussing the anemic offense of last year's Mariners, we noted that 10 MLB teams scored fewer than four runs per game in 2011. Only two of those teams finished with a winning record. The San Francisco Giants represented the most extreme case; they won 86 games despite having the National League's worst offense.
That got me to thinking: How often has the team with the NL's worst offense finished with a winning record? The answer may come as a surprise.