Talking Giants Baseball: A San Francisco Giants/Baseball Blog: Pittsburgh Pirates – San Francisco Giants Series Preview

Monday, August 8, 2011

Pittsburgh Pirates – San Francisco Giants Series Preview

By Jimmy Morocco 

Kickin’ it Old School
The Pittsburgh Pirates seem to be in a funk lately that they can’t shake.  Some fans are being reminded of the failures of recent years with the recent losing streak.  Matt Diaz held a team meeting on Saturday and what was discussed wasn’t known, but it had to have been centered on the team’s recent performance.

A lot of people made a mockery of Diaz being the one to call the meeting because of his “singles only” performance this year.  But, the guy is a leader in the locker room.  That is for sure.

It may have not sunk in on Sunday for these young Bucs as the losing continued, but whatever was said will hopefully sink in against the San Francisco Giants when the Buccos face off against the NL West leaders.

A Closer Look at the Enemy

The Giants’ offense has looked awful since losing Buster Posey to a broken ankle on May 25.  They are at the bottom of the league in virtually every offensive category.  Former Bucco Freddy Sanchez’s shoulder surgery didn’t help the offense much either.

Pablo Sandoval has been the lone bright spot for a depleted Giants’ lineup this year.  He is hitting for a .315/.354/.516 line in 279 ABs on the year.  That includes 12 home runs, 18 doubles, and a surprising triple for the massive man they call “Pablo the Panda.”

Brian Wilson is one of the most interesting personalities in baseball.

Two trade deadline acquisitions should also help to bolster the Giants’ lineup.  Jeff Keppinger’s .307 BA should help the cause and he should fill in nicely for the injured Sanchez.  Carlos Beltran also went to the Giants as the biggest trade chip moving at the deadline.  Beltran has a .284/.378/.495 line in 398 ABs on the year.

The Giants have a ridiculously good pitching rotation this year led by the surprising Ryan Vogelsong.  The Pirates won’t have to see two of the best of that rotation in Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain.

One of the most interesting players in the game will be in the Giants’ bullpen.  Brian Wilson, the Giants closer, has been having a tremendous season with a 2.77 ERA and a .231 BAA.  He has only walked 28 batters in 52 IP to go along with 48 strikeouts.  Wilson has collected 34 saves, which is tied for the MLB lead with Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel.

Pitching Matchups
Monday 10:15 pm- Charlie Morton (8-6) 3.80 ERA vs Ryan Vogelsong (9-1) 2.19 ERA
Tuesday 10:15 pm- James McDonald (7-5) 4.23 ERA vs Madison Bumgarner (6-11) 3.71 ERA

Wednesday 3:45 pm- Jeff Karstens (8-6) 3.05 ERA vs Jonathan Sanchez (4-6) 4.10 ERA

The Opposing Hurlers

Ryan Vogelsong

Does this name sound familiar?  Ryan Vogelsong used to be in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system for five years.  He was actually originally traded from the San Francisco Giants to the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Jason Schmidt and John Vander Wal deal.  The Pirates also received Armando Rios.

Ryan Vogelsong is finally making a name for himself.

Vogelsong was considered a major bust with the Pirates and he was promptly released after the 2006 season.  He didn’t even play in the MLB from 2007 to 2009.  He had a couple short stints with the Philadelphia Phillies and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and then was signed by the Giants where he decided to realize his potential that was always there.

Vogelsong got his opportunity when he replaced the injured Barry Zito and hasn’t even come close to relinquishing his spot.  He now owns the NL’s best ERA, sitting at 2.19.  He’s also only giving up a .240 BAA on the year.

Those numbers may be skewed a little bit as he is sitting at a .274 BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play).  That’s not a terrible number, but there is definitely some luck on his side.

Madison Bumgarner

Madison Bumgarner is one of the good, young players in the game today.  Bumgarner just turned 22 years old this month.  Last year was his first full season and he put up a 3.00 ERA over 111 innings with a 26/86 BB/K ratio.

Bumgarner still has a poor record, but don’t be fooled.  Bumgarner has received virtually no run support this year from a lack-luster, Buster Posey-less offense.  Bumgarner faced the Phillies last time out and gave up two homers, but that’s all.  He struck out seven over six innings but still gathered a loss because of no run support whatsoever.

Jonathan Sanchez

Jonathan Sanchez is a testament to how good the rotation has been this year for the Giants.  Sanchez has a 4.10 ERA this year, which is the worst out of the five members of the starting rotation.

Sanchez is just now recovering from an injury.  He pitched his first game since returning from being injured on Friday and he pitched three fantastic innings.  In the fourth, however, his velocity took a dip and he lost his command as well.  That’s not good for a pitcher coming back from an injury.  So, it is yet to be seen how well Sanchez will pitch against the Pirates.

Sanchez has a career 5.17 ERA against the Pirates.

By the Numbers (National League)
San Francisco Giants
399 Runs Scored (16th)
72 Home Runs (14th)
3.18 Team ERA (2nd)
71 Home Runs Allowed (1st)

Pittsburgh Pirates
431 Runs Scored (12th)
75 Home Runs (12th)
3.73 Team ERA (5th)
108 Home Runs Allowed (t-9th)

Notes and Tid Bits
- The Pirates are 0-10 in their last ten games.  They are 54-59 overall and are in fourth place in the NL Central and trail the first place Brewers by ten games.

- The Giants are 2-8 in their last ten games.  They are 63-52 overall and are in first place in the NL East.

- Jose Tabata re-started his rehab assignment with AAA Indianapolis two days ago.  He has gone 2-5 with two walks.  He’s only struck out once.

- Chase d’Arnaud has also started his rehab assignment after going on the DL with an injured pinky finger.  d’Arnaud went 1-3 with a stolen base playing for the Bradenton Marauders.

- The Buccos may be struggling, but closer Joel Hanrahan has continued to be absolutely dominant.  He has only given up two earned runs since June 7.  He has only walked four batters in that period.  He now owns a 1.08 ERA and a 0.90 WHIP.

For more great articles, check out Slew Footers.

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