Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Marlins Preview

Not so long ago, I wrote:
With any luck, [the Giants will] also face Miami (7-11) and Milwaukee (9-10) before either of those two teams get hot.
As it turns out, the Giants finished their two series with the Brewers with four wins and two loses. If the Brewers put together a winning streak later in the season, the Giants won't have to face them.

The Marlins have been a different story. By the time they got to San Francisco, they were 8-14.  I'm sure you remember what happened after that. Today, when the two teams will square off in Miami for a four game series, Miami's record is 24-20. In a way, the Giants and their meager offense helped ignite this 16-6 run, and perhaps they can shut it down. I really want to point out that last year, after being swept by the Marlins at home, the Giants took the series in Florida 2-1, but many variables have changed. This year, the Marlins have upped the kitsch and pushed out the fences in the new stadium. Part of the Giants success, I'd imagine, will rest on how they play these spacious outfields--tracking down fly balls on defense and using the gaps on offense. I'd also like to think that a healthy Buster Posey will make a difference.

I would also think that we'll see more of Brandon Crawford batting second. Hey, small sample size and all, but in the seven games that Crawford's batted second, he's put up (in 35 plate appearances) a .281/.343/.344 slash line, aided and abetted by a .450 batting average on balls in play. That's clearly an unsustainable BABIP, and thinking that he'll sustain those numbers is unrealistic. However, it's worth noting that if we expand the scope, and look at the month of May, he's batted a more consistent (compared to a terrible April) .261/.338/.319 (in 77 PA).

Did I mention that the Giants have five active batters with their respective OBPs around .350 (Sandoval, of course, being on the DL still)?

Melky Cabrera .356 .404 .506 159
Pablo Sandoval .316 .375 .537 158
Gregor Blanco .244 .371 .326 102
Buster Posey .300 .365 .486 141
Brandon Belt .226 .350 .333 97
Angel Pagan .294 .339 .447 123
Generated 5/24/2012.

Since the last time I looked, Arias and Pill have fallen off the list, but it appears that Angel Pagan as gotten very serious about not making outs by seeing more pitches and taking more walks. It's notable that three guys on that list are in the outfield. Though they don't have Pat Burrell's three-run-home-run power that Bochy appreciates, I'd say that Cabrera, Pagan, and Blanco are a significant improvement over last year's bunch.

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