Two games into a four game series, the Giants have already won two against the St. Louis Pujolses. I mean the Cardinals. Calling them the St. Louis Pujolses isn’t meant to be an insult, but being a Cardinals fan and getting to watch Albert Pujols for an entire season has got to be a lot of fun. Just like how Giants’ fans used to marvel at Bonds and his feats on the diamond, I’m sure Cardinal fans are doing the same right now.
In last night’s game, Pujols went deep twice against Randy Johnson. The first HR was on a 92 mph fastball that caught way too much of the plate and the other HR was on a 84 mph slider. Not that anyone needs to be reminded of just-how-good Pujols is right now, but check out a few of his numbers. He’s hitting a .411 ISO right now. Four hundred and eleven. Any way you slice it (1.197 OPS, +41.1 batting runs above average, +4.5 wins added as a player) his numbers are amazing.
And yet, to bring this back to a Giants-context, he still hasn’t reached some of the seasons that Bonds has had in the past.
It’s unfair to compare anyone to Barry Bonds, but as amazing as Pujols has been, he still hasn’t eclipsed some of the single seasons that Bonds produced. He’s come quite close but he hasn’t surpassed him, yet. The above graph doesn’t include Pujols’ 2009 season. He’s on pace for something like a +9-10 win season this year.
A few other quick thoughts about the series thus far.
- Don’t read too much into two games, but Renteria has looked better at the plate vs. the Cardinals. I’m still concerned about Renteria’s dropping power over the last couple of seasons (his ISO is currently at .075, a career ISO of .114) but he’s still hitting line drives 20%+ of the time. The glove hasn’t been a problem, either. By UZR Renteria is playing average defense at the shortstop position. His range is slightly below average, but he’s sure handed and doesn’t make many errors. The Giants need Renteria to hit around league average if they want to make noise in the Wild Card.
- Hats off to Jeremy Affeldt and his relief work last night. The southpaw threw 2 innings of scoreless baseball that included a bases-loaded double play off the bat of Tyler Greene in the 6th. Affedlt’s WPA of %21.5 led all Giants players in the game.
- How would you like to face Cardinals reliever Jason Motte? Check out this pitch sequence to Pablo Sandoval. 90 mph slider (foul), 97 mph fastball (ball), 96 mph fastball (swinging strike), 91 mph fastball (foul), 98 mph fastball (ball), 96 mph fastball (foul), 97 mph fastball (in play, out).
- And, in unrelated news, please don’t trade for Jermaine Dye. The latest rumor du jour is that the Giants have been targeting Jermaine Dye to supplement their hitting. He would supplement team hitting (he’s added +13.6 runs by his bat this year) but at the expense of team defense. Remember, run prevention is just as important as run creation and Jermaine Dye is one of the worst defenders in baseball. Check out his last four years in the OF by Ultimate Zone Rating: -22.5 runs, -21.6 runs, -19.4 runs, and -6.9 runs. The last number (-6.9 runs) is from this year and if you prorated it to 150 games, he’s on pace for a -11.9 run season in the OF. Even with Randy Winn’s decline at the plate, there isn’t much of a difference between the two players. Can you say, lateral move?