Baseball is a funny game. The amount of variations, outcomes, and sheer randomness make almost no two games alike.
Enter last night’s game.
Roy Halladay’s career doesn’t need much explaining. He’s been a terrific pitcher in the AL for years and he’s off to a white-hot start in the NL. His WAR totals since 2006 – 5.7, 5.6, 7.4, 7.3 — go to show what a dominating pitcher he’s been, and continues to be. And then you have back-up catcher, Eli Whiteside. To put it bluntly, Whiteside isn’t a good hitter. He’s never been good and he’ll probably never be good. So, what does Whiteside go against Halladay? He hits an RBI double in the 2nd inning and a solo HR in the 7th. If you like WPA, Whiteside was the 2nd most valuable Giants hitter last night. Go figure?
On the pitching side of things, Sanchez wasn’t sharp but he was good enough to last 5 innings and get the win. Sanchez ended up striking out 6 batters but he also walked 5. Control will most likely still be a problem for Sanchez. His arm slot can give him trouble at times and he’s currently at 4.81 walks per 9 innings. Last year, Sanchez finished with a 4.85 BB/9. He’s still quite the talent, and the odd chance that he can take a step forward with his control without sacrificing his K-rate he could be very, very good. Right now, he’s just very good, which might sound like damning with faint praise but it’s not. He should continue to be a solid option for the Giants. He’ll have his ups-and-downs, but the talent is undeniable.
The Giants will kick off the second game of the series in about an hour. Taking the hill for the G’s is Todd Wellemeyer. For a pitcher that’s struggled for most of the season, his assignment in the Phillies isn’t a recipe for breaking out of a slump. The Phillies are a patient team — BB% of 1o.4, 8th in the MLB — and they’ve hit RHP well this year with a slash-line of: .277/.346/.454. Both things could give Wellemeyer problems if he can’t throw strikes and avoid the big inning. Let’s hope he can keep the Phillies in the yard.