Think of this post as a sort of addendum to Rory’s post, ‘The Giants’ thin margin‘.
If I had to describe this season, besides using the word ‘injuries’, I would pick ‘tightrope-ish’. Rory talked about the thin margin for Giants’ victories this year — the team has often won games by one run. One run wins are often the product of A) luck and B) very good bullpens/pitching; the Giants seem to play these close games with regularity. Run scoring has been down this year — currently 4.13 runs per game on offense — and the Giants’ scoring has also been down, falling to 15th in the NL in runs per game (3.62). Compared to the team in 2010 (4.30 runs per game vs. 4.33 runs per game as the league average), the Giants look underpowered on offense. Losing key players for stretches at a time will do that.
The pitching has been just as good in 2011 when examining things by runs per game. In 2010, the Giants gave up 3.60 runs per game while pitching. The league average R/G for pitching in 2010 was 4.35. Jump to this season and the Giants pitching ranks third in the league (3.55 R/G, league average 4.16 R/G). I’ll note here that for runs per game for pitching will include other things besides just pitching, namely the defense. The better the defense, the more balls in play will be turned into outs, or non-runs. When talking about pitching and runs per game, we’re also including some portion of defense into the equation. Something to remember.
I decided to plot a rolling graph of the R/G for Giants’ hitting and pitching — and remember, we know that the ‘pitching’ R/G includes an aspect of defense. The goal was to get a visual of each component in the context of runs scored.
Really, the phrase tightrope seems entirely appropriate for the Giants this year. The pitching/defense has given up 3.55 runs per game. The hitting has scored 3.62 runs per game. It’s one of the reasons why the Giants run differential of (+4) is so close to breaking even. It’s hard to ask the pitching to do much more. Even when you consider that the offense is down this year, Giants’ pitchers are still doing a remarkable job of preventing runs. The hitting has remained a struggle, and despite some early season small sample shenanigans, the offense has settled into a groove of approximately 3.5-3.6 runs scored per game for awhile now.
It’s near impossible to ask the pitchers (and defense) to do much more. So, please Giants’ hitters, score some more runs.