The expanded rosters in September are, in theory, a great idea. You get some reinforcements for a tired bullpen, a few interesting minor league types that you haven’t seen yet (as in, “Ah, that’s what Francisco Peguero looks like.”) and did I mention bullpen reinforcements? You get lots of bullpen reinforcements.
Fungible relievers, come on downnnn!
This is a line graph of the number of pitchers used per game in 2012 for the Giants. Can you tell when the September call-ups arrived? I am unable to gripe on a night when the Giants move seven whole games into first place, but my goodness does Bruce Bochy’s bullpen management in September drive me into a tizzy. Bochy used seven relievers in tonight’s game. It was a game in which Tim Lincecum pitched six innings. To get through the remaining three innings, Bochy burned seven relievers.
Somewhere Felipe Alou is rubbing his hands together and muttering, “oh yessssss, oh yeaaaah.”
But, for the Giants, it was a good night. As noted above, the Dodgers lost and the Giants won. I could end this post right here and now, but here are a couple of other thoughts from the game.
1. Tim Lincecum pitched almost exactly like we’ve come to expect. Flashes of goodness of the strikeout variety (eight punch-outs, yay!) sandwiched around walks (four walks, boo!) and the inability to command the strike zone out of the stretch. Look — I don’t think Good Lincecum is coming back this year, but if Lincecum can throw six innings per start while looking like a facsimile of his former self — which he did at times — then the Giants will say “yes” and “thank you.” I think Lincecum is fixable, but it’s something that’s going to happen over the offseason, not now.
2. Gregor Blanco had a nice night filling in for Angel Pagan, who was scratched with a callus on his left hand. Blanco went 2-5 with a triple, a run scored, and a stolen base, while also making several nice, rangy catches in center field. When Pagan isn’t playing, Blanco is the easy choice for CF; but, even when Pagan is in the lineup, Blanco is still probably “the guy” in LF. His wRC+ moved upward to 95 after tonight’s game and his defense and baserunning are sorely missed when he’s not in the lineup.
3. Facing the lefty, Joaquin Arias got the start at third with Sandoval getting a much needed night off. Arias went 2-4 with a couple of runs batted in. Sandoval is still the best option for third base. However, Arias has been hitting well lately and his defense is generally above-average. Not a bad guy to stick in there to give Sandoval a break. I expect that we’ll see Sandoval back in the lineup Friday in Arizona, a place where he owns a career batting line of .355 /.419/.562 in 31 games started.
4. Relievers. Man, so many relievers. Feels like the Giants haven’t played a game in under three hours in decades.
5. Disappointed Rockies kid is dying inside.
I know this feeling well.
6. Dodgers lost tonight, the Giants won. I’m not sure if I’ve brought this up yet.