Saturday, September 10, 2016

NL West W L GB
LA 79 61 - Kershaw takes loss in return.
GIANTS 75 65 4 Bats seem to be coming alive.
Wild Card W L GB
GIANTS 75 65 - Must win this Arizona series.
New York 75 66 - Gained 3 games in last 10.
St Louis 74 66 .5 Not going away anytime soon.

Giants defeated Arizona, 7-6, in twelve innings.
LA lost at Miami, 4-1.
New York won their sixth straight, 6-4 over Atlanta, while St Louis defeated Milwaukee 4-3.

Giants continue at Arizona; Johnny Cueto, going for his 15th win, against Archie Bradley. Cueto has made four starts against the 'Snakes this year, winning two and losing two. Bradley is 0-2 against the Giants. 8 PM EDT.  
LA sends Rick Hill, who's been outstanding, to face the Marlins tonight at Miami.
New York's at Atlanta with St Louis at home against Milwaukee. All evening starts.

Last Night's Game
The best and worst of the 2016 San Francisco Giants were on display last night. The worst? That's easy-- Santiago Casilla blowing yet another save, this time in the tenth after the Giants had hustled home the leading run on a wild pitch. Once again it was one pitch, this time to Jake Lamb, and boom, tie ballgame. Basta! Turning to the good, we see Hunter Pance, 4-for-5 with four runs scored (including that wild pitch in the tenth), Brandon Belt on base five times with two hits and three walks, and two runs scored including the winner, Joe Panik and Eduardo Nunez combining for four hits and three RBI. These four led the Giants' rally to tie it through six after Madison Bumgarner had served up two two-run homers early and fallen behind 4-1. The capper was Angel Pagan belting a home run in the seventh for a brief 5-4 lead. It got ugly again quick when Denard Span dropped a fly ball that let a run score, but prettied up seconds later when a perfect relay from Brandon Crawford to Buster Posey nailed the trailing runner at the plate, That carried it into the tenth. In the twelfth, Belt's third walk and Panik's second hit were followed by, once again, Kelby Tomlinson coming through with a clutch pinch hit for the Giants' third lead of the game. And not to be overlooked on either side of Casilla's latest fiasco were four strong innings of relief from Sergio Romo, Hunter Strickland, Joe Nathan (who got the win) and Cory Gearrin, who got the save. After getting the first out in the twelfth, Gearrin went to left field, which allowed Javier Lopez to face Lamb. Lopez walked him, but Gearrin returned to the mound and managed a most difficult save, which included a stolen base and intentional walk, and ended in controversy when Wellington Castro was tossed for arguing strike three. The game was well past five hours by that point, and few outside the state of Arizona could blame the umpire. Seconds later, it ended quietly with a routine groundout. Whew!  

Statistical Insanity

Casilla's blown save last night was his eighth of the season. "Waitaminute," the sharp-eyed reader says, "he had seven before that fiasco in Colorado the other night. Can't these guys count?"  Oh, they can count all right, but it's clear that whoever makes up the "Blown Save" and "Hold" statistics just can't figure

If you review the box score for that Colorado nightmare, there you will see Casilla credited with a "Hold," and no blown save in sight.  No joke.

Casilla was charged with two runs on the evening, which cost the Giants the lead and ultimately the game. Going into the ninth with a two-run lead, he failed completely, allowing one run on a homer and putting the tying run on base, which later scored. He is charged with both runs! And yet, he gets a "Hold," evidently because the runs scored after he left the game, and is protected from a "Blown Save," evidently for the same reason.

No sane person who knows baseball can look at Casilla's performance that night and conclude he did his job. To let him escape the penalty of a "blown save" is wrong: the tying run is charged to him! And crediting him with a "Hold" is flat-out insane: he "held" nothing!  He blew the lead and, ultimately, the game! That the runs happened to score after he was yanked for utter ineffectiveness by one of the most patient and loyal managers in baseball is irrelevant. That he got one man out while giving the Rockies the means to tie it deserves no reward.  That the "Hold" is not an official statistic is a blessing under these conditions, but it grieves us that a player's agent can take this nonsense to arbitration or contract negotiation and squeeze money (generated by ticket sales) out of failure.

Rewrite the rule. We showed you how in an earlier post. Rewrite the blown-save rule as well, so that it makes sense.  Like it or not, baseball is a game defined by statistics. When those statistics are twisted to mean the opposite of what they should mean, they become not meaningless, but treacherous. They lie. 

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