SF Giants just need a little more practice


Giants starter Jeff Samardzija looks on from the dugout

We’re still just practicing, right? or is it time for me to worry yet? I want to like Samardzija. I’ve looked for reasons to like him. In fact, I think I actually do like him–I’ve made excuses for him. I say he’s just getting used to being a Giant. But how much time does he need? Or for that matter, how much time do any of them need?

It’s not just Samardzija, our entire starting rotation is beginning to make me nervous. Me. The original Pollyanna. I don’t need rose-colored glasses, I came hard-wired with rose colored irises already attached to my eyes.

I wondered how our starters were doing stacked up against other teams. So I looked it up. I was going to put together a fancy chart, in color–with all the bells and whistles. But after I looked up our stats, you know what? I can’t make heads or tails of that stuff. ERA, WHIP, FIP, WAR? Sounds to me like an international conflict about civil rights fighting with lion-taming equipment. Here’s what I’ve decided to do: I’m going to study up on the alphabet soup that is used to evaluate pitchers and show you how they come up with these numbers–one stat at a time.

In case you haven’t guessed, Jeff Samardzija was the starter for the Giants 1:05 pm game against the A’s yesterday.  His first inning was perfect—three up, three down. He did it again in the fourth, but the other innings? Not so much. Samardzija pitched six innings, gave up six runs-all earned, two were home runs-on six hits. He didn’t walk anyone and he struck out three.

I’m going to go ahead and demonstrate how to calculate Samardzija’s ERA for this outing because it is so simple. To figure out his ERA–his earned run average–take the total number of runs allowed, multiply by nine and divide by the number of innings pitched. Here’s the equation: (runs x 9)÷IP=ERA. In yesterday’s game, Samardzija allowed six runs and pitched six innings. Here’s how the equation looks: 6 x 9=54; 54÷6=9. That means Samardzija’s outing yesterday added up to a 9.00 ERA.

But what about his spring ERA? Take the total number of earned runs allowed this spring–18, multiply by 9:  18 x 9=162. Divide 162 by the number of innings actually pitched, in this case, 19:  162÷19=8.5263157…oh, it went on and on, but let’s just say 8.53. That’s it. It’s not even rocket science. It just felt like it sometimes.

Unfortunately, ERA won’t do us any good, because now that I’ve figured it out it’s irrelevant. The pundits require WAR and FIP and WHIP. WHIP is easy–it’s simply walks plus hits, divided by innings pitched. But we’ve done enough math for one day, whaddya say we skip the FIP, the WHIP, and the WAR. Like Scarlett, we’ll worry about it tomorrow.

I keep telling myself, and anyone else who will listen, that our starters are not out there to figure out how to get certain batters out, or to try and find a hitters’ kryptonite. They’re out there to work on their pitches (and I just demonstrated the proper use of they’re, there, and their in one sentence!) and Samardzija was very happy with his results. According to a post by Chris Haft of MLB.com, Samardzija wanted to work on location and he got the ball down where it needed to be.

Check out Chris’s post:


Haft said  Samardzija “had a great day” because “he improved his splitter” and “he went for six innings.”

I knew I was being an alarmist.

Sergio Romo, Javier Lopez, and Josh Osich pitched an inning each, all scoreless.

Although the A’s hit a couple of home runs, the Giants weren’t far behind—Hunter Pence hit a solo shot to lead off the fourth. The other runs, Giants style, were scored in the second: Michael Olivo hit a two-out single and scored on Ehire Adrianza’s base hit; and in the sixth: Pagan and Olivo each scored a run. The final score was:

Giants 4, A’s 6

Emily Dickinson once said: “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul…” what do you say we attach a couple of those “things with feathers” to some baseballs and send them flying out of the yard?

Be sure to tune in today and/or tonight. The Giants are playing split squads. This afternoon’s game is at 1:05 pm against the Chicago White Sox. Jake Peavy will be on the mound for the Giants. You can watch the game on MLB.TV. This evening’s game is scheduled for a 7:10 pm start against Arizona with Ty Blach pitching. The game will be televised on MLB.TV and broadcast on the radio at MLB.com.

#weareSF            #weareGIANT            #letsgetEVEN

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