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San Francisco Giants: Is Tim Lincecum Better Than Juan Marichal?


It seems like a loaded question from the outset, but is Tim Lincecum better than Juan Marichal?

For those unfamiliar with San Francisco Giants history (note: San Francisco Giants), Juan Marichal is considered by many people to be the best pitcher in franchise history.

Tim Lincecum’s astonishing success in his brief tenure with the Giants, however, suggests that Marichal’s position on the throne may have been supplanted by The Freak.

Let’s take a look at basic, raw statistics to get an overall image of the comparison:


Tim Lincecum:

5 Seasons:           69-41, 2.98 ERA, 1028 IP, 1127 K, 1.118 WHIP, 7.4 H/9

Juan Marichal:

16 Seasons:        243-142, 2.89 ERA, 3507 IP, 2303 K, 1.101 WHIP, 8.1 H/9


You might note the curious omission of two facts: Tim Lincecum has already won two National League Cy Young Awards, while Juan Marichal never finished higher than eighth in the rankings, and Juan Marichal threw 244 complete games, 236 more than Tim Lincecum.

These statistics have been omitted due to era (time period, not earned run average) differences. When Marichal pitched, the Cy Young Award was still a relatively new award and pitchers were still frequently considered for the MVP. In 1968, Marichal finished fifth in MVP voting. He finished in the top 10 in 1965 and 1966 as well. Furthermore, the Cy Young Award was given to only one pitcher in each league until 1967. Marichal also had the misfortune of having his peak years at the same time that Sandy Koufax experienced his. Had Marichal pitched today, one could make an argument that, even with adjusted statistics, he would have won the Cy Young Award at least once.

The 244 complete games are an impressive statistic in and of themselves, but must be placed into proper context. Personally, I consider complete games and (to a lesser extent) shutouts to be essentially useless when one considers statistical comparison between eras. Closers, in the sense that the term is used today, did not exist during Marichal’s career. Perhaps a better metric would be innings pitched per start:

Lincecum:           156 Games, 1028 IP, 6.63 IP per game

Marichal:             471 Games, 3507 IP, 7.44 IP per game

Consider, also, that Lincecum has one relief appearance and Marichal had 14 career relief appearances, so the “real” values are slightly higher. What these statistics mean is that an average start for Lincecum is a 6.2 inning outing and the average start for Marichal took him through 7.1 innings.

The next step is to prorate Tim Lincecum’s statistics. In the interest of computational simplicity, I will project that Tim Lincecum will maintain his performance for another ten seasons. Juan Marichal’s 16th season was a forgettable two-start stint with the Los Angeles Dodgers, so for argument’s sake I will consider Marichal’s career to be 15 seasons long as well. In this case, the statistics come out as such:

Lincecum:           207-123, 2.98 ERA, 3084 IP, 3381 K, 1.118 WHIP, 7.4 H/9

Marichal:             243-142, 2.89 ERA, 3507 IP, 2303 K, 1.101 WHIP, 8.1 H/9

Pay attention to the comparable winning percentages, earned run averages and WHIP. Note that strikeouts, admittedly a “fashion” statistic (although not useless in certain game situations), land Lincecum among the all-time leaders in that category. The league ERA disparities do not factor in much either, with Lincecum actually having a slight career edge in ERA+.

Whether or not Tim Lincecum can continue his dominance will ultimately determine how he stacks up against the likes of Juan Marichal by the time his career is over. Other slight-of-build pitchers have had enduring success, however, Pedro Martinez and Orel Hershiser being good examples. It is also important, for comparison’s sake, that Tim Lincecum remain with the Giants.

What these statistics do suggest is that, at this point in his career, Tim Lincecum is at least as dominant as Juan Marichal was during his best years as a Giant. 

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Philadelphia Philles Are the New New York Yankees: Not a Good Thing

If you have been around baseball for the past two decades, you undoubtedly remember the New York Yankees dynasty of the late 1990s, wherein they captured four World Championships in five years.  You might then remember what happened afterwards.

Every year, the Yankees went far into the playoffs—frequently to the World Series. Every year (save for 2009), they failed to win. Meanwhile, the baseball world outside of New York loathed the Yankees, and the same is happening to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Now, I’m not naive. I realize that baseball is a business founded upon winning championships, not national acclaim. Philadelphia fans are not (and should not be) concerned what people outside of their city/fan base think about them. “Haters gonna hate.”

The concern, however, is that the Philadelphia Phillies could turn into a punchline should they not win championships.

2008:  The Philadelphia Phillies win the World Series, bringing joy to millions of fans who waited a generation to see their team capture a title.

2009:  The Phillies lose the World Series to the New York Yankees. In the offseason, they make a splash by signing Roy Halladay.

2010:  The Phillies lose to the San Francisco Giants in the NLCS, despite acquiring Roy Oswalt from the Houston Astros midseason. In the wake of the loss, Philadelphia signed Cliff Lee.

2011:  The Phillies lose to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS, despite acquiring Hunter Pence from the Houston Astros midseason. In the wake of the loss, the Phillies signed Jonathan Papelbon.

Do you see a pattern here? Obviously, the Phillies’ talent level is very high. But for whatever reason, they cannot seem to purchase a championship.

And even the most devout Phillies’ fan has to acknowledge that that’s exactly what Philadelphia is attempting to do.

It isn’t wrong to try to do this, mind you. Philadelphia sells out every game on their schedule. Their fans are some of the most passionate in the game. With this kind of revenue, why not try to assemble the best team possible?

Because the most expensive team is not necessarily the best team.

Think back to 2008. The Philadelphia starting rotation featured:

Cole Hamels (14-10, 3.09 ERA)

Jamie Moyer (16-7, 3.71 ERA)

Brett Myers (10-13, 4.55 ERA)

Kyle Kendrick (11-9, 5.49 ERA)

Joe Blanton (4-0, 4.20 ERA)

With closer Brad Lidge (41/41 Saves, 1.95 ERA)


Look hard at those numbers. THAT team won a World Series. The team with Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt and Vance Worley did not advance past the divisional round.

The 2008 team scored 799 runs. The 2011 team scored 713 runs. But the 2007 team, which was eliminated in the first round by the Colorado Rockies, scored 899 runs and the 2009 team scored 820.

Clearly, there’s no predetermined measure to go by when it comes to winning a World Championship. Were Philadelphia to build talent from within their organization and not trade said talent away for “big names,” they might have a better chance of accomplishing their goal of winning a World Championship.

This is a lesson that the New York Yankees learned the hard way. After reeling off three consecutive World Championships, the Yankees opted to eschew intraorganizational development in favor of big-ticket free agents. It was not until they revamped their homegrown talent that they managed to repeat.

The “best team” does not win the World Series every year. In fact, as the adage goes, the “hot” team wins, and you can’t buy “heat.” And when you spend a ton of money (second-highest payroll) and lose, the loss reflects poorly on ownership and the general manager.

If the Philadelphia Phillies as an organization are interested in winning over 100 games every season, then their current strategy is brilliant. If, however, the Phillies are interested in building a sustainable team that can compete for championships without breaking the bank and thereby maintaining their organizational integrity, they should consider restructuring and building from within.

Otherwise, it might be another 30 years until the Commissioner’s Trophy returns to Philadelphia. 

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SF Giants: 6 Reasons Why the Giants Must Not Sign Albert Pujols

Albert Pujols is arguably the best hitter in the game. If he plays for 20 years, he may well end up the Home Run King. He is an offensive juggernaut; a player so talented that he has almost single-handedly (or battedly, if you will) kept the St. Louis Cardinals in playoff contention for a decade.

The San Francisco Giants will not be champions of the National League West Division. There is a good probability that they will be eliminated from the playoffs entirely tomorrow. The well-documented reason for this is the Giants’ lack of offense.

Even given all this, it would be an egregious mistake to sign Albert Pujols. Here is why. 

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Houston’s Randy Johnson (Wandy Rodriguez) Blanks Hapless San Francisco Giants

I think people are starting to get the idea. If you don’t get the idea yet, then you are either an exceptionally optimistic fan, or delusional.

The San Francisco Giants are not a good baseball team.

Perhaps they were at one point in the season. Perhaps they were until the acquisition of Carlos Beltran. But they certainly aren’t now.

Granted, they have extraordinary pitching. Ryan Vogelsong threw seven innings of two earned-run ball, and remains second in the league in ERA.

The key word in the previous sentence is earned. Errors by Mark DeRosa and Nate Schierholtz enabled the Houston Astros to score three unearned runs off of Vogelsong. Guillermo Mota’s bogus home run to Bogusevic extended the lead to 6-0, which turned out to be the final score of the ballgame.

Realistically, though, it wouldn’t have mattered if Vogelsong had pitched a shutout—he still would have received a no decision at best.

The San Francisco Giants were completely baffled by left hander Wandy Rodriguez, who, like so many pitchers, had his finest outing of the season against the Giants’ hapless offense.

While the Giants are still only 2.5 games out of first place behind the Arizona Diamondbacks, the deficit seems nigh insurmountable.

In fact, a more realistic goal for the Giants this season than the playoffs is to finish the season above .500. At 67-59, the Giants would need to go 14-22 to finish the season at .500. Given the way this team has been playing recently, even that goal seems lofty.

The excellent Bleacher Report sportswriter Manny Randhawa will have to search deep into his bag of tricks to justify the Giants’ “excellence” in losing 6-0 to a team that was 44 games under .500 coming into the ballgame.

“It’s only just one game.” But is it? Is it really? Or is this game just an accurate representation of a disturbing trend?

One thing is certain: People should be fired after tonight’s travesty. Or at least demoted. Or, if Bruce Bochy prefers, they should come up with a mysterious foot strain. Mark DeRosa and Aaron Rowand are two examples of this type of person who does not belong on a Major League baseball field, contract or no. It’s already a “sunk cost.”

Am I overreacting? Is this a knee jerk reaction? I don’t think so. These are calculated statements backed up by on-field performances and statistics.

The Giants need to dramatically overhaul their lineup to put a competitive team on the field, or risk seeing their attendance and reputation plummet.

Not to mention, the Giants should be interested in keeping the sole bright spot on the team (pitching) intact. With free agency looming in the not too distant future for Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum, do you think either starter would be willing to play for a team wherein they get no offensive support?

Regardless of the pitchers’ unflappable coolness in the clubhouse in the face of losing and shouldering of responsibility for each loss, you know that these pitchers want to win. Not only do they want to win, they want to win championships.

And no team ranked last in the league in offense has ever made the playoffs, let alone won a championship.

In conclusion, if the Giants come out and score seven runs tomorrow, please save your “I Told You So’s.” After scoring seven runs against the Braves in game three of their series, they have been shut out twice consecutively.

For those keeping track, that is an average of 2.33 runs per game.

Even the lowly Giants are capable of scoring seven runs once in a while. A playoff caliber professional baseball club, however, will perform on a regular basis and demonstrate at least a modicum of consistency.

Madison Bumgarner (7-11, 3.49ERA) pitches next against Jordan Lyles (1-7, 5.31ERA). The ingredients are in place for a 5-3 Giants victory, if each pitcher pitches to their potential. Something tells me, however, that Bumgarner will lower his ERA once again, and loss number twelve will materialize as he is out-dueled by Roger Clemens…er…Jordan Lyles. 

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San Francisco Giants’ Starting Gatorade Bucket out for the Season

In the wake of last night’s 4-3 victory over the Detroit Tigers, the San Francisco Giants received some rather unsettling news: Their star Gatorade bucket is likely out for the season.

Following Brian Wilson’s second consecutive blown save, the All-Star closer returned in a rage to the dugout. It was at this time that Wilson attacked his defenseless target—“Bucky” the Gatorade bucket—with a baseball bat. The attack was unprovoked and appeared to be motivated by Wilson’s frustration.

Bucky sustained serious injuries to his MCLD (Medial Collateral Liquid Dispenser) that will likely require season-ending surgery. This news is particularly devastating to a Giants team that has already endured season-ending injuries to star catcher Buster Posey and starter Freddy Sanchez. Bucky is the team’s starting Gatorade bucket and has compiled an EDA (Earned Drink Average) of 86.23 that leads the major leagues. “Gatie”—Bucky’s backup bucket—is serviceable, but has a career EDA of only 33.62.

The reaction of the Giants thus far can hardly be considered “measured.” General Manager Brian Sabean immediately followed the game by castigating Brian Wilson for his reckless playing style, calling the hit “totally unnecessary” and “unprovoked.” Sabean then assured Wilson and members of the press that his long-term memory was excellent, and it was unlikely that he would ever forget this incident.

A teary-eyed Wilson was spotted after the game, appearing profusely apologetic for the incident. “The last thing I wanted to do was end someone’s season. We all know what Bucky means to the game. It was 102 degrees in Chicago the other day, and when we needed quality relief, that is exactly what Bucky provided. I was careless and foolish,” Wilson said.

Head coach Bruce Bochy summarized the reaction of the rest of the coaching staff and players, stating simply, “It’s a shame…but that’s the way the game works sometimes. All I know is that we’ll have Gatie on the bench the next few months, and we’ll try to find a way to stay refreshed and ready to go. What else can I tell you?”

It was likely that Bucky would have been named to the National League All-Star Team this year, given his statistics and the fact that he won BCOTY (Beverage Container of the Year) last year after being called up in July to become the Giants’ starting Gatorade bucket. Bucky was on the bench when the Giants won the World Series last year and was hoisted before dousing numerous Giants players.

In the aftermath of this incident, some fans are asking if Bucky should return as a Gatorade bucket at all. Some fans have speculated that Bochy might consider moving Bucky to short stop in place of the struggling Miguel Tejada and Brandon Crawford in the unlikely event that he is able to return by season’s end.

Bochy and Bucky both immediately quashed these rumors, with Bucky stating, “I was born to be a Gatorade bucket. My place is on that bench, and that is where I’ll return as soon as I’m healthy.” He will likely have his spot on the bench when he returns, although perpetual bench denizen Mark DeRosa has his eyes on Bucky’s spot. One thing is certain: Both De Rosa and Gatie have their hands full in filling the gap caused by the loss of Bucky. 

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