The Giants dropped their sixth straight Friday night, losing 4-1 to the Diamondbacks. Tim Lincecum had an uncharacteristically solid first three innings, but ended up surrendering four runs before departing after the sixth inning. Giants hitters worked counts and put runners on base early, pushing Arizona starter Josh Collmenter’s pitch count to 109 in just five innings of work, but rally-killing catches on the warning track by outfielders Gerardo Parra and Ender Inciarte in the first and fifth innings prevented the Giants from cashing in.
Gregor Blanco and Hunter Pence reached base just once in eight plate appearances and the Giants 4-5-6 hitters combined to leave eight men stranded. The D-backs bullpen gave up just one hit in the final four innings. The start from Lincecum was about all Bruce Bochy could expect from his fourth (really fifth) starter, especially considering the team and ballpark he was up against.
Giants fans were feeling good for the first three innings with an early 1-0 lead and Tim Lincecum dealing (non-Goldschmidt division). Then the Giants pulled the rug out from under and continued to do that one thing they’ve been known to do in June, you know the thing, it rhymes with June, and sorta sounds like gloom, and doom.
Here is the 2014 Giants season (so far) in GIF form:
Nobody’s quite sure when exactly it happened, but at some point in the last five-to-ten years the phrase “ownage is ownage” entered the San Francisco Giants lexicon. I don’t know if the phrase is used much outside of the Giants sphere of influence. Our own Wendy Thurm took a stab at explaining ownage a couple years back, but she didn’t get into its origin. As far as I can tell, the phrase was introduced to Giants fans by color commentator, Mike Krukow. This makes sense because studies show that literally everything Giants fans say and think about baseball was learned from Mike Krukow. That’s just science. If you don’t agree, well, you can just grab some pine, MEAT.
Ownage itself is simple enough to understand. Sometimes it’s team on team ownage. Sometimes it’s a certain pitcher versus a certain hitter. Or vice versa. It happens. These things go in cycles and what goes around comes around eventually. But sometimes it doesn’t turn around. That’s ownage. Nobody really knows how ownage works or why it happens. You can’t explain it. And when the ownage lasts a particularly long time, or when the owner inflicts incredibly massive amounts of ownage upon the ownee, well that’s even more difficult to explain. Why even try? Thus the phrase, ownage is ownage.
Now, not everyone is on board with ownage is ownage. Law of averages. Regression to the mean. Sample sizes and such. I can see their point. Sometimes the phrase is thrown around a little too casually IMHO. Even by Krukow himself. But in some cases, there is simply no explanation for the amount of ownage one player has over another. You convince yourself it’s no longer humanly possible for one individual to pound another competitor into oblivion this brutally, this many times. At some point, the pendulum has to swing the other way. Right? Wrong. Ownage is ownage.
Here is a table I made with some data from Baseball-Reference.com. It’s the top 15 hitters based on career OPS (on base percentage + slugging percentage) with 10 or more plate appearances against Lincecum. If you want to dazzle your friends with more than just a catchy phrase like “ownage is ownage,” you can point to these numbers. And if you want to make David DeJesus feel really good about himself you can email him these numbers. Hey, that’s nice! And if you want to make Lincecum barf up his dinner you can make a giant sign out of this table and bring it to his next start. Hey, that’s mean!
What this data shows us is that Goldschmidt definitely has ownage over Lincecum … Oh, had you already heard that about Goldschmidt?
What’s that you say? This has already been written about?
Oh, well, excuuuuse me.
As you’ve no doubt heard like a million times by now, [rolls eyes] Clayton Kershaw was pretty good in his last start. The topic was (gently) broached on the NBC Bay Area broadcast by Jon Miller and Krukow. The guys talked about Kershaw’s remarkable Game Score – a statistical measure created by Bill James many years ago. According to Game Score, Kershaw’s performance on Wednesday was the 2nd greatest of all time, falling just three points short of Kerry Wood’s legendary 20 strikeout game in 1998.
This got me to thinking. Does somebody tally up the Game Score for every pitching performance? Did somebody count up Lincecum’s Game Score against the Dbacks tonight? What is his career Game Score average against the Dbacks? Is there a Game Score for ownage? Can we calculate Lincecum’s Game Score against Goldschmidt? Like, for his career so far?
No? Not really?
I don’t care. Let’s try it anyway.
Let’s try to calculate Lincecum’s Game Score against a team of Goldschmidts. This will be terrifying. Don’t show it to Timmy, okay? No, seriously. We have to all promise not to show this post to Timmy.
Going into tonight, Goldschmidt had 28 career plate appearances against Lincecum. Nine innings. 27 outs. Eh, close enough. Okay, here we go.
Start with 50 points
This seems easy enough. Total: 50
Add one point for each out
Oh, yeah. This is gonna work out just fine. 13 hits, two walks, 28 plate appearances. That’s 13 outs, by my count. Total: 63
Add two points for each completed inning after the fourth
Easy. There is no way in Hell Lincecum would make it past the 4th inning against a team of Goldschmidts. Total: 63
Add one point for each strikeout
Five strikeouts? Five strikeouts! YES! Cha-ching! In your face, Goldschmidts! (holy crap, no you’re not crazy, I had no idea Lincecum struck out Goldschmidt that many times either, holy crap, that’s insane) WOOF! You da man, Timmy! /fist pump Total: 68
Subtract one point for each walk
Oh, there are subtractions too? Cool. No worries. Just two walks. Not bad. Total: 66
Subtract two points for each hit
Oooooh. Okay. Yeah. Ouch, that hurts. Team Goldschmidt has 13 hits against Lincecum. No bueno. Hey, at least slugging isn’t a factor. Thanks, Bill James! SUCKER! Total: 40
Subtract two points for each unearned run
Okay, maybe this isn’t the perfect measure of ownage, but whatever. Lincecum fans are taking this one to the bank. WE’RE STAYING STRONG AT 40. HOLD ON, TIMMY. Total: 40
Subtract four point for each earned run
[Bochy noises] This is a tough one all around. Tough for Lincecum. Tough for this silly little exercise. What’s the best way to measure runs in a pitcher vs. hitter matchup? We could use the actual number of runs the hitter himself scored, but that’s not really fair to the hitter and I just now realized my stupid table doesn’t even have stupid runs, so that’s out. How about good ol’ fashioned ribeyes? Seems fair. Okay, let’s calculate this out … 17 RBI … times four … carry the two … times pi … Ohhh, no. Noooo. This is not good folks.
Tim Lincecum’s total Game Score against our fictitious team of Goldschmidts is … GULP … -28
Negative 28. Is that bad? I mean, I know it’s not good. But is it really that bad? Is it “ownage” per se? I don’t know. Jury’s still out on this one.
Ownage is ownage.
Paul Goldschmidt’s line against Tim Lincecum tonight: 2-for-2, two runs, one walk, one stolen base
Next time, Timmy. You’ll get him next time.
— Marco Scutaro and Brandon Belt took swings in the cage and fielded grounders before tonight’s game. Scutaro is probably still at least a month away (that’s a guess and an optimistic one) but the Giants seem confident he’ll contribute off the bench this season. Belt will be starting a rehab assignment soon and appears to be on track to return by late June or early July. The Giants sure could use both of them right about now.
— Buster Posey continues to roll at the plate. He’s now hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games. He still isn’t walking — or hitting for much power — but he smacked two singles to right field tonight, which is always a good sign. It’s just a matter of time until he starts doing some real damage.
— The beating Hector Sanchez has been taking behind the plate this season may be catching up to him at the plate. See what I did there? Never mind. Sanchez went 1-for-4 tonight and raised his batting average … probably by quite a bit. That’s never a good thing in June, even for a back up catcher. Going into tonight, Sanchez was hitting .127/.158/.218 in his last 21 games (including 12 starts). Belt’s injury has given Sanchez and Blanco a chance to show what they can do with increased playing time. Blanco has turned his season around and solidified his spot as the team’s 4th outfielder, while it looks like Sanchez has been exposed at times both offensively and defensively.
— Bochy is giving another player in the depths of a horrendous slump a few days off. Brandon Hicks started off the season with a bang, but after 227 plate appearances pitchers have finally figured out he can hit the hanging curveball right over the heart of the plate, even in clutch situations (crazy!). Ehire Adrianza has gotten a few starts in a row and Bochy told Jon Miller before tonight’s game he likes what he sees. Bochy has done this in the past, giving slumping young players a few days off to clear their heads and reset. Will it work for Brandon Hicks? His career numbers say no. Meanwhile Chase Utley is hitting .305/.364/.474