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Giants at Cardinals, 9/21: Who is John Gant?

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Madison Bumgarner will try to fight John Gant (RHP).

Los Angeles Dodgers v St Louis Cardinals - Game Three Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images

The Good News is that the last game of the season is next Sunday. NEXT. SUNDAY. That means that 10 days from now... this site will start posting less frequently per day. In the meantime, please suffer through the Giants and our excellent content.

Did you know the Giants are 1,074-968 in the history of the Giants-Cardinals series? That’s something to hang a hat on because there’s a very good chance the Giants are about to spend the next 72 hours getting creamed, pummeled, and funkdafied. The current season series is tied at 2 apiece, but the Giants haven’t won a season series against the Cardinals since 2014 and haven’t won consecutive season series since 2008-2009.

Obviously, this discounts postseason series.

scutaro

Lineups:

Glad to see Chris Shaw in there. As I wrote earlier today, he’s been the best surprise of the month. Crawford has had some good at bats recently and Evan Longoria just seems like a player who would hit well in St. Louis. We shall find out soon enough.

Buster Posey, last 3 years: 391 games, 1690 PA, 26 home runs, .803 OPS (117 OPS+)
Yadier Molina, last 3 years: 398 games, 1596 PA, 44 home runs, .769 OPS (105 OPS+)

Phew. Posey’s better.


After getting embarrassed by the Brewers in Milwaukee, Madison Bumgarner (6-6, 4.09 FIP ) turned around and embarrassed Colorado in San Francisco. He wound up leaving that start early with a possible injury, but is quite obviously no worse for the wear. At least in that particular case. Certainly, he’s shown a steady decline sine the dirt bike accident.

He has a spotty record against the Cardinals, too. In his past seven starts, he’s struck out 33 and walked only 9 in 29.1 innings, which is good, but he’s also allowed 18 earned runs (5 home runs) for a 5.52 ERA and just 1 quality start. Cardinals are an aggressive fastball-happy team (and 39.7 runs above average against that pitch), so he’ll have to rely even more on his curveball than he’s done lately.


John Gant (7-6, 4.05 FIP) actually started a game in the last series up in San Francisco and I didn’t make the John Gant/John Galt joke until now. Maybe because it’s a really dumb joke. Not dumb? Gant’s general performance. His 110 ERA+ is 4th-best in the rotation and 7th-best out of all pitchers with a minimum of 50 innings. Statcast has him as a 5-pitch guy: Sinker (40.1%), Changeup (27.6%), Four Seamer (15.2%), Curve (11.8%), Slider (5.3%). Reminder: sinker and two-seam fastball are virtually interchangeable where Statcast is concerned.

His Whiff Rate on the changeup is 34%, making it his best pitch by far. That probably has a lot to do with a large gap between average fastball velocity and average changeup velocity (93.1 mph vs. 81.5 mph) That’s basically a 12 mph difference. It’s also not the only reason why it’s such an effective pitch. MLB’s Statcast puts that pitch’s average spin rate at 1,545 rpm. The MLB average 1,746 rpm. For changeups, low spin is even better. This is a high-level changeup in all of baseball.

He was near-exceptional back in July against the Giants when he struck out 5 and allowed only 2 runs on July 6th (a no decision the Cardinals would eventually lose, 3-2).


Like I said in the series preview, if the Giants win, it messes with the Cardinals. if the Giants lose, it inches us one step closer to a 4-way tie. Either way, we can’t lose.