If you are a simpleton, you blame Gabe Kapler. If you are a slightly smarter person you look at the decision-making of Farhan Zaidi. But in reality the Zaidi/Kapler Era has been a middling experiment which shone with brilliance in the 2021 season and is regressing to the mean in 2022.
Regression to the mean refers to the tendency of results that are extreme by chance on first measurement—i.e. extremely higher or lower than average—to move closer to the average when measured a second time. Results subject to regression to the mean are those that can be influenced by an element of chance. The 162-game baseball season is highly influenced by chance.
It isn’t about “turning on Kapler,” as my friend Paulie put it. It isn’t about rejecting moneyball as a policy. This is about a sheer lack of talent. This is a machine being run on very little talent, that instead uses statistical principles some of the time to govern decision-making and then uses a mash-up of situational and whimsical decision-making the rest of the time. It’s at Kapler’s whimsy, so he is easy to blame. He hasn’t been impressive.
Kapler is not good at extra innings games with the zombie runner and lost another one last night. He makes weird calls in-game. He is an average baseball manager with an above average social media and cultural presence. I’d rather have a better manager with less of all that.
But why hasn’t Zaidi spent any money?
The Giants sent Anthony DeSclafani to the 60-day injured reserve again and acquired a starter from the Cleveland Guardians yesterday. Disco is dead. The new starter is named Tobias Myers and he has not yet made a start in the major leagues. Here’s the book on him.
The Giants lost another heartbreaker last night, a walkoff in San Diego. It was a brilliant Logan Webb start again laid to waste. Webb went eight strong innings and only gave up one run, a homer to Manny Machado in the fourth. The Giants “Cained” him. For the second-straight day, the SF Giants were held hitless by their opponent for multiple innings before scoring late.
The Giants tied the game with two outs in the ninth to make it exciting, and Mauricio Llovera was again excellent in the bottom half of the ninth – he struck out the side to take it to extras. But Jarlin Garcia couldn’t hold the zombie runner. Giants 1, Padres 2, 10 innings
This is a frustrating season, but it isn’t without explanation. Everyone can see what is happening. The mathemagical craziness of last year is gone and what is left is a mediocre team. The Giants are not good defensively, have no starting rotation – only two reliable starters, Webb and Rodón – and are weak offensively with no reliable bats. Joc Pederson, Luis Gonzalez and Wilmer Flores are our best offensive options.
This is not a team that can contend.
So what is Farhan Zaidi doing?
What are you doing, Farhan?