What’s the Best That Could Happen?
By Stuart Jones
Remember me? Yea, I’m that guy that told you about the worst-case scenario for the 2012 San Francisco Giants. I’m about to tell you about the best thing, and wouldn’t you know it, it involves alcohol. Not the DUI kind though. I’m so over that stuff being in the news. Need a reminder on what my lineup looks like? Here it is:
CF Angel Pagan (S)
2B Freddy Sanchez (R)
3B Pablo Sandoval (S)
C Buster Posey (R)
LF Melky Cabrera (S)
1B Aubrey Huff (L)
RF Brandon Belt (L)
SS Brandon Crawford (L)
See what I did there? Look, I love me some Nate the Great, I really do. Nate though, does not have the power Belt has, and I want my OFers to have at least power, and defense. Speed is an added bonus but hopefully is a given. Wouldn’t want any water buffaloes out there (2011 Giants).
If this article sounds 2010 Giants-ish, I’m sorry. But to get to the playoffs, you do need to be kind of lucky. Lots of things can go wrong for a team, but if things go your way, by golly you’ll find yourself selling out every home game the following season! Ok, 2012, best case scenario. Ready, go:
The pitching staff finally gets some run support out of the gate, sweeping Arizona in the opening series at Chase Field. Oh, you want to know about Buster? He’s just fine, proved himself in Spring Training, donchaknow. You know what’s weird, having speed in your lineup. Pagan and Melky and actually messing with the batteries of opposing teams a little bit, which is cool for us Giants fans. A little strategery to add to the game!
Freddy Sanchez looks good, and although he may not be playing 2006 ball, he’s hanging around .300 with an OBP around .340, which I will take from him, thank you very much. Best case scenario, he goes on the 15-day DL once. I just think it’s gonna happen.
Panda and Melky are offensive forces to be dealt with, and eventually labeled something stupid like “Kung Fu Cabrera” or as everyone else likes to call it, “KFC.” It catches on, which is the worst part about the season.
Brandon Crawford hits to his ZiPS projection, which I believe was around .225. My gosh if he could do that, I would be just fine with that. He won’t though, I expect .210. His defense continues to be good and since he plays regularly is getting Gold Glove consideration, which really only means something to the general public and the BBWAA. To the nerds or the wanna-be nerds like me, don’t mean much.
Angel Pagan is a good leadoff hitter, matching Freddy’s .340 OBP in line with his career best in 2010. He is on pace for 40 SB through the half-way point and is the closest thing the Giants will get to having their own Tony Plush.
Aubrey Huff is in the best shape of his life. It’s to the point where Giants fans are scared management is going to pick up his option for 2013. Aubrey is on pace for 25 HR at the All Star Break.
Oh, there’s a series in Miami in May? Yea, get this: Scott Cousins and Aaron Rowand are on the field at the same time and on a fly ball from Chris Stewart, the two crash into each other, and Stewart gets a triple out of it. It’s funny because neither of them get hurt, they’re both just fine, but they’re horribly embarrassed. Everybody wins.
The Giants have a solid lead over the Rockies by the Trade Deadline of around 6 games. Everything really seems to be coming together, and all of the starters are healthy, the bullpen is healthy, and Brian Wilson has trimmed his beard down to 2010 length. The Giants don’t go all “Zack Wheeler” crazy, but are still able to land a SS (big surprise, right?), and it’s none other than fan favorite Yuniesky Betancourt. While the world laughs at us, he shows that he is actually useful with the bat, although notsomuch on the field.
The Giants clinch a spot to the playoffs a week before the season ends, when Arizona’s in town, and this year they get to watch the Giants dance all over the field. It’s fun when the good guys win! By winning the West, they also avoid the 1-game playoff. The Giants enter as the 2-seed, with the Phillies and their aces doing it again. The Giants match up against the Reds while the Phillies get the Rockies (I know, right!??!). The Giants take out Votto and the Reds in 4 (they lose their only game to Mat Latos, which frustrates everyone, but worth it when they beat him on short rest in Game 4), and the Phillies squeak by the Rockies in 5, off of Ryan Howard’s bat and Papelbon’s late-inning work. An 2010 NLCS rematch gets everyone excited, and during the series, the benches empty twice, which makes this all the more fun. Unlike 2010, the Giants are unable to win in 6. It’s OK because they win in 5 in front of their home crowd, and beating Halladay at AT&T gives the fans much to celebrate. They face off in the World Series against the Yankees, for a 1962 rematch, 50 years in the making.
Both teams confident with their offenses and pitching working, but the Giants have the pitching edge, and the Yankees have the batting edge. Because it took the Yankees 7 games to beat the Rangers in the ALCS (they’re so persistent!), they are unable to start CC Sabathia first. Instead, the rotation will go Pineda-Kuroda-Sabathia-Nova against the Giants’ Lincecum-Bumgarner-Cain-Vogelsong.
Since the American League has found a liking to this losing the All Star Game thing, they decide they would like the National League to host Games 1-2, and 6-7. So they do. The World Series goes 7 games, and a Sabathia-Cain showdown is set up for the 7th game. The game goes a lot like 2010 WS Game 5, but Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey go back-to-back on Sabathia and the Giants take it 2-0 in the final game sending the Orange and Black community into a set of celebration they haven’t seen for… two years. Panda is named the WS MVP and Matt Cain the Postseason MVP since he didn’t allow a postseason ER again. Luckily, the Giants worked out a 5-year extension for him before Spring Training ended. The Giants let Aubrey Huff go for $2MM and give Belt the reigns that he earned. Fans dream that Zito will be traded, but that’s not the “best-case scenario,” more like “fantasyland.” That won’t happen. But what I wrote about could.
Like in the last article, I have stats for players’ best seasons, and their 162 game averages provided by Baseball-Reference. I didn’t use them as much as I wanted to, but maybe you’ll find this information useful.