For some mysterious reason, every team has those one or two guys that are their Achilles heal. Whether it’s match-ups, familiarity, or just luck, some average-to-below average players that just have their way against certain teams.
Take journeyman Scott Hairston for instance—a well-known Giants killer in recent years. In 212 career at-bats against San Francisco, Hairston hit .259 with an outrageous 14 home runs and 32 RBIs. If he kept this pace throughout a complete 162 game season, Hairston would tally about 40 home runs with 96 RBIs. Keep in mind that 113 of these at-bats were played in the very pitcher-friendly AT&T Park. As we look at his career numbers, 13 percent of his home runs and 10 percent of his RBIs came against San Francisco.
Some Giants killers aren’t always average players, though. For instance, Paul Goldschmidt takes his power stroke to a new level whenever the Giants come to town. In his 204 at-bats against the Giants, “Goldy” has hit .276 with 10 home runs and 39 RBIs.
The point is, there is a reason why Kruk and Kuip label some guys as Giants killers. These guys seem can make AT&T Park seem very small, and execute in crucial situations. Let’s face it: we can’t stand these guys.
So, who are the 2015 San Francisco Giants killers? Which teams did San Francisco struggle against all season?
1. Miami Marlins
In the seven games that San Francisco played against the 64-86 Miami Marlins, the Giants went just 2-5, including being swept in a three game series in Miami. In those seven games, the Giants did not play all that horribly, but bullpen issues and clutch Marlins hitting became the difference in the games.
Giants pitching really let them down as a whole as the staff compiled a combined 4.65 ERA, while surrendering 7 home runs in 60 innings pitched at pitcher-friendly ballparks. The Marlins domination of San Francisco was topped off by a Justin Bour walk-off home run against Santiago Casilla.
San Francisco had a combined .286 winning percentage against Miami.
2. Yadier Molina
San Francisco fans know plenty about Yadier Molina as the Giants faced off against the St. Louis Cardinals in both the 2012 and 2014 NLCS. However, before this season, Molina struggled throughout his career against San Francisco pitching.
Sep 8, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina (4) hits a single at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Whatever the reason, Molina flipped the switch as he slashed .375/.400/.667 in six games this season against San Francisco. Molina hit two of his four total home runs and added 8 RBIs against the Giants, which was his second-most RBIs hit against one team.
3. Pittsburgh Pirates
Maybe the Pittsburgh Pirates have been after San Francisco for revenge after the Giants knocked them off in the one game 2014 Wild Card Playoff game last year. The Pirates have been consistent all year long as they have the second-best record in the MLB (90-60), second only to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Aug 22, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates first baseman Sean Rodriguez (left) and third baseman Josh Harrison (right center) greet left fielder Starling Marte (6) at home plate after Marte hit a game winning walk-off solo home run against the San Francisco Giants during the ninth inning at PNC Park. The Pirates won 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
The Giants struggles against Pittsburgh is a little easier to swallow than the Marlins simply because the Pirates are a very good club. With that being said, San Francisco finished just 1-6 with a .143 winning percentage against the “Buckos.” In those seven games, just as the rest of the season has gone, San Francisco struggled mightily because of injuries. In the first series against Pittsburgh where San Francisco would eventually be swept, Hunter Pence had just recently returned from the DL from a broken ulna, and starting pitchers Matt Cain and Jake Peavy had yet to return from DL stints of their own. In the recent 4-game series played in Pittsburgh and showcased on Sunday Night Baseball on ESPN, it was in the midst of their downfall as they just acquired Marlon Byrd to try and make one last postseason push.
In the seven games, San Francisco hit an atrocious .238 while averaging just 2.7 runs per contest. Perhaps without all of the injuries and better play against Pittsburgh, the Giants would be in a better position.
4. Kris Bryant
The 1st-Round draft pick out of the University of San Diego Kris Bryant has already proven that he will be a dominating player in this league for a long time. As if this wasn’t enough, Bryant has also shown that he is going to be a Giants killer.
August 25, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant (17) bats during the first inning against the San Francisco Giants at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
In the seven games that San Francisco played the Chicago Cubs, Bryant seemed as though he was hitting a golf ball as the ball just jumped off his bat. Bryant slashed .364/.481/.591 with 2 doubles, 1 home run, and 8 RBIs. Expect to be seeing a lot of Bryant-Giants domination as he is just 23-years of age.
5. Charlie Morton
More so because of his career dominance over San Francisco, but even in his lone start against San Francisco in 2015 Charlie Morton shut them down. In the start, Morton threw 6 2/3 innings of shutout ball while tallying his 2015 third-highest single game strikeout total of 8.
Sep 5, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Charlie Morton (50) throws to a St. Louis Cardinals batter during the fourth inning at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
The most frustrating part about Morton is that he has never been overpowering or much of a threat. For his career, the sinker-ball pitcher is 45-69 with 4.46 ERA and 605 strikeouts. Nevertheless, in his career against San Francisco, Morton is 3-4 with a 2.84 ERA in 69 2/3 innings pitched. Morton has had more success against the Giants than any other team by far.
It’s guys like Morton, Hairston, and even Yasiel Puig that makes us all cringe simply because they seem to make the Giants pay for every little mistake made. In the grand scheme of things, guys like these should be the least of our concerns as San Francisco has a lot of decisions to make and work to do this upcoming off-season. Stay tuned for free agency predictions and suggestions.