Sport Illustrated has chosen four teams to grace the cover of this season’s baseball preview edition. The New York Mets have been chosen to represent the East region, the Chicago Cubs the Midwest, the Houston Astros the South, and the San Francisco Giants are the West region representative on the cover (even though the Dodgers are predicted to win the west, and the Giants are favored for the wild-card.) Full list of states where each team is represented is available here.
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In a nutshell, the teams chosen are all on track to play important games into September, and all have varying degrees of experience doing so. But none have the experience that the Giants do.
Of the projected 25-man roster for the upcoming season, 20 of the 25 players have a World Series ring, including Johnny Cueto‘s from last season. Having that experience helps a lot down the stretch when many players are going through it for the first time.
When a team like the Giants goes deep into the playoffs, there is some concern for the health of the players, especially the pitching staff. Cueto’s workload last season, and having to change teams during it, is of some concern. But Bruce Bochy, Dave Righetti, and Mark Gardner have shown an ability to get everything out of the staff. Utilizing the bullpen, as well as the minor league system to keep the arms somewhat fresh.
An even year or not, the Giants added some quality pieces, and are developing some young talent that has been raised within the team’s culture. And if you don’t believe that winning a championship for the team that brought you up isn’t a great motivator, just ask the Giants infield and most of their pitching staff. They all know that the orange and black are the main colors of October.