Through four games of the 2016 Major League baseball season, the San Francisco Giants have shown that their offense is much improved over last year. The lineup is filled with professional hitters who have a good approach every time they step up. But there are two things that can doom this team during their run at a postseason berth. One on offense, and one with the pitching staff.
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On offense, the big statistic to watch will be runners left on base. The team will hit more this year, and will have more opportunities than they have in the past. Leaving those runners stranded will make 6-2 games 3-2 games which will cause more stress on the pitching staff, and make every game a nail-biter. So far, they have been pretty effective with runners on base, especially with two outs.
When someone in this lineup gets on base, execution will be the key to having multiple-run innings. Staying within yourself, and understanding the situation will be essential.
On the pitching side, putting hitters on for free and not letting the quality defense do its job will be something to stay away from. If a team has a handful of defensive hacks out on the diamond, the pitching staff should focus on the strikeout for fear of mistakes happening behind him. This defense is made for helping out the pitching staff with an infield that is very solid, and an outfield that can cover the gaps.
It’s no secret that the Giants have an experienced pitching staff who are very prideful in their work on the mound. They will go for the strikeout when it is necessary, but in order to get deep into games, (and deep into the season for that matter) they need to be able to get outs early in counts. What we saw with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain and their strikeout totals early in their careers, while magical, puts a lot of stress on the arm. It will be imperative for every member of the pitching staff to get early outs and not allow a lot of walks.
If the left on base stat is held to a minimum, and free passes by the pitching staff are also kept low, the Giants should have a great shot at not only making the postseason, but winning the division. With a lineup and starting rotation like they have, all they need to focus on is the things they can control. And if the Giants and Dodgers do exactly what they are supposed to do this summer, the team in orange and black should have the upper-hand based on their starting eight, five starters, and bullpen.