If there were an award for the season’s first-half champion, the San Francisco Giants would have won it this year—they were clearly the best team in baseball. But since then, they have been plagued by blown saves and too many days when the bats failed to show up.
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Does anyone see a parallel with this past week’s Cardinals series? The Giants won the first two games convincingly (the first half of the series!), then lost the next two games when, on Saturday, Santiago Casilla failed to nail down the save (we’ve seen that once or two hundred times this year…) and then when the Giants failed to score on Sunday.
There couldn’t be a more appropriate summation of the Giants’ season.
The difference, however, is that the series ended in a draw. The season can’t end that way. It’s up to the Giants over the final 13 games to put the definitive stamp on the 2016 season. Will this season be remembered for a historic collapse? Or will they regroup in time to reach the postseason with the momentum and confidence that carried them to three World Series titles in the past six seasons?
If we were placing a bet in Vegas on this, the odds would tend toward undesirable result. But the great thing about sports is that the best stories are the unpredictable ones. The teams that come out of nowhere, or overcome the odds, or otherwise surprise the sports world to succeed are the ones that most capture our collective imagination. The baseball world still seems to shell shocked by the Giants’ seemingly inexplicable run on championships.
Something will have to change with the Giants in order for them to put the desired stamp on this season. It would have to be something unexpected or unpredictable, kinda like Cody Ross in 2010 or Madison Bumgarner’s Paul Bunyan act in 2014.
What could it be? Well, if the Giants had a reliable closer, they would probably be in a tight race with the Dodgers, instead of trailing by five games. Maybe the next time the Giants find themselves holding a minimal lead in the ninth inning, Derek Law will take the mound. And perhaps, before you know it, we’ll be inundated with cliches about Derek laying down the law. (Which we’ll gladly accept if it means he’s racking up saves.)
That’s my nomination for the late-season heroics that save the Giants’ season. But it could very well be something else. Something unpredictable.