SF Giants: Why they will be contenders this season
The SF Giants are off to one of their worst starts in franchise history, as they are 11-18, their worst record through 29 games since 1991.
Obviously, this is not the start anyone in the SF Giants’ organization had hoped for, but people need to realize that the Giants have only played 29 games and still have 133 games left, and people need to realize that the National League is extraordinarily weak this season.
In 2014 and 2016, the Giants made the playoffs, because of the futility of the National League. In 2014, the closest team to knocking the Giants out of the playoffs was the Milwaukee Brewers, and they went 82-80. Last season, the Giants edged the St. Louis Cardinals, out by a game to get into the postseason. The Cardinals were the only team in the National League that missed the playoffs with a winning season.
This season, the National League seems even worse. Alex Reyes is out for the season for the Cardinals, and the Mets have their biggest power hitter and their ace, both on the shelf.
The surprise teams in the National League this season have been the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies. Both teams are similarly built. Both teams are loaded up and down the lineup, the Diamondbacks’ pitching, especially their bullpen, is suspect, and the Rockies have had a relatively easy schedule thus far. There is a good chance the Rockies will finish around .500 this season, which would likely keep them in contention, but that will unlikely be the case for the Diamondbacks.
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As for the Giants, this is a retooling season, a lot like 2011. The organization’s number-one goal for this season is to win the world series, but they know that prospects such as Austin Slater and Tyler Beede are not likely to be ready until next season. That is why the Giants have brought in proven veterans, such as Michael Morse and Aaron Hill into the fold. Giants’ fans need to be patient, and there is a chance that Slater and Beede could be called up later this season to help carry the team to the finish line.
There is no doubt that the injuries to Brandon Crawford and Madison Bumgarner have significantly hurt the team. Brandon Belt is off to a rough start, and the Giants’ offense can’t come through in the clutch. There is also the catastrophic collapse of last season, which can hang like a dark cloud over a clubhouse well into the following the season.
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However, as mentioned above, the National League is very weak this season, and the Giants will likely get their act together and get hot at some point. There’s a good chance the Giants will finish around .500, but that could be enough to sneak into the postseason as one of the wild card teams.
It has been inevitable for a long time that a team with a losing record will make the playoffs, and this could be the season where that happens. 79 or 80 wins could be all it takes for the Giants to make the playoffs this season.
There are very motivated and competitive players on this team, such as Hunter Pence, Buster Posey, Joe Panik, Michael Morse, Johnny Cueto, Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto to name a few. There is no doubt the Giants will shake off the cobwebs from the end of last season and go on a tear at some point between now and the trade deadline.
People also seem to have forgotten that it is only May 5, and there are still 133 games left to play. There have been plenty of teams that got off to horrible starts and even fell as low as 10 gamed under .500, yet got hot, won 90 games and made the playoffs. Baseball is an interesting game, where almost anything can happen. Giants’ fans should remember that in 2000, the team got off to a 4-11 start, lost their first six games at then-brand new Pacific Bell Park, yet still ran away with the National League West with baseball’s best record of 97-65.
The Giants need to start playing better ball, but talks of a non-contending season and tanking for a higher draft pick are extremely premature. There are very few established teams in the National League this season, and that will allow the Giants to contend.