San Francisco Giants 60 Seasons from Worst To Greatest: 45-41
42: [2013, 75-87, T-3rd NL West]
Everything was upbeat for the Giants and the City by the Bay, as the Giants were coming off their second world championship three years. The Giants felt no need to change things, as they had 21 of the 25 players on the 2012 championship team back for 2013.
Despite losing 4-0 to the Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers on Opening Day in Los Angeles, the season got off to a really good start. They went 9-4 in the first two weeks, and they constantly came back late to win games. The Giants hit a bit of a slide towards the end of April, but they got right back at it with a six-game winning streak, which included a sweep of the Diamondbacks in Arizona and a sweep of the Hated Ones back home.
The sweep of the Dodgers featured two walk-off home runs by two Giants catchers. 2012 National League Most Valuable Player walked the Dodgers off on May 3, and then third-string Guillermo Quiroz hit a walk-off home run the night after. On May 12, they were 23-15, and they seemed unbeatable. Then, the highlight of the season came on May 25 against the Colorado Rockies, when Angel Pagan hit a walk-off inside-the-park home run. Pictures of third-base coach Tim Flannery chasing Pagan home and celebrating the win will never be forgotten.
It seemed like nothing could go wrong for the Giants, but Pagan strained his hamstring on his inside-the-park home run and went on the disabled list. The Giants were without their leadoff man, and they began to struggle. Also, Matt Cain, who had been their horse in 2012 was underperforming. As a result of all of this, the Giants began to fall apart, and they fell under .500 by the end of June.
Then, on a minor league rehab assignment, Pagan tore his hamstring completely off the bone and had to require surgery. The Giants continued to plummet on the field, and a stretch in which they lost 16 out of 19 games put them 10 games under .500. They teased their fans a bit around the All-Star Break, as they won five out of six to put themselves just four and a half games out of first place in a very weak National League West. That stretch included a 148-pitch no-hitter by Tim Lincecum in San Diego.
However, as much as the Giants teased their fans, they quickly started losing again, and they were knocked right out of contention. They then had to figure out whether or not to become sellers at the Trade Deadline on July 31. Despite their tough season, they were still a good and young team that was just having an injury-riddled season, and they had the pieces for more years of success, so they decided to hold on to what they had. Upon the news that they weren’t traded, emotional leader Hunter Pence and left-handed specialist Javier Lopez celebrated their extended time on the team.
Despite the rough season, the clubhouse chemistry was still great, and they gave their best effort every game. Pagan returned on Aug. 30, and as a result, the Giants had a 16-11 September. That September featured a near-perfect game by Yusmeiro Petit, who came within one out of perfection on Sept. 5 at home against the Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Giants also enjoyed playing spoilers against the Yankees—remember, this was the first season of year-round interleague play—on Sept. 22 in the Bronx. Young infielder Edhire Adrianza homered off retiring left-hander Andy Pettitte. The play of the game came in the bottom of the eighth with two outs, when Eduardo Nunez singled to left field, but young left-fielder Juan Perez cut down the potential tying run at the plate. The Giants held on to win 2-1, and while they didn’t eliminate the Yankees that afternoon, it severely hurt the Yankees’ chances of getting a wild card spot.
The season ended with a very memorable weekend at the corner of 3rd and King. Hunter Pence, who played in every single game in 2013, was awarded the Willie Mac Award on the final Friday night of the year, and then he was rewarded for his hard play with a contract extension prior to the series finale that Sunday. The final game was like a playoff game. The Giants trailed the Padres 6-2, but they chipped away, and they tied the game to lead off the bottom of the ninth on a home run by Francisco Peguero that sent the Giants’ dugout and the sold out crowd into a frenzy. the man of the hour, Hunter Pence, then singled later in the inning to finish the season on a spectacular note.
Sure, the Giants went 76-86, but of all the losing seasons in San Francisco, 2013 was somewhat of a memorable one. The season started with the celebration of their second world championship in three years, and while the Giants fell out of contention, the clubhouse still had incredible chemistry. The season then ended with many memorable moments and certainty that 2014 would be something special.