The San Francisco Giants are again blowing leads at the worst possible time.
On Monday and Tuesday against the Houston Astros, the San Francisco Giants held on to 1-0 leads until the late innings. And on both nights, big Astros go-ahead home runs (one in the ninth and one in the eighth the next day) sunk the Giants both in those games and in the standings.
San Francisco lost Monday’s game 3-1 and Tuesday’s game 2-1, to fall 6.5 games out in the National League West. They are now seven out of the second Wild Card. The losses dipped them to a game below .500, at 57-58. The Giants have been at .500 22 times this season.
Bad luck? Bad relief pitching? Maybe just a bad offense and a mere .500 team.
The Giants are 12th in baseball in batting average–.250. But although they seem to get their fair share of hits, getting them in continues to be the major problem.
The Giants are 23rd in runs scored with 460. The teams behind them are the Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles, San Diego Padres, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, New York Mets, and Kansas City Royals–all bad teams.
And in RBIs? Same thing. The Giants are 24th with mostly the same teams behind them.
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As for two outs and runners in scoring position, the Giants are only hitting .202. San Francisco isn’t hitting for power either. They’ve only hit 106 home runs, good for 25th in baseball with again largely the same bad teams behind them.
But the Giants don’t need to hit a bunch of home runs. In fact, their offense just needs to be OK for them to be a success as has been the case for years. And 2018 is no different.
When the Giants score four or more runs, they are 44-13. That’s .772 ball, which is what it would take for San Francisco to make a run in the last two months of the 2018 season.
The Giants have scored four or more runs only 57 times this year through 115 games.
Here’s a look at how many times they’ve scored four or more runs in a game since 2010 along with their records. (Note the World Series years).
- **2010: 69-12, .852
- 2011: 55-9, .859
- **2012: 75-20, .789
- 2013: 56-17, ..767
- **2014: 73-13, .849
- 2015: 67-21, .761
- *2016: 63-24, .724
- 2017: 50-22, .694
- 2018: 44-13, .772
** denotes a World Series winning year, * is a playoff year
In their playoff years since 2010, the Giants scored four or more runs 81, 95, 86, and 85 times respectively. In their non-playoff years, they’ve scored four or more runs 64, 73, 88, and 72 respectively.
Through 115 games, the Giants are on pace to score four or more runs 81 times this season. That’s the same as the 2010 championship season, but their pitching was off-the-charts that year with Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain anchoring the top of the rotation in their primes.
The 2010 rotation went deep into games, giving the bullpen a lot of rest. 2018 is a different story as the Giants have been using their bullpen heavily. Plus, 2010 had the Core 4 relievers who always got it done–Jeremy Affeldt, Sergio Romo, Santiago Casilla, and Javier Lopez.
As a comparison, the Arizona Diamondbacks scored four or more runs 63 times this season and the Los Angeles Dodgers 67 times. Those two teams are separated by a half game for the top spot in the National League West.
So, the bottom line for the Giants–score runs and they’ll win. In 2012, they were at the bottom of the league in home runs and still sure-handedly won the West.
Why? Because they scored four or more runs 95 times, the most out of their playoff years.
Just look at Monday and Tuesday’s game. If the Giants would have scored four runs in both those games, they would have swept the defending champions. Heck, if they plated just three runs, they might have still swept them. The Giants are nearly an .800 team when they score the magic four runs. And that is what they should prioritize for next season–or to salvage what’s left of 2018.