The scariest San Francisco Giants lineup of the past decade
With Halloween at hand, we set out to find the scariest lineup of the 2010s. One that strikes fear into San Francisco Giants fans even now? Could it really have been so recent?
October 31st. The day of the year where scares run rampant and children run with sugar highs. Where do the San Francisco Giants fit in on this orange and black day?
For that, we must reach back in time for some truly scary baseball.
Cory Gearrin, Denard Span, Josh Osich, Derek Law, Jarrett Parker, Steven Okert. Do these names ring a bell? If they do, chances are it’s not the best sound.
For a fan base that had been spoiled from the start of the 2010s, the 2017 season proved to be the colander that the dynasty was being poured into, game after game. The result was 98 losses in a season that scared fans well before Halloween.
For festivity’s sake, let’s dive back into that frightful memory.
The day was April 21st, 2017. Baseball was once again becoming a part of everyone’s daily routine when Madison Bumgarner was placed on the disabled list. His decision to go dirt biking in Colorado proved to be the start of this terrifying curse.
With the Giants All-Star starter out with an injured shoulder, it was up to guys like Jeff Samardzija, Matt Moore, Ty Blach, Johnny Cueto and Matt Cain. Looking back on the season now, it’s easy to see the detriment this rotation was on the already struggling San Francisco Giants.
When all the stats were in, the lowest ERA of the five was Samardzija at 4.42.
One of the most jarring factors in this season was that Moore alone gave up 67 walks in 174.1 innings pitched. Combined, the 2017 starters gave up 244 walks, excluding Bumgarner’s 20.
Skeletally, strikes were not being thrown.
On the relieving side lurked the same story. More often than not, Giants fans were filled with that haunted mansion unease every time names like Gearrin, Okert, Law or Osich appeared on their TVs.
Surely the offense couldn’t have been as unsettling, right?
Or perhaps our fondness for the team has clouded our memory in just two short years.
If you were to simply look at the statistics for the Giants 2017 starting lineup, my claim of this being the “scariest” lineup may not make sense. Numbers, however, can only calculate so much.
Realistically, how can a team that had Buster Posey batting .320 in 494 at-bats, end the season with 98 losses?
Put simply, this team had run out of luck before it could even reach May.
In April alone, Posey, Parker, Span and Crawford were all placed on the disabled list. Although this did damage to the team’s hitting ability and set the tone for months to come, results were just as fearsome when players were healthy.
Some may say that the team lacked that all so important “clutch-gene,” something difficult to find on a stat sheet.
So, who makes up the San Francisco Giants scariest lineup of the past decade?
For that, we turn to a game on September 9, 2017, that resulted in a 13-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox.
Here is the lineup in question:
1. CF Denard Span
2. 2B Joe Panik
3. DH Buster Posey
4. SS Brandon Crawford
5. C Nick Hundley
6. 3B Pablo Sandoval
7. RH Hunter Pence
8. LF Austin Slater
9. 1B Ryder Jones
P Jeff Samardzija
The main killer in this game was the pitching. Samardzija gave up six runs and Osich gave up four. Along with the fact that this group of nine guys, along with various pinch-hitters, could only scrounge up one run. This game is sure to be a suppressed memory by anyone wearing Giants gear, but it was the perfect embodiment of a dreadful season.
In retrospect, the past decade has been filled with three incredible highs for the San Francisco Giants that needed to be followed by the frightening low that was the 2017 season.
Here’s my advice: With the spookiness of the Halloween air, reminisce on the lineup that makes those championship trophies shine that much brighter.
It’s worth the scare.