The San Francisco Giants started 2015 with a 3-9 record.
The San Francisco Giants were fresh off their third World Series title in five years but had lost Pablo Sandoval, a huge component in those three titles. No one expected the Giants to be great in 2015, but no one expected them to get off to the awful start that they did.
The funny thing about their awful start is that they actually began the season well, beating the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres in three of the first four games of the season only to lose six in a row.
On April 17 they sat at 3-9, with their prior two games being a 12-inning, 7-6 defeat to the Diamondbacks and a 9-0 blowout loss at home. In short, things were bad.
Recall, if you will, the context of this start to the season. The Panda was gone, his replacement, Casey McGehee, was slumping like crazy after having a solid spring, and Hunter Pence had broken his arm after getting hit by a pitch in spring training. Oh yeah, and remember Justin Maxwell? He was the guy filling in for Pence. It’s crazy the things we forget, isn’t it?
However, the Giants were able to stop the bleeding and finished the month at a manageable 9-13. Then they had a torrid May with Pence returning in the middle of the month, going 21-9 and making everyone forget their putrid start to the year.
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By the end of the season, McGehee was replaced by Matt Duffy, Marlon Byrd and Kelby Tomlinson starting regularly for the team, Tim Lincecum threw his last pitch for the Giants, and the team finished with a record of 84-78, missing out on the playoffs after being in contention for most of the second half.
Injuries and an overall lack of depth held the team back ultimately. Matt Cain was hurt throughout the year, Pence was injured and tried to come back off the disabled list several times only to injure himself again. Joe Panik was even playing with a fractured back towards the end of the year.
The injuries foreshadowed the next few years for the Giants as Madison Bumgarner, Pence, Brandon Belt, and Panik all struggled to stay on the field consistently. Injuries are to be expected, but 2015 seemed to open the floodgates for the team injury-wise for the next few seasons.
Looking back, it was a pretty topsy-turvy year. I remember going into the year thinking I would be happy if the team was around .500, so they beat my expectations. But the season exposed their starting pitching weakness which they addressed in the offseason and set the stage for a great first half of 2016 only for them to fall apart in the second half before Conor Gillaspie and Madison Bumgarner almost propelled them into the NLCS. But that’s for another article.
What a strange year 2015 was, and who even remembers that it started off so poorly? Just a great reminder that in a 162 game season there is plenty of time to pick yourself up after a stumble.