San Francisco has shown no signs of promise in the first stretch of the season
The Santa Clara
April 20, 2017
The San Francisco Giants have put forth a pathetic performance to date. The team’s offense has been woefully inconsistent and its pitching is far from elite. And though we’re not even through April, the question isn’t at what point is it acceptable to panic? We’re well past that. The real question is do the Giants have any real shot at reaching the postseason? And the answer is no.
The Giants keep digging themselves deeper into a hole and don’t have the strength to get back up. Any Giants fan will tell you it’s still early, but these games matter. It may not seem like it, but a game in April is just as important as one in late September.
Last year San Francisco barely snuck into the playoffs, edging out the St. Louis Cardinals by a single game. That was with the Giants going 12-13 in April. Now they’d be lucky to be sitting a game below .500 entering May.
Giants’ fans might have to accept that their team just isn’t that good. As Bill Parcells put it, “You are what your record says you are.”
And the Giants record speaks volume. This isn’t the same team that won three World Series in five years. It’s a team with a powerless lineup, unreliable bullpen and a top-heavy rotation.
It’s easy to list the excuses—Buster Posey got concussed, Jarrett Parker broke his collarbone and San Francisco has lost a lot of close games. The Giants run differential is just -2 yet they stand four games under .500 at 6-10.
But it’s not bad luck—it’s symptoms of a team in decline, no longer serious World Series contenders.
It’s frankly unacceptable that the Giants look this mediocre. They rank second in the MLB in payroll for their major league roster yet are far from the best team in baseball. They’ve thrown big contracts at the wrong players—Jeff Samardzija, Matt Cain, Denard Span—and have little premier talent to speak of.
Combined those three players make $48 million. Jeff Samardzija’s ERA is 6.16, Matt Cain hasn’t put together a strong season since 2012 and Denard Span is hitting .205 with just one RBI. Combined those three players make $48 million. Besides Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, nobody on the Giants rosters strikes fear in their opponents. Johnny Cueto has a career 4.54 ERA in the playoffs and Brandon Crawford’s postseason batting average is just .236.
But that’s beside the point as the Giants will be on vacation by the time October rolls around. The margin of error in the MLB is simply too thin to essentially take the first month off.
It’s all but certain that the Dodgers will end up taking the NL West. Los Angeles reached the NLCS last year and their plethora of young talent should get even better. That’ll leave the Giants competing for one of two Wild Card spots.
Expect the St. Louis to nab one of them. The Cardinals have also struggled out of the gates but have a deep lineup and lethal rotation. Michael Wacha will emerge as one of the best young pitchers in baseball and Dexter Fowler should help an already strong offense that ranked third in the National League in runs scored last year.
As for the second slot, a number of teams have a shot.
Don’t underestimate the Diamondbacks under new manager Torey Lovullo. He proved himself as the interim manager for the Boston Red Sox and has a lot of talent to work with in the desert.
To date, Arizona has the best offense in baseball and a number of quality arms, including Zack Greinke, Robbie Ray and Shelby Miller. Many are shocked that the Diamondbacks have played so well, but Arizona proves by the day that they’re no fluke.
The New York Mets will again be in contention with Noah Syndegaard and Jacob deGrom leading one of the best rotations in baseball. As always, the question will be if their offense can score enough runs. This year’s lineup will deliver more than enough run support with Jay Bruce in the lineup for a full season.
All three of these teams are far more impressive than San Francisco. The legend of the Giants and their even year streak of three titles in five years is starting to get out of hand. None of those championships have any bearing on this season. This is a new year with a new team that’s shown close to no signs of promise.
The Giants won’t remain in the pits of the MLB for the rest of the year. They’ll get back to .500 soon enough and could very well be within striking distance of the postseason in the final stretch of the year.
But San Francisco won’t make it over the hump. There’s simply too many good teams in the National League and the Giants don’t have what it takes to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.
Contact Andrew Slap at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (408) 554-4852.