While National League baseball fans in northern California get whipped into a frenzy about another even-year championship for the San Francisco Giants, one (especially as a Dodger fan) has to constantly wonder how this team could possibly be in this position. Sure, they’ve got a couple maybe the best hitting catcher in the game in Buster Posey, and one of the best pitchers in the game in Madison Bumgarner, but if you think about it, that’s really it.
Hunter Pence played all 162 and got you 20 home runs, but hit .277. Angel Pagan was the only hitter other than Posey with more than 300 at-bats to hit better than .280, and he’s hurt, and the Kung Fu Panda, Pablo Sandoval, likely in his last year as a Giant, is a fan favorite and fun to watch, but only drove in 61 runs.
In the rotation, Bumgarner won 18 games, but Tim Lincecum was second on the club in victories, and was booted from manager Bruce Bochy’s five-man unit. Tim Hudson was second in innings, but only won nine games. Jake Peavy, who was abysmal in Boston, did come through after the trade to the Giants, went 6-4 with a 2.17 ERA, and is Bochy’s 1-B in the playoffs behind Bumgarner.
While still trying to get over Kershaw’s losses to the Cardinals and the bullpen blowing it, it’s inconceivable that these also-rans are still running. Here’s where the Giants rank in baseball (with the Dodgers in there too). There are 30 teams overall, and 10 make the playoffs…
- 10th in batting average (.255) Dodgers third.
- 11th in hits (kind of redundant with batting average) (1407) Dodgers third.
- 12th in runs scored (that is the object isn’t it?) (665) Dodgers sixth.
- 14th in fewest strikeouts (1245) The Dodgers (15th) had one more.
- 17th in home runs (132) Dodgers 16th.
- 18th in on base percentage (.311) Dodgers first! (.333)
- 6th in opponent’s batting average (.241) Dodgers a point worse.
- 10th in ERA (3.50) Dodgers sixth.
- 11th in home runs allowed (133) Dodgers much worse (18th).
- 15th in shutouts (12) Dodgers fifth.
- 21st in strikeouts (1211) Dodgers third.
To their credit, the Giants did issue the second fewest walks and are third overall in WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched, or essentially the number of baserunners in an inning). Yet, somehow, despite these bad numbers, they find themselves in their third World Series in five years,which in this day and age would qualify as a dynasty. In 2010 and 2012 it was guys like Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, and Marco Scutaro. Maybe this year it’s rookie Joe Panik or the Yes Yes Yes man in Pence. As a Dodger fan it’s maddening, but that’s baseball, and that’s why you’ve got to love it.