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Giants deliver positive moments in tough 2017

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- The baseball season's sheer length and the ebb and flow of a player's performance almost guarantees that each club or individual can find solace in some aspect of their year.

Despite their 64-98 record and a last-place finish in the National League West, the Giants are no exception.

SAN FRANCISCO -- The baseball season's sheer length and the ebb and flow of a player's performance almost guarantees that each club or individual can find solace in some aspect of their year.

Despite their 64-98 record and a last-place finish in the National League West, the Giants are no exception.

Here's a list of mini-milestones, statistical accomplishments and numerical quirks that were worth salvaging from an otherwise forgettable season:

• Typically a more proficient hitter on the road than at home earlier in his career, Buster Posey has turned this trend around. After batting .304 at home and .273 on the road in 2016, Posey widened that disparity this year, hitting .345 at AT&T Park and .298 elsewhere.

Previously, matters were much different for Posey, who hit .258 at home and .351 on the road as a rookie in 2010. He followed that with .242 home/.310 road in 2011, .343 home/.330 road in '12; .291 home/.298 road in '13; .274 home/.348 road in '14 and .304 home/.330 road in '15.

Video: LAD@SF: Posey smacks RBI double off left-field wall

Posey continued to strengthen his Hall of Fame candidacy. He's only the 11th catcher in NL history with at least four seasons batting .300 or better.

Ty Blach's 10-0 shutout victory at Philadelphia on June 2 was a fount of factoids, and not because of his excellence on the mound. Blach drew three walks, becoming the first Major League pitcher to earn that many free passes since the Rockies' Aaron Cook against Milwaukee on Oct. 1, 2009. No Giants pitcher had amassed three walks in a game since Ray Sadecki at Montreal on Sept. 1, 1969.

Video: SF@PHI: Blach works three walks in win vs. Phillies

Blach also struck out three times, making him the first pitcher to accumulate three walks and three strikeouts in a game since Ernie Koob of the St. Louis Browns on July 14, 1916 against Boston.

One pitching note: That shutout was Blach's fourth consecutive victory, making him the first Giants rookie to build that long of a streak since Madison Bumgarner in July 2010.

Video: SF@PHI: Blach tosses a shutout against the Phillies

• Amid the misfortune that befell the Giants and Bumgarner, it's easy to forget that he became the first pitcher in history to homer twice on Opening Day, April 2 at Arizona. Bumgarner's 17 career homers lead all active pitchers.

Video: SF@ARI: Bumgarner homers twice, K's 11 on Opening Day

• Giants right-hander Jeff Samardzija became one of two Major Leaguers to work at least 200 innings in each of the past five seasons. The other is the Nationals' Max Scherzer.

Samardzija also has redefined control for Giants pitchers. His 6.41 strikeout-to-walk ratio was topped only by Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (6.71) among National League pitchers.

When Samardzija struck out 11 Dodgers and walked none on May 3, he joined Sadecki (1967) and Bumgarner (2012 and '16) as the only Giants pitchers to put together no walks with at least 10 strikeouts in a game at Dodger Stadium.

Video: SF@LAD: Watch Samardzija fan 11 Dodgers in 11 seconds

Joe Panik isn't quite a full-fledged reverse-platoon player. He probably would prefer to describe himself as "balanced."

The Giants' left-handed-batting second baseman defied the percentages to bat .290 off lefties and .287 against righties. But he's plainly more comfortable following the percentages, as the numbers showed. Against righties, Panik owned a .452 slugging percentage, compared with .348 against lefties.

Panik thrived on the road, where he hit .320 with all 10 of his home runs. He's the 11th player to hit all 10 or more of his homers away from his home city.

Video: SF@COL: Panik opens the scoring with a solo homer

• By blanking Washington for 6 2/3 innings on Aug. 13 and Milwaukee for six innings on Aug. 21, Chris Stratton became the fourth Giants rookie to make back-to-back shutout starts of at least six innings in length since Matt Cain (2006), Tim Lincecum (2007) and Ryan Sadowski (2009).

• Right-hander Sam Dyson appreciated the change in scenery after the Giants obtained him from Texas in an early June trade. Many statistics illustrated the contrast in Dyson's effectiveness. Here's one pair: Opponents batted .526 (10-for-19) against him with runners in scoring position during his 17 games with Texas. That figure dipped to .225 (9-for-40) in 38 games with the Giants.

Video: LAD@SF: Dyson retires Forsythe to secure the save

• Any time a ballplayer's efforts invite comparisons to Bobby Bonds' fabulous 1973 season, attention must be paid. On June 30 at Pittsburgh, Denard Span smacked a leadoff home run to launch a 4-for-5 performance that included four runs scored. He became only the second Major Leaguer in seven seasons to assemble these numbers while christening the game with a homer. The vastly talented Bonds was the last Giants player to do this, having this particular big day on June 6, 1973 -- the year in which he won the Most Valuable Player Award at the All-Star Game and missed becoming the Major Leagues' first 40-40 player by one home run.

• Curiously, Giants pitchers were tied for fourth in the Majors with 82 quality starts. It followed that Giants starters ranked second in the Majors with 958 2/3 innings.

• Some things don't change. The Giants maintained their traditional mastery over opponents when scoring four runs or more, building a 50-22 record in those games.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast.

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