Even before Spring Training began, many people thought the San Francisco Giants would have a special year in 2016. After all, it's an even year, and since the beginning of 2010, the Giants have won three World Series in even years. So far this season, the Giants haven't disappointed.With their
Even before Spring Training began, many people thought the San Francisco Giants would have a special year in 2016. After all, it's an even year, and since the beginning of 2010, the Giants have won three World Series in even years. So far this season, the Giants haven't disappointed.
With their postseason experience, the Giants understand the importance of winning tight games. This season the Giants have won 16 one-run games, the most in the Majors. No matter how hopeless a game looks, the Giants believe they can win.
After a disappointing 2015 season where injuries decimated the team, Giants management decided the team needed a stronger starting rotation, especially with Tim Hudson retiring and the Giants not re-signing Tim Lincecum. The Giants evaluated the free-agent market for quality starters, and they signed Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto after Zack Greinke decided to sign a lucrative contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. Both Samardzija and Cueto have performed well.
The Giants have a veteran starting rotation led by Madison Bumgarner. For the past three years, Matt Cain has been plagued with various arm injuries that limited his appearances and affected his pitching. Before sustaining a right hamstring strain that has caused him to miss four starts, Cain showed signs of reverting to a successful pitcher. After an extremely slow beginning to the season, Jake Peavy also has performed well.
In recent years the Giants have had a terrific bullpen, but this season it has struggled. The home run victimizes the relievers, and this doesn't allow the defense to help them. However, manager Bruce Bochy seems undaunted by the bullpen problems. If he has to use six relievers every game to preserve a victory, he will. Undoubtedly, prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline the Giants will be looking for bullpen help.
Playing at AT&T Park, the Giants aren't supposed to have a potent offense, but they have scored the seventh-most runs in the league. Relying on manufacturing runs to score, they have hit a mere 54 home runs, the 13th most in the National League.
Since the Giants acquired Hunter Pence at the Trade Deadline of the 2012 season, he has provided most of the enthusiasm for the team. Many Major Leaguers have more talent than Pence, but not many play with more desire than Pence. Just looking at Pence, everyone knows how much he loves baseball.
In 2015, many people thought the Giants would have made it to the playoffs if Pence didn't miss most of the season with an array of injuries. This season he had been healthy until June 1, when he tore his right hamstring. On June 5, Pence underwent surgery to repair the hamstring. He is expected back about eight weeks from the injury.
Angel Pagan, another sparkplug for the Giants, also missed time with his own hamstring issue. Although Pagan has returned, without Pagan and Pence the Giants often struggled offensively.
As the Trade Deadline draws closer, many baseball experts think the Giants will obtain a hitter. Since they have a predominantly left-handed lineup, it appears the Giants would prefer to acquire a right-handed-hitting outfielder.
Sarah D. Morris can be reached at [email protected].