It’s starting to feel like one of those years for the SF Giants, isn’t it?
When the San Francisco Giants are on a roll like this, almost everyone in baseball seems to be struck by the same thought.
Uh oh, here they come.
That’s what happens when a franchise wins the World Series three times in six seasons—2010, 2012, 2014.
The Giants didn’t even make the postseason in 2011, 2013 and 2015. That’s the strange part of this deal.
In the last five seasons, seven teams have won more regular-season games than the Giants. The Cardinals (396) have 30 more victories than the Giants (366).
In the postseason, though, the Giants are 23-10 (.697). The Royals (22-9, .710) have a slightly higher winning percentage.
That’s a tribute to an organization that gets it on every level, beginning with team president Larry Baer and his top baseball executive, Brian Sabean.
These men are the gold standards for doing things right in baseball, whether it’s the environment at AT&T Park or constructing a winning club.
And there’s that manager, Bruce Bochy, who has 1,726 regular-season victories–16th on the all-time list–and three championships.
There are 22 managers in the Hall of Fame. Bochy will be there shortly after he decides he has had enough.
In terms of communication, getting a cohesive effort and managing a bullpen, there surely has never been anyone better.
Bochy would be the first to tell you that having players like Buster Posey and Madison Bumgarner, that being part of an organization that produces Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, etc., have been critical to his success.
During Spring Training, he marveled at the way his players welcomed new players into their clubhouse, how all that mattered was the bottom line, that is, playing smart and winning.
Most nights, the Giants are the only team on the planet that runs out a lineup with an entirely homegrown infield: 3B Matt Duffy, SS Crawford, 2B Joe Panik, 1B Belt and C Posey.
“They have such pride in wearing the Giants uniform,” Bochy said.
Those of us on the outside never really understand this sort of thing. Some discount it completely.
I once asked Jack Morris if we made too much of chemistry and teamwork and that stuff.
“I think you make too little of it,” he said.
There were plenty of questions about these Giants. Even after a $251-million spending spree for Johnny Cueto, Jeff Samardzija and Denard Span, there were unknowns:
1. What did Matt Cain have left in the tank? In the previous two seasons, he’d made just 26 starts with a 4.83 ERA.
Could he come close to being the guy who was 55-35 with a 2.93 ERA between 2009 and 2012? In those four seasons, he was a monster, averaging 220 innings and 180 strikeouts.
2. Would a reconfigured bullpen be as good as the one that was so good in the championship years?
3. Finally, could Bumgarner, Posey, Hunter Pence, etc., continue to play at a championship level as they got older?
So far, so good.
The Giants just won their sixth straight road game and today can complete a 7-0 trip for the first time in 103 years.
Since finishing the last home stand with a walk-off victory over the Blue Jays, the Giants are 7-0. In this time, the starting rotation is 4-0 with a 1.37 ERA.
Cain has allowed three earned runs in 15 innings in his last two starts. Cueto and Bumgarner just pitched the franchise’s first back-to-back complete games in 14 years.
Meanwhile, the bullpen has done fine, going 3-0 with a 3.14 ERA.
Offensively, the Giants are hitting just .237 during the winning streak, but with that kind of pitching, it hasn’t mattered.
The Giants have gained three games in the NL West standings during the winning streak, going from one game out to a 2 1/2-game lead.
The Dodgers and Rockies are both 2 1/2 back. The Dodgers have had a remarkable first half considering all the injuries, and the Rockies may have enough young pitching to hang around.
When the Giants are done with the Padres tonight, they’ll return to AT&T Park for a weekend series against the Cubs.
The place will be packed, but then it always is. The crowds will be loud, but they always are.
It’ll be a good checkpoint to see what the team who is playing the best at the moment can do with the team that has the best record in the majors.
But the way things are going, we might just see a lot more Giants-Cubs this season, and won’t that be fun?