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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Giants Officially Eliminated

Well, they certainly made it a little bit interesting with the late September win streak, but they suffered a couple key losses over the last few days that has sealed their fate.

I was a little surprised by their late season push, but as I typed a few posts back, it was just too little, and too late. As it was, they were going to have to go through 2 teams to get to the wild card, so their best bet was to stay alive in the division until this series here, but AZ clinched on Thursday, before they even arrived at AT&T Park for the weekend set. When that happened, the Giants then had to hope for the Cards and Braves to tank, but neither has so the Giants haven't been able to gain any ground on either. And fittingly enough, it was their offense that finally did do them in. They've lost 4 of their last 6 ballgames and scored just 5 runs in those 4 losses. Their starting pitching is putting a bow on another terrific year, especially by the two aces, Cain and Lincecum, but the lack of run support only allowed these guys to combine for a 25-24 record. That's not a good sign when your 1-2 starters are doing their job but barely walk out of the season above .500, and Lincecum actually has the chance to finish the year below .500 if he losses his final start of the season next week.Ryan Vogelsong also will wrap up his terrific year and 2011 story on Monday vs. the Rockies, and Vogey will look to finish off strong, sitting at 12-7 with a 2.88 era in his first year back in the Major Leagues since 2006. Madison Bumgarner was also a pretty good story, starting off the year 2-9, only to finish up ridiculously strong (12-13, 3.32 era) and show tremendous poise for a kid barely 22 years of age.

We definitely saw this organizations strength in 2011 in their pitching staff, top to bottom. The bullpen also was tremendously efficient in 2011, and is one of the top-5 bullpens in the NL, but this teams offense was slow to get going, and some guys never really did. Players who were catalysts in the offense a year ago were relied upon to deliver in the same capacity again in 2011, and they just couldn't do it. The injuries to Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey and Freddy Sanchez in the first half also kind of signified of what was to come, as this team had a rash of injuries throughout the whole season. I kind of had a bad feeling in my gut about this season as soon as I saw Posey take that hit from Cousins, before I even knew the extent of the injury, cause I knew it wasn't going to be a 15-day thing, and at that point, Posey was by far their best offensive player. In his absence though, Pablo Sandoval filled the shoes of the #4 hitter very well, and picked up the slack for Buster there, and the Giants would have probably been just fine had Aubrey Huff and Andres Torres each hit over .275 and the shortstop spot not have been such an offensive black hole. Then things should have definitely been fine after Carlos Beltran and Jeff Keppinger came over in trades, who each really improved the lineup, but again, the guys who were here before the trades, minus Pablo and Nate Schierholtz at points, continued to weigh the team down.

The Giants didn't have a great offense in 2010 either, but the difference between that lineup and the 2011 version was that the 2010 lineup was stocked with clutch hitters. Juan Uribe was clutch, Edgar Renteria was clutch, Posey and Sanchez were clutch and so on and so forth, but the Giants didn't have these guys in 2011. I want to see the organization stress that this offseason when assessing players. Look at their average with runners on and in scoring position and get guys in here who can hit in those situations. They'll have a healthy Posey and Sandoval they get to build around for 2012, which is a great young nucleus already, but they're going to have open spots in this lineup and they have to upgrade those spots either through trade or free agency, and the three main ones that come to mind are center field (Ross likely leaves as FA, and Torres likely moves into Rowand's former role), right field (not expecting Beltran to return) and shortstop (doubt they hand Crawford the job after hitting just .200 in the big leagues).
The Giants Baseball Blog


  • At 11:01 PM, Anonymous Jason Billingsley said…

    Sucky day... I thought they were going to do the unthinkable... I just never count em out, weird to see this group lose after last season!

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  • At 5:30 PM, Anonymous hilarie said…

    The difference between 2010 and 2011 is hitters who are "clutch"? Sorry, no. The difference is HRs. The Giants led the league in HRs last two months of 2010. Their hitting in those two months lifted an offense that had been almost as bad as this year's almost to league average for the season. They had one of the best offenses in MLB last two months. This isn't a matter of "clutch." It's a matter of competence -- achieved by a bunch of guys having career or near-career years. Uribe doesn't seem very "clutch" this year. And neither do Huff, Ross, or Torres. They hit, and hit for power, is all.

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