With new management under Gabe Kapler and the addition of new faces and old veterans like Pablo Sandoval and Hunter Pence, the Giants looked like they might just have some hope for the season. The best part about being a team that no one expects to win is really having nothing to lose…right?
NEW KIDS IN TOWN
Well, the 2020 Giants team has proven to be quite unpredictable. The biggest secret weapon the Giants have found this year is Donovan Solano. Hitting .444 with a 1.106 OPS this was a star hitter NO ONE was expecting. While having one standout hitter does not magically ignite a subpar team, it does give Giants fans–who have been kept quiet lately–some bragging rights.
In addition to Solano, OF Mike Yastrzemski is hitting just above .300 with a 1.062 OPS. Yastrezemski spent seven seasons in the minor leagues before making his MLB debut in 2019. In a small trade with the Baltimore Orioles, the Giants acquired this breakout outfielder, who is helping make baseball fun again for San Francisco fans.
Photo courtesy of Katelyn Mulchany/Getty Images 2020
With a hopeful looking future for the Giants in surprising stars like Yastrzemski and Solano, the Giants must still contend with some incredibly brutal numbers. Errors are a particular issue; the Giants have had 21 errors in 21 games. There is just absolutely no way a team can expect to win any game when they are averaging at least one error per game.
Solano may be producing at the plate, but his glove is letting down the Giants, having committed five errors already this season. It is not like they have huge sluggers that can make up for the errors, and this has been hurting them as they have continuously blown major leads. No winning team gives up a five-run lead in the ninth like we all horrifically saw against Oakland this weekend.
MELTDOWN AFTER MELTDOWN
And it is not just blowing leads, but also a plain lack of focus in the games. Johnny Cueto was pitching a gem of a no-hitter into the sixth inning against what ended in a 5-4 win over the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. Enrique Hernandez led off the sixth with a routine pop-fly to left field into what should have been Hunter Pence’s glove. Instead, the veteran Pence managed to lose track of the ball in the twilight of Dodger Stadium as he raised his hands in the air in confusion.
That moment was honestly brutal. I felt like I was watching that classic middle school baseball dilemma when 2 people argued that they called the ball and then no one caught it. Pence couldn’t point the finger at anyone but himself on that one. Yes, he felt awful. Yes, players make errors and it is part of the game. But, really? It just adds more fuel to the fire of the laughable reputation of the Giants.
Hunter Pence and Mauricio Dubon. Photo courtesy of Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports
It sometimes feels like the Giants are just looking for ways to lose. The lack of bullpen the Giants have was completely exposed this weekend against the Oakland A’s. The A’s came back from five and three-run deficits in the ninth inning of two of their games this weekend. Sunday’s game included a nightmare fifth inning for the Giants bullpen where they gave up nine runs to end the series in an embarrassing 15-3 loss.
WHERE TO GO FROM HERE?
The biggest problem I see for the Giants is the inability to let the old go, and turn to the new. Players that were once part of a championship team are now platoon players that are contributing nothing but some cringe-worthy performances. The team needs more structure with more dependable, fresh ballplayers…not a bunch of washed-up has-beens.
Brandon Crawford and Brandon Belt. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images
In Baseball America’s mid-season farm system rankings, we see the Giants listed at No. 14. This is leaps and bounds better than their 2019 preseason ranking, which had them in dead last place. Some notable up-and-coming prospects include shortstop Marco Luciano and catcher Joey Bart. They are not major-league ready yet, but at least we are seeing some solid forward-moving progress down there.
Every team’s rebuild looks different, but it looks like Giant fans might have to wait a couple more years to see a postseason run. The Giants need to seriously start looking forward to the future and bid ado to the players of the past.
Cover photo courtesy of Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group
I am a part of the writing and marketing team at The Bullpen. I am excited to be a part of a team that is just as passionate about the game of baseball as I am. Currently, I am a senior studying broadcast journalism at Biola University. Growing up as an athlete, I am thrilled to have continued my career competing in softball in college at the NCAA DII level. Seeing the positive impact that sports has made in my own life, I desire to share the stories of other athletes. I have experience doing this as a freelance sports writer for my university's newspaper, The Chimes. I am also an experienced reporter with demonstrated history working in the broadcast media industry. Having served as the anchor and executive producer for my university's television news station and as a production assistant intern with LA Channel 36, I have developed skills in growing my on-air presence and behind-the-scenes work. I plan on continuing my career as a local news reporter or sports broadcaster.