Maybe Nadia Mishkin’s excellent article about “5 Reasons the Giants Shouldn’t Panic” was accurate two days ago when she wrote it. Today, however, it has lost most credibility.
I could have composed a slideshow on this, but I’m tired of slideshows, so I’m going to approach this as a basic article.
The San Francisco Giants are done.
Mark it. Stick a fork in them. They’re done.
At least for the 2011 season. 2010 was a phenomenal year that every Giants fan will cherish for the rest of their lives. 2012 looks to have some appeal as well, with multitudinous starters returning from injury to maybe lead the Giants to the playoffs.
But that won’t happen this year. We must all accept it.
Why? Well, people fault the offense. People have faulted the offense all year. Then the much maligned Brian Sabean caved to popular demand, which was actually a good decision in my mind, and acquired the apparently competent Carlos Beltran from the New York Mets. Nobody could have portended his total ineffectiveness.
Before that, people faulted the Giants’ injuries. It was “catastrophic” when Buster Posey was injured for the year. Even so, the offense survived. When Freddy Sanchez went down, it seemed that all was lost. Sabean, in a brilliant move, acquired Jeff Keppinger, a veteran with talent and leadership to rival that of the lost Sanchez.
But it was okay then, because the Giants were in first place. Now they are in a tailspin and find themselves 3.5 games back of the surging Arizona Diamondbacks who are proving that they just might in fact be “that good.”
Look at the injury list. I’m sure I missed some, but here you go:
Buster Posey, C: Out for the season (leg)
Freddy Sanchez, 2B : Out for the season (shoulder)
Pablo Sandoval, 3B: Missed significant time with a hand injury, nearly injured again last night.
Carlos Beltran, RF: On 15 day DL with a “wrist strain.”
Jeff Keppinger, 2B: Day-to-Day with wrist sprain. Sound familiar? Wonder where he’s headed…
Sergio Romo, P: On 15 day DL with elbow inflammation. What if he needs Tommy John surgery?
Jonathan Sanchez, P: Left the game tonight with a sprained ankle. How severe is it?
Brian Wilson, P: On the DL early in the year, and left out of Sunday’s game with back spasms.
Pat Burrell, LF: On 15 day DL with a foot strain.
Miguel Tejada, SS: Rushed through rehab in order to start after the Monday Night Massacre.
Aaron Rowand, CF: Oblique strain. Just wait for it to flare up.
Barry Zito, P: On 15 day DL, likely done for season after a sprained ankle. Sound familiar?
Andres Torres, CF: On 15 day DL. Again.
Mark De Rosa, 3B: Active, but still has a bad wrist and shattered ego.
Brandon Belt, 1B: Active, but was on the DL earlier in season with a wrist fracture.
Nate Schierholtz, RF: Active, but nearly broke his foot in the Monday Night Massacre
That list (which is likely incomplete) includes multiple All-Stars, multiple All-Star caliber players, and players the Giants need to field a competent team. The aforelisted team alone could get the Giants into the playoffs.
The AAA lineup that nearly got no hits tonight, will not be able to carry the load.
But cheer up, Giants fans! There is still a lot to look forward to. Tim Lincecum might win 15 games for the fourth consecutive year. Ryan Vogelsong is the best story to come out of baseball in several years. Brian Wilson, when he isn’t blowing saves, is still a lot of fun to watch.
Granted, Matt Cain and Madison Bumgarner will be lucky to win one or two more games for the rest of the season, but it’s not their fault—blame the offense.
It doesn’t do any good to want Brian Sabean’s head on a pike. He’s done all he could without giving away real cornerstones of the team. Did you really want to give up a Madison Bumgarner for Hunter Pence? Because that's probably what it would have taken. If anything, I commend Sabean for keeping the pitching staff together.
It’s not the pitching staff’s fault; the Giants have proven that they have one of the best pitching staffs in all of baseball. It isn’t even necessarily the hitters’ faults. It’s Scott Cousins’ fault. It’s that ground ball that Freddy dove for’s fault. It’s the errant fastball that broke Brandon Belt’s wrist and that Nate fouled off his foot’s fault.
That the offense has not performed up to expectations is lamentable. My father, a lifelong Giants fan from the Bay Area, suggested to me months ago that the Giants would be hard to defeat in October having proven their resiliency through injury. It seems now, however, that whatever resiliency they did have has been broken. The latest string of injuries has been spirit crushing and all-but season ending.
That's right. The San Francisco Giants have a fractured confidence and broken team spirit, and are almost certainly out for the season.
The Giants were blessed last year. This year, they are cursed. And we Giants fans should set aside our lofty expectations and just enjoy the season.
If you can’t merely enjoy seeing the Giants play baseball, or at least valiantly attempt to, then you’ll definitely need to panic. Right now.