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I feel so sorry for all the Sabean Naysayers.
What we have today is a team built the way Sabean has been trying to build it for a long time now, from the times of Ainsworth, Williams, and Foppert. He has been saying since then that the future of MLB will be built on a team focused on pitching, defense, and team speed. This has not been a recent thing he has been trying to do.
What most people don't realize is that re-building when you are winning, as they were back then, is impossible to do. Your picks are in the back of the first round, you maybe find one good player every 5-10 YEARS. That is why things started turning around in 2007, because that is when the Giants started losing and getting the great draft picks near the front of the first round, where finding talented players is much, much easier (though still not a slam dunk, so Sabean has done very well for the team with those picks).
These people have been doubting for three seasons now,while the Giants have been winning at roughly at 90 win seasonal pace, so clearly these people don't understand how to build a playoff caliber team, else they would have been enjoying the past three seasons (2009-2011) instead of complaining all the way until Wilson closed out our championship, then complaining once the parade was over.
Not that there hasn't been things to complain about, but their tone clearly shows that they have no respect for Sabean or what he has done for this franchise. Too bad for them.
They can keep drinking their Maalox and Pepto, I've thoroughly enjoyed the past three seasons. No team ever leads from start to finish without some sort of challenge, whether in season or in the playoffs, no one ever knows what the outcome is.
Giants history teaches you that. One would think that winning 103 games would win you the pennant. One would think that leading from opening day to final day of the season would get you deeper into the playoffs. There are no guarantees, no absolutes.
So I have chosen to enjoy what is possibly one of the best rotations, at least of this era, if not for the history of baseball. Led by the only pitcher to earn Cy Young awards in his first two full seasons. Sure, the offense sucks, but that is the beauty of this pitching, it can win with sucky offense.
I repeat, with great pitching, you can win with sucky offense, I have done the math using Bill James Pythaogrean formula, it is true for anyone willing to examine that truth, one of the facts of life.
I just enjoy winning, being able to score didn't do the Barry Bonds Giants much good in the years he was with us, nor has it done the Brewers or Reds much good in recent years either. Even better is that the latest research shows that teams with the pitching and fielding that the Giants has maximize their chances of going deep into the playoffs. I think that is the best one can hope for in baseball, maximizing your chances in the playoffs, because it is chances, there are no guarantees, only strategy that maximizes your chances, like what Sabean has done with the Giants.
If you want guarantees, then I suggest you start following the Harlem Globetrotters. It is not like this is the first pennant chase ever, but a lot of people for some reason act like it is for them. The sky is not falling, we still have our great staff and it will correct itself soon. Or not, that is the beauty of reality, it oftentimes does not go the way you want it to go.
Meanwhile, enjoy the well pitched games and the wins that the pitching normally earns for us, with just enough offense. People complain about the offense, but when I analyzed the winning percentage for games where the Giants gave up 1, 2, and 3 runs, it was basically the same as the winning percentage for the NL: meaning that the Giants offense has been doing the job enough to win when the pitching is stout, just as good as any other NL team. (And to be frank, the Giants at that time had a better winning percentage)
The Giants offense just can't win as well when the pitching is not as stout. But luckily for them, our pitching is so good that we play a lot more games where the opposing offense only gets 1, 2, or 3 runs than other teams. A lot more, thus why the Giants are still leading their division.
Decided to do the stats for this post:
- Giants gave up 1, 2, 3 runs 49.1% of the time (80 games out of 162). NL teams (including Giants FYI, didn't feel like taking them out) averaged 40.0% (65 games out of 162). So the Giants, on average, had 15 more such games than other teams.
- They also won more, .741 vs. .723. Might not seem much but that is a 120 win season vs. a 117 win season.
- Combining the two stats, the Giants are on pace for 80 such games, with a 59-21 record, and the average NL team (again, with Giants stats included), are on pace for 65 such games, with a 47-18 record. Giants pitching gives them 9 more wins in a season from this.
- The Giants also get more shutouts, 7.3% vs. 6.8% (12 vs. 11). Didn't include in the above, because clearly any team that gets a shutout won that game. That would make it 10 more wins total from our superlative pitching than average NL team.
But I love baseball and I have thoroughly enjoyed the past three seasons, and hope to enjoy many more seasons like this, as long as Neukom can keep the core of this team - Lincecum, Cain, Bumgarner - together as long as he financially can.
They are why I have been saying that the 2010's will be the decade of the Giants. I've seen no reason to back off that statement, though the loss of Wheeler has put some worry in there, now it is up to Neukom to pony up enough money to keep Lincecum and Cain around to at least the middle of this decade. Bumgarner is under our control until 2016, so we are good there, at minimum.
In any case, to quote Tim Lincecum, "We've got 50-some-odd games to go, and I hope nobody's hit the panic button quite yet." Unfortunately, some have, so hopefully Timmy will take umbrage that Giants fans are foaming at the mouth and use that as a chip on his houlder, to show up those non-believers.