San Francisco Giant’s Championship Pattern


Graphic by Tam Duong Jr./The Pioneer

Erik Khan,
Staff Writer

In 2010, 2012 and 2014, the San Francisco Giants defied the odds and brought a World Series title back to San Francisco. With the Giants 2016 season underway, the Bay Area has to wonder if another even year championship is in the cards?

One thing is for sure: When compared to the three even year World Series Champions, this Giant team has more talent than they did entering those respective seasons.

Let’s start by looking at the pitching staff. The team is led by arguably the top pitcher in the game, Madison Bumgarner. While he is the type of player you expect to give up no runs when he’s on the mound, the rival Los Angeles Dodgers did rough him up last Friday night, giving up 4 earned runs.

After Bumgarner, the pitching rotation is anchored by offseason free agent acquisitions Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija. While the Giants have traditionally been a team that builds their squad through their minor league farm system, they aggressively pursued both of these pitchers in the offseason.

Both Cueto and Samardzija have at one point been a starting pitcher for their respective teams. The fact that they pitch behind Bumgarner in the rotation shows the depth the Giants have at the position. Two other former ace’s, Jake Peavy and Matt Cain, finish out the starting five, yet at this point in their careers, they are viewed as serviceable veterans.

While the starting pitching is the clear strength of the team, the bullpen isn’t too shabby either. Closer Santiago Casilla was in the top 8 for saves last season, with 38. They also have veteran relief pitcher and fan favorite Sergio Romo in addition to Hunter Strickland, Javier Lopez and Chris Heston. As a rookie, Heston threw a no hitter vs. the New York Mets last season.

While the Giants pitching staff received somewhat of a facelift this past offseason through free agency, they didn’t change much on the offensive side of the team.

However, they did sign former Washington Nationals center fielder Denard Span to be their leadoff hitter. Span has battled injuries for most of his career, but appeared to be healthy in his Giants debut, as he hit a homerun and had 5 RBI’s.

The batting order is then solidified by one of the most lethal 2-3-4-5 hitters in the league, with Joe Panik, Buster Posey, Hunter Pence and Brandon Belt. Belt signed a 7 year, $79 million contract extension just a few weeks ago, ensuring that this combination will stay together for years to come.

Next up is Matt Duffy and Brandon Crawford, two of the brightest young players at their positions in the league. Crawford signed a 7 year, $75 million contract extension this offseason, and rewarded the team with a walkoff home run vs. the Dodgers on April 8.

The order is rounded out by Angel Pagan and the starting pitcher. Manager Bruce Bochy employs a nontraditional strategy and bats the pitcher at the 8 spot and Pagan at the 9. This move essentially allows the Giants an extra leadoff hitter in hopes that the middle of the order will be at the plate with more runners on base.

The Giants pitching and hitting isn’t the only thing that works in their favor in their pursuit of a title. The experience that the team has gained from winning three World Series titles helps out a bunch too. The fact that nearly the entire team has experience playing in the World Series, with the exception of starters Samarzija and Span, bodes well for their championship aspiration.

Bochy also has the experience of winning three World Series rings on his resume, which is key. The mix of the Giants’ experience, their talented lineup and their manager’s insights makes this the best baseball team San Francisco has ever had. It’s easy to think that this team is capable of bringing home their fourth World Series Championship in 7 years. October is a long ways away, but it’s not too wild to predict the Giants on top once again.