Cain. Bumgarner. Lincecum. Ranked 5th, 7th and 8th respectively in NL FIP.
Lincecum. Cain. Bumgarner. Ranked lowest, 3rd lowest, and 4th lowest respectively in NL Run Support.
This troubles me to no end, but it doesn't surprise me. It is the unprecendented culmination of years upon years of a front office focusing on understanding and developing one part of the game, to the nearly complete detriment of the other. The Giants make a compelling case for having the best starting pitching in the National League (yes, I know about the Phillies). The stats don't lie. And they make a clear-cut case for having the worst run support in the league. Again, the stats don't lie. The lack of hitting development and a clear, well-researched philosophy to that effect had to result in something, right?
While we watch the season unravel, it's worth noting that this level of contrast is historic, and if you can be objective, pretty awesome to behold. On the one hand, the fact that the Giants organization was rewarded with a World Series victory last year speaks to them doing something right (developing awesome pitching), but it distracted people from the colossal failure in building offenses, with its blip-like, yes, fluke of a decent year in runs scored. The Giants researched and developed Cain, Lincecum and Bumgarner. They cannot claim the same for the unexpected brilliance they received from Huff, Torres, and Ross in 2010. And now, we get to see just how stunning a failure their single-mindedness was, while somehow simultaneously being able to revel in the success that it brought about last year. Confused fans are we. Even from half inning to half inning, it's been brilliance, followed by 1-2-3 out crap. We are the Philstros, or perhaps more appropriate, the Asslies.
I suppose I can't totally blame them for thinking "the strategy is working." It's a colossal misunderstanding that seems to suggest they don't put enough focus on luck and small sample sizes, but they DID win it all. And they doubled down, both in terms of who was on the roster, and who got played. Give up one of a few potentially talented hitters in the system for a shortstop that can't offer ANYTHING to the team, because he's "been there". Refuse to let go of the worst offenders (I'm looking at you, Rowand) for similar reasons. There was never any creativity this season. Bochy says he tried everything, including "yelling". No, Bochy, you didn't try many things, like consistently putting Belt in a lineup spot accentuating his OBP potential, or keeping Nate in right, as was done with Randy Winn, to great effect. Nah, put the veteran Beltran in right where he's comfortable, despite a lack of range and a hilariously ironic lack of "fire in the belly". Bat the veteran Cabrera where he asks to be batted, AT THE FUCKING TOP OF THE LINEUP, to the detriment of the team.
And now, the offense is what it is. What an amazing way to undo years of unqualified success at such a critical aspect of the game as pitching development. That success will undoubtedly suffer as a result- you could see that the moment Lincecum broke down against the Cubs the other day. You can see it in the way that Vogelsong's magic year is being forgotten in favor of fan hatred of Bochy and Sabean, and boos at the ballpark. The Giants FO made pitching great, and now it is spitting on that pitching by staying committed to the most backward hitting "strategy" I've ever seen.
I'm assuming that those of you who have suggested Bochy/Sabean job security under the cover of "injury" are correct. With that in mind, two things need to happen between now and next season, if the team is to improve: the Giants need to shift strategy away from acquiring old downside-of-career starting position players (JUST DON'T DO IT, EVER), getting rid of some in the process. And they need to hope, and pray, for all our sakes that the pitchers have a short memory.