I don't remember what the first two months of the season were like. There were a bunch of walk-offs and crazy come-from-behind wins. Everyone expected the Giants to be good. Like, by default. When you thought about the Giants, you thought about a team that was winning, even though the pitching was awful. Just imagine what would happen when the pitching came around!
Then there was darkness. Now we're here. And it's time to look at the stories we'd be obsessed with if the first half didn't exist. First, the raw stats:
|1||Hunter Pence||2nd Half||.923||262||11||45||.325||.393||.530|
|2||Brandon Belt||2nd Half||.910||224||6||24||.330||.395||.515|
|3||Angel Pagan||2nd Half||.840||83||1||4||.307||.373||.467|
|4||Pablo Sandoval||2nd Half||.792||240||4||33||.288||.363||.429|
|5||Juan Perez||2nd Half||.740||34||0||3||.290||.353||.387|
|6||Hector Sanchez||2nd Half||.740||90||3||16||.274||.311||.429|
|7||Brett Pill||2nd Half||.687||57||2||9||.259||.298||.389|
|8||Gregor Blanco||2nd Half||.650||186||2||11||.248||.333||.317|
|9||Marco Scutaro||2nd Half||.648||191||0||9||.262||.339||.310|
|10||Buster Posey||2nd Half||.627||207||2||16||.242||.319||.308|
|11||Joaquin Arias||2nd Half||.624||117||1||9||.261||.267||.357|
|12||Brandon Crawford||2nd Half||.623||190||4||13||.218||.284||.339|
|13||Andres Torres||2nd Half||.557||59||0||1||.226||.293||.264|
|14||Roger Kieschnick||2nd Half||.533||93||0||5||.207||.301||.232|
|15||Tony Abreu||2nd Half||.455||57||0||2||.185||.214||.241|
|16||Jeff Francoeur||2nd Half||.428||59||0||4||.190||.203||.224|
|1||Jean Machi||2nd Half||21||1.27||21.1||0||7||21|
|2||Santiago Casilla||2nd Half||32||2.33||27.0||1||11||21|
|3||Matt Cain||2nd Half||10||2.34||65.1||5||15||51|
|4||Madison Bumgarner||2nd Half||12||2.36||76.1||3||28||77|
|5||Sergio Romo||2nd Half||24||2.38||22.2||3||5||19|
|6||Yusmeiro Petit||2nd Half||7||2.84||44.1||2||11||45|
|7||Guillermo Moscoso||2nd Half||12||4.21||25.2||4||17||27|
|8||Chad Gaudin||2nd Half||6||4.36||33.0||2||17||33|
|9||Tim Lincecum||2nd Half||12||4.72||74.1||11||26||62|
|10||Ryan Vogelsong||2nd Half||9||4.73||51.1||4||16||24|
|11||Barry Zito||2nd Half||9||10.22||24.2||8||13||17|
There has to be one of those names or numbers that surprises you. There were several that got me. Like, wait, wait, wait, Jeff Francoeur was on the Giants? Who thought that was a good idea? Man, I sure hope someone blogged about that because I don't remember it at all.
Here are some headlines that you would have read if the first half didn't exist:
"Matt Cain is good, and it would be awful if he weren't, but the good news is that we don't have to worry about that now"
Phew. Just imagine the kind of panic there would be if he fell down the Lincecum hole.
"Brandon Crawford is bad"
With the bat. But whereas last year his defense was the best I've ever seen from a Giants shortstop, this year he's just been really, really good. The defensive stats agree somehow, too. That isn't to say he's never again going to be the player who was robbed of a Gold Glove last year. Or that he's not a valuable player, because he is. Just pointing it out.
And if he had that start to the season, there would be grumblin'.
"Wait, Jean Machi is the Giants' best reliever now?"
Weird. He has several different kinds of split-fingered fastballs. There's the hanging split, the rolling split, the tumbling split, the knuckling split ... but he's getting hitters out somehow. He's been super since coming back from Fresno. Now I feel bad about making fun of him on Twitter.
"The Marco Scutaro deal: already a disaster"
Shoot. I thought he'd be good this year and then decline next year. You can't look at those numbers without putting them in the proper context (mallet fingers, bad backs), but, still, he hasn't been the same player
"WHAT'S WRONG WITH BUSTER POSEY???"
HE'S PROBABLY UPSET AT SOMETHING LINCECUM DID.
The thing about these second-half stats is that they're based on the All-Star Break, which was, like, a week ago. It's not a true split down the middle. As such, the second half is just 200 at-bats. Posey's fine.
What? He's fine. Batting average on balls in play. Bad luck. He's tired. He caught an entire month extra last year, you know? BABIP. He's fine. HE'S FINE. EVEN THOUGH HE'S PROBABLY UPSET AT SOMETHING LINCECUM DID.
"The Giants are going to pay Hunter Pence like Jayson Werth, dammit"
They still might! I really have no idea what the market is for Pence, but I'm glad he snuck in some stretches of mediocrity and awfulness to temper those second-half numbers. Because right now, he kind of looks like the best player in the world, as if other hitters are weird for not using his mechanics.
"Man, Barry Zito, jeez, c'mon"
I think I used that exact one in several first-half articles. It just wasn't Zito's several years, you know? Everyone's had one of those days, right? Well, this just wasn't one of Zito's several years.
Except for a ten-day stretch last October.
Didn't think I'd dust off those Blu-rays so soon, but you know ...