This is not an article that will tell you how the Giants will finish the year. It's not an article that will inform you as to how the Giants are going to do next year. This is an article that exists because I'm curious about my own biases. Bias-curious, if you will.
When we watch a team for an entire season, we all develop biases. For me, I expect Joaquin Arias to get his foot stuck in the catcher's mitt in every one of his plate appearances. Like, he's cocking the bat back for a swing, and the next thing he knows, Mike Murphy is on the field with a miter saw and yellow caution tape. That's what I expect every time. For other people, it was Gregor Blanco or Brandon Belt screwing up in some way. There's even a gaggle of weirdos who are convinced that Buster Posey doesn't have the clutch gene.
So let's test our biases. Let's guess how certain Giants do in high-leverage situations and compare the guesses to the reality. Here's a primer on high-leverage situations from Baseball-Reference:
Within a game, there are plays that are more pivotal than others. We attempt to quantify these plays with a stat called leverage index (LI). LI looks at the possible changes in win probability in a given situation and situations where dramatic swings in win probability are possible (runner on second late in a tie game) have higher LI's than situations where there can be no large change in win probability (late innings of a 12-run blowout).
In other words, Baseball-Reference defines high-leverage situations exactly like you think they would. Here are 10 Giants hitters. Your job is to guess if they've hit better or worse in high-leverage situations compared to low-leverage situations. It's a quiz! (Note that all numbers are in the form of batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage, as they usually are.)
I got seven out of 10, though that's close enough to 50 percent that I'm not going to claim anything other than luck. The Buster Posey one, in particular, stunned me. I've watched every at-bat he's had this year, give or take 10 or so, and my impression of him was that he was okay in high-leverage situations, nothing more. He's been an absolute monster, one of the best players in baseball. Whoops. My excuse is that I'm stupid.
I'm expecting a poindexter in here to explain to me that high-leverage stats don't mean as much because by definition, worse pitchers are allowing more baserunners, which makes for high-leverage situations against pitchers who are easier to hit. Or something like that. There's always an explanation. At least let this post breathe for an hour before debunking it like that, please.
Until then, here's how the Giants have done when it was montage time and the game was on the line. It's a lot better than I anticipated.