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The games the Giants had no business winning

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There were, sadly, not that many of them

Celebrate with Angel Pagan's intensity face
Celebrate with Angel Pagan's intensity face
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Gosh, my post on Tuesday was a bit of a downer, wasn't it? Why would I make you remember all those awful, awful games? Is it because you're terrible people who deserve existential suffering? I'm not saying that! I'm just asking the question. That's what art is all about, you know: asking questions.

But after reading that whole article, which you might have done, you deserve a reward. So this is the anti-that article. Here are the games in which the odds were stacked against the Giants, and they came through. Games like this are why we watch baseball. If you think of another game that was very good and wonder why it wasn't on here, it actually was and it disappeared because of a technical error and I didn't notice and you should just trust me on this.

So let's go over the games!

For this article, I'll be using Baseball Reference's Win Probability chart, which use the history of baseball to evaluate a team's probability of winning based on the game situation. For example, road teams with a 1-run lead going to the bottom of the ninth have, historically, won 82& of the time. With a 2-run lead, it's 92%. When I say "They had a 92% chance of winning," that's what I'll be referring to. When I say "This game was as hopeless as Jim Webb," that'll be a weak topical reference that you should ignore, because it's not even that good of a joke.

May 10

The Giants were down one run going into the bottom of the ninth, which, since you definitely read and remember the previous paragraph, means you know the odds they'd lose were very high. Justin Maxwell struck out to lead off the inning, making things much worse, especially considering that Steve Cishek was pitching, and he'd had several very impressive years in Miami. Now, Cishek was having his struggles at the time, but after this game he went on to post a 2.44 ERA for the rest of the year, so the talent was definitely there.

And the Giants beat that talent! They put together a 2-run ninth-inning rally that included a Nori Aoki bases-loaded walk and culminated in a Matt Duffy walk-off single with the bases loaded. After the Maxwell strikeout, they had a 10% chance of winning, and they won anyway. Their pizza party that night must have been off the hook!

May 192021

Okay, I'm gonna come clean here: the Giants had plenty of business winning these games. There weren't any bizarre come-from-behind miracles in these games, or late-inning magic, or really, any real danger that the Giants would lose. Here's what did happen: the Giants played a 3-game series at AT&T Park against the Dodgers and didn't allow a run. Considering that two of their starters were 2015 Tim Hudson and Also 2015 Tim Lincecum, and in the other game they faced Clayton Kershaw, this was somewhat implausible, right? This counts, right?

Haha, I know it doesn't. I just wanted to say this again:

the Giants played a 3-game series at AT&T Park against the Dodgers and didn't allow a run

June 10

The lowest point in this game came in the bottom of the fifth, with Michael Cuddyer up and the Mets leading 4-2. The Giants had a 17% chance of winning. But that Win Probability chart doesn't take into account the quality of pitcher the Giants were facing, and they were up against Matt Harvey, who had a great year, if a little under-the-radar. Why doesn't the media ever report on him? Seems fishy.

In the top of the sixth, the Giants offense decided they weren't too impressed by Matt Harvey. They scored five runs, two on a Buster Posey double, two on a Brandon Belt homer, and one on a Justin Maxwell homer. It was a pretty good metsing, and HOPEFULLY THE METS WON'T METS AGAIN TODAY BECAUSE THE ENTIRE WORLD IS COUNTING ON THEM TO STAND UP TO THE FORCES OF EVIL NO PRESSURE GUYS BUT IF YOU DON'T COME THROUGH GOD IS DEAD.

Anyway, this was a fun game!

July 17

Remember when Dave Dombrowski traded Doug Fister for Robbie Ray and we were all "What is he thinking? Fister's great and Ray's nothing special." Well, Doug Fister was very bad this year and Robbie Ray was very good. Man, if Dombrowski hadn't traded Ray for Shane Greene he'd have some bragging rights, and more importantly, the Diamondbacks wouldn't have a pretty good pitcher. I bring this up because Robbie Ray started this game and pitched well, though he was done after five.  The Giants entered the top of the seventh trailing by three, and the walking corpse of Angel Pagan immediately struck out, reducing the Giants' odds of winning to 8%.

But they rallied! Joe Panik and Matt Duffy singled, Buster Posey hit a sacrifice fly, and Hunter Pence homered to tie the game 5-5. There wouldn't be any scoring until the top of the 12th, when a Brandon Crawford single, a Gregor Blanco walk, and a Ryan Vogelsong (!) bunt single (!!!!!) loaded the bases for Angel Pagan, who really made me regret my snark about his health problems by hitting into a run-scoring error. Vogelsong shut the Diamondbacks down in the bottom of the 12th, and the Giants had an extra-inning win.

August 1

This is, by Win Probability, the most unlikely Giants win of the year. Down by three and facing Cole Hamels with two outs and nobody on in the bottom of the 8th, the Giants had a 3% chance of winning. If I said "I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 33," your odds of guessing it would be the same as the Giants' odds of winning. The number was 6, by the way. You probably didn't get that.

How'd they score? Joe Panik, fighting through the back pain that would cost him the rest of his season (minus three games in September), chased Hamels from the game with a double, and Matt Duffy and Buster Posey followed suit against Tanner Scheppers. Then Hunter Pence, between injuries at the time, singled Posey in, and the game was tied. The next scoring came in the top of the 11th, and it was on solo homers from Pence and Brandon Belt. It was a fun game. A fun, fun game that in retrospect, shows how good this team was when everyone wasn't broken.

September 26

The Jarrett Parker game! It was billed as Hudson vs Zito, both were bad, and then the pitching got worse. Parker's first homer came off Zito to make the game 3-0, his second off Drew Pomeranz to close the deficit to 10-7, and his third, a grand slam, was off Ryan Dull to give the Giants a 14-10 lead. The situation was most hopeless after Parker struck out to lead off the top of the 6th, at which point the Giants had a 6% chance to win. If I said "I'm thinking of a number between 1 and 16" . . .

There you have it: the best Giants comebacks of 2015. They were all unique butterflies, and they should all be appreciated as wondrous things