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A cup of SF Giants perspective

The Giants have been awful in their first 14 games. But here's a tidbit that might help you feel a little better.

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Giants have been awful. Dreadful. Abysmal. Poopy. Very, very poopy. They're in the middle of one of their worst starts in franchise history, and it's not like they just traded for Chris Sale and Jose Abreu. Things can get a lot worse before they get better.

However! I'm here with an important reminder that things can get a lot better before they get worse. Every year, I write a story called The stories you'd be reading if the first half didn't exist. The point of the exercise is to remind everyone that it's very, very easy to freak out over early season results because we can't temper them with anything that came before it. When a guy strikes out in each of his first 20 at-bats, we don't have the luxury of pointing to the 20 at-bats directly before that stretch and using them as evidence. Same goes for teams.

This doesn't make you feel better. How about we look for some 4-10 stretches in other seasons, then? To be more specific, how about some 4-10 stretches in other very, very successful seasons? They're out there, you know.


Like this very, very successful season! Hidden within the NL West title run and Padres collapse were some awful, dreadful, abysmal, poopy stretches of poor play. With the help of Baseball-Reference, we can find them.

Start End date Record Run differential
6/18/10 7/2/10 3-11 -26
6/22/10 7/5/10 4-10 -18
6/15/10 6/30/10 4-10 -19
6/19/10 7/3/10 4-10 -22
6/20/10 7/4/10 4-10 -20
6/16/10 7/1/10 4-10 -20
6/23/10 7/6/10 4-10 -15

You might recognize those dates as being around the great Fourth of July freakout that came with Bruce Bochy pinch-running Eli Whiteside for Buster Posey. With a few years of perspective, I can say with certainty that Posey really is pretty danged slow. Still wouldn't have pinch-ran for him there, but ... boy, he sure is slow. I see that now.

If the season started on June 18, 2010, there would have been a similar freakout. They were playing worse than this year's team, even, both by record and run differential. It started with a lousy road trip in Toronto and Houston, and then it really got nasty with a 1-5 homestand against the Red Sox and Dodgers. A sweep in Milwaukee turned the season around, with Buster Posey hitting dingers and the pitching settling down.


The Giants rarely had 14-game stretches under .500, really, so ignore most of 2012. That was a remarkably consistent team, apparently. From July 19 through August 2, though, they were 5-9. That's where the Giants would be if they could have scored at any point with the bases loaded in that dumb extra innings game on Thursday night.

Two weeks after this stretch, Melky Cabrera was suspended. The Dodgers acquired half of the Red Sox. If that had all happened at the beginning of the year, hooooo, boy, that would have been quite the tummyache. As is, the Giants persevered.



You probably had an idea of where this was going. That stretch of ugliness after the fast start is still hard to believe.

Start End date Record Run differential
6/14/14 6/29/14 3-11 -28
6/13/14 6/28/14 3-11 -27
6/9/14 6/24/14 3-11 -27
6/8/14 6/23/14 4-10 -20
6/18/14 7/3/14 4-10 -22
6/17/14 7/2/14 4-10 -23
6/15/14 7/1/14 4-10 -22
6/23/14 7/7/14 4-10 -26
6/20/14 7/4/14 4-10 -23
6/10/14 6/25/14 4-10 -16
6/24/14 7/8/14 4-10 -25
6/11/14 6/26/14 4-10 -17
6/12/14 6/27/14 4-10 -17
6/26/14 7/10/14 4-10 -26

This kind of ruins my "you only notice when it's the beginning of the year" thesis because we most certainly did notice when it was happening. Still, we noticed because the 4-10 stretches kept freaking happening, over and over. If the Giants had gotten the losing out of their system after June 23 and then won a few games like a normal team after that, it wouldn't have been a big deal. The mood of the site was somber, not apoplectic.

Look, the point isn't that because the Giants had bad stretches in those years, the bad stretch in this season somehow doesn't mean anything. The Giants might be a very incompetent team. Pointing to obstacles overcome in previous years doesn't prove this year's team still has a shot.

Still, it's good to remember that it's easy to pay too much attention to the beginning of a season. The Giants are 4-10 over their last 14 games, and it's the worst because we didn't have a 19-10 month before it to calm us down. The Giants have been this bad before, in seasons where they won everything. Don't bury them just yet.

But, here, hold onto this shovel. Just in case.