The Giants have suffered more concussions this year than every other team in the NL combined.
To the layperson, that might seem like a lot of concussions. To the non-layperson, that still seems like a lot of concussions. Good news: you're both right! I'm glad I can bring people together to create a consensus. It feels good, like I'm making a difference in the world.
The Giants haven't just been concussed, of course. There have also been bad backs and bad flexor tendons and bad forearms and bad shoulders and bad wrists and bad thumbs and bad hips and bad elbows and bad knees and bad obliques – oh, man, the bad obliques – and bad hamstrings and bad ankles and bad calves. Did I miss something? I feel like I forgot one, but I also feel like I just named every part of the human body, so I don't really know what it could be.
So when you're the Giants, what can you really expect when injuries have been hounding you like this guy:
This has been a constant problem all year. The infield was fine until Joe Panik tried to explain his being on the DL to the in-crowd as "the cool thing to do," which led to a lot of experimentation among the backup catchers and first-string Brandons on the team. But it's the outfield that has been constantly reeling. Hunter Pence hasn't stayed on the field, Nori Aoki got hit by a pitch, then Nori Aoki and Gregor Blanco both got concussed, and for most of the year, even when Angel Pagan was healthy, he was very not healthy. The starting pitchers haven't fared too well either, with five different guys (Lincecum, Peavy, Cain, Leake, Hudson) going down at various points. A few years ago, they would have been a great rotation for a playoff team. This year, they've all had struggles with the Giants, and injury has been a big part of that.
So when you take the injuries into account, what would be a reasonable expectation for the season? I see two main trains of thought.
The Giants should be better because they're the San Francisco Damn Giants
Was I . . . making excuses? Winners don't make excuses. NO EXCUSES.
The Giants should be good. If the Giants start to have problems with being good, they should address those problems and make themselves good. We, as Giants fans, should be watching good baseball, because the point of building a team is that it is good.
Yes, they have faced adversity. But every team faces adversity, and the one that rises above it the best is the one that ends up doing something great. Just think of last year, when the Giants, who would go on to win the World Series, took a hard look at their left field options and started Chris Dominguez in late September and Literally Travis Ishikawa in the playoffs. This wasn't ideal, he said, trying to win an award for Most Understated Sentence Ever, but they came through it and won. Don't make excuses. They should be better.
The Giants were doomed before the season started, doomed to walk the earth as a shell of a team, doomed to exist in a purgatory between good and bad baseball teams, doomed to pay a karmic debt for the good fortune of the last few years
They were never going to win this year. Not just because of the Odd Year Apocalypse, but because the injuries were too much. The guy above said don't make excuses? Well, the excuses kept making themselves, and then we'd talk ourselves into thinking "Hey, it's not that bad" and the excuses would sigh and take another player to reinforce that it actually was that bad. Do you think they wanted Brandon Belt? They didn't. They'd have preferred to leave him alone, but some Giants fans kept on stubbornly hoping, so the excuses were all, "Ugh, fine, let's get another one."
There just comes a point when the team isn't going to be good enough, and whining about it makes you look silly. There is no team that could overcome this, except for maybe the Dodgers, who could just go out and buy a whole new roster midseason. Sometimes bad things happen in baseball and it's not your year. This isn't the 2013 team, which was waylaid by a couple injuries and a total lack of depth. This isn't even the 2011 team, which suffered one devastating blow, a couple smaller ones, and made some bad bets on other positions. This was a well-constructed, deep team that got hit too hard to do anything special. Forget it, Jake. It's baseball.
This is the third option, a kind of middle ground
Shut up, third option. No one likes you. People only pick you to weenie out of making a choice. I'm not even putting you in the poll.