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Are the Giants actually bad at completing series sweeps?

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I’ve been using “Giants avoid the sweep” in my headlines for years. Is this fair?

San Francisco Giants Victory Parade Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

One of my oldest, dumbest, proudest traditions is to use a headline construction that includes the words “avoid the sweep.” When the Giants win the first two games of a series, then drop the last one, right when you get excited about the possibility of a sweep, it always feels like the team has veered out of the way of success just in time.

Plus, it’s been a few years, and the Facebook commenters still correct me.

acutally the headline is wrong because it’s the Cardinals that avoided the sweep

And that’s the sort of thing that money can’t buy.

After the Giants avoided the sweep on Sunday, dropping a forgettable game and winning a memorable series, my headline fingers were itching to beat the same dead horse of a headline. But I had a nagging feeling that came out of nowhere. Was it unfair to chide the Giants for their historic failures to close out a potential sweep?

In a word, yes.

I went back to the beginning of 2015 and tallied up all of the chances the Giants had to complete a series sweep. What I Found Might Surprise You.

Closing out a sweep, 2015-present

Date of potential sweep Opponent Result
Date of potential sweep Opponent Result
5/21/2017 Cardinals L
5/17/2017 Dodgers L
10/2/2016 Dodgers W
9/11/2016 Diamondbacks W
7/10/2016 Diamondbacks W
6/23/2016 Pirates W
6/19/2016 Rays W
6/15/2016 Brewers W
5/25/2016 Padres W
5/19/2016 Padres W
5/15/2016 Diamondbacks W
5/4/2016 Reds L
4/27/2016 Padres W
4/24/2016 Marlins L
4/6/2016 Brewers L
9/13/2015 Padres W
8/16/2015 Nationals W
7/26/2015 A's W
7/19/2015 Diamondbacks W
7/12/2015 Phillies W
6/21/2015 Dodgers L
6/11/2015 Mets L
6/7/2015 Phillies L
5/27/2015 Brewers W
5/21/2015 Dodgers W
5/17/2015 Reds W
5/6/2015 Padres L
5/3/2015 Angels W
4/23/2015 Dodgers W

The Giants have been outstanding at completing series sweeps over the last three seasons. They’re 20-9 since the start of 2015. I didn’t go back to look at 2014 or 2013 because three seasons was enough to make me feel guilty. If there was a reason for the “avoid the sweep” construction, it was a long time ago, and it doesn’t apply now.

I have a feeling that this year’s team will keep giving me reasons to use the phrase, and I’ve already forgotten what I ate for breakfast, much less something that happened in 2016. Still, until further notice, I’m retiring the gag. The Giants were unable to complete a sweep twice over the last week. They have not, however, been avoiding sweeps regularly over the last couple years. They have been pretty good at finishing the job. Excellent, really.

So goodbye, old friend. You will be placed in a crate under the Ark of the Covenant, unmarked and lost to time. Unless I can score some cheap laughs. Then I’ll dig you out again. Until then, though, we’ll miss you almost as much as we hated you.

It’s probably better for everyone if the Giants would just complete their series sweeps again, if we’re all being honest again.