The San Francisco Giants are in the middle of a winning streak. You can read about this fun development at McCoveyChronicles.com, and I’m very much in favor of it. Wins are fun, and the Giants are winning. That’s all you need to know, really.
But allow me to point out a fun fact: The Giants have a .393 winning percentage this year. That, over a 162-game season, translates to either 63 or 64 wins (63.642857143, if you’re looking for precision.)
This means the Giants aren’t on pace for 100 losses. Let me explain why I care.
The Giants have been bad before. Utterly miserable. And they’ve done it recently, too. The 2008 Giants hit just 94 home runs, and Barry Zito made 32 miserable starts. They were one of the worst collections of talent I’ve ever watched, even though they had a Cy Young pitcher.
That team didn’t lose 100 games.
In the ‘70s, the Giants were a post-Mays mess of sadness and despair. They donated all of their young outfielders to the Salvation Army, and they had just one representative at the All-Star game in six out of 10 seasons.
None of those teams lost 100 games.
There aren’t any special penalties that come with losing 100 games. The team wouldn’t have to give up a draft pick or get relegated to the Pacific Coast League. Losing 100 games is nothing but bad optics, a purely aesthetic punishment. And it’s kind of my last hope for the 2017 season.
Is it a sad hope? You bet. But it’s the last realistic one. What else are Giants fans supposed to root for?
Ha ha, no. It would be one thing if the NL West were filled with struggling teams, like the AL Central, but the division is likely to produce three postseason teams. They could have a pair of 100-game winners, which means the Giants couldn’t really squeak in like the 2005 Padres, even if they got on a wild winning streak.
Let’s say, then, that the absolute lowest total for a second wild card would be 83 games. The Giants would have to go 50-28 to reach that mark, and have the Rockies go 34-44 or worse, the Cubs go 41-39 or worse, the Cardinals go 44-37 or worse, the Braves ....
The Giants would have to play like one of the greatest teams in franchise history, while at least five other teams were average or worse.
First-overall draft pick
If it happens, great. That’s just about the best consolation prize, and it would keep us warm during the winter.
But I’m not going to root for it. I’ll repeat the point about Pedro Alvarez being the consensus top prospect in the 2008 Draft, and I’m thinking that’s who the Giants would have selected. Which means the first-overall pick would have led to negative-championships, and we would have never won. Be careful what you wish for.
The first-overall choice in 2007 was David Price, whose career has been roughly as good as Madison Bumgarner’s in the regular season, according to WAR. Do the Giants win three championships with him? Maybe, but I wouldn’t want to find out. And that’s before you get to the idea that the Giants could have finished with the second-worst record and taken a shining to Josh Vitters.
I’ll take the top pick, but I’m not going to hope the Giants get it. It’s far more comforting to dream about the Giants stealing the best player rather than taking him first overall.
I like this goal because it doesn’t rely on any of the other teams. If the Giants go 48-30 over their final 78 games, they’ll reach .500. Simple enough.
To do that, the Giants will have to play at least .615 baseball. Here is the list of Giants teams who have done that for a full season in the San Francisco era:
- 1993 Giants (Barry Bonds, Will Clark, Matt Williams)
- 1962 Giants (Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, Juan Marichal)
- 2003 Giants (Barry Bonds, Jeff Kent, Jason Schmidt)
The 2017 Giants probably can’t compete with those teams. Your first clue might be the other article I posted today, titled “Who would have been the Giants’ All-Star if Buster Posey didn’t exist?” While the good news is that the Giants don’t have to play at a .615 clip for a full season, just 78 games, and they’ve come close to that in 2015, even.
It’s something I’ll root for as it happens, but I’m not going to spend a lot of time hoping the Giants will play like a postseason team for the rest of the season. It would be bittersweet, really. Bittersweet and unlikely enough for it to remain a pipe dream for now.
Not lose 100 games, you bozos
Bingo. Start small, and you’re less likely to be disappointed. While I would enjoy a march to .500, with a smile on my face the whole time, I’m mostly just hoping the Giants move from “embarrassing” to “kinda bad.” As of right now, they’re on their way.
I’ll take it!
These last three months sure have been something.
But I’ll take it!