The Giants have a chance to finish their first full winning month (the 1st of a month until the 30th/31st of a month) since June of 2016 with a win tonight. 15-14 wouldn’t look all that impressive, but it would be a far cry from the past year and a half. When compared to the other bad teams in baseball, the Giants have been the worst team in baseball since July 2016. Behold, the July 2016-April 30, 2018 records of the following:
SAN DIEGO 111-153
SAN FRANCISCO 108-154
That’s impressive. And also, extremely bad. It’s not just your imagination: the Giants are literally the worst team in baseball since July 2016. There is no need to mince words or come up with excuses. The. Absolute. Worst. So bad, that the only time they came within 2 games of being .500 was that July 2016. Yes, at no time in 2017 did the Giants lose only 2 more games than they won in a month. For reference, the 2017 Reds actually had one “winning month” — a 15-14 August. They were also within 2 games of .500 three other times.
Which brings me to the San Diego SuperPadres, a team that somehow managed a 14-11 July last season and then were basically as bad as the Reds and Giants in all other months. And stretching back to 2016, they’ve had only one other month where they’ve been .500 — June 2016. The Padres should be the worst team in baseball over the past year and a half, and yet they’re not, which means what the Giants have done in terms of losing and being the worst team in baseball is an extraordinary accomplishment. The question is: how much more do the Giants want to be like the Padres?
What’s to like about a tanking team that reinvents itself every three years, employs Wil Myers, Ted Leitner, and the local government to do its bidding, and still manages to de-pants, dunk on, or outright embarrass the Giants every season? Usually, I look at some part of the team I find interesting and try to talk about that. Not with these guys. Nope.
I just feel the feelings. This dislike comes from the idea that the Padres are the personification of a fork in the road. The blandest, most boring fork in the road you could imagine, but a split in the path nonetheless! Do the Giants become their own version of the Fightin’ Villanuevas, trapped for eternity in the loser ether of the tank realm, or do they go the other way and play to the top of their revenue to be different, sometimes losing for a while and sometimes winning for a while?
The Padres do have some interesting players, like they have every year, such as Franchy Cordero, whom they had in the previous matchup against the Giants and is slugging .531; and they’re without Wil Myers this series, whom they were without in the matchup earlier in the month, but they have him otherwise and he’s certainly as close to a youngish franchise player as you can get. They’ve done some interesting things with their pitching and yet they always seem primed to contend 3-4 years from now. Except for when they play the Giants. After this series, people will be talking about how they’re only a year or two away. GAH.
Hitter to watch: Following an 0-for-3 in the Giants’ only win back in that 4 games series, third baseman Christian Villanueva has posted a .425/.540/.875 with 3 doubles and 5 home runs in 50 plate appearances. Now, you’ll note that his BAbip is a gasp-worthy .480, which means that if the Giants aren’t able to stifle his statistical fortune, then it’s the Giants who are actually bad.
Pitcher to watch: Eric Lauer is a left-handed pitcher who was drafted in 2016. He made his first major league start just six days ago in Colorado and allowed 6 earned runs in 3 innings, striking out 3 and walking 4. Expect him to throw 7 shutout innings tonight.
Prediction: We will learn the names of a lot of new Padres players and be glad when they’ve finally left San Francisco.