It’s hard to put a finger on this year’s Giants. They are clearly better than last year’s Giants. But having a case of food poisoning is better than last year’s Giants, because food poisoning reminds us of our mortality. Last year was a version of hell or a version of purgatory. This year is not last year, nor was it ever going to be. They were going to be worse or slightly better.
Looks like we’re living in the Slightly Better universe, and I think that’s the only opening the organization needs to have confidence. So far, their best laid plans have worked out, despite a 6-game losing streak, despite losing Bumgarner and Samardzija before the season and Cueto and Panik when they needed them most. I don’t think they’ve managed their depth well, but let’s not pretend they don’t have depth.
This team also seems to like playing together, which is a far cry from last year’s squad which looked like it was trapped in a family counseling session for 162 games. Absolutely miserable. But now Nick Hundley is being greeted after home runs and Austin Jackson can do absolutely nothing yet still look enthused to be out on the field.
Not sure if that matters in these 41-game samples, but the Giants are firm believers that such things matter over the course of a long season. I feel that going with your best players as much as possible also matters over the course of a long season, but let us all accept that we have no control over the situation and admit that there is stuff behind the scenes that we’ll never know about that factors into the decision-making.
But I’ve lost the thread here. Every week or so, we’re given more evidence that this year isn’t last year. It’s not even worse than last year. It might not be remarkably better, but it’s different.
One thing that stuck with me as I went to sleep last night, from The Athletic’s Owen Poindexter (behind a paywall):
Where are Posey’s home runs?
Buster Posey has been excellent as usual, batting .306/.370/.430, but the formula has quietly changed over the years. Here are his HR/FB percentage rates each year from 2015-2018: 11.0 percent, 9.8 percent, 8.4 percent, 6.5 percent. In the last few years, some of his home runs have become doubles and some have become outs.
I’ve said that Buster Posey is “done” since... [checks notes] 2011, so, I’m not about to change my tune or blast this info on a Jumbotron to get everyone’s attention. In fact, all I’m trying to do by pointing out this bit of information is that everything ends, and how we handle that tells us who we are. The Giants won’t go down without a fight.
Which, to me, means they should recall Austin Slater.