Prompt: The Giants have played 101 games. How will they do over the final 61?
Participants: Bryan, Sami, Kenny, Doug, Brady, Carmen
Bryan Murphy, Managing Editor:
Reason: The Giants might have interest in re-signing Austin Jackson and Bruce Bochy has openly talked about Pablo Sandoval playing all nine positions in a single game, so, I think we’re already through the looking glass. They don’t really see themselves as a force; they’re much more interested in resetting their tax penalties. If we’d done this yesterday, I would’ve said 31-31. They’re a .500 team. I expect them to stay exactly that good the rest of the way.
But I don’t think it’s a hopeless situation. Suarez, Rodriguez, Hanson, Duggar, and even Austin Slater are all interesting young players we’ll be able to watch develop for next year. There’s a nonzero chance they trade McCutchen, Watson, Smith, and/or Dyson to help with their reload. I don’t know that the Giants can bounce back as quickly as the Yankees did, but more and more, I feel that they’re very capable of doing something similar. As frustrating as the losing will be the rest of the way, it won’t feel overwhelming.
Oh, but this should end on a joke, right? Okay, here’s one:
What do you call a writer who crafts beautiful final testaments for dying people?
Sami Higgins, Deputy Editor:
Reason: I’m going to be the optimist here. I believe that the Giants have most of the pieces they need to be a competent baseball team. We’ve seen them go on streaks. Not long ones, of course, but they are capable of having them. If they can make the hard decisions with regards to the starting rotation, then I think they can set themselves up to have a competitive second half. The NL West is still technically in play, even if they will have to play exceptionally well in order to gain ground. No, I’m not 100% confident they can do so. And yes, the Dodgers are looking to be as good as they always are. But stranger things have happened. I’m not ready for an even year where the Giants don’t at least MAKE the playoffs. Nor am I ready for what it will mean if they don’t have a winning record this season. So, I am choosing to be optimistic.
Kenny Kelly, Staff Writer:
Reason: Someone has to be the pessimist. If Bryan won’t do it, I guess that means I have to. The Giants cannot score runs. They’ve had about one good offensive month, and the rest of the time they’ve been well below average. The Giants have been outperforming their Pythagorean record all year, and I think their luck will run out. Brandons Crawford and Belt are cooling off. Alen Hanson is currently falling into an open manhole. Austin Slater and Hunter Pence are going to get the same amount of at bats for the rest of the year for some reason. Evan Longoria and Joe Panik coming back won’t be enough to save this team.
The Giants will finish 80-82 which isn’t that bad, but it’s still firmly past the threshold of being a losing team. It’ll be just enough to sully your memory of this fun yet frustrating team.
Doug Bruzzone, Deputy Dougitor:
Reason: Look, I’d like to pretend that I have some fancypants reason for this, or that I looked at some stat that says The Giants Are Actually Slightly Better Than A .500 Team, but if I’m being honest, before the season I predicted they’d win 84 games, and I’ve got a decent chance at being right, so I’m doubling down. That’s it. That’s the reason. I am, and I can’t stress this enough, extremely petty about this.
Uh, I mean: They’re gonna stop pitching Jeff Samardzija if he’s injured, and that’s worth a win or two over what they’ve done already, and Longoria will come back and help against lefties, so they won’t struggle as much there, and that’ll be what makes them 5 games over .500 from here on out. Bank on it.
Brady Klopfer of The Athletic:
Reason: At this point of the season, the Giants are passionately average. I aspire to be as good at anything as the 2018 Giants are at being .500. That said, a .500 team is likely to be quite a bit better or worse than .500 over a small sample size, and 61 games is a relatively small sample size.
So why am I painting them as over-performing, rather than under-performing in that sample? Because, when things go as they should, the team is comfortably (albeit modestly) better than .500, and I believe they’re trending in that direction. Madison Bumgarner and Johnny Cueto should get better. Joe Panik and Evan Longoria should get healthy, and also better. And there are no everyday players who are currently screaming for a dump truck full of regression to counter those positive moves. 34-27 requires a little bit of luck, and a lot a bit of health, but neither of those things are very rare over the course of 61 games.
Carmen Kiew, co-host of the “Mid-Inning Relief” Podcast:
Reason: I’m gonna choose to believe this team is not just slightly above .500 but they are kinda slightly above .500.
Like Doug, despite how meh I felt about Evan Longoria during the first half, there isn’t a chance that he won’t help them against lefties (he has to, right? Like, it can’t get worse??? Somebody???). I’m also hoping that the Johnny Cueto’s arm doesn’t fall of and Madison Bumgarner can be more Bumgarner-y and less Samardzija-y. Bumgarner hasn’t looked terrible but he also hasn’t looked dominant and I have blind faith that has to change. Oh and Joe Panik. He’s coming back. That too. Either that or the Giants pick up some pitching or a slugger for an affordable second baseman. Not sure which.
Also just for funsies, I’m gonna predict that Alen Hanson gets an inside the park homer because he likes to run through stop signs.