If this season feels a lot more tedious than last season, despite the team actually faring better in terms of wins, one of the reasons why may be because it has been very, very long. Not just in the sense of it being mid-August of a losing season, but in terms of actual length of games.
As of Thursday morning, the Giants have the most extra-inning games of any team in baseball this year with 17 games that included free baseball. If there were even such a thing. The next closest team is the Oakland A’s who have 16 and the next closest in the National League are the Mets, to the surprise of no one, with 15.
The surprising news is that the Giants are not actually .500 in these games (or as close as you can get with an odd number)! They are 10-7, which is good! Comparatively, the A’s are 11-5 and the Mets are 6-9.
In six of the games they’ve won, they were only in extra innings in the first place because of them because they blew the lead. So, that’s not ideal. But, in most of those, the lead was only one run to begin with (and often times it was a 1-1 game) so it’s not entirely on the pitching. Of their seven extra-inning losses, all of them were games where the Giants initially overcame early deficits before falling short, not due to blown leads.
This is actually reassuring! It means that of the games that the bullpen blew the lead and allowed the game to go to extra innings, they won all of them. Usually it seems like the only time we get free baseball is in those situations where we don’t want it, and it feels like they always lose them. And that is not the case!
What has not been good, however, is the amount of these games that have come back to back. Four times throughout the season so far they have had back to back extra-inning games, and once more within two games of each other.
Additionally, 15 of their extra-inning games have either started or ended a series. Of games where they started the series this way, they were 4-3, of those that ended a series they were 5-3. None of those numbers really mean anything. Except for the fact that they started seven series with an extra-inning game, and ended eight with them. Five of those games were on a getaway day or on the road, including their 16-inning win over Miami that preceded a cross country trip to Los Angeles.
This is obviously not ideal, as it means they either tired themselves out in the first game, or got a late start heading to the next series, which doesn’t put them in the best position to win the next game or series. That’s not to say they would have won those games/series anyway, but it sure didn’t help.