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What was the best road trip of the season?

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Sure, there are very few options — maybe even zero options — but rather than turn away from the Giants’ futility on the road, let us dive in — let’s bask in it.

San Francisco Giants v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

The Giants had only one winning road trip this entire season as they stumbled, wheezed, and embarrassed themselves to a 31-50 road record. Now, for the purpose of this article, I’m defining a road trip as a multi-city set of games. So, that season opening 4-gamer in Los Angeles would not be considered a road trip because it was a single city. With that in mind, what was the best road trip of 2018?

Here are your nominees:

April 12-22: San Diego, Arizona, Los Angeles of Anaheim

Record: 4-6

What happened?

Chris Stratton pitched the Giants to a 7-0 win against the Padres in the first game of the trip, but it was all downhill after that. The Padres easily took the next three games (we got to see Tyler Beede!) and then in Arizona, Patrick Corbin dominated and Zack Greinke showed he was back, baby. The Angels series, though, had it’s moments...

What was so great about it?

This was the trip with Brandon Belt’s historic 21-pitch at bat...

... and Mac Williamson’s mammoth home run that made us all believers.

May 4-13: Atlanta, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh

Record: 4-6

What happened?

The Giants went up against the hottest team in baseball (the Braves) and swept them easily. And then the resurgent Phillies showed that their rebuild might be a year ahead of schedule by dominating the Giants in a 4-game sweep (the first time the Phillies had done that to the Giants since 1982). And then Andrew McCutchen’s return to Pittsburgh was fairly forgettable for him and the Giants.

What was so great about it?

The Giants went up against the hottest team in baseball (the Braves) and swept them easily. It was a fun series that propelled them to a 19-15 record and really served to wash away that 2017 feeling. Then again, most of those feelings came roaring back as the Giants lost 6 of the next 7.

May 22-30: Houston, Chicago, Colorado

Record: 2-6

What happened?

The Astros literally murdered the Giants on the baseball diamond, the Giants were embarrassed on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball (as per custom), and Dereck Rodriguez made his debut against the Rockies in Coors Field.

What was so great about it?

Didn’t you see the part where Dereck Rodriguez made his debut? Oh, also, Pablo Sandoval played second base in that Cubs series:

Of course, let us not forget that Brandon Crawford homered off of Gerrit Cole in that Houston series to make things weird for his family:

June 8-17: Washington, Miami, Los Angeles... of Los Angeles

Record: 4-6

What happened?

Stephen Strasburg left his start after just two innings due to shoulder tightness and Derek Holland out-dueled Max Scherzer. It would be a while before we fully understood the depth of the Nationals’ disappointing season, but the Giants still managed to take advantage, something they’ve rarely done since the first half of 2016.

Meanwhile, the Marlins banged around the Giants in three out of four games and it still took 16 g-d innings to win even a single game in Miami. This series set the stage for the following week, when Lewis Brinson — who had tormented the Giants in that 4-gamer — got into Hunter Strickland’s head, prompting the pitcher to shatter his fist in a loud encounter with a door. This was also the road trip containing a Dodgers series that gave us this tweet:

... which was really the first time we had a national writer come out and say Madison Bumgarner is bad now. A little unfair in this situation as it was only Bumgarner’s third start of the season, but as much as data analysts warn against judgments based on small samplings, sports writers need to use them for clicks and trends. Besides, Petriello’s been proven true as the season’s worn on (he’s also a Dodgers fan).

What was so great about it?

Marlins series are always a bummer, so it’s possible this series really didn’t have a high point. Pablo Sandoval hit a 2-run home run and this was maybe a point where we all looked around and said to each other, “Hey, Pablo Sandoval’s useful again!”

June 29-July 4: Arizona and Colorado

Record: 3-3

What happened?

This was the Rockies series you remember but desperately want to forget. The Giants scored 3 total runs in 27 innings at Coors Field and lost the final game of the series 1-0. And the sweep followed a Giants’ sweep of the Diamondbacks in Arizona.

What was so great about it?

That sweep in Arizona moved the Giants to 45-40 and 2.5 games out of first place. Five more wins than losses is the greatest margin the team would ever have this season and that’s as close to first place as they got after July 2nd. It literally, truly, was all downhill from here.

July 20-25: Oakland and Seattle

Record: 2-3

What happened?

Oakland won a pair of walkoffs and Steven Duggar claimed his first career stolen base.

What was so great about it?

The A’s knocked around Madison Bumgarner in the July 21st game and held a 3-1 lead until the later innings. Oakland’s bullpen had been virtually untouchable up to that point but the Giants managed to tie the game in the ninth and force extra innings. Sure, they lost, but they never gave up!

July 30-August 5: San Diego, Arizona

Record: 4-2

What happened?

Here it is, the sole winning road trip of 2018. After playing a pair in San Diego and winning both, the Giants split four games in Arizona. Both Padres wins came in extra innings and the opening game of the Diamondbacks series saw the Giants blowout Arizona’s bullpen. Austin Slater had some big hits in this series, too.

What was so great about it?

Austin Slater’s performance was so memorable it compelled me to write this article.

August 13-23: Los Angeles, Cincinnati, New York

Record: 4-6

What happened?

The Giants scandalized the baseball world by showing that even a terrible offense like theirs could get to the Dodgers’ shaky-bad bullpen and the team took 2 of 3 games. It was that third game of the series — a 4-3 walk-off loss in 12 innings — that finally “convinced” the Giants they were out of it and they became willing to trade some of their players.

Of course, the only move they made was to trade Andrew McCutchen and that wouldn’t come until later, but this was the series Brian Sabean identified as the “stick a fork in ‘em” series. Although, we all knew it had ended long before.

Then there was another unfortunate sweep in Cincinnati and a weird series against the Mets.

What was so great about it?

The Mets series opened with a win thanks to a collision in the outfield...

... and ended with Madison Bumgarner single-handedly defeating Jacob deGrom, who’s getting MVP consideration.

Before that, of course, the Giants put The Fear in the Dodgers about their troublesome bullpen.

September 3-9: Colorado, Milwaukee

Record: 0-6

What happened?

Everything that happened was pretty much expected: two far superior teams were far superior to the Giants. I mean, the Brewers and Rockies really beat the crud out of the Giants, to the point that my Catholic upbringing couldn’t help but make me think, “Maybe the Giants deserved it”.

What was so great about it?

Madison Bumgarner tried to police Ryan Braun’s cockiness and instead gave up a grand slam and lost the game. The Giants rope-a-doped the Rockies into thinking that the following series in San Francisco was going to be a piece of cake and instead were helpless to beat a team they had just thoroughly dominated, jeopardizing their playoff odds.

September 16-23: San Diego, St. Louis

Record: 2-4

What happened?

I mean, you just saw what happened. The Giants cruised in the first two games of the series and then Chris Stratton got shelled to close that one out. In St. Louis, the Cardinals deployed wave after wave of young, aggressive talent against the considerably older and far less talented Giants for a predictable sweep. Not fun to watch.

What was so great about it?

The Padres and Cardinals sure do have a lot of fun and talented young players who are aggressive, fast, and simply have an edge to them. The Giants are only a bunch of old men by baseball standards, but never is the disparity in vitality between 20-somethings and 30-somethings more apparent than when the Giants take the field.

In conclusion and finally, the Giants had another bad season and their road record and general performance consistently demonstrated exactly why that was the case.

Poll

What was the best road trip of the season?

This poll is closed

  • 5%
    September 16-23
    (3 votes)
  • 8%
    September 3-9
    (5 votes)
  • 5%
    August 13-23
    (3 votes)
  • 36%
    July 30 - August 5
    (22 votes)
  • 0%
    July 20-25
    (0 votes)
  • 10%
    June 29 - July 4
    (6 votes)
  • 3%
    June 8-17
    (2 votes)
  • 8%
    May 22-30
    (5 votes)
  • 8%
    May 4-13
    (5 votes)
  • 15%
    April 12-22
    (9 votes)
60 votes total Vote Now