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What do the Giants have to play for?

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Putting aside players’ individual milestones, what can the team rally around?

MLB: San Francisco Giants at Los Angeles Dodgers
The Giants are also playing for high fives, because it’s fun to get a lot of high fives
Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

After last night’s loss, the Giants sit at 31-42, which is a bad record. There is no chance that they catch up to the Dodgers, and at this point, it would be a pretty major upset if the team doesn’t finish the season in last place.

With that in mind, I’ve come up with three goals for the team. These are three concrete objectives for the team to push for over the summer, three things for every player to rally around.

Before we start, let’s check in on our new segment: Bryan’s Korner, where Bryan answers questions posed in the title of the article:

NOTHING, DOUG. NOTHING.

Thanks, Bryan!

Anyway, on to the goals!

Making the playoffs

The target: 90 wins

lol

Okay, I lied, it’s really only two goals.

Bruce Bochy getting to 2,000 wins

The target: 74 wins

73 games into the year, Bruce Bochy’s career managerial record (including his time with the Padres) stands at 1957-1986. He’s going to the Hall of Fame no matter what, but it would be nice to hit a nice, round number milestone to really cement his case. For him to get to 2,000 wins, over the team’s final 89 games, they need to win 43. 43-46 wouldn’t be a good record, but it would be a step up from what the Giants have done so far in 2019, so it’s not tremendously likely.

On the other hand, maybe the team has it in them to really push themselves. They’re not completely untalented. Brandon Crawford was an All-Star last year. Evan Longoria is the best player in Tampa history, and will be the best player in Tampa history forever because they will trade anyone threatening his position, because that’s how they get prospects who they can later harvest for more prospects. Not only did Buster Posey used to be Buster Posey, but he technically still is.

If any of those guys played like the 2015 version of himself, it would be surprising at first, and then it would be normal. It wouldn’t be Ryan Vogelsong, brought up as a bedtime story to convince every seemingly over the hill player to give it one last shot four years in a row. It would be, “Oh, hey, he’s good again, like he should be.” If two of those three guys rebound, then the Giants have a shot at 74 wins.

If the Giants, en masse, push themselves to be the very best Giants they can, and play with purpose and dedication, if they put their hearts and souls into the game for one last run for their Hall of Fame-bound manager... they’ll still need their guys to play better. But if a couple of their guys play better, well hey, now we’re cookin’.

74 wins will be tough for this team. It’s not impossible, but it’s tough. And a 74-88 team is still bad, so you won’t have to alter any of your preconceptions! It’s the little things that make baseball so rewarding.

The Giants finishing the decade over .500

The target: 67 wins

This shouldn’t be asking much. This is the only decade in Giants history where they’ve won three World Series, and they also made the playoffs in 2016, so it would be pretty wild if the team didn’t finish that whole 10-year stretch above .500. Really, just being aware of those two facts would probably convince you that on the decade, the Giants are easily above .500.

Friends, the Giants are not easily above .500.

Since the start of 2010, the Giants are 775-756. That’s 19 games over .500. Considering all the success they had early in the decade, that’s not very many games over .500 at all.

If the Giants go 35-54 over their last 89 games, then they’ll have a .500 record on the decade. The Giants are absolutely capable of going 35-54 between now and the end of the season. That could not be more on the table. 35-54 is sizzling in a bowl, covered with melted cheese and drizzled with some kind of sauce — spicy aioli? — and looking delicious, and daring the Giants to find the willpower to resist.

Now, 35-54 is really bad. Really bad. It’s a worse winning percentage than they had in 2017 — not by much, mind you, but worse is worse. There are currently just five teams in the majors that are that bad, and the Giants aren’t one of them. But if the team sells off some of its veterans, then they’ll presumably get worse. If they get worse, 35-54 wouldn’t be surprising at all.

So here’s what I’m proposing: Do better than that, Giants. Finish the best decade in franchise history with a winning record. I know you guys aren’t great at these symbolic things — you lost the last game at Candlestick and the first game at Pac Bell Park, you lost and were eliminated from the playoffs the night Bonds hit 71 and 72, you somehow didn’t draft Giancarlo (then Mike) Stanton with the pick you got from losing Mike Stanton — but give us this one thing. Win at least 67 games. It’s really not a lot to ask.