Absolutely no one believed the Giants’ would have the best record in baseball and be the first team to clinch a postseason berth. However, on Monday night against the San Diego Padres, the 95-51 San Francisco Giants won a season high 9th straight game and clinched a spot in the postseason and now have their sights set on a World Series run.
Expectations have always been high within the organization who won 3 championships in a span of 5 years (2010-2014), but with 95 wins and the best record in baseball, the Giants are leading the NL West by 1 ½ games and with 18 games left are close to winning the division over perennial foe Los Angeles Dodgers. How does this happen?
The Resurgence of Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey
To be honest, it is just unfathomable that Brandon Crawford and Buster Posey are in their age 34 seasons, after being stars in the game for so long and are essentially reaching their peak as players. But is it that far-fetched?
Brandon Crawford has been arguably the best shortstop in all of baseball. His season has been so great that he earned himself a 2 year extension, and to0 many MVP consideration.
In his 11th Big League season, Crawford has been the definition of productive. Entering this week, Crawford is approaching career best in every major offensive category, including home runs (20, one shy of personal best 21), batting average (.297, obliterating his career average of .250), and OPS+ (140).
Similarly, Buster Posey’s season is simply incredible. Even for the most die hard Giant fans out there, they would have never predicted Posey to rebound in the fashion that he has. The future hall-of-famer was coming off his worst season ever where he flashed an unproductive .257/.320/.368 with only 7 home runs in 114 games.
In addition, he sat out all of the 2020 season opting out because of COVID-19. How did Posey respond? He’s hitting .300, with 17 home runs, and playing a tremendous role in the success of the Giant pitchers.
Pitching and Defense
The old mantra “Defense wins championships” has proven well for the Giants. San Francisco ranks in the top 2 of nearly every major pitching category including: ERA (2nd, 3.26), WHIP (2nd, 1.133), Walks/9 (1st, 2.65), and Strikeouts/Walk (2nd, 3.32). Not only are they are great pitching team but they are also superior on defense. The Giants are ranked 9th in errors per game (.51) and boast 3 Gold Glove winners on the diamond (Longoria, Posey, Crawford).
To put it simply, the Giants pitching is elite. With a mix of savvy veterans, hungry newcomers, blended with a young and cutting-edge coaching staff, the Giants have found a blueprint for success. The Giants haven’t been lucky, they’ve been strategic in their plans to help their players succeed.
On the pitching side, Ace pitcher Kevin Gausman is using his split fastball more frequently and batters are hitting .112 against the pitch. Surprise starter Logan Webb has utilized his sinking fastball that gives him a 62% groundball rate, his 8.2 ground ball rate per game is top 5 in the last month. Combine this with Manager Gabe Kaplers firm belief in the shift, the Giants have the 2nd best ERA in the league.
The Giants have been disrespected all season long, despite being the most dominant team all season long. They are at the top of their standings, have held the division lead all year long, and seem to be getting stronger every game reaching their highest win streak of the year (9) recently. When will oddsmakers and the public start taking them seriously?
It’s understandable that the team is still overlooked because they were a surprise contender in 2021. The Giants were such a shock, oddsmakers gave them +8000 odds to win the world series.
However, now is the time to jump on the Giants train while you can. According to Pointsbet, San Francisco is at +800 to win the World series now and the Dodgers are favorites at +275. These odds are too juicy to pass on the best team in baseball.
Let me remind you, the Giants may be a shock this year but they are no fluke. They may not have the household superstar names in their clubhouse, but they are the best team in baseball.
Additionally, take in account that many of the players on the team are not that far removed from the World Series titles from 2010, 2012, and 2014. This team has plenty of magic left, and they are looking to write their own story.