The San Francisco Giants remain the hottest of baseball messes. They have the most losses in the league — 51 after a weekend sweep at the hands of the New York Mets, who also aren’t very good.
The Giants (27-51) are playing like the Phillies (24-50) these days — but they entered the season with World Series expectations. So the disappointments are many.
Seeing as how they’re 24.5 games out of first place and the National League West is historically good right now, it would take a miracle for the Giants to even sniff a playoff spot. It’s a much more reasonable goal to find something resembling respectability.
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal chronicles the behind-the-scenes problems with the Giants in his latest column, and some of them are unfamiliar territory for a franchise that’s had a stable clubhouse in the past. So let’s count the ways — from the losses to the clubhouse chaos — this season has been a wreck for the Giants:
1. THEY’RE WORSE BECAUSE THEY LOST A PLAYER NOBODY LIKED?
Things are so bad, per Rosenthal’s report, that the Giants actually miss a guy who most of the team didn’t like, because at least he gave them something to rally around.
And no, it’s not Pablo Sandoval. It’s outfielder Angel Pagan.
Pat Burrell, Cody Ross and Aubrey Huff were among the veterans who brought an edge to the 2010 team. Hunter Pence’s famous dugout speech helped rally the Giants from a two-games-to-none deficit against the Reds in the 2012 Division Series. Pence, Michael Morse and Pablo Sandoval were among the forceful personalities in ’14.
Sandoval, who was an often noisy and boisterous presence during his time with the club, departed as a free agent after that season. Pence has suffered a number of injuries in recent years and declined offensively, making it difficult for him to be as vocal as he was in the past. Some with the Giants muse that the team even misses Angel Pagan, who created an odd sort of unity because most of the players disliked him.
I mean, I guess it’s easier to blame Pagan for all this rather than pointing the finger at people still with the team.
2. MATT MOORE HAS THE WORST ERA IN THE NL
When the Giants acquired Moore last season, the idea was that he’d help them immediately and be a stable part of the rotation for years to come. The only thing he’s been this year is a punching bag.
The Giants lost 8-3 on Sunday with Moore giving up five runs in 4 1/3 innings. That raised his ERA yet again — to an NL-worst 6.04.
3. THE DODGERS HAVE MAJOR BRAGGING RIGHTS RIGHT NOW
Division standings and playoff spots are important, there’s no doubt. But with the Giants, there’s always a subplot about their performance relative to the Dodgers. So the Dodgers’ success this season is just adding insult to injury.
— Jonathan Hawthorne (@Jon_Hawthorne) June 25, 2017
On Saturday, when the Giants lost their 50th game of the season, the Dodgers won the 50th game. The Dodgers are cruising, so this shouldn’t surprise anyone. But it definitely makes things a little bit tougher to swallow in S.F.
4. THE NEW GUY DIDN’T FIX THINGS
One player who received a good deal of attention in Rosenthal’s column is new closer Mark Melancon, who the Giants paid $62 million in the offseason thinking he was the missing piece. Not exactly. It’s not his fault the Giants aren’t good, but Melancon hasn’t been top-notch himself (1-2 with a 4.58 ERA and four blown saves).
Aside from his performance, Melancon came in with his own routines and that has made his first year in the S.F. clubhouse a little tougher than expected. Writes Rosenthal:
Melancon, sources say, rubbed some teammates the wrong way early in the season by putting an end to the bullpen’s 3:30 p.m. stretching session before night games, a practice that the relievers began in 2012. And for a time, Melancon and a handful of other Giants veterans often were late for the team’s main stretching sessions, prompting manager Bruce Bochy to call a team meeting about a month ago to address that matter and other concerns that he declined to specify.
It is doubtful that Melancon’s routine — which includes him spending the first six or seven innings in the clubhouse preparing to pitch — would rankle anyone to the same extent if both he and the team were performing better.
That’s true, because as Giants beat writer Alex Pavlovic says, if the team were doing better, the narrative around Melancon might be different:
Also, if Giants hit, pitched, or defended better, we would be talking about how Melancon had a new lounge built for the relievers in April.
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) June 26, 2017
5. THEY’VE BARELY WON MORE GAMES THAN THE WARRIORS IN JUNE
fun deflating fact: The team has only won one more game in June than the Golden State Warriors, who closed out the NBA Finals by winning four of five games in early June:
Wins in June: Giants 5, Warriors 4.
— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) June 25, 2017
Maybe the Giants need Kevin Durant in left field?
6. THEY’VE TURNED TO ODD SUPERSTITIONS
Speaking of the Warriors, Giants fans have taken up some strange tactics to change the team’s mojo — including one Warriors good-luck charm. Fans have players and manager Bruce Bochy out here signing a toaster, since that helped the Dubs.
Remember the date: June 25th, 2017.
Bruce Bochy has signed a toaster.
The Giants are going to turn things around. pic.twitter.com/sBYJpmS7TV
— Kerry Crowley (@KO_Crowley) June 25, 2017
Hate to break it to you, Giants fans, but the Giants aren’t the toaster. They’re just toast.
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