It has been a spectacular season for the San Fransisco Giants and it got a lot sweeter on Monday night as they claimed the first playoff spot. With a home run derby style 9-1 win against the San Diego Padres they extended their MLB best record to 94-50 guaranteeing them a spot in the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
The Rough History
Coming into the 2021 season the Giants were given a 5.8% chance of making the playoffs. This is not surprising after the turn this team made since their last appearance in October baseball. In 2017 they finished 64-98 which was tied for the worst record in baseball. They improved to 73-89 in 2018 which moved them up to second last in the National League West and in 2019 improved to 77-85 which moved them up one more spot again. The shortened 2020 season was a battle as they finished 29-31 which was one game short of a playoff spot.
This is a team that completely fell off the face of the earth for a few years. They worked their way back up and put together a decent team in 2020 but came up just short. Who would have expected just how well they would bounced back.
The New Giants
Expectations were low and they absolutely obliterated all of the doubt relatively quickly. They put together a team of solid veterans which includes guys like Buster Posey, Brandon Belt, Brandon Crawford and Evan Longoria. All four have made their presence known just like many years prior. Belt leads the team in homers with 24 and Crawford is tops in RBIs with 80 and hits with 124.
The best part about this team though is the amount of production they are getting from the lesser known guys. Outside of their big name stars they are utilizing the Moneyball strategy with so many players. Mike Yastrzemski is only in his third season and putting up 95 hits, 25 doubles, 23 homers and 58 RBIs. Another unsuspecting hero has been LaMonte Wade who has had clutch hit after clutch hit (17 homers, 48 RBIs). Not to mention Darin Ruf, Alex Dickerson and Austin Slater.
It is also important to mention their great starting pitching which included four double digit game winners. These include Kevin Gausman (14-5, 2.65 ERA), Anthony DeSclafani (11-6, 3.33 ERA) and Logan Webb (10-3, 2.80 ERA). These guys have given great length and when they leave the game they know the ball is going in the hands of a great reliever. Their two best late inning men include the crazy side arm throwing Tyler Rogers (12 saves, 1.76 ERA) and Jake McGee (31 saves, 2.72 ERA).
They have put together one of the best all around teams in all of baseball with plenty of solid pitching, hitting and defense. Each day they step out on that field they feel they are going to win and lately they have as they are sitting on a eight game win streak with no signs of slowing.
As difficult as the NL West has been for the San Fransisco Giants to make a statement like this is incredible. This is a division that has been won by the Dodgers for the past eight straight years with authority. The division is still up for grabs, but the Giants currently hold a 2.5 game lead and look to continue their dominance and take the title. The last time a team other than the Dodgers took the top spot was the Giants in 2012 who would go on to win the World Series.
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