Tag: San Francisco Giants

Buster Posey Adds Final Missing Piece to MLB Legacy with Gold Glove Award

Buster Posey didn’t need to pad his resume.

At age 29, the San Francisco Giants catcher has already won a Rookie of the Year trophy, a batting title, three Silver Sluggers, a National League MVP and three championship rings.

For even the all-time greats, that’s a career and change.

On Tuesday, however, Posey gilded the lily, winning his first Gold Glove award, per MLB.com’s Doug Miller.

Posey beat out St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, who had won the prize for the past eight seasons and become the Baby Gerald to Posey’s Maggie Simpson. 

That’s not to suggest Molina was undeserving. During his impressive Gold Glove streak from 2008 to 2015, he was the best defensive catcher in baseball, per FanGraphs

Posey, however, was a better backstop than Molina between 2015 and 2016 by FanGraphs’ metric, and was a better pitch framer in 2014, 2015 and 2016, per StatCorner

In 2016, StatCorner had him as the best pitch framer in baseball. He also gunned down a stout 37 percent of would-be base stealers. 

Defense is something that I’ve always taken pride in,” Posey said, per Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News. “It was a bigger focal point as a kid with my coaches and my dad, so as a kid, I paid attention to the Gold Glove award as much as any. So it’s pretty cool to be recognized in this way with this honor.”

On Oct. 27, Baggarly threw his weight behind Posey with a hefty Molina caveat:

The point, again, isn’t to take away from Molina. But Posey has been hovering around the edges of a Gold Glove for a few seasons at least. It was the last feather missing from his cap.

The fact he won it along with fellow Giants Brandon Crawford (shortstop) and Joe Panik (second base) ratchets up the Bay Area’s pride.

“I think it was the one award that he hadn’t won yet,” Crawford said of Posey, per Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area. 

Posey has been such an indelible part of the MLB landscape since he burst on the scene in 2010; it feels as though he’s been with us forever.

More than anything, the cherub-faced Florida State alum has packed a career’s worth of highs (and lows) into a scant seven seasons.

He won NL ROY and a title in 2010, busting the Giants’ 56-year championship drought and bringing the first Commissioner’s Trophy home to San Francisco.

In 2011, his ankle exploded in an ugly home plate collision with the Marlins‘ Scott Cousins, and the Giants missed the playoffs.

In 2012, he won the batting crown with a .336 average and hoisted a second trophy.

Then, in 2014, he reeled in a third ring and top-10 MVP finish.

That’s a lifetime of peaks, valleys and confetti. Or, to put it another way: Every World Series in San Francisco history has been won with Buster Posey on the roster.

Granted, in 2016 Posey posted a good-not-great .288/.362/.434 slash line with 14 home runs as the Giants were bounced in the division series. It’s possible he’ll need to get out from the squat before long to save his legs and prolong his productivity. 

First base is the most logical landing spot, which could mean shifting Brandon Belt to the outfield and various other machinations.

The Giants will consider it all at some point. Posey is a cornerstone at AT&T Park, inked at least through 2021 and embedded into the team’s recent even-year lore. 

For now, we pause to consider the legacy of a ludicrously decorated player who’s still on the right side of 30 and plays a premium position perennially lacking in star wattage.

In April, Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles parsed Posey’s Hall of Fame candidacy and concluded, correctly, that he’s not quite there.

This Gold Glove doesn’t earn him a bust in Cooperstown. It pads his resume, however. That much we know.

On a night when America made a consequential, divisive decision, let’s focus on one we can all get behind: Buster Posey is an awesome catcher.

Now, he has the hardware to prove it.


All statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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Madison Bumgarner Contract: Latest News, Rumors on SP’s Negotiations with Giants

Madison Bumgarner has a team-friendly contract that features two team options for 2018 and 2019, but that’s not stopping the San Francisco Giants from getting an early start on extension talks with their ace.

Continue for updates.

Giants Want to Talk Extension

Thursday, Oct. 13

Per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle, Giants general manager Bobby Evans has already spoken to Bumgarner and told his agents the team is ready to discuss an extension when they are.

Bumgarner has been one of the best bargains in Major League Baseball since signing his original five-year, $35 million deal in April 2012.

That deal bought out Bumgarner’s first three years of free agency if the Giants end up exercising both of their options.

Per Baseball-Reference.com, next year will be the first time in Bumgarner’s career that he makes more than $10 million in a season.

Bumgarner is scheduled to make $11.5 million in 2017. For perspective, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts, Kansas City Royals pitcher Ian Kennedy will make $13.5 million next season.

There aren’t many pitchers in baseball who warrant an extension more than Bumgarner, who has been named to four consecutive National League All-Star teams.

After finishing in the top 10 in Cy Young voting in each of the previous three seasons, Bumgarner has a strong chance to make it four straight in 2016, setting career highs in starts (34), innings (226.2) and strikeouts (251).

The Giants could end up having to pay Bumgarner a record amount to lock him up. David Price signed the largest contract for a pitcher in history last year, when the Boston Red Sox gave him $217 million over seven years.

Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Zack Greinke of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals are the only other pitchers who have signed deals worth $200 million or more.

At just 27 years old, Bumgarner doesn’t figure to slow down anytime soon. He’s been one of the most consistently dominant pitchers in the big leagues since 2011 and is as valuable as any other player the Giants have.

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Complete Offseason Guide, Predictions for the San Francisco Giants

Think twice before you discount the notion of San Francisco’s even-year magic because the Giants were dispatched from the MLB playoffs by the Chicago Cubs in four games. There was a whole lot of magic involved for the Giants to even reach the postseason.

Let’s not forget that it was the Giants who had baseball’s best record (57-33) and a 6.5-game lead in the National League West at the All-Star break. That they managed to reach the playoffs at all after posting a 30-42 second-half record is nothing short of miraculous.

But there’s only so much the baseball gods will do to help a team. At some point, it’s on the players to get the job done. The Giants simply weren’t up to the task, and they’ll head into the offseason looking for ways they can avoid carrying that disappointing finish into 2017.

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Santiago Casilla Comments on Being Unused in Game 4 NLDS Loss vs. Cubs

The San Francisco Giants used five pitchers in a four-run, ninth-inning rally that saw them get ousted from the National League Division Series by the Chicago Cubs on Tuesday night, and veteran Santiago Casilla was highly emotional about not being among them.

Following the Giants’ shocking 6-5 loss in Game 4, the 36-year-old veteran was in tears as he commented on manager Bruce Bochy’s decision to leave him on the bench.

According to Carl Steward of the San Jose Mercury News, Casilla said:

I never had that moment before during five years here. I had a little struggle. But everybody [in the bullpen] has had their bad moments. I think they forgot all the great moments I’ve had here. I’ve pitched a lot in the playoffs and done my job. I know I am a good pitcher.

Casilla’s career postseason numbers are sparkling, as he boasts a 0.92 ERA, 1.02 WHIP and four saves in 19.2 pressure-packed playoff innings.

The 13th-year major leaguer struggled mightily down the stretch during the regular season, however, as he posted a 5.87 ERA in September and October. Casilla ended the campaign with a 3.57 ERA and nine blown saves in 31 opportunities, which prompted the Giants to remove him from the full-time closer role.

In Casilla’s stead, Bochy used Derek Law, Javier Lopez, Sergio Romo, Will Smith and Hunter Strickland in the ninth inning Tuesday.

They combined to allow four runs on four hits and one walk without recording a single strikeout.

Casilla finished the 2016 playoffs with just 0.2 innings to his credit, allowing two hits and no runs. While he has posted a combined 69 regular-season saves over the past two years, Casilla’s time with the Giants may have come to an end Tuesday since he is set to hit free agency.

Although Casilla’s late-season play didn’t inspire much confidence, his experience in big moments may have trumped that on the playoff stage.

Bochy is a likely future Hall of Famer, with three World Series titles to his credit, and he often seems to push the right buttons during the playoffs, but leaving one of the best clutch playoff relievers of the past several years in the bullpen was a questionable decision.

It may not have quite reached the level of Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter opting against using dominant closer Zach Britton in an American League Wild Card Game loss to the Toronto Blue Jays, but Bochy’s choice is likely to be second-guessed for many years to come.


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Giants Extend Their MLB Record by Winning 10th Straight Elimination Game

Fact: With their 6-5 victory over the Chicago Cubs on Monday night, the San Francisco Giants extended their MLB record by winning their 10th straight game while facing elimination.

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Never-Die Giants Make NLDS a Series Again with Heroes Old and New

On a Monday night when Madison Bumgarner was mortal, the San Francisco Giants found a way to stay alive.

Sure, they’re down 2-1 in the best-of-five National League Division Series to the young, potent Chicago Cubs. They’ll face another elimination game Tuesday. A win in that game will only assure a trip back to Chicago for Game 5.

Still, after prevailing 6-5 in 13 innings Monday, the Giants are officially in this. That old, familiar postseason mojo is stirring by the shores of McCovey Cove behind a cast of heroes old and new.

For much of the evening, things looked bleak for San Francisco.

After dropping the first two games of the series at Wrigley Field, the Giants watched Bumgarner—their battle-tested October ace—surrender a three-run homer to Cubs starter Jake Arrieta in the second inning to give Chicago a 3-0 cushion.

Just like that, a pessimistic fog descended on AT&T Park. Maybe this even-year nonsense was finally over.

The Giants, though, chipped away, plating runs in the third and fifth innings. Veteran center fielder Denard Span—playing in his first postseason with San Francisco—doubled, tripled and scored twice.

Then, in the eighth, Conor Gillaspie cracked a two-run triple off flame-throwing Cubs closer Aroldis Chapman to give San Francisco a 4-3 lead.

That’s the same Conor Gillaspie who hit a three-run homer in the top of the ninth inning of the Giants’ 3-0 Wild Card Game win over the New York Mets.

That’s the same Conor Gillaspie the Giants drafted in the first round in 2008, only to watch him drift off to the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Angels before returning this season in an ancillary role.

The only reason Gillaspie is starting for San Francisco is because regular third baseman Eduardo Nunez tweaked his hamstring.

A wayward former prospect coming up huge for the Giants in October—where have we heard that one before?

Oh, right.

Brandon Crawford added an RBI single in the eighth Monday to make it 5-3. But the Cubs’ Kris Bryant launched a two-run homer off Giants closer Sergio Romo in the ninth to send the game into extra innings.

After that, it was a battle of the bullpens. While San Francisco’s pen was a source of angst and inconsistency down the stretch, Giants relievers rallied.

Romo rebounded to record a scoreless 10th, lefty Will Smith logged an uneventful frame and rookie Ty Blach tossed two shutout innings.

Blach earned the win thanks to second baseman Joe Panik’s walk-off double off the bricks in right-center field.

After more than five hours, the Giants could finally celebrate. They are now 10-0 in elimination games dating back to 2010.

“Every year is a different year. It’s definitely not an ideal situation,” right fielder Hunter Pence said prior to Monday’s action, per NBC Bay Area’s Brendan Weber. “We understand the situation. Our backs are against the wall.”

That hasn’t changed. One win, even a dramatic one, doesn’t reverse the Giants’ uphill struggle against a deep, dangerous Chicago club.

But Game 3 recaptured the magic that defined San Francisco’s 2010, 2012 and 2014 title runsthe inescapable sense the Giants were always in it, no matter the circumstances.

Even with Bumgarner wobbling, familiar names chipped in.

Buster Posey went 3-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored. Steady skipper Bruce Bochy pulled the right levers, expertly managing his bullpen while his counterpart, bespectacled media darling Joe Maddon, burned through relievers and was left with few options as the night wore on.

But it was the relative newbies—including Gillaspie, Span and Blach—who kept the Giants kicking.

As Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle noted, Gillaspie has gone from “a crazy postseason novelty” to “a full-blown legend.”

On Tuesday, another new face will look to contribute, as trade-deadline pickup Matt Moore takes the hill against the Cubs’ John Lackey.

For now, San Francisco can bask in the glory of a vintage playoff performance.

We don’t know if the even-year shenanigans will continue, but we do know the Giants will troll the baseball world for another day at least.

This team never dies. Which means, by definition, they’re alive.


All statistics and results current as of Monday and courtesy of MLB.com unless otherwise noted.

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Madison Bumgarner Is Now Tied for 2nd-Most CG Shutouts in Postseason History

Fact: San Francisco Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner threw a complete-game shutout against the New York Mets on Wednesday night, the third of his postseason career. He is now tied for the second-most complete-game shutouts in postseason history.

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Another Giant October Win Shows Bumgarner, SF Could Be Challenge for Cubs

NEW YORK — If the Chicago Cubs are the team that wants to spend this month rewriting their history, the San Francisco Giants are the team that can spend October embracing theirs.

This is the team that knows no October disappointment, at least since their run of championship baseball began six years ago this month. This is the team that expects every big game to go the way Wednesday night’s Wild Card Game went at Citi Field, when Madison Bumgarner pitched a four-hit shutout and Conor Gillaspie hit a ninth-inning home run and the Giants beat the New York Mets, 3-0.

The Giants expected this, and no matter how many times anyone says this is finally the Cubs’ year, the Giants will expect to go into Wrigley Field and win there, too, starting Friday night in Game 1 of the National League Division Series.

“When it comes to playoff baseball,” Brandon Belt said Wednesday, “we feel we’re the best team.”

They were the best team Wednesday, no matter how good Noah Syndergaard looked. “Dominating” and “unhittable” were the words the Giants used to describe the Mets’ ace, but they never said “unbeatable.”

Syndergaard didn’t give up a run in the seven innings he pitched. He only allowed two hits. He struck out 10.

He doesn’t get an “L” next to his name in the box score, but he lost this battle of aces with Bumgarner simply because seven shutout innings isn’t as good as nine shutout innings.

“If I had a choice of one pitcher I’d want on my side in the postseason, it would definitely be him,” Giants center fielder Denard Span said of Bumgarner.

The best news for the Cubs is that Bumgarner won’t be on the mound Friday or Saturday at Wrigley. He’ll pitch just once in the Division Series. Then again, that’s exactly the situation the Giants faced two years ago, when Bumgarner threw a four-hit shutout in the Wild Card Game in Pittsburgh and the Giants headed to Washington to play the Division Series against the team with the league’s best record.

Sound familiar?

Span remembers it well. He played for that Washington Nationals team.

“I was like, ‘We’re going to crush this team,'” he said. “I’m being honest.”

The Nationals actually beat Bumgarner in Game 3. It was the only game he lost in six postseason starts that year. It was also the only game the Nationals won in that best-of-five series.

They went down, just as the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies and Texas Rangers did in 2010, just as the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals and Detroit Tigers did in 2012, just as the Cardinals and Kansas City Royals did later in that October 2014.

The Cubs are good, but are they better than all those teams that went in thinking they were going to crush—or at least beat—the Giants?

“I know how good they are,” Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “You just want a shot. We’ll be ready.”

As interesting as it might have been to see the Mets and Cubs play in a rematch of the 2015 National League Championship Series, Giants-Cubs was always the matchup that posed a greater threat in the Cubs’ pursuit of history. While the injury-riddled Mets would have had to begin the series with some combination of Bartolo Colon, Seth Lugo and Robert Gsellman in Games 1 and 2, Bochy can pitch Johnny Cueto against Jon Lester in Game 1, then pick between Jeff Samardzija and Matt Moore for Game 2 against Kyle Hendricks.

The Mets were the defending National League champs, but with so many guys hurt, they should be celebrated for even getting this far. The Giants, in contrast, are the team that reached the All-Star break with the best record in baseball.

Yes, better than the Cubs.

It’s true that the Giants were nothing like that for most of the second half, when they had one of the worst records in the major leagues. But it’s also true that sometime during the final week of the regular season, that team from the first half seemed to magically reappear.

“This team plays well when it matters the most,” pitcher Jake Peavy said. “I think it showed.”

They kept telling each other that they still controlled their own destiny, that they only had to find a way to start winning and keep winning. A week ago Wednesday, they were a game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for the final National League playoff spot.

The Cardinals didn’t lose again, but neither did the Giants.

“It seems like it took getting our backs against the wall to see that team [from the first half of the season] come back,” Belt said. “It’s not the way you want it to happen, but right now, we’ve got all the confidence in the world.”

They had it Wednesday, helped by having the best postseason pitcher in recent memory on the mound. But you’d better believe they’ll have it again when they show up at Wrigley Field.

They might not beat the Cubs, whose 103 wins are deserving of their status as favorites. But after all the big October wins in those years since 2010—yes, in all the even-numbered years—would it really surprise you if they did?


Danny Knobler covers Major League Baseball as a national columnist for Bleacher Report.

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Giants Clinch Playoff Berth: Highlights, Twitter Reaction to Celebration

The San Francisco Giants are headed back to the postseason for the first time since 2014, clinching the final National League wild-card spot Sunday thanks to a 7-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers on the last day of the regular season.

MLB shared the news on Twitter:

Dating back to 2010, the Giants have won the World Series every other year, and Sunday’s victory kept the streak alive at least for another few days.

The Giants’ Twitter account was well aware of the team’s recent success:

Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports believes in San Francisco’s ability in the playoffs:

The Giants will play the New York Mets at Citi Field on Wednesday afternoon for an opportunity to advance to the National League Division Series for a meeting with the juggernaut Chicago Cubs.

Wayne Randazzo of WOR 710 discussed the pitching matchup for the Wild Card Game battle:

Jayson Stark of ESPN.com provided an interesting note on the regular season’s final game:

Veteran pitcher Jake Peavy addressed the home crowd after the win, as the Giants shared on Twitter:

Meanwhile, the real celebration took place a short time later in the locker room:

The Giants, who have won three World Series titles in the past six years, were coming off a disappointing 2015 campaign in which they missed the playoffs with an 84-78 record. They overhauled their starting rotation, bringing in new signings Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to support ace Madison Bumgarner, which immediately made them a more threatening team.

Behind their impressive pitching staff, the Giants were the class of the National League for the first half of the season. Through July 10, San Francisco was 57-33, the best record in the big leagues, and was 6.5 games up on the Los Angeles Dodgers for first place in the National League West. 

But after the All-Star break, things fell apart, and the Giants went 11-25 over the next month and a half, squandering the division lead to the Dodgers for good.

Los Angeles clinched the division for the fourth straight season Sept. 25, forcing the Giants to fight for their postseason lives in the wild-card race with the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals

The Giants and Mets tied for the top spot, although New York will be at home Wednesday thanks to its 4-3 advantage during the regular season. The Cardinals ended up one game out of the playoffs.

Alex Pavlovic of CSN Bay Area noted the Giants are streaking at the right time:

When the Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals in the 2014 World Series, they were an 88-win wild-card team that had gotten hot at the right time.

However, playing the Mets, who rely on home runs, the Giants might not have the power to keep up. San Francisco didn’t have one player record 20 or more home runs this year.

If they get past the Mets in the Wild Card Game, the Giants will have to rely on their pitching and the winning experience of Bumgarner and Cueto to limit the high-powered offensive lineups of other National League contenders in the postseason.

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Giants Show Postseason Mojo in Stunning Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

Throughout most of the second half, the San Francisco Giants have been cursed by black magic rather than blessed by the strange magic that led them to World Series titles in 2010, 2012 and 2014.

But if Saturday is any indication, they may finally have a handle on that strange magic once again.

Once the St. Louis Cardinals dispatched the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier Saturday afternoon, the Giants knew they needed a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers to keep their one-game lead for the National League‘s second wild card spot. With Clayton Kershaw opposing Ty Blach in just the second start of his major league career, the odds scoffed and said, “Yeah, right.”

Cue the Giants coasting to a relatively easy 3-0 victory, much to the delight of the 40,000 or so fans packed into AT&T Park.

The Giants didn’t put a hurting on Kershaw. Angel Pagan sure did when he opened the scoring by taking the three-time Cy Young winner over the wall in left in the fifth inning. But that was one of only two earned runs the Giants netted off Kershaw in his seven innings. 

The other came in the seventh when Pagan scored from first base after Justin Turner picked up an infield dribbler by Brandon Crawford and chucked it up the right field line. Crawford landed on third base as a result of that and came home on a sacrifice fly by the newly acquired Gordon Beckham.

If this sequence sounds oddly familiar, that’s because it’s a sequence that’s just so very Giants.

Whether it’s Hunter Pence hitting a bases-clearing double on a broken bat or having a sacrifice bunt turned into a walk-off, weird runs just seem to happen for the Giants whenever the pressure is at its highest. Some of that is them being really good at putting the ball in play, thereby frequently finding themselves in spots where anything can happen. Otherwise, it’s just…well, strange magic.

Whatever the case, another staple of the Giants’ even-year runs is them getting unlikely boosts from unheralded young players. Blach became the latest to abide by that tradition on Saturday.

Although Kershaw didn’t pitch poorly in Saturday’s contest, there’s no denying he got out-pitched by the Giants’ rookie left-hander. Blach logged eight shutout innings, allowing only three hits and a walk with six strikeouts.

“We just couldn’t figure him out,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said afterward, via MLB.com’s Ken Gurnick and Chris Haft.

No kidding. Blach gave the Dodgers pitches to hit, throwing first-pitch strikes to 20 of 27 batters and, as Brooks Baseball shows, rarely going outside the strike zone in general in throwing 67 of his 99 pitches for strikes. But he was deceptive from start to finish, working all sides of the zone with his four-seamer and sinker and getting hitters off-balance with his changeup and slider.

Like Crawford, Joe Panik and Matt Duffy before him, Blach didn’t arrive in the San Francisco spotlight by way of the upper crust of Major League Baseball prospects. Baseball America had the 25-year-old Creighton alum ranked No. 20 in just the Giants’ system coming into the year, remarking that he “has a ceiling as a No. 5 starter, but he still has plenty to prove.”

But after struggling with a 4.46 ERA for Triple-A Sacramento last year, Blach found his groove with a 3.43 ERA for Sacramento this year. It could turn out to be just one great start in the long run, but right now his victorious duel against Kershaw looks more like an exclamation point on a breakthrough season.

“Getting to watch that was pretty incredible,” Giants ace Madison Bumgarner said, via Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle. “He was lights out the whole day going against one of the best pitchers in baseball. It was definitely something he will never forget.”

Meanwhile, the Giants are not yet out of the woods. Or into the woods, for that matter.

Saturday’s stunner did accomplish one thing: it ensured the Giants will play at least 163 games this season. They haven’t yet clinched a spot in the wild card play-in game on Wednesday at the New York Mets. But should they lose game No. 162 on Sunday while the Cardinals win, the Giants will get a shot at a play-in game for the play-in game on Monday.

A win on Sunday and a trip straight to New York, however, is certainly a possibility. The Giants have outscored the Dodgers 12-3 in the first two games of the series and will be going for the sweep with Matt Moore on the mound. He struck out 11 his last time out.

And in general, the bad times that have forced a 29-42 record on the Giants in the second half seem to be fading. They’ve won three in a row and four out of five. An offense that had been a ball and chain on one ankle and a bullpen that had been a ball and chain on the other ankle are shaping up. The Giants offense entered Saturday’s game with an .895 OPS in the last week. Their bullpen has a 2.65 ERA in that same span.

The Giants haven’t taken the easy road to the doorstep of the postseason, but they couldn’t have picked a better time to start looking more like their usual even-year selves. They’re in a position to get in, and we know what they can do once they get that far.


Stats courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs unless otherwise noted/linked.

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