That Sinking Feeling
She was big, and she was grand the good ship San Francisco Giants. When first constructed (around a super pitching staff) the good ship San Francisco Giants appeared unsinkable. Her design was deliberately built around the most solid aspect of baseball, that great starting pitching stops good hitting.
During her construction, in addition to developing reliable starters, was the idea that suitable backups had to be put in place to support her super-structure, that being the starting rotation. But despite all the precautions put in place to build the great pitching machine, serious weaknesses were not adequately addressed.
It was precisely because of these perceived weaknesses (not enough lifeboats) that the good ship San Francisco Giants hit a proverbial iceberg and sank with a great loss of wins.
The most significant weakness the good ship had was hitting, not necessarily on all cylinders, but anything resembling it would have been nice. Yet when you cut corners disasters can happen, and the Giants builders continued to cut cost even after a good test run with a World Series win in 2010.
The 2010 run exposed the weakness of hitting, and so relatively cheap acquisitions (stop gap measures) of Aubrey Huff, Pat Burrell, and Cody Ross were put in place to shore up that weakness. They performed admirably (even better than hoped for), and the test run proved successful, primarily because of installing Buster Posey.
A 2010 World Championship over the Rangers was not bad, but the builders ignored the fact that the emergency fix (those acquired hitters) were old and showing signs of wear and tear. Yes they did the job and really caught fire in the September part of the test run, but the builders were lucky in the Atlanta Braves playoff of 2010.
2011 showed that the replaceable parts could break down; in fact they replaced a departed Cody Ross, and Burrell and Huff each finally did break down. Another glaring weakness in the ship manifested itself in numerous errors by the defense, or lack thereof. This problem showed early in 2012 as well, and became a huge crack in its hull in 2013. But were lessons learned though?
The good ship San Francisco Giants was being fine-tuned in 2012 and although they applied some new parts with Brandon Crawford, and Brandon Belt, the problem of power hitting with Melky Cabrera proved disastrous when he tested positive for high levels of testosterone.
Although not clicking on all cylinders, the good ship pulled through her trails in September and again, and again with must-win miracles against the Reds and Cardinals with the Tigers becoming anti-climatic. Contributing to the successful run was used parts in the guise of Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro, and even Barry Zito.
So upon entering the maiden voyage of 2013 after their second world title the builders of the great ship felt all the pieces were in place for great success.
At the outset of the 2013 sinking dramatic stories of heroic actions had come to the fore before sinking to the bottom of the division.
There were the late inning comebacks at the outset of the voyage, they almost occurred daily. Then the dramatic inside the park homerun by Angel Pagan which likely sidelined him for the rest of the year, a major spark-plug (albeit a good used one) for the great ship, and then another injury to Marco Scutaro that has him functioning at less than maximum capacity.
Also the no-hitter thrown by the face of the franchise, Tim Lincecum, against the San Diego Padres, but this came too late to save the great ship, and long after the proverbial iceberg hit.
Too many errors (I might add in builder judgment also), lack of scoring (scoring what’s that?), and bullpen failures (acerbated by Brian Wilson signing with the Dodgers) by middle relief left the Giants at the bottom. Yes this is a team even Brian Wilson himself could not sink because it already had sunk.
Smooth sailing gave way to resignation that this was not the great ship we were led to believe she was. Pitching arms may just be tired, but the errors and not knowing what home plate looks like may allow this once great ship to actually sink to the very bottom of Major League Baseball.