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Giants mid-season review: What has gone right, wrong in the bumpy 2022 MLB season

Giants mid-season review: What has gone right, wrong in the bumpy 2022 MLB season

SAN FRANCISCO – The Giants never expected to win 107 games last season or even approach that number, which set a franchise record. It was the result of almost everything going straight over six months, and as this season has shown, it is incredibly rare.

A roster that is largely the same got off to a warm start, but has been below .500 since the end of April. As the problems have piled up, manager Gabe Kapler has tried to put some distance between 2021 and 2022.

“It’s not always the best thing to look back on last year and compare yourself to a team with 107 wins that had a lot of things going right,” he said recently.

That’s fair, but even the most modest expectations for 2022 had the Giants playing better than … well, no matter what this is right now.

With Thursday’s 2-1 loss at Petco Park, they have lost 13 of their last 17 games. About three weeks ago, they were 10 games over 0.500, but then they were run off on back-to-back days in Pittsburgh and Atlanta, and almost nothing has gone right since. The Giants reached midway through the season 41-40.

It has been a disappointing first half overall, and there are many reasons for concern going forward. However, there have also been some bright spots. When the Giants get ready to start the second half of the season, here are five things that have gone wrong throughout the season and five that have gone right:

Gone Wrong: Running It Back

After setting a franchise record for homers and ranking second in the NL in races, the Giants decided to run back with the exact same group, with Joc Pederson added, but Buster Posey withdrew. It was a bold strategy given that they had the oldest position in the major leagues last season. It has, ehh, not worked very well offensively.

Betting on a group of players from the mid-thirties to repeat last year’s success proved to be quite risky, and although the Giants are still in fifth place in the NL in the number of races per game, the offense has nowhere near as much consistency or impact force as it. did last season, largely because almost all key players have taken a step back.

Brandon Crawford was fourth in the MVP poll last year, but currently has a .669 OPS, a drop of more than 200 points. After hitting 29 homers last year, Brandon Belt is at 0.338. Joey Bart failed to replace much of Posey’s production and was sent down to Triple-A before Curt Casali’s injury brought him back. Darin Ruf’s PPP is down from .904 last year to .698. Mike Yastrzemski has dropped to .729 after a recent decline, and Tommy La Stella is at .656.

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Production has fallen up and down the roster. And most fillings have worn, except …

Gone Right: Another Find

In 2020, Yastrzemski emerged as an MVP candidate with a vote down. A year later it was LaMonte Wade Jr. who was the breakout star, and got so many clutch hits that he got one of the coolest nicknames in the game and a bobblehead day. The Giants seem to have done it again with Luis Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was acquired last year in a sleek move, and has a .301 / .361 / .447 slash line with three homers and seven stolen bases. He became NL Rookie of the Month in May and took over a day job before a back stress made him go to IL. Gonzalez will be back soon – if the Giants open up a spot on the roster – and they can certainly use his energy and the old school’s ability to produce empty air.

“It’s fun to get lost in those thoughts for a while and think about what could be, if we have a regular Major League player on the hands of Luis Gonzalez,” Kapler said earlier this season.

Looks like they do.

Gone Wrong: The defense

There are many ways to sum up how bad the defense has been, but perhaps the easiest is to point out that earlier this week the Giants allowed a runner to score from the start on a sacrifice shot, and it simply fit in with the type. defense they have played most of the season.

They rank 29th in Defensive Runs Saved and died last in the Outs Above Average, and there are no obvious solutions. Cleaning up a little more would go a long way in the second half.

Away to the right: Extended post-season

Rob Manfred has taken a lot of heat during his period for throwing a bunch of baseball traditions aside, and rightly so. But the Giants are certainly not complaining right now about the change in the new CBA which added an extra Wild Card team in each league.

After a terrible home game and a losing streak of six games, they came from behind on Wednesday to win a victory that led them back to a game from the third Wild Card place. Halfway through the season, they are currently only two games away.

Gone Wrong: The Offseason Pitching Plan

The Giants have had a lot of success signing veterans on one-year contracts and helping them turn around their careers, but the gymnastics style stopped last offseason. After withdrawing from the bidding on Kevin Gausman, they brought Anthony DeSclafani back on a three-year deal and gave Alex Wood two years. Alex Cobb, who matched the profile of previous additions, also signed for two years.

It was a plan that made sense in many ways, but it’s hard not to wonder where they would be right now if they had signed Gausman again (who leads the Majors with 1.67 FIP) to pair with Rodón and Logan Webb and still. to fill the back end of the rotation with flyers on one-year contracts. Some in the organization may claim that Rodón filled Gausman’s pay gap, but this is a team with enough money to have both.

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DeSclafani made just five starts and posted an ERA of 9.95 before undergoing season-ending ankle surgery. Wood and Cobb have had a lot of bad luck, but both have admitted that they also need to find a way to get better results. The rotation should be the strength of the roster, but there has been too much inconsistency through 81 matches.

Gone Right: The “big” add-ons

Since Farhan Zaidi took over, the Giants have almost completely avoided the more expensive times in free agency, but they signed a couple of former All-Stars this offseason at much more tasty prices, and both moves have looked brilliant. Both players will probably be ready for the All-Star match in a couple of weeks.

Joc Pederson received just $ 6 million on a one-year deal and has 17 homers and the highest OPS + (144) in his career. He will probably be voted in as an All-Star starter. Rodón signed a $ 44 million two-year deal with 2.87 ERA and 2.24 FIP. He ranks seventh in the Majors in strikeouts and is a legitimate Cy Young candidate.

The Giants nailed both signings, although now comes the difficult part: signing them again. Pederson seems like a candidate for an extension of the season, but Rodón will almost certainly opt out and chase a $ 100 million deal.

Gone Wrong: No Help In A Pinch

Twice in the last week, Kapler sent Austin Slater and Darin Ruf up to pinch-hit against a leftist in the late innings with the Giants behind. On Wednesday, Ruf’s two-run homer drew, but his double play last Friday was much more in line with what the Giants’ pinch hitters have done this year.

A year after setting an MLB record with 18 pinch-hit homers, the Giants once again lead the Majors in substitutes, but they beat just .217 with two extra-base hits. In 92 pinch-hit bats, the Giants have 31 strikeouts, one homer and one double. A year after receiving 51 RBI from pinch hitters, they are starting with 28.

Gone Right: He’s For Real

Logan Webb was brilliant the last five months of the 2021 season and burst onto the national stage with two dominant NLDS starts. There was no reason to doubt him going forward, but in case anyone wanted to see more, Webb still has to pitch as a homemade ace.

With eight strong innings in San Diego on Thursday, his ERA is down to 2.98. He is sixth in the NL in laps and in pace to pass 200 for the first time. Webb’s breakthrough frequency has been reduced from last year, but in almost every other way he is exactly the same pitcher who got a match 1 start in October last year and an opening day task. The Giants can continue to build around the 25-year-old, who may be his first All-Star team.

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Gone Wrong: Pen Problems

Sam Long was rescued Wednesday in Phoenix. Mauricio Llovera hit the bottom of the ninth Thursday night with the Giants hoping to extend the game against the heart of San Diego’s lineup. Both pitchers excelled, but this was not exactly what the Giants had in mind when they drove back with a group that led NL in the ERA last year and had a full season with Camilo Doval.

Tyler Rogers and Jake McGee were to team up with Doval to form a lockdown trio, but Rogers has allowed 42 hits in 38 innings and McGee has an ERA of 6.64. Jose Alvarez and Zack Littell, so good in the middle of last year, have both struggled, with Alvarez beating IL twice and Littell being sent to Triple-A last month. Even Doval has had some trouble closing games.

The relievers have combined for an ERA of 4.29, which is in the bottom third of the league, and the group is likely to need reinforcements. John Brebbia, who has been very good in his first full year back from Tommy John, leads the NL in performances and Rogers and Doval are also among the top six.

Away to the right: Extended post-season

Yes, we double up here, which is partly because of how the Giants have played baseball the last two weeks, and partly because this is really the best they have for them right now.

For the vast majority of the season, the Giants have looked like a .500 baseball team, and they have been much worse in recent weeks. You could argue that their best route by the August 2 deadline is to sell Rodón, Pederson, Dom Leone and other potential free agents and add some athletics to the list.

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But you can also easily say that there is still a great opportunity here.

This is a defective team and there will be no NL West replay, not when the Giants are 11 1/2 games behind a loaded Dodgers club. Things would look even darker right now if they tried to chase down the Braves and Padres in a traditional post-season format, but the extra space after the season is huge.

As it stands right now, the Giants are two games behind the Phillies and Cardinals, who are on track for about 86 wins. They are not made with 107 victories, or anywhere nearby, but even getting somewhere in the upper 80’s should give them a strong chance to make it to the post – season, and once they are there, they will throw Webb and Rodón against an opponent in a short time. series. In a time like this, there is a great cause for optimism.

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