By Madison Prestine
With their backs against the wall in 2012, the Giants fought game after game for “one more day” as quoted from Hunter Pence’s infamous pre-game speech in Cincinnati. In game three of the divisional series, they were down 2-0. The Giants came back to win this series and went on to win the National League Championship Series in similar fashion, and then in just four games they took the World Series title with a sweep of the Detroit Tigers.
San Francisco fans had big dreams in April; back to back champs, how great would that be? However, this season was not as successful as 2012, and the Giants ended with an average below .500, snapping their four-season winning streak. Many of their players struggled this season.
Starting pitchers Barry Zito and Tim Lincecum reach the end of their contracts this year. Following a 4-11 season, a 5.91 ERA, and not a single road win for Zito, there is little confidence that he will be returning for another record breaking contract deal in 2014. Lincecum’s contract should not be renewed either. When you combine his struggle last season and this year’s 10-14 record and 4.44 ERA, he has no place in the rotation. Ryan Vogelsong unfortunately had to battle a hand injury earlier this season, yet pitched respectfully on his return. He should return for the 2014 season because he is a veteran who works well in the club. Madison Bumgarner turned out to be the Giants ace in the 2013 season, while Matt Cain struggled early in the year. However, Cain was able to work out many of his kinks, and lowered his ERA to 4.09.
Looking to the hitters on the team, many want to point fingers at Blanco and Torres in left field and the void in center field for the team’s offensive struggles, but the real problem was in the heart of the order. Pablo Sandoval, Buster Posey, and Hunter Pence were inconsistent. While Pence is finishing remarkably strong, Sandoval has yet to find the swing that gave him three home runs off of the unhittable Justin Verlander in game one of last year’s World Series. Pence also reaches the end of his modest contract this season, but he has more than proved his worth on the field, in the lineup, and in the clubhouse. Pence has become known for his phenomenal catch that preserved Lincecum’s no hitter on Jul. 13 of this year, and similar defensive plays are not unusual for the right fielder. The southern star raises the team’s morale like no other member, and he is a key player in the Giants lineup.
There is work to be done in the off season, and there are rumors that Brian Sabean, the giants general manager, is looking to find a power bat to put in their lineup.
This October will be one of the most interesting playoff seasons to date–make sure to check out the divisional series coming up.
(Sources: MLB, SBNation, ESPN, NBC, CBS, Bleacher Report, ABC)