5-26 is the Giants record in their last 31 road games, thanks to another loss, this time 7-2 in Los Angeles against the Dodgers. It’s a number so absurd that it merits a book, certainly a title for today’s post. It’s hard to lose 26 of 31 games period. But for the giants, a team that until last night, was above 500 for most of the season, this is a new low. With the team now 76-77 (6-13 in September) we can officially say (Insert cliche here):
- The Wheels have come off
- The bottom has fallen out
- Dumpster Fire
- Chemical Fire
- Tire Fire
- Fire Zaidi
- Fire Kapler
You get the idea.
Kyle Harrison got the call-up from Sacramento to start last night’s game. His result: 5 1/3 innings pitched, 3 hits, two runs allowed, one walk and two strikeouts recorded. For me the most worrisome aspect of these numbers is the low number of strikeouts. Part of that is a testament to the Dodgers, a great, truly awesome hitting team. J. D. Martinez hit his 30th home run in the fourth off Harrison to make it 2-0 Dodgers. The Giants countered with lone runs in the top of the fifth and sixth innings, one coming from a home run by Joc Pederson. But the Giants managed nothing after that and totaled a measly three hits in the entire game! They struck out fifteen times! What a ratio!!
Giants Fans are Livid
Yesterday in The Athletic Grant Brisbee wrote an article called “Giants fans should be mad. But why are they absolutely livid?“. It was interesting and humorous but what I enjoyed the most was, of course, the commentary. Here are some gems that respond to his question (which may have been rhetorical):
Years of boring, when not stupid, baseball. Lack of management accountability. Inability of the organization to field a full roster, including starting pitchers. And just unlikeable personalities in the manager and GM-by-another-title that leaves little goodwill when they aren’t successful. Their ideas are stupid and insulting to the fans and the game. So they had better work, as the only defense. They don’t, so the prolonged insults bring rage. And PS: Most fans probably expect the farm talent isn’t all that. Giants talent seems to be considered young until 27 while the league is filled with 24 year olds remaking the game. It appears the organization can neither recognize nor develop talent, and each Bailey throw into the outfield tempers what little enthusiasm there was for one who “made it “
The Giants are the equivalent of having to use the steps to get into the pool when your friends are using the diving board and water slide.
Condescension from ownership. Silence (again, Condescension) from the GM. A manager relentlessly acquiescent to Kai’s Ipad…or from wherever the manager gets his numbers. Same manager refuses to be honest on interviews…” it’s all fine…we’ll get ‘ em tomorrow with better energy…” Again, all implying that we’re simply not smart enough to grasp the nuance and subtle genius that infuses every platoon or pinch hit or bullpen burnout that contravene our collective lifetime of watching this magnificent game, so why bother explaining otherwise inexplicable decisions. Crap defense and multi position players in the lineup for their bats…forgetting that essential tenet of run prevention. Catch the damn ball! And finally, an expectation that I’ll continue to shell out because of years of goodwill toward the team. All underpinning a .500 team in one of the larger markets in the game.
I love being a Giants fan. They have brought me many more positive moments over the years than bad. However, it seems like we are presently mired in mediocrity without any clear path to winning the NL West over the next 5+ years. Many of your points Grant are certainly reasons for our discouragement. At the heart of my discontent are the following:
1. Zaidy and Gapler are vastly different in style and approach to the Bruce Bochy era. I have been trying to appreciate and trust the new style, but I find myself missing the old school approach. My impression is that the team is also not showing the heart, enjoyment, and camaraderie as past teams.
2. Zaidy and Gapler committed to bring more athleticism, speed and improved defense. This team is slow, not athletic and very poor defensively. 107 errors leading MLB is ridiculous. Our defense up the middle looks average and our back up catcher allows a lot of pass balls and cannot throw out base stealers. When I watch what AZ has developed, I wish that were our team, and I do not see anything close.
3. I watch LA, SD with very good farm systems and spending money to bring in elite FAs and making quality trades, and AZ building a team via trades and smart drafting. Then I look at SF riding with the old core too long, our farm system lack of a clear plan, and Zaidi drafting very speculative two-way players (hoping for the next Ohtani?) rather than quality positional players. We sift through FAs each year not really committing to those few that show great promise. It seems really aimless.
4. We are a team with about 5 or 6 league average (or close) players, maybe 2 very good starting pitchers, and an above average set of 5 or 6 relievers. We are slow and play bad defense, and go into team wide horrendous batting slumps. Our line up each day is a random jumble of players being moved in out of the game with little positive result. We have unveiled a few very positive rookies and that gives me some hope…. but it doesn’t seems like near enough looking at LA, SD and AZ.
5. It is not exciting to be looking at 81-81 and 4th place in the NL West for 4 more years. What is Zaidi’s plan to change that?
Just my opinion, The intensity of Giants fans anger seems rooted in the idea that they feel Swindled. Deceived.
When Theo Epstein took over the Cubs, in his introductory press conference, he basically told fans We’re gonna suck for a few years….But if you ride it out we’re going to win a Championship. And They fans waited and he delivered on his commitment.
Theo was straight with Cubs fans from the beginning
So, Why are Giants fans so furious? I believe it’s because they feel Swindled. Zaidi never laid out what this was gonna look like. He opted to sell ‘Hope’ talking about ‘Contending’ and meaningful baseball games in September’ he also has made a series of shallow commitments like ‘We’re gonna fix the Defense’ and all that. It’s a long list.
Selling Hope is dangerous.
And it doesn’t help when local baseball writers and sports media help him sell it. Asking fans to just squint a certain way and you’ll understand ‘Just how good this team is’ Writing long winded stat geek articles telling fans what they are watching isn’t exactly accurate and that they are missing the finer details of how Really good this team is.
Fans invest their Money and most importantly their Time. A die hard fans is gonna watch 150+ games a year. Average game time 2.5 hours. That is 375 hours or 15.5 days of their lives. Which is fine. But to commit your time like that while being constantly told that crap you are seeing on the field isn’t actually crap. Then ultimately seeing, in the end, that in fact it was crap is absolutely infuriating
From the onset of the season, Giants writers and Giants employees, including Larry Baer have been telling fans that they truly do not understand what they are seeing. Which is not only ridiculous. It’s condescending and insulting.
You don’t need a SABR spreadsheet to recognize TALENT or the lack thereof. Talent is undeniable.
An old scout adage is appropriate here with regards to team with a lack of talent:
“A team with a Talent problem is like a pregnant woman….The longer it goes the more it shows”
Giants fans Knew this team was at best mediocre. And were constantly told that what they felt in their gut was wrong.
So, Yeah they’re F-ing PISSED and they have every right to feel that way.
Zaidi said they were going to get more athletic and build around day-to-day players. So what do we have? The slowest, most error-prone team in the majors. And look at our pitching staff. They bring in Wood, Stripling and Maeda as starters and now they don’t start. How happy are they about the situation? Stripling told everyone what he thought of his being jerked around on the IL and then not being used as a starter last week but of course Grant doesn’t want to touch that subject with a ten foot pole.
Look at the players on the field and in the dugout. They’re looking over their shoulders waiting to see when Kapler is going to pull them to get the “matchup” his IPad shows him. I submit these guys are tired of “starters”, “platooning” and all that metrics babble. They were brought in or up to play, not to live in fear of His Master’s whims.
Farhan was supposed to create a Dodgers-style roster with high level, expensive talent surrounded by incremental pickups. He hasn’t been able to deliver on the ceiling of this team and it’s squarely his fault. Not signing Gausman long term, or anybody else for that matter. He doesn’t think boldly enough to make the Big Trade. The Dodgers got freaking Mookie Betts for Alex Verdugo. They signed future HOF Freddie Freeman for $160M while Farhan brought Belt back on a 1 year deal. He thinks small, and this roster plays small. They are built like a dinosaur from 2019 baseball and now the new rules have hit the sport like the meteor that made those dinosaurs extinct. Three True Outcome baseball is bad enough, then to do it while platooning every single player and it’s maddening to watch every day. Kapler has alienated the veterans on the team, they play flat and uninspired baseball.
I think the conclusion of my rant is that human emotions matter and to remove them, from transactions to game day management, created this environment where the fans are emotionally overreacting to balance out the analytics running our favorite team.
The Low, Lowdown
God Bless the Livid Giants fans.
It’s instructive to see how other fans, those who have not yet discovered The Joy of Together We’re Giants, feel. It feels good to know we are not alone.
The Giants are at a place now where they may not be mathematically eliminated from the last Wild Card spot but they sure are mentally eliminated. They should also be aesthetically eliminated. No baseball fan wants to see this team enter the postseason. I would not be surprised if Pete Manfred removed the final Wild Card spot in the National League to prevent any possibility of the Giants even playing in October. That’s how bad they are. The truth is the Giants are now at a point in the season where they should evaluate their young talent, play for pride and trade or release all the overpaid and under-performing veterans, which is at least six players, maybe seven by my count. I won’t name names. We know who they are.
It will be Manaea versus Ferguson on the hill tonight in Los Angeles. Game time is scheduled for 7:10 PM.