As they keep defying odds, the Giants look for deep playoff run

San Francisco has been baseball’s best team for the majority of the season


Steven Rissotto

Entering into the final month of the regular season, the Giants were in first place in the NL West and had the best record in the MLB.

This season has been quite unexpected for the San Francisco Giants.

Entering into the season they were a team projected to finish with the 25th best record in baseball and finish in fourth place in the National League West. They defied all odds and entering into the final month of the regular season, the Giants were in first place in the NL West and had the best record in the MLB.

The Giants couldn’t have done this without the leadership of the experienced, veteran players. Names like Brandon Crawford, Brandon Belt, and Buster Posey have all had brilliant careers and have definitely shown a re-emergence in 2021. LaMonte Wade Jr, Mike Yastrzemski, and Logan Webb have emerged as young players to continue to build around and they’ve helped put San Francisco in serious contention for a World Series Championship.

Wade Jr. has really put a dent into his first-full big league season by hitting big homers and contributing late in the game in tight ball games. Yastrzemski has reached a career-high in homers and has been one of the best players on the roster –– a trend we’ve seen from him since he first joined the team back in 2019.

“Everybody’s very focused, very professional, the way they carry themselves, the way I go about their work, and their preparation,” said infielder Tommy La Stella after an Aug. 15 victory over the Rockies. “So it’s awesome. I mean, I think it takes the load off of one guy individually and just kind of spreads it throughout the lineup.”

The pitching staff has also been a revelation of sorts, having one of the best starting pitching earned run averages in all of baseball. Right-hander Kevin Gausman has led that charge and has placed his name into serious consideration for the NL Cy Young Award. Most of all –– unlike last season’s COVID-controlled season –– the Giants have had the opportunity to play 162 games as opposed to just 60.

The Giants’ defensive efficiency has heavily improved from last season. In the shortened 2020, the defense efficiency was .699, good enough for 12th in the league. This season, the defense efficiency is almost 40 points higher, which stands alone as first in the league this season. The defense is led by Crawford, the All-Star shortstop who has won two World Series championships under his belt with the Giants and a brand-new contract extension that will keep him in the orange and black through 2023. Belt, the first baseman, has also won two championships and is enjoying another career season.

Minutes before the trade deadline ended, the Giants were able to acquire Kris Bryant from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for two minor league players. Bryant, a former NL MVP, has been able to produce his stellar hitting and defense at multiple different positions for the team to help them make a possible run in the postseason.

“While I’m on this side, it’s been unbelievable,” Bryant said before his debut on Aug. 1. “I mean, I played against the Giants for six years and always been impressed by how smart and intelligent the fans are, how into it they are. And it’s really cool for them to be cheering for you this time.”

With only a couple of weeks left in the season, the Giants are pushing themselves into a playoff spot, something they haven’t done since 2016. If they can maintain themselves at the top of their division ahead of the Los Angeles Dodgers, they would finish number one and avoid themselves from competing in the Wild Card game.

Everybody knows the Wild Card is a very dangerous game to play because of how unpredictable the result will be in a win-or-take-all matchup. One off-game can send the team home after a long and successful 162 game season. However, the Giants have a great coaching staff alongside great veteran players that have been in these crucial playoff moments, and these are big factors that will help the squad with their playoff run.

“We have a good group of individuals – not just baseball players – but a good group of people in that clubhouse,” said Giants manager Gabe Kapler on Aug. 1. “I think we’ve worked really hard to cultivate that type of environment, and to bring in people who are additive.”