The score is 5-2. It’s the top of the ninth inning and the San Francisco Giants are three outs away from forcing a game five and bringing the series back to Chicago. Four hits, one walk and four runs later, the Giants are eliminated from the playoffs and left thinking, “what if?”
After winning three championships in five years, Giants fans’ hopes of pulling off a fourth World Series championship in seven years was becoming a reality. Instead, the Giants lost the series in four games to the Chicago Cubs and fans across the Bay Area were left in shock. The “even-year magic” that was supposed to lead the Giants to another World Series victory in 2016 had failed.
Fortunately for the Giants, the team’s largest contributors such as Buster Posey, Madison Bumgarner, and Brandon Crawford are still young and ready for another winning season. And so are the fans.
Senior Izzy Corn has been a Giants fan since she was a young girl watching games with her parents. Over the last eight years her interest for San Francisco’s team has grown with their recent success, and she believes there is more to come.
“[Last year] the bullpen wasn’t ideal, however this year our new players will help [the Giants] step up their game,” Corn said.Throughout the season, San Francisco’s team blew 30 games when they were leading going into the last inning, the most of any baseball team in 2016.
The new group of pitchers contains many young players, like Neil Ramirez and mid-season call-up Derek Law, but is headlined by closer Mark Melancon. This offseason, the Giants signed Melancon to a four-year deal in hopes that he will bring success back to San Francisco’s once-gloried bullpen.
In terms of hitting, the Giants will bring back seven of the eight positional starters from last year. The eighth spot is currently being fought for by youngsters Jarrett Parker, Mac Williamson, and Chris Marerro. Either way, it looks like the lineup ranked 19th in runs produced last year, will have similar results in 2017. This is by no means exceptional, but did the job well enough to lead the Giants to 87 wins last season.
The bright spot for the 2016 Giants was their starting pitching, which was ranked fifth best in the MLB. Coming into 2017, the Giants’ starting pitching lineup will have improved with the addition of Matt Moore during the trade deadline. With Moore in the mix, the Giants will have four solid starters and the fifth starter is currently Matt Cain.
Veteran pitcher Cain brings lots experience to the table, however rookie Ty Blach has been more successful in spring games with 4.22 ERA. Another rookie, Tyler Beede, has been the most efficient of the three while posting 2.03 ERA in the spring, but is still very young and might not be prepared for MLB competition.
Taking all of these aspects into account, the 2017 season has the potential to give fans the excitement and success that was lacking in 2016. Although the Giants aren’t looking like championship favorites right now, with the help of a little magic, the Giants could find themselves celebrating a World Series win once again next fall.