The season started off well for the reigning champs, but soon came a swoon of injuries for the Giants.
Entering into the 2013 season, the San Francisco Giants were reigning champions from the season before after sweeping the Detroit Tigers in last year’s World Series, earning the orange and black their second title since moving to the Bay Area in 1958. 2013 would be a season of highs and lows as the Giants finished season with a record of 76-86, tied for third place with the San Diego Padres in the National League West. After an exciting 2012, 2013 was an enigma for a team coming off a World Series run, but while there was bad, there was some good as well.
The Giants started the season of well, with above .500 records in April and May, and finished the season in the month of September with an above .500 finish in the final month of the season as well. It is a shame that injuries cost the Giants the season, as well as other aspects of the team. The bug of injuries was key to the Giants misfortunes. Still though, there were players and moments that any Giants fan should take away from this season as good or even excellent. Hunter Pence was a bright spot on this team, even after Angel Pagan went down, he still performed well. Pence led the Giants this season, in hits (178), home runs (27), RBI’s (99), runs (91), and stolen bases (22). In most regards he had an all-star caliber season, while not making the National League All Star team.
Other high notes at the plate, were Marco Scutaro leading the team in batting average (.297), making the all-star team. The retooling of Brandon Belt at the plate, making adjustments to his swing, finally putting up numbers on a more consistent basis, including belting 17 home runs and batting a respectable .289 at the plate. Despite having a down year in comparison to his MVP season of 2012, Buster Posey was still consistent, batting .294 and making another all-star team. Pablo Sandoval turned in a consistent season as well, in what looked like an improvement from 2012.
On the mound, the Giants had their woes with pitching, but also bright spots as well. The main bright spot was Madison Bumgarner, who finished with an all-star season, leading the Giants in the majority of categories for a starting pitcher on the club. Among them, were wins (13), ERA (2.77), and strikeouts (199). In a season plagued with injuries, Bumgarner was truly an anchor in the rotation, along with Sergio Romo and several other pitchers in the Giants bull pen as well. Romo finished the season this year with 38 saves and winning five games coming out of the pen. He was solid once again this season, but was just one of several Giants relievers that did well this season, among them were Santiago Casilla and Javier Lopez as well. On another note, despite having down seasons, Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain, did have their moments where they looked liked the pitchers that have come known to be. For Lincecum, it was his no-hitter against the Padres in July, that reflected the pitcher that he is and can be. It was also the fifteenth no-hitter by a Giants pitcher in team history. In general though, it was a mixed bag for the Giants in terms of pitching.
Well, the most pressing part issue for what went wrong for the Giants in 2013, was the onslaught of injuries that occurred beginning in June. The first notable one being Pagan landing on the disabled list in late June. Others that would be on and off the disabled list, would be Matt Cain in August, and Ryan Vogelsong in May, along with injuries to Scutaro and Sandoval at various points during the season. They were the walking wounded for a solid period of the season, which partly explains the downturn that the team had in the middle months of the season from June to August, taking them out of the race. Pagan’s injury though, sucked some of the life out of the team, sending the club in a different direction.
It was also, that the team struggled at times at the plate, on the mound, and in the field. The Giants were not a sound team defensively, as they tied for seventh in all of baseball with Washington for most errors committed.
Aside from this, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum for the most part could not find their form this season, and Buster Posey had a good, but down year from his 2012 season.
The combination of injuries, sloppy play, and other factors is what killed the Giants in 2013. In general it was just an enigma of a season. The team looked poised early on to be a contender, but could not get out of the starting gate with the wheels in place. It was truly a head scratcher of a season, considering also that they were reigning World Series champs, finished the season below .500, and sixteen games back of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Outlook for 2014
While 2013 was an enigma for the Giants, 2014 looks poised to be better as long as the front office addresses the needs of the team. So far, the off-season has seen Barry Zito leaving the Bay Area and the signing of Tim Hudson to the team as a replacement in the rotation. There is also the prospect that the Giants will add another veteran starter to shore up the rotation as well. The addition of Hudson was a needed improvement over Zito, and one that the Giants more or less were inclined to make to get back to the contenders that they are.
In general though, this is the same team for the most that won in 2012, and has the potential to be a contender in the National League West. They just need to get to the team that they were two season ago. Posey and Sandoval need to return to the form that they were in 2012, while the retooling of Brandon Belt will be an added boost for the team. Also, Tim Lincecum needs to retool and rework the way that he pitches. If he can do this, then the Giants have another solid starter, along the emergence of Bumgarner, whose 2013 solidified his role in the pitching rotation.
It will be a “wait and see” as to what the Giants do this off-season, but also if they can improve as well. 2014, may not be the enigma season that the Giants had in 2013. For one thing, they will be exciting to watch as they were this season and the season before.
Just want to give a special thanks to r/SFgiants on reddit, for the fan input in overlooking the 2013 season, you guys were a big help.