The San Francisco Giants have missed the playoffs for the second year in a row, a rude awakening to many fans. Some fans are starting to wonder if the Giants are finally dead and should just rebuild.
The Giants were a full fifteen games from making the wildcard game this year. Injuries have plagued the team for the past two years, leading to almost non-existent offense and slow defense.
“I feel like they could have done better this year,” said Morrise Law, a junior at Woodside High School. “I really think they could have been as good as in previous years.”
Their main problem being hitting; they just cannot seem to hit home runs. They have tried to bring in some older free agents to try and bring in the power but has failed every time.
This leads into the next problem which is this is an old team and are not getting younger. Bringing in a bunch of old, past their prime power hitters does not help the problem.
“The players are getting older,” commented Woodside junior, Jack Ward. “They might be worked too hard or being too hard on themselves. I think they need to refocus on winning.”
When asked about might be the root of the problem, Law replied, “I think it it is the coaching staff and they haven’t drafted many good players. Plus during the offseason they aren’t trading as much as other teams”
The Giants’ success has fluctuated in recent years. They won three titles in six years, but off years have unfortunately looked to similar to this season.
The future is unclear for the Giants, and this offseason will play a huge part in the future of this franchise. Do they chose to get younger, trade some key pieces and get some good draft picks? Or will they chose to stick to the method they have done before, trying to acquire veterans to maybe have a great year and bring the Giants back to the top.
They seem to want to move in the right direction with the firing of their General Manager (GM) just two days ago and with the future uncertain of who will really fill that role, it will be on the shoulders of the new GM to make that all important decision.
The future is so uncertain and with no hints from the front office, anything could happen and it is going to be a very interesting offseason.
“Maybe they can get back to to being at the top of the league, if they try,” Ward said, sounding optimistic about this team’s future.
While the Giant’s season has ended, there are still teams left to fight for a chance at the World Series title. Here is a brief examination of the remaining teams and their potential.
Boston Red Sox
In route to winning their 3rd American League (AL) East title in a row, the Red Sox look to be the favorites in AL. Behind some great pitching and even better hitting, they cruised their way to the best win lose ratio this year.
The pitching has been unrivaled with most starters having 10+ wins and no pitcher has double digit loses. Comparing that to the Giants who do not have a pitcher with 10+ wins.
The hitting has been great as well scoring twenty nine more runs than the next team in total. They sit ninth in total home runs, and look to be the hot team and favorites heading into this October.
It is clear that the Red Sox need to just keep doing what they are doing currently, and not get cold feet heading into the playoffs.
In a Press Conference after winning the division last Friday, the manager, Alex Cora, said, “They don’t stop playing [players], they show up and keep playing… and I think that is the greatest compliment we can get… Now it is secure home field and go to the dance in October”
Surprisingly the defending champions are not the favorite to win the AL this. After an immaculate playoff run and world series win last year the Astros seem to have cooled the jets a bit. That being said sporting the second best record in the MLB is not bad.
Much like the Red Sox the pitchers have been excellent. With only one starter with ten loses and the rest looking top tier. Especially with the reemergence of Justin Verlander, the Astros yet another ace up their sleeve. They have the lowest ERA in all of baseball and while that is not the flashiest stat it means that the Red Sox have serious competition in the Astros.
The hitting is good. There is no other way to put it. They are tenth in home runs and fifth in runs scored. This definitely solidifies them as contenders and dangerous. If the bats stay hot and the arms of the pitchers stay warm this team could give the Red Sox a run for their money.
In a press conference the manager of the Astros, A.J. Hinch, said after they clinched their spot, “It’s not the end goal. Our work isn’t finished.”
This is a very interesting team, they have the worst record of AL teams to make it but they won their division. They are a very dark horse this year, with nothing spectacular really standing out. They seem to be a middle of the pack team benefitting from a bad division.
The pitching is good, not great, but in pinch they could pull something out of their hats. They sit at eleventh in total ERA which by no means is bad, but compared to every other AL playoff team it is pretty lackluster and they are the worst. The AL has big hitters like Aaron Judge and Giancarlos Stanton who they may have to play.
Hitting is definitely this teams stronger side out of the two. Sitting fifth in home runs against a bad pitcher or a bad performance they could rack up some numbers and pitchers should be worried. Cleveland might be the worst team in the AL playoffs, but that doesn’t mean they cannot make something happen. It is October after all and if the pitchers clean up their acts and the bats get hot, they could be a dark horse.
Manager Terry Francona, was talking to the media about their recent pitching struggles and the playoffs when he said “That’s no dig at anybody else. I’ve looked at Oakland, too,” Francona said. “Just, more Houston, because that’s what the odds are. It could change, but that’s OK. I’ve actually looked at both. Might as well take the opportunity to do it. You try to be up-to-date as much as you can, but then you watch them play and it kind of makes you nervous, because they’re good.”
New York Yankees
The Bronx Bombers are the home run kings of MLB. This is a monster team. But fans should be worried for their chances at a title this year. Easily the most hyped team heading into this year did not disappoint, but they are in the same division as the Red Sox so they have to play in the Wild Card game. This is one game, winner take all and they move on.
The team is seventh in ERA and this is not awful, but does leave a lot to be desired. Even their Ace’s ERA is 3.38 which is not bad. He will most likely start in the wild card game and this could spell disaster.. While there is no shortage of offensive opportunities on the team a lot of it is based on home runs which are not very reliable. So with an Ace average giving up 3 almost 4 runs a game could bring a quick end to their playoff chances.
Of course it is not all bad, this is the Bronx bombers after all. Their offense has been spectacular, they have hit 251 home runs and counting which is forty more than the next team in the MLB. Most of their scoring comes from here and with such great hitters the team facing them will need a great pitching performance to beat them. This is a team which has a very uncertain future, while the offense has been great and home runs are a plenty. The one game and they are don’t scares me. They could hit 5 homer or none and lose so it is really on the back of the offense on October 5th.
Star Center Fielder Aaron Judge said in a press conference after a long extra innings win to clinch their playoffs spot, “Any time you get a chance to play in the postseason, it’s a blessing,” Judge said. “It’s a lot of hard work all around, from top to bottom in this organization. But we’re not done yet. We’ve still got a lot of work to do. This is just the first step. We’ve got to keep working and keep playing through October.”
This is a surprise to most baseball fans. Yes, the Oakland A’s have secured a spot against the Yankees in the Wild Card game. They have not clinched yet, but Tampa who is the next team back is 7 games back and while possible it is very improbable the A’s do not make the playoffs.
They rank ninth in total ERA in the MLB which is pretty good all things considered. One thing that fans should be concerned about is the home runs. They are facing the Yankees, who’s life blood is home runs and the A’s are only middle of the pack in giving them up. They do not give up a lot of them, but still enough to concern.
One thing is for sure this wild card game will live up to the name. The Yankees and A’s rank first and third in total home runs so home runs are the lifeblood of both teams. This will put strain on the offense to make something happen that maybe is not home runs. The same concerns, I had about the yankees still lie in here. But I think the A’s will play with a chip on their shoulder maybe giving them the edge they need to beat the Yankees.
It seems that the team has stayed fairly silent on their playoff hopes. With many press conferences talking as if they weren’t even in contention. They are staying focused until they clinch and they pop the champagne.
The Cubs still seem to be cooling off from their World Series win 2 years ago. They have been good all year and are nothing short of a good team. But this team is the great dynasty many thought they would be. They still look to be the favorites to win the NL. While they still need to clinch their division it seems set that they will win the division.
Sitting fourth in the league in total ERA, this looks to be a great pitching core heading into October. Jon Lester is their ace and he has been excellent this year and really bolsters an already quite good core. The win and loss record are nothing great, but just do not give up many runs.
This team is very interesting because they sit twenty second in home runs, they are not bombers by any means. This does not mean that their offense is bad, no, no they are third in hitting average and are tenth in runs. This is a very defensive oriented team which could present issues in the playoffs of not scoring runs. The team will focus on their game ahead though in order to get the October.
In an interview with NBC Sports Chicago, Joe Maddon said, “That’s what we did in ’16 and when we did, I talked about running a spring training method for the rest of the season and I thought it played out pretty well. But in the meantime, we do show up, we’ve been on a tough stretch. I’m really proud of our players.”. They seem to be focused on clinching and then will look forward to October
The only team to clinch their spot, is Atlanta and they look like a good team. While their record does not reflect it being in the mid eighties in wins. They might even be a good pick to win the NL.
Atlanta is eighth in total ERA which is good, but sits well below the the other NL teams in the playoffs. They run middle of the pack in aspects of their pitching game, giving up a good amount of runs and hits. Their record might reflect this and should worry fans as they only play seven game series and two bad games could spell disaster.
Looking at the stats it is clear this is an offensive team. They sit fifth in total home runs, third in hits, and fourth in runs scored. This is the team’s only hope, if the bats stay hot this team could be dangerous. They keep up scoring and hitting how they do this team could go deep into the playoffs.
Atlanta Braves General Manager, Alex Anthopoulos said after clinching the division, “I stayed up late, I didn’t sleep,” Anthopoulos said. “I started looking at playoff rotation.” He went on to talk about studying the teams ahead.
Los Angeles Dodgers
A team with a lot of hype behind it this year is still battling with the Rockies for the division. After making it to the world series last year the Dodgers have had a very up and down season. With huge win streak and huge skids of loses leaves them battling. But they are in the lead nonetheless and they might be able to make something happen come October.
This team is very impressive when ERA is brought up being only second to the Astros and it is not by much. Obviously they have great pitchers and people that can finish games there is no hiding that. Opposing teams should be worried when they see this core of pictures on their schedule come October.
Even scarier is this hitting core, second in homers to the Yankees. But in other categories they are not as good, being top 10 in hits and runs scored is good. This is just not what is expected of a team with a ton of homers. They have some big power hitters and if they get hot they should move on, but if the home runs are not their they could be catching some grief trying to score runs.
Only two games up on the first NL wildcard spot, they look to keep the home field advantage heading into October. With still some games to go they do look to be in, as long as they do not lose almost every game.
The pitching is pretty average in the contender list being eighth in total ERA. They do not give up many hits, but runs is a different story. They do not give up many home runs either so it seems that giving up big hits is their problem.
The hitting is around the same. They hit homers, but are lackluster in hits and scored runs. They need some momentum or a hot hand going into this game.
St. Louis Cardinals
This team never goes away, they just are always in some way competing or making the playoffs. They are a team that always sneaks in and this year is no different being two games up on the Rockies for the wild card spot.
This team’s pitching is no different. They are seventh in total ERA, but run around the Giants in runs and hits given up. This is odd, but the ERA is encouraging and they have a good ace and I think they could win the wild card game.
The Cardinals run middle in contenders in home runs so they have some bombers and can score easily. They run middle of the league in hits, but score runs so the hitting of this team does not really concern me.
This looks to be a home run extravaganza this year and with many underdog contenders, it is really any team’s year.