Panda and Pence have two home runs each. Brandon Belt hit five home runs in the first eight games and two in the last 24. Matt Cain has not recorded a single, solitary win. Panda's batting average is at a miniscule .173. And yet the Giants have second best record in baseball and be perched on top of the NL West. Yup, sounds like Giants baseball.
The baseball season takes place over an incredible 162 games: twice as many as basketball, ten times as many as football. And though every year, there is the inevitable race to the finish, in some division or another, in which every win and loss ultimately matters, during the season itself, the games seem somewhat inconsequential. It's only one out of 162, after all. But add them up, look at each 3-game series, each road trip and homestand, string them together, and one begins to see how a season ebbs and how it flows.
The Giants started the season like a rocket ship, going 5-1 and using the 39 runs scored as fuel. Brandon Belt was the new Barry Bonds, and we'd win 100 games by September. Then they began to sputter a bit, trading a win with a loss and a loss for a win, going 5-4 in that stretch. Then the losses began to come in bunches—one win, five losses. Here it comes, we thought. Panda's a bum, we said. But since April 23, the Giants have played 11 and won 10 of them. Their record went from 11-10 at the beginning of that stretch to the current 21-11. Up, flat, down, and then up, up, up.
There will be inexplicable, stupefying dips in the coming months as there always are, but that's tomorrow's concern. Here we are, 32 games played, in early May, the weather is quite lovely, and the San Francisco Giants are in 1st place. It just makes you want to eat an It's-It.
So this is weird: the Giants are a homerun hitting team. The Giants currently lead the majors in total homeruns with 41 (the Colorado Rockies do not count because they kinda, sorta cheat). The Giants' current homerun pace is almost double that of last year and the year before. At this rate, the G-Men will hit more homers than any year since 2001. That was Barry's year, by the way. In fact, if this pace continues, the Giants total will be the fourth most in franchise history. Small sample size, and all that, but what a strange quirk to this young season.
Season: 21-11 (.656), 1st place in the NL West
Sun: WIN at Atlanta
Mon: WIN at Pittsburgh
Tue: at Pittsburgh
Wed: at Pittsburgh
Thu: at Los Angeles Dodgers
Fri: at Los Angeles Dodgers
Sat: at Los Angeles Dodgers