For the most of this still young season, it was a mere curiosity. A statistical aberration that would surely revert to the mean. Eventually, it may well do just that, but for now this is an undeniable fact: The San Francisco Giants are the best team in baseball.
After 63 games played, the Giants are 42-21 (.667). Lose one game, win two. Application of that immaculate formula puts the Giants atop Major League Baseball, the National League, and of most relevant interest, the NL West. In fact, the Giants are so far ahead in the division that the second place L.A. Bums (33-31) are closer to the last place Arizona D-Backs (28-37) than they are to the G-Men.
Question: How is this happening?
Answer: Last Saturday's game against the New York Mets.
Tim Hudson took the mound for the Giants and pitched five innings and allowed three runs to score. That's not a great outing for anyone, but for most pitchers it's a very decent one. For Hudson, though, this was his worst start of the year. He gave up nine hits, issued three walks and allowed the aforementioned three runs to score, inflating his ERA from a 1.75 to a whopping 1.97. If that is your pitcher's worst day at the office, you're gonna have a very, very good year.
By the time the bottom of the 9th rolled around, the score was 4-3 in favor of the Mets. Then Angel Pagan stepped into the batters box. Angel already had three hits in the game. He currently has 70 hits for the season, just nine shy of the league-lead. His .323 batting average is good enough for fifth in the NL. He is who you want to lead-off for your team--which he does. Lucky you! On this particular at-bat, however, Angel did not get a hit. In fact, he struck out. And yet, Angel ended up on first-base and no outs were recorded. How? Because if Angel isn't hitting, he's flying.
Next up was Hunter Pence, everyone's favorite scooter-riding wild man. If Angel is very likely to get on base, you'll want someone batting behind him that is just as likely to advance him. Hunter can do that. He has 72 hits so far this season--two more than Angel, even. And in this game, Hunter hit a line-drive double, scoring Angel. Game tied.
Buster Posey steps up to bat. Buster is a Toyota Tacoma. He's not fast or flashy, but when you need something to get done, he's the one you're calling. He's consistent, reliable, will haul your couch when you move, and he'll be around for 200,000 miles. He's batting .270 with 53 hits, 8 home-runs, and 29 RBI. He's on pace for a good year and you just know that it's going to *ahem* pick up. At this at-bat, he did his job: sacrifice fly, moving Hunter to third-base.
Up next: Panda. Pablo Sandoval started this season in controversy. Contract talks between his agent and the Giants broke down, making this the final year of his current contract with the team. Essentially, his performance this year will be his resume for his next job, be it with the Giants or elsewhere. And it did not start well, at all. From the second game of the season on April 1, Panda's batting average remained below .200 for six weeks. He was horrendous--until he wasn't. Over the last three weeks, Panda's season has turned around and has become respectable. He's still batting below .250, but his other offensive numbers are very similar to Buster's. He is no longer a batter a pitcher will want to face with the winning run on third-base, and in this game, the pitcher didn't: Panda was intentionally walked.
Next batter up was Mike Morse. Like Hudson, Morse is new to the Giants. And like Hudson, he's been an unexpected and indispensable part of their current success. He's hit 13 home-runs this year, the most among the Giants and fourth-highest in the NL. He also has 42 RBI, which leads the Giants and is third-highest in the NL. His power-hitting has anchored a Giants' offense that has hit the most home-runs among non-Colorado teams in the NL, and second in RBI. He added to the latter at this at-bat. On the first pitch he saw, Morse drove the ball for a walk-off RBI.
Sound the foghorn, game over, Giants win. Again.
This season: 42-21, 1st Place in the NL West
Won 2, lost 1 at Cincinnati.
Won 3, lost 0 against the Mets.
Mon: at home v. Washington Nationals.
Tue: at home v. Washington Nationals.
Wed: at home v. Washington Nationals.
Thu: at home v. Washington Nationals.
Fri: at home v. Colorado Rockies.
Sat: at home v. Colorado Rockies.
Sun: at home v. Colorado Rockies.