With San Francisco's 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Thursday afternoon, the G Men have all but fallen out of the NL Wild Card race. With 15 regular season games remaining in the 2019 campaign, the Giants currently reside 8.5 games out of the final playoff spot.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, the Giants' odds to make the playoffs currently lie just this side of impossible, at less than 0.1 percent. After their incredibly hot start to the second half of the season, going 12-3 in their first 15 games following the All-Star break, San Francisco has gone 17-26, plunging their record to its current 70-77.
Looking up at teams that boast rosters with talent superior to that of their own, the Giants face the almost certain likelihood of another sub-.500 season. Ball clubs like the Chicago Cubs (78-68) and Milwaukee Brewers (78-68), who are tied for the final NL Wild Card slot, along with the New York Mets (76-70), Philadelphia Phillies (76-70), and the Arizona Diamondbacks (75-72) each have more consistent run-producing offenses and are generally more healthy up and down their pitching rotations and bullpen staffs.
In manager Bruce Bochy's final season, the Giants did their best to make the season interesting, thanks in large part to the efforts of first-year president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi. Over the course of the season, with what looked like a dreadfully inept group of position players, particularly at the plate, Zaidi was able to wheel-and-deal through numerous under-the-radar transactions which uncovered and brought to the surface such hidden gems as outfielders Kevin Pillar and rookie Mike Yastrzemski, utility infielder Donovan Solano, backup catcher Stephen Vogt, and the exciting young shortstop prospect, Mauricio Dubon.
Notable Giants' Offensive Statistics:
Kevin Pillar: 21 HR, 80 RBI, 76 R, .736 OPS (147 games)
Mike Yastrzemski: 19 HR, 51 RBI, 55 R, .845 OPS (93 games)
Evan Longoria: 19 HR, 64 RBI, 56 R, .776 OPS (116 games)
Stephen Vogt: 9 HR, 35 RBI, .828 OPS (87 games)
Brandon Belt: 16 HR, 56 RBI, 71 R, .736 OPS (147 games)
On the pitching side, Bochy has had to juggle a constant merry-go-round of starters following mainstays Madison Bumgarner and Jeff Samardzija, giving opportunity after opportunity to a bevy of minor league talents, including: Dereck Rodriguez, Andrew Suarez, Tyler Beede, Shaun Anderson, Logan Webb, and Conner Menez. Each have their strengths and weaknesses, flashed moments of potential, and inevitably struggled to maintain any real measure of consistency.
The bullpen, as always, was a lock-down machine throughout most of the season. That is, until Zaidi (rightfully) sold off some assets ahead of July's trade deadline, bidding farewell to stud relievers Sam Dyson and Mark Melancon, among others. Before the departure of a significant portion of their bullpen arms, closer Will Smith and flamethrower Reyes Moronta were as consistently dependable as a manager could hope for. However, another season of being forced into exhausting service due to lackluster starting pitching performances likely resulted in Moronta's season being cut short with an injury and Smith's steadily-rising late-season earned-run average.
Notable Giants' Pitching Statistics:
Madison Bumgarner: 9-8, 3.77 ERA, 184 K, 188.2 IP (31 starts)
Jeff Samardzija: 10-12, 3.72 ERA, 133 K, 169.1 IP (30 starts)
Sam Dyson: 4-1, 2.47 ERA, 47 k, 0.90 WHIP, 51 IP (49 appearances w/SF)
Mark Melancon: 4-2, 3.50 ERA, 44 K, 46.1 IP (43 appearances w/SF)
Reyes Moronta: 3-7, 2.86 ERA, 70 K, 56.2 IP (56 appearances)
Will Smith: 5-0, 3.00 ERA, 87 K, 32 SV, 60 IP (58 appearances)
With the 2019 season coming to a close, Giants fans will now have to shift into "there's always next year"-mode — if they haven't already. On the positive side, San Francisco's farm system is finally beginning to look like a fruit-bearing operation for the coming years, ripe for Zaidi and the Giants' future manager to pick the next generation of core players from. Look for recent top picks C Joey Bart and OF Heliot Ramos (both of whom finished the 2019 campaign in Richmond, with the AA Flying Squirrels) to make a serious push for an opportunity at the big league level in 2020. For now, the San Francisco faithful can sit back and reminisce about the #EvenYearMagic and the Giants 2010-14 run of three championships under their celebrated outgoing manger, the beloved Bruce Bochy.