There are two important things about July 27, 2011. First, the San Francisco Giants were 60-44 and led the NL West by three games; second, the Giants traded their #1 minor league prospect, Zack Wheeler, for Mets slugger Carlos Beltran in an attempt to bring an offensive upgrade to their criminally negligent run scoring.
Problem was, from July 28th through September 10th the Giants proceeded to post a stunning 15-28 win-loss record, plunging them 9.5 games behind the first place D’Backs. Preparations were then made to officially kiss the 2011 playoffs goodbye, which included error-filled listless play in the field, an increasingly mediocre offensive, and a palace purge of Giants Chief Executive Officer Bill Neukom by Giants COO Larry Baer.
Oh, and management replaced all those expensive bottles of Fiji Water in the clubhouse with Trader Joe’s delicious brown canal mix.
Then the San Francisco Giants did something. They won eight games in a row, with Madison Bumgarner getting two wins in 8-1 and 9-1 finals. Carlos Beltran went on a 14-30 tear in the last seven games and Pablo Sandoval went on a ginormous rampage that made him NL Player of the Week ending September 18th.
And something else also happened that maybe trumped all the great hitting and pitching. The Giants released Aaron Rowand and Miguel Tejada, two players who were dead weight on the field and negative weight in the clubhouse. Add to that: defensive shortstop wizard Brandon Crawford finally got playing time over tired veteran Orlando Cabrera. Addition by serious subtraction.
Tonight the Giants start a three game series in LA with the Dodgers. Followed by three games with the D’Backs in Arizona. San Francisco is 4 games behind the Atlanta Braves in the NL Wild Card, and 5.5 games behind NL West leading Arizona.
What else can happen in the next 9 games? You’d drop your adult beverage if I told you…