Four Myths About Why the Giants Have Stumbled in 2013

Make no mistake about it. There isn't a team in the National League West that believes the 2013 San Francisco Giants are toast. Or even partially broasted.

That would include the three teams ahead of the tied-for-last-place 39-45 Giants in the NL West standings (Arizona, Colorado, and Los Angeles), as well as the unpredictable San Diego Padres.

And that's a very prudent attitude because we're just hitting the halfway mark of the season. As Nostradamus amazingly predicted in 1560, "there will still be a lot of baseball left to play after July 4, 2013." (Sadly, Nostradamus also thought there would be a delicious baseball team named the Baltimore Oreos.)

But let's not sugarcoat things. The San Francisco Giants have landed in a serious pile of bovine excrement, and the place is starting to smell.

So let's clear up four myths about the 2013 Giants that, for some reason, fans, broadcasters, and sports writers desperately want to believe are true. Please don't ask me why.

Myth #1: all the Giants starters were terrible in April and May.
Reality Check: Not true except for Ryan Vogelsong, who was the only SF starter consistently terrible both months.

In April Ryan Vogelsong put up a 1-2 W/L and a hefty 6.25 ERA. Matt Cain did worse: 0-2 / 6.49 ERA. But in April Tim Lincecum, Barry Zito, and Madison Bumgarner combined for an 8-2 record and 2.67 ERA– that means they were real good.

In May Cain rebounded with 4-0 / 3.48 and Zito's 1-2 / 4.33 was poor but hardly disastrous. Disastrous was Vogelsong (again) at 1-2 / 9.00, Lincecum 1-4 / 6.37, and Bumgarner 1-3 / 5.17.

Contrary to popular myth, Giants starters were both good and bad the first two months of the season. Problem is, this team runs on a raw fuel mixture of 90% pitching, and 10% whatever other additives can be found around the garage.

Myth #2: Key injuries have hobbled this team and that explains why they're not playing very well and are in 4th place.
Reality Check: While it's no myth that there have been injuries, the Giants have had about the normal number any team should expect during a given season.

Which makes this the lamest excuse any team can use for poor performance.

If you stop winning because two position players and a starter are on the DL, that means your bench sucks and your minor league system is crap. (Oh my, I've just described the San Francisco Giants.)

And throughout their various injuries this year, the front office has mismanaged keeping the 25 man roster in tact for weeks at a time, limiting Manager Bruce Bochy's tactical assets.

Stop sniveling for a moment and take a look at the injuries and DLs suffered this season by the 49-35 Atlanta Braves, the 43-42 Washington Nationals, and the 46-39 New York Yankees. The Giants have nothing to whine about in the injury category.

Myth #3: The Giants need pitching– bullpen pitching and starting pitching. They don't need any more offense, because the 2013 offense is the best they've had in years.
Reality Check: This is the biggest myth of the 2013 season and the one that is capable of sinking the 2013 season.

Sure, Ryan Vogelsong needs to be replaced. But not because he was injured. Because before he was injured he wasn't an effective starter the past three regular season months. How many more games would the Giants have lost if Vogelsong had been in the rotation throughout June?

What the Giants desperately need is to sign an RBI crunching outfielder like Alex Rios or Josh Willingham (who was just injured). Otherwise this team will not be competitive.

Some day I will attempt to try and understand why Giants fans and Giants media persist in their wrong-headed belief that the 2013 offense is the best in years. Is it because their team batting average is .263, 18th out of 30 MLB teams? For that you break out the Champagne?

Breaking news from CNN: the game isn't about batting average. It's all about scoring runs.

Copy these numbers down and post them on your refrigerators so you see them every morning as you pour milk over your Cap'n Crunch:
In 2010 the Giants scored 697 runs– 4.30 per game.
In 2012 the Giants scored 718 runs — 4.43 per game.
In 2013 (through July 3rd, 84 games) the Giants have scored 336 runs — 4.00 per game. That projects out to 648 runs for the season. That's 49 less than 2010, 70 less than 2012.

The biggest front office screw-up of 2013: crossing their fingers and hoping that Andres Torres and Gregor Blanco would somehow produce runs in left field. So far Torres has produced errors, terrible defense, and double plays. In other words, doing what he's done the past two years only now he's 35.

Gregor Blanco is a great player– the perfect #4 outfielder on a winning team. Not a lead-off guy, and not a starting outfielder.

The second biggest front office screw-up of the 2013 season: pulling bullpen ace Chad Gaudin out of the pen to replace starter Ryan Vogelsong. That achieved the following: the bullpen was damaged, getting another starter was put on hold, and Gaudin was injured.

Myth #4: Hey gang, the Giants have a budget to stick to. They're not like other big market teams so they can't just take on salary (Ricky Nolasco) or trade any of those invaluable players from their 25th ranked minor league system. Fans have to understand and be patient while Brian Sabean conducts business like it was 1971.
Reality Check: More numbers for your refrigerators.
Forbes.com reported the Giants' net worth was $786 million in 2012 (up 22% from 2011). The 6th most valuable team in all of Major League Baseball.

Their 2012 revenue was $262 million. In 2017, they will have paid off their loan to build AT&T Park– which will bring an additional $30 million a year in profit.

I'm happy the Giants are thriving and are a dynamic pro-sports business model for the 21st century– I want them to soar. Just don't tell me you couldn't sign a run producing left fielder last January due to budget concerns. 

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