The 2010 San Francisco Giants shocked the world when the team won its first World Series title since the organization moved to the Bay Area.
Injuries hurt the Giants big time in 2011, and the Carlos Beltrans and Jeff Keppingers of the world were unable to pick up the pieces. To make matters worse, the scrappy Arizona Diamondbacks got hot at the right time.
But the new season is on the horizon, and the Giants will chase the division crown once again. Here are five reasons why the Giants will win the West in 2012, and possibly more.
The Giants milked their World Series victory when the organization signed up for the Showtime documentary series The Franchise. The Showtime production crew followed the team for the whole season. Cameras were rolling everywhere, from the clubhouse to inside players’ homes.
Manager Bruce Bochy hinted in an interview that he was not sad to see the camera crews leave when the season ended.
When a team is getting all of this extra attention 24/7, it causes a distraction. Without Showtime, the Giants can finally focus on baseball.
This trio instantly adds some pop to an anemic Giants offense. Cabrera is coming off of his best year offensively, in which he had career highs in batting average (.305), RBI (87) and home runs (18).
The speedy Pagan (30 steals in 2011) could finally give the Giants a bona fide leadoff hitter. And Theriot provides infield depth along with solid contributions at the plate (.344 career OBP).
The Giants’ playoff chances took a devastating blow last season when the team lost 2010 Rookie of the Year Buster Posey.
Posey batted .305 with 67 RBI and 18 HR in just 406 plate appearances in 2010. If he can put up similar numbers over a full season in 2012, the Giants will contend for the title.
The Padres franchise is in a rebuilding stage with a roster largely made up of no-name players. The Dodgers are still reeling from the bankruptcy hangover. The Rockies just don’t have the pitching to stay in it.
That just leaves the Giants and the reigning NL West Champion Arizona Diamondbacks.
Arizona has hitters throughout the entire lineup and a pitching staff that proved to be more than formidable last year. With the addition of pitcher Trevor Cahill and the return of infielder Stephen Drew, the D-backs will be the biggest threat to the Giants’ chances at bouncing back this season.
You could write pitching for all five reasons if you wanted. San Francisco will live and die by its pitching staff.
The live arms of Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Brian Wilson and newly re-signed Tim Lincecum will carry the load once again. San Francisco will also be counting on another good year from 2011 Comeback Player of the Year candidate Ryan Vogelsong, who came out of nowhere by going 13-7 with a 2.71 ERA.
If the Giants want to make the playoffs, the pitching staff can’t afford to be less than stellar.
A lot has to go right for the Giants to be successful. Over a long 162-game season, a team needs consistency, a hot streak or two and a little luck to get into the playoffs.
The Giants, whether they like it or not, will play plenty of close games this season. The "torture" will be back. The question is: Will the "magic" resurface?
Only time will tell if the Giants will string together enough wins to take the division crown.